‘It is true,’ said the Armenian, I that even on the confines of Ararat there are a great number who consider that mountain to be lower than the hillocks of Rome; but the greater number of degenerate Armenians are to be found amongst those who have wandered to the west; most of the Haik churches of the west consider Rome to be higher than Ararat - most of the Armenians of this place hold that dogma; I, however, have always stood firm in the contrary opinion.

‘Ha! ha!’ - here the Armenian laughed in his peculiar manner - ‘talking of this matter puts me in mind of an adventure which lately befell me, with one of the emissaries of the Papa of Rome, for the Papa of Rome has at present many emissaries in this country, in order to seduce the people from their own quiet religion to the savage heresy of Rome; this fellow came to me partly in the hope of converting me, but principally to extort money for the purpose of furthering the designs of Rome in this country. I humoured the fellow at first, keeping him in play for nearly a month, deceiving and laughing at him. At last he discovered that he could make nothing of me, and departed with the scowl of Caiaphas, whilst I cried after him, ‘The roots of Ararat are deeper than those of Rome.’

The Armenian had occasionally reverted to the subject of the translation of the Haik Esop, which he had still a lurking desire that I should execute; but I had invariably declined the undertaking, without, however, stating my reasons. On one occasion, when we had been conversing on the subject, the Armenian, who had been observing my countenance for some time with much attention, remarked, ‘Perhaps, after all, you are right, and you might employ your time to better advantage. Literature is a fine thing, especially Haik literature, but neither that nor any other would be likely to serve as a foundation to a man’s fortune: and to make a fortune should be the principal aim of every one’s life; therefore listen to me. Accept a seat at the desk opposite to my Moldavian clerk, and receive the rudiments of a merchant’s education. You shall be instructed in the Armenian way of doing business - I think you would make an excellent merchant.’

‘Why do you think so?’

‘Because you have something of the Armenian look.’

‘I understand you,’ said I; ‘you mean to say that I squint!’

‘Not exactly,’ said the Armenian, ‘but there is certainly a kind of irregularity in your features. One eye appears to me larger than the other - never mind, but rather rejoice; in that irregularity consists your strength. All people with regular features are fools; it is very hard for them, you’ll say, but there is no help: all we can do, who are not in such a predicament, is to pity those who are. Well! will you accept my offer? No! you are a singular individual; but I must not forget my own concerns. I must now go forth, having an appointment by which I hope to make money.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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