A Year Amongst the Persians: From Yezd to Kirman



FIVE men and five beasts constituted the little company in which I quitted Yezd. Besides myself and my horse, there was Amir Khan, one of the "Arab" tribesmen of Ardistan, whom the prince had sent as a mounted escort to see me safely to the marches of his territory; the muleteer with his three mules, two of which only were hired by me; my servant Haji Safar; and a young Tabrizi named Mirza Yusuf, who had formerly been his fellow-servant, and to whom, at his request, and on the recommendation of my friend the Sarhang, I had given permission to accompany me to Kirman (where he hoped to obtain employment from Prince Nasiru'd-Dawla) and to ride on one of the lightly-laden mules. Mirza Yusuf, a conceited and worthless youth, had, as I subsequently discovered, and as will be more fully set forth in its proper place, been passing himself off at Yezd as a Babi, so as to obtain help and money from rich and charitable members of that sect; and it was by this means, no doubt, that he had induced the Sarhang to bespeak my favour for him. Were all his fellow-townsmen like him, no exaggeration would be chargeable against the satirist who wrote--

Outwardly, however, Mirza Yusuf was sufficiently well-favoured and civil-spoken, and it was only after my arrival in Kirman that I detected in him any worse quality than complacent self- satisfaction and incurable idleness.

      Amir Khan, being well mounted, soon wearied of the slow march of the caravan, and urged me to push on with him at a brisker pace. I did so, thinking, of course, that he knew the way; but this proved to be a rash assumption, for, after traversing the considerable village of Muhammad-abad, he lost the road and struck off into the open desert, where the soft sand proved very arduous to my horse, which began to lag behind. A halt which Amir Khan made (not to allow me to come up with him, but to say his prayers) brought us once more together, but the subsequent appearance of two gazelles at some distance to our left was too much for his self-control, and he set off after them at full gallop. I soon abandoned all idea of following him, and, having now realised his complete uselessness, both as a guide and a guard, continued to make my solitary way in the direction which I supposed to be correct. After some time, Amir Khan, having got a shot at the gazelles and missed them, returned in a more subdued frame of mind; and, after again losing the way several times, we finally reached the post-house of Sar-i-Yezd about sunrise. The remainder of the caravan being far behind, I had nothing to do, after seeing to the stabling of my horse, but to lie down on the mud floor with my head on the rolled-up greatcoat which I had strapped to the saddle at starting, and go to sleep.

      I was awakened about three hours later by Haji Safar for my morning tea, and passed the day in the post-house writing and making up my accounts. About sunset I received a visit from a Zoroastrian who was coming up to Yezd from Kirman. He remained with me for about an hour, chatting and drinking tea, and informed me, amongst other things, that he had spent several years in Bombay and Calcutta; that the Governor of Kirman, Prince Nasiru'd-Dawla, was a most enlightened and popular


ruler; that Kirman was much cooler than Yezd, as proved by the fact that the mulberries were not yet ripe there, and that cucumbers were still scarcely to be obtained; that the poverty of the inhabitants, always great, had been increased by the depreciation in shawls, which fetched less than a third of their former price; but that, as against this, the crops, and especially the opium crop, had been remarkably good in the last year.

      We left Sar-i-Yezd between three and four hours after sunset by the light of a nearly full moon, my Zoroastrian friend coming to bid me farewell and wish me God-speed. Amir Khan, who kept dozing off in his saddle, again led us astray; and, while we were wandering about amongst the sandhills, there reached our ears a faint cry, which, in that solitary and ghostly desert, caused us to start with surprise. Amir Khan, however, followed by myself made for the spot whence it appeared to come, and there, huddled together between two sandhills, we presently discerned a group of about half a dozen persons (three men, three women and, I think, one child at least) gathered round a diminutive donkey. As we approached, they again addressed us in tones of entreaty, but in a dialect which was to me quite unintelligible Amir Khan, however, understood them. They were from the "City of Barbar" (Shahr-i Barbar, which he explained, was near Sistan, on the eastern frontier of Persia), and were bound for Kerbela, drawn thither by a longing desire to visit the place of martyrdom of the Imam Huseyn. They had lost their way in the desert and were sorely distressed by thirst, and the boon they craved was a draught of water. My heart was filled with pity for these poor people, and admiration for their faith and piety; and as I bade Haji Safar give them to drink from the leather bottle he carried, there ran in my mind the words of Hafiz--


Thereat, and by the blessings and thanks which they poured forth as they gulped down the water, was my compassion still further moved, and I felt constrained to give them also a small piece of money. For this Amir Khan warmly applauded me, as we rode off, telling the pilgrims that they were within a short distance of the village of Sar-i-Yezd. "Those who give," said he, "of that which God hath given them will never want, and those who will not give are not profited, even in this life, by their avarice. Only yesterday a beggar asked me for money. I replied that I had none, though I had three krans and a half in my pocket at that moment. But when I looked for these a little later, I found that they were gone, no doubt to punish me for my niggardly conduct."

      After this incident the march continued in sleepy silence; but towards dawn Amir Khan, who was riding beside me, suddenly woke up from his doze, and remarked, with complete irrelevance to anything that had gone before, "No sect are worse than the Babis."

      "Why?" I enquired, wondering what had caused him to introduce spontaneously a subject generally avoided with the most scrupulous care by Persian Musulmans.

      "They worship as God," he replied, "a man called Mirza Huseyn 'Ali, who lives at Adrianople. A friend of mine at Yezd once told me that he was going there. I asked why. 'To visit God' (bi-ziyarat-i-Hakk), he answered. When he got there he was asked what work his hands could do. 'None,' said he, 'save writing; for I am a scrivener by profession.' 'Then,' said they, 'there is no place for you here, and we do not want you.' He was not allowed to see Mirza Huseyn 'Ali at all, but was given a handkerchief which he had used, and invited to make an offering of three tumans. So he returned thoroughly disgusted, 'for,' said he, 'God does not take presents.'"

      While I was considering how I should meet this sally, and whether Amir Khan, knowing that I had had dealings with the


Babis at Yezd, was anxious to warn me against them, he solved the difficulty by again dozing off into a fitful slumber, from which he awoke "between the wolf and the sheep" (meyan-i-gurg mish), as the Persians say--that is, at early dawn. As soon as he had collected his scattered wits, he cast his eyes round the horizon in hopes of being able to discern our next halting-place, Zeynu'd-Din, and, after some scrutiny, declared that we had passed it during his sleep, and that it was "over there" (pointing to a dark line on the plain behind us, some distance off the track which we were following). Luckily, warned by previous experience, I paid no heed to his opinion, and, supported by Haji Safar, insisted on continuing our advance, for which we were rewarded by finding ourselves in less than half an hour at Zeynu'd-Din, where there is nothing but a caravansaray and a very good post- house. I alighted at the latter, and, after a cup of tea, slept for about six hours.

      Zeynu'd-Din is the last halting-place within the territories of Yezd, and consequently Amir Khan had been instructed to accompany me only thus far on my journey, and to obtain for me another mounted guard belonging to the jurisdiction of the Governor of Kirman. I had, however, no desire to avail myself of this unnecessary luxury, and hinted as much to Amir Khan as I placed in his hand ten krans. He took the hint and the money with equal readiness, and we parted with mutual expressions of esteem. The evening was cloudy, with occasional gusts of wind, and every now and then a great pillar of sand or dust would sweep across the plain, after the fashion of the jinnis in the Arabian Nights. The road presented little of interest, being ever the same wide ill-defined track, through a sandy plain enclosed between two parallel mountain chains, running from the north-west to the south-east. At one place I noticed a number of large caterpillars (larvae of Deilephila euphorbiae, I think) feeding on a kind of spurge which grew by the roadside. No trace of cultivation was visible till we came within a farsakh of


Kirmanshahan, when we passed two or three villages at about the same distance to the east of the road. We reached Kirmanshahan half an hour before sunset, and alighted at the post-house, which was the best I had seen in Persia. There are also two caravansarays, one old and one new. As no meat was obtainable, I made my supper off eggs fried in oil, and then went to sleep.

      I woke about two hours before dawn to find the people of the post-house eating their morning meal preparatory to entering on the day's fast. Haji Safar and the muleteer, however, were sleeping so peacefully that it seemed a shame to wake them, so I lay down again and slept for another two hours, when I was awakened by Haji Safar. It was quite light when we started, but this was of little advantage, as the scenery was precisely the same in character as on the previous day. The road, however, hugged the western range of mountains more closely, and indeed at one point we passed inside a few outlying hills. Kirmanshahan was in sight for two hours and a quarter after we had left it, and we had no sooner crossed a slight rise which finally hid it from our view than we caught sight of the caravansaray of Shemsh, which, however, it took us nearly three hours more to reach.

      A more dismal spot than Shemsh it would be hard to imagine. There is nothing but the aforesaid caravansaray and a post- house (singularly good, like all the post-houses between Yezd and Kirman) standing side by side in the sandy, salt-strewn plain. As I rode up to the latter edifice, I saw a little stream, very clear and sparkling, carefully banked up between mud walls which conducted it into a small pond. Being overcome with thirst, I flung myself from my horse and dipped my face into it to get a long draught of what I supposed to be pure fresh water. To my disappointment it proved to be almost as salt as the sea. There was no other water to be had, and Haji Safar had thrown away what was left from Kirmanshahan; nor did my hope that boiling might improve it, and that a decent cup of tea might at


least be obtainable, prove well-founded. No one who has not tried it can imagine how nasty a beverage is tea made in a copper teapot with brackish water. Luckily my kind Zoroastrian friends had forced me to accept two bottles of beer from them as I was leaving Yezd, and these, in that thirsty wilderness, were as the very elixir of life. Even so the day was a horrible one, and seemed almost interminable. Swarms of flies, distant thunder, and a violent gusty wind increased my despondency; and the only discovery in which a visit to a neighbouring mud-ruin resulted was a large and very venomous-looking serpent. Altogether I was heartily glad to leave this detestable place about four and a half hours after sunset, by the light of a radiant moon.

      The monotony of the march to the next stage, Anar, was only twice broken, first by meeting a string of twenty-five camels going up to Yezd, whose drivers greeted us with the usual "Fursat bashad!" ("May it be opportune!"); and secondly by the appearance of some wild beast which was prowling about by the road, but which, on our approach, slunk off into the desert. About dawn we arrived at Anar, a flourishing village containing a good many gardens, and surrounded by fields in which men were busy reaping the corn. Here we alighted at the post-house to rest and refresh ourselves before continuing our march to the next stage, Beyaz, which we reached without incident a little before sundown.

      Beyaz is a small hamlet containing a few trees, and not devoid of signs of cultivation. Three or four-camels were resting and taking their food in a field opposite the post-house, where I alighted in preference to the large but dilapidated caravansaray. Soon after our arrival, a party of mounted ghulams rode up, and bivouacked outside under the trees. One of these, as Haji Safar informed me, was anxious to "challenge" my horse. This practice (called muwazi bastam) I was surprised to find amongst the Persians, as I had hitherto only met with it in the pages of


Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour. For those not familiar with that entertaining work, I may explain how the transaction would have been conducted if I had given my consent (which, needless to say, I did not do). The ghulam who had "challenged" my horse suggested that the postmaster (na'ib-chapar) should act as umpire between the two animals, and to this Haji Safar (acting, as he chose to consider, as my representative) agreed. Haji Safar then informed the na'ib-chapar that I had bought my horse for thirty tumans (as a matter of fact it had only cost me sixteen tumans), but the latter valued it still higher, at thirty-five tumans. However, he valued the ghulams's horse at forty tumans (it was probably worth twelve at the outside), so that the "award" was that my horse should "give" the ghulam's horse five tumans, or, in other words, that I should give the ghulam my horse and five tumans in money for his horse.

      We left Beyaz about four hours before sunset, and continued our south-easterly march along a track so ill-defined that I felt impelled to make a wide detour towards the telegraph-posts, which lay some distance to the east, in the expectation of finding something more like a high road. As dusk drew on the whole character of the country began to change: rivulets and streams intersected it in every direction; the air grew moist and damp, like that of a fen; and the night re-echoed with the shrill chirping of grasshoppers and the hoarse croaking of frogs. Once we lost our way amongst the ditches and cornfields, and floundered about for some time in the dark ere, rather by good luck than good management, we again struck the road. Flickering lights in the distance, probably will-o'-the-wisps, kept our hopes of speedy arrival alive; but it was only after repeated disappointments that the welcome outline of the post-house of Kushkuh loomed out, like some "moated grange," through the darkness. We had to wake the postmaster ere we could gain admission, and no sooner was my bed spread in the porch of the bala-khane, or upper chamber, than I fell sound asleep, lulled by a chorus of


frogs and grasshoppers, till supper-time, after which I again composed myself for slumber.

      When Haji Safar brought me my tea next morning, he informed me that the muleteer, Zeynu'l-'Abidin, had decided to remain at Kushkuh, to rest his beasts after their forced marches of the last day or two, till sundown, so as to accomplish the seven long parasangs which separated us from the considerable town of Bahram-abad (the capital of the district known as Rafsinjan) during the night. I was not sorry for the rest, and, though much pestered by flies, passed a tolerably comfortable day in the little post-house. We started by starlight about three hours after sunset, but in about an hour the moon rose up to light us on our way. The night was quite chilly and the march very tedious, and even when soon after dawn we sighted Bahram-abad, a weary length of wilfully sinuous and serpentine road remained to be traversed ere we finally alighted at the post-house.

      At Bahram-abad I had a letter of introduction from Haji Seyyid M--- to the chief of the posts in that district, which, after lunch, I caused to be conveyed to him. He came to visit me without delay, and after sitting for a short time carried me off to his office in the caravansaray. While I was there several persons came to see him, amongst them a fine-looking young Khan of Rafsinjan, who had just returned from Sirjan by way of Pariz and God-i-Ahmar. He had with him the body of an enormous lizard (buz-majje) which he had shot on the road. About three hours before sunset my host took me to his house and gave me tea, after which I was waited upon successively by deputations of Zoroastrians and Hindoos, both of which classes regard an Englishman as their natural friend and ally. The Zoroastrians were only three in number: one of them was Ardashir Mihraban's agent, and of the other two one was an old man called Mihraban, and the other a young man named Ardashir. They told me that there were in all about twenty or twenty-five Zoroastrians in


Bahram-abad; that their co-religionists in Kirman were much less subject to insult and annoyance, and in all ways better off, than those in Yezd; and that the chief products of Rafsinjan were, besides cereals, almonds and pistachio-nuts, which were exported to India.

      After the departure of the Zoroastrians, the whole Hindoo community (save one, who was ill) waited upon me. There were fourteen of them, men and youths, all natives of Shikarpur, and they brought me as a present an enormous block of sugar- candy. One of them had recently been robbed of a large sum of money, and, as the Persian Governor could not succeed in capturing the thief, and would not make good the loss, he begged me to make a representation of the facts to the English Embassy at Teheran. I promised to come and inspect the scene of the outrage, if I had time, without further committing myself; and shortly afterwards the deputation withdrew. I remained to supper with the postmaster, who made me eat to repletion of his excellent pilaw, washed down with a delicious sherbet, and strove to persuade me to stay the night with him; but I excused myself on the ground that the muleteer would probably wish to start. However, on arriving at the chapar-khane, whither he insisted on accompanying me, I found that, as the morrow, 21st Ramazan, was the anniversary of the Imam 'Ali's death, and consequently an unlucky day, neither Haji Safar nor the muleteer wished to continue the march till the following evening.

      I did not go out next day till about three hours before sunset, when the postmaster sent his servant to bring me to his house. I conversed with him for about two hours, and he enquired very particularly about the signs which should herald Christ's coming, but did not make any further allusion to the beliefs of the Babis, which, I believe, were his own. Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of one of the Hindoos, who wished me to inspect the scene of the recent robbery, which I agreed to


do. We found all the other Hindoos assembled in the caravan- saray where they lodged, and I was at once shown the inner room whence the safe (containing, as they declared, 400 tumans in cash, and 14,000 tumans in cheques and letters of credit) had been abstracted by the thieves, who, as it was supposed, had entered by the chimney. Ten or fifteen men had been arrested on suspicion by the Governor, Mirza Hidayatu'llah, but, as there was no sufficient evidence against any of them, they had been released. I took notes of these matters, and promised to bring them to the notice of some of my friends in the English Embassy if I got the chance; and we then conversed for a time, while I smoked a kalyan which they brought me. They questioned me closely as to the objects of my journey, and refused to credit my assertion that I was travelling for my own instruction and amusement, declaring that I must be an agent of the English Government.

      "Why don't you take Persia?" said one of them at length: "you could easily if you liked."

      "I suppose the thief who took your money put the same question to himself with regard to it," I replied, "and yet you feel that you have a just ground of complaint against him. People have no right to take their neighbours' property, even if they think they can do so with impunity, and states are no more entitled to steal than individuals." The Hindoos appeared to be still unconvinced, and my sympathy for their loss was considerably abated.

      I returned to the postmaster's house for supper, after which he caused soft pillows and bolsters to be brought, and insisted on my resting for a couple of hours before starting. At the end of this time Haji Safar awoke me to tell me that the caravan was ready to start, and, after a final cup of tea and a hasty farewell to my kind host, I was once more on the road. We lost our way at the very start, and wandered about for some time in the starlight, until we came to one or two small houses. The na'ib-chapar


of Bahram-abad, who had joined our party, hammered at the door of one of these till an old peasant, aroused from his sleep, came out, and directed us on our way. But this did not satisfy the na'ib-chapar, who compelled the poor old man to accompany us for a mile or so, which he rather unwillingly did; though two krans which I gave him as he was leaving us more than satisfied him for the trouble he had incurred.

      About dawn, while still distant some two parasangs from our halting-place, Kabutar Khan, we passed a company of men, with a young girl enveloped in a white chadar, who were going down to Kirman, and exchanged a few words with them. We reached the post-house of Kabutar Khan (which seemed to be entirely in the charge of a very quaint old woman) about an hour after sunrise, and remained there till about three hours after sunset, when we again set out for Baghin. The man who had been our companion on the previous stage again joined us, being now mounted on a very small donkey which he had hired for thirty shahis (about twopence) to take him to Baghin. A little boy named 'Abbas accompanied the donkey, and several times the man dismounted to allow him to ride for a while, on which occasions he would break out into snatches of song in his sweet, childish voice.

      Before we reached Baghin, the great broad plain running towards the south-east, which we had followed since leaving Yezd, began to close in, and mountains appeared in front of us, as well as on either hand. Soon after dawn we reached Baghin (which is a small village surrounded by a considerable extent of cultivated ground), and, as usual, put up at the post-house. Here we remained till four hours after sunset, when the mules were loaded up for the last time, for that night's march was to bring us to our journey's end. Our course now lay nearly due east, along a good level road; and when the dawn began to brighten over the hills before us, Kirman, nestling, as it seemed, at the very foot of their black cliffs, and wrapped like one of her


own daughters in a thin white mantle of mist and smoke, gladdened our straining eyes.

      My original intention had been to alight in the first instance at the post-house, but as this proved to be situated at some distance outside the city walls, and as I was eager to be in the very centre of the town without further delay, I decided to take up my quarters instead at one of the caravansarays. It was fortunate that I did so; for events so shaped themselves that my sojourn at Kirman, instead of lasting only ten days or a fortnight, as I then intended, was prolonged for more than two months; and, for reasons soon to be mentioned, it would probably have been difficult for me to have quitted the post-house if I had once taken up my abode there without offending my good friend the postmaster of Kirman.

      On entering the city we first made our way through the bazaars to the caravansaray of the Vakil, which we were told was the best; but here there was no room to be had, so, after some delay, during which I was surrounded by a little crowd of sightseers, we proceeded to the caravansaray of Haji 'Ali Aka, where I obtained a lodging. While the beasts were being unloaded I was accosted by two Zoroastrians, one of whom proved to be Ardashir Mihraban's agent, Mulla Gushtasp. (All the Zoroastrians in Kirman are entitled "Mulla," even by the Muhammadans.) They came into my room and sat down for a while, and Gushtasp told me that he had found a place for me to stay in during my sojourn at Kirman in a garden outside the town. They soon left me, and, after a wash and a shave, I slept till nearly noon, when I was awakened by a farrash from the telegraph office, who was the bearer of a telegram from Cambridge, which had been sent on from Shiraz. The original, which, of course, was in English, arrived by post the same evening, and ran--"Please authorise name candidate for Persian leadership, Neil." The Persian translation (made, I believe, at Kashan, where the wires from Shiraz and Kirman to the capital


join) was as follows:--"Khwahish daram idhn bi-dihid shuma-ra barayi mu'allimi-i-farsi taklif kunam. Nil." I was rather overwhelmed by the reflection that even here at Kirman I was not beyond the reach of that irrepressible nuisance of this age of ours, electricity.

      Haji Safar had already succeeded in discovering a relative in Kirman (a cousin on his mother's side, as I understood)--a sleek, wily-looking man of about fifty, generally known as "Na'ib Hasan"--whom he brought to see me. While he was with me, a Greek of Constantinople, who had turned Musulman and settled in Kirman, joined the party, and conversed with me a little in Turkish. Then came servants from the telegraph-office to enquire on the part of their master (a prince as well as a telegraphist, but then, as I have already remarked, princes are not rare in Persia) how I did, and when I would come and visit him (for I had an introduction to him from my friends at Yezd, who had also written to him about me); and hard on the heels of these came the son of the postmaster of Kirman (to whom also I had letters of recommendation), so that I had hardly a moment's leisure. This last visitor carried me off to see his father at the Central Post Office in the town. The postmaster, a kindly-looking man, past middle age, with a gray moustache and the rank of colonel (sartip), gave me a most friendly welcome, but reproached me for being a day later than he had been led to expect by the postmaster of Bahram-abad, who appeared to have sent him a message concerning me. "Although I am in poor health," said he, "and am, as you see, lame in one foot, I rode out nearly three parasangs to meet you yesterday, for I wished to be the first to welcome you to Kirman; and I also wanted to tell you that the chapar-khane, which is well built and comfortable, and is intended for a residence, is entirely at your disposal, and that I hope you will stay in it while you are here."

      I next proceeded to the telegraph-office to visit the prince, whom I found sitting at the instrument with his pretty little son


opposite him. He in turn insisted that I should take up my abode at a new telegraph-office which had just been completed for him, and it was with great difficulty that I got him to acquiesce in the plan which I had formed of inspecting the three residences chosen for me in advance by my kind friends of Kirman. Indeed I was somewhat embarrassed by their hospitality, for I was afraid that, whichever place I selected, I could hardly hope to avoid giving offence to the owners of the other two. As, however, it was clear that I could not live in all of them, I decided in my own mind that I would just choose the one I liked best; and accordingly, after I had conversed for a short while with the prince, I set off with the postmaster's son to visit the chapar- khane to the north, and the Zoroastrian garden to the south, of the town.

      The chapar-khane proved fully worthy of the praises bestowed on it by the postmaster, for the rooms in it were spacious, clean, and comfortable, and looked out on to a pleasant garden. We smoked a cigarette there, while horses were saddled to take us to the garden of the Zoroastrians. Thither we rode through the town, which we entered by the north gate (called Derwaze-i- Sultani) and quitted by the south gate (Derwaze-i-Nasiriyye). In the garden, which was just outside the latter, we found the two Zoroastrians who had first accosted me in the caravansaray, Ardashir's agent, Gushtasp, and Feridun, a man of about twenty- five years of age, with both of whom I afterwards became very intimate. After sitting for a while in the char-fasl or summer- house, which stood in the middle of the garden, and partaking of the wine, 'arak, and young cucumbers which the Zoroastrians, according to their usual custom, had brought with them, we returned together to the caravansaray. Na'ib Hasan presently joined us, and outstayed all my other visitors. As he seemed inclined to take the part of confidential adviser, I informed him of the difficulty in which I was placed as to the selection of a lodging from the three proposed. After reflecting a moment,


he said, "Sahib, you must of necessity run the risk of offending two out of three persons, and therefore, as you cannot avoid this, you need only consult your own inclination in the matter. If you accept the prince's offer and take up your abode in the telegraph-office, you will be continually subjected to some degree of constraint, and will be always surrounded by inquisitive and meddlesome servants. If you go to the chapar-khane, you will be outside the city, and will only see the friends of the sartip of the post-office. In the guebres' garden, on the other hand, you will be your own master, and will be free and unconstrained. My advice, therefore, is, that you should select the last, and make polite excuses to the prince and the sartip." As this counsel seemed good to me, I determined to act on it without delay; and it was arranged, at Na'ib Hasan's suggestion, that I should transfer myself, and my possessions to the garden on the following morning, so that ere my apologies should reach the prince and the sartip the transfer might be an accomplished fact, admitting of no further discussion. Soon after this Na'ib Hasan departed, and I was left at leisure to enjoy the welcome letters which that day's post had brought me from home.

      The move to the garden was duly effected on the following morning (Wednesday, 5th June, 25th Ramazan) with the help of Na'ib Hasan, Feridun, and a Zoroastrian lad named Rustam, who was brother to my friend Bahman of Yezd. Of this garden, which was my residence for the next two months, I may as well give a brief description in this place. Its extent was several acres. It was entirely surrounded by a high but rather dilapidated mud wall. It was divided transversely (i.e. in a direction parallel to the main road leading to the Derwaze-i-Nasiriyye, or southern gate of the city, which bounded it to the west) by another mud wall (in which was a gap which served the purpose of a gate), and longitudinally by a stream--not one of the niggardly, three- hours-a-day streams of Yezd, but a deep, clear brook, in which I was often able to enjoy the luxury of a bathe. Besides the


summer-house, or char-fasl, of which I have already spoken, and which stood in the middle of the northern half of the garden, about half-way between the stream and the northern wall, there was a larger building, consisting of two rooms and a small courtyard, standing on the very edge of the stream. It was in this more spacious building that I established myself on my arrival, using the larger of the two rooms (which had windows to the east and south, the former looking out into the courtyard, the latter on to the stream) for myself, and leaving the smaller chamber at the back to Haji Safar and Mirza Yusuf; but afterwards, when the heat waxed greater (though it was at no time severe), I lived for the most part in the little summer-house, which, being open to the air on all four sides, was cooler and pleasanter. From the larger building another wall ran westwards towards the main road leading to the Dewaze-i-Nasiriyye, partially cutting off the south-west portion of the garden from that which I occupied. This south-west or outer part of the garden appeared to be in some measure public property, for often, as I passed through it to reach the gate, I saw groups of women washing their linen in the stream which traversed it. The garden had been originally planned and laid out by a former vizier of Kirman (whose son, Mirza Jawad, a man of about fifty years of age, occupied a house in another garden not far distant from this), but he, ere his death (so, at least, I gathered), having fallen into disgrace and comparative poverty, it had been neglected and suffered to run wild, and was now let to some of the Zoroastrians, who used it chiefly for the cultivation of plants useful either as food or medicine. In truth it was rather a wilderness than a garden--albeit a fair and fragrant wilderness; and never a calm, clear summer night, sweet with the scent of the rose and melodious with the song of the nightingale, but I am again transported in the spirit to that enchanted ground. Is there one who dares to maintain that the East has lost its wonder, its charm, or its terror? Then he knows it not; or only knows that outer


crust of commonplace which, under the chill influence of Western utilitarianism and practical sense, has skimmed its surface.

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