A Year Amongst the Persians: From Kirman to England



      It was on Sunday morning that I parted with my horse, and my departure was arranged for the following Tuesday. On that day, while paying a farewell visit to the young Babi merchant who had so kindly advanced me the money which I needed for my journey back to Teheran, I met the postmaster's son. He appeared to be sulky with me for some reason-- probably because of my friendliness with the Ezelis and apologies for their attitude--and coldly observed that the sooner I left Kirman the better, and that if I could leave that very night it would be best of all. I answered that this was impossible, but that I would perhaps start on the morrow. "Then you must go early in the morning," said he, "so as to avoid collision with the post."

      When I told this to Sheykh Ibrahim, on whom I next called, he was greatly incensed.

      "Nonsense," said he, "the rascally burnt-father only wants to get your money as soon as may be, so that he may get drunk, eat sweetmeats, and play the libertine. You must stop here to-night and sup with me and some others of your friends. I will


ask the postmaster and his scoundrel of a son too, and you shall see how small they will sing after I have had a talk with them. I'll warrant they will be humble enough then, and will let you have your horses whenever it may please you."

      Somewhat comforted by the Sheykh's confidence in his own powers, I went off with Usta Akbar to pay a visit to some of my Babi friends who were employed in the post-office in a subordinate capacity, after which we returned to Sheykh Ibrahim's abode. He had been as good as his word: the postmaster and his son were there, both, to use the Sheykh's expression, "the very essence of submission" (mahz-i-taslim), ready to let me have horses for my journey whenever it might please me. The evening passed off harmoniously after this, the Sheykh cooking the supper himself, only stopping occasionally to address a remark to one of us.

      "O thou who art buried in this land of K and R,"* he cried out to me in one of these pauses, "why should you leave this place, since you like it so well?"

      "Because," I replied, "I must be back at the University of Cambridge early in the autumn. My leave of absence is nearly at an end, and they have summoned me to return."

      "I spit on the University of Gimbrij" (so he pronounced it), answered the Sheykh; and to such revilings he continued at intervals to give vent throughout the evening.

      When one begins to procrastinate there is no end to it. I wished to start on Thursday, 16th August, but at the last moment, when I was actually ready for the journey, word came from the post-office that the post (which was due out on that day) was so heavy that there were no horses to spare; and from one cause and another my actual departure was deferred till the evening of Sunday, 19th August. All day I was busy with farewells, to which there seemed to be no end, for several of my friends were loth to bid me a final good-bye, and I too shrank from the


parting, for I knew how unlikely it was that I should ever see them again. To this thought the postmaster, who had recovered his wonted kindliness of manner, gave expression. "In this world we shall see one another no more, as I think," said he, "but in another world we shall without doubt meet again, and that world is the better, for there all things will be made clear, and there will be no more parting."

      My last visit was to the Prince-Telegraphist. On my way thither I was stopped in the street by the Babi cobbler who had been so roughly rebuked by Sheykh Ibrahim for his chanting of the sacred books. He was in a great state of agitation, and cried out to me with tears in his eyes--

      "Sahib, you will go to Acre, if not now, then at some future time, and you will see the Supreme Beauty*. Do not forget me then; mention me there, and let my name be remembered in the Holy Presence!"

      The post-horses, ready laden for the journey, called for me at the telegraph-office. It was after sunset, but the Prince had caused the northern gate of the city to be kept open for me after the usual hour of closing, so that I was able to linger a little while longer in the city which had cast so strange a glamour over me. At last, however, I rose regretfully and bade him farewell; and, as the great gate closed behind me with a dull clang, and I found myself in the open plain under the star-spangled sky, I thought that I had seen the last of all my Kirman friends. But when we halted at the post-house (which, as before said, stands some distance outside the city to the north), there were Sheykh Ibrahim and Usta Akbar the pea-parcher come out to see the last of me, and I had to dismount and smoke a last pipe with them; while the Sheykh, who was subdued and sorrowful, told me how his friend 'Abdu'llah had fled, none knew whither, with such raiment only as he wore, leaving word that he was bound for Acre, and would not return till his eyes had gazed on the


"Supreme Beauty." "You may very likely come up with him on the road," he concluded, "in which case I pray you to stop him, reason with him, and if necessary send him back in the custody of some trustworthy person, else will he certainly perish ere his mad quest be accomplished."

      It was three hours past sunset when I at length mounted and turned my face northwards. At midnight I was at Baghin, the first stage out from Kirman, and there I rested for a while in a garden belonging to Na'ib Hasan, whom we had overtaken on the way, and who set before me melons and other delicious fruits. Soon after daybreak I was at Kabutar Khan, where I slept till noon was passed, and then, after lunch and tea, set out or Rafsinjan, where I was to stay for the night with the telegraphist, a Babi whose acquaintance I had made at Kirman. On the way thither I passed two of my dervish friends, who, with banners, alms-gourds, and all the paraphernalia of professional mendicants, were returning from Rafsinjan; and, somewhat later, Na'ib Hasan's brother, who presented me with a melon. A little after this I met one of the officials of the Kirman post office (also a Babi, with whom I was well acquainted) returning from the limit of the Kirman district, to which it was his duty to escort the post. After a brief conversation we exchanged horses, I taking the ugly black beast which had brought him from Rafsinjan. In spite of its ill looks, it got over the ground at an amazing pace, and, guided by another Babi in the postal service (all the post-office officials about Kirman seemed to be Babis) I arrlved at my friend's house in Kamal-abad, hard by Bahram- abad, in good time for supper, at which I met my old friend the postmaster of the latter place.

      I had arranged before leaving Kirman to spend two days with another of my Babi friends, Aka Muhammad Hasan of Yezd (my guest on the occasion of that wild banquet described at p. 534 supra), who lived at a little village distant only about five miles from Bahram-abad, somewhat off the main road. I


had not altogether wished to consent to this fresh delay, but Aka Muhammad Hasan was determined that it should be so, and had secured my compliance by a rather cunning device. Hearing that I was very desirous of obtaining a manuscript of the Persian Beyan, and that Usta Akbar had found one which the owner was willing to part with, he bought it himself, sent it off by post the same day to his home, lest I should induce him to change his mind, and then, when he bade me farewell, promised to give me the book I so greatly longed to possess if I would visit him on my way north. Only after his departure did I learn the trick that had been played upon me, for not till Usta Akbar explained that this was the manuscript about which he had spoken to me did I realise with mixed indignation and amusement how I had been duped. Now, if I wanted my Beyan, it was clear that I should have to go to Aka Muhammad Hasan's village for it, and I was not going to lose the only chance that I had yet had of obtaining this precious volume for the sake of gaining two paltry days.

      As there was no question, therefore, of getting beyond this village for the present, and no object in arriving there before evening, I stayed with my friends at Bahram-abad till half an hour before sundown, when I again mounted the ugly black horse which had carried me so well on the previous day, and set off at a tearing gallop. As I drew near the village I descried a little group assembled on a small conical hill just outside it. Their figures stood out clear against the setting sun, and I could see that they were watching for my arrival. Even as I espied them, one of them, my host's son, a handsome lad of eighteen or nineteen, disengaged himself from their midst, and, mounting a large white ass which stood ready, advanced at a rapid amble to meet me. I should have stopped to greet him, but the black horse would hardly consent to be checked in his headlong career, and in about a minute more I was in the middle of the group. Having dismounted, I had to exchange embraces


with my host and his Babi friends (some ten or a dozen in number) a proceeding which, in spite of its patriarchal character, was rather tedious. Then, taking me by the hand, my host led me through the village street, which was lined with curious onlookers, to his house.

      I remained here for two days--days which passed pleasantly but uneventfully. There was the usual tea-drinking, smoking of opium and tobacco, and long debates--in shaded rooms by day and in the moonlit garden by night--on religious and philosophical questions. There were several guests besides myself, some of whom had come from Kirman to meet me. Amongst these was one, a dyer by trade, whose good sense and moderation especially impressed me. To him I expressed my dissatisfaction at the exaggerated language employed by Nabil, the poet, and other Babis in speaking of Beha. He agreed with me, but said that allowance must be made for them if their affection for their Master prompted them at times to use language which calmer reason could not approve.

      My host had a large collection of Babi manuscripts, together with some photographs, which he showed us with much pride and yet more caution, never suffering more than one book at a time to leave the box in which he kept his treasures. For liberal as the Babis are in all else, they hoard their books as a miser does his gold; and if a Babi were to commit a theft, it would be some rare and much-prized manuscript which would vanquish his honesty. And so it was that, when the moment of my departure arrived, I came near to losing the manuscript of the Persian Beyan which had served as the bait to lead me to this remote hamlet of Rafsinian. My host begged me to leave it with him for a month, for a week, even for five days; in five days, he said, he could get it copied, and it should then be sent after me to Yezd, or Teheran, o any other place I might designate. I was obdurate, however, for I yearned to possess the book, and felt that I was entitled to have it; neither dared I leave it behind me, fearing


lest the temptation to keep it should prove too strong for my Babi friends. So at last, when the discussion had grown protracted, I said--

      "I have eaten your bread and salt, and am your guest. If you will have the book, take it; but I would almost as lief give you my head."

      "Then," said he, after a moment's pause, "take it; if such be your feeling, we cannot ask you to give it up."

      So I put the precious volume in my pocket with a sense of profound thankfulness, and, accompanied by my friends, walked out a little distance from the village before mounting. Once more we embraced; and then, tightening the wide leather belt in which I carried my money, and buttoning the hardly-won Beyan into my breast-pocket, I hoisted myself into the saddle, and, amidst a shower of good wishes for the journey, again set my face towards Yezd.

      It was about an hour before sunset on Thursday, 23rd August, when I resumed my northward journey. Three hours after sunset I was at Kushkuh, where I stopped only to change horses. At about 3 a.m. on the Friday I was at Beyaz, and soon after sunrise at Anar. Here I rested and had luncheon, not starting again till the afternoon. About sundown I was at Shemsh, where such bad horses were provided that I did not reach Kirmanshahan till 9 or 10 p.m. There I had supper, tea, and--I regret to add-- a pipe of opium, which greatly cornforted me; and then I slept till daybreak.

      Next day (Saturday, 25th August) I reached Zeynu'd-Din two hours after sunrise, and ate a melon while the fresh horses were being saddled. Soon after leaving this place the shagird- chapar (post-boy) who accompanied us raised an alarm of thieves, and indeed we saw three horsemen wheeling round us in the distance. I fancy, however, that they were waiting there in the hopes of rescuing some of their comrades who had recently been captured at Kirman and were being sent in chains to


Teheran to undergo judgment. At any rate they did not molest us.

      About noon we arrived at Sar-i-Yezd, where I halted for lunch for an hour or two. As I was preparing to start, a Kirmami woman who was standing by called out to me, "We pray God to bring you back to Kirman." I suppose she was a Babi, and regarded me as a co-religionist; though how she knew anything about me I was at a loss to imagine.

      Rather more than an hour before sunset I reached Muhammad-abad, a sort of suburb of Yezd. Here I visited the brother of the young Babi merchant who had befriended me at Kirman, meaning only to stay for a short time; but nothing would serve him save that I should be his guest that night, and go on to Yezd on the following morning. I was not loth to accept his hospitality; and a right pleasant evening we passed on a roof overlooking beautiful gardens redolent with the perfume of flowers and resonant with the song of the nightingale. Here it was, I think, that I smoked my last opium-pipe in Persia, amidst surroundings the most perfect that could be imagined.

      Next evening (Sunday, 26th August) I supped with the Babi Seyyids at Yezd, where I remained till the following Friday, lodging at the post-house, which is situated at the northern extremity of the town. I saw most of my old friends, except the Prince-Governor, during these five days, and received from all of them a very cordial welcome, but the Babi Seyyids were not a little vexed to find that I had foregathered-with the Ezelis at Kirman. "I told you," remarked the poet 'Andalib, "that no good would come of your going there, and I was, it seems, perfectly right."

      I left Yezd at sunrise on Friday, 31st August, and entered the great sand-desert which bounds it on the north. It and the long post-ride to Kashan were equally monotonous, and need little more description than a list of the stages, times, and distances, which were as follows:--


      Yezd to Meybut or Meybud, where I arrived about 2 p.m., after a two hours' halt at 'Izz-abad to visit an acquaintance, ten parasangs. Thence to Chifte, which we reached about 5 p.m., six parasangs. Thence to Aghda, where we arrived about half an hour after dusk, four parasangs. Here we were delayed by the post, which always has the first right to horses, till late in the night, when, after supper and a short sleep, we started by bright moonlight, and reached the desolate post-house of Naw- Gunbudh (whence a road leads to Isfahan) half an hour before sunrise on 1st September (nine parasangs).

      1st September.--Slept till noon at Naw-Gunbudh. Thence a dreary stage of six parasangs brought us about 4 p.m. to the queer old rambling town of Na'in. Half an hour after sunset we reached Neyistanak (six parasangs), where the son-in-law of one of the postal officials of Yezd, with whom I had made acquaintance, hospitably entertained me to supper.

      2nd September.--Left Neyistanak a little before daybreak, accompanied by an intelligent and handsome little shagird-chapar, and arrived (eight parasangs) during the forenoon at Jaukand, a pretty place, abounding in trees and streams, where I would fain have lingered a while to converse with the singularly amiable and courteous-postmaster. While I was waiting for fresh horses to be saddled, two or three villagers came in, well-favoured, genial fellows, who told me that an old dialect nearly akin to that of Kohrud was spoken in this and the neighbouring villages. After a short halt the fresh horses were led out, and I bade farewell to the kindly postmaster, who exhorted me to deal gently with them, as they had just been watered. The shagird-chapar, a bright handsome lad named Haydar, saw to this; for he was proud of his horses (and rightly, for they actually had to be held in), and prattled incessantly about them, till, after a ride of five parasangs, we reached the little town of Ardistan.

      Here I had an introduction to a Babi, who took me to his house, gave me fruit, tea, and pipes, and showed me a manuscript


of the works of a mystical poet of Ardistan named Pir-i- Jemal, in whose verses, as he declared, the "manifestation" of the Bab had been foreshadowed. I left Ardistan about two hours and a half before sunset, the boy Haydar again bearing us company. The horses supplied to us were so bad that when we had gone a short distance we had to send back two of them and take on two of the horses we had brought from Jaukand, to the delight of Haydar and the disgust of the poor old postmaster of Ardistan, who had to refund part of the money which he had received.

      After a stage of six parasangs we reached Mughar, where I had supper and slept for a while by the side of a stream which ran past the post-house, starting again soon after midnight. Five parasangs more brought us to Khalid-abad about sunrise; six more parasangs to Abu Zeyd-abad about noon on 3rd September. The horses which brought us thither had been very bad, but those now supplied to us were even worse; so, as it was impossible to urge them out of a walk, I resigned myself to the inevitable, bought some melons, and thus eating the fruit and crawling along in true caravan fashion, entered Kashan soon after sunset, and was again hospitably received at the telegraph- office by Mr Aganor. Here I remained that night and all next day to make some purchases and see one or two of my old friends.

      I left Kashan about sunset on 4th September, and reached Sinsin at 10 p.m., and Pasangan about sunrise the next morning. I was very tired and would fain have rested a while, but the post from the south was behind us, and there was nothing for it but to push on, unless I wished to run the risk of being stranded for a day at this desolate spot. At 10 a.m. on 5th September I was at Kum, where I was most hospitably received at the telegraph-office, and enjoyed a welcome rest of twenty-four hours, for I was by this time half-dead with weariness, not being used to such severe riding.

      6th September.--Left Kum at 9 a.m.; reached Rahmat-abad


(four parasangs) at 11 a.m.; Kushk-i-Bahram (seven parasangs) at sunset; and Pik (four parasangs) about midnight. Here I had supper and slept till daybreak.

      7th September.--Started at 6 a.m., and, after a hot and dusty ride of six parasangs, reached Ribat Karim, a populous and rather pretty village, during the forenoon. Here I stopped for lunch, after which I set off, about three and a half hours before sunset, to accomplish the last stage (seven parasangs) of this wearisome journey. We had good horses, and shortly before sunset found ourselves at a little roadside tea-house, distant one parasang from Teheran. Here we halted to drink tea, when Haji Safar suddenly observed that if we didn't make haste the southern gates of the city would be shut, and we should have to make a long detour to obtain admission. We at once set off and galloped in as hard as we could go, but all to no purpose, for the nearest gate was already shut, nor could the gatekeeper be induced by threats or promises to re-open it. He only did his duty, poor man; but I was so angry and disappointed that I gave him the benefit of the whole vocabulary of powerful abuse and invective which I had learned from Sheykh Ibrahim, and it was perhaps as well that the solid gate stood between us. I was ashamed of my outburst of temper afterwards, but those who have ever made a journey of 600 miles on Persian post-horses will be ready to make some allowances for me. Luckily we found the Shah 'Abdu'l-'Azim gate still open, and, threading our way through the bazaars, we alighted about 8.30 p.m. at Prevost's hotel, where Haji Safar left me to go and visit his relatives.

      The return to what must, I suppose, be called civilisation was anything but grateful to me; I loathed the European dishes set before me, the fixed hours for meals, the constraint and absence of freedom, and above all the commonplace and conventional character of my surroundings. Seven months had elapsed since I quitted Teheran for the south, and during this time I had been growing steadily more and more Persian in


thought and speech alike. The sudden plunge back into European life came upon me as a shock which was not mitigated even by the charm of novelty, and it took several days to reconcile me at all to my surroundings, my whole wish being at first to get away from the degenerate capital at the earliest possible date. Many of my friends, too, had left Teheran, or gone into the surrounding villages for the hot weather, so that life was much duller than it had been during my previous stay.

      In spite of my desire to get away from Teheran, it took me thirteen days to transact all my business. First of all I had to find out about the steamers from Mashhad-i-Sar, the port whence I intended to sail for Russia (for I would not take the well-known Resht and Enzeli route); then there were books to be bought, packed up, and sent off by way of Bushire to Cambridge; Babis, to whom I had letters of introduction, to be visited; money arrangements to be made; and last though not least, ta'ziyas to be seen, for it was the beginning of the month of Muharram, and the national mournings for Hasan, Huseyn, and the other saints of the Shi'ite Church were in full swing.

      To the chief Babis of Teheran I was introduced by a merchant of Shirvan (a Russian subject), to whom I carried a letter of recommendation. They entertained me at lunch in a house near the Dulab Gate, and I was much impressed by their piety and gravity of demeanour, so unlike the anarchic freedom of the Kirman Babis. As a psychological study, however, they were less interesting, neither did I see enough of them to become intimate with them.

      As I intended to spend all my available money on books, I was at some pains to ascertain what was to be had, and where it could be had cheapest. I therefore visited several booksellers and asked them to furnish me with a list of books and prices telling them that, as I hated haggling, I should make no remarks on the pnces quoted, but simply buy what I needed from him who would sell cheapest. This plan had the best effect, since they


did not know what other shops I had visited, and could therefore make no coalition against me; and I soon filled a large tin-lined box with a good selection of useful works of reference which seldom find their way to Europe, where bad Indian editions are, as a rule, the only things readily obtainable. I also bought a few curiosities, and a omplete suit of Persian clothes, which was made for me under Haji Safar's supervision. Amongst the booksellers I made the the acquaintance of a delightful old man, a real scholar, who, when he could collect two or three manuscripts of some rare book which took his fancy (generally a philosophical or mystical work), would, at his own risk, and with no one to assist him, lithograph as correct and good a text as he could. Of course he got no encouragement or help from the great, who in Earlier and better days might hiave recognised his worth, and supplied him with the means of carrying on his labour of love on a larger scale. His name, so far as I remember, was Sheykh Muhammad Huseyn of Kashan. Whether he still lives I know not; but I shall ever remember him as one of the best types of the unobtrusive, kindly, disinterested, I enthusiastic scholar and bibliophile of the East thi3t it has been my lot to meet.

      On Wednesday, 6th Muharram (12th September), I dined with my kind friend Mr. Fahie at the telegraph-offce. The Shah's Prime Minister, the Aminu's-Sultan, was giving a rawza-khwan, or religious recitation, on a splendid scale in the adjoining house, and after dinner we adJourned to the roof to watch it. On this occasion a whole regiment of soldiers, as well as a number of other guests, were being entertained by the generous vazir. Supper was provided for all of them, and I counted over a hundred trays of food as they were brought in by the servants.


      Next evening I accompanied several members of the English Embassy to the Royal tekye, a theatre specially constructed and set apart for the dramatised representations of Muharram (ta'ziyas), which are to the Shi'ite Muhammadan what the Miracle-plays of Ober-Ammergau are to Christians of the Romish Church. The theatre is a large circular building,--roofless, but covered during Muharram with an awning. There are boxes (takches) all round, which are assigned to the more patrician spectators, one, specially large and highly decorated, being reserved for the Shah. The humbler spectators sit round the central space or arena in serried ranks, the women and children in front. A circular stone platform in the centre constitutes the sta@e. There is no curtain and no exit for the actors, who, when not wanted, simply stand back. The acting is powerful, though somewhat crude, and it is impossible not to be influenced by the deep feeling evinced by both actors and audience. The ›ta'ziyas comprise at least some tllirty or forty episodes the representation of any one of which requires two or tllree hours. Some of them are drawn from the histories of the Jewish prophets, and these are the less intercsting because the spectators are less profoundly moved by them; the majority however, illustrate the rllisfortunes of the Shi'ite Imams Those connected with the fatal field of Kerbel.i, culminating in the death of the "Prince of Martyrs" (Seyyidu'sh-shuhada), the Imam Huseyn, are the most moving; but I fancy that the Persians are, as a rule, not very willing to admit Europeans or Sunnite Muhammadans, so greatly are the religious feelings of the spectators stirred by the representation of the supreme catastrophe of the 'Ashura, or tenth of Muharram. On that day bands of men (especially soldiers of Azarbaijan) parade the streets in white garments, which are soon dyed with gore; for each man carries a knife or sword, and, as their excite- ment increases with cries of "Ya Hasan! Ya Huseyn!" and beatings of breasts, they infiict deep gashes on their heads till the blood pours forth and streams over their faces and apparel. It is an impressive sight, though somewhat suggestive of Baal-worship.

      The ta'ziya which I was privileged to see represented the bereaved women of the Holy Family before the impious Shimr,


Yezid's general. Shimr was clad in a complete suit of chain- armour, and the captive women were brought in before him mounted on barebacked camels. Them he entreats with the greatest brutality, driving them with a whip from the corpse of Huseyn, round which they gather to weep and lament. The mise-en-scene and costumes were good; but the effect was spoiled in some measure by the introduction of a number of the Shah's carriages, with postilions barbarously dressed in a half-European uniform, in the middle of the piece. This absurd piece of ostentation seemed to me typical of Kajar taste*.

      I had been much exercised in mind as to the safe conveyance of my precious Babi manuscripts to England. Thc box of books which I was sending home by Bushire would, I knew, be months on the road, and I wished to begin to work at my manuscripts immediately on my return. On the other hand, I had heard such dreadful accounts of the Russian Custom-house that I was afraid to take them with me. Finally I decided to sew them up carefully in thick linen, direct the parcel to my home address, and send it, if I could obtain permission, in the Embassy bag, which is conveyed monthly to Constantinople by a special bearer, and there handed over to the Qeen's messenger for transport to London. It cost me an effort to part with my beloved and hardly-won manuscripts, even for so short a time, but I felt that this was the safest plan; and, accordingly, having packed and directed them with the greatest care, I rode out to Kulahak, the summer quarters of the English Embassy, situated about six miles to the north of Teheran, and, to my great relief, saw the precious packet sealed up in the bag.

      I had been delayed in starting from Teheran, and so reached


the Embassy too late for lunch; I stayed at Kulahak till about 5.30 p.m. visiting some of my Persian friends, and did not get back to the city till nearly 7 p.m.; and that evening I had been invited by my servant Haji Safar to sup with him at his house and then to visit some of the smaller ta'ziyas and rawza-khwans with him in disguise. As I had had nothing to eat all day but tea and biscuits, I was well-nigh famished before supper-time, and returned to the hotel about midnight almost dead-beat. So tired was I that it was some time before I could even summon up energy to undress.

      Next day I woke at I know not wnat time, feeling faint, ill, and helplessly weak, as though every bone in my body were broken. No one came near me, and it was not till evening that I could make the effort to rise and obtain some food. After drinking a plate of soup and some tea, I again fell asleep, and woke next morning somewhat better, though still too weak to rise till evening. As two of my Persian friends had promised to take me into the town to see something more of the Muharram mournings and spectacles, I then made a fresh effort, got up, had dinner, and, as soon as they arrived, put on a Persian coat (sardari) and lambskin hat (kulah), and sallied forth in this disguise, well content to feel myself for the time a Persian amongst Persians. We spent a pleasant and interesting evening, visiting unmolested the Masjid-i-Shah (Royal Mosque) and the houses of two notable divines, the Imam-Jum'a and Mulla 'Ali of Kand.

      On Tuesday, 18th September, I concluded my purchase of books, on which I spent something over 10 pounds. For the benefit of Persian students, I append a list of the twenty-six volumes which I bought for this sum, together with their prices. The first fifteen I obtained from my good old friend Sheykh Muhammad Huseyn of Kashan, the last eleven from another bookseller.

      1. The Burhan-i-Jami', a very excellent and compact dictionary of Persian words, composed in the reigns of Fath-'Ali Shah


and Muhammad Shah, by Muhammad Karim ibn Mahdi-Kuli Mirza, and chiefly based on the Burhan-i-Kati' and the Farhangi- Rashidi, lithographed in Tabriz in A.H. 1260 (A.D. 1844). Price 10 krans.

      2. The Divan of Anvari (Tabriz edition of A.H. 1266). Price 12 krans.

      3. The Kisasu'l-Ulama ("Stories of Celebrated Divines"), by Muhammad ibn Suleyman et-Tanakabuni, together with two other treatises, one called Sabilu'n-najat ("The Way of Salvation"), and the other, by Seyyid Murtaza 'Alamu'l-Huda, called Irshadu'l-'Awamm ("The Layman's Guide"). Second edition, lithographed in Teheran in A.H. 1304. Price 10 krans.

      4. The Sharh-i-Manzuma, or text and commentary of the philosophical poem (Arabic) of the great modern philosopher of Persia, Haji Mulla Hadi of Sabzawar. Lithographed at Teheran in A.H. 1298. Price 20 krans.

      5. The Divan of Sana'i, one of the most celebrated of the early mystical poets of Persia (died about A.D. 1150). Lithographed. Not dated. Price 8 krans.

      6. The Hadikatu'sh-Shi'a ("Garden of the Shi'ites"), an extensive work on Shi'ite doctrine and history. Second volume only, dealing with the Imams. Lithographed at Teheran in A.H. 1265. Price 12 krans.

      7. The mystical commentary on the Kur'an of Sheykh Muhyi'd- Din ibnu'l-'Arabi, a very notable Moorish mystic, who flourished during the latter part of the twelfth and earlier part of the thirteenth century of our era. Lithographed in India (? Bombay) in A.H. 1291 (A.D. 1874). Price 30 krans.

      8. Philosophical treatises of Mulla Sadra, with marginal commentary by Haji Mulla Hadi. Lithographed. No date. Price 10 krans.

      9. The Tadhkiratu'l-Khattatin ("Biographies of Calligraphists") and the Travels in Persia, Turkey, Arabia, and Egypt, of Mirza Sanglakh, a large and extremely handsome volume, beautifully


lithographed in a fine naskh handwriting in A.H. 1291 at Tabriz. Price 25 krans. 10. The poems of 'Unsuri, a contemporary of Firdawsi, and--- 11. The poems of Farrukhi, another poet of the same period, both lithographed at Teheran, the latter in A.H. 1301. Price 3 krans for the two volumes. 12. The complete works of Ka'ani and Furughi, two poets of the nineteenth century, together with the Hada'iku's-sihr, a treatise on rhetoric by Rashi'du'd-Din Watwat. Lithographed in A.H. 1302 (? Teheran). Price 14 krans. 13. The Fususu'l-Hikam by the celebrated mystic, Sheykh Muhyi'd-Din ibnu'l-'Arabi, mentioned above. Lithographed at Bombay in A.H. 1300. Price 5 krans. (There is another edition of the same work lithographed at Teheran in A.H. 1299, which I bought on another occasion.) 14. Su'al u Jawab ("Questions and Answers"), a sort of catechism on Shi'ite law and ritual, by the great divine Haji Seyyid Muhammad Bakir. Printed at Isfahan in the reign of Fath- Ali Shah (A.H. 1247) under the patronage of Minuchihr Khan Mu'tamadu'd-Dawla, the governor of that place, by 'Abdu'r- Razzak of Isfahan, assisted and instructed by Mirra Zeynu'l- Abidin of Tabriz, who is described as "the introducer of this art (i.e. printing) into Persia." A fine piece of work. Price 8 krans. 15. The Hadikatu'l Hakikat, a well-known early mystical poem by Hakim Sana'i (flourished during the earlier part of the twelfth century of our era); the two first chapters only, with commentary by the Nawwab Muhammad 'Ala'u'd-Din Khan, poetically surnamed 'Ala'i, edited by Muhammad Ruknu'd-Din Kadiri Hisari. Lithographed at Luharu. No date. Price 2 krans. 16. The last volume of Sipihr's great history, entitled Nasikhu't-Tawarik ("The Abrogator of Chronicles "), containing part of the reign of Nasiru'd-Din Shah. Price 5 krans. 17. A little volume containing the quatrains of 'Omar


Khayyam, of Baba Tahir the Lur of Hamadan (the most celebrated dialectical poet of Persia), of Abu Sa'id ibn Abi'l-Khayr (a notable mystic who died about the middle of the eleventh century of our era), and of Khwaje 'Abdu'llah Ansari, together with some kasidas by Salman of Save. Lithographed at Bombay during the vice-regency of Lord Lytton in A.H. 1297. Price 2 krans. 18. A work on the evidences of Muhammadanism, written at the request of Nasiru'd-Din Shah (and hence called Sultaniyya) by the Bab's rival, Haji Muhammad Karim Khan of Kirman, the leader of the modern Sheykhf school. Price 3 krans. 19. The poems of Minuchihri (a contemporary of Firdawsi). Lithographed at Teheran. No date. Price 2 krans. 20. The Asra'r-nama ("Book of Mysteries") of the celebrated mystical poet, Sheykh Faridu'd-Din 'Attar. Lithographed at Teheran, A.H. 1298. 21. The Kiranu's-Sa'deyn ("Conjunction of the Two Lucky Planets") of Amir Khusraw of Dihli. Lithographed (? at Teheran) in the reign of Nasiru'd-Din Shah. 22. The Divan of the philosopher Haji Mulla Hadi of Sabzawar, poetically surnamed Asrar. (There are two editions of this work, both lithographed; the one in A.H. 1299, the other in A.H. 1300.) Price 2 krans. 23. A manuscript (incomplete) of Sheykh Faridu'd-Din 'Attar's Tadhkiratu'l Awliya ("Biographies of Saints"). Transcribed in A.H. 1209. Price 40 krans. 24. The poems of Nasir-i-Khusraw. Lithographed at Tabriz in A.H. 1280. Price 14 krans. 25. An old manuscript of a highly-esteemed collection of Shi'ite traditions called Rawzatu'l-Kafi. Price 30 krans. 26. Mirkhwand's Universal History, called Rawzatu's-Safa, with the supplement of Riza-Kuli Khan Lala-bashi, poetically surnamed Hidayat, carrying the record of events down to the reign of Nasiru'd-Din Shah. Ten volumes in two. Lithographed at Teheran, A.H. 1271-74. Price 70 krans.


      On returning to the hotel with a sturdy porter who bore my purchases, I found my old teacher Mirza Asadu'llah of Sabzawar, who had kindly come to bring me a short biography of his master Haji Mulla Hadi the philosopher, and also an autograph of the great thinker.

      Next day (Wednesday, 19th September) Haji Safar secured the services of a tinsmith, with whose aid we packed up and hermetically sealed my books and other purchases in a large wooden chest lined with tin, which luckily proved just large enough to contain them all. When it was closed up, we got proters to carry it to Messrs Ziegler's office in the Karavansaray- i-Amir, where I left it in the care of their agent for transport to England by way of Bushire. The total value of its contents, as estimated by myself for the Custom-House, came to almost exactly 79 tumans (24 pounds).

      On the afternoon of the following day, haviang concluded all my business, and said farewell to such of my friends as still remained in Teheran, I started on my last march in Persia, which was to convey me through the interesting province of Mazandaran to the Caspian. I had succeded in obtaining through Messrs Ziegler's agent 228 roubles in Russian money (the equivalent of 752 krans, eight shahis Persian). The rest of my money, amounting to 747 krans, twelve shahis, I carried with me in Persian silver and copper.

      Our first stage was, as usual, to be a short one, of two or three parasangs only, but the moon had risen ere we reached our halting place, the solitary caravansaray of Surkh Hisar ("the Red Fortress"), where I obtained a very good clean room, opening on to a little courtyard, through which ran a stream of limpid water. Soon after quitting Teheran by the Shimran Gate we had been joined by an ex-artilleryman, who had just been flogged and dismissed the service for some misdemeanour. He expressed a desire to accompany me to "Landan" (London) declaring that Persia was no fit place for an honest man, and


actually went with us as far as Amul, where I was not altogether sorry to lose sight of him.

      Friday, 21st September.--Left Surkh Hisar about 7.30 a.m., and, after a dull ride through a barren, stony plain, reached the solitary and rather dilapidated caravansaray of Asalak an hour before noon. Here I stopped for lunch, and was entertained by a quaint old Seyyid who was suffering from a bad foot. He told me with great glee how he had recently succeeded in defrauding the revenue officers sent to collect his taxes. Being apprised of their intended visit, he had, in spite of his lameness, gone on foot to Teheran (a distance of six parasangs), carrying with him all his cash (some twelve or thirteen tumans), mostly in copper coins, which he there entrusted to the keeping of a friend. When the revenue officers came, there was no money to be found on the premises, and they were obliged to depart empty-handed after a fruitless search. On my departure I gave the old man a kran, with which he was highly pleased.

      Soon after leaving Asalak we entered the mountains, and the scenery began to improve rapidly, gradually assuming an almost English character; for our way was between green hedgerows, beyond which lay real grass meadows watered by rippling mountain streams and dotted with grazing cattle. Towards sundown we reached the pretty straggling village of Agh, which consists of three distinct groups of houses separated by considerable intervals of road. We stopped at the last group, just before the steepness of the ascent begins. Here I obtained a delightful lodging in an upper chamber looking out on the most charming landscape imaginable.

      Saturday, 22nd September.--Started about 7.15 a.m., and at once began to ascend steeply towards the pass by which we were to enter Mazandaran. The first part of our march was delicious, for our road was bordered by moss-grown walls, overshadowed by leafy trees, and crossed by innumerable streams, while around us lay green grassy fields such as my eyes had not looked upon


for many a long day. As we advanced, the ascent grew gradually more abrupt, and the path began to climb the mountain side in a series of apparently interminable zigzags which has given to it the name of Hazar Cham ("the thousand twists"). At the summit of the pass is a little building where we had lunch ere commencing the descent into Mazandaran. Our downward course lay at first by the side of a rushing river (the Lar, I think), which soon plunged into a deep gorge. Far down in this gorge, on a little plateau which broke the sheer face of the opposite cliff, we could see the village of Ask, of which the mother of the Shah's eldest son, the Zillu's-Sultan, is a native. How it is approached I could not imagine, for I could discern no signs of a path down the beetling precipice. On our left arose the mighty snow-capped cone of Mount Demavend, which can be ascended from this side without much difficulty, although the inhabitants of the village of Demavend, and, indeed, the generality of Persians, believe it to be inaccessible. For on its summit, according to ancient legend, was chained the tyrant Zahhak by Feridun, the deliverer of his country, the avenger of his race, and the restorer of the ancient royal house; and the accursed spirit of the usurper is popularly supposed still to haunt the cloud-capped peak of the mountain. But the inhabitants of the little village of Rene, where we halted for the night, have no such superstitious dread of the mountain, and some of them are in the habit of ascending it frequently to collect the sulphur which is to be found in a cave near the summit.

      We left the beautiful Alpine village of Rene next morning (Sunday, 23rd September) about 7.30 a.m. The pretty winding road by which we continued to descend was so steep that for the first hour or so of our march I preferred to walk. At the bottom of the valley we again came to the river. In some places this had undermined and washed away the path, so that we were obliged to enter the water; but, on the whole, the road was a triumph of engineering skill, for soon the valley narrowed into


a mere cleft with steep rocky sides, out of which the passage had been cut. This, the new road, runs along the left (western) side of the gorge; on the opposite side were discernible the remains of the old road, which had been built out from the cliff instead of cut in it. At one point on the new road a bas-relief of Nasiru'd-Din Shah, surrounded by his courtiers, has been carved on the rocks.

      About 2 p.m. we passed a village. No lodging was to be found there, so we proceeded on our way, halted for lunch in a corn- field, and, about 4 p.m., reached a house by a bridge, where the muleteer wished to halt for the night. Here also no decent lodging was to be found, and consequently, in spite of the mutterings of the muleteer, "Akhir Mazandaran-ast: che mi- khwahid?" ("After all it is Mazandaran: what would you have?"), we again pushed on, until, about sunset, we came to a little group of hovels, half caves, half huts, called Kalovan, where we halted. It was a sweet night, and its sweetness was enhanced by the shimmer of the moonlight and the murmur of the river; but inside the cave-hut, which I shared with the owners, it was close and warm, and the gnats were plentiful and aggressive.

      Monday, 24th September.--We started about 7.30 a.m., and travelled for some time in the company of a Mazandarani muleteer, who gave me information which I had been unable to obtain from my own south-country charvadar as to the position of the castle of Sheykh Tabarsi, that once redoubtable stronghold of the Babis, which, if possible, I desired to visit before embarking at Mashhad-i-Sar. I found that it lay beyond Barfurush, between that town and Sari, some distance off the main road near a village called Karaghil, and that if I were to visit it, it must be from Barfurush.

      As we advanced, the valley began to widen out, and the rocky cliffs, which had hitherto formed its sides, gave place to wooded slopes. In front, too, low wooded hills appeared, while round our path the wild pomegranate and other trees grew ever thicker


and thicker, so that we could no longer see far about us. Soon we were out of the hill-country altogether, and entered a vast forest, where ferns and mosses grew thickly. Ever and anon we traversed beautiful glades, on the green sward of which were pitched here and there the black tents of nomads, whose cattle grazed peaceably round about the encampment. Save for these black tents, and a certain luxuriance of vegetation, the whole scene was wonderfully English in appearance, and I could almost have believed myself to be already back in my native land. In one of these delicious glades we halted for lunch, which consisted of cold boiled rice and fowl, called in Mazandarani parlance "kette."

      Later in the day the road got terribly bad, being sometimes so deep in mud and slush that the beasts could hardly advance. Our muleteer had intended to make for a village called Firuz- Kulah, but we, being somewhat in advance, passed the point where the road thither diverged from the road to Amul, and were already some way advanced on the latter when the muleteer overtook us. A violent altercation arose between him and Haji Safar, for he would have had us turn back; but, learning from an old peasant who happened to pass by that Amul was distant but one parasang, we insisted on proceeding thither, and the muleteer was finally compelled to a sullen submission.

      Again the character of the country underwent a sudden change; for, emerging from the dense forest, we entered on a flat fenny plain, covered with long sedge-like grasses and tall bulrushes, and dotted with marshy pools and grazing cattle. About 6 p.m. we passed a little village with thatched cottages (which seemed strangely out of place in Persia, that land of clay houses and flat roofs), interspersed amongst which were curious wooden erections, each composed of four stout poles set vertically in the ground and supporting a sloping thatch. Beneath this, at a distance of some feet, was a sort of platform on which carpets and pillows were spread. I supposed that the


inhabitants slept on these platforms during the hot weather to escape the mosquitoes, but Haji Safar said that it was to avoid the lowlying fogs which at night-time spread themselves over the surface of the ground.

      About half an hour after passing this village we reached Amul, one of the chief cities of Mazandaran, a picturesque straggling town divided into two parts by a large river, which is spanned by a long narrow bridge built of bricks. Crossing this bridge, we found quarters for the night in the house of a respectable citizen, but though the room allotted to me was clean and comfortable enough, the close, moist air, mosquitoes, and vagrant cats combined to keep me awake for some time.

      Tuesday, 25th September.--We started about 7.30 a.m., and all day our course lay through flat marshy fenlands, covered with rushes, sedges, and scrubby bushes. Snakes, lizards (some large and green, others small and brown), tortoises, and frogs abounded in and about the numerous stagnant pools by which we passed. The road was in many places little better than the surrounding quagmire, sometimes hardly discernible; and this notwithstanding the fact that it is the main highway between two of the chief cities of Mazandaran. About 5 p.m. we crossed the river Babul by a fine bridge, and, turning sharply to the left (north) along its eastern bank, traversed a great common, used as a grazing-ground for cattle, and in a few minutes entered Barfurush. On our right, as we entered, was a large lake covered with waterlilies, in the centre of which was an island. This island was joined to the shore by a bridge, and on it stood a summer-palace (called Bagh-i-Shah, "the King's Garden"), which serves the Shah as a residence when he visits this part of his dominions. Farther on we passed, just outside the town, the caravansaray (now in ruins) where the Babis under Mulla Huseyn of Bushraweyh, "the First Letter of Affirmation," defended themselves against the townsfolk of Barfurush in the conflict which preceded the fiercer struggle at Sheykh Tabarsi. Entering


the town, the spacious square of the Sabze' Meydan, or Herb Market, turned my thoughts to the concluding catastrophe of the great stmggle of 1848-9, for there, in the summer of the latter year, Mulla Muhammad 'Ali of Barfurush, called by the Babis "Jenab-i-Kuddus" ("His Excellence the Most Holy"), suffered death, together with the chief of his surviving lieutenants, at the hands of the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama and his myrmidons. As we entered the main street of the city we found one of the Muharram representations (ta'ziyas) in progress, and some of the people would have had us turn aside; but we continued on our way, while I wondered whether the Bab's prophecy would ever be fulfilled, that a day would come when in these spots, hallowed by the blood of his martyrs, representations of their sufferings and steadfastness should move the sympathetic lamentations and tears of the children of those who slew them, and obliterate the remembrance of the martyrs of Kerbela.

      The town of Barfurush is much finer and larger than Amul, but less picturesque and old-world. We alighted at a rather dilapidated caravansaray near the centre of the town. Here I was visited in the course of the evening by a native of Kabul, a British subject, who showed me his passport with evident pride, and by one or two other persons, who informed me that the Russian ambassador had on the previous day passed through the town on his way to Sari, whence, as I understood, he proposed to return to his own country by ship from Astarabad. I enquired of my visitors concerning Sheykh Tabarsi, which I still eagerly desired to visit. They told me that it was two parasangs distant from Barfurush, to the south-east; and that the Babis, drawing an analogy from the early history of Islam, called it "Kerbela" Barfurush "Kufa," and the lake surrounding the Bagh-i-Shah "the Euphrates" (Furat), and were still in the habit of making pilgrimages thither.

      In the evening, after supper, I summoned Haji Safar, told him of my wish to visit Sheykh Tabarsi, and asked him whether it


would be possible to do so. After thinking for a little while, he replied that as we must necessarily be at the port of Mashhad-i- Sar by nightfall on the following day to be in time for the steamer, which was to leave early on Thursday morning, the only practicable plan was that he should, if possible, secure the services of a competent guide and two stout Mazandarani ponies to convey me to the shrine and back to Barfurush, and thence on, after a short rest, to Mashhad-i-Sar, whither he himself would proceed direct with the baggage. "All depends," he concluded, "on my success in finding a guide. If I can find one, I will wake you betimes in the morning, for you must start early; if not, you must perforce relinquish the project."

      Next morning (Wednesday, 26th September) Haji Safar awoke me about 7 with the welcome intelligence that he had found a shopkeeper of Barfurush, who owned two ponies, and was well acquainted with the road to Sheykh Tabarsi, whither, for a consideration, he was willing to guide me. While I was drinking my morning tea the aforesaid guide, an honest-looking, burly fellow, appeared in person.

      "Well," said he, "I hear you want to visit Tabarsi; what for is no concern of mine, though why a Firangi should desire to go there baffles my understanding. However, I am ready to take you, if you will give me a suitable present for my trouble. But we must start at once, for it is two good parasangs there over the worst of ground, and you must, as I understand, get to Mashhad-i-Sar this evening, so that you should be back here at least two or three hours before sunset. If you don't like fatigue and hard work you had better give up the idea. What do you say? Will you go or not?"

      "Of course I will go," I replied; "for what else did I seek you out?"

      "Well said!" replied my guide, patting me on the shoulder; "then let us be off without delay."

      In a few minutes we were in the saddle, and moving rapidly


along the high-road to Sari on our sturdy, wiry little Mazandarani ponies. "Whither away?" cried some of my guide's acquaintance as we clattered out of the town. "Sheykh," he replied laconically; whereat expressions of surprise and curiosity, which we did not stop to answer, would burst from our interrogators. Soon we left the high-road, and, striking across a broad, grassy common, entered trackless swamps and forests, in which my guide, well as he knew the country, was sometimes at fault; for the water lay deep on the rice-fields, and only the peasants whom we occasionally met could tell us whether or no a particular passage was possible. After crossing the swampy rice-fields, we came to thickets and woods, intersected by the narrowest and muddiest of paths, and overgrown with branches, through which we forced our arduous way. Thence, after fording a river with steep mud banks, we entered on pleasant open downs, and, traversing several small coppices, arrived about 10.30 a.m. at the lonely shrine of Sheykh Ahmad ibn Abi Talib-i-Tabarsi (so stands the name of the buried saint on a tablet inscribed with the form of words used for his "visitation" which hangs suspended from the railings surrounding his tomb), rendered immortal by the gallantry of the Babi insurgents, who for nine months (October 1848 to July 1849) held it against overwhelming numbers of regulars and volunteers.

      Sheykh Tabarsi is a place of little natural strength; and of the elaborate fortifications, said by the Musulman historians to have been constructed by the Babis, no trace remains. It consists at present of a flat, grassy enclosure surrounded by a hedge, and containing, besides the buildings of the shrine and another building at the gateway (opposite to which, but outside the enclosure, stands the house of the mutawalli, or custodian of the shrine), nothing but two or three orange-trees and a few rude graves covered with flat stones, the last resting-places, perhaps, of some of the Babi defenders. The building at the gateway is two storeys high, is traversed by the passage giving access to


the enclosure, and is roofed with tiles. The buildings of the shrine, which stand at the farther end of the enclosure, are rather more elaborate. Their greatest length (about twenty paces) lies east and west; their breadth is about ten paces; and, besides the covered portico at the entrance, they contain two rooms scantily lighted by wooden gratings over the doors. The tomb of the Sheykh, from whom the place takes its name, stands surrounded by wooden railings in the centre of the inner room, to which access is obtained either by a door communicating with the outer chamber, or by a door opening externally into the enclosure.

      My guide, believing, no doubt, that I was at heart a Babi come to visit the graves of the martyrs of my religion, considerately withdrew to the mutawalli's house and left me to my own devices for about three-quarters of an hour. I was still engaged in making rough plans and sketches of the place*, however, when he returned to remind me that we could not afford to delay much longer. So, not very willingly, yet greatly comforted at having successfully accomplished this final pilgrimage, I mounted, and we rode back by the way we had come to Barfurush, where we arrived about 3 p.m. "You are a Haji now," said my guide laughingly, as we drew near the town, "and you ought to reward me liberally for this day's work; for I tell you that there are hundreds of Babis who come here to visit Sheykh Tabarsi and can find no one to guide them thither, and these would almost give their ears to go where you have gone; and see what you have seen." So when we alighted at a caravansaray near his house I gave him a sum of money with which he appeared well content, and he, in return, set tea before me, and then came and sat with me a while, telling me, with some amusement, of the wonderings and speculations which my visit to Sheykh Tabarsi had provoked amongst the townsfolk.


"Some say you must be a Babi," he concluded, "but most incline to the belief that you have been there to look for buried treasure, 'for,' say they, 'who ever heard of a Firangi who cared about religion, and in any case what has a Firangi to do with the Babis?' I, for my part, have done my best to encourage them in this belief; what took you to Tabarsi is no business either of theirs or of mine."

      When I had rested for a while, a horse, on which was set a palan, or pack-saddle, instead of an ordinary saddle, was brought round. My guide apologised for not himself conducting me to Mashhad-i-Sar, adding that he had provided a guide who knew the way well. With this new guide, a barefooted stripling, I set off for my last ride in Persia. Our way lay at first through beautiful shady lanes, and thriving villages composed of thatched cottages, both singularly English in appearance; and we made good progress until, about two miles from Mashhad-i-Sar, we emerged on the bare links or downs which skirt the coast, and almost simultaneously darkness began to fall. Here we lost our way for a while, until set in the road by an old villager; and at length, about 7.30 p.m., after traversing more lanes over- shadowed by trees and brilliant with glow-worms, we saw the welcome light of the caravansaray which stands hard by the seashore at some distance beyond the village.

      That night was my last on Persian soil, but I had little time to indulge in sentimental reflections, for it was late when I had finished my supper, and I had to dispose my baggage for a different manner of travelling from that to which I had been so long accustomed, besides settling up with Haji Safar. I paid him 163 krans in all (about 5 pounds), of which sixty krans were for his wages during September, thirty krans for the first half of October (for he would not reach Teheran for ten days probably), forty krans for the hire of the horse I had ridden, and thirty- three krans for journey-money. I also made over to him my saddle, saddle-bags, and cooking utensils, as well as some well-


worn clothes, and further entrusted to him my revolver, which he was to give to one of my friends in Teheran as a keepsake, together with several letters. This done, I retired to rest and slept soundly.

      Next morning (Thursday, 27th September) Haji Safar woke me early, telling me that the steamer was in sight. This proved to be a false alarm, and when I went to the Russian agents (who had an office in the caravansaray) they declined to give me my ticket until the steamer actually appeared. These two agents either were, or feigned to be, excessively stupid; they affected not to understand either Persian or French, and refused to take payment for the ticket in anything but Russian money, so that it was fortunate that I had in Teheran provided myself with a certain quantity of rouble notes. Finally the steamer hove in sight, the ticket was bought for twenty-five roubles, and I hastened down to the shore of the estuary, where several large clumsy boats were preparing to put off to her.

      It was with genuine regret that I turned for a moment before stepping into the boat to bid farewell to Persia (which, notwithstanding all her faults, I had come to love very dearly) and the faithful and efficient Haji Safar. He had served me well, and to his intelligence and enterprise I owed much. He was not perfect--what man is?--but if ever it be my lot to visit these lands again, I would wish no better than to secure the services of him, or one like him. I slipped into his hands a bag of money which I had reserved for a parting present, and with a few brief words of farewell, stepped into the boat, which at once cast off from the shore, and, hoisting a sail, stood out towards the Russian steamer. The sea grew rougher as we left the shelter of the estuary, but with the sail we advanced quickly, and about 8.15 a.m. I climbed on board the Emperor Alexander, and, for the first time for many months, felt myself, with a sudden sense of loneliness, a stranger in the midst of strangers.

      The only passengers who embarked besides myself were two


or three Persians bound for Mashhad, and with these I conversed fitfully (knowing not when next I might find chance of speech in an intelligible tongue) till we entered the vessel, when they took up their station forward as deck passengers, and I descended to the cabin. At 9 the steamer had turned about (for Mashhad-i-Sar is the end of this line) and was running eastwards for Bandar-i-Gaz, the port of Astarabad.

      About 10.30 a bell announced breakfast, and I again descended to the cabin. I was the only cabin passenger, and on entering the saloon I was surprised to see two tables laid. At one were seated the officers of the vessel (three or four in number), busily engaged in the consumption of sardines, caviare, cheese, roasted potatoes, and the like, which they were washing down with nips of vodka, a strong spirit, resembling the Persian 'arak. The other table was laid with plates, but the places were vacant. Wondering whether the officers were too proud to sit down at the same table with the passengers, I stood hesitating, observing which, one of the officers called out to me in English, asking me whether I felt sick. I indignantly repudiated the imputation, whereupon he bade me join them at their "Zakouski." So I sat down with them; and, after doing justice to the caviare and cheese, we moved on to the other table and had a substantial dejeuner. At 6.30 in the evening we had another similar meal, also preceded by Zakouski.

      At 4 p.m. we reached Bandar-i-Gaz, the port of Astarabad, and anchored close to the shore, by a wooden barge serving as a pier, in full view of the little island of Ashurada. This now belongs to the Russians (who first occupied it on the pretext of checking the Turcoman pirates who formerly infested this corner of the Caspian, and then declined to give it back to the Persians), and around it several Russian war-ships were anchored. Some of their officers came on board our steamer, and later in the evening rockets were sent up from them in honour, as I suppose, of the Russian Ambassador, who, so far


as I could learn (for everyone was very reticent and uncompanionable), was in the neighbourhood.

      I went to sleep that night with the sweet scent of the forests of Mazandaran in my nostrils (for the wind was off the shore); but when I went on deck next morning (Friday, 28th September) not a tree was in sight, but only a long line of yellow sand-dunes, which marked the inhospitable Turcoman coast, whence in bygone days, ere the Russians stepped in and put a stop to their marauding, the Turcoman pirates issued forth to harry the fertile Persian lands, and bear back with them, to hateful bondage, hosts of unfortunate captives destined for sale in the slave-markets of Samarkand and Bukhara. At about mid-day we anchored off Chekishlar, where a number of Russian officers, two ladies, and a child, came on board to breakfast on the steamer. Immediately after breakfast we again stood out to sea.

      That evening an official of the Russian police (who, I suppose, had come on board at Chekishlar) came up to me with one of the officers of the boat and demanded my passport, which, he said, would be returned to me at the Custom-House at Baku. I was very loth to part with it, but there was no help for it; and, inwardly chafing, I surrendered to him the precious document.

      Early next morning (Saturday, 29th September) I awoke to find the vessel steaming along between a double row of sand- dunes towards Uzun-Ada ("Long-Island"), the point whence the Russian railway to Bukhara and Samarkand takes its departure. Passing the narrows, we anchored alongside the quay about 8.30 a.m. Being without my passport (which had probably been taken from me expressly to prevent me from leaving the steamer) I could not, even if I would, have gone on shore. But indeed there was little to tempt me, for a more unattractive spot I have seldom seen. It seemed to consist almost entirely of railway- stations, barracks, police-stations, and custom-houses, set in wastes of sand, infinite and immeasurable, and the Turcoman seemed to bear but a small proportion to the Russian inhabitants.


A number of passengers came on board here, all of whom, save one lady and three children, were Russian officers. The deck, too, was crowded with soldiers, who, after dinner, at a sign from their officer, burst out into a song with a chorus like the howling of wolves, which, I supposed, was intended for a national anthem. On retiring to my cabin I found to my disgust that my berth had been appropriated by a Russian officer, who had ejected my possessions and now lay there snoring hideously. I was angered at his discourtesy, but deemed it wisest to make no remonstrance. From my short experience of Russian travelling I should suppose that their military men make a point of occupying places already taken in preference to such as are vacant--at any rate, when the occupant is a civilian and a foreigner.

      I woke about 6.30 a.m. on the following morning (Sunday, 30th September) to find myself at Baku (or Badkube, as it is called by the Persians). Somehow or other I escaped the ordeal of the Custom-House; for, intending at first to breakfast on board, I did not disembark with the other passengers, and when afterwards, changing my mind, I went on shore, about 9.30 a.m., the pier was free of excisemen, and I had nothing to do but step into a cab and drive to the station, stopping on the way at a Persian money-changer's to convert the remainder of my Persian money into rouble notes.

      The train did not start till 2.37 p.m., so I had some time to wait at the station, where I had lunch. The porters were inefficient and uncivil, the train crowded, and the scenery monotonous in the extreme, so that my long railway journey began under rather depressing auspices. Still there was a certain novelty in finding myself once more in a train, and after a while I was cheered by the entrance into my compartment of two Musulmans of the Caucasus. With these I entered into conversation in Turkish, for which I presently substituted Persian on finding that one of them was familiar with that language. But I had hardly spoken ten words when a Russian officer, who sat next me on the right, and


and with whom I had had a slight altercation in French about one of my portmanteaus, which he alleged to be insecurely balanced in the rack, leaned forward with an appearance of interest, and then addressed me in perfectly idiomatic Persian. I discovered that he had been born in Persia (near Burujird, I think), and had learned Persian almost as his native language. To both of us, I think, but to myself certainly, it was a pleasure to speak it, and we became quite friendly.

      I had intended to stay a day at Tiflis, where we arrived at 8.15 next morning (Monday, 1st October), but the friendly officer told me that the steamers for Odessa left Batoum on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that, after cities more truly Oriental in character, Tiflis would offer but little attraction to me, so I deterrnined to continue my journey without halt, in order to catch the morrow's boat. I had some difficulty in gettillg my ticket and finding my train, as no one seemed to talk anything but Russian, but at last I succeeded, though only after a waste of time which prevented me from making more thaIl the most unsubstantial and desultory breakfast. This, however, was of little consequence, for I never knew any railway on which there were such frequent and prolonged stoppages for refreshment, or any refreshment-rooms so well provided and so well managed. The fact that there is only one train a day each way no doubt makes it easier to have all these savoury dishes and steaming samovars (tea-urns) ready for passengers on their arrival, but at no railway station in Europe have I seen food at once so cheap, so good, and so well served as in the stations of the Trans-Caucasian line.

      The scenery on leaving Tiflis was fine, and at one point we caught a glimpse of splendid snow-capped mountains to the north; but on the whole I was disappointed, for the line lies so much in narrow valleys which bar the outlook that little is to be seen of the great Caucasian range. What could be seen of the country from the train was pretty rather than grand, and I was not sorry to reach Batoum at about 11.15 P.M., where I put up at the Hotel de France, and, for the first time since leaving Teheran eleven days ago, enjoyed the luxury of sleeping between sheets.


      As the steamer for Odessa was not to leave Batoum till 3.30 P.M. on the following day (Tuesday, 2nd October), I had all the morning to look about me, but the town presented few features of interest, and the only thing that aroused my wonder was the completely European character assumed by a place which had only ceased to be Turkish twelve years ago. I was very glad to embark on the steamer, which actually started about 4 P.M. Dinner was at 6, and afterwards I stayed on deck till after 11, when we arrived at Sukhoum- Kala.

      Next evening (Wednesday, 3rd October) we reached Novo- Rassayask about 5 P.M., and lay there till late at night. There were several war-vessels in the fine harbour, which continued throughout the evening to send up rockets and ilash the electric light from point to point.

      Early on the morning of Thursday, 4th October, we reached Kertch, where, amongst other passengers, a very loquacious American came on board. He had been spending some time amongst the Russians, whom he did not much like or admire, though, as he told me, he believed them to be the coming nation.

      Friday, 5th October.--Reached Yalta about 5 A.M., and lay there till 8. It is a very beautiful place, and I was told that the drive thence to Sebastopol along the coast traverses scenery so fair that it has been called "the Earthly Paradise." At 1.30 P.M. we reached Sebastopol, where the American left the steamer. The harbour struck me as very fine, but I, ignorant of things military, should never have guessed that the place would be a position of such remarkable strength.

      On the following morning (Saturday, 6th October) we reached Odessa before 7 A.M. There was no customs' examination, as we came from a Russian port, and I drove straight to the Hotel d'Europe, thinking that my troubles were over, and that from


this point onwards all would be plain sailing. Here, however, I vas greatly out of my reckoning, as will shortly appear; for while I was visiting an English ship-owner, to whom I had a letter of introduction, he enquired whether I had had my passport vise for departure from Russia. I replied that I had not, as I was unaware that it was necessary. "Then," said he, "you had best get it done at once if you wish to leave this evening; give it to me, and I will send a man with it to your hotel that your landlord may see to it." I did so, and sat chatting there for another quarter of an hour, when we were interrupted by a telephonic message informing me that my presence was necessary.

      The landlord met me at the hotel door. "I am afraid you will not be able to get your visa to-day," said he, "for it is past noon, and if the police grant it, it will only be as an act of grace. Your only chance is to take a cab, drive direct to the police- station, and request the prefect as a favour to visa your passport, explaining to him that you have but just arrived and wish to start to-night."

      Fruitless errand, to seek such grace from the Russian police! Whether I offended them by omitting to remove my hat on entering the office I know not; probably this had something to do with it, for a man cried out at me in anger through a pigeon-hole, and was only quieted when I uncovered my head. Then it was some time before I could find anyone who spoke anything but Russian; but at last I was shown into an inner room where two men sat at a table, one portly, irascible, and clad in uniform; the other thin, white-haired, smooth-shaven, and sinister of countenance. I presented my passport, and explained in French the reasons which had prevented me from coming sooner, adding that I should feel deeply obliged if they would grant me the visa. The wizen- faced man answered in a high peevish voice in very bad French that I must come to-morrow.

      "I cannot come to-morrow," I replied, "for I must leave to- night."


      "You cannot leave to-night," he retorted as his portly colleague threw the passport back to me across the table; "if you wished to leave to-night you should have come earlier."

      "But I tell you that I only arrived this morning," I answered.

      "Then you must stay till to-morrow," they answered; and when I would have remonstrated, "Go," shouted the man in the uniform, "you waste our time and yours." And so, gulping down my anger and pocketing my passport, I left the office.

      Here was a pleasant state of things! I was in hot haste to get back to England; I had travelled as fast as I could from the Persian capital, not even stopping at Tiflis, where I would gladly have spent a day; and now there seemed every likelihood of my being detained in this detestable Odessa for the whim of a Russian prefect of police. I asked my friend the ship-owner what I should do."I am afraid," said he, "that you can do nothing now. You seem to have offended the susceptibilities of the police in some way, and they will certainly not do anything to accommodate you, for their will is absolute, and argument is useless. A judicious bribe might have smoothed matters over if you had known how to give it and to whom, but I fear that the time for that has passed.

      "Are you sure the passport needs a visa at all?" I enquired, remembering that the words "bon pour se rendre en Angleterre par voie de la Russie" had been inscribed on it at the English Embassy after it had received the Russian visa at Teheran. My friend was at first inclined to maintain that the visa was indispensable, but I asked why, as I was not stopping even a single night at Odessa, and as I was travelling straight through Russia as fast as possible, it should need a visa here more than at Baku or any other town through which I had passed. Then he called a clerk more experienced in the ways of Russia than himself and asked his opinion. The clerk finally gave it as his decision that the passport was good without the visa of the Odessa police, unless the latter,


apprehending my departure, should telegraph to the frontier stations not to let me pass.

      "Well," said I, "the practical point is this, would you advise me to take this evening's train or not?"

      "I hardly like to advise you," replied my friend, "but if I were in your place I should go and risk it."

      "In that case," I rejoined, after a moment's reflection, "I will go."

      I had some difficulty with the hotel-keeper ere he would consent to my departure, but at length, to my great relief, I found myself, with a ticket for Berlin in my pocket, ensconced in a compartment of the 7.40 p.m. train for the West. A pleasant and kindly Austrian who was returning to Vienna, and who would therefore bear me company as far as Oswiecim, was my fellow- traveller. He spoke English well, and gave me much seasonable help both at the Russian and the Austrian frontiers.

      It was an anxious moment for me when, about 9 a.m. on the following day (Sunday, 7th October), the train steamed into the Russian frontier station of Woloczyska, and we were bidden to alight for the inspection of passports. A peremptory official collected these and disappeared with them into an office, while we waited anxiously outside. Presently he appeared with a handful of them and began to call out the names of the possessors, each of whom, as his name was called, stepped forward and claimed his passport. I waited anxiously, for mine was not there. The official retired to his office and again emerged with another sheaf of papers, and still I waited in vain, till all but one or two of the passports had been returned to their owners. "Haven't you got your passport yet?" enquired the kindly Austrian. "The train is just going to start." "I don't know what has become of it," I answered despairingly, making sure that my detention had been resolved upon. Thereupon he stepped forward and addressed the official, who in reply produced two or three passports, amongst which I recognised my own. I was very near


trying to snatch it out of his hand, but luckily I restrained myself. "That is mine," I exclaimed. The Austrian translated what I had said to the official, who, after staring at me for a moment, threw the precious document to me. "He was surprised," said the Austrian, "to see so vast a collection of strange visas and inscriptions on the papers of a young man like you."

      So much time had been consumed thus that I had to forgo all hope of breakfast, and thought myself fortunate in finding a few moments to change my Russian into Austrian money. Then I re-entered the train, and indescribable was my satisfaction when we steamed out of the station and left Russia behind us. The people, I doubt not, are honest and kindly folk, but the system of police supervision and constant restraint which prevails is, to an Englishman unused to such interference, well-nigh intolerable. I had suffered more annoyance during the few days of my passage through Russian territory than during all the rest of my journey.

      Not yet, however, were my troubles over. Five minutes after leaving Woloczyska the train pulls up at the Austrian frontier station of Podwoloczyska for the Austrian Customs' examination. As it began to slacken speed, my Austrian friend asked me whether I anticipated any trouble there. I answered in the negative.

      "What, for instance," said he, "have you in that wooden box?" The box in question contained a handsome silver coffee-service of Persian workmanship, which a Persian gentleman, to whom I was under great obligations, had asked me to convey for him to one of his friends in England. I told my Austrian fellow- traveller this, whereupon he exclaimed:--

      "A silver coffee-service! You will have trouble enough with it, or I am much mistaken. Why, do you not know that the Custom-House regulations in Austria as to the importation of silver are most stringent? You will be lucky if they do not confiscate it and melt it down."


      I was greatly disquieted at this information, for I felt myself bound in honour to convey the silver entrusted to me safely to its destination; and I asked my companion what I had best do.

      "Well," he said, "you must declare it at once on your arrival, and demand to have it sealed up for transmission to the Prussian frontier station of Oswiecim. I will give you what help I can."

      I had another bad time at Podwoloczyska, but at length, thanks to the good offices of my fellow-traveller, the box containing the silver was sealed up with leaden seals and registered through to Oswiecim. All my luggage was subjected to an exhaustive examination, and everything of which the use was not perfectly apparent (such as my medicine chest and the Wolseley valise), was placed in the contraband parcel, for which I had to pay a considerable additional sum for registration. All this took time, and here, too, I had to abandon all idea of breakfast. By the time we reached Lemberg, at about 2 p.m., I was extremely hungry, having had practically nothing to eat since leaving Odessa on the previous evening; and I was glad to secure a luncheon-basket, the contents of which I had plenty of time to consume ere we reached the next station, where it was removed.

      My original intention was to stay the night at Cracow, as I found that I should gain nothing by pushing on to Oswiecim, but now, seeing that the bundle containing the silver entrusted to my care must go through to the frontier, and anticipating further troubles at the Prussian Custom-House, I changed my plan, and, on arriving at Cracow, alighted from the train, reclaimed that portion of my luggage registered from Odessa, and re-registered it to Oswiecim, the Prussian frontier station and the point where the Vienna and Berlin lines diverge. I had just time to effect this ere the train started again.

      At 11.30 on the night of this miserable day the train stopped at Oswiecim, and I emerged into the black wet night, the cheerlessness of which was revealed rather than mitigated by a few feeble oil


lamps. With some difficulty I found a porter (for the place seemed wrapped in slumber), who, making me leave all my luggage in a locked room to await the Customs' examination on the morrow, and suffering me to retain only my greatcoat, led me through a perfect sea of mud to the miserable hotel opposite the station. There was a light in one of the windows, but, though we knocked vigorously for some time, no one came. At last the door was opened, on a chain, by a most ill-looking fellow, clad in a night-shirt and trousers, with a beard of two days' growth on his ugly chin. So little did I like his looks that I did not press for admission, which he on his part showed no inclination to grant me. So I returned to the empty waiting-room of the station, with its dimly-lighted, beery, smoke-laden atmosphere, thinking that after all I should not be much worse off sleeping on the wooden bench which ran round the walls, than in some of the Turkish stables and Mazandarani hovels to which I had become inured in the course of my travels.

      I do not think that the porter who accompanied me spoke German very fluently, and, as I could hardly speak it at all, communication was difficult. Tired out, wet, and discouraged, I was anxious to throw myself on the bench and forget my troubles in sleep. Yet still the porter stood by me, striving, as I supposed, to express his regret at my being compelled to pass so uncomfortable a night. So I roused myself, and, as well as I could, told him that it was really of no consequence, since I had passed many a good night in quarters no more luxurious. "This will do very well till the morning," I concluded, as I again threw myself down on the bench, thinking of that favourite aphorism of the Persians under such circumstances as those in which I found myself, "Akhir yak shah-ast, na hazar" ("After all, it is for one night, not a thousand").

      "It might do very well," explained the porter, "if you could stop here, but you cannot. We are going to shut up the station."

      I again sprang to my feet. "I can't spend the night walking


about in the rain," I remonstrated, "and you see that the hotel will not admit me. Where am I to go?"

      "Ay, that's just the question," retorted he.

      We again emerged on to the platform, and my porter took counsel with some other station officials; but from the way they shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders I inferred that my chances of being allowed to remain there were but small. Finally, a gendarme with a gun and bayonet appeared, and I was invited to follow him, which I did apathetically, without the least idea as to whither we were bound.

      Tramping after my guide through dark muddy lanes, I presently found myself at the door of a house, where the gendarme bade me wait for a minute while he entered. Presently, after much wrangling in Polish, he again emerged, and beckoned to me to follow him. We passed through an outer bedroom where several persons were sleeping, and entered a smaller inner room containing two beds, occupied by the owner of the house and his son. Between the former and my guide a further altercation ensued, and it seemed as though here also I was to find no rest. At last the owner of the house got out of bed, led me to a sort of window looking into an adjacent room which I had not hitherto noticed, and, pointing to a mass of human beings (vagrants, I suppose) sleeping huddled together on the floor, remarked that it was "pretty full in there."

      I stepped back in consternation. "Well," continued he, "will you stay?"

      "I must stay somewhere," I replied; "I am not allowed to stop in the railway station, I can't get into the hotel, and you can hardly expect me to spend the night out of doors in the rain."

      "Well, you can sleep on that bench," said he, pointing to one which stood by the wall. I signified assent, and, as the gendarme prepared to depart, I offered him a small silver coin which looked like a sixpence. The effect was most happy. It had never occurred to me that these people would suppose me to be absolutely


impecunious, but I fancy that this was the case, and that I did not sufficiently realise how shabby my appearance was in the old travel-stained clothes which I wore. At all events, the production of this little piece of silver acted like magic. My host, after asking the gendarme to let him look at it, turned to me with a marked increase of courtesy, and asked me whether I would like a bolster laid on the bench and some blankets wherewith to cover myself. I replied that I should, and ventured to suggest that if he had any bread in the house I should be glad of some, as I was ravenously hungry. "Cheese?" he enquired. I eagerly assented, and further asked for water, instead of which he brought me milk. I made a hearty meal, while his little son, who had been awakened by the noise, sat up and began to question me in bad French, which, as it appeared, he was learning at school.

      Altogether I fared much better than I had expected, and, had it not been that my socks and boots were wet through, I should have been sufficiently comfortable. In the morning they gave me breakfast, made me inscribe my name in a book kept for that purpose, were delighted to find that I had a passport, and thankfully received the few shillings I gave them. Then the porter of the previous night returned to conduct me to the railway station, and I bade farewell to my entertainers, not knowing to this day whether or no I had passed that night under the sheltering roof of a Polish casual-ward.

      By reaching the station an hour before the departure of the train (which started from Cracow, where I had intended to spend the previous night), I hoped to get my luggage cleared at the Custom-House, and the silver plate sealed up again for transmission through Germany in good time. Here again I was foiled, however, for I found that the Custom-House officers did not put in appearance till the arrival of the train. When they did come they were intelligent and courteous enough, but very rigorous in their examination of my luggage. About my opium-


pipe, the nature of which (greatly to their credit, I thought) they at once recognised, they were especially curious. Then they must see the silver coffee-service, at the beauty of which they uttered guttural ejaculations of admiration. But when it came to the question of sealing it up again for transmission to the Dutch frontier, they declared that there was not sufficient time before the departure of the train, and that I should have to wait till the next, which did not start till the afternoon or evening.

      I was so heartily sick of Oswiecim, and so eager to get to the end of my journey, that I could not face the prospect of further delay, especially as I had every reason to expect that I should have another similar experience at the Dutch frontier; so I enquired whether it would not be possible to have the package forwarded after me to England. They replied that it would, and introduced to me an honest-looking man, named Arnold Haber, who, they said, was an agent for the transmission of goods. To him, therefore, I confided the care of my precious but troublesome little box, which duly reached me some days after my return to Cambridge, with a heavy charge for duty from the Dover Custom- House.

      It was with unalloyed satisfaction that I took my seat in the train, and, about 10 a.m., left Oswiecim behind me. At 2 p.m. I reached Breslau, where I had just time for a hasty meal, and at 10 p.m. I was at Berlin, just in time to see the Flushing night- mail, which I had hoped to catch, steam out of the station. So here I had to spend the night at a homely comfortable hotel called the Berliner Hof, the luxuries of which a remembrance of my last night's discomfort enabled me to appreciate to the full.

      Next morning (Tuesday, 9th October) I left Berlin at 7.45 a.m for Flushing, and twenty-four hours later, without further adventure, landed once more in England. By half-past nine on the morning of that day (Wednesday, 10th October) I was at King's Cross, debating in my mind whether I should go straight to the North, or whether I ought first to visit Cambridge (where


term had just begun) to report my arrival, and request a week's leave to visit my home. This indecision, however, was of brief duration, for my eagerness to see my home again would brook no delay, and increased nearness did but beget greater impatience. There are, I suppose, few pleasures in this world comparable to the return to a home one loves after a long absence abroad; and the realisation of this pleasure I could not bring myself to postpone for a moment longer than necessary.

      Thus ended a journey to which, though fraught with fatigues and discomforts, and not wholly free from occasional vexations, I look back with almost unmixed satisfaction. For such fatigues and discomforts (and they were far fewer than might reasonably have been expected) I was amply compensated by an enlarged knowledge and experience, and a rich store of pleasant memories, which would have been cheaply purchased even at a higher price. For without toil and fatigue can nothing be accomplished, even as an Arab poet has said:--

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