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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

One sees a great many priests about Julfa


The

bed of the river between Isfahan and Julfa is over six hundred feet wide, and is spanned by three bridges. One of these, with thirty-four arches, is no less than 1,000 ft. in length, but is much out of repair.

The Armenian Christians of Julfa are enjoying comparative safety at present, but until quite recently were much persecuted by the Mahommedans, the Mullahs being particularly bitter against them.

One sees a great many priests about Julfa, and as I visited the place on a Sunday the people looked so very demure and sanctimonious--I am speaking of the Armenians--on their way out of church; taciturn and with head low or talking in a whisper, all toddling alongside the wall--as people from church generally do,--that I must confess I was glad when I left this place of oppressive sanctity and returned to Isfahan. Somehow, Julfa impresses one as a discordant note in Persian harmony--although a very fine and pleasing note in itself.

Until quite recently the Persians objected to foreigners residing even in Isfahan itself. The officials of the Bank of Persia were the first to take up their abode within the city wall, then soon after came Mr. Preece, our able and distinguished Consul-General.

There is now a third Englishman residing in Jubareh, the Jewish quarter, the Revd. James Loraine Garland, of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst

the Jews of Isfahan. Why such a Society should exist at all seems to any one with a sense of humour bewildering, but on getting over the first shock of surprise one finds that of all the Missions to Persia it is probably the most sensible, and worked on practical, sound, useful lines. Much as I am unfavourably inclined towards religious Missions of any kind, I could not help being impressed with Mr. Garland's very interesting work.

The first time I saw Mr. Garland I was nearly run over by him as he was riding a race with a sporting friend on the Golahek road near Teheran--raising clouds of dust, much to the concern of passers-by.

The same day I met Mr. Garland in Teheran, when he was garbed in the ample clothes of the sporting friend, his own wardrobe having been stolen, with his money and all other possessions, by robbers on the Isfahan-Kashan road. In fact, he was the Englishman referred to in Chapter XXVI.

Being somewhat of a sportsman myself, this highly-sporting clergyman appealed to me. Extremely gentlemanly, courteous, tactful, sensible and open-minded, he was not a bit like a missionary. He was a really good man. His heart and soul were in his work. He very kindly asked me to visit his Mission in Isfahan, and it was a real pleasure to see a Mission worked on such sensible lines.

The first Mission to the Jews of Persia and Chaldea was established in 1844 by the Reverend Dr. Stern, who resided part of the year in Bagdad, and the remainder in Isfahan. The work was up-hill, and in 1865 the Mission was suspended.

CHAPTER XXVIII

The Mission among Jews--Schools for boys and girls--A practical institution--The Jews of Persia--Persecution by Persians--Characteristics of Jews--Girls--Occupations--Taxation--The social level of Jews.


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