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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

He owns a huge house and a great deal of land round Resht


comes principally from Turkey and Russia. In going on with our drive through the bazaar we see it sold in the tiny tobacco shops, where it is tastily arranged in heaps on square pieces of blue paper, by the side of Russian and Turkish cigarettes.

[Illustration: Persian Wrestling.]

And now for the Resht Hotels. Here is an Armenian hotel--European style. From the balcony signs and gesticulations and shouts in English, French, and Russian endeavour to attract the passer-by--a youth even rushes to the horses and stops them in order to induce the traveller to alight and put up at the hostelry; but after a long discussion, on we go, and slowly wind our way through the intricate streets crowded with men and women and children--all grumbling and making some remark as one goes by. At one point a circle of people squatting in the middle of a road round a pile of water-melons, at huge slices of which they each bit lustily, kept us waiting some time, till they moved themselves and their melons out of the way for the carriage to pass. Further on a soldier or two in rags lay sleeping flat on the shady side of the road, with his pipe (kalian) and his sword lying by his side. Boys were riding wildly on donkeys and frightened women scrambled away or flattened themselves against the side walls of the street, while the hubs of the wheels shaved and greased their ample black silk or cotton trousers made in the shape of sacks, and

the horses' hoofs splashed them all over with mud. The women's faces were covered with a white cloth reaching down to the waist. Here, too, as in China, the double basket arrangement on a long pole swung across the shoulders was much used for conveying loads of fruit and vegetables on men's shoulders;--but least picturesque of all were the well-to-do people of the strong sex, in short frock-coats pleated all over in the skirt.

One gets a glimpse of a picturesque blue-tiled pagoda-like roof with a cylindrical column upon it, and at last we emerge into a large quadrangular square, with European buildings to the west side.

A little further the British flag flies gaily in the wind above H.M.'s Consulate. Then we come upon a larger building, the Palace of the Governor, who, to save himself the trouble and expense of having sentries at the entrances, had life-size representations of soldiers with drawn swords painted on the wall. They are not all represented wearing the same uniform, as one would expect with a guard of that kind, but for variety's sake some have red coats, with plenty of gold braiding on them, and blue trousers, the others blue coats and red trousers. One could not honestly call the building a beautiful one, but in its unrestored condition it is quite picturesque and quaint. It possesses a spacious verandah painted bright blue, and two windows at each side with elaborate ornamentations similarly coloured red and blue. A red-bordered white flag with the national lion in the centre floats over the Palace, and an elaborate castellated archway, with a repetition of the Persian Lion on either side, stands in front of the main entrance in the square of the Palace. So also do four useful kerosene lamp-posts. The telegraph office is to the right of the Palace with a pretty garden in front of it.

The most important political personage living in Resht is His Excellency Salare Afkham, called Mirza Fathollah Khan, one of the richest men in Persia, who has a yearly income of some twenty thousand pounds sterling. He owns a huge house and a great deal of land round Resht, and is much respected for his talent and kindly manner. He was formerly Minister of the Customs and Posts of all Persia, and his chest is a blaze of Russian, Turkish and Persian decorations of the highest class, bestowed upon him by the various Sovereigns in recognition of his good work. He has for private secretary Abal Kassem Khan, the son of the best known of modern Persian poets, Chams-echoera, and himself a very able man who has travelled all over Asia, Turkestan and Europe.

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