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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

The Consulate was at Zeris or Zirisf


We

entered the vaulted bazaar, the main big artery of Kerman city, intersected about half-way by a tortuous street from north to south and by other minor narrow lanes, and crowded with people, donkeys, camels and mules; and here, too, one was rather surprised to see various merchants get up in their shops salaaming as I passed, and to receive a "Salameleko" and a bow from most men on the way. The bazaar itself, being in appearance more ancient than those of Yezd, Isfahan and Teheran, was more alluring and had many quaint bits. It bore, however, very much the same characteristics as all other bazaars of Persia. At the end of it on the north-east we emerged into an open space with picturesque awnings, suspended mats, and spread umbrellas shading innumerable baskets of delicious green figs, trays of grapes, and pomegranates, piles of water-melons and vegetables of all sorts.

[Illustration: H. E. Ala-el-Mulk, Governor of Kerman, in his Palace.]

No Europeans live within the wall of Kerman city itself, and at the time of my visit there were only four Europeans altogether residing in the neighbourhood of the town. Two missionaries, husband and wife; a gentleman who, misled by representations, had been induced to come from India to dig artesian wells at great expense--in a country where the natives are masters at finding water and making aqueducts--and our most excellent Consul, Major Phillott, one of the most practical

and sensible men that ever lived.

The Consulate was at Zeris or Zirisf, some little distance to the east of the town. We passed through a graveyard on leaving the inhabited district, and had in front of us some ancient fortifications on the rocky hills to the south, which we skirted, and then came to some huge conical ice-houses--very old, but still in excellent preservation. We passed the solidly-built and foreign-looking gateway of the Bagh-i-Zeris, and a little further at the end of a short avenue the British flag could be seen flying upon a gate.

As I came upon him a ragged infantry soldier, who, being at his dinner, was busy licking his fingers, sprang to his feet and made a military salute. Having passed through a court and a garden and a series of dismantled rooms I found myself in the Consulate, where I was greeted effusively by Major Phillott, who had no idea I was coming, and who, owing to my being very much sun-tanned, had at first mistaken me for a Persian! He would not hear of my remaining at the Chappar khana, and most kindly sent at once for all my luggage to be brought up to the Consulate. The hospitality of Englishmen in Persia is really unbounded.

H. E. Ala-el-Mulk, Governor of Kerman, called on the Consul that same afternoon, and I was able to present the letter I had brought to him. Having lived long in Europe Ala-el-Mulk is a most fluent French scholar, and, being a man of considerable talent, sense, and honesty he is rather adverse to the empty show and pomp which is ever deemed the necessary accompaniment of high-placed officials in Persia. He can be seen walking through the town with only a servant or two, or riding about inspecting every nook of his city hardly attended at all. This, curiously enough, has not shocked the natives as people feared, but, on the contrary, has inspired them with intense respect for the new Governor, whose tact, gentleness, consideration and justice were fully appreciated by the whole town; so that, after all, it is pleasant to notice that the lower classes of Persia have more common sense and power of differentiation than they have hitherto been credited with.


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