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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And a fourgon a large van without springs


"Do

you not think," said the Mullah, "that England is now an old nation, tired and worn--too old to fight? Nations are like individuals. They can fight in youth--they must rest in old age. She has lived in glory and luxury too long. Glory and luxury make nations weak. Persia is an example."

"Yes, there is much truth in your sayings. We are tired and worn. We have been and are still fast asleep in consequence. But maybe the day will come when we shall wake up much refreshed. We are old enough to learn, but not to die yet."

He was sorry that England was in trouble.

Tea, or rather sugar with some drops of tea on it was passed, in tiny little glasses with miniature perforated tin spoons. Then another cross-examination.

"Do you drink spirits and wine?"

"No."

"Do you smoke?"

"No."

"You would make a good Mussulman."

"Possibly, but not probably."

"In your travels do you find the people generally good or bad?"

"Taking things all round, in their badness, I find the people usually pretty good."

"How much does your King give you to go about seeing foreign countries?"

justify;">"The King gives me nothing. I go at my own expense."

This statement seemed to take their breath away. It was bad enough for a man to be sent--for a consideration--by his own Government to a strange land, but to pay for the journey one's self, why! it seemed to them too preposterous for words. They had quite an excited discussion about it among themselves, the Persian idea being that every man must sponge upon the Government to the utmost extent.

The young Prince hoped that I would travel as his guest in his carriage to Teheran. Unfortunately, however, I had made other arrangements, and was unable to accept his invitation.

My visit ended with renewed salaams and good wishes on their part for my welfare on the long journey I was about to undertake. I noticed that, with the exception of the Prince, who shook my hand warmly, the Mullahs bowed over and over again, but did not touch my hand.

Now for the business visit at the post station. After a good deal of talk and an unlimited consumption of tea, it had been arranged that a landau with four post horses to be changed every six farsakhs, at each post station, and a _fourgon_--a large van without springs, also with four horses,--for luggage, should convey me to Teheran. So little luggage is allowed inside one's carriage that an additional _fourgon_ is nearly always required. One is told that large packages can be forwarded at a small cost by the postal service, and that they will reach Teheran soon after the passengers, but unhappy is the person that tries the rash experiment. There is nothing to guarantee him that he will ever see his luggage again. In Persia, a golden rule while travelling, that may involve some loss of time but will avoid endless trouble and worry in the end, is never to let one's luggage go out of sight. One is told that the new Teheran road is a Russian enterprise, and therefore quite reliable, and so it is, but not so the company of transportation, which is in the hands of natives, the firm of Messrs. Bagheroff Brothers, which is merely subsidized by the Russian Road Company.


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