free ebooks

Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And the splash boards of the old landau ditto


L _s._ _d._ L _s._ _d._ L _s._ _d._ Landau, 11 16 7 plus toll, 1 8 0 13 4 7 Fourgon, 10 0 10 plus toll, 1 13 2 11 14 0 ------------ Total L24 18 7

which is somewhat high for a journey of only 72 to 80 hours.

This strikes one all the more when one compares it with the journey of several thousand miles in the greatest of luxury from London across Holland, Germany, Russia, and the Caspian to Enzeli, which can be covered easily by three five-pound notes.

As every one knows, the road from Piri-Bazaar to Kasvin and Teheran was opened for wheel traffic in January 1899.

I am told that in 1899--before the road was completed--a Persian speculator offered the sum of L200 a day to be paid in cash every evening, for the contract of the tolls. The offer was most emphatically refused, as the daily tolls even at that time amounted to between L270 and L300.

In these last three years the road has developed in a most astounding manner, and the receipts, besides being now considerably greater, are constantly increasing. The Russian shareholders and Government can indeed fairly congratulate themselves on the happy success which their well-thought-out investment

has fairly won them.

CHAPTER VI

A journey by landau and four--Picturesque coachman--Tolls--Intense moisture--Luxuriant vegetation--Deschambe Bazaar--The silk industry of Ghilan--The cultivation and export of rice--The Governor's energy--Agriculture and Allah--The water question--The coachman's backshish--The White River--Olive groves--Halting places on the road--The effects of hallucination--Princes abundant.

We have seen how the road was made. Now let us travel on it in the hired landau and four horses driven by a wild-looking coachman, whose locks of jet-black hair protrude on either side of his clean-shaven neck, and match in colour his black astrakan, spherical, brimless headgear. Like all good Persians, he has a much pleated frockcoat that once was black and is now of various shades of green. Over it at the waist he displays a most elaborate silver belt, and yet another belt of leather with a profusion of cartridges stuck in it and a revolver.

Why he did not run over half-a-dozen people or more as we galloped through the narrow streets of Resht town is incomprehensible to me, for the outside horses almost shaved the walls on both sides, and the splash-boards of the old landau ditto.

That he did not speaks volumes for the flexibility and suppleness of Persian men, women and children, of whom, stuck tight against the walls in order to escape being trampled upon or crushed to death, one got mere glimpses, at the speed one went.

The corners of the streets, too, bore ample testimony to the inaccuracy of drivers in gauging distances, and so did the hubs and splash-boards of the post-carriages, all twisted and staved in by repeated collisions.

It is with great gusto on the part of the drivers, but with a certain amount of alarm on the part of the passenger, that one's carriage chips off corner after corner of the road as one turns them, and one gets to thank Providence for making houses in Persia of easily-powdered mud instead of solid stone or bricks.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us