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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And those of the fourgon following closely behind


We

go through thickly-wooded country, then through a handsome forest, with wild boars feeding peacefully a few yards from the road. About every six farsakhs--or twenty-four miles--the horses of the carriage, and those of the fourgon following closely behind, are changed at the post-stations, as well as the driver, who leaves us, after carefully removing his saddle from the box and the harness of the horses. He has to ride back to his point of departure with his horses. He expects a present of two krans,--or more if he can get it--and so does the driver of the fourgon. Two krans is the recognised tip for each driver, and as one gets some sixteen or seventeen for each vehicle,--thirty-two or thirty-four if you have two conveyances,--between Resht and Teheran, one finds it quite a sufficient drain on one's exchequer.

As one gets towards Kudum, where one strikes the Sefid River, we begin to rise and the country gets more hilly and arid. We gradually leave behind the oppressive dampness, which suggests miasma and fever, and begin to breathe air which, though very hot, is drier and purer. We have risen 262 feet at Kudum from 77 feet, the altitude of Resht, and as we travel now in a south-south-west direction, following the stream upwards, we keep getting higher, the elevation at Rustamabad being already 630 feet. We leave behind the undulating ground, covered with thick forests, and come to barren hills, that get more and more important as we go on. We

might almost say that the country is becoming quite mountainous, with a few shrubs here and there and scenery of moderate beauty, (for any one accustomed to greater mountains), but quite "wildly beautiful" for the ordinary traveller. We then get to the region of the grey olive groves, the trees with their contorted, thickly-set branches and pointed leaves. What becomes of the olives? They are exported to Europe,--a flourishing trade, I am told.

One bumps a great deal in the carriage, for the springs are not "of the best," and are hidden in rope bandages to keep them from falling apart. The road, too, is not as yet like a billiard table. The doors of the landau rattle continuously, the metal fastenings having long disappeared, and being replaced by bits of string.

One travels incessantly, baked in the sun by day and chilled by the cold winds at night, trying to get a little sleep with one's head dangling over the side of the carriage, one's legs cramped, and all one's bones aching. But this is preferable to stopping at any of the halting-places on the road, whether Russian or Persian, which are filthy beyond words, and where one is mercilessly swindled. Should one, however, be compelled to stop anywhere it is preferable to go to a thoroughly Persian place, where one meets at least with more courtesy, and where one is imposed upon in a more modest and less aggressive way than at the Russian places. It must, however, be stated that the Russian places are usually in charge of over-zealous Persians, or else in the hands of inferior Russian subjects, who try to make all they can out of their exile in the lonely stations.

I occasionally halted for a glass of tea at the Persian Khafe-Khanas, and in one of them a very amusing incident happened, showing the serious effects that hallucination may produce on a weak-minded person.

I had got off the carriage and had carried into the khafe-khana my camera, and also my revolver in its leather


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