free ebooks

Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

After the Kajars came the Mullahs


We

stood at attention with our hats on while Sir Arthur, who, as we have seen, is a linguist of great distinction, delivered to the sovereign, a most charming and graceful speech in Persian with an oriental fluency of flowery language that nearly took my breath away.

The Shah seemed highly delighted at the nice compliments paid him by our Minister, and graciously smiled in appreciation. Then Sir Arthur broke forth in French--which he speaks like a Frenchman--and with astounding grace proceeded to the presentation. The Shah was curt in his words and much to the point, and I was greatly delighted at the charming directness of his remarks. There was no figure of speech, no tawdry metaphor in the compliment paid me.

I had presented his Majesty with two of my books.

"_Vous ecrivez livres?_" thundered the Shah to me in lame French, as he stroked his moustache in a nervous manner.

"_Malheureusement pour le public, oui, Majeste_," (Unfortunately for the public, yes, your Majesty), I replied, touching my hat in military fashion.

"_Combien de livres avez vous ecrits?_" (How many books have you written?)

"_Quatre, Majeste._" (Four, your Majesty.)

"_Combien livres avez vous envoye moi?_" (How many books have you sent me?) he roared again in his Perso

adaptation of French.

"_Deux, Majeste._" (Two, your Majesty.)

"_Envoyez encore deux autres._" (Send the other two.) And with a nod the conversation was over, and we retreated backwards through the glass door, but not before Sir Arthur Hardinge had completed the interview with another most appropriate and graceful little speech.

The foreign Ministers departed, but I was allowed to remain in the Palace grounds to witness the various native officials and representatives paying their salaams to the Shah.

After us the foreigners in Persian employ were received in audience, and it was interesting to notice that they had adopted the Persian headgear, and some even the Persian pleated frock-coat. The Shah's reception room had a very large window overlooking the garden. The glass was raised and a throne was placed close to the edge of the window on which the Shah seated himself with a _kalian_ by his side.

Then began the _defile_ of native representatives. The _Kajars_ in their grand robes and white turbans paraded before the window, and then forming a semicircle salaamed the head of their family. One of them stepped forward and chanted a long poem, while the Shah puffed away at the _kalian_ and stroked his luxuriant moustache. Every now and then the sovereign bowed in acknowledgment of the good wishes paid him, and his bow was repeated by the crowd below in the court. After the Kajars came the Mullahs. Again another recitation of poetry, again more bows, more _kalian_ smoking. Then foreign generals stood before the window, and native officers, Court servants and eunuchs. The _defile_ of troops, colleges, merchant associations and schools came next, and was very interesting.

Persian Cossacks in their nice long white uniforms and formidable chest ornamentations; bandsmen with tin helmets and linoleum top boots; hussars with plenty of braiding on cotton coats and trousers; infantrymen, artillerymen, military cadets,--all were reviewed in turn by his Majesty, who displayed his royal satisfaction by an occasional bow.

There were no shrieks of enthusiasm, no applause, no hurrahs, as they went, but they all walked past the royal window in a quiet, dignified way--no easy matter, considering the extraordinary clothing that some were made to wear. One had a sort of suspicion that, not unlike the armies marching on the stage, one recognised the same contingents marching past several times to make up for numbers, but that did not take away from the picturesqueness of the scene, in the really beautiful garden, with lovely fountains spouting and flowers in full bloom.


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