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Pray vain prayers for bliss unwon,
Lift pale faces to the sky ?
In its streets do children play,
Laughing, shouting, all the day?

You have been to Carcassonne.
Then for you the goal is won;
You have grasped the unattained;
What we long for, you have gained.
All men go to Arcady
Dear, dream-haunted Arcady;
Soon or late, they breathe its air,
Learn its language, pray its prayer,
Linger there till dreams are done,
Yet — few go to Carcassonne !

NOTES FROM A PERSIAN DIARY

BY “DIPLOMATIST

THE Land of the Lion and the Sun Samsun, and Trebizond, the steamer lies off the beaten track. Travelers who, touches; some distant but rather dislike Puck, are concerned for time when appointing views of the snow-topped putting their girdle round the world, Caucasus range as the train skirts its hold Persia hardly worth the long détour southern flank; and for the traveler from the Red Sea highway and the rever- whose enjoyment depends upon recollecsion to primitive methods of progress. tions of the past as well as visions of the

The shortest and easiest approach to present, there will be memories of the Teheran is the overland route through Argonauts and the Golden Fleece, and Russia to Baku, the centre of the oil re- the Retreat of the Ten Thousand. gion on the west shore of the Caspian. The Caucasus route is absolutely free The monotony of this long railroad jour- from all danger except as we happen upon ney may be broken, however, by leaving such stormy times as recently made the the railway at Vladikavkas, taking a car- streets of Tiflis and Baku to run with the riage through the magnificent scenery of blood of warring races. Peopled as is the the Darial Pass to Tiflis, and proceeding Caucasus with fragments of nations, of thence by the Caucasus line to its east- semi-nomadic habits and widely differing ern terminus at Baku. Or we may avoid origins and beliefs, which have wrestled European Russia altogether by sailing on for centuries in bloody conflict, any such one of the Russian steamers from Con- relaxing of the governing hand as acstantinople through the Bosphorus and companied the recent Russian disasters Black Sea to Batoum, which is the west- in the Far East naturally resulted in an ern extremity of the Caucasus railroad. outburst of the underlying race hatreds. This route affords glimpses of the Asia But the single governing hand is there, Minor coast, - at whose cities of Ineboli, as it is not in the Balkan peninsula, and, so far as the semi-Oriental adminis- minus. Tabriz in the west, Teheran in tration of Russia means pacification, the the centre, and Meshed in the east, form Caucasus may be said to be pacified. the three northern city gates of Persia;

Tiflis, a generally well-ordered city, but only the traveler who crosses the whose museum contains a complete col- Caspian to visit Khiva, Bokara, and lection illustrative of the ethnology, Samarkand, would enter by the Meshed archæology, and natural history of the gateway. region, may well detain the traveler. The Steadily pushing the development of West and the East meet here in sharp her railway system and the construction contrast, meet, without mingling of her military roads south of the CauFrom the broad streets and open squares casus and trans-Caspian lines toward the of the Russian quarter, in whose modern Persian frontier, Russia is systematicopera house I heard Rubenstein's Demo- ally tightening her hold on the northern nio worthily given, one passes without provinces. Nothing comparable with the transition to the narrow passageways energy, intelligence, and military genius and crowded bazaars of the old city which foiled her plans in Manchuria bars where Persian, Georgian, and Armenian, her way to northern Persia, where there Turk, Kurd, and Tartar jostle each other is neither patriotism, as we understand in endless variety of costume and tongue. it, nor any desire or capacity to assimi

Except for its oil wells, which have late western ideas adequate to loosen the filled the city with a restless population grip of its colossal neighbor. There is a of adventurers and speculators, Baku creed — but creeds have never checked contains little of interest. Less Eastern the advance of Russia. and more commercial than Tiflis, its pre- While the traveler may enter Persia by tensions to civilization are more offens- various routes, he can do so in only one ive than barbarism itself. All genuine frame of mind. He must rid himself of civilization, especially of the sanitary all memories of Lalla Rookh, rose garkind, is left behind at Tiflis, and it was dens, nightingales, and houris. He must in the so-called Grand Hotel of Baku, be able to find compensation for the loss under conditions impossible of descrip- of the ordinary comforts of life in his love tion, that I began to devise ways and of freedom and wide horizons. He must means for getting my wife into Persia often be content with the shadow of a without too great a shock to her sensi- great rock in a weary land, and able at bilities. So much worse than pure nature all times to rejoice in his nearness to is half civilization.

nature, animate and inanimate. If he Once at Baku by any one of these is dependent upon the factitious, or is of three approaches, we proceed by steamer the temper of one whom I heard lamentdown the Caspian Sea, to the Persian ing that there was no Ritz in Toledo, it port of Enzeli at its southern extremity. were better not to invade the kingdom

The seasoned or more adventuresome of the Shah. But if he loves the early traveler may discard the Caspian route start at sunrise, when horses are saddled altogether, either leaving the steamer on and packs strapped, if the rushing waters the Black Sea at Trebizond, to follow the at the ford are music to his ears, if he old caravan route over which the riches can forget the limbs stiff with yesterday's of the East once found their outlet to fatigues in the glorious views from the Europe, or the Caucasus railway at Tiflis passes of the mountain ranges which for the branch line terminating at Erivan traverse the Iranian plateau like the under the shadow of Ararat. The long teeth of gigantic saws, and welcome at journey from Trebizond, as also that nightfall as a haven of rest the crowded from Erivan, must be made in the saddle caravanserai with its seething turmoil and has the Persian city of Tabriz as ter- and babel of noises of man and beast;

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and can say with L'Estrange as he sinks nificent background at Enzeli, where in slumber, “We have a horror for un- naught but man is vile. A pagoda-like couth monsters, but, upon experience, building situated in an orange grove

and all these bugs grow easy and familiar to devoted to the entertainment of newly arus,” then Persia will prove a joy, as one riving ministers and officials is the only of the last strongholds of untrammeled attraction of which Enzeli can boast; and out-of-door life in the unadulterated like most royal edifices in Mohammedan Orient.

countries, it is marked by the neglect and One approaches Enzeli with a dread, decay which characterize all buildings and leaves the Caspian steamer with a not built or occupied by the reigning regret and a wonder: a dread of the bar sovereign. The Shah's yacht lends what which steamers cannot pass, which in dignity it can to official entries, but is rough weather will give you a thorough more suggestive of a tugboat than a royal drenching ere your frail boat has crossed yacht, though very useful in crossing the its stormy breast, and which at times great Enzeli lagoon, a shallow basin is altogether impassable, necessitating within the bar, many miles in extent, a return to Baku, whither a certain where

passage

in a rowboat is a tedious French diplomat was once carried back affair, enlivened only by the pelicans, four times before a landing could be cranes, ospreys, and gulls which swarm effected; a regret to leave the home of among its reedy shores and islands. A the delicious fresh gray caviar which, muddy river, ascended by alternate rowonce tasted, makes all the black potted ing, poling, and tracking, leads to Per-istuff we are familiar with seem like so bazar, consisting of a few huts and the much wheel-grease; a wonder that the omnipresent custom house, whence one Persian government should ever have struggles for six miles through a veritable surrendered its rights on the Caspian sea of mud to Resht, where the real Sea. When in 1789 Hadji Mirza Akasi, journey to Teheran begins. This a few then prime minister, ceded the sole right years ago, when there was no Russian to navigate this sea to the Russians, he road from Enzeli to the capital, when flippantly remarked, “Not being water one followed the old caravan track which fowl, what need have we of salt water?" countless feet have worn from the days adding, with a complacency which did of Darius, worn literally in the rock little credit to his political sagacity, “nor in holes so deep that unless your mount for a few drops of it should we em- has his right foot forward he must in bitter the palate of a friend.” While the places stop and start afresh.

а writer was in Persia the strategic value Before the completion of the carriage of this concession was being tested by road travelers unencumbered by bagexperiments with the Russian merchant gage made the journey of some two hunfleet, with a view to ascertaining the dred and forty miles to Teheran in the force which could be landed within a saddle, covering two or even more stages given time on the Persian coast in the of twenty-five miles each per day, and event of offensive operations.

putting up with such shelter, food and Along the south Caspian shore and horses as the post-houses or villages eastward along the whole northern Per- afforded. But more commonly, and essian frontier stretch the Elburz Moun- pecially with ladies, it was customary to tains, generally snow-covered, and ter- travel “caravan,” that is, with one's own minated near Teheran by the splendid animals, the necessary impedimenta of volcanic peak of Demavend, variously folding-beds, tables, chairs, rugs, curestimated at from 18,000 to 22,000 feet tains, and cooking utensils, permitting of in altitude. Clothed with verdure and only one stage a day. The length of a crowned with snow, they form a mag- stage varies throughout Persia, depend

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ing on the character of the country, and character, — the Caspian border, the is reckoned in farsaks, the old Greek mountains, and the desert plain. parasang. The farsak is a most elastic The Caspian border is the zone of and uncertain measure, and as animals rain and cloud which rarely pass the are paid for per farsak, as many as the Elburz. Nearly all the moisture is precredulity of the traveler will allow are cipitated on the northern slopes, which crowded into each stage. “How far,” are therefore covered with forest and I once asked an old Kurdish muleteer, verdure. The first two stages lie through “is a farsak ?” “As far as one can dis- level reaches of mulberry, for Resht tinguish a gray from a brown camel,” thrives on the culture of the silkworm, was the discreet answer. They average groves of olive, and forests of tamarisk about four miles, and the stage about six and oak. On the second day you spread farsaks, or twenty-five miles.

your

lunch under the last olive, and on At the end of each stage is either a the third the track leaves the haunts of caravanserai or chapar-khaneh where moss and fern and violet, to enter the the night is passed. The caravanserais, rocky valley of the Sefid Rud, which it the more important of which are ascribed frequently fords, sometimes following to the reign of Shah Abbas the Great, of the bare portions of the channel, somethat Safavi dynasty which perished in times clinging between a rock wall and the Afghan invasion of 1722, consist of a precipice where to pass a caravan is a a gateway leading into an open court ticklish business, sometimes scrambling surrounded by stables, with rooms over- up ledges where angels might well fear to head. The chapar-khaneh is a rest house tread, only to descend again on rocky for those who travel by post. In either stairways where angels would positively case your servants hunt up an empty refuse to venture. My companion was room, spread a rug, hang a curtain, un- quite ready to discard the seat of her sex fold table, chairs, and bed, and, if you for a cavalry saddle, especially after have been provident, fill your rubber having forced one of a passing train of bath, and in an incredibly short time, the loaded donkeys over a precipice, to be samovar is steaming and your cook has seen no more. A pack animal knows well an appetizing meal ready. Subsequently the safety side of the path. When in full you will stroll in the courtyard crowded possession of the whole track he will skirt with camels snarling at their drivers, or the edge with provoking assurance, but calmly eating their dry-as-dust fodder when meeting another animal he will with that sardonic disdain peculiar to stubbornly contend for the inside pasthem, with donkeys patiently waiting to sage. Some idea of the amount of traffic be relieved of their loads, and the noisy may be gained from the fact that in one. mongrel humanity which makes up an day's journey on the two stages between Eastern caravan. Then darkness comes Rustemabad, Menjil, and Paichenar, I on, the hubbub gradually subsides, the counted 1394 animals. stars come out, the smoke ascends from The ford at Paichenar in flood time flickering fires into the silence and the often proved a disastrous obstacle. In its night, and

you
seek

your own rest, to foaming waters the pack mules of the be awakened perhaps by the tinkling wife of an English diplomat lost their bells of a late-arriving caravan, and most footing, recovering themselves only after certainly to be reminded before dawn of having soaked the contents of their loads. the plaint of the French traveler, "Ce I met their owner, on her way to England, n'est pas la piqûre dont je me plains, at Tiflis where, as lady-in-waiting to the c'est la promenade.”

then Princess of Wales and anticipating The journey to Teheran may be di- a London season, she was bemoaning vided into three parts, each distinct in her condition of “nothing to wear.'

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