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dle-cloths and big saddle-bags woven like the precious rugs of the country. Necklaces of bright beads made another touch of color, or dangling plaques of beads, with much blue in them to ward off the evil eye. And the camels wore almost as many bells as beads. Some carried them around their necks in strings. A few beasts, bigger than the rest, had one great copper bell slung from the saddle, which rang out a slow ding-dong amid the general jingle-jangle. It made me think of Charpentier's "Impressions d'Italie," and the way he suggests the tinkling of mule-bells. But this was something deeper and wilder, and evoked the endless marches of the desert.

There were more camels in that caravan than I had ever seen before. It did not occur to me to count them until many of them were out of sight; then I counted nearly three hundred. They marched in single file in groups of six or seven, each group roped together like barges in a tow and led by a man. Many of the men had an odd Mongolian look in their little, round fur caps, with the skin outside. The eyes of almost all of them were inflamed from the glare of the sun on the snow. Where had they come from? Where were they going? I had no tongue to ask, nor could I have understood if they told me. They disappeared at last among the bare gardens. But that strange, complicated music, punctuated by the deep notes of the big copper bells, sounded so long in the thin winter air that I could not be sure when it ceased to sound. Indeed, I often hear it now at night when I look at the low stars of the desert, and think of Afghanistan and Kashmir and Tibet.


THE most characteristic color of our house, to my inquisitive eye, is imparted

by its retainers. You of the effete West are wont to the soft ministrations of the eternal feminine. To us of Ecbatana is permitted no such luxury.



may note, however, the exceptional case of firengis with young children. A lady of the land may then risk her reputation by entering the presence of corrupt Christian men. She does so barefooted, in full trousers of a figured red print, loosely swathed in a length of black or white cloth covering her head and held for decency's sake in front of her mouth. Custom, of course, will make her less meticulous; but when a stranger is present and her duties require the use of both her hands, it is astonishing how ingenious she is in holding her veil in her teeth and in keeping her back on the quarter of peril.

There is another exceptional case to be noted of a country where laundresses are more than likely to have smallpox in their houses. They answer to the most romantic names: Deer, Sugar, Angel, Peacock, Parrot. To you, however, they are generically known as Sister. They carry on their operations in big blue-glazed bowls, preferably set on the ground near the clothes-lines, beside which they squat on their heels. I remember one of them who sent us one week a substitute. Inquiring into the matter, the khanum (that is, the mistress of the house) was told: "She makes a petition: she will have a child. But she will come next week." And she did.

The milking of a cow is one more ex

ceptional case, since such duties are too ignoble for man. Here again a blueglazed bowl comes into use, being held between the knees of the operator. I might add that for the complete success of the operation it is considered necessary for the calf to be tied in sight of the cow. Otherwise the sacred fount infallibly goes dry. We had the greatest trouble to induce our underlings even to try the experiment of milking when no calf was in sight. That, I suppose, is why the Persians are so unwilling to sell or to kill a calf, and why they are so tender of the little creatures. The first time the stork visited our stable, a small animal wrapped up against the cold in green felt was brought blinking into the dining-room for us to admire. And we learned that the calf spent its first night with the servants in their quarters.

These, I hasten to add, are not in the house. While there are, especially in Persia, very solid advantages in having servants out

of the house at night, there are also disadvantages, as will appear most plainly on a winter morning after a party. We then have the choice of walking a long way through the snow to bang on the stable door or of waiting for breaktast. Their own breaktast, and all their other meals, the servants are supposed to provide for themselves, primarily because a firengi is an impure being, whose food and dishes are defilement to those of the faith, and secondarily because a firengi eats meats too strange for the palate of a Persian. We have reason to believe, however, that at least in our house the Persians are not too fastidious about our purity or They have quarters at one

our menu.

end of the stable, with a fireplace of their own, and rugs to cover the mud floor. That is why there are so many rugs in Persia-the mud floors. And there is another good reason why so many rugs are a little more or a little less than six feet long. A do-zar (two yards) is all that your Persian needs in the way of a bed, and if you have such a rug that is not brand-new, you may be sure that some very picturesque-looking customer has dreamed upon it the dreams of Asia. I fear that the dreams of our dependents. are sometimes interrupted, for the roof over their heads is a mud one, and being new, it is leaky. After a rain or a thaw, therefore, we hire the youth of the neighborhood to play tag on it in order to pack the mud the harder with their bare feet.

The sahib-to my unpractised ear that classic word sounds more like sah'b-complains that he never knows how many servants we have. One of his diversions is to ask the khanum how many more she has taken on. Persia follows the rest of Asia in this regard, though as a matter of fact we are not so dreadfully attended as most of our neighbors. Servants work for longer hours with fewer outings than in America, but each one does much less. The only one of ours who makes us feel that he earns every shahi of his somewhat sketchy stipend is a youngster whose voice just begins to crack, a laborious, quick-witted, and picturesque infant named Abbas, after the uncle of the prophet. None of them is much more than a boy, for that matter. It surprises me to see how quickly they pick up our ways, which to them must seem capricious and inexplicable beyond reason. I often wish I knew what their comments are. We sometimes catch rumors, however, through confidences made to the masters of other servants. When we go out to dinner our cook, our butler, or both, usually go, too, to help in the kitchen or the dining-room. In fact, it is not good form for a person of


such consequence as a firengi to leave his door at all without a servant or two at his heels, though I have to confess that we rather scandalize Hamadan by our unreadiness to conform to usage in this regard. But the servants of the firengis, at any rate, form a society apart, and you may be sure that among them no news is allowed to escape. Thus it has come to our ears that the sah'b is known to an inner few as the Head of the Desert, because our house stands by itself outside the town. And I have lived to learn that I, having come to Persia without wives, children, valets, employments, or other visible human ties, am decorated with the picturesque title of Prince All Alone.

What to an alien eye is most striking about these gentry is their dress. To be served at dinner by a butler in bare or stockinged feet, according to the season, bearing upon his head a pontifical-looking miter of black or brown felt, not unlike the tall, brimless hat of Greek monks and Russian priests, is an experience which I shall never live long enough in Persia to take as a matter of course. It makes no difference that I my self am perfectly capable of balancing upon my brow an even more fantastic erection, eaved like a house, shinier than satin, and garnished with a coquettish ribbon. What catches my eye is the extraordinary fact that any human being can cherish a head-dress different from my own, and account himself dis

graced ever to be seen without it. Tall hats, however, are not all that distinguish our serving-men. Between their kola and their unshod feet flap trousers not so full as those of the country Turk, but giving no hint of the leg it contains, and a succession of tailed or kilted coats. Persians think that firengi men dress as indecently as firengi women in permitting our clothes to follow closely the lines of our bodies. The fit of their own coats stops at the waist. From there hangs to the knee, or below, an amply pleated skirt which even a traveled Persian unwillingly exchanges for a Prince Albert, while a morning or evening coat is to him a thing of shame. Under his outer garment, with which he usually dispenses indoors, he wears a shorter and thinner one, less amply kilted, the tight sleeves of which are slit to the elbow, and dangle decoratively, if inconveniently enough, when not buttoned up or turned back. This tunic is also more gaily hued.

The chief virtue of Habib, our butler, is that he possesses a beautiful emerald undercoat in which, when there is no company, he is sometimes good enough to pass, and eke to break, our plates. He is the official chief of our establishment, being technically known as the head of the service. He always receives an order with the words, "On my eye!" and when he knows not how to answer you he will say,


"What petition shall I make?" He is a youth of twenty or thereabouts, married to a young person of twelve or thirteen who stays with his mother. The society of neither of these ladies seems to interest him too intensely. He prefers to live in the stable with the other boys and the calf; he also loves to harden the mouth of the sah'b's horse; and when the time comes to work in the garden is he most in his element. We finally had to hide. from him a pruning-knife we had obtained from abroad, so vastly did he prefer that toy to a dish-rag or a duster. I can't say that I blame him.

He is much slower He is much slower

and stupider than is common in his quickwitted race; but it takes a great deal to ruffle his temper, and the later we keep him up at night the better pleased he seems to be. He it was who during a period of interregnum spread the table for the sah'b's first bachelor dinner-party with one of the khanum's sheets, and not one of the best. Later in the evening, when supplementary refreshments were served, I noticed that Habib had covered a tray with one of the discarded napkins of the dinner-table. It was not really dirty, he afterward explained, and it seemed a pity to risk spoiling a new lace doily! I discovered, though, that he was an excellent hand at decorating a dinner-table. Without any orders he once picked a lot of hyacinths to pieces and traced with the single flowers so pretty a pattern on the table-cloth that

I had n't the heart to affront him by changing it, though it was a little more feminine than I would have chosen for bachelors' hall. So does the genius of his race for design come out even in his humble fingers. On the whole I have learned more from him than he from me; as when he will politely take the store-room key in both hands, or ceremoniously call one aside in consultation, saying, "Without trouble, bring your honor here," or on state occasions serve tea on his knees. And he has given us strange glimpses of the world he lives in by speaking darkly of jinn in connection with some one's illness, and by telling us, when a lost watch was found in the house, that he had burned candles for its recovery.

The true head of the service is Mehmet Ali, the cook. Mehmet Ali was brought up as a butler, and an excellent one he is, though afflicted with a slight disfigure

ment of the mouth and a stammering of the tongue. But a domestic crisis drove him into the kitchen, where he quickly learned to make pancakes and cakes much more complicated as well as he did sauces and curries for pilau, which really sounds more like pileu, if you will pronounce it in the Italian way. Consequently there

are times when we are moved to call Mehmet Ali out of his kitchen and to say to him, with due ceremony, "Mehmet Ali, may your hand feel no pain." A


white-capped chef or a darky Dinah might not know how to take so cryptic a pronouncement, but the black-hatted Mehmet Ali understands it for the highest possible compliment. And being no more than nineteen, though already old enough to have been married and divorced, he hides his blushes in a low bow, stammering in reply, "May honey be to your soul." The desire of Mehmet Ali's heart is to possess a wrist-watch. And he serves us with a credit that only seldom lapses for six tomans a month, which is a little less than six dollars.

I am bound to add that Mehmet Ali would be less clever than he is if he did not make out of us considerably more than that. For, being cook, he does the marketing. I was astounded to find telephones in Hamadan, a convenience at that time strange to imperial Constantinople. But very few Hamadanis have one. We do not, for instance. Neither does any butcher, baker, or candlestick-maker with whom we deal. So there is no sitting comfortably at home and ordering what we want from the bazaar. Nor do people from the bazaar peddle their wares about the streets to any such degree as do the people of the Mediterranean. There is no such thing in Hamadan, either, as a deliverycart. The thing to do is to go to the bazaar in person every morning after breakfast, and Mehmet Ali is the person to do that thing-Mehmet Ali and his shagerd, or apprentice. This is the youngest member of our juvenile establishment, a round

faced, bright-eyed, russet-colored ragamuffin who totes Mehmet Ali's flexible market-basket, peels Mehmet Ali's pota

toes, scours Meh-
met Ali's earthen-
ware pots,


Ali's bread.
Which is to

say that Mehmet Ali
engaged and theoreti-
cally maintains him,
though I suspect that
the urchin's face
would be neither so

round nor so rosy were it not for the crumbs from our infidel table.

Going to the bazaar is evidently the great affair of the day.

It is amazing how long it takes Mehmet Ali to bargain for the toasted wafers of bread or the scarcely thicker flaps of san

gak which fill in the chinks between Mehmet Ali's own white loaves; for the eternal mutton of the country, for the frequent hare and partridge or francolin, for the famous melons of Ispahan, which taste to us like a flatter kind of squash; for the dubious bunches of grapes, which look fit only for the scavenger, but have merely begun to change into raisins and, as a matter of fact, are very good. Beef is far rarer than game, vegetables are neither varied nor appetizing unless they come out of our own garden, while such rarities as fish or strawberries are precious as pounded pearls and nightingales' tongues. Certain small fish, it is true, are indigenous to our neighborhood; but as the Persians catch them by the simple expedient of poisoning the water, and sometimes die afterward, we think twice before in

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