On the afternoon of this notable day, about four hours
before sunset, I went into the town to pay some visits, leaving
Sheykh Ibrahim asleep in the garden. I first went to see the
Frenchmen, about whose health I had heard disquieting reports,
which, fortunately, turned out to be exaggerated. Having
remained with them for rather more than half an hour, I
proceeded to the house of the young artillery officer whose
acquaintance I had made through the Sheykh of Kum. While I
was sitting there conversing with him, and watching the
grotesque antics of a large tame monkey ('antar) which he kept
as a pet, I first became conscious of an uneasy sensation in my
eye. My host, too, noticed that it appeared inflamed, and bade
Now Usta Akbar, the pea-parcher, whenever I urged him to tell me more about the Bab and his religion, used to declare that he could not talk freely on this topic save in some place where there was no fear of his being overheard; and it had therefore been arranged a day or two previously that on this evening he and a select company of his Babi friends--to wit, Sheykh Ibrahim of 'Irak, the Farrash-bashi's man, 'Abdu'llah, and the Ezeli minstrel, Fathu'llah--should sup with me in the garden and spend thc night there. Just as I was going out in the afternoon, Usta Akbar had come to the garden bringing with him a Babi merchant (whom I will call Aka Muhammad Hasan of Yezd), just arrived on business in Kirman from the little village in Rafsinjan where he dwelt. He, having heard from Usta Akbar an account of myself, was so curious to see me that he insisted on at once paying me a visit; and no sooner were they seated than the pea-parcher began to introduce him in his usual wild language.
"Here is Aka Muhammad Hasan," said he, "come to do penance before you and entreat your forgiveness for his shortcomings, in that when you passed through Rafsinjan he neither came out to meet you, nor brought you into his house, nor set you on your journey. I have scolded him well, saying, 'Aka Muhammad Hasan, the Holy Spirit (Ruhu'l-Kuds) passed through Rafsinjan, and you had not so much as a word of welcome, nor advanced one foot from the other. Are you not ashamed of yourself?' He is now duly ashamed of himself, and will not be content till he receives from your lips the assurance of his pardon."
I was in a hurry to get rid of my visitors, as I had to go
into the town; so, half assenting to Aka Muhammad Hasan's
On my return to the garden, about an hour after sunset, I found these two and Sheykh Ibrahim awaiting me. My eye was now so painful that I determined to cover it with a bandage, which at once called the attention of my guests to its condition. They all expressed the greatest concern, and Usta Akbar begged me to allow him to try a remedy which he had never known to fail. In this request he was so importunate that at last I most foolishly consented. Thereupon he went out into the garden and gathered some leaves from the hollyhock or other similar plant, with which he soon returned. Then he called for an egg, broke it into a cup, removed the yolk, leaving only the white, and bade me lie down on the floor on my back, and, if possible, keep the inflamed eye open. Then he poured the white of the egg over the eye, covered it up with the leaves, and entreated me to remain still as long as I could, that the treatment might work. It did work: in two or three minutes the pain became so acute that I could bear it no longer, and called for warm water to wash away the horrid mess which half-blinded me. Usta Akbar remonstrated, but I told him that the remedy was worse than the disease.
"Ah," said he, "it is clear that I have made a mistake. When you toId me that you had been bathing your eye in iced water, I assumed that this cold was the cause of the affection, and so applied a hot remedy. Now it is evident that it is due not to cold but to heat, so that a cold remedy should be applied. And I know one which will not disappoint you."
"Thank you," I rejoined, "if it is anything like the last I should prefer to have nothing to do with it."
"It is nothing like the last," he answered. "What I would
suggest is that you should smoke a pipe of opium. That is a cold
Opium! There was something fascinating about the idea. The action on the mental functions exercised by narcotic drugs had always possessed for me a special interest, and though the extremely unpleasant results of an experiment on the subjective effects of Cannabis India (Indian hemp) which I had tried while a student at St Bartholomew's Hospital had somewhat cooled my enthusiasm for this sort of research, the remembrance of that dreadful evening when Time and Space seemed merging in confused chaos, and my very personality appeared to be undergoing disintegration, had now sufficiently lost its vividness to make me not unwilling to court some fresh experience of this kind. So, after a few moments' reflection, I signified my willingness to try Usta Akbar's new cure; and ten minutes later my whole being was permeated with that glow of tranquil beatitude, conscious of itself, nay, almost exultant in its own peaceful serenity, which constitutes the fatal charm of what the Persians call par excellence "the Antidote" (tiryak).
At this juncture the young Ezeli minstrel, and, soon afterwards, 'Abdu'llah arrived, and we adjourned to the summerhouse, where Haji Safar had spread a cloth on which were disposed dishes of fruit, sweets, and ajil (pistachio-nuts, melon seeds, and the like, strongly salted to whet the appetite), and bottles of wine and 'arak.
The conversation, though it did not flag, was at first quiet
enough. My guests spoke in the usual strain of the succession
of prophetic cycles, of the progressive character of Revelation,
and of the increasing strength of the Theophanic Sun in each
appearance. "The Lord Jesus," said they, "was as a sun shining
in the Fourth Heaven, which is the 'Station of the Spirit'
(Makam-i-Ruh). Muhammad was in the Fifth Heaven, which is
the 'Station of Reason' (Makam-i-Akl). The Nukte'-i-Beyan,
'His Holiness our Lord the Supreme' (i.e. the Bab) appeared
Then suddenly some one bade the minstrel sing; and he, in
high-pitched, plaintive voice, every modulation of which seemed
to stir the soul to its very depths, burst forth with an ode of the
Babi heroine Kurratu'l-Ayn, whereof the translation which I
here give can but dimly reflect the passion and the fire.
"The thralls of yearning love constrain in the bonds of pain and
These broken-hearted lovers of thine to yield their lives in their zeal
2 Though with sword in hand my Darling stand with intent to slay,
though I sinless be,
If it pleases Him, this tyrants whim, I am well content with His
As in sleep I lay at the dawn of day that cruel Charmer came to me
And in the grace of His form and face the dawn of the morn I seemed
4 The musk of Cathay might perfume gain from the scent those fragrant
While His eyes demolish a faith in vain attacked by the pagans of
With you, who contemn both love and wine for the hermit's cell and
the zealot's shrine,
What can I do? For our faith divine you hold as a thing of infamy.
6 The tangled curls of thy darling's hair, and thy saddle and steed are
thine only care;
In thy heart the Infinite hath no share, nor the thought of the poor
Sikandar's pomp and display be thine, the Kalandar's habit and way
That, if it please thee, I resign, while this, though bad, is enough
8 The country of 'I' and 'We' forsake; thy home in Annihilation make,
Since fearing not this step to take thou shalt gain the highest
When he had finished this ode, and the cries of "Ey jan!" ("O
my life!") and "Kurban-at gardam!" ("May I be thy sacrifice!"),
which, interjected more than once even in the course of the song,
burst forth with uncontrollable enthusiasm at its conclusion,
had ceased, the minstrel once more began to sing. I cannot
recall the actual words of this song, save in a few places,
but the general tenor of it was not far from the paraphrase
which I here offer--
"Through glasses of every tint and hue
Fair and bright shine the rays of light;
Some may be violet, and some be blue,
Some be orange, and some be white;
But in essence and origin all are one,
For the source of all is the radiant Sun!
"Beaker and flagon and bowl and jar,
Of earth or crystal, coarse or fine,
However the Potter may make or mar,
Still may serve to contain the Wine;
Should we this one seek, or that one shun,
When the Wine which lends them their worth is one?"
"Now God forbid," I exclaimed in utter horror of the frightful anthropomorphism thus suddenly laid bare before me, "God forbid that it should be so! Why, the very verse which you cited from the Masnavi bears witness against you-- 'The Moon's not in the stream but in the sky'--that is to say, as I understand it, 'Look for the Reality outside and beyond this phenomenal world, not in these transient reflections whereby, clearly or dimly, it is mirrored amongst mankind.' The mirror wholly depends on the original, and owes all to it; the original stands in no need of the mirror. 'Exalted is God above that which they allege!'"
Then Fathu'llah, the minstrel, broke in. "O Hazrat-i-Firangi!"
he exclaimed, "all these ideas and thoughts about God which
you have, yea, your very doubts and wonderings, are your
creatures, and you are their creator, and therefore above them,
even according to the verse you quote, 'Exalted is God above
"God forbid!" I exclaimed again, "speak not after this impious
fashion, and know that I regard myself as the least of God's
servants and the most inconsistent and unworthy of those who
profess to take the Lord Jesus as their pattern and exemplar!"
"'Verily, I am a man like unto you!'" shouted Sheykh Ibrahim; "thus said the Prophet, whose object, like all the prophets who preceded and followed him, was to make us men. So said Beha to me in Acre, 'I desire that all men should become even as I am!' If any one says that Beha has attained to anything whereunto we also may not attain, he lies and is an ignorant fool!" Here he glared fiercely round the assembly to see if anyone would venture to contradict him, and, as no one did so, continued: "On the forehead of every man is written, in that writing whereof you wot, either 'Hadha Mu'min' ('This is a Believer'), or 'Hadha Kafir' ('This is an Infidel'). On that side of your forehead uncovered by the bandage which you have bound over your eye I read 'Hadha Mu'...,' and I know that were the bandage removed I should see '-min' written on the other side. O Jenab-i- Sabib! O Hazrat-i-Firangi! when you go back to Firangistan you must stir up trouble and mischief (fitne u fasad); you must make them all Babis."
They talked much after this fashion, while I listened in
consternation, half-frightened at their vehemence, half-disgusted
at their doctrines, yet withal held spell-bound by their eloquence.
"Was this, then," I thought to myself, "the root of the matter,
the heart of that doctrine which promised so fairly, whereof the
votaries whom I have hitherto met seemed so conspicuous for
At length, long after midnight, we adjourned for supper to the other buildings, and, ere the conclusion of the meal, Sheykh Ibrahim's conversation grew so blasphemous and disgusting that on the first opportunity I arose and returned, distressed and angry, to the summer-house, followed by my guests. The merchant from Rafsinjan, whose conversation had throughout been more moderate and reasonable than that of the others, and Fathu'llah, the minstrel, whose vehemence was the outcome of an emotional and excitable nature--not of wine, which he eschewed--noticed my disgust, and approached me to enquire its cause.
"What is it that has offended me?" I replied: "What should it be but Sheykh Ibrahim's disgusting behaviour? The all- controlling influence exerted by the Prophetic Word over the hearts of men is one of the chief proofs to which you appeal in support of your religion. Is not wine forbidden in your religion as rigorously as in Islam? What is the use of your professing all this devotion to him whom you regard as the Mouthpiece of God, and kissing the Kitab-i-Akdas, which you regard as the Word of God, if you condone so gross a violatior of the laws which it contains, and of all laws, whether of religion, ethics, or good taste?"
Sheykh Ibrahim at this moment staggered up to us with cries
"You are right," they rejoined, as soon as we were out of Sheykh Ibrahim's sight and hearing, "and the Sheykh's conduct is to be deplored. But then old habits will force themselves to the surface at times, and, after all, to know and recognise the Truth is the great thing."
"But action is better than assent," said I, "and to do is greater than to know. What think you of this parable which we find in our Gospels?" And I repeated to them the parable of the two sons bidden by their father to go and do his work, of whom the one said, "I go," and went not, and the other said, "I will not go," but afterwards went.
"Ay," said they, "but for all that, both were sons. Knowledge
is like a telescope, wherewith we view the distant Land of
Promise. We may be standing in the mud, chilled by snow and
sleet, or drenched with rain, yet with this telescope we may see
and correctly describe the orange and myrtle-groves of the
Promised Land. And this knowledge the Sheykh has none the
less, because at times he wallows, as now, in the mud of sin."
"But this vision of the Promised Land," I replied, "is of
no use unless you set out to reach it. Better is he who, without
seeing it or knowing where it lies, faithfully follows one who will
lead him thither, though he be compelled to walk blindly, than
he who supinely gazes at it through this telescope."
They were silent for a while, distressed, as it seemed, at my distress, and somewhat ashamed of the Sheykh's conduct. Then said the merchant of Rafsinjan:--
"Sahib, we will now bid you farewell and depart, for see, the
dawn grows bright in the sky, and we had best return."
"Nay," I answered, fearing lest I had offended them, "tarry
But they would not be persuaded, and departed with sorrowful and downcast faces, all save Sheykh Ibrahim (who was in no condition to move) and 'Abdu'llah, who would not forsake his friend. So I left these two in the summer-house, and went back to the room where we had eaten supper, and bathed my eye, which had again become very painful, and, after a time, fell asleep.
It was the afternoon of the next day when I awoke, and
learned with some relief that 'Abdu'llah had departed soon after
the other guests, and the Sheykh about noon. My eye was so
painful that it was impossible to think of going out, and there
was nothing to distract my attention from the pain which I
suffered (for to read was, of course, impossible) till, about three
hours before sunset, a telegram from my friend, the Chief of the
Telegraph at Yezd, was brought to me, informing me that he
had just received my letter and had answered it by that day's post,
and enquiring after my health. The telegram must have travelled
very slowly, or the letter very fast, for hardly had I finished
writing the answer to the former when the latter was brought
by the postmaster of Kirman, who was accompanied by the young
Babi merchant, Aka Muhammad Sadik. In the letter, which was
most kindly worded, were enclosed copies of two poems for
which I had asked--the one by Kurratu'l-'Ayn*, the other by
Jenab-i-Maryam, the sister of the Bab's first apostle, Mulla
Huseyn of Bushraweyh. These I showed to my visitors, who
read them with manifest delight, and, the subject being thus
introduced, the conversation turned on the Babis, and especially
on Kurratu'l-'Ayn, of whose death the postmaster gave me the
following account, which he professed to have had from thc lips
of her gaoler, Mahmud Khan the Kalantar:--
* Of this poem, which is written in the same rhyme and metre as that
translated at P. 535, supra, the text and translation will be found
at pp. 314-16 of vol. ii of my Traveller's Narrative.
"'The day before she suffered martyrdom," said the postmaster,
"she told those about her that her death was to take
place, saying, 'To-morrow evening the Shah will send after me,
and his messenger will come riding, and will desire me to
mount behind him. This I do not wish to do, wherefore I pray
you to lend me one of your horses, and to send one of your
servants to escort me.' Next day all this came to pass. When
she was brought in before the Shah in the palace of the Nigaristan,
and bidden to renounce the Bab, she refused, and persisted in
her refusal. So she was cast into a well which is in the garden,
and four large stones were thrown down upon her, and the well
was then filled up with earth. As for Mahmud Khan, he was,
as you know, strangled by order of the father of Prince Nasiru'd-
Dawla, our governor, during the bread-riots in Teheran, and
his body dragged by the feet through the streets and bazaars."*
The postmaster also talked a little about the Ezelis, saying that they were more numerous in Kirman than anywhere else, and that even in Kirman they were but few in number. Amongst them he mentioned Fathu'llah, the minstrel, and a certain mulla whom I will call Mulla Hadi, but the Sheykh of Kum he would not include in his enumeration, "for," said he, "though he sympathises with the Ezelis and courts their society, he is in point of fact a free-thinker and a materialist." After the departure of these guests I was visited by my Zoroastrian friends, Gushtasp and Feridun, who came to condole with me, and to enquire after the ophthalmia, repeating over and over again, "Bad na-bashad!" ("May it not end ill!"), till I was depressed not a little.
Monday, 8th July, 28th Shawwal. -- This morning I received a
visit from one Murtaza-kuli Khan Afshar, who, soon after
his arrival, produced a great roll of verse in manuscript, from
at least, I do not regard as having any claims to authenticity. Cf.
Gobineau's Religions et Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale, pp. 292-95;
Polak's Persien, vol. i, p. 353; and my Traveller's Narrative, vol. ii,
pp. 313, 314.
* The accounts of Kurratu'l-'Ayn's death are very various, but this one,
at least, I do not regard as having any claims to authenticity. Cf.
Gobineau's Religions et Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale, pp. 292-95;
Polak's Persien, vol. i, p. 353; and my Traveller's Narrative, vol. ii,
pp. 313, 314.
Tuesday, 9th July, 29th Shawwal.-- This evening I was again
the guest of the Zoroastrians at the garden of Mulla Serush, and
sat down to supper with some twenty-five followers of "the
Good Religion." The evening passed much as usual, with wine
song, and minstrelsy, save that one Firuz by name, having taken
rather more to drink than was good for him (a rare thing amongst
the Zoroastrians), favoured the company with a rather vulgar
imitation of the performances of dancing-boys. There was some talk
of Zoroaster and the miracles ascribed to him, and of the descent
to earth of ten flames (adhar), distinguished from fire (atash)
It was on this night that a jerk of the chain which I had suffered Sir Opium to wind round me, first made me conscious of the fact that I had dallied overlong with him. Eight days had now elapsed since this dalliance began, and, though I had smoked what may well be termed "the Pipe of Peace" pretty regularly during this period, the fact that once or twice I had abstained from smoking it at the usual time, without suffering inconvenience, had lulled me into a false sense of security. "After all," I had said to myself, "a great deal of exaggeration is current about these things; for how few of those in England who talk so glibly about the evils of opium-smoking, and waste their time and other people's money in trying to put a stop to it, have any practical acquaintance at all with it; and, on the other hand, how many of my friends here, when they feel depressed and worried, or want to pass a quiet evening with a few congenial friends in discussing metaphysics and ontology, indulge in an occasional pipe. However, this resolution I make, that on the day when I shall be well enough to go out of this garden I lay aside my pretty opium-pipe (vafur), with its sikh (cleaning rod) and its anbur (charcoal tongs), which shall be to me thenceforth but as curiosities to hang up in my college rooms when I get back to Cambridge."
Well, to-night, as I reluctantly admitted to myself, the time
had come to put my resolution into practice. And how did I
do it? I kept it, after a fashion, just for that one night--and
what a night it was! In vain I longed for sleep, in vain I tossed
to and fro on my couch till the stars grew pale in the sky, for
an indefinable craving, to which was presently superadded
And this is the way of opium. You may smoke it occasionally at long intervals, and feel no after-craving. You may smoke it for two or three days consecutively, and abandon it without difficulty; then you may, after an interval of one or two days do the like once more, and again forsake it; and then, having smoked it once or twice again, you will try to put it from you as before, and you will find you cannot--that the fetters are forged which, likely enough, you will wear for ever. So next day I relapsed into bondage, and, when a few days later I told my plight to a friend of mine (the Prince's secretary and an Ezeli Babi), who was a confirmed "vafuri" (opium-smoker), he clapped his hand on his thigh and exclaimed, "Hala digar guzasht! Vafuri shude-id!" (Now, at any rate, it is all over! You have become an opium-smoker!"). Neither did he say this without a certain air of contentment, if not of exultation; for it is a curious fact that, although the opium-smoker will, as a rule, never tire of abusing his tyrant, he will almost always rejoice to see another led into the same bondage, and will take the new captive by the hand as a brother.
Thursday, 11th July, 2nd Dhi'l-Ka'da.-- Last night I received a
telegram from Shiraz informing me that a telegram addressed
to me there had arrived from England, in which I was requested
to signify my acceptance of the post of Persian Lecturer, to which
I had been appointed at Cambridge. Accordingly, I went into
the City an hour or two after sunrise to despatch an answer. Near
the Mosque Gate I met Usta Akbar, the pea-parcher, who invited
My business at the telegraph-office did not take long. The
telegram, though destined for England, had, of course, to be
written in Persian, and I managed to condense it, including
the address, into seven words, for which I paid twenty krans and
thirteen shahis (about 16s. 6d.), the tariff having luckily been
reduced within the last few days. I then returned to Usta Akbar's
house and had lunch with him, after which I wrote some letters,
including one to Prince Nasiru'd-Dawla, the governor. In this
I ventured to say a few words in favour of Mirza Yusuf of Tabriz
(at whose urgent request, supported by Seyyid Huseyn of Jandak,
I had been induced to take what certainly was rather a liberty),
asking the Prince, in case he could not find him employment,
whether he would give him the means of reaching his native
town of Tabriz, where he had friends and relatives.
I stayed to supper with Usta Akbar, Fathu'llah, the Ezeli minstrel, being the only other guest. We ate our meal on the roof (for it was a beautiful moonlight night), and sat so late talking, drinking tea, and smoking opium, that, as the time for shutting the city-gates had long passed, I agreed to my host's proposal that I should spend the night there. Bolsters, pillows, and quilts were accordingly brought up on to the roof, but, though our host soon composed himself to sleep, I sat late talking to the Ezeli. I asked him to tell me how he had become a Babi, and he related as follows:--
"A year or two ago," he began, "I fell desperately in love;
so that, on the rare occasions when my good fortune suffered
me to pass a few moments in the presence of my beloved, I was for
the most part as one annihilated and overcome with bewilderment,
"Now one day a friend of mine begged me to lend him my
Divan of Sa'di, promising to give me instead another and a
better book. With some reluctance I consented to the exchange,
and received from him the mystical Masnavi of Jalalu'd-Din
Rumi. When I began to read this, I at first bitterly repented the
bargain. 'What is all this,' I asked myself, 'about the flute
making lamentation because of its separation from the reed-bed--
and wkat has it to do with me?' But graduany the inner meaning
began to dawn upon me; the love of the True and Eternal Beloved
displaced from my heart the earthly passion which had filled
it; and I realised the meaning of what the mystics say, 'El-
Mejazu kantaratu'l-Hakikat' ('the Phenomenal is the Bridge to
the Real'). Yes,
"One day, passing by the city-gate, I heard a man reading
from a book which he held in his hand. The sweetness of the
words and their dignity charmed me, and I stopped to ask
him what book it was. At first he appeared unwilling to tell
me, but at length, yielding to my persuasion, he told me that
it was the Beyan of Mirza 'Ali Muhammad, the Bab. He consented
to lend me the book for a while; and as I read it my assurance
increased that this indeed was the Word of God."
"What, then, think you of Beha?" I demanded, "for these
would make him greater than the Bab."
"I know not," he replied; "for me the Bab sufficeth, neither
can I comprehend a station higher than His."
Friday, 12th July, 3rd Dhi'l-ka'da.--I woke late, and found that Fathu'llah and Usta Akbar had both gone out, the latter leaving word that he would return soon. An old man named Mirza Ja'far, a dervish of the Dhahabi order, presently arrived. He told me that he was at present engaged in fasting and other religious exercises, and that he had an "Inner Light." Presently Usta Akbar returned with a shoemaker of his acquaintance, named Usta Ghulam Riza, who brought with him a book of verses composed in praise of Beha by the Babi poet Nabil. These, which in their eulogies were fulsome beyond belief, he proceeded to read, the pea-parcher encouraging him with occasional exclamations of "Ziba mi-khwanad!" ("He does read nicely!"). During a momentary pause the Dhahabi dervish ventured to make some remarks containing an allusion to his "Inner Light," whereupon the shoemaker turned savagely upon him, crying--
"Who cares for your 'Inner Light,' owl and bat that you are?
The Sun of Truth shines radiant in the mid-heaven of the
Theophany, and do you dare obtrude your foolish fancies and
At this arrogant and insolent speech anger overcame me, and I said to the shoemaker--
"Silence! How dare you speak in so unseemly a manner to this
old man, who, according to his belief, is seeking to draw near
to God? After all, age is revered and courtesy of demeanour
approved in every religion, and you do but ill commend to
others the creed which you profess by conduct such as this.'
Then the shoemaker hung his head and was silent.
On my way home I called on Aka Muhammad Sadik, the
young Babi merchant, at the caravansaray where he dwelt, and
he, on learning that I had taken to smoking opium, entreated
me to abandon it ere it was too late. He also begged me to
lend him the manuscript of the Kitahi-Akdas ("Most Holy
Book") which had been given to me at Shiraz, that he might
transcribe it for himself, and this request, at least, I was ready
to grant, though the other, as I began to fear, came too late.
When I returned to my garden about sundown I found that Seyyid Huseyn of Jandak had been several times to see me, and had enquired most persistently as to my whereabouts; and that Sheykh Ibrahim, his friend 'Abdu'llah, and a dervish who had brought me a present of apples, were still patiently awaiting my arrival. I found them sitting by one of the streamlets near the summer-house, and half a glance sufficed to show me that that Sheykh, at least, was a good deal the worse for drink. As I approached he greeted me with a loud screech of welcome, and strove to stagger to his feet, but quickly subsided into the expectant arms of 'Abdu'llah, crooning out a couplet from the Masnavi, which, when he was in this state, he never tired of repeating--
"Bade ney dar har sari shar mi-kunad;
Anchunan-ra anchunan-tar mi-kunad."
"'Tis not in every head that wine works ill;
That which is so, it maketh more so still."
After informing me with some incoherence that he was charged with a message to me from one of the principal physicians of Kirman inviting me to lunch with him on the following day, he continued, chuckling to himself at the reminiscence--
"Your friend the Seyyid of Azghand" (so he chose to call
him, confounding this place with Jandak, which was in reality
his birthplace) "has been here, but I, your most humble servant
and sincere friend Sheykh Ibrahim (now, as you perceive, not
quite himself), have put him to flight, together with another
rascally Seyyid whom he brought with him."
"I wish you would not insult my guests," said I. "Who was
this other Seyyid?"
"How do I know?" he shouted defiantly; "all I know is
this, that just outside the garden-gate he was attacked by a
singularly intelligent dog, and came in here shaking with fright.
When he had somewhat recovered, he and the Azghandi Seyyid
began talking about you. 'What like is this Firangi?' enquired
he. 'Not a bit like other Firangis,' replied the Azghandi,
'inasmuch as, instead of going after old tiles and other rubbish
such as they mostly love, he goes after religions, and consorts
with Musulmans, Sheykhis and Balasaris, Sufis, and even
Zoroastrians.' 'How about Babis?' asked the other. 'How should
I know?' says the Azghandi. 'My brother when on a journey once
occupied the opposite litter (kajave) to the chief of their gang,'
continued he. Then I felt it was high time to put him to rights
a bit, so I said, 'You ugly, wizened old fox (for, in the World
of Similitudes I behold you as such, and so did that most sagacious
dog who wished to tear you in pieces at the door, in which wish
I hope he may be more successful when you depart), what do
you know about Babis, and how dare you speak of one whose
greatness and glory far transcend your mean comprehension in
such disrespectful terms?' I saw him change colour, and soon
after he left, without waiting for the tea which your excellent
Haji Safar approached. He was sulky and morose, offended, as
it appeared, at my having remained so long away without telling him
where I had gone, and grumbled accordingly. I bade him be silent,
and Sheykh Ibrahim continued in a loud and aggressive tone--
"I have heard from the postmaster how he surprised you in close confabulation with those foul and benighted Ezeli's at the house of the Sheykh of Kum. Mulla Hadi, a noted Ezeli, was there, and you were talking glibly enough when the postmaster entered, but, on seeing him, you at once changed the conversation."
Presently, to my great relief, Sheykh Ibrahim and 'Abdu'llah
rose to depart. As they were leaving, Haji Safar met us, and
again complained of my want of consideration for him in leaving
him ignorant of my whereabouts. Sheykh Ibrahim loudly
applauded his solicitude, which I, on the other hand, was
inclined to resent as impertinence. In consequence, we had
words, and he threatened to leave me on the morrow and return
to Teheran; but later on, when he brought my supper, he had
repented of his decision, and offered an apology for his conduct,
explaining it by saying that he had just had news that his mother
was seriously ill, and that this had greatly disturbed his mind,
and caused him to forget himself.
Saturday, 13th July, 4th Dhi'l-ka'da.--According to my
promise, I lunched to-day with the physician of whom I have
already spoken. On my arrival I found Sheykh Ibrahim (already
much disguised in liquor) and 'Abdu'llah, together with my
host and his little boy, a pretty child of eight or nine years of
age, who amused us by repeating 'Obeyd-i-Zakani's celebrated
poem of "the Cat and the Mouse" (Mush-u-gurbe). In the evening
I was the guest of my host's rival, a physician of the old Galenic
school, with a splendid contempt for the new-fangled doctrines
of pathology and treatment which are beginning to make way
Sunday, 14th July, 5th Dhi'l-ka'da.--Soon after we had drunk
our morning tea I left, and paid a visit to one of my Ezeli friends,
the Prince's secretary, who invited me to stay to lunch. In the
intervals of conversation he amused himself by making the tea-
glasses float in the little tank which occupied the middle of the
room, pushing them from one side to the other, and objurgating
them with shouts of "Gur-i-pidar-ash la'nat!" ("Curses on the
grave of its father!"), when, receiving too violent a push,
they filled with water and sank to the bottom. On returning
to the garden about sunset I found that a number of visitors,
including the postmaster and two of his men, the Prince-
Telegraphist, the insufferable Haji Muhammad Khan, and
Mulla Yusuf and Fathu'llah, the Ezelis, had been to see me,
while the Sheykh of Kum and one of his friends were still
awaiting my arrival. The Sheykh brought me a photograph
of Prince Nasim'd-Dawla bearing an inscription in his own hand,
together with a very kind answer to the letter which I had
addressed to him some days previously concerning Mirza Yusuf
of Tabriz. This letter, even after making a large deduction for
Persian politeness, was so gratifying that I cannot forbear
"My dear and respected Friend,
"From the receipt of your letter, and the perusal of the pleasing contents
of your script, I derived the utmost gratification. My delight at the
handwriting and coherent diction of that honoured friend was chiefly owing
to the fact that it is in Europe that you have thus perfectly acquired the
Persian language, and have obtained so thorough a mastery of composition
and style. May God, if it so please Him, bring this dear friend of mine
safely back to his native country, and gladden him with the sight of his
honourable father and mother and kindred! I regret having met that dear
friend so seldom, nor has your sojourn in Kirman been of any length; yet
such is the regard
When I had read this letter, the Sheykh of Kum informed Mirza
Yusuf of Tabriz that fifteen tumans (about 5 pounds) was the
sum assigned to him by the Prince. Mirza Yusuf was, of course,
overjoyed, and Seyyid Huseyn of Jandak, who had interested
himself a good deal in the matter, was also very pleased, "but,"
said he to me, "don't suppose that these fifteen tumans were
given to Mirza Yusuf; they were given to you, and the obligation
lies on your neck, for so much money was not raised in Kirman
save at the price of blood." This, of course, was a mere figure
of speech, yet it somewhat damped my joy, and would have done
so more had I known how worthless Mirza Yusuf would prove himself.
Monday, 15th July, 6th Dhi'l-ka'da.--To-day I lunched with the
Sheykh of Kum, where I met the young Ezeli artillery officer
of whom I have aready spoken. After lunch the Prince's head-
cook dropped in. He was an amusing fellow, and had seen
something of the world, having been for some time a servant at
the Persian Embassy in London, in the remembrance of which
he gloried. It was he, I found, who had prepared the elaborate
meal of which I had partaken with the Prince-Governor, for he
had learned the art of European cookery while in London,
though, as he told me, the ambassador, unless he had company,
generally preferred to have Persian dishes set before him. I
asked him whether the materials for these were generally
forthcoming in London. "Oh yes," he replied, "I found them
without much difficulty in the shops, but of course I made the
The cook presently departed, and the Sheykh began to speak more freely about Beha than he had hitherto done. He produced a copy of the lithographed Bombay edition of the Ikan, which he told me had been sent him by the Beha'is, and pointed out with great disapproval, a passage where the Shi'ites are called "that foul and erring sect." He also showed me some letters addressed to him and other Ezelis by Beha, and took great exception to several passages in them, especially to one where Beha said, "A child who has been blessed by beholding me is greater than all the people of the Beyan." Then he gave me an account of the attempt on the Shah's life by the Babis in 1852, which I will not repeat here, as I have already published it in the second volume of my Traveller's Narrative (pp. 323-4). The young artillery officer told me that for four years he had in vain sought to enter into relations with the Babis, and had only succeeded at last by acquainting himself with a part of their terminology, and so leading some of his acquaintances whom he believed to be adherents of the sect to make open confession of their doctrines in his presence.
Tuesday, 16th July, 7th Dhi'l-ka'da.--This afternoon I paid a
visit to Mirza Jawad's house. He himself was away, but I found
his son and one or two other boys reading with their tutor,
Mulla Ghulam Huseyn, who, on my arrival, at once dismissed
the class. I made some further enquiries of him concerning the
Sheykhi literature, and he gave me the following supplementary
list of books:--By Sheykh Ahmad Ahsa'i', "The Commentary on
the 'Visitation'" (Sharh-i-Ziyarat) and the Fava'id (text and
commentary) in Arabic, and the "Aphorisms" (Jawami'u'l-kalam)
in Persian; by Haji Seyyid Kazim of Resht, the Commentary
Wednesday, 17th July, 8th Dbi'l-ka'da.--This morning, before I
was dressed, Seyyid Huscyn of Jandak came to see me. While he
was with me, an old man named Mashhadi 'Ali, who kept a shop
just outside the city-gate, came to lodge a complaint against
Na'ib Hasan's brother, a muleteer whom I had some thoughts
of engaging for the journey to Shiraz. He was accompanied
by a farrash sent by the vazir (who, in the absence of the
Prince-Governor, was administering justice), and his complaint
was that he had been subjected to a violent and unprovoked
attack on the part of Na'ib Hasan's brother, for which he
demanded redress. He had been before the vazir, who said that,
as the defendant was in some sort under my protection, he would
prefer to leave his punishment to me; but that he hoped I would
inflict the bastinado upon him, if the complainant could prove
his case to my satisfaction. Now, I have no doubt that the vazir
meant kindly, but I could not help wishing he would execute
whatever he conceived to be justice according to his own lights,
without making me a judge and arbiter over his subjects--a
position which I was very far from coveting. The Seyyid, however,
who saw only an unhoped-for opportunity of displaying his
Solomonlike wisdom and delivering some epoch-making decision,
was delighted, and bade Haji Safar bring the complainant,
the defendant, the farrash, and any witnesses who might
be forthcoming, before us. The defendant was luckily away in
the country, and as the only "witness" (if such he could be called,
I had lunch when the Seyyid left, and then began to write in Persian an account of my travels for the Prince-Governor, who had requested me to furnish him with a brief narrative of my journey. About two hours before sunset, however, the Seyyid came back, bringing with him two books, one a book of his own composition, called Viraniyye, and the other one of Haji Muhammad Karim Khan's refutations of Babi doctrine, from both of which he read to me aloud. I was laughing in my sleeve at the garbled account given by the Sheykhi leader of his rival's life and pretensions, when suddenly the Seyyid stopped reading, pricked up his ears, and began to gaze intently in the direction of the gate, whence arose mirthful peals of laughter, mingled with the notes of a flute.
"What is this unseemly noise?" he enquired angrily.
The question was answered a moment later by the appearance
"'Listen to the flute when it tells its tale!"' cried the Seyyid as soon as he could speak; "what does all this mean, Mirza Yusuf? Where did you get that donkey?"
"I bought it," replied Mirza Yusuf, "with the money His
Royal Highness the Prince (may God prolong his life!) bestowed
"Bought it!" exclaimed the Seyyid, "why, you were a pauper and this money, only granted you at the urgent request of the Sahib (on whose neck lies the burden of obligation to the Prince) was intended to convey you to Tabriz. And the saddle, the saddle-bags, your smart kamar-band, and your other gear, how did you get them?" "I bought them too," answered Mirza Yusuf, pertly enough; how else should I come by them? You don't suppose I stole them?"
"You bought them too!" repeated the Seyyid. "And may I ask how much money you have left out of the fifteen tumans the Prince gave you?"
Mirza Yusuf pulled out three or four krans from his pocket. "So much," he replied.
"And how are you going to get to Tabriz, may I ask, with three krans?" demanded the Seyyid.
"On my donkey," retorted Mirza Yusuf with a laugh; "what else
did I get it for?" No doubt he cherished hopes of extracting
further sums of money from the charitable Babis of Yezd,
according to the plan which he had exposed with such refreshing
"You impertinent little fool!" cried the Seyyid angrily;
"is it for this that I have interested myself in your case--you
who two days ago were so humble--'a poor orphan whom none
would pity!'--you who would make me believe that you were so
careful about your religious duties that Haji Safar's occasional
neglect of his prayers pained your tender conscience, and who
now come prancing into my presence on your precious ass
deafening me with your unrighteous flute-playing?"
"You don't understand these things, Master Seyyid," rejoined Mirza Yusuf; "you are not a man of the world, but a recluse, a man of the pen and the pulpit, a votary of the rosary and the reading-desk." And he made a grimace aside to Sheykh Ibrahim, whom he expected to enlist on his side against the common enemy.
For once, however, the Sheykh was at one with the Seyyid. "It is related," said he, sententiously, "that once the ass complained to God, saying, 'Why hast Thou created me, seeing that Thou hast already created the Turk?' Answer came, 'Verily We have created the Turk in order that the excellence of thine understanding might be apparent.' Mirza Yusuf is a Turk, a Tabrizi. What would you have?"
So Mirza Yusuf, somewhat abashed, withdrew; and thereupon, as I anticipated, the Sheykh and the Seyyid began to quarrel about the manner in which the former had seen fit to treat the friend of the latter on the previous Friday. The Seyyid for his part was politely sarcastic.
"I said to my friend," quoth he, "'You have had the misfortune
to displease the worthy Sheykh, no doubt inadvertently, by
talking of one whom he affects to revere with unbecoming
levity, and applying to him an appellation generally used of
robber captains and the like. It would be best for you to
propitiate him by presenting to him one of those inlaid and
"You are too considerate," rejoined the Sheykh, "but really I am unworthy of so great an honour." Then, suddenly losing control of his tongue, "And who, I should like to know, is this rascally brother of his who enjoyed the unmerited and unappreciated honour of travelling in the company of one whose greatness and holiness are as much beyond his comprehension as the splendour of the sun is beyond the comprehension of the bat or the mole? I will tell you who he is: he is now at Teheran, and makes his living by buffoonery of the lowest kind, and the Shah, who loves buffoonery, especially in a Seyyid, has given him the title of Kiwamu's Sadat. There is another younger brother, who is in high favour with certain of the nobles about the court, and whose influence has conduced in no small degree to the exaltation of his family."
"And do you mean to say," enquired the Seyyid, aghast at the scandalous details of Persian Court life furnished by the Sheykh, 'that this is the state of things prevailing in Teheran, the abode of the Caliphate' (Daru'l-Khilafat), at the court of him whom we account the Defender of the Faith and Protector of Religion?"
"Assuredly I do," replied the Sheykh, "and I can tell you
more surprising things than this if you care to hear them, from
which you will be better able to judge of the claims which
Nasiru'd-Din Shah has to these titles." And thereupon he
launched out into a variety of scandalous anecdotes, which it
is to be hoped had no foundation in fact, and which in any
case are best unrecorded. Neither could he be diverted from
this topic till the Seyyid departed in consternation, an object
at which, in all probability, he had from the first aimed.
"And now, Sheykh," I said, when we were alone, "will you
tell me more fully about the murder of the seven Ezelis who
"Yes," replied the Sheykh, who had drunk enough 'arak
to render him communicative, and not enough to make him
incoherent, "they were twelve in number who slew the Ezelis,
and nine of them were still living when I was at Acre. This
was the way of it. When Beha advanced his claim at Adrianople,
and his half-brother, Subh-i-Ezel, refused to admit it, the Babis
were divided into two factions, some going with the former,
and some holding fast to the latter. So high did the feeling run
that the matter ended in open strife, and two Ezelis and one
Beha'i were killed. So the Turkish Government determined to
separate the two, and arranged to banish Mirza Yahya (Subh-i-
Ezel) and his followers to a town in Cyprus near the sea-shore,
of which I cannot now remember the name, and Mirza Huseyn 'Ali
(Beha'u'llah), with his family and adherents, to Acre. But,
knowing the two factions to be on the worst possible terms, it
occurred to them that it would be advantageous to themselves
to keep a few of each in the stronghold of the other, so that,
should any Persian or other traveller come to Acre or Cyprus
with the intention of visiting Beha or Ezel, these adherents of
the rival claimant to supreme power might co-operate with the
governrnent in throwing obstacles in his way. So they sent three
of Beha's followers (one of whom, Mushkin-Kalam, so-called from
his extraordinary skill in calligraphy, is still  alive) to
Cyprus with Ezel, and seven Ezelis with Beha to Acre.
"Now as far as concerned Ezel this plan worked well enough,
for Mushkin-Kalam set up a little coffee-house at the port where
travellers must needs arrive, and whenever he saw a Persian
land, he would invite him in, give him tea or coffee and a pipe,
and gradually worm out of him the business which had brought
"When the Turks heard what had been done, they imprisoned
Beha and all his family and followers in the caravansaray,
but the twelve assassins came forward and surrendered
themselves, saying, 'We killed them without the knowledge of
our Master or any of our brethren; punish us, then, not them.'
So they were imprisoned for a while; but afterwards, at the
intercession of 'Abbas Effendi, Beha's eldest son, were suffered
to be at large, on condition only of remaining in Acre, and
wearing steel fetters on their ankles for a time."
'It was a horrible deed," I remarked.
"Nay," said thc Sheykh, "it was soon over for them; I have
seen worse than that myself. Love cannot exist without strife,
and, as has been said, 'affliction is the portion of affection.'"
"What do you allude to," enquired I, "when you say that
you have seen worse than this yourself?"
"To an experience which befell me when I was a mere lad,"* answered the Sheykh, "and had but recently entered into this circle. I was in Sultan-abad then--my native place--and the Friends used to meet regularly at night-time, the men in one room and the women in an adjoining apartment, to read the Holy Books and hold spiritual converse. All went well for a while; our conventicles escaped the notice of thc authorities, and might have continued to do so, had it not been for a traitor, Mulla 'Ali, now pishnamaz of one of the mosques of Sultan-abad (as his father Mulla Huseyn was then) who, to insinuate himself amongst us and compass our destruction, feigned belief in our doctrines, and for five or six months continued to frequent our assemblies until he knew us all, and discovered where our books were concealed.
"Now this wretch used to be a constant visitor at the house
of one of the chief adherents of our faith, a theologian named
Mulla Muhammad 'Ali, with whom he used to read the sacred
books. One day he requested permission to borrow a copy of
the Beyan, which was at once granted him. Having thus secured
possession of the book, he forthwith proceeded to the house of
Haji Aka Muhsin, the philosopher (hakami), and laid it before
him. Aka Muhsin (whom a study of philosophy had rendered
comparatively tolerant) invited Mulla Muhammad 'Ali to his
house to discuss the matter with him, intending, should he not
succeed in convincing him and inducing him to renounce his
opinions, to do no more than expel him and his associates from
the city. He further summoned another leading Babi, Mulla
* The date of this occurrence, so far as the Sheykh could recollect
it, was about A.H. 1278 (A.D. 1861-2).
"When news of these doings was brought to Prince Nusratu'd-
Dawla, the Governor, he sent a message to the Mujtahids, saying
'Leave this matter alone, for I will see to it.' Then he sent
and arrested all the Babis whose names were known to Mulla 'Ali
the traitor, and furthermore caused a number of those whose
opinions were suspected to pass before him, so that he might
identify those whom he had seen at the Babi conventicles. Some
twenty or thirty of us in all, including myself, were denounced,
and forthwith cast into a loathsome underground dungeon where
we lay, chained together in a row, hardly able to move and in
dire suspense, for that night and the whole of the next day.
"It was on the second night of our captivity that we heard a tramp of feet without; then the key grated in the lock, the door opened, and the executioner, accompanied by several of his assistants, bearing lanterns and the implements of his ghastly craft, entered. 'I am come to kill the Babis,' said he, as the farrashes set down the lanterns on the floor; and we, of course, supposed that one and all we were doomed to die.
"I was seventh in the row. Passing the first and second,
"They next came to Kerbela'i Haydar, the furrier (pustinduz), of Kabul, whom they slew in like manner; and we, seeing this (for he was fourth in the row, next to Usta Mahmud), made sure that all of us were to die. We were mistaken, however, for they passed by the fifth and sixth in the row, and myself (the seventh), and did not halt again till they came opposite to Mirza Hasan of Sultan-abad, the surgeon, who was next beyond me. And when they had made an end of him, and of Mirza Ahmad of Tafrish, who sat next beyond him, they gathered up their instruments of death, together with the lanterns, and, without saying another word, left us there in the darkness, the living and the dead chained together.
"It was an awful night, as you may imagine, for us who lay
beside our murdered companions, expecting to share their fate,
or one yet worse, on the morrow. But amongst us was one poor
hunchbacked cobbler, who, during the horrible scenes which
had just been enacted, had not once changed colour, and he
continued to console us, reciting poems suitable to our situation,
chanting verses from the sacred books, and crying, 'A strange
paradise is this! Yet, if we are to die to-morrow, it is at most
that we shall eat so many pounds less of bread and meat ere our
bodies return to the dust and our souls to the source whence
they came.' He grew more excited as he talked, and at last,
'Let us kill one another now,' he said; 'I will show you how it
may be done--I will press and press so gently that you shall
hardly know it, on the veins of the neck, and life will ebb quietly
"No more of us, however, were doomed to suffer death on
this occasion, save one old woman, nearly seventy years of age
the wife of Haji Aka Muhsin's paternal uncle. Her they sent
to Teheran; and when they asked the Shah what should be done
with her, he said, 'It is not good for a woman to be imprisoned,'
wherefore they strangled her in the women's apartments of the
palace, and cast her body into a well. The rest of us were released
about a fortnight later, after the governor had extorted from us
as much money as he could--in my case three hundred tumans."
I was not a little moved by this horrible story, and regarded the Sheykh with increased interest and respect, for after all a man who has looked death in the face (and such a death!) for conscience sake is worthy of respect, though he be a drunkard and a libertine. I could not help thinking what a strange combination of good and evil he must be--such a combination as would be almost impossible save amongst the Persians--but I only said:--
You have suffered much for your faith, it would seem."
"Ay, he said, nor was that the only time, though it was
the most terrible. I was imprisoned in the jail (anbar) at Teheran
for three months and seventeen days, along with five other Babis
Aka Jemal of Burujird, son of Mulla 'Ali, who was entitled the
Proof of Islam' (Hujjatu'l-Islam); Mirza Abu'l-Fazl of Gulpayagan,
the secretary of Manakji, the Zoroastrian agent at the Persian
Court, and the compiler, under his directions and instructions,
of the New History of this Most Great Theophany*;
* This is a mistake. Mirza Huseyn of Hamadan was Manakji's secretary, and he it was who, with the help of Mirza Abu'l-Fazl, compiled the New History. See the Introduction to my translation of that work, pp. xxxiv-xlii.
Sheykh Ibrahim next related to me what had once passed
between himself and the Shah's eldest son, the Zillu's-Sultan,
and the account given to him by the prince of the death of the
martyrs of Isfahan, which, as I have already published it in
the notes to the second volume of my Traveller's Narrative
(pp. 401-3), I will not here repeat, especially as I have already
referred to this episode more than once in the course of these
pages. I then again attempted to ascertain his views on the
future life and on the nature of the divinity ascribed to Beha,
but the 'arak which he had drunk was beginning to take effect,
and he was growing gradually incoherent. Concerning the soul,
he said that it was imperishable, and that when the body died it
looked calmly and unconcernedly on at the preparations for
interment. Pure and impure souls, he added, were like clean
and dirty water--the pure poured back into the brook, the
impure cast forth upon the ground to become mingled with it.
As for Beha, the Sheykh said: "I have heard him say in my
presence, 'I do not desire lordship over others; I desire all men
to become even as I am.'" When I remarked that many of his
followers declared him to be divine in quite another sense than
those who, according to the Sufi doctrine, had escaped from self
and become merged in God, the Sheykh simply remarked, "Then
they are in error." He added that Beha had forbidden him from
preaching, or making any attempts at proselytising, saying that
Thursday, 18th July, 9th Dhi'l-ka'da.--Towards evening I went into the town and called at the post-office, where the postmaster lent me a poem in praise of Beha, composed by one Na'im of Abade, a poor man of no education, whose power of verse-writing is regarded by his co-religionists as a divine gift, and little short of miraculous. His verses are partly in Persian, partly in Arabic, and of the latter, at any rate, it may truly be said that they are of the most miraculous character. Usta Akbar, the pea- parcher, was also there. He was, after his wont, very mysterious, and informed me that a relation of the postmaster's, who was a "Mulla," and who possessed some of Kurratu'l-'Ayn's poems, was anxious to see me, but that I must not mention this to the postmaster, as he might be displeased. I was somewhat surprised at what appeared to me so unnecessary a stipulation, but attributed it to Usta Akbar's love of mystery. It was only afterwards (for the pronouns in Persian do not distinguish gender) that I discovered that the "Mulla" in question was a lady, who regarded herself as a "manifestation" (mazhar), or re-incarnation, of Kurratu'l-'Ayn. It was accordingly arranged that I should meet this "Mulla" on the next day but one, at the house of one of the officials of the post-office. As I did not know where he lived, I enquired as to how I should find my way thither. Usta Akbar naturally selected the most cumbrous and mysterious method he could think of. I was to walk slowly past his shop at a certain hour on the Saturday in question, and he would tell his apprentice to be on the look-out for me, and, as soon as he saw me, to run out, pass me, and precede me at a distance of twenty or thirty yards to the rendezvous.
This plan was duly carried out, and on the afternoon of
the appointed day I found myself in a room in the house of
Haydaru'llah Beg, the postman, where, besides my host, were
By this time eight or nine other persons had joined us,
including Sheykh Ibrahim and his friend 'Abdu'llah, in consequence
of which the recitation of Kurratu'l-'Ayn's poems, which I had
been so eager to hear, was postponed. Several Babi books,
however, were shown to me, induding one containing the
Kalimat-i-Maknuna, or "Hidden Words of Fatima,"* of which
the surpassing eloquence was greatly praised by all present.
"Will you not smoke a kalyan?" enquired Sheykh Ibrahim, turning suddenly to me. I signified assent, and he called for one to be brought. "A good one, mind, for the Sahib," he cried, as the servant left the room.
In a minute or two the kalyan was brought, and as I took it,
and, according to the customary etiquette, offered it in turn to
all present before putting my lips to it, I fancied that I was
watched with a certain attention and subdued amusement for
which I could not account. The first whiff of smoke, however,
"Nice enough," I answered, "but I fear it somewhat, for unless I am much mistaken, you have put 'Master Seyyid'* into it."
I do not think that during the whole time I was in Persia I
ever scored so great a success as by this simple remark. That I
--a mere European--should be able to recognise the taste of
hashish was much, but that I should know it, so to speak, by its
pet name, was indeed to prove myself well matured (pukhte) by
travel and the society of persons of experience.
"How ever did you know that?" enquired the Sheykh amidst the laughter and applause of the others.
"Because I am a Firangi must I needs be an ass?" I demanded with a show of indignation.
Sheykh Ibrahim was delighted, and proceeded to unfold to
me many mysteries connected with the use of narcotics in Persia.
He told me of an oil called Rawghan-i-Hashish ("Oil of Indian
Hemp'), prepared from a plant named Tature (? Datura), of
which half a nokhud would render a man insensible for twenty-
four or thirty-six hours. This, he said, was often employed by
* Hashish is thought so badly of in Persia that it is usually spoken
of, even by those who use it, by some nickname, such as Aka-yi-
Seyyid ("Master Seyyid"), Tuti-i-asrar ("The Parrot of mysteries"),
or simply Asrar ("Mysteries"), the first two alluding to its green
colour. One of the odes of Hafiz, beginning "Alaya tuti-yi guya-yi
asrar, Mabada khaliyat shakkar zi minkar" ("O Parrot, who discoursest
of mysteries, may thy beak never want sugar!"), is addressed to the
Monday, 22nd July, 13th Dhi'l-ka'da.--To-day another threatened
collision between Seyyid Huseyn of Jandak and Sheykh Ibrahim
was with difficulty averted. The former had dropped in during
the afternoon to read me selected extracts from Haji Muhammad
Karim Khan's attack on the Babi doctrines, when the latter most
inopportunely joined us. The two glared at one another for a
while, and then the Seyyid, who had a really remarkable faculty
for making things disagreeable, began to ask the Sheykh whether
he had been to Acre lately, and other similar questions. I
interposed, and, to my great relief, succeeded in changing the
conversation, and getting the Sheykh to talk about his travels.
He told us about the Yezdis (the so-called "Devil-worshippers")
of Mosul and its environs. "They extend for a distance of three
stages west of Mosul," said he, "and strange folk they are--
uglier than you can imagine, with immense heads and long
unkempt beards, and dressed in white or crimson clothes. They
refuse to regard any sect or any person, even the Devil (whom
they call 'Malak-i-Ta'us,' the 'Peacock Angel'), as bad; and if
any unwary traveller curses him, or 'Omar, or Shimr, or anyone
else whom most men are wont to curse, or if he spits on the
ground, they consider it incumbent on themselves to kill him,
though every man of them should suffer death in retaliation.
They have a sort of temple whither they repair for their devotions,
Tuesday, 23rd July, 14th Dhi'l-ka'da.--In the afternoon I rode
into town and visited the Sheykh of Kum. He called to his
little daughter (a child six or seven years of age), who was on
the roof, to come down and speak to me, but she, with precocious
modesty, hid her face with a corner of her shawl and refused.
"Why wilt thou not come down and speak to the Firangi Sahib?" enquired her father.
"Because I am shy," cried the little one from the roof, peeping out from behind her extemporised veil.
Thou art not wont to be so shy before others," he continued; why then before this one?"
"I do not reckon them as men," she replied, with a toss of
her head, and ran away to hide, while we both burst out laughing,
and I remarked that such a compliment from the lips of a child
was indeed gratifying.
The Sheykh talked rather freely about Babiism "The allegations
made by the Musulmans about the Babis," said he, "though
untrue, are in most cases founded to some extent upon fact.
They say, for instance, that the Bab wrote Arabic which violated
the rules of grammar. This is not true; but it is true that he
made use of grammatical forms which, though theoretically
possible, are not sanctioned by usage, such as 'Wahhad,' from
Wahid; Farrad, from Farid, and the like. So, too, they accuse
Kurratu'l-'Ayn of unchastity. That is a lie--she was the Essence
of Purity; but after His Holiness the Point [i.e. the Bab] had
declared the Law of Islam abrogated, and ere he had promulgated
new ordinances, there ensued a period of transition which we
call Fatrat ('the Interval'), during which all things were lawful.
So long as this continued she may very possibly have consorted;
At this point we were joined by a certain Mulla whom I knew to be the chief Ezeli in Kirman, and to have an enormous collection of Babi books. I was extremely anxious to draw him into conversation on this topic, when, to my great chagrin, the postmaster (who was, as will be remembered, a determined Beha'i) was announced. He looked at us suspiciously, evidently guessing the subject which occupied our thoughts, and forthwith there fell upon us a sense of constraint which soon brought about the dispersion of the assembly.
On leaving the Sheykh's house I was making for the telegraph- office to condole with the Prince-Telegraphist on the death of his eldest son, the poor lad whom I had last seen smoking opium at the house of my friend, the secretary of the governor, when I was met by Mirza 'Ali Naki Khan, the brother of the chief of the Farrashes, and by him detained in conversation. While we were talking, a murmur suddenly arose that the Prince-Governor was coming, and everyone began to bow down, with arms folded across their breasts, in humble obeisance. When the Prince saw me he called me to him, brought me with him into his garden, and bade his servants bring tea, kalyans and cigarettes. He did not talk much, being busy reading a packet of letters which had just been placed in his hands, and examining a fine gold repeater which had arrived by the same post, so, when I had sat for a short time, I asked permission to retire--which was accorded me. I then proceeded to the telegraph-office, where I found the Prince-Telegraphist looking very sad and dejected, and surrounded by five or six Babis of note, who, like myself, had come to offer condolence.
On returning to my garden about two hours after sunset,
I found the pea-parcher and a rather notable dervish of the
Wednesday, 24th July, 15th Dhi'l-ka'da.--My guests departed
early, soon after sunrise, Usta Akbar awakening me to
communicate the message which had brought him to the garden on
the previous evening. "There is a poor opium-kneader (tiryak-
mal) of my acquaintance," said he, "one of 'the Friends,' who
is most anxious to entertain you at his house, and has so
importuned me to bring you, that for the sake of peace I had to
promise that I would do so. He wanted you to sup with him and
stay the night at his house, but, having regard to its meanness,
I told him that this would not be convenient to you, so it has
been arranged that we shall lunch there to-morrow and spend
the day. Come, therefore, in two hours' time to the caravansaray
of Ganj 'Ali Khan, and there one shall meet you who will conduct
you to the opium-kneader's house."
I fell asleep again when Usta Akbar had gone, and did not
awake for several hours. Just as I was going out with 'Abdu'l-
Huseyn I met the opium-kneader, who, poor man, had already
come once to the garden that morning to guide me to his house
whither we at once proceeded. Haydaru'llah Beg, and Nasru'llah
Beg of the post-office, a dervish named Habibu'llah, and the
pea-parcher, were the other guests, and later we were joined
by the Prince-Telegraphist's secretary and Sheykh Ibrahim, who
though uninvited, had by some occult means discovered that
Thursday, 25th July, 16th Dhi'l-ka'da.--In the afternoon I went
into the city by the Mosque Gate, through which crowds of
people were pouring forth to visit the cemetery, the "Eve of
Friday" (Shab-i-Jum'a) being the favourite time for the
performance of this pious act. The Babi dervish-boy was amongst
the crowd, and, dervish-fashion, placed a sprig of mint in my
hand as he passed, but without asking or waiting for the small
sum of money which is generally expected in return for this
compliment. In the square of the caravansaray of Ganj 'Ali Khan,
I saw Usta Akbar standing, and approached him to speak with
him. While we were conversing, there came up to me a certain
dervish, who had once visited me in my garden, and craved an
alms "for the sake of Beha." Now in general I made it a rule to
respond, as far as possible, to such calls; but against this
particular dervish I cherished some resentment, for this reason.
On the day when he visited me in the garden, Sheykh Ibrahim
chanced to be with me; and him, either from previous knowledge,
or from some chance remark which he let drop, the dervish
recognised as a Babi. So when he had sat with us for a while,
"Ay," said he, "no opium: neither bread nor opium. For the sake of Beha give me some money!"
"You ingrate (namak-haram)!" I exclaimed, exasperated at his pertinacity and indiscreetness (for already a little crowd was gathering round us to listen to our dialogue, and to stare at "the Firangi Babi," from whom alms were demanded "for the sake of Beha"), "how dare you come to me again for money after what you have done?"
"I am no ingrate," he answered, "and whoever says so wrongs
me. What have I done that you should be thus angry with me?"
"What have you done?" I retored; "when you came to the
garden, did I not give you money and tea and opium, and speak
you fair? And did you not, with the money and the opium in
your pocket, and the taste of the tea in your mouth, go out and
make mischief against me, spreading idle and damaging reports?"
Then at last he slunk away with some appearance of shame.
Friday, 26th July, 17th Dhi'l-ka'da.--During the greater part
of the day I was occupied in writing for the Prince-Governor the
brief account of my journey which he had requested me to compose
for him. Towards evening, Sheykh Ibrahim, 'Abdu'llah, and the
self-sufficient and conceited cobbler, whose rudeness to the old
Sheykh Ibrahim bore with this reading, or rather chanting,
as long as he could, gulping down his rage and his 'arak together,
till finally one or both of these proved too much for him, and
he suddenly turned ferociously on the unsuspecting cobbler.
"Beast and idiot!" he cried, "cannot you be silent when there are men present, and let them talk without interrupting them with your abominable gabbling? Your silly head is so turned by Usta Akbar and others, who listen to your reading, and applaud it with cries of 'Ziba mi-khwanad!' ('How nicely he reads!') that you are inflated with conceit, and do not see that this Firangi here, who knows ten times as much Arabic as you do, is laughing at you under his lip, because in every word of Arabic which you read you violate a rule of grammar. Silence then, beast, and be no more intoxicated with Usta Akbar's 'Ziba mi-khwanad!'"
The poor cobbler was utterly taken aback by this unexpected sally. "Forgive me, O Sheykh!" he began; "I am only a poor ignorant man---"
"Man!" cried the Sheykh, waxing more and more wroth;
"I spit on the pates of the father and mother of the dog-mamma!*
Man, forsooth! You are like those maggots (kharatin) which
thrust forth their heads from rotten fruit and wave them in the
air under the impression that they are men. I count you not as
belonging to the world of humanity!"
* A slightly refined translation of the Persian "Ridam bi-kelle-i-
pidar u madar-i-nene sag," a form of abuse which was a great favourite
with the Sheykh, who was not given to mincing words.
"O Sheykh!" exclaimed the poor cobbler, "Whatever you may please to say is right. I have eaten dirt! I have committed a fault. I am the least of your servants!"
But I will not accept you as my servant," shouted the Sheykh; you are not in my world at all. I take no cognisance of your existence." And so he stormed on, till the wretched cobbler, now reduced to tears, grovelled at his feet, begging for enlightenment and instruction, and saying, "You are a great and a wise man; your knowledge is far beyond ours; you have travelled and seen the world, and looked on the Blessed Beauty (Jemal-i-Mubarak, i.e. Beha'u'llah, the Babi hierarch at Acre). Tell me what to think, and what to believe, and what to do and I will accept it." Finally the Sheykh was appeased, and they embraced and made up their quarrel.
Saturday, 27th July, 18th Dhi'l-ka'da.--This day was chiefly
notable to me because, for the first time for several weeks, I
succeeded in resisting the growing craving for opium which
possessed me. This had now begun to cause me some anxiety for
I felt that the experiment had gone quite far enough. "It is
all very well," I thought to myself, "to enter into the world of
the opium-smoker--and the experience was needed to complete
my view of dervish life--but if I do not take care I shall become
a dervish in reality, living from hand to mouth, engrossed with
smoking opium and 'weaving metaphysic' ('irfan-bafi), and
content if I can but postpone the business or trouble of to-day
till to-morrow--a to-morrow which never comes. It is high time
I took measures to put an end to this state of things." The plan
which I devised for putting an end to my servitude was based
upon the observation that it is not so much the smoking of
opium as the regular smoking of opium at a fixed time, that is
dangerous. I believe that, speaking generally, anyone may
indulge in an occasional pipe with impunity; but I had accustomed
myself to smoke opium regularly after supper, and so soon as
this time came round, an indescribable craving came upon me,
Sunday, 28th July, 19th Dhi'l-ka'da.--To-day I lunched with
Usta Akbar to meet the postmaster of Kirman; the chief of the
telegraph at Rafsinjan, who was on a visit to Kirman; and several
other Babis of the Beha'i faction. On my entrance they greeted
me with an outburst of raillery, induced, as it appeared, by their
belief that I was disposed to prefer the claims of Subh-i-Ezel to
those of Beha, and that I had been influenced in this by the
Sheykh of Kum and his friends. I was at first utterly taken aback
and somewhat alarmed at their vehemence, but anger at the unjust
and intolerant attitude towards the Ezelis which they took up
presently came to my aid, and I reminded them that such violence
and unfairness, so far from proving their case, could only make
it appear the weaker. "From the statement of Sheykh Ibrahim,
I concluded, "who is one of your own party, it appears that
your friends at Acre, who complain so much of the bigotry,
intolerance, and ferocious antagonism of the Muhammadans, and
who are always talking about 'consorting with men of every
faith with spirituality and fragrance,' could find no better
argument than the dagger of the assassin wherewith to convince the
On returning to the garden I found Seyyid Huseyn and one Mirza Ghulam Huseyn awaiting my arrival. They stayed for some time, and, as usual, talked about religion. With Mirza Ghulam Huseyn I was much pleased, though I could not satisfy myself as to his real opinions. He told me that he had read the gospels attentively, and was convinced of their genuineness by the deep effect which the words of Christ recorded in them had produced on his heart. He added that he could interpret many of the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelation as applying to Muhammad, and would do so for my benefit if I would Visit him in the Karavansaray-i-Gulshan, where he lodged.
Monday, 29th July, 20th Dhi'l-Ka'da.--This evening there was
another stormy scene in the summer-house, of which, as usual
Sheykh Ibrahim was the cause. He and the parcher of peas came
to visit me about sundown, bringing with them a poor scrivener
named Mirza Ahmad, who had made for himself copies of certain
writings of the Babis, with which, as being a dangerous possession,
he was, I was informed, willing to part for a small consideration.
Now to guard himself from suspicion, in case the book should
fall into the hands of an enemy, he had placed at the end of the
Kitab-i-Akdas, whlch stood first in the volume, a colophon,
Wednesday, 31st July, 22nd Dhi'l-Ka'da.--In the morning
Seyyid Huseyn came, bringing with him a kindly and courteous
old divine of the Sheykhi sect, named Mulla Muhammad of Jupar.
When lunch-time came I invited them to eat with me, "although,"
I added with a smile, "I am in your eyes but an unclean infidel."
"Now God forbid that it should be so!" exclaimed the old
mulla; "in His Name (exalted is He!) will we partake of your
food." So Haji Safar set before them delicate and strange meats,
whereof they ate with great contentment, and presently departed,
well pleased with their entertainment. Thereupon I again set to
work on the account of my journey which I was writing for the
Prince-Governor, intending later to go into the city; but
word came from Mirza Jawad's son that he would visit me with
"'Discerning philosopher,' 'excellent of resort,'" read Mulla
Ghulam Huseyn. "What right have you, a Firangi, to such
titles as these? Either be this thing or that--a Firangi or a
An end was put to this unpleasant conversation by the return
of Seyyid Huseyn and the old mulla of Jupar, who were soon
followed by Usta Akbar and several other persons, mostly Babis.
In this ill-assorted and incongruous assembly, which thteatened
momentarily to terminate in an explosion, I was oppressed as by
a thunderstorm, and I was almost thankful when the rudeness
of Usta Akbat finally put the Sheykhis to rout, leaving the Babis
in possession of the field. These also departed a little later,
leaving me at last in peace. They wished me to go with them on
the morrow or the following day to Mahan, to visit the shrine
of the great Sufi saint, Shah Ni'matu'llah. I told them that I had
already ptomised to go with some of my Zoroastrian friends;
whereupon they urged me to break with these "gahr-ha-yi najis"
("unclean pagans"), as they called them, and would hardly take
Next day I had a telegram from Shiraz enquiring when I
proposed to return thither, and urging me to leave Kirman
without further delay. This caused me some annoyance, as I
had no wish to leave it yet, and hoped to obtain permission
from Cambridge to postpone my return to England till January,
so that I might go by Bandar-i-'Abbas and the Persian Gulf to
Baghdad, and thence to Damascus and Acre, which would be
impossible till the cooler weather came. I therefore had recourse
to the opium-pipe, and deferred answering the message till the
following day, when I visited the telegraph-office and despatched
an answer to the effect that I had no intention of quitting Kirman
at present. I found my friend the Prince-Telegraphist still much
cast down at the loss of his eldest son. His mind was evidently
running much on the fate of the soul after its separation from the
body, and he asked me repeatedly, "What think you of the matter?
what have you understood?" He also talked more openly than he
had hitherto done about the Babi religion, saying that as between
the rival claimants to the pontificate, Beha and Ezel, he found
it hard to decide, but that as to the divine mission of Mirza 'Ali
Muhammad, the Bab, there could, he thought, be no doubt. Then
his secretary, who was an ardent believer in Beha, read
extracts from the epistles and treatises which he was copying
for me, and asked if these were like the words of a mere
man; but the poor prince only shook his head, sorrowfully,
saying, "It is a hard matter; God knows best!"
Next day a term was put to my uncertainty (though not
in the way I wished) by the arrival of a telegram from England,
which had been translated into Persian and sent on from Shiraz,
I had now no excuse for prolonging my stay at Kirman; yet
still I could not summon up resolution to leave it. It seemed as
though my whole mental horizon had been altered by the atmosphere
of mysticism and opium smoke which surrounded me. I had almost
ceased to think in English, and nothing seemed so good in my
eyes as to continue the dreamy speculative existence which I
was leading, with opium for my solace and dervishes for
my friends. Peremptory telegrams came from Shiraz, sometimes
two or three together, but I heeded them not, and banished all
thought of them with these two potent antidotes to action of
which I have spoken above. Their influence must have been at
its height at this time, for once or twice I neglected for a day
or two even to write my diary--a daily task which I had hitherto
allowed nothing to keep me from accomplishing. The record of
the incidents which marked the day preceding the first break of
this sort shows the elements of external disturbance and internal
quietism in full conflict--on the one hand, a tripartite telegram
from the English Superintendent of the Telegraph at Shiraz,
Some decision, however, was imperatively called for, and
could not much longer be deferred; for, amongst other things,
my money had nearly come to an end, and I could only obtain
a fresh supply in Teheran, Isfahan, or Bushire. In this strait
my friends came to my assistance with a delicacy and a generosity
which I shall not readily forget. I was making arrangements for
borrowing, at 5 per cent. interest, a sufficient sum to take me
at least as far as Isfahan or Teheran, when, almost simultaneously,
by a Babi and a Zoroastrian merchant, I was offered any advance
that I might need. I was at first unwilling to borrow from
either of them, remembering the Arabic proverb, "el-kardu mikrad-
u'l mawaddat" ("Borrowing is the scissors of friendship"), but
they would take no denial, especially the Babi, who said that
he should feel deeply hurt if I refused to accept his offer.
Finally, I consented to avail myself of his kindness, and
borrowed from him a sum of sixty or seventy tumans (about 20
pounds), for which he declined to accept any interest, and could
only be prevailed upon with difficulty to take a receipt. This
sum I duly remitted to his agent at Teheran on my arrival there.
And now Haji Safar, who, in spite of occasional fits of
perversity and sulkiness, had always shown himself a faithful and
loyal servant, came to the rescue. He had been much troubled
(and not without reason) at the state of indecision and inactivity
into which I had lapsed, which state he ascribed to some spell
cast over me by the Babis, to whom he had even addressed
"Sahib," he began, "you cannot stay on here for ever, and you
know that you are wanted in England at the beginning of the
month of Safar next (7th October 1888). Now I have been
thinking how you can stay at Kirman as long as possible, see
as much new country as possible, and still be back in your own
country in time. If you return to Shiraz and go thence to
Bushire, and there take ship, you will not arrive in time, even
if we could start at once, which we cannot do, as it will not
be easy to find mules for the journey. It is much better, then,
that we should go to Teheran, and that you should return thence
through Russia. The advantages of this plan ar that you
can have a week or ten days more here; visit your friends at
Rafsinjan on the way; see your friends at Yezd, Kashan, Kum,
and Teheran again; be in the capital for the Muharram passion-
plays, which you will nowhere see so well performed; and
traverse Mazandaran or Gilan, both of which, as I can assure you,
are very remarkable countries, which you ought to see before
leaving Persia. I will undertake to sell your horse for not less
than you gave for it, and before it is sold I will arrange for you
to visit Mahan, as you wished to do. You can write to Shiraz
for your things to be sent to meet you at Teheran, where also
you will be able to buy any more books of which you have need.
What do you think of my plan? Have I not spoken well?"
That he had spoken well there was no doubt; his plan was
the best that remained possible, and he had baited it cunningly.
With a sudden sense of shame at my own lethargy, and gratitude
to Haji Safar for his wise admonition, I determined once and
for all to shake off this fatal quietism which had been so long
growing on me, and at once to take the steps necessary for the
execution of his plan.
Two days later, on 9th August, everything was in proper train. The expedition to Mahan had presented some difficulties, but they were overcome by Haji Safar's energy. He came to me about sundown on that day with a smile of triumph and satisfaction. "Sahib," said he, "it is all arranged: you will go to Mahan and perform your visitation to the shrine, and that without bearing the burden of obligation to anyone. I have found an old man, an uncle of the gardener's, and a regular 'desert-walker' (biyaban-gasht), who will bear you company and show you the way; for I must remain here to complete our preparations for the journey. I will bring you your supper directly, and then you had better go to sleep for a while; for if you start four hours after sunset, you will still be at Mahan by daybreak. You will remain there all to-morrow, travel back in the same way to-morrow night, and be here at daybreak on Sunday morning."
The silent march to Mahan (for the old guide stalked on
before me with swift untiring gait, only looking round now
and again to see that I was following him) was pleasant in spite
of its monotony. Never had my horse carried me so well as
on this our last journey together. Once again my spirit was
refreshed and rejoiced by the soft night air and the shimmer of
the moonlight on the sand-hills, until the sky grew pale with the
dawn, and the trees and buildings of Mahan stood clear before us.
We went straight to the shrine of the great Saint Shah
Ni'matu'llah, and were admitted without difficulty in company
with other pilgrims. One of the dervishes attached to the
shrine read the ziyarat, or form of visitation. Then he said
to me, as the other pilgrims were kissing the tombstone, "Sahib,
Shah Ni'matu'llah was a great man." I acquiesced. "In the world
of the gnostics there is no difference of sects," he continued.
Again I agreed. "Then," said he, "seeing that this is so, it were
not amiss for you to kiss his tombstone." I did as he desired,
and then, having visited the various buildings connected with
In the afternoon the dervishes took me to see some of the
gardens which surround Mahan. In one of these, called the
Gardan-i-Shutur ("Camel's Neck"), a charming spot, I met my
friend Serush, the Zoroastrian, who was still mourning the
death of his brother, and had come to Mahan for a day's solitude
and quiet before starting for Teheran to wind up his affairs.
About two hours before sunset, after another cup of tea, I
bade farewell to the kindly dervishes, mounted my horse, and
started homewards with my guide, well pleased with Mahan and
its people, and disposed to regard as a gratuitous slander that
"Well," said he, "and have you found a religion better than that in which you were brought up?"
"No," I replied.
"What of Islam?" continued he.
"It is a good religion," I answered.
"Which is best," said he: "the Law of Islam or your Law?"
"Why do you ask me this question?" I replied; "my apparel
answers for me. If I thought Islam the better, I should not
come here clad in this raiment, but rather in turban and 'aba."
Thereat the younger students laughed, and the Aka-zadas, remarking that it was the time for the evening prayer, went off to the mosque, leaving a cousin of theirs, who wore the dress of a layman, to entertain me till their return. He gave me tea, and would have had me stay to supper, so as to converse with the Aka-zadas, but I excused myself, and soon after their return from the mosque took my departure. One of Karim Khan's sons accompanied me to the gate. I thanked him for his hospitality. .
"Our Prophet hath bidden us 'honour the guest,'" said he.
"'Even though he be an infidel,'" I replied, completing the quotation; whereat we parted with laughter.
Another silent ride through the moonlit desert, and, as the
sun rose above the horizon, I alighted for the last time from
my honest old horse at the gate of my garden in Kirman. The
arrangements for his sale had been already concluded, and that
very day the servant of his new master brought me a cheque for