146 JOURNEYS IN PEESIA LETTER xxn The wall as is usual is of crumbling, rain-eaten, sun- dried bricks, and a very poor gateway admits the traveller into a network of narrow alleys, very ruinous, with in- famous roadways, full of lumps, holes, slimy black channels, stout mangy dogs, some of them earless, tailless, and one-eyed, sleeping in heaps in the hot sun, the whole overwhelmingly malodorous.1 It was no easy matter to find the way to the Ameri- can Mission House, even though the missionary Hakim is well known and highly esteemed, and I rode through the filthy alleys of the city and its crowded bazars for more than an hour before I reached the Armenian quarter. The people were most polite. There was no shouting or crushing in the bazars, and in some cases men walked with me for some distance to show me the way, especially when I asked for the Klianum's house. Indeed they all seemed anxious to assist a stranger. Many of the children salaamed, as I thought, but I have since heard that they are fond of using to a Christian a word which sounds just like salaam, but which instead of meaning Peace is equivalent to " May you be for ever accursed!" On reaching the Mission House I found it shut and that the missionaries were in the country, and after sending word that I had arrived I spent some hours in an Armenian house, where the people showed extreme hospitality and kindness. They put a soft quilt down on the soft rugs, which covered the floor of a pretty whitewashed room, with 1 Hamadan is the fourth city in the Empire in commercial importance. She has a Prince Governor, 450 villages in the district, raises revenue to the amount of 60,000 tumans, of which only 11,000 are paid into the Imperial Treasury, and, as the ancient Ecbatana, the capital of the Median kings, she has a splendid history, but the few lines in which I recorded my first impressions are not an exaggeration of the meanness and un- savouriness of her present externals.