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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

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.