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156                     JOUKNEYS IN PEESIA          LETTER xxm

and Armenian population. They all speak Persian, and
the men at least are scarcely to be distinguished from
Persians by their dress. They are not in any way
oppressed, and, except during occasional outbreaks of
Moslem fanaticism, are on very good terms with their
neighbours. They live in a separate quarter, and both
Gregorians and Protestants exercise their religion with-
out molestation. They excel in various trades, specially
carpentering and working in metals. Their position in
Hamadan is improving, and this may be attributed in
part to the high-class education given in the American
High School for boys, and to the residence among them
of the American missionaries, who have come to be re-
garded as their natural protectors.

The population of Hamadan is "an unknown quantity."
It probably does not exceed 25,000, and has undoubtedly
decreased. Seyyids and mollahs form a considerable pro-
portion of it, and it is one of the strongholds of the JBabis.
It is usually an orderly city, and European ladies wearing
gauze veils and properly attended can pass through it
both by day and night. Several parts of it are enclosed
by gates, as at Canton, open only from sunrise to sunset,
an arrangement which is supposed to be conducive to
security.                                                        I. L. B.