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LETTER xxiv SHOALS OF VISITORS 163
thing else during their visits. The Armenian women
call at all hours, and the Jewish women in large bands
without previous announcement. Tea & la Eusse is pro-
vided for all, and Ibrahim goes to the door and counts
the shoes left outside in order to know how many to pro-
vide for. "JDianum" he exclaimed one day after this
inspection, " there are at least twenty of them !"
Some call out of politeness or real friendliness, others'
to see the tamaska (the sights of the house), many from
the villages to talk about their children, and some of the
Jewish women, who have become JBabis, ask to have the
New Testament read to them in the hope of hearing
something which they may use in the propagation of their
new faith. A good many women have called on me out
of politeness to my hostesses. Persian gentlemen invari-
ably send the day before to know if a visit can be con-
veniently received, and on these occasions the ladies
always secure the chaperonage of one of the men mis-
sionaries. The concierge has orders not to turn any one
away, and it is a blessing when sunset comes and the
stream of visitors ceases.
All meet with a genial reception, and the ladies usually
succeed not only in lifting the conversation out of the
customary frivolous grooves, but in awaking more or less
interest in the religion which they are here to propagate.
They are missionaries first and everything else afterwards,
and Miss ------, partly because of her goodness and
benevolence to all, and partly because of an uncompromis-
ing honesty in her religious beliefs which the people
thoroughly appreciate, has a remarkable influence in
Hamadan, and is universally respected. Her jollity and
sense of humour are a great help. She thoroughly enjoys
making people laugh.
I have never been in any place in which the relations
with Moslems have been so easy and friendly. The