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166                      JOUBNEYS IN PERSIA           LETTER xxiv

suit my own convenience. This was read over twice, and
the Turk sealed it in presence of four witnesses. All his
other mules are going with loads to Urmi, and this
accounts for his great desire to send the five with me. I
have expressly stipulated that I am to have nothing to
do with the big caravan, but am to take my own time.
This Turk has good looks and plausible manners, and
the animals have sound backs, but I distrust him.

The servant difficulty, which threatened to keep me
here indefinitely, is also adjusted. Hassan left me when
I arrived, being unwilling to go to the north of Persia so
late, and he bought a new opium pipe, saying that he
cannot bear the pain and craving of being without it.
He was a fair travelling servant for a Persian, not un-
reasonably dishonest, and I am sorry to lose him. In
the attempt to replace him a maze of lies, fraud, and
underhand dealing has been passed through. I have at
last engaged Johannes, a strong-looking young Armenian,
speaking Turkish and Persian besides Armenian. He
has never served Europeans, but has learned baking and
the wine trade. He looks much of a cub. For appear-
ance sake I have armed him with a long gun. He and
Mirza are alike incompetent to make any travelling ar-
rangements or overcome any difficulties, to discover whe^e
escorts are needed and where they may be dispensed
with, or to meet any emergencies, and as Persian will be
considerably replaced by Turki en route Mirza will be
of less and less use as an interpreter. I cannot get any
recent information about the route, and very little at all.
I see endless difficulties ahead, and a prospect of illus-
trating in my own experience the dictum often dinned
into my ears, that " No lady ought to travel alone in

This will be my last opportunity of posting a letter
for nearly a month. The Persian post is only exceeded in