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174                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA            LETTER xxv

would not take him before the Governor, and would not
make him " eat wood," and his big caravan at last has
chimed away on its northward journey to be seen no
more. Thus, by acting a part absolutely hateful to me,
the mutiny was quelled, and things are now going on
all right, except that Sharban avails himself of small
opportunities of being disobliging. I do sincerely detest
the cowardliness of the Oriental nature, which is probably
the result of ages of oppression by superiors.

It is so vexing that the policy of trust which has-
served me so well on all former journeys has to be aban-
doned, and that one of suspicion has to be substituted
for it. I am told by all Europeans that from the Shah
downwards no one trusts father, brother, wife, superior,
or inferior. Every one walks warily and suspiciously
through a maze of fraud and falsehood. If one asks a
question, or any one expresses an opinion, or tells what
passes for a fact, he looks over each shoulder to see that
no one is listening.1

A noble Persian said to me, " Lying is rotting this
country. Persians tell lies before they can speak."
Almost every day when one is wishing to be trustful,
kind, and considerate, one encounters unmitigated lying,
cowardly bluster, or dexterously-planned fraud, and the
necessity of being always on guard is wearing and re-

Here is another specimen of the sort of net which is
woven round a traveller. At Kooltapa, after the theft,
I sent to the ketchuda for a night-watchman, and he

1 Apparently it was always thus, for on a tablet at Persepolis occurs a
passage in which the vice of lying is mentioned as among the external
dangers which threatened the mighty empire of the Medes and Persians.
"Says Darius the king: May Ormuzd bring help to me, with the deities
who guard my house j and may Ormuzd protect this province from slavery,
from decrepitude, from lying ; let not war, nor slavery, nor decrepitude,
nor lies obtain power over this province."