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178                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA             LETTER sxv

Another uninteresting march of twenty miles over
high table-lands and through a valley surrounded by
mud hills, with quaint outcrops of broken rock on their
summits, and a pass through some picturesque rocky hills
brought us into a basin among mountains, in which
stands the rather important town of Bijar in the midst
of poplars, willows, apricots, and vines. Bijar is said
to have 5000 inhabitants. It has a Governor for itself
and the surrounding district, and a garrison of a regiment
of infantry and 100 sowars to keep the turbulent frontier
Kurds in order. It has ruinous mud walls, no regular
bazars, only shops at intervals; fully a third is in ruins,
and most of the houses and even the Governor's palace are
falling into decay. It is, however, accounted a thriving
place, and is noted for gelims and carpenters' work. It
has four caravanserais, hardly habitable, however, seven
hammams, and a few mosques and mollahs' schools. It
has an air of being quite out of the world. I have been
here two days, and as foreigners are very rarely seen, the
greater part of the population has strolled past my tent.

I camped as usual outside the walls, near a small
spring, and soon a farash-lashi came from the Governor,
with a message expressive of much annoyance at my
having "camped in the wilderness when I was their
guest, and they would have given me a safe camping-
ground in the palace garden." Mirza took my introduc-
tion to him, and he sent a second message saying that the
next three marches were " very dangerous," and appointed
an hour for an interview. Soon eight infantrymen,
well uniformed and set up, with rifles and fixed bayonets,
arrived and mounted guard round my tent, changing
every six hours. This completed Sharban's discomfiture.

Yarious difficulties arose on Sunday, and much against
my will I had to call on the Governor. He received me
in a sort of durbar. A great number of men, litigants