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LETTER xxv                BIJAR COURTESY                            179

and others, crowded the corridors and reception-rooms.
He looked bloated and dissipated, and seemed scarcely
sober. He sat on cushions on the floor, with a row of
scribes and mollaJis on his right, and many farashes and
soldiers stood about the door. Seyyids, handsome and
haughty, glanced at me contemptuously, and the drunken
giggle of the Khan and the fixed scowl of the motion-
less row of scribes were really overpowering. Tea was
produced, but the circumstances were so disagreeable
that I did not wait for the conventional third cup.
The Khan said that the ladies are in the country a
few miles off, and hoped I would visit them, that some
marches on the road are unsafe, and that he would give
me a letter which would be useful in procuring escorts
after I left his jurisdiction, and he has since sent it.
He was quite courteous, as indeed all Persians of the
upper classes are, but I hope never again to pass through
the ordeal of calling upon a Moslem without a European

Later, the principal wife of the military commander of
the district called with a train of shrouded women, fol-
lowed by servants bringing an abundant dinner, with
much trait. She came to ask me to take up my quarters
in the very handsome house which is her husband's, very
near my tent. After a good deal of intelligent conversa-
tion she asked if I had a husband and children, and on
my replying in the negative she expressed very kindly
sympathy, but added, " There are things far worse, things
which can never be where, as among you, there is only
one wife. One may have a husband and children, and
yet, God knows, be made nearly mad by troubles," and
she looked as if indeed her sorrows were great. Doubt-
less a young wife has been installed as favourite, or there
is a divorce impending.

Takautapa, September %4-—This is  a great grain-