200 JOURNEYS IN PERSIA LETTER xxv they keep fowls, they said, they have to keep them under- ground or they would be taken. At the Shah's death, they said, Persia will be divided between Eussia and England, and they will fall to Eussia. "Then we shall get justice," they added. I remarked that the English and the Kurds like each other. They said, " Then why is England so friendly with Turkey and Persia, which oppress us, and why don't travellers like you speak to the Sultan and the Shah and get things changed." They said that at one time they expected to fall under English rule at the Shah's death, " but now we are told it will be Eussia." After a long talk on local affairs we turned to lighter subjects. They were much delighted with my folding- table, bed, and chair, but said that if they once began to use such things it would increase the cost of living too much, " for we would never go back to eating and sleep- ing among the spiders as Mohammedans do." They said they had heard of Europeans travelling in Persia to see mines, to dig among ruins for treasure, and to collect medicinal herbs, but they could not understand why I am travelling. I replied that I was travelling in order to learn something of the condition of the people, and was interested likewise in their religion and the prospects of Christianity. "Very good, it is well," they replied; " Islam never recedes, nor can Christianity advance."