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."