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war, and plainly conscious, even in these soli- the conditions of trade, the management of tudes, that the eyes of the world are upon the military, and the incessant increase in the him. His horse is munching government number of Russian subjects and the volume grain in every roadside khan, and in the of Russian commodities in the bazaars, and it stables of the many military posts throughout is recognized by the populace. More eloquent Transcaucasia; the jingle of his spurs and than all other indications is the custom, arisen the clatter of his sabre are in every post- of late among the Persians—some of them house all the way to the Persian border. the foremost in wealth and influence—of
It is a long and perplexing road that the adding the Russian termination “off” to Russian has had to travel on this side of patronymics as old as Iran itself. This is, to Asia, to arrive at his present vantage point be sure, an illustration of the business on the way to the Persian Gulf. Over a por- sagacity of the Persian, but it shows which tion of it he has been compelled to journey way the wind blows. It is all a study in the more than once, but, observant of a schedule efficacy of the peaceful method, a revelation made long ago, he has made haste slowly, of Muscovite versatility. watching, waiting, keeping the peace, and Everywhere, behind him, along this Weswinning most of his later victories by the tern tier, the tenacious marks of the Russian's rouble—or, some say, the franc—and by his predecessors are disappearing ; everywhere he colossal vigilance and patience. The forward is substituting for them his own memorials in movement in the West in its present stage is brick and stone, steel, and the enginery of still, but it is ceaseless, and more rapid by far steam and electricity. than when the chief agencies were powder In Batoum, not so long ago a dirty, stragand the sword. One need be in Persia only gling Turkish village, stagnating in the midst a little time to discern the Russian predomin- of a miasmatic swamp, there are straight ance.
Persia is Russian. It is manifest in streets, boulevards, excellent hotels, well
dummies, sometimes of silver, sometimes of steel or bone, according as the wearer has prospered.
In Tiflis, which crouches beside the river, one reads the same story of a new birth. Perched on a mountain side, overlooking the busy city of 160,000 souls, is the ancient Georgian stronghold, a ruin, with decorations in stone on its towers, telling of Oriental dynasties long ago passed into tradition. Under its hoary watchmanship long trains come and go, in and out of a handsome station, more crowded at train time than the Grand Central at Forty-second street in New York. Hundreds of cabs, whose bushybearded drivers have faces like ripe red apples,
ply hither and thither; European prime ANCIENT MOSQUE AT KASVIN. One of the wonderful glazed-tiled temples which
donne are singing in the theatres; clawthroughout Persia.
hammered waiters are running about under stocked stores, and a large shipping anchored the electric lights, serving dinners that one under the wakeful guns of long fortifications might expect to find on Upper Broadway. whose strength is past finding out. From On the Mall in the great park there is the thence a railroad which, using petroleum for clinking of many glasses and the murmur of fuel, knows not smoke nor cinders, bears the many voices, and music until far into the traveler across the Caucasian isthmus, where night. It is Europe. It is thus that Russia once was a rough and most perilous way. is making the Caucasus forget. Troglodyde dwellings of incalculable age, and But the old civilization dies hard. Everycrumbling castles taken by the Russians in where it asserts itself in sharp and really storm and assault, look down now on massive pathetic contrast with the new. Along the causeways, bridges and culverts which bear river bluffs cling decrepit rookeries which witness to the engineering skill of the new belong to the old order. Here the unregenrulers. All along the way are comely habi erate dwell and barter. The wares of the tations; only here and there, in the long wine shops are still exposed in great ox skins; reaches, are seen the black felt tents and the costumes of Asia are here, and the Moearth-burrows of the nomads who have turned hammedan cries to his God and his Prophet. out their sheep over some river bottom. So in Baku; there are Persian mosques going There are crowds about the tidy stations, to decay, and a few overfaithful Guebers, crowds of cleanly, well-ordered people, but fire-worshippers, still fall into occasional seldom a European costume. Instead, one ecstasy at the sight of the flames which roar sees the flowing skirts of the Georgian sur and dart skyward above some ignited oil well. tout, with cartridge cases across the breasts That is the last survival, probably, of the of it, the boots, the enormous felt cloaks, original Iranian life and faith on Russian reaching to the heels, the prodigious sheep- soil. All down through Transcaucasia the skin hats, and the penetrating eyes and ruins are being converted into homes of the bristling beards of the reconstructed. They soldiery or the priesthood, or destroyed to are quiet, dignified, ceremonious, but alert. furnish stone for road building, and the brick It is hard to realize that these are the once schoolhouse, with its boys in uniform, is rising half-savage people whom the Russian had to to mark the place where they stood. fight back step by step through these all but There is peace; there is an unceasing preimpassable mountains until he won to the sentment of the light side of life ; diversion Kur and there set up his capital. The two made easy. But behind all, dominant over edged handjar, a species of short, straight all, not to be overlooked or forgotten, is sword, still swings in its sheath at their Force. Every third man you meet is in a girdles, but its mission is chiefly one of orna uniform of some sort. The train conductor ment; the cartridge cases are filled with is a high military personage, the guards are
ENTRANCE INTO THE MOSQUE AT ELIZABETH POL The entire region in Transcaucasia shows these Persian landmarks, but the costumes of the people in the picture, the phaeton which
stops the way," are Russian
PERSIAN SOLDIERY AT ITS BEST fighting men, who stand at attention while amining board, and to renew your billets you the train halts, who salute soldier-fashion, and must answer whatever questions the inquiswho wear their signal fags on the hip, after itor-invariably polite and invariably solemn the manner of the bayonet. The street-car —sees fit to propound. This guard over the conductor of the town may be ordered to the approaches to the Shah's country is more front in China to-morrow, and the policeman than the ordinary solicitude of the creditor. who shouts commands to Mohammedan mule- It is parental. The “shadow” is everywhere. teers in the streets of Tiflis, brandishing his All the way down from Akstafa note is made sword for emphasis, is a very decent model of and track kept of all travelers, with a special a swashbuckling cavalryman. As it is here, lookout for the Englishman. Russet ridingso it is coming to be on the Persian border; boots, which by the more ignorant of the so it is always and everywhere where this Russians are looked upon as an accoutrement magician of the East sets foot—the Cossack peculiarly British, are by them accounted alin reserve.
most prima facie evidence of some hostile Over this new civilization which he is intent. building up, the Russian
ssian keeps sedu In Nahkitchevan, the burial place of Noah, watch and ward. It is the scrutiny of a and the last city of any importance within camp in war time.
There is no talk of par- the Russian confines, my passport, along with tition here; there is no talk at all if he can some others, was long considered. At last prevent it. The passport system is ironclad the Chief of Police, a Jupiter in most elabalmost beyond belief. You can have neither orate uniform, came out from the conference food nor lodging in any hostelry, however he had been holding, and, with Chesterfieldian humble, without surrendering your passport, grace, taxed me with being an Englishman. which is promptly sent to the Chief of Police, It transpired that another American citizen, by him to be examined, entered upon his whose papers were submitted at the same books, and stamped. No more can you give time, had been in the city of Tabriz, and in up your apartment and leave the place with- the absence of any American representative out a repetition of the formality. The pass- had his credentials passed upon, before leavport of a traveler returned from Persia looks ing Persia for Russia, by the British Consul. like a collection of postmarks. All this has Some Russian clerk, seeing the British seal, its purpose and its indubitable advantages. and either unable to decipher the words, With empire at stake, the Russian never “charged with American affairs,” or willing relaxes his scrupulous attention to the playing to do a small mischief, had written him down of the game. He is particularly careful to English, and the Chief of Police, taking in see who and what goes into Persia. Every ventory of the waiting voyagers, had picked post station is in effect the office of an ex- me out as the subject of Her Majesty. I