The road continues fair wheeling, but nothing compared with the road between Zendjan and Kasveen; it is more of an artificial highway; the Persian government has been tinkering with it, improving it considerably in some respects, but leaving it somewhat lumpy and unfinished generally, and in places it is unridable from sand and loose material on the surface; it has the appreciable merit of levelness, however, and, for Persia, is a very creditable highway indeed. At four farsakhs from Kasveen I reach the chapar-khana of Cawanda, where a breakfast is obtained of eggs and tea; these two things are among the most readily obtained refreshments in Persia. The country this morning is monotonous and uninteresting, being for the most part a stony, level plain, sparsely covered with gray camel-thorn shrubs. Occasionally one sees in the distance a camp of Eliauts, one of the wandering tribes of Persia; their tents are smaller and of an entirely different shape from the Koordish tents, partaking more of the nature of square-built movable huts than tents; these camps are too far off my road to justify paying them a visit, especially as I shall probably have abundant opportunities before leaving the Shah's dominions; but I intercept a straggling party of them crossing the road. They have a more docile look about them than the Koords, have more the general appearance of gypsies, and they dress but little different from the ryots of surrounding villages.
After riding around the courtyard several different times for crowds continually coming, I finally conclude that there must be a limit to this sort of thing anyhow, and refuse to ride again; the new-comers linger around, however, until evening, in the hopes that an opportunity of seeing me ride may present itself. A number of them then contribute a handful of coppers, which they give to the proprietor of a tributary tchai-khan to offer me as an inducement to ride again. The wily Persians know full well that while a Ferenghi would scorn to accept their handful of coppers, he would probably be sufficiently amused at the circumstance to reward their persistence by riding for nothing; telling the grinning khan-jee to pocket the coppers, I favor them with "positively the last entertainment this evening." An hour later the khan- jee meets me going toward the bazaar in search of something for supper; inquiring the object of my search, he takes me back to his tchai-khan, points significantly to an iron kettle simmering on a small charcoal fire, and bids me be seated; after waiting on a customer or two, and supplying me with tea, he quietly beckons me to the fire, removes the cover and reveals a savory dish of stewed chicken and onions: this he generously shares with me a few minutes later, refusing to accept any payment. As there are exceptions to every rule, so it seems there are individuals, even among the Persian commercial classes, capable of generous and worthy impulses; true the khan-jee obtained more than the value of the supper in the handful of coppers - but gratitude is generally understood to be an unknown commodity among the subjects of the Shah. Soon the obstreperous cries of "All Akbar, la-al-lah-il-allah" from the throats of numbers of the faithful perched upon the caravanserai steps, stable-roof, and other conspicuous soul-inspiring places, announces the approach of bedtime. My room is actually found to contain a towel and an old tooth-brush; the towel has evidently not been laundried for some time and a public toothbrush is hardly a joy-inspiring object to contemplate; nevertheless they are evidences that the proprietor of the caravanserai is possessed of vague, shadowy ideas of a Ferenghi's requirements. After a person has dried his face with the slanting sunbeams of early morning, or with his pocket-handkerchief for weeks, the bare possibility of soap, towels, etc., awakens agreeable reflections of coming comforts. At seven o'clock on the following morning I pull out toward Teheran, now but six chopar-stations distant. Running parallel with the road is the Elburz range of mountains, a lofty chain, separating the elevated plateau of Central Persia from the moist and wooded slopes of the Caspian Sea; south of this great dividing ridge the country is an arid and barren waste, a desert, in fact, save where irrigation redeems here and there a circumscribed area, and the mountain slopes are gray and rocky. Crossing over to the northern side of the divide, one immediately finds himself in a moist climate, and a country green almost as the British Isles, with dense boxwood forests covering the slopes of the mountains and hiding the foot-hills beneath an impenetrable mantle of green. The Elburz Mountains are a portion of the great water-shed of Central Asia, extending from the Himalayas up through Afghanistan and Persia into the Caucasus, and they perform very much the same office for the Caspian slope of Persia, as the Sierra Nevadas do for the Pacific slope of California, inasmuch as they cause the moisture-laden clouds rolling in from the sea to empty their burthens on the seaward, slopes instead of penetrating farther into the interior.