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them; so that when a stranger looks towards what he is told is a town, he can see nothing but trees; but he sees little of trees anywhere else. The trees which are thus planted in and near towns are poplars and plane-trees, besides fruittrees. But you must not think that such things are very common. A person may look over a vast plain, and may sometimes travel a whole day without seeing a single village. In the north and west of Persia, and in some parts of the province of Fars, the plains are not always so cheerless, though they are hardly ever green. In these parts some of the small and narrow valleys are very pleasant. Here is Khoi. The valley in which it stands is particularly famous in Persia. When I was there, it was winter, and I could see nothing to call for the expression of admiration (Ya Ali), which the Persians had cut on the trees. The valley is richly cultivated, and planted with large enclosed gardens, which, in spring and autumn, must give it a fine appearance from the hills. I speak to you of this vale in particular, because one of the best of the few pieces of made road in Persia led across the plain to the town. It is rather less than two miles in length, and is made like a carriage-road
with narrow causeways on each side. It was, however, not separated from the field by a wall or hedge, but by a row of young plane-trees planted on each side, forming a fine approach to the city, compared with what is usual in that country.
The vale of Shiraz, here, is also much admired. It contains hardly any large trees, but fruit-trees and flowering shrubs are in great abundance. In the proper season, the vale is a garden, abundant in sweets and refreshments. The earth is covered with the gathered harvest, flowers and fruits, melons, peaches, pears, nectarines, cherries, grapes, pomegranates. The place is celebrated for the growth of every flower from which perfume is extracted, particularly the rose, which is cultivated in large fields, like a common product, and from which they make a vast quantity of rose-water.
As a favourable instance of what the smaller valleys sometimes are, I will now describe to you that of Dusht-e-Arjun, in the same province with Shiraz, in the words of Sir John Malcolm, who says,—" This small but delightful valley is encircled by mountains, down whose rugged sides a hundred rills contribute their waters to form the lake in the centre. The beauty of these streams, some of which fall in a succession of cascades from hills covered with vines; the lake itself, in whose clear bosom is reflected the image of the mountains by which it is overhung; the rich fields on its margin, and the roses, hyacinths, and almost every species of flower that grow in wild luxuriance on its borders, made us gaze with admiration on this pleasing scene, while the Persians, who enjoyed our looks and expressions of delight, kept exclaiming · Iran hemeen ast! Iran hemeen ast! This is Persia! This is Persia !"
H. Then it is not so bad a country, after all.
U. 0. Remember that the beautiful scene which I have been describing is rare, while the barren and desolate is common. I have only hitherto told you of sterile plains and valleys, many of which, however, might be made fruitful by the hand of man, or might become so if the water were more plentiful. But look at these vast spaces in the map, in which towns and villages only appear at great distances from each other. These are deserts of sand and of salt, and are supposed to occupy one-third of the country in its largest extent.
F. Will nothing grow in them?
U. O. Nothing, or nothing of any use.
H. Then how can the people live, if nothing grows to support themselves and their cattle?
U. O. Well questioned! The towns which you see with vacant spaces all around are built on fruitful spots, which occur here and there in the desert. Such spots are called oases (singular, oasis), and are like small islands of the sea. Some of these are very beautiful—the more so in comparison with the desolation that surrounds them. The size and importance of most of such towns are regulated by the extent and fertility of the oasis; but there are a few which are larger than the oasis can support, but which are enabled, by their commerce and manufactures, to pay the expense of getting the food they want from the more favoured regions beyond the desert. Thus there is Yezd, which is situated in an oasis of the great desert, which extends from the mountains of Elburz to the province of Kerman. The oasis does not furnish corn enough to support the town for forty days; but the merchants from the east and the west meet there to exchange their different commodities, by which traffic, and its manufactures of silk and other stuffs, felts, sugar-candy, and sweetmeats, the
town is so enriched that it easily obtains all that it wants from Irak, here in the west.
F. I am not sure I understand that, Sir.
U. O. No?-well, you have been at Cheapside in London ? · All. Yes. · U. O. Well: suppose a man who lives there wants a loaf, what does he do? He has no flour to make a loaf with, and he has no corn-fields to get the corn from. There are no corn-fields within many miles of where he lives; perhaps he knows nothing about corn-fields; perhaps he never saw one. But he is a merchant, a goldsmith, or a shoemaker, and gets money. So he gives some money to his servant, and sends her to the baker's to buy some bread. As many people come to the baker's to buy bread, the baker says to himself, “ It will be worth my while to send into the country, to tell the miller to bring me some bags of flour, that I may make loaves.” So he sends to the miller, who sends to the farmer for some sacks of corn, which he grinds and sends to the baker, who makes it into bread and sends it out to his customers, charging a price which pays himself and the miller for their trouble, besides the price which