this country is very short, we feared that we should lose our way in the maze of the suburban roads. The dervishes of the guttle-house seemed disinclined to converse with strangers, and the children at play on the hill were unable to answer our questions; but at last we met a well-dressed old burgher, who gave us all the information we desired. "The road to Kapibad passes through my field," said he, "and if you will follow me I will show you the shortest way. I live at the foot of the hill over yonder, where you see that large mosque of the Tripilates."
"Is not that sect very numerous in this town?" I asked.
"Yes, their buildings occupy all the best sites," said he, "and they have the impudence to call themselves the only true Yeshanees."
"Do you belong to the Thumpers?" I asked.
"The Thumpers," said he, "are nearly as superstitious as the Tripilates. Their teachers walk in darkness. No, I am a Kabir, or Senior, of the Grizzlies, so called because our people follow the rule of the primitive Yeshanees, whose priests were chosen from among the gray-headed and venerable elders of the community.—How do you like this part of our land?" he asked, when we reached the foot of the declivity.
"The hills remind me of the Khundee highlands," said I; "the buildings of Khundistan can not be compared to yours, but the inhabitants seem to be happy in their free wilderness."
"Yes, they have a happy climate," said he, "but they are poor, ignorant wretches, who worship only one God and take a sinful delight in worldly pleasures. They do not know that the welfare of the soul requires the mortification of the body, and that earthly thoughts obstruct the way to heaven."
"Where does all this smoke come from?" I inquired.
"From the mash-house," said he. "We shall pass it before we reach the city gate. The mashers employ a hundred workmen, and it will surprise you to see what quantities of grain pass through their hands."
If the mash-house had been a bakery, its usefulness could have reconciled me to the smoke, for in this quarter of the city, too, the people seemed to be in desperate want of bread, and I asked the Karman to distribute all our provisions to relieve some of the famished children that gathered around us at the street-corners.
Near the gate the road was not paved, and the ground was here covered with mire instead of dust.
"Yes, cities abound with foul odors and all kinds of impurities," remarked the Kabir, "but such evils are outweighed by moral blessings. In this town even the poorest enjoy the advantage of spiritual instruction and edifying sermons."
"A great advantage, indeed," I was going to say, when I stumbled
- Parduscos (R.).