"The Shah keep* a Journal, in which he notes up with great care whatever strikes him. He is also attended by an historiographer, in the person of Khan Mahommbd Hassan-kl-Saneb-ed-Dowlaii, Editor of the Official Gazette of Tehran.”—Court Newsman.

[How we became possessed of the very curious and interesting extracts which toe here print we are not at liberty to reveal. We hare our own little birds, but, if they hace any other name than Legion, it is as private and confidential as the news they carry.—Ed.]


From the most private Journal of Khan Mahoumed Hassan-el- Sanee-ed-Dowlah.

In the train of fire, at Dover. Thanks be to Allah, we are off the sea. The Feringhees said it was calm during our passage. And the Shah-in-Shah—may his name be crowned with honour!—kept his head erect and his countenance cheerful before these Kaffirs, and was not cast down, neither was his face blackened in crossing the sea of the English. This power was not given to us, his servants. How should it be? May the Illustrious not ask to see the journal of this crossing kept by his servant EL SANEE. All I know is that I lay in a narrow box, and felt rollings and great throbbings, and smelt grievous smells, and heard thunderings far and near, and many tramplings and clashings of chains over my head, till my entrails were loosed with a great fear. I gave myself up altogether to misery, as one in the realm of the Djinns, or as he that passeth over the hair bridge of El Sirat, in the Valley of Judgment. They that sat erect tell me we saw many war-ships of iron and brass, some like birds with wings, and others like houses sailing without sails, and bearing cannon that fired without hands, and manned by monkeys or demons. How these things may be, truly I know not. We are in the land of enchantments and wonders, praise be to the name of the Prophet, and protection to his servants.

We fly through this land in the cushioned carriages of the railway. This thing we have seen elsewhere, but nowhere so swift as here. All here is by steam—more even than in the land of the Russki and the Prusski, and the face of all things—excepting only the heavens—shines. There is a dark grey shadow always over the sky; I cannot speak with the astrologer of the Shah-in-Shah, for he is in another carriage. But I fear the signs of the heavens are inauspicious, and that we did ill to come hither in this conjunction of planets. The English people gather in crowds to do honour to the Shah-in-Shah, and wave their hats and shout. Who are we that we should shine in the brightness of his face?

The women here go unveiled, as in other lands of the Feringhee. They are more moon-faced than the women of the Russki, and the Prusski. My friend, a great Moonshee of the household of the Elchee Rawlinson, may his name be honoured, tells me that the women of the English have lately risen up in revolt, and come out of their anderoons, and are now striving with men in all things, and often beating and buffeting them. A wise man would have foreseen this. Why did the English let their females come abroad out of the apartments of the women, and lay aside their veils? A fire is good, but only while it is kept in the fire-pan. Let the woman that oan rule a man rule in the chamber, not in the street; so strength hath its right, and weakness is not encouraged to its undoing. In this land we see many more people of peace than soldiers, and all the soil is as a garden: even the beasts in the fields are clean and well oared for. Herein this land is different from the land of the Ausski and the Prusski. Nor do the Khans and Elohees and other servants of the Great Queen go so softly, or bow to the ground so often or so low as the servants of the Czar and the Emperor in those lands. Nor do they wear coats buttoned up so tight, nor so many stars and badges of honour on their breasts. The Russki and Prusski said we should find all men in this country loving money and not caring for honour. This I do not know. We shall learn. Only I know, unworthy as I am to know anything of the Lion and Sun of the Universe—that the SHAH-iN-SHAH and blackness of face by reason of the grievous bowing down and the constant ordering of all things in those lands, whereby we oould not move, but in a line first drawn out for all. At last did they not order even the Shah-in-Shah! Then their faces were blackened before him; and we had a hard time, and muoh stick. Here I hope all will be well. Allah grant so much to his servant.

(At the Palace of the Great Queen, in the first hour of the evening.)

My head aches sorely. We have all drunk much rain-water, and our robes of honour are damp and defiled. Here the Great Queen may be mistress of the earth and the sea, but Shaitan is master of the heavens.

It is now what these English call Midsummer, but the cold is as that of our second month of the winter solstice, and the rains are as the latter rains of sowing time.

It is, in this land, as if for money and steam they had given sunshine. Our hearts are blaek in spite of the whiteness of the face of the Shah-in-Shah before this people.

(Two Hours later.)

I have eaten a dinner of the English. Allah kerim! it was good. I have drunk of their sherbet that goes off by steam, and, as with the bursting of guns, like other things in this oountry. It was very good, and made my heart merry within me, so that I sang this verse:—

“I also am going by steam, like all things in this land of wonders. My head is as a wheel, that turneth and grindeth wondrously, and my heart is full of still brightness, like the shining of the sea under the moon, and the sherbet of the stranger is as the sorew of the fire-ship that carries my soul swiftly through the Waters.”

Even while t sing, I am summoned to the presence of the Shah-in-Shah— may he be strengthened!

(At the fourth hour of the night.)

The Shah-in-Shah sent for me to attend him to the magical instrument which these wonderful English have brought to his chamber, whereby he can send his orders to Tehran, and receive words thence, as lord talketh to slave in a chamber of audienoe.

The magician Who works the spell was also at hand.

The SHAH-in-SHAH spoke. “Call me up the Prinoe Governor of Tehran.”

“He is called,”

“What says he?”

“That this must be Shaitan, and not the Shah-in-Shah, that talks to him so many thousand miles away, and therefore he will not listen.”

“Let him have stick, that he may know it is the Shah-in-Shah.”

Then came the message that stick was being given to the Governor.

The SHAH-in-SHAH wished to hear the cries of his slave under the ferashes. But the magician Baid this was beyond his power.

Then the Shah-in-Shah was pleased to talk with his servant of this wonderful land, and the sea-journey, and the ships, and all the marvels he had seen; and bade his servant show him the journal thereof.

Then I said, “Lo! O Shah, how can I show thee that which is not? Was not my journal swallowed up in the jaws of the Sea as we landed at Dover? And who is thy servant, that he should recover back its prey from the ocean?”

Then the SHAH-in-SHAH was gracious, and went again to the magical instrument, and spoke again with those at Tehran.

And, lo! he made his wives to arise even at the fifth hour of the night—for this also was by magic, that here it was the first hour of the night, when at Tehran it was the fifth—and dress themselves in their best robes, and come down to talk with their lord and master; and woe be to any that shall grumble, now they know for a truth that the ear of the great Shah is upon them, even from the ends of the earth!

Much wonder was uttered among the moonshees and khans, and aghos and meerzas of the Great Queen, as we sat at meat, that the Shah-in-Shah had been pleased to grant such honours to Reuter Khan, and to oonoede unto him the power to make channels wherein the wealth of the English should flow into Persia. But they do not understand how he is to get that wealth into those channels. Then I said to them: “The English have Steam; have not we Persians stick—that does as great wonders for us as steam for you P.” And I went on to explain to them the power of stick; how, if the SHAH-in-SHAH once had the KHAN REUTER tight in Tehran, with the Royal ferashes standing over him, REUTER KHAN would have no chance but to bleed either blood or tomauns; and that in our oountry wise men would rather give up their coin than their cuticle. Now, REUTER KHAN was no doubt a wise man, or the SHAH-in-SHAH would not have chosen him for this great favour. Besides, cannot the English make money, by help of steam and the Djinns together? and has not this Reuter lived among the English till he has learnt all their secrets? And did not Solomon, the wise king, compel the demons to give up their treasures? And shall not the Shah-in-Shah know how to compel even REUTER KHAN?


“Sights We Should Show the Shaw.” Punch; or the London Charivari” (23 June 1873): 265. HathiTrust online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 23 June 2022.

Created 5 March 2022