Read: Cairo to Persia and Back


page 272

... witnessed the execution. “The Bab was to be shot with two of his disciples, but they were offered an opportunity to recant before they were pinioned. One succumbed to the temptation and was released ; but the Bab and the other stood firm, and were suspended by the arms from gallows-like frames in front of the firing-squad. The order was given and the volley rang out ; but when the smoke had cleared away the Bab’s friend hung dead on his ropes, but the Bab himself had disappeared. The bullets had cut the ropes and he had fallen unharmed and had escaped into the crowd. Of course he was discovered almost at once, and once again he was hoisted on to the gallows. But the first firing squad refused to act again, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that other soldiers were found to take their place. This time there was no mistake, and the Bab died. Afterwards his body was smuggled away by his friends and buried in a secret tomb, and even to-day none save the highest leaders of the Bahai religion know where he is buried.”

I would add that during the whole time we were in Persia we never, save on this occasion, discussed Bahaism with anyone—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that no one ever discussed it with us. It is still a proscribed faith in Persia, and though it has tens of thousands of adherents everywhere in the country—to say nothing of its enormous following abroad, particularly in America—it has been driven underground by official disfavour and in many ways resembles a secret society rather than a religion.

The bazaars are huge, but they are less beautiful and more rambling than the splendid arcades of Shiraz. Not that this in any way detracts from their charm ; for to me their darkness and their many twists and turns had a romantic attraction of their own ; and in fact I felt absolutely at home in them and had a great time buying my carpet, a fine Tabrizi runner which proved to be the last addition to my carpet map of Persia. ...

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