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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

There were a number of Sayids living at Bambis


one side of the court was a recess in the wall for valuables. The padlock was closed by means of a screw. By the side of the kitchen one found the lumber and refuse room, and there were corresponding arrangements on the floor above. Unlike other Persian houses this was lighted by windows with neat woodwork, instead of by the usual skylight hole in the dome of the room.

The natives at this village were very handsome. There was a touch of the Afghan type in the men, and the women had fine faces with magnificent eyes. One found firm mouths with well-cut and properly developed lips, in contrast to the weak, drooping mouths of the people one had met in the western cities; and the noses were finely chiselled, with well-defined nostrils. There was no unsteadiness in the eyes, so common to the Persians of the north-west,--and these fellows consequently presented quite an honest appearance, while the overhanging brow added a look of pensiveness. The skull was peculiarly formed, slanting upwards considerably from the forehead to an abnormal height, and giving the cranium an elongated shape. The ears, too, generally malformed or under-developed in most Persians, were better shaped in these people, although by no means perfect. They, nevertheless, showed a certain refinement of blood and race.

In the matter of men's clothing it was gratifying to find the ugly pleated frockcoats discarded--or, rather, never adopted--and

long picturesque shirts and ample trousers worn instead, held together by a kamarband. Over all was thrown a brown burnous, not unlike that of the Bedouins, and the head was wound in an ample turban of the Hindoo pattern.

Children wore short coats ornamented with embroidery and shells at the back and pretty silver buttons in front. Their little caps, too, were embellished with shells, beads, or gold braiding.

Nearly all male natives, old and young, suffered from complaints of the eyes, but not so the women,--probably because they spent most of the time in the house and did not expose themselves to the glare of the sun and salty dust, which seemed to be the principal cause of severe inflammation of the eyes.

Bambis village was greatly dependent upon Isfahan for its provisions, and therefore everything was very dear. Excellent vegetables, _shalga_, _sardek_, _churconda_, and pomegranates were nevertheless grown, by means of a most elaborate and ingenious way of irrigation, but the water was very brackish and dirty. Felt filters were occasionally used by the natives for purifying the drinking water.

There were a number of Sayids living at Bambis, who looked picturesque in their handsome green turbans; they were men of a splendid physique, very virile, simple in manner, serious and dignified, and were held in much respect by their fellow villagers.


[5] Charvadar--Caravan man.


Bambis--The Kashsan-Yezd high road--The Kevir plain--Minerals--Chanoh--Sand deposits--Sherawat--Kanats--Agdah--Stone cairns--Kiafteh--An isolated mount--A long sand bar--A forsaken village--Picturesque Biddeh--Handsome caravanserai at Meiboh--Rare baths--Shamsi--Sand-hills--Hodjatabad--Fuel--A "tower of silence"--A split camel--Thousands of borings for water--A four-towered well.

We left Bambis at ten o'clock on Sunday evening and travelled on a flat plain the whole night. One village (Arakan) was passed, and eventually we entered the Teheran-Kashan-Yezd high road which we struck at Nao Gombes. Here there were a Chappar Khana and an ancient Caravanserai--the latter said to be of the time of Shah Abbas--but we did not stop, and continued our journey along a broad, immense stretch of flat country consisting of sand and gravel.

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