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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Sadek gallops ahead with the horjins


Nothing

has a greater fascination for him than outward show and pomp. He cares for little else, and a further proof of this unhappy vainglory is obtained by the study of the wall scrolls of the travelling public--whether travelling officially or for trading purposes--representing in Persia usually the most go-ahead and intelligent section of the Persian population.

On we go along the dreary track, again on flat, desolate country of sand and stones at the spur of the mountains to the west and south-west. Sand deposits rise at a gentle gradient up to half the height of these mountains, well padding their slopes. The track here leads us due south to a low pass at an altitude of 5,680 feet. One gets so tired of the monotonous scenery that one would give anything to perceive something attractive; nor is the monotony of the journey diminished by two other miserable nagging soldiers who have clung to us as an escort from Kermanshah, and who are running after our horses moaning and groaning and saying they are starved and tired and have not received their pay nor their food from the Government for several months.

On the other side of the pass there is a basin encircled by mountains, except to the south-east, where we find an open outlet. The track goes south-south-east through this yellow plain, and on proceeding across we find several conical black mounds with curious patches of a verdigris colour. To the east rises a low

sand dune.

We come in sight of Shemsh, a most forlorn, cheerless place. Sadek gallops ahead with the _horjins_, in which he has the cooking pans, some dead fowls, and a load of vegetables and pomegranates, and I slow down to give him time to prepare my lunch. I arrived at the place at 2.45 p.m. There was only a desolate caravanserai and a Chappar khana.

On the Yezd-Kerman track there are not more than three horses at each post station--at some there are only two,--and as I required no less than five horses, or, if possible, six, I always had to take on the deficient number of horses from the previous stations. I generally gave these horses two or three hours' rest, but it made their marches very long indeed, as it must be remembered that on my discharging them they must at once return to their point of departure. Fortunately, the traffic was so small by this road that the horses were in good condition, and so I was able to proceed at a good rate all along. Occasionally, one or two horses had to be taken on for three consecutive stages, which, taking as an average six farsakhs for each stage, made the distance they had to travel, including return journey, six stages, or some 120 miles in all.

The altitude of Shemsh was 5,170 feet.

CHAPTER XLI

Desolate scenery--Anar--A word for Persian servants--Sadek's English--Bayas village--Sand deposits--Robber villagers--Kushkuhyeh Chappar khana--The post contractor, his rifle--Cotton cultivation--Fast growing Rafsenju--Trade tracks--Hindu merchants--Sadek and the Chappar boy--Kafter-han--Photography and women--A flat, salty stretch of clay and sand--The Kuh Djupahr peaks--Robat women--Baghih--Attractive girls--_Mirage_--Arrival in Kerman.


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