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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Was nine farsakhs from Kafter han


We

have the same mountains on both sides, and we continue over undulating ground, the valley getting somewhat narrower as we proceed towards Baghih. Six or seven miles from Kafter-han was Esmaratabad village, a mass of ruins, and ten miles or so a large village, still in fair preservation, Sadi, with some vegetation, principally wheat. The track lay mostly over a stony, barren desert, with here and there, miles and miles apart, a forced patch of green.

Baghih, our last halt before reaching Kerman, was nine farsakhs from Kafter-han. It stood at an elevation of 5,740 feet, and had plenty of excellent water. The village was large, with handsome walled gardens and nicely-kept wheat-fields all round. The inhabitants were most affable and civil, and the women and children particularly simple and attractive. The girls were attired in longer and more graceful skirts than the damsels of Robat, and did not leave the leg exposed even as high as the knee. Over it they had an ample shirt with wide short sleeves, showing their gracefully modelled and well rounded arms, adorned with metal bracelets. On the head was a kerchief neatly bound quite tight over the head by means of a ribbon.

It was not possible to get fresh horses here, and mine were very tired or I would have continued to Kerman the same evening, completing the journey from Yezd (220 miles) in three days. We had arrived early in the afternoon, and had I not been compelled

to take on the tired horses for the remaining four farsakhs (13 miles) I could have easily reached Kerman before the gates of the city were closed at sunset. As it was, I had to give it up, and had to sleep the night at Baghih, making an early start on Wednesday, the 30th.

Baghih is actually south-west of Kerman, and the track makes this long detour to avoid the Bademan Mountains to the north. It thus passes over comparatively level land in the valley between that range and the Kuh Djupahr, the track turning here sharply to the north-east, in which direction, when we get to the highest point of the track (5,980 feet) one and a half farsakhs from Baghih, we can almost discern Kerman in the distance. Except to the north-west we have high mountains all round, the highest being the Djupahr to the south-east, and of which we now get a most lovely view, and also of the whole Kerman plain with its innumerable semi-spherical sand-hills.

At the foot of the Djupahr below us we see the two villages of Kheirabad and Akhibarabad, with many trees and some cultivation round them. On descending into the Kerman plain we have deceiving effects of mirage, lovely lakes on both sides and streams of water, but on the rising of a gentle breeze, limpid lakes and streams suddenly disappear, and the whole plain is nothing but a big undulating stretch of yellow sand, until we arrive within almost a stone's-throw of the city gates of Kerman.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, October the 30th, I halted at the palatial Chappar khana of Kerman, just outside the city wall, in a handsome garden, having accomplished the journey from Yezd in four days, including halts.

CHAPTER XLII

Kerman--The _Ark_ or citadel--Civility of the natives--Europeans--The British Consulate--Major Phillott--H. E. Ala-el-Mulk, Governor of Kerman--Soldiers--Teaching music to recruits--Preparation for the campaign against the Beluch--Cloth manufacture.

It was my intention to pay my respects to the British Consul for whom I had letters of introduction from the Minister at Teheran, and I at once proceeded through the city, entering first the "Ark" or citadel, and then the south-west gate with two side columns of green and blue tiles in a spiral design and pointed archway, into the Meidan--a fine rectangular square of great length and breadth. Sentries posted at the gates of the city and at the sides of the square saluted, and also many of the people along the road. This extraordinary civility was very refreshing in a country where one only expects extreme rudeness from the lower classes.


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