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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

We were again conveyed back to Kerman

To these must be added the numerous sweets of which one has to partake freely before dinner. Through dinner only water is drunk, or nothing at all, but before and after, tea--three-quarters sugar and one quarter tea, with no milk,--is served, and also delicious coffee.

The capacity of Persians is enormous, and on trying to emulate it we all suffered considerably. So pressing were our hosts to make us eat some of this and some of that, and to taste some of the other, that by the time we had finished we were all in a semi-conscious state. An attendant passed round a brass bowl and poured upon our fingers, from a graceful amphora, tepid water with rose-leaf scent. Then our host very considerately had us led to the upper floor of the building to a deliciously cool room, wherein were soft silk broad divans with velvet pillows. Five minutes later, one in each corner of the room, we were all fast asleep. It is the custom in Persia to have a siesta after one's meals--one needs it badly when one is asked out to dinner. So for a couple of hours we were left to ourselves, while our hosts retired to their rooms. Then more tea was brought, more coffee, more sweets.

We paid an interesting visit to the village of Fatabad, the older portion of which, formerly called Rustamabad, had from a distance the appearance of a strongly fortified place. It had a high broad wall with four circular towers at the corners, and quite an imposing gateway. The interior of the village was curious, the habitations being adjacent to the village wall all round, and each room having a perforated dome over it. There was spacious stabling on one side for horses, and several irregular courts in the centre of the village. A long wall stretched from this village to the Fatabad gardens and palatial dwelling of Hussein-Ali-Khan, and on one side of this wall were nicely kept wheat fields, while on the other lay a capital fruit garden.

In the new village of Fatabad, directly outside the wall of Rustamabad, there were but few houses, with an interesting underground hammam, with water coming from natural mineral springs brought here from the village of Ikhtiyarabad, some little distance off. Behind this village, to the west, a barrier of high rugged hills closed the horizon before us, and made the view a most delightfully picturesque one.

In the evening, in the same grand carriage, we were again conveyed back to Kerman, as I intended to start at midnight on my journey across the Great Salt Desert.

[Illustration: Sketch Map Showing Route Followed by Author and Principal Tracks between Kum and Kerman (Persia).

Drawn by A. Henry Savage Landor.]



* * * * *

[Illustration: Mahommed Hussein. Sadek.

(Author's Servants.)]




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