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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

My name is Henry Savage Landor


on we found a tiny stream of salt water in the picturesque gorge--as weird and puzzling a bit of scenery as can be found in Persia, if one carefully examined each hill, each rock, and tried to speculate on their formation.

From the rocks--a hundred feet or so above the salt stream,--we came to a spring--if one could call it by that name--of delicious sweet water. The water dripped at the rate of about a tumbler-full an hour, but a gallon or two had collected in a pool directly under the rock, with a refreshing border of green grass round it. We gladly and carefully transferred the liquid into one of the skins by means of a cup judiciously handled so as not to take up the deep sediment of mud in the shallow pool.

We came across a very large caravan from Quetta in charge of some Beluch drivers, and--after one's experience of how things are packed by Persian caravans--one was greatly struck by the neat wooden packing boxes, duly marked and numbered. I inquired whose caravan it was, and the Beluch said it belonged to two English Sahibs who were ten miles behind, and were expected to catch it up during the night. The names of the two sahibs were so mispronounced by the Beluch that I could not, to save my life, understand what they were.

We halted in the gorge at four o'clock, having come only sixteen miles from my last camp. Altitude, 4,440 feet.

style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XV

Sadek's wastefulness--Meeting two enterprising English traders--Another circular crater--Wind and electricity in the air--Their effects--A fortress--Soldiers and brigandage--Zemahlabad--Windmills--Bandan--Ancient tombs--Picturesque women--Lost our way--A welcome messenger--Nasirabad--"Ruski" or "Inglis"--Several miles of villages and houses--English maps and foreign names--Greeted by Major Benn.

We intended continuing our journey after dinner. This camp being well screened on all sides, Sadek gave way to his ambition to have the camp lighted up by a number of candles, with which he was always most wasteful. He had two candles alight where he was doing his cooking, I had two more to do my writing by, Abbas Ali had also two to do nothing by. Luckily, there was not a breath of wind to disturb the illumination.

Towards nine o'clock we heard noises of camels' and horses' hoofs stumbling against the rocks down the gorge, and my ears caught the welcome sound of English voices.

"What can all those lights be?" said one.

"They look like candles," replied the other.

"They _are_ candles!" I intervened. "Will you not get off your horses and have some dinner with me by the light of them?"

"Who in the world is that?" queried one of the riders of the other, evidently taken aback at being addressed in English in such a queer place and at such a time of the night.

"My name is Henry Savage Landor."

"What? not Tibet Landor? Our names are Clemenson and Marsh--but what in the world are you doing here? Have you not some companions?"

"Yes, I have. Here they are: three Persian kittens!"

As Mr. Clemenson had some big dogs with him, the moment the cats were let out of the box to be introduced there was a chase, but the kittens climbed in due haste up the side of the cliff and left the disappointed dogs below to bark. On this high point of vantage they squatted down and watched our proceedings below with the greatest interest.

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