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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

So far the line has been sanctioned to Nushki


was a most excellent step to select for the Consular work in Eastern and Southern Persia men from the Military Political Service, instead of the usual Foreign Office men, who are probably better adapted for countries already developed. The Political Service is a most perfect body of gentlemanly, sensible, active-minded, well-educated men of versatile talents, the pick of the healthiest and cleverest Englishmen in our Indian Service. They cannot help doing good wherever they are sent. Captain Trench, Major Benn, Major Phillott, Captain White, have all answered perfectly, and have all done and are doing excellent work.

What is most needed at present in Sistan is a telegraph line to Nushki. Should everybody in the Sistan Consulate be murdered, it would be the best part of a fortnight or three weeks before the news could reach India at the present rate of post going. If assistance were needed it could not reach Sistan from Quetta in less than a couple of months, by which time, I think, it would be of little use to those in danger. And the danger, mind you, does exist. It seems rather hard that we should leave men who work, and work hard and well, for their country absolutely at the mercy of destiny.

The next most important point would be to join Sistan, or at least Robat, on the Perso-Beluch frontier, with the long-talked-of railway to Quetta, but of this we shall have occasion to speak later. So far the line has

been sanctioned to Nushki, but that point, it must be remembered, is still 500 miles distant from Sistan, a considerable distance across, what is for practical purposes, desert country.

The third point--the easiest of all, which would involve little expense, but would have a most salutary effect--would be to maintain a small garrison at the Perso-Beluch-Afghan frontier post of Robat. This, to my mind, would at the present moment strengthen the hands of our officials in Persia to a most extraordinary extent.

Something tangible, which the natives themselves could see and talk about, together with the knowledge that a smart body of soldiers could soon be on the spot if required, would not only assure the so far doubtful safety of the few but precious English lives in those parts, but would add enormously to our prestige and make us not only revered but feared.


The history of the Sistan Vice-Consulate--Major Chevenix Trench--Laying the foundation of the Consulate--Hoisting the British flag--Major Benn--A terrible journey--A plucky Englishwoman--The mud Consulate--Its evolution--The new buildings--Ka-khanas--Gardening under difficulties--How horses are kept--The enclosing wall--The legend of Trenchabad city--The Consulate Mosque--Dr. Golam Jelami--The hospital--Successful operations--Prevalent complaints of Sistan--The Sistan Sore.

The history of the Sistan Vice-Consulate does not go back very far, but is, nevertheless, very interesting. We will recapitulate it in a few words.

Major Brazier-Creagh was sent to Sistan on a special mission; as has already been said, and Captain F. C. Webb-Ware, C. I. E., Political Assistant at Chagai, visited the place every year at the end of his annual trip along the new route in North Beluchistan from Quetta to Robat, the most Eastern station of the route prior to entering Persian territory. Major Sykes visited Sistan in 1896 in connection with the Perso-Beluch Boundary Commission and again in 1899, when he travelled here from Kerman by the easier southern route _via_ Bam.

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