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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Carpenter 1 kran a day for 5 days


and see and you will tell me whether you can build a house cheaper in your country."

He took me to a spacious new residence, 14 feet by 14 feet inside, and 18 feet high.

"It is a fine house, is it not, Sahib?"

"Yes, very fine."

"It cost me exactly two tomans, four krans (about nine shillings) to build it, as it stands."

Enumerating the various items of expenditure on the tips of his fingers:--"Sun-baked bricks 1 kran (5_d._) per thousand," he continued; "carpenter 1 kran a day for 5 days, and mason 1 kran a day. The people who helped were not paid as they were relations!"

The dome of this house was very scientifically constructed, as can be seen by the diagram, and formed a very strong vault. To make these vaults, four workmen begin at the four corners of the quadrangular base to lay bricks in successively enlarging concentric arcs of a circle, each higher than the previous one, till each section meets the two side ones. The small portion that remains above is filled in with bricks, laid transversely, and these vaults are really of remarkable strength.

[Illustration: Vault, shewing how Bricks are laid.]

[Illustration: Semi-Spherical Roof, shewing how Bricks are laid.]


have seen some built on this principle, and several centuries old, standing in good preservation and as good as new.

The type of natives was quite different again from that in other places already visited, and was most interesting. The men, like most men of the desert, had elongated faces, with long, regular noses, slightly convex and somewhat drooping. The nostrils were rather swollen and lacking character, and not sharply cut. At the bridge the nose was very narrow, but broad in its lower portion and quite rounded, which looked better in profile than full face. The nostrils drooped considerably towards the point of the nose and were high up where joining the cheek. The faces of these fellows formed a long smooth oval with no marked cheek-bones and vivid, dark, intelligent eyes, small but well-open, showing the entire iris. The lips were the most defective part of their faces, being unduly prominent, thick and coarsely-shaped.

The hair grew in a very normal way on their faces, and they possessed very good arched eyebrows, slightly coarse but well-defined, and in most cases meeting at the root of the nose. In fully-formed men the beard was thick and curly, but did not grow to any great length. On the skull the hair was jet-black and was soaked in oil, so that it had the appearance or being perfectly straight.

Ample trousers, the usual long shirt and Afghan boots (which are not unlike European military boots), made up the attire of the masculine members of the community.

The women had, on a smaller scale, very similar features to those of the men, and at a distance their oval faces appeared quite handsome, but on a closer inspection the lineaments were much too elongated to be attractive. They had a somewhat pulled appearance. Both men and women were tall, slender and of very wiry build.

After sunset the women, with their heads wrapped up in a sort of white chudder, thrown gracefully behind the shoulders and reaching down to the feet, began to prowl about in a great state of excitement, carrying big balls of flour paste and small wicker work plates, like shields, covered over by a cloth. They lighted a big fire in one of the small domed ovens, and after beating the paste on the wicker shields till it had spread into a thin layer, they quickly took it up with their hands and, kneeling over the blazing furnace, stuck the paste against the roof of the oven. They used long leather gloves for the purpose. While being baked the bread was constantly sprinkled with water from a bowl close at hand.

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