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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Illustration Windmill at Mushki Chah


Before

they knew where they were, and without any suspicion on their part, I had, by a dodge of my own, taken three photographs of them, the best of which is reproduced facing page 350.

They were rather characteristic types of the lower class Beluch of northern Beluchistan. They possessed very quick, bright, shining eyes, dark complexions and long noses, very broad at the base. The mouth was generally the worst feature in their faces, the upper lip being drawn very tight over the teeth and giving rather a brutal expression to their countenances. The men were very powerfully built, thick-set, with ribs well covered with muscle and fat, powerful, coarse wrists and ankles, and square-shaped hands with short stumpy thumbs.

[Illustration: Windmill at Mushki Chah.]

[Illustration: Three Beluch who would not be Photographed!]

Their attire was simple; a sort of long white cotton blouse buttoned over the right shoulder and ample trousers of the same material. Many, however, wore a felt "overcoat"--or rather, "overskin," for there was no other garment underneath. A white turban was worn wound round the head.

A _duffadar_, six _sawars_ and six camels were stationed at Mushki-Chah.

I left Mushki-Chah on January 21st at 3.30 a.m., my camels with loads having started some hours previously, and

our way lay for eight miles due east, first over sand hills and undulations, then on a perfectly straight and level track. To the south we had a barren waste of flat desert. We then veered east-south-east (110 deg. b.m.), and fifteen miles off turned slightly further to the south-east (120 deg. b.m.). To the north-north-east we had a mountain range.

On nearing Kundi we found tamarisk plentiful and good grazing for camels. Some of the tamarisk trees were 10 feet high. The march was a very cold one, a north-north-west gale blowing fiercely and penetrating right through our clothes and flesh to the marrow of our bones.

Three wells of good water were found 11/4 miles before reaching Kundi. The rest-house was uninhabited and fast tumbling down. In 21 miles 1,100 yards we had slightly risen to 3,660 feet, and this point is one which remains well impressed on one's mind, partly on account of the splendid view obtained of the Sultan Mountains to the north-east--a gloomy black mass with the highest peak of a light red colour. The Kuh-i-Sultan is a most weirdly fantastic mountain range. Sir Charles McGregor, who saw these mountains from a distance, speaks of them as the "oddest-looking mountains he had ever seen."

But the best description is that given by Major A. H. MacMahon, who was, I believe, the first European to explore the range. Approaching it from the north he, too, was struck by the grotesque shape of its numerous sharp peaks; above all by the Neza-i-Sultan--"the spear of the Sultan"--an enormous rocky pillar of hard conglomerate, roughly resembling a slender sugar-loaf with tapering summit, and precipitous sides, that rise on the crest line of the range.


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