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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Manly behaviour of the Beluch on one side


altitude of Kanak was 5,730 feet.

We made an early start on this our last march, steering between the handsome Takatu Mountain and the Chiltan, between which Quetta lies. We met a number of Afghan women in long, loose black gowns from neck to foot, and silver ornaments round the neck and arms. They had austere but handsome features with expressive eyes.

About six miles from Quetta we struck the wide Kandahar Road at the foot of the Takatu Mountain. From this point we got the first glimpse of Shalkot or Quetta. "Quetta" is the English corruption, abbreviation, or adaptation, if you please, of the word "Shalkot!" One almost wished one could have trembled when one stopped for a moment to read the first notice in English on approaching the town, warning new-comers of the dreadful things that would happen to any one entering the town carrying a camera or found sketching or taking notes!

It came on to snow as we approached the place, and shortly after sunset my caravan entered the neat, beautifully-kept roads of Quetta, and behold, joy!--I heard for the first time since August last the whistle of a railway engine. This was on February 3rd, 1902.

I met with unbounded civility and hospitality from everybody in Quetta as well as at Chaman, our most north-westerly point on the Afghan boundary. For those who believe in the unpreparedness of England,

it may be stated that, from this point, we could with ease lay a railroad to Kandahar in less than three weeks.

A most charming invitation from the Honourable the Agent to the Governor-General and Chief Commissioner in Beluchistan, Col. C. E. Yate, C.S.I., C.M.G., etc., took me almost directly to Sibi, where the annual horse show and Beluch Durbar were to take place. A great many locally-bred animals were exhibited, some very good indeed. Camel, horse, and cow races enlivened the show, and a very weird representation of a Beluch raid was performed with much _entrain_. At the Durbar, the leading Chiefs were presented by Col. Yate with handsome gold and silver embroidered coats, waistcoats, scarves and turbans, and the scene was very impressive.

One could not help again being struck by the dignified, manly behaviour of the Beluch on one side, and their frank respect for the British officers,--a respect indeed well-deserved, for a finer set of men in every way than our Political Service Officers can be found nowhere. It is a pity we have not similar men _all_ over India.

From Sibi I travelled by rail across country to Calcutta, where I arrived at the beginning of March, having completed my journey overland--if the short crossing from Baku to Enzeli be excepted--from Flushing (Holland).

[Illustration: Beluch Boys off to the Races--Horse Fair at Sibi.]

It never does to boast. I was feeling somewhat proud to have travelled such a long distance with no serious mishaps or accidents, when, much to my sorrow, Sadek, my Persian servant, returned one evening to the hotel dreadfully smashed up. He had been attacked in the bazaar by three Englishmen of Calcutta, two of whom had held him down on the ground while the third kicked him badly in the head, body and legs. It appears that these three ruffians had a grievance against Persians in general, hence their heroic deed against a man who had done them no harm.

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