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more baneful, its approach is seldom if ever foreseen ; and among all the Belooches with whom I have conversed concerning it, no one asserted more than that they had heard it was indicated by an unusual oppres. sion in the air, and a degree of heat that affected the eyes; the precau. tion then adopted is to cover themselves over, and lie prostrate on the earth. A curious fact is established by this custom, that any cloth, how. ever thin, will obviate the deleterious effects of the Badé Sumoom on the human body.--p. 136.
The tantalizing effects of the mirage on the thirsty traveller are thus described :
• The suhrab, or water of the desert, floated all round us, as though it were mocking our distress by its delusive representation of what we so eagerly thirsted for; the absence of which I can affirm with perfect confidence, from my individual experience, to be the most insupport. able of all the wants of what are termed the absolute necessaries of life.
A person may endure with patience and hope the pressure of fatigue and hunger, heat or cold, and even a total deprivation of natural rest for a considerable length of time; but to be scorched under a burning sun, to feel your throat so parched and dry that you respire with difficulty, to dread moving your tongue in your mouth from the apprehensions of suffocation which it causes-and not to have the means of allaying those dreadful sensations, are, in my ideas, the extreme pitch of a traveller's calamities. The subrab of which I have just spoken, is said to be caused by the rarefaction of the atmosphere from extreme heat; and, which augments the delusion, it is most frequent in hollows where water might be expected to lodge. I have seen bushes and trees reflected in it with as much accuracy as though it had been the face of a clear and still lake ; and once, in the province of Kerman, in Persia, it seemed to rest, like a sheet of water, on the face of a hill, at the foot of which my road lay, exhibiting the summit, which did not overhang it in the least degree, by a kind of unaccountable refraction. This phenomenon is, however, very uncommon, and the Persians who were travelling with me, attributed it to exhalations from saline particles, with which the hill abounded,'-p. 185.
The great desert we have been describing is estimated by Mr. Pottinger to be 300 miles long, by 200 broad; but taking its continuation to the northward beyond the Helmind river, which merely interrupts it, and to the westward connecting it with the desert of Kirman, from which it is divided only by a narrow range of hills, we have a dismal and desolate waste of five hundred miles from North to South, and six hundred from East to West.
On the skirts of the desert stood the small village of Kullugan, situated in a narrow and romantic valley of Mukran, where our traveller was advised to assume the character of a devotee, being told by his protector, Moorad, that he was no longer to consider himself in the khan of Kelat's territories, or to calculate on the same good order and security that he observed there ; • We are
now,' he added, in Mukran, where every individual is a robber by caste, and where they do not hesitate to plunder brothers and neighbours. He soon experienced the truth of this, for the Sirdar, who was Moorad's father-in-law, in conjunction with his worthy son, contrived to extort from him fifty rupees for a safe conduct to Surhud, in addition to the sixty already paid to Moorad. Kulugan contains about one hundred and fifty houses, many of them two or three stories high. In the uppermost of these, the greater part of the inhabitants sleep, ascending by a ladder through a trap-door, and drawing it up after them, as a measure of security. The Mukranees are described as a small race of men, hardy and brave; the women very plain, and, as it would seem, almost universally affected with weak eyes-owing, perhaps, to the fine par. ticles of sand from the desert constantly floating in the air.
The district of Dizick is described as fertile and populous, presenting to the traveller, in the course of two days' journey, seven or eight villages. Every village has its sirdar, or chief, and every district its khan: the chief khan is Neamut Oollah, whose reve. nues are derived from one tenth of the produce, amounting yearly to about sixty or seventy thousand rupees.
The next district, proceeding westerly, is called Sibb, very barren, excepting in the bed of a broad water-course, in which are large wheat fields and groves of palm trees; beyond this the mountains were a mass of black rock, totally destitute of verdure, and the small plains intersected with stony ridges and deep ravines. At a village, called Mughsee, a gang of Loories, a set of wandering vagabonds, not unlike the people we call gipsies, had murdered the sirdar a few days before, and as their leader was then officiating in the place of the deceased, by order of Mihrab Khan, Mr. Pottinger was not inclined to put himself in the power of
such blood-thirsty ruffians ;' he therefore chose to pass on and take up his night's abode in the jungle.
Although I had long accustomed myself to regard the people of this part of Mukran as hardened in every species of inhumanity, I must confess I was confounded by the cool depravity evinced by an old man who was at the head of the murderous gang, and who, after having miputely detailed to Khodadad and my camel-drivers the particulars of the assassination, pointed with great apparent exultation to a very high house in the village, and said that the son of the unfortunate sirdar bad taken refuge there at the moment of the massacre of his father's fanily, and that they were momentarily expecting him to descend to be put to death : the boary sinner (for he was really such) added, with the same merciless composure, that the youth might as well come down quickly, and relieve them from the tedious task of starving him out, which was the only mode of expulsion they meant to pursue, lest they should damage the building and property in it. I ventured to ask what Shah Mihrab Khan had thought of this outrage towards a man who had held the village in fief from him ; and, to increase my astonishment, I was informed, that subsequent to the commission of the nefarious act, the Loories had simply offered to acknowledge his authority, and pay the customary fines, on which their proffered allegiance had been accepted, and their king, as they called him, formally invested in the sirdaree or chiefship of Mughee. Revenge alone had stimulated the gang to this atrocity ; they had desired permission prior to the seedtime, wbich had tben elapsed about two months, to settle for a season in the neighbourhood of the village, in order to cultivate a small piece of ground; which application was harshly refused, and they were threatened with chastisement if seen after a certain period within the district. They disappeared until the armed men, that had been called together to expel tbein, had returned to their agricultural occupations; and one night, making a forced march from a spot at which they had been secreted in the mountains, they suddenly seized the sirdar's house, and butchered bim and his whole household. The villagers made no attempt to save any of them, and spoke with the utmost indifference of the cruel fate impending over the son. In more peaceful climes than these, where the lives and properties of men are guarded by laws divine and human, the mind revolts at the bare idea of such wickedness, and it is scarcely credited that it exists; but in these regions the case is widely different-here the most familiar topics of conversation are bloodshed and rapine ; and habit has brought the natives to view crimes, at which human nature ought to shudder, not only with unconcerned apathy, but as subjects of amusing discussion.'p. 152.
Mr. Pottinger collected some little information respecting the manners and religious sentiments of this detestable race.
• They say that man was born to live, to die, to rot, and be forgotten; and that, during his existence, if he is happy, he has only to pray for a continuance of it; but, if the contrary, he is at liberty, not only to forego his devotions, but to put an end to his sufferings. When one of them happens to die, they bury every thing with him that could be exclusively considered his ; such as his clothes, sword, and matchlock; in order that that article of their belief relative to his being forgotten, may be accomplished.
• Both men and women dress in the most preposterous and fantastic way they can devise, adorning themselves with feathers, skins, berries, shells, and other baubles. They are impudent and immodest in demeanour, and addicted to every species of vice and gross sensuality ; for, as they never marry, the females live promiscuously with the men. Nor are any bounds set to this incestuous commerce. They have seldom offspring, so that they prefer stealing girls, who are instructed by the force of example ; but when any of the women do conceive, the issue is considered the joint property of the whole community, and at a certain age initiated accordingly.'-(p. 154.).
On the 13th April Lieutenant Pottinger arrived at Huftur, the last town of Mukran, which contains about two hundred and fifty houses, and proceeding to the Mehman Khanu, or guest's house, a Belooche came to spread carpets, and to ask his name and intentions. His answer was, that he was a Peerzaduh, or devotee, on his route to the holy city of Mushed: but the sirdar, who soon after paid him a visit, was quite sure that he was a Shahzader, or prince in disguise ; the present of a pair of pistols silenced him, and procured a letter to his brother, sirdar of Puhra, in which, however, he stated his suspicions: our traveller therefore thought it best to relinquish, at this place, his holy office, and avow himself a firinjee, or European, in the service of a Hindoo, and thus far on his way to Kirman on his master's concerns. Shah Mihrab Khan's civility was not lessened by this discovery; he joined a party of his learned moollahs, that is to say those who could read and write, though he himself could do neither, at the Mehman Khanu, and chatted with our traveller, amusing him with tales and anecdotes, till midnight.
• Here,' says Mr. Pottinger,' we recognise a chief, whose income and domains, when placed in comparison with those of all the surrounding toparchs, are princely, associating with his meanest subjects, admitting them to a free and unceremonious avowal of their opinions, even in opposition to his own, and entertaining so contemptible an idea of literature, that he could not read or write. Asia alone may be said at this day to afford instances of such barbarism; but the coincidence of it with the habits and establishments of the savage nations that subverted the Roman empire, is singular and exact.'
Puhra contains about four hundred houses, and these two towns, Huftur, and Puhra, are the chief places in the Shah's territories, which embrace a circuit of ninety or one hundred miles : he can muster a regular army of about six thousand men, and his revenues amount to four and a half lac of rupees (56,5201. sterling.) His tribe are noted for their predatory character, on which they pride themselves; and Shah Mihrab Khan told Mr. Pottinger, with an air of triumph, that he had been outlawed both by the government of Persia and Kaubul.
The Khan of Bunpoor was equally ready to avow himself a robber by profession : but far from possessing any of the polish or showing any of the civility of the Khan of Puhra, he was a mere savage, and actually forced the pistols from our traveller, which were his only remaining protection. He boasted of the plunder which in conjunction with the Shah Mihrab and his brother, he had made on a cheepao into Laristan, in Persia, whence they brought great numbers of slaves of both sexes, camels, carpets, matchlocks, and other articles. The village of Bunpoor is small and ill built, bearing a most desolate and impoverished appearance, without any signs of cultivation near it. The Khan's revenues were farmed out, and they brought him 26,000 rupees, 140 camels, as many sheep or goats, the same number of measures of wheat and dates, and a few matchlocks; out of this scanty revenue he has a number of brothers to maintain, and sixteen wives.
From hence he proceeded northerly to Bosman, as he found it impracticable to cross the Dusht, or desert, into Nurmansheer. The chief, Moorad Khan, was remarkably kind and hospitable; he immediately sent him a whole sheep, and a large bowl of hodgepodge, made of green barley mixed with butter-milk; an unpalatable dish, and not the usual food of the inhabitants, but they had then no other; they were driven even to the necessity of eating mulberry leaves, boiled up with a kind of pulpy acid grass. At this place was a curious well of hot water; in the centre was a circular pipe built of red burnt brick, about eight inches in diameter, out of which the water boiled with considerable violence; it was supposed to be brought from a mountain fifteen miles off, through a subterraneous aqueduct, built by the ancient Guebres, and that a large city once stood on the site of the present village of Bosman. The name of the mountain is Kohé Noushadir, or hill of Sal-Ammoniac, which salt is said to be found in the fissures of the rocks, as are also incrustations of brimstone. Bosman contains about one hundred and fifty houses, some of them two or three stories high, built of stones, without cement or mortar, and plastered inside with mud. The Khan has not above fifty fighting men, and a revenue just enough to subsist upon. • His manners are mild
; his address has all the Persian politeness and urbanity, and this,' says Mr. Pottinger,' was the first place I had come to, where Persian was the colloquial language.'
On the 23d April, he reached Regan, the frontier fort of Persia on the south side, situate in the province of Nurmanshur, and took the road of Nuhumabad, Buman, and Kirman, the last of which he reached on the 3d May, with mingled feelings of thankfulness for his safety, and exultation and pleasure at the completion of all that part of the journey which he considered to be hazardous. Here he remained till the 25th, in the expectation of being joined by Captain Christie, from Heerat. We pass over his short notices of Persian manners, ceremonies, feasts, &c. as we have them so amply and ably detailed by Jonas Hanway, Chardin, and others, and more recently by Sir John Malcolm; and for the same reason omit noticing his observations on Kirman, Shiraz, and Ispahan, at the last of which places he had the pleasure of being joined by his fellow traveller, Captain Christie, from Heerat and Yezd. A summary of Captain Christie's journey is contained in an appendix.
We must content ourselves with a very brief account of the mission to Sinde, which, though prior in point of time to the journey