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Old 04-24-2017
Igor Igor is offline
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How password to change?
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I also want sizegenetics looking for this to change my password but also dont know

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By Annie Fellows Johnston




Each, small 16mo, cloth, decorated cover and frontispiece, with decorative text borders 75c.


————————
List of Titles



THE RESCUE OF THE PRINCESS WINSOME: A Fairy Play for Old and Young.



KEEPING TRYST: A Tale of King Arthur's Time.



*IN THE DESERT OF WAITING: The Legend of Camelback Mountain.



*THE THREE WEAVERS: A Fairy Tale for Fathers and Mothers as Well as for Their Daughters.



THE LEGEND OF THE BLEEDING HEART.



*THE JESTER'S SWORD.





*Also bound in full flexible leather, with special tooling in gold, boxed

$2.00

————————

THE PAGE COMPANY
53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.











On the street













THE JESTER'S
SWORD

—————————————

How Aldebaran, the King's Son, Wore the Sheathed Sword of Conquest
—————————————
BY
ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON
Author of "The Little Colonel Series," "Big Brother,"
"Joel: A Boy of Galilee," "In the Desert of Waiting," etc.






emblem





BOSTON
THE PAGE COMPANY
Publishers











Copyright, 1908
By L. C. Page & Company
(INCORPORATED)

Copyright, 1909
By L. C. Page & Company
(INCORPORATED)

All rights reserved

First Impression, June, 1909
Second Impression, August, 1909
Third Impression, October, 1910
Fourth Impression, November, 1911
Fifth Impression, November, 1912
Sixth Impression, January, 1916
Seventh Impression, August, 1917
Eighth Impression, April, 1920



TO
John



"To renounce when that shall be necessary and not be embittered."

R. L. Stevenson.



[1]

The Jester's Sword

BECAUSE he was born in Mars' month, which is ruled by that red war-god, they gave him the name of a red star—Aldebaran; the red star that is the eye of Taurus. And because he was born in Mars' month, the bloodstone became his signet, sure token that undaunted[2] courage would be the jewel of his soul.

Now all his brothers were as stalwart and as straight of limb as he, and each one's horoscope held signs foretelling valorous deeds. But Aldebaran's so far out-blazed them all, with comet's trail and planets in most favourable conjunction, that from his first year it was known the Sword of Conquest[3] should be his. This sword had passed from sire to son all down a line of kings. Not to the oldest one always, as did the throne, though now and then the lot fell so, but to the one to whom the signs all pointed as being worthiest to wield it.

So from the cradle it was destined for Aldebaran, and from the cradle it was his greatest teacher. His old[4] nurse fed him with such tales of it, that even in his play the thought of such an heritage urged him to greater ventures than his mates dared take. Many a night he knelt beside his casement, gazing through the darkness at the red eye of Taurus, whispering to himself the words the old astrologers had written, "As Aldebaran the star shines in the[5] heavens, Aldebaran the man shall shine among his fellows."

Day after day the great ambition grew within him, bone of his bone and strength of his sinew, until it was as much a part of him as the strong heart beating in his breast. But only to one did he give voice to it, to the maiden Vesta, who had always shared his play. Now[6] it chanced that she, too, bore the name of a star, and when he told her what the astrologers had written, she repeated the words of her own destiny:

"As Vesta the star keeps watch in the heavens above the hearths of mortals, so Vesta the maiden shall keep eternal vigil beside the heart of him who of all men is the bravest."

[7]

When Aldebaran heard that he swore by the bloodstone on his finger that when the time was ripe for him to wield the sword he would show the world a far greater courage than it had ever known before. And Vesta smiling, promised by that same token to keep vigil by one fire only, the fire that she had kindled in his heart.

One by one his elder[8] brothers grew up and went out into the world to win their fortunes, and like a restless steed that frets against the rein, impatient to be off, he chafed against delay and longed to follow. For now the ambition that had grown with his growth had come to be more than bone of his bone and strength of his sinew. It was an all-consuming desire[9] which coursed through him even as his heart's blood; for with the years had come an added reason for the keeping of his youthful vow. Only in that way could Vesta's destiny be linked with his.

When the great day came at last for the Sword to be put into his hands, with a blare of trumpets the castle gates flew open, and a long[10] procession of nobles filed through. To the sound of cheers and ringing of bells, Aldebaran fared forth on his quest. The old king, his father, stepped down in the morning sun, and with bared head Aldebaran knelt to receive his blessing. With his hand on the Sword he swore that he would not come home again, until he had made a braver conquest[11] than had ever been made with it before, and by the bloodstone on his finger the old king knew that Aldebaran would fail not in the keeping of that oath.

With the godspeed of the villagers ringing in his ears, he rode away. Only once he paused to look back, when a white hand fluttered at a casement, and Vesta's sorrowful face shone down[12] on him like a star. Then she, too, saw the bloodstone on his finger as he waved her a farewell, and she, too, knew by that token he would fail not in the keeping of his oath.
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Old 07-30-2019
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A PEEP INTO TOORKISTHAN.



BY CAPTAIN ROLLO BURSLEM,



THIRTEENTH PRINCE ALBERT'S LIGHT INFANTRY.



1846.






TO THE


RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF CARNARVON,

HIGHCLERE CASTLE.

__________


MY LORD,

Having received your Lordship's permission to dedicate to you this my first essay as an Author, I beg to tender my best acknowledgements for the honour, and for the interest you have so kindly expressed in the success of the following pages. Under such favourable auspices a successful result may be confidently anticipated by



Your Lordship's
Obliged and obedient servant,

ROLLO BURSLEM.

HAREWOOD LODGE,
HAMPSHIRE.







TO THE READER.

__________


The following pages are literally what they profess to be, a record of a few weeks snatched from a soldier's life in Affghanistān, and spent in travels through a region which few Europeans have ever visited before. The notes from which it is compiled were written on the desert mountains of Central Asia, with very little opportunity, as will be easily supposed, for study or polish. Under these circumstances, it can hardly be necessary to deprecate the criticism of the reader. Composition is not one of the acquirements usually expected of a soldier. What is looked for in his narrative is not elegance, but plainness. He sees more than other people, but he studies less, and the strangeness of his story must make up for the want of ornament. I can hardly expect but that the reader may consider the style of my chapters inferior to many of those which are supplied to the public by those who are fortunate enough to enjoy good libraries and plenty of leisure; two advantages which a soldier on service seldom experiences. But this I cannot help. Such as they are, I offer him my unadorned notes; and perhaps he will be good enough to let one thing compensate another, and to recollect that if the style of the book is different from what he sometimes sees, yet the scenery is so too. If instead of a poetical composition he gets a straightforward story, yet instead of the Rhine or the Lakes he gets a mountain chain between Independent Tartary and China.

WALMAR BARRACKS,
March, 1846.






CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER IX
CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI
CHAPTER XII
CHAPTER XIII
CHAPTER XIV
CHAPTER XV
CHAPTER XVI
CHAPTER XVII
CHAPTER XVIII
CHAPTER XIX
CHAPTER XX



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS







A

PEEP INTO TOORKISTHĀN.[*]
[* Note: A portion of the following pages in their original form has appeared in the Asiatic Journal.]
__________



CHAPTER I.


During the summer of 1840, the aspect of the political horizon in Affghanistān afforded but slight grounds for prognosticating the awful catastrophe which two short years after befel the British arms. Dost Mahommed had not yet given himself up, but was a fugitive, and detained by the King of Bokhara, while many of the principal Sirdars had already tendered their allegiance to Shah Sooja: and there was in truth some foundation for the boast that an Englishman might travel in safety from one end of Affghanistān to the other. An efficient force of tried soldiers occupied Ghuzni, Cabul, Candahar, Jellalabad, and the other strongholds of the country; our outposts were pushed to the north-west some fifty miles beyond Bameeān, the Khyber and Bolun passes were open, and to the superficial observer all was tranquil. The elements of strife indeed existed, but at the time when I took the ramble which these pages attempt to describe, British power was paramount, and the rumour was already rife of the speedy diminution of the force which supported it.
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Notwithstanding the modern rage for exploration, but few of our countrymen have hitherto pierced the stupendous barrier of the Paropamisan range; but the works of Hanway, Forster, Moorcroft, and Trebeck, Masson, and Sir Alexander Burnes, convey most valuable information concerning the wild regions through which they travelled, and I am bound in simple honesty to confess that my little book does not aspire to rank with publications of such standard merit. An author's apology, however humble and sincere, is seldom attended to and more rarely accepted. Surely I am not wrong in assuming that a feeling of mournful interest will pervade the bosom of those who have the patience to follow my perhaps over-minute description of places whose names may be already familiar to them as connected with the career of those bold spirits who in life devoted their energies to the good of their country and the advancement of science, and who in the hour of disaster, when every hope was dead, met their fate with the unflinching gallantry of soldiers and the patient resignation of Christians.

My lamented friend, Lieutenant Sturt, of the Bengal Engineers, was one of the foremost of those who endeavoured, during the critical situation of the Cabul force previous to its annihilation, to rally the drooping spirits of the soldiers; and without wishing in any way to reflect on others, it may fairly be said that his scientific attainments and personal exertions contributed not a little to those partial successes, which to the sanguine seemed for a moment to restore the favourable aspect of our military position. But I forbear from now dwelling upon these circumstances, lest I might undesignedly give pain to those who still survive the fatal event, merely stating my humble opinion that the memory of any mistake committed, either in a political or military light, will by the noble-minded be drowned in sorrow for the sufferings and death of so many thousands of brave men.

In the month of June, 1840, Lieutenant Sturt was ordered to survey the passes of the Hindoo Koosh, and I obtained leave from my regiment, then in camp at Cabul, for the purpose of accompanying him; my object was simply to seek pleasant adventures; the "cacoethes ambulandi" was strong upon me, and I thirsted to visit the capital of ancient Bactria; the circumstances which prevented our reaching Balkh will hereafter be detailed, but the main object of the expedition was attained, as Sturt executed an excellent map of the passes alluded to, and satisfactorily demonstrated that almost all the defiles of this vast chain, or rather group of mountains, may be turned, and that it would require a large and active well-disciplined force to defend the principal ones. I have made every possible inquiry as to the fate of the results of Sturt's labours, but fear that they too were lost in the dreadful retreat. Whatever still exists must be in the Quarter-Master General's Department in India, far out of my reach, so that I am obliged again to request the indulgence of my reader for the want of a proper map on which he might, if he felt so inclined, trace our daily progress,[*] and to crave his forgiveness if I occasionally repeat what has been far more ably related by Moorcroft and the other authors whom I have already mentioned.

[* Note: Since receiving the proof sheets for correction I have been kindly supplied by my friend Major Wade with a map taken principally from the one executed by the late Lieutenant Sturt.]

To the traveller whose experience of mountain scenery is confined to Switzerland, the bold rocks and rich though narrow valleys of the frontiers of Toorkisthān offer all the charms of novelty; the lower ranges of hills are gloomy and shrubless, contrasting strikingly with the dazzling, yet distant splendour of the snowy mountains. It is an extraordinary fact, that throughout the whole extent of country occupied by these under features, which presents every variety of form and geological structure, there are scarcely any hills bearing trees or even shrubs; every valley, however, is intersected by its native stream, which in winter pursues its headlong course with all the impetuosity of a mountain torrent, but in the summer season glides calmly along as in our native meadows.

The multitude and variety of well-preserved fossils which are imbedded in the different strata of the Toorkisthān hills would amply reward the researches of the Geologist, and to the Numismatologist this portion of Asia proves eminently interesting, Balkh and other localities in its vicinity abounding in ancient coins, gems, and other relics of former days; and I much regret that I was unable to reach the field from whence I expected to gather so rich a harvest.
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CHAPTER II.


In accordance with the golden rule of restricting our baggage to the least possible weight and compass, we allowed ourselves but one pony a piece for our necessaries, in addition to what were required for our small tent and cooking utensils, Sturt's surveying instruments being all carried by Affghān porters whom he hired at Cabul for that purpose.

On the 13th of June we commenced our ramble, intending to proceed to Balkh by the road through Bameeān, as we should then have to traverse the principal passes of the Hindoo Khosh, and our route would be that most likely to be selected by an army either advancing from Bokhārā on Cabul or moving in the opposite direction. The plundering propensities of the peasantry rendered an escort absolutely necessary, and ours consisted of thirty Affghans belonging to one of Shah Soojah's regiments, under the command of Captain Hopkins. As Government took this opportunity of sending a lac[*] of rupees for the use of the native troop of Horse-Artillery stationed at Bameeān, our military force was much increased by the treasure-guard of eighty Sipahis and some remount horses; so that altogether we considered our appearance quite imposing enough to secure us from any insult from the predatory tribes through whose haunts we proposed travelling. Our first day's march was merely to make a fair start, for we encamped two miles north-west of the city in a grove of mulberry-trees, and the wind, as usual in summer, blowing strong in the day-time, laid the produce at our feet; so that by merely stretching out our hands, we picked up the fruit in abundance; for although the sun was powerful, we preferred the open air under the deep foliage to the closeness of a tent. During the early part of the night an alarm was raised throughout our small camp, and as we knew the vicinity of Cabul to be infested with the most persevering thieves, we naturally enough attributed the disturbance to their unwelcome visit, but it turned out to be only one of the remount horses, which having broken away from his picket was scampering furiously round our tents, knocking over the chairs, tables, and boxes which had been placed in readiness for packing outside the tent door. The neighing of the other horses, and their struggles to get loose and have a fight with their more fortunate companion, added to the braying of donkeys, barking of dogs, and groaning of the camels, gave me the notion of a menagerie in a state of insurrection. The affair looked serious when the animal began to caper amongst Sturt's instruments, but luckily we secured him before any damage was done, though for some time theodolites, sextants, artificial horizons, telescopes, and compasses were in imminent danger. The worst of an occurrence of this kind is, that your servants once disturbed never think of returning to rest when quiet is restored, but sit up for the remainder of the night, chatting over the event with such warmth and animation, as effectually to keep their master awake as well as each other. We started next morning at four, and marched about six miles and a half, the distances being always measured with a perambulator, the superintending of which gave Sturt considerable trouble, as it was necessary to have an eye perpetually on the men who guided it, lest they should have recourse to the usual practice of carrying the machine, whenever the nature of the ground made that mode of transportation more convenient than wheeling. This, together with taking bearings, and the other details of surveying, gave my companion plenty of occupation, not only during the march, but for the rest of the day when halted.

[*Note: lăc, lăkh (-k), n. (Anglo-Ind.). A hundred thousand (usu. of rupees).]

We were now encamped close to a village called Kulla Kazee, a place of no very good repute as regarding honesty; indeed, we were well aware of the predatory propensities of our neighbours; but we seemed destined to experience more annoyance from the great apprehension of being attacked which existed amongst our followers, than from any well-founded anticipation of it; their fears were not totally groundless, as it must be confessed that to a needy and disorganized population the bait of a lac of rupees was very tempting.

We had chosen a picturesque little garden for our resting place, the treasure and remount horses with the Sipahi guard being encamped about half a mile off to our rear. At about eleven at night the European sergeant in charge of the horses burst into our tent in some consternation, stating that a large band of robbers were descending from the adjacent hills to attack the treasure. Sturt immediately jumped up, and mounting his horse gallopped off to the supposed scene of action. All was quiet without the camp; within there was a terrible bustle, which Sturt at last succeeded in allaying by sending out patrols in various direction, who reported that nothing could be either heard or seen of the dreaded robbers. Being rather averse to these nocturnal diversions, especially as they promised to be of frequent occurrence, I made careful inquiries to ascertain if there were any real foundation for the alarm, but all I could learn was, that the neighbourhood had always been noted for robbers, who hasten towards the point upon the report of any party worth plundering passing near any of their forts. Possibly some robbers had gained intelligence of our treasure, and had actually appeared on the hills, but on discovering the strength of our party had retired.

The next day our route lay through delicious fields of ripening clover, in such profusion that the air was impregnated with its agreeable perfume, to a small fort called Oorghundee, remarkable chiefly for being the head-quarters of the oft-mentioned thieves, of whom I daresay the reader is as tired as we were after the mere dread they inspired had caused us to pass two sleepless nights. But we were now determined to assume a high tone, and summoning the chief of the fort, or, in other words, the biggest villain, into our presence, we declared that in the event of our losing a single article of our property or being annoyed by a night attack, we would retaliate in the morning by cutting the surrounding crops and setting fire to the fort!
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The military reader, especially if conversant with some of the peculiarities of eastern discipline, will question how far we should have been justified in carrying our threats into execution. I can assure him we had no such intention; but be that as it may, our threats had the desired effect, and at length we enjoyed an uninterrupted night's rest.

On the morning of the 16th we proceeded to Koteah Shroof, the whole distance being about ten miles: but the first three brought us to the extremity of the beautiful valley through which we had been travelling ever since we left Cabul. The aspect of the country in the immediate vicinity of our path has been well described by one of the most lamented victims to Affghan ingratitude and treachery. "If the reader can imagine," writes Sir Alexander Burnes, "a plain about twenty miles in circumference, laid out with gardens and fields in pleasing irregularity, intersected by three rivulets which wind through it by a serpentine course, and dotted with innumerable little forts and villages, he will have before him one of the meadows of Cabul." To complete the picture the reader must conceive the grey barren hills, which, contrasting strongly with the fertility of the plains they encompass, are themselves overlooked by the eternal snows of the Indian Caucasus. To the English exile these valleys have another attraction, for in the hot plains of Hindoostan artificial grasses are rarely to be found, and the rich scent of luxuriant clover forcibly reminds the wanderer of the sweet-smelling fields of his native land.

But these pleasing associations were soon dispelled by the steep and rugged features of the pass through which we ascended on leaving the plain. It is called the Suffaed Kāk or White Earth, and we found by the barometer, that the gorge of the ravine was about a thousand feet above our last encamping ground. The hills on either side were ragged and abrupt, but of insignificant height: the length of the pass itself was about two miles, and from its head to Koteah Shroof the road was stony and difficult; but, as we had been careful at starting not to overload our baggage animals, they got through their work without being much distressed.
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CHAPTER III.


I find it difficult to convey to the reader an adequate conception of the strange character of the hilly country we had now entered: no parts of Wales or even the varied groupings of the Swiss mountains offer a correct analogy. After passing the defile of the Suffaed Kāk the hills recede to a distance of about two miles on either side of the road, and the whole space thus offered to the labours of the peasant is very highly cultivated; but the barren rocks soon hem in the narrow valley, and as you approach nearer and nearer you find your enchanting gardens transformed into a dreary and desolate defile,––this succession of small plots of fertile ground, alternating with short rugged passes, extends to Julrez, ten miles beyond Koteah Shroof; which latter place is an insignificant fort, situated in the centre of one of the little green spots so pleasingly varying this part of the country.

At Koteah Shroof we gained the banks of the Cabul river, a placid flowing stream, and as the neighbourhood of our camp did not offer any features of peculiar interest, I determined to try my luck in fishing; but first I had to tax my ingenuity for implements, as I had neither rod, line, nor net. A willow stick and a bit of string was all I could command; and yet my primitive apparatus was very successful, for the fish also were primitive, affording me ample sport and taking the bait with extraordinary eagerness. My occupation attracted the attention of a few peasants who gathered round me, and stood wondering what potent charm attached to the string could entice the fish from their native element. I endeavoured to explain the marvel, but was utterly unsuccessful; indeed, the peasants did not accept my explanation, which they evidently considered as a fabrication invented to deceive them and conceal my supernatural powers. The inhabitants of these valleys seemed a simple and inoffensive race, and, as in Europe, their respectful demeanour became more conspicuous as we increased our distance from the capital.

With regard to the state of cultivation of this valley––in which it resembles others generally throughout Affghanistan––wherever there is soil enough to hold the seed, the Affghān husbandman appears to make the most of it. We found here and there in profusion the pear, apple, cherry, mulberry, and luxuriant vine, and in some situations wheat, with an under-crop of clover.

On the 17th we proceeded to Julrez, a collection of wretched hovels of no interest, and on the 18th, after a march of ten miles through a succession of valleys and defiles, we reached the Kuzzilbash fort, Suffaed Kulla. About two miles before we arrived at our encamping ground we passed near the Sir-e-chusm or "fountain head," one of the sources of the Cabul river; it is a large pool stocked with a multitude of enormous fish that are held sacred by the few inhabitants of the adjoining hamlets, and which are daily fed by an aged fanatic, who for many years has devoted himself to their protection. As it would be deemed in the highest degree sacrilegious to eat any of these monsters, they are never molested, and are so tame as to come readily to the hand when offered food. Of course, my necessary compliance with the prejudices of the guardian of the fish prevented the exercise of my Waltonian propensities.

A little further on is a remarkable bourj or watch-tower isolated on a projecting rock, and supposed to have been built for the purpose of giving the chiefs of the little plain below, when at variance with the neighbouring mountaineers, notice of the approaching invader. At this point the valley is extremely narrow, being almost choked up with huge masses of rock hurled by the violence of some convulsion of nature from the sides of the impending precipices.

There are several minor forts in the vicinity of Suffaed Kulla, which is the largest, and is at present occupied by a Kuzzilbash chief, who took advantage a few years ago of the temporary absence of its rightful owner, and acting upon the principle of "might makes right," possessed himself forcibly of it, and has held it ever since. He treated us with great kindness and attention, sending us most acceptable presents of fruit, with food for our followers and cattle.
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We here experienced to a great degree that remarkable daily variation of temperature so peculiar to these regions: in the gully the wind was bleak and cold, but when encamped under the shelter of the fort the heat from the sun's rays reflected from the smooth surface of the bare rock was so intense that the thermometer rose to 100 of Fahrenheit. While in camp at Cabul I frequently experienced the same rapid change, for it would sometimes be a hard frost at day-break and an Indian summer heat at mid-day.

On the 19th of June we started very early, as the tremendous Oonnye pass rising to the height of 11,400 feet lay before us, and we had a full ten miles march ere we could reach our proposed halting place at the village of Uart. We soon entered the mouth of the pass, which was girt on either side by magnificent precipices; the road was narrow and slippery––of course without even an apology for a parapet––running along a natural ledge on the verge of a perpendicular cliff, and so sheer was the side, that from a horse's back you might sometimes have dropped a stone into the apparently bottomless ravine––bottomless, for the rays of a noon-day sun have never broken the eternal darkness of the awful chasm beneath. Had horse, camel, or man missed their footing whilst scrambling up the steep and stony pathway, nothing could have saved them from being dashed to pieces. Frequently, when rounding some projecting crag, the small treasure-box fastened on the camel literally overhung the abyss, and I held my breath and the pulsations of my heart increased as I watched horse after horse and camel after camel weather the critical point.

Before we reached Uart a poor woman of the Huzareh tribe (the most persecuted and enslaved throughout these regions) came and complained to us that her child had been seized by a band of plunderers, as she supposed, to be sold into slavery. Sturt immediately despatched a couple of the guard to recover her child if possible, and the poor woman went off with the two soldiers in the full confidence that her escort would be successful. I own that I myself was not so sanguine, but I had yet to learn how much even in these wild mountains the British name was respected. The mother's hopes were realized, and in the course of the day the child was recovered, having been instantly surrendered on the requisition being made; but I was surprised to see instead of a helpless child a fine handsome well-knit young man. The gratitude of the poor woman was sincere; she had nothing, she said, to offer in return, but prayed that every blessing might descend upon us and our most distant relations; that we might all become great kings; and that finally we might be successful in conquering the country we were proceeding to invade: vain were our endeavours to set before her in their true light the object of our expedition.

We arrived rather late at Uart after a hard day's work, and were not much gratified by the aspect of our camp, which was disagreeable, from its great elevation and its situation on a bleak table-land, thinly covered with a short grass, with the strong winds of the Hindoo Khoosh sweeping across it.

Here a young woman came to our tent asking permission to avail herself of our protection, as she was proceeding to the frontiers of Toorkisthān to purchase slave girls for the Cabul market. She accompanied us to Bameeān, and there remained. I heard afterwards that she did not succeed according to her anticipations, and that on her return to Cabul she died of fever. Our English ideas of slavery drawn from our knowledge of the varied sufferings endured by the thousands who are annually exported from the western shores of Africa, are opposite to those entertained in the east even by the victims themselves. The Asiatic and African slave are alike in name alone; the treatment of the latter in those parts of America where, spite of the progress of civilization and the advancement of true principles of philanthropy over the world, slavery is still tolerated and encouraged, has been too well and too often described for me to venture a word of my own opinion, but in Asia, in many cases, the loss of liberty is hardly felt.

The situation of the domestic slave of Egypt (though, strictly speaking, he must be classed under the head of "African") is analogous to that observable generally in the east; and I form my opinion partly from an anecdote related to me by my friend Captain Westmacott, of the 37th Native Infantry, who was killed in the retreat from Cabul, which I will venture to repeat as an illustration. He was proceeding by the overland route from England to India, and remained some time in Egypt to view its splendid antiquities. On making inquiries with the object of procuring servants, he was informed that he had better purchase slaves. The civilized notions of my friend revolted at the idea, but he was assured that it was a method very generally adopted, as he would find it extremely difficult to hire servants, and if successful, they would prove the veriest rascals on the face of the earth. He reluctantly consented, and had them purchased. On his departure for India he summoned his slaves, and informed them that as they had behaved themselves well he would give them their freedom. They looked astounded and burst into tears, reminding him that instead of being kind to them he had shewn cruelty, "for where," said they, "shall we go now? Who will have anything to say to us? We shall starve and die; but if your highness will sell us again, we shall be well fed and clothed." I confess I do not see why the servants, if they really were so anxious to return to slavery, should not have sold themselves, and pocketed their own value. Throughout Afghanistān a slave is treated as an humble friend, and is generally found to be faithful and trustworthy.
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CHAPTER IV.


After surmounting the Oonnye Pass, which is one of the principal defiles of the Hindoo Khoosh, we proceeded on the 20th to Gurdundewāl, a distance from Uart of about six and a half miles. The road was a gradual descent, and very rugged, leading along the bases of barren rocks, till we debouched upon the river Elbon, as it is termed by the natives, but the Helmund or Etymander of the ancients. Even here, where the stream was in its infancy, the current was so strong, that while we were fording it, one of our baggage ponies laden with a tent was carried away by its violence, and, but for the gallant exertions of our tent-pitcher, we should have had to sleep in the open air for the rest of our journey; as it fortunately happened, both animal and load were recovered; and when properly dried, neither one nor the other were a bit the worse for their washing. On the 21st we encamped near the village of Kazee, after a march of nine miles along the right bank of the Helmund, which here flows in a south-westerly direction; we could procure no supplies whatever, either for man or beast, which was the more vexatious as we had a very hard day's work in prospect for the morrow, and were anxious to recruit ourselves and cattle before attempting it. We managed well enough in spite of our compulsory fast, and on the 22d we reached Kalloo, a distance of twelve miles, after crossing the steep and difficult pass of Hadjekuk, 12,400 feet high; as we approached the summit we found ourselves amongst the snow, and experienced some little inconvenience from a difficulty of respiration; though this pass was even higher than that of Oonnye, it does not possess the same abruptness and boldness of feature which render the latter so interesting and dangerous. The hills near the gorge were so strongly impregnated with iron as sensibly to affect the needle of the theodolite.

Throughout this country, and especially amongst the Uzbegs, there is a fortified wall in the form of a square surrounding each village, with small bastions or towers at the angles. Plunder is so much the order of the day, or rather of the night, that, as a protection, the cattle and every living animal are shut up in these places at sunset; the wicket is locked and barred, and if the villagers happen to have a feud with any of their neighbours, which generally is the case, a watchman is stationed on each bastion. Truly of this land it may be said, that "what one sows another reaps," for frequently a chief forming a "chuppäo" or plundering party against his neighbour, if unsuccessful in seizing men to sell for slaves or cattle for use, reaps and carries off the corn. These chuppäos are considered among the predatory tribes very exciting affairs, as affording opportunities for the young warriors to flesh their maiden swords; but it seldom happens that these encounters are very bloody, as, in the event of one party shewing a determined front, the other generally retreats. The unfortunate Huzareh tribe are constantly the sufferers, and the traveller will recognize more slaves of that than of any other "clan."

We were now in the vicinity of the Koh-i-baba, a mountain whose granite peaks still towered six thousand feet above us, though our own camp was at least nine thousand above the level of the sea. We determined upon ascending it the following morning, but at first experienced considerable difficulty in procuring guides, not from the natives being either unqualified or unwilling to undertake the task, for they were chiefly hunters, and familiar with the paths they had themselves formed in pursuit of game, but they could not conceive why we should be anxious to climb the difficult height, and therefore were obstinately stupid in refusing to understand the purpose for which we required their services. At length we obtained a guide, and started next morning at half-past five: with considerable fatigue and some little risk we reached the summit after three hours walking, but the magnificent view amply rewarded us for our trouble. The peaks about us were capped with eternal snow; those below were rugged and black. The comparison of the view from the top of a lofty mountain in a hilly country with that of the sea in a storm is old perhaps, but only the truer for that very reason. It was, indeed, as if the hand of God had suddenly arrested and turned to stone varied and fantastic forms of the dark tumultuous waves.

The solemn stillness of these lofty regions was a striking contrast with the busy plains below. The mountains abound in wild sheep, which the hardy hunter pursues for days together, taking with him a slender stock of food, and wrapping his blanket about him at night, when he seeks his resting-place amongst the crevices of these barren rocks. It is seldom that he returns empty-handed if he takes up a good position over-night, for the flocks of wild sheep descend from the least accessible parts at the earliest dawn in search of pasture, and one generally falls a victim to the unerring bullet of the rested Juzzyl. The distant view of the barrier range was beautiful beyond description, for, though the peak on which we stood was the highest for many miles around us, the lofty peaks of the Indian Caucasus were many thousand feet above us. We were now beyond the range of the wild sheep, and not a living creature was to be seen save a majestic eagle, who, deeming us intruders where he was lord of all, sailed up along the sides of the precipitous ravines, sweeping about our heads as he soared upwards, then again wheeling downwards near and nearer, till at length I fancied him within range; but so deceptive was the distance or so defective my aim that he continued unruffled in his course, whilst the sharp crack of the rifle echoed and re-echoed from crag to crag. After satiating our gaze with these wild splendours of creation, a most unsentimental craving of the inward man warned us to descend, and we returned to Kalloo by eleven o'clock to do ample justice to our breakfasts.

We left Kalloo on the 24th, ascending by a rugged broken track to the highest point of the pass, where we came upon a fort surrounded by a small belt of cultivation divided into fields by hedgerows abounding with wild roses. I could hardly have imagined the road practicable for camels, but the cautious though unwieldy animals eventually succeeded in surmounting all difficulties, and arrived late at our encampment near a village called Topechee, the whole distance being ten miles and a half. From the crest of the pass to Topechee was a gradual descent, the road bordering a tremendous fissure, deep and gloomy, along the bottom of which a pelting torrent forced its way. The variegated strata on the mountain side, forming distinct lines of red, yellow, blue, and brown, were very remarkable, and I much regret that I had not time to devote to them most strict examination in a geological point of view.

On the 25th we started for Bameeān, passing by another Topechee a few miles further on, which is famous for its trout stream. Very few of these fish are found in the country, and only in the streams within a few miles of this spot. They are red-spotted and well-flavoured, and, as the natives do not indulge in the angler's art, they will rise at any kind of fly and gorge any bait offered. While halting a few minutes at lower Topechee we fell in with an Uzbeg warrior, a most formidable looking personage, armed, in addition to the usual weapons of his country, with a huge bell-mouthed blunderbuss at least three inches in diameter; the individual himself was peaceably enough disposed, and, contrary to the usual habit of Asiatics, made no objections to our examining the small cannon he carried. On inspecting the deadly instrument we discovered it to be loaded to the very muzzle, a mixture of pebbles, slugs, and bits of iron being crammed into the barrel over a charge of a couple of ounces of powder. On our inquiring why it was so heavily charged, the man told us with much naiveté, that it was to kill nine men, illustrating the method by which this wholesale destruction was to be accomplished, by planting the butt on his hip and whirling the muzzle from right to left in a horizontal direction across us all, and telling us very pleasantly that if he were to fire we should all fall from the scattering of the different ingredients contained in the blunderbuss; had we not an instant before drawn the charge from which the fellow anticipated such dire effects, we might have felt rather uncomfortable at our relative positions; but I doubt whether the owner had ever had occasion to try the efficacy of his boasted manoeuvre, as he would probably at the first discharge have been killed himself either by the recoil or the bursting of the defective and honey-combed barrel.

The approach to Bameeān was very singular; the whole face of the hills on either hand was burrowed all over with caves like a huge rabbit-warren. I am informed that these caves are the work of nature, "yet worked, as it were planned," and are occupied occasionally by travellers both in summer and winter; they are observable in many places in Toorkisthān, and, when situated high up on the face of the hill, afford a safe retreat for the hunter. The road was tolerably good for the last three miles, running along a narrow valley sprinkled with numerous forts, which are generally occupied by the Huzareh tribes, an ill-featured but athletic race.
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