« السابقةمتابعة »
had strayed some distance into the jungle, and the drivers being unwilling to go after them in the cold, became sulky and intractable when ordered to do so. This brought on a quarrel between them and one of the chiefs who attended us, which did not terminate until he drew his sword, and threatened to slay them on the spot if they did not immediately bring them in; frightened at his meances, they departed in haste to look for their beasts, but so much time elapsed before they could be found, that we were not ready to start until near noon.
Having proceeded four or five miles across a level plain, thickly covered with low salt bushes, we came again upon the river, which at this place is joined by the Rahto, a stream of some magnitude, flowing from the mountains to the eastward ; at the point of junction the bed of the Poorally is nearly a mile wide, and when full must form a fine sheet of water. The greater part of it is overrun with jungle, and the water meanders through it in two streams, about fifteen yards wide and as many inches deep. The soil is covered in many places with a thin saline incrustation, which from the taste appears to be natron. Two alligators were lying asleep on the bank a short distance from the place where we crossed.
On the opposite side of the river we met a fine-looking young man, mounted on a camel and attended by a few soldiers, who civilly stopped to salute us. He was a son of Arab Oosmanany, the chief of the Arab Gudoor tribe, and when he had been told that we did not understand the language, endeavoured to find out from the interpreter the object of my visit to Lus.
Late in the afternoon we reached Oot, two small villages about five miles from Beylah. During this day's journey the road gradually inclined toward the western range of mountains, and we had passed through a level country, alternately overrun with saline bushes or thick jungle. We were now not far from the head of the valley, which is encircled by high mountains, and numerous thin columns of sand were visible in every direction, caused by the eddying currents of wind sweeping out of their recesses. They moved over the plain with great rapidity, and whenever one came near us, I could hear the chief who guided my camel mutter to himself, “ Pass away from the road good demon, and do us no harm ; I am only going to Beylah with the English gentlemen who have brought presents for the Jam.” Amused with this odd request, I asked him the meaning of it, when he told me with great gravity that we were now in the territory belonging to the ancient city Shuhr Roghun, once the favorite residence of the fairy Baddul Jamaut, and that these columns were demons who had since taken possession of it, to whom it was necessary to speak sweetly to prevent them from playing us any tricks.
Oot consists of two small villages belonging to Arab Oosmanany, the chief of the Arab Gudoor tribe, one containing about 50 and the other 25 houses. The baggage not having come up, the carpets were spread under the shade of a large tree, and we were quickly surrounded by the whole population, to whom our dress and appearance seemed to afford considerable amusement. Arab Oosmanany, the chief, was at the village waiting to conduct us to Beylah ; and being informed of our arrival came to pay us a visit, the whole of the villagers having been previously summoned to compose his retinue. In the course of conversation, I told him that amongst the presents there was one for him, which he begged might be delivered in the presence of the Jam. In the evening he sent us a sheep, with a quantity of flour, rice, ghee, &c., and requested we would let him know if we wanted any thing else.
At noon next day the Kossid who had been dispatched to Beylah the night before, to announce our approach, having returned, we left Oot accompanied by Arab Oosmanany and a small party of military followers. For the whole distance the road passed through a succession of cultivated ground, interspersed with small thickets composed of a high bushy tree which appears something like the willow. As we left Oot we met ten or twelve hideous looking beings dressed as women, and mounted on donkeys, who saluted us as they passed ; from their peculiarly disgusting appearance and bold manners, I was induced to inquire of my companion who they were: he laughed, and said they were eunuchs. Descending by a deep irregular water course into the dry bed of a river flowing from the N. E. and about 700 yards broad, we crossed it and entered Beylah. On approaching the town the housetops were seen literally covered, and the streets thronged with people: as we entered it the crowd set up a wild shout, shrieking and ballooing with all their might, and created such a dust that I was almost suffocated. The ladies also favoured us with a shrill scream, but whether of welcome, admiration, or disgust, I could not exactly make out. The young Jam, we were told, was amongst the spectators. Arab Oosmanany turned off to the palace to report our arrival, and we were conducted to a house which had been prepared for our reception ; it was a most wretched dwelling, but with the exception of the palace, as good as any other in the town. The people crowded into the outer room without ceremony, and although the Jam had sent six soldiers to keep them out, they found it impossible to do so, and I was at last obliged to turn every one out myself and fasten the door: whenever it was opened a general rush was made, and some hard fighting took place between the guard and the mob before the latter could be driven back. Some of the principal inhabitants confiding in their rank, rudely walked into
the inner apartment where we were sitting, but they were soon made sensible of their mistake by being immediately turned out of the house, and told that whoever wished to see us, must first ask and obtain permission.
About two hours after our arrival one of the chiefs brought a complimentary message from the Jam, but the real object of his visit it appeared was to ascertain precisely my rank, which having done, he departed ; shortly after Arab Oosmanany came alone, and informed me that the Jam would give me a public audience next day.
Late in the afternoon a chief came to conduct us to the house where the Jam was waiting to receive us, but no horses having been sent I requested him to go back and get three, which in a few minutes made their appearance. Preceded by the presents, and attended by a party of soldiers, we proceeded through the town, and after having passed with some difficulty through several narrow streets, filled with a erowd of people
, shouting as if they were mad, alighted at the door of the Kutchery, which, from the dense mass collected round it, was hardly approachable ; on entering the court-yard we were received by one of the chiefs, who taking me by the hand led me towards a
or room open in front, where the Jam was seated in state; although the hall of audience was merely a rude mud building, without ornament or furniture of any kind, the coup d' al was rather imposing, the
drawn up inside being arranged so as to produce the best possible effect. In the centre sat the young chief, on a square platform raised about a foot high, and covered with a carpet and cushions of silk richly embroidered. His relations and chiefs were disposed on either side according to their rank, Ularacky, his chief confidential adviser being seated on his right hand a little in advance, and his tutor, the Hadgi Hafiz, on his left, and the back ground was filled up by a body of well dressed, fine looking military retainers. My conductor having led me up to the musnud, the Jam desired me to sit down on a carpet laid in front of it, and the usual complimentary speeches and inquiries were made by the minister Ularacky, who conducted the whole business. During the time the interview lasted, the young chief, who I imagine had been well tutored for the occasion, sat without uttering a word, with a vacant incurious expression of countenance which was no doubt assumed. He is a handsome lad, of thirteen or fourteen years of age, with fine expressive eyes, rather fair complexion, and a profusion of long jet black ringlets falling on each
At present his countenance is rather feminine, and when we saw him in his state robes, which from their peculiar fashion aided the resemblance, he appeared more like a young Indian queen
side his face.
than the chief of a wild tribe of Noomrees. He wore an under dress of crimson and gold kincaub, with trowsers of striped silk, and over this a mantle of pale blue satin richly embroidered with gold and silver thread, colored silk, &c., in the pattern peculiar to the Cashmere shawls. His turban formed of splendid kincaub was extremely large, and adorned with a feather of open gold work, set with emeralds, sapphires, rubies, &c. and another ornament richly set with jewels, similar to what I believe is called in Europe a sevigni, from which hung several strings of large pearls. A gold-hilted sword, with a shield ornamented with chased gold knobs lay before him, and completed his equipment. After the presents had been exhibited, which appeared to excite the admiration of all present, I took leave, and attended as before by a party of soldiers, amongst whom I distributed a few rupees, as is customary on these occasions, returned to the house.
During the week I remained at Beylah I had several long conversations with Ularacky, the Jam’s minister. Ularacky is the second chief of the Jamootry, the particular tribe to which the Jam belongs, and has been chosen by the Jam's mother in consequence to conduct the government of the province under her superintendence ; he is a fine intelligent old man, without any of the prejudices against Europeans which generally exist in the minds of those natives of India who have had no intercourse with them; but being surrounded by chiefs belonging to the other tribes, who are jealous of his influence with the reigning family, he is obliged to act with the greatest caution.
Beylah contains about 800 houses constructed of sticks and mud, and between four and five thousand inhabitants; it covers a small piece of elevated ground rising above the banks of a river of some size, flowing from the N. E. which joins the Poorally about a mile farther to the westward, and with the exception of the N. E. quarter, which is surrounded by a ruinous mud wall, is entirely undefended. The palace of the Jam is within the walls, and is the only brick building in the place. About Beylah a large portion of the land is under cultivation; and the face of the country presents a pleasing succession of grassy plains and small woods, which with the advantage of being placed nearly at the junction of two rivers, and at an equal distance from the mountains on either side, renders it the best spot in the province that could have been selected for the site of the capital. The Poorally passes about a mile to the westward of it, and spreading over a large extent of surface forms several swamps, which are fed by numerous springs; in some of them rice is cultivated, and the ground about their banks is every where much broken by deep gullies worn by the water Aowing into them in the rainy season.
Ularacky having communicated to me the decision of the durbar respecting the survey of Soonmemy, and finding the Jam’s answer to the Government letter would not be ready for two days, I determined to employ the interval in visiting Shuhr Roghan, an ancient excavated city, situated amongst the mountains to the northward ; on stating my wish to Ularacky, he at last obtained the requisite permission from the Jam's mother; who as a compliment, sent one of her confidential attendants with her son's state-matchlock to accompany me.
Beyond the town the road for some distance wound through a thick wood occupying the bed of a deserted river ; here and there it opened out into small but picturesque glades, but in general the underwood was so dense, that we had some difficulty in making our way through it: the bushes were full of birds, amongst which I noticed several parrots, and a very pretty little bird with green and golden plumage : it was decidedly the most beautiful spot I had seen in the province. On ascending from the bed of the river we came upon an open plain thickly covered with large rounded stones, and cut up in every direction by deep water courses, and about four miles from the town crossed the dry bed of a river about 500 yards wide; a short distance beyond it is situated the small village of Momadary surrounded by fields, and to the eastward a grove of lofty trees was visible, where my attendants said the Jam had a large garden. From Momadary to the head of the valley the stony plain is thinly dotted with bushes, and every where deeply furrowed by channels; this part of the valley rises slightly to the foot of the hills, and from its appearance, must have water flowing over its surface in the rainy season, towards the Poorally, from one range of mountains to the other.
About nine miles to the northward of Beylah, a range of low hills sweeps in a semicircle from one side of the valley to the other, and forms its head. The Poorally river issues from a deep ravine on the western side, and is about 200 yards broad; it is bounded on one side by steep cliffs, forty or fifty feet high, on the summit of which there is an ancient burying ground, and the water runs bubbling along it in two or three small rivulets, amongst heaps of stones and patches of tamarisk jungle. Having crossed the stream we pursued our way up its bed amongst the bushes, until we gained the narrow ravine through which it flows, and then turning into one of the lateral branches entered Shuhr Roghan. The scene was singular; on either side of a wild broken ravine the rocks rise perpendicularly to the height of four or five hundred feet, and are excavated as far as can be seen ; in some places where there is footing to ascend, up to the summit; these excavations are most numerous along the lower part of the hills, and