Page images


through the desert as quickly as ing from experience, I should in my power. We spent the night pronounce this idea to be partly under shelter of one of the sand- correct, as I can aver that this waves, where the atmosphere was sandy ccean was only visible uncommonly hot and close. during the hottest part of the

1st April. I travelled to-day day. To prevent the supposition twenty miles across a desert of of my having been deceived in its the same description as yesterday, reality, I may here and, that I and consequently the like impe- have seen this phenomenon and diments opposed me, which were the Suhrab, or watery illusion, so trifling, however, compared with frequent in deserts, called by the distress suffered, not only by French travellers the Mirage, in myself and people, but even the opposite quarters at the same precamels, from the floating parti- cise moment, and that they were cles of sand; a phenomenon which to my sight perfectly distinct ; I am still at a loss to account for. the former having a cloudy and When I first observed it, about dim aspect, whilst the latter is ten a. m., the desert seemed at luminous, and can only be misthe distance of half a mile or less, taken for water. to corroborate to have an elevated and flat sur- what I have advanced, I may likeface from six to twelve inches wise state that I afterwards was higher than the summits of the joined by a Fakeer from Kabool,

This vapour appeared to who had come through the desert recede as we advanced, and once from Seistan, and told me that or twice completely encircled us, he had witnessed the moving limiting the horizon to a very sands to a much greater degree confined space, and conveying a than I had described (or was wilmost gloomy and unnatural sen- ling to give him credit for), as he sation to the mind of the beholder: talked of being forced to sit down at the same moment we were im- in consequence of the density of perceptibly covered with innume- the cloud which enveloped him. rable atoms of small sand, which To proceed with my journal. getting into our eyes, mouths, Sixteen miles from our last haltand nostrils, caused excessive ir- ing-place, we reached the eastern ritation attended with extreme bank of a dry river called the thirst, that was increased in no Boodoor : it was at least five huna small degree by the intense heat dred yards in breadth, running in of the sun. On questioning my


a south-south-east direction toBrahooé guide who, though a wards the coast; the bed of it perfectly wild savage, had more in many places impervious from local knowledge than any other a thick jungul of different kinds person of the party, he said that of trees and brush-wood, the this annoyance was supposed by haunt of wolves, jackalls, and his countrymen and himself to other wild animals. We turned originate in the solar beams caus- to the right, and proceeded five ing the dust of the desert (as he miles north-westerly up the river emphatically styled it) to rise and bed to a spot where there had a float through the air; and, judg- few months before been a village

aptly 20 April. I set out from Regan rain fell in the largest drops ! just as the day began to dawn, ever remember to have seen, and and having made a westerly march the air was so completely darkof twenty-one miles, halted at ener, that I was absolutely unable three in the afternoon. The de- to discern any thing at the dissert was not near so sandy, and tance of even five yards. Moorad in many places was composed of happened to place himself about so a hard black gravel without a many paces in front of me, and trace of verdure, or even a bush when I looked up, during the to be seen. In the latter part of height of the tempest, I saw iny route I could distinctly trace nothing of him, and therefore with my eye, a chain of lofty concluded he had shifted his pomountains stretching all round in sition, but when it was over I front from south-west to north- found him still in the same spot. west: and when we alighted off These bursts are by no means the camels, my guide shewed me rare, and though unpleasant at the break in them through which the instant, have their attendant we were to gain egress from this advantages, as they cool and puinhospitable waste.


aptly called Regan, whose inha- few small clouds in the northbitants had gone to Gurmsylwest quarter, and the only ante(which district lies north-north- ccdent warning it afforded, west of this place) owing to the the oppressive sultriness of the scarcity. Here we halted on the air and a vast number of whirlWestern brink, and with much winds springing up on all sides ; digging and difficulty procured the moment the Brahooé saw two Mushks, or skins, of water. these whirlwinds disperse, which I imagine the direct course from they did as if by magic, and a the well we left yesterday morn- cloud of dust approaching, he ading to Regan, would have been vised us to dismount, and we had about west; but our guide, fear- hardly time to do so and lodgeouring to lose himself, kept to the selves snugly behind the camels, southward, where he could at in- when the storm burst upon us tervals descry the mountains. with a furious blast of wind: the names of Julot or Julo, the flame, mountains, and contiguous to the and Badé Sumoom, the pestilen- northern ridge, which separates tial wind. So powerfully search- it from the country of Bokhara. ing is its nature, that it has been The valley extends at least thirty known to kill camels or other miles, from east to west, and is hardy animals, and its effects on about fifteen broad, watered by a the human frame were related to river rising in the mountains and me by those who had been eye- running through the centre; it is witnesses of them, as the most highly cultivated, and the whole dreadful that can be imagined; face of it is covered with villages the muscles of the unhappy suf- and gardens. The approach to ferer become rigid and contracted; Herat from the Zearutgah, lies the skin shrivels, an agonizing four miles between orchards, with sensation, as if the flesh was on a capital road; at the end of this fire, pervades the whole frame, road we came to the river, over and in the last stage it cracks into which there is

rify the atinosphere, which would I experienced this forenoon a otherwise be quite intolerable at violent «tornado or gust of wind, any season, and is so notwithstandaccompanied by a torrent of rain ing their prevalence, throughout which continued for half an hour, the hot months from June to and was absorbed by the earth as September. it fell. It came on most unex- Within that period, the winds pectedly, and had the guide not in this desert are often so scorchapprized me of its strength, we ing and destructive, as to kill any should probably have fared worse thing, either animal or vegetable, than we did, for it would have that may be exposed to them, and been an act of temerity to have the route by which I travelled is tried to sit on the camels during then deemed impassable. This its impetuous fury. Before it wind is distinguished every where began, the sky was clear, save a in Beloochistan, by the different


a very ancient deep gashes, producing hemorr- bridge, four hundred yards in hage, that quickly ends this mi- length, built of burnt brick, and sery. In some instances life is said to have been erected by an annihilated instantaneously, and oil woman at her own private exin others the unfortunate victim pence; it is now, however, milingers for hours, or perhaps days, serably decayed, and will soon in the excruciating tortures I have tumble to pieces unless the godescribed. To render this ter- vernment repair it. Previous to rible

scourge still more baneful, the building of this bridge the its approach is seldom, if ever communication between the city foreseen ; and among all the Be- and the country was yearly cut looches with whom I have con- off, on the melting of the snow versed regarding it, no one as- in the mountains, and the conseserted more than thut they had quent swell of the river. When heard it was indicated by an unu- we had passed the bridge, we rode sual oppression in the air, and a four miles through the suburbs degree of heat that affected the along a good road, to the city eyes; the precaution then adopted, gate. is to cover themselves over, and The city covers an area of four lie prostrate on the earth. А square miles, and is fortified by a curious fact is established by this lofty mud wall, with towers and custom, that any cloth, however a wet ditch ; in the northern face thin, will obviate the deleterious is a citadel elevated on a mound effects of the Badé Sumoom on above the wall ; this is a small the human body.

square castle with towers at the angles, built of burnt brick, and the whole in line with the wall, and encompassed by a wet ditch,

over which is a draw-bridge. Be(From the same.)

yond this, there is also a recently The city of Herat is situated in constructed outer wall and dry à valley, surrounded by lofty ditch. The city has a gate in



each face, and two in the northern are here highly respected, and one; but on the whole it is very alone possess capital. The gocontemptible as a fortification. vernment is sensible of their va

From each gate Bazars lead to the lue, and they have in consequence “ Char Soobh," or market-place, niuch influence. They live in the in the centre of the town, which best Suraés, and have gardens are spacious and well lined with outside, but do not venture to shops ; the principal one extends bring their families with them to from the south gate to the Gunje this city. Bazar, or cattle market, in front Heerat is a city of more trade of the citadel, and is covered in than perhaps any other in Asia with a vaulted roof of the whole under a native government; it is length. These streets and the called by distinction the Bunder, Char Soobh are so filled with the or port, and is the emporium becrowd of people on Thursday (the tween Kabool, Kandahar, HinBazar day), as to be almost im- doostan, Kashmeer, and Persia, passable. On either side as you Bagdad, &c. From the four forgo along are large spacious Su- mer it receives shawls, indigo, suraés, where the merchants have gar, chintz, muslin, bafta, kintheir Kothees, or factories; the cob, hides, and leather, which are city is well supplied with water, exported to Mushid, Yezd, Tehevery Suraé having a Houz, or raun, Bagdad, and Kirman; recistern, independent of the public ceiving in return, dollars, tea, ones on either side the Bazar sugar-candy, china ware, broadstreets. The meanest building in cloth, chintz, silk, copper, pepappearance, is the residence of the per, and all kinds of spices, dates, prince, of which you see no more shawls, numuds, and carpets. than a common gate-way, over The hides which are imported which is a wretched building, and from Hindoostan return a profit in front an open square, with gal- of one hundred per cent. nett ; leries in the centre, for the Nu- indeed the whole trade is uncomkurah Khana, or kettle-drums. monly advantageous to any one

The Musjidé Jooma, or Fri- possessing capital. The currency day's Mosque, was once a grand here is that of Muhmood Shahee building, comprising an area eight rupees, but accounts are kept in hundred yards square, but this is Kureem Khanee, at one hundred fast going to decay. The private and twenty-five per hundred Muhbuildings in Heerat are by no mood Shahees. means in this state, for no city The staples of Heerat are silk, has less ground unoccupied, and saffron, and assafoetida, which are nine, for its extent, can boast of exported to Hindoostan; the silk a greater population. Heerat and cloths are not equal to the manuits suburbs are computed to con- facture of Persia. The gardens tain above one hundred thousand are full of mulberry trees reared inhabitants, of whom ten thou- solely for the sake of the silkband are Uffghans, the rest are worm, and all the plains and hills Moghuls, a few Jews, and six round Heerat, particularly to the hundred Hindoos. The Hindoos westward, produce assafçtida. It

grows government


grows to the height of two or colts are highly prized, and are

' three feet, the stem two inches in often sold for from one to four diameter, and the head, when thousand rupees (1251. to 500l.) ripe, is yellow and resembles a each. The tolls, at Heerat are cauliflower ; the Hindoor and the two rupees on every camel load Belooches are fond of it, they eat going out of the city, and one it by roasting the stem in the anna, or sixteenth of a rupee on ashes, and stewing the head of it every twenty rupees' worth of like other greens. It still, how- merchandize sold in it. This is ever, preserves its fætid taste and levied from the purchaser by the smell.

Suraédar, or tax-gatherer, who The gardens of Heerat are ex- farms the tolls from government. tensive; the Oordooé Bagh, be- Although the toll on camels aplonging to the Prince and Baghé pears so very trivial, it is avoided Shahee, planted by Tymoor Shah by every means to a large ex(this being his favourite seat,) tent, of which I had an opportuare the only publicones, and now nity of knowing two or three inonly attended to for their annual stances. The revenues

are estiproduce, which is sold in the Ba- mated at four and a half lacs of zar. Leading to the latter is an rupees, and are levied on the Suavenue one mile in length, be- raes, shops and gardens; a part tween fir trees; and adjoining are is taken in kind, or grain and catfour minarets of a mosque that tle; and from the total amount was intended for the tomb of the the prince pays fifty thousand Imam Moosa Allee Reza, who, rupees annually to the King of however, was disappointed of his Persia. visit to Heerat by dying at Mus- The government of Heerat is hid.

in the hands of the Shahzadah The villages in the neighbour- Hadjee Fejroozoodeen Khan, hood of Heerat are numerous,

third son of the late Tymoor Shah, and nothing can exceed the ferti- and full brother to the present lity of this valley ; wheat and bar. Muhmood Shah. He is about ley are most abundant, and fruit fifty years of age, appears to take of all kinds amazingly cheap. little active participation in pubWhen I was at Heerat, the horses lic affairs, but leaves every thing were all at Bagh, up a place one to Hadjee Aga Khan, his minisstage over the mountains, for the ter. In the present distracted benefit of the fine grass procura- state of Khorasan, he endeavours ble there. They are generally to remain neutral, without incur half bred, but the merchants from ring the displeasure of either of Bokhara bring Toorkumanee the contending parties. The horses, that sell in proportion to prince has two wives, the one a their height. The most celebra- Moghul lady, the other a daughted breeder in this country is Boo- ter of Shakoor Khan Douranee, niad Beg of the tribe of Huzaree; by each of whom he has two sons. he resides in the mountains to- Kasim Khan, the eldest, is a good wards Mushid, and has large looking young man, about twentyherds of horses and mares: his two years of age. The reins of

« PreviousContinue »