Imatges de pÓgina
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During the abode of our travellers at Kelat, they received frequent solicitations for medicine, all compliance with which they at first evaded, by saying that their baggage had not arrived; but when it became known that this had reached Kelat, they were overwbelmed with applications of the same nature, and the applicants would not take any refusal. One of the most ludicrous scenes imaginable ensued, in which Messrs. Christie and Pottinger found themselves surrounded by a multitude of people, who fancied themselves afflicted with alınost every disease, and were all at once describing their complaints in a jargon which neither of them could clearly understand. Here Mr. P. observes, we presently reduced them to some order; and being not only willing to oblige, but anxious to acquire friends by doing so, we dispensed the medicines with a liberal hand, according to the best of our judgments, trusting, in no small degree, to the effect of our nostrums on the imagination. Some of the most absurd mistakes were committed by those who received these medicines, either in consequence of their not comprehending the directions that had been given them respecting their use, or from their not choosing implicitly to follow them. Among others, one made by a miller was the most serious. He had received a quantity of aperient medi. cine, and was requested to divide it into seven or eight doses; but hoping to derive the same benefit by a less tedious mode, he took it all at once, and had nearly paid for bis temerity with his life. The fame of their skill in medicine, however, soon reached the haram of Sooltan Saheb, where Captain Christie was solicited to pay a visit, in his character of phy. sician. The scene which ensued was admirable; but for this we must refer our readers to the work itself.

The time now arrived when they determined to quit Kelat, and proceed on their route to Heerat, in the province of Khorasan. As they had lately learnt tbat the roads from Kirman, Yezd, and other places in Persia, united at a village called Nooshky, about sixty or seventy miles north-west of Kelat, they resolved to proceed directly thither, and then to shape their course as circumstances might render it expedient. With this view they left Kelat on the 6th of March; the party consisting of themselves, two Hindoostanee servants, four Brabooe camel-drivers, and five camels. The whole party was carried by four of the camels, each camel bearing two persons, and a fifth being provided in case of accident. On the 9th they reached Nooshky; where, after being for

some time exposed to the rude and troublesome behaviour of the inhabitants, they took up their abode in the mibman khanu, or “ house for guests," and were hospitably entertained, during their stay, by the Sirdar, or chief of tbe place. Here they resolved to separate, and take different directions. Captain Christie proposed to continue bis route to Heerat, and Lieutenant Pottinger to proceed by the southern road through Surhud to Kirman, in Persia. After various delays, occasioned by the Sirdar, who had engaged to escort Captain Christie to Dooshak, the capital of Siestan, about half-way from Nooshky to Heerat, he set out on the 22d of March; while Lieutenant Pottinger remained at, Nooshky, until a messenger arrived from Kelat, to bring them letters from that place, and take charge of their extra baggage. Immediately upon his arrival, Mr.P. resolved to proceed on his route with all possible dispatch, and accordingly agreed with Moorad Khan, the nephew of the Sirdar, for his company as a guide to Surhad. On the morning of the 25th, Mr. Pottinger quitted Noosbky; the whole party consisting only of five persons, none of them well armed ; so that they trusted more to their good fortune in not meeting with hordes of plunderers, than to their power of repelling them. Early on the morning of the 31st, they came to a well, which was the last water they expected to find before they should have crossed the sandy desert which lay before thein; and therefore they filled every thing they had capable of containing that necessary element, previous to their entry on that comfortless region, wbich Mr. Pottinger thus describes in his journal of that day :

We quitted this well just as the sun rose, and proceeded, the greater part of the way on foot, twenty-seven miles farther, over a desert of red sand, the particles of which were so light, that when taken in the hand they were scarcely more than palpable: the whole is thrown by winds into an irregular mass of waves, principally running east and west, and varying in height from ten to twenty feet: most of these rise perpendicularly on the opposite side to that from which the prevailing wind blows, (north-west,) and might readily be fancied, at a distance, to resemble a new brick wall. The side facing the wind slopes off with a gradual declivity to the base (or near it) of the next windward wave. It again ascends in a straight line, in the same extraordinary manner as above described, so as to forn a hollow path between them. I kept as much in these paths as the direction I had to travel in would admit of; but had, nevertheless, exceeding difficulty and fatigue in urging the camels over the waves when it was requisite to do so, and more particularly when we had to clamber up the leeward or perpendicular face of them; in which attempt we were many times defeated, and obliged to go round till an easier place or turn in the wave offered. On the oblique or shelving side, the camels got up pretty well, as their broad

feet saved them from sinking deeper than we did ourselves ; and the instant they found the top of the wave giving way from their weight, they most expertly dropped on their knees, and in that posture gently slid down with the sand, which was luckily so unconnected that the leading camel usually caused a sufficient breach for the others to follow on foot.”

P. 132.

The following extract shews, that though these waves of sand were serious impediments to our traveller's progress, they were far from being the only difficulties he had to encounter in this part of his march, and that he witnessed natural phænomena, of which tbose who are acquainted only with the fertile plains of our own green isle, can form no adequate conception.

1st April.— I travelled to-day twenty miles, across a desert of the same description as yesterday, and consequently the like impediments opposed me; which were trifling, however, compared with the distress suffered, not only by myself and people, but even by the camels, from the floating particles of sand;--a phenomenon which I'am still at a loss to account for. When I first observed it, about ten a.m., the desert seemed, at the distance of balf a mile, or less, to have an elevated and flat surface, * from six to twelve inches higher than the summits of the waves. This va, pour appeared to recede as we advanced, and once or twice completely encircled us, limitting the horizon to a very confined space, and conveying a most gloomy and unnatural sensation to the mind of the beholder; at the same moment we were imperceptibly covered with innumerable atoms of small sand, wbich, getting into our eyes, mouths, and nostrils, caused excessive irritation, attended with extreme thirst, that was increased in no small degree by the intense heat of the sun. On questioning my Brahooé guide, who, though a perfectly wild savage, had more local knowledge than any other person of the party, be said, that this annoyance was supposed by his countrymen and himself to originate in the solar beams causing the dost of the desert (as be emphatically styled it) to rise and float through the air: and, judging from experience, I should pronounce the idea to be partly correct, as I can aver that this sandy ocean was only visible during the hottest part of the day. To prevent the supposition of my having been deceived in its reality, I may here add, that I have seen this phenomenon, and the subrale, or watery illusion, so frequent in deserts, called by the French travellers mirage, in opposite quarters at the precise moment, and that they were to my sight perfectly distinct, the former having a cloudy and dim aspect, while the latter is luminous, and can only be mistaken for water. To corroborate what I have advanced, I may likewise state, that I was afterwards joined by a Fakir, from Kabool, who had come through the desert from Seistan, and told me that he had witnessed the moving sands to a much greater degree than I had described, (or was willing to give him credit for,) as he talked of being forced to sit down, in consequence of the density of the cloud which enveloped him.”—p. 133.

The following, Mr. Pottinger thinks, is the cause of this singular phenomenon; and, as it appears at least plausible, the result of experience, and adequate to the effect, we shall

fle it to the consideration of the reader.

“ The most simple theory that I can suggest for these moving sands, and which I offer with diffidence, is this. When the violent whirlwinds that prevail in the desert terminate in gusts of wind, they usually expand over several square miles, raging with irresistible force, and bearing upwards an immense body of sand, which descends as the current of air that gave it action dies away, thus creating the appearance in question. It might, perhaps, be demanded, what should prevent the sand from altogether subsiding, when it has so far done so as to rest apparently on the waves? To this I should answer, that all the grosser particles do settle, but the more minute become rarified to such a degree, by the heat excited by the burning sun on the red soil, that they remain, as it were, in an undecided and undulating state, until the returning temperature restores their specific gravity, and then, by an undeviating law of nature, they sink to the earth. It will be perceived that this coineides, in some measure, with the opinion of the native Brahooés; but, conformable to their notion, it is evident that the floating sands would be apparent at all periods of excessive solar in-' fluence; which not being the case, it becomes necessary to find a primary cause for the phenomenon.”—p. 133, note.

Another grand destroyer of animal and vegetable life in these arid regions, are the furious winds to which they are exposed; one of which, accompanied by a vast deluge of rain, Mr. Pottinger experienced on the 2d of April: but, though unpleasant, and even dangerous, at the time, they bave their attendant advantages. During the hot months, from June to September, however, their effects on the human frame are frequently of the most dreadful description. And, as the method adopted by the Beloochees to prevent their pernicious consequences, when they can be foreseen, seems to establish a curious fact, we shall extract Mr. Pot tinger's account of them.

“ Withiu that period (from June to September), the winds in this deserti are often so scorching and destructive as to kill any thing, either animal or vegetable, that may be exposed to them, and the route by which I travelled is there deemed impassable. This wind is distinguished every where in Beloochistan by the different names of Julot or Julo, the flame, and Badé Sumoom, the pestilential wind. So powerfully searching is its nature, that it has been known to kill camels and other hardy animals, and its effects on the human frame were related to me, by those who had been eye. witnesses of them, as the most dreadful that can be imagined; the muscles of the unhappy sufferer become rigid and contracted, the skin shrivels, an agonizing sensation, as if the Aesh were on fire, pervades the whole frame, and, in the last stage, it cracks into deep gashes, producing hemorrhage, that quickly ends this misery. In some instances, life is annihilated instantaneously; and, in others, the unfortunate victim lingers for hours, perhaps for days, in the excruciating tortures I have described. To render ibis terrible scourge still more baneful, its approach is seldom, if ever, foreseen; and, among all the Belochees with whom I have conversed respecting it, no one asserted more than that they had heard it was indicated by an unusual oppression in the air, and a degree of heat that affected the

eyes: the precaution then adopted is, to cover themselves over, and lie prostrate on the earth. A curious fact is established by this custom, that any cloth, however thin, will obviate the deleterious effects of the Badé Sumoom on the human body.”—p. 137.

Two days more brought Mr. P. to the village of Kullugan, which he was induced to visit by bis guide, and where he found it necessary to assume the character of a Peerzaduh, or religious devotee. Here he met with a hospitable reception, and derived a convincing proof of the ignorance of the inhabitants, from a dispute which arose between two of them, whether the sun and moon were the same, or two different bodies. Our traveller left Kullugan after noon-tide prayers on the 6th, and was obliged to take a more southerly course tban he had intended, on leaving Nooshky, proceeding towards Huftur and Bunpoor, instead of towards Surhud. He arrived at Bunpoor on the 15th, where Captain Grant had met with such a kind reception from Mikrab Khan, the chief, some time before. The case, however, was reversed in the present instance, as nothing would satisfy the avaricious chief but depriving Mr. P. of his brace of pistols, almost his only means of defence. On the 17th, Mr. P. left Bunpoor, heartily regretting that he had ever visited it: he entered the Persian territories on the evening of the 21st, and reached the first town in the province of Nurmansheer, at the close of the 24th. After passing through, Nuheemabad, Jumalee, and Bumm, he arrived at the city of Kirman, the capital of the province of the same name, on the 3d of May, full of those lively feelings of thankfulness and pleasure, which the happy accomplishment of all that be regarded as the bazardous part of hiş enterprise, would naturally inspire. His personal appearance when introduced to Lootf Allee Khan, the governor of the city of Bumm, forms a complete contrast to what a London beau would have thought requisite on such an occasion, and affords a lively picture of the hardships and privations experienced in traversing routes like that which Mr. Pottinger bad pursued. Speaking of the governor, he says:

“ When pretty near the spot where I was standing, he turned to one of his train, and asked where the Firingee, or European, was. On my being shewn to him, he beckoned me with his hand to follow, at the same time conveying, by a fixed gaze and a survey of me from head to foot, his astonishment at my garb, which was certainly uncouth enough to apologize for

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