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4                           JOURNEYS IN_PERSIA            LETTER xvi

Geographically this tang has a great interest, for the
water passing under the bridge is the united volume of
the -water system to which three out of the four districts
known as the Chahar Mahals owe their fertility, and
represents the drainage of 2500 square miles. It will
be remembered that we entered the Chahar Mahals by
the Kahva Eukh Pass, and crossed that portion of them
lying between Kahva Eukh and the Zirreh Pass, which
is politically, not geographically, a portion of the Bakh-
tiari country, and is partially Christian.

I started at five the next morning to follow the left
bank of the Karun for nearly a whole march, sometimes
riding close beside it among barley-fields, then rising to
a considerable height above it. It is occasionally much
compressed between walls of conglomerate, and boils
along furiously, but even where it is stillest and broadest,
it is always deep, full, and unfordable, bridged over,
however, at a place where there are several mills. An
ascent from it leads to the village of Eustam-i, where
the people were very courteous and put me on the road
to Ali-kuh, a village not far from the river, at the foot
of a high range very much gashed by its affluents, one
of which is very salt.

Ali-kuh is quite deserted, and every hovel door is
open. There is nothing to tempt cupidity. The people,
when they migrate to the high pastures, take all their
goods with them. There was not a creature left behind
who could tell me of a spring, and it was a tiresome
search before 1 came, high upon the hillside, on a stream
tumbling down under willows over red rock, in a maze
of campanulas and roses. The first essential of a camp-
ing-ground is that there should be space to camp, and
this is lacking; my servants sleep in the open, and my
bed and chair are propped up by stones on the steep
slope. Scorpions, " processional" caterpillars, earwigs,