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14                         JOUKNEYS IN PEESIA            LETTER xvi

nearly three inches long, which are ground and made
into bread. All other vegetation is dried and scorched,
and the trees rise out of dust. In this forest we came
upon a number of Ilyats, some of whom were lying under
a tree, ill of fever, and Aziz Khan insisted that then and
there I should give them quinine.

At the bottom of this unalleviated descent there is a
shady torrent, working a rude flour mill; a good deal of
wheat speckled with hollyhocks, white campanulas, and
large snapdragons; some very old tufa cones, and below
them level lawns, eaten bare, fringed with oaks, with dry
wood for the breaking; and below again the translucent,
rapid, peacock-green, beautiful Bazuft. But not even the
sound of the rush of its cool waters could make one for-
get the overpowering heat, 100, even in the shade of a
spreading tree.

I know not which is the more trying, the ascent or
the descent of the 4000 feet of ledges and zigzags on
the southern face of the Gardan-i-Cherri. The road is
completely encumbered with stones, and is being allowed
to fall into total disrepair, although it is the shortest
route between Isfahan and Shuster. Things are un-
doubtedly deteriorating. The present Ilkhani is evidently
not the man to get and keep a grip on these turbulent
tribesmen. I notice a gradual weakening of his authority
as the distance from Ardal increases.

When Hussein Kuli Khan, the murdered father of
Isfandyar Khan, was Ilkhani, he not only built substantial
bridges such as those over the Karun in the Tang-i-Ardal
and at Dupulan, but by severe measures compelled every
tribe using this road in its spring and autumn migrations
to clear off the stones and repair it. As it is, nearly all
our animals lost one or more of their shoes on the descent.
The ascent and descent took eight hours.

Some of the cliffs on the right bank of the Bazuft are