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66                       JOUENEYS IN PEESIA            LETTER xvni

the sunlight, margined wherever it is possible by walnuts,
oaks, lilacs, roses, the Lastrea dilatata, and an entangle-
ment of greenery revelling in spray.

A steep zigzag descent through oak and pear trees
brought us to the vigorous torrent Ab-i-Sefid (white water),
one of many of the same name, crossed by a natural
bridge of shelving rock, slippery from much use. One of
the Arabs so nearly fell on this that I dismounted, and
just as I did so Abbas All's mule fell on his side, and
Screw following did the same, breaking several things in
the holster.

After crossing a deep ravine Abbas All sprang back
down the steep to it, and the Sahib, who was behind,
also ran down with three men to what was evidently a
disaster. Mirza's mule had fallen over twenty feet,
rolling over him three times with its load, hurting his
knee badly. The Sahib said he never saw so narrow an
escape from a broken neck. The loss of a bottle con-
taining a quart of milk was the chief damage. A
little farther up three men were tugging Hakim up to
the track by the tail. It was a very steep ascent by
stony broken zigzags and ledges to the fairly level top of
a spur of the Kala Kuh range, with a high battlemented
hill behind, at the back of which dwell robber hordes,
and many Seyyids, who pay no tribute, and are generally

At this open, breezy height of 9200 feet the camps
have been pitched for three days, and of the many
camping-grounds which we have hitherto occupied I like
it the best, so lofty is it, so lonely, so mysterious and
unexplored. It has a glorious view of tremendous
wooded ravines, down which green waters glide or
tumble, of small lawn-like plateaux among woods, and
of green peaks in the foreground, and on the other side
of the narrow, sinuous valley, several thousand feet below,