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LETTER xix         THE CAiJON OF ARJANAK                     77



AFTER that uplifted halt, which refreshed the Europeans
but did not suit the health of the attendants, we de-
scended, crossed the Zalaki valley and a low ridge,
with populous camps, into the valley of the Mauri Zarin,
where the nomads were busy harvesting, forded the river,
and proceeded up its left bank to a dusty level on which a
deep ravine opens, apparently blocked up by a castellated
and nearly inaccessible rock of great height. At this
place, where the Badush joins the Mauri Zarin, we were
obliged to camp close to some Ilyat tents, which involved
crowds, many demands, much noise, and much vigilance.
We were then in the territory of Mirab Khan, the
chief of the Isawand tribe, between whom and Aslam
Khan there is a blood feud, with most deadly enmity.
He sent word that he was not well, and asked the Agha
to go to see him, which he did, telling him that the
HaJclm would also visit him. Later, taking Mirza and
two guides, I forded and followed up the Ab-i-Arjanak
for two miles by a most remarkable canon. The lower
part of its sides is steep and rocky, though not too steep
for the growth of tamarisk scrub and much herbage, but
above are prodigious conglomerate cliffs, and below, the
river, which narrows to a stream, is concealed by enormous
masses of conglomerate rock. This cleft must be fully
800 feet below the heights which surround it. A ridge