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88                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA              LETTER xs

sides enter the water -willows and hawthorns find scanty
roothold. Where the river enters the lake there is a
thicket of small willows, and where it leaves it its bright
waters ripple through a wood of cherry, pear, plum, and
hawthorn. A broad high bank of gravel lies across a
part of its lower end, and all seemed so safe and solitary
that I pitched my camp here for Sunday at an unusual
distance from the other camps.

"Things are not what they seem." Two armed
Haj wands visited the camps, shots were heard at intervals
this morning, and in the night some of the watch said
they saw a number of men advancing towards us from
under the bushes. I heard the sharp crack of our own
rifles twice, and the Agha and Sahib calling on every one
to be on the alert; the mules were driven in, and a great
fire was made, but nothing came of it. To-night Mirab
Khan's guides, who have been with us for some days,
have gone back, journeying at night and hiding in caves
by day for fear of being attacked.

This lovely lake, having no native name, will be
known henceforward geographically as Lake Irene. Its
waters lie in depths of sapphire blue, with streaks and
shallows of green, but what a green ! Surely without a
rival on earth! Were a pea transparent, vivid, full of
points and flashes of interior light, that would be the
nearest approach to the colour, which changes never,
while through the blazing hours the blue of the great
depths in the centre has altered from sapphire to tur-
quoise, and from turquoise to lapis-lazuli, one end and one
side being permanently bordered round the margin with
liquid emerald. The mountains have changed from rose
to blue, from blue to gray, from gray to yellow, and are
now flushing into pink. It is a carnival of colour, before
the dusty browns and dusty grays which are, to come.

Gamp Sarawand, July %9.—To-day's march has been