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LETTER xx         A PICTURESQUE MESSAGE                     93

rule and intrigues such a chronic state of insecurity as
makes the tribes desire any foreign interference which
will give them security and rest, and relieve them from
the oppressive exactions of the Persian governors.

On a recent march I was riding alone in advance of the
caravan when I met two men, one mounted, the other
on foot. The pedestrian could not have been passed
anywhere unnoticed. He looked like a Sicilian brigand,
very handsome and well dressed, walked with a long
elastic stride, and was armed with a double-barrelled gun
and two revolvers. He looked hard at me, with a jolly
but not unfriendly look, and then seeing the caravan,
passed on. This was Jiji, a great robber Khan of the
Hajwand tribe, whose name inspires much fear. After-
wards he met Aziz Khan, and sent this picturesque mes-
sage : " Sorry to have missed you in my own country, as I
should have liked to have left you standing in your skins."

I went up the Kuh-i-Parwez with Bagha Khan, the
guide of whom I have such grave suspicions, in the early
morning, when the cool blue shadows were still lying in
the ravines. Parwez, which on this side is an uninterest-
ing mountain of herbage-covered gra,velly slopes, falls
down 4300 feet to the Holiwar valley on the other in
a series of tremendous battlemented precipices of dark
conglomerate rock.

The level summit of Parwez, though about 11,000
feet in altitude, is as uninteresting as the shapeless slopes
by which we ascended it, but this dip on the southern side
is wonderful, and is carried on to the gap of Bahrain,
where it has a perpendicular scarp from its summit to
the river of 5000 feet, and as it grandly terminates the
Outer range, it looks like a glorious headland abutting on
the Silakhor plain.

As a panoramic view it is the finest I have had from
any mountain, taking in the great Shuturuu range—the