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120                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA             LETTER xx

steady order, and the rearguard was frequently hailed by
the leader. Nothing happened, and when day broke we
were in open russet country, among low, formless gravelly
hills, with the striking range of rocky mountains which
hems in Khuramabad in front, under a hazy sky.

Later, fording the Kashgan, I got upon the Burujird
caravan road, along which are telegraph poles, and on
which there was much caravan traffic. Eecrossing the
Kashgan, but this time by a good two-arched bridge of
brick on stone piers, the Tafta Kuh came in sight,
and Khuramabad with its green gardens, its walls of
precipitous mountains, and its ruined fort on an isolated
and most picturesque rock in the centre of the town—a
very striking view.

Khuramabad, before the fourteenth century, was called
Diz Siyah, or the black fort, and was the capital of the
Atabegs, the powerful kings who reigned in Luri-Kushuk
from A.D. 1155 to about A.D. 1600. Sir H. Eawlinson
does not regard any of its remains as earlier than the
eleventh or twelfth century.

The camps are outside the town, on a stretch of
burning gravel, with some scorched pasture beyond it, on
which are Ilyat camps, then there are divers ranges of
blackish and reddish mountains, with pale splashes of
scorched herbage when there is any at all. Behind my
tent are a clump of willows, an irrigating stream, large
gardens full of fruit trees and melons, and legions of

Circumstances have changed, and the surroundings
now belong to the showy civilisation of Persia. As I
was lying under the trees, quite " knocked up " by the
long and fatiguing night* march and the great heat, I
heard fluent French being spoken with a good accent.
The Hakim of the Governor had called. Cavalcades of
Persians on showy horses gaily caparisoned dashed past