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144                       JOUENEYS IN PEESIA           LETTER sxn

on the west of which is Elwend, a noble mountain,
for long an object of interest on the march from
Kirmanshah to Tihran. A great number of the
mountains of Persia are ridges or peaks of nearly naked
rock, with precipices on which nothing can cling, and
with bases small in proportion to their elevation. Others
are "monstrous protuberances" of mud and gravel.
Mount Elwend, however, has many of the characteristics
of a mountain,a huge base broken up into glens and
spurs, among which innumerable villages with their sur-
roundings of woods and crops are scattered, with streams
dashing through rifts and lingering among pasture lands,
vine-clothed slopes below and tawny grain above, high
summits, snow-slashed even now, clouds caught and
falling in vivifying showers, indigo colouring in the
shadows, and rocky heights for which purple-madder
would be the fittest expression.

In one of the loveliest of the valleys on the skirts of
Elwend lies the large walled village of Yalpand on a vigor-
ous stream. For two miles before reaching it the rugged
road passes through a glen which might be at home, a water-
worn ledgy track, over-arched by trees, with steep small
fields among them in the fresh green of grass springing
up after the hay has been carried. Trees, ruddy with
premature autumnal tints and festooned with roses and
brambles, bend over the river, of which little is visible but
here and there a flash of foam or a sea-green pool. The
village, on a height above the stream, has banks of
orchards below and miles of grain above, and vineyards,
and material plenty of all sorts. It was revelling in the
dust storm which winnowing produces, and the ketchuda
suggested to me to camp at some distance beyond it, on a
small triangular meadow below a large irrigation stream.
Hardly were the tents pitched when, nearly without
warning, Elwend blackened, clouds gathered round his