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202                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA            LETTER xxv

The village of Muhammad Jik has a well-filled bazar
and an aspect of mixed prosperity and ruin. The castle,
a large, and, at a distance, an imposing pile, a square fort
with flanking towers, is on an eminence, and has a fine
view of the alluvial plain of the Jagatsu, studded with
villages and cultivated throughout.

Here, for a rarity, the Seigneur lives a stately life
among those who are practically his serfs in good old
medieval fashion. Large offices are enclosed within an
outer wall, and are inhabited by retainers. Rows of
stables sheltered a number of fine and well-groomed horses
from the sun. Bullocks were being brought in from
ploughing; there were agricultural implements of the best
Persian type, fowls, ducks, turkeys, angora goats ; negroes
and negresses, grinning at the stranger; mounted messen-
gers with letters arriving and departing; scribes in white
turbans and black robes lounging—all the paraphernalia
of position and wealth.

It was nearly nine, and the great man had not risen,
but he sent me a breakfast of tea, Jcabobs, cracked wheat,
curds, sharped, and grapes. The courtyard is entered by
a really fine gateway, and the castle is built round a
quadrangle. The andarun and its fretwork galleries are
on one side, and on another is what may be called a hall
of audience, where the Sartip hears village business and
decides cases.

He offered me a few days' hospitality, paid the usual
compliments, said that no escort was needed from thence
to Sujbulak, where my letter to the Governor would pro-
cure me one if " the roads were unsettled," hoped that I
should not suffer from the hardships of the journey, and
offered me a kajomek and mule for the next marches.

A level road along the same prosperous alluvial plain
leads to Kashava, a village of 100 houses embosomed in
fruit trees and surrounded by tobacco and cotton. It