CHAPTER VIII. ACROSS THE "DESERT OF DESPAIR."
The danger of corruption in the present instance is exceedingly small, considering that I am the only representative of the Occident that has ever happened along this way, and the probability that none other will follow for many a year after; therefore I ignore the khan's wholly disinterested advice and make the two worthy nomads a small present. They accept the proffered kerans with a look of bewilderment, as though quite unable to comprehend why I should tender them money, and they lay it carelessly down on the sand while they assist the sowars to resaddle their horses. To see the indifference with which the magnificent Afghan nomads toss the silver pieces on the sand, and the eager, covetous expression that the sight of the same coins lying there inspires in the three Persians is, of itself, an instructive lesson on the difference between the two peoples. The sowars become inspired, as if touched by the magic wand of alchemy, to the discussion of their favorite theme; but the Afghans pay no more heed to their remarks about money than if they were talking in an unknown tongue. They really act as though they regarded the subject of money as something altogether beyond their comprehension.