We encamped in the suburbs of the city, about a couple of miles from the northern or Mastung Gate, and near the telegraph office, a small brick bungalow in charge of an English-speaking native. There is a single wire laid to Quetta, a distance, roughly speaking, of ninety miles. A terrific hurricane, accompanied by thunder, vivid lightning, and dense clouds of black dust, sprang up about sunset the day of our arrival. Both tents were instantly blown down, and in a few moments reduced to shapeless rags of torn canvas. So great was the force of the wind that it snapped the tent-poles short off, and, tearing them from the ropes, sent the tents flying over the plain as if they had been shreds of tissue paper. We managed, however, to find quarters in the telegraph office, and remained there till our departure, two days later, for Quetta. During the storm the thermometer sank to 50 deg. Fahr., although a few moments before it had marked 78 deg..

Kelat contains - with its suburbs, which are of considerable extent - about 15,000 inhabitants, and is picturesquely situated on the edge of a fertile plain thickly cultivated with wheat, barley, and tobacco. The city is built in terraces, on the sides and summit of a limestone cliff, about a hundred and fifty feet high. This is called the "Shah Mirdan," and is surrounded at the base of the hill by high mud ramparts, with bastions at intervals, loopholed for musketry. The "Mir," [A] or palace of the Khan, overhangs the town, and is made up of a confused mass of buildings, which, though imposing at a distance, I found on closer inspection to consist chiefly of mud, which in many places had crumbled away, leaving great gaping holes in the walls. The Mir mounts a few primitive, muzzle-loading cannon, and the citadel is garrisoned by a thousand men, chiefly Afghans, deserters from Cabul, Kandahar, and other parts of the Ameer's dominions. They are a ragged, undisciplined lot. The Khan himself has a wholesome dread of his soldiery, who break out at times, and commit great depredations among the villages surrounding the capital, robbing and murdering the peasants with impunity, for few dare resist them. The remainder of the troops, three thousand in number, are quartered in barracks, or rather mud hovels, at some distance from the palace. Each man is supposed to receive three rupees a month and a lump sum of forty-eight rupees at the end of each year, but pay is uncertain and mutiny frequent. When not engaged on military duties the Khan's Baluch soldiers are put to agricultural work on his estates, while the Afghans pass their time in pillaging and plundering their neighbours. As we entered Kelat we passed a regiment at drill on a sandy plain outside the walls. With the exception of a conical fur cap, there is no attempt at uniform. The men, fine strapping fellows, are armed with rusty flint-locks. Though there appeared to be no officers, European or otherwise, I was rather surprised to hear the word of command given in English, and to see this band of ragamuffins march off parade to the strains of "Home, sweet Home," played by a very fair fife-and-drum band.

The morning following my arrival, I was startled by the apparition at my bedside of a swarthy, wild-looking Afghan sowar - a messenger from the Wazir, to say that his Highness the Khan wished to make my acquaintance, and would receive me, if convenient, at three o'clock that afternoon. It had not been my intention to solicit an interview, for, from all accounts, the Khan is anything but friendly towards Europeans, Englishmen in particular. To refuse, however, was out of the question. The morning was therefore devoted to cleaning up, and getting out a decent suit of wearing-apparel; while my Beila escort, who evidently had uncomfortable forebodings as to the appearance of the Beila uniform in the streets of Kelat, polished up arms and accoutrements till they shone like silver, and paid, I noticed, particular attention to the loading of their rifles and revolvers.

About midday the Wazir made his appearance to conduct me to the palace. He was a fat, paunchy old man, with beady black eyes and a shy, shifty expression, very unlike my cheery little friend at Beila. After the usual preliminary questions as to who I was, my age, business, etc., he anxiously inquired after the health of Mr. Gladstone, and somewhat astonished me by asking whether I was a Liberal or Conservative. "You have some Beila men with you, I see," said the Khan's adviser, who spoke English perfectly. "Don't let his Highness see them." I could not, after such a speech, allow my faithful escort to enter the city without warning. But it had little effect. "Let the dogs do what they like," was the reply. "We shall not let the sahib go alone."

Tea and cigarettes discussed, a start was made for the palace. The Wazir, on a wiry, good looking bay horse, and attended by half a dozen mounted Afghans, led the way, and I followed on a pony borrowed of the telegraph clerk. My costume was, if not becoming, at any rate original: high boots, flannel trousers, and shirt, an evening dress-coat, and astrakhan cap. Gerome's wardrobe being even less presentable, I deemed it prudent to leave him behind. The Beila men brought up the rear of the procession some distance from the Afghans, who, to my anxiety, never ceased scoffing and jeering at them the whole way. Every moment I expected to hear the crack of a pistol-shot, followed by a general melee. Arrived at the Mastung Gate, we dismounted, and, leaving our horses in charge of the guard, slowly proceeded up the steep narrow streets to the citadel.

The entrance to Kelat is not imposing. There had been a good deal of rain, and the streets of the lower part of the town were perfect quagmires of mud nearly knee-deep. It was more like crawling into a dark passage than entering a city. Many of the thoroughfares are entirely covered over with wooden beams plastered with mud, which entirely exclude light, and give them more the appearance of subterranean passages than streets. The upper part of the town is the cleanest, for the simple reason that all filth and sewage runs down open gutters cut in the centre of the steep alleys, until it reaches the level of the plain. There is no provision made for its escape. It is allowed to collect in great pools, which in long-continued wet weather often flood the houses and drive their wretched inhabitants into the open, to live as best they may, further up the hill.

Kelat is, for this reason only, very unhealthy. Small-pox, typhoid, and typhus are never absent, though, curiously enough, cholera visitations are rare. The filthy habits of the inhabitants have, apparently, a good deal to do with the high death rate. I saw, while walking up the hill, a native fill a cup from an open drain and drink it off, although the smell was unbearable, the liquid of a dark-brown colour. A very common and - in the absence of medical treatment - fatal disease among the inhabitants of the suburbs (chiefly Afghans) is stone in the bladder, the water here, though pure and clear in the suburbs, containing a large quantity of lime.

The bazaar, through which we passed on our way to the Mir, does not seem a very busy one. Although not a public or religious holiday, many of the stalls were closed. Kelat was once the great channel for merchandise from Kandahar and Cabul to India, but the caravan trade is now insignificant. There is in the season a considerable traffic in dates, but that is all, for the roads to Persia and Afghanistan are very unsafe. Only a few weeks previous to my visit, a Kelat merchant, proceeding with a large caravan to Kerman, in Persia, was robbed and murdered in the frontier district west of Kharan. Few now attempt the journey, most of the goods being sent to Quetta, and thence by rail to various parts of India, by sea to Persia.

Art and industry are, as well as trade, practically at a standstill in the Khan's city, though a handsome embroidery, peculiar to Kelat, is made by the women, and fetches high prices in India, while some of the natives are clever at brass work and ironmongery. Noticing a Russian samovar in one of the shops, I entered and inquired of the owner (through the Wazir) how it had reached Kelat. "From Russia," was the reply, "via Meshed, Herat, and Kandahar. There is a good caravan-road the whole way," added the Baluchi, taking down a small brass shield from a peg in the wall. "This came from Bokhara, via Cabul, only ten days, ago; but trade is not what it was." "Would there be any difficulty in making that journey?" I asked. "For you - an Englishman - yes," said the man, with a queer smile, and was continuing, when "The Khan will be growing impatient," broke in the Wazir, taking my hand and leading me hurriedly into the street.

An Afghan guard of honour was drawn up at the entrance of the palace, wearing the nearest approach to a uniform I had yet seen - dark-green tunics, light-blue trousers, and white turbans, clean, well fitting, and evidently kept for state occasions. Each man carried a Berdan rifle and cavalry sabre. It struck me as a curious coincidence that the former rifle is in general use throughout the Russian army. Leaving my escort with strict injunctions to keep their tempers, and under no circumstances to allow themselves to be drawn into a quarrel, I followed the Wazir and his attendants into the Mir. The entrance is through an underground passage about forty yards long by seven wide, ill-smelling and in total darkness. Arrived at the end, we again emerged into daylight, and, ascending a flight of rickety wooden steps, found ourselves in the durbar-room - a spacious apartment, its walls decorated with green, gold, and crimson panels, alternating with large looking-glasses. Costly rugs and carpets from Persia and Bokhara strewed the grimy floor of the chamber, which is about sixty feet long, and commands a splendid view of the city and fertile plains beyond. Awaiting me upon the balcony was the Khan, surrounded by his suite and another guard of Afghans. A couple of dilapidated cane-bottomed chairs were then brought and set one on each side of the crimson velvet divan occupied by his Highness. Having made my bow, which was acknowledged by a curt nod, I was conducted to the seat on the right hand of the Khan by Azim Khan, his son, who seated himself upon his father's left hand The Wazir, suite, soldiers, and attendants then squatted round us in a semicircle, and the interview commenced.

A long silence followed, broken only by the whish of the fly-brush as a white-clad Baluchi whisked it lazily to and fro over the Khan's head. The balcony on which we were received is poised at a dizzy height over the beehive-looking dwellings and narrow, tortuous streets of the brown city, which to-day were bathed in sunshine. The Khan's residence is well chosen. The pestilent stenches of his capital cannot ascend to this height, only the sweet scent of hay and clover-fields, and the distant murmur of a large population, while a glorious panorama of emerald-green plain stretches away to a rocky, picturesque range of hills on the horizon.

His Highness Mir Khudadad, Khan of Kelat, is about sixty years old. He would be tall were it not for a decided stoop, which, together with a toothless lower jaw, gives him the appearance of being considerably more than his age. His complexion is very dark, even for a Baluch, and he wears a rusty black beard and moustaches, presumably dyed, from the streaks of red and white that run through them, and long, coarse pepper-and-salt locks streaming far below his shoulders. His personal appearance gave me anything but a favourable impression. The Khan has a scowling expression, keen, piercing black eyes, and a sharp hooked nose that reminded one forcibly of Cruikshank's picture of Fagin the Jew in "Oliver Twist."

The Khan was dressed in a long, loose, white garment, with red silk embroidery of beautiful workmanship. A thin white Cashmere shawl was thrown carelessly over his shoulders, and he wore a conical violet silk cap, trimmed with gold lace, and a pair of pointed green morocco slippers, turned up at the toes, and ornamented with the same material. A massive gold necklace, or collar, thickly studded with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, hung round his neck. The stones, some of them of great size, were set indiscriminately without any regard to pattern or design. Mir Khudadad wore no other jewels, with the exception of three small torquoise rings, all worn on the little finger of the left hand. He carried no arms, but held in his right hand a large and very dirty pocket-handkerchief of a bright yellow hue with large red spots, which somewhat detracted from his regal appearance. The Khan is a great snuff-taker, and during the audience continually refreshed himself from the contents of a small gold box carried by his son. Prince Azim, who was dressed in a green silk jacket and loose magenta-coloured trousers, is a pleasant-mannered lad of about twenty. He is of much lighter complexion than his father and has a strong Jewish cast of feature. A huge cabochon emerald of great value, suspended from the neck, was Azim's sole ornament.

A conversation now commenced, carried on through the medium of the Wazir and my interpreter. The Khan has a fidgety, uneasy manner that must be intensely exasperating to his court. More than once during the audience, having asked a question with much apparent earnestness, he would suddenly break in, in the middle of a reply, and hum a tune, or start off on a totally different subject from the one under discussion. At other times he would repeat a question twice or thrice, and, his eyes fixed on vacancy, utterly ignore the answers of the Wazir, who evidently stood in great awe of his eccentric sovereign. Though the following colloquy may appear brief to the reader, it took nearly an hour to get through.

"Where do you come from, and what are you?" was the Khan's first question.

"From Russia, your Highness."

"From Russia!" returned the Khan, quickly. "But you are English, are you not?"

"Certainly I am."

"How strong is Russia's army?" continued the Khan, after an application to the gold snuff box, and a trumpet-blast on the yellow bandanna.

"Nominally about three millions."

"And England?"

"About two hundred thousand, not counting the reserves."

"Humph!" grunted the Khan. "Tell me, do the English imagine that Abdur Raman [B] is their friend?"

"I believe so."

"Then tell them from me," cried the Khan, excitedly, half rising from his seat, "tell Queen Victoria from me that it is not so. Tell her to beware of Abdur Raman. He is her enemy."

"Is England afraid of Russia?" continued the Khan after a long pause.

"No; the English fear no one."

"Will England reach Kandahar before Russia takes Herat?"

"I really cannot say," was my answer to this somewhat puzzling question.

Mir Khudadad then turned away to converse with the Wazir in a low tone. About ten minutes elapsed, during which a long confabulation was held, in which many of the suite, including the Afghan soldiers, joined. Prince Azim meanwhile invited me to inspect his sword and pistols. The former, a splendid Damascus blade, and hilt encrusted with jewels, I especially admired. Had I known the use to which it had been put that morning, I should not, perhaps, have been so enthusiastic.

Again the Khan addressed me.

"Do you know Russia well?"

"Pretty well."

"Is it true that the Russians do not allow Mohammedans to worship in Central Asia?"

"I believe that is untrue."

"It is a lie?"

"Most certainly it is."

"Your own countrymen told me so." At this there was a roar of laughter, in which the Khan joined.

The durbar-room of Kelat reminded me of an English court of justice. When the Khan laughed his courtiers did, and vice versa. After an interval of more snuff-taking and whispering, the Khan drew forth and examined my watch. Taking this for a polite hint that the interview had lasted long enough, I rose to go, but was at once thrust back into my chair by Azim. "You are not to go," said the Wazir. "The Khan is much interested by you."

"Dhuleep Singh is in Russia, is he not?" then asked the Khan.


"What does Russia pay him a year?"

"I do not know."

"More than England did?"

"I do not know."

"You English never do know anything," muttered the Khan, impatiently; adding, "Do you know the Czar of Russia?"

"I have seen him."

"Is he a good man?"

"I believe him to be so."

"Then why do his people try to kill him?"

"Some of them are Socialists."

"Socialists!" repeated the Khan, slowly. "What is that?"

I then explained with some difficulty the meaning of the word.

"Humph!" was the rejoinder. Then, with a whisk of the yellow bandanna: "I am glad I have none in Kelat!"

A mark of great favour was then shown me, the Khan presenting me with his photograph, with the request that I would show it to "Parliament" when I got home. I think he was under the impression that the latter is a human being. An incident that occurred but two years since is typical of the intelligence of the ruler of Kelat and his court. It was at Quetta, on the occasion of the presentation of Mir Khudadad to the Viceroy of India. Previous to a grand dejeuner given in his honour, the Khan and his suite were shown into a dressing-room for the purpose of washing their hands. On entering to announce that luncheon was ready, the aide-de-camp found that the distinguished guests had already commenced operations, and were greedily devouring the cakes of Pears' soap that had been placed there for a somewhat different purpose. That none of the party felt any after ill effects speaks well for the purity of the wares of the mammoth advertiser - or the Baluch digestion!

The Khan shook my hand cordially at parting, and again begged me not to forget his warnings anent the Ameer of Afghanistan, with whom he is apparently not on the best of terms. I found, with some relief, that my Beila men had made friends with the Afghans, and, surrounded by an admiring crowd, were hobnobbing over a hissing samovar. One of the Afghans handed me a glass of tea, which, not to offend him, I drank and found delicious. It had come from China via Siberia, Samarcand, and Cabul. "Russki!" said the man with a grin, as I handed back the cup.

The Khan of Kelat very rarely leaves his palace, and is seldom seen abroad in the streets of Kelat except on Fridays, when he goes to the mosque on foot, attended by an escort armed to the teeth. He is said to live in constant dread of assassination, for his cruel, rapacious character has made him universally detested in and around the capital. His one thought in life is money and the increase of his income, which, with the yearly sum allowed him by the British Government, may be put down at considerably over L30,000 per annum. A thorough miser, the Khan does not, like most Eastern potentates, pass the hours of night surrounded by the beauties of the harem, but securely locked in with his money-bags in a small, comfortless room on the roof of his palace.

There is not the smallest doubt in my mind that Russian influence is, indirectly, being brought to bear on the Court of Kelat. But Mir Khudadad may be said to have no policy. As the French say, "Il change sa nationalite comme je change de chemise," and is to be bought by the highest bidder.

Although the Khan's subjects are heavily taxed, there is no protection whatsoever of life or property in or around Kelat. Theft is, according to the penal code, punished by fine and imprisonment, murder and adultery by death; but the law is subject to great modifications. In a word, the Khan is the law, and so long as a man can afford to pay or bribe him handsomely, he may commit the most heinous offences with impunity.

Two instances of the way in which justice is carried out happened just before I arrived at Kelat. In the one, a young Baluch woman was found by her husband, a soldier, under circumstances which admitted no doubt of her infidelity. Upon discovery, which took place at night, the infuriated husband rushed off to the guard-house for his weapon. During his absence the woman urged her lover, who was well armed, to meet and slay him in the darkness. Under pretence of so doing the gay Lothario left his paramour, but, fearful of consequences, made off to Quetta.

On his return home the husband used no violence, simply handing his wife over to the guard to be dealt with according to law. Brought before the Khan the next day, she was lucky enough to find that monarch in a good temper. Her beauty probably obtained the free pardon accorded her, and an order that her husband was also to condone her offence. The latter said not a word, took her quietly home in the evening, and cut her throat from ear to ear. The Khan, on hearing of the murder next day, made no remonstrance, nor was the offender punished. He was an Afghan.

The second case is even more disgraceful. One of the Khan's own suite, a well-known libertine and drunkard, contracted an alliance with a young girl of eighteen. He had endeavoured in vain to marry her younger sister, almost a child, and so beautiful that she was known for many miles round the city as the "Pearl of Kelat."

Six weeks after marriage this ruffian, in a fit of drunken frenzy caused by jealousy, almost decapitated his wife with a tulwar, and afterwards mutilated her body past recognition. The shrieks of the poor woman having summoned the neighbours, he was seized, bound, and led before the Khan, who at once sentenced him to death. The execution was fixed for sunrise the following day. At midnight, however, a messenger appeared at the gates of the Mir with a canvas bag containing two thousand rupees. "Tell him he is free," said the ruler of Kelat. "And if he sends in another thousand, I will order the younger sister to marry him." The money was paid, and the poor child handed over to the tender mercies of the human devil who had so ruthlessly butchered her sister.

I have mentioned that Azim Khan showed me a sword of beautiful workmanship. It had, the very morning of my visit to the palace, cut down and hacked to pieces a waiting-maid, not sixteen years old, in the Khan's harem. I myself saw the corpse of the poor girl the same evening, as it was being carried outside the walls for interment. [C]

This, then, is the state of things existing at Kelat, not a hundred miles from the British outposts; this the enlightened sovereign who has been made "Companion of the Star of India," an order which, among his own people, he affects to look upon with the greatest contempt.

The few women I saw at Kelat were distinctly good looking, far more so than those further south. Most of them have an Italian type of face, olive complexion, and large dark eyes, with sweeping lashes. But very few wore the hideous nose-rings so common at Beila and Sonmiani. Morality is at a discount in the capital, and prostitution common.

The Wazir sent me a bag of dates the morning of my departure, with a short note, written in English, begging that I would send him in return the best gold watch and rifle "that could be bought for gold" in London. The note ended jocosely, "Exchange is no robbery!" The old man seemed well au fait with Central Asian affairs. On my mentioning the day before that I had intended entering India via Cabul, he at once said, "Ah! I supposed Alikhanoff stopped you. He is very shy of strangers."

We left Kelat at 6 a.m. on the 12th of April. The camels and heavy baggage had been sent on four or five hours previously to Mangachar, the first station. Our caravan now consisted of only eight camels, which we found reduced to seven on arrival. Just before daylight a couple of panthers had appeared close to the caravan and caused a regular stampede, the beasts flying right and left. On order being restored, two were found to be missing, one laden with the only small remaining tent and some native luggage, the other with a couple of cases of whisky (nearly empty) and my camp-stool. The former was traced and brought in after a search of over two hours, but the latter is still, for aught I know, careering over the boundless desert, an unconscious advertiser of "Jameson and Co." I afterwards heard that this plain is noted for panther and wolf, also an animal called the "peshkori," somewhat larger than a cat, with a reddish-coloured hide. It moves about the country in packs, carrying off deer and sheep. Its method of descending precipices and steep hillsides is curious, each animal fixing its teeth in the tail of another, thus forming a kind of chain.

The plain of Mangachar is situated nearly 6000 feet above sea-level, and is well cultivated with wheat, lucerne, and tobacco. The village itself is neatly laid out, and contains about three hundred inhabitants. The different aspects of the country north and south of Kelat are striking. We had now done with deserts for good, for at night lights were seen twinkling all over the plain, while in the daytime large tracts of well-cultivated land continually met the eye.

Between Mangachar and Mastung a hot wind arose, which made the eyes smart, and dried up the skin like a blast from a furnace. One's hair felt as it does in the hottest room of a Turkish bath, with the unpleasant addition of being filled with fine gritty sand. "I hope this may not end in a juloh," said Kamoo, anxiously. This, my interpreter proceeded to explain, is a hot poisonous wind peculiar to these districts, and perhaps the greatest danger run by travellers in Baluchistan. The warm breeze, as Kamoo called it, that we experienced was, though almost unbearable, not dangerous, while the dreaded juloh has slain its hundreds of victims. Cook, the traveller, who has given this subject much attention, has come to the conclusion that it is caused by the generation in the atmosphere of a highly concentrated form of ozone, by some intensely marked electrical condition. As evidence of its effect in destroying every green thing on its course, and in being frequently fatal to human life, he cites the following well-authenticated cases, which, not having encountered the death-dealing blast myself, I place before the reader: -

(1) In the year 1851, during one of the hot months, certain officers of the Sind Horse were sleeping at night on the roof of General Jacob's house at Jacobabad. They were awakened by a sensation of suffocation and an exceedingly hot and oppressive feeling in the air, while at the same time a very powerful smell of sulphur was noticed. On the following morning a number of trees in the garden were found to be withered in a very remarkable manner. It looked as if a current of fire, about two yards in breadth, had passed through the garden in a perfectly straight line, singeing and destroying every green thing in its course. Entering on one side, and passing out at the other, its tract was as clearly defined as the course of a river.

(2) At the close of 1856 a party of five men were crossing the desert of Shikarpur, being on their way from Kandahar to that city, when the blast crossed their path, killing three of them instantly and seriously disabling the other two.

(3) A "moonshi" with two companions was travelling about seven miles south-east of Bagh, in Kachi (not far distant from Mangachar). About two o'clock the blast struck them. They were sensible of a scorching sensation in the air, accompanied by a peculiar sulphurous smell, but remembered nothing further, as all three were immediately struck to the ground. They were afterwards found and carried to Bagh, where, every attention being afforded them, they ultimately, after many days of sickness, recovered.

As regards the strength of the juloh, Pottinger writes that, so searching is its nature, it has been known to kill camels and other hardy animals, and its effects on the human frame are said by eye-witnesses to be the most agonizing and repulsive imaginable. Shortly after contact with the wind the muscles of the sufferer become rigid and contracted, the skin shrivels, a terrible sensation as if the skin were on fire pervades the whole frame, while, in the last stage, the skin cracks into deep gashes, producing haemorrhage, quickly followed by death. It is curious to note that the juloh is peculiar to the northern districts of Sarawan and Kach-Gandava, and does not exist in the southern provinces of Baluchistan.

The road from Mangachar to Mastung is good, though slightly undulating, and intersected by deep "nullahs." The estimated area of the Mastung district is two hundred and eighty miles. It is aptly named "The Garden of Baluchistan," for considerably more than two-thirds of its area are under cultivation. Water at Mastung is never-failing, and the pretty town, nestling in a valley of vineyards and fruit-gardens, fig and olive trees, reminded one more of some secluded town in the Pyrenees or south of France than a Baluch settlement. The soil hereabouts is light and sandy and particularly favourable to the cultivation of grapes, of which there are no less than five kinds. Apricots, peaches, plums, and pomegranates are also grown, and supply the markets of Quetta and Kelat. Madder and tobacco are also exported in large quantities from Mastung, which possesses a neatly built and busy bazaar.

The plain of Dasht-bi-Dowlat, or "The Unpropitious Plain," lies between Mastung and Quetta. The name, however, only applies after the harvest has been gathered, for next to Mastung this is one of the most fertile spots in Baluchistan. Dasht-bi-Dowlat is mainly cultivated by wandering tribes. The inhabitants of Mastung were enthusiastic in their description of the plain in summer. Then, they told us, the surface is covered with verdure and flowers of all kinds, especially the "lala," or tulip, which they averred cover it for miles with a carpet of crimson and gold, and load the air with sweet intoxicating perfume. The cultivation of this plain is mostly dependent on rain and heavy dews.

To the west of Dasht-bi-Dowlat is Chehel-Tan, a steep, rocky mountain, 13,000 feet high, in the ravines and valleys of which snow still lay deeply. Only two Europeans, Masson the traveller, and Sir Henry Green, have ever succeeded in reaching the summit, on which is a "Zariat," or shrine. The ascent is difficult and dangerous, as, the mountain being said to be haunted, no native guides are procurable. The word "Chehel-Tan" signifies in Baluch "Forty Bodies," and is derived from the following legend.

A frugal pair, many years married, were unblest with offspring. They therefore sought the advice of a holy man, who rebuked the wife, saying that he had not the power to grant her what Heaven had denied. The priest's son, however (also a moullah), felt convinced he could satisfy her wishes, and cast forty pebbles into her lap, at the same time praying that she might bear children. In process of time she was delivered of forty babes - rather more than she wished or knew how to provide for. The poor husband, at his wits' end, ascended to the summit of Chehel-Tan with thirty-nine, and left them there, trusting to the mercy of the Deity to provide for them, while the fortieth babe was brought up under the paternal roof.

One day, however, touched by remorse, the wife, unknown to her husband, explored the mountain with the object of collecting the bones of her children and burying them. To her surprise, they were all living and gambolling among the trees and rocks. Wild with joy, she ran back to her dwelling, brought out the fortieth babe, and, placing it on the summit of the mountain, left it there for a night to allure back its brothers, but, on returning in the morning, she found that the latter had carried it off, and it was never seen again. It is by the spirits of these forty babes that Chehel-Tan is said to be haunted.

At 8 a.m. on the 14th of April we sighted, afar off, an oasis on the dead green plain, of long barrack-like buildings, garden-girt bungalows, and white tents. We had reached our journey's end. The church-bells were ringing as I rode into Quetta, for it was Sunday, and, unfortunately, a bright, fine morning. Had it been otherwise, I might have been spared the ordeal of riding, on a very dirty and attenuated camel, past a crowd of well-dressed women and frock-coated men on their way to church. As we passed a neat victoria, glistening with varnish, and drawn by a pair of good-looking, high-stepping ponies, containing a general in full uniform and a pretty, smartly dressed lady, I cast a glance behind me. Gerome, who brought up the rear of the caravan, had (for coolness) divested himself of boots and socks, and, sublimely unconscious, was refreshing himself from the contents of a large wicker flask. One cannot, unfortunately, urge on a camel or quicken his pace at these awkward moments, and I passed a very uncomfortable quarter of an hour before reaching the Dak bungalow. But a glance at a looking-glass reassured me. No one would ever have taken the brick-coloured, ragged-looking ruffians we had become for Europeans.

I accepted a kind and courteous invitation from Mr. L - - , of the Indo-European Telegraph, with pleasure, for the Dak bungalow was dirty and comfortless. Although my host and charming hostess would have made any place agreeable, Quetta is, from everything but a strategical point of view, dull and uninteresting. It is an English garrison town, and all is said. The usual nucleus of scandal, surrounded by dances, theatricals, polo, flirtation, drink, and - divorce. Are they not all alike from Gibraltar to Hong Kong?

Under the guidance of my host, however, a pleasant trip was made to the Khojak tunnel. When one considers the comparatively short time it has been in hand, it is almost incredible that, with so many difficulties (water, hard rock, etc.), this work should have progressed as it has. The tunnel, which runs due east and west, is, or will be, two miles and a half in length and three hundred and sixty-five feet in depth at the deepest part from the earth's surface. From the eastern end only sixty-five miles over a firm and level plain separates it from Kandahar. Even when I was there, [D] a light line could have been laid to that city in six weeks without difficulty. The plant, rails, and sleepers were on the spot, having been carried over the hill, and a railway-carriage could then run from Calcutta to the eastern extremity of the tunnel without break of gauge. The tunnel, when completed, will be thirty-four feet broad, and twenty-five feet in height.

A curious incident happened at one of the railway-stations between Quetta and Karachi. At the buffet of the one in question, I found Gerome conversing volubly in Russian with a total stranger, a native. On inquiry I found he was a very old friend, a Russian subject and native of Samarcand. "He has just come through from Cabul," said my companion. "He often does this journey" - ostensibly for purposes of trade.

The 20th of April saw us in Bombay. An Italian steamer, the Venezia, was leaving for the Black Sea direct, and in her I secured a passage for Gerome, who was not impressed with our Eastern possessions. The crowd of curious natives who persistently followed him everywhere may have had something to do with it, for a fur-clad Esquimaux in Piccadilly would not have created a greater sensation than my companion in high boots, black velvet breeches, and red caftan in the busy streets of the great Indian city. Only a Russian could have existed in that blazing sun with no other protection to the head than the astrachan bonnet, which he obstinately refused to discard. I saw him safely on board, and something very like a tear came into my trusty little friend's eyes, as we shook hands and parted, to meet, perhaps, never again. For a better companion no man could wish. Plucky, honest as the day, and tender-hearted as a woman was Gerome Realini; and it was with a feeling of loneliness and sincere regret that I watched the grey smoke of the Venezia sink below the blue waters, which were soon to bear me, also, back to England and European civilization.

Has the journey been worth it? Has the result repaid one for the cold, dirt, and privation of Persia, the torrid heat and long desert marches through Baluchistan? Perhaps not. There are some pleasant hours, however, to look back upon. Kashan, a vision of golden domes and dim, picturesque caravanserais; Ispahan, with its stately Madrassa and blue Zandarood, winding lazily through miles on miles of white and scarlet poppyland; Shiraz, a dream of fair women, poetry, and roses, in its setting of emerald plain, sweet-scented gardens, and cypress trees. These, at any rate, are bright oases in that somewhat dreary ride from Teheran to the sea. And then - nearing India - the quiet midday siesta after the hot dusty march; the al fresco repast by the light of a glorious sunset, and the welcome rest and fragrant pipe in the cool night air of the silent, starlit desert.

[Footnote A: Parts of this palace are of great antiquity, as it owes its foundation to the Hindu kings who preceded the Mohammedan dynasty.]

[Footnote B: The Ameer of Afghanistan.]

[Footnote C: I am not at liberty to give the name of my authority for these facts. The reader may rely on their authenticity.]

[Footnote D: April, 1889. The boring of the tunnel is now accomplished.]