Page images

all his armour and accoutrements complete. I had only my sabre and bow and arrows. I drew up to my ear, and sent right for him the arrow which I had in my hand. At that very moment, an arrow of the kind called Sheibah struck me on the right thigh, and pierced : through and through. I had a steel cap on my head. Tambol, rushing on, smote me such a blow on it with his sword as to stun me; thongh not a thread of the cap was penetrated, yet my head, was severely wounded. I had neglected to clean my sword, so that it was rusty, and I lost time in drawing it. I was alone and single in the midst of a multitude of enemies. It was no season for standing still ; so I turned my bridle round, receiving another sabre stroke on the arrows in my quiver. I had gone back seven or eight paces, when three foot soldiers came up and joined us. Tambol now attacked Dost Nasir sword in hand. They followed us about a bowshot. Arigh-Jakân-shah is a large and deep stream, which is not fordable everywhere; but God directed us right, so that we came exactly upon one of the fords of the river. Immediately on crossing the ri. ver, the horse of Dost Nâsir fell from weakness. We halted to remount him, and, passing among the hillocks that are between Khira-' bûk and Feraghîneh, and going from one hillock to another, we proceeded by bye-roads towards Ush.”

We shall conclude our warlike extracts with the following graphic and lively account of the author's repulse in an attack on Akhsi, and his subsequent disastrous flight from the pursuing victors :

“ Sheikh Bayezid had just been released, and was entering the gate, when I met him. I immediately drew to the head the arrow which was on my notch, and discharged it full at him. It only grazed his neck, but it was a fine shot. The moment he had entered the gate, he turned short to the right, and fled by a narrow street in great perturbation. I pursued him. Mirza Kuli Gokultâsh struck down one foot-soldier with his mace, and had passed another, when the fellow aimed an arrow at İbrâhim Beg, who startled him by exclaiming, Hai ! Hai ! and went forward ; after which the man, being about as far off as the porch of a house is from the hall, let fly at me an arrow, which struck me under the arm. I had on a Kalmuk mail ; two plates of it were pierced and broken from the blow. After shooting the arrow, he fled, and I discharged an arrow after him. At that very moment a foot-soldier happened to be flying along the rampart, and my arrow pinned his cap to the wall, where it remained shot through and through, and dangling from the parapet. He took his turban, which he twisted round his arm, and ran away. A man on horseback passed close by me, fleeing up the narrow lane by. which Sheikh Bayezid had escaped. I struck him such a blow on the temples with the point of my sword, that he bent over as if ready to fall from his horse, but supporting himself on the wall of the lane, he did not lose his seat, but escaped with the utmost hazard. Having dispersed all the horse and foot that were at the gate, we took possession of it. There was now no reasonable chance of success; for they had two or three thousand well-armed men in the citadel, while I had only a hundred, or two hundred at most, in the outer stone fort: and, besides, Jehangir Mirza, about as long before as milk takes to boil, had been beaten and driven out, and half of my men were with him."

“ A sort of path leads up the river amidst broken glens, remote from the beaten road. By this unfrequented and retired path we proceeded up the river, till, leaving the river on the right, we struck into another narrow path. It was about afternoon prayers when we emerged from the broken grounds into the level country. A blackness was discernible afar off in the plain. Having placed my men under cover, I myself, on foot, ascended an eminence to spy what it might be; when suddenly a number of horsemen galloped up the hillock behind us. We could not ascertain precisely how many or how few they were, but took to our horses and continued our flight. The horsemen who followed us were not in all above twenty, or twenty-five; and we were eight, as has been mentioned. Had we but known their number when they first came up, we should have given them warm play ; but we imagined that they were certainly followed by a detachment sent in pursuit of the fugitives. Impressed with this notion, we continued our flight.

“ The horse on which I was mounted began to lag. Jân Kuli dismounted and gave me his horse. I leaped from my own and mounted his, while he mounted mine. At this very instant Shahîm Nâsir, with Abdal Kadûs Sidî Kara, who had fallen behind, were dismounted by the enemy. Jân Kuli also fell behind; but it was no season for trying to shield or assist him. We, therefore, pushed our horses to their utmost speed, but they gradually flagged and fell off. The horse of Dost Beg too began to flag, and fell behind ; and the horse which I rode likewise began to be worn out. Kamber Ali dismounting, gave me his own horse. He mounted mine, and presently dropped behind. Khâwjeh Hûssaini, who was lame, turned off towards the heights. I now remained alone with Mirza Kuli Gokultâsh. Mirza Kuli also fell behind, and I was left alone. Two of the enemy were in sight; the name of the one was Baba Seirâmi, and that of the other Bandeh Ali ; they gained upon me; my horse began to flag. There was a hill about a kos off, and I came up to a heap of stones. I reflected with myself that my horse was knocked up, and the hill still a considerable way off. What was to be done ? I had about twenty arrows left in my quiver. Should I dismount at this heap of stones, and keep my ground as long as my arrows lasted ? But it occurred to me again, that perhaps I might be able to gain the hill, and that if I did, I might stick a few arrows in my belt, and succeed in climbing it. I had great reliance on my own nimbleness, Impelled by this idea, I kept on my course. My horse was unable to make any speed, and my pursuers got within arrow's reach of me; I was sparing of my arrows, however, and did not shoot. They also were somewhat chary, and did not come nearer than a bowshot, but kept on tracking me.”

By and by, he enters into a parley with some of his pursuers, who end by swearing fealty to him, and affect to conduct him to a place of safety and concealment.

“ It was about noon, when, as far off as the sight could reach, we perceived something that glittered on a horse. For some time we could not distinguish what it was. It was, in truth, Muhammed Båkir Beg. He had been in Akhsi along with me; and in the dispersion that followed our leaving the place, when every one was scattered here and there, Muhammed Bâkir Beg had come in this direction, and was now wandering about and concealing himself. Bandeh Ali and Baba Seirâmi said, " For two days past our horses have had neither grain nor fodder. Let us go down into the valley, and suffer them to graze.' We accordingly mounted, and, having descended into the valley, set them a-grazing. It was about the time of af. ternoon prayers, when we descried a horseman passing along over the very height on which we had been hiding. I recognised him to be Kâdir Berdi, the head-man of Ghiva. I said to them, . Let us call Kâdir Berdi. We called him, and he came and joined us. Having greeted him, asked him some questions, spoken obligingly and with kindness to him, made him promises, and disposed him favourably towards me by every means in my power, I sent him to bring a rope, a grass-hook, an axe, apparatus for crossing a river, provender for the horses, and food for ourselves, and, if possible, a horse likewise ; and we made an appointment to meet him on this same spot at bedtime prayers.

* Bandeh Ali said, " There are many retired gardens among the suburbs of Karnân, where nobody will suspect us of lurking. Let us go thither, and send a person to conduct Kâdir Berdi to us. With this intention, we mounted, and proceeded to the suburbs of Karnân. It was winter, and excessively cold. They brought me an old mantle of year-old lambskin, with the wool on the inside, and of coarse woven cloth without, which I put on. They also procured and brought me a dish of pottage of boiled millet-flour, which I eat, and found wonderfully comfortable. I asked Bandeh Ali, "Have you sent anybody to Kâdir Berdi ?' He answered, "Yes, I have.' These unlucky perfidious clowns had in reality met Kâdir Berdi, and had dispatched him to Tambol at Akhsi.

á Having gone into a house that had stone walls, and kindled a fire, I closed my eyes for a moment in sleep. These crafty fellows, pretending an extreme anxiety to serve me, · We must not stir from this neighbourhood,' said they, ' till we have news of Kâdir Berdi. The house where we are, however, is in the very middle of the suburbs. There is a place in the outskirts of the suburbs where we might be quite unsuspected, could we but reach it. We mounted our horses, therefore, about midnight, and proceeded to a garden on the outskirts of the suburbs. Baba Seirâmi watched on the terraceroof of the house, keeping a sharp look-out in every direction. It was near noon when he came down from the terrace, and said to me, • Here comes Yûsef, the Darogha.' I was seized with prodigious alarm, and said, · Learn if he comes in consequence of knowing that I am here. Baba went out, and, after some conversation, returned and said

At this critical moment there is an unlucky hiatus in all the manuscripts of the Memoirs, so that it is to this day unknown by what means the heroic prince escaped from his treacherous associates, only that we find him, the year after, warring prosperously against a new set of enemies. Of his military exploits and adventures, however, we think we have now given a sufficient specimen.

In these we have said he resembles the paladins of Europe, in her days of chivalric enterprise. But we doubt greatly whether any of her knightly adventurers could have given so exact an account of the qualities and productions of the countries they visited as the Asiatic Sovereign bas here put on record. Of Kabûl, for example, after describing its boundaries, rivers, and mountains, he says.“ This country lies between Hindustan and Khorasân. It is an excellent and profitable market for commodities. Were the merchants to carry their goods as far as Khita or Rûm,* they would scarcely get the same profit on them. Every year, seven, eight, or. ten thousand horses arrive in Kabul. From Hindustan, every year, fifteen or twenty thousand pieces of cloth are brought by caravans. The commodities of Hindustân are slaves, white cloths, sugar-candy, refined and common sugar, drugs, and spices. There are many mer- . chants that are not satisfied with getting thirty or forty for ten.t The productions of Khorasan, Rúm, Irâk, and Chin, f may all be found in Kâbul, which is the very emporium of Hindustan. Its warm and cold districts are close by each other. From Kâbul you may in a single day go to a place where snow never falls, and in the space of two astronomical hours, you may reach a spot where snow lies always, except now and then when the summer happens to be peculiarly hot. In the districts dependant on Kâbul, there is great abundance of the fruits both of hot and cold climates, and they are found in its immediate vicinity. The fruits of the cold districts in Kabul are grapes, pomegranates, apricots, peaches, pears, apples, quinces, jujubes, damsons, almonds, and walnuts; all of which are found in great abundance. I caused the sour-cherry-tree $ to be brought here and planted; it produced excellent fruit, and continues thriving. The

* Khitâ is Northern China, and its dependent provinces. Rûm is Turkey, particularly the provinces about Trebizond.

+ Three or four hundred per cent. I Chîn is all China. § Alubâla.

fruits it possesses peculiar to a warm climate, are the orange, citron,* the amlûk, and sugar-cane, which are brought from the Lamghanât. I caused the sugar-cane to be brought, and planted it here. They bring the Jelghûzekt from Nijrow. They have numbers of bee-hives, but honey is brought only from the hill-country on the west. The rawashf of Kâbul is of excellent quality; its quinces and damask plums are excellent, as well as its bâdrengs. There is a species of grape which they call the water-grape, that is very delicious ; its wines are strong and intoxicating. That produced on the skirt of the mountain of Khwâjeh Khan-Saaid is celebrated for its potency, though I describe it only from what I have heard :

The drinker knows the flavour of the wine; how should the sober know it?

“ Kâbul is not fertile in grain ; a return of four or five to one is reckoned favourable. The melons too are not good, but those raised from seed brought from Khorasan are tolerable. The climate is extremely delightful, and in this respect there is no such place in the known world. In the nights of summer you cannot sleep without a postîn (or lambskin-cloak. Though the snow falls very deep in the winter, yet the cold is never excessively intense. Samarkand and Tabriz are celebrated for their fine climate, but the cold there is extreme beyond measure.”

“ Opposite to the fort of Adinahpûr,|| to the south, on a rising ground, I formed a charbagh (or great garden), in the year nine hundred and fourteen (1508). It is called Baghe Vafâ (the Garden of Fidelity). It overlooks the river, which flows between the fort and the palace. In the year in which I defeated Behâr Khan and conquered Lahore and Dibâlpûr, I brought plantains and planted them here. They grew and thrived. The year before I had also planted the sugar-cane in it, which throve remarkably well. I sent some of them to Badakhshân and Bokhâra. It is on an elevated site, enjoys running water, and the climate in the winter season is temperate. In the garden there is a small hillock, from which a stream of water, sufficient to drive a mill, incessantly flows into the garden below. The four-fold field-plot of this garden is situated on this eminence. On the south-west part of this garden is a reservoir of water ten gez

* A berry like the karinda.

+ The jeighûzek is the seed of a kind of pine, the cones of which are as big as a man's two fists.

I The rawâsh is described as a root something like beet-root, but much larger-white and red in colour, with large leaves, that rise little from the ground. It has a pleasant mixture of sweet and acid. It may be the rhubard, râweid.

$ The bâdreng is a large green fruit, in shape somewhat like a citron. The name is also applied to a large sort of cucumber.

!! The fort of Adinahpûr is to the south of the Kâbul river.

« PreviousContinue »