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whose territory lies to the Hari Rud and the Safid Kun, and is shut in on the east and west by the Hazarajat and the Kalah-i-nau Hazaras, are the bravest of the Chahar Aimaks, and are estimated at 14,500 families. The most important section of the Firuzkuhis is under the rule of Fathullah Beg, an Achakzai, who can put 3000 horsemen into the field, and who is now in favour with the Ameer, though he formerly supported the rebellion of Ayub Khan. Gulran, a point important as lying in the centre of Badkis, and where a number of roads converge, as well as for its proximity to the new frontier, has quite recently been colonised by 250 families of Chahar Aimaks from Fathullah Beg's division of the tribe, while there are sections of the same stock settled in Maimena and other towns in Balkh.

About the Taimaniss whose possessions lie about the head-waters of the Farah Rud, we have less information; but they are set down at 10,000 families, which could turn out 10,000 horsemen. "In estimating the fighting power of all these tribes," says Lieutenant Yate, "it is customary to reckon only the horsemen, inasmuch as they alone are available for service out of their own country. No doubt every able-bodied man would aid in defence of his own village; and if ever the British Government were to desire to drill and discipline levies from the Aimak tribes, they would probably find them excellent material." The Ameer has already, with considerable success, converted numbers of the Chahar Aimaks-probably from Fathullah Beg's clan into irregular troopers; but how faithful they would be likely to prove to their salt, in the event of their tribes throwing in their lot

with an enemy, it would be unsafe to predict. The Russians, however, have already begun a course of intrigue with the Chahar Aimaks, even while the Commission was still engaged in its work; and Lieutenant Yate is of opinion that "it is contrary to reason to expect that they will in any way aid the Afghans in the defence of Herat."

The headquarters of the Commission left Bala Murghab on 15th February, and marching by Maruchak, crossed into the valley of the Khushk and on to Gulran. It was here that the news of the engagement at Panjdeh reached the camp. We cannot follow Mr Yate through the very minute details which he gives of all the circumstances connected with this incident-details, however, which are quite excusable, considering that the event not merely placed the Commission in a most critical position, but brought two empires to the very verge of war. It is sufficient to say that the facts adduced by Mr Yate conclusively establish the treachery of the Russians, as well as the falsehood of the versions of the affair which they published. We prefer rather to quote the description of the storm of the 4th April, which overtook Sir Peter Lumsden while retiring from Gulran to Tirpul.

"When the Gulran party reached the mouth of the Au-safid Pass, they found it a swollen running stream, with a bed of soft mud into which and floundered. The horses of the horses, mules, and ponies sank deep cavalry could with difficulty struggle through it, so you may imagine how it affected the mules. The water was bitterly cold, the wind piercing; and laden animals kept floundering and falling the drivers had to paddle half paralyzed with cold. When the top of the Au-safid Pass was reached by General Lumsden, the main body of the cavalry, and others, the wind

about in the water, and soon became

battery tents a dozen officers huddled. For food they had half-a-dozen biscuits, a quarter-loaf of bread, and a small piece of tinned beef. That is all the food they tasted from 8 A.M. yesterday to 2 P.M. to-day. Any small quantity of wine and spirits that was available was reserved exclusively for the use of the exhausted and benumbed natives. The cold was intense, the floors of the tents were puddles, and the violent wind repeatedly drew the pegs. Almost every dog in camp died that night. Nine, it is said, took refuge in one of the officers' tents, thereby preserving their own lives and keeping their owners warm. As for those poor fellows who had no tents, they lay down anywhere in a postin blanket or a numdah, or in their ordinary clothing, and passed the night as best they could. The animals stood starving and shivering, saddled as they came in and without jhools, some wandering away in the night in search of food and getting lost. Those that were securely picketed turned their tails to the snow and biting blast; next morning_their tails were a bunch of icicles. In the morning those poor fellows who had to pass the night in the open air were found covered with snow. General Lumsden was out at 5 A.M. on the 5th to see what could be done, both to aid and rescue stragglers, and succor those who had lain out all night in the cold. As one of the officers said, when they first went round in the early morning among the figures lying motionless on the ground, some silent, some moaning, they shuddered to think that half of them might be dead. General Lumsden did all in his power to assist and relieve the miserable natives. Subadar Mahomed Husain Khan managed to collect wood, light a fire, and make some tea. Here all in distress were welcome, and having had a warm and a cup of tea, retired in favour of the next batch. Three men were found dead in the morning, and many others were, it is feared, frost-bitten. Large numbers were missing, including some sowars. Many horses were found dead."

irrespective of the bitterness, and the snow and sleet that accompanied it, was so powerful that it blew General Lumsden and his horse off the path down a steep bank. Fortunately neither was much the worse for it. It was, in fact, just all that man and horse could do to struggle against the violence of the wind. It was then proposed to halt and camp in the first sheltered spot come to. For some inexplicable reason it was decided to go on to Chashma-i-sabz. Had they camped in the Au-safid Pass many lives would have been saved. Starting from Gulran at 7.30, the cavalry reached Chashma-i-sabz early in the afternoon. Arrived there, they and all the officers, the native attachés, and others with them, found themselves without servants, without food, without tents, and nothing to drink but muddy water. Captain Heath and Lieutenant Wright started back with some sowars and ponies to bring in helpless stragglers. They went back three or four miles, and having then picked up as many men, utterly powerless and some dying, as the ponies could carry, they returned to camp. The men of the 11th Bengal Lancers behaved admirably throughout. A number of them came into camp almost paralyzed with cold, and were tended and cared for by their comrades with the greatest kindness. Many men were seen to deprive themselves of the warm clothing they so much needed, to give it to their suffering fellow-soldiers. They had but one tent among them, and throughout the night, it is said, they took it turn about by tens at a time to sit in this tent. Sleep there was none, neither for officer nor man, except the sleep of death, and that was only vouchsafed to a few. That many natives prayed for it, I have little doubt. Britons are not so fond of death as all that. Such servants and syces as had come in were either prostrate and numbed-in fact, 'crumpled up'-with cold, or, as it was graphically expressed, shivering and chattering idiots. After some search it was found that a few mules with tents had struggled in. Two or three of them were given to the sowars and Persian mule-drivers and farrashes, and in two small mountain

This was a terrible disaster to

the Commission, coming as it did at a time its fortunes appeared to have been reduced to the lowest ebb by the Russian infr ngement of the peace, and when all the strength and all the resources of the escort were so much needed to secure the general safety. During the month of April and the greater part of May, when the issues of peace and war were trembling in the balance, and while the controversy over the Panjdeh incident was threatening to cut away all possibility of an understanding between England and Russia, the Commission was indeed in a critical condition, and had little chance of making its way back to the Indian frontier had a declaration of war emanated from either side.

Lieutenant Yate paid a flying visit to Mashhad, and as he was obliged to return to India before the conclusion of the Commission's work, he left its members in Badkis, and made his way back to Bombay by the Persian frontier, the Caspian, Constantinople, and Egpyt. But though he did not accompany the Commission to Balkh, he succeeded, while at Gulran, in amassing a variety of fresh and useful information regarding the country between the Oxus and the Paropamisus, which we are glad to hear is to be supplemented by another volume dealing specially with this part of the demarcation survey from the pen of a member of the Commission.

It is to the Balkh portion of the frontier that attention is chiefly at this moment directed, since its exact position has still to be settled by the negotiations which are at present pending between our Foreign Office and the Government of St Petersburg. And there is every reason to believe that Balkh will in the future be the favourite theatre of Russian


intrigue, if not the first scene of Russian aggression. Cut off that province is from Cabul, for five months at least every year, the Ameer's authority is never very potent, and is not infrequently altogether repudiated by refractory chiefs. Even when we have fixed a boundary line to the Oxus, our difficulties will only have commenced. Russia will, with justice, demand the guarantee of a responsible power-either the Ameer or the British Government-for the preservation of good order on the Afghan side of the line; and how is such order to be secured? As we have said, Abdur Rahman Khan's power over his Balkh-Turkistan subjects is, at its best, but limited; the country is ruled, and its tribes influenced, by Khans who are ever intriguing and often rebelling-who, at the first difficulty with the Cabul durbar, or the Ameer's representative in the province, will create a diversion in their own favour by seeking Russian support, and to whom Russian roubles will be ever welcome. The Mirs of Maimena have always affected more or less independence of Cabul, have on several occasions resisted the Ameer's forces, and have for years been under the suspicion of having intrigued with the Russian Government of Turkistan. Now that Russia commands the ferries on the Oxus, and has a recognised position on the Balkh borders, her influence for fomenting trouble is redoubled. On her side of the frontier, guarded by military posts, she will be able to prevent the Turkomans from giving any cause of offence to the Ameer's subjects, except when it suits her policy to offer provocations a game which she has hitherto played with signal success in Central Asia. Her great aim will be to find cause for offence on the

Afghan side; and considering the with picking from Lieutenant unruly character of the Balkh Yate's valuable book such pieces Uzbeks, there is every probability of information as are new and inof her wishes being promptly teresting; but there is a lighter gratified. The value of a frontier side to his narrative, which will will only be half secured unless prevent the reader from being arrangements are made for pre- wearied with descriptions of arid serving its inviolability, and for passes and rude clans. The volume the due execution of border laws. is full of incidents connected with As the British Government has the adventurous march of the aligned the new frontier, it is not Commission; the ruined forts and asking too much of the Ameer that shrines are made to yield their it should also be allowed to appoint, traditions; and the natives are as Wardens of the Marches, Euro- sketched with shrewd but genial pean officers who will watch the penetration. There is much in course of events, whose presence the book of politics, of the Central will be a check to the machina- Asian question in all its phases— tions of emissaries of the Alikhan- overmuch we would be tempted off type, and who, when a difficulty to say, but for the fresh and does occur, will be able to put the forcible way Lieutenant Yate has rights of the matter in a reliable of stating his sometimes too imway before the Foreign Office and petuous conclusions; and the the Government of India. There reader will in all probability preis another reason why we should fer the author in his capacity of have British eyes upon the watch a clever and accurate observer to on the Oxus. Competent military his assumed rôle of diplomatist. authorities have always pointed out that India was not less liable to menace from Russia, through Balkh, than by the way of Herat, and the Government of India, from recent steps which it has taken, would now seem to be more closely recognising this fact.

His book, however, is by far the most valuable contribution that has been added to the literature of the Russo - Afghan question since Sir Henry Rawlinson's volume, and with a little more pruning and condensation, it would have taken a very high place among We have contented ourselves standard works of recent travel.


[Copyright by F. Marion Crawford, 1886.]


THE opportunity which Giovanni sought of being alone with Corona was long in coming. Sister Gabrielle retired immediately after dinner, and the Duchessa was left alone with the two men. Old Sarracinesca would gladly have left his son with the hostess, but the thing was evidently impossible. The manners of the time would not allow it, and the result was that the Prince spent the evening in making conversation for two rather indifferent listeners. He tried to pick a friendly quarrel with Giovanni, but the latter was too absent-minded even to be annoyed; he tried to excite the Duchessa's interest, but she only smiled gently, from time to time making a remark which was conspicuous for its irrelevancy. But old Sarracinesca was in a good humour, and he bore up bravely until ten o'clock, when Corona gave the signal for retiring. They were to start very early in the morning, she said, and she must have rest.

When the two men were alone, the Prince turned upon his son in semi-comic anger, and upbraided him with his obstinate dullness during the evening. Giovanni only smiled calmly, and shrugged his shoulders. There was nothing more to be said.

But on the following morning, soon after six o'clock, Giovanni had the supreme satisfaction of installing Corona beside him upon the driving-seat of his cart, while his father and Sister Gabrielle sat together behind him. The sun was

not yet above the hills, and the mountain air was keen and fresh ; the stamping of the horses sounded crisp and sharp, and their bells rang merrily as they shook their sturdy necks and pricked their short ears to catch Giovanni's voice.

66 Have you forgotten nothing, Duchessa ?" asked Giovanni, gathering the reins in his hand.

"Nothing, thanks. I have sent our things on mules — by the bridle-path." She smiled involuntarily as she recalled her adventure, and half turned her face away.

"Ah, yes-the bridle-path," repeated Giovanni, as he nodded to the groom to stand clear of the horses' heads. In a moment they were briskly descending the winding road through the town of Astrardente; the streets were quiet and cool, for the peasants had all gone to their occupations two hours before, and the children were not yet turned loose.

"I never hoped to have the honour of myself driving you to Sarracinesca," said Giovanni. "It is a wild place enough, in its way. You will be able to fancy yourself in Switzerland,"

"I would rather be in Italy." answered Corona. "I do not care for the Alps. Our own mountains are as beautiful, and are not infested by tourists."

"You are a tourist to-day," said Giovanni. "And it has pleased Heaven to make me your guide."

"I will listen to your explanations of the sights with interest."

"It is a reversal of the situa

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