Page images
PDF
EPUB

some

version to Mahom medanism in the phatically calls a 'good' man, must tenth century, and fled for refuge possess the following attributes : He to their present abodes. When

must be a successful homicide, a good investigating this subject, he was

hillman, ever ready to quarrel, and supplied with

of an amorous disposition. If he is remarkable

also a good dancer, a good shot with stories, of which the following is a

bow and arrow or matchlock, and a sample :

good aluts or stone - quoit player, so

much the better. “The Kátirs in the Bashgul valley constitute a fine man ;

These qualities

but to be informed me that they came from the really influential in the tribe, an indiwest, and were once part of a numer

vidual must be also rich." ous tribe which divided into two parties. One division, consisting of The family is the unit, and its all the wealthy and otherwise notable head exercises complete authority persons, went to London, while the other, comprising menials only, settled

over the members; so, in spite of in Kátiristán. This depreciation of violent quarrels, domestic affairs themselves is in the true spirit of

run with reasonable smoothness. oriental politeness. They warned me The village is a collection of faminot to trust the Kám, or to believe lies, and varies according to locality, them for an instant if they declared strength, and liability to attack. that they and I were descended from The tribes differ greatly one from a common ancestor ; for it was notori

another in language, dress, and ous that it was the Kátirs and not the

their sole bond beKám who were of my race, the Kám customs; being really more akin to the ing that they are not Mahommedan Russians.”

-a tie which perhaps no longer

exists. The dress, dances (for a An oriental version of “Codlin's the friend, not Short.”

Káfir does nothing without dancof the people generally, it is ing), effigies, and funeral rites are said that they would be detestable all minutely described. The chief were it not for their redeeming in the Presun country, and is de

temple is at the village Kstigigrom qualities of courage, domestic affection, and love of liberty. The twenty feet high and from fifty to

scribed as an imposing structure men

are of much the height as ourselves, lightly built sixty feet square

, furnished with but powerful, and are remarkable eight huge wooden figures of Imrá.

A short distance from the temple pedestrians. The "shortish and of light build, with world in the form of a hole, down

is the approach to the nether muscular limbs. Pretty faces are rare.” Both men and women seem

which if any one should look he

dies forth with. Robertson was to be very dirty. They are by no

shown the place, and says :means simple in character, but can plot with the "secrecy and

“ All that is to be seen is a patch tenacity of the average Oriental." of jungle-grass, limited in extent, and They are avaricious, greedy, and easily overlooked. The village Utah quarrelsome beyond belief, whilst

or priest particularly requested me falsehood is cultivated as a fine peared gratified at my reply, that, as

not to approach the spot; he apart; yet they have the good quali- a guest of the tribe, I would not ties already mentioned, and in ad- think of doing so. The place had dition are hospitable to men and already been examined by Afghan kind to animals.

raiders, brought into the country by

the Wai tribe, and the priests pos“In the Kafir's opinion, a really sibly thought that if other people fine manly character, what he em- went away unharmed after seeing VOL. CLXI.-NO. DCCCCLXXVII.

20

same

women

are

.

[ocr errors]

are

the sacred hole, their fables might ber they must be at least as ten to be exposed. The sceptical Afghans, one. it was admitted, did not suffer in

And now the history of the any way, so the revised legend about

Káfirs as a separate people is the hole now is that

any
Káfir look-

Their valleys ing down it dies at once, and that probably closed. Christians are also Káfirs. .. An were included in the territories old Kátir once assured me that he which fell within the sphere of had seen with his own eyes a man Afghan influence, in contrast to killed in this way.”

Chitral and others towards the The country is said to be abun. East, which are more or less con

trolled by the Government of dantly stocked with game, and the

India in concert with Kashmir. rivers to be full of fish, probably Afghan authority has been asof the carp family, though. un- serted, we are assured, without fortunately no detail is given. unnecessary barbarity, roads are The people will not eat fish, re, being made, and the people will garding them as scavengers

and

no doubt soon completely resemble foul feeders. Chikor partridges the Kohistán, Lughmán, and other and the magnificent Monál pheas- neighbours, who in all probability ant are very numerous, and there belong to the same original stock, a few teal and wild - fowl.

The mention of Chitrál reminds Bears, leopards, wild sheep, and

us that the Government of India, markhor are found, the latter in

too, in the exercise of its influence, wonderful numbers, for we read of a small party of Kashtán men who and the recollection of the siege

was compelled to resort to force, killed twenty-three in ten days.

and relief of the fort are still fresh.

Dr Robertson was British agent “Our average was one or two aday. ... The Káfirs were delighted throughout the operations, and in with the execution of my express rifle, recognition of his services was and would rush forward in great glee, made K.C.S.I. shouting 'tum-bah’ in imitation of Káfiristán with its romantic valthe sound of the rifle, to carry away leys and picturesque hillsides will a slain animal. In the spring large no doubt in course of time be surnumbers of markhor are caught on the snow behind Kimdesh on their veyed and explored; but it is more way the valley ; but the sup

than doubtful whether any conply seems practically inexhaustible, siderable addition to our knowthough probably, in consequence of ledge of its strange people will the harrying the animals get with hereafter be made. Their tradidogs, and when they are blundering tions will probably be lost in the through deep snow, there are few flood of Mahommedanism in which large heavy animals.

The biggest horns I saw were but forty inches in they are likely to be submerged ; length."

hence we would fain hope that

this short summary, which indiThe markhor are therefore inferior cates where information exists, in size and in length of horn to may have a value not wholly those of the Káj Nág, Pír Panjál, ephemeral. or Astor in Kashmir, but in num

W. BROADFOOT.

[blocks in formation]

it up,

In the calm air of the Sunday these must consider himself too morning with the brook 'going faultless to worship any other gently by, I came to the entrance being. of the hoary ruins wherein I had

First came the women, only first seen Dariel. A chapel with seven or eight in number, veiled lines of gray flint only, to show not very heavily, and cloaked in where once the sacred walls had cheerful raiment. And the last of risen, and nothing but the soft sky these was Dariel, looking as if she for roof, and mortar and moss for had never dreamed of anything pavement. Stepan, as big as a uncelestial, while the loveliness of pulpit, but more mute, stood close her figure gleamed through the by expecting me, and led me along folds of her flowing mantle; even a ferny path, and dusted a stone to as the flexure and the texture of sit upon, with a noble quietude. an agate glisten through the cloudy But when I asked him—“What pretext of their coat to hide them. am I to do ?he took it for our “Who shall understand these national salutation, and answered, things?” thought I, “there is no “Like a house afire, sir.” So I gave one on earth fit to approach her;

and resolved to act according yet the Lord cannot have meant to the light of nature, and the be- her to be always by herself.” And haviour of the others when they then I thought of Hafer—Prince arrived. Only if there came a indeed! Prince of darkness, and great procession of images, as I nothing else--and I looked about, expected, nothing should make me with anything but religious peace depart from the proper demeanour inside me. However I could perof a Briton.

ceive no sign of any wickedness However I was not called upon high or low; and every heart exto assert the great Reformation. cept my own sang a grateful and A more simple, quiet, and impres- worshipful tune to the Lord. sive service I never witnessed any- Even to me it was a quiet and where; and although there was no devout proceeding, when Imar roof overhead, and little enclosure (not as one who preaches to a on either side, the view of the sky, crowd of animals below him, but and the passing of the wind, and like a man speaking to and on bethe sense of antiquity around us

half of men - not abject, though were in harmony, as it seemed to beneath a cloud) began the simple me, with the conditions of humil- offering of our love, and trust, and ity, and mortality, and hopefulness. loyalty. To me it was grander The strictest Puritan could have than it might have been to those found fault with little except the who could criticise it; for I could red crosses worn by all the congre- not object to anything, because I gation, and a few triangles and did not

not comprehend a word. wreaths of white flowers. And the Nevertheless it did me good, inman who can find any fault with asmuch as it did the others good;

1

Copyright, 1897, by Dodd, Mead & Co. in the United States of America.

and if a man lives in himself alone, some refresbment. On Sundays he will not find much good there, all the men dine together," he said I fear. And when they began as he led me inside the door, "and their final hymn of high thanks- we will have something with them. giving, and hopeful trust that our I fear that you found it difficult Maker will not be as hard upon us to keep from laughing at the sight as we are upon one another, the of such an astonishing set of hats, sound of great rejoicing. which and scarcely any two alike. We our Christians never indulge in- copied them first, I sometimes filled the valley, and went up the think, from our highest and most heights, such as we are bidden to fantastic peaks; but art bas outgaze at, while we stick to the dis- done nature. In truth they are mal hollows. I knew that I was a motley lot, but there is not a only of a dull prosaic order, but false heart among them.” felt for the moment above myself, I had seen nearly all of them with the other fellows lifting me. before, on the day of the police

However absurd it may appear invasion, but not as now in their to those who are always at one best apparel, a strange and interestlevel of self-made dignity and- ing sight. Some of them had something else—true it is we all wondrous coats, frogged and were moved, as no formality can braided, and painted and patched, stir us.

Stepan had a mighty and ribboned and laced, and voice, and more than his throat leathered, and I know not what, was in it; then Dariel cast by her with coins, and baubles, and veil, and her beautiful lips were charms, and stars, and every kind trembling, like a wild-rose quiver- of dangle ; and two of them wore ing with petals half-open over some Russian uniforms far advanced in melodious stream. I thought of years, and captured perhaps in the the time when I had first beheld days of Shamyl. But their faces, her, and my love was not of this though covered with beards and earth alone.

freckles, could not be called savage When all were gone, and I was or ignoble; and though one or two thinking still what prigs we are, were of swarthy aspect, some were and cowards too, who suppose that as fair as Englishmen. I could there is one way only of getting well believe that there might be near our Father, that humble man, truth in the tradition of their tribe, who had been our priest, came up that they were a separate race, to me, and spoke sadly. I saw distinct among the myriad mounthat he was down at heart, and tain strains, having the hot oriental full of doubt about himself, and blood refreshed and strengthened wanting higher comfort than a man from the Western founts. They like me could give him. But I regarded their chief with patriarchal could not guess, until he told his loyalty and deference, but no sermelancholy story, why he should vility or cringing; it was his be thus downcast, after doing his pleasant duty to maintain them, utmost for the benefit of others. and theirs to work for him, to a I had not known what the service rational extent. Whatever they meant, but saw that it had been had was his, so far as nature allows simple, solemn, and free from all such partnership; while his prorant and false excitement; and perty enjoyed the privilege of minthis I ventured to express. istering to their welfare.

Come in, my friend, and have They have done well,” said the

-a

Chief to me, while I was revolving the calm mind which flows in, to these things slowly; and hoping level all the tumult, and to cover that his daughter might appear at all the ruin. I thought to myself last to grace the feast; "they will that I must come to that, if Dariel go and wander in their gardens now, went on, as she seemed to do, and and have the pleasure of sitting in kept out of sight without a word their native form.”

to me. “Which is something like that But after a bottle of the chief's of a hare," I replied, without calling light wine-a dozen of which would to mind that it might seem rude; not have turned a British hair-I but he smiled, for he never took had the presence of mind to fill my offence unless it were intended, pipe and pouch with some very fair which is a most sagacious rule. tobacco of the mountains, and to And he proceeded with his in- follow him over a clever little bridge ference.

of his own construction into the “The fact that they are coming heart of the grey old wood. There without much pain to the use of we sat upon a mossy log, and he chairs and benches, when com- poured out his story, while the mended to them by a good dinner, sunshine came in slants sometimes, tends to prove that they are of a and I wished there had been more high and naturally docile race. But of it. come to my room, and have a glass I cannot repeat Sûr Imar's tale of Kahiti; and then we will go with any of his self-commanding forth into the wood, and you shall strength, much less convey the light know all that has come to pass in and shade of a voice alive with the life of a man not so very old memory of whatever the soul has yet, but with all his best years be- suffered. However to the best of hind him.”

my belief, the import of his words He smiled, and I looked at him is here. Feebly, but never falsely, still in his strength, still comely have I set down his remembrances. and sweet of temper, a man with Only his foreign turns of language almost every gift of nature, but not have escaped my memory; and he endowed with happiness. And his must tell what he has to tell like smile was not that of a jubilant an ordinary Englishman. Which heart, which has tried and can trust means without long words, whenits own buoyancy; but rather of ever short ones can be got for it.

CHAPTER XX11.-IMAR'S TALE-WAR.

“That which I have always us ; for we almost alone are guided, admired in your nation, and that when in our proper state of mind, which has made you what you are, by any sense of Christianity; most under the guidance of the Lord, is of the others who call themselves your natural gift of self-command. of that creed, such as the Ossets, The race to which I belong has Imeritians, and barbarous Suans, always been very scant of that have made a strange jumble of the great quality; and this fault has true faith with Mahomedanism, been from age to age the cause of paganism, and even stark idolatry. misery and conflict. Not that we But the Lesghians, with whom we are by any means so turbulent and have most to do, and who claim us vindictive as other tribes around as of their affinity, still are of Islam,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »