We were now about to explore a part of Toorkisthān which I have reason to believe had never been visited by Europeans; the distance between Ghoree and Badjgh[=]ar is about eighty miles, across as wild and romantic a country as can well be conceived, consisting of a succession of difficult and in some places perilous defiles; the last of these was the famous Dushti Suffaed, which leads to Badjghār. There is a sameness in the features of these Toorkisthān passes which renders a faithful description tedious, from its monotony and the necessary repetition of similar characteristic features; yet the reader will hardly fail to draw important conclusions from the immense difficulty and almost practical impossibility that a modern army of considerable numbers, with all its incumbrances, through such a country, with any hope of its retaining its efficiency or even a tithe of its original numerical strength, will encounter. And when we consider that the passes of Toorkisthān embrace only a small part of the distance to be traversed by an army from the west, we may well dismiss from our minds that ridiculous impression, once so unfortunately prevalent in India, that is now justly denominated Russophobia. What a fearful amount of human suffering might have been averted! what national disgrace might have been avoided! and what millions of treasure saved, had the authorities in India but examined the practicability of an invasion which Russia had too much wisdom ever seriously to contemplate!
But to return to our wanderings. As I said before, we left Ghoree early in the morning of the 28th, and soon reached the foot of the hills, ascending a narrow valley which gradually contracted into a rocky ravine. As we traversed the higher levels all vegetation ceased, excepting the Pista tree already alluded to; yet there must have been some herbage in the gullies, as we saw several flocks of wild goats, so wild indeed that it was impossible to get within rifle range of them. We had heard of a place called Shullāctoo, within the distance of a day's march, and conceiving naturally that it was a habitation of men, we determined to pass the night there. As the evening advanced, the aspect of the country assumed a still wilder and more desolate character, our cattle began to show symptoms of distress, and as the hills were apparently destitute of water, we became a little uneasy regarding the nature of our billet. A sudden turn of the ravine brought us to a small open space, without a blade of grass or a vestige of any thing human, which our guide complacently informed us was Shullāctoo, a mere "locus standi." After the first feeling of dismay had subsided, we recollected that we had a small supply of food for our horses; and water being now found for the first time since we entered the hills,—and we had come a good sixteen miles,—we determined not to proceed further, so pitching our little tent we made ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would admit.
On the 29th we marched, a distance of fourteen miles, to a small fort called Keune. But I unfortunately commenced the day's work by losing my way amongst the rocks, with some of the guard: after wandering for some hours, surrounded by scenery the grandeur of which I should better have appreciated under different circumstances, one of the Affghān soldiers hit upon a pathway, and seeing a man in the distance, he made for, and, seizing him in the most unceremonious manner, brought him to me. The poor fellow was in the greatest state of alarm; he had evidently never seen a Feringhi before, and fancied that his last hour had arrived. I put a rupee into his hand, and endeavoured to make him understand that we were neither robbers nor murderers, but travellers who had lost their way; he was naturally incredulous, for certainly our appearance gave but small indication of our respectable character.[*] At length we were obliged to intimate that his fears might be realized unless he showed us the way to Keune, which we eventually reached in the evening, much exhausted with our excursion.
[* Note: I was armed with a huge old-fashioned sword of the 11th dragoons, purchased in the Cabul bazaar, (marked D-XI Dr.) and clad in a green Swiss frock. I had a coloured turban wound in copious folds round my head as a protection from the sun, beard of nearly three months' growth, and accompanied by a ferocious-looking tribe of Affghans, all unshorn as well as myself, created anything but a prepossessing impression to a stranger. The reader will not, therefore, feel surprised at the man's hesitation in meeting us.]
The chief of the fort at first declined furnishing us with any supplies, though we offered liberal payment, declaring that he had only sufficient for his own consumption; he, however, relented, and sent us enough for our immediate wants. He afterwards came himself, and informed us that we had acted very unwisely in mentioning at Ghoree the route we proposed to follow, as one of the Sheikkallee Huzareh chiefs, who was in a state of rebellion, had passed through Keune the day before, and had stated that a party of Feringhis were about to pass through his country with a quantity of odd looking boxes filled with money, (alluding, I suppose, to the theodolite, &c.) and that he would with his whole tribe waylay and rob us. This was pleasant news, but we took the hint and determined to be on our guard. In return for this piece of information, the inhabitants of Keune expressed a desire to see the Feringhis feed; rather a novel request, but one which we easily gratified by striking the walls of the tent while we eat our dinner. The natives squatted down in a circle outside the tent pins, and watched every morsel we put into our mouths with the utmost interest and with many exclamations of surprise and astonishment; and when before retiring for the night we as usual had a skinful of water poured over us, their wonder knew no bounds; they were evidently but slightly acquainted with the use of water as applied for the purposes of cleanliness.
We left Keune at daybreak on the 30th, hoping to be able to make our way to Badjghār, distant about forty-five miles, by surmounting the Keune pass and proceeding down the Surruk Kulla valley. The ascent was long and steep, the distance we had to travel before reaching the summit being above thirteen miles; and though we had been on the move nearly all day, such were the difficulties of the pass that night overtook us shortly after we had reached its crest.
Not a sign of habitations or trace of cultivation was visible; we had no corn for our cattle, but fortunately the more sheltered spots in the vicinity of water were clothed with luxuriant grass, which the horses greedily eat. Our followers had, with the improvidence of Asiatics, brought but a scanty supply of food, and indeed we were all to blame for having trusted too much to the wild mountains for supplies. There were plenty of chikore, however, and as I had succeeded in shooting two or three in the morning we were not entirely without food; and having pitched our tent, we retired to rest in the hope that the next day we should come upon some fort where we might recruit.
As we were preparing to start early on the morning of the 31st, we met a traveller pursuing his solitary way to Keune, who, after expressing his wonder at encountering a party of Feringhis in such a place, inquired our proposed route. We informed him that our intention was to proceed over the Surruk Kulla pass and make our way to Badjghar, but he cautioned us not to attempt any such thing; for though the road was better than the more direct one, called the Espion Pass, it was infested by a robber tribe from whose hands he had himself only escaped, not having any thing to lose.
This unwelcome intelligence induced Sturt to change his plan, and we agreed that having done our utmost to fulfil the wishes of government in ascertaining the nature of the passes in the vicinity of Badjghar, it was our duty to consult the safety of ourselves and followers, and get them as soon as possible within reach of protection. We had no food of any kind left, but after all we did not anticipate much serious evil from a forced fast of forty-eight hours; so, after rewarding our wanderer for his very seasonable warning, we struck off to cross the Espion Pass. The event proved how imminent had been our danger, for after reaching Badjghar we were made aware that a large body of horsemen had assembled in the Surruk Kullah valley for the purpose of attacking us—that they had come up the road to meet us, and had actually reached the point where we turned off about two hours after us.
We travelled the whole of the 31st August across a succession of broken passes; so complicated were the valleys and so broken were the range of hills, that we were unable to tell when we reached the back-bone of the ridge, and we struggled on in doubt and difficulty till we were again overtaken by the shades of night.
Our cattle were quite exhausted; our followers grumbling, dispirited, and frightened, the prospect of a second bivouac by no means improving their discipline and insubordination.
While I was endeavouring to pacify them by the only argument I had at my disposal, founded on the principle of "levius fit patientia quidquid corrigere est nefas," one of our servants brought us the joyful news that from an eminence adjacent he had discovered an abatta, or clump of blanket tents, surrounded by cultivated land, about a mile off. Where tents were, food would probably be obtainable; and as we were not in a condition to be very particular as to the character of the inhabitants, we immediately despatched an embassy with money to purchase whatever edible substances they could procure. Our anxieties were now relieved by the return of our mission, driving before them a couple of very thin sheep, and carrying a small supply of corn for the cattle. With this reasonable supply we made a tolerable meal, and succeeded in putting the discontented into a better frame of mind.
We determined to make a push next morning for Badjghar, and started before day-break for the Dushti Suffaeed Pass, the crest of which we reached after travelling a distance of about nine miles over very bad ground. We were now "en pays de connoissance," but our cattle were so much weakened by the work and privations of the last three or four days, that we could not attempt the long and difficult descent into the valley beneath. I therefore rode on alone and reached Badjghar in a few hours. I immediately visited Capt. Hay, and having procured a supply of food, returned with it the same night to the party, much exhausted with my trip, but satisfied now that there could be no further cause for grumbling on the part of our followers.
The state of our baggage-equipage next morning was so bad, that Sturt thought it advisable to give them another day's rest, and he went on himself to Badjghar; but in the course of the day I received an express from him, stating that circumstances had occurred which made it absolutely necessary for me to bring in the whole party without delay. I knew Sturt too well to doubt the urgency he represented, and in spite of lame legs, sore backs, &c. I managed to bring all hands safe into Badjghar late on the evening of the 2d of August. Our men were taken every care of, (which indeed they required, as fever and ague had weakened them much,) and in a few days all traces of their sufferings had disappeared; but poor Sturt, who had been complaining for some days before of great debility and headache, was seized on the morning of the 3d with a violent attack of Koondooz fever, which soon prostrated his strength and caused me some uneasiness. He weathered the storm, however, and by the 11th was sufficiently recovered to enable him to resume his duties.
I have before mentioned, I think, that we had left some of our followers and a considerable portion of our baggage at Ghoree, intending to return to that fort after visiting the passes which I have alluded to; but on our reaching Badjghar we found that the clouds which had been gathering for some time past in the political horizon had assumed so threatening an appearance that it would be madness to attempt to prosecute our examination of the nature of the country, when its wild and lawless population were in such an excited state. The intentions of the Koondooz ruler were not known, and we felt very anxious for the safety of the sick whom we had been necessitated to leave at Ghoree, as in addition to his natural sympathy for a fellow-creature's sufferings, Sturt feared that if any misfortune befel them, he might, though unjustly, be accused of having deserted them. His uneasiness was increased by receipt of a letter from Ghoree from one of our people, in which it was stated that the baggage we had left behind had been opened and some things abstracted, and that they themselves were in imminent danger of being seized and sold as slaves.
After making every allowance for the exaggerations of fear, there was still sufficient in this communication to aggravate poor Sturt's difficulties; he was in doubt whether to assume a high tone, or to endeavour by flattery to save his followers, and his last act before the violence of the fever obliged him to succumb was a firm but respectful letter which he wrote to Meer Moorād Beg, in which he stated that reports inconsistent with that chief's known good faith had reached him; that he had heard that his property had been seized and his people threatened; that he was sure they were lies invented by Moorād Beg's enemies to create a bad feeling towards him; and that he requested the men and property might be immediately forwarded safe to Cabul. Those who are familiar with the vanity and punctiliousness on points of etiquette of the chieftains of the Hindoo Khoosh will easily conceive how much depended upon the wording of this letter.
In the written intercourse between equals it is customary to put the impression of the signet at the top of the sheet, but from an inferior such an act would be considered as highly presumptuous. Sturt, though advised to assume the humble tone, was resolute in putting his seal at the beginning of the letter, and the event proved that his judgment was as usual correct, for though (it was stated) the chief of Koondooz was but a few months after in arms against the British, yet our people and property were safely forwarded to us at Cabul.
It was only after my arrival at Badjghar with the men that I became acquainted with Sturt's reasons for requesting me to come in without delay, Capt Hay was in daily expectation of the arrival of a convoy from Bameeān with a supply of provisions, clothing, and ammunition for the use of his regiment, and having received information from one of the numerous spies, who gain a livelihood by supplying information to both parties, that large bodies of men were assembling in the Kammurd valley, through which the convoy would have to pass, determined, though he did not attach much credit to his informant, to despatch as strong a body as he could spare to reinforce the escort. He accordingly sent out two companies of the Goorkha regiment with directions to proceed to the "Dundun Shikkun Kotul," there to meet the convoy and protect them in their passage through the Kammurd valley. Such was the scarcity of European officers, that Capt. Hay was obliged to intrust the command of the force to the quarter-master-serjeant of his corps; who, though unused to the management of so considerable a party in the field, and who might have been excused if in the hour of need his brain had not been as fertile of expedients as is generally necessary in encounters of this kind, acquitted himself in a manner that would have done credit to the best light infantry officer in the service. I much regret that I cannot record his name, but before being appointed to the Goorkha corps he was a non-commissioned officer in the Bengal European regiment. He was one of the many victims, I fear, of the year 1841, as I have been unable to trace his career. Hundreds of brave European non-commissioned officers met a similar fate, and are merely noticed as having perished in the retreat from Cabul. The many acts of coldblooded treachery which disgraced the Affghans, and which ought to have opened the eyes of those in power to the absurdity in trusting to their faith, were merged in the wholesale murders of Khoord Cabul, Jugdulluk, and Gundummuk.
I have before described the narrowness of the valley up to Kammurd and the lofty ranges of precipitous hills by which it is flanked; and the reader will perhaps recollect my noticing two forts on either side of the river a little above Piedbāgh. It was here that the Serjeant halted his party after the first day's march, intending to proceed the next morning to the Dundun Shikkun pass to meet the convoy. At day-light he was informed that the expected convoy had not crossed the pass, and while forming his men to proceed and ascertain whether the report was correct or otherwise, he was suddenly attacked by large bodies of horse and foot: the serjeant immediately took advantage of the ground to protect his party from the heavy fire which was poured in from all sides, and having observed that the enemy, whoever they were, were in too great a force to leave him a chance of successfully maintaining his position, which was commanded from several points, he determined on retreating to Badjghar, a distance of about nine miles. The valley was full of orchards divided by low walls, and perhaps to a well-disciplined company of steady old soldiers with plenty of officers, a retreat, even in the face of several hundred Uzbegs, might have been effected without loss, by forming the whole body into two lines of skirmishers, and retiring alternately; but the serjeant knew too well the temper of his gallant little mountaineers, who are more famous for bravery than judgment, to trust the safety of his party to the success of a manoeuvre, the chief point in which was to know when to retreat. His first line of skirmishers would never have retired in order, taking advantage of every natural obstacle of the ground for concealment, but would have boldly confronted the cavalry and probably been destroyed to a man. He therefore moved his Goorkhas in quarter distance column steadily along the road, which luckily hugged the precipitous hills on one side, so that the enemy could only avail themselves of the valley on the other side of the road to attack him, the mountains being so impracticable that while they attempted to climb them to turn his flank he had already gained so much ground as to be out of reach of even a "plunging" fire. In ordinary quick time did this little band retire under a heavy though straggling fire from a force many times more numerous than themselves. The serjeant was enabled with difficulty to carry out his plan, which was, not to return the enemy's fire, but to proceed steadily on till he could suddenly take advantage of some protecting ledge of rock or orchard wall behind which he could form his men and confuse the enemy by pouring in a few volleys. He would then form quarter distance columns of subdivisions again, and proceed in his retreat as before. He had no misgivings as to the courage and firmness of his men, for the Goorkhas have ever been noted for their dashing bravery, and an incident soon proved how wisely he had judged in not extending his men. While retiring, a chance shot killed a man who happened to be a great favourite; his nearest comrades immediately halted and faced about, and notwithstanding the commands and entreaties of the serjeant; they determined to avenge his death. Grouping themselves round the body of their dead companion, they awaited the enemy, and when sure that every shot would tell, each man delivered his fire, and then drawing his knife with a yell of defiance, rushed upon hundreds of their foes; to have supported them would have been to lead the whole party to inevitable slaughter, and the authority of the quarter-master-serjeant was scarce sufficient to restrain his men from breaking from their cover to join the unequal fight: as it was, the gallant little band were soon outnumbered, and after a reckless and desperate resistance were literally hacked to pieces. The enemy encouraged by this success now pressed hard upon the Goorkhas, and had they been fortunate enough in getting round to the front not a man would have escaped; as it was, the men were falling very fast, when a happy occurrence changed the aspect of affairs. It seems that a chief, conspicuous from his glittering armour and steel head-piece, mounted on a powerful horse with an armed footman behind him, attracted the notice of the Goorkhas by the cool manner in which he rode up to within a distance of about eighty yards, delivered his fire, then galloped away out of gunshot to allow the gentleman "en croupe" to reload. A few of the men having observed this manoeuvre repeated three or four times, concealed themselves behind a rock, while the main body retired. On came the chief to within his prescribed distance; a volley from behind the rock scarce ten paces off rolled horse and man over and over. The effect on the enemy was such that they kept at a more respectful distance, and after a few random shots discontinued the pursuit. Such was the account the serjeant himself gave me of the fight, and I have no reason to suspect him of exaggeration. He accomplished his arduous retreat with a loss of nineteen men killed, but more than half this number voluntarily sacrificed themselves to avenge the death of their comrade. It is difficult, when relating the numerous acts of heroism of the Goorkha troops, to refrain from drawing invidious comparisons between their conduct and that of the Hindoo soldier during the retreat from Cabul; but though it must be allowed that the despondency and mental enervation which sometimes spreads like an epidemic among Sepoy troops, must importantly deteriorate from their general character as soldiers, still it must be recollected that the physical constitution of the Hindoo incapacitates him from action under some circumstances. Severe cold benumbs his faculties of mind as well as body, and the nature of his ordinary food is such that unless the supply is regular and sufficient his strength fails him; and again, his belief in predestination is strong, and often a trivial reverse will induce him to abandon himself to his fate. But in these days the Hindoo soldier need not fear that his noble and gallant qualities will not be understood or appreciated. Every good soldier will honor the Hindoo for his patient endurance, his courage, and fidelity.
To turn to the convoy: the attempt was made to get the camels laden with ammunition, stores, and provisions over the Dundun Shikkun Pass; but the difficulties were found to be so great that the escort and convoy returned to Syghān, and crossing the Nulli Fursh Kotul, reached their destination.
This was the first glaring instance of the state of the country, and some people may well be astonished it was viewed by the political authorities in so insignificant a light. But I will not too much impose upon the patience of the reader by detailing the execrable reasons which were put forth for the most absurd measures during the twelve months preceding the annihilation of our army.
It was now evident to those who were not obstinately blind that a general rising was contemplated; and a few days after our arrival at Badjghar we heard that Dost Mahommed had arrived at Koollum, and that after all his diplomacy our old friend the Meer Walli had received him with open arms, and was now on his way to attack our out-posts. The authorities were shortly afterwards aroused from their apathy, the advanced troops were very properly withdrawn, the gallant Col. Dennie was sent in command of a small but efficient force to the head of the Bameeān valley, where, as has been before detailed, he repulsed the combined forces of Dost Mahommed Khan, the Meer Walli of Koollum, and all the Uzbeg chiefs.
On the 12th of August we departed from Badjghar on our return to Cābul, and I reached Bameeān by a forced march in two days, preceding Sturt, who was still very weak and obliged to travel more leisurely. I was very nearly suffering from my anxiety to get on, for one of the laden Yabboos, being urged beyond what he considered his lawful rate of progress, lashed out most furiously with both hind legs; luckily, the flap of my saddle received the full force of one of his heels, and the soft part of my leg the other, which lamed me severely for a time.
On the 22nd, Sturt having arrived, we made up our party to visit the ruins of the Castle of Zohawk, distant about ten miles from Bameeān. I was rewarded for my trouble, both from the picturesque nature of the ruins themselves, and because I was fortunate enough again to fall in with one of those professional story-tellers from whom I have already largely quoted. I have indeed listened to many more stories than I have ventured here to insert; some I have rejected from the nature of their details, others from there being a strong impression on my mind that they were the extempore invention of the story-teller with a view to the rupee, which he feared he would not secure if he confessed he had nothing to relate. I have not perhaps been judicious in my selection of those which I hoped would amuse the reader, but I have done my best to choose for insertion those which differed the most from each other; and I may be allowed to add as an excuse for my apparent credulity regarding the tales themselves, that they are implicitly believed by the inhabitants, so that, making allowance for the corruption of tradition, the facts on which they are founded in all probability did really occur.
The ruins of the Castle of Zohawk are situated on a hill commanding the high road from Toorkisthan over the Irāk and Kalloo passes, and in the angle formed by the union of the Bameeān and Irāk rivers. It is impossible to fix the date of the first structure; it seems from the ruin to have been added to at many successive epochs. The size of the towers appeared very insignificant compared with the extent of ground which the building at one time evidently covered, but perhaps the towers, though small, were numerous. The only one now standing was situated high up the hill, from which a covered passage partly cut through the solid rock leads down to the water side. We had some trouble in gaining the highest point of the ruins, as we were obliged to scramble up the steep face of the precipice, still covered with the remains of walls and bastions, which had been built up wherever the ground was sufficiently level for a foundation. Many dreary-looking cells attracted our notice amongst the ruins, and all the information I could get was, that they were the abode of evil spirits. My informant would, I do believe, have amused me for hours with legends of the said spirits, and indeed every river and lake, every mountain and valley in this district bears its peculiar legend, always improbable, generally absurd, and though from that very cause diverting for the moment, I fear that the naive taste amongst our "savans" which delighted in the history of Jack the Giant-killer being fast on the wane, they would not be gratified by a lengthy recital; but I must still take the liberty of repeating as well as I could follow the vile jargon of my narrator, a tale which he told me of the Castle of Zohawk while standing on its ruins. He had evidently been accustomed to tell the same story to others, or else I imagine that, in consideration of our both being on the spot, he would have spared a description of what I saw before my eyes. I give it to the reader as nearly as I can in the narrator's words.
"At the extreme end of a precipitous hill jutting out from the main range of mountains at the junction of the Bameeān and Irāk rivers, are the remains of an old castle called Zohawk, after a noted freebooter, who, secure in the strength of his fortress, was the terror of the surrounding villages, and lived by rapine, pillage, and plunder of every kind. To a careless observer the diminutive tower, which alone remains standing, would not convey an adequate idea of the original extent of the castle; but on a close examination the whole face of the mountain will be found to be covered with ruined walls and roofless chambers, now the fit abodes of devils of all sorts and denominations. Many hundreds of years ago, before the invasion of Nadir Shah, Zohawk Khan occupied the castle; he did not build it, but as it acquired an infamous notoriety during his life-time, and has not been inhabited since, it still bears the name of the ferocious robber, who with a band as vicious as himself lived there for many years. Zohawk Khan was originally an Huzareh peasant; he was seized while a child and carried off in slavery to Toorkisthān, where his naturally cruel and savage disposition was exasperated by ill-treatment and fostered by the scenes of wickedness with which he was made familiar. Being very cunning, he soon acquired influence amongst his fellow slaves, and organized a conspiracy, in the fulfilment of which his own master and many other Toorkomaun chiefs were put to death under every refinement of torture. Zohawk at the head of the rebel slaves then traversed the country, robbing the harmless peasants, till he reached the vicinity of the castle, which still bears his name. It was then inhabited by an old Huzareh chieftain, who had formerly been a kind master to Zohawk's parents. Regardless of the memory of past kindness, the ruffian determined to possess himself of this place, and under the pretence of craving the hospitality of the rightful owner, introduced himself and fellow villains into the fortification. In the dead of the night, according to a preconcerted plan, the robbers rose from their place of rest, and stealing to the sleeping apartment of the chieftain, murdered him; the affrighted garrison craved for life, but one after another were placed in irons to be disposed of as slaves. The freebooter, now master of the fortress, assumed the title of Khān, and commenced that career of ruthless cruelty and depravity which more than any thing else causes his name to be remembered and his memory cursed by the present inhabitants of the neighbourhood. The government of the self-styled Khān was a reign of terror, and many were the nameless atrocities committed within the walls of the castle. He had, however, one confidant, whom he believed faithful, but who from interested motives submitted to the savage passions of his master, and being the chief eunuch of the harem, had great influence in that department. It was the custom of Zohawk Khān to choose the autumn of the year for the season of his predatory excursions, and it happened that, while absent with the flower of his force on one of these death-dealing expeditions, a conspiracy was set on foot, the principal agitator being the eunuch of the seraglio. "It was determined that on the evening when the chieftain was expected to return, a general feast should be given to those remaining at home, with the double view of rendering the men who had not joined in the conspiracy incapable from the effects of debauchery in siding with Zohawk, and of exasperating the ferocious chieftain, who was known to be averse to any revelry during his absence. The favourite wife summoned all the harem to a feast, whilst a copious allowance of intoxicating liquor was served out to the minor portion of the garrison. The wine soon produced the required effect, and in the midst of the revelry and uproar the Khān appeared at his castle gate, and without enquiring the cause of the tumult, instantly proceeded to the harem, and lifting the Purdah stood in the presence of his wives. 'What is this?' said he, glancing savagely round.—'We expected your return and have prepared a feast to welcome you,' was the ironical reply of the favourite wife, who at the same time trembling in her limbs scarce dared to face the enraged tyrant, 'It is a lie, offspring of a Kaffir; you shall pay the penalty of your disobedience of my orders. Here, Saleh, take her and throw her over the battlements into the river;' but ere the reluctant eunuch could enforce the cruel mandate, the woman raised her hand, and with a small dagger pierced herself to the heart. Unmoved by her tragic fate, Zohawk instantly commanded that four of the other women should be dealt with in the same way, and seeing the eunuch hesitate, drew his Persian blade and rushed at him; but ere the sword fell, the knife of Saleh was sheathed in the ruffian's breast. "The news of his death spread rapidly through the castle; then followed the strife of war. The Khān's party, though in number nearly double that of Saleh, were wearied with their recent foray, and after a desperate conflict of three hours they were driven into one of the wings of the castle, and butchered to a man. Blood flowed in almost every apartment; broken swords, daggers, and matchlocks lay in all directions, shewing how terrible the strife had been. And now, when Zohawk's party had been exterminated, a murmuring arose amongst the victors as to who should be the chief, and Saleh, perceiving that he should gain nothing for the exertions he had made, demanded permission to leave the castle, taking with him as his sole share of booty his sister, who was an inmate of the harem. His terms were immediately complied with, and the wary eunuch lost no time in quitting the scene of blood.
"Those remaining agreed to defer the election of a chief till they had refreshed themselves after their labours: in the heat of intoxication blood again flowed, and after passing the whole night in drinking and fighting, morning appeared to eighteen survivors of the fray. Each still claimed for himself the chieftainship, and while still wrangling on the subject, one of the wounded partizans of Saleh, unperceived by the drunkards, secreted a large bag of powder in the room, and igniting it by a train with his slow match crawled out of the castle.
"The explosion was terrific; down toppled tower and bastion, enveloping in their ruins the remainder of the garrison, and the castle was in a few moments reduced to the shapeless mass which it now presents.
"The wounded author of the catastrophe alone escaped; but the knowledge of his crimes prevented him from returning to his country, and he wandered for many years about the blackened walls, the terror of the neighbourhood, who considered him an evil spirit. He subsisted on herbs growing on the adjacent mountains, till at last he disappeared no one knew where. Since that period, the fortress has never been the resting place of the traveller or the haunt of the freebooter."
Such was the terrible tale of blood and wounds which my informant communicated to me, and certainly, if it rests its foundation on any one of the horrors with which it is filled, the castle of Zohawk does well deserve its bad repute.
On the 23rd we left Bameeān and proceeded over the Irāk pass to Oorgundee, where we arrived on the 28th. No event occurred nor any thing worth mentioning, unless it be the "naivete" of an old man, who, observing me light my cigar with a lucifer-match, asked in a grave and solemn tone, whether that was indeed fire. I took his finger, and placed it in the flame, much to his astonishment, but convincing him of its reality. He then enquired if it was the fire from heaven, which he heard the Feringhis were possessed of. I endeavoured, but I fear without success, to explain to the old gentleman the nature of fulminating substances, and though he listened with patience, he was evidently still in the dark, when I presented him with the contents of my match-box and shewed him how to ignite them; his gratitude was manifest, as he walked off highly pleased with his toy, which I hope may not have burned his fingers.
Sturt left me on the 29th, being anxious to get back to Cabul; but as I had three days to spare, and my taste for wandering was still unabated, I joined Capt. Westmacott, of the 37th Native Infantry, in a flying excursion into the valley of Charrikār, which the Affghāns consider as the garden of Cabul. The first day we rode from Oorgundee to Shukkur Durra, or "the sugar valley," so called, not from growing that useful article of grocery, but from its fertile orchards and extensive vineyards. After a few miles' ride we crossed a low range of hills, and came upon the flourishing district of Be-tout,—literally, "without mulberries." The sagacious reader will justly infer that mulberry trees were in profusion every where else; indeed so plentiful are they in general that many of the natives live almost exclusively in winter upon the fruit, which is dried and reduced to a powder, and after being mixed with a little milk, or even water, forms a palatable and nutritious food. The view from the crest of the low range of hills was really enchanting, and strongly contrasted with the wild and craggy mountains amongst which we had of late been struggling. An extensive plain, bounded by high mountains, and again crowned by the snowy peaks of those more distant, lay before us, its whole surface dotted with a multitude of white forts surrounded by a belt of the most vivid green, the barrenness of the uncultivated spots acting as a foil to the rich vegetation which springs under the foot of the Affghān husbandman wherever he can introduce the fertilizing stream. We rode leisurely on through this wilderness of gardens, till on approaching the village of Be-tout the loud wail of women hired to pour forth their lamentations for some misfortune assailed our ears, and on enquiring we learnt that one of the inhabitants had been murdered the preceding night under the following circumstances.
It appears that ten years ago the murdered man (who was a Persian) had a very pretty daughter, and that a neighbouring chief hearing of her beauty caused her to be forcibly seized and conveyed to his own fort. The father, regardless of any consideration but revenge, arming himself with his long Affghān knife, gained admission into the chief's house and immediately cut him down and made his escape. For ten years he concealed himself from the vengeance of the relatives of the chief, but a few days before he had returned to his native village, hoping that time would have softened the vindictiveness of his enemy; but he shewed his ignorance of the Affghān character, with whom revenge is a sacred virtue. He had not been long returned, when a nephew of the chief he had slain shot him through the heart from behind a wall. As we passed through the village we saw the inhabitants crowding round the still unburied corpse of the injured father, and our thoughts were painfully diverted from a contemplation of the richness and plenty which Providence had vouchsafed to this fertile spot, to a mournful consideration of the wild passions of man, who pollutes the earth with the blood of his fellow-creature.
As we proceeded onwards we came upon those luxuriant vineyards which produce the famous Kohistān grape, of enormous size as to berry and bunch, but excelling in delicacy of flavour, in juiciness, and thinness of skin even the far-famed Muscadel.
The vines are trained either upon a trellice work or along the ground, the latter mode being used for the most delicate grape; but it requires more care and attention, it being necessary while the fruit is ripening so to trim the plant and thin its foliage, that the branch may have sufficient sun, and be kept as near as possible to the earth without touching it. This mode of training is adopted in the cultivation of the enormous black grape, called from its size and colour "the cow's-eye." Towards evening we reached the vicinity of Shukkur Durrah, lying at the extremity of the plain and backed by mountains of considerable height. Here we encamped for the night under the shelter of a magnificent walnut tree, in a small garden adjoining the fort.
After we had pitched our tents, many Hindoos who trade in fruit, the staple produce of the country, came to pay their respects, and one of them informed me that about four miles across the mountains to the north-west in the Sheikkallee Huzareh country, there were three lakes so extensive that it occupied a well-mounted horseman a whole day to ride round them. No European, he said, had ever visited them; one gentleman, whose name he did not know, had tried to reach them, but drank so much brandy by the way that he was obliged to lie down instead, and the guide had great difficulty in getting him back. I regretted that the expiration of my leave prevented me from exploring these lakes, which I do not think have ever been examined by any of our engineers; but I hope that, had I undertaken the excursion, I should not have fallen into the same scrape the above mentioned gentleman did. The gardens belonging to the chief were well worth looking at, with a beautiful stream of water flowing through the centre, tortured by artificial rocks into fifty diminutive cataracts.
We were well satisfied with our quarters, but after night-fall intimation was given us that unless we kept a sharp look-out it was very probable we might have some unwelcome intruders before morning, as a neighbouring fort was hostile to that of Shukkur Durrah; and moreover, that the inhabitants of the fort itself were in the utmost dread of a band of desperadoes who infested the adjacent hills and occasionally paid them a nocturnal visit. Luckily for us they were in hourly expectation of such an intrusion, for their fears kept them on the alert, and they had a watchman on each of the towers, whose sonorous voices proclaimed every hour of the night. Our guard was now reduced to six, the remainder being employed to escort Sturt's instruments into Cabul, so that I really did not much like the appearance of things; when about midnight my servant reported to me that the sentry saw a great many lights moving about us.
I instantly rose and distinctly observed the lighted slow matches of firearms; there might have been forty or fifty. The sentry challenged, but the ruffians returned no answer, and decamped, finding us on the alert, and probably not knowing our weakness; for had we come to blows our party must have got the worst of it, though I have not the least doubt that our Affghān guard would have stood by us even against their own countrymen.
The next morning we proceeded along a very pretty road, flanked by green hedgerows full of wild flowers, and varied occasionally near the houses with parterres of roses of exquisite fragrance. My route lay to Bāber's tomb, but Capt. Westmacott being anxious to reach Cābul could not accompany me, so we parted, mutually regretting that we had so short a time to spend in this delicious region. At Bāber's tomb the Kazi of the adjacent village endeavoured to play off on me a trick, well known to old campaigners, by assuring me that unless I took from his hands a guard of at least twelve men (of course paying them for their services), my life would not be safe during the night. I refused his guard, and the only annoyance I experienced was from myriads of musquitoes, who tormented me incessantly throughout the night. I rode into camp the following day, and was delighted to find myself once more with my brother officers.
On the 24th September I started on another excursion, though under very different circumstances; our party on this occasion consisting of Her Majesty's 13th Light Infantry, two companies of the 37th Native Infantry, two squadrons of the Bengal 2nd Cavalry, a small body of Affghān horsemen under Prince Timour Shah, three nine-pounders, two 24-inch howitzers, and two 8 1/2-inch mortars, the whole under the command of Sir Robert Sale, the object of the expedition being to quell some refractory chiefs inhabiting the northern and some hilly parts of the Kohistān.
It would be beyond the sphere of this little book to enter into a detailed account of our operations in the field, nor do I pretend to have sufficient materials by me for such a delicate task, in the execution of which I might by erroneous statements expose myself to just animadversion.
I had not, I regret to say, the means of ascertaining with precision the different causes which had driven these hill chiefs into rebellion. The footing which Dost Mahomed had lately acquired in the north-west encouraged them to persist, and it will be seen in the sequel, that at the disgraceful scene of Purwun Durrah the Dost was almost a prisoner in the hands of those who were considered, by the unversed in the intricacies of Affghān policy, to be only in arms for the restoration of their favourite to the throne of Cābul.
Were it in my power to give an accurate description of the different positions assumed by the enemy, and provided I had the leisure to survey the ground, then I am well aware that I might have claimed additional interest for my pages, as I should have elucidated the mode of warfare peculiar to the Affghāns; but such an attempt would perhaps carry me out of my depth. I must therefore be content with remarking, that though in action the Affghāns acknowledge some guiding chieftain, yet the details of position are left to each tribe. They have no confidence in each other; it follows, therefore, that the wisest plan is to turn either or both flanks, as this manoeuvre is almost sure to require a change in the original disposition of their force, which they, for want of good communications between their detached parties, are unable to effect. Hence confusion arises, and the uncertainty of support generally causes the whole to retreat. The Affghāns have great dread of their flanks being turned, and will sometimes abandon an almost impregnable position in consequence of a demonstration being made to that effect, which after all could never have been carried out.
On the third day after our departure from Cābul, the force encamped at a place called Vaugh opposite the beautiful Istālif, whose luxuriant vineyards and magnificent orchards have before excited the admiration of the traveller. But we had still some marches to get over before reaching the territories of the refractory chiefs, and it was not till the 29th that we came to Toottum Durrah, or valley of mulberries. Here we found the enemy posted in force, but it was merely an affair of detachments, two companies of the 13th and two of the 37th being ordered to make a detour to the right and left, so as to threaten the enemy's flanks. The main column closing up continued to advance; the enemy did not make a very determined resistance, yet a chance shot killed poor Edward Conolly, brother to the victim of the ruffian king of Bokhara. His—poor fellow!—was a soldier's death; though we deplore his loss, we know that he died in honorable warfare; but we have no such consolation for the fate of his poor brother, and it is with difficulty that his indignant countrymen can refrain from imprecating the vengeance of God upon the cowardly destroyer of so much talent and virtue.
The enemy made no further stand this day, and we proceeded about fifteen miles down the valley to Julghur, destroying before our departure the mud forts of Toottum Durrah. At Julghur the enemy shewed more resistance; they trusted in the strength of their fort, and we perhaps too much to its weakness. The result was, that a wing of the 13th, not more than one hundred and twenty strong, suffered a loss of fourteen men killed and seventeen wounded, and the enemy were eventually shelled out by the batteries under the direction of Capt. Abbott.
The following morning we buried our gallant companions, amongst them our respected serjeant-major (Airey), in one deep grave; but a report was current, that shortly after our departure, the bodies had been disinterred and exposed in front of the grave, that every Affghān might witness and exult in the disgrace to which they had subjected the corpses of the Feringhis.
This is but a single instance of the hatred which actuated our enemy, and when we consider the exasperating effects of these cowardly outrages on the minds of the soldiery, we should the more admire the generosity and clemency of the British in the hour of victory. I am aware that ill-informed people have accused our armies in Affghanistān, especially after the advance of General Pollock's force, of many acts of cruelty to the natives, but I can emphatically deny the justice of the accusation. Some few instances of revenge for past injuries did occur, but I am sure that an impartial soldier would rather admire the forbearance of men who for days had been marching over the mangled remains of the Cābul army.
But to return to the Kohistān. On the 4th of October we took a transverse direction westward, crossing the plain of Buggrām, supposed to be the site of the "Alexandria ad Calcem Caucasi" of the ancients; numerous coins, gems, and relics of antiquity are found hereabouts, particularly subsequently to the melting of the snows. Formerly they were considered useless, but when our enterprising countrymen and the army of the Indus found their way to Cābul, these memorials of the Greek had ready purchasers amongst the numismatologists of the British force. At the same time the Cābulese considered it great folly our exchanging the current coin for what were in their estimation useless pieces of old silver and copper.
Throughout the marches and countermarches which it was necessary for us to make in the northern districts of the Kohistān, in order to prevent the enemy from gathering together, we were much interested by the varied beauty of the scenery; and it must candidly be admitted that our ignorance as to the nature or amount of force we might any day find opposed to us by no means diminished our excitement. Rather an extraordinary phenomenon occurs in a small range of hills detached from the parent mountains, a little to the northward of the fort of Julghur. From top to bottom of the precipitous side of one of these spurs extends a light golden streak, rather thicker and less highly coloured at the bottom than at the top. I was unable to approach it nearer than about four miles, but I was credibly informed that the streak was in reality what its appearance first suggested to my mind, a body of fine sand continually flowing over the side of the hill, and depositing its volumes in a heap at the base of the mountain. I might perhaps in a windy day have ascertained the correctness of the report, as then the sandy cascade would appear as a cloud of dust, but the weather was calm during the whole time we were in its vicinity. It is called by the natives the Regrowān or flowing sand. Being no geologist, I refrain from offering any suggestions as to its cause, but merely state what I saw and heard.
After marching about the country for some days like the Paladins of old in search of adventure, we turned our faces once more towards Cābul and encamped near Kara-bagh. While here, a scene occurred which will doubtless be still in the recollection of many officers with the force, and which I relate as illustrative of the barbarous customs of the people. Many of the stories which I have introduced must of course be received by the impartial or incredulous reader "cum grano salis." I have given them as they were repeated to me, but I can personally vouch for the following fact.
Our bugles had just sounded the first call to dinner, when a few officers who were strolling in front of the camp observed a woman with a black veil walking hurriedly from some dark-looking object, and proceed in the direction of that part of the camp occupied by the Affghan force under Prince Timour Shah, the Shah Zada, heir apparent to the throne of Cābul. On approaching the object, it was discovered to be a man lying on the ground with his hands tied behind him, his throat half severed, with three stabs in his breast, and two gashes across the stomach. The mangled wretch was still breathing, and a medical man being at hand, measures were instantly taken most calculated to save his life, but without success, and in a quarter of an hour he was a corpse. Familiar as we were with scenes which in our own happy land would have excited the horror and disgust of every man possessed of the common feelings of humanity, there was something in this strange murder which caused us to make enquiries, and the reader will hardly believe me when I tell him that the victim met his fate with the knowledge and consent of Timour Shah. The woman whom we first observed was the legal murderess. She had that morning been to the Shah Zada and sworn on the Korān that the deceased many years back had murdered her husband and ran away with his other wife; she had demanded redress according to the Mahommedan law—blood for blood. The Shah Zada offered the woman a considerable sum of money if she would waive her claim to right of personally inflicting the punishment on the delinquent, and allow the man to be delivered over to his officers of justice, promising a punishment commensurate with the crime he had committed. But the woman persisted in her demand for the law of the Korān. Her victim was bound and delivered into her hands; she had him conducted in front of the prince's camp about three hundred yards off, and effected her inhuman revenge with an Affghān knife, a fit instrument for such a purpose.
Before returning to Cābul it was deemed requisite to punish the rebellious owner of the fort of Babboo-koosh-Ghur. On the approach of our force he decamped with all his vassals, and as it was advisable to leave some permanent mark of our displeasure, the bastions were blown down with gunpowder. It seems that the enemy imagined we were very negligent in camp, for they honored us the same evening with one of their night attacks, for which they are famous, the object in general being rather to harass their adversary by keeping him on the alert than to penetrate to his tents.
On the present occasion they commenced a distant fusillade upon the left of our line, extending it gradually along nearly the whole face; a few rounds of grape from the artillery soon cleared their front, but the enemy continued for above three hours a random fire upon the left, and, strange to say, they kept aloof from the European troops, who were encamped as usual on the right of the line. The artillery horses being picketted in soft ground soon drew their iron pegs, and having thus obtained their liberty, scampered up and down in rear of the troops and amongst the tents, thereby considerably adding to the confusion and uproar. On the alarm first sounding every light was extinguished in the camp, and well was it that these precautionary measures were adopted, for a great portion of the standing tents were riddled. The enemy fired without aim, and we were fortunate enough to lose only one sepoy; we could not ascertain the amount of casualty amongst them, but from the sudden cessation of any attack upon that part of the line where the artillery was stationed, we concluded that the rounds of grape must have told with considerable effect.
After midnight the enemy withdrew, and when at a distance of about half a mile from our outposts gave a shout of defiance, perhaps to draw a party from the camp to pursue them, which, however, was not done, or rejoicing at the havoc they imagined to have made in our ranks. We heard afterwards that the Affghāns with their usual superstition had remembered that many years ago a large army had been attacked on the same ground we then occupied and annihilated, and that probably a like success would crown their efforts in the present instance.
This night attack rendered some further demonstration of our powers of retaliation necessary, particularly as a portion of our adversaries were from the fort of Kardurrah, to which we proceeded the next day and easily captured, the enemy retiring to the hills on our advance, abandoning a strong and easily defended position, for their flank could not have been turned without incurring considerable loss, if the fort of Kardurrah had been held in a determined manner. It was generally remarked as being a particularly strong place, the approach leading through orchards surrounded by mud walls six or seven feet high and loopholed, the lanes intersecting them being barricadoed as if to be held to the last extremity.
Probably such was their valiant intention, but it seems they were bewildered by our attacking them from different points, and not trusting to each other for support, all took to their heels. The undulating ground was strewn with masses of detached rocks, and they had also built up several small but substantial stone breast-works, so that altogether we had reason to congratulate ourselves on their unexpected retreat.
The women had been previously conveyed away with the heavy baggage, and we found the houses empty, but fruit of every description was lying about the streets, prepared and packed for the winter supply of the Cābul market. Melons, peaches, pears, walnuts were either in heaps against the walls or placed in baskets for transportation; but the most curious arrangement was exhibited in the mode in which they preserved their brobdignag grapes for winter consumption. About thirty berries, each of enormous size and separately enveloped in cotton, were hermetically enclosed between a couple of rudely shaped clay saucers, so that we were obliged to crack the saucers to get at the fruit inside, and great was the scrambling amongst the thirsty soldiers for their luscious contents as they rolled out upon the ground.
The thread of my narrative now guides me to an event which cannot be contemplated without astonishment and regret. I allude to the unaccountable panic which seized the 2nd Cavalry during the action at Purwan Durrah; indeed I would willingly pass it over in silence, but I am anxious to express my humble admiration of the chivalrous bearing of the European officers on that melancholy occasion.
The several severe blows which we had recently inflicted upon the Affghāns during the course of this short compaign, and their not having lately appeared in any organized force in the vicinity of our camp, caused an opinion to prevail amongst many that our labours for the season were brought to a close; but on the 20th of October we were again excited by the rumour that Dost Mahommed, who had been hovering about, intended as a "derniere ressource" once more to try his fortune in war. Our anticipations of a little more active service were soon realized by an order to advance upon Purwan Durrah. We accordingly struck our tents, passing by Aukserai, and encamped near Meer Musjedi's fortress, remaining there till the 3rd of November watching the movements of the enemy. On that day information was received that the Dost, with a large body of horse and foot, was moving towards us by the Purwan Durrah; the general decided upon checking his progress, and an advanced guard consisting of four companies of the 13th under Major Kershaw, two companies of Native Infantry, two nine-pounders, and two squadrons of the 2nd Bengal Cavalry, the whole under the command of Col. Salter of the 2nd Cavalry, preceded the main column. On the road we met a follower of one of the friendly chiefs charged with a report that the ex-Ameer's party had been attacking some of the forts in the valley, but for the present had taken up a position on the neighbouring hills. We soon came on them, and at a short distance perceived a small body of cavalry in the plain. A rumour passed through our ranks that Dost Mahommed was himself amongst the horsemen, and it was a subject of congratulation that the only opportunity had now arrived of our cavalry engaging theirs, and that one brilliant attack would bring this desultory warfare to a glorious termination.
The squadrons under the command of the gallant Fraser were ordered to advance, and moved steadily forward at a trot; all eyes were fixed upon them—the men were apparently steady—and even the least sanguine could hardly doubt the result of a shock of disciplined cavalry on an irregular body of horse not half their numerical strength.
But when the word to charge was given, an uncontrolled panic seized the troopers; instead of putting their horses into a gallop and dashing forward to certain victory, the pace gradually slackened; in vain did their officers use every effort to urge the men on—in vain did the spirit-stirring trumpet sound the charge—the troopers were spell-bound by the demon of fear; the trot became a walk, then a halt; and then, forgetful of their duty, their honor, and their officers, they wheeled about and shamefully fled.
But not for one single instant did Fraser hesitate; with a bitter and well-merited expression of contempt at this unmanly desertion, he briefly said, "We must charge alone," and dashing spurs into his horse, he rushed to an almost certain fate, followed by Ponsonby, Crispin, Broadfoot, Dr. Lord, and by about a dozen of his men, who all preferred an honourable death to an ignominious life.
The feelings of disgust mingled with intense admiration with which this unparalleled scene was viewed by the infantry can be better imagined than expressed; and those who under similar trying circumstances would have endeavoured to imitate the heroism of their countrymen, could scarce subdue a thrill of horror as this handful of brave soldiers galloped forward. The intrepid Fraser, mounted upon a large and powerful English horse, literally hewed a lane for himself through the astonished Affghans; and Ponsonby too—for I am weary of seeking fresh epithets for their unsurpassable conduct—on a strong Persian mare, for a time bore down all opposition. Dost Mahommed himself, though in some personal danger from the impetuosity of this desperate charge, could not restrain his admiration.
The event fully proved the danger incurred. Dr. Lord, Crispin, and Broadfoot upheld the glory of their country to the last, and fell covered with many wounds. Fraser and Ponsonby were both desperately hacked, and owed their lives to their horses becoming unmanageable, bearing their riders from the midst of the enemy. The reins of Ponsonby's bridle were cut, and he himself grievously wounded in the face, while Fraser's arm was nearly severed in two; neither did their horses escape in the conflict, as both bore deep gashes of the Affghān blades.
While the European officers were thus sacrificing themselves in the execution of their duty, the dastard troopers came galloping in amongst the infantry of the advanced guard, some of whom were with difficulty restrained from inflicting on the spot the punishment they so well deserved.
Meanwhile the enemy's cavalry, flushed with success, advanced against the infantry with colours flying and loud shoutings, as in expectation of an easy victory. But the infantry were prepared to receive them, and a few rounds from the nine-pounders soon caused them to halt; finding that their antagonists were not under the same influence as the cavalry, they gave up the attack and retired to a distant position on the hills. The steady advance of the 37th N.I. from the main body of our forces, together with a few judiciously thrown shells, soon drove their infantry to a more elevated range of hills; and before sunset we had quiet possession of the field.
We had the melancholy satisfaction of finding the bodies of our comrades, whom we buried at night in one large grave, and performing the solemn service of the dead by torchlight. There is no chance of their being forgotten: so long as gallantry is admired and honour revered amongst British soldiers, so long will they remember Fraser's charge at Purwan Durrah.
I am loath to dwell on the misconduct of the troopers; as far as I am enabled to ascertain it was unexpected by the officers. Some, indeed, declare that previous disaffection existed amongst the men; others say that the troopers being Mussulmen did not like to charge against Dost Mahommed himself, whom they considered as their religious chief; but I think we may fairly attribute their flight to downright cowardice, as no complaint or cause was assigned by the men previous to encountering the foe. Whatever be the truth, the event was most unfortunate, for it appears that the Dost was even previous to the action anxious to throw himself upon the protection of the British, but his followers would not permit him to do so; nevertheless, on the evening of that day he managed to elude their vigilance, and riding directly to Cābul met the envoy Sir William M'Naghten taking his evening ride, and surrendered himself into his hands.
The news of this event of course put an end to further hostilities, and on the 7th of November we returned to Cābul, heartily glad once more to get comfortably housed, as the winter was rapidly approaching and the nights severely cold.
LIST OF PLATES.
View of the Outer Cave of Yeermallik, shewing the Entrance Hole to the larger Cavern
Map of Cabul and the Kohistan, with the Route to Koollum
View of the Ice Caves in the Cavern of Yeermallik
View of Koollum from the Eastward
Fac-Simile Drawings of Ancient Coins found in Toorkisthan and Affghanistan, in the possession of Capt. Burslem, as follows:
No. 1. A Bactrian coin: legend on the obverse, [Transliterated from the Greek lettering, Basileus ermaion sot]. Reverse, Hercules on a tuckt or throne, with his right arm extended.
No. 2. A square copper coin of Apollodotus: legend, [Transliterated from the Greek lettering, Basileus pollodot soter]; a male figure, holding in one hand a club, and a spear in the other. The reverse bears Pelhvic characters.
No. 3. A square copper coin of Eucratides: [Transliterated from the Greek, Basileus megal] is only decypherable. If of Eucratides the Great, of which I have no doubt, this coin is of great value, as he reigned in Bactria 181 B.C. The reverse bears a Pelhvic legend, with the figures of two warriors mounted.
No. 4. A square silver coin of Menander. A helmeted head, with the inscription, [Transliterated from the Greek, Basileus soteros Menandrou]. The reverse bears the emblematic figure of an owl.
No. 5. A square copper coin, inscription illegible. On the obverse is a woman holding a flower or a priest offering incense. It appears to be a Kanirkos coin.
No. 6. A round silver Indo-Scythian coin.
No. 7. A square silver coin of Apollodotus, 195 B.C. Obverse, an elephant, with the Bactrian monogram beneath—[Transliterated from the Greek, Basileus pollodoton soteros]. Reverse, an Indian bull. The characters and figures on this coin are very distinct.
No. 8. Another coin of Menander. An elephant's head with the proboscis elevated: legend, [Transliterated from the Greek, Basileus soteros Menandrou]. On the reverse is a cannon. This is an old and valuable coin.
No, 9. A gold coin, supposed by Lady Sale to be a Kadphises. The legend begins with Amokad and ends with Korano. On the reverse is a naked figure, with the right arm stretched out. A few specimens, but in copper, have been found in the barrow at Maunikyala in the Punjaub. Lady Sale considers this coin to be a great beauty and of value.
No. 10. A gem found in the plain of Buggram.