The Travels Of Rafail Danibegashvili





Upon my quitting Georgia, my first stop after travelling for six days was the town of Akhaltsekha. It is ruled by the Turks. Fatigue and curiosity to see the town induced me to stay there for a few days. But I found nothing worthy of note: it is not big in circumference; no magnificent buildings are to be seen in it; the inhabitants are in medium circumstances; their principal occupation is the sale of fruit, of which this town abounds.

Twenty days after leaving Akhaltsekha and journeying across the southeastern Turkish possessions I arrived at Arzrum. From Akhaltsekha to the said town the road runs amidst tall rocky mountains and lofty hills, the majestic view of which arrests the gaze of every traveller; I could not get my fill of this lovely, stately picture of nature. The town of Arzrum is fairly well situated. It is larger than Akhaltsekha. There are no ramshackle dwellings in it; none could be expected because the inhabitants are very enterprising and rich, and, besides, seek to outvie each other in the finery of homes; for that reason there are many splendid buildings. The wells, which in all the streets are paved with marble and excellently finished, add to the great beauty of this town. Despite its wealth it suffers from a great dearth of firewood so that the inhabitants experience an extreme shortage of the said commodity and are compelled to heat their homes with animal dung; as regards other requirements these are supplied in abundance, if not locally then at least from the nearest towns.

After a short stay I set out for Mush, which lies twelve days' journey from Arzrum. Mush is not a large town. Some thirty versts outside it is the tomb of John the Baptist; in the tomb lie the sacred remains of this great Christian prophet. Over the tomb is a splendid church built in honour of John the Baptist, with a beautiful belfry, whose lovely architecture and situation on a mountain make a fine prospect. In several places on this mountain there are springs with curative water. The monks who worship in the said church eat nothing save cooked Sarachinsk millet.

I made my obeisances at the tomb of John the Baptist and continued my journey. Eight days later I came to a town called Arghana. It is noted for its copper ore, which the Turks mine there in great quantities. It is situated on a tall mountain; incidentally the climate is most pleasant and salubrious. The inhabitants suffer no shortage of the subsistences of life.

From the said town I set out for the town of Fala, travelling thence for nine days. It is not a very large town and is situated on the bank of the Tigris, in a broad valley. It is quite probable that it no longer exists because a recent earthquake reduced it to ruins.

In a few days, finding nothing of interest in it, I travelled to Mertin, taking seven days to reach it. This town stands on a mountain, whose height the local inhabitants believe to be two versts. As regards water Mertin is very poor, because there is no good water there at all; foreigners have even to bring it with them, for the local water can injure their health. Generally speaking, the inhabitants of Mertin are badly off. Due to the elevation no fruit or other necessary plants grow there.

Not finding it needful to remain there any longer, I continued my journey to Tikranakert, an ancient and splendid town, which is now called Tiyarbekir. It is situated on the Tigris. In olden days it had around it a strong stone wall with tall towers, but only the ruins of these structures may be seen today. This town is famous for its size and the beautiful landscape around it. A great multitude of fruit-bearing trees grow in it, and the inhabitants carry on a very brisk trade in fruit. The climate is conducive to farming, and the labour of the farmers is, therefore, always rewarded with an abundant harvest.

It is unfortunate that in such a beautiful town the inhabitants are evil. They hate even one another, to say nothing of foreigners. Love and tenderness for their kind are totally alien to their hearts. In this town the wealthiest of all are the Jews, of whom there is a quite large number.

From there I went to Nineveh, a journey that took me fifteen days. This town is now called Musol. It is fairly large and by the excellent buildings, of which there are very many, it may be called a famous town. It stands on the bank of a river locally called Shat. As one drives up to it one cannot help admiring its cheerful aspect. Like Tikranakert it abounds in fruit, but its inhabitants are quite different from those in Tikranakert; they are very kind and gentle; many among them are wealthy. The women may be termed beautiful. The people use the Arab language, so that the Christians living there worship in that language.

After spending some time in the said town I travelled farther, to Babylon. This town is now called Bagdad.

It is fairly large and handsome, being surrounded by a strong and handsomely built wall. It has quite a large population, and many of the people are very rich; they have commerce with Europeans and other peoples. Judging by their manners I must say that they are proud and devote much time to their own persons; on the whole they are hospitable and kind-hearted. The town is situated on both sides of the Shat River, of which one side is called great and the other little. Across this river, from one side of the town to the other, there is a strong bridge on boats lashed together with the stoutest of chains. Locally this bridge is called the chisir. In addition to Babylonians proper, there are many other people—Indians, Persians, Turks, Armenians and Europeans. The town has a wharf which is held by the English. They have a superintendent there, called the Balioz, one of whose offices is to receive mail from other places and deliver it to the addressees, and to forward mail from here to other places.

From Babylon I took the road to Basra and arrived there in fifteen days. This town is situated on the shore of the Persian Gulf. As far as the eye can see there are vineyards and orchards, which yield an astounding quantity of fruit. The climate, because of the extraordinary heat, is injurious to health, and the local water is likewise not suitable for anything. It is not fit for drinking, much less if you are a foreigner; the local inhabitants complain of it although, as it seems to me, they ought to have grown used to it long ago. As in the aforementioned town, the chief superintendent is an Englishman. A ship called a packet makes a voyage from here to Bombai and back once a month to bring the superintendent mail from England and to take mail from him to England. From the town it is a three days' journey to the sea by river.

From Basra a ship took me and an Arab traveller to the seaport town of Masqat. On almost all sides of the town there are very tall mountains, whose peaks are quite barren, and it may therefore be called a hungry town. Indeed, if Bagra and Bosherno did not supply it with all necessities, the Arabs residing in it would be in straitened circumstances in regard to food. The head of fhis town is called the Imam. He is always naked, wearing nothing save a small cloth in front to cover his body. When he appears before his subjects, they kneel before him and with awed reverence kiss his hand. Foreigners witnessing this spectacle are likewise obliged to honour him, and do so each in his own way.

The heat here is extremely intense, and the climate is therefore not very healthy. Despite all the shortages of the necessities of life, most of the inhabitants are rich. All without exception worship fire.

I set sail from Masqat and twenty-two days later I disembarked at Bombai. Because of its position it may be called the chief English port. From here ships sail to China, Persia and India. Another source of the fame enjoyed by Bombai is that the finest English ships are built there. The wharf in this town was built by the Portuguese after the manner of European wharves. The English came into possession of it when they divided the land with the Portuguese. As regards vegetables and fruit, the town is not very rich, but its shortage is made up by the abundance in Pankala, whose inhabitants trade with those of Bombai and bring more fruit and vegetables into the town than anything else. This town is particularly famous for its merchants, who are extraordinarily rich. Generally, all the local inhabitants are fire-worshippers and call themselves Kabers or Parses.

In Bombai I embarked on an English ship sailing for the town of Kolumb on the island of Seilan. We accomplished this journey in eighteen days. Formerly Kolumb was ruled by the Dutch, but now it is in the possession of the English. Many diverse and rare trees such as sandal, clove, cardamon and cinnamon grow in the environs of the town. From here, travelling eastward I arrived in the town of Mannar, which is situated on the shore of the ocean. At this town there is a place where a large quantity of pearls is obtained once in three years. The climate is intensely hot and the skin of the inhabitants is therefore inky black. Instead of worshipping a wise Creator of all creatures, they venerate cows and water; they do not wear boots or shoes, believing, in their ignorance, that it is an unexpiable sin to wear the skin of animals on their feet. They are strongly built and many live to a ripe old age; they do not slaughter animals for food, venerating them as fellow-creatures; therefore, to use them for food, in their way of thinking, is tantamount to eating human flesh. For that reason their food consists solely of plants and fruit.

From the afore-mentioned town I sailed to the town of Bondochery or Kost-Malvar. This town was formerly ruled by the French, but is now in the possession of the English. It is built after the model of European towns. A fairly large part of the inhabitants are French, who may be called old-timers. The native inhabitants, as those in the surrounding towns, are fire-worshippers and black-skinned.

From here I travelled overland to the town of Trakber, where I arrived in three days. This town came into the possession of the English quite recently. It is divided into two parts. In the part situated on the coast the inhabitants are Europeans, and their skin is as white as ours; the other part, lying in the middle of the town, is inhabited by natives, whose skin is generally black and who are, essentially, idolaters. Here the same language is spoken as in Kolumb.

I spent some time in Trakber, and then set out for the famous town of Madras, which is called Tinabatyan by its inhabitants. Like the afore-mentioned town it is divided into two parts. European Christians reside in the part closest to the sea-shore, while in the town proper, i. e., in the centre, live natives, who are generally black-skinned and idolaters. Facing the sea this town has a fine fortress, which the inhabitants call Fanet Georgi It is the custom here to chew leaves locally called fan, to which the inhabitants have become so addicted that they chew them all day. When chewed the leaves turn into a bright scarlet, and the lips and mouth of those who chew them seem to be covered with blood. Large quantities of these weeds grow in Madras and they are regarded as a most common plant; the leaves have a quite pleasant smell. Common as this weed is, the English impose a tax on its use, the revenue amounting to some half a million. Foreigners are given this weed more than anything else. The climate is so warm that the inhabitants wear nothing at all throughout the year, save for clothes made of the finest cloth, which they put on only in inclement weather. In this town there are numerous and rare fruit, one of which is the pineapple. The water is good and the soil fertile. Some three versts from this town is the grave of St. Thomas, and six versts from there is the desert where this apostle lived and where now stands a monastery with a splendid church.

Having stayed briefly in Madras and desiring to see other towns, I embarked a ship bound for Beku or Ran- Aoora; but as soon as we put out to sea, that formidable element, a fearful storm broke out; the sea heaved and tossed, driving our vessel before it and threatening us with inevitable doom. This forced us, before reaching Beku, to cast anchor at the town of Mushli-Bandar, where I went ashore and had to stay there for a few days with my companions until the ship's helm, which was damaged in the storm, was mended. At last we set sail and in fifteen days reached the town of Beku. This town is divided into two parts by a river; of these one is known as the new and the other as the old town. The skin of the inhabitants is white, and the cast of their faces resembles that of the Chinese. Their general fare consists of Sarachinsk millet and fish; they do not use bread. The town is ruled by an ancient local tribe called Havabarmai. The dwellings of their priests, called lamas or brahmas, are situated about one verst from the town. The office of lama is held in such high esteem that even a criminal sentenced to death by the King is safe in his house. Many rich merchants live in the town. Round Beku there are great forests from which the English obtain timber suitable for ships. In this town the English build ships. Although Bomhai is famous for the building of ships, the finest timber comes from here. The town is governed by an official called Hovarbai, who collects 12 rupees from every foreigner arriving there (two rupees are the equivalent of one silver ruble). The local governor, like those of the other surrounding towns, is obliged to report annually to his King, who resides in a town called Hava. Beku is situated a three months' journey from Hava; to reach that town the traveller has to cross a number of rivers Nothing is more ludicrous than the posture of the said governors in the presence of their Sovereign. Besides having to address him as a deity, in his presence they may neither sit nor stand, and therefore have to lie on the floor on their bellies; and when the King asks them a question they must reply prostrate. One day I went to the place where they build ships. I thought that for the number of ships built there it must be very spacious but was surprised to find it not very large. It had a fence round it and was very dirty. My visit there was both fortunate and unfortunate. It was fortunate because at the time they were building a ship for the King: this was interesting to see. The ship was plated with pure gold, and the interior was to be inlaid with costly wood. The unfortunate aspect of my visit was that before I could get my fill of this rare spectacle I was surrounded by a crowd, seized, dragged to gaol and threatened with beheading—and for what? My crime was that wishing to draw closer to the ship that was being built and prevented from doing so by the mud, I, in my ignorance, walked along some planking reserved for this ship; I would have possibly lost my life had it not been for the Armenians, who are well known there because of their wealth, who interceded for me and assured the officer that I had done it because of my ignorance. The town is famous for the rubies brought to it in fairly large quantities. As a matter of fact, the merchants enjoying the right to mine for these precious stones are so restricted that if they find a stone larger than a pea and clearer than water they are obliged to surrender it to the governor of the town, and the latter delivers it to the treasury; smaller stones may be sold. This rule is so strict that those who break it must forfeit their lives. Silver and tin are also mined here. There are numerous elephants and the trade in ivory is brisk. The English have made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to gain possession of this town. The dock is well-built and inaccessible to an enemy, being protected on all sides. The river flowing through the town teems with crocodiles.

From Beku I joined a party of travellers and sailed to Kolcada. This voyage was very pleasant in the beginning, because the sea was calm; but on the eighteenth day a violent storm began to rage, enormous waves threatening us with death every minute. For a long time our ship battled the foaming waves and finally yielded to them, completely breaking up. With the wreck many lost their lives; thanks to Providence my three companions and I rushed to a boat tied to the ship and saved ourselves. In this boat we rode the waves for nineteen days, time and again seeking to land but were daunted by the crocodiles, of whom there are very many, and by the terrible roar of lions from the forests—and did not venture to go on shore. Throughout this time we ate nothing save grass and bamboo shoots. Nature with all her loveliness was dead to us, and neither the impressive view nor the delightful chorus of birds coming from the shore could drive from our hearts the horrors that we experienced. Fear pursued us everywhere, and to our great misfortune we saw no sign of human life. Finally, with the silence that descended we grew calm. Thus we slowly moved forward and at last, with a favourable breeze blowing from seaward, we entered a river called Kikaia. There, making our boat fast to the bank, we stayed until almost midnight without seeing anybody. Then we suddenly saw a light in the distance; we at once ran towards it and, approaching close, saw that it came from a boat near which stood a fisherman, who was evidently preparing to fish. As soon as he spied us he rushed to his boat and quickly sailed out of sight. We were again alone in a strange place, our hearts filled with grief. After some time had passed another light flashed somewhere near and we once more picked up heart. This was another fisherman with a light in his boat. We crept up to him, but no sooner did we pronounce one word than quivering with fright he ran away to the water. We cried in unison after him that we were human beings like him. Recovering his senses, he returned to us. We recounted our adventures to him, and he took us with him and brought us to his village, where we stayed for eight days. At the end of that period we left the village with the fisherman as our guide and two days later arrived in the town of Bahar-Kann, where the commander-in-chief was an Englishman. We went to him. He received us with great kindness, provided us with new clothes, let us stay in his house for a few days and, supplying us with all the necessities of travel, sent us in an English vessel to the town of Kalcada, which, thanks to Providence, we safely reached in fifteen days.

Kalcada is a very beautiful and rather magnificent town. There are many rich people in it. It is situated on the shore of the bay of the Ganges River. Many Armenians reside there. They live a rich and sumptuous life and pursue a thriving trade with foreigners. In addition to Indians, all of whom are generally idolaters, and Mohammedans, the natives proper, there are Englishmen, French and, most of all, Portuguese. They trade among themselves and pay nobody duty. In this city the commander-in-chief is an Englishman, whom the local inhabitants call Lart. He governs the whole of India. The English Company, which he directs, has an annual revenue of some five hundred million rupees; yet very little remains of this money because the expenditures are very great; the local troops, who are very numerous, have to be paid from this sum.

The climate is exceedingly hot, and the water is very bad. For that reason when it rains the inhabitants set out large vats to collect rain-water which they use for drinking. Perhaps the local water might have been fit for drinking; but inasmuch as the Indians have the custom of burning their dead and throwing them into the water, it has an unpleasant odour from the bodies rotting in it, and is therefore not used. The Indians and Mohammedans, the natives proper, eat only Sarachinsk millet and fish; bread is not known. Generally, their language is the same as that spoken in the town of Pankala. In India there are about one hundred and fifty thousand English troops; the local troops are called black. However, the Indian troops are as well disciplined as the English. Every white soldier receives a monthly salary of seven rupees over and above meat and wine. The same amount of money is received by the black soldiers. Captains are paid 250 rupees. A colonel receives 1, 500 rupees, and a Secretary 2, 000. The Governor-General receives 10, 000 rupees, and a Doctor 2, 000. Mounted troops are paid 30 rupees per mensem, in addition to the money paid for the upkeep of the horses. A Kalcada rupee is equal to two rubles. On the coast this city has an old fortress, in whose environs reside Europeans; the natives live on the southern side. The afore-mentioned Ganges or Ganga River surrounds the city on three sides. This river is full of crocodiles and turtles. The city has many fine buildings and men of great wealth, and the English call it a second London. Having spent as much time there as I felt necessary, I journeyed farther and in one day arrived at the town of Sirampoor, which is about 20 versts away from Kalcada. It may be called a commercial centre. It formerly belonged to Denmark, but is now occupied by the English. The local inhabitants build European-style houses.

From Sirampoor I went to the town of Chichra, which lies some forty versts away from Kalcada. Formerly it was governed by the Dutch, but now belongs to the English.

From Chichra I travelled to Marshitabat or Mahsu-tabat, arriving there in four days. It is about 150 versts from Kalcada. In it is the residence of the Indian Nabob, and starting here they speak the Indian language proper, Although the town is governed by the English, the Nabob too receives a fairly large revenue. He may be regarded as the original ruler of this town.

Leaving the said town I headed for Munkir and arrived there in six days. This town is situated on the Ganges River at the foot of a mountain. The inhabitants are generally artisans. Many redwood and black-wood trees grow here. From here I went to the town of Azimabat, otherwise known as Fatona, which is on the Ganges River. The climate is excellent. The inhabitants have all the necessities of life they need. Water is drawn from wells, the river water being unfit for drinking because the corpses thrown into it make it malodorous and harmful. It is said that this town was founded by an Indian prince named Azimuchan, and for that reason it is called Azimabat. A local custom which is most cruel, is that the halt and the weak of both sexes and all ages, if the priests pronounce them to be at the threshold of death, are placed in coffins carried to the Ganges River and set down in knee-deep water. While water is poured down their throats, they are made to utter the words: "Kina-Narain", i. e., "Lord God". One cannot regard this spectacle without shuddering. If any of these unfortunates dies, his body is kept for a short time over a small fire and then thrown into the river. If he recovers his strength and health, the priests pronounce him untouchable and objectionable to God: he thus loses the right to live in the town and must go to a village specially set aside for such unfortunates on the far side of the Ganges. The Indians call this village Murdunki Kram, i. e., Village of the Dead. The English receive no taxes whatever from the inhabitants of this village because according to Indian custom they are counted as dead.

Leaving Azimabat I crossed the said river and in seventeen days reached the town of Banaris. The climate here is better and more healthy than in the afore-mentioned town and it has numerous venerable old men. It occupies a very fine situation; in it are many splendid and noble stone buildings. This town is revered by the Indians as a Holy City, and for that reason rich Indians who live to an old age leave their families and all their wealth, save for the amount of money required to maintain them for the rest of their lives, and, bidding farewell to their wives and children and to all their kin, go to this town with the intention of dying there. This prejudice has become so deep-rooted that according to them whoever dies in this town is delivered from all suffering in the future life, even if he deserves such suffering. All the local inhabitants are generally idolaters. They hold the cow in great esteem; even its urine is used— to smear on the face and cleanse defiled vessels. Some one hundred and twenty versts from here is the town of Laknahore, where the Nabob of India resides. There are numerous people in it called Kurd. The annual revenue of the said Nabob amounts to nearly twenty millions; but he is a subject of the English and this brings them a definite sum of money. Some two versts from this town are stationed two thousand English soldiers. Between the Nabob and the commander of the said troops there are concord and reciprocal affection.

From the afore-mentioned town a three-days' overland journey brought me to the town of Camber, where a very large force of English soldiers is quartered. This town may be called a splendid and a well-fortified harbour, where numerous ships put in. It is famous as having all the necessities of life. From here after travelling for four days I arrived at the town of Farakhapat. The climate there is good. In it reside an Indian Nabob and many Mohammedans and idolaters. The English captured it without firing a shot. It voluntarily surrendered to them; for that reason the English pay the Nabob 16, 000 rupees per mensem as a kind of salary.

Six days after departing from the said town I arrived in Mered, which now belongs to the English and where there are quite many English troops. From this town I went to Delhi which may be called the capital. It is also called Shakhchinabad, for it was founded by Shah Jahan, King of India. It is famous for its magnificent mosques and handsome houses, of which there are very many. The royal palace is gilded from top to bottom. One of the mosques is called Chuma-Mechet, which is covered with pure gold and is so tall that it may be seen twelve versts away from the town. There is a small fort built of purple stone on the bank of a river called Chmana; it is built with such uncanny skill that throughout its length it has not the least crack. In the middle of the fort is a royal palace of pure marble built with similarly uncanny skill. Before the palace is a small but lovely garden filled with fragrant trees, such as clove, pomegranate and so forth; once a year it is open to the public. In the middle of the garden is a beautiful well paved with marble. Five cubits deep and fourteen cubits wide, it is completely round. Their King always bathed in it. During my stay in the town the ruler of Gali gave me the office of toll collector. For this office the King rewarded me with a monthly salary of 200 rupees. When the English captured this town they deprived the King of his magnificent palace and in compensation for this loss granted him a pension of 100, 000 rupees per mensem.

Some three hundred versts from Merat is Mount Sirinagor, where the Ganges River has its source. A large fair is held there every year. Indians go to this fair, even those who live as far as five thousand versts away, to worship the waters of the Ganges. When these pilgrimages are made, Mohammedans go there to trade in various goods. It may be said that up to half a million people visit the fair. The Indians who come to worship must pay the English a toll of one rupee, for which the English give them a receipt or ticket to worship the waters of the Ganges. A very impressive ceremony takes place and it is followed by trade. This lasts for a whole month.

I lived in the said town for a fairly long time, and then set out for Fadifur, a rich city which is noted for its splendid buildings and its merchants, who are men of immense wealth. All the inhabitants are idolaters. There are seven earthen ramparts round the town, and beyond them, at the town itself, is a moat filled with water. The moat is nearly six cubits wide. In olden times the town was the capital of the Mogul Emperor, and his palace stands there to this day; but it is almost completely ruined. Not desiring to be subjects of the English, the local ordinary folk elected a ruler from among themselves, and he governs them without depriving them of their freedom. The local inhabitants told me that when the English attacked this fortress they filled the moat with earth and placed various machines against the town walls, but as soon as they stepped on them they sank into the loose soil and thus achieved no success. The ordinary people took advantage of this; climbing to the top of the fortress walls and taking whatever weapons they had they killed a vast number of Englishmen. The women, inspired by the valour of their husbands, but unable to handle weapons, poured boiling oil on their enemies. In this battle the English lost forty of their most noble officers and 20, 000 soldiers; and after many attempts, to their great disgrace, they had to relinquish their enterprise. The commander-in-chief of the English troops in this battle was named Lik.

From Fadifur I went to Lahore, a fairly large and rich town on the Ravi River. The climate is good and healthy, the soil rich and fertile. Diverse silk and woollen fabrics are manufactured. The inhabitants are generally idolaters. Many foreigners live in this town. There are very handsome buildings, the most splendid of which is the magnificent palace of the Mogul Emperor, in which the former Kings resided.

A forty days' journey from Fadifur brought me to the town of Norpor or Far, which stands on a mountain. The first sight that met my eyes when I entered this town was both sad and moving. An idolater had died and the body was about to be cremated. The following were the rites: the body of the deceased was placed in a richly adorned coffin and carried to the place where custom demanded that it be cremated. The deceased had two wives, who, being dressed in splendid and costly clothes, walked behind the coffin. As soon as the procession arrived at the designated place, the people built a funeral pyre, on which they placed poles and on these they put the body of the deceased. By the cruel local custom the wives, out of love for the husband, must voluntarily sacrifice themselves together with his body in the fire, for which purpose the two richly dressed women took their places on either side of their husband's body on the pyre. The priests abundantly sprayed oil and other combustible matter on all three, and then they suddenly set fire to the pyre on all sides and these two innocent victims, together with the body of their husband, became prey to the flames. The people standing round the pyre began to play on various instruments until the corpse and the two unfortunate women were turned into ashes. But wives may not submit to this inhuman rite; their relatives and friends even try to persuade them to remain alive either for the sake of their children or for the wealth left behind by the husband. However, once they make up their minds and draw close to the flames with the intention of throwing themselves on them, they cannot turn back when, filled with horror, they desire to do so; the officials surrounding the pyre would threaten them with another death—by the sword, which in this case the unfortunates cannot avoid as being unworthy of living.

Near Norpor stands a low fire-breathing siliceous mountain, which flames continuously. On this mountain there is also a spring. Akbarsha, the Indian Mogul, desired the fire to be extinguished, and for this purpose ordered a canal to be dug from the spring to the fire; however, all this was in vain, and his enterprise had no success. Indians from all lands come to worship at this mountain, so that their number sometimes reaches from two to three hundred thousand; this happens every year. The fire is called Djwala-muki which means: "Holy Goddess, have mercy".

I desired to see the famous town of Kashemir, which is known to all Europeans; and to satisfy my curiosity I set out from Norpor and after a fairly long journey reached that town, which is situated on the Radawa. This is the only town in India where it snows, but the snow does not cause any harm.

There are many small rivers on which the people sail in boats. From here come the shawls known to all nations. In and around the town are some twenty-four thousand looms on which shawls are woven.

The governor receives 3, 000 rupees annually from the manufacturies; not a single shawl may be sold without his seal. The revenues which the said governor receives add up to nearly a million a year. Most of the inhabitants of this town are Mohammedans or idolaters; generally they are ill-intentioned, dishonest and poor. The governor is a subject of the King of Kabul. I was told that this town is nearly one hundred versts long and up to forty versts wide. Generally, it may be said that the houses are not very splendid. The inhabitants mostly eat cooked millet, oil and lettuce. The rich drink tea with milk and Chukhon butter. The climate is good and healthy, and the water excellent. The town is encircled by tall, bare mountains. The English are very eager to gain possession of this town, but so far none of their attempts have been successful. There are nearly twenty thousand boats in the town.

One of the laws of Kashemir is that if a robber is caught for a first offence his right hand is amputated; for the second offence his belly is ripped open and he is put on a camel and exhibited in the market-place; when he dies he is hung from a bridge.

The environs of Kashemir are pleasing to the eye. In summer the mountains round the town are covered with bright verdure. In the town itself there are numerous canals, and in the middle is a lake which is nineteen versts in circumference. Near the lake is a mountain on which a stone fort has been built. The water in the lake is very pure, and the lake itself is fairly deep. On Fridays the people sail in the lake in boats. The inhabitants of Kashemir are poor but gay. The rich hide their gold and silver in the ground and keep the hiding-place secret even from their friends, and when they die they take this secret with them. When a house is rebuilt, gold and silver are found in a copper pot. If the Khan is kind, he gives the land together with the gold and silver to the owner; but if he is evil, he takes everything for his treasury. The dress worn by the people of Kashemir is like that of our priests, and it is common to both men and women.

The road from Kashemir to the Semipolat Fort runs for three thousand versts and it is very even. The Kirghiz steppe, which extends for two thousand versts from the Irtish, is likewise quite flat. The road running across the land of the Kalmyks for five hundred versts is mountainous. Flat land extends for twenty versts from the Chinese frontier to Turf an. For a hundred versts from Turfan to Vaksi there is level country. The land is flat for a thousand versts from Vaksi to Yarkand. From Yarkand to Kokiar, at the Chinese frontier, the country is level for one hundred versts. There are bare rocky wild mountains for two thousand versts from Kokiar to Tibet. The road runs through a ravine between mountains. A stream flows here. This country is uninhabited and a caravan takes a stock of oats when it goes from Tibet to Kashemir, where nothing save rocky mountains are to be seen for two hundred versts. From the Kashemir frontier flat land stretches for twenty versts up to the town of Kashemir.

Leaving Kashemir behind, I set out for the town of Tibet and arrived there in twenty days. It is situated on hills; around it tower rocky mountains, on which nothing grows save some oats. The local inhabitants, because of their poverty, grind these oats and, mixing the flour with milk, cook it with the addition of butter. This mixture is their only food. One of the customs here is most evil and contradicts common sense: if in a family there are three or four brothers, they take one woman whom they share as a wife. The child born of such wedlock is given the name of the elder brother and thus only such of them are reverenced as fathers. Much tea is grown here. Wool for shawls is brought from the town of Lasa. All the soft goods brought here are transported on sheep, which are burdened with a load which they can carry; and from here to Kashemir the goods are transported on. horses. From the tax on goods received from Kasherair the local governor obtains an annual revenue of about one hundred thousand rupees. The governor of this town is called the Kalon and is subordinate to the Governor of Kashemir.

It is considered that it is some two hundred versts from here to Kashemir. The road is very rocky and travellers complain of it. Whatever shortages there are in this town are amply covered from the surpluses of the town of Kashemir.

In Tibet there is a good market for Russian gold-embroidered silk, which is willingly purchased by the people, who are called Chaba. From Lassa these people bring large quantities of mohair to Tibet, and from there they go on to Kashemir. The journey from Lassa to Tibet takes three months.

In India, because of the hot climate, there are great numbers of all sorts of insects. Snakes live in almost every house; when somebody sees a snake in his house and desires to be rid of it for safety, particularly of the children, he hires the services of a man skilled in the catching of snakes, and there are many such people—for which service they pay him a small sum of money. He begins to play on a flute in a special manner and mumbles certain words. The snake in the house in question crawls up to him. On his hand this man has an iron hoop; and seizing the snake he twirls it until it is exhausted, after which he puts it in a basket and carries it to the forest, where he releases it.

Upon my departure from Tibet I was on the road for forty days until I arrived in the town of Yarkant. This was a very dull journey, for the barrenness of the road along which I travelled, the enormously deep ravines and the lofty mountains, some of which are capped with ice, gave me an unbearable feeling of sadness, and this feeling became the more pronounced because these places are uninhabited. Thus, to leave them behind me as quickly as possible was my sole desire. At last the town of Yarkant loomed before me. The thickets surrounding it are a pleasant and consoling sight to the traveller.

I stayed quite a long time in this town. From the local inhabitants I learned that fifty years ago it was ruled by the Tatars, descendants of Genghiz Khan, and although to this day the inhabitants abide by the Mohammedan law the town belongs to the Chinese. In the town there are more than two thousand Chinese soldiers with their commanders, who are called the Anaban, and some three thousand Chinese, who are engaged in commerce. The climate is good, but the water is foul; none of the buildings may be termed handsome, and the inhabitants are of mediocre means. Speaking of other seasons, although I said that the climate here is good I never saw a worse autumn anywhere. Through out almost the whole of the autumn the sky is overcast A strange dust, carried here from no one knows where falls as rain, and this makes everything very dull throughout this period. It happens very frequently that because of the great moisture in the air there appear reddish insects, which the local inhabitants call korbits. The bite of such an insect is almost always fatal.

When the said dust falls instead of rain, the inhabitants know that the next year will be abundant; but if rain falls it means that the next year will be extraordinarily barren; against such an event they have special prayers. The said dust falls so thickly that even the rays of the sun cannot penetrate it—and this continues sometimes for as long as seven or eight days. The dust is so fine that it penetrates the tiniest hole.

The Anaban, or the chief Chinese governor, does not speak the local language and has an interpreter from among the Mohammedans, who is locally called Bek and receives a goodly salary for his office. Besides this office, the said Bek has the right to pass judgement on the lawsuits of the local inhabitants, and at a certain time he is obliged to be in the court of justice of the governor; in the presence of the governor he may neither stand on his feet nor sit, but is obliged to kneel and notify him of the affairs of which he is burdened and, receiving a decision from him, he must send such decisions for approval to his King.

In addition to the said town, the Chinese rule the towns of Hudan, Gashgir, Akhsu, Duroban and Ili. In each of these towns there is a Chinese governor with the same office as that of the Governor of Yarkant. In Hi, or Kulja, there are many Chinese: more than ten thousand, it is said. The Chinese in this town are extremely lazy: they do nothing all day save smoke tobacco; over and above that they are haughty. The local inhabitants cannot leave the town without a passport, for there are very many wardens: this is one of the means by which the Chinese tame willfulness.

Thirteen days after leaving Yarkant I reached Akhsu. It is a small town but has many large buildings. It lies in a ravine and is divided into two parts: in one live Chinese and in the other Mohammedans, and trade flourishes between them. The climate is healthy, and abundance moderate.

From Akhsu I journeyed for three days to the town of Turfan. It is small and ugly; the inhabitants are very poor, and there is nothing of note in it. Twenty versts from here is the frontier, which separates these lands from those of the Kirghiz.

After leaving Turfan I travelled for three months to Semipalat. This was an exceedingly pleasant journey because I saw many diverse peoples such as Kalmyks, Kirghiz, Kozaks and others, who generally wander about and live in tents; none of them practise farming, and they subsist on the milk of cows and mares, from which they make curds. Their principal wealth consists of cattle. Herding is their only occupation. In commerce they do not use money; instead they barter one commodity for another. They have no permanent dwellings, stopping with all their cattle wherever the pasture is good. For this reason they frequently move from place to place. For the traveller it is extremely dangerous to encounter them, because they are robbers. The town of Semipalat is on the Irtish River, which separates Russia proper from the lands belonging to these savage peoples.

From Semipalat it is two thousand versts of level Kirghiz country to Kokhan. In Kokhan there lives a Tatar khan, who has fifty thousand troops.

From Kokhan it is one thousand five hundred versts of flat country to Bukhara. The Shah of Bukhara has an army of sixty thousand men.

From Bukhara to Kabul, capital of the Afghan Kingdom, it is one thousand five hundred versts; the road is somewhat mountainous. The Afghan King has upwards of fifty thousand troops.

From Kabul to Peshaur the road runs for one hundred versts between rocky mountains.

From Peshaur it is three hundred versts to Kashemir, or to Lahore, capital of an Indian Kingdom.

From Semipalat I travelled for seven days with post-horses to the Fort of Omsk, where I had the honour of meeting General Glazenap. In justice he merits great respect. He treats travellers with every affection. Having journeyed in many countries, I have never met an officer like him anywhere. In the same measure as he is indulgent and kind to those placed under his protection, is he feared by the savage peoples living nearby for the very mention of his name strikes each with terror, and for that reason travellers accomplish their journeys without fear.

From Omsk I travelled a long time before I reached Makarya, arriving there when a vast multitude of different peoples had come from all parts to a great fair. I had never seen fairs such as this anywhere. Joy and satisfaction filled the heart of each trader here, and the name of the benevolent and wise Alexander was uttered everywhere.

Finally, thanks to Providence, I had the good fortune of seeing Moscow as well.

My heart had long been burning with the strong desire to see this famous, ancient capital of Russia; and at last this desire was satisfied, my satisfaction being the more complete that with my own eyes I saw the magnificent buildings, the colossal churches and towers, the numerous inhabitants, the wealth, the sensible splendour, and—what is most precious of all—the enlightenment, the gentleness and kindness, the hospitality and cordiality of which I knew only by hearsay even in the most remote countries! My first desire upon my arrival in Moscow was to see the Palace of Your Imperial Majesty, built by Your Ancestors.

Through the mediation of my benefactors I fully satisfied my curiosity. Thus, I was allowed to enter the Palace, where, seeing the great number of precious stones, the gold and the silver, the richly decorated thrones and the dazzling crowns of the Ancestors of Your Imperial Majesty, I imagined that all the gems of Nature had been collected there; and this filled my heart with filial awe of the Monarchs of Russia, and in this awe I fall silent.

The End