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mountains. Desert lay be. The date-palms, the only liv. tween each place of settled ing things that rejoice before abode; desert mountains, of it, bend, tossing their tough drear and monstrous outline, green fronds and load of lay behind them; the green ripening fruit. The sky and desert of the sea mourned in the land disappear in a hot front of them, whitening as it murk; mankind, too, disapbroke over nameless rook and pears into dag-outs in the shoal. The most ambitious ground, shaded by boughe, Power could not but pause while it passes over. There before committing its fortunes is nothing bid from the heat and its children to the arms of thereof. Between the gusts this Moloch land, to wither you may still see the slow miserably in the brazen heat camels, sloping southward of its arid wastes.
along the coast road, burdened, Our first stopping - place, strung out, sterns to the ninety miles southward from wind, disdainful even of the Bashire, was named Ras-alShamál, without haste, withMutaf. There is here & flat out rest. Surveying work point of land, with its end becomes impossible. There is ourving round in a long sandy no son or star visible by which shoal, between which and the to find latitude and longitude. shore there is a space of moder. No feature remains, whether ately proteoted water. Here of mountain summit or of we anchored, with the double coastal rook, that is not either intention of making such sur- blurred, or else quite invisible vey as should show whether in the brown haze; and the this uninviting anohorage, fierce wind raises 80 big & with its neighbouring vil. 808, with white-crested waves, lage, could ever be sophisti. that boat-work and sounding oated into & Daval and com. are out of the question. For mercial port; and also to olear three detestable days and up several doubts that existed nights the Shamál blew as to its geographical position, fiercely, and still we watched as to the correotness of the and waited. At last, on the oharted soundings, and as to fourth day, it moderated suffi. other reported details concern- ciently for us to decide that ing it. Dar intentions were the place was useless as a frustrated. The long-pending harbour, both from its depths Shamál oame down on us, and from the faot that there in & burst, out of the blaz- was no protection from the ing north - west. A harri. wind. oane of flame, almost, is this June had opened upon as terrible wind. As it strikes when we continued the “runyou, you seem to be passing ning survey” to the souththe door of an open furnace : ward. It is not possible to you gasp with heat and as- desoribe the method by which tonishment. It sweeps along such a survey is made, without the shore in a deep - brown beooming either unintelligible oloud of flying dust and grit. or else desperately boring. The underlying principle is a the “prominent objeot” on the simple one—the results pro- coast-line, on a bearing of daced are a mere pioneering which I was depending to fix sketch; bat, for all that, in that part of the shore, and practice, it is certainly the rendering my work of no avail. most diffioult method that It was a most exasperating exists for the charting of a survey, but it had to be done. coast; and it needs long ex- There was no other method perience to produce good by whioh doubt might be set results. When one has five at rest regarding the possible or six assistants, all experts, existence of an uncharted bay as in a regularly commissioned or harbour along the coast. surveying vessel, it is, even For oneself, seeing might be then, work requiring the believing; but, in order to olosest care and application, persuade a doubting Admirand is a most exhausting per- alty who had not seen, it was formanoe for every body con- necessary to produce on paper, cerned. A single day of it not merely & written report redaces body, brains, and eyes stating that there was no such to the merest palp. At & harbour, but also an actual distanoo of seventeen years, it plotted survey of the coast, still requires no reminder from together with the angles and my journal of that running observations on which it was survey of the Persian coast to based, to show that the truth bring back to me the aching was in you! Little—already memory of the task. Instead known — harbours and tiny of six skilled assistants, I had notohes we passed, and in some bat two-the oaptain of the we anohored and took soundSphina and the navigating ings, while Komp went ashore offioer — neither of whom, to pay & polite visit to the naturally, had over undertaken looal Sheikh, as "eye-wash” anything of the sort before. against our real activities. Fortunately, both of them It was one of his duties to pay turned out to be most helpful, such visits from time to time; not to say devoted. Without and the Sheikhs, no doubt, them, in faot, the work would thought this was merely one have been impossible, and I of these cocasions. All of should have collapsed, blinded these places proved to be enby that blinding light, cooked tirely unsuitable, either for in that terrifio heat, while, day naval purposes or for comafter day, as we steamed past moroe. Many of them were it, the austere khaki coast exposed to the blistering anfolded itself ahead endlessly, Shamál, whiob, though worst and disappeared astern. Be- in the summer, blows at interhind as stormed the Shamál, vals through nine months of now settled down into its the year, while others were asual "seventy days" of open to the S.E. gales of the summer life, when it blows winter, or to both winds. continuously, often blotting Apart from disabilities of this out, in a sudden whirl of dust, nature, there was everywhere
the lack of fresh water; and, When Kemp visited the topping everything else, there Agent he heard from him that, was the climate! An efficient not long before, the Russian naval base could never be Consul for the Gulf had arrived maintained by any northern in his small sailing dhow, on nation in this Gehenna. & tour of the coast. On his
At length we reached Kishm arrival there was immediately Island, and, with it, the end of hoisted on the flagstaff the the survey came in sight. Union flag of Britain. The Kishm oooupies a strong Consul, a little man but a fierce, strategio position, exactly landed; and pointing to the faoing the narrow entrance flag, shook his fist at it, cursed to the Persian Gulf. It is it, and demanded to know why & mountainous island, sixty it had been hoisted, and for miles in length, separated how many years it had been from the Persian coast by å flying there. The Agent, himlong narrow channel, named self an old man with a grey “Clarence Strait” (after good beard, replied that it had been King William IV.) There are flying ever since he could rethree towns on it-Kishm, on member anything, but that the eastern extreme, which there was a still older ingives the island its name; habitant who might know Laft, on the northern side; more. On being sent for, this and Basidu, on the western ancient replied in like manner, end. It was to the latter spot that he could not remember that we direoted our weary any condition of affairs in steps; and, on our arrival, had Basidu other than the British the satisfaotion of seeing the supremacy and flag. The little Union flag run up on the flag- visitor, it appears, then danced staff of the village for Basidu with rage (it was in January, is British! It has been so and the temperature persince 1809, after what cannot mitted, without great dishave been other than a hot comfort, this exhibition of the engagement. Laft was “re- Russian ballet), and he called duoed" at the same time, but both of the old Arabs “liars." it was left at that; while “ Very well, then," says our Basidu became the sanatorium Agent with high composure, of the Gulf for our ships' “if you know better than we oompanies, and there was also do, why do you ask us ?” And maintained there & garrison with this firm reply & grave of Indian troops. The hospital international crisis closed. The and barraoks, long disused, Consul went back to his boat, are ruins; and there is now simmering but thoughtful, and only a small village of ninety resumed his inspection of the men, who, with an old Arab, coast. our faithful Agent, represent Having thus "made our the oolony, and are established number” at Basidu, we left, on an area, soareely as much and first steamed along the as one mile square, of bare and south side of Kishm Island, brown, but British soil.
visiting, as we did so, the small outlying islet of Henjam at its and dripped helplessly all day, south-eastern end. Then, after completing a vicious ciroulapassing the orambling rains of tion of moisture by pouring the old Portuguese fort at down inside as bottle after Kishm town, on the east of bottle of partly-cooled aerated the island, we rounded into waters, which panting Goanese Clarence Strait and anchored stewards made haste to supply. off Laft. In 1622 we sent five One could do nothing else but ships-or the Honourable East drink, and without liquid one India Company sent them—to would have become as a deassist the Persian forces in sicoated fruit, dried-up, mumbesieging the Portuguese at mified. I have thus oonsumed, Kishm. The Persians, it seems, in a single day at Laft, as many wanted their island back, and as twelve large bottles of the we wanted the Portuguese most uninspiring "pop"; and trade. Hence the alliance. this was well below the aver. Both of us got what we age official thirstiness of the wanted, though in doing so Sphinx. When night-time camo wo soffered an unexpected loss. I roposed on a grass-mat laid William Baffin, the famous on my chart-table on deok, olad Elizabethan Arotio navigator in the absolute minimum of of Baffin's Bay, was killed at clothing-in bathing-drawers, the beginning of the siege of to be exact-for pyjamas about Kishm by a shot from the one were as abhorrent as a Portuguese castle. Ho cer. mattress beneath, while the tainly went in for extremes of temperature slowly rose, after olimate during his wanderings, nine o'clook, antil it was well and would have been better up in the hundreds by 2 A.M. advised to have stuck to the The heat then steadied, and ioefields and the snow! between 3 and 4 A.M. there
Laft, the delightful seaside was & blessed, blessed time resort off wbioh we now found when it really fell a few degrees. ourselves, is a harbour oom- Then came untortured rest. pletely enologed, easily acces- But with the first crack of sible, fairly deep for anchorage, dawn, buzzing flies attended strategically well - positioned, the death - bed of sleep, and and defensible without diffi- galvanised their limp victim oulty — yet, with all these into sufficient activity to arise, virtues, it is, like Naaman the don such raiment as might Syrian, “& leper." Not only satisfy the conventions, and is the fresh-water supply of start off in a boat, armed with the most exiguous oharacter, sextant and theodolite, for surbut the position has the repa- veying work" in the field.” tation — a true one, for we The temperature then might tested it—of being the hottest be as low as 97°; but by 8 A.M. place in the whole Persian it would be well up in the Gulf, and that is to say, in the hundreds once more, and, in whole world. Not a breath order to avoid a heat-stroke, it of outside air, not even the was necessary to return on Shamál, gets into it. We sat board the ship, to the shelter of treble awnings. Nothing could when, in September 1507, the be done outside that proteo- Portuguese seized the place tion until about six o'oleok in and its riches, and reduced its the evening, when an hour inhabitants to subjeotion, with might be snatohed before dark. no circumstance omitted of ness olosed the scene. Laft audacity and oruelty. There could not therefore be oon- the Portuguese remained, in sidered as a possibility for a complete lordship, until 1622, "naval base," in spite of its when, after a siege of three other decided advantages. months, Hormoz fell, with
It was late in Jane when Kishm, before John Company's we steamed back through ships, aided by a Persian force. Clarence Strait, and anohored Beside the ruined fort there at its eastern entrance off the are many ancient tanks, now town of Bandar Abbás, which empty and dry, out into the stands on the mainland rooky hoart of the island. In here, and is faced by that the days of its splendid youth, famous island, Hormaz. Basra water for these reservoirs was at the head of the Gulf, and brought off in skins by boat Hormuz at its mouth, are from the river Mirab, ten names to take you back, as miles away. There is no other on a Magio Carpet, aooom. moisture obtainable, save for panied by Sindbad the Sailor, a saline triokle from the bills to a sandal-scented and roman- after rain. The general aptio past. Until the seventeenth pearance of the little island century Hormoz was the Mart is very remarkable. It conof the East, where all the sists of a rounded lamp of riohes of India met in ex- hills, with three or four central ohange with the pearls of conioal peaks, seven hundred Bahrein, with the attars, the feet high. The lower parts, pungent gams, and spicery all completely barren, are of Araby the Blest; with dyed striped, and patohed, and garments from Basra, with barred with a geological silks and carved work, dam. “dazzle - painting" in oohre agooned weapons, and delioate and red, brown, purple, and filigree of silver and gold buff, while the surmounting from Baghdad the Fortunate. oones, in strong contrast, are Iohabodl The glory has de paro white. The whole effect parted, indeed! Not a vestige is that of some monstrous now remains of it all, save dry padding, standing on the blueruins, houses orumbled so small and - white plate of the sea, that the few poor fishermen over whose apex has been who still oling to the place poured (in pre-war days!) a cannot utilise them as dwell- large jag of thick cream. iugs, but make for themselves A telegram was waiting us rude wigwams of date-palm at Bandar Abbás, which leaves. On a low point above ordered as to Maskat, to the village is the battered but await the next mail steamer, still threatening remnant of a which was bringing written fort built by Albuquerque, orders for further enrvey