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fashion. A loose quilted gown, of striped cotton stuff, covered a coarse shirt of the same material, and was bound round his waist by a roll of dirty white cloth ; over these hung a brown joobba, or cloak of camel's hair ; heavy and coarsely-made boots encumbered rather than clothed his legs, and a huge broad cap of red sheep-skin towered upon his head, giving it an air of fierceness, somewhat foreign to its natural character. A whitehilted dagger was thrust into his girdle,-a crooked scimetar hung at his side,- and he carried a long steel. pointed spear in his hand.
“ The gentleman requires a good horse, we hear,” said an old man, who, being one of the elders of the village, and assuming a peculiar charge of the caravans serai, had taken upon him to introduce the stranger ; “ behold, here is Solymaun Yoorkeh, ready to furnish him with as good a yaboo as ever was bred in Khorasan.”
“ Salaam aleicorun!”.
“ Certainly; the Aga has said it—there is no lie in the business; the horse is extant, and by the soul of my father, he is a perfect jewel! Shall your servant bring him out?”
“By all means, produce him," said I; and the man withdrawing, returned, after a few minutes, mounted upon the back of his beast, which he cantered, with no small fracas, into the caravanserai, and urging it at full speed up to the very edge of the terrace on which I was
seated, he checked it there in a moment by a wrench of his powerful bit, which threw it almost backwards upon its haunches. After this display of his own horsemanship, he threw himself actively from its back, and grinning hideously, first at me, and then at the animal, stood patting it on the shoulder with a look of infinite satisfaction.
He was truly a stout, well-built beast, with a neck like a bull, firm, pillar-like legs, and a thick barrel; in short, what in England would have been termed a capital punch pony,—in Persia, a good stout yaboo. In the eyes of its owner, or rather, by his account, it possessed every earthly excellence of quality; it was powerful, active, enduring, a fast walker, an easy pacer, and could gallop like an Arab. It would carry fifty Mauns Tabreez for four-and-twenty hours together; it would go an hundred pusungs in four days without losing condition ;-in short, the blessed mule of Allah itself was scarcely a more valuable animal.
“ And what may be the price of so much beauty and perfection ?”
“ Why, truly, very cheap-a mere nothing; twenty tomauns the lowest fraction; not a shahee less.”
“ Indeed, my friend; you seem to entertain a full sense of his value. But come, I will just give you half; see, here are ten tomauns in gold ; take them, and think yourself well paid.”
The fellow threw upon me a glance which at first ex
pressed pure surprise, but which speedily changed into profound contempt.
“ Shame on the beard of the insidel,” exclaimed he, in Turkish, as he sprung upon the animal's back; “ten tomauns for my yaboo ? By the head of my father, I have but to get on the back of this very yaboo, with this spear in my hand, and ride to the rear of the Iaghetae hill, and before to-morrow's noon I'll carry off two captives that shall bring me four times as much money ;ten tomauns, indeed !” and off he spurred, with a flourish of his spear, like a true wild son of the desert as he was, his cloak flying loose behind him, and the hoofs of his horse striking fire from the pavement as he darted through the caravanserai gate.
Of course I concluded the negociation was at an end; but scarcely ten minutes had elapsed, before the old Reish Saffeed, who had first introduced our friend, reappeared, and after lamenting that I had made so inadequate an offer for so invaluable and handsome an animal, he insinuated that if I were inclined to mend my bidding, a bargain might possibly yet be struck. As I really wanted the horse, and had reason to believe that it was a good specimen of the true desert breed, I at last consented to give thirteen tomauns for it; and finding that I was resolute against any further increase, he made a sign to one of the villagers standing near, who, leaving the caravanserai, soon returned with my friend the Toorkoman and his yaboo. Casting upon me a quaint, significant smile, he dismounted, and with a few words in Turkish, which I did not understand, put the bridle into the hands of my jeloodur, while he stretched out the other to receive from me the golden pieces which I held ready to transfer to him; then, wishing me health and prosperity in every shape and form, he made an uncouth salaam, and quitted the place.
“ A right convenient and accommodating dealer is this same Solymaun, this Toorkoman ally of yours, my old friend,” said I to the Reish Saffeed, who continued standing near me, probably expecting to touch something from me in the way of brokerage ; “ he has suited me tolerably, I must say, although his goods do not want a price.”
“I would humbly represent, Sir,” replied the old man, “ that the price you have paid for that horse is less than his real value ; your slave knows the animal well; it is not the first time that this very yaboo has borne off its master with a captive behind him on the crupper, from a Stout party of pursuers. It will do all that he has said, depend upon it.”
“ And I dare say,” replied I,“ that honest Solymaun would do all he has said, and more too, if opportunity should serve; perhaps he may have it in view to recover this admirable and favourite yaboo, in a very summary manner, without even remembering the ceremony of restoring the tomauns he received for it. Or who knows but he may take a fancy to its new master, and carry
him off along with it upon the crupper, eh? -- he seems to deal in such merchandise, and may not be nice.”
"I beg to state, for your service, Sir,” replied the Reish Saffeed, “ that Solymaun Yoorkeh does, as you have observed, really deal in many sorts of traffic, and were time and place convenient, there is little doubt that such an adventure as you have hinted at would by no means come amiss to him, particularly if you were returning by the road you came, with small attendance, and had made no agreement with him for your safety. But your journey of to-morrow lies through a quiet and settled district, where such depredations are not committed, by his countrymen, at least; you are safe from him and from them, at all events.”
“ Amen,” said I. “ I rejoice to hear so comfortable an assurance from so good an authority. You appear to be intimately acquainted with this conscientious gentleman; may I inquire how it happened that you, who are a Persian villager, naturally an enemy to the whole Toorkoman race, have struck up so great a friendship with an individual of that nation?”
“ You have spoken the truth, Sir,” replied the old man; “ your observation is generally correct; the enmity to which you allude, does usually exist. Yet it sometimes happens, and particularly in such border districts as this, that mortal foes are forced by the very consequences of the strife, into a limited or temporary understanding, and that their acts of hostility themselves