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gone on, step by step, sometimes failing, it is true, and sometimes succeeding."

"But what about the paper-knife?" Bowman asked. “You have left Hamlet out of the play."

"The gentleman

"Oh, I forgot that part," said Reedyman. brought with him a splendid agate blade, and he asked to have it fastened in the handle for a paper-knife."

Bowman and Sweepstone pointed to me.
"What now?" Reedyman inquired.

"Jackson owns the very knife," replied Bowman. stole it."

"We say he

"Murdered somebody for it, you mean," Sweepstone interrupted. My friends told me afterwards that I looked as if the charges were true. I dare say I did, for many strange thoughts were surging through my brain.

"Was there a motto on the blade?" I asked.

"Perhaps there was," said Reedyman, "but I have no recollection of it."

"Do you remember the pattern of the handle?"

"Yes, I remember that well enough. It was what we called The Dolphin and Child."

"Guilty! Certainly guilty!" Bowman repeated several times. "Bring a black cap," Sweepstone exclaimed.

My rooms were not far away, and without any apology I hastened there and brought back with me the paper-knife.

As soon as Reedyman saw it he said:

"Well, this is wonderful. I never expected to see that again. It is certainly the very paper-knife. Can you open the handle?" I told him I was not aware that it could be opened.

At the end of the handle there was a small protuberance, which appeared to be part of a shell.

"Put the handle between two fingers of the right hand," said Reedyman, "place your thumb against that small knob, then press with your thumb. Now you find the shell will turn round."

As he explained the process we all watched him eagerly.

"You turn the shell round," he continued, "until that double line meets a double line on the handle."

He did what he described.

"Now," he said, "you notice that on each side of the handle are a dolphin and child. On one side, the child has its eyes open; on the other side, they are closed. The lid is where the eyes are open. Put your thumb on that child's head and your first finger on the

The Featherstone Diamond.

other. Now press.

123

The heads were firm before I moved that shell,

but they give way a little now.

While you are pressing turn back

the shell to its original position. And now look."

He raised his thumb, and the oval medallion which contained the dolphin and child sprang open.

"What now?" he exclaimed.

Inside the small recess which he had exposed was the Featherstone diamond.

I need not tell how glad I was to communicate with Woodrough, which I did that very night. Bowman insisted on sending a messenger in a cab with a note from me.

All I said in the note was: "Come at once. Important discovery. EDMUND JACKSON."

Woodrough was spending a quiet evening in his uncomfortable lodgings, and he returned with the messenger, wondering what the The first thing he saw on entering the room was the Featherstone diamond.

summons meant.

"Thank God for that!" he said. Then he mentioned the name of Ada and fainted away.

We soon brought him round again, and I must say the two men who showed themselves the most demonstrative in their congratulations were Bowman and Sweepstone. Bowman had the effrontery to declare that he had heard something about the case, and never believed for a moment that Woodrough was guilty.

The diamond was speedily returned to its right owner; and I am glad to say the executors of Rumford Featherstone's will paid to Woodrough, at Mrs. Brayshaw's request, the thousand pounds which her brother had mentioned in the draft codicil to his will.

Woodrough is married now; and the last time I saw him he told me he had found a position to his liking, in the office of Messrs. Golgonda and Kimberley, the dealers in precious stones.

The paper-knife is still in my possession, and in the I have a piece of crystal which Woodrough gave me. copy of the Featherstone Diamond.

secret recess

It is an exact

IN THE MOUNTAINS OF MEDIA.

S

EVERAL things induced us to make an expedition through this

wild and unknown region of Persia. We should there be able to study the habits of the nomad tribes who rove over these mountains in search of summer pasturage for their flocks. We should there meet with the observers of a quaint religion, details of which were exceedingly hard to get away from the actual districts where it flourishes. The insurmountable difficulties of travelling in these wild mountains were lessened for us by the kind offices of our Government at Teheran, which secured for us a regular escort under the command of a little gentleman whom we soon dubbed “Our Khan.” He is secretary to the Persian grand vizier, and consequently a man of letters, and, whilst his master was absent in Europe with the Shah, he was placed at our disposal. He is exceedingly particular about a not over-attractive person, hates hurry of any kind, and I verily believe that if we had not had recourse to wrath, and threats of remonstrances in high quarters, we might have still been wandering amongst the mountains of Media, drinking perpetual cups of tea and taking a siesta every other hour.

Mirza Hassan Ali Khan is his name in full. In his belt he carries his inkstand and his roll of paper, his insignia of office; before reaching any place of importance he would always have his robe of honour unpacked, and march before us in his flowing cloak of yellow and gold. Everyone except ourselves treated him with grovelling respect, and the sentences "Khan sleeps," "Khan prays," "Khan eats” I soon understood to mean that nobody but ourselves could disturb him.

My wife was the chief object of interest in our cavalcade during this journey. No European lady had ever attempted it before, and the women of the tribes would stare at her with undisguised astonishment. "Is she a boy?" "No, a woman." "Has she only got one leg?" "No, she wears them both on one side of her horse," were constant remarks overheard.

The journey with which we have now to deal began at a town called Zenjan, on the borders of the mountains of Media, and the

In the Mountains of Media.

125

last town where Persian is spoken, and the first where Tatar-Turkish predominates. Here we made our preparations for leaving the beaten track, bought provisions for the way, engaged our mules and horses, and tried to gather together a few meagre notes concerning the route we were about to follow. One sunny morning in May our cavalcade left this town, consisting of ourselves and servants, our Khan and two servants, a captain and two soldiers for our protection, and three muleteers. No one exactly knew where we were going, or the road to follow, and before we were well clear of Zenjan we lost our way: all we could say was, that we wanted to go to a place called "Solomon's Throne," which was supposed to be about four days' journey in the heart of the Median mountains, and eventually to come out on the other side of the great range close to the Salt Lake of Urumia.

The first part of the country we traversed was fertile and green, and at a distance of twelve miles from Zenjan we halted for refreshments in a garden of the last village before commencing the mountain paths. Here "Khan he ate and Khan he slept " under his large umbrella, and the first symptoms of impatience on our part began to manifest themselves.

Amidst wild and treeless mountains, as the shades of evening were coming on, we found by accident, not by premeditation, the miserable mud village of Dehshir-the first of many villages we passed through inhabited by the Afshahs, one of the most important of the Tatar-Turkish tribes, the members of which during the summer heats wander over these mountains with their tents and flocks.

There is but meagre information to be gathered concerning the origin of this tribe. We learnt that, nearly four hundred years ago, the Afshahs in conjunction with six other tribes made themselves very useful to a Persian Shah in his wars, and obtained for their tribes, amongst other privileges, that of wearing a red cap, which gained for them all the sobriquet of the "red heads."

One mud village inhabited by the tribes closely resembles another, and they are conspicuous chiefly for certain round constructions, standng about fifteen feet in height and built in the form of a dome; these are made of dried cakes of manure and form the only fuel possessed n this district. Each house possesses one; and before each house 5 spread the commodity in question, which is mixed with mud, and hen it has assumed the desired consistency, women-for the fair sex always employed in this industry-plaster round cakes on the wall › dry, and then build them up into the domed structures, which are echnically known as kusks, or kiosks, though differing widely from ur idea of what a kiosk should be.

VOL. CCLXX. NO. 1922.

K

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As we entered the village of Dehshir we interrupted a Passion Play. The carpets of the tribes, rich-coloured ghelims, and thick brown nummuds of camel's hair were spread out on the largest available portion of level ground; the performers, dressed in coats of mail and brandishing the daggers and weapons commonly found amongst them, were performing the well-known tragedy of Houssein and Hassan. Big strong men wept as if their hearts would break, and the womenkind uttered screams of distress. After the happy dénouement they all got up, and, with hands spread towards Kerbela, thanked Allah for mercies vouchsafed. I have seen these plays often performed in Persian towns, but never such intensity of feeling shown as amongst these wild nomadic mountaineers.

These Afshahs all belong to the Persian sect of Shiah, and are of course deadly enemies of their neighbours the Kourds, who are of the Sonnee persuasion; and it is reckoned even more righteous for one of these Mahomedan sectarians to kill one another than it is to kill an unbelieving Christian. Outside the village we visited the graveyard; the slabs on the graves are made of the same manure and mud preparation as the fuel, as is also a small domed tomb of a Seid, or the sacred saint of the tribe, on either side of which are two gaunt poles erected for decorations during the annual festival of Mohurrim. "Most of the graves are empty," remarked the man who accompanied us. "Why?" we asked in surprise. "Because the wolves won't allow the corpses to remain long." And we returned to our mud habitation hoping not to die in that locality. A funeral amongst these tribes is a striking and solemn affair, especially if the deceased be a man of note; then the wailing and lamentation is more intense, and the riderless horse is led to the tombside to pay his last respects to his

master.

After leaving Dehshir we crossed a very high pass indeed, called the "five fingers of Ali," from some peculiar pointed rocks which are greatly venerated by the tribes; and all around are little piles of stones placed by passers-by in token of respect-a custom common all over the East near sacred shrines, though I never before saw a natural phenomenon thus sanctified. Clambering down a steep ravine, we entered the valley of a great river called the Kizil Uzen. It is the most important stream in Media, and is supposed to be the Gozan of Scripture. It rises in Mount Zagros of Kourdistan, and after a meandering course of nearly 500 miles empties itself into the Caspian. We stood on its banks in great uncertainty for some time, for the river was very swollen. At length some men came up, stripped off their clothes, and gave us a lead. Needless to say, we

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