Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/256

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?4 Burnes' Visit to the Cou?t of $i?ute. afew shrubs, . has no vegetation; but in forty-eight hours after rain, it becomes a perfect grass-plat. The country between Kurrachee and Tattab continues in the same level, and is, in like manner, alternately a wilderness or desert. On the south-eastern side of the Indus the country preserves everywhere pretty nearly the same aspect, being, at Lab, a dead, unproductive flat, sometimes inter- spersed with scattered and stunted shrubs. Near Hyderabad it becomes more hilly; and, from Ruree to Dhurra, canals are dug for the purposes of agriculture from the branches of the Indus; and over many of them small brick bridges are thrown, on which apparatuses for drawing water are constantly at work for irrigating the fields. The extensive cultivation and richness of the soil are here, too, remarkable; but from Laiqpoor to Burma, and from thence to within a short distance of Hyderabad, the whole is con- verted, by a most selfish policy, into hunting forests for the Ameers. The vegetation of the uncultivated tracts is almost entirely confined to shrubs of the Lye, or tamarisk; the babool (Mimosa .4rabies), taghuz, a tamarisk with white bark and leaves; the doodhill (/?u- plurrbia antiquorum), .the Kurbo aleander, or almond flower; the shinz (Hed?lsarum A/hag/); and the trees which cluster round a brackish water are the Peepul (F/cus religiosa), Neem (Melia agadirachta), and the Guz, or Indian tamarisk. The villages of Sinde are inferior even to those of Cutch. They are, for the most part, collections of low huts composed entirely of clay and thatch; while even the mosques with which they abound are generally of the same frail materials, and only distinguishable by their greater elevation, and a feeble attempt at ornament. Many of the inhabitants live in grass hovels in the field which they culti- vate. Most of the villages have no name except that of their actual owner; and it is not unusual for the who!e population of a place to remove their dwellings to another station, as inclination or necessity prompts them, and when either food or forage fails. These villages are, in reality, mere stations in the desert, where a little brackish water can be obtained. Tattab, formerly the capital of Sinde, and one of the richest cities in Asia, is still nearly six miles in circumference, exclusive of the ruins which extend a long way on both sides. The p6pulation, at the time Colonel Potringer visited it, amounted to near ?0,000 souls,--and Mr. Burnes gives double that amount; but its sheds consist chiefly of ruinous and uninhabited houses, the walls being built hollow by means of a frame of wood, plastered over with mud or mortar; and this, it is probable, Mr. Burnes mistook for stone, which he mentions as used in the construction of Tattab. _All the houses have badgcers, or ventilators, like chimneys. The Sindians are mostly tall, with good features, and well- formed limbs. Their complexions are dark? but the beauty of the