Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/260

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e28 Burnes' Visit to the Court of Sinde. dark blue cotton; trowsen of the same material, and the. national cap, which is of a cylindrical form. about eight inches in height, and commonly made of coloured cloth. Like their countrymen in general, they wear long beards and mustachios, and are armed with swordz, daggers, matchlocks, and shields. With the exception of a small corps of Beloches, who are kept to garrison the fortress of Hyderabad, the armed retainers of the Ameers are few in num- ber and contemptible in appearance. The government, it is said, could a?emble about forty thousand men in the course of a few days, by some means resembling the red cross of our own fore- fathers, they being at other times employed in agriculture and other peaceful occupations. The military classes of the subjects of the ?kmeers may be considered as a body of marauders ready to take arms for any came which will afford them support, or which offers a prospect of plunder. In the field, though brave and hardy, the Sindian soldier has no discipline, and their vanity and boasting are excessive. The few walled towns in the province of Sinde are Contemptible, and scarcely deserve the name of fortresses. Omerhote, the repo- sitory of the wealth of the _Ameers, is within a few miles of a branch of the Indus, and utterly untenable. The fortifications of Kurachee, the principal port, are mean and irregular; the houses within the walls amounted, in 1813, to three thousand ?wo hundred and fifty; but the population did not amount to thirteen thousand souls. The city of Hyderabad is a collection of houses of very poor appearance, according to one author, wretched low mud hovels. The fortifications consist of a high wall and citadel; the latter is entirely brick-work, but very thick; the figure circular, and not more than a hundred yards in diameter; the walls are gradually crumbling away. The general st)'le of the court of Sinde excited the admiration of the travellers; and Dr. Burnes says, there was an air of dignity and good breeding in the younger princes seldom to be met with either in the European or native characters. ,After the second visit of this gentleman to the court, the ceremony Of taking off the shoes wa? dispensed with. The _Ameers pay visits to the Shikargahs, or preserves for game, once or twice a month. These are large tracts ofj ungle so carefully inclosed as to prevent the egress of all quadru- peds; and the walls being closed up, the game is hunted till dire necessity obliges it to seek for water in a well, near a temporary building or wicker bungalow, which is placed in gardens beauti- fully shaded and decked with flowers, and from which the _Ameers shoot the animals deliberately,'and receive the acclamations of their followers. They are also extremely fond of hawks; and all the grandees in Sinde, when they appear in public, are attended by Digitized by Google