Page:Thirty-five years in the East.djvu/77

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37
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE EAST.

told that there were four French military officers in the service of Runjeet Sing at Lahore, in India (Allard, Ventura, Court, and Avitabile ) who, after the defeat of Napoleon, having served in Persia, were about to organize a regular army at Lahore, and that no European physicians or surgeons had been yet engaged. We therefore, thinking it better to accelerate our departure, requested our dismissal, which was granted, and we thus left Bagdad. Our friend, Mr. Swoboda, furnished us with letters of introduction to the aforesaid French officers, and we went down the Tigris to Bassora, and embarked there for Bender Bushir, in Persia. At Bushir we met, at the British consul's, with six English officers ( one of whom was a medical man, cominef from Bombay ), who were on their way to England overland. We sold them our two Arabian horses, and becoming acquainted through that transaction, we went with them as far as Shiras, where we visited the ruins of Persepolis, and then separated. On the journey we had an opportunity of rendering a special service to our companions, namely, that of saving their luggage, and at the same time of witnessing the cowardice of the Persians. The fact was, that a fortress in the mountains, between Bushir and Shiras, having capitulated, the garrison, which consisted of a couple of hundred robber-like looking fellows, had met us in a forest, and fallen on the luggage-train of the English officers, who, together with their numerous servants,, were considerably in advance. When I saw the miscreants dragging about by the hair our men, I fired a pistol, partly to give a signal to the Englishmen to come to our assistance, and partly to frighten the assailants, which had the desired effect ; for they fled right and left among the trees. We then pursued our journey without further molestation, and received the thanks of the Englishmen, who were coolly taking snuff, and waiting for us at the top of the hill, near the fortress that had previously capitulated.

As it was too late for us now to proceed to India by sea, we preferred staying a few months at Shiras, following our profession, and waiting for the winter season, which is