In a week all the men of Himri, Akhulgo, and Dargo, the riders of Arrakan and Gumbet, Avaria and Koissubui, Itchkeria and Salatan, the dwellers on the four branches of the Koissu and the still blood-stained banks of the Aksai, Lesghians, Tchetchenians, and warriors of Daghestan, tribes of different origin and speaking various dialects, but freemen all, were in the stirrup, shaskas at their sides, and millet at their saddle-bows.
This has been found to be true over and over again by those who have shot there. The day closes, the Arrakan Mountains far away in the west are violet. The river here is wide as a fine lake and so smooth it reflects the most delicate tints of cloud-land. In front of us a low promontory stretches out from the east bank; we have to spend the night there.
They had far more fun, they say, before we came; a rupee went farther, and so on; and I quite believe it we did not grab the country to amuse them! 27th. Painted till 2 from 8 in half-hearted way. To the Grahams, then to the Arrakan Pagoda again, too tired and mosquito-bitten to do much after getting there a nostalgia of colour these last few days but saw the golden Buddha.
This monastery is called the Queen's golden Kyoung; it was erected by Thebaw's queen, Supayalat, in the early eighties and now king Thebaw and his queen are in durance near Bombay. Though it was getting late we drove on to another place, the Arrakan Pagoda. We had heard of it pretty much as a Burman coming to Europe might hear of a place called St Peter's.
He left the peaceful possession of his dominions to his son Sultan Abu Shahid, who had reigned only one year and five months when he was murdered in 1334 by the king of Arrakan, with whose family his father had contracted a marriage.
Schamyl, the principal hero of this war of independence, was born in the year 1797. The place of his birth is Himri, an aoul or village in the district of Arrakan, and in the north-western part of Daghestan, a territory lying on the Caspian.
I despair of making anything, in the meantime, of the Arrakan Pagoda, and the great golden Buddha with the wonderful light on it, and the kneeling tribesmen and women from over Asia. It is one of the finest, if not the finest, subject for painting I have ever seen, and yet I can't see one telling composition.
This morning I have to try to paint the groups in the Arrakan Pagoda, but in the bright daylight it is difficult to take one's attention from these Phrynes, who come down to bathe beside our steamer Phrynes, as to figure I mean.
Upper Burma has, however, put on new beauty and prosperity since the British have taken it over; and the people are abundantly satisfied with the new régime. Mandalay has also its famed Arrakan pagoda, which claims to have the only contemporary likeness of Buddha on earth. It is an immense brazen image; and it is the occupation of the devout to gild the same with gold-leaf.
I am sorry Mr Buchanan went; there's much to ask, about what he knew; of trees and beasts and people, or of the geology of these mountains that are beginning to appear to our left and right: to the west, the southern spine of the Arrakan Mountains, and to the east, the ranges of the Shan Highlands, which divide the Irrawaddy valley from the valley of the Salwin river.