From Asterabad, these united corps will march to the Indus; Persia, the enemy of England, is our natural ally." "Yes; but once in the Punjab, the Persian alliance will do you no good; and an army of eighty thousand men cannot drag its provisions along with it." "You forget one thing," said Bonaparte, as if the expedition were already under way, "I have left bankers at Teheran and Caboul.
The next day, soon after noon, we roll into Shahrood, where B discharges his fourgon and we engage mules to transport us over the Tash Pass, a breakneck bridle-trail over the Elburz range to the Asterabad Plain and the Caspian. A half-day search by Abdul results in the employment of an outfit comprising three charvadars, with three mules, a couple of donkeys, and riding horses for ourselves.
The Asterabad trail is a steady ascent from the beginning; and before many miles are covered, scattering dwarf pines on the, mountains indicate a change from the utter barrenness that characterizes their southern aspect.
No one knows this better than the Russian consul; and in the case of influential officials and other useful persons, he sees to it that gold watches and such-like tokens of the Czar's esteem are not lacking. The result is that Asterabad, both city and province, is even now more Russian than Persian, and when the proper time arrives will drop into the bear's capacious maw like a ripe plum.
Although he is the only European resident of Asterabad save a few Cossack attendants, he wears fashionable Parisian clothes, a wealth of watch-chain, rings, and flash jewellery, patent-leather shoes, and all the accompaniments of an ostentatious show of wealth and personal magnificence. His rooms are equally gorgeous, and contain large colored portraits of the Czar and Czarina.
These two latter insects have dwindled somewhat from the majestic proportions described by McGregor; they are large enough and enterprising enough as it is; but McGregor found one species the size of "cats," and the other "as large as camels." Bunder Guz is simply a landing and shipping point for Asterabad and adjacent territory.
Peter next turned his attention to the country bordering upon the southern shores of the Caspian Sea; taking advantage of Persian embarrassments, with the consent of the Shah and of the Sultan he acquired, in 1722-3, the provinces of Gilan, Mazanderan, and Asterabad; but the great expense of maintaining a large garrison so remote from Russia, and the unhealthiness of the locality, induced the Russian Government, in 1732, to restore the districts to Persia.
Having the official statement of a military engineer with reference to the Oxus-Hindu-Kush line, as a barrier or base or curtain, we may pass to the principal approach to Herat from the northwest. II. Or it could move outside Persian territory, from Chikishliar by the Bendessen Pass to Asterabad, and would then have to pass through Persian territory to Sarakhs, or across the desert to Merv;
He is the sort of man that the Russian Government invariably picks out for its representation at such important points in Asia as Asterabad. A six-footer of magnificent physique, with a smooth and polished address, all smiles and politeness, the Russian consul wears a leonine mustache that could easily be tied in a knot at the back of his head.
At the time a treaty was concluded with Napoleon, then First Consul, by virtue of which a combined Russo-French army was to disembark at Asterabad and march from thence into India by way of Khorassan and Afghanistan. The death of the Emperor of Russia put an end to this plan.