He was sociable with them, and they ceased to be embarrassed in his presence. Even Mrs. Blossom no longer trembled before him, and he was as jolly with the boys as though he had been one of them. On the day after the Sowari the gentlemen of the party were conducted to the arena of the elephants, which was a large enclosure, reminding those who had seen them of the bull-rings of Spain.
"O, O, pool koob; rupee koob; sowari neis, sowari khylie koob adam." In this brief interchange of disconnected Persian the khan has asked me whether the sowars have stolen money from me, and I have answered that they have not, but that, on the contrary, they are most excellent men, both "trustie and true." May the recording angel enter my answer down with a recommendation for mercy!
Aminulah Khan is only too well acquainted with the weakest side of the Persian character, and at once jumps to the conclusion that the sowars have stolen my money. Sending for me and summoning the sowars to his presence, without preliminary palaver he accuses them of robbing me of "pool." Addressing himself to me, he inquires: "Sahib, Parses namifami?" "Sowari pool f pool koob; rupee-rupee Jcoob?"
As they come clattering up, the khan shouts loudly for me to stop, and the mirza and mudbake supplement his vocal exertions by gesticulating to the same purpose. "Khylie koob, Afghanistan inja-koob, hoob, sowari." Several times during the day has my delectable escort endeavored to fathom the extent of my courage by impressing upon me the danger to be apprehended in Afghanistan by a Ferenghi.
"It is the great Sowari, a procession such as none of your people ever saw, I will venture to say; and his Highness has provided places for all of you where you can see the whole of it in detail." The king announced this great state occasion himself before the lunch was finished, and gave the visitors a cordial invitation to witness the procession.
Daylight comes on apace and, finding the trail hard and reasonably smooth, I am happily able to "sowari," and not only able to ride but to forge right ahead of the party. The country is level and open, and uninhabited, so that Kiftan Sahib is far less apprehensive than he was yesterday.
They returned to the palace; and at the breakfast-table Louis told the story of the battle, in which all the Americans were much interested. But the business of the forenoon was the great Sowari, or public procession; and the party were conveyed in carriages to the pavilion, from the veranda of which they were to see the spectacle.