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Burnaby, Fred / A ride to Khiva: travels and adventures in central Asia

Chapter XXIV,   pp. 181-188

Page 182

their way steadily through the snow, which was in some places 
quite two feet deep. The one I rode, which in England would 
not have been considered able to carry my boots, was as fresh 
as possible after his march of seventeen miles, and, in spite of 
the weight on his back-quite twenty stone-had never shown 
the least sign of fatigue. 
"He is a wonderful horse," I said to the guide. 
"Horse !" observed the latter, very contemptuously; "call
a horse! You should see my brother-in-law's horses at Kalen- 
derhana, for they are beautiful animals, round and fat." 
"Where is Kalenderhana'?" I inquired. 
" )n this side of the Oxus," was the reply, "and on the 
main track." 
"Not on the road to Petro-Alexandrovsk ?" I observed. 
"No, on the road to Khiva." 
A thought then suddenly occurred to me. Why not try 
and persuade the fellow to take me to Kaleuderhana under the 
pretext of buying some horses from his brother-in-law? It 
was true that I should still be a good many miles from Khiva; 
but if the guide could only be induced to continue the jour- 
ney as far as his brother-in-law's village, I might then find some 
other excuse to proceed onward, and enter the khan's capital 
without having put my foot into the Russian fort. 
"How far is Kalenderhana from Petro-Alexandrovsk ?" I in- 
"About forty miles." 
"It is a pity your brother-in-law's kibitka is so far from 
Petro, for perhaps you are right about this animal. He is 
hardly up to my weight, or fit for so long a journey; howev- 
er, as we are going to the fort, I shall buy some horses in that 
neighborhood. I am told that the horses there are very beau- 
tiful, that they are round and fat, and they can gallop like 
I had said enough, and it seemed to me that the best course 
to pursue would be to let the conversation drop as if I had no 
particular interest in the matter, and had made up my mind as 
to what I was about to do. Nazar I had gained over to my 
views, having promised him a hundred-ruble note the day we 

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