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18                        JOURNEYS IN PEBSIA           LETTER xvi

he should watch all night.    I knew he would, for the
sake of his Arab mare!

TJiis morning, soon after leaving Mowaz, the Sahib's
guide galloped up, saying that his master had been
robbed of "everything" the night before, and was
without the means of boiling water. Orders were
given for the camps to close up, for no servants to ride
in advance of or behind the caravan, and that no Ilyats
should hang about the tents.

Although the Bakhtiari Lurs are unified under one
chief, who is responsible to the Shah for the security of
the country, and though there has been a great improve-
ment lince Sir A. H. Layard's time, the advance, I
think, Is chiefly external. The instincts and traditions
of the tribes remain predatory. Possibly they may no
longer attack large caravans, but undoubtedly they *rob,
when and where they can, and they have a horrid habit
of stripping their victims, leaving them with but one
under garment, if they do not kill them. They have a
gesture, often used by Aziz Khan in his descriptions of
raids, which means stripping a man to his shirt. The
word used is skin, but they are not such savages as this
implies. The gesture consists in putting a finger into the, slowly withdrawing it, and holding it up with a
of  infinite complacency.    Aziz admits with some
3 that with twenty, men he fell upon a rich caravan
"•Shiraz, and robbed it of £600.
To-day's   march   has   been   mainly   through   very
active scenery.    We crossed the Ab-i-Mowaz, pro-
led over slopes covered with wheat and flowers, and
ag a rocky path overhanging  the exquisitely tinted
uft, forded the Ab-i-Nozi, at a place abounding in
tarisks bearing delicate, feathery pink blossoms, and
ended to upland lawns  of great beauty, on which
3   oaks   come   down   both   in   clumps   and   singly,