LETTER xvi PATERNAL TENDERNESS 21
what changed, and Aziz Khan now interprets the strange
accounts of maladies to Mirza, and he interprets to me.
When they crowd almost into the tent, Aziz, when
appealed to, pelts them with stones and beats them with
a stick, and they take it very merrily. He thinks that
I have appliances in the " leather box " for the cure of
all ills, and when he brings blind people, and I say that
I cannot do anything for them, he loses his temper.
N"o matter where we camp, dark, handsome men spring up
as if by magic, and hang about the fires for the rest of the
day. From,among these the guides are usually selected.
Numbers of " patients" appear everywhere, and the
well assemble with the sick round my tent. At Berigun
the people were very ignorant and obstinate. After spend-
ing a whole hour on two men, and making medicines up
for them, they said they would have the " Feringhi's oint-
ment," but " nothing that goes down the throat." Another
said (and he had several disciples) that he would not take
the medicine " for fear it should make him a Christian/'
One man, who has fever, took away four quinine powders
yesterday for four days, and came back to-day deaf and
giddy, saying that I have killed him. He had taken
them all at once !
It is very pleasant to see how very fond the men are
of their children, and how tender and loving they are to
their little girls. The small children are almost always
pretty, but by three years old the grace and innocence of
childhood are completely lost, and as in Persia there are
no child faces; indeed, the charm of childhood scarcely
survives the weaning-day. If they are sick the fathers
carry them for miles on their backs for medicine, and
handle them very gently, and take infinite pains to under-
stand about the medicine and diet. Even if both father
and mother come with a child, the man always carries
it, holds it, is the spokesman, and takes the directions.