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.