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54                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA           LETTER xvm

jird, and sent to Isfahan, where he was kept in irons for
some years, the redoubtable Aziz Khan being one of his
captors. This accounts for the disappearance of Aziz on
" pilgrimage " to a neighbouring imamzada, and the con-
sequent dulness of the camp.

Among a people at once simple and revengeful, it is
not unlikely that such severities may bear their legitimate
fruit if an occasion presents itself, such as the embroil-
ment of Persia with any other power. Another Khan
who was thrown into prison and irons by the Zil-es-
Sultan expressed himself strongly on the subject. " Five
years," he said, holding out his muscular wrists, on which
the marks of fetters are still visible, " I wore the chains.
Can I forget ?" The Bakhtiaris do not love the Persians,
and are held, I think, by a brittle thread.

I have written of the extreme poverty of the surround-
ings of the Khaja Taimur or Taimur Khan. It is not a
solitary instance. Throughout this journey I am painfully
impressed with the poverty of the tribesmen. As com-
pared with the wealth of those farther south when visited
by Sir A. H. Layard and the Baron de Bode, their con-
dition is one of destitution. The Ilkhani and Ilbegi have
' fine -studs, but few of the Khans have any horses worth
looking at, and for some time past none at all have been
seen except a few belonging to the chiefs, and the men
either walk or ride very small asses.

Their cattle are few and small and their flocks insig-
nificant when compared with those of the Arab tribes
west of the Tigris. Their tents and furnishings are like-
wise extremely poor, and they live poorly, many of them
only able to procure acorn flour for bread, and this though
they grow a great deal of grain, and every yard of land
is cultivated if water is procurable.

The hospitality which those two travellers mention as
a feature of the character of the more southerly Bakh-