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62                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA           LETTER xvm

In the afternoon, with Mirza and Karim as a guard,
I went somewhat reluctantly to the Khan's camp to
return the abortive visit of the ladies. This camp con-
sists of a number of black tents arranged in a circle, the
Khan's tents only distinguishable from the rest by their
larger size. Mares, dogs, sheep, goats, and fireholes were
in the centre, and some good-looking horses were tethered

The Khan's mother, a fine, buxom, but coarse-looking
woman, met me, and took me to an open tent, fully forty
feet long, the back of which was banked up by hand-
some saddle-bags. Bolsters and rugs were laid in the
middle, on which the four legitimate wives and several
inferior ones, with a quantity of babies and children
crawling about them, were seated. Among them was
a very handsome Jewish-looking girl of eighteen, the
Khan's daughter, pleasing in expression and graceful in
manner. She is married to a son of Taimur Khan, but
he does not care for her, and has practically discarded
her, which adds insult to the " blood feud" previously

After I entered the tent the whole camp population,
male and female, crowded in, pressing upon us with
clamour indescribable. The Khan's mother slapped the
wives if they attempted to speak and conducted herself
like a ruling virago, occasionally shrieking at the crowd,
while a tufangchi with a heavy stick belaboured all within
his reach, and those not belaboured yelled with laughter.

The senior lady beckoned Mirza to lean towards her,
and told him in a whisper that her handsome grand-
daughter is hated and despised by her husband, and has
been sent back with a baby a year old, he having taken
another wife, and that she wanted me to give her a
" love philtre " that would answer the double purpose of
giving her back his love and making her rival hateful in