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78                       JOUENEYS IN PERSIA            LETTER xis

runs across it at Arjanak, and the river passes under-

The village and " Diz"l of Mirab Khan are reached
by a frightfully steep ascent. Arjanak has been built
for security on some narrow ledges below these colossal
walls. It is a mere eyrie, a collection of rude stone
hovels, one above the other, among which the Khan's
house is distinguishable only by its lalakhana and larger
size. The paths on the dusty hillside are so narrow
and shelving that I needed a helping hand as well as a
stick to enable me to reach a small, oblong, rug-covered
platform under some willow trees, where Mirab Khan
received me, with a very repulsive-looking Seyyid scribe
seated by him in front of a samovar and tea equipage,
from which he produced delicious tea, flavoured with
liine-juice. The Khan was courteous, i.e. he rose, and
did not sit down till I did.

He is a most deplorable-looking man, very tall and
thin, with faded, lustreless gray eyes, hollow, sallow cheeks,
and a very lank, ugly, straight-haired beard, light brown
in the middle. He and Khaja Taimur look more like
decayed merchants than chiefs of " tribes of armed horse-
men." I was very sorry for him, for he evidently suffers
much, but then and afterwards he impressed me un-
favourably, and I much doubt his good faith. He said
he heard I should spend two or three days at Arjanak,
aixd all he had was mine. He was not "like some
people," he said, "who professed great friendship for
people and then forgot all about them. When I make a
friendship," he said, "it is for ever." I asked him if
his tribe was at peace. "Peace," he replied senten-
tiously, "is a word unknown to the Bakhtiaris." In
fact he has more than one blood feud on hand. He
complained bitterly of the exactions of Persia, and added
1 A " Diz " is a natural fort believed to be impregnable.