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92                       JOURNEYS IN PERSIA               LETTER xx

Later, from Hadji and others I have heard what I
think may be the true version of the affair. They knew
that the party was a small one—only three rifles; that
on the fifteen baggage-animals there were things which
they specially covet, the value of which rumour had
doubtless magnified a hundredfold; and that we had
no escort. Behind were a number of the Sarawand men,
and the Pulawands purposed, if we turned back or showed
the " white feather " in any way, to double us up between
the two parties and rob the caravan at discretion. The
Agha was obliged to speak very severely to them, telling
them that firing on travellers is a grave offence, and
deserves as such to be represented to the Governor of
Burujird. I cannot acquit the demure-looking guide of
complicity in this transaction.

At this height of 9400 feet there is a pleasant plain,
on which our assailants are camped, and our camps are
on platforms in a gully near the top of Parwez. It is
all very destitute of springs or streams, and we have only
snow-water, and that only during the hot hours of the
day, for ourselves and the animals.

The tribes among which we are now are powerful and
very predatory in their habits. Their loyalty to the
Ilkhani is shadowy, and their allegiance to the Shah
consists in the payment of tribute, which cannot in all
cases be exacted. Indeed, I think that both in Tihran
and Isfahan there is only imperfect information as to
the attitude of the Bakhtiari Lurs. Their unification
under the rule of the Ilkhani grows more and more
incomplete as the distance from Isfahan increases, and
these tribes, which are under the government of Burujird
nominally, are practically not under the Ilkhani at all.
Blood feuds, predatory raids, Khans at war with each
other, tribal disputes and hostilities, are nearly universal.
It is not for the interest of Persia to produce by her mis-