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98                       JOURNEYS IN PEBSIA               LETTER xx

Then, as if a sudden thought had struck him, he added,
"And you can cure mules and mares, and get much money,
and when you go back to Feringhistan you'll be very rich."

In nearly every camp I have an evening " gossip"
with the guides and others of the tribesmen, and, in the
absence of news from the larger world, have become
intensely interested in Bakhtiari life as it is pictured for
me in their simple narratives of recent forays, of grow-
ing tribal feuds and their causes, of blood feuds, and of
bloody fights, arising out of trivial disputes regarding
camping-grounds, right of pasture, right to a wounded
bird, and things more trivial still. They are savages at
heart. They take a pride in bloodshed, though they say
they are tired of it and would like to live at peace, and
there would be more killing than there is were it not for
the aversion which some of them feel to the creation of a
blood feud. When they do fight, " the life of a man is as
the life of a sheep," as the Persian proverb runs. Mirza
says that among themselves their talk is chiefly of guns
and fighting. The affairs of the mountains are very
interesting, and so is the keen antagonism between the
adherents of the Ilkani and those of Isfandyar Khan.

Sometimes the conversation takes a religious turn. I
think I wronged Aziz Khan in an earlier letter. He is
in his way much more religious than I thought him. A
day or two ago I was asking him his beliefs regarding a
future state, which he explained at much length, and
which involve progressive beatitudes of the spirit through
a course of one hundred years. He laid down times and
seasons very definitely, and was obviously in earnest,
when two Magawe men who were standing by broke in
indignantly, saying, "Aziz Khan, how dare you speak
thus ? These things belong to" God, the Judge, He knows,
we don'tówe see the spirit fly away to judgment and
we know no more. God is great, He alone knows,"