116 JOUBNEYS IN PEESIA LETTER xx and were encamped above us, and there were two large camps below. Men from each of them warned us to beware of the others, for they were robbers, and there was a great deal of dexterous pilfering, which reduced my table equipments to a copper mug, one plate, and a knife and fork. My shuldari was torn to pieces, and pulled down over me, by a lively mule which cantered among the tent ropes. The afternoon, with the mercury at 103°, was spent in entertaining successive crowds, not exactly rude, but full of untamed curiosity. I amused them to their com- plete satisfaction by letting them blow my whistle, fill my air-cushion, and put the whalebones into my col- lapsible basins. One of Milward's self-threading needles, which had luckily been found in my carpet, surprised them beyond measure. Every man and woman insisted on threading it with the eyes shut, and the ketchuda of one camp offered to barter a sheep for it. They said that my shabby tent, with its few and shabby equip- ments, was "fit for God!" The camps passed on that day were constructed of booths made of stems of trees with the bark on, the roofs being made of closely-woven branches with the leaves on. These booths are erected'round a square with mat walls, and face outwards, a sort of privacy being obtained by backs of coarse reed mats four feet high, and mat divisions between the dwellings. The sheep, goats, and cattle are driven into the square at night through a narrow entrance walled with mats. Since leaving the Karun very few horses have been seen, and the few have been of a very inferior class. Even Yahya Khan, who has the reputation of being rich, rode a horse not superior to a common pack animal. The people we have been among lately have no horses or mares, the men walk, and the loads are carried on cows and asses.