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LETTER xx                     A STAMPEDE                                119

knocked down the man who led him, and with a joyous
neigh set off at a canter, followed by all the mules and
horses, some cantering, some trotting, regardless of their
loads, and regardless of everything, proceeding irrespon-
sibly, almost knocking one out of the saddle by striking
one with the sharp edges of yelcdans and tent poles; till
they were headed off by mounted men, after which some
of them rolled, loads and all, on the soft buff grass.
This escapade shows what condition they are in after
three months of hard mountain work.

Beaching the village at noon, we halted till moonrise
at midnight on an eminence with some fine plane and
walnut trees upon it above a stream which issues from
below an imamzada on a height, and passes close to a
graveyard. Possibly this contaminates the water, for
there has been a great outbreak of diphtheria, which has
been very fatal. It is quite a small village, but thirteen
children suffering from the most malignant form of the
malady, some of them really dying at the time, were
brought to me during the afternoon, as well as some
people ill of what appeared to be typhoid fever. One
young creature, very ill, was carried three miles on her
father's back, though I had sent word that I would call
and see her at night. She died a few hours later of the
exhaustion brought on by the journey. The mercury
that afternoon reached 103 in the shade.

Soon after midnight the mules were silently loaded,
and we " stole silently away," to ride through the terri-
tory of the powerful Sagwands, a robber tribe, and reached
this place in eight hours, having done twenty-two and a
half miles. It was a march full of risk, through valleys
crowded with camps, and the guide who rode in front was
very much frightened whenever the tremendous barking
of the camp dogs threatened to bring robbers down on
us in the uncertain light. The caravan was kept in