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LETTER xxi          NEWS FROM THE HILLS                      127

Later in the day Hassan came in a quiet rage, saying
that he would leave for Isfahan at once, because Mirza
had accused him of not keeping an efficient watch, and
shortly afterwards Mahomet Ali and his handsome
donkey actually did leave.1 Burujird bears a very bad
reputation. Here, last year, a young English officer was
robbed of his tents and horses, and everything but the
clothes he wore.

The Governor, on hearing of the theft, said I should
not have " camped in the wilderness," the " wilderness "
being a beautifully kept garden with a gardener (who
was arrested) and a house. For the last week a guard of
six soldiers has watched by day and night.

The news received from the JBakhtiari country is
rather startling. Mirab Khan, who looked too ill and
frail for active warfare, sent a messenger with a letter to
Khaja Taimur, urging him to join him in an attack on
Aslam Khan. The letter was intercepted by this " Judas,"
and now the country from Kalahoma to Khanabad is in
a flame. Serious troubles have broken out in this plain,
all the Khans of the Sagwand tribe having united to rise
against the payment of a tribute which they regard as
heavy enough to " crush the life out of the people."
The Hakim has telegraphed for troops, and the governor
of Luristan is said to be coming with 500 men.

A " tribute insurrection," on a larger or smaller scale,
is a common autumnal event. The Khans complain of
being oppressed by " merciless exactions." They say that
the tribute fixed by the Shah is " not too much," but that
it is doubled and more by the rapacity of governors, and
that the people are growing poorer every year. They
complain- that when they decline to pay more than the

1 I have since heard that this youth was an accomplice of a Burujird
man in this theft, and of an Armenian in a robbery of money which
occurred in Berigun.