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.