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LETTER XXV                            ROBBERY                                          171

night the Turkish caravans started with noise inconceiv-
able, yells of charvadars, shouts of village boys, squeals
of horses, barking of big dogs, firing of guns, and jangling
of 200 sets of bells, all sobering down into a grandly
solemn sound as of many church steeples on the march.

I went out to see that all was right, found my serv-
ants sleeping heavily and had not the heart to awake
them, found the mercury a degree below the freezing
point, and lay clown, covering my head with a blanket,
for the shivering stage of fever had come on. The night
was very still, and after some time I heard in the still-
ness the not uncommon noise of a dog (as I thought)
fumbling outside my tent. I took no notice till he
seemed getting in, when I jumped up with an adjuration,
saw the floor vacant,' and heard human feet running
away. I ran out and fired blank cartridge several times
in flie direction of the footsteps, hoping that the flashes
would reveal the miscreant, but his movements had been
more agile than mine. Mirza ran into the village and
informed the ketchuda, but he took it very quietly and
said that the robbers were Turks, which was false. I
offered a large reward, but it was useless.

When daylight came and I investigated my losses I
found myself without any of the things which I have
come to regard as indispensable. My cork helmet, boots,
gloves, sun umbrella, stockings, scanty stock of under-
clothing, all my brushes, towels, soap, scissors, needles,
thread, thimble, the strong combination knife which Aziz
coveted and which was used three or four times every
day, a large silk handkerchief a hundred years old which I
wore as a protection from the sun, my mask, revolver case,
keys, pencils, paint brushes, sketches, notes of journeys,
and my one mug were all gone. If anything could be
worse, my gold pen, with which I have written for the
last eighteen years, had also disappeared. Furthermore, to