LETTER xxv SOWARS AND BO AD-GUARDS 1*75 replied that he could not give one without an order, and that as he knew only Turki, my letter in Persian from the Prince Governor of Hamadan was nothing to him. Later, a sowar, who said he was also a "road- guard/' came and said that he only was responsible for the safety of travellers, and that I could not get a watch- man from the ketchuda, as no one could pass the gates after sunset without his permission. I already knew that there were no gates. He said he was entitled to five krans a night for protecting the tents. (The charge is one T&ran, or under exceptional circumstances two.) I told him we were quite capable of protecting ourselves. Late in the evening an apparently respectable man came and warned us to keep a good look-out, as this sowar and another had vowed to rob our tents out of revenge for not having been employed. These men, acting as road- guards, are a great terror to the people. They levy black- mail on caravans and take food for their horses and them- selves, " the pick of everything/' without payment. The people also accuse them of committing, or being accessory to, the majority of highway robberies. The women who came to condole with me on my losses accused these men of being the thieves, but it was younger feet which clattered away from my tent. Sharban, thoroughly subdued for the time, and his servant watched, and to show that they were awake fired their guns repeatedly. The nightly arrangement now is to secure a watchman from the ketchuda; to walk round the camp two or three times every night to see that he is awake, and that Boy is all right; to secure the yelcdan to my bed with a stout mule-chain, and to rope the table and chair on which I put my few remaining things also to the bed, taking care to put a tin can with a knife in it on the very edge of the table, so that if the things are tampered with the clatter may awake me.