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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.