LETTER XXY A NOCTURNAL DISTURBANCE 183
with less than ten men, and I saw in the whole affair a
design on my very slender purse. A monetary panic
set in before I reached Hamadan : the sovereign had fallen
from thirty-four to twenty-eight krans, the Jews would
not take English paper at any price, I could not cash my
circular notes, and it was only through the kindness of
the American missionaries that I had any money at all,
and I had only enough for ordinary expenses as far as
Urmi. I told them that I could only pay two men, and
dismissed the sowars with a present quite out of propor-
tion to the time they had been with me.
During these arrangements the hubbub was indescrib-
able, but the men were very pleasant. Three hours later
the sowars returned, saying that after riding eight miles
they had met a messenger with a letter from the Khan,
telling them to go on another day with me. I asked
to see the letter, and then they said it was a verbal
message. They had never been outside of Karabulak!
I tell this in detail to show how intricate are the meshes
of the net in which a traveller on these unfrequented
roads is entangled.
Later, ten wild-looking Kurds with long guns, various
varieties of old swords, and long knives, lighted great
watch-fires on either side of my tent, and put Boy
between them. This pet likes fires, and lies down fear-
lessly among the men, close to the embers.
A little below my camp was a solitary miserable-
looking melon garden with a low mud wall. At mid-
night I was awakened by the loud report of several
guns close to my tent, and confused shouts of men, with
outcries of women and children. The watchmen saw two
men robbing the melon garden, shot one, and captured
both. I gave a present to the guards in the morning,
and the ketchudas took half of it.
The march to Jafirabad is over the same monotonous