The incessant firing took up all his attention. Before ten minutes were out, shells, case-shot, and shrapnel had all been exhausted. The Mahsuds were firing more steadily than ever; and on the terrace itself, the infantry and sowars were in no enviable case. Unwin had fallen, shot through the head.
These two lines give us three tracts to be dealt with first, the tract inside the inner line, the settled districts of the North-West Frontier Province, inhabited for the most part by sturdy and somewhat turbulent Pathans; second, the tract between the two lines, that welter of mountains where dwell the hardy brigand hillmen: the tribes of the Black Mountain, of Swat and Bajur, the Mohmands, the Afridis, the Orakzais, the Wazirs, the Mahsuds, and a host of others, whose names from time to time become familiar according as the outrageousness of their misconduct necessitates military operations; third, the country beyond the outer line, "the God-granted kingdom of Afghanistan and its dependencies."
Suddenly a large party, mainly composed of Mahsuds, and headed by a very big powerful man, made a swift rush to the gate, each man bearing a bundle of faggots or a load of cut brushwood, save two or three who bore vessels of kerosene oil.
It has been the practise of our statesmen to adopt the attitude that because the Amir was by treaty precluded from interfering with our tribes, therefore he must have nothing to do with them. This is a short-sighted view. We found during the Great War the late Amir's influence, particularly over the Mahsuds, of the greatest value, when he agreed to use it on our behalf.
For at the first signs of evacuation the Mahsuds came out in greater numbers; harrying and pressing in upon the dogged little column on all sides, yet rarely offering a mark for riflemen; their lithe bodies and marvellous activity enabling them to find cover almost anywhere.
The long list which I have closed with 1904 ends with the expeditions against the Mahsuds in 1901, against the Kabalis in 1902, and the invasion of Tibet, before noted.
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