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A Woman's Journey Round the World
by Ida Pfeiffer
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I had firmly made up my mind not to touch this food; but when it was ready it gave out such an agreeable odour, and my hunger was so great, that I broke my resolution, and remembered how many times I had eaten of food the preparation of which was not a whit cleaner. What was so bad in the present instance was that I had seen the whole process.

The broth was of a bluish black in colour, and with a rather strongly acid taste—both the result of the berries. But it agreed with me very well, and I felt as strong and well as if I had undergone no hardships during my journey from Baghdad.

I hoped soon to have had a similar dainty meal, but the Arab does not live so extravagantly; I was obliged to remain satisfied with bread and some cucumbers, without salt, oil, or vinegar.

26th June. We left the village and passed Kerku. At sunrise, we ascended a small hill, from the summit of which I was astonished by a beautiful prospect: a majestic lofty chain of mountains extended along an enormous valley, and formed the boundary between Kurdistan and Mesopotamia.

In this valley there were the most beautiful flowers, mallows, chrysanthemums, and thistly plants. Among the latter, there was one which frequently occurs in Germany, but not in such richness and magnificence. In many places these thistles cover large spaces of ground. The country people cut them down, and burn them instead of wood, which is here a great luxury, as there are no trees. We saw, today, some herds of gazelles, which ran leaping past us.

On the 27th of June we made our encampment near the miserable little town Attum-Kobri. Before reaching it, we crossed the river Sab (called by the natives Altum-Su, golden water), by two old Roman bridges. I saw several similar bridges in Syria. In both instances they were in good preservation, and will apparently long remain as evidences of the Roman power. Their wide and lofty arches rested upon massive pillars, and the whole was constructed of large square blocks of stone; the ascent of bridges of this kind is so steep that the animals are obliged to scramble up like cats.

On the 28th of June we reached the town of Erbil (formerly Arbela), where, to my great chagrin, we remained until the evening of the following day. This little town, which is fortified, is situated upon an isolated hill in the centre of a valley. We encamped, fortunately, near some houses outside the town, at the foot of the hill. I found a hut, which was tenanted by some men, two donkeys, and a number of fowls. The mistress, for a small acknowledgment, provided me a little place, which at least sheltered me from the burning heat of the sun. Beyond that, I had not the slightest convenience. As this hut, in comparison with the others, was a complete palace, the whole of the neighbours were constantly collected here. From early in the morning till late in the evening, when it is the custom to recline upon the terraces, or before the huts, there was always a large party; one came to gossip, others brought meal with them, and kneaded their bread meanwhile, so as not to miss the conversation. In the background, the children were being washed and freed from vermin, the asses were braying, and the fowls covering everything with dirt. These, altogether, made the stay in this place more unbearable than even hunger and thirst. Still, I must say, to the credit of these people, that they behaved with the greatest propriety towards me, although not only women, but a great number of men of the poorest and lowest class, were coming backwards and forwards continually; even the women here left me in quiet.

In the evening, some mutton was cooked in a vessel which just before was full of dirty linen steeped in water. This was emptied out, and, without cleaning the pot, it was used to prepare the food in the same manner as at the house of my guide.

On the 30th of June we halted at the village of Sab. We here crossed the great river Sab by means of rafts, the mode of constructing which is certainly very ancient. They consist of leathern bottles, filled with air, fastened together with poles, and covered with planks, reeds, and rushes. Our raft had twenty-eight wind-bags, was seven feet broad, nearly as long, and carried two horse-loads and six men. As our caravan numbered thirty-two loaded animals, the crossing of the river occupied half a day. Four or five of the animals were tied together and drawn over by a man seated across an air-bag. The weaker animals, such as the donkeys, had a bag half filled with air tied on their backs.

The night of the 30th of June, the last of our journey, was one of the most wearisome: we travelled eleven hours. About half-way, we came to the river Hasar, called Gaumil by the Greeks, and made remarkable by the passage of Alexander the Great. It was broad, but not deep, and we therefore rode through. The chain of mountains still continued at the side at some considerable distance, and here and there rose low, sterile hills, or head-lands. The total absence of trees in this part of Mesopotamia is striking: during the last five days I did not see a single one. It is, therefore, easy to imagine that there are many people here who have never seen such a thing. There were spaces of twenty miles in extent, upon which not a single branch was to be seen. However, it is fortunate that there is no scarcity of water; every day we came once or twice to rivers of various sizes.

The town of Mosul did not become visible until we were within about five miles. It is situated upon a slight elevation in a very extensive valley, on the west bank of the Tigris, which is already much narrower here than near Baghdad. We arrived about 7 o'clock in the morning.

I was fresh and active, although during these fifteen days I had only twice had a hot meal—the ink-coloured lamb soup at Kerku and Ervil; although I had been obliged to remain day and night in the same clothes, and had not even an opportunity of once changing my linen, not to say anything of the terrific heat, the continual riding, and other fatigues.

I first dismounted at the caravansary, and then procured a guide to the English Vice-consul, Mr. Rassam, who had already prepared a room for me, as he had been previously informed of my coming by a letter from Major Rawlinson, at Baghdad.

I first visited the town, which, however, does not present any very remarkable features. It is surrounded by fortified works, and contains 25,000 inhabitants, among which there are scarcely twelve Europeans. The bazaars are extensive, but not in the least degree handsome; between them lie several coffee-stalls and some chans. I found the entrances to all the houses narrow, low, and furnished with strong gates. These gates are relics of former times, when the people were always in danger from the attacks of enemies. In the interiors, there are very beautiful court-yards, and lofty, airy rooms, with handsome entrances and bow-windows. The doors and window-frames, the stairs and walls of the ground-floor rooms, are generally made of marble; though the marble which is used for these purposes is not very fine, yet it still looks better than brick walls. The quarry lies close to the town.

Here also the hot part of the day is passed in the sardabs. The heat is most terrible in the month of July, when the burning simoom not unfrequently sweeps over the town. During my short stay at Mosul, several people died very suddenly; these deaths were ascribed to the heat. Even the sardabs do not shelter people from continual perspiration, as the temperature rises as high as 97 degrees 25' Fah.

The birds also suffer much from the heat: they open their beaks wide, and stretch their wings out far from their bodies.

The inhabitants suffer severely in their eyes; but the Aleppo boils are not so common as in Baghdad, and strangers are not subject to them.

I found the heat very oppressive, but in other respects was very well, especially as regards my appetite: I believe that I could have eaten every hour of the day. Probably this was in consequence of the hard diet which I had been obliged to endure on my journey.

The principal thing worth seeing at Mosul is the palace, about half a mile from the town. It consists of several buildings and gardens, surrounded with walls which it is possible to see over, as they lie lower than the town. It presents a very good appearance from a distance, but loses on nearer approach. In the gardens stand beautiful groups of trees, which are the more valuable as they are the only ones in the whole neighbourhood.

During my stay at Mosul, a large number of Turkish troops marched through. The Pasha rode out a short distance to receive them, and then returned to the town at the head of the foot regiments. The cavalry remained behind, and encamped in tents along the banks of the Tigris. I found these troops incomparably better clothed and equipped than those which I had seen, in 1842, at Constantinople. Their uniform consisted of white trousers, blue cloth spencers, with red facings, good shoes, and fez.

As soon as I was in some degree recovered from the fatigue of my late journey, I requested my amiable host to furnish me with a servant who should conduct me to the ruins of Nineveh; but instead of a servant, the sister of Mrs. Rassam and a Mr. Ross accompanied me. One morning we visited the nearest ruins on the other side of the Tigris, at the village Nebbi Yunus opposite the town; and, on another day, those called Tel-Nimroud, which are situated at a greater distance, about eighteen miles down the river.

According to Strabo, Nineveh was still larger than Babylon. He represents it as having been the largest city in the world. The journey round it occupied three days. The walls were a hundred feet high, broad enough for three chariots abreast, and defended by fifteen hundred towers. The same authority states that the Assyrian king Ninus was the founder, about 2,200 years before the birth of Christ.

The whole is now covered with earth, and it is only when the peasants are ploughing, that fragments of brick or marble are here and there turned up. Long ranges of mounds, more or less high, extending over the immeasurable plain on the left bank of the Tigris, are known to cover the remains of this town.

In the year 1846, the Trustees of the British Museum sent the erudite antiquarian, Mr. Layard, to undertake the excavations. It was the first attempt that had ever been made, and was very successful. {268}

Several excavations were made in the hills near Nebbi Yunus, and apartments were soon reached whose walls were covered with marble slabs wrought in relief. These represented kings with crowns and jewels, deities with large wings, warriors with arms and shields, the storming of fortifications, triumphal processions, and hunting parties, etc. They were unfortunately deficient in correct drawing, proportions, or perspective; the mounds and fortifications were scarcely three times as high as the besiegers; the fields reached to the clouds; the trees and lotus flowers could scarcely be distinguished from each other; and the heads of men and animals were all alike, and only in profile. On many of the walls were found those wedge-shaped characters, or letters, which constitute what are called cuneiform inscriptions, and are found only on Persian and Babylonian monuments.

Among all the rooms and apartments which were brought to light, there was only one in which the walls were covered with fine cement and painted; but, notwithstanding the greatest care, it was not possible to preserve this wall. When it came in contact with the air, the cement cracked and fell off. The marble also is partially converted into lime, or otherwise injured, in consequence of the terrible conflagration which laid the city in ruins. The bricks fall to pieces when they are dug out.

From the number of handsome apartments, the abundance of marble, and the paintings and inscriptions upon it, the inference is drawn that this spot contains the ruins of a royal palace.

A considerable quantity of marble slabs, with reliefs and cuneiform inscriptions, were carefully detached from the walls and sent to England. When I was at Bassora, a whole cargo of similar remains lay near the Tigris, and among others a sphynx.

On our return we visited the village Nebbi Yunus, which is situated on a slight eminence near the ruins. It is remarkable only on account of a small mosque, which contains the ashes of the prophet Jonas, and to which thousands of devotees make annual pilgrimages.

During this excursion we passed a number of fields, in which the people were engaged in separating the corn from the straw in a very peculiar manner. For this purpose, a machine was employed, consisting of two wooden tubs, between which was fastened a roller, with from eight to twelve long, broad, and blunt knives or hatchets. This was drawn by two horses or oxen over the bundles of corn laid on the ground, until the whole of the corn was separated from the straw. It was then thrown up into the air by means of shovels, so that the chaff might be separated from the grain by the wind.

We finally visited the sulphur springs, which lie close to the walls of Mosul. They are not warm, but appear to contain a large quantity of sulphur, as the smell is apparent at a considerable distance. These springs rise in natural basins, which are surrounded by walls eight feet in height. Every one is allowed to bathe there without any charge, for people are not so niggardly and sparing of nature's gifts as in Europe. Certain hours are set apart for women, and others for the men.

On the following day we rode to the Mosque Elkosch, near the town. Noah's son Shem has found a resting-place here. We were not allowed to enter this mosque, but certainly did not lose much by that, as all these monuments are alike, and are not remarkable either for architecture or ornament.

The Nineveh excavations are carried on most extensively at Tel- Timroud, a district where the mounds of earth are the most numerous. Tel-Nimroud is situated about eighteen miles from Mosul down the Tigris.

We took our seats one moonlight evening upon a raft, and glided down between the dull banks of the Tigris. After seven hours, we landed, about 1 o'clock in the morning, at a poor village, bearing the high sounding name Nimroud. Some of the inhabitants, who were sleeping before their huts, made us a fire and some coffee, and we then laid down till daybreak upon some rugs we had brought with us.

At daybreak we took horses (of which there are plenty in every village), and rode to the excavations, about a mile from Nimroud. We found here a great number of places which had been dug up, or rather, uncovered mounds of earth, but not, as at Herculaneum, whole houses, streets, squares, indeed, half a town. Nothing beyond separate rooms has been brought to light here, or at the utmost, three or four adjoining ones, the exterior walls of which are not, in any case, separated from the earth, and have neither windows nor doors visible.

The objects which have been discovered exactly resemble those in the neighbourhood of Mosul, but occur in greater numbers. Besides these, I saw several idols and sphynxes in stone. The former represented animals with human heads; their size was gigantic—about that of an elephant. Four of these statues have been found, two of which were, however, considerably damaged. The others were not indeed in very good preservation, although sufficiently so to show that the sculptors did not particularly excel in their profession. The sphynxes were small, and had unfortunately suffered more damage than the bulls.

Shortly before my arrival, an obelisk of inconsiderable height, a small and uninjured sphynx, together with other remains, had been sent to England.

The excavations near Tel-Nimroud have been discontinued about a year, and Mr. Layard has been recalled to London. An order was afterwards given to cover in the places which had been dug open, as the wandering Arabs had begun to do a great deal of injury. When I visited the spot, some places were already covered in, but the greater part remained open.

The excavations near Nebbi Yunus are still being carried on. An annual grant is made by the British government for this purpose.

The English resident at Baghdad, Major Rawlinson, had made himself perfectly master of the cuneiform character. He reads the inscriptions with ease, and many of the translations are the results of his labours.

We returned to Mosul on horseback in five hours and a half. The power of endurance of the Arabian horses is almost incredible. They were allowed only a quarter of an hour's rest in Mosul, where they had nothing but water, and then travelled the eighteen miles back again during the hottest part of the day. Mr. Ross told me that even this was not equal to the work done by the post horses: the stations for these are from forty-eight to seventy-two miles distant from each other. It is possible to travel from Mosul by Tokat to Constantinople in this way. The best Arabian horses are found round Baghdad and Mosul.

An agent of the Queen of Spain had just purchased a stud of twelve magnificent horses (eight mares and four stallions), the dearest of which had cost on the spot 150 pounds sterling. They stood in Mr. Rassam's stable. Their handsome, long, slender heads, their sparkling eyes, slight bodies, and their small delicately formed feet, would have filled any admirer of horses with delight.

I could now venture, not, indeed, without considerable risk, although with the possibility of some insult, upon the desired journey into Persia. I sought a caravan to Tebris. Unfortunately, I could not find one which went direct there, and I was, therefore, compelled to make this journey in separate stages, a circumstance which was so much the worse for me, as I was told that I should not find any Europeans on the way.

Nevertheless I took the chance. Mr. Rassam arranged for me the journey as far as Ravandus, and furnished me with a letter of recommendation to one of the natives there. I wrote out a small lexicon of Arabian and Persian words, and took leave of this hospitable family at sunset, on the 8th of July. I started on this journey with some feelings of anxiety, and scarcely dared to hope for a fortunate termination. On that account I sent my papers and manuscripts from here to Europe, so that in case I was robbed or murdered my diary would at least come into the hands of my sons. {270}



CHAPTER XX. PERSIA.



JOURNEY OF THE CARAVAN TO RAVANDUS—ARRIVAL AT AND STAY IN RAVANDUS— A KURDISH FAMILY—CONTINUATION OF THE JOURNEY—SAUH-BULAK—OROMIA— AMERICAN MISSIONARIES—KUTSCHIE—THREE GENEROUS ROBBERS—PERSIAN CHANS AND ENGLISH BUNGALOWS—ARRIVAL AT TEBRIS.

On the 8th of July the caravan guide called for me in the evening. His appearance was so unfavourable that I should scarcely have ventured to travel a mile with him had I not been assured that he was a man well known in the place. His dress consisted of rags and tatters, and his countenance resembled that of a robber. Ali, that was his name, told me that the travellers and goods had already gone on and were encamped in the chan near Nebbi-Yunus, where they were to pass the night. The journey was to be commenced before sunrise. I found three men and some pack-horses; the men (Kurds) were no better in appearance than Ali, so that I could not promise myself much gratification from their society. I took up my quarters for the night in the dirty court-yard of the chan, but was too much frightened to sleep well.

In the morning, to my astonishment, there were no indications of starting. I asked Ali what was the cause of this, and received as answer that the travellers were not all assembled yet, and that, as soon as they were, we should proceed immediately. In the expectation that this might soon happen, I dared not leave the miserable shelter to return to Mosul, from which we were only a mile distant. The whole day was spent in waiting; these people did not come until evening. There were five of them: one, who appeared to be a wealthy man, with his two servants, was returning from a pilgrimage. We started at last about 10 o'clock at night. After travelling for four hours we crossed several ranges of hills, which form the boundaries of Mesopotamia and Kurdistan. We passed several villages, and reached Secani on the morning of the 10th of July. Ali did not halt at the village which lies on the pretty river Kasir, but on the other side of the river near a couple of deserted, half-ruined huts. I hastened directly into one of the best to make sure of a good place, where the sun did not come through the sieve- like roof, which I fortunately found but the pilgrim, who hobbled in directly after me, was inclined to dispute its possession. I threw my mantle down, and seating myself upon it, did not move from the place, well knowing that a Mussulman never uses force towards a woman, not even towards a Christian one. And so it turned out; he left me in my place and went grumbling away. One of the pedlars behaved himself in a very different manner: when he saw that I had nothing for my meal but dry bread, while he had cucumbers and sweet melons, he gave me a cucumber and a melon, for which he would not take any money. The pilgrim also ate nothing else, although he had only to send one of his servants to the village to procure either fowls or eggs, etc. The frugality of these people is really astonishing.

About 6 in the evening we again proceeded on our journey, and for the first three hours went continually up-hill. The ground was waste and covered with boulders, which were full of shallow holes, and resembled old lava.

Towards 11 at night we entered an extensive and beautiful valley, upon which the moon threw a brilliant light. We purposed halting here, and not continuing our journey further during the night, as our caravan was small, and Kurdistan bears a very bad name. The road led over fields of stubble near to stacks of corn. Suddenly half a dozen powerful fellows sprung out from behind, armed with stout cudgels, and seizing our horses' reins, raised their sticks, and shouted at us terribly. I felt certain that we had fallen into the hands of a band of robbers, and was glad to think that I had left my treasures which I had collected at Babylon and Nineveh, together with my papers, at Mosul; my other effects might have been easily replaced. During the time this was passing in my mind, one of our party had sprung from his horse and seized one of the men by the breast, when he held a loaded pistol before his face and threatened to shoot him. This had an immediate effect; the waylayers relinquished their hold, and soon entered into a peaceful conversation with us; and at last, indeed, showed us a good place to encamp, for which, however, they requested a small bachshish, which was given to them by a general collection. From me, as belonging to the female sex, they required nothing. We passed the night here, though not without keeping guard.

11th July. About 4 o'clock we were again upon the road, and rode six hours, when we came to the village of Selik. We passed through several villages, which, however, had a very miserable appearance. The huts were built of reeds and straw; the slightest gust of wind would have been sufficient to have blown them over. The dress of the people approaches in character to the Oriental; all were very scantily, dirtily, and raggedly clothed.

Near Selik I was surprised by the sight of a fig-tree and another large tree. In this country trees are rare. The mountains surrounding us were naked and barren, and in the valleys there grew at most some wild artichokes or beautiful thistles and chrysanthemums.

The noble pilgrim took upon himself to point out my place under the large tree, where the whole party were encamped. I gave him no reply, and took possession of one of the fig-trees. Ali, who was far better than he looked, brought me a jug of buttermilk, and altogether today passed off tolerably pleasantly.

Several women from the village visited me and begged for money, but I gave them none, as I knew from experience that I should be attacked by all if I gave to one. I once gave a child a little ring, and not only the other children, but their mothers and grandmothers, crowded round me. It cost me some trouble to keep them from forcibly emptying my pockets. Since that time I was more cautious. One of the women here changed her begging manner into one so threatening, that I was heartily glad at not being alone with her.

We left this village at 4 in the afternoon. The pilgrim separated from us, and the caravan then consisted of only five men. In about an hour and a half we reached an eminence from which we obtained a view of an extensive and well cultivated hill country. The land in Kurdistan is without comparison better than in Mesopotamia, and the country is consequently better inhabited; we were, therefore continually passing through different villages.

Before nightfall we entered a valley which was distinguished for fresh rice plantations, beautiful shrubs, and green reeds: a brisk stream murmured at our side, the heat of the day was now succeeded by the evening shadows, and, at this moment we had nothing to wish for. This good fortune, however, did not last long; one of the pedlars was suddenly taken so ill that we were obliged to stop. He nearly fell off his mule, and remained motionless. We covered him with rugs, but beyond that we could not do anything for him, as we had neither medicines nor other remedies with us. Fortunately, he fell asleep after a few hours, and we squatted down on the ground and followed his example.

12th July. This morning our patient was well again; a doubly fortunate circumstance, as we had to pass a terribly rocky and stony road. We were obliged to scramble up and down the mountainous side of a valley, as the valley itself was completely occupied by the irregular course of the river Badin, which wound in a serpentine direction from side to side. Pomegranates and oleanders grew in the valley, wild vines twined themselves round the shrubs and trees, and larches covered the slopes of the hills.

After a difficult and dangerous ride of six hours, we came to a ford of the river Badin. Our raft turned out to be so small that it would carry only two men, and very little baggage; and we were, in consequence, four hours in crossing. We stayed for the night not far from the ferry of Vakani.

13th July. The road still continued bad; we had to ascend an immense pile of mountains. Far and wide, nothing was to be seen but rock and stone, although, to my astonishment, I observed that in many places the stones had been gathered on one side, and every little spot of earth made use of. A few dwarf ash-trees stood here and there. The whole has the character of the country near Trieste.

Although there were no villages on the road, there appeared to be some near, for on many of the heights I observed large burial- places, especially on those which are overshadowed by ash-trees. It is the custom throughout Kurdistan to establish the burial-places on high situations.

We did not travel more than seven hours today, and halted in the valley of Halifan. This little valley has an uncommonly romantic situation; it is surrounded by lofty and beautiful mountains, which rise with a gentle slope on one side, and on the other are steep and precipitous. The whole valley was covered with a rich vegetation; the stubble-fields were interspersed with tobacco and rice plantations, and meadows. Poplar-trees surrounded the village, which was pleasantly situated at the foot of a hill, and a stream of crystalline clearness rushed forcibly out of a mountain chasm, and flowed calmly and still through this delightful valley. Towards evening, numerous herds of cows, sheep, and goats came from the mountain-slopes towards the village.

We encamped at some distance from the village; I could not procure any relish for my dry bread, and had no other bed than the hard ground of a stubble-field. Nevertheless I should include this evening among the most agreeable; the scenery round compensated me sufficiently for the want of every other enjoyment.

14th July. Ali allowed us to rest only half the night; at 2 o'clock we were again mounted. A few hundred paces from our resting-place was the entrance of a stupendous mountain-pass. The space between the sides of the rocks afforded only sufficient room for the stream and a narrow pathway. Fortunately the moon shone out brilliantly, otherwise it would have been scarcely possible for the most practised animal to ascend the narrow and extremely dangerous road between the fallen masses of rock and rolling stones. Our hardy animals scrambled like chamois along, over the edges of the steep precipices, and carried us with safety past the terrible abyss, at the bottom of which the stream leapt, with a frightful roaring, from rock to rock. This night-scene was so terrible and impressive that even my uncultivated companions were involuntarily silent—mute, and noiseless, we went on our way, nothing breaking the death-like stillness but the rattling steps of our animals.

We had proceeded about an hour in this way, when the moon was suddenly obscured; thick clouds gathered round from all sides, and the darkness soon became so great that we could scarcely see a few steps before us. The foremost man continually struck fire, so as to light up the path somewhat by the sparks. But this did not help us much, the animals began to slip and stumble. We were compelled to halt, and stood quiet and motionless, one behind the other, as if suddenly changed to stone by magic. Life returned again with daybreak, and we spurred our animals briskly forwards.

We were in an indescribably beautiful circle of mountains; at our side lay high cliffs; before and behind, hills and mountains crowded over each other, and in the far distance an enormous peak, covered with snow, completed the romantic picture. This mountain-pass is called Ali-Bag. For three hours and a half we continued going up hill, without intermission.

A short distance before reaching the plateau, we observed, in several places, small spots of blood, of which nobody at first took much notice, as they might have been caused by a horse or mule that had injured itself. But shortly we came to a place which was entirely covered with large blood-spots. This sight filled us with great horror; we looked round anxiously for the cause of these marks and perceived two human bodies far down below. One hung scarcely a hundred feet down on the declivity of the rock, the other had rolled further on, and was half-buried under a mass of rock. We hastened from this horrible scene as quickly as we could; it was several days before I could free myself from the recollection of it.

All the stones on the plateau were full of holes, as if other stones had been stuck in. This appearance ceased as we went further up. In the valley, at the other side of the plateau, there were vines, which, however, did not rise far above the ground, as they were not supported in any way.

Our road continued on through the mountains. We frequently descended, but again had to cross several heights, and, finally, came out upon a small elevated plain, which, on both sides, was bounded by steep declivities. A village of huts, made of branches, was situated on this plain, and on the summits of two neighbouring rocks fortified works were erected.

My travelling companions remained behind here; but Ali went with me to the town of Ravandus, which only becomes visible from this side at a very short distance.

The situation and view of this town is most charming; not indeed from its beauty, for it is not more remarkable in that respect than other Turkish towns, but on account of its peculiarity. It is situated upon a steep, isolated cone, surrounded by mountains. The houses are built in the form of terraces, one above another, with flat roofs, which are covered with earth, stamped down hard, so as to resemble narrow streets, for which they serve to the upper houses, and it is frequently difficult to tell which is street and which roof. On many of the terraces, walls, formed of the branches of trees, are erected, behind which the people sleep. Lower down, the hill is surrounded by a fortified wall.

When I first caught hold of this eagle's nest, I feared that I had not much probability of finding any conveniences for travellers, and every step further confirmed this opinion. Ravandus was one of the most miserable towns I ever saw. Ali conducted me over a beggarly bazaar to a dirty court, which I took for a stable, but was the chan; and, after I had dismounted, took me into a dark recess, in which the merchant, to whom I had a letter, sat upon the ground before his stall. This merchant was the most considerable of his class in Ravandus. Mr. Mansur, that was the merchant's name, read over the letter which I had brought, for full a quarter of an hour, although it only consisted of a few lines, and then greeted me with a repeated salaam, which means "you are welcome."

The good man must have concluded that I had not tasted any food today, for he very hospitably ordered breakfast immediately, consisting of bread, sheep's cheese, and melons. These were eaten all together. My hunger was so great that I found this plan excellent. I ate without ceasing. The conversation, on the contrary, was not so successful; my host did not understand any European language, nor I any Asiatic language. We made use of signs, and I took pains to make him understand that I was desirous of going on further as soon as possible. He promised to do his utmost for me, and also explained that he would see to me during my stay; he was not married, and therefore could not receive me into his own house, but would take me to one of his relations.

After breakfast was ended he took me to a house resembling those of the Arabs at Kerkil, except that the court-yard was very small, and completely filled with rubbish and puddles. Under the door-way, four ugly women with half-ragged clothes, were seated upon a dirty rug, playing with some little children. I was obliged to sit down with them, and undergo the usual curious examination and staring. For some time I put up with it, but then left this charming society, and looked about for a place where I could arrange my toilette a little. I had not changed my clothes for six days, having been exposed, at the same time, to a heat which was far greater than that under the line. I found a dirty and smutty room, which, in addition to the disgust it excited, made me fear the presence of vermin and scorpions; of the latter I had a particular dread. I thought at first that they were to be found in every place, as I had read in many descriptions of travels that they were innumerable in these countries. My fear lessened afterwards, as I did not meet with any, even in the dirtiest places; in ruins, court-yards, or sardabs. Altogether I only saw two during my whole journey, but I suffered a great deal from other vermin, which are only to be removed by burning the clothes and linen.

I had scarcely taken possession of this beggarly room, when one woman after the other came in; the women were followed by the children, and then by several neighbours, who had heard of the arrival of an Inglesi; I was worse off here than under the gateway.

At last, one of the women luckily thought of offering me a bath, and I accepted the proposal with great joy. Hot water was prepared, and they made a sign for me to follow them, which I did, and found myself in the sheep-stall, which, perhaps, had not been cleaned for years, or indeed as long as it had stood. In this place they pushed two stones together, upon which I was to stand, and in the presence of the whole company, who followed me like my shadow, allow myself to be bathed with water. I made signs to them to go out, as I wished to perform this office myself; they did indeed leave me, but as misfortune had it, the stall had no door, and they were all able to look in just the same.

I passed four days among these people, the day time in dark recesses, the evenings and nights upon the terraces. I was obliged, like my hostess, constantly to squat down on the ground, and when I wanted to write anything I had to make use of my knees instead of a table. Every day they told me there was a caravan going away to- morrow. Alas! they said so only to quiet me, they saw, perhaps, how disagreeable the stay was to me. The women lounged about the whole day sleeping or chattering, playing with, or scolding the children. They preferred going about in dirty rags to mending and washing them, and they allowed their children to tyrannize over them completely.

When the latter wanted anything and did not get it, they threw themselves on the ground, struck about with their hands and feet, howling and shrieking until they obtained what they desired.

They had no fixed meal-times during the day, but the women and children were constantly eating bread, cucumbers, melons and buttermilk. In the evenings they bathed very much, and every one washed their hands, faces, and feet, which ceremony was frequently repeated three or four times before prayers; but there was a great want of real devotion: in the middle of the prayers they chattered right and left. However, there is not much difference with us.

Notwithstanding all these glaring and gross defects I found these people very amiable: they willingly permitted themselves to be taught, admitted their failings, and always allowed me to be right when I said or explained anything to them. For example, the little Ascha, a girl seven years of age was very intractable. If she was denied anything she threw herself on the ground, crying miserably, rolling about in the filth and dirt, and smearing with her dirty hands the bread, melons, etc. I endeavoured to make the child conscious of her misbehaviour, and succeeded beyond all expectation. I, in fact, imitated her. The child looked at me astounded, upon which I asked if it had pleased her. She perceived the offensiveness of her conduct, and I did not often need to imitate her. It was just the same with regard to cleanliness. She immediately washed herself carefully, and then came running joyfully to me showing her hands and face. During the few days I was here the child became so fond of me that she would not leave my side, and sought in every way to make friends with me.

I was not less fortunate with the women; I pointed out their torn clothes, brought needles, and thread, and taught them how to sew and mend. They were pleased with this, and I had in a short time a whole sewing school round me.

How much good might be done here by any one who knew the language and had the inclination, only the parents must be taught at the same time as the children.

What a fine field is here open to the missionaries if they would accustom themselves to live among these people, and with kindness and patience to counteract their failings! As it is, however, they devote at the utmost only a few hours in the day to them, and make their converts come to them, instead of visiting them in their own houses.

The women and girls in the Asiatic countries receive no education, those in the towns have little or no employment, and are left to themselves during the whole day. The men go at sunrise to the bazaars, where they have their stalls or workshops, the bigger boys go to school or accompany their fathers, and neither return home before sunset. There the husband expects to find the carpets spread out on the terraces, the supper ready, and the nargilly lighted, he then plays a little with the young children, who, however, during meal-time are obliged to keep away with their mothers. The women in the villages have more liberty and amusement, as they generally take part in the housekeeping. It is said that the people in the country here are, as among ourselves, more moral than in the towns.

The dress worn by the richer Kurds is the Oriental, that of the common people differs slightly from it. The men wear wide linen trousers, over them a shirt reaching to the hips, and fastened round the waist by a girdle. They frequently draw on, over the shirt, a jacket without sleeves, made of coarse brown woollen stuff, which is properly cut into strips of a hand's breath, and joined together by broad seams. Others wear trousers of brown stuff instead of white linen; they are, however, extremely ugly, as they are really nothing more than a wide shapeless sack with two holes, through which the feet are put. The coverings for the feet are either enormous shoes of coarsely woven white sheeps' wool, ornamented with three tassels, or short, very wide boots of red or yellow leather, reaching only just above the ankle and armed with large plates an inch thick. The head-dress is a turban.

The women wear long wide trousers, blue shirts, which frequently reach half a yard over the feet, and are kept up by means of a girdle; a large blue mantle hangs from the back of the neck, reaching down to the calves. They wear the same kind of plated boots as the men. On their heads they wear either black kerchiefs wound in the manner of a turban, or a red fez, the top of which is very broad, and covered with silver coins arranged in the form of a cross. A coloured silk kerchief is wound round the fez, and a wreath made of short black silk fringe is fastened on the top. This wreath looks like a handsome rich fur-trimming, and is so arranged that it forms a coronet, leaving the forehead exposed. The hair falls in numerous thin tresses over the shoulders, and a heavy silver chain hangs down behind from the turban. It is impossible to imagine a head dress that looks better than this.

Neither women or girls cover their faces, and I saw here several very beautiful girls with truly noble features. The colour of the skin is rather brown, the eyebrows and lashes were black, and the hair dyed reddish-brown with henna. Among the lower orders small nose rings are sometimes worn here.

Mr. Mansur furnished me with a very good table in the morning, I had buttermilk, bread, cucumber, and on one occasion dates roasted in butter, which, however, was not very palatable; in the evening mutton and rice, or a quodlibet of rice, barley, maize, cucumber, onions and minced meat. I found it all very good as I was healthy, and had a good appetite. The water and buttermilk are taken very cold, and a piece of ice is always put into them. Ice is to be met with in abundance not only in the towns, but also in every village. It is brought from the mountains in the neighbourhood, the people eat large pieces of it with great relish.

In spite of the endeavours of Mr. Mansur and his relations to render my stay bearable, or perhaps, indeed, pleasant, according to their ideas, I was agreeably surprised when Ali came one morning bringing the news that he had met with a small freight to Sauh-Bulak (seventy miles) a place which laid on my road. That same evening I went to the caravansary, and the next morning, 18th July, was on the road before sunrise.

Mr. Mansur was to the last very hospitable. He not only gave me a letter to a Persian living in Sauh-Bulak, but also provided me with bread for the journey, some melons, cucumbers, and a small bottle of sour milk. The latter was particularly acceptable to me, and I would advise every traveller to remember this nourishing and refreshing drink.

Sour milk is put into a small bag of thick linen, the watery part filters through, and the solid part can be taken out with a spoon, and mixed with water as desired. In the hot season, indeed, it dries into cheese on the fourth or fifth day, but this also tastes very well, and in four or five days you come to places where the supply may be renewed.

On the first day we passed continually through narrow valleys between lofty mountains. The roads were exceedingly bad, and we were frequently obliged to cross over high mountains to pass from one valley into another. These stony valleys were cultivated as much as was possible. We halted at Tschomarichen.

19th July. The road and country was the same as those of yesterday, except that we had more hilly ground to ascend. We very nearly reached the height of the first snow region.

Towards evening, we came to Raid, a miserable place with a half- ruined citadel. Scarcely had we encamped, when several well-armed soldiers, headed by an officer, made their appearance. They spoke for some time with Ali, and at last the officer introduced himself to me, took his place at my side, showed me a written paper, and made several signs. As far as I could understand, he meant to say that I was now in Persia, and that he wanted to see my passport. However, I did not wish to take it out of my portmanteau in the presence of the whole of the villagers, who were already assembled round me, and, therefore, explained to him that I did not understand him. With this assurance he left me, saying to Ali: "What shall I do with her? She does not understand me, and may go on further." {279} I do not think that I should have been so leniently dealt with in any European state!

In almost every village, a great part of the people immediately assembled round me. The reader may imagine what a crowd had gathered together during this discussion. To be continually stared at in this way was one of the greatest inconveniences of my journey. Sometimes I quite lost my patience, when the women and children pressed round me, handling my clothes and head. Although quite alone among them, I gave them several slight blows with my riding- whip. This always had the desired effect; the people either went away altogether or drew back in a ring. But here, a boy about sixteen was inclined to punish my boldness. As usual, I went to the river to fill my leathern flask, to wash my hands and face, and bathe my feet. This boy slipped after me, picked up a stone, and threatened to throw it at me. I dare not, of course, evince any fear; and I went, therefore, quite composedly into the river. The stone came flying, although I observed, by the way in which it was thrown, that he was more desirous of frightening than hitting me; it was not thrown with force, and fell several feet away. After throwing a second and third, he went away; perhaps because he saw that I did not heed him.

20th July. Immediately outside Raid, we had to ascend a rather considerable mountain by a bad and dangerous road, and then came out upon an extensive elevated plain. We left the high mountains further behind, the headlands were covered with short grass, but there was again a great deficiency of trees. We met great numbers of herds of goats and sheep. The latter were very large, with thick wool and fat tails; the wool is said to be particularly good and fine.

My apprehensions on this journey were not quite groundless, as it was seldom that a day passed in undisturbed quiet. Today, for instance, a circumstance occurred which frightened me not a little: our caravan consisted of six men and fourteen pack animals; we were quietly pursuing our way, when suddenly a troop of mounted men came dashing down upon us at full gallop. There were seven well-armed, and five unarmed. The former carried lances, sabres, daggers, knives, pistols, and shields; they were dressed like the common people, with the exception of the turban, which was wound round with a simple Persian shawl. I thought they had been robbers. They stopped and surrounded us, and then inquired where we came from, where we were going to, and what kind of goods we carried? When they had received an explanation, they allowed us to go on. At first I could not understand the meaning of the proceeding at all; but, as we were stopped several times in the course of the day in a similar manner, I concluded that these men were soldiers on duty.

We remained at Coromaduda over night.

21st July. The roads and prospects very similar to those of yesterday. We were again stopped by a troop of soldiers, and this time the affair seemed likely to be of more consequence. Ali must have made some incorrect statements. They took possession of both of his pack animals, threw their loads down on the ground, and one of the soldiers was ordered to lead them away. Poor Ali begged and entreated most pitifully. He pointed to me, and said that everything belonged to me, and requested that they should have some compassion with me as a helpless woman. The soldier turned to me and asked if it was true. I did not think it advisable to give myself out as their owner, and therefore appeared not to understand him, but assumed an air of great concern and trouble. Ali, indeed, began to cry. Our position would have been most desperate; for, what could we have done with the goods in this barren uninhabited district without our animals. At last, however, the leader of the party relented, sent after the animals, and returned them to us.

Late in the evening, we reached the little town of Sauh-Bulak. As it was not fortified, we could still enter; however, the chans and bazaars were all closed, and we had much trouble to get the people of one of the chans to receive us. It was very spacious and handsome; in the centre was a basin of water, and round it small merchants' stalls and several niches for sleeping. The people—all men—were mostly retired to rest; only a few remained at their devotions. Their astonishment may be imagined when they saw a woman enter with a guide. It was too late to give my letter today, and I therefore seated myself composedly against the luggage, in the belief that I should have to pass the night so; but a Persian came to me and pointed out a niche to sleep in, carried my luggage there, and, after a little while, brought me some bread and water. The kindness of this man was the more admirable, as it is known how much the Mahomedans hate the Christians. May God reward him for it. I was truly in want of this refreshment.

22nd July. Today I presented my letter, and the Persian merchant received me with a welcome. He conducted me to a Christian family, and promised to make arrangements for the continuation of my journey as soon as possible. In this instance, also, the conversation was carried on more by the means of signs than words.

There were twenty Christian families in this town, who are under the care of a French missionary and have a very pretty church. I looked forward with pleasure to conversing again in a language with which I was familiar, but learnt that the missionary was on a journey, so that I was not better off than at Ravandus, as the people with whom I lived spoke only Persian.

The man, whose trade was that of a carpenter, had a wife, six children, and an apprentice. They all lived in the same room, in which they gave me a place with great readiness. The whole family were uncommonly good and obliging towards me, were very open- hearted, and if I bought fruit, eggs, or anything of the kind, and offered them any, they accepted it with great modesty. But it was not only towards myself that they were so kind, but also towards others; no beggar went away from their threshold unrelieved; and yet this family was terrible, and made my stay a complete purgatory. The mother, a very stupid scolding woman, bawled and beat her children the whole day. Ten minutes did not pass without her dragging her children about by the hair, or kicking and thumping them. The children were not slow in returning it; and, besides that, fought among themselves; so that I had not a moment's quiet in my corner, and was not unfrequently in danger of coming in for my share, for they amused themselves by spitting and throwing large blocks of wood at each other's heads. The eldest son several times throttled his mother in such a way that she became black and blue in the face. I always endeavoured, indeed, to establish peace; but it was very seldom that I succeeded, as I was unfortunately not sufficient master of the language to make them understand the impropriety of their conduct.

It was only in the evening, when the father returned, that there was any order of peace; they dare not quarrel then, much less fight.

I never met with such conduct among any people—even the poorest or lowest classes of the so-called heathens or unbelievers; I never saw their children attempt to strike their parents. When I left Sauh- Bulak, I wrote a letter for the missionary, in which I directed his attention to the failings of this family, and besought him to counteract them, by teaching them that religion does not consist merely in prayers and fasts, in bible-reading, and going to church.

My stay here was far less bearable than at Ravandus. I daily entreated the Persian merchant to help me to go on further, even if the journey should be attended with some danger. He shook his head and explained to me, that there was no caravan going, and that if I travelled alone I might expect either to be shot or beheaded.

I bore it for five days, but it was impossible to do so any longer. I begged the merchant to hire me a horse and a guide, and made up my mind at least to go as far as Oromia, fifty miles, in spite of all dangers or other circumstances. I knew that I should find American missionaries there, and that I should then have no more anxiety about proceeding on further.

The merchant came on the following day, accompanied by a wild- looking man, whom he introduced to me as my guide. I was obliged, in consequence of the danger of travelling without a caravan, to pay four times as much; but I was willing to accede to anything to be able to get away. The bargain was made, and the guide pledged himself to start the next morning, and to bring me to Oromia in three days. I paid him half of the money in advance, and retained the other half until we came to our journey's end, so as to be able to fine him in case he did not keep his agreement.

I was partly glad and partly afraid when the contract was concluded, and to overcome my apprehensions, I went into the Bazaars, and walked about outside the town.

This town is situated in a small treeless valley near a range of hills. Although I did not wear anything but the isar, I was never annoyed out of doors. The bazaars are less beggarly than those at Ravandus, the chan is large and comfortable. I found the appearance of the common people very repulsive. Tall and strongly built, with marked features, which were still more disfigured by an expression of wildness and ferocity, they all appeared to me like robbers or murderers.

In the evening I put my pistols in proper order, and made up my mind not to sell my life cheaply.

28th July. Instead of leaving Sauh-Bulak at sunrise, I did not start until towards mid-day. I travelled on with my guide through desolate roads between treeless hills, and trembled involuntarily when any one met us. However, thank God, there were no adventures to go through. We had to fight indeed, but only with tremendous swarms of large grasshoppers which flew up in some places in clouds. They were about three inches long, and were furnished with large wings of a red or blue colour. All the plants and grass in the district were eaten away. I was told that the natives catch these grasshoppers and dry and eat them. Unluckily I never saw any such dish.

After a ride of seven hours we came to a large fruitful and inhabited valley. Today's journey seemed to promise a favourable termination, for we were now in an inhabited neighbourhood, and frequently passed villages. Some peasants were still working here and there in the fields, their appearance greatly amused me: they wore the high black Persian caps, which were comically contrasted with their ragged dress.

We remained in this valley, over night, at the village Mahomed-Jur. If I had not been too idle I might have had an excellent meal of turtle. I saw several of them on the road by the brooks, and even in the fields, and had only to pick them up. But then to hunt for wood, make a fire, and cook! No; I preferred eating a crust of bread and a cucumber in quiet.

29th July. This morning we reached, in three hours, the village of Mahomed-Schar. To my astonishment my driver made preparations for stopping here. I urged him to continue the journey, but he explained to me that he could not go any further without a caravan, as the most dangerous part of the journey was now before us. At the same time he pointed to some dozens of horses in an adjoining stubble field, and endeavoured to make me understand that in a few hours a caravan was going our way. The whole day passed, and the caravan did not appear. I thought that my guide was deceiving me; and was exceedingly irritated when, in the evening, he arranged my mantle on the ground for me to sleep. It was now necessary that I should make a strenuous effort to show the fellow that I would not be treated like a child, and remain here as long as he thought fit. Unfortunately I could not scold him in words, but I picked up the mantle and threw it at his feet, and explained to him that I would keep the remainder of the fare if he did not bring me to Oromia to- morrow on the third day. I then turned my back to him (one of the greatest slights), seated myself on the ground, and, resting my head in my hands, gave myself up to the most melancholy reflections. What should I have done here if my guide had left me, or had thought fit to remain until a caravan happened to pass by.

During my dispute with the guide, some women had come up from the village. They brought me some milk and some hot food, seated themselves by me, and inquired what I was so troubled about.

I endeavoured to explain the whole affair. They understood me and took my part. They were vexed with my guide, and endeavoured to console me. They did not stir from me, and pressed me so heartily to partake of their food, that I found myself compelled to eat some. It consisted of bread, eggs, butter, and water, which were boiled up together. Notwithstanding my trouble, I enjoyed it very much. When I offered the good people a trifle for this meal they would not take it. They seemed gratified that I was more at ease.

30th July. About 1 o'clock at night my guide began to stir himself, saddled my horse, and called me to mount. Still I was at a loss to understand his proceedings, for I saw no signs of a caravan. Could he mean to take his revenge on me? Why did he travel at night through a country which he ought to have chosen day-time for? I did not understand enough Persian to be able to obtain an explanation, and did not wish to say anything more to the fellow about not keeping his contract, so I was obliged to go—and I did go.

With great anxiety I mounted my horse and ordered my guide, who was inclined to ride behind, to go on in front. I had no mind to be attacked from behind, and kept my hand constantly on my pistols. I listened to every sound, watched every movement of my guide, even the shadow of my own horse sometimes scared me; however, I did not turn back.

After a sharp ride of about half-an-hour, we came up with a large caravan train, which was guarded by half a dozen well-armed peasants. It really appeared that the place was very dangerous, and that my guide had been acquainted with the passing of a caravan. Nothing caused me more surprise on this occasion, than the indolence of these people. As they are accustomed to travel in the night during the hot season, they also continue the custom at other times, and pass through the most dangerous places, although the danger would be much less during the day.

After some hours we came to the Lake Oromia, which henceforth continued on our right side; on the left lay barren hills, ravines and mountains, extending for some miles, forming a most dreaded place. Morning brought us into another beautiful fruitful valley, studded with villages, the sight of which gave me courage to leave the caravan, and hasten on.

The Lake Oromia, from which the town takes its name, is more than sixty miles long, and in many places more than thirty wide. It appears closely surrounded by lofty mountains, although considerable levels intervene. Its water contains so much salt, that neither fish nor mollusca can live in it. It is a second Dead Sea—it is said that a human body cannot sink in it. Large patches of the shore are covered with thick, white saline incrustations, so that the people have only to separate the salt they want from the ground. Although the lake, and the country round it are very beautiful, they do not present a very attractive prospect, as the surface of the lake is not enlivened by any boats.

Since I had left the sandy deserts round Baghdad, I had not seen any camels, and thought that I should not see this animal again, as I was travelling northwards. To my astonishment, we met several trains of camels, and I learnt afterwards, that these animals were used as beasts of burden by the Kurds, as well as the Arabs. This is a proof that they are able to bear a colder climate; for in winter the snow drifts to a depth of several feet in the valleys. The camels in these districts are somewhat more robust, their feet are thicker, their hair closer and longer, their necks longer, and not nearly so slender, and their colour darker. I did not see any light-coloured ones.

The Kurds of the valleys employ beasts of burden for carrying their crops, as well as waggons, which are however very simple and clumsy. The body is formed of several long thin stems of trees bound together; the axles of shorter stems, with disks of thick board for wheels, of which each waggon has generally only two. Four oxen are yoked to these, each pair being led by a guide, who sits very oddly on the shaft between the yoke, with his back towards them.

Late in the evening, we reached Oromia safely, after a hard ride of more than sixteen hours. I had no letters to any of the missionaries, and with the exception of Mr. Wright, they were all absent. They lived with their wives and children in the country. However, Mr. Wright received me with true Christian friendship, and after many disagreeable days I again found comfort.

The first evening I laughed heartily when Mr. Wright told me in what manner the servant had informed him of my arrival. As I did not know enough of Persian to be able to tell the servant to announce me, I merely pointed to the stairs. He understood this, and went up to his master, saying that there was a woman below who could not speak any language. Afterwards I asked a servant for a glass of water, in English; he rushed up stairs as if he had been possessed, not, as I thought, to get what I wanted, but to tell his master that I spoke English.

Mr. Wright acquainted the other missionaries of my presence, and they were so good as to come and visit me. They also invited me to spend a few days with them in the country, but I accepted their friendly invitation for one day only, as I had already lost so much time on the road. They all advised me not to go any further alone; although they admitted that the most dangerous part of the journey was past, and recommended me to take with me some armed peasants when passing the mountains near Kutschie.

Mr. Wright was so good as to look out for a courageous and trusty guide. I paid double fare, in order to reach Tebris in four, instead of six days. In order to make the guide think that I was a poor pilgrim, I gave Mr. Wright the half of the agreed price, and begged him to pay it instead of myself, and also to say that he would be paid the other half by Mr. Stevens, the English consul.

I made as good use as possible of the day which I passed at Oromia. In the morning I visited the town, and afterwards I visited, with Mrs. Wright, several rich and poor families, in order to observe their mode of life.

The town contains 22,000 inhabitants, is surrounded by walls, but not closed by gates; it is possible to pass in and out at any hour of the night. It is built like all Turkish towns, with this exception—that the streets are rather broad, and kept clean. Outside the town are numerous large fruit and vegetable gardens, which are surrounded by very high walls; pretty dwelling-houses stand in the centre of the gardens.

The women here go closely veiled. They cover over their heads and breast with a white kerchief, in which thick impenetrable network is inserted, at the places opposite the eyes.

In the houses of the poorer classes two or three families live under one roof. They possess little more than straw mats, blankets, pillows, and a few cooking utensils, not to forget a large wooden box in which the meal, their chief property, is kept. Here as everywhere else where corn is cultivated, bread is the principal food of the common people. Every family bake twice daily, morning and evening.

Many of the small houses have very pretty courts, which are planted with flowers, vines, and shrubs, and looked like gardens.

The dwellings of the wealthy are lofty, airy, and spacious; the reception rooms have a large number of windows, and are covered with carpets. I saw no divans, people always lie upon the carpets. As we made the visits without being invited, we found the women in very plain coloured cotton dresses, of course, made in their own fashion.

In the afternoon I rode with the missionaries to their large country-house, which is situated about six miles from the town, on some low hills. The valley through which we rode was very large, and altogether well cultivated and delightful. Although it is said to lie about 4,000 feet above the level of the sea, cotton, castor- oil plants, vines, tobacco, and every kind of fruit grow here as in South Germany. The castor-oil plant, indeed, is not more than four feet high, and the cotton but one foot; they produce, however, rather abundantly. Several villages are half hid in orchards. I came into this country at a fortunate time: there were beautiful peaches, apricots, apples, grapes, etc., true fruits of my native country, of which I had long been deprived.

The house of the missionary society is most charmingly situated; it commands a view of the whole valley, the town, the low range of hills, and the mountains. The house itself is large, and furnished with every possible convenience, so that I thought I was in the country-house of wealthy private people, and not under the roof of simple disciples of Christ. There were four women here, and a whole troop of children, great and small. I passed several very pleasant hours among them, and was heartily sorry that I was obliged to take leave of them at 9 in the evening.

Several native girls were also introduced to me who were educated by the wives of the missionaries. They spoke and wrote a little English, and were well acquainted with geography. I cannot avoid, on this occasion, making some observations with regard to the missionaries, whose mode of life and labours I had frequent opportunities of observing during my journey. I met with missionaries in Persia, China, and India, and everywhere found them living in a very different manner to what I had imagined.

In my opinion the missionaries were almost, if not complete martyrs, and I thought that they were so absorbed with zeal and the desire to convert the heathen, that, like the disciples of Christ, quite forgetting their comforts and necessaries, they dwelt with them under one roof, and ate from one dish, etc. Alas! these were pictures and representations which I had gathered out of books; in reality the case was very different. They lead the same kind of life as the wealthy: they have handsome dwellings, which are fitted up with luxurious furniture, and every convenience. They recline upon easy divans, while their wives preside at the tea-table, and the children attack the cakes and sweetmeats heartily; indeed their position is pleasanter and freer from care than that of most people; their occupation is not very laborious, and their income is certain, whatever may be the national or political condition of their country.

In places where several missionaries reside meetings are held three or four times a week. These meetings or assemblies are supposed to be for the transaction of business; but are not much other than soirees, at which the ladies and children make their appearance in elegant full dress. One missionary receives his friends at breakfast, a second at dinner, the third at tea, several equipages and a number of servants stand in the court-yard.

Business is also attended to: the gentleman generally retire for half an hour or so; but the greater part of the time is passed in mere social amusement.

I do not think that it can be easy to gain the confidence of the natives in this way. Their foreign dress, and elegant mode of life, make the people feel too strongly the difference of rank, and inspire them with fear and reserve rather than confidence and love. They do not so readily venture to look up to people of wealth or rank, and the missionaries have consequently to exert themselves for some time until this timidity is overcome. The missionaries say that it is necessary to make this appearance, in order to create an impression and command respect; but I think that respect may be inspired by noble conduct, and that virtue will attract men more than external splendour.

Many of the missionaries believe that they might effect a great deal by preaching and issuing religious tracts in the native language in the towns and villages. They give the most attractive report of the multitude of people who crowd to hear their preaching and receive their tracts, and it might reasonably be thought that, according to their representations, at least half of their hearers would become converts to Christianity; but unfortunately the listening and receiving tracts is as good as no proof at all. Would not Chinese, Indian, or Persian priests have just as great troops of hearers if they appeared in their respective national costume in England or France, and preached in the language of those countries? Would not people flock round them? would they not receive the tracts given out gratis, even if they could not read them?

I have made the minutest inquiries in all places respecting the results of missions, and have always heard that a baptism is one of the greatest rarities. The few Christians in India, who here and there form villages of twenty or thirty families, have resulted principally from orphan children, who had been adopted and brought up by the missionaries; but even these require to be supplied with work, and comfortably attended to, in order to prevent them from falling back into their superstitions.

Preaching and tracts are insufficient to make religious doctrine understandable, or to shake the superstitions which have been imbibed in infancy. Missionaries must live among the people as fathers or friends, labour with them—in short, share their trials and pleasures, and draw them towards them by an exemplary and unpretending mode of life, and gradually instruct them in a way they are capable of understanding. They ought not to be married to Europeans for the following reasons:—European girls who are educated for missionaries frequently make this their choice only that they be provided for as soon as possible. If a young European wife has any children, if she is weak or delicate, they are then unable to attend any longer to their calling, and require a change of air, or even a journey to Europe. The children also are weak, and must be taken there, at latest in their seventh year. Their father accompanies them, and makes use of this pretext to return to Europe for some time. If it is not possible to undertake this journey, they go to some mountainous country, where it is cooler, or he takes his wife and family to visit a Mela. {287} At the same time, it must be remembered that these journeys are not made in a very simple manner: as mine has been, for instance; the missionary surrounds himself with numerous conveniences; he has palanquins carried by men, pack-horses, or camels, with tents, beds, culinary, and table utensils; servants and maids in sufficient number. And who pays for all this? Frequently poor credulous souls in Europe and North America, who often deny themselves the necessaries of life, that their little savings may be squandered in this way in distant parts of the world.

If the missionaries were married to natives, the greater part of these expenses and requirements would be unnecessary; there would be few sick wives, the children would be strong and healthy, and would not require to be taken to Europe. Schools might be established here and there for their education, although not in such a luxurious manner as those at Calcutta.

I hope that my views may not be misunderstood; I have great respect for missionaries, and all whom I have known were honourable men, and good fathers; I am also convinced that there are many learned men among them, who make valuable contributions to history and philosophy, but whether they thus fulfil their proper object is another question. I should consider that a missionary has other duties than those of a philosopher.

For my own part, I can only express my obligations to the missionaries; everywhere they showed me the greatest kindness and attention. Their mode of life certainly struck me, because I involuntarily associate with the name "missionary" those men who at first went out into the world, without support, to diffuse the doctrines of Christ, taking nothing with them but a pilgrim's staff.

Before concluding my description of Oromia, I must remark that this neighbourhood is considered to be the birth-place of Zoroaster, who is said to have lived 5,500 years before the birth of Christ, and was the founder of the sect of Magi, or fire-worshippers.

On the 1st of August, I rode ten hours to the village of Kutschie, which lies near the Lake Oromia; we seldom caught sight of the lake, although we were always very near to it all day. We passed through large, fertile villages, which would have presented a charming prospect if they had not been situated between barren and naked hills and mountains.

I had not enjoyed so pleasant a day during the whole journey from Mosul, or from Baghdad. My guide was a remarkably good fellow, very attentive to me, and provided everything carefully when we reached Kutschie; he took me to a very cleanly peasant's cottage, among some excellent people; they immediately laid down a nice carpet for me on a small terrace, brought me a basin of water to wash, and a quantity of large black mulberries on a lacquered plate. Afterwards I had some strong soup with meat, fat, sour milk, and good bread, all in clean vessels; but what was better than all, the people retired as soon as they had set the food before me, and did not stare at me as if I was a strange animal. When I offered to pay these good people, they would not take anything; I had no opportunity of rewarding them until the following morning, when I took two men of the family as guard across the mountains, and gave them twice as much as they are generally paid; they thanked me, with touching cordiality, and wished me safety and good fortune on my journey.

2nd August. It occupied three hours to pass the most dangerous part of these desolate mountains. My two armed men would not, indeed, have afforded me much protection against a band of robbers, although they were the means of making the journey less terrible than it would have been if I had gone with my old guide alone. We met several large caravans, but all going towards Oromia.

When we had crossed the mountains, the two men left us. We entered into enormous valleys, which seemed to have been forgotten by nature, and deserted by man. In my opinion, we were not in any degree out of the danger, and I was right; for, as we were passing three ruined cottages in this barren valley, several fellows rushed out upon us, laid hold of our horses' reins, and commenced rummaging my luggage. I expected nothing but an order to dismount, and already saw my little property lost. They talked with my guide, who told them the tale which I had imposed upon him—that I was a poor pilgrim, and that the English consuls or missionaries paid all my travelling expenses. My dress, the smallness of my baggage, and being alone, agreed perfectly with this; they believed him, and my silent supplicative look, and let me go; they even asked me if I would have some water, of which there is a scarcity in these villages. I begged them for a draught, and so we parted good friends. Nevertheless I was for some time fearful that they might repent their generosity and follow us.

We came to the shores of the lake again today, and continued to travel for some time at its side. After a ride of fourteen hours, we rested at a chan in the village of Schech-Vali.

3rd August. The oppressive sense of fear was now at an end. We passed through peaceful inhabited valleys, where the people were working in the fields, carrying home corn, tending cattle, etc.

During the hot noon hours we rested at Dise-halil, a rather considerable town, with very clean streets; the principal street is intersected by a clear brook, and the court-yards of the houses resemble gardens. Here also I saw outside the town a great number of very large gardens surrounded by high walls.

From the number of chans, this town would appear to be very much visited. In the small street through which we passed, I counted more than half a dozen. We dismounted at one of them, and I was quite astonished at the conveniences which I found there. The stalls were covered; the sleeping-places for the drivers were on pretty walled terraces; and the rooms for travellers, although destitute of all furniture, were very clean, and furnished with stoves. The chans were open to every one, and there is nothing to pay for using them; at the utmost, a small trifle is given to the overseer, who provides the travellers' meals.

In this respect, the Persians, Turks, and the so-called uncultivated people, are much more generous than we are. In India, for example, where the English build bungalows, travellers must pay a rupee per night, or even for an hour, which does not include any provision for the driver or the animals: they are obliged to take their rest in the open air. The travellers who are not Christians are not allowed to come into most of the bungalows at all; in a few they are admitted, but only when the rooms are not required by a Christian; if, however, one should arrive at night, the poor unbeliever is obliged to turn out for him without pity. This humane custom extends also to the open bungalows, which consist only of a roof and three wooden walls. In the countries of the unbelievers, however, those who come first have the place, whether they are Christians, Turks, or Arabs; indeed, I am firmly convinced, that if all the places were occupied by unbelievers, and a Christian was to come, they would make room for him.

In the afternoon, we went as far as Ali-Schach, a considerable place, with a handsome chan.

We here met with three travellers, who were also going to Tebris. My guide agreed to travel with them, and that we should start at night. Their society was not very agreeable to me, for they were well armed, and looked very savage. I should have preferred waiting until daybreak, and going without them, but my guide assured me that they were honest people; and trusting more to my good fortune than his word, I mounted my horse about 1 o'clock at night.

4th August. I soon lost my fear, for we frequently met small parties of three or four persons, who would scarcely have ventured to travel at night if the road had been dangerous. Large caravans also, of several hundred camels, passed us and took up the road in such a way, that we were obliged to wait for half an hour to allow them to pass.

Towards noon we entered a valley in which lay a town, which was certainly large, but of such an unpretending appearance, that I did not at once inquire what was its name. The nearer we approached the more ruined it appeared. The walls were half fallen, the streets and squares full of heaps of rubbish, and many of the houses were in ruins; it seemed as if a pestilence or an enemy had destroyed it. At last I asked its name, and could hardly believe that I had understood it rightly when I was told that it was Tebris.

My guide conducted me to the house of Mr. Stevens, the English consul, who, to my vexation, was not in the town, but ten miles away in the country. A servant, however, told me that he would go directly to a gentleman who could speak English. In a very short time he came, and his first questions were: "How did you come here, alone? Have you been robbed? Have you parted from your company and only left them in the town?" But when I gave him my pass, and explained everything to him, he appeared scarcely to believe me. He thought it bordered upon the fabulous that a woman should have succeeded, without any knowledge of the language, in penetrating through such countries and such people. I also could not be too thankful for the evident protection which Providence had afforded me. I felt myself as happy and lively as if I had taken a new lease of my life.

Doctor Cassolani showed me to some rooms in Mr. Stevens's house, and said that he would immediately send a messenger to him, and I might meanwhile make known my wants to him.

When I expressed to him my astonishment at the miserable appearance and ugly entrance to this town, the second in the country, he told me that the town could not be well seen from the side at which I came in, and that the part which I saw was not considered the town, but was chiefly old and, for the most part, deserted.



CHAPTER XXI. SOJOURN IN TEBRIS.



DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN—THE TOWN—PERIOD OF FASTING—BEHMEN MIRZA— ANECDOTES OF THE PERSIAN GOVERNMENT—INTRODUCTION TO THE VICEROY AND HIS WIFE—BEHMEN MIRZA'S WIVES—VISIT TO A PERSIAN LADY—PERSECUTION OF THE LOWER CLASSES, OF THE CHRISTIANS, AND OF THE JEWS—DEPARTURE.

Tebris, or Tauris, is the capital of the province of Aderbeidschan, and the residence of the successor to the throne of Persia, who bears the title of Viceroy. It is situated in a treeless valley on the rivers Piatscha and Atschi, and contains 160,000 inhabitants. The town is handsomer than Teheran or Ispahan, possesses a number of silk looms and leather manufactories, and is said to be one of the principal seats of Asiatic commerce.

The streets are tolerably broad, and are also kept clean, there is in each an underground water canal with openings at regular intervals for the purpose of dipping out water.

There is no more to be seen of the houses than in any other Oriental town. Lofty walls with low entrances, without windows, and with the fronts always facing the court-yards, which are planted with flowers and small trees, and generally adjoining a beautiful garden. The reception rooms are large and lofty, with whole rows of windows, forming a complete wall of glass. The decoration of the rooms is not elegant, generally nothing beyond some few carpets; European furniture and articles of luxury are rare.

There are no handsome mosques, palaces, or monuments, either ancient or modern, with the exception of the partly ruined mosque of Ali- Schach, which, however, will not bear comparison in any respect with those in India.

The new bazaar is very handsome, its lofty, broad covered streets and passages forcibly called to my remembrance the bazaar at Constantinople; but it had a more pleasant appearance as it is newer. The merchant's stalls also are larger, and the wares, although not so magnificent and rich as some travellers represent, are more tastefully displayed and can be more easily overlooked, especially the carpets, fruits, and vegetables. The cookshops also looked very inviting, and the various dishes seemed so palatable and diffused such a savoury odour, that I could have sat down with pleasure and partaken of them. The shoe department, on the contrary, presented nothing attractive; there were only goods of the plainest description exposed; while in Constantinople the most costly shoes and slippers, richly embroidered with gold, and even ornamented with pearls and precious stones, are to be seen under glass cases.

I had arrived at Tebris at a rather unfavourable time—namely, the fast month. From sunrise to sunset nothing is eaten, nobody leaves the house, there are neither visits nor company—indeed, nothing but praying. This ceremony is so strictly observed that invalids frequently fall victims to it, as they will take neither medicine nor food during the day; they believe that if they were to eat only a mouthful, they would forfeit the salvation to be obtained by fasting. Many of the more enlightened make an exception to this custom in cases of illness; however, in such an instance the physician must send a written declaration to the priest, in which he explains the necessity of taking medicine and food. If the priest puts his seal to this document, pardon is obtained. I am not aware whether this granting of indulgences was taken by the Mahomedans from the Christians, or the reverse. Girls are obliged to keep these fasts after their tenth year, and boys after their fifteenth.

It was to the courteousness of Dr. Cassolani, and his intimacy with some of the principal families in Tebris, that I was indebted for my introduction to them, and even for my presentation at court, notwithstanding the strict observance of the fast.

There was no viceroy in Tebris until about six months since, but only a governor; the present reigning schach, Nesr-I-Din, raised the province of Aderbeidschan to a vice-royalty, and decreed that every eldest son of the future inheritor of the empire should reside here as viceroy until he came to the throne.

The last governor of Tebris, Behmen Mirza, the schach's brother, was a remarkably intelligent and just man. He brought the province of Aderbeidschan into a flourishing condition in a few years, and everywhere established order and security. This soon excited the envy of the prime minister Haggi-Mirza-Aagassi; he urged the schach to recall his brother, and represented to him that he would engage the affections of the people too much, and that he might at last make himself king.

For a long time the schach paid no attention to these insinuations, for he loved his brother sincerely; but the minister did not rest until he had attained his wishes. Behmen Mirza, who knew all that was going on at court, hastened to Teheran for the purpose of exculpating himself before the schach. The latter assured him of his love and confidence, and told him, candidly, that he might retain his office if the minister would consent to it, and recommended him to endeavour to gain his favour.

Behmen Mirza learnt, however, through his friends, that the minister entertained an inveterate hatred towards him, and that he ran the risk of being deprived of his sight, or even made away with altogether. They advised him to lose no time, but quit the country immediately. He followed their advice, returned quickly to Tebris, gathered his valuables together, and fled with a part of his family to the neighbouring Russian dominions. Having arrived there, he appealed to the Emperor of Russia by letter, soliciting his protection, which was magnanimously afforded to him. The emperor wrote to the schach declaring that the prince was no longer a Persian subject, and that therefore every persecution of himself or his family must cease; he also provided him with a pretty palace near Tiflis, sent him costly presents, and, as I was informed, allowed him a yearly pension of 20,000 ducats.

It may be seen from this circumstance that the minister completely governed the schach; indeed he succeeded to such an extent, that the schach honoured him as a prophet, and unconditionally carried out all his suggestions. He was, on one occasion, desirous of effecting some very important object. He told the schach, at a morning visit, that he woke in the night and felt himself being carried upwards. He went up higher and higher, and finally entered heaven, where he saw and spoke with the king's father, who requested him to describe the government of his son. The deceased king was greatly rejoiced to hear of his good conduct, and recommended that he should continue to go on thus. The delighted king, who had cordially loved his father, did not cease from asking further questions, and the artful minister always contrived to bring in at the end of his answers—"It was only this or that thing that the father wished to see done," and of course the good son fulfilled his father's wishes, not for one moment doubting the assertions of his minister.

The king is said to be rather passionate, and when in such a state of mind, will order the immediate execution of an offender. The minister, on the other hand, possesses at least enough sense of justice to endeavour to stay the sentence of death upon men whom he does not fear. He has, therefore, given orders that when such a circumstance occurs, he is to be sent for immediately, and that the preparations for the execution are to be delayed until he comes. He makes his appearance then as if accidentally, and asks what is going on. The enraged sovereign tells him that he is about to have an offender executed. The minister agrees with him completely, and steps to the window to consult the sky, clouds, and sun. Presently he cries out that it would be better to postpone the execution until the following day, as the clouds, sun, or sky at the present moment are not favourable to it, and that some misfortune to the king might probably result from it. In the meanwhile, the king's rage abates, and he consents that the condemned should be taken away, and generally, that he shall be set free; the next morning the whole affair is forgotten.

The following circumstance is also interesting; the king had once a particular hatred for one of his town governors, and ordered him to the capital, with the intention of having him strangled. The minister, who was a friend of the governor, was desirous of saving him, and did so in the following manner. He said to the king, "Sire, I bid you farewell, I am going to Mecca." The king, greatly grieved at the prospect of losing his favourite for so long (the journey to Mecca takes at least a year), hastily asked the reason of his making this journey. "You know, sire, that I am childless, and that I have adopted the governor whom you wish to have executed; I shall then lose my son, and I wish to fetch another from Mecca." The king answered that he knew nothing of this, but as such was the case he would not have him executed, but allow him to retain his office.

The king has a great affection for his mother. When she visited him, he always rose and continued standing, while she sat down. The minister was much annoyed at this mark of respect, and said to him, "You are king, and your mother must stand before you." And he ultimately succeeded according to his wish. If, however, the king's mother comes at a time when the minister is not present, her son pays her this respect. He then gives strict orders to his people not to say anything of it to the minister.

I was told these and other things by a very trustworthy person, and they may serve to give my readers some slight idea of the system of government in Persia.

I was presented to the viceroy a few days after my arrival. I was conducted one afternoon by Dr. Cassolani to one of the royal summer- houses. The house was situated in a small garden, which was surrounded by another larger one, both enclosed by very high walls. In the outer garden there were, besides meadows and fruit trees, nothing deserving of much notice, except a number of tents, in which the military were encamped. The soldiers wore the usual Persian dress, with the single exception that the officers on duty had a sword, and the soldiers a musket. They only appear in uniform on the most rare occasions, and then they are, in some respects, like European soldiers.

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