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Title: On Horseback Through Asia Minor, Volume 2 (of 2)
Author: Le Blond, Aubrey, Mrs.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "On Horseback Through Asia Minor, Volume 2 (of 2)" ***

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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  The following inconsistent spellings or possible printer's errors
  were identified and left as printed:

    Mollah and Moullah
    Tschorock and Tschoroch
    Malattia and Malatia
    Djesireh and Djesire
    Felujah and Feludjah
    Trebizonde and Trebizond
    Merdin and Mardin
    Soukoum and Soukum
    Melaskert and Meleskert
    Mahmoud and Mahmod
    Beilan and Beylan
    Boghaz and Bogaz
    Mousch and Moush

     VOL. II.



     London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.

     Stanford's Geogl Estabt, London.]






     VOL. II.



     [All rights reserved.]




     My host—A Russian servant—The Crimean war—How the Russian
     soldiers were beaten—My father the Tzar—I would sooner be
     hanged!—The civilized way of eating a dinner—Knives and
     forks of Circassian manufacture—The Caimacan's opinion
     of knives and forks—My host's wife—His mother—Your Queen
     likes riding—An Armenian lady inquiring about balls—The
     barracks—The appearance of Arabkir—The prison—The
     inmates—The troops—A nation of soldiers—If Allah wills
     it—Capital required                                             1


     The Mohammedan school—The Governor—The Schoolmaster—His
     impertinence—An Armenian song—The Russians at
     Tiflis—Are the Russians so very degraded?—The Hodja, or
     Schoolmaster—He is put in prison—The fanatics amongst the
     Turks—A school required for Hodjas—Qualified teachers
     wanted—Do the Turks insult your religion?—Malattia—A
     cross tied to the tail of a dog—We want newspapers—Even
     they contradict each other—The streets are slippery—The
     precipices—Shephe—The Kurds—Few Zaptiehs in the
     province—Hara Bazar—The village of Ashoot—Arab
     horses—Deserters—The Usebashe—God is evidently on our
     side                                                           11


     Radford—His health—The farmer's house—The high
     elevation—My brother will look down the precipices—The
     Frat—The scenery—A caravan—How to pass it—The
     weather—Turks in Egin—A coracle—Beautiful fish—Sick
     soldiers—Twenty-four hours without food—Egin—The
     Caimacan—The Cadi—His story—Daniel—Samson—His riches,
     his 10,000 wives, all of them fat and lovely—His
     treasure-chests—The lovely daughters of the
     mountaineers—The officers died; the Pachas died; and last
     of all, Samson died—The fate of the Russians                   22


     The Armenian church—The devotees—The ladies—The
     priest—His toilet—Little boys—A song in honour of
     the Queen of England—These Armenians are very dirty—A
     hymn sung in English—The inhabitants of Egin—Turkish
     doctors—A _post mortem_ examination—Price of meat—Russian
     agents—The massacres in Bulgaria—The Hasta Dagh
     mountain—The descent of the glacier—I never thought as
     how a horse could skate, sir, before!                          32


     Hasta Khan—The Kurds—Their summer depredations—Our Sultan
     ought to be Padishah in his own dominions—The English
     Consul—A story about the Kurds—The Delsin—Arresting the
     major—The major's dinner with the chief—Acknowledge
     the Padishah—A sore back—The mule which is offered
     in exchange—The pack-saddle—The Euphrates—Coal in the
     neighbourhood—Kemach—The Caimacan—Djerrid—A National
     Guard—A miniature Gibraltar—Turkoman horses—Numerous
     wells—One of the faithful                                      41


     Kemach—Its population—Barley is very cheap—An English
     traveller—Conversation about the impending war—If we
     beat Russia, will England permit us to take back the
     Caucasus?—Yakoob Khan—The Poles to be freed—Germany
     to have the Baltic Provinces—What about the Crimea?—We
     ought to cripple Russia—The Floggers of Women—Crossing
     the Euphrates—Radford is poorly—Erzingan—The intendant
     of Issek Pacha—Pretty Armenian women—An intelligent
     Turk—Iron, silver, gold—Coal—Lead-mines worked by
     the Kurds—The peasantry and coal—The Government and
     the mines—A relation of the Pacha of Sivas—The old
     doctor—Firing a patient for gout                               50


     Erzingan—The Mutasarraf Pacha—Widdin—Russian official
     documents—Names of high functionaries—General
     Ignatieff—Hindostan—The Kurds will be excited to massacre
     the Armenians—The probable final result of the war—If
     Turkey were to join Russia—The boot manufactory—The
     shoemakers being drilled—The gaol—Coiners—A jealous woman
     in prison—The unfortunate shopkeeper                           59


     Russia's conduct in Servia—The Hodja—We have a
     great many troops—If the Circassians will rise—The
     Pacha—Raw cotton—The Mohammedan school—The Hodja's
     sum—Three jealous husbands—The mosque—Issek Pacha—A
     comparison between Mohammedan Imaums and Christian
     priests—Provisions—The old doctor—The road to
     Erzeroum—Want of sport—Soldiers frost-bitten                   68


     Climbing the mountains—It is bitterly cold—Delan—The
     soldiers—Kargan—A bridge over the Euphrates—Mohallata—Our
     Padishah is poor now—The Captain of the Zaptiehs—He
     wishes to be married—Promotion wanted—The Erzingan
     track meets the Trebizond road—Bashi Bazouks—The
     Kara Su—Zaptiehs—Erzeroum—The fortifications of
     Erzeroum—Ismail Pacha's residence—A pacific speech
     made by Lord Derby—A decoration sent by the Tzar
     to the Armenian Bishop of Erzeroum—An Armenian
     demonstration—Caravan trade—_Timbaki_—Duties
     increased—The price of Timbaki—The Kurds—Russian agents—A
     massacre of the Christians to be brought about by Russian
     agents                                                         76


     The Pacha's interpreter—The Russian Consul—The
     telegram—_Un ennemi acharné_ of Russia—Mr. Zohrab—The
     Russian Government encourages photography—The paternal
     Government—Spies—Pregnant women massacred—How to frighten
     the mountaineers—Go and complain to the _Kralli_ of the
     English.—Ask her to send you an oculist—A blood-stained
     placard—A proof of Russian civilization—Two Circassian
     chiefs—Their statement—The value of the Caucasus—A Memoir
     drawn up by the Emperor Nicholas for the instruction
     of the present Emperor Alexander—Our inheritance is the
     East—The Circassians must be freed                             84


     The European society in Erzeroum—The Russian Consul is
     an energetic man—How to depopulate a country—Russian
     passports—Consul Taylor—The intrigues of the Russian
     Consul—The Armenian upper classes—How corrupt they
     are—The soldiers in Erzeroum—Discontent—_Métallique_—The
     Military Hospitals—Recruits from the South—The head
     surgeon—The wards—A valuable medicine—A bad habit—Wasting
     ammunition                                                     94


     A conversation with the Pacha—The English Parliament
     opened—What will they say about Turkey?—Can the
     people at your Embassy speak Turkish?—The French are
     brave soldiers—The fortifications—The roads—The water
     supply—The posterns—Important military positions—A dinner
     with our Consul—He relates a story—A Kurdish robber—The
     Colonel—His young wife—How the Kurd wished to revenge
     himself—Many of the Kurds are in Russian pay                  104


     The weather—The number of troops in the town—Wood
     is very dear—Tezek—The shape of the town—Trade with
     Persia—Ismail Pacha's head servant—Have the Russians
     arrived?—No, Effendi, but the Pacha has hanged himself!
     that is all—The Pacha's wives—He was gay and handsome—The
     Consul's dragoman—An attack of dysentery—Starting
     for Van—Major-General Macintosh—His opinion about
     the Kurds—The Bazaar at Van—Fezzee Pacha—Kiepert's
     map—Erzeroum is very weak—Fezzee Pacha's opinion about
     the impending war—The curious Caves                           114


     The Turkish cemetery—Entering the cavern—The narrow
     passage—A branch tunnel—A candle went out—The ball of
     string—The Garden of Eden—The serpent—A dinner with the
     Engineer-general—Mashallah—The evil eye—A whole nation of
     Hodjas—You English are a marvellous nation—Some of our
     Pachas cannot write—This is a miracle—Start for Van—The
     postman—A caravan from Persia—The wives of the Persian
     merchant—How to balance a fat wife—Herteff—My host's
     wife—Stealing sugar                                           124


     The Kurd—His bonnet—Mohammed is ill—Radford doctors
     him—The mustard plaster—The plaster is cold—Where has
     the Frank put the flames?—An old frost-bite—The two
     merchants—Bayazid—A Turkish lieutenant—A very dirty
     Christian—Crossing the Araxes—Kupri Kui—Yusueri—Deli
     Baba—Earthenware jars—How they are made—When the winter
     is over—Procrastination                                       134


     Low hills—Deep snow—The effect of the sun's rays—Nearly
     blind—Daha—The road to Bayazid blocked—The daughter of my
     host—Her costume—Soap and water—A surprise—She is very
     dirty—If she were well washed—Turkish merchants—Buying
     the daughters—A course of Turkish baths—An addition
     to the Seraglio—Rich men always get pretty wives—The
     Kurd's sons—The Imaum of the village—My host's tooth—It
     aches—I have heard of your great skill—Cure my tooth—A
     mustard plaster a remedy for toothache—A hakim for the
     stomach—Have it out—Champagne nippers—My tooth is better
     already                                                       142


     Clearing the way—Leaving Daha—My father was well
     cleaned last night—The wonderful medicine—Charging
     the snow-drifts—Turkoman steeds—The Persians—The
     lieutenant—Zedhane—Molla Suleiman—Toprak Kale—A
     sanguinary drama—The Caimacan—The rivals—An Armenian
     peasant—The marriage ceremony—The Circassian Governor—The
     Kurd's mother—Revenge—His father's bones—The Circassian's
     wives—The Governor in bed—The fight—The feud between the
     Kurds and Circassians—Camels in the water—The ice has
     broken                                                        151


     Armenian lads—Riding calves—Buffaloes—A fair price for
     a girl—Our daughters are our maid-servants—A European
     wife—A useless incumbrance—A Dervish—The lieutenant roars
     at him—Kara Kelise—Kaize Kuy—The streams in Anatolia—A
     source of annoyance—Persian women—A Persian village—The
     houses—Rugs manufactured by the inhabitants—Erivan—The
     Russian invasion of Persia—Once a Russian always a
     Russian—The Murad river—Diyadin—The garrison—Rumours
     of peace—Persia—Ararat—The view—Ophthalmia—Bayazid—The
     Pacha's residence—The Russian authorities in
     Daghestan—Four hundred people killed—Women and children
     shot down and beaten to death—Major-General Macintosh—His
     opinion about Bayazid—The importance of this town from
     a military point of view—Syria—Aleppo—Diarbekir—Van—The
     barracks—Mahmoud Pacha—His descendants—The irony of
     fate—A Hungarian doctor—Mahmoud Pacha, the son of Issek
     Pacha, lies here                                              160


     A spy—The news from Erivan—The border line—How he passed
     the frontier—The Mollahs—A war of extermination preached
     by them—A Turkish newspaper—Turks in Asia—Christians in
     Europe—The Conference—A Conference in St. Petersburg—The
     European Powers dislike Russia—General Ignatieff a judge
     instead of a prisoner—The hour for the evening prayer—A
     Turkish officer on prayer—His opinion about European
     Bishops—They eat mutton every day—A Turkish Captain           171


     A Yezeed (devil-worshippers) village—The Usebashe—The
     worshippers of Old Scratch—The Yezeed's religion—The
     Spirit of good—The spirit of evil—The rites—The Grand
     Vizier of Allah—The unmarried priest—The wives and
     daughters in their congregation—A high honour—Women
     honoured by the attentions of a priest—Great excitement
     at the priests' arrival—Mr. Layard—His admirable
     work—Kelise Kandy—My host—His house—They want to conquer
     the Shah—Nadir Shah—He once conquered you English in
     Hindostan—The Tzar of America—You pay Shere Ali a large
     sum of money—He is a clever fellow                            178


     Dinner—The Persian's wife is poorly—The wonderful
     wet paper—The _samovar_—The harem—Be not alarmed—She
     is in a delicate state of health—Jaundice—She feels
     better already—No medicine for your complaint—A mustard
     plaster would be useless—Sons of the devil—My lord's
     baksheesh—Commotion amongst the servants                      188


     Dize—Shadili—Shalendili—Karenee—Kurds—Radford wishes
     to bleed the inhabitants—Persian men with their beards
     dyed red—Every part of a woman is false—These Persians
     are a nation of women—The old fire-worshipper's
     superstition—Gardens—Irrigation—Soldiers—The flint
     fire-locks—They are unclean ones, these Persians—The
     little dogs do some things well—a Persian will kiss you
     on one cheek, and will stab you behind your back              196


     No signs of Khoi—At last we arrive—The Turkish
     Consul—Russian intrigues—Persian soldiers have attacked
     a Turkish village—Kashka Beulah—A Turkish Usebashe and
     seven men brought prisoners to Khoi—The Ambassador at
     Teheran—Retaliation—The exchange of prisoners—The origin
     of the disturbance—The Shah's uncle—Russian agents
     in Teheran—Kurdish girls make the best wives—They do
     not care about fine clothes—How to make use of your
     mother-in-law—The women in your country—A fortune on
     dress—My last wife cost ten liras—Persian women—The
     Persians are very cruel—Odd customs—The fortifications
     of Khoi—Soldiers gambling                                     204


     The bazaar—Recumbent Persians—Carpets—Cutlery—Russian
     calicoes—The houses in Khoi—The schools—A class
     of lads—The Pedlar—The schoolmaster chastises
     him—Pillaff—Bonbons—Persian ladies like
     sweetmeats—Articles of native manufacture—The mosque—The
     Russian officials in Erivan—We leave Khoi—Kotoor
     Boghaz—The Turkish captain who was taken prisoner by
     the Persians—His explanation of the affair—The Russians
     are our fathers—The defile—Magnificent positions for
     defence—A mineral spring—The change of temperature            212


     Kotoor—The Quarantine station—The medical officer
     in charge—The Governor of Kotoor—A Russian disguised
     as a Persian—Mineral wealth—The Russians would like
     this territory—A stepping-stone to Bagdad and Mosul—A
     loyal Kurd—Aleshkert—The people there take the
     strongest side—Moullah Hassan—Kurdish merchants—The
     postman—His mule in the water—My new yellow trousers—The
     saddle-bags in the river—Nestorian villages—How to buy
     a wife—Exchange and barter—A horse and two sheep—Van—The
     Pacha—The barracks—The garrison—Bitlis                        221


     The artillery at practice—The horses—The Commandant—The
     Military School at Constantinople—The citadel—Typhus—The
     swamp—The sanitary state of the city—The lake—Natron—A
     substitute for soap—Stone cannon-balls—Nadir Shah's
     attack upon Van—Greek and Assyrian coins—Salutes during
     Bairam—An inscription on the rock—An adventurous
     Englishman—The Commandant—A Kurd—Hernia—How to cure
     rupture—Three American Missionaries—The English and
     American flags—The conflagration at Van—Armenian
     inventions—The Commissioner—The troops                        230


     An extempore market—Carbonate of soda—The population—The
     Pacha's salary—The Commander's pay—The Hungarian doctor's
     contract—The Armenian church—An inscription—A heathen
     temple—The Armenian clergy—Their different grades—The
     monks—The two Patriarchs—The Catolicos—The _meira_—The
     miraculous power of the Catolicos—The miracle turned into
     £ _s._ _d._—Baptismal and burial fees—Prayers for the
     dead—A curious tradition—King Abgar the leper—The journey
     from Van—The mirage—Gull—Paz—Tishikoomlekui—Ardisch—A
     Kurdish girl—A strange custom                                 240


     Akserai—The Kurds—Raids upon the villages—Five females
     ravished—The Pacha at Van is powerless to help the
     villagers—The hot springs in Lake Van—Fish—How to catch
     them—Zerekli—Starlings—Intelligent insects—Patnos—We
     cross the Murad river—Dotah—The Caimacan—The
     devil-worshipper—His house—A Yezeed sheik—Scarcity of
     accommodation                                                 248


     My host—The Sheik's appearance—My host's two
     daughters—They attend upon the Sheik—Caressing the
     flames—I love the fire—An insult to the Shaitan—Do
     you believe in Allah?—Allah can do no harm—The Yezeed
     fetish—The tomb of Sheik Adi—Your cows shall not
     die—Mohammed wants a fetish—A cure for rheumatism—The
     Melek Taoos—Do you ever pray?—What is the use? Everything
     is fixed—You cannot force Destiny to change her
     mind—Hidden things—The balls of clay—Mr. Layard—The seven
     archangels                                                    253


     Alongside the river Murad—Waterfalls—The Melaskert
     river—Tchekhane—An attack of fever—Quinine—The doctor
     at Toprak Kale—He arrives—The consultation—Excitement
     amongst the villagers—The stethoscope—The audience—How
     clever these Franks are—The Effendi is going to
     die—Rheumatic fever—Pressed fruit—A native remedy—A long
     night                                                         260


     Mohammed's febrifuge—The doctor's
     medicine—Zedhane—Daha—Hassan Bek—Bash—The
     garrison—We cross the Araxes—The bridge made by a
     Circassian—Karakroot—The Circassian horsemen—The
     inhabitants—Their eyes and teeth—Gedjerharman—The plain
     around Kars—The streets of the town—The sewerage of the
     population—The civil governor—The river—The war with the
     Persians—Mount Kara Dagh—The fortifications                   267


     The garrison of Kars—Dr. Lanzoni—A probable outbreak
     of typhus—The two Pachas—Whose fault is it?—If God
     wills it, there will be no cholera—If God wills it,
     the Russians will not come here—The hospitals full
     of men suffering from typhus fever—The International
     Commission—The Grand Duke Michael—Gumri—The Armenians
     and their nationality—The Speech of the Grand Duke—The
     Master of the Armenian school—You shall go to prison—The
     Emperor Nicholas—Religious liberty granted to Armenians
     in Russia—The document—The Patriarch's death—Suspicious
     circumstances—Cossacks firing upon Mohammedans—Three
     children wounded—Clergymen of the Church of
     England—Hankering after the idolatrous practices of the
     Greek faith—Wolves in sheep's clothing—Colonel Lake—A
     little boy shot by the Cossacks—Russia the father of
     the fatherless—The Rt. Hon. R. Lowe, M.P.—The Author of
     _the Bulgarian horrors_—English officers and soldiers
     massacred in the Crimea—The Court of Inquiry—The Duke
     of Newcastle's speech—Russian officers butchering the
     English wounded                                               275


     The march to Ardahan—Molla Hassan—A Turkish major—The
     garrison of Ardahan—The position of the town—The
     fortifications—Procrastination in military matters—The
     possible invasion of Great Britain or India—The
     military governor—A colonel of artillery—The Russians
     might take Van—The Ala Dagh Mountains—Freemasonry—The
     ancient Assyrians—To Livana by road—By the river to
     Batoum—Selling the horses—What they fetch—A bad bargain       287


     Ardanusch—The Ardahan river—Shadavan scenery—Crossing
     the mountains—The roof of the world—The Tschorock
     river—Mohammed is afraid—Kismet—If a Christian is
     ill—Going to Paradise—Does a Christian send for a
     doctor?—A vast amphitheatre—Kale, or the old fortress
     of Ardanusch—Akiska—War—The Mostaphas are to be called
     out—The road to Livana—The cayek                              295


     The precipice—Better to die to-morrow than
     to-day—Livana—The Caimacan—The Padishah of the
     United States—The Clerk—A man with a node on his
     forehead—A Christian with a hump-back—The cayek—The
     owner of the boat—The Georgians—Mohammed's alarm—The
     current—Miradet—The Mudir—A deserter                          301


     Price of corn—Indian corn—Barley—Hardly any horses in
     the neighbourhood—Bashi Bazouks—The Persians—Bagdad—A
     passenger had been drowned—Mohammed is sea-sick—The
     harbour of Batoum—The quarantine station—The garrison—The
     Cossack outposts—Shooting down Turkish sentinels—The
     encampment—The sanitary arrangements are good—The new
     rifle—The market—Money changers—A Turkish steamer—The
     agent—If the Lord wills it—Farewell to Mohammed—His
     tears—Human nature—Reform impossible in Turkey so long
     as Russia keeps on intriguing—My fellow passengers—The
     Pacha—Trebizond—Arrival in London                             307


     The journey is over—Declaration of war—Her Majesty's
     Government—An iniquitous and unnecessary step
     on the part of the Tzar—The Treaty of Paris—Its
     infringement—Impossible to foresee the consequences
     of such an act—Russia's contempt for England—England
     allied with Turkey—Applying the rod—A Conference might
     be held in St. Petersburg—The solemn assurances of the
     Emperor—Samarcand—Khiva—The Black Sea Convention—Let
     the Russians go to Constantinople—People who believe
     in Russian promises—A non-military power like
     England—England ought to join Turkey                          316



        I. The Floggers of Women                                   323

       II. Christianity as understood in Russia                    325

      III. Russian Civilization                                    327

       IV. Russian Agents and the Massacres in Bulgaria            330

        V. Stabbing under the Guise of Friendship                  344

       VI. The Russian way of Christianizing the Turks             346

      VII. The Schoolmasters in Massacre                           349

     VIII. Ought we to have saved the Circassians?                 350

       IX. Lessons in Massacre                                     351

        X. Statement of the Circassian Deputies in reference
           to the Crimean War                                      353

       XI. Holy Russia and the Cursed Crescent                     361

      XII. The Corruption of Armenian Officials                    363

     XIII. Female Brigandage                                       366

      XIV. The Routes which traverse Asia Minor, and the
           Euphrates and Tigris                                    368

       XV. The Military Importance of Syria                        383

      XVI. Sir John Burgoyne on the Defences of Constantinople     388

     XVII. The Chekmagee Lines                                     393



     My host—A Russian servant—The Crimean war—How the Russian
     soldiers were beaten—My father the Tzar—I would sooner be
     hanged!—The civilized way of eating a dinner—Knives and
     forks of Circassian manufacture—The Caimacan's opinion of
     knives and forks—My host's wife—His mother—Your Queen likes
     riding—An Armenian lady inquiring about balls—The barracks—The
     appearance of Arabkir—The prison—The inmates—The troops—A
     nation of soldiers—If Allah wills it—Capital required.

My host now called out in a loud voice, "Atech!" (fire!) "I want to show
you my Russian servant," he remarked. The door opened. A man of about
fifty years of age, with an unmistakable Calmuck cast of countenance,
brought a piece of live charcoal, between a pair of iron tongs, and
placed it in the bowl of my host's chibouk; then, retiring to the end
of the room, and crossing his arms, he awaited a fresh order.

"So you are a Russian?" I said, addressing the man in his native tongue.

"Yes, your excellency."

"And why did you not return to your own country after the Crimean war
was over?"

The man looked down upon the floor; presently he remarked,—

"I was beaten."

"Who beat you?"

"I was beaten all day and all night. My colonel beat me. The sergeant
boxed my ears, and the corporals kicked me!"

"But did you get flogged more than the rest of your comrades?"

"No, your excellency; at that time we were all beaten. I am told that
now the officers do not flog their men so much."

"You are a deserter," I remarked.

"No, your excellency, I did not desert. I liked my father the Tzar too
much to run away when he required my services. I was taken prisoner;
when the war was over, I would not return to Russia. That is all I have

"Well, and if the Russians come here, as it is quite possible they may,
what shall you do then? For you would, in that case, have a very fair
chance of being hanged."

"It would be a dreadful thing, your excellency, but I must take the
risk. I would sooner be hanged than go back."

"But things have improved in Russia since your time."

"A little," replied the man. "Little by little we advance in Russia.
It is a nice country for the rich, but it is a dreadful country for the

"Is Turkey better?"

"Yes, your excellency, no one is beaten here; when a man is hungry,
no Turk will ever refuse him a mouthful of food—that is, if he has
one for himself. I hope my brothers will not come here," continued the
man, pointing presumably in the direction of the Caucasus. "Allah has
given our father the Tzar much land; why does he want more?" and, after
putting some more red-hot charcoal in the bowls of our pipes, the Moujik
left the room.

My host's frequent journeys to Erzeroum, where he had occasionally
met Europeans, had given him a taste for the civilized way of eating
a dinner. He pointed with some pride to his knives and forks. They
had been brought to Erzeroum from the Caucasus, and were a mixture of
silver, lead, and gold—the three metals being blended together by the
Circassian artificers, and then formed into the articles in question.

The Caimacan was also supplied with a knife and fork; however, this
gentleman did not seem to understand the use of his plate, and ate out
of the dish.

"Which do you like the best—to eat with a knife and fork, or with your
fingers?" I inquired.

"With my fingers," replied the Caimacan. "It is so much cleaner," he
continued. "I first wash my hands, and then put them into the dish;
but I do not clean my own fork—that is the duty of the servant, who,
perhaps, is an idle fellow. Besides this, who knows how many dirty
mouths this fork has been stuck into before I put it in mine?"

Later in the evening, and when the governor had retired, my host said
that his wife and mother would come and sit with us for a little while.

"I am not like the other Armenians in Anatolia," continued the speaker;
"I have determined to shut up my female relations no longer."

"Do they not cover their faces?" I inquired.

"Yes, in the street they do, but not inside the house."

The ladies now entered. They were dressed in loose yellow silk
dressing-gowns. Making a profound reverence to my host and self, they
seated themselves on a divan in the farther corner of the room, tucking
their legs underneath them, and assuming the same position as my

"It is a great honour for them to see an Englishman," he observed.

"Yes," said the old lady, "and what a distance you have come! Our roads
are bad, and travelling is very disagreeable for ladies," she continued.
"To have to go always on horseback, or in a box slung on a mule, is not
comfortable. Do English ladies ride?"


"And why should they ride?" observed my host's wife. "Have they not
carriages and railways in your country, so that when a man travels he
can take a woman with him without any difficulty?"

"Yes, but they ride for pleasure. Our Queen is very fond of riding, and
often does so when she is in Scotland."

"Your Queen likes riding! That is a miracle!" said the old lady.

"I do not like it at all—it makes me so sore," said her companion; "but
you Franks are wonderful people, and your women seem to do what they

"Would not you like to do the same?" I inquired.

"A woman's place is to stay at home, and look after the children," said
my host's mother gravely.

"Do not the husbands in England often become jealous of their wives?"
inquired my host,—"and the wives of their husbands?" interrupted the
old lady.

"Yes, sometimes."

"Well, there is a great deal to be said on both sides of the question,"
observed the Armenian. "It will be a long time before we follow you in
all your customs."

"You have places in your country where the men and women meet and dance
together in the same way as our gipsies dance—at least so I have been
told," remarked my host's wife.

"Not exactly like your gipsies," I replied; "but we have what are called
balls, where men and women meet and dance together."

"The husband with his own wife?"

"No, not always. In fact, more often with the daughter or wife of a

"I should like to see a ball very much," observed my host.

"We had better go," said his mother, "it is getting late;" rising from
the sofa, she made another very obsequious reverence, and left the room
with her daughter-in-law.

The following day I rode to see the barracks. Arabkir is built in such a
straggling fashion, that, although it only contains about 3000 houses,
it extends for a distance of six miles. The houses are built on each
side of a deep ravine. The streets, which are very precipitous, lead,
in some instances, over the flat roofs of the dwellings. The latter
were many of them built of stone, and an air of cleanliness prevailed
throughout the town.

Large gardens, planted with all sorts of fruit-trees, surrounded the
houses. Long avenues of mulberry-trees were to be met with in every

I stopped for a few minutes at the prison, and, dismounting, walked
into the building. There were only seven prisoners—six Turks and one
Armenian—the latter for attempting to pass false money, the Mohammedans
for robberies and debt.

The population in Arabkir is equally divided between the Turks and
Armenians. It was very creditable to the latter that there should be
only one Armenian in the gaol. By all accounts, there was very little
crime in this district, and the prison of Arabkir would be often for
weeks together without a single criminal within its walls.

We arrived at the barracks, a square building, with long dormitories for
the troops, and which were fairly clean. It contained at the time of
my visit 500 redif (reserve) soldiers. They were shortly to start for
Erzeroum. There were quarters for three times that number of troops,
and another battalion was expected very shortly.

The men had not received their uniform. It was to be given to them
at Erzeroum; they were clad for the most part in rags and tatters,
and had been armed with the needle rifle. I was informed that the
Martini-Peabody weapon would be shortly served out to them. A squad of
men was being instructed in the manual exercise in one of the passages.
I spoke to the officer, and inquired if the battalion had ever been out
for target practice.

"No," replied the man, apparently surprised at the question, "we want
all our ball-cartridges for the enemy."

"But if your men do not practise at a target in the time of peace, they
will not be able to hit their enemies in the time of war."

"We are a nation of soldiers," said the officer. "Every Turk carries
a fire-arm. You have doubtless observed this on your journey," he

"Yes; but the weapons are for the most part old flint guns, which, if
fired, would be quite as dangerous to the owners as to the foe, and
are of no use whatever as a means of enabling your soldiers to aim

"If Allah wills it, our bullets will strike the Russians," observed the

"If Allah wills it, there will be no war, and all this instruction which
you are giving the men in the manual exercise will have been wasted.
What is the good of teaching your soldiers anything?" I continued; "if
Allah wills it so, they can defeat the enemy with chibouks and nargilehs
(pipes) just as easily as with Martini rifles!"

"This is the effect of the doctrine of fatalism," observed my Armenian
host, who had accompanied me to the barracks; "it is the cause of half
the apathy which characterizes the Turks. Why, they only commenced
making roads after Sultan Abdul Aziz's visit to Europe."

"But you Armenians are equally to blame in that respect," I observed.
"Only look at your own town. There are no roads, the streets are not
paved, and they are full of ruts. The inhabitants are half of them
Armenians; then why do not you Christians set the Turks an example, and
begin by making a road to Divriki?"

"We are quite as apathetic as the Mohammedans," replied the Armenian.
"The same observation which you have just made has been repeated to
us fifty times over; but there is no one who has energy enough in his
disposition to commence taking the initiative."

"Why do not you set about the business yourself?"

"I have my own affairs to look after. We are not public-spirited, or
like Englishmen," continued my companion; "each one of us thinks of his
purse first, and afterwards of how to benefit his fellow-townsmen. What
a good thing it would be for the country if you English were to come
here!" he continued. "All we want is a little of your energy, with it
and capital, Anatolia would soon become one of the richest countries in
the world."


     The Mohammedan school—The Governor—The Schoolmaster—His
     impertinence—An Armenian song—The Russians at Tiflis—Are the
     Russians so very degraded?—The Hodja, or Schoolmaster—He
     is put in prison—The fanatics amongst the Turks—A school
     required for Hodjas—Qualified teachers wanted—Do the Turks
     insult your religion?—Malattia—A cross tied to the tail of a
     dog—We want newspapers—Even they contradict each other—The
     streets are slippery—The precipices—Shephe—The Kurds—Few
     Zaptiehs in the province—Hara Bazar—The village of Ashoot—Arab
     horses—Deserters—The Usebashe—God is evidently on our side.

From the barracks we rode to the Mohammedan school. Here there were
about thirty boys, all squatting on the floor, and engaged in spelling
verses of the Koran. A few badly-drawn maps of the different quarters
of the world were hung round the whitewashed walls. The governor
accompanied me to the school-room. On his entrance the boys at once
stood up and salaamed. The Hodja schoolmaster made a gesture, as if he
too would rise; but then, seeing me, his countenance changed. He sank
back into a sitting position.

"This is done to show his contempt of you as a giaour," whispered an
Armenian. "This is how he insults us Christians."

The Caimacan turned a little red when he saw the schoolmaster thus
seated in his presence. However, he did not make any remark, but
accompanied me to the Armenian school.

There were about a hundred boys in the establishment. The moment I
arrived they commenced an Armenian song, headed by one of the masters—an
elderly gentleman, who sang through his nose. A performer on an ancient
harpsichord, which from its signs of age might have belonged to Queen
Anne, accompanied the vocalists. The words, I was informed, were about
the glories of Armenia, what a fine nation the Armenians were, and how
some day Armenia will lift up her head once more. My host interpreted
to me these verses.

"Do you think that Armenia will ever be independent?" I inquired.

He shook his head.

"Russia will very likely be here in a year or two, and then we shall be
much more oppressed than we are at present. Why, the Russian Government
will not allow this song to be sung in our schools at Tiflis. Everything
is done to make my fellow-countrymen in the Caucasus forget their
own language and nationality, and to thoroughly Russify them. If the
Russians were to come here, our religion would soon disappear," he

"But some of your priests rather like the Russians?"

"Some people would sell their souls to obtain a cross or an order,"
said another Armenian. "But every patriot amongst us who has read of
what our country once was will scorn the idea of being degraded into a

"Are the Russians so very degraded?" I remarked.

"They possess all the vices of the Turks, and none of their good
qualities. They drink like swine; many of their officials embezzle the
public money; and as to lying, they can even outdo the Greeks in this

"You have not a high opinion of the Tzar's people?" I observed.

"No, Effendi; better a hundred times remain as we are than be forced to
submit to his rule."

"Is that really so? I thought that you were always complaining about
the want of liberty in Turkey," I remarked.

"Yes, Effendi, all we wish for is to be placed on the same footing as
the Turks themselves. This is the Sultan's desire; a firman has been
issued to that effect, but it is a dead letter. The Cadis ought to carry
out the law; they will not do so. They ought to be forced to carry out
the Padishah's orders."

On returning to my quarters, the Caimacan, who accompanied me, remarked,—

"Effendi, did you notice the Hodja's (schoolmaster) conduct?"

"I did."

"I was sorry to remark that he did not stand up when you entered the

"It was a very bad example for the boys; they could plainly see that
their preceptor did not hold the chief magistrate of the town in much
respect," I observed.

The Caimacan hesitated for a moment, and then remarked,—

"Oh! it was not on my own account that I spoke, but for the sake of the
Effendi, who is an Englishman. It was an insult to him."

"Not in the least," I remarked. "How could it have been, when you were
present? Why, you would have taken notice of it immediately."

"I did," said the Caimacan drily, "and the schoolmaster is in prison!"

"Is in prison? What for?"

"For contempt of his superiors."

"How long shall you keep him there?"

"That depends upon you, but he has been shut up about two hours already."

"I should think that it would be sufficient," I remarked.

"Shall I send and have him released?" said the Caimacan.

"Yes, if you think that he has sufficiently atoned for the way in which
he insulted you; but make him come here and apologize for his conduct."

My Armenian host now came to me.

"Do not ask for that," he remarked. "All the fanatics amongst the Turks
would be furious with me if they heard that the schoolmaster had been
forcibly brought to my house to apologize to you, a giaour. The fellow
has had a good lesson," he continued, "and will be more particular the
next time he sees a European."

"Are there many fanatics in this neighbourhood?" I inquired.

"Not more so than in other parts of Turkey; it is everywhere very much
the same. What ought to be done," continued the speaker, "would be
to establish large schools, and insist upon the parents sending their
children to be taught. If Mohammedan and Christian boys and girls were
to meet in the same schoolroom, and learn their lessons together, they
would be more likely to mutually respect each other in after-life. To
carry this idea into execution, it would first be necessary to procure
a staff of efficient schoolmasters. There ought to be a college for
Hodjas in Constantinople, where Mohammedan and Christian young men could
be educated, and pass an examination as to their efficiency. We should
then have qualified men as teachers, instead of the ignorant fanatics
who now usurp the office. There is another reform which we require,"
continued my host, "and this is that the Mudirs, Caimacans and Pachas
in the different provinces should not be exclusively Turks. The various
posts ought to be open to every sect. We are all, Christians as well as
Mohammedans, the Sultan's subjects; then why make a difference? If the
Turkish lower orders saw that Armenians were sometimes selected to be
Pachas and Caimacans, they would be more likely to respect the Christian

"Do the Turks often insult your religion?" I inquired.

"No, not often, but they call us giaours (infidels)."

"Yes," said another Armenian, a professor at the Armenian school, and
who could speak a little French; "in Malattia there are twelve thousand
inhabitants, made up of three thousand Christians and nine thousand
Turks. Only three months ago some Mohammedans in that town made a cross
and tied it to the tail of a dog. The hound ran through the streets of
the town; the little boys threw stones at him, and the holy symbol was
dragged in the mud."

"This is very horrible," I remarked. "Did you see it yourself?"

"No, but I have heard of it."

"Who told you?"

"A man in Arabkir."

"Had he seen it?"

"No, he had not been in Malattia, but he had been told the story. Every
one has heard of it."

"We are in the East," I observed to my host, "and it appears to me that
you Christians are very much given to exaggeration."

"Yes, Effendi; we want newspapers. If we only had newspapers we should
then know the truth. How fortunate you must be in England to have so
many newspapers!"

"Even they contradict each other sometimes," I remarked.

"Perhaps. But you are a great nation; I should like to be an Englishman."

"So should I," said the schoolmaster.

The mercury in the thermometer fell very much during the night. It was
a frosty morning. The steep streets of Arabkir were extremely slippery.
It was difficult enough for a man on foot to avoid falling; as we led
our horses down the treacherous inclines, the poor brutes skated about
in all directions.

We crossed a rapid stream, fifty yards wide, on a fairly strong
bridge—this river runs into the Euphrates, forty miles south of
Arabkir—and next had to lead our animals through a difficult and
mountainous district.

The track was very narrow. It generally sloped towards a precipice. In
some instances there was a clear drop of at least 400 feet within six
inches of our horses. The surface upon which they had to walk was like
glass. A slip would have been certain death; it was marvellous how they
avoided stumbling. In about three hours' time we reached Shephe, an
Armenian village. I halted here for a few minutes to bait our animals.

The proprietor of the house where we dismounted spoke highly of the
Caimacan at Arabkir. However, he freely cursed the Kurds, who in the
summer-time committed many depredations in the neighbourhood. In the
months of June and July, no man's life was in safety. There were so few
Zaptiehs in the province that the robbers could carry on their trade
with impunity.

Presently we passed a stream called the Erman Su. It is spanned by
a good stone bridge. On reaching the other side, I found myself in a
broad, well-cultivated plain. The ruins of a large city lay heaped up
by the river's banks. This was the site of Hara Bazar, an Armenian town
which flourished long before either Arabkir or Egin were built. The
ruins lay some little distance from the path, I did not visit them. My
guide informed me that the débris consists of enormous stones. These
are the wonder of the villagers, who generally build their houses of
mud. They cannot conceive what manner of men were their ancestors who
had taken the trouble to bring such massive slabs from the distant
mountains. The village of Ashoot stands in the middle of the plain,
and is composed of fifty-one houses, all belonging to Mohammedans. The
inhabitants, for Turks, were extremely wealthy; some nice-looking Arab
horses stood in my host's drawing-room. He was the chief person in the
village, and presently informed me that twenty soldiers, who were on
their way to Erzeroum, had deserted, a few days before, from a hamlet
about six miles distant. He had been on their track, and would certainly
have shot the culprits if he had been able to catch them. There had been
no officer with these soldiers. The men had been left to find their way
to Erzeroum without even being accompanied by a sergeant.

"Three days ago," continued my informant, "a battalion, 800 strong, came
to this village. The officer in command demanded from the inhabitants
nine mules for the transport of his sick men. The amount to be paid by
him for the hire of the animals to Egin was fixed at 200 piastres (about
1_l._ of our money). The officer omitted to settle the account. The
villagers have applied to the police authorities at Egin for the sum,
and are very angry because it has not been paid."

A Usebashe (captain) now called. He had just arrived from Erzeroum, and
declared that there was a report in that town to the effect that Yakoob,
Khan of Kashgar, had attacked the Russians near Tashkent—had utterly
defeated them, and taken 20,000 prisoners and twenty guns.

"Allah grant that it may prove true!" said my host. "Twenty thousand
sons of dogs in captivity! This is something! I hope Yakoob has cut all
their throats."

"God is evidently on our side!" said the village Imaum.

"The Russians say He is on theirs," I remarked.

"Yes," replied the Imaum. "Infidels even can take the name of the
Highest One in vain. But this time they will be punished, and the
Prophet is already arranging a plan for their destruction."


     Radford—His health—The farmer's house—The high elevation—My
     brother will look down the precipices—The Frat—The
     scenery—A caravan—How to pass it—The weather—Turks in Egin—A
     coracle—Beautiful fish—Sick soldiers—Twenty-four hours without
     food—Egin—The Caimacan—The Cadi—His story—Daniel—Samson—His
     riches, his 10,000 wives, all of them fat and lovely—His
     treasure-chests—The lovely daughters of the mountaineers—The
     officers died; the Pachas died; and last of all, Samson
     died—The fate of the Russians.

I was beginning to be a little alarmed about the health of my servant
Radford. So far he had not been ill, and had resisted the fatigue of
wading through deep snow, of bad sleeping accommodation and indifferent
fare. He had complained of a pain in his heart, during our march that
morning, and had not been able to walk uphill save at a very slow rate.
On arriving at the farmer's house, he had lain down in a corner, and,
according to Mohammed, was very ill. I went to him, and, feeling his
pulse, found that it intermitted. He was feverish, and complained of a
pain in the head.

"Would he be able to march the following day?"

"He thought he should."

I was exceedingly doubtful about it; and, leaving word with Mohammed to
call me, should his fellow-servant be taken worse in the night, I lay
down by the side of our horses and tried to go to sleep.

I myself, for several days past, had experienced considerable difficulty
in wading through the snow, but was inclined to believe that this
was owing to our elevation above the level of the sea, and that the
diminished pressure of air upon my body, combined with the hard work,
was the real cause of this weakness. However, the fact remained that the
poor fellow was knocked up. It would be impossible to remain for more
than a day or two in our present quarters. I determined to push on as
fast as his health would permit to Erzingan; for once there we should
be within a nine days' march of Trebizonde, and it would be possible,
if he were still poorly, for me to send him home to his relations.

To my great delight he was a little better in the morning, though still
very weak. He would have been unable to walk; he had strength enough
left to sit on a horse. I gave orders that he was on no account to go
on foot, and resolved to let him ride my horse from time to time, should
his own animal be unable to carry him through the drifts.

"My brother will be on horseback all the day. He will look well down
the precipices," said Mohammed with a chuckle.

He had observed that the Englishman did not relish riding a few
inches from a chasm, and Mohammed was rather amused to learn that his
fellow-servant would now no longer have the chance of walking by the
precipices. He himself, though not particularly brave in other respects,
never seemed to value his neck when on horseback. No matter how steep
the slopes might be, Mohammed seldom or ever took the trouble to
dismount from his animal, which, under the influence of two good feeds
of barley every day, had improved considerably since the march from

"Why should I dismount?" Mohammed would say. "If I am to slip and be
killed, it will happen, and I cannot prevent it."

The fellow had been accustomed to a mountainous country all his life,
and had previously been employed as a Zaptieh. This may account for
his coolness on horseback. But, at a later period of the journey, and
when it was necessary for us to descend some rapids in a boat, Mohammed
showed unmistakable signs of fear, and was not at all to be consoled by
Radford's remark that, if he (Mohammed) were to be drowned, it would be
his fate, and so would not signify.

We reached the crest of a lofty height. A wide stream appeared below
our feet.

"What is the name of that river?" I inquired. The welcome announcement,
"The Frat," made me aware that at last I had arrived on the banks of the
Euphrates—here a broad stream about 120 yards wide and nine or ten feet
deep. Numerous boulders half choked up the river's channel. The waves
splashed high in the air as they bounded over these obstacles; the sound
of the troubled waters could be distinctly heard even at our elevation.

We continued the march alongside the bank of the world-renowned river.
The path was cut out of the solid rock. In some places the track was
not above four feet wide. No balustrade or wall had been made to keep a
horse or rider from slipping down the chasm. Presently the road wound
still higher amidst the mountains. The river beneath us seemed no
broader than a silver thread.

On we went. The sound of bells made us aware that there was a caravan
approaching. Our guide rode first. A few moments later, about 100 mules,
all laden with merchandise, could be seen coming towards our party. We
should have to pass them; how to do so seemed a difficult problem to
solve. The track was not wider than an average dinner-table.

The guide soon settled the matter. Taking a whip, he struck the leading
mule; the latter, to avoid punishment, ran with his load up a steep
slope along the side of the path. The rest of the animals followed.
There seemed to be scarcely foothold for a goat, but the mules found
one. They were removed from the path on which we stood, my people could
advance in safety.

Numbers of vines clad the lower part of the mountain slopes. Here and
there a few châlets made of white stone could be seen. These, I was
informed, belong to the wealthier Turks of Egin, who come to reside here
during the grape season.

Below us some fishermen were seated in a boat apparently made of
basket-work. It looked like a Welsh coracle, but was of much larger
dimensions. They were engaged in fishing with a sort of dragnet, one of
them was busily employed in mending a smaller one of the same kind.

"Beautiful fish are caught here," said the guide. "Some are 100 okes in
weight (about 260 lbs.). The people salt, and eat them in the winter."

We met some sick soldiers lying across the path. They had fallen out of
the ranks and were basking themselves in the sun, utterly regardless of
the fact that their battalion was, ere this, a two hours' march ahead
of them.

"What is the matter with you?" I inquired of one man.

"Footsore," was his reply, at the same time pointing to his frost-bitten

"And with you?" to another.

"I, Effendi, I am weak and hungry."

"What! have you had no breakfast?"


I then discovered that these soldiers had been twenty-four hours without
food! There was no grumbling at this breakdown in the commissariat
department. The men were solacing themselves with a cigarette, the
property of one of the party, and which he was sharing with his

Our route leads us by some high rocks. They are broken into strange and
fantastic forms; they rear themselves up on each bank of the Euphrates,
and frown down on the waters below. Here domes and pinnacles stand out
in bold relief; there, the figure of a man, shaped as if from the hands
of a sculptor, is balanced on a projecting stone, and totters on the
brink of the abyss.

Mulberry and apple-trees grow in wild profusion along the banks. We
leave them behind. The track steadily ascends. We are more than 1200
feet from the waters. I gaze down on the mighty river; it winds its
serpent-like coils at our feet. They twist and foam and lose themselves
behind the crags. Higher we go.

Vegetation disappears, we are in the realms of snow; continuing for some
miles over the waste, the path descends into a valley. Egin lies before

It is a long, straggling town, with a population of 10,000 souls, and
much resembles Arabkir. We rode over the roofs of many houses ere we
reached our destination—the house of an Armenian merchant, who had
ridden out himself to place it at our disposal. The following day I
called upon the Caimacan—a little man, who spoke Italian very fairly.
He had been only seven months at his present post. The Cadi was seated
at his side. After the governor had announced that the Conference was a
failure—a piece of news which I had heard before—the Cadi observed that
he should like to tell me a story.

"He relates a story very well," said the Caimacan.

"We all like his stories," said the rest of the company.

"By all means," I said; and the Cadi, thus encouraged, began,—

"Many thousand years ago there was a prophet—he was a great man, he was
a marvel—his name was Daniel!"

This last word was duly repeated by the assembled guests; and the
Caimacan gave a little cough.

"I have heard this story before," he observed; "but it is a good one.
Go on."

"Well," continued the Cadi, "Daniel had a dream. In his dream he saw
a young man, Samson was his name. Samson was beautifully dressed; his
clothes alone would have cost all the gold and caime that have ever been
circulated at Constantinople. The rings on his fingers were encrusted
with precious stones—beautiful stones—each one more bright and lovely
than the eye of the most beautiful woman whom mortal man has ever seen.

"But, Samson himself was pale, his features were wasted away; he was
very thin, and, on carefully looking at him, Daniel discovered that he
was dead. There was a large scroll of paper lying at his feet. No other
man could have deciphered the letters on it; but the Prophet read them
at once, and he galloped his eye over the scroll with the same rapidity
as a hunter in pursuit of a hare—"

"He read very quickly!" interrupted the Caimacan.

"Daniel was a Hodja" (learned man), observed the Cadi indignantly; "of
course he did!"

"Samson had conquered almost the whole world," continued the speaker;
"but, there was one very poor and mountainous country which did not
acknowledge him as its lord.

"Samson had 10,000 wives, all of them fat and lovely. The keys of his
treasure-chests were in themselves a load for 10,000 camels. He was all
vigorous and able to enjoy every blessing which Allah had bestowed upon

"Was he not satisfied with 10,000 wives?" remarked one of the audience.

"No," said the Cadi. "Some men are never satisfied; Samson was one of
them. He wanted more. His heart was not full, he wished to conquer the
poor country, and take a few wives from the lovely daughters of the
mountaineers. He came with an enormous army. The people fled. The troops
ate up everything. There were no more provisions. There was nothing left
even for the king. Samson offered 10,000 sacks of gold for a handful of
millet-seed. It could not be purchased. The soldiers died; the sergeants
died; the officers died; the Pachas died; and, last of all, Samson

"Let this be the fate of the Russians if they come here," added the
Cadi. "The Tzar has much land—he is rich—he has many more soldiers than
we have, he has everything to make life happy. Yet he is not content; he
wishes to take from his poor neighbour the pittance which he possesses.
Let Allah judge between him and us," continued the speaker. "And God
alone knows who will be victorious!"

"We shall beat them!" said the Caimacan.

Soon afterwards my visit came to an end.


     The Armenian church—The devotees—The ladies—The priest—His
     toilet—Little boys—A song for the Queen of England—These
     Armenians are very dirty—A hymn sung in English—The
     inhabitants of Egin—Turkish doctors—A _post mortem_
     examination—Price of meat—Russian agents—The massacres in
     Bulgaria—The Hasta Dagh mountain—The descent of the glacier—I
     never thought as how a horse could skate, sir, before!

I now went to the Armenian church. It was carpeted with thick Persian
rugs like a mosque. Several pictures in gaudy frames were hung against
the wall. The building was crowded with devotees; the galleries
being filled with women; their faces were invisible, owing to the
lattice-work. However, some bright eyes peering inquisitively through
the holes in the screen were quite sufficient to turn a man's thoughts
in their direction.

The priest put on his robes—several little boys assisting him in his
toilette; a heavy, yellow silk garment, with a cross emblazoned in gold
upon the back, was drawn on over his every-day apparel. Some more little
boys bustled about with long candles, and seemed to do their best to
get into each other's way, then the service began.

Two songs were sung by the choir—first one for the Queen of England, as
a sort of compliment to the nationality of the foreign visitor; and then
another for the Sultan. The old priest next addressed the congregation,
and said that they must do everything in their power to help the Sultan
in this war against Russia, who was a mortal enemy to the Armenian

The Caimacan was standing by me in the church, and seemed pleased at
the discourse.

"It is good! very good!" he said. "I wonder if the priest means it."

The worthy Turk's meditations were suddenly interrupted. Some insect
had bitten him.

"These Armenians are very dirty, they do not wash," he added. "Let us

Everybody bowed as he walked down the nave, and we then proceeded to
the Protestant church.

This was nothing but a large room in the clergyman's house. On our
entry, some boys sang a hymn in English. They pronounced the words
tolerably well, though they were ignorant of their meaning, the
clergyman who spoke our language having taught his pupils merely to read
the Roman characters. There were no pictures or images of any kind in
the room. A simple baptismal font was its sole ornament. After the hymn
had concluded, the clergyman, without putting on any extra vestments,
addressed his congregation in a few straightforward and practical
sentences, saying that as it was the duty of the Jews to pay tribute
to Cæsar, it was equally proper for all true Christians to respect the
Turkish authorities; that the Turks were on the eve of a great struggle
with a power which oppressed all religions but its own, and consequently
it was the duty of all Armenian Protestants to aid the Government in
the forthcoming struggle, and shed the last drop of their blood for the

The inhabitants of the town are not a trading community, most of them
live by agriculture. There was a considerable amount of grumbling to be
heard about the bankrupt state of the country; I learnt that many of
the farmers had invested their savings in Turkish bonds, and had lost
their capital. A Greek doctor who gave me this information had been
established for many years in Egin.

"What do you think of the Turkish doctors?" I inquired.

"They are very ignorant," he replied; "but what can you expect in a
country where it is not permitted to study anatomy, &c., in a practical

"What, do they not allow dissection?" I asked.

"No. And even if you were convinced that a patient had died of poison,
it would be very difficult to obtain permission to make a _post mortem_
examination of his body. The result is that poisoners go unpunished.
The Turkish surgeons are so ignorant that they cannot even tie up an
artery, much less perform an average operation."

The Caimacan now joined in our conversation, which was in Italian, and
began to find fault with the old school of Turks, which is an enemy to
education, and bigoted about religious matters.

"I make no difference between a Christian or a Mussulman," said the
governor. "All religions are good, provided that the man who practises
them is honest."

"What we require are schools for the elder Turks," he continued;
"something to force them to advance with the age, and to make them
forget that old maxim, 'What was good for my father, is it not
good enough for me?' Until they forget this, there will not be much
improvement in Turkey. A company once offered to make a railway from
Diarbekir to Constantinople, and, if Sultan Abdul Aziz had not spent
all the money he borrowed from you English people in palaces and his
harem, the railway might have been made. Meat is here only one penny a
pound; at our seaports you have to pay fourpence for the same quantity.
We have mines, too, but no means of transporting the mineral if we
worked them. I have been at Egin six months," he continued. "I may be
dismissed at any moment. What inducement is there for a man to try and
improve the condition of the people, when all his work may be upset
by his successor? We Caimacans are underpaid," he added. "We have not
enough to live upon. If we received a better salary, and our positions
were more stable, there would be less bribery throughout the Turkish

"Do you believe that there are many Russian agents in the
neighbourhood?" I inquired.

"Undoubtedly; particularly at Erzeroum, and there they intrigue with
the Armenian clergy. In the other towns the Armenians will not have
much to say to them. The Russians are more unpopular near the frontier
of the two empires than elsewhere. We are spoken of very harshly in
Europe," continued the Caimacan. "The massacres in Bulgaria were very
horrible, but they were the work of a few fanatics, and brought about
by Russian instigation. It is hard upon us for people to judge of the
entire Turkish nation by the misdeeds of a few Circassians."

My host insisted upon seeing me off, and the following morning we walked
down to the narrow wooden bridge which spans the Euphrates—here about
forty yards wide.

After crossing the river, our course lay across the Hasta Dagh
(mountain). Presently we came to a glacier. The frozen surface extended
for at least one hundred yards. The incline was steeper than the roof
of an average English house.

How was this to be passed? Radford looked at Mohammed. The latter gave
a grunt.

"What do you think of it, Mohammed?" I asked.

"Effendi, we shall go down very fast. If the Lord wills it, we shall
not break our bones."

"If we do not take this route," said the guide, "we must make a détour
for at least two hours. I think the horses can manage it, Effendi."

"Very well," I said, "you can try."

The guide rode his horse to the glacier. The poor animal trembled when
he reached the brink.

"_Haide_, get on!" cried Mohammed from behind, and, striking the
quadruped on his flanks, the animal stretched his fore-legs over the
declivity, almost touching the slippery surface with his girth.

Another crack with the whip, away went the guide and horse down the
glacier. For the first fifty yards the man succeeded in keeping his
steed's head straight. A slight inequality in the ice gave the animal's
hoof a twist in another direction; horse, and rider went round in mazy
circles; they had nearly obtained the velocity of an express train, when
they were suddenly brought up by a snow-drift. There was not much damage
done, and now I prepared to make the descent. It was not an agreeable
sensation. I was on the edge of the precipice. The yelling Mohammed was
castigating my animal from behind. I felt very much like Mr. Winkle, as
described in the "Pickwick Papers," the first time he was on skates. I
would have gladly given Mohammed five shillings or a new coat to desist
from the flagellating process. However, the die was cast. My followers
were looking on. What the guide had done it was very clear that an
Englishman ought to do. I committed myself to Providence. Away we went.
The steam roundabouts in the Champs Elysées in Paris revolve at a great
pace; a slide down the artificial ice-hills in St. Petersburg will
sometimes try a man's nerves; but the sensations experienced in these
manners of locomotion are nothing to what I felt when sliding down that
glacier. Was I on my horse or was I not? Now we were waltzing madly down
the slippery surface, and then my boots were touching the ice itself,
owing to my animal's position. One moment we ricochetted from a rough
piece of the hard substance, and were flying in the air, as if jumping
the Whissendine brook; a second later we were buried, as the guide had
been, in six feet of snow.

Next came the turn of my followers. Their descent was a fearful thing
to witness, but, fortunately, not half so dangerous as it appeared.
With the exception of some damage to the luggage and saddlery, there
was little harm done.

"I never thought as how a horse could skate, sir, before!" remarked my
English servant, as he slowly extricated himself from the snow-drift.
"It was more than sliding, that it was—a cutting of figures of eight
all down the roof of a house! And then I was buried alive in snow, to
finish up with! Mohammed will have something to pray about, if he has
to go down any more of these hills, for nothing but Providence can save
a man's neck in these here parts."


     Hasta Khan—The Kurds—Their summer depredations—Our Sultan
     ought to be Padishah in his own dominions—The English
     Consul—A story about the Kurds—The Delsin—Arresting the
     major—The major's dinner with the chief—Acknowledge
     the Padishah—A sore back—The mule which is offered
     in exchange—The pack-saddle—The Euphrates—Coal in the
     neighbourhood—Kemach—The Caimacan—Djerrid—A National Guard—A
     miniature Gibraltar—Turkoman horses—Numerous wells—One of the

On we went, fortunately not down any more glaciers, and, after being
upset about twenty times in the snow-drifts, reached Hasta Khan. This
was a house built on the road-side for travellers. It was kept by an old
Turk. According to him, the Kurds in the neighbourhood were engaged all
the summer in robbing their neighbours, and were hardly ever brought to

"They take our cattle," said the man, "and they bribe the police. There
is no sort of order here. What we want is our Sultan to be Padishah in
his own dominions."

I subsequently heard from the English Consul at Erzeroum a story which
rather corroborated the Turk's account of the Kurds.

It appeared that in the Delsin, not far from Erzingan, a major
commanding a battalion of infantry received orders to apprehend a
Kurdish chief. Somehow or other the Kurd heard of this. One day, taking
with him about five thousand followers, he managed to surround the place
where the troops were encamped. Riding up to the commander's tent, he
accosted the officer—who was much surprised at the unexpected presence
of the culprit—with the words,—

"Peace be with you! I have come to dine here this evening."

It was a very disagreeable position for the major, but what could he do?
His battalion had been taken unawares; it was surrounded by the Kurd's
followers, and all of them were armed men. He put on the best face he
could about the matter, and gave his guest an excellent dinner. The
following morning the Kurd said to him,—

"I dined very well last night, and slept comfortably. I have accepted
your hospitality, and now you must accept mine. I am going to take you
to dine with me. Nay, I am!" he continued, to the officer, who appeared
a little indignant at the proposal, "and every man under your command
as well. They shall all dine and sleep in my encampment this evening."

"It was a disagreeable position for the major," observed the Consul at
Erzeroum, when he related the story to me. "He was ordered to arrest
the Kurd, and now the Kurd was about to arrest him! However, resistance
was useless. His battalion was surrounded by Kurds, who, at a sign from
their chief, would have massacred every Turk on the spot. The only thing
for the officer to do was to accept the invitation. The Kurd, when the
soldiers arrived at his mountain home, commanded his servants to make
preparation for a feast. Several hundred sheep were killed, to be cooked
for the occasion, and the stream on the hill-side ran red with the blood
of the slaughtered animals."

After dinner the major tried very hard to persuade the Kurd to recognize
the Sultan as his lord.

"You need only nominally acknowledge our Padishah," remarked the
officer; "you have 30,000 sheep; give 1500 piastres (10_l._) a year to
the Sultan. You have 10,000 retainers; give him 10 to serve in his army.
I can arrange the rest. You are a very rich man, but this need not be
known at Constantinople."

"I have never given any one of my children to serve another master,"
replied the chieftain, proudly. "Your Padishah is Sultan at Stamboul,
but I am Sultan here!"

The following morning, the Kurd allowed the battalion to return to their
quarters, and presented the major with an Arab charger as a memento of
his visit.

"All the circumstances were reported to the military authorities at
Erzeroum," added the Consul when he related the story, "and the officer
was afterwards promoted."

Shortly before leaving Hasta Khan, Mohammed came to me with a smile
on his countenance. I at once thought that something disagreeable had
happened. The Turk seldom indulged in a smile. Radford, too, in spite
of his illness, seemed rather more cheerful than usual. I began to be
a little alarmed.

"What is the matter?" I inquired.

"_At_—the horse!" said Mohammed.

"Yes, sir," said Radford, who had accompanied him, and had acquired the
habit of sometimes interlarding his English with a few words of Turkish;
"the At has a hawful sore back, and all the 'air is off it."

"Which horse?"

"The old pack-horse, the roarer."

Mohammed shook his head mournfully.

"We had better sell him," he said. "One of the Zaptiehs has a mule; he
is not a big mule, but he is a nice animal, sleek and comely, besides
being strong. The man says that if the Effendi will give him five liras
and the horse which makes a noise, that we may have his mule."

The animal in question was a brute which the gendarme rode, and which
was always trying to run away. I had previously gathered from the fellow
that his mule had escaped three times whilst he was being saddled.
However, the gendarme had forgotten that he had told me of this, and in
all probability had offered Mohammed a share of the five liras, should
I be fool enough to accept the proposal.

"Let me see the pack-saddle!" I exclaimed.

On looking at it I found that by cutting out a considerable portion of
the lining, it would be possible to prevent any weight pressing upon
the horse's sore place.

"He can carry his pack," I remarked to Mohammed.

"If I cut the saddle he can," replied my servant; "but it will cost
twenty piastres to mend it again."

"Yes," I observed, "and it will cost five liras to exchange the horse,
besides which we should have a worse animal than at present."

"The Effendi knows best," said the Zaptieh, with a grin.

"He knows," said Mohammed.

"Shall I have a little backsheesh?" remarked the gendarme, rather
alarmed lest his endeavour to deceive me might have done away with his
chance of a present.

"Inshallah!" I replied; and, this matter being arranged, we continued
our march across the mountains.

Presently we had to descend almost to the bed of the Euphrates. Here
there were traces of copper ore. A little farther on we came to a place
where what seemed to be iron ore was lying strewn along the mountain
side; I was informed by the guide that a few miles to the east there is
a substance in the earth which the villagers use as fuel. According to
my informant it is hard and black, and gives a bright flame; so in all
probability coal is also to be met with in these regions.

As we approached Kemach, the Euphrates became narrower; in many places
it was not more than thirty yards wide. The stream was very rapid. Any
man, no matter how good a swimmer he might be, would have a poor chance
for his life if he were to fall into the torrent. Here and there large
rocks and loose stones, which have been washed down from the mountain
sides, block up the channel; they check the waters for a second. The
river bubbles and roars; it lashes furiously against the boulders, and,
leaping over them, rushes headlong with a fall of at least four thousand
feet to the ocean.

The Caimacan of Kemach and a few of his friends were engaged in playing
at Djerrid near the outskirts of the town. It was a lovely scene. The
sun was setting on the snow-capped mountains; the river ran at my feet;
bright-coloured vegetation and many-tinted rocks looked down upon us
from either hand; cascades and waterfalls dashed over the rugged crags;
whilst the Caimacan and his party, who were immensely excited with their
game, shouted "Allah! Allah!" as they rode at each other and hurled the
wooden missile.

The governor stopped playing when he saw our party, and, riding up,
asked the Zaptieh who I was. He then introduced himself and the company
to me. They had been busily engaged in learning drill all the morning.
An order had been received from Constantinople for the Caimacan to form
a National Guard. Every able-bodied man in the district had at once
enrolled himself as a volunteer. On entering Kemach I was struck by a
high rock, which might have been a miniature Gibraltar, and which stands
immediately behind the town. The rock was about 500 feet in height, and
a ruined citadel on the summit towers above the Euphrates and the town.

The Caimacan and his friends were well mounted, their horses being of
a very different stamp to those which I had seen during my march from
Constantinople. They were most of them fifteen hands high, and one or
two over sixteen. On inquiry, I found that they were Turkoman horses.
I also learnt that most of the animals in the district had been bought
by Government agents for the use of the army at Erzeroum.

A large proportion of the houses in Kemach are constructed of dried
mud. Numerous wells, with high cross-bars and long iron chains for
the buckets, were to be seen along our path. One of the faithful, on a
tower above our heads, was calling the Mohammedans to prayer. His loud
but melancholy strains were being listened to with great attention by
Mohammed and my English servant. It appeared that Mohammed, through
some strange inadvertence, had omitted praying at mid-day. Radford was
a little alarmed lest the Turk might make up for his shortcoming by an
extra-long prayer that evening, which would have kept him from attending
to the horses.


     Kemach—Its population—Barley is very cheap—An English
     traveller—Conversation about the impending war—If we
     beat Russia, will England permit us to take back the
     Caucasus?—Yakoob Khan—The Poles to be freed—Germany to
     have the Baltic Provinces—What about the Crimea?—We ought
     to cripple Russia—The floggers of women—Crossing the
     Euphrates—Radford is poorly—Erzingan—The intendant of Issek
     Pacha—Pretty Armenian women—An intelligent Turk—Iron, silver,
     gold—Coal—Lead-mines worked by the Kurds—The peasantry and
     coal—The Government and the mines—A relation of the Pacha of
     Sivas—The old doctor—Firing a patient for gout.

There are 800 houses or about 4000 inhabitants in Kemach, and barley is
very plentiful throughout the district, the price for the maintenance
of my five horses not exceeding sevenpence per day.

This town had been visited by an English traveller about five years
previous; whereas no Englishman, so far as I could learn, had been in
Divriki or Arabkir in the memory of the oldest inhabitant.

The Caimacan, who informed me about my compatriot having been in Kemach,
was very curious to learn my opinion about the impending war; and when
I told him that I believed England would remain neutral, remarked,—

"Yes; but if we beat Russia, will England permit us to take back the

"I really do not know, but I should hope so."

"Well," continued the governor, "if we beat Russia this time, we ought
to cripple her. We must take back the districts she has conquered in
Central Asia, and give them to the original possessors, or else form
one Mohammedan empire in Central Asia, under Yakoob Khan, who nominally
acknowledges the Sultan. We ought to free the Poles in Poland, and give
Germany the Baltic Provinces."

"You seem to know a little about political geography," I observed.

"Yes," said the Caimacan, "I take an interest in the subject, and I love
my country. Until we can hem Russia in on every side, she will always
be a thorn, not only in our side, but also in that of Europe."

"Well, what should you do about the Crimea?" I inquired.

"That we should keep ourselves. Russia would then have to be more or
less an inland power, and Moscow would become her capital."

"Do you like the Russian system of Government?" inquired the Caimacan.


"I am not surprised," said the official. "Foreigners say that there is
no liberty in Turkey, but I should like to know which Government is the
most liberal. Mohammedans tolerate every religion, whilst the Russians
make converts by force, and flog women and children to induce them
to change their faith.[1] The Russian faith is very different to the
English religion, is it not?" he added.

"Yes, we do not worship idols, or venerate mummified bodies."

"What do you worship?"

"The one true God, and Jesus Christ His Son."

"We worship the one true God, and worship Him through Mohammed His
Prophet. But Mohammedans dislike idols and all that sort of thing, quite
as much as you do."

The following morning the Caimacan was up at daybreak to see me off.
He accompanied us a little way on the road. The moon was throwing her
pale beams on the old citadel as we rode beneath the turrets. In a
few minutes we crossed the Euphrates on a narrow wooden bridge, and,
continuing for a short distance over mountains, came again upon the
valley of the river. Here there were green fields in abundance. The
country in summer-time is said to be rich in corn and barley. Hundreds
of cattle and sheep, grazing on some rich pasture-lands, testified to
the wealth of the inhabitants.

It was an eleven hours' march to Erzingan. By the time we neared that
city our horses showed symptoms of being thoroughly exhausted. Indeed,
there was no reason to be surprised at this. They had marched a thousand
miles since we left Constantinople. The last two hundred miles had
been exceptionally fatiguing, not only on account of the snow and
constant mountain-climbing, but also owing to our high elevation and
the rarefied nature of the atmosphere. Radford was weak, and from being
a fourteen-stone man had come down to about eleven. His clothes hung on
his wasted limbs. Some rest would be absolutely necessary to enable him
to reach Erzeroum.

The road became much better as we entered the suburbs of Erzingan,
and, to my surprise, I was met by a man in a four-wheeled chaise. He
announced that he was the intendant of Issek Pacha, the governor of
Sivas. The governor had written to him to say that I had promised to
reside in his house during my stay at Erzingan. A servant advanced and
took my horse; I dismounted, and getting into the vehicle, drove to the
Pacha's residence.

Some pretty Armenian women were standing on the roofs of their
houses. They were not so particular about veiling themselves as their
compatriots in Sivas. They stared at the procession with wondering eyes.
The Pacha's carriage was not often seen in the streets of Erzingan. It
was the only vehicle of the kind within an area of 150 miles. It was
only brought out on state occasions, religious ceremonies, or when some
very important visitor arrived. This was quite enough to set the ladies
in Erzingan on the _qui-vive_; the European dresses of my servant and
self whetted their curiosity still more.

Erzingan is different to either Egin or Arabkir, both of which towns are
built upon the sides of a mountain. Erzingan stands in the middle of a
large plain, the Kara Su—Black Water—as the Euphrates is here called,
running through the plain a few miles south of the city.

I now made the acquaintance of a very intelligent Turk. He was an
officer with the rank of major, but employed as the superintendent of
a large manufactory, which had been established to supply the troops in
Asia Minor with boots. He had spent three years in France, where he had
studied everything connected with the trade in question. In addition to
this he was a fair chemist and mineralogist.

He informed me that there were ebony forests in the neighbourhood
of Erzeroum. A great deal of this wood used formerly to be bought by
Armenian merchants and despatched to France. Of late years this branch
of industry has been neglected. Iron, silver, and gold, could be found
here, but the people were much too idle to search for these metals.
The lead-mines were worked to a small extent by the Kurds. These
mountaineers required this substance for bullets and shot. The lead in
the towns of Asia Minor was all brought from Constantinople. It was,
consequently, very dear; this had led the Kurds to make use of the
metal beneath their feet. According to my informant, there is coal of
a good quality in the neighbourhood of Kemach. However, the peasantry
do not like the idea, that this mineral may some day replace wood as
an article of fuel. Cutting down trees is easy work in comparison with
mining. The villagers do their best to keep the people in the towns from
burning coal; and they make their livelihood by bringing firewood from
the mountains, and selling it at a large profit to the citizens.

The Government take twenty per cent. of the net produce of all mines
which are worked in Anatolia, and only two-and-a-half per cent. from the
price fetched by sheep, oxen, and horses in the market. The result is
that the people think it more profitable, and less laborious to breed
cattle, than to dig in the earth for treasure.

I called upon a relation of the Pacha at Sivas. He was a stout,
middle-aged man, and at that time ill in bed. I was shown into his
room. During my conversation with him, an Italian doctor came to see
the patient. The medical gentleman was the only European in Erzingan,
he had been there half a century; his age, according to himself, being
ninety-two years. The old man's appearance belied his assertion. He at
once commenced talking with me in his native tongue.

"What is the matter with the invalid?" I inquired.

"Drink, my good sir, drink!" said the old gentleman. "He is forty, and
I am over ninety, but, please God, as the Turks say, I shall outlive
him. If the upper classes of Mohammedans were only sober, they would
live for ever in this delightful climate. But what with their women, and
what with their wine, they shorten their existence by at least thirty
years. This man would have been dead ten years ago if he had lived in

"Why so?"

"Because of the climate. He would have drunk himself into a dropsy."

"What are you talking about?" said the sick man.

"I was saying, Bey Effendi," said the doctor, "how very popular you are
in the neighbourhood, and how much every one loves you!"

The sick man smiled benignantly, and the old gentleman continued,—

"I should have been sorry if he had divined the topic of our
conversation. He would never have employed me again, and might have
called in the Turkish practitioner, an ignorant ass, who does not know
so much about anatomy as a butcher in the market, and who treats cases
of inflammation by firing his patient."

"What! would he fire the Bey's foot?" I inquired.

"God knows! but he is quite capable of doing so, if the Bey would let

The doctor now felt his patient's pulse, and administered a few words of
consolation; then, promising to send some medicine, he left the room.


     Erzingan—The Mutasarraf Pacha—Widdin—Russian official
     documents—Names of high functionaries—General Ignatieff—Your
     Indian frontier—The Kurds will be excited to massacre the
     Armenians—The probable final result of the war—If Turkey
     were to join Russia—The boot manufactory—The shoe-makers
     being drilled—The gaol—Coiners—A jealous woman in prison—The
     unfortunate shopkeeper.

I next visited the Mutasarraf Pacha, the civil governor of Erzingan. He
was an active little man, of about sixty years of age, full of energy.
He seemed to have more of the Gaul than the Osmanli in his disposition.
Formerly he had been civil governor at Widdin. Whilst he occupied
this post some of his Zaptiehs had arrested a Russian. The latter had
documents on his person which clearly showed that he was an agent of a
society in Moscow, formed with the object of creating a revolution in
Bulgaria. Abdul Aziz was then Sultan, and the Mutasarraf Pacha forwarded
the documents to Constantinople. Ignatieff's influence was at that
time paramount with the Sultan. No notice was taken of the papers. Very
shortly afterwards the Pacha was removed from Widdin to Erzingan.

"Were there any names upon the document?" I inquired.

"Yes, names implicating some very high Russian functionaries. I hope
that we shall soon be engaged in hostilities with Russia," said the
Pacha. "Ever since the battle of Sedan she has been secretly at war
with Turkey, and trying to stab us under the guise of friendship.[2]
Ignatieff encouraged Abdul Aziz in his extravagance. He knew that this
would lead to bankruptcy, and to a rupture of the alliance with England;
and you may depend upon it, that the Russian Ambassador was one of the
first men to advise his majesty to repudiate the debt. They are very
clever, these Russian diplomats," continued the Pacha; "and however poor
Russia may be, she has always enough gold to sow the seeds of sedition
and rebellion in her neighbour's territory. You will find this out for
yourselves one day."

"How so?"

"When she touches your Indian frontier; by that time you will have
enough to do to keep your native troops in order. Will England help us
in this war?"

"I do not know; but it is not likely. You see the Turkish Government
is very unpopular with us, because it does not pay the interest of
its debt, and also because of the massacres which have taken place in

"Say for the first reason," replied the Pacha, "and I agree with you,
for you English, by all accounts, dearly love your gold. However, I
should have thought that by this time your people had learned that we
were not the originators of the massacres in Bulgaria."

"Who caused them, the Russians?"

The Pacha nodded his head affirmatively.

"If there be a war in Asia Minor, they will do their best to excite our
Kurds to massacre the Armenians in the neighbourhood of Van, and will
then throw all the blame upon our shoulders."

"Do you think that the Russians will be able to conquer you in Asia
Minor?" I inquired.

"No, we are the strongest in this part of the world. The Georgians,
Tartars, and Circassians hate the Russians, and will rise against them;
besides that there are no roads."

"But Russia has taken Kars before."

"Yes, but she will not do so this time, and I should not be surprised
if we were to go to Tiflis instead."

This I subsequently found to be the prevailing opinion amidst all the
civil and military Pachas in Asia Minor.

"What do you think will be the final result of the war?" I now inquired
of the Pacha.

He shook his head sorrowfully.

"If we have no ally, it will go hard with us; but your countrymen will
be mad if they do not help us."

"Why so?"

"Because, when we find that we have no chance against our foe, what is
to prevent us from turning round and allying ourselves with him; that
alternative might be preferable to annihilation. And when Russia has
our fleet, the Dardanelles, Batoum, and another port or so in the Black
Sea, she might leave us alone at Constantinople. Anyhow, if she has once
crushed us, we shall no longer have the power of lifting our heads, and
however much we may dislike the alternative of slavery or destruction,
shall end by being menials of the Russians."

The following day I walked with the Turkish major to see his boot
manufactory; a large building on the outskirts of the town. Four hundred
and fifty men were employed in the business.

An order had arrived from Constantinople for all the workmen to be
drilled. Two hours per day had been allotted for this purpose.

The shoemakers were drawn up in two ranks outside the building.

The officer who was instructing them commenced putting his men
through the bayonet exercise. Many of the townspeople were amongst the
spectators. They were greatly pleased at the eager way in which the men
gave their thrusts into the air.

"If we only had some Russians to run through!" said a corpulent,
middle-aged Turk.

"Ah! if we had," replied his friend. "Our bootmakers alone would be
enough to make all the Cossacks turn pale and run!"

The manufactory was clean, and great order prevailed in the
arrangements. Forty thousand pairs of boots had been made during the
previous two months, my companion had received instructions from the
authorities to forward 12,000 more to Erzeroum. The order had only just
been issued, and was urgent. The result was that the leather which under
ordinary circumstances would have been left in the tan for four months
could only be soaked for five weeks. The major complained that he had
not been supplied either with a machine to triturate the bark, or with a
steam cutter's machine, which would have very much facilitated the work.

"I have written to the authorities at Constantinople about the matter,"
remarked the officer; "a reply has come to say that the articles in
question are on their way. They will probably arrive when the war is
over," added the officer despondently. "In the meantime some of our
soldiers will have to march barefoot."

The thread used in the manufacture came from an English firm, Finlayson,
Bousfield, and Co., of Glasgow; and the officer, as he showed me some of
the packets, observed,—"that formerly he had been supplied with French
thread. It was a little cheaper than the sort now employed; but after
some trials he had discovered that the English article was three times
as durable, and consequently far more economical in the long-run."

The boots manufactured in the establishment were made to lace high up
over the ancle, and with very thick soles. They are much heavier than
those furnished to English troops, and would be apt to tire the soldiers
during a long day's march. In one room a number of Armenian and Turkish
lads were working sewing-machines.

All the hands in the manufactory were paid by piecework. The boys could
earn from one to five piastres per day, and some of the men forty. Owing
to the pressure of business, the work-people were employed sixteen hours
per day, fourteen hours in the manufactory, and two at drill.

I now went to the gaol. Here there were nineteen prisoners. They were
made up of seventeen Mohammedans and two Christians; the latter had
been arrested, one for coining money, the other for murdering his wife.
Whilst walking through the building, I heard a great noise in one of
the cells, and a woman's voice.

"What is she doing?" I inquired of the gaoler.

"Effendi, it is a curious case," said the man; "she has a husband, but
is very much in love with a young Armenian shopkeeper. The latter is
a married man, and does not return the enamoured female's affection;
however, she is continually leaving her husband's house and invading
the Armenian's premises. The husband became annoyed and complained—he
thinks that the Armenian encourages his wife. Any how," continued the
official, "the affair created a scandal, the Cadi did not like it; he
has ordered the woman to be shut up for a day or two, and the Armenian
as well."

"What, together?"

"No, Effendi, apart; it is rather hard upon the man," he added; "but
who knows? perhaps he encouraged her."

"Why is she making that noise?"

"Because she has learnt that the Armenian is in the prison, and she
wishes to be confined in the same cell with him. He does not want it
himself, and of course it would not do; for what would the husband say?
A jealous female is a first cousin of the devil," continued the gaoler:
"it is bad enough when she is jealous of her own husband, but when she
is jealous of some other woman's, that is ten times worse."


     Russia's conduct in Servia—The Hodja—We have a great many
     troops—If the Circassians will rise—The Pacha—Raw cotton—The
     Mohammedan school—The Hodja's sum—Three jealous husbands—The
     mosque—Issek Pacha—A comparison between Mohammedan Imaums
     and Christian priests—Provisions—The old doctor—The road to
     Erzeroum—Want of sport—Soldiers frost-bitten.

Later in the day, the Mutasarraf called at my house, and at once
commenced his favourite theme, politics.

"What do the people in your country say about Russia's conduct in

"Many of them do not like it," I replied.

"It was a cowardly act on the part of the Tzar, was it not?" said the
Pacha; "he pretended to be at peace with our Sultan, and allowed Russian
officers and soldiers to take part in the fight against us. I tell you
what it is," added the speaker, "Ignatieff wishes to cut off another arm
from Turkey, by making Bulgaria independent, like Servia. If we are to
die, better to perish at once than be torn to pieces limb by limb!"

"But I thought you told me this morning that in your opinion, sooner
than that this should occur, your Government ought to join Russia?"

"Yes, I did," said the Pacha, "and if we were to join Russia and attack
Europe, who will do nothing for us now, what would happen then?"

"Yes; what would happen then?" said the Hodja, or schoolmaster, a friend
of the Pacha, and who had accompanied him during his visit.

"Europe would probably swallow up both Turkey and Russia!"

"You do not really think so," said the Pacha.

"We have a great many troops," said the Hodja.

"Yes; but not many officers."

"He is right," said the Pacha sadly; "our officers have not much brain,
but we have one chance," he added.

"What is it?"

"If the Circassians were to rise, the Russians would have so much on
their hands that they would be unable to advance."

"Is it likely that there will be a rising?"

"There is sure to be one," said the Pacha; "but it is doubtful whether
it will be general, or confined to some districts;" and shaking hands
with me he left the room with his companion.

The Pacha was an energetic man, and very popular with the inhabitants.
He had been at Erzingan but a few months. He had found time to put the
streets in tolerable order, and to make the town one of the cleanest
in Anatolia. He was desirous of purchasing some machinery with the
object of making cloth from the cotton which grows in this district.
As it is, the raw cotton is sent to England, and is then manufactured
into the articles required. The Pacha would have liked to save all this
expense, and have the work done on the spot. He had tried to form a
company, with the object of realizing his idea; but there was no energy
in Erzingan—the people were afraid of risking the little money they
possessed; it was impossible to carry the project into execution.

I now went to the Mohammedan School.

"Will you ask the boys some questions?" said the Hodja.

I remembered the success which I had obtained with the sum put by me
to the lads at Yuzgat, and at once gave it. The schoolmaster was at his
wits' end for a solution. However, later in the day he came to my house
and said—

"You set me a sum this morning—I cannot do it. I should like to ask you

"Go on," I remarked.

"Three men," said the Hodja, "who were accompanied by their three wives,
arrived at a river. The husbands were all jealous of their wives. There
was one boat in which to take the party. The bark would only hold two
persons, and no woman could be trusted by her husband unless there were
two men with her. How did they cross the river?"

"Can you do it?" said the schoolmaster.

"I will think it over," I replied.

"This sum has puzzled our Mutasarraf for six months," said the Hodja;
"it is a beautiful sum!"

"Do you know the answer?" I inquired.

"Unfortunately, I have forgotten it," he replied.

I proceeded to visit the Mosque, which was being built at the expense
of Issek Pacha, Governor of Sivas. It had been in the course of
construction for three years, and was only half finished. The walls were
made of stone and marble, which had been brought from some quarries,
about eight miles from the town. It was said that when the mosque was
finished, it would be the handsomest one in Anatolia.

I met the Italian doctor as I was returning to my quarters.

"So you have seen the mosque?" he said.


"Well," he continued, "the Turks in some ways resemble us Catholics.
Issek Pacha probably thinks that by building a magnificent mosque, he
will be less likely to be fried in a future state of existence; and we
are told that if we leave money to the priests, to say masses for our
souls, we shall not have to remain so long in purgatory."

"It all comes to the same thing," said the old gentleman. "It is no
matter where a man is born, whether in the Mohammedan East or in the
Christian West, his Imaum or Priest will always get money out of him in
some manner or other."

"In this instance," I remarked, "the money has gone to build a mosque
and not to Imaums."

"Yes," said the Italian, "but whenever a priest or dervish asks a good
Mohammedan for anything the latter will never refuse. The result is
that the religious profession in Turkey is made up of as many idlers
and beggars as can be seen in my own country."

Provisions, according to the doctor, were not very dear in Erzingan. A
good sheep could be bought for six shillings; 80 eggs for a shilling;
two pounds and a half of bread, or rather of the thin unleavened cake
which takes the place of the staff of life in Anatolia, for a penny;
whilst eight pounds of potatoes could be purchased for the same price.
A nice-looking horse would not cost more than 10_l._ Fuel was dear
in proportion to the other articles of consumption—charcoal costing a
farthing the pound.

"Erzingan is not a bad place for poor people to live in," added the old
doctor. "I have resided here nearly half a century. A man can get on
very well if he has 50_l._ a year."

On leaving the town I found a fair carriage road, which led in the
direction of Erzeroum. This state of things was not to last long, and
after marching two or three miles we were riding once more along a

Marshes extended for some distance on either side of our route. A number
of geese and ducks, some of the latter of a very peculiar breed and
different to any I had hitherto seen, were feeding in the fields around
us. I tried to approach them, so as to have a shot, as goose or duck
would have been an agreeable change to the chicken fare which awaited
us in every village. But the wild geese in Anatolia are quite as wary
as their kindred on this side the Channel. It was impossible to stalk

I began to disbelieve in the stories which have been written about the
amount of sport which can be obtained in Anatolia. With the exception
of a few snipe, partridges, and hares, I had seen literally nothing in
the shape of game since our departure from Constantinople. Deer were
said to exist in some of the forests, but I had never even heard of any
being exposed for sale in the different markets.

Should an Englishman ever think of undertaking a journey through
Anatolia, and have the idea that he will be able to combine shooting
with the pleasure of travel, he will find himself very much mistaken.

Now we overtook three hundred Kurds—redif soldiers on the march to
Erzeroum. There were no officers with them. The men had to find their
way as best they could to their destination. They were armed with
needle rifles, but had no uniform, and were clad for the most part in
rags and tatters. Many of them had no shoes or even slippers, but were
walking with bare feet through the snow. A few men were riding on mules,
and on a closer inspection I found that these poor fellows had been
frost-bitten. Some of them had lost their toes on the march.


     Climbing the mountains—It is bitterly cold—Delan—The
     soldiers—Kargan—A bridge over the Euphrates—Mohallata—Our
     Padishah is poor now—The Captain of the Zaptiehs—He wishes
     to be married—Promotion wanted—The Erzingan track meets the
     Trebizond road—Bashi Bazouks—The Kara Su—Zaptiehs—Erzeroum—The
     fortifications of Erzeroum—Ismail Pacha's residence—A pacific
     speech made by Lord Derby—A decoration sent by the Tzar to the
     Armenian Bishop of Erzeroum—An Armenian demonstration—Caravan
     trade—_Timbaki_—Duties increased—The price of Timbaki—The
     Kurds—Russian agents—A massacre of the Christians to be
     brought about by Russian agents.

It was bitterly cold as we gradually climbed the mountains which lie
between Erzingan and Erzeroum, and after a nine hours' march we halted
for the night at a little village called Delan. There were only twelve
mud hovels. The three hundred Kurds stowed themselves away as best they
could. I was fortunate enough to obtain a resting-place in a stable. My
horses were packed together as closely as possible on one side of the
building. There was just room for my followers and myself on the other.

The inhabitants of this little hamlet were Kurds, and the people did
their best to make the newly-arrived soldiers comfortable. The latter
were all fed at the expense of the villagers; each inhabitant giving as
much bread as he could spare towards the rations of his countrymen. So
far as I could learn, none of the soldiers had any money with them, and
it was a five days' march to Erzeroum. But they evidently had solved the
problem of how to get on without money; a week later I saw them arrive
at their destination, and, with the exception of a few men laid up with
frost-bite, they were not much the worse for their journey.

It was very slippery as we descended the slope which leads from Delan.
We drove our horses before us; the little animals tacking from side to
side, like ships beating against the wind, and putting their feet down
with the greatest caution, so as to make sure of the ground before them.
We then had to lead the animals up the mountains, Radford having great
difficulty in wading through the snow, owing to his state of debility.
Fortunately we soon arrived at a place where it was possible to ride.
Here another path branched off to the village of Kargan, but continuing
by our old track we shortly came to a fine stone bridge, called the
Kutta Kupri. It is about seventy-five yards wide, and spans the river

We passed through a series of natural basins, each of them two or three
miles in diameter, and after an eight hours' tiring march put up for the
night in the village of Mohallata. It contains about 100 houses, and a
small barracks, with quarters for a squadron of Zaptiehs.

A battalion of redifs had also halted here. The men had marched from
Erzingan without having had anything to eat since they left that
town—the soldiers had gone more than thirty hours without food. There
were no grumblers in the ranks.

One of the sergeants appeared rather an intelligent fellow; I spoke to
him about the matter.

"We came to a village," he said; "there was nothing to eat, and so we
went without our dinners."

"Did the men make any remarks?"

"No, Effendi, they knew that the people would have given them food if
they had any to spare. When we beat the Russians, go to St. Petersburg
and conquer all their country for our Padishah," said the sergeant, "we
shall have many paras, there will be plenty to eat. But our Padishah is
poor now," continued the man sorrowfully, "he cannot give us any pay,
there is no money in Stamboul."

The captain of the Zaptiehs accompanied me in my walk through the
barracks. This officer was anxious to obtain his promotion.

"I am forty years of age," he remarked, "and a captain's pay is very
little. It is not enough for me to keep a wife. I want to be married,
but before that event can take place I must be a major. Shall you see
the Pacha at Erzeroum?" he added.


"Will you speak to him for me, and recommend me for promotion?"

"How can I? I do not belong to your army, and am only here as a

"But you are an Englishman!" exclaimed the Zaptieh excitedly. "That
is quite sufficient. The Pacha would know that no Englishman would
recommend any one without a reason. I should be promoted!"

"My good sir," I observed, "I have only seen you for a few minutes; how
could I solicit your promotion on the ground of your merits?"

The captain was not to be rebuffed.

"I will write down my name," he said, "and then you will speak to the

Taking a dirty piece of paper from his pocket, he scribbled something
and handed it to me.

Forward again for twelve more hours, our horses slipping up, or varying
the performance by falling into snow-drifts, and we came to a spot where
the Erzingan track meets the Trebizond and Erzeroum road. Here most
of the snow had been cleared away. There was but little to impede our
progress. Large caravans of several hundreds of horses and mules were
bringing cartridges from Trebizond; bands of Bashi Bazouks were with
them and on the march to Kars.

We rode along the left bank of the Kara Su (Black Water), the name
given to the Euphrates in this district, and presently were met by some
Zaptiehs. Their leader, advancing a few steps, said that he had been
ordered by the Pacha to meet me, and escort my party into the town.

Erzeroum lies at one end of a large plain. It is surrounded on the
north, south, and east sides by hills. A few detached forts had
been thrown up on these heights. The town itself is encircled by an
intrenchment of loose earth—this defence was in no place more than three
quarters of a mile from the city.

I rode to Ismail Pacha's residence. It is a large building in the middle
of the town, and is also used as an office by the military Pacha.

Ismail, the civil governor, is a Kurd by birth. Some of his female
relatives have made influential marriages: this, added to the talents
which the Pacha possesses, has raised him to his present high position.

He did not think that war would take place between Turkey and Russia. A
pacific speech made by Lord Derby had been telegraphed from London to
Erzeroum. It was the opinion of many of the townspeople that the Tzar
did not mean to break the peace.

"It will be much better for us if we fight now," said the Pacha, when
he gave me the above-mentioned information. "If war is postponed, Russia
will continue her intrigues[3] amidst our Christian population."

A few months previous the Tzar had sent a decoration to the Armenian
Bishop of Erzeroum. The order had been forwarded through the Russian
Consul. The latter, instead of asking Ismail to give the decoration to
the Bishop, had ignored the Pacha altogether, and had not even invited
him to the ceremony.

This had been converted into an Armenian demonstration. The relations
between the Mohammedans and Christians were not so friendly as could be

Erzeroum is the principal depôt for the caravan trade which is carried
on by the merchants in Teheran and their _confrères_ in Constantinople.
_Timbaki_, the tobacco used in nargilehs, is exported from Persia to
this part of Asia Minor. Of late, the Turkish authorities have increased
the duty on timbaki from eight to seventy-six per cent. This has been
done in consequence of many Turks liking the Persian plant better than
that which is grown in their own country. The price of ordinary timbaki
was formerly only twenty-five piastres an oke at Constantinople, whilst
Turkish tobacco of the same quality costs as much as sixty-one.

Ismail Pacha was doubtful whether in the event of war he would be able
to keep the Kurds quiet in the neighbourhood of Erzeroum. Russian agents
had been busily engaged for some time past in attempting to suborn these
mountaineers. Money had been lavished upon their chiefs. Anxiety was
expressed as to which side they would take.

"The Russians are nearly as poor as we are," continued the Pacha, "but
they have enough money left for the purpose of intrigue. If the war
breaks out, it is not at all improbable that they will bring about a
massacre of Christians in Asia Minor. Some of the Kurds would obey any
order they might receive from St. Petersburg. It would go very hard with
us in the court of European public opinion, if any fresh rebellions had
to be suppressed by strong measures on our part."


     The Pacha's interpreter—The Russian Consul—The telegram—_Un
     ennemi acharné_ of Russia—Mr. Zohrab—The Russian Government
     encourages photography—The paternal Government—Spies—Pregnant
     women massacred—How to frighten the mountaineers—Go and
     complain to the _Kralli_ of the English. Ask her to send
     you an oculist—A blood-stained placard—A proof of Russian
     civilization—Two Circassian chiefs—Their statement—The value
     of the Caucasus—A Memoir drawn up by the Emperor Nicholas
     for the instruction of the present Emperor Alexander—Our
     inheritance is the East—The Circassians must be freed.

An Armenian, the Pacha's interpreter, now entered the room. Presently
he observed that the Russian Consul at Erzeroum had just received a

"He read it to me himself," said the Armenian. "He wants its contents
to be made known to you. It is from the Russian Authorities in the
Caucasus, and has come _viâ_ Batoum. It runs as follows: 'Two months
ago, an Englishman, a certain Captain Burnaby, left Constantinople
with the object of travelling in Asia Minor. He is a desperate enemy
(un ennemi acharné) of Russia. We have lost all traces of him since
his departure from Stamboul. We believe that the real object of his
journey is to pass the frontier, and enter Russia. Do your best, sir,
to discover the whereabouts of this aforesaid Captain. Find means to
inform him that in the event of his entering our territory, he will be
immediately expelled.'"

The following day I went to the English Consulate. Mr. Zohrab is our
Consul in Erzeroum. He is a good Turkish scholar, besides knowing most
of the European languages.

I soon learnt that there was no exaggeration in the interpreter's story.
It was said that the Russians had procured my photograph, and hung
it up in all the frontier stations, so as to enable their officers to
recognize me should I attempt to enter Russian territory.

I must say that I was rather surprised to find that the Paternal
Government still took so much interest in my movements. From the
fact of the Russian agents having lost all trace of me since I left
Constantinople, I presume that my movements were watched during our
journey on the steamer, and also in the capital. This was doubtless done
with a kind motive, and to prevent my being assaulted by any fanatical
Mussulmans. When I was in St. Petersburg, only twelve months previous,
General Milutin, the Russian Minister of War, had shown a most fatherly
interest in my safety; he was much alarmed lest I might be assassinated
by the Khivans or Turkomans in Central Asia. It was very kind of him.
I had evidently not sufficiently appreciated the philanthropy of that
gallant officer, and of the Government which he serves.

I could hardly believe that the Russian Authorities were so interested
in my welfare as to set spies to travel with me on board a steamer or
to track my steps in Constantinople.

I much regret that my short stay in that city had not permitted me to
call upon an old acquaintance, General Ignatieff, the Russian Ambassador
to the Porte. I should then have been able to give his Excellency my
solemn assurances that I had not the slightest intention to cross the
Russo-Turkish frontier. However, possibly the term "solemn assurances"
does not convey quite the same meaning to a Muscovite Diplomate as to an
English officer; it might have been that his Excellency would not have
placed any reliance on my promises.

The odd part of the matter was that I had not even dreamed of entering
the Tzar's dominions. I was not ignorant of the state of Russia.
Mr. Schuyler had proclaimed to the world that several of the Tzar's
officials were corrupt. The scarcity of gold and the overwhelming paper
currency proved the bankrupt state of the country. Every traveller could
testify that many of the inhabitants of European Russian were drunkards.
Major Wood in his book, the "Sea of Aral," had declared that some of
the conquerors in Central Asia were worse. These facts were well known
throughout Europe. I had travelled in Russia myself. Then how could the
Russian Authorities be so childish as to think that I, of all people,
wished to revisit the empire? On second thoughts, I could only account
for it by the supposition that they were afraid lest I should travel
through the Caucasus, and discover their method of dealing with the

A few years ago, a British Consul called attention, in an official
Report, to this subject. From what the Circassians whom I had met
during my journey had said, there was every reason to believe that
the following manner of treating Circassian ladies is still sometimes
resorted to by the Russian promoters of Christianity and civilization.
Consul Dickson remarks, in a despatch dated Soukoum Kalé, March 17th,
1864, "A Russian detachment captured the village of Toobeh, inhabited by
about 100 Abadzekh, and after these people had surrendered themselves
prisoners, they were all massacred by the Russian troops. AMONG THE

Some people who call themselves Christians, and who sympathize, or for
political motives pretend to sympathize with Russia, attempt to gloss
over these facts by observing that the Circassians are a nation of
freebooters, and that it is necessary to rule them with a rod of iron,
and through their fears. So in order to strike terror into thieves and
other malefactors, it is justifiable to murder pregnant women, and fire
upon little children!

Amongst other ways of compelling the Circassians to submit to their
conquerors was one so fiendish, that if proof were not at hand to
confirm the statement, I should hesitate to place it before the reader.

In order to frighten the mountaineers and civilize them _à la Russe_,
the Tzar's soldiers cut off the heads and scooped out the eyes of
several men, women, and children; then nailing the eyeless heads on
trees, they placed placards underneath them, saying, "Go now and
complain to the Kralli of the English, and ask her to send you an

An Englishman, Mr. Stewart Rolland, of Dibden, Hants, has travelled in
Circassia. He can authenticate my statement. One of these blood-stained
placards is in his possession. He will show it to any one who wishes to
see for himself a proof of Russian civilization.

It may be asked why these Muscovite gentlemen were so inveterate against
Great Britain. The Circassians formerly were of opinion that England
would help them against their foe. Some years ago[4] they actually sent
two chiefs, to state their grievances to the people of this country.
These chiefs being asked why they counted upon England's good offices,

"We have been told that the English nation is a great nation, and a
nation that protects the distressed. Our wives and our children, our
little ones and our old men said to us with groans and tears, 'You must
go to that nation, and get us help.' And we replied, 'We will go, and
we will tell that nation that if they do not give us help, we shall
become the slaves of Russia, or shall be destroyed by Russia. We grown
men will not become slaves, but who knows what will happen to those who
come after us; and once enslaved, they will be an army in the hands of
Russia to attack the great English nation.'"

The Circassian chiefs visited England in 1862. Some Englishmen thought
that it would be dangerous to interfere with a strong power like Russia,
for the sake of a few mountaineers. The assistance asked for was denied.
The Russian authorities did not value the Caucasus so lightly as our
English officials.

This can be shown by the following extract[5] from a memoir drawn up
by the Emperor Nicholas for the instruction of the present Emperor

"Our inheritance is the East, and we must not suffer our activity in
that quarter to relax for a single moment. Our aim is, and remains,
Constantinople, which is destined in our hands to become the centre
of the world, and the eternal door to Asia. For a long time England
has had the supremacy of the ocean; but the same position which we
have attained on land will be occupied by our maritime power. The
possession of Constantinople, the Dardanelles, the whole littoral of
the Black Sea are indispensable to us. The sea is to become one great
Russian port and cruising-ground for our fleets. The Emperor Alexander
claimed Constantinople and the Dardanelles, when Napoleon proposed
the partition of Turkey to him. At a later period, at the Congress of
Vienna, he himself made a like proposal. The great Catherine foretold
in prophetical spirit, that the execution of the grand scheme would
be reserved for her second grandson. The Emperor Nicholas has taken
the task upon himself. Everything of a higher order on which Mussulman
life rests has disappeared. Old forms and habits are upset; all higher
education and activity are wanting; the complete dissolution is near at
hand. Europe will try to oppose our taking possession of Turkey. Our
conquest advances step by step, without any considerable sacrifice on
our part. It extends already to the vicinity of Stamboul. Our apparent
moderation restrains even our enemies from taking up arms. Things,
too, are not quite ripe yet. The erection of forts and the arming of
all important spots on the Black Sea is an indispensable preliminary.
We have to continue our struggle with the tribes of the Caucasus. It
is sometimes troublesome, but it exercises our armies, and covers
our preparations in the Black Sea. Our moderation in the Treaty of
Adrianople deprived England itself of every pretext for interference;
yet we obtained everything that we wanted. By fostering Egypt, we
continued afterwards to weaken Turkey. Events of the utmost importance
to the splendour of our arms are not far distant. We keep the Divan in
good disposition towards us, and at the same time in dependence upon us.
It is most important to confirm the Sultan in his pseudo-reforms, and to
push him on in the same way; but it will be expedient to throw obstacles
in the way of any real improvement for the military regeneration.
Of equal importance is it that the Porte should never get clear of
financial embarrassment."

The possession of the Caucasus is undoubtedly most important to Russia.
It enables her to make preparations for a march westward towards
Scutari, and another southward in the direction of the Persian Gulf,
without considering the possibility of her some day taking a fancy to
the Bay of Iskenderoon.

Should Russia ever take possession of Armenia,[6] Persia would be at the
mercy of the Tzar. The latter would command the highlands of Asia Minor.
He could descend upon the valleys[7] of the Euphrates and Tigris.[8]
Syria would be exposed to his attack. We should have to be on our guard
lest he might wish to invade Egypt. It is quite true that England could
easily defend Syria against all the Tzar's forces—but this would cost
money. We should have to increase our military expenditure by several
millions a year. This would not be agreeable to the British tax-payer.

People may argue that the Caucasus is far off from the points which
I have mentioned; so it is; the Russian frontier town in Asia Minor,
Gumri, is more than 1000 miles from Scutari. It is not likely that in
one, two, or even three campaigns, the Tzar's troops would be able to
reach that town. The policy of the Russian officials is a safe one.
They do not attempt to swallow at one time more territory than they can
easily digest.

This is what the possession of the Caucasus means to Russia. Should
the fortune of war ever enable us once again to place our heel upon the
throat of the Muscovite, we must not forget the Circassians. The people
ought to be freed to act as a barrier between Russia and the Sultan's
eastern dominions.


     The European society in Erzeroum—The Russian Consul
     an energetic man—How to depopulate a country—Russian
     passports—Consul Taylor—The intrigues of the Russian
     Consul—The Armenian upper classes—How corrupt they are—The
     soldiers in Erzeroum—Discontent—_Métallique_—The military
     hospital—Recruits from the South—The head surgeon—The wards—A
     valuable medicine—A bad habit—Wasting ammunition.

There was not much European society at Erzeroum. It was made up of
the English, French, and Russian Consuls and their families; no other
European, so far as I could learn, being in the town. The Russian
official was an energetic man. A short time previous he had discovered
that some Circassians had the intention to leave the Caucasus, and
enter Turkey. He had telegraphed the news in cypher to the Russian
authorities. Troops had been sent to the Circassian villages. The
inhabitants had been caught in the act of packing up their goods and
chattels. Very strong measures had been taken. It was not likely that
any similar attempt would be made by the inhabitants. There were now
hardly any of them left.

An empty house is better than a bad tenant; this seems to be the policy
of the Tzar's generals in the Caucasus. It is undoubtedly cheaper to
hang a prisoner than to imprison him. The Russian officers have great
ideas of economy in this respect. The Russian Consuls at Erzeroum had
been engaged for some time past in intriguing with the Armenians. Many
Christians belonging to the higher monied classes were in favour of
Russian rule—almost all of them being supplied with Russian passports.
The traffic in such documents carried on in the Erzeroum district was
very great. No large town in Armenia is free from pseudo-Russians.
Consul Taylor, writing from Erzeroum to the Earl of Clarendon on March
the 19th, 1869, remarks about the Russian Consul, who was then in that
city, as follows: "The exaggerated pretensions, overbearing conduct,
and ostentatious display of the Russian Consul in his relations with
the local authorities, in which it is needless to say other Consuls do
not indulge, coupled with the unaccountable servility of the Turkish
officials here in their intercourse with him, tend among an ignorant
people to give a false value to his particular importance or rather
to that of the country he serves—which by still further strengthening
their belief (alluding to Armenians) that no other power than Russia
is so able or willing to help them—makes them eager to apply to him
in their differences, and to acquire DOCUMENTS that to them appear
claims to the interference of a foreign power in their behalf. That the
INTRIGUING, meddling conduct of the RUSSIAN CONSUL is approved, I may
state that although in disfavour with the Embassy at Constantinople, he
is SUPPORTED by the AUTHORITIES in the CAUCASUS, to whose diplomatic
Chancery at Tiflis, he is directly subordinate. It is the POLICY of
the RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT, and therefore of its AGENTS, to encourage such
ideas—as also to exaggerate real existing evils, or trump up imaginary
complaints, in order to keep up that CHRONIC DISAFFECTION so suitable
to the line of conduct it has always pursued in the limits of Eastern

I now learnt that a very large sum of money had been nominally spent in
throwing up some earthworks round Erzeroum. They were said to have cost
a million of liras, nobody seemed to know how the money had been spent.
I had not as yet visited the fortifications. From what I could gather,
the defences were in a very bad state. It was stated that they would be
utterly untenable in the event of an attack.

One thing, seemed to be the unanimous opinion of all classes in
Erzeroum—with the exception possibly of the Russian Consul, whose
acquaintance I did not have the pleasure of making; this was, that
should the Armenians ever get the upper hand in Anatolia, their
government would be much more corrupt than the actual administration.
It was corroborated by the Armenians themselves; the stories which
they told me of several of the wealthier and more influential of their
fellow-countrymen thoroughly bore out the idea.[9]

The soldiers in Erzeroum were very discontented about the way in which
they had received their pay, or rather, I should say, some of their
back pay, as the amount owing to them was now more than twelve months
in arrear. Where formerly they used to be paid in _métallique_—a
debased coinage of silver mixed with copper, but which always keeps
its value of about 140 piastres to the lira—they were now being paid in
_caime_ or bank-notes. Caime had depreciated enormously, a lira being
worth at Constantinople 200 piastres. The Governor of Erzeroum had
issued an order that a paper piastre was to be considered as equal to
a metallic piastre. This did not prevent things from rising in value.
The soldiers were not able to buy half so much with their caime as
formerly with their _métallique_. They had petitioned the Governor on
this subject, and were in hopes that he would let them be paid after
the Constantinople rate of exchange.

The following day I went to the Military Hospital, a large building
in the middle of the town. Many of the patients were suffering from
typhoid fever, and others from frost-bite. The men who had marched
from the southern provinces of the empire had felt the extreme cold in
Erzeroum. Their clothes, well adapted for the climate of Bagdad, were
no protection against the low temperature on the mountains. There were
also several cases of ophthalmia and pneumonia.

The head surgeon in the hospital was a Greek, and one of his assistants
a Hungarian. They both appeared to be intelligent men, and bewailed the
lack of resources for the hospital.

"We have enough at present," said the Hungarian; "but it is the time
of peace. When the war breaks out we shall require medicines and
instruments, how the Government will be able to pay for them I do not
know. Every para[10] will be required for the soldiers in the field.
Notwithstanding the best intentions on the part of the authorities, the
wounded will many of them be left to rot."

The wards were well ventilated. But, owing to the dearth of
accommodation, patients laid up with typhus were lying next to men
suffering from ophthalmia. It was impossible to separate the different
cases. The doors, too, did not fit. On opening one of them, a current
of cold air cut through the room, and attacked those patients who were
suffering from inflammation of the lungs. Hollow coughs could be heard
from all sides of the apartment.

The name of every inmate, and the nature of the case, was written in
French over his pallet, and the sufferers seemed to be much attached to
their attendants.

"One of the most valuable medicines in this hospital," remarked the
Greek, as I finished my inspection, "is wine. The Turks who come from
the south suffer from poorness of blood. They have never drunk wine
before, their law prevents them; when they receive alcohol as a medicine
the effect is marvellous."

I now walked to one of the barracks, to see the cavalry regiment
which had left Sivas whilst I was in that town. It had just arrived in
Erzeroum. An officer accompanied me through the stables. They were large
and lofty. The saddles, arms, and accoutrements were clean and bright,
and the men appeared very particular about these matters; the colonel
telling me, with a certain amount of pride, that notwithstanding the
long march from Sivas, he had no cases of sore backs amongst the horses
in his regiment.

Unfortunately there was only one other cavalry regiment in that part
of Anatolia. The Turks, in the event of war, would have to depend
upon their Circassian irregulars for outpost duty. Now if there is
one branch of warfare which requires study more than another it is
outpost duty. The safety of an army depends upon this being well done.
Intelligent cavalry officers are the eyes and ears of the commander
of an expedition. A general who is not supplied with a numerous and
efficient cavalry is like a deaf and blind man; he knows nothing of
what is going on around him.[11] My companion was well aware of this.
He regretted that there were not more cavalry regiments on the frontier.

"We shall do our best," he said, "but there are only 400 troopers; when
we are killed there will be no one to replace us."

He was not so sanguine about the result of the war as many of the
officers with whom I had conversed.

"I fought against the Russians in the Crimea," was his remark on this
subject. "They have very little money," he continued; "however, we have
less. We shall have to buy arms from abroad. So long as we have gold,
your manufacturers will supply us; when we have no liras left, there
will be no more rifles and cartridges. We have plenty of men. We can
recruit from the Mussulmans throughout Asia. We can put into the field
quite as many troops as the Russians. The latter are not to be despised
as soldiers, they will die in their places. Our men will do the same.
It will be a question of money and the longest purse will win."

From the cavalry barracks I proceeded to a large Khan, originally
constructed for travellers, but now given over to the troops. Here a
battalion of redifs (reserves) was quartered. They had just received
their uniform—a blue tunic and trousers, very much like the dress worn
by the red French infantry, and were armed with Martini-Peabody rifles—a
quantity of these fire-arms having been recently purchased from an
American firm.

The rooms in which the troops were lodged had nothing to recommend them;
they were dirty and low, besides being overcrowded. The officers' rooms
adjoined the men's dormitories, and were equally filthy.

A captain was drilling his company in one of the passages, and
was making the soldiers go through the motions as if they were
volley-firing. The moment the men had their rifles to the shoulder he
gave the word "fire;" there was no time allowed for taking aim.

The same fault I subsequently observed in a battalion which was ordered
to form a square to resist cavalry. The band was placed in the middle
of the square, the men, so soon as the music struck up, commenced
firing independently—the object of each soldier being to discharge his
rifle as rapidly as possible, the officers encouraging them in this bad
habit.[12] If the same system is to be carried on in a war with Russia,
the Sultan's army in Anatolia will soon be without ammunition.


     A conversation with the Pacha—The English Parliament
     opened—What will they say about Turkey?—Can the people
     at your Embassy speak Turkish?—The French are brave
     soldiers—The fortifications—The roads—The water supply—The
     posterns—Important military positions—A dinner with our
     Consul—He relates a story—A Kurdish robber—The colonel—His
     young wife—How the Kurd wished to revenge himself—Many of the
     Kurds are in Russian pay.

Erzeroum was certainly the land of rumours, or, to use a slang
expression, "shaves." Shortly after returning to my quarters, the Pacha
called and said that he had received a telegram to the effect, that
England, Germany, and Turkey were to be allies in the coming struggle.

"Do you believe it?" I inquired.

"Well," replied the Pacha, "the Germans, it is said, do not like the
Russians, and Russia is believed to be an ally of France."

"If Germany does not fight France soon," observed another Turk, "France
will be too strong for Germany."

"That is what I think," said the Pacha; "Germany sees the nation that
she has beaten making every effort to become strong, so as to revenge
herself for her defeat. Bismarck will not be likely to await that

A Turkish engineer officer now entered the room. He informed us that a
telegram had arrived to say that the English Parliament had been opened.

"What will they say about Turkey?" continued the officer.

"Probably some more about the Bulgarian atrocities," I replied; "but I
really do not know."

"You English people," observed the engineer, "think that you know a
great deal about what is passing in foreign countries. You know nothing
at all about Turkey. Can the people at your Embassy speak Turkish?"

"One can."

"All our officials in England can speak English," said the engineer.
"Our newspapers say that you receive your information from people who
are sent to travel for different English journals, and that hardly any
of these men can speak Turkish: is that the case?" he continued.

"Our newspapers, as a rule, are very well informed."

"They wrote a great many falsehoods about us in Bulgaria," said the
officer; "our journals say that the writers were bribed by Russia."

"Englishmen do not sell their pens," I observed; "this is a habit which
is more likely to exist in your country than in my own."

"If England, Austria, and ourselves fight Russia," said the Pacha, "we
shall annihilate Russia. Do you think France will be against us?"

"Probably not."

"I should be sorry if France were our foe," said the Pacha; "the French
are brave soldiers, and were our friends in the Crimea."

"Allah only knows what will happen," said another of the company; "we
are in His hands!"

I now mentioned to the Pacha that Mohammed had come with me as a servant
from Tokat, and inquired if I might keep him during my stay in Asia

"Is he a soldier?" said the Pacha.


"Well, there will be no fighting at present; he can remain with you till
you reach Batoum; a battalion from Tokat is in that town, he can join

Later in the day, I rode round the fortifications, accompanied by a
Turkish officer. There were nineteen small forts—those on the Kars side
being on an average 3000 yards from the town, but those in the direction
of Ardahan only 1000.

On the south a mountain descends to within a very short distance of
Erzeroum. There is a direct road from Van to Moush, and from that town
to the mountain which commands the city. I learnt that no preparations
had been made to defend this height, but, Inshallah, so soon as the
winter was over, a redoubt would be thrown up in that direction.

Two water-channels lead from this mountain into Erzeroum, if an enemy
once had possession of the eminence, he would be able to turn them off
from the town. There are a few wells in the city. The water-supply is
insufficient for the requirements of the population.

Erzeroum is entered by three posterns, known by the name of the
Stamboul, Ardahan, and Kars gates. The roads from them lead to Ardahan,
Kars, Van, Erzingan, and Trebizond. On the Van road, and about five
miles from Erzeroum, there is a position known as the Palandukain
defile, here it had been proposed to build a fort—that is, so soon
as the weather became a little warmer. It was also the intention to
construct another at Gereguzek, eighteen miles from Erzeroum, on the
Ardahan road.

The officer now remarked that the Deve Boinou Bogaz, five miles from
Erzeroum, and on the Kars road, would be a good place for a fort, whilst
redoubts, in his opinion, ought to be thrown up at Kupri Kui—a place
nine hours from Erzeroum, and where there is a branch road to Bayazid.
He added that some more defences should be made at the Soghana defile,
which is twenty-four hours from Erzeroum. If this were done, it would
be very difficult for the Russians to advance by that route.

The important positions on the Bayazid road are at Deli Baba—a narrow
gorge through high mountains, and which pass, the Turk declared, was
impregnable—at Taher Gedi, a five hours' march from Deli Baba, and at
Kara Kilissa; after which the road is level to Bayazid.

The forts around Erzeroum were many of them armed with bronze cannon,
which had been manufactured at Constantinople. The artillerymen had
very little knowledge of these pieces. The officers in command of the
different batteries were ignorant of the distances to the different
points within range of their guns.

A million of liras had been spent in the construction of the defences of
Erzeroum, after riding round them, it was difficult for me to imagine
what had been done with the money.[13] As it is, this sum has been
entirely wasted; Erzeroum, if assailed by a resolute foe, would not be
able to offer any resistance—the easiest points of attack being by the
Ardahan or the Van road.

Later in the day, I dined with our Consul, Mr. Zohrab. There was an
Armenian present, the Pacha's interpreter, and also Mr. Zohrab's
dragoman, a gentleman who I believe is of Arab parentage. The
conversation after dinner turned upon the Kurds; the Consul, lighting
his cigarette, remarked that there were several curious anecdotes with
reference to these wild mountaineers.

On being pressed to relate one, Mr. Zohrab began,—

"Not long ago, and in the neighbourhood of Karpoot, a Kurdish robber
attacked a Turkish merchant. The robber was wounded. He fled from the
scene of his crime, and took refuge in the house of a Kurd known as Miri
Mehmed, a rich and powerful sheik or chief. News of the outrage reached
Erzeroum. The Pacha sent orders to the colonel of a regiment in the
neighbourhood of the sheik's encampment to arrest the robber. The chief
soon heard of this. He was able to dispose of several thousand armed
men. He was not at all inclined to submit. In the meantime the officer,
who did not know how to arrest the Kurd, wrote to the sheik and invited
him to dinner.

"The colonel had lately taken to himself a young and beautiful bride,"
added the Consul, by way of a parenthesis. "Most of the officers in
his regiment were married men. The day fixed for the dinner arrived.
At the appointed hour the sheik rode down to the encampment. He was
unaccompanied by any retainers, dismounting at the door of the colonel's
tent, he passed the threshold. The officer received his guest very
courteously, gave him a magnificent entertainment, and, after the dinner
was over, asked him to give up the Kurdish robber. To this, however,
the Kurd would not agree. 'He has eaten bread and salt in my house,'
was his reply. 'I shall not surrender him.' The officer exerted all his
powers of persuasion, finally, discovering that the Kurd was obdurate,
he arose, and, taking a document from his pocket, showed him that his
orders were to arrest the sheik himself sooner than that the robber
should be allowed to escape. 'So you mean to arrest me?' said the Kurd.
'You probably think that, because I am unattended, I have no one at my
beck and call. Wait! If I have not returned to my encampment in three
hours' time, my men will come here to look for me; and I tell you what
will happen. I shall take the wife you love best, I will revenge myself
by dishonouring her before your eyes. My men shall do the same to the
wives of every officer in your regiment!' The colonel was dreadfully
alarmed at this," continued the Consul. "He knew that the sheik was
quite capable of carrying his threat into effect, he trembled at the
vast superiority of numbers on the side of the Kurds. He went down
upon his knees, and implored the chief for mercy. The other officers
were equally alarmed. They entreated the Kurd to depart. The colonel,
kneeling down on the ground, embraced the sheik's feet as a sign of
humility and respect. The chief was inflexible," added the speaker.
"He stood motionless as a block of stone. He made no remark. At last
the colonel, goaded to a state of frenzy, sprang to his feet and cried
out to the chieftain, 'You are worse than a Christian! you are not a
Mohammedan! You have eaten bread and salt in my house, and yet you wish
to do me this great wrong.' 'And what did you wish to do to me?' said
the Kurd. 'You thought that I was without my followers and unprotected.
You wished to take me a prisoner to Egin; and then what would have been
my fate? Perhaps I should have been put in gaol or hanged, as has been
the lot of some of my tribe. But,' added the sheik, 'you have thrown in
my teeth the remark that I am worse than a Christian! I will show you
if I am so. My followers will be here in a very short time. They shall
not harm your women. To-morrow morning I will go with you to Karpoot;
but only on one condition—that we ride there without any of our men. I
will send for my wife whom I love, and you shall take your wife whom you
love. They shall accompany us. We will go together to the governor of
the town.' The next day they started," added Mr. Zohrab. "The governor
was first of all for treating the Kurd very severely; but when the news
had been telegraphed to the authorities, and all the facts of the case
were known, an order came to release the chief."

"From whom did you learn this story?" I inquired.

"From a Hungarian doctor who was attached to the battalion in question,
and who was an eye-witness of the greater part of the scheme."

"Some of these Kurds are very chivalrous fellows," remarked an Armenian.
"However, they are great robbers, and a curse to the neighbourhood.
They often bribe the Pachas," he continued, "and when troops are sent
to force the mountaineers to submit, the general in command, instead of
surrounding the mountain, or blocking up all the passes, will purposely
leave one or two defiles open. The Kurds then escape, and the Pacha
telegraphs back to Constantinople that perfect order reigns throughout
the district under his command."

"What will the Kurds do in the event of a war with Russia?" I inquired.

"They will go with the side which pays them the most money," was the
reply. "They are many of them known to be in Russian pay, and presents
are continually being sent by the authorities in the Caucasus to the
chiefs in this part of Anatolia."


     The weather—The number of troops in the town—Wood is very
     dear—Tezek—The shape of the town—Trade with Persia—Ismail
     Pacha's head servant—Have the Russians arrived? No, Effendi,
     but the Pacha has hanged himself! that is all—The Pacha's
     wives—He was gay and handsome—The Consul's dragoman—An
     attack of dysentery—Starting for Van—Major-General
     Macintosh—His opinion about the Kurds—The Bazaar at Van—Fezzee
     Pacha—Kiepert's map—Erzeroum is very weak—Fezzee Pacha's
     opinion about the impending war—The curious Caves.

It was bitterly cold at Erzeroum. The thermometer had fallen below
zero. The half-clad recruits could be seen running up and down in front
of their barracks endeavouring to keep themselves warm. There were at
that time about 12,000 troops in the town. The number was continually
changing, every week fresh battalions of redifs arrived from the
interior, and then the older soldiers were marched off in the direction
of Bayazid, Kars, or Ardahan.

Wood was dear in the market. The inhabitants had to trust to their
tezek, the dried excrement of cows, bulls, and oxen. The town is in the
form of a pentagon. Its appearance from afar off has been compared by
a traveller to a ship of enormous size, raised by the waves and thrown
into a neglected bay. The mainmast is an old tower which stands out
conspicuously amidst the mud-built houses.

Formerly there used to be a great trade between this town and Persia.
All the caravans going from the latter country to Trebizond pass through
Erzeroum, and halt a few days to dispose of some merchandise. Of late
years, a great deal of the Persian trade has found its way _viâ_ Khoi
and Erivan to Tiflis. The caravans between Persia and Erzeroum are not
so numerous as they were some eighteen years ago. Two per cent. duty is
charged upon all merchandise going from Erzeroum to Persia, and eight
per cent. upon imported goods. Any article manufactured in Erzeroum, and
sent out of the town without being marked with the Government stamp, as
a sign that it has paid the duty, is liable to be confiscated.

The following morning I was awoke by Ismail Pacha's head servant. It was
bitterly cold. He proceeded to make a little fire in the stove. From
time to time he looked at me in an excited manner, then he would blow
the fire. There was evidently something on his mind.

"What is it?" I inquired. "Have the Russians arrived?"

"No, Effendi, but the Pacha has hanged himself! that is all!"

"Not Ismail Pacha?" I exclaimed, at once thinking of my hospitable old

"No, Effendi, not Ismail, but a military Pacha—a young man, only forty.
Woe is me! He has hanged himself; our Pacha has gone to his house, with
all the other Pachas. The body is quite cold; if the Effendi were to go
there, perhaps he might bring it to life again."

"I am not a Hakim," I said.

"Yes, Effendi, you are. Mohammed has told me that you have some

"Nonsense! But what made the Pacha hang himself?"

"Effendi, no one knows for certain. It may have been owing to his wives;
some people say that he had lost all his money by lending it to the
Sultan. Allah only knows! I should say his wives had something to do
with it."

"Why so?"

"Because he was gay and handsome. His wives were jealous. They were
always scolding him—that is, whenever he went to his harem. If he had
not been a military Pacha, he might have abandoned his seraglio, but
he could not leave Erzeroum; the wives knew it, they had him in their
power. He was such a nice gentleman!"

Later in the day I met the Consul's dragoman. He was of opinion that
the Pacha had not committed suicide, but that some one in his house had
saved him the trouble. This was the impression of many people in the

"Any how," continued my informant, "no one will be the wiser. The poor
fellow is in the ground; coroners' inquests, or any sort of judicial
inquiry as to the causes of death, are unknown in this part of the

Radford was still looking ill. I wished to leave Erzeroum. It was
necessary for me to make up my mind as to what was to be done with him.
It is a six days' march from Erzeroum to Trebizond: once there he might
have gone on board a vessel bound to Constantinople. But on my proposing
this plan, the poor fellow so entreated to be allowed to continue the
journey, that rather reluctantly I consented.

When long forced marches have to be made through deep snow, an invalid
is a source of great inconvenience. In addition to this, I was anything
but well myself; a sudden chill had left me with an attack of dysentery.
The food supplied us by the Pacha at Erzeroum consisted of very rich
dishes. It was not the best thing for the digestive organs.

I was eager to commence the journey to Van; however, if both man and
master were to fall ill on the march, it would be next to impossible
to reach that city. When I announced to Ismail Pacha my intention of
starting for Van, he did his best to dissuade me from the undertaking.

"It is a fourteen days' march," he observed. "You will be in a country
infested by Kurds, many of whom are in Russia's pay.[14] The Russian
Consul in Erzeroum is aware that you are here, he also knows that
his Government looks upon you as an enemy—this I have heard from the
interpreter. Should the Kurds kill you, your countrymen would very
likely throw the blame on us. Take my advice," said Ismail Pacha; "do
not go to Van. There is nothing to be seen in that town. Go straight to
Kars, you will then meet with no Kurds on the road."

But I had made up my mind to see Van, and the more particularly because
I had been informed by many of my Armenian acquaintances that the bazaar
there had been recently set on fire by some Turkish troops, and that
the Christians had been robbed of all their effects by the Mussulman
soldiers. The bazaar was represented to me as having been of gigantic
dimensions. The Armenian merchants in Van were said to have been reduced
from a state of affluence to one of abject poverty.

I was anxious to ascertain for myself how far this story was true; and
as it is perfectly impossible to trust to any evidence in the east,
save to that of your own eyes, I had determined to visit the seat of
the conflagration.

Another Pacha called upon me, Fezzee Pacha (General Kohlmann), the
chief of the staff in Erzeroum. He was a Hungarian gentleman, and had
formerly been engaged as one of the leaders in a revolution in his own
country. At that time he had been ordered to blow up the bridge over
the river at Buda-Pesth, but had not done so. Shortly afterwards he
entered the army of the Sultan. He showed me one of Kiepert's maps of
Asia Minor, dated 1856, but with numerous corrections, which had been
made subsequently by European officers in the Turkish service. The Pacha
had enlarged this map by photography, he had then distributed facsimiles
of it to the officers under his command. He was a fine-looking old man,
nearer seventy than sixty, but upright as a lad of sixteen, and with a
pleasant, frank smile which did one's heart good to witness.

The Turks, as a rule, are not in the habit of smiling; indeed, Radford
often used to expatiate on the extreme melancholy which prevailed
throughout all the Mohammedan classes; his favourite remark being "that
they looked as if they had found a sixpence and lost half-a-crown."
General Kohlmann was an exception to this rule. He had adopted the
Mohammedan religion, but this had not taken away from him a keen sense
of the ridiculous. I have seldom found myself in pleasanter company than
that of the chief of the staff in Erzeroum. He had been in Kars during
the last siege, and was personally acquainted with Sir Fenwick Williams,
Colonel Teesdale, and several other Englishmen; besides having a great
deal to say about the gallantry and skill which had been shown by the
British officers during the investment of the fortress.

"Shall you remain much longer in the Turkish army?" I inquired.

"I am waiting here in hopes that there will be a war with our enemies
the Russians," said the old general, "and, if we can only beat them,
shall then return to Constantinople, and take my pension."

In the Pacha's opinion, Erzeroum was very weak and could not stand a
siege. He did not apprehend any danger from an attack along the Van
road, as there is a very strong position near Meleskert, and one which
the Russians would not be able to take without enormous loss. He did not
believe that the Tzar's troops were so strong[15] in the Caucasus as was
generally supposed. If the general could have had his way, he would at
once have commenced the war by an attack in that direction.

Later in the day, I heard from an Armenian that there were some curious
caves in the neighbourhood of Erzeroum, and which no one had ever
explored. They were said to extend for miles, and to pass under the
different detached forts. My informant declared that a priest who had
been in them for a short distance had said that they contained gigantic
halls, and seemingly never-ending passages.

I now asked the Pacha if I might undertake the exploration of the
cavern. It would be interesting from a military point of view to know
where the passage ended. Should there be a war, an attempt might be made
by Russian agents to blow up the batteries with gunpowder.

Ismail Pacha readily gave his consent, and at the same time ordered an
officer of engineers to take some men with lanterns and pick-axes to
aid me in the task. The English Consul, Mr. Zohrab, and his two sons,
expressed a wish to join the party. It was arranged that we should meet
the following morning at the consulate, and go from there to the caves.


     The Turkish cemetery—Entering the cavern—The narrow passage—A
     branch tunnel—A candle went out—The ball of string—The
     Garden of Eden—The serpent—A dinner with the Engineer
     general—Mashallah—The evil eye—A whole nation of Hodjas—You
     English are a marvellous nation—Some of our Pachas cannot
     write—This is a miracle—Start for Van—The postman—A caravan
     from Persia—The wives of the Persian merchant—How to balance
     a fat wife—Herteff—My host's wife—Stealing sugar.

When I arrived at Mr. Zohrab's residence, I found that gentleman and
his boys, two English-looking lads with ruddy cheeks, prepared for a
journey to the centre of the earth, if the subterranean passage would
only lead us there; and riding by a Turkish cemetery, which is just on
the outskirts of Erzeroum, we proceeded onward towards our destination—a
hill a short distance from the walls of the city.

A few melancholy-looking dogs were walking about the dead men's home.
A grave-digger was busily engaged in making a hole in the frost-bound
ground with a pick. Further on a small band of people, howling and
making a great noise, showed that another follower of Islam had just
been committed to his last abode. Some of the monuments were surrounded
by wooden railings. Others had the names of the departed written on them
in Arabic characters. Every stone was upright, none of them being placed
horizontally on the ground, as is the custom with the Christians in the

Some soldiers were standing near a small aperture in a neighbouring
hill. One of them advanced as we rode up the slope, and said a few words
to the officer.

"We have arrived," said the latter, and, dismounting, we followed his

The hole was not a large one. To enter the cave it was necessary for
each man to lie flat on the ground, and gradually squeeze his body
through the aperture. The first to attempt the passage was a thin Turk;
he looked as if he had never been properly fed, and was as emaciated in
appearance as some of the dogs about the cemetery. Holding a candle in
one hand and a box of matches in the other, he disappeared head-foremost
down the cavity. I prepared to follow, not without some misgivings, as
I was not at all sure whether there was room for me to pass.

"You will stick!" said the Consul. And I did stick.

However, by the aid of a friendly shove from those behind, and a hand
from the little Turk in front, I succeeded in entering the cavern.
The others in turn followed. The passage became higher, we could walk
upright. There were still no signs of any barrier, all of a sudden
we arrived at a branch tunnel. Leaving some soldiers to explore this
passage, we continued onward and presently came to a small cavern to the
left of our path, the latter being now blocked up by some loose stones.

The soldiers began clearing away the débris. The rest of our party sat
down in the cave and began to discuss the grotto. The officer was of
opinion that it had been made several hundred years ago, as a refuge
for the women and children of Erzeroum, in the event of that city being
attacked by an enemy.

"Erzeroum is supposed to have been the site of the Garden of Eden.
Perhaps this is the spot to which the serpent retired after the fall,"
remarked another of the explorers.

The officer shook his head; he did not believe in serpents. He stuck to
his original idea.

The soldiers by this time had succeeded in clearing away the débris. An
aperture was exposed to view. It was about the same width as the one
through which we had previously passed, and, on reaching the opposite
side, several tunnels were found, branching in different directions.

Taking a ball of string, we attached it to a stone by the entrance.
Gradually unwinding the cord, we advanced along one of the passages—now
crawling flat on our stomachs, and then stumbling over heaps of
rubbish—the Consul, who was rather blown by his exertions, remaining
in the first room, and solacing himself during our absence with a

Presently a candle went out. We had to send for another. Two or three
small caverns were now passed. Finally we arrived at the bare rock.
There was no exit. We had explored the caves on one side.

Retracing our steps, we tried the other tunnels, but, after a very short
time, found that they too ended in the bare rock. There was nothing more
to be done, and, returning to the open air, I soon afterwards reached
my quarters. My faith in Armenian stories was still more shaken by
the events of the morning. I had been told that I should see gigantic
caverns: they had turned out to be small places, most of them not more
than twelve feet square.

The officer who accompanied me was intelligent for a Turk, but he could
not understand our getting up so early and riding through deep snow,
merely to explore an old cave. Curiosity about antiquities does not
enter into a Turk's composition. He lives for the present. What has
happened is finished and done with.

That evening I dined with a general of engineers. Some officers on his
staff and Fezzee Pacha were amongst the guests. After dinner the son of
my host—a child of ten years of age—came into the room, accompanied by
an attendant. The boy was dressed in a cadet's uniform, and had a very
pleasant cast of countenance.

"He is a pretty boy," I remarked to his father.

"Mashallah!" interrupted the old Hungarian. "Say Mashallah," he added,
"or else the father will be afraid of the evil eye! You have no idea how
superstitious the Turks are," continued the speaker, in French; "if you
had not said Mashallah, and subsequently anything had happened to the
child, they would then have declared that it was owing to you."

The engineer general was much surprised to learn that almost every
Englishman could read and write, and would not believe me till the
Hungarian had corroborated my statement.

"It is wonderful!" exclaimed our host. "Only think! A whole nation of
Hodjas—schoolmasters! No wonder that the English people are so clever.
It would never do for us Turks," he added.

"Why not?"

"Because it would make our poor people dissatisfied to find that they
knew as much as their masters, but were only receiving a servant's
wages. Does it not make your lower orders dissatisfied?" he inquired.

"No, because their masters know something beyond reading and writing."

"You English are a marvellous nation," said the Pacha; "but, I should
not be surprised if one day you had a revolution. Why, some of our
Pachas cannot write, and yet they get on very well. All your labourers
being able to read and write—this is a miracle!"

I said farewell to my host, and to our hospitable Consul, who had done
his best to dissuade me from the journey. The following morning we
started for Van.

It was a windy day. The postman who was carrying the Van letter-bag did
not much fancy the march.

"It will be all right for a few hours," he remarked; "but if it is like
this to-morrow, we shall not be able to pass the mountains."

I now learnt that, owing to the wind and snow, the track was sometimes
blocked for days together, the path too was slippery, and there were
precipices on either side.

Presently we met a caravan of camels from Persia—the huge beasts were
covered with icicles, owing to the extreme cold. The men who accompanied
the caravan were clad in sheepskins, and wore high black hats. The track
was very narrow, not being more than twelve inches broad; on either
side of it there were five feet of snow. The camels had to make way for
the postman, who preceded us. With a crack from his whip, he sent the
foremost of them off the track, and breast-deep in the drift. The other
camels, more than a hundred in number, followed in their leader's wake.
There was one mule left in the path; on approaching, we found that he
bore two ladies. They were the wives of the Persian merchant, and were
seated in large baskets—a pannier being slung on either side of their

The postman proved to be more chivalrous than I expected. Spurring
his horse, he made his animal leave the track. Man and steed were half
buried in the snow. We followed him. The mule was now able to pass with
the ladies, who seemed much alarmed lest their quadruped should stumble.
The women appeared to be very uncomfortable in their conveyance. One
of them was much heavier than the other, the Persian had balanced her
weight by putting a huge stone in the pannier containing his thinner
wife. Some parts of the road along which they had come led by the side
of a precipice. It must have been very disagreeable for the ladies to
have sat still in their baskets, and have looked down the abyss, with
nothing save the sure-footedness of their animal to insure them against

This caravan had come from Khoi and Bayazid—the owner reported that the
roads were in a dreadful state. He had been twenty days performing the
journey. We halted that evening at an Armenian village called Herteff,
containing about ninety houses, and a short distance from Kupri Kui.
I was not sorry to reach a resting-place. My illness had weakened me.
I had discovered this when we were obliged to wade on foot through the
snow, and was now quite as great a cripple as Radford had been when on
the road to Erzeroum.

The owner of the house where we stopped was not a cleanly object.
His domicile was as dirty as his person. His wife and children were
manufacturing some tezek for fuel in one of the two rooms the house
contained; this room was given over for the use of my party and self. It
was bitterly cold outside. To keep the habitation tolerably warm, the
owner had blocked up a hole in the roof, used as ventilator, chimney,
and window. The smell of the tezek, and the ammonia arising from the
horses and cattle, was excessively disagreeable. There was no other
accommodation to be obtained. Mohammed presently informed me that two
merchants had been waiting three days in the village. They wished to
go to Van, and had made several attempts to cross the mountain, but in

The wife of the Armenian host, and her children, were not at all coy
about showing their faces—at least so much of them as the dirt did not
hide from our view. They squatted round my English servant, who was
making tea, and watched his proceedings with great interest. Now the
woman, sticking her filthy fingers into the basin, took out a lump of
sugar; then, putting it in turn into each of her children's mouths, she
had a suck herself. "Give it me!" suddenly exclaimed her husband. The
lady did not show any signs of readiness to surrender the prize. The man
sprang to his feet; thrusting a finger and thumb into the mouth of his
helpmate, at the same time clasping her tightly round the throat with
the other hand, so as to avoid being bitten, he extracted the delicacy.
Holding the sweet morsel high in the air, he displayed the treasure
to the assembled guests; then, greatly to the woman's indignation, he
placed it within his own jaws.


     The Kurd—His bonnet—Mohammed is ill—Radford doctors him—The
     mustard plaster—The plaster is cold—Where has the Frank put
     the flames—An old frost-bite—The two merchants—Bayazid—A
     Turkish lieutenant—A very dirty Christian—Crossing the
     Araxes—Kupri Kui—Yusueri—Deli Baba—Earthenware jars—How they
     are made—When the winter is over—Procrastination.

In the next room, which was only separated from us by a railing about
three feet high, there were buffaloes, cows, calves, and pigeons,
besides the relatives of the Armenian, the postman, and a Kurd. The
latter individual had a wonderful turban in the shape of a bonnet on
his head. It was made of blue satin, and adorned with gold thread. He
was evidently very proud of this attire, and told the Armenian that he
had purchased it at Erzeroum, and that, when he had finished wearing
the turban, he should give it to his favourite wife.

Presently an Armenian woman brought in a wooden tray, on which were
several of the cakes which are used as bread by the inhabitants, and
some oily soup.

The Kurd, postman, and Armenians, squatting round the dishes, devoured
the contents with rapidity.

Mohammed was lying in a corner of my room; from time to time a groan
escaped his lips. I discovered that he was suffering from rheumatism.
Radford had put a mustard plaster on him by way of alleviating the pain.
Mohammed had been told that he was to keep it on all night. The mustard
was rapidly creating a blister.

"Atech—fire!" said the Turk, pointing to his back.

"Yes," said Radford. "Hottish—I should say it was. It will be better

"Turkish is very like English, sir," observed my man to me. "You see
that he says it is 'hottish.'"

"Nonsense!" I replied. "He says 'atech—fire.'"

"'Atech,' or 'hottish,' it don't make much difference, sir; the plaster
is raising a beautiful blister. I should not be surprised if Mohammed
left off complaining about his haches and pains after this. I don't
think that as how any other Turks will ask me to doctor them again!"

Radford was wrong. The sound of Mohammed's groans attracted the Kurd's
attention: accompanied by the Armenian, he came to the side of the
sufferer. They minutely inspected the plaster.

"It is a wonder!" said the Kurd. "The plaster is cold, but Mohammed
says he is on fire! Where has the Frank put the flames? I should like
a plaster too." Turning to Radford, he held out his hand for one.

"Plasters are for sick people, not for men in a good state of health,"
I observed.

"But I am not well," said the Kurd.

"What is the matter with you?"

"I have a pain here;" taking off his slipper, he showed the remains
of an old frost-bite. "The cold did this," he added: "the fire there,"
pointing to the wet paper, "will put it right again."

I had considerable difficulty in explaining to the man that the plaster
in question would be a useless remedy.

The following morning the wind blew harder than before. The mountain
which barred our progress was entirely hid from view in what seemed
to be a whirlwind of snowy particles. The cold, too, was intense. The
thermometer was still several degrees below zero.

"It is no good starting," said the postman, coming to me; "to-day the
sun does not shower its rays upon our destiny. Fortune is against us.
We must wait here till the wind goes down."

The two merchants had made another attempt to ascend the mountain
a little before daybreak. They had found it impossible to cross the
passes. The track was hid from their view by the snow. They were half
blinded by the flakes which the wind carried with it in its course.

There was nothing to be done but to wait patiently. In conversation with
a Turkish lieutenant, I discovered that it would be possible to reach
Bayazid, and from Bayazid there was a road to Van. It would be a much
longer route than the one which led direct from Erzeroum to Van.

The officer interrupted me in my reflections, and proposed that we
should go to Bayazid.

"Who knows," he continued, "how long we may have to wait here? The
mountain is sometimes impassable for two or three weeks at a time;
and, besides this, the smell in this room is enough to poison any one.
These Christians do stink," he added, pointing to my Armenian host
and hostess, who, begrimed with dirt, were squatting in a corner—the
woman engaged in making some cakes with flour and water, and the man in
looking for what it is not necessary to mention amidst his clothes.

The Russian moujik is not a sweet animal; a Souakim Arab, with hair
piled up two feet above his head, and covered with liquid fat, is an
equally unpleasant companion; but either of these gentlemen would have
smelt like Rowland's Macassar oil in comparison with my Armenian host,
who, apparently, had no ideas beyond that of manufacturing fuel from
cows' dung. His conversation was entirely engrossed with this subject.
It was also an important topic with the rest of his family, who were
all longing for the frost to go, so as to commence making the article
in question on a large scale.

Wood is very dear in these parts. The inhabitants would die if they had
not a supply of fuel. It is not surprising that they take a considerable
interest in their tezek. But to hear this subject discussed from
morning to night, and in a room with an atmosphere like a sewer—besides
being ill at the time—was a little annoying to my senses. I made up
my mind that, if the weather did not improve in the course of the next
twenty-four hours, I would continue my journey towards Bayazid.

The lieutenant would accompany me in that direction. He was a very
cheery little fellow, and not at all disposed to hide his own lights
beneath a bushel. He had been a lieutenant about six years, and took an
opportunity to mention to me this fact. He knew that I had stayed with
Ismail Pacha in Erzeroum, and was in hopes that I would write to the
governor, and casually mention his, the lieutenant's, name as a gallant
and exceedingly efficient officer.

There was no improvement in the weather. The following morning I left
Herteff for Bayazid—the postman remaining behind with the letters.

We crossed the Araxes on the ice. The river was said to be only two
feet deep. Kupri Kui was about one mile from our track. Here there is a
bridge over the stream, which is about thirty yards wide, besides being
deep. Our track was firm and level. There were no mountains to cross.
Every now and then we passed by villages; they all contained soldiers,
and, so far as I could learn, there were about 8000 troops echeloned
between Erzeroum and Bayazid.

After a seven hours' march, we halted at Yusueri, an Armenian village.
From here it was a three hours' ride to Deli Baba, a celebrated gorge
or mountain pass, and the most important place, from a military point
of view, on the road to the Russian frontier.

The women in the house where I was lodged were busily engaged in making
some large earthenware jars. Taking some clay from the soil, they knead
it for several hours with their fingers, and then form it into the
shape they require. In every house there is a hole left in the floor,
which is used as an oven. The women place the jars in this receptacle,
and, filling the space between them with tezek, set fire to it. They
afterwards colour the pottery by some process of which I am ignorant.
The result is an extremely well made and serviceable article, in which
they keep their corn, flour, and household goods.

Now we came to the famous pass of Deli Baba. It is about a quarter of a
mile long. High and precipitous rocks are on either hand, and the gorge
is not more than forty yards wide at the exit from the defile towards
Bayazid. It is a spot where a thousand resolute men, well supplied with
ammunition, might keep at defiance a force of a hundred times their
number. However, in spite of the extreme importance of the position,
nothing had been done to strengthen any part of it.

"We are going to throw up earthworks, and place some batteries here
when the winter is over," was the reply of the lieutenant, when I
interrogated him on this subject.

"When the winter is over:" "Not to-day, to-morrow:" this is the
stereotyped answer which a Turk has always at the tip of his tongue.
Until the Sultan's subjects can shake off the apathy which prevails
throughout the empire, it will be difficult for them to hold their own
against other nations.


     Low hills—Deep snow—The effect of the sun's rays—Nearly
     blind—Daha—The road to Bayazid blocked—The daughter of my
     host—Her costume—Soap and water—A surprise—She is very
     dirty—If she were well washed—Turkish merchants—Buying
     the daughters—A course of Turkish baths—An addition to the
     Seraglio—Rich men always get pretty wives—The Kurd's sons—The
     Imaum of the village—My host's tooth—It aches—I have heard
     of your great skill—Cure my tooth—A mustard plaster a remedy
     for toothache—A hakim for the stomach—Have it out—Champagne
     nippers—My tooth is better already.

Our track led over some low hills. The ground was covered with deep
snow. We had to dismount, and struggle as best we could through the
treacherous soil. The sun shone bright above our heads; the reflection
from the white surface at our feet was blinding in the extreme. We
staggered about, and followed in each other's track, like a number
of drunken men, and after eight hours' incessant toil reached Daha, a
Kurdish village.

We were here informed that the road to Bayazid had been blocked for
eight days; and that the village was full of caravans which had made
daily attempts to force a passage forward. All the inhabitants were
going to turn out at daybreak on the following day. They intended, if
possible, to clear a track from Daha to the next village.

The daughter of my host took a great deal of interest in her father's
guests. She was a tall, fine-looking girl, with a high cone-shaped
head-dress made of black silk. A quantity of gold spangles were fastened
to this covering. A red jacket and loose white trousers enveloped her
limbs and body, her feet were thrust in some white slippers. If only she
had been properly washed, she would have been a very attractive-looking
young lady. But soap and water were evidently strangers to the Kurd's
dwelling, if I might judge by the surprise the girl evinced when Radford
commenced washing his pans after he had cooked my dinner.

"So you wash the dishes and pans in your country?" she remarked.


"But it gives a great deal of trouble," observed the girl; "and it does
not make the dinner taste any better."

The voice of her father on the outside of the dwelling made the young
lady aware that she would probably receive a scolding if she were found
talking to a European. Sticking her fingers into a tin box, and seizing
a handful of biscuits, she ran into the stable.

"She is very dirty," observed Mohammed, who had overheard the
conversation; "but, for all that, if she were well washed, she would
fetch a good price as a wife for some Bey in Constantinople. It is
a pity that you are not a follower of Islam, Effendi," continued my
servant; "she is tall, she would make a good wife for you."

I now learnt that certain Turkish merchants were in the habit of
visiting the Kurd district in the summer months. If they meet with a
pretty girl, they buy her from her parents, and then, taking the young
lady to Constantinople, make her go through a course of Turkish baths,
and feed her well. Under this régime the girl's complexion improves.
She will command a considerable price as an addition to the seraglio
of some magnate or other. If she succeeds in gaining the favour of her
lord, she does not forget the relatives at home, but sends them money
and presents, besides interesting herself for the advancement of her
brothers and other relations. The result of this is, that a Kurd has
no objection to part with his pretty daughter. If she is well sold at
Constantinople, this is looked upon, by the young lady's family, as
rather a feather in their cap than otherwise.

"Rich men generally get pretty wives," said Mohammed, as he concluded
giving me this information. "Is it the same in your country, Effendi?"

"Occasionally," I replied, "but not always. The girls are sometimes
allowed to choose for themselves. There are instances when they prefer
a poor man to a rich one."

"What do their fathers say to this?" said Mohammed. "Do they not beat
their daughters if they do not like the rich man?"


"I cannot understand that," said Mohammed. "If I had a daughter, and she
might marry a rich man, but she preferred a poor man, I should whip the
girl till she altered her mind!"

The owner of the house entered the room. He was accompanied by three
of his sons, all fine-looking lads. They were dressed in green serge,
and in a costume which somewhat resembled that worn by the foresters
in the opera of Freischütz. Several daggers and pistols were stuck in
their sashes, enormous orange-coloured turbans adorned their heads. They
squatted down beside the Imaum of the village—a thin man dressed in a
white sheet.

The father rose from the divan, and, standing before me, pointed to his

"What is the matter with it?" I inquired in Turkish—a language which is
generally understood by every Kurd, though few of them speak it well.

"It aches; I have heard, Effendi, of your great skill as a hakim
(doctor)," continued the man. "Mohammed has told me how you set his
shoulder on fire with a piece of wet paper. This is very wonderful,
perhaps you could cure my tooth."

Now it is one thing to be able to prescribe a mustard plaster, it is
another to be called upon to act as a dentist. However, the Kurd's
children were all expectant. They evidently believed that if I put a
mustard plaster on their parent's tooth, that this would relieve him

Mohammed was also of this opinion. He went through a sort of pantomimic
performance in the corner of the room, suggestive of the sufferings
which he had undergone, and of the subsequent benefit which he had

A thought occurred to me. I remembered that, three years before, my
servant Radford had extracted the tooth of a maid-servant in a country
house in Norfolk. Why should he not extract the Kurd's tooth? And if he
were able to do so, would not my reputation as a hakim be higher than
ever amidst the inhabitants of Kurdistan?

"I am not a hakim for teeth," I remarked to the patient. "I am a hakim
for the stomach, which is the nobler and more important portion of a
man's body."

The Imaum and the Kurd's children made a sign of assent to this; the
Kurd himself did not seem to see it.

"You are in my house," he said. "You have accepted my hospitality—cure
my tooth!"

"Well," I continued, "I have a servant with me; he is a hakim for teeth.
If you like he shall look in your mouth."

"By all means!" said the Kurd.

In a few minutes a servant of my host arrived, leading Radford by the
sleeve of his coat.

"Do you want me, sir?" inquired Radford, touching his cap. "This dirty
chap," pointing to the man who had brought him to the room, "came into
the place where I was a cooking, laid hold of me with his dirty fingers,
and without saying a word led me here!"

"Yes," I said; "this gentleman," pointing to the old Kurd, "has
something the matter with one of his teeth. Look at it."

My servant, without moving a muscle of his countenance, seized the
patient by the nose with the fingers of one hand; then, thrusting a
finger of the other into the sufferer's mouth, looked well down the
gaping orifice.

"It had better come out; but it is very tight in his 'ead," remarked my
man. "If I only had a pair of champagne nippers, I would have it out in
a trice."

"Could not you pull it out with a piece of string?"

"No, sir; could not get a purchase on it;" and with that remark my
servant released the Kurd's head.

"What does he say?" said the sufferer, rather alarmed at our
conversation in a language unknown to him, and the more particularly at
the grave demeanour of my servant.

"He says that the tooth had better be extracted."

"Will it hurt much?" inquired the Kurd excitedly.

"Yes, a good deal."

This observation of mine appeared to afford great satisfaction to the
Imaum and the Kurd's children.

"Have it out!" they all cried.

But their parent did not see the matter from his sons' point of view.
He remarked in an indignant tone of voice,—


Then, turning to me, he inquired if I could not give him some medicine
for his stomach.

"But your tooth hurts you, not your stomach," I observed.

"Yes," replied the man, "but, for all that, I should like some medicine."

Taking some pills from my medicine-chest, I gave them to him. The old
man, putting three pills in his mouth, commenced chewing them with great

"My tooth is better already," he remarked, and in a few minutes prepared
to leave the room, accompanied by his sons and the Imaum. The latter was
very much disappointed that my host's tooth had not been operated upon.

"If it had been my tooth, I should have had it out," he observed to me
_sotto voce_; "but he is afraid."

The Kurd overheard the remark.

"You would have done nothing of the kind," he replied. "You would have
swallowed the medicine like me!"—and a whelping cry from a dog outside
the door announced to us that the old gentleman had vented his bile on
the ribs of the animal in question.


     Clearing the way—Leaving Daha—My father was well cleaned last
     night—The wonderful medicine—Charging the snow-drifts—Turkoman
     steeds—The Persians—The lieutenant—Zedhane—Molla
     Suleiman—Toprak Kale—A sanguinary drama—The Caimacan—The
     rivals—An Armenian peasant—The marriage ceremony—The
     Circassian Governor—The Kurd's mother—Revenge—His father's
     bones—The Circassian's wives—The Governor in bed—The fight—The
     feud between the Kurds and Circassians—Camels in the water.

On the morrow we were up before daybreak, and not only ourselves, but
almost all the male inhabitants of the village. They had turned out,
some on horseback and others with spades and shovels, to try and force
a passage through the snow. In addition to these men there were two
caravans, comprising between them over 200 camels, and accompanied by
fifty Persians. It was very cold. The lieutenant was doubtful whether
we should succeed in clearing a way before us. According to the Kurd,
there were still six feet of snow in many places along the track.

Just as we were leaving Daha, the eldest son of my host approached and
apologized for the absence of his father. There was evidently something
on the lad's mind, he hesitated as he said "Good-bye."

"Is there anything I can do for you?" I observed.

"Yes, Effendi, there is," said the boy, delighted at the ice being thus
broken for him. "But I am afraid to ask for it."

I now began to be a little alarmed, thinking that possibly the lad had
set his heart on possessing my little express rifle or revolver, both
of which he had much admired on the previous evening.

"What is it?"

"Effendi," replied the boy, "I know that it is contrary to our ideas of
hospitality for a host to ask for a present from a guest; but in this
case my father—"

"What does he want?" I remarked a little hastily, as it was anything
but agreeable sitting still in the cold.

"He was so well cleaned last evening," continued the lad; "he has never
been so well cleaned before! He would like you to give him some more of
that wonderful medicine."

All the luggage was on the pack-horses. But the boy so entreated me to
comply with his request that I could not refuse. Unpacking my bag, I
gave him a box of pills. The lad's face became radiant with delight.
Taking off the lid, he took out a couple and ate them on the spot. Then,
touching his head with my hand, he hurried off in another direction.

"He is a rogue," said Mohammed, chuckling. "He does not want the
medicine for his father. It is for himself. He wants to set up as a
hakim in the village. When once it is known that you have given him some
medicine, he will be a person of great importance in the neighbourhood."

Presently we came to a place where the camels, which were in the van of
our party, had come to a halt. One of the animals had almost disappeared
in a snow-drift, nothing save his long neck could be seen. The men
coaxed and whipped their unruly beasts, all was to no purpose, they
would not move a step.

I thought that we should have to dig out the road with shovels. However,
the Kurd who directed the operations did not resort to this measure.
Ordering one of the Persians to make his camels retire about 200 yards,
the Kurd called twenty of the best mounted of the villagers to his side,
then striking his horse and shouting wildly, he galloped along the track
and charged the drift. In a second or two nothing could be seen but the
head of the rider, his steed was entirely hidden from our view. After a
few struggles the man backed the animal out of the snow, having made a
hole in it some twenty feet long by four wide. The next horseman rode
at the place, like his leader. Each Kurd followed in succession. They
finally forced a passage.

It was a wild sight to witness—these Kurds in their quaint head-dresses,
and on strong, fine-looking steeds of Turkoman breed, many of them
quite sixteen hands high, charging the snow-drifts, yelling and invoking
Allah—the Persians, phlegmatic and still, seemingly not caring a straw
about the matter—the lieutenant encouraging the Kurds by cries and
gesticulations, but having too great a regard for his own safety to
gallop at the ridges—and the leading horseman now far in front, his
horse apparently swimming through the snow as he slowly burst the

It was hard work even following in the steps of the Kurds. If a horse
or camel deviated a hair's breadth from the line marked out, he would be
often buried in a drift, and a long time be wasted in extricating him.

The track led over a succession of rising ground until we reached
Zedhane, an Armenian village with about thirty houses.

We were close to the village of Molla Suleiman, and were not far from
Toprak Kale—a town in which a sanguinary drama had been enacted but a
very few months previous. I will relate the story as it has been told
me by an eye-witness of part of the scene.

Four years ago a Kurd was Caimacan at Toprak Kale. His grandfather had
been a sort of king at Bayazid; the family being well off and having
relatives married to some magnates in Stamboul, had considerable
influence in the district. However, many complaints had been made about
the conduct of this Caimacan. He was removed from his post. It was given
to a Circassian. This gave rise to a feud between the ex- and the new
governors—the Kurd often vowing vengeance against his newly-appointed
successor. Shortly before my informant's visit to Toprak Kale, the
Kurd's father had died. His family was in mourning.

An Armenian peasant, who resided in Toprak Kale, was about to be
married. It is the custom amongst the Christians in this part of Asia
Minor, when the wedding ceremony is concluded, to beat drums, hire a
band of what they call musicians, and fire guns in the air, as a sign
of general rejoicing.

The peasant, knowing that the Kurd's father had recently died, went to
the ex-Caimacan, and asked his permission for the wedding to take place,
as it would be impossible to have it without the music, gun-firing, &c.

The Kurd consented, provided that he received a present, this the
Armenian gladly promised to give. The marriage ceremony began, but when
the Armenians in Toprak Kale commenced beating drums, &c., the noise
reached the Kurd's mother's ears. She hastened to her son, asked him how
he could allow people to insult his father's memory, and insisted that
he should instantly put a stop to the proceedings.

The son allowed himself to be persuaded, and sent some servants, who
broke in the heads of the drums. The peasant was very indignant. He
at once proceeded to the Circassian, the actual Caimacan, and related
everything that had happened.

"Did the Kurd accept a present from you?" inquired the governor.


"Very well," continued the Caimacan, "go back to your house. My servants
shall accompany you. Make more noise than before. Get more drums; beat
them harder than ever, and do not spare your powder. I will show the
people in Toprak Kale who is Caimacan—the Kurd or myself."

This was done. When it came to the ears of the Kurd's mother, she told
him that he must be revenged on the foe, or his father's bones would not
be able to rest in peace in the tomb. The Kurd consented. That evening
he went to the Caimacan's house, accompanied by two of his brothers,
and inquired of a servant where his master was.

"In the harem," replied the attendant, much surprised at so late a visit
on the part of the ex-Caimacan.

"Go and tell him I am here," said the Kurd; then, without waiting for
an answer, he pushed aside the man, and tried to force a way into the
apartment reserved for the Circassian's wives. The governor was in bed
at the time. He heard the noise: snatching his sword from the sheath,
he rushed to the entrance. The Kurd fired at him with a pistol, the
ball going through the Circassian's shoulder; but the latter was able to
cut down his foe. The Kurd's relatives now rushed upon the governor. He
called loudly for assistance; his brother, who slept in another room,
hurried to the rescue, the result of the encounter being that three
of the opponents were killed, whilst the Circassian governor was left
desperately wounded on the field of battle.

In the meantime hundreds of Kurds, who had heard of the disturbance,
came down from the adjacent mountain. They vowed that they would kill
every Circassian in the neighbourhood. The Circassians trooped into
Toprak Kale, and swore that they would exterminate the Kurds.

Fortunately the gentleman who related this story to me was able to
despatch a mounted Armenian to the governor at Bayazid asking him
to send some troops to the scene of the disturbance. The soldiers
arrived in time to prevent a battle royal between the two factions.
This probably would have ended in the annihilation of every Kurd and
Circassian in the district, neither side being inclined to grant any
quarter to its foe.

We rode through Molla Suleiman. All the houses in this village were
filled with soldiery. On emerging into the open country I found that
the path in front of us was blocked by a caravan coming from Persia. A
pond was on the right-hand side of the path. The leading camel-driver
led his animals along the frozen water, so as to avoid a collision with
our party. He miscalculated the thickness of the ice; a loud splash made
us aware that it had given way beneath the camels. Five of the huge
beasts were sprawling in the water, here about five feet deep; their
packs, containing timbaki, Persian tobacco, became dripping wet. The
animals, frightened at the breaking of the ice, lay down on all fours.
They refused to get up, in spite of the cries and the whips of their


     Armenian lads—Riding calves—Buffaloes—A fair price for
     a girl—Our daughters are our maid-servants—A European
     wife—A useless incumbrance—A Dervish—The lieutenant roars
     at him—Kara Kelise—Kaize Kuy—The streams in Anatolia—A
     source of annoyance—Persian women—A Persian village—The
     houses—Rugs manufactured by the inhabitants—Erivan—The
     Russian invasion of Persia—Once a Russian always a
     Russian—The Murad river—Diyadin—The garrison—Rumours
     of peace—Persia—Ararat—The view—Ophthalmia—Bayazid—The
     Pacha's residence—The Russian authorities in Daghestan—Four
     hundred people killed—Women and children shot down and
     beaten to death—Major-General Macintosh—His opinion about
     Bayazid—The importance of this town from a military point of
     view—Syria—Aleppo—Diarbekir—Van—The barracks—Mahmoud Pacha—His
     descendants—The irony of fate—A Hungarian doctor—Mahmoud
     Pacha, the son of Issek Pacha, lies here.

We met with some Armenian lads riding calves, and driving others
before them, the driven animals carrying pack-saddles, which were laden
with sacks of corn. The Christians in this district make use of their
cattle as beasts of burden. It is not at all an uncommon sight to see
Armenians, man and wife, riding to market on cows and oxen. Buffaloes
are much in request with the inhabitants on account of the great
strength of these animals. Some of the richer Christians possess from
twenty to thirty buffaloes, two of which are considered a fair price for
a girl—it being the custom of the poorer Armenians in certain districts
to receive money from their sons-in-law, and seldom, if ever, to give
any dowry to their daughters. On my remarking this one day, when in
conversation with a Christian, the latter replied,—

"Our daughters are our maid-servants, when they marry we lose their
services. It is quite right that the husband should compensate us for
our loss. Europeans educate their girls very well, but the latter are
utterly useless as cooks or sweepers. When they marry, the fathers
lose nothing, but, on the contrary, gain, as they have no longer to
pay for their daughters' maintenance or clothes. It is quite proper
that you should give a husband something when he saddles himself with
a useless incumbrance; and you have no right to find fault with us for
our system."

Presently we met a dervish; his long black hair was streaming below his
waist; he brandished a knotted stick. The fellow looked very hard at
us, as if he were of the opinion that we ought to leave the track, and
let our horses sink into the snow-drift so as to enable him to pass.
The lieutenant did not see it in this light. This officer was a little
man, but had a tremendous voice, which sounded as if it came from the
very bottom of his stomach. He roared at the dervish; the latter who
was greatly alarmed, sprang on one side into the snow. Nothing but his
head and face were visible—his dark eyes glared fiercely at the giaours
as we rode past.

Kara Kilissa came in sight. It is a large village, every house was
crammed with soldiers. It was impossible to obtain any accommodation. We
rode on towards Kaize Kuy, another Armenian hamlet. The track descended
for a few yards, and then ascended precipitously. I thought that we were
in a gully. However, the Zaptieh and his horse floundering in some water
made me aware that we were crossing a frozen stream, and that the ice
had given way. It was very cold; the man was wet from head to foot, in a
minute or two he looked like one gigantic icicle. Pushing on as rapidly
as possible, we reached our quarters for the night.

The streams which traverse the tracks in many parts of Anatolia are a
source of constant annoyance to travellers during the winter. The water
becomes frozen; snow falls; it covers the glassy surface, and in time
fills the space between the banks. There is nothing to warn the wayfarer
that he is leaving the track, till he suddenly finds himself upon the
ice: a horseman is fortunate if it is strong enough to bear him.

Now we saw some Persian women sitting cross-legged on their horses, like
the men. Some of these ladies were mothers, they carried their children
slung in handkerchiefs round their necks. In a short time I came to
their village, one amongst several others which are scattered about in
this part of Turkey. The houses were clean inside, and in this respect
a great improvement upon those inhabited by the Kurds. The floors were
covered with very thick rugs made by the wives of the proprietors. I
was informed that the people in the district send their manufactures to

The inhabitants formerly lived in the neighbourhood of Erivan. When
the Russians invaded Persia, conquered the Shah, and annexed a part
of Persian soil, many of the vanquished determined not to remain under
the Muscovite yoke. Leaving their houses, they crossed the frontier and
settled in Turkey. The Sultan gave them land. They expressed themselves
as being much happier under their present rulers than their relatives
who are Russian subjects. The latter would be delighted to pass the
border-line and join their countrymen in Anatolia; this the Muscovite
authorities do not allow. "Once a Russian, always a Russian," is the
answer given to the Persians on this question.

Our track led us along the right bank of the Murad, here about seventy
yards wide. We came to a bridge which spans the river—the road on the
opposite side leading in the direction of Van. We did not cross the

Soon Diyadin was reached. Here there were two squadrons of cavalry,
besides infantry. The commandant, in spite of the rumours of peace
which had been telegraphed from Constantinople, was daily expecting
an outbreak of hostilities. The Russians, according to him, had
concentrated a large force of Cossacks in the neighbourhood of Erivan.
It was believed that the war would commence by an attack upon Bayazid.

We rode for an hour over a low mountain ridge, and then entered a vast
plain girt round by sloping heights. On our right front lay Persia. On
my bridle-hand I could see the territory of the Tzar. The mighty Ararat
is in front of us, and stretches upwards into the realms of space, its
lofty crest hidden in some vaporous clouds.

It was extremely cold. A bright sun poured its rays down upon our heads.
The golden orb gave out no warmth, but it half blinded us with its

The people in this district suffer very much from ophthalmia: a
traveller rarely finds himself in a house where one of the inmates is
not labouring under this complaint.

The plain narrows. A broad lake of water is on our left. To our right
front and amidst the rocks lies the little town of Bayazid. The ruins
of an old castle are in the fields below. The track begins to ascend.
It winds higher and higher amidst the crags. A few houses are passed,
and the barracks which contain two battalions of infantry. We come to
the Pacha's residence. Dismounting, I proceeded to pay that official a

He had been for some time in Egypt, and spoke Arabic very fairly, having
great pleasure in showing off his proficiency in this language to the
officers of his household.

I learnt that, six weeks previous to my arrival, the Russian authorities
in Daghestan had ordered a levy of troops to be made amidst the
inhabitants. The latter declared that they were Mohammedans, and said
they did not wish to fight against their Lord, the Commander of the
Faithful. They added that the Tzar formerly had promised that those men
who wished might leave Russia with their wives and children, and settle
on Turkish soil; they asked for this permission for themselves.

"However," continued the Pacha, "the Russian authorities would not
allow them to leave the country. Cossacks were sent to the district in
question, and 400 people—amongst them women and children—were shot down
and beaten to death!"

Bayazid is only a twelve hours' march from Erivan, the frontier town of
Russia. There is a level road between these two stations. The Russians
had a large artillery force in Erivan, and there were only two mountain
guns in Bayazid. The Turkish officers were convinced that if an attack
were made upon Bayazid, they would be unable to offer any effectual
opposition. In their opinion it would be better for them to retire upon
Karakilissa and Deli Baba, and make a stand at these points.

Major-General Macintosh, when writing about Kurdistan during the time
of the Crimean War, remarks that he does not think there is a place
of greater importance than Bayazid, in a military point of view, in
the whole of Western Asia. There is a continuous descent along the
banks of the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf; but as this great valley
conducts through the range of Mount Taurus into Syria, its value to
Russia, on this account alone, must be obvious. It is much nearer to her
present frontier, and much more accessible than Erzeroum, which lies
on the western branch of the Euphrates; and should the contingencies
of the present war render it possible for Russia to push on a force
into the northern part of Syria, the good-will of the Kurds[16] at the
moment of undertaking such an operation, would afford her an immense
advantage. There is another exceedingly strong pass at Bayazid, on the
Persian side, where a very small regular force might completely seal
the entrance into Persia, from the side of Erzeroum, except through
the roads of central Kurdistan. It may also be looked upon as a key to
Kurdistan, and to Diarbekir, Mosul, and the whole course of the Tigris
as far as Bagdad. I have no hesitation in saying, that Russia, with the
assistance of the Kurdish tribes, could speedily establish a route,
and march an army down this valley into Syria.[17] The distance from
Erivan to Aleppo is not above 500 miles, if so much, and the route by
Aleppo, Diarbekir, and Van, to Aderbzou, from the Mediterranean, is
quite practicable for an army.

I rode to see the barracks. Eighty years ago they formed part of a
palace belonging to a Kurdish chieftain, a certain Mahmoud Pacha. He
had expressed a wish to have the most beautiful residence in the world,
and, after conversing with numerous architects upon this subject, had
accepted the service of an Armenian. The latter had designed a very
handsome building, with large glass windows, and everything that could
be desired in the way of comfort. The Pacha was satisfied with the
palace, but not with the idea that the Armenian architect might possibly
construct a similar building for some other kindred chieftain. To
prevent this Mahmoud ordered his executioner to cut off the Armenian's
hands. This was done. The poor victim shortly afterwards died a beggar.
In the meantime the Pacha was gathered to his fathers, leaving one
son. This man, after committing all sorts of excesses, was bitten by a
snake, and died at Alexandretta. His child was brought up at Bayazid,
and afterwards became Caimacan at Toprak Kale. He had lost his life in
the affray with the Circassians, which has already been mentioned in
this work.

On entering the barracks, sometimes called the citadel, the irony of
fate was clearly shown. The large window-frames which had been brought
to Bayazid for Mahmoud eighty years ago, and at an immense expense,
had all disappeared; their places were filled up with sheets of Turkish
newspapers. The marble pillars and carving in alabaster over the portico
were chipped and hacked about, the harem of the former owner was a
dormitory for the troops. Four hundred soldiers slept in the rooms
allotted by Mahmoud to his seraglio.

A Hungarian doctor in the Turkish service accompanied me over the
building. Descending a flight of steps, he led the way to a large vault.
Here lay the bodies of Mahmoud and of his favourite wife, in two tombs
of the purest marble.

"He was a great rogue when he lived," said a Turkish officer who had
joined our party, pointing to an inscription which merely said, "Mahmoud
Pacha, son of Issek Pacha, lies here;" "but he is still now, and can do
no one any harm. Peace be with his bones!"


     A spy—The news from Erivan—The border line—How he passed the
     frontier—The Mollahs—A war of extermination preached by them—A
     Turkish newspaper—Turks in Asia—Christians in Europe—The
     Conference—A Conference in St. Petersburg—The European
     Powers dislike Russia—General Ignatieff a judge instead of
     a prisoner—The hour for the evening prayer—A Turkish officer
     on prayer—His opinion about European Bishops—They eat mutton
     every day—A Turkish Captain.

We leave the barracks. A beautiful view extends before us. We look down
upon the red, green, and white plateau which divides us from the Tzar's
dominions. In some places the sun has slightly melted the snow, the
sand is exposed to view; in others, and nearer the lake which lies in
the midst of the plateau, patches of vegetation can be seen. The clouds
which overhung Ararat have been dispelled by the sun: the huge mountain,
enveloped in its white pall, stands out in bold relief.

I now called upon the Pacha. Whilst I was conversing with him, a servant
entered and whispered something in his ear.

"Let the fellow come in," he observed; then, turning to me, he remarked
that a Turk had just arrived from the Russian frontier, and brought the
latest news of the military preparations in Erivan.

For some time past the Russians had prohibited any inhabitant of
Turkey from crossing the border-line. It was difficult to obtain any
authentic information as to the quantity of troops the Tzar's generals
had massed in the neighbourhood. The new arrival succeeded in passing
the boundary-line by saying to the Russian officers that he had been
forcibly enlisted as a soldier, and was a deserter from his regiment.
He had obtained permission to return to Turkey by declaring that he
wished to bring his wife—who lived in a village near Bayazid—to Erivan:
the Russian general had ordered him to obtain as much information as he
could about the strength and disposition of the Turkish forces. He was a
thick-set, sturdy-looking little fellow, with a bull neck and keen grey
eyes; his attire consisting of a blue turban, a yellow shirt, and a pair
of crimson trousers. According to him, the Mollahs were preaching a war
of extermination against the Russians in Persia. However, the natives
of that country were very lukewarm in their friendship to the Turks. It
was not impossible that they would join Russia, or at all events allow
the Tzar's troops to march through their territory in the event of an
offensive movement against Van.

The Pacha took up a Turkish newspaper which he had just received from

"Listen!" he said. "The man who writes for this paper knows what he is

The article was to the effect that Russia wished to drive the Turks
out of Europe because they were Mohammedans, and because in European
Turkey the Christians were in the majority. "Very good," said the
writer, "let us abandon Europe; but in Asia the Christians are in the
minority. According to the same reasoning, the Russians and English
ought to leave all their Asiatic possessions, and give them up to the
original proprietors of the soil. Our Sultan has no objection to let
every Christian in his dominions leave Turkey and go to Russia; but the
Tzar, on the contrary, he will not let the Mohammedans in his empire
cross the frontier: if they try to do so, he sends his soldiers; they
cut the throats of our co-religionists. A Conference, composed for the
most part of Christians, has been held at Constantinople to inquire
into the way the Sultan treats his Christian subjects. Why should not a
Conference be assembled at St. Petersburg, composed for the most part of
Mohammedans, to inquire into the way the Tartars, Turkomans, and other
inhabitants of Central Asia are treated by the Tzar?"

"Yes," said the Pacha, as he finished reading to me these extracts.
The European Powers dislike Russia, and, although they hate her, and
know that she is the origin of all our difficulties, they are too
timid to allow the fact. What a mockery it must have seemed to the
representatives of England, France, and Germany, to find themselves
sitting in judgment upon Turkey, and General Ignatieff, instead of being
equally on his trial, seated at their side, and a judge instead of a
prisoner! Does it not make you smile to think of it?" added the Pacha;
"how the general must have laughed in his sleeve!"

Another officer entered the room. He had been educated in the military
school at Constantinople. From frequent intercourse with Europeans,
mostly Frenchmen, he had begun to look down upon the religious
observances of his countrymen.

It was about the hour for the evening prayer. The Pacha, Cadi, and
several other Turks commenced performing their devotions, regardless of
the presence of a stranger. The new arrival, the Hungarian doctor, and
myself, remained seated, the former remarking that it was very hard work
praying, at the same time glancing rather contemptuously at his superior

"Did you not pray when you were at Constantinople?" I inquired.

"Effendi, I did everything _à la Franga_ (in European fashion).
Europeans, from what I could learn, do not pray much."

"Not pray!" I observed; "what do you mean?"

"No, Effendi; the men, I have been told, go to the churches to look at
the women; the women, some to pray, but others to look at the men and
show off their fine clothes the one to the other. Is not that the case
in your country?" he added.

"No. Of course there are exceptions; but the English people as a rule
are religiously inclined."

"Effendi," continued the officer, "I have often heard Frenchmen say
that a Christian ought to be a poor man—that is, if he carried out the
doctrines of his Prophet. But, my friends used to laugh and declare that
their bishops and priests were rich men, and that some of the Protestant
Mollahs were so wealthy that they could afford to keep carriages, eat
mutton every day, and have servants to wait upon them."

"The fact of our bishops and priests eating mutton or keeping carriages
does not make the Protestant religion the less true," I now observed.

"I do not know that," replied the Turk. "If I were to be taught a
religion by a man who did not believe in it himself, or who did not
carry out its doctrines, I should think that I was wasting my time."

The rest at Bayazid had done all our party good. The horses, which were
still very emaciated on account of the long and frequent marches, had
picked up a little flesh. I determined to leave Bayazid and accompany
a Turkish captain who was going through Persia to Van with despatches
for the governor of that town. The officer must have been sixty. He
was quite grey; but, he sat his horse like a centaur, and was more
enthusiastic for the war than any Turk with whom I had previously

"You may get killed," I remarked.

"Please God I shall not," was his reply; "others may die, and then there
will be some promotion."


     A Yezeed (devil-worshippers) village—The Usebashe—The
     worshippers of Old Scratch—The Yezeed's religion—The Spirit
     of good—The spirit of evil—The rites—The Grand Vizier of
     Allah—The unmarried priests—The wives and daughters of their
     congregation—A high honour—Women honoured by the attentions
     of a priest—Great excitement at the priests' arrival—Mr.
     Layard—His admirable work—Kelise Kandy—My host—His house—They
     want to conquer the Shah—Nadir Shah—He once conquered you
     English in Hindostan—The Tzar of America—You pay Shere Ali a
     large sum of money—He is a clever fellow.

We turned our backs upon Mount Ararat, and, ascending a low range
of hills covered with loose rocks and boulders, arrived at a Yezeed
(devil-worshippers) village.

The houses were built in the sides of a hill. Cone-shaped huts made of
tezek, and filled with that fuel, showed that the inhabitants had no
objection to heat in this world, however hot they might expect to be in
the next.

An old man, considerably above the middle stature, approached our
party. Addressing the Usebashe, he invited us to dismount. It was about
luncheon-time. I determined to avail myself of the opportunity afforded
me to learn a little about the ways and habits of these strange people.

"Here we are, sir, with the worshippers of Old Scratch!" observed
Radford, as he was preparing the mid-day meal, which consisted of a
freshly-killed hen, boiled with some rice. "Mohammed has just been
telling me something about them. All I know is that Old Nick has not
much to complain of so far as his flock is concerned. They have been at
our sugar already, and would have carried off Mohammed's tobacco if he
had not been on the look out. I suppose they think it right to steal,
so as to keep on good terms with their master."

The Yezeeds' religion, if such it may be called, is based upon the
following dogma: that there are two spirits—a spirit of good and
a spirit of evil. Allah, the spirit of good, can do no harm to any
one, and is a friend to the human race. The spirit of evil can do a
great deal of harm, and he is the cause of all our woes. From this
starting-point the Yezeeds have been brought to believe that it is a
waste of time to worship the spirit of good, who will not hurt them, and
that the proper course to pursue is to try and propitiate the spirit of
evil, who can be very disagreeable if he chooses. To do so they never
venture to make use of the name of the devil, as this they believe would
be an act of disrespect to their infernal master.

They are visited twice a year by different high priests, when certain
rites are performed. These rites are kept a great secret. The Turks
who gave me some information about the Yezeeds were unable to give me
any details about the nature of the ceremonies. I was informed that the
Yezeeds are divided into two sects; that the one looks upon the devil
as the Grand Vizier of Allah, and the other regards him as the private
secretary of the good spirit. It was said that the two sects hated
each other to such an extent that, if a man belonging to the one which
looks upon the devil as being the Grand Vizier of Allah were to enter a
village belonging to members of the rival faith, the new arrival would
have a great chance of losing his life.

The Yezeeds' priests are many of them unmarried. However, should a
priest or sheik arrive in a village, the first thing which is done
by the inhabitants is to offer their wives and daughters for his
inspection. The sheik will select one. It will then be considered that
he has conferred a very high honour on the young lady's relatives.
There are different laws as to the subsequent treatment of these women.
In one of the sects they are not allowed to marry, but are set apart;
and, in the case of a married woman, she is not permitted again to live
with her husband. In the other sect they are permitted to marry, or
if the lady has a spouse, she must return to him. It is then the duty
of every Yezeed to make her rich presents, and the inhabitants of the
village must maintain her husband and herself during the rest of their
lives. Under these circumstances a woman who has been honoured by the
attentions of a priest is looked upon by a youthful Yezeed in much
the same light as a rich heiress by many impecunious younger sons in a
European ball-room; her hand is eagerly sought for in marriage. If, she
already possesses a husband, the latter considers himself as one of the
most fortunate of men. The result of this is, that when a priest arrives
in a village, great excitement arises amidst the population—every man
hoping that his wife or daughter will be honoured by being selected.
The ladies take immense interest in the proceedings. The visits of
the reverend gentlemen are eagerly looked forward to by all classes of
Yezeed society.

This information was given me by some Turks with whom I had conversed
during my journey. I now asked my host if these statements were true.
He at once repudiated them, and declared that they were inventions of
the followers of Islam.

"Do you look upon the devil as the Grand Vizier of Allah?" I now

If a bombshell had exploded in the room where I was sitting, there could
not have been greater consternation than that which was evinced by the
members of my host's family. Springing to their feet, they fled from
the building—an old woman very nearly upsetting Radford's cooking-pot
in her haste to escape into the open air. The captain looked at me, and
then indulged in a sort of suppressed laugh.

"What has frightened them?" I inquired.

"Effendi," he replied, "you mentioned the word 'Shaitan' (devil). It is
very lucky for you," continued the old man, "that there are five of us,
and we are all well armed; for, if not, the Yezeeds would have attacked
our party for a certainty. Any disaster which may happen in this village
during the next twelve months will be put down to you. If a man's cow
or camel dies, the fellow will say that it is all your fault; the sooner
we continue our march the better."

It was getting late; the inhabitants had withdrawn to some distance from
their houses, they were gazing at our party with lowering brows. I would
gladly have repaired the mischief that I had done; but an apology might
have only made matters worse. I was the more sorry, as I had hoped to
have had the opportunity of questioning the Yezeeds as to some of their
customs. What I had heard about them from the Turks was so different to
what is related of this singular people by Mr. Layard in his admirable
work, "Nineveh and its Remains," that I had become rather sceptical as
to the veracity of my informants. The old captain, however, consoled me
by saying that, on my journey from Van to Kars, I should have to pass
by many other Yezeed villages, and would there be able to pursue my
inquiries upon this subject.

Very shortly after leaving our halting-place, the guide stopped, and
said something to the officer.

"What is he saying?" I inquired.

"The summit of this hill is the border-line," was the reply. In another
minute we had entered the territory of the Shah.

The track was good and firm; although there was plenty of snow on the
hills, there was but little on the plain below. After a few hours'
march, we halted for the night in a village called Kelise Kandy.

The Usebashe was well known to the chief proprietor in the district,
and, coming out to meet us, he invited our party to enter his house.

Kelise Kandy is a large village, and much cleaner than any of those
which I had seen on the Turkish side of the frontier. The houses were
well built, and many of them whitewashed. Several haystacks were in
a yard belonging to our host, hundreds of sheep and cattle stood in a
large enclosure near his dwelling.

The proprietor was dressed at first sight a little like a European. He
had a black coat; a red sash was tied round his waist; a pair of white
trousers covered his legs. But a very high, cone-shaped, astrachan
hat was on his head, and this article of attire, much resembling an
extinguisher, did away with his otherwise slightly European appearance.

A number of servants, all armed with daggers stuck in their waist-belts,
and with hats, if possible, still more like an extinguisher than that
which their master wore, stood round the room. It was a good-sized
apartment, thirty feet long by twenty broad. The floor was covered with
a thick Persian carpet, of beautiful design, but not dear; indeed, I
subsequently learnt that it had only cost fifteen pounds of our money.

Light was let into the room by some double windows—probably made in this
fashion so as to keep out the cold. Our host, after motioning to me to
squat down on one side of him, and to the Usebashe to squat down on the
other, produced a cigar-case, and offered me a cigarette.

He had been often in Erzeroum, and also in Russia, where he had imbibed
a taste for smoking tobacco in this form. His acquaintance with the
Muscovites had not prepossessed him in their favour.

"They want to conquer the Shah," he presently remarked. "They will make
use of us as a stepping-stone to Van and Bagdad; after which they will
annex their catspaw. We ought to have another Nadir Shah," he continued.
"If we had one, the Russians would not dare to laugh at us as they do."

"I thought that there were very good relations between the Courts of
Teheran and St. Petersburg," I now remarked.

"The Shah is obliged to be on good terms with the Tzar," replied the
Persian. "The Tzar is too strong for him."

"If there be a war between Russia and Turkey, which side will Persia

The proprietor shook his head.

"We ought to go with Islam," he remarked; "but, better still, remain
neutral. I am told that there are many Russian officers in Teheran. They
are doing their best to influence the Shah in their master's favour.
Nadir Shah once conquered you English in Hindostan," he added.

"No, he conquered part of India before we went there. However, now
Hindostan belongs to us."

"I thought he had," continued the man. "I was told so in Russia; I was
also informed that the Tzar of America had defeated you, and was an ally
of the Emperor of Russia. Is that the case?"

"There is no Tzar in America" I replied, "we have had no war with the
United States for many years."

"But you paid them a certain sum of money to prevent them going to war
with you?" observed my host; "and not only that, but you pay Shere Ali,
of Afghanistan, a large sum every year with the same object. Will Shere
Ali fight against Russia if there is a war between the Tzar and Turkey?"

"I do not know."

"Some Muscovites say that Shere Ali is on their side," remarked the
Persian. "But he is a clever fellow, and is not likely to join the
weakest party."


     Dinner—The Persian's wife is poorly—The wonderful wet
     paper—The _samovar_—The harem—Be not alarmed—She is in a
     delicate state of health—Jaundice—She feels better already—No
     medicine for your complaint—A mustard plaster would be
     useless—Sons of the devil—My lord's baksheesh—Commotion
     amongst the servants.

Later in the day dinner was brought in—a chicken surrounded by a huge
pile of rice. A Turk as rich as our Persian host would have provided
his guest with fifteen or twenty courses, but the Persians are
satisfied with one. I was not aware of the custom, and only tasted the
chicken. Presently it was taken away; instead of a fresh dish making
its appearance, some water was brought, in an ewer, for us to wash our

"You Englishmen are very temperate," said the host, rising.

I did not tell him what was passing through my mind. I was ravenously
hungry, and would gladly have had that chicken brought back again; but
it was already in the hands of the servants outside. They were devouring
the contents.

"You are a great hakim," now observed the proprietor.

"Who told you that?" I remarked, surprised that the reputation acquired
in the Kurd's house had thus preceded me.

"The Usebashe knows it. Mohammed, too, has told my servant. Praise be
to Allah who has sent you here!"

"I am not a hakim!" I hastily replied. "I am an officer."

"Do not say that," said the Persian, who spoke Turkish fluently. "Do
not deny the talents that Allah has given you. Your arrival has cast
a gleam of sunshine on our threshold, and you will not go away without
gladdening the hearts of my family."

"What do you want me to do?" I inquired.

"My wife is poorly: I ask you to cure her."

"But really I know very little about medicine. I have only a few simple
remedies with me."

"Simple remedies indeed!" said the Persian. "A man who can set a
person's shoulder on fire with a piece of wet paper!"

"What is the matter with your wife?"

"I do not know, but you will tell me."

"Well, I must see her," I replied.

"Impossible!" said the Persian. "She is in the harem. I cannot take you

"But how can I tell you what is the matter with her if I do not see her?"

"Give me a piece of that wonderful wet paper, perhaps it will cure her."

"Effendi," said the Usebashe, turning to the Persian, "you cannot tell
a horse's age without looking into his mouth. The Frank cannot tell your
wife's ailments without looking at her tongue."

A consultation took place between my host and some other Persian
visitors. It was at length agreed that, as a hakim, I might be admitted
into the harem.

In the meantime, a servant brought in a _samovar_ (tea-urn), which the
proprietor had purchased at Erivan; and whilst the Usebashe and myself
were drinking tea, with lemon-juice instead of cream—as is the custom
in Persia as well as in Russia—my host left the room and proceeded to
the harem to announce to his wife that I would see her.

Presently he returned, and, taking my hand, helped me to rise from the
ground. Then, going first, he led the way across a yard, surrounded by
a high wall and planted with fruit-trees, to a detached building, which
I had previously thought was a mosque.

"This is the harem," said the proprietor. We entered an outer room, he
drew a thick curtain which hung against one of the walls. An opening now
appeared: stooping low, I entered the inner apartment. It was furnished,
or rather unfurnished, like the one set apart for the Usebashe and
myself. A pan of live charcoal stood in one corner. In the other,
reclining on a quantity of silk cushions, was the wife of my host.

She was enveloped from head to foot in a sheet made of some gauze-like
material. There were so many folds that it was impossible to distinguish
her features or even divine the contour of her form. Her feet, which
were very small and stockingless, were exposed to view. She had taken
them out of two tiny white slippers which lay by the side of the
charcoal pan, and was nervously tapping the ground with her heel.

"She is alarmed," said my host. "Be not alarmed," he added, turning to
his wife. "It is the hakim who has come to make you well."

These remarks did not tranquillize the lady. Her heel tapped the
ground more quickly than before, the whole of her body shook like an

"She has never seen any man save myself in the harem," said her husband;
"and you—you are a European."

"What is the nature of her illness?"

"She is in a delicate state of health."

"Can I look at her tongue?"

There was a whispered conversation with the lady. By this time she was
a little more calm. Removing the folds of her veil, she allowed the tip
of a very red little tongue to escape from her lips.

"Well, what do you think of it?" said my host, who was taking the
greatest interest in these proceedings.

"It is a nice tongue; but now I must see her eyes."

"Why her eyes?"

"Because she may have what is called jaundice, I must see if her eye is

"Perhaps she had better expose the whole face," said the Persian.

"Perhaps she had," I remarked.

And the poor little lady, whose nerves were now less excited, slowly
unwound the folds of muslin from around her head. She was certainly
pretty, and had very regular features, whilst a pair of large black
eyes, which looked through me as I gazed on them, were twinkling with
an air of humour more than of fear.

She understood Turkish well, as she came from the border, and, looking
at me, said something in a low voice.

"She feels better already," said my host. "The sight of you has done
her good, when you have given her some medicine, she will doubtless be
quite well."

"What is the matter with you?" I said, turning to the patient.

She blushed. Her husband then remarked that she fancied strange dishes
at her meals, and in fact was delicate.

It gradually dawned upon me what the nature of her malady was, and
the more particularly as I was informed by my host that they had been
married but a very few months.

"I have no medicine for your complaint," I remarked.

"No medicine!" said the Persian indignantly. "Mohammed has shown me the
bottles and the little boxes. Besides that, you have the wet paper!"

"A mustard plaster would be useless."

"But she must have something!" said the husband.

Now, my medicine-chest was very limited in its contents. It merely
contained cholera medicine, pills, and a few ounces of quinine, besides
the prepared mustard plasters.

A pill, in the lady's condition, would not have been safe: I could not
have answered for the consequences. Cholera mixture might have been
equally disastrous in its effects. Quinine, I thought, could not do any
harm; it is exceedingly nasty, an infinitesimally small dose leaves a
very disagreeable taste in the mouth.

"You shall have some medicine," I observed. "Please God it will do you

"Inshallah! Inshallah!" replied my host devoutly; and accompanying me to
the room prepared for the Usebashe and myself, I gave him three grains
of quinine, to be taken in three doses, one grain in each dose.

"Will it do her much good?" inquired the Persian.

"That depends upon Allah," I remarked.

"Of course it does," said my host, and taking the medicine, he returned
to his seraglio.

As we were leaving the house, I observed a great commotion amidst my
host's servants. Mohammed was some time before he joined our party.

"What was the matter?" I asked.

"Effendi, they are sons of the devil, these Persians!" vociferated my
man indignantly. "I waited behind to give them my lord's baksheesh,
but they were greedy creatures, and one—a strong man—snatched all the
paras out of my hand, and thrust the money in his waist-belt. The others
cursed and called him many dogs, but the fellow did not care. They then
wanted me to give them more money; I had none to bestow. They are like
jackals, these Persians. They would cut a man's throat as soon as eat
a pillaff!"


     Villages—Arab Dize—Shadili—Shalendili—Karenee—Kurds—Radford
     wishes to bleed the inhabitants—Persian men with their
     beards dyed red—Every part of a woman is false—These
     Persians are a nation of women—The old fire-worshippers'
     superstition—Gardens—Irrigation—Soldiers—The flint
     fire-locks—They are unclean ones, these Persians—The little
     dogs do some things well—A Persian will kiss you on one cheek,
     and will stab you behind your back.

We rode along a flat country. A few hills could be seen on our
bridle-hand. The track was in capital order for the march. After
passing several small hamlets—amongst others, Arab Dize, Shadili, and
Shalendili—we pulled up at a large village called Karenee. It was
inhabited by Kurds, all of them being Persian subjects. Here there
were 350 houses. Judging by the number of people who came to ask for
medicine, so soon as I dismounted from my horse, the whole population
was unwell. It appeared that the Persian in whose house I had stopped
on the previous evening had sent word to the chief proprietor in this
Kurdish village, to say that a celebrated hakim was on his way. No
amount of expostulation saved us from the intrusion of the inhabitants.
Every one wished me to look at his tongue and to feel his pulse.
Radford, who was in another room, was interrupted in his cooking by a
crowd of the humbler Kurds, who believed that, when the master was so
great a hakim, his servant must necessarily have some medical skill.

Presently my servant entered.

"What has happened?" I remarked.

"I cannot get on with my cooking, sir," was the reply. "They will
come and shove out their dirty tongues just over my cooking-pot. Some
of the people who have got nasty diseases and sore legs insist upon
showing them to me. Quite turns me hup, that it does. I had two boxes
of hantibilious—I have given them all away. If I had only a pair of
champagne nippers, sir, I would draw the rascals' teeth, perhaps that
would take away their taste for my doctoring. Do you think it would do
any harm if I were to bleed one or two of them, sir?"

"Could you stop the bleeding after the operation?" I inquired.

"That, sir, is just what was passing in my mind. If I thought as how I
could, I would have taken a little blood from each of them in turn. It
would have cooled them down a little, and they would not have been so
anxious for my company in future."

On reaching a village about three hours' distance from our sleeping
quarters, we heard that the short road over the mountains to Van was
blocked by the snow, and that it would be absolutely necessary to go by
Khoi, and by a circuitous route which I had hoped to avoid.

I did not believe the statement, and ordered the guide to take the
mountain track. The man reluctantly consented. Higher and higher we
ascended the steep which divided us from the capital of Armenia. The
snow at each moment became more deep. At last the guide halted, and
distinctly refused to advance.

"I shall lose my life," he said. "You can do what you like with your
own, but I have children for whom to provide."

The Usebashe interfered.

"The fellow is telling the truth about the road," he said. "I too, like
yourself, thought that he was deceiving us. We had better go to Khoi."

There was nothing to be done but turn round and continue towards that
town. It was about fifty miles distant from us. We halted for the night
at a Kurdish village called Melhamee. Here the inhabitants received us
very discourteously. If it had not been for the Usebashe, who reminded
them of the laws of hospitality which are prescribed by their religion,
I much doubt whether we should have obtained a resting-place. They had
learnt that I was an Englishman, and were under the impression that they
would be pleasing the Russians if they threw difficulties in our way.

"We know who you are," said a Kurd, "and the people in Erivan know who
you are too. The Russians are our friends," he continued.

"Take care that your friends do not eat you some day," said the Usebashe.

"They will eat you first, and we shall help them!" said the Kurd.

This aroused the captain's indignation. I thought that there would
have been a disturbance. But, after a little more verbal warfare, the
belligerents parted.

"All the people in this village are in Russian pay," said the Usebashe,
"and that is why they are so hostile to you as well as to ourselves.
These men," he continued, "are foolish enough to believe in the
Russians, and think that because the Tzar's agents give them money and
presents, this same sort of treatment will be continued. Poor fools!
they will find their mistake some day."

We rode by men driving before them oxen laden with wood for fuel. There
were many villages on either side of the track. The Persian inhabitants,
attired in loose blue garments, and with their beards dyed red, gazed
curiously upon us as we passed.

Some of the greater dandies amidst these gentlemen had their
finger-nails also stained; and unless a man has his beard dyed a bright
colour, he has very little chance of meeting with the approval of the
fair sex. A stout red-haired Welshman would have what is termed _un
grand succes_ amidst the ladies in these regions.

"These Persians are ridiculous creatures," said the Usebashe. "Only
think of the men dyeing their beards red! One would have thought that
black would have been a more appropriate colour."

"Some of our English women dye their hair a light colour," I remarked.

"With women I can understand it," said the Usebashe. "Every part of
a woman is false from her tongue to her smile, dyeing her hair red,
enables her to carry on the deception; but for men to dye their hair
red—they might as well form part of a harem at once! However, these
Persians are a nation of women."

And the Usebashe pointed contemptuously at a little knot of men who were
seated outside a small dwelling, and watching eagerly for the moment
when the sun would disappear behind the hills.

I have often wondered whether something connected with the old
fire-worshippers' superstition has a lurking-place in the minds of the
Persians or Kurds. Day after day, and at the same hour, I have seen the
entire inhabitants of a village turn out and gaze intently upon the
great orb of light slowly sinking into space on the distant horizon.
I have questioned them about this subject. They indignantly repudiate
the idea of any act of worship to the sun; they say that they do so
because it is their habit, and because their fathers, grandfathers, and
ancestors did the same thing before them.

We rode by many gardens surrounded by high walls; some of these
enclosures were five or six acres in extent. Cherry, apple, peach, and
mulberry trees abound throughout the district; A plentiful water-supply,
which is brought from the mountains by means of artificial dykes,
irrigates the various orchards. Little trenches intersect each other at
many places along the fields, and when the proprietor wishes, he can at
once place his land under water. This must be an inestimable boon to
the inhabitants during the hot months, as otherwise their entire crop
would be destroyed by the heat.

Soldiers dressed in a dirty sort of French uniform, but with black
sheepskin hats of the extinguisher shape, sat outside the guard-houses
in the different villages. They looked askantly at the Usebashe as he
passed—for the Usebashe was in uniform. A wonderful sort of blue cape
covered the upper part of his person, and red knickerbockers, stuffed in
high boots, his extremities. A curved scimitar hung from his waist-belt.
The red fez on his head, and on our guide's, showed their allegiance to
the Sultan.

The two men clad in European costumes were also a source of wonder to
the soldiers. Some of them gripped the flint fire-locks with which they
were armed, and made a movement as if they would like to have had a shot
at our little party.

"Yes, you dogs! I have no doubt but that you would like to do so," said
the old Usebashe, shaking his fist at them, after we had got to a safe
distance. "However, your guns are only serviceable up to fifty yards,
it takes you five minutes to load them! They are unclean ones, these
Persians; do you not think so, Effendi?" continued the old Usebashe.

"I have seen so little of them I cannot judge. But, their roads and
houses are much better and cleaner than those which you have in Turkey.

"That is true," said the captain sorrowfully. "The little dogs can do
some things well, but they are sly and deceitful. A Persian will kiss
you on one cheek, and will stab you behind your back. He will call
himself your friend, and will slander you to your neighbours. He will
offer you the best horse in his stable: the offer comes from his lips,
and not from his heart. When you know them better, you will find this
out for yourself."


     No signs of Khoi—At last we arrive—The Turkish Consul—Russian
     intrigues—Persian soldiers have attacked a Turkish
     village—Kashka Beulah—A Turkish Usebashe and seven men brought
     prisoners to Khoi—The Ambassador at Teheran—Retaliation—The
     exchange of prisoners—The origin of the disturbance—The Shah's
     uncle—Russian agents in Teheran—Kurdish girls make the best
     wives—They do not care about fine clothes—How to make use
     of your mother-in-law—The women in your country—A fortune on
     dress—My last wife cost ten liras—Persian women—The Persians
     are very cruel—Odd customs—The fortifications of Khoi—Soldiers

Village after village were left behind us, still there were no signs
of Khoi. We had been told that it was only an eight hours' march from
Melhamee, two more sped by ere the walls of the city were in sight. Soon
afterwards we rode through a narrow gate which gives access to the town,
and presently pulled up at a house belonging to the Turkish Consul,
who is the only diplomatic agent to be found in this city. He had been
educated in Constantinople, and spoke a little French. For the last two
years he had been established in Khoi, and he greatly bewailed his thus
being cut off from all European society.

I now learnt that Russian intrigues had been the means of very
nearly creating a war between Persia and Turkey. There is a Turkish
border-hamlet, called Kashka Beulah, about nine miles from Khoi. Some
Persian soldiers had recently attacked this village, and had robbed the
inhabitants of everything they possessed.

Whilst the Persians were engaged in their work of pillage, some Turkish
soldiers, under a Usebashe, arrived from an adjacent guard-house. But
the Persians were more numerous. They captured the captain and seven
of his men, and brought them prisoners to Khoi. A Turkish lieutenant
in the guard-house heard of the fate of his Usebashe, and arrested two
Persian merchants who happened to be in the neighbourhood. He sent them
as prisoners to Van. The Consul, on hearing of this, telegraphed to his
Ambassador at Teheran, for instructions how to act. The latter official
sent back an answer that the Persian merchants were to be immediately
released. The Consul then wrote to the governor at Van, informing him of
the order he had received. The governor, however, declared that he could
not comply with it without authority from Constantinople. After several
weeks' delay, during which time the Turkish captain and his men had been
kept in chains in the prison at Khoi, and had been treated like the
commonest of malefactors, orders came from Teheran and Constantinople
for the mutual exchange of prisoners.

A day was fixed. At the appointed time the Turkish Consul, with
the prisoners and three hundred Persian soldiers, started for the
frontier. Here he was met by the Persian Consul from Van. The latter
was accompanied by the Persian captives and by an escort of Turks. The
troops then retired to a short distance. The Consuls remained alone with
their prisoners. The exchange was effected.

"What was the origin of the disturbance?" I inquired of the Consul.

"That is exactly what I wished to discover," replied that official. "I
went to the governor of Khoi, who, by the way, is the Shah's uncle, and
asked him why his regular troops had first of all attacked our village.
The reply was, 'My orders came from some one of higher rank than I am.'
Later on, it turned out that Russian agents at Teheran were the origin
of the affair."

"I am very dull here," now remarked the Consul. "My wife died six months
ago. I have not been able to find any one to replace her."

"Why do you not take a Kurdish girl?" observed the Usebashe. "They
make the best of wives," he continued; "if their husbands have money
they do not ask for any, if the husbands have no money the wives never
bother their heads about the matter. In addition to this, they do not
care about fine clothes. A long piece of calico and a pair of slippers
content each one of them as well as all the silks and satins in the
bazaar at Erzeroum."

"My late wife was a Kurd," replied the Consul sorrowfully. "She cost me
very little."

A servant entered the room and lit the speaker's pipe.

"This man is my father-in-law," he added. "My mother-in-law cooks for
me downstairs. When I married their daughter I wanted some servants; my
wife proposed that we should engage her father and mother. I did so, and
have found them hard-working people. When my poor wife died, I allowed
them to remain with me. When I marry again, my new lady will probably
wish her own relations to come here: I shall be obliged to get rid of
my present servants."

"It is a very economical way of providing for a wife's relatives," I

"Yes," said the Consul, laughing. "You could not make use of your
mother-in-law as a cook in either Constantinople or London. Besides
that, the women in your country cost their husbands a fortune in dress."

"Yes," I replied, "some of the women's dresses cost from 50 to 60 liras
a piece, and, after having been worn once or twice, they are thrown away
or given to the servants."

"Allah!" said the Usebashe, "50 or 60 liras! Only think of it!"

"The Inglis speaks the truth," said the Consul. "I have heard of this
before, when I was at Constantinople. My last wife cost 10 liras," he
continued; "I could buy five or six wives for the same price as a great
English lady gives for her dress!"

"Why do you not marry a Persian woman?" I now remarked. "By all account
they are very pretty, and you would have an opportunity of learning the
language"—the Consul having previously bewailed to me his ignorance of
that tongue.

"Marry a Persian, indeed!" interrupted the Usebashe. "The Persians
will not give their daughters in marriage to us Turks. They are very
selfish," he added. "We make no objections to our daughters marrying
Persians. But the latter are most particular about this subject."

"You are both Mohammedan nations," I remarked.

"Yes, we are," said the Consul; "and the Armenians and yourselves
are both Christian nations, but your forms of Christianity are very
different. There is as much difference between a Persian and a Turk as
between an Armenian and yourself."

"The Persians are very cruel," observed the Usebashe. "If a man commits
a crime, and is detected, the authorities are not satisfied by taking
the culprit's life, but often torture him first—sometimes by taking out
his eyes, and at others by mutilation.

"The inhabitants do very odd things," said the Consul. "For instance,
a short time ago there was an official in this town who was extremely
unpopular. He died, and you would have thought that the matter was over;
but no, six months after the man's decease, some of the townspeople
went to the cemetery, exhumed the body, and hacked it to pieces. This
was done by way of revenging themselves upon the official. There was
a robbery in the bazaar," continued the speaker. "A man was taken up
on suspicion of being implicated in the theft; he swore that he was
innocent, but accused another man. The latter had nothing whatever
to do with the robbery, but was unpopular in the town. Some people
belonging to the bazaar went to the governor, and said to him, 'The man
last arrested is the thief; you must order the executioner to cut his
throat.' The governor was weak enough to consent, the innocent person
was put to death. Soon afterwards the governor repented of what he had
done. However, he was in need of money at the time, he determined to
turn his repentance to some account. He ordered fifty of the richest
people amongst those who had pressed him to execute the innocent man,
to be imprisoned, and he kept them in gaol until such time as they had
paid him a large sum of money."

I now walked round the fortifications of the town. They consist of
a wall about thirty-five feet high, built of clay, with a brick
foundation, and a dry ditch, which can be filled with water if
necessary. There were sixteen old cannon on the ramparts. The Kurds
and the inhabitants think that the place is impregnable. A battery of
nine-pounders would be quite sufficient to destroy the fortifications,
which are much out of repair. Any properly equipped force ought to take
the city, which contains 7000 houses, in about half an hour.

The soldiers in the different guard-houses ran outside the buildings.
They presented arms to the Consul as he walked with me through the
streets. Presently we came to a place where two sentries had been
posted. The men had put their flint muskets on the ground, and were
engaged in gambling with each other—small balls of dried clay, something
like marbles, taking the place of dice.


     The bazaar—Recumbent Persians—Carpets—Cutlery—Russian
     calicoes—The houses in Khoi—The schools—A class of lads—The
     pedlar—The schoolmaster chastises him—Pillaff—Bonbons—Persian
     ladies like sweetmeats—Articles of native manufacture—The
     mosque—The Russian officials in Erivan—We leave Khoi—Kotoor
     Boghaz—The Turkish captain who was taken prisoner by the
     Persians—His explanation of the affair—The Russians are our
     fathers—The defile—Magnificent positions for defence—A mineral
     spring—The change of temperature.

I arrived at the bazaar. It is a very large building, arched over in
many places, and here and there is constructed of bricks. It was a hot
afternoon. The bazaar was delightfully cool, many of the inhabitants
had gone there merely with the object of lying in the shade. At almost
every step we took, we came upon the forms of some recumbent Persians.
It was rather dark. The idlers' ribs must have suffered. A muttered
curse would be the only sign of the men's disgust; they would turn over
and be asleep again in another minute.

The bazaar was better arranged than any of the market-places which I
had visited in Anatolia. The shops belonging to men who sold one kind
of article were all side by side, and not mixed up with the stalls
belonging to traders in other merchandise. Some carpets were very
beautifully designed, and could have been purchased for one-fourth of
the price they command in the London market. The cutlery mostly came
from Erivan in Russia. An immense quantity of gaudily-coloured Russian
calicoes were exposed for sale.

We came to a samovar (tea-urn) shop. The owner, a sleepy-looking
Persian, was very wide awake, so far as his interests were concerned.
He was engaged in a wordy warfare with a Kurd who wanted to buy an urn
for his house. The conversation became so loud, and the gesticulations
of the Kurd were so energetic, that I thought he was about to attack
the merchant. However, a minute later the affair was settled, and the
purchaser was drinking a glass of tea with the salesman.

Most of the houses in Khoi are built of a sort of brown clay. If it
were not for the numerous mosques which are painted blue and green, the
town would be very sombre in its appearance. Many of the doors to the
buildings were supplied with massive iron knockers—a rarity in Asiatic
Turkey—and the many windows on the ground-floors, which were guarded by
iron bars, rather reminded me of Cordova.

Streams of muddy water ran through the streets. Hundreds of women were
busily engaged in washing the domestic apparel.

We passed by an open window, and, on looking in, I found that the
building was used as a school. A master was seated on the window-sill,
fifty or more children were clustered round his feet. He was teaching
them pieces of the Koran, which the little ones were endeavouring to
learn by heart. A class of lads, averaging, I should say, from fifteen
to twenty years of age, were squatting in a corner occupied in learning
how to write—a very rare accomplishment in Persia, and principally
confined to the merchant classes. Some of the lads had escaped for
a moment from the vigilance of their master, and were buying oranges
from a pedlar. The fruit had been brought from Tabriz, as there are no
orange-trees in the neighbourhood of Khoi. Suddenly the Hodja discovered
their absence; he ran outside the school. He did not confine his blows
to the lads, but allowed the pedlar to share them with his pupils.

We arrived at some pillaff shops; here legs and wings of chickens,
surrounded by piles of rice, were placed before the merchants. One of
them, taking a piece of meat in his fingers from a plate, handed it to
me. He wanted my opinion of his wares.

"Good!" I said.

"Have you pillaff in your country?" he inquired.


"But not like my pillaff?"

"No, not so good."

This greatly delighted the trader: running out of his shop, he insisted
that I should return with him and taste his sweetmeats. These last
were some of them very well made and had been manufactured with a
considerable amount of skill—a trade going on in bon-bons between Khoi
and other towns in the interior. The Persian ladies are very fond of
sweetmeats, a large quantity of these delicacies being consumed in the
different harems.

I wanted to buy some article of native manufacture in silver. It was
impossible; the jewellers kept nothing by them ready made; they could
have executed an order, but this would have been a tedious affair. After
having visited the mosque in the town—a building which was rather more
lofty than the Turkish mosques, but in other respects very similar—I
began to think that it was time for me to continue my journey to Van.

It was very warm here, but the route from Van to Kars would be covered
with snow, and I had only two months left of my leave of absence to
complete the journey to England. The Consul pressed me to stay another
day in his house. However, we had commenced making our preparations, and
I was the more eager to leave the town as I had been given to understand
that my arrival had caused great uneasiness to the Russian officials in
Erivan. From their being so close to Khoi they have begun to look upon
this town as their own territory.

The paternal Government was alarmed lest I should be murdered by the
Persians; and after the extreme solicitude the Russian authorities had
shown for my safety when I was travelling to Khiva, I should have been
deeply grieved to have given them any more annoyance on my account.

The following morning we left Khoi at daybreak. The city stands on
a plain, and is surrounded by a chain of hills, but they are at a
considerable distance from the walls.

The latter gradually disappeared, and, after a march of two hours and a
half along a good road, we arrived at Kotoor Boghaz, a famous pass which
divides the territory of the Sultan from that of the Shah. There is no
Persian military station in the neighbourhood. The Turks have built a
sort of block-house at the entrance of the gorge. Here I found a small
force consisting of one captain, two lieutenants, forty infantry, and
twenty-eight cavalry soldiers. Ahmed was the name of the captain. I now
discovered that he was the identical officer who, six months previous,
had been made prisoner by the Persians, and taken to Khoi. He informed
me that one Turkish soldier, Osman by name, had been killed in the
fray, and that he himself had been kept in chains for forty days in the
gaol at Khoi, during which time he had nothing given him to eat save
bread and water. In addition to this he had to sleep on the bare floor.
According to my informant, the Persian captives who had been sent to
Van had been well treated. They had been given beds in which to sleep,
and had been supplied with pillaff.

"What do you think was the cause of the Persians attacking the Turkish
village?" I inquired.

"The Russians were the origin of the disturbance," replied the officer.
"Whilst I was being taken a prisoner to Khoi, I heard the Persian
soldiers say, 'The Russians are our fathers,' and they laughed at me as
they said so."

"The sooner we fight Russia the better," continued the speaker. "She
will not be half so troublesome to us in open fight as she is at

We proceeded onward through the Kotoor Pass. A little stream, called the
Kotoor Su, dashed along at our feet, and gradually became wider as it
received a succession of small tributaries from the adjacent mountains.

The defile presents a series of magnificent positions for defence. It is
in many places not more than 200 yards broad. Precipitous heights look
down upon the stream from either hand.

There are several mineral springs in this neighbourhood—some being of a
sulphurous nature. These are largely used by the Kurds, who, if unwell,
come here during the summer months and drink the waters.

Presently the guide turned off the path; ascending some rising ground,
he dismounted by the side of a spring. Taking a tin cup from my holster,
I desired him to fill it, after which I tasted the water. It was warm,
and reminded me of the Sprudel spring at Carlsbad, but is much stronger.
Two glasses full of this Kotoor water are equivalent in their effects
to at least four of the Sprudel.

Snow lay on the ground beneath us. At first in patches, then becoming
more frequent it covered the winding path. A hail storm came on. A
cutting wind whistled through the gorge. The sudden difference between
the heat at Khoi, and the cold in the Kotoor Pass, struck a chill to our
very bones. We had been marching for six hours; there were still five
more ere we could reach a resting-place.

Dismounting from our horses, we ran by their side, and tried to restore
the circulation in our bodies. The rapid changes of climate in this
part of Asia Minor are very dangerous to travellers. The natives
have a saying: "A chill in the evening is death in the morn." If any
one experiences a chill, and does not succeed in becoming warm again
immediately, he is certain to feel some ill-effects. We passed by
another hot-spring; it issues from the bank of the Kotoor river. The
guide, borrowing my tin, dismounted, and began to wash his mouth.

"Why are you doing that?" I inquired.

"For tooth-ache," was the reply.

We now learnt that the Kurds have an implicit belief in the efficacy of
this water for such complaints.


     Kotoor—The Quarantine station—The medical officer in
     charge—The Governor of Kotoor—A Russian disguised as
     a Persian—Mineral wealth—The Russians would like this
     territory—A stepping-stone to Bagdad and Mosul—A loyal
     Kurd—Aleshkert—The people there take the strongest
     side—Moullah Hassan—Kurdish merchants—The postman—His mule—The
     mule in the water—My new yellow trousers—The saddle-bags in
     the river—Nestorian villages—How to buy a wife—Exchange and
     barter—A horse and two sheep—Van—The Pacha—The barracks—The

I was not sorry to reach Kotoor. The track had been very bad for
the last half of our journey. An eleven hours' march made under such
circumstances is tiring for man as well as beast.

There is a quarantine station in the town. The medical officer in charge
has to examine all people travelling from Persia to Turkey by this
route. This is done to prevent persons suffering from cholera or plague
spreading these maladies throughout the Sultan's dominions.

The governor of Kotoor was a Persian by birth. His father had been
in the Shah's service, but had changed his allegiance and enabled the
Sultan to take possession of some land round Kotoor, which originally
belonged to Persia. He now informed me that the Persians were forming
a military camp at Salmas, and said that probably this was being done
with the connivance of Russia.

The medical officer, an Italian, entered the room; he was about eighty
years of age, and had been in Kotoor since 1847. His emoluments consist
of ten piastres per head, which he receives from every one who passes
along the Kotoor road from Persia to Turkey.

"A Russian came here the other day," observed the doctor. "He was
disguised as a Persian, and thought that I did not recognize his

"What was the object of his journey?"

"Probably to stir up the Kurds, and invite the Armenians to rise against
the Mussulmans," replied the doctor. "There is a great deal of mineral
wealth in this neighbourhood," he continued; "coal and iron abound
within two miles of this place."

"The Russians would like to take this territory for two reasons,"
remarked the governor; "first, because having Kotoor and Van, they
would be able to make depôts and preparations for a march further south
upon Bagdad and Mosul; and, secondly, on account of the mines in the

A Kurdish chieftain who lived near Bitlis had recently written to the
Sultan, offering him the services of 20,000 men, in the event of a war
between Turkey and Russia. His offer was accepted, and the loyal Kurd's
heart had been gladdened by the present of a magnificent silk turban
and a sword.

The mountaineers near Kotoor could all be relied upon by the Turks. But
there was reason to mistrust the sincerity and good faith of the Kurds
in the neighbourhood of Moush and Aleshkert. They were said to have
recently received large sums of money, besides arms, from Russia.

"If the Russians were to be worsted, the Kurds would be the first to
turn these arms against their quondam friends," added the governor; "for
the people about Aleshkert are proverbial for one thing,—namely, that
they always take the winning side."

The following morning I said good-bye to the hospitable old doctor, in
whose house I had slept. He had kindly given me a bed in one corner of
his room—he himself, and the rest of his family, having slept in the

We rode towards Van. It is about sixty miles distant from Kotoor. Our
track for the first hour ran within the mountain gorge—a continuation
of the Kotoor Pass, but which here is several miles wide. After riding
by several Kurdish villages, we began to ascend a succession of rising
slopes. Plateau after plateau, each higher than its neighbour, were
extended in front of us; the snow at each moment became deeper. It was
evident that we could not reach Van on that evening. I determined to
break the journey at the village of Moullah Hassan, which would be about
a ten hours' march from Kotoor. Several Kurdish merchants had joined
our party; they were travelling from Khoi, and drove before them oxen
and calves laden with timbaki (Persian tobacco).

One of the Kurds possessed a mule. This animal, besides his master's
personal effects, carried the post-bag from Khoi to Van. The Kurd led
his mule for some time, but at length, tiring of this, he turned the
animal loose, and drove him before our party, in company with the oxen
and calves belonging to the other traders. We had nearly reached Moullah
Hassan; the mule had outstripped the rest of the caravan, I was riding
behind him. The road suddenly dipped. There was a declivity in front of
us. I lost sight of the animal. He had disappeared.

It was becoming dark. I pulled up my horse for a moment—it was lucky
that I did so, for in another moment we should have been in a river—the
dip being neither more nor less than the bed of the stream, which was
covered over with a thin film of ice and two or three feet of snow. In
another second the mule's head appeared above the surface. His frantic
struggles showed that he was endeavouring to gain a foothold.

The proprietor of the animal came up.

"My new yellow trousers!" was his first remark. A fearful oath then
resounded from his lips.

He had bought some clothes at Khoi. They were in his saddle-bags and on
the mule—the letter-bag being evidently considered by the muleteer as
something quite secondary to his personal attire. He tried to reach the
animal, but the ice, breaking, let him into the water. In the meantime
the exertions of the mule had loosened his surcingle, presently it
gave way; saddle, and letters, in addition to the wardrobe of the Kurd,
slipped off the animal's back. They sank to the bottom of the river.

Our guide, turning to the right, proposed that we should ride up the
stream, and try and find a place where the ice would bear. This was
done. About half an hour afterwards we found ourselves beneath the
roof of a Kurdish farmer—the chief proprietor in the village of Moullah

There were several Nestorian villages in the neighbourhood; however, the
inhabitants of these hamlets possess the reputation of being dirtier
than the Kurds, so the traveller who is wise will invariably elect to
pass the night with the mountaineers.

The Kurd whose mule had fallen into the water entered the room. In
one hand he bore something which was dripping wet. He salaamed, and
then began to wring out the article he was carrying; the trousers were
exposed to view. Once of a yellow colour, they were now a dull brown.
The Kurd, stretching them out on the floor, gazed in a melancholy manner
upon the soiled vestments.

"A horse and two sheep," he remarked with a sob; "Effendi, have pity
upon me!"

"What does he want?" I inquired of Mohammed.

It appeared that the Kurd wished to buy a wife from a neighbouring
farmer who had some marriageable daughters. Their father, nothing loth,
and who was in want of a pair of broad yellow trousers, had consented,
provided the candidate for his girl's hand would provide him with a
beautiful pair, a turban, and some tea. Broad yellow drawers, or pants,
as Yankees would call them, are not often to be met with in Kurdistan.
They are brought from Erivan in Russia, and are greatly prized by the
mountaineers. The Kurd had been to Khoi on purpose, had sold there a
horse and two sheep; with the proceeds of the sale he had purchased the
attire in question. He was now dreadfully alarmed lest the father of
the girl should decline giving his daughter in exchange for the soiled

"But what can I do in the matter?" was my next question.

"Give me a baksheesh," said the Kurd, "and I will return to Khoi and
buy some more garments."

The man had forgotten about the mail-bag, which lay buried beneath the
frozen surface of the river.

Desiring him to go and fish up the letters, I promised that, later in
the day, I would take his case into consideration.

The snow disappeared as we approached the town of Van. We rode by a
small lake, about twelve miles from our halting-place. Continuing on
over a succession of table-lands, the path sloped down towards the great
lake or sea, to which the capital of Armenia gives a name.

Van stands in a plain and is surrounded by orchards filled with
fruit-trees. The ground in the neighbourhood is highly cultivated, corn
and other cereals flourishing throughout the district.

I had sent forward a letter of introduction to the governor of Van from
Ismail Pacha of Erzeroum. The man to whom I had entrusted the epistle
had not taken the trouble to deliver it. The governor was quite ignorant
of my arrival.

I stopped at his house, and, going up to the reception-chamber, found
him busily engaged in conversation with an official who had recently
arrived from Constantinople, to inquire into the excesses said to have
been committed by some soldiers upon the Armenians in Van.

The Pacha received me very courteously, in spite of my not having a
letter for him; he remarked, with a smile, that there were no hotels in
Van as in Constantinople, and said that he would provide me with a room
in a barrack which had been lately erected in the town.

The officer commanding the garrison now entered the room, and
accompanied me to my quarters. The barrack was two stories high, and
in the form of a square, with a courtyard for drill in the centre of
the building. The officers and men's rooms were on the first story,
and below them the stables for the horses. The apartment given me was
large and clean. The walls were whitewashed, the floor was covered with
a Persian carpet. A large looking-glass—the first I had seen since I
quitted our consul's house in Erzeroum—was suspended from the walls.

There were only half a battalion of infantry and a battery of Krupp guns
at that time in Van. The remainder of the garrison, consisting of one
battalion and a half, had marched the previous week to the neighbourhood
of Bitlis, where some Kurds had burnt down a Turkish guard-house.


     The artillery at practice—The horses—The Commandant—The
     military school at Constantinople—The citadel—Typhus—The
     swamp—The sanitary state of the city—The lake—Natron—A
     substitute for soap—Stone cannon-balls—Nadir Shah's attack
     upon Van—Greek and Assyrian coins—Salutes during Bairam—An
     inscription on the rock—An adventurous Englishman—The
     Commandant—A Kurd—Hernia—How to cure rupture—Three American
     Missionaries—The English and American flags—The conflagration
     at Van—Armenian inventions—The Commissioner—The troops.

The following morning I walked with the commandant to see the artillery
at practice. The drill was fairly done. The guns were horsed with
fine-looking animals from 15-3 to 16 hands high, mostly greys, and
brought from European Turkey. The officer who commanded took great pride
in his battery. A few hours after the drill was over, he accompanied me
through the stables. The steel was bright, and the harness in thorough
good order. When I remarked this to the commander, he replied:—

"Effendi, I was educated in the Military-School at Constantinople. If
the rest of our officers had been there, we should have a better army.
But, please God, for all that we shall give the Russians more to do than
they expect."

I now went to see the citadel. It stands on a rock in the middle of the
town, and is about 500 feet above the level of the lake.

Van is surrounded on three sides by a chain of hills, which are at
a distance of from three to seven miles from the town. On the fourth
side it is bounded by the lake which bears its name. There is a swamp
towards the west, and close to the houses. This makes the place very
unhealthy in the summer months—typhus and other fevers are prevalent in
the district. The military surgeon, a Hungarian, who accompanied me in
my ride to the citadel, observed that several complaints had been made
to the authorities at Constantinople as to the sanitary state of Van,
and a letter had been sent to the Medical Department recommending that
the swamp should be drained. A Pacha had died of typhus only six months
before; this had thoroughly aroused the new governor. It had acted upon
him like the death of a director, in a railway accident, acts upon the
other directors of the line. However, nothing had been done up to the
present time towards carrying the governor's and doctor's suggestions
into effect.

I now learnt that the lake contains natron. The townspeople have a very
simple manner of obtaining this substance. In the summer months they
pour water from the lake into large shallow basins; the heat of the
sun evaporates the water, and carbonate of soda is deposited at the
bottom of the vessels. It is afterwards sent to Erzeroum and Stamboul.
The inhabitants of Van use this substance for washing purposes as a
substitute for soap.

The road wound round the height on which the citadel stands. After about
a fifteen minutes' climb, our horses reached the summit. Here there were
several very old guns, some dating back more than 250 years. Large piles
of stone balls lay behind many of the pieces, the commander, pointing at
them, remarked that now-a-days they would not be of any use, although
in the last century they had struck terror into the midst of a Persian
host. The modern citadel, if it may be termed by that name, is merely a
block-house, with accommodation for about 100 soldiers. There are many
galleries cut in the solid rock, some of which were used in old days
as quarters for the troops, and others as dungeons for prisoners. Some
heavy chains were lying on the floors, or fastened to rings in the rock.
Presently we came to an enormous cavern filled with stone cannon-balls.
The commandant informed me that these had been brought there just before
Nadir Shah's attack upon Van.

"Nadir Shah besieged this town for seven years," continued the officer,
"look at the marks of some of his handiwork." With these words he showed
us a few holes in the wall which had apparently been made by artillery

Many ancient Greek and Assyrian coins had been found in the
neighbourhood of the citadel, and, according to the doctor, the place
abounds with inscriptions in characters which cannot be read by any of
the inhabitants.

There is a well of naphtha about fifty yards from the block-house. The
commandant, going with me to the spot, made a soldier draw out some of
the contents. The well was very deep, and the inhabitants of Van had
used the naphtha from time immemorial. The doctor was doubtful as to
whether it was a natural well, or merely a large cistern which had been
filled many years ago with this liquid, possibly for the use of the

"Are the guns in the citadel ever discharged?" I inquired.

"No," said the commandant, "they are all useless with the exception of
one small piece which we keep for firing salutes during the Bairam. This
rock is much too near the town to be used as a fort," he continued. "A
hospital ought to be built here, or it would be a good site for a depôt
of stores; but as a defensive position it is useless against modern

We came to a place in the rock where it descends abruptly for several
hundred feet. "An Englishman was let down from here by a cord some years
ago," observed the doctor. "About 200 feet below this spot there is
an inscription cut on the stone. The inscription is about Semiramis.
Formerly we all wished to know what was the meaning of the writing;
but, no one in Van was bold enough to descend the rock, or, even if
some Armenian or Turk had dared to make the attempt, he would have been
unable to decipher the characters. Well," continued the speaker, "an
Englishman came here and was lowered by cords over the precipice. If he
had fallen even from the spot where the inscription is cut, he must have
been dashed to pieces, as it is a long way above the rocks. However,
your countryman succeeded in taking an impression of the characters, and
I believe a translation of them is in the British Museum. You can see
the inscription from the town itself," he added. "The letters are very
large, they occupy a place about twelve feet long by eight wide."

We returned towards the barrack. On the way I took the opportunity
of looking at the characters on the rock. They are cut on four square
blocks, each block being placed by the side of its fellow. Imagine four
gigantic sheets of the _Times_, placed one alongside the other, and
covered with huge quaintly-formed letters; you will then be able to form
an idea of the appearance of the inscription. As you look at the writing
from the ground, it appears that in the third square from the right the
letters are a little defaced, but in the others the characters stand out
as clear as on the day when they were first chiselled. Several Armenian
children were playing at soldiers in the street, their fathers and
brothers were being instructed in drill in the barrack-yard. Some little
military enthusiasm existed in the town even amongst the Christians,
and the governor had promulgated the Sultan's edict that every one of
his subjects was to be taught the use of arms.

I paid the commandant a visit. His apartments adjoined mine, whilst I
was with him several men arrived—some wishing to be soldiers, others
desirous of being released from the conscription. A fine-looking Kurd
was amongst the last-mentioned applicants. He was dressed in the usual
picturesque costume of his race, but, in addition, wore a sort of white
muslin shawl, which enveloped him from head to foot.

"You will make a capital soldier," said the commandant. "You had better

"Bey Effendi," replied the man, "I am ruptured."

"Really," said the doctor, who was present in the room; "on which side?"

"The right," replied the man, pointing to his groin.

"Then you will do very well for the infantry," observed the Hungarian.
"A man must be ruptured on both sides to be freed from service in that
branch of the army."

The Kurd went away rather crestfallen. I then learnt that it is a
common practice amongst those mountaineers who do not wish to serve, to
purposely rupture themselves. This they do by pressing with their finger
and thumb on the lower part of the stomach until a swelling arises. The
operation hurts. After a man has ruptured himself on one side he does
not feel inclined to repeat the process on the other. The doctor, who
gave me the information, observed that the Kurds have a way of curing
ruptures which is not generally known to the medical faculty. They burn
the skin around the ruptured spot with a hot iron, the muscles will then
contract, and this often effects a cure.

Three American missionaries called: they were living at a village about
an hour's ride from Van. They had been there for some years, but had
not succeeded in making many converts.

They described the country as being in a very unsettled state, and said
that they had lately heard from some other missionaries near Bitlis that
a Kurdish sheik in that neighbourhood had recommended them not to go
to the mountains, as they were in the habit of doing during the summer
months, for he could not guarantee their safety.

The missionaries at Van were eager to know what part England was likely
to take in the event of a war. Although Americans, they are looked upon
by the inhabitants as Englishmen, and the English flag is much more
respected in Asia Minor than that of the United States.

The commissioner who had been sent from Constantinople, to inquire
about the recent disturbances at Van, and the burning of the Armenian
bazaar, entered the room. He informed me that immediately after the
conflagration had occurred, fabulous reports as to the amount of the
property destroyed had been published in the Armenian papers. It was
first stated that 1,000,000 liras would not cover the loss experienced
by the merchants in Van. Subsequently it was said that 200,000 liras in
specie had been stolen by the Turkish soldiery, and that goods to the
value of 300,000 liras had been destroyed by the flames.

When the commissioner arrived at Van, his first act was to make a list
of all the merchants who had shops in the bazaar. Then, sending for each
man separately, he asked him what was the nature of his merchandise,
and at how much he valued his losses. When the commissioner added up
the sums claimed by all the merchants in Van, he found that the total
amount did not exceed 96,000 liras. In addition to this the Armenians
acknowledged having saved goods to the value of 10,000 liras.

In the official's opinion 23,000 liras would cover the entire loss; and
from what I afterwards saw of the ruins of the bazaar, and judging from
the small area over which they extended, I am inclined to believe that
he had fairly estimated the damage.

The Armenian newspapers, probably instigated by Russian agents, had
declared that the Turkish troops stationed in Van had first set fire to
the bazaar, and then pillaged it in the confusion. The commissioner,
after the most searching inquiries, was unable to discover that the
troops were in any way implicated in the affair. Several Armenians kept
petroleum and lucifer matches in their warehouses: his idea was that
the fire originated either by spontaneous combustion, or through some
one accidentally dropping a lighted match.

The soldiers had been called out to help to extinguish the fire.
Thinking that the men might have stolen something during the
conflagration, the commissioner asked the commander to issue an order
for all the garrison to march to Erzeroum on the following morning. This
was done. Shortly afterwards the different battalions left the town. The
commissioner, accompanied by some Armenian merchants, met the troops
on the road. The soldiers' baggage was then searched, and each man in
succession. Nothing was found which could in any way connect the troops
with the robbery.


     An extempore market—Carbonate of soda—The population—The
     Pacha's salary—The Commander's pay—The Hungarian doctor's
     contract—The Armenian church—An inscription—A heathen
     temple—The Armenian clergy—Their different grades—The
     monks—The two Patriarchs—The Catolicos—The _meira_—The
     miraculous power of the Catolicos—The miracle turned into £
     _s._ _d._—Baptismal and burial fees—Prayers for the dead—A
     curious tradition—King Abgar the leper—The journey from
     Van—The mirage—Gull—Paz—Tishikoomlekui—Ardisch—A Kurdish
     girl—A strange custom.

I now walked to an extempore market which the Armenians are making use
of until the old one is reconstructed. With the exception of quantities
of rough silk brought from Persia, raw cotton, and carbonate of soda,
which had been taken from the lake, there was literally nothing to see.

It was said that there were 20,000 inhabitants in the town; I
am inclined to believe that the number has been exaggerated. The
market-place which had been destroyed by fire stood on a very small area
of ground. The impression conveyed to my mind was that the whole town
did not contain above 16,000 inhabitants. The Pacha receives a yearly
salary of 2200 liras, and is paid in gold. The other officials are not
so fortunate; the pay of the commander of the garrison only amounted
to 20_l._ a month, and was always several months in arrear; in addition
to this he was paid in Turkish banknotes. The Hungarian had a contract
with the Government; his pay amounted to 17_l._ per month, and had to
be given him in gold; in consequence of this, he was quite as well off
as the commander.

From the market-place I went to the Armenian church, which stands in
the middle of the town. It consists of several rooms, one of them being
very much like a wooden barn, the others are built of stone with arched
roofs. There was nothing to be seen in the building save a few tawdry
pictures of saints; it was carpeted in the same way as the Turkish
mosques. The priest who accompanied us, raising a curtain, showed me an
inscription in cuneiform characters cut in the stone.

"This part of the building is very old," he said; "it was formerly a
heathen temple."

"How old?" I inquired.

"One thousand eight hundred years," said the priest.

"Nonsense, brother," said another. "It is two thousand."

"Say three thousand, and you will be nearer the mark," added a third.

It was evident that none of these gentlemen had any data to go upon for
their calculations, I left the church rather disappointed. I had hoped
that some of the divines might be able to give me information as to the
antiquities of the city. The Armenian clergy do not trouble their heads
about such matters; their time is so taken up in the performance of
idolatrous rites, and in looking after the welfare of the fairer portion
of their flock, that they have not a moment to spare for the study of
the ancient history of Armenia.

The Armenian who wishes to be a priest must serve in six different
grades before he can be ordained. He must be an exorcist, porter,
reader, sub-deacon, candle-lighter, and deacon. If he has any interest
with his bishop, he can pass through all these grades in one day.

As a priest, he is allowed to marry; however, like the clergy belonging
to the Greek Church, if his wife dies, the Armenian cannot take unto
himself a second spouse. He then may become a monk, and live, free of
expense, in one of the monasteries. Next in order, but above the monks,
are the bishops and the two patriarchs—one residing in Constantinople,
the other at Jerusalem—the patriarch at Constantinople being looked
up to by the Armenians as a sort of civil head, besides being their
spiritual guide. We now come to the Catolicos, who is first of all in
the ecclesiastical hierarchy. He lives in Russia, near Mount Ararat,
and is the chief personage of the Armenian Church.

All bishops and priests have to wear beards. The bishops are ordained
by the Catolicos, and a council of bishops consecrates the latter. The
Armenian Christians worship pictures; confess to their priests; offer
prayers for the dead, and ask for the intercession of their saints.
An oil is used for the baptism of children. It is called _meira_. The
Armenians believe that this oil has boiled without any fire having been
placed under it, and they think that this has been effected through the
miraculous power of the Catolicos. Whoever and whatever touches this
oil is made holy, and is looked upon as having been sanctified.

The Catolicos sells the _meira_, and makes a very large sum by the sale
of the oil. The other revenues of the Church arise from baptismal and
burial fees, prayers for the dead, taxes imposed upon the people by the
ecclesiastics, voluntary contributions, and money left in the wills of

According to an American missionary at Erzeroum, the Rev. Moses
Parmelee, who has published a work which treats of the Armenian clergy,
"many of the higher ecclesiastics become very wealthy at the expense of
the poor people whom they cheat and oppress."

He also remarks that the Bible of the Armenians is in their ancient
language, which is not understood by the masses of the people.

They were a free nation till the beginning of the eleventh century, but
later on the Moguls and Turks devastated Armenia, and the inhabitants
have never raised their heads since.

There is a curious tradition connected with the Armenian faith. It is to
the effect that, at the beginning of our era, some envoys from Abgar,
King of Armenia, happened to be in Jerusalem. Whilst they were in the
city they saw Jesus Christ, and afterwards informed their sovereign of
the miracles which our Saviour was performing throughout Syria. The
monarch was a leper, and, thinking that the same supernatural being
who had saved so many lives in Jerusalem might be able to do something
for him, the king wrote, say the Armenians, the following letter to the

"Abgar, son of Arsham, Prince of this land, to Jesus the Saviour and
benefactor of man. Greeting. I have heard of Thee, and of the cures
wrought by Thy hands without remedies and without plants. For it is
said that Thou makest the blind to see, the lame to walk. The lepers are
healed, and spirits are cast out. Thou healest the unfortunate afflicted
with long and inveterate diseases. Thou dost raise the dead. As I have
heard of all the wonders done by Thee, I have concluded that Thou art
either God come down from heaven, or the Son of God, to do such things.
I therefore have written beseeching Thee to deign to come to me and
cure my disease. I have also heard that the Jews use Thee ill, and lay
snares to destroy Thee. I have here a little city pleasantly situated,
and sufficient for us both."

Jesus replied: "After I have gone I will send one of My disciples, who
shall cure thy malady, and give life to thee and thine."

Some Armenians say that Christ caused the imprint of His face to be left
on a handkerchief, and gave it to the envoys, telling them that it would
cure their master. This is cited to justify the adoration of pictures,
which is part of the Armenian faith. According to another tradition,
the handkerchief never reached the leprous king; for the envoys who were
carrying it to their master were attacked by brigands, and it was stolen
on the way. This version tells us that Thaddeus subsequently healed the
leprous sovereign.

It was the 7th of March. I had already spent several days in Van,
and, contrary to my hopes, had not benefited by the rest. I was still
suffering from dysentery; instead of the complaint getting better, it
had become worse. By all account we should be able to find milk in most
of the Kurd and Yezeed villages between Van and Kars; so I determined
to start for the latter place and try what a milk and rice diet would
do towards restoring my health and strength. We rode for two hours by
the side of the lake; then, leaving the blue water, ascended a low range
of hills. The sun's rays were very powerful; a mirage was formed before
us. Miles upon miles of water were reflected in the sky. Presently we
crossed a little stream known as the Mahmod Tchai, and after a short
march halted at Gull—a small village with thirty houses, half belonging
to Armenians, half to Mohammedans.

The morn breaks. We ride over some high table-land, and then return to
the lake. Our route lies along its shores. Sand-hills slope down to the
water's edge; myriads of starlings flit about the beach; pelicans and
other wild fowl sail along the surface of the deep. After a six hours'
journey we rest at Paz—a small Kurd village with only ten houses.

The following day we marched along a good track to Tishikoomlekui, a
devil-worshippers' village. Then crossing the Bendimah river—here about
thirty yards wide—on a stone bridge, we continued to Karahana, and so on
to Ardisch, an Armenian village with 200 houses and a resident Caimacan.

A pretty Kurdish girl, whom I had seen at Paz, accompanied us to the
latter place. I now learnt that the females in some parts of Kurdistan
have a strange custom. This is to beset any stranger who is about to
enter or quit their village. The girls dance round the wayfarer, and
take the opportunity to divest him of his apparel. When he is in a nude
state, they seize their victim and carry him with them before some old
matron,[18] complaining to her that their prisoner has grossly insulted
them. The man is lucky if he escapes with his clothes minus the cash in
the pockets.


     Akserai—The Kurds—Raids upon the villages—Five females
     ravished—The Pacha at Van is powerless to help the
     villagers—The hot springs in Lake Van—Fish—How to
     catch them—Zerekli—Starlings—Patnos—We cross the Murad
     river—Dotah—The Caimacan—The devil-worshipper—His house—A
     Yezeed sheik—Scarcity of accommodation.

We reached Akserai. I was informed by my host, an Armenian, that the
Christians in this district live in constant dread of their warlike
neighbours, the Kurds—and the more particularly of the Kurds from
Persia. These mountaineers sometimes made raids upon the villages, and
committed all sorts of excesses on the women. Only three months previous
a scene of this description had taken place at Akserai. The Kurds had
come there in the night: five of the females in the village had been
ravished by the assailants.

The Armenian who gave me this information declared that he liked the
Pacha at Van, but said that the latter was powerless to prevent these
attacks. There were 5000 Kurds in the mountains, and all were well-armed
men. Artillery could not be transported in those regions. The troops
at the disposal of the Government were too few to be of any real

There were many hot springs in Lake Van, and I was assured that, in
places, a man could not put his hand in the water without being scalded.

Fish, according to my informant, are only caught in the spring months.
The finny tribe then descend the rivers to the Lake, and are taken in
large numbers.

The villagers draw three nets across the mouths of the rivers. There
are funnels in the first two nets, which are left open for the fish to
pass. The apertures in the second net being much smaller than those in
the first. When the men discover, by the pressure against the outer net,
that they have as many fish as the trammels will hold, they close the
funnels, and draw the nets together. The captives, in their endeavours
to escape, leap several feet into the air, and the scene is a highly
animated one. No large fishes are met with, their average size being
from one to two pounds. When a sufficient number have been taken, the
women salt them down, and they are kept for winter consumption.

There is a great deal of plough-land in the neighbourhood of Akserai,
and, on inquiry, I learnt that corn is grown here in large quantities.

We rode along the shores of the lake for two hours, and, after
traversing a well-cultivated country, reached Zerekli. Here many of the
inhabitants were seated on the roofs of their houses—the women working
and the men basking in the sun. A few soldiers could be seen mending
their uniform, and an old Armenian woman was occupied in stitching a
shirt belonging to a truculent-looking sergeant. This gentleman sat
beside her, sans chemise, and smoking a long chibouk; volumes of smoke
from his pipe were slowly wreathing themselves in the atmosphere.

My host was engaged in mending the roof of his house. A buffalo, or some
heavy animal, had walked upon it. The part near the chimney had given

Thousands of starlings were perched on some trees in the rear of the
dwellings. Many of these birds could be seen hopping about in close
proximity to a crowd of Turkish and Armenian urchins. The latter were
very different to English lads; for if the starlings had settled down
in one of our own villages, it would not have been long ere some boy or
other had thrown a stone at them.

It was pleasanter sitting on the roof of the house than being an inmate
of its subterranean recesses. But the night turned bitterly cold. A
thick mist arose from the lake. It warned the villagers to retire within
their dwellings, if they did not wish to risk catching a fever.

We followed their example, and in a short time experienced one of the
plagues with which Moses afflicted the Egyptians. There were some loose
boards in a corner of the stable; I took them, and tried to remove my
body from the onslaught of the vermin by making a sort of scaffolding
to sleep upon, three feet from the floor. However, it was all to no
purpose. If my tormentors could not reach me by climbing from the
ground, they ascended the sides of the building and dropped down upon
the scaffolding from the ceiling.

Sleep was out of the question. Starting before daybreak, we continued
our journey alongside the lake. Thousands of geese and ducks were
skimming along the surface of its waters. In the distance some
broad-bottomed boats could be seen. They were laden with wood, and were
transporting this article of fuel to the adjacent villages.

We crossed two small rivers, and then, continuing through deep snow,
arrived, after a six-hours' march, at Patnos. A river of the same name
runs through the village, which contains fifty houses, and the stream,
continuing its course a few miles farther, runs into the Murad. Patnos
was garrisoned by a company of soldiers. A Mudir looked after the
welfare of the inhabitants. The troops were not strong enough to cope
with the Kurds in the neighbourhood. The result was that the misdeeds
of the mountaineers went unpunished.

A few hours later, and we crossed the Murad river, here about sixty
yards wide, the water being up to our horses' shoulders, and, after an
eight-hours' march, halted in a Yezeed village called Dotah.

The Caimacan in this place was not very hospitably inclined. Instead
of offering me a room in his own house, as had been the custom with
the governors at our previous halting-places, he ordered an old Yezeed
farmer to provide us with accommodation for the night.

The ancient devil-worshipper was anything but pleased at having to find
a shelter for my servants and self. He had only two rooms, and one of
the travelling priests or sheiks of his community was with him as a
visitor. The sheik would want a room to himself, and there would be only
the stable left for the old man, his family, our horses, and selves.


     My host—The sheik's appearance—My host's two daughters—They
     attend upon the sheik—Caressing the flames—I love the fire—An
     insult to the Shaitan—Do you believe in Allah?—Allah can do no
     harm—The Yezeed fetish—The tomb of Sheik Adi—Your cows shall
     not die—Mohammed wants a fetish—A cure for rheumatism—The
     Melek Taoos—Do you ever pray?—What is the use? Everything
     is fixed—You cannot force Destiny to change her mind—Hidden
     things—The balls of clay—Mr. Layard—The seven archangels.

My landlord was not a sweet creature to look upon. The sheik who was
his guest had a still more forbidding countenance; the latter gentleman,
with his deep-set eyes, high, narrow forehead, coming almost to a point
where it reached his skull, and long cockatoo-like nose, having a very
demoniacal appearance. My host had two daughters, who had been deputed
to wait upon the sheik. They followed him about like spaniels, and vied
with each other in obeying his commands.

I was seated beside the fireplace when the distinguished individual
entered the room. He evidently expected that I was about to arise to
receive him in a way becoming to his dignity, and made a sign as if to
ask me not to move. I paid no attention to this gesture, but motioned to
him to sit by the fire. This he did, and, squatting opposite me, unbared
a pair of long shining arms and began to pass them through the flames,
as if he were caressing the fiery element.

"You like heat?" I remarked, by way of commencing a conversation.

The man slowly raised his eyes, which glittered in his head and flashed
like the embers on the hearth.

"Heat is good, Effendi. Fire gives warmth—without warmth we should die.
Fire gives life, and destroys it. I love the flames."

Mohammed came close to the fire and stooped down. The sheik's eyes
sparkled brighter than before: he said something. My servant laughed,
but moved away from the hearth.

"What did he say?" I inquired.

"He was afraid, Effendi, that I was about to spit in the fire. They
think that this is a great insult to the ——" Here Mohammed stopped;
he did not like to utter the word "Shaitan" (devil); The sheikh, who
appeared much frightened at the beginning of the sentence, and had
left off passing his arms through the flames, commenced repeating that

"Do you believe in Allah?" I remarked.

"Allah is good," was the reply. "Allah can do no harm."

My host now came up, and, bowing before the sheik, said something. The
latter, placing his hand into his sash, produced two clay balls, which
he gave to the proprietor—the latter receiving them with an air of the
greatest satisfaction.

These balls had been manufactured with clay taken from the tomb of
Sheik Adi—a saint who is highly reverenced by the Yezeeds—the travelling
sheiks make a certain sum of money by selling them to the devotees.

"Your visit has brought happiness to my daughters and myself," observed
the proprietor.

The sheik did not reply immediately, but presently remarked,—

"Your cows shall not die; no robbers shall enter your doors; illness
shall not attack your family."

Mohammed approached.

"I too should like a ball," he remarked. "It might keep off my
rheumatism. The Effendi's plasters do good, but they hurt. The ball
would not cause me any pain. Give me one;" and my servant held out his
hand to the sheik.

"Go away!" said the latter in rather strong tones. "Go to your own
saints, and let them cure you."

Then, rising, the man left the room, closely followed by the two
daughters of the proprietor.

These girls were neither of them good-looking, and dirty to an extent
which no man who has not been in the East could imagine.

It is said that there are pretty women amidst the daughters of the
worshippers of the devil; my personal observations do not lead me to
place any credence in this statement.

I inquired of the proprietor if the sheik had brought the Melek Taoos
(King Peacock) with him. This is a bird manufactured of bronze, which
is occasionally carried about by the leading men amidst the Yezeeds,
and which all devil-worshippers are bound to reverence.

"No," replied my host; "our guest is not a Cawal (a sort of priest).
Who told you about the Melek Taoos?"

"The Turks, and, besides, I have read about it, and seen a picture of
the bird in a book written by a Frank."

"What a marvel!" said the host; "very few of our sheiks can read, much
less write."

"Do you ever pray?" I inquired.

"Pray? like the Mohammedans?"


"No; what is the use? You Christians do not pray like the Mohammedans,"
continued the old man.

"No; but we pray to the Founder of our faith."

"Everything is fixed," observed the Yezeed; "then what is the good of
praying? You cannot force Destiny to change her mind."

"Then what is the good of the balls you have just received? for if your
cows are destined to die, they will die."

My host did not show any wish to continue this conversation, and he
presently remarked,—

"We are talking about hidden things; no good will come of it."

"But if you have got the balls of clay," said Mohammed, joining in the
conversation, "they ought to keep you from any harm."

"Who knows?" said the proprietor; and, rising from the ground, he lay
down in a farther corner of the room, next some sheep, and was soon lost
to consciousness.

Mr. Layard, who lived some time amongst the Yezeeds, remarked about
these strange people,—

"They recognize one Supreme Being; but, as far as I could learn, they
do not offer up any direct prayer or sacrifice to Him. My questions on
this subject were evaded, and every topic was shunned connected with
the attributes and existence of the Deity.

"The name of the devil is never mentioned, and any allusion to it by
others so vexes and irritates them that it is said that they have put
to death persons who have wantonly outraged their feelings by its use.

"So far is their dread of offending the evil spirit carried that
they carefully avoid every expression which may resemble in sound the
name of Satan, or the Arabic word for 'accursed.' When they speak of
the devil, they do so with reverence as Melek-el, the mighty angel.
The Yezeeds believe Satan to be the chief of the angelic host now
suffering punishment for his rebellion against the Divine will, but
still powerful, and to be restored hereafter to his high estate in
the celestial hierarchy. He must be conciliated and reverenced, they
say, for as he now has the means of doing evil to mankind, so will he
hereafter have the power of rewarding them. Next to Satan, but inferior
to him in might and wisdom, are seven archangels who exercise a great
influence over the world; they are Gabriel, Michail, Raphail, Azrail,
Dedrail, Azrapheel, and Shemkeel. Christ, according to the Yezeeds, was
also a great angel who had taken the form of man. He did not die on the
cross, but ascended to heaven."


     Alongside the river Murad—Waterfalls—The Melaskert
     river—Tchekhane—An attack of fever—Quinine—The doctor at
     Toprak Kale—He arrives—The consultation—Excitement amongst the
     villagers—The stethoscope—The audience—How clever these Franks
     are!—The Effendi is going to die—Rheumatic fever—Pressed
     fruit—A native remedy—A long night.

We were once more in winter, deep snow lay along our path. There were
several Yezeed villages by the track, which began to rise abruptly by
the side of the river Murad, and was here and there cut out of the solid

In many places waterfalls dashed over the path, and we were literally
riding beneath a canopy of water, which fell, several hundred feet over
precipices into the river below. At others the torrent dashed across
the track itself. We had to advance with the greatest caution to avoid
being swept down the abyss.

I now crossed the Melaskert river. Here our guide had a narrow escape of
being carried away by the torrent. Presently we arrived at Tchekhane,
an Armenian village, about eight miles distant from the town of Toprak

I had been suffering great pain during the last two marches, and, on
dismounting from my horse, should have fallen to the ground, if it had
not been for Mohammed.

The latter helped me to enter the house of my host, an Armenian peasant.
Staggering up to the hearth, I threw myself down beside the fire. My
legs seemed to have lost all their strength; I had great pain in the
head and back. My pulse was beating very rapidly. It intermitted.

Thinking that it was an attack of fever, I desired Radford to give me
the medicine-chest, and after taking ten grains of quinine, tried to
sleep. This, however, was impossible—the insects in the house would have
prevented slumber, even if the fever had not done so.

The night passed away. In the morning I found myself so weak that I
could barely raise my head from the pillow.

"There is a doctor at Toprak Kale," observed my Armenian host. "He is
a Frank: why not send for him?"

I did so; but the medical man did not arrive. I lay all that day racked
by pain, and half devoured by insects.

In the morning I overheard the following conversation between Mohammed
and the proprietor.

"There are many fleas; my Effendi cannot sleep."

"It is true," replied the Armenian; "but there are by no means so many
here as in a Kurd village a few miles distant. The Kurds have been
obliged to abandon their houses in consequence of these insects. They
have had to live in tents for several months past."

Another night passed without my obtaining any slumber. In the morning I
had a visit from the doctor, a Hungarian who was attached to a regiment
at Toprak Kale.

The news of the arrival of the son of Æsculapius was soon spread through
the village. My bed-chamber, the stable, in which there were three
cows, was speedily thronged by as many excited inhabitants as could find

The doctor was a young man; he had not been long in Asia Minor, and
could only speak a few words of Turkish. But he wore a uniform and was
accompanied by a Zaptieh. This was sufficient at once to strike awe into
the Armenian villagers.

"Are you in pain?" said the doctor, in German.



"Behind the shoulders and in the side."

"I will examine you."

Producing a stethoscope, he placed one end of it upon my chest, and
the other to his ear. This proceeding gave rise to great astonishment
amidst the assembled visitors, who eagerly pressed forward to witness
the operation.

"Donnerwetter!" said the indignant physician in German. "Haide, go
away!" This last word in Turkish to the Armenians, who, frightened at
the sonorous sounds of the "Donnerwetter," had already withdrawn for a
few steps.

There were also some Turkish peasants in the room. They had made friends
with Mohammed. He had placed them behind two cows in a corner, so that
they might have a good view of the doctor.

"What is he doing to the Effendi?" inquired one of them of Mohammed.

"He is looking into his body," observed another.

Mohammed himself now craned out his neck in my direction.

"Effendi! is he looking into your stomach?"

"No; he is listening to the beats of my heart."

"How clever these Franks are!" said one of the Turks. "They do not even
take the trouble to look; they are quite satisfied by listening."

"I wish the hakim would put the instrument on my chest; it would do me
good," he continued.

"Perhaps he would if we asked him," added the other.

"Silence!" said Mohammed. "The doctor is saying something."

The face of the medical gentleman became a little grave after he had
sounded me. This gave great satisfaction to the audience.

"See how solemn he looks!" remarked one of the bystanders; "the Effendi
is going to die."

"What is the matter with me?" I inquired.

"Rheumatic fever; and your heart is out of order," said the doctor. "You
must lie quiet for several days, and I will send you some medicine. My
battalion probably marches to-morrow," he continued, "and so I fear I
cannot come here again."

Pocketing his fee, the medical gentleman mounted his horse, and rode
off with the Zaptieh.

I had eaten nothing for two days, and my mouth was parched. Mohammed,
seeing this, brought me some pressed fruit—a sort of wild cranberry,
which the natives dry, and then, if any one has a fever, they soak the
fruit in water and give it him to drink. The pressed berries are very
nasty to look at. They much resemble tezek. For a moment I thought that
Mohammed was giving me a piece of that fuel by way of a febrifuge. On
tasting the beverage I found that the flavour was very agreeable. It was
acid, and, in Mohammed's opinion, was a most valuable remedy for fever.

The day wore on. In the evening the cows inside my bedroom were joined
by three buffaloes.

The air in the room became fouler and more dense. It was snowing
outside, and the proprietor had covered the hole, which took the place
of a chimney, with a large stone. I lay awake for the greater part of
the night, every now and then drinking copious draughts of the pressed
fruit dissolved in water. Nature at last succumbed. I had not slept for
several nights. The figures of the cows and buffaloes became smaller:
they gradually disappeared. The light given out by a piece of cotton
steeped in some melted fat, and placed in an iron tripod, became more
flickering: the sounds of my followers' snoring seemed to fade away. I
shut my eyes and fell asleep.

I was awakened late the following afternoon by something cold and clammy
against my hand. On looking up, I found it was one of the cows. My arm
was stretched out by her trough. The animal was licking my fingers with
her tongue.

"I was afraid that she would awake you, sir," remarked my servant
Radford, coming to my side. "I wished to drive her away, but was afraid
of disturbing you."


     Mohammed's febrifuge—The doctor's medicine—Zedhane—Daha—Hassan
     Bek—Bash—The garrison—We cross the Araxes—The bridge made
     by a Circassian—Karakroot—The Circassian horsemen—The
     inhabitants—Their eyes and teeth—Gedjerharman—The plain
     around Kars—The streets of the town—The sewerage of the
     population—The civil governor—The river—The war with the
     Persians—Mount Kara Dagh—The fortifications.

The rest had done me good. Mohammed's febrifuge seemed to agree. Later
on, the doctor's medicine arrived. I took a dose, and felt myself much
worse in consequence. I determined to stick to the native remedy.

Day after day passed by. At last I was able to raise myself a little
from the floor. My appetite gradually returned; and one fine morning I
determined to make an attempt to reach Kars. My servants lifted me on
my horse: once on his back, I made them strap me to the high pommel in
front of the saddle—a Turkish one.

The fresh air did wonders, and, though very weak, I managed to reach
Zedhane, a village which we had stopped at on our way to Bayazid, and
which lay on the route between Van and Kars.

We rode to Daha, passing by Kurdali, a small village, seven miles from
Zedhane, and with some strong positions, from a military point of view,
in the neighbourhood. The track was very different to what it had been
a few weeks previous. There was little snow, and we were able to reach
Daha in five hours. Our course was almost due north, and ran through
a broad mountain pass to Hassan Bek, a Kurd hamlet, and from there
to Bash, an Armenian village with a hundred Khans. Here a battalion
was quartered. The men had fought at Alexinatz, and, according to
their lieutenant-colonel, an officer whose acquaintance I had made at
Erzeroum, they were eager to cross bayonets again with the Russians.

We left Bash, and after a two hours' march crossed the Araxes on a
rickety wooden bridge. It had been made by an enterprising Circassian.
There is a ford several miles down the stream, but the Circassian had
thought that, if he were to make this bridge, a great many passengers
would prefer taking the short cut, and would gladly pay a few piastres
for the privilege of crossing the structure.

We came to the village of Karakroot, in which the Circassian lived.
The sheik, a fine-looking man, informed us that here there were only
twenty-five houses, but there were 1005 houses which belonged to people
of his nation in the neighbourhood. In the event of war, the inhabitants
of this district could muster 2000 horsemen. The houses belonging to
these Circassians were far cleaner than any which I had seen in the
Kurdish or Armenian villages. They were all built of wood, with wooden
floors. A small enclosure, made of sharp-pointed stakes, surrounded each
of the dwellings. There were quantities of buffaloes, cows, and sheep
in some adjacent fields, and the granaries were said to be well supplied
with corn and barley.

The inhabitants were smart-looking fellows, and all of them dressed in
their national attire—in tight-fitting sheepskin coats, with the wool
worn inside, and buckled round their waists by a narrow leathern strap,
studded with buttons; broad leather trousers, stuffed into high boots
covered their legs, and small Astrachan caps their heads.

For arms, the men carried long daggers in their waist-belts—many of the
hilts being beautifully worked in silver.

There were several women and girls in the village. They did not conceal
themselves, as is the custom of the Armenian or Turkish women. We had
the opportunity of looking at their faces. I was under the impression
that the Circassian girls were very fair. This is not the case; they
more resemble the Spanish belles, and have a clear olive complexion,
through which you can discern the blue veins. One girl was very
good-looking. She could not have been more than sixteen, and sat the
horse on which she was mounted with more grace and ease than any of her
male companions.

The chief features in all these women are their eyes and teeth. The
former are very large, and the latter small, well-shaped and white as
pearls. Tooth powder is unknown in this district. How they preserve
their teeth so perfectly is to a European an enigma.

You see men of from sixty to seventy years of age who have never lost
a tooth, each one is as white as the purest ivory. The Circassians have
another advantage, from a European point of view, over the Kurds. They
do not sleep in their cow hovels. The stables are separated from the
apartments reserved for the family.

We rode by several more Circassian villages, and after passing
Gedjerharman, which is a nine hours' march from Bash, came to a
district inhabited by Turks and Armenians. The latter complained of
their warlike neighbours the Circassians, and declared that a Turk
had been killed the previous evening, in a quarrel with one of the
mountaineers. All this part of the track was in good order. Seven hours
after leaving Gedjerharman we entered the plain around Kars. In rear
of the town, which is built in the form of a sickle or half-moon, are
some high mountains. A series of detached forts occupying commanding
positions defends the approaches to the citadel. This last stands in
the north-west angle of the town.

Seven battalions of infantry were drilling in the plain. They presented
a more martial appearance than any of the troops which I had previously
seen in Asia Minor.

The streets of Kars were in a filthy state. Every house was crammed with
soldiers. The whole sewerage of the population had been thrown in front
of the buildings. Fortunately the weather was cold. A very disagreeable
smell could be perceived, as our horses stirred up the refuse beneath
their hoofs.

We halted at the house of the civil governor. He had been kind enough
to place a room at my disposal. The following morning I rode out to
visit the fortifications. The river Kars Tchai runs through the town,
and is crossed by three stone bridges, each about forty yards wide. The
Persians in a war with the Turks had tried to turn this river, so as to
cut off the water from the garrison, but failed in the attempt. I first
went to Mount Kara Dagh, which is about 1400 yards from the town, and
commands the road to the Russian fortress at Alexandropol or Gumri. A
small barracks had been erected for half a battalion of infantry; some
earthworks had been thrown up around the position, which was defended
by twelve Krupp guns. The site for the powder magazine had not been
judiciously selected; but, as it is possible that the war may not be
over ere this work is published, the reader will pardon me if I do not
mention its exact situation.

On the plain below, 1600 yards from the Kara Dagh, and 2000 from the
town, was a small redoubt called the Hafeez Pacha Tabia; here there
were nine guns, the battery facing the south. Fifteen hundred-yards
south-west of this point and 3000 from the town, stood the Kanli Tabia,
an important redoubt, in very good repair, and with sixteen guns in
position. The only other defensive works in the plain consisted of a
small redoubt called the Sowaree Tabia, in which were two guns. No
connecting lines had been made to join the different redoubts; the
ground between them was entirely unprotected. On my mentioning this to
an engineer officer who accompanied me, he remarked that it was winter,
and the ground was hard, when the weather became milder, the troops
would commence digging trenches and forming breast-works.

On the north-west of the citadel, and in a commanding position stood the
Veli Pacha Tabia with fourteen guns; and to the right of this battery,
and slightly in advance of it, some earthworks had been thrown up at the
suggestion of Bloom Pacha, a German officer; here there were five guns.
The river separates these works from the Kara Kalpak Tabia, a strong
position adjoining the Kara Dagh, and defended by ten guns.

In the citadel known as the Itch Kale, and which is slightly in rear
of Bloom Pacha Tabia, and on the opposite side of the river, there were
twelve guns. To the left of Veli Pacha Tabia was a battery of thirteen
guns, known as the Tchim Tabia. Closely adjoining this battery, but more
to the west I saw the Tamar Tabia with twenty-three guns; here there was
a barrack for one battalion. Five hundred yards in rear of the Tamar
Tabia stood the Diktipe Tabia with thirteen guns; and about the same
distance behind Diktipe, covering the northern slopes, the Tachmach
Tabia with eighteen guns. On the east of Bloom Pacha Tabia there was a
work with four guns, known as Inglis Tabia; and slightly in advance of
this battery Williams Pacha Tabia with twelve guns. This made up all the
defences on the north side of Kars. Most of these redoubts had been very
much neglected; however, the town was better fortified on the northern
side than from the south. Every facility was afforded to me for viewing
the works in question, and I was permitted to take the angles between
the different positions, besides being shown the exact bearings of all
the powder-magazines.


     The garrison of Kars—Dr. Lanzoni—A probable outbreak of
     typhus—The two Pachas—Whose fault is it?—If God wills it,
     there will be no Cholera—If God wills it, the Russians will
     not come here—The hospitals full of men suffering from
     typhus fever—The International Commission—The Grand Duke
     Michael—Gumri—The Armenians and their nationality—The speech
     of the Grand Duke—The Master of the Armenian school—You
     shall go to prison—The Emperor Nicholas—Religious liberty
     granted to Armenians in Russia—The document—The Patriarch's
     death—Suspicious circumstances—Cossacks firing upon
     Mohammedans—Three children wounded—Clergymen of the Church
     of England—Hankering after the idolatrous practices of
     the Greek faith—Wolves in sheep's clothing—Colonel Lake—A
     little boy shot by the Cossacks—Russia the father of the
     fatherless—The Right Hon. R. Lowe, M.P.—The Author of _the
     Bulgarian horrors_—English officers and soldiers massacred
     in the Crimea—The Court of Inquiry—The Duke of Newcastle's
     speech—Russian officers butchering the English wounded.

There were at the time of my visit to Kars about 20,000 troops quartered
in and about the town; but large reinforcements could be sent from
Erzeroum should occasion arise for their services. Later in the day Dr.
Lanzoni, of the Quarantine, called upon me; he is an Italian, and in
the International Service. On my alluding to the state of the streets
in Kars, he remarked that he had written twice to the authorities at
Constantinople, but that no notice had been taken of his letters. "We
shall have an outbreak of typhus or plague in the summer," continued
the doctor. "The mortality will be very great, if we are besieged before
the filth is cleared away."

The civil governor entered the room. He joined in the conversation.

"It is the fault of the military Pacha," he observed. "The soldiers have
made this mess in the streets, and the military Pacha thinks that the
civilians in the town ought to clear it up. I have told him that this
work ought to be done by the troops, but he says that the soldiers are
the Padishah's servants, and that their duty is to fight, and not to be

"What have you done about the matter?" I inquired.

"We have written to Constantinople," replied the governor.

"How long does it take for a letter to go there?"

"About three weeks."

"Yes," said the doctor, "three weeks to go, and three weeks to return,
in all six weeks, without considering the delay there will be in
answering the communication. We may have the cholera here long before
that time."

"If God wills it, there will be no cholera," said the Pacha.

I interrupted him, "You are strengthening your garrison?"


"You will repair the fortifications?"


"You are supplying the troops with Martini-Peabody rifles at a great
expense to your Government?"


"Well," I continued, "why are you doing this?"

"On account of the Russians," said the Pacha, "but why do you ask me
these questions?"

"Because if God wills it, the Russians will not come here, and if He
has decreed that Kars is to fall, nothing that you can do will prevent
that event taking place."

"Then you think that armies are useless?" said the Pacha.

"No, but you would seem to hold that opinion, for you do not take the
trouble to have the streets cleared, and say, if God wills it so, that
there will be no epidemic."

"Allah is all-powerful. He knows everything that has happened and that
will happen," said the governor devoutly. "We are all dust in His sight.
If we have the cholera in Kars, it will be the military Pacha's fault."

Shortly afterwards my visitor left the room.

"I am very glad you spoke to him as you did," said the doctor. "Our
hospitals are full of men suffering from typhoid fever; more than 10
per cent. of the poor fellows do not recover. This is a case in which
the European powers ought to interfere," continued the speaker. "I am
a quarantine officer, and am paid by the International Commission. It
is my duty to prevent the cholera or any other infectious disease being
brought from the East, but these Turks are doing their best to breed
a plague in the heart of their principal fortification. Kars is only
thirty miles from Gumri," he added, "if this place were to fall, the
whole of Asia Minor would follow."

"Do the Armenians in this town like the Russians?" I now inquired.

"Not at all," said the doctor. "Only seven months ago the Grand Duke
Michael visited Gumri, the Russian frontier fortress. When he was there
he inspected the Armenian schools, and made a speech to the girls in
one of these institutions. After a few remarks about the progress they
were making, the Grand Duke concluded his discourse by addressing their
mothers in these words, 'Rappelez-vous bien que le lait avec lequel
vous nourrissez vos enfants doit être le lait Russe.' The Armenians
are immensely vain of their nationality. This speech of the Grand Duke
incensed them very much against him. The Russian prince made himself
still more unpopular a few days later," continued the doctor. "In the
course of a visit to the master of one of the Armenian schools, he
observed some pictures in the schoolroom. 'What pictures are these?' he
inquired. 'They are likenesses of some of the former kings of Armenia,'
replied the schoolmaster. 'You have no right to have any portraits here
save those of the Tzar and of the members of the Imperial family,' said
the Grand Duke, 'you shall go to prison.'"

An Armenian gentleman entered the room; he corroborated everything that
the doctor had said, and presently remarked that many years ago the
Emperor Nicholas had given the Patriarch Mateos a document in which
the Tzar granted full religious liberty to all Armenians in Russia.
"Our Patriarch kept this deed always on his person," continued the
speaker. One day he died very suddenly, and under rather suspicious
circumstances. His successor searched everywhere for the document, but
could not find it. At length he discovered a copy: he then wrote to the
authorities in Tiflis, and asked for a fresh paper. His request was
refused, and at the same time he was informed that no such religious
liberty had ever been granted to the Armenians."

"Is it true that the Russian authorities do not permit the Mohammedans
to leave the Tzar's dominion?" I now inquired.

"Yes," said the doctor; "a very few months ago a case came under my
own observation. Some Mohammedans wished to leave Russia and escape to
Turkey; as they were passing the border-line, a band of Cossacks fired
upon them. They continued their flight, but three children had been
wounded and were afterwards treated in the hospital at Kars."

As I copy the above lines from my note-book, I cannot help thinking of
some few Clergymen of the Church of England who, secretly hankering
after the superstitions attached to the Greek faith, put themselves
forward as champions of Holy Russia. But we need not be surprised. Those
people who are so deadened to a sense of right and wrong as to imagine
that they are doing God service by instilling into the ears of our wives
and children sentences from the foul pamphlet entitled "The Priest
in Absolution," can readily bring themselves to believe that killing
pregnant women,[19] and flogging Christian women and children,[20]
to make them change their religion, is justifiable on the part of
the Russian Government. Priests like these would gladly re-establish
the Inquisition in our midst. They could defend the massacres of St.
Bartholomew, if the victims had been Mohammedans; and on the seventh
day of the week they stand up in their pulpits and preach the doctrine
of peace by advocating the extermination of the Turks.

The above-mentioned way of treating Mohammedan little children is no
novelty on the part of the Tzar's soldiery. Colonel Lake, in his work,
the "Defence of Kars," remarks that, "brought up as savages from their
infancy, some of these Cossacks will not scruple to commit the most
barbarous actions. As an instance of this, on one occasion, during
the earlier period of the blockade, a party of them made a dash at a
small village by the river side called Karaba Kilissa, and though the
inhabitants offered not the slightest opposition to them, they beat
a little boy, twelve years of age, very cruelly with their whips, and
finally shot him—the ball passing through his thigh and breaking the
bone. It was heart-rending to see the poor old mother weeping over her
dying child. He was packed up in an _araba_, or country cart, and sent
down to the hospital, where he was attended by Dr. Sandwith. Every
possible care was taken of the little sufferer, but he died under the
amputation of the shattered limb.

We were told a few months ago by the Right Hon. Robert Lowe, M.P., that
Russia was the father of the fatherless; judging from the way she has
treated these Mohammedan children, it would not put her to much expense
to provide for a numerous family.

It was a goodly spectacle this Holy Russia putting herself forward last
autumn as the Champion of the Bulgarians, after she had done her best to
foment[21] the disturbances which led to the massacres in their country.
It may be refreshing to some of the believers in Muscovite philanthropy
if I recall to their recollection what took place very recently in
Central Asia.

"Kill the Turkomans, kill them all!" was General Kauffmann's order
during the Khivan campaign.

"I suppose you mean in the Circassian style," was the dry remark of an
old colonel, well acquainted with the Russian manner of making war upon
the Circassians.

"Yes; kill them all! Spare neither age nor sex! Let none escape!"

Circassian[22] pregnant women cut to pieces!—does this go for nothing
in the eyes of those gentlemen who called out for vengeance on the
Circassians in Bulgaria? Circassian children butchered by Russian
soldiery!—is this nothing to two clergymen of the Church of England, who
denounced in the strongest language an imaginary atrocity of the Turks?

Are these things nothing to the Right Hon. W. Gladstone, M.P., who,
writing last autumn about a friendly power, remarked, "What seems now
to be certain in this sense (besides the miserable daily misgovernment,
which, however, dwindles by the side of the Bulgarian horrors) are the
wholesale massacres—

     "Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
     But this most foul, strange, and unnatural!"[23]

the elaborate and refined cruelty—the only refinement of which Turkey
boasts!—the utter disregard of sex and age—the abominable and bestial
lust—and the entire and violent lawlessness which still stalks over the

Two wrongs do not make one right. This is an old saying and a true
one. The atrocities committed by the Russians in the Caucasus are no
excuse for those perpetrated by the Circassians in Bulgaria; but the
Circassians are Mohammedans, the Muscovites profess the doctrines of
Christ. Why was the author of the Bulgarian horrors silent when his
own officials reported the crimes of the Russian soldiery? We have been
told that Russia is the torch-bearer of civilization, and our military
attaché at St. Petersburg, Captain and Lt.-Col. Wellesley, has stated
that he believes the Muscovite soldiers are incapable of the atrocities
laid to their charge. Mr. Gladstone has quoted this officer as an

It may be that our military attaché is ignorant of what took place
during the Crimean war. He was a child in petticoats at the time. But
Mr. Gladstone cannot assign extreme youth in his own case as an excuse
for bad memory. He was a member of the Cabinet, and, as such, had
access to all official despatches. Let me ask him if he can remember the
circumstances under which many of our officers and soldiers met their
death at the battle of Inkerman, and when they were lying helpless on
the field? Does he know how Captain the Hon. Henry Neville, of the 3rd
battalion of Grenadier Guards, was butchered? and how Captain Sir Robert
Newman, Bart., shared the same fate? Does he know how poor Disbrowe of
the Coldstreams was tortured? _Possibly_ all these things have escaped
from his memory, but the Cabinet to which he belonged did not forget
them at the time.

A Court of Inquiry[24] was held in the Crimea. It investigated the
accusations made against the Russian troops. The proceedings of this
Court of Inquiry, accompanied by a despatch, were forwarded by Lord
Raglan to the authorities at home. In these papers will be found the
names of many British officers and privates who were proved to have been
brutally massacred—by the Russian soldiers—when imploring mercy, and
helpless owing to their wounds. Such horror was created in the minds
of some of the Cabinet, that one of its members, the War Minister, the
late Duke of Newcastle, alluded to the matter on the 12th of December,
1854, in the House of Lords, as follows. I give his own words:—

"The enemy which our men met were not content with the legitimate use
of their weapons, but had the BARBARITY, THE ATROCIOUS VILLAINY, I
HELPLESS ON THE FIELD; AND not the ignorant serfs alone did that, but
MEN HOLDING THE POSITION OF OFFICERS. Our men have had to fight the
savage and uncivilized Kaffirs, but in no instance have THEY EXPERIENCED

A number of families in Great Britain were in mourning after Inkerman.
Many old fathers and mothers thought that their sons had been killed in
fair fight. They have been deceived. The proceedings of the Court of
Inquiry were in the War Office this summer. I challenge the author of
the Bulgarian horrors to ask the Government to lay these papers, with
Lord Raglan's and Marshal Canrobert's despatches relating to them, on
the table of the House of Commons. It is to be hoped that he will do
so. The British public would then be able to judge for itself what sort
of men the Russians are, and how thoroughly Russia merits the terms—The
Torch-bearer of Civilization and the Protector of the Unprotected—which
have been applied to her by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone and the Right
Hon. Robert Lowe.


     The march to Ardahan—Molla Hassan—A Turkish major—The
     garrison of Ardahan—The position of the town—The
     fortifications—Procrastination in military matters—The
     military governor—A colonel of artillery—The Russians might
     take Van—The Ala Dagh mountains—Freemasonry—The ancient
     Assyrians—To Livana by road—By the river to Batoum—Selling
     the horses—What they fetch—A bad bargain.

I started early the following morning _en route_ for Ardahan, a Turkish
fortress about forty-two miles from Kars. The road was good for the
first three hours, but then became very bad. We rode over some mountains
covered with deep snow, and halted for the night in a small village
called Molla Hassan, inhabited by Kurds. A Turkish major had recently
inhabited the room assigned to us. He had intended remaining there for
some time; but the insects proving too much for him, he had taken up
his abode in a Turkish village near Kars.

"These Turks have thin skins," said an old Kurd, my host, as he told
me the story; "only think of their being frightened by a few fleas. You
Ingliz are much braver people."

"My Effendi is very particular about these matters," remarked Mohammed;
"if he is bitten, there will be no baksheesh."

The Kurd's face lengthened.

"I have a cart," he presently observed; "it is clean, it has been
standing in the cold. The fleas are frozen. I will drag the cart into
the road and the Frank can sleep in it."

This was done, and I managed to secure a few hours' rest, a very rare
occurrence in a Kurdish village. The track was very bad between Mollah
Hassan and Ardahan; after marching for six hours and a half, we reached
the latter place, which was at that time garrisoned by 12,000 soldiers.

Ardahan is surrounded on the north, south, and east by mountains—towards
the west there are some heights about five miles distant from the town.
The site is a bad one for defensive purposes. The roads which lead from
the Russian frontier stations, Akellaki and Akiska, present a series
of commanding positions which dominate the Turkish lines. A little
river winds through a valley on the west front of Ardahan, and finally
traverses the town. The stream is crossed by two wooden bridges without

An attempt was being made to fortify Ardahan on its western side by
throwing up some earthworks only eight hundred yards distant from the
houses. No guns had been placed in these batteries.

There were thirteen pieces in a fort on a hill called Manusa, about
3000 yards to the north of Ardahan, and in another position south of
the town on the Kars road. Here there were four small earthworks, called
Ahali, Sangher, Gaze, and Kaptamele, mounting in all twenty-four guns.
Three hundred yards to the east there was one more earthwork, called
Kaiabashe, containing eighteen guns. Fort Manusa, the strongest point
in the defences of the town, is commanded by a height called Ramazan.
The Turks had not thought of occupying this last position; although
should an enemy once succeed in placing some guns on the Ramazan height,
Ardahan must eventually be taken.

On my pointing this out to an engineer officer who accompanied me, he
acknowledged the truth of the remark, at the same time observing that,
Inshallah, when the winter was over, he would fortify the height in

Procrastination in military matters is the great defect on the part of
the Turkish authorities. But it ill becomes an Englishman to blame them.
Perhaps no country is more negligent about these subjects than our own.

"The Russians will not come, Inshallah," remarks the Mohammedan, and he
sits down and lights his pipe.

"It is extremely unlikely that Germany will invade Great Britain, or
that India will ever be attacked," says one Englishman. "It is highly
improbable that Russia will take Constantinople or the highlands in
Armenia," remarks another, "when that moment arrives it will be time
enough to go to war. We can then talk about a conscription for our army.
We have more money than any other nation, and should be stronger at the
end of a campaign than at the beginning." People who make use of these
arguments, forget that France was a very rich country; but that with all
her money and her hastily levied troops she was unable to withstand the
disciplined armies of Moltke.

The military governor was despondent as to his power of defending
Ardahan. If he could have had his own way, he would have selected
another position nearer the Russian frontier. It was now too late to do
this, and the more particularly as the Pacha believed that hostilities
would break out immediately. He had no cavalry at his disposal to bring
him information about what was going on near the border. However, 2000
Circassian horsemen were shortly expected, and wooden sheds were being
built for them close to the Kaiabashe earthworks. A colonel of artillery
called upon me: he had been educated at Woolwich. He had not been in
England for more than twenty years, but he spoke English remarkably
well. On my observing that I had heard that the Russians had lately
withdrawn their troops from Erivan, he remarked that the Muscovite
general had probably done so through fear lest the Turks should advance
upon Tiflis from Batoum.

"What would be the result if the Russians were to take Batoum?" I

"They might remain there. It would be very difficult for them to advance
inland," was the reply. "There are no roads. The Russians might take
Van," he continued; "but even if they were to do so, they would find
it very difficult to advance upon Erzeroum _viâ_ Mousch. It would be
almost impossible for them to transport their artillery over the Ala
Dagh mountains."

"Would the Kurds help the Russians?"

"The Kurds would probably join the strongest side. I have been a great
deal in the mountains, and know the Kurds well. There are freemasons
amongst them," added the Colonel. "Their freemasonry dates back from
the time of the ancient Assyrians."

I now learnt that it would be better for me to sell my horses in
Ardahan, than to take them to Batoum. The shortest route to the
last-named town was to go to Livana by road, and then down the Tschoroch
river, to the seaport in question. We could hire five horses so far as
Livana; if we were to take our own animals there, we should not be able
to dispose of them. Calling Mohammed, I desired him to go to the market
and inform any people who might wish to buy horses, that there were four
for sale.

"Five, Effendi," said Mohammed; "I shall sell mine too. When we reach
Batoum the Effendi will go to Stamboul; but I must join my battalion.
That is, unless the Effendi will take me with him."

"Impossible, Mohammed," I replied. "I shall only remain for twenty-four
hours in Constantinople, and from there go to my own country. You would
be taken up as a deserter after I had gone, and perhaps shot. What would
your wife say?"

"I could get a fresh wife at Stamboul."

"Go and sell the horses!"

A tear fell down Mohammed's cheek. He sighed deeply and left the room.

Presently Radford came to me,—

"Bless my heart, sir, if that 'ere Mohammed ain't a crying; he keeps on
saying Stamboul, and wants to go there. He says, _'et à la Franga_, meat
cooked in the European style, is nice; and that he loves my cookery!'
the fact is, sir, he don't want to go to his regiment."

A sound in the courtyard attracted my attention, I went to the window.
Mohammed was outside with the five horses; several Turks and Circassians
were looking at them. The animals had very little flesh on their bones;
but they were in much better condition for work than on the day we left
Constantinople. Mohammed's horse was in a wretched state, he was nearly
blind, from the effects of the snow. In addition to this he walked lame.

"He is a brute," observed an old Turk; "take him away, Mohammed; kill
him for his skin, make leather of it."

"His grandfather was a magnificent animal," replied Mohammed
indignantly. "His sire was the admiration of the people in Tohat. He
himself is thin, he will soon get fat again. Any how," continued my
servant, "my lord's horses are for sale; unless you first buy mine you
shall not purchase his animals."

Some conversation ensued, a farmer at last offered 10 liras for the five

"The Effendi gave 16 liras for the grey at Stamboul," remarked my

"Ardahan is not Stamboul," replied the Circassian; "the horses have
carried the Effendi a very long distance."

"This proves that they are good animals," said Mohammed.

"It shows that they were good horses," observed the Circassian drily.

No one would bid any higher, and as I was in a hurry to start, I agreed
to accept 7½ liras for my own four horses, letting Mohammed have 2½
for his own Rosinante-like steed. Seven liras and a half, or 6_l._
15_s._ is not a great price for four serviceable animals. I could have
obtained the same amount for four dead horses in London. However, my
stud had carried us for more than two thousand miles, over a country
without roads, and for the greater part of the distance through snow. I
could not complain that the animals had been dearly purchased. It cost
me a pang to part with the little grey. He was a sterling good horse,
and in England would have been worth from 60_l._ to 70_l._ The sale
was concluded. In a few minutes I was receiving from the Circassian
a pile of Turkish bank-notes, which he extracted one by one from some
hiding-place next his skin.


     Ardanusch—The Ardahan river—Shadavan scenery—Crossing the
     mountains—The roof of the world—The Tschorock river—Mohammed
     is afraid—Kismet—If a Christian is ill—Going to Paradise—Does
     a Christian send for a doctor?—A vast amphitheatre—Kale or the
     old fortress of Ardanusch—Akiska—War—The Mostaphas are to be
     called out—The road to Livana—The cayek.

We rode by several Turkish and Kurd villages in the direction of
Ardanusch. The track was firm and tolerably level. After a four hours'
march we crossed the Ardahan river on a wooden bridge about seventy
yards long by sixteen feet wide. The structure was very much out of
repair; the planks were loose in many places, here and there large
holes in the timber let us see the river below. We halted at Shadavan, a
Turkish village containing about thirty houses, and close to the water's
edge. I had intended to have made a longer march, but the hired steeds
were wretched brutes. They had shown unmistakable signs of fatigue. The
proprietor of the house in which we stopped owned large flocks of sheep,
the country round Ardahan being chiefly grazing land. He informed me
that for every thousand sheep he possessed, the tax collector took from
him the sum of thirty liras annually. There was no tax for sheep under
a year old, nor for cows and oxen.

Two hours after leaving Shadavan, the path crossed a high mountain. It
was covered with its winter garb; this fortunately was frozen hard and
afforded a firm foothold. The scenery around us became each moment more
wild; fir-trees, shaded in their cold white robes, embroider the sides
of the steep; huge rocks, their northern faces covered with snow, but
black as ebony towards the south, frown down on the glistening carpet.
The track wound higher and higher. A thick oppressive mist enveloped
us like a shroud. We were above the clouds. The air became each moment
more rarefied. We breathed with difficulty, owing to our elevation. It
seemed at last as if we had reached the roof of the earth. A plateau
lay before us.

Onward we march. Our horses struggle through the drifts. Every minute
we have to stop to let them take breath. At last the road begins to
descend; now abruptly for a few hundred yards, we slide down some
glaciers; then it dips over a succession of crests, each one lower than
its predecessor. We reach the regions of vegetation, and, continuing
for some time our descent, find that winter has been left behind us.

There were many villages in this district, fruit-trees abounded
throughout the neighbourhood. No more snow could be seen. The weather
was oppressively warm. The Tschoroch river dashed along at our feet
on its way to Batoum. Mohammed, pointing at the rapid stream, said
something to my English servant.

"What is he saying?" I inquired.

"He don't like the idea of going in a boat, sir," replied Radford. "He
is afraid that he will be drowned."

"Do you know how to swim, Mohammed?" I inquired.

"No, Effendi. Cannot we continue our journey by road to Batoum?" he
added. "The road is safe, but the water is dangerous."

"Mohammed, it may be written in your kismet that you are to be drowned."

"Perhaps, Effendi. But—"

"But what?"

"If I am to die, I would sooner end my days in a bed."

"You ought to be very glad to have the chance of dying," I now remarked.
"Only think of the many wives who are awaiting you in the next world."

Mohammed here shrugged his shoulders.

"Effendi, you are a Christian."


"Do Christians believe in a future state of happiness?"


"Do they think that their heaven will be more delightful than this


"If a Christian is ill, does he send for a hakim (physician)?"


Then added Mohammed triumphantly, "Why does he do so; he ought to be
delighted at the chance of speedily going to Paradise, and yet Effendi,
according to you, the Christian does his best to postpone the pleasure."

The track now became very bad, it led several times across the river
which was spanned by rickety wooden bridges. The may-trees were in
full blossom. The voices of a thousand songsters chirruping amidst the
branches echoed over the waters.

We enter what appears to be a vast amphitheatre. The Coliseum at Rome on
a gigantic scale lies before us. Its walls are represented by a circular
range of hills, the boxes looking down upon the arena by numerous
châlets, they jut forth from the slopes. An enormous rock faces us.
It stands out on one side of the amphitheatre, and might have been an
emperor's throne. The boxes grow larger as we ride across the arena. The
resemblance fades away. A speck appears on the crest of a neighbouring
height; bigger and bigger it becomes.

"Kale, or the old fortress of Ardanusch," says our guide, pointing to
it. Soon afterwards we put up for the night in a house belonging to the
Caimacan of the district. This official informed me that it was only an
eighteen hours' march to Akiska, the Russian frontier station. The road
to the border was a good one; artillery could be brought along it. There
were no troops in Ardanusch, and the governor was much alarmed lest the
Russians should commence the war by an attack upon his town. Whilst we
were conversing, a servant brought him a letter which had been sent on
by special messengers from Ardahan.

The Caimacan opened the envelope. "War!" he cried. "An order has
come for me to call out all the Mostaphas (the last reserve) in this
district. The Government would have never put itself to this expense
unless our Padishah had felt sure that war was inevitable."

Leaving me, the governor went out to give the necessary orders for the
execution of the Sultan's mandate.

We continued onward to Livana; the track was sometimes so narrow that
we had to ride or lead our horses in Indian file. Now we come to a place
where ten men could defend the road against an army, and then to a spot
where the path has given way altogether, and fallen into the stream
below. Our guide reins his horse backward. It is impossible to turn.
We essay another route, and presently again strike the river. A large
cayek was anchored by the bank. A man coming up to me proposed that we
should go in his boat to Batoum.

"How much money do you want for taking us there?" I inquired.

"Ten liras, Effendi."

"Go away, sheep's son!" ejaculated Mohammed indignantly; "we will ride
to Livana, which is only four hours' march from here; and then, if it
pleases the Effendi to entrust himself to a boatman, I will get a ship
for two liras—rascal that you are to ask ten liras for the hire of your
little cayek!"


     The precipice—Better to die to-morrow than to-day—Livana—The
     Caimacan—The Padishah of the United States—The Clerk—A man
     with a node on his forehead—A Christian with a hump-back—The
     cayek—The owner of the boat—The Georgians—Mohammed's alarm—The
     current—Miradet—The Mudir—A deserter.

The road took a very circuitous course as we approached Livana. We were
several hundred feet above the Tschoroch river, and could gaze down
almost perpendicularly into the abyss below. Suddenly the sound of a
shout reached our ears. We glanced in the direction of the noise.

"It is the cayek," said Mohammed eagerly. "The men are taking it to
Livana. They will next propose that we should hire it from there to
Batoum. Holy Prophet!" he continued, "how the waters roar, how near the
boat goes to the rocks! My body groans, Effendi, at the idea of going
to Batoum by water."

"You will very likely soon have to fight the Russians," I replied; "what
difference can it make if you are drowned to-morrow in the Tschoroch,
or are shot a few weeks later?"

"To-morrow is close at hand, Effendi. It would be better to die a few
weeks later; besides that, when the Russians are shooting at me, I shall
be shooting at them. I shall be frightened, but they will be frightened
too. It is very different to travel on the river. I cannot drown the
river, the river can drown me,"—and Mohammed shuddered as the cayek
darting round a neighbouring crag, suddenly disappeared from our view.

We crossed a stone bridge, which spans the Tschoroch, and began to climb
the steep hill on which Livana is built.

I stayed at the house of the Caimacan, a Georgian by birth. He was
popular with the Armenians. Several of the Christian merchants who came
to visit me spoke very highly in his praise. Formerly there had been
many robberies in the neighbourhood, but Alinihat Bey, the Caimacan, had
arrested all the robbers, every man's life and property were now secure.
I now heard, amongst other rumours, one which I had previously heard
in Persia, to the effect that the Padishah of the United States had
informed the Queen of England that if she were to join Turkey against
Russia, that he, the Padishah of the United States, would ally himself
with the Tzar. According to the Caimacan, this had restrained England
up to the present time from allying herself with the Sultan. You will
see the Pacha at Batoum," observed the speaker.


"Will you do me a favour?"


"Effendi, I have a Kateb (clerk), a good man—that fellow on the carpet.
Look how beautifully he writes! He is nice-looking, too, and we all
like him. But the Pacha, he has a Kateb. The fellow is hideous, besides
that, he has a node in the middle of his forehead. The governor wishes
to change Katebs with me. He says that he does not like a man with a
node on his forehead; I do not like this either; and to sit all day long
with a man who is so disfigured would make me very ill."

"It would make us all ill," observed the Armenians, eager to please the

"Yes," continued the latter; "Effendi, you would oblige us very much if
you will tell the Pacha that I like my Kateb, and do not wish to part
with him. A man with a node is a disgusting sight," he added.

"Very disgusting," said the Armenians—the man who spoke loudest being
a Christian with a hump-back.

In the meantime Mohammed had made an arrangement with the owner of a
large cayek to take us the following morning to Batoum, which would be
about a nine hours' journey by water from Livana. We rode down to the
bank of the river. Here, close by the bridge, was a large boat. It was
half full of firewood, which was going to Batoum. Two oarsmen sat in
the stern of the cayek, and two more in the bows. There were no rowers
in the middle of the boat; this part was filled with wood, some other
passengers, my party and self. Our fellow-travellers and the boatmen
were Georgians. A very stout old gentleman who sat behind me was arrayed
in a bright blue jacket and a large white turban; in addition to this he
carried a gigantic scarlet umbrella. A few drops of rain began to fall;
the umbrella was opened. Its happy possessor looked proudly round; he
was an object of admiration and envy to the rest of his countrymen.

The boatmen, who were clad in brown serge jackets and trowsers, had
their breasts covered with cartridge-cases, in the Circassian style.
Each man carried a long silver-mounted dagger in his waist-belt, and
a black _cufia_, a sort of head attire, was worn by them instead of a
turban. The river, which was very high, ran through the arch of the
bridge at a great pace. Mohammed's face became an ashen hue as the
captain of the cayek, loosening the cord which bound his bark to the
shore, pushed off into the boiling torrent. For the first second or
two the oarsmen could not get any command over their boat. It turned
round and round, missing, as it were, by a miracle the many rocks in
the channel.

The rowers all this time were raising wild cries to Allah. Mohammed,
who had crouched down in the bottom of the bark, was grasping Radford's
hand in a paroxysm of terror. In another moment the crew succeeded in
gaining the mastery over their craft. They steered her into the middle
of the river. The current was running like a mill-stream. We flew rather
than floated along the waters.

Numerous rocks interrupt the channel; some of them are forty and fifty
feet above the surface; others can only be detected by the foam and
surf which bubble over their dangerous peaks. The mountains on either
side of us are of igneous stone; they are covered with green bushes.
A white line winds amongst the heights; it marks the track to Batoum,
an eighteen hours' march by land, but only nine by water. We pass the
ruins of an old castle. We dart round a promontory. The scene changes.
Vineyards deck the river's banks. Oxen can be seen ploughing the
slopes above us. Many women, in bright red garments, and with white
head-dresses, follow the plough. They knock to pieces the clods of
earth with iron hoes. Waterfalls pour down the heights. The river grows
wider; it becomes more rapid every moment. The wind is rising. The chief
boatman remarks that we cannot arrive at Batoum that evening.

To reach the town it was necessary to enter the Black Sea; but to effect
this in stormy weather, and in an undecked boat, would be impossible. We
anchored for the night at the village of Miradet, four hours from Livana
by the river, but twelve by land. I obtained accommodation in the house
of the Mudir of the district. There were some cells in this building; in
one of them was a prisoner—a deserter, who had run away from the army.
There was a hearth in his dungeon, and Radford was permitted to cook
there, the deserter taking great interest in the culinary operations.


     Price of corn—Indian corn—Barley—Hardly any horses in
     the neighbourhood—Bashi Bazouks—The Persians—Bagdad—A
     passenger had been drowned—Mohammed is sea-sick—The harbour
     of Batoum—The quarantine station—The garrison—The Cossack
     outposts—Shooting Turkish soldiers—The encampment—The
     sanitary arrangements are good—The new rifle—The
     market—Money-changers—A Turkish steamer—The agent—If the Lord
     wills it—Farewell to Mohammed—His tears—Human nature—Reform
     impossible in Turkey so long as Russia keeps on intriguing—My
     fellow-passengers—The Pacha—Trebizond—Arrival in London.

I now learnt that corn is dear in this district, costing two piastres
and a half the oke. It is chiefly brought here from the neighbourhood
of Ardahan, the difficulty of transport adding enormously to the price.
Indian corn is grown in the vicinity of Livana, but it is not easy to
procure barley. This last, however, is not so much required, as there
are hardly any horses in the neighbourhood.

Just above Miradet lie the ruins of an old bridge. At this time of the
year, the only way to cross the river is in the cayeks of the peasants.
I was informed that in the summer months a horseman could ford the
Tschoroch in some places near the village. According to the Mudir, there
are iron-mines in the neighbourhood, but the inhabitants did not work

There was a battalion of infantry, Bashi Bazouks, in his village. The
men, Georgians, were magnificent fellows, much taller than the Turkish
soldiers, and with that light and elastic step which distinguishes
mountaineers. A report had just reached Miradet that the Persians were
attacking Bagdad with thirty thousand men; In the opinion of the Mudir,
this was the precursor of an immediate outbreak of hostilities between
the Sultan's forces on the one hand and Russia and Persia on the other.

We entered our cayek early the following morning. Mohammed was more
alarmed if possible, than on the previous afternoon. A passenger had
been drowned two weeks before, when going to Batoum. Mohammed had learnt
this; he now bandaged his eyes with a pocket-handkerchief.

"What are you doing that for?" I inquired.

"So as not to see the waters," replied Mohammed; "they roar, my stomach

"Tchok eyi (very nice), is it not?" suddenly remarked Radford, nudging
his fellow-servant violently in the ribs. We were in the midst of some
rapids. Two or three violent bumps announced our close proximity to the
rocks. "He will not laugh at me any more, sir, for not liking to look
down precipices. Have a hegg, Mohammed;" taking one from his own pocket,
Radford handed it to the sufferer.

We had arrived at the open sea. Mohammed removed his handkerchief from
his eyes, the motion of the cayek was different to that which he had
experienced on the river. He gazed upon the egg for an instant, and then
thrust it away indignantly; the sea and his fears were too much for him;
he leaned against the side of the boat. Radford was thoroughly revenged.

The harbour of Batoum is one of the finest in the Black Sea. Numerous
batteries mounted with heavy guns defend it on the sea side. Three large
ironclads were anchored within thirty yards of the shore, the water
being very deep.

I landed at the quarantine station, and now learnt that every house in
the town, or rather village, was crowded with troops. The doctor of the
quarantine offered me a room in the station; I gladly availed myself of
his kindness.

There were only 8000 men in Batoum itself; the remainder of the
garrison, consisting of 12,000 infantry, with some artillery, were
stationed at Tschoroch Su, a strong position about six hours from the
town, and defending the road from Poti. Mohammed's Tokat battalion was
quartered here. It was probably the point against which the Russians
would make their first attack, he was aware of that fact.

"Would you like to accompany me to Constantinople?" I asked.

"No, Effendi, not for all the money in the world will I go there. One
hour on the sea is very awful; five days would kill me. My brother,"
pointing to Radford, "is brave on the water; I am brave on the land; we
are both brave;" seizing his fellow-servant's hand, Mohammed shook it

A major on the staff called. According to him, the Cossack outposts were
in the habit of firing upon the Turkish troops. It appeared that on the
26th of March, 1877, a few Turkish soldiers were walking in the Sultan's
territory, but on the edge of the frontier-line. Some Russian soldiers
fired and shot three of them; then, fording a river, which divides the
two countries, the Cossacks carried the dead bodies and arms to the
Russian side of the border. They afterwards complained to their officer
that the Turks had crossed over on Russian soil.

"War has not been declared," I remarked.

"No," said the major; "the Russians are doing their best to make us
attack them; but we shall not do so. They shall have the whole odium of
the war, and Allah will judge between us!"

I accompanied the officer to an encampment close to the coast. The
tents had been pitched between the mouth of the Tschoroch river and the
town. Three thousand infantry soldiers were quartered in this place.
The sanitary arrangements of the camp left very little to be desired.
Everything was clean and orderly. An air of smartness prevailed amongst
the soldiers, which was refreshing to witness after what I had seen
in other parts of the empire. The men's tents were banked up with
stones to a height of three feet from the ground. Well-dug trenches
carried off the rainfall. Many of the officers lived in huts which were
surrounded by little gardens. All these battalions were armed with the
Martini-Peabody rifle. I asked some of the men how they liked their
new weapon, being curious to know if they objected to the recoil. There
was no fault found with the gun on this score. The troops were highly
pleased with the arm. They wished for nothing better than to have the
opportunity of trying it upon their quarrelsome neighbours.

We next visited the market in the town, or rather village, for Batoum
with its few hundred straggling houses does not deserve the former
title. There was hardly anything exposed for sale. A solitary sheep
was hung up in one shop. Some stale fish were lying on the counter of
another. There were several money-changers in the streets; business,
however, was slack, and these gentlemen lived by lending money on
exorbitant terms to the Turks—the usurers being many of them Armenian

A Turkish steamer was to leave Batoum that night for Constantinople.
I made inquiries as to when she would be likely to arrive at her

"In five days," said the agent at the booking-office—a most
saturnine-looking old Turk, "that is if the Lord wills it; but the Lord
may will that the vessel shall lay to in Trebizond, and return here with
troops without going to Stamboul."

Under these circumstances I determined to go in the Turkish boat as
far as Trebizond, and continue my journey in some other steamer to
Constantinople. Mohammed accompanied me on board the vessel. The moment
for parting at last arrived. The poor fellow was much affected. Some
big tears began to roll down his cheeks.

"Will you go with me to Constantinople?" I inquired.

"To the end of the world, Effendi!"

"But think how ill you will be."

"Never mind, Effendi, only let me come. It is true that my stomach sank
within me yesterday, but my heart is very full to-day; for am I not
losing my lord as well as my brother?"—seizing Radford's hand, Mohammed
wrung it heartily.

The vessel had got up steam; the deck was being cleared. Mohammed rubbed
his eyes with the back of his hand and clambered down the side of the
ship into a little boat. Several of his countrymen tried to comfort him.
He was not to be consoled. As we steamed out of the harbour, I could
still see the poor fellow straining his eyes in our direction.

"That Mohammed was not such a bad chap after all, sir," presently
remarked Radford. "Them Turks have stomachs, and like filling them they
do; but they have something in their hearts as well."

There was a great deal of truth in the observation. Those people in
England who have declared that it is impossible to reform the Turks
would do well to learn the Turkish language, and travel in the Sultan's
dominions. Human nature is everywhere much the same. There is more good
in the world than bad, or otherwise, as a French philosopher once said,
the bad would have destroyed the good, and the human race would no
longer exist. Give the Turks a good government, and Turkey would soon
take her place amidst civilized nations.

This, however, would not be pleasing to the Sultan's powerful neighbour.
Reform is impossible in Turkey so long as Russian agents[25] foment
rebellion amidst the Sultan's subjects.

One of my fellow-passengers was a Turkish doctor. He had the rank
of Pacha and was under the Army Medical Department. He had left
Constantinople with orders to visit Kars, and report to his Government
about the sanitary state of this town. On arriving at Batoum, he found
that the tracks were still covered with snow. The doctor, who was
suffering from heart disease, had determined to return to Trebizond.

"In what state is the road between Erzeroum and Kars?" he now asked.

"Probably it is covered with snow."

"Dear me," said the Pacha, "I shall wait a little at Trebizond for a
change of weather."

"You had better go to Kars as soon as possible," I remarked, "or there
will be an outbreak of fever there."

"If I travel quickly," observed the official, "I shall die of heart
disease. A little sooner or later will not make much difference to the
people in Kars. I shall be able to leave the service in a year and a
half," he continued; "if I were to hurry myself, death might carry me
off before I could enjoy my pension. Please God there will be no war.
We shall have so many cases to attend. I was at Alexinatz," he added.

"Did you have a great deal to do?"

"Yes, so few of our surgeons know anything about anatomy; dissecting a
Mohammedan is contrary to the tenets of Islam. But there were plenty of
dead Servians, and so our people practised upon them."

The following morning we arrived at Trebizond. There was a French
steamer on the point of starting for Constantinople. I had just time to
take my luggage on board of her. In a few minutes we were again steaming
ahead. Three days later, and after a most delightful passage, we
anchored in the Bosphorus. My leave of absence had nearly expired. There
would be another French vessel belonging to Les Messageries Maritimes
leaving on the morrow for Marseilles. I took our tickets on my way to
the Hôtel de Luxembourg, and eight days afterwards arrived in London.


     The journey is over—Declaration of war—Her Majesty's
     Government—An iniquitous and unnecessary step on the part of
     the Tzar—The Treaty of Paris—Its infringement—Impossible to
     foresee the consequences of such an act—Russia's contempt
     for England—England allied with Turkey—Applying the rod—A
     Conference might be held at St. Petersburg—The solemn
     assurances of the Emperor—Samarcand—Khiva—The Black Sea
     Convention—Let the Russians go to Constantinople—People
     who believe in Russian promises—A non-military power like
     England—England ought to join Turkey.

My journey was over. A few weeks after my return to London, war was
declared by Russia against Turkey. In the opinion of her Majesty's
Government, this was a most iniquitous and unnecessary step on the part
of the Tzar. Her Majesty's Government did not conceal its views about
the matter. The Earl of Derby, in a despatch to Lord A. Loftus, dated
May 1st, 1877, made use of the following expressions:—

"They (i.e. her Majesty's Government) have not concealed their feeling
that the presence of large Russian forces on the frontiers of Turkey,
menacing its safety, rendering disarmament impossible, and exciting a
feeling of apprehension and fanaticism among the Mussulman population,
constituted a material obstacle to internal pacification and reform.
They cannot believe that the entrance of these armies on Turkish soil
will alleviate the difficulty, or improve the condition of the Christian
population throughout the Sultan's dominions. But the course on which
the Russian Government has entered involves graver and more serious
considerations. It is in contravention of the stipulations of the Treaty
of Paris of March 30, 1856, by which Russia and the other signatory
Powers engaged, each on its own part, to respect the independence and
the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire. In the Conferences
of London of 1871, at the close of which the above stipulation, with
others, was again confirmed, the Russian Plenipotentiary, in common with
those of the other Powers, signed a declaration affirming it to be an
essential principle of the law of nations, that no Power can liberate
itself from the engagements of a Treaty, nor modify the stipulations
thereof, unless with the consent of the contracting parties by means
of an amicable arrangement. In taking action against Turkey on his own
part, and having recourse to arms without further consultation with his
allies, the Emperor of Russia has separated himself from the European
concert hitherto maintained, and has at the same time departed from
the rule to which he himself had solemnly recorded his consent. It is
impossible to foresee the consequences of such an act. Her Majesty's
Government would willingly have refrained from making any observations
in regard to it; but Prince Gortschakoff seems to assume, in a
declaration addressed to all the Governments of Europe, that Russia is
acting in the interest of Great Britain and that of the other Powers;
they feel bound to state, in a manner equally formal and public, that
the decision of the Russian Government is not one which can have their
concurrence or approval."

It is very clear, from this despatch, what the opinion of her Majesty's
Government was about the matter. However, neither Prince Gortschakoff
nor his august master are easily affected by verbal remonstrances.

They had shown how little they cared for treaties by their conduct after
the battle of Sedan.

"France is beaten, and who cares for England?" thought Prince
Gortschakoff: he tore up the Black Sea Convention.

His august master, animated of course with the most peaceful intentions,
wishes to destroy the Turkish Empire. Verbal remonstrances are of no
use if applied to a semi-barbarous nation. Some people can be appealed
to through their sense of right and wrong, others only through their
skins. The Russian nation has a peculiarly thick skin; for this reason
the rod ought to be a heavy one. England, allied with Turkey, and before
the latter power is crippled, could easily apply it. The Tzar might be
compelled to fulfil his solemn assurance about Khiva; Russia could be
driven out of Central Asia, and forced to relinquish her hold on the

A Conference might then be held at St. Petersburg to arrange about the
conditions of peace, and to inquire into the treatment of the United
Greek Christians. Lord Salisbury could inform Prince Gortschakoff that
some of the British nation do not approve of the Russian authorities
ordering soldiers to flog Christian women and children,[26] by way of
making them change their religion; and that others object to the Tzar's
troops killing Circassian women in the family-way.[27]

We have been told that these last-mentioned individuals were
Mohammedans, and that Prince Gortschakoff's master would have liked
to Christianize and civilize them; but at the same time, and in spite
of the assertion of a member of the late Liberal Government, that
Russia is the protector of the unprotected, our plenipotentiary might
be instructed to tell the Tzar that his soldiers should have shown
their amiable qualities in some other manner. The subject of the Teke
Turkomans, and how they were massacred—men, women, and children—during
the Khivan campaign, could also afford our representative an opportunity
for remonstrating with the Imperial Chancellor.

The latter should finally be distinctly given to understand that
Englishmen do not look upon the establishment of a Constitution and
a Parliament by the Turkish Government as an insult and defiance to
Russia, whatever the Russians may do.[28]

In the mean time, and while I pen these lines, the Tzar's armies have
crossed the Danube. They are quartered on Turkish soil. The Treaty of
Paris has been once more broken by the Russian Government. The solemn
assurances made by the Emperor have been cast to the four winds. A
climax has been put to the breaches of good faith; displayed first of
all about Samarcand; secondly, Khiva; thirdly, the Black Sea Convention
and immediately after the battle of Sedan. England has not declared war
with Russia. There are still some people amongst us who place credence
in the Russian Emperor's statement that he has no intention to interfere
with British interests. "Let the Russians go to Constantinople," is
the remark, "they will not stop there. The Tzar will dictate terms of
peace in the Sultan's capital. The Muscovite armies will return to their
own country. If the worst comes to the worst, England with her fleet
could drive out the invader." Men who argue like this do not care to
remember that Russia has broken faith with England four times in the
last ten years. Should the Sultan be forced to succumb to his foe, and
the Emperor's troops be once established in Constantinople, it would
be almost impossible for a non-military power like England to dislodge
them from the position. Whatever we might be able to do by sea would be
counter-balanced by our inability to follow up the advantage by land. It
must not be forgotten that Turkey is fighting not only for herself, but
also for the security of our Indian Empire.[29] A few millions sterling
would enable the Turkish Government to supply its soldiers with the
munitions of war.

An English contingent force of fifty thousand men could defend
Constantinople against all the Russian armies. It is to be hoped
that the Ottoman troops will do more than hold their own. But this
is doubtful. The Tzar has thrown down the gauntlet to England by
taking action on his own part against the Sultan. We should accept the
challenge, and draw our swords for Turkey.


     Stanford's Geogl Estabt, London

     London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.]



     _Lieutenant-Colonel_ MANSFIELD _to Earl_ GRANVILLE.

     _Official_ (Received Feb. 16).

     Warsaw, _January 29, 1874_.

     MY LORD,

It is with, regret that I have to report to your Lordship a renewal
of disturbances in the districts inhabited by the United Greeks in the
Governments of Siedlce and Lublin, resulting in bloodshed, loss of life,
and the MOST BARBAROUS TREATMENT inflicted on the peasants.

       *       *       *       *       *

Several months since various of the United Greek priests represented
to M. Popiel, the Administrator of the Diocese of Chelm, that the
measures of assimilation had been but partially carried out; and that
those priests who had done so were exposed to the gravest difficulties,
amounting almost to persecution, at the hands of the peasants.

M. Popiel applied to Count Tolstoi, who forwarded from St. Petersburg,
within the last few weeks, a Circular, enjoining the strictest
uniformity in the abolition of organs and benches, the disuse of the
rosary, the bell at the mass, chants in Polish, and many other details,
too numerous to be worth relation.

Such of the priests as had not, or were not prepared to execute the
recommendations of the Circular, have been ejected from their cures.
The number, however, is insignificant, as almost all had previously
acquiesced in the views of the Government, and the Nonconformists had
been eliminated.

As may be supposed, the peasants care nothing about the Synod of Zamosc,
or about the purity and usages of the Primitive Church, Oriental or
otherwise; but they have a deep-rooted veneration for the usages in
which they and their fathers have been brought up.

The operation of Count Tolstoi's Circular has been most disastrous; in
some few villages the peasants have entirely abstained from frequenting
the churches; but in many the priests have been ill-treated, one having
been stoned to death.

The aid of the police and military has been called in; in one parish
three peasants were killed and many wounded. Isolated Cossacks are
waylaid and murdered by the peasants. In some of the conflicts the
military have been roughly handled, stoned, wounded by scythes, bones
broken, and contusions, more especially among the officers.

In the district of Minciewicz, the peasants surrounded the church, and
defied the military to introduce the priest. The former, with their
wives and children, were finally mastered and surrounded, and were
given the option of signing a declaration accepting the priest; on their
refusal FIFTY BLOWS WITH THE "NAGAIKA"[30] (COSSACK WHIP) were given to
IRRESPECTIVE OF AGE OR SEX; ONE WOMAN more vehement than the rest,
receiving as much as ONE HUNDRED.

       *       *       *       *       *

     I have, &c.,
     (Signed) C. E. MANSFIELD.



     _Lieutenant-Colonel_ MANSFIELD _to the Earl of_ DERBY.

     (Received, February 22.)

     Warsaw, _January 29, 1875._


I have the honour to report to your Lordship that 52,000 United Greeks
in the Government of Siedlce have been received into the Russian
National Church.

I need not recall to your Lordship's notice, the PERSECUTION of the
UNITED GREEKS, which I have had to report for several years past, and
which, within the last twelve months, has taken a more exaggerated form.

by various means, in which PHYSICAL MALTREATMENT has formed a not
inconsiderable element.

In some parishes, THE MOST OBSTINATE having been sent to the interior
of the Empire OR SIBERIA, THE REMAINDER, finding their substance being
eaten up by the Cossacks, gave in to the pressure of the subordinate

In other districts money has been distributed, when it was seen that
the resistance was less obdurate.

In others CORPORAL MALTREATMENT was resorted to, until the peasants gave
in; but stating as they did so, that they yielded only on compulsion.

The details of the different degrees of compulsion in the various
villages would take too much space to relate; but I cite as a specimen
what I have heard, from a gentleman of whose veracity I have no reason
to doubt, of what took place in a village on his property.

The peasants were assembled and beaten by the Cossacks, until the
military surgeon stated that more would endanger life; THEY WERE THEN
CHURCH, through files of soldiers, where their names were entered in the
petitions as above, and passed out at an opposite door, the peasants
all the time crying out, "YOU MAY CALL US ORTHODOX, BUT WE REMAIN IN

       *       *       *       *       *



In an extract from the _Monde_, published in some correspondence laid
before the Houses of Parliament, I find the following remarks:—

"Russia is anxious for a second Congress, and asks all Europe to agree
to it, in order to settle certain rules of humanity to be observed
during a war, and she aspires to appear in the eyes of the world as a
civilized nation full of charity; how can we reconcile this with the
fact that this Power should be so barbarous in time of peace as regards
its peaceful subjects, whose only fault is that of remaining faithful
to the religion of their fathers?

"The cruelties that the Russian Government perpetrate against the
unhappy Catholics who are called United Greeks, are worthy of the
horrors of the time of Nero. The Province of Podlachia, the people of
which are Ruthenians, is more especially persecuted. There blood has
flown in streams for more than a year. Troops have been sent there who
behave as if they were in an enemy's country, for they live entirely at
the expense of the people, who are not rich. The soldiers are authorized
to kill for food all the cattle without exception, even the draught

"The inhabitants who remain true to their faith are delivered over to
a THOUSAND TORTURES. The commonest form is to STRIP THEM, then ONLY
THEY ARE NEARLY DEAD, as much from the effects of the blows as from
the loss of blood and the cold they suffer. They are then taken to the
ambulances. If they recover those ingenious tortures can be renewed on
them, which Russia distributes freely to those who refuse obstinately
to embrace that orthodox religion which is brought before them in so
benign and attractive a manner.

"This Polish province contains at least 300,000 United Greeks, all
under this same régime, for all are to be converted by this apostolic
proceeding. The number of unfortunates crippled by the beatings is so
great that it has been found necessary to organize many new ambulances.
They are thrown into them; but it must not be imagined that they are
cared for there. God alone is their doctor, for no trouble is taken
either to treat or feed them.

"Moreover, this same treatment is adopted for sick and wounded soldiers.
With the object of cheering them they are given a kind of soup made
of gruel of revolting half-mouldy buckwheat, in which the grains are
drowned in a quantity of hot water. In time of war THE SORES OF THE

"All this may give some idea of what is passing there, where the passion
of cruelty follows an unrestrained course, proud to be able to advertise
its unrighteous zeal in sight of those whose orders are being carried

"One is filled with grief and astonishment when one thinks of the
people exposed to tortures by Russian barbarity and wickedness. It is
a counterpart of the Chinese persecutions, which the Muscovites seem
anxious even to surpass.

"The heroism of the unhappy Podlachians is forgotten by all the world,
they are delivered up to rapine and torture, deprived of union and hope,
and bear all this with calm gentleness and perseverance; they are ready
to die, so long as it is not outside the bosom of the Church, and after
having betrayed their faith.

"What an example to all, and what a disgrace for those who, without
being exposed to such trials, have not been able to persevere!"



     _Extract from Mr._ LAYARD'S (_H.M. Ambassador at
     Constantinople_) _Despatch to the Earl of_ DERBY _dated 30th
     May, 1877_.

"Since my arrival in Constantinople my main object has been to prepare
the way for peace. I have thought that in doing so I should best carry
out the wishes and intentions of her Majesty's Government. I had this
end in view, as I informed your lordship at the time when I induced
the Porte to appeal to the Powers for their mediation under the 8th
Article of the Treaty of Paris. I had little hope that war could be
averted by this step, but it appeared to me that it might afford an
opening for the interference of those Powers in the interests of peace
on some future occasion. The opening of the war has not been quite so
favourable to Russia as she appears to have expected. The extraordinary
rise in the Danube has checked her advance on the side of Europe, and
has enabled Turkey to increase her means of resistance. Although the
Porte might, no doubt, have done more in this respect, there is no doubt
that the difficulties of the Russian campaign in Roumelia have been
much increased by the delay, and although Russia may succeed in the
end, it will probably be at a greater sacrifice than she may have at
first contemplated. The simultaneous attack on the European and Asiatic
territories of Turkey has not, therefore, led to all the results upon
which Russia apparently counted. According to information derived from
various sources it would appear that the rise in the waters of the
Danube, and the consequent floods over the surrounding country, will
render its passage very difficult, if not impossible, for three or
four weeks to come. Does not this delay afford an opening for another
effort in the interests of peace? The position of affairs is this.
Russia has succeeded in Asia, and thus she holds a material guarantee
for what she may require on behalf of the Christians of Turkey in the
shape of a province; in Europe she cannot be said to have yet succeeded,
and she will probably have to encounter a desperate resistance, and
to make vast sacrifices before she can impose her own terms upon the
Porte. Moreover, the longer the war lasts the greater the risk of
drawing other Powers in it against her. If hostilities be prolonged,
Turkey, in her despair, may have recourse to measures to embarrass
and injure Russia which may to a certain extent effect that object.
Although the rising in the Caucasus may not have the importance that
has been attributed to it, and the negotiations between the Porte and
revolutionary and national leaders may not lead to serious results,
they are undoubtedly a danger to Russia. The real intentions of Russia
would also be brought to a test by proposing to her at this moment a
mediation. If her real object is, as she asserts, the improvement of the
condition of the Christian populations, she has surely now the means
of obtaining a satisfactory guarantee for it. The Turkish Government,
it must be admitted, has already done a good deal in the direction
pointed out by the Powers at the Conference and in the Protocol of
London. It is prepared to do more, and would do more, if the war waged
against Turkey by Russia permitted it. The lesson which the Porte has
received has, no doubt, made it see the absolute necessity of complying
with the demands of Europe, without even the material guarantee which
Russia may require. If, on the other hand, Russia has the ambitious
designs generally attributed to her, and has entered upon this war
for the purposes of territorial aggrandisement, her professions of
humanity and disinterestedness can now be gauged, and her Majesty's
Government will be able, at least, to judge what her real objects and
intentions are, and how far the interests of the British Empire may
be affected or endangered by them. It must not, however, be inferred
that the Porte will be so easily induced to make peace, even were it
in extreme peril. There are some Turkish statesmen who see the dangers
which threaten their country, and who would feel the absolute necessity
of bringing the war to an end almost at any sacrifice. Whilst Russia
might desire to exact much, no Turkish Ministers could accept very hard
or humiliating conditions without risking their own lives, and even
that of the Sultan, and without exposing the Christian populations to
a massacre. I may be excused for pointing out the dangers to England
of a prolongation of the war, and of a complete subjugation of a large
part of the empire by Russia. Should Russia desire to annex at this
time any of the European provinces of Turkey, European interests would
probably be called into play, and she would be prevented from carrying
out her intentions. The influence, however, which she would inevitably
establish over these populations would be almost tantamount to absolute
possession, and would enable her to annex them, sooner or later,
when she could do so with impunity; but as regards the acquisition by
her of territory in Asia Minor the case is different. The interests
of England would then be alone concerned. IT WOULD PROBABLY SIGNIFY
IN THE COURSE OF TIME. Persia, moreover, would be placed entirely at
her mercy. The suspicion that Russia has already made secret offers to
Persia to assist her in acquiring the province of Bagdad in exchange
for Ghilan and Mazanderan may be unfounded; but the fact that it exists,
and has been entertained by persons not generally ill-informed, proves
that this consideration is not one to be altogether lost sight of. In
most cases, when the evident interests of two parties are concerned in
effecting an exchange, the exchange is sooner or later effected. The
desire of Persia to possess the province of Bagdad and the holy shrines
of their prophets and martyrs is of very ancient date, and is shared
by the whole Persian nation. On the other hand, THE POSSESSION OF THE
the case, there is every reason to believe that, when Persia finds that
the Turkish empire is threatened with dismemberment, her own interests
will get the better of any sympathy for it founded upon community of
faith, and that, completely under the control of Russia, she will not
be indisposed to agree to an arrangement which would be acceptable to
the religious feelings and to the ambition of the Persian people. The
possession by Persia of the province of Bagdad would be, as far as
England is concerned, its possession by Russia. It must not be forgotten
that the possession of Armenia by Russia, as regards any designs that
she may have upon India, supposing her to entertain them, would be very
different from that of any part of Turkestan or Central Asia. In Armenia
and the north of Persia she would have a hardy and abundant population,
affording her excellent materials for a large army, ready at any time
to advance upon our Indian frontier, and resting upon a convenient and
sure base of operations, in direct communication, by the Caspian Sea
and by Batoum, with the heart of the Russian Empire. The moral effect
of the conquest of Armenia and the annexation of Ghilan and Mazanderan
by Russia upon our Mohammedan subjects and upon the populations of
Central Asia cannot be overlooked by a statesman who attaches any value
to the retention of India as part of the British Empire. It would be
out of place to enter at length in this despatch upon the arguments in
support of what has been above stated. The great calamities which the
prolongation of the war may entail upon the various populations of this
country, Mussulman and non-Mussulman, and the vast importance to the
interests of humanity in bringing it to a speedy end, may be briefly
mentioned. It is scarcely necessary to refer to the terrible loss of
life and desolation which such a war must occasion. If the slaughter of
thousands and tens of thousands of Turks is to be justified, even those
who profess to be the most humane of men may feel some pity for their
innocent women and children, who will be left to perish in utter misery.
But the Christians may suffer scarcely less than the Mohammedans;
their homes will be rendered desolate; their lives and property will be
sacrificed to Turkish fanaticism, or to the disorder and anarchy which
the prolongation of the war will cause. The Porte, believing the very
existence of the Empire to be at stake, has already withdrawn from the
provinces even the forces absolutely necessary for the maintenance of
tranquillity and for personal security. From all sides come already
complaints of fears of disorders. In a country infinitely more
civilized than Turkey, such would probably be the case under similar
circumstances. An impartial man will be surprised that as yet there
have been so few excesses committed. The reports of our consular agents
prove that the public peace has been maintained in a very remarkable
manner. Such outrages as have occurred have been for the most part
committed by Circassians, Kurds, and other wild tribes, over which,
even in times of peace, the Government can exercise but small control.
In Bulgaria and Roumelia in general, as Mr. Blunt's despatches show,
the Mohammedan population are well disposed towards the Christians, and
their attitude towards them is, for the present, friendly and peaceful.
I am informed that the transport of the new levies of many thousands
of men from the remotest part of the empire to the armies in the field
has been effected with the greatest order. This fact has been confirmed
to me by Englishmen and others connected with railways which have been
used for conveying them. In Constantinople, notwithstanding the alarm
and panics which normally prevail in Galata and Pera, there is also
for the present perfect quiet, and there is no reason, as far as I
can judge, to anticipate any hostile movement or demonstration against
the Christians. Although the state of things in Turkey as regards the
Christians is at this time such as I have described it, yet we must not
count upon its lasting. Any serious reverses or disasters experienced
by the Turkish army in Europe, and the advance of the Russians upon the
capital, or a rising of any part of the Christian population, might be
used to provoke an outburst amongst the Mussulmans, founded rather upon
a feeling of despair than upon fanaticism, that might have the most
fatal consequences. The Emperor of Russia has declared to his people
and against its infidel enemies. If Mussulmans are once convinced that
it is a crusade against them and their religion they may, in their
agony, turn upon the Christians, and frightful massacres may ensue.
Another motive for desiring peace before Russia can completely crush
Turkey and dictate her own terms is the REPUGNANCE UNQUESTIONABLY FELT
by the most ENLIGHTENED and INTELLIGENT CHRISTIANS of all denominations
to being placed under RUSSIAN RULE OR PROTECTION, or even under her
predominant influence. I have given your lordship evidence of this fact
which I believe to be indisputable. It is shown by the encyclical of the
Greek Patriarch, transmitted to your lordship by to-day's messenger. It
is further confirmed by the remarkable statement of Dr. Washburne, whose
impartiality cannot be doubted, and who is certainly no advocate of
Turkish misrule, that of the many hundred Bulgarians who have received
an American (equivalent to an English) education at Robert College,
not one was implicated in the attempted insurrection in Bulgaria.
The English people cannot, perhaps, yet bear to hear the truth of the
events of last year; but it is my duty to state it to your lordship.
The marvellous ability shown by RUSSIA and HER AGENTS in MISLEADING
PUBLIC OPINION in England and elsewhere has been amply rewarded. It will
probably be long before that which is true can be separated from that
which is false; when history does so it will be too late. The Porte has
taken no effective means to place its case before Europe. It neither
employs the Press nor competent agents for such purposes. Its appeals to
the Powers, and the State papers that it issues, to refute the charges
against it are so prepared that they are more calculated to injure its
cause. A great portion of the English public are, probably, still under
the impression that the statements upon which the denunciations against
Turkey were originally founded are true—the 60,000 Christians outraged
and massacred; the cartloads of human heads; the crowd of women burnt
in a barn; and other similar horrors. There are persons, and amongst
them, I grieve to say, Englishmen, who boast that they invented these
stories with the object of "writing down" Turkey, to which they were
impelled by a well-known hand. People in England will scarcely believe
that the most accurate and complete inquiries into the events of last
year in Bulgaria now reduce the total number of deaths to about 3500
souls, including the Turks who were, in the first instance, slain by
the Christians. No impartial man can now deny that a RISING of the
CHRISTIANS, which was intended by its authors to lead to a GENERAL
MASSACRE of the MOHAMMEDANS, was in contemplation, and that it was
directed by RUSSIAN and PANSLAVIST AGENTS. The panic that it created
amongst the Mohammedans was the cause of the frightful vengeance they
took. The great mass of the Bulgarians did not join in the movement, but
were, on the contrary, opposed to it, and took no part in it. The Porte
dealt with the insurgents, and those whom they suspected of being their
accomplices, in a foolish and barbarous manner. The agents it employed
in putting down the incipient insurrection were, for the most part,
ignorant, corrupt, and brutal men. The Turkish Government has justly
been held responsible for their acts, especially as it has refused to
punish with condign severity those who committed horrible outrages; and
whether the number of the killed was 60,000 or 3000 the guilt of the
Porte is the same. It must not, however, be assumed that the condition
of the Bulgarians under the rule of the Sultan was as bad as the enemies
of Turkey desire to make it appear. That the administration was vicious
and corrupt, and that the Christians of all denominations were unjustly
treated, and were not placed on that equality with their Mussulman
fellow-subjects to which they have a right, are admitted facts. But
nevertheless they have made great progress of late years in material
prosperity, education, and wealth. Englishmen who have been engaged
in works of charity amongst them, and who were certainly very far from
having any prejudice in favour of the Turks when they first came out to
Turkey, have told me that they have seen with surprise the condition
of the Bulgarian villages and the general comfort and prosperity of
their inhabitants, and have learnt with equal surprise how little they
had really to complain of before a secret agency excited the hopes and
passions which brought about the lamentable events of last year. The
Christian populations of Turkey, or rather it may perhaps be said those
who, by their knowledge and intelligence, are capable of representing
them, are convinced that under the Turkish rule they have a far better
chance of carrying out their national aspirations, of retaining their
national faith, and developing their political freedom than under that
of Russia. They believe that the pressure recently brought to bear upon
the Porte by the European Powers, and the lesson which the Turkish
Government has received, will contribute to these objects. They are
encouraged by the unexpected success of a Turkish Parliament, in which
they find that they can freely express their opinions and expose their
grievances. They knew that the unchecked success of Russia would at
once lead to the destruction of this germ of future liberty and good
government. I believe that they are right. A Russian gentleman observed
HER. Their existence would alone furnish us with a sufficient reason
to make war upon Turkey. We will never consent to be the only Power
left in Europe without constitutional institutions, and as we are not
yet prepared for them, we cannot, it is evident, allow Turkey to have
them.' What I have ventured to write in this despatch is, I can assure
your lordship, founded upon no preconceived ideas with regard to this
country, but upon the information that I have obtained in free and
unrestrained conversation with men of all classes, conditions, and
religions. Not a day has passed since I have been here that I have
not seen many such persons. Some have come to me of their own accord;
others, who may have believed that their views would not be palatable to
me and have kept away, I have invited to call upon me. I believe that
the considerations which I have ventured to place before your lordship
will be of considerable importance in the event of the mediation of
her Majesty's Government and other Powers being accepted by Turkey and
Russia. I must apologize to your lordship for stating them thus frankly.
The vast and vital interests at stake in this war, and the confidence
which her Majesty's Government have placed in me could alone justify me
in doing so."

In a despatch to the Earl of Derby, dated May 23rd, Mr. Layard says,—

"I have had a visit from the Servian agent, M. Christich, who showed me
a telegram which he had just received from the Servian Prime Minister,
and had communicated this morning to Safvet Pasha. In it M. Ristics gave
contemplate ANY ATTACK upon Turkey; and that, so far from any troops
having been concentrated on the Turkish frontier with this object,
'there was not in the whole principality a band of more than five
men together.' M. Christich said that the Grand Vizier had informed
him that the Porte had received information that Russian troops were
beginning to arrive at Turn Severin, opposite Gladova, exactly where the
Russian volunteers had crossed last year into Servia, and that there
are therefore strong grounds for suspecting that, notwithstanding the
assurances given by Russia to Austria, she intended to pass an army into
Servia. M. Christich added that he had assured the Grand Vizier that
the Servian Government had no reason whatever to believe that Russia
intended to cross the Danube into Servia; but that, on the contrary,
they were convinced that she had no such intention. I thought the
opportunity a good one to speak to M. Christich of the great danger that
Prince Milan was running if he were to plunge the Principality again
into war; and I hinted to him that his Highness might have to deal with
Austria as well as Russia."

In a despatch to Lord Derby, dated from St. Petersburg on the 31st of
May, Lord A. Loftus, the British Ambassador, gives an account of an
interview he had with Prince Gortschakoff prior to his departure for
the seat of war:—

"His Highness," says Lord A. Loftus, "expressed his conviction that
the interests of the two countries in the East ought not to clash (_se
heurter_), and his hope and expectation that the note of which Count
Schouvaloff was the bearer would be satisfactory to her Majesty's
Government. I inquired of his Highness in what light the Imperial
Government regarded the declaration of independence by Roumania. Prince
Gortschakoff replied that he regarded it as a _fait accompli de facto_,
but not _de jure_. It was a question which could only be treated later,
in conjunction with the European Powers. His Highness believed that the
Austrian Cabinet took a similar view of it. In regard to Servia, Prince
Gortschakoff stated that Prince Milan and the Servian Government had
expressed their readiness in the present conjuncture to act according to
the (_volonté_) wish of the Emperor, and that it had been signified to
them in very decided terms that the EMPEROR'S WISH[32] was that SERVIA
should remain PERFECTLY PASSIVE. Prince Gortschakoff was unable to say
what would be the probable duration of the Emperor's absence, but I
am told that in the official and court circles it is expected that his
absence will not exceed six weeks."


In a despatch, bearing the date of June 2nd, and addressed to the
Earl of Derby, Mr. Layard gives an account of his visit to the Turkish
Chamber of Deputies. He says,—

"At the time of my visit the Chamber was discussing a bill concerning
municipal taxation. I may state, with confidence, and with some
experience of the House of Commons, that I never saw a debate carried
on with more order and propriety. Members may either speak from their
seats or from a tribune, after the French fashion. With the exception of
one individual, a Greek, they addressed the speaker or president from
their places. Their speeches were short and to the point. Each article
of the bill before them was discussed, explanations were demanded
of the representatives of the department of the Government that had
submitted the law to the Parliament, and were at once given. It was then
put to the vote, and was passed without a division. Each deputy had a
copy of the bill before him, and followed with the greatest interest
and attention the discussion. I did not observe one exception. Once,
during my presence, there was a little expression of dissatisfaction
in the house. The exceptional Greek, to whom I have alluded, went
into the tribune with a bundle of papers, and began to read a speech
which threatened to last for an indefinite time. It related to the
history of Turkey in general, and especially to the grievances of
the Christians. The president once or twice represented to him that,
although his speech might properly be delivered on a suitable occasion,
it had nothing to do with the question in discussion, which referred
to a matter of detail of local administration. The deputy, however,
persisted, and at last the house, becoming impatient, called upon him to
comply with the regulations, to obey the president, and to come down.
This he was at last obliged to do. In the English House of Commons the
speaker would certainly not have allowed him to go on as long as he
did. No public assembly of the kind in Europe could perhaps show a more
respectable, intelligent, and dignified body of men than the present
Turkish Parliament. Christians and Mussulmans from all parts of the
empire, even an Arab with his half-Bedouin dress, are seated without
distinction together. Among the Mohammedans there are many mollahs, or
teachers of the Koran, in their white turbans. The Christian speakers,
who predominated the day that I was present, were listened to without
any sign of impatience. They spoke with the most complete freedom, and
without any restraint. The president rarely interfered, except to point
out to a deputy that he was wandering from the question in debate. It
must be borne in mind that this was the first attempt to bring together
in a popular assembly men from all parts of the empire, Mussulmans
and Christians, who were entirely ignorant of the duties they had to
perform, and of the way to perform them. Had they not been directed
and controlled at first by a strong hand there would have been general
confusion, and the experiment would probably have failed. I know no man
in Turkey so competent to be their president as Achmet Vefyk Pasha,
from his knowledge, his honesty, and his determination and vigour of
character. It is surprising, considering the materials with which he
had to deal, that he has succeeded so soon in bringing the house into
an orderly and business-like assembly. For some months there have been
no complaints, even on the part of those who have done their best to
discredit the Turkish Parliament, that the president has unnecessarily
interfered in its discussions, or has in any way restrained the perfect
freedom of debate. If there be any cause of complaint it is perhaps in
the opposite direction."




     The following is a despatch from Sir H. ELLIOTT to the Earl
     of DERBY on this subject:—

     Constantinople, February 14th, 1876.

MY LORD,—The account of the encouragement and countenance given to the
insurgents at Ragusa greatly exceeds all that I was prepared for.

Their correspondence is sent to the CONSUL, who is a PARTY to all their

He does not appear to make an attempt to conceal the part he is playing,
for on the occasion of the death of the Chief Maxime, in one of the late
encounters, the Russian flag at the consulate was hoisted at half mast,
and M. Jonine himself joined the funeral procession.

With such acts as these it is not surprising that the insurgents should
suppose their attempt to be fully APPROVED BY THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT,
for they can hardly be expected to believe that an ACCREDITED AGENT
would venture upon them without knowing that it meets with the APPROVAL

Some of the wounded, when asked why they continue to struggle when the
Porte is ready to grant all their demands, have answered plainly that

The assurances given at St. Petersburg of the wish of the Imperial
Government that the insurgents would lay down their arms must naturally
go for nothing as long as its OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE, with whom they
are in communication, ENCOURAGES THEM TO GO ON.

     I have, &c.,
     (Signed) HENRY ELLIOTT.




     _Consul_ READE _to Mr._ LAYARD.

     Shumla, July 23rd, 1877.

SIR,—Having on my arrival here heard that a number of Mussulman men,
women, and children, said to have been attacked and wounded by Russian
troops, were lying here, I obtained permission to see them.

I have the honour to inclose a list of those whom I saw, and who were
lying in a "teke," a Dervish mosque, and apparently well cared for. I
saw most of their wounds, and spoke to them.

Several of the elder ones gave very clear accounts of what had occurred
to them (as they all said) by horsemen carrying lances, and many of them
stated that they were attacked in the long grass where they were hiding
themselves. One poor infant, of about nine months, had two frightful
gashes on the head and had one toe cut off.

Most of them had lance-thrusts about their bodies; some, sabre-cuts. I
saw them one by one, and a more sickening spectacle I seldom witnessed,
not only from the nature of the wounds, but also from the youth and
simplicity of the younger ones.

As regards the rumour that any of these attacks were committed by
Bulgarians, I am able to state that, according to those I saw, not
one such case has occurred. I asked all the sufferers one by one,
separately, if they had been maltreated by any Bulgarian Christian, or
if they had heard of any such case: they one and all said not.

From what all asserted, these cruelties can only be attributed to
Cossacks, as the perpetrators were all described as "horsemen with

The number of these victims is increasing, as others are brought in
daily; and from what those I saw said, a considerable number must have
been killed on the spot.

     I have, &c.,

     (Signed) R. READE.

     _List of Wounded Women and Children lying in the Teké, or
     Dervish Mosque, at Shumla, and visited by Consul Reade._

1. Habibe: a woman aged 25 years. Wounded in the back by a lance.

2. Mehamed: a boy aged 7 years. Wounded in the left thigh by a lance.
Son of No. 1.

3. Ibrahim: a boy aged 5 years. Wounded on the right thigh by a lance:
also son of No. 1.

4. Hava: a woman aged 25 years. Lance-wound on the head.

5. Aishé: a woman aged 30 years. Arm and head wound by a sabre; a
lance-wound on the breast.

6. Mehemet: a boy aged 6 years. Stomach pierced by a lance. Son of No. 5.

7. Anfe: a woman aged 24. Four sabre-cuts on the head, three
lance-thrusts on left leg, one on right shoulder, and one on right
thigh. Sabre-cut on right hand.

8. Nazifé: a girl aged 15. Sabre-cuts on breast and back; lance-thrust
on right foot and right thigh.

9. Mustapha: an infant of about 9 months of age. Top of head frightfully
lacerated by a sabre. Toe of right foot cut off. This was a sickening

10. Féridé: a woman aged 55 years. Right shoulder wounded by lance.
Right hand cut off. Lance-wound on back.

11. Eminé: a girl aged 9 years. Three sabre-cuts on head and one on back.

12. Muzcié: a girl aged 12 years. Trampled upon by a horse and severely

13. Féridé: a woman aged 40 years. Lance-wound on back.

14. Mustafa: a boy aged 9 years. Lance-wound on left leg. Son of No. 13.

15. Fatmé: a girl aged 12 years. Right thigh wounded by lance. Daughter
of No. 13.

16. Gursun: a woman aged 32 years. Lance-wound on back.

17. Aishé: a girl aged 7 years. Lance-wound on head.

18. Abrahim: a boy aged 9 years. Sabre-cut on head. Lance-wounds on
forehead and thigh.

     (Signed) R. READE.
     Shumla, July 22nd, 1877.



     _Consul_ DICKSON _to Earl_ RUSSELL.—(_Received May 17th._)


     Soukoum Kalé, March 17th, 1864.

I feel it a painful duty to report a deed that has come to my knowledge,
which has so exasperated the Circassians as to excite them to further
resistance, however desperate their case may be.

A Russian detachment having captured the village of Toobeh on the
Soobashi River, inhabited by about 100 Abadzekhs, and after these
had surrendered themselves prisoners, they were all massacred by the
OF PREGNANCY, AND FIVE CHILDREN. The detachment in question belongs to
Count Evdokimoff's army, and is said to have advanced from the Pshish

As the Russian troops gain ground on the coast, the natives are not
allowed to remain there on any terms, but are compelled either to
transfer themselves to the plains of the Kouban, or emigrate to Turkey.



     _Sir_ H. BULWER _to Earl_ RUSSELL.—(_Received May 20th._)


     Constantinople, May 3rd, 1864.

You are aware of the large and sudden immigration of Circassians into
the Ottoman dominions.

The Russian Government has now acquired the territory of that brave and
devoted race, who have only prized one thing more than country—liberty,
or at least the life which is free from the domination of a foreign foe.
They are flying the shores immortalized by their defence and seeking an
asylum in a neighbouring Empire. In short, Circassia is gone; what yet





Our most humble Petition to Her Magnificent Majesty the Queen and
Emperor of England is to the effect that—

It is now more than eighty years since the Russian Government is
unlawfully striving to subdue and annex to its dominions Circassia,
which since the creation of the world has been our home and our country.
It slaughters like sheep the children, helpless women, and old men that
fall into its hands. It rolls about their heads with the bayonet like
melons, and there is no act of oppression or cruelty which is beyond the
pale of civilization and humanity, and which defies description, that
it has not committed. We have not, from father to son, at the cost of
our lives and properties, refrained from opposing the tyrannical acts
of that Government in defence of our country, which is dearer to us
than our lives. But during the last year or two it has taken advantage
of a famine caused by a drought with which the Almighty visited us, as
well as by its own ravages, and it has occasioned us great distress by
its severe attacks by sea and land. Many are the lives which have been
lost in battle, from hunger in the mountains, from destitution on the
sea-coast, and from want of skill at sea.


But if it is not possible to afford this help for the preservation
of our country and race, then we pray to be afforded facilities for
removing to a place of safety our helpless and miserable children and
women that are perishing by the brutal attacks of the enemy as well as
by the effects of famine; and if neither of these two requests are taken
into consideration, and if in our helpless condition we are utterly
annihilated notwithstanding our appeals to the mercy and grace of the
Governments, then we shall not cease to invoke our right in the presence
of the Lord of the Universe, of Him who has confided to your Majesty
sovereignty, strength, and power for the purpose of protecting the weak.

We beg your Excellency to be the medium of making known to the great
British Government and to the glorious British nation our condition
of helplessness and misery, and we have therefore ventured to present
to your Excellency our most humble petition. A copy of it has been
submitted to the Sultan's Government and to the Embassies of the other

     Signed by the people of Circassia.
     April 9th, 1864.     29 Sheval, 1280.



We, the undersigned, having been sent from the people of the Nectouage
and Abaseck, and further commissioned on their behalf by the Deputies
of the other tribes of Circassia assembled at Constantinople, to carry
to the Sovereigns and to the people of England and France the appeal
of our nation, and to speak for our nation, and after that appeal has
been rejected by the Governments of France and of England, and we have
presented ourselves before various assemblies of the English people,
from whom we have heard kind words, it has then been told to us that
there are, among the English people, some who say that we are subjects
of the Emperor of Russia, and others who say that in the time of the
war in the Crimea the generals of England and France sent to us to
require troops to aid them in the war, and that we refused to give
such troops, and therefore it is not proper now for England to help us
in our distress, or to resist Russia in her violence and aggressions.
Therefore, we now say that the words so spoken against us are not true
words, but false ones, and we further declare that any one who charges
us with such things privately, and who does not bring them forward in
such a manner that all shall hear and all shall judge, commits an act
not worthy of an honest man, and ought not to be listened to by honest

It is easy for us to declare that we are a free people, over whom no
king or emperor, or government, has had any power or authority since
the world began, or as far back as the memory of man can reach, but we
do not do so; we only ask what proof those can adduce who say to the
contrary? Let those persons show who the king is who has conquered our
country; let him tell what taxes the Circassian people has paid, or what
troops have been raised amongst our tribes for the service of a foreign
master. This is what no man can tell.

So also let our accusers bring forth the letters, or repeat the words,
by which any request for aid was made to us in the time of the war in
the Crimea, and then let him produce the answer given by us, refusing
that aid or succour, and when he has done so then he may say that we
did refuse to join the Allies, but not till then; but no such letter
can be produced, and if such demand and such answer would be produced,
it would not on that account follow that the injustice of Russia should
become justice, that the danger from Russia should become security, or
that the taking possession of the Black Sea by the cruisers of Russia,
to interrupt all communication and all traffic, and so to make a war
with England as well as Circassia, should become honourable and safe to
the British nation.

The Circassians are a very small and weak people; they have no money,
they pay no taxes, they have no government, they have no newspapers,
they are ignorant; but this they do know, that many years Russia has
been fighting against them, and that the thousands of men she loses in
fighting every year, and the great treasure she expends every year, is
not for the sake of Circassia. All our mountains, from the Black Sea
to the Caspian, would not be worth to Russia, if she possessed them, so
much as she expends on trying to conquer them in one year of the forty
years she has been endeavouring to conquer them.

We therefore know that she is expending her army and her treasure, not
because she wants Circassia, but because she wants India and the Ottoman
Empire; and, therefore, do we say to ourselves, it is because of Turkey
and England that we have to fight night and day, that our cattle are
carried off, that our houses are burnt, and that our young men have to
die, and our old ones and children and women to perish. Why do the Turks
and the English not help us; why are they the friends of the Russians?

We will now tell that which happened in the Crimean War.

It was in the year of your era 1854 that you drew your sword against
Russia; before then that sword was in the scabbard, but our sword has
never been in the scabbard; peace there never had been between the
Circassians and Russians, and for thirty-three years there had been
fierce wars. It was at the end of that time that the great nations of
Europe went to make war. When we heard this we were very happy, and
thought that the time was come when we might take breath: for we have
not only to fight but also to live; but it is very hard for us to live
when we have always to fight. We said to ourselves, The great nations
in whose hands Russia is nothing, are going to stop her and give peace.
Now we can plough our fields, and pasture our flocks, and rest from our
long sufferings. Yet many amongst us got ready to help, and when the
Russian troops that lay all along from Anapa to Soukum Kaleh withdrew
and collected together, and retired north, we also on our part followed
them; but when they crossed the Kouban they did not retire further, but
stopped there, and they were in great force, being tens of thousands
on one bank of the river and we on the other, so that neither ventured
across to attack. We could not go across whilst they were so posted,
but when they saw us ready, neither could they retire so as to go to
the Crimea.

Now, every day we expected that some of the Allies would appear behind
them and enable us to do something to destroy them; but none came, nor
did they send us any succour by the sea; and then we saw there was no
aid for us. So it was at the end as at the beginning, and the Allies
went away, and, as before, we remained the only enemies of Russia. But
it was not by sending our horsemen into the steppes of Russia or into
the Crimea that anything could be done to make Russia less powerful or
give to us security after the peace.

The Lesghians on the east held a body of 50,000 men ready to fall on
Tiflis, so soon as word should be sent by the generals of the English
or French, or from Constantinople. The people of our coast knew very
well that what they had to do was to crush the Russian armies in the
south of the Caucasus, and to restore the people of Georgia, Gouriel,
and Imerettia to independence. This was the help they looked for in the
war which England and France was making against Russia.

At various times, to the number of seven or eight, on news arriving
of envoys sent to us, assemblies were called among the Shapsug and
Nectouage to be ready to hear without delay their proposals, so that if
any such envoy had come to concert measures with us, such as that above
described, and which should be within our power to attempt and for our
benefit to achieve, 25,000 horsemen from these tribes alone would have
been ready to take the field in a week. Our assemblies met and waited
in vain; no envoys came; and they dispersed with heavy hearts.

Then it was that we considered what we ourselves could do, and as the
Turkish commander in Kars sent no word to us, we determined to send
word to him; and thereupon an envoy was sent, namely, one of the two
undersigned now present in London, Hadji Hassan by name, to offer to
Selim Pasha the co-operation of the forces of the Circassians, so that
whilst we descended from the north they might march from the south, and
thus crush the Russian power in Georgia, rescuing a Christian people
from a barbarous yoke.

This envoy could only reach the Turkish camp by passing through
the Black Sea in a boat with four oars, and had great difficulty in
escaping the Russian cruisers. He reached Batun, and then proceeded to
the Turkish quarters at Uzurget, twenty hours from Kars. The Turkish
commander was glad to hear his tidings, and the plans were being
prepared for the campaign, when a messenger arrived from Constantinople.
The Pasha read the despatch which he had received; he did not say what
it contained, but with tears in his eyes exclaimed, "We are betrayed!"
The Circassian envoy understood that the Governments of France and
England would not allow the Russians to be attacked where they could be
really injured, so he returned to his own country. After the Russian
army had been thus saved from destruction, Kars itself became their

Whilst the war was going on in the Crimea, various Turks came from
Constantinople; they called themselves envoys, and every one had a
different story; but they never came amongst the Circassians, they all
stayed at Anapa and Soukum Kaleh, the posts abandoned by the Russians.

There also came from the English and French, consuls and envoys, and
captains of ships, and they also said one one thing and another another;
one saying that he had authority, and another saying he had authority;
and then they talked to the Turks, and the Turks talked to them, but
never came to the Circassians, but, like the Turks, remained at Anapa
and Soukum Kaleh; whilst we were looking for men to propose to our
tribes measures of war, and to bring from their countless hosts troops,
artillery, and ammunition, to help in the war we were waging against
Russia, and had been waging for generations past.

We have since heard that at Anapa and Soukum Kaleh many conversations
took place; we have heard that between the Europeans and the Turks,
and some Circassians, men who have no authority to act on behalf of
the people, that it was said that the European generals wanted a large
army of Circassians to leave their country to embark on the sea, and
fight in the Crimea. Such things could never have been spoken in an
assembly of Circassians, for the long time which they have resisted
Russia shows that they are men who know how war is to be made. If such
things had been proposed in an assembly of Circassians, our people
would have answered, "That is not the way to injure Russia, that is
not the way to protect Circassia, that is the way only to destroy your
own armies." But such proposals were never made to us, for we are a
free people, and nothing is done in secret. We have no Minister as the
people of England have. Our warriors fight, not because they are paid,
but because they have hearts, and when anything is proposed to us then
a meeting must be held. Messengers go forth, and many thousand people
are collected together, sometimes 5000 and sometimes 20,000, and they
give ear to what is said to them, and when they have understood it, they
appoint twenty or thirty of the wise men and elders who consult apart,
and after that tell the people, and it is only when the people say Yes
to what is consulted that the answer is given. Then all are willing
to do what all have understood and all consented to. But amongst our
people there is not one who would have consented to go to the Crimea,
while every man would have been ready to march on Tiflis and save
Kars. So that it appears to us that no message came from the French
and English commanders to attack Tiflis for the same reason that the
Russians remained on the Kouban instead of retiring into the Crimea. If
our troops had not been detained on the Kouban we ourselves would have
attacked Tiflis without the aid of the Allies or the co-operation of
the Turks.

We have also learnt that when the envoys of England and France at Anapa
and Soukum Kaleh said that we should send our forces to the Crimea, the
Turkish envoys and other persons replied to them that such proposals
could not be made unless the Allies engaged to secure our independence
at a peace, and that this was the first word that had to be spoken on
the matter; but these envoys would not allow such a word to be spoken
either first or last.

Now what advantage have we gained from this war in the Crimea? That war
is over seven years ago, and we have been fighting ever since!

the undersigned been taken by the Russian vessels in coming to England,
we should have been sent to the mines of Siberia, and we know that we
the undersigned, are in all cases devoted to death because we have come


pay none of the expenses, and YOU ONLY DEPRIVED THE TURKS OF THEIR

THE POLES did go to the Crimea, and WHAT BENEFIT did THEY GET FROM THAT

Did we too not help you? Did we not keep in check 100,000 men? Is Russia
not sore and weak by the many years she has been fighting with us? If
we did not prefer independence to slavery, would not 100,000 of our men
be in her ranks? If we were not engaged in defending our country, would
not the Russian frontiers be at Batun?

ends are gained it will be too late to get aid from us. If you do not
give us to-day a favourable reply, we must go back to our people and
tell them that the English people are joined with Russia, so that what
Russia could not effect by her arms some people in England will have
effected by their calumnies.

All these things we tell you. If you wish to be sure of the truth,
make an assembly, as we do, and we will prove them. If you make no such
assembly, you have no right to say them. From Europe or from England no
help has come to us. We have heard that if there was justice to be found
it was in England; we came then to England, weak and poor, expecting to
find justice from you.

     (Signed)      HADJI HAYDEN HASSAN.
                   KUSTAR OGLI ISMAEL.



     _Bishop of the Western Diocese of New York_.

     Trump of the Lord, I hear it blow;
     Forward the cross; the world shall know
     Jehovah's arm's against the foe.
     Down shall the cursed crescent go.
       To arms! To arms!
                 God wills it so.

     God help the Russians—God bless the Czar,
     Shame on the swords that trade can mar,
     Shame on the laggards, faint and far,
     That rise not to the holy war.
       To arms! To arms!
                 The Cross and Czar.

     How long, O Lord, for Thou art just,
     Vengeance is Thine, in Thee we trust
     Wake, arm of God, and dash to dust
     Those hordes of rapine and of lust.
       To arms! To arms!
                 Wake swords that rust.

     Forward the Cross. Break, clouds of Ire,
     Break with the thunder and the fire,
     To new Crusades let Faith inspire,
     Down with the crescent to the mire.
       To arms! To arms!
                 To vengeance dire.

     _The Bishop answered by Mr. W. Croffut._

     Thou Man of God, who thus implore
     Thy brother's sacred blood to pour
     In hateful tides of turbid gore,
     From Dardanelles to Danube's shore.
       Be still! Be still!
                 Blaspheme no more.

     God help the babes, God bless the wives;
     Shame on the priests that whet the knives,
     Shame on the Church whose altar thrives
     By wrecking peaceful peasants' lives.
       Be still! Be still!
                 'Tis hell that drives.

     How long, O Lord, before Thy shrine
     Shall men pray Vengeance, God, is Thine,
     Then worship Moloch as divine,
     And drink the battle's bloody wine?
       Be still! Be still!
                 O heart of mine.





_Christians._—The different sects into which the Christians are divided
in the Erzeroum Vilayet are:—

     Gregorian Armenians         287,700
     Nestorians                  110,000
     Armenian Catholics            8,000
     Orthodox Greeks               4,000
     Protestants (natives)         1,300
                Total            411,000

_Armenians._—The advice and ostentatious leaning towards Russia of the
Armenian clergy in my district, headed by the Catholicas residing at
Etchmiazin in Russia, and his bishops in these parts, have naturally
enough inclined the more ignorant members of their flocks—rich and
poor—to adopt the same views; and considering also that a whole
Christian house of ten souls in Russia pays only, for all taxes, 9
roubles (1_l._ 10_s._) annually as against three times the sum here, if
there has not been a general emigration, it is simply owing to the fact
that disposable arable lands in Russian Armenia are scarce, while the
reverse prevails in Turkey.

Everywhere throughout these districts I found the Armenians bitter in
their complaints against the Turkish Government, at the same time that
they were unreserved in their praises of Russia, openly avowing their
determination to emigrate. This bias is owing, as already stated, to the
constant hostile teaching of their clergy; at the same time, ample cause
for discontent, as has already been shown further back, is afforded
by the really wretched system of Turkish provincial administration,
the unequal imposition of taxes, scandalous method of levying them
and the tithes, persistent denial or miscarriage of justice, and
practical disavowal of the Christians' claim to be treated with the same
consideration and respect as their equals among Moslems. But experience
has taught me that which candour and strict impartiality compel me
to state, that the subordinate officers of the local Government are
aided and abetted in their disgraceful proceedings or encouraged in
persistent indifference to crying wrongs, as well by the criminal
assistance as wilful apathy or silence of the Armenian Medjliss members,
ostensibly elected by the suffrages of their co-religionists to guard
their interests. Unfortunately, then, as the evil lies as much with
the Christians as the Turks, under existing regulations there is no
remedy for it, and there can be none till the local authorities really
see for themselves that the Porte's orders are really carried out and
to open the way for the introduction of a higher class of people for
such employments. As it is, no man of wealth, influence, or character
will accept a seat in any one of the Councils; he will not waste time
in attending to official duties in a place where he has to put up with
the contumely and impertinent insults of the Moslem members, all which
are patiently borne by the fawning and obsequious Christians whose
living depends upon this appointment. And even were a man of character
and ability to accept a nomination at the hands of his community, the
Pasha, with whom in fact the fate of such elections lie, as he has
the power of rejection, would always prefer a needy, pliant member to
one whose riches and position would place him beyond the reach of his
menaces or influence. The interests of the community are consequently
entrusted to speculators accustomed to the atmosphere of the Serai in
their capacity of revenue farmers or Seraffs, who in such positions
have, in addition to their own disgusting servility, all the chicanery
and vices of Turkish officials—acquired a dangerous influence, either
as the partners or creditors of the chief provincial officers. Such an
influence might be meritorious and useful if exercised in the interests
of justice and duty, but it becomes a downright evil when practised,
as it always is, for their own benefit or that of their partners in
corruption, and scarcely ever for their brethren. The claims of the
poor are either neglected or betrayed, and those of the rich depend
upon the amount of their presents or degree of their sycophancy. The
Armenian clergy and head men, on their part, purposely ignoring the
villanous conduct of their Medjliss members representing the repeated
failures of justice that inevitably result as due to the fanaticism
or imbecility of a Government determined to ignore all just claims,
exaggerate actual facts; the more readily to induce their dependents to
adopt the disloyal views they propagate. As they pursue such intrigues,
apparently unchecked and with the secret approval of Russian agents,
wavering members, formerly content with or resigned to their lot, openly
express disaffection and traitorous ideas.



Millingen remarks in "Wild Life amongst the Koords"—Amongst the many
acts of brigandage of which the Koords are guilty—a peculiar kind of
highway robbery must here be stated, which is probably unparalleled.
The culprits, the brigands, are in this case young women, who set out
on plundering pursuits in order to turn a dishonest penny. A troop of
fair bandits take up a station at the side of a road, there patiently to
await for the arrival of the doomed traveller. As soon as the vedettes
announce his approach, the fair troop starts off to meet him, welcoming
him with dances and with fiery glances of irresistible power. He is
compelled to stop, as a matter of course, and the fair maids then
politely request him to alight. No sooner has the bewildered victim
put his feet on the ground than he finds himself at close quarters with
the whole troop. Immediately he is stripped of all he has on his back,
and is left in that primitive state in which Adam was at one time. Then
begins a series of dances and fascinating gestures in the style of those
performed by the maids at the Lupercalian games, the object of which
is to make the unfortunate victim lose his self-control. An attempt,
however, on the part of the victim to reciprocate the advances of his
alluring tyrants, becomes instantly fatal. The troop get hold of him
in a summary way, declare him to have made attempts on the virtue of
the fair maids, and condemn him to be pricked with thorns upon a very
sensitive part of his person. These dances and the flagellations, which
serve as entractes, are repeated several times over, till the sufferer,
exhausted and bleeding, is nearly in a fainting condition. Then the
female troop of bandits drag the wretched traveller before a court
of matrons, which holds its sittings somewhere in the neighbourhood.
There a charge of attempting a criminal assault is brought against the
pretended culprit, who not only receives a good dose of upbraiding, but
is also condemned to pay a fine.



The routes which traverse Asia Minor and cross the Euphrates and Tigris
commence at Constantinople on the Bosphorus, or at Smyrna on the Ægean
sea, and meet upon the plateau of Asia Minor.

Of these routes the chief are—The Erzeroum and Tabriz; the Diarbekir and
Mosul; the Aleppo and Bagdad. On leaving Constantinople, the Bosphorus
is crossed; the road then leads along the coast of the Propontus from
Scutari to Gebiseh, the ancient Lybissa, and where the tomb of Hannibal
can be seen; then beside the Astacenian Gulf, from Gebiseh to Nicomedia
(Ismid). Here the three routes separate.

The Erzeroum road leads eastward, and parallel to the coast of the Black

The Diarbekir route cuts Asia Minor longitudinally, and descends into
the valley of the Euphrates towards Malatia. The Aleppo road cuts
it obliquely, and descends upon the shores of the Mediterranean near

The Erzeroum route crosses the Sakaria towards its mouth, between
Sabanja and Khanda, leads by the villages of Dusdscheh or Muderli to the
town of Boli, situated near the ruins of Hadrianopolis; beyond Boli the
road is very hilly; it then traverses the towns of Gerideh and Hamanli,
and descends with the waters of the Parthenius to the little town of
Tcherkis. Tcherkis is at the junction of the Trebizond and Tokat route.
The Trebizond route ascends more to the north, crosses the mountains
which separate the basin of the Parthenius from that of the Halys, and
descends with an affluent of the Halys to Kastamuni, and from there, by
Tach-kupri, to the town of Voyavat.

Tach-kupri is built on the site of Pompeiopolis, and Voyavat in a
fertile plain, at the foot of a height crowned by an old citadel.
Voyavat is an important position, because it is at the intersection of
the Sinope and Trebizond route.

The Sinope route turns to the north, and leads through a very rich and
undulating country. This is one of the most fertile districts in Asia

The Trebizond route leads eastward, passes the Halys near Vizir Kupri,
and, after numerous ascents and descents, issues beside a watercourse
in a bay surrounded by olive-trees. Here is the town of Samsoun. It
then leads along the coast of the Black Sea, crosses the Iris near
Tcharchembeh, and the Thermadon near Thermeh; and leaving the little
town of Unieh to the left and on the sea-shore, it goes by Fatsa, Ordau,
and Kerasun to Tripoli; from there, after turning the bay of Platana,
it leads to Trebizond.

The Tokat road bends more to the south after leaving Tcherkis; it
crosses the mountains which border the basin of the Parthenius near
Karadjcur, and descends by Kodja Hissar to the town of Tusia upon the
Halys. It next traverses the river near Hadji Hamzeh or Osmanjik, and,
after passing Marsivan, crosses the western affluent of the Iris at
Amasia; from here it goes by Turkhal to Tokat. The direct route from
Tokat to Erzeroum eastward goes from Tokat or from Turkhal to Niksar,
on the Lycus, the eastern affluent of the Iris; and continuing by this
affluent to Kara Hissar, it ascends near the villages of Kerkif or
Lorri, the mountains which separate the waters of the Black Sea from
the Euphrates, and descends into the plain of Erzeroum near Vijan.

There is another road from Constantinople to Sivas. This is the regular
Angora track; it leaves the Trebizond route at Nicomedia, crosses the
Sakaria near Geiweh; and following the chord of the arc which this
river describes as it descends from the plateau of Asia Minor, leads by
the little towns of Terekli and Torbali to Nalihan, near the ruins of
Gordium; after which it ascends by the little town of Bei Bazar on to
the Angora plateau. This plateau is one of the points which dominate
Asia Minor; hence the reason why formerly so much importance was
attached to the fortress of Gordium. The road then leads by the village
of Bei Bazar, or by Tabadji, on to a ridge of mountains which separate
the basin of the Sakaria from that of the Halys, and descends by the
village of Akserai to the latter of these rivers. The stream is crossed
either at a ford or on a raft, and the route goes by the villages of
Sangor and Osman Koi to the town of Yuzgat; the chief seat of the family
Tchapan-Oglou,[34] formerly one of the most powerful in Asia Minor.
Yuzgat is an important position, because it is at the junction of the
two routes from Tokat and Cæsarea. The first leads to the east; and
crossing the mountains which separate the basin of the Halys from that
of the Iris, it debouches through a deep ravine on to the lofty plateau
of Zela, celebrated for Cæsar's victory over Pharnaces; from here it
descends and slopes gently down to the Western Iris, near Tokat. The
Cæsarea route turns to the south after leaving Yuzgat, and leading by
the villages of Ingourli, Kislan, and Boghazlayan, recrosses the Halys
near Emlar; after which it goes by Erkelet (Hiklar) to Cæsarea.

Another route leads by Angora to Cæsarea, and from Cæsarea to Malatia
in the valley of the Euphrates. It is the route from Constantinople to
Diarbekir and to Mosul. After leaving Nicomedia (Ismid) it turns south,
ascends the mountains which separate the Astacenian from the Cianean
Gulf, and descends to Lake Ascanius, near Nicea; then turning eastward,
and passing alongside Mount Olympus, it crosses the Gallus at Lefke
(Louka) near its junction with the Sakaria; then ascending this river
along its left bank as far as Zugud (Soghat), it crosses the Thymbrius
near Eski-Shehr, the ancient Doryleum, situated in the middle of a vast
and bare plain. The road now rises insensibly by Sidi Ghazi and Sever
Hissar to the Angora plateau. This is the easiest route to go from
Nicomedia to the plateau of Asia Minor. It follows the watercourses.

Two routes lead from Angora to Cæsarea. One crosses the Halys near the
village of Kara Keni, from whence it ascends the river along its right
bank to the little town of Mandjour, where its two principal affluents
unite. Then crossing the eastern affluent, between the villages of
Tchalik and Ambar, the route leads to the foot of Mount Argea towards
Cæsarea. The other road borders the eastern plateau of Asia Minor; and
ascending the Halys along its right bank, passes the eastern affluent of
this river above Mandjour; from here the route goes to Cæsarea, across
a vast plain destitute of trees. It is the easiest road, but there are
no habitations, and provisions are very scarce in this direction.

Cæsarea is a branching point for all the routes which cross the
Euphrates, or which descend from the plateau of Asia Minor to the
littoral of Cilicia. One of these routes leads to Sivas, another to
Diarbekir, a third to Aintab, and a fourth to Adana and Tarsus. The
first leads in a north-easterly direction, and ascends the eastern
affluent of the Halys from Emlar to Sivas; this is the easiest route
by which to ascend to the plateau of Armenia. The road from Angora by
Tokat to Sivas is the shortest. It is best provided with provisions; but
the route by Cæsarea is less broken and more accessible for artillery.
The route from Cæsarea to Diarbekir leads eastward along the Melas till
that river joins the Euphrates below Malatia. The river is then crossed
in a ferry-boat at the village of Teis Oglan, and the road continues
by the little town of Kharput to a chain of mountains which unite Mount
Taurus to Mount Niphates. It descends with the principal affluent of the
Tigris to Maïden, and from Maïden goes to the town of Arghana; from here
it leads alongside this river to Diarbekir, and from Diarbekir goes by
Djesire to Mosul.

The road from Cæsarea to Aintab leads in a south-easterly direction,
traverses one of the chains which unite Mount Argea to the southern
branch of Mount Taurus, and descends by the village of Garrin into the
valley of El Bostan, towards the sources of the Sarus. The valley of El
Bostan, although very high, is fertile, and planted with fruit-trees.
El Bostan is the branching point of three routes which lead—one to
Samozate, another to Aintab, and the third to Marash. The first route
turns to the east of Mount Amanus and descends with an affluent of the
Euphrates to Samozate; the second crosses the mountain, descends by a
profound ravine to Aintab, and leads from Aintab to Aleppo alongside
the Chalus. The third turns Mount Amanus on the west, and descends with
the Pyramus to the little town of Marash, and from Marash goes to the
village of Messis, on the gulf of Alexandretta.

The most frequented route from Cæsarea to Alexandretta is _viâ_ Adana
or Tarsus. This route leads to the south, turns Mount Argea towards the
west, and goes by Endjazou, the ancient Castabale, and by Kara Hissar,
the ancient Cybistra, to Yenji Bar, probably the ancient Nora; from
here it ascends to the high plain of Nigdeh, which is watered, like El
Bostan, by an affluent of the Sarus. It descends from Nigdeh to Ketch
Hissar, called Dana by Xenophon, an important position, because it is at
the intersection of the two routes of Cæsarea and Koniah; from there the
road leads by the village of Tchikisla into a deep and winding gorge,
hollowed out in the slopes of Mount Taurus, and where the different
affluents of the Sarus unite together. From here the route debouches by
the village of Abi Cheik into the great plain of Cilicia, on one side
of which is Tarsus, and on the other Adana. In leaving the defile above
mentioned, the road branches to the right for Tarsus, and to the left to
Adana, and from Adana goes to Alexandretta. The best-known route from
Constantinople to Syria is that of Koniah. It traverses the western
border of the plateau of Asia Minor, and cuts the peninsula obliquely
from the north-west to the south-east. This route, leaving the road to
Angora, at Nicea, and ascending those branches of Mount Olympus which
bound Lake Ascanius on the south, descends to the little town of Yeni
Cheer, where the two routes from Brusa and Kiutayah cross. The first
turns to the west and leads to Brusa; it passes by Mount Olympus, on
the north. The second turns southward, and passing by Mount Olympus on
the east, goes to the town of Ainegol (Yeni Ghoul), towards the sources
of the Gallus, and from Ainegol leads by the village of Turbah to the
town of Kiutayah upon the Thymbrius. It then ascends by the Thymbrius
to its sources towards the village of Altyn Tash, and finally reaches
the plateau of Afiun Kara Hissar, bounded on the west by the western
chain of the Taurus, and on the east by a range of little lakes which
almost touch each other, and which extend towards the south to the
environs of Koniah. This plateau is very high. It is separated from the
central plateau of Asia Minor by a series of hills, which are crowned
towards the south by the Baba Dagh (mountain). The route passes between
two chains of mountains, and leads by Bulwadin, built upon the site of
Dynia, and by Izaklou to Ak-Shehr. This little town is situated in a
well-watered plain, at the foot of a mountain covered with vegetation,
and about six miles from a lake which bounds the plain on the east. The
route leaves all the lakes to the left, and goes by Ilgyn and Kadoun
Khan to the village of Hi Ladik, built upon the ruins of Laodicea
Combusta; from here it is a ten hours' march to Koniah, the road leading
there at the foot of the mountains which bound the plateau of Asia Minor
on the south, and which rise gradually to the southern chain of Mount

The most frequented route from Koniah is that which leads by Tarsus or
by Adana to Alexandretta. It is the route from Smyrna and Constantinople
to Aleppo and Bagdad. It is the route of Antioch, Palmyra, and Babylon.
It is the route of all the conquerors.

This route, when it leaves the plain of Koniah, turns the Kara Dagh
(mountain) towards the north, goes by the villages of Ismil, of Geiweh,
and Hartan to Erekli; and after joining with the Cæsarea route and
below Ketch Hissar descends with the river Sarus towards the village of
Tchikisla, and issues from a deep gorge of Mount Taurus into the great
plain of Cilicia.

The Alexandretta route cuts the plain obliquely; leaving Tarsus to
the right, it passes the Sarus at Adana, the Pyramus at the village of
Messis, three miles from this village enters a cleft in the mountains
which border the gulf of Alexandretta; from here it debouches into a
fertile but desert plain, nine miles long, from three to four wide,
and surrounded on all sides by arid mountains. There is an exit
towards the east, and after a difficult march for an hour, the route
descends to the ruined town of Kartanleh, which is now inhabited in the
winter by some Turkoman tribes. Kartanleh is situated at the edge of
a plateau, or rather a terrace, about three miles long, and bordered
on its eastern extremity by some black rocks. They approach each other
very closely. The passage is excessively narrow. The defile gradually
becomes wider, and a mile farther it debouches on to a little plain
about two miles long and one mile broad, bounded on the south by the
Gulf of Alexandretta, on the east by a vast marsh, and on the north by a
chain of heights, which rise gradually to Mount Amanus. Ayas is at the
foot of these heights, and about one mile from the sea. The road now
turns south, leads for some time along a sandy shore, and then crosses
a little mountain torrent which flows into the marsh, and which some
travellers have taken, to be the Carsus of Xenophon; others, the Pinarus
of Arrien. After having passed the torrent and rounded the gulf, the
road leaves the shore and rises gradually to Pias, situated like Ayas a
little distance from the sea, and at the foot of some heights which keep
on ascending till they culminate in Mount Amanus. Pias is twenty-six
miles from Ayas, sixteen from Alexandretta, and at the south-eastern
angle of a bay. Its shore is more easily approached than that of Ayas;
troops could be easily disembarked here. It is the most vulnerable point
of the coast. From Pias, as from Alexandretta, it is only three marches
to the plateau of Antioch, a dominating point and the key to Syria.

The Aleppo route leaves the sea at Alexandretta, and turning south-east
ascends through a deep gorge to Beylan. From here it leads over some
mountains which bound the gulf on the east, and which unite the Taurus
to the Syrian chain. The route then descends to the plain of Antioch.
The road here branches. One branch leads by some mountains, which are on
the north, to Killis and Aintab; it then crosses the Euphrates at Kum
Kaleh, the ancient Zeugma. The other branch cuts the plain of Antioch
from the north to the south, passes the Orontes beneath the walls of
the town, and, turning to the east, crosses the Chalus beneath Aleppo.

Aleppo is at the junction of two roads which cross the Euphrates—the
one at Bir, in taking a north-eastern course, the other at Kerkisieh
or Anah, in leading towards the south-east. The first is the Mosul, and
the second the Bagdad route through Babylonia and the desert. The Mosul
route, after leaving Aleppo, ascends to a bare plain, traversed by two
affluents of the Sadjour, which fall into the Euphrates near the ruins
of Hierapolis. The first station is at the village of Hardaran. The
road then leads across two affluents of the Sadjour, and goes through
olive-gardens to the Euphrates, which is crossed at a ferry near Bir. It
would be very difficult to ford the river at this point. After leaving
Bir, the road passes over two chains of calcareous hills, between which
is a pretty valley, covered with fruit-trees. It descends from the
second chain by a steep path, which is paved with big stones, and is
cut in several places out of the rock.

Urfa, the ancient Edessa, is situated in a valley between two hills,
which are separated from the Tauric chain and united to a series of
other hills which cut like a curtain the vast plain of Mesopotamia.

From Urfa to Mosul there are two routes; one, more to the north than
the other, joins the Samozate road towards Severek, and, crossing
one of the heights of Mount Masius, descends with an affluent of the
Tigris to Diarbekir. It goes from here by Djesireh to Mosul. It is a
difficult route, but the only one where provisions can be met with. The
other route ascends in the direction of the sources of the Khaboras,
follows the chord of the arc which forms the Tauric chain from Severek
to Mardin, leads from Mardin to Nisibin through a cultivated plain
watered by the Mygdonius, and goes from Nisibe to Mosul through an
uncultivated district, which extends from the foot of the Tauric chain
to the mountain of Singare. There is nothing to stop an army marching
along this route save the scarcity of provisions. It is the best road
for cavalry. The other one would be more convenient for infantry. Two
roads lead from Mosul to Bagdad. One passes along the right bank of the
Tigris, and the other the left. The first passes by Tekrit and across
the desert—the second by Arbeles and through ancient Assyria. This last
route is the longest. It leaves the river, to avoid some hills which
border the left bank; but it is the only road where cultivated lands
and provisions can be found. Leaving Mosul, it crosses the Tigris upon
a bridge of boats, and passes in succession the Bumadus and the Zabus,
six miles apart the one from the other. The plain between the two rivers
is elevated, and is undulating towards the north-east; but it sinks and
becomes flat towards the south-west, in the direction of the angle where
the two rivers meet. From the ford where the road crosses the Zabus,
it is only twenty-seven miles to Arbeles, which rises like an island
in the midst of the most beautiful plain of Assyria. The road undulates
slightly, and the position is a favourable one for manœuvring an army.
On leaving Arbeles, the route descends beside a small watercourse to
Altyn-Kupri. Here the Caprus is crossed upon a stone bridge. The little
town of Scherzour, at the foot of the Median chain, is on the left of
the route, and it continues by Kerkut and Daour towards the villages of
Kifri and Kara Tepe in the plain of Bagdad.

The direct route from Aleppo to Bagdad leads in a south-easterly
direction. After leaving the plain of Aleppo, it passes through a long
valley closely bordered by two hills. In the middle of the plain is
the town of Taib. The road now debouches upon the Euphrates—on one
side towards Racca, the ancient Nicephorium, and on the other towards
the ruins of Tapsaque, at the beginning of a bend which the great
river makes in its course towards Kerkisieh, the ancient Circesium. It
appears that the ancients crossed the Euphrates sometimes at one and
sometimes at the other of these points. At the present time the route
leads along the right bank to Ana, the ancient Anatho, and to Hit, the
ancient Æiopolis. Here the river is crossed in a ferry-boat. The road
continues along the left bank to Ambar, the ancient Perisabour, and to
Felujah, which is the point where the Euphrates in its windings nearest
approaches the Tigris. The Babylon and Bagdad routes now separate. The
first leads to the south, along the Euphrates. Fifteen hours' march
brings you to Hillah, which is built on the site of Babylon. The other
road leads eastward; and, after crossing a bare plain which divides the
two rivers, you arrive in eleven hours at Bagdad. To enter this town
the river has to be crossed on a bridge of boats. As the crow flies, it
is only fifty-four miles from Babylon to Bagdad. The route leads from
south to north. It is a difficult one. There are fissures in the ground.
They become filled with water during the inundations caused by the two
rivers. Caravans going from one town to the other generally go round by
Feludjah; this lengthens the road by about twenty-one miles.

The route from Aleppo to Bagdad by the desert and by Babylon has this
advantage over the Mosul road. It is shorter, because it follows the
cord, the other following the circumference of the bow; but as the
ground between Aleppo and Tapsaque is no longer cultivated, and as
troops can no longer be accompanied by a flotilla of vessels, it is not
practicable for an army. It is only suited for a division of cavalry
and for caravans with camels; even then there would be a risk of the
force perishing from hunger or thirst. The long zone which the road
traverses, and which loses itself in the Arabian desert, is a plain with
slight undulations, but they are so slight that a man on horseback could
scarcely conceal himself. There are few plants: you find some wells of
petroleum, hardly any animals. There are no birds; everywhere you see
a white soil impregnated with gypsum or salt.

A few palm and fruit trees announce to the traveller that he has arrived
at the environs of Bagdad.

Bagdad is the starting-point of two important roads: they lead, one
to the south of Persia, the other to the north. The first leads to the
south-east, and passing alongside the foot of the Median chain, crosses
the Kerah or river of Kirmanchah, the ancient Eulee, near the ruins of
Suza, and the two branches of the Karoon, the ancient Orontes, the one
at Dizful, the other at Shuster; from whence the route ascends to the
plateau of Media, and to Lourkian. It then passes the Persian Pyles
towards the sources of the Bendemir, or of the Persian Araxes, and
descends with this river upon the plateau of Persia towards Ispahan.

The second road goes to the north-east, ascends the Diala to Sheraban
or Apollonia, from whence it rises by Zar-Zil upon the plateau of
Media towards Karmanshah. It then passes the defiles of Mount Orontes
towards Kangawar, and descends to Hamadan. This is the ancient route
from Ecbatana, the great route from Turkey to Persia, Hamadan is at
the intersection of two roads which lead—the one to Ispahan in turning
south-east, the other to Teheran in leading north-east.

Such are the different routes, remarks Baron Beaujour, which lead from
Asia Minor across the Euphrates and Tigris into Asia proper. From
what has been said, it will be seen that they are reduced to three
principal ones—to the Erzeroum and Tabriz, which turns the two rivers
towards their sources; to the Urfa and Mosul, which crosses the rivers
in the middle of their course; and to the Aleppo and Bagdad, which
leads along the Euphrates to Babylon, and which passes the Tigris near
Bagdad. The first route is impracticable for artillery, the last for
infantry. The centre road is the only one available for a large army;
for whilst cavalry and artillery could pass by Merdin and Nisibin,
infantry penetrating from Urfa through the defiles of Severek, into the
valley of the Tigris, could descend with this river from Diarbekir to
Mosul, and from Mosul to Bagdad; from here, ascending the Diala, the
army might continue by the defiles of Mount Zagros on to the plateau of
Media towards Karmanshah, and from the plateau of Media by the defiles
of Mount Orontes upon the Persian plateau towards Hamadan. Master of the
Persian plateau an army could march towards Teheran as far as the foot
of the Tauric chain, continue along this chain to Mount Paropamisus, and
descend by Kandahar or Cabul into the valley of the Indus towards Attok.

Although this is a long and difficult route, it is not an impracticable
one for an army which has previously conquered the Turks and the

Means of subsistence can be found everywhere along this road. Troops
would only meet with opposition from wandering hordes, or from people
like the Afghans. However, the hordes are mere robbers. The Afghans
would have no chance of victory unless they were united amongst
themselves. To conquer the Afghans, all that would be required would be
to fight them in detail.

Alexander formerly marched along this route. In our own times, Napoleon
and Paul the First, the two most powerful monarchs in Europe, wished to
follow it, to attack the English in India. This project, the boldest
which has been conceived in modern times, could only be executed by
generous princes, who would like to conquer India, not to keep it, but
to civilize the country. In the present state of Europe, India could
only be conquered by the Russians, who are very little exposed to
attacks from other nations. Masters of Georgia and of the line of the
Araxes, the Russians can turn the western side of the Caspian Sea, and
penetrate by Casbin upon the plateau of Persia, or penetrate by the
east and by Bokhara across the Oxus and Jaxartes, which are by no means
insurmountable obstacles.

Baron Beaujour concludes his remarks upon the subject by saying,—

"This enterprise would be justifiable provided that the attacking force
had some glorious object in view, such as that of civilizing India.
The English, who are already masters of the peninsula, can do this last



Baron Beaujour, in his "Voyage Militaire dans l'Empire Ottoman,"
published in 1829, remarks about the military importance of Syria as

Syria has a great military importance. It is on the route from Asia to
Africa. If the Isthmus of Suez were cut through, Syria would acquire
a still greater importance. This country is now open, art has not
defended it on any side; but Nature has defended it on the east and
south by deserts; on the west by the sea, and on the north by a chain
of mountains which surround it like a rampart. Mount Amanus, which forms
this rampart, and which extends from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates,
dominates Syria; this is the reason why the masters of Aleppo and
Antioch have always been the masters of the rest of the country. All the
routes were open to them. They could not be arrested on any particular
road, because each route could be turned by the others. The road from
Antioch to Jerusalem ascends the Orontes, and traverses the two chains.
It descends by the Leontes into Cœle Syria, by the Jordan into Judea;
and by the Chrysorrhoas into the plain of Damascus. This route is the
only one which opens out all the interior of the country. The others
only open out the littoral. An army can always be stopped by a foe who
occupies the first-mentioned route. The road from Gaza to Laodicea along
the coast is only suitable for an army which is accompanied by a fleet.
The transversal routes of Caifa or Acre to Damascus by Nazareth, of Tyre
or Sidon to Emesa by Cœle Syria—from Tripoli to Hamah by Akka, and from
Laodicea to Schogr by Abdama can only conveniently be used by an army
which is mistress of the sea.

Syria can be attacked from two sides—either through Asia Minor or
is more difficult, but it can be turned. An army can descend by several
roads from Mount Amanus along the watercourses into the plain of Antioch
as into the plain of Aleppo.

An attack by the gulf of Alexandretta is more difficult. This gulf is
closed by a cordon of mountains which is bent on the seaside like a
bow. Even if this bow were pierced from one side, it would be necessary
to pierce it from the other and penetrate into Syria by the defile of
Beilan, after having entered by that of Issus. Syria is defended on
the Egyptian side by a desert—here there is neither water nor grass;
but so soon as an army has crossed this desert and taken Gaza, it
can ascend the coast to Carmel, and if it is mistress of the sea, can
ascend at pleasure by the transversal valley of Esdrelon upon the plain
of Damascus, or by the transversal valley of Balbek upon the plain of
Emesa which commands the entire valley of the Orontes. An army could
even ascend the coast to Laodicea, its right supported on the Lebanon,
its left on the sea, and sweep before it the Turks dispersed amidst
the towns of the littoral, as the wind drives before it the dust. If
the Turks were to rally in the valley of Cœle Syria, or in the plain
of Damascus, a defeat here would drive them into the desert. The
Mutualis, Druses, Maronites, Ansares are not united—to conquer them it
is sufficient to sow dissension in their ranks; even if they were to
fight beneath the same standards they could never arrest an army in its
march. These people know nothing about tactics, they are only acquainted
with mountain warfare. They would never dare to risk themselves in the
plain or to sustain the shock of a European battalion. All these people
are like Arabs; they are only fit to rob caravans or to follow an army
with the object of pillage.

An attack upon Syria by the littoral of Palestine and Phœnicia could
only succeed so long as you were mistress of the sea. It would be better
to attack Syria by sea than from Egypt; but to attack Syria by sea, one
must begin by establishing oneself in the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is
to Syria what Zante is to the Morea; it would serve as a depôt for the
army and a harbour for the fleet. Larnaca and Famagusta are the most
favourable points for naval stations. The Syrian coast is too straight,
it possesses no good port, nor even any good roads. The ports of
Laodicea, Tripoli, Beyrout, and Sidon are too small. The anchoring roads
of Acre, Jaffa, and Gaza are too exposed. Alexandretta and Tyre are the
sole points where an army can be disembarked without danger. This is the
reason why these two places have always been considered the two keys
of Syria, on the side of the sea. An attack by Alexandretta has this
advantage, it separates Syria at once from the rest of Turkey. It also
has its disadvantages. Depôts must be formed on a very unhealthy shore.
The defiles of Mount Rhosus must be passed; here there are difficult
gorges where a handful of soldiers could resist an army.

An attack by Tyre would be the easiest and the least dangerous. The
peninsula on which this town is built is now no longer defended.
This peninsula facilitates a descent upon the neighbouring coast. The
surrounding plain is fertile. An army would be thoroughly protected by
guarding on one side the defile of Cape Blanc, and on the other, that
of the valley of the Leontes or of Cœle Syria. From this valley an army
could ascend by Balbek to the highest point of the Syrian chain. It
could dominate the whole country as if from the summit of an enormous
citadel. This point surmounts all the passes, and an army could descend
by the Jordan to Jerusalem by the Chrysorrhoas to Damascus, and by the
Orontes to Antioch.

Tyre and Alexandretta are the two most vulnerable points in Syria. If
history does not recall to the Turks the importance of these two towns,
Europeans have not forgotten it. Acre and Laodicea are the next most
important points. In summer an army could easily disembark there, and,
like Tyre and Alexandretta, they give access to the entire country.
The Turks, then, ought to fortify these places better, and especially
Alexandretta and Tyre, so as to make them the principal fortresses in
Syria; and not to think so much of Aleppo and Damascus, which can be
easily defended against the Arabs of the desert.

If Syria is easy to attack—she is equally difficult to conquer. Her
territory is mountainous. A small army could defend itself for a long
time against a large force. In Mesopotamia and in Egypt a single battle
won would be sufficient to reduce the entire country. In Syria it would
only enable the foe to occupy a more advanced position, and to march
from one valley to another, as from the valley of the Orontes to the
valley of the Jordan, or from the littoral of Phœnicia to Palestine;
but to march from one of these positions to the other, it is necessary
to pass defiles. If the defenders were masters of the transversal
valleys which unite the littoral with the interior of the country—and
in particular of the valley of Balbek—no enemy could advance a step
without encountering obstacles. This would protract the war and give
the defenders a great advantage. Syria, then, is difficult to conquer,
but, once conquered, is easy to defend. This is the reason why it is so
important from a military point of view.



The following remarks made by Sir John Burgoyne in his work, "Military
Opinions," and published in 1859, may not be uninteresting to the
reader. Alluding to the events preceding the Crimean War, the author

There can be but little doubt that the Turkish force on the frontier
will be numerically very inferior to that of the Russians. It may be
stated at about 120,000, while their enemy must be able to dispose of
at least 200,000 serviceable forces. Under such a state of things it is
manifest that the best policy for Russia would be to use every effort to
strike a heavy blow at once, to force the Danube in mass, and by rapid
and vigorous movements to cut off, or thoroughly defeat the divided
hordes of the Turks. In the event of success they would push on so far
as their arrangements would allow, towards the Balkan.

When once the Russians are firmly established on the right bank of the
Danube, the Turks must necessarily retire to Shumla and the Balkan, and
it is to be hoped that this will be effected before the detached corps
or the flanks shall be too much compromised. The first real defence,
then, that it would appear could be prudently made, would be on the
Balkan passes. On the Balkan it is to be hoped that the Turkish armies
would, by due arrangements, be under such great advantages of position
as to enable them to make an obstinate stand.

Still, the line is long, the passes must be many, and the enemy, still
numerous, would probably at length establish himself across it; but
by this time, feeling the effects of the campaign and forward movement
in such a country, he would find a difficulty in keeping together such
large bodies, in maintaining their efficiency, and obtaining supplies
for them. These difficulties would increase as he prolonged the advance.

It may be considered that at such a period a well prepared field of
battle along the line of the Carasu river—from its mouth in the Lake
of Bujuk Checkmedge, on the Sea of Marmora, to Kara Bournu on the
Black Sea. The length of this line, from sea to sea, is twenty-four
or twenty-five miles; but each flank being covered by lakes and
rivers, would be easily watched and secured, and the extent of the
real fighting-ground would be, by these features, reduced to nine or
ten miles of plain; but with favourable undulations affording a good
command over the front, and which might be improved in strength in a
most powerful degree by a great development of respectable field-works.
One most important advantage to be obtained from the occupation of
this position would be that it covers the entire Bosphorus, and would
therefore enable our fleets to remain masters of the Black Sea to the
last, and preclude the enemy from the use of it.

To apply the resources of this position with effect, two ingredients
must be available; first, early and energetic measures for entrenching
so great an extent, so as to give it the greatest possible strength:
and the other, that an adequate force should remain available for its
occupation and defence. The first would require the application of
several thousand workmen for several months, and could only be effected
by the employment of troops, but with an understanding that a degree of
benefit would be derived from their very first labours, which could be
progressively improved to the very last moment. The second would require
50,000 good troops, or a proportionate increase in number of such as
might be inferior.

These may appear to be heavy demands, but can scarcely be considered
so, as the main and last stand to prevent the fall of an empire. The
situation of the Dardanelles is detached, but presents far greater
facilities for its protection, though still requiring considerable
means. This is to be effected by occupying powerfully the neck of land
which connects the great European Peninsula (the old Chersonese of
Thrace) with the main land. At about seven miles in front of Gallipoli,
and near the village of Boulaher, this neck is only three miles wide,
being the narrowest part, and presents at that identical part a position
that, duly fortified and garrisoned, may be given enormous strength.
The whole extent of coast round the peninsula in rear of that line
would be protected by the naval forces. Large means would be required
to be applied to the preparation of this position within a short time;
4000 workmen would do it in three months, and a garrison of 12,000 good
troops would be necessary for its defence if properly attached.

The use of this position however, would not be solely confined to
securing the retreat of the fleet, but would be very threatening for
offensive measures also; it would cover a very extensive district,
within which might be rapidly collected by sea any force that it might
be thought advisable at any time to advance, either to the front or
flank of the invader, with a comparatively short communication and
secure depôts and retreats. It is, in fact, the point that would
form the best line of operations for any forces acting in alliance
with Turkey, excepting those which would be applied to the immediate
protection of Constantinople; although the water communication would
be open to the Gulf of Enos, and perhaps up the Maritza, the depôts,
hospitals, reserves, &c., should be established on this peninsula.

To return to the consideration of the defences for Constantinople. A
second line has been designed round the city, at only a mile or two in
advance; the ground is extremely favourable. It would cover the whole
space from the Sea of Marmora to the Bosphorus and, well entrenched,
would be capable of considerable resistance, but it has several defects.
1. It can hardly be deemed sufficiently extensive and influential
for the last resort of a great army. 2. It would be too near to the
city, and the proceedings and feelings of the forces would be greatly
influenced by the tumults, panics, insurrections, treacheries, and
confusion of the place; so much so, that no vigorous defence could
be expected from it. 3. It would be considered as a last hold, and
merely as a point for surrender. 4. It would not cover the whole of the
Bosphorus, and consequently it would necessitate the evacuation of the
Black Sea by our fleet.

On these accounts I attach no value to it, provided the Carasu frontier
be taken up. If the disposable force was only from 5000 to 12,000
strong, I would recommend its services being exclusively engaged to
secure the Dardanelles, an additional force of 25,000 might form a
valuable nucleus for the preparation and defence of the frontier of
the Carasu. If a larger army could be collected it would join and
act in conjunction with the Turkish forces in the Balkan, for which
purpose their best landing-place would be the Gulf of Enos, proceeding
to Adrianople up the Maritza river; or they might act elsewhere,
according to the circumstances of the times. An idea is suggested that
the Russians, on the understanding of the preparation by the allies,
may content themselves with remaining in quiet possession of the
Principalities, and thus gain an absolute advantage. It is not for me,
taking in view military operations only, to judge of the effect of such
a course, further than to give an opinion that I am not aware of any
military measures that it would be desirable to attempt to drive them
out without the co-operation of Austria.

The question is rather political than military, but it would appear to
me that by so doing they would certainly abandon their cause for war,
and would suffer more in prestige than they would gain in substance.



Major-General Macintosh in his work, "A Military Tour in European
Turkey," remarks on the possibility of a winter campaign, and on the
defences of Constantinople as follows:—

"About the time that I visited the Dardanelles I made an excursion from
Constantinople into Bulgaria, noting as I rode along all that appeared
of professional interest in the country through which I passed. It was
the beginning of November when I set out, but I found the passes of the
Balkan quite practicable as regarded snow, though this is not always
the case at that season. Excepting an occasional rainy day, I travelled
agreeably enough over the plains on both sides of the mountains. On
leaving Constantinople, the Adrianople road carried me over a bleak
track of undulating country resembling our downs, but deeply furrowed in
many places with steep ravines, and showing few vestiges of habitation
beyond an occasional farm-yard enclosed by a solid wall, and generally
containing several dwellings and sheds for cattle. These enclosures
might often serve for posts, but they could hardly resist artillery;
although there is a method employed in the East of digging outside the
wall a deep ditch, and throwing the earth up to a certain height against
it, which would in some degree deaden the fire, at the same time that
the ditch formed by the excavation adds an obstacle compensating for
the facility which the earth thrown up within would otherwise give to
an escalade.

"The road passes at no great distance from the shore of the Sea of
Marmora, about ten miles from the city walls. I reached the crest of
one of the elevated downs commanding a view of an extensive lake, about
seven miles in length, and two in breadth, bordered with marshy land,
and stretching from the sea into the country, and in the direction of
the ridge called the Lesser Balkan, which lies to the north. The lake is
separated from the sea at its south-western extremity by a low ledge,
not many yards in breadth, traversed by the ancient highway, now in a
ruinous state, and supported in some places on low arches, through which
the brackish water passes and repasses, according to the direction of
the wind between the sea and the lake. The causeway could be easily
closed artificially, when seven miles of country would be rendered
unassailable by an enemy; for, although boats might navigate these lakes
to a certain extent, its marshy shores must always render navigation
difficult, even if such vessels were at hand, which, hitherto, has not
been the case.

"The spot which the Turks call Kuchuk Chekmagee is designated by the
Franks Ponte Piccolo, to distinguish it from the greater bridge crossing
the isthmus at Buyuk Chekmagee, or Ponte Grande, the second lake, about
six miles and a half further on towards Adrianople.

"The ledge at Ponte Piccolo is about three quarters of a mile in
length, but the lake expands very considerably further up, and at the
distance of four miles is broken into a fork, each branch being fed by
a stream which flows from the highlands to the north. Proceeding over
the ledge, a country of heights and valleys becoming bolder to the
northward extends for about six or seven miles, when the second lake
of equal length, but somewhat narrower than the first, presents itself,
divided like the other from the sea by a narrow ledge, supporting a bad
causeway, the centre of which rests on the large bridge above mentioned.
From the brow or crest of the heights above, which are lower than
those at Kuchuk Chekmagee, but which command the ledge at a very short
distance; a zigzag path leads down to the village of Buyuk Chekmagee.
Standing at this point, the spectator is immediately impressed with
the conviction of the great strength of such a pass, and of its immense
utility to Turkey, if turned to proper account; being, as it were, the
abutment on which the left flank of a fine position rests, covering the
capital from an enemy in this direction, a capital which, once attained
by an hostile army, would mark, most probably, in its own ruin, the fall
of the Ottoman Empire in Europe.

"A recent writer has described the locality as 'that formidable position
about twenty miles from the capital so celebrated in history, where,
owing to the nature of the ground, Attila was stayed in his march to
conquer the Eastern Empire, and where at a later period the Huns[35]
were signally defeated by Belisarius.' In reference to this statement,
however, it must be observed that, as regards the advance of Attila,
Gibbon especially mentions that he was only arrested by the city walls
of Constantinople, without alluding to any position whatever. The
following is the passage from Gibbon. 'The armies of the Eastern Empire
were vanquished in three successive engagements, and the progress of
Attila may be traced by the fields of battle. The two first on the banks
of the Utus, and under the walls of Marcianopolis, were fought on the
extensive plains between the Danube and Mount Hæmus. As the Romans were
pressed by a victorious enemy, they gradually and unskilfully retired
towards the Chersonesus of Thrace (the peninsula of the Dardanelles),
and that narrow peninsula, the last extremity of the land, was marked
by their third and irreparable defeat. By the destruction of their
army, Attila acquired the indisputable possession of the field. From
the Hellespont to Thermopylæ and the suburbs of Constantinople he
ravaged without resistance and without mercy the provinces of Thrace
and Macedonia. Heraclia[36] and Constantinople might perhaps escape
this dreadful irruption of the Huns.'... Belisarius is said by the
historian to have intrenched himself at Melanthius, about twenty miles
from Constantinople, and there repulsed seven thousand Bulgarians, by
whom he was attacked."

Major-General Macintosh, after having described the shore road from
Constantinople to the lakes, describes the inland road as follows:—

"Quitting the city by the gate of Adrianople, and leaving on the right
the River Sydaris, vulgarly called the Ali-bey, which flows through
a ravine into the Golden Horn, not far from where it receives the
Barbysis (now called the Kheat-Khaneh-soo), the road passes between the
two great barracks of Ramish Chiflik and Daoud Pasha, situated about
two miles from the walls where the Turks, looking much too near the
city for its strongest defences, formerly erected field-works, which,
though fallen into decay, might, if repaired, serve as the scene of
a last struggle with the enemy. This neighbourhood is intersected by
the subterranean conduits and lofty aqueducts which convey water from
Kalfas, Kavas-Kioi, and other great reservoirs to Constantinople; and
though when I visited them they were quite undefended, the Chekmagee
lines if erected would effectually protect these works. The vast
importance of preserving them will be understood when it is recollected
that Constantinople is situated on the extremity of a wedge of land
ill supplied with springs or running streams, and in a climate where,
at certain seasons, there is but little rain for months. Leaving the
aqueducts behind, a country is now traversed resembling that on the
parallel route already described, but in which the heights are bolder,
and the valleys more abrupt, while small towns and farm-houses are of
more frequent occurrence, and the supply of water near the road is, by
means of copious artificial fountains and occasional rivers by which
it is crossed, considerably more abundant. This highly defensible track
extends as far as the Chekmagee lines, which may be said to run from the
two lakes on the Sea of Marmora, nearly to the fort of Kara-bornoo, on
the Black Sea, where it has in its front the salt lake of Derkos, and
the narrow ledge dividing it from the sea, which, no doubt, might be
easily cut through so as to admit the waters of the Euxine. Our approach
to the first of these lines, or that nearest Constantinople, is marked,
after passing a khan and fountain, by the summit of a bold position on
the Constantinople side of a river flowing through a deep ravine towards
the lesser lake, and hence a view is obtained of Kuchuk Chekmagee and
the neighbouring sea. Descending into the ravine, the road, which is
generally good, crosses the river by a substantial stone bridge, close
to which is a fountain, and ascending the steep bank on the opposite
side passes a large walled farm, where another position commences.

"From this point we come on a succession of inferior slopes, dipping
towards the lakes and marshes, each affording a position.

"One of these about two miles from the Chatsalda marsh in its front, to
which it extends, has, in its course, a little to the west of the road,
a small isolated height, well suited for a fort or telegraph. From this
eminence there is an extensive view, embracing the second lake, with
its town and isthmus; and several villages occur on both sides of the
road. This locality is well suited for the encampment of troops, being
elevated above the marshes, and at the same time not far distant from

"Descending the height the road commences the passage of the marsh, by
a narrow ancient causeway composed of square blocks of stone, often
much displaced, and frequently intersected by the Kara-soo and other
streams, over which long stone slabs are placed, forming a species of
bridge removable at pleasure, thus adding to the other means available
here for preventing the advance of an enemy. A similar road leads also
from Chatsalda towards Derkos, on the Black Sea, a distance of about
ten miles, where the right of the lines described would rest near
the Cape and Fort of Kara-bornoo. Chatsalda is also about ten miles
from the greater bridge, and fifteen or sixteen from the lesser; and,
unfortunately, is in front of the lines, or it would have formed a good
station for a depôt, or might have been the head-quarters of a force
during the healthy season of the year.... The country extending from the
Sea of Marmora to the right of the Chatsalda road is very well secured.
Thence to the Black Sea the heights become still bolder, and the valley
deeper, till the road crosses the Lesser Balkan. The course of the River
Kara-soo lies through one of the ravines peculiar to the country, which
look like abrupt cracks across the mountain ranges, and of this peculiar
formation the Bosphorus itself affords the most striking example.

"A third pass to the right leads through the lines by the village of
Kastana-Kioi, and a fourth across the heights of the Lesser Balkan
transversely by a road which leads from it along the shore to Midia,
joining one from the mouth of the Bosphorus. The three last-mentioned
roads, as well as the Chekmagees, could, if strengthened by defensive
works, be included in a position comparable with any existing."

     END OF VOL. II.



     [1] The Caimacan did not exaggerate, judging by Consul-Gen.
     Mansfield's official Report, see Appendix I. p. 323, also
     Appendices II. and III.

     [2] These remarks of the Mutasarraf Pacha resemble those
     made on the same subject by other Pachas in Asia Minor. All
     these Turkish gentlemen had the same opinion of the Russian

     [3] See Consul Taylor's Report on this subject, Appendix XII.,
     p. 363.

     [4] See statement made by the Circassian Deputies, Appendices
     IX. and X., p. 351-353.

     [5] This extract is quoted from a remarkable pamphlet,
     entitled "Circassia," published by Hardwicke in 1862.

     [6] See Appendix IV., p. 333.

     [7] See Routes which cross the Euphrates and Tigris, Appendix

     [8] See Importance of Syria from a Military Point of View,
     Appendix XV.

     [9] See Mr. Taylor's Report to the British Government on this
     matter, Appendix XXII., p. 363.

     [10] A small coin, but often used as a general term to express

     [11] Fortunately for the Turks in the present war, the Russian
     cavalry has so far proved itself very inefficient.

     [12] This actually happened in the first engagements in the
     neighbourhood of Deli Baba.

     [13] Since my stay at Erzeroum, the defences of that city have
     been strengthened.

     [14] Major-General Macintosh, writing in 1854 on the subject,
     remarks that "in their desire to win over the Kurds, the
     Russian authorities proceeded so far, that on the pretext that
     they were a migratory people, they claimed a right for them to
     cross the frontier for the purpose of grazing their cattle;
     and that even in Turkey they should still be looked upon as
     Russian subjects, and have no imports to pay on that side."
     He continues, "I have no doubt it is the interest of Russia
     that the Kurds should to a certain degree be weakened and
     scattered, though it has been her crafty policy, while urging
     or encouraging Turkey in this course (referring to attacks
     upon Kurds), to pretend to be their champion and friend.
     She has pursued a similar course among the Turkomans to the
     eastward of the Caspian; and when in a contiguous part of Asia
     I heard of dresses of honour having been given to the chiefs,
     at the same time that the Shah of Persia was encouraged to
     attack them from the south. The more these various tribes of
     barbarians weaken themselves by their incessant conflicts,
     the more they are paving the way for the dominion of such a
     power as Russia."

     [15] Subsequent events have proved how right General Kohlmann
     was in his opinion.

     [16] Fortunately during the present war the Kurds have
     remained true to the Sultan, or Major-General Macintosh's
     predictions might have been realized.

     [17] For Importance of Syria from a Military Point of View,
     see Appendix XV., p. 383.

     [18] Major Millingen goes more fully into particulars about
     this custom of the Kurdish women. See Appendix XIII., p. 366.

     [19] See Appendix IX., p. 351.

     [20] See Appendix I., p. 323.

     [21] See Appendix IV., p. 337, Russian Agents and the
     Massacres in Bulgaria.

     [22] See Appendix VII, p. 349, The Schoolmasters in Massacre.

     [23] Hamlet, i. 5.

     [24] The first witness examined at this Court of Inquiry was
     Sir Charles Russell, Bart., M.P. for Westminster.

     [25] See Appendix IV., p. 337.

     [26] See Appendix I., p. 323, The Floggers of Women and

     [27] See Appendix VII., p. 349, The Schoolmasters in Massacre.

     [28] See Appendix IV., p. 339.

     [29] See page 333.

     [30] Is this the way the Rev. Mr. Malcolm Maccoll would like
     to see the union of the Eastern and Western churches brought

     [31] This is worth while remembering—F. B.

     [32] This is worth while remembering—F. B.

     [33] I extract these lines from an American paper, which
     declares that they were written by the Prelate in question. To
     the best of my belief the Bishop has not denied the statement
     nor the sentiments which the verses express.—F. B.

     [34] Daravish Bey is the last of that celebrated family. He is
     nearly ruined owing to some dealings with an Armenian usurer.

     [35] Bulgarians.

     [36] Situated at the modern Erakler, forty miles beyond Busuk

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