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A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer

Part 8 out of 10

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of Queen Zobiede, the favourite wife of Haroun-al-Raschid. It is
interesting, because it differs very much from the ordinary
monuments of the Mahomedans. Instead of handsome cupolas and
minarets, it consists of a moderate sized tower, rising from an
octagon building; the tower has a considerable resemblance to those
of the Hindoo temples. In the interior stand three plainly built
tombs, in one of which the queen is buried; in the other two,
relations of the royal family. The whole is constructed of bricks,
and was formerly covered with handsome cement, coloured tiles, and
arabesques, of which traces still remain.

Mahomedans consider all such monuments sacred; they frequently come
from great distances to offer up their devotions before them. They
think it equally desirable to erect a burial-place near such a
monument, which they show with pride to their friends and relations.
Round this monument there were large spaces covered with tombs.

On the return from this monument, I went a little out of my way to
see that part of the town which had fallen into ruins, and been
desolated by the last plague. Herr Swoboda, an Hungarian, gave me a
dreadful picture of the state of the town at that time. He had shut
himself closely up with his family and a maid servant, and being
well furnished with provisions, received nothing from outside but
fresh water. He carefully plastered up the doors and windows, and
no one was allowed to go out upon the terraces, or, indeed, into the
air at all.

These precautions were the means of preserving his whole family in
health, while many died in the neighbouring houses. It was
impossible to bury all the dead, and the bodies were left to
decompose where they died. After the plague had ceased, the Arabs
of the desert made their appearance for the purpose of robbing and
plundering. They found an easy spoil, for they penetrated without
resistance into the empty houses, or without difficulty overpowered
the few enfeebled people who remained. Herr Swoboda, among the
rest, was obliged to make an agreement with the Arabs, and pay

I was glad to leave this melancholy place, and directed my steps
towards some of the pleasant gardens, of which there are great
numbers in and round Baghdad. None of these gardens, however, are
artificial; they consist simply of a thick wood of fruit-trees, of
all species (dates, apple, apricot, peach, fig, mulberry, and other
trees), surrounded by a brick wall. There is, unfortunately,
neither order nor cleanliness observed, and there are neither grass
plots nor beds of flowers, and not a single good path; but there is
a considerable number of canals, as it is necessary to substitute
artificial watering for rain and dew.

I made two long excursions from Baghdad; one to the ruins of
Ctesiphon, the other to those of Babylon. The former are eighteen,
the latter sixty miles distant from Baghdad. On both occasions,
Major Rawlinson provided me with good Arabian horses, and a trusty

I was obliged to make the journey to Ctesiphon and back again in one
day, to avoid passing the night in the desert; and, indeed, had to
accomplish it between sunrise and sunset, as it is the custom in
Baghdad, as in all Turkish towns, to close the gates towards sunset,
and to give up the keys to the governor. The gates are again opened
at sunrise.

My considerate hostess would have persuaded me to take a quantity of
provisions with me; but my rule in travelling is to exclude every
kind of superfluity. Wherever I am certain to find people living, I
take no eatables with me, for I can content myself with whatever
they live upon; if I do not relish their food, it is a sign that I
have not any real hunger, and I then fast until it becomes so great
that any kind of dish is acceptable. I took nothing with me but my
leathern water flask, and even this was unnecessary, as we
frequently passed creeks of the Tigris, and sometimes the river
itself, although the greater part of the road lay through the

About half-way, we crossed the river Dhyalah in a large boat. On
the other side of the stream, several families, who live in huts on
the bank, subsist by renting the ferry. I was so fortunate as to
obtain here some bread and buttermilk, with which I refreshed
myself. The ruins of Ctesiphon may already be seen from this place,
although they are still nine miles distant. We reached them in
three hours and a half.

Ctesiphon formerly rose to be a very powerful city on the Tigris; it
succeeded Babylon and Seleucia; the Persian viceroys resided in the
summer at Ecbatania, in the winter at Ctesiphon. The present
remains consist only of detached fragments of the palace of the
Schah Chosroes. These are the colossal arched gate-porch, together
with the gate, a part of the principal front, and some side walls,
all of which are so strong that it is probable that travellers may
still continue to be gratified with a sight of them for centuries.
The arches of the Tauk-kosra gate is the highest of the kind that is
known; it measures ninety feet, and is therefore about fifteen feet
higher than the principal gate at Fattipore-Sikri, near Agra, which
is erroneously represented by many as being the highest. The wall
rises sixteen feet above the arch.

On the facade of the palace, small niches, arches, pillars, etc.,
are hewn out from the top to bottom; the whole appears to be covered
with fine cement, in which the most beautiful arabesques are still
to be seen. Opposite these ruins on the western shore of the
Tigris, lie a few remains of the walls of Seleucia, the capital of

On both banks, extensive circles of low mounds are visible in every
direction; these all contain, at a slight depth, bricks and rubbish.

Not far from the ruins stands a plain mosque, which holds the tomb
of Selamam Pak. This man was a friend of Mahomet's, and is on that
account honoured as a saint. I was not allowed to enter the mosque,
and was obliged to content myself with looking in through the open
door. I saw only a tomb built of bricks, surrounded by a wooden
lattice, painted green.

I had already observed a number of tents along the banks of the
Tigris on first reaching the ruins; my curiosity induced me to visit
them, where I found everything the same as among the desert Arabs,
except that the people were not so savage and rough; I could have
passed both day and night among them without apprehension. This
might be from my having been accustomed to such scenes.

A much more agreeable visit was before me. While I was amusing
myself among the dirty Arabs, a Persian approached, who pointed to a
pretty tent which was pitched at a short distance from us, and said
a few words to me. My guide explained to me that a Persian prince
lived in this tent, and that he had politely invited me by this
messenger. I accepted the invitation with great pleasure, and was
received in a very friendly manner by the prince, who was named Il-

The prince was a handsome young man, and said that he understood
French; but we soon came to a stop with that, as his knowledge of it
did not extend beyond "Vous parlez Francais!" Luckily, one of his
people had a better acquaintance with English, and so we were able
to carry on some conversation.

The interpreter explained to me that the prince resided in Baghdad,
but on account of the oppressive heat, he had taken up his residence
here for some time. He was seated upon a low divan under an open
tent, and his companions reclined upon carpets. To my surprise, he
had sufficient politeness to offer me a seat by his side upon the
divan. Our conversation soon became very animated, and his
astonishment when I related to him my travels increased with every
word. While we were talking, a nargilly of most singular beauty was
placed before me; it was made of light-blue enamel on gold,
ornamented with pearls, turquoises, and precious stones. For
politeness' sake, I took a few puffs from it. Tea and coffee were
also served, and afterwards the prince invited me to dinner. A
white cloth was spread upon the ground, and flat cakes of bread,
instead of plates, laid upon it: an exception was made for me, as I
had a plate and knife and fork. The dinner consisted of a number of
dishes of meat, among which was a whole lamb with the head, which
did appear very inviting; besides these, several pilaus, and a large
roast fish. Between the eatables stood bowls of curds and whey, and
sherbet: in each bowl was a large spoon. The lamb was carved by a
servant with a knife and the hand; he distributed the parts among
the guests, placing a piece upon the cake of bread before each one.
They ate with their right hand. Most of them tore off small morsels
of meat or fish, dipped them in one of the pilaus, kneaded them into
a ball, and put them into their mouths. Some, however, ate the fat
dishes without pilau; after each mouthful they wiped off the fat,
which ran over their fingers, on the bread. They drank a great deal
while eating, all using the same spoons. At the conclusion of the
meal, the prince, in spite of the strict prohibition of wine,
ordered some to be brought (my presence serving as an excuse). He
then poured out a glass for me, and drank a couple himself--one to
my health and one to his own.

When I told him that I intended to go to Persia, and in particular
to Teheran, he offered to give me a letter to his mother, who was at
court, and under whose protection I could be introduced there. He
wrote immediately, using his knee for want of a table, pressed his
signet ring upon the letter, and gave it to me; but told me
laughingly not to say anything to his mother about his having drank

After meal time, I asked the prince whether he would allow me to pay
a visit to his wife,--I had already learned that one of his wives
was with him. My request was granted, and I was led immediately
into a building, near which had formerly been a small mosque.

I was here received in a cool arched apartment by a remarkably
handsome young creature. She was the most beautiful of all the
women I had ever yet seen in harems. Her figure, of middling
proportions, was most exquisitely symmetrical; her features were
noble and truly classical; and her large eyes had a melancholy
expression: the poor thing was alone here, and had no society but
an old female servant and a young gazelle. Her complexion, probably
not quite natural, was of dazzling whiteness, and a delicate red
tinted her cheeks. The eyebrows only, in my opinion, were very much
deformed by art. They were in the form of a dark-blue streak, an
inch wide, which extended in two connected curves from one temple to
the other, and gave the face a somewhat dark and very uncommon
appearance. The principal hairs were not dyed; her hands and arms,
however, were slightly tattooed. She explained to me that this
shocking operation was performed upon her when she was only a child,
a custom which is also practised by the Mahomedan women in Baghdad.

The dress of this beauty was like that of the women in the pasha's
harem, but instead of the small turban, she wore a white muslin
cloth lightly twisted round the head, which she could also draw over
her face as a veil.

Our conversation was not very lively, as the interpreter was not
allowed to follow me into this sanctum. We were therefore obliged
to content ourselves with making signs and looking at one another.

When I returned to the prince, I expressed to him my wonder at the
rare beauty of his young wife, and asked him what country was the
cradle of this true angel. He told me the north of Persia, and
assured me, at the same time, that his other wives, of whom he had
four in Baghdad and four in Teheran with his mother, very much
excelled this one in beauty.

When I would have taken my leave of the prince to return home, he
proposed to me that I should remain a little while longer and hear
some Persian music. Two minstrels presently appeared, one of whom
had a kind of mandolin with five strings; the other was a singer.
The musician preluded very well, played European as well as Persian
melodies, and handled his instrument with great facility; the singer
executed roulades, and, unfortunately, his voice was neither
cultivated nor pure; but he seldom gave false notes, and they both
kept good time. The Persian music and songs had considerable range
of notes and variations in the melody; I had not heard anything like
them for a long time.

I reached home safely before sunset, and did not feel very much
fatigued, either by the ride of thirty-six miles, the terrible heat,
or the wandering about on foot. Only two days afterwards, I set out
on my road to the ruins of the city of Babylon. The district in
which these ruins lie is called Isak-Arabia, and is the seat of the
ancient Babylonia and Chaldea.

I rode, the same evening, twenty miles, as far as the Chan Assad.
The palms and fruit-trees gradually decreased in number, the
cultivated ground grew less and less, and the desert spread itself
before me, deadening all pleasure and animation. Here and there
grew some low herbage scarcely sufficient for the frugal camel; even
this ceases a few miles before coming to Assad, and from thence to
Hilla the desert appeared uninterruptedly in its sad and uniform

We passed the place where the town of Borossippa formerly stood, and
where it is said that a pillar of Nourhwan's palace is yet to be
seen; but I could not discover it anywhere, although the whole
desert lay open before me and a bright sunset afforded abundance of
light. I therefore contented myself with the place, and did not, on
that account, remember with less enthusiasm the great Alexander,
here at the last scene of his actions, when he was warned not to
enter Babylon again. Instead of the pillar, I saw the ruins of one
large and several smaller canals. The large one formerly united the
Euphrates with the Tigris, and the whole served for irrigating the

31st May. I had never seen such numerous herds of camels as I did
today; there might possibly have been more than 7,000 or 8,000. As
most of them were unloaded and carried only a few tents, or women
and children, it was probably the wandering of a tribe in search of
a more fruitful dwelling-place. Among this enormous number, I saw
only a few camels that were completely white. These are very highly
prized by the Arabians; indeed, almost honoured as superior beings.
When I first saw the immense herd of these long-legged animals
appearing in the distant horizon, they looked like groups of small
trees; and I felt agreeably surprised to meet with vegetation in
this endless wilderness. But the wood, like that in Shakspere's
Macbeth, shortly advanced towards us, and the stems changed into
legs and the crowns into bodies.

I also observed a species of bird today to which I was a complete
stranger. It resembled, in colour and size, the small green
papagien, called paroquets, except that its beak was rather less
crooked and thick. It lives, like the earth-mouse, in small holes
in the ground. I saw flocks of them at two of the most barren
places in the desert, where there was no trace of a blade of grass
to be discovered, far and wide.

Towards 10 o'clock in the morning, we halted for two hours only at
Chan Nasri, as I was resolved to reach Hilla today. The heat rose
above 134 degrees Fah.; but a hot wind, that continually accompanied
us, was still more unbearable, and drove whole clouds of hot sand
into the face. We frequently passed half-ruined canals during the

The chans upon this road are among the best and the most secure that
I have ever met with. From the exterior, they resemble small
fortresses; a high gateway leads into a large court-yard, which is
surrounded on all sides by broad, handsome halls built with thick
brick walls. In the halls, there are niches arranged in rows; each
one being large enough to serve three or four persons as a resting-
place. Before the niches, but also under the halls, are the places
for the cattle. In the court-yard, a terrace is also built five
feet high for sleeping in the hot summer nights. There are likewise
a number of rings and posts for the cattle in the court, where they
can be in the open air during the night.

These chans are adapted for whole caravans, and will contain as many
as 500 travellers, together with animals and baggage; they are
erected by the government, but more frequently by wealthy people,
who hope by such means to procure a place in heaven. Ten or twelve
soldiers are appointed to each chan as a guard. The gates are
closed in the evening. Travellers do not pay anything for staying
at these places.

Some Arabian families generally live outside the chans, or even in
them, and they supply the place of host, and furnish travellers with
camel's milk, bread, coffee, and sometimes, also, with camel's or
goat's flesh. I found the camel's milk rather disagreeable, but the
flesh is so good that I thought it had been cow-beef, and was
greatly surprised when my guide told me that it was not.

When travellers are furnished with a pasha's firman (letter of
recommendation), they can procure one or more mounted soldiers (all
the soldiers at the chans have horses) to accompany them through
dangerous places, and at times of disturbances. I had such a
firman, and made use of it at night.

In the afternoon we approached the town of Hilla, which now occupies
a part of the space where Babylon formerly stood. Beautiful woods
of date-trees indicated from afar the inhabited country, but
intercepted our view of the town.

Four miles from Hilla we turned off the road to the right, and
shortly found ourselves between enormous mounds of fallen walls and
heaps of bricks. The Arabs call these ruins Mujellibe. The largest
of these mounds of bricks and rubbish is 2,110 feet in
circumference, and 141 feet in height.

Babylon, as is known, was one of the greatest cities of the world.
With respect to its founder there are various opinions. Some say
Ninus, others Belus, others Semiramis, etc. It is said that, at the
building of the city (about 2,000 years before the birth of Christ),
two million of workmen, and all the architects and artificers of the
then enormous Syrian empire, were employed. The city walls are
described as having been 150 feet high, and twenty feet thick. The
city was defended by 250 towers; it was closed by a hundred brazen
gates, and its circumference was sixty miles. It was separated into
two parts by the Euphrates. On each bank stood a beautiful palace,
and the two were united by an artistic bridge, and even a tunnel was
constructed by the Queen Semiramis. But the greatest curiosities
were the temples of Belus and the hanging gardens. The tower of the
temple was ornamented with three colossal figures, made of pure
gold, and representing gods. The hanging gardens (one of the seven
wonders of the world) are ascribed to Nebuchadnezar, who is said to
have built them at the wish of his wife Amytis.

Six hundred and thirty years before Christ, the Babylonian empire
was at the highest point of its magnificence. At this time it was
conquered by the Chaldeans. It was afterwards subject in succession
to the Persians, Osmans, Tartars, and others, until the year A.D.
1637, since which time it has remained under the Osman government.

The temple of Belus or Baal was destroyed by Xerxes, and Alexander
the Great would have restored it; but as it would have required
10,000 men for two months (others say two years) merely to remove
the rubbish, he did not attempt it.

One of the palaces is described as having been the residence of the
king, the other a castle. Unfortunately they are so fallen to
decay, that they afford no means of forming a satisfactory opinion
even to antiquarians. It is supposed, however, that the ruins
called Mujellibe are the remains of the castle. Another large heap
of ruins is situated about a mile distant, called El Kasir.
According to some, the temple of Baal stood here, according to
others the royal palace. Massive fragments of walls and columns are
still to be seen, and in a hollow a lion in dark grey granite, of
such a size that at some distance I took it for an elephant. It is
very much damaged, and, to judge from what remains, does not appear
to have been the work of a great artist.

The mortar is of extraordinary hardness; it is easier to break the
bricks themselves, than to separate them from it. The bricks of all
the ruins are partly yellow and partly red, a foot long, nearly as
broad, and half an inch thick.

In the ruins El Kasir stands a solitary tree, which belongs to a
species of firs which is quite unknown in this district. The Arabs
call it Athale, and consider it sacred. There are said to be
several of the same kind near Buschir--they are there called Goz or

Many writers see something very extraordinary in this tree; indeed
they go so far as to consider it as a relic of the hanging gardens,
and affirm that it gives out sad melancholy tones when the wind
plays through its branches, etc. Everything, indeed, is possible
with God; but that this half-stunted tree which is scarcely eighteen
feet high, and whose wretched stem is at most only nine inches in
diameter, is full 3,000 years old, appears to me rather too

The country round Babylon is said to have been formerly so
flourishing and fruitful, that it was called the Paradise of
Chaldea. This productiveness ceased with the existence of the

As I had seen everything completely, I rode on as far as Hilla, on
the other side of the Euphrates. A most miserable bridge of forty-
six boats is here thrown across the river, which is four hundred and
thirty feet broad. Planks and trunks of trees are laid from one
boat to the other, which move up and down at every step; there is no
railing at the side, and the space is so narrow that two riders can
scarcely pass. The views along the river are very charming; I found
the vegetation here still rich, and several mosques and handsome
buildings give life to the blooming landscape.

In Hilla I was received by a rich Arab. As the sun was already very
near setting, I was shown to a beautiful terrace instead of a room.
A delicious pilau, roast lamb, and steamed vegetables were sent to
me for supper, with water and sour milk.

The terraces here were not surrounded by any walls, a circumstance
which was very agreeable to me, as it gave me an opportunity of
observing the mode of life and customs of my neighbours.

In the court-yards I saw the women engaged in making bread, and in
the same way as at Bandr-Abas. The men and children meanwhile
spread straw mats upon the terraces, and brought dishes with pilaus,
vegetables, or some other eatables. As soon as the bread was ready,
they began their meal. The women also seated themselves, and I
thought that the modern Arabs were sufficiently advanced in
civilization to give my sex their place at table. But to my regret
I saw the poor women, instead of helping themselves from the dishes,
take straw fans to keep off the flies from the heads of their
husbands. They may have had their meal afterwards in the house, for
I did not see them eat anything, either upon the terraces or in the
courts. They all slept upon the terraces. Both men and women
wrapped themselves in rugs, and neither the one nor the other took
off any of their clothing.

1st June. I had ordered for this morning two fresh horses and Arabs
as a guard, that I might proceed with some safety to the ruins of
Birs Nimroud. These ruins are situated six miles distant from
Hilla, in the desert or plain of Shinar, near the Euphrates, upon a
hill 265 feet high, built of bricks, and consist of the fragments of
a wall twenty-eight feet long, on one side thirty feet high, and on
the other thirty-five. The greater part of the bricks are covered
with inscriptions. Near this wall lie several large blackish blocks
which might be taken for lava, and it is only on closer examination
that they are found to be remains of walls. It is supposed that
such a change could only have been brought about by lightning.

People are not quite unanimous in their opinions with respect to
these ruins. Some affirm that they are the remains of the Tower of
Babel, others that they are those of the Temple of Baal.

There is an extensive view from the top of the hill over the desert,
the town of Hilla with its charming palm-gardens, and over
innumerable mounds of rubbish and brick-work. Near these ruins
stands an unimportant Mahomedan chapel, which is said to be on the
same spot where, according to the Old Testament, the three youths
were cast into the furnace for refusing to worship idols.

In the afternoon I was again in Hilla. I looked over the town,
which is said to contain 26,000 inhabitants, and found it built like
all Oriental towns. Before the Kerbela gates is to be seen the
little mosque Esshems, which contains the remains of the prophet
Joshua. It completely resembles the sepulchre of the Queen Zobiede
near Baghdad.

Towards evening the family of my obliging host, together with some
other women and children, paid me a visit. Their natural good sense
had deterred them from visiting me on the day of my arrival, when
they knew I was fatigued by the long ride. I would willingly have
excused their visit today also, for neither the rich nor poor Arabs
have much idea of cleanliness. They, moreover, would put the little
dirty children into my arms or on my lap, and I did not know how to
relieve myself of this pleasure. Many of them had Aleppo boils, and
others sore eyes and skin diseases. After the women and children
had left, my host came. He was, at least, clean in his dress, and
conducted himself with more politeness.

On the 2nd of July I left Hilla at sunrise, and went on, without
stopping, to the Khan Scandaria (sixteen miles), where I remained
some hours; and then went the same day as far as Bir-Zanus, sixteen
miles further. About an hour after midnight I again halted, and
took a soldier to accompany me. We had scarcely proceeded four or
five miles from the khan when we perceived a very suspicious noise.
We stopped, and the servant told me to be very quiet, so that our
presence might not be detected. The soldier dismounted, and crept
rather than walked in the sand to reconnoitre the dangerous spot.
My exhaustion was so great that, although alone in this dark night
on the terrible desert, I began to doze upon the horse, and did not
wake up till the soldier returned with a cry of joy, and told us
that we had not fallen in with a horde of robbers, but with a
sheikh, who, in company with his followers, were going to Baghdad.
We set spurs to our horses, hastened after the troop, and joined
them. The chief greeted me by passing his hand over his forehead
towards his breast; and, as a sign of his good will, offered me his
arms, a club with an iron head, covered with a number of spikes.
Only a sheikh is allowed to carry such a weapon.

I remained in the sheikh's company until sunrise, and then quickened
my horse's pace, and at about 8 o'clock was again seated in my
chamber at Baghdad, after having, in the short space of three days
and a half, ridden 132 miles and walked about a great deal. The
distance from Baghdad to Hilla is considered to be sixty miles, and
from Hilla to Birs Nimroud six.

I had now seen everything in and around Baghdad, and was desirous of
starting on my journey towards Ispahan. Just at this time the
Persian prince, Il-Hany-Ala-Culy-Mirza, sent me a letter, informing
me that he had received very bad news from his native country; the
governor of Ispahan had been murdered, and the whole province was in
a state of revolt. It was therefore impossible to enter Persia by
this route. I decided in this case to go as far as Mosul, and there
determine my further course according to circumstances.

Before concluding my account of Baghdad, I must state that at first
I was greatly afraid of scorpions, as I had heard that there were
great numbers there; but I never saw one, either in the sardabs or
on the terraces, and during my stay of four weeks only found one in
the court.



In order to travel from Baghdad to Mosul safely, and without great
expense, it is necessary to join a caravan. I requested Herr
Swoboda to direct me to a trustworthy caravan guide. I was indeed
advised not to trust myself alone among the Arabs, at least to take
a servant with me; but with my limited resources this would have
been too expensive. Moreover, I was already pretty well acquainted
with the people, and knew from experience that they might be

A caravan was to have left on the 14th of June, but the caravan
guides, like the ship captains, always delay some days, and so we
did not start until the 17th instead of the 14th.

The distance from Baghdad to Mosul is 300 miles, which occupy in
travelling from twelve to fourteen days. Travellers ride either
horses or mules, and in the hot months travel during the night.

I had hired a mule for myself and my little baggage, for which I
paid the low price of fifteen krans (12s. 6d.), and had neither
fodder nor anything else to provide.

Every one who intends proceeding with the caravan is obliged to
assemble before the city gate about 5 o'clock in the evening. Herr
Swoboda accompanied me there, and particularly recommended me to the
care of the caravan guide, and promised him in my name a good
bachshish if he saved me all the trouble he could during the

In this way I entered upon a fourteen days' journey through deserts
and steppes, a journey full of difficulties and dangers, without any
convenience, shelter, or protection. I travelled like the poorest
Arab, and was obliged, like him, to be content to bear the most
burning sun, with no food but bread and water, or, at the most, a
handful of dates, or some cucumbers, and with the hot ground for a

I had, while in Baghdad, written out a small list of Arabian words,
so that I might procure what was most necessary. Signs were easier
to me than words, and by the aid of both, I managed to get on very
well. I became in time so used to the signs that, in places where I
could make use of the language, I was obliged to take some pains to
prevent myself from using my hands at the same time.

While I was taking leave of Herr Swoboda, my little portmanteau, and
a basket with bread and other trifles, had already been put into two
sacks, which were hung over the back of the mule. My mantle and
cushion formed a comfortable soft seat, and everything was in
readiness--only the mounting was rather difficult, as there was no

Our caravan was small. It counted only twenty-six animals, most of
which carried merchandise, and twelve Arabs, of whom five went on
foot. A horse or mule carries from two to three and a half
hundredweight, according to the state of the road.

About 6 we started. Some miles outside the town several other
travellers joined us, chiefly pedlars with loaded animals, so that
presently our party increased in numbers to sixty. But our numbers
changed every evening, as some always remained behind, or others
joined us. We often had with us some shocking vagabonds, of whom I
was more afraid than robbers. It is, moreover, said not to be
uncommon for thieves to join the caravan, for the purpose of
carrying on their depredations, if there should be an opportunity of
doing so.

I should, on the whole, have no great faith in the protection which
such a caravan is capable of affording, as the people who travel in
this way are principally pedlars, pilgrims, and such like, who
probably have never in their lives used a sword or fired a gun. A
few dozen well-armed robbers would certainly get the better of a
caravan of even a hundred persons.

On the first night we rode ten hours, until we reached Jengitsche.
The country around was flat and barren, uncultivated and
uninhabited. Some few miles outside Baghdad cultivation appeared to
be suddenly cut off, and it was not until we came to Jengitsche that
we saw again palms and stubble fields, showing that human industry
is capable of producing something everywhere.

Travelling with caravans is very fatiguing: although a walking pace
is never exceeded, they are on the road from nine to twelve hours
without halting. When travelling at night the proper rest is lost,
and in the day it is scarcely possible to get any sleep, exposed in
the open air to the excessive heat, and the annoyances of flies and

18th June. In Jengitsche we met with a chan, but it was by no means
equal in appearance and cleanliness to that on the road to Babylon;
its chief advantage was being situated near the Tigris.

The chan was surrounded by a small village, to which I proceeded for
the purpose of satisfying my hunger. I went from hut to hut, and at
last fortunately succeeded in obtaining some milk and three eggs. I
laid the eggs in the hot ashes and covered them over, filled my
leathern flask from the Tigris, and thus loaded returned proudly to
the chan. The eggs I ate directly, but saved the milk for the
evening. After this meal, procured with such difficulty, I
certainly felt happier, and more contented than many who had dined
in the most sumptuous manner.

During my search through the village, I noticed, from the number of
ruined houses and huts, that it seemed to have been of some extent
formerly. Here, also, the last plague had carried off the greater
part of the inhabitants; for, at the present time, there were only a
few very poor families.

I here saw a very peculiar mode of making butter. The cream was put
into a leathern bottle, and shaken about on the ground until the
butter had formed. When made, it was put into another bottle filled
with water. It was as white as snow, and I should have taken it for
lard if I had not seen it made.

We did not start this evening before 10 o'clock, and then rode
eleven hours without halting, to Uesi. The country here was less
barren than that between Baghdad and Jengitsche. We did not,
indeed, see any villages on the road; but small groups of palms, and
the barking of dogs, led us to conclude that there were some very
near. At sun-rise we were gratified by the sight of a low range of
mountains, and the monotony of the plain was here and there broken
at intervals, by small rows of hills.

19th June. Yesterday I was not quite satisfied with the chan at
Jengitsche; but I should have been very thankful for a far worse one
today, that we might have found any degree of shelter from the
pitiless heat of the sun; instead, we were obliged to make our
resting place in a field of stubble, far removed from human
habitations. The caravan guide endeavoured to give me some little
shade by laying a small cover over a couple of poles stuck into the
ground; but the place was so small, and the artificial tent so weak,
that I was compelled to sit quietly in one position, as the
slightest movement would have upset it. How I envied the
missionaries and scientific men, who undertake their laborious
journeys furnished with horses, tents, provisions, and servants.
When I wished, shortly afterwards, to take some refreshments, I had
nothing but lukewarm water, bread so hard that I was obliged to sop
it in water to be able to eat it, and a cucumber without salt or
vinegar! However, I did not lose my courage and endurance, or
regret, even for a moment, that I had exposed myself to these

We set out again about 8 o'clock in the evening, and halted about 4
in the morning at Deli-Abas. The low range of mountains still
remained at our side. From Deli-Abas we crossed the river Hassei by
a bridge built over it.

20th June. We found a chan here; but it was so decayed that we were
obliged to encamp outside, as there is danger of snakes and
scorpions in such ruins. A number of dirty Arab tents lay near the
chan. The desire for something more than bread and cucumber, or
old, half-rotten dates, overcame my disgust, and I crept into
several of these dwellings. The people offered me buttermilk and
bread. I noticed several hens running about the tents with their
young, and eagerly looking for food. I would gladly have bought
one, but as I was not disposed to kill and prepare it myself, I was
obliged to be contented with the bread and buttermilk.

Some plants grow in this neighbourhood which put me in mind of my
native country--the wild fennel. At home I scarcely thought them
worth a glance, while here they were a source of extreme
gratification. I am not ashamed to say, that at the sight of these
flowers the tears came into my eyes, and I leant over them and
kissed them as I would a dear friend.

We started again today, as early as 5 in the evening, as we had now
the most dangerous stage of the journey before us, and were desirous
of passing it before nightfall. The uniformly flat sandy desert in
some degree altered in character. Hard gravel rattled under the
hoofs of the animals; mounds, and strata of rock alternated with
rising ground. Many of the former were projecting from the ground
in their natural position, others had been carried down by floods,
or piled over each other. If this strip had not amounted to more
than 500 or 600 feet, I should have taken it to be the former bed of
a river; but as it was, it more resembled the ground left by the
returning of the sea. In many places saline substances were
deposited, whose delicate crystals reflected the light in all

This strip of ground, which is about five miles long, is dangerous,
because the hills and rocks serve as a favourable ambush for
robbers. Our drivers constantly urged the poor animals on. They
were obliged to travel here over hills and rocks quicker than across
the most convenient plains. We passed through in safety before
darkness came on, and then proceeded more leisurely on our journey.

21st June. Towards 1 in the morning, we came up with the town
Karatappa, of which, however, we saw only the walls. A mile beyond
this we halted in some stubble fields. The extensive deserts and
plains end here, and we entered upon a more cultivated and hilly

On the 22nd of June, we halted in the neighbourhood of the town

Nothing favourable can be said of any of the Turkish towns, as they
so much resemble each other in wretchedness, that it is a pleasure
not to be compelled to enter them. The streets are dirty, the
houses built of mud or unburnt bricks, the places of worship
unimportant, miserable stalls and coarse goods constitute the
bazaars, and the people, dirty and disgusting, are of a rather brown
complexion. The women increase their natural ugliness, by dyeing
their hair and nails reddish brown with henna, and by tattooing
their hands and arms. Even at twenty-five years old, they appear
quite faded.

On the 23rd of June, we halted not far from the town of Dus, and
took up our resting-place for the day.

In this place, I was struck by the low entrances of the houses; they
were scarcely three feet high, so that the people were obliged to
crawl rather than walk into them.

On the 25th of June, we came to Daug, where I saw a monument which
resembled that of Queen Zobiede in Baghdad. I could not learn what
great or holy man was buried under it.

25th June. At 4 this morning we came to the place where our caravan
guide lived, a village about a mile from Kerku. His house was
situated, with several others, in a large dirty court-yard, which
was surrounded by a wall with only one entrance. This court-yard
resembled a regular encampment: all the inhabitants slept there;
and, besides these, there was no want of mules, horses, and asses.
Our animals immediately went to their stalls, and trod so near to
the sleepers, that I was quite anxious for their safety; but the
animals are cautious, and the people know that, and remain perfectly

My Arab had been absent three weeks, and now returned only for a
very short time; and yet none of his family came out to greet him
except an old woman. Even with her, whom I supposed to be his
mother, he exchanged no kind of welcome. She merely hobbled about
here and there, but gave no help, and might as well have remained
where she was lying, as the others.

The houses of the Arabs consist of a single, lofty, spacious
apartment, separated into three parts by two partition walls, which
do not extend quite across to the front wall. Each of these
compartments is about thirty feet in length by nine in breadth, and
serves as a dwelling for a family. The light fell through the
common door-way and two holes, which were made in the upper part of
the front wall. A place was set apart for me in one of these
compartments, where I could pass the day.

My attention was first directed to the nature of the relationships
between the several members of the family. At first this was very
difficult, as it was only towards the very young children that any
kind of attachment or love was shown. They appeared to be a common
property. At last, however, I succeeded in ascertaining that three
related families lived in the house--the patriarch, a married son,
and a married daughter.

The patriarch was a handsome, powerful old man, sixty years of age,
and the father of my guide, which I had learnt before, as he was one
of our travelling party; he was a terrible scold, and wrangled about
every trifle; the son seldom contradicted him, and gave way to all
that his father wished. The caravan animals belonged, in common, to
both, and were driven by themselves, and by a grandson fifteen years
old, and some servants. When we had reached the house, the old man
did not attend to the animals much, but took his ease and gave his
orders. It was easy to see that he was the head of the family.

The first impression of the Arab character is that it is cold and
reserved; I never saw either husband and wife, or father and
daughter, exchange a friendly word; they said nothing more than was
positively necessary. They show far more feeling towards children.
They allow them to shout and make as much noise as they like, no one
vexes or contradicts them, and every misconduct is overlooked. But
as soon as a child is grown up, it becomes his duty to put up with
the infirmities of his parents, which he does with respect and

To my great astonishment, I heard the children call their mothers
mama or nana, their fathers baba, and their grandmothers ete or eti.

The women lie lazily about during the whole day, and only in the
evening exert themselves to make bread. I thought their dress
particularly awkward and inconvenient. The sleeves of their shirts
were so wide that they stuck out half a yard from the arms; the
sleeves of the kaftan were still larger. Whenever they do any work,
they are obliged to wind them round their arms, or tie them in a
knot behind. Of course they are always coming undone, and causing
delay and stoppage of their work. In addition to this, the good
folks are not much addicted to cleanliness, and make use of their
sleeves for blowing their noses on, as well as for wiping their
spoons and plates. Their head coverings are not less inconvenient:
they use first a large cloth, twice folded; over this two others are
wound, and a fourth is thrown over the whole.

Unfortunately, we stayed here two days. I had a great deal to
undergo the first day: all the women of the place flocked round me
to stare at the stranger. They first commenced examining my
clothes, then wanted to take the turban off my head, and were at
last so troublesome, that it was only by force that I could get any
rest. I seized one of them sharply by the arm, and turned her out
of the door so quickly, that she was overcome before she knew what I
was going to do. I signified to the others that I would serve them
the same. Perhaps they thought me stronger than I was, for they
retired immediately.

I then drew a circle round my place and forbade them to cross it, an
injunction they scrupulously attended to.

I had now only to deal with the wife of my guide. She laid siege to
me the whole day, coming as near to me as possible, and teasing me
to give her some of my things. I gave her a few trifles, for I had
not much with me, and she then wanted everything. Fortunately her
husband came out of the house just then; I called him and complained
of his wife, and at the same time threatened to leave his house, and
seek shelter somewhere else, well knowing that the Arabs consider
this a great disgrace. He immediately ordered her harshly out, and
I at last had peace. I always succeeded in carrying out my own
will. I found that energy and boldness have a weight with all
people, whether Arabs, Persians, Bedouins, or others.

Towards evening I saw, to my great delight, a cauldron of mutton set
on the fire. For eight days I had eaten nothing but bread,
cucumber, and some dates; and, therefore, had a great desire for a
hot and more nutritious meal. But my appetite was greatly
diminished when I saw their style of cookery. The old woman (my
guide's mother) threw several handsful of small grain, and a large
quantity of onions, into a pan full of water to soften. In about
half an hour she put her dirty hands into the water, and mixed the
whole together, now and then taking a mouthful, and, after chewing
it, spitting it back again into the pan. She then took a dirty rag,
and strained off the juice, which she poured over the flesh in the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We remained at Coromaduda over night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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