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Around the World on a Bicycle V1 by Thomas Stevens

Part 7 out of 9

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industriously at their trade, others gossiping and sipping coffee with
friends or purchasers.

"Doesn't it call up ideas of what you conceive the quarters of the old
alchemists to have been hundreds of years ago." asks my companion.
"Precisely what I was on the eve of suggesting to you," I reply, and then
we drop into one of the shops, sip coffee with the old silversmith, and
examine his filigree jewelry. There is nothing denoting remarkable skill
about any of it; an intricate pattern of their jewelry simply represents
a great expenditure of time and Asiatic patience, and the finishing of
clasps, rivetting, etc., is conspicuously rough. Sivas was also formerly
a seat of learning; the imposing gates, with portions of the fronts of
the old Arabic universities are still standing, with sufficient beautiful
arabesque designs in glazed tile-work still undestroyed, to proclaim
eloquently of departed glories. The squalid mud hovels of refugees from
the Caucasus now occupy the interior of these venerable edifices; ragged
urchins romp with dogs and baby buffaloes where pashas' sons formerly
congregated to learn wisdom from the teachings of their prophet, and now
what remains of the intricate arabesque designs, worked out in small,
bright-colored tiles, that once formed the glorious ceiling of the dome,
seems to look down reproachfully, and yet sorrowfully, upon the wretched
heaps of tezek placed beneath it for shelter.

I am remaining over one day at Sivas, and in the morning we call on the
American missionaries. Mr. Perry is at home, and hopes I am going to
stay a week, so that they can "sort of make up for the discomforts of
journeying through the country;" Mr. Hubbard and the ladies of the
Mission are out of town, but will be back this evening. After dinner we
go round to the government konak and call on the Vali, Hallil Eifaat
Pasha, whom Mr. Weakley describes beforehand as a very practical man,
fond of mechanical contrivances; and who would never forgive him if he
allowed me to leave Sivas with the bicycle without paying him a visit.
The usual rigmarole of salaams, cigarettes, coffee, compliments, and
questioning are gone through with; the Vali is a jolly-faced, good-natured
man, and is evidently much interested in my companion's description of
the bicycle and my journey. Of course I don't forget to praise the
excellence of the road from Yennikhan; I can conscientiously tell him
that it is superior to anything I have wheeled over south of the Balkans;
the Pasha is delighted at hearing this, and beaming joyously over his
spectacles, his fat jolly face a rotund picture of satisfaction, he says
to Mr. Weakley: "You see, he praises up our roads; and he ought to know,
he has travelled on wagon roads half way round the world." The interview
ends by the Vali inviting me to ride the bicycle out to his country
residence this evening, giving the order for a squad of zaptiehs to
escort me out of town at the appointed time. "The Vali is one of the
most energetic pashas in Turkey," says Mr. Weakley, as we take our
departure. "You would scarcely believe that he has established a small
weekly newspaper here, and makes it self-supporting into the bargain,
would you." "I confess I don't see how he manages it among these
people," I reply, quite truthfully, for these are anything but newspaper-
supporting people; "how does he manage to make it self-supporting?"
Why, he makes every employe of the government subscribe for a certain
number of copies, and the subscription price is kept back out of their
salaries; for instance, the mulazim of zaptiehs would have to take half
a dozen copies, the mutaserif a dozen, etc.; if from any unforeseen cause
the current expenses are found to be more than the income, a few additional
copies are saddled on each 'subscriber.' "Before leaving Sivas, I
arrive at the conclusion that Hallil Eifaat Pasha knows just about what's
what; while administering the affairs of the Sivas vilayet in a manner
that has gained him the good-will of the population at large, he hasn't
neglected his opportunities at the Constantinople end of the rope; more
than one beautiful Circassian girl has, I am told, been forwarded to the
Sultan's harem by the enterprising and sagacious Sivas Vali; consequently
he holds "trump cards," so to speak, both in the province and the palace.
Promptly at the hour appointed the squad of zaptiehs arrive; Mr. Weakley
mounts his servant on a prancing Arab charger, and orders him to manoeuvre
the horse so as to clear the way in front; the zaptiehs commence their
flogging, and in the middle of the cleared space I trundle the bicycle.
While making our way through the streets, Mr. Hubbard, who, with the
ladies, has just returned to the city, is encountered on the way to
invite Mr. Weakley and myself to supper; as he pushes his way through
the crowd and reaches my side, he pronounces it the worst rabble he ever
saw in the streets of Sivas, and he has been stationed here over twelve
years. Once clear of the streets, I mount and soon outdistance the crowd,
though still followed by a number of horsemen. Part way out we wait for
the Vali's state carriage, in which he daily rides between the city and
his residence. "While waiting, a terrific squall of wind and dust comes
howling from the direction we are going, and while it is still blowing
great guns, the Vali and his mounted escort arrive. His Excellency alights
and examines the Columbia with much interest, and then requests me to
ride on immediately in advance of the carriage. The grade is slightly
against me, and the whistling wind seems to be shrieking a defiance; but
by superhuman efforts, almost, I pedal ahead and manage to keep in front
of his horses all the way. The distance from Sivas is four and a quarter
miles by the cyclometer; this is the first time it has ever been measured.
We are ushered into a room quite elegantly furnished, and light refreshments
served. Observing my partiality for vishner-su, the Governor kindly
offers me a flask of the syrup to take along; which I am, however,
reluctantly compelled to refuse, owing to my inability to carry it. Here,
also, we meet Djaved Bey, the Pasha's son, who has recently returned
from Constantinople, and who says he saw me riding at Prinkipo. The Vali
gets down on his hands and knees to examine the route of my journey on
a map of the world which he spreads out on the carpet; he grows quite
enthusiastic, and exclaims, "Wonderful." " Very wonderful!" says Djaved
Bey; "when you get back to America they will-build you a statue." Mr.
Hubbard has mounted a horse and followed us to the Vali's residence, and
at the approach of dusk we take our departure; the wind is favorable for
the return, as is also the gradient; ere my two friends have unhitched
their horses, I mount and am scudding before the gale half a mile away.

"Hi hi-hi-hi! you'll never overtake him." the Vali shouts enthusiastically
to the two horsemen as they start at full gallop after me, and which
they laughingly repeat to me shortly afterward. A very pleasant evening
is spent at Mr. Hubbard's house; after supper the ladies sing "Sweet
Bye and Bye," "Home, Sweet Home," and other melodious reminders of the
land of liberty and song that gave them birth. Everything looks comfortable
and homelike, and they have English ivy inside the dining-room trained
up the walls and partly covering the ceiling, which produces a wonderfully
pleasant effect. The usual extraordinary rumors of my wonderful speeding
ability have circulated about the city during the day and evening, some
of which have happened to come to the ears of the missionaries. One story
is that I came from the port of Samsoon, a distance of nearly three
hundred miles, in six hours, while an imaginative katir-jee, whom I
whisked past on the road, has been telling the Sivas people an exaggerated
story of how a genii had ridden past him with lightning-like speed on a
shining wheel; but whether it was a good or an evil genii he said he
didn't have time to determine, as I went past like a flash and vanished
in the distance. The missionaries have four hundred scholars attending
their school here at Sivas, which would seem to indicate a pretty
flourishing state of affairs. Their recruiting ground is, of I course,
among the Armenians, who, though professedly Christiana really stand in
more need of regeneration than their Mohammedan neighbors. The
characteristic condition of the average Armenian villager's mind is deep,
dense ignorance and moral gloominess; it requires more patience and
perseverance to ingraft a new idea on the unimpressionable trunk of
an Armenian villager's intellect than it does to put up second-hand
stove-pipe; and it is a generally admitted fact - i.e., west of the Missouri
Elver - that anyone capable of setting up three joints of second-hand
stove-pipe without using profane language deserves a seat in Paradise.
"Come in here a minute," says Mr. Hubbard, just before our I departure
for the night, leading the way into an adjoining room.; I "here's shirts,
underclothing, socks, handkerchiefs-everything;.! help yourself to
anything you require; I know something about I travelling through this
country myself. " But not caring to impose too much on good nature, I
content myself with merely pocketing a strong pair of socks, that I
know will come in handy. I leave the bicycle at the mission over night,
and in the morning, at Miss Chamberlain's request, I ride round the
school-house yard a few times for the edification of the scholars. The
greatest difficulty, I am informed, with Armenian pupils is to get them
to take sufficient interest in anything to ask questions; it is mainly
because the bicycle will be certain to awaken interest, and excite the
spirit of inquiry among them, that I am requested to ride for their
benefit. Thus is the bicycle fairly recognized as a valuable aid to
missionary work. Moral: let the American and Episcopal boards provide
their Asia Minor and Persian missionaries with nickel-plated bicycles;
let them wheel their way into the empty wilderness of the Armenian mind,
and. light up the impenetrable moral darkness lurking therein with the
glowing and mist-dispelling orbs of cycle lamps. Messrs. Perry, Hubbard,
and Weakley accompany me out some distance on horseback, and at parting
I am commissioned to carry salaams to the brethren in China. This is the
first opportunity that has ever presented of sending greetings overland
to far-off China, they say, and such rare occasions are not to be lightly
overlooked. They also promise to send word to the Erzeroum mission to
expect me; the chances are, however, that I shall reach Erzeroum before
their letter; there are no lightning mail trains in Asia Minor. The road
eastward from Sivas is an artificial highway, and affords reasonably
good wheeling, but is somewhat inferior to the road from Yennikhau.
Before long I enter a region of low hills, dales, and small lakes, beyond
which the road again descends into the valley of the Kizil Irmak. All
day long the roadway averages better wheeling than I ever expected to
find in Asiatic Turkey; but the prevailing east wind offers strenuous
opposition to my progress every inch of the way along the hundred miles
or so of ridable road from Yennikhan to Zara, a town at which I arrive
near sundown. Zara is situated at the entrance to a narrow passage between
two mountain spurs, and although the road is here a dead level and the
surface smooth, the wind comes roaring from the gorge with such tremendous
pressure that it is only by extraordinary exertions that I am able to
keep the saddle.

Tifticjeeoghlou Effendi was a gentleman of Greek descent. At Zara I have
an opportunity of seeing and experiencing something of what hospitality
is like among the better class Armenians, for I have brought from Sivas
a letter of introduction to Kirkor-agha Tartarian, the most prominent
Armenian gentleman in Zara. I have no difficulty whatever in finding the
house, and am at once installed in the customary position of honor, while
five serving-men hover about, ready to wait on me; some take a hand in
the inevitable ceremony of preparing and serving coffee and lighting
cigarettes, while others stand watchfully by awaiting word or look from
myself or mine host, or from the privileged guests that immediately begin
to arrive. The room is of cedar planking throughout, and is absolutely
without furniture, save the carpeting and the cushioned divan on which
I am seated. Mr. Tartarian sits crossed-legged on the carpet to my left,
smoking a nargileh; his younger brother occupies a similar position on
my right, rolling and smoking cigarettes; while the guests, as they
arrive, squat themselves on the carpet in positions varying in distance
from the divan, according to their respective rank and social importance.
No one ventures to occupy the cushioned divan alongside myself, although
the divan is fifteen feet long, and it makes me feel uncomfortably like
the dog in the manger to occupy its whole length alone. In a farther
corner, and off the slightly raised and carpeted floor on which are
seated the guests, is a small brick fire-place, on which a charcoal fire
is brightly burning, and here Mr. Vartarian's private kahvay-jee is kept
busily employed in brewing tiny cups of strong black coffee; another
servant constantly visits the fire to ferret out pieces of glowing
charcoal with small pipe-lighting tongs, with which he circulates among
the guests, supplying a light to the various smokers of cigarettes. A
third youth is kept pretty tolerably busy performing the same office for
Mr. Vartarian's nargileh, for the gentleman is an inveterate smoker, and
in all Turkey there can scarcely be another nargileh requiring so much
tinkering with as his. All the livelong evening something keeps getting
wrong with that wretched pipe; mine host himself is continually rearranging
the little pile of live coals on top of the dampened tobacco (the tobacco
smoked in a nargileh is dampened, and live coals are placed on top),
taking off the long coiled tube and blowing down it, or prying around
in the tobacco receptacle with an awl-like instrument in his efforts to
make it draw properly, but without making anything like a success; while
his nargileh-boy is constantly hovering over it with a new supply of
live coals. "Job himself could scarcely have been possessed of more
patience," I think at first; but before the evening is over I come to
the conclusion that my worthy host wouldn't exchange that particular
hubble-bubble with its everlasting contrariness for the most perfectly
drawing nargileh in Turkey: like certain devotees of the weed among
ourselves, who never seem to be happier than when running a broom-straw
down the stem of a pipe that chronically refuses to draw, so Kirkor-agha
Vartarian finds his chief amusement in thus tinkering from one week's
end to another with his nargileh. At the supper table mine host and his
brother both lavish attentions upon me; knives and forks of course there
are none, these things being seldom seen in Asia Minor, and to a cycler
who has spent the day in pedalling against a stiff breeze, their absence
is a matter of small moment. I am ravenously hungry, and they both win
my warmest esteem by transferring choice morsels from their own plates
into mine with their fingers. From what I know of strict haut ton Zaran
etiquette, I think they should really pop these tid-bits in my mouth,
and the reason they don't do so is, perhaps, because I fail to open it
in the customary haut ton manner; however, it is a distasteful thing to
be always sticking up for one's individual rights. A pile of quilts and
mattresses, three feet thick, and feather pillows galore are prepared
for me to sleep on. An attendant presents himself with a wonderful night-
shirt, on the ample proportions of which are displayed bewildering colors
and figures; and following the custom of the country, shapes himself for
undressing me and assisting me into bed. This, however, I prefer to do
without assistance, owing to a large stock of native modesty. I never
fell among people more devoted in their attentions; their only thought
during my stay is to make me comfortable; but they are very ceremonious
and great sticklers for etiquette. I had intended making my usual early
start, but mine host receives with open disapproval - I fancy even with a
showing of displeasure - my proposition to depart without first partaking
of refreshments, and it is nearly eight o'clock before I finally get
started. Immediately after rising comes the inevitable coffee and early
morning visitors; later an attendant arrives with breakfast for myself
on a small wooden tray. Mr. Vartarian occupies precisely the same position,
and is engaged in precisely the same occupation as yesterday evening,
as is also his brother. No sooner does the hapless attendant make his
appearance with the eatables than these two persons spring simultaneously
to their feet, apparently in a towering rage, and chase him back out of
the room, meanwhile pursuing him with a torrent of angry words; they
then return to their respective positions and respective occupations.
Ten minutes later the attendant reappears, but this time bringing a
larger tray with an ample spread for three persons; this, it afterward
appears, is not because mine host and his brother intends partaking of
any, but because it is Armenian etiquette to do so, and Armenian etiquette
therefore becomes responsible for the spectacle of a solitary feeder
seated at breakfast with dishes and everything prepared for three, while
of the other two, one is smoking a nargileh, the other cigarettes, and
both of them regarding my evident relish of scrambled eggs and cold fowl
with intense satisfaction.

Having by this time determined to merely drift with the current of mine
host's intentions concerning the time of my departure, I resume my
position on the divan after breakfasting, simply hinting that I would
like to depart as soon as possible. To this Mr. Vartarian complacently
nods assent, and his brother, with equal complacency rolls me a cigarette,
after which a good half-hour is consumed in preparing for me a letter
of introduction to their friend Mudura Ghana in the village of Kachahurda,
which I expect to reach somewhere near noon; mine host dictates while
his brother writes. Visitors continue coming in, and I am beginning to
get a trifle impatient about starting; am beginning in fact to wish all
their nonsensical ceremoniousness at the bottom of tho deep blue sea or
some equally unfathomable quarter, when, at a signal from Mr. Vartarian
himself, his brother and tho whole roomful of visitors rise simultaneously
to their feet, and equally simultaneously put their hands on their
respective stomachs, and, turning toward me, salaam; mine host then
comes forward, shakes hands, gives me the letter to Mudura Ghana, and
permits me to depart. He has provided two zaptiehs to escort me outside
the town, and in a few minutes I find myself bowling briskly along a
beautiful little valley; the pellucid waters of a purling brook dance
merrily alongside an excellent piece of road; birds are singing merrily
in the willow-trees, and dark rocky crags tower skyward immediately
around. The lovely little valley terminates all too soon, for in fifteen
minutes I am footing it up another mountain; but it proves to be the
entrance gate of a region containing grander pine-clad mountain scenery
than anything encountered outside the Sierra Nevadas; in fact the famous
scenery of Cape Horn, California, almost finds its counterpart at one
particular point I traverse this morning; only instead of a Central
Pacific Railway winding around the gray old crags and precipices, the
enterprising Sivas Vali has built an araba road. One can scarce resist
the temptation of wheeling down some of the less precipitous slopes, but
it is sheer indiscretion, for the roadway makes sharp turns at points
where to continue straight ahead a few feet too far would launch one
into eternity; a broken brake, a wild "coast" of a thousand feet through
mid-air into the dark depths of a rocky gorge, and the "tour around the
world" would abruptly terminate. For a dozen miles I traverse a tortuous
road winding its way among wild mountain gorges and dark pine forests;
Circassian horsemen are occasionally encountered: it seems the most
appropriate place imaginable for robbers, and I have again been cautioned
against these freebooting mountaineers at Sivas. They eye me curiously,
and generally halt after they have passed, and watch my progress for
some minutes. Once I am overtaken by a couple of them; they follow close
behind me up a mountain slope; they are heavily armed and look capable
of anything, and I plod along, mentally calculating how to best encompass
their destruction with the Smith & "Wesson, without coming to grief
myself, should their intentions toward me prove criminal. It is not
exactly comfortable or reassuring to have two armed horsemen, of a people
who are regarded with universal fear and mistrust by everybody around
them, following close upon one's heels, with the disadvantage of not
being able to keep an eye on their movements; however, they have little
to say; and as none of them attempt any interference, it is not for me
to make insinuations against them on the barren testimony of their outward
appearance and the voluntary opinions of their neighbors.

My route now leads up a rocky ravine, the road being fairly under cover
of over-arching rocks at times, thence over a billowy region of mountain
summits-an elevated region of pine-clad ridges and rocky peaks-to descend
again into a cultivated country of undulating hills and dales, checkered
with fields of grain. These low rolling hills appear to be in a higher
state of cultivation than any district I have traversed in Asia Minor;
from points of vantage the whole country immediately around looks like
a swelling sea of golden grain; harvesting is going merrily on; men and
women are reaping side by side in the fields, and the songs of the women
come floating through the air from all directions. They are Armenian
peasants, for I am now in Armenia proper; the inhabitants of this
particular locality impress me as a light hearted, industrious people;
they have an abundant harvest, and it is a pleasure to stand and see
them reap, and listen to the singing of the women; moreover they are
more respectably clothed than the lower class natives round about them,
barring, of course, our unfathomable acquaintances, the Circassians.

Toward the eastern extremity of this peaceful, happy scene is the village
of Kachahurda, which I reach soon after noon, and where resides Mfrdura
Ghana, to whom I bring a letter. Picturesquely speaking, Kachahurda is
a disgrace to the neighborhood in which it stands; its mud hovels are
combined cow-pens, chicken-coops, and human habitations, and they are
bunched up together without any pretence to order or regularity; yet the
light-hearted, decently-clad people, whose songs come floating from the
harvest-fields, live contentedly in this and other equally wretched
villages round about. Mudura Ghana provides me with a repast of bread
and yaort, and endeavors to make my brief halt comfortable. While I am
discussing these refreshments, himself and another unwashed, unkempt old
party come to high, angry words about me; but whatever it is about I
haven't the slightest idea. Mine host seems a regular old savage when
angry. He is the happy possessor of a pair of powerful lungs, which are
ably seconded by a foghorn voice, and he howls at the other man like an
enraged bull. The other man doesn't seem to mind it, though, and keeps
up his end of the controversy - or whatever it is - in a comparatively cool
and aggravating manner, that seems to feed Mudura Ghana's righteous
wrath, until I quite expect to see that outraged person reach down one
of the swords off the wall and hack his opponent into sausage-meat. Once
I venture to inquire, as far as one can inquire by pantomime, what they
are quarrelling so violently about me for, being really inquisitive to
find out They both immediately cease hostilities to assure me that it
is nothing for which I am in any way personally responsible; and then
they straightway fall to glaring savagely at each other again, and renew
their vocal warfare more vigorously, if anything, from having just drawn
a peaceful breath. Mine host of Kachahurda can scarcely be called a very
civilized or refined individual; he has neither the gentle kindliness
of Kirkoragha Vartarian, nor the dignified, gentlemanly bearing of
Tifticjeeoghlou Effendi; but he grabs a club, and roaring like the hoarse
whistle of a Mississippi steamboat, chases a crowd of villagers out of
the room who venture to come in on purpose to stare rudely at his guest;
and for this charitable action alone he deserves much credit; nothing
is so annoying as to have these unwashed crowds standing gazing and
commenting while one is eating. A man is sent with me to direct me aright
where the road forks, a mile or so from the village; from the forks it
is a newly made road, in fact, unfinished; it resembles a ploughed field
for looseness and I depth; and when, in addition to this, one has to
climb a gradient of twenty metres to the hundred, a bicycle is anything
but a comforting thing to possess. The country becomes broken and more
mountainous than ever, and the road winds about fearfully. Often a part
of the road that is but a mile away as the crow flies requires an hour's
steady going to reach it; but the mountain scenery is glorious. Occasionally
I round a point, or reach a summit, from whence a magnificent and
comprehensive view bursts upon the vision, and it really requires an
effort to tear one's self away, realizing that in all probability I shall
never see it again. At one point I seem to be overlooking a vast
amphitheatre which encompasses within itself the physical geography of
a continent. It is traversed by whole mountain-ranges of lesser degree;
it contains tracts of stony desert and fertile valley, lakes, and a
river, not excepting even the completing element of a fine forest, and
encompassing it round about, like an impenetrable palisade protecting
it against invasion, are scores of grand old mountains - grim sentinels
that nothing can overcome. The road, though still among the mountains,
is now descending in a general way from the elevated divide, down toward
Enderes and the valley of the Gevmeili Chai River; and toward evening I
enter an Armenian village.

The custom from here eastward appears to be to have the threshing-floors
in or near the village; there are sometimes several different floors,
and when they are winnowing the grain on windy days the whole village
becomes covered with an inch or two of chaff. I am glad to find these
threshing-floors in the villages, because they give me an excellent
opportunity to ride and satisfy the people, thus saving me no end of
worry and annoyance.

The air becomes chilly after sundown, and I am shown into a close room
containing one small air-hole, and am provided with a quilt and pillow.
Later in the evening a Turkish Bey arrives with an escort of zaptiehs
and occupies the same apartment, which would seem to be a room especially
provided for the accommodation of travellers. The moment the officer
arrives, behold, there is a hurrying to and fro of the villagers to sweep
out the room, kindle a fire to brew his coffee, and to bring him water
and a vessel for his ablutions before saying his evening prayers. Cringing
senility characterizes the demeanor of these Armenian villagers toward
the Turkish officer, and their hurrying hither and thither to supply him
ere they are asked looks to me wonderfully like a "propitiating of the
gods." The Bey himself seems to be a pretty good sort of a fellow,
offering me a portion of his supper, consisting of bread, olives, and
onions; which, however, I decline, having already ordered eggs and pillau
of a villager. The Bey's company is highly acceptable, since it saves
me from the annoyance of being surrounded by the usual ragged, unwashed
crowd during the evening, and secures me a refreshing sleep, undisturbed
by visions of purloined straps or moccasins. He appears to be a very
pious Mussulman; after washing his head, hands, and feet, he kneels
toward Mecca on the wet towel, and prays for nearly twenty minutes by
my timepiece; and his sighs of Allah! are wonderfully deep-fetched,
coming apparently from clear down in his stomach. While he is thus
devotionally engaged, his two zaptiehs stand respectfully by, and divide
their time between eying myself and the bicycle with wonder and the Bey
with mingled reverence and awe. At early dawn I steal noiselessly away,
to avoid disturbing the peaceful slumbers of the Bey. For several miles
my road winds around among the foot-hills of the range I crossed yesterday,
but following a gradually widening depression, which finally terminates
in the Gevmeili Chai Valley; and directly ahead and below me lies the
considerable town of Enderes, surrounded by a broad fringe of apple-orchards,
and walnut and jujube groves. Here I obtain a substantial breakfast of
Turkish kabobs (tid-bits of mutton, spitted on a skewer, and broiled
over a charcoal fire) at a public eating khan, after which the mudir
kindly undertakes to explain to me the best route to Erzingan, giving
me the names of several villages to inquire for as a guidance. While
talking to the mudir, Mr. Pronatti, an Italian engineer in the employ
of the Sivas Vali, makes his appearance, shakes hands, reminds me that
Italy has recently volunteered assistance to England in the Soudan
campaign, and then conducts me to his quarters in another part of the
town. Mr. Pronatti can speak almost any language but English; I speak
next to nothing but English; nevertheless, we manage to converse quite
readily, for, besides proficiency in pantomimic language acquired by
daily practice, I have necessarily picked up a few scattering words of
the vernacular of the several countries traversed on the tour. While
discussing a nice ripe water-melon with this gentleman, several respectable-
looking people enter and introduce themselves through Mr. Pronatti as
Osmanli Turks, not Armenians, expecting me to regard them more favorably
on that account. Soon afterward a party of Armenians arrive, and take
labored pains to impress upon me that they are not Turks, but Christian
Armenians. Both parties seem desirous of winning my favorable opinion.
One party thinks the surest plan is to let me know that they are Turks;
the others, to let me know that they are not Turks. "I have told both
parties to go to Gehenna," says my Italian friend. "These people will
worry you to death with their foolishness if you make the mistake of
treating them with consideration."

Donning an Indian pith-helmet that is three sizes too large, and wellnigh
conceals his features, Mr. Pronatti orders his horse, and accompanies
me some distance out, to put me on the proper course to Erzingan. My
route from Enderes leads along a lovely fertile valley, between lofty
mountain ranges; an intricate network of irrigating ditches, fed by,
mountain streams, affords an abundance of water for
wheat-fields, vineyards, and orchards; it is the best, and yet the worst
watered valley I ever saw - the best, because the irrigating ditches are
so numerous; the worst, because most of them are overflowing and converting
my road into mud-holes and shallow pools. In the afternoon I reach
somewhat higher ground, where the road becomes firmer, and I bowl merrily
along eastward, interrupted by nothing save the necessity of dismounting
and shedding my nether garments every few minutes to ford a broad, swift
feeder to the lesser ditches lower down the valley. In this fructiferous
vale my road sometimes leads through areas of vineyards surrounded by
low mud walls, where grapes can be had for the reaching, and where the
proprietor of an orchard will shake down a shower of delicious yellow
pears for whatever you like to give him, or for nothing if one wants him
to. I suppose these villagers have established prices for their commodities
when dealing with each other, but they almost invariably refuse to charge
me anything; some will absolutely refuse any payment, and my only plan
of recompensing them is to give money to the children; others accept,
with as great a show of gratitude as if I were simply giving it to them
without having received an equivalent, whatever I choose to give.

The numerous irrigating ditches have retarded my progress to an appreciable
extent to-day, so that, notwithstanding the early start and the absence
of mountain-climbing, my cyclometer registers but a gain of thirty-seven
miles, when, having continued my eastward course for some time after
nightfall, and failing to reach a village, I commence looking around for
somewhere to spend the night. The valley of the Gevmeili Chai has been
left behind, and I am again traversing a narrow, rocky pass between the
hills. Among the rocks I discover a small open cave, in which I determine
to spend the night. The region is elevated, and the night air chilly;
so I gather together some dry weeds and rubbish and kindle a fire. With
something to cook and eat, and a pair of blankets, I could have spent a
reasonably comfortable night; but a pocketful of pears has to suffice
for supper, and when the unsubstantial fuel is burned away, my airy
chamber on the bleak mountain-side and the thin cambric tent affords
little protection from the insinuating chilliness of the night air.
Variety is said to be the spice of life; no doubt it is, under certain
conditions, but I think it all depends on the conditions whether it is
spicy or not spicy. For instance, the vicissitudes of fortune that favor
me with bread and sour milk for dinner, a few pears for supper, and a
wakeful night of shivering discomfort in a cave, as the reward of wading
fifty irrigating ditches and traversing thirty miles of ditch-bedevilled
donkey-trails during the day, may look spicy, and even romantic, from a
distance; but when one wakes up in a cold shiver about 1.30A.M. and
realizes that several hours of wretchedness are before him, his waking
thoughts are apt to be anything but thoughts complimentary of the spiciness
of the situation. Inshallah! fortune will favor me with better dues to-
morrow; and if not to-morrow, then the next day, or the next.

CHAPTER XVII.

THROUGH ERZINGAN AND ERZEROUM.

For mile after mile, on the following morning, my route leads through
broad areas strewn with bowlders and masses of rock that appear to have
been brought down from the adjacent mountains by the annual spring floods,
caused by the melting winter's snows; scattering wheat-fields are observed
here and there on the higher patches of ground, which look like small
yellow oases amid the desert-like area of loose rocks surrounding them.
Squads of diminutive donkeys are seen picking their weary way through
the bowlders, toiling from the isolated fields to the village threshing-floors
beneath small mountains of wheat-sheaves. Sometimes the donkeys themselves
are invisible below the general level of the bowlders, and nothing is
to be seen but the head and shoulders of a man, persuading before him
several animated heaps of straw. Small lakes of accumulated surface-water
are passed in depressions having no outlet; thickets and bulrushes are
growing around the edges, and the surfaces of some are fairly black with
multitudes of wild-ducks. Soon I reach an Armenian village; after
satisfying the popular curiosity by riding around their threshing-floor,
they bring me some excellent wheat-bread, thick, oval cakes that are
quite acceptable, compared with the wafer-like sheets of the past several
days, and five boiled eggs. The people providing these will not accept
any direct payment, no doubt thinking my having provided them with the
only real entertainment most of them ever saw, a fair equivalent for
their breakfast; but it seems too much like robbing paupers to accept
anything from these people without returning something, so I give money
to the children. These villagers seem utterly destitute of manners,
standing around and watching my efforts to eat soft-boiled eggs with a
pocket-knife with undisguised merriment. I inquire for a spoon, but they
evidently prefer to extract amusement from watching my interesting
attempts with the pocket-knife. One of them finally fetches a clumsy
wooden ladle, three times broader than an egg, which, of course is worse
than nothing. I now traverse a mountainous country with a remarkably
clear atmosphere. The mountains are of a light creamcolored shaly
composition; wherever a living stream of water is found, there also is
a village, with clusters of trees. From points where a comprehensive
view is obtainable the effect of these dark-green spots, scattered here
and there among the whitish hills, seen through the clear, rarefied
atmosphere, is most beautiful. It seems a peculiar feature of everything
in the East - not only the cities themselves, but even of the landscape -
to look beautiful and enchanting at a distance; but upon a closer approach
all its beauty vanishes like an illusory dream. Spots that from a distance
look, amid their barren, sun-blistered surroundings, like lovely bits
of fairyland, upon closer investigation degenerate into wretched habitations
of a ragged, poverty-stricken people, having about them a few neglected
orchards and vineyards, and a couple of dozen straggling willows and
jujubes.

For many hours again to-day I am traversing mountains, mountains, nothing
but mountains; following tortuous camel-paths far up their giant slopes.
Sometimes these camel-paths are splendidly smooth, and make most excellent
riding. At one place, particularly, where they wind horizontally around
the mountain-side, hundreds of feet above a village immediately below,
it is as though the villagers were in the pit of a vast amphitheatre,
and myself were wheeling around a semicircular platform, five hundred
feet above them, but in plain view of them all. I can hear the wonder-struck
villagers calling each other's attention to the strange apparition, and
can observe them swarming upon the house-tops. What wonderful stories
the inhabitants of this particular village will have to recount to their
neighbors, of this marvellous sight, concerning which their own unaided
minds can give no explanation!

Noontide comes and goes without bringing me any dinner, when I emerge
upon a small, cultivated plateau, and descry a coterie of industrious
females reaping together in a field near by, and straightway turn my
footsteps thitherward with a view of ascertaining whether they happen
to have any eatables. No sooner do they observe me trundling toward them
than they ingloriously flee the field, thoughtlessly leaving bag and
baggage to the tender mercies of a ruthless invader. Among their effects
I find some bread and a cucumber, which I forthwith confiscate, leaving
a two and a half piastre metallique piece in its stead; the affrighted
women are watching me from the safe distance of three hundred yards;
when they return and discover the coin they will wish some 'cycler would
happen along and frighten them away on similar conditions every day.
Later in the afternoon I find myself wandering along the wrong trail;
not a very unnatural occurrence hereabout, for since leaving the valley
of the Gevmeili Chai, it has been difficult to distinguish the Erzingan
trail from the numerous other trails intersecting the country in every
direction. On such a journey as this one seems to acquire a certain
amount of instinct concerning roads; certain it is, that I never traverse
a wrong trail any distance these days ere, without any tangible evidence
whatever, I feel instinctively that I am going astray. A party of camel-
drivers direct me toward the lost Erzingan trail, and in an hour I am
following a tributary of the ancient Lycus River, along a valley where
everything looks marvellously green and refreshing; it is as though I
have been suddenly transferred into an entirely different country.

This innovation from barren rocks and sun-baked shale to a valley where
the principal crops seem to be alfalfa and clover, and which is flanked
on the south by dense forests of pine, encroaching downward from the
mountain slopes clear on to the level greensward, is rather an agreeable
surprise; the secret of the magic change does not remain a secret long;
it reveals itself in the shape of sundry broad snow-patches still lingering
on the summits of a higher mountain range beyond. These pine forests,
the pleasant greensward, and the lingering snow-banks, tell an oft-repeated
tale; they speak eloquently of forests preserved and the winter snow-fall
thereby increased; they speak all the more eloquently because of being
surrounded by barren, parched-up hills which, under like conditions,
might produce similar happy results, but which now produce nothing. While
traversing this smiling valley I meet a man asleep on a buffalo araba;
an irrigating ditch runs parallel with the road and immediately alongside;
the meek-eyed buffaloes swerve into the ditch in deference to their awe
of tho bicycle, arid upset their drowsy driver into the water. The mail
evidently stands in need of a bath, but somehow he doesn't seeiu to
appreciate it; perhaps it happened a trifle too impromptu, as it were,
to suit his easy-going Asiatic temperament. He returns my rude, unsympathetic
smile with a prolonged stare of bewilderment, but says nothing.

Soon I meet a boy riding on a donkey, and ask him the postaya distance
to Erzingan; the youth looks frightened half out of his. senses, but
manages to retain sufficient presence of mind to elevate one finger, by
which I understand him to mean that it is one hour, or about four miles.
Accordingly I pedal perseveringly ahead, hoping to reach the city before
dusk, at the same time feeling rather surprised at finding it so near,
as I haven't been expecting to reach there before to-morrow. Five miles
beyond where I met the boy, and just after sundown, I overtake some
katir-jees en route to Erzingan with donkey-loads of grain, and ask them
the same question. From them I learn that instead of one, it is not less
than twelve hours distant, also that the trail leads over a fearfully
mountainous country. Nestling at the base of the mountains, a short
distance to the northward, is the large village of Merriserriff, and not
caring to tempt the fates into giving me another supper-less night in a
cold, cheerless cave, I wend my way thither.

Fortune throws me into the society of an Armenian whose chief anxiety
seems to be, first, that I shall thoroughly understand that he is an
Armenian, and not a Mussulman; and, secondly, to hasten me into the
presence of the mudir, who is a Mussulman, and a Turkish Bey, in order
that he may bring himself into the mudir's favorable notice by personally
introducing me as a rare novelty on to his (the mudir's) threshing-floor.
The official and a few friends are sipping coffee in one corner of the
threshing floor, and, although I don't much relish my position of the
Armenian's puppet-show, I give the mudir an exhibition of the bicycle's
use, in the expectation that he will invite me to remain his guest over
night.

He proves uncourteous, however, not even inviting me to partake of coffee;
evidently, he has become so thoroughly accustomed to the abject servility
of the Armenians about him - who would never think of expecting reciprocating
courtesies from a social superior - that he has unconsciously come to
regard everybody else, save those whom he knows as his official superiors,
as tarred, more or less, with the same feather. In consequence of this
belief I am not a little gratified when, upon the point of leaving the
threshing-floor, an occasion offers of teaching him different.

Other friends of the mudir's appear upon the scene just as I am leaving,
and he beckons me to come back and bin for the enlightenment of the new
arrivals. The Armenian's countenance fairly beams with importance at
thus being, as it were, encored, and the collected villagers murmur their
approval; but I answer the mudir's beckoned invitation by a negative
wave of the hand, signifying that I can't bother with him any further.
The common herd around regard this self-assertive reply with open-mouthed
astonishment, as though quite too incredible for belief; it seems to
them an act of almost criminal discourtesy, and those immediately about
me seem almost inclined to take me back to the threshing-floor like a
culprit. But the mudir himself is not such a blockhead but that he
realizes the mistake he has made. He is too proud to acknowledge it,
though; consequently his friends miss, perhaps, the only opportunity in
their uneventful lives of seeing a bicycle ridden. Owing to my ignorance
of the vernacular, I am compelled to drift more or less with the tide
of circumstances about me, upon entering one of these villages, for
accommodation, and make the best of whatever capricious chance provides.
My Armenian "manager " now delivers me into the hands of one of his
compatriots, from whom I obtain supper and a quilt, sleeping, from a not
over extensive choice, on some straw, beneath the broad eaves of a log
granary adjoining the house.

I am for once quite mistaken in making an early, breakfastless start,
for it proves to be eighteen weary miles over a rocky mountain pass
before another human habitation is reached, a region of jagged rocks,
deep gorges, and scattered pines. Fortunately, however, I am not destined
to travel the whole eighteen miles in a breakfastless condition-not quite
a breakfastless condition. Perhaps half the distance is traversed, when,
while trundling up the ascent, I meet a party of horsemen, a turbaned
old Turk, with an escort of three zaptiehs, and another traveller, who
is keeping pace with them for company and safety. The old Turk asks me
to bin bacalem, supplementing the request by calling my attention to his
turban, a gorgeously spangled affair that would seem to indicate the
wearer to be a personage of some importance; I observe, also that the
butt of his revolver is of pearl inlaid with gold, another indication
of either rank or opulence. Having turned about and granted his request,
I in turn call his attention to the fact that mountain climbing on an
empty stomach is anything but satisfactory or agreeable, and give him a
broad hint by inquiring how far it is before ekmek is obtainable. For
reply, he orders a zaptieh to produce a wheaten cake from his saddle-bags,
and the other traveller voluntarily contributes three apples, which he
ferrets out from the ample folds of his kammerbund and off this I make
a breakfast. Toward noon, the highest elevation of the pass is reached,
and I commence the descent toward the Erzingan Valley, following for a
number of miles the course of a tributary of the western fork of the
Euphrates, known among the natives in a general sense as the "Frat;"
this particular branch is locally termed the Kara Su, or black water.
The stream and my road lead down a rocky defile between towering hills
of rock and slaty formation, whose precipitous slopes vegetable nature
seems to shun, and everything looks black and desolate, as though some
blighting curse had fallen upon the place. Up this same rocky passage-way,
eight summers ago, swarmed thousands of wretched refugees from the seat
of war in Eastern Armenia; small oblong mounds of loose rocks and bowlders
are frequently observed all down the ravine, mournful reminders of one
of the most heartrending phases of the Armenian campaign; green lizards
are scuttling about among the rude graves, making their habitations in
the oblong mounds. About two o'clock I arrive at a road-side khan, where
an ancient Osmanli dispenses feeds of grain for travellers' animals, and
brews coffee for the travellers themselves, besides furnishing them with
whatever he happens to possess in the way of eatables to such as are
unfortunately obliged to patronize his cuisine or go without anything;
among this latter class belongs, unhappily, my hungry self. Upon inquiring
for refreshments the khan-jee conducts me to a rear apartment and exhibits
for my inspection the contents of two jars, one containing the native
idea of butter and the other the native conception of a soft variety of
cheese; what difference is discoverable between these two kindred products
is chiefly a difference in the degree
of rancidity and odoriferousuess, in which respect the cheese plainly
carries off the honors; in fact these venerable and esteemable qualities
of the cheese are so remarkably developed that after one cautious peep
into its receptacle I forbear to investigate their comparative excellencies
any further; but obtaining some bread and a portion of the comparatively
mild and inoffensive butter, I proceed to make the best of circumstances.
The old khan-jee proves himself a thoughtful, considerate landlord, for
as I eat he busies himself picking the most glaringly conspicuous hairs
out of my butter with the point of his dagger. One is usually somewhat
squeamish regarding hirsute butter, but all such little refinements of
civilized life as hairless butter or strained milk have to be winked at
to a greater or less extent in Asiatic travelling, especially when
depending solely on what happens to turn up from one meal to another.
The narrow, lonely defile continues for some miles eastward from the
khan, and ere I emerge from it altogether I encounter a couple of ill-
starred natives, who venture upon an effort to intimidate me into yielding
up my purse. A certain Mahmoud Ali and his band of enterprising freebooters
have been terrorizing the villagers and committing highway robberies of
late around the country; but from the general appearance of these two,
as they approach, I take them to be merely villagers returning home from
Erzingan afoot. They are armed with Circassian guardless swords and
flint-lock horse-pistols; upon meeting they address some question to me
in Turkish, to which I make my customary reply of Tarkchi binmus; one
of them then demands para (money) in a manner that leaves something of
a doubt whether he means it for begging, or is ordering me to deliver.
In order to the better discover their intentions, I pretend not to
understand, whereupon the spokesman reveals their meaning plain enough
by reiterating the demand in a tone meant to be intimidating, and half
unsheatns his sword in a significant manner. Intuitively the precise
situation of affairs seems to reveal itself in a moment; they are but
ordinarily inoffensive villagers returning from Erzingan, where they
have sold and squandered even the donkeys they rode to town; meeting me
alone, and, as they think in the absence of outward evidence that I am
unarmed, they have become possessed ot tue idea of retrieving their
fortunes by intimidating me out of money. Never were men more astonished
and taken aback at finding me armed, and they both turn pale and fairly
shiver with fright as I produce the Smith & Wesson from its inconspicuous
position at my hip, and hold it on a level with the bold spokesman's
head; they both look as if they expected their last hour had arrived and
both seem incapable either of utterance or of running away; in fact,
their embarrassment is so ridiculous that it provokes a smile and it is
with anything but a threatening or angry voice that I bid them haidy.
The bold highwaymen seem only too thankful of a chance to "haidy," and
they look quite confused, and I fancy even ashamed of themselves, as
they betake themselves off up the ravine. I am quite as thankful as
themselves at getting off without the necessity of using my revolver,
for had I killed or badly wounded one of them it would probably have
caused no end of trouble or vexatious delay, especially in case they
prove to be what I take them for, instead of professional robbers;
moreover, I might not have gotten off unscathed myself, for while their
ancient flint-locks were in all probability not even loaded, being worn
more for appearances by the native than anything else, these fellows
sometimes do desperate work with their ugly and ever-handy swords when
cornered up, in proof of which we have the late dastardly assault on the
British Consul at Erzeroum, of which we shall doubtless hear the particulars
upon reaching that city. Before long the ravine terminates, and I emerge
upon the broad and smiling Erzingan Valley; at the lower extremity of
the ravine the stream has cut its channel through an immense depth of
conglomerate formation, a hundred feet of bowlders and pebbles cemented
together by integrant particles which appear to have been washed down
from the mountains-probably during the subsidence of the deluge, for
even if that great catastrophe were a comparatively local occurrence,
instead of a universal flood, as some profess to believe, we are now
gradually creeping up toward Ararat, so that this particular region was
undoubtedly submerged. What appear to be petrified chunks of wood are
interspersed through the mass. There is nothing new under the sun, they
say; peradventure they may be sticks of cooking-stove wood indignantly
cast out of the kitchen window of the ark by Mrs. Noah, because the
absent-minded patriarch habitually persisted in cutting them three inches
too long for the stove; who knows. I now wheel along a smooth, level
road leading through several orchard-environed villages; general cultivation
and an atmosphere of peace and plenty seems to pervade the valley, which,
with its scattering villages amid the foliage of their orchards, looks
most charming upon emerging from the gloomy environments of the rock-ribbed
and verdureless ravine; a fitting background is presented on the south
by a mountain-chain of considerable elevation, upon the highest peaks
of which still linger tardy patches of snow.

Since the occupation of Ears by the Russians, the military mantle of that
important fortress has fallen upon Erzeroum and Erzingan; the booming
of cannon fired in honor of the Sultan's birthday is awakening the echoes
of the rock-ribbed mountains as I wheel eastward down the valley, and
within about three miles of the city I pass the headquarters of the
garrison. Long rows of hundreds of white field-tents are ranged about
the position on the level greensward; the place presents an animated
scene, with the soldiers, some in the ordinary blue, trimmed with red,
others in cool, white uniforms especially provided for the summer, but
which they are not unlikely to be found also wearing in winter, owing
to the ruinous state of the Ottoman exchequer, and one and all wearing
the picturesque but uncomfortable fez; cannons are booming, drums beating,
and bugles playing. From the military headquarters to the city is a
splendid broad macadam, converted into a magnificent avenue by rows of
trees; it is a general holiday with the military, and the avenue is alive
with officers and soldiers going and returning between Erzingan and the
camp. The astonishment of the valiant warriors of Islam as I wheel briskly
down the thronged avenue can be better imagined than described; the
soldiers whom I pass immediately commence yelling at their comrades ahead
to call their attention, while epauletted officers forget for the moment
their military dignity and reserve as they turn their affrighted chargers
around and gaze after me, stupefied with astonishment; perhaps they are
wondering whether I am not some supernatural being connected in some way
with the celebration of the Sultan's birthday - a winged messenger, perhaps,
from the Prophet. Upon reaching the city I repair at once to the large
customhouse caravanserai and engage a room for the night. The proprietor
of the rooms seems a sensible fellow, with nothing of the inordinate
inquisitiveness of the average native about him, and instead of throwing
the weight of his influence and his persuasive powers on the side of the
importuning crowd, he authoritatively bids them "haidy!" locks the
bicycle in my room, and gives me the key. The Erzingan caravanserai - and
all these caravanserais are essentially similar - is a square court-yard
surrounded by the four sides of a two-storied brick building; the ground-
floor is occupied by the offices of the importers of foreign goods and
the customhouse authorities; the upper floor is divided into small rooms
for the accommodation of travellers and caravan men arriving with goods
from Trebizond. Sallying forth in search of supper, I am taken in tow
by a couple of Armenians, who volunteer the welcome information that
there is an "Americanish hakim" in the city; this intelligence is an
agreeable surprise, for Erzeroum is the nearest place in which I have
been expecting to find an English-speaking person. While searching about
for the hakim, we pass near the zaptieh headquarters; the officers are
enjoying their nargileh in the cool evening air outside the building,
and seeing an Englishman, beckon us over. They desire to examine my
teskeri, the first occasion on which it has been officially demanded
since landing at Ismidt, although I have voluntarily produced it on
previous occasions, and at Sivas requested the Vali to attach his seal
and signature; this is owing to the proximity of Erzingan to the Russian
frontier, and the suspicions that any stranger may be a, subject of the
Czar, visiting the military centres for sinister reasons. They send an
officer with me to hunt up the resident pasha; that worthy and enlightened
personage is found busily engaged in playing a game of chess with a
military officer, and barely takes the trouble to glance at the proffered
passport: "It is vised by the Sivas Vali," he says, and lackadaisically
waves us adieu. Upon returning to the zaptieh station, a quiet, unassuming
American comes forward and introduces himself as Dr. Van Nordan, a
physician formerly connected with the Persian mission. The doctor is a
spare-built and not over-robust man, and would perhaps be considered by
most people as a trifle eccentric; instead of being connected with any
missionary organization, he nowadays wanders hither and thither, acquiring
knowledge and seeking whom he can persuade from the error of their ways,
meanwhile supporting himself by the practice of his profession. Among
other interesting things spoken of, he tells me something of his recent
journey to Khiva (the doctor pronounces it "Heevah"); he was surprised,
he says, at finding the Khivans a mild-mannered and harmless sort of
people, among whom the carrying of weapons is as much the exception as
it is the rule in Asiatic Turkey. Doubtless the fact of Khiva being under
the Russian Government has something to do with the latter otherwise
unaccountable fact. After supper we sit down on a newly arrived bale of
Manchester calico in the caravanserai court, cross one knee and whittle
chips like Michigan grangers at a cross-roads post-office, and spend two
hours conversing on different topics. The good doctor's mind wanders as
naturally into serious channels as water gravitates to its level; when
I inquire if he has heard anything of the whereabout of Mahmoud Ali and
his gang lately, the pious doctor replies chiefly by hinting what a
glorious thing it is to feel prepared to yield up the ghost at any moment;
and when I recount something of my experiences on the journey, instead
of giving me credit for pluck, like other people, he merely inquires if
I don't recognize the protecting hand of Providence; native modesty
prevents me telling the doctor of my valuable missionary work at Sivas.
After the doctor's departure I wander forth into the bazaar to see what
it looks like after dark; many of the stalls are closed for the day, the
principal places remaining open being kahvay-khans and Armenian wine-shops,
and before these petroleum lamps are kept burning; the remainder of the
bazaar is in darkness. I have not strolled about many minutes before I
am corralled as usual by Armenians; they straightway send off for a
youthful compatriot of theirs who has been to the missionary's school
at Kaizareah and can speak a smattering of English. After the usual
programme of questions, they suggest: "Being an Englishman, you are of
course a Christian," by which they mean that I am not a Mussulman.
"Certainly," I reply; whereupon they lug me into one of their wine-shops
and tender me a glass of raki (a corruption of "arrack" - raw, fiery
spirits of the kind known among the English soldiers in India by the
suggestive pseudonym of "fixed bayonets"). Smelling the raki, I make a
wry face and shove it away; thev look surprised and order the waiter to
bring cognac; to save the waiter the trouble, I make another wry face,
indicative of disapproval, and suggest that he bring vishner-su.
"Vishner-su" two or three of them sing out in a chorus of blank amazement;
"Ingilis. Christian? vishner-su." they exclaim, as though such a
preposterous and unaccountable thing as a Christian partaking of a non-
intoxicating beverage like vishner-su is altogether beyond their
comprehension. The youth who has been to the Kaizareah school then
explains to the others that the American missionaries never indulge in
intoxicating beverages; this seems to clear away the clouds of their
mystification to some extent, and they order vishner-su, eying me
critically, however, as I taste it, as though expecting to observe me
make yet another wry countenance and acknowledge that in refusing the
fiery, throat-blistering raki I had made a mistake.

Nothing in the way of bedding or furniture is provided in the caravanserai
rooms, but the proprietor gets me plenty of quilts, and I pass a reasonably
comfortable night. In the morning I obtain breakfast and manage to escape
from town without attracting a crowd of more than a couple of hundred
people; a remarkable occurrence in its way, since Erzingan contains a
population of about twenty thousand. The road eastward from Erzingan is
level, but heavy with dust, leading through a low portion of the valley
that earlier in the season is swampy, and gives the city an unenviable
reputation for malarial fevers. To prevent the travellers drinking the
unwholesome water in this part of the valley, some benevolent Mussulman
or public-spirited pasha has erected at intervals, by the road side,
compact mud huts, and placed there in huge earthenware vessels, holding
perhaps fifty gallons each; these are kept supplied with pure spring-water
and provided with a wooden drinking-scoop. Fourteen miles from Erzingan,
at the entrance to a ravine whence flows the boisterous stream that
supplies a goodly proportion of the irrigating water for the valley, is
situated a military outpost station. My road runs within two hundred
yards of the building, and the officers, seeing me evidently intending
to pass without stopping, motion for me to halt. I know well enough they
want to examine my passport, and also to satisfy their curiosity concerning
the bicycle, but determine upon spurting ahead and escaping their bother
altogether. This movement at once arouses the official suspicion as to
my being in the country without proper authority, and causes them to
attach some mysterious significance to my strange vehicle, and several
soldiers forthwith receive racing orders to intercept me. Unfortunately,
my spurting receives a prompt check at the stream, which is not bridged,
and here the doughty warriors intercept my progress, taking me into
custody with broad grins of satisfaction, as though pretty certain of
having made an important capture. Since there is no escaping, I conclude
to have a little quiet amusement out of the affair, anyway, so I refuse
point-blank to accompany my captors to their officer, knowing full well
that any show of reluctance will have the very natural effect of arousing
their suspicions still further. The bland and childlike soldiers of the
Crescent receive this show of obstinacy quite complacently, their swarthy
countenances wreathed in knowing smiles; but they make no attempt at
compulsion, satisfying themselves with addressing me deferentially as
"Effendi," and trying to coax me to accompany them. Seeing that there is
some difficulty about bringing me, the two officers come down, and I at
once affect righteous indignation of a mild order, and desire to know
what they mean by arresting my progress. They demand my tesskeri in a
manner that plainly shows their doubts of my having one. The teskeri is
produced. One of the officers then whispers something to the other, and
they both glance knowingly mysterious at the bicycle, apologize for
having detained me, and want to shake hands. Having read the passport,
and satisfied themselves of my nationality, they attach some deep
mysterious significance to my journey in this incomprehensible manner
up in this particular quarter; but they no longer wish to offer any
impediment to my progress, but rather to render me assistance. Poor
fellows! how suspicious they are of their great overgrown neighbor to
the north. What good-humored fellows these Turkish soldiers are! what
simple-hearted, overgrown children. What a pity that they are the victims
of a criminally incompetent government that neither pays, feeds, nor
clothes them a quarter as well as they deserve. In the fearful winters
of Erzeroum, they have been known to have no clothing to wear but the
linen suits provided for the hot weather. Their pay, insignificant though
it be, is as uncertain as gambling; but they never raise a murmur. Being
by nature and religion fatalists, they cheerfully accept these undeserved
hardships as the will of Allah. To-day is the hottest I have experienced
in Asia Minor, and soon after leaving the outpost I once more encounter
the everlasting mountains, following now the Trebizond and Erzingan
caravan trail. Once again I get benighted in the mountains, and push
ahead for some time after dark. I am beginning to think of camping out
supperless again when I hear the creaking of a buffalo araba some distance
ahead. Soon I overtake it, and, following it for half a mile off the
trail, I find myself before an enclosure of several acres, surrounded
by a high stone wall with quite imposing gateways. It is the walled
village of Housseubegkhan, one of those places built especially for the
accommodation of the Trebizond caravans in the winter. I am conducted
into a large apartment, which appears to be set apart for the hospitable
accommodation of travellers. The apartment is found already occupied by
three travellers, who, from their outward appearance, might well be taken
for cutthroats of the worst description; and the villagers swarming in,
I am soon surrounded by the usual ragged, flea-bitten congregation. There
are various arms and warlike accoutrements hanging on the wall, enough
of one kind or other to arm a small company. They all belong to the three
travellers, however; my modest little revolver seems really nothing
compared with the warlike display of swords, daggers, pistols and guns
hanging around; the place looks like a small armory. The first question
is-as is usual of late - "Russ or Ingilis." Some of the younger and less
experienced men essay to doubt my word, and, on their own supposition
that I am a Russian, begin to take unwarrantable liberties with my person;
one of them steals up behind and commences playing a tattoo on my helmet
with two sticks of wood, by way of bravado, and showing his contempt for
a subject of the Czar. Turning round, I take one of the sticks away and
chastise him with it until he howls for Allah to protect him, and then,
without attempting any sort of explanation to the others, resume my seat;
one of the travellers then solemnly places his forefingers together and
announces himself as kardash (my brother), at the same time pointing
significantly to his choice assortment of ancient weapons. I shake hands,
with him and remind him that I am somewhat hungry; whereupon he orders
a villager to forthwith contribute six eggs, another butter to fry them
in, and a third bread; a tezek fire is already burning, and with his own
hands he fries the eggs, and makes my ragged audience stand at a respectful
distance while I eat; if I were to ask him, he would probably clear the
room of them instanter. About ten o'clock my impromptu friend and his
companion order their horses, and buckle their arms and accoutrements
about them to depart; my "brother" stands before me and loads up his
flintlock rifle; it is a fearful and wonderful process; it takes him at
least two minutes; he does not seem to know on which particular part of
his wonderful paraphernalia to find the slugs, the powder, or the patching,
and he finishes by tearing a piece of rag off a by-standing villager to
place over the powder in the pan. While he is doing all this, and
especially when ramming home the bullet, he looks at me as though expecting
me to come and pat him approvingly on the shoulder. When they are gone,
the third traveller, who is going to remain over night, edges up beside
me, and pointing to his own imposing armory, likewise announces himself
as my brother; thus do I unexpectedly acquire two brothers within the
brief space of an evening. The villagers scatter to their respective
quarters; quilts are provided for me, and a ghostly light is maintained
by means of a cup of grease and a twisted rag. In one corner of the room
is a paunchy youngster of ten or twelve summers, whom I noticed during
the evening as being without a single garment to cover his nakedness;
he has partly inserted himself into a largo, coarse, nose-bag, and lies
curled up in that ridiculous position, probably imagining himself in
quite comfortable quarters. "Oh, wretched youth." I mentally exclaim,
"what will you do when that nose-bag has petered out?" and soon afterward
I fall asleep, in happy consciousness of perfect security beneath the
protecting shadow of brother number two and his formidable armament of
ancient weapons. Ten miles of good ridable road from Houssenbegkhan, and
I again descend into the valley of the west fork of the Euphrates,
crossing the river on an ancient stone bridge; I left Houssenbegkhan
without breakfasting, preferring to make my customary early start and
trust to luck. I am beginning to doubt the propriety of having done so,
and find myself casting involuntary glances toward a Koordish camp that
is visible some miles to the north of my route, when, upon rounding a
mountain-spur jutting out into the valley, I descry the minaret of
Mamakhatoun in the distance ahead. A minaret hereabout is a sure indication
of a town of sufficient importance to support a public eating-khan,
where, if not a very elegant, at least a substantial meal is to be
obtained. I obtain an acceptable breakfast of kabobs and boiled sheeps'-
trotters; killing two birds with one stone by satisfying my own appetite
and at the same time giving a first-class entertainment to a khan-full
of wondering-eyed people, by eating with the khan-jee's carving-knife
and fork in preference to my fingers. Here, as at Houssenbeg-khan, there
is a splendid, large caravanserai; here it is built chiefly of hewn
stone, and almost massive enough for a fortress; this is a mountainous,
elevated region, where the winters are stormy and severe, and these
commodious and substantial retreats are absolutely necessary for the
safety of Erzingan and Trebizond caravans during the winter. The country
now continues hilly rather than mountainous The road is generally too
heavy with sand and dust, churned up by the Erzingan mule-caravans, to
admit of riding wherever the grade is unfavorable; but much good wheeling
surface is encountered on long, gentle declivities and comparatively
level stretches.

During the forenoon I meet a company of three splendidly armed and mounted
Circassians; they remain speechless with astonishment until I have passed
beyond their hearing; they then conclude among themselves that I am
something needing investigation; they come galloping after me, and having
caught up, their spokesman gravely delivers himself of the solitary
monosyllable, "Russ?" "Ingilis," I reply, and they resume the even tenor
of their way without questioning me further. Later in the day the hilly
country develops into a mountainous region, where the trail intersects
numerous deep ravines whose sides are all but perpendicular. Between
the ravines the riding is ofttimes quite excellent, the composition being
soft shale, that packs down hard and smooth beneath the animals' feet.
Deliciously cool streams flow at the bottom of these ravines. At one
crossing I find an old man washing his feet, and mournfully surveying
sundry holes in the bottom of his sandals; the day is hot, and I likewise
halt a few minutes to cool my pedal extremities in the crystal water.
With that childlike simplicity I have so often mentioned, and which is
nowhere encountered as in the Asiatic Turk, the old fellow blandly asks
me to exchange my comparatively sound moccasins for his worn-out sandals,
at the same time ruefully pointing out the dilapidated condition of the
latter, and looking as dejected as though it were the only pair of sandals
in the world.

This afternoon I am passing along the same road where Mahmoud Ali's gang
robbed a large party of Armenian harvesters who had been south to help
harvest the wheat, and were returning home in a body with the wages
earned during the summer. This happened but a few days before, and
notwithstanding the well-known saying that lightning never strikes twice
in the same place, one is scarcely so unimpressionable as not to find
himself involuntarily scanning his surroundings, half expecting to be
attacked. Nothing startling turns up, however, and at five o'clock I
come to a village which is enveloped in clouds of wheat chaff; being a
breezy evening, winnowing is going briskly forward On several threshing-floors.
After duly binning, I am taken under the protecting wing of a prominent
villager, who is walking about with his hand in a sling, the reason
whereof is a crushed finger; he is a sensible, intelligent fellow, and
accepts my reply that I am not a crushed-finger hakim with all reasonableness;
he provides a substantial supper of bread and yaort, and then installs
me in a small, windowless, unventilated apartment adjoining the buffalo-
stall, provides me with quilts, lights a primitive grease-lamp, and
retires. During the evening the entire female population visit my dimly-
lighted quarters, to satisfy their feminine curiosity by taking a timid
peep at their neighbor's strange guest and his wonderful araba. They
imagine I am asleep and come on tiptoe part way across the room, craning
their necks to obtain a view in the semi-darkness.

An hour's journey from this village brings me yet again into the West
Euphrates Valley. Just where I enter the valley the river spreads itself
over a wide stony bed, coursing along in the form of several comparatively
small streams. There is, of course, no bridge here, and in the chilly,
almost frosty, morning I have to disrobe and carry clothes and bicycle
across the several channels. Once across, I find myself on the great
Trebizond and Persian caravan route, and in a few minutes am partaking
of breakfast at a village thirty-five miles from Erzeroum, where I learn
with no little satisfaction that my course follows along the Euphrates
Valley, with an artificial wagon-road, the whole distance to the city.
Not far from the village the Euphrates is recrossed on a new stone bridge.
Just beyond the bridge is the camp of a road-engineer's party, who are
putting the finishing touches to the bridge. A person issues from one
of the tents as I approach and begins chattering away at me in French.
The face and voice indicates a female, but the costume consists of jack-
boots, tight-fitting broadcloth pantaloons, an ordinary pilot-jacket,
and a fez. Notwithstanding the masculine apparel, however, it turns out
not only to be a woman, but a Parisienne, the better half of the Erzeroum
road engineer, a Frenchman, who now appears upon the scene. They are
both astonished and delighted at seeing a "velocipede," a reminder of
their own far-off France, on the Persian caravan trail, and they urge
me to remain and partake of coffee.

I now encounter the first really great camel caravans, en route to Persia
with tea and sugar and general European merchandise; they are all camped
for the day alongside the road, and the camels scattered about the
neighboring hills in search of giant thistles and other outlandish
vegetation, for which the patient ship of the desert entertains a
partiality. Camel caravans travel entirely at night during the summer.
Contrary to what, I think, is a common belief in the Occident, they can
endure any amount of cold weather, but are comparatively distressed by
the heat; still, this may not characterize all breeds of camels any more
than the different breeds of other domesticated animals. During the
summer, when the camels are required to find their own sustenance along
the road, a large caravan travels but a wretched eight miles a day, the
remainder of the time being occupied in filling his capacious thistle
and camel-thorn receptacle; this comes of the scarcity of good grazing
along the route, compared with the number of camels, and the consequent
necessity of wandering far and wide in search of pasturage, rather than
because of the camel's absorptive capacity, for he is a comparatively
abstemious animal. In the winter they are fed on balls of barley flour,
called nawalla; on this they keep fat and strong, and travel three times
the distance. The average load of a full-grown camel is about seven
hundred pounds.

Before reaching Erzeroum I have a narrow escape from what might have
proved a serious accident. I meet a buffalo araba carrying a long
projecting stick of timber; the sleepy buffaloes pay no heed to the
bicycle until I arrive opposite their heads, when they - give a sudden
lurch side wise, swinging the stick of timber across my path; fortunately
the road happens to be of good-width, and by a very quick swerve I avoid
a collision, but the tail end of the timber just brushes the rear wheel
as I wheel past. Soon after noon I roll into Erzeroum, or rather, up to
the Trebizond gate, and dis-mount. Erzeroum is a fortified city of
considerable importance, both from a commercial and a military point of
view; it is surrounded by earthwork fortifications, from the parapets
of which large siege guns frown forth upon the surrounding country, and
forts are erected in several commanding positions round about, like
watch-dogs stationed outside to guard the city. Patches of snow linger
on the Palantokan Moiintains, a few miles to the south; the Deve Boyuu
Hills, a spur of the greater Palantokans, look down on the city from
the east; the broad valley of the West Euphrates stretches away westward
and northward, terminating at the north in another mountain range.

Repairing to the English consulate, I am gratified at finding several
letters awaiting me, and furthermore by the cordial hospitality extended
by Yusuph Effendi, an Assyrian gentleman, the charg'e d'affaires of the
consulate for the time being, Colonel E--, the consul, having left
recently for Trebizond and England, in consequence of numerous sword-wounds
received at the hands of a desperado who invaded the consulate for plunder
at midnight. The Colonel was a general favorite in Erzeroum, and is being
tenderly carried (Thursday, September 3, 1885) to Trebizond on a stretcher
by relays of willing natives, no less than forty accompanying him on the
road. Yusuph Effendi tells me the story of the whole lamentable affair,
pausing at intervals to heap imprecations on the head of the malefactor,
and to bestow eulogies on the wounded consul's character.

It seems that the door-keeper of the consulate, a native of a neighboring
Armenian village, was awakened at midnight by an acquaintance from the
same village, who begged to be allowed to share his quarters till morning.
No sooner had the servant admitted him to his room than he attacked him
with his sword, intending-as it afterward leaked out-to murder the whole
family, rob the house, and escape. The servant's cries for assistance
awakened Colonel E--, who came to his rescue without taking the trouble
to provide himself with a weapon. The man, infuriated at the detection
and the prospect of being captured and brought to justice, turned savagely
on the consul, inflicting several severe wounds on the head, hands, and
face. The consul closed with him and threw him down, and called for his
wife to bring his revolver. The wretch now begged so piteously for his
life, and made such specious promises, that the consul magnanimously let
him up, neglecting-doubtless owing to his own dazed condition from the
scalp wounds-to disarm him. Immediately he found himself released he
commenced the attack again, cutting and slashing like a demon, knocking
the revolver from the consul's already badly wounded hand while he yet
hesitated to pull the trigger and take his treacherous assailant's life.
The revolver went off as it struck the floor and wounded the consul
himself in the leg-broke it. The servant now rallied sufficiently to
come to his assistance, and together they succeeded in disarming the
robber, who, however, escaped and bolted up-stairs, followed by the
servant with the sword. The consul's wife, with praiseworthy presence
of mind, now appeared with a second revolver, which her husband grasped
in his left hand, the right being almost hacked to pieces. Dazed and
faint with the loss of blood, and, moreover, blinded by the blood flowing
from the scalp-wounds, it was only by sheer strength of will that he
could keep from falling. At this juncture the servant unfortunately
appeared on the stairs, returning from an unsuccessful pursuit of the
robber. Mistaking the servant with the sword in his hand for the desperado
returning to the attack, and realizing his own helpless condition, the
consul fired two shots at him, wounding him with both shots. The would-be
murderer is now (September 3,1885), captured and in durance vile; the
servant lies here in a critical condition, and the consul and his sorrowing
family are en route to England.

Having determined upon resting here until Monday, I spend a good part
of Friday looking about the city. The population is a mixture of Turks,
Armenians, Russians, Persians, and Jews. Here. I first make the acquaintance
of a Persian tchai-khan (tea-drinking shop). With the exception of the
difference in the beverages, there is little difference between a tchai-
khan and a Icahvay-lchan, although in the case of a swell establishment,
the tchai-khan blossoms forth quite gaudily with scores of colored lamps.
The tea is served scalding hot in tiny glasses, which are first half-filled
with loaf-sugar. If the proprietor is desirous of honoring or pleasing
a new or distinguished customer, he drops in lumps of sugar until it
protrudes above the glass. The tea is made in a samovar-a brass vessel,
holding perhaps a gallon of water, with a hollow receptacle in the centre
for a charcoal fire. Strong tea is made in an ordinary queen's-ware
teapot that fits into the hollow; a small portion of this is poured into
the glass, which is then filled up with hot water from a tap in the
samovar.

There is a regular Persian quarter in Erzeroum, and I am not suffered
to stroll through it without being initiated into the fundamental
difference between the character of the Persians and the Turks. When an
Osmanli is desirous of seeing me ride the bicycle, he goes honestly and
straightforwardly to work at coaxing and worrying; except in very rare
instances they have seemed incapable of resorting to deceit or sharp
practice to gain their object. Not so childlike and honest, however, are
our new acquaintances, the Persians. Several merchants gather round me,
and pretty soon they cunningly begin asking me how much I will sell the
bicycle for. " Fifty liras," I reply, seeing the deep, deep scheme hidden
beneath the superficial fairness of their observations, and thinking
this will quash all further commercial negotiations. But the wily Persians
are not so easily disposed of as this. "Bring it round and let us see
how it is ridden," they say, " and if we like it we will purchase it for
fifty liras, and perhaps make you a present besides." A Persian would
rather try to gain an end by deceit than by honest and above-board
methods, even if the former were more trouble. Lying, cheating, and
deception is the universal rule among them; honesty and straightforwardness
are unknown virtues. Anyone whom they detect telling the truth or acting
honestly they consider a simpleton unfit to transact business. The
missionaries and their families are at present tenting out, five miles
south of the city, in a romantic little ravine called Kirk-dagheman, or
the place of the forty mills; and on Saturday morning I receive a pressing
invitation to become their guest during the remainder of my stay. The
Erzeroum mission is represented by Mr. Chambers, his brother-now absent
on a tour-their respective families, and Miss Powers. Yusuph Effendi
accompanies us out to the camp on a spendid Arab steed, that curvets
gracefully the whole way. Myself and the-other missionary people (bicycle
work at Sivas, and again at Erzeroum) ride more sober and deco-ous
animals. Kirkdagheman is found to be near the entrance to a pass over
the Palantokan Mountains. Half a dozen small tents are pitched beneath
the only grove of trees for many a mile around. A dancing stream of
crystal water furnishes the camp with an abundance of that necessary,
as also a lavish supply of such music as babbling brooks coursing madly
over pebbly beds are wont to furnish. To this particular section of the
little stream legendary lore has attached a story which gives the locality
its name, Kirkdagheman.

" Once upon a time, a worthy widow found herself the happy possessor of
no less than forty small grist-mills strung along this stream. Soon after
her husband's death, the lady's amiable qualities-and not unlikely her
forty mills into the bargain-attracted the admiration of a certain wealthy
owner of flocks in the neighborhood, and he sought her hand in marriage.
'No,' said the lady, who, being a widow, had perhaps acquired wisdom; '
no; I have forty sons, each one faithfully laboring and contributing
cheerfully toward my support; therefore, I have no use for a husband.'
' I will kill your forty sons, and compel you to become my wife,' replied
the suitor, in a huff at being rejected. And he went and sheared all his
sheep, and, with the multitudinous fleeces, dammed up the stream, caused
the water to flow into other channels, and thereby rendered the widow's
forty mills useless and unproductive. With nothing but ruination before
her, and seeing no alternative, the widow's heart finally softened, and
she suffered herself to be wooed and won. The fleeces were removed, the
stream returned to its proper channel, and the merry whir of the forty
mills henceforth mingled harmoniously with tlie bleating of the sheep."
Two days are spent at the quiet missionary camp, and thoroughly enjoyed.
It seems like an oasis of home life in the surrounding desert of uncongenial
social conditions. I eagerly devour the contents of several American
newspapers, and embrace the opportunities of the occasion, even to the
extent of nursing the babies (missionaries seem rare folks for babies),
of which there are three in camp. The altitude of Erzeroum is between
six thousand and seven thousand feet; the September nights are delightfully
cool, and there are no blood-thirsty mosquitoes. I am assigned a sleeping-
tent close alongside a small waterfall, whose splashing music is a
soporific that holds me in the bondage of beneficial repose until breakfast
is announced both mornings; and on Monday morning I feel as though the
hunger, the irregular sleep, and the rough-and-tumble dues generally of
the past four weeks were but a troubled dream. Again the bicycle contributes
its curiosity-quickening and question-exciting powers for the benefit
of the sluggish-minded pupils of the mission school. The Persian consul
and his sons come to see me ride ; he is highly interested upon learning
that I am travelling on the wheel to the Persian capital, and he vises
my passport and gives me a letter of introduction to the Pasha Khan of
Ovahjik, the first village I shall come to beyond the frontier.

It is nearly 3 P.M., September 7th, when I bid farewell to everybody,
and wheel out through the Persian Gate, accompanied by Mr. Chambers on
horseback, who rides part way to the Deve Boyun (camel's neck) Pass. On
the way out he tells me that he has been intending taking a journey
through the Caucasus this autumn, but the difficulties of obtaining
permission, on account of his being a clergyman, are so great-a special
permission having to be obtained from St. Petersburg-that he has about
relinquished the idea for the present season. Deve Boyun Pass leads over
a comparatively low range of hills. It was here where the Turkish army,
in November, 1877, made their last gallant attempt to stem the tide of
disaster that had, by the fortunes of war and the incompeteucy of their
commanders, set in irresistibly against them, before taking refuge inside
the walls of the city. An hour after parting from Mr. Chambers I am
wheeling briskly down the same road on the eastern slope of the pass
where Mukhtar Pasha's ill-fated column was drawn into the fatal ambuscade
that suddenly turned the fortunes of the day against them. While rapidly
gliding down the gentle gradient, I fancy I can see the Cossack regiments,
advancing toward the Turkish position, the unwary and over-confident
Osmanlis leaping from their intrenchments to advance along the road and
drive them back; now I come to the Nabi Tchai ravines, where the concealed
masses of Eussian infantry suddenly sprang up and cut off their retreat;
I fancy I can see- chug! wh-u-u-p! thud!-stars, and see them pretty
distinctly, too, for while gazing curiously about, locating the Russian
ambushment, the bicycle strikes a sand-hole, and I am favored with the
worst header I have experienced for many a day. I am-or rather was, a
minute ago-bowling along quite briskly; the header treats me to a fearful
shaking up; I arn sore all over the next morning, and present a sort of
a stiff-necked, woe-begone appearance for the next four days. A bent
handle-bar and a slightly twisted rear wheel fork likewise forcibly
remind me that, while I am beyond the reach of repair shops, it will be
Solomon-like wisdom on my part to henceforth survey battle-fields with
a larger margin of regard for things more immediately interesting. From
the pass, my road descends into the broad and cultivated valley of the
Passin Su; the road is mostly ridable, though heavy with dust. Part way
to Hassen Kaleh I am compelled to use considerable tact to avoid trouble
with a gang of riotous kalir-jees whom I overtake; as I attempt to wheel
past, one of them wantonly essays to thrust his stick into the wheel;
as I spring from the saddle for sheer self-protection, they think I have
dismounted to attack him, and his comrades rush forward to his protection,
brandishing their sticks and swords in a menacing manner. Seeing himself
reinforced, as it were, the bold aggressor raises his stick as though
to strike me, and peremptorily orders me to bin and haidi. Very naturally
I refuse to remount the bicycle while surrounded by this evidently
mischievous crew; there are about twenty of them, and it requires much
self-control to prevent a conflict, in which, I am persuaded, somebody
would have been hurt; however, I finally manage to escape their undesirable
company and ride off amid a fusillade of stones. This incident reminds
me of Yusuph Effendi's warning, that even though I had come thus far
without a zaptieh escort, I should require one now, owing to the more
lawless disposition of the people near the frontier. Near dark I reach
Hassan Kaleh, a large village nestling under the shadow of its former
importance as a fortified town, and seek the accommodation of a Persian
tchai-khan; it is not very elaborate or luxurious accommodation, consisting
solely of tiny glasses of sweetened tea in the public room and a shake-down
in a rough, unfurnished apartment over the stable; eatables have to be
obtained elsewhere, but it matters little so long as they are obtainable
somewhere. During the evening a Persian troubadour and story-teller
entertains the patrons of the tchai-khan by singing ribaldish songs,
twanging a tambourine-like instrument, and telling stories in a sing-song
tone of voice. In deference to the mixed nationality of his audience,
the sagacious troubadour wears a Turkish fez, a Persian coat, and a
Eussian metallic-faced belt; the burden of his songs are of Erzeroum,
Erzingan, and Ispahan; the Russians, it would appear, are too few and
unpopular to justify risking the displeasure of the Turks by singing any
Eussian songs. So far as my comprehension goes, the stories are chiefly
of intrigue and love affairs among pashas, and would quickly bring the
righteous retribution of the Lord Chamberlain down about his ears, were
he telling them to an English audience. I have no small difficulty in
getting the bicycle up the narrow and crooked stairway into my sleeping
apartment; there is no fastening of any kind on the door, and the
proprietor seems determined upon treating every subject of the Shah in
Hassan Kaleh to a private confidential exhibition of myself and bicycle,
after I have retired to bed. It must be near midnight, I think, when I
am again awakened from my uneasy, oft-disturbed slumbers by murmuring
voices and the shuffling of feet; examining the bicycle by the feeble
glimmer of a classic lamp are a dozen meddlesome Persians. Annoyed at
their unseemly midnight intrusion, and at being repeatedly awakened, I
rise up and sing out at them rather authoratively; I have exhibited the
marifet of my Smith & Wesson during the evening, and these intruders
seem really afraid I might be going to practise on them with it. The
Persians are apparently timid mortals; they evidently regard me as a
strange being of unknown temperament, who might possibly break loose and
encompass their destruction on the slightest provocation, and the
proprietor and another equally intrepid individual hurriedly come to my
couch, and pat me soothingly on the shoulders, after which they all
retire, and I am disturbed no more till morning. The " rocky road to
Dublin " is nothing compared to the road leading eastward from Hassan
Kaleh for the first few miles, but afterward it improves into very fair
wheeling. Eleven miles down the Passiu Su Valley brings me to the Armenian
village of Kuipri Kui. Having breakfasted before starting I wheel on
without halting, crossing the Araxes Eiver at the junction of the Passin
Su, on a very ancient stone bridge known as the Tchebankerpi, or the
bridge of pastures, said to be over a thousand years old. Nearing Dele
Baba Pass, a notorious place for robbers, I pass through a village of
sedentary Koords. Soon after leaving the village a wild-looking Koord,
mounted on an angular sorrel, overtakes me and wants me to employ him
as a guard while going through the pass, backing up the offer of his
presumably valuable services by unsheathing a semi-rusty sword and waving
it valiantly aloft. He intimates, by tragically graphic pantomime, that
unless I traverse the pass under the protecting shadow of his ancient
and rusty blade, I will be likely to pay the penalty of my rashness by
having my throat cut. Yusuph Effendi and the Erzeroum missionaries have
thoughtfully warned me against venturing through the Dele Baba Pass
alone, advising me to wait and go through with a Persian caravan; but
this Koord looks like anything but a protector; on the contrary, I am
inclined to regard him as a suspicious character himself, interviewing
me, perhaps, with ulterior ideas of a more objectionable character than
that of faithfully guarding me through the Dele Baba Pass. Showing him
the shell-extracting mechanism of my revolver, and explaining the rapidity
with which it can be fired, I give him to understand that I feel quite
capable of guarding myself, consequently have no earthly use for his
services. A tea caravan of some two hundred camels are resting near the
approach to the pass, affording me an excellent opportunity of having
company through by waiting and journeying with them in the night; but
warnings of danger have been repeated so often of late, and they have
proved themselves groundless so invariably that I should feel the taunts
of self-reproach were I to find myself hesitating to proceed on their
account. Passing over a mountain spur, I descend into a rocky canon,
with perpendicular walls of rock towering skyward like giant battlements,
inclosing a space not over fifty yards wide; through this runs my road,
and alongside it babbles the Dele Baba Su. The canon is a wild, lonely-
looking spot, and looks quite appropriate to the reputation it bears.
Professor Vambery, a recognized authority on Asiatic matters, and whose
party encountered a gang of marauders here, says the Dele Baba Pass bore
the same unsavory reputation that it bears to-day as far back as the
time of Herodotus. However, suffice it to say, that I get through without
molestation; mounted men, armed to the teeth, like almost everybody else
hereabouts, are encountered in the pass; they invariably halt and look
back after me as though endeavoring to comprehend who and what I am, but
that is all. Emerging from the canon, I follow in a general course the
tortuous windings of the Dele Baba Su through another ravine- riven
battle-field of the late war, and up toward its source in a still more
mountainous and elevated region beyond.

CHAPTER XVIII.

MOUNT ARARAT AND KOORDISTAN.

The shades of evening are beginning to settle down over the wild mountainous
country round about. It is growing uncomfortably chilly for this early
in the evening, and the prospects look favorable for a supperless and
most disagreeable night, when I descry a village perched in an opening
among the mountains a mile or thereabouts off to the right. Repairing
thither, I find it to be a Koordish village, where the hovels are more
excavations than buildings; buffaloes, horses, goats, chickens, and human
beings all find shelter under the same roof; their respective quarters
are nothing but a mere railing of rough poles, and as the question of
ventilation is never even thought of, the effect upon one's olfactory
nerves upon entering is anything but reassuring. The filth and rags of
these people is something abominable; on account of the chilliness of
the evening they have donned their heavier raiment; these have evidently
had rags patched on. top of other rags for years past until they have
gradually developed into thick-quilted garments, in the innumerable
seams of which the most disgusting entomological specimens, bred and
engendered by their wretched mode of existence, live and perpetuate their
kind. However, repulsive as the outlook most assuredly is, I have no
alternative but to cast my lot among them till morning. I am conducted
into the Sheikh's apartment, a small room partitioned off with a pole
from a stable-full of horses and buffaloes, and where darkness is made
visible by the sickly glimmer of a grease lamp. The Sheikh, a thin,
sallow-faced man of about forty years, is reclining on a mattress in one
corner smoking cigarettes; a dozen ill-conditioned ragamuffins are
squatting about in various attitudes, while the rag, tag, and bobtail
of the population crowd into the buffalo-stable and survey me and the
bicycle from outside the partition-pole.

A circular wooden tray containing an abundance of bread, a bowl of yaort,
and a small quantity of peculiar stringy cheese that resembles chunks
of dried codfish, warped and twisted in the drying, is brought in and
placed in the middle of the floor. Everybody in the room at once gather
round it and begin eating with as little formality as so many wild
animals; the Sheikh silently motions for me to do the same. The yaort
bowl contains one solitary wooden spoon, with which they take turns at
eating mouthfuls. One is compelled to draw the line somewhere, even under
the most uncompromising circumstances, and I naturally draw it against
eating yaort with this same wooden spoon; making small scoops with pieces
of bread, I dip up yaort and eat scoop and all together. These particular
Koords seem absolutely ignorant of anything in the shape of mannerliness,
or of consideration for each other at the table. When the yaort has been
dipped into twice or thrice all round, the Sheikh coolly confiscates the
bowl, eats part of what is left, pours water into the remainder, stirs
it up with his hand, and deliberately drinks it all up; one or two others
seize all the cheese, utterly regardless of the fact that nothing remains
for myself and their companions, who, by the by, seem to regard it as a
perfectly natural proceeding.

After supper they return to their squatting attitudes around the room,
and to a resumption of their never-ceasing occupation of scratching
themselves. The eminent economist who lamented the wasted energy represented
in the wagging of all the dogs' tails in the world, ought to have travelled
through Asia on a bicycle and have been compelled to hob-nob with the
villagers; he would undoubtedly have wept with sorrow at beholding the
amount of this same wasted energy, represented by the above-mentioned
occupation of the people. The most loathsome member of this interesting
company is a wretched old hypocrite who rolls his eyes about and heaves
a deep-drawn sigh of Allah! every few minutes, and then looks furtively
at myself and the Sheikh to observe its effects; his sole garment is a
round-about mantle that reaches to his knees, and which seems to have
been manufactured out of the tattered remnants of other tattered remnants
tacked carelessly together without regard to shape, size, color, or
previous condition of cleanliness; his thin, scrawny legs are bare, his
long black hair is matted and unkempt, his beard is stubby and unlovely
to look upon, his small black eyes twinkle in the semi-darkness like
ferret's eyes, while soap and water have to all appearances been altogether
stricken from the category of his personal requirements. Probably it is
nothing but the lively workings of my own imagination, but this wretch
appears to me to entertain a decided preference for my society, constantly
insinuating himself as near me as possible, necessitating constant
watchfulness on my part to avoid actual contact with him; eternal
vigilance is in this case the price of what it is unnecessary to expatiate
upon, further than to say that self-preservation becomes, under such
conditions, preeminently the first law of Occidental nature. Soon the
sallow-faced Sheikh suddenly bethinks himself that he is in the august
presence of a hakim, and beckoning me to his side, displays an ugly wound
on his knee which has degenerated into a running sore, and which he says
was done with a sword; of course he wants me to perform a cure. While
examining the Sheikh's knee, another old party comes forward and unbares
his arm, also wounded with a sword. This not unnaturally sets me to
wondering what sort of company I have gotten into, and how they came by
sword wounds in these peaceful times; but my inquisitivencss is compelled
to remain in abeyance to my limited linguistic powers. Having nothing
to give them for the wounds, I recommend an application of warm salt
water twice a day; feeling pretty certain, however, that they will be
too lazy and trifling to follow the advice. Before dispersing to their
respective quarters, the occupants of the room range themselves in a row
and go through a religious performance lasting fully half an hour; they
make almost as much noise as howling dervishes, meanwhile exercising
themselves quite violently. Having made themselves holier than ever by
these exercises, some take their departure, others make up couches on
the floor with sheepskins and quilts. Thin ice covers the still pools
of water when I resume my toilsome route over the mountains at daybreak,
a raw wind coines whistling from the east, and until the sun begins to
warm things up a little, it is necessary to stop and buffet occasionally
to prevent benumbed hands. Obtaining some small lumps of wheaten dough
cooked crisp in hot grease, like unsweetened doughnuts, from a horseman
on the road, I push ahead toward the summit and then down the eastern
slope of the mountains; rounding an abutting hill about 9.30, the glorious
snow-crowned peak of Ararat suddenly bursts upon my vision; it is a good
forty leagues away, but even at this distance it dwarfs everything else
in sight. Although surrounded by giant mountain chains that traverse the
country at every conceivable angle, Ararat stands alone in its solitary
grandeur, a glistening white cone rearing its giant height proudly and
conspicuously above surrounding eminences; about mountains that are
insignificant only in comparison with the white-robed monarch that has
been a beacon-light of sacred history since sacred history has been in
existence.

Descending now toward the Alashgird Plain, a prominent theatre of action
during the war, I encounter splendid wheeling for some miles; but once
fairly down on the level, cultivated plain, the road becomes heavy with
dust. Villages dot the broad, expansive plain in every direction; conical
stacks of tezek are observable among the houses, piled high up above the
roofs, speaking of commendable forethought for the approaching cold
weather. In one of the Armenian villages I am not a little surprised at
finding a lone German; he says he prefers an agricultural life in this
country with all its disadvantages, to the hard, grinding struggle for
existence, and the compulsory military service of the Fatherland. "Here,"
he goes on to explain, "there is no foamy lager, no money, no comfort,
no amusement of any kind, but there is individual liberty, and it is
very easy making a living; therefore it is for me a better country than
Deutschland." " Everybody to their liking," I think, as I continue on
across the plain; but for a European to be living in one of these little
agricultural villages comes the nearest to being buried alive of anything
I know of. The road improves in hardness as I proceed eastward, but the
peculiar disadvantages of being a conspicuous and incomprehensible object
on a populous level plain soon becomes manifest. Seeing the bicycle
glistening in the sunlight as I ride along, horsemen come wildly galloping
from villages miles away. Some of these wonderstricken people endeavor
to pilot me along branch trails leading to their villages, but the main
caravan trail is now too easily distinguishable for any little deceptiona
of this kind to succeed. Here, on the Alashgird Plain, I first hear
myself addressed as "Hamsherri," a term which now takes the place of
Effendi for the next five hundred miles. Owing to the disgust engendered
by my unsavory quarters in the wretched Dele Baba village last night, I
have determined upon seeking the friendly shelter of a wheat-shock again
to-night, preferring the chances of being frozen out at midnight to the
entomological possibilities of village hovels. Accordingly, near sunset,
I repair to a village not far from the road, for the purpose of obtaining
something to eat before seeking out a rendezvous for the night. It turns
out to be the Koordish village of Malosman, and the people are found to
be so immeasurably superior in every particular to their kinsfolk of
Dele Baba that I forthwith cancel my determination and accept their
proffered hospitality. The Malosmanlis are comparatively clean and
comfortable; are reasonably well-dressed, seem well-to-do, and both men
and women are, on the average, handsomer than the people of any village
I have seen for days past. Almost all possess a conspicuously beautiful
set of teeth, pleasant, smiling countenances and good physique; they
also seem to have, somehow, acquired easy, agreeable manners. The secret
of the whole difference, I opine, is that, instead of being located among
the inhospitable soil of barren hills they are cultivating the productive
soil of the Alashgird Plain, and, being situated on the great Persian
caravan trail, they find a ready market for their grain in supplying the
caravans in winter. Their Sheikh is a handsome and good-natured young
fellow, sporting white clothes trimmed profusely with red braid; he
spends the evening in my company, examining the bicycle, revolver,
telescopic pencil-case, L.A.W. badge, etc., and hands me his carved
ivory case to select cigarettes from. It would have required considerable
inducements to have trusted either my L.A.W. badge or the Smith &
Wesson in the custody of any of our unsavory acquaintances of last night,
notwithstanding their great outward show of piety. There are no deep-drawn
sighs of Allah, nor ostentatious praying among the Malosmanlis, but they
bear the stamp of superior trustworthiness plainly on their faces and
their bearing. There appears to be far more jocularity than religion
among these prosperous villagers, a trait that probably owes its development
to their apparent security from want; it is no newly discovered trait
of human character to cease all prayers and supplications whenever the
granary is overflowing with plenty, and to commence devotional exercises
again whenever the supply runs short. This rule would hold good among
the childlike natives here, even more so than it does among our more
enlightened selves. I sally forth into the chilly atmosphere of early
morning from Maloaman, and wheel eastward over an excellent road for
some miles; an obliging native, en route to the harvest field, turns his
buffalo araba around and carts me over a bridgeless stream, but several
others have to be forded ere reaching Kirakhan, where I obtain breakfast.
Here I am required to show my teskeri to the mudir, and the zaptieh
escorting me thither becomes greatly mystified over the circumstance
that I am a Frank and yet am wearing a Mussulman head-band around my
helmet (a new one I picked up on the road); this little fact appeals to
him as something savoring of an attempt to disguise myself, and he grows
amusingly mysterious while whisperingly bringing it to the mudir's
notice. The habitual serenity and complacency of the corpulent mudir's
mind, however, is not to be unduly disturbed by trifles, and the untutored
zaptieh's disposition to attach some significant meaning to it, meets
with nothing from his more enlightened superior but the silence of
unconcern. More streams have to be forded ere I finally emerge on to
higher ground; all along the Alashgird Plain, Ararat's glistening peak
has been peeping over the mountain framework of the plain like a white
beacon-light showing above a dark rocky shore; but approaching toward
the eastern extremity of the plain, my road hugs the base of the intervening
hills and it temporarily disappears from view. In this portion of the
country, camels are frequently employed in bringing the harvest from
field to village threshing-floor; it is a curious sight to see these
awkwardly moving animals walking along beneath tremendous loads of straw,
nothing visible but their heads and legs. Sometimes the meandering course
of the Euphrates - now the eastern fork, and called the Moorad-Chai - brings
it near the mountains, and my road leads over bluffs immediately above
it; the historic river seems well supplied with trout hereabouts, I can
look down from the bluffs and observe speckled beauties sporting about
in its pellucid waters by the score. Toward noon I fool away fifteen
minutes trying to beguile one of them into swallowing a grasshopper and
a bent pin, but they are not the guileless creatures they seem to be
when surveyed from an elevated bluff, so they steadily refuse whatever
blandishments I offer. An hour later I reach the village of Daslische,
inhabited by a mixed population of Turks and Persians. At a shop kept
by one of the latter I obtain some bread and ghee (clarified butter),
some tea, and a handful of wormy raisins for dessert; for these articles,
besides building a fire especially to prepare the tea, the unconscionable
Persian charges the awful sum of two piastres (ten cents); whereupon the
Turks, who have been interested spectators of the whole nefarious
proceeding, commence to abuse him roundly for overcharging a stranger
unacquainted with the prices of the locality calling him the son of a
burnt father, and other names that tino-je unpleasantly in the Persian
ear, as though it was a matter of pounds sterling. Beyond Daslische,
Ararat again becomes visible; the country immediately around is a ravine-
riven plateau, covered with bowlders. An hour after leaving Daslische,
while climbing the eastern slope of a ravine, four rough-looking footmen
appear on the opposite side of the slope; they are following after me,
and shouting "Kardash!" These people with their old swords and pistols
conspicuously about them, always raise suspicions of brigands and evil
characters under such circumstances as these, so I continue on up the
slope without heeding their shouting until I observe two of them turn
back; I then wait, out of curiosity, to see what they really want. They
approach with broad grins of satisfaction at having overtaken me: they
have run all the way from Daslische in order to overtake me and see the
bicycle, having heard of it after I had left. I am now but a short
distance from the Russian frontier on the north, and the first Turkish
patrol is this afternoon patrolling the road; he takes a wondering
interest in my wheel, but doesn't ask the oft-repeated question, "Russ
or Ingiliz?" It is presumed that he is too familiar with the Muscovite
"phiz" to make any such question necessary.

About four o'clock I overtake a jack-booted horseman, who straightway
proceeds to try and make himself agreeable; as his flowing remarks are
mostly unintelligible, to spare him from wasting the sweetness of his
eloquence on the desert air around me, I reply, "Turkchi binmus." Instead
of checking the impetuous torrent of his remarks at hearing this, he
canters companionably alongside, and chatters more persistently than
ever. "T-u-r-k-chi b-i-n-m-u-s!" I repeat, becoming rather annoyed at
his persistent garrulousness and his refusal to understand. This has
the desired effect of reducing him to silence; but he canters doggedly
behind, and, after a space creeps up alongside again, and, pointing to
a large stone building which has now become visible at the base of a
mountain on the other side of the Euphrates, timidly ventures upon the
explanation that it is the Armenian Gregorian Monastery of Sup Ogwanis
(St. John). Finding me more favorably disposed to listen than before,
he explains that he himself is an Armenian, is acquainted with the priests
of the monastery, and is going to remain there over night; he then
proposes that I accompany him thither, and do likewise. I am, of course,
only too pleased at the prospect of experiencing something out of the
common, and gladly avail myself of the opportunity; moreover, monasteries
and religious institutions in general, have somehow always been pleasantly
associated in my thoughts as inseparable accompaniments of orderliness
and cleanliness, and I smile serenely to myself at the happy prospect
of snowy sheets, and scrupulously clean cooking.

Crossing the Euphrates on a once substantial stone bridge, now in a sadly
dilapidated condition, that was doubtless built when Armenian monasteries
enjoyed palmier days than the present, we skirt the base of a compact
mountain and in a few minutes alight at the monastery village. Exit
immediately all visions of cleanliness; the village is in no wise different
from any other cluster of mud hovels round about, and the rag-bedecked,
flea-bitten objects that come outside to gaze at us, if such a thing
were possible, compare unfavorably even with the Dele Baba Koords. There
is apparent at once, however, a difference between the respective
dispositions of the two peoples: the Koords are inclined to be pig-headed
and obtrusive, as though possessed of their full share of the spirit of
self-assertion; the Sup Ogwanis people, on the contrary, act like beings
utterly destitute of anything of the kind, cowering beneath one's look
and shunning immediate contact as though habitually overcome with a sense
of their own inferiority. The two priests come out to see the bicycle
ridden; they are stout, bushy-whiskered, greasy-looking old jokers, with
small twinkling black eyes, whose expression would seem to betoken
anything rather than saintliness, and, although the Euphrates flows hard
by, they are evidently united in their enmity against soap and water,
if in nothing else; in fact, judging from outward appearances, water is
about the only thing concerning which they practise abstemiousness. The
monastery itself is a massive structure of hewn stone, surrounded by a
high wall loop-holed for defence; attached to the wall inside is a long
row of small rooms or cells, the habitations of the monks in more
prosperous days; a few of them are occupied at present by the older men.;
At 5.30 P.M., the bell tolls for evening service, and I accompany my
guide into the monastery; it is a large, empty-looking edifice of simple,
massive architecture, and appears to have been built with a secondary
purpose of withstanding a siege or an assault, and as a place of refuge
for the people in troublous times; containing among other secular
appliances a large brick oven for baking bread. During the last war, the
place was actually bombarded by the Russiaus in an effort to dislodge a
body of Koords who had taken possession of the monastery, and from behind
its solid walls, harassed the Russian troops advancing toward Erzeroum.
The patched up holes made by the Russians' shots are pointed out, as
also some light earthworks thrown up on the Russian position across the
river. In these degenerate days one portion of the building is utilized
as a storehouse for grain; hundreds of pigeons are cooing and roosting
on the crossbeams, making the place their permanent abode, passing in
and out of narrow openings near the roof; and the whole interior is in
a disgustingly filthy condition. Rude fresco representations of the
different saints in the Gregorian calendar formerly adorned the walls,
and bright colored tiles embellished the approach to the altar. Nothing
is distinguishable these days but the crumbling and half-obliterated
evidences of past glories; both priests and people seem hopelessly sunk
in the quagmire of avariciousness and low cunning on the one hand, and
of blind ignorance and superstition on the other. Clad in greasy and
seedy-looking cowls, the priests go through a few nonsensical manosuvres,
consisting chiefly of an ostentatious affectation of reverence toward
an altar covered with tattered drapery, by never turning their backs
toward it while they walk about, Bible in hand, mumbling and sighing.
My self-constituted guide and myself comprise the whole congregation
during the "services." Whenever the priests heave a particularly deep-
fetched sigh or fall to mumbling their prayers on the double quick, they
invariably cast a furtive glance toward me, to ascertain whether I am
noticing the impenetrable depth of their holiness. They needn't be uneasy
on that score, however; the most casual observer cannot fail to perceive
that it is really and truly impenetrable - so impenetrable, in fact, that
it will never be unearthed, not even at the day of judgment. In about
ten minutes the priests quit mumbling, bestow a Pharisaical kiss on the
tattered coverlet of their Bibles, graciously suffer my jack-booted
companion to do likewise, as also two or three ragamuffins who have come
sneaking in seemingly for that special purpose, and then retreat hastily
behind a patch-work curtain; the next minute they reappear in a cowlless
condition, their countenances wearing an expression of intense relief,
as though happy at having gotten through with a disagreeable task that
had been weighing heavily on their minds all day.

We are invited to take supper with their Reverences in their cell beneath
the walls, which they occupy in common. The repast consists of yaort and
pillau, to which is added, by way of compliment to visitors, five salt
fishes about the size of sardines. The most greasy-looking of the divines
thoughtfully helps himself to a couple of the fishes as though they were
a delicacy quite irresistible, leaving one apiece for us others. Having
created a thirst with the salty fish, he then seizes what remains of the
yaort, pours water into it, mixes it thoroughly together with his unwashed
hand, and gulps down a full quart of the swill with far greater gusto
than mannerliness. Soon the priests commence eructating aloud, which
appears to be a well-understood signal that the limit of their respective
absorptive capacities are reached, for three hungry-eyed laymen, who
have been watching our repast with seemingly begrudging countenances,
now carry the wooden tray bodily off into a corner and ravenously devour
the remnants. Everything about the cell is abnormally filthy, and I am
glad when the inevitable cigarettes are ended and we retire to the
quarters assigned us in the village. Here my companion produces from
some mysterious corner of his clothing a pinch of tea and a few lumps
of sugar. A villager quickly kindles a fire and cooks the tea, performing
the services eagerly, in anticipation of coming in for a modest share
of what to him is an unwonted luxury. Being rewarded with a tiny glassful
of tea and a lump of sugar, he places the sweet morsel in his mouth and
sucks the tea through it with noisy satisfaction, prolonging the presumably
delightful sensation thereby produced to fully a couple of minutes.
During this brief indulgence of his palate, a score of his ragged co-
religionists stand around and regard him with mingled envy and covetousness;
but for two whole minutes he occupies his proud eminence in the lap of
comparative luxury, and between slow, lingering sucks at the tea, regards
their envious attention with studied indifference. One can scarcely
conceive of a more utterly wretched people than the monastic community
of Sup Ogwanis; one would not be surprised to find them envying even the
pariah curs of the country. The wind blows raw and chilly from off the
snowy slopes of Ararat next morning, and the shivering, half-clad-wretches
shuffle off toward the fields and pastures, - with blue noses and unwilling
faces, humping their backs and shrinking within themselves and wearing
most lugubrious countenances; one naturally falls to wondering what they
do in the winter. The independent villagers of the surrounding country
have a tough enough time of it, worrying through the cheerless winters
of a treeless and mountainous country; but they at least have no domestic
authority to obey but their own personal and family necessities, and
they consume the days huddled together in their unventilated hovels over
a smouldering tezek fire; but these people seem but helpless dolts under
the vassalage of a couple of crafty-looking, coarse-grained priests, who
regard them with less consideration than they do the monastery buffaloes.
Eleven miles over a mostly ridable trail brings me to the large village
of Dyadin. Dyadin is marked on my map as quite an important place,
consequently I approach it with every assurance of obtaining a good
breakfast. My inquiries for refreshments are met with importunities of
bin bacalem, from five hundred of the rag-tag and bobtail of the frontier,
the rowdiest and most inconsiderate mob imaginable. In their eagerness
and impatience to see me ride, and their exasperating indifference to
my own pressing wants, some of them tell me bluntly there is no bread;
others, more considerate, hurry away and bring enough bread to feed a
dozen people, and one fellow contributes a couple of onions. Pocketing
the onions and some of the bread, I mount and ride away from the madding
crowd with whatever despatch is possible, and retire into a secluded
dell near the road, a mile from town, to eat my frugal breakfast in peace
and quietness. While thus engaged, it is with veritable savage delight
that I hear a company of horsemen go furiously galloping past; they are
Dyadin people endeavoring to overtake me for the kindly purpose of
worrying me out of my senses, and to prevent me even eating a bite of
bread unseasoned with their everlasting gabble. Although the road from
Dyadin eastward leads steadily upward, they fancy that nothing less than
a wild, sweeping gallop will enable them to accomplish their fell purpose;
I listen to their clattering hoof-beats dying away in the dreamy distance,
with a grin of positively malicious satisfaction, hoping sincerely that
they will keep galloping onward for the next twenty miles. No such happy
consummation of my wishes occurs, however; a couple of miles up the
ascent I find them hobnobbing with some Persian caravan men and patiently
awaiting my appearance, having learned from the Persians that I had not
yet gone past. Mingled with the keen disappointment of overtaking them
so quickly, is the pleasure of witnessing the Persians' camels regaling
themselves on a patch of juicy thistles of most luxuriant growth; the
avidity with which they attack the great prickly vegetation, and the
expression of satisfaction, utter and peculiar, that characterizes a
camel while munching a giant thistle stalk that protrudes two feet out
of his mouth, is simply indescribable.

>From this pass I descend into the Aras Plain, and, behold the gigantic
form of Ararat rises up before me, seemingly but a few miles away; as a
matter of fact it is about twenty miles distant, but with nothing
intervening between myself and its tremendous proportions but the level
plain, the distance is deceptive. No human habitations are visible save
the now familiar black tents of Koordish tribesmen away off to the north,
and as I ride along I am overtaken by a sensation of being all alone in
the company of an overshadowing and awe-inspiring presence. One's attention
seems irresistibly attracted toward the mighty snow-crowrned monarch,
as though,the immutable law of attraction were sensibly exerting itself
to draw lesser bodies to it, and all other objects around seemed dwarfed
into insignificant proportions. One obtains a most comprehensive idea
of Ararat's 17,325 feet when viewing it from the Aras Plain, as it rises
sheer from the plain, and not from the shoulders of a range that constitutes
of itself the greater part of the height, as do many mountain peaks. A
few miles to the eastward is Little Ararat, an independent conical peak
of 12,800 feet, without snow, but conspicuous and distinct from surrounding
mountains; its proportions are completely dwarfed and overshadowed by
the nearness and bulkiness of its big brother. The Aras Plain is lava-strewn
and uncultivated for a number of miles; the spongy, spreading feet of
innumerable camels have worn paths in the hard lava deposit that makes
the wheeling equal to English roads, except for occasional stationary
blocks of lava that the animals have systematically stepped over for
centuries, and which not infrequently block the narrow trail and compel
a dismount. Evidently Ararat was once a volcano; the lofty peak which
now presents a wintry appearance even in the hottest summer weather,
formerly belched forth lurid flames that lit up the surrounding country,
and poured out fiery torrents of molten lava that stratified the abutting
hills, and spread like an overwhelming flood over the Aras Plain. Abutting
Ararat on the west are stratiform hills, the strata of which are plainly
distinguishable from the Persian trail and which, were their inclination
continued, would strike Ararat at or near the summit. This would seem
to indicate the layers to be representations of the mountain's former
volcanic overflowings. I am sitting on a block of lava making an outline
sketch of Ararat, when a peasant happens along with a bullock-load of
cucumbers which he is taking to the Koordish camps; he is pretty badly
scared at finding himself all alone on the Aras Plain with such a
nondescript and dangerous-looking object as a helmeted wheelman, and
when I halt him with inquiries concerning the nature of his wares he
turns pale and becomes almost speechless with fright. He would empty his
sacks as a peace-offering at my feet without venturing upon a remonstrance,
were he ordered to do so; and when I relieve him of but one solitary
cucumber, and pay him more than he would obtain for it among the Koords,
he becomes stupefied with astonishment; when he continues on his way he
hardly knows whether he is on his head or his feet. An hour later I
arrive at Kizil Dizah, the last village in Turkish territory, and an
official station of considerable importance, where passports, caravan
permits, etc., of everybody passing to or from Persia have to be examined.
An officer here provides me with refreshments, and while generously
permitting the population to come in and enjoy the extraordinary spectacle
of seeing me fed, he thoughtfully stations a man with a stick to keep
them at a respectful distance. A later hour in the afternoon finds me
trundling up a long acclivity leading to the summit of a low mountain
ridge; arriving at the summit I stand on the boundary-line between the
dominions of the Sultan and the Shah, and I pause a minute to take a
brief, retrospective glance. The cyclometer, affixed to the bicycle at
Constantinople, now registers within a fraction of one thousand miles;
it has been on the whole an arduous thousand miles, but those who in the
foregoing pages have followed me through the strange and varied experiences
of the journey will agree with me when I say that it has proved more
interesting than arduous after all. I need not here express any blunt
opinions of the different people encountered; it is enough that my
observations concerning them have been jotted down as I have mingled
with them and their characteristics from day to day; almost without
exception, they have treated me the best they knew how; it is only natural
that some should know how better than others. Bidding farewell, then,
to the land of the Crescent and the home of the unspeakable Osmanli, I
wheel down a gentle slope into a mountain-environed area of cultivated
fields, where Persian peasants are busy gathering their harvest. The
strange apparition observed descending from the summit of the boundary
attracts universal attention; I can hear them calling out to each other,
and can see horsemen come wildly galloping from every direction. In a
few minutes the road in my immediate vicinity is alive with twenty
prancing steeds; some are bestrode by men who, from the superior quality
of their clothes and the gaudy trappings of their horses, are evidently
in good circumstances; others by wild-looking, barelegged bipeds, whose
horses' trappings consist of nothing but a bridle. The transformation
brought about by crossing the mountain ridge is novel and complete; the
fez, so omnipresent throughout the Ottoman dominions, has disappeared,
as if by magic; the better class Persians wear tall, brimless black hats
of Astrakan lamb's wool; some of the peasantry wear an unlovely, close-
fitting skullcap of thick gray felt, that looks wonderfully like a bowl
clapped on top of their heads, others sport a huge woolly head-dress
like the Roumanians; this latter imparts to them a fierce, war-like
appearance, that the meek-eyed Persian ryot (tiller of the soil) is far
from feeling. The national garment is a sort of frock-coat gathered at
the waist, and with a skirt of ample fulness, reaching nearly to the
knees; among the wealthier class the material of this garment is usually
cloth of a solid, dark color, and among the ryots or peasantry, of calico
or any cheap fabric they can obtain. Loose-fitting pantaloons of European
pattern, and sometimes top-boots, with tops ridiculously ample in their
looseness, characterize the nether garments of the better classes; the
ryots go mostly bare-legged in summer, and wear loose, slipper-like foot-
gear; the soles of both boots and shoes are frequently pointed, and made
to turn up and inwards, after the fashion in England centuries ago.

Nightfall overtakes me as, after travelling several miles of variable
road, I commence following a winding trail down into the valley of a
tributary of the Arasces toward Ovahjik, where resides the Pasha Khan,
to whom I have a letter; but the crescent-shaped moon sheds abroad a
silvery glimmer that exerts a softening influence upon the mountains
outlined against the ever-arching dome, from whence here and there a
star begins to twinkle. It is one of those. beautiful, calm autumn
evenings when all nature seems hushed in peaceful slumbers; when the
stars seem to first peep cautiously from the impenetrable depths of their
hiding-place, and then to commence blinking benignantly and approvingly
upon the world; and when the moon looks almost as though fair Luna has
been especially decorating herself to embellish a scene that without her
lovely presence would be incomplete. Such is my first autumn evening
beneath the cloudless skies of Persia.

Soon the village of Ovahjik is reached, and some peasants guide me to
the residence of the Pasha Khan. The servant who presents my letter of
introduction fills the untutored mind of his master with wonderment
concerning what the peasants have told him about the bicycle. The Pasha
Khan makes his appearance without having taken the trouble to open the
envelope. He is a dull-faced, unintellectual-lookiug personage, and
without any preliminary palaver he says: "Bin bacalem," in a dictatorial
tone of voice. "Bacalem yole lazim, bacalem saba," I reply, for it is
too dark to ride on unknown ground this evening. " Bin bacalem, " repeats
the Pasha Khan, even more dictatorial than before, ordering a servant
to bring a tallow candle, so that I can have no excuse. There appears
to be such a total absence of all consideration for myself that I am not
disposed to regard very favorably or patiently the obtrusive meddlesomeness
of two younger men-whom I afterward discover to be sons of the Pasha
Khan - who seem almost inclined to take the bicycle out of my charge
altogether, in their excessive impatience and inordinate inquisitiveness
to examine everything about it. One of them, thinking the cyclometer to
be a watch, puts his ear down to see if he can hear it tick, and then
persists in fingering it about, to the imminent danger of the tally-pin.
After telling him several times not to meddle with it, and receiving
overbearing gestures in reply, I deliberately throw him backward into
an irrigating ditch. A gleam of intelligence overspreads the stolid
countenance of the Pasha Khan at seeing his offspring floundering about
on his back in the mud and water, and he gives utterance to a chuckle
of delight. The discomfited young man betrays nothing of the spirit of
resentment upon recovering himself from the ditch, and the other son
involuntarily retreats as though afraid his turn was coming next. The
servant now arrives with the lighted candle, and the Pasha Kahn leads
the way into his garden, where there is a wide brick-paved walk; the
house occupies one side of the garden, the other three sides are inclosed
by a high mud wall. After riding a few times along the brick-paved walk,
and promising to do better in the morning. I naturally expect to be taken
into the house, instead of which the Pasha Khan orders the people to
show me the way to the caravanserai. Arriving at the caravanserai, and
finding myself thus thrown unexpectedly upon my own resources, I inquire

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