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Around the World on a Bicycle V1 by Thomas Stevens

Part 5 out of 9

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claim of being the most cosmopolitan city in the world; and a casual
observer, judging only from the evidence aboard the boat, would pronounce
it also the most democratic. There appears to be no first, second, or
third class; everybody pays the same fare, and everybody wanders at his
own sweet will into every nook and corner of the upper deck, perches
himself on top of the paddle-boxes, loafs on the pilot's bridge, or
reclines among the miscellaneous assortment of freight piled up in a
confused heap on the fore-deck; in short, everybody seems perfectly free
to follow the bent of his inclinations, except to penetrate behind the
scenes of the aftmost deck, where, carefully hidden from the rude gaze
of the male passengers by a canvas partition, the Moslem ladies have
their little world of gossip and coffee, and fragrant cigarettes. Every
public conveyance in the Orient has this walled-off retreat, in which
Osmanli fair ones can remove their yashmaks, smoke cigarettes, and comport
themselves with as much freedom as though in the seclusion of their
apartments at home.

Greek and Armenian ladies mingle with the main-deck passengers, however,
the picturesque costumes of the former contributing not a little to the
general Oriental effect of the scene. The dress of the Armenian ladies
differs but little from Western costumes, and their deportment would
wreathe the benign countenance of the Lord Chamberlain with a serene
smile of approval; but the minds and inclinations of the gentle Hellenic
dames seem to run in rather a contrary channel. Singly, in twos, or in
cosey, confidential coteries, arm in arm, they promenade here and there,
saying little to each other or to anybody else. By the picturesqueness
of their apparel and their seemingly bold demeanor they attract to
themselves more than their just share of attention; but with well-feigned
ignorance of this they divide most of their time and attention between
rolling cigarettes and smoking them. Their heads are bound with jaunty
silk handkerchiefs; they wear rakish-looking short jackets, down the
back of which their luxuriant black hair dangles in two tresses; but the
crowning masterpiece of their costume is that wonderful garment which
is neither petticoat nor pantaloons, and which can be most properly
described as "indescribable," which tends to give the wearer rather an
unfeminine appearance, and is not to be compared with the really sensible
and not unpicturesque nether garment of a Turkish lady. The male companions
of these Greek women are not a bit behind them in the matter of gay
colors and startling surprises of the Levantine clothier's art, for they
likewise are in all the bravery of holiday attire. There is quite a
number of them aboard, and they now appear at their best, for they are
going to take part in wedding festivities at one of the little Greek
villages that nestle amid the vine-clad slopes along the coast - white
villages, that from the deck of the moving steamer look as though they
have been placed here and there by nature's artistic hand for the sole
purpose of embellishing the lovely green frame-work that surrounds the
blue waters of the Ismidt Gulf. Several of these merry-makers enliven
the passing hours with music and dancing, to the delight of a numerous
audience, while a second ever-changing but never-dispersing audience is
gathered around the bicycle. The verbal comments and Solomon-like opinions,
given in expressive pantomime, of this latter garrulous gathering
concerning the machine and myself, I can of course but partly understand;
but occasionally some wiseacre suddenly becomes inflated with the idea
that he has succeeded in unravelling the knotty problem, and forthwith
proceeds to explain, for the edification of his fellow-passengers, the
modus operandi of riding it, supplementing his words by the most
extraordinary gestures. The audience is usually very attentive and highly
interested in these explanations, and may be considerably enlightened
by their self-constituted tutors, whose sole advantage over their auditors,
so far as bicycles are concerned, consists simply in a belief in the
superiority of their own particular powers of penetration. But to the
only person aboard the steamer who really does know anything at all about
the subject, the chief end of their exposition seems to be gained when
they have duly impressed upon the minds of their hearers that the bicycle
is to ride on, and that it goes at a rate of speed quite beyond the
comprehension of their - the auditors' - minds; "Bin, bin, bin. Chu, chu,
chu. Haidi, haidi, haidi." being repeated with a vehemence that is
intended to impress upon them little less than flying-Dutchman speed.

The deck of a Constantinople steamer affords splendid opportunity for
character study, and the Ismidt packet is no exception. Nearly every
person aboard has some characteristic, peculiar and distinct from any
of the others. At intervals of about fifteen minutes a couple of Armenians,
bare-footed, bare-legged, and ragged, clamber with much difficulty and
scraping of shins over a large pile of empty chicken-crates to visit one
particular crate. Their collective baggage consists of a thin, half-grown
chicken tied by both feet to a small bag of barley, which is to prepare
it for the useful but inglorious end of all chickendom. They have
imprisoned their unhappy charge in a crate that is most difficult to get
at. Why they didn't put it in one of the nearer crates, what their object
is in climbing up to visit it so frequently, and why they always go
together, are problems of the knottiest kind.

A far less difficult riddle is the case of a middle-aged man, whose
costume and avocation explain nothing, save that he is not an Osmanli.
He is a passenger homeward bound to one of the coast villages, and
he constantly circulates among the crowd with a basket of water-melons,
which he has brought aboard "on spec," to vend among his fellow-passengers,
hoping thereby to gain sufficient to defray the cost of his passage.
Seated on whatever they can find to perch upon, near the canvas partition,
all unmoved by the gay and stirring scenes before them, is a group of
Mussulman pilgrims from some interior town, returning from a pilgrimage
to Stamboul - fine-looking Osmanli graybeards, whose haughty reserve not
even the bicycle is able to completely overcome, although it proves more
efficacious in subduing it and waking them out of their habitual
contemplative attitude than anything else aboard. Two of these men are
of magnificent physique; their black eyes, rather full lips, and swarthy
skins betraying Arab blood. In addition to the long daggers and antiquated
pistols so universally worn in the Orient, they are armed with fine,
large, pearl-handled revolvers, and they sit cross-legged, smoking
cigarette after cigarette in silent meditation, paying no heed even to
the merry music and the dancing of the Greeks.

At Jelova, the first village the steamer halts at, a coupleof zaptiehs
come aboard with two prisoners whom they are conveying to Ismidt. These
men are lower-class criminals, and their wretched appearance betrays the
utter absence of hygienic considerations on the part of the Turkish
prison authorities; they evidently have had no cause to complain of any
harsh measures for the enforcement of personal cleanliness. Their foot-gear
consists of pieces of rawhide, fastened on with odds and ends of string;
and pieces of coarse sacking tacked on to what were once clothes barely
suffice to cover their nakedness; bare-headed - their bushy hair has not
for months felt the smoothing influence of a comb, and their hands and
faces look as if they had just endured a seven-years' famine of soap and
water. This latter feature is a sure sign that they are not Turks, for
prisoners are most likely allowed full liberty to keep themselves clean,
and a Turk would at least have come out into the world with a clean face.

The zaptiehs squat down together and smoke cigarettes, and allow their
charges full liberty to roam wheresoever they will while on board, and
the two prisoners, to all appearances perfectly oblivious of their rags,
filth, and the degradation of their position, mingle freely with the
passengers; and, as they move about, asking and answering questions, I
look in vain among the latter for any sign of the spirit of social
Pharisaism that in a Western crowd would have kept them at a distance.
Both these men have every appearance of being the lowest of criminals -
men capable of any deed in the calendar within their mental and physical
capacities; they may even be members of the very gang I am taking this
steamer to avoid; but nobody seems to either pity or condemn them;
everybody acts toward them precisely as they act toward each other.
Perhaps in no other country in the world does this social and moral
apathy obtain among the masses to such a degree as in Turkey.

While we lie to for a few minutes to disembark passengers at the village
where the before-mentioned wedding festivities are in progress, four of
the seven imperturbable Osmanlis actually arise from the one position
they have occupied unmoved since coming aboard, and follow me to the
foredeck, in order to be present while I explain the workings and mechanism
of the bicycle to some Arnienian students of Roberts College, who can
speak a certain amount of English. Having listened to my explanations
without understanding a word, and, without condescending to question the
Armenians, they survey the machine some minutes in silence and then
return to their former positions, their cigarettes, and their meditations,
paying not the slightest heed to several caique loads of Greek merry-makers
who have rowed out to meet the new arrivals, and are paddling around the
steamer, filling the air with music. Finding that there is someone aboard
that can converse with me, the Greeks, desirous of seeing the bicycle
in action, and of introducing a novelty into the festivities of the
evening, ask me to come ashore and be their guest until the arrival of
the next Ismiclt boat - a matter of three days. Offer declined with thanks,
but not without reluctance, for these Greek merry-makings are well worth
seeing. The Ismidt packet, like everything else in Turkey, moves at a
snail's pace, and although we got under way in something less than an
hour after the advertised starting-time, which, for Turkey, is quite
commendable promptness, and the distance is but fifty-five miles, we
call at a number of villages en route, and it is 6 P.M. when we tie up
at the Ismidt wharf.

"Five piastres, Effendi," says the ticket-collector, as, after waiting
till the crowd has passed the gang-plank, I follow with the bicycle and
hand him my ticket.

"What are the five piastres for." I ask. For answer, he points' to my
wheel. "Baggage," I explain.

"Baggage yoke, cargo," he replies; and I have to pay it. The fact is,
that, never having seen a bicycle before, he don't know whether it is
cargo or baggage; but whenever a Turkish official has no precedent to
follow, he takes care to be on the right side in case there is any money
to be collected; otherwise he is not apt to be so particular. This is,
however, rather a matter of private concern than of zealousness in the
performance of his official duties; the possibilities of peculation are
ever before him.

While satisfying the claim of the ticket-collector a deck-hand comes
forward and, pointing to the bicycle, blandly asks me for backsheesh.
He asks, not because he has put a finger to the machine, or been asked
to do so, but, being a thoughtful, far-sighted youth, he is looking out
for the future. The bicycle is something he never saw on his boat before;
but the idea that these things may now become common among the passengers
wanders through his mind, and that obtaining backsheesh on this particular
occasion will establish a precedent that may be very handy hereafter;
so he makes a most respectful salaam, calls me "Bey Effendi," and
smilingly requests two piastres backsheesh. After him comes the passport
officer, who, besides the teskeri for myself, demands a special passport
for the machine. He likewise is in a puzzle (it don't take much, by the
by, to puzzle the brains of a Turkish official), because the bicycle is
something he has had no previous dealings with; but as this is a matter
in which finances play no legitimate part - though probably his demand for
a passport is made for no other purpose than that of getting backsheesh - a
vigorous protest, backed up by the unanimous, and most certainly vociferous,
support of a crowd of wharf-loafers, and my fellow-passengers, who,
having disembarked, are waiting patiently for me to come and ride down
the street, either overrules or overawes the officer and secures my
relief. Impatient at consuming a whole day in reaching Ismidt, I have
been thinking of taking to the road immediately upon landing, and
continuing till dark, taking my chances of reaching some suitable stopping-
place for the night. But the good people of Ismidt raise their voices
in protest against what they professedly regard as a rash and dangerous
proposition. As I evince a disposition to override their well-meant
interference and pull out, they hurriedly send for a Frenchman, who can
speak sufficient English to make himself intelligible. Speaking for
himself, and acting as interpreter in echoing the words and sentiments
of the others, the Frenchman straightway warns me not to start into the
interior so late in the day, and run the risk of getting benighted in
the brush; for "Much very bad people, very bad people! are between
Ismidt and Angora; Circassians plenty," he says, adding that the worst
characters are near Ismidt, and that the nearer I get to Angora the
better I shall find the people. As by this time the sun is already setting
behind the hills, I conclude that an early start in the morning will,
after all, be the most sensible course.

During the last Russo-Turkish war thousands of Circassian refugees
migrated to this part of Asia Minor. Having a restless, roving disposition,
that unfits them for the laborious and uneventful life of a husbandman,
many of them remain even to the present day loafers about the villages,
maintaining themselves nobody seems to know how. The belief appears to
be unanimous, however, that they are capable of any deviltry under the
sun, and that, while their great specialty and favorite occupation is
stealing horses, if this becomes slack or unprofitable, or even for the
sake of a little pleasant variety, these freebooters from the Caucasus
have no hesitation about turning highwaymen whenever a tempting occasion
offers. All sorts of advice about the best way to avoid being robbed is
volunteered by the people of Ismidt. My watch-chain, L.A.W. badge, and
everything that appears of any value, they tell me, must be kept strictly
out of sight, so as not to excite the latent cupidity of such Circassians
as I meet on the road or in the villages. Some advocate the plan of
adorning my coat with Turkish official buttons, shoulder-straps, and
trappings, to make myself, look like a government officer; others think
it would be best to rig myself up as a full-blown zaptieh, with whom,
of course, neither Circassian nor any other guilty person would attempt
to interfere. To these latter suggestions I point out that, while they
are very good, especially the zaplieh idea, so far as warding off
Circassians is concerned, my adoption of a uniform would most certainly
get me into hot water with the military authorities of every town and
village, owing to my ignorance of the vernacular, and cause me no end
of vexatious delay. To this the quick-witted Frenchman replies by at
once offering to go with me to the resident pasha, explain the matter
to him, and get a letter permitting me to wear the uniform; which offer
I gently but firmly decline, being secretly of the opinion that these
excessive precautions are all unnecessary. From the time I left Hungary
I have been warned so persistently of danger ahead, and have so far met
nothing really dangerous, that I am getting sceptical about there being
anything like the risk people seem to think. Without being blind to the
fact that there is a certain amount of danger in travelling alone through
a country where it is the universal custom either to travel in company
or to take a guard, I feel quite confident that the extreme novelty of
my conveyance will make so profound an impression on the Asiatic mind
that, even did they know that my buttons are gold coins of the realm,
they would hesitate seriously to molest me. From past observations among
people seeing the bicycle ridden for the first time, I believe that with
a hundred yards of smooth road it is quite possible for a cycler to ride
his way into the good graces of the worst gang of freebooters in Asia.

Having decided to remain here over-night, I seek the accommodation of a
rudely comfortable hotel, kept by an Armenian, where, at the supper-table,
I am first made acquainted with the Asiatic dish called "pillau," that
is destined to form no inconsiderable part of my daily bill of fare for
several weeks. Pillau is a dish that is met - with in one disguise or
another all over Asia. With a foundation of boiled rice, it receives a
variety of other compounds, the nature of which will appear as they enter
into my daily experiences. In deference to the limited knowledge of each
other's language possessed by myself and the proprietor, I am invited
into the cookhouse and permitted to take a peep at the contents of several
different pots and kettles simmering over a slow fire in a sort of brick
trench, to point out to the waiter such dishes as I think I shall like.
Failing to find among the assortment any familiar acquaintances, I try
the pillau, and find it quite palatable, preferring it to anything else
the house affords.

Our friend the Frenchman is quite delighted at the advent of a bicycle
in Ismidt, for in his younger days, he tells me with much enthusiasm,
he used to be somewhat partial to whirling wheels himself; and when he
first came here from France, some eighteen years ago, he actually brought
with him a bone-shaker, with which, for the first summer, he was wont
to surprise the natives. This relic of by-gone days has been stowed away
among a lot of old traps ever since, all but forgotten; but the appearance
of a mounted wheelman recalls it to memory, and this evening, in honor
of my visit, it is brought once more to light, its past history explained
by its owner, and its merits and demerits as a vehicle in comparison
with my bicycle duly discussed. The bone-shaker has wheels heavy enough
for a dog-cart; the saddle is nearly all gnawed away by mice, and it
presents altogether so antiquated an appearance that it seems a relic
rather of a past century than of a past decade. Its owner assays to take
a ride on it; but the best he can do is to wabble around a vacant space
in front of the hotel, the awkward motions of the old bone-shaker affording
intense amusement to the crowd. After supper this chatty and entertaining
gentleman brings his wife, a rotund, motherly-looking person, to see the
bicycle; she is a Levantine Greek, and besides her own lingua franca,
her husband has improved her education to the extent of a smattering of
rather misleading English. Desiring to be complimentary in return for
my riding back and forth a few times for her special benefit, the lady
comes forward as I dismount and, smiling complacently upon me, remarks,
"How very grateful you ride, monsieur!" and her husband and tutor,
desiring also to say something complimentary, echoes, " Much grateful - very."

The Greeks seem to be the life and poetry of these sea-coast places on
the Ismidt gulf. My hotel faces the water; and for hours after dark a
half-dozen caique-loads of serenaders are paddling about in front of the
town, making quite an entertaining concert in the silence of the night,
the pleasing effect being heightened by the well-known softening influence
of the water, and not a little enhanced by a display of rockets and Roman
candles. Earlier in the evening, while taking a look at Ismidt and the
surrounding scenery, in company with a few sociable natives, who point
out beauty-spots in the surrounding landscape with no little enthusiasm,
I am impressed with the extreme loveliness of the situation. The town
itself, now a place of thirteen thousand inhabitants, is the Nicomedia
of the ancients. It is built in the form of a crescent, facing the sea;
the houses, many of them painted white, are terraced upon the slopes of
the green hills, whose sides and summits are clothed with verdure, and
whose bases are laved by the blue waves of the gulf, which here, at the
upper extremity, narrows to about a mile and a half in width; white
villages dot the green mountain-slopes on the opposite shore, prominent
among them being the Armenian town of Bahgjadjik, where for a number of
years has been established an American missionary-school, a branch, I
think, of Roberts College. Every mile of visible country, whether gently
sloping or more rugged and imposing, is green with luxuriant vegetation,
and the waters of the gulf are of that deep-blue color peculiar to
mountain-locked inlets; the bright green hills, the dancing blue waters,
and the white painted villages combine to make a scene so lovely in the
chastened light of early eventide that, after the Bosporus, I think I
never saw a place more beautiful. Besides the loveliness of the situation,
the little mountain-sheltered inlet makes an excellent anchorage for
shipping; and during the late war, at the well-remembered crisis when
the Russian armies were bearing down on Constantinople and the British
fleet received the famous order to pass through the Dardanelles with or
without the Sultan's permission, the head-waters of the Ismidt gulf
became, for several months, the rendezvous of the ships.

CHAPTER XI.

ON THROUGH ASIA.

Early dawn on Tuesday morning finds me already astir and groping about
the hotel in search of some of the slumbering employees to let me out.
Pocketing a cold lunch in lieu of eating breakfast, I mount and wheel
down the long street leading out of the eastern end of town. On the way
out I pass a party of caravan-teamsters who have just arrived with a
cargo of mohair from Angora; their pack-mules are fairly festooned with
strings of bells of all sizes, from a tiny sleigh-bell to a solemn-voiced
sheet-iron affair the size of a two-gallon jar. These bells make an awful
din; the men are unpacking the weary animals, shouting both at the mules
and at each other, as if their chief object were to create as much noise
as possible; but as I wheel noiselessly past, they cease their unpacking
and their shouting, as if by common consent, and greet me with that
silent stare of wonder that men might be supposed to accord to an
apparition from another world. For some few miles a rough macadam road
affords a somewhat choppy but nevertheless ridable surface, and further
inland it develops into a fairly good roadway, where a dismount is
unnecessary for several miles. The road leads along a depression between
a continuation of the mountain-chains that inclose the Ismidt gulf, which
now run parallel with my road on either hand at the distance of a couple
of miles, some of the spurs on the south range rising to quite an imposing
height. For four miles out of Ismidt the country is flat and swampy;
beyond that it changes to higher ground; and the swampy flat, the higher
ground, and the mountain-slopes are all covered with timber and a dense
growth of underbrush, in which wild-fig shrubs and the homely but beautiful
ferns of the English commons, the Missouri Valley woods, and the California
foot-hills, mingle their respective charms, and hob-nob with scrub-oak,
chestnut, walnut, and scores of others. The whole face of the country
is covered with this dense thicket, and the first little hamlet I pass
on the road is nearly hidden in it, the roofs of the houses being barely
visible above the green sea of vegetation. Orchards and little patches
of ground that have been cleared and cultivated are hidden entirely, and
one cannot help thinking that if this interminable forest of brushwood
were once to get fairly ablaze, nothing could prevent it from destroying
everything these villagers possess.

A foretaste of what awaits me farther in the interior is obtained even
within the first few hours of the morning, when a couple of horsemen
canter at my heels for miles; they seem delighted beyond measure, and
their solicitude for my health and general welfare is quite affecting.
When I halt to pluck some blackberries, they solemnly pat their stomachs
and shake their heads in chorus, to make me understand that blackberries
are not good things to eat; and by gestures they notify me of bad places
in the road which are yet out of sight ahead. Eude mehanax, now called
khans, occupy little clearings by the roadside, at intervals of a few
miles; and among the habitues congregated there I notice several of the
Circassian refugees on whose account friends at Ismidt and Constantinople
have shown themselves so concerned for my safety.

They are dressed in the long Cossack coats of dark cloth peculiar to the
inhabitants of the Caucasus; two rows of bone or metal cartridge-cases
adorn their breast, being fitted into flutes or pockets made for them;
they wear either top boots or top bootlegs, and the counterpart of my
own moccasins; and their headdress is a tall black lamb's-wool turban,
similar to the national headgear of the Persians. They are by far the
best-dressed and most respectable-looking men one sees among the groups;
for while the majority of the natives are both ragged and barefooted, I
don't remember ever seeing Circassians either. To all outward appearances
they are the most trustworthy men of them all; but there is really more
deviltry concealed beneath the smiling exterior of one of these homeless
mountaineers from Circassia than in a whole village of the less likely-
looking natives here, whose general cutthroat appearance - an effect
produced, more than anything else, by the universal custom of wearing
all the old swords, knives, anil pistols they can get hold of-really
counts for nothing. In picturesqueness of attire some of these khan
loafers leave nothing to be desired; and although I am this morning
wearing Igali's cerulean scarf as a sash, the tri-colored pencil string
of Servia around my neck, and a handsome pair of Circassian moccasins,
I ain absolutely nowhere by the side of many a native here whose entire
wardrobe wouldn't fetch half a mcdjedie in a Galata auction-room. The
great light of Central Asian hospitality casts a glimmer even up into
this out-of-the-way northwestern corner of the continent, though it seems
to partake more of the Nevada interpretation of the word than farther
in the interior. Thrice during the forenoon I am accosted with the
invitation "mastic? cogniac? coffee." by road-side klian-jees or their
customers who wish me to stop and let them satisfy their consuming
curiosity at my novel bagar (horse), as many of them jokingly allude to
it. Beyond these three beverages and the inevitable nargileh, these
wayside khans provide nothing; vishner syrup (a pleasant extract of the
vishner cherry; a spoonful in a tumbler of water makes a most agreeable
and refreshing sherbet), which is my favorite beverage on the road, being
an inoffensive, non-intoxicating drink, is not in sufficient demand among
the patrons of the khans to justify keeping it in stock. An ancient
bowlder causeway traverses the route I am following, hut the blocks of
stone composing it have long since become misplaced and scattered about
in confusion, making it impassable for wheeled vehicles; and the natural
dirt-road alongside it is covered with several inches of dust which is
continually being churned up by mule-caravans bringing mohair from Angora
and miscellaneous merchandise from Ismidt. Camel-caravans make smooth
tracks, but they seldom venture to Ismidt at this time of the year, I
am told, on account of the bellicose character of the mosquitoes that
inhabit this particular region; their special mode of attack being to
invade the camels' sensitive nostrils, which drives these patient beasts
of burden to the last verge of distraction, sometimes even worrying them
to death. Stopping for dinner at the village of Sabanja, the scenes
familiar in connection with a halt for refreshments in the Balkan Peninsula
are enacted; though for bland and childlike assurance there is no
comparison between the European Turk and his brother in Asia Minor. More
than one villager approaches me during the few minutes I am engaged in
eating dinner, and blandly asks me to quit eating and let him see me
ride; one of them, with a view of putting it out of my power to refuse,
supplements his request with a few green apples which no European could
eat without bringing on an attack of cholera morbus, but which Asiatics
consume with impunity. After dinner I request the proprietor to save me
from the madding crowd long enough to round up a few notes, which he
attempts to do by locking me in a room over the stable. In less than ten
minutes the door is unlocked, and in walks the headman of the village,
making a most solemn and profound salaam as he enters. He has searched
out a man who fought with the English in the Crimea, according to his
- the man's-own explanation, and who knows a few words of Frank language
and has brought him along to interpret. Without the slightest hesitation
he asks me to leave off writing and come down and ride, in order that
he may see the performance, and - he continues, artfully - that he may judge
of the comparative merits of a horse and a bicycle.

This peculiar trait of the Asiatic character is further illustrated
during the afternoon in the case of a caravan leader whom I meet on an
unridable stretch of road. "Bin! bin!" says this person, as soon as
his mental faculties grasp the idea that the bicycle is something to
ride on. "Mimlcin, deyil; fenna yole; duz yolo lazim " (impossible; bad
road; good road necessary), I reply, airing my limited stock of Turkish.
Nothing daunted by this answer, the man blandly requests me to turn about
and follow his caravan until ridable road is reached - a good mile - in
order that he may be enlightened. It is, perhaps, superfluous to add
that, so far as I know, this particular individual's ideas of 'cycling
are as hazy and undefined to-day as they ever were.

The principal occupation of the Sabanjans seems to be killing time; or
perhaps waiting for something to turn up. Apple and pear-orchards are
scattered about among the brush, looking utterly neglected; they are old
trees mostly, and were planted by the more enterprising ancestors of the
present owners, who would appear to be altogether unworthy of their
sires, since they evidently do nothing in the way of trimming and pruning,
but merely accept such blessings as unaided nature vouchsafes to bestow
upon them. Moss-grown gravestones are visible here and there amid the
thickets; the graveyards are neither protected by fence nor shorn of
brush; in short, this aggressive undergrowth appears to be altogether
too much for the energies of the Sabanjans; it seems to be encroaching
upon them from every direction, ruthlessly pursuing them even to their
very door-sills; like Banquo's ghost, it will not down, and the people
have evidently retired discouraged from the contest. Higher up on the
mountain-slopes the underbrush gives place to heavier timber, and small
clearings abound, around which the unsubdued forest stands like a solid
wall of green, the scene reminding one quite forcibly of backwoods
clearings in Ohio; and were it not for the ancient appearance of the
Sabanja minarets, the old bowlder causeway, and other evidences of
declining years, one might easily imagine himself in a new country instead
of the cradle of our race.

At Sabanja the wagon-road terminates, and my way becomes execrable beyond
anything I ever encountered; it leads over a low mountain-pass, following
the track of the ancient roadway, that on the acclivity of the mountain
has been torn up and washed about, and the stone blocks scattered here
and piled up there by the torrents of centuries, until it would seem to
have been the sport and plaything of a hundred Kansas cyclones. Bound
about and among this disorganized mass, caravans have picked their way
over the pass from the first dawn of commercial intercourse; following
the same trail year after year, the stepping-places have come to resemble
the steps of a rude stairway. From the summit of the pass is obtained a
comprehensive view of the verdure-clad valley; here and there white
minarets are seen protruding above the verdant area, like lighthouses
from a green sea; villages dot the lower slopes of the mountains, while
a lake, covering half the width of the valley for a dozen miles, glimmers
in the mid-day sun, making altogether a scene that in some countries
would long since have been immortalized on canvas or in verse. The descent
is even rougher, if anything, than the western side, but it leads down
into a tiny valley that, if situated near a large city, would resound
with the voices of merry-makers the whole summer long. The undergrowth
of this morning's observations has entirely disappeared; wide-spreading
chestnut and grand old sycamore trees shade a circumscribed area of
velvety greensward and isolated rocks; a tiny stream, a tributary of the
Sackaria, meanders along its rocky bed, and forest-clad mountains tower
almost perpendicularly around the charming little vale save one narrow
outlet to the east. There is not a human being in sight, nor a sound to
break the silence save the murmuring of the brook, as I fairly clamber
down into this little sylvan retreat; but a wreath of smoke curling above
the trees some distance from the road betrays the presence of man. The
whole scene vividly calls to mind one of those marvellous mountain-retreats
in which writers of banditti stories are wont to pitch their heroes'
silken tent - no more appropriate rendezvous for a band of story-book
free-booters could well be imagined.

Short stretches of ridable mule-paths are found along this valley as I
follow the course of the little stream eastward; they are by no means
continuous, by reason of the eccentric wanderings of the rivulet; but
after climbing the rough pass one feels thankful for even small favors,
and I plod along, now riding, now walking, occasionally passing little
clusters of mud huts and meeting with pack animals en route to Ismidt
with the season's shearing of mohair. "Alia Franga!" is the greeting I
am now favored with, instead of the "Ah, I'Anglais." of Europe, as I
pass people on the road; and the bicycle is referred to as an araba, the
name the natives give their rude carts, and a name which they seem to
think is quite appropriate for anything with wheels.

Following the course of the little tributary for several miles, crossing
and recrossing it a number of times, I finally emerge with it into the
valley of Sackaria. There are some very good roads down this valley,
which is narrow, and in places contracts to but little more than a mere
neck between the mountains. At one of the narrowest points the mountains
present an almost perpendicular face of rock and here are the remnants
of an ancient stonewall reputed to have been built by the Greeks, somewhere
about the twelfth century in anticipation of an invasion of the Turks
from the south. The wall stretches across the valley from mountain to
river, and is quite a massive affair; an archway has been cut through
it for the passage of caravans. Soon after passing through this opening
I am favored with the company of a horseman, who follows me for three
or four miles, and thoughtfully takes upon himself the office of telling
me when to bin and when not to bin, according as he thinks the road
suitable for 'cycling or not, until he discovers that his gratuitous
advice produces no visible effect on my movements, when he desists and
follows along behind in silence like a sensible fellow. About five o'clock
in the afternoon I cross the Sackaria on an old stone bridge, and half
an hour later roll into Geiveh, a large village situated in the middle
of a triangular valley about seven miles in width. My cyclometer shows
a trifle over forty miles from Ismidt; it has been a variable forty
miles; I shall never forget the pass over the old causeway, the view of
the Sabanja Valley from the summit, nor the lovely little retreat on the
eastern side.

Trundling through the town in quest of a khan, I am soon surrounded by
a clamorous crowd; and passing the house or office of the mudir or headman
of the place, that person sallies forth, and, after ascertaining the
cause of the commotion, begs me to favor the crowd and himself by riding
round a vacant piece of ground hard by. After this performance, a
respectable-looking man beckons me to follow him, and he takes me - not
to his own house to be his guest, for Geiveh is too near Europe for this
sort of thing - to a khan kept by a Greek with a mote in one eye, where a
"shake down" on the floor, a cup of coffee or a glass of vishner is
obtainable, and opposite which another Greek keeps an eating-house. There
is no separate kitchen in this latter establishment as in the one at
Isrnidt; one room answers for cooking, eating, nargileh-smoking, coffee-
sipping, and gossiping; and while I am eating, a curious crowd watches
my every movement with intense interest. Here, as at Ismidt, I am requested
to examine for myself the contents of several pots. Most of them contain
a greasy mixture of chopped meat and tomatoes stewed together, with no
visible difference between them save in the sizes of the pieces of meat;
but one vessel contains pillau, and of this and some inferior red wine
I make my supper. Prices for eatables are ridiculously low; I hand him
a cherik for the supper; he beckons me out of the back door, and there,
with none save ourselves to witness the transaction, he counts me out
two piastres change, which left him ten centa for the supper. He has
probably been guilty of the awful crime of charging me about three
farthings over the regular price, and was afraid to venture upon so
iniquitous a proceeding in the public room lest the Turks should perchance
detect him in cheating an Englishman, and revenge the wrong by making
him feed me for nothing. It rains quite heavily during the night, and
while waiting for it to dry up a little in the morning, the Geivehites
voluntarily tender me much advice concerning the state of the road ahead,
being governed in their ideas according to their knowledge of a 'cycler's
mountain-climbing ability. By a round dozen of men, who penetrate into
my room in a body ere I am fairly dressed, and who, after solemnly
salaaming in chorus, commence delivering themselves of expressive pantomime
and gesticulations, I am led to understand that the road from Geiveh to
Tereklu is something fearful for a bicycle. One fat old Turk, undertaking
to explain it more fully, after the others have exhausted their knowledge
of sign language, swells himself up like an inflated toad and imitates
the labored respiration of a broken-winded horse in order to duly impress
upon my mind the physical exertion I may expect to put forth in "riding"-he
also paws the air with his right foot-over the mountain-range that looms
up like an impassable barrier three miles east of the town. The Turks
as a nation have the reputation of being solemn-visaged, imperturbable
people, yet one occasionally finds them quite animated and "Frenchy"
in their behavior - the bicycle may, however, be in a measure responsible
for this. The soil around Geiveh is a red clay that, after a shower,
clings to the rubber tires of the bicycle as though the mere resemblance
in color tended to establish a bond of sympathy between them that nothing
could overcome, I pass the time until ten o'clock in avoiding the crowd
that has swarmed the khan since early dawn, and has been awaiting with
Asiatic patience ever since. At ten o'clock I win the gratitude of a
thousand hearts by deciding to start, the happy crowd deserting half-smoked
nargilehs, rapidly swallowing tiny cups of scalding-hot coffee in their
anxiety lest I vault into the saddle at the door of the khan and whisk
out of their sight in a moment - an idea that is flitting through the
imaginative mind of more than one Turk present, as a natural result of
the stories his wife has heard from his neighbor's wife, whose sister,
from the roof of her house, saw me ride around the vacant space at the
mudir's request yesterday. The Oriental imagination of scores of wondering
villagers has been drawn upon to magnify that modest performance into a
feat that fills the hundreds who didn't see it with the liveliest
anticipations, and a murmuring undercurrent of excitement thrills the
crowd as the word goes round that I am about to start. A minority of the
people learned yesterday that I wouldn't ride across the stones, water-
ditches, and mud-holes of the village streets, and these at once lead
the way, taking upon themselves the office of conducting me to the road
leading to the Kara Su Pass; while the less enlightened majority press
on behind, the more restless spirits worrying me to ride, those of more
patient disposition maintaining a respectful silence, but wondering why
on earth I am walking.

The road they conduct me to is another of those ancient stone causeways
that traverse this section of Asia Minor in all directions. This one and
several others I happen to come across are but about three feet wide,
and were evidently built for military purposes by the more enterprising
people who occupied Constantinople and the adjacent country before the
Turks-narrow stone pathways built to facilitate the marching of armies
during the rainy season when the natural ground hereabout is all but
impassable. These stone roads were probably built during the Byzantine
occupation. Fairly smooth mule-paths lead along-side this relic of
departed greatness and energy, and the warm sun having dried the surface,
I mount and speed away from the wondering crowd, and in four miles reach
the foot of the Kara Su Pass. From this spot I can observe a small
caravan, slowly picking its way down the mountain; the animals are
sometimes entirely hidden behind rocks, as they follow the windings and
twistings of the trail down the rugged slope which the old Turk this
morning thought would make me puff to climb.

A little stream called the Kara Su, or black water, comes dancing out
of a rocky avenue near by; and while I am removing my foot-gear to ford
it, I am joined by several herdsmen who are tending flocks of the
celebrated Angora goats and the peculiar fat-tailed sheep of the East,
which are grazing on neighboring knolls. These gentle shepherds are not
overburdened with clothing, their nakedness being but barely covered;
but they wear long sword-knives and old flint-lock, bell-mouthed horse-
pistols that give them a ferocious appearance that seems strangely at
variance with their peaceful occupation. They gather about me with a
familiarity that impresses me anything but favorably toward them; they
critically examine my clothing from helmet to moccasins, eying my various
belongings wistfully, tapping my leather case, and pinching the rear
package to try and ascertain the nature of its contents. I gather from
their remarks about "para " (a term used in a general sense for money,
as well as for the small coin of that name), as they regard the leather
case with a covetous eye, that they are inclined to the opinion that it
contains money; and there is no telling the fabulous wealth their untutored
minds are associating with the supposed treasure-chest of a Frank who
rides a silver "araba." Evidently these fellows have never heard of the
tenth commandment; or, having heard of it, they have failed to read,
mark, learn, and inwardly digest it for the improvement of their moral
natures; for covetousness beams forth from every lineament of their faces
and every motion of their hands. Seeing this, I endeavor to win them
from the moral shackles of their own gloomy minds by pointing out the
beautiful mechanism of my machine; I twirl the pedals and show them how
perfect are the bearings of the rear wheel; I pinch the rubber tire to
show them that it is neither iron nor wood, and call their attention to
the brake, fully expecting in this usually winsome manner to fill them
with gratitude and admiration, and make them forget all about my baggage
and clothes. But these fellows seem to differ from those of their
countrymen I left but a short time ago; my other effects interest them
far more than the wheel does, and one of them, after wistfully eying my
moccasins, a handsomer pair, perhaps, than he ever saw before, points
ruefully down to his own rude sandals of thong-bound raw-hide, and casts
a look upon his comrades that says far more eloquently than words, "What
a shame that such lovely moccasins should grace the feet of a Frank and
an unbeliever - ashes on his head - while a true follower of the Prophet
like myself should go about almost barefooted!" There is no mistaking
the natural bent of these gentle shepherds' inclinations, and as, in the
absence of a rusty sword and a seventeenth-century horse pistol, they
doubtless think I am unarmed, my impression from their bearing is that
they would, at least, have tried to frighten me into making them a present
of my moccasins and perhaps a few other things. In the innocence of their
unsophisticated natures, they wist not of the compact little weapon
reposing beneath my coat that is as superior to their entire armament
as is a modern gunboat to the wooden walls of the last century. Whatever
their intentions may be, however, they are doomed never to be carried
out, for their attention is now attracted by the caravan, whose approach
is heralded by the jingle of a thousand bells.

The next two hours find me engaged in the laborious task of climbing a
mere bridle-path up the rugged mountain slope, along which no wheeled
vehicle has certainly ever been before. There is in some places barely
room for pack animals to pass between the masses of rocks, and at others,
but a narrow ledge between a perpendicular rock and a sheer precipice.
The steepest portions are worn into rude stone stairways by the feet of
pack animals that toiled over this pass just as they toiled before America
was discovered and have been toiling ever since; and for hundreds of
yards at a stretch I am compelled to push the bicycle ahead, rear wheel
aloft, in the well-known manner of going up-stairs. While climbing up a
rather awkward place, I meet a lone Arab youth, leading his horse by the
bridle, and come near causing a serious accident. It was at the turning
of a sharp corner that I met this swarthy-faced youth face to face, and
the sudden appearance of what both he and the horse thought was a being
from a far more distant sphere than the western half of our own so
frightened them both that I expected every minute to see them go toppling
over the precipice. Reassuring the boy by speaking a word or two of
Turkish, and seeing the impossibility of either passing him or of his
horse being able to turn around, I turn about and retreat a short distance,
to where there is more room. He is not quite assured of my terrestrial
character even yet; he is too frightened to speak, and he trembles visibly
as he goes past, greeting me with a leer of mingled fear and suspicion;
at the same time making a brave but very sickly effort to ward off any
evil designs I might be meditating against him by a pitiful propitiatory
smile which will haunt my memory for weeks; though I hope by plenty of
exercise to escape an attack of the nightmare.

This is the worst mountain climbing I have done with a bicycle; all the
way across the Rockies there is nothing approaching this pass for
steepness; although on foot or horseback it would of course not appear
so formidable. When part way up, a bank of low hanging clouds come rolling
down to meet me, enveloping the mountain in fog, and bringing on a
disagreeable drizzle which scarcely improves the situation.

Five miles from the bottom of the pass and three hours from Geiveh I
reach a small postaya-khan, occupied by one zaptieh and the station-keeper,
where I halt for a half hour and get the zaptieh to brew me a cup of
coffee, feeling the need of a, little refreshment after the stiff tugging
of the last two hours. Coffee is the only refreshment obtainable here,
and, though the weather looks anything but propitious, I push ahead
toward a regular roadside khan, which I am told I shall come to at the
distance of another hour - the natives of Asia Minor know nothing of miles
or kilometres, but reckon the distance from point to point by the number
of hours it usually takes to go on horseback. Reaching this khan at three
o'clock, I call for something to satisfy the cravings of hunger, and am
forthwith confronted with a loaf of black bread, villanously heavy, and
given a preliminary peep into a large jar of a crumbly white substance
as villanously odoriferous as the bread is heavy, and which I think the
proprietor expects me to look upon as cheese. This native product seems
to be valued by the people here in proportion as it is rancid, being
regarded by them with more than affection when it has reached a degree
of rancidness and odoriferousness that would drive a European - barring
perhaps, a Limburger - out of the house. These two delicacies, and the
inevitable tiny cups of black bitter coffee make up all the edibles the
khan affords; so seeing the absence of any alternative, I order bread
and coffee, prepared to make the most of circumstances. The proprietor
being a kindly individual, and thinking perhaps that limited means forbid
my indulgence in such luxuries as the substance in the earthenware jar,
in the kindness of his heart toward a lone stranger, scoops out a small
portion with his unwashed hand, puts it in a bowl of water and stirs it
about a little by way of washing it, drains the water off through his
fingers, and places it before me. While engaged in the discussion of
this delectable meal, a caravan of mules arrives in charge of seven
rough-looking Turks, who halt to procure a feed of barley for their
animals, the supplying of which appears to be the chief business of the
klian-jee. No sooner have these men alighted and ascertained the use of
the bicycle, than I am assailed with the usual importunities to ride for
their further edification. It would be quite as reasonable to ask a man
to fly as to ride a bicycle anywhere near the khan; but in the innocence
of their hearts and the dulness of their Oriental understandings they
think differently. They regard my objections as the result of a perverse
and contrary disposition, and my explanation of mimkin deyil" as but
a groundless excuse born of my unwillingness to oblige. One old gray-beard,
after examining the bicycle, eyes me meditatively for a moment, and then
comes forward with a humorous twinkle in his eye, and pokes me playfully
in the ribs, and makes a peculiar noise with the mouth: " q-u-e-e-k,"
in an effort to tickle me into good-humor and compliance with their
wishes; in addition to which, the artful old dodger, thinking thus to
work on my vanity, calls me "Pasha Effendi." Finding that toward their
entreaties I give but the same reply, one of the younger men coolly
advocates the use of force to coerce me into giving them an exhibition
of my skill on the araba. As far as I am able to interpret, this bold
visionary's argument is: "Behold, we are seven; Effendi is only one; we
are good Mussulmans - peace be with us - he is but a Frank - ashes on his
head- let us make him bin."

CHAPTER XII.

THROUGH THE ANGORA GOAT COUNTRY.

The other members of the caravan company, while equally anxious to see
the performance, and no doubt thinking me quite an unreasonable person,
disapprove of the young man's proposition; and the Man-jee severely
reprimands him for talking about resorting to force, and turning to the
others, he lays his forefingers together and says something about Franks,
Mussulmans, Turks, and Ingilis; meaning that even if we are Franks and
Mussulmans, we are not prevented from being at the same time allies and
brothers. From the khan the ascent is more gradual, though in places
muddy and disagreeable from the drizzling rain which still falls, and
about 4 P.M. I arrive at the summit. The descent is smoother, and shorter
than the western slope, but is even more abrupt; the composition is a
slaty, blue clay, in which the caravans have worn trails so deep in
places that a mule is hidden completely from view. There is no room for
animals to pass each other in these deep trench-like trails, and were
any to meet, the only possible plan is for the ascending animals to be
backed down until a wider place is reached. There is little danger of
the larger caravans being thus caught in these " traps for the unwary,"
since each can hear the other's approach and take precautions; but single
horsemen and small parties must sometimes find themselves obliged to
either give or take, in the depths of these queer highways of commerce.
It is quite an awkward task to descend with the bicycle, as for much of
the way the trail is not even wide enough to admit of trundling in the
ordinary manner, and I have to adopt the same tactics in going down as
in coming up the mountain, with the difference, that on the eastern slope
I have to pull back quite as stoutly as I had to push forward on the
western. In going down I meet a man with three donkeys, but fortunately
I am able to scramble up the bank sufficiently to let him pass. His
donkeys are loaded with half-ripe grapes, which he is perhaps taking all
the way to Constantinople in this slow and laborious manner, and he
offers me some as an inducement for me to ride for his benefit. Some
wheelmen, being possessed of a sensitive nature, would undoubtedly think
they had a right to feel aggrieved or insulted if offered a bunch of
unripe grapes as an inducement to go ahead and break their necks; but
these people here in Asia Minor are but simple-hearted, overgrown children;
they will go straight to heaven when they die, every one of them.

At six o'clock I roll into Tereklu, having found ridable road a mile or
so before reaching town. After looking at the cyclometer I begin figuring
up the number of days it is likely to take me to reach Teheran, if
yesterday and to-day have been expository of the country ahead; forty
and one-third miles yesterday and nineteen and a half to-day, thirty
miles a day-rather slow progress for a wheelman, I mentally conclude;
but, although I would rather ride from " Land's End to John O'Groat's "
for a task, than bicycle over the ground I have traversed between here
and Ismidt, I find the tough work interlarded with a sufficiency of novel
and interesting phases to make the occupation congenial. Upon dismounting
at Tereklu, I find myself but little fatigued with the day's exertions,
and with a view to obtaining a little peace and freedom from importunities
to ride after supper, I gratify Asiatic curiosity several times before
undertaking to allay the pangs of hunger - a piece of self-denial quite
commendable, even if taken in connection with the idea of self-protection,
when one reflects that I had spent the day in severe exercise, and had
eaten since morning only a piece of bread.

Not long after my arrival at Tereklu I am introduced to another peculiar
and not unknown phase of the character of these people, one that I have
sometimes read of, but was scarcely prepared to encounter before being
on Asian soil three days. From some of them having received medical
favors from the medicine chest of travellers and missionaries, the
Asiatics have come to regard every Frank who passes through their country
as a skilful physician, capable of all sorts of wonderful things in the
way of curing their ailments; and immediately after supper I am waited
upon by my first patient, the mulazim of the Tereklu zaptiehs. He is a
tall, pleasant-faced fellow, whom I remember as having been wonderfully
courteous and considerate while I was riding for the people before supper,
and he is suffering with neuralgia in his lower jaw. He comes and seats
himself beside me, rolls a cigarette in silence, lights it, and hands
it to me, and then, with the confident assurance of a child approaching
its mother to be soothed and cured of some ailment, he requests me to
cure his aching jaw, seemingly having not the slightest doubt of my
ability to afford him instant relief. I ask him why he don't apply to
the hakim (doctor) of his native town. He rolls another cigarette, makes
me throw the half-consumed one away, and having thus ingratiated himself
a trifle deeper into my affections, he tells me that the Tereklu hakim
is "fenna; " in other words, no good, adding that there is a duz hakim
at Gieveh, but Gieveh is over the Kara Su dagh. At this juncture he seems
to arrive at the conclusion that perhaps I require a good deal of coaxing
and good treatment, and, taking me by the hand, he leads me in that
affectionate, brotherly manner down the street and into a coffee-Maw,
and spends the next hour in pressing upon me coffee and cigarettes, and
referring occasionally to his aching jaw. The poor fellow tries so hard
to make himself agreeable and awaken my sympathies, that I really begin
to feel myself quite an ingrate in not being able to afford him any
relief, and slightly embarrassed by my inability to convince him that
my failure to cure him is not the result of indifference to his sufferings.

Casting about for some way of escape without sacrificing his good-will,
and having in mind a box of pills I have brought along, I give him to
understand that I am at the top of the medical profession as a stomach-ache
hakim, but as for the jaw-ache I am, unfortunately, even worse than his
compatriot over the way. Had I attempted to persuade him that I was not
a doctor at all, he would not have believed me; his mind being unable
to grasp the idea of a Frank totally unacquainted with the noble AEsculapian
art; but he seems quite aware of the existence of specialists in the
profession, and notwithstanding my inability to deal with his particular
affliction, my modest confession of being unexcelled in another branch
of medicine seems to satisfy him. My profound knowledge of stomachic
disorders and their treatment excuses my ignorance of neuralgic remedies.

There seems to be a larger proportion of superior dwelling-houses in
Tereklu than in Gieveh, although, to the misguided mind of an unbeliever
from the West, they have cast a sort of a funereal shadow over this
otherwise desirable feature of their town by building their principal
residences around a populous cemetery, which plays the part of a large
central square. The houses are mostly two-story frame buildings, and the
omnipresent balconies and all the windows are faced with close lattice-work,
so that the Osmanli ladies can enjoy the luxury of gazing contemplatively
out on the area of disorderly grave-stones without being subjected to
the prying eyes of passers-by. In the matter of veiling their faces the
women of these interior towns place no such liberal - not to say coquettish -
interpretation upon the office of the yashmak as do their sisters of the
same religion in and about Constantinople. The ladies of Tereklu,
seemingly, have a holy horror of displaying any of their facial charms;
the only possible opportunity offered of seeing anything, is to obtain
an occasional glimpse of the one black eye with which they timidly survey
you through a small opening in the folds of their shroud-like outer
garment, that encases them from head to foot; and even this peeping
window of their souls is frequently hidden behind the impenetrable
yashmak. Mussulman women are the most gossipy and inquisitive creatures
imaginable; a very natural result, I suppose, of having had their feminine
rights divine under constant restraint and suppression by the peculiar
social position women occupy in Mohammedan countries. When I have arrived
in town and am surrounded and hidden from outside view by a solid wall
of men, it is really quite painful to see the women standing in small
groups at a distance trying to make out what all the excitement is about.
Nobody seems to have a particle of sympathy for their very natural
inquisitiveness, or even to take any notice of their presence. It is
quite surprising to see how rapidly the arrival of the Frank with the
wonderful araba becomes known among these women from one end of town to
another; in an incredibly short space of time, groups of shrouded forms
begin to appear on the housetops and other vantage-points, craning their
necks to obtain a glimpse of whatever is going on.

In the innocence of an unsophisticated nature, and a feeling of genuine
sympathy for their position, I propose collecting these scattered groups
of neglected females together and giving an exhibition for their especial
benefit, but the men evidently regard the idea of going to any trouble
out of consideration for them as quite ridiculous; indeed, I am inclined
to think they regard it as evidence that I am nothing less than a gay
Lothario, who is betraying altogether too much interest in their women;
for the old school Osmanli encompasses those hapless mortals about with
a green wall of jealousy, and regards with disapproval, even so much as
a glance in their direction. While riding on one occasion, this evening,
I noticed one over-inquisitive female become so absorbed in the proceedings
as to quite forget herself, and approach nearer to the crowd than the
Tereklu idea of propriety would seem to justify. In her absent-mindedness,
while watching me ride slowly up and dismount, she allowed her yashmak
to become disarranged and reveal her features. This awful indiscretion
is instantly detected by an old Blue-beard standing by, who eyes the
offender severely, but says nothing; if she is one of his own wives, or
the wife of an intimate friend, the poor lady has perhaps earned for
herself a chastisement with a stick later in the evening.

Human nature is pretty much the same in the Orient as anywhere else; the
degradation of woman to a position beneath her proper level has borne
its legitimate fruits; the average Turkish woman is said to be as coarse
and unchaste in her conversation as the lowest outcasts of Occidental
society, and is given to assailing her lord and master, when angry, with
language anything but choice.

It is hardly six o'clock when I issue forth next morning, but there are
at least fifty women congregated in the cemetery, alongside which my
route leads. During the night they seem to have made up their minds to
grasp the only opportunity of "seeing the elephant" by witnessing my
departure; and as, "when a woman will she will," etc., applies to Turkish
ladies as well as to any others, in their laudable determination not to
be disappointed they have been patiently squatting among the gray
tombstones since early dawn. The roadway is anything but smooth,
nevertheless one could scarce be so dead to all feelings of commiseration
as to remain unmoved by the sight of that patiently waiting crowd of
shrouded females; accordingly I mount and pick my way along the street
and out of town. Modest as is this performance, it is the most marvellous
thing they have seen for many a day; not a sound escapes them as I wheel
by, they remain as silent as though they were the ghostly population of
the graveyard they occupy, for I which, indeed, shrouded as they are in
white from head to foot, they might easily be mistaken by the superstitious.
My road leads over an undulating depression between the higher hills, a
region of small streams, wheat-fields, and irrigating ditches, among
which several trails, leading from Tereklu to numerous villages scattered
among the mountains and neighboring small valleys, make it quite difficult
to keep the proper road. Once I wander off my proper course for several
miles; finding out my mistake I determine upon regaining the Torbali
trail by a short cut across the stubble-fields and uncultivated knolls
of scrub oak. This brings me into an acquaintanceship with the shepherds
and husbandmen, and the ways of their savage dogs, that proves more
lively than agreeable. Here and there I find primitive threshing-floors;
they are simply spots of level ground selected in a central position and
made smooth and hard by the combined labors of the several owners of the
adjoining fields, who use them in common. Rain in harvest is very unusual;
therefore the trouble and expense of covering them is considered
unnecessary. At each of these threshing-centres I find a merry gathering
of villagers, some threshing out the grain, others winnowing it by tossing
it aloft with wooden, flat-pronged forks; the wind blows the lighter
chaff aside, while the grain falls back into the heap. When the soil is
sandy, the grain is washed in a neighboring stream to take out most of
the grit, and then spread out on sheets, in the sun to dry before being
finally stored away in the granaries. The threshing is done chiefly by
the boys and women, who ride on the same kind of broad sleigh-runner-shaped
boards described in European Turkey.

The sight of my approaching figure is, of course, the signal for a general
suspension of operations, and a wondering as to what sort of being I am.
If I am riding along some well-worn by-trail, the women and younger
people invariably betray their apprehensions of my unusual appearance,
and seldom fail to exhibit a disposition to flee at my approach, but the
conduct of their dogs causes me not a little annoyance. They have a noble
breed of canines throughout the Angora goat country - fine animals, as
large as Newfoundlands, with a good deal the appearance of the mastiff;
and they display their hostility to my intrusion by making straight at
me, evidently considering me fair game. These dogs are invaluable friends,
but as enemies and assailants they are not exactly calculated to win a
'cycler's esteem. In my unusual appearance they see a strange, undefinable
enemy bearing down toward their friends and owners, arid, like good,
faithful dogs, they hesitate not to commence the attack; sometimes there
is a man among the threshers and winnowers who retains presence of mind
enough to notice the dogs sallying forth to attack me, and to think of
calling them back; but oftener I have to defend myself as best I can,
while the gaping crowd, too dumfounded and overcome at my unaccountable
appearance to think of anything else, simply stare as though expecting
to see me sail up into space out of harm's way, or perform some other
miraculous feat. My general tactics are to dismount if riding, and
manoeuvre the machine- so as to keep it between myself and my savage
assailant if there be but one; and if more than one, make feints with
it at them alternately, not forgetting to caress them with a handy stone
whenever occasion offers. There is a certain amount of cowardice about
these animals notwithstanding their size and fierceness; they are afraid
and suspicious of the bicycle as of some dreaded supernatural object;
atnd although I am sometimes fairly at my wit's end to keep them at bay,
I manage to avoid the necessity of shooting any of them. I have learned
that to kill one of these dogs, no matter how great the provocation,
would certainly get me into serious trouble with the natives, who value
them very highly and consider the wilful killing of one little short of
murder; hence my forbearance. When I arrive at a threshing-floor, and
it is discovered that I am actually a human being and do not immediately
encompass the destruction of those whose courage has been equal to
awaiting my arrival, the women and children who have edged off to some
distance now approach, quite timidly though, as if not quite certain of
the prudence of trusting their eyesight as to the peaceful nature of my
mission; and the men vie with each other in their eagerness to give me
all desired information about my course; sometimes accompanying me a
considerable distance to make sure of guiding me aright. But their
contumacious canine friends seem anything but reassured of my character
or willing to suspend hostilities; in spite of the friendly attitude of
their masters and the peacefulness of the occasion generally, they make
furtive dashes through the ranks of the spectators at me as I wheel round
the small circular threshing-floor, and savagely snap at the revolving
wheels. Sometimes, after being held in check until I am out of sight
beyond a knoll, these vindictive and determined assailants will sneak
around through the fields, and, overtaking me unseen, make stealthy
onslaughts upon me from the brush; my only safety is in unremitting
vigilance. Like the dogs of most semi-civilized peoples, they are but
imperfectly trained to obey; and the natives dislike checking them in
their attacks upon anybody, arguing that so doing interferes with the
courage and ferocity of their attack when called upon for a legitimate
occasion.

It is very questionable, to say the least, if inoffensive wayfarers
should be expected to quietly submit to the unprovoked attack of ferocious
animals large enough to tear down a man, merely in view of possibly
checking their ferocity at some other time. When capering wildly about
in an unequal contest with three or four of these animals, while conscious
of having the means at hand to give them all their quietus, one feels
as though he were at that particular moment doing as the Romans do, with
a vengeance; nevertheless, it has to be borne, and I manage to come
through with nothing worse than a rent in the leg of my riding trousers.
Finally, after fording several small streams, giving half a dozen
threshing-floor exhibitions, and running the gauntlet of no end of warlike
canines, I reach the lost Torbali trail, and, find it running parallel
with a range of hills, intersecting numberless small streams, across
which are sometimes found precarious foot-bridges consisting of a tree-
trunk felled across it from bank to bank, the work of some enterprising
peasant for his own particular benefit rather than the outcome of public
spirit. Occasionally I bowl merrily along stretches of road which nature
and the caravans together have made smooth enough even to justify a
spurt; but like a fleeting dream, this favorable locality passes to the
rearward, and is followed by another mountain-slope whose steep grade
and rough surface reads " trundle only."

They seem the most timid people hereabout I ever saw. Few of them but
show unmistakable signs of being frightened at my approach, even when I
am trundling-the nickel-plate glistening in the sunlight, I think,
inspires them with awe even at a distance - and while climbing this hill
I am the innocent cause of the ignominious flight of a youth riding a
donkey. While yet two hundred yards away, he reins up and remains
transfixed for one transitory moment, as if making sure that his eyes
are not deceiving him, or that he is really awake, and then hastily turns
tail and bolts across the country, belaboring his long-eared charger
into quite a lively gallop in his wild anxiety to escape from my awe-
inspiring presence; and as he vanishes across a field, he looks back
anxiously to reassure himself that I am not giving chase. Ere kind friends
and thoughtful well-wishers, with all their warnings of danger, are three
days' journey behind, I find myself among people who run away at my
approach. Shortly afterward I observe this bold donkey-rider half a mile
to the left, trying to pass me and gain my rear unobserved. Others whom
I meet this forenoon are more courageous; instead of resorting to flight,
they keep boldly on their general course, simply edging off to a respectful
distance from my road; some even venture to keep the road, taking care
to give me a sufficiently large margin over and above my share of the
way to insure against any possibility of giving offence; while others
will even greet me with a feeble effort to smile, and a timid, hesitating
look, as if undecided whether they are not venturing too far. Sometimes
I stop and ask these lion-hearted specimens whether I am on the right
road, when they give a hurried reply and immediately take themselves
off, as if startled at their own temerity. These, of course, are lone
individuals, with no companions to bolster up their courage or witness
their cowardice; the conduct of a party is often quite the reverse.
Sometimes they seem determined not to let me proceed without riding for
them, whether rocky ridge, sandy depression, or mountain-slope characterizes
our meeting-place, and it requires no small stock of forbearance and
tact to get away from them without bringing on a serious quarrel. They
take hold of the machine whenever I attempt to leave them, and give me
to understand that nothing but a compliance with their wishes will secure
my release; I have known them even try the effect of a little warlike
demonstration, having vague ideas of gaining their object by intimidation;
and this sort of thing is kept up until their own stock of patience is
exhausted, or until some more reasonable member of the company becomes
at last convinced that it really must be "mimkin deyil, " after all;
whereupon they let me go, ending the whole annoying, and yet really
amusing, performance by giving me the most minute particulars of the
route ahead, and parting in the best of humor. To lose one's temper on
these occasions, or to attempt to forcibly break away, is quickly
discovered to be the height of folly; they themselves are brimful of
good humor, and from beginning to end their countenances are wreathed
in smiles; although they fairly detain me prisoner the while, they would
never think of attempting any real injury to either myself or the bicycle.
Some of the more enterprising even express their determination of trying
to ride the machine themselves; but I always make a firm stand against
any such liberties as this; and, rough, half-civilized fellows though
they often are, armed, and fully understanding the advantage of numbers,
they invariably yield this point when they find me seriously determined
not to allow it. Descending into a narrow valley, I reach a road-side
khan, adjoining a thrifty-looking melon-garden - this latter a welcome
sight, since the day is warm and sultry; and a few minutes' quiet, soulful
communion with a good ripe water-melon, I think to myself, will be just
about the proper caper to indulge in after being worried with dogs,
people, small streams, and unridable hills since six o'clock. "Carpoose
?" I inquire, addressing the proprietor of the khan, who issues forth
from the stable.

" Peefci, effendi," he answers, and goes off to the garden for the melon.
Smiling sweetly at vacancy, in joyous anticipation of the coming feast
and the soothing influence I feel sure of its exerting upon my feelings,
somewhat ruffled by the many annoyances of the morning, I seek a quiet,
shady corner, thoughtfully loosening my revolver-belt a couple of notches
ere sitting down. In a minute the khan-jee returns, and hands me a
"cucumber" about the size of a man's forearm.

"That isn't a carpoose; I want a carpoose-a su carpoose." I explain.

"Su carpoose, yoke" he replies; and as I have not yet reached that
reckless disregard of possible consequences to which I afterward attain,
I shrink from tempting Providence by trying conclusions with the overgrown
and untrustworthy cucumber; so bidding the khan-jee adieu, I wheel off
down the valley. I find a fair proportion of good road along this valley;
the land is rich, and though but rudely tilled, it produces wonderfully
heavy crops of grain when irrigated. Small villages, surrounded by
neglected-looking orchards and vineyards, abound at frequent intervals.
Wherever one finds an orchard, vineyard, or melon-patch, there is also
almost certain to be seen a human being evidently doing nothing but
sauntering about, or perhaps eating an unripe melon.

This naturally creates an unfavorable impression upon a traveller's mind;
it means either that the kleptomaniac tendencies of the people necessitate
standing guard over all portable property, or that the Asiatic follows
the practice of hovering around all summer, watching and waiting for
nature to bestow her blessings upon his undeserving head. Along this
valley I meet a Turk and his wife bestriding the same diminutive donkey,
the woman riding in front and steering their long-eared craft by the
terror of her tongue in lieu of a bridle. The fearless lady halts her
steed as I approach, trundling my wheel, the ground being such that
riding is possible but undesirable. "What is that for, effendi."
inquires the man, who seems to be the more inquisitive of the two.
"Why, to bin, of course! don't you see the saddle?" says the woman, without
a moment's hesitation; and she bestows a glance of reproach upon her
worse half for thus betraying his ignorance, twisting her neck round in
order to send the glance straight at his unoffending head. This woman,
I mentally conclude, is an extraordinary specimen of her race; I never
saw a quicker-witted person anywhere; and I am not at all surprised to
find her proving herself a phenomenon in other things. When a Turkish
female meets a stranger on the road, and more especially a Frank, her
first thought and most natural impulse is to make sure that no part of
her features is visible - about other parts of her person she is less
particular. This remarkable woman, however, flings custom to the winds,
and instead of drawing the ample folds of her abbas about her, uncovers
her face entirely, in order to obtain a better view; and, being unaware
of my limited understanding, she begins discussing bicycle in quite a
chatty manner. I fancy her poor husband looks a trifle shocked at this
outrageous conduct of the partner of his joys and sorrows; but he remains
quietly and discreetly in the background; whereupon I register a silent
vow never more to be surprised at anything, for that long-suffering and
submissive being, the hen-pecked husband, is evidently not unknown even
in Asiatic Turkey.

Another mountain-pass now has to be climbed; it is only a short distance-
perhaps two miles - but all the way up I am subjected to the disagreeable
experience of having my footsteps dogged by two armed villagers. There
is nothing significant or exceptional about their being armed, it is
true; but what their object is in stepping almost on my heels for the
whole distance up the acclivity is beyond my comprehension. Uncertain
whether their intentions are honest or not, it is anything but reassuring
to have them following within sword's reach of one's back, especially
when trundling a bicycle up a lonely mountain-trail. I have no right to
order them back or forward, neither do I care to have them think I
entertain suspicions of their intentions, for in all probability they
are but honest villagers, satisfying their curiosity in their own peculiar
manner, and doubtless deriving additional pleasure from seeing one of
their fellow-mortals laboriously engaged while they leisurely follow.
We all know how soul-satisfying it is for some people to sit around and
watch their fellow-man saw wood. Whenever I halt for a breathing-spell
they do likewise; when I continue on, they promptly take up their line
of march, following as before in silence; and when the summit is reached,
they seat themselves on a rock and watch my progress down the opposite
slope.

A couple of miles down grade brings me to Torbali, a place of several
thousand inhabitants with a small covered bazaar and every appearance
of a thriving interior town, as thrift goes in Asia Minor. It is high
noon, and I immediately set about finding the wherewithal to make a
substantial meal. I find that upon arriving at one of these towns, the
best possible disposition to make of the bicycle is to deliver it into
the hands of some respectable Turk, request him to preserve it from the
meddlesome crowd, and then pay no further attention to it until ready
to start. Attempting to keep watch over it oneself is sure to result in
a dismal failure, whereas an Osmanli gray-beard becomes an ever-willing
custodian, regards its safe-keeping as appealing to his honor, and will
stand guard over it for hours if necessary, keeping the noisy and curious
crowds of his townspeople at a respectful distance "by brandishing a
thick stick at anyone who ventures to approach too near. These men will
never accept payment for this highly appreciated service, it seems to
appeal to the Osmanli's spirit of hospitality; they seem happy as clams
at high tide while gratuitously protecting my property, and I have known
them to unhesitatingly incur the displeasure of their own neighbors by
officiously carrying the bicycle off into an inner room, not even granting
the assembled people the harmless privilege of looking at it from a
distance - for there might be some among the crowd possessed of the fenna
ghuz (evil eye), and rather than have them fix their baleful gaze upon
the important piece of property left under his charge by a stranger, he
chivalrously braves the displeasure of his own people; smiling complacently
at their shouts of disapproval, he triumphantly bears it out of their
sight and from the fell influence of the possible fenna ghuz. Another
strange and seemingly paradoxical phase of these occasions is that when
the crowd is shouting out its noisiest protests against the withdrawal
of the machine from popular inspection, any of the protestors will eagerly
volunteer to help carry the machine inside, should the self-important
personage having it in custody condescend to make the slightest intimation
that such service would be acceptable. Handing over the bicycle, then,
to the safe-keeping of a respectable kahuay-jee (coffee khan employee)
I sally forth in quest of eatables. The kah vay-jee has it immediately
carried inside and set up on one of the divans, in which elevated position
he graciously permits it to be gazed upon by the people, who swarm into
his khan in such numbers as to make it impossible for him to transact
any business. "Under the guidance of another volunteer, who, besides
acting the part of guide, takes particular care that I get lumping weight,
etc., I proceed to the ett-jees and procure some very good mutton-chops,
and from there to the ekmek-jees for bread. This latter person straightway
volunteers to cook my chops. Sending to his residence for a tin dish,
some chopped onions and butter, he puts them in his oven, and in a few
minutes sets them before me, browned and buttered. Meanwhile, he has
despatched a youth somewhere on another errand, who now returns and
supplements the savory chops with a small dish of honey in the comb and
some green figs. Seated on the generous-hearted ekmek-jee's dough-board,
I make a dinner good enough for anybody.

While discussing these acceptable viands, I am somewhat startled at
hearing one of the worst "cuss-words " in the English language repeated
several times by one of the two Turks engaged in the self-imposed duty
of keeping people out of the place while I am eating - a kindly piece of
courtesy that wins for them my warmest esteem. The old fellow proves to
be a Crimean veteran, and, besides a much-prized medal he brought back
with him, he somehow managed to acquire this discreditable, perhaps, but
nevertheless unmistakable, memento of having at some time or other
campaigned it with "Tommy Atkins." I try to engage him in conversation,
but find that he doesn't know another solitary word of English. He simply
repeats the profane expression alluded to in a parrot-like manner without
knowing anything of its meaning; has, in fact, forgotten whether it is
English, French, or Italian. He only knows it as a "Frank" expression,
and in that he is perfectly right: it is a frank expression, a very frank
expression indeed. As if determined to do something agreeable in return
for the gratifying interest I seem to be taking in him on account of
this profanity, he now disappears, and shortly returns with a young man,
who turns out to be a Greek, and the only representative of Christendom
in Torbali. The old Turk introduces him as a "Ka-ris-ti-ahn " (Christian)
and then, in reply to questioners, explains to the interested on-lookers
that, although an Englishman, and, unlike the Greeks, friendly to the
Turks, I also am a " Ka-ris-ti-ahn; " one of those queer specimens of
humanity whose perverse nature prevents them from embracing the religion
of the Prophet, and thereby gaining an entrance into the promised land
of the kara ghuz kiz (black-eyed houris). During this profound exposition
of my merits and demerits, the wondering people stare at me with an
expression on their faces that plainly betrays their inability to
comprehend so queer an individual; they look as if they think me the
oddest specimen they have ever met, and taking into due consideration
my novel mode of conveyance, and that many Torbali people never before
saw an Englishman, this is probably not far from a correct interpretation
of their thoughts.

Unfortunately, the streets and environments of Torbali are in a most
wretched condition; to escape sprained ankles it is necessary to walk
with a great deal of caution, and the idea of bicycling through them
is simply absurd. Nevertheless the populace turns out in high glee, and
their expectations run riot as I relieve the kahvay-jee of his faithful
vigil and bring forth my wheel. They want me to bin in their stuffy
little bazaar, crowded with people and donkeys; mere alley-ways with
scarcely a twenty yard stretch from one angle to another; the surface
is a disorganized mass of holes and stones over which the wary and
hesitative donkey picks his way with the greatest care; and yet the
popular clamor is "Bin, bin; bazaar, bazaar." The people who have been
showing me how courteously and considerately it is possible for Turks
to treat a stranger, now seem to have become filled with a determination
not to be convinced by anything I say to the contrary; and one of the
most importunate and headstrong among them sticks his bearded face almost
up against my own placid countenance (I have already learned to wear an
unruffled, martyr-like expression on these howling occasions) and fairly
shrieks out, "Bin! bin!" as though determined to hoist me iuto the saddle,
whether or no, by sheer force of his own desire to see me there. This
person ought to know better, for he wears the green turban of holiness,
proving him to have made a pilgrimage to Mecca, but the universal desire
to see the bicycle ridden seems to level all distinctions. All this
tumult, it must not be forgotten, is carried on in perfect good humor;
but it is, nevertheless, very annoying to have it seem that I am too
boorish to repay their kindness by letting them see me ride; even walking
out of town to avoid gratifying them, as some of them doubtless think.
These little embarrassments are some of the penalties of not knowing
enough of the language to be able to enter into explanations. Learning
that there is a piece of wagon-road immediately outside the town, I
succeed in silencing the clamor to so mo extent by promising to ride
when the araba yole is reached; whereupon hundreds come flocking out of
town, following expectantly at my heels. Consoling myself with the thought
that perhaps I will be able to mount and shake the clamorous multitude
off by a spurt, the promised araba yole is announced; but the fates are
plainly against me to-day, for I find this road leading up a mountain
slope from the very beginning. The people cluster expectantly around,
while I endeavor to explain that they are doomed to disappointment - that
to be disappointed in their expectations to see the araba ridden is
plainly their kismet, for the hill is too steep to be ridden. They laugh
knowingly and give me to understand that they are not quite such simpletons
as to think that an araba cannot be ridden along an araba yole. " This
is an araba yole," they argue, "you are riding an araba; we have seen
even our own clumsily-made arabas go up here time and again, therefore
it is evident that you are not sincere," and they gather closer around
and spend another ten minutes in coaxing. It is a ridiculous position
to be in; these people use the most endearing terms imaginable; some of
them kiss the bicycle and would get down and kiss my dust-begrimed
moccasins if I would permit it; at coaxing they are the most persevering
people I ever saw. To. convince them of the impossibility of riding up
the hill I allow a muscular young Turk to climb into the saddle and try
to propel himself forward while I hold him up. This has the desired
effect, and they accompany me farther up the slope to where they fancy
it to be somewhat less steep, a score of all too-willing hands being
extended to assist in trundling the machine. Here again I am subjected
to another interval of coaxing; and this same annoying programme is
carried out several times before I obtain my release. They are the most
headstrong, persistent people I have yet encountered; the natural pig-
headed disposition of the "unspeakable Turk" seems to fairly run riot
in this little valley, which at the point where Torbali is situated
contracts to a mere ravine between rugged heights.

For a full mile up the mountain road, and with a patient insistence quite
commendable in itself, they persist in their aggravating attentions;
aggravating, notwithstanding that they remain in the best of humor, and
treat me with the greatest consideration in every other respect, promptly
and severely checking any unruly conduct among the youngsters, which
once or twice reveals itself in the shape of a stone pitched into the
wheel, or some other pleasantry peculiar to the immature Turkish mind.
At length one enterprising young man, with wild visions of a flying
wheelman descending the mountain road with lightning-like velocity, comes
prominently to the fore, and unblushingly announces that they have been
bringing me along the wrong road; and, with something akin to exultation
in his gestures, motions for me to turn about and ride back. Had the
others seconded this brilliant idea there was nothing to prevent me from
being misled by the statement; but his conduct is at once condemned; for
though pig-headed, they are honest of heart, and have no idea of resorting
to trickery to gain their object. It now occurs to me that perhaps if I
turn round and ride down hill a short distance they will see that my
trundling up hill is really a matter of necessity instead of choice, and
thus rid me of their undesirable presence. Hitherto the slope has been
too abrupt to admit of any such thought, but now it becomes more gradual.
As I expected, the proposition is heralded with unanimous shouts of
approval, and I take particular care to stipulate that after this they
are to follow me no farther; any condition is acceptable to them as long
as it includes seeing how the thing is ridden. It is not without certain
misgivings that I mount and start cautiously down the declivity between
two rows of turbaned and fez-bedecked heads, for I have not yet forgotten
the disagreeable actions of the mob at Adrianople in running up behind
and giving the bicycle vigorous forward pushes, a proceeding that would
be not altogether devoid of danger here, for besides the gradient, one
side of the road is a yawning chasm. These people, however, confine
themselves solely to howling with delight, proving themselves to be well-
meaning and comparatively well-behaved after all. Having performed my
part of the compact, a few of the leading men shake hands, and express
their gratitude and well-wishes; and after calling back several youngsters
who seem unwilling to abide by the agreement forbidding them to follow
any farther, the whole noisy company proceed along footpaths leading
down the cliffs to town, which is in plain view almost immediately below.

The entire distance between Torbali and Keshtobek, where tomorrow forenoon
I cross over into the vilayet of Angora, is through a rough country for
bicycling. Forest-clad mountains, rocky gorges, and rolling hills
characterize the landscape; rocky passes lead over mountains where the
caravans, engaged in the exportation of mohair ever since that valuable
commodity first began to be exported, have worn ditch-like trails through
ridges of solid rock three feet in depth; over the less rocky and
precipitous hills beyond a comprehensive view is obtained of the country
ahead, and these time-honored trails are seen leading in many directions,
ramifying the country like veins of one common system, which are necessarily
drawn together wherever there is but one pass. Parts of these commercial
by-ways are frequently found to be roughly hedged with wild pear and
other hardy shrubs indigenous to the country-the relics of by-gone days,
planted when these now barren hills were cultivated, to protect the
growing crops from depredation. Old mill-stones with depressions in the
centre, formerly used for pounding corn in, and pieces of hewn masonry
are occasionally seen as one traverses these ancient trails, marking the
site of a village in days long past, when cultivation and centres of
industry were more conspicuous features of Asia Minor than they are to-
day; lone graves and graves in clusters, marked by rude unchiselled
headstones or oblong mounds of bowlders, are frequently observed,
completing the scene of general decay. While riding along these tortuous
ways, the smooth-worn camel-paths sometimes affording excellent wheeling,
the view ahead is often obstructed by the untrimmed hedges on either
side, and one sometimes almost comes into collision, in turning a bend,
with horsemen, wild-looking, armed formidably in the manner peculiar to
the country, as though they were assassins stealing forth under cover.
Occasionally a female bestriding a donkey suddenly appears but twenty
or thirty yards ahead, the narrowness and the crookedness of the hedged-in
trail favoring these abrupt meetings; shrouded perhaps in a white abbas,
and not infrequently riding a white donkey, they seldom fail to inspire
thoughts of ghostly equestriennes gliding silently along these now half-
deserted pathways. Many a hasty but sincere appeal is made to Allah by
these frightened ladies as they fancy themselves brought suddenly face
to face with the evil one; more than once this afternoon I overhear that
agonizing appeal for providential aid and protection of which I am the
innocent cause. The second thought of the lady - as if it occurred to her
that with any portion of her features visible she would be adjudged
unworthy of divine interference in her behalf - is to make sure that her
yashmak is not disarranged, and then comes a mute appeal to her attendant,
if she have one, for some explanation of the strange apparition so
suddenly and unexpectedly confronting them.

In view of the nature of the country and the distance to Keshtobek, I
have no idea of being able to reach that place to-night, and when I
arrive at the ruins of an old mud-built khan, at dusk, I conclude to sup
off the memories of my excellent dinner and a piece of bread I have in
my pocket, and avail myself of its shelter for the night. While eating
my frugal repast, up ride three mule-teers, who, after consulting among
themselves some minutes, finally picket their animals and prepare to
join my company; whether for all night or only to give their animals a
feed of grass, I am unable to say. Anyhow, not liking the idea of spending
the whole night, or any part of it, in these unfrequented hills with
three ruffianly-looking natives, I again take up my line of march along
mountain mule-paths for some three miles farther, when I descend into a
small valley, and it being too dark to undertake the task of pitching
my tent, I roll myself up in it instead. Soothed by the music of a
babbling brook, I am almost asleep, when a glorious meteor shoots athwart
the sky, lighting up the valley with startling vividness for one brief
moment, and then the dusky pall of night descends, and I am gathered
into the arms of Morpheus. Toward morning it grows chilly, and I am but
fitfully dozing in the early gray, when I am awakened by the bleating
and the pattering feet of a small sea of Angora goats. Starting up, I
discover that I am at that moment the mysterious and interesting subject
of conversation between four goatherds, who have apparently been quietly
surveying my sleeping form for some minutes. Like our covetous friends
beyond the Kara Su Pass, these early morning acquaintances are unlovely
representatives of their profession; their sword-blades are half naked,
the scabbards being rudely fashioned out of two sections of wood, roughly
shaped to the blade, and bound together at top and bottom with twine;
in addition to which are bell-mouthed pistols, half the size of a Queen
Bess blunderbuss. This villainous-looking quartette does not make "a
very reassuring picture in the foreground of one's waking moments, but
they are probably the most harmless mortals imaginable; anyhow, after
seeing me astir, they pass onl with their flocks and herds without even
submitting me to the customary catechizing. The morning light reveals
in my surroundings a most charming little valley, about half a mile wide,
walled in on the south by towering mountains covered with a forest of
pine and cedar, and on the north by low, brush-covered hills; a small
brook dances along the middle, and thin pasturage and scattered clumps
of willow fringe the stream. Three miles down the valley I arrive at a
roadside khan, where I obtain some hard bread that requires soaking in
water to make it eatable, and some wormy raisins; and from this choice
assortment I attempt to fill the aching void of a ravenous appetite;
with what success I leave to the reader's imagination. Here the khan-jee
and another man deliver themselves of one of. those strange requests
peculiar to the Asiatic Turk. They pool the contents of their respective
treasuries, making in all perhaps, three medjedis, and, with the simplicity
of children whose minds have not yet dawned upon the crooked ways of a
wicked world, they offer me the money in exchange for my Whitehouse
leather case with its contents. They have not the remotest idea of what
the case contains; but their inquisitiveness apparently overcomes all
other considerations. Perhaps, however, their seemingly innocent way of
offering me the money may be their own peculiar deep scheme of inducing
me to reveal the nature of its contents. For a short distance down the
valley I find road that is generally ridable, when it contracts to a
mere ravine, and the only road is the bowlder strewn bed of the stream,
which is now nearly dry, but in the spring is evidently a raging torrent.
An hour of this delectable exercise, and I emerge into a region of
undulating hills, among which are scattered wheat-fields and clusters
of mud-hovels which it would be a stretch of courtesy to term villages.
Here the poverty of the soil, or of the water-supply, is heralded to
every observant eye by the poverty-stricken appearance of , the villagers.
As I wheel along, I observe that these poor half-naked wretches are
gathering their scant harvest by the laborious process of pulling it up
by the roots, and carrying it to their common threshing-floor on donkeys'
backs. Here, also, I come to a camp of Turkish gypsies; they are dark-
skinned, with an abundance of long black hair dangling about their
shoulders, like our Indians; the women and larger girls are radiant in
scarlet calico and other high-colored fabrics, and they wear a profusion
of bead necklaces, armlets, anklets, and other ornaments dear to the
semi-savage mind; the younger children are as wild and as innocent of
clothing as their boon companions, the dogs. The men affect the fez and
general Turkish style of dress, with many unorthodox trappings and
embellishments, however; and with their own wild appearance, their high-
colored females, naked youngsters, wolfish-looking dogs, picketed horses,
and smoke-browned tents, they make a scene that, for picturesqueness,
can give odds even to the wigwam-villages of Uncle Sam's Crow scouts,
on the Little Big Horn River, Montana Territory, which is saying a good
deal. Twelve miles from my last night's rendezvous, I pass through
Keshtobek, a village that has evidently seen better days. The ruins of
a large stone khan take up all the central portion of the place; massive
gateways of hewn stone, ornamented by the sculptor's chisel, are still
standing, eloquent monuments of a more prosperous era. The unenterprising
descendants of the men who erected this substantial and commodious retreat
for passing caravans and travellers are now content to house themselves
and their families in tumble-down hovels, and to drift aimlessly and
unambitiously along on wretched fare and worse clothes, from the cradle
to the grave. The Keshtobek people seem principally interested to know
why I am travelling without any zaptieh escort; a stranger travelling
through these wooded mountains, without guard or guide, and not being
able to converse with the natives, seems almost beyond their belief.
When they ask me why I have no zaptieh, I tell them I have one, and show
them the Smith & Wesson. They seem to regard this as a very witty remark,
and say to each other: "He is right; an English effendi and an American
revolver don't require any zapliehs to take care of them, they are quite
able to look out for themselves." From Keshtobek my road leads down
another small valley, and before long I find myself in the Angora vilayet,
bowling briskly eastward over a most excellent road; not the mule-paths
of an hour ago, but a broad, well-graded highway, as good, clear into
Nalikhan, as the roads of any New England State. This sudden transition
is not unnaturally productive of some astonishment on my part, and
inquiries at Nalikhan result in the information that my supposed graded
wagon-road is nothing less than the bed of a proposed railway, the
preliminary grading for which has been finished between Keshtobek and
Angora for some time.

This valley seems to be the gateway into a country entirely different
from what I have hitherto traversed. Unlike the forest-crowned mountains
and shrubbery hills of this morning, the mountains towering aloft on
every hand are now entirely destitute of vegetation; but they are in
nowise objectionable to look upon on that account, for they have their
own peculiar features of loveliness. Various colored rocks and clays
enter into their composition; their giant sides are fantastically streaked
and seamed with blue, yellow, green, and red; these variegated masses
encompassing one round about on every side are a glorious sight-they are
more interesting, more imposing, more grand and impressive even than the
piny heights of Kodjaili. Many of these mountains bear evidence of mineral
formation, and anywhere in the Occident would be the scene of busy
operations. In Constantinople I heard an English mineralist, who has
lived many years in the country, express the belief that there is more
mineral buried in these Asia Minor hills than in a corresponding area
in any other part of the world; that he knew people who for years have
had their eye on certain localities of unusual promise waiting patiently
for the advantages of mineral development to dawn upon the sluggish mind
of Osmanli statesmen. At present it is useless to attempt prospecting,
for there is no guarantee of security; no sooner is anything of value
discovered than the finder is embarrassed by imperial taxes, local taxes,
backsheesh, and all manner of demands on his resources, often ending in
having everything coolly confiscated by the government; which, like the
dog in the manger, will do nothing with it, and is perfectly contented
and apathetic so long as no one else is reaping any benefit from it.

The general ridableness of this chemin de fer, as the natives have been
taught to call it, proves not to be without certain disadvantages, for
during the afternoon I unwittingly manage to do considerable mischief.
Suddenly meeting two horsemen, when bowling at a moderate pace around a
bend, the horse of one takes violent exception to my intrusion, and, in
spite of the excellent horsemanship of his rider, backs down into a small
ravine, both horse and rider coming to grief in some water at the bottom.
Fortunately, neither man nor horse sustained any more serious injury
than a few scratches and bruises, though it might easily have resulted
in broken bones. Soon after this affair, another donkey-rider takes to
his heels, or rather to his donkey's heels across country, and his long-
eared and generally sure-footed charger ingloriously comes to earth; but
I feel quite certain that no damage is sustained in this case, for both
steed and rider are instantly on their feet; the bold steeple-chaser
looks wildly and apprehensively toward me, but observing that I am giving
chase, it dawns upon his mind that I am perhaps after all a human being,
whereupon he refrains from further flight.

Wheeling down the gentle declivity of a broad, smooth road that almost
deserves the title of boulevard, leading through the vineyards and gardens
of Nalikhan's environments, at quite a rattling pace, I startle a quarry
of four dears (deers) robed in white mantles, who, the moment they observe
the strange apparition approaching them at so vengeful a speed, bolt
across a neighboring vineyard like the all-possessed. The rapidity of
their movements, notwithstanding the impedimenta of their flowing shrouds,
readily suggests the idea of a quarry of dears (deer), but whether they
are pretty dears or not, of course, their yashmaks fail to reveal; but
in return for the beaming smile that lights up our usually solemn-looking
countenance at their ridiculously hasty flight, as a reciprocation pure
and simple, I suppose we ought to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The evening at Nalikhan is a comparatively happy occasion; it is Friday,
the Mussulman Sabbath; everybody seems fairly well-dressed for a Turkish
interior town; and, more important than all, there is a good, smooth
road on which to satisfy the popular curiosity; on 'this latter fact
depends all the difference between an agreeable and a disagreeable time,
and at Nalikhan everything passes off pleasantly for all concerned. Apart
from the novelty of my conveyance, few Europeans have ever visited these
interior places under the same conditions as myself. They have usually
provided themselves beforehand with letters of introduction to the pashas
and mudirs of the villages, who have entertained them as their guests
during their stay. On the contrary, I have seen fit to provide myself
with none of these way-smoothing missives, and, in consequence of my
linguistic shortcomings, immediately upon reaching a town I have to
surrender myself, as it were, to the intelligence and good-will of the
common people; to their credit be it recorded, I can invariably count
on their not lacking at least the latter qualification. The little khan
I stop at is, of course, besieged by the usual crowd, but they are a
happy-hearted, contented people, bent on lionizing me the best they know
how; for have they not witnessed my marvellous performance of riding an
araba, a beautiful web-like araba, more beautiful than any makina they
ever saw before, and in a manner that upsets all their previous ideas
of equilibrium. Have I not proved how much I esteem them by riding over
and over again for fresh batches of new arrivals, until the whole
population has seen the performance. And am I not hobnobbing and making
myself accessible to the people, instead of being exclusive and going
straightway to the pasha's, shutting myself up and permitting none but
a few privileged persons to intrude upon my privacy . All these things
appeal strongly to the better nature of the imaginative Turks, and not
a moment during the whole evening am I suffered to be unconscious of
their great appreciation of it all. A bountiful supper of scrambled eggs
fried in butter, and then the miilazim of zaptiehs takes me under his
special protection and shows me around the town. He shows me where but
a few days ago the Nalikhan bazaar, with all its multifarious merchandise,
was destroyed by fire, and points out the temporary stalls, among the
black ruins, that have been erected by the pasha for the poor merchants
who, with heavy hearts and doleful countenance, are trying to recuperate
their shattered fortunes. He calls my attention to two-story wooden
houses and other modest structures, which, in the simplicity of his
Asiatic soul, he imagines are objects of interest; and then he takes me
to the headquarters of his men, and sends out for coffee in order to
make me literally his guest. Here, in his office, he calls my attention
to a chromo hanging on the wall, which he says came from Stamboul -
Stamboul, where the Asiatic Turk fondly imagines all wonderful things
originate.This chromo is certainly a wonderful thing in its way. It
represents an English trooper in the late Soudan expedition kneeling behind
the shelter of a dead camel, and with a revolver in each hand keeping at
bay a crowd of Arab spearmen. The soldier is badly wounded, but with
smoking revolvers and an evident determination to die hard, he has checked,
and is still checking, the advance of somewhere about ten thousand Arab
troops. No wonder the people of Keshtobek thought an Englishman and a
revolver quite safe in travelling without zaptiehs; some of them had
probably been to Nalikhan and seen this same chromo.

When it grows dark the mulazim takes me to the public coffee-garden,
near the burned bazaar, a place which ia really no garden at all only
some broad, rude benches encircling a round water-tank or fountain, and
which is fenced in with a low, wabbly picket-fence. Seated crossed-legged
on the benches are a score of sober-sided Turks, smoking nargilehs and
cigarettes, and sipping coffee; the feeble light dispensed by a lantern
on top of a pole in the centre of the tank makes the darkness of the
"garden" barely visible; a continuous splashing of water, the result of
the overflow from a pipe projecting three feet above the surface, furnishes
the only music; the sole auricular indication of the presence of patrons
is when some customer orders "kahvay" or "nargileh" in a scarcely
audible tone of voice; and this is the Turk's idea of an evening's
enjoyment.

Returning to the khan, I find it full of happy people looking at the
bicycle; commenting on the wonderful marifet (skill) apparent in its
mechanism, and the no less marvellous marifet required in riding it.
They ask me if I made it myself and hatch-lira ? (how many liras ?) and
then requesting the privilege of looking at my teskeri they find rare
amusement in comparing my personal charms with the description of my
form and features as interpreted by the passport officer in Galata. Two
men among them have in some manner picked up a sand from the sea-shore
of the English language. One of them is a very small sand indeed, the
solitary negative phrase, "no;" nevertheless, during the evening he
inspires the attentive auditors with respect for his linguistic
accomplishments by asking me numerous questions, and then, anticipating
a negative reply, forestalls it himself by querying, "No?" The other
"linguist" has in some unaccountable manner added the ability to say
"Good morning " to his other accomplishments; and when about time to
retire, and the crowd reluctantly bestirs itself to depart from the
magnetic presence of the bicycle, I notice an extraordinary degree of
mysterious whispering and suppressed amusement going on among them, and
then they commence filing slowly out of the door with the "linguistic
person" at their head; as that learned individual reaches the threshold
he turns toward we, makes a salaam and says, "Good-morning," and everyone
of the company, even down to the irrepressible youngster who was cuffed
a minute ago for venturing to twirl a pedal, and who now forms the rear-
guard of the column, likewise makes a salaam and says, "Good-morning."

Quilts are provided for me, and I spend the night on the divan of the
khan; a few roving mosquitoes wander in at the open window and sing their
siren songs around my couch, a few entomological specimens sally forth
from their permanent abode in the lining of the quilts to attack me and
disturb my slumbers; but later experience teaches me to regard my slumbers
to-night as comparatively peaceful and undisturbed. In the early morning
I am awakened by the murmuring voices of visitors gathering to see me
off; coffee is handed to me ere my eyes are fairly open, and the savory
odor of eggs already sizzling in the pan assail my olfactory nerves. The
khan-jee is an Osmanli and a good Mussulman, and when ready to depart I
carelessly toss him my purse and motion for him to help himself-a thing
I would not care to do with the keeper of a small tavern in any other
country or of any other nation. Were he entertaining me in a private
capacity he would feel injured at any hint of payment; but being a khan-
jee, he opens the purse and extracts a cherik - twenty cents.

CHAPTER XIII.

BEY BAZAAR, ANGORA, AND EASTWARD.

A Trundle of half an hour up the steep slopes leading out of another of
those narrow valleys in which all these towns are situated, and then
comes a gentle declivity extending with but little interruption for
several miles, winding in and out among the inequalities of an elevated
table-land. The mountain-breezes blow cool and exhilarating, and just
before descending into the little Charkhan Valley I pass some interesting
cliffs of castellated rocks, the sight of which immediately wafts my
memory back across the thousands of miles of land and water to what they
are almost a counterpart of the famous castellated rocks of Green River,
Wyo. Ter. Another scary youth takes to his heels as I descend into the
valley and halt at the village of Charkhan, a mere shapeless cluster of
mud-hovels. Before one of these a ragged agriculturist solemnly presides
over a small heap of what I unfortunately mistake at the time for pumpkins.
I say "unfortunately," because after-knowledge makes it highly probable
that they were the celebrated Charhkan musk-melons, famous far and wide
for their exquisite flavor; the variety can be grown elsewhere, but,
strange to say, the peculiar, delicate flavor which makes them so
celebrated is absent when they vegetate anywhere outside this particular
locality. It is supposed to be owing to some peculiar mineral properties
of the soil. The Charkhan Valley is a wild, weird-looking region, looking
as if it were habitually subjected to destructive downpourings of rain,
that have washed the grand old mountains out of all resemblance to
neighboring ranges round about. They are of a soft, shaly composition,
and are worn by the elements into all manner of queer, fantastic shapes;
this, together with the same variegated colors observed yesterday
afternoon, gives them a distinctive appearance not easily forgotten.
They are " grand, gloomy, and peculiar; " especially are they peculiar.
The soil of the valley itself seems to be drift-mud from the surrounding
hills; a stream furnishes water sufficient to irrigate a number of rice-
fields, whose brilliant emerald hue loses none of its brightness from
being surrounded by a framework of barren hills.

Ascending from this interesting locality my road now traverses a dreary,
monotonous district of whitish, sun-blistered hills, water-less and
verdureless for fourteen miles. The cool, refreshing breezes of early
morning have been dissipated by the growing heat of the sun; the road
continues fairly good, and while riding I am unconscious of oppressive
heat; but the fierce rays of the sun blisters my neck and the backs of
my hands, turning them red and causing the skin to peel off a few days
afterward, besides ruining a section of my gossamer coat exposed on top
of the Lamson carrier. The air is dry and thirst-creating, there is
considerable hill-climbing to be done, and long ere the fourteen miles
are covered I become sufficiently warm and thirsty to have little thought
of anything else but reaching the means of quenching thirst. Away off
in the distance ahead is observed a dark object, whose character is
indistinct through the shimmering radiation from the heated hills, but
which, upon a nearer approach, proves to be a jujube-tree, a welcome
sentinel in those arid regions, beckoning the thirsty traveller to a
never-failing supply of water. At the jujube-tree I find a most magnificent
fountain, pouring forth at least twenty gallons of delicious cold water
to the minute. The spring has been walled up and a marble spout inserted,
which gushes forth a round, crystal column, as though endeavoring to
compensate for the prevailing aridness and to apologize to the thirsty
wayfarer for the inhospitableness of its surroundings. Miles away to the
northward, perched high up among the ravines of a sun-baked mountain-spur,
one can see a circumscribed area of luxuriant foliage. This conspicuous
oasis in the desert marks the source of the beautiful road-side fountain,
which traverses a natural subterranean passage-way between these two
distant points. These little isolated clumps of waving trees, rearing
their green heads conspicuously above the surrounding barrenness, are
an unerring indication of both water and human habitations. Often one
sees them suddenly when least expected, nestling in a little depression
high up some mountain-slope far away, the little dark-green area looking
almost black in contrast with the whitish color of the hills. These are
literally "oases in the desert," on a small scale, and although from a
distance no sign of human habitations appeal, since they are but mud-
hovels corresponding in color to the hills themselves, a closer examination
invariably reveals well-worn donkey-trails leading from different
directions to the spot, and perchance a white-turbaned donkey-rider
slowly wending his way along a trail.

The heat becomes almost unbearable; the region of treeless, shelterless
hills continues to characterize my way, and when, at two o'clock P.M.,
I reach the town of Bey Bazaar, I conclude that the thirty-nine miles
already covered is the limit of discretion to-day, considering the
oppressive heat, and seek the friendly accommodation of a khan. There I
find that while shelter from the fierce heat of the sun is obtainable,
peace and quiet are altogether out of the question. Bey Bazaar is a place
of eight thousand inhabitants, and the khan at once becomes the objective
point of, it seems to me, half the population. I put the machine up on
a barricaded yattack-divan, and climb up after it; here I am out of the
meddlesome reach of the " madding crowd," but there is no escaping from
the bedlam-like clamor of their voices, and not a few, yielding to their
uncontrollable curiosity, undertake to invade my retreat; these invariably
"skedaddle" respectfully at my request, but new-comers are continually
intruding. The tumult is quite deafening, and I should certainly not be
surprised to have the khan-jee request me to leave the place, on the
reasonable ground that my presence is, under the circumstances, detrimental
to his interests, since the crush is so great that transacting business
is out of the question. The khan-jee, however, proves to be a speculative
individual, and quite contrary thoughts are occupying his mind. His
subordinate, the kahvay-jee, presents himself with mournful countenance
and humble attitude, points with a perplexed air to the surging mass of
fezzes, turbans, and upturned Turkish faces, and explains - what needs no
explanation other than the evidence of one's own eyes - that he cannot
transact his business of making coffee.

"This is your khan," I reply; "why not turn them out." "Mashallah,
effendi. I would, but for everyone I turned out, two others would come
in-the sons of burnt fathers." he says, casting a reproachful look down
at the straggling crowd of his fellow-countrymen.

"What do you propose doing, then?" I inquire. "Katch para, effendi,"
he answers, smiling approvingly at his own suggestion.

The enterprising kahvay-jee advocates charging them an admission fee
of five paras (half a cent) each as a measure of protection, both for
himself and me, proposing to make a "divvy" of the proceeds. Naturally
enough the idea of making a farthing show of either myself or the bicycle
is anything but an agreeable proposition, but it is plainly the only way
of protecting the kahvay-jee and his khan from being mobbed all the
afternoon and far into the night by a surging mass of inquisitive people;
so I reluctantly give him permission to do whatever he pleases to protect
himself. I have no idea of the financial outcome of the speculative khan-
jee's expedient, but the arrangement secures me to some extent from the
rabble, though not to any appreciable extent from being worried. The
people nearly drive me out of my seven senses with their peculiar ideas
of making themselves agreeable, and honoring me; they offer me cigarettes,
coffee, mastic, cognac, fruit, raw cucumbers, melons, everything, in
fact, but the one thing I should really appreciate - a few minutes quiet,
undisturbed, enjoyment of my own company; this is not to be secured by
locking one's self in a room, nor by any other expedient I have yet tried
in Asia. After examining the bicycle, they want to see my "Alla Franga"
watch and my revolver; then they want to know how much each thing
costs, and scores of other things that appeal strongly to their excessively
inquisitive natures.

One old fellow, yearning for a closer acquaintance, asks me if I ever
saw the wonderful "chu, chu, chu! chemin defer at Stamboul," adding that
he has seen it and intends some day to ride on it; another hands me a
Crimean medal, and says he fought against the Muscovs with the "Ingilis,"
while a third one solemnly introduces himself as a "makinis " (machinist),
fancying, I suppose, that there is some fraternal connection between
himself and me, on account of the bicycle being a makina.

I begin to feel uncomfortably like a curiosity in a dime museum - a
position not exactly congenial to my nature; so, after enduring this
sort of thing for an hour, I appoint the kahvay-jee custodian of the
bicycle and sally forth to meander about the bazaar a while, where I can
at least have the advantage of being able to move about. Upon returning
to the khan, an hour later, I find there a man whom I remember passing
on the road; he was riding a donkey, the road was all that could be
desired, and I swept past him at racing speed, purely on the impulse of
the moment, in order to treat him to the abstract sensation of blank
amazement. This impromptu action of mine is now bearing its legitimate
fruit, for, surrounded by a most attentive audience, the wonder-struck
donkey-rider is endeavoring, by word and gesture, to impress upon them
some idea of the speed at which I swept past him and vanished round a
bend. The kahvay-jee now approaches me, puffing his cheeks out like a
penny balloon and jerking his thumb in the direction of the street door.
Seeing that I don't quite comprehend the meaning of this mysterious
facial contortion, he whispers confidentially aside, "pasha," and again
goes through the highly interesting performance of puffing out his cheeks
and winking in a knowing manner; he then says-also confidentially and
aside - "lira," winking even more significantly than before. By all this
theatrical by-play, the kahvay-jee means that the pasha - a man of
extraordinary social, political, and, above all, financial importance - has
expressed a wish to see the bicycle, and is now outside; and the kahvay-jee,
with many significant winks and mysterious hints of " lira," advises me
to take the machine outside and ride it for the pasha's special benefit.
A portion of the street near by is " ridable under difficulties; " so I
conclude to act on the kahvay-jee's suggestion, simply to see what comes
of it. Nothing particular comes of it, whereupon the kahvay-jee and his
patrons all express themselves as disgusted beyond measure because the
Pasha failed-to give me a present. Shortly after this I find myself
hobnobbing with a small company of ex-Mecca pilgrims, holy personages
with huge green turbans and flowing gowns; one of them is evidently very
holy indeed, almost too holy for human associations one would imagine,
for in addition to his green turban he wears a broad green kammer bund
and a green undergarment; he is in fact very green indeed. Then a crazy
person pushes his way forward and wants me to cure him of his mental
infirmity; at all events I cannot imagine what else he wants; the man
is crazy as a loon, he cannot even give utterance to his own mother-tongue,
but tries to express himself in a series of disjointed grunts beside
which the soul-harrowing efforts of a broken-winded donkey are quite
melodious. Someone has probably told him that I am a hakim, or a wonderful
person on general principles, and the fellow is sufficiently conscious
of his own condition to come forward and endeavor to grunt himself into
my favorable consideration.

Later in the evening a couple of young Turkish dandies come round to the
khan and favor me with a serenade; one of them twangs a doleful melody
on a small stringed instrument, something like the Slavonian tamborica,
and the other one sings a doleful, melancholy song (nearly all songs and
tunes in Mohammedan countries seem doleful and melancholy); afterwards
an Arab camel-driver joins in with a dance, and furnishes some genuine
amusement with his hip-play and bodily contortions; this would scarcely
be considered dancing from our point of view, but it is according to the
ideas of the East. The dandies are distinguishable from the common run
of Turkish bipeds, like the same species in other countries, by the
fearful and wonderful cut of their garments. The Turkish dandy wears a
tassel to his fez about three times larger than the regulation size, and
he binds it carefully down to the fez with a red and yellow silk
handkerchief; he wears a jaunty-looking short jacket of bright blue
cloth, cut behind so that it reaches but little below his shoulder-blades;
the object of this is apparently to display the whole of the multifold
kammerbund, a wonderful, colored waist-scarf that is wound round and
round the waist many times, and which is held at one end by an assistant,
while the wearer spins round like a dancing dervish, the assistant
advancing gradually as the human bobbin takes up the length. The dandy
wears knee-breeches corresponding in color to his jacket, woollen stockings
of mingled red and black, and low, slipper-like shoes; he allows his
hair to fall about his eyes a la negligee, and affects a reckless, love-
lorn air.

The last party of sight-seers for the day call around near midnight,
some time after I have retired to sleep; they awaken me with their
garrulous observations concerning the bicycle, which they are critically
examining close to my head with a classic lamp; but I readily forgive
them their nocturnal intrusion, since they awaken me to the first
opportunity of hearing women wailing for the dead. A dozen or so of women
are wailing forth their lamentations in the silent night but a short
distance from the khan; I can look out of a small opening in the wall
near my shake-down, and see them moving about the house and premises by
the flickering glare of torches. I could never have believed the female
form divine capable of producing such doleful, unearthly music; but there
is no telling what these shrouded forms are really capable of doing,
since the opportunity of passing one's judgment upon their accomplishments
is confined solely to an occasional glimpse of a languishing eye. The
kahvay-jee, who is acting the part of explanatory lecturer to these
nocturnal visitors, explains the meaning of the wailing by pantomimically
describing a corpse, and then goes on to explain that the smallest
imaginable proportion of the lamentations that are making night hideous
is genuine grief for the departed, most of the uproar being made by a
body of professional mourners hired for the occasion. When I awake in
the morning the unearthly wailing is still going vigorously forward,
from which I infer they have been keeping it up all night. Though gradually
becoming inured to all sorts of strange scenes and customs, the united
wailing and lamentations of a houseful of women, awakening the echoes
of the silent night, savor too much of things supernatural and unearthly
not to jar unpleasantly on the senses; the custom is, however, on the
eve of being relegated to the musty past by the Ottoman Government.

In the larger cities where there are corpses to be wailed over every
night, it has been found so objectionable to the expanding intellects
of the more enlightened Turks that it has been prohibited as a public
nuisance, and these days it is only in such conservative interior towns
as Bey Bazaar that the custom still obtains. When about starting early
on the following morning the khanjee begs me to be seated, and then
several men who have been waiting around since before daybreak vanish
hastily through the door-way; in a few minutes I am favored with a small
company of leading citizens who, having for various reasons failed to
swell yesterday's throng, have taken the precaution to post these
messengers to watch my movements and report when I am ready to depart.
Our grunting patient, the crazy man, likewise reappears upon the scene
of my departure from the khan, and, in company with a small but eminently
respectable following, accompanies me to the brow of a bluffy hill leading
out of the depression in which Bey Bazaar snugly nestles. On the way up
he constantly gives utterance to his feelings in guttural gruntings that
make last night's lamentations seem quite earthly after all in comparison;
and when the summit is reached, and I mount and glide noiselessly away
down a gentle declivity, he uses his vocal organs in a manner that simply
defies chirographical description or any known comparison; it is the
despairing howl of a semi-lunatic at witnessing my departure without
having exercised my supposed extraordinary powers in some miraculous
manner in his behalf. The road continues as an artificial highway, but
is not continuously ridable, owing to the rocky nature of the material
used in its construction and the absence of vehicular traffic to wear
it smooth; but it is highly acceptable in the main. From Bey Bazaar
eastward it leads for several miles along a stony valley, and then through
a region that differs little from yesterday's barren hills in general
appearance, but which has the redeeming feature of being traversed here
and there by deep canons or gorges, along which meander tiny streams,
and whose wider spaces are areas of remarkably fertile soil. While
wheeling merrily along the valley road I am favored with a "peace-offering"
of a splendid bunch of grapes from a bold vintager en route, to Bey
Bazaar with a grape-laden donkey. When within a few hundred yards the
man evinces unmistakable signs of uneasiness concerning my character,
and would probably follow the bent of his inclinations and ingloriously
flee the field, but his donkey is too heavily laden to accompany him:
he looks apprehensively at my rapidly approaching figure, and then, as
if a happy thought suddenly occurs to him, he quickly takes the finest
bunch of grapes ready to hand and holds them, out toward me while I am
yet a good fifty yards away. The grapes are luscious, and the bunch
weighs fully an oke, but I should feel uncomfortably like a highwayman,
guilty of intimidating the man out of his property, were I to accept
them in the spirit in which they are offered; as it is, the honest fellow
will hardly fall to trembling in his tracks should he at any future time
again descry the centaur-like form of a mounted wheelman approaching him
in the distance.

Later in the forenoon I descend into a canon-like valley where, among a
few scattering vineyards and jujube-trees, nestles Ayash, a place which
disputes with the neighboring village of Istanos the honor of being the
theatre of Alexander the Great's celebrated exploit of cutting the Gordian
knot that disentangled the harness of the Phrygian king. Ayash is to be
congratulated upon having its historical reminiscence to recommend it

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