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Around the World on a Bicycle V1 by Thomas Stevens

Part 6 out of 9

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to the notice of the outer world, since it has little to attract attention
nowadays; it is merely the shapeless jumble of inferior dwellings that
characterize the average Turkish village. As I trundle through the
crooked, ill-paved alley-way that, out of respect to the historical
association referred to, may be called its business thoroughfare, with
forethought of the near approach of noon I obtain some pears, and hand
an ekmek-jee a coin for some bread; he passes over a tough flat cake,
abundantly sufficient for my purpose, together with the change. A zaptieh,
looking on, observes that the man has retained a whole half-penny for
the bread, and orders him to fork over another cake; I refuse to take
it up, whereupon the zaptieh fulfils his ideas of justice by ordering
the ekmek-jae to give it to a ragged youth among the spectators.

Continuing on my way I am next halted by a young man of the better class,
who, together with the zaptieh, endeavors to prevail upon me to stop,
going through the pantomime of writing and reading, to express some idea
that our mutual ignorance of each other's language prevents being expressed
in words. The result is a rather curious intermezzo. Thinking they want
to examine my teskeri merely to gratify their idle curiosity, I refuse
to be thus bothered, and, dismissing them quite brusquely, hurry along
over the rough cobble-stones in hopes of reaching ridable ground and
escaping from the place ere the inevitable "madding crowd" become
generally aware of my arrival. The young man disappears, while the zaptieh
trots smilingly but determinedly by my side, several times endeavoring
to coax me into making a halt; which is, however, promptly interpreted
by myself into a paternal plea on behalf of the villagers - a desire to
have me stop until they could be generally notified and collected - the
very thing I am hurrying along to avoid, I am already clear of the village
and trundling up the inevitable acclivity, the zaptieh and a small
gathering still doggedly hanging on, when the young man reappears,
hurriedly approaching from the rear, followed by half the village. The
zaptieh pats me on the shoulder and points back with a triumphant smile;
thinking he is referring to the rabble, I am rather inclined to be angry
with him and chide him for dogging my footsteps, when I observe the young
man waving aloft a letter, and at once understand that I have been guilty
of an ungenerous misinterpretation of their determined attentions. The
letter is from Mr. Binns, an English gentleman at Angora, engaged in the
exportation of mohair, and contains an invitation to become his guest
while at Angora. A well-deserved backsheesh to the good-natured zaptieh
and a penitential shake of the young man's hand silence the self-accusations
of a guilty conscience, and, after riding a short distance down the hill
for the satisfaction of the people, I continue on my way, trundling up
the varying gradations of a general acclivity for two miles. Away up the
road ahead I now observe a number of queer, shapeless objects, moving
about on the roadway, apparently descending the hill, and resembling
nothing so much as animated clumps of brushwood. Upon a closer approach
they turn out to be not so very far removed from this conception; they
are a company of poor Ayash peasant-women, each carrying a bundle of
camel-thorn shrubs several times larger than herself, which they have
been scouring the neighboring hills all morning to obtain for fuel. This
camel-thorn is a light, spriggy shrub, so that the size of their burthens
is large in proportion to its weight. Instead of being borne on the head,
they are carried in a way that forms a complete bushy background, against
which the shrouded form of the woman is undistinguishable a few hundred
yards away. Instead of keeping a straightforward course, the women seem
to be doing an unnecessary amount of erratic wandering about over the
road, which, until quite near, gives them the queer appearance of animated
clumps of brush dodging about among each other. I ask them whether there
is water ahead; they look frightened and hurry along faster, but one
brave soul turns partly round and points mutely in the direction I am
going. Two miles of good, ridable road now brings me to the spring, which
is situated near a two-acre swamp of rank sword-grass and bulrushes six
feet high and of almost inpenetrable thickness, which looks decidedly
refreshing in its setting of barren, gray hills; and I eat my noon-tide
meal of bread and pears to the cheery music of a thousand swamp-frog
bands which commence croaking at my approach, and never cease for a
moment to twang their tuneful lyre until I depart. The tortuous windings
of the chemin de fer finally bring me to a cul-de-sac in the hills,
terminating on the summit of a ridge overlooking a broad plain; and a
horseman I meet informs me that I am now mid way between Bey Bazaar and
Angora. While ascending this ridge I become thoroughly convinced of what
has frequently occurred to me between here and Nalikhan - that if the road
I am traversing is, as the people keep calling it, a chemin de fer, then
the engineer who graded it must have been a youth of tender age, and
inexperienced in railway matters, to imagine that trains can ever round
his curve or climb his grades. There is something about this broad,
artificial highway, and the tremendous amount of labor that has been
expended upon it, when compared with the glaring poverty of the country
it traverses, together with the wellnigh total absence of wheeled vehicles,
that seem to preclude the possibility of its having been made for a
wagon-road; and yet, notwithstanding the belief of the natives, it is
evident that it can never be the road-bed of a railway. We must inquire
about it at Angora.

Descending into the Angora Plain, I enjoy the luxury of a continuous
coast for nearly a mile, over a road that is simply perfect for the
occasion, after which comes the less desirable performance of ploughing
through a stretch of loose sand and gravel. While engaged in this latter
occupation I overtake a zaptieh, also en route to Angora, who is letting
his horse crawl leisurely along while he concentrates his energies upon
a water-melon, evidently the spoils of a recent visitation to a melon-garden
somewhere not far off; he hands me a portion of the booty, and then
requests me to bin, and keeps on requesting me to bin at regular three-
minute intervals for the next half-hour. At the end of that time the
loose gravel terminates, and I find myself on a level and reasonably
smooth dirt road, making a shorter cut across the plain to Angora than
the chin de fer. The zaptieh is, of course, delighted at seeing me thus
mount, and not doubting but that I will appreciate his company, gives
me to understand that he will ride alongside to Angora. For nearly two
miles that sanguine but unsuspecting minion of the Turkish Government
spurs his noble steed alongside the bicycle in spite of my determined
pedalling to shake him off; but the road improves; faster spins the
whirling wheels; the zaptieh begins to lag behind a little, though still
spurring his panting horse into keeping reasonably close behind; a bend
now occurs in the road, and an intervening knoll hides iis from each
other; I put on more steam, and at the same time the zaptieh evidently
gives it up and relapses into his normal crawling pace, for when three
miles or thereabout arc covered I look back and perceive him leisurely
heaving in sight from behind the knoll.

Part way across the plain I arrive at a fountain and make a short halt,
for the day is unpleasantly warm, and the dirt-road is covered with dust;
the government postaya araba is also halting here to rest and refresh
the horses. I have not failed to notice the proneness of Asiatics to
base their conclusions entirely on a person's apparel and general outward
appearance, for the seeming incongruity of my "Ingilis" helmet and the
Circassian moccasins has puzzled them not a little on more than one
occasion. And now one wiseacre among this party at the road-side fountain
stubbornly asserts that I cannot possibly be an Englishman because of
my wearing a mustache without side whiskers-a feature that seems to have
impressed upon his enlightened mind the unalterable conviction that I
am an "Austrian," why an Austrian any more than a Frenchman or an
inhabitant of the moon, I wonder ? and wondering, wonder in vain. Five
P.M., August 16,1885, finds me seated on a rude stone slab, one of those
ancient tombstones whose serried ranks constitute the suburban scenery
of Angora, ruefully disburdening my nether garments of mud and water,
the results of a slight miscalculation of my abilities at leaping
irrigating ditches with the bicycle for a vaulting-pole. While engaged
in this absorbing occupation several inquisitives mysteriously collect
from somewhere, as they invariably do whenever I happen to halt for a
minute, and following the instructions of the Ayash letter I inquire the
way to the "Ingilisin Adam" (Englishman's man). They pilot me through
a number of narrow, ill-paved streets leading up the sloping hill which
Angora occupies - a situation that gives the supposed ancient capital of
Galatia a striking appearance from a distance - and into the premises of
an Armenian whom I find able to make himself intelligible in English,
if allowed several minutes undisturbed possession of his own faculties
of recollection between each word - the gentleman is slow but not quite
sure. From him I learn that Mr. Binns and family reside during the summer
months at a vineyard five miles out, and that Mr. Binns will not be in
town before to-morrow morning; also that, "You are welcome to the humble
hospitality of our poor family."

This latter way of expressing it is a revelation to me, and the leaden-heeled
and labored utterance, together with the general bearing of my volunteer
host, is not less striking; if meekness, lowliness, and humbleness,
permeating a person's every look, word, and action, constitute worthiness,
then is our Armenian friend beyond a doubt the worthiest of men. Laboring
under the impression that he is Mr. Binns' "Ingilisin Adam," I have no
hesitation about accepting his proffered hospitality for the night; and
storing the bicycle away, I proceed to make myself quite at home, in
that easy manner peculiar to one accustomed to constant change. Later
in the evening imagine my astonishment at learning that I have thus
nonchalantly quartered myself, so to speak, not on Mr. Binns' man, but
on an Armenian pastor who has acquired his slight acquaintance with my
own language from being connected with the American Mission having
headquarters at Kaisarieh. All the evening long, noisy crowds have been
besieging the pastorate, worrying the poor man nearly out of his senses
on my account; and what makes matters more annoying and lamentable, I
learn afterward that his wife has departed this life but a short time
ago, and the bereaved pastor is still bowed down with sorrow at the
affliction - I feel like kicking myself unceremoniously out of his house.
Following the Asiatic custom of welcoming a stranger, and influenced,
we may reasonably suppose, as much by their eagerness to satisfy their
consuming curiosity as anything else, the people come flocking in swarms
to the pastorate again next morning, filling the house and grounds to
overflowing, and endeavoring to find out all about me and my unheard - of
mode of travelling, by questioning the poor pastor nearly to distraction.
That excellent man's thoughts seem to run entirely on missionaries and
mission enterprises; so much so, in fact, that several negative assertions
from me fail to entirely disabuse his mind of an idea that I am in some
way connected with the work of spreading the Gospel in Asia Minor; and
coming into the room where I am engaged in the interesting occupation
of returning the salaams and inquisitive gaze of fifty ceremonious
visitors, in slow, measured words he asks, "Have you any words for these
people?" as if quite expecting to see me rise up and solemnly call upon
the assembled Mussulmans, Greeks, and Armenians to forsake the religion
of the False Prophet in the one case, and mend the error of their ways
in the other. I know well enough what they all want, though, and dismiss
them in a highly satisfactory manner by promising them that they shall
all have an opportunity of seeing the bicycle ridden before I leave
Angora.

About ten o'clock Mr. Binns arrives, and is highly amused at the ludicrous
mistake that brought me to the Armenian pastor's instead of to his man,
with whom he had left instructions concerning me, should I arrive after
his departure in the evening for the vineyard; in return he has an amusing
story to tell of the people waylaying him on his way to his office,
telling him that an Englishman had arrived with a wonderful araba, which
he had immediately locked up in a dark room and would allow nobody to
look at it, and begging him to ask me if they might come and see it. We
spend the remainder of the forenoon looking over the town and the bazaar,
Mr. Binus kindly announcing himself as at my service for the day, and
seemingly bent on pointing out everything of interest. One of the most
curious sights, and one that is peculiar to Angora, owing to its situation
on a hill where little or no water is obtainable, is the bewildering
swarms of su-katirs (water donkeys) engaged in the transportation of
that important necessary up into the city from a stream that flows near
the base of the hill. These unhappy animals do nothing from one end of
their working lives to the other but toil, with almost machine-like
regularity and uneventfulness, up the crooked, stony streets with a dozen
large earthen-ware jars of water, and down again with the empty jars.
The donkey is sandwiched between two long wooden troughs suspended to a
rude pack-saddle, and each trough accommodates six jars, each holding
about two gallons of water; one can readily imagine the swarms of these
novel and primitive conveyances required to supply a population of thirty-
five thousand people. Upon inquiring what they do in case of a fire, I
learn that they don't even think of fighting the devouring element with
its natural enemy, but, collecting on the adjoining roofs, they smother
the flames by pelting the burning building with the soft, crumbly bricks
of which Angora is chiefly built; a house on fire, with a swarm of half-
naked natives on the neighboring housetops bombarding the leaping flames
with bricks, would certainly be an interesting sight.

Other pity-exciting scenes besides the patient little water-carrying
donkeys are not likely to be wanting on the streets of an Asiatic city;
one case I notice merits particular mention. A youth with both arms
amputated at the shoulder, having not so much as the stump of an arm,
is riding a donkey, and persuading the unwilling animal along quite
briskly - with a stick. All Christendom could never guess how a person
thus afflicted could possibly wield a stick so as to make any impression
upon a donkey; but this ingenious person holds it quite handily between
his chin and right shoulder, and from constant practice has acquired the
ability to visit his long-eared steed with quite vigorous thwacks.

Near noon we repair to the government house to pay a visit to Sirra
Pasha, the Vali or governor of the vilayet, who, having heard of my
arrival, has expressed a wish to have us call on him. We happen to arrive
while he is busily engaged with an important legal decision, but upon
our being announced he begs us to wait a few minutes, promising to hurry
through with the business. We are then requested to enter an adjoining
apartment, where we find the Mayor, the Cadi, the Secretary of State,
the Chief of the Angora zaptiehs, and several other functionaries, signing
documents, affixing seals, and otherwise variously occupied. At our
entrance, documents, pens, seals, and everything are relegated to temporary
oblivion, coffee and cigarettes are produced, and the journey dunianin
-athrafana (around the world) I am making with the wonderful araba becomes
the all-absorbing subject. These wise men of state entertain queer,
Asiatic notions concerning the probable object of my journey; they cannot
bring themselves to believe it possible that I am performing so great a
journey "merely as the Outing correspondent;" they think it more probable,
they say, that my real incentive is to "spite an enemy" - that, having
quarrelled with another wheelman about our comparative skill as riders,
I am wheeling entirely around the globe in order to prove my superiority,
and at the same time leave no opportunity for my hated rival to perform
a greater feat - Asiatic reasoning, sure enough. Reasoning thus, and
commenting in this wise among themselves, their curiosity becomes worked
up to the highest possible pitch, and they commence plying Mr. Binns
with questions concerning the mechanism and general appearance of the
bicycle. To facilitate Mr. Binns in his task of elucidation, I produce
from my inner coat-pocket a set of the earlier sketches illustrating the
tour across America, and for the next few minutes the set of sketches
are of more importance than all the State documents in the room. Curiously
enough, the sketch entitled "A Fair Young Mormon " attracts more attention
than any of the others. The Mayor is Suleiman Effendi, the same gentleman
mentioned at some length by Colonel Burnaby in his "On Horseback Through
Asia Minor," and one of his first questions is whether I am acquainted
with "my friend Burnaby, whose tragic death in the Soudan will never
cease to make me feel unhappy." Suleiman Effendi appears to be remarkably
intelligent, compared with many Asiatics, and, moreover, of quite a
practical turn of mind; he inquires what I should do in case of a serious
break-down somewhere in the far interior, and his curiosity to see the
bicycle is not a little increased by hearing that, notwithstanding the
extreme airiness of my strange vehicle, I have had no serious mishap on
the whole journey across two continents. Alluding to the bicycle as the
latest product of that Western ingenuity that appears so marvellous to
the Asiatic mind, he then remarks, with some animation, "The next thing
we shall see will be Englishmen crossing over to India in balloons, and
dropping down at Angora for refreshments." A uniformed servant now
announces that the Vali is at liberty, and waiting to receive us in
private audience. Following the attendant into another room, we find
Sirra Pasha seated on a richly cushioned divan, and upon our entrance
he rises smilingly to receive us, shaking us both cordially by the hand.
As the distinguished visitor of the occasion, I am appointed to the place
of honor next to the governor, while Mr. Binns, with whom, of course,
as a resident of Angora, His Excellency is already quite well acquainted,
graciously fills the office of interpreter, and enlightener of the Vali's
understanding concerning bicycles in general, and my own wheel and wheel
journey in particular. Sirra Pasha is a full-faced man of medium height,
black-eyed, black-haired, and, like nearly all Turkish pashas, is rather
inclined to corpulency. Like many prominent Turkish officials, he has
discarded the Turkish costume, retaining only the national fez; a head-
dress which, by the by, is without one single merit to recommend it save
its picturesqueness. In sunny weather it affords no protection to the
eyes, and in rainy weather its contour conducts the water in a trickling
stream down one's spinal column. It is too thin to protect the scalp
from the fierce sun-rays, and too close-fitting and close in texture to
afford any ventilation, yet with all this formidable array of disadvantages
it is universally worn.

I have learned during the morning that I have to thank Sirra Pasha's
energetic administration for the artificial highway from Keshtobek, and
that he has constructed in the vilayet no less than two hundred and fifty
miles' of this highway, broad and reasonably well made, and actually
macadamized in localities where the necessary material is to be obtained.
The amount of work done in constructing this road through so mountainous
a country is, as before mentioned, plainly out of all proportion to the
wealth and population of a second-grade vilayet like Angora, and its
accomplishment has been possible only by the employment of forced labor.
Every man in the whole vilayet is ordered out to work at the road-making
a certain number of days every year, or provide a substitute; thus,
during the present summer there have been as many as twenty thousand
men, besides donkeys, working on the roads at one time. Unaccustomed to
public improvements of this nature, and, no doubt, failing to see their
advantages in a country practically without vehicles, the people have
sometimes ventured to grumble at the rather arbitrary proceeding of
making them work for nothing, and board themselves; and it has been found
expedient to make them believe that they were doing the preliminary
grading for a railway that was shortly coming to make them all prosperous
and happy; beyond being credulous enough to swallow the latter part of
the bait, few of them have the least idea of what sort of a looking thing
a railroad would be.

When the Vali hears that the people all along the road have been telling
me it was a chemin de fer, he fairly shakes in his boots with laughter.
Of course I point out that no one can possibly appreciate the road
improvements any more than a wheelman, and explain the great difference
I have found between the mule-paths of Kodjaili and the broad highways
he has made through Angora, and I promise him the universal good opinion
of the whole world of 'cyclers. In reply, His Excellency hopes this
favorable opinion will not be jeopardized by the journey to Yuzgat, but
expresses the fear that I shall find heavier wheeling in that direction,
as the road is newly made, and there has been no vehicular traffic to
pack it down.

The Governor invites me to remain over until Thursday and witness the
ceremony of laying the corner-stone of a new school, of the founding of
which he has good reason to feel proud, and which ought to secure him
the esteem of right-thinking people everywhere. He has determined it to
be a common school in which no question of Mohammedan, Jew, or Christian,
will be allowed to enter, but where the young ideas of Turkish, Christian,
and Jewish youths shall be taught to shoot peacefully and harmoniously
together. Begging to be excused from this, he then invites me to take
dinner with him to-morrow evening: but this I also decline, excusing
rnyself for having determined to remain over no longer than a day on
account of the approaching rainy season and my anxiety to reach Teheran
before it sets in. Yet a third time the pasha rallies to the charge, as
though determined not to let me off without honoring me in some way; and
this time he offers to furnish me a zaptieh escort, but I tell him of
the zaptieh's inability to keep up yesterday, at which he is immensely
amused. His Excellency then promises to be present at the starting-point
to-morrow morning, asking me to name the time and place, after which we
finish the cigarettes and coffee and take our leave. We next take a
survey of the mohair caravansary, where buyers and sellers and exporters
congregate to transact business, and I watch with some interest the corps
of half-naked sorters seated before large heaps of mohair, assorting it
into the several classes ready for exportation. Here Mr. Binns' office
is situated, and we are waited upon by several of his business acquaintances;
among them a member of the celebrated - celebrated in Asia Minor - Tif-
ticjeeoghlou family, whose ancestors have been prominently engaged in
the mohair business for so long that their very name is significatory
of their profession - Tifticjee-oghlou, literally, "Mohair-dealer's son."
The Smiths, Bakers, and Hunters of Occidental society are not a whit
more significative than are many prominent names of the Orient. Prominent
among the Angorians is a certain Mr. Altentopoghlou, the literal
interpretation of which is, "Son of the golden ball," and the origin
of whose family name Eastern tradition has surrounded by the following
little interesting anecdote: Ages ago it pleased one of the Sultans to
issue a proclamation throughout the empire, promising to present a golden
ball to whichever among all his subjects should prove himself the biggest
liar, giving it to be understood beforehand that no "merely improbable
story" would stand the ghost of a chance of winning, since he himself
was to be the judge, and nothing short of a story that was simply
impossible would secure the prize. The proclamation naturally made quite
a stir among the great prevaricators of the realm, and hundreds of stories
came pouring in from competitors everywhere, some even surreptitiously
borrowing "whoppers" from the Persians, who are well known as the
greatest economizers of the truth in all Asia; but they were one and all
adjudged by the astute monarch-who was himself a most experienced
prevaricator - probably the noblest Roman of them all - as containing incidents
that might under extraordinary circumstances have been true. The coveted
golden ball still remained unawarded, when one day there appeared before
the gate of the Sultan's palace, requesting an audience, an old man with
travel-worn appearance, as though from a long pilgrimage, and bearing
on his stooping shoulders an immense earthen-ware jar. The Sultan received
the aged pilgrim kindly, and asked him what he could do for him.

"Oh, Sultan, may you live forever!" exclaimed the old man, "for your
Imperial Highness is loved and celebrated throughout all the empire
for your many virtues, but most of all for your wellknown love of justice."

"Inshallah!" replied the monarch, reverently. "May it please Your
Imperial Majesty," continued the old man, calling the monarch's attention
to the jar, "Your Highness' most excellent father - may his bones rest in
peace! - borrowed from my father this jar full of gold coins, the conditions
being that Your Majesty was to pay the same amount back to me." "Absurd,
impossible!" exclaimed the astonished Sultan, eying the huge vessel in
question.

"If the story be true," gravely continued the pilgrim, "pay your father's
debt; if it is as you say, impossible, I have fairly won the golden
ball." And the Sultan immediately awarded him the prize.

In the cool of the evening we ride out on horseback through vineyards
and yellow-berry gardens to Mr. Binns' country residence, a place that
formerly belonged to an old pasha, a veritable Bluebeard, who built the
house and placed the windows of his harem, even closely latticed as they
always are, in a position that would not command so much as a glimpse
of passers-by on the road, hundreds of yards away. He planted trees and
gardens, and erected marble fountains at great cost. Surrounding the
whole with a wall, and purchasing three beautiful young wives, the old
Turk fondly fancied he had created for himself an earthly paradise; but
as love laughs at locksmiths, so did these three frisky damea laugh at
latticed windows, and lay their heads together against being prevented
from watching passers-by through the windows of the harem. With nothing
else to do, they would scheme and plot all day long against their misguided
husband's tranquillity and peace of mind. One day, while sunning himself
in the garden, he discovered that they had managed to detach a section
of the lattice-work from a window, and were in the habit of sticking out
their heads - awful discovery. Flying into a righteous rage at this act
of flagrant disobedience, he seized a thick stick and sought their
apartments, only to find the lattice-work skilfully replaced, and to be
confronted with a general denial of what he had witnessed with his own
eyes. This did not prevent them from all three getting a severe chastisement;
but as time wore on he found the life these three caged-up young women
managed to lead him anything but the earthly paradise he thought he was
creating, and, financial troubles overtaking him at the same time, the
old fellow fairly died of a broken heart in less than twelve months after
he had so hopefully installed himself in his self-created heaven.

There is a moral in the story somewhere, I think, for anybody caring to
analyze it. Mr. Binns says the old Mussulman was also an inveterate hater
of unbelievers, and that the old fellow's bones would fairly rattle in
his coffin were he conscious that a family of Christians are now actually
occupying the house he built with such careful regard for the Mussulman's
ideas of a material heaven, with trees and fountains and black-eyed
houris.

Near ten o'clock on Tuesday morning finds Angora the scene of more
excitement than it has seen for some time. I am trundling through the
narrow streets toward the appointed starting-place, which is at the
commencement of a half-mile stretch of excellent level macadam, just
beyond the tombstone-planted suburbs of the city. Mr. Binns is with me,
and a squad of zaptiehs are engaged in the lively occupation of protecting
us from the crush of people following us out; they are armed especially
for the occasion with long switches, with which they unsparingly lay
about them, seemingly only too delighted at the chance of making the
dust fly from the shoulders of such unfortunate wights as the pressure
of the throng forces anywhere near the magic cause of the commotion. The
time and place of starting have been proclaimed by the Vali and have
become generally noised abroad, and near three thousand people are already
assembled when we arrive; among them is seen the genial face of Suleiman
Effendi, who, in his capacity of mayor, is early on the ground with a
force of zaptiehs to maintain order; and with a little knot of friends,
behold, is also our humble friend the Armenian pastor, the irresistible
attractions of the wicked bicycle having temporarily overcome his contempt
of the pomps and vanities of secular displays.

"Englishmen are always punctual!" says Suleiman Effendi, looking at his
watch; and, upon consulting our own, sure enough we have happened to
arrive precisely to the minute. An individual named Mustapha, a blacksmith
who has acquired an enviable reputation for skill on account of the
beautiful horseshoes he turns out, now presents himself and begs leave
to examine the mechanism of the bicycle, and the question arises among
the officers standing by as to whether Mustapha would be able to make
one; Mustapha himself thinks he could, providing he had mine always at
hand to copy from.

"Yes," suggests the practical-minded Suleiman Effendi, "yes, Mustapha,
you may have mariftt enough to make one; but when you have finished it,
who among all of us will have marifet enough to ride it?"

"True, effendi," solemnly assents another, "we would have to send for
an Englishman to ride it for us, after Mustapha had turned it out. "

The Mayor now requests me to ride along the road once or twice to appease
the clamor of the multitude until the Vali arrives. The crowd along the
road is tremendous, and on a neighboring knoll, commanding a view of the
proceedings, are several carriageloads of ladies, the wives and female
relatives of the officials. The Mayor is indulgent to his people, allowing
them to throng the roadway, simply ordering the zaptiehs to keep my road
through the surging mass open. While on the home-stretch from the second
spin, up dashes the Vali in the state equipage with quite an imposing
bodyguard of mounted zaptiehs, their chief being a fine military-looking
Circassian in the picturesque military costume of the Caucasus. These
horsemen the Governor at once orders to clear the people entirely off
the road-way - an order no sooner given than executed; and after the
customary interchange of salutations, I mount and wheel briskly up the
broad, smooth macadam between two compact masses of delighted natives;
excitement runs high, and the people clap their hands and howl approvingly
at the performance, while the horsemen gallop briskly to and fro to keep
them from intruding on the road after I have wheeled past, and obstructing
the Governor's view. After riding back and forth a couple of times, I
dismount at the Vali's carriage; a mutual interchange of adieus and well-
wishes all around, and I take my departure, wheeling along at a ten-mile
pace amid the vociferous plaudits of at least four thousand people, who
watch my retreating figure until I disappear over the brow of a hill.
At the upper end of the main crowd are stationed the "irregular cavalry"
on horses, mules, and donkeys; and among the latter I notice our
ingenious friend, the armless youth of yesterday, whom I now make happy
by a nod of recognition, having scraped up a backsheesh acquaintance
with him yesterday.

For.some miles the way continues fairly smooth and hard, leading through
a region of low vineyard-covered hills, but ere long I arrive at the
newly made road mentioned by the Vali. After which, like the course of
true love, my forward career seldom runs smooth for any length of time,
though ridable donkey-trails occasionally run parallel with the bogus
chemin defer. For mile after mile I now alternately ride and trundle
along donkey-paths, by the side of an artificial highway that would be
an enterprise worthy of a European State. The surface of the road is
either gravelled or of broken rock, and well rounded for self-drain-
age; it is graded over the mountains, and wooden bridges, with substantial
rock supports, are built across the streams; nothing is lacking except
the vehicles to utilize it. In the absence of these it would almost seem
to have been an unnecessary and superfluous expenditure of the people's
labor to make such a road through a country most of which is fit for
little else but grazing goats and buffaloes. Aside from some half-dozen
carriages at Angora, and a few light government postaya arabas - an
innovation from horses for carrying the mail, recently introduced as a
result of the improved roads, and which make weekly trips between such
points as Angora, Yuzgat, and Tokat - the only vehicles in the country are
the buffalo-carts of the larger farmers, rude home made arabas with solid
wooden wheels, whose infernal creaking can be heard for a mile, and which
they seldom take any distance from home, preferring their pack-donkeys
and cross-country trails when going to town with produce. Perhaps in
time vehicular traffic may appear as a result of suitable roads; but the
natives are slow to adopt new improvements.

About two hours from Angora I pass tbrough a swampy upland basin,
containing several small lakes, and then emerge into a much less mountainous
country, passing several mud villages, the inhabitants of which are a
dark-skinned people-Turkoman refugees, I think-who look several degrees
less particular about their personal cleanliness than the villagers west
of Angora. Their wretched mud hovels would seem to indicate the last
degree of poverty, but numerous flocks of goats and herds of buffalo
grazing near apparently tell a somewhat different story. The women and
children seem mostly engaged in manufacturing cakes of tezek (large flat
cakes of buffalo manure mixed with chopped straw, which are "dobbed"
on the outer walls to dry; it makes very good fuel, like the "buffalo
chips" of the far West), and stacking it up on the house-tops, with
provident forethought, for the approaching winter.

Just as darkness is beginning to settle down over the landscape I arrive
at one of these unpromising-looking clusters, which, it seems, are now
peculiar to the country, and not characteristic of any particular race,
for the one I arrive at is a purely Turkish village. After the usual
preliminaries of pantomime and binning, I am conducted to a capacious
flat roof, the common covering of several dwellings and stables bunched
up together. This roof is as smooth and hard as a native threshing-floor,
and well knowing, from recent experiences, the modus operandi of capturing
the hearts of these bland and childlike villagers, I mount and straightway
secure their universal admiration and applause by riding a few times
round the roof. I obtain a supper of fried eggs and yaort (milk soured
with rennet), eating it on the house-top, surrounded by the whole
population of the village, on this and adjoining roofs, who watch my
every movement with the most intense curiosity. It is the raggedest
audience I have yet been favored with. There are not over half a dozen
decently clad people among them all, and two of these are horsemen,
simply remaining over night, like myself. Everybody has a fearfully flea-
bitten appearance, which augurs ill for a refreshing night's repose.

Here, likewise I am first introduced to a peculiar kind of bread, that
I straightway condemn as the most execrable of the many varieties my
everchanging experiences bring me in contact with, and which I find
myself mentally, and half unconsciously, naming - " blotting-paper ekmek"
-a not inappropriate title to convey its appearance to the civilized
mind; but the sheets of blotting-paper must be of a wheaten color and
in circular sheets about two feet in diameter. This peculiar kind of
bread is, we may suppose, the natural result of a great scarcity of fuel,
a handful of tezek, beneath the large, thin sheet-iron griddle, being
sufficient to bake many cakes of this bread. At first I start eating it
something like a Shanty town goat would set about consuming a political
poster, if it - not the political poster, but the Shanty town goat - had a
pair of hands. This outlandish performance creates no small merriment
among the watchful on-lookers, who forthwith initiate me into the mode
of eating it a la Turque, which is, to roll it up like a scroll of paper
and bite mouthfuls off the end. I afterwards find this particular variety
of ekmek quite handy when seated around a communal bowl of yaort with a
dozen natives; instead of taking my turn with the one wooden spoon in
common use, I would form pieces of the thin bread into small handleless
scoops, and, dipping up the yaort, eat scoop and all. Besides sparing
me from using the same greasy spoon in common with a dozen natives, none
of them overly squeamish as regards personal cleanliness, this gave me
the appreciable advantage of dipping into the dish as often as I choose,
instead of waiting for my regular turn at the wooden spoon.

Though they are Osmanli Turks, the women of these small villages appear
to make little pretence of covering their faces. Among themselves they
constitute, as it were, one large family gathering, and a stranger is
but seldom seen. They are apparently simple-minded females, just a trifle
shame-faced in their demeanor before a stranger, sitting apart by
themselves while listening to the conversation between myself and the
men. This, of course, is very edifying, even apart from its pantomimic
and monosyllabic character, for I am now among a queer people, a people
through the unoccupied chambers of whose unsophisticated minds wander
strange, fantastic thoughts. One of the transient horsemen, a contemplative
young man, the promising appearance of whose upper lip proclaims him
something over twenty, announces that he likewise is on the way to Yuzgat;
and after listening attentively to my explanations of how a wheelman
climbs mountains and overcomes stretches of bad road, he solemnly inquires
whether a 'cycler could scurry up a mountain slope all right if some one
were to follow behind and touch him up occasionally with a whip, in the
persuasive manner required in driving a horse. He then produces a rawhide
"persuader," and ventures the opinion that if he followed close behind
me to Yuzgat, and touched me up smartly with it whenever we came to a
mountain, or a sandy road, there would be no necessity of trundling any
of the way. He then asks, with the innocent simplicity of a child, whether
in case he made the experiment, I would get angry and shoot him.

The other transient appears of a more speculative turn of mind, and draws
largely upon his own pantomimic powers and my limited knowledge of
Turkish, to ascertain the difference between the katch lira of a bicycle
at retail, and the hatch lira of its manufacture. From the amount of
mental labor he voluntarily inflicts upon himself to acquire this
particular item of information, I apprehend that nothing less than wild
visions of acquiring a rapid fortune by starting a bicycle factory at
Angora, are flitting through his imaginative mind. The villagers themselves
seem to consider me chiefly from the standpoint of their own peculiar
ideas concerning the nature of an Englishman's feelings toward a Russian.
My performance on the roof has put them in the best of humor, and has
evidently whetted their appetites for further amusement. Pointing to a
stolid-looking individual, of an apparently taciturn disposition, and
who is one of the respectably-dressed few, they accuse him of being a
Eussiau; and then all eyes are turned towards me, as though they quite
expect to see me rise up wrathfully and make some warlike demonstration
against him. My undemonstrative disposition forbids so theatrical a
proceeding, however, and I confine myself to making a pretence of falling
into the trap, casting furtive glances of suspicion towards the supposed
hated subject of the Czar, and making whispered inquiries of my immediate
neighbors concerning the nature of his mission in Turkish territory.
During this interesting comedy the "audience" are fairly shaking in
their rags with suppressed merriment; and when the taciturn individual
himself - who has thus far retained his habitual self-composure - growing
restive under the hateful imputation of being a Muscov and my supposed
bellicose sentiments toward him in consequence, finally repudiates the
part thus summarily assigned him, the whole company bursts out into a
boisterous roar of laughter. At this happy turn of sentiment I assume
an air of intense relief, shake the taciturn man's hand, and, borrowing
the speculative transient's fez, proclaim myself a Turk, an act that
fairly "brings down the house."

Thus the evening passes merrily away until about ten o'clock, when the
people begin to slowly disperse to the roofs of their respective
habitations, the whole population sleeping on the house-tops, with no
roof over them save the star-spangled vault - the arched dome of the great
mosque of the universe, so often adorned with the pale yellow, crescent-shaped
emblem of their religion. Several families occupy the roof which has
been the theatre of the evening's social gathering, and the men now
consign me to a comfortable couch made up of several quilts, one of the
transients thoughtfully cautioning me to put my moccasins under my pillow,
as these articles were the object of almost universal covetousness during
the evening. No sooner am I comfortably settled down, than a wordy warfare
breaks out in my immediate vicinity, and an ancient female makes a
determined dash at my coverlet, with the object of taking forcible
possession; but she is seized and unceremoniously hustled away by the
men who assigned me my quarters. It appears that, with an eye singly and
disinterestedly to my own comfort, and regardless of anybody else's,
they have, without taking the trouble to obtain her consent, appropriated
to my use the old lady's bed, leaving her to shift for herself any way
she can, a high-handed proceeding that naturally enough arouses her
virtuous indignation to the pitch of resentment. Upon this fact occurring
to me, I of course immediately vacate the property in dispute, and, with
true Western gallantry, arraign myself on the rightful owner's side by
carrying my wheel and other effects to another position; whereupon a
satisfactory compromise is soon arranged between the disputants, by which
another bed ia prepared for me, and the ancient dame takes triumphant
possession of her own. Peace and tranquillity being thus established on
a firm basis, the several families tenanting our roof settle themselves
snugly down. The night is still and calm, and naught is heard save my
nearer neighbors' scratching, scratching, scratching. This - not the
scratching, but the quietness - doesn't last long, however, for it is
customary to collect all the four-footed possessions of the village
together every night and permit them to occupy the inter-spaces between
the houses, while the humans are occupying the roofs, the horde of watch-
dogs being depended upon to keep watch and ward over everything. The
hovels are more underground than above the surface, and often, when the
village occupies sloping ground, the upper edge of the roof is practically
but a continuation of the solid ground, or at the most there is but a
single step-up between them. The goats are of course permitted to wander
whithersoever they will, and equally, of course, they abuse their
privileges by preferring the roofs to the ground and wandering incessantly
about among the sleepers. Where the roof comes too near the ground some
temporary obstruction is erected, to guard against the intrusion of
venturesome buffaloes. No sooner have the humans quieted down, than
several goats promptly invade the roof, and commence their usual nocturnal
promenade among the prostrate forms of their owners, and further indulge
their well-known goatish propensities by nibbling away the edges of the
roof. (They would, of course, prefer a square meal off a patchwork quilt,
but from their earliest infancy they are taught that meddling with the
bedclothes will bring severe punishment.) A buffalo occasionally gives
utterance to a solemn, prolonged " m-o-o-o;" now and then a baby wails
its infantile disapproval of the fleas, and frequent noisy squabbles
occur among the dogs. Under these conditions, it is not surprising that
one should woo in vain the drowsy goddess; and near midnight some person
within a few yards of my couch begins groaning fearfully, as if in great
pain - probably a case of the stomach-ache, I mentally conclude, though
this hasty conclusion may not unnaturally result from an inner consciousness
of being better equipped for curing that particular affliction than any
other. From the position of the sufferer, I am inclined to think it is
the same ancient party that ousted me out of her possessions two hours
ago, and I lay here as far removed from the realms of unconsciousness
as the moment I retired, expecting every minute to see her appear before
me in a penitential mood, asking me to cure her, for the inevitable hakim
question had been raised during the evening. She doesn't present herself,
however; perhaps the self-accusations of her conscience, for having in
the moment of her wrath attempted to appropriate my coverlet in so rude
a manner, prevent her appealing to me now in the hour of distress. These
people are early risers; the women are up milking the goats and buffaloes
before daybreak, and the men hieing them away to the harvest fields and
threshing-floors. I, likewise, bestir myself at daylight, intending to
reach the next village before breakfast.

CHAPTER XIV.

ACROSS THE KIZIL IRMAK RIVER TO YUZGAT.

The country continues much the same as yesterday, with the road indifferent
for wheeling. Reaching the expected village about eight o'clock, I
breakfast off ekmek and new buffalo milk, and at once continue on my
way, meeting nothing particularly interesting, save a lively bout
occasionally with goat-herds' dogs - the reminiscences of which are doubtless
more vividly interesting to myself than they would be to the reader - until
high noon, when I arrive at another village, larger, but equally wretched-
looking, on the Kizil Irmak River, called Jas-chi-khan. On the west bank
of the stream are some ancient ruins of quite massive architecture, and
standing on the opposite side of the road, evidently having some time
been removed from the ruins with a view to being transported elsewhere,
is a couchant lion of heroic proportions, carved out of a solid block
of white marble; the head is gone, as though its would-be possessors,
having found it beyond their power to transport the whole animal, have
made off with what they could. An old and curiously arched bridge of
massive rock spans the river near its entrance to a wild, rocky gorge
in the mountains; a primitive grist mill occupies a position to the left,
near the entrance to the gorge, and a herd of camels are slaking their
thirst or grazing near the water's edge to the right - a genuine Eastern
picture, surely, and one not to be seen every day, even in the land where
to see it occasionally is quite possible.

Riding into Jas-chi-khan, I dismount at a building which, from the
presence of several "do-nothings," I take to be a khan for the accommodation
of travellers. In a partially open shed-like apartment are a number of
demure looking maidens, industriously employed in weaving carpets by
hand on a rude, upright frame, while two others, equally demure-looking,
are seated on the ground cracking wheat for pillau, wheat being substituted
for rice where the latter is not easily obtainable, or is too expensive.
Waiving all considerations of whether I am welcome or not, I at once
enter this abode of female industry, and after watching the interesting
process of carpet-weaving for some minutes, turn my attention to the
preparers of cracked wheat. The process is the same primitive one that
has been employed among these people from time immemorial, and the same
that is referred to in the passage of Scripture which says: "Two women
were grinding corn in the field;" it consists of a small upper and nether
millstone, the upper one being turned round by two women sitting facing
each other; they both take hold of a perpendicular wooden handle with
one hand, employing the other to feed the mill and rake away the cracked
grain. These two young women have evidently been very industrious this
morning; they have half-buried themselves in the product of their labors,
and are still grinding away as though for their very lives, while the
constant "click-clack " of the carpet weavers prove them likewise the
embodiment of industry. They seem rather disconcerted by the abrupt
intrusion and scrutinizing attentions of a Frank and a stranger; however,
the fascinating search for bits of interesting experience forbids my
retirement on that account, but rather urges me to make the most
of fleeting opportunities. Picking up a handful of the cracked wheat, I
inquire of one of the maidens if it is for pillau; the maiden blushes
at being thus directly addressed, and with downcast eyes vouchsafes an
affirmative nod in reply; at the same time an observant eye happens to
discover a little brown big-toe peeping out of the heap of wheat, and
belonging to the same demure maiden with the downcast eyes. I know full
well that I am stretching a point of Mohammedan etiquette, even by coming
among these industrious damsels in the manner I am doing, but the attention
of the men is fully concentrated on the bicycle outside, and the
temptation of trying the experiment of a little jocularity, just to see
what comes of it, is under the circumstances irresistible. Conscious of
venturing where angels fear to tread. I stoop down, and take hold of the
peeping little brown big-toe, and addressing the demure maiden with the
downcast eyes, inquire, "Is this also for pillau." This proves entirely
too much for the risibilities of the industrious pillau grinders, and
letting go the handle of the mill, they both give themselves up to
uncontrollable laughter; the carpet-weavers have been watching me out
of the corners of their bright, black eyes, and catching the infection,
the click clack of the carpet-weaving machines instantly ceases, and
several of the weavers hurriedly retreat into an adjoining room to avoid
the awful and well-nigh unheard-of indiscretion of laughing in the
presence of a stranger. Having thus yielded to the temptation and witnessed
the results, I discreetly retire, meeting at the entrance a gray-bearded
Turk coming to see what the merriment and the unaccountable stopping of
the carpet-weaving frames is all about. A sheep has been slaughtered in
Jas-chi-khan this morning, and I obtain a nice piece of mutton, which I
hand to a bystander, asking him to go somewhere and cook it; in five
minutes he returns with the meat burnt black outside and perfectly raw
within. Seeing my evident disapproval of its condition, the same ancient
person who recently appeared upon the scene of my jocular experiment and
who has now squatted himself down close beside me, probably to make sure
against any further indiscretions, takes the meat, slashes it across in
several directions with his dagger, orders the afore-mentioned bystander
to try it over again, and then coolly wipes his blackened and greasy
fingers on my sheet of ekmek as though it were a table napkin. I obtain
a few mouthfuls of eatable meat from the bystander's second culinary
effort, and then buy a water-melon from a man happening along with a
laden donkey; cutting iuto the melon I find it perfectly green all
through, and toss it away; the men look surprised, and some youngsters
straightway pick it up, eat the inside out until they can scoop out no
more, and then, breaking the rind in pieces, they scrape it out with
their teeth until it is of egg-shell thinness. They seem to do these
things with impunity in Asia.

The grade and the wind are united against me on leaving Jas-chi-khan,
but it is ridable, and having made such a dismal failure about getting
dinner, I push on toward a green area at the base of a rocky mountain
spur, which I observed an hour ago from a point some distance west of
the Kizil Irmak, and concluded to be a cluster of vineyards. This
conjecture turns out quite correct, and, what is more, my experience
upon arriving there would seem to indicate that the good genii detailed
to arrange the daily programme of my journey had determined to recompense
me to-day for having seen nothing of the feminine world of late but
yashmaks and shrouds, and momentary monocular evidence; for here again
am I thrown into the society of a bevy of maidens, more interesting, if
anything, than the nymphs of industry at Jas-chi-khan. There is apparently
some festive occasion at the little vineyard-environed village, which
stands back a hundred yards or so from the road, and which ia approached
by a narrow foot-way between thrifty-looking vineyards. Three blooming
damsels, in all the bravery of holiday attire, with necklaces and pendants
of jingling coins to distinguish them from the matrons, come hurrying
down the pathway toward the road at my approach. Seeing me dismount,
upon arriving opposite the village, the handsomest and gayest dressed
of the three goes into one of the vineyards, and with charming grace of
manner, presents herself before me with both hands overflowing with
bunches of luscious black grapes. Their abundant black tresses are
gathered in one long plait behind; they wear bracelets, necklaces,
pendants, brow-bands, head ornaments, and all sorts of wonderful articles
of jewelry, made out of the common silver and metallic coins of the
country; they are small of stature and possess oval faces, large black eyes,
and warm, dark complexions. Their manner and dress prove rather a puzzle
in determining their nationality; they are not Turkish, nor Greek, nor
Armenian, nor Circassian; they may possibly be sedentary Turkomans; but
they possess rather a Jewish cast of countenance, and my first impression
of them is, that they are "Bible people," the original inhabitants of the
country, who have somehow managed to cling to their little possessions here,
in spite of Greeks, Turks, and Persians, and other conquering races who
have at times overrun the country; perhaps they have softened the hearts of
everybody undertaking to oust them by their graceful manners.

Other villagers soon collect, making a picturesque and interesting group
around the bicycle; but the maiden with the grapes makes too pretty and
complete a picture, for any of the others to attract more than passing
notice. One of her two companions whisperingly calls her attention to
the plainly evident fact that she is being regarded with admiration by
the stranger. She blushes perceptibly through her nut-brown cheeks at
hearing this, but she is also quite conscious of her claims to admiration,
and likes to be admired; so she neither changes her attitude of respectful
grace, nor raises her long drooping eyelashes, while I eat and eat grapes,
taking them bunch after bunch from her overflowing hands, until ashamed
to eat any more. I confess to almost falling in love with that maiden,
her manners were so easy and graceful; and when, with ever-downcast eyes
and a bewitching manner that leaves not the slightest room for considering
the doing so a bold or forward action, she puts the remainder of the
grapes in my coat pockets, a peculiar fluttering sensation - but I draw a
veil over my feelings, they are too sacred for the garish pages of a
book. I do not inquire about their nationality, I would rather it remain
a mystery, and a matter for future conjecture; but before leaving I add
something to her already conspicuous array of coins that have been
increasing since her birth, and which will form her modest dowry at
marriage. The road continues of excellent surface, but rather hilly for
a few miles, when it descends into the Valley of the Delijeh Irmak, where
the artificial highway again deteriorates into the unpacked condition
of yesterday; the donkey trails are shallow trenches of dust, and are
no longer to be depended upon as keeping my general course, but are
rather cross-country trails leading from one mountain village to another.
The well-defined caravan trail leading from Ismidt to Angora comes no
farther eastward than the latter city, which is the central point where
the one exportable commodity of the vilayet is collected for barter and
transportation to the seaboard. The Delijeh Irmak Valley is under partial
cultivation, and occasionally one passes through small areas of melon
gardens far away from any permanent habitations; temporary huts or dug-
outs are, however, an invariable adjunct to these isolated possession
of the villagers, in which some one resides day and night during the
melon season, guarding their property with gun and dog from unscrupulous
wayfarers, who otherwise would not hesitate to make their visit to town
profitable as well as pleasurable, by surreptitiously confiscating a
donkey-load of salable melons from their neighbor's roadside garden.
Sometimes I essay to purchase a musk-melon from these lone sentinels,
but it is impossible to obtain one fit to eat; these wretched prayers
on Nature's bounty evidently pluck and devour them the moment they develop
from the bitterness of their earliest growth. No villages are passed on
the road after leaving the vintagers' cluster at noon, but bunches of
mud hovels are at intervals descried a few miles to the right, perched
among the hills that form the southern boundary of the valley; being of
the same color as the general surface about them, they are not easily
distinguishable at a distance. There seems to be a decided propensity
among the natives for choosing the hills as an habitation, even when
their arable lands are miles away in the valley; the salubrity of the
more elevated location may be the chief consideration, but a swiftly
flowing mountain rivulet near his habitation is to the Mohammedan a
source of perpetual satisfaction.

I travel along for some time after nightfall, in hopes of reaching a
village, but none appearing, I finally decide to camp out. Choosing a
position behind a convenient knoll, I pitch the tent where it will bo
invisible from the road, using stones in lieu of tent-pegs; and inhabiting
for the first time this unique contrivance, I sup off the grapes remaining
over from the bountiful feast at noon-and, being without any covering,
stretch myself without undressing beside the upturned bicycle; notwithstanding
the gentle reminders of unsatisfied hunger, I am enjoying the legitimate
reward of constant exercise in the open air ten minutes after pitching
the tent. Soon after midnight I am awakened by the chilly influence of
the "wee sma' hours," and recognizing the likelihood of the tent proving
more beneficial as a coverlet than a roof, in the absence of rain, I
take it down and roll myself up in it; the thin, oiled cambric is far
from being a blanket, however, and at daybreak the bicycle and everything
is drenched with one of the heavy dews of the country. Ten miles over
an indifferent road is traversed next morning; the comfortless reflection
that anything like a "square meal" seems out of the question anywhere
between the larger towns scarcely tends to exert a soothing influence
on the ravenous attacks of a most awful appetite; and I am beginning to
think seriously of making a detour of several miles to reach a mountain
village, when I meet a party of three horsemen, a Turkish Bey - with an
escort of two zaptiehs. I am trundling at the time, and without a moment's
hesitancy I make a dead set at the Bey, with the single object of
satisfying to some extent my gastronomic requirements.

"Bey Effendi, have you any ekmek?" I ask, pointing inquiringly to his
saddle-bags on a zaptieh's horse, and at the same time giving him to
understand by impressive pantomime the uncontrollable condition of my
appetite. With what seems to me, under the circumstances, simply cold-
blooded indifference to human suffering; the Bey ignores my inquiry
altogether, and concentrating his whole attention on the bicycle, asks,
"What is that?" "An Americanish araba, Effendi; have you any ekmek ?"
toying suggestively with the tell-tale slack of my revolver belt.

"Where have you come from?" "Stamboul; have you ekmek in the saddle-
bags, Effendi." this time boldly beckoning the zaplieh with the Bey's
effects to approach nearer.

"Where are you going?" "Yuzgat! ekmek! ekmek!" tapping the saddle-bags
in quite an imperative manner. This does not make any outward impression
upon the Bey's aggravating imperturbability, however; he is not so
indifferent to my side of the question as he pretends; aware of his
inability to supply my want, and afraid that a negative answer would
hasten my departure before he has fully satisfied his curiosity concerning
me, he is playing a. little game of diplomacy in his own interests.

"What is it for." he now asks, with soul-harrowing indifference to all
my counter inquiries." To bin," I reply, desperately, curt and indifferent,
beginning to see through his game. " Bin, bin! bacalem." he says;
supplementing the request with a coaxing smile. At the same moment my
long-suffering digestive apparatus favors me with an unusually savage
reminder, and nettled beyond the point where forbearance ceases to be
any longer a virtue, I return an answer not exactly complimentary to the
Bey's ancestors, and continue my hungry way down the valley. A couple
of miles after leaving the Bey, I intercept a party of peasants traversing
a cross-country trail, with a number of pack-donkeys loaded with rock-salt,
from whom I am fortunately able to obtain several thin sheets of ekmek,
which I sit down and devour immediately, without even water to moisten
the repast; it seems one of the most tasteful and soul-satisfying
breakfasts I ever ate.

Like misfortunes, blessings never seem to come singly, for, an hour after
thus breaking my fast I happen upon a party of villagers working on an
unfinished portion of the new road; some of them are eating their morning
meal of ekmek and yaort, and no sooner do I appear upon the scene than
I am straightway invited to partake, a seat in the ragged circle congregated
around the large bowl of clabbered milk being especially prepared with
a bunch of pulled grass for my benefit. The eager hospitality of these
poor villagers is really touching; they are working without so much as
"thank you" for payment, there is not a garment amongst the gang fit
for a human covering; their unvarying daily fare is the "blotting-paper
ekmek" and yaort, with a melon or a cucumber occasionally as a luxury;
yet, the moment I approach, they assign me a place at their "table,"
and two of them immediately bestir themselves to make me a comfortable
seat. Neither is there so much as a mercenary thought among them in
connection with the invitation; these poor fellows, whose scant rags it
would be a farce to call clothing, actually betray embarrassment at the
barest mention of compensation; they fill my pockets with bread, apologize
for the absence of coffee, and compare the quality of their respective
pouches of native tobacco in order to make me a decent cigarette.

Never, surely, was the reputation of Dame Fortune for fickleness so
completely proved as in her treatment of me this morning - ten o'clock
finds me seated on a pile of rugs in a capacious black tent, "wrassling"
with a huge bowl of savory mutton pillau, flavored with green herbs, as
the guest of a Koordish sheikh; shortly afterwards I meet a man taking
a donkey-load of musk-melons to the Koordish camp, who insists on
presenting me with the finest melon I have tasted since leaving
Constantinople; and high noon finds me the guest of another Koordish
sheikh; thus does a morning, which commenced with a fair prospect of no
breakfast, following after yesterday's scant supply of unsuitable food,
end in more hospitality than I know what to do with. These nomad tribes
of the famous "black-tents " wander up toward Angora every summer with
their flocks, in order to be near a market at shearing time; they are
famed far and wide for their hospitality. Upon approaching the great
open-faced tent of the Sheikh, there is a hurrying movement among the
attendants to prepare a suitable raised seat, for they know at a glance
that I am an Englishman, and likewise are aware that an Englishman cannot
sit cross-legged like an Asiatic; at first, I am rather surprised at
their evident ready recognition of my nationality, but I soon afterwards
discover the reason. A hugh bowl of pillau, and another of excellent
yaort is placed before me without asking any questions, while the dignified
old Sheikh fulfils one's idea of a gray-bearded nomad patriarch to
perfection, as he sits cross legged on a rug, solemnly smoking a nargileh,
and watching to see that no letter of his generous code of hospitality
toward strangers is overlooked by the attendants. These latter seem to
be the picked young men of the tribe; fine, strapping fellows, well-dresed,
six-footers, and of athletic proportions; perfect specimens of semi-
civilized manhood, that would seem better employed in a grenadier regiment
than in hovering about the old Sheikh's tent, attending to the filling
and lighting of his nargileh, the arranging of his cushions by day and
his bed at night, the serving of his food, and the proper reception of
his guests; and yet it is an interesting sight to see these splendid
young fellows waiting upon their beloved old chieftain, fairly bounding,
like great affectionate mastiffs, at his merest look or suggestion. Most
of the boys and young men are out with the flocks, but the older men,
the women and children, gather in a curious crowd before the open tent;
they maintain a respectful silence so long as I am their Sheikh's guest,
but they gather about me without reserve when I leave the hospitable
shelter of that respected person's quarters. After examining my helmet
and sizing up my general appearance, they pronounce me an "English
zaptieh," a distinction for which I am indebted to the circumstance of
Col. N--, an English officer, having recently been engaged in Koordistan
organizing a force of native zaptiehs. The women of this particular camp
seem, on the whole, rather unprepossessing specimens; some of them are
hooked-nosed old hags, with piercing black eyes, and hair dyed to a
flaming "carrotty" hue with henna; this latter is supposed to render
them beautiful, and enhance their personal appearance in the eyes of the
men; they need something to enhance their personal appearance, certainly,
but to the untutored and inartistic eye of the writer it produces a
horrid, unnatural effect. According to our ideas, flaming red hair looks
uncanny and of vulgar, uneducated taste, when associated with coal-black
eyes and a complexion like gathering darkness. These vain mortals seem
inclined to think that in me they have discovered something to be petted
and made much of, treating me pretty much as a troop of affectionate
little girls - would treat a wandering kitten that might unexpectedly
appear in their midst. Giddy young things of about fifty summers cluster
around me in a compact body, examining my clothes from helmet to moccasins,
and critically feeling the texture of my coat and shirt, they take off
my helmet, reach over each other's shoulders to stroke my hair, and pat
my cheeks in the most affectionate manner; meanwhile expressing themselves
in soft, purring comments, that require no linguistic abilities to
interpret into such endearing remarks as, "Ain't he a darling, though?"
"What nice soft hair and pretty blue eyes." "Don't you wish the
dear old Sheikh would let us keep him. "Considering the source whence
it comes, it requires very little of this to satisfy one, and as soon
as I can prevail upon them to let me escape, I mount and wheel away,
several huge dogs escorting me, for some minutes, in the peculiar manner
Koordish dogs have of escorting stray 'cyclers.

CHAPTER XV.

FROM THE KOORDISH CAMP TO YUZGAT.

>From the Koordish encampment my route leads over a low mountain spur by
easy gradients, and by a winding, unridable trail down into the valley
of the eastern fork of the Delijah Irmak. The road improves as this
valley is reached, and noon finds me the wonder and admiration of another
Koordish camp, where I remain a couple of hours in deference to the
powers of the midday sun. One has no scruples about partaking of the
hospitality of the nomad Koords, for they are the wealthiest people in
the country, their flocks covering the hills in many localities; they
are, as a general thing, fairly well dressed, are cleaner in their cooking
than the villagers, and hospitable to the last degree. Like the rest of
us, however, they have their faults as well as their virtues; they are
born freebooters, and in unsettled times, when the Turkish Government,
being handicapped by weightier considerations, is compelled to relax its
control over them, they seldom fail to promptly respond to their plundering
instincts and make no end of trouble. They still retain their hospitableness,
but after making a traveller their guest for the night, and allowing him
to depart with everything he has, they will intercept him on the road
and rob him. They have some objectionable habits, even in these peaceful
times, which will better appear when we reach their own Koordistan, where
we shall, doubtless, have better opportunities for criticising them.
Whatever their faults or virtues, I leave this camp, hoping that the
termination of the day may find me the guest of another sheikh for the
night An hour after leaving this camp I pass through an area of vineyards,
out of which people come running with as many grapes among them as would
feed a dozen people; the road is ridable, and I hurry along to avoid
their bother. Verily it would seem that I am being hounded down by
retributive justice for sundry evil thoughts and impatient remarks,
associated with my hungry experiences of early morning; then I was
wondering where the next mouthful of food was going to overtake me, this
afternoon finds me pedalling determinedly to prevent being overtaken by
it.

The afternoon is hot and with scarcely a breath of air moving; the little
valley terminates in a region of barren, red hills, on which the sun
glares fiercely; some toughish climbing has to be accomplished in scaling
a ridge, and then. I emerge into an upland lava plateau, where the only
vegetation is sun-dried weeds and thistles. Here a herd of camels are
contentedly browsing, munching the dry, thorny herbage with a satisfaction
that is evident a mile away. From casual observations along the route,
I am inclined to think a camel not far behind a goat in the depravity
of its appetite; a camel will wander uneasily about over a greensward
of moist, succulent grass, scanning his surroundings in search of giant
thistles, frost-bitten tumble-weeds, tough, spriggy camel thorns, and
odds and ends of unpalatable vegetation generally. Of course, the "ship
of the desert" never sinks to such total depravity as to hanker after
old gum overshoes and circus posters, but if permitted to forage around
human habitations for a few generations, I think they would eventually
degenerate to the goat's disreputable level. The expression of utter
astonishment that overspreads the angular countenance of the camels
browsing near the roadside, at my appearance, is one of the most ludicrous
sights imaginable; they seem quite intelligent enough to recognize in a
wheelman and his steed something inexplicable and foreign to their
country, and their look of timid inquiry seems ridiculously unsuited to
their size and the general ungainliness of their appearance, producing
a comical effect that is worth going miles to see. It is approaching
sun-down, when, ascending a ridge overlooking another valley, I am
gratified at seeing it occupied by several Koordish camps, their clusters
of black tents being a conspicuous feature of the landscape. With a fair
prospect of hospitable quarters for the night before me, and there being
no distinguishable signs of a road, I make my way across country toward
one of the camps that seems to be nearest my proper course. I have arrived
within a mile of my objective point, when I observe, at the base of a
mountain about half the distance to my right, a large, white two-storied
building, the most pretentious structure, by long odds, that has been
seen since leaving Angora. My curiosity is, of course, aroused concerning
its probable character; it looks like a bit of civilization that has in
some unaccountable manner found its way to a region where no other human
habitations are visible, save the tents of wild tribesmen, and I at once
shape my course toward it. It turns out to be a rock-salt mine or quarry,
that supplies the whole region for scores of miles around with salt,
rock-salt being the only kind obtainable in the country; it was from
this mine that the donkey party from whom I first obtained bread this
morning fetched their loads. Here I am invited to remain over night, am
provided with a substantial supper, the menu including boiled mutton,
with cucumbers for desert. The managers and employees of the, quarry
make their cucumbers tasteful by rubbing the end with a piece of rock-salt
each time it is cut off or bitten, each person keeping a select little
square for the purpose. The salt is sold at the mine, and owners of
transportation facilities in the shape of pack animals make money by
purchasing it here at six paras an oke, and selling it at a profit in
distant towns.

Two young men seem to have charge of transacting the business; one of
them is inordinately inquisitive, he even wants to try and unstick the
envelope containing a letter of introduction to Mr. Tifticjeeoghlou's
father in Yuzgat, and read it out of pure curiosity to see what it says;
and he offers me a lira for my Waterbury watch, notwithstanding its Alla
Franga face is beyond his Turkish comprehension. The loud, confident
tone in which the Waterbury ticks impresses the natives very favorably
toward it, and the fact of its not opening at the back like other time-
pieces, creates the impression that it is a watch that never gets cranky
and out of order; quite different from the ones they carry, since their
curiosity leads them to be always fooling with the works. American clocks
are found all through Asia Minor, fitted with Oriental faces and there
is little doubt but the Waterbury, with its resonant tick, if similiarly
prepared, would find here a ready market. The other branch of the
managerial staff is a specimen of humanity peculiarly Asiatic Turkish,
a melancholy-faced, contemplative person, who spends nearly the whole
evening in gazing in silent wonder at me and the bicycle; now and then
giving expression to his utter inability to understand how such things
can possibly be by shaking his head and giving utterance to a peculiar
clucking of astonishment. He has heard me mention having come from
Stamboul, which satisfies him to a certain extent; for, like a true Turk,
he believes that at Stamboul all wonderful things originate; whether the
bicycle was made there, or whether it originally came from somewhere
else, doesn't seem to enter into his speculations; the simple knowledge
that I have come from Stamboul is all-sufficient for him; so far as he
is concerned, the bicycle is simply another wonder from Stamboul, another
proof that the earthly paradise of the Mussulman world on the Bosphorus
is all that he has been taught to believe it. When the contemplative
young man ventures away from the dreamy realms of his own imaginations,
and from the society of his inmost thoughts, far enough to make a remark,
it is to ask me something about Stamboul; but being naturally taciturn
and retiring, and moreover, anything but an adept at pantomimic language,
he prefers mainly to draw his own conclusions in silence. He manages to
make me understand, however, that he intends before long making a journey
to see Stamboul for himself; like many another Turk from the barren hills
of the interior, he will visit the Ottoman capital; he will recite from
the Koran under the glorious mosaic dome of St. Sophia; wander about
that wonder of the Orient, the Stamboul bazaar; gaze for hours on the
matchless beauties of the Bosphorus ; ride on one of the steamboats; see
the railway, the tramway, the Sultan's palaces, and the shipping, and
return to his native hills thoroughly convinced that in all the world
there is no place fit to be compared with Stamboul; no place so full of
wonders; no place so beautiful; and wondering how even the land of the
kara ghuz kiz, the material paradise of the Mohammedans, can possibly
be more lovely. The contemplative young man is tall and slender, has
large, dreamy, black eyes, a downy upper lip, a melancholy cast of
countenance, and wears a long print wrapper of neat dotted pattern,
gathered at the waist with a girdle a la dressing-gown.

The inquisitive partner makes me up a comfortable bed of quilts on the
divan of a large room, which is also occupied by several salt traders
remaining over night, and into which their own small private apartments
open. A few minutes after they have retired to their respective rooms,
the contemplative young man reappears with silent tread, and with a
scornful glance at my surroundings, both human and inanimate, gathers
up my loose effects, and bids me bring bicycle and everything into his
room; here, I find, he has already prepared for my reception quite a
downy couch, having contributed, among other comfortable things, his
wolf-skin overcoat; after seeing me comfortably established on a couch
more appropriate to my importance as a person recently from Stamboul
than the other, he takes a lingering look at the bicycle, shakes his
head and clucks, and then extinguishes the light. Sunrise on the following
morning finds me wheeling eastward from the salt quarry, over a trail
well worn by salt caravans, to Yuzgat; the road leads for some distance
down a grassy valley, covered with the flocks of the several Koordish
camps round about; the wild herdsmen come galloping from all directions
across the valley toward me, their uncivilized garb and long swords
giving them more the appearance of a ferocious gang of cut-throats
advancing to the attack than shepherds. Hitherto, nobody has seemed any
way inclined to attack me; I have almost wished somebody would undertake
a little devilment of some kind, for the sake of livening things up a
little, and making my narrative more stirring; after venturing everything,
I have so far nothing to tell but a story of being everywhere treated
with the greatest consideration, and much of the time even petted. I
have met armed men far away from any habitations, whose appearance was
equal to our most ferocious conception of bashi bazouks, and merely from
a disinclination to be bothered, perhaps being in a hurry at the time,
have met their curious inquiries with imperious gestures to be gone; and
have been guilty of really inconsiderate conduct on more than one occasion,
but under no considerations have I yet found them guilty of anything
worse than casting covetous glances at my effects. But there is an
apparent churlishness of manner, and an overbearing demeanor, as of men
chafing under the restraining influences that prevent them gratifying
their natural free-booting instincts, about these Koordish herdsmen whom
I encounter this morning, that forms quite a striking contrast to the
almost childlike harmlessness and universal respect toward me observed
in the disposition of the villagers. It requires no penetrating scrutiny
of these fellows' countenances to ascertain that nothing could be more
uncongenial to them than the state of affairs that prevents them stopping
ine and looting me of everything I possess; a couple of them order me
quite imperatively to make a detour from my road to avoid approaching
too near their flock of sheep, and their general behavior is pretty much
as though seeking to draw me into a quarrel, that would afford them an
opportunity of plundering me. Continuing on the even tenor of my way,
affecting a lofty unconsciousness of their existence, and wondering
whether, in case of being molested, it would be advisable to use my Smith
& Wesson in defending my effects, or taking the advice received in
Constantinople, offer no resistance whatever, and trust to being able
to recover them through the authorities, I finally emerge from their
vicinity. Their behavior simply confirms what I have previously understood
of their character; that while they will invariably extend hospitable
treatment to a stranger visiting their camps, like unreliable explosives,
they require to be handled quite "gingerly" when encountered on the
road, to prevent disagreeable consequences.

Passing through a low, marshy district, peopled with solemn-looking
storks and croaking frogs, I meet a young sheikh and his personal
attendants returning from a morning's outing at their favorite sport of
hawking; they carry their falcons about on small perches, fastened by
the leg with a tiny chain. I try to induce them to make a flight, but
for some reason or other they refuse; an Osmanli Turk would have
accommodated me in a minute. Soon I arrive at another Koordish camp,
fording a stream in order to reach their tents, for I have not yet
breakfasted, and know full well that no better opportunity of obtaining
one will be likely to turn up. Entering the nearest tent, I make no
ceremony of calling for refreshments, knowing well enough that a heaping
dish of pillau will be forthcoming, and that the hospitable Koords will
regard the ordering of it as the most natural thing in the world. The
pillau is of rice, mutton, and green herbs, and is brought in a large
pewter dish; and, together with sheet bread and a bowl of excellent
yaort, is brought on a massive pewter tray, which has possibly belonged
to the tribe for centuries. These tents are divided into several
compartments; one end is a compartment where the men congregate in the
daytime, and the younger men sleep at night, and where guests are received
and entertained; the central space is the commissary and female industrial
department; the others are female and family sleeping places. Each
compartment is partitioned off with a hanging carpet partition; light
portable railing of small, upright willow sticks bound closely together
protects the central compartment from a horde of dogs hungrily nosing
about the camp, and small "coops" of the same material are usually
built inside as a further protection for bowls of milk, yaort, butter,
cheese, and cooked food; they also obtain fowls from the villagers, which
they keep cooped up in a similar manner, until the hapless prisoners are
required to fulfil their destiny in chicken pillau; the capacious covering
over all is strongly woven goats'-hair material of a black or smoky brown
color. In a wealthy tribe, the tent of their sheikh is often a capacious
affair, twenty-five by one hundred feet, containing, among other
compartments, stabling and hay-room for the sheikh's horses in winter.
My breakfast is brought in from the culinary department by a young woman
of most striking appearance, certainly not less than six feet in height;
she is of slender, willowy build, and straight as an arrow; a wealth of
auburn hair is surmounted by a small, gay-colored turban; her complexion
is fairer than common among Koordish woman, and her features are the
queenly features of a Juno; the eyes are brown and lustrous, and, were
the expression but of ordinary gentleness, the picture would be perfect;
but they are the round, wild-looking orbs of a newly-caged panther-
grimalkin eyes, that would, most assuredly, turn green and luminous in
the dark. Other women come to take a look at the stranger, gathering
around and staring at rne, while I eat, with all their eyes - and such
eyes. I never before saw such an array of "wild-animal eyes;" no, not
even in the Zoo. Many of them are magnificent types of womanhood in every
other respect, tall, queenly, and symmetrically perfect; but the eyes-oh,
those wild, tigress eyes. Travellers have told queer, queer stories about
bands of these wild-eyed Koordish women waylaying and capturing them on
the roads through Koordistan, and subjecting them to barbarous treatment.
I have smiled, and thought them merely "travellers' tales;" but I can
see plain enough, this morning, that there is no improbability in the
stories, for, from a dozen pairs of female eyes, behold, there gleams
not one single ray of tenderness: these women are capable of anything
that tigresses are capable of, beyond a doubt. Almost the first question
asked by the men of these camps is whether the English and Muscovs are
fighting; they have either heard of the present (summer of 1885) crisis
over the Afghan boundary question, or they imagine that the English and
Russians maintain a sort of desultory warfare all the time. When I tell
them that the Muscov is fenna (bad) they invariably express their approval
of the sentiment by eagerly calling each other's attention to my expression.
It is singular with what perfect faith and confidence these rude tribesmen
accept any statement I choose to make, and how eagerly they seem to dwell
on simple statements of facts that are known to every school-boy in
Christendom. I entertain them with my map, showing them the position
of Stamboul, Mecca, Erzeroum, and towns in their own Koordistan, which
they recognize joyfully as I call them by name. They are profoundly
impressed at the " extent of my knowledge," and some of the more deeply
impressed stoop down and reverently kiss Stamboul and Mecca, as I point
them out. While thus pleasantly engaged, an aged sheikh comes to the
tent and straightway begins "kicking up a blooming row" about me. It
seems that the others have been guilty of trespassing on the sheikh's
prerogative, in entertaining me themselves, instead of conducting me to
his own tent. After upbraiding them in unmeasured terms, he angrily
orders several of the younger men to make themselves beautifully scarce
forthwith. The culprits - some of them abundantly able to throw the old
fellow over their shoulders - instinctively obey; but they move off at a
snail's pace, with lowering brows, and muttering angry growls that betray
fully their untamed, intractable dispositions.

A two-hours' road experience among the constantly varying slopes of
rolling hills, and then comes a fertile valley, abounding in villages,
wheat-fields, orchards, and melon-gardens. These days I find it incumbent
on me to turn washer-woman occasionally, and, halting at the first little
stream in this valley, I take upon myself the onerous duties of Wall
Lung in Sacramento City, having for an interested and interesting audience
two evil-looking kleptomaniacs, buffalo-herders dressed in next to
nothing, who eye my garments drying on the bushes with lingering
covetousness. It is scarcely necessary to add that I watch them quite
as interestingly myself; for, while I pity the scantiness of their
wardrobe, I have nothing that I could possibly spare among mine. A network
of irrigating ditches, many of them overflowed, render this valley
difficult to traverse with a bicycle, and I reach a large village about
noon, myself and wheel plastered with mud, after traversing a, section
where the normal condition is three inches of dust.

Bread and grapes are obtained here, a light, airy dinner, that is seasoned
and made interesting by the unanimous worrying of the entire population.
Once I make a desperate effort to silence their clamorous importunities,
and obtain a little quiet, by attempting to ride over impossible ground,
and reap the well-merited reward of permitting my equanimity to be thus
disturbed in the shape of a header and a slightly-bent handle-bar. While
I am eating, the gazing-stock of a wondering, commenting crowd, a
respectably dressed man elbows his way through the compact mass of humans
around me, and announces himself as having fought under Osman Pasha at
Plevna. What this has to do with me is a puzzler; but the man himself,
and every Turk of patriotic age in the crowd, is evidently expecting to
see me make some demonstration of approval; so, not knowing what else
to do, I shake the man cordially by the hand, and modestly inform my
attentively listening audience that Osman Pasha and myself are brothers,
that Osman yielded only when the overwhelming numbers of the Muscovs
proved that it was his kismet to do so; and that the Russians would never
be permitted to occupy Constantinople; a statement, that probably makes
my simple auditors feel as though they were inheriting a new lease of
national life; anyhow, they seem not a little gratified at what I am
saying.

After this the people seem to find material for no end of amusement among
themselves, by contrasting the marifet of the bicycle with the marifet
of their creaking arabas, of which there seems to be quite a number in
this valley. They are used chiefly in harvesting, are roughly made, used,
and worn out in these mountain-environed valleys without ever going
beyond the hills that encompass them in on every side. From these villages
the people begin to evince an alarming disposition to follow me out some
distance on donkeys. This undesirable trait of their character is, of
course, easily counteracted by a short spurt, where spurting is possible,
but it is a soul-harrowing thing to trundle along a mile of unridable
road, in company with twenty importuning katir-jees, their diminutive
donkeys filling the air with suffocating clouds of dust. There is nothing
on all this mundane sphere that will so effectually subdue the proud,
haughty spirit of a wheelman, or that will so promptly and completely
snuff out his last flickering ray of dignity; it is one of the pleasantries
of 'cycling through a country where the people have been riding donkeys
and camels since the flood.

A few miles from the village I meet another candidate for medical
treatment; this time it is a woman, among a merry company of donkey-riders,
bound from Yuzgat to the salt-mines; they are laughing, singing, and
otherwise enjoying themselves, after the manner of a New England berrying
party. The woman's affliction, she says, is "fenna ghuz," which, it
appears, is the term used to denote ophthalmia, as well as the "evil-eye;"
but of course, not being a ghuz hakim, I can do nothing more than express
my sympathy. The fertile valley gradually contracts to a narrow, rocky
defile, leading up into a hilly region, and at five o'clock I reach
Tuzgat, a city claiming a population of thirty thousand, that is situated
in a depression among the mountains that can scarcely be called a valley.
I have been three and a half days making the one hundred and thirty miles
from Angora.

Everybody in Yuzgat knows Youvanaki Effendi Tifticjeeoghlou, to whom I
have brought a letter of introduction; and, shortly after reaching town,
I find myself comfortably installed on the cushioned divan of honor in
that worthy old gentleman's large reception room, while half a dozen
serving-men are almost knocking each other over in their anxiety to
furnish me coffee, vishnersu, cigarettes, etc. They seem determined upon
interpreting the slightest motion of my hand or head into some want which
I am unable to explain, and, fancying thus, they are constantly bobbing
up before me with all sorts of surprising things. Tevfik Bey, general
superintendent of the Eegie (a company having the monopoly of the tobacco
trade in Turkey, for which they pay the government a fixed sum per annum),
is also a guest of Tifticjeeoghlou Effendi's hospitable mansion, and he
at once despatches a messenger to his Yuzgat agent, Mr. G. O. Tchetchian,
a vivacious Greek, who speaks English quite fluently. After that gentleman's
arrival, we soon come to a more perfect understanding of each other all
round, and a very pleasant evening is spent in receiving crowds of
visitors in a ceremonious manner, in which I really seem to be holding
a sort of a levee, except that it is evening instead of morning. Open
door is kept for everybody, and mine host's retinue of pages and serving
men are kept pretty busy supplying coffee right and left; beggars in
their rags are even allowed to penetrate into the reception-room, to sip
a cup of coffee and take a curious peep at the Ingilisin and his wonderful
araba, the fame of which has spread like wildfire through the city. Mine
host himself is kept pretty well occupied in returning the salaams of
the more distinguished visitors, besides keeping his eye on the servants,
by way of keeping them well up to their task of dispensing coffee in a
manner satisfactory to his own liberal ideas of hospitality; but he
presides over all with a bearing of easy dignity that it is a pleasure
to witness. The street in front of the Tifticjeeoghlou residence is
swarmed with people next morning; keeping open house is, under the
circumstances, no longer practicable; the entrance gate has to be guarded,
and none permitted to enter but privileged persons. During the forenoon
the Caimacan and several officials call round and ask me to favor them
by riding along a smooth piece of road opposite the municipal konak;
as I intend remaining over here today, I enter no objections, and accompany
them forthwith. The rabble becomes wildly excited at seeing me emerge
with the bicycle, in company with the Caimacan and his staff, for they
know that their curiosity is probably on the eve of being gratified. It
proves no easy task to traverse the streets, for, like in all Oriental
cities, they are narrow, and are now jammed with people. Time and again
the Caimacan is compelled to supplement the exertions of an inadequate
force of zaptiehs with his authoritative voice, to keep down the excitement
and the wild shouts of "Bin bacalem! bin bacalem." (Hide, so that we
can see - an innovation on bin, bin, that has made itself manifest since
crossing the Kizil Irmak Kiver) that are raised, gradually swelling into
the tumultuous howl of a multitude. The uproar is deafening, and, long
before reaching the place, the Caimacan repents having brought me out.
As for myself, I certainly repent having come out, and have still better
reasons for doing so before reaching the safe retreat of Tifticjeeo-ghlou
Effendi's house, an hour afterward. The most that the inadequate squad
of zaptiehs present can do, when we arrive opposite the muncipal konak,
is to keep the crowd from pressing forward and overwhelming me and the
bicycle. They attempt to keep open a narrow passage through the surging
sea of humans blocking the street, for me to ride down; but ten yards
ahead the lane terminates in a mass of fez-crowned heads. Under the
impression that one can mount a bicycle on the stand, like mounting a
horse, the Caimacan asks me to mount, saying that when the people see
me mounted and ready to start, they will themselves yield a passage-way.
Seeing the utter futility of attempting explanations under existing
conditions, amid the defeaning clamor of " Bin bacalem! bin bacalem '"
I mount and slowly pedal along a crooked "fissure" in the compact mass
of people, which the zaptiehs manage to create by frantically flogging
right and left before me. Gaining, at length, more open ground, and the
smooth road continuing on, I speed away from the multitude, and the
Caimacan sends one fleet-footed zaptieh after me, with instructions to
pilot me back to Tifticjeeoghlou's by a roundabout way, so as to avoid
returning through the crowds. The rabble are not to be so easily deceived
and shook off as the Caimacan thinks, however; by taking various short
cuts, they manage to intercept us, and, as though considering the having
detected and overtaken us in attempting to elude them, justifies them
in taking liberties, their "Bin bacalem!" now develops into the imperious
cry of a domineering majority, determined upon doing pretty much as they
please. It is the worst mob I have seen on the journey, so far; excitement
runs high, and their shouts of "Bin bacalem!" can, most assuredly, be
heard for miles. We are enveloped by clouds of dust, raised by the feet
of the multitude; the hot sun glares down savagely upon us; the poor
zaptieh, in heavy top-boots and a brand-new uniform, heavy enough for
winter, works like a beaver to protect the bicycle, until, with perspiration
and dust, his face is streaked and tattooed like a South Sea Islander's.
Unable to proceed, we come to a stand-still, and simply occupy ourselves
in protecting the bicycle from the crush, and reasoning. with the mob;
but the only satisfaction we obtain in reply to anything we say is " Bin
bacalem." One or two pig-headed, obstreperous young men near us, emboldened
by our apparent helplessness, persist in handling the bicycle. After
being pushed away several times, one of them even assumes a menacing
attitude toward me the last time I thrust his meddlesome hand away. Under
such circumstances retributive justice, prompt and impressive, is the
only politic course to pursue; so, leaving the bicycle to the zaptieh a
moment, in the absence of a stick, I feel justified in favoring the
culprit with, a brief, pointed lesson in the noble art of self-defence,
the first boxing lesson ever given in Tuzgat. In a Western mob this would
have been anything but an act of discretion, probably, but with these
people it has a salutary effect; the idea of attempting retaliation is
the farthest of anything from their thoughts, and in all the obstreperous
crowd there is, perhaps, not one but what is quite delighted at either
seeing or hearing of me having thus chastised one of their number, and
involuntarily thanks Allah that it didn't happen to be himself. It would
be useless to attempt a description of how we finally managed, by the
assistance of two more zaptiehs, to get back to Tifticjeeoghlou Effendi's,
both myself and the zaptieh simply unrecognizable from dust and perspiration.
The zaptieh, having first washed the streaks and tattooing off his face,
now presents himself, with the broad, honest smile of one who knows he
well deserves what he is asking for, and says, "Effendi, backsheesh."

There is nothing more certain than that the honest fellow merits backsheesh
from somebody; it is also equally certain that I am the only person from
whom he stands the ghost of a chance of getting any; nevertheless, the
idea of being appealed to for backsheesh, after what I have just undergone,
merely as an act of accommodation, strikes me as just a trifle ridiculous,
and the opportunity of engaging the grinning, good-humored zaptieh in a
little banter concerning the abstract preposterousness of his expectations
is too good to be lost. So, assuming an air of astonishment, I reply:
"Backsheesh! where is my backsheesh. I should think it's me that deserves
backsheesh if anybody does." This argument is entirely beyond the zaplieh's
child-like comprehension, however; he only understands by my manner that
there is a "hitch" somewhere; and never was there a more broadly good-
humored countenance, or a smile more expressive of meritoriousness, nor
an utterance more coaxing in its modulations than his "E-f-fendi,
backsheesh." as he repeats the appeal; the smile and the modulation is
well worth the backsheesh.

In the afternoon, an officer appears with a note saying that the Mutaserif
and a number of gentlemen would like to see me ride inside the municipal
konak grounds. This I very naturally promise to do, only, under conditions
that an adequate force of zaptiehs be provided. This the Mutaserif readily
agrees to, and once more I venture into the streets, trundling along
under a strong escort of zaptiehs who form a hollow square around me.
The people accumulate rapidly, as we progress, and, by the time we arrive
at the konak gate there is a regular crush. In spite of the frantic
exertions of my escort, the mob press determinedly forward, in an attempt
to rush inside when the gate is opened; instantly I find myself and
bicycle wedged in among a struggling mass of natives; a cry of "Sakin
araba! sakin araba!" (Take care! the bicycle!) is raised; the zapliehs
make a supreme effort, the gate is opened, I am fairly carried in, and
the gate is closed. A couple of dozen happy mortals have gained admittance
in the rush. Hundreds of the better class natives are in the inclosure,
and the walls and neighboring house-tops are swarming with an interested
audience. There is a small plat of decently smooth ground, upon which I
circle around for a few minutes, to as delighted an audience as ever
collected in Bamum's circus. After the exhibition, the Mutaserif eyes
the swarming multitude on the roofs and wall, and looks perplexed; some
one suggests that the bicycle be locked up for the present, and, when
the crowds have dispersed, it can be removed without further excitement.
The Mutaserif then places the municipal chamber at my disposal, ordering
an officer to lock it up and give me the key. Later in the afternoon I
am visited by the Armenian pastor of Yuzgat, and another young Armenian,
who can speak a little English, and together we take a strolling peep
at the city. The American missionaries at Kaizarieh have a small book
store here, and the pastor kindly offers me a New Testament to carry
along. We drop in on several Armenian shopkeepers, who are introduced
as converts of the mission. Coffee is supplied wherever we call. While
sitting down a minute in a tailor's stall, a young Armenian peeps in,
smiles, and indulges in the pantomime of rubbing his chin. Asking the
meaning of this, I am informed by the interpreter that the fellow belongs
to the barber shop next door, and is taking this method of reminding me
that I stand in need of his professional attentions, not having shaved
of late. There appears to be a large proportion of Circassians in town;
a group of several wild-looking bipeds, armed a la Anatolia, ragged and
unkempt-haired for Circassians, who are generally respectable in their
personal appearance, approach us, and want me to show them the bicycle,
on the strength of their having fought against the Russians in the late
war. "I think they are liars," says the young Armenian, who speaks
English; "they only say they fought against the Russians because you
are an Englishman, and they think you will show them the bicycle." Some
one comes to me with old coins for sale, another brings a stone with
hieroglyphics on it, and the inevitable genius likewise appears; this
time it is an Armenian; the tremendous ovation I have received has filled
his mind with exaggerated ideas of making a fortune, by purchasing the
bicycle and making a two-piastre show out of it. He wants to know how
much I will take for it. Early daylight finds me astir on the following
morning, for I have found it a desirable thing to escape from town ere
the populace is out to crowd about me. Tifticjeeoghlou Effendi's better
half has kindly risen at an unusually early hour, to see me off, and
provides me with a dozen circular rolls of hard bread-rings the size of
rope quoits aboard an Atlantic steamer, which I string on Igali's cerulean
waist-scarf, and sling over one shoulder. The good lady lets me out of
the gate, and says, "Bin bacalem, Effendi." She hasn't seen me ride yet.
She is a motherly old creature, of Greek extraction, and I naturally
feel like an ingrate of the meanest type, at my inability to grant her
modest request. Stealing along the side streets, I manage to reach ridable
ground, gathering by the way only a small following of worthy early
risers, and two katir-jees, who essay to follow me on their long-eared
chargers; but, the road being smooth and level from the beginning, I at
once discourage them by a short spurt. A half-hour's trundling up a steep
hill, and then comes a coastable descent into lower territory. A
conscription party collected from the neighboring Mussulman villages,
en route to Samsoon, the nearest Black Sea port, is met while riding
down this declivity. In anticipation of the Sultan's new uniforms awaiting
them at Constantinople, they have provided themselves for the journey
with barely enough rags to cover their nakedness. They are in high glee
at their departure for Stamboul, and favor me with considerable good-natured
chaff as I wheel past. "Human nature is everywhere pretty much alike the
world over," I think to myself. There is little difference between this
regiment of ragamuffins chaffing me this morning and the well-dressed
troopers of Kaiser William, bantering me the day I wheeled out of
Strassburg.

CHAPTER XVI.

THROUGH THE SIVAS VILAYET INTO ARMENIA.

It is six hours distant from Yuzgat to the large village of Koelme, as
distance is measured here, or about twenty-three English miles; but the
road is mostly ridable, and I roll into the village in about three hours
and a half. Just beyond Koehne, the roads fork, and the mudir kindly
sends a mounted zaptieh to guide me aright, for fear I shouldn't quite
understand by his pantomimic explanations. I understand well enough,
though, and the road just here happening to be excellent wheeling, to
the delight of the whole village, I spurt ahead, outdistancing the
zaptieh's not over sprightly animal, and bowling briskly along the right
road within their range of vision, for over a mile. Soon after leaving
Koehne my attention is attracted by a small cluster of civilized-looking
tents, pitched on the bank of a running stream near the road, and from
whence issues the joyous sounds of mirth and music. The road continues
ridable, and I am wheeling leisurely along, hesitating about whether to
go and investigate or not, when a number of persons, in holiday attire,
present themselves outside the tents, and by shouting and gesturing,
invite me to pay them a visit. It turns out to be a reunion of the Yuzgat
branch of the Pampasian-Pamparsan family - an Armenian name whose
representatives in Armenia and Anatolia, it appears, correspond in
comparative numerical importance to the great and illustrious family of
Smiths in the United States. Following - or doubtless, more properly,
setting - a worthy example, they likewise have their periodical reunions,
where they eat, drink, spin yarns, sing, and twang the tuneful lyre in
frolicsome consciousness of always having a howling majority over their
less prolific neighbors.

Refreshments in abundance are tendered, and the usual pantomimic
explanations exchanged between us; some of the men have been honoring
the joyful occasion by a liberal patronage of the flowing bowl, and are
already mildly hilarious; stringed instruments are twanged by the musical
members of the great family, while several others, misinterpreting the
inspiration of raki punch for terpsichorean talent are prancing wildly
about the tent. Middle-aged matrons are here in plenty, housewifely
persons, finding their chief enjoyment in catering to the gastronomic
pleasures of the others; while a score or two of blooming maidens stand
coyly aloof, watching the festive merry-makings of the men; their heads
and necks are resplendent with bands and necklaces of gold coins, it
still being a custom of the East to let the female members of a family
wear the surplus wealth about them in the shape of gold ornaments and
jewels, a custom resulting from the absence of safe investments and the
unstability of national affairs. Yuzgat enjoys among neighboring cities
a reputation for beautiful women, and this auspicious occasion gives me
an excellent opportunity for drawing my own conclusions. It is not fair
perhaps to pass judgment on Yuzgat's pretensions, by the damsels of one
family connection, not even the great and numerous Pampasian-Pamparsan
family, but still they ought to be at least a fair average. They have
beautiful large black eyes, and usually a luxuriant head of hair; but
their faces arc, on the whole, babyish and expressionless. The Yuzgat
maiden of "sweet sixteen" is a coy, babyish creature, possessed
of a certain doll-like prettiness, but at twenty-three is a rapidly
fading flower, and at thirty is already beginning to get wrinkled and
old. Happening to fall in with this festive gathering this morning is
quite a gratifying and enlivening surprise; besides the music and dancing
and a substantial breakfast of chicken, boiled mutton, and rice pillau,
it gives me an opportunity of witnessing an Armenian family reunion under
primitive conditions. Watching over this peaceful and gambolling flock
of Armenian lambkins is a lone Circassian watchdog; he is of a stalwart,
warlike appearance; and although wearing no arms - except a cavalry sword,
a shorter broad-sword, a dragoon revolver, a two-foot horse-pistol, and
a double-barrelled shot-gun slung at his back - the Armenians seem to feel
perfectly safe under his protection. They probably don't
require any such protection really; they are nevertheless wise in employing
a Circassian to guard them, if for nothing else for the sake of freeing
their own unwarlike minds of all disquieting apprehensions, and enjoying
their family reunion in the calm atmosphere of perfect security; some
lawless party passing along the road might peradventure drop in and abuse
their hospitality, or partaking too freely of raki, make themselves
obnoxious, were they unprotected; but with one Circassian patrolling the
camp, they are doubly sure against anything of the kind.

These people invite me to remain with them until to-morrow; but of course
I excuse myself from this, and, after spending a very agreeable hour in
their company, take my departure. The country develops into an undulating
plateau, which is under general cultivation, as cultivation goes in
Asiatic Turkey. A number of Circassian villages are scattered over this
upland plain; most of them are distant from my road, but many horsemen
are encountered; they ride the finest animals in the country, and one
naturally falls to wondering how they manage to keep so well-dressed and
well-mounted, while rags and poverty and diminutive donkeys seem to be
the well-nigh universal rule among their neighbors. The Circassians
betray more interest in my purely personal affairs - whether I am Russian
or English, whither I am bound, etc.- and less interest in the bicycle,
than either Turks or Armenians, and seem altogether of a more reserved
disposition; I generally have as little conversation with them as possible,
confining myself to letting them know I am English and not Russian, and
replying "Turkchi binmus" (I don't understand) to other questions;
they have a look about them that makes one apprehensive as to the
disinterestedness of their wanting to know whither I am bound - apprehensive
that their object is to find out where three or four of them could "see
me later." I see but few Circassian women; what few I approach sufficiently
near to observe are all more or less pleasant-faced, prepossessing
females; many have blue eyes, which is very rare among their neighbors;
the men average quite as handsome as the women, and they have a peculiar
dare-devil expression of countenance that makes them distinguishable
immediately from either Turk or Armenian; they look like men who wouldn't
hesitate about undertaking any devilment they felt themselves equal to
for the sake of plunder. They are very like their neighbors, however,
in one respect; such among them as take any great interest in my
extraordinary outfit find it entirely beyond their comprehension; the
bicycle is a Gordian knot too intricate for their semi-civilized minds
to unravel, and there are no Alexanders among them to think of cutting
it. Before they recover from their first astonishment I have disappeared.

The road continues for the most part ridable until about 2 P.M., when I
arrive at a mountainous region of rocky ridges, covered chiefly with a
growth of scrub-oak. Upon reaching the summit of one of these ridges, I
observe some distance ahead what appears to be a tremendous field of
large cabbages, stretching away in a northeasterly direction almost to
the horizon of one's vision; the view presents the striking appearance
of large compact cabbage-heads, thickly dotting a well-cultivated area
of clean black loam, surrounded on all sides by rocky, uncultivatable
wilds. Fifteen minutes later I am picking my way through this "cultivated
field," which, upon closer acquaintance, proves to be a smooth lava-bed,
and the "cabbages" are nothing more or less than boulders of singular
uniformity; and what is equally curious, they are all covered with a
growth of moss, while the volcanic bed they repose on is perfectly naked.
Beyond this singular area, the country continues wild and mountainous,
with no habitations near the road; and thus it continues until some time
after night-fall, when I emerge upon a few scattering wheat-fields. The
baying of dogs in the distance indicates the presence of a village
somewhere around; but having plenty of bread on which to sup I once again
determine upon studying astronomy behind a wheat-shock. It is a glorious
moonlight night, but the altitude of the country hereabouts is not less
than six thousand feet, and the chilliness of the atmosphere, already
apparent, bodes ill for anything like a comfortable night; but I scarcely
anticipate being disturbed by anything save atmospheric conditions. I
am rolled up in my tent instead of under it, slumbering as lightly as
men are wont to slumber under these unfavorable conditions, when, about
eleven o'clock, the unearthly creaking of native arabas approaching
arouses me from my lethargical condition. Judging from the sounds, they
appear to be making a bee-line for my position; but not caring to
voluntarily reveal my presence, I simply remain quiet and listen. It
soon becomes evident that they are a party of villagers, coming to load
up their buffalo arabas by moonlight with these very shocks of wheat.
One of the arabas now approaches the shock which conceals my recumbent
form, and where the pale moonbeams are coquettishly ogling the nickel-plated
portions of my wheel, making it conspicuously sciutillant by their
attentions. Hoping the araba may be going to pass by, and that my presence
may escape the driver's notice, I hesitate even yet to reveal myself;
but the araba stops, and I can observe the driver's frightened expression
as he suddenly becomes aware of the presence of strange, supernatural
objects. At the same moment I rise up in my winding-sheet-like covering;
the man utters a wild yell, and abandoning the araba, vanishes like a
deer in the direction of his companions. It is an unenviable situation
to find one's self in; if I boldly approach them, these people, not being
able to ascertain my character in the moonlight, would be quite likely
to discharge their fire-arms at me in their fright; if, on the contrary,
I remain under cover, they might also try the experiment of a shot before
venturing to approach the deserted buffaloes, who are complacently chewing
the cud on the spot where their chicken-hearted driver took to his heels.

Under the circumstances I think it best to strike off toward the road,
leaving them to draw their own conclusions as to whether I am Sheitan
himself, or merely a plain, inoffensive hobgoblin. But while gathering
up my effects, one heroic individual ventures to approach part way and
open up a shouting inquiry; my answers, though unintelligible to him in
the main, satisfy him that I am at all events a human being; there are
six of them, and in a few minutes after the ignominious flight of the
driver, they are all gathered around me, as much interested and nonplussed
at the appearance of myself and bicycle as a party of Nebraska homesteaders
might be had they, under similar circumstances, discovered a turbaned
old Turk complacently enjoying a nargileh. No sooner do their apprehensions
concerning my probable warlike character and capacity become allayed,
than they get altogether too familiar and inquisitive about my packages;
and I detect one venturesome kleptomaniac surreptitiously unfastening a
strap when he fancies I am not noticing. Moreover, laboring under the
impression that I don't understand a word they are saying, I observe
they are commenting in language smacking unmistakably of covetousness,
as to the probable contents of my Whitehouse leather case; some think
it is sure to contain chokh para (much money), while others suggest that
I am a postaya (courier), and that it contains letters. Under these
alarming circumstances there is only one way to manage these overgrown
children; that is, to make them afraid of you forthwith; so, shoving the
strap-unfastener roughly away, I imperatively order the whole covetous
crew to "haidi." Without a moment's hesitation they betake themselves
off to their work, it being an inborn trait of their character to
mechanically obey an authoritative command. Following them to their other
arabas, I find that they have brought quilts along, intending, after
loading up to sleep in the field until daylight. Selecting a good heavy
quilt with as little ceremony as though it were my own property, I take
it and the bicycle to another shock, and curl myself up warm and
comfortable; once or twice the owner of the coverlet approaches quietly,
just near enough to ascertain that I am not intending making off with
his property, but there is not the slightest danger of being disturbed
or molested in any way till morning; thus, in this curious round-about
manner, does fortune provide me with the wherewithal to pass a comparatively
comfortable night. "Rather arbitrary proceedings to take a quilt without
asking permission," some might think; but the owner thinks nothing of
the kind; it is quite customary for travellers of their own nation to
help themselves in this way, and the villagers have come to regard it
as quite a natural occurrence. At daylight I am again on the move, and
sunrise finds me busy making an outline sketch of the ruins of an ancient
castle, that occupies, I should imagine, one of the most impregnable
positions in all Asia Minor; a regular Gibraltar. It occupies the summit
of a precipitous detached mountain peak, which is accessible only from
one point, all the other sides presenting a sheer precipice of rock; it
forms a conspicuous feature of the landscape for many miles around, and
situated as it is amid a wilderness of rugged brush-covered heights,
admirably suited for ambuscades, it was doubtless a very important
position at one time. It probably belongs to the Byzantine period, and
if the number of old graves scattered among the hills indicate anything,
it has in its day been the theatre of stirring tragedy. An hour after
leaving the frowning battlements of the grim old relic behind, I arrive
at a cluster of four rock houses, which are apparently occupied by a
sort of a patriarchal family consisting of a turbaned old Turk and his
two generations of descendants. The old fellow is seated on a rock,
smoking a cigarette and endeavoring to coax a little comfort from the
slanting rays of the morning sun, and I straightway approach him and
broach the all-important subject of refreshments. He turns out to be a
fanatical old gentleman, one of those old-school Mussulmans who have
neither eye nor ear for anything but the Mohammedan religion; I have
irreverently interrupted him in his morning meditations, it seems, and
he administers a rebuke in the form of a sidewise glance, such as a
Pharisee might be expected to bestow on a Cannibal Islander venturing
to approach him, and delivers himself of two deep-fetched sighs of "Allah,
Allah!"

Anybody would think from his actions that the sanctimonious old man-ikin
(five feet three) had made the pilgrimage to Mecca a dozen times, whereas
he has evidently not even earned the privilege of wearing a green turban;
he has neither been to Mecca himself during his whole unprofitable life
nor sent a substitute, and he now thinks of gaining a nice numerous
harem, and a walled-in garden, with trees and fountains, cucumbers and
carpooses, in the land of the hara fjhuz kiz, by cultivating the spirit
of fanaticism at the eleventh hour. I feel too independent this morning
to sacrifice any of the wellnigh invisible remnant of dignity remaining
from the respectable quantity with which I started into Asia, for I still
have a couple of the wheaten " quoits" I brought from Yuzgat; so, leaving
the ancient Mussulman to his meditations, I push on over the hills, when,
coming to a spring, I eat my frugal breakfast, soaking the unbiteable
"quoits" in the water. After getting beyond this hilly region, I emerge
upon a level plateau of considerable extent, across which very fair
wheeling is found; but before noon the inevitable mountains present
themselves again, and some of the acclivities are trundleable only by
repeating the stair-climbing process of the Kara Su Pass. Necessity
forces me to seek dinner at a village where abject poverty, beyond
anything hitherto encountered, seems to exist. A decently large fig-leaf,
without anything else, would be eminently preferable to the tattered
remnants hanging about these people, and among the smaller children puris
naturalis is the rule. It is also quite evident that few of them ever
take a bath; as there is plenty of water about them, this doubtless comes
of the pure contrariness of human nature in the absence of social
obligations. Their religion teaches these people that they ought to bathe
every day; consequently, they never bathe at all. There is a small
threshing-floor handy, and, taking pity on their wretched condition, I
hesitate not to "drive dull care away" from them for a few minutes, by
giving them an exhibition; not that there is any "dull care" among
them, though, after all; for, in spite of desperate poverty, they know
more contentment than the well-fed, respectably-dressed mechanic of the
Western World. It is, however, the contentment born of not realizing
their own condition, the bliss that comes of ignorance. They search the
entire village for eatables, but nothing is readily obtainable but bread.
A few gaunt, angular fowls are scratching about, but they have a beruffled,
disreputable appearance, as though their lives had been a continuous
struggle against being caught and devoured; moreover, I don't care to
wait around three hours on purpose to pass judgment on these people's
cooking. Eggs there are none; they are devoured, I fancy, almost before
they are laid. Finally, while making the best of bread and water, which
is hardly made more palatable by the appearance of the people watching
me feed - a woman in an airy, fairy costume, that is little better than
no costume at all, comes forward, and contributes a small bowl of yaort;
but, unfortuntaely, this is old yaort, yaort that is in the sere and
yellow stage of its usefulness as human food; and although these people
doubtless consume it thus, I prefer to wait until something more acceptable
and less odoriferous turns up. I miss the genial hospitality of the
gentle Koords to-day. Instead of heaping plates of pillau, and bowls of
wholesome new yaort, fickle fortune brings me nothing but an exclusive
diet of bread and water. My road, this afternoon, is a tortuous donkey-trail,
intersecting ravines with well-nigh perpendicular sides, and rocky ridges,
covered with a stunted growth of cedar and scrub-oak. The higher mountains
round about are heavily timbered with pine and cedar. A large forest on
a mountain-slope is on fire, and I pass a camp of people who have been
driven out of their permanent abode by the flames. Fortunately, they
have saved everything except their naked houses and their grain. They
can easily build new houses, and their neighbors will give or lend them
sufficient grain to tide them over till another harvest. Toward sundown
the hilly country terminates, and I descend into a broad cultivated
valley, through which is a very good wagon-road; and I have the additional
satisfaction of learning that it will so continue clear into Sivas, a
wagon-road having been made from Sivas into this forest to enable the
people to haul wood and building-timber on their arabas. Arriving at a
good-sized and comparatively well-to-do Mussulman village, I obtain an
ample supper of eggs and pillau, and, after binning over and over again
until the most unconscionable Turk among them all can bring himself to
importune me no more, I obtain a little peace. Supper for two, together
with the tough hill-climbing to-day, and insufficient sleep last night,
produces its natural effect; I quietly doze off to sleep while sitting
on the divan of a small khan, which might very appropriately be called
an open shed. Soon I am awakened; they want me to accommodate them by
binning once more before they retire for the night. As the moon is shining
brightly, I offer no objections, knowing that to grant the request will
be the quickest way to get rid of their worry. They then provide me with
quilts, and I spend the night in the khan alone. I am soon asleep, but
one habitually sleeps lightly under these strange and ever-varying
conditions, and several times I am awakened by dogs invading the khan
and sniffing - about my couch. My daily experience among these people is
teaching me the commendable habit of rising with the lark; not that I
am an enthusiastic student, or even a willing one - be it observed that
few people are - but it is a case of either turning out and sneaking off
before the inhabitants are astir, or to be worried from one's waking
moments to the departure from the village, and of the two evils one comes
finally to prefer the early rising. One can always obtain something to
eat before starting by waiting till an hour after sunrise, but I have
had quite enough of these people's importunities to make breakfasting
with them a secondary consideration, and so pull out at early daylight.
The road is exceptionally good, but an east wind rises with the sun and
quickly develops into a stiff breeze that renders riding against it
anything but child's play; no rose is to be expected without a thorn,
nevertheless it is rather aggravating to have the good road and the
howling head-wind happen together, especially in traversing a country
where good roads are the exception instead of the rule. About eight
o'clock I reach a village situated at the entrance to a rocky defile,
with a babbling brook dancing through the space between its two divisions.
Upon inquiring for refreshments, a man immediately orders his wife to
bring me pillau. For some reason or other - perhaps the poor woman has
none prepared; who knows? - the woman, instead of obeying the command
like a "guid wifey," enters upon a wordy demurrer, whereupon her husband
borrows a hoe-handle from a bystander and advances to chastise her for
daring to thus hesitate about obeying his orders; the woman retreats
precipitately into the house, heaping Turkish epithets on her devoted
husband's head. This woman is evidently a regular termagant, or she would
never have used such violent language to her husband in the presence of
a stranger and the whole village; some day, if she doesn't be more
reasonable, her husband, instead of satisfying his outraged feelings by
chastising her with a hoe-handle, will, in a moment of passion, bid her
begone from his house, which in Turkish law constitutes a legal separation;
if the command be given in the presence of a competent witness it is
irrevocable. Seeing me thus placed, as it were, in an embarrassing
situation, another woman - dear, thoughtful creature! - fetches me enough
wheat piilau to feed a mule, and a nice bowl of yaort, off which I make
a substantial breakfast. Near by where I am eating are five industrious
maidens, preparing cracked or broken wheat by a novel and interesting
process, that has hitherto failed to come under my observation; perhaps
it is peculiar to the Sivas vilayet, which I have now entered. A large
rock is hollowed out like a shallow druggist's mortar; wheat is put in,
and several girls (sometimes as many as eight, I am told by the American
missionaries at Sivas) gather in a circle about it, and pound the wheat
with light, long-headed mauls or beetles, striking in regular succession,
as the reader has probably seen a gang of circus roustabouts driving
tent-pins. When I first saw circus tent-pins driven in this manner, a
few years ago, I remember hearing on-lookers remarking it as quite novel
and wonderful how so many could be striking the same peg without their
swinging sledges coming into collision; but that very same performance
has been practised by the maidens hereabout, it seems, from time immemorial-
another proof that there is nothing new under the sun. Ten miles of good
riding, and I wheel into the considerable town of Yennikhan, a place
sufficiently important to maintain a public coffee-khan and several small
shops. Here I take aboard a pocketful of fine large pears, and after
wheeling a couple of miles to a secluded spot, halt for the purpose of
shifting the pears from my pocket to where they will be better appreciated.
Ere I have finished the second pear, a gentle goatherd, who from an
adjacent hill observed me alight, appears upon the scene and waits around,
with the laudable intention of further enlightening his mind when I
remount. He is carrying a musical instrument something akin to a flute;
it is a mere hollow tube with the customary finger-holes, but it is blown
at the end; having neither reed nor mouth-piece of any description, it
requires a peculiar sidewise application of the lips, and is not to be
blown readily by a novice. When properly played, it produces soft,
melodious music that, to say nothing else, must exert a gentle soothing
influence on the wild, turbulent souls of a herd of goats. The goatherd
offers me a cake of ekmek out of his wallet, as a sort of a I peace - offering,
but thanks to a generous breakfast, music hath more charms at present
than dry ekmek, and handing him a pear, I strike up a bargain by which
he is to entertain me with a solo until I am ready to start, when of
course he will be amply recompensed by seeing me bin; the bargain is
agreed to, and the solo duly played. East of Yennikhan, the road develops
into an excellent macadamized highway, on which I find plenty of genuine
amusement by electrifying the natives whom I chance to meet or overtake.
Creeping noiselessly up behind an unsuspecting donkey-driver, until quite
close, I suddenly reveal my presence. Looking round and observing a
strange, unearthly combination, apparently swooping down upon him, the
affrighted katir-jee's first impulse is to seek refuge in flight, not
infrequently bolting clear off the roadway, before venturing upon taking
a second look. Sometimes I simply put on a spurt, and whisk past at a
fifteen mile pace. Looking back, the katir-jee generally seems rooted
to the spot with astonishment, and his utter inability to comprehend.
These men will have marvellous tales to tell in their respective villages
concerning what they saw; unless other bicycles are introduced, the time
the "Ingilisiu" went through the country with his wonderful araba will
become a red-letter event in the memory of the people along my route
through Asia Minor. Crossing the Yeldez Irmak Eiver, on a stone bridge,
I follow along the valley of the head-waters of our old acquaintance,
the Kizil Irmak, and at three o'clock in the afternoon, roll into Sivas,
having wheeled nearly fifty miles to-day, the last forty of which will
compare favorably in smoothness, though not in leveluess, with any forty-
mile stretch I know of in the United States. Prom Angora I have brought
a letter of introduction to Mr. Ernest Weakley, a young Englishman,
engaged, together with Mr. Kodigas, a Belgian gentleman, for the Ottoman
Government, in collecting the Sivas vilayet's proportion of the Russian
indemnity; and I am soon installed in hospitable quarters. Sivas artisans
enjoy a certain amount of celebrity among their compatriots of other
Asia Minor cities for unusual skilfulness. particularly in making filigree
silver work. Toward evening myself and Mr. Weakley take a stroll through
the silversmiths' quarters. The quarters consist of twenty or thirty
small wooden shops, surrounding an oblong court; spreading willows and
a tiny rivulet running through it give the place a semi-rural appearance.
In the little open-front workshops, which might more appropriately be
called stalls, Armenian silversmiths are seated cross-legged, some working

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