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LETTER xxvn        SYEIAN LITIGIOUSNESS                      241

free. He ranks next to the priest, and is treated by the
villagers with considerable respect. I have found the
Syrian JcoJchas as polite and obliging as the Persian

Although the Persian Government has been tolerably
successful in subduing the Kurds within its territory,
the Christians of the slopes of the  Urmi Plain are
exposed to great losses of sheep and cattle from Kurdish
mountaineers, who (it is said) cross the Turkish frontier,
and returpt into Turkey with their booty.1

The American and English missionaries do not paint
the Syrians couleur de rose, though the former during
their long residence in the country must have lifted up
several hundreds to the blessings of a higher life, and
these in rising themselves must have exercised an un-
conscious influence on their brethren. Since I came I
have seen several women whose tone would bear com-
parison with that of the best among ourselves, and who
owe it gratefully to the training and influence of the
Fiske Seminary. I like the women much better than
the men.

The Christians complain terribly of the way in which
"justice" is administered, and doubtless nothing can be
worse, but the Europeans say that the people bring much
of its hardship upon themselves by their frightful
litigiousness, and their habit of going to law about the
veriest trifles. Intense avarice seems to be a character-
istic of the Syrians of the Persian plains, and they fully
share with other Orientals in the failings of untruthful-
ness and untrustworthiness. They are said to be very
drunken as well as grossly ignorant and superstitious,
and the abuses and unutterable degradation of their
church perpetuate all that is bad in the national

1 Later, I heard the same accusation "brought against the Persian Kurds
by a high official in Constantinople.

VOL, II                                                                          ft