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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

262                 JOUENEYS IN KURDISTAN    LETTER sxvm

over the splendid mountains to the west, the ranges to
the north were glorified by rich blue colouring, purple in
the shadows; among mountains on the east the Urmi
sea showed itself as a turquoise streak, and among gar-
dens and vineyards in the middle distance rose Zoroastrian
cones of ashes, and the great mound, which tradition
honours as the scene of the martyrdom of St. George.

When all my kind friends left me, and I walked
alone in the frosty twilight on the roof of my comfort-
able room in the Qasha's house, and looked towards the
wall of the frontier mountains through which my journey
lay, I felt an unwonted feeling of elation at the prospect
before me, which no possible perils from Kurds, or from
the sudden setting-in of winter could damp, and thus far
the interest is much greater even than I expected.

The next morning I was joined by Qasha-------, a Syrian

priest, a man of great learning and intelligence, a Turkish
subject and landed proprietor, who knows everybody in
this region, and speaks English well. He is fearfully
anxious and timid, partly from a dread of being robbed
of his splendid saddle mule, and partly from having the
responsibility of escorting an English lady on a journey
which has turned out full of peril.

On the long ascent from Anhar a bitter wintry wind
prevailed, sweeping over the tattered thistles and the
pale belated campanulas which alone remain of the
summer flora, but the view from the summit was one of
rare beauty. The grandly drifting clouds of the night
before had done their work, and had draped the Kurdish
mountains half-way down with the first snows of winter,
while the valley at their feet, in which Merwana lies,
was a smiling autumn scene of flowery pasturage and
busy harvest operations under the magic of an atmo-
sphere of living blue.

Merwana is a village of 100 houses, chiefly Christian,