282 JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN LETTER xxvm extraordinary depth,—come down almost directly upon it. There is no wood. The villages are all alike, sur- rounded just now by piles of wheat and straw on their threshing-floors, with truncated cones of fodder, and high smooth black cones of animal fuel. These are often the only signs of habitations. One may ride over the roofs without knowing that houses are below. Being entirely baffled by the difficulty of obtaining transport, I went on to Gahgoran, and put up at the house of the parish priest, where the subterranean granary allotted to me was so completely dark that I sat all day in the sheepfold in order to be able to write and work, shifting my position as the sun shifted his. A zaptieh had been sent from Diza, who guarded me so sedulously that Qasha------- dared not speak to me, lest the man should think he was giving me information. Gahgoran was full of strangers. The Patriarch had come down from Kochanes, and occupied the only room in the village, whither I went to pay my respects to him. The room was nearly dark, and foggy with tobacco smoke, but a ray of light fell on Mar Gauriel, Bishop of Urmi, a handsome full-bearded man in a Nestorian turban, full trousers, a madder-red frock with a bright girdle in which a Jehanjar glittered, and a robe over all, a leader of armed men in appearance. I had met him in Urmi, and he shook hands and presented me to Mar Shimun, a swarthy gloomy-looking man. In his turn he presented me to Mar Sergis, Bishop of Jelu, a magnificent-looking man with a superb gray beard, the "beau-ideal of an Oriental ecclesiastic. MaleJss and head- men of villages sat round the room against the wall, not met for any spiritual conclave but for stern business regarding the taxes, for the Patriarch is a salaried official of the Turkish Government. All rose when I entered, and according to a polite custom stood till I sat down.