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LETTER xxix        MAE SHIMUN'S POSITION                   289

and eating. Sixty persons more or less are guests here.
Every one coming into the valley is received, and horses
are stabled while men are fed. Outside, sheep and
"fowls are being continually killed, two or three sheep
being^tequired daily; mules are departing for Diza for
stores, of jtre returning with flour and sugar; oxen are
bringing in hay, and perpetual measuring and weighing
are going on. The cost of provisioning such an army of
guests is enormous, and presses heavily on the Patriarch's
slender resources. Intrigues are rife. In some ways
very man's hand is against his fellow, and the succes-
on to the Patriarchate, although nominally settled, is
a subject of scheming, plotting, rivalries, and jealousies.
,Then there are various appointments, secular and spiritual,
to be wrangled for, the difficult relations with Turkey to
be managed, and such a wavering policy to be shaped
towards Eome and American Presbyterianism as shall
absolutely break Vrith neither.

Among the guests who come and go as they please,
unquestioned, are refugees from the barbarities of the

Kurds, among the most pitiable of whom is Mar-------,

Bishop of-------, bereft under threat of death of his

Episcopal seal, and a fugitive from his diocese, which
is almost destroyed by violence and exactions. Few
hours pass in .which some fresh tale of bloodshed, or
the driving off of flocks, or the attacking of travellers,
or the digging into houses, is not brought up here. A
piteous state of alarm prevails. Mar Shimun, naturally
feeble and irresolute, and his family council are helpless.
His dual position aggravates his perplexities. Counsels
are divided and paralysed. No one knows where to turn
for help on earth, and " the Lord is deaf," some of the
people say.

On entering the house by an archway, where the
heavily-bossed door stands always open, a busy scene is

VOL. II                                                                                  17