292 JOURNEYS IN KUEDISTAN LETTER xxix judicial functions exercised by the Patriarch, with the rude dwelling and furnishings, combine to re-create the baronial life as it might have been lived in Pioslin or Warkworth Castles. Though I had half-seen Mar Shimun at Gahgoran, I was only formally presented after his arrival here. It is proper for a woman to cover her head before him, and I put on my hat and took off my shoes. His room is well paved, the plaster is newly coloured, and there is a glazed window with a magnificent prospect. There were rugs at one end, on which the Patriarch was seated, with two chairs at his left hand. He rose to receive me, and, according to custom, I kissed his hand. He took my letter of introduction, and put it under a cushion, as etiquette demanded, and asked me to be seated. On the floor along the walls were bishops, priests, deacons, Jelu and Tyari mountaineers, lowlanders from TJrmi, and men of the Shimun family, all most picturesquely dressed and smoking long wooden pipes. On each subsequent occa- sion, when I paid my respects to him, he was similarly surrounded. Mr. Browne acted as interpreter, but nothing but very superficial conversation was possible when there was the risk that anything said might be twisted into dangerous use. Mar Shimun is a man about the middle height, with large dark eyes, a sallow com- plexion, a grizzled iron-gray beard, and an expression of profound melancholy, mingled with a most painful look of perplexity and irresolution. He cannot be over fifty, but the miseries and intrigues around him make him appear prematurely old. When I approached the subject of the anarchy of the country he glared timidly and fearfully round, and changed the subject, sending me a message afterwards that Qasha ------- and Kwaja Shlimon, a Chaldsean educated in Paris, are in possession of all that he could tell me, and would speak for him.