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

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.