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294                 JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN       LETTER sxix

political provinces extending from Jerusalem to China;
and when in the fourteenth century it was not only the
largest communion in Christendom, but outnumbered
the whole of the rest of Christendom, east and west,
Eoman, Greek, and other churches put together. It is
truly a marvel not only that Baghdad, Edessa, and Nisibis
possessed Nestorian schools of divinity and philosophy,
but that Christian colleges, seminaries, and theological
schools flourished in Samarcand,t Bokhara, and Khiva!
How this huge church melted away like snow, and how
the tide of Christianity ebbed, leaving as a relic on its
high-water mark within the Chinese frontier a stone
tablet inscribed with the Nestorian creed, and how
Taimurlane pursued the unfortunate Christian remnant
with such fury that the Oatholicos himself with a fugitive
band was forced to fly into these mountains, are matters
of most singular historic interest. Most fascinating
indeed is it to be here. Each day seems but an hour,
so absorbing are the interests, so deep the pathos, so
vivid the tableaux, so unique the life in this hamlet
of Kochanes, on its fair green alp at a height of 6000
feet, among these wild mountains of Kurdistan, musical
with the sound of torrents fed by fifty snow-drifts, dash-
ing down, to join " the Pison, the river of Eden " (as the
Patriarch calls the Zab), on its way to the classic Tigris.

The afternoon I arrived, Sulti, Marta, Asiat, and
several other women courteously visited me, and the next
day I returned their visits in their simple pleasant
houses. These formalities over, I have enjoyed complete
liberty, and have acquainted myself with the whole of
Kochanes, and with many of the people and their interests,
and have had small gatherings of men in my room each

evening, Qasha, ------ or Mr. Browne interpreting their

tales of strife or wrong.

" Fear is on every side," the fear of a people practically