LETTER XXIX I THE ASHIEETS 315 some among themselves, and having little in common with the rayahs or subject Syrians of the plains except their tenacious clinging to their ancient Church, with its Liturgies and rites, and their homage to our Lord Jesus as divine. They and their priests, many of whom cannot even read, are sunk in the grossest ignorance. They love re- venge, are careless of human life, and are wilder and more savage than their nominal masters. It is among these people, who purchase their free- dom at the cost of absolute isolation, that Mr. Browne is going to spend the com- ' ing winter, in the hopev of instructing their priests and deacons, to whom at present guns are more than ordinances. He has been among them already, and has won their good-will. These Ashirets, of whom the Tyari guests are specimens, are quite unlike the Syrian low- landers, not only in character but in costume and habits. As they have naturalised numbers of Kurd- ish words in their speech, so their dress, with its colour, rich materials and embroideries, and lavish dis- play of decorated and costly arms, is almost altogether A SYIUA.N QIXIL.