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LETTER xxix          THE REV. ME. BROWNE                     317

and independent both of Turk and Kurd, they render a
sort of obedience to Mar Shimim, who rules them, through
their maleJcs. There is not only enmity between tribe and
tribe, but between village and village, and, as in parts of
the Bakhtiari country, guides refuse to conduct travellers
beyond certain spots, declaring that " blood" bars their
farther progress.

Besides the Kurdish and Ashiret inhabitants of these
mountains of Kurdistan there are Yezidis, usually called
devil-worshippers, and a few Jews and Armenians. Prob-
ably there is not a wilder population on the face of the
earth, or one of whose ideas,real beliefs, and ways Europeans
are so ignorant. What, for instance, do we really know
of the beliefs which underlie the religious customs of the
Kizilbashes and Yezidis, and of the Christianity to which
these semi-savage Ashirets are so passionately attached ?

If I were to leave Mr. Browne unnoticed I should
ignore the most remarkable character in Kocllanes.
Clothed partly as a Syrian and living altogether like
one,—at this time speaking Syriac more readily than
English; limited to this narrow alp and to the narrower
exile of the Tyari valley; self-exiled from civilised society;
snowed up for many months of the year; his communica-
tions even with Van and Urmi irregular and precarious ; a
priest without an altar; a teacher without pupils; a hermit
without privacy; his time at the disposal of every one who
cares to waste it; harassed by Turkish officialism and
obstruction, and prohibited by the Porte from any active
" mission work," it yet would be hard to find a sunnier,
more loving, and more buoyant spirit. He has lived among
these people for nearly four years as one of themselves,
making their interests completely his own, suffering keenly
in their persecutions and losses, and entering warmly
even into their most trivial concerns, till he has become
in fact a Syrian among Syrians. He sits on the floor in