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LETTER xxix          THE CATTLE PLAGUE                        319

Kerry hovel. He uses neither chair, table, nor bed; the
uneven earthen floor is covered with such a litter of
rubbish as is to be seen at the back of a " rag and bone "
shop, dusty medicine bottles predominating. There is a
general dismemberment of everything that once was
serviceable. The occupant of the room is absolutely
unconscious of its demerits, and my ejaculations of dis-
may are received with hearty laughter.1

Humbly following his example, I have become ab-
sorbed in the interests of the inhabitants of Kocbanes,
and would willingly stay here for some weeks longer if
it were not for the risk of being blocked in by snow on
the Armenian highlands. The cattle plague is very-
severe, in addition to other misfortunes. The village has
already lost 135 of its herd, and I seldom go out with-
out seeing men dragging carcasses to be thrown over the
cliff. The people believe that the men will die next year.

My future journey and its safety are much discussed.
If I had had any idea of the " disturbed " state of the
region that I have yet to pass through I should never
have entered Turkey, but now I have resolved to go vid
Bitlis to Erzerum. If the road is as dangerous as it
is said to be, and if the rumours regarding the state of
the Christians turn out to have much truth in them, the

1 In the winter of 1887 and the spring of 1888 every effort was made
by Fikri Pasha, the Turkish Governor of this district, hut a Kurd by race,
to dislodge Mr. Browne from his position in the mountains. "Soldiers
were continually sent to inquire into his plans ; he was accused of prac-
tising without a diploma as a medical man, because he gave a few simple
remedies to the natives in a country destitute of physicians, and his
position became well-nigh intolerable when he found that his host, Mar
Shimun, was being insulted and punished for harbouring him, and that
the native Christians were being made to suffer for his residence among
them. The Patriarch, however, stood firm. ' Your presence here,' said he
to Mr. Browne, 'may save us from a massacre; and as for these troubles
we must put up with them as best we can.' These words were verified a
few months afterwards."—Mr. Athelstan Biley's Report on the Archbishop
of Canterbwnfs Mission to the Assyrian Christians, 1888.