Skip to main content

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

See other formats

LETTER xxix             KOCHANES TOPICS                          321

limited quantity could be obtained—Eussian kopecks locally
current at half their value, Turkish coins the size of a
crown piece, but so debased that they are only worth Is.,
a number of pieces of base metal the size of sixpences,
and " groats " and copper coins, miserably thin. It took
me an hour, even with Mr. Browne's help, to count 8s.
in this truly execrable money. The Julamerik shrof sent
word that the English sovereign is selling at 16s. only.

So, owing to these delays, I have had another day
here, with its usual routine of drinking coffee in houses,
inviting women to tea in my room, receiving mountaineers
and others t who come in at all hours and kiss my hand,
and smoke their long pipes on my floor, and another
opportunity of walking in the glory of the sunset, when
the mountain barriers of beautiful Kochanes glow with a
colouring which suggests thoughts of " the land which is
very far off." Good Mr. Browne makes himself one with
the people, and is most anxious for me to identify every-
body, and say the right thing to everybody—no easy task,
and as I hope and fear that this is my last evening, I
have tried to " leave a pleasant impression " by spending
it in the great gathering-place, called pre-eminently the
" house"! Mirza says that the people talk of nothing
but " guns, Kurds, the harvest, and the local news," but the
conversation to-night had a wider range, and was often
very amusing, taking a sombre turn only when the risks
of my journey were discussed, and the possible misconduct
of my Kurdish katirgi. Ishai, who describes him as " a
very tame man " (not at all my impression of him), has
told him that "if he*gives any trouble the House of Mar
Shimun will never forget it."

Nothing  could  exceed  the  picturesqueness   of  the

"house" to-night.     There were  doubtless fifty people

there, but the lamps, which look as old as the relentless

sweep of  Taimurlane, hanging high on the blackened

VOL. it                                                        Y