LETTER xxx A SEMI-SUBTERRANEAN STABLE 329 scribes. We were all benumbed with cold, and glad that the crossing of an expanse of frozen streams rendered walking a necessity. A nine hours' march through mountains remarkable for rocky spires and needles marvellously coloured, and for the absence of inhabitants, took us to the Armenian village of Khanjarak, finely situated in a corrie upon a torrent bank; but it is so subterranean, and so built into the hillside, that a small square church and conical piles of Jriziks are the only obvious objects, and I rode over the roofs without know- ing what was underneath. All the women and children, rabbit-like, came out of their holes, clothed in red rags, and some wore strings of coins round their heads. The men were dressed like Kurds, and were nearly as wild-looking. They pro- tested against my tent being pitched. They said the Kurds were always on the watch, and would hack it with their swords in half an hour to get at its contents, that 'they had only three matchlock guns, and that the Kurds were armed with rifles. I felt that I could scarcely touch a lower depth in the matter of accommodation than when they lodged me in a dark subterranean stable, running very far back into the hill, with a fire of animal ' fuel in the middle giving off dense and acrid fumes. A recess in this, with a mud bench, was curtained off for me, and the rest of the space was occupied by my own horses and baggage mules, and most of the village asses, goats, cows, calves, and sheep. Several horses belonging to travellers and to my own escort were also there, and all the zaptiehs, servants, travellers, and Jcatvrffis were lodged there. There were legions of fleas revelling in a tempera- ture which rose to 80° at midnight, though there were 5° of frost outside. In the part of the roof which projected from the hill there were two holes for light, but at night these were carefully closed with corks of plaited straw.