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

LETTER xxs               AEEIVAL AT VAN                           333

zaptieh jumped off his horse, threw the bridle to me, and
shouldered his rifle. When they saw the Government
uniform these Kurds drew back, let the mules go, and
passed on. The whole affair took but a few seconds,
but it was significant of the unwillingness of the Kurds
to come into collision with the Turks, and of the power
the Government could exercise in the disturbed districts
if it were once understood that the marauders were not
to be allowed a free hand.

After this attack not a word was spoken, the bells
were taken off the mules, the zaptieh, as fine and soldierly
a man as one could wish to see, marched in front, quiet
and vigilant, and so in a darkness in which I could not
see my horse's ears we proceeded till, three hours later, the
moon rose as we entered Van. It was one of the eeriest
rides I ever made, and I had many painful reflections on
having risked through ignorance the property of my
faithful Kurdish katirgi. The first light of Yan was a
welcome sight, though after that there was a long ride to
" the gardens," a large wooded suburb chiefly inhabited
by Armenians, in which the American missionaries live.
Dr. Reynolds, the medical missionary, has given me a
most hospitable welcome, though his small house is more
than full with new arrivals from America. I wanted to re-
engage my jolly katirgi for Bitlis, but he went back at once
with the zaptieh, and after the obvious perils of the road
it would not have been fair to detain him. Visitors are
scarce here. Van does not see more than one non-official
European in three years. The Vice-Consul says that he
should have doubted the sanity of any one who had pro-
posed to travel from Urmi to Van by the route I took,
but now that the journey is safely over I am glad that no
one at Urmi knew enough to dissuade me from it. The
Vice-Consul and all the mission party are as kind as they
can be, and Van is for me another oasis.          L L. B.