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340 JOUENEYS IN KURDISTAN LETTER xxsi
of American sewing machines stitching Yorkshire cloth!
One of these tailors has made a heavy cloth ulster for
me, which the American ladies pronounce perfect in fit
and " style!"
The Armenians, with their usual industry and thrift,
are always enlarging their commerce and introducing
new imports. Better than this, they are paying great
attention to education, and several of their merchants
seem to be actuated by a liberal and enlightened spirit.
It is, however, to usury not less than to trade that they
owe their prosperity. The presence of Europeans
in Van, in the persons of the missionaries and vice-
consuls, in addition to the admirable influence exerted
by the former, has undoubtedly a growing tendency
towards ameliorating the condition of the Christian
In the vilayet of Van it is estimated by Colonel Severs
Bell that the Christians outnumber the Moslems by
80,000, the entire population being estimated at 340,000.
In the city of Van, with a population estimated by him
at 32,000, the Christians are believed to be as 3 to I.1
The formalities required for Turkish travelling are
many and increasing, and from ignorance of one of them
Johannes has been arrested, and Mirza marched to the
Consulate by the police. I have been obliged to part
with the former and send him back to Hamadan, as it
would not be safe to take the risky journey to Erzerum
with such an inexperienced and untrustworthy servant.
Through Mr. Devey's kindness I have obtained an
interpreter and servant in. Murphy O'Rourke, a British
subject, but a native of Turkey, and equally at home in
English, Turkish, and Armenian, though totally illiterate.
I. L. B.
1 An estimate by Mr. Devey, Her Britannic Majesty's Vice-Consul at
Van, gives a population of only 250,000 for the whole vilayet.