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354                  JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN     LETTER XXXH

they carry richly-jewelled Jchanjars and pistols decorated
with silver knobs, besides a number of other glittering
appointments. The accoutrements of the horses are in
keeping, and at marriages and other festivities the
head-stalls, bridles, and breast-plates are completely
covered with pendent silver coins.

The dress of the women is a foil to that of their lords.
It consists of a blue cotton shirt; very wide trousers,
drawn in at the ankles; a silver saucer on the head, from
which chains depend with a coin at the end of each; a
square mantle hanging down the back, clasped by two
of its corners round the neck, and many strings of coins
round the throat; a small handkerchief is knotted round
the hair, and in presence of a strange man they hold one
end of this over the mouth. The Turks in Bitlis are
in a small minority, and the number of Armenian
Christians is stated at from 2000 to 5000. The Old 
Church has a large monastery outside the town and
several churches and schools. The Protestant Armenians
have a substantial church edifice, with a congregation
of about 400, and large boarding-schools for boys and

The population is by far the wildest that I have seen
in any Asiatic city, and is evidently only restrained from
violence by the large garrison. It is not safe for the
ladies of this mission to descend into the Moslem part of
the city, and in a residence of more than twenty years
they have never even passed through the bazars. The
missionaries occupy a restricted and uncertain position,
and the Armenian Christians are subject to great de-
privations and restraints, and are distrusted by the
Government. Of late they have been much harassed by
the search for arms, and Christian gunsmiths have been
arrested. Even their funeral ceremonies are not exempt
from the presence of the police, who profess to believe