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358                   JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN    LETTER xxxm



I WAS indeed sorry to leave the charming circle at the
Mission House and the wild grandeur of Bitlis, but a
certain wan look in the sky and peculiar colouring on
the mountains warned my friends that winter might set
in any day, and Dr. Eeynolds arranged for katirgis and
an escort, and obtained a letter from the Governor by
means of which I can procure additional zaptiehs in case
of need. My Turkish katirgi, Moussa, is rich, and full of
fun and jollity. He sings and jokes and mimics Mirza,
rides a fine Ixorse, or sprawls singing on its back, and
keeps every one alive by his energy and vitality. My
loads are very light, and his horses are strong, and by a
peculiar screech he starts them off at a canter with no
other object than the discomfiture of Mirza, who with all
his good qualities will never make a horseman. Unluckily
he has a caravan of forty horses laden with ammunition
for the Government on the road, so things may not be
always so smooth as they are now. Descending by a
track more like a stair than a road, and crossing the
Tigris, my friends, and I performed the feat of riding
through some of the bazars, even though Mr. Knapp and
I had been pelted with stones on an open road the day
before. * There was no molestation, for the people are
afraid of the zaptieTis* swords. Bitlis is busy, and it is
difficult to get through its crowded markets, low, narrow,