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364                  JOUKNEYS IN KURDISTAN    LETTER xxxm

The villagers possess 4000 sheep, and have not been
much harassed by the Kurds. They employ Kurdish
shepherds and four night watchmen, two of whom are
Kurds. The head-dresses of the women are heavy with
coins, and they wear stomachers and aprons so richly
embroidered that no part of the original material is visible.

The khan is an exceptionally bad odah, and is absolutely
crowded with horses, oxen, and men, and dim with the
fumes of animal fuel and tobacco. It is indeed comically
wretched. The small space round the fire is so crowded
with zaptiehs, katirgis, and villagers that I have scarcely
room for my chair and the ragamuffin remains of my
baggage. Murphy is crouching over a fire which he is
trying to fan into a state in which it will cook my un-
varying Hinner—a fowl and potatoes. Moussa is as usual
convulsing the company with his stories and jokes, and
is cracking walnuts for me; the schoolmaster is enlarging
to me on that fruitful topic—" the state of things," the
sabres and rifles of my escort gleam on the blackened
posts, the delectable ox and horse faces wear a look of
content, as they munch and crunch their food, the risk
of sleeping in a tent is discussed, and meanwhile I write
spasmodically with the candle and ink on a board on my
lap. I am fast coming to like these cheery evenings in
the odafis, where one hears the news of the country and
villages. The khawji, the man who keeps the guest-house,
provides fire, light, horse-food, and the usual country diet
at so much per head, and obtains the daily fowl, which
costs about 6d., and is cooked while warm. Milk can be
got from one of the cows in the stable. My expenses
for f©od and lodging are from 4s. to 6s. a night.

Matchetloo, November 19.—One of the most un-
pleasant parts of the routine of the journey is the return
to the odah at 5 A.M. after a night in the fresh air, for
the atmosphere is so heated and foul as almost to knock