LETTER xxxm A KURDISH ODAH 371
of it would have finished them." All landmarks were
lost in the storm, and after some hours of struggling
through snow, and repeated^ losing the way, the early
darkness compelled us to take refuge in a Kurdish
village of bad repute on a bleak mountain side.
The odah was not only the worst I have yet seen, but
it was crammed with handsome, wild-looking Kurds, and
with the conscripts who had turned back at the pass,
some of whom were suffering from fever, and with
cavalrymen and their horses, every man trying to get
near the fire. I cannot say that any of them were rude,
indeed the Kurds did their best for what they supposed
to be my comfort. I spent the evening among them,
but slept in my tent outside, in two feet of snow, 100
yards from the stable, in spite of the protestations of the
zaptiehs. In fact I trusted to Kurdish watchmen, who
turned out faithful, and when an attempt was made to
rob my tent in the night they sprang on the robbers,
and after a struggle got two of them down and beat them
with their guns, both sides yelling like savages. When I
left the odali for the tent two Kurds gripped my arms
and led me to it through the deep snow. It was better
to run some risk than to be suffocated by the heat and
overpowering odours of the stable, but it was an eerie place.
November 21.—The weather considerably delayed my
farther progress. The days were severe, and the nights
were spent in a soaked tent, pitched in slush or snow.
Mist and snow concealed the country, and few travellers
were stirring. We marched with the powder caravan
for the sake of the escort and for its services in beating
the track, and Moussa and his men watched at night.
The going was very bad, and both Moussa and I fell
down hill slopes with our horses, but the animals luckily
alighted on their feet. Moussa's jollity was very useful.
He is a capital mimic, and used to "take off" Mirza in