384 JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN LETTER xxxiv ment has just taken a step which is regarded as full of hazard. Certain Kurdish Beys were summoned to Erzerum, nominally for the purpose of being reprimanded for their misdeeds; but they were allowed to enter the gates with a number of armed followers, and afterwards went to Erzingian, where, from the hands of Zeki Pacha, the Commander of the Fourth Army Corps, they received commissions as officers of irregulars. The Christians (but I hope erroneously) regard this step as a menace, and the Kurds appear to think that it gives them license to maraud. These Beys, after receiving their commissions, went through the Christian quarter of the Erzingian bazars, making gestures as of cutting throats, and saying to the Christian merchants, " Your time has come now; hitherto we have not had the co-operation of the Government, but we have it now." It remains to be seen whether the Porte will succeed in bringing these men and their wild followers under the conditions of military discipline. The excitement following upon the " troubles"- last June has only partially subsided, and I learn from the Europeans that the state of suspicion, fear, distrust, and repression within the city has undergone little diminu- tion. Every day brings fresh reports of robbery and outrage, and for murders of well-known Christians no arrests are being made.1 Trade among the Armenians is suffering, for those merchants whose transactions are with Kurdish districts dare not collect their debts for fear of losing their lives. Arrests of Christians on frivolous and worthless pretexts are being made daily, Armenian houses are being searched continually, and indi- viduals are being imprisoned for long terms of years for 1 In a despatch in the "White Book" (Turkey, No. 1, 1890-91) Mr. Clifford Lloyd sums up the condition of things in Kurdistan thus: "In a country such as this is, lawlessness is to be expected ; but unfortunately in nearly every instance armed and ungoverned Kurds are the aggressors, and unarmed and unprotected Armenian Christians tJie victims."