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390                   JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN     LETTER xxxv

with a few trees upon them dimly seen, walling in the
wildest and most rugged part of the defile, where some
stables offered a shelter, and I was glad to be allowed to
occupy the wood house, a damp excavation in the mountain
side! No words can convey an impression of the rough-
ness of Asia Minor travelling in winter !

It was lonely, for the stable where the servants were
was a short distance off, and the Jchanji came several
times to adjure me to keep the bolt of the door fastened,
for his barley was in my keeping, and there was a gang
of robbers on the road ! I fell asleep, however, but was
awakened at midnight by yells, shouts, tramplings, and a
most violent shaking of my very insecure door. It was
the Turkish post, who, being unable to get into the stable,
was trying to bring his tired horses into my den for a
little rest! Fine fellows these Turkish mail riders are,
who carry the weekly mail from Trebizond into the
interior. The post drives two horses loaded with the
mail bags in front of him at a gallop, urging them with
yells and his heavy whip, the zaptieh escort galloping
behind, and at this pace they dash up and down moun-
tains and over plains by day and night, changing at short
intervals, and are only behind time in the very worst of

Snow fell heavily all night, and ilntil late in the
afternoon of the following day, but we started soon after
seven, and plodded steadily along in an atmosphere of
mystery, through intricate defiles, among lofty mountains
half-seen, strange sounds half-heard, vanishing ravines
and momentary glimpses of villages on heights, fortress-
crowned precipices, suggestive of the days of Genoese
supremacy, as in the magnificent gorge of Kala, and
long strings of camels magnified in the snow-mist, to the
Kala village, with its dashing torrent, its ,fine walnut
trees, and its immense camel stables, in and outside of