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LETTER xxxv        THE ZIGANA MOUNTAIN                     393

planning marches, always studying Asiatic character, and
always sinking deeper into barbarism!

From the summit of the Zigana Mountain to Trebi-
zond is a steady descent of twelve hours. The ascent
from Kupru Bridge occupied five hours and a half. It
was a much more serious affair than crossing the Kop
Dagh, for the snowstorm had lasted for three days, the
snow was from four to nine feet deep on the summit,
and the thawing of its surface at the lower altitudes,
succeeded by keen frost, had resulted in the production
of slopes of ice, over which I had to walk for two hours,
as Boy could scarcely keep on his feet.

The early snow has a witchery of its own, and it may
be that the Zigana Mountain and the views from it are
not so beautiful as I think them, but under the circum-
stances in which I saw them, I was astonished with the
magnificence of the scenery, and with the vast pine forests
which clothe the mountain sides. Tillages of chalets,
with irregular balconies, and steep roofs projecting from
two to six feet, are perched on rocky heights, or nestle
among walnuts with a blue background of pines, above
which tower spires and peaks of unsullied snow; ridges rise
into fantastic forms and mimicries of minarets and castles;
pines, filling gigantic ravines with their blue gloom, stand
sentinels over torrents silenced for the winter; and colossal
heights and colossal depths, an uplifted snow world of
ceaseless surprises under a blue sky full of light, make
one fancy oneself in Switzerland, till a long train of
decorated camels or a turbaned party of armed travellers
dissipates the dream.

The last hour of the ascent was very severe. The
wind was strong and keen, and the drifting snow buffeted
us unmercifully. The mercury fell to 3 below zero, and
the cold was intense. Murphy complained of " trembles "
in his knees and severe pain in his legs, and when we