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394                  JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN      LETTER xxxv

reached the summit was really ill. The drift was not
only blinding and stinging but suffocating. I was quite
breathless, and felt a chill round my heart. I could not
even see Boy's neck, and he cowered from the blast; but just
as all things were obliterated I found myself being helped
to dismount in the shelter of a camel stable full of Lazes,
but was so benumbed that I could not stand. Some
zaptieJis had the humanity to offer me the shelter of a
hovel nearly buried in the snow, and made a fire and
some coffee, and I waited there till the wind moderated.
It came in such fierce gusts as actually to blow two of
the baggage horses over on their sides. Murphy was
really ill of fever for two days from the cold and
exposure. The altitude of the pass is about 6627 feet.

The first part of the descent was made on foot, for the
snow had drifted on the road to a height of fully twenty
feet, leaving only a path of shelving ice on the brink
of a precipitous slope. Earlier in the day twenty laden
camels had gone over, and were heaped in the ravine
below, not all dead. The road dips with some suddenness
into a deep glen, dark with pine and beech forests; large
rhododendrons and the Azalea pontica forming a dense
undergrowth. Long gray lichen hung from the branches,
Christmas roses and premature primroses bloomed in
sheltered places, the familiar polypody and the Asplenium
adiantum nigrum filled every crevice, soft green moss
draped the rocks, there was a delicious smell of damp
autumn leaves, and when we reached the Greek village of
Hamzikeuy clouds were rolling heavily up the valley from
the not far distant ocean.

The two days which followed were easy and pleasant,
through a prosperous and peopled valley brightened by
the rushing waters of the Surmel, the ancient Pyxites.
Orchards and tillage beautify the lower slopes of the
mountains, the road is excellent, the homesteads are in