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bably, from a very early epoch. Kasha Mendi casually confirmed the assertion of Rich, that the town was once called Ecbatana, by saying that he had seen it so designated in a very early Chaldaean MS. The only ancient remains that I could discover were a defaced bas-relief on the rock near the northern gate, of which sufficient alone was distinguishable to enable me to assign to it an approximate date — the time of the Arsacian kings; and some excavations in the rock within the walls, which appear to have been used at an early period as a Christian church. Amadiyah is proverbially unhealthy, notwithstanding its lofty and exposed position. At this time of the year the inhabitants leave the town for the neighboring mountains, in the valleys of which they construct “ozailis,” or sheds, with boughs. I made my way through the deserted street to a small enclosure, in which were the quarters of the Albanians. The disposable force may have consisted of three men; the rest were stretched out on all sides, suffering under every stage of fever, amidst heaps of filth and skins of water-melons, showing the nature and extent of their commissariat. One of their chiefs boasted that he had braved the fever, and insisted upon my drinking coffee, and smoking a narguileh of no very prepossessing appearance with him. He even indulged so far in mirth and revelry, that he disturbed a shivering youth basking in the last rays of the sun, and brought him to play upon a santour, which had lost the greater number of its strings. An air of his native mountains brought on a fit of melancholy, and he dwelt upon the miseries of an irregular's life, when there was neither war nor plunder. The evening gun announced sunset whilst I was sitting with the chief; and I left the garrison as they were breaking their fast on donkey-loads of unripe water-melons. On my return to the Serai, I found the Governor recovering from the effects of his emetic, and anxious for his dinner. As the month of Ramazan is, during the nights, one of festivity and open house, Ismail Agha of Tepelin (the Albanian chief in command of the garrison), the Cadi, the collector of the revenue, a Kurdish chief, and one or two others came as guests. Our meal gave undoubted proofs either of the smallness of the means of Selim Agha, or of the limited resources of the country. When the dinner was over, I introduced a theological subject as becoming the season, and the Cadi entered deeply into the subject of predestination and free will. The reckless way in which the Albanian threw himself into the argument astonished the company, and shocked the feelings of the expounder of the law. His views of the destinies of man were bold and original; he appealed to me for a confirmation of his opinions, and assuming that I fully concurred with him, and that he had silenced the Cadi, who was ejaculating a pious “Istaffer Allah” (may God forgive him), he finished by asking me to breakfast. Next morning I left my guards and the attendants of the Governor to collect mules for my journey from the peasants who had brought provisions to the town, and after some difficulty found my way to the quarters of Ismail Agha. They were in a small house, the only habitable spot in the midst of a heap of ruins. His room was hung round with guns, swords, and yataghans, and a few dirty Albanians, armed to the teeth, were lounging at the door. The chief had adorned himself most elaborately. His velvet jacket was covered with a maze of gold embroidery, his arms were of the most costly description, and ample fur cloaks were spread over the dingy divans. It was a strange display of finery in the midst of misery. He received me with great cordiality; and when he found that I had been to his old haunts in his native land, and had known his friends and kindred, his friendship exceeded all reasonable bounds. “We are all brothers, the English and the Tosques” (an Albanian tribe), exclaimed he, endeavoring to embrace me; “we are all Framasouns”; I know nothing of these Turks and their Ramazan, thank God! Our stomachs were given us to be
* The term Framasoun (or Freemason), as well as Protestant, are in the East, I am sorry to say, equivalent to infidel. The Roman Catholic missionaries have very industriously spread the calumny.
filled, and our mouths to take in good things.” He accompanied these words with a very significant signal to one of his followers, who, at no loss to understand his meaning, set about forming a pyramid of cushions, to the top of which he mounted at the imminent risk of his neck, and reached down from a shelf a huge bottle of wine, with a corresponding pitcher of raki. Ismail Agha then dived into the recesses of a very capacious but illlooking purse, out of which he pulled twenty paras*, its sole contents, and despatched without delay one of his attendants to the stall of a solitary grocer, who was apparently the only commercial survivor in the wreck around him. The boy soon returned with a small parcel of parched peas, a few dates, and three lumps of sugar, which were duly spread on a tray and placed before us as zests to the wine and brandy. It was evident that Ismail Agha had fully made up his mind to a morning's debauch, and my position was an uncomfortable one. After drinking a few glasses of raki in solitary dignity, he invited his followers to join him. Messengers were despatched in all directions for music; a Jew with the ague, the band of the regiment, consisting of two cracked dwarf kettledrums and a fife, and two Kurds with a fiddle and a santour, were collected together. I took an opportunity of slipping out of the room unseen, amidst the din of Albanian songs and the dust of Palicari dances.
On my return to the Serai I found the mules ready, the owners having been, after much discussion, brought to understand that it was my intention to pay for their hire. Everything being settled, and the animals loaded, I wished the Mutesellim good day, and promised to bring his miserable condition to the notice of the Pasha.
Accompanied by a Kurdish chief, we left Amadiyah by the gate opposite to that by which we had entered. We were obliged to descend on foot the steep pathway leading to the valley below. Crossing some well-cultivated gardens, we com
* About one penny.
menced the ascent of the mountains through a wooded ravine, and came suddenly upon the Yilaks, or summer quarters of the population of Amadiyah. The spot was well chosen. The torrent was divided into a thousand streams, which broke over the rocks, falling in cascades into the valley below. Fruit trees and oaks concealed the huts and tents, and creepers of many hues almost covered the sides of the ravine. All our party enjoyed the delicious coolness and fragrance of the place; and we did not wonder that the people of Amadiyah had left the baneful air of the town for these pleasant haunts. An hour's ride brought us to the summit of the pass, from which a magnificent view of the Tiyari mountains opened before us. Ionunco became eloquent when he beheld his native Alps, and named one by one the lofty peaks which sprang out of the confused heaps of hills; that of Asheetha and several others were covered with snow. Below us was the long valley of Berwari, which separates the range of Amadiyah from the Nestorian country. At a short distance from the crest of the pass we found a small barren plain, called Nevdasht, in which stands the Kurdish village of Maglana. We reached Hayis, a Nestorian hamlet, about sunset. There were but four families in the place, so destitute that we could only procure a little boiled meal, and some dried mulberries for our supper. The poor creatures, however, did all they could to make us comfortable, and gave us what they had. The valley of Berwari is well wooded with the gall-bearing oak; and the villages are surrounded by gardens and orchards. The present chief of the district, Abd-ul-Summit Bey, is a fanatic, and has almost ruined the Christian population. In all the villages through which we passed, we saw the same scene, and heard the same tale of wretchedness. Yet the land is rich, water plentiful, and the means of cultivation easy. Fruit trees of many descriptions abound; and tobacco, rice, and grain of various kinds could be extensively cultivated. Even the galls afford but a scanty gain to the villagers, as those who collect them are obliged to sell them to the chief at a very small price. The villages are partly inhabited by Kurds and partly by Nestorian Chaldaeans; there are no Catholics amongst them. Many of the Christian villages have been reduced to five or six houses, and some even to two or three. We stopped at several during our day's journey. The men, with the priests, were generally absent picking galls; the women were seated in circles under the trees, clipping the grapes and immersing them in boiling water previous to drying them for raisins. We were everywhere received with the same hospitality, and everywhere found the same poverty. Even Ibrahim Agha, who had been enured to the miseries of misgovernment, grew violent in his expressions of indignation against Abd-ul-Summit Bey, and indulged in a variety of threats against all the male and female members of his family. The castle of Kumri or Gumri, the residence of Abd-ulSummit Bey, stands on the pinnacle of a lofty isolated rock, and may be seen from most parts of the valley of Berwari. It is a small mud fort, but is looked upon as an impregnable place by the Kurds. The chief had evidently received notice of my approach, and probably suspected that the object of my visit was an inspection, for no friendly purposes, of his stronghold; for as we came near to the foot of the hill, we saw him hastening down a precipitous pathway on the opposite side, as fast as his horse could carry him. A mullah, one of his hangers-on, having been sent to meet us on the road, informed me that his master had left the castle early in the morning, for a distant village, whither we could follow him. Not having any particular wish to make a closer inspection of Kalah Kumri, I struck into the hills, and took the pathway pointed out by the mullah. We rode through several Kurdish villages, surrounded by gardens, and well watered by mountain streams. A pass of some elevation had to be crossed before we could reach the village of Mia, our quarters for the night. Near its summit we found a barren plain on which several Kurdish horsemen, who had joined us, engaged with my own party in the Jerid. The mimic fight soon caused general excitement, and old habits