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getting the better of my dignity, I joined the mêlée. A severe kick in the leg from a horse soon put an end to my maneuvres, and the party was detained until I was sufficiently recovered from the effects of the blow to continue our journey. It was consequently sunset before we reached Mia. There are two villages of this name; the upper, inhabited by Mohammedans, the lower by Nestorian Chaldæans. A Kurd met us as we were entering the former, with a message from Abd-ul-Summit Bey, to the effect that, having guests, he could not receive me there, but had provided a house in the Christian village, where he would join us after his dinner. I rode on to the lower Mia, and found a party of Kurds belaboring the inhabitants, and collecting old carpets and household furniture. Understanding that these proceedings were partly meant as preparations for my reception, though the greater share of the objects collected was intended for the comfort of the Bey's Mussulman guests, I at once put a stop to the pillaging, and released the sufferers. We ascended a spacious and cleanly roof; and with the assistance of the people of the house, who were ready enough to assist when they learnt we were Christians, established ourselves there for the night..
Soon after dark another messenger came from Abd-ul-Summit Bey to say that as the Cadi and other illustrious guests were with him, he could not visit me before the morning. I had from the first suspected that these delays and excuses had an object, and that the chief wished to give a proof of his dignity to the Kurds, by treating me in as unceremonious a manner as possible; so, calling the Kurd, and addressing him in a loud voice, that the people who had gathered round the house might hear, I requested him to be the bearer of a somewhat uncivil answer to his master, and took care that he should fully understand its terms. Ionunco's hair stood on end at the audacity of this speech, and the Nestorians trembled at the results. Ibrahim Agha tittered with delight; and pushing the Kurd away by the shoulders, told him to be particular in delivering his answer? The message had the effect I had anticipated ; an hour afterwards, shuffling over the house
tops at the great risk of his shins, and with a good chance of disappearing down a chimney, came the Bey. He was enveloped in a variety of cloaks; and wore, after the manner of the Bohtan chiefs, a turban of huge dimensions—about four feet in diameter—made up of numberless kerchiefs and rags of every hue of red, yellow, and black, and a jacket and wide trowsers richly embroidered; in his girdle were all manner of weapons. In person he was tall and handsome ; his eyes were dark, his nose aquiline, and his beard black; but the expression of his face was far from prepossessing. I left him to open the conversation, which he did by a multiplicity of excuses and apologies for what had passed, not having, by the Prophet, been aware, he said, of the rank of the guest by whose presence he had been honored. I pointed out to him one or two fallacies in his assertions; and we came to a distinct understanding on the subject, before we proceeded to general topics. He sat with me till midnight, and entered, amongst other things, into a long justification of his conduct towards Christians, which proved that his authority was not established as well as he could desire. In the morning the Bey sent me a breakfast, and gave me a party of Kurdish horsemen as an escort as far as the Tiyari frontier, which was not far distant. Beyond Mia we passed through Bedou, the largest and most populous Kurdish village I had seen. Our guards would not venture into the territories of the Tiyari, between whom and the Kurds there are continual hostilities, but quitted us in a narrow desolate valley, up which our road to Asheetha now led. I lectured my party on the necessity of caution during our future wanderings; and reminded my Cawass and Mohammedan servants that they had no longer the quiet Christians of the plains to deal with. Resigning ourselves to the guidance of Ionunco, who now felt that he was on his own soil, we made our way with difficulty over the rocks and stones with which the valley is blocked up, and struck into what our guide represented to be a short cut to
Asheetha. The pathway might certainly, on some occasions, have been used by the mountain goats; but the passage of horses and mules was a miracle. After a most tedious walk, we reached the top of the pass and looked down on the village. From this spot the eye rested upon a scene of great beauty. In front rose the lofty peak, with its snows and glaciers, visible even from Mosul. At our feet the village spread over the whole valley; and detached houses, surrounded by gardens and orchards, were scattered over the sides of the mountains. To the right ran the valley which leads to the Zab. We had little difficulty in descending through the loose stones and detritus which cover the face of the mountain, although both our mules and ourselves had frequent falls. On reaching the entrance of the valley, we rode at once to the house of Yakoub, the rais or chief of Asheetha, who received us with grateful hospitality.
ASHEETHA. - A NESTORIAN HOUSE. – THE MASSACRE. – ZAWEETHA. – NESTORIAN PRIESTS. — MURGHI. — LIZAN. — SCENE OF THE MASSACRE. — A TIYARI BRIDGE. – RAOL.A. — THE HOUSE OF THE MELEK. – THE DISTRICT OF TRHOMA. — ALARM OF THE INHABITANTS. — CHURCH SERVICE. — TKHOMA GOWALA. – A. KURDISH CHIEF. – PASS INTO BAZ. – ERGUB. - RETURN TO TKHOMA. -- BE-ALATHA. — ROADS OF TIYARI. CHONBA. – MURDER OF MELEK ISMAIL. — RETURN TO ASHEETHA. — RASHA AURAHAM. - A COPPER MINE. - CHALLEK. – OURMELI. — A SUBASHI. - A KURDISH SAINT. — MALTHAYIAH. — SCULPTURES. ALKOSH. – TOMB OF THE PROPHET NAHUM. – RABBAN HORMUZD. TELREF AND ITS CHRISTIAN INHABITANTS. – RETURN TO MOSUL. — SECOND MASSACRE IN THE NESTORLAN MOUNTAINS. — CAPTURE AND EXILE OF BEDER. KHAN BEY.
WE had no sooner reached the house of Yakoub Rais, than a cry of “The Bey is come,” spread rapidly through the village, and I was surrounded by a crowd of men, women, and boys. My hand was kissed by all, and I had to submit for some time to this tedious process. As for my companion, he was almost smothered in the embraces of the girls, nearly all of whom had been liberated from slavery after the great massacre, and had been supported in their distress by his brother for some months in Mosul.” Amongst the men were many of my old workmen, who were distinguished from the rest of the inhabitants of Asheetha by their gay dresses and arms, the fruits of their industry during the winter. They were anxious to show their gratitude, and their zeal in my service. The priests came too; Kasha Ghioorghis, Kasha Hormuzd, and others. As they entered the room, the whole assembly rose; and lifting their turbans and caps reverentially from their heads, kissed the hand extended to them. In the meanwhile the girls had disappeared; but soon returned, each bearing a platter of fruit which they placed before me. My workmen also brought large dishes of boiled garas swimming in butter. There were provisions enough for the whole company. The first inquiries were after Mar Shamoun, the Patriarch. I produced his letter, which the priests first kissed and placed to their foreheads. They afterwards passed it to the principal men, who went through the same ceremony. Kasha Ghioorghis then read the letter aloud, and at its close, those present uttered a pious ejaculation for the welfare of their Patriarch, and renewed their expressions of welcome to us. These preliminaries having been concluded, we had to satisfy all present as to the object, extent, and probable duration of our journey. The village was in the greatest alarm at a threatened invasion from Beder Khan Bey. The district of Tkhoma, which had escaped the former massacre, was now the object of his fanatical vengeance. He was to march through Asheetha, and orders had already been sent to the inhabitants to collect provisions for his men. As his expedition was not to be undertaken before the close of Ramazan, there was full time to see the proscribed districts before the Kurds entered them. I determined, however, to remain a day in Asheetha, to rest Our mules. On the morning following our arrival, I went with Yakoub Rais to visit the village. The trees and luxuriant crops had concealed the desolation of the place, and had given to Asheetha, from without, a flourishing appearance. As I wandered, however, through the lanes, I found little but ruins. A few houses were rising from the charred heaps; still the greater, part of the sites were without owners, the whole family having perished.
* It may be remembered, that Beder Khan Bey, in 1843, invaded the Tiyari districts, massacred in cold blood nearly 10,000 of their inhabitants, and carried away as slaves a large number of women and children. But it is, perhaps, not generally known, that the release of the greater part of the captives was obtained through the humane interference and generosity of Sir Stratford Canning, who prevailed upon the Porte to send a commissioner into Kurdistan, for the purpose of inducing Beder Khan Bey and other Kurdish chiefs to give up the slaves they had taken, and who advanced, himself, a considerable sum towards their liberation. Mr. Rassam also obtained the release of many slaves, and maintained and clothed, at his own expense and for many months, not only the Nestorian Patriarch, who had taken refuge in Mosul, but many hundred Chaldaeans who had escaped from the mountains.