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recreation they had had since strongest man who rode. The the camp was started.

older and weaker folk and the Hamadan-the ancient Ec- women walked behind, and batana-was our last point on generally carried the children. the main road. From here For some time, even after

were to push off into their abandonment by the Rusthe blue. This naturally en- sians, these people had put up tailed a tremendous amount of a fairly stout resistance to the preparation, collection of in- Turks in their fastnesses round formation, arrangements for Van and Urmiah.

Some finance, supply, transport, and months previous to this, howall the rest of it. Everything ever, they had begun to run was, however, in a state of short of ammunition.

We terrible confusion. Dunster- had promised to send them force was about to push on up rifles and ammunition, and to Baku; fresh troops were they had agreed to send a just arriving up the line from force down to Bijar to take Iraq; while to crown all a them over. As with most of our vast horde of Armenian and enterprises in help of smaller Nestorian refugees, the 80- nations, we were too late in called Jelus, were pouring into arriving. Our column reached the town in thousands in the the rendezvous a fortnight after last stages of want and ex- the appointed time. The Jelus haustion. All round the town, had to come down farther than wherever there was room, were they had anticipated to meet crammed together their pathetic us. Having once come so far little encampments-old men, back, their morale gave way, young men, women, children, and they broke. The whole with the more valuable of population of Urmiah, Van, their household treasures and and the surrounding districts some of their cattle.

It is a

came streaming back through terrible thing to see a whole the Kurdish country to Hamanation in retreat. In this case dan, suffering indescribably on it was the more dreadful, for the way from sickness, starvathese people look like Euro- tion, and the attacks of the peans in a land of Orientals; Kurds. and there is something terrible It is one of the peculiar in seeing European civilisation characteristics of the Armenian going down before the East. and his relations, that he loves We soon, however, discovered bringing trouble on himself. that they are Europeans only Rather than not appear as an in appearance. Otherwise they object of sympathy, he will are Orientals of the most Ori- cheerfully behave ental type. This was made bring retaliation and even niasapparent when we noticed that sacre on himself. In this case wherever an animal was avail- they themselves were purely able, it was the youngest and responsible for bringing the

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Kurdish attacks down on them. lowed the Isfandabad plain. Being Armenians, their first This is a vast rolling upland, parties to retire through the sloping gradually upwards totribal country were composed wards the west, where it culof the best-armed, best-organ- minates at the pass dropping ised, and most active of their down to Sennah. The western men. The tribes offered no end of the plain is, I believe, opposition, and indeed intended some 8500 feet above the sea. none. Nevertheless, in spite It is a wild and fascinating of the fact that behind them country, this great upland. In were following the practically summer it is covered with unarmed thousands of their grasses and sedges, for all the women and children, they could world like a moorland of the not bear to go anywhere with Scottish border. In winter it out making every one hate is a barren stretch of unbroken them. They burnt and looted snow, swept from time to time several Kurdish villages, and by fierce blizzards, which somemaltreated many of the women. times wipe out whole caravans. The Kurds naturally resented In two or three places we were this, and collected to make re- shown the remains of these. prisals. The first and better. In one place can be seen the armed Armenian parties had bones of some fifty animals all passed on, but there remained huddled together, where they the many and weaker de- bad taken refuge behind a bank. tachments in rear. The earlier In summer the climate is of these were fairly well armed, delicious, particularly after the and were able to protect them- heat and dust of Iraq-brilliant selves, and even to provoke sunshine by day and sharp the Kurds further. Towards crisp nights. This last charthe extreme rear, however, in acteristic is as

a matter of the post of danger, strong and fact rather overdone, for even active men were few, and in early September, when bithe percentage of women and vouacking in the open, we children far higher; for it is found the water in our basins an axiom with the Armenian frozen solid in the mornings. that the more swiftly he can It had a disastrous effect on move, the farther will he be our faces, too, and after two found from the post of danger. or three days of it, we were all The tribes, by this time fully shedding our skins as a gumconcentrated and fully armed, tree sheds its bark. Shaving took a terrible revenge, and became impossible, while eatbetween Bijar and Hamadan ing and laughing were painful the bones of 10,000 refugees are and difficult. said to lie mouldering by the This Isfandabad plain is one road.

of the great granaries of Persia, From Hamadan we turned and splendid wheat crops are our faces to the west, and fol- grown without the need for

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irrigation. But it is a tragedy The first thing that strikes

. to see such vast tracts lying you on seeing one of these untouched from lack of popula- villages is to wonder where tion and from Persian mis- all the inhabitants find room government. Miles and miles to live. There seem to be only a of it only want the plough and few dozen tiny huts, but as your a little energy. Well, nature cavalcade approaches, hundreds abhors a vacuum, and sooner of people begin to appear like or later, when the great wheat ants out of a nest. Nor is struggle of the world begins, this all : in the evening from

some hardy race will step in all the hills round, thousands E and oust the last remnants of of sheep and cattle pour in, Persian rule.

and disappear into the village. The only inhabitants appear It is like magic. A visit to to be Turkomans and Kurds. the interior of of the The former, in the plain at houses, however, soon clears least, far outnumber the latter, up the mystery. The but who seem to stick to the moun. which one sees is only a small tains and the valleys which cut upper storey. By far the greater through them. What surprised part of the inhabitants and all us was the essentially settled the cattle live underground in nature of their life, far less great cellars hewn out of the nomadic and more fixed than earth beneath the houses, and that even of the village Kurds. indeed extending underground We always pictured the Turko- far beyond their limits. The man as a wild and fierce nomad, hut itself is only a sort of pitscouring the plain with his head. We spent several hours horse and spear, and living in one of these villages going on rapine and the milk of his through these great cave dwelmares. Here was a gentle, lings, and were simply amazed thrifty, and rather timid peo- at their extent. All through ple, living a regular village the winter, they told us, when life, and, although owning large the ground outside is covered flocks of sheep, subsisting chiefly with deep snow and is swept by wheat-growing.

by icy blizzards, they and their Their villages are quite un- cattle live together in these like any that I have come vast cellars.

Nice and cosy, across elsewhere, consisting of they say it is. What the atcurious little domed huts like mosphere would feel like to a mosques in miniature. I under- European almost baffles the stand the domed shape is in- imagination. But the Turkotended to resist the great weight man does not appear to be a of snow which falls in winter. particular person. Enormous beams would be re- It was while crossing this quired to support an ordinary plain that we had our first flat roof under this, and wood adventure with the local tribes. is almost non-existent here. As we arrived at Qurveh, the VOL. COXVI.—NO. MCCCIX.


principal village of the plain, the advanced-guard, consisting we heard a tremendous row of 3 British N.C.O.'s, was riding going on, and at our approach about 400 yards ahead of the a number of sowars galloped convoy. A little behind it away. It appeared that a followed the commandant and section of the Sheikh Ishmaili, his adjutant, each smoking a a tribe of mounted Kurds large pipe, and armed with a living in the hills to the south, revolver. Behind that again had raided the village, and came the main body, consisting that our arrival had

arrival had made of 6 British N.C.O.'s escorting them abandon their spoil and some 250 mules, while a further fly. We were warned to expect three acted as rear-guard. an attack on our convoy. We Now we had been thinking camped therefore at a little over matters the night before, distance from the hills, out in and one thing was perfectly the plain, where we had a clear. If the tribes did attack good field of view and fire all in force, and 600 rifles, the round, but beyond a couple ammunition for them, plus of shots which whistled over £6000 in English gold, made it our heads as we were finishing really worth while attacking, dinner, and were probably nothing on earth could save merely reminders from the vil- the convoy, while to turn back lage sentries that they were was only to make attack more still awake, nothing happened certain. So we had decided during the night.

that the only thing to do was to Next day, however, we had bluff. our first battle, a truly Persian All our people had been told

As we approached a low overnight, therefore, that in the pass a mile or two beyond the event of a display of this kind village, a row of little black they were to take no notice heads suddenly appeared over whatever until ordered to do the sky-line, and a second later so, for nothing disconcerts the a body of about fifty sowars Persian or mounted Kurd so came swooping down upon us, much as when his antics fail galloping, waving their rifles, to instil fear into the enemy. yelling, and going through all As the tribesmen swooped these extraordinary mounted down the hill, I merely recontortions which pass in Per-minded the advanced - guard sia for the insignia of excessive that they were to take no bravery. According to the rules notice and ride quietly on. of war, as recognised in these The British soldier is rather a parts, we should have aban- wonderful person, but never doned our convoy and fled, for have I seen a more wonderful were we not both ambushed display than that given by the and outnumbered ?

three men of the advancedThe distribution of the force guard. They did not even at the moment was as follows: check their ponies; they looked


neither to the right nor to the had been completely deceived, left, but rode quietly forward, however, by the attitude of our paying not the slightest atten- soldiers, for no men, they said, tion to the howling mob charg- could have behaved as did these ing down on them. On came unless they had some hidden the gallant Kurds, but as they reserve, or some unknown and approached they began to ap, powerful weapon behind them. pear visibly nonplussed. They It was the fear of the unknown could make nothing of this which chilled their lust for curious soldiery, who failed booty. even to look surprised at their The trouble which might antics. Just for one moment have ensued from a turn - up it looked as though they might with these fellows is well illuspush home, and then suddenly trated by the adventures of a they turned and wheeled away. neighbouring force. The same Back they swooped again, but sort of thing occurred to a conthis time more slowly, and voy going up the road. The obviously with less heart in officer in charge of it, howthem, while their yells had ever, took matters seriously lost their

their triumphant ring. instead of treating these comic Presently they drew off to one warriors as a joke. The result side and dismounted. All this was a stiff fight, the loss, I time we rode quietly on, though believe, of part of the convoy, I am afraid some of us eyed and continuous raiding on the them rather anxiously out of line of communication. On the corners of our eyes. Pres- our side we never had any ently, after a short consultation, trouble on the line of comthree of their leaders, leaving munication, and for the rest of their rifles behind, got on their our time our people were able horses and rode up to us. to come and go practically unthey approached I rode out a escorted up and down the road. little way to meet them, and As the road reaches the the leader jumped off his horse, western extremity of the plain, took off his hat, and out of it it begins to rise more sharply. produced a chit signed by a For five miles it winds upwards previous British pro-consul to through ever-increasing hills, say what a good boy he was. till suddenly it passes through It was only a month or two a narrow gap in the range, afterwards, when I had met and drops steeply down the these fellows again and had a escarpment of a deeply cut sufficient force at my back to valley, which eventually opens prevent any nonsense, that I into the Kara Su almost opporeally learned what a narrow site Sennah. shave we had had. They told The south-western side of us frankly that they had heard the range is quite different of our rifles and gold, and had to the east. On the east all been all out to loot them. They is rolling uplands, leading by

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