Hard on his heels came Ismail, full of zeal and bubbling over with his adventures. He had, so to speak, carried the good news to Ghent, and Ghent had sent him back armed with letters and comforts. There was a cheery note from Colonel Binns, who, ever thoughtful, had sent us copies of the latest "Times," which Knowles fell upon with a howl of joy, since he could never accustom himself to being without the morning's news.
After that our bondage was short. Within thirty-six-hours we had our release and waiting not a single moment upon our going, I hurriedly drank twelve cups of coffee with twelve captors; took their twelve polite cigarettes; tipped Mrs. Smith of the Hotel Ismid; rescued such of our belongings as had not disappeared at the hotel; and at half-past three in the afternoon recommenced our journey towards the, interior of Asia Minor.
There was need to lose no time. We were a fortnight late. We had a laggard car which we could not drive at any pace without danger. We had wet roads for hundreds of miles ahead of us, perhaps more detention and breakages and the Indian wet season approaching very-fast. Already, it seemed that, with our late start from London and the delays, we could not reach Burma in time to defeat the rains; but I made up my mind that if late and early work "could do it, it would be done. Therefore, it was a case of no more sleeping in towns where drowsy hotel staffs found breakfast for you at eight o'clock, but of lying in your valise and rising with the ﬁrst streak of dawn.
IN TURKISH CUSTODY
BEHOLD us then ensconced in Djemal Bey's "very good" hotel.
We had a front room and a ﬁne view of the main street. The padding donkeys laden with rich, brown tobacco leaf, going to the market lower down against the wall; the gay children playing hide and seek across the railway line; the continual military and naval procession; the hilarious dances of the club over the way and the spectacle of the fat old gentleman who dressed himself in purple and ﬁne linen every morning in front of his window were all accessible to us.
We certainly had a little trouble when we arrived at the Hotel Ismid in persuading the proprietress that we did not all desire to sleep in one bed.
She did her best to make us. She pointed out that it was the custom of the country and showed a more friendly spirit beside making less work for the staff - which meant her good self and one small boy whose life seemed to be a hard one. She was quite sulky about it for a day or two, but we all soon became friendly.
She was a young woman, which was fortunate for us, since she appeared never to have been washed from birth. She wore the usual black Turkish gown, that nun-like dress of the East which ordinarily goes with a yashmak; but she had no yashmak, because Turkish law has abolished Turkish clothing in general and
straw and all the other things apt to cling to eggs strung all over them. So far from being "aiyee.pish-mish,' they would almost be raw--just slightly warmed, with their yolks beautifully translucent. Of course, there were no spoons, and the spectacle of three wild men with awkwardly shaped whiskers devouring those eggs was a sight for the gods; After the eggs we had the ekmek, hunks of brown whole rye bread, and the tea. You could shout till you were blind that you wanted tea by the litre. You could provide the vessel for it (and have
to ask for its return), but the tea always came in the same way--a sherry-coloured tea in thrice small sherry-sized glasses. In vain the awful bush language of Francis Birtles made the rafters ring. Mrs. Smith merely took a cigarette and went away, letting in the stench of the
Oriental latrine next door, as she went out.
There were no other meals to be had in the hotel beside breakfast, but we did not want them. We should not have wanted the breakfast if we could have got it anywhere else, but necessity kept us to a matutinal egg diet, the dessert to which was Civil Police Officer Halil.
Halil appeared very soon after our arrival. He looked more like a good type of South German than a Turk and he was dressed very neatly in European fashion. The curious crowd which had gathered about us scattered like chaff before Halil, who greeted us as brothers.
"Ha, you are under arrest. Warum?" (Why?) he cried gaily in German. "But you may go everywhere, my friends! You may see all you wish. I am your guide . . ." ,
He muttered on cheerfully. He had a garage for us in no time. He had our baggage upstairs. He had coffee brought by a man in yellow trousers. He made us as comfortable as a gaoler could. Might I send a telegram? I asked. Most certainly I might, he said.
came through the Dardanelles and ordered the German commander-in-chief out of his headquarters at the Pera Palace Hotel through an interpreter, who had ﬂed for his life from Stamboul upon the declaration of war three years previously, losing all the accumulations, of a
And every time Halil related an atrocity or an event he philosophized.
"See that hill! That is where the Armenians lived, mein Lieber. Some of them are underneath--we put them there. An unpleasant people. But why should they die while you and I live? Warum?
"And the Germans-they used to sing 'God with us, but now so many who did the singing are with God instead, which may be more comfortable. But Why?
"And you and I sitting here - if I had met you nine years ago I should have tried to push a bayonet through you, and now here we sit and I have just bought you coffee, mein Lieber;"
"You haven't. I paid for that lot."
"You shouldn't. It was my turn. Warum? Why did you pay out of your turn?"
The seabirds would swoop down almost on our heads looking for crumbs. Pinnaces would put off from the "Goeben," which had never been to sea for years, and sometimes we would hum a song together till it was time to go back and see if any release had come for us from
The twenty-four hours which our optimist friend of the Navy had told us might elapse before we were allowed to leave turned itself into days.
I felt that our letters, except the ones which told a friend that we were not ill at ease, were not being delivered. Always the answer of the police was:
"Tomorrow!" I should not have been so worried
about the disturbance but for the chaﬁng of the proud spirit of Francis, who seemed to be continually in the
You left him with the car, on a work of benevolent destruction whereby I had decided that we could reduce the weight of our load by a hundredweight or two, and if you returned an hour later you were almost certain to ﬁnd him telling the Turks in general, via an interested but fortunately uncomprehending audience, exactly what he thought of their country and hospitality. Usually, he promised them that an army would come from England to deal with them. Moreover, he threatened by propaganda to spoil the chances of the next Turkish loan, and he was fully persuaded that if I would drop my diplomatic attitude, call the Governor and the Naval Commandant perverted sons of guns and offer to punch their noses, we would be free in no time.
As I had a distrustful feeling that our captors would like nothing better than a display of bad temper which would justify them in feeling insulted enough to send us back to Constantinople, I felt very uneasy about it, more especially as our Overlander constantly made plans
which he was quite capable of attempting, to carry out, for leaving Ismid in the night and ﬁnding his way to Stamboul with a view to telling the world our woes.
This procedure would inevitably have led to his being shot or captured by sentries and, as I had given parole for his remaining, the result would have possibly have been unpleasant for all of us. Possibly a hope. that Birtles or Knowles would do something like this had inﬂuenced the Turks when they asked only me for a parole. So I drank coffee hard with all thefunctionaries who were likely to be able to help, trying to get permission to go myself to Angora and negotiate our release. It was all in vain. The days came and went slowly, but were full of interest. Sometimes, as on market day, the streets would be full of strange people tangled in
I hoped that one night I might see a British -face on the -train, but there were none. We seemed to be not only the only British in Ismid-there were three Germans at the Electric Light Station--but also the only British travellers in Turkey.
The next morning I would go off and continue drinking coffee with ofﬁcialdom or talking about the lovely girls of Hit with Djemal Bey or everything in general with Halil, trying to get permission to go to Pera. After nearly a week of it I got Ismail away. Ismail developed a sick wife in Stamboul. She became so constantly sick that he had an inexpressible longing to see her, and as several junior officials had a sick
pocket, a compromise was easy. Ismail went. After our own experiences we certainly did not expect to see Ismail again; but I did not go to meet the train the next evening, because it appeared inadvisable to be seen meeting him if he did come.
The train came and went and no Ismail. But at about an hour after its leaving Halil arrived---a new Halil. No more did Halil arrive with a hail: "How goes it, my dear fellow?" This obsequious person knocked respectfully at the door, clicked his heels, bowed from the waist to the muddle of whiskers which was myself and presented me with the card of the First Secretary to the British Embassy at Pera.
"The noble gentleman who was on the train asked me to give you this with his kindest regards and affectionate compliments," said Halil, "and begged me to intimate that he is proceeding at once to Angora and will arrange that you are instantly released."
It was very evident that with the most artistic diplomacy, the First Secretary, who was probably bound for Angora on other business, had done what is called "the heavy" with Halil. For the brief time we remained, his philosophy was offered with a deference which had
not hitherto ﬂavoured it.
capital, revealed itself as a most extraordinary city in a most extraordinary position. Its Black Castle, from which it takes its name, was in its very heart sitting of the top of a column of rock in a most ideal situation for pouring boiling oil upon a wretched aggressor below. Behind were darkling mountains rising sheer and dwarfing a huddled, tile-roofed town which seemed to be doing its very utmost to elface itself. In front, weirdly enough,
lay a bleak, level valley, wind-swept and marshy in strong contrast to the stern hills.
We were soon to discover that it was Turkish Sabbath in Aﬁon. The place was hung with the auctioneer's-red banners of Kjemal's nation and the inhabitants were lounging about in attitudes of ease. The Ottoman Bank was closed as if it had been sealed and we had two gallons of petrol left out of the heavy array of tins with which we had left Pera. Also, we had two liras in Turkish money and naught beside except some English notes.
As we were urgently wanting to make up for lost time, I put it to the garage proprietor, after I had his petrol safely in our tanks, that I should pay him in English money. He said it was a splendid idea and he did not care whether he had English pounds or Turkish pounds; but when I offered to give him one English pound for nine and a half Turkish pounds, which was current exchange, he showed signs of apoplexy. He pointed out to me that a Bradbury was obviously a much smaller piece of money than a lira and that Turkey was a great, free and emancipated country.
Then he said it was Sunday and provided I would leave the car with him till next morning, he would con- sult the bank. I reminded him, then, that I had his petrol and that I was honest, and that if he found I wasn't he could catch me to-morrow at Konia. At this stage seventy other Turks joined in the discussion and our merchant sent for the police and we stood in a sort of human heap which had become entirely unintelligible
down a broad avenue with trees bigger than we had seen since we left England, the new plane leaves valiantly green. The bridges were too dangerous to risk except as a last resource, and there were explorings ifor stream crossings and halloings among the timber of the hillsides, ﬂounderings among the boulders in the strong running streams and usually a perilous passage across the bridge in the end, with half a dozen donkeys asleep at the other end and their masters, open-mouthed and waiting for unrealized salvage should we tumble through the decking and die.
On the morning after we left Ismid, the immobile grey blue of the Sabandja Geul spread itself suddenly on our left through a mist of new-born leaf, and about noon, having spent two hours in a morass, came a busy hour at Adar Bazaar in a street full of policemen, buying raisins and bread and fresh meat at the open stalls in the streets and sharing coffee with the laughing gendarmes. Out again in the early afternoon into a land which gradually climbed grassy hills from which the plain behind us opened out as an entrancing panorama. Quaintly striped birds ﬂew suddenly overhead with a
whir. Patient bulfaloes plodded by us with their creaking carts and every few yards we passed one of a mighty crawling army of small tortoises engaged in a slow migration, all travelling in one direction as if they owned eternity.
By and by we were face to face with mountains covered with burgeoning oak, another brawling stream and a gap between two peaks which set us careering precariously along a narrow road high over the rushing Sakaria River. A brown, turbulent stream is the Sakaria, carrying the snows of a dozen small ranges to the sea. It looked a very unpleasant place to fall into and the track along its side was designed to take bullock waggons travelling in single ﬁle. Moreover, that track was full of high mounds, so that you never knew till you were
converse about the war and by eight o'clock we were under blankets.
Not to sleep, however. There was, in the ﬁrst place, a buffalo just through the wall behind us who seemed to be suftering from a bad cough and an irritation which impelled him to rise periodically from his wallow and rub his horn against a tree with a noise like an ungreased bandsaw. And at midnight there broke out a solemn and insistent riﬂle of drums in village after village for miles around.
"Womp! womp! womp!" went the drum of our village for four or ﬁve minutes at a time and then would rise a sad, musical voice crying to the Faithful to awake for their morning meal. It was piercingly cold, and when I looked out of the corner of my sleeping gear, tucked well round my nose, half darkness lay like a mist on a landscape lit by ﬂat stars in a black sky.
"Womp! womp! womp!" went the drum against a rattling background of other kettling which echoed back from the hill villages in the distance.
After what seemed a long time the drummer reached us and gave a lusty performance, standing shadowy against the wall.
"Here," thought I, " is where one of these fellows dies," as I waited for Francis to rise and slay him. But nobody in the camp moved except a slinking dog which had been craftily stealing a corner of Knowles's tarpaulin for a bed. So, after a little, the heralds of the dawn left us, calling gently several times: "Wakeup, brothers, it is time to eat." They were succeeded by a biting wind which even a ﬁery sun, arriving three hours later, could not warm.
We breakfasted early among the ground mists and drove slowly up a frost-touched valley. We crossed the Anatolian, railway line and began to climb the hills. They looked like all the mountains we had seen since Middle Europe; cloaked with the stunted Valonia oaks
live later than in some century behind "the Middle Ages.
At intervals, clean streams, in which the market men's dogs disported themselves, crossed the road, and the poplars blew green on silver boles above us. We came to a little villa with a round-peaked roof before which an old gentleman in a Phrygian hat, with a cloak that might have come out of a Virgilian frieze about his shoulders, sat drowsily in the morning warmth.
"Why," said I to myself, rubbing my eyes as I had done a dozen times before since we reached the Balkans, "this might be old Rome come to life."
Almost at the word, a walled town rose before our eyes. Its ramparts were of the ﬁne red brick of which London wall was built. Its outline had the asymmetry of the old cities. Its triple gates, its turrets, its curtain wall, its sling platforms--all undoubtedly came complete out of ancient history and told that the hills opposite once must have been full of the wildest barbarians. In the distance, it looked as if it had been built yesterday and if, on nearer view, it proved dilapidated and the guards who topped its turrets turned out to be Turkish policemen, the triple gates with their battered marble bas-reliefs, the stream of archaicly vestured people beside their loaded donkeys, the ancient Greek joke on a wall about the morals of some long dead citizeness (or was it the State?) named Lycia, all served to preserve the illusion that we had stepped back, at least, into the
reign of Constantine.
"Where are we, Ismail?" I asked. .
"Isnik," said Ismail. - "And it is a very bad place. There is much fever."
We were in the city of -many names that a son of Philip of Macedon founded. It was one of the glories of Asia Minor in its day. It saw the meeting of the great Councils four hundred years apart which framed
who seemed most loth to leave us, even with a fat roll of Turkish currency in his pocket.
"Good-bye!" he shouted as we started on another climb into those dark and inhospitable mountains where a few weeks afterwards poor Cocks, the Indian aviator, disappeared. "You will come back."
The last we saw of him was a thin, lonely ﬁgure waving a frantic felt hat, with two hopeful eagles hovering in the background, both presumably praying that in his excitement he would tumble off the edge of the road and reappear four hundred feet below on the rocks, already dissected for the beneﬁt of the aquila family.
We ourselves thought several times before we camped in the evening that we might feed the eagles, for the roads became tortuous, and given to having wet clay surfaces. They were often narrowed by breakaways at the edges where only careful navigation saved us from sending tons of earth hurtling into the valley below and following in its wake. Higher and higher we climbed with every mile, and the higher we went the colder it became, till we camped on a bleak roadside twenty miles from Eskishehr, where they have replaced a prehistoric oracle with a central Turkish ﬂying station. We
shivered through along night in our blankets with the unsatisfying knowledge that in the morning we should have no means of making a ﬁre.
Daylight saw us away again and eight o'clock in Eskishehr. It was a bleak, untidy town, but I managed to buy there a massive Turkish stirrup iron from which I made a new radiator cap and some very bad lubricating oil and we got a few very complicated directions for reaching Kutahia, our next city of call, which we left, late in the afternoon, before the police should catch and cross-examine us. In the morning, Aﬁon Karahissar, once a Hittite
and the weakness of mind which had brought him to join a party which expected him to visit lands where a man had to travel after dark because there was no wood to make a ﬁre.
While he was thus entertaining us, Konia opened its mouth for us in a manner -which completely took us by
At one moment we were in the open road with a ﬂat sea of multiplying lights in front. The next we were between mud walls with a hum of conversation about us, in cobbled streets, among donkeys, Fords and arabas or carriages drawn by neat white pairs of ponies.
A splendid Colonel, in grey and scarlet and with a very museum of lethal weapons about him, bowed to us from the pavement.
Who were we? Where were we going? Could he be of any help? A hotel? Yes---
A tall, smiling ﬁgure, in ordinary European clothes mitigated by slippers with turned-up toes, behind him in the gathering knot of onlookers, said:
"Effendim, I know a very good hotel."
Said, the Colonel cynically:
"He knows a very good hotel. Good evening! Bon voyage! The gentleman will take you to his good hotel."
He clicked his spur-clad heels and went away, chuckling. We wondered What he found to amuse him. Our guide found nothing amusing. His courtesy was perfect. He sat on my knee with restraint and remarked that he would take us to a very conveniently situated hotel.
In a few minutes we had reached it,
oppression. As we had, our new uniform and highly polished-boots on and as there were several illegal but enticing little yashmaks ﬂoating about as well as a number of unveiled and admiring female faces we said to ourselves: 'Let us be hard on this travelling menagerie and impress the population!' We therefore put a cordon of nine gendarmes round the car and asked our visitors for their passports, which they very inadvisedly gave to
us. We then sent all their documents to the Commandant, who was at his private house, and settled down to ﬁll in the few hours before he should return them by tramping round and ordering the crowd about like a herd of bullocks.
"After an hour, our prisoners seemed to become restless and that vile person, their leader, strode into the ofﬁce and in a strange mixture of profane Turkish, Persian, German and various foreign languages demanded that his passports should be handed back at once. I could not understand him when he became, really angry, but he made me most uneasy by his continual use of the name of Kjemal Pasha and by waving in front of me a document with a large red seal which he said emanated from some potentate named King George. He did not look like the friend of kings, but the seal was very big and very red, and the free and easy way in which our captive introduced the name of our President every time his Turkish invective ran out was most disconcerting.
"I therefore, not without trepidation, detached a gendarme from the car guard and sent him for the passports which the Commandant had, no doubt, intended to keep to read with his breakfast next morning.
"On their arrival, I spent half an hour putting rubber stamps on them with the aid of three subordinates and superintending the departure of the travellers who, as I am fully convinced, were the most desperate criminals we have seen in these parts.
he saw his ugly face he began to weep. All his courtiers tried to comfort him with ﬂattery and had nearly calmed him when he noticed Hodja Nasr crying like a waterspout.
"What are you howling about, fellow?' says Tamerlane testily, for he liked to have a monopoly of the more dolorous emotions.
" 'Haven't I a, right to Weep?' sobs his jester. 'Why, when you get one glimpse of your phiz you snivel for two hours. That's right, isn't it? Well, what the devil do you think it is like for me having to sit in front of the damn thing all day and every day? Isn't it about time I gave way to my feelings?' '
"The Dalmatian thought it funny. Iam glad these strangers have departed."
All the time we gradually climbed and it became so cold that Francis rolled himself in half a dozen blankets in the back of the car and went sound asleep, while Knowles and I shivered in front with an arctic wind blowing on our cheeks from the high, crests of the Sultan Dagh.
Villages were rarer and, when we met them, were ﬁlled with half-frozen dogs and huddled Turks, gathered round their doors under the lee of their houses. Every village had its graveyard more populated than itself, and a square khan or rest house with high, blind walls, unpierced except for loopholes, in which travelling caravans were wont to bivouac each evening.
The road underneath was a bleak slough. The valley was treeless in the main with rare hut shelters for wayfarers, and the further the afternoon went the more the population dwindled until it was reduced to an occasional queer shepherd, completely enveloped in a great hide coat with the hair on the inside, idling with close-grouped goats or sheep. Once in a while a ﬂoundering, growling
This plan took us straight into the ranges and the dark. It was an inky dark with a spray of snow sometimes pushing into our faces in the wind. It became difficult to retain our main direction or even to keep on the road round the spurs which we began to ascend. The stars came out, and then went in as suddenly, as if some one had drawn a curtain over them. The only land or sky marks were the white peaks above. I felt our way along anxiously, stopping every little while to make sure of the track ahead in the impalpable mist which swallowed our lights at the lamp face, watching
meanwhile for a village which was marked on the map and which I was seeking, as a lead from which to make our course after a certain number of miles of running.
That it was on the map did not necessarily mean it would be there in reality, for Turkish villages are the most ephemeral of communities. They usually consist of a few ﬂat-roofed streets of huts with pisé walls round half the houses, some scented trees and, at night, all the dogs and donkeys in the world. And, when they get dirty, or disease decimates the inhabitants, or the Greeks arrive or the water fails in summer or the executioners swoop down, the whole place may be piled about its owners ears or moved ﬁve miles across the plain according to circumstances.
We came within the expected range of the hamlet and there was not a sound--not a dog or a donkey giving tongue--and just as I had made up my mind that either it was not there or that we were off the road We saw a slender sword of yellow light beside us and, in the gloom, the geometrical forms of the houses.
"Hey, brothers! Peace be with you!"
The crack of a door opened cautiously revealing a segment of a bearded face. '
there was not and there was no other course-but to proceed.
At last, we were out of the mountains and in the very far distance the faintest tinge of glare lit the horizon. It was too bright. for timber lume, that strange, scarcely existent phosphorescence which you see on the plains at night in some warm countries when there is a belt of trees ahead. Beside, it was too much to believe that there were trees in that well-grubbed land.
"Ah," said Francis, driving skilfully among the ruts of a well-churned-up track, "I knew we were going in the wrong general direction. That's the tail of the sunset. We're going west."
"No, that's almost due east," said I, the navigator, who had been closely watching my compass.
At that moment, without warning, the glimmer became a long row of electric lamps. You could have sworn that they were right under your nose, and only the fact that they completely met each horizon advertised that they were suffering distortion from a sort of night mirage.
They began, forthwith, to play with us, the game the lapwing plays when he is luring you from his nest. They appeared to be limping just before us, we fast catching them. They dashed away until they were twinkling points in the never-never of the world's end. They wheeled and danced as we crossed gullies and nullahs by twisting paths.
When we had travelled eight miles towards them they seemed further off than when they had ﬁrst satup to look at us; though the nature of the road, which had become abroad highway, stone paved and reduced to the most terrible condition of unrepaired roughness by centuries of rain, snow, bullock wains, army waggons, lorries and marching armies, suggested the city's nearness.
The language of Francis as he drove us along this highway was terrible. He cursed the car and the English who made it and Turkey and the Turks and the road
in particular made it an offence to keep women in purdah.
Ergo, the face of Mrs. Smith (as I christened her for convenience), a simple, unsophisticated countenance with yesterday's smear of butter across its cheek, was visible for all the world to admire.
We often had occasion to admire it and sometimes it came to us unexpectedly. Mrs. Smith had never heard of the rite known as knocking at the door. She just came shuffling in-at any old hour-a practice in which she was not singular.
For instance, there was obviously only one towel in the hotel, which, though we never used it, was hung, for show, in our bedroom, and if any other denizen felt that he needed it he just arrived unannounced and took it-or wiped. the egg off his moustache and left it.
With Mrs. Smith, the zero hour was generally early. Mostly she chose the time when you were having your bath in a pint of water with the aid of a golf sponge.
Then she would enter. She would take no preliminary manner of notice of you whatever, but strolling to your cigarette case help herself to one of your choicest Cercles d'Orient which she would light with much gusto.
"Breakfast?" she would say, ﬁxing your blushing and unclothed form with a totally disinterested eye as you wrestled with your
"Dookoos yamurghtah, aiyee pish-mish" (Nine eggs well cooked!), you would shout through your singlet.
"Get out of it, woman. Haide git, you shameless female !"
"Chai?" (Tea?) she would demand imperturbably, and not till she had taken your whole order would she move.
After an hour's profane interval the breakfast would come.
The nine eggs would be in a cracked saucer. They were invariably fresh from the farmyard, with bits of
So we went to the Post Oﬂice and sent telegrams and next morning they were brought back to me with the message that the Post Office had never heard of the addresses to which they were sent and that therefore it was no use sending them. At the same time thePost Oﬁice did not feel that it was worth while to send back the money I had, paid it. And when I spoke to the postmaster about it, he said he did not understand.
In an hour Halil and I were seeing the sights, arm in arm. Ismid was built on the principle of everything of a kind in one street and a street for everything. Only the bootblacks and the gilded naval officers seemed to be ubiquitous and on a calculation there were a post captain and two bootblacks to every square yard. Halil enjoyed them as much as I did, and as he showed me about he used everything to point his philosophy about war - which meant life with him, since he had spent nearly all his adult existence in ﬁghting or watching some one else ﬁght.
Every morning while we were waiting for release he and I would betake ourselves and our cigarettes to the tea gardens on the margin of the gulf and, with our coffee before us, discuss all things under the sun and wonder about the eternal "Why" of them.
Some queer out-of-the-way places we saw through the medium of Halil's narratives. Now, we went to Kiel to watch the queues of dry-eyed German women breaking into sobs when the ships came limping home through the dawn fog of the morning after Jutland; now, we were in a dancehall at Hamburg singing "Du kleines Maedchen"; or again tramping the highlands of Anatolia on the trail of the Greeks, the paper of that grim chase being the careless-lying corpses of the Turkish villagers. We saw the "Goeben" now in front of us come limping in, in I915, and the Kemalists entering Angora and the triumph of British forces after the Turkish surrender, when a band of British oﬂicers
stranger caravans--a cartload of torpedoes mixed with sweetmeat sellers, tobacco trains of donkeys, bootblacks, ironworkers, all crying their wares at the top of their voices. The beggars would be there and the charcoal sellers and the barbers.
All the afternoon you would hear the cries of the hucksters "Turnips--ten piastres-effendis--turnips," and later there would be dances and music, a medley of noise which died down near midnight and left the dark to the tender mercies of the cats and the mosque drummer doing his rounds to the town to wake the Faithful from their slumbers just after midnight.
In Ramadan one is not supposed to eat between day-light and dusk, though in these degenerate days, except in the far interior, you see none going hungry. But every night the drummer would come down the street, beating a roll and crying in front of the houses, that there was no God but God and, O Faithful, it was time to arise and eat. About the ghostly -patter of his feet and the rattle of his sticks there would come, faint upon the night air through your window, the distant strains of "I want to be happy," evidence of the lewd Western habits of some of the officers on the hill who, with their wives, were indulging in those religious exercises so much favoured by the worshippers of the great god ]azz.
And after the drummer would come the early morning traﬂic, so that often there would 'be little sleep for anybody.
Every evening we dined at the railway station and saw the Angora mail train in, wishing we were on board and listening to the views of Francis who could not drink beer because he did not like it and had had to wash down his dinner with red Greek wine because water was unsafe and all boiled drinks were served in thimblefuls.
FROM THE HOME OF THE NICAEAN CREED TO THE CITY OF THE BLACK CASTLE
ANCIENT Bithynia is a fascinating kingdom in the early spring. It is so green, so steeped in leisure, so full of the white swirl of snow water tumbling down from the hills; so frothed with peach blossom, hiding its ﬂat-roofed townships. One. cannot wonder that of old time the West invested it in a sort of twilight glamour. Even Ismid--the metropolitan Nicodemia of ancient history--with all its pretence of bustle, lives in a sunny, sleepy air, and as we went out of it down the white road which leads to the Pontic shore and fell, then, into narrow paths so venerable that the footsteps of the ages had worn them into deep drains, we appeared to come into another world.
Truly, a lazy sort of a place, this new universe. The inhabitants, more Caucasian, less touched with Latin, than those of Pera, lay cow-eyed in the shade of their walls and gazed at us seemingly without much interest. Brooks gleamed all round us and sometimes we bowed to avoid a shower of white ﬂowers thrown in our faces as we forced our way through the overhanging bushes.
Now and then we passed through a village; now, across a roaring torrent with a spindly bridge which creaked and swung and protested under our weight, raising its voice loudly enough to drown our prayers ; now,
over them whether or no your luck would plunge you suddenly in the midst of a frantic donkey team all unwontedly pleading with its masters to allow it to take a bath in the stream eight feet below, rather than meet you at close quarters.
Once we met a bullock Waggon which had lost its wheel. Once we stopped in a village where every eye glued itself to the cracks in the unpainted wooden walls of the houses and Ismail had a chesty time holding parley with the chief authority who wished us to wait, so far as we could understand, for a few days until he had decided that we were ﬁt and proper persons to proceed. We saw villages which had been wiped out in Armenian massacres. We saw some that had not been wiped out, perched high in curious pockets on bare mountain sides, and as the landscape opened up towards twilight we saw more mud and again more mud. We stayed fast twice in it and at dusk came into a townlet where I resolved to rest till morning.
The headman with the simple courtesy of all the village fathers offered us bread and shelter. He lived in the second story of a ﬂat, pise dwelling with a strong gate barring the yard, his cattle on the ground ﬂoor and a twelve-foot wall all round his household to discourage unasked visitors Whom he further advised of his habit towards them by means of a satisfying display of business-like loopholes.
After a courtesy visit to this mansion, I felt that we would prefer to sleep in the street. It seemed cruel to tantalize the myriads of little inhabitants with so rich a diet as ourselves for a single night only, so I borrowed an iron tbrazier and some charcoal and we laid our camp in the roadway opposite our friend's gateway. All the village came and warmed its hands at our brazier while we cooked our evening meal; and we had some friendly
and a wealth of those many small shrubs which are as familiar on the shores of Sydney Harbour as they are in Bulgaria or Phrygia.
The road made royal curves round many spurs, imitating the ﬂight of an eagle, and at every swoop the valley below diminished in scale. The housetops became insigniﬁcant white squares, the tall poplars feathercrested wands, the stream a silver line drawn through a shadow-mottled green floor, across which ant-like bullocks crawled behind Lilliputian ploughs. Every detail was clear but drawf-like, even to the high villages in their clefts upon mountain-sides seen so far away that the scrub upon them was visible only with the aid of a glass.
It was an aeroplane view, one of the loveliest, and the further we went, the clearer and colder became the air and the brighter the sun, and the longer the vista of the Sakaria Valley which narrowed towards the east for what seemed endless miles, until it disappeared, tenuously, behind a curtain of grey mist stretched between its enclosing mountains.
After a couple of hours' steady climbing with rests to allow our boiling radiator to cool, we began to descend and at once the character of the landscape changed. The road ran straight where it had been curving and it was wide and well made with a deep foundation and very little cambered -a marching road, not a fast-driving road. Soon, too, where there had been no trafﬁc but a scurrying rabbit, we observed all the usual rural travellers of an Oriental early morning: the black-robed women, the sleeping children, the men with their cudgels and their weird merchandise of handcuffed chickens and led goats, leek baskets, tobacco bundles and faggots of ﬁrewood.
We overtook their procession, not too fast to note the uniformity of their dress and the simplicity of their countenances which relegated them out of the right to
the Nicene Creed and settled the calculation of Easter and discoursed so ineffectually about the worship of images. It was capital of a great Crusaders' State. And all that was left of its glory was an immense shell of ramp and bastion, a few Byzantine roofs, a medley of vast, half-buried pillars and random-thrown marbles, streets worn concave with myriads of feet through two thousand ﬁve hundred years and the lingering ghost of old sartorial fashion, clothing inhabitants who had managed unconsciously to retain a Byzantine air in their costumes as well as their ancient simplicity of
Most of material Nicaea, however, was given over to orchards and market gardens, but for all that I should have liked to remain a day or two had not the gathering clouds above Lake Ascania (to-day, the Isnik Geul) suggested that it would be wise to keep on travelling while it was still ﬁne.
We climbed out of the ruined city from a ﬂat plain into a meandering road, passing through groves of gnarled olive trees into more scrubby mountains, and, ere long, we had paused again for two hours in a road crevasse full of plastic mud and small flints.
The snow-capped line of Mount Olympus, which of yore was in the domain of that King Croesus who was captured by the Persians and nearly burnt upon a pyre, rose across a landblazing with sunshine and, oh joy, intersected by the good road which runs into Yenishehr and out again to Bilijek from the port of Mudania on the Sea of Marmora.
It seemed strange to be able to travel at twenty-ﬁve miles an hour, but we made the most of it till we reached Bilijek, a new, white-painted town with broad streets upon the margin of dark and gloomy gorge full of great rocks and the whir of eagles. Of course there was a police inspection to be gone through before we set out for Seugeud and a sad ceremony of farewell with Ismail,
AN INTERLUDE IN PHILOMELIUM
AT midday we were startled to ﬁnd that we had covered over eighty miles and we saw ourselves in Konia by evening, but we had reckoned without the police, who were waiting for us at a benighted city called Ak Shehr, which means White Town. It chanced, unfortunately, that we were out of bread and stopped to buy it at Ak Shehr, whereupon a multitude gathered round us.
I don't know whether the police lieutenant at Ak Shehr keeps a diary; but, if he does, his account of our visit will read somehow as follows, if he be a truthful oﬁicer:
"Ellis Malgomm Henerri, a very dirty subject of England, (or it might be Spain), whose father was Thomas James Ellis and whose mother's name was quite unintelligible (both parents still living) and who has a wife and one child at present in England; who was born at some place which it took me half an hour to put into Turkish, in a country I never heard of called Australia, on a date we could not agree upon in the Ottoman calendar, arrived here to-day and stopped to buy bread. (He is proceeding from London to Konia with two vilely dirty companions, all tourists, expecting to reach their-destination to-night.)
"Ellis Effendi, who was in a disreputable condition of ﬁlth and whiskers, had the misfortune to draw up in front of the gendarmerie and looked, at ﬁrst, a ﬁt subject for
"I feel that we achieved great credit with the ladies and greatly impressed hoi polloi. Ellis Effendi, for some reason, appeared to be slightly annoyed. Allah alone knows why. We did not keep him more than two hours and a quarter sitting in the street and office and there is plenty of time in the world.
"Anyhow, I am not sorry I annoyed him, for the scoundrel knew so much more about our own town than I did that he must have been a spy, as well as a rogue.
"Furthermore, he is undoubtedly an associate of criminals, for while he was here I had in my ofﬁce a Dalmatian deserter with a chain upon his ankles (welded there through his covetousness of other people's chickens) whom he addressed with great vivacity in German.
"Our prisoner afterwards I informed me that this Ingleez told how once this town was called Philomelium; that outside it was fought the battle of Ipsis, in which an inﬁdel (on whom be curses) named Lysimachus licked another of the breed called Antigonus.
"Also, he said that a politician called Cicero once stayed here. I wish he would come again. The Ghazi would reward me for catching him and he would be hanged, as he would assuredly belong to the opposition. No politician but a fugitive would come thus far aﬁeld. The local graft is too small.
"Nevertheless, I do not believe the story, as no one of the name of Cicero has been here since I was born and that was thirty years ago, before the revolution, when it was even more unpopular to be in politics than it is now.
"There was another story, equally absurd, which our visitor told the Dalmatian about our great fellow-citizen Hodja Nasr-ed-din, who is buried here. I know that he was a very reverend priest, for our books say so. Ellis Effendi says he was court jester to the great Tamerlane, who conquered the earth.
"He says that while Tamerlane was visiting us, somebody gave him the ﬁrst mirror he ever owned, and when
camel, with a walking driver muffled to the eyes, passed us; now, an unfortunate donkey beneath a swaying
We gazed at each other, we and all these strange passers-by, with the gravity of the half-East. When they saw that I had holy beads, and was therefore respectable, hand went to forehead:
"Salaam alikeum" . . . "Wa alikeum es' salaam" ("Peace be with you" and "With you be peace") and then passed onwards.
Towards dusk it became obvious that there was something wrong with our course. Maps are unreliable appliances in Middle East. In I860, say, somebody makes one and, behold, he ﬁnds in his references a red line which means a road. So he puts it in, little knowing that some one else before him has copied it from a former chart showing the progress of Xenophon's Ten Thousand or of the Hittite Royal Road.
By 1927 the imaginings of that map-maker and his successors have turned that track into a visionary broad highway. At least, that is how it seems to the stranger to be done. Time and again we found ourselves off the modern main roads which were unmarked upon the map, and apparently running into ravines which had been worn by ancient trafﬁc and long since abandoned.
Here we were making toward the mountains, whereas our .maps gave us an entirely different direction. I was not pleased with that prospect, for the range seemed one of the dreariest and most unpleasing we had seen and the snow came low down on its shoulders.
The steering grew complicated when, just as night began to fall, the road divided into innumerable paths all exactly alike. Quick action being called for, I selected one which bore directly for Konia and determined to keep our head pointed for that city at the end of every mile until either a mountain range or the town itself stopped us.
"With you be peace, travellers! Will you rest with us--a little coffee-a little ekmek--will you share it?"'
"Thanks be to Allah, friend, but we must go to Konia. It is ordered. Can you tell us where it lies?"
"Doghru! Doghrul (Straight on!) It is very cold and dark and the sleet will soon come."
"Thanks to the All Merciful, but we must go!"
"Pek-aiyee. (Very good.) A propitious journey and Allah be with you. Straight on, brothersl"
"Will you have a cigarette?"
We saw the grave ﬁgure in the doorway, as digniﬁed as some great lord for all his humble setting, make the sign which means: "My head thinks well of you, my mouth speaks well of you, my heart is warm towards you."
The engine started with a bellow. The door closed, setting up once more the drawn sword of gold which stood in the crack between it and its wall.
"Doghrul"--Straight on seemed to be a wall of velvet sleepy dog woke and howled above an urgent twittering of women and the sound of a
restless beast of burden moving behind a wall.
In a brief second, it seemed as if the whole shadowy town had been wiped out of our lives with a black duster. We were alone again with the peaks and the wind.
There was no traﬁic and no life. More eerie still, no trees about us, and seemingly little or no grass under wheel. The wind, where it does not set the trees gossiping and the grass hissing, is a terrible sound when you hear it in loneliness and darkness, and it is not good for man to be alone with it.
We felt our way'and soon, to our relief, we began to descend a pass. Now, watercourses intersected our path and every half-mile I had to leave the car and ﬁnd a way across small rivers whose banks dropped sheer, a foot or so, and were bottomed with soft mud and untrustworthy sand. Had there been enough wood to make a ﬁre and give the party a hot drink I should have camped, but
to itself or anybody else. Eventually, the blessed arrival of the inevitable German-speaking war veteran saved us.
For a consideration, he told the garage proprietor that our notes were the best in the world and we were soon on the way again, skirting snow-clad hills and alternately baking in a hot sun and shivering in the blasts which came down from the mountains. The main road was torn up and, fortunately for us, an earth track rant beside it as far as the flower emblossomed village of Chai, where the highway once more became passable.
and a grandmother and a grandfather to keep and a son whose donkeys had died and a daughter who had had inﬂuenza. It was a great ﬁght - the world's wrestling championship was a mere circumstance beside it. And at last working to that desirable result piastre by piastre,
we compromised on the legal exchange less ten per cent commission.
The Shadow was sitting on the footpath outside and I fancied I saw two lean talons touch as we went away, Certainly, the Shadow -put something into his pocket.
The party was loaded down with tinned delicacies which they had bought at the local store and most of the tiny European colony, mainly Germans, were waiting to see us off. Francis was in his element because there was one young Teuton who had been in Australia and to him Francis could tell, in his native language, wild tales of Arnheim Land.
The storekeeper was also waiting for us. He was a modern storekeeper and he was armed with the bill. When I had taken a long drink of water and wiped the chilly perspiration from my brow, I paid it. Among other things, the genius of Knowles had secured a bottle of real Whisky, -the price of which, alas, was thirty shillings!
We left Konia as quickly as we could. As we went, I thought I saw the Shadow taking something from the storekeeper; but, when I turned round to make sure, he was walking hastily-toward the emporium from which we had earlier in the morning purchased petrol. There was a look of pleasant determination on his optimistic countenance and the toes of his Oriental slippers seemed to curl with sheer satisfaction.
Later, I discovered that Konia had one of the most modern hotels in Asia Minor, conducted on the European
plan and boasting even such luxuries as a restaurant with real table-cloths on the tables. I do not know why we were not taken there. Possibly it did not pay baksheesh to Shadows.
THE CITY OF THE GALATIANS
IT was, indeed, a very conveniently situated hotel. It faced a noisy square full of taxi cabs, a few yards from the bazaar. It had a large, dirty public room well sealed against the cold, and warmed by three oil stoves. This saloon was quick with unwashed and drunken men who were being turned into live tobacco-cured bacon in the smoke of their own cigarettes and hubble-bubbles. They were mostly playing cards at the top of their voices and, mingled with the odours of tobacco and douziko, which is a raw raisin spirit, was the sweet and cloying fragrance of Turkish coffee, the stench of dogs and unlaundered clothes, of kerosene and of that insect which no Mid-Victorian lady would mention except by the name of an illustrious ducal family.
At the far end, a thin man was washing cabbage and some other greens in a tin pan. A large cat sat on the table beside him and, as he ﬁnished each batch of greens, he put them beside the cat, a hoary, mangled Tom who looked as if he had recently been in the hands of Messieur Gene Tunney of America. The washing process seemed to remove everything from the greens except that species of grey wood bug which in Australia, at any rate, one ﬁnds in hordes under stones and vagrant pieces of wood. These the washer did not trouble to dispel. He left that to Thomas, who hooked them, half drowned, from their newly laved homes, with a mangy paw.
"This cheleybi," said my friend the guide, "wishes a room, himself and his two servants"-thus did he ignominiously dismiss my fellow-travellers, in order to ﬂatter me.
It was then that the cabbage washer grinned. His mouth had been closed before. He quite suddenly opened it, dived a hand among the salads and retrieved a full set of false teeth, dexterously inserted them in his maw and, in the same oral movement, said in a squeaky voice:
"Effendim, peace be with you! You shall have a splendid room."
"With every convenience?" muttered the guide.
"With every convenience, sir," squeaked the cabbage man. He took a smoking lantern and went before me out of the sweating heat of the saloon into a long gallery above an inner courtyard. Here were many rooms. Rooms, with closed doors through which soft Turkish words drifted in a silvern stream; rooms with open doors from which the cigarette smoke poured in a cloud, and through whose portals you had a brief lantern glimpse of whole families huddled about a hookah or a bowl, upon a bright-coloured rug. You sensed the sheen of brass coffee mills. You heard the clank of swords, and in one apartment, sealed tight, a lady was very evidently receiving-the stick from an outraged husband without in the least disconcerting the other hotel patrons.
I was enthralled and envious at this open display of Turkish marital rights when we reached our own "convenient" apartment.
Dirt--never had there been dirt lik it! There were two single beds with ragged sheets, crumpled back, upon which some strong and intoxicated ruffans had slept aforetime, leaving behind them their odour and their hoofmarks. There were seven separate colonies of cockroaches monstrous. in their effluvia and tantalizing in their insolent self-possession, marching with a slow, Roman
gait up walls which were marked by the dribble of last week's rains. A rat, a sleek, fat, scurvy fellow, escaped in the most leisurely fashion into a hole under one of the beds and, as I leant a cautious hand on the only chair, it fell off its three legs with a resounding clamour.-
"See," said the cabbage man, "it is most convenient. There is a basin for water and behold the cistern!"
The basin was of cracked enamel and the cistern was a kerosene tin on the balcony.
"The latrine," said mine host, as if clinching the matter, "is next door."
"And the winter garden," muttered I, his poor victim, who had already apprehended the nearness of the sanitary arrangements, "is doubtless below."
There was nothing to do but take it. For one thing it was late and dark and we were tired to the bone. For another, I had already guessed what I would not for the world have conﬁded to the party since Francis had developed a touchy of fever and was in a mood of anger, namely, that our guide was a plain-clothes policeman. Wherefore, I had my doubts whether, if we chose to go out and sleep in the sweet, cold air beyond the town, we should be allowed to do so.
This painful suspicion was conﬁrmed a little later when he assured me that the car would be perfectly safe in the courtyard and adjured every one within hearing on the pain of fearful consequences to see that nothing was stolen.
"And now to eat!" said I to him.
"Ah, yes," said he. "There is nothing here, but I will take you to a nice restaurant."
We went to the nice restaurant. It was in a side street, ten feet wide. Next door to it a gentleman was being shaved by candlelight by a large, bald barber who held him by the nose and ﬂourished an enormous razor
over his face in the manner of barbers the world over.
The performance was made hideous by the macabre shadows which it cast.
In the restaurant, everybody got up when we entered, except the cockroaches and a small boy in an apron.
The proprietor hustled in.
"It is a nice restaurant," whispered our Shadow. "What would the gentlemen eat?"
"There isn't anything ﬁt for a man to eat in these blooming countries," muttered Francis.
"Tell him a porterhouse with chips and a pint of Worthington, old man," murmured Knowles wistfully.
"Bring me a chicken, some pilau, kebab (roast meat), cheese and some ﬁgs," said I, thinking hard of likely
"Alas, effendim, there are none of these. It is Ramadan and the people have eaten them all."
"Well, what is there? We are hungry."
"Sir, there is only et" (meat).
He went oﬂ: to get it.
"It is very good et," whispered our police Shadow, while we sat back thinking of joints.
After some time it came. It consisted of two very diminutive lamb chops swimming in an ocean of lightish,
"How good !" whispered our guide, hoarse with admiration. "Pek ala! (It is beautiful.) So young, too!"
It was, indeed. I wondered whether the poor animal had even been allowed to be born before they chopped it up.
"Come on, lads!" I cried hoarse with hunger, and ﬁve minutes afterwards three mud-bespattered, weary-eyed, disreputable persons might have been descried sitting on a green valise in the dirtiest room in the world, eating bully beef with the aid of jack-knives, while seven rows of cockroaches and a number of envious rats watched them furtively.
Outside, cross-kneed on the ﬂoor, a very funnel of cigarette smoke, squatted our Shadow, fully content in that he had introduced to us one of his brethren who had taken away our passports. A cup of coffee sat between his crossed knees.
"A very convenient hotel," he muttered as Francis went into the land of dreams with a sated groan, "a very convenient hotel!"
He rose and left us after he had put his cigarette butt, with inﬁnite care, into our washing water. The cockroaches on the wall dissolved into sleepy mist. A Turkish gramophone wailing, two or three rooms away, some horrid Arab air, became faint.
Once, years afterwards, a voice down a world-long funnel cried, hectoringly "Beni dinle!" (Listen to me), to be answered by a still more urgent cry-"Chabek gel!" (Come quickly!), more than once repeated by a terriﬁed feminine voice. There were sounds of a scuﬁle some-where in another world. "He came-Listen to me-what for? nichin--nee-ichin--Listen to me . . ."
A dog howled. The lconian cocks crowed and I woke drowsily to the greyness of morning with the thought: "Now, this is Konia that once was Iconium. Xenophon was here, and Paul preaching to the 'foolish Galatians' and telling them of how he went into Jerusalem and remained there ﬁfteen days with Peter.
"And we -are here and coming, have passed by ancient Didymus and Doryleum, Metropolis and Minor Antioch, all now, no more. The Galatians have gone or been overbred. And the tracks of Greek and Persian, Arab and Hun are covered by the German-built railway, so that possibly the only things left unchanged are the sunrise and the snow on the hills and human nature and the cockcrow which has been breaking the mist, day in and
day out, come Greek or Ottoman or Crusader or exiled Armenian on the tramp, since the days of the Phrygians and before.
"These very roosters," said I to myself sleepily, "must be descendants of the ones who would have awakened Paul and Barnabas when they were here, making them think of Peter and another crowing. Here they are, the thousandth great-grandchildren of those birds which disturbed an apostle who possibly heard Peter's private Chanticleer, calmly perpetuating their race as ever and waking the days, regardless of the envyings, murders, drunkenness and revellings and suchlike, which moved Paul to wrath in this very spot nineteen hundred years ago and which, by last night's experience, have been going on ever since with steadily improving technique.
"It is a pity, though," said I to myself as a pallid dawn revealed the diligent insect life of the chamber still marching, and the remains of one of my boots which the rats had obligingly left me,-" It is a pity that they have not learned to eat vermin in all the time they have been here. Anybody can crow!"
Whereupon, I rose and took a good dose of sulphate of quinine and two laxo-bromo tabloids as well, which is the right thing to do when you have malaria in your system and you wake soliloquizing about futile things.
A few minutes afterwards, our Shadow came.
"Good morning," said he. "How long will you stay in ,Konia-how many weeks?"
"We leave," said I with involuntary distinctness, for I subconsciously felt it necessary to breast the treacly stench of Turk and cockroach and cigarette and douziko with my words, -''as early this morning as we can get away. So soon as we have bought stores."
"There is a very cheap store," the Shadow murmured, the light of baksheesh coming into his eyes. "All the German gentlemen buy from it;"
The others woke sleepily and Knowles said: "Now to breakfast!" like a man who has had a good
night's rest. But there was no breakfast. Every living thing in Konia, contrary to our experience in other Turkish towns further north, had observed Ramadan and had eaten at drum beat and when we rose at six o'clock they were all about their business. Even the rats had breakfasted, as we discovered on looking at our kit.
Outside, it was a lovely, clear morning, resonant with the clang of much metal working. Off the Central Square, the bazaars were busy, each narrow alley with its own trade. Here the copper and brass workers, cross-legged, blew their little forges and beat upon the metal with their lazy, musical hammers. Here one heard the harmonious cries of the vegetable and sweet sellers. Next door, row upon row, between strings of ﬁnished
footwear clopping in the wind, twere the bowed gnomes of the cobblers' street. Then you suddenly came upon the raisin and grocery merchants and an exciting space full of tired ponies sleeping, with lower lip extended, under loads of faggots hacked from the gnarled mountain timber, or rising with angry grunts and squeals as new-comers jostled them for a place in the ﬁrewood market.
Across the square, a broad, open Maidan, lay modern Turkey-a rabbit-warren of a Civil Office Where a bald policeman, whose ancestors had certainly heard of Jerusalem, judging by his contours, quickly visaed our passports and bowed me out down a long passage, while our Shadow told me all about the Bank which I was about to visit.
A grand Bank, he said; one of the best banks in.Turkey, and it opened at nine o'clock. At nine I went to it. A large gendarme sat on the front steps armed with a riﬂe and a bayonet. True to the most villainous traditions of the Orient, he was picking his teeth with a pocket-knife, and he followed disconcertingly close on my heels as I went in.
There were several clerks behind the counters and a washerwoman in baggy trousers smoking a cigarette and sweeping as if time were no object. The most gorgeous of the clerks, who wore the sidelevers of Rudolph Valentino and a heather purple suit of Parisian cut, gazed at me for a moment or two and then, to indicate that I was not an object of real interest to him, yawned behind a lily hand and expectorated deftly across the room.
"The Bank," he said, "is not open."
"What time will it open?"
"At nine o'clock."
"It is a quarter past."
"Then it will open at half-past."
He took a pink coral comb from his waistcoat pocket and delicately adjusted his side Whiskers and when he had quite ﬁnished announced:
"You must go out and come back at half-past nine."
I went out. The soldier came with me and the sun laid the image of his bayonet ominously across my path.
At half-past nine I returned.
"I wish to exchange some English money," I said to the sidelevers.
"You -do?" said he, making sure that his hair was straight before he approached another young man, equally Hollywoodian in manner and attire. They had a confab.
Rudolph Valentino II - there was no doubt but that the Original's ﬁlms had been showing in Konia--came forward. He took one of my good English Bradburys contemptuously by the corner and said, in German:
"What is this thing?"
"That is a British pound note."
"Whose picture is upon it?" '
"King George of England."
He gazed at the Royal beard as much as to say: "That kind went out of fashion in the nineties." -
"We do not buy these things," said Rudolph, scornfully casting the note on the counter. "Perhaps they would take them in the bazaar."
He returned to his toilet, having discovered a speck of dust in one of his nails and when I (and the soldier) had nearly reached the door, he drawled: "The Bank will not buy them, but I will give you eight lira for them myself-as a favour."
At the bazaar, in the street of the jewellers, where most of the jewellery consisted of strings of Turkish gold lira and Austrian gold crowns linked together, I sold my pounds.
The purchaser offered me nine lira for them and I said that I wanted seventy piastres more. Then the merchant swore by the Prophet that he could not afford a cent above his price, and I left his stall in such a state of indignation that I collided with a camel. As I was about to enter another stall, the owner of the one I had just left came running and asked me to return and have coffee with him. I returned. We took each other's measure over the coffee, after which he opined that, as I seemed to be a poor man and a great traveller and he was of a weakly generous nature, he felt that, out of charity, he must allow me another ten piastres.
In the subsequent proceedings, he showed a dramatic talent worthy of Mr. Oscar Asche. He raged. He wept. He took one of my notes and, waving it in the face of an astonished passer-by, demanded of him whether it was not robbery to ask so much as I required for so small a piece of dirty paper. He pounded his table till all the necklaces hanging in his little window jingled protestingly. But, whenever I attempted to leave, he whispered, clutching my sleeve: "just one second, effendim, one second only. Let me tell you---"
Then he pounded on the table some more and told me how he had a large family and a mother and father
mathematically spaced and geometrically painted. We sighed with relief.
In a few minutes we swooped down upon the much-astonished ofﬁcials. The station was Airange Derbend. The station-master was an Arab named Mudir Bey, who had served at Haifa in the "British time." The day was a festival - the end of Ramadan. The douziko was very strong and had been ﬂowing freely. We were received with a warmth which seemed rather drowsy, and when they had drunk all our whisky they offered us the shelter of the waiting-room which had a good stone ﬂoor to sleep on.
Knowles, it appeared, had spent his day driving a bargain with the village, which had refused to allow him to leave. He had made a remarkably good bargain of seven liras for his ride, but as I had bargained in the morning and paid the driver's fee of two liras (having a little Turkish which poor Knowles had not) We were all hilarious about it and, letting the station staff and two wheat-buyers into the joke, succeeded in borrowing twenty liras from them to carry our emissary to Adana.
This was a very necessary precaution, as our diﬂiculties of exchange and the day's heavy haulage fees had left me with only sterling, and I felt something of a strategist in accomplishing the loan while the day was yet merry and morning had not brought discretion following the night's rejoicing.
It was nearly ten o'clock before I could peel off my clothes, still damp from the morning's rain, and roll in blankets to sleep.
"Well," I muttered, "we've earned our rest to-night."
Two loud snores answered me.
MAROONED AMONG THE ISAURIANS
IN the middle of an Anatolian plain on the third day of April, I927, a demented motor-car might have been seen making drunken progress in the rain. That motor-car was ours. It had left Konia. We had seen that city fade, ﬁrst, into a line of poplars, then, into a kind of mist, then, into a mere
haze. We had dodged tortuous water channels which the Turks had cut to help them grow wheat. We had chosen between a medley of earth tracks and received differing information from shepherds and constables which had brought us, in the end, between narrowing mountains to Karaman and
beyond and -here we were.
Firstly, as I have said, it was raining. Secondly, we had other tribulations. Our third crown wheel since approaching Constantinople had begun to give out. Stirred to action by a suspicious noise, the evening before, I had removed the differential plate and found that the head had broken off a casing bolt and that the teeth on the wheel were just beginning to go. Given no heavy pulling, it was possible that we might make Adana; but our nearest spare crown wheel was several hundred miles
away at Beirut.
I determined to make the railway, a few miles from our present position, and send a man ahead to pick up this reserve part, the remainder of the party then pushing on cautiously as far as possible till we met ﬁnal disaster.
Amid the loud cursing of our Overlander, we went to sleep on that and in the morning it rained. What a place it was to meet rain! Tracks ran everywhere. Every ﬁeld seemed to have a main road in it and, as all the farms had been irrigated for years, they were very wet indeed. Sometimes the car turned round and looked at us. Always she had a waltzing, prancing motion. While, since we had no mud-guards, the wheels sprayed great gouts of soil all over the outﬁt, alternating this moist shrapnel with an occasional cannon ball of clay which usually hit an expeditionary and burst gleefully
upon his carcase. Having no windscreen - that impediment had been removed for the sake of peace, indeference to Francis' loathing of driving behind glass-, he and I had the full force of the deluge in the front seat and Knowles sheltered himself by covering himself over entirely with a tarpaulin.
Occasionally, he advertised his presenceby singing "God bless the Prince of Wales" or by a smothered ﬁre of badinage, in the course of which he frequently pleaded that I should not allow him to drown in his cabin, but would throw him a lifebelt before we went down.
The landscape was bleak and barren. The villages were scarce and wet and miserable. The rivulets into which the irrigation channels had swelled through the rain became broader. Some ﬂats were sheets of water. The country, changed from one long expansive valley into a series of featureless basins completely, surrounded by naked hills.
"Over that mountain," I said at last, "the railway line must lie. At the~ﬁrst station we get to, we camp."
Indeed, I would have camped then and there had I not felt that the weather was working up to a serious change. I did not desire to be caught on boggy country, out of touch with the world in a ﬂood.
Suddenly, disaster fell upon us. The track which we were following took the wrong turning. It plunged
into ﬁelds banked round with dykes and we began to sink.
"Stop!" I yelled to Birtles.
But I was too late. Down went our back wheels. A geyser of mud advertised that they were spinning. Knowles and I took out the tarpaulins and built a surface under them, but the moment Birtles tried to reverse, We heard the crown wheel part with some of its teeth.
As Knowles said, sitting on a dyke regardless of the rain and mud--that was that. .
The horizon was about as cheerless as it could be. A hundred yards away were some wretched goat folds separated from what seemed to be shepherds' huts by mud and rain. South-eastward, through a misty drizzle, lay a line of poplars and beyond that another bare range, and beyond that again, very far away, the snowcaps of the Taurus.
"This is the end of things," said Birtles. ."I give up. I'm walking home."
I almost felt like that myself, but hot coffee cheered us all up and I started out to explore the distant poplars, the hall-mark of a large village.
I have been in a number of obstacle races, but the slit bag, the apple in the tub, the in-and-out hurdle are child's play compared to a Turkish paddy-ﬁeld in heavy rain. Each ﬁeld covers, perhaps, half an acre and is walled in with mud dykes, and is of any shape that the maker feels to be convenient to the lie of the land.
First of all, I tried to walk on the top of the slippery dykes. But this procedure, when one was aiming for a deﬁnite point in the landscape, was a little like chasing the minotaur in his labyrinth. Also, I very often fell off a dyke quite suddenly with a loud splash. After I had made a quarter of a mile, I seemed to be further away from the poplars than before, so I took a straight line
across the ﬁelds, regardless of what diﬁiculties might be in the way.
This was backbreaking work because the mud was almost all the way ankle-deep, and for much of the way it was knee-deep. Every hundred yards I was compelled to rest and I gradually reduced my progress to a formula--a hundred yards wading, two minutes' rest in the driving sleet which replaced the rain.
By the time I reached the outskirts of the village, I was drenched to the skin through my leather coat and ﬂying cap, mud from head to foot, and my teeth were chattering with cold. In the village not a living thing was in sight except a weary and bedraggled chicken, sheltering under the eaves of one of theﬂat-roofed huts and, under the lee of a hill-side, the placid donkeys feeding on Heaven alone knows what, regardless of the elements.
I halloed, and the answer was the sharp baying of dogs which charged down on me, snarling and aggressive. I had no weapons,not even a stick, and I was about as safe with the pack as I would have been with an equal number of wolves. More than one man, it is said, has come to a bad end at the expense of Anatolian village hounds. I retired to the cemetery.
Every Turkish village has its graveyard, which generally sports a far greater population than the village itself. In fact, it is not at all uncommon to see the evidence that graveyards have entirely absorbed the towns to which they belong. They are unlike our own in that they are unfenced, and the poverty of the people debars all but the headmen and extraordinarily wealthy townsmen from indulging in engraved headstones.
When you bury grandfather, you simply go to the hill-side, take the largest stone that you can carry, and, without hewing it or decorating it with any in memoriam notice, you stick it endways on the top of his mound. In time, the stone crumbles and as the expectation of life
is short in Anatolia, what with cold and inﬂuenza, food shortage, wars and massacres, you yourself are probably underground too soon to make any repairs or replacements.
It is easily understood therefore why the weaponless stranger attacked by dogs immediately makes a bee-line for the local burial grounds. In this one, the ammunition was ample but the ﬂesh was weak, just as, exhausted by the ﬁght, I was getting rid of my coat which I proposed to throw to the attackers to give myself a moment's respite, a man appeared from a nearby hut.
"Allah! -Allah!" he said in a voice of shocked astonishment, whether at my misuse of ancestral monuments or at the behaviour of the dogs I did not know and did not care.
"Peace be with you," said I, through the stream of water which was pouring off the fur of my cap.
"And to you peace, O Brother," said the old man gently, as he drove off the dogs. "Will you enter?" As an afterthought, he added: "It is raining and you are unclean."
"You don't 'say so,'? I retorted, sotto voce, stripping as much mud out of my beard as was feasible.
He led me to his hut and it was typical of the huts of all the villages. It was of pisé with thick walls, whitewashed inside, plain mud outside. It had a
vestibule with an earth ﬂoor in which were neatly piled tools of trade, harness and a bag or two of poor-looking wheat.
This opened through a doorway into an inner room, specklessly clean. A gaudy carpet covered its ﬂoor and two brightly coloured sleeping mats occupied the whole of one side of it. The further end was almost entirely formed by an immense ﬁreplace with a grey-ashed charcoal ﬁre, showing no ﬂame. To the right, under the
only window, was a wall cupboard containing a highly polished brass coffee mill, a bowl of coffee beans, a small jar of sugar, a wooden box of cigarettes and a ﬂint and steel. Below these were four rug~covered cushions against the wall, and a water chattie and a coffee pot stood on the hob.
Near the door hung a sheepskin coat, over a gaudy Turkish trunk and, in a corner, a basin and a ewer, and a towel decorated at each end with a gold stripe.
These were all the man's possessions. He had no pictures, no gramophone, none of the luxuries of what we call civilization, yet his house had a simple and beautiful dignity, a symmetry, a proportion which would have charmed the heart of a true architect. And he had everything that his untutored existence called for--even the means to make a guest thoroughly at home, as he soon proved as he wrapped me in sheepskin and removed my boots and made coffee for me in his little pot.
When he had performed these offices, we looked at each other and I felt that it was time for business. I told him as well as I could of our disaster and asked for bullocks.
"Bullocksl" said he with scorn. There were no bullocks to be hired at any price. But his eyes gleamed and I knew that he had some plan, proﬁtable to himself, in his mind.
So I demanded that he should send for the headman and the hodja or priest, one of whom, I hoped, might speak a little of some European language to replace my rudimentary, Turkish. They came, in due course, bringing with them the population of the village.
The headman was a gorgeous young man in a black velvet waistcoat and a round cap, set off by trousers which bulged above the knee and strangled his calves below. He had a Mephistophelean blue-black moustache; a red handkerchief round his neck and, in his cummerbund, a knife and a pen-holder. The Hodja
was an old gentleman in an expressive black, robe with an Oriental beard which would have delighted Oscar Asche almost as much as his fascinatingly evil expression, produced by somebody having pulled out two opposing front teeth in the very centre of his mouth. The population looked like a chorus of brigands.They smelt like a stable. They behaved like a congregation of monkeys, feeling the texture of my coat and nestling up
to me (O, horrid Turkish odour!) to put their ears to my wrist-watch. Also, they vied among themselves for the honour of rolling cigarettes for me with much licking of damp paper, a rite which I viewed without enthusiasm. They also, man by man, tried on my ﬂying cap amid loud roars of laughter in which the owner was compelled to join.
When they tired of these little games, I returned to the matter of bullocks. They shook their heads. They had carriages and horses. They had donkeys without end --but manda yok!-devil a manda would they admit to. We argued it out for half an hour, and all the while I felt certain that they could oblige me if they wanted to, but that they were hoping that I would stick in the mud until all my money ran out to the proﬁt and prosperity of the district.
At last I produced my red seals from an inner pocket, and after the priest had solemnly read the document (wrong, way round as a man reads Arabic, but determined not to admit his lack of comprehension of it), he seemed to say in effect:
"This is a very important gentleman and we -had better be careful; No, my lads, we can't play too many tricks here. See how much red there is about it all and hear how the paper crackles. Did you ever see anyone less than a Bey going about with a thing like this? Get busy, brothers!"
They got busy with great alacrity, while the old gentleman sat and grinned at me through the cavity in
his teeth, occasionally venturing an hospitable inquiry, half in sign language. Outside, we could hear a great shouting and a shrieking of women, the splashing of donkeys being chased. Three-quarters of an hour went by when, warned by a great noise that every available beast of burden had been got ready, I inspected in state.
My ﬁrst impression, on coming into the open air, was that the animals were being assembled again to go into the ark. If any moving picture producer is anxious to ﬁlm the Deluge, I can recommend him to take that Galatian village on a wet day as a venue. The old priest needed only greasepaint to transform him into Noah. He looked the part. I gazed round instinctively for the elephants and the giraffes, but they were not there.
In their place was a long line of optimists, each yelling in invitation and every one of them attached to a domestic animal. There were donkeys, sound asleep in the downpour, and there was a yellow milch cow. An array of equines, in which I at once lacked conﬁdence but which would have delighted the habitués of a Belgian meat market, gloomed beside two weedy little buffaloes. One bright citizen, lacking all other traction, had even
brought a couple of sheep and above the shouts of: "Effendim, look!" "My lord, for two liras," a stentorian voice behind restive white ponies in-an araba, -kept shouting: "I will drive you, effendim-your motor-car is broken. Let it lie there!"
The harness of all this_tractive medley was made of string and -green hide hastily tied together, bridle reins and straps, and one enterprising contractor seemed to have knotted the family towels to eke out his appliances.
If I stopped in front of an animal, everybody crowded round me, plucking at my sleeve to lead me to another, while that part of the village which had nothing to offer stood off and gave advice to all its friends.
Choosing the most ancient and decrepit-looking horse in the assembly, I pretended to examine him thoroughly. The village shouted with laughter. When I ran my hand along his backbone, shaking my head dolefully, they fairly rocked. When I felt his hocks and fetlocks one young man rolled in the mud in ecstasy. When I looked into his mouth, as one who has made a painful discovery, the merriment was intense. Throughout, the faithful old nag slept peacefully on.
"Only thirty-seven years old," I announced to the crowd.
Then, turning to the owner, I bowed politely, held out my hand and said: "Good-bye," at the same time pointing to the cemetery.
At this sally the village was unable to control itself, and it was interesting to notice that they had reacted and were behaving exactly as I should have expected a camp full of Australian blacks to behave in the presence of that sort of simple and insulting humour.
It seemed to be the right moment to catch them. I hastily ordered the two buffalo forward and then lining up a dozen youngsters and addressing a lad who was evidently the village wag, as "Bimbashi," I stepped in front of the line and gave the order "March" in a loud voice.
We marched. It appeared that there was a road which led almost to where I had come from, but by a roundabout and tortuous route. Somebody pretended to be a drum and somebody to be a trumpet. The rest shouted and howled. The manda trotted behind, and behind them again was a long string of hopeful owners of horses and donkeys and barking dogs. Even the gentleman with the two sheep did not abandon his quest for baksheesh.
A more savage-looking rabble was unimaginable. It was dressed to a man in little, conical pork-pie hats with
narrow, very much turned-up rims, rough coats that sloped from narrow shoulders and an expansive cummerbunded middle, which, in turn, topped plus four hips dwindling into narrow trousered calves, above white socks and slippers turned up at the toes. -
I don't know what Birtles and Knowles thought of us as we descended on them shouting "Marshallah!" and singing some savage Turkish war song. As I was practically unrecognizable after my passage of the paddy-ﬁelds, they thought at ﬁrst that I had been murdered and that it was their turn next and they were much relieved to discover the true state of aﬁairs.
Straightway we hitched the two miserable looking manda to the rear of the car and they made short work of their task. In no time, what with their pulling and the pushing of the population and the shouting of every one who had a voice, we were on solid ground 200 yards away.
No sooner were we safe than I sent Knowles to the village to get a horse carriage for which I had already arranged, with instructions to make the railway line and from there to somehow accomplish the journey to Beirut, where he was to secure our cached crown wheel and return as quickly as possible. Then I sat down with Francis to wait.
A wind had risen and the rain and sleet had stopped so that it seemed possible that in a few hours, if our driving gear would carry us, we might be able to make the railway line seven miles away ourselves. By far the wisest plan, however, seemed to be to delay twenty-four hours for the road to dry.
We cleaned as much mud off the car as we could and made preparations to be comfortable in this wet, treeless, cheerless region 3,500 feet above sea level, but without wood to make a ﬁre it was not a pleasant prospect, more especially since, when I attempted to appropriate a hut to
shelter us, the local shepherds came up snarling with
anger to warn us that this accommodation was reserved for their goats. Nothing would induce them to yield to us. The goats left in the open, they said, would perish, since to-night and tomorrow it was going to snow.
Well, said I to them, if the goats would die, so should we, but they merely shrugged their shoulders as if they thought this unimportant.
Meanwhile, my bodyguard of villagers had not left us. They were becoming a nuisance. Every one of them presented a bill, but when I refused to pay most of them, they were quite cheerful about it. They stood about and examined our goods and looked through our ﬁeld-glasses and one or two of them, affected with absent-mindedness, started for a long walk with a blanket or a spanner or anything else that happened to be at hand.
When their luncheon hour arrived, I felt they would go home, but instead of that they all put their hands in their capacious trouser pockets and produced rolls of bread. It was as pliable as paper and it was called Youvhah. Later experience proved that it made a most substantial meal, and the manner in which it could be folded made it most convenient to carry.
Half-way through the afternoon one of the villagers found a pretext to take me aside and say: "Don't sleep here! Bad people!" He put his arms
up as if he were shooting somebody and then dug me playfully over the heart with a ﬁnger and said: "Bang! Dead!"
I had already begun to feel uneasy, and Francis had long ago added our helpers to the thousands of robbers and murderers whom he had already classiﬁed since we left London. As they became more and more cheeky, I determined to make the railway, and was helped to this decision by the prophecy of snow.
Francis was ﬁrmly against risking the journey with the broken crown wheel, but our visitors grew so impudent in their ransacking of the car that the attempt at last became inevitable. We packed hurriedly and Francis took the wheel. I invited the friendly villager who had advised us, to ride home with us, and immediately our wheels began to turn, at least a dozen others leapt into the car, clinging to the sides and the footboards. We stopped and ordered them all off; but when we began to move again they resumed their old perches and were joined by a large number of their friends.
They hung on like ﬂies, and eventually we were compelled to push them off with violence, as the car in its limping state could not carry the extra load. There was more than a little anger in their going, for Francis on his side had not been gentle and I had threatened one fellow with a spanner. As we left them straggling and sprawling on the wet road, they picked themselves up with threats, menaces, pleadings and objurgations and started
to run after us. Then some of them began to take a short cut across the ﬁelds, while our crown wheel lost another tooth, causing us to make a noise like a sledgehammer.
It was an ugly business for a minute or two, till we found out that the mud in those ﬁelds which our pursuers were crossing was almost as bad as in the ones which I had negotiated during the morning.
Ahead lay the village and beyond that a mountain.
"Over that mountain, out of sight of the village," I said to Francis, "or else we're in for fun."
One of the wildest drives I have ever had began. It was now necessary to keep up the speed of the car to ﬁfteen miles an hour, to bridge the neutral zone which the lost teeth had made in the wheel, and every time the pinion reached this point it struck a sledge-hammer blow so that we did not know at what minute more teeth would strip and leave us stranded. Furthermore, at the top of
the hill was a narrow deﬁle, winding like a snake and just wide enough for a waggon. We could not see twenty feet ahead of us most of the time, and as we did not know whether, just round the bend, the cutting might not become too narrow for us, seeing that we had only inches to play with, in any case, or whether we might not meet a sleeping team of donkeys or a snorting camel team or a couple of horses in a carriage, demented by our approach, our passage of the deﬁle was quite a sporting venture.
We were barely through it and safely out of sight of the indignant inhabitants in the rear when we came upon Knowles.
We were astonished and so was he. He had been sitting in his carriage like a lord when we emerged from over the hill, but he got out of it more quickly than I have ever before or since seen a man alight. Then the two horses tied themselves in knots and the driver tied himself in a knot and when we had got ourselves on to a downhill slope, we stopped and I went back and asked Knowles to keep behind us all the way in case we came to a bad end. He said that- that was exactly what both he and theowner of the carriage and their two steeds, intended to do. He declared, in fact, that they would not attempt to pass us for a thousand pounds and that, the only fear of the driver, who had never before seen a motor-car, was that we would turn round and chase him.
After a quarter of an hour we lost another tooth with a rasping shriek. Darkness was fast coming down. The white peaks of the hills ahead were becoming shadowy along the skyline, when we saw, with a sigh of relief, a picture which took us back two thousand miles. On a wide, wide plain stood a red-roofed, German railway station. There was no doubt about it. It was just such a group as the Teuton builds the world over - everything symmetrical and new-looking with houses
that the last cut had somehow got made in the wrong place and that the dissected parts would not ﬁt. Five days' planning and scheming had gone for nothing and, in my hand, I held, too, the bad news that good old England had not sent our spare parts by King's Messenger, but, choosing the longest and slowest possible route, had forwarded them via Constanza by parcel post.
"They may," said the letter of our Stamboul agent, in effect, "arrive in here in twenty-two days or it may be a month or six weeks."
That awful summary of possibilities killed stone-dead our chances of completing the journey to Australia.
With the delays which we had already faced through breakages, it was now beyond doubt that we could not reach Burma before the rainy season. It meant that, plugging on through Persia and India with our limping experiment, we should be forced to face the worst of the Indian summer. And it did not cheer us that, in the same mail as we received our news, came a newspaper sent by a well-wisher in Stamboul in which a British manufacturer gently reproved us Colonials for our habit of buying American motor-cars.
Francis went out. on the plain and shed tears of rage. I was beyond tears. There was nothing to do but be patient and pray that the Beirut spares would soon arrive in Knowles's custody.
THE WORLD OF AIRANGE DERBEND
THE morning revealed Airange Station in its full simplicity. Its inventory totalled one boilerhouse, some outhouses, the railway station, an open, shed with a pile of wheat in the middle of it, a tree-planted platform equipped with a pump and a well, a cottage across the way in the garden of which grew one tall and graceful poplar. Behind that lay a bare plain scored with irrigation channels from a stream that ran along the foothills to the north-east of the valley; then a ﬂat-roofed village embowered in trees, Airange Osman, post-office centre and metropolis of the valley; ﬁnally the Taurus, distant, whitewapped, ever changing with the sweep of the mists.
There were two other distant villages on the shoulders of the hills on the northern side of the railway, both wretched and poverty-stricken and inhabited largely by hordes of goats; while, by the swift, narrow snow stream which sneaked along the base of the hills, piled debris and deserted graveyard, abandoned well and toppling tombstone told that at one time the valley had sheltered no less than nine townlets. One of them must have
been large, judging by the elaborateness of its burial ground and the lovely arched stone bridge which crossed the stream -near its site among the few willow saplings, which composed the whole vegetation. of the district apart from the fruit trees and poplars of Airange -Station and the villages.
I came to know all these features by heart before I had ﬁnished with them, for, thanks to the leisureliness of old England's methods, there was plenty of time to observe them thoroughly and to become acquainted with the population, which showed every disposition to know us as well as it was allowed.
The station-master occupied the top story of the two-ﬂoored station house with his family. He wore a gorgeous blue uniform designed with a German naval uniform as a basis. It had gold wherever there was room to hang gold upon it. He was, as I have said before, an Arab. His wife came from Homs in Syria. His children were legion, but young, and one wondered how he acquired them in the time at his disposal. He pointed out proudly and frequently that they had been born all over the East from Plovdev to Haifa and, though his wage was such that an Australian rag and bone man
would scorn it, he was proud and certain that the stork had not ﬁnished with him.
"One more the month after next," he said conﬁdently. "And then some more presently."
Whereupon, smiling his dark and winning smile, for he was one of the most handsome and attractive scoundrels I have ever seen and the only Arab of my experience who in personal appearance approached the ideal of beauty for which the tribes are famous in Hollywood and E. M. Hull, he put his right arm lovingly round my shoulder and his left hand into the side pocket of the car, from which he skilfully extracted a pocket-knife, a pair of pincers and half a cake of chocolate. -
When I called upon him, in his oﬂice, ten minutes later, and politely asked for their return, he smiled his utterly disarming smile and said brightly:
"Ah, I borrow them to show them to Madame!" and handed them back with a bow.
"Chok fena, boo adam!" (Very bad, that man!) said the Hodja of the village and all his admiring friends.
"He steal your whisky" (that is any liquid which looked as if it might be good to drink, from spirits of salts to iodine). "I see him with he do it. It make him sick."
Usually, about two days afterwards, Mudir Bey would arrive with your own bottle and ask you to ﬁll it with benzine, and when you asked him where he got it, he would say:
"Ah, Mr. Fisher at Haifa, he give me that-in the war."
Then Francis under the car would probably say: "May the hellﬁre of Providence smite the blank, blank, blank, blank," etc., and a look of admiration would come over our guest's countenance as he exclaimed ecstatically:
"Ah, Meester Young at Haifa, he say that."
When he had gone you would miss two forks and a pound of dates.
I noticed that all the village kept its wives well away from him in spite of his evident busyness as a populator in his own circle-all except the poor railway oﬂicials, who were not able to, since they lived grouped about him. For whenever any of these latter made a journey, as one or another of them did almost daily, his return was marked by a series of epic events which began with a Trojan war between himself and the station-master; spread to include the Helen of the moment and ended in a meeting between Mudir and his wife in which his wife did the talking in a high, piercing voice of protest and her lord and master, no doubt smiling a sweet Valentino smile all the time, expressed himself feelingly with a stick.
Beneath his top-ﬂoor ﬂat lived the apprentice porter or clerk, in a bare room furnished with a stretcher, a primus stove, two passport photographs, a tin of kerosene, one benzine case, and two visiting wheat-buyers who shared the ﬂoor and complained bitterly of their next-door neighbours, the head porter and his family. The latter had also one room in which he housed himself,
who was about six feet high, a wife, five children, two dogs and a vagrant shepherd boy. They were all noisy and cheerful and Mrs. Porter never got a beating, possibly because her husband, who was a great, good-natured chunk of a fellow, did the whole of the work of the station from sweeping the ﬂoors to digging the garden and putting on a gorgeous uniform to walk bandily down the line for half a mile and ﬂag in the trains with great ceremony. Thus, he had no time for indoor sport. He and the engineer, a sandy widower with two ﬁne boys, were the only people on Airange Station who could
be trusted not to steal, and the head porter was the only man who appeared to need credit when the monthly stores train came in.
Last but not least among our new neighbours was the chief wheat-buyer. He was the one Turk in Turkey who looked like the Turk of tradition. He wore baggy clothes and a beard. He regarded us perpetually with suspicion. If there was a crowd about the car, he would sidle furtively up with a shoe to be mended or a benzine tin to be cut in halves. If you were polite and did as he asked, he shook his head as much as to say: "There is something wrong about all this. Why should these fellows do this for nothing?" While if you repulsed him he went off muttering rude remarks about the lack of courtesy in foreigners.
I did not, however, plumb the full depths of his meanness until I caught him stealing bread from our adopted dog, a lady Seluki who was all ribs because, though she would have been worth twenty pounds in England, she was so unregarded in Galatia that she had to subsist on a diet of hurled stones.
The old gentleman said that the curse of God should rest on people who wasted good bread, and when I told him that it not only should but did rest, on thieves, he went off muttering vengeance. As for Ekmek Annie, the dog, she repaid our defence of her by that night
sneaking behind Francis and suddenly stealing a hard - boiled egg out of his hand. The next time I saw her she was just reaching the ground after a journey off Birtles' boot, and for several nights thereafter I had a quaint fancy that there was a dint in the Milky Way.
The morning after we arrived, the Aleppo mail passed through from Haidar Pasha and the last passenger we saw hanging from its windows was a neat military person with an outrageous beard whose name was Knowles. He was of to Beirut via Adana. He was to stop at Adana and send a cable to England asking that a crown wheel be sent urgently to Constantinople and he was to pick up the crown wheels and pinions, supposed to be
awaiting us at Beirut, and bring them back with all speed.
That day was April 4th. We said cheerfully: "See you in ﬁve days. Bring some bully beef back with you as we have less than a week's rations." Then we settled down to ﬁll in the four or ﬁve days with overhaul and we had barely begun when the ﬁrst sightseer arrived.
He was a large Anatolian in the usual costume, very small about the head, very expansive about the cummerbund, very curly about the toes of his slippers.
He gave me a civil "Salaam," and then, putting his hands behind his back, walked solemnly round the car. In twenty minutes a whole delegation were doing the same thing. And by the evening I had become hardened against the constant cynosure of eyes while they had driven Francis nearly mad, and, in later days, so affected him that he would go raging out on to the plain calling upon Providence to smite them. It was a curious
psychological experiment and I did not blame him Francis usually has a boyish delight in Australian crowds---he is never so happy as in at city street with half the population round him hailing him as "explorer.' The dirtier the car and the more corroboration there is in
his own appearance of hardship endured, the better he likes it.
But these were different crowds. They would begin, always with the one man, as on the ﬁrst morning. He would drive up with his araba and his two white horses, splendid lightweights, beautifully paired and of Arabian ancestry.
"Automobile bozouc? (broken down?)" he would ask.
"Yes," you would retort. "She has broken down."
"Tch! Tch! Tchl" he would remark sympathetically.
Then would come the walk round the car, looking more like a heap of scrap iron than ever, with her back wheels removed and her anatomy resting on an improvised staging; the innards of her back axle torn out; her cardan shaft on a tarpaulin; her radiator newly repaired with white lead leaning against a post.
"Ah," our visitor would pronounce judicially, "auto-mobile bozouc."
Then, enter Galatian Number Two.
"Automobile bozouc!" Number One would say to him informatively.
"Tch! Tch! Tch!" said Number Two and round the car he would go.
Galatians Numbers Three to Forty-nine would follow and they would all do and say exactly the same thing until the idea occurred to somebody to beg some benzine or sticking plaster or patent fuel which they would continue to do till the train came in, whereafter they would all come back in ones and twos and start all over again
The idle ones would spend the rest of the day with us leaning within a few inches of whoever was working in the open.
"Tch! Tch! Tch!" they would remark, breathing hardy "See, he is turning a screw! Tch! Tch! Tch!"
And so through the day's operations and sometimes through the evening's if it were moonlight, as it was
twice or three times in three weeks. Even in our waiting-room there was no privacy, for it was lighted with French lights opening on the ticket vestibule and the platform. Against these, morning and night, those pitiless male and female faces ﬂattened themselves. "See, he is eating!"--"Ah, it is dates!"-"He is putting-on his trousers!"--"How white his legs!"--"He is drawing water!"-"Tch! Tch! Tch!-Automobile bozouc." It went on all the time. I could not even go to the snow stream half a mile across the plain without an awed procession of simple, good-natured folk trailing without malice in my rear, and gazing for half-hours together at the operation of cleansing a shirt. I had to wear the soap next to my skin because, if it were put
down for a moment on the ground, a dozen hands would reach out to pick it up and smell it and it would be passed round thecrowd amid murmurs of wonder at its scent of carbolic.
After a little, it became pathetic rather than annoying. We were the only play the dwellers around Airange Plain had seen in all their simple existences. Their attitude of mind was exactly that of an unspoiled tribe of wild Australian blacks and, grown men, they were as simple as the station-master's tiny girl whom, one morning, I found crooning and crowing with John Willy, our Lincoln Imp mascot, in her hands and a dozen awed
children about her.
"Adam! Adam!" (Man! Manl), she gurgled, holding up the ugly little devil in a childish paroxysm of delight. Whereupon, it came out that these small Mohammedan children had never, in their cramped existences, seen a doll and most of them had no toys of any description except a few sardine tins which we gave them and which their parents stole greedily amid loud wailings; Their sole amusement seemed to be shepherding the goats around. the station and watching the winnowing men tossing wheat into the wind in shovels.
Or rolling over with Ekmek Annie, that disgraceful and much beribbed dog of ours.
The village lay a mile away--the usual village with mud walls and narrow streets and two tiny stores and a post office, staffed with what appeared to be four post-men to every member of the population and a pleasant old Hodja who seemed to have nine wives, and a school-master, who dressed always in a fashionable grey suit and felt hat and tan boots, as if he had stepped that moment out of London. He would come down to the
afternoon train from Aleppo, which, with the morning Wagon Lit mail from Stamboul, and tri-weekly recruits' train- to Adana, the daily Koni "goods" and the once a month stores train which stopped at every station and sold to the officials and whoever else cared to buy, made up our communications. Invariably he carried la copy of the "Revue des Deux Mondes," though experiment proved that he had scarcely ten words of French.
Airange was certainly an outback village. That was evident from the fact that we were on the spot two days before the gendarmes arrived. On the third day, the local one tramped down from Airange Osman and I found him, having been summoned by the railway porter, sitting in state with the station-master and the old wheat-buyer whom I had christened Abou Hassan. From the fact that he continued sitting when I entered and that he had a Ross riﬂe across his knee, I took it that he proposed to be insolent. So, as a preliminary, I demanded that he should stand when he addressed me and promptly took his chair.
Then, I asked what Abou Hassan was doing there, and had the indignant old gentleman ordered out, and; ﬁnally I so impressed the Force that it went by the next mail train to Eregli and for the remainder of the time we were there the garrison was enlarged under the command
of a magniﬁcent being in a khaki riding suit and highly polished leggings who strolled about the valley receiving the obeisances of the population and slapping his calves with a purely ornamental riding crop.
He arrived inconspicuously with a long, dark, smiling individual one afternoon, and very fortunately Francis was asleep in the waiting-room at the time, otherwise there would have been murder. I strolled out to the car and found the two strangers there surrounded by an interested group. The long, dark one had the bonnet off and was removing the spark plugs.
"Here! Haide git!" I shouted. "Clear out !"
He gazed at me with disinterested eyes and started on another plug. I took the spanner out of his hand and pulled down the bonnet. Whereupon he pulled it up again.
"He is a chauffeur!" said the magniﬁcent police official who had not introduced himself. The crowd grinned.
It seemed time for action, so taking the chauffeur by the collar, I reached for our biggest spanner and blew the horn for Frank. The chaufﬁeur seemed amazed, so he backed several 'yards and sat down on a tarpaulin.
"But I was Enver Pasha's driver," he said, in German, as if that justiﬁed everything, "and this is the police commandant."
The police commandant combed his hair with dignity and we all became outwardly good friends. Every day they come to see us, and Enver Pasha's man would tell me stories of the war.
It was a choice time, the war. The choicest of it was when they were marching the prisoners of Kut up through the Cilician gates. It was very cold, snow and ice on the road all the way and the men were exhausted from the starving tramp up the Euphrates in blinding heat, so they died like ﬂies. Enver Pasha inspected them on the way and the chauffeur drove him.
Coming up the passes over the Taurus men dropped
every few yards. Whereupon, a guard officer would haul the victims to their feet and, tie them to men who had not fallen. Then he would ﬁnd another guard officer who would nominate a pair and they would bet whose couple would stagger furthest up the range, and when the ﬁrst fell and could go no further they would roll the two pairs of still live bodies over the road edge into the bed of the Cydnus, the River of Antony and Cleopatra, and have "double or quits" as to which would roll the further.
So Enver Pasha's chauffeur said, anyhow. He thought it even a better sport than cock ﬁghting and all the gentle Galatians sat round and when he had interpreted his story to them, murmured "Tch! Tch! Tch!" with a great intaking of breath from sheer pleasure and envy at the thought of what they had missed by not living a couple of hundred miles to the East.
"Yes," some one would say,"but we should all have been there when the Armenians were passing through!" Hundreds of thousands of Armenians marching to exile; men and women and children in droves straggling from Konia, driven like cattle by guards; limping in clinging knots in the daytime and passing like sheeted ghosts at night with at great wailing of children, sometimes, and the crying out of women whom the guards had torn from
their families to cheer a bivouac. That was where all those straggling graves came from, down the valley; but it was not possible to bury them all. Sometimes the dogs pulled them down before they died. The dogs were fat in those days. Now that old hound, the half-blind fellow, there, in the shadow of the wall, he . . .
They would prattle on as if they were talking about a Sunday school picnic. So the foreign slaves in Rome might have discussed the doings of the arena. After all, what is death in a land where life is a long, bleak uneventfulness fed with heavy black bread and little or
nothing else, and ending on an average before forty years of it have gone?
On the second morning, when we had the car almost in pieces and the parts covered with a tarpaulin, Francis woke me at dawn in excitement to say that it had been snowing. The country-side was a white sheet as far as the eye could see. The snow lay a foot deep on the railway platform. The car was full of it; our tools and tarpaulins were mere mounds of white. The thermometer at 9 a.m. was about 7° above zero, Fahr. By eleven it was 5° colder with a blizzard blowing, and since there was no work and no ﬁre (ﬁrewood being absolutely non-existent at the station), it was a wretched morning, mitigated only by the beauty of the scene. The mail train came through at midday almost hermetically sealed with the train staff muffled to the eyes in furs. The people who ventured out of it were two fat Teutons and a dark-eyed German girl who hit one of them with a snowball containing a large lump of blue metal, an accident from which she seemed to secure tremendous satisfaction; also a shivering procession of ill-clothed wretches who strove in vain to draw water with a pump solidly frozen. The population of Airange was not visible, but in the afternoon I became so tired of the freezing cement waiting-room and the perpetual cursing of Francis (who had persuaded himself that the Turks, and particularly the station-master, were responsible for the weather and was discussing them accordingly) that I determined to walk through-the snow to the village.
It was an eerie progress. The wind had dropped and a ﬁne white powder, through which one saw as through gauze, drifted down out of sky of inﬁnite depth, high lighted. The many water channels which ran kneedeep across the plain were stilled and frozen over and, in the village itself, an uncanny silence enshrined every-
thing. Even the dogs lay perdu, and it was a relief to knock on the door of the little store and ﬁnd all the gossips crouched round a ﬁre of arduch roots brought from the Taurus, telling their endless tales and smoking their cigarettes in an atmosphere which they had already rendered almost opaque with the mingled odours of sheepskins and tobacco, unwashed man, stale rice, ﬁgs and highly spiced pemmican. I bought four dozen eggs and with these distributed through my pockets and tied in my handkerchief I started for "home"--the station.
I had not walked far when the light died and I realized that sundown had arrived and, as I could not see ﬁfty feet and I had incautiously come without my compass, I stood ﬁrmly in my tracks and decided that the safest thing I could do was to strike away to the right until I came to the Airange stream which ran across the plain, and follow its banks till I reached the railway.
I had barely gone a hundred yards before heard piping. The note was sweet, reedy, ethereal, lacking the metallic ring of silver and brass instruments of these modern days; rather, indeed, reproducing the cool trilling of the lark. I paused. It was uncanny therein the snow, which continued falling, falling so noiselessly and so remorselessly. It sounded like the impalpable tuning of some ghost. While I stood, an animal growled beside me, so that I moved hastily.
The simple music went on. I walked forward, and presently came on a sight which here, in high Anatolia, must have been common to all the ages- Xenophon might have seen it and many a wanderer before him-a shepherd boy, with his great, square-shouldered hide coat, blowing on his pan-pipes airs that, perhaps, Homer knew. Certainly, they were so simple that they might well have been born with the dawn of the world, and the pipes might have been lost by the little god himself in the days when Olympus was more than a dark mountain with snow upon its summit.
All about the shepherd, clustering close to the sound of the music, nuzzling against him and hustling each other discreetly as they vied for a warm inner position in the ﬂock, shuffled his sheep, black and brindle and white ewes, some of them with too early fat-tailed lambs at foot.
And, on the outskirts, lips drawn back in a protective snarl against my presence, stalked a savage wolf-dog, his coat powdered with snow, his ﬁne tail stiff with suspicion. They drifted, without sound of footfall, toward the village. From just such a ﬂock, in just such a place, without change of dress or tune or habit, might some one on his travels through this land have culled the analogy of the Good Shepherd. Easily might one have seen such a
sight anywhere between Iconium and Ecbatana nineteen hundred years ago.
I reached the station with all my eggs safe and very wet feet.
After a little more than a week of waiting, Knowles returned in the train with the bad news that no spare parts. had reached Beirut, though I had cabled three weeks before, asking that they should be sent immediately. He brought a letter, however, which showed that, after a fortnight's delay, our, organizers in England had sent a crown wheel and pinion thither by parcel post.
That did not worry us, now, for Knowles had cabled England on April 8th asking that further spares should be sent with all speed to Constantinople to our agents there, and, as I had made special arrangements before leaving England for the King's Messenger to carry parcels for us and I knew that a messenger was due to leave on April 9th, we had reason to expect that by April I 5thwe should be on our way, again. I promptly packed poor Knowles, who had enjoyed I60 hours in, the train during the previous week, to
Beirut again, with instructions to reorganize our routing so that we could travel directly down the Euphrates from Aleppo. Then we set to trying every conceivable expedient to help ourselves in his absence. It was not easy, as we had almost run out of food, and the little methylated spirit fuel which we had, had gone in bribes to the station-master and gendarmes. Furthermore; what with thefts and our own usage, the benzine supply had fallen so low that I dare not use much more to make ﬁres. .
It was at this stage that, having failed to buy ﬁrewood, I began to collect coal cast from railway engines and bits of debris from timber waggons, carrying them tenderly to our waiting-room and secreting them as if they had been gold. By this means we had one thermos full of hot tea every day, and once every two days I spared a pint of benzine which paid for the use of the station-master's Primus. On the fourth day after I instituted this practice, I woke to ﬁnd all the school children of the village and -station spread out along the line and the permanent way stripped clean of everything that would burn. From then onward, no engine dropped so much, as a gramme of coal within a mile of Airange that it was
not pounced upon.
Eventually I made friends with Abdul and Hatab Din, two small boys about twelve years old who belonged to the pumping engineer. They were pleasant-mannered lads, much the cut of Australian bush boys. In the evenings they were accustomed to come and sit on our tarpaulin while I taught them English words, which they learned with great avidity, and they added to my colloquial Turkish which now, after seven weeks in the coun-
try, had become quite competent for all ordinary purposes in villages where the local vocabulary seemed not to exceed ﬁve hundred words.
I entered into a contract whereby Abdul and Hatab Din made tea for us every day, and all went well till one
morning a marauding lady borrowed our precious supply of leaf. Then I had to go to the village and buy a pound of tea, and all the village came to see me purchase it, for half an okka was superﬂuity in that pinched land and the chai was kept in a glass-stoppered jar as if it were a chemical and weighed out with a tiny pair of gold scales to the poor villagers. The storekeeper, who was a cautious fellow and who knew that he would scarcely be
believed if he told the tale of my lavishness in a city whose two emporiums could rarely boast a whole loaf of bread or more than forty pounds of rice at one and the same time, cunningly kept me in converse while he brought witnesses to the record sale; and ever afterwards, while in Airange, I was known as the man who bought a whole, pound of tea at once. There was a great drawing of breath over it among the gossips.
We gradually exhausted everything that could be done upon the car. We mended her radiator and freed all her splines which had been machine-ﬁtted at the works, in such a way that no poor traveller could take her apart without a Spanish windlass. I ground them to freedom with my own fair hands and a tin of valve-grinding paste until my ﬁngers ached. Then we laboriously devised a sort of motor drill on ﬁre-brigade lines which enabled us
to dismantle any part ofthe machinery in a minimum possible time, each man at his appointed station.
Finally, for two days we meditated over our driving gear and coming to the conclusion, inescapable, that our crown-wheels were breaking because the whole differential casing was several times too small and weak, we reinforced it with copper wire cables reeved through the lubrication holes of the case and I sent to Knowles in Aleppo for a reinforcing ring to be bolted opposite the crown wheel.
Much of our time was given up to discussion as to
how we could make a temporary crown wheel which would carry us into Syria. Firstly, I tried to secure permission to go to Konia, where there were railway works, or to Eskishehr, where there was a military ﬂying station, hoping to be able to have one cut at either of those places; but the police refused to allow me to move except in accordance with the terms of my passport.
Then I wrote to the Commandants at those centres and to storekeepers I had dealt with, asking them to see the authorities, sending them rough drawings and full speciﬁcations with models of sections of our wheel made from the clay of the local river bed, but I had no replies. I believe that my letters and models never got beyond the Civil Police Oﬂicer who haunts every train in Asia Minor.
We debated at length whether it would not be possible to cut two broken crown wheels so as to ﬁt them together as if they were whole and by bolting them fast to a ring made from the third casualty, to concoct a jury wheel which would carry us to Adana. We bestowed much thought and argument on this project, disputing backward and forward. I drew an elaborate plan as to where each cut should be made. I held long sessions with the pumping engineer who was not certain that in asking for the use of his furnace one day I was not contemplating sorcery of some kind. Lastly, we had to piece together our knowledge of the effect of heat on metals, which was. comparatively small. On top of that came the poser of recase-hardening the wheels when they had been cut. Four evenings after we ﬁrst began to wrestle with this puzzle, I woke up out of a deep sleep with the word "Fluxite"' running through my mind. It was worth a trial.
Next morning we spent several hours with hacksaws, taking turns at cutting, and by train time all that remained to be done was the last cut. I went to collect our mail before the station-master should steal it, and on my return was greeted by a sad-faced Birtles and the information
THE LAND OF MANY BATTLES
NEXT day being Anzac Day, with the Jack and stars of Australia boldly ﬂying from one windscreen mast and a tiny Union ]ack from the other, we
tore ourselves away from Airange. Tore is the right word, because Old Scrap Iron was loath to go. She poured water from the bottom of the radiator in streams, which was ungrateful since we had spent much tender care and all my medicated wool on the healing of its wounds, together with a pound of white lead which in the end turned out to be only paint after the illusory habit of many things which we bought in Stamboul.
The smith had a busy hour with his quaint soldering while ﬁnal repairs were made. Also, there were ceremonious farewells to be said during which, with great gusto, I detailed to an intent gendarmerie a full list of our losses. The gendarmerie did not look even surprised at this talk of thefts, but, as that part of the land of Asia Minor had been in the robbery business for at least 2000 years, possibly it was not remarkable. One P. Servillius Isauricus received his honoriﬁc from old Rome as long ago as 79 B.C. for cleaning up the Isaurian brigands thereabouts. The station-master during the
middle of the recital, however, disappeared unobtrusively, with the celerity of one who is going to hide something under his mattress. He bade me an effusive good-bye, with an arm round my neck, and we went
LIFE BEHIND THE TAURUS
ALL good and bad things ﬁnish sometime or other. At the end of three weeks we left Airange Derbend, though not without anxious days of waiting. Knowles, after his second departure, seemed to have disappeared into the blue with a profane notiﬁcation from Adana that he had fever. Each day there was, of course, no news from London. And to cap everything, the police chief was becoming restive at our continued presence and every morning would come round to ask in a most inhospitable manner when we were leaving and when our letters were coming from London and why Knowles had gone and where; and why we did not abandon Scrap Iron, to which battered hulk he could not at all comprehend our devotion, and take the train to Australia. Also, he never failed to tell me that our passports had expired, and worst of all he began sitting down when he spoke to me and substituting "Boo Ingleez" (that Englishman) for "Boo cheleybe" (that gentleman) which I had at ﬁrst enjoyed, when he spoke of me to
the station-master, as I discovered through some of my friends.
Still, life Was fascinating. I went every day to Airange Osman and came to know everybody in that little town, which was a most neighbourly place.
"Ekmek! Chai! Yamur-ghtah!" (Bread! Tea! Eggs !) the population would shout at me as I strode in and they
rose from their sunny doorsteps. Then the fat little Russian storekeeper would cry: "No bread to-day, brother," whereupon a merry black eye in a tousled head and a strong smell of beeswax would come round a corner opposite and call: "Effendim, Achmed's wife is baking. My son shall get half a loaf for you."
"Thanks be to Allah, brother"---No Mohammedan should ever thank the giver. Formally, the Lord is the only provider of favours.
We would all adjourn to the shop of the shoemaker, to be found sitting before his clean table, shiny with the black translucent wax which had been accumulated on it by himself and his father before him. Perhaps the Hodja would come in and certainly the local wholesale agent and buyer of produce who wore a European suit the colour of ground cinnabar and almost always began the conversation with: "Bon jour, monsieur. Un, deux,
trois, quatre, cinq."
"Vous parlez francais tres bien, monsieur. Depuis quand l'apprenez vous?"
"He says," my cinnabar friend would announce in the local language, "that I speak French very well." .
"Tch! Tch! Tchl" the audience would remark in wonder, and possibly the Hodja, shrewd to use an occasion to point a moral to a ﬂock growing laxer every day: "How great is God who gives us knowledge!"
Then the tales would begin, and all through them would be woven the squeak of the cobbler's needle piercing soles or the muffled ring of one of his long, precise row of bright hammers. It would be: "When they conscripted me to ﬁght the Greeks" or "When there were those happenings about the Armenians"-- for in the interior they are more chary about the word "massacre" than they are in the towns, since they have not forgotten the time when the use of it was a criminal offence. We would hear about long marches in the
snow, breathless ﬁghting in the mountains; of the sand-hills of the south, with a ﬁend of an Australian light horseman who lay all day picking off every man who so much as showed an ear above a bush and little knowing that he was wasting bullets because already his victims were dying of thirst and fever.
It was very simple story-telling, but I often thought, observing the stark, real directness obtained in their narratives told with a four-hundred-word vocabulary, how prodigal even the best of English writers can be with words in getting their effects. By the time it had all ﬁnished the room would be full of men and smoke. For the postman, who had early in our visit been pulled off a bolting horse by the station clothesline and then thrown over a fence, would have limped in with a "Salaam," and the gendarme with his khaki uniform and puttees and his immense shako labelled with his number
in brass Arabic ﬁgures; also, all the old men within a quarter of a mile. Occasionally the Russian storekeeper, a tight, round man of Napoleonic build who had been in Italy, would shyly bring a fearsome-looking balaika and the rafters would ring with "La donna e mobile" and the last "e di pensier" would go ringing among the peaks; of the Bulgar Dagh as if Caruso himself had sent it
I taught them "If you knew Susie" and "I want to be happy," which were the fashionable tunes in Constantinople at that time, and in return my Russian friend played weird peasant dances and the second grocer (who was not a Russian) sometimes gave us a treat with his gramaphone for which he had ﬁve records of the art of the Arab singing-girls.
I have never seen an Arab singing-girl singing,- but I know, after listening carefully to the records she makes, exactly how it is done. A good, strong Sheik takes her into the desert, rolls up his djibbah, spits on his hands and, selecting a stout piece of wood, proceeds rhythmically
to hammer her on the ribs where his blows will best resound. You hear the thud, thud, thud of the stick behind the long drawn squeal of the maiden, which is suddenly broken by a pained shriek of surprise that makes the skies shudder as her tormentor pokes a red-hot dagger into some soft part of her to give her a fresh impetus. . . .
"Tch! Tch! Tch! God is very good!" mutters the ecstatic audience, now depleted by the departure of the Hodja, who has left while we were singing about "Susie, O what a goil," a little earlier. He is a little displeased and suspicious, is the Hodja. He does not understand Susie at all and thinks I may be a missionary in disguise inculcating Christian principles by stealth into his ﬂock with inﬁdel hymns.
The ﬁrst time I heard the. Arab lady sing, I praised her too much and her owner lent one of his precious records of her along with his gramophone to the assistant railway porter so that he might brighten our evenings for us. The assistant railway porter put the gramophone against our wall and played the record over for us nineteen times until Francis, who is impatient of instrumental music at any time, rose and prayed for a shot gun so loudly that the youth desisted from his entertainment.
In time I came to love Osman. Its chickens and its sleepy dogs, which were not nearly so savage when you came to know them as they were when you were a stranger; its peach and plum trees which, after the snow (the season was later here than further north), burst into a welter of faery blossom; its donkey pack teams from the mountains; its occasional venturing camel. There was a lazy thrill in wandering round it on a long shadowed afternoon crying: "Hail, Ibrahim, Peace be with you and have you -any eggs?" and in the subsequent routing of outraged hens out of straw-lined lofts.
Then the walk home was a sheer joy with its call at the smithy on the outskirts. To meet the Airange smith was to understand the romance of the anvils of old He did not look like a Turk with his great shoulders and heavy grey moustache and close-clipped hair. His walls were hung round with the tools that he had made himself and the chains he had forged and iron of many a graceful shape, his handiwork. The interior of his haunt, was dim, but it lighted with a ruddy glow when he pulled the long plait of hide that made his vast bed of charcoal ﬂame like the sunset. I would not have been surprised if he had told me that he settled there because the place was on the track of the Crusaders and that times were not what they used to be since Saladin had died and link armour had gone out of fashion. There would have been no diﬂiculty in believing, either, that his birthplace was a cave in the Riesengebirge where the German dwarfs come from. But he never talked, so I never knew, though he had the independent respectfulness of
a good master artisan and would regularly come to his door bowing and wiping his great paws on his apron, to watch me set out on my tramp to the station across the plain dotted with spreading ﬂocks and piping shepherds and divided by the variable knee-deep irrigation channels, which sent one to camp wet to the knees and seriously imperilled one's cargo of eggs.
Very occasionally a waggon would catch you up on its way to the railway and you would make your journey behind two heady arabs. One day the driver of one of these said to me:
"You are British?"
"Australian," said I. "You know Australia?"
"Ah, yes," he said, "I know Australia. I know it well."
Stopping his horses, he removed his trousers and proved his words. Some Australian riﬂeman in Palestine, a sound shot, had punctured both his legs.
I had so much become part of Airange Osman before we left that I told Francis I intended to stand for mayor next year. But Francis, to whom the prospect and the Turk were alike vile --especially since the station-master had given the detached ignition head a few playful turns with the result that it took two hours to retime it--merely grunted with disgust and spoke aloud for the ﬁftieth time his plans for wrecking the next Turkish loan.
I did not altogether blame his attitude, for he steadfastly refused to visit the village and all he saw was the railway station, of which the inhabitants became more and more unbearable. Abou Hassan, ancient wheat-buyer, was the kernel of our troubles. He was convinced, I think, that we were spies and never a policeman came near the place that he failed to tell about his suspicions.
He it was who introduced two disreputable people whom I christened the First and Second Murderers, whose countenances were remarkable for innumerable pimples and for the protuberance of their eyes and whose duties appeared to consist of leaning, together, on some part of the car, the livelong day, breathing very hard, saying nothing whatever, and only changing their positions to get a better view. There was chronic accusation on
their visages and, even when you ate, they seemed certain in their own minds that you were devouring dynamite which would presently explode and blow up the neighbourhood. _
At sundown, each day, they held conclave with their master with much waving of arms, and when I at last became tired of it all and chased them away with a spanner, their speed and terror were such as to advertise that they had no doubt at all about the ill-will which we felt for them and the evilness of our natures.
Their doings were not, however, the end-all of Abou Hassan's activities. He became suspicious of our documents. Came a time when some station oﬂicial would approach me and divert my attention while the old man
and the station-master went through my satchel. And, if I sat in the waiting-room to write a letter, there was usually a distant watch across the railway line futilely observing, so that every day after a while I felt impelle to write the rhyme of "Mary had a little lamb" or some lines of shrieking Greek from the "Medea" upon sheets of paper and hide them ostentatiously in the stove, then retiring a mile across the plain to a bend in the river, where with ﬁeld-glasses carried thither in my shirt I could enjoy the subsequent perplexity of the Inquisition, bowing its heads over Roman characters or over script which the station-master knew, having lived in Bulgaria, was undoubtedly, not Bulgarian, though so like it.
Quite unexpectedly, one night, appeared the man with the knife and that seemed at the moment very serious.
Francis for some days had been sleeping in the car, because he held that the waiting-room was a dangerous spot
This was nonsense as it takes a lot to frighten Francis. As most of our gear was in the room, I remained there. This night there was a half-moon which threw a dull bar of light through the window beneath which I was sleeping on the ﬂoor.
The evening was very quiet and still and I fell into a deep sleep from which,I was half awakened by movement in the room.
"Francis looking for something," said my Inner Self cosily, and I was just about to make some sleepy remark when I saw that it was not Francis. It was a stranger. He was, to my disordered imagination, twelve feet high and three feet broad, and he was on all fours near my feet, very still, with a knife in his mouth. What sort of a knife I could not judge, for I only caught the gleam of its blade, but it seemed to me, on the moment, to be the family sabre of some ancient brigand, lovingly
edged and polished in anticipation of the dirtiest of dirty work.
Many people in such circumstances are, I believe, inordinately brave. I have heard them say so. They rise up with a loud war cry and the last mortal sound the intruder hears is an urgent shout for a dish-rag to mop up the blood. I have none of that sort of courage. I would have yelled for help had that been possible, but my tongue clove to the roof of my mouth as if it had been glued there. I would have risen and retreated, but my limbs were all jelly; my ﬁngers would not keep still. I felt the long hairs on the top of my head rise up and stand paralysed and the little ones on the back crawling higher on my skull to avoid drowning in the ﬂood of icy perspiration which began to exude along my spine.
All the time a small, cold devil kept jumping up and down inside me saying: "Get yourself awake! Get your bearings! Don't move! Wake! Wake!" I lay like a rock and my mind cleared and I found myself planning. Obviously, so long as my enemy kept the knife in his mouth, The could not become oﬂiensive with it.
"Take your time . . ." whispered the Small, Cold Devil.
I took it. During the next twenty-seven years, in the middle of which the visitor made one single step forward, I mapped out exactly what I would do. It was an elaborate scheme, and brought the marrow back gradually into my bones. At the crucial moment, I would rise with a loud whoop of rage and hate (which I suspected would have several involuntary quavers in it) and, blanket clutched in both determined hands, I would dive suddenly over the aggressor. He would be inside the blanket. He would be dazed, and while he was freeing himself I would rush to the door and send the stars reeling with calls for reinforcements, the ﬁre-brigade and the police. Now . .. . .
In that instant, all my schemes melted into thin air. The ﬁgure took another step. He was beside me. His movement had been determined.
The Small Devil woke again inside me, and cried: 'Lift your knee! Catch him under the chin!" My scalp seemed to subside and a knife clattered suddenly to the ﬂoor. I, somehow, had a thermos ﬂask full of hot tea in my hand and was hitting somebody with it and then the thermos had gone rolling into a corner and I had one bare foot in some one's face and another in his abdominal region, while I twisted his quivering thumb. There were blankets and sheepskins all over us and an arm was thrashing the ﬂoor. The arm was mine. There was a squeak of protest in the dark such as a criminal might give in his last moment in the electric chair. The ﬁgure which I was torturing gasped and went limp. I let go, feeling instantly exultant.
Then I went limp and sweaty.
"I've killed him," I said to myself. "I'll bet he's a policeman and I'll be cruciﬁed."
"Haide git!" I cried, more to break the silence than anything else, and never was man more relieved than I, when my victim responded by crawling dazedly on all fours down the steps on to the platform like a beaten dog.
Came a subdued chorus of giggles from across the railway line. That seemed to put a different complexion on affairs and feeling that this was all merely a practical joke by the lads of the village to try our courage, I became magniﬁcently brave once more. I dared my assailant to come back at the peril of his life. I made remarks about his father and his grandfather. I threw his, knife after him, having ostentatiously spat upon it. Then I went
back to bed.
I cannot say that I went willingly. I very badly wanted to sneak down to the car and wake Francis for company, but my instinct said, ﬁrstly, that if our enemy
had-really meant business, a hundred yards in the open dark was a perilous Odyssey; secondly, that the moral effect of a contemptuous and immediate slumber would work great good. I did not achieve the slumber, but for half an hourI managed a creditable snore. Then I lay with the door closed by a barricade of tin plates and other noisy impedimenta fortifying myself with tea from the thermos ﬂask which had earlier done such good work, and hoping for an early dawn.
Next day, when I told Francis he said he was not surprised because the Turks were all murderers and he would now most certainly make it impossible for them to borrow in the London market. Since the ration train had come in, we bought two bottles of douziko and seizing the excuse of a pretended carouse, decided to share the car together. At ten o'clock I thought I heard somebody breathing outside. I could hear nothing when I lifted the tarpaulin. Half an hour later I heard the same sound and stepped out on to a gentleman's face. He pretended to be drunk, but he had been squatting listening by the footboard. When we had done with him, he was really drunk.
The remainder of the night was given up to advances by creeping feet; mutterings in the gloom and savage forays in which Francis, armed with a spare back axle and a copper hammer, chased unseen people who by their pace were easily identiﬁable as Slip Carr, the Olympic Runner, and the late Charles Paddock, holder of the hundred yards record.
On the following afternoon we saw two beautiful sights. The ﬁrst was Enver Pasha's former chauffeur whom I met in the village. His face seemed to have been through a mangle and he had a fetching limp. He said that he had been run over by an araba and that the stallions in it had trampled on him. He had, he said
with a grin, had a very narrow escape. I sympathized with him and offered to give him sticking plaster if he would come to the station, but he declined with thanks. Possibly he had refereed the races the evening before and knew all about the pace and ferocity of Francis.
The second spectacle of the day was even lovelier to our aching eyes. It consisted of a very small, very dirty man in a khaki uniform and an outrageous hat. His skin was dull yellow with fever. His beard was untrimmed. His countenance, as he limped down the platform, was illuminated by a triumphant grin. One of his hands held a broken suitcase tied up with rope and tucked lovingly under the other arm was a box which evidently held a crown wheel and pinion.
Behind, to cap his obviously eminent desirableness, strode the head porter with a case of bully beef, beyond price to two carnivora who had not tasted ﬂesh for nearly a fortnight.
"I say, old man .- . ." shouted the Beautiful Apparition.
"Are you real?" I muttered.
"By God, I am,' shouted Captain Billy Knowles, "so damn real that I've been I60 hours in the train and had fourteen separate passports and been pinched for trying to import whisky. I say, old man . . "
I turned round to see why Francis was saying nothing. He was standing on his head to express his joy.
wood smoke from the ﬁres of travellers. All the tiredness fell from our shoulders. An eagle circled above us and we looked upwards, craning our necks to follow its ﬂight till it was lost in thin air against a straight, saw-tooth mountain seen so clearly that you could pick out individual tree boles upon its sides. I let my eye fall from it to one range to another and another, and ﬁnally to the wall of grey blue rock which rose almost sheer out of the River Cydnus, purling yellow with snow water over the stones near our feet. That was fully 1000 feet high, and in between it and the mountain of the trees were ﬁve more of its kind. Beyond, giant steps rose until they melted nearly 20,000 feet up into the snow-capped summit of the Taurus.
The Cilician Pass is a place of great marches and great names. It is the only site in the world where you can be sure that for a while you are marching actually in the footprints of the great of history. Its cliffs have allowed none to deviate since the beginning of time, except by so much as forty yards in places where the Turkish engineers have raised the highway level from the river-bed to the hill-side. Alexander of Macedon, Mithridates with his barbaric hordes, Sennacherib with, his Cappadocian stallions, St. Paul on his donkey, the sweating, straining oxen and the thousand slaves who
perspired and: grunted up the grades with the vast Egyptian needle which Theodosius, hauled 2000 miles to set up in Byzantium (it stands there, unchipped, to-today), Cicero in his litter, the Crusaders in their armour, Haroun al-Raschid of the Thousand Nights- it conﬁned them all in a few feet of space and poured them out after miles of meandering along perilously slippery tracks through the Gate itself, which is walled in on either side by precipices, rising above a passage not more than eleven feet wide apart from the stream,
away with nothing now wrong with us except most of the cylinders pumping oil, along the bumpy treeless way to the rabbit warren town of Eregli whence, after a happy quarter of an hour with the chief of police, we began our pilgrimage again, through eagle-haunted gorges, and dank villages into the maw of the Cilician Pass.
At Uru Kushla a broad road came from, Kaiserieh debouching many camels and asses and much walking traffic into the busy streets.
Then, the mountains closed in on us. The sun dropped out of the sky sullenly and left us with, tower on tower, sierra on sierra, the huge bulk of the Taurus rising, as if it were half in a humour to topple and crush us. The wind was cold off the snow, but the night was brisk and clear with the lamps of Charles's Wain riding over us in a heaven of turquoise. A long cavalcade of moon-shadows ambled from peak to white peak ghostly and silent, as if they had been the wraiths of a hundred departed armies.
We lay against the lichened wall of an ample garden full of gnarled trees, the greatest we had seen since leaving England, with ethereal poplars behind them along the banks of a sweetly tinkling stream. In front, not many yards away, a ploughed ﬁeld, strewn with white. Up the hill, to our right, a track, restless with the grunting of tired camels and the trot, trot of cold and belated pack donkeys. '
It was a gorgeous, scented, crystalline evening, which made one glad to be alive, brightened as it was for us, accustomed to the dreary nothingness of the muddy plain we had left, with the almost forgotten scents of timber and running water. I strolled out into the ploughed ﬁeld to see what sort of fertilizer the farmer was using that shone so snowily upon the rich, upturned earth. The ﬁrst pieces I picked up were the disjointed bones of a man's arm, with half the ﬁngers gone.
The vale was the top of the Pass. Here the prisoners of Kut had camped and died in dozens after their ascent from the plains below. Here the Armenian exiles and before them the men of Darius, of Sennacherib, of Frederick, Barbarossa; of all the might of Hit and Tarsus and Persia and Assyria and crusading Western Europe; Cicero, perhaps, when he was pro-consul; and the Saracens going to rape Amorium with forty thousand
spears, had paused awhile going up or down to refresh themselves and take breath or to recover from the passage of the Gates. Millions of exhausted men must have died around this valley through history, and not all their dyings had changed it except to enrich its soil a little. The fall of the great trees which decorated it would have robbed it of more splendour than all the human death which it had seen. Wholesale human dyings had not even spoiled the sunrise. A Changing rapidly from translucent pearl to ﬁre opal and scarlet and angry furnace red, it came out of a black cloud and burst into a thousand swords of light whose colours were governed by the part of the landscape over which they hung.
There lay the pass underneath the mighty Ala Dagh, clean and rain-washed, alive with the small early morning traffic and the creaking of trees and the tinkle of the baby avalanches of shingle which slid gently down the inclines, of the road cuttings. After the dead, worn-out plateau plains it came as a sort of awe-inspiring relief. We Australians very little realize how live our soil and timber are and how one can miss the movement where there are no trees to rustle.
The plane tree was there and the juniper and the beech and the pine, the ﬁr and the unrespectable arduch, which is a crossbred but lovely. The air was still crystal as the night before, rain-washed and scented with the odours of clean wet earth and pine-cones and fresh
close quarters, into the eyes of a frightened dog dilated above a mouth, which dribbled with sheer terror.
When you drove the mob off, they shrank away as if they were accustomed to blows, but after a moment or two drifted back. The street loafers of Adana provide a salutary lesson in Divine punishment. I had plenty of leisure to observe them carefully, and it seemed to me, sorting them out, that most of them could thank for their deﬁciencies their mothers sight of some of the awful events which have disgraced the town in modern history, combined with the long heritage of inbreeding and terror and the debauchery of a city which for 2000 years has been a clearing house for invading armies and
their attendant rabble.
The three minutes of the Police Chief wove itself into hours. I had many passages at arms, but it was with a self-congratulatory feeling that we camped that night on a ﬂowered mound under which the wind-blown dust of many centuries had buried a Roman fort. All that remained of Rome was a litter of broken tiles upon the summit, with odd piecemeal bits of pottery and crumbled pebbles of building stone. In common with a dozen other buildings of the kind it had become its own monument and a beacon by which you might steer, knowing that the road would run somewhere near its base. Ours was beyond Hamidieh, and to reach it we had passed through Missis, which is a desiccated village, an involuntary museum in which decayed Roman and Byzantine remains have been patched with the accretions of Saracen and Goth and connected, across the Pyramus, with the Syrian road, by a digniﬁed Arab bridge on the nether side of which lies a lichened and lovely stone khan.
The Cilician Plain is as flat as the palm of your hand, save for odd intrusive and isolated crags and small ranges defended by glowering castles. All around,
which insists on sharing a conﬁnement so winding and narrow that we could barely squeeze through it with our near wheels touching the rock wall.
In its bed lay a rusty and overturned German motorlorry shadowed by the rock on which a soldier of Marcus Aurelius had carved his inscription. Nature gave us a midday thunderstorm as we passed through, and the Gate was a place of awe, in which the voice of Jove roared and reverberated among the countless gorges and echoed back from the dark castle of the Sclavonian guard high over us, above the shrieks of the wind-tormented trees.
It seemed to me that of all the cradles of history I had seen these mountains were the only ones which measured up to their events. Most of the European scenes of the past are built over by speculators or defaced with man-made monuments or appear tiny against their imaginative bulk as conceived before you see them. Waterloo is better suited to grow turnips than for Armageddon. The Somme is banal. Hohenlinden is a dreary waste of unbroken snow; Mohacs Field a muddy ﬂat along a wide, yellow Danube whose banks are crumbling drearily because they have been almost stripped of trees. The pillars of Diana's temple in Ephesus are grey and dull and decrepit like St. Soﬁa which holds them. Doryleum, home of an ancient oracle, houses a Turkish ﬂying corps with dirty nails. Antioch Minor and Carchemish, Derbe and Metropolis are uninspiring mounds of earth. So are Babylon and Nineveh and Ur of the Chaldees and the cities of Hit which laid its Royal Road 2000 miles across the Near East. The other Hit, quarry of Babylon, has become a hill built of its own rubbish, a mere warren for beggars and syphilitics scented with the stink of bitumen and asafoetida. But the Cilician Pass is the lap of the gods, ﬁt to nurse the mightiest of events, versatile enough to provide apt settings for bannered and surging hosts or a limping disciple with a staff and his faith for support and shanks's
mare for his nag. For all it has seen it is as clean and untouched by the hand of man as when the earth began, and even the guard houses which history has built in its deﬁles and then rebuilt again and again have been absorbed into the mountain-sides, so that to-day the only wayfarers it holds apart from the deer and the wolf and the eagle are bright-coloured nomads leisuring on donkey or camel to or from the Cimmerian Plain below. You see them at intervals gravely passing or camped in their rough black tents, along with the sparse inmates of small hovels or bare stone khans and tiny villages. Most of the latter are old, the women bare breasted and wrinkled, the men grizzled and decrepit, so that one likes to think that they are the drift-wood of long past wars waiting in vain for the return of the good old times when the rattle of the drums brought the stones trickling down the inclines of the Pass.
Through the Gates the country changed. The foothills appeared with tumbling boulders and shrubs and heather and, lo, we seemed suddenly to be somewhere off Sydney, with a reconstructed foreground spread out in front of us. The rocks looked the same; the vegetation and the spring ﬂowers were the same; but we were really advancing to a wide, level plain with the misty blue of the Mediterranean bordering it. In its centre lay a ragged pink mark as if somebody in the sky had dropped a splash of watered red ink on the land. Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul and once the home of Haroun al-Raschid. To the left of this, waving grain for mile on mile on a fertile level, where, when we reached it, was more Australia - the best of the western districts of Victoria even to some of the new red-roofed houses and the gum trees planted on the railway stations. Away to our left, again, smoke before a mountain. Adana and the Amanus range. We had dinner in Adana and
the police promised that we should be out and on our way at 8 a.m. next morning and asked us to be at their headquarters at that hour.
Up betimes, we fulﬁlled their wish. They left us waiting in the street. I had sent Knowles to do treaty because he had become an old inhabitant of this police station, having been through it several times. After two hours when he had not returned I organized a rescue party of one through the arch where the seal-cutters lived and the yard full of sad recruits and found him in the vestibule. On one side of him was a young gentleman who, by the look of his clothing, had been hauled incontinently from his domestic chores to answer a charge of keeping four wives in deﬁance of the ordinances
of the new regime. Exhibits (4), (5), (c) and were all there and wailing, and to make the matter worse were all veiled in contravention of the law. Also, they had brought their mothers along with them and their mother-in-law and three strange and unexplained females whom I presumed to be the deputy or assistant mothers of the main villain of the piece.
On the other side of our emissary were four Bulgarians, two of whom were weeping because they were likely to be sent back to Bulgaria, and as they were Communists and had left their native country expeditiously after the episode of the blowing up of the Cathedral of which I have told the story in an earlier chapter, none of them seemed to feel homesick. The tears were for themselves.
Trying to comfort them all was a young German who had started to walk round the world, and, having reached Adana, was stranded. The rest of the view was made up of policemen, including a Cypriote, in charge of our case, who asked me devoutly if we had any Bibles on board. He said he had two and had read every word of them and he was proud, also, of being British born and of his English, which was the best we
had heard spoken since we left Constantinople. He said that in time the Police Chief would see some of us-possibly in the afternoon. I knew what that meant. ,
"You go and give my kind regards to the Chief," said I, "and tell him that if he does not visa our passports at once in accordance with his instructions from Angora, I shall leave immediately unless he arrests us. And if he arrests us, I shall telegraph all the newspapers for which I am correspondent and we will make an international incident of it."
Back he came and haled me into the sanctum sanctorum, where an insolent young man sat surrounded almost entirely by obsequious constabulary.
"You must wait," said he, "till it suits me."
"Nothing of the sort," said I. "You have your orders."
"I know nothing of you. Perhaps you are a brigand," said he insultingly, while the police tittered.
"You have all the papers on the table."
"I will see you again at three o'clock."
"You won't. I shan't be here unless you arrest me, I dare you to do it. And I warn you to be less insolent."
The Chief seemed sorry that he had elected to speak through an interpreter.
"This is not Angora," he said feebly. "This is the centre of Turkey."
"Then why did you massacre a thousand Armenians here for saying so?"
"I shall see you at three o'c'lock.'
I stalked out. I had got to the outer door and Knowles was asking me what all the row was about, when our policeman followed me hot-foot.
"The Chief says please not to go. All your papers will be ready in three minutes. Will you be pleased. to see him?"
"I have no desire to see him. Tell him I am glad he has come to his senses."
Out came the Chief. "It is all over," said he curtly, as if I had greatly injured him. "You must not be hasty."
We went out and sat in the car. Also, we sat in the sun. It was blazing there by the sea coast and the Cilicians grouped themselves about us, for to admire and for to see and an unpleasant experience it was. All the degenerates of all the worn-out civilizations and marauding armies appeared to have formed a union to mould the inhabitants of Adana. I have seen the thugs of India, the ash-strewn fakirs, the fanatics who beat blood from their shoulders with chains, the Bainings of New Britain, the Cape York gins who carry their dead babies tied upon their heads, the gangling savages of
the Fly River. But nowhere have I seen such a collection of loathsomeness as we had around us in Adana. Faces with scarcely any chins formed about mouths that were tiny slits. There were foreheads that receded like those of, a monkey's; noses that were a pure horror of deformity; ostrich necks; empty, meaningless expressions.
They stood around us in the sun, mouths open, saying not one word, but gazing, gazing, gazing till even the patient and good-humoured Billy Knowles, usually in his element with a crowd, really lost his temper for the ﬁrst time on the journey. They stood there stroking the bright parts of the car with epileptic hands or with shuddersome things which were not hands at all; for at one time there were no less than four claws within sight which had been built by the Creator without ﬁngers or with twisted and nailless thumbs orwith some other perversion of form that it was not good to look upon. Now and then, some of them, not content with ﬁngering the car, would furtively touch your coat-sleeve to feel its texture and throwing about angrily, the wrath would be chilled out of you when you found yourself looking, at
meet him perhaps bearing mother and child, with gentle husband trudging at his halter with his staff, as though he might be bound for Egypt; or, fat merchant up, when he is hung with blue beads to keep away the Evil Eye and is bitted with a silver bit by way of compensation for his extra burden.
The morning donkey is the most permanent and abiding thing in my memories of Turkey. He is myriad; in most places his name is Transport itself. Without him the people could not live.
from any part of it right down to the still and sunlit Mediterranean, you may see its enclosing mountains, which feed its fertility continuously with their snow waters through half a dozen yellow rivers--the Taurus Range and the Amanus Range, with the topmost height of the Ala Dagh in the AntiTaurus shining over them all. Your way is bound in by heavily cropped ﬁelds of barley and wheat and oats, larger and better farmed than any other ﬁelds we saw in Turkey and branded with all the evidence that the wooden plough as a disturber of the soil and the hand ﬂail and the wind as a winnower
are seeing their last days and are giving place to the six-blade disk and the harvester-.
The very conﬁnement and ﬂatness of the plain made it a natural battle-ground in the old days when the rush of the phalanx, the chariot charge and the forward surge of ordered lines and squares were the fashionable modes of battle. For hundreds of miles around there was not a site so convenient for war, where there was unlimited water for armies and feed for horses and population for camp followers and reasonable women for diversion, as in this well-guarded Cilicia. It was to Near Eastern Asia what Belgium was to Northern Europe, a kind of bloody football ground gradually fertilized with the ﬂesh and bones of a hundred races which began to invade it centuries before it shook to the thunder of Alexander's,
battleﬁeld of Issus, near where we were camped. Even within the last decade it resounded to the hoarse coughing of the French "Seventy-ﬁves" and the screams of the mangled Armenians of Osmanieh.
The snow'peaks about it have looked down on the passing of a dozen worlds, now buried under a rich soil. When we were there, huddled in the rain under a tarpaulin,on that entombed roof under which Mark Antony and philosophic old Marcus Aurelius, and possibly even Cleopatra herself might have sheltered in the days of the Provinces, it was knee-deep with the spring ﬂowers,
crocus and buttercup, yellow dandelion, pale blue scylla and asphodel which carpet every inch of the country which is not under grain.
On the morrow we crossed the Giaour Dagh to within sight of Islahiyeh. The range was rugged and, travelling by the old pass, the grades steep and treacherously winding among timbered peaks often fortress guarded. We looked suddenly into the border country, another amazing view. From our summit point of vantage, the road rippled beneath us mile upon mile of it twisting and turning upon itself down a precipitous mountain-side, till the eye was tortured by its confounding rush hither and thither as it poured us out on to a plain full of tearing wind.
Our camp was on a rocky ground above the Customs Station among stunted shrubs which provided ample timber for a good ﬁre.
As I lay cold in my blankets I thought of Turkey and all we had seen in it. Certainly, though its methods had been unaccustomed and its red tape irritating, it is a different Turkey from that before the days of the Kjemal regime. There may still be much to do, but it is efficiently policed. The Swiss penal code is in force. The brigands have faded from the main roads. The villages against the background of descriptions written ten years ago are cleanlier. There are schools and compulsory education where there were only a few desultory religious academies before. If there is barbarism --in the crack of the sergeant's whip rounding recruits into the troop trains on their way to murder Kurds, there is at least a purpose in the murdering, for the Kurds are themselves mostly conﬁrmed robbers and murderers wherever they are found. If the delays and militarism
are comically Oriental, the gendarmes are neatly uniformed , the civil police, the Senior force, is in the main a ﬁne body of men comparable with the police of Western Europe in smartness and education, and the nostrils are no longer offended with the stench of hanging corpses in the market places of which travellers had so much to say not so many years ago.
In three years, too, the purdah, which shut women away like domestic animals, and the purchase of female slaves, except in the outlands, has been wiped out.
The country is in a preparative stage for the abandonment of official Moslemism with all its outlook of blighting cruelty, and for the general adoption of a Western viewpoint on religion and morality, combined with an equally Western tolerance. Whether the new order is more picturesque than the old, one does not care to say. Whether the urge towards civilization will persist or whether there will be a relapse into the greasy, handlop-
ping welter of sensual and self-satisﬁed cupidity and laziness which marked the regime of the old Turk, when the Ghazi goes or tires, time alone will show. He is the only driving force in Turkey to-day. His photograph is in every window. His name is uttered respectfully by all, from the beggar by the roadside to the still-Oriental Vali who governs in the provinces.
Perhaps he will succeed and leave a permanence of cleanlinesse and progress and a reasonable honesty of administration behind him, suﬂicient to develop to maturity of its own impetus. He certainly has worked wonders with raw human material which would break the heart of any reformer. At the same time, his own record is far from free of atrocity, which is a strange paradox.
One thing only he is unlikely to change in Turkey, and that is the immemorial importance of the donkey.
Hear him going by, patter, patter, patter in the black Islahyehan dawn, his feet brought down quickly and very close together in order to balance the toppling mountain of man that overshadows his meek and labouring patience. See him, dim in the late darkness above the waving shrubs, ﬁve, six, seven of him, one behind the other on the narrow track, tottering along at a fair gait, his ears high held, stiff with effort against the crimsoning dawn cloud, his buckles jingling, his girths creaking under the strain of his enormous, voluble, human burden.
"I said to him," goes an interminable, sibilant Turkish voice, "I said: 'This price is robbery, O Father,-' I did. (Whack.) 'Robbery,' Isaid. (Whack.) 'What of' my mother and my mother's mother who is without teeth and must devour soft foods which are not cheap?' I was not afraid of him. (Whack). Wouldn't you have Said it, too, brother?" (Whack!)
"It is a hard life for the farmer. We work all day and all night." _ _ .
"We do. True, brother, we do."'
The descent of a ﬂat piece of board upon the hide of an ass is the clinching of all argument, the supreme applause of 'popular sentiment,' the ﬁnal expression of all indignation in the Near East. The gentle, ever-working mount of the people throughout all the ages shoulders a heavy cross. In his generations striving follows upon striving. From before dawn till after dark his life is only labour.
No wonder he sometimes brays.
The voices of his riders fade into an indistinct drone. The impact of his battered little hooves is heard no more.
Very faint and far, that is the last of him till you
Francis especially loved the scene. He felt, as he surveyed the cavorting ﬁeld of transport animals and the row of the soldiers from La Patrie who spat every time they mentioned our late hosts, that at last we had come into a white man's country. This was the way, he said, that we should have been welcomed everywhere if we had had a proper publicity agent. He did not even resent the futile attempt of a hairy fellow to show his affection for him by osculation.
In the middle of the pandemonium, the guard who had come from Islahiyeh with us, and who had apparently tramped down the line to spend my baksheesh on the Syrian side, fortuitously arrived. His face was beaming with the satisfaction induced by seeing us again and, as he had missed the shooting. party, he was rather astonished at his reception, since all official Syria immediately pounced on him as if he had been personally responsible.
We were not long in ﬁnding out that the white man's country seemed to be a much more dangerous spot than Turkey. The oﬁicer in command insisted not only that we should have an escort, but that he should be the biggest escort to be had--a Kurd and a captain six feet seven high, armed with a long riﬂe and ﬁve belts full of cartridges. Also, he was the gentlest soul who ever walked and he was detailed to take us over the main range to Radjou, which we reached at dusk.»
This cheerful spot was a railway station. It was entirely surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by troops. It was almost as hospitable as the border post and its great men were a hardy French lieutenant who had been in Syria for two years and the station-master. This.latter was our host. He was a middle-aged man, a cultivated Russian of the old school. Before, the revolution he had been a naval captain. He spoke French, German, Norwegian, Tartar, Turkish, Arabic,
PARTANT POUR LA SYRI
"MAINTENANT, Monsieur le Directeur---" began the interpreter.
It appeared that the Customs Director wished to know if I would likea cup of tea. I said I would. It was eight o'clock in the morning, and at that hour, which is usually closed season for Directors, the Bey was doing me honour by being at his post.
He was a tall, slender, elegant young man, with a thin moustache and long nervous hands. He was dressed in yellow cravanette suit. His hair shone with pomade. His nails were pink and polished. He was scented daintily with patchouli and he had a bright, black, beady, distrustful eye which met yours unﬂinchingly, with complete dishonesty of purpose. Such a man was the head of the Turkish Customs House at the huddle of huts which was Islahiyeh, a cross between Machiavelli and a Roumanian ﬂying oﬂicer with a dash of juvenile lead thrown in.
It was pure affectation that he should have an interpreter. I had ample Turkish for customs purposes. He understood French quite well, I think; but it was quite evident that minions were his due as one of nature's favoured, for upon his deal table which, with four kitchen chairs and the usual office appanages of a railway station, completed his furnishing, he boasted an autographed picture of the Ghazi. Heaven alone knows but that Kjemal Pasha could spare it since one day in
Constantinople when I had a couple of hours at my disposal, I took a census of him in the principal windows and found that he had been photographed, on their evidence, in no less than thirty-seven positions since his elevation to the Presidency. Probably getting photographed, apart from hanging people like Djavid Bey who "went west" last year for belonging to a practically inclined opposition, is the only possible pastime for a
President in Angora. Golf has not reached there and speechmaking is tiresome, when it is a foregone conclusion that everybody must agree with you.
In came the interpreter in his spotless white trousers and pipe-clayed shoes, with the tea.
"Ah, monsieur," he murmured ecstatically, "ce Monsieur le Directeur, -il est bien gentil!"
The Director rose and bowed over his tea--to me.
"Maintenant . . ." It appeared that he felicitated me on my courage, enterprise, motor-car, good fortune, domestic circumstances, courtesy and personal beauty, and wished me bon voyage, good luck, pleasant journey and a safe arrival in my own land to discover that all my friends and relatives were well, that my business had prospered and that my wife was faithful - something like that.
We drank solemnly.
"Maintenant . . ." The interpreter was off again at top speed.
In effect would it cheer me greatly, if the party, which had been cooling its heels outside while I negotiated, were haled in and given tea. They came in and had tea-almost ﬁve tablespoonfuls between them. The Director wished them all the good things which he had wished me and some more which he had thought of in the meantime, but made no allusion to the painful fact that a few days before he had ﬁned Knowles for having two bottles of Christian whisky (i.e. as distinguished from Turkish "Policeman Brand"--price 4.s. a
bottle--which is a combination, I judge, of strychnine and sal ammoniac) in his railway sleeping berth.
"Now," he said, after an interval, through his intermediary, "I would talk to you privately." The party
withdrew, suppressing cheers.
We looked at each other and said a few disjointed words about malaria, and I began to wish earnestly that my papers, which were being completed, would come.
They didn't. The Director continued to sit and gaze at me. He gazed long and lovingly. I gazed at him. Under his smooth elegance, I felt that he was a very nasty piece of work and heaved a sigh of relief that the days of torture had gone. Perhaps he reciprocated. It is easy to misjudge one another in this dim world. After ten minutes he had an inspiration, and the interpreter arrived once more.
Maintenant, had I ever tasted tea scented with attar of roses? I hadn't.
We had it.
After two and a half hours of this kind of courtesy, mitigated by gold-tipped cigarettes six inches long, we were released.
Would we accept the honour of the guard to the border? We would. I felt that we would ﬁnd it difficult to refuse. The Director insinuated that he
believed the district to be strewn with the most abominable risks to the traveller, but It had a painful feeling that he looked on us and not on any possible assailants as the danger. His eyes enjoyed some private joke as we left.
The guard came on board. Everybody bowed low. Our ﬂags ﬂuttered. We staggered off down a long valley, full of marshy lands, glorious with blue ﬂowering swamp lilies. Presently We came to a bridge; At least it had been a bridge, but somebody had almost entirely
destroyed it with dynamite. Many yards of deep water sown with nasty-looking weed ﬁlled the interval.
A few yards away was a railway bridge.
"Let's go there," I said, pointing to it.
"Yok! Yok! Yok!" croaked the guard.
"Is there any other way round?"
There wasn't. I seemed to see again the twinkle in the Director's eye when we said good-bye to him.
"All right," I said. "Over the railway bridge we go."
Then, the guard thought that possibly we might cross the stream by going thirty kilometres round. Francis looked at the bridge and said: "Easy!" Both he and I have been across many railway bridges in motor-cars in Australia, and if you keep the right pace for rolling over the sleepers it is not very dangerous unless any of the sleepers are loose. So we ran the car up the embankment, quite light-heartedly.
Several features of this railway had not, however, occurred to us. They and some more had struck both Knowles and the guard, who got down and walked carelessly to the other side between the rails as if their motive was merely to stretch their legs.
One of the things we had not reckoned on was that the railway gauge was about equal to the track of the car so that instead of being able to ride with both wheels outside the rails as we did on the 3 ft. 6 in. gauges in Australia, we were compelled to travel with one outside
and one inside. As there was only about ﬁfteen inches of timber outside each rail and our tyres were 6-75 inches, this did not allow us much margin of insurance against accidents. Furthermore, the sleepers were a different distance apart from those to which we were accustomed and their tops were rounded.
The experience was one of seconds only, but they were hectic. Francis drove. I mean he held the wheel
and bounced, but I think the car mainly drove herself.
I stood on the footboard, and as the engine began to misﬁre at the ﬁrst bump, even-speed driving went to the winds and our iron steed bucked like an outlaw. Each bounce seemed bound to throw us thirty feet into the water, but our only hope of safety lay in keeping going. We both reached the bank literally pallid and sweating, a state to which I have never before seen Francis reduced, and when we had climbed off the embankment, we stopped for a few seconds to get our nerve back.
All the poor escort could do was to turn his eyes to heaven and shout: "Allah! Allah!" Knowles explained to him in English: "I told you they were all right. Railway bridges are nothing to us."
Presently we arrived at a white culvert and our escort left us, pointing to the Franco-Syrian post about three-quarters of a mile away. The intervening zone was invested thoroughly with patrols. Bands of armed customs oﬂicers vied for possession of the road with villainous-looking gangs of soldiers. I know now where all the ugly-looking men in the Turkish army go-they are sent to the Syrian border.
None of them had the manners and polish of the Director of Customs and we were relieved to see the end of them. They looked at our passports ﬁve times in all.
"That's the last," I said. "Here's the border." I pointed to an ostentatiously white bridge.
"Out of Turkey in a second, thank the Lord," shouted Knowles.
A bullet hit the dust beside us and ricochetted over the back of the car with a long whe-hee.
Stop! Francis pulled up like lightning. There was a soldier under a tree about I 50 yards away. When I had last noticed him he had been in an attitude of
peaceful repose, his knees drawn up, his cap over his eyes.
Evidently he had woken up and beheld a large grey, military-looking car populated with equally military-looking villains in khaki, and thinking it was a French invasion, he took a pot shot at us. He now had his riﬂe up and was taking another. I shouted and blew the horn. To my relief he dropped his gun and came towards us. When he saw we were not a French raiding party he was a very frightened conscript. I told him exactly what I thought of him and he cringed. Then two lazy-looking superiors who had been under another tree came up and were insolent, shrugging their shoulders and trying to laugh the whole matter off and offering no apology. We left Turkey in a thoroughly angry atmosphere and its representatives saw us go with expressions of sneering contempt and some skilful expectoration.
None of us are likely to forget the French welcome on the Syrian side. It was Royal. The garrison had seen us shot at and the garrison was not amused. Only the week before a pleasant old colonel who had been visiting them had gone for a walk and the Turks had done the same to him. So France was on its high horse, even before we came, and that small ﬂick of bullet-lifted dust across the culvert had made us blood brothers. Seven non-commissioned oﬂicers, white, black and brown after the habit of remote French Colonial forces, came out to meet us. They all stood on one leg at once and shouted objurgation at the Ottoman Republic in which mingled Kurds and Spahis joined with hearty enthusiasm. The excitement even communicated itself to the camels and mules, which, trumpeting and grunting, rushed to the end of their picket ropes and sought to take the air
to escape from the racket in a series of panicky leaps.
Czecho-Slovak and Italian, and wrote English quite well, though he could not speak ﬁve words of it.
On the wall of his little station house he had pinned the battered ﬂag of his old ship and the insignia of the order of St. Anne surrounded by a few photographs.
"Those," the poor old fellow told me with tears in his eyes, "are all I have left. They are my mother and my relations to me now. They are old Russia. All the rest—all my dear ones and my ship and my home and my country—they are gone. You think I am childish, perhaps, because I wear my country's uniform still. If all your world were wiped out at a blow, possibly you would treasure the crumbs."
He rose abruptly, "Excuse me," he said a little hoarsely, "I must give some orders." He went out hurriedly and did not come back for a long time. I think he felt being a station-master very keenly. The French said he was a splendid station-master.
Everybody went armed along the road to Aleppo: the farmers at the ploughs; the travellers along the highway; the multifarious Kurdish police, a very smart, efficient-looking force; the passenger whom we took on at Afrine, the junction of the wonderful road which the French have built to the port of Alexandretta with the chaussée highway which runs towards the border.
All this arming and barbed-wire entanglement was most incongruous. North Syria is a fertile place, hilly and rich in soil, with a telegraph line running through it and new towns, smart and well regulated, and large motor-lorries in a tremendous hurry making for the coast.
In such an ordered land all this force seems laughable, but it is said that brigands abound, and, by all accounts, the brigand thereabouts is not a nice man to meet unless you can push at least an automatic under his nose by way of greeting. All the same it felt like going armed to Bathurst or across the Darling Downs.
However, we were not very long in the danger Zone, for by lunch-time we were in Aleppo, our car in a garage, ourselves at the Hotel Baron, our accumulation of dirty clothes sent to the laundry, our beards trimmed and our hair cut and a statutory holiday of four days declared by old Scrap Iron rather than by myself. That decrepit radiator of hers needed "surgery and stitches" again and, if there had been any chance of getting a new one, I should have given it the old age pension.