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on the bank of the river Lycus, upon his conquest of Indates, the general of the Parthians. Josephus, who has preserved this as a testimony of the good disposition of Antiochus towards his nation, adds, " It was at the desire of Hyrcanus that this was done, because it was such a festival derived to them from their forefathers, on which the laws of the Jews did not allow them to travel.” These two days of rest were occasioned by the feast of Pentecost falling out on the day following the sabbath, as the same writer himself observes. *
We were received, on our landing on the opposite bank of this river, by the chief of the village, seated above the cliff here, and called by the same name as the rafts, on which we had crossed the stream, namely Kellek. The village itself was small, and stood on the brow of a cliff, presenting the same appearance of pudding-stone as those seen on the eastern bank of the river. The roofs of the dwellings were all flat, though, on the other side of the stream, they were conical: we could learn no other reason than long tablished custom, for this difference.
The people on the north of the Zab are mostly Christians, of the Greek church ; and there are whole villages in which only the Syriac language is spoken among themselves. The people of the village of Kellek were Yezeedis, differing in some points of belief, the particulars of which we could not learn, from the Yezeedis of Sinjār, and considering themselves therefore as a distinct race. The party of the Sheikh, his children, and their dependants, who entertained us with coffee on the beach, were the handsomest group of men that I had ever seen together, of the same number, in any part of the world ; indeed there was hardly one of them, that, taken individually,could not have been admired in any country for his beauty of
person and elegance of form.
Few as these villagers are in number, they guard this passage of the river as their own, and boast of their being independant of all the Pashas around them. They treated us with an attention and
Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. cap. 8.
civility that proved how well they could behave to strangers, who respected their independence, and paid the moderate demands which they made for the passage of their river ; but it was said, that they were intrepid defenders of those rights when invaded, and were as remarkable for their ferocity against their enemies, as for their urbanity to those with whom they were at peace.
They considered the place of their origin to be the mountains of Koordistan, and among themselves generally spoke the language of that country, though Turkish was equally familiar to them. The Koords have been in all ages, remarkable for their love of independence; a blessing which the nature of their country enables them easily to retain, since its local features are rugged mountains, narrow passes, confined valleys, inaccessible heights, and easily defended positions. Strabo remarks, that the Parthians, whose territories were upon the banks of the Tigris, were formerly called Carduchi,* and the character of these Parthians is well known. The retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks though their country gave Xenophon an opportunity of bearing testimony to their being then a warlike nation, and not subject to any King; a state in which the greater part of the country has continued ever since.
While we were regaling on the banks of the river, and learning, from our entertainers, that there were many other villages along the Tigris, and the plains to the eastward of it, peopled by Yezeedis of their own sect, the Tartar Jonas was heard to hail for the kelleks to be sent over for him on the other side. He
He soon after joined us, lavishing his abuse, both on Ali and myself, for having dared to
the meal, prepared chiefly on his account, at Karagoash, and for presuming to leave that village on our way without him.
When the rage of this angry Turk had spent itself in imprecations, and the necessary payment was made to the Yezeedi chief of the pass of Kellek, we set forward on our journey together, Jonas having himself the best horse, and now taking the lead, as if to
* Spelman's Cyrus, p. 111. + Malcolm's History of Persia, vol. i. p. 245.
punish us for our offences, by the only means within his power: for all his terms of abuse being exhausted, he kept us on one continued gallop, at the rate of eight or nine miles an hour, though the ground we went over was a stony and desert tract, and a constant succession of ascent and descent, so as to render it unusually fatiguing. We were favoured, however, by a bright moonlight, so that no accident occurred to any one, though it required not only sure-footed beasts, but animals really familiar with the road, not to have fallen with us at the rate we galloped.
It was near midnight when we reached a large village, called Ain Koura, having travelled, since leaving Kellek, on the banks of the Zarba, about twenty-four 'miles in a south-easterly direction. Young Ali, the Tartar, having been sent off at a forced gallop, about a league before we reached the village, to prepare for our reception, every thing was in order when we arrived ; and when we alighted, carpets, cushions, pipes, and coffee, were all ready prepared, and an excellent supper set before us, after which we lay down on soft and clean beds, on the terrace, to sleep.
Our repose was sweet, but short; for our slumbers were broken by the hoarse voice of Jonas, bellowing through the court just as the moon was setting, and not more than three hours after we had lain down to rest.
While fresh horses were saddling, the Tartars and myself sat down to a breakfast of roasted fowls, cream, honey, and sweetmeats; while a man stood at each of our elbows with a bottle of strong arrack, and a cup to supply us at our pleasure. It is difficult to describe how much these villagers, who were all Syrian Christians, seemed to stand in awe of the Turkish letter-carriers, on whom they waited. There stood around us not less than forty persons, some bearing full and others empty dishes ; some having water-pots and
basons ready for washing—one holding the soap and another the towel—the humbler ones among them being content to have the boots of the riders ready for them when they rose from the carpet ; and all, indeed, seeming anxious to make themselves in some way or other subservient to the pleasures of these lordly tyrants.
Large doses of arrack were swallowed, both by Jonas and Ali, though the former seemed to pride himself on his pre-eminence in this, as well as in all other respects; and, even at this early hour of the morning, he emptied two full bottles for his share. I was myself obliged to drink, almost to intoxication, though a much less quantity than that swallowed by them would have disabled me from proceeding: but the haughty Turk honoured me with his permission to drink in his presence, and this was granted as a favour which it would have been an affront of the highest kind to refuse.
We had no sooner descended into the court, than the effects of these exhilarating draughts began to manifest themselves pretty unequivocally. Jonas found fault with the horse that had been saddled for him, and insisted on its being the worst of the stud, though it was an enviably fine creature, and worth any three of the others put together. Ali, not to be behind his comrade, had all the baggage-horses loaded afresh, and changed his own saddle to two or three different horses in succession, until he condemned them all as the worst group of animals that God had ever assembled together since the brute creation were first named by Adam.
The poor Syrians bore these vexations with so much patience, that they might be said literally to have fulfilled the injunction, “ If a man smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also.” The very want of some resistance to this treatment was, however, a cause of fresh vexation to the Tartars ; since they inferred from it, that their tyranny had not been felt as an annoyance; so that, handling their whips, one of them exclaimed, “What ! you will not be angry, then. By God, but we will make ye so !" and laid about him with the fury of a maniac. Ali contented himself with the use of the whip only, saying, that as they were bullocks, and mules,