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tion, as the road from hence to the southward was said to be still more infested with robbers than that over which we had already passed from the north.
On leaving Baiaat, our course was directed toward the east, and we continued to follow this direction, along the southern foot of a line of bare hills, with desert ground on our right, which continued all the way without intermission, until we reached the town of Kiffree, having travelled about thirty miles.
JULY 11th. Before we had lain down to sleep, on the preceding night, a great deal of bustle, quarrelling, and abuse, had passed between the Tartars and keepers of the post-horses, at this station; the latter insisting that they could not furnish us with animals until some should return this way from Bagdad. Under this impression, the youngest of the Tartars, Ali, with Suliman the merchant, and myself, composed ourselves quietly to rest, in the firm assurance and belief, that whatever could be done by bullying, would be securely effected by the hoarse voice, the thick whip, and the lordly air of Jonas; and that, if horses were to be had, we should be furnished with them through his influence, without any exertions of our own.
When we awoke in the morning, however, after enjoying an undisturbed sleep, without the din of voices to rouse us as usual, the extraordinary silence and tranquillity was soon accounted for by our being told, that Jonas had left us alone to our fate. We regarded each other with a mixture of surprise, incredulity, and vexation ; but it was too true to be any longer doubted; for the noisy little Tartar having found that only one horse could be procured, had silently secured this for himself before it quitted the stable, and had gone off alone, at midnight, to convey to the British resident the news of our being on the way, but leaving the public packets and baggage with which he was charged, to be brought after him by Ali, his companion, abandoning Suliman and myself, by each of whom he had been paid a good round sum for taking us under his
protection, to find our way to Bagdad in the best manner we
could. It may be remarked, with regard to the practice of travelling with government Tartars, that the only reason of its being resorted to, is the impossibility of otherwise procuring relays of horses on the road. In each of the stages, between the great towns of the Turkish Empire, but more particularly in those on the direct road, between Constantinople and Bagdad, there are certain persons, who contract with the government, to supply the couriers with horses from that stage to the next. These, however, keep no greater number than is just barely necessary to fulfil their contract, and these mostly of an inferior kind, and in wretched condition; since the contract is always a losing one to the parties furnishing the horses, and is generally forced on them by the government, as one among many other modes of exacting tribute. A person travelling alone could, therefore, procure no horses on hire at any of these stages, none being usually kept for that purpose. To travel on one's own horse with a caravan, is insupportably tedious to any person in haste, and to proceed either safely or expeditiously alone, that is, without the protection either of a caravan or couriers, is quite impracticable. It is, therefore, usual for all travellers who are in haste, to apply to a Tartar going on the road, and to pay him a certain sum of money for the whole journey. The traveller, for this compensation, is provided with a horse at every stage, and both his provisions and presents to servants are all furnished by the Tartar. The only thing necessary for him to take on such a journey, is his own saddle and bridle, portmanteau, whip, and leathern bottle for water. Every thing else may be had on the road, if the mode of living common to the country be adopted; but neither the articles of table-furniture, wine, tea, or other comforts of travelling in Europe, will be found. The best line of conduct to be pursued towards these men is, according to the testimonies of most persons who have travelled with them, a proud and haughty demeanour, and a general seriousness and reserve. There are no class of people
who domineer more readily, or with more vulgar insolence, over those whom they have in their power, than these Tartars; but, like most braggadocios, they are soon made to yield to a manly and persevering firmness of resistance to their encroachments.
But to return-Ali, Suliman, and myself, were now left here, without an immediate prospect of our being able to procure any animals to proceed. Like good Moslems, we consoled each other with the belief that our detention was written in the Book of Fate, and could not be avoided, although neither of my companions failed to invoke curses on the head of the treacherous Jonas, as the instrument of this infliction; but, unwilling to dwell on what could not be remedied, we ordered the best dinner that the place could afford, and sent out our mandate, as persons in authority, to invite all who would come to partake of our hospitality.
We had scarcely sat down, before there arrived a Tartar from Bagdad, bringing under his charge two Europeans, both dressed as Tartars, and bound to Constantinople. They arrived so opportunely, that we made them joint partakers of our feast; and the two gentlemen, who were but yet in the commencement of their journey, being well provided with cordials and spirits for their own use, we assisted to drain, notwithstanding the heat of the weather and the presence of some of the Faithful, their travelling cases of a portion of the fine French brandy and excellent Ratafia with which they were furnished. The notion of these travellers, that in the dogdays cordials were necessary to repair the exhaustion of animal heat and strength, justified this course in the eyes of the one party, and the bumpers swallowed by Ali and Suliman, to the curse of Jonas who had deserted us in our utmost need, warranted the otherwise forbidden draught in the eyes of the other.
Over our afternoon pipes, and while the Turks beside us were sleeping away the heat of the day, I began to learn more of my companions, who had thus suddenly come upon us, and who now very agreeably relieved the tedium of our detention. Both of them were Italians; the eldest, named Padre Camilla di Jesu, was a friar
of the Carmelite order, who had been many years resident at Bagdad, and was now returning to Rome, by way of Constantinople ; the other was a young man who had gone originally from Italy to Constantinople, where he had resided some time with his father, a merchant of that city. Having heard, from some of the distant traders with whom his father corresponded, of the fame of Damascus, he solicited permission to make a journey to that city, and it was granted to him, under the hope of his being able to transact some useful business there, at the same time that he gratified his curiosity. The most singular part of the history of this young man's travels was, however, that he went from Constantinople to Alexandria in Egypt, believing that to be the straightest and shortest road to Damascus ; and, after landing there, he went up to Cairo by the Nile, under an impression that that city was also in the direct road to the place of his destination. When he had at length reached Damascus, by this circuitous route, having gone from Cairo to Jerusalem by the Desert of Suez, one would have thought that the recollection of this error would have taught him to make more careful inquiries regarding the relative positions of places he might have to visit in future. But it appears he never did discover that he had not come by the nearest way, believing always, on the contrary, that his voyage to Alexandria by sea, and his journey from Cairo to Damascus by land, had been in nearly a straight line. It was thus, that when he was about to leave Damascus, on his return to Constantinople, having heard of great caravans going from the former place to Bagdad every year, and being aware of others coming also from Bagdad to Constantinople in about the same period of time, he conceived that these caravans must be the same; and concluding from this that Bagdad lay in his direct road home, he had actually journeyed from Damascus to that place over the Syrian Desert, in the hottest season of the year, without ever once asking, during the whole forty days of his route, in which direction Constantinople lay!
The whole of this was narrated to me with such an apparent unconsciousness of its absurdity, that, incredulous as I was at first, as
to such ignorance being possible, I was at length compelled to believe it really to have happened as described, especially when I heard this young man affirm his conviction, that the distance from Constantinople to Bagdad, by the way of Cairo and Damascus, could not be less than fifty thousand miles; while that between Bagdad and Constantinople, by the way he was now returning, could not exceed five hundred; adding that, for his part, he could not conceive why the longer route was ever taken, since it was as disagreeable as it was distant; but, at the same time, shrewdly suggesting that there might be reasons for this course, known only to Him from whom no secrets are hid!
About midnight, the Tartar, who was taking these travellers from Bagdad to Constantinople, being obliged to proceed with the horses on which they had arrived here, gave orders for departure, and the animals being very promptly saddled, and the water-bottles filled, our companions left us, with mutual salutations, benedictions, and regrets.
JULY 12th.—As no hope of a release from our detention at this place yet presented itself, we strolled about the town, and lounged at the coffee-house with as much resignation as was practicable, though without the same sources of entertainment which we possessed on the preceding day to dissipate our cares.
The town of Kufree, or Kiffree, is seated on a plain, at the termination of the line of bare hills, described on our way from Baiaat to this place, and extending throughout the whole distance between them. The town is moderately large, and is enclosed within a wall, which, as well as the buildings within its enclosure, is constructed of mud, hardened by pebbles being imbedded in it. There is a stream of clear water which runs within the wall, on the east; and this is distributed by small canals through the central parts of the town, contributing to the cleanliness of the place, and the convenience of its inhabitants. The wall of the town, near which this stream begins to run, has a high parapet, or breast-work,