The Mosque—The interior of the building—The lamps of different-coloured crystal—The 밤의전쟁 Turks engaged in prayer—Comparison between Christians and Mussulmans—Daravish Bey—A wonderful shot—Djerrid—A strange request—The chase—A Bosnian lady—Her costume—A side-saddle—Even their women go out hunting—Daravish Bey dressed for the chase—A long shot—The price of a horse's forage—Most servants rob their masters—A Russian officer—The Armenian schools—The girls' school—Perhaps you would like to ask the boys some questions?—An amateur setter of questions—Mr. Marillier of Harrow school.—A sum—The schoolboys of Yuzgat—A half-holiday.

On taking off our shoes at the entrance, we were at once admitted into a large building constructed in the form of a dome. Two vast circular halls leading the one into the other, were beneath the lofty ceiling. Stained glass windows, with infinitesimally small panes, allowed but little light to penetrate to the interior, which was carpeted with rich Persian rugs of many hues and 200 fashions. Chains, descending from the centre of the building, supported a huge circular hoop of iron. From this were suspended a hundred lamps of different-coloured crystal. Two enormous wax candles, each as thick as a man's leg, and about seven feet high, were fixed in a corner of the building. They had been made to last a year, and had cost "tchok para"—a great many paras.

The attendant evidently thought that he should impress my mind with this announcement, and he uttered the word "tchok" in a way which no Englishman could imitate save when he is in the extreme agonies of sea-sickness. Forty or fifty Turks were lying on the floor, and seemed to be in no way disturbed by the entrance of Mr. Vankovitch and myself.

"Are there always as many people here?" I inquired.

"There are very few to-day," was the reply; "but at whatever hour you may enter, the faithful will be found praying to the All-powerful One who rules the Universe."

This, indeed, I subsequently discovered to be the case. No matter how early or late I might enter a mosque, there were always some men on their knees, praying to the Almighty; and whenever 201 a service was going on, the mosques were invariably crowded.

"They pray more than Europeans do," said my companion, the engineer, as we quitted the mosque. "With us," he added, "the women throng the churches, the men are conspicuous by their absence; in Turkey you will hardly ever meet a man who is in the habit of absenting himself from his mosque. Indeed, a Mohammedan's superstitious feelings would not allow him to do so, even if he felt inclined; he would think that the Divine vengeance would at once pursue him to his destruction."

We now called upon a Turkish gentleman, Daravish Bey. Presently he left the room, and, returning, brought an old flint-gun, marked "London, 1802." He next suggested that we should join him in a shooting excursion, and, calling a servant, desired the man to bring in a falcon. This, Daravish Bey said, would be very useful, as, if we missed the partridges, the hawk would catch them for us.

"We shall then have some game to show when we return," he continued, "and the people will not be able to laugh at our beards."

"Vankovitch is a wonderful shot," said another Turk. "He shoots partridges flying! Only 202 think! flying in the air! In the name of heaven, is it not wonderful? Can you hit a partridge, except when he is quite still?"

"Sometimes," I said; "but, unfortunately, most of my cartridges are wet; any how, I will try and find a few dry ones, and will go with you to-morrow."

"There is another thing which you must see before you leave Yuzgat," observed Daravish Bey, "and that is our national game, Djerrid. I have already spoken about it," he continued; "the day after to-morrow all the best riders in the neighbourhood will assemble on the plain outside the town. In the meantime, I hope that you will dine with me this evening."

"But I am staying with an Armenian gentleman, and he will expect me to dine at home."

"Bring him with you. Nay, do not disappoint me," he added. "It is many years since an Englishman has been at Yuzgat, and we do not know how to honour one sufficiently when he is here. England and Turkey are old allies, and God grant that they may remain so!"

I returned to my quarters, and found the Caimacan, who had come to pay me a visit. He was very busy, as he had to arrange for some redif 203 soldiers who were to be despatched at once to Constantinople. After a few compliments and a cup of coffee, he arose and took his departure.

My host now observed,—

"Effendi, will you do me a favour?"

"What is it?" I inquired.

"Mr. Vankovitch has discharged one of his under officers, an Armenian. The man is a friend of mine—will you ask Mr. Vankovitch to pardon my friend, and reinstate him in his situation?"

"The officer is a thief," said the engineer, "for that reason I got rid of him. But this remark of our host will show you what sort of people these Armenians are. He is well aware that the fellow is a rogue. He knows that I do not wish to take him back; to try and make me do so, he asks you, who are ignorant of the circumstances, to intercede in the matter."

"You will intercede?" said the host.

"How can I? Mr. Vankovitch must know the man's character better than I do."

"But Mr. Vankovitch would do it if you asked him."

"I certainly shall not give him the opportunity of refusing," I replied. And seeing that I was obdurate, my host left off pressing me for the 204 moment, but only to return to the attack on the following day.

The next morning, and soon after daybreak, we assembled for the chase. The engineer had mounted me on a magnificent coal-black Arab. He himself rode a little bay, with good shoulders and fine action; whilst his wife, a Bosnian lady, who was attired in a light blue riding-habit, a hat with a peacock's feather, and who wore on her boot a long cavalry spur—was mounted on a chestnut.

Vankovitch had slung his gun across his shoulders. His double-breasted shooting-coat was dotted with cartridge-cases in the Circassian style. He was an object of great interest to a crowd of bystanders, and was evidently the chasseur par excellence of Yuzgat. Some Turkish women, wrapped up in long white sheets, stared through the corners of their veils at Mrs. Vankovitch, and were very much astonished at the proceedings, for the lady was on a side-saddle, which the engineer had lately received from Constantinople. It was only the first or second time that it had been seen in Yuzgat. The giaour woman balanced on a peg on the side of the saddle was a source of considerable wonder to the assembled crowd. 205
"How odd these giaours are!" said a Turk to his neighbour. "Why, even their women go out hunting! What a thing to ride on! Look, she has only one foot in the stirrup, and her other leg is across a peg in the saddle."

"How could you sit cross-legged if you had on that very thin, long dressing-gown which she is wearing?" said another bystander. "But here come Daravish Bey and his brother. They are actually going with the Frank to the chase!"

The attention of the crowd was now taken up by the new arrivals.

The two Turkish gentlemen were both dressed alike in black cloaks lined with fur, and which descended to their heels. Gold necklaces passing through diamond rings encircled each man's neck. Red waistcoats, buttoned up high in front, exposed to view an inch or two of limp, unstarched shirt-front; loose black trousers covered their legs, and a blue and white shabrach their highly-gilded saddles.

An attendant on a pony bore a falcon on his arm. Some pointers and a greyhound brought up the rear of the procession. Radford carried my double-barrelled gun, and a few cartridges, which on careful inspection seemed not to have been damaged by the wetting in the river. He 206 was also a source of wonder to the crowd. It was whispered about that the gun which he carried was like the Pole's fire-arm, and that it would sometimes shoot partridges on the wing.
We rode over a mountain, covered with pebbles. Presently one of the pointers began to sniff. Vankovitch thought that there was some game close at hand. He dismounted from his horse, accompanied by Daravish Bey, who was armed with the old English flint-gun. A crowd of men and urchins, who had followed us on foot from Yuzgat, watched the proceedings with the greatest interest. Suddenly a covey of partridges rose about a hundred and fifty yards from the Pole. Two reports sounded in rapid succession, the birds flew away untouched. The attendant released the falcon, and in a few seconds a partridge was in its claws.

A hare broke from behind an adjacent rock. In a moment we were in headlong pursuit, the Bosnian lady riding foremost of the flight, her horse taking the boulders and loose rocks which strewed the path in a way that showed he was well accustomed to this style of hunting.

A well-known sound made me turn my head. To my surprise I saw a young Turk galloping after me on Osman's horse—the roarer. I 207 had given orders that the animal was to be left in the stable, so that he might recover from the effect of our forced marches the week before.

"What are you doing with that horse?"

"Effendi, I am galloping him," was the quiet reply. "Osman lent him to me, and said that he was his property. Have I done wrong in riding him?"

"Yes," I said; "take him back at once."

"Sir," interrupted Radford, "that is just like Osman's himpudence, a-lending things which don't belong to him, and he is not that particular in returning them either. He is always asking me to lend him some tobacco, and very little I ever see of it again, except in the smoke which comes out of his mouth."

"How much are you paying for the forage of your horses?" now inquired Vankovitch, who had returned with the hare in his hand.

"About seven shillings a day."

The Pole began to laugh.

"Seven shillings! Do you know, my dear sir, that your Turkish servant is robbing you?"

"Very likely," I replied. "Most servants rob their masters. But what is the price of a horse's forage for a day?"

"About one-and-a-half piastres, or at the present 208 rate of exchange about twopence of your money. And chickens," continued Vankovitch, "what has he made you pay for them in the different villages on your route?"

"A shilling a piece."

"He is a thief," said the Pole, "you have been awfully cheated! why, the price in the town is only three halfpence for a fat chicken! When we return to Yuzgat, send for your man, and let me ask him a few questions. You shall not be robbed any more if I can help it. It is a bad thing for other European travellers, and it gives the inhabitants a lesson in robbery. There was a Russian officer here a few years ago. He had been paying as much as a medjidi a day for each of his horses. However, he was a Russian, and it did not so much matter."

The following day I went to see the Armenian schools. In one of them I found 200 girls who, for Turkey, were receiving a fair education. Most of them could read and write. A class for learning embroidery was well attended, some of the elder girls' work being very neatly finished. There were two Mohammedan children in a sewing class. I was informed that many of the Mussulmans had expressed a wish to send their children to the school. 209
"Perhaps you would like to ask the boys some questions," said a priest who accompanied me through the building.