LETTER XXXIII  pp. 358-380


By Isabella Bird

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Pikhruz, Nov. 14.

I was indeed sorry to leave the charming circle at the Mission House and the wild grandeur of Bitlis, but a certain wan look in the sky and peculiar colouring on the mountains warned my friends that winter might set in any day, and Dr. Reynolds arranged for katirgis and an escort, and obtained a letter from the Governor by means of which I can procure additional zaptiehs in case of need. My Turkish katirgi, Moussa, is rich, and fall of fun and jollity. He sings and jokes and mimics Mirza, rides a fine horse, or sprawls singing on its back, and keeps every one alive by his energy and vitality. My loads are very light, and his horses are strong, and by a peculiar screech he starts them off at a canter with no other object than the discomfiture of Mirza, who with all his good qualities will never make a horseman. Unluckily he has a caravan of forty horses laden with ammunition for the Government on the road, so things may not be always so smooth as they are now. Descending by a track more like a stair than a road, and crossing the Tigris, my friends and I performed the feat of riding through some of the bazars, even though Mr. Knapp and I had been pelted with stones on an open road the day before.