The shades of evening were falling fast as we rode through the town. Presently, leaving 안전놀이터 behind the dirty lanes and filthy streets, the main features of Scutari, we emerged upon the open country. The road was in a dreadful state, at least a foot of black mud was piled on the strata below. In order the better to avoid the dirt we rode along a raised path which overhung the highway, Osman and Radford each leading a baggage-horse. In about half an hour we arrived at a place where the highway ascended rapidly for a few hundred yards. The footpath rose yet more abruptly, and here and there large sections of it had fallen into the road below. We were 55 passing by the cemetery at Scutari. Thousands of grave-stones which mark the resting-place of departed Turks lay scattered here and there. A deep silence reigned around, and the place appeared a desert, tenanted only by the dead. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me; a sound of horse's hoofs striking violently against some hard substance. I looked round. The first thing which met my gaze was the horse Obadiah, the source of all our previous difficulties, with his pack-saddle under the girth. In the hurry of re-saddling him at Scutari the yarn breastplate and crupper had not been well adjusted, nor had they been properly buckled. The saddle had turned, and Obadiah was amusing himself by a second time kicking at my cartridge-boxes, gun-case, and tins of tea and sugar. Clash went his iron hoof against one of the cases, away flew the white sugar into the black mud. A bang resounded from the gun-case, and that went spinning in another direction. Fortunately the boxes of cartridges had rolled to a little distance, and were just out of reach of the now infuriated beast's heels. Osman, in a moment of fear had released the animal's halter; dismounting from his own steed, he tried to get to Obadiah's head. This was by no means an easy task; the path 56 was very narrow, in fact there was barely room enough for a horse to walk. To reach the pack animal it was necessary to descend to the road, which lay some feet below us, and then climb up the steep and muddy bank.

Whilst this was being done I took charge of Osman's horse, the roarer, and which he had selected for his own riding, because, he said, the animal was a rahvan or ambler. He had rubbed his trousers when he made this remark, and had grinned complacently: by this gesture he sought to convey to my mind, that his skin was tender, and that he did not wish to be galled during the journey.

A noise in front now called my attention to that direction. The horse that Radford was leading had become alarmed, and in his struggles to release himself was half-way over the bank.

"Let him go!" I cried to my servant, fearing that he would be dragged over the steep incline.

Down fell the animal on his back, and all the remainder of my luggage was covered with the slimy clay. The horse was a little shaken by the fall and did not attempt to rise—he lay prostrate and helpless in the midst of the havoc which he had created. Meantime Obadiah, who had been 57 frightened to death by the luggage which was hanging round his heels, had kicked away his trammels. Osman approached him from the bank, and tried to get to his head. It was in vain. The horse sprang back a yard or so, plunged and kicked, then slipping like his fellow steed, he rolled down the steep. He was none the worse for the fall, and bounding on his legs, dashed headlong along the road—his saddle and everything he had previously carried lying scattered in every direction.

The sun by this time had long since set. It was nearly dark. Letting go Osman's horse, I galloped after the runaway, but it was useless; in a moment he disappeared from view. There was nothing to be done but to return to my party, and collect the luggage.

"Our fate is a bad one," said Osman. "The horse—curse his mother—has gone, what shall be done? Praise be to Allah that the Effendi is not hurt." "I have worked very hard," he added.

"It is all your fault," I remarked angrily. "It would serve you right if I were to break your head. You ought to have seen that the pack-saddle was properly put on the horse at Scutari." 58
"Saddle, Effendi? It was all owing to the saddle. It did not fit the horse."

"What does he say, sir?" inquired the English servant.

"Say?—confound him! he says it is the fault of the saddle."

"Saddle, sir! no, it ain't. It is all the fault of his confounded praying. Why, whenever there is any work to be done, he is always down on his knees and a-banging his head against the ground. Real hard work his praying is, sir, and no mistake. I catched him at it this morning in the hotel; then he had another turn on board the steamer—and, look, sir, there he is again. Drat him, he has taken my coat to kneel on!" And rushing up, my servant dragged his property from beneath the prostrate Mohammedan.

We were some distance from Scutari, and about two hours from Moltape, a village in which I intended to pass the night. I determined to send Osman back to the town, and desired him to hire a Hammall, or man with a baggage-horse. In the meantime, Radford and myself could keep guard over our luggage.

The night grew darker and darker. The white grave-stones could be barely discerned. Leaving my English servant to sit upon the 59 luggage in the road, I waded through the mud to a cleaner spot in the cemetery. Sitting down on one of the broken monuments, I awaited Osman's arrival. Presently I heard the sound of steps close behind me. The locality does not bear a good reputation, so grasping my revolver, I prepared for an attack.

"Peace be with you!" was the new comer's salutation, and in a few minutes I discovered that he was the grave-digger, or person in charge of the cemetery. His house, or hovel, was not far off, and he invited me to go there and share his fire. It would not have been safe to have left the luggage, so I declined the offer. Soon afterwards the sound of horses' hoofs in the distance announced the approach of Osman. He was accompanied by a Hammall. The latter, placing the fallen luggage upon his animal, jumped himself on the top of all.

"We had better go back to Scutari, Effendi," said Osman. "It is late; there will be no village for the next three hours. In Scutari there is good accommodation."

I had no wish to turn back. We had already lost at least half a day through Osman's stupidity; I resolved to continue the march to Moltape, and halt there for the night. Osman could start 60 at daybreak for Scutari, and make inquiries about the lost horse.

"Shall you find him?" I inquired of the Turk.

"Find him, Effendi? of course I shall find him. I will not eat, drink, or sleep till my lord's property is restored;" by way of substantiating this statement, Osman took a piece of bread out of his pocket and began to eat.

"Well," I observed, "you said that you were going to starve till you had found my horse, and you are eating already."

"It is bad for a man with an empty stomach to be exposed to the night air. I shall be all the better able to look for the Effendi's horse to-morrow, and please God I will find him," was the answer.

We continued our journey through the deep mud, the Hammall riding in front as guide. The moon rose and threw her pale shadows on the scene. The Hammall, who was perched up on the top of a pile of luggage, uttered, from time to time, shrill cries. Cracks from his whip resounded from the flanks of his over-taxed steed. Radford rode pensively in rear; the bowl of a short wooden pipe glared with the red-hot ashes of some tobacco. Nothing ever seemed to afflict 61 my English servant. I was going to Kars—well, he must go too; if I had told him that I was going up in a fire balloon, he would have been equally ready to accompany me. I wish we had four hundred thousand men like him in the British army. The soldier who will ask no questions, will go where you like, and die in his place if you tell him to do so, is preferable, in my mind, to the more educated individual who reflects, weighs probabilities, and sometimes runs away.

Now a light appeared in the distance, and then another. The swamp through which we had been riding was gradually replaced by harder soil. A few whitewashed cottages were met with at intervals along our path. Presently we rounded a corner, and a large village was exposed to view. The Hammall rode up to a house which was detached from the rest, and in the centre of the town. He leaped from his horse, and, coming to my side, held the stirrup-leather for me to dismount. We had arrived at a Khan, or resting-place for travellers. On lifting up the latch, or rather pulling at a piece of string which was used as a substitute for a handle, the door opened.

I found myself in a large, low room. So soon 62 as my eyes became accustomed to the dense atmosphere, I discovered that almost all the available space was filled with soldiery. On one side of the room there were a succession of broad wooden shelves, ascending towards the roof, these too were tenanted. It was difficult to put a foot down upon the floor without treading upon the face or body of some follower of the Prophet. The smell which arose from so much humanity was anything but agreeable. A mungo, or circular iron pan on a tripod, was filled with burning charcoal, and placed on a stool so as to be removed from the immediate vicinity of the sleepers. It gave out a blue and sulphurous flame. The charcoal had not been properly burned through previous to being placed in the mungo. It added some poisonous fumes to the unhealthy atmosphere.