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amid the ruins of Telmessus, and our vessel is under sailing orders, waiting only until we shall be certain of obtaining a sufficient number of horses to make up our caravan.
It is said that "among the countries interesting to the traveller from historic associations connected with them, and the vestiges of Grecian and Roman art which they present, none is so difficult to explore as Asia Minor."
"In Asia Minor, among the numerous impediments to a traveller's success, must be chiefly reckoned the deserted state of the country, which often puts the common necessaries and conveniences of travelling out of his reach; the continual disputes and war among the persons in power; the precarious authority of the government of Constantinople, which, rendering its protection ineffectual, makes the traveller's success depend upon the personal character of the governor of each district; and the ignorance and suspicious temper of the Turks, who have no idea of scientific trav. elling; who cannot imagine any other motive for our visits to that country than a preparation for invasion, or a search after treasures among the ruins of antiquity; and whose suspicions of this nature are, of course, most strong in the provinces which, like Asia Minor, are the least frequented by us.
"If the traveller's prudence or good fortune protect him from all these sources of danger, as well as from plague, banditti, and other perils incidental to a semi-barbarous state of society, he has still to dread the loss of health from the combined effects of climate, fatigue, and privation; a misfortune which seldom fails to check his career before he has completed his projected tour."
"Of the interior, after laying down all published routes, and some others in manuscript, rejecting the information that is not verified by good authority, Lieutenant-colonel Leake states that he finds five sixths of Asia Minor a blank."
This is certainly a very encouraging picture of what we
PERILS OF TRAVEL.
have before us, as you will readily perceive; yet, if we were always to be daunted by such stories as these (however well authenticated), we never should have accomplished one half of what we have done in the East. Our motto is, "go ahead," being assured by all our past experience that “Satan is always painted blacker than he is in reality."
What course we may take from here is quite uncertain. Now that we are in Asia Minor, we would desire to visit the "Seven churches."
So far as the map indicates their position, we can do it without much deviation from our course. Laodicea appears very near to us in a northerly direction. Philadelphia and Sardis not far distant.
What the state of the mountain passes is we can get no correct information here. All I know is, that in casting my eyes up from this paper in a northerly direction, I have before me, at some miles distant, an impassable barrier of mountain, many thousand feet high, its summit covered with eternal snows.
This barrier is not formed as mountain chains usually are, with high peaks and correspondingly deep ravines and gorges, free from the impediment of snow; but it appears like the roof of a mighty temple, many miles in length, covered with sparkling snow.
There may be a pass either to the east or west by which we may be able to reach the great plain of the Meander, but no one here can tell us anything about it. We will have to travel entirely by compass, with the imperfect map for our guide.
This morning our complement of horses and native servants was completed, and we permitted our captain to put to sea with his brig. Her topsails are now all that can be discerned of her above the watery horizon; and we remain
on this inhospitable coast like so many mutineers abandoned on a desert island.
The busy note of preparation for our departure is now ringing in my ears, and in two hours hence, I am notified, we will take up our line of march.
It is now a lovely season of the year, and the valleys are clothed in beautiful verdure, dotted with magnificent fields of flowers of the most astonishing size and beauty. Indeed, it is such a paradise as I never yet have seen, not excepting even the gardens of El Sham.
Yet, with all these allurements, I must say that I have more misgivings for the future than when we were about commencing our journey across a field of untrodden snow, two feet in depth and one thousand miles in width, with the mercury at forty degrees below the freezing point. There the route was not to be mistaken; but with respect to our present course,
"Shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it."
I do not remember when I ever was called upon to exercise so much resolution, as when I gave my consent to permit our vessel to leave us here in this almost unknown country, and agreed to follow the gentlemen in their journey of discovery through the terrible defiles of the Taurus. All my recollections of the heart-rending history of the early crusaders, who were purposely misled into these defiles, and barbarously slaughtered by both Greek and Turk, are now fresh in my mind.
But then we are peaceful pilgrims returning from the Holy Land, and not militant members of the church, bent on conquest, plunder, and rapine. The majority of the inhabitants we may meet are Christians; a rosary and cross from Bethlehem or the Holy Sepulchre may serve to propitiate those whose services we may have occasion for.
The die is now cast, and I shall not imitate the wife of
Lot, by looking back with regret; but my motto shall be onward until we again arrive in some region of civilization.
Should we reach Smyrna again in safety, I will give you the result of our adventures in this remote and interesting country. It is with no little trepidation that I now write to you another farewell.
Mutiny.-Thieves by the Wayside.-Summit of Mount Taurus.-A Sinister Omen.-Pleasures of a wandering Life.-Ancient Improvements.-Flora's Prodigality.-A Glimpse of Fairy Land.-A cold Bath.
Mullah (Asia Minor),
In the closing remarks of my last letter, you will have perceived how great were my apprehensions for the success of our new enterprise; nor were these fears at all allayed by the incidents which occurred during our first day's journey.
No sooner had the last strip of our vessel's canvass sunk beneath the blue horizon, than symptoms of discontent began to manifest themselves in our camp, which very soon ripened into open rebellion against our authority. Those on whom we mostly relied for protection against the arts and wiles of the treacherous Greek natives, and for our comfort on the route, were found to be at the bottom of the plot. 'The toils and fatigues (to say nothing of the danger) which had attended our caravan tour in the Levant, were of too recent occurrence not to be the uppermost things in the minds of our servants, when contemplating the prospect before them in a country which neither of them had ever before visited; and about which they, like ourselves, could get none but the most unsatisfactory accounts.
Ignorant and uncultivated minds, you know, are ever prone to magnify the difficulties and dangers with which doubt and superstition clothe the uncertain future.
In the present case, the natives with whom we had to do soon perceived this wavering on the part of our servants, and cunningly took advantage of it by confirming their fears with the most extravagant stories of danger by flood and field; uninhabited regions without provision or water, defiles beset by wandering banditti, and mountain passes obstructed by snow. These and a thousand other gloomy portents passed before their excited imaginations, which, like the mysterious phantasmagoria, cast their shadows before, causing their future path to appear beset with unearthly spirits, and a thousand difficulties to them before unknown.
The motive of those by whose machinations was got up the little drama which I am about to relate to you, was simply avarice, and that, too, upon so small a scale, that, had we known their drift at first, the turbulent stream which was setting against us could in an instant have been turned in our favour; its slimy banks, so insecure to the travellers' feet, converted at once into those of another Arimaspias, and naught but shining particles of golden pleasures been elicited by that never-failing touchstone, backshee. This test was in the end applied to the heated and ebullient amalgam, and the pure metal of present security precipitated; not, however, until the deleterious vapours from this crucible had wellnigh caused us sorely to repent having undertaken the rash enterprise. It was, perhaps, not so much fear of personal danger that caused our servants to revolt, as it was the prospect of privation and extreme hard labour, under an almost tropical sun by day and chilling damps by night.
The first symptom we observed of discontent was when the natives, with a view to enhance the price of their animals, only brought us in half a supply of horses, with the false intelligence that no more could be procured. Giovan