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horses, in charge of expert riders, to curvet and caracole in front of our quarters. They were splendid animals, but we had already seen Arabians enough; so we dismissed the sais with a backshee, and turned round to enjoy a greater attraction, the potage au poulet of Monsieur François.
Finding that we could procure no horses to visit such of the Seven Churches as lay in that neighbourhood, we determined to lose no time, but proceed directly to Smyrna.
We therefore started at an early hour the next morning, but, owing to an accident which befell us on the road, we did not reach the city of Tiret until six P.M., although the distance from Guizel Hissar was but eight hours.
Immediately after leaving the latter place we turned to the north, and entered a defile in the mountains which bordered the northern side of the valley of the Meander. This gorge in some places opened into beautiful valleys, overgrown with wood. Such were the intricacies of the various paths, which branched off in all directions, that our caravan became separated; and when reassembling at a point where a rise in the gorge overlooks the valley below, we found that two of our sumpter horses were missing. On examination, we discovered that the lost horses were actually those that were burdened with our most valuable effects, our portmanteaux, containing, besides clothing, our money, papers, passports, &c., &c. We had seen several ill-looking mountaineers prowling about in the woods, and to them we attributed the cutting off of our horses; in which case we might as well renounce all idea of ever seeing our valuables again.
We thought at first of returning to enter a complaint to the pacha of Guizel Hissar; but then he would not be able to obtain any satisfaction for us. We therefore sat down to our lunch, while all the rest of the party were sent to scour the valley and woods.
After several hours they returned to us with no tidings of the missing horses.
We were then in despair, without a single change of clothing or a piastre in money. These, however, were of but little importance to us (being so near to Smyrna) when compared with our papers, &c.; nevertheless, the gentlemen took a quiet siesta during the absence of our people; but I remained awake to enjoy the sublime scene around and before me.
THE LOST FOUND.
My attention had been several times attracted by some object moving across certain little interval plains in the forest a mile below our elevated position, which I supposed was one of our scouts. I paid little attention to it, but, when the last of the runners had come into the camp, my attention was inadvertently drawn in the direction of the opening of the forest below, when I again discovered the same moving object as before. I then pointed it out to the gentlemen, who, applying their telescope, pronounced it to be a horse, but without any load.
We at once despatched a party in pursuit, and, while awaiting the return of this forlorn hope, we concerted measures for our future proceedings in case our cash should not be forthcoming.
We found that the exchequer of Signor Giovanni had augmented prodigiously since we left Smyrna last winter; the fruit of certain little pickings, or rather the spoils of office.
There was no danger of our falling short of funds with this sub-treasury so well supplied. About two hours after, our lamentations were turned into rejoicing, for the party returned with both the horses, which they had found quietly grazing in the place where I first descried them. They had rolled until they had unburdened themselves of our trunks, which were found scattered over the ground.
We resumed our march. After attaining the summit of this mountain, we found that the path led along a singular
ridge of a very few feet wide, with a precipice on each side several hundred feet in depth.
On either hand we saw immense vineyards of the Sultana grapes. These, when dried, are sent to our country from Smyrna under the appellation of Sultana raisins.
The day was extremely sultry, added to which, the excitement we had undergone occasioned excessive thirst.
In our anxiety to get forward we had neglected to replenish our vessels with water, and we soon began to suffer severely for the want of it.
We no doubt were not the first travellers who had longed for water in this thirsty mountain path; and we had another opportunity of appreciating one of those ancient and interesting pious provisions for thirsty travellers. In all Oriental countries it has been the custom, from time immemorial, for persons desiring to perform a pious and charitable act, to select some point in a dry desert, or on the summit of some arid mountain, over which travellers were in the habit of crossing, where they caused to be sunk in the earth large jars, over which they placed a covering to protect them from the rays of the sun. They then invested a certain sum of money, the revenue of which was to defray the expense of keeping these jars for ever filled with pure water. But, in the present instance, the jar we found by the wayside is supported by the contributions of passing travellers, who each deposite their mite in a small dish placed near it for that purpose. No person is found so devoid of all honourable or religious principles as to commit sacrilege on this public trust.
We were delighted to find the water extremely cool, being covered over with fresh green boughs. We, of course, were happy in being able to bestow something on this sanctuary towards its support.
One hour more brought us to the summit of the last mountain, whence we had a very extensive view over the
great plain through which runs the river Cayster on its way to Ephesus.
We then commenced a rapid descent towards Tiret, which lay at our feet.
The cause that induced the location of a city at this point was probably a very copious fountain of water, which issues from the top of the mountain, and forms a beautiful cascade down its side, and flows through the city.
The streets were so steep and the old pavements worn so smooth that our horses could scarcely keep their feet. We dismounted, and thereby saved our necks, but our luggage was not so fortunate as to come off equally safe. One of our horses tumbled headlong down the hill, when the batterie de cuisine of Monsieur François exploded with no little noise, projecting its missiles into the windows and doors of the houses on each side. All our kitchen gear was returned to us, when we proceeded to a public square, where we found a sort of kiosk similar to that wherein we had lodged the night previous, and on the platform of which the customers of a caffijee hard by are in the daily habit of reclining to smoke their chiboucks, and take their coffee and sherbet, while they are amused with the stirring scenes of the mar ket-place.
Being extremely anxious to reach Smyrna the next afternoon, we gave orders to have our horses ready by ten o'clock that night. We paid our devoirs to one of François's dinners, after which we took a few hours' repose.
We were in the saddle again precisely at ten o'clock, left Tiret behind us, and rode all night over the plain of the Cayster. However brightly the stars might have shone on high, their light could not reach us through the unhealthy mist which hung over the plain. We forded a river some time during the night, although I was not sensible of it, so overcome was I by drowsiness.
By daylight we reached a half-deserted town, full of plague
and smallpox, where we slept an hour while breakfast and fresh horses were being prepared.
My husband engaged a Tartar and two fleet horses to go on in advance of us and prepare rooms for our reception.
He arrived by midday at Smyrna, and was fortunate enough to obtain the loan of a house, the owner of which resides in the country during the summer. We arrived by sunset, and I have now been ten days luxuriating on the divans and enjoying the cool shade of our present residence, with now and then an excursion in the country to visit our friends. I am quite recovered from the effects of a fall I had from my horse during the last day's hurried ride.
Mr. R. has been all the time confined to his bed by indisposition, the effects of the very extraordinary fatigues we underwent during our long ride across the country.
Although our journey in Asia Minor has been one of extreme interest to me, as well from the many curious objects that have come under my observation, as from its remote paths, so untrodden by modern travellers, yet I feel disappointed that the unhealthy state of the country will not permit us to make the tour of the Seven Churches.
It frequently so happens, when travelling in the East, that one becomes listless or impatient, and will not turn aside to view important objects within his reach; while at other times, with the greatest desire and determined intention to visit certain places, circumstances beyond human control intervene to frustrate one's plans.
We shall be off to Stamboul in a day or two, from whence I will again write to you. In the mean time, farewell.