ο»Ώ LETTER-WRITING UNDER ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES.|1877-06-30|Pontypool Free Press and Herald of the Hills - Welsh Newspapers Online
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IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT.

AN EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE.

THE FIRE AT ST. JOHN'S, NEW…

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EARTHQUAKE PHENOMENA AT SEA.

RUSSIAN PRISONERS IN STAMBOUL.

A VERY TERRIBLE TURK.

WAR VICTIMS.

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THE BISHOP OF MANCHESTER ON…

LETTER-WRITING UNDER ADVERSE…

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LETTER-WRITING UNDER ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES. Writing from the Head Quarters of the Turkish Army in Asia, the Special Correspondent of the Daily Xews, under date Karaourgan, May 29, gives the following interesting sketch :— A person fresh from Europe would scarcely venture bevond the door of my present quarters but to me, by contrast, it seems a very palace. As there is just now a total absence of military news, I shall try to give some idea of my surroundings and accommoda- tion. The place is a type of its kind, and every village within a hundred miles exactly resembles it. Karaourgan is situated in a rocky gorge through whiwh flows the torrent-like Chan See. The village occupies the right bank, and elimbs to the summit of the rocky slope some three hundred feet high. Seen from a little distance, it resembles one of those scoria heaps one sees around iron smelting works. Here and there a couple of feet of dry stone wall, and a cave like entrance suggest the possibility of the existence of human dwellings. Between these dwellings the spaces are carpeted with an elastic layer of dung and offal five or six feet thick. Huge un- gainly buffaloes, with bodies like bisons and the eye of an octopus, low and moan, standing mid-leg deep in the filthy paths. Turbaned men are perched here and there like storks on the house-tops—pulling their beards, and giving the whole place a Scriptural appearance. Calves, dogs, and fowl wander promiscuously among the chimney-pots, and now and then a dark-eyed, olive-faced woman comes stealing shyly by, her face half averted from the gaze of the Giaour, partly concealed by the folds of her linen headdress. As the roof-tops have their share of dung and offal as well as the streets, and as their undulations are not more accentuated than the irregularities of the latter, it is well-nigh impossible to distinguish between them. This morning I entered the village, descending the slope of the gorge. I knew from experience the difficulty of confining one's-self to the pathway itself, and kept a careful lookout for chimnies, the only beacons by which one can judge whether he is on a house-top or on a road. While thus vigilantly steering my way and believing that I was going all right, I felt my horse suddenly sink beneath me, and in another instant we were enveloped in a cloud of dust and splinters. We had both fallen through the roof of a homse into an apartment where a family were at breakfast. Over and over again my horse had put his foot through the earthen roof of a house while I believed I was in the middle of the highway. My hand, seen from the outside, is a crude earth-heap. You stoop low, enter the hole-like door, and find your- self in a gloomy interior some forty feet in length. It is divided into two compartments by a low boarded partition four feet high. That next the door is devoted to horses and buffaloes, the inner space affords accommodation to travellers. A little ter- race of beaten earth, six inches above the floor, flanks both sides of the room. It is covered with coarse rush matting, and constitutes a seat by day, bed by night. Two square holes in the roof admit light and air. The diet is eminently simple—honey, milk, and unleavened bread in the form and of the consistency of a shoemaker's apron, with an occasional egg, is all that the larder affords. There is another comestible greatly prized by the in- habitants, but which I could never appreciate. It is called "yaourt." It is thick sour milk, from which the watery portion has been strained. No coffee, no tea, no meat. The absence of meat surprises me, for there are immense heads of buffaloes, oxen, sheep, and goats feeding over pastures I have rarely seen equalled. There is no exportation of cattle, and I find it difficult to explain what is done with the vast surplus of kind. I write this letter lying flat on the "divan." From time to time a melancholy ox walks in and looks at me with large, mournful eyes. A playful buffalo calf is standing beside me, and I have just defeated him in an attempt to place his big, splay, muddy foot in the middle of my paper, as an initiatory step to settle down beside me on the divan. My attention is triply divided—first by my work; secondly, by the cows and playful goats thirdly, by the blackbeetles, who take advantage of an unguarded moment to walk into my inkstand. Then, there is my host, who is essentially a praying man. Not content with the Orthodox prayers four times a day, he takes advantage of every spare moment to repeat his orisons. A pot of water is put on the fire. While it is heating, out comes the praying carpet, and the red-turbaned, blue-trousered man is pros- trating himself with unctuous groans. It is not easy to write under the circumstances; but I do my best. I don't speak Turkish fluently but still I can carry on a conversation in a kind of way. For my host. I am the sole and only source of information as to what is going on at the front. He brings in a select circle of friends of an evening to hear the news. When I tell them that Ardahan has fallen, that Bajasethas long been in the hands of the Muscovs," and that the Giaours are advancing swiftly on the road to Olti and Trebizond, there is a chorus of Mussul- man expressions devoting the said Muscovs" to Shatan," and murmured prayers for the army of true believers. These people seem to pIn their faith to English succour. They will ha.ve it that an English army is advancing to their aid; and the presence of Sir Arthur Kemball and his staff officer confirm them in this belief. To do them justice, they seem to appreciate Englishmen—Englishmen and Hungarians. These two nationalities are for them the embodiment of friendship.

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A PRAYER FOR THE SULTAN.

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