CHAPTER XII. THROUGH THE ANGORA GOAT COUNTRY.
The other members of the caravan company, while equally anxious to see the performance, and no doubt thinking me quite an unreasonable person, disapprove of the young man's proposition; and the Man-jee severely reprimands him for talking about resorting to force, and turning to the others, he lays his forefingers together and says something about Franks, Mussulmans, Turks, and Ingilis; meaning that even if we are Franks and Mussulmans, we are not prevented from being at the same time allies and brothers. From the khan the ascent is more gradual, though in places muddy and disagreeable from the drizzling rain which still falls, and about 4 P.M. I arrive at the summit. The descent is smoother, and shorter than the western slope, but is even more abrupt; the composition is a slaty, blue clay, in which the caravans have worn trails so deep in places that a mule is hidden completely from view. There is no room for animals to pass each other in these deep trench-like trails, and were any to meet, the only possible plan is for the ascending animals to be backed down until a wider place is reached. There is little danger of the larger caravans being thus caught in these " traps for the unwary," since each can hear the other's approach and take precautions; but single horsemen and small parties must sometimes find themselves obliged to either give or take, in the depths of these queer highways of commerce. It is quite an awkward task to descend with the bicycle, as for much of the way the trail is not even wide enough to admit of trundling in the ordinary manner, and I have to adopt the same tactics in going down as in coming up the mountain, with the difference, that on the eastern slope I have to pull back quite as stoutly as I had to push forward on the western. In going down I meet a man with three donkeys, but fortunately I am able to scramble up the bank sufficiently to let him pass. His donkeys are loaded with half-ripe grapes, which he is perhaps taking all the way to Constantinople in this slow and laborious manner, and he offers me some as an inducement for me to ride for his benefit. Some wheelmen, being possessed of a sensitive nature, would undoubtedly think they had a right to feel aggrieved or insulted if offered a bunch of unripe grapes as an inducement to go ahead and break their necks; but these people here in Asia Minor are but simple-hearted, overgrown children; they will go straight to heaven when they die, every one of them.
At six o'clock I roll into Tereklu, having found ridable road a mile or so before reaching town. After looking at the cyclometer I begin figuring up the number of days it is likely to take me to reach Teheran, if yesterday and to-day have been expository of the country ahead; forty and one-third miles yesterday and nineteen and a half to-day, thirty miles a day-rather slow progress for a wheelman, I mentally conclude; but, although I would rather ride from " Land's End to John O'Groat's " for a task, than bicycle over the ground I have traversed between here and Ismidt, I find the tough work interlarded with a sufficiency of novel and interesting phases to make the occupation congenial. Upon dismounting at Tereklu, I find myself but little fatigued with the day's exertions, and with a view to obtaining a little peace and freedom from importunities to ride after supper, I gratify Asiatic curiosity several times before undertaking to allay the pangs of hunger - a piece of self-denial quite commendable, even if taken in connection with the idea of self-protection, when one reflects that I had spent the day in severe exercise, and had eaten since morning only a piece of bread.
Not long after my arrival at Tereklu I am introduced to another peculiar and not unknown phase of the character of these people, one that I have sometimes read of, but was scarcely prepared to encounter before being on Asian soil three days. From some of them having received medical favors from the medicine chest of travellers and missionaries, the Asiatics have come to regard every Frank who passes through their country as a skilful physician, capable of all sorts of wonderful things in the way of curing their ailments; and immediately after supper I am waited upon by my first patient, the mulazim of the Tereklu zaptiehs. He is a tall, pleasant-faced fellow, whom I remember as having been wonderfully courteous and considerate while I was riding for the people before supper, and he is suffering with neuralgia in his lower jaw. He comes and seats himself beside me, rolls a cigarette in silence, lights it, and hands it to me, and then, with the confident assurance of a child approaching its mother to be soothed and cured of some ailment, he requests me to cure his aching jaw, seemingly having not the slightest doubt of my ability to afford him instant relief. I ask him why he don't apply to the hakim (doctor) of his native town. He rolls another cigarette, makes me throw the half-consumed one away, and having thus ingratiated himself a trifle deeper into my affections, he tells me that the Tereklu hakim is "fenna; " in other words, no good, adding that there is a duz hakim at Gieveh, but Gieveh is over the Kara Su dagh. At this juncture he seems to arrive at the conclusion that perhaps I require a good deal of coaxing and good treatment, and, taking me by the hand, he leads me in that affectionate, brotherly manner down the street and into a coffee-Maw, and spends the next hour in pressing upon me coffee and cigarettes, and referring occasionally to his aching jaw. The poor fellow tries so hard to make himself agreeable and awaken my sympathies, that I really begin to feel myself quite an ingrate in not being able to afford him any relief, and slightly embarrassed by my inability to convince him that my failure to cure him is not the result of indifference to his sufferings.