CHAPTER XIII. BEY BAZAAR, ANGORA, AND EASTWARD.
Thus the evening passes merrily away until about ten o'clock, when the people begin to slowly disperse to the roofs of their respective habitations, the whole population sleeping on the house-tops, with no roof over them save the star-spangled vault - the arched dome of the great mosque of the universe, so often adorned with the pale yellow, crescent-shaped emblem of their religion. Several families occupy the roof which has been the theatre of the evening's social gathering, and the men now consign me to a comfortable couch made up of several quilts, one of the transients thoughtfully cautioning me to put my moccasins under my pillow, as these articles were the object of almost universal covetousness during the evening. No sooner am I comfortably settled down, than a wordy warfare breaks out in my immediate vicinity, and an ancient female makes a determined dash at my coverlet, with the object of taking forcible possession; but she is seized and unceremoniously hustled away by the men who assigned me my quarters. It appears that, with an eye singly and disinterestedly to my own comfort, and regardless of anybody else's, they have, without taking the trouble to obtain her consent, appropriated to my use the old lady's bed, leaving her to shift for herself any way she can, a high-handed proceeding that naturally enough arouses her virtuous indignation to the pitch of resentment. Upon this fact occurring to me, I of course immediately vacate the property in dispute, and, with true Western gallantry, arraign myself on the rightful owner's side by carrying my wheel and other effects to another position; whereupon a satisfactory compromise is soon arranged between the disputants, by which another bed ia prepared for me, and the ancient dame takes triumphant possession of her own. Peace and tranquillity being thus established on a firm basis, the several families tenanting our roof settle themselves snugly down. The night is still and calm, and naught is heard save my nearer neighbors' scratching, scratching, scratching. This - not the scratching, but the quietness - doesn't last long, however, for it is customary to collect all the four-footed possessions of the village together every night and permit them to occupy the inter-spaces between the houses, while the humans are occupying the roofs, the horde of watch- dogs being depended upon to keep watch and ward over everything. The hovels are more underground than above the surface, and often, when the village occupies sloping ground, the upper edge of the roof is practically but a continuation of the solid ground, or at the most there is but a single step-up between them. The goats are of course permitted to wander whithersoever they will, and equally, of course, they abuse their privileges by preferring the roofs to the ground and wandering incessantly about among the sleepers. Where the roof comes too near the ground some temporary obstruction is erected, to guard against the intrusion of venturesome buffaloes. No sooner have the humans quieted down, than several goats promptly invade the roof, and commence their usual nocturnal promenade among the prostrate forms of their owners, and further indulge their well-known goatish propensities by nibbling away the edges of the roof. (They would, of course, prefer a square meal off a patchwork quilt, but from their earliest infancy they are taught that meddling with the bedclothes will bring severe punishment.) A buffalo occasionally gives utterance to a solemn, prolonged " m-o-o-o;" now and then a baby wails its infantile disapproval of the fleas, and frequent noisy squabbles occur among the dogs. Under these conditions, it is not surprising that one should woo in vain the drowsy goddess; and near midnight some person within a few yards of my couch begins groaning fearfully, as if in great pain - probably a case of the stomach-ache, I mentally conclude, though this hasty conclusion may not unnaturally result from an inner consciousness of being better equipped for curing that particular affliction than any other. From the position of the sufferer, I am inclined to think it is the same ancient party that ousted me out of her possessions two hours ago, and I lay here as far removed from the realms of unconsciousness as the moment I retired, expecting every minute to see her appear before me in a penitential mood, asking me to cure her, for the inevitable hakim question had been raised during the evening. She doesn't present herself, however; perhaps the self-accusations of her conscience, for having in the moment of her wrath attempted to appropriate my coverlet in so rude a manner, prevent her appealing to me now in the hour of distress. These people are early risers; the women are up milking the goats and buffaloes before daybreak, and the men hieing them away to the harvest fields and threshing-floors. I, likewise, bestir myself at daylight, intending to reach the next village before breakfast.