CHAPTER XIII. BEY BAZAAR, ANGORA, AND EASTWARD.
Descending into the Angora Plain, I enjoy the luxury of a continuous coast for nearly a mile, over a road that is simply perfect for the occasion, after which comes the less desirable performance of ploughing through a stretch of loose sand and gravel. While engaged in this latter occupation I overtake a zaptieh, also en route to Angora, who is letting his horse crawl leisurely along while he concentrates his energies upon a water-melon, evidently the spoils of a recent visitation to a melon-garden somewhere not far off; he hands me a portion of the booty, and then requests me to bin, and keeps on requesting me to bin at regular three- minute intervals for the next half-hour. At the end of that time the loose gravel terminates, and I find myself on a level and reasonably smooth dirt road, making a shorter cut across the plain to Angora than the chin de fer. The zaptieh is, of course, delighted at seeing me thus mount, and not doubting but that I will appreciate his company, gives me to understand that he will ride alongside to Angora. For nearly two miles that sanguine but unsuspecting minion of the Turkish Government spurs his noble steed alongside the bicycle in spite of my determined pedalling to shake him off; but the road improves; faster spins the whirling wheels; the zaptieh begins to lag behind a little, though still spurring his panting horse into keeping reasonably close behind; a bend now occurs in the road, and an intervening knoll hides iis from each other; I put on more steam, and at the same time the zaptieh evidently gives it up and relapses into his normal crawling pace, for when three miles or thereabout arc covered I look back and perceive him leisurely heaving in sight from behind the knoll.
Part way across the plain I arrive at a fountain and make a short halt, for the day is unpleasantly warm, and the dirt-road is covered with dust; the government postaya araba is also halting here to rest and refresh the horses. I have not failed to notice the proneness of Asiatics to base their conclusions entirely on a person's apparel and general outward appearance, for the seeming incongruity of my "Ingilis" helmet and the Circassian moccasins has puzzled them not a little on more than one occasion. And now one wiseacre among this party at the road-side fountain stubbornly asserts that I cannot possibly be an Englishman because of my wearing a mustache without side whiskers-a feature that seems to have impressed upon his enlightened mind the unalterable conviction that I am an "Austrian," why an Austrian any more than a Frenchman or an inhabitant of the moon, I wonder ? and wondering, wonder in vain. Five P.M., August 16,1885, finds me seated on a rude stone slab, one of those ancient tombstones whose serried ranks constitute the suburban scenery of Angora, ruefully disburdening my nether garments of mud and water, the results of a slight miscalculation of my abilities at leaping irrigating ditches with the bicycle for a vaulting-pole. While engaged in this absorbing occupation several inquisitives mysteriously collect from somewhere, as they invariably do whenever I happen to halt for a minute, and following the instructions of the Ayash letter I inquire the way to the "Ingilisin Adam" (Englishman's man). They pilot me through a number of narrow, ill-paved streets leading up the sloping hill which Angora occupies - a situation that gives the supposed ancient capital of Galatia a striking appearance from a distance - and into the premises of an Armenian whom I find able to make himself intelligible in English, if allowed several minutes undisturbed possession of his own faculties of recollection between each word - the gentleman is slow but not quite sure. From him I learn that Mr. Binns and family reside during the summer months at a vineyard five miles out, and that Mr. Binns will not be in town before to-morrow morning; also that, "You are welcome to the humble hospitality of our poor family."