CHAPTER XV. FROM THE KOORDISH CAMP TO YUZGAT.
The inquisitive partner makes me up a comfortable bed of quilts on the divan of a large room, which is also occupied by several salt traders remaining over night, and into which their own small private apartments open. A few minutes after they have retired to their respective rooms, the contemplative young man reappears with silent tread, and with a scornful glance at my surroundings, both human and inanimate, gathers up my loose effects, and bids me bring bicycle and everything into his room; here, I find, he has already prepared for my reception quite a downy couch, having contributed, among other comfortable things, his wolf-skin overcoat; after seeing me comfortably established on a couch more appropriate to my importance as a person recently from Stamboul than the other, he takes a lingering look at the bicycle, shakes his head and clucks, and then extinguishes the light. Sunrise on the following morning finds me wheeling eastward from the salt quarry, over a trail well worn by salt caravans, to Yuzgat; the road leads for some distance down a grassy valley, covered with the flocks of the several Koordish camps round about; the wild herdsmen come galloping from all directions across the valley toward me, their uncivilized garb and long swords giving them more the appearance of a ferocious gang of cut-throats advancing to the attack than shepherds. Hitherto, nobody has seemed any way inclined to attack me; I have almost wished somebody would undertake a little devilment of some kind, for the sake of livening things up a little, and making my narrative more stirring; after venturing everything, I have so far nothing to tell but a story of being everywhere treated with the greatest consideration, and much of the time even petted. I have met armed men far away from any habitations, whose appearance was equal to our most ferocious conception of bashi bazouks, and merely from a disinclination to be bothered, perhaps being in a hurry at the time, have met their curious inquiries with imperious gestures to be gone; and have been guilty of really inconsiderate conduct on more than one occasion, but under no considerations have I yet found them guilty of anything worse than casting covetous glances at my effects. But there is an apparent churlishness of manner, and an overbearing demeanor, as of men chafing under the restraining influences that prevent them gratifying their natural free-booting instincts, about these Koordish herdsmen whom I encounter this morning, that forms quite a striking contrast to the almost childlike harmlessness and universal respect toward me observed in the disposition of the villagers. It requires no penetrating scrutiny of these fellows' countenances to ascertain that nothing could be more uncongenial to them than the state of affairs that prevents them stopping ine and looting me of everything I possess; a couple of them order me quite imperatively to make a detour from my road to avoid approaching too near their flock of sheep, and their general behavior is pretty much as though seeking to draw me into a quarrel, that would afford them an opportunity of plundering me. Continuing on the even tenor of my way, affecting a lofty unconsciousness of their existence, and wondering whether, in case of being molested, it would be advisable to use my Smith Wesson in defending my effects, or taking the advice received in Constantinople, offer no resistance whatever, and trust to being able to recover them through the authorities, I finally emerge from their vicinity. Their behavior simply confirms what I have previously understood of their character; that while they will invariably extend hospitable treatment to a stranger visiting their camps, like unreliable explosives, they require to be handled quite "gingerly" when encountered on the road, to prevent disagreeable consequences.