CHAPTER XVIII. MOUNT ARARAT AND KOORDISTAN.
If I am surprised, the lady herself not unnaturally evinces even greater astonishment at the apparition of a lone wheelman here on the caravan roads of Persia; of course we are mutually delighted. With the assistance of her servant, the lady alights from the saddle and introduces herself as Mrs. E - , the wife of one of the Persian missionaries; her husband has lately returned home, and she is on the way to join him. The Persians accompanying her comprise her own servants, some soldiers procured of the Governor of Tabreez by the English consul to escort her as far as the Turkish frontier, and a couple of unattached travellers keeping with the party for company and society. A mule driver has charge of pack-mules carrying boxes containing, among other things, her husband's library. During the course of ten minutes' conversation the lady informs me that she is compelled to travel in this manner the whole distance to Trebizond, owing to the practical impossibility of passing through Bussian territory with the library. Were it not for this a comparatively short and easy journey would take them to Tiflis, from which point there would be steam communication with Europe. Ere the poor lady gets to Trebizond she will be likely to reflect that a government so civilized as the Czar's might relax its gloomy laws sufficiently to allow the affixing of official seals to a box of books, and permit its transportation through the country, on condition-if they will-that it should not be opened in transit; surely there would be no danger of the people's minds being enlightened -not even a little bit-by coming in contact with a library tightly boxed and sealed. At the frontier an escort of Turkish zaptiehs will take the place of the Persian soldiers, and at Erzeroum the missionaries will, of course, render her every assistance to Trebizond; but it is not without feelings of anxiety for the health of a lady travelling in this rough manner unaccompanied by her natural protector, that I reflect on the discomforts she must necessarily put up with between here and Erzeroum. She seems in good spirits, however, and says that meeting me here in this extraordinary manner is the "most romantic" incident in her whole experiences of missionary life in Persia. Like many another, she says, she can I scarcely conceive it possible that I am travelling without attendants and without being able to speak the languages. One of the unattached travellers gives me a note of introduction to Mohammed. Ali Khan, the Governor of Peri, a suburban village of Khoi, which I expect to reach some time this afternoon.