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When the fugitives who had escaped from Asheetha spread the news of the massacre through the valley of Lizan, the inhabitants of the villages around collected such part of their property as they could carry, and took refuge on the platform I have just described and on the rock above; hoping thus to escape the notice of the Kurds, or to be able to defend, against any numbers, a place almost inaccessible. Women and young children, as well as men, concealed themselves in a spot which the mountain goat could scarcely reach. Beder Khan Bey was not long in discovering their retreat; but being unable to force it, he surrounded the place with his men, and waited until they should be compelled to yield. The weather was hot and sultry; the Christians had brought but small supplies of water and provisions; after three days the first began to fail them, and they offered to capitulate. The terms proposed by Beder Khan Bey, and ratified by an oath on the Koran, were the surrender of their arms and property. The Kurds were then admitted to the platform. After they had taken the arms from their prisoners, they commenced an indiscriminate slaughter; until, weary of using their weapons, they hurled the few survivors from the rocks into the Zab below. Out of nearly one thousand souls, who are said to have congregated here, only one escaped.
We had little difficulty in descending to the village; a moving mass of stones, skulls, and rubbish, carried us rapidly down the declivity.
The massacre of the wild Berbers in their caves in Algeria created a general consternation throughout Europe; there was not a pen that did not stir in the cause of a common humanity and mercifulness. Nearly 1000 men, women, and children-remote, unfriended, Christian brethren -were barbarously slain in a cave of Kurdistan, and scarcely was a single notice taken of the transaction by the press—all powerful where the sympathies are to be aroused—throughout the length and breadth of the land.
The villages in the valley of the Zab had suffered more from the Kurds than any other part of Tiyari.
Chonba was almost deserted ; its houses and churches a mass of ruins, and its gardens and orchards uncultivated and neglected. There was no root under which we could pass the night; and we were obliged to spread our carpets under a cluster of walnut-trees, near a clear and most abundant spring. Under these trees was pitched the tent of Beder Khan Bey after the great massacre; and here he received Melek Ismail, when delivered a prisoner into his hands. Yakoub, who had been present at the murder of the unfortunate chief of Tiyari, thus described the event. After performing prodigies of valour, and heading his people in their defence of the pass which led into the upper districts, Melek Ismail, his thigh broken by a musket-ball, was carried by a few followers to a cavern in a secluded ravine; where he might have escaped the search of his enemies, had not a woman, to save her life, betrayed his retreat. He was dragged down the mountain with savage exultation, and brought before Beder Khan Bey. Here he fell upon the ground. • Wherefore does the infidel sit before me?" exclaimed the ferocious chief, who had seen his broken limb; “and what dog is this that has dared to shed the blood of true believers ?" “0 Mir," replied Melek Ismail, still undaunted, and partiy raising himself, “ this arm has taken the lives of nearly twenty Kurds; and, had God spared me, as many more would have fallen by it." Beder Khan Bey rose and walked to the Zab, making a sign to his attendants that they should bring the Melek to him. By his directions they held the Christian chief over the river, and, severing his head from his body with a dagger, cast them into the stream.
Alas, poor Melek Ismail! But three years before, the writer of this article had received at his hands one of those simple but touching presents, the memory of which we often hoard with as much tenacity as far more costly gifts ; it was a rare and beautiful flowering plant from his mountain snows; there was little in it, but it showed that a Melek of the Chaldeans could take an interest in a traveller's pursuits and pleasures.
Dr. Layard, crossing the Zab, penetrated to the south-eastward to the Chaldean district of Tkhoma, which had not been explored by his predecessors. Ilere he found a threatened invasion by Beder Khan the chief subject of conversation, and that although these poor Christians had been forced by Nur-Ullah Bey to join in the previous "massacre of their own brethren. A deputation was chosen, and at once sent to the Pasha of Mosul, bearing a touching appeal, which set forth that they were faithful subjects of the Sultan, that they had been guilty of no offence, and were ready to pay any money, or submit to any terms that the pasha might think fit to exact. At the same time, no precaution was omitted to place the valley in a state of defence, and to prepare for the approach of the Kurds. Neither were of any avail to these poor people. It was not likely that the successor of the pasha, who had been foiled in the execution of his plans of subjection and extermination a few years ago, was going to interfere with the just exercise of the sword of the faithful! Nor was the strength of five small and secluded villages sufficient to oppose to the inroad of an enemy far more numerous and as versed in mountain warfare as the Chaldeans themselves.
A few days after my return to Mosul (Dr. Layard relates), notwithstanding the attempts of Tahyar Pasha to avert the calamity, Beder Khan Bey marched through the Tiyari mountains, levying contributions on the tribes, and plundering the villages, on his way to the unfortunate district. The inhabitants of Tkhoma, headed by their Meleks, made some resistance, but were soon overpowered by numbers. An indiscriminate massacre took place. The women were brought before the chief, and murdered in cold blood. Those who attempted to escape were cut off: Three hundred women and children, who were flying into Baz, were killed in the pass I have described. The principal villages, with their gardens, were destroyed, and the churches pulled down. Nearly half the population fell victims to the fanatical fury of the Kurdish chief'; amongst these were one of the Meleks and Kasha Bodaca. With this good priest, and Kasha Auraham, perished the most learned of the Nestorian clergy; and Kasha Kana is the last who has inherited any part of the knowledge and zeal which once so eminently distinguished the Chaldean priesthood.
The last atrocious massacre excited such loud expressions of abhorrence, that the Porte could no longer preserve a semblance of opposition, and at the same time an attitude of indifference. An expedition was fitted out under Osman Pasha to remonstrate with the Kurd for the excessive cruelty of his proceedings, and at the same time to make him disgorge a portion of his ill-gotten plunder. Beder Khan could not at first understand that he should be employed at one moment to exterminate the infidels, and at another that he should be upbraided for carrying out his secret instructions at the point of the sword. The demand for a share in the profits of the incursions he, as a well-educated Turkish vassal, could better understand, and so he offered what resistance he could, and finally shut himself up with his slaves and property in one of his mountain castles. A semblance of hostilities was gone into between the Turkish and the Kurdish chiefs ; the castle was nominally invested, and a compromise was soon entered into, by which Beder Khan was guaranteed the enjoyment of his property, with the reservation of his harem, slaves, and attendants; the only sacrifice he was to make was one of political necessity-he must quit the seat of his government till the discontent of European friends and allies should slumber in oblivion, when it would require no great acquaintance with Oriental
antecedents to prophesy that he will be restored to his original position. The manner in which Dr. Layard relates these results is either a piece of amusing diplomatic mystification, or, if the writer is sincere, it argues not over-favourably for the clearsightedness of the new attaché of legation.
There is no doubt that Beder Khan Bey was, like most Kurdish chieftains, more of a vassal than a subject, and that he was often rebellious ; but that in this case he was first of all a tool which, its work being accomplished, was cast off, there can be little doubt among all who are acquainted with the campaigns of the Turks in Kurdistan since 1838. If Beder Khan Bey was not made a nominal sacrifice to policy, how does it happen that, according to Dr. Layard, Nur-Ullah Bey, whose allegiance to the Pasha of Van, and consequently to the Pasha of Erzrum, there can be no doubt about, was yet permitted, after the subjugation of Beder Khan, once more to fall suddenly upon the devoted Chaldees, to enslave and to destroy the few that remained, or to put them to torture under pretence of concealed treasures, without a remonstrance ?
We believe it is a common thing to say at the Foreign-office, of Oriental travellers, that they expect too much of them-more, in fact, than they have the power to do. But surely this was not the case in the present instance, where a single word in time might possibly have saved thousands of innocent lives. Had it been insisted upon, when the Chaldeans were threatened, that an energetic and honest remonstrance should be sent to the Pashas of Mosul or Van, the Kurds would never have ventured to move. As before said, the Turks themselves began the movement, which the Kurds only carried out; or, if the patriarch had been placed under the protection of England, in the same manner as the Roman Catholics of Syria are under that of France, the intervention of the British representative in their favour would have been still more efficient. That opportunity has now gone by, but another happily presents itself at the present moment. The tottering, decrepit, and inefficient rule of the Osmanlis is once more likely to be saved from annihilation by the political necessities of Great Britain and France. There will be for some time an active and positive feeling of gratitude for this intervention, or, if there is not, there ought to be, which is the same thing for the purposes in view. It would be a great act of humanity if such an opportunity was taken advantage of, to negotiate the protection sought by the patriarch and the clergy of Chaldea from Great Britain, or at all events to ensure by treaty their future rights as subjects of the Porte-rights which, from their mountain seclusion and remoteness, have hitherto been entirely disregarded. It would be but a small return for securing the integrity of an empire to ask for the emancipation of a people; but it would be ennobling to the cause of a general humanity and civilisation that the hand held out to the Mohammedans in the hour of distress should also uphold, in its last sad hour of prostration and extermination, the small remnant of a most interesting and ancient Christian community, the few and only living descendants of the Assyrians—" as much the remains of Nineveh and Assyria as are the rude heaps and ruined palaces”—and who will appear to some, perhaps, quite as deserving of interest and sympathy.
SOAPEY SPONGE'S SPORTING TOUR.
CHAPTER XXVII. MR. SPRAGGON'S EMBASSY TO JAWLEYFORD COURT. We left Mr. Jawleyford at the bottom of Scrambleford Hill, where he sat eying the field getting small by degrees and beautifully less, with a sort of fixed gaze of earnestness. His attention, however, was not riveted on the hounds, or the horsemen, or the scene, or to anything he was looking at. He was considering the fix he was in with regard to Jack Spraggon, and wondering how to get rid of his agreeable company next day at dinner. The honour of riding on the right of my lord, coupled with the excitement of the scene, and the quick find and get away of the pack, had prevented his following up his first effort to procure a postponement of the visit; but now that he was left alone in his glory, alone at least with the exception of the boy in blue, whose horse kept fidgeting and fretting, while the rider thought what a slow coach his master was to sit still instead of trying to follow the hounds—now, we say, that Jawleyford was alone, and the horrid infliction of Jack Spraggon's company flashed full upon him, he sat staring and meditating what would be the best way of getting rid of him.
Woodmansterne-Lord Scamperdale's residence and Jack's billet-was a long way from Jawleyford Court-twenty miles at least, and twelve from where they stood; and though anything but a humane man to his horses, Jawleyford saw the impossibility of trumping up an excuse that would stand the scrutiny of an impromptu put-off, or justify the sending over such a distance that day. After due consideration, during which the hounds gradually disappeared in the distance, and the late excited country resumed its wonted quiet, there being nothing further to stare at, Jawleyford turned his horse's head about and recommenced the ascent of the high, hog-backed hill that separated the vales in which Lord Scamperdale and he respectively lived. As he toiled up one side and led down the other, he pondered upon the most convenient peg whereon to hang an
A bad cold is a convenient thing, and the unwonted exertion of hunting might favour the presumption of such an acquisition ; but then Mr. Sponge would be there to contradict him. The illness of a friend, a sudden call from home, the recollection of a forgotten engagement, were all open to the same objection.
At last Mr. Jawleyford came to the resolution that a good sick headache would be the thing to have, and which, while it would save his Wintle that night, could be used with great apparent truth and security in the morning. Nobody could look into his head to see whether it was aching or not.
Accordingly, when Mr. Sponge returned, all dirtied and stained, from the chase, he found his host sitting in an arm-chair over the study fire, dressing-gowned and slippered, with a pocket-handkerchief tied about his head, looking as much of a wretch as could well be desired. To be sure he played rather a better knife and fork at dinner than is usual with persons with that peculiar ailment; but Mr. Sponge, being very hungry, and well attended to by the fair,-moreover, not suspecting any ulterior design,-just ate and jabbered away as usual, with the exception of omitting his sick papa-in-law in the round of his very sensible and gentlemanly observations.
6 Mr. Sprag
So the dinner passed over.
Bring me a tumbler and some hot water and sugar,” said Mr. Jawleyford, pressing his head against his hand, as Spigot, having placed some bottle ends on the table, and reduced the glare of light, was preparing to retire. “ Bring me some hot water and sugar," said he ; "and tell Harry he will have to go over to Lord Scamperdale's, with a note, the first thing in the morning."
The young ladies looked at each other, and then at mamma, who, seeing what was wanted, looked at papa, and asked “if he was going to ask Lord Scamperdale over?". Amelia, among her many "presentiments,” had long had one that she was destined to be Lady Scamperdale.
“No-over-10,” snapped Jawleyford ; " what should put that in your head?”
“Oh, I thought as Mr. Sponge was here, you might think it a good time to ask him."
“ His lordship knows he can come when he likes,” replied Jawleyford ; adding, “ It's to put that Mr. Jack Spraggon off, who thinks he may do the same."
“Mr. Spraggon!" exclaimed both the young ladies. gon !—what should set him here?”
“What, indeed ?" asked Jawleyford.
“ Poor man! I dare say there's no harm in him," observed Mrs. Jawleyford, who was always ready for anybody.
“ No good either,” replied Jawleyford, -- " at all events, we'll be just as well without him. You know him, don't you ?” added he, turning to Soapey—“great coarse man in spectacles."
“Oh yes, I know him," replied Soapey; "a great ruffian he is too, added he.
“One ought to be in robust health to encounter such a man,” observed Jawleyford, " and have time to get a man or two of the same sort to meet him. We can do nothing with such a man. I can't understand how his lordship puts up with such a fellow.”
“ Finds him useful, I suppose,” observed Mr. Sponge.
Spigot presently appeared with a massive silver salver, bearing tumblers, sugar, lemon, nutmeg, and other implements of negus.
“Will you join me in a little wine-and-water?" asked Jawleyford, pointing to the apparatus and bottle ends, or will you have a fresh bottle? -- plenty in the cellar," added he, with a flourish of his hand, though he kept looking steadfastly at the negus-tray.
“Oh-why-I'm afraid—I doubt-I think I should hardly be able to do justice to a bottle single-handed,” replied Soapey.
“Then have a little negus,” said Jawleyford; " you'll find it very refreshing; medical men recommend it after violent exercise in preference to wine. But pray have wine if you prefer it.”
“Ah-well, I'll finish off with a little negus perhaps,” replied Soapey; adding, “Meanwhile the ladies, I dare say, would like a little wine."
“The ladies drink white wine-sherry" -- rejoined Jawleyford, determined to make a last effort to save his port. “ However, you can have a bottle of port to yourself, you know.”
" Very well,” said Soapey.
“One condition I must attach," said Mr. Jawleyford, " which is, that you finish the bottle. Don't let us have any waste, you kuow."