BLTC Press Titles

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The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

On horseback through Asia minor

by Frederick Gustavus Burnaby


"This is done to show his contempt of you as a giaour," whispered an Armenian. "This is how he insults us Christians."

The Caimacan turned a little red when he saw the schoolmaster thus seated in his presence. However, he did not make any remark, but accompanied me to the Armenian school.

There were about a hundred boys in the establishment. The moment I arrived they commenced an Armenian song, headed by one of the masters— an elderly gentleman, who sang through his nose. A performer on an ancient harpsichord, which from its signs of age might have belonged to Queen Anne, accompanied the vocalists. The words, I was informed, were about the glories of Armenia, what a fine nation the Armenians were, and how some day Armenia will lift up her head once more. My host interpreted to me these verses.

"Do you think that Armenia will ever be independent?" I inquired.

He shook his head.

"Russia will very likely be here in a year or two, and then we shall be much more oppressed than we are at present. Why, the Russian Government will not allow this song to be sung in our


schools at Tiflis. Everything is done to make my fellow-countrymen in the Caucasus forget their own language and nationality, and to thoroughly Russify them. If the Russians were to come here, our religion would soon disappear," he continued.

"But some of your priests rather like the Russians?"

"Some people would sell their souls to obtain a cross or an order," said another Armenian. "But every patriot amongst us who has read of what our country once was will scorn the idea of being degraded into a Muscovite."

"Are the Russians so very degraded?" I remarked.

"They possess all the vices of the Turks, and none of their good qualities. They drink like swine; many of their officials embezzle the public money; and as to lying, they can even outdo the Greeks in this respect."

"You have not a high opinion of the Tzar's people?" I observed.

"No, Effendi; better a hundred times remain as we are than be forced to submit to his rule."

"Is that really so? I thought that you were always complaining about the want of liberty in Turkey," I remarked.

"Yes, Effendi, all we wish for is to be placed on the same footing as the Turks themselves. This is the Sultan's desire; a firman has been issued to that effect, but it is a dead letter. The Cadis ought to carry out the law; they will not do so. They ought to be forced to carry out the Padishah's orders."

On returning to my quarters, the Caimacan, who accompanied me, remarked,—

"Effendi, did you notice the Hodja's (schoolmaster) conduct?"

"I did."

"I was sorry to remark that he did not stand up when you entered the room."

"It was a very bad example for the boys; they could plainly see that their preceptor did not hold the chief magistrate of the town in much respect," I observed.

The Caimacan hesitated for a moment, and then remarked,—

"Oh! it was not on my own account that I spoke, but for the sake of the Effendi, who is an Englishman. It was an insult to him."

"Not in the least," I remarked. "How could it have been, when you were present? Why, you would have taken notice of it immediately."

"I did," said the Caimacan drily, "and the schoolmaster is in prison I"


"Is in prison? What for?"

"For contempt of his superiors."

"How long shall you keep him there?"

"That depends upon you, but he has been shut up about two hours already."

"I should think that it would be sufficient," I remarked.

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