LETTERS FROM ARMENIA
LETTER No. VI.
JOURNEY TO AINTAB — TROUBLES AT KILLIS — AN EARLY START BAULKED — A HARD NIGHT — ARRIVAL AT AINTAB.
AINTAB, April 23, 1896.
WE have just arrived here, and find that there is a post going seaward to-day, so I catch the opportunity to send word where we are. The last four days have been occupied in continuous travel, and we are somewhat the worse for wear.
We rode two days in a carriage, engaging a waggon or araba for our servants and bags of needment. By this means, as the roads were at their best, we made forty miles odd on Monday and nearly as many on Tuesday, and finished the two days’ journey at Killis, which you will remember as the scene of the latest massacre some three weeks or so ago; we thus found ourselves in the wake of the storm, and were able to form some idea of what it must have been like. The Armenian church was turned into a hospital, and I was told that there were seven men still lying there, several of whom cannot survive. As it is no part of my business to officiously thrust myself into the political life of the country, I did not indulge the sightseer’s natural instinct to look at anything that has the flavour of death or dying, and no doubt my conduct would in this way be more acceptable
to the authorities; for I gathered that the kaimakam or mayor does not approve of such visits being made, and I do not think he would wish an interior view of the church to be taken, nor that an “interview” (in the modern sense) should be sought with sufferers and doctors.
We had great trouble in getting away from Killis. I ordered our horses to start at six, and was up at five myself to superintend operations, but no horses appeared, and only after a long while two or three sorry mules. We had a solid fight with the Killisians for two hours and a half, and succeeded in getting the anchor up (please notice my Greek love of the sea, and how it deranges my metaphors) by 8.30 of the clock.
The consequences of all this delay were apparent in the afternoon, when we were informed by the policeman or zaptieh who had us in charge, that it was unsafe to push through to Aintab, as the road was infested with Circassians and robbers, and that we must put up for the night at a village khan. My dear friends will regard it as a historical benediction on their lives that they have never had to sleep in such quarters; it was an alternation of conflicts with savage men and brute beasts of minute dimension; but I think I had better leave Helen to describe our horrible night, the attempt that was made to break in upon us, and the general sense of savagery around.1 I don’t think we ever slept less or found a night longer, or were more glad of daylight and ready to jump up from the floor where we
1 This letter has apparently been lost. — J. R. H.
were lying and thank God that it was five o’clock and time to be off.
And now to-day we have crept on somewhat wearily and painfully to the great American college at Aintab, and are enjoying the luxury of the bath and the hospitality of the kindest of hosts, Dr. and Mrs. Puller.
So now you have us placed on the map: in your prayers also we are sensibly well-placed, even though perhaps on your side it may sometimes seem as difficult to pray intelligently as if we were Robinson Crusoe, and cast on a lonely island. To such places love understands the navigation.
J. R. H.
Table of contents
The cover and pages 1-4 | Preface | Table of contents (as in the book)
Turkish Armenia with Route of J.R. & H.B. Harris (a map)
Letter I | Letter II | Letter III | Letter IV | Letter V | Letter VI | Letter VII | Letter VIII
Letter IX | Letter X | Letter XI | Letter XII | Letter XIII | Letter XIV | Letter XV
Letter XVI | Letter XVII | Letter XVIII | Letter XIX | Letter XX | Letter XXI | Letter XXII
Letter XXIII | Letter XXIV | Letter XXV | Letter XXVI | Letter XXVII | Letter XXVIII
Memorandum: Notes of Information from J. R. H. | Letter XXIX | Letter XXX
Letter XXXI | Letter XXXII | Letter XXXIII | Letter XXXIV | Letter XXXV
Letter XXXVI | Letter XXXVII
J. Rendel Harris & B. Helen Harris. Letters from the Scenes of
the Recent Massacres in Armenia. London, James Nisbet & Co.,