Mr. X or Captain Pogossian

In this situation we remained sitting for about three hours. I do not know how much longer we would have had to sit there if a young Kurd girl had not chanced to appear in the distance with an ass, gathering keesiak in the fields.

Making various signs to her, we finally managed to attract her attention, and when she came closer and saw what the trouble was, she went off to fetch the shepherds to whom the dogs belonged, who were not far away behind a hill. The shepherds came and called off the dogs, but only when they were at some distance did we risk standing up; and all the time they were moving away the rascals kept an eye on us.

 

 

As it turned out, we had been most naïve in assuming that after crossing the river Arax we would have left the greatest difficulties and troubles behind us; as a matter of fact, it was only there that they began.

The greatest difficulty was that after crossing this frontier river and going over Mount Egri Dagh, we could no longer pass for Aïsors, as we had until the encounter with the dogs, because we now found ourselves in places populated by genuine Aïsors. To travel as Armenians, in regions where at that time they were being persecuted by all the other races, was quite out of the question. It was also dangerous to go as Turks or Persians. It would have been preferable to pass ourselves off as Russians or Jews, but neither Pogossian’s appearance nor mine would permit this.

At that time great care had to be taken if one wished to conceal one’s real nationality, because to be found out in any disguise would have been very dangerous. The natives were not then over­particular in their choice of means for getting rid of undesirable foreigners. For instance, it was rumoured from authentic sources that several Englishmen had recently been flayed alive by Aïsors, for having attempted to make copies of certain inscriptions.

After long deliberation, we decided to disguise ourselves as Caucasian Tartars. Somehow or other we made the appropriate changes in our dress, and continued on our journey.

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