Tth Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin





[At Shushi for the third time - To Tabriz - Joins Shia pilgrims journeying to Bagdad - They object to his presence in their holy assembly - Emin saves them from paying toll to the Kurds - They change their opinion - "An angel, not an Armenian" - Emin solemnly agrees to save his skin - At Bagdad joins a caravan - Malalah a young Arab - Journey and wayside accommodation from Bagdad to Hilla and Samavat - Caravan stopped by custom-house officers - Emin takes another road - Malalah’s devotion - His Arab fleetness of foot - Frozen waterways - Emin representing himself to be a Shia for safety of himself and companions - At Qurna embarks for Basra – The H. E. I. C. "Revenge" - Mr. Eyre, officer commanding, and his uncourteous treatment of Emin - At Basra - Mr. Moore, the Resident - His suspicions - Satisfied by his Armenian broker, still refuses his protection - Taken in by an Armenian - Malalah and Emin part with sorrow. ]

Emin left Ganja in the month of August, marched with Agababa his relation, and in four days arrived at Shoshu the third time. There he visited Ibrahim Khan, who favoured him with an order, signed and sealed, for him to be entertained, and his horse to be found with forage. He stayed there a week, and thence, with a single servant, in three days came to Orduvar, and thence to Tabriz, where he joined a large zavar (or assembly of pilgrims) going to Bagdad, to the number of 5000 souls, men and women of all sorts, princes, warriors, merchants, and others. Those abominable people of the Shia sect began to grumble at him for being a Caffer; saying, he was not worthy to travel with that holy zavar of Husein the martyred son of Ali. He was so much insulted, and so exasperated by their abusive expressions, that he proposed to himself to leave them; but after five days travelling, they entered the confines of Curdistan; and, before they came to the town called Banna, in one of the passes there stood forty or fifty stout Curds to exact rahdary or turnpike-money. Each man was to pay a quarter of Turkish dollar. As the zavar was numerous, and not willing to give any, they said nothing while they were passing, not knowing that a servant of Rania Khan’s happened to be gone to some village in the environs with three other men to buy chopped straw or forage. The Curdish party increasing, saw the others coming from the right, and the zavar losing courage, (though there were 300 horsemen well-mounted), were panic-struck, and stood still looking at the Curds. Emin could not bear to see their cowardice, and took the opportunity to reprimand them sharply. He then charged on a full gallop from the high ground to attack the Curds, the 300 men resuming their spirit trotted after him, and put everyone of the Curds to flight, when the servants who were gone for forage joined the zavar, without a blow, or firing a piece. This small exertion of spirit was taken so much notice of by the whole body of zavar, that when they pitched, which happened on the fifth day of the march, they unanimously elected Emin commander of the zavar; those ridiculous superstitious fools telling him to his face that he was not an Armenian, but an angel ordained to come down and take care of the most pious zavar of Hazrat Imam Husein, and Emin durst not contradict them for fear of being ill-treated. He was contented to be in peace, laughed in his own mind, but looked very solemn and grave. The poor men, who had no horses, mules, or asses, marched in the front, after the advanced guard of a dozen horse; and the rest who were mounted kept their post in the rear, and like an army passed several turnpikes without paying any thing. That journey continued about a fortnight.

When they came to Charachualan, one of the capital towns of the Turkish Curds, Emin, after staying six days, set out with three Armenians for Bagdad, and arrived there in seven days; there he stayed eighteen days with some apprehension of the Turks. About four o’clock in the morning he joined a Mahomedan caravan; and after going over the bridge of boats on the Tigris a stout young Arab on the march offered himself, in broken Turkish, to be his servant. Emin declined his service, saying, that he was a Christian and poor in his circumstances; that he could not presume to accept him on those terms, but should be very glad if he would become his comrade. The young Arab, whose name was Malalah, being struck with Emin’s frankness, jumped down from his mule, thanked him by the word Barekallah and said, "Sir, since you are so good and considerate as to know the difference between Christians and Musulmans, I will serve you like a slave, without any wages, and, if you chuse it, I will accompany you to any part of the world. " While they were making this friendly agreement, the people of the caravan wondered, saying, "Wallahel Agim! (or, by the Great God!) this man is not a Gabr Gavury, or Armenian; and it is through the goodness of his heart that honest Malalah has offered his service to him. " They added, "Yusup, or Joseph, " half in Turkish, and half in Arabic, "you are very fortunate to have such a youth as your servant and comrade. " Emin always took care, in all the Turkish territories, to be called Yusup, or Joseph; for the word Emin is an Arabic name, and he feared lest the deluded Turks should be troublesome to him.

From Bagdad to Helli are four stages: - two miles before each stage Malalah took care every day to gallop his hired mule, and secure the best berth in the public caravanserais. And in the morning when they reached Helli, after stopping at an inn on the bank of the Euphrates, Malalah went immediately and spoke to the master of a zeyma loaded with corn and bound for Bosra, and agreed to pay a dollar for each person: he then came back like lightning, and saying that he had got a passage, packed up the baggage, carried it on his shoulders, and laid it in the boat. The next morning they left Helli, and dropped down the river by the current, sailing the whole day and some part of the night. They tied the boat wherever there was a mizif-khana (house of charity: ) those places are thatched houses, built by rich Arabs to entertain travellers both by land and water, and they give plenty of coarse boiled rice, with a little oily butter, and abundance of dates. Malalah took care always to go out with the boat’s crew to eat there. Emin, having a provision of biscuits, stewed meat, and sweet-meats, told him not to go out, but to stay in the boat and eat as he did; but all his persuasion was to no purpose: Malalah, modestly refusing, said, "Sir, we Arabs are used to make our diet upon coarse victuals. If I begin to eat yours, it will not last you five days, and we shall have twenty days sailing before we come to Bosra; therefore I beg you will not press me: I have eaten your bread and salt four days, from Bagdad to Helli, which is fully sufficient for any honest man. I have once told you, that I am your slave, - rest satisfied I am an Arab, not like the Osmanly Turks, who have neither shame, nor principle of true honour. I will stand to my word as long as I live. I have a sister at Bosra married to an Arab: having two dollars about me, in our way I shall buy rice as a present for her, and then return to Bagdad, if you have no more occasion for me; but if you have, I will go with you to the world’s end. " As they went on, the friendship between them increased daily and hourly; and, to do justice, the attachment of Malalah towards him was greater. In the boat were fifteen Bagdad Janizaries, all well-armed and equally attached to Emin, but not so ready with their firelocks. It so happened in the night, when some mashuffs (or fishing boats) of Arab robbers appeared like furies to attack the boat, Emin, with prepared cartridges, could fire his piece four times before they could pull their triggers, and that without their piece going off. Malalah could not help rejoicing to find him so expert, laughing and mocking the Janizaries; yet they went on cheerfully, singing and conversing sociably.

After seventeen days they came to a village of Smavat. The boatman having imprudently forgot to get a permit at Bagdad, was stopped by the Turkish custom-house officers, and was obliged to go back to Bagdad for a pass. The good Malalah told Emin it would be a month before he could return; and that their best way would be to go in a small fishing boat, which goes in a day and a half’s journey only to a place where they might get another conveyance; that if any accident should happen to the governor of Bagdad, the Arabs, according to custom, would revolt, and then they would not be able to stir an inch from that place. Emin consented, and hired two boats, one for himself, and the other for three young Janizaries, each for an eighth part of a dollar; the rest, whose baggages were heavy, were left behind. They dropped down and towed the whole day, and in the night they slept in the boats: but poor Malalah, sitting by the head of Emin, continued awake the whole night for fear of being surprized by robbers. The next morning they proceeded in company with the Janizaries; and in the afternoon they came to a place, the name of which is forgotten. Here they found several Janizary merchants, who had come from Bosra to buy oil, butter, or grease. As they had taken their quarters at the mizif-khana, they invited Emin and his comrades to lodge there. They halted three days, not finding a conveyance to proceed. Malalah advised Emin and the three Janizaries to travel on foot down to Sagshuff, where he did not doubt of getting boats to go to Corna. The Janizaries’ baggage was not very heavy, and they could carry it very easily. Emin, in the first place, had his Tartarian saddle, weighing almost thirty pounds, his bedding, wearing-apparel, and provision, almost a hundred pounds. The Herculian Malalah packed them all up in a ball, and put them into his abba (or mantle, ) the long sides towards the angles, which lapped over one another crossways very compactly, and with the other two ends tied together and slung over his forehead like an English porter’s knot. He then said to Emin, "Now Sir, you have only to carry your piece and your great cloak to keep yourself from cold. " They set out marching, and Malalah tripped on, cantering like a dromedary, which made Emin suspect that he had run away with the baggage. The poor Janizaries were no less surprized. Malalah, thinking they had kept up the same pace, never looked behind till he was out of sight: they in the mean time running and trotting quite out of breath, saw him at last standing, and drawing near heard him cry out, "Come on, you Janizaries!" When they came up, they found him standing by the side of a creek frozen on the surface: the water was five feet deep, and about forty feet wide. He then began to scold the Janizaries, saying, "Are not you ashamed of yourselves? Your mantles are not heavier than five pounds. You have not strength enough either to keep up the same pace, or to call out to me, that I might not go too fast before you, so as to fatigue Emin, whose Lazgui cloak is as heavy as your three. " They, grumbling, said, "How is it possible for us, who are like oxen, to fly like you, who resemble an Arabian horse?" He laughed immoderately, and laid down his load, telling them to do as he did. He then pulled off his cloaths from head to foot, took them upon his head, crossed over to the other side, and there laying down the things, returned back, sat on his knees like a camel, and made Emin race on his neck. When he found Emin going to strip, he would by no means suffer it, lest he should catch cold. He carried him over like a child, so as not to wet even his feet in the water. The Turks followed the same method, and passed stark naked: but when they were told by Malalah, that there were four or five more such frozen creeks to ford, it frightened the poor devils out of their senses; they looked like stuck pigs, almost despaired, and swore by the head of their Prophet, that if they had known it before, they would not for a thousand dollars have stirred out of the zeyma at Smavat. It was certainly a hard trial of patience in the month of December, especially when a pinching north-west wind was blowing, and when the only comfort they had was, that their faces were to the south-east, otherwise every one would have suffered severely, except the heroic Malalah, who seemed as if he was walking on a bed of roses. He was six feet high, as white and fresh as an European, always in good humour, with a smile on his countenance. Those creeks, as Emin was told, had been dug up to water the cultivated lands, chiefly fields of rice and other grain, which were distant from one another about two miles more or less. Through every one of them, Malalah took the same care of Emin as over the first.

Within two miles and a half from Sagshuff, as they were travelling pretty near the river, they discovered a corn-boat with a fair wind sailing down the water; Malalah hailed the boatman as loud as he could, and begged him, for God’s name, and the Prophet’s sake, to take them on board as passengers, since they would be glad to go to Corna: - there the Euphrates and Tigris meet; and, luckily, the boat happened to be bound for that place. On hearing the distress which the five travellers were in, the boatman took compassion on them, and brought the zeyma close to the bank, where they got in with great comfort and satisfaction. The master and crew asked, who that stranger was? meaning Emin: Malalah said, he was an Ajam Shiah Musulman and warrior, belonging to Carim Khan, Sultan of Persia. Emin reproved him in Turkish for not telling the truth; but Malalah, chiding him in a good-natured way, said, "Good Sir! hold your tongue; for if they know you are a Christian, they will not only kill you, but kill us all. Consider you are in Shiah Arabistan, without a friend or protector: - you will be demolished in an instant, if you will not conduct yourself prudently: - you are not to be compelled to renounce your religion: - be patient only for a couple of days, when you will come into Sunni government, and then you may publicly profess your faith, as well as the other Armenians in Bosra. " He added, "You see our comrades (meaning the Janizaries) are Sunnis, but are obliged to profess themselves Shiahs, to save their lives. I myself am a downright Shiah; but my heart does not suffer me to inform against you and shed your innocent blood; therefore I beseech you to consider, and not to be the cause of your own destruction. " The Janizaries also were frightened at Emin’s conduct, and begging him for Christ’s sake to say nothing while they were in such a dangerous situation. Emin, who had been among the Lazguis for so long a time, never had suffered himself a minute to be masked in such a character; but recollecting the words of Saint Paul, "To the weak, became I as weak, that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means gave some. " Emin therefore said nothing for the sake of his comrades. Had he been alone, or had he understood the Arabic language, he would have declared what he was, to preserve his honour or fall a sacrifice for his faith.

After a few minutes more sailing, they came to Sagshuff, and went on shore. The boat-master, with his companions and crew, sat on their knees saying prayers: Emin also sat down, and got up with open hands, prostrating himself on the turf five or six times as they did, till the prayers were over. They slept in the boat close to the bank at Sagshuff, and about twelve o’clock at night they began rowing and sailing for Corna. The next afternoon about five o’clock they arrived at that place, where a large boat was ready to go to Bosra. After sailing two days, on the twenty-fifth of December, they the Company’s ship Revenge, commanded by the late captain Farmer, lying at anchor near Minavy, opposite to the mouth of the creek. Emin’s heart leaped for joy: he hired a ghiffa (or tarred basket) for his little baggage: Malalah got into it and rowed towards the ship. When the officers of the watch on the gangway asked who he was? he answered, "An English traveller, named Wilson, would be very glad if you would allow him an hour’s time on board, just to put on new clothes to wait on Mr. Henry Moore the president at Bosra. " The captain was gone up to town to pass Christmas-day with the president: a midshipman was sent down to the cabin to Mr. Eyre, next in command, for an order. At first he made no objection; and Emin flattered himself the officer would have the good manners and hospitality to invite him to dinner, for he was very hungry, having not tasted fresh boiled meat during all the twenty-five days from Bagdad to that place; but his expectation was disappointed. The things were not handed up two minutes before there came another express order from Mr. Eyre, for him to go immediately out of the ship. This cold usage was shockng to Emin; and he felt it so severely, that he forgot all his past troubles. The officers too were astonished at Eyre’s barbarous behaviour, and advised Emin to go down himself to speak to him about staying for the time desired; he did so; but Eyre’s heart was turned into hard stone; he would by no means comply, making excuses that he could not let him stay in the ship, as it was against the commander’s order. Emin said, "Sir, I do not want to stay in the ship for good, or to sleep in it; allow me but half an hour, like the strange Arabs, who sell provisions to the crew, and who stay the whole day on board. " It was to no purpose, the officer would not consent. Broken-hearted Emin took his things into the basket again, the officers cursing Eyre for his unpoliteness. Poor Malalah, though he understood not the language, was sensible that Emin was ill-received, and rowing the boat to the creek’s mouth, it being low water, they landed.

At this place they hired an ass, and Malalah packed up the things, but could not persuade Emin to ride on the beast. Emin made him mount; so they marched, not knowing exactly the distance, (it might have been between three and four miles), up to the town of Bosra. At about two in the afternoon they reached Mr. Moore’s gates. The porter gave notice, and he was (being first disarmed by the Janizaries and Sepahis) admitted into the dining-room, where a Christmas table was just laid. Mr. Moore was sometimes standing, and sometimes walking: and on seeing a stranger, he said, "Who are you, Sir?" Emin said, "In private, I will tell you. " Mr. Moore said, "I will not hear you in private. " Then Emin retired; and as he was going down stairs, dropped these very words, "Is it not enough that I am disarmed by Palioz Moore’s warriors at his gate, yet he is afraid to speak with a single man in private. " Taking his arms back, he was just stepping out of doors, when a servant running down, called him back. When he went up again, Mr. Moore said, "There is nobody here; pray tell me now what is your name, or what you want?" He said, "My name is Emin; you may have heard of my having been taken notice of by the nobles of England, patronized by the duke of Northumberland, protected by his Royal Highness the duke of Cumberland; of my having served some campaigns in Germany under Prince Ferdinand and the duke of Marlborough; of my being recommended to the court of Russia; and by them, to Prince Heraclius, without succeeding in my honest designs. I now stop at Bosra, before I go to my father in Calcutta; and for my services to your famous nation, without any emolument, I now come with hopes of obtaining the protection of the Honourable Company’s Flag, under which you, Sir, are president in this factory. " Upon this, Mr. Moore started back, and said, that he could not believe, unless he could prove it, that he was Emin, who had been talked of all over the world as being descended from the ancient families of the Armenian kings; as being discovered by the great men in England; and of course respected, as Emin observed. " This he said, rubbing his hands together, smiling, and walking up and down the room, in seeming triumph, as if he was detecting a sharper. Emin said, coolly, "Sir, you are mistaken; he is not of royal blood, nor did the good people of England take notice of him on that vain account: it was by means of his honesty and upright dealings, as a despiser of all tyrannical names. My name is Emin: I am the son of Joseph Michael Emin of Calcutta, an Armenian by religion, and by birth a native of Hamadan in Persia. " Mr. Moore said, "You seem to be an Irishman by your accent. " Emin smiling answered, "You honour me much in thinking so; for the Irish are a very brave nation, with deserved renown. " This answer made the gentleman look serious: he asked Emin if he understood his native language? He said, "Yes. " Then Mr. Moore, in a hurry, called for his broker Petrus Malik; who, when he came in, was ordered to speak and ask questions. Emin answered every word; and Petrus knowing his family and father, satisfied Mr. Moore; who turning to him, said, "Now what shall I do for you? I cannot protect you. I am but newly come; you have been making a great noise in the world. I am afraid of displeasing the Turks; or of drawing the Company into some trouble. " He added, "If you are an honest man I will protect you; but you may be an impostor. " Emin, by that cruel expression, was so pierced to the heart, that he forgot himself and the poor Armenian merchants, for whose sake alone he had humbled himself in asking protection, hoping to secure them from being fleeced by the Turks. His sinking soul rose at once, and he said, "Sir, you are not worthy of your post, and know not the power vested in you; since you are so timorous, and so satirical, it were better you had not been born. Take care; remember what you have said, and depend upon it, that I will afford you ample satisfaction for my words; for I am an honest Armenian, and as fearless as an Irishman. If the point cannot be decided at Bosra, where you are a great signior and perhaps will continue here some years, I shall soon, by God’s help, be at Bombay. " Emin finishing his speech, turned about to go away. Mr. Moore laid hold of his arm, and asked his pardon, making very civil apologies, and saying, that he meant no harm; that he spoke only to try him; and that he must consider, that being newly sent thither, he was an entire stranger to the cursed disposition of the Turks. Emin said no more, and went away, not much pleased, and excessively hungry. At the gate his arms were returned to him; and going along he met an Armenian, who showed him the way to one of his relations. When he entered the house, poor Malalah understanding from the servants of Mr. Moore that he was not received as he expected, was in great concern; and perhaps more dejected than Emin. He said, "Sir, I find that there is no ship going to Bengal; it will be a long time before you will be able to go thither: it is best for me to return to Bagdad. I am going to see my sister, and shall stay there but two days, and then set out again. " Emin gave him a dollar, which was all the money he had, and prevailed on him to accept it with much ado. They eat a bit of bread and cheese, and parted like brothers, with great sorrow.