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snows of winter, glowing under the crimson rays of the rising sun. Descending into the little plain of Eleutherochoros, we began to meet Wallach shepherds already driving their flocks down towards the south,-wild-looking fellows, tall and gaunt, with long, often flaxen hair waving about their shoulders; heavy, bony faces; aquiline noses strongly developed and well cut; rather prominent hairless chins; dressed in strange fragmentary woollen kilts and leggings, with perhaps a cloak more tattered still, thrown back toga-like over the left shoulder, — each one surrounded by a little army of pigs, that run grunting and stumbling between their master's legs, while he lavishes upon his cherished brood alternate cursings and blessings in the choicest Wallach. More than the Bulgar, more even than the Montenegrin, does the Wallach love his pigs ; never a Wallach village, never the merest hovel, without them; and when the shepherd wanders down to the pastures of the plain, with him they wander too, making music by the way.
From the plateau of Eleutherochoros another small pass across a ridge of hills leads into that
of Wlacho Livada—a repetition on a somewhat larger scale of the two plateaux we had already crossed; the small town of Wlacho Livada, with nearly four hundred houses—the centre, as its name indicates, of this Wallach region-lying away to the north-east under Mount Chapka. In front of us the long chain of the Kambouni, varying between four and five thousand feet, marks the new line of frontier, an unbroken wall of ironbound rocks, save for the deep depression which shows the entrance to the pass of Kirk Guetshid. The change of scene is sudden and abrupt. After riding for three hours across the park-like plain, the traveller enters a deep and gloomy ravine. Lofty cliffs of lime and sand stone rise on either side of the Sarantoporos to a height of 200 and 300 feet; mountain-ash rich with red berries, stunted oak, and a score of different shrubs, grow, as it were, out of the live rock; and alongside the torrent, which, already swollen with the first autumnal storms, leaps and foams over huge boulders of rock—a rough track, broken here and there by landslips, now winds beside the tortuous bed of the stream, now climbs along the face of the
precipice. After about two miles the gorge gradually expands, and, rising over a succession of undulating meadow-lands, we reached the watershed, the frontier between Greece and Turkey that was proposed by the Berlin Conference. Forsooth, a strategic frontier !—behind us the gorge of Kirk Guetshid, and in front of us a sheer precipice falling away into the valley of the Vistritza and the plains of Macedonia. To descend from the mouth of the gorge is impossible ; so we kept on along this lofty plateau for another two or three miles, and presently descried a cleft in the mountain-wall. The Turks call it Demir Kapou—the Iron Gate between Thessaly and Macedonia.
Through the massive limestone portals of the Iron Gate a steep zigzag, over which the ruins of a Venetian castle still mount guard, leads down to the Vistritza. The broad stream, which seems to carve for itself every year a fresh bed in the chalky soil, was easily forded, and on the opposite side a small party of horsemen were waiting to escort us to our night's quarters at a large Albanian chiftlik, belonging to a cousin of Selami Pasha. A short canter over undulating downs, intersected by deep seams of white chalk, brought us in half an hour to Pyrgos, a small hamlet consisting of some fifteen or twenty low mud-houses, amidst which stood out the solid square-built Greek chapel and the double-storeyed pied à terre of the Albanian Bey. The landlord, who happened to be spending a few weeks on his estate to superintend the payment of the tithes and the division of the year's harvests, was standing at the gate of the large courtyard ready to receive us and conduct us to our quarters. These were not, however, so easy to reach: they were situated in the upper part of the house, the basement being devoted entirely to storing provisions, grain, &c.; and the only access to our “residential flat” was up a rickety wooden ladder, which had already lost several bars under the ravages of time, while those that had been spared seemed to be the favourite roosting-place of a numerous family of hens. At last, notwithstanding the resentful crowing of a pugnacious cock, that step for step opposed the invading forces, we reached the spacious loft which had been fitted up for our reception. Bright carpets of many colours and piles of silk cushions contrasted strangely with the rough beams and rafters of the roof, black with smoke. But stranger still was the view from the windowless casements. A faint glimmer from the west still lighted up the mountain-wall over which we had descended from Thessaly, but