by A. W. Kinglake
Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries
from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman



AT Semlin I still was encompassed by the scenes and the
sounds of familiar life; the din of a busy world still vexed
and cheered me; the unveiled faces of women still shone in
the light of day. Yet, whenever I chose to look southward, I
saw the Ottoman's fortress - austere, and darkly impending
high over the vale of the Danube - historic Belgrade. I had
come, as it were, to the end of this wheel-going Europe, and
now my eyes would see the splendour and havoc of the East.

The two frontier towns are less than a cannon-shot distant,
and yet their people hold no communion. The Hungarian on the
north, and the Turk and Servian on the southern side of the
Save are as much asunder as though there were fifty broad
provinces that lay in the path between them. Of the men that
bustled around me in the streets of Semlin there was not,
perhaps, one who had ever gone down to look upon the stranger
race dwelling under the walls of that opposite castle. It is
the plague, and the dread of the plague, that divide the one
people from the other. All coming and going stands forbidden
by the terrors of the yellow flag. If you dare to break the
laws of the quarantine, you will be tried with military
haste; the court will scream out your sentence to you from a
tribunal some fifty yards off; the priest, instead of gently
whispering to you the sweet hopes of religion, will console
you at duelling distance; and after that you will find
yourself carefully shot, and carelessly buried in the ground
of the lazaretto.

When all was in order for our departure we walked down to the
precincts of the quarantine establishment, and here awaited
us a "compromised" * officer of the Austrian Government, who
lives in a state of perpetual excommunication. The boats,
with their "compromised" rowers, were also in readiness.

* A "compromised" person is one who has been in contact with
people or things supposed to be capable of conveying
infection. As a general rule the whole Ottoman Empire lies
constantly under this terrible ban. The "yellow flag" is the
ensign of the quarantine establishment.

After coming in contact with any creature or thing belonging
to the Ottoman Empire it would be impossible for us to return
to the Austrian territory without undergoing an imprisonment
of fourteen days in the odious lazaretto. We felt,
therefore, that before we committed ourselves it was
important to take care that none of the arrangements
necessary for the journey had been forgotten; and in our
anxiety to avoid such a misfortune, we managed the work of
departure from Semlin with nearly as much solemnity as if we
had been departing this life. Some obliging persons, from
whom we had received civilities during our short stay in the
place, came down to say their farewell at the river's side;
and now, as we stood with them at the distance of three or
four yards from the "compromised" officer, they asked if we
were perfectly certain that we had wound up all our affairs
in Christendom, and whether we had no parting requests to
make. We repeated the caution to our servants, and took
anxious thought lest by any possibility we might be cut off
from some cherished object of affection:- were they quite
sure that nothing had been forgotten - that there was no
fragrant dressing-case with its gold-compelling letters of
credit from which we might be parting for ever? - No; all our
treasures lay safely stowed in the boat, and we were ready to
follow them to the ends of the earth. Now, therefore, we
shook hands with our Semlin friends, who immediately
retreated for three or four paces, so as to leave us in the
centre of a space between them and the "compromised" officer.
The latter then advanced, and asking once more if we had done
with the civilised world, held forth his hand. I met it with
mine, and there was an end to Christendom for many a day to

We soon neared the southern bank of the river, but no sounds
came down from the blank walls above, and there was no living
thing that we could yet see, except one great hovering bird
of the vulture race, flying low, and intent, and wheeling
round and round over the pest-accursed city.

But presently there issued from the postern a group of human
beings - beings with immortal souls, and possibly some
reasoning faculties; but to me the grand point was this, that
they had real, substantial, and incontrovertible turbans.
They made for the point towards which we were steering, and
when at last I sprang upon the shore, I heard, and saw myself
now first surrounded by men of Asiatic blood. I have since
ridden through the land of the Osmanlees, from the Servian
border to the Golden Horn - from the Gulf of Satalieh to the
tomb of Achilles; but never have I seen such ultra-Turkish
looking fellows as those who received me on the banks of the
Save. They were men in the humblest order of life, having
come to meet our boat in the hope of earning something by
carrying our luggage up to the city; but poor though they
were, it was plain that they were Turks of the proud old
school, and had not yet forgotten the fierce, careless
bearing of their once victorious race.

Though the province of Servia generally has obtained a kind
of independence, yet Belgrade, as being a place of strength
on the frontier, is still garrisoned by Turkish troops under
the command of a Pasha. Whether the fellows who now
surrounded us were soldiers, or peaceful inhabitants, I did
not understand: they wore the old Turkish costume; vests and
jackets of many and brilliant colours, divided from the loose
petticoat-trousers by heavy volumes of shawl, so thickly
folded around their waists as to give the meagre wearers
something of the dignity of true corpulence. This cincture
enclosed a whole bundle of weapons; no man bore less than one
brace of immensely long pistols, and a yataghan (or cutlass),
with a dagger or two of various shapes and sizes; most of
these arms were inlaid with silver, and highly burnished, so
that they contrasted shiningly with the decayed grandeur of
the garments to which they were attached (this carefulness of
his arms is a point of honour with the Osmanlee, who never
allows his bright yataghan to suffer from his own adversity);
then the long drooping mustachios, and the ample folds of the
once white turbans, that lowered over the piercing eyes, and
the haggard features of the men, gave them an air of gloomy
pride, and that appearance of trying to be disdainful under
difficulties, which I have since seen so often in those of
the Ottoman people who live, and remember old times; they
seemed as if they were thinking that they would have been
more usefully, more honourably, and more piously employed in
cutting our throats than in carrying our portmanteaus. The
faithful Steel (Methley's Yorkshire servant) stood aghast for
a moment at the sight of his master's luggage upon the
shoulders of these warlike porters, and when at last we began
to move up he could scarcely avoid turning round to cast one
affectionate look towards Christendom, but quickly again he
marched on with steps of a man, not frightened exactly, but
sternly prepared for death, or the Koran, or even for plural

The Moslem quarter of a city is lonely and desolate. You go
up and down, and on over shelving and hillocky paths through
the narrow lanes walled in by blank, windowless dwellings;
you come out upon an open space strewed with the black ruins
that some late fire has left; you pass by a mountain of
castaway things, the rubbish of centuries, and on it you see
numbers of big, wolf-like dogs lying torpid under the sun,
with limbs outstretched to the full, as if they were dead;
storks, or cranes, sitting fearless upon the low roofs, look
gravely down upon you; the still air that you breathe is
loaded with the scent of citron, and pomegranate rinds
scorched by the sun, or (as you approach the bazaar) with the
dry, dead perfume of strange spices. You long for some signs
of life, and tread the ground more heavily, as though you
would wake the sleepers with the heel of your boot; but the
foot falls noiseless upon the crumbling soil of an Eastern
city, and silence follows you still. Again and again you
meet turbans, and faces of men, but they have nothing for you
- no welcome - no wonder - no wrath - no scorn - they look
upon you as we do upon a December's fall of snow - as a
"seasonable," unaccountable, uncomfortable work of God, that
may have been sent for some good purpose, to be revealed

Some people had come down to meet us with an invitation from
the Pasha, and we wound our way up to the castle. At the
gates there were groups of soldiers, some smoking, and some
lying flat like corpses upon the cool stones. We went
through courts, ascended steps, passed along a corridor, and
walked into an airy, whitewashed room, with an European clock
at one end of it, and Moostapha Pasha at the other; the fine,
old, bearded potentate looked very like Jove - like Jove,
too, in the midst of his clouds, for the silvery fumes of the
NARGHILE * hung lightly circling round him.

* The narghile is a water-pipe upon the plan of the hookah,
but more gracefully fashioned; the smoke is drawn by a very
long flexible tube, that winds its snake-like way from the
vase to the lips of the beatified smoker.

The Pasha received us with the smooth, kind, gentle manner
that belongs to well-bred Osmanlees; then he lightly clapped
his hands, and instantly the sound filled all the lower end
of the room with slaves; a syllable dropped from his lips
which bowed all heads, and conjured away the attendants like
ghosts (their coming and their going was thus swift and
quiet, because their feet were bare, and they passed through
no door, but only by the yielding folds of a purder). Soon
the coffee-bearers appeared, every man carrying separately
his tiny cup in a small metal stand; and presently to each of
us there came a pipe-bearer, who first rested the bowl of the
TCHIBOUQUE at a measured distance on the floor, and then, on
this axis, wheeled round the long cheery stick, and
gracefully presented it on half-bended knee; already the
well-kindled fire was glowing secure in the bowl, and so,
when I pressed the amber up to mine, there was no coyness to
conquer; the willing fume came up, and answered my slightest
sigh, and followed softly every breath inspired, till it
touched me with some faint sense and understanding of Asiatic

Asiatic contentment! Yet scarcely, perhaps, one hour before
I had been wanting my bill, and ringing for waiters, in a
shrill and busy hotel.

In the Ottoman dominions there is scarcely any hereditary
influence except that which belongs to the family of the
Sultan, and wealth, too, is a highly volatile blessing, not
easily transmitted to the descendant of the owner. From
these causes it results that the people standing in the place
of nobles and gentry are official personages, and though many
(indeed the greater number) of these potentates are humbly
born and bred, you will seldom, I think, find them wanting in
that polished smoothness of manner, and those well-undulating
tones which belong to the best Osmanlees. The truth is, that
most of the men in authority have risen from their humble
station by the arts of the courtier, and they preserve in
their high estate those gentle powers of fascination to which
they owe their success. Yet unless you can contrive to learn
a little of the language, you will be rather bored by your
visits of ceremony; the intervention of the interpreter, or
dragoman as he is called, is fatal to the spirit of
conversation. I think I should mislead you if I were to
attempt to give the substance of any particular conversation
with Orientals. A traveller may write and say that "the
Pasha of So-and-so was particularly interested in the vast
progress which has been made in the application of steam, and
appeared to understand the structure of our machinery - that
he remarked upon the gigantic results of our manufacturing
industry - showed that he possessed considerable knowledge of
our Indian affairs, and of the constitution of the Company,
and expressed a lively admiration of the many sterling
qualities for which the people of England are distinguished."
But the heap of commonplaces thus quietly attributed to the
Pasha will have been founded perhaps on some such talking as

PASHA. - The Englishman is welcome; most blessed among hours
is this, the hour of his coming.

DRAGOMAN (to the traveller). - The Pasha pays you his

TRAVELLER. - Give him my best compliments in return, and say
I'm delighted to have the honour of seeing him.

DRAGOMAN (to the Pasha). - His lordship, this Englishman,
Lord of London, Scorner of Ireland, Suppressor of France, has
quitted his governments, and left his enemies to breathe for
a moment, and has crossed the broad waters in strict
disguise, with a small but eternally faithful retinue of
followers, in order that he might look upon the bright
countenance of the Pasha among Pashas - the Pasha of the
everlasting Pashalik of Karagholookoldour.

TRAVELLER (to his dragoman). - What on earth have you been
saying about London? The Pasha will be taking me for a mere
cockney. Have not I told you ALWAYS to say that I am from a
branch of the family of Mudcombe Park, and that I am to be a
magistrate for the county of Bedfordshire, only I've not
qualified, and that I should have been a deputy-lieutenant if
it had not been for the extraordinary conduct of Lord
Mountpromise, and that I was a candidate for Goldborough at
the last election, and that I should have won easy if my
committee had not been bought. I wish to Heaven that if you
DO say anything about me, you'd tell the simple truth.

DRAGOMAN [is silent].

PASHA. - What says the friendly Lord of London? is there
aught that I can grant him within the Pashalik of

DRAGOMAN (growing, sulky and literal). - This friendly
Englishman - this branch of Mudcombe - this head-purveyor of
Goldborough - this possible policeman of Bedfordshire, is
recounting his achievements, and the number of his titles.

PASHA. - The end of his honours is more distant than the ends
of the earth, and the catalogue of his glorious deeds is
brighter than the firmament of heaven!

DRAGOMAN (to the traveller). - The Pasha congratulates your

TRAVELLER. - About Goldborough? The deuce he does! - but I
want to get at his views in relation to the present state of
the Ottoman Empire. Tell him the Houses of Parliament have
met, and that there has been a speech from the throne,
pledging England to preserve the integrity of the Sultan's

DRAGOMAN (to the Pasha). - This branch of Mudcombe, this
possible policeman of Bedfordshire, informs your Highness
that in England the talking houses have met, and that the
integrity of the Sultan's dominions has been assured for ever
and ever by a speech from the velvet chair.

PASHA. - Wonderful chair! Wonderful houses! - whirr! whirr!
all by wheels! - whiz! whiz! all by steam! - wonderful chair!
wonderful houses! wonderful people! - whirr! whirr! all by
wheels! - whiz! whiz! all by steam!

TRAVELLER (to the dragoman). - What does the Pasha mean by
that whizzing? he does not mean to say, does he, that our
Government will ever abandon their pledges to the Sultan?

DRAGOMAN. - No, your Excellency; but he says the English talk
by wheels, and by steam.

TRAVELLER. - That's an exaggeration; but say that the English
really have carried machinery to great perfection; tell the
Pasha (he'll be struck with that) that whenever we have any
disturbances to put down, even at two or three hundred miles
from London, we can send troops by the thousand to the scene
of action in a few hours.

DRAGOMAN (recovering his temper and freedom of speech). - His
Excellency, this Lord of Mudcombe, observes to your Highness,
that whenever the Irish, or the French, or the Indians rebel
against the English, whole armies of soldiers, and brigades
of artillery, are dropped into a mighty chasm called Euston
Square, and in the biting of a cartridge they arise up again
in Manchester, or Dublin, or Paris, or Delhi, and utterly
exterminate the enemies of England from the face of the

PASHA. - I know it - I know all - the particulars have been
faithfully related to me, and my mind comprehends
locomotives. The armies of the English ride upon the vapours
of boiling caldrons, and their horses are flaming coals! -
whirr! whirr! all by wheels! - whiz! whiz! all by steam!

TRAVELLER (to his dragoman). - I wish to have the opinion of
an unprejudiced Ottoman gentleman as to the prospects of our
English commerce and manufactures; just ask the Pasha to give
me his views on the subject.

PASHA (after having received the communication of the
dragoman). - The ships of the English swarm like flies; their
printed calicoes cover the whole earth; and by the side of
their swords the blades of Damascus are blades of grass. All
India is but an item in the ledger-books of the merchants,
whose lumber-rooms are filled with ancient thrones! - whirr!
whirr! all by wheels! - whiz! whiz! all by steam.

DRAGOMAN. - The Pasha compliments the cutlery of England, and
also the East India Company.

TRAVELLER. - The Pasha's right about the cutlery (I tried my
scimitar with the common officers' swords belonging to our
fellows at Malta, and they cut it like the leaf of a novel).
Well (to the dragoman), tell the Pasha I am exceedingly
gratified to find that he entertains such a high opinion of
our manufacturing energy, but I should like him to know,
though, that we have got something in England besides that.
These foreigners are always fancying that we have nothing but
ships, and railways, and East India Companies; do just tell
the Pasha that our rural districts deserve his attention, and
that even within the last two hundred years there has been an
evident improvement in the culture of the turnip, and if he
does not take any interest about that, at all events you can
explain that we have our virtues in the country - that we are
a truth-telling people, and, like the Osmanlees, are faithful
in the performance of our promises. Oh! and, by-the-bye,
whilst you are about it, you may as well just say at the end
that the British yeoman is still, thank God! the British

PASHA (after hearing the dragoman). - It is true, it is true:
- through all Feringhistan the English are foremost and best;
for the Russians are drilled swine, and the Germans are
sleeping babes, and the Italians are the servants of songs,
and the French are the sons of newspapers, and the Greeks
they are weavers of lies, but the English and the Osmanlees
are brothers together in righteousness; for the Osmanlees
believe in one only God, and cleave to the Koran, and destroy
idols, so do the English worship one God, and abominate
graven images, and tell the truth, and believe in a book, and
though they drink the juice of the grape, yet to say that
they worship their prophet as God, or to say that they are
eaters of pork, these are lies - lies born of Greeks, and
nursed by Jews!

DRAGOMAN. - The Pasha compliments the English.

TRAVELLER (rising). - Well, I've had enough of this. Tell
the Pasha I am greatly obliged to him for his hospitality,
and still more for his kindness in furnishing me with horses,
and say that now I must be off.

PASHA (after hearing the dragoman, and standing up on his
divan). * - Proud are the sires, and blessed are the dams of
the horses that shall carry his Excellency to the end of his
prosperous journey. May the saddle beneath him glide down to
the gates of the happy city, like a boat swimming on the
third river of Paradise. May he sleep the sleep of a child,
when his friends are around him; and the while that his
enemies are abroad, may his eyes flame red through the
darkness - more red than the eyes of ten tigers! Farewell!

* That is, if he stands up at all. Oriental etiquette would
not warrant his rising, unless his visitor were supposed to
be at least his equal in point of rank and station.

DRAGOMAN. - The Pasha wishes your Excellency a pleasant

So ends the visit.


IN two or three hours our party was ready; the servants, the
Tatar, the mounted Suridgees, and the baggage-horses,
altogether made up a strong cavalcade. The accomplished
Mysseri, of whom you have heard me speak so often, and who
served me so faithfully throughout my Oriental journeys,
acted as our interpreter, and was, in fact, the brain of our
corps. The Tatar, you know, is a government courier properly
employed in carrying despatches, but also sent with
travellers to speed them on their way, and answer with his
head for their safety. The man whose head was thus pledged
for our precious lives was a glorious-looking fellow, with
the regular and handsome cast of countenance which is now
characteristic of the Ottoman race. *  His features displayed
a good deal of serene pride, self-respect, fortitude, a kind
of ingenuous sensuality, and something of instinctive wisdom,
without any sharpness of intellect. He had been a Janissary
(as I afterwards found), and kept up the odd strut of his old
corps, which used to affright the Christians in former times
- that rolling gait so comically pompous, that a close
imitation of it, even in the broadest farce, would be looked
upon as a very rough over-acting of the character. It is
occasioned in part by dress and accoutrements. The weighty
bundle of weapons carried upon the chest throws back the body
so as to give it a wonderful portliness, and moreover, the
immense masses of clothes that swathe his limbs force the
wearer in walking to swing himself heavily round from left to
right, and from right to left. In truth, this great edifice
of woollen, and cotton, and silk, and silver, and brass, and
steel is not at all fitted for moving on foot; it cannot even
walk without frightfully discomposing its fair proportions;
and as to running - our Tatar ran ONCE (it was in order to
pick up a partridge that Methley had winged with a pistol-
shot), and really the attempt was one of the funniest
misdirections of human energy that wondering man ever saw.
But put him in his stirrups, and then is the Tatar himself
again: there he lives at his pleasure, reposing in the
tranquillity of that true home (the home of his ancestors)
which the saddle seems to afford him, and drawing from his
pipe the calm pleasures of his "own fireside," or else
dashing sudden over the earth, as though for a moment he felt
the mouth of a Turcoman steed, and saw his own Scythian
plains lying boundless and open before him.

* The continual marriages of these people with the chosen
beauties of Georgia and Circassia have overpowered the
original ugliness of their Tatar ancestors.

It was not till his subordinates had nearly completed their
preparations for their march that our Tatar, "commanding the
forces," arrived; he came sleek and fresh from the bath (for
so is the custom of the Ottomans when they start upon a
journey), and was carefully accoutred at every point. From
his thigh to his throat he was loaded with arms and other
implements of a campaigning life. There is no scarcity of
water along the whole road from Belgrade to Stamboul, but the
habits of our Tatar were formed by his ancestors and not by
himself, so he took good care to see that his leathern water-
flask was amply charged and properly strapped to the saddle,
along with his blessed TCHIBOUQUE. And now at last he has
cursed the Suridgees in all proper figures of speech, and is
ready for a ride of a thousand miles; but before he comforts
his soul in the marble baths of Stamboul he will be another
and a lesser man; his sense of responsibility, his too strict
abstemiousness, and his restless energy, disdainful of sleep,
will have worn him down to a fraction of the sleek Moostapha
that now leads out our party from the gates of Belgrade.

The Suridgees are the men employed to lead the baggage-
horses. They are most of them gipsies. Their lot is a sad
one: they are the last of the human race, and all the sins of
their superiors (including the horses) can safely be visited
on them. But the wretched look often more picturesque than
their betters; and though all the world despise these poor
Suridgees, their tawny skins and their grisly beards will
gain them honourable standing in the foreground of a
landscape. We had a couple of these fellows with us, each
leading a baggage-horse, to the tail of which last another
baggage-horse was attached. There was a world of trouble in
persuading the stiff angular portmanteaus of Europe to adapt
themselves to their new condition and sit quietly on pack-
saddles, but all was right at last, and it gladdened my eyes
to see our little troop file off through the winding lanes of
the city, and show down brightly in the plain beneath. The
one of our party that seemed to be most out of keeping with
the rest of the scene was Methley's Yorkshire servant, who
always rode doggedly on in his pantry jacket, looking out for
"gentlemen's seats."

Methley and I had English saddles, but I think we should have
done just as well (I should certainly have seen more of the
country) if we had adopted saddles like that of our Tatar,
who towered so loftily over the scraggy little beast that
carried him. In taking thought for the East, whilst in
England, I had made one capital hit which you must not forget
- I had brought with me a pair of common spurs. These were a
great comfort to me throughout my horseback travels, by
keeping up the cheerfulness of the many unhappy nags that I
had to bestride; the angle of the Oriental stirrup is a very
poor substitute for spurs.

The Ottoman horseman, raised by his saddle to a great height
above the humble level of the back that he bestrides, and
using an awfully sharp bit, is able to lift the crest of his
nag, and force him into a strangely fast shuffling walk, the
orthodox pace for the journey. My comrade and I, using
English saddles, could not easily keep our beasts up to this
peculiar amble; besides, we thought it a bore to be FOLLOWED
by our attendants for a thousand miles, and we generally,
therefore, did duty as the rearguard of our "grand army"; we
used to walk our horses till the party in front had got into
the distance, and then retrieve the lost ground by a gallop.

We had ridden on for some two or three hours; the stir and
bustle of our commencing journey had ceased, the liveliness
of our little troop had worn off with the declining day, and
the night closed in as we entered the great Servian forest.
Through this our road was to last for more than a hundred
miles. Endless, and endless now on either side, the tall
oaks closed in their ranks and stood gloomily lowering over
us, as grim as an army of giants with a thousand years' pay
in arrear. One strived with listening ear to catch some
tidings of that forest world within - some stirring of
beasts, some night-bird's scream, but all was quite hushed,
except the voice of the cicalas that peopled every bough, and
filled the depths of the forest through and through, with one
same hum everlasting - more stifling than very silence.

At first our way was in darkness, but after a while the moon
got up, and touched the glittering arms and tawny faces of
our men with light so pale and mystic, that the watchful
Tatar felt bound to look out for demons, and take proper
means for keeping them off: forthwith he determined that the
duty of frightening away our ghostly enemies (like every
other troublesome work) should fall upon the poor Suridgees,
who accordingly lifted up their voices, and burst upon the
dreadful stillness of the forest with shrieks and dismal
howls. These precautions were kept up incessantly, and were
followed by the most complete success, for not one demon came
near us.

Long before midnight we reached the hamlet in which we were
to rest for the night; it was made up of about a dozen clay
huts, standing upon a small tract of ground hardly won from
the forest. The peasants that lived there spoke a Slavonic
dialect, and Mysseri's knowledge of the Russian tongue
enabled him to talk with them freely. We took up our
quarters in a square room with white walls and an earthen
floor, quite bare of furniture, and utterly void of women.
They told us, however, that these Servian villagers lived in
happy abundance, but that they were careful to conceal their
riches, as well as their wives.

The burthens unstrapped from the pack-saddles very quickly
furnished our den: a couple of quilts spread upon the floor,
with a carpet-bag at the head of each, became capital sofas -
portmanteaus, and hat-boxes, and writing-cases, and books,
and maps, and gleaming arms soon lay strewed around us in
pleasant confusion. Mysseri's canteen too began to yield up
its treasures, but we relied upon finding some provisions in
the village. At first the natives declared that their hens
were mere old maids and all their cows unmarried, but our
Tatar swore such a grand sonorous oath, and fingered the hilt
of his yataghan with such persuasive touch, that the land
soon flowed with milk, and mountains of eggs arose.

And soon there was tea before us, with all its unspeakable
fragrance, and as we reclined on the floor, we found that a
portmanteau was just the right height for a table; the duty
of candlesticks was ably performed by a couple of intelligent
natives; the rest of the villagers stood by the open doorway
at the lower end of the room, and watched our banqueting with
grave and devout attention.

The first night of your first campaign (though you be but a
mere peaceful campaigner) is a glorious time in your life.
It is so sweet to find one's self free from the stale
civilisation of Europe! Oh my dear ally, when first you
spread your carpet in the midst of these Eastern scenes, do
think for a moment of those your fellow-creatures, that dwell
in squares, and streets, and even (for such is the fate of
many!) in actual country houses; think of the people that are
"presenting their compliments," and "requesting the honour,"
and "much regretting," - of those that are pinioned at
dinner-tables; or stuck up in ball-rooms, or cruelly planted
in pews - ay, think of these, and so remembering how many
poor devils are living in a state of utter respectability,
you will glory the more in your own delightful escape.

I am bound to confess, however, that with all its charms a
mud floor (like a mercenary match) does certainly promote
early rising. Long before daybreak we were up, and had
breakfasted; after this there was nearly a whole tedious hour
to endure whilst the horses were laden by torch-light; but
this had an end, and at last we went on once more. Cloaked,
and sombre, at first we made our sullen way through the
darkness, with scarcely one barter of words, but soon the
genial morn burst down from heaven, and stirred the blood so
gladly through our veins, that the very Suridgees, with all
their troubles, could now look up for an instant, and almost
seem to believe in the temporary goodness of God.

The actual movement from one place to another, in
Europeanised countries, is a process so temporary - it
occupies, I mean, so small a proportion of the traveller's
entire time - that his mind remains unsettled, so long as the
wheels are going; he may be alive enough to external objects
of interest, and to the crowding ideas which are often
invited by the excitement of a changing scene, but he is
still conscious of being in a provisional state, and his mind
is constantly recurring to the expected end of his journey;
his ordinary ways of thought have been interrupted, and
before any new mental habits can be formed he is quietly
fixed in his hotel. It will be otherwise with you when you
journey in the East. Day after day, perhaps week after week
and month after month, your foot is in the stirrup. To taste
the cold breath of the earliest morn, and to lead, or follow,
your bright cavalcade till sunset through forests and
mountain passes, through valleys and desolate plains, all
this becomes your MODE OF LIFE, and you ride, eat, drink, and
curse the mosquitoes as systematically as your friends in
England eat, drink, and sleep. If you are wise, you will not
look upon the long period of time thus occupied in actual
movement as the mere gulf dividing you from the end of your
journey, but rather as one of those rare and plastic seasons
of your life from which, perhaps, in after times you may love
to date the moulding of your character - that is, your very
identity. Once feel this, and you will soon grow happy and
contented in your saddle-home. As for me and my comrade,
however, in this part of our journey we often forgot
Stamboul, forgot all the Ottoman Empire, and only remembered
old times. We went back, loitering on the banks of Thames -
not grim old Thames of  "after life," that washes the
Parliament Houses, and drowns despairing girls - but Thames,
the "old Eton fellow," that wrestled with us in our boyhood
till he taught us to be stronger than he. We bullied Keate,
and scoffed at Larrey Miller, and Okes; we rode along loudly
laughing, and talked to the grave Servian forest as though it
were the "Brocas clump."

Our pace was commonly very slow, for the baggage-horses
served us for a drag, and kept us to a rate of little more
than five miles in the hour, but now and then, and chiefly at
night, a spirit of movement would suddenly animate the whole
party; the baggage-horses would be teased into a gallop, and
when once this was done, there would be such a banging of
portmanteaus, and such convulsions of carpet-bags upon their
panting sides, and the Suridgees would follow them up with
such a hurricane of blows, and screams, and curses, that
stopping or relaxing was scarcely possible; then the rest of
us would put our horses into a gallop, and so all shouting
cheerily, would hunt, and drive the sumpter beasts like a
flock of goats, up hill and down dale, right on to the end of
their journey.

The distances at which we got relays of horses varied
greatly; some were not more than fifteen or twenty miles, but
twice, I think, we performed a whole day's journey of more
than sixty miles with the same beasts.

When at last we came out from the forest our road lay through
scenes like those of an English park. The green sward
unfenced, and left to the free pasture of cattle, was dotted
with groups of stately trees, and here and there darkened
over with larger masses of wood, that seemed gathered
together for bounding the domain, and shutting out some
"infernal" fellow-creature in the shape of a newly made
squire; in one or two spots the hanging copses looked down
upon a lawn below with such sheltering mien, that seeing the
like in England you would have been tempted almost to ask the
name of the spend-thrift, or the madman who had dared to pull
down "the old hall."

There are few countries less infested by "lions" than the
provinces on this part of your route. You are not called
upon to "drop a tear" over the tomb of  "the once brilliant"
anybody, or to pay your "tribute of respect" to anything dead
or alive. There are no Servian or Bulgarian litterateurs
with whom it would be positively disgraceful not to form an
acquaintance; you have no staring, no praising to get
through; the only public building of any interest that lies
on the road is of modern date, but is said to be a good
specimen of Oriental architecture; it is of a pyramidical
shape, and is made up of thirty thousand skulls, contributed
by the rebellious Servians in the early part (I believe) of
this century: I am not at all sure of my date, but I fancy it
was in the year 1806 that the first skull was laid. I am
ashamed to say that in the darkness of the early morning we
unknowingly went by the neighbourhood of this triumph of art,
and so basely got off from admiring "the simple grandeur of
the architect's conception," and "the exquisite beauty of the

There being no "lions," we ought at least to have met with a
few perils, but the only robbers we saw anything of had been
long since dead and gone. The poor fellows had been impaled
upon high poles, and so propped up by the transverse spokes
beneath them, that their skeletons, clothed with some white,
wax-like remains of flesh, still sat up lolling in the
sunshine, and listlessly stared without eyes.

One day it seemed to me that our path was a little more
rugged than usual, and I found that I was deserving for
myself the title of Sabalkansky, or "Transcender of the
Balcan."  The truth is, that, as a military barrier, the
Balcan is a fabulous mountain. Such seems to be the view of
Major Keppell, who looked on it towards the east with the eye
of a soldier, and certainly in the Sophia Pass, which I
followed, there is no narrow defile, and no ascent
sufficiently difficult to stop, or delay for long time, a
train of siege artillery.

Before we reached Adrianople, Methley had been seized with we
knew not what ailment, and when we had taken up our quarters
in the city he was cast to the very earth by sickness.
Adrianople enjoyed an English consul, and I felt sure that,
in Eastern phrase, his house would cease to be his house, and
would become the house of my sick comrade. I should have
judged rightly under ordinary circumstances, but the
levelling plague was abroad, and the dread of it had dominion
over the consular mind. So now (whether dying or not, one
could hardly tell), upon a quilt stretched out along the
floor, there lay the best hope of an ancient line, without
the material aids to comfort of even the humblest sort, and
(sad to say) without the consolation of a friend, or even a
comrade worth having. I have a notion that tenderness and
pity are affections occasioned in some measure by living
within doors; certainly, at the time I speak of, the open-air
life which I have been leading, or the wayfaring hardships of
the journey, had so strangely blunted me, that I felt
intolerant of illness, and looked down upon my companion as
if the poor fellow in falling ill had betrayed a want of
spirit. I entertained too a most absurd idea - an idea that
his illness was partly affected. You see that I have made a
confession: this I hope - that I may always hereafter look
charitably upon the hard, savage acts of peasants, and the
cruelties of a "brutal" soldiery. God knows that I strived
to melt myself into common charity, and to put on a
gentleness which I could not feel, but this attempt did not
cheat the keenness of the sufferer; he could not have felt
the less deserted because that I was with him.

We called to aid a solemn Armenian (I think he was) half
soothsayer, half hakim, or doctor, who, all the while
counting his beads, fixed his eyes steadily upon the patient,
and then suddenly dealt him a violent blow on the chest.
Methley bravely dissembled his pain, for he fancied that the
blow was meant to try whether or not the plague were on him.

Here was really a sad embarrassment - no bed; nothing to
offer the invalid in the shape of food save a piece of thin,
tough, flexible, drab-coloured cloth, made of flour and mill-
stones in equal proportions, and called by the name of
"bread"; then the patient, of course, had no "confidence in
his medical man," and on the whole, the best chance of saving
my comrade seemed to lie in taking him out of the reach of
his doctor, and bearing him away to the neighbourhood of some
more genial consul. But how was this to be done? Methley
was much too ill to be kept in his saddle, and wheel
carriages, as means of travelling, were unknown. There is,
however, such a thing as an "araba," a vehicle drawn by oxen,
in which the wives of a rich man are sometimes dragged four
or five miles over the grass by way of recreation. The
carriage is rudely framed, but you recognise in the simple
grandeur of its design a likeness to things majestic; in
short, if your carpenter's son were to make a "Lord Mayor's
coach" for little Amy, he would build a carriage very much in
the style of a Turkish araba. No one had ever heard of
horses being used for drawing a carriage in this part of the
world, but necessity is the mother of innovation as well as
of invention. I was fully justified, I think, in arguing
that there were numerous instances of horses being used for
that purpose in our own country - that the laws of nature are
uniform in their operation over all the world (except
Ireland) - that that which was true in Piccadilly, must be
true in Adrianople - that the matter could not fairly be
treated as an ecclesiastical question, for that the
circumstance of Methley's going on to Stamboul in an araba
drawn by horses, when calmly and dispassionately considered,
would appear to be perfectly consistent with the maintenance
of the Mahometan religion as by law established. Thus poor,
dear, patient Reason would have fought her slow battle
against Asiatic prejudice, and I am convinced that she would
have established the possibility (and perhaps even the
propriety) of harnessing horses in a hundred and fifty years;
but in the meantime Mysseri, well seconded by our Tatar, put
a very quick end to the controversy by having the horses put

It was a sore thing for me to see my poor comrade brought to
this, for young though he was, he was a veteran in travel.
When scarcely yet of age he had invaded India from the
frontiers of Russia, and that so swiftly, that measuring by
the time of his flight the broad dominions of the king of
kings were shrivelled up to a dukedom and now, poor fellow,
he was to be poked into an araba: like a Georgian girl! He
suffered greatly, for there were no springs for the carriage,
and no road for the wheels; and so the concern jolted on over
the open country with such twists, and jerks, and jumps, as
might almost dislocate the supple tongue of Satan.

All day the patient kept himself shut up within the lattice-
work of the araba, and I could hardly know how he was faring
until the end of the day's journey, when I found that he was
not worse, and was buoyed up with the hope of some day
reaching Constantinople.

I was always conning over my maps, and fancied that I knew
pretty well my line, but after Adrianople I had made more
southing than I knew for, and it was with unbelieving wonder,
and delight, that I came suddenly upon the shore of the sea.
A little while, and its gentle billows were flowing beneath
the hoofs of my beast, but the hearing of the ripple was not
enough communion, and the seeing of the blue Propontis was
not to know and possess it - I must needs plunge into its
depth and quench my longing love in the palpable waves; and
so when old Moostapha (defender against demons) looked round
for his charge, he saw with horror and dismay that he for
whose life his own life stood pledged was possessed of some
devil who had driven him down into the sea - that the rider
and the steed had vanished from earth, and that out among the
waves was the gasping crest of a post-horse, and the ghostly
head of the Englishman moving upon the face of the waters.

We started very early indeed on the last day of our journey,
and from the moment of being off until we gained the shelter
of the imperial walls we were struggling face to face with an
icy storm that swept right down from the steppes of Tartary,
keen, fierce, and steady as a northern conqueror. Methley's
servant, who was the greatest sufferer, kept his saddle until
we reached Stamboul, but was then found to be quite benumbed
in limbs, and his brain was so much affected, that when he
was lifted from his horse he fell away in a state of
unconsciousness, the first stage of a dangerous fever.

Our Tatar, worn down by care and toil, and carrying seven
heavens full of water in his manifold jackets and shawls, was
a mere weak and vapid dilution of the sleek Moostapha, who
scarce more than one fortnight before came out like a
bridegroom from his chamber to take the command of our party.

Mysseri seemed somewhat over-wearied, but he had lost none of
his strangely quiet energy. He wore a grave look, however,
for he now had learnt that the plague was prevailing at
Constantinople, and he was fearing that our two sick men, and
the miserable looks of our whole party, might make us
unwelcome at Pera.

We crossed the Golden Horn in a caique. As soon as we had
landed, some woebegone looking fellows were got together and
laden with our baggage. Then on we went, dripping, and
sloshing, and looking very like men that had been turned back
by the Royal Humane Society as being incurably drowned.
Supporting our sick, we climbed up shelving steps and
threaded many windings, and at last came up into the main
street of Pera, humbly hoping that we might not be judged
guilty of plague, and so be cast back with horror from the
doors of the shuddering Christians.

Such was the condition of our party, which fifteen days
before had filed away so gaily from the gates of Belgrade. A
couple of fevers and a north-easterly storm had thoroughly
spoiled our looks.

The interest of Mysseri with the house of Giuseppini was too
powerful to be denied, and at once, though not without fear
and trembling, we were admitted as guests.


EVEN if we don't take a part in the chant about "mosques and
minarets," we can still yield praises to Stamboul. We can
chant about the harbour; we can say, and sing, that nowhere
else does the sea come so home to a city; there are no pebbly
shores - no sand bars - no slimy river-beds - no black canals
- no locks nor docks to divide the very heart of the place
from the deep waters. If being in the noisiest mart of
Stamboul you would stroll to the quiet side of the way amidst
those cypresses opposite, you will cross the fathomless
Bosphorus; if you would go from your hotel to the bazaars,
you must go by the bright, blue pathway of the Golden Horn,
that can carry a thousand sail of the line. You are
accustomed to the gondolas that glide among the palaces of
St. Mark, but here at Stamboul it is a 120 gun ship that
meets you in the street. Venice strains out from the
steadfast land, and in old times would send forth the chief
of the State to woo and wed the reluctant sea; but the stormy
bride of the Doge is the bowing slave of the Sultan. She
comes to his feet with the treasures of the world - she bears
him from palace to palace - by some unfailing witchcraft she
entices the breezes to follow her * and fan the pale cheek of
her lord - she lifts his armed navies to the very gates of
his garden - she watches the walls of his SERAI - she stifles
the intrigues of his ministers - she quiets the scandals of
his courts - she extinguishes his rivals, and hushes his
naughty wives all one by one. So vast are the wonders of the

* There is almost always a breeze either from the Marmora or
from the Black Sea, that passes along the course of the

All the while that I stayed at Constantinople the plague was
prevailing, but not with any degree of violence. Its
presence, however, lent a mysterious and exciting, though not
very pleasant, interest to my first knowledge of a great
Oriental city; it gave tone and colour to all I saw, and all
I felt - a tone and a colour sombre enough, but true, and
well befitting the dreary monuments of past power and
splendour. With all that is most truly Oriental in its
character the plague is associated; it dwells with the
faithful in the holiest quarters of their city. The coats
and the hats of Pera are held to be nearly as innocent of
infection as they are ugly in shape and fashion; but the rich
furs and the costly shawls, the broidered slippers and the
gold-laden saddle-cloths, the fragrance of burning aloes and
the rich aroma of patchouli - these are the signs that mark
the familiar home of plague. You go out from your queenly
London - the centre of the greatest and strongest amongst all
earthly dominions - you go out thence, and travel on to the
capital of an Eastern Prince, you find but a waning power,
and a faded splendour, that inclines you to laugh and mock;
but let the infernal Angel of Plague be at hand, and he, more
mighty than armies, more terrible than Suleyman in his glory,
can restore such pomp and majesty to the weakness of the
Imperial city, that if, WHEN HE IS THERE, you must still go
prying amongst the shades of this dead empire, at least you
will tread the path with seemly reverence and awe.

It is the firm faith of almost all the Europeans living in
the East that Plague is conveyed by the touch of infected
substances, and that the deadly atoms especially lurk in all
kinds of clothes and furs. It is held safer to breathe the
same air with a man sick of the plague, and even to come in
contact with his skin, than to be touched by the smallest
particle of woollen or of thread which may have been within
the reach of possible infection. If this be a right notion,
the spread of the malady must be materially aided by the
observance of a custom prevailing amongst the people of
Stamboul. It is this; when an Osmanlee dies, one of his
dresses is cut up, and a small piece of it is sent to each of
his friends as a memorial of the departed - a fatal present,
according to the opinion of the Franks, for it too often
forces the living not merely to remember the dead man, but to
follow and bear him company.

The Europeans during the prevalence of the plague, if they
are forced to venture into the streets, will carefully avoid
the touch of every human being whom they pass. Their conduct
in this respect shows them strongly in contrast with the
"true believers": the Moslem stalks on serenely, as though he
were under the eye of his God, and were "equal to either
fate"; the Franks go crouching and slinking from death, and
some (those chiefly of French extraction) will fondly strive
to fence out destiny with shining capes of oilskin!

For some time you may manage by great care to thread your way
through the streets of Stamboul without incurring contact,
for the Turks, though scornful of the terrors felt by the
Franks, are generally very courteous in yielding to that
which they hold to be a useless and impious precaution, and
will let you pass safe if they can. It is impossible,
however, that your immunity can last for any length of time
if you move about much through the narrow streets and lanes
of a crowded city.

As for me, I soon got "compromised."  After one day of rest,
the prayers of my hostess began to lose their power of
keeping me from the pestilent side of the Golden Horn.
Faithfully promising to shun the touch of all imaginable
substances, however enticing, I set off very cautiously, and
held my way uncompromised till I reached the water's edge;
but before my caique was quite ready some rueful-looking
fellows came rapidly shambling down the steps with a plague-
stricken corpse, which they were going to bury amongst the
faithful on the other side of the water. I contrived to be
so much in the way of this brisk funeral, that I was not only
touched by the men bearing the body, but also, I believe, by
the foot of the dead man, as it hung lolling out of the bier.
This accident gave me such a strong interest in denying the
soundness of the contagion theory, that I did in fact deny
and repudiate it altogether; and from that time, acting upon
my own convenient view of the matter, I went wherever I
chose, without taking any serious pains to avoid a touch. It
seems to me now very likely that the Europeans are right, and
that the plague may be really conveyed by contagion; but
during the whole time of my remaining in the East, my views
on this subject more nearly approached to those of the
fatalists; and so, when afterwards the plague of Egypt came
dealing his blows around me, I was able to live amongst the
dying without that alarm and anxiety which would inevitably
have pressed upon my mind if I had allowed myself to believe
that every passing touch was really a probable death-stroke.

And perhaps as you make your difficult way through a steep
and narrow alley, shut in between blank walls, and little
frequented by passers, you meet one of those coffin-shaped
bundles of white linen that implies an Ottoman lady.
Painfully struggling against the obstacles to progression
interposed by the many folds of her clumsy drapery, by her
big mud-boots, and especially by her two pairs of slippers,
she works her way on full awkwardly enough, but yet there is
something of womanly consciousness in the very labour and
effort with which she tugs and lifts the burthen of her
charms. She is closely followed by her women slaves. Of her
very self you see nothing except the dark, luminous eyes that
stare against your face, and the tips of the painted fingers
depending like rose-buds from out of the blank bastions of
the fortress. She turns, and turns again, and carefully
glances around her on all sides, to see that she is safe from
the eyes of Mussulmans, and then suddenly withdrawing the
YASHMAK, * she shines upon your heart and soul with all the
pomp and might of her beauty. And this, it is not the light,
changeful grace that leaves you to doubt whether you have
fallen in love with a body, or only a soul; it is the beauty
that dwells secure in the perfectness of hard, downright
outlines, and in the glow of generous colour. There is fire,
though, too - high courage and fire enough in the untamed
mind, or spirit, or whatever it is, which drives the breath
of pride through those scarcely parted lips.

* The yashmak, you know, is not a mere semi-transparent veil,
but rather a good substantial petticoat applied to the face;
it thoroughly conceals all the features, except the eyes; the
way of withdrawing it is by pulling it down.

You smile at pretty women - you turn pale before the beauty
that is great enough to have dominion over you. She sees,
and exults in your giddiness; she sees and smiles; then
presently, with a sudden movement, she lays her blushing
fingers upon your arm, and cries out, "Yumourdjak!" (Plague!
meaning, "there is a present of the plague for you!")  This
is her notion of a witticism. It is a very old piece of fun,
no doubt - quite an Oriental Joe Miller; but the Turks are
fondly attached, not only to the institutions, but also to
the jokes of their ancestors; so the lady's silvery laugh
rings joyously in your ears, and the mirth of her women is
boisterous and fresh, as though the bright idea of giving the
plague to a Christian had newly lit upon the earth.

Methley began to rally very soon after we had reached
Constantinople; but there seemed at first to be no chance of
his regaining strength enough for travelling during the
winter, and I determined to stay with my comrade until he had
quite recovered; so I bought me a horse, and a "pipe of
tranquillity," *  and took a Turkish phrase-master. I
troubled myself a great deal with the Turkish tongue, and
gained at last some knowledge of its structure. It is
enriched, perhaps overladen, with Persian and Arabic words,
imported into the language chiefly for the purpose of
representing sentiments and religious dogmas, and terms of
art and luxury, entirely unknown to the Tartar ancestors of
the present Osmanlees; but the body and the spirit of the old
tongue are yet alive, and the smooth words of the shopkeeper
at Constantinople can still carry understanding to the ears
of the untamed millions who rove over the plains of Northern
Asia. The structure of the language, especially in its more
lengthy sentences, is very like to the Latin: the subject
matters are slowly and patiently enumerated, without
disclosing the purpose of the speaker until he reaches the
end of his sentence, and then at last there comes the
clenching word, which gives a meaning and connection to all
that has gone before. If you listen at all to speaking of
this kind your attention, rather than be suffered to flag,
must grow more and more lively as the phrase marches on.

* The "pipe of tranquillity" is a TCHIBOUQUE too long to be
conveniently carried on a journey; the possession of it
therefore implies that its owner is stationary, or at all
events, that he is enjoying a long repose from travel.

The Osmanlees speak well. In countries civilised according
to the European plan the work of trying to persuade tribunals
is almost all performed by a set of men, the great body of
whom very seldom do anything else; but in Turkey this
division of labour has never taken place, and every man is
his own advocate. The importance of the rhetorical art is
immense, for a bad speech may endanger the property of the
speaker, as well as the soles of his feet and the free
enjoyment of his throat. So it results that most of the
Turks whom one sees have a lawyer-like habit of speaking
connectedly, and at length. Even the treaties continually
going on at the bazaar for the buying and selling of the
merest trifles are carried on by speechifying rather than by
mere colloquies, and the eternal uncertainty as to the market
value of things in constant sale gives room enough for
discussion. The seller is for ever demanding a price
immensely beyond that for which he sells at last, and so
occasions unspeakable disgust in many Englishmen, who cannot
see why an honest dealer should ask more for his goods than
he will really take! The truth is, however, that an ordinary
tradesman of Constantinople has no other way of finding out
the fair market value of his property. The difficulty under
which he labours is easily shown by comparing the mechanism
of the commercial system in Turkey with that of our own
country. In England, or in any other great mercantile
country, the bulk of the things bought and sold goes through
the hands of a wholesale dealer, and it is he who higgles and
bargains with an entire nation of purchasers by entering into
treaty with retail sellers. The labour of making a few large
contracts is sufficient to give a clue for finding the fair
market value of the goods sold throughout the country; but in
Turkey, from the primitive habits of the people, and partly
from the absence of great capital and great credit, the
importing merchant, the warehouseman, the wholesale dealer,
the retail dealer, and the shopman, are all one person. Old
Moostapha, or Abdallah, or Hadgi Mohamed waddles up from the
water's edge with a small packet of merchandise, which he has
bought out of a Greek brigantine, and when at last he has
reached his nook in the bazaar he puts his goods BEFORE the
counter, and himself UPON it; then laying fire to his
TCHIBOUQUE he "sits in permanence," and patiently waits to
obtain "the best price that can be got in an open market."
This is his fair right as a seller, but he has no means of
finding out what that best price is except by actual
experiment. He cannot know the intensity of the demand, or
the abundance of the supply, otherwise than by the offers
which may be made for his little bundle of goods; so he
begins by asking a perfectly hopeless price, and then
descends the ladder until he meets a purchaser, for ever

"Striving to attain
By shadowing out the unattainable."

This is the struggle which creates the continual occasion for
debate. The vendor, perceiving that the unfolded merchandise
has caught the eye of a possible purchaser, commences his
opening speech. He covers his bristling broadcloths and his
meagre silks with the golden broidery of Oriental praises,
and as he talks, along with the slow and graceful waving of
his arms, he lifts his undulating periods, upholds and poises
them well, till they have gathered their weight and their
strength, and then hurls them bodily forward with grave,
momentous swing. The possible purchaser listens to the whole
speech with deep and serious attention; but when it is over
HIS turn arrives. He elaborately endeavours to show why he
ought not to buy the things at a price twenty times larger
than their value. Bystanders attracted to the debate take a
part in it as independent members; the vendor is heard in
reply, and coming down with his price, furnishes the
materials for a new debate. Sometimes, however, the dealer,
if he is a very pious Mussulman, and sufficiently rich to
hold back his ware, will take a more dignified part,
maintaining a kind of judicial gravity, and receiving the
applicants who come to his stall as if they were rather
suitors than customers. He will quietly hear to the end some
long speech that concludes with an offer, and will answer it
all with the one monosyllable "Yok," which means distinctly

I caught one glimpse of the old heathen world. My habits for
studying military subjects had been hardening my heart
against poetry; for ever staring at the flames of battle, I
had blinded myself to the lesser and finer lights that are
shed from the imaginations of men. In my reading at this
time I delighted to follow from out of Arabian sands the feet
of the armed believers, and to stand in the broad, manifest
storm-track of Tartar devastation; and thus, though
surrounded at Constantinople by scenes of much interest to
the "classical scholar," I had cast aside their associations
like an old Greek grammar, and turned my face to the "shining
Orient," forgetful of old Greece and all the pure wealth she
left to this matter-of-fact-ridden world. But it happened to
me one day to mount the high grounds overhanging the streets
of Pera. I sated my eyes with the pomps of the city and its
crowded waters, and then I looked over where Scutari lay half
veiled in her mournful cypresses. I looked yet farther and
higher, and saw in the heavens a silvery cloud that stood
fast and still against the breeze: it was pure and dazzling
white, as might be the veil of Cytherea, yet touched with
such fire, as though from beneath the loving eyes of an
immortal were shining through and through. I knew the
bearing, but had enormously misjudged its distance and
underrated its height, and so it was as a sign and a
testimony, almost as a call from the neglected gods, and now
I saw and acknowledged the snowy crown of the Mysian Olympus!


METHLEY recovered almost suddenly, and we determined to go
through the Troad together.

My comrade was a capital Grecian. It is true that his
singular mind so ordered and disposed his classic lore as to
impress it with something of an original and barbarous
character - with an almost Gothic quaintness, more properly
belonging to a rich native ballad than to the poetry of
Hellas. There was a certain impropriety in his knowing so
much Greek - an unfitness in the idea of marble fauns, and
satyrs, and even Olympian gods, lugged in under the oaken
roof and the painted light of an odd, old Norman hall. But
Methley, abounding in Homer, really loved him (as I believe)
in all truth, without whim or fancy; moreover, he had a good
deal of the practical sagacity

"Of a Yorkshireman hippodamoio,"

and this enabled him to apply his knowledge with much more
tact than is usually shown by people so learned as he.

I, too, loved Homer, but not with a scholar's love. The most
humble and pious among women was yet so proud a mother that
she could teach her firstborn son no Watts' hymns, no
collects for the day; she could teach him in earliest
childhood no less than this, to find a home in his saddle,
and to love old Homer, and all that old Homer sung. True it
is, that the Greek was ingeniously rendered into English, the
English of Pope even, but not even a mesh like that can
screen an earnest child from the fire of Homer's battles.

I pored over the ODYSSEY as over a story-book, hoping and
fearing for the hero whom yet I partly scorned. But the
Iliad - line by line I clasped it to my brain with reverence
as well as with love. As an old woman deeply trustful sits
reading her Bible because of the world to come, so, as though
it would fit me for the coming strife of this temporal world,
I read and read the ILIAD. Even outwardly, it was not like
other books; it was throned in towering folios. There was a
preface or dissertation printed in type still more majestic
than the rest of the book; this I read, but not till my
enthusiasm for the ILIAD had already run high. The writer
compiling the opinions of many men, and chiefly of the
ancients, set forth, I know not how quaintly, that the ILIAD
was all in all to the human race - that it was history,
poetry, revelation; that the works of men's hands were folly
and vanity, and would pass away like the dreams of a child,
but that the kingdom of Homer would endure for ever and ever.

I assented with all my soul. I read, and still read; I came
to know Homer. A learned commentator knows something of the
Greeks, in the same sense as an oil-and-colour man may be
said to know something of painting; but take an untamed
child, and leave him alone for twelve months with any
translation of Homer, and he will be nearer by twenty
centuries to the spirit of old Greece; HE does not stop in
the ninth year of the siege to admire this or that group of
words; HE has no books in his tent, but he shares in vital
counsels with the "king of men," and knows the inmost souls
of the impending gods; how profanely he exults over the
powers divine when they are taught to dread the prowess of
mortals! and most of all, how he rejoices when the God of War
flies howling from the spear of Diomed, and mounts into
heaven for safety! Then the beautiful episode of the Sixth
Book: the way to feel this is not to go casting about, and
learning from pastors and masters how best to admire it. The
impatient child is not grubbing for beauties, but pushing the
siege; the women vex him with their delays, and their
talking; the mention of the nurse is personal, and little
sympathy has he for the child that is young enough to be
frightened at the nodding plume of a helmet; but all the
while that he thus chafes at the pausing of the action, the
strong vertical light of Homer's poetry is blazing so full
upon the people and things of the ILIAD, that soon to the
eyes of the child they grow familiar as his mother's shawl;
yet of this great gain he is unconscious, and on he goes,
vengefully thirsting for the best blood of Troy, and never
remitting his fierceness till almost suddenly it is changed
for sorrow - the new and generous sorrow that he learns to
feel when the noblest of all his foes lies sadly dying at the
Scaean gate.

Heroic days are these, but the dark ages of schoolboy life
come closing over them. I suppose it is all right in the
end, yet, by Jove, at first sight it does seem a sad
intellectual fall from your mother's dressing-room to a
buzzing school. You feel so keenly the delights of early
knowledge; you form strange mystic friendships with the mere
names of mountains, and seas, and continents, and mighty
rivers; you learn the ways of the planets, and transcend
their narrow limits, and ask for the end of space; you vex
the electric cylinder till it yields you, for your toy to
play with, that subtle fire in which our earth was forged;
you know of the nations that have towered high in the world,
and the lives of the men who have saved whole empires from
oblivion. What more will you ever learn? Yet the dismal
change is ordained, and then, thin meagre Latin (the same for
everybody), with small shreds and patches of Greek, is thrown
like a pauper's pall over all your early lore. Instead of
sweet knowledge, vile, monkish, doggerel grammars and
graduses, dictionaries and lexicons, and horrible odds and
ends of dead languages, are given you for your portion, and
down you fall, from Roman story to a three-inch scrap of
"Scriptores Romani," - from Greek poetry down, down to the
cold rations of "Poetae Graeci," cut up by commentators, and
served out by schoolmasters!

It was not the recollection of school nor college learning,
but the rapturous and earnest reading of my childhood, which
made me bend forward so longingly to the plains of Troy.

Away from our people and our horses, Methley and I went
loitering along by the willow banks of a stream that crept in
quietness through the low, even plain. There was no stir of
weather overhead, no sound of rural labour, no sign of life
in the land; but all the earth was dead and still, as though
it had lain for thrice a thousand years under the leaden
gloom of one unbroken Sabbath.

Softly and sadly the poor, dumb, patient stream went winding
and winding along through its shifting pathway; in some
places its waters were parted, and then again, lower down,
they would meet once more. I could see that the stream from
year to year was finding itself new channels, and flowed no
longer in its ancient track, but I knew that the springs
which fed it were high on Ida - the springs of Simois and

It was coldly and thanklessly, and with vacant, unsatisfied
eyes that I watched the slow coming and the gliding away of
the waters. I tell myself now, as a profane fact, that I did
stand by that river (Methley gathered some seeds from the
bushes that grew there), but since that I am away from his
banks, "divine Scamander" has recovered the proper mystery
belonging to him as an unseen deity; a kind of
indistinctness, like that which belongs to far antiquity, has
spread itself over my memory, of the winding stream that I
saw with these very eyes. One's mind regains in absence that
dominion over earthly things which has been shaken by their
rude contact. You force yourself hardily into the material
presence of a mountain, or a river, whose name belongs to
poetry and ancient religion, rather than to the external
world; your feelings wound up and kept ready for some sort of
half-expected rapture are chilled, and borne down for the
time under all this load of real earth and water; but let
these once pass out of sight, and then again the old fanciful
notions are restored, and the mere realities which you have
just been looking at are thrown back so far into distance,
that the very event of your intrusion upon such scenes begins
to look dim and uncertain, as though it belonged to

It is not over the plain before Troy that the river now
flows; its waters have edged away far towards the north,
since the day that "divine Scamander" (whom the gods call
Xanthus) went down to do battle for Ilion, "with Mars, and
Phoebus, and Latona, and Diana glorying in her arrows, and
Venus the lover of smiles."

And now, when I was vexed at the migration of Scamander, and
the total loss or absorption of poor dear Simois, how happily
Methley reminded me that Homer himself had warned us of some
such changes! The Greeks in beginning their wall had
neglected the hecatombs due to the gods, and so after the
fall of Troy Apollo turned the paths of the rivers that flow
from Ida and sent them flooding over the wall, till all the
beach was smooth and free from the unhallowed works of the
Greeks. It is true I see now, on looking to the passage,
that Neptune, when the work of destruction was done, turned
back the rivers to their ancient ways

[Text has Greek quote which cannot be reproduced]

but their old channels passing through that light pervious
soil would have been lost in the nine days' flood, and
perhaps the god, when he willed to bring back the rivers to
their ancient beds, may have done his work but ill: it is
easier, they say, to destroy than it is to restore.

We took to our horses again, and went southward towards the
very plain between Troy and the tents of the Greeks, but we
rode by a line at some distance from the shore. Whether it
was that the lay of the ground hindered my view towards the
sea, or that I was all intent upon Ida, or whether my mind
was in vacancy, or whether, as is most like, I had strayed
from the Dardan plains all back to gentle England, there is
now no knowing, nor caring, but it was not quite suddenly
indeed, but rather, as it were, in the swelling and falling
of a single wave, that the reality of that very sea-view,
which had bounded the sight of the Greeks, now visibly
acceded to me, and rolled full in upon my brain. Conceive
how deeply that eternal coast-line, that fixed horizon, those
island rocks, must have graven their images upon the minds of
the Grecian warriors by the time that they had reached the
ninth year of the siege! conceive the strength, and the
fanciful beauty, of the speeches with which a whole army of
imagining men must have told their weariness, and how the
sauntering chiefs must have whelmed that daily, daily scene
with their deep Ionian curses!

And now it was that my eyes were greeted with a delightful
surprise. Whilst we were at Constantinople, Methley and I
had pored over the map together. We agreed that whatever may
have been the exact site of Troy, the Grecian camp must have
been nearly opposite to the space betwixt the islands of
Imbros and Tenedos,

[Text has Greek quote which cannot be reproduced]

but Methley reminded me of a passage in the ILIAD in which
Neptune is represented as looking at the scene of action
before Ilion from above the island of Samothrace. Now
Samothrace, according to the map, appeared to be not only out
of all seeing distance from the Troad, but to be entirely
shut out from it by the intervening Imbros, which is a larger
island, stretching its length right athwart the line of sight
from Samothrace to Troy. Piously allowing that the dread
Commoter of our globe might have seen all mortal doings, even
from the depth of his own cerulean kingdom, I still felt that
if a station were to be chosen from which to see the fight,
old Homer, so material in his ways of thought, so averse from
all haziness and overreaching, would have MEANT to give the
god for his station some spot within reach of men's eyes from
the plains of Troy. I think that this testing of the poet's
words by map and compass may have shaken a little of my faith
in the completeness of his knowledge. Well, now I had come;
there to the south was Tenedos, and here at my side was
Imbros, all right, and according to the map, but aloft over
Imbros, aloft in a far-away heaven, was Samothrace, the
watch-tower of Neptune!

So Homer had appointed it, and so it was; the map was correct
enough, but could not, like Homer, convey THE WHOLE TRUTH.
Thus vain and false are the mere human surmises and doubts
which clash with Homeric writ!

Nobody whose mind had not been reduced to the most deplorable
logical condition could look upon this beautiful congruity
betwixt the ILIAD and the material world and yet bear to
suppose that the poet may have learned the features of the
coast from mere hearsay; now then, I believed; now I knew
that Homer had PASSED ALONG HERE, that this vision of
Samothrace over-towering the nearer island was common to him
and to me.

After a journey of some few days by the route of Adramiti and
Pergamo we reached Smyrna. The letters which Methley here
received obliged him to return to England.


SMYRNA, or Giaour Izmir, "Infidel Smyrna," as the Mussulmans
call it, is the main point of commercial contact betwixt
Europe and Asia. You are there surrounded by the people, and
the confused customs of many and various nations; you see the
fussy European adopting the East, and calming his
restlessness with the long Turkish "pipe of tranquillity";
you see Jews offering services, and receiving blows; * on one
side you have a fellow whose dress and beard would give you a
good idea of the true Oriental, if it were not for the GOBE-
MOUCHE expression of countenance with which he is swallowing
an article in the NATIONAL; and there, just by, is a genuine
Osmanlee, smoking away with all the majesty of a sultan, but
before you have time to admire sufficiently his tranquil
dignity, and his soft Asiatic repose, the poor old fellow is
ruthlessly "run down" by an English midshipman, who has set
sail on a Smyrna hack. Such are the incongruities of the
"infidel city" at ordinary times; but when I was there, our
friend Carrigaholt had imported himself and his oddities as
an accession to the other and inferior wonders of Smyrna.

* The Jews of Smyrna are poor, and having little merchandise
of their own to dispose of, they are sadly importunate in
offering their services as intermediaries: their troublesome
conduct has led to the custom of beating them in the open
streets. It is usual for Europeans to carry long sticks with
them, for the express purpose of keeping off the chosen
people. I always felt ashamed to strike the poor fellows
myself, but I confess to the amusement with which I witnessed
the observance of this custom by other people. The Jew
seldom got hurt much, for he was always expecting the blow,
and was ready to recede from it the moment it came: one could
not help being rather gratified at seeing him bound away so
nimbly, with his long robes floating out in the air, and then
again wheel round, and return with fresh importunities.

I was sitting alone in my room one day at Constantinople,
when I heard Methley approaching my door with shouts of
laughter and welcome, and presently I recognised that
peculiar cry by which our friend Carrigaholt expresses his
emotions; he soon explained to us the final causes by which
the fates had worked out their wonderful purpose of bringing
him to Constantinople. He was always, you know, very fond of
sailing, but he had got into such sad scrapes (including, I
think, a lawsuit) on account of his last yacht, that he took
it into his head to have a cruise in a merchant vessel, so he
went to Liverpool, and looked through the craft lying ready
to sail, till he found a smart schooner that perfectly suited
his taste. The destination of the vessel was the last thing
he thought of; and when he was told that she was bound for
Constantinople, he merely assented to that as a part of the
arrangement to which he had no objection. As soon as the
vessel had sailed, the hapless passenger discovered that his
skipper carried on board an enormous wife, with an inquiring
mind and an irresistible tendency to impart her opinions.
She looked upon her guest as upon a piece of waste intellect
that ought to be carefully tilled. She tilled him
accordingly. If the dons at Oxford could have seen poor
Carrigaholt thus absolutely "attending lectures" in the Bay
of Biscay, they would surely have thought him sufficiently
punished for all the wrongs he did them whilst he was
preparing himself under their care for the other and more
boisterous University. The voyage did not last more than six
or eight weeks, and the philosophy inflicted on Carrigaholt
was not entirely fatal to him; certainly he was somewhat
emaciated, and for aught I know, he may have subscribed
somewhat too largely to the "Feminine-right-of-reason
Society"; but it did not appear that his health had been
seriously affected. There was a scheme on foot, it would
seem, for taking the passenger back to England in the same
schooner - a scheme, in fact, for keeping him perpetually
afloat, and perpetually saturated with arguments; but when
Carrigaholt found himself ashore, and remembered that the
skipperina (who had imprudently remained on board) was not
there to enforce her suggestions, he was open to the hints of
his servant (a very sharp fellow), who arranged a plan for
escaping, and finally brought off his master to Giuseppini's

Our friend afterwards went by sea to Smyrna, and there he now
was in his glory. He had a good, or at all events a
gentleman-like, judgment in matters of taste, and as his
great object was to surround himself with all that his fancy
could dictate, he lived in a state of perpetual negotiation.
He was for ever on the point of purchasing, not only the
material productions of the place, but all sorts of such fine
ware as "intelligence," "fidelity," and so on. He was most
curious, however, as the purchaser of the "affections."
Sometimes he would imagine that he had a marital aptitude,
and his fancy would sketch a graceful picture, in which he
appeared reclining on a divan, with a beautiful Greek woman
fondly couched at his feet, and soothing him with the
witchery of her guitar. Having satisfied himself with the
ideal picture thus created, he would pass into action; the
guitar he would buy instantly, and would give such
intimations of his wish to be wedded to a Greek, as could not
fail to produce great excitement in the families of the
beautiful Smyrniotes. Then again (and just in time perhaps
to save him from the yoke) his dream would pass away, and
another would come in its stead; he would suddenly feel the
yearnings of a father's love, and willing by force of gold to
transcend all natural preliminaries, he would issue
instructions for the purchase of some dutiful child that
could be warranted to love him as a parent. Then at another
time he would be convinced that the attachment of menials
might satisfy the longings of his affectionate heart, and
thereupon he would give orders to his slave-merchant for
something in the way of eternal fidelity. You may well
imagine that this anxiety of Carrigaholt to purchase not only
the scenery, but the many DRAMATIS PERSONAE belonging to his
dreams, with all their goodness and graces complete,
necessarily gave an immense stimulus to the trade and
intrigue of Smyrna, and created a demand for human virtues
which the moral resources of the place were totally
inadequate to supply. Every day after breakfast this lover
of the good and the beautiful held a levee, which was often
exceedingly amusing. In his anteroom there would be not only
the sellers of pipes and slippers and shawls, and such like
Oriental merchandise, not only embroiderers and cunning
workmen patiently striving to realise his visions of Albanian
dresses, not only the servants offering for places, and the
slave-dealer tendering his sable ware, but there would be the
Greek master, waiting to teach his pupil the grammar of the
soft Ionian tongue, in which he was to delight the wife of
his imagination, and the music-master, who was to teach him
some sweet replies to the anticipated sounds of the fancied
guitar; and then, above all, and proudly eminent with
undisputed preference of ENTREE, and fraught with the
mysterious tidings on which the realisation of the whole
dream might depend, was the mysterious match-maker, *
enticing and postponing the suitor, yet ever keeping alive in
his soul the love of that pictured virtue, whose beauty
(unseen by eyes) was half revealed to the imagination.

* Marriages in the East are arranged by professed match-
makers; many of these, I believe, are Jewesses.

You would have thought that this practical dreaming must have
soon brought Carrigaholt to a bad end, but he was in much
less danger than you would suppose; for besides that the new
visions of happiness almost always came in time to counteract
the fatal completion of the preceding scheme, his high
breeding and his delicately sensitive taste almost always
came to his aid at times when he was left without any other
protection; and the efficacy of these qualities in keeping a
man out of harm's way is really immense. In all baseness and
imposture there is a coarse, vulgar spirit, which, however
artfully concealed for a time, must sooner or later show
itself in some little circumstance sufficiently plain to
occasion an instant jar upon the minds of those whose taste
is lively and true. To such men a shock of this kind,
disclosing the UGLINESS of a cheat, is more effectively
convincing than any mere proofs could be.

Thus guarded from isle to isle, and through Greece, and
through Albania, this practical Plato with a purse in his
hand, carried on his mad chase after the good and the
beautiful, and yet returned in safety to his home. But now,
poor fellow! the lowly grave, that is the end of men's
romantic hopes, has closed over all his rich fancies, and all
his high aspirations; he is utterly married! No more hope,
no more change for him - no more relays - he must go on
Vetturini-wise to the appointed end of his journey!

Smyrna, I think, may be called the chief town and capital of
the Grecian race, against which you will be cautioned so
carefully as soon as you touch the Levant. You will say that
I ought not to confound as one people the Greeks living under
a constitutional government with the unfortunate Rayahs who
"groan under the Turkish yoke," but I can't see that
political events have hitherto produced any strongly marked
difference of character. If I could venture to rely (which I
feel that I cannot at all do) upon my own observation, I
should tell you that there was more heartiness and strength
in the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire than in those of the new
kingdom. The truth is, that there is a greater field for
commercial enterprise, and even for Greek ambition, under the
Ottoman sceptre, than is to be found in the dominions of
Otho. Indeed the people, by their frequent migrations from
the limits of the constitutional kingdom to the territories
of the Porte, seem to show that, on the whole, they prefer
"groaning under the Turkish yoke" to the honour of "being the
only true source of legitimate power" in their own land.

For myself, I love the race; in spite of all their vices, and
even in spite of all their meannesses, I remember the blood
that is in them, and still love the Greeks. The Osmanlees
are, of course, by nature, by religion, and by politics, the
strong foes of the Hellenic people, and as the Greeks, poor
fellows! happen to be a little deficient in some of the
virtues which facilitate the transaction of commercial
business (such as veracity, fidelity, &c.), it naturally
follows that they are highly unpopular with the European
merchants. Now these are the persons through whom, either
directly or indirectly, is derived the greater part of the
information which you gather in the Levant, and therefore you
must make up your mind to hear an almost universal and
unbroken testimony against the character of the people whose
ancestors invented virtue. And strange to say, the Greeks
themselves do not attempt to disturb this general unanimity
of opinion by an dissent on their part. Question a Greek on
the subject, and he will tell you at once that the people are
TRADITORI, and will then, perhaps, endeavour to shake off his
fair share of the imputation by asserting that his father had
been dragoman to some foreign embassy, and that he (the son),
therefore, by the law of nations, had ceased to be Greek.

"E dunque no siete traditore?"

"Possibile, signor, ma almeno Io no sono Greco."

Not even the diplomatic representatives of the Hellenic
kingdom are free from the habit of depreciating their
brethren. I recollect that at one of the ports in Syria a
Greek vessel was rather unfairly kept in quarantine by order
of the Board of Health, which consisted entirely of
Europeans. A consular agent from the kingdom of Greece had
lately hoisted his flag in the town, and the captain of the
vessel drew up a remonstrance, which he requested his consul
to present to the Board.

"Now, IS this reasonable?" said the consul; "is it reasonable
that I should place myself in collision with all the
principal European gentlemen of the place for the sake of
you, a Greek?"  The skipper was greatly vexed at the failure
of his application, but he scarcely even questioned the
justice of the ground which his consul had taken. Well, it
happened some time afterwards that I found myself at the same
port, having gone thither with the view of embarking for the
port of Syra. I was anxious, of course, to elude as
carefully as possible the quarantine detentions which
threatened me on my arrival, and hearing that the Greek
consul had a brother who was a man in authority at Syra, I
got myself presented to the former, and took the liberty of
asking him to give me such a letter of introduction to his
relative at Syra as might possibly have the effect of
shortening the term of my quarantine. He acceded to this
request with the utmost kindness and courtesy; but when he
replied to my thanks by saying that "in serving an Englishman
he was doing no more than his strict duty commanded," not
even my gratitude could prevent me from calling to mind his
treatment of the poor captain who had the misfortune of NOT
being an alien in blood to his consul and appointed

I think that the change which has taken place in the
character of the Greeks has been occasioned, in great
measure, by the doctrines and practice of their religion.
The Greek Church has animated the Muscovite peasant, and
inspired him with hopes and ideas which, however humble, are
still better than none at all; but the faith, and the forms,
and the strange ecclesiastical literature which act so
advantageously upon the mere clay of the Russian serf, seem
to hang like lead upon the ethereal spirit of the Greek.
Never in any part of the world have I seen religious
performances so painful to witness as those of the Greeks.
The horror, however, with which one shudders at their worship
is attributable, in some measure, to the mere effect of
costume. In all the Ottoman dominions, and very frequently
too in the kingdom of Otho, the Greeks wear turbans or other
head-dresses, and shave their heads, leaving only a rat's-
tail at the crown of the head; they of course keep themselves
covered within doors as well as abroad, and they never remove
their head-gear merely on account of being in a church; but
when the Greek stops to worship at his proper shrine, then,
and then only, he always uncovers; and as you see him thus
with shaven skull and savage tail depending from his crown,
kissing a thing of wood and glass, and cringing with base
prostrations and apparent terror before a miserable picture,
you see superstition in a shape which, outwardly at least, is
sadly abject and repulsive.

The fasts, too, of the Greek Church produce an ill effect
upon the character of the people, for they are not a mere
farce, but are carried to such an extent as to bring about a
real mortification of the flesh; the febrile irritation of
the frame operating in conjunction with the depression of the
spirits occasioned by abstinence, will so far answer the
objects of the rite, as to engender some religious
excitement, but this is of a morbid and gloomy character, and
it seems to be certain, that along with the increase of
sanctity, there comes a fiercer desire for the perpetration
of dark crimes. The number of murders committed during Lent
is greater, I am told, than at any other time of the year. A
man under the influence of a bean dietary (for this is the
principal food of the Greeks during their fasts) will be in
an apt humour for enriching the shrine of his saint, and
passing a knife through his next-door neighbour. The moneys
deposited upon the shrines are appropriated by priests; the
priests are married men, and have families to provide for;
they "take the good with the bad," and continue to recommend

Then, too, the Greek Church enjoins her followers to keep
holy such a vast number of saints' days as practically to
shorten the lives of the people very materially. I believe
that one-third out of the number of days in the year are
"kept holy," or rather, KEPT STUPID, in honour of the saints;
no great portion of the time thus set apart is spent in
religious exercises, and the people don't betake themselves
to any such animating pastimes as might serve to strengthen
the frame, or invigorate the mind, or exalt the taste. On
the contrary, the saints' days of the Greeks in Smyrna are
passed in the same manner as the Sabbaths of well-behaved
Protestant housemaids in London - that is to say, in a steady
and serious contemplation of street scenery. The men perform
this duty AT THE DOORS of their houses, the women AT THE
WINDOWS, which the custom of Greek towns has so decidedly
appropriated to them as the proper station of their sex, that
a man would be looked upon as utterly effeminate if he
ventured to choose that situation for the keeping of the
saints' days. I was present one day at a treaty for the hire
of some apartments at Smyrna, which was carried on between
Carrigaholt and the Greek woman to whom the rooms belonged.
Carrigaholt objected that the windows commanded no view of
the street. Immediately the brow of the majestic matron was
clouded, and with all the scorn of a Spartan mother she
coolly asked Carrigaholt, and said, "Art thou a tender damsel
that thou wouldst sit and gaze from windows?"  The man whom
she addressed, however, had not gone to Greece with any
intention of placing himself under the laws of Lycurgus, and
was not to be diverted from his views by a Spartan rebuke, so
he took care to find himself windows after his own heart, and
there, I believe, for many a month, he kept the saints' days,
and all the days intervening, after the fashion of Grecian

Oh! let me be charitable to all who write, and to all who
lecture, and to all who preach, since even I, a layman not
forced to write at all, can hardly avoid chiming in with some
tuneful cant! I have had the heart to talk about the
pernicious effects of the Greek holidays, to which I owe some
of my most beautiful visions! I will let the words stand, as
a humbling proof that I am subject to that immutable law
which compels a man with a pen in his hand to be uttering
every now and then some sentiment not his own. It seems as
though the power of expressing regrets and desires by written
symbols were coupled with a condition that the writer should
from time to time express the regrets and desires of other
people; as though, like a French peasant under the old
regime, one were bound to perform a certain amount of work
UPON THE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS. I rebel as stoutly as I can
against this horrible, CORVEE. I try not to deceive you - I
try to set down the thoughts which are fresh within me, and
not to pretend any wishes, or griefs, which I do not really
feel; but no sooner do I cease from watchfulness in this
regard, than my right hand is, as it were, seized by some
false angel, and even now, you see, I have been forced to put
down such words and sentences as I ought to have written if
really and truly I had wished to disturb the saints' days of
the beautiful Smyrniotes!

Which, Heaven forbid! for as you move through the narrow
streets of the city at these times of festival, the transom-
shaped windows suspended over your head on either side are
filled with the beautiful descendants of the old Ionian race;
all (even yonder empress that sits throned at the window of
that humblest mud cottage) are attired with seeming
magnificence; their classic heads are crowned with scarlet,
and loaded with jewels or coins of gold, the whole wealth of
the wearers; * their features are touched with a savage
pencil, which hardens the outline of eyes and eyebrows, and
lends an unnatural fire to the stern, grave looks with which
they pierce your brain. Endure their fiery eyes as best you
may, and ride on slowly and reverently, for facing you from
the side of the transom, that looks long-wise through the
street, you see the one glorious shape transcendant in its
beauty; you see the massive braid of hair as it catches a
touch of light on its jetty surface, and the broad, calm,
angry brow; the large black eyes, deep set, and self-relying
like the eyes of a conqueror, with their rich shadows of
thought lying darkly around them; you see the thin fiery
nostril, and the bold line of the chin and throat disclosing
all the fierceness, and all the pride, passion, and power
that can live along with the rare womanly beauty of those
sweetly turned lips. But then there is a terrible stillness
in this breathing image; it seems like the stillness of a
savage that sits intent and brooding, day by day, upon some
one fearful scheme of vengeance, but yet more like it seems
to the stillness of an Immortal, whose will must be known,
and obeyed without sign or speech. Bow down! - Bow down and
adore the young Persephonie, transcendent Queen of Shades!

* A Greek woman wears her whole fortune upon her person in
the shape of jewels or gold coins; I believe that this mode
of investment is adopted in great measure for safety's sake.
It has the advantage of enabling a suitor to RECKON as well
as to admire the objects of his affection.


I SAILED from Smyrna in the AMPHITRITE, a Greek brigantine,
which was confidently said to be bound for the coast of
Syria; but I knew that this announcement was not to be relied
upon with positive certainty, for the Greek mariners are
practically free from the stringency of ship's papers, and
where they will, there they go. However, I had the whole of
the cabin for myself and my attendant, Mysseri, subject only
to the society of the captain at the hour of dinner. Being
at ease in this respect, being furnished too with plenty of
books, and finding an unfailing source of interest in the
thorough Greekness of my captain and my crew, I felt less
anxious than most people would have been about the probable
length of the cruise. I knew enough of Greek navigation to
be sure that our vessel would cling to earth like a child to
its mother's knee, and that I should touch at many an isle
before I set foot upon the Syrian coast; but I had no
invidious preference for Europe, Asia, or Africa, and I felt
that I could defy the winds to blow me upon a coast that was
blank and void of interest. My patience was extremely useful
to me, for the cruise altogether endured some forty days, and
that in the midst of winter.

According to me, the most interesting of all the Greeks (male
Greeks) are the mariners, because their pursuits and their
social condition are so nearly the same as those of their
famous ancestors. You will say, that the occupation of
commerce must have smoothed down the salience of their minds;
and this would be so perhaps if their mercantile affairs were
conducted according to the fixed businesslike routine of
Europeans; but the ventures of the Greeks are surrounded by
such a multitude of imagined dangers (and from the absence of
regular marts, in which the true value of merchandise can be
ascertained), are so entirely speculative, and besides, are
conducted in a manner so wholly determined upon by the
wayward fancies and wishes of the crew, that they belong to
enterprise rather than to industry, and are very far indeed
from tending to deaden any freshness of character.

The vessels in which war and piracy were carried on during
the years of the Greek Revolution became merchantmen at the
end of the war; but the tactics of the Greeks, as naval
warriors, were so exceedingly cautious, and their habits as
commercial mariners are so wild, that the change has been
more slight than you might imagine. The first care of Greeks
(Greek Rayahs) when they undertake a shipping enterprise is
to procure for their vessel the protection of some European
power. This is easily managed by a little intriguing with
the dragoman of one of the embassies at Constantinople, and
the craft soon glories in the ensign of Russia, or the
dazzling Tricolor, or the Union Jack. Thus, to the great
delight of her crew, she enters upon the ocean world with a
flaring lie at her peak, but the appearance of the vessel
does no discredit to the borrowed flag; she is frail indeed,
but is gracefully built, and smartly rigged; she always
carries guns, and in short, gives good promise of mischief
and speed.

The privileges attached to the vessel and her crew by virtue
of the borrowed flag are so great, as to imply a liberty
wider even than that which is often enjoyed in our more
strictly civilised countries, so that there is no pretence
for saying that the development of the true character
belonging to Greek mariners is prevented by the dominion of
the Ottoman. These men are free, too, from the power of the
great capitalist, whose sway is more withering than despotism
itself to the enterprises of humble venturers. The capital
employed is supplied by those whose labour is to render it
productive. The crew receive no wages, but have all a share
in the venture, and in general, I believe, they are the
owners of the whole freight. They choose a captain, to whom
they entrust just power enough to keep the vessel on her
course in fine weather, but not quite enough for a gale of
wind; they also elect a cook and a mate. The cook whom we
had on board was particularly careful about the ship's
reckoning, and when under the influence of the keen sea-
breezes we grew fondly expectant of an instant dinner, the
great author of PILAFS would be standing on deck with an
ancient quadrant in his hands, calmly affecting to take an
observation. But then to make up for this the captain would
be exercising a controlling influence over the soup, so that
all in the end went well. Our mate was a Hydriot, a native
of that island rock which grows nothing but mariners and
mariners' wives. His character seemed to be exactly that
which is generally attributed to the Hydriot race; he was
fierce, and gloomy, and lonely in his ways. One of his
principal duties seemed to be that of acting as counter-
captain, or leader of the opposition, denouncing the first
symptoms of tyranny, and protecting even the cabin-boy from
oppression. Besides this, when things went smoothly he would
begin to prognosticate evil, in order that his more light-
hearted comrades might not be puffed up with the seeming good
fortune of the moment.

It seemed to me that the personal freedom of these sailors,
who own no superiors except those of their own choice, is as
like as may be to that of their seafaring ancestors. And
even in their mode of navigation they have admitted no such
an entire change as you would suppose probable. It is true
that they have so far availed themselves of modern
discoveries as to look to the compass instead of the stars,
and that they have superseded the immortal gods of their
forefathers by St. Nicholas in his glass case, * but they are
not yet so confident either in their needle, or their saint,
as to love an open sea, and they still hug their shores as
fondly as the Argonauts of old. Indeed, they have a most
unsailor-like love for the land, and I really believe that in
a gale of wind they would rather have a rock-bound coast on
their lee than no coast at all. According to the notions of
an English seaman, this kind of navigation would soon bring
the vessel on which it might be practised to an evil end.
The Greek, however, is unaccountably successful in escaping
the consequences of being "jammed in," as it is called, upon
a lee-shore.

These seamen, like their forefathers, rely upon no winds
unless they are right astern or on the quarter; they rarely
go on a wind if it blows at all fresh, and if the adverse
breeze approaches to a gale, they at once fumigate St.
Nicholas, and put up the helm. The consequence of course is
that under the ever-varying winds of the Aegean they are
blown about in the most whimsical manner. I used to think
that Ulysses with his ten years' voyage had taken his time in
making Ithaca, but my experience in Greek navigation soon
made me understand that he had had, in point of fact, a
pretty good "average passage."

* St. Nicholas is the great patron of Greek sailors. A small
picture of him enclosed in a glass case is hung up like a
barometer at one end of the cabin.

Such are now the mariners of the Aegean: free, equal amongst
themselves, navigating the seas of their forefathers with the
same heroic, and yet child-like, spirit of venture, the same
half-trustful reliance upon heavenly aid, they are the
liveliest images of true old Greeks that time and the new
religions have spared to us.

With one exception, our crew were "a solemn company," * and
yet, sometimes, when all things went well, they would relax
their austerity, and show a disposition to fun, or rather to
quiet humour. When this happened, they invariably had
recourse to one of their number, who went by the name of
"Admiral Nicolou."  He was an amusing fellow, the poorest, I
believe, and the least thoughtful of the crew, but full of
rich humour. His oft-told story of the events by which he
had gained the sobriquet of "Admiral" never failed to delight
his hearers, and when he was desired to repeat it for my
benefit, the rest of the crew crowded round with as much
interest as if they were listening to the tale for the first
time. A number of Greek brigs and brigantines were at anchor
in the bay of Beyrout. A festival of some kind, particularly
attractive to the sailors, was going on in the town, and
whether with or without leave I know not, but the crews of
all the craft, except that of Nicolou, had gone ashore. On
board his vessel, however, which carried dollars, there was,
it would seem, a more careful, or more influential captain,
who was able to enforce his determination that one man, at
least, should be left on board. Nicolou's good nature was
with him so powerful an impulse, that he could not resist the
delight of volunteering to stay with the vessel whilst his
comrades went ashore. His proposal was accepted, and the
crew and captain soon left him alone on the deck of his
vessel. The sailors, gathering together from their several
ships, were amusing themselves in the town, when suddenly
there came down from betwixt the mountains one of those
sudden hurricanes which sometimes occur in southern climes.
Nicolou's vessel, together with four of the craft which had
been left unmanned, broke from her moorings, and all five of
the vessels were carried out seaward. The town is on a
salient point at the southern side of the bay, so that "that
Admiral" was close under the eyes of the inhabitants and the
shore-gone sailors when he gallantly drifted out at the head
of his little fleet. If Nicolou could not entirely control
the manoeuvres of the squadron, there was at least no human
power to divide his authority, and thus it was that he took
rank as "Admiral."  Nicolou cut his cable, and thus for the
time saved his vessel; for the rest of the fleet under his
command were quickly wrecked, whilst "the Admiral" got away
clear to the open sea. The violence of the squall soon
passed off, but Nicolou felt that his chance of one day
resigning his high duties as an admiral for the enjoyments of
private life on the steadfast shore mainly depended upon his
success in working the brig with his own hands, so after
calling on his namesake, the saint (not for the first time, I
take it), he got up some canvas, and took the helm: he became
equal, he told us, to a score of Nicolous, and the vessel, as
he said, was "manned with his terrors."  For two days, it
seems, he cruised at large, but at last, either by his
seamanship, or by the natural instinct of the Greek mariners
for finding land, he brought his craft close to an unknown
shore, that promised well for his purpose of running in the
vessel; and he was preparing to give her a good berth on the
beach, when he saw a gang of ferocious-looking fellows coming
down to the point for which he was making. Poor Nicolou was
a perfectly unlettered and untutored genius, and for that
reason, perhaps, a keen listener to tales of terror. His
mind had been impressed with some horrible legend of
cannibalism, and he now did not doubt for a moment that the
men awaiting him on the beach were the monsters at whom he
had shuddered in the days of his childhood. The coast on
which Nicolou was running his vessel was somewhere, I fancy,
at the foot of the Anzairie Mountains, and the fellows who
were preparing to give him a reception were probably very
rough specimens of humanity. It is likely enough that they
might have given themselves the trouble of putting "the
Admiral" to death, for the purpose of simplifying their claim
to the vessel and preventing litigation, but the notion of
their cannibalism was of course utterly unfounded. Nicolou's
terror had, however, so graven the idea on his mind, that he
could never afterwards dismiss it. Having once determined
the character of his expectant hosts, the Admiral naturally
thought that it would he better to keep their dinner waiting
any length of time than to attend their feast in the
character of a roasted Greek, so he put about his vessel, and
tempted the deep once more. After a further cruise the
lonely commander ran his vessel upon some rocks at another
part of the coast, where she was lost with all her treasures,
and Nicolou was but too glad to scramble ashore, though
without one dollar in his girdle. These adventures seem flat
enough as I repeat them, but the hero expressed his terrors
by such odd terms of speech, and such strangely humorous
gestures, that the story came from his lips with an unfailing
zest, so that the crew, who had heard the tale so often,
could still enjoy to their hearts' content the rich fright of
the Admiral, and still shuddered with unabated horror when he
came to the loss of the dollars.

* Hanmer.

The power of listening to long stories (for which, by-the-
bye, I am giving you large credit) is common, I fancy, to
most sailors, and the Greeks have it to a high degree, for
they can be perfectly patient under a narrative of two or
three hours' duration. These long stories are mostly founded
upon Oriental topics, and in one of them I recognised with
some alteration an old friend of the "Arabian Nights."  I
inquired as to the source from which the story had been
derived, and the crew all agreed that it had been handed down
unwritten from Greek to Greek. Their account of the matter
does not, perhaps, go very far towards showing the real
origin of the tale; but when I afterwards took up the
"Arabian Nights," I became strongly impressed with a notion
that they must have sprung from the brain of a Greek. It
seems to me that these stories, whilst they disclose a
complete and habitual KNOWLEDGE of things Asiatic, have about
them so much of freshness and life, so much of the stirring
and volatile European character, that they cannot have owed
their conception to a mere Oriental, who for creative
purposes is a thing dead and dry - a mental mummy, that may
have been a live king just after the Flood, but has since
lain balmed in spice. At the time of the Caliphat the Greek
race was familiar enough to Baghdad: they were the merchants,
the pedlars, the barbers, and intriguers-general of south-
western Asia, and therefore the Oriental materials with which
the Arabian tales were wrought must have been completely at
the command of the inventive people to whom I would attribute
their origin.

We were nearing the isle of Cyprus when there arose half a
gale of wind, with a heavy chopping sea. My Greek seamen
considered that the weather amounted not to a half, but to an
integral gale of wind at the very least, so they put up the
helm, and scudded for twenty hours. When we neared the
mainland of Anadoli the gale ceased, and a favourable breeze
sprung up, which brought us off Cyprus once more. Afterwards
the wind changed again, but we were still able to lay our
course by sailing close-hauled.

We were at length in such a position, that by holding on our
course for about half-an-hour we should get under the lee of
the island and find ourselves in smooth water, but the wind
had been gradually freshening; it now blew hard, and there
was a heavy sea running.

As the grounds for alarm arose, the crew gathered together in
one close group; they stood pale and grim under their hooded
capotes like monks awaiting a massacre, anxiously looking by
turns along the pathway of the storm and then upon each
other, and then upon the eye of the captain who stood by the
helmsman. Presently the Hydriot came aft, more moody than
ever, the bearer of fierce remonstrance against the
continuing of the struggle; he received a resolute answer,
and still we held our course. Soon there came a heavy sea,
that caught the bow of the brigantine as she lay jammed in
betwixt the waves; she bowed her head low under the waters,
and shuddered through all her timbers, then gallantly stood
up again over the striving sea, with bowsprit entire. But
where were the crew? It was a crew no longer, but rather a
gathering of Greek citizens; the shout of the seamen was
changed for the murmuring of the people - the spirit of the
old Demos was alive. The men came aft in a body, and loudly
asked that the vessel should be put about, and that the storm
be no longer tempted. Now, then, for speeches. The captain,
his eyes flashing fire, his frame all quivering with emotion
- wielding his every limb, like another and a louder voice,
pours forth the eloquent torrent of his threats and his
reasons, his commands and his prayers; he promises, he vows,
he swears that there is safety in holding on - safety, IF
GREEKS WILL BE BRAVE! The men hear and are moved; but the
gale rouses itself once more, and again the raging sea comes
trampling over the timbers that are the life of all. The
fierce Hydriot advances one step nearer to the captain, and
the angry growl of the people goes floating down the wind,
but they listen; they waver once more, and once more resolve,
then waver again, thus doubtfully hanging between the terrors
of the storm and the persuasion of glorious speech, as though
it were the Athenian that talked, and Philip of Macedon that
thundered on the weather-bow.

Brave thoughts winged on Grecian words gained their natural
mastery over terror; the brigantine held on her course, and
reached smooth water at last. I landed at Limasol, the
westernmost port of Cyprus, leaving the vessel to sail for
Larnaka, where she was to remain for some days.


THERE was a Greek at Limasol who hoisted his flag as an
English vice-consul, and he insisted upon my accepting his
hospitality. With some difficulty, and chiefly by assuring
him that I could not delay my departure beyond an early hour
in the afternoon, I induced him to allow my dining with his
family instead of banqueting all alone with the
representative of my sovereign in consular state and dignity.
The lady of the house, it seemed, had never sat at table with
an European. She was very shy about the matter, and tried
hard to get out of the scrape, but the husband, I fancy,
reminded her that she was theoretically an English-woman, by
virtue of the flag that waved over her roof, and that she was
bound to show her nationality by sitting at meat with me.
Finding herself inexorably condemned to bear with the dreaded
gaze of European eyes, she tried to save her innocent
children from the hard fate awaiting herself, but I obtained
that all of them (and I think there were four or five) should
sit at the table. You will meet with abundance of stately
receptions and of generous hospitality, too, in the East, but
rarely, very rarely in those regions (or even, so far as I
know, in any part of southern Europe) does one gain an
opportunity of seeing the familiar and indoor life of the

This family party of the good consul's (or rather of mine,
for I originated the idea, though he furnished the materials)
went off very well. The mamma was shy at first, but she
veiled the awkwardness which she felt by affecting to scold
her children, who had all of them, I think, immortal names -
names too which they owed to tradition, and certainly not to
any classical enthusiasm of their parents. Every instant I
was delighted by some such phrases as these, "Themistocles,
my love, don't fight." - "Alcibiades, can't you sit still?" -
"Socrates, put down the cup." - "Oh, fie! Aspasia, don't.
Oh! don't be naughty!"  It is true that the names were
pronounced Socrahtie, Aspahsie - that is, according to
accent, and not according to quantity - but I suppose it is
scarcely now to be doubted that they were so sounded in
ancient times.

To me it seems, that of all the lands I know (you will see in
a minute how I connect this piece of prose' with the isle of
Cyprus), there is none in which mere wealth, mere unaided
wealth, is held half so cheaply; none in which a poor devil
of a millionaire, without birth, or ability, occupies so
humble a place as in England. My Greek host and I were
sitting together, I think, upon the roof of the house (for
that is the lounging-place in Eastern climes), when the
former assumed a serious air, and intimated a wish to
converse upon the subject of the British Constitution, with
which he assured me that he was thoroughly acquainted. He
presently, however, informed me that there was one anomalous
circumstance attended upon the practical working of our
political system which he had never been able to hear
explained in a manner satisfactory to himself. From the fact
of his having found a difficulty in his subject, I began to
think that my host might really know rather more of it than
his announcement of a thorough knowledge had led me to
expect. I felt interested at being about to hear from the
lips of an intelligent Greek, quite remote from the influence
of European opinions, what might seem to him the most
astonishing and incomprehensible of all those results which
have followed from the action of our political institutions.
The anomaly, the only anomaly which had been detected by the
vice-consular wisdom, consisted in the fact that Rothschild
(the late money-monger) had never been the Prime Minister of
England! I gravely tried to throw some light upon the
mysterious causes that had kept the worthy Israelite out of
the Cabinet, but I think I could see that my explanation was
not satisfactory. Go and argue with the flies of summer that
there is a power divine, yet greater than the sun in the
heavens, but never dare hope to convince the people of the
south that there is any other God than Gold.

My intended journey was to the site of the Paphian temple. I
take no antiquarian interest in ruins, and care little about
them, unless they are either striking in themselves, or else
serve to mark some spot on which my fancy loves to dwell. I
knew that the ruins of Paphos were scarcely, if at all,
discernible, but there was a will and a longing more
imperious than mere curiosity that drove me thither.

For this just then was my pagan soul's desire - that (not
forfeiting my inheritance for the life to come) it had yet
been given me to live through this world - to live a favoured
mortal under the old Olympian dispensation - to speak out my
resolves to the listening Jove, and hear him answer with
approving thunder - to be blessed with divine counsels from
the lips of Pallas Athenie - to believe - ay, only to believe
- to believe for one rapturous moment that in the gloomy
depths of the grove, by the mountain's side, there were some
leafy pathway that crisped beneath the glowing sandal of
Aphrodetie - Aphrodetie, not coldly disdainful of even a
mortal's love! And this vain, heathenish longing of mine was
father to the thought of visiting the scene of the ancient

The isle is beautiful. From the edge of the rich, flowery
fields on which I trod to the midway sides of the snowy
Olympus, the ground could only here and there show an abrupt
crag, or a high straggling ridge that up-shouldered itself
from out of the wilderness of myrtles, and of the thousand
bright-leaved shrubs that twined their arms together in
lovesome tangles. The air that came to my lips was warm and
fragrant as the ambrosial breath of the goddess, infecting
me, not (of course) with a faith in the old religion of the
isle, but with a sense and apprehension of its mystic power -
a power that was still to be obeyed - obeyed by ME, for why
otherwise did I toil on with sorry horses to "where, for HER,
the hundred altars glowed with Arabian incense, and breathed
with the fragrance of garlands ever fresh"? *

* ". . .  ubi templum illi, centumque Sabaeo
Thure calent arae, sertisque recentibus halant."
- Aeneid, i, 415.

I passed a sadly disenchanting night in the cabin of a Greek
priest - not a priest of the goddess, but of the Greek
Church; there was but one humble room, or rather shed, for
man, and priest, and beast. The next morning I reached Baffa
(Paphos), a village not far distant from the site of the
temple. There was a Greek husbandman there who (not for
emolument, but for the sake of the protection and dignity
which it afforded) had got leave from the man at Limasol to
hoist his flag as a sort of deputy-provisionary-sub-vice-pro-
acting-consul of the British sovereign: the poor fellow
instantly changed his Greek headgear for the cap of consular
dignity, and insisted upon accompanying me to the ruins. I
would not have stood this if I could have felt the faintest
gleam of my yesterday's pagan piety, but I had ceased to
dream, and had nothing to dread from any new disenchanters.

The ruins (the fragments of one or two prostrate pillars) lie
upon a promontory, bare and unmystified by the gloom of
surrounding groves. My Greek friend in his consular cap
stood by, respectfully waiting to see what turn my madness
would take, now that I had come at last into the presence of
the old stones. If you have no taste for research, and can't
affect to look for inscriptions, there is some awkwardness in
coming to the end of a merely sentimental pilgrimage; when
the feeling which impelled you has gone, you have nothing to
do but to laugh the thing off as well as you can, and, by-
the-bye, it is not a bad plan to turn the conversation (or
rather, allow the natives to turn it) towards the subject of
hidden treasures. This is a topic on which they will always
speak with eagerness, and if they can fancy that you, too,
take an interest in such matters, they will not only think
you perfectly sane, but will begin to give you credit for
some more than human powers of forcing the obscure earth to
show you its hoards of gold.

When we returned to Baffa, the vice-consul seized a club with
the quietly determined air of a brave man resolved to do some
deed of note. He went into the yard adjoining his cottage,
where there were some thin, thoughtful, canting cocks, and
serious, low-church-looking hens, respectfully listening, and
chickens of tender years so well brought up, as scarcely to
betray in their conduct the careless levity of youth. The
vice-consul stood for a moment quite calm, collecting his
strength; then suddenly he rushed into the midst of the
congregation, and began to deal death and destruction on all
sides. He spared neither sex nor age; the dead and dying
were immediately removed from the field of slaughter, and in
less than an hour, I think, they were brought on the table,
deeply buried in mounds of snowy rice.

My host was in all respects a fine, generous fellow. I could
not bear the idea of impoverishing him by my visit, and I
consulted my faithful Mysseri, who not only assured me that I
might safely offer money to the vice-consul, but recommended
that I should give no more to him than to "the others,"
meaning any other peasant. I felt, however, that there was
something about the man, besides the flag and the cap, which
made me shrink from offering coin, and as I mounted my horse
on departing I gave him the only thing fit for a present that
I happened to have with me, a rather handsome clasp-dagger,
brought from Vienna. The poor fellow was ineffably grateful,
and I had some difficulty in tearing myself from out of the
reach of his thanks. At last I gave him what I supposed to
be the last farewell, and rode on, but I had not gained more
than about a hundred yards when my host came bounding and
shouting after me, with a goat's-milk cheese in his hand,
which he implored me to accept. In old times the shepherd of
Theocritus, or (to speak less dishonestly) the shepherd of
the "Poetae Graeci," sung his best song; I in this latter age
presented my best dagger, and both of us received the same
rustic reward.

It had been known that I should return to Limasol, and when I
arrived there I found that a noble old Greek had been
hospitably plotting to have me for his guest. I willingly
accepted his offer. The day of my arrival happened to be the
birthday of my host, and in consequence of this there was a
constant influx of visitors, who came to offer their
congratulations. A few of these were men, but most of them
were young, graceful girls. Almost all of them went through
the ceremony with the utmost precision and formality; each in
succession spoke her blessing, in the tone of a person
repeating a set formula, then deferentially accepted the
invitation to sit, partook of the proffered sweetmeats and
the cold, glittering water, remained for a few minutes either
in silence or engaged in very thin conversation, then arose,
delivered a second benediction, followed by an elaborate
farewell, and departed.

The bewitching power attributed at this day to the women of
Cyprus is curious in connection with the worship of the sweet
goddess, who called their isle her own. The Cypriote is not,
I think, nearly so beautiful in face as the Ionian queens of
Izmir, but she is tall, and slightly formed; there is a high-
souled meaning and expression, a seeming consciousness of
gentle empire, that speaks in the wavy line of the shoulder,
and winds itself like Cytherea's own cestus around the
slender waist; then the richly-abounding hair (not enviously
gathered together under the head-dress) descends the neck,
and passes the waist in sumptuous braids. Of all other women
with Grecian blood in their veins the costume is graciously
beautiful, but these, the maidens of Limasol - their robes
are more gently, more sweetly imagined, and fall like Julia's
cashmere in soft, luxurious folds. The common voice of the
Levant allows that in face the women of Cyprus are less
beautiful than their brilliant sisters of Smyrna; and yet,
says the Greek, he may trust himself to one and all the
bright cities of the Aegean, and may yet weigh anchor with a
heart entire, but that so surely as he ventures upon the
enchanted isle of Cyprus, so surely will he know the rapture
or the bitterness of love. The charm, they say, owes its
power to that which the people call the astonishing
"politics" [Greek word which cannot be reproduced] of the
women, meaning, I fancy, their tact and their witching ways:
the word, however, plainly fails to express one-half of that
which the speakers would say. I have smiled to hear the
Greek, with all his plenteousness of fancy, and all the
wealth of his generous language, yet vainly struggling to
describe the ineffable spell which the Parisians dispose of
in their own smart way by a summary "Je ne scai quoi."

I went to Larnaca, the chief city of the isle, and over the
water at last to Beyrout.


BEYROUT on its land side is hemmed in by the Druses, who
occupy all the neighbouring highlands.

* The writer advises that none should attempt to read the
following account of the late Lady Hester Stanhope except
those who may already chance to feel an interest in the
personage to whom it relates. The chapter (which has been
written and printed for the reasons mentioned in the preface)
is chiefly filled with the detailed conversation, or rather
discourse, of a highly eccentric gentlewoman.

Often enough I saw the ghostly images of the women with their
exalted horns stalking through the streets, and I saw too in
travelling the affrighted groups of the mountaineers as they
fled before me, under the fear that my party might be a
company of income-tax commissioners, or a pressgang enforcing
the conscription for Mehemet Ali; but nearly all my knowledge
of the people, except in regard of their mere costume and
outward appearance, is drawn from books and despatches, to
which I have the honour to refer you.

I received hospitable welcome at Beyrout from the Europeans
as well as from the Syrian Christians, and I soon discovered
that their standing topic of interest was the Lady Hester
Stanhope, who lived in an old convent on the Lebanon range,
at the distance of about a day's journey from the town. The
lady's habit of refusing to see Europeans added the charm of
mystery to a character which, even without that aid, was
sufficiently distinguished to command attention.

Many years of Lady Hester's early womanhood had been passed
with Lady Chatham at Burton Pynsent, and during that
inglorious period of the heroine's life her commanding
character, and (as they would have called it in the language
of those days) her "condescending kindness" towards my
mother's family, had increased in them those strong feelings
of respect and attachment, which her rank and station alone
would have easily won from people of the middle class. You
may suppose how deeply the quiet women in Somersetshire must
have been interested, when they slowly learned by vague and
uncertain tidings that the intrepid girl who had been used to
break their vicious horses for them was reigning in
sovereignty over the wandering tribes of Western Asia! I
know that her name was made almost as familiar to me in my
childhood as the name of Robinson Crusoe - both were
associated with the spirit of adventure; but whilst the
imagined life of the cast-away mariner never failed to seem
glaringly real, the true story of the Englishwoman ruling
over Arabs always sounded to me like fable. I never had
heard, nor indeed, I believe, had the rest of the world ever
heard, anything like a certain account of the heroine's
adventures; all I knew was, that in one of the drawers which
were the delight of my childhood, along with attar of roses
and fragrant wonders from Hindustan, there were letters
carefully treasured, and trifling presents which I was taught
to think valuable because they had come from the queen of the
desert, who dwelt in tents, and reigned over wandering Arabs.

This subject, however, died away, and from the ending of my
childhood up to the period of my arrival in the Levant, I had
seldom even heard a mentioning of the Lady Hester Stanhope,
but now, wherever I went, I was met by the name so familiar
in sound, and yet so full of mystery from the vague, fairy-
tale sort of idea which it brought to my mind; I heard it,
too, connected with fresh wonders, for it was said that the
woman was now acknowledged as an inspired being by the people
of the mountains, and it was even hinted with horror that she
claimed to be MORE THAN A PROPHET.

I felt at once that my mother would be sadly sorry to hear
that I had been within a day's ride of her early friend
without offering to see her, and I therefore despatched a
letter to the recluse, mentioning the maiden name of my
mother (whose marriage was subsequent to Lady Hester's
departure), and saying that if there existed on the part of
her ladyship any wish to hear of her old Somersetshire
acquaintance, I should make a point of visiting her. My
letter was sent by a foot-messenger, who was to take an
unlimited time for his journey, so that it was not, I think,
until either the third or the fourth day that the answer
arrived. A couple of horsemen covered with mud suddenly
dashed into the little court of the "locanda" in which I was
staying, bearing themselves as ostentatiously as though they
were carrying a cartel from the Devil to the Angel Michael:
one of these (the other being his attendant) was an Italian
by birth (though now completely orientalised), who lived in
my lady's establishment as doctor nominally, but practically
as an upper servant; he presented me a very kind and
appropriate letter of invitation.

It happened that I was rather unwell at this time, so that I
named a more distant day for my visit than I should otherwise
have done, and after all, I did not start at the time fixed.
Whilst still remaining at Beyrout I received this letter,
which certainly betrays no symptom of the pretensions to
divine power which were popularly attributed to the writer:-

"SIR, - I hope I shall be disappointed in seeing you on
Wednesday, for the late rains have rendered the river Damoor
if not dangerous, at least very unpleasant to pass for a
person who has been lately indisposed, for if the animal
swims, you would be immerged in the waters. The weather will
probably change after the 21st of the moon, and after a
couple of days the roads and the river will be passable,
therefore I shall expect you either Saturday or Monday.

"It will be a great satisfaction to me to have an opportunity
of inquiring after your mother, who was a sweet, lovely girl
when I knew her.
"Believe me, sir,
"Yours sincerely,

Early one morning I started from Beyrout. There are no
regularly established relays of horses in Syria, at least not
in the line which I took, and you therefore hire your cattle
for the whole journey, or at all events, for your journey to
some large town. Under these circumstances you have no
occasion for a Tatar (whose principal utility consists in his
power to compel the supply of horses). In other respects,
the mode of travelling through Syria differs very little from
that which I have described as prevailing in Turkey. I hired
my horses and mules (for I had some of both) for the whole of
the journey from Beyrout to Jerusalem. The owner of the
beasts (who had a couple of fellows under him) was the most
dignified member of my party; he was, indeed, a magnificent
old man, and was called Shereef, or "holy" - a title of
honour which, with the privilege of wearing the green turban,
he well deserved, not only from the blood of the Prophet that
flowed in his veins, but from the well-known sanctity of his
life and the length of his blessed beard.

Mysseri, of course, still travelled with me, but the Arabic
was not one of the seven languages which he spoke so
perfectly, and I was therefore obliged to hire another
interpreter. I had no difficulty in finding a proper man for
the purpose - one Demetrius, or, as he was always called,
Dthemetri, a native of Zante, who had been tossed about by
fortune in all directions. He spoke the Arabic very well,
and communicated with me in Italian. The man was a very
zealous member of the Greek Church. He had been a tailor.
He was as ugly as the devil, having a thoroughly Tatar
countenance, which expressed the agony of his body or mind,
as the case might be, in the most ludicrous manner
imaginable. He embellished the natural caricature of his
person by suspending about his neck and shoulders and waist
quantities of little bundles and parcels, which he thought
too valuable to he entrusted to the jerking of pack-saddles.
The mule that fell to his lot on this journey every now and
then, forgetting that his rider was a saint, and remembering
that he was a tailor, took a quiet roll upon the ground, and
stretched his limbs calmly and lazily, like a good man
awaiting a sermon. Dthemetri never got seriously hurt, but
the subversion and dislocation of his bundles made him for
the moment a sad spectacle of ruin, and when he regained his
legs, his wrath with the mule became very amusing. He always
addressed the beast in language which implied that he, as a
Christian and saint, had been personally insulted and
oppressed by a Mahometan mule. Dthemetri, however, on the
whole, proved to be a most able and capital servant. I
suspected him of now and then leading me out of my way in
order that he might have the opportunity of visiting the
shrine of a saint, and on one occasion, as you will see by-
and-by, he was induced by religious motives to commit a gross
breach of duty; but putting these pious faults out of the
question (and they were faults of the right side), he was
always faithful and true to me.

I left Saide (the Sidon of ancient times) on my right, and
about an hour, I think, before sunset began to ascend one of
the many low hills of Lebanon. On the summit before me was a
broad, grey mass of irregular building, which from its
position, as well as from the gloomy blankness of its walls,
gave the idea of a neglected fortress. It had, in fact, been
a convent of great size, and like most of the religious
houses in this part of the world, had been made strong enough
for opposing an inert resistance to any mere casual band of
assailants who might be unprovided with regular means of
attack: this was the dwelling-place of the Chatham's fiery

The aspect of the first court which I entered was such as to
keep one in the idea of having to do with a fortress rather
than a mere peaceable dwelling-place. A number of fierce-
looking and ill-clad Albanian soldiers were hanging about the
place, and striving to bear the curse of tranquillity as well
as they could: two or three of them, I think, were smoking
their TCHIBOUQUES, but the rest of them were lying torpidly
upon the flat stones, like the bodies of departed brigands.
I rode on to an inner part of the building, and at last,
quitting my horses, was conducted through a doorway that led
me at once from an open court into an apartment on the ground
floor. As I entered, an Oriental figure in male costume
approached me from the farther end of the room with many and
profound bows, but the growing shades of evening prevented me
from distinguishing the features of the personage who was
receiving me with this solemn welcome. I had always,
however, understood that Lady Hester Stanhope wore the male
attire, and I began to utter in English the common civilities
that seemed to be proper on the commencement of a visit by an
uninspired mortal to a renowned prophetess; but the figure
which I addressed only bowed so much the more, prostrating
itself almost to the ground, but speaking to me never a word.
I feebly strived not to be outdone in gestures of respect;
but presently my bowing opponent saw the error under which I
was acting, and suddenly convinced me that, at all events, I
was not YET in the presence of a superhuman being, by
declaring that he was not "miladi," but was, in fact, nothing
more or less god-like than the poor doctor, who had brought
his mistress's letter to Beyrout.

Her ladyship, in the right spirit of hospitality, now sent
and commanded me to repose for a while after the fatigues of
my journey, and to dine.

The cuisine was of the Oriental kind, which is highly
artificial, and I thought it very good. I rejoiced too in
the wine of the Lebanon.

Soon after the ending of the dinner the doctor arrived with
miladi's compliments, and an intimation that she would he
happy to receive me if I were so disposed. It had now grown
dark, and the rain was falling heavily, so that I got rather
wet in following my guide through the open courts that I had
to pass in order to reach the presence chamber. At last I
was ushered into a small apartment, which was protected from
the draughts of air passing through the doorway by a folding
screen; passing this, I came alongside of a common European
sofa, where sat the lady prophetess. She rose from her seat
very formally, spoke to me a few words of welcome, pointed to
a chair which was placed exactly opposite to her sofa at a
couple of yards' distance, and remained standing up to the
full of her majestic height, perfectly still and motionless,
until I had taken my appointed place; she then resumed her
seat, not packing herself up according to the mode of the
Orientals, but allowing her feet to rest on the floor or the
footstool; at the moment of seating herself she covered her
lap with a mass of loose white drapery which she held in her
hand. It occurred to me at the time that she did this in
order to avoid the awkwardness of sitting in manifest
trousers under the eye of an European, but I can hardly fancy
now that with her wilful nature she would have brooked such a
compromise as this.

The woman before me had exactly the person of a prophetess -
not, indeed, of the divine sibyl imagined by Domenichino, so
sweetly distracted betwixt love and mystery, but of a good
business-like, practical prophetess, long used to the
exercise of her sacred calling. I have been told by those
who knew Lady Hester Stanhope in her youth, that any notion
of a resemblance betwixt her and the great Chatham must have
been fanciful; but at the time of my seeing her, the large
commanding features of the gaunt woman, then sixty years old
or more, certainly reminded me of the statesman that lay
dying * in the House of Lords, according to Copley's picture.
Her face was of the most astonishing whiteness; * she wore a
very large turban, which seemed to be of pale cashmere
shawls, so disposed as to conceal the hair; her dress, from
the chin down to the point at which it was concealed by the
drapery which she held over her lap, was a mass of white
linen loosely folding - an ecclesiastical sort of affair,
more like a surplice than any of those blessed creations
which our souls love under the names of "dress" and "frock"
and "boddice" and "collar" and "habit-shirt" and sweet

* Historically "FAINTING"; the death did not occur until long

Such was the outward seeming of the personage that sat before
me, and indeed she was almost bound by the fame of her actual
achievements, as well as by her sublime pretensions, to look
a little differently from the rest of womankind. There had
been something of grandeur in her career. After the death of
Lady Chatham, which happened in 1803, she lived under the
roof of her uncle, the second Pitt, and when he resumed the
Government in 1804, she became the dispenser of much
patronage, and sole secretary of state for the department of
Treasury banquets. Not having seen the lady until late in
her life, when she was fired with spiritual ambition, I can
hardly fancy that she could have performed her political
duties in the saloons of the Minister with much of feminine
sweetness and patience. I am told, however, that she managed
matters very well indeed: perhaps it was better for the
lofty-minded leader of the House to have his reception-rooms
guarded by this stately creature, than by a merely clever and
managing woman; it was fitting that the wholesome awe with
which he filled the minds of the country gentlemen should be
aggravated by the presence of his majestic niece. But the
end was approaching. The sun of Austerlitz showed the Czar
madly sliding his splendid army like a weaver's shuttle from
his right hand to his left, under the very eyes - the deep,
grey, watchful eyes of Napoleon; before night came, the
coalition was a vain thing - meet for history, and the heart
of its great author was crushed with grief when the terrible
tidings came to his ears. In the bitterness of his despair
he cried out to his niece, and bid her, "ROLL UP THE MAP OF
EUROPE"; there was a little more of suffering, and at last,
with his swollen tongue (so they say) still muttering
something for England, he died by the noblest of all sorrows.

* I am told that in youth she was exceedingly sallow.

Lady Hester, meeting the calamity in her own fierce way,
seems to have scorned the poor island that had not enough of
God's grace to keep the "heaven-sent" Minister alive. I can
hardly tell why it should be, but there is a longing for the
East very commonly felt by proud-hearted people when goaded
by sorrow. Lady Hester Stanhope obeyed this impulse. For
some time, I believe, she was at Constantinople, where her
magnificence and near alliance to the late Minister gained
her great influence. Afterwards she passed into Syria. The
people of that country, excited by the achievements of Sir
Sidney Smith, had begun to imagine the possibility of their
land being occupied by the English, and many of them looked
upon Lady Hester as a princess who came to prepare the way
for the expected conquest. I don't know it from her own
lips, or indeed from any certain authority, but I have been
told that she began her connection with the Bedouins by
making a large present of money (500 pounds it was said -
immense in piastres) to the Sheik whose authority was
recognised in that part of the desert which lies between
Damascus and Palmyra. The prestige created by the rumours of
her high and undefined rank, as well as of her wealth and
corresponding magnificence, was well sustained by her
imperious character and her dauntless bravery. Her influence
increased. I never heard anything satisfactory as to the
real extent or duration of her sway, but it seemed that for a
time at least she certainly exercised something like
sovereignty amongst the wandering tribes. *  And now that her
earthly kingdom had passed away she strove for spiritual
power, and impiously dared, as it was said, to boast some
mystic union with the very God of very God!

* This was my impression at the time of writing the above
passage, an impression created by the popular and
uncontradicted accounts of the matter, as well as by the
tenor of Lady Hester's conversation. I have now some reason
to think that I was deceived, and that her sway in the desert
was much more limited than I had supposed. She seems to have
had from the Bedouins a fair five hundred pounds' worth of
respect, and not much more.

A couple of black slave girls came at a signal, and supplied
their mistress as well as myself with lighted TCHIBOUQUES and

The custom of the East sanctions, and almost commands, some
moments of silence whilst you are inhaling the first few
breaths of the fragrant pipe. The pause was broken, I think,
by my lady, who addressed to me some inquiries respecting my
mother, and particularly as to her marriage; but before I had
communicated any great amount of family facts, the spirit of
the prophetess kindled within her, and presently (though with
all the skill of a woman of the world) she shuffled away the
subject of poor, dear Somersetshire, and bounded onward into
loftier spheres of thought.

My old acquaintance with some of "the twelve" enabled me to
bear my part (of course a very humble one) in a conversation
relative to occult science. Milnes once spread a report,
that every gang of gipsies was found upon inquiry to have
come last from a place to the westward, and to be about to
make the next move in an eastern direction; either therefore
they where to be all gathered together towards the rising of
the sun by the mysterious finger of Providence, or else they
were to revolve round the globe for ever and ever: both of
these suppositions were highly gratifying, because they were
both marvellous; and though the story on which they were
founded plainly sprang from the inventive brain of a poet, no
one had ever been so odiously statistical as to attempt a
contradiction of it. I now mentioned the story as a report
to Lady Hester Stanhope, and asked her if it were true. I
could not have touched upon any imaginable subject more
deeply interesting to my hearer, more closely akin to her
habitual train of thinking. She immediately threw off all
the restraint belonging to an interview with a stranger; and
when she had received a few more similar proofs of my aptness
for the marvellous, she went so far as to say that she would
adopt me as her ELEVE in occult science.

For hours and hours this wondrous white woman poured forth
her speech, for the most part concerning sacred and profane
mysteries; but every now and then she would stay her lofty
flight and swoop down upon the world again. Whenever this
happened I was interested in her conversation.

She adverted more than once to the period of her lost sway
amongst the Arabs, and mentioned some of the circumstances
that aided her in obtaining influence with the wandering
tribes. The Bedouin, so often engaged in irregular warfare,
strains his eyes to the horizon in search of a coming enemy
just as habitually as the sailor keeps his "bright lookout"
for a strange sail. In the absence of telescopes a far-
reaching sight is highly valued, and Lady Hester possessed
this quality to an extraordinary degree. She told me that on
one occasion, when there was good reason to expect a hostile
attack, great excitement was felt in the camp by the report
of a far-seeing Arab, who declared that he could just
distinguish some moving objects upon the very farthest point
within the reach of his eyes. Lady Hester was consulted, and
she instantly assured her comrades in arms that there were
indeed a number of horses within sight, but that they were
without riders. The assertion proved to be correct, and from
that time forth her superiority over all others in respect of
far sight remained undisputed.

Lady Hester related to me this other anecdote of her Arab
life. It was when the heroic qualities of the English-woman
were just beginning to be felt amongst the people of the
desert, that she was marching one day, along with the forces
of the tribe to which she had allied herself. She perceived
that preparations for an engagement were going on, and upon
her making inquiry as to the cause, the Sheik at first
affected mystery and concealment, but at last confessed that
war had been declared against his tribe on account of its
alliance with the English princess, and that they were now
unfortunately about to be attacked by a very superior force.
He made it appear that Lady Hester was the sole cause of
hostility betwixt his tribe and the impending enemy, and that
his sacred duty of protecting the Englishwoman whom he had
admitted as his guest was the only obstacle which prevented
an amicable arrangement of the dispute. The Sheik hinted
that his tribe was likely to sustain an almost overwhelming
blow, but at the same time declared, that no fear of the
consequences, however terrible to him and his whole people,
should induce him to dream of abandoning his illustrious
guest. The heroine instantly took her part: it was not for
her to be a source of danger to her friends, but rather to
her enemies, so she resolved to turn away from the people,
and trust for help to none save only her haughty self. The
Sheiks affected to dissuade her from so rash a course, and
fairly told her that although they (having been freed from
her presence) would be able to make good terms for
themselves, yet that there were no means of allaying the
hostility felt towards her, and that the whole face of the
desert would be swept by the horsemen of her enemies so
carefully, as to make her escape into other districts almost
impossible. The brave woman was not to be moved by terrors
of this kind, and bidding farewell to the tribe which had
honoured and protected her, she turned her horse's head and
rode straight away from them, without friend or follower.
Hours had elapsed, and for some time she had been alone in
the centre of the round horizon, when her quick eye perceived
some horsemen in the distance. The party came nearer and
nearer; soon it was plain that they were making towards her,
and presently some hundreds of Bedouins, fully armed,
galloped up to her, ferociously shouting, and apparently
intending to take her life at the instant with their pointed
spears. Her face at the time was covered with the YASHMAK,
according to Eastern usage, but at the moment when the
foremost of the horsemen had all but reached her with their
spears, she stood up in her stirrups, withdrew the YASHMAK
that veiled the terrors of her countenance, waved her arm
slowly and disdainfully, and cried out with a loud voice
"Avaunt!" * The horsemen recoiled from her glance, but not in
terror. The threatening yells of the assailants were
suddenly changed for loud shouts of joy and admiration at the
bravery of the stately Englishwoman, and festive gunshots
were fired on all sides around her honoured head. The truth
was, that the party belonged to the tribe with which she had
allied herself, and that the threatened attack as well as the
pretended apprehension of an engagement had been contrived
for the mere purpose of testing her courage. The day ended
in a great feast prepared to do honour to the heroine, and
from that time her power over the minds of the people grew
rapidly. Lady Hester related this story with great spirit,
and I recollect that she put up her YASHMAK for a moment in
order to give me a better idea of the effect which she
produced by suddenly revealing the awfulness of her

* She spoke it, I dare say, in English; the words would not
be the less effective for being spoken in an unknown tongue.
Lady Hester, I believe, never learnt to speak the Arabic with
a perfect accent.

With respect to her then present mode of life, Lady Hester
informed me, that for her sin she had subjected herself
during many years to severe penance, and that her self-denial
had not been without its reward. "Vain and false," said she,
"is all the pretended knowledge of the Europeans - their
doctors will tell you that the drinking of milk gives
yellowness to the complexion; milk is my only food, and you
see if my face be not white."  Her abstinence from food
intellectual was carried as far as her physical fasting. She
never, she said, looked upon a book or a newspaper, but
trusted alone to the stars for her sublime knowledge; she
usually passed the nights in communing with these heavenly
teachers, and lay at rest during the daytime. She spoke with
great contempt of the frivolity and benighted ignorance of
the modern Europeans, and mentioned in proof of this, that
they were not only untaught in astrology, but were
unacquainted with the common and every-day phenomena produced
by magic art. She spoke as if she would make me understand
that all sorcerous spells were completely at her command, but
that the exercise of such powers would be derogatory to her
high rank in the heavenly kingdom. She said that the spell
by which the face of an absent person is thrown upon a mirror
was within the reach of the humblest and most contemptible
magicians, but that the practice of such-like arts was unholy
as well as vulgar.

We spoke of the bending twig by which, it is said, precious
metals may be discovered. In relation to this, the
prophetess told me a story rather against herself, and
inconsistent with the notion of her being perfect in her
science; but I think that she mentioned the facts as having
happened before the time at which she attained to the great
spiritual authority which she now arrogated. She told me
that vast treasures were known to exist in a situation which
she mentioned, if I rightly remember, as being near Suez;
that Napoleon, profanely brave, thrust his arm into the cave
containing the coveted gold, and that instantly his flesh
became palsied, but the youthful hero (for she said he was
great in his generation) was not to be thus daunted; he fell
back characteristically upon his brazen resources, and
ordered up his artillery; but man could not strive with
demons, and Napoleon was foiled. In after years came Ibrahim
Pasha, with heavy guns, and wicked spells to boot, but the
infernal guardians of the treasure were too strong for him.
It was after this that Lady Hester passed by the spot, and
she described with animated gesture the force and energy with
which the divining twig had suddenly leaped in her hands.
She ordered excavations, and no demons opposed her
enterprise; the vast chest in which the treasure had been
deposited was at length discovered, but lo and behold, it was
full of pebbles! She said, however, that the times were
approaching in which the hidden treasures of the earth would
become available to those who had true knowledge.

Speaking of Ibrahim Pasha, Lady Hester said that he was a
bold, bad man, and was possessed of some of those common and
wicked magical arts upon which she looked down with so much
contempt. She said, for instance, that Ibrahim's life was
charmed against balls and steel, and that after a battle he
loosened the folds of his shawl and shook out the bullets
like dust.

It seems that the St. Simonians once made overtures to Lady
Hester. She told me that the Pere Enfantin (the chief of the
sect) had sent her a service of plate, but that she had
declined to receive it. She delivered a prediction as to the
probability of the St. Simonians finding the "mystic mother,"
and this she did in a way which would amuse you.
Unfortunately I am not at liberty to mention this part of the
woman's prophecies; why, I cannot tell, but so it is, that
she bound me to eternal secrecy.

Lady Hester told me that since her residence at Djoun she had
been attacked by a terrible illness, which rendered her for a
long time perfectly helpless; all her attendants fled, and
left her to perish. Whilst she lay thus alone, and quite
unable to rise, robbers came and carried away her property. *
She told me that they actually unroofed a great part of the
building, and employed engines with pulleys, for the purpose
of hoisting out such of her valuables as were too bulky to
pass through doors. It would seem that before this
catastrophe Lady Hester had been rich in the possession of
Eastern luxuries; for she told me, that when the chiefs of
the Ottoman force took refuge with her after the fall of
Acre, they brought their wives also in great numbers. To all
of these Lady Hester, as she said, presented magnificent
dresses; but her generosity occasioned strife only instead of
gratitude, for every woman who fancied her present less
splendid than that of another with equal or less pretension,
became absolutely furious: all these audacious guests had now
been got rid of, but the Albanian soldiers, who had taken
refuge with Lady Hester at the same time, still remained
under her protection.

* The proceedings thus described to me by Lady Hester as
having taken place during her illness, were afterwards re-
enacted at the time of her death. Since I wrote the words to
which this note is appended, I received from Warburton an
interesting account of the heroine's death, or rather the
circumstances attending the discovery of the event; and I
caused it to be printed in the former editions of this work.
I must now give up the borrowed ornament, and omit my extract
from my friend's letter, for the rightful owner has reprinted
it in "The Crescent and the Cross."  I know what a sacrifice
I am making, for in noticing the first edition of this book
reviewers turned aside from the text to the note, and
remarked upon the interesting information which Warburton's
letter contained. [This narrative is reproduced in an
Appendix to the present edition.]

In truth, this half-ruined convent, guarded by the proud
heart of an English gentlewoman, was the only spot throughout
all Syria and Palestine in which the will of Mehemet Ali and
his fierce lieutenant was not the law. More than once had
the Pasha of Egypt commanded that Ibrahim should have the
Albanians delivered up to him, but this white woman of the
mountain (grown classical not by books, but by very pride)
answered only with a disdainful invitation to "come and take
them."  Whether it was that Ibrahim was acted upon by any
superstitious dread of interfering with the prophetess (a
notion not at all incompatible with his character as an able
Oriental commander), or that he feared the ridicule of
putting himself in collision with a gentlewoman, he certainly
never ventured to attack the sanctuary, and so long as the
Chatham's granddaughter breathed a breath of life there was
always this one hillock, and that too in the midst of a most
populous district, which stood out, and kept its freedom.
Mehemet Ali used to say, I am told, that the Englishwoman had
given him more trouble than all the insurgent people of Syria
and Palestine.

The prophetess announced to me that we were upon the eve of a
stupendous convulsion, which would destroy the then
recognised value of all property upon earth; and declaring
that those only who should be in the East at the time of the
great change could hope for greatness in the new life that
was now close at hand, she advised me, whilst there was yet
time, to dispose of my property in poor frail England, and
gain a station in Asia. She told me that, after leaving her,
I should go into Egypt, but that in a little while I should
return into Syria. I secretly smiled at this last prophecy
as a "bad shot," for I had fully determined after visiting
the Pyramids to take ship from Alexandria for Greece. But
men struggle vainly in the meshes of their destiny. The
unbelieved Cassandra was right after all; the plague came,
and the necessity of avoiding the quarantine, to which I
should have been subjected if I had sailed from Alexandria,
forced me to alter my route. I went down into Egypt, and
stayed there for a time, and then crossed the desert once
more, and came back to the mountains of the Lebanon, exactly
as the prophetess had foretold.

Lady Hester talked to me long and earnestly on the subject of
religion, announcing that the Messiah was yet to come. She
strived to impress me with the vanity and the falseness of
all European creeds, as well as with a sense of her own
spiritual greatness: throughout her conversation upon these
high topics she carefully insinuated, without actually
asserting, her heavenly rank.

Amongst other much more marvellous powers, the lady claimed
to have one which most women, I fancy, possess namely, that
of reading men's characters in their faces. She examined the
line of my features very attentively, and told me the result,
which, however, I mean to keep hidden.

One favoured subject of discourse was that of  "race," upon
which she was very diffuse, and yet rather mysterious. She
set great value upon the ancient French * (not Norman blood,
for that she vilified), but did not at all appreciate that
which we call in this country "an old family."  She had a
vast idea of the Cornish miners on account of their race, and
said, if she chose, she could give me the means of rousing
them to the most tremendous enthusiasm.

* In a letter which I afterwards received from Lady Hester,
she mentioned incidentally Lord Hardwicke, and said that he
was "the kindest-hearted man existing - a most manly, firm
character. He comes from a good breed - all the Yorkes
excellent, with ANCIENT French blood in their veins."  The
under scoring of the word "ancient" is by the writer of the
letter, who had certainly no great love or veneration for the
French of the present day: she did not consider them as
descended from her favourite stock.

Such are the topics on which the lady mainly conversed, but
very often she would descend to more worldly chat, and then
she was no longer the prophetess, but the sort of woman that
you sometimes see, I am told, in London drawing-rooms - cool,
decisive in manner, unsparing of enemies, full of audacious
fun, and saying the downright things that the sheepish
society around her is afraid to utter. I am told that Lady
Hester was in her youth a capital mimic, and she showed me
that not all the queenly dulness to which she had condemned
herself, not all her fasting and solitude, had destroyed this
terrible power. The first whom she crucified in my presence
was poor Lord Byron. She had seen him, it appeared, I know
not where, soon after his arrival in the East, and was vastly
amused at his little affectations. He had picked up a few
sentences of the Romantic, with which he affected to give
orders to his Greek servant. I can't tell whether Lady
Hester's mimicry of the bard was at all close, but it was
amusing; she attributed to him a curiously coxcombical lisp.

Another person whose style of speaking the lady took off very
amusingly was one who would scarcely object to suffer by the
side of Lord Byron - I mean Lamartine, who had visited her in
the course of his travels. The peculiarity which attracted
her ridicule was an over-refinement of manner: according to
my lady's imitation of Lamartine (I have never seen him
myself), he had none of the violent grimace of his
countrymen, and not even their usual way of talking, but
rather bore himself mincingly, like the humbler sort of
English dandy. *

* It is said that deaf people can hear what is said
concerning themselves, and it would seem that those who live
without books or newspapers know all that is written about
them. Lady Hester Stanhope, though not admitting a book or
newspaper into her fortress, seems to have known the way in
which M. Lamartine mentioned her in his book, for in a letter
which she wrote to me after my return to England she says,
"Although neglected, as Monsieur le M." (referring, as I
believe, to M. Lamartine) "describes, and without books, yet
my head is organised to supply the want of them as well as
acquired knowledge."

Lady Hester seems to have heartily despised everything
approaching to exquisiteness. She told me, by-the-bye (and
her opinion upon that subject is worth having), that a
downright manner, amounting even to brusqueness, is more
effective than any other with the Oriental; and that amongst
the English of all ranks and all classes there is no man so
attractive to the Orientals, no man who can negotiate with
them half so effectively, as a good, honest, open-hearted,
and positive naval officer of the old school.

I have told you, I think, that Lady Hester could deal
fiercely with those she hated. One man above all others (he
is now uprooted from society, and cast away for ever) she
blasted with her wrath. You would have thought that in the
scornfulness of her nature she must have sprung upon her foe
with more of fierceness than of skill; but this was not so,
for with all the force and vehemence of her invective she
displayed a sober, patient, and minute attention to the
details of vituperation, which contributed to its success a
thousand times more than mere violence.

During the hours that this sort of conversation, or rather
discourse, was going on our TCHIBOUQUES were from time to
time replenished, and the lady as well as I continued to
smoke with little or no intermission till the interview
ended. I think that the fragrant fumes of the latakiah must
have helped to keep me on my good behaviour as a patient
disciple of the prophetess.

It was not till after midnight that my visit for the evening
came to an end. When I quitted my seat the lady rose and
stood up in the same formal attitude (almost that of a
soldier in a state of "attention") which she had assumed at
my entrance; at the same time she let go the drapery which
she had held over her lap whilst sitting and allowed it to
fall to the ground.

The next morning after breakfast I was visited by my lady's
secretary - the only European, except the doctor, whom she
retained in her household. This secretary, like the doctor,
was Italian, but he preserved more signs of European dress
and European pretensions than his medical fellow-slave. He
spoke little or no English, though he wrote it pretty well,
having been formerly employed in a mercantile house connected
with England. The poor fellow was in an unhappy state of
mind. In order to make you understand the extent of his
spiritual anxieties, I ought to have told you that the doctor
* (who had sunk into the complete Asiatic, and had
condescended accordingly to the performance of even menial
services) had adopted the common faith of all the
neighbouring people, and had become a firm and happy believer
in the divine power of his mistress. Not so the secretary.
When I had strolled with him to a distance from the building,
which rendered him safe from being overheard by human ears,
he told me in a hollow voice, trembling with emotion, that
there were times at which he doubted the divinity of
"miledi."  I said nothing to encourage the poor fellow in
that frightful state of scepticism which, if indulged, might
end in positive infidelity. I found that her ladyship had
rather arbitrarily abridged the amusements of her secretary,
forbidding him from shooting small birds on the mountain-
side. This oppression had arouses in him a spirit of inquiry
that might end fatally, perhaps for himself, perhaps for the
"religion of the place."

* I have been recently told that this Italian's pretensions
to the healing art were thoroughly unfounded. My informant
is a gentleman who enjoyed during many years the esteem and
confidence of Lady Hester Stanhope: his adventures in the
Levant were most curious and interesting.

The secretary told me that his mistress was greatly disliked
by the surrounding people, whom she oppressed by her
exactions, and the truth of this statement was borne out by
the way in which my lady spoke to me of her neighbours. But
in Eastern countries hate and veneration are very commonly
felt for the same object, and the general belief in the
superhuman power of this wonderful white lady, her resolute
and imperious character, and above all, perhaps, her fierce
Albanians (not backward to obey an order for the sacking of a
village), inspired sincere respect amongst the surrounding
inhabitants. Now the being "respected" amongst Orientals is
not an empty or merely honorary distinction, but carries with
it a clear right to take your neighbour's corn, his cattle,
his eggs, and his honey, and almost anything that is his,
except his wives. This law was acted upon by the princess of
Djoun, and her establishment was supplied by contributions
apportioned amongst the nearest of the villages.

I understood that the Albanians (restrained, I suppose, by
the dread of being delivered up to Ibrahim) had not given any
very troublesome proofs of their unruly natures. The
secretary told me that their rations, including a small
allowance of coffee and tobacco, were served out to them with
tolerable regularity.

I asked the secretary how Lady Hester was off for horses, and
said that I would take a look at the stable. The man did not
raise any opposition to my proposal, and affected no mystery
about the matter, but said that the only two steeds which
then belonged to her ladyship were of a very humble sort.
This answer, and a storm of rain then beginning to descend,
prevented me at the time from undertaking my journey to the
stable, which was at some distance from the part of the
building in which I was quartered, and I don't know that I
ever thought of the matter afterwards until my return to
England, when I saw Lamartine's eye-witnessing account of the
horse saddled by the hands of his Maker!

When I returned to my apartment (which, as my hostess told
me, was the only one in the whole building that kept out the
rain) her ladyship sent to say that she would be glad to
receive me again. I was rather surprised at this, for I had
understood that she reposed during the day, and it was now
little later than noon. "Really," said she, when I had taken
my seat and my pipe, "we were together for hours last night,
and still I have heard nothing at all of my old friends; now
DO tell me something of your dear mother and her sister; I
never knew your father - it was after I left Burton Pynsent
that your mother married."  I began to make slow answer, but
my questioner soon went off again to topics more sublime, so
that this second interview, which lasted two or three hours,
was occupied by the same sort of varied discourse as that
which I have been describing.

In the course of the afternoon the captain of an English man-
of-war arrived at Djoun, and her ladyship determined to
receive him for the same reason as that which had induced her
to allow my visit, namely, an early intimacy with his family.
I and the new visitor, who was a pleasant, amusing person,
dined together, and we were afterwards invited to the
presence of my lady, with whom we sat smoking and talking
till midnight. The conversation turned chiefly, I think,
upon magical science. I had determined to be off at an early
hour the next morning, and so at the end of this interview I
bade my lady farewell. With her parting words she once more
advised me to abandon Europe and seek my reward in the East,
and she urged me too to give the like counsels to my father,
and tell him that "SHE HAD SAID IT."

Lady Hester's unholy claim to supremacy in the spiritual
kingdom was, no doubt, the suggestion of fierce and
inordinate pride most perilously akin to madness, but I am
quite sure that the mind of the woman was too strong to be
thoroughly overcome by even this potent feeling. I plainly
saw that she was not an unhesitating follower of her own
system, and I even fancied that I could distinguish the brief
moments during which she contrived to believe in herself,
from those long and less happy intervals in which her own
reason was too strong for her.

As for the lady's faith in astrology and magic science, you
are not for a moment to suppose that this implied any
aberration of intellect. She believed these things in common
with those around her, for she seldom spoke to anybody except
crazy old dervishes, who received her alms, and fostered her
extravagancies, and even when (as on the occasion of my
visit) she was brought into contact with a person
entertaining different notions, she still remained
uncontradicted. This ENTOURAGE and the habit of fasting from
books and newspapers were quite enough to make her a facile
recipient of any marvellous story.

I think that in England we are scarcely sufficiently
conscious of the great debt we owe to the wise and watchful
press which presides over the formation of our opinions, and
which brings about this splendid result, namely, that in
matters of belief the humblest of us are lifted up to the
level of the most sagacious, so that really a simple cornet
in the Blues is no more likely to entertain a foolish belief
about ghosts or witchcraft, or any other supernatural topic,
than the Lord High Chancellor or the Leader of the House of
Commons. How different is the intellectual regime of Eastern
countries! In Syria and Palestine and Egypt you might as
well dispute the efficacy of grass or grain as of magic.
There is no controversy about the matter. The effect of
this, the unanimous belief of an ignorant people upon the
mind of a stranger, is extremely curious, and well worth
noticing. A man coming freshly from Europe is at first proof
against the nonsense with which he is assailed, but often it
happens that after a little while the social atmosphere in
which he lives will begin to infect him, and if he has been
unaccustomed to the cunning of fence by which Reason prepares
the means of guarding herself against fallacy, he will yield
himself at last to the faith of those around him, and this he
will do by sympathy, it would seem, rather than from
conviction. I have been much interested in observing that
the mere "practical man," however skilful and shrewd in his
own way, has not the kind of power that will enable him to
resist the gradual impression made upon his mind by the
common opinion of those whom he sees and hears from day to
day. Even amongst the English (whose good sense and sound
religious knowledge would be likely to guard them from error)
I have known the calculating merchant, the inquisitive
traveller, and the post-captain, with his bright, wakeful eye
of command - I have known all these surrender themselves to
the REALLY magic-like influence of other people's minds.
Their language at first is that they are "staggered," leading
you by that expression to suppose that they had been
witnesses to some phenomenon, which it was very difficult to
account for otherwise than by supernatural causes; but when I
have questioned further, I have always found that these
"staggering" wonders were not even specious enough to be
looked upon as good "tricks."  A man in England who gained
his whole livelihood as a conjurer would soon be starved to
death if he could perform no better miracles than those which
are wrought with so much effect in Syria and Egypt;
SOMETIMES, no doubt, a magician will make a good hit (Sir
John once said a "good thing"), but all such successes range,
of course, under the head of mere "tentative miracles," as
distinguished by the strong-brained Paley.


I CROSSED the plain of Esdraelon and entered amongst the
hills of beautiful Galilee. It was at sunset that my path
brought me sharply round into the gorge of a little valley,
and close upon a grey mass of dwellings that lay happily
nestled in the lap of the mountain. There was one only
shining point still touched with the light of the sun, who
had set for all besides; a brave sign this to "holy" Shereef
and the rest of my Moslem men, for the one glittering summit
was the head of a minaret, and the rest of the seeming
village that had veiled itself so meekly under the shades of
evening was Christian Nazareth!

Within the precincts of the Latin convent in which I was
quartered there stands the great Catholic church which
encloses the sanctuary, the dwelling of the blessed Virgin. *
This is a grotto of about ten feet either way, forming a
little chapel or recess, to which you descend by steps. It
is decorated with splendour. On the left hand a column of
granite hangs from the top of the grotto to within a few feet
of the ground; immediately beneath it is another column of
the same size, which rises from the ground as if to meet the
one above; but between this and the suspended pillar there is
an interval of more than a foot; these fragments once formed
a single column, against which the angel leant when he spoke
and told to Mary the mystery of her awful blessedness. Hard
by, near the altar, the holy Virgin was kneeling.

* The Greek Church does not recognise this as the true
sanctuary, and many Protestants look upon all the traditions
by which it is attempted to ascertain the holy places of
Palestine as utterly fabulous. For myself, I do not mean
either to affirm or deny the correctness of the opinion which
has fixed upon this as the true site, but merely to mention
it as a belief entertained without question by my brethren of
the Latin Church, whose guest I was at the time. It would be
a great aggravation of the trouble of writing about these
matters if I were to stop in the midst of every sentence for
the purpose of saying "so called" or "so it is said," and
would besides sound very ungraciously: yet I am anxious to be
literally true in all I write. Now, thus it is that I mean
to get over my difficulty. Whenever in this great bundle of
papers or book (if book it is to be) you see any words about
matters of religion which would seem to involve the assertion
of my own opinion, you are to understand me just as if one or
other of the qualifying phrases above mentioned had been
actually inserted in every sentence. My general direction
for you to construe me thus will render all that I write as
strictly and actually true as if I had every time lugged in a
formal declaration of the fact that I was merely expressing
the notions of other people.

I had been journeying (cheerily indeed, for the voices of my
followers were ever within my hearing, but yet), as it were,
in solitude, for I had no comrade to whet the edge of my
reason, or wake me from my noonday dreams. I was left all
alone to be taught and swayed by the beautiful circumstances
of Palestine travelling - by the clime, and the land, and the
name of the land, with all its mighty import; by the
glittering freshness of the sward, and the abounding masses
of flowers that furnished my sumptuous pathway; by the
bracing and fragrant air that seemed to poise me in my
saddle, and to lift me along as a planet appointed to glide
through space.

And the end of my journey was Nazareth, the home of the
blessed Virgin! In the first dawn of my manhood the old
painters of Italy had taught me their dangerous worship of
the beauty that is more than mortal, but those images all
seemed shadowy now, and floated before me so dimly, the one
overcasting the other, that they left me no one sweet idol on
which I could look and look again and say, "Maria mia!"  Yet
they left me more than an idol; they left me (for to them I
am wont to trace it) a faint apprehension of beauty not
compassed with lines and shadows; they touched me (forgive,
proud Marie of Anjou!) - they touched me with a faith in
loveliness transcending mortal shapes.

I came to Nazareth, and was led from the convent to the
sanctuary. Long fasting will sometimes heat my brain and
draw me away out of the world - will disturb my judgment,
confuse my notions of right and wrong, and weaken my power of
choosing the right: I had fasted perhaps too long, for I was
fevered with the zeal of an insane devotion to the heavenly
queen of Christendom. But I knew the feebleness of this
gentle malady, and knew how easily my watchful reason, if
ever so slightly provoked, would drag me back to life. Let
there but come one chilling breath of the outer world, and
all this loving piety would cower and fly before the sound of
my own bitter laugh. And so as I went I trod tenderly, not
looking to the right nor to the left, but bending my eyes to
the ground.

The attending friar served me well; he led me down quietly
and all but silently to the Virgin's home. The mystic air
was so burnt with the consuming flames of the altar, and so
laden with incense, that my chest laboured strongly, and
heaved with luscious pain. There - there with beating heart
the Virgin knelt and listened. I strived to grasp and hold
with my riveted eyes some one of the feigned Madonnas, but of
all the heaven-lit faces imagined by men there was none that
would abide with me in this the very sanctuary. Impatient of
vacancy, I grew madly strong against Nature, and if by some
awful spell, some impious rite, I could - Oh most sweet
Religion, that bid me fear God, and be pious, and yet not
cease from loving! Religion and gracious custom commanded me
that I fall down loyally and kiss the rock that blessed Mary
pressed. With a half consciousness, with the semblance of a
thrilling hope that I was plunging deep, deep into my first
knowledge of some most holy mystery, or of some new rapturous
and daring sin, I knelt, and bowed down my face till I met
the smooth rock with my lips. One moment - one moment my
heart, or some old pagan demon within me, woke up, and
fiercely bounded; my bosom was lifted, and swung, as though I
had touched her warm robe. One moment, one more, and then
the fever had left me. I rose from my knees. I felt
hopelessly sane. The mere world reappeared. My good old
monk was there, dangling his key with listless patience, and
as he guided me from the church, and talked of the refectory
and the coming repast, I listened to his words with some
attention and pleasure.


WHENEVER you come back to me from Palestine we will find some
"golden wine" * of Lebanon, that we may celebrate with apt
libations the monks of the Holy Land, and though the poor
fellows be theoretically "dead to the world," we will drink
to every man of them a good long life, and a merry one!
Graceless is the traveller who forgets his obligations to
these saints upon earth; little love has he for merry
Christendom if he has not rejoiced with great joy to find in
the very midst of water-drinking infidels those lowly
monasteries, in which the blessed juice of the grape is
quaffed in peace. Ay! ay! we will fill our glasses till they
look like cups of amber, and drink profoundly to our gracious
hosts in Palestine.

* "Vino d'oro."

Christianity permits, and sanctions, the drinking of wine,
and of all the holy brethren in Palestine there are none who
hold fast to this gladsome rite so strenuously as the monks
of Damascus; not that they are more zealous Christians than
the rest of their fellows in the Holy Land, but that they
have better wine. Whilst I was at Damascus I had my quarters
at the Franciscan convent there, and very soon after my
arrival I asked one of the monks to let me know something of
the spots that deserved to be seen. I made my inquiry in
reference to the associations with which the city had been
hallowed by the sojourn and adventures of St. Paul. "There
is nothing in all Damascus," said the good man, "half so well
worth seeing as our cellars"; and forthwith he invited me to
go, see, and admire the long range of liquid treasure that he
and his brethren had laid up for themselves on earth. And
these I soon found were not as the treasures of the miser,
that lie in unprofitable disuse, for day by day, and hour by
hour, the golden juice ascended from the dark recesses of the
cellar to the uppermost brains of the friars. Dear old
fellows! in the midst of that solemn land their Christian
laughter rang loudly and merrily, their eyes kept flashing
with joyous bonfires, and their heavy woollen petticoats
could no more weigh down the springiness of their paces, than
the filmy gauze of a DANSEUSE can clog her bounding step.

You would be likely enough to fancy that these monastics are
men who have retired to the sacred sites of Palestine from an
enthusiastic longing to devote themselves to the exercise of
religion in the midst of the very land on which its first
seeds were cast; and this is partially, at least, the case
with the monks of the Greek Church, but it is not with
enthusiasts that the Catholic establishments are filled. The
monks of the Latin convents are chiefly persons of the
peasant class from Italy and Spain, who have been handed over
to these remote asylums by order of their ecclesiastical
superiors, and can no more account for their being in the
Holy Land, than men of marching regiments can explain why
they are in "stupid quarters."  I believe that these monks
are for the most part well conducted men, punctual in their
ceremonial duties, and altogether humble-minded Christians.
Their humility is not at all misplaced, for you see at a
glance (poor fellows!) that they belong to the LAG REMOVE of
the human race. If the taking of the cowl does not imply a
complete renouncement of the world, it is at least (in these
days) a thorough farewell to every kind of useful and
entertaining knowledge, and accordingly the low bestial brow
and the animal caste of those almost Bourbon features show
plainly enough that all the intellectual vanities of life
have been really and truly abandoned. But it is hard to
quench altogether the spirit of inquiry that stirs in the
human breast, and accordingly these monks inquire - they are
ALWAYS inquiring inquiring for "news"! Poor fellows! they
could scarcely have yielded themselves to the sway of any
passion more difficult of gratification, for they have no
means of communicating with the busy world except through
European travellers; and these, in consequence I suppose of
that restlessness and irritability that generally haunt their
wanderings, seem to have always avoided the bore of giving
any information to their hosts. As for me, I am more patient
and good-natured, and when I found that the kind monks who
gathered round me at Nazareth were longing to know the real
truth about the General Bonaparte who had recoiled from the
siege of Acre, I softened my heart down to the good humour of
Herodotus, and calmly began to "sing history," telling my
eager hearers of the French Empire and the greatness of its
glory, and of Waterloo and the fall of Napoleon! Now my
story of this marvellous ignorance on the part of the poor
monks is one upon which (though depending on my own
testimony) I look "with considerable suspicion."  It is quite
true (how silly it would be to INVENT anything so witless!),
and yet I think I could satisfy the mind of a "reasonable
man" that it is false. Many of the older monks must have
been in Europe at the time when the Italy and the Spain from
which they came were in act of taking their French lessons,
or had parted so lately with their teachers, that not to know
of "the Emperor" was impossible, and these men could
scarcely, therefore, have failed to bring with them some
tidings of Napoleon's career. Yet I say that that which I
have written is true - the one who believes because I have
said it will be right (she always is), whilst poor Mr.
"reasonable man," who is convinced by the weight of my
argument, will be completely deceived.

In Spanish politics, however, the monks are better
instructed. The revenues of the monasteries, which had been
principally supplied by the bounty of their most Catholic
majesties, have been withheld since Ferdinand's death, and
the interests of these establishments being thus closely
involved in the destinies of Spain, it is not wonderful that
the brethren should be a little more knowing in Spanish
affairs than in other branches of history. Besides, a large
proportion of the monks were natives of the Peninsula. To
these, I remember, Mysseri's familiarity with the Spanish
language and character was a source of immense delight; they
were always gathering around him, and it seemed to me that
they treasured like gold the few Castilian words which he
deigned to spare them.

The monks do a world of good in their way; and there can be
no doubting that previously to the arrival of Bishop
Alexander, with his numerous young family and his pretty
English nursemaids, they were the chief propagandists of
Christianity in Palestine. My old friends of the Franciscan
convent at Jerusalem some time since gave proof of their
goodness by delivering themselves up to the peril of death
for the sake of duty. When I was their guest they were forty
I believe in number, and I don't recollect that there was one
of them whom I should have looked upon as a desirable life-
holder of any property to which I might be entitled in
expectancy. Yet these forty were reduced in a few days to
nineteen. The plague was the messenger that summoned them to
a taste of real death; but the circumstances under which they
perished are rather curious; and though I have no authority
for the story except an Italian newspaper, I harbour no doubt
of its truth, for the facts were detailed with minuteness,
and strictly corresponded with all that I knew of the poor
fellows to whom they related.

It was about three months after the time of my leaving
Jerusalem that the plague set his spotted foot on the Holy
City. The monks felt great alarm; they did not shrink from
their duty, but for its performance they chose a plan most
sadly well fitted for bringing down upon them the very death
which they were striving to ward off. They imagined
themselves almost safe so long as they remained within their
walls; but then it was quite needful that the Catholic
Christians of the place, who had always looked to the convent
for the supply of their spiritual wants, should receive the
aids of religion in the hour of death. A single monk
therefore was chosen, either by lot or by some other fair
appeal to destiny. Being thus singled out, he was to go
forth into the plague-stricken city, and to perform with
exactness his priestly duties; then he was to return, not to
the interior of the convent, for fear of infecting his
brethren, but to a detached building (which I remember)
belonging to the establishment, but at some little distance
from the inhabited rooms. He was provided with a bell, and
at a certain hour in the morning he was ordered to ring it,
IF HE COULD; but if no sound was heard at the appointed time,
then knew his brethren that he was either delirious or dead,
and another martyr was sent forth to take his place. In this
way twenty-one of the monks were carried off. One cannot
well fail to admire the steadiness with which the dismal
scheme was carried through; but if there be any truth in the
notion that disease may be invited by a frightening
imagination, it is difficult to conceive a more dangerous
plan than that which was chosen by these poor fellows. The
anxiety with which they must have expected each day the sound
of the bell, the silence that reigned instead of it, and then
the drawing of the lots (the odds against death being one
point lower than yesterday), and the going forth of the newly
doomed man - all this must have widened the gulf that opens
to the shades below. When his victim had already suffered so
much of mental torture, it was but easy work for big bullying
pestilence to follow a forlorn monk from the beds of the
dying, and wrench away his life from him as he lay all alone
in an outhouse.

In most, I believe in all, of the Holy Land convents there
are two personages so strangely raised above their brethren
in all that dignifies humanity, that their bearing the same
habit, their dwelling under the same roof, their worshipping
the same God (consistent as all this is with the spirit of
their religion), yet strikes the mind with a sense of
wondrous incongruity; the men I speak of are the "Padre
Superiore," and the "Padre Missionario."  The former is the
supreme and absolute governor of the establishment over which
he is appointed to rule, the latter is entrusted with the
more active of the spiritual duties attaching to the Pilgrim
Church. He is the shepherd of the good Catholic flock, whose
pasture is prepared in the midst of Mussulmans and
schismatics; he keeps the light of the true faith ever
vividly before their eyes, reproves their vices, supports
them in their good resolves, consoles them in their
afflictions, and teaches them to hate the Greek Church. Such
are his labours, and you may conceive that great tact must be
needed for conducting with success the spiritual interests of
the church under circumstances so odd as those which surround
it in Palestine.

But the position of the Padre Superiore is still more
delicate; he is almost unceasingly in treaty with the powers
that be, and the worldly prosperity of the establishment over
which he presides is in great measure dependent upon the
extent of diplomatic skill which he can employ in its favour.
I know not from what class of churchmen these personages are
chosen, for there is a mystery attending their origin and the
circumstance of their being stationed in these convents,
which Rome does not suffer to be penetrated. I have heard it
said that they are men of great note, and, perhaps, of too
high ambition in the Catholic Hierarchy, who having fallen
under the grave censure of the Church, are banished for fixed
periods to these distant monasteries. I believe that the
term during which they are condemned to remain in the Holy
Land is from eight to twelve years. By the natives of the
country, as well as by the rest of the brethren, they are
looked upon as superior beings; and rightly too, for Nature
seems to have crowned them in her own true way.

The chief of the Jerusalem convent was a noble creature; his
worldly and spiritual authority seemed to have surrounded
him, as it were, with a kind of "court," and the manly
gracefulness of his bearing did honour to the throne which he
filled. There were no lords of the bedchamber, and no gold
sticks and stones in waiting, yet everybody who approached
him looked as though he were being "presented"; every
interview which he granted wore the air of an "audience"; the
brethren as often as they came near bowed low and kissed his
hand; and if he went out, the Catholics of the place that
hovered about the convent would crowd around him with devout
affection, and almost scramble for the blessing which his
touch could give. He bore his honours all serenely, as
though calmly conscious of his power to "bind and to loose."


NEITHER old "sacred" * himself, nor any of his helpers, knew
the road which I meant to take from Nazareth to the Sea of
Galilee and from thence to Jerusalem, so I was forced to add
another to my party by hiring a guide. The associations of
Nazareth, as well as my kind feeling towards the hospitable
monks, whose guest I had been, inclined me to set at naught
the advice which I had received against employing Christians.
I accordingly engaged a lithe, active young Nazarene, who was
recommended to me by the monks, and who affected to be
familiar with the line of country through which I intended to
pass. My disregard of the popular prejudices against
Christians was not justified in this particular instance by
the result of my choice. This you will see by-and-by.

* Shereef.

I passed by Cana and the house in which the water had been
turned into wine; I came to the field in which our Saviour
had rebuked the Scotch Sabbath-keepers of that period, by
suffering His disciples to pluck corn on the Lord's day; I
rode over the ground on which the fainting multitude had been
fed, and they showed me some massive fragments - the relics,
they said, of that wondrous banquet, now turned into stone.
The petrifaction was most complete.

I ascended the height on which our Lord was standing when He
wrought the miracle. The hill was lofty enough to show me
the fairness of the land on all sides, but I have an ancient
love for the mere features of a lake, and so forgetting all
else when I reached the summit, I looked away eagerly to the
eastward. There she lay, the Sea of Galilee. Less stern
than Wast Water, less fair than gentle Windermere, she had
still the winning ways of an English lake; she caught from
the smiling heavens unceasing light and changeful phases of
beauty, and with all this brightness on her face, she yet
clung so fondly to the dull he-looking mountain at her side,
as though she would

"Soothe him with her finer fancies,
Touch him with her lighter thought." *

If one might judge of men's real thoughts by their writings,
it would seem that there are people who can visit an
interesting locality and follow up continuously the exact
train of thought that ought to be suggested by the historical
associations of the place. A person of this sort can go to
Athens and think of nothing later than the age of Pericles;
can live with the Scipios as long as he stays in Rome; can go
up in a balloon, and think how resplendently in former times
the now vacant and desolate air was peopled with angels, how
prettily it was crossed at intervals by the rounds of Jacob's
ladder! I don't possess this power at all; it is only by
snatches, and for few moments together, that I can really
associate a place with its proper history.

* Tennyson.

"There at Tiberias, and along this western shore towards the
north, and upon the bosom too of the lake, our Saviour and
His disciples - " away flew those recollections, and my mind
strained eastward, because that that farthest shore was the
end of the world that belongs to man the dweller, the
beginning of the other and veiled world that is held by the
strange race, whose life (like the pastime of Satan) is a
"going to and fro upon the face of the earth."  From those
grey hills right away to the gates of Bagdad stretched forth
the mysterious "desert" - not a pale, void, sandy tract, but
a land abounding in rich pastures, a land without cities or
towns, without any "respectable" people or any "respectable"
things, yet yielding its eighty thousand cavalry to the beck
of a few old men. But once more - "Tiberias - the plain of
Gennesareth - the very earth on which I stood - that the deep
low tones of the Saviour's voice should have gone forth into
eternity from out of the midst of these hills and these
valleys!" - Ay, ay, but yet again the calm face of the lake
was uplifted, and smiled upon my eyes with such familiar
gaze, that the "deep low tones" were hushed, the listening
multitudes all passed away, and instead there came to me a
dear old memory from over the seas in England, a memory
sweeter than Gospel to that poor wilful mortal, me.

I went to Tiberias, and soon got afloat upon the water. In
the evening I took up my quarters in the Catholic church, and
the building being large enough, the whole of my party were
admitted to the benefit of the same shelter. With
portmanteaus and carpet bags, and books and maps, and
fragrant tea, Mysseri soon made me a home on the southern
side of the church. One of old Shereef's helpers was an
enthusiastic Catholic, and was greatly delighted at having so
sacred a lodging. He lit up the altar with a number of
tapers, and when his preparations were complete, he began to
perform his orisons in the strangest manner imaginable. His
lips muttered the prayers of the Latin Church, but he bowed
himself down and laid his forehead to the stones beneath him
after the manner of a Mussulman. The universal aptness of a
religious system for all stages of civilisation, and for all
sorts and conditions of men, well befits its claim of divine
origin. She is of all nations, and of all times, that
wonderful Church of Rome!

Tiberias is one of the four holy cities, * according to the
Talmud, and it is from this place, or the immediate
neighbourhood of it, that the Messiah is to arise.

* The other three cities held holy by Jews are Jerusalem,
Hebron, and Safet.

Except at Jerusalem, never think of attempting to sleep in a
"holy city."  Old Jews from all parts of the world go to lay
their bones upon the sacred soil, and as these people never
return to their homes, it follows that any domestic vermin
which they may bring with them are likely to become
permanently resident, so that the population is continually
increasing. No recent census had been taken when I was at
Tiberias, but I know that the congregation of fleas which
attended at my church alone must have been something
enormous. It was a carnal, self-seeking congregation, wholly
inattentive to the service which was going on, and devoted to
the one object of having my blood. The fleas of all nations
were there. The smug, steady, importunate flea from Holywell
Street; the pert, jumping PUCE from hungry France, the wary,
watchful PULCE with his poisoned stiletto; the vengeful PULGA
of Castile with his ugly knife; the German FLOH with his
knife and fork, insatiate, not rising from table; whole
swarms from all the Russias, and Asiatic hordes unnumbered -
all these were there, and all rejoiced in one great
international feast. I could no more defend myself against
my enemies than if I had been PAIN A DISCRETION in the hands
of a French patriot, or English gold in the claws of a
Pennsylvanian Quaker. After passing a night like this you
are glad to pick up the wretched remains of your body long,
long before morning dawns. Your skin is scorched, your
temples throb, your lips feel withered and dried, your
burning eyeballs are screwed inwards against the brain. You
have no hope but only in the saddle and the freshness of the
morning air.


THE course of the Jordan is from the north to the south, and
in that direction, with very little of devious winding, it
carries the shining waters of Glailee straight down into the
solitudes of the Dead Sea. Speaking roughly, the river in
that meridian is a boundary between the people living under
roofs and the tented tribes that wander on the farther side.
And so, as I went down in my way from Tiberias towards
Jerusalem, along the western bank of the stream, my thinking
all propended to the ancient world of herdsmen and warriors
that lay so close over my bridle arm.

If a man, and an Englishman, be not born of his mother with a
natural Chiffney-bit in his mouth, there comes to him a time
for loathing the wearisome ways of society; a time for not
liking tamed people; a time for not dancing quadrilles, not
sitting in pews; a time for pretending that Milton and
Shelley, and all sorts of mere dead people, were greater in
death than the first living Lord of the Treasury; a time, in
short, for scoffing and railing, for speaking lightly of the
very opera, and all our most cherished institutions. It is
from nineteen to two or three and twenty perhaps that this
war of the man against men is like to be waged most sullenly.
You are yet in this smiling England, but you find yourself
wending away to the dark sides of her mountains, climbing the
dizzy crags, exulting in the fellowship of mists and clouds,
and watching the storms how they gather, or proving the
mettle of your mare upon the broad and dreary downs, because
that you feel congenially with the yet unparcelled earth. A
little while you are free and unlabelled, like the ground
that you compass; but civilisation is coming and coming; you
and your much-loved waste lands will be surely enclosed, and
sooner or later brought down to a state of mere usefulness;
the ground will be curiously sliced into acres and roods and
perches, and you, for all you sit so smartly in your saddle,
you will be caught, you will be taken up from travel as a
colt from grass, to be trained and tried, and matched and
run. All this in time, but first came Continental tours and
the moody longing for Eastern travel. The downs and the
moors of England can hold you no longer; with large strides
you burst away from these slips and patches of free land; you
thread your path through the crowds of Europe, and at last,
on the banks of Jordan, you joyfully know that you are upon
the very frontier of all accustomed respectabilities. There,
on the other side of the river (you can swim it with one
arm), there reigns the people that will be like to put you to
death for NOT being a vagrant, for NOT being a robber, for
NOT being armed and houseless. There is comfort in that -
health, comfort, and strength to one who is dying from very
weariness of that poor, dear, middle-aged, deserving,
accomplished, pedantic, and painstaking governess, Europe.

I had ridden for some hours along the right bank of Jordan
when I came to the Djesr el Medjame (an old Roman bridge, I
believe), which crossed the river. My Nazarene guide was
riding ahead of the party, and now, to my surprise and
delight, he turned leftwards, and led on over the bridge. I
knew that the true road to Jerusalem must be mainly by the
right bank of Jordan, but I supposed that my guide was
crossing the bridge at this spot in order to avoid some bend
in the river, and that he knew of a ford lower down by which
we should regain the western bank. I made no question about
the road, for I was but too glad to set my horse's hoofs upon
the land of the wandering tribes. None of my party except
the Nazarene knew the country. On we went through rich
pastures upon the eastern side of the water. I looked for
the expected bend of the river, but far as I could see it
kept a straight southerly course; I still left my guide

The Jordan is not a perfectly accurate boundary betwixt roofs
and tents, for soon after passing the bridge I came upon a
cluster of huts. Some time afterwards the guide, upon being
closely questioned by my servants, confessed that the village
which we had left behind was the last that we should see, but
he declared that he knew a spot at which we should find an
encampment of friendly Bedouins, who would receive me with
all hospitality. I had long determined not to leave the East
without seeing something of the wandering tribes, but I had
looked forward to this as a pleasure to be found in the
desert between El Arish and Egypt; I had no idea that the
Bedouins on the east of Jordan were accessible. My delight
was so great at the near prospect of bread and salt in the
tent of an Arab warrior, that I wilfully allowed my guide to
go on and mislead me. I saw that he was taking me out of the
straight route towards Jerusalem, and was drawing me into the
midst of the Bedouins; but the idea of his betraying me
seemed (I know not why) so utterly absurd, that I could not
entertain it for a moment. I fancied it possible that the
fellow had taken me out of my route in order to attempt some
little mercantile enterprise with the tribe for which he was
seeking, and I was glad of the opportunity which I might thus
gain of coming in contact with the wanderers.

Not long after passing the village a horseman met us. It
appeared that some of the cavalry of Ibrahim Pasha had
crossed the river for the sake of the rich pastures on the
eastern bank, and that this man was one of the troopers. He
stopped and saluted; he was obviously surprised at meeting an
unarmed, or half-armed, cavalcade, and at last fairly told us
that we were on the wrong side of the river, and that if we
proceeded we must lay our account with falling amongst
robbers. All this while, and throughout the day, my Nazarene
kept well ahead of the party, and was constantly up in his
stirrups, straining forward and searching the distance for
some objects which still remained unseen.

For the rest of the day we saw no human being; we pushed on
eagerly in the hope of coming up with the Bedouins before
nightfall. Night came, and we still went on in our way till
about ten o'clock. Then the thorough darkness of the night,
and the weariness of our beasts (which had already done two
good days' journey in one), forced us to determine upon
coming to a standstill. Upon the heights to the eastward we
saw lights; these shone from caves on the mountain-side,
inhabited, as the Nazarene told us, by rascals of a low sort
- not real Bedouins, men whom we might frighten into
harmlessness, but from whom there was no willing hospitality
to be expected.

We heard at a little distance the brawling of a rivulet, and
on the banks of this it was determined to establish our
bivouac. We soon found the stream, and following its course
for a few yards, came to a spot which was thought to be fit
for our purpose. It was a sharply cold night in February,
and when I dismounted I found myself standing upon some wet
rank herbage that promised ill for the comfort of our
resting-place. I had bad hopes of a fire, for the pitchy
darkness of the night was a great obstacle to any successful
search for fuel, and besides, the boughs of trees or bushes
would be so full of sap in this early spring, that they would
not be easily persuaded to burn. However, we were not likely
to submit to a dark and cold bivouac without an effort, and
my fellows groped forward through the darkness, till after
advancing a few paces they were happily stopped by a complete
barrier of dead prickly bushes. Before our swords could be
drawn to reap this welcome harvest it was found to our
surprise that the fuel was already hewn and strewed along the
ground in a thick mass. A spot for the fire was found with
some difficulty, for the earth was moist and the grass high
and rank. At last there was a clicking of flint and steel,
and presently there stood out from darkness one of the tawny
faces of my muleteers, bent down to near the ground, and
suddenly lit up by the glowing of the spark which he courted
with careful breath. Before long there was a particle of dry
fibre or leaf that kindled to a tiny flame; then another was
lit from that, and then another. Then small crisp twigs,
little bigger than bodkins, were laid athwart the glowing
fire. The swelling cheeks of the muleteer, laid level with
the earth, blew tenderly at first and then more boldly upon
the young flame, which was daintily nursed and fed, and fed
more plentifully when it gained good strength. At last a
whole armful of dry bushes was piled up over the fire, and
presently, with a loud cheery crackling and crackling, a
royal tall blaze shot up from the earth and showed me once
more the shapes and faces of my men, and the dim outlines of
the horses and mules that stood grazing hard by.

My servants busied themselves in unpacking the baggage as
though we had arrived at an hotel - Shereef and his helpers
unsaddled their cattle. We had left Tiberias without the
slightest idea that we were to make our way to Jerusalem
along the desolate side of the Jordan, and my servants
(generally provident in those matters) had brought with them
only, I think, some unleavened bread and a rocky fragment of
goat's milk cheese. These treasures were produced. Tea and
the contrivances for making it were always a standing part of
my baggage. My men gathered in circle round the fire. The
Nazarene was in a false position from having misled us so
strangely, and he would have shrunk back, poor devil, into
the cold and outer darkness, but I made him draw near and
share the luxuries of the night. My quilt and my pelisse
were spread, and the rest of my party had all their capotes
or pelisses, or robes of some sort, which furnished their
couches. The men gathered in circle, some kneeling, some
sitting, some lying reclined around our common hearth.
Sometimes on one, sometimes on another, the flickering light
would glare more fiercely. Sometimes it was the good Shereef
that seemed the foremost, as he sat with venerable beard the
image of manly piety - unknowing of all geography, unknowing
where he was or whither he might go, but trusting in the
goodness of God and the clinching power of fate and the good
star of the Englishman. Sometimes, like marble, the classic
face of the Greek Mysseri would catch the sudden light, and
then again by turns the ever-perturbed Dthemetri, with his
old Chinaman's eye and bristling, terrier-like moustache,
shone forth illustrious.

I always liked the men who attended me on these Eastern
travels, for they were all of them brave, cheery-hearted
fellows; and although their following my career brought upon
them a pretty large share of those toils and hardships which
are so much more amusing to gentlemen than to servants, yet
not one of them ever uttered or hinted a syllable of
complaint, or even affected to put on an air of resignation.
I always liked them, but never perhaps so much as when they
were thus grouped together under the light of the bivouac
fire. I felt towards them as my comrades rather than as my
servants, and took delight in breaking bread with them, and
merrily passing the cup.

The love of tea is a glad source of fellow-feeling between
the Englishman and the Asiatic. In Persia it is drunk by
all, and although it is a luxury that is rarely within the
reach of the Osmanlees, there are few of them who do not know
and love the blessed TCHAI. Our camp-kettle, filled from the
brook, hummed doubtfully for a while, then busily bubbled
under the sidelong glare of the flames; cups clinked and
rattled; the fragrant steam ascended, and soon this little
circlet in the wilderness grew warm and genial as my lady's

And after this there came the TCHIBOUQUE - great comforter of
those that are hungry and wayworn. And it has this virtue -
it helps to destroy the GENE and awkwardness which one
sometimes feels at being in company with one's dependents;
for whilst the amber is at your lips, there is nothing
ungracious in your remaining silent, or speaking pithily in
short inter-whiff sentences. And for us that night there was
pleasant and plentiful matter of talk; for the where we
should be on the morrow, and the wherewithal we should be
fed, whether by some ford we should regain the western bank
of Jordan, or find bread and salt under the tents of a
wandering tribe, or whether we should fall into the hands of
the Philistines, and so come to see death - the last and
greatest of all "the fine sights" that there be - these were
questionings not dull nor wearisome to us, for we were all
concerned in the answers. And it was not an all-imagined
morrow that we probed with our sharp guesses, for the lights
of those low Philistines, the men of the caves, still hung
over our heads, and we knew by their yells that the fire of
our bivouac had shown us.

At length we thought it well to seek for sleep. Our plans
were laid for keeping up a good watch through the night. My
quilt and my pelisse and my cloak were spread out so that I
might lie spokewise, with my feet towards the central fire.
I wrapped my limbs daintily round, and gave myself positive
orders to sleep like a veteran soldier. But I found that my
attempt to sleep upon the earth that God gave me was more new
and strange than I had fancied it. I had grown used to the
scene which was before me whilst I was sitting or reclining
by the side of the fire, but now that I laid myself down at
length it was the deep black mystery of the heavens that hung
over my eyes - not an earthly thing in the way from my own
very forehead right up to the end of all space. I grew proud
of my boundless bedchamber. I might have "found sermons" in
all this greatness (if I had I should surely have slept), but
such was not then my way. If this cherished self of mine had
built the universe, I should have dwelt with delight on "the
wonders of creation."  As it was, I felt rather the vainglory
of my promotion from out of mere rooms and houses into the
midst of that grand, dark, infinite palace.

And then, too, my head, far from the fire, was in cold
latitudes, and it seemed to me strange that I should be lying
so still and passive, whilst the sharp night breeze walked
free over my cheek, and the cold damp clung to my hair, as
though my face grew in the earth and must bear with the
footsteps of the wind and the falling of the dew as meekly as
the grass of the field. Besides, I got puzzled and
distracted by having to endure heat and cold at the same
time, for I was always considering whether my feet were not
over-devilled and whether my face was not too well iced. And
so when from time to time the watch quietly and gently kept
up the languishing fire, he seldom, I think, was unseen to my
restless eyes. Yet at last, when they called me and said
that the morn would soon be dawning, I rose from a state of
half-oblivion not much unlike to sleep, though sharply
qualified by a sort of vegetable's consciousness of having
been growing still colder and colder for many and many an


THE grey light of the morning showed us for the first time
the ground which we had chosen for our resting-place. We
found that we had bivouacked upon a little patch of barley
plainly belonging to the men of the caves. The dead bushes
which we found so happily placed in readiness for our fire
had been strewn as a fence for the protection of the little
crop. This was the only cultivated spot of ground which we
had seen for many a league, and I was rather sorry to find
that our night fire and our cattle had spread so much ruin
upon this poor solitary slip of corn-land.

The saddling and loading of our beasts was a work which
generally took nearly an hour, and before this was half over
daylight came. We could now see the men of the caves. They
collected in a body, amounting, I should think, to nearly
fifty, and rushed down towards our quarters with fierce
shouts and yells. But the nearer they got the slower they
went; their shouts grew less resolute in tone, and soon
ceased altogether. The fellows, however, advanced to a
thicket within thirty yards of us, and behind this "took up
their position."  My men without premeditation did exactly
that which was best; they kept steadily to their work of
loading the beasts without fuss or hurry; and whether it was
that they instinctively felt the wisdom of keeping quiet, or
that they merely obeyed the natural inclination to silence
which one feels in the early morning, I cannot tell, but I
know that, except when they exchanged a syllable or two
relative to the work they were about, not a word was said. I
now believe that this quietness of our party created an
undefined terror in the minds of the cave-holders and scared
them from coming on; it gave them a notion that we were
relying on some resources which they knew not of. Several
times the fellows tried to lash themselves into a state of
excitement which might do instead of pluck. They would raise
a great shout and sway forward in a dense body from behind
the thicket; but when they saw that their bravery thus
gathered to a head did not even suspend the strapping of a
portmanteau or the tying of a hatbox, their shout lost its
spirit, and the whole mass was irresistibly drawn back like a
wave receding from the shore.

These attempts at an onset were repeated several times, but
always with the same result. I remained under the
apprehension of an attack for more than half-an-hour, and it
seemed to me that the work of packing and loading had never
been done so slowly. I felt inclined to tell my fellows to
make their best speed, but just as I was going to speak I
observed that every one was doing his duty already; I
therefore held my peace and said not a word, till at last
Mysseri led up my horse and asked me if I were ready to

We all marched off without hindrance.

After some time we came across a party of Ibrahim's cavalry,
which had bivouacked at no great distance from us. The
knowledge that such a force was in the neighbourhood may have
conduced to the forbearance of the cave-holders.

We saw a scraggy-looking fellow nearly black, and wearing
nothing but a cloth round the loins; he was tending flocks.
Afterwards I came up with another of these goatherds, whose
helpmate was with him. They gave us some goat's milk, a
welcome present. I pitied the poor devil of a goatherd for
having such a very plain wife. I spend an enormous quantity
of pity upon that particular form of human misery.

About midday I began to examine my map and to question my
guide, who at last fell on his knees and confessed that he
knew nothing of the country in which we were. I was thus
thrown upon my own resources, and calculating that on the
preceding day we had nearly performed a two days' journey, I
concluded that the Dead Sea must be near. In this I was
right, for at about three or four o'clock in the afternoon I
caught a first sight of its dismal face.

I went on and came near to those waters of death. They
stretched deeply into the southern desert, and before me, and
all around, as far away as the eye could follow, blank hills
piled high over hills, pale, yellow, and naked, walled up in
her tomb for ever the dead and damned Gomorrah. There was no
fly that hummed in the forbidden air, but instead a deep
stillness; no grass grew from the earth, no weed peered
through the void sand; but in mockery of all life there were
trees borne down by Jordan in some ancient flood, and these,
grotesquely planted upon the forlorn shore, spread out their
grim skeleton arms, all scorched and charred to blackness by
the heats of the long silent years.

I now struck off towards the debouchure of the river; but I
found that the country, though seemingly quite flat, was
intersected by deep ravines, which did not show themselves
until nearly approached. For some time my progress was much
obstructed; but at last I came across a track which led
towards the river, and which might, as I hoped, bring me to a
ford. I found, in fact, when I came to the river's side that
the track reappeared upon the opposite bank, plainly showing
that the stream had been fordable at this place. Now,
however, in consequence of the late rains the river was quite
impracticable for baggage-horses. A body of waters about
equal to the Thames at Eton, but confined to a narrower
channel, poured down in a current so swift and heavy, that
the idea of passing with laden baggage-horses was utterly
forbidden. I could have swum across myself, and I might,
perhaps, have succeeded in swimming a horse over; but this
would have been useless, because in such case I must have
abandoned not only my baggage, but all my attendants, for
none of them were able to swim, and without that resource it
would have been madness for them to rely upon the swimming of
their beasts across such a powerful stream. I still hoped,
however, that there might be a chance of passing the river at
the point of its actual junction with the Dead Sea, and I
therefore went on in that direction.

Night came upon us whilst labouring across gullies and sandy
mounds, and we were obliged to come to a stand-still quite
suddenly upon the very edge of a precipitous descent. Every
step towards the Dead Sea had brought us into a country more
and more dreary; and this sand-hill, which we were forced to
choose for our resting-place, was dismal enough. A few
slender blades of grass, which here and there singly pierced
the sand, mocked bitterly the hunger of our jaded beasts, and
with our small remaining fragment of goat's-milk rock by way
of supper, we were not much better off than our horses. We
wanted, too, the great requisite of a cheery bivouac - fire.
Moreover, the spot on which we had been so suddenly brought
to a standstill was relatively high and unsheltered, and the
night wind blew swiftly and cold.

The next morning I reached the debouchure of the Jordan,
where I had hoped to find a bar of sand that might render its
passage possible. The river, however, rolled its eddying
waters fast down to the "sea" in a strong, deep stream that
shut out all hope of crossing.

It now seemed necessary either to construct a raft of some
kind, or else to retrace my steps and remount the banks of
the Jordan. I had once happened to give some attention to
the subject of military bridges - a branch of military
science which includes the construction of rafts and
contrivances of the like sort - and I should have been very
proud indeed if I could have carried my party and my baggage
across by dint of any idea gathered from Sir Howard Douglas
or Robinson Crusoe. But we were all faint and languid from
want of food, and besides, there were no materials. Higher
up the river there were bushes and river plants, but nothing
like timber; and the cord with which my baggage was tied to
the pack-saddles amounted altogether to a very small
quantity, not nearly enough to haul any sort of craft across
the stream.

And now it was, if I remember rightly, that Dthemetri
submitted to me a plan for putting to death the Nazarene,
whose misguidance had been the cause of our difficulties.
There was something fascinating in this suggestion, for the
slaying of the guide was of course easy enough, and would
look like an act of what politicians call "vigour."  If it
were only to become known to my friends in England that I had
calmly killed a fellow-creature for taking me out of my way,
I might remain perfectly quiet and tranquil for all the rest
of my days, quite free from the danger of being considered
"slow"; I might ever after live on upon my reputation, like
"single-speech Hamilton" in the last century, or "single sin
- " in this, without being obliged to take the trouble of
doing any more harm in the world. This was a great
temptation to an indolent person, but the motive was not
strengthened by any sincere feeling of anger with the
Nazarene. Whilst the question of his life and death was
debated he was riding in front of our party, and there was
something in the anxious writhing of his supple limbs that
seemed to express a sense of his false position, and struck
me as highly comic. I had no crotchet at that time against
the punishment of death, but I was unused to blood, and the
proposed victim looked so thoroughly capable of enjoying life
(if he could only get to the other side of the river), that I
thought it would be hard for him to die merely in order to
give me a character for energy. Acting on the result of
these considerations, and reserving to myself a free and
unfettered discretion to have the poor villain shot at any
future moment, I magnanimously decided that for the present
he should live, and not die.

I bathed in the Dead Sea. The ground covered by the water
sloped so gradually, that I was not only forced to "sneak
in," but to walk through the water nearly a quarter of a mile
before I could get out of my depth. When at last I was able
to attempt to dive, the salts held in solution made my eyes
smart so sharply, that the pain which I thus suffered,
together with the weakness occasioned by want of food, made
me giddy and faint for some moments, but I soon grew better.
I knew beforehand the impossibility of sinking in this
buoyant water, but I was surprised to find that I could not
swim at my accustomed pace; my legs and feet were lifted so
high and dry out of the lake, that my stroke was baffled, and
I found myself kicking against the thin air instead of the
dense fluid upon which I was swimming. The water is
perfectly bright and clear; its taste detestable. After
finishing my attempts at swimming and diving, I took some
time in regaining the shore, and before I began to dress I
found that the sun had already evaporated the water which
clung to me, and that my skin was thickly encrusted with


MY steps were reluctantly turned towards the north. I had
ridden some way, and still it seemed that all life was fenced
and barred out from the desolate ground over which I was
journeying. On the west there flowed the impassable Jordan,
on the east stood an endless range of barren mountains, and
on the south lay that desert sea that knew not the plashing
of an oar; greatly therefore was I surprised when suddenly
there broke upon my ear the long, ludicrous, persevering bray
of a donkey. I was riding at this time some few hundred
yards ahead of all my party except the Nazarene (who by a
wise instinct kept closer to me than to Dthemetri), and I
instantly went forward in the direction of the sound, for I
fancied that where there were donkeys, there too most surely
would be men. The ground on all sides of me seemed
thoroughly void and lifeless, but at last I got down into a
hollow, and presently a sudden turn brought me within thirty
yards of an Arab encampment. The low black tents which I had
so long lusted to see were right before me, and they were all
teeming with live Arabs - men, women, and children.

I wished to have let my party behind know where I was, but I
recollected that they would be able to trace me by the prints
of my horse's hoofs in the sand, and having to do with
Asiatics, I felt the danger of the slightest movement which
might be looked upon as a sign of irresolution. Therefore,
without looking behind me, without looking to the right or to
the left, I rode straight up towards the foremost tent.
Before this was strewed a semicircular fence of dead boughs,
through which there was an opening opposite to the front of
the tent. As I advanced, some twenty or thirty of the most
uncouth-looking fellows imaginable came forward to meet me.
In their appearance they showed nothing of the Bedouin blood;
they were of many colours, from dingy brown to jet black, and
some of these last had much of the negro look about them.
They were tall, powerful fellows, but awfully ugly. They
wore nothing but the Arab shirts, confined at the waist by
leathern belts.

I advanced to the gap left in the fence, and at once alighted
from my horse. The chief greeted me after his fashion by
alternately touching first my hand and then his own forehead,
as if he were conveying the virtue of the touch like a spark
of electricity. Presently I found myself seated upon a
sheepskin, which was spread for me under the sacred shade of
Arabian canvas. The tent was of a long, narrow, oblong form,
and contained a quantity of men, women, and children so
closely huddled together, that there was scarcely one of them
who was not in actual contact with his neighbour. The moment
I had taken my seat the chief repeated his salutations in the
most enthusiastic manner, and then the people having gathered
densely about me, got hold of my unresisting hand and passed
it round like a claret jug for the benefit of every body.
The women soon brought me a wooden bowl full of buttermilk,
and welcome indeed came the gift to my hungry and thirsty

After some time my party, as I had expected, came up, and
when poor Dthemetri saw me on my sheepskin, "the life and
soul" of this ragamuffin party, he was so astounded, that he
even failed to check his cry of horror; he plainly thought
that now, at last, the Lord had delivered me (interpreter and
all) into the hands of the lowest Philistines.

Mysseri carried a tobacco-pouch slung at his belt, and as
soon as its contents were known the whole population of the
tent began begging like spaniels for bits of the beloved
weed. I concluded from the abject manner of these people
that they could not possibly be thoroughbred Bedouins, and I
saw, too, that they must be in the very last stage of misery,
for poor indeed is the man in these climes who cannot command
a pipeful of tobacco. I began to think that I had fallen
amongst thorough savages, and it seemed likely enough that
they would gain their very first knowledge of civilisation by
ravishing and studying the contents of my dearest
portmanteaus, but still my impression was that they would
hardly venture upon such an attempt. I observed, indeed,
that they did not offer me the bread and salt which I had
understood to be the pledges of peace amongst wandering
tribes, but I fancied that they refrained from this act of
hospitality, not in consequence of any hostile determination,
but in order that the notion of robbing me might remain for
the present an "open question."  I afterwards found that the
poor fellows had no bread to offer. They were literally "out
at grass."  It is true that they had a scanty supply of milk
from goats, but they were living almost entirely upon certain
grass stems, which were just in season at that time of the
year. These, if not highly nourishing, are pleasant enough
to the taste, and their acid juices come gratefully to
thirsty lips.


AND now Dthemetri began to enter into a negotiation with my
hosts for a passage over the river. I never interfered with
my worthy dragoman upon these occasions, because from my
entire ignorance of the Arabic I should have been quite
unable to exercise any real control over his words, and it
would have been silly to break the stream of his eloquence to
no purpose. I have reason to fear, however, that he lied
transcendently, and especially in representing me as the
bosom friend of Ibrahim Pasha. The mention of that name
produced immense agitation and excitement, and the Sheik
explained to Dthemetri the grounds of the infinite respect
which he and his tribe entertained for the Pasha. A few
weeks before Ibrahim had craftily sent a body of troops
across the Jordan. The force went warily round to the foot
of the mountains on the east, so as to cut off the retreat of
this tribe, and then surrounded them as they lay encamped in
the vale; their camels, and indeed all their possessions
worth taking, were carried off by the soldiery, and moreover
the then Sheik, together with every tenth man of the tribe,
was brought out and shot. You would think that this conduct
on the part of the Pasha might not procure for his "friend" a
very gracious reception amongst the people whom he had thus
despoiled and decimated; but the Asiatic seems to be animated
with a feeling of profound respect, almost bordering upon
affection, for all who have done him any bold and violent
wrong, and there is always, too, so much of vague and
undefined apprehension mixed up with his really well-founded
alarms, that I can see no limit to the yielding and bending
of his mind when it is wrought upon by the idea of power.

After some discussion the Arabs agreed, as I thought, to
conduct me to a ford, and we moved on towards the river,
followed by seventeen of the most able-bodied of the tribe,
under the guidance of several grey-bearded elders, and Sheik
Ali Djoubran at the head of the whole detachment. Upon
leaving the encampment a sort of ceremony was performed, for
the purpose, it seemed, of ensuring, if possible, a happy
result for the undertaking. There was an uplifting of arms,
and a repeating of words that sounded like formulae, but
there were no prostrations, and I did not understand that the
ceremony was of a religious character. The tented Arabs are
looked upon as very bad Mahometans.

We arrived upon the banks of the river - not at a ford, but
at a deep and rapid part of the stream, and I now understood
that it was the plan of these men, if they helped me at all,
to transport me across the river by some species of raft.
But a reaction had taken place in the opinions of many, and a
violent dispute arose upon a motion which seemed to have been
made by some honourable member with a view to robbery. The
fellows all gathered together in circle, at a little distance
from my party, and there disputed with great vehemence and
fury for nearly two hours. I can't give a correct report of
the debate, for it was held in a barbarous dialect of the
Arabic unknown to my dragoman. I recollect I sincerely felt
at the time that the arguments in favour of robbing me must
have been almost unanswerable, and I gave great credit to the
speakers on my side for the ingenuity and sophistry which
they must have shown in maintaining the fight so well.

During the discussion I remained lying in front of my
baggage, which had all been taken from the pack-saddles and
placed upon the ground. I was so languid from want of food,
that I had scarcely animation enough to feel as deeply
interested as you would suppose in the result of the
discussion. I thought, however, that the pleasantest toys to
play with during this interval were my pistols, and now and
then, when I listlessly visited my loaded barrels with the
swivel ramrods, or drew a sweet, musical click from my
English firelocks, it seemed to me that I exercised a slight
and gentle influence on the debate. Thanks to Ibrahim
Pasha's terrible visitation the men of the tribe were wholly
unarmed, and my advantage in this respect might have
counterbalanced in some measure the superiority of numbers.

Mysseri (not interpreting in Arabic) had no duty to perform,
and he seemed to be faint and listless as myself. Shereef
looked perfectly resigned to any fate. But Dthemetri
(faithful terrier!) was bristling with zeal and watchfulness.
He could not understand the debate, which indeed was carried
on at a distance too great to be easily heard, even if the
language had been familiar; but he was always on the alert,
and now and then conferring with men who had straggled out of
the assembly. At last he found an opportunity of making a
proposal, which at once produced immense sensation; he
offered, on my behalf, that if the tribe should bear
themselves loyally towards me, and take my party and my
baggage in safety to the other bank of the river, I should
give them a TESKERI, or written certificate of their good
conduct, which might avail them hereafter in the hour of
their direst need. This proposal was received and instantly
accepted by all the men of the tribe there present with the
utmost enthusiasm. I was to give the men, too, a BAKSHEISH,
that is, a present of money, which is usually made upon the
conclusion of any sort of treaty; but although the people of
the tribe were so miserably poor, they seemed to look upon
the pecuniary part of the arrangement as a matter quite
trivial in comparison with the TESKERI. Indeed the sum which
Dthemetri promised them was extremely small, and not the
slightest attempt was made to extort any further reward.

The council now broke up, and most of the men rushed madly
towards me, and overwhelmed me with vehement gratulations;
they caressed my boots with much affection, and my hands were
severely kissed.

The Arabs now went to work in right earnest to effect the
passage of the river. They had brought with them a great
number of the skins which they use for carrying water in the
desert; these they filled with air, and fastened several of
them to small boughs which they cut from the banks of the
river. In this way they constructed a raft not more than
about four or five feet square, but rendered buoyant by the
inflated skins which supported it. On this a portion of my
baggage was placed, and was firmly tied to it by the cords
used on my pack-saddles. The little raft with its weighty
cargo was then gently lifted into the water, and I had the
satisfaction to see that it floated well.

Twelve of the Arabs now stripped, and tied inflated skins to
their loins; six of the men went down into the river, got in
front of the little raft, and pulled it off a few feet from
the bank. The other six then dashed into the stream with
loud shouts and swam along after the raft, pushing it from
behind. Off went the craft in capital style at first, for
the stream was easy on the eastern side; but I saw that the
tug was to come, for the main torrent swept round in a bend
near the western bank of the river.

The old men, with their long grey grisly beards, stood
shouting and cheering, praying and commanding. At length the
raft entered upon the difficult part of its course; the
whirling stream seized and twisted it about, and then bore it
rapidly downwards; the swimmers, flagged and seemed to be
beaten in the struggle. But now the old men on the bank,
with their rigid arms uplifted straight, sent forth a cry and
a shout that tore the wide air into tatters, and then to make
their urging yet more strong they shrieked out the dreadful
syllables, "'brahim Pasha!"  The swimmers, one moment before
so blown and so weary, found lungs to answer the cry, and
shouting back the name of their great destroyer, they dashed
on through the torrent, and bore the raft in safety to the
western bank.

Afterwards the swimmers returned with the raft, and attached
to it the rest of my baggage. I took my seat upon the top of
the cargo, and the raft thus laden passed the river in the
same way, and with the same struggle as before. The skins,
however, not being perfectly air-tight, had lost a great part
of their buoyancy, so that I, as well as the luggage that
passed on this last voyage, got wet in the waters of Jordan.
The raft could not be trusted for another trip, and the rest
of my party passed the river in a different and (for them)
much safer way. Inflated skins were fastened to their loins,
and thus supported, they were tugged across by Arabs swimming
on either side of them. The horses and mules were thrown
into the water and forced to swim over. The poor beasts had
a hard struggle for their lives in that swift stream; and I
thought that one of the horses would have been drowned, for
he was too weak to gain a footing on the western bank, and
the stream bore him down. At last, however, he swam back to
the side from which he had come. Before dark all had passed
the river except this one horse and old Shereef. He, poor
fellow, was shivering on the eastern bank, for his dread of
the passage was so great, that he delayed it as long as he
could, and at last it became so dark that he was obliged to
wait till the morning.

I lay that night on the banks of the river, and at a little
distance from me the Arabs kindled a fire, round which they
sat in a circle. They were made most savagely happy by the
tobacco with which I supplied them, and they soon determined
that the whole night should be one smoking festival. The
poor fellows had only a cracked bowl, without any tube at
all, but this morsel of a pipe they handed round from one to
the other, allowing to each a fixed number of whiffs. In
that way they passed the whole night.

The next morning old Shereef was brought across. It was a
strange sight to see this solemn old Mussulman, with his
shaven head and his sacred beard, sprawling and puffing upon
the surface of the water. When at last he reached the bank
the people told him that by his baptism in Jordan he had
surely become a mere Christian. Poor Shereef! - the holy
man! the descendant of the Prophet! - he was sadly hurt by
the taunt, and the more so as he seemed to feel that there
was some foundation for it, and that he really might have
absorbed some Christian errors.

When all was ready for departure I wrote the TESKERI in
French and delivered it to Sheik Ali Djoubran, together with
the promised BAKSHEISH; he was exceedingly grateful, and I
parted in a very friendly way from this ragged tribe.

In two or three hours I gained Rihah, a village said to
occupy the site of ancient Jericho. There was one building
there which I observed with some emotion, for although it may
not have been actually standing in the days of Jericho, it
contained at this day a most interesting collection of -
modern loaves.

Some hours after sunset I reached the convent of Santa Saba,
and there remained for the night.


THE enthusiasm that had glowed, or seemed to glow, within me
for one blessed moment when I knelt by the shrine of the
Virgin at Nazareth, was not rekindled at Jerusalem. In the
stead of the solemn gloom and the deep stillness that of
right belonged to the Holy City, there was the hum and the
bustle of active life. It was the "height of the season."
The Easter ceremonies drew near. The pilgrims were flocking
in from all quarters; and although their objects were partly
at least of a religious character, yet their "arrivals"
brought as much stir and liveliness to the city as if they
had come up to marry their daughters.

The votaries who every year crowd to the Holy Sepulchre are
chiefly of the Greek and Armenian Churches. They are not
drawn into Palestine by a mere sentimental longing to stand
upon the ground trodden by our Saviour, but rather they
perform the pilgrimage as a plain duty strongly inculcated by
their religion. A very great proportion of those who belong
to the Greek Church contrive at some time or other in the
course of their lives to achieve the enterprise. Many in
their infancy and childhood are brought to the holy sites by
their parents, but those who have not had this advantage will
often make it the main object of their lives to save money
enough for this holy undertaking.

The pilgrims begin to arrive in Palestine some weeks before
the Easter festival of the Greek Church. They come from
Egypt, from all parts of Syria, from Armenia and Asia Minor,
from Stamboul, from Roumelia, from the provinces of the
Danube, and from all the Russias. Most of these people bring
with them some articles of merchandise, but I myself believe
(notwithstanding the common taunt against pilgrims) that they
do this rather as a mode of paying the expenses of their
journey, than from a spirit of mercenary speculation. They
generally travel in families, for the women are of course
more ardent than their husbands in undertaking these pious
enterprises, and they take care to bring with them all their
children, however young; for the efficacy of the rites does
not depend upon the age of the votary, so that people whose
careful mothers have obtained for them the benefit of the
pilgrimage in early life, are saved from the expense and
trouble of undertaking the journey at a later age. The
superior veneration so often excited by objects that are
distant and unknown shows not perhaps the wrongheadedness of
a man, but rather the transcendent power of his imagination.
However this may be, and whether it is by mere obstinacy that
they poke their way through intervening distance, or whether
they come by the winged strength of fancy, quite certainly
the pilgrims who flock to Palestine from the most remote
homes are the people most eager in the enterprise, and in
number too they bear a very high proportion to the whole

The great bulk of the pilgrims make their way by sea to the
port of Jaffa. A number of families will charter a vessel
amongst them, all bringing their own provisions, which are of
the simplest and cheapest kind. On board every vessel thus
freighted there is, I believe, a priest, who helps the people
in their religious exercises, and tries (and fails) to
maintain something like order and harmony. The vessels
employed in this service are usually Greek brigs or
brigantines and schooners, and the number of passengers
stowed in them is almost always horribly excessive. The
voyages are sadly protracted, not only by the land-seeking,
storm-flying habits of the Greek seamen, but also by their
endless schemes and speculations, which are for ever tempting
them to touch at the nearest port. The voyage too must be
made in winter, in order that Jerusalem may be reached some
weeks before the Greek Easter, and thus by the time they
attain to the holy shrines the pilgrims have really and truly
undergone a very respectable quantity of suffering. I once
saw one of these pious cargoes put ashore on the coast of
Cyprus, where they had touched for the purpose of visiting
(not Paphos, but) some Christian sanctuary. I never saw (no,
never even in the most horridly stuffy ballroom) such a
discomfortable collection of human beings. Long huddled
together in a pitching and rolling prison, fed on beans,
exposed to some real danger and to terrors without end, they
had been tumbled about for many wintry weeks in the chopping
seas of the Mediterranean. As soon as they landed they stood
upon the beach and chanted a hymn of thanks; the chant was
morne and doleful, but really the poor people were looking so
miserable, that one could not fairly expect from them any
lively outpouring of gratitude.

When the pilgrims have landed at Jaffa they hire camels,
horses, mules, or donkeys, and make their way as well as they
can to the Holy City. The space fronting the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre soon becomes a kind of bazaar, or rather,
perhaps, reminds you of an English fair. On this spot the
pilgrims display their merchandise, and there too the trading
residents of the place offer their goods for sale. I have
never, I think, seen elsewhere in Asia so much commercial
animation as upon this square of ground by the church door;
the "money-changers" seemed to be almost as brisk and lively
as if they had been WITHIN the temple.

When I entered the church I found a babel of worshippers.
Greek, Roman, and Armenian priests were performing their
different rites in various nooks and corners, and crowds of
disciples were rushing about in all directions, some laughing
and talking, some begging, but most of them going round in a
regular and methodical way to kiss the sanctified spots, and
speak the appointed syllables, and lay down the accustomed
coin. If this kissing of the shrines had seemed as though it
were done at the bidding of enthusiasm, or of any poor
sentiment even feebly approaching to it, the sight would have
been less odd to English eyes; but as it was, I stared to see
grown men thus steadily and carefully embracing the sticks
and the stones, not from love or from zeal (else God forbid
that I should have stared!), but from a calm sense of duty;
they seemed to be not "working out," but TRANSACTING the
great business of salvation.

Dthemetri, however, who generally came with me when I went
out, in order to do duty as interpreter, really had in him
some enthusiasm. He was a zealous and almost fanatical
member of the Greek Church, and had long since performed the
pilgrimage, so now great indeed was the pride and delight
with which he guided me from one holy spot to another. Every
now and then, when he came to an unoccupied shrine, he fell
down on his knees and performed devotion; he was almost
distracted by the temptations that surrounded him; there were
so many stones absolutely requiring to be kissed, that he
rushed about happily puzzled and sweetly teased, like "Jack
among the maidens."

A Protestant, familiar with the Holy Scriptures, but ignorant
of tradition and the geography of modern Jerusalem, finds
himself a good deal "mazed" when he first looks for the
sacred sites. The Holy Sepulchre is not in a field without
the walls, but in the midst, and in the best part of the
town, under the roof of the great church which I have been
talking about. It is a handsome tomb of oblong form, partly
subterranean and partly above ground, and closed in on all
sides except the one by which it is entered. You descend
into the interior by a few steps, and there find an altar
with burning tapers. This is the spot which is held in
greater sanctity than any other at Jerusalem. When you have
seen enough of it you feel perhaps weary of the busy crowd,
and inclined for a gallop; you ask your dragoman whether
there will be time before sunset to procure horses and take a
ride to Mount Calvary. Mount Calvary, signor? -eccolo! it is
UPSTAIRS - ON THE FIRST FLOOR. In effect you ascend, if I
remember rightly, just thirteen steps, and then you are shown
the now golden sockets in which the crosses of our Lord and
the two thieves were fixed. All this is startling, but the
truth is, that the city having gathered round the Sepulchre,
which is the main point of interest, has crept northward, and
thus in great measure are occasioned the many geographical
surprises that puzzle the "Bible Christian."

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre comprises very compendiously
almost all the spots associated with the closing career of
our Lord. Just there, on your right, He stood and wept; by
the pillar, on your left, He was scourged; on the spot, just
before you, He was crowned with the crown of thorns; up there
He was crucified, and down here He was buried. A locality is
assigned to every, the minutest, event connected with the
recorded history of our Saviour; even the spot where the cock
crew when Peter denied his Master is ascertained, and
surrounded by the walls of an Armenian convent. Many
Protestants are wont to treat these traditions
contemptuously, and those who distinguish themselves from
their brethren by the appellation of "Bible Christians" are
almost fierce in their denunciation of these supposed errors.

It is admitted, I believe, by everybody that the formal
sanctification of these spots was the act of the Empress
Helena, the mother of Constantine, but I think it is fair to
suppose that she was guided by a careful regard to the then
prevailing traditions. Now the nature of the ground upon
which Jerusalem stands is such, that the localities belonging
to the events there enacted might have been more easily, and
permanently, ascertained by tradition than those of any city
that I know of. Jerusalem, whether ancient or modern, was
built upon and surrounded by sharp, salient rocks intersected
by deep ravines. Up to the time of the siege Mount Calvary
of course must have been well enough known to the people of
Jerusalem; the destruction of the mere buildings could not
have obliterated from any man's memory the names of those
steep rocks and narrow ravines in the midst of which the city
had stood. It seems to me, therefore, highly probable that
in fixing the site of Calvary the Empress was rightly guided.
Recollect, too, that the voice of tradition at Jerusalem is
quite unanimous, and that Romans, Greeks, Armenians, and
Jews, all hating each other sincerely, concur in assigning
the same localities to the events told in the Gospel. I
concede, however, that the attempt of the Empress to
ascertain the sites of the minor events cannot be safely
relied upon. With respect, for instance, to the certainty of
the spot where the cock crew, I am far from being convinced.

Supposing that the Empress acted arbitrarily in fixing the
holy sites, it would seem that she followed the Gospel of St.
John, and that the geography sanctioned by her can be more
easily reconciled with that history than with the accounts of
the other Evangelists.

The authority exercised by the Mussulman Government in
relation to the holy sites is in one view somewhat humbling
to the Christians, for it is almost as an arbitrator between
the contending sects (this always, of course, for the sake of
pecuniary advantage) that the Mussulman lends his
contemptuous aid; he not only grants, but enforces
toleration. All persons, of whatever religion, are allowed
to go as they will into every part of the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, but in order to prevent indecent contests, and
also from motives arising out of money payments, the Turkish
Government assigns the peculiar care of each sacred spot to
one of the ecclesiastic bodies. Since this guardianship
carries with it the receipt of the coins which the pilgrims
leave upon the shrines, it is strenuously fought for by all
the rival Churches, and the artifices of intrigue are busily
exerted at Stamboul in order to procure the issue or
revocation of the firmans by which the coveted privilege is
granted. In this strife the Greek Church has of late years
signally triumphed, and the most famous of the shrines are
committed to the care of their priesthood. They possess the
golden socket in which stood the cross of our Lord whilst the
Latins are obliged to content themselves with the apertures
in which were inserted the crosses of the two thieves. They
are naturally discontented with that poor privilege, and
sorrowfully look back to the days of their former glory - the
days when Napoleon was Emperor, and Sebastiani ambassador at
the Porte. It seems that the "citizen" sultan, old Louis
Philippe, has done very little indeed for Holy Church in

Although the pilgrims perform their devotions at the several
shrines with so little apparent enthusiasm, they are driven
to the verge of madness by the miracle displayed before them
on Easter Saturday. Then it is that the Heaven-sent fire
issues from the Holy Sepulchre. The pilgrims all assemble in
the great church, and already, long before the wonder is
worked, they are wrought by anticipation of God's sign, as
well as by their struggles for room and breathing space, to a
most frightful state of excitement. At length the chief
priest of the Greeks, accompanied (of all people in the
world) by the Turkish Governor, enters the tomb. After this,
there is a long pause, and then suddenly from out of the
small apertures on either side of the sepulchre there issue
long, shining flames. The pilgrims now rush forward, madly
struggling to light their tapers at the holy fire. This is
the dangerous moment, and many lives are often lost.

The year before that of my going to Jerusalem, Ibrahim Pasha,
from some whim, or motive of policy, chose to witness the
miracle. The vast church was of course thronged, as it
always is on that awful day. It seems that the appearance of
the fire was delayed for a very long time, and that the
growing frenzy of the people was heightened by suspense.
Many, too, had already sunk under the effect of the heat and
the stifling atmosphere, when at last the fire flashed from
the sepulchre. Then a terrible struggle ensued; many sunk
and were crushed. Ibrahim had taken his station in one of
the galleries, but now, feeling perhaps his brave blood
warmed by the sight and sound of such strife, he took upon
himself to quiet the people by his personal presence, and
descended into the body of the church with only a few guards.
He had forced his way into the midst of the dense crowd, when
unhappily he fainted away; his guards shrieked out, and the
event instantly became known. A body of soldiers recklessly
forced their way through the crowd, trampling over every
obstacle that they might save the life of their general.
Nearly two hundred people were killed in the struggle.

The following year, however, the Government took better
measures for the prevention of these calamities. I was not
present at the ceremony, having gone away from Jerusalem some
time before, but I afterwards returned into Palestine, and I
then learned that the day had passed off without any
disturbance of a fatal kind. It is, however, almost too much
to expect that so many ministers of peace can assemble
without finding some occasion for strife, and in that year a
tribe of wild Bedouins became the subject of discord. These
men, it seems, led an Arab life in some of the desert tracts
bordering on the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, but were not
connected with any of the great ruling tribes. Some whim or
notion of policy had induced them to embrace Christianity;
but they were grossly ignorant of the rudiments of their
adopted faith, and having no priest with them in their
desert, they had as little knowledge of religious ceremonies
as of religion itself. They were not even capable of
conducting themselves in a place of worship with ordinary
decorum, but would interrupt the service with scandalous
cries and warlike shouts. Such is the account the Latins
give of them, but I have never heard the other side of the
question. These wild fellows, notwithstanding their entire
ignorance of all religion, are yet claimed by the Greeks, not
only as proselytes who have embraced Christianity generally,
but as converts to the particular doctrines and practice of
their Church. The people thus alleged to have concurred in
the great schism of the Eastern Empire are never, I believe,
within the walls of a church, or even of any building at all,
except upon this occasion of Easter; and as they then never
fail to find a row of some kind going on by the side of the
sepulchre, they fancy, it seems, that the ceremonies there
enacted are funeral games of a martial character, held in
honour of a deceased chieftain, and that a Christian festival
is a peculiar kind of battle, fought between walls, and
without cavalry. It does not appear, however, that these men
are guilty of any ferocious acts, or that they attempt to
commit depredations. The charge against them is merely that
by their way of applauding the performance, by their horrible
cries and frightful gestures, they destroy the solemnity of
divine service, and upon this ground the Franciscans obtained
a firman for the exclusion of such tumultuous worshippers.
The Greeks, however, did not choose to lose the aid of their
wild converts merely because they were a little backward in
their religious education, and they therefore persuaded them
to defy the firman by entering the city EN MASSE and
overawing their enemies. The Franciscans, as well as the
Government authorities, were obliged to give way, and the
Arabs triumphantly marched into the church. The festival,
however, must have seemed to them rather flat, for although
there may have been some "casualties" in the way of eyes
black and noses bloody, and women "missing," there was no
return of "killed."

Formerly the Latin Catholics concurred in acknowledging (but
not, I hope, in working) the annual miracle of the heavenly
fire, but they have for many years withdrawn their
countenance from this exhibition, and they now repudiate it
as a trick of the Greek Church. Thus of course the violence
of feeling with which the rival Churches meet at the Holy
Sepulchre on Easter Saturday is greatly increased, and a
disturbance of some kind is certain. In the year I speak of,
though no lives were lost, there was, as it seems, a tough
struggle in the church. I was amused at hearing of a taunt
that was thrown that day upon an English traveller. He had
taken his station in a convenient part of the church, and was
no doubt displaying that peculiar air of serenity and
gratification with which an English gentleman usually looks
on at a row, when one of the Franciscans came by, all reeking
from the fight, and was so disgusted at the coolness and
placid contentment of the Englishman (who was a guest at the
convent), that he forgot his monkish humility as well as the
duties of hospitality, and plainly said, "You sleep under our
roof, you eat our bread, you drink our wine, and then when
Easter Saturday comes you don't fight for us!"

Yet these rival Churches go on quietly enough till their
blood is up. The terms on which they live remind one of the
peculiar relation subsisting at Cambridge between "town and

These contests and disturbances certainly do not originate
with the lay-pilgrims, the great body of whom are, as I
believe, quiet and inoffensive people. It is true, however,
that their pious enterprise is believed by them to operate as
a counterpoise for a multitude of sins, whether past or
future, and perhaps they exert themselves in after life to
restore the balance of good and evil. The Turks have a maxim
which, like most cynical apophthegms, carries with it the
buzzing trumpet of falsehood as well as the small, fine
"sting of truth."  "If your friend has made the pilgrimage
once, distrust him; if he has made the pilgrimage twice, cut
him dead!"  The caution is said to be as applicable to the
visitants of Jerusalem as to those of Mecca, but I cannot
help believing that the frailties of all the hadjis, *
whether Christian or Mahometan, are greatly exaggerated. I
certainly regarded the pilgrims to Palestine as a well-
disposed orderly body of people, not strongly enthusiastic,
but desirous to comply with the ordinances of their religion,
and to attain the great end of salvation as quietly and
economically as possible.

* Hadj a pilgrim.

When the solemnities of Easter are concluded the pilgrims
move off in a body to complete their good work by visiting
the sacred scenes in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem,
including the wilderness of John the Baptist, Bethlehem, and
above all, the Jordan, for to bathe in those sacred waters is
one of the chief objects of the expedition. All the pilgrims
- men, women, and children - are submerged EN CHEMISE, and
the saturated linen is carefully wrapped up and preserved as
a burial-dress that shall enure for salvation in the realms
of death.

I saw the burial of a pilgrim. He was a Greek, miserably
poor, and very old; he had just crawled into the Holy City,
and had reached at once the goal of his pious journey and the
end of his sufferings upon earth. There was no coffin nor
wrapper, and as I looked full upon the face of the dead I saw
how deeply it was rutted with the ruts of age and misery.
The priest, strong and portly, fresh, fat, and alive with the
life of the animal kingdom, unpaid, or ill paid for his work,
would scarcely deign to mutter out his forms, but hurried
over the words with shocking haste.  Presently he called out
impatiently, "Yalla! Goor!" (Come! look sharp!), and then
the dead Greek was seized. His limbs yielded inertly to the
rude men that handled them, and down he went into his grave,
so roughly bundled in that his neck was twisted by the fall,
so twisted, that if the sharp malady of life were still upon
him the old man would have shrieked and groaned, and the
lines of his face would have quivered with pain. The lines
of his face were not moved, and the old man lay still and
heedless, so well cured of that tedious life-ache, that
nothing could hurt him now. His clay was ITSELF AGAIN -
cool, firm, and tough. The pilgrim had found great rest. I
threw the accustomed handful of the holy soil upon his
patient face, and then, and in less than a minute, the earth
closed coldly round him.

I did not say "alas!" (nobody ever does that I know of,
though the word is so frequently written). I thought the old
man had got rather well out of the scrape of being alive, and

The destruction of the mere buildings in such a place as
Jerusalem would not involve the permanent dispersion of the
inhabitants, for the rocky neighbourhood in which the town is
situate abounds in caves, which would give an easy refuge to
the people until they gained an opportunity of rebuilding
their dwellings; therefore I could not help looking upon the
Jews of Jerusalem as being in some sort the representatives,
if not the actual descendants, of the rascals who crucified
our Saviour. Supposing this to be the case, I felt that
there would be some interest in knowing how the events of the
Gospel history were regarded by the Israelites of modern
Jerusalem. The result of my inquiry upon this subject was, so
far as it went, entirely favourable to the truth of
Christianity. I understood that THE PERFORMANCE OF THE
All of them concurred in attributing the works of our Lord to
the influence of magic, but they were divided as to the
species of enchantment from which the power proceeded. The
great mass of the Jewish people believe, I fancy, that the
miracles had been wrought by aid of the powers of darkness,
but many, and those the more enlightened, would call Jesus
"the good Magician."  To Europeans repudiating the notion of
all magic, good or bad, the opinion of the Jews as to the
agency by which the miracles were worked is a matter of no
importance; but the circumstance of their admitting that
those miracles WERE IN FACT PERFORMED, is certainly curious,
and perhaps not quite immaterial.

If you stay in the Holy City long enough to fall into
anything like regular habits of amusement and occupation, and
to become, in short, for the time "a man about town" at
Jerusalem, you will necessarily lose the enthusiasm which you
may have felt when you trod the sacred soil for the first
time, and it will then seem almost strange to you to find
yourself so entirely surrounded in all your daily pursuits by
the designs and sounds of religion. Your hotel is a
monastery, your rooms are cells, the landlord is a stately
abbot, and the waiters are hooded monks. If you walk out of
the town you find yourself on the Mount of Olives, or in the
Valley of Jehoshaphat, or on the Hill of Evil Counsel. If
you mount your horse and extend your rambles you will be
guided to the wilderness of St. John, or the birthplace of
our Saviour. Your club is the great Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, where everybody meets everybody every day. If you
lounge through the town, your Bond Street is the Via
Dolorosa, and the object of your hopeless affections is some
maid or matron all forlorn, and sadly shrouded in her
pilgrim's robe. If you would hear music, it must be the
chanting of friars; if you look at pictures, you see virgins
with mis-fore-shortened arms, or devils out of drawing, or
angels tumbling up the skies in impious perspective. If you
would make any purchases, you must go again to the church
doors, and when you inquire for the manufactures of the
place, you find that they consist of double-blessed beads and
sanctified shells. These last are the favourite tokens which
the pilgrims carry off with them. The shell is graven, or
rather scratched, on the white side with a rude drawing of
the Blessed Virgin or of the Crucifixion or some other
scriptural subject. Having passed this stage it goes into
the hands of a priest. By him it is subjected to some
process for rendering it efficacious against the schemes of
our ghostly enemy. The manufacture is then complete, and is
deemed to be fit for use.

The village of Bethlehem lies prettily couched on the slope
of a hill. The sanctuary is a subterranean grotto, and is
committed to the joint-guardianship of the Romans, Greeks,
and Armenians, who vie with each other in adorning it.
Beneath an altar gorgeously decorated, and lit with
everlasting fires, there stands the low slab of stone which
marks the holy site of the Nativity; and near to this is a
hollow scooped out of the living rock. Here the infant Jesus
was laid. Near the spot of the Nativity is the rock against
which the Blessed Virgin was leaning when she presented her
babe to the adoring shepherds.

Many of those Protestants who are accustomed to despise
tradition consider that this sanctuary is altogether
unscriptural, that a grotto is not a stable, and that mangers
are made of wood. It is perfectly true, however, that the
many grottos and caves which are found among the rocks of
Judea were formerly used for the reception of cattle. They
are so used at this day. I have myself seen grottos
appropriated to this purpose.

You know what a sad and sombre decorum it is that outwardly
reigns through the lands oppressed by Moslem sway. The
Mahometans make beauty their prisoner, and enforce such a
stern and gloomy morality, or at all events, such a
frightfully close semblance of it, that far and long the
wearied traveller may go without catching one glimpse of
outward happiness. By a strange chance in these latter days
it happened that, alone of all the places in the land, this
Bethlehem, the native village of our Lord, escaped the moral
yoke of the Mussulmans, and heard again, after ages of dull
oppression, the cheering clatter of social freedom, and the
voices of laughing girls. It was after an insurrection,
which had been raised against the authority of Mehemet Ali,
that Bethlehem was freed from the hateful laws of Asiatic
decorum. The Mussulmans of the village had taken an active
part in the movement, and when Ibrahim had quelled it, his
wrath was still so hot, that he put to death every one of the
few Mahometans of Bethlehem who had not already fled. The
effect produced upon the Christian inhabitants by the sudden
removal of this restraint was immense. The village smiled
once more. It is true that such sweet freedom could not long
endure. Even if the population of the place should continue
to be entirely Christian, the sad decorum of the Mussulmans,
or rather of the Asiatics, would sooner or later be restored
by the force of opinion and custom. But for a while the
sunshine would last, and when I was at Bethlehem, though long
after the flight of the Mussulmans, the cloud of Moslem
propriety had not yet come back to cast its cold shadow upon
life. When you reach that gladsome village, pray Heaven
there still may be heard there the voice of free, innocent
girls. It will sound so dearly welcome!

To a Christian, and thoroughbred Englishman, not even the
licentiousness which generally accompanies it can compensate
for the oppressiveness of that horrible outward decorum,
which turns the cities and the palaces of Asia into deserts
and gaols. So, I say, when you see and hear them, those
romping girls of Bethlehem will gladden your very soul.
Distant at first, and then nearer and nearer the timid flock
will gather around you, with their large burning eyes gravely
fixed against yours, so that they see into your brain; and if
you imagine evil against them, they will know of your ill
thought before it is yet well born, and will fly and be gone
in the moment. But presently, if you will only look virtuous
enough to prevent alarm, and vicious enough to avoid looking
silly, the blithe maidens will draw nearer and nearer to you,
and soon there will be one, the bravest of the sisters, who
will venture right up to your side and touch the hem of your
coat, in playful defiance of the danger, and then the rest
will follow the daring of their youthful leader, and gather
close round you, and hold a shrill controversy on the
wondrous formation that you call a hat, and the cunning of
the hands that clothed you with cloth so fine; and then
growing more profound in their researches, they will pass
from the study of your mere dress to a serious contemplation
of your stately height, and your nut-brown hair, and the
ruddy glow of your English cheeks. And if they catch a
glimpse of your ungloved fingers, then again will they make
the air ring with their sweet screams of wonder and
amazement, as they compare the fairness of your hand with
their warmer tints, and even with the hues of your own
sunburnt face. Instantly the ringleader of the gentle
rioters imagines a new sin; with tremulous boldness she
touches, then grasps your hand, and smoothes it gently
betwixt her own, and pries curiously into its make and
colour, as though it were silk of Damascus, or shawl of
Cashmere. And when they see you even then still sage and
gentle, the joyous girls will suddenly and screamingly, and
all at once, explain to each other that you are surely quite
harmless and innocent, a lion that makes no spring, a bear
that never hugs, and upon this faith, one after the other,
they will take your passive hand, and strive to explain it,
and make it a theme and a controversy. But the one, the
fairest and the sweetest of all, is yet the most timid; she
shrinks from the daring deeds of her play-mates, and seeks
shelter behind their sleeves, and strives to screen her
glowing consciousness from the eyes that look upon her. But
her laughing sisters will have none of this cowardice; they
vow that the fair one SHALL be their 'complice, SHALL share
their dangers, SHALL touch the hand of the stranger; they
seize her small wrist, and drag her forward by force, and at
last, whilst yet she strives to turn away, and to cover up
her whole soul under the folds of downcast eyelids, they
vanquish her utmost strength, they vanquish your utmost
modesty, and marry her hand to yours. The quick pulse
springs from her fingers, and throbs like a whisper upon your
listening palm. For an instant her large timid eyes are upon
you; in an instant they are shrouded again, and there comes a
blush so burning, that the frightened girls stay their shrill
laughter, as though they had played too perilously, and
harmed their gentle sister. A moment, and all with a sudden
intelligence turn away and fly like deer, yet soon again like
deer they wheel round and return, and stand, and gaze upon
the danger, until they grow brave once more.

"I regret to observe, that the removal of the moral restraint
imposed by the presence of the Mahometan inhabitants has led
to a certain degree of boisterous, though innocent, levity in
the bearing of the Christians, and more especially in the
demeanour of those who belong to the younger portion of the
female population; but I feel assured that a more thorough
knowledge of the principles of their own pure religion will
speedily restore these young people to habits of propriety,
even more strict than those which were imposed upon them by
the authority of their Mahometan brethren."  Bah! thus you
might chant, if you chose; but loving the truth, you will not
so disown sweet Bethlehem; you will not disown or dissemble
your right good hearty delight when you find, as though in a
desert, this gushing spring of fresh and joyous girlhood.


GAZA is upon the verge of the Desert, to which it stands in
the same relation as a seaport to the sea. It is there that
you CHARTER your camels ("the ships of the Desert"), and lay
in your stores for the voyage.

These preparations kept me in the town for some days.
Disliking restraint, I declined making myself the guest of
the Governor (as it is usual and proper to do), but took up
my quarters at the caravanserai, or "khan," as they call it
in that part of Asia.

Dthemetri had to make the arrangements for my journey, and in
order to arm himself with sufficient authority for doing all
that was required, he found it necessary to put himself in
communication with the Governor. The result of this
diplomatic intercourse was that the Governor, with his train
of attendants, came to me one day at my caravanserai, and
formally complained that Dthemetri had grossly insulted him.
I was shocked at this, for the man was always attentive and
civil to me, and I was disgusted at the idea of his having
been rewarded with insult. Dthemetri was present when the
complaint was made, and I angrily asked him whether it was
true that he had really insulted the Governor, and what the
deuce he meant by it. This I asked with the full certainty
that Dthemetri, as a matter of course, would deny the charge,
would swear that a "wrong construction had been put upon his
words, and that nothing was further from his thoughts," &c.
&c., after the manner of the parliamentary people, but to my
surprise he very plainly answered that he certainly HAD
insulted the Governor, and that rather grossly, but, he said,
it was quite necessary to do this in order to "strike terror
and inspire respect."  "Terror and respect! What on earth do
you mean by that nonsense?" - "Yes, but without striking
terror and inspiring respect, he (Dthemetri) would never be
able to force on the arrangements for my journey, and
vossignoria would be kept at Gaza for a month!"  This would
have been awkward, and certainly I could not deny that poor
Dthemetri had succeeded in his odd plan of inspiring respect,
for at the very time that this explanation was going on in
Italian the Governor seemed more than ever, and more
anxiously, disposed to overwhelm me with assurances of
goodwill, and proffers of his best services. All this
kindness, or promise of kindness, I naturally received with
courtesy - a courtesy that greatly perturbed Dthemetri, for
he evidently feared that my civility would undo all the good
that his insults had achieved.

You will find, I think, that one of the greatest draw-backs
to the pleasure of travelling in Asia is the being obliged,
more or less, to make your way by bullying. It is true that
your own lips are not soiled by the utterance of all the mean
words that are spoken for you, and that you don't even know
of the sham threats, and the false promises, and the
vainglorious boasts, put forth by your dragoman; but now and
then there happens some incident of the sort which I have
just been mentioning, which forces you to believe, or
suspect, that your dragoman is habitually fighting your
battles for you in a way that you can hardly bear to think

A caravanserai is not ill adapted to the purposes for which
it is meant. It forms the four sides of a large quadrangular
court. The ground floor is used for warehouses, the first
floor for guests, and the open court for the temporary
reception of the camels, as well as for the loading and
unloading of their burthens, and the transaction of
mercantile business generally. The apartments used for the
guests are small cells opening into a corridor, which runs
round the four sides of the court.

Whilst I lay near the opening of my cell looking down into
the court below, there arrived from the Desert a caravan,
that is, a large assemblage of travellers. It consisted
chiefly of Moldavian pilgrims, who to make their good work
even more than complete had begun by visiting the shrine of
the Virgin in Egypt, and were now going on to Jerusalem.
They had been overtaken in the Desert by a gale of wind,
which so drove the sand and raised up such mountains before
them, that their journey had been terribly perplexed and
obstructed, and their provisions (including water, the most
precious of all) had been exhausted long before they reached
the end of their toilsome march. They were sadly wayworn.
The arrival of the caravan drew many and various groups into
the court. There was the Moldavian pilgrim with his sable
dress and cap of fur and heavy masses of bushy hair; the
Turk, with his various and brilliant garments; the Arab,
superbly stalking under his striped blanket, that hung like
royalty upon his stately form; the jetty Ethiopian in his
slavish frock; the sleek, smooth-faced scribe with his comely
pelisse, and his silver ink-box stuck in like a dagger at his
girdle. And mingled with these were the camels, some
standing, some kneeling and being unladen, some twisting
round their long necks, and gently stealing the straw from
out of their own pack-saddles.

In a couple of days I was ready to start. The way of
providing for the passage of the Desert is this: there is an
agent in the town who keeps himself in communication with
some of the desert Arabs that are hovering within a day's
journey of the place. A party of these upon being guaranteed
against seizure or other ill-treatment at the hands of the
Governor come into the town, bringing with them the number of
camels which you require, and then they stipulate for a
certain sum to take you to the place of your destination in a
given time. The agreement which they thus enter into
includes a safe conduct through their country as well as the
hire of the camels. According to the contract made with me I
was to reach Cairo within ten days from the commencement of
the journey. I had four camels, one for my baggage, one for
each of my servants, and one for myself. Four Arabs, the
owners of the camels, came with me on foot. My stores were a
small soldier's tent, two bags of dried bread brought from
the convent at Jerusalem, and a couple of bottles of wine
from the same source, two goat-skins filled with water, tea,
sugar, a cold tongue, and (of all things in the world) a jar
of Irish butter which Mysseri had purchased from some
merchant. There was also a small sack of charcoal, for the
greater part of the Desert through which we were to pass is
destitute of fuel.

The camel kneels to receive her load, and for a while she
will allow the packing to go on with silent resignation; but
when she begins to suspect that her master is putting more
than a just burthen upon her poor hump she turns round her
supple neck and looks sadly upon the increasing load, and
then gently remonstrates against the wrong with the sigh of a
patient wife. If sighs will not move you, she can weep. You
soon learn to pity, and soon to love, her for the sake of her
gentle and womanish ways.

You cannot, of course, put an English or any other riding
saddle upon the back of the camel, but your quilt or carpet,
or whatever you carry for the purpose of lying on at night,
is folded and fastened on to the pack-saddle upon the top of
the hump, and on this you ride, or rather sit. You sit as a
man sits on a chair when he sits astride and faces the back
of it. I made an improvement on this plan. I had my English
stirrups strapped on to the cross-bars of the pack-saddle,
and thus by gaining rest for my dangling legs, and gaining
too the power of varying my position more easily than I could
otherwise have done, I added very much to my comfort. Don't
forget to do as I did.

The camel, like the elephant, is one of the old-fashioned
sort of animals that still walk along upon the (now nearly
exploded) plan of the ancient beasts that lived before the
Flood. She moves forward both her near legs at the same
time, and then awkwardly swings round her off shoulder and
haunch so as to repeat the manoeuvre on that side. Her pace,
therefore, is an odd, disjointed and disjoining, sort of
movement that is rather disagreeable at first, but you soon
grow reconciled to it. The height to which you are raised is
of great advantage to you in passing the burning sands of the
Desert, for the air at such a distance from the ground is
much cooler and more lively than that which circulates

For several miles beyond Gaza the land, which had been
plentifully watered by the rains of the last week, was
covered with rich verdure, and thickly jewelled with meadow
flowers so fresh and fragrant, that I began to grow almost
uneasy, to fancy that the very Desert was receding before me,
and that the long-desired adventure of passing its "burning
sands" was to end in a mere ride across a field. But as I
advanced the true character of the country began to display
itself with sufficient clearness to dispel my apprehensions,
and before the close of my first day's journey I had the
gratification of finding that I was surrounded on all sides
by a tract of real sand, and had nothing at all to complain
of except that there peeped forth at intervals a few isolated
blades of grass, and many of those stunted shrubs which are
the accustomed food of the camel.

Before sunset I came up with an encampment of Arabs (the
encampment from which my camels had been brought), and my
tent was pitched amongst theirs. I was now amongst the true
Bedouins. Almost every man of this race closely resembles
his brethren. Almost every man has large and finely-formed
features; but his face is so thoroughly stripped of flesh,
and the white folds from his headgear fall down by his
haggard cheeks so much in the burial fashion, that he looks
quite sad and ghastly. His large dark orbs roll slowly and
solemnly over the white of his deep-set eyes; his countenance
shows painful thought and long-suffering, the suffering of
one fallen from a high estate. His gait is strangely
majestic, and he marches along with his simple blanket as
though he were wearing the purple. His common talk is a
series of piercing screams and cries, * more painful to the
ear than the most excruciating fine music that I ever

* Milnes cleverly goes to the French for the exact word which
conveys the impression produced by the voice of the Arabs,
and calls them "un peuple CRIARD."

The Bedouin women are not treasured up like the wives and
daughters of other Orientals, and indeed they seemed almost
entirely free from the restraints imposed by jealousy. The
feint which they made of concealing their faces from me was
always slight. They never, I think, wore the YASHMAK
properly fixed. When they first saw me they used to hold up
a part of their drapery with one hand across their faces, but
they seldom persevered very steadily in subjecting me to this
privation. Unhappy beings! they were sadly plain. The awful
haggardness that gave something of character to the faces of
the men was sheer ugliness in the poor women. It is a great
shame, but the truth is that, except when we refer to the
beautiful devotion of the mother to her child, all the fine
things we say and think about woman apply only to those who
are tolerably good-looking or graceful. These Arab women
were so plain and clumsy, that they seemed to me to be fit
for nothing but another and a better world. They may have
been good women enough so far as relates to the exercise of
the minor virtues, but they had so grossly neglected the
prime duty of looking pretty in this transitory life, that I
could not at all forgive them. They seemed to feel the
weight of their guilt, and to be truly and humbly penitent.
I had the complete command of their affections, for at any
moment I could make their young hearts bound and their old
hearts jump by offering a handful of tobacco, and yet,
believe me, it was not in the first SOIREE that my store of
Latakia was exhausted.

The Bedouin women have no religion. This is partly the cause
of their clumsiness. Perhaps if from Christian girls they
would learn how to pray, their souls might become more
gentle, and their limbs be clothed with grace. You who are
going into their country have a direct personal interest in
knowing something about "Arab hospitality"; but the deuce of
it is, that the poor fellows with whom I have happened to
pitch my tent were scarcely ever in a condition to exercise
that magnanimous virtue with much ECLAT. Indeed, Mysseri's
canteen generally enabled me to outdo my hosts in the matter
of entertainment. They were always courteous, however, and
were never backward in offering me the YOUART, a kind of
whey, which is the principal delicacy to be found amongst the
wandering tribes.

Practically, I think, Childe Harold would have found it a
dreadful bore to make "the Desert his dwelling-place," for at
all events, if he adopted the life of the Arabs he would have
tasted no solitude. The tents are partitioned, not so as to
divide the Childe and the "fair spirit" who is his "minister"
from the rest of the world, but so as to separate the twenty
or thirty brown men that sit screaming in the one compartment
from the fifty or sixty brown women and children that scream
and squeak in the other. If you adopt the Arab life for the
sake of seclusion you will be horribly disappointed, for you
will find yourself in perpetual contact with a mass of hot
fellow-creatures. It is true that all who are inmates of the
same tent are related to each other, but I am not quite sure
that that circumstance adds much to the charm of such a life.
At all events, before you finally determine to become an Arab
try a gentle experiment. Take one of those small, shabby
houses in May Fair, and shut yourself up in it with forty or
fifty shrill cousins for a couple of weeks in July.

In passing the Desert you will find your Arabs wanting to
start and to rest at all sorts of odd times. They like, for
instance, to be off at one in the morning, and to rest during
the whole of the afternoon. You must not give way to their
wishes in this respect. I tried their plan once, and found
it very harassing and unwholesome. An ordinary tent can give
you very little protection against heat, for the fire strikes
fiercely through single canvas, and you soon find that whilst
you lie crouching and striving to hide yourself from the
blazing face of the sun, his power is harder to bear than it
is where you boldly defy him from the airy heights of your

It had been arranged with my Arabs that they were to bring
with them all the food which they would want for themselves
during the passage of the Desert, but as we rested at the end
of the first day's journey by the side of an Arab encampment,
my camel men found all that they required for that night in
the tents of their own brethren. On the evening of the
second day, however, just before we encamped for the night,
my four Arabs came to Dthemetri, and formally announced that
they had not brought with them one atom of food, and that
they looked entirely to my supplies for their daily bread.
This was awkward intelligence. We were now just two days
deep in the Desert, and I had brought with me no more bread
than might be reasonably required for myself and my European
attendants. I believed at the moment (for it seemed likely
enough) that the men had really mistaken the terms of the
arrangement, and feeling that the bore of being put upon
half-rations would be a less evil (and even to myself a less
inconvenience) than the starvation of my Arabs, I at once
told Dthemetri to assure them that my bread should be equally
shared with all. Dthemetri, however, did not approve of this
concession; he assured me quite positively that the Arabs
thoroughly understood the agreement, and that if they were
now without food they had wilfully brought themselves into
this strait for the wretched purpose of bettering their
bargain by the value of a few paras' worth of bread. This
suggestion made me look at the affair in a new light. I
should have been glad enough to put up with the slight
privation to which my concession would subject me, and could
have borne to witness the semi-starvation of poor Dthemetri
with a fine, philosophical calm, but it seemed to me that the
scheme, if scheme it were, had something of audacity in it,
and was well enough calculated to try the extent of my
softness. I well knew the danger of allowing such a trial to
result in a conclusion that I was one who might be easily
managed; and therefore, after thoroughly satisfying myself
from Dthemetri's clear and repeated assertions that the Arabs
had really understood the arrangement, I determined that they
should not now violate it by taking advantage of my position
in the midst of their big Desert, so I desired Dthemetri to
tell them that they should touch no bread of mine. We
stopped, and the tent was pitched. The Arabs came to me, and
prayed loudly for bread. I refused them.

"Then we die!"

"God's will be done!"

I gave the Arabs to understand that I regretted their
perishing by hunger, but that I should bear this calmly, like
any other misfortune not my own, that, in short, I was
happily resigned to THEIR fate. The men would have talked a
great deal, but they were under the disadvantage of
addressing me through a hostile interpreter; they looked hard
upon my face, but they found no hope there; so at last they
retired as they pretended, to lay them down and die.

In about ten minutes from this time I found that the Arabs
were busily cooking their bread! Their pretence of having
brought no food was false, and was only invented for the
purpose of saving it. They had a good bag of meal, which
they had contrived to stow away under the baggage upon one of
the camels in such a way as to escape notice. In Europe the
detection of a scheme like this would have occasioned a
disagreeable feeling between the master and the delinquent,
but you would no more recoil from an Oriental on account of a
matter of this sort, than in England you would reject a horse
that had tried, and failed, to throw you. Indeed, I felt
quite good-humouredly towards my Arabs, because they had so
woefully failed in their wretched attempt, and because, as it
turned out, I had done what was right. They too, poor
fellows, evidently began to like me immensely, on account of
the hard-heartedness which had enabled me to baffle their

The Arabs adhere to those ancestral principles of bread-
baking which have been sanctioned by the experience of ages.
The very first baker of bread that ever lived must have done
his work exactly as the Arab does at this day. He takes some
meal and holds it out in the hollow of his hands, whilst his
comrade pours over it a few drops of water; he then mashes up
the moistened flour into a paste, which he pulls into small
pieces, and thrusts into the embers. His way of baking
exactly resembles the craft or mystery of roasting chestnuts
as practised by children; there is the same prudence and
circumspection in choosing a good berth for the morsel, the
same enterprise and self-sacrificing valour in pulling it out
with the fingers.

The manner of my daily march was this. At about an hour
before dawn I rose and made the most of about a pint of
water, which I allowed myself for washing. Then I
breakfasted upon tea and bread. As soon as the beasts were
loaded I mounted my camel and pressed forward. My poor
Arabs, being on foot, would sometimes moan with fatigue and
pray for rest; but I was anxious to enable them to perform
their contract for bringing me to Cairo within the stipulated
time, and I did not therefore allow a halt until the evening
came. About midday, or soon after, Mysseri used to bring up
his camel alongside of mine, and supply me with a piece of
bread softened in water (for it was dried hard like board),
and also (as long as it lasted) with a piece of the tongue;
after this there came into my hand (how well I remember it)
the little tin cup half-filled with wine and water.

As long as you are journeying in the interior of the Desert
you have no particular point to make for as your resting-
place. The endless sands yield nothing but small stunted
shrubs; even these fail after the first two or three days,
and from that time you pass over broad plains, you pass over
newly-reared hills, you pass through valleys that the storm
of the last week has dug, and the hills and the valleys are
sand, sand, sand, still sand, and only sand, and sand and
sand again. The earth is so samely that your eyes turn
towards heaven - towards heaven, I mean, in the sense of sky.
You look to the sun, for he is your task-master, and by him
you know the measure of the work that you have done, and the
measure of the work that remains for you to do. He comes
when you strike your tent in the early morning, and then, for
the first hour of the day as you move forward on your camel,
he stands at your near side and makes you know that the whole
day's toil is before you; then for a while, and a long while,
you see him no more, for you are veiled and shrouded, and
dare not look upon the greatness of his glory, but you know
where he strides overhead by the touch of his flaming sword.
No words are spoken, but your Arabs moan, your camels sigh,
your skin glows, your shoulders ache, and for sights you see
the pattern and the web of the silk that veils your eyes and
the glare of the outer light. Time labours on; your skin
glows and your shoulders ache, your Arabs moan, your camels
sigh, and you see the same pattern in the silk, and the same
glare of light beyond, but conquering Time marches on, and
by-and-by the descending sun has compassed the heaven, and
now softly touches your right arm, and throws your lank
shadow over the sand right along on the way to Persia. Then
again you look upon his face, for his power is all veiled in
his beauty, and the redness of flames has become the redness
of roses; the fair, wavy cloud that fled in the morning now
comes to his sight once more, comes blushing, yet still comes
on, comes burning with blushes, yet hastens and clings to his

Then arrives your time for resting. The world about you is
all your own, and there, where you will, you pitch your
solitary tent; there is no living thing to dispute your
choice. When at last the spot had been fixed upon and we
came to a halt, one of the Arabs would touch the chest of my
camel and utter at the same time a peculiar gurgling sound.
The beast instantly understood and obeyed the sign, and
slowly sunk under me till she brought her body to a level
with the ground, then gladly enough I alighted. The rest of
the camels were unloaded and turned loose to browse upon the
shrubs of the desert, where shrubs there were, or where these
failed, to wait for the small quantity of food that was
allowed them out of our stores.

My servants, helped by the Arabs, busied themselves in
pitching the tent and kindling the fire. Whilst this was
doing I used to walk away towards the east, confiding in the
print of my foot as a guide for my return. Apart from the
cheering voices of my attendants I could better know and feel
the loneliness of the Desert. The influence of such scenes,
however, was not of a softening kind, but filled me rather
with a sort of childish exultation in the self-sufficiency
which enabled me to stand thus alone in the wideness of Asia
- a short-lived pride, for wherever man wanders he still
remains tethered by the chain that links him to his kind; and
so when the night closed around me I began to return, to
return, as it were, to my own gate. Reaching at last some
high ground I could see, and see with delight, the fire of
our small encampment, and when at last I regained the spot it
seemed to me a very home that had sprung up for me in the
midst of these solitudes. My Arabs were busy with their
bread; Mysseri rattling tea-cups; the little kettle, with her
odd old-maidish looks, sat humming away old songs about
England; and two or three yards from the fire my tent stood
prim and tight, with open portal, and with welcoming look,
like "the old arm-chair" of our lyrist's "sweet Lady Anne."

At the beginning of my journey the night breeze blew coldly;
when that happened, the dry sand was heaped up outside round
the skirts of the tent, and so the wind, that everywhere else
could sweep as he listed along those dreary plains, was
forced to turn aside in his course and make way, as he ought,
for the Englishman. Then within my tent there were heaps of
luxuries - dining-rooms, dressing-rooms, libraries, bedrooms,
drawing-rooms, oratories, all crowded into the space of a
hearthrug. The first night, I remember, with my books and
maps about me, I wanted light; they brought me a taper, and
immediately from out of the silent Desert there rushed in a
flood of life unseen before. Monsters of moths, of all
shapes and hues, that never before perhaps had looked upon
the shining of a flame, now madly thronged into my tent, and
dashed through the fire of the candle till they fairly
extinguished it with their burning limbs. Those who had
failed in attaining this martyrdom suddenly became serious,
and clung despondingly to the canvas.

By-and-by there was brought to me the fragrant tea and big
masses of scorched and scorching toast, and the butter that
had come all the way to me in this Desert of Asia from out of
that poor, dear, starving Ireland. I feasted like a king,
like four kings, like a boy in the fourth form.

When the cold, sullen morning dawned, and my people began to
load the camels, I always felt loth to give back to the waste
this little spot of ground that had glowed for a while with
the cheerfulness of a human dwelling. One by one the cloaks,
the saddles, the baggage, the hundred things that strewed the
ground and made it look so familiar - all these were taken
away and laid upon the camels. A speck in the broad tracts
of Asia remained still impressed with the mark of patent
portmanteaus and the heels of London boots; the embers of the
fire lay black and cold upon the sand, and these were the
signs we left.

My tent was spared to the last, but when all else was ready
for the start then came its fall; the pegs were drawn, the
canvas shivered, and in less than a minute there was nothing
that remained of my genial home but only a pole and a bundle.
The encroaching Englishman was off, and instant upon the fall
of the canvas, like an owner who had waited and watched, the
genius of the Desert stalked in.

To servants, as I suppose of any other Europeans not much
accustomed to amuse themselves by fancy or memory, it often
happens that after a few days journeying the loneliness of
the Desert will become frightfully oppressive. Upon my poor
fellows the access of melancholy came heavy, and all at once,
as a blow from above; they bent their necks, and bore it as
best they could, but their joy was great on the fifth day
when we came to an oasis called Gatieh, for here we found
encamped a caravan (that is, an assemblage of travellers)
from Cairo. The Orientals living in cities never pass the
Desert except in this way; many will wait for weeks, and even
for months, until a sufficient number of persons can be found
ready to undertake the journey at the same time - until the
flock of sheep is big enough to fancy itself a match for
wolves. They could not, I think, really secure themselves
against any serious danger by this contrivance, for though
they have arms, they are so little accustomed to use them,
and so utterly unorganised, that they never could make good
their resistance to robbers of the slightest respectability.
It is not of the Bedouins that such travellers are afraid,
for the safe conduct granted by the chief of the ruling tribe
is never, I believe, violated, but it is said that there are
deserters and scamps of various sorts who hover about the
skirts of the Desert, particularly on the Cairo side, and are
anxious to succeed to the property of any poor devils whom
they may find more weak and defenceless than themselves.

These people from Cairo professed to be amazed at the
ludicrous disproportion between their numerical forces and
mine. They could not understand, and they wanted to know, by
what strange privilege it is that an Englishman with a brace
of pistols and a couple of servants rides safely across the
Desert, whilst they, the natives of the neighbouring cities,
are forced to travel in troops, or rather in herds. One of
them got a few minutes of private conversation with
Dthemetri, and ventured to ask him anxiously whether the
English did not travel under the protection of evil demons.
I had previously known (from Methley, I think, who had
travelled in Persia) that this notion, so conducive to the
safety of our countrymen, is generally prevalent amongst
Orientals. It owes its origin, partly to the strong
wilfulness of the English gentleman (which not being backed
by any visible authority, either civil or military, seems
perfectly superhuman to the soft Asiatic), but partly too to
the magic of the banking system, by force of which the
wealthy traveller will make all his journeys without carrying
a handful of coin, and yet when he arrives at a city will
rain down showers of gold. The theory is, that the English
traveller has committed some sin against God and his
conscience, and that for this the evil spirit has hold of
him, and drives him from his home like a victim of the old
Grecian furies, and forces him to travel over countries far
and strange, and most chiefly over deserts and desolate
places, and to stand upon the sites of cities that once were
and are now no more, and to grope among the tombs of dead
men. Often enough there is something of truth in this
notion; often enough the wandering Englishman is guilty (if
guilt it be) of some pride or ambition, big or small,
imperial or parochial, which being offended has made the lone
place more tolerable than ballrooms to him, a sinner.

I can understand the sort of amazement of the Orientals at
the scantiness of the retinue with which an Englishman passes
the Desert, for I was somewhat struck myself when I saw one
of my countrymen making his way across the wilderness in this
simple style. At first there was a mere moving speck on the
horizon. My party of course became all alive with
excitement, and there were many surmises. Soon it appeared
that three laden camels were approaching, and that two of
them carried riders. In a little while we saw that one of
the riders wore the European dress, and at last the
travellers were pronounced to be an English gentleman and his
servant. By their side there were a couple, I think, of
Arabs on foot, and this was the whole party.

You, you love sailing; in returning from a cruise to the
English coast you see often enough a fisherman's humble boat
far away from all shores, with an ugly black sky above and an
angry sea beneath. You watch the grizzly old man at the helm
carrying his craft with strange skill through the turmoil of
waters, and the boy, supple-limbed, yet weather-worn already,
and with steady eyes that look through the blast, you see him
understanding commandments from the jerk of his father's
white eyebrow, now belaying and now letting go, now
scrunching himself down into mere ballast, or baling out
death with a pipkin. Stale enough is the sight, and yet when
I see it I always stare anew, and with a kind of Titanic
exultation, because that a poor boat with the brain of a man
and the hands of a boy on board can match herself so bravely
against black heaven and ocean. Well, so when you have
travelled for days and days over an Eastern desert without
meeting the likeness of a human being, and then at last see
an English shooting-jacket and his servant come listlessly
slouching along from out of the forward horizon, you stare at
the wide unproportion between this slender company and the
boundless plains of sand through which they are keeping their

This Englishman, as I afterwards found, was a military man
returning to his country from India, and crossing the Desert
at this part in order to go through Palestine. As for me, I
had come pretty straight from England, and so here we met in
the wilderness at about half-way from our respective
starting-points. As we approached each other it became with
me a question whether we should speak. I thought it likely
that the stranger would accost me, and in the event of his
doing so I was quite ready to be as sociable and chatty as I
could be according to my nature; but still I could not think
of anything particular that I had to say to him. Of course,
among civilised people the not having anything to say is no
excuse at all for not speaking, but I was shy and indolent,
and I felt no great wish to stop and talk like a morning
visitor in the midst of those broad solitudes. The traveller
perhaps felt as I did, for except that we lifted our hands to
our caps and waved our arms in courtesy, we passed each other
as if we had passed in Bond Street. Our attendants, however,
were not to be cheated of the delight that they felt in
speaking to new listeners and hearing fresh voices once more.
The masters, therefore, had no sooner passed each other than
their respective servants quietly stopped and entered into
conversation. As soon as my camel found that her companions
were not following her she caught the social feeling and
refused to go on. I felt the absurdity of the situation, and
determined to accost the stranger if only to avoid the
awkwardness of remaining stuck fast in the Desert whilst our
servants were amusing themselves. When with this intent I
turned round my camel I found that the gallant officer who
had passed me by about thirty or forty yards was exactly in
the same predicament as myself. I put my now willing camel
in motion and rode up towards the stranger, who seeing this
followed my example and came forward to meet me. He was the
first to speak. He was much too courteous to address me as
if he admitted the possibility of my wishing to accost him
from any feeling of mere sociability or civilian-like love of
vain talk. On the contrary, he at once attributed my
advances to a laudable wish of acquiring statistical
information, and accordingly, when we got within speaking
distance, he said, "I dare say you wish to know how the
plague is going on at Cairo?"  And then he went on to say, he
regretted that his information did not enable him to give me
in numbers a perfectly accurate statement of the daily
deaths. He afterwards talked pleasantly enough upon other
and less ghastly subjects. I thought him manly and
intelligent, a worthy one of the few thousand strong
Englishmen to whom the empire of India is committed.

The night after the meeting with the people of the caravan,
Dthemetri, alarmed by their warnings, took upon himself to
keep watch all night in the tent. No robbers came except a
jackal, that poked his nose into my tent from some motive of
rational curiosity. Dthemetri did not shoot him for fear of
waking me. These brutes swarm in every part of Syria, and
there were many of them even in the midst of the void sands,
that would seem to give such poor promise of food. I can
hardly tell what prey they could be hoping for, unless it
were that they might find now and then the carcass of some
camel that had died on the journey. They do not marshal
themselves into great packs like the wild dogs of Eastern
cities, but follow their prey in families, like the place-
hunters of Europe. Their voices are frightfully like to the
shouts and cries of human beings. If you lie awake in your
tent at night you are almost continually hearing some hungry
family as it sweeps along in full cry. You hear the exulting
scream with which the sagacious dam first winds the carrion,
and the shrill response of the unanimous cubs as they sniff
the tainted air, "Wha! wha! wha! wha! wha! wha! Whose gift
is it in, mamma?"

Once during this passage my Arabs lost their way among the
hills of loose sand that surrounded us, but after a while we
were lucky enough to recover our right line of march. The
same day we fell in with a Sheik, the head of a family, that
actually dwells at no great distance from this part of the
Desert during nine months of the year. The man carried a
matchlock, of which he was very proud. We stopped and sat
down and rested awhile for the sake of a little talk. There
was much that I should have liked to ask this man, but he
could not understand Dthemetri's language, and the process of
getting at his knowledge by double interpretation through my
Arabs was unsatisfactory. I discovered, however (and my
Arabs knew of that fact), that this man and his family lived
habitually for nine months of the year without touching or
seeing either bread or water. The stunted shrub growing at
intervals through the sand in this part of the Desert enables
the camel mares to yield a little milk, which furnishes the
sole food and drink of their owner and his people. During
the other three months (the hottest of the months, I suppose)
even this resource fails, and then the Sheik and his people
are forced to pass into another district. You would ask me
why the man should not remain always in that district which
supplies him with water during three months of the year, but
I don't know enough of Arab politics to answer the question.
The Sheik was not a good specimen of the effect produced by
the diet to which he is subjected. He was very small, very
spare, and sadly shrivelled, a poor, over-roasted snipe, a
mere cinder of a man. I made him sit down by my side, and
gave him a piece of bread and a cup of water from out of my
goat-skins. This was not very tempting drink to look at, for
it had become turbid, and was deeply reddened by some
colouring matter contained in the skins, but it kept its
sweetness, and tasted like a strong decoction of russia
leather. The Sheik sipped this, drop by drop, with ineffable
relish, and rolled his eyes solemnly round between every
draught, as though the drink were the drink of the Prophet,
and had come from the seventh heaven.

An inquiry about distances led to the discovery that this
Sheik had never heard of the division of time into hours; my
Arabs themselves, I think, were rather surprised at this.

About this part of my journey I saw the likeness of a fresh-
water lake. I saw, as it seemed, a broad sheet of calm
water, that stretched far and fair towards the south,
stretching deep into winding creeks, and hemmed in by jutting
promontories, and shelving smooth off towards the shallow
side. On its bosom the reflected fire of the sun lay
playing, and seeming to float upon waters deep and still.

Though I knew of the cheat, it was not till the spongy foot
of my camel had almost trodden in the seeming waters that I
could undeceive my eyes, for the shore-line was quite true
and natural. I soon saw the cause of the phantasm. A sheet
of water heavily impregnated with salts had filled this great
hollow, and when dried up by evaporation had left a white
saline deposit, that exactly marked the space which the
waters had covered, and thus sketched a good shore-line. The
minute crystals of the salt sparkled in the sun, and so
looked like the face of a lake that is calm and smooth.

The pace of the camel is irksome, and makes your shoulders
and loins ache from the peculiar way in which you are obliged
to suit yourself to the movements of the beast, but you soon
of course become inured to this, and after the first two days
this way of travelling became so familiar to me, that (poor
sleeper as I am) I now and then slumbered for some moments
together on the back of my camel. On the fifth day of my
journey the air above lay dead, and all the whole earth that
I could reach with my utmost sight and keenest listening was
still and lifeless as some dispeopled and forgotten world
that rolls round and round in the heavens through wasted
floods of light. The sun growing fiercer and fiercer shone
down more mightily now than ever on me he shone before, and
as I dropped my head under his fire, and closed my eyes
against the glare that surrounded me, I slowly fell asleep,
for how many minutes or moments I cannot tell, but after a
while I was gently awakened by a peal of church bells, my
native bells, the innocent bells of Marlen, that never before
sent forth their music beyond the Blaygon hills! My first
idea naturally was, that I still remained fast under the
power of a dream. I roused myself and drew aside the silk
that covered my eyes, and plunged my bare face into the
light. Then at least I was well enough wakened, but still
those old Marlen bells rung on, not ringing for joy, but
properly, prosily, steadily, merrily ringing "for church."
After a while the sound died away slowly. It happened that
neither I nor any of my party had a watch by which to measure
the exact time of its lasting, but it seemed to me that about
ten minutes had passed before the bells ceased. I attributed
the effect to the great heat of the sun, the perfect dryness
of the clear air through which I moved, and the deep
stillness of all around me. It seemed to me that these
causes, by occasioning a great tension, and consequent
susceptibility, of the hearing organs had rendered them
liable to tingle under the passing touch of some mere memory
that must have swept across my brain in a moment of sleep.
Since my return to England it has been told me that like
sounds have been heard at sea, and that the sailor becalmed
under a vertical sun in the midst of the wide ocean has
listened in trembling wonder to the chime of his own village

At this time I kept a poor shabby pretence of a journal,
which just enabled me to know the day of the month and the
week according to the European calendar, and when in my tent
at night I got out my pocket-book I found that the day was
Sunday, and roughly allowing for the difference of time in
this longitude, I concluded that at the moment of my hearing
that strange peal the church-going bells of Marlen must have
been actually calling the prim congregation of the parish to
morning prayer. The coincidence amused me faintly, but I
could not pluck up the least hope that the effect which I had
experienced was anything other than an illusion, an illusion
liable to be explained (as every illusion is in these days)
by some of the philosophers who guess at Nature's riddles.
It would have been sweeter to believe that my kneeling mother
by some pious enchantment had asked, and found, this spell to
rouse me from my scandalous forgetfulness of God's holy day,
but my fancy was too weak to carry a faith like that.
Indeed, the vale through which the bells of Marlen send their
song is a highly respectable vale, and its people (save one,
two, or three) are wholly unaddicted to the practice of
magical arts.

After the fifth day of my journey I no longer travelled over
shifting hills, but came upon a dead level, a dead level bed
of sand, quite hard, and studded with small shining pebbles.

The heat grew fierce; there was no valley nor hollow, no
hill, no mound, no shadow of hill nor of mound, by which I
could mark the way I was making. Hour by hour I advanced,
and saw no change - I was still the very centre of a round
horizon; hour by hour I advanced, and still there was the
same, and the same, and the same - the same circle of flaming
sky - the same circle of sand still glaring with light and
fire. Over all the heaven above, over all the earth beneath,
there was no visible power that could balk the fierce will of
the sun: "he rejoiced as a strong man to run a race; his
going forth was from the end of the heaven, and his circuit
unto the ends of it; and there was nothing hid from the heat
thereof."  From pole to pole, and from the east to the west,
he brandished his fiery sceptre as though he had usurped all
heaven and earth. As he bid the soft Persian in ancient
times, so now, and fiercely too, he bid me bow down and
worship him; so now in his pride he seemed to command me, and
say, "Thou shalt have none other gods but me."  I was all
alone before him. There were these two pitted together, and
face to face - the mighty sun for one, and for the other this
poor, pale, solitary self of mine, that I always carry about
with me.

But on the eighth day, and before I had yet turned away from
Jehovah for the glittering god of the Persians, there
appeared a dark line upon the edge of the forward horizon,
and soon the line deepened into a delicate fringe, that
sparkled here and there as though it were sewn with diamonds.
There, then, before me were the gardens and the minarets of
Egypt and the mighty works of the Nile, and I (the eternal
Ego that I am!) - I had lived to see, and I saw them.

When evening came I was still within the confines of the
Desert, and my tent was pitched as usual; but one of my Arabs
stalked away rapidly towards the west, without telling me of
the errand on which he was bent. After a while he returned;
he had toiled on a graceful service; he had travelled all the
way on to the border of the living world, and brought me back
for token an ear of rice, full, fresh, and green.

The next day I entered upon Egypt, and floated along (for the
delight was as the delight of bathing) through green wavy
fields of rice, and pastures fresh and plentiful, and dived
into the cold verdure of groves and gardens, and quenched my
hot eyes in shade, as though in deep, rushing waters.


CAIRO and plague! During the whole time of my stay the
plague was so master of the city, and showed itself so
staringly in every street and every alley, that I can't now
affect to dissociate the two ideas.

* There is some semblance of bravado in my manner of talking
about the plague. I have been more careful to describe the
terrors of other people than my own. The truth is, that
during the whole period of my stay at Cairo I remained
thoroughly impressed with a sense of my danger. I may almost
say, that I lived in perpetual apprehension, for even in
sleep, as I fancy, there remained with me some faint notion
of the peril with which I was encompassed. But fear does not
necessarily damp the spirits; on the contrary, it will often
operate as an excitement, giving rise to unusual animation,
and thus it affected me. If I had not been surrounded at
this time by new faces, new scenes, and new sounds, the
effect produced upon my mind by one unceasing cause of alarm
might have been very different. As it was, the eagerness
with which I pursued my rambles among the wonders of Egypt
was sharpened and increased by the sting of the fear of
death. Thus my account of the matter plainly conveys an
impression that I remained at Cairo without losing my
cheerfulness and buoyancy of spirits. And this is the truth,
but it is also true, as I have freely confessed, that my
sense of danger during the whole period was lively and

When coming from the Desert I rode through a village which
lies near to the city on the eastern side, there approached
me with busy face and earnest gestures a personage in the
Turkish dress. His long flowing beard gave him rather a
majestic look, but his briskness of manner, and his visible
anxiety to accost me, seemed strange in an Oriental. The man
in fact was French, or of French origin, and his object was
to warn me of the plague, and prevent me from entering the

"Arretez-vous, monsieur, je vous en prie - arretez-vous; il
ne faut pas entrer dans la ville; la peste y regne partout."

"Oui, je sais,* mais - "

* Anglice for "je le sais."  These answers of mine, as given
above, are not meant as specimens of mere French, but of that
fine, terse, nervous, CONTINENTAL ENGLISH with which I and my
compatriots make our way through Europe. This language, by-
the-bye, is one possessing great force and energy, and is not
without its literature, a literature of the very highest
order. Where will you find more sturdy specimens of
downright, honest, and noble English than in the Duke of
Wellington's "French" despatches?

"Mais monsieur, je dis la peste - la peste; c'est de LA
PESTE, qu'il est question."

"Oui, je sais, mais - "

"Mais monsieur, je dis encore LA PESTE - LA PESTE. Je vous
conjure de ne pas entrer dans la ville - vous seriez dans une
ville empestee."

"Oui, je sais, mais - "

"Mais monsieur, je dois donc vous avertir tout bonnement que
si vous entrez dans la ville, vous serez - enfin vous serez

* The import of the word "compromised," when used in
reference to contagion, is explained on page 18.

"Oui, je sais, mais - "

The Frenchman was at last convinced that it was vain to
reason with a mere Englishman, who could not understand what
it was to be "compromised."  I thanked him most sincerely for
his kindly meant warning; in hot countries it is very unusual
indeed for a man to go out in the glare of the sun and give
free advice to a stranger.

When I arrived at Cairo I summoned Osman Effendi, who was, as
I knew, the owner of several houses, and would be able to
provide me with apartments. He had no difficulty in doing
this, for there was not one European traveller in Cairo
besides myself. Poor Osman! he met me with a sorrowful
countenance, for the fear of the plague sat heavily on his
soul. He seemed as if he felt that he was doing wrong in
lending me a resting-place, and he betrayed such a
listlessness about temporal matters, as one might look for in
a man who believed that his days were numbered. He caught me
too soon after my arrival coming out from the public baths, *
and from that time forward he was sadly afraid of me, for he
shared the opinions of Europeans with respect to the effect
of contagion.

Osman's history is a curious one. He was a Scotchman born,
and when very young, being then a drummer-boy, he landed in
Egypt with Fraser's force. He was taken prisoner, and
according to Mahometan custom, the alternative of death or
the Koran was offered to him; he did not choose death, and
therefore went through the ceremonies which were necessary
for turning him into a good Mahometan. But what amused me
most in his history was this, that very soon after having
embraced Islam he was obliged in practice to become curious
and discriminating in his new faith, to make war upon
Mahometan dissenters, and follow the orthodox standard of the
Prophet in fierce campaigns against the Wahabees, who are the
Unitarians of the Mussulman world. The Wahabees were
crushed, and Osman returning home in triumph from his holy
wars, began to flourish in the world. He acquired property,
and became EFFENDI, or gentleman. At the time of my visit to
Cairo he seemed to be much respected by his brother
Mahometans, and gave pledge of his sincere alienation from
Christianity by keeping a couple of wives. He affected the
same sort of reserve in mentioning them as is generally shown
by Orientals. He invited me, indeed, to see his harem, but
he made both his wives bundle out before I was admitted. He
felt, as it seemed to me, that neither of them would bear
criticism, and I think that this idea, rather than any motive
of sincere jealousy, induced him to keep them out of sight.
The rooms of the harem reminded me of an English nursery
rather than of a Mahometan paradise. One is apt to judge of
a woman before one sees her by the air of elegance or
coarseness with which she surrounds her home; I judged
Osman's wives by this test, and condemned them both. But the
strangest feature in Osman's character was his
inextinguishable nationality. In vain they had brought him
over the seas in early boyhood; in vain had he suffered
captivity, conversion, circumcision; in vain they had passed
him through fire in their Arabian campaigns, they could not
cut away or burn out poor Osman's inborn love of all that was
Scotch; in vain men called him Effendi; in vain he swept
along in eastern robes; in vain the rival wives adorned his
harem: the joy of his heart still plainly lay in this, that
he had three shelves of books, and that the books were
thoroughbred Scotch - the Edinburgh this, the Edinburgh that,
and above all, I recollect, he prided himself upon the
"Edinburgh Cabinet Library."

* It is said, that when a Mussulman finds himself attacked by
the plague he goes and takes a bath. The couches on which
the bathers recline would carry infection, according to the
notions of the Europeans. Whenever, therefore, I took the
bath at Cairo (except the first time of my doing so) I
avoided that part of the luxury which consists in being "put
up to dry" upon a kind of bed.

The fear of the plague is its forerunner. It is likely
enough that at the time of my seeing poor Osman the deadly
taint was beginning to creep through his veins, but it was
not till after I had left Cairo that he was visibly stricken.
He died.

As soon as I had seen all that I wanted to see in Cairo and
in the neighbourhood I wished to make my escape from a city
that lay under the terrible curse of the plague, but Mysseri
fell ill, in consequence, I believe, of the hardships which
he had been suffering in my service. After a while he
recovered sufficiently to undertake a journey, but then there
was some difficulty in procuring beasts of burthen, and it
was not till the nineteenth day of my sojourn that I quitted
the city.

During all this time the power of the plague was rapidly
increasing. When I first arrived, it was said that the daily
number of "accidents" by plague, out of a population of about
two hundred thousand, did not exceed four or five hundred,
but before I went away the deaths were reckoned at twelve
hundred a day. I had no means of knowing whether the numbers
(given out, as I believe they were, by officials) were at all
correct, but I could not help knowing that from day to day
the number of the dead was increasing. My quarters were in a
street which was one of the chief thoroughfares of the city.
The funerals in Cairo take place between daybreak and noon,
and as I was generally in my rooms during this part of the
day, I could form some opinion as to the briskness of the
plague. I don't mean this for a sly insinuation that I got
up every morning with the sun. It was not so; but the
funerals of most people in decent circumstances at Cairo are
attended by singers and howlers, and the performances of
these people woke me in the early morning, and prevented me
from remaining in ignorance of what was going on in the
street below.

These funerals were very simply conducted. The bier was a
shallow wooden tray, carried upon a light and weak wooden
frame. The tray had, in general, no lid, but the body was
more or less hidden from view by a shawl or scarf. The whole
was borne upon the shoulders of men, who contrived to cut
along with their burthen at a great pace. Two or three
singers generally preceded the bier; the howlers (who are
paid for their vocal labours) followed after, and last of all
came such of the dead man's friends and relations as could
keep up with such a rapid procession; these, especially the
women, would get terribly blown, and would straggle back into
the rear; many were fairly "beaten off."  I never observed
any appearance of mourning in the mourners: the pace was too
severe for any solemn affectation of grief.

When first I arrived at Cairo the funerals that daily passed
under my windows were many, but still there were frequent and
long intervals without a single howl. Every day, however
(except one, when I fancied that I observed a diminution of
funerals), these intervals became less frequent and shorter,
and at last, the passing of the howlers from morn till noon
was almost incessant. I believe that about one-half of the
whole people was carried off by this visitation. The
Orientals, however, have more quiet fortitude than Europeans
under afflictions of this sort, and they never allow the
plague to interfere with their religious usages. I rode one
day round the great burial-ground. The tombs are strewed
over a great expanse, among the vast mountains of rubbish
(the accumulations of many centuries) which surround the
city. The ground, unlike the Turkish "cities of the dead,"
which are made so beautiful by their dark cypresses, has
nothing to sweeten melancholy, nothing to mitigate the
odiousness of death. Carnivorous beasts and birds possess
the place by night, and now in the fair morning it was all
alive with fresh comers - alive with dead. Yet at this very
time, when the plague was raging so furiously, and on this
very ground, which resounded so mournfully with the howls of
arriving funerals, preparations were going on for the
religious festival called the Kourban Bairam. Tents were
ghastly holiday; but the Mahometans take a pride, and a just
pride, in following their ancient customs undisturbed by the
shadow of death.

I did not hear, whilst I was at Cairo, that any prayer for a
remission of the plague had been offered up in the mosques.
I believe that however frightful the ravages of the disease
may be, the Mahometans refrain from approaching Heaven with
their complaints until the plague has endured for a long
space, and then at last they pray God, not that the plague
may cease, but that it may go to another city!

A good Mussulman seems to take pride in repudiating the
European notion that the will of God can be eluded by eluding
the touch of a sleeve. When I went to see the pyramids of
Sakkara I was the guest of a noble old fellow, an Osmanlee,
whose soft rolling language it was a luxury to hear after
suffering, as I had suffered of late, from the shrieking
tongue of the Arabs. This man was aware of the European
ideas about contagion, and his first care therefore was to
assure me that not a single instance of plague had occurred
in his village. He then inquired as to the progress of the
plague at Cairo. I had but a bad account to give. Up to
this time my host had carefully refrained from touching me
out of respect to the European theory of contagion, but as
soon as it was made plain that he, and not I, would be the
person endangered by contact, he gently laid his hand upon my
arm, in order to make me feel sure that the circumstance of
my coming from an infected city did not occasion him the
least uneasiness. In that touch there was true hospitality.

Very different is the faith and the practice of the
Europeans, or rather, I mean of the Europeans settled in the
East, and commonly called Levantines. When I came to the end
of my journey over the Desert I had been so long alone, that
the prospect of speaking to somebody at Cairo seemed almost a
new excitement. I felt a sort of consciousness that I had a
little of the wild beast about me, but I was quite in the
humour to be charmingly tame, and to be quite engaging in my
manners, if I should have an opportunity of holding communion
with any of the human race whilst at Cairo. I knew no one in
the place, and had no letters of introduction, but I carried
letters of credit, and it often happens in places remote from
England that those "advices" operate as a sort of
introduction, and obtain for the bearer (if disposed to
receive them) such ordinary civilities as it may be in the
power of the banker to offer.

Very soon after my arrival I went to the house of the
Levantine to whom my credentials were addressed. At his door
several persons (all Arabs) were hanging about and keeping
guard. It was not till after some delay, and the passing of
some communications with those in the interior of the
citadel, that I was admitted. At length, however, I was
conducted through the court, and up a flight of stairs, and
finally into the apartment where business was transacted.
The room was divided by an excellent, substantial fence of
iron bars, and behind this grille the banker had his station.
The truth was, that from fear of the plague he had adopted
the course usually taken by European residents, and had shut
himself up "in strict quarantine" - that is to say, that he
had, as he hoped, cut himself off from all communication with
infecting substances. The Europeans long resident in the
East, without any, or with scarcely any, exception are firmly
convinced that the plague is propagated by contact, and by
contact only; that if they can but avoid the touch of an
infecting substance they are safe, and that if they cannot,
they die. This belief induces them to adopt the contrivance
of putting themselves in that state of siege which they call
"quarantine."  It is a part of their faith that metals, and
hempen rope, and also, I fancy, one or two other substances,
will not carry the infection; and they likewise believe that
the germ of pestilence, which lies in an infected substance,
may be destroyed by submersion in water, or by the action of
smoke. They therefore guard the doors of their houses with
the utmost care against intrusion, and condemn themselves,
with all the members of their family, including any European
servants, to a strict imprisonment within the walls of their
dwelling. Their native attendants are not allowed to enter
at all, but they make the necessary purchases of provisions,
which are hauled up through one of the windows by means of a
rope, and are then soaked in water.

I knew nothing of these mysteries, and was not therefore
prepared for the sort of reception which I met with. I
advanced to the iron fence, and putting my letter between the
bars, politely proffered it to Mr. Banker. Mr. Banker
received me with a sad and dejected look, and not "with open
arms," or with any arms at all, but with - a pair of tongs!
I placed my letter between the iron fingers, which picked it
up as if it were a viper, and conveyed it away to be scorched
and purified by fire and smoke. I was disgusted at this
reception, and at the idea that anything of mine could carry
infection to the poor wretch who stood on the other side of
the grille, pale and trembling, and already meet for death.
I looked with something of the Mahometan's feeling upon these
little contrivances for eluding fate; and in this instance,
at least, they were vain. A few more days, and the poor
money-changer, who had striven to guard the days of his life
(as though they were coins) with bolts and bars of iron - he
was seized by the plague, and he died.

To people entertaining such opinions as these respecting the
fatal effect of contact, the narrow and crowded streets of
Cairo were terrible as the easy slope that leads to Avernus.
The roaring ocean and the beetling crags owe something of
their sublimity to this - that if they be tempted, they can
take the warm life of a man. To the contagionist, filled as
he is with the dread of final causes, having no faith in
destiny nor in the fixed will of God, and with none of the
devil-may-care indifference which might stand him instead of
creeds - to such one, every rag that shivers in the breeze of
a plague-stricken city has this sort of sublimity. If by any
terrible ordinance he be forced to venture forth, he sees
death dangling from every sleeve, and as he creeps forward,
he poises his shuddering limbs between the imminent jacket
that is stabbing at his right elbow and the murderous pelisse
that threatens to mow him clean down as it sweeps along on
his left. But most of all, he dreads that which most of all
he should love - the touch of a woman's dress; for mothers
and wives, hurrying forth on kindly errands from the bedsides
of the dying, go slouching along through the streets more
wilfully and less courteously than the men. For a while it
may be that the caution of the poor Levantine may enable him
to avoid contact, but sooner or later perhaps the dreaded
chance arrives; that bundle of linen, with the dark tearful
eyes at the top of it, that labours along with the voluptuous
clumsiness of Grisi - she has touched the poor Levantine with
the hem of her sleeve! From that dread moment his peace is
gone; his mind, for ever hanging upon the fatal touch,
invites the blow which he fears. He watches for the symptoms
of plague so carefully, that sooner or later they come in
truth. The parched mouth is a sign - his mouth is parched;
the throbbing brain - his brain DOES throb; the rapid pulse -
he touches his own wrist (for he dares not ask counsel of any
man lest he be deserted), he touches his wrist, and feels how
his frighted blood goes galloping out of his heart; there is
nothing but the fatal swelling that is wanting to make his
sad conviction complete; immediately he has an odd feel under
the arm - no pain, but a little straining of the skin; he
would to God it were his fancy that were strong enough to
give him that sensation. This is the worst of all; it now
seems to him that he could be happy and contented with his
parched mouth and his throbbing brain and his rapid pulse, if
only he could know that there were no swelling under the left
arm; but dare he try? - In a moment of calmness and
deliberation he dares not, but when for a while he has
writhed under the torture of suspense, a sudden strength of
will drives him to seek and know his fate. He touches the
gland, and finds the skin sane and sound, but under the
cuticle there lies a small lump like a pistol-bullet, that
moves as he pushes it. Oh! but is this for all certainty, is
this the sentence of death? Feel the gland of the other arm;
there is not the same lump exactly, yet something a little
like it: have not some people glands naturally enlarged? -
would to Heaven he were one! So he does for himself the work
of the plague, and when the Angel of Death, thus courted,
does indeed and in truth come, he has only to finish that
which has been so well begun; he passes his fiery hand over
the brain of the victim, and lets him rave for a season, but
all chance-wise, of people and things once dear, or of people
and things indifferent. Once more the poor fellow is back at
his home in fair Provence, and sees the sun-dial that stood
in his childhood's garden; sees part of his mother, and the
long-since-forgotten face of that little dead sister (he sees
her, he says, on a Sunday morning, for all the church bells
are ringing); he looks up and down through the universe, and
owns it well piled with bales upon bales of cotton, and
cotton eternal - so much so that he feels, he knows, he
swears he could make that winning hazard, if the billiard
table would not slant upwards, and if the cue were a cue
worth playing with; but it is not - it's a cue that won't
move - his own arm won't move - in short, there's the devil
to pay in the brain of the poor Levantine, and perhaps the
next night but one he becomes the "life and the soul" of some
squalling jackal family who fish him out by the foot from his
shallow and sandy grave.

Better fate was mine. By some happy perverseness (occasioned
perhaps by my disgust at the notion of being received with a
pair of tongs) I took it into my pleasant head that all the
European notions about contagion were thoroughly unfounded;
that the plague might be providential or "epidemic" (as they
phrase it), but was not contagious; and that I could not be
killed by the touch of a woman's sleeve, nor yet by her
blessed breath. I therefore determined that the plague
should not alter my habits and amusements in any one respect.
Though I came to this resolve from impulse, I think that I
took the course which was in effect the most prudent, for the
cheerfulness of spirits which I was thus enabled to retain
discouraged the yellow-winged angel, and prevented him from
taking a shot at me. I, however, so far respected the
opinion of the Europeans, that I avoided touching when I
could do so without privation or inconvenience. This
endeavour furnished me with a sort of amusement as I passed
through the streets. The usual mode of moving from place to
place in the city of Cairo is upon donkeys, of which great
numbers are always in readiness, with donkey-boys attached.
I had two who constantly (until one of them died of the
plague) waited at my door upon the chance of being wanted. I
found this way of moving about exceedingly pleasant, and
never attempted any other. I had only to mount my beast, and
tell my donkey-boy the point for which I was bound, and
instantly I began to glide on at a capital pace. The streets
of Cairo are not paved in any way, but strewed with a dry
sandy soil, so deadening to sound, that the footfall of my
donkey could scarcely be heard. There is no TROTTOIR, and as
you ride through the streets you mingle with the people on
foot. Those who are in your way, upon being warned by the
shouts of the donkey-boy, move very slightly aside, so as to
leave you a narrow lane, through which you pass at a gallop.
In this way you glide on delightfully in the very midst of
crowds, without being inconvenienced or stopped for a moment.
It seems to you that it is not the donkey but the donkey-boy
who wafts you on with his shouts through pleasant groups, and
air that feels thick with the fragrance of burial spice.
"Eh! Sheik, Eh! Bint, - reggalek, - "shumalek, &c. &c. - O
old man, O virgin, get out of the way on the right - O
virgin, O old man, get out of the way on the left - this
Englishman comes, he comes, he comes!"  The narrow alley
which these shouts cleared for my passage made it possible,
though difficult, to go on for a long way without touching a
single person, and my endeavours to avoid such contact were a
sort of game for me in my loneliness, which was not without
interest. If I got through a street without being touched, I
won; if I was touched, I lost - lost a deuce of stake,
according to the theory of the Europeans; but that I deemed
to be all nonsense - I only lost that game, and would
certainly win the next.

There is not much in the way of public buildings to admire at
Cairo, but I saw one handsome mosque, to which an instructive
history is attached. A Hindustanee merchant having amassed
an immense fortune settled in Cairo, and soon found that his
riches in the then state of the political world gave him vast
power in the city - power, however, the exercise of which was
much restrained by the counteracting influence of other
wealthy men. With a view to extinguish every attempt at
rivalry the Hindustanee merchant built this magnificent
mosque at his own expense. When the work was complete, he
invited all the leading men of the city to join him in prayer
within the walls of the newly built temple, and he then
caused to be massacred all those who were sufficiently
influential to cause him any jealousy or uneasiness - in
short, all "the respectable men" of the place; after this he
possessed undisputed power in the city and was greatly
revered - he is revered to this day. It seemed to me that
there was a touching simplicity in the mode which this man so
successfully adopted for gaining the confidence and goodwill
of his fellow-citizens. There seems to be some improbability
in the story (though not nearly so gross as it might appear
to an European ignorant of the East, for witness Mehemet
Ali's destruction of the Mamelukes, a closely similar act,
and attended with the like brilliant success *), but even if
the story be false as a mere fact, it is perfectly true as an
illustration - it is a true exposition of the means by which
the respect and affection of Orientals may be conciliated.

* Mehemet Ali invited the Mamelukes to a feast, and murdered
them whilst preparing to enter the banquet hall.

I ascended one day to the citadel, which commands a superb
view of the town. The fanciful and elaborate gilt-work of
the many minarets gives a light and florid grace to the city
as seen from this height, but before you can look for many
seconds at such things your eyes are drawn westward - drawn
westward and over the Nile, till they rest upon the massive
enormities of the Ghizeh Pyramids.

I saw within the fortress many yoke of men all haggard and
woebegone, and a kennel of very fine lions well fed and
flourishing: I say YOKE of men, for the poor fellows were
working together in bonds; I say a KENNEL of lions, for the
beasts were not enclosed in cages, but simply chained up like

I went round the bazaars: it seemed to me that pipes and arms
were cheaper here than at Constantinople, and I should advise
you therefore if you go to both places to prefer the market
of Cairo. I had previously bought several of such things at
Constantinople, and did not choose to encumber myself, or to
speak more honestly, I did not choose to disencumber my purse
by making any more purchases. In the open slave-market I saw
about fifty girls exposed for sale, but all of them black, or
"invisible" brown. A slave agent took me to some rooms in
the upper storey of the building, and also into several
obscure houses in the neighbourhood, with a view to show me
some white women. The owners raised various objections to
the display of their ware, and well they might, for I had not
the least notion of purchasing; some refused on account of
the illegality of the proceeding, * and others declared that
all transactions of this sort were completely out of the
question as long as the plague was raging. I only succeeded
in seeing one white slave who was for sale but on this one
the owner affected to set an immense value, and raised my
expectations to a high pitch by saying that the girl was
Circassian, and was "fair as the full moon."  After a good
deal of delay I was at last led into a room, at the farther
end of which was that mass of white linen which indicates an
Eastern woman. She was bid to uncover her face, and I
presently saw that, though very far from being good looking,
according to my notion of beauty, she had not been inaptly
described by the man who compared her to the full moon, for
her large face was perfectly round and perfectly white.
Though very young, she was nevertheless extremely fat. She
gave me the idea of having been got up for sale, of having
been fattened and whitened by medicines or by some peculiar
diet. I was firmly determined not to see any more of her
than the face. She was perhaps disgusted at this my virtuous
resolve, as well as with my personal appearance; perhaps she
saw my distaste and disappointment; perhaps she wished to
gain favour with her owner by showing her attachment to his
faith: at all events, she holloaed out very lustily and very
decidedly that "she would not be bought by the infidel."

* It is not strictly lawful to sell WHITE slaves to a

Whilst I remained at Cairo I thought it worth while to see
something of the magicians, because I considered that these
men were in some sort the descendants of those who contended
so stoutly against the superior power of Aaron. I therefore
sent for an old man who was held to be the chief of the
magicians, and desired him to show me the wonders of his art.
The old man looked and dressed his character exceedingly
well; the vast turban, the flowing beard, and the ample robes
were all that one could wish in the way of appearance. The
first experiment (a very stale one) which he attempted to
perform for me was that of showing the forms and faces of my
absent friends, not to me, but to a boy brought in from the
streets for the purpose, and said to be chosen at random. A
MANGALE (pan of burning charcoal) was brought into my room,
and the magician bending over it, sprinkled upon the fire
some substances which must have consisted partly of spices or
sweetly burning woods, for immediately a fragrant smoke arose
that curled around the bending form of the wizard, the while
that he pronounced his first incantations. When these were
over the boy was made to sit down, and a common green shade
was bound over his brow; then the wizard took ink, and still
continuing his incantations, wrote certain mysterious figures
upon the boy's palm, and directed him to rivet his attention
to these marks without looking aside for an instant. Again
the incantations proceeded, and after a while the boy, being
seemingly a little agitated, was asked whether he saw
anything on the palm of his hand. He declared that he saw a
kind of military procession, with flags and banners, which he
described rather minutely. I was then called upon to name
the absent person whose form was to be made visible. I named
Keate. You were not at Eton, and I must tell you, therefore,
what manner of man it was that I named, though I think you
must have some idea of him already, for wherever from utmost
Canada to Bundelcund - wherever there was the whitewashed
wall of an officer's room, or of any other apartment in which
English gentlemen are forced to kick their heels, there
likely enough (in the days of his reign) the head of Keate
would be seen scratched or drawn with those various degrees
of skill which one observes in the representations of saints.
Anybody without the least notion of drawing could still draw
a speaking, nay scolding, likeness of Keate. If you had no
pencil, you could draw him well enough with a poker, or the
leg of a chair, or the smoke of a candle. He was little more
(if more at all) than five feet in height, and was not very
great in girth, but in this space was concentrated the pluck
of ten battalions. He had a really noble voice, which he
could modulate with great skill, but he had also the power of
quacking like an angry duck, and he almost always adopted
this mode of communication in order to inspire respect. He
was a capital scholar, but his ingenuous learning had NOT
"softened his manners" and HAD "permitted them to be fierce"
- tremendously fierce; he had the most complete command over
his temper - I mean over his GOOD temper, which he scarcely
ever allowed to appear: you could not put him out of humour -
that is, out of the ILL-humour which he thought to be fitting
for a head-master. His red shaggy eyebrows were so
prominent, that he habitually used them as arms and hands for
the purpose of pointing out any object towards which he
wished to direct attention; the rest of his features were
equally striking in their way, and were all and all his own;
he wore a fancy dress partly resembling the costume of
Napoleon, and partly that of a widow-woman. I could not by
any possibility have named anybody more decidedly differing
in appearance from the rest of the human race.

"Whom do you name?" - "I name John Keate." - "Now, what do
you see?" said the wizard to the boy. - "I see," answered the
boy, "I see a fair girl with golden hair, blue eyes, pallid
face, rosy lips."  THERE was a shot! I shouted out my
laughter to the horror of the wizard, who perceiving the
grossness of his failure, declared that the boy must have
known sin (for none but the innocent can see truth), and
accordingly kicked him downstairs.

One or two other boys were tried, but none could "see truth";
they all made sadly "bad shots."

Notwithstanding the failure of these experiments, I wished to
see what sort of mummery my magician would practise if I
called upon him to show me some performances of a higher
order than those which had been attempted. I therefore
entered into a treaty with him, in virtue of which he was to
descend with me into the tombs near the Pyramids, and there
evoke the devil. The negotiation lasted some time, for
Dthemetri, as in duty bound, tried to beat down the wizard as
much as he could, and the wizard, on his part, manfully stuck
up for his price, declaring that to raise the devil was
really no joke, and insinuating that to do so was an awesome
crime. I let Dthemetri have his way in the negotiation, but
I felt in reality very indifferent about the sum to be paid,
and for this reason, namely, that the payment (except a very
small present which I might make or not, as I chose) was to
be CONTINGENT ON SUCCESS. At length the bargain was made,
and it was arranged that after a few days, to be allowed for
preparation, the wizard should raise the devil for two pounds
ten, play or pay - no devil, no piastres.

The wizard failed to keep his appointment. I sent to know
why the deuce he had not come to raise the devil. The truth
was, that my Mahomet had gone to the mountain. The plague
had seized him, and he died.

Although the plague had now spread terrible havoc around me,
I did not see very plainly any corresponding change in the
looks of the streets until the seventh day after my arrival.
I then first observed that the city was SILENCED. There were
no outward signs of despair nor of violent terror, but many
of the voices that had swelled the busy hum of men were
already hushed in death, and the survivors, so used to scream
and screech in their earnestness whenever they bought or
sold, now showed an unwonted indifference about the affairs
of this world: it was less worth while for men to haggle and
haggle, and crack the sky with noisy bargains, when the great
commander was there, who could "pay all their debts with the
roll of his drum."

At this time I was informed that of twenty-five thousand
people at Alexandria, twelve thousand had died already; the
destroyer had come rather later to Cairo, but there was
nothing of weariness in his strides. The deaths came faster
than ever they befell in the plague of London; but the
calmness of Orientals under such visitations, and the habit
of using biers for interment, instead of burying coffins
along with the bodies, rendered it practicable to dispose of
the dead in the usual way, without shocking the people by any
unaccustomed spectacle of horror. There was no tumbling of
bodies into carts, as in the plague of Florence and the
plague of London. Every man, according to his station, was
properly buried, and that in the usual way, except that he
went to his grave in a more hurried pace than might have been
adopted under ordinary circumstances.

The funerals which poured through the streets were not the
only public evidence of deaths. In Cairo this custom
prevails: At the instant of a man's death (if his property is
sufficient to justify the expense) professional howlers are
employed. I believe that these persons are brought near to
the dying man when his end appears to be approaching, and the
moment that life is gone they lift up their voices and send
forth a loud wail from the chamber of death. Thus I knew
when my near neighbours died; sometimes the howls were near,
sometimes more distant. Once I was awakened in the night by
the wail of death in the next house, and another time by a
like howl from the house opposite; and there were two or
three minutes, I recollect, during which the howl seemed to
be actually running along the street.

I happened to be rather teased at this time by a sore throat,
and I thought it would be well to get it cured if I could
before I again started on my travels. I therefore inquired
for a Frank doctor, and was informed that the only one then
at Cairo was a young Bolognese refugee, who was so poor that
he had not been able to take flight, as the other medical men
had done. At such a time as this it was out of the question
to send for an European physician; a person thus summoned
would be sure to suppose that the patient was ill of the
plague, and would decline to come. I therefore rode to the
young doctor's residence. After experiencing some little
difficulty in finding where to look for him, I ascended a
flight or two of stairs and knocked at his door. No one came
immediately, but after some little delay the medico himself
opened the door, and admitted me. I of course made him
understand that I had come to consult him, but before
entering upon my throat grievance I accepted a chair, and
exchanged a sentence or two of commonplace conversation. Now
the natural commonplace of the city at this season was of a
gloomy sort, "Come va la peste?" (how goes the plague?) and
this was precisely the question I put. A deep sigh, and the
words, "Sette cento per giorno, signor" (seven hundred a
day), pronounced in a tone of the deepest sadness and
dejection, were the answer I received. The day was not
oppressively hot, yet I saw that the doctor was perspiring
profusely, and even the outside surface of the thick shawl
dressing-gown, in which he had wrapped himself, appeared to
be moist. He was a handsome, pleasant-looking young fellow,
but the deep melancholy of his tone did not tempt me to
prolong the conversation, and without further delay I
requested that my throat might be looked at. The medico held
my chin in the usual way, and examined my throat. He then
wrote me a prescription, and almost immediately afterwards I
bade him farewell, but as he conducted me towards the door I
observed an expression of strange and unhappy watchfulness in
his rolling eyes. It was not the next day, but the next day
but one, if I rightly remember, that I sent to request
another interview with my doctor. In due time Dthemetri, who
was my messenger, returned, looking sadly aghast - he had
"MET the medico," for so he phrased it, "coming out from his
house - in a bier!"

It was of course plain that when the poor Bolognese was
looking at my throat, and almost mingling his breath with
mine, he was stricken of the plague. I suppose that the
violent sweat in which I found him had been produced by some
medicine, which he must have taken in the hope of curing
himself. The peculiar rolling of the eyes which I had
remarked is, I believe, to experienced observers, a pretty
sure test of the plague. A Russian acquaintance, of mine,
speaking from the information of men who had made the Turkish
campaigns of 1828 and 1829, told me that by this sign the
officers of Sabalkansky's force were able to make out the
plague-stricken soldiers with a good deal of certainty.

It so happened that most of the people with whom I had
anything to do during my stay at Cairo were seized with
plague, and all these died. Since I had been for a long time
EN ROUTE before I reached Egypt, and was about to start again
for another long journey over the Desert, there were of
course many little matters touching my wardrobe and my
travelling equipments which required to be attended to whilst
I remained in the city. It happened so many times that
Dthemetri's orders in respect to these matters were
frustrated by the deaths of the tradespeople and others whom
he employed, that at last I became quite accustomed to the
peculiar manner which he assumed when he prepared to announce
a new death to me. The poor fellow naturally supposed that I
should feel some uneasiness at hearing of the "accidents"
which happened to persons employed by me, and he therefore
communicated their deaths as though they were the deaths of
friends. He would cast down his eyes and look like a man
abashed, and then gently, and with a mournful gesture, allow
the words, "Morto, signor," to come through his lips. I
don't know how many of such instances occurred, but they were
several, and besides these (as I told you before), my banker,
my doctor, my landlord, and my magician all died of the
plague. A lad who acted as a helper in the house which I
occupied lost a brother and a sister within a few hours. Out
of my two established donkey-boys, one died. I did not hear
of any instance in which a plague-stricken patient had

Going out one morning I met unexpectedly the scorching breath
of the kamsin wind, and fearing that I should faint under the
horrible sensations which it caused, I returned to my rooms.
Reflecting, however, that I might have to encounter this wind
in the Desert, where there would be no possibility of
avoiding it, I thought it would be better to brave it once
more in the city, and to try whether I could really bear it
or not. I therefore mounted my ass and rode to old Cairo,
and along the gardens by the banks of the Nile. The wind was
hot to the touch, as though it came from a furnace. It blew
strongly, but yet with such perfect steadiness, that the
trees bending under its force remained fixed in the same
curves without perceptibly waving. The whole sky was
obscured by a veil of yellowish grey, that shut out the face
of the sun. The streets were utterly silent, being indeed
almost entirely deserted; and not without cause, for the
scorching blast, whilst it fevers the blood, closes up the
pores of the skin, and is terribly distressing, therefore, to
every animal that encounters it. I returned to my rooms
dreadfully ill. My head ached with a burning pain, and my
pulse bounded quick and fitfully, but perhaps (as in the
instance of the poor Levantine, whose death I was
mentioning), the fear and excitement which I felt in trying
my own wrist may have made my blood flutter the faster.

It is a thoroughly well believed theory, that during the
continuance of the plague you can't be ill of any other
febrile malady - an unpleasant privilege that! for ill I was,
and ill of fever, and I anxiously wished that the ailment
might turn out to be anything rather than plague. I had some
right to surmise that my illness may have been merely the
effect of the hot wind; and this notion was encouraged by the
elasticity of my spirits, and by a strong forefeeling that
much of my destined life in this world was yet to come, and
yet to be fulfilled. That was my instinctive belief, but
when I carefully weighed the probabilities on the one side
and on the other, I could not help seeing that the strength
of argument was all against me. There was a strong
antecedent likelihood in FAVOUR of my being struck by the
same blow as the rest of the people who had been dying around
me. Besides, it occurred to me that, after all, the
universal opinion of the Europeans upon a medical question,
such as that of contagion, might probably be correct, and IF
IT WERE, I was so thoroughly "compromised," and especially by
the touch and breath of the dying medico, that I had no right
to expect any other fate than that which now seemed to have
overtaken me. Balancing as well as I could all the
considerations which hope and fear suggested, I slowly and
reluctantly came to the conclusion that, according to all
merely reasonable probability, the plague had come upon me.

You would suppose that this conviction would have induced me
to write a few farewell lines to those who were dearest, and
that having done that, I should have turned my thoughts
towards the world to come. Such, however, was not the case.
I believe that the prospect of death often brings with it
strong anxieties about matters of comparatively trivial
import, and certainly with me the whole energy of the mind
was directed towards the one petty object of concealing my
illness until the latest possible moment - until the
delirious stage. I did not believe that either Mysseri or
Dthemetri, who had served me so faithfully in all trials,
would have deserted me (as most Europeans are wont to do)
when they knew that I was stricken by plague, but I shrank
from the idea of putting them to this test, and I dreaded the
consternation which the knowledge of my illness would be sure
to occasion.

I was very ill indeed at the moment when my dinner was
served, and my soul sickened at the sight of the food; but I
had luckily the habit of dispensing with the attendance of
servants during my meal, and as soon as I was left alone I
made a melancholy calculation of the quantity of food which I
should have eaten if I had been in my usual health, and
filled my plates accordingly, and gave myself salt, and so
on, as though I were going to dine. I then transferred the
viands to a piece of the omnipresent Times newspaper, and hid
them away in a cupboard, for it was not yet night, and I
dared not throw the food into the street until darkness came.
I did not at all relish this process of fictitious dining,
but at length the cloth was removed, and I gladly reclined on
my divan (I would not lie down) with the "Arabian Nights" in
my hand.

I had a feeling that tea would be a capital thing for me, but
I would not order it until the usual hour. When at last the
time came, I drank deep draughts from the fragrant cup. The
effect was almost instantaneous. A plenteous sweat burst
through my skin, and watered my clothes through and through.
I kept myself thickly covered. The hot tormenting weight
which had been loading my brain was slowly heaved away. The
fever was extinguished. I felt a new buoyancy of spirits,
and an unusual activity of mind. I went into my bed under a
load of thick covering, and when the morning came, and I
asked myself how I was, I found that I was thoroughly well.

I was very anxious to procure, if possible, some medical
advice for Mysseri, whose illness prevented my departure.
Every one of the European practising doctors, of whom there
had been many, had either died or fled. It was said,
however, that there was an Englishman in the medical service
of the Pasha who quietly remained at his post, but that he
never engaged in private practice. I determined to try if I
could obtain assistance in this quarter. I did not venture
at first, and at such a time as this, to ask him to visit a
servant who was prostrate on the bed of sickness, but
thinking that I might thus gain an opportunity of persuading
him to attend Mysseri, I wrote a note mentioning my own
affair of the sore throat, and asking for the benefit of his
medical advice. He instantly followed back my messenger, and
was at once shown up into my room. I entreated him to stand
off, telling him fairly how deeply I was "compromised," and
especially by my contact with a person actually ill and since
dead of plague. The generous fellow, with a good-humoured
laugh at the terrors of the contagionists, marched straight
up to me, and forcibly seized my hand, and shook it with
manly violence. I felt grateful indeed, and swelled with
fresh pride of race because that my countryman could carry
himself so nobly. He soon cured Mysseri as well as me, and
all this he did from no other motives than the pleasure of
doing a kindness and the delight of braving a danger.

At length the great difficulty * which I had had in procuring
beasts for my departure was overcome, and now, too, I was to
have the new excitement of travelling on dromedaries. With
two of these beasts and three camels I gladly wound my way
from out of the pest-stricken city. As I passed through the
streets I observed a fanatical-looking elder, who stretched
forth his arms, and lifted up his voice in a speech which
seemed to have some reference to me. Requiring an
interpretation, I found that the man had said, "The Pasha
seeks camels, and he finds them not; the Englishman says,
`Let camels be brought,' and behold, there they are!"

* The difficulty was occasioned by the immense exertions
which the Pasha was making to collect camels for military

I no sooner breathed the free, wholesome air of the Desert
than I felt that a great burden which I had been scarcely
conscious of bearing was lifted away from my mind. For
nearly three weeks I had lived under peril of death; the
peril ceased, and not till then did I know how much alarm and
anxiety I had really been suffering.


I WENT to see and to explore the Pyramids.

Familiar to one from the days of early childhood are the
forms of the Egyptian Pyramids, and now, as I approached them
from the banks of the Nile, I had no print, no picture before
me, and yet the old shapes were there; there was no change;
they were just as I had always known them. I straightened
myself in my stirrups, and strived to persuade my
understanding that this was real Egypt, and that those angles
which stood up between me and the West were of harder stuff,
and more ancient than the paper pyramids of the green
portfolio. Yet it was not till I came to the base of the
great Pyramid that reality began to weigh upon my mind.
Strange to say, the bigness of the distinct blocks of stones
was the first sign by which I attained to feel the immensity
of the whole pile. When I came, and trod, and touched with
my hands, and climbed, in order that by climbing I might come
to the top of one single stone, then, and almost suddenly, a
cold sense and understanding of the Pyramid's enormity came
down, overcasting my brain.

Now try to endure this homely, sick-nursish illustration of
the effect produced upon one's mind by the mere vastness of
the great Pyramid. When I was very young (between the ages,
I believe, of three and five years old), being then of
delicate health, I was often in time of night the victim of a
strange kind of mental oppression. I lay in my bed perfectly
conscious, and with open eyes, but without power to speak or
to move, and all the while my brain was oppressed to
distraction by the presence of a single and abstract idea,
the idea of solid immensity. It seemed to me in my agonies
that the horror of this visitation arose from its coming upon
me without form or shape, that the close presence of the
direst monster ever bred in hell would have been a thousand
times more tolerable than that simple idea of solid size. My
aching mind was fixed and riveted down upon the mere quality
of vastness, vastness, vastness, and was not permitted to
invest with it any particular object. If I could have done
so, the torment would have ceased. When at last I was roused
from this state of suffering, I could not of course in those
days (knowing no verbal metaphysics, and no metaphysics at
all, except by the dreadful experience of an abstract idea) -
I could not of course find words to describe the nature of my
sensations, and even now I cannot explain why it is that the
forced contemplation of a mere quality, distinct from matter,
should be so terrible. Well, now my eyes saw and knew, and
my hands and my feet informed my understanding that there was
nothing at all abstract about the great Pyramid - it was a
big triangle, sufficiently concrete, easy to see, and rough
to the touch; it could not, of course, affect me with the
peculiar sensation which I have been talking of, but yet
there was something akin to that old nightmare agony in the
terrible completeness with which a mere mass of masonry could
fill and load my mind.

And Time too; the remoteness of its origin, no less than the
enormity of its proportions, screens an Egyptian Pyramid from
the easy and familiar contact of our modern minds; at its
base the common earth ends, and all above is a world - one
not created of God, not seeming to be made by men's hands,
but rather the sheer giant-work of some old dismal age
weighing down this younger planet.

Fine sayings! but the truth seems to be after all, that the
Pyramids are quite of this world; that they were piled up
into the air for the realisation of some kingly crotchets
about immortality, some priestly longing for burial fees; and
that as for the building, they were built like coral rocks by
swarms of insects - by swarms of poor Egyptians, who were not
only the abject tools and slaves of power, but who also ate
onions for the reward of their immortal labours! *  The
Pyramids are quite of this world.

* Herodotus, in an after age, stood by with his note-book,
and got, as he thought, the exact returns of all the rations
served out.

I of course ascended to the summit of the great Pyramid, and
also explored its chambers, but these I need not describe.
The first time that I went to the Pyramids of Ghizeh there
were a number of Arabs hanging about in its neighbourhood,
and wanting to receive presents on various pretences; their
Sheik was with them. There was also present an ill-looking
fellow in soldier's uniform. This man on my departure
claimed a reward, on the ground that he had maintained order
and decorum amongst the Arabs. His claim was not considered
valid by my dragoman, and was rejected accordingly. My
donkey-boys afterwards said they had overhead this fellow
propose to the Sheik to put me to death whilst I was in the
interior of the great Pyramid, and to share with him the
booty. Fancy a struggle for life in one of those burial
chambers, with acres and acres of solid masonry between one's
self and the daylight! I felt exceedingly glad that I had
not made the rascal a present.

I visited the very ancient Pyramids of Aboukir and Sakkara.
There are many of these, and of various shapes and sizes, and
it struck me that, taken together, they might be considered
as showing the progress and perfection (such as it is) of
pyramidical architecture. One of the Pyramids at Sakkara is
almost a rival for the full-grown monster at Ghizeh; others
are scarcely more than vast heaps of brick and stone: these
last suggested to me the idea that after all the Pyramid is
nothing more nor less than a variety of the sepulchral mound
so common in most countries (including, I believe, Hindustan,
from whence the Egyptians are supposed to have come). Men
accustomed to raise these structures for their dead kings or
conquerors would carry the usage with them in their
migrations, but arriving in Egypt, and seeing the
impossibility of finding earth sufficiently tenacious for a
mound, they would approximate as nearly as might be to their
ancient custom by raising up a round heap of stones - in
short, conical pyramids. Of these there are several at
Sakkara, and the materials of some are thrown together
without any order or regularity. The transition from this
simple form to that of the square angular pyramid was easy
and natural, and it seemed to me that the gradations through
which the style passed from infancy up to its mature enormity
could plainly be traced at Sakkara.


AND near the Pyramids more wondrous and more awful than all
else in the land of Egypt, there sits the lonely Sphinx.
Comely the creature is, but the comeliness is not of this
world. The once worshipped beast is a deformity and a
monster to this generation; and yet you can see that those
lips, so thick and heavy, were fashioned according to some
ancient mould of beauty - some mould of beauty now forgotten
- forgotten because that Greece drew forth Cytherea from the
flashing foam of the Aegean, and in her image created new
forms of beauty, and made it a law among men that the short
and proudly wreathed lip should stand for the sign and the
main condition of loveliness through all generations to come.
Yet still there lives on the race of those who were beautiful
in the fashion of the elder world, and Christian girls of
Coptic blood will look on you with the sad, serious gaze, and
kiss you your charitable hand with the big pouting lips of
the very Sphinx.

Laugh and mock if you will at the worship of stone idols, but
mark ye this, ye breakers of images, that in one regard the
stone idol bears awful semblance of Deity - unchangefulness
in the midst of change; the same seeming will, and intent for
ever, and ever inexorable! Upon ancient dynasties of
Ethiopian and Egyptian kings; upon Greek, and Roman; upon
Arab and Ottoman conquerors; upon Napoleon dreaming of an
Eastern Empire; upon battle and pestilence; upon the
ceaseless misery of the Egyptian race; upon keen-eyed
travellers - Herodotus yesterday, and Warburton to-day: upon
all and more, this unworldly Sphinx has watched, and watched
like a Providence with the same earnest eyes, and the same
sad, tranquil mien. And we, we shall die, and Islam will
wither away, and the Englishman, leaning far over to hold his
loved India, will plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile,
and sit in the seats of the Faithful, and still that
sleepless rock will lie watching, and watching the works of
the new, busy race with those same sad, earnest eyes, and the
same tranquil mien everlasting. You dare not mock at the


THE "dromedary" of Egypt and Syria is not the two-humped
animal described by that name in books of natural history,
but is, in fact, of the same family as the camel, to which it
stands in about the same relation as a racer to a cart-horse.
The fleetness and endurance of this creature are
extraordinary. It is not usual to force him into a gallop,
and I fancy from his make that it would be quite impossible
for him to maintain that pace for any length of time; but the
animal is on so large a scale, that the jog-trot at which he
is generally ridden implies a progress of perhaps ten or
twelve miles an hour, and this pace, it is said, he can keep
up incessantly, without food, or water, or rest, for three
whole days and nights.

Of the two dromedaries which I had obtained for this journey,
I mounted one myself, and put Dthemetri on the other. My
plan was to ride on with Dthemetri to Suez as rapidly as the
fleetness of the beasts would allow, and to let Myserri (who
was still weak from the effects of his late illness) come
quietly on with the camels and baggage.

The trot of the dromedary is a pace terribly disagreeable to
the rider, until he becomes a little accustomed to it; but
after the first half-hour I so far schooled myself to this
new exercise, that I felt capable of keeping it up (though
not without aching limbs) for several hours together. Now,
therefore, I was anxious to dart forward, and annihilate at
once the whole space that divided me from the Red Sea.
Dthemetri, however, could not get on at all. Every attempt
which he made to trot seemed to threaten the utter
dislocation of his whole frame, and indeed I doubt whether
any one of Dthemetri's age (nearly forty, I think), and
unaccustomed to such exercise, could have borne it at all
easily; besides, the dromedary which fell to his lot was
evidently a very bad one; he every now and then came to a
dead stop, and coolly knelt down, as though suggesting that
the rider had better get off at once and abandon the attempt
as one that was utterly hopeless.

When for the third or fourth time I saw Dthemetri thus
planted, I lost my patience, and went on without him. For
about two hours, I think, I advanced without once looking
behind me. I then paused, and cast my eyes back to the
western horizon. There was no sign of Dthemetri, nor of any
other living creature. This I expected, for I knew that I
must have far out-distanced all my followers. I had ridden
away from my party merely by way of gratifying my impatience,
and with the intention of stopping as soon as I felt tired,
until I was overtaken. I now observed, however (this I had
not been able to do whilst advancing so rapidly), that the
track which I had been following was seemingly the track of
only one or two camels. I did not fear that I had diverged
very largely from the true route, but still I could not feel
any reasonable certainty that my party would follow any line
of march within sight of me.

I had to consider, therefore, whether I should remain where I
was, upon the chance of seeing my people come up, or whether
I would push on alone, and find my way to Suez. I had now
learned that I could not rely upon the continued guidance of
any track, but I knew that (if maps were right) the point for
which I was bound bore just due east of Cairo, and I thought
that, although I might miss the line leading most directly to
Suez, I could not well fail to find my way sooner or later to
the Red Sea. The worst of it was that I had no provision of
food or water with me, and already I was beginning to feel
thirst. I deliberated for a minute, and then determined that
I would abandon all hope of seeing my party again, in the
Desert, and would push forward as rapidly as possible towards

It was not, I confess, without a sensation of awe that I
swept with my sight the vacant round of the horizon, and
remembered that I was all alone, and unprovisioned in the
midst of the arid waste; but this very awe gave tone and zest
to the exultation with which I felt myself launched.
Hitherto, in all my wandering, I had been under the care of
other people - sailors, Tatars, guides, and dragomen had
watched over my welfare, but now at last I was here in this
LIFE. I liked the office well. I had the greasiest part of
the day before me, a very fair dromedary, a fur pelisse, and
a brace of pistols, but no bread and no water; for that I
must ride - and ride I did.

For several hours I urged forward my beast at a rapid though
steady pace, but now the pangs of thirst began to torment me.
I did not relax my pace, however, and I had not suffered long
when a moving object appeared in the distance before me. The
intervening space was soon traversed, and I found myself
approaching a Bedouin Arab mounted on a camel, attended by
another Bedouin on foot. They stopped. I saw that, as
usual, there hung from the pack-saddle of the camel a large
skin water-flask, which seemed to be well filled. I steered
my dromedary close up alongside of the mounted Bedouin,
caused my beast to kneel down, then alighted, and keeping the
end of the halter in my hand, went up to the mounted Bedouin
without speaking, took hold of his water-flask, opened it,
and drank long and deep from its leathern lips. Both of the
Bedouins stood fast in amazement and mute horror; and really,
if they had never happened to see an European before, the
apparition was enough to startle them. To see for the first
time a coat and a waistcoat, with the semblance of a white
human head at the top, and for this ghastly figure to come
swiftly out of the horizon upon a fleet dromedary, approach
them silently and with a demoniacal smile, and drink a deep
draught from their water-flask - this was enough to make the
Bedouins stare a little; they, in fact, stared a great deal -
not as Europeans stare, with a restless and puzzled
expression of countenance, but with features all fixed and
rigid, and with still, glassy eyes. Before they had time to
get decomposed from their state of petrifaction I had
remounted my dromedary, and was darting away towards the

Without pause or remission of pace I continued to press
forward, but after a while I found to my confusion that the
slight track which had hitherto guided me now failed
altogether. I began to fear that I must have been all along
following the course of some wandering Bedouins, and I felt
that if this were the case, my fate was a little uncertain.

I had no compass with me, but I determined upon the eastern
point of the horizon as accurately as I could by reference to
the sun, and so laid down for myself a way over the pathless

But now my poor dromedary, by whose life and strength I held
my own, began to show signs of distress: a thick, clammy, and
glutinous kind of foam gathered about her lips, and piteous
sobs burst from her bosom in the tones of human misery. I
doubted for a moment whether I would give her a little rest,
a relaxation of pace, but I decided that I would not, and
continued to push forward as steadily as before.

The character of the country became changed. I had ridden
away from the level tracts, and before me now, and on either
side, there were vast hills of sand and calcined rocks, that
interrupted my progress and baffled my doubtful road, but I
did my best. With rapid steps I swept round the base of the
hills, threaded the winding hollows, and at last, as I rose
in my swift course to the crest of a lofty ridge, Thalatta!
Thalatta! by Jove! I saw the sea!

My tongue can tell where to find a clue to many an old pagan
creed, because that (distinctly from all mere admiration of
the beauty belonging to nature's works) I acknowledge a sense
of mystical reverence when first I look, to see some
illustrious feature of the globe - some coast-line of ocean,
some mighty river or dreary mountain range, the ancient
barrier of kingdoms. But the Red Sea! It might well claim
my earnest gaze by force of the great Jewish migration which
connects it with the history of our own religion. From this
very ridge, it is likely enough, the panting Israelites first
saw that shining inlet of the sea. Ay! ay! but moreover, and
best of all, that beckoning sea assured my eyes, and proved
how well I had marked out the east for my path, and gave me
good promise that sooner or later the time would come for me
to rest and drink. It was distant, the sea, but I felt my
own strength, and I had HEARD of the strength of dromedaries.
I pushed forward as eagerly as though I had spoiled the
Egyptians and were flying from Pharaoh's police.

I had not yet been able to discover any symptoms of Suez, but
after a while I descried in the distance a large, blank,
isolated building. I made towards this, and in time got down
to it. The building was a fort, and had been built there for
the protection of a well which it contained within its
precincts. A cluster of small huts adhered to the fort, and
in a short time I was receiving the hospitality of the
inhabitants, who were grouped upon the sands near their
hamlet. To quench the fires of my throat with about a gallon
of muddy water, and to swallow a little of the food placed
before me, was the work of few minutes, and before the
astonishment of my hosts had even begun to subside, I was
pursuing my onward journey. Suez, I found, was still three
hours distant, and the sun going down in the west warned me
that I must find some other guide to keep me in the right
direction. This guide I found in the most fickle and
uncertain of the elements. For some hours the wind had been
freshening, and it now blew a violent gale; it blew not
fitfully and in squalls, but with such remarkable steadiness,
that I felt convinced it would blow from the same quarter for
several hours. When the sun set, therefore, I carefully
looked for the point from which the wind was blowing, and
found that it came from the very west, and was blowing
exactly in the direction of my route. I had nothing to do
therefore but to go straight to leeward; and this was not
difficult, for the gale blew with such immense force, that if
I diverged at all from its line I instantly felt the pressure
of the blast on the side towards which I was deviating. Very
soon after sunset there came on complete darkness, but the
strong wind guided me well, and sped me, too, on my way.

I had pushed on for about, I think, a couple of hours after
nightfall when I saw the glimmer of a light in the distance,
and this I ventured to hope must be Suez. Upon approaching
it, however, I found that it was only a solitary fort, and I
passed on without stopping.

On I went, still riding down the wind, when an unlucky
accident occurred, for which, if you like, you can have your
laugh against me. I have told you already what sort of
lodging it is that you have upon the back of a camel. You
ride the dromedary in the same fashion; you are perched
rather than seated on a bunch of carpets or quilts upon the
summit of the hump. It happened that my dromedary veered
rather suddenly from her onward course. Meeting the
movement, I mechanically turned my left wrist as though I
were holding a bridle rein, for the complete darkness
prevented my eyes from reminding me that I had nothing but a
halter in my hand. The expected resistance failed, for the
halter was hanging upon that side of the dromedary's neck
towards which I was slightly leaning. I toppled over, head
foremost, and then went falling and falling through air, till
my crown came whang against the ground. And the ground too
was perfectly hard (compacted sand), but the thickly wadded
headgear which I wore for protection against the sun saved my
life. The notion of my being able to get up again after
falling head-foremost from such an immense height seemed to
me at first too paradoxical to be acted upon, but I soon
found that I was not a bit hurt. My dromedary utterly
vanished. I looked round me, and saw the glimmer of a light
in the fort which I had lately passed, and I began to work my
way back in that direction. The violence of the gale made it
hard for me to force my way towards the west, but I succeeded
at last in regaining the fort. To this, as to the other fort
which I had passed, there was attached a cluster of huts, and
I soon found myself surrounded by a group of villainous,
gloomy-looking fellows. It was a horrid bore for me to have
to swagger and look big at a time when I felt so particularly
small on account of my tumble and my lost dromedary; but
there was no help for it; I had no Dthemetri now to "strike
terror" for me. I knew hardly one word of Arabic, but
somehow or other I contrived to announce it as my absolute
will and pleasure that these fellows should find me the means
of gaining Suez. They acceded, and having a donkey, they
saddled it for me, and appointed one of their number to
attend me on foot.

I afterwards found that these fellows were not Arabs, but
Algerine refugees, and that they bore the character of being
sad scoundrels. They justified this imputation to some
extent on the following day. They allowed Mysseri with my
baggage and the camels to pass unmolested, but an Arab lad
belonging to the party happened to lag a little way in the
rear, and him (if they were not maligned) these rascals
stripped and robbed. Low indeed is the state of bandit
morality when men will allow the sleek traveller with well-
laden camels to pass in quiet, reserving their spirit of
enterprise for the tattered turban of a miserable boy.

I reached Suez at last. The British agent, though roused
from his midnight sleep, received me in his home with the
utmost kindness and hospitality. Oh! by Jove, how delightful
it was to lie on fair sheets, and to dally with sleep, and to
wake, and to sleep, and to wake once more, for the sake of
sleeping again!


I WAS hospitably entertained by the British consul, or agent,
as he is there styled. He is the EMPLOYE of the East India
Company, and not of the Home Government. Napoleon during his
stay of five days at Suez had been the guest of the consul's
father, and I was told that the divan in my apartment had
been the bed of the great commander.

There are two opinions as to the point at which the
Israelites passed the Red Sea. One is, that they traversed
only the very small creek at the northern extremity of the
inlet, and that they entered the bed of the water at the spot
on which Suez now stands; the other, that they crossed the
sea from a point eighteen miles down the coast. The Oxford
theologians, who, with Milman their professor, * believe that
Jehovah conducted His chosen people without disturbing the
order of nature, adopt the first view, and suppose that the
Israelites passed during an ebb-tide, aided by a violent
wind. One among many objections to this supposition is, that
the time of a single ebb would not have been sufficient for
the passage of that vast multitude of men and beasts, or even
for a small fraction of it. Moreover, the creek to the north
of this point can be compassed in an hour, and in two hours
you can make the circuit of the salt marsh over which the sea
may have extended in former times. If, therefore, the
Israelites crossed so high up as Suez, the Egyptians, unless
infatuated by Divine interference, might easily have
recovered their stolen goods from the encumbered fugitives by
making a slight detour. The opinion which fixes the point of
passage at eighteen miles' distance, and from thence right
across the ocean depths to the eastern side of the sea, is
supported by the unanimous tradition of the people, whether
Christians or Mussulmans, and is consistent with Holy Writ:
"the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, AND ON
THEIR LEFT."  The Cambridge mathematicians seem to think that
the Israelites were enabled to pass over dry land by adopting
a route not usually subjected to the influx of the sea. This
notion is plausible in a merely hydrostatical point of view,
and is supposed to have been adopted by most of the Fellows
of Trinity, but certainly not by Thorp, who is one of the
most amiable of their number. It is difficult to reconcile
this theory with the account given in Exodus, unless we can
suppose that the words "sea" and "waters" are there used in a
sense implying dry land.

* See Milman's "History of the Jews," first edition.

Napoleon when at Suez made an attempt to follow the supposed
steps of Moses by passing the creek at this point, but it
seems, according to the testimony of the people at Suez, that
he and his horsemen managed the matter in a way more
resembling the failure of the Egyptians than the success of
the Israelites. According to the French account, Napoleon
got out of the difficulty by that warrior-like presence of
mind which served him so well when the fate of nations
depended on the decision of a moment - he ordered his
horsemen to disperse in all directions, in order to multiply
the chances of finding shallow water, and was thus enabled to
discover a line by which he and his people were extricated.
The story told by the people of Suez is very different: they
declare that Napoleon parted from his horse, got thoroughly
submerged, and was only fished out by the assistance of the
people on shore.

I bathed twice at the point assigned to the passage of the
Israelites, and the second time that I did so I chose the
time of low water and tried to walk across, but I soon found
myself out of my depth, or at least in water so deep, that I
could only advance by swimming.

The dromedary, which had bolted in the Desert, was brought
into Suez the day after my arrival, but my pelisse and my
pistols, which had been attached to the saddle, had
disappeared. These articles were treasures of great
importance to me at that time, and I moved the Governor of
the town to make all possible exertions for their recovery.
He acceded to my wishes as well as he could, and very
obligingly imprisoned the first seven poor fellows he could
lay his hands on.

At first the Governor acted in the matter from no other
motive than that of courtesy to an English traveller, but
afterwards, and when he saw the value which I set upon the
lost property, he pushed his measures with a degree of
alacrity and heat, which seemed to show that he felt a
personal interest in the matter. It was supposed either that
he expected a large present in the event of succeeding, or
that he was striving by all means to trace the property, in
order that he might lay his hands on it after my departure.

I went out sailing for some hours, and when I returned I was
horrified to find that two men had been bastinadoed by order
of the Governor, with a view to force them to a confession of
their theft. It appeared, however, that there really was
good ground for supposing them guilty, since one of the
holsters was actually found in their possession. It was said
too (but I could hardly believe it), that whilst one of the
men was undergoing the bastinado, his comrade was overheard
encouraging him to bear the torment without peaching. Both
men, if they had the secret, were resolute in keeping it, and
were sent back to their dungeon. I of course took care that
there should be no repetition of the torture, at least so
long as I remained at Suez.

The Governor was a thorough Oriental, and until a
comparatively recent period had shared in the old Mahometan
feeling of contempt for Europeans. It happened however, one
day that an English gun-brig had appeared off Suez, and sent
her boats ashore to take in fresh water. Now fresh water at
Suez is a somewhat scarce and precious commodity: it is kept
in tanks, the chief of which is at some distance from the
place. Under these circumstances the request for fresh water
was refused, or at all events, was not complied with. The
captain of the brig was a simple-minded man with a strongish
will, and he at once declared that if his casks were not
filled in three hours, he would destroy the whole place. "A
great people indeed!" said the Governor; "a wonderful people,
the English!"  He instantly caused every cask to be filled to
the brim from his own tank, and ever afterwards entertained
for the English a degree of affection and respect, for which
I felt infinitely indebted to the gallant captain.

The day after the abortive attempt to extract a confession
from the prisoners, the Governor, the consul, and I sat in
council, I know not how long, with a view of prosecuting the
search for the stolen goods. The sitting, considered in the
light of a criminal investigation, was characteristic of the
East. The proceedings began as a matter of course by the
prosecutor's smoking a pipe and drinking coffee with the
Governor, who was judge, jury, and sheriff. I got on very
well with him (this was not my first interview), and he gave
me the pipe from his lips in testimony of his friendship. I
recollect, however, that my prime adviser, thinking me, I
suppose, a great deal too shy and retiring in my manner,
entreated me to put up my boots and to soil the Governor's
divan, in order to inspire respect and strike terror. I
thought it would be as well for me to retain the right of
respecting myself, and that it was not quite necessary for a
well-received guest to strike any terror at all.

Our deliberations were assisted by the numerous attendants
who lined the three sides of the room not occupied by the
divan. Any one of these who took it into his head to offer a
suggestion would stand forward and humble himself before the
Governor, and then state his views; every man thus giving
counsel was listened to with some attention.

After a great deal of fruitless planning the Governor
directed that the prisoners should be brought in. I was
shocked when they entered, for I was not prepared to see them
come CARRIED into the room upon the shoulders of others. It
had not occurred to me that their battered feet would be too
sore to bear the contact of the floor. They persisted in
asserting their innocence. The Governor wanted to recur to
the torture, but that I prevented, and the men were carried
back to their dungeon.

A scheme was now suggested by one of the attendants which
seemed to me childishly absurd, but it was nevertheless
tried. The plan was to send a man to the prisoners, who was
to make them believe that he had obtained entrance into their
dungeon upon some other pretence, but that he had in reality
come to treat with them for the purchase of the stolen goods.
This shallow expedient of course failed.

The Governor himself had not nominally the power of life and
death over the people in his district, but he could if he
chose send them to Cairo, and have them hanged there. I
proposed, therefore, that the prisoners should be threatened
with this fate. The answer of the Governor made me feel
rather ashamed of my effeminate suggestion. He said that if
I wished it he would willingly threaten them with death, but
he also said that if he threatened, HE SHOULD EXECUTE THE

Thinking at last that nothing was to be gained by keeping the
prisoners any longer in confinement, I requested that they
might be set free. To this the Governor acceded, though
only, as he said, out of favour to me, for he had a strong
impression that the men were guilty. I went down to see the
prisoners let out with my own eyes. They were very grateful,
and fell down to the earth, kissing my boots. I gave them a
present to console them for their wounds, and they seemed to
be highly delighted.

Although the matter terminated in a manner so satisfactory to
the principal sufferers, there were symptoms of some angry
excitement in the place: it was said that public opinion was
much shocked at the fact that Mahometans had been beaten on
account of a loss sustained by a Christian. My journey was
to recommence the next day, and it was hinted that if I
preservered in my intention of proceeding, the people would
have an easy and profitable opportunity of wreaking their
vengeance on me. If ever they formed any scheme of the kind,
they at all events refrained from any attempt to carry it
into effect.

One of the evenings during my stay at Suez was enlivened by a
triple wedding. There was a long and slow procession. Some
carried torches, and others were thumping drums and firing
pistols. The bridegrooms came last, all walking abreast. My
only reason for mentioning the ceremony (which was otherwise
uninteresting) is, that I scarcely ever in all my life saw
any phenomena so ridiculous as the meekness and gravity of
those three young men whilst being "led to the altar."


THE route over the Desert from Suez to Gaza is not frequented
by merchants, and is seldom passed by a traveller. This part
of the country is less uniformly barren than the tracts of
shifting sand that lie on the El Arish route. The shrubs on
which the camel feeds are more frequent, and in many spots
the sand is mingled with so much of productive soil, as to
admit the growth of corn. The Bedouins are driven out of
this district during the summer by the total want of water,
but before the time for their forced departure arrives they
succeed in raising little crops of barley from these
comparatively fertile patches of ground. They bury the fruit
of their labours, leaving marks by which, upon their return,
they may be able to recognise the spot. The warm, dry sand
stands them for a safe granary. The country at the time I
passed it (in the month of April) was pretty thickly
sprinkled with Bedouins expecting their harvest. Several
times my tent was pitched alongside of their encampments. I
have told you already what the impressions were which these
people produced upon my mind.

I saw several creatures of the antelope kind in this part of
the Desert, and one day my Arabs surprised in her sleep a
young gazelle (for so I called her), and took the darling
prisoner. I carried her before me on my camel for the rest
of the day, and kept her in my tent all night. I did all I
could to coax her, but the trembling beauty refused to touch
food, and would not be comforted. Whenever she had a seeming
opportunity of escaping she struggled with a violence so
painfully disproportioned to her fine, delicate limbs, that I
could not continue the cruel attempt to make her my own. In
the morning, therefore, I set her free, anticipating some
pleasure from seeing the joyous bound with which, as I
thought, she would return to her native freedom. She had
been so stupefied, however, by the exciting events of the
preceding day and night, and was so puzzled as to the road
she should take, that she went off very deliberately, and
with an uncertain step. She went away quite sound in limb,
but her intellect may have been upset. Never in all
likelihood had she seen the form of a human being until the
dreadful moment when she woke from her sleep and found
herself in the grip of an Arab. Then her pitching and
tossing journey on the back of a camel, and lastly, a SOIREE
with me by candlelight! I should have been glad to know, if
I could, that her heart was not utterly broken.

My Arabs were somewhat excited one day by discovering the
fresh print of a foot - the foot, as they said, of a lion. I
had no conception that the lord of the forest (better known
as a crest) ever stalked away from his jungles to make
inglorious war in these smooth plains against antelopes and
gazelles. I supposed that there must have been some error of
interpretation, and that the Arabs meant to speak of a tiger.
It appeared, however, that this was not the case. Either the
Arabs were mistaken, or the noble brute, uncooped and
unchained, had but lately crossed my path.

The camels with which I traversed this part of the Desert
were very different in their ways and habits from those that
you get on a frequented route. They were never led. There
was not the slightest sign of a track in this part of the
Desert, but the camels never failed to choose the right line.
By the direction taken at starting they knew, I suppose, the
point (some encampment) for which they were to make. There
is always a leading camel (generally, I believe, the eldest),
who marches foremost, and determines the path for the whole
party. If it happens that no one of the camels has been
accustomed to lead the others, there is very great difficulty
in making a start. If you force your beast forward for a
moment, he will contrive to wheel and draw back, at the same
time looking at one of the other camels with an expression
and gesture exactly equivalent to APRES VOUS. The
responsibility of finding the way is evidently assumed very
unwillingly. After some time, however, it becomes understood
that one of the beasts has reluctantly consented to take the
lead, and he accordingly advances for that purpose. For a
minute or two he goes on with much indecision, taking first
one line and then another, but soon by the aid of some
mysterious sense he discovers the true direction, and follows
it steadily from morning to night. When once the leadership
is established, you cannot by any persuasion, and can
scarcely by any force, induce a junior camel to walk one
single step in advance of the chosen guide.

On the fifth day I came to an oasis, called the Wady el
Arish, a ravine, or rather a gully, through which during a
part of the year there runs a stream of water. On the sides
of the gully there were a number of those graceful trees
which the Arabs call TARFA. The channel of the stream was
quite dry in the part at which we arrived, but at about half
a mile off some water was found, which, though very muddy,
was tolerably sweet. This was a happy discovery, for all the
water that we had brought from the neighbourhood of Suez was
rapidly putrefying.

The want of foresight is an anomalous part of the Bedouin's
character, for it does not result either from recklessness or
stupidity. I know of no human being whose body is so
thoroughly the slave of mind as that of the Arab. His mental
anxieties seem to be for ever torturing every nerve and fibre
of his body, and yet with all this exquisite sensitiveness to
the suggestions of the mind, he is grossly improvident. I
recollect, for instance, that when setting out upon this
passage of the Desert my Arabs, in order to lighten the
burthen of their camels, were most anxious that we should
take with us only two days' supply of water. They said that
by the time that supply was exhausted we should arrive at a
spring which would furnish us for the rest of the journey.
My servants very wisely, and with much pertinacity, resisted
the adoption of this plan, and took care to have both the
large skins well filled. We proceeded and found no water at
all, either at the expected spring or for many days
afterwards, so that nothing but the precaution of my own
people saved us from the very severe suffering which we
should have endured if we had entered upon the Desert with
only a two days' supply. The Arabs themselves being on foot
would have suffered much more than I from the consequences of
their improvidence.

This unaccountable want of foresight prevents the Bedouin
from appreciating at a distance of eight or ten days the
amount of the misery which he entails upon himself at the end
of that period. His dread of a city is one of the most
painful mental affections that I have ever observed, and yet
when the whole breadth of the Desert lies between him and the
town to which you are going, he will freely enter into an
agreement to LAND you in the city for which you are bound.
When, however, after many a day of toil the distant minarets
at length appear, the poor Bedouin relaxes the vigour of his
pace, his steps become faltering and undecided, every moment
his uneasiness increases, and at length he fairly sobs aloud,
and embracing your knees, implores with the most piteous
cries and gestures that you will dispense with him and his
camels, and find some other means of entering the city.
This, of course, one can't agree to, and the consequence is
that one is obliged to witness and resist the most moving
expressions of grief and fond entreaty. I had to go through
a most painful scene of this kind when I entered Cairo, and
now the horror which these wilder Arabs felt at the notion of
entering Gaza led to consequences still more distressing.
The dread of cities results partly from a kind of wild
instinct which has always characterised the descendants of
Ishmael, but partly too from a well-founded apprehension of
ill-treatment. So often it happens that the poor Bedouin,
when once jammed in between walls, is seized by the
Government authorities for the sake of his camels, that his
innate horror of cities becomes really justified by results.

The Bedouins with whom I performed this journey were wild
fellows of the Desert, quite unaccustomed to let out
themselves or their beasts for hire, and when they found that
by the natural ascendency of Europeans they were gradually
brought down to a state of subserviency to me, or rather to
my attendants, they bitterly repented, I believe, of having
placed themselves under our control. They were rather
difficult fellows to manage, and gave Dthemetri a good deal
of trouble, but I liked them all the better for that.

Selim, the chief of the party, and the man to whom all our
camels belonged, was a fine, savage, stately fellow. There
were, I think, five other Arabs of the party, but when we
approached the end of the journey they one by one began to
make off towards the neighbouring encampments, and by the
time that the minarets of Gaza were in sight, Selim, the
owner of the camels, was the only one who remained. He, poor
fellow, as we neared the town began to discover the same
terrors that my Arabs had shown when I entered Cairo. I
could not possibly accede to his entreaties and consent to
let my baggage be laid down on the bare sands, without any
means of having it brought on into the city. So at length,
when poor Selim had exhausted all his rhetoric of voice and
action and tears, he fixed his despairing eyes for a minute
upon the cherished beasts that were his only wealth, and then
suddenly and madly dashed away into the farther Desert. I
continued my course and reached the city at last, but it was
not without immense difficulty that we could constrain the
poor camels to pass under the hated shadow of its walls.
They were the genuine beasts of the Desert, and it was sad
and painful to witness the agony they suffered when thus they
were forced to encounter the fixed habitations of men. They
shrank from the beginning of every high narrow street as
though from the entrance of some horrible cave or bottomless
pit; they sighed and wept like women. When at last we got
them within the courtyard of the khan they seemed to be quite
broken-hearted, and looked round piteously for their loving
master; but no Selim came. I had imagined that he would
enter the town secretly by night in order to carry off those
five fine camels, his only wealth in this world, and
seemingly the main objects of his affection. But no; his
dread of civilisation was too strong. During the whole of
the three days that I remained at Gaza he failed to show
himself, and thus sacrificed in all probability not only his
camels, but the money which I had stipulated to pay him for
the passage of the Desert. In order, however, to do all I
could towards saving him from this last misfortune I resorted
to a contrivance frequently adopted by the Asiatics: I
assembled a group of grave and worthy Mussulmans in the
courtyard of the khan, and in their presence paid over the
gold to a Sheik who was accustomed to communicate with the
Arabs of the Desert. All present solemnly promised that if
ever Selim should come to claim his rights, they would bear
true witness in his favour.

I saw a great deal of my old friend the Governor of Gaza. He
had received orders to send back all persons coming from
Egypt, and force them to perform quarantine at El Arish. He
knew so little of quarantine regulations, however, that his
dress was actually in contact with mine whilst he insisted
upon the stringency of the orders which he had received. He
was induced to make an exception in my favour, and I rewarded
him with a musical snuffbox which I had bought at Smyrna for
the purpose of presenting it to any man in authority who
might happen to do me an important service. The Governor was
delighted with his toy, and took it off to his harem with
great exultation. He soon, however, returned with an altered
countenance; his wives, he said, had got hold of the box and
put it out of order. So shortlived is human happiness in
this frail world!

The Governor fancied that he should incur less risk if
remained at Gaza for two or three days more, and he wanted me
to become his guest. I persuaded him, however, that it would
be better for him to let me depart at once. He wanted to add
to my baggage a roast lamb and a quantity of other cumbrous
viands, but I escaped with half a horse-load of leaven bread,
which was very good of its kind, and proved a most useful
present. The air with which the Governor's slaves affected
to be almost breaking down under the weight of the gifts
which they bore on their shoulders, reminded me of the
figures one sees in some of the old pictures.


PASSING now once again through Palestine and Syria I retained
the tent which I had used in the Desert, and found that it
added very much to my comfort in travelling. Instead of
turning out a family from some wretched dwelling, and
depriving them of a repose which I was sure not to find for
myself, I now, when evening came, pitched my tent upon some
smiling spot within a few hundred yards of the village to
which I looked for my supplies, that is, for milk and bread
if I had it not with me, and sometimes also for eggs. The
worst of it is, that the needful viands are not to be
obtained by coin, but only by intimidation. I at first tried
the usual agent, money. Dthemetri, with one or two of my
Arabs, went into the village near which I was encamped and
tried to buy the required provisions, offering liberal
payment, but he came back empty-handed. I sent him again,
but this time he held different language. He required to see
the elders of the place, and threatening dreadful vengeance,
directed them upon their responsibility to take care that my
tent should be immediately and abundantly supplied. He was
obeyed at once, and the provisions refused to me as a
purchaser soon arrived, trebled or quadrupled, when demanded
by way of a forced contribution. I quickly found (I think it
required two experiments to convince me) that this peremptory
method was the only one which could be adopted with success.
It never failed. Of course, however, when the provisions
have been actually obtained you can, if you choose, give
money exceeding the value of the provisions to SOMEBODY. An
English, a thoroughbred English, traveller will always do
this (though it is contrary to the custom of the country) for
the quiet (false quiet though it be) of his own conscience,
but so to order the matter that the poor fellows who have
been forced to contribute should be the persons to receive
the value of their supplies, is not possible. For a
traveller to attempt anything so grossly just as that would
be too outrageous. The truth is, that the usage of the East,
in old times, required the people of the village, at their
own cost, to supply the wants of travellers, and the ancient
custom is now adhered to, not in favour of travellers
generally, but in favour of those who are deemed sufficiently
powerful to enforce its observance. If the villagers
therefore find a man waiving this right to oppress them, and
offering coin for that which he is entitled to take without
payment, they suppose at once that he is actuated by fear
(fear of THEM, poor fellows!), and it is so delightful to
them to act upon this flattering assumption, that they will
forego the advantage of a good price for their provisions
rather than the rare luxury of refusing for once in their
lives to part with their own possessions.

The practice of intimidation thus rendered necessary is
utterly hateful to an Englishman. He finds himself forced to
conquer his daily bread by the pompous threats of the
dragoman, his very subsistence, as well as his dignity and
personal safety, being made to depend upon his servant's
assuming a tone of authority which does not at all belong to
him. Besides, he can scarcely fail to see that as he passes
through the country he becomes the innocent cause of much
extra injustice, many supernumerary wrongs. This he feels to
be especially the case when he travels with relays. To be
the owner of a horse or a mule within reach of an Asiatic
potentate, is to lead the life of the hare and the rabbit,
hunted down and ferreted out. Too often it happens that the
works of the field are stopped in the daytime, that the
inmates of the cottage are roused from their midnight sleep,
by the sudden coming of a Government officer, and the poor
husbandman, driven by threats and rewarded by curses, if he
would not lose sight for ever of his captured beasts, must
quit all and follow them. This is done that the Englishman
may travel. He would make his way more harmless if he could,
but horses or mules he MUST have, and these are his ways and

The town of Nablus is beautiful; it lies in a valley hemmed
in with olive groves, and its buildings are interspersed with
frequent palm-trees. It is said to occupy the site of the
ancient Sychem. I know not whether it was there indeed that
the father of the Jews was accustomed to feed his flocks, but
the valley is green and smiling, and is held at this day by a
race more brave and beautiful than Jacob's unhappy

Nablus is the very furnace of Mahometan bigotry; and I
believe that only a few months before the time of my going
there it would have been quite unsafe for a man, unless
strongly guarded, to show himself to the people of the town
in a Frank costume; but since their last insurrection the
Mahometans of the place had been so far subdued by the
severity of Ibrahim Pasha, that they dared not now offer the
slightest insult to an European. It was quite plain,
however, that the effort with which the men of the old school
refrained from expressing their opinion of a hat and a coat
was horribly painful to them. As I walked through the
streets and bazaars a dead silence prevailed; every man
suspended his employment, and gazed on me with a fixed,
glassy look, which seemed to say, "God is good, but how
marvellous and inscrutable are His ways that thus He permits
this white-faced dog of a Christian to hunt through the paths
of the faithful."

The insurrection of these people had been more formidable
than any other that Ibrahim Pasha had to contend with. He
was only able to crush them at last by the assistance of a
fellow renowned for his resources in the way of stratagem and
cunning, as well as for his knowledge of the country. This
personage was no other than Aboo Goosh ("the father of lies"
* ), who was taken out of prison for the purpose. The
"father of lies" enabled Ibrahim to hem in the insurrection
and extinguish it. He was rewarded with the Governorship of
Jerusalem, which he held when I was there. I recollect, by-
the-bye, that he tried one of his stratagems upon me. I did
not go to see him, as I ought in courtesy to have done,
during my stay at Jerusalem; but I happened to be the owner
of a rather handsome amber TCHIBOUQUE piece, which the
Governor heard of, and by some means contrived to see. He
sent to me, and dressed up a statement that he would give me
a price immensely exceeding the sum which I had given for it.
He did not add my TCHIBOUQUE to the rest of his trophies.

* This is an appellation not implying blame, but merit; the
"lies" which it purports to affiliate are feints and cunning
stratagems, rather than the baser kind of falsehoods. The
expression, in short, has nearly the same meaning as the
English word "Yorkshireman."

There was a small number of Greek Christians resident in
Nablus, and over these the Mussulmans held a high hand, not
even permitting them to speak to each other in the open
streets; but if the Moslems thus set themselves above the
poor Christians of the place, I, or rather my servants, soon
took the ascendant over THEM. I recollect that just as we
were starting from the place, and at a time when a number of
people had gathered together in the main street to see our
preparations, Mysseri, being provoked at some piece of
perverseness on the part of a true believer, coolly thrashed
him with his horsewhip before the assembled crowd of
fanatics. I was much annoyed at the time, for I thought that
the people would probably rise against us. They turned
rather pale, but stood still.

The day of my arrival at Nablus was a fete - the new-year's
day of the Mussulmans. *  Most of the people were amusing
themselves in the beautiful lawns and shady groves without
the city. The men (except myself) were all remotely apart
from the other sex. The women in groups were diverting
themselves and their children with swings. They were so
handsome, that they could not keep up their yashmaks. I
believe that they had never before looked upon a man in the
European dress, and when they now saw in me that strange
phenomenon, and saw, too, how they could please the creature
by showing him a glimpse of beauty, they seemed to think it
was better fun to do this than to go on playing with swings.
It was always, however, with a sort of zoological expression
of countenance that they looked on the horrible monster from
Europe, and whenever one of them gave me to see for one sweet
instant the blushing of her unveiled face, it was with the
same kind of air as that with which a young, timid girl will
edge her way up to an elephant and tremblingly give him a nut
from the tips of her rosy fingers.

* The 29th of April.


THERE is no spirit of propagandism in the Mussulmans of the
Ottoman dominions. True it is that a prisoner of war, or a
Christian condemned to death, may on some occasions save his
life by adopting the religion of Mahomet, but instances of
this kind are now exceedingly rare, and are quite at variance
with the general system. Many Europeans, I think, would be
surprised to learn that which is nevertheless quite true,
namely, that an attempt to disturb the religious repose of
the empire by the conversion of a Christian to the Mahometan
faith is positively illegal. The event which now I am going
to mention shows plainly enough that the unlawfulness of such
interference is distinctly recognised even in the most
bigoted stronghold of Islam.

During my stay at Nablus I took up my quarters at the house
of the Greek "papa" as he is called, that is, the Greek
priest. The priest himself had gone to Jerusalem upon the
business I am going to tell you of, but his wife remained at
Nablus, and did the honours of her home.

Soon after my arrival a deputation from the Greek Christians
of the place came to request my interference in a matter
which had occasioned vast excitement.

And now I must tell you how it came to happen, as it did
continually, that people thought it worth while to claim the
assistance of a mere traveller, who was totally devoid of all
just pretensions to authority or influence of even the
humblest description, and especially I must explain to you
how it was that the power thus attributed did really belong
to me, or rather to my dragoman. Successive political
convulsions had at length fairly loosed the people of Syria
from their former rules of conduct, and from all their old
habits of reliance. The violence and success with which
Mehemet Ali crushed the insurrection of the Mahometan
population had utterly beaten down the head of Islam, and
extinguished, for the time at least, those virtues and vices
which had sprung from the Mahometan faith. Success so
complete as Mehemet Ali's, if it had been attained by an
ordinary Asiatic potentate, would have induced a notion of
stability. The readily bowing mind of the Oriental would
have bowed low and long under the feet of a conqueror whom
God had thus strengthened. But Syria was no field for
contests strictly Asiatic. Europe was involved, and though
the heavy masses of Egyptian troops, clinging with strong
grip to the land, might seem to hold it fast, yet every
peasant practically felt, and knew, that in Vienna or
Petersburg or London there were four or five pale-looking men
who could pull down the star of the Pasha with shreds of
paper and ink. The people of the country knew, too, that
Mehemet Ali was strong with the strength of the Europeans -
strong by his French general, his French tactics, and his
English engines. Moreover, they saw that the person, the
property, and even the dignity of the humblest European was
guarded with the most careful solicitude. The consequence of
all this was, that the people of Syria looked vaguely, but
confidently, to Europe for fresh changes. Many would fix
upon some nation, France or England, and steadfastly regard
it as the arriving sovereign of Syria. Those whose minds
remained in doubt equally contributed to this new state of
public opinion, which no longer depended upon religion and
ancient habits, but upon bare hopes and fears. Every man
wanted to know, not who was his neighbour, but who was to be
his ruler; whose feet he was to kiss, and by whom HIS feet
were to be ultimately beaten. Treat your friend, says the
proverb, as though he were one day to become your enemy, and
your enemy as though he were one day to become your friend.
The Syrians went further, and seemed inclined to treat every
stranger as though he might one day become their Pasha. Such
was the state of circumstances and of feeling which now for
the first time had thoroughly opened the mind of Western Asia
for the reception of Europeans and European ideas. The
credit of the English especially was so great, that a good
Mussulman flying from the conscription, or any other
persecution, would come to seek from the formerly despised
hat that protection which the turban could no longer afford;
and a man high in authority (as, for instance, the Governor
in command of Gaza) would think that he had won a prize, or
at all events, a valuable lottery ticket, if he obtained a
written approval of his conduct from a simple traveller.

Still, in order that any immediate result should follow from
all this unwonted readiness in the Asiatic to succumb to the
European, it was necessary that some one should be at hand
who could see and would push the advantage. I myself had
neither the inclination nor the power to do so, but it
happened that Dthemetri, who as my dragoman represented me on
all occasions, was the very person of all others best fitted
to avail himself with success of this yielding tendency in
the Oriental mind. If the chance of birth and fortune had
made poor Dthemetri a tailor during some part of his life,
yet religion and the literature of the Church which he served
had made him a man, and a brave man too. The lives of saints
with which he was familiar were full of heroic actions
provoking imitation, and since faith in a creed involves a
faith in its ultimate triumph, Dthemetri was bold from a
sense of true strength. His education too, though not very
general in its character, had been carried quite far enough
to justify him in pluming himself upon a very decided
advantage over the great bulk of the Mahometan population,
including the men in authority. With all this consciousness
of religious and intellectual superiority Dthemetri had lived
for the most part in countries lying under Mussulman
governments, and had witnessed (perhaps too had suffered
from) their revolting cruelties: the result was that he
abhorred and despised the Mahometan faith and all who clung
to it. And this hate was not of the dry, dull, and inactive
sort. Dthemetri was in his sphere a true Crusader, and
whenever there appeared a fair opening in the defences of
Islam, he was ready and eager to make the assault. These
sentiments, backed by a consciousness of understanding the
people with whom he had to do, made Dthemetri not only firm
and resolute in his constant interviews with men in
authority, but sometimes also (as you may know already) very
violent and even insulting. This tone, which I always
disliked, though I was fain to profit by it, invariably
succeeded. It swept away all resistance; there was nothing
in the then depressed and succumbing mind of the Mussulman
that could oppose a zeal so warm and fierce.

As for me, I of course stood aloof from Dthemetri's crusades,
and did not even render him any active assistance when he was
striving (as he almost always was, poor fellow) on my behalf;
I was only the death's head and white sheet with which he
scared the enemy. I think, however, that I played this
spectral part exceedingly well, for I seldom appeared at all
in any discussion, and whenever I did, I was sure to be white
and calm.

The event which induced the Christians of Nablus to seek for
my assistance was this. A beautiful young Christian, between
fifteen and sixteen years old, had lately been married to a
man of her own creed. About the same time (probably on the
occasion of her wedding) she was accidentally seen by a
Mussulman Sheik of great wealth and local influence, who
instantly became madly enamoured of her. The strict morality
which so generally prevails where the Mussulmans have
complete ascendency prevented the Sheik from entertaining any
such sinful hopes as an European might have ventured to
cherish under the like circumstances, and he saw no chance of
gratifying his love except by inducing the girl to embrace
his own creed. If he could induce her to take this step, her
marriage with the Christian would be dissolved, and then
there would be nothing to prevent him from making her the
last and brightest of his wives. The Sheik was a practical
man, and quickly began his attack upon the theological
opinions of the bride. He did not assail her with the
eloquence of any imaums or Mussulman saints; he did not press
upon her the eternal truths of the "Cow," * or the beautiful
morality of "the Table"; * he sent her no tracts, not even a
copy of the holy Koran. An old woman acted as missionary.
She brought with her a whole basketful of arguments - jewels
and shawls and scarfs and all kinds of persuasive finery.
Poor Mariam! she put on the jewels and took a calm view of
the Mahometan religion in a little hand-mirror; she could not
be deaf to such eloquent earrings, and the great truths of
Islam came home to her young bosom in the delicate folds of
the cashmere; she was ready to abandon her faith.

* These are the names given by the Prophet to certain
chapters of the Koran.

The Sheik knew very well that his attempt to convert an
infidel was illegal, and that his proceedings would not bear
investigation, so he took care to pay a large sum to the
Governor of Nablus in order to obtain his connivance.

At length Mariam quitted her home and placed herself under
the protection of the Mahometan authorities, who, however,
refrained from delivering her into the arms of her lover, and
detained her in a mosque until the fact of her real
conversion (which had been indignantly denied by her
relatives) should be established. For two or three days the
mother of the young convert was prevented from communicating
with her child by various evasive contrivances, but not, it
would seem, by a flat refusal. At length it was announced
that the young lady's profession of faith might be heard from
her own lips. At an hour appointed the friends of the Sheik
and the relatives of the damsel met in the mosque. The young
convert addressed her mother in a loud voice, and said, "God
is God, and Mahomet is the Prophet of God, and thou, oh my
mother, art an infidel, feminine dog!"

You would suppose that this declaration, so clearly enounced,
and that, too, in a place where Mahometanism is perhaps more
supreme than in any other part of the empire, would have
sufficed to have confirmed the pretensions of the lover.
This, however, was not the case. The Greek priest of the
place was despatched on a mission to the Governor of
Jerusalem (Aboo Goosh), in order to complain against the
proceedings of the Sheik and obtain a restitution of the
bride. Meanwhile the Mahometan authorities at Nablus were so
conscious of having acted unlawfully in conspiring to disturb
the faith of the beautiful infidel, that they hesitated to
take any further steps, and the girl was still detained in
the mosque.

Thus matters stood when the Christians of the place came and
sought to obtain my assistance.

I felt (with regret) that I had no personal interest in the
matter, and I also thought that there was no pretence for my
interfering with the conflicting claims of the Christian
husband and the Mahometan lover, and I therefore declined to
take any step.

My speaking of the husband, by-the-bye, reminds me that he
was extremely backward about the great work of recovering his
youthful bride. The relations of the girl, who felt
themselves disgraced by her conduct, were vehement and
excited to a high pitch, but the Menelaus of Nablus was
exceedingly calm and composed.

The fact that it was not technically my duty to interfere in
a matter of this kind was a very sufficient, and yet a very
unsatisfactory, reason for my refusal of all assistance.
Until you are placed in situations of this kind you can
hardly tell how painful it is to refrain from intermeddling
in other people's affairs - to refrain from intermeddling
when you feel that you can do so with happy effect, and can
remove a load of distress by the use of a few small phrases.
Upon this occasion, however, an expression fell from one of
the girl's kinsmen which not only determined me against the
idea of interfering, but made me hope that all attempts to
recover the proselyte would fail. This person, speaking with
the most savage bitterness, and with the cordial approval of
all the other relatives, said that the girl ought to be
beaten to death. I could not fail to see that if the poor
child were ever restored to her family she would be treated
with the most frightful barbarity. I heartily wished,
therefore, that the Mussulmans might be firm, and preserve
their young prize from any fate so dreadful as that of a
return to her own relations.

The next day the Greek priest returned from his mission to
Aboo Goosh, but the "father of lies," it would seem, had been
well plied with the gold of the enamoured Sheik, and
contrived to put off the prayers of the Christians by cunning
feints. Now, therefore, a second and more numerous
deputation than the first waited upon me, and implored my
intervention with the Governor. I informed the assembled
Christians that since their last application I had carefully
considered the matter. The religious question I thought
might be put aside at once, for the excessive levity which
the girl had displayed proved clearly that in adopting
Mahometanism she was not quitting any other faith. Her mind
must have been thoroughly blank upon religious questions, and
she was not, therefore, to be treated as a Christian that had
strayed from the flock, but rather as a child without any
religion at all, who was willing to conform to the usages of
those who would deck her with jewels, and clothe her with
cashmere shawls.

So much for the religious part of the question. Well, then,
in a merely temporal sense, it appeared to me that (looking
merely to the interests of the damsel, for I rather unjustly
put poor Menelaus quite out of the question) the advantages
were all on the side of the Mahometan match. The Sheik was
in a much higher station of life than the superseded husband,
and had given the best possible proof of his ardent affection
by the sacrifices he had made, and the risks he had incurred,
for the sake of the beloved object. I, therefore, stated
fairly, to the horror and amazement of all my hearers, that
the Sheik, in my view, was likely to make a most capital
husband, and that I entirely "approved of the match."

I left Nablus under the impression that Mariam would soon be
delivered to her Mussulman lover. I afterwards found,
however, that the result was very different. Dthemetri's
religious zeal and hate had been so much excited by the
account of these events, and by the grief and mortification
of his co-religionists, that when he found me firmly
determined to decline all interference in the matter, he
secretly appealed to the Governor in my name, and (using, I
suppose, many violent threats, and telling no doubt many lies
about my station and influence) extorted a promise that the
proselyte should be restored to her relatives. I did not
understand that the girl had been actually given up whilst I
remained at Nablus, but Dthemetri certainly did not desist
from his instances until he had satisfied himself by some
means or other (for mere words amounted to nothing) that the
promise would be actually performed. It was not till I had
quitted Syria, and when Dthemetri was no longer in my
service, that this villainous, though well-motived trick, of
his came to my knowledge. Mysseri, who had informed me of
the step which had been taken, did not know it himself until
some time after we had quitted Nablus, when Dthemetri
exultingly confessed his successful enterprise. I know not
whether the engagement which my zealous dragoman extorted
from the Governor was ever complied with. I shudder to think
of the fate which must have befallen poor Mariam if she fell
into the hands of the Christians.


FOR some hours I passed along the shores of the fair lake of
Galilee; then turning a little to the west-ward, I struck
into a mountainous tract, and as I advanced thenceforward,
the lie of the country kept growing more and more bold. At
length I drew near to the city of Safed. It sits as proud as
a fortress upon the summit of a craggy height; yet because of
its minarets and stately trees, the place looks happy and
beautiful. It is one of the holy cities of the Talmud, and
according to this authority, the Messiah will reign there for
forty years before He takes possession of Sion. The sanctity
and historical importance thus attributed to the city by
anticipation render it a favourite place of retirement for
Israelites, of whom it contains, they say, about four
thousand, a number nearly balancing that of the Mahometan
inhabitants. I knew by my experience of Tabarieh that a
"holy city" was sure to have a population of vermin somewhat
proportionate to the number of its Israelites, and I
therefore caused my tent to be pitched upon a green spot of
ground at a respectful distance from the walls of the town.

When it had become quite dark (for there was no moon that
night) I was informed that several Jews had secretly come
from the city in the hope of obtaining some assistance from
me in circumstances of imminent danger; I was also informed
that they claimed my aid upon the ground that some of their
number were British subjects. It was arranged that the two
principal men of the party should speak for the rest, and
these were accordingly admitted into my tent. One of the two
called himself the British vice-consul, and he had with him
his consular cap, but he frankly said that he could not have
dared to assume this emblem of his dignity in the daytime,
and that nothing but the extreme darkness of the night
rendered it safe for him to put it on upon this occasion.
The other of the spokesmen was a Jew of Gibraltar, a
tolerably well-bred person, who spoke English very fluently.

These men informed me that the Jews of the place, who were
exceedingly wealthy, had lived peaceably in their retirement
until the insurrection which took place in 1834, but about
the beginning of that year a highly religious Mussulman
called Mohammed Damoor went forth into the market-place,
crying with a loud voice, and prophesying that on the
fifteenth of the following June the true Believers would rise
up in just wrath against the Jews, and despoil them of their
gold and their silver and their jewels. The earnestness of
the prophet produced some impression at the time, but all
went on as usual, until at last the fifteenth of June
arrived. When that day dawned the whole Mussulman population
of the place assembled in the streets that they might see the
result of the prophecy. Suddenly Mohammed Damoor rushed
furious into the crowd, and the fierce shout of the prophet
soon ensured the fulfilment of his prophecy. Some of the
Jews fled and some remained, but they who fled and they who
remained, alike, and unresistingly, left their property to
the hands of the spoilers. The most odious of all outrages,
that of searching the women for the base purpose of
discovering such things as gold and silver concealed about
their persons, was perpetrated without shame. The poor Jews
were so stricken with terror, that they submitted to their
fate even where resistance would have been easy. In several
instances a young Mussulman boy, not more than ten or twelve
years of age, walked straight into the house of a Jew and
stripped him of his property before his face, and in the
presence of his whole family. *  When the insurrection was
put down some of the Mussulmans (most probably those who had
got no spoil wherewith they might buy immunity) were
punished, but the greater part of them escaped. None of the
booty was restored, and the pecuniary redress which the Pasha
had undertaken to enforce for them had been hitherto so
carefully delayed, that the hope of ever obtaining it had
grown very faint. A new Governor had been appointed to the
command of the place, with stringent orders to ascertain the
real extent of the losses, and to discover the spoilers, with
a view of compelling them to make restitution. It was found
that, notwithstanding the urgency of the instructions which
the Governor had received, he did not push on the affair with
the vigour that had been expected. The Jews complained, and
either by the protection of the British consul at Damascus,
or by some other means, had influence enough to induce the
appointment of a special commissioner - they called him "the
Modeer" - whose duty it was to watch for and prevent anything
like connivance on the part of the Governor, and to push on
the investigation with vigour and impartiality.

* It was after the interview which I am talking of, and not
from the Jews themselves, that I learnt this fact.

Such were the instructions with which some few weeks since
the Modeer came charged. The result was that the
investigation had made no practical advance, and that the
Modeer as well as the Governor was living upon terms of
affectionate friendship with Mohammed Damoor and the rest of
the principal spoilers.

Thus stood the chance of redress for the past, but the cause
of the agonising excitement under which the Jews of the place
now laboured was recent and justly alarming. Mohammed Damoor
had again gone forth into the market-place, and lifted up his
voice and prophesied a second spoliation of the Israelites.
This was grave matter; the words of such a practical man as
Mohammed Damoor were not to be despised. I fear I must have
smiled visibly, for I was greatly amused and even, I think,
gratified at the account of this second prophecy.
Nevertheless, my heart warmed towards the poor oppressed
Israelites, and I was flattered, too, in the point of my
national vanity at the notion of the far-reaching link by
which a Jew in Syria, who had been born on the rock of
Gibraltar, was able to claim me as his fellow-countryman. If
I hesitated at all between the "impropriety" of interfering
in a matter which was no business of mine and the "infernal
shame" of refusing my aid at such a conjecture, I soon came
to a very ungentlemanly decision, namely, that I would be
guilty of the "impropriety," and not of the "infernal shame."
It seemed to me that the immediate arrest of Mohammed Damoor
was the one thing needful to the safety of the Jews, and I
felt confident (for reasons which I have already mentioned in
speaking of the Nablus affair) that I should be able to
obtain this result by making a formal application to the
Governor. I told my applicants that I would take this step
on the following morning. They were very grateful, and were,
for a moment, much pleased at the prospect of safety which
might thus be opened to them, but the deliberation of a
minute entirely altered their views, and filled them with new
terror. They declared that any attempt, or pretended
attempt, on the part of the Governor to arrest Mohammed
Damoor would certainly produce an immediate movement of the
whole Mussulman population, and a consequent massacre and
robbery of the Israelites. My visitors went out, and
remained I know not how long consulting with their brethren,
but all at last agreed that their present perilous and
painful position was better than a certain and immediate
attack, and that if Mohammed Damoor was seized, their second
estate would be worse than their first. I myself did not
think that this would be the case, but I could not of course
force my aid upon the people against their will; and,
moreover, the day fixed for the fulfilment of this second
prophecy was not very close at hand. A little delay,
therefore, in providing against the impending danger would
not necessarily be fatal. The men now confessed that
although they had come with so much mystery and, as they
thought, at so great a risk to ask my assistance, they were
unable to suggest any mode in which I could aid them, except
indeed by mentioning their grievances to the consul-general
at Damascus. This I promised to do, and this I did.

My visitors were very thankful to me for the readiness which
I had shown to intermeddle in their affairs, and the grateful
wives of the principal Jews sent to me many compliments, with
choice wines and elaborate sweetmeats.

The course of my travels soon drew me so far from Safed, that
I never heard how the dreadful day passed off which had been
fixed for the accomplishment of the second prophecy. If the
predicted spoliation was prevented, poor Mohammed Damoor must
have been forced, I suppose, to say that he had prophesied in
a metaphorical sense. This would be a sad falling off from
the brilliant and substantial success of the first


FOR a part of two days I wound under the base of the snow-
crowned Djibel el Sheik, and then entered upon a vast and
desolate plain, rarely pierced at intervals by some sort of
withered stem. The earth in its length and its breadth and
all the deep universe of sky was steeped in light and heat.
On I rode through the fire, but long before evening came
there were straining eyes that saw, and joyful voices that
announced, the sight of Shaum Shereef - the "holy," the
"blessed" Damascus.

But that which at last I reached with my longing eyes was not
a speck in the horizon, gradually expanding to a group of
roofs and walls, but a long, low line of blackest green, that
ran right across in the distance from east to west. And
this, as I approached, grew deeper, grew wavy in its outline.
Soon forest trees shot up before my eyes, and robed their
broad shoulders so freshly, that all the throngs of olives as
they rose into view looked sad in their proper dimness.
There were even now no houses to see, but only the minarets
peered out from the midst of shade into the glowing sky, and
bravely touched the sun. There seemed to be here no mere
city, but rather a province wide and rich, that bounded the
torrid waste.

Until about a year, or two years, before the time of my going
there Damascus had kept up so much of the old bigot zeal
against Christians, or rather, against Europeans, that no one
dressed as a Frank could have dared to show himself in the
streets; but the firmness and temper of Mr. Farren, who
hoisted his flag in the city as consul-general for the
district, had soon put an end to all intolerance of
Englishmen. Damascus was safer than Oxford. *  When I
entered the city in my usual dress there was but one poor
fellow that wagged his tongue, and him, in the open streets,
Dthemetri horsewhipped. During my stay I went wherever I
chose, and attended the public baths without molestation.
Indeed, my relations with the pleasanter portion of the
Mahometan population were upon a much better footing here
than at most other places.

* An enterprising American traveller, Mr. Everett, lately
conceived the bold project of penetrating to the University
of Oxford, and this notwithstanding that he had been in his
infancy (they begin very young those Americans) an Unitarian
preacher. Having a notion, it seems, that the ambassadorial
character would protect him from insult, he adopted the
stratagem of procuring credentials from his Government as
Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of her Britannic
Majesty; he also wore the exact costume of a Trinitarian.
But all his contrivances were vain; Oxford disdained, and
rejected, and insulted him (not because he represented a
swindling community, but) because that his infantine sermons
were strictly remembered against him; the enterprise failed.

In the principal streets of Damascus there is a path for
foot-passengers, which is raised, I think, a foot or two
above the bridle-road. Until the arrival of the British
consul-general none but a Mussulman had been permitted to
walk upon the upper way. Mr. Farren would not, of course,
suffer that the humiliation of any such exclusion should be
submitted to by an Englishman, and I always walked upon the
raised path as free and unmolested as if I had been in Pall
Mall. The old usage was, however, maintained with as much
strictness as ever against the Christian Rayahs and Jews: not
one of them could have set his foot upon the privileged path
without endangering his life.

I was lounging one day, I remember, along "the paths of the
faithful," when a Christian Rayah from the bridle-road below
saluted me with such earnestness, and craved so anxiously to
speak and be spoken to, that he soon brought me to a halt.
He had nothing to tell, except only the glory and exultation
with which he saw a fellow-Christian stand level with the
imperious Mussulmans. Perhaps he had been absent from the
place for some time, for otherwise I hardly know how it could
have happened that my exaltation was the first instance he
had seen. His joy was great. So strong and strenuous was
England (Lord Palmerston reigned in those days), that it was
a pride and delight for a Syrian Christian to look up and say
that the Englishman's faith was his too. If I was vexed at
all that I could not give the man a lift and shake hands with
him on level ground, there was no alloy to his pleasure. He
followed me on, not looking to his own path, but keeping his
eyes on me. He saw, as he thought, and said (for he came
with me on to my quarters), the period of the Mahometan's
absolute ascendency, the beginning of the Christian's. He
had so closely associated the insulting privilege of the path
with actual dominion, that seeing it now in one instance
abandoned, he looked for the quick coming of European troops.
His lips only whispered, and that tremulously, but his fiery
eyes spoke out their triumph in long and loud hurrahs: "I,
too, am a Christian. My foes are the foes of the English.
We are all one people, and Christ is our King."

If I poorly deserved, yet I liked this claim of brotherhood.
Not all the warnings which I heard against their rascality
could hinder me from feeling kindly towards my fellow-
Christians in the East. English travellers, from a habit
perhaps of depreciating sectarians in their own country, are
apt to look down upon the Oriental Christians as being
"dissenters" from the established religion of a Mahometan
empire. I never did thus. By a natural perversity of
disposition, which my nursemaids called contrariness, I felt
the more strongly for my creed when I saw it despised among
men. I quite tolerated the Christianity of Mahometan
countries, notwithstanding its humble aspect and the damaged
character of its followers. I went further and extended some
sympathy towards those who, with all the claims of superior
intellect, learning, and industry, were kept down under the
heel of the Mussulmans by reason of their having OUR faith.
I heard, as I fancied, the faint echo of an old crusader's
conscience, that whispered and said, "Common cause!"  The
impulse was, as you may suppose, much too feeble to bring me
into trouble; it merely influenced my actions in a way
thoroughly characteristic of this poor sluggish century, that
is, by making me speak almost as civilly to the followers of
Christ as I did to their Mahometan foes.

This "holy" Damascus, this "earthly paradise" of the Prophet,
so fair to the eyes that he dared not trust himself to tarry
in her blissful shades, she is a city of hidden palaces, of
copses and gardens, and fountains and bubbling streams. The
juice of her life is the gushing and ice-cold torrent that
tumbles from the snowy sides of Anti-Lebanon. Close along on
the river's edge, through seven sweet miles of rustling
boughs and deepest shade, the city spreads out her whole
length. As a man falls flat, face forward on the brook, that
he may drink and drink again, so Damascus, thirsting for
ever, lies down with her lips to the stream and clings to its
rushing waters.

The chief places of public amusement, or rather, of public
relaxation, are the baths and the great cafe; this last,
which is frequented at night by most of the wealthy men, and
by many of the humbler sort, consists of a number of sheds,
very simply framed and built in a labyrinth of running
streams, which foam and roar on every side. The place is lit
up in the simplest manner by numbers of small pale lamps
strung upon loose cords, and so suspended from branch to
branch, that the light, though it looks so quiet amongst the
darkening foliage, yet leaps and brightly flashes as it falls
upon the troubled waters. All around, and chiefly upon the
very edge of the torrents, groups of people are tranquilly
seated. They all drink coffee, and inhale the cold fumes of
the NARGHILE; they talk rather gently the one to the other,
or else are silent. A father will sometimes have two or
three of his boys around him; but the joyousness of an
Oriental child is all of the sober sort, and never disturbs
the reigning calm of the land.

It has been generally understood, I believe, that the houses
of Damascus are more sumptuous than those of any other city
in the East. Some of these, said to be the most magnificent
in the place, I had an opportunity of seeing.

Every rich man's house stands detached from its neighbours at
the side of a garden, and it is from this cause no doubt that
the city (severely menaced by prophecy) has hitherto escaped
destruction. You know some parts of Spain, but you have
never, I think, been in Andalusia: if you had, I could easily
show you the interior of a Damascene house by referring you
to the Alhambra or Alcanzar of Seville. The lofty rooms are
adorned with a rich inlaying of many colours and illuminated
writing on the walls. The floors are of marble. One side of
any room intended for noonday retirement is generally laid
open to a quadrangle, in the centre of which there dances the
jet of a fountain. There is no furniture that can interfere
with the cool, palace-like emptiness of the apartments. A
divan (which is a low and doubly broad sofa) runs round the
three walled sides of the room. A few Persian carpets (which
ought to be called Persian rugs, for that is the word which
indicates their shape and dimensions) are sometimes thrown
about near the divan; they are placed without order, the one
partly lapping over the other, and thus disposed, they give
to the room an appearance of uncaring luxury; except these
(of which I saw few, for the time was summer, and fiercely
hot), there is nothing to obstruct the welcome air, and the
whole of the marble floor from one divan to the other, and
from the head of the chamber across to the murmuring
fountain, is thoroughly open and free.

So simple as this is Asiatic luxury! The Oriental is not a
contriving animal; there is nothing intricate in his
magnificence. The impossibility of handing down property
from father to son for any long period consecutively seems to
prevent the existence of those traditions by which, with us,
the refined modes of applying wealth are made known to its
inheritors. We know that in England a newly-made rich man
cannot, by taking thought and spending money, obtain even the
same-looking furniture as a gentleman. The complicated
character of an English establishment allows room for subtle
distinctions between that which is COMME IL FAUT, and that
which is not. All such refinements are unknown in the East;
the Pasha and the peasant have the same tastes. The broad
cold marble floor, the simple couch, the air freshly waving
through a shady chamber, a verse of the Koran emblazoned on
the wall, the sight and the sound of falling water, the cold
fragrant smoke of the NARGHILE, and a small collection of
wives and children in the inner apartments - these, the
utmost enjoyments of the grandee, are yet such as to be
appreciable by the humblest Mussulman in the empire.

But its gardens are the delight, the delight and the pride of
Damascus. They are not the formal parterres which you might
expect from the Oriental taste; they rather bring back to
your mind the memory of some dark old shrubbery in our
northern isle, that has been charmingly UN - "kept up" for
many and many a day. When you see a rich wilderness of wood
in decent England, it is like enough that you see it with
some soft regrets. The puzzled old woman at the lodge can
give small account of "the family."  She thinks it is "Italy"
that has made the whole circle of her world so gloomy and
sad. You avoid the house in lively dread of a lone
housekeeper, but you make your way on by the stables; you
remember that gable with all its neatly nailed trophies of
fitchets and hawks and owls, now slowly falling to pieces;
you remember that stable, and that - but the doors are all
fastened that used to be standing ajar, the paint of things
painted is blistered and cracked, grass grows in the yard;
just there, in October mornings, the keeper would wait with
the dogs and the guns - no keeper now; you hurry away, and
gain the small wicket that used to open to the touch of a
lightsome hand - it is fastened with a padlock (the only new
looking thing), and is stained with thick, green damp; you
climb it, and bury yourself in the deep shade, and strive but
lazily with the tangling briars, and stop for long minutes to
judge and determine whether you will creep beneath the long
boughs and make them your archway, or whether perhaps you
will lift your heel and tread them down under foot. Long
doubt, and scarcely to be ended till you wake from the memory
of those days when the path was clear, and chase that phantom
of a muslin sleeve that once weighed warm upon your arm.

Wild as that, the nighest woodland of a deserted home in
England, but without its sweet sadness, is the sumptuous
garden of Damascus. Forest trees, tall and stately enough if
you could see their lofty crests, yet lead a tussling life of
it below, with their branches struggling against strong
numbers of bushes and wilful shrubs. The shade upon the
earth is black as night. High, high above your head, and on
every side all down to the ground, the thicket is hemmed in
and choked up by the interlacing boughs that droop with the
weight of roses, and load the slow air with their damask
breath. *  There are no other flowers. Here and there, there
are patches of ground made clear from the cover, and these
are either carelessly planted with some common and useful
vegetable, or else are left free to the wayward ways of
Nature, and bear rank weeds, moist-looking and cool to the
eyes, and freshening the sense with their earthy and bitter
fragrance. There is a lane opened through the thicket, so
broad in some places that you can pass along side by side; in
some so narrow (the shrubs are for ever encroaching) that you
ought, if you can, to go on the first and hold back the bough
of the rose-tree. And through this wilderness there tumbles
a loud rushing stream, which is halted at last in the lowest
corner of the garden, and there tossed up in a fountain by
the side of the simple alcove. This is all.

* The rose-trees which I saw were all of the kind we call
"damask"; they grow to an immense height and size.

Never for an instant will the people of Damascus attempt to
separate the idea of bliss from these wild gardens and
rushing waters. Even where your best affections are
concerned, and you, prudent preachers, "hold hard" and turn
aside when they come near the mysteries of the happy state,
and we (prudent preachers too), we will hush our voices, and
never reveal to finite beings the joys of the "earthly


"THE ruins of Baalbec!"  Shall I scatter the vague, solemn
thoughts and all the airy phantasies which gather together
when once those words are spoken, that I may give you instead
tall columns and measurements true, and phrases built with
ink? No, no; the glorious sounds shall still float on as of
yore, and still hold fast upon your brain with their own dim
and infinite meaning.

Come! Baalbec is over; I got "rather well" out of that.

The path by which I crossed the Lebanon is like, I think, in
its features to one which you must know, namely, that of the
Foorca in the Bernese Oberland. For a great part of the way
I toiled rather painfully through the dazzling snow, but the
labour of ascending added to the excitement with which I
looked for the summit of the pass. The time came. There was
a minute in the which I saw nothing but the steep, white
shoulder of the mountain, and there was another minute, and
that the next, which showed me a nether heaven of fleecy
clouds that floated along far down in the air beneath me, and
showed me beyond the breadth of all Syria west of the
Lebanon. But chiefly I clung with my eyes to the dim,
steadfast line of the sea which closed my utmost view. I had
grown well used of late to the people and the scenes of
forlorn Asia - well used to tombs and ruins, to silent cities
and deserted plains, to tranquil men and women sadly veiled;
and now that I saw the even plain of the sea, I leapt with an
easy leap to its yonder shores, and saw all the kingdoms of
the West in that fair path that could lead me from out of
this silent land straight on into shrill Marseilles, or round
by the pillars of Hercules to the crash and roar of London.
My place upon this dividing barrier was as a man's puzzling
station in eternity, between the birthless past and the
future that has no end. Behind me I left an old, decrepit
world; religions dead and dying; calm tyrannies expiring in
silence; women hushed and swathed, and turned into waxen
dolls; love flown, and in its stead mere royal and "paradise"
pleasures. Before me there waited glad bustle and strife;
love itself, an emulous game; religion, a cause and a
controversy, well smitten and well defended; men governed by
reasons and suasion of speech; wheels going, steam buzzing -
a mortal race, and a slashing pace, and the devil taking the
hindmost - taking ME, by Jove (for that was my inner care),
if I lingered too long upon the difficult pass that leads
from thought to action.

I descended and went towards the west.

The group of cedars remaining on this part of the Lebanon is
held sacred by the Greek Church on account of a prevailing
notion that the trees were standing at a time when the temple
of Jerusalem was built. They occupy three or four acres on
the mountain's side, and many of them are gnarled in a way
that implies great age, but except these signs I saw nothing
in their appearance or conduct that tended to prove them
contemporaries of the cedars employed in Solomon's Temple.
The final cause to which these aged survivors owed their
preservation was explained to me in the evening by a glorious
old fellow (a Christian chief), who made me welcome in the
valley of Eden. In ancient times the whole range of the
Lebanon had been covered with cedars, and as the fertile
plains beneath became more and more infested by government
officers and tyrants of high and low degree, the people by
degrees abandoned them and flocked to the rugged mountains,
which were less accessible to their indolent oppressors. The
cedar forests gradually shrank under the axe of the
encroaching multitudes, and seemed at last to be on the point
of disappearing entirely, when an aged chief who ruled in
this district, and who had witnessed the great change
effected even in his own life-time, chose to say that some
sign or memorial should be left of the vast woods with which
the mountains had formerly been clad, and commanded
accordingly that this group of trees (which was probably
situated at the highest point to which the forest had
reached) should remain untouched. The chief, it seems, was
not moved by the notion I have mentioned as prevailing in the
Greek Church, but rather by some sentiment of veneration for
a great natural feature - sentiment akin, perhaps, to that
old and earthborn religion, which made men bow down to
creation before they had yet learnt how to know and worship
the Creator.

The chief of the valley in which I passed the night was a man
of large possessions, and he entertained me very sumptuously.
He was highly intelligent, and had had the sagacity to
foresee that Europe would intervene authoritatively in the
affairs of Syria. Bearing this idea in mind, and with a view
to give his son an advantageous start in the ambitious career
for which he was destined, he had hired for him a teacher of
the Italian language, the only accessible European tongue.
The tutor, however, who was a native of Syria, either did not
know or did not choose to teach the European forms of
address, but contented himself with instructing his pupil in
the mere language of Italy. This circumstance gave me an
opportunity (the only one I ever had, or was likely to have
*) of hearing the phrases of Oriental courtesy in an European
tongue. The boy was about twelve or thirteen years old, and
having the advantage of being able to speak to me without the
aid of an interpreter, he took a prominent part in doing the
honours of his father's house. He went through his duties
with untiring assiduity, and with a kind of gracefulness,
which by mere description can scarcely be made intelligible
to those who are unacquainted with the manners of the
Asiatics. The boy's address resembled a little that of a
highly polished and insinuating Roman Catholic priest, but
had more of girlish gentleness. It was strange to hear him
gravely and slowly enunciating the common and extravagant
compliments of the East in good Italian, and in soft,
persuasive tones. I recollect that I was particularly amused
at the gracious obstinacy with which he maintained that the
house in which I was so hospitably entertained belonged not
to his father, but to me. To say this once was only to use
the common form of speech, signifying no more than our sweet
word "welcome," but the amusing part of the matter was that,
whenever in the course of conversation I happened to speak of
his father's house or the surrounding domain, the boy
invariably interfered to correct my pretended mistake, and to
assure me once again with a gentle decisiveness of manner
that the whole property was really and exclusively mine, and
that his father had not the most distant pretensions to its

* A dragoman never interprets in terms the courteous language
of the East.

I received from my host much, and (as I now know) most true,
information respecting the people of the mountains, and their
power of resisting Mehemet Ali. The chief gave me very
plainly to understand that the mountaineers, being dependent
upon others for bread and gunpowder (the two great
necessaries of martial life), could not long hold out against
a power which occupied the plains and commanded the sea; but
he also assured me, and that very significantly, that if this
source of weakness were provided against, THE MOUNTAINEERS
WERE TO BE DEPENDED UPON; he told me that in ten or fifteen
days the chiefs could bring together some fifty thousand
fighting men.


WHILST I was remaining upon the coast of Syria I had the good
fortune to become acquainted with the Russian Sataliefsky, *
a general officer, who in his youth had fought and bled at
Borodino, but was now better known among diplomats by the
important trust committed to him at a period highly critical
for the affairs of Eastern Europe. I must not tell you his
family name; my mention of his title can do him no harm, for
it is I, and I only, who have conferred it, in consideration
of the military and diplomatic services performed under my
own eyes.

The General as well as I was bound for Smyrna, and we agreed
to sail together in an Ionian brigantine. We did not charter
the vessel, but we made our arrangement with the captain upon
such terms that we could be put ashore upon any part of the
coast that we might choose. We sailed, and day after day the
vessel lay dawdling on the sea with calms and feeble breezes
for her portion. I myself was well repaid for the painful
restlessness which such weather occasions, because I gained
from my companion a little of that vast fund of interesting
knowledge with which he was stored, knowledge a thousand
times the more highly to be prized since it was not of the
sort that is to be gathered from books, but only from the
lips of those who have acted a part in the world.

* A title signifying transcender or conqueror of Satalieh.

When after nine days of sailing, or trying to sail, we found
ourselves still hanging by the mainland to the north of the
isle of Cyprus, we determined to disembark at Satalieh, and
to go on thence by land. A light breeze favoured our
purpose, and it was with great delight that we neared the
fragrant land, and saw our anchor go down in the bay of
Satalieh, within two or three hundred yards of the shore.

The town of Satalieh * is the chief place of the Pashalic in
which it is situate, and its citadel is the residence of the
Pasha. We had scarcely dropped our anchor when a boat from
the shore came alongside with officers on board, who
announced that the strictest orders had been received for
maintaining a quarantine of three weeks against all vessels
coming from Syria, and directed accordingly that no one from
the vessel should disembark. In reply we sent a message to
the Pasha, setting forth the rank and titles of the General,
and requiring permission to go ashore. After a while the
boat came again alongside, and the officers declaring that
the orders received from Constantinople were imperative and
unexceptional, formally enjoined us in the name of the Pasha
to abstain from any attempt to land.

* Spelt "Attalia" and sometimes "Adalia" in English books and

I had been hitherto much less impatient of our slow voyage
than my gallant friend, but this opposition made the smooth
sea seem to me like a prison, from which I must and would
break out. I had an unbounded faith in the feebleness of
Asiatic potentates, and I proposed that we should set the
Pasha at defiance. The General had been worked up to a state
of most painful agitation by the idea of being driven from
the shore which smiled so pleasantly before his eyes, and he
adopted my suggestion with rapture.

We determined to land.

To approach the sweet shore after a tedious voyage, and then
to be suddenly and unexpectedly prohibited from landing -
this is so maddening to the temper, that no one who had ever
experienced the trial would say that even the most violent
impatience of such restraint is wholly inexcusable. I am not
going to pretend, however, that the course which we chose to
adopt on the occasion can be perfectly justified. The
impropriety of a traveller's setting at naught the
regulations of a foreign State is clear enough, and the bad
taste of compassing such a purpose by mere gasconading is
still more glaringly plain. I knew perfectly well that if
the Pasha understood his duty, and had energy enough to
perform it, he would order out a file of soldiers the moment
we landed, and cause us both to be shot upon the beach,
without allowing more contact than might be absolutely
necessary for the purpose of making us stand fire; but I also
firmly believed that the Pasha would not see the befitting
line of conduct nearly so well as I did, and that even if he
did know his duty, he would hardly succeed in finding
resolution enough to perform it.

We ordered the boat to be got in readiness, and the officers
on shore seeing these preparations, gathered together a
number of guards, who assembled upon the sands. We saw that
great excitement prevailed, and that messengers were
continually going to and fro between the shore and the
citadel. Our captain, out of compliment to his Excellency,
had provided the vessel with a Russian war-flag, which he had
hoisted alternately with the Union Jack, and we agreed that
we would attempt our disembarkation under this, the Russian
standard! I was glad when we came to that resolution, for I
should have been sorry to engage the honoured flag of England
in such an affair as that which we were undertaking. The
Russian ensign was therefore committed to one of the sailors,
who took his station at the stern of the boat. We gave
particular instructions to the captain of the brigantine, and
when all was ready, the General and I, with our respective
servants, got into the boat, and were slowly rowed towards
the shore. The guards gathered together at the point for
which we were making, but when they saw that our boat went on
without altering her course, THEY CEASED TO STAND VERY STILL;
none of them ran away, or even shrank back, but they looked
as if THE PACK WERE BEING SHUFFLED, every man seeming
desirous to change places with his neighbour. They were
still at their post, however, when our oars went in, and the
bow of our boat ran up - well up upon the beach.

The General was lame by an honourable wound received at
Borodino, and could not without some assistance get out of
the boat; I, therefore, landed the first. My instructions to
the captain were attended to with the most perfect accuracy,
for scarcely had my foot indented the sand when the four six-
pounders of the brigantine quite gravely rolled out their
brute thunder. Precisely as I had expected, the guards and
all the people who had gathered about them gave way under the
shock produced by the mere sound of guns, and we were all
allowed to disembark with the least molestation.

We immediately formed a little column, or rather, as I should
have called it, a procession, for we had no fighting aptitude
in us, and were only trying, as it were, how far we could go
in frightening full-grown children. First marched the sailor
with the Russian flag of war bravely flying in the breeze,
then came the general and I, then our servants, and lastly,
if I rightly recollect, two more of the brigantine's crew.
Our flag-bearer so exulted in his honourable office, and bore
the colours aloft with so much of pomp and dignity, that I
found it exceedingly hard to keep a grave countenance. We
advanced towards the castle, but the people had now had time
to recover from the effect of the six-pounders (only of
course loaded with powder), and they could not help seeing
not only the numerical weakness of our party, but the very
slight amount of wealth and resource which it seemed to
imply. They began to hang round us more closely, and just as
this reaction was beginning the General, who was perfectly
unacquainted with the Asiatic character, thoughtlessly turned
round in order to speak to one of the servants. The effect
of this slight move was magical. The people thought we were
going to give way, and instantly closed round us. In two
words, and with one touch, I showed my comrade the danger he
was running, and in the next instant we were both advancing
more pompously than ever. Some minutes afterwards there was
a second appearance of reaction, followed again by wavering
and indecision on the part of the Pasha's people, but at
length it seemed to be understood that we should go
unmolested into the audience hall.

Constant communication had been going on between the receding
crowd and the Pasha, and so when we reached the gates of the
citadel we saw that preparations were made for giving us an
awe-striking reception. Parting at once from the sailors and
our servants, the General and I were conducted into the
audience hall; and there at least I suppose the Pasha hoped
that he would confound us by his greatness. The hall was
nothing more than a large whitewashed room. Oriental
potentates have a pride in that sort of simplicity, when they
can contrast it with the exhibition of power, and this the
Pasha was able to do, for the lower end of the hall was
filled with his officers. These men, of whom I thought there
were about fifty or sixty, were all handsomely, though
plainly, dressed in the military frockcoats of Europe; they
stood in mass and so as to present a hollow semicircular
front towards the upper end of the hall at which the Pasha
sat; they opened a narrow lane for us when we entered, and as
soon as we had passed they again closed up their ranks. An
attempt was made to induce us to remain at a respectful
distance from his mightiness. To have yielded in this point
would have have been fatal to our success, perhaps to our
lives; but the General and I had already determined upon the
place which we should take, and we rudely pushed on towards
the upper end of the hall.

Upon the divan, and close up against the right hand corner of
the room, there sat the Pasha, his limbs gathered in, the
whole creature coiled up like an adder. His cheeks were
deadly pale, and his lips perhaps had turned white, for
without moving a muscle the man impressed me with an immense
idea of the wrath within him. He kept his eyes inexorably
fixed as if upon vacancy, and with the look of a man
accustomed to refuse the prayers of those who sue for life.
We soon discomposed him, however, from this studied fixity of
feature, for we marched straight up to the divan and sat
down, the Russian close to the Pasha, and I by the side of
the Russian. This act astonished the attendants, and plainly
disconcerted the Pasha. He could no longer maintain the
glassy stillness of the eyes which he had affected, and
evidently became much agitated. At the feet of the satrap
there stood a trembling Italian.

This man was a sort of medico in the potentate's service,
and now in the absence of our attendants he was to act as
interpreter. The Pasha caused him to tell us that we had
openly defied his authority, and had forced our way on shore
in the teeth of his own officers.

Up to this time I had been the planner of the enterprise,
but now that the moment had come when all would depend upon
able and earnest speechifying, I felt at once the immense
superiority of my gallant friend, and gladly left to him the
whole conduct of this discussion. Indeed he had vast
advantages over me, not only by his superior command of
language and his far more spirited style of address, but also
in his consciousness of a good cause; for whilst I felt
myself completely in the wrong, his Excellency had really
worked himself up to believe that the Pasha's refusal to
permit our landing was a gross outrage and insult.
Therefore, without deigning to defend our conduct he at once
commenced a spirited attack upon the Pasha. The poor Italian
doctor translated one or two sentences to the Pasha, but he
evidently mitigated their import. The Russian, growing warm,
insisted upon his attack with redoubled energy and spirit;
but the medico, instead of translating, began to shake
violently with terror, and at last he came out with his NON
ARDISCO, and fairly confessed that he dared not interpret
fierce words to his master.

Now then, at a time when everything seemed to depend upon
the effect of speech, we were left without an interpreter.

But this very circumstance, which at first appeared so
unfavourable, turned out to be advantageous. The General,
finding that he could not have his words translated, ceased
to speak in Italian, and recurred to his accustomed French;
he became eloquent. No one present except myself understood
one syllable of what he was saying, but he had drawn forth
his passport, and the energy and violence with which, as he
spoke, he pointed to the graven Eagle of all the Russias,
began to make an impression. The Pasha saw at his side a man
not only free from every the least pang of fear, but raging,
as it seemed, with just indignation, and thenceforward he
plainly began to think that, in some way or other (he could
not tell how) he must certainly have been in the wrong. In a
little time he was so much shaken that the Italian ventured
to resume his interpretation, and my comrade had again the
opportunity of pressing his attack upon the Pasha. His
argument, if I rightly recollect its import, was to this
effect: "If the vilest Jews were to come into the harbour,
you would but forbid them to land, and force them to perform
quarantine; yet this is the very course, O Pasha, which your
rash officers dared to think of adopting with US! - those mad
and reckless men would have actually dealt towards a Russian
general officer and an English gentleman as if they had been
wretched Israelites! Never - never will we submit to such an
indignity. His Imperial Majesty knows how to protect his
nobles from insult, and would never endure that a General of
his army should be treated in matter of quarantine as though
he were a mere Eastern Jew!"  This argument told with great
effect. The Pasha fairly admitted that he felt its weight,
and he now only struggled to obtain such a compromise as
might partly save his dignity. He wanted us to perform a
quarantine of one day for form's sake, and in order to show
his people that he was not utterly defied; but finding that
we were inexorable, he not only abandoned his attempt, but
promised to supply us with horses.

When the discussion had arrived at this happy conclusion
TCHIBOUQUES and coffee were brought, and we passed, I think,
nearly an hour in friendly conversation. The Pasha, it now
appeared, had once been a prisoner of war in Russia, and a
conviction of the Emperor's vast power, necessarily acquired
during this captivity, made him perhaps more alive than an
untravelled Turk would have been to the force of my comrade's

The Pasha now gave us a generous feast. Our promised horses
were brought without much delay. I gained my loved saddle
once more, and when the moon got up and touched the heights
of Taurus, we were joyfully winding our way through the first
of his rugged defiles.


IT was late when we came in sight of two high conical hills,
on one of which stands the village of Djouni, on the other a
circular wall, over which dark trees were waving; and this
was the place in which Lady Hester Stanhope had finished her
strange and eventful career. It had formerly been a convent,
but the Pasha of Sidon had given it to the "prophet-lady,"
who converted its naked walls into a palace, and its
wilderness into gardens.

The sun was setting as we entered the enclosure, and we were
soon scattered about the outer court, picketing our horses,
rubbing down their foaming flanks, and washing out their
wounds. The buildings that constituted the palace were of a
very scattered and complicated description, covering a wide
space, but only one storey in height: courts and gardens,
stables and sleeping-rooms, halls of audience and ladies'
bowers, were strangely intermingled. Heavy weeds were
growing everywhere among the open portals, and we forced our
way with difficulty through a tangle of roses and jasmine to
the inner court; here choice flowers once bloomed, and
fountains played in marble basins, but now was presented a
scene of the most melancholy desolation. As the watchfire
blazed up, its gleam fell upon masses of honeysuckle and
woodbine, on white, mouldering walls beneath, and dark,
waving trees above; while the group of mountaineers who
gathered round its light, with their long beards and vivid
dresses, completed the strange picture.

The clang of sword and spear resounded through the long
galleries; horses neighed among bowers and boudoirs; strange
figures hurried to and fro among the colonnades, shouting in
Arabic, English, and Italian; the fire crackled, the startled
bats flapped their heavy wings, and the growl of distant
thunder filled up the pauses in the rough symphony.

Our dinner was spread on the floor in Lady Hester's
favourite apartment; her deathbed was our sideboard, her
furniture our fuel, her name our conversation. Almost before
the meal was ended two of our party had dropped asleep over
their trenchers from fatigue; the Druses had retired from the
haunted precincts to their village; and W-, L-, and I went
out into the garden to smoke our pipes by Lady Hester's
lonely tomb. About midnight we fell asleep upon the ground,
wrapped in our capotes, and dreamed of ladies and tombs and
prophets till the neighing of our horses announced the dawn.

After a hurried breakfast on fragments of the last night's
repast we strolled out over the extensive gardens. Here many
a broken arbour and trellis, bending under masses of jasmine
and honeysuckle, show the care and taste that were once
lavished on this wild but beautiful hermitage: a garden-
house, surrounded by an enclosure of roses run wild, lies in
the midst of a grove of myrtle and bay trees. This was Lady
Hester's favourite resort during her lifetime; and now,
within its silent enclosure,

"After life's fitful fever she sleeps well."

The hand of ruin has dealt very sparingly with all these
interesting relics; the Pasha's power by day, and the fear of
spirits by night, keep off marauders; and though we made free
with broken benches and fallen doorposts for fuel, we
reverently abstained from displacing anything in the
establishment except a few roses, which there was no living
thing but bees and nightingales to regret. It was one of the
most striking and interesting spots I ever witnessed: its
silence and beauty, its richness and desolation, lent to it a
touching and mysterious character, that suited well the
memory of that strange hermit-lady who has made it a place of
pilgrimage, even in Palestine. *

The Pasha of Sidon presented Lady Hester with the deserted
convent of Mar Elias on her arrival in his country, and this
she soon converted into a fortress, garrisoned by a band of
Albanians: her only attendants besides were her doctor, her
secretary, and some female slaves. Public rumour soon busied
itself with such a personage, and exaggerated her influence
and power. It is even said that she was crowned Queen of the
East at Palmyra by fifty thousand Arabs. She certainly
exercised almost despotic power in her neighbourhood on the
mountain; and what was perhaps the most remarkable proof of
her talents, she prevailed on some Jews to advance large sums
of money to her on her note of hand. She lived for many
years, beset with difficulties and anxieties, but to the last
she held on gallantly: even when confined to her bed and
dying she sought for no companionship or comfort but such as
she could find in her own powerful, though unmanageable,

Mr. Moore, our consul at Beyrout, hearing she was ill, rode
over the mountains to visit her, accompanied by Mr. Thomson,
the American missionary. It was evening when they arrived,
and a profound silence was over all the palace. No one met
them; they lighted their own lamps in the outer court, and
passed unquestioned through court and gallery until they came
to where SHE lay. A corpse was the only inhabitant of the
palace, and the isolation from her kind which she had sought
so long was indeed complete. That morning thirty-seven
servants had watched every motion of her eye: its spell once
darkened by death, every one fled with such plunder as they
could secure. A little girl, adopted by her and maintained
for years, took her watch and some papers on which she had
set peculiar value. Neither the child nor the property were
ever seen again. Not a single thing was left in the room
where she lay dead, except the ornaments upon her person. No
one had ventured to touch these; even in death she seemed
able to protect herself. At midnight her countryman and the
missionary carried her out by torchlight to a spot in the
garden that had been formerly her favourite resort, and here
they buried the self-exiled lady. - FROM "THE CRESCENT AND

* While Lady Hester Stanhope lived, although numbers visited
the convent, she almost invariably refused admittance to
strangers. She assigned as a reason the use which M. de
Lamartine had made of his interview. Mrs. T., who passed
some weeks at Djouni, told me, that when Lady Hester read his
account of this interview, she exclaimed, "It is all false;
we did not converse together for more than five minutes; but
no matter, no traveller hereafter shall betray or forge my
conversation."  The author of "Eothen," however, was her
guest, and has given us an interesting account of his visit
in his brilliant volume.

          The End

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