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in gala costume; the men following later — the sheikhs and village notables, to the number of about twenty, being mounted, and preceded by a band of youths on foot chanting their songs of love and war. Whenever we reach an open, level, tempting space, the horsemen dash to and fro with their mock jereed-playing, and the young men fire their guns; and so we march for an hour till we reach our destination, where the young women have already assembled, and are beginning to form in dancing circles. The young men lose no time in following their example. The old women sit and gossip under the shade of such small trees as they can find, apart from the elder men, who spread their mats in the most eligible spots, and sip their coffee, and discuss their political, religious, or financial concerns.
mountain indicates. But under native | the whole village took part, culture the vines are allowed to sprawl and girls starting at a very early hour in over the ground at will: the consequence the morning on foot and donkey-back, clad is, that the grapes get wasted on the hot stones by day and chilled by the night dews, and one third of the crop is lost unless they are picked prematurely. They are, moreover, much attacked by the jackals at night. These animals have a passion for grapes; and in every vineyard is a leaf hut, in which the proprietor or one of his family watches all night with their dogs, beating old petroleum-tins, or playing on their scarcely less discordant pipes, to scare away thieves, whether of four legs or two. I had always supposed till now that Æsop had endowed his fox with an unnatural taste when he hankered after sweet grapes as an article of diet; but jackals seem to be not so particular as foxes, for they eat the grapes when they are decidedly sour. The natives of Dahlieh rarely ever carry their grapes to market as far as Haifa, but send them to Tireh, a village about seven miles off, where there is a grove of thirty thousand olive-trees, and exchange their grapes for olive-oil or carobs. The system of barter, indeed, enters largely into the habits of these simple people: they exchange their bees-wax for soap, their grain for pottery jars and other household utensils that they cannot make, and the fruits and produce they grow for those of various kinds which they need. As their wants are limited, their system of agriculture primitive, their natural tendencies indolent, and the taxes of the government are oppressive, they lack the inducements to enterprise which under other circumstances would stimulate their energies. Indeed, considering the discouraging conditions under which existence is main tained, it is wonderful how light-hearted and cheerful these poor peasants are. I am speaking now of the Druses, of whom alone I have had experience. They have their religious festivals, which usually take the form of picnics, generally to some sacred spot or the shrine of a venerated saint. Sometimes it is to the cave of Elijah, situated below the Carmelite Monastery; sometimes to the Mukrakha, or place of his sacrifice; at others to some still more distant locality. I have upon two occasions accepted invitations to join in these festivals -once at the Mukrakha, and once at the Neby Schaib, supposed to be the burial-place of Jethro, the fatherin-law of Moses, near the village of Hattin, distant from here a good day's journey. The first was a local affair, in which nearly
The Carmelite monks have, within the last year, built a chapel on the place of Elijah's sacrifice; but as none of them live there, it is left under the charge of a Druse family of Dahlieh. As he has the keys, he opens it freely to his coreligionists, who troop in, the females gazing open-mouthed at the ornaments on the altar; and then they finally betake themselves to the flat roof, and finding it in the highest degree available for dancing purposes, they form their terpsichorean circles on its smooth surface. I wondered, as I gazed on these groups of lively performers, whether the roof of a Roman Catholic chapel had ever been put to such a use before.
The dances, which are somewhat monotonous, and always in the highest degree proper, consist of circles of dancers, either male or female, who clasp each other by their girdles, moving round in measured step. In the centre of the girls' circle, one or two of their number wave handkerchiefs or scarves above their heads, and keep time to the music, which consists of chanting, hand-clapping, and sometimes pipes; while the men in the centre of the men's circle flourish swords. Throughout the day's entertainment, the two sexes keep carefully apart, which, considering the exceptional beauty of the Druse girls of Dahlieh, must be rather trying to the young men of that village.
The costume of the women, who in this part of the country make no attempt to conceal their generally pretty faces, is eminently becoming, and consists of a loose outer garment or sort of cloak, of
of which was a piece of alabaster containing the imprint of a human foot of natural size. The toes were not defined, but the impression was so distinct, that it was easy to understand why it should have seized hold of the popular imagination. It was of course believed to be the footprint of the prophet, and the Druses said that it exuded a perpetual moisture, which, however, I failed to perceive. In curious contrast to these sacred objects was the scene which was taking place in the venerated chamber that contained them. When I visited it, it was being used as the ladies' dining room, and was crowded with a laughing, chattering, feeding feminine multitude, with their glorious eyes, white, regular teeth, bewitching smiles,
a rich color, linen or woollen, open all down the front so as to display the whole under-dress, with light sleeves, cut above the elbow, the whole trimmed with either wide bands of reddish satin, or with a rich cross-stitch embroidery of silk. The unsightliness of the bagging trousers of dark blue is lost under the long, semitransparent chemise, which falls over them so as nearly to cover them as a white tunic, generally striped with thicker white, and tastefully embroidered with silk round the neck. The white sleeves of the chemise, widely pointed, and which flow about the forearm after escaping from the short cloak sleeve, form a simple but very graceful feature of this costume, whether they float freely or are twisted for convenience in work about the elbow. and delicate fingers plunged up to the Scarves of various bright colors are wound knuckles into huge piles of greasy rice. about the waist, and the cloak is usually On the terraces and in the court below caught together below the bosom, giving men were dancing; while the sheikhs and that double girdle often presented in an- ukkul, or initiated into the holy myste cient classical costume. The simple long ries, who despise all such frivolities which white cloth, with the centre of one edge are permitted to the youth of both sexes, drawn low upon the forehead, its two ends were seated in a solemn circle apart, dishanging down the back almost to the cussing either religion or the political heels, bound fast by a wide fillet of bril- questions affecting the interests of their liant color tied round the head, completes nation, most probably the latter, for very attractively, with its ancient Egyp- there can be no doubt that they utilize tian appearance, this simple but highly these pious gatherings for secular purcharacteristic dress, which is enhanced by necklaces and bangles, according to the rank and position of the wearer.
poses the exclusive character of their religion, and the secrecy which surrounds it, enabling them to organize in a special manner, while the theocratic element which enters into their political constitution gives them a power for combined action which the Christian sects, with their jealousies, bigotry, and internal dissensions, do not enjoy.
Soon after sunset the uproar died away, the elders wished me good-night, and silently trooped up-stairs to the great hall, whence issued the younger part of the female community, and I retired to the door of my tent, to sit in the bright moon. light and contemplate the strange surroundings of my night quarters.
I had the best opportunity of observing all these particulars on the occasion of my trip to the Neby Schaib, in company with the pilgrimage of Dahlieh Druses to that venerated shrine. Here were gathered the sheikhs and the most important rep. resentatives of some twelve or fourteen villages, each sheikh arriving like some feudal chief of old, surrounded by his clansmen singing and firing, and by women screaming. I remained encamped there three days, during which the festival lasted, and gained an insight into Druse religious observances and national manners which is not often enjoyed by an outsider. Soon there broke upon the stillness of The shrine was most picturesquely situ- the night the measured cadence of a saated in a narrow rocky gorge, and con- cred chant. Now it swelled, as numerous sisted of a lofty, dome-shaped building, voices, male and female, took up the cho the upper chamber of which is about sev-rus; now it died away to a single voice. enty feet long by forty wide, and contains Not often before, probably, had a stranthe tomb of the prophet, enclosed in a wooden screen hung with red cloth, while over the tomb itself was spread a sort of green silk pall embroidered with gold stars. Some of the Druse sheikhs who accompanied me, reverently pressed their lips to this. They then pointed out a square block of limestone, in the centre
ger been able to listen so closely to the tones and rhythmical sounds which characterize the mysterious and occult wor ship of the Druses. It differs from all other religions in this, that they address no prayers or invocations to the Deity, and from most Oriental religions, that the women take part in some of their cere
monies. Not in all, however, for upon | aspicely about Miss Cusey For she was the following night the women were ex- the ondel one as i new so pleas my worthy cluded. Throughout the greater part of gentil Man sind me a anser by retourne two consecutive nights, to my certain of poste to Michael S. of G knowledge, did these services last; though, as I fell asleep, on each occasion, towards morning, I cannot precisely say at what hour they were concluded.
It will be seen from this narrative of some of my experiences of life in a Druse village in the most romantic and historical mountain in Palestine, that it is one's own fault if it is dull or monotonous, and that, for those who are not afraid of making interests for themselves, while they become identified with those by which they are surrounded, it is not without its responsibilities and its charm.
From Chambers' Journal.
BY AN AGENT.
IT is a very true saying that there are "bad and good" people in the world; it may equally be applied to the Irish tenants in the present days of "Land-leagueism." I am an agent, and, with the few exceptions proving the rule, I have never met with incivility. My correspondence is very large, and some of the letters I have received from tenants are so amus. ing, that from time to time I have laid a choice one by. Indeed, so amusing are they, that I have decided on sending a few to the press, just to show that there still remain a few genuine, honest Irishmen in the world, though for obvious reasons I have suppressed the real names of the writers or people referred to in them. The following letter I received in acknowledgment of some eye ointment I sent to a poor tenant who was suffering from a sore eye:
The next letter I shall give is from a tenant asking me to vote for a cousin of his, who was anxious to obtain the post of relieving officer for the Union in another county. The way he words his request amused me by its naïveté :
SIR I Beg a favour from ye i now ye ar aquanted with Mister their is a 20nd Cusin of Mine Proposing as Candadate for Relevin officership for M— Union i Beg of ye Sir to write Letter an till him to vote for My Cusin John or any other gintlemen you ar enfluenced i now thrust that your Honour will do all in yer power for to Canvas all you can for me as well as if it were meself were goin for it i will give u all the Kredit that the world can aford If you use Half yer enfluence for me your faithful servant Pat
Pleas sind me Sir an anser to say what you are to do I recived 2 recepts with thanks.
No more at prisent — Tusday.
The following letter, too, is decidedly characteristic in the request it contains: CAPTIN
I sint you 28 no shillins an nine pinse yesterday I inclose poor rate recpt I got the first instalment of the Loan I am very thankfull intirely to you Captin that you may live long an die happey I remain your obdient TIMOTHY B
pleas see the other side.
Sir I made a mistak yesterday I inclose Eighten stamps Captin pleas mak a good job of me sind me what anser you like Yours agin TIMOTHY B
I suppose I must have made a good job of my friend Timothy, for we still correspond in the most affectionate manner; in fact, I heard from him about a week ago.
My worthy gentle Man its time to Retourne you thanks For your Comppile. ments ixtuse Me I Addres this to you My worthy gentle Man For I Cante Retourne you thanks for your kindness and the ilement Dun me the greatest sarvice and My ies is all Right now and My Friend the Docter is more than thanful to you My worthy gentil Man for your Cindness and i saw a man from your place I inquare About you and he toalt me you Ware ill a long time and i Felt very sad intirely at the news so I must Conclude with my best Respected toars you Captin pleas let me Now how you are and all the famely and lowing letter, beyond saying Mary had my
I was decaved by that frind of mione as I towld you of Captin I inclos for you a Bank Draft for £30 one shillin an Six pinse if you dear Captin insist on the rest you muste git it Captin dont forgit me as usual I remain Your fond TIMOTHY B.
What comment can I make on the fol
deepest sympathy, and Mr. Jerry Deneen | this poor orphan. I remain with due a reprimand on his dilatoriness? respect Your humble servant WILLIAM
Writen Thursday 18 hundred an 76. SIR my husband was very bad an died this tiome Sir I ave ben sodly put aboute by wan Jerry Deneen as behaved shamful to my poor husband Sir this was ow it hapned Tim thats my husband Sir was mioghty il an as near dyin as iver you Cee Tim says i an whoo wud ye lioke to mak yer cofin sure thin Mary says he theirs kno wan as i wud lioke to mak it bether thin Jerry Deneen only he is mioghty behinde hande in his conthracts arrah Tim says I Sir mak yer minde aisey bout that for he is shure an sartin to finis the loikes o that in dacent tiome now Sir my poore husband the lord ave Marcy on his sowl had to waite for an other nites wake for that Jerry Deneen bad cess to him niver finised the dacent mans cofin in tiome now Sir I lave the mater in yer honers handes hopin as you will punis that vilan as want to charg me fiften shillin an he to kep my poor husband watin 2 bleshet
nites for his cofin.
Yours to comande MARY C———. honored an kinde Sir may I thrust u to punis that divil Deneen.
A somewhat similar, and I might add amusing, instance happened not long ago when a tenant's wife died. It was on a Saturday night, I remember, and I did not hear of her death until Sunday. I then sent to my carpenter, and desired him to make a coffin for the remains. Next morning, on looking out of the window I saw her sons carrying the coffin from the workshop. I opened the window, and called to them to wait till I satisfied myself that it was a good one. On desiring them to lift off the cover, what was my astonishment to see the coffin filled with turnips! Passing by the turnip-pit, the bearers could not resist taking a few, for as they explained - "it felt so mioghty empty!"
Can any one wonder if I modestly blushed on perusing the following masterpiece of penmanship?
I most respectfully beg to remind you that in a conversation with you you kindly promised to vote for a License for my sister Hoping your Honr will act with that noble spirit for which you are now so characteristic in obtaining a License for
My noble spirit could not resist so charming a compliment, and I helped to obtain the license for another kind of "spirit," thereby making glad the heart of the poor orphan.
Here is another letter in which my friend Dan says "he'd walk from here to Cork" for me, and a very long walk it would be.
Ye ought for to concider an alow that my Pashion of Jalousy could not afford manes I could to pay my rint by givin me but to spake prisumptious I used all my bill to Bank and met it Honorable for it was in my Hearth an minde if ye wanted me to walk from here to Cork I wud not refus I have no more news but hoping that 15 may be worth £100 an wishin full servant DANIEL M———. prosperity to ye an yer Famely your faith
Its two empirtnant intirely for me to ixpect a letter from ye Sir kno more at the prisent.
The next and last letter I will give you to read is from a tenant who buys turkeys each year for a friend of mine. The present ones seem to have been damaging the farmer's crops.
SIPTEMBER Friday 1884.
I hope this will find you in as gud healt as it laves me at the presint thank God Sind for the turkies at onst they ave the oats that flat I have boght ye 16 couple an a halve Captin at 4 shillins an nine pinse for too i gav wan shillin arnest* minde that sind me a payhin I dont want a black payhin nor naither a white I wants a spheckled wan sind for them turkies an welcome at wanst shurely i remain Sir Yours thruly TOM MCG—.
them turkies ar small an fat an hav grate legs.
I have, I think, given sufficient reason to show that wit and honesty may still be found in dear old Ireland, and trust the perusal of these simple letters will afford amusement — though not in derision — to
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