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the way up to a hundred, which, when he ducing a little silver bowl of Damascus has reached, he bounds into the air in irre- workmanship, we had a drink all round of pressible triumph, exclaiming, “ Hassan sheep's and goat's milk, which was most Do Arab! Hassan English !!
refreshing. It was comical to see our The sister is exhausted with the heat, quiet, dignified Sheikh Nasr runding after and Sophia hovers about her arranging a and capturing a goat with much agility. couch of rugs for her to rest on; Sebaste, The poor Bedouin goat-herd was very reclining at ease with her head on Eliza obliging, and willing to give us travellers beth's lap, observes meditatively, “What as much milk as we liked. The father a place is the desert for metaphysical re- gave him a Turkish bischlik, which is search for pursuing the study of scien- equal to about half a franc. He was overtific ontology!” and falls asleep on the joyed at this, and said to the sheikh in spot. But Philippa - strong-minded, un-Arabic that he should go and tell his peocompromising Philippa - is rummaging ple how much the English governor' in her Arab saddle-bags for an ink-bottle, had been kind enough to give him.” and, sitting upright on her rug, she hero- “Wake up, Sebby!” exclaims Philically !abors at the family journal. Here ippa, shutting her ink-bottle; “ Abu Hasis an extract from the productions of her san says it is time to start." iodefatigable pen :
“My name is Sebaste, and has three “We are now really in the desert, and syllables, if you please,” says that young are much surprised to find how beautiful lady, with dignity. “You know, Philippa, the Syrian desert is - at any rate at this that I object on principle to the hashing time of year, when the rains have only up of Christian names in that way! And just ceased. On our first day of desert. I wasn't asleep, either." travelling we were much impressed by the “Why don't you ever help with the loneliness of the endless plain, over which family journal, then?" retorts Philippa. we travelled on hour after hour without Meanwhile everyone has, as Sophia seeing a single human being except our elegantly expresses it, "woken up," the own people. There was no water to be horses are saddled, the palanquins are had all the day, though there are many hoisted up between the much-enduring dry water-courses, which we suppose to mules, the tent is packed up, and onward have been made by the winter rains. The once more fare the travellers. Followed men were always on the lookout in case closely by 'Ali, Sheikh Nasr leads the some pool might still be left; but all water way, as usual in silence, except that some. had been sucked up by the sun long since. times the wild, plaintive note of a Bedouin The mountains on either side of the plain chant breaks sweetly on the stillness of are beautiful, though not very high; the the hot air. After perhaps an hour's ridplain here is from four to five miles wide, ing, the Man with the Eyes points forward and we have been coming through the across the boundless plain. The sheikh, midst of it, about equally distant from the with those eagle eyes of his which well mountains on either side. The view ahead befit his name of Nasr, follows the direcof us is perhaps the most beautiful, being tion of 'Ali's hand, and sees also what to perfectly flat, and stretching away, as it the rest of the travellers is invisible. But seems, to such an infinite distance, that presently, as they ride on, there appears, even the most prosaic and unimaginative miles and miles away on the eastern horiperson is roused up, and begins to wonder zon, a tiny wbite speck scarcely discernwhat there can be, or what there may not ible on the wide, wide ocean of green. be, in that mysterious country, so full of Then onward and onward fare the travelbeautiful tints and shadows. About mid-lers, while that white point seems to reday we pitched our lunch-tent on the cede before them till they begin to think greenest spot we saw near us, and very that the fairies are at their tricks again. glad were we of its shelter from the broil. Sometimes (when the white speck is on ing sun. We had brought water sufficient slightly rising ground) it is full two hours for ourselves; but the poor horses and before it is reached, but slowly, slowly it mules had to do without, and stood about grows and grows, until at last it develops rather disconsolately, trying to get into into the tents, the welcome tents. each other's shadow. In the afternoon we Such are the days of desert travel. Our espied, at some distance on our lest, one wanderers, having started from Damascus or two Bedouin tents, and nearer to us on Thursday morning, reach, at the end of was the flock of black sheep and goats Saturday's march, the village of Karyatên, belonging to them. Led by the sheikh, a strange little town islanded far away we cantered up to them; and Cæsar, pro- l in the vast plains of the desert. But the
description thereof shall be left for another travellers that he has himself witnessed chapter.
many of these miraculous healings, and no one who watches his face can doubt
his perfect sincerity. KARYATEN AND THE KASR EL HER.
On their return from the tomb he takes
the travellers to see his church, and then We left our travellers still advancing brings them into his own house. They over the waveless desert-ocean toward the enter a room furnished with carpets, and island-town of Karyatên, where live, sur- cushions laid round by the walls, and are rounded on all sides by the desert, fifteen most kindly received by the ladies of the hundred souls, of whom five hundred are priest's household - i..., his wife and the Christians. As the cavalcade reaches the wives of his sons, who salute their guests outskirts of the village, there comes forth by kissing their hands and pressiog them to meet it the venerable figure of a Chris- to their own foreheads. The sister, who tian priest - long-bearded and black-robed, is experienced in Oriental customs, says his head surmounted by a tall, black head- that it is “manders " to snatch away one's dress. His face beams with a kindly hand at once without allowing this ceresmile of welcome, and having greeted the mony to be completed. The guests (intravellers with the usual sign, he silently cluding various friends of the priest) then walks before, showing the way to their sit round the room on the carpets, and are tents, which have been pitched on the flat, sprinkled with rose-leaves by way of furopen space constituting the village thresh- ther welcome, after which coffee is served ing-floor.
in Oriental fashion by the priest's eldest Next day is Sunday, and, as usual when son. there is no English service to be attended, In the evening the sheikh of the town the father reads morning prayer and litang (who is a Moslem) sends the ladies of his in the sitting-tent, the interior of which household to call on the travellers. The attaios this day a temperature of 96° father is, of course, excluded; and the Fahrenheit. In the course of the morning Arab ladies, with their dark-faced, wbitethe priest reappears. Leaving his shoes robed attendant and protector, are reoutside the tent (a pretty instance of East-ceived in Irene's tent, where conversation ern politeness), he enters barefoot and is carried on through the sister, while the kindly greets each of the travellers. He visitors contentedly smoke two nargilehs, knows no European language, not even which they pass from one to the other. Greek, but a conversation is carried on | It is amusing to see the puzzled looks of through Cæsar and the sister, the only the good ladies who have never before set members of the party acquainted with eyes on such a number of sing!e womanboth Arabic and English. It seems that kind, and their intense curiosity to dis. be is called Hur Ibrahim, that he is very cover what in the world has been done poor, and that he is a priest of the people with all the husbands. Meanwhile their known as the “Greek Catholic ” Church hostesses are lost in admiration of the - not that there is, in fact, anything more sheikh's beautiful little daughter, who is Catholic about them than about any other about thirteen years old and has a charmorthodox Church men, Greek, English, oring face, full of sweet and refined inotherwise, but that they acknowledge the telligence. At last, with many pretty supremacy of the pope and conform to speeches, the visitors take their leave. some distinctively Romao uses. Presently What a satisfactory baby that was Hur Ibrahim asks permission to depart, which one of the ladies brought!” ex. and, as the travellers rise to take leave of claims Philippa, when they are gone. “I him, be removes his tall beaddress, and wish all infants could be swaddled up to looking upward, whispers a prayer over that absolutely stiff condition, so that one them and gives them his blessing. Finally could hold them without any fear of their he leaves the tent, promising to return in breaking !" the afternoon and show them the way to Next morning, at about six o'clock; our the renowned tomb of Mar Elyao. Who friends again set out on their travels, ride this saint was I know not, but it is said through the narrow fringe of standing that miraculous cures are still constantly corn on the outskirts of ihe village, and wrought at his tomb, especially on mad
• At the same time it may be right to add that the persons. The sufferer is chained up at Eastern mind (so far as one can judge without a knowlnight in the little church which contains edge of the language) seems to be immeasurably less the tomb, and in the morning is found per. without intending to deceive, say many things which once more launch forth into the desert. watch the sunset, a glorious pageant of “Did you see those patches of corn ?" gold and crimson clouds; and then Sophia says the father; "they show that the Syr. and Sebaste wander away and away in the ian desert is really cultivable laod wher- glowing rosy light toward the unattainable ever there is water. Why should not a horizon. Suddenly, before they are aware, caoal be cut from the Barada at Damas- the darkness comes down upon them, the cus and the plain irrigated ?”.
accurate than the Western, so that an Oriental will, fectly well. Hur Ibrahim assures the are not strictly and literally true.
vast dome of the sky is filled with the Philippa, before whose horrified eyes sparkling stars, and far away a faint, sil. there arises a vision of the desert neatly very, dawning light shows where the moon laid out in market gardeos, hastens to will rise, and entices them eastward on demonstrate that there is a range of hills and on, and yet a little farther. Fearing between, and that, further, the whole of to disturb the absolute silence of that ven. their progress through the desert has been erable solitude, they are talking scarcely a gradual ascent, and the subject is above a whisper in that half-metaphoric, bappily dropped. Presently the riders wholly inexplicit strain which is little more overtake their six camels, on whose than thinking in words. twenty-two water-skios they and their “I wish,” exclaims Sebaste suddenly, horses will be entirely dependent at the “ that we could fall in with some of the next camping-place. As at this time of desert fairies, and persuade two of them year there is water at various places to go back and take our places in the tents, between Damascus and Karyatên, it was so that you and I could plunge farther and thought unnecessary to bring them all the farther into the desert, and wander away way from Damascus, so that this is their and away, and never be missed! Is it not first appearance. They are certainly an oppressive sometimes to feel one's self so acquisition from an artistic point of view, tightly tethered to one's friends ? How is and give to the cavalcade a picturesque one to become acquainted with Nature if and distinguished character.
one may never be alone with her? And Fully three hours of the day's march how are we ever to find the clue of that remain to be accomplished when the Man symbolic interpretation of the material with the Eyes points out the Kasr el Hêr, world (not fanciful and metaphoric, but an ancient and ruined tower near which intrinsic and essential) which has been the tents are to be pitched. It stands on lost and forgotten for ages, but none the a slightly rising ground, and is distinctly less must assuredly somewhere exist? visible against the sky. The wanderers But the mind is free - free as the wind will long remember this place as the most to rove through worlds of nameless fanbeautiful of all their desert camping- cies, through deserts of wild thought " grounds. Yet there is no water, and in- Snakes !” suggests Sophia, with suddeed nothing at all on the spot save the den and startling emphasis. solitary ruin, the only remaining fragment “Well, I don't mean that I would go of what must once have been a building quite alone!” says Sebaste impatiently; of some grandeur, for there remains a " but I don't think it can be right to keep gateway, Dearly buried in the sand, timidly to the beaten paths forever.” whereon is some beautiful carving. No So saying: she turns away, and half one seems to know what the building orig- sings, half murmurs, in the silent air, the inally was - except perhaps those large vague words of an impromptu song: and 'outlandish, but sage and meditative The mind, the soul, the spirit, is free birds, who make their nests among the Far over the earth's sweet meadows to flee, shattered blocks of stone.
Far over the plains of the billowy sea, To the south the view is bounded by a To wander at will with steps untaught low chain of mountains, bare and desolate, Through wilds and deserts of measureless but beautified by the tender shades of blue thought; and purple which rest on them, always Free, free to soar upward afar out of view, still, yet always changing and melting into And to plunge in yon ocean of fathomless one another." They are as beautiful,”
blue. exclaims Sebaste, “as the tints on the I dare not, I dare not adventure alone, surface of Plato's ideal world !" But But venture I will, when my wings are grown 1 northward the hills have receded, and the “ Hush, hush !” whispers Sophia, stand. desert rolls away in boundless plains of ing still. “Where are the tents?" shadowy blue, looking like the sea, but The sisters look round. The vast dome vaster still and more mysteriously beau- above, the boundless plains around, are tiful.
faintly visible by the light of the stars, After supper the travellers come out to and one struggling, doubitul ray from the
risiog moon. But the tents have vanished However, when the beast is once on in the distance long ago.
his feet, the motion (though apt to induce “ I noticed the stars ; I know the direc- feelings of sea-sickness) is not at all untion, I am sure !” says Sophia.
pleasant, the exalted seat enables one to “ There, there is the ruin!” exclaims enjoy an entirely new aspect of things in Sebaste, pointing westward.
general, and the position (sitting with your Far away against the darkened sky is feet crossed on the camel's neck, and look. indistinctly visible one darker point — the ing straight forward) is certainly preferable Kasr el Hêr.
to the somewhat unnatural position of “Who could have dreamed we had feminine horse riding. wandered so far?” says Sophia.
The sisters are speedily initiated into “ I have noticed before, answers Se the mysteries of camel management, and baste, “that Time moves faster in the are soon ambitious of exchanging the slow desert, where there is nothing to interrupt swaying walk for a brisker trot. This de. his flight.”
sirable end is attained by the amiable zeal So they make all speed to get back to of Sheikh Nasr, who rides behind and the tents, watching with some compunc- whips on the camels till they mend their tion, as they draw bearer, the meandering pace considerably. Sebaste's camel is the course of a light which, sent out appar- most docile of the three, and will break ently in search of them, is making away into a trot whensoever she touches him northward, in which direction they had up with the end of the guiding-rope. So themselves set out. On their arrival they she careers along in a very independent find the whole camp in alarm at their ab- manner, and only once feels a little dissence, and every one talking of the dan- concerted – viz., when she stops her camel gers of the desert — wild beasts and so for a moment to wait for the others, where. forth. Cæsar has been exceedingly anx- upon the polite beast, naturally thinking ious, but fussiness is not one of his char- that she wishes to alight, suddenly lies acteristics, and seeing that the two have down on the spot. Altogether, the new returned, he merely announces the fact steeds prove themselves most exemplary, in an Arabic shout to the searchers, and except, indeed, when there appears at then, coming up to Sophia, says quietly, some distance to the north a herd of Bed. “You see, lady, this is not like your coun- ouin camels. This is quite too much for try," proceeding in a few forcible words of their equanimity, and they suddenly begin his outlandishly pretty English to explain to edge away very decidedly toward their the line of conduct usually adopted by a compeers, and only by much tugging at hyena when he meets any one at night. the rein on the part of their riders can be
Weeks afterwards the fact is casually induced to return to the right track. divulged that the Kasr el Hêr is a noto- At the end of four hours' riding it is rious place for the descents on travellers discovered that the cavalcade is being of Bedouin plunderers, that no Syrians somewhat delayed by having to wait for would dare to camp there unless protected the camels, which cannot travel so fast as by the presence of Europeans, and that the horses; whereupon the camel-riders Cæsar was up all that night with the think with compassion on the thirsty sheikh keeping guard.
horses and mules who, forasmuch as the The next morning three of the sisters twenty-two skins had leaked, and arrived announce their intention of mounting three at the Kasr el Hêr half empty, were put of the camels, which are forth with re- on short allowance of water last night, lieved of their empty water-skins, while and no allowance at all this morning, and Cæsar brings out quilts and rugs for the must be eagerly desiring to arrive at the riders to sit on, making them very com- well in prospect; so they signify their de. fortable before allowing the creatures to sire to return to horseback, and unwill. rise to their feet. This latter operation is ingly allow their beloved camels to kneel a somewhat critical one. First the camel, down for them to alight. with an indescribable flounder, gets up on Two hours more of very hot riding his front koees, and you are thrown back- brings them at last to the much-desired ward with nothing in the world to hold on well of the White Khan. When they 10. Suddenly the whole mountain of a arrive they have to hold their horses fast creature heaves up behind, throwing you for fear they should throw themselves violeotly forward; and finally he once down the deep well in their eagerness for more heaves himself up in front with a the water. Having obtained water for most appalling roll, nicely calculated to themselves and their dear horses (and the pitch you off altogether.
ladies care as little as their steeds for its LIVING AGE. VOL. LXXIX. 4059
stroog taste, and even for the lively polli- for rest and luncheon in the shade of one wogs disporting themselves therein), they of those strange tower-tombs of which creep into the delicious shade of their more than a hundred stand - some in pretty little tent; and while lunch is in ruins, some almost perfect - on the slopes progress, the rest of the camp springs up and at the foot of the hills which bound round them as if by magic, and their the plain of Tadmor to the south and short day's journey is at an end.
south-west. Some of them are eighty feet “ To-morrow, sir," says Cæsar, “we bigh, with six stories - square rooms with shall be at Balmyria.”
panelled ceilings ornamented with mould. ings, and still retaining traces of color; while tier above tier, from floor to ceiling
(hundreds in a single tower), are the narPALMYRA.
row loculi filled with human bones, and BRIGHTLY rises the sun which is to here and there a ghastly skeleton, with light our travellers to their long-expected fragments of tattered mummy-cloth scatgoal; and before he has been long above tered around. In one corner of the tower the horizon the cavalcade sets forth on the is always to be found a winding staircase, six hours' march to “ Tadmor in the Wil- often with wide gaps left by fallen stones, derness." * Cæsar, exhilarated by the making the ascent thereof a delight to the prospect of reaching the journey's end, enterprising, and a terror to the weak of starts this morning in a frolicsome mood, nerve. On the outside of the tower, over and greatly amuses the travellers by bis the fine doorway, is sometimes a projectearnest endeavors to get a rise out of dear iog slab supporting a large, recumbent old Abu Elias, riding at him full tilt, figure carved in stone, near which is a tabwheeling round him, and flourishiog over let with an inscription in Greek and Arahis defenceless bead that curved sword maic. which, with its beautifully embossed scab- The wanderers are too eager to rest bard, is an heirloom in the Cæsar's family. long, and are soon again on their way As for Abu Elias, he is quite content to through the pass. Suddenly the plain of be made a butt of for the occasion; and Tadmor comes into view, and there at last while Cæsar prances round him on his are the world-renowned ruins of ancient beautiful steed, he sits on his jogging old Palmyra. Long lines of graceful Corinhorse benigoly smiling.
thian columns, the entablature in many But soon all eyes are fixed on the east. places still perfect, beautiful ruins of clasero horizon, where the broad valley is at sic temples, a chaos of fallen pillars and last bounded by the converging hills, blocks of stone; and beyond, the vast pile which run in a low chain across its mouth, of the Temple of Baal. Strange ruins are leaving a narrow openiog through which these, strangest perhaps in that there is the travellers will have to go. And now, no shadow of that melancholy which, in beside this pass, become faintly visible all inhabited countries, hangs so sadly over some of those tall, mysterious towers built the remains of ancient grandeur. Here by the Palmyrenes in ancient days, before in the perpetual sunshine, under the cloudthe Roman conquest. In the general ab. less blue of the Syrian sky, and in the straction one member of the party surrep- peaceful loneliness of the Eastern deserts, titiously vanishes. Irene's little grey all is bright and fresh and silently beautidonkey (who is so handsome and valuable ful. There is nothing timeworn about that he has to wear a conspicuous neck. those graceful ruins of temples, those ethelace to divert from his own personality the real groves of columns. They seem like power of the Evil Eye) seizes the oppor- the remaios of some fairy city built in a tunity, when his mistress is safe in her night from the moonlit dews, and vanish. palanquin, and makes off on his own ac-ing before the first suabeams into wreaths count, and, to the intense mortification of of moroing mist. the rest of the party, reaches Palmyra The travellers have heard of an Arab first of all, where he is subsequently found village at Tadmor of some fifty mud-huts, with a sturdy Bedouin on his back, and but no sigo of it is visible. As they apbarely rescued from an obscure and in- proach the far-reaching ruios all is silent, glorious fate.
no living thing is stirring. Presently, in It is nearly midday when the pass is the midst of the chaos of fragments, they reached at last, and there, tired out by the catch sight of their tents, pitched almost overpowering heat, our friends settle down in the shadow of the Grand Colonnade
(some of the tent-ropes made fast to frag. 1 Kings ix. 18; 2 Chron. viii. 4.
ments of fallen columns), and within view