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index of prosperity, just as are the clean has always been their care to maintain. fallows and clipped hedges of an English Each city is like an independent state. farm.
As, however, the citizens of even AraThe soil of Arabia is a poor one, and bian towns are to a certain extent dethe almost absolute want of rain makes pendent on each other, and as, from the cultivation impossible, except in the most deficiency of the supply of food in many favored situations. It is a mistake to of them, compared with the wants of the suppose that in any part of the interior, inhabitants, they are obliged to send their except possibly in Yemen, there is a con- caravans yearly to the seacoast or the siderable tract of agricultural land. The Euphrates for corn, they have most of truth is, that the whole of Nejd is a them come long ago to a modus vivendi desert, and that the few cultivated patch while without their own walls, and in es that it can boast, have been rescued order to secure their communications painfully from their natural aridity by have put themselves each under the propurely artificial means.
tection of one of the principal Bedouin There is no such thing as water above sheykhs of its district. He, on the conground in any of the central plateaux, sideration of a yearly tribute, has guaranalthough these rise to the height of four teed them safety outside the city walls, thousand feet above the level of the sea. and the citizens are thus able to travel Even the granite range of Jebel Shammar perfectly unmolested as far as his jurisboasts not a single stream. The townsdiction extends. This vassalage to a and villages of Nejd are merely palm common lord has, moreover, been a bond oases scattered over a vast upland of of union between them; and so the towns gravel, and separated from each other by and villages of each group of oases have huge, intervening wastes. Their raison contracted ties of amity almost amountd'être lies in their wells. Wherever ing to those of a common nationality. water has been found at a few feet from
This in its simplest form has been the the surface, there towns have been built political condition of Arabia from the first and gardens planted. Their wealth is in dawn of history. A further development, their palm-groves, eked out by certain however, has ensued which connects it old-fashioned industries, and by trade more nearly with the conditions of govwith the Bedouins, who occupy the desert ernment observable eleswhere. The Bedoutside with their sheep and camels. ouin sheykh, grown rich with the tribute The common home of the Bedouins, al- of a score of towns, builds for himself though they range over every part of a castle close to one of them. There, Nejd, are the districts of red sand which with the prestige of bis rank (for Bedare known as Nefuds. These, unlike the ouin blood is still accounted purest), and barren, gravelly upland, which is almost backed by his power in the desert, he destitute of vegetation, provide them with speedily becomes the practical ruler of perennial pasture in the shape of certain the town, and from protecter of the citibushes and shrubs, and even grass. No zens becomes their sheykh. He now is peasantry, in the ordinary acceptation of dignified by them with the title of emir, the word, is found in Arabia, every one and though still merely, their sheykh, to who is not a Bedouin being a townsman. the Bedouins becomes virtually sovereign
It is to the physical features of their of the oasis. Such were, no doubt, the land thus understood that the Arabs of “ kings of Arabia” who came to visit Nejd owe the peculiar political institu- Solomon, and such, it has been asserted, tions under which, with some interludes were the “shepherd Pharaohs." of Egypt, of foreign and domestic tyranny, they rulers from without, not from within the have lived and thrived for several thou- city. Such, too, at the present day are sand years. These I will endeavor to the Ibn Rashids and the Ibn Saouds of explain. The position of the towns of Nejd. Nejd relatively to each other may be Admirably adapted, then, to the physlikened to that of the islands of an archi- ical wants of the country, and sanctioned pelago, or rather to several groups of by immemorial usage, the “shepherd islands. The desert surrounds them like government” of Arabia is popular and the sea, and they have no point of contact effective. In a land where the Ottoman one with the other in the shape of inter- government, with all the power at its disvening fields or villages, or even interven- posal, has never been able to maintain ing pastures. They are isolated in the order outside the walls of its cities, or most literal sense, and from this fact has make the highways secure for life and sprung the political individuality which it property, the native system of rule has succeeded in establishing an absolute gives an immediate answer. The citizens peace. In the whole district of Jebel address him with O Emir! O Prince ! Shammar, embracing, as it does, some of the Bedouins with O Sheykh ! or simply, the wildest deserts inhabited by some of O. Mohammed! As far as I could learn, the wildest people in the world, a trav- disputes are settled rather by traditional eller may go unarmed and unescorted usage than by any recognized code of law, without more let or hindrance than if he though doubtless the Koran is sometimes were following the high-road from West- appealed to. The criminal law is, acminster to Brighton. On every highway cording to all accounts, still simpler; a in Jebel Shammar, townsmen may be thief or robber taken red-handed for the found jogging on donkey-back alone, or first offence loses his hand, for the secon foot, carrying neither gun nor lance, ond his head. Thieving, however, even and with all their wealth with them. If in the capital, is hardly known, and there you ask about the dangers of the road, had been no case of murder or homicide they will return the question, “Are we not for many years. here in Ibn Rashid's country?” No sys- The taxation of Jebel Shammar is light, tem, however perfect, of patrols, and forts, and is levied in coin not kind, Turkish and escorts, could produce a result like money being the recognized medium of this. Ibn Rashid, having unbounded exchange. It is collected in Haïl by the power at his command in the desert, has emir's officers, in the other districts by only to decree that suspicious characters the local sheykhs, the tax levied on each shall be summarily treated, and no out- town or village being assessed according law will venture to remain an hour. The to the number of palm-trees it possesses. Bedouins will not disobey him.
I believe fourpence a tree is about the In the town of Haïl the emir is equally amount, trees under seven years old being respected, and there he exercises the tra- exempt. There is a small tax too for ditional functions of an Arabian ruler in each sheep kept for the citizens by the all their completeness. He resides in a Bedouins. This, with the tribute encastle, half within and half without the forced from the subject tribes, and the city, and maintains a body-guard of eight tribute for protection paid by the towns, hundred men, dressed in the ordinary cos- amounts to a yearly sum of perhaps tume of Arabia, but armed with silver: £60,000, while the annual passage of the hilted swords. These soldiers are clothed Persian pilgrimage through his domin. at the emir's expense, but receive from ions adds twenty or thirty thousand more him neither pay nor rations, only a kind to Ibn Rashid's exchequer. The princely of pension for their families when serving family of Haïl, of whom Mohammed ibn out of Haïl. Their service is voluntary, Rashid, the present emir, is fifth in sucthe young men wishing to enlist inscrib- cession from its original founder, has ing themselves at the castle, and being always been distinguished for its intellicalled out as occasion requires. Their gent management of finance. Without duties are light; no drill or discipline, being parsimonious, for extreme liberality more than for the daily parade at the has been one of the principles of their Mejliss or public court of justice, and oc- statecraft, they have always looked closely casionally an act of police work. A few, to receipts and expenditure. No waste however, are stationed in distant towns has been permitted, and each successive and forts to support the emir's authority, occupant of the throne (if such it can be and these I believe receive pay. They called) has made it his business to amass are respectable, orderly men, and belong treasure in gold and silver pieces. It is to the best class of citizens. Half-a-dozen impossible to estimate the value of these of them are considered sufficient to keep savings made during a period of fifty order in all the Jôf oasis.
years, but common report puts it at an The emir holds a court of justice daily immense sum. In any case, the State has in the courtyard of his palace, when he no public debt, and its budget presents settles personally all disputes. The the spectacle of a large yearly surplus. forms of justice are very summary, no The form of government, though a descase that I saw occupying more than a potism, is one very closely restricted by few minutes; but as all is public, and public opinion. The citizens of Jebel there is no suspicion of partiality or cor. Shammar have not what we should call ruption, the disputants appear contented constitutional rights; there is no that it should be so. Any one having chinery among them for the assertion of a petition then presents it, and says what their power; but there is probably no he has to say to the emir himself, who community in the old world where popu.
lar feeling exercises a more powerful in-pathy of readers on the side of true fluence on government than it does at progress and true freedom in the struggle Haïl. The emir, irresponsible as he is in which may any day break out in Arabia, individual acts, knows well that he can- between the representatives of barbarism not transgress the traditional, unwritten clothed in European forms, and civilizalaw of Arabia with impunity. An unpop- tion, real and living, though strange to us ular sheykh would cease, ipso facto, to be in its Semitic dress. All Europe knows sheykh, for though dethroned by no pub- the Turk, but who knows the Arab ? lic ceremony, and subjected to no per. Not those who spend their winter at sonal ill-treatment, he would find himself Cairo, or their spring in Palestine, and abandoned in favor of a more acceptable who complain of the endless cry of member of his family. The citizen sol. bakshish, and the beggarly ways of the diers would not support a recognized ty- natives; not even those who have penerant in the town, nor would the Bedouins trated as far as Bagdad and mixed with outside. The princes of Arabia have the fellahin of the Tigris. The Arabictherefore always to consider public opin- speaking Copt of the Nile, and the ion before all else. It has been the prin- Canaanite of Syria, are Arab only in lanciple of the Ibn Rashids to secure popu-guage, and are without the political inlarity by a strict adherence to the ancient stincts inherent in the pure race; the usages of Arabia, by a firm but impartial stard Iraki ha been for centuries a administration of justice, and by a bound- slave. These may never be worthy of less hospitality, for hospitality, as is well their independence, or capable of a selfknown, is the first and greatest of all government of which they have lost the virtues in Arab estimation. From two to traditions; but they are not real Arabians, three hundred guests are fed daily at the and should not be confounded with them. emir's palace; the poor are clothed, and The real Arabian is as proud and selfpresents of camels and clothes made to respecting, and as fully entitled by his strangers from a distance. In this way intellectual and moral powers to political the name of Ibn Rashid has been carried freedom, as any free and independent on the wings of fame throughout the citizen of any country in the world, far length and breadth of Arabia. Moham- more so than either Bulgarian or Roumed ibn Rashid, the present emir, has put manian, on whose rights all Europe has himself at the head of what may be called been called to judge. It may not be the the national party in Nejd, and is carrying duty, of England to free any race from all before him, to the discomfiture of the bondage, but at least let this one have old rivals and suzerains of his house, the nothing further to reproach her with in Ibn Saouds. These, representing the the history of its enslavement. FortuWabhabi influence, are losing ground nately the day of Ottoman tyranny in daily, and though there is no probability Asia is very near its close, and very near, of a collision between the two emirs, too, if I may indulge a hope, is the comdivided as they are by a tract of Nefud, plete and lasting freedom of Arabia. Ibn Rashid may yet find himself called
WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT. upon to fill the throne of all central Ara. bia by a general proffer of allegiance from the tribes. The Shammar clan, long the strongest
From Fraser's Magazine. and most numerous tribe in Nejd, is now
THE “CROOKIT MEG:" supplemented in its allegiance to Mohammed by the Daffiri, the Sherarat, and many others in the northern deserts, while more than one of the sheykhs of Kasim and Aared have already sent in I AM a poor hand at chronology: the their tribute to Haïl. It is conceivable only dates I can readily assimilate are that, gathering as it goes, this league of those which come from the Mediterranethe tribes may one day embrace not an : but you will please to remember that merely Jebel Shammar, Kasim, and Aared, the harvest-home at Achnagatt was on but even all Arabia. 'In the interest of the Wednesday; that the conversation those provinces now misgoverned by the recorded in the last chapter took place Turks, this is a consummation devoutly on the Thursday; and that the “ Crookit to be wished.
Meg” is timed to reach Longhaven on And now I trust that I may have suc- Monday night. So much for the days of ceeded in my endeavor to enlist the sym- | the week: I must refer you to the col
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXX. 1543
A STORY OF THE YEAR ONE.
umns of the Journal if you are anxious sicht o'a sonsy lass like you is guid for to identify the days of the month.
sair een. What wud you be pleased to Eppie was curiously restless during tak? Lucky will be here presently. Come these intervening days. She sat talking awa', Lucky, and attend to the young dreamily to her mother, who was ill in leddie. And so as I was sayin' when inbed, or wandered aimlessly about the terrupit by your lordship,” he continued, farm and among the rocks. But no one and a wicked gleam came into the drunken near her.
There was the occa- eyes — I gaed doun to Yokieshill to see sional white sail of a passing ship at sea. Joe Hacket, na, na — - I'm
wrang — Joe A flock of golden plover wheeled over the was the auld laird, and the auld laird's house: the melancholy wail of the curlew dead and damned. Preserve us a', that's was heard from the distant mosses. The actionable, and veritas convicii non exmen were at work in some outlying fields. cusat as they say in the coorts.
Or as Mennie, her mother's old servant, flitted the doctor pits it verra pleasantly, letters uneasily about her pale mistress, who of cursing, says he, being the exclusive seemed to her experienced eye to be privelege o' the Kirk. Weel, you maun growing thinner and frailer each succes- understan' as the morning was fine for sive day, - wasting away with the wasting the time o’year, I had the mear oot early year. And the weather was as still as and rode aff to veesit a client or twa. the house; the noisy, equinoctial gales And first I gaed to Mains o' Rora, for the had exhausted their passion, and the days new millart bas a gude-gangin' plea rewere soft and moist and warm, though gardin' the sma' sequels o' the outsucken the sun was invisible through the dull, multures, – bannock, knaveship, lock-andsteamy haze that rested on land and sea. gowpen, and sic like. And Rora himsel It was that ghost of the Indian summer the doited body — winna lat the tacks. which visits Scotland in October.
men at Clola cut their peats in his moss, At last Eppie could bear it no longer. for he manteens, you see, that the clause She got Watty to saddle Bess, and she cum petariis et turbariis is no in the started by herself for a canter across the charter. Anither gill, Lucky, anither gill.
The swift motion brought the But that, my dear, is a contestation that blood into her cheeks. The little mare is not regarded wi' favor by the coort, for galloped gamely, and for an hour her mis- the servitude o' feal and divot may be tress did not tighten the reins. Then of constituted by custom, in like manner as a sudden the pony came to a dead stop, the clause cum fabrilibus (whereof our - she had cast a shoe. It was well on in gude freen Rob Ranter is an ensample) the Thursday afternoon.
has fa'en into disuse. But these are kit. Fortunately the mischance had occurred tle questions o heritable richt, which on the Saddle-hill within a few hundred maun be decided by the lords o’coonsel yards of the Ale-house tavern. There is, and session, – the market-cross o’ Edin. or was, a smithy on the other side of bro’and the pier and shore o’Leith being the road. Eppie dismounted and led the communis patria. And sae, my lord,”mare to the smithy, which was growing as he became tipsier he turned more freeffulgent as the darkness gathered. Rob quently to the court, which he fancied he Ranter, the smith, was absent; but a little was addressing, — " being arrived at Yoimp, who had been blowing the bellows kieshill, as aforesaid, I tauld Mr. Hairy to keep his hand in, undertook to fasten Hacket that it wud be convenient if he wud the shoe which Eppie had picked up when sattle the sma’accoont for business under. she dismounted. The people of that dis- taken by me on the instructions o’his late trict have a curious liking for diminu- feyther. You maun understan', my lord, tives; and this little imp of the forge was that the accoont was maist rediculously familarly and affectionately known as “the sma' – nae aboon twa hundred poonds or deevilikie.” Meantime Eppie, gathering thereby. Weel, he glowered at me like a up her skirt, sauntered across the road. hell-cat, and swore that not one doyt or
On the bench in front of the hostelry a bodle or plack o' his should gae into the familiar figure was seated. It was our pocket of a drucken scoonrel; drucken old acquaintance Corbie, the honest scoonrel, my lord, these were the verra hi liar."
A pewter measure of spirits words, for I made a note o' them at the stood on the table before him: it was ob- time, and I wull tak’ the oath de calumnia vious that he had been drinking hard. if your lordship pleases. 'Mr. Hairy Eppie eyed him curiously and coldly as Hacket,' says I, ye'll pay my taxed bill he greeted her with drunken gravity. o' expenses by Mononday mornin', or by
“Ay, ay, my bonnie young leddie, a the Lord I'll see you oot o' Yokieshill.'
At this he jist gaed fairly gyte. Says he, of a secret which made Harry Hacketcoming up to me pale as death, and catch- what? Her heart stood still with sudden in' me by the back o' the neek, 'Oot you fright. Who, and what was the man with go in the first place, you leein' scamp,' whom she had established such perilously leein' scamp,' my lord; and whan he gat close relations? Was he the laird of me ootside the door, he whistled to an Yokieshill, or was he not? And the ugly savage tyke that was lyin' in the sun. whole story was to be found in these 'Nell,' says he to the bitch quite coolly; papers that lay scattered about the table. takin' oot his watch, “if this infernal She saw the imp bringing her pony out of swindlin' scoonrel is not ootside the yard the smithy, and she rose to go. Then, afore I count ten, gae him a taste o' your with a sudden impulse, turning her back teeth.' Mercy on us, the beast looked up upon the boy, she swept the scattered in his face wi' a low snarl. What's come papers together, and thrust them into her o the mutchkin, Lucky? Ay, ay, Mr. pocket. Corbie stirred and muttered in Hairy Hacket, - infernal swindler -lee- his sleep: but he did not waken. Then
drucken scoonrel, verra she mounted her steed and rode away. gude, - a conjoined action for defama- Watty was waiting for her at the farm tion and assault, — damages laid at twa door, and took the pony. Eppie ran upthoosan' poonds, not a penny less. stairs to her room. It was dark, — the Is't you indeed, Miss Eppie ? Dear me, half-veiled moon was rising from the sea so you've come a' this gait to see the like a nymph half-submerged, shaking the lords o session and justiciar'. Come water from her dripping locks. She got awa' ben, my dear, come awa' ben, - auld a light, and then she pulled out the papers Joe Hacket is in the dock for bigamy, and which she had — well appropriated. I'm ceeted to speak — ceeted as a wut- Even to Eppie the significance of the ness, if I'm no owre fou” — he added story they told was clear as day. The with a dazed look. “Yes, my lord, I was first paper was a certificate showing that present, - John Hacket, bachelor, and an irregular marriage had been celebrated Elspet Cheyne, spinster - for life and at Inverurie on the 14th of May, 1760,
for death, for better and for waur. But between John Hacket of Yokieshill and wha's the lines ?” Here he pulled some Elspeth Cheyne, spinster, lately residing papers out of his pocket, and fung them with Joshua Cheyne in Clola. (Eppie loose upon the table. They were ill- knew that the late Mrs. Hacket matcht, my lord, ill-matcht. She culd na Harry's mother - had been a Kilgoun thole his black looks — I dinna wonner Jean Kilgoun of Logie.) Then there was and she ran aff wi' a sodger within the a letter of somewhat later date with the year. It was noised at the time that the Maryland post-mark, enclosing a draft in ship gaed down in mid-sea. But auld favor of Betsy Cheyne. The last letter Lucky tells me
what did Lucky say ? was written from some place in Kentucky, It was the day the ‘Jan Mayen’cam hame and stated briefly that Elspeth Cheyne - troth, my lord, I feel that a taste o' was dead. She had died about a week speerits, if the coort wudna objec. before the letter was written. The date
Here his head fell forward on the table, and the signature were illegible; but Epand in another minute he was fast asleep. pie found from the post-mark that it must
Eppie had heard the first sentences of have been posted during the year then the lawyer's harangue without the least current — the year one. That was all; show of interest. She saw that the man but it was enough : Corbie had not exagvas tipsy, and she stared him straight in gerated when he swore that he could turn the face with her native, chilly indiffer- Harry Hacket adrift. His father had left ence. She did not pity him, nor was she no disposition of his estate ; and Yokiesafraid of him: let any man, tipsy or sober, hill belonged, not to Harry the bastard, dare to lay a hand upon her! So she sat but to the legal heir — whoever he might down at the other end of the bench with- be. Dut uttering a word, and began switching the dust out of her habit with her whip. But when * Yokieshill” caught her ear, I CANNOT tell exactly what passed she turned and listened with closer atten- through Eppie's soul during the next two tion. The legal and Latin phrases were, days. Her mind was in a whirl. The of course, quite unintelligible to her ; but unfamiliar restlessness which had taken she contrived to follow the main current possession of her increased more and of the rambling narrative. This drunken, more. She was as unquiet as the flock of Bisreputable lawyer had become master | plover which continued to wheel round