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Byeways in Palestine
by James Finn
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Jewish friends were much interested in my report of Aaron's tomb on Mount Hor, and regarded it as a great achievement to have visited and returned from "Joktheel," as they called Petra, in compliance with 2 Kings xiv. 7, where King Amaziah restored its more ancient name from Selah, (see Joshua xv. 38.)

* * * * *

In conclusion of this expedition to Petra, I have a few observations to make, arising from local peculiarities connected with it.

A. On the payment of toll, or Ghuf'r, as it is termed, for traversing unfrequented districts.

Of course, this custom could never obtain in a country enjoying the benefits of a vigorous central government; but it is, and perhaps always has been, common in the far East. In Persia or Tartary, wherever a chief is able to lay hold of a tower, and collect around him a band of followers, he invariably exacts this tribute from strangers; just as in our middle ages of Europe was done by the same class of persons in countries where feudal institutions prevailed. The petty barons were the shaikhs of their place and period.

But some considerations may serve to show that there is, after all, something useful in the practice.

1. In such countries, the payment of this toll exempts the traveller from the violence of all other claimants.

2. Those who get the toll, (I speak now of Palestine,) are always ready to perform small services in return, which would be assuredly missed if omitted, independently of the price paid for hire of camels.

3. If there were a better government existing, the traveller would expect that government to provide good roads and bridges, and to establish military posts for guarding them. This expense would be defrayed from tolls, or some such mode of taxation, and so the fee or duty would be only removed from one receiver to another. This is done at present, and probably has been for many centuries, at the Jis'r benat Ya'koob, between Safed and Damascus.

One cannot be surprised at the peasantry of Wadi Moosa exacting a toll from travellers on entering the valley of Petra, to see the wonders of antiquity which are attracting the attention of the most remote nations; remembering, too, the position of the place, viz., in a hollow, surrounded by crags and hills, where no Turkish rulers have ever been.

In like manner, we shall only be in a condition to remonstrate on paying ghuf'r in the shape of presents to the Adwan beyond Jordan, when we are able to find our way to Amman and Jerash without them, or to keep off the Beni Sukh'r and 'Anezeh, either by our own right hand or by means of the Turks. {339}

Finally, it must be borne in mind that the Turkish government itself pays ghuf'r to the Eastern Bedaween for allowing the Hadj pilgrims to pass from Damascus to Mecca.

B. On the Fellahheen, or peasants of Wadi Moosa.

The most experienced travellers that have visited Petra, have remarked that these men are of a different race from the Bedaween Arabs around them. They are ugly, bad in expression of countenance, and have a reputation for cruelty and treachery.

Laborde says, that the Alaween looked upon them "with contempt and fear." Lord Lindsay says, that Shaikh Hhussain, from 'Akabah, "was in fear all the time of being there." Irby and Mangles were told by the Jehaleen that these Fellahheen murdered thirty Moslem pilgrims from Barbary, the year before their visit.

Dr Wilson stayed among them longer, I believe, than any other European, and he did not like them, yet found them gradually improve under civil treatment, which always, like some other things,

"Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros."

He divides them into two classes as cultivators of land. First, Those residing in a village called Eljy; and, second, Those residing in tents under one Abu Zeitoon.

He describes them as a very exclusive people, never intermarrying with Arabs, nor burying in common grounds with them; and having a different set of personal names among them from those used by Arabs, which names greatly resemble those found in the Old Testament Scriptures.

He concludes that they are descendants of the ancient Edomites.

A most remarkable circumstance that he observed, was their calling themselves children of Israel, (Beni Israin.) This he regards as a feeble traditional reminiscence of their proselytism to the faith of Israel by the sword of the Maccabaean conquerors.

For my own part, I distinctly aver that during the altercation upon my arrival there, between them and my Jehaleen, I did hear the words "children of Israel" used. I had not chosen to take a part in the conference, or to remain long at a time among the disputants, but only passed occasionally in and out of the tent, and my mind was chiefly engrossed with the subject-matter in hand, so that on hearing the words, "children of Israel," I thought they were alluding to some history or tradition of the Hebrew people. But afterwards, on connecting the fact with Dr Wilson's assertion, I cannot but consider it very remarkable.

But the whole subject of these Fellahheen seems to merit closer attention from those who have the leisure and opportunity for it.

I know that numerous travellers, including ladies, have been there in safety; and it is probable that some of the disputes which have arisen were occasioned either through ignorance, or from insolence of the dragomans. It would be interesting to compare the accounts of those who have suffered annoyances in Petra, so as to ascertain how far the Fellahheen were to blame, or whether difficulties are not rather due to the Arab tribes who are in the habit of tyrannising over the Fellahheen from the outside.

C. On the 'Arabah and the Dead Sea.

While on the spot, I had wished to believe in the theory of Leake in 1822, and afterwards turned almost into poetry by Lord Lindsay, notwithstanding the demonstrations of Bertou in 1838, and of the American expedition of 1848, namely, that the Jordan formerly flowed the whole length from the Anti-Lebanon to the Red Sea, and that the Asphaltite Lake, or Dead Sea, is only formed by a stoppage of its stream.

Two facts, however, which militate against this theory, were visible to our eyes on this journey.

1. That the valleys south of the Dead Sea all point towards it, and incline the slope of their beds in that direction. This was most particularly the case with the Wadi el Jaib, where the banks between which the torrents had cut a channel became higher, which is equivalent to saying that the water fell lower as it passed northwards.

2. That wherever there were trees or shrubs to arrest the currents of water, we found that all the rushes, thorns, or reeds carried on by the streams, were arrested on the south side of those trees, and there they remained in the dry season.

The course of the torrents was therefore from the south, towards the Dead Sea.

The best dissertation on the relative levels of lands and seas, bearing on this subject, and that which I believe to be exhaustive on the subject, till we get more of scientific realities, is contained in vol. xviii., part 2, of the Royal Geographical Society's Journal of 1848.

Still, allowing the facts that I myself observed, as well as all the scientific calculations in the Journal above referred to, (indeed, making use of them,) there seem to remain certain considerations undisposed of, in favour of the theory that the Jordan formerly ran into the Red Sea.

1. The 'Arabah, south of the Dead Sea, and the Ghor on its north, are one continued hollow between the same parallel lines of hills; and Robinson has shown that by the Arabian geographers they are both called the 'Arabah; the native Arabs also still call by the name of Ghuwair, or little Ghor, a space at the southern extremity of the water.

In the Hebrew Bible also, the northern part is called 'Arabah, as in Joshua iii. 16, where it is said the Israelites crossed "the sea of 'Arabah, namely, the sea of salt." In 2 Sam. iv. 7, the murderers of Ish-bosheth went all night from Mahanaim to Hebron along the 'Arabah, this was clearly not south of the Dead Sea. Josh. xii. i., "From the river Arnon to mount Hermon, and all the 'Arabah on the east," going northwards; this is explained in the 3d verse as "the 'Arabah, (beginning at Hermon,) unto the sea of Chinnereth, (sea of Tiberias) on the east, and unto the sea of the 'Arabah, the sea of salt, on the east." The same words occur also in Deut. iii. 17, and iv. 49. That the present Arab 'Arabah on the south of the Dead Sea bore the same name, may be seen in Deut. ii. 8, where Moses speaks of "the way of the ''Arabah' from Elath, and from Ezion-gaber."

Therefore, according to Hebrew and Arabic authorities, the 'Arabah and Ghor form one line from the Lebanon to the Red Sea.

2. The Book of Job takes cognisance of the river Jordan, and describes river scenery in the land of Edom, i.e., south of the Dead Sea.

3. No lake existed in that locality before the catastrophe of Sodom, although a river may have traversed it. This I deduce from the march of the army of Chedorlaomer, shortly previous to that catastrophe, (Gen. xiv.) After the taking of Seir and Paran, he crossed the valley to Hazezon-Tamar, which is Engedi, (2 Chron. xx. 2,) and the confederates were met by the kings of the plain in the vale of Siddim. And I have heretofore shown that this is utterly impossible to be done with the present lake in the way. The words, therefore, of Gen. xiv. 3 obviously signify, as given in the Latin Vulgate and in Luther's German, "the vale of Siddim, which is now the Salt Sea."

The inference from all these points is, that between the time of Chedorlaomer and Moses, some tellural convulsions took place which impeded the course of the river towards the Dead Sea, and thereby formed the present lake. There is no mention of a river in the lower 'Arabah during the wanderings of the Israelites under the leading of Moses.

It is another matter to discuss whether the overthrow of the guilty cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is connected with that convulsion of nature, with or without miracle, which formed the depression of the great valley; yet it is remarkable that the deepest part of the lake is at the spot which tradition has always pointed out for the site of those cities, and nigh to the salt mountain, which still bears the name of Sodom.

To this spot the slopes both ways tend, and there they meet. Calculating the whole line of depression, as Petermann does, at 190 miles, the slope from the north, i.e., from the "Bridge of the daughters of Jacob," near Safed, is comparatively gradual for 140 miles; and that from the south, i.e., from the elevation in the southern 'Arabah, where the level meets again from the north, is more precipitous for 50 miles. Action and reaction being equal in natural effects, the rapid declivity in the shorter distance is equal to the more gradual declivity in the longer measure.

But that centre of seismal action is taken for the site of Sodom—hence the site of the destruction of Sodom and the starting point of earthquake are the same. The record of the destruction is, therefore, the record of some dreadful convulsion capable of stopping the Jordan, so as to form a lake there; and the only adequate cause in nature assigned by geologists for such a depression, is earthquake accompanied by volcanic action.

While on the subject of possible depression of the Jordan bed, I may mention an indication which I have often pointed out to others, namely, the remarkable ledge traceable along the face of the Moab mountains at a considerable height, as seen from the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. It is distinctly marked, and forms a curious record of some natural change having occurred on a large scale.

Dr Wilson, in his "Lands of the Bible," contends that an earthquake capable of depressing a straight line of the length of the Ghor and 'Arabah, must have convulsed all the lands of Canaan, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and the Desert, with their inhabitants; but that no such convulsion took place, for Zoar on the east, and Hebron on the west, are known to have remained.

Does it, however, necessarily follow that seismal devastation spreads in every direction? On the contrary, earthquakes act in oscillations from east to west, returning from west to east; or from north to south, returning from south to north: but not in the manner of a flood of water spreading in every direction at once. If so, a mighty earthquake, extending along the whole Ghor and 'Arabah, would be exactly such a cause as might spare a city on each side of its progress.

The whole subject still admits of much careful investigation on sundry points; but, meanwhile, until geologists have given us more data from which to form conclusions, I must take my stand upon the distinct record of Genesis; that what was the Salt Sea when Moses wrote, had been the Vale or Plain (Emek) of Siddim, containing cities with kings, who fought and were subdued by Chedarlaomer upon that plain in the time of Abraham; and that those cities were the same as those that were penally destroyed soon after.



XII. ACROSS THE LEBANON.

I have traversed the Lebanon eastwards and southwards of Bayroot several times; once in 1849; again in 1853; and also in 1855: but it seems advisable to narrate the incidents separately, and although on two occasions I passed over nearly the same ground, it will be curious to compare or contrast those journeys, inasmuch as the circumstances were dissimilar.

PART I.—1849.

The course of the first journey was as follows:—From Sidon on the sea-coast we gradually climbed the Lebanon range eastward; then descending by tortuous roads, and turning somewhat to the south, we crossed to where Hhasbeya lies at the foot of Anti-Lebanon; after which we followed the general direction of the streams southwards, and uniting above the waters of Merom form the Jordan. Holding on at the western side of the plain we arrived at Safed in Galilee.

Oct. 25th.—We left Saida for Joon, which had been for many years the residence of Lady Hester Stanhope, and the vice-consul furnished us with a kawwas who had been a servant of her ladyship.

Turned off from the high road of the sea-coast, at the river Awali, which is believed by the native Christians to have been the limit of our Lord's ministry on earth, when it is said that He went into "the coasts of Tyre and Sidon."

We outflanked the rich scene of fruit plantations belonging to the town, but picked blackberries, hips, and haws, from their hedges alongside the runnels of water which supply those gardens.

On its approach to the sea the river Awali has two separate channels, along either of which it flows in different years, according to the volume of water at the beginning of winter, but never in both at the same time.

Through lovely scenery we gradually mounted higher and higher, till arriving at the village of Joon, where rooms were to be prepared for us in a native house.

The nature of the district thereabout is that of numerous round hills, separated from each other by deep valleys. On one of these hills stands the village, on another the large "Convent of the Saviour," (Dair el Mokhallis,) which is the central station of the Greek Catholic sect; i.e., of those who, while retaining their Oriental rites and calendar, acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope of Rome; and on the third hill is Lady Hester Stanhope's house, the three forming the points of nearly an equilateral triangle. The village commands a fine prospect of the Mediterranean.

Without dismounting, we proceeded at once to the desolate house of Lady Hester, but, owing to the precipitous nature of the ground, it takes some considerable time to reach it, yet voices are easily distinguishable from one place to the other.

The house presents a melancholy spectacle, though, from the purity of the atmosphere, the walls appear clean and almost new; no roof remains, all timbers having been purposely removed immediately after her death, according to legal right of the proprietor from whom the place was rented. There has been an extensive suite of rooms, not adapted to stateliness, but meant for the reception of guests; these are all of small dimensions, and were mostly built by Lady Hester. We were told that she kept an establishment of a hundred servants, forty of whom were women. For the last five years she never travelled beyond the garden, and during that time the renowned two mares, Leilah and Lulu, (the former of which was the one with the hollow back, reserved for entering Jerusalem together with the new Messiah,) became so broken in health for want of exercise, that when Lady Hester died, they were sold with difficulty for 300 piastres (less than three pounds) each.

The stables still remaining were very extensive.

The gardens and terraces must have been beautiful, for we were told they were carefully kept and arranged. We saw large myrtle shrubs in abundance, besides fruit trees now utterly neglected—

"And still where many a garden flower grows wild,"

for there were red roses blooming without the least care or notice.

No one now resides on any part of that hill.

The eccentric lady is buried in the garden, and in the same grave (we were assured) with Captain, son of General Loustaneau, a crazy French enthusiast who lived for above twenty-five years a pensioner on her bounty. The grave is covered with this simple stone monument, of a pattern very common in the country.

[Picture: Tomb of Lady Hester Stanhope]

At the distance of a few yards is the monument over a former Moslem proprietor of the house.

Lady Hester died in June 1839, lonely and miserable, and so ended her wild dreams and fancied importance. During her long residence there she had meddled in local dissensions, patronising the Jonblats of Mokhtarah against the Ameer Besheer and the Egyptian invaders; she kept spies in the principal towns, as Acre and Saida, and had even supplied ammunition to the citadel of Acre for the Turks, but did not live to see the Egyptians ousted from the country.

There was good deal of exaggeration afloat at the time respecting her and some of her habits of life, though scarcely more extraordinary than the reality of other matters, as we are now able to judge of them; but at that period Syria and the Lebanon were very little understood in Europe, i.e., from 1823 to 1839. She was not so utterly removed from human society as is often supposed. She was not perched like an eagle on an inaccessible mountain, for there are villages near, besides the great Convent of Mokhallis, and she had constant communication with Saida for money and provisions.

The view around is indeed stern and cheerless in character, devoid of romantic accessories, without the rippling streams, the pines or the poplars of either Mokhtarah or Beteddeen; her hill like its neighbours was a lump of stone, with some scanty cultivation in the valley below, very little of this, and her small garden attached to the dwelling.

Before leaving this subject, I may as well state with respect to the common belief of Lady Hester being crowned Queen of Palmyra by the desert Arabs, that from information which I consider reliable this is all a mistake, or as it was expressed to me, a "French enthusiasm," the truth being that in consequence of her lavish largesses among the wild people, they expressed their joy by acclamations in which they compared her to the "Queen of Sheba" who had come among them; and then by her flatterers, or those who were unskilled in the language, the term "Melekeh" (Queen) was interpreted as above: and as for a coronation the Arab tribes have no such a custom; the greatest chiefs, nay, even the kings of the settled Arabs, such as Mohammed and his successors, have never received such an inauguration.

Returning to the village, we found our lodging provided in the house of a Greek Catholic family; unlike to our south country houses, it was built with ponderous rafters of timber in the roofs, and these rafters and planks between them are painted in coloured patterns. It was a cheerful scene as the family sat inquiring about Jerusalem, or chatting otherwise on the mustabeh (a wide stone seat) outside, with the effulgence of the setting sun reflected on the convent before us, and then the twilight pink and violet tints upon the mountain-range behind.

Then again in the early morning, how delicious were the air and the scenery of the mountains!

"Yet sluggards deem it but a foolish chase And marvel men should quit their easy chair, The weary mile and long, long league to trace; Oh, there is sweetness in the mountain air, And life that bloated ease may never hope to share!"

While mounting for the departure, our host pressing his hospitality upon us, adjured us in these words:—"May your religion be your adversary if ever you pass my door without entering it."

Arriving at Dair el Mokhallis we were there also received with cordiality. In the church a service was going on, gabbled over by a priest arrayed in white silk and gold, waving incense before the altar, his congregation consisting of one person, a sort of sacristan or beadle. There were some good pictures on the walls, but others together with them of degraded rank as works of art.

On being invited to visit the President, we found him a jovial, handsome man of middle age, reclining on cushions at a large window with wide views of the sea and the mountains before him, besides Dar Joon, Lady Hester's house.

This establishment is not only the largest convent and church of the Greek Catholic sect, but also a college for clerical education; their most celebrated clergy have been trained there. The inmates at this time, of all employments, were 110 in number, exclusive of servants. Those whom we saw appeared very well fed, and we were not a little surprised to find so many women servants employed within the walls.

A nunnery of the same rite, and rules of St Basil, with forty persons under vows, is a good building at half-a-mile distance, between which and the male institution a very excellent road has been made, notwithstanding the hilly nature of the ground; other roads are being improved, and all the contiguous grounds are in a state of the highest cultivation.

As we proceeded on our journey, the scenery became more and more romantic, till on a sudden turn of the road a wondrous picture of nature was opened before us, consisting of mountains, including our own, all sloping down into a plain in which was a river, and a village with its orchards and poplars; cascades rolled down the furrowed sides of these hills, their bounding and dashing were evident to the sight, but no sound audible owing to their distance; it was a fairy scene, or like a beautiful dream.

In the descent we passed a Maronite priest riding, attended by a guide on foot; the former was greeted by our party with his title of Abuna, a novelty to us Jerusalemites.

We forded the river Barook, a tributary to the Awali, in front of the above-mentioned village, which is Bisrah, amid tall poplars quivering in the breeze, for their foliage had stalks long like the aspen.

Our luggage having gone on during the visit to the convent, we could get no tidings of it and our people, but a guide was procured for part of the day's journey before us; and we betook ourselves to a hill over which was, what we were assured, the only road to Hhasbeya. A road so steep and thickly entangled by bushes and trees, that we inquired of every passer-by in his turn whether we could possibly be upon the Sultaneh, or high road. At first through an olive plantation, then among evergreen oak, and higher still the fragrant mountain pines. The zigzags of the road were necessarily so short and abrupt, that at each turn we had to peer up perpendicularly, guessing which way the next twist would go. Then still higher, towards the frowning sombre cliffs that seemed to touch the brilliant blue sky, the arbutus glowed with their scarlet berries, and the pine-trees became more tall, straight, and numerous. No wonder that the Assyrian king, when he boasted of being able to cut down the cedars of Lebanon, included also "the choice fir-trees thereof," (2 Kings xix. 23.)

Near what seemed to be the climax, we unexpectedly reached a village, named 'Azoor, where a school of boys hummed their lessons in the open air on the shady side of a house; and near them a plank of wood was suspended, such as serves for a church-bell in parts of the country where the Moslems predominate, and bells are not tolerated. Here in the Lebanon every village and convent may have its bells; and they generally have them, for the Mohammedans scarcely exist throughout "the mountain," as the whole range is popularly termed from Tarabulus to Saida.

The higher we ascended, the more we obtained of a brisk breeze playing and sighing musically among the noble pines, and the ground was clothed with heather and fragrant herbs. Still onwards, "excelsior," the pines were more straight and lofty; there were patches of wild myrtle on the ground, some in white blossom; and we looked down upon the flat roofs of villages below, an appearance so strange to us after the round domes of the south country.

About noon we overtook the luggage, and the servant-boy of the muleteer swore that his head had turned gray since we left him, four hours ago, by reason of the bodily labour and anguish of mind that he had suffered on so fearful a road. He was incessantly calling upon God by epithets out of the Koran, as "O thou Father of bounty!" "O thou knower of former things!" mingled with curses hurled at the mule, or prayers that her back might be strengthened: being a Jerusalemite, he had not been accustomed to travelling of that description. This youth was nicknamed by his fellows as Abu Tabanjah, "the father of a pistol," from his carrying a single pistol in his girdle: it being unusual for persons in his employment to carry any belligerent weapons.

Next came the descent to Jezzeen, over a slippery road, with purple crocuses in blossom at intervals.

Jezzeen is romantically situated among broken rocks, with a stream of water, called the Zaid, bordered by a profusion of sycamore, (i.e., what is called so in England, a variety of the plane-tree,) walnut, and aspen trees. We halted beneath a spreading walnut-tree, whose leaves had already begun to change colour.

The inhabitants are Greek Catholic, Maronite, and a few Mutawaleh. Here we had to get another guide for an hour or two forwards—a task not easily accomplished—and he assured us that the road before us was far worse than that we had already traversed—he would on no account go the whole day's journey with us.

Forwards.—Thin white clouds were resting upon the peaks high above us, the vine terraces and poplars were succeeded by whitish-gray rocks and olive-trees, till we issued upon a comparative level of confused chaos of rugged rocks pitched and hurled about in the most fantastic combinations, rendering the road almost impassable for our cattle. Darker clouds than before were around, but not immediately over us; and the atmosphere was hot like the breath of a furnace, with now and then a momentary gush of piercing cold coming between sharp peaks and round summits.

In little more than two hours from Jezzeen we were at Cuf'r Hooneh, a pretty village surrounded by sycamore, walnut, poplar, and vineyards, with numerous running streams of water, bordered by oleanders in rosy blossom, very tall—girt in with romantic precipices, and rooks were cawing overhead. A spring of water issuing from the ground, of which we drank, was cold like ice.

After this the road improved, the rocks were more friable, and were often streaked with pink and yellow colour; indicating, I suppose, the existence of copper mineral, (see Deut. viii. 9,) "out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass," i.e., copper.

All about this region fossil shells were numerous.

In half an hour we attained our greatest elevation, with a long line of Mediterranean visible in the west. The Anti-Lebanon stretched before us on the east, and among the hills to the south our guide declared he could distinguish Safed. Here he left us, returning homewards.

Upon this eminence the air was reviving, and as the fervour of the sun abated, our horses recovered energy. Thence we descended to a green level space as void of inhabitants as the wild scenes that we had traversed; and from that to a stage lower, over a very long fertile plain running southwards, where we fell in with two or three of our fellow human beings, and over this the wind blew very cold. Forwards into another level, a glen of wild verdure, then through chalk fissures and red slopes, till in a moment there burst upon our view a prospect beyond all power of description in words; Mount Hermon, (Jebel esh Shaikh,) and the intervening long plain, also the Litani river on our right, winding between tremendous cliffs, and passing the castle of Shukeef towards the sea.

That river passing the foot of our mountain, and over which we had afterwards to cross, appeared like a narrow ribbon of pale green, so silent was it to us, for no sound from that depth could reach up so high; to this we had to descend by a precipitous path of zigzags roughly made in the face of the hill.

Half way down I first distinguished the rushing sound of the water; a flock of goats upon its margin resembled mere black spots, but the bells among them became faintly audible.

On reaching the river Litani, (the classic Leontes, and named the "Kasimiyeh" when debouching to the sea near Tyre,) we found it to be a strong stream, and the dark border, which from a distance had seemed to be low bushes, were in truth gigantic and numerous trees; on our way to the bridge, along the river side for some distance, were parapets erected for the safety of travellers and flocks of cattle.

It was after sunset, but we rested awhile to stretch our limbs after the cramp brought on by the steep and long descent.

The moon was shining as we crossed the bridge, and its light was broken in the heady dashing of the stream; the land swelled gradually upwards as we proceeded S.-E. till we passed a ridge and turned N.-E. to the village of Cocaba on the great plain, which has the river Hhasbani flowing through it, from which village we got directions how to find Hhasbeya. Thoroughly tired as we all were, the rest of the way was most wearisome, though not so much so as it would have been in the heat of day, after so many hours on horseback. The night was bright and clear.

Reached Hhasbeya in thirteen hours from Joon in the morning.

The town is perched up in the line of the Anti-Lebanon, at the end of a cul-de-sac running inwards from the plain, and stands at an elevation of more than 2000 feet above the sea-level, though this is scarcely apparent by reason of the lofty mountains everywhere around, especially Hermon, under the shadow of which Hhasbeya is nestled. This was the cleanest town and the one in best repair at that time that I had hitherto seen in Palestine or Syria; what it may be since the calamities of 1860, I know not. The majority of the inhabitants were Christian, with a good many Druses, and a few Moslems and Jews.

We had a most friendly reception from the native Protestants, and from the governor, Ameer Saad ed Deen Shehab and his family.

In the afternoon of the next day we passed on to Banias. How different a matter is travelling in that country from merely drawing a pencil line across the map from one point to another, and measuring the distance of that line. By such a method of making a journey it is but a trifle of thirty miles from Soor to Hhasbeya, and less than a hundred and twenty from the latter to Jerusalem. (I mention these places because they belong to the journey here described,) and it may be said by stay-at-home travellers in a carpeted saloon, at a mahogany table, that these distances can be covered on horseback in a determinate number of hours, allowing so many miles to an hour; but Palestine is not so smooth as the greater part of England, and the ways (one cannot well call them roads) are not drawn in direct lines; climate also counts for something; and unforeseen incidents will occur to mar the plans of even those habituated to the country.

To-day's progress, however, was tolerably plain, though not level, and it occupied six or seven hours.

In an hour and a half we caught first sight of the lake Hhooleh (the Semechonitis of Josephus) in the due south, and at this point we entered upon a district strewn with volcanic basalt, in dark-brown pieces, porous and rounded at the edges. A peasant directed us forwards to the Tell el Kadi, which at length we reached—an eminence rising from the plain, out of which issues a river all formed at once, gushing from the hill over a stony bed. This is one of the heads of the Jordan, and the place is that of Dan, which Josephus erroneously supposed to supply the last syllable of that river's name.

But beyond all question it is the site of the city Dan known throughout Scripture history for many ages, and under a variety of circumstances: among the rest for the forcible invasion of it by a number of colonists from the tribe of Dan in the south of Palestine, where they found their allotted district too strait for their possession; and being established here, they gave the city the name of their patriarchal chief.

That history of their migration reads with peculiar interest and force on the spot, and strange to say that Tell el Kadi seems to retain their tribal name, inasmuch as Tell signifies "a hill," and Kadi is but the Arabic for the Hebrew word Dan, "a judge," (Gen. xlix. 16.) It is not however common, very much the contrary, for names to be transmitted in this way according to their signification through the lapse of ages—they are usually perpetuated through their orthography.

The Amorite or Sidonian people living here "at ease" were worshippers of Baal and Ashtaroth, or Astarte. Suddenly they were assailed by the Danites, who "smote them with the edge of the sword, and burned their city with fire;" and the newcomers set up "the graven image, and the molten image, and the teraphim," which they had stolen on their way thither over Mount Ephraim, appointing the young Levite, the owner of the images, to be priest of their idolatry. In later times it was a station of the golden calf of Jeroboam's institution, that is to say, the revived emblem of Baal, going back to the practice of the Leshemites; and there is yet an idea prevailing in our days that the Druses of the neighbourhood retain that emblem or idol among them—a remarkable instance of the perpetuity of idolatry, and one form of idolatry under different names, modified only by circumstances in the same locality. I forbear to pursue further the reflections that can be evolved at large from that idea, as they might bring us into other countries than Syria or Palestine.

Riding our horses up the full stream for a short distance, we forded it, and entered into the shade upon the hill, where we reposed under a large evergreen oak, decorated with rags as votive offerings to an Arab shaikh buried beside it. Near this tree is an extraordinary jungle of brambles and gigantic flowering shrubs, through which it seemed impossible to penetrate, but out of which tangled mass the copious stream issues, as also a minor current, which after some deflection meets the other, and forms one stream on leaving the hill, and this, when joined by the waters of Banias, to which we were now going, combines into one river, Jordan, then enters and passes through the Lake Hhooleh. For the present I omit the consideration of the Hhasbani and its spring, which not only helps to form the Jordan, but actually commences further beyond the springs of Dan and Banias.

It wanted about an hour to sunset when we turned in eastwards, round the foot of old Hermon, for Banias, the Caesarea Philippi of the New Testament, whose hill and ancient castle appeared not far distant.

We observed numerous small runlets of water flowing from the north and east towards the Tell el Kadi, one especially of nearly four feet wide. Yet with all these blessings the district is mostly neglected, and abandoned to a sparse population of wretched Ghawarineh Arabs and their buffaloes.

We passed through neb'k trees and stunted oaks, some karoobah trees and sumach about twenty feet high, with their red berries, besides myrtles almost as lofty. Signs of the existence of inhabitants appeared in patches of cultivation and an occasional flock of goats. Trees became closer together than at first, and at length Banias stood in face of us, touching the foot of Hermon, which formed a magnificent background of receding heights, but its summit withdrawn from view at that position. An ancient castle crowns a high peak rising above the village, and which for grandeur of situation and noble aspect is unsurpassed by any ruin that I have seen in Syria. Yet how small was all this in comparison with the mighty mass at its back! I regret the having been unable to examine this remarkable fortress, the modern name of which is the Kula'at es Subeibeh.

The halt was in an olive plantation, and while the tents were being raised, I rode forwards to the other celebrated source of the Jordan, namely, that issuing from the cavern, and drank of its water, but first had to swim the horse through a strong current.

How beautiful was the evening scene of rocks, trees, blue mountains, and the extended plain, with the thread of the Hhasbani winding through it on the western side! There were also herds of cattle coming in, and a shepherd boy playing his rural pipes. What a scene for Poussin! I offered to buy the Pandean pipe (of several reeds joined laterally) from the boy, wishing to have it for my own, obtained at the mythological home of Pan himself—

"Pan primus calamos cera conjungere plures Instituit,"

but the lad asked an exorbitant price for it, and strode away.

Then rushed up to make use of the fading twilight for catching at least a glimpse of the Greek inscriptions and Pan's grotto, from which the river issues, not in infantile weakness, but boldly striking an echo against the sides of the natural cavity.

"Great Pan is dead!" as the superstitious peasants of Thessaly said, when they imagined they heard the echo formed into words, sixteen hundred years ago; and while musing on the "rise and fall" of the classic idolatry, a bat flew past me out of the grotto, but I saw no moles for the old idols to be thrown to, (Isa. ii. 20.)

Pan was the mythological deity presiding over caverns, woods, and streams, from whom this place received its denomination of Panion or Paneas in Greek, or Panium in Latin; and the word Paneas becomes Banias in Arabic, as it is at this day. Here costly temples and altars were raised, and Herod built a temple in honour of Augustus Caesar. These edifices have fallen to the ground, the idols have been demolished by early Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans; but niches with pedestals, on which the dumb figures stood, accompanied by inscriptions, still remain in attestation of written history.

Of these inscriptions I took copies next morning, as others have also done, but with special pains to insure accuracy. Every one of them has the name of the god Pan; two of them have the name of Agrippa; one is set up by a priest of Pan, "for the welfare of the lords the emperors;" and another is dedicated by Agrippa, son of Marcus, who had been for eight years Archon, and had been admonished in a dream by the god Pan. The breaks in the words caused by defaced letters make it difficult to get more signification out of them.

Some further remarks on the same, as well as copies of the tablets, will be found in appendix B.

In a field near our tents, were two prostrate granite columns of about fifteen feet length of shaft by two in diameter; besides a piece of column of common stone three feet in diameter. In another part of the same field was a square capital of pilaster with some plain moulding, and an abundance of squared stones of two to three feet dimensions; such, however, are to be seen scattered in every direction around.

A small ancient bridge crosses one of the several streams branching away from the main course, and all running between steep banks. By this bridge I approached a noble gateway, leading into a very large square fortress, with strong ancient towers at each corner. The arches of both gate and bridge were Roman; parts of the walls remained in their regular courses, and numerous large rabbeted stones were rolled down in disorder upon the slope and into a military trench. But the whole scene, whether of rugged rocks or of the work of man, was fringed and clothed with brambles, ferns, evergreens, and the rosy oleander.

The principal charm, however, belongs to the grotto with the river which it discharges—the site of which may be described as a semicircular termination of a valley on a natural platform half way up a cliff—the water tumbles down in short cascades for some distance; the grotto inside is untouched by chisel squarings or embellishment, just as Juvenal wished the grot of AEgeria to be.

All this is particularly romantic, but a more exalted interest is attached to the town and vicinity of Banias from its being a certainly known station of our Redeemer's journeys—He who in all His travels "went about doing good"—but, inasmuch as some records of His blessed footsteps are connected with incidents of higher importance than others, this one rises into transcendant value, as being the place where His eternal divinity was distinctly enunciated.

At that very time the temple of Augustus, erected by Herod, was in its freshest beauty; the votive inscriptions with the name of Agrippa were newly chiselled; and the priests of Pan were celebrating sacrifices and incense, together with rustic offerings, upon his altar; the worship, too, of Baal was still in existence, under some modifications, upon the mountain overhead. At such a place, and under such circumstances, was the Church universal promised to be founded on the rock of faith to which Peter had given utterance.

It may be here observed that at that period this Caesarea Philippi was not a secluded spot, as commentators generally make it, because Banias is so now; but the town was one of notoriety, adorned, as we have just seen, with expensive public edifices.

* * * * *

On returning to the tents, the shaikh of the village came, attended by some of his relatives belonging to Hhasbeya, begging for some quinine medicine: I gave him eight of my twelve remaining pills. On the adjacent plain there must needs be fever and ague; in fact, so unwilling was I on account of malaria to remain longer at Banias, that we resumed our travelling by night.

At three o'clock, A.M., we were mounted—there was a little rain at the time, and clouds that threatened more of it obscured the setting moon; there was lightning also in the same direction. I even altered my plan of going on to "the bridge of the daughters of Jacob," (the thoroughfare between Safed and Damascus,) in order to escape from the plain as quickly as possible. For this purpose we turned westwards, and had to struggle through marshes and rough ground by starlight and lightning. Most unwisely we had neglected to take a meal before starting, not expecting the district to be so plashy and unwholesome as it proved to be. The plain, north of the Lake Hhooleh, is traversed by innumerable channels of water, among which rice is grown, of which I gathered a handful as a trophy to exhibit in Jerusalem. And there were lines of tents of the poor Ghawarineh Arabs upon dry ground, besides small scaffolds standing in the rice marshes, from which elevations the people watch the crops and fire upon wild beasts that come to injure or devour the crops; dogs barked as we passed, and fires were visible in several directions.

Arriving at the bridge of El Ghujar, my companion and I both felt sick, and had to dismount and rest for a time.

Our guide's account of the river differed from that given in Robinson; instead of the stream being the Hhasbani and the bridge named El Ghujar, he averred that the river is El Ghujar, and that it rises out of the ground like the waters of Banias and of Tell el Kadi. Perhaps this may account for Porter more recently placing the bridge El Ghujar in a different situation, much farther north. The circumstance is not without value in inquiries as to the collective formation of the Jordan.

As daylight broke we could see herds of buffaloes among the marshes, or swimming in the water with only their heads raised above the surface; the village of Khalsah was half way up the hill-side.

From this point the road was level, dry, and comfortable, running due southwards along the western margin of the plain, but with streams occasionally crossing it, rushing from the hills towards the lake.

Near 'Ain el Mellahhah two Arabs rode up to us and planted their spears in the ground near our horses heads as a warning to stop, and I suppose to pay ghuf'r. I kept on, leaving the kawwas to parley with them.

Not far from the fountain we rested under a terebinth tree (not a favourable specimen) upon a rising ground; beneath us, but at a short distance, the strong stream turns a mill, passing through a house, and escapes to the plain.

The Arabs met us again, and said they were looking for a horse that was lost, and we saw no more of them.

In another hour my companion was taken with a strong fit of ague, which urged us the more to press onward for Safed. From the hills, as we rose higher and higher, the Lake Hhooleh was perceived to be, above one-third of it, choked up with weeds and rushes. Old Hermon showed himself in surpassing grandeur; not a confused mass—as he does from the plain looking upwards from close beneath him—but as one grand "monarch of mountains."

"On a throne of rocks, with a robe of clouds, And a diadem of snow."

The sun was hot and the hills chalky over which we passed. In one place by our wayside, and at considerable elevation, I found squared masonry stones and traces of houses, with fragments of columns.

A poor Arab peasant, driving an ass laden with a wooden box, was groaning with pain, and implored us for a draught of water, but I fear that our people had neglected to bring any with them, as they expected to be so soon in Safed.

Rested under the shade of some large stones, and sent on a message before us to the town. In quarter of an hour, however, some peals of thunder roused us to pursue the journey; the strong wind that arose at the same time was not good for ague patients. Across the great plain as we looked back was a broad faint piece of rainbow, and the huge mountain, mantled with clouds about his shoulders, but bright below, appeared peculiarly fantastic, with flickering shadows of clouds chasing over his sunny sides.

On the outskirts of Safed we found, as customary at that season, (Bairam,) the newly white-washed graves of the Moslems, adorned with bunches of myrtle.

At Safed we lodged in the house of a Russo-British Jew, and letters from Jerusalem that had awaited us came safe to hand, after which followed the necessary reception of visitors, very troublesome to weary and exhausted travellers, and at last a supper which had been long in preparing—at least so it seemed to be.

PART II.

This, like the journey last described, of six years before, was portion of a much longer tour, but I omit all that cannot come under the designation of a Byeway in Palestine. The two routes were very similar to each other, with the exception of the passage from Banias to Safed.

Starting from Saida, and trending south-eastwards towards Hhasbeya, we climbed the mountains, which here rise almost from the sea-shore, and crossed romantic passes of rugged eminences and deeply cleft ravines.

From Hhasbeya the line was due south to Banias, thence westward by Tell el Kadi, and Hhuneen, and Tibneen, the capital of the Belad Besharah, thus almost reaching once more the plain of Phoenicia on its eastern verge; next by the antiquities of Kadesh Naphtali southwards to Safed; and homewards to Jerusalem, but this latter route is not to be described, for the reason given above.

I was accompanied by my niece and another lady, a settled resident of Jerusalem. The first object after quitting Saida was to visit Joon, and to show my companions the residence of Lady Hester Stanhope in years gone by. This we reached just before sunset, on the 2d of October 1855.

The tomb was found much dilapidated; in 1853 it was no longer in so good a condition as it had been in 1849, but it was now even worse, and the whole spectacle of house, stables, and gardens, was melancholy in the extreme: the deprivation of roofs gives a peculiar aspect of desolation to any abandoned dwelling, especially when the gardens have still their cultivable flowers remaining, but running riot within their marked-out beds; these had now been sixteen years neglected, yet the roses and myrtle only required pruning.

We proceeded to the convent, the road was stony, and we had to find the way by twilight and starlight.

At the great door we were received by the new president, and several of the clergy chanting psalms for welcome, and the great bell was ringing at the same time. I could not but attribute all this unusual display to the operation of political affairs in Europe.

On taking possession of the rooms allotted to us, I received a visit of the Greek Catholic Bishop of Saida, he being there on business connected with the election of a new patriarch in the place of Maximus; his deportment was that of a man of polite society. Our rooms were lighted by huge ecclesiastical tapers of wax.

Next morning, after returning the visit of the bishop at the patriarchal residence in front of the convent, we breakfasted in the corridor with the president and another of the convent clergy. Our ladies then set themselves to sketching the view from the window, and talking about church singing from notes, whereupon the president sent a deacon to fetch his book, and the latter sang for us an anthem, the vociferation and screechings of which was so alarming, not to mention the nasal twang, that my niece had to run away to indulge in an obstreperous laugh, and her senior companion had also much difficulty in refraining from the same kind of expression of opinion. The Oriental system of church musical notation is very complicated, having no stave-lines or bars, but only certain arbitrary marks over the notes to designate high or low, plain or flourishing.

Afterwards we inspected the church; then the refectory, and there they showed us the desk at which one of the community reads to the rest at meal time, triumphantly assuring me that they read the Bible, yet the two books I found on the desk were, one the Apocryphal writings, the other some homilies of St Basil, under whose rule the convent is constituted.

Next we walked over the roof, and looked at the great bell, and the gong; the view, as might be expected, repaid the trouble. After this the kitchen and the store-rooms.

On leaving the convent we proceeded to the nunnery in the neighbourhood. The ladies visited the inmates, while I remained in an outer apartment chatting with a priest, till a curtain was drawn aside, and there, behold! were the lady-president and her flock, curious to see a consul, and blaming the servants for not having admitted me together with my companions.

The latter gave me afterwards as their opinion of the establishment, that it very much resembled a comfortable asylum or almshouse for old women.

By this deviation from the high roads we lost the fairy view in that neighbourhood which had charmed me so much in 1849.

There is a pleasing novelty to us non-Lebanonites in being in a native Christian country. Every hill there has its convent, every convent its bells; clergy are continually passing along the road; and on our descent of the hill we met a nice old gentleman in clerical dress, with a very white beard, holding a crimson umbrella over his head, (this is not uncommon in Palestine,) and preceded by a kawwas with a silver-headed official staff, also accompanied by a few peasants carrying guns,—this was a Maronite bishop.

Crossed the river Barook at Bisrah, and ascended the usual highway leading to Hhasbeya.

At the village of Ineer we took further directions, and followed over a very wild scene to nearly the summit of a mountain called Rummet-er-Room, (the Ramah, or high-place, of the Greeks,) from which the glorious landscape surpasses all power of description—it is one not to be forgotten.

At 'Azoor, a clean pleasant village, the women and girls ran in crowds to gaze at my ladies; one of the women shouted "Bon soir" in good French, and a man, accompanied by his wife, saluted us in Italian.

Rested in a beautiful wood of pines, though rather late for luncheon, as the sun was falling below the western mountains. Rising higher on the march we got into rolling misty clouds, and the brilliant effect of sunbeams between the hills and clouds could not but be surprising. Our clothes, however, got damp and chill.

At Jezzeen our tents were found ready pitched in a grove of noble walnut-trees, with the brook Zaid running among them; near alongside was a Maronite convent, with a bridge.

The muleteers having left us in the morning, lost their way, and had taken the more precipitous road by Dair Mushmushi.

Here the people behaved with great hospitality to us.

The night was very cold, and in the morning the water for washing felt like ice. The position of our encampment, as perceived by daylight, was so low between hills that the sun could not reach us till the day should be considerably advanced, yet we were at a very high altitude. Pity that we had no aneroid barometer with us to ascertain the amount of our elevation above the sea. The poplar-trees and walnut-trees, with fruit trees of various kinds, showed we were in a totally different region from that of Jerusalem.

Jezzeen is almost exclusively a Christian village, with a Greek Catholic church, besides two Maronite churches, and the small convent mentioned above.

There were clergy walking about; the people cleanly and well clothed, the children modestly behaved, and even when rendering a service, not asking for bakhsheesh.

At the time of our leaving, a party of women were wailing over a dead body under a tree.

The scene gradually became more romantic; and we soon came to a village, if such it may be denominated, where the only dwellings are dispersed among vineyards. These vineyards were, at that autumn season, becoming of a brown and golden tint.

After traversing the wondrous chaos referred to in the former journey, we passed through the villages of Cuf'r Hooneh and Deheedeh, adjoining each other; where there was abundance of water, and oleander bushes fringing the streamlets, with poplar and maple trees.

The rest of the journey had no remarkable difference from that of 1849, except that on the brow of the great descent to the plain, between Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon, we rested beneath an olive-tree entwined with honeysuckle, enraptured with the magnificence of the scene, which would require a Milton to portray it in words, or a Martin in painting. I observed that the prevailing tints of the whole great prospect were of russet and ochreous colours.

Crossed the bridge, charmed with the beauteous verdure and freshening rapid stream of the Leontes river; and when arrived at Hhasbeya, repaired to the house of the native Protestant pastor, (Mr John Wartabed,) till a house could be prepared for us.

Next morning some deputations of the religious sects of the town called upon me; also the Ameer Saad ed Deen and his five sons in rich dresses; and lastly, an old Druse who had distinguished himself as a friend of the Protestant movement. Among all these, my visit there had a beneficial effect upon the existence and progress of native Protestantism. In the Lebanon the Druses have always favoured the missionaries, their schools and their chapels, while the native Christian communities, under the direction of their clergy, have naturally opposed them by every possible means of the direst persecution. In proper time and place I may hereafter have more to say respecting this visit to Hhasbeya.

In the afternoon, Mr Wartabed and the Khoja Bashi, (representative member in the town-council,) of the Protestants, named Naseef er Reis, rode with us to the source of the Hhasbani river, which ought to be regarded as the origin of the Jordan, even though Banias lower down has been for ages recognised as such. We saw the bubbles at their earliest birth issue from the ground, and in a few yards this becomes a flowing stream. Higher above this spot the bed of a torrent brings down water in rainy seasons, adding to the springs of the Hhasbani, but this not being permanent, cannot fairly be counted as having part or lot in the Jordan.

The ladies sat down to take sketches, and in haste I pencilled down in short-hand—

O Jordan, dear Jordan, the feelings that throng And press on the heart must awaken to song, When the bubbles from pebbles break forth into view As clear as the spangles of morn's early dew.

'Mid the poplars that rising surpass other trees, And twinkle as moved by the scarce mountain breeze, And the wild oleander in rose-colour'd bloom, With trill of the linnet, and shrubs of perfume.

I have drunk from each source that advances a claim To share with our Jordan its time-honour'd name; Here now at Hhasbeya—and the old site of Dan; Or the gush that escapes from the grotto of Pan.

How oft on far banks of its tortuous course, In the scenes of repose or of cataract force, Where the bulbul, 'mid willows and tamarisk shades, Still warbles—

"Now, ladies, the horses are ready, and we have further to go," broke in upon the muse of Lebanon. The day's work had to be finished, and time was short; so we rode away to the bitumen pits in the neighbourhood of Cocaba. These are not worked in warm weather, for the people are afraid of the possible effects of their gas generated under a hot sun. One of the pits is seventy ells, or cubits, deep, and the bitumen is reached through a crust of chalky soil. The property is a government monopoly, rented by natives, and the business is lazily and irregularly carried on; therefore, sometimes the success is greater than at others. We found two men living in a tent as guardians of the place, who were very civil to us, and permitted us to carry away some specimens. These were all of a very soft consistency; but at the bitumen works at four hours north of Hhasbeya, the mineral is of a still softer description, almost liquid.

Next morning, the Kadi paid us a visit, accompanied by a merchant of Damascus, a correspondent of an English house in India for indigo.

On Sunday we attended divine service at the native Protestant church, which the people call the English church, and in virtue thereof have set up a bell above it; because, although the mission is carried on by American money and under the direction of American agents, the American consuls are forbidden by their home-government from taking any steps in behalf of their undertakings; and thus, but for the protection given them by Mr Wood, British consul of Damascus, and his consular friends at Bayroot, the American Mission, with all their schools and printing-presses, would, upon all human calculation, have been crushed long ago.

In conformity with Oriental usage, the congregation was divided according to the sexes. In the old Eastern churches the women are placed in a gallery above the men, but here the equality of the sexes was maintained by their occupying the same floor, while separated from each other by a wall built rather higher than the usual stature of a man; the pulpit being equally visible from each division. A large jar of water stood in the corner within the door, to which the men repaired occasionally, as they felt thirsty. There were no chairs or benches, except such as were brought from the house for our party, the congregation were sitting on their heels, in which posture they sang the hymns, and remained so during the prayer, only covering the face with the right hand; a few men, however, stood up.

The singing (Arabic) was good, of course all in unison. The first hymn was to the tune of our "Old Hundredth," the chapters read by the minister were Ezek. xviii. and Rom. iii., and the text of the sermon was Ps. lxxxix. 14, "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face." The style of language in the sermon was that of good Arabic, but of simple, unpretending character, without admixture of foreign words or phrases: this was insured by the circumstance of the minister being a native of the country, though originally belonging to the Armenian Church.

At the afternoon service the chapters read were Num. xxiii. and Heb. xiii. The text for the sermon was Heb. xiii. 8, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," and the hymn was sung to a sweet plaintive air of American origin.

Afterwards, that is after sunset, we spent some hours with the pastor's family, who all understood English well. Mr Wartabed played the flute to the hymn-singing, and his sister's voice was clear as a flageolet. The evening was one of comfort and refreshment on both sides; it was one of a Sabbath, "a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable," (Isa. lviii. 13.)

The poor Protestants have not always been in such satisfactory circumstances. Their principal man had narratives to relate of chains and imprisonment endured in past times from the present Ameer, whose policy was now in their favour.

Next morning we left Hhasbeya, and I have not been there since. Little could it be foreseen that in five years afterwards one indiscriminate butchery would be made of the Ameer and his son, notwithstanding their high descent of family and profession of Islam, together with all the Christians of whatever sect in the town, driven like sheep within the walls of his palace—a deed of treachery unexampled even in that period of bloody Turkish treachery. Since then my lady companions are both in their graves, the one at Jerusalem, the other at Bayroot, let me rather say in "a better country," while I am left alone to narrate this in the distant security of England.

On our way towards Banias we met a party of Druses returning from a small lake beyond Hhooleh, carrying leeches in earthen jars and cotton bags upon asses, they themselves walking. A green hill on our right was said to be frequented by wild boars—all the rest of our scenery was bare and stony.

A weli was a conspicuous object at some distance to the south, and near to the Lake Hhooleh, which the Moslems name after "Judah the son of Jacob." One of the Hhasbeya Protestants, who was with us, quoted in his native Arabic "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah," etc.

At Tell el Kadi we reposed beneath the great tree near the gush of its branch of the Jordan, the same tree (evergreen oak) as afforded us shelter in 1849. Both this spring of the river and that of Banias are far more striking objects than the humble source of the Hhasbani, into which stream they run as affluents, making up the Jordan.

It was a beautiful evening of mellow sunlight, and the scene most peaceful at the foot of Hermon.

On nearing Banias we were met by the son of the shaikh of the village, sent out to invite us. It was harvest time of the Simsim, (Sesame,) and the produce was very abundant; sheaves of it were piled up into large stacks, and the length of the plant in stalk exceeded all I had ever seen before,—a natural effect of growing on these well-watered plains.

There were also my old friends the myrtles scattered about among the other trees.

At Banias our attendants had pitched the tents, to our disgust, near the village, and with the stench of carrion not far off; much better places might have been taken, but this was selected probably in consequence of the invitation from the shaikh. Our short remainder of twilight was employed in viewing the inscriptions and the grotto of Pan.

Next morning I was making fresh transcriptions of the Greek votive dedications before the sun was up, so as to get them as accurately as possible without sunshine and shadows. Then the same once more after breakfast, with the sun full upon them. These, together with the copies taken in 1849 by afternoon sunlight, and consequently the shadows thrown in the reverse direction, ought to ensure for me a correct delineation, saving and except those letters that are defaced by the action of weather during fifteen centuries, or across which small cracks have been made by the same cause.

The shaikh came to transact some business of consequence to him. Before noon we resumed our journey; going due west through the Sesame harvest and the myrtle trees to Tell el Kadi; straight across the plain through marshes, frequent small streams, and large fields of rice, which they said would be fit for reaping in twenty days more, that is, by the end of October.

Crossed the Ghujar bridge, but did not as before turn off to Safed; our object now was to reach Tibneen in the Belad Besharah, and therefore we kept on due west, ascending up to the great crusading castle and the village of Huneen, from which the look back upon Jebel esh Shaikh (Hermon) was indescribably grand.

A little farther on, a glimpse was caught of the Mediterranean Sea! the mountain breeze most delightful. Rested by the roadside for luncheon; came to the village of Hhooleh, thence into lower valleys of green woods, often with scarce room to pass ourselves, our horses, and the luggage between branches of trees for some successive hours. Then under the village of Jahharah, where were charcoal burners working at their kilns.

The scene opened into verdant glades, alternated with woodland; the breathing most pure as exhaled from trees upon firm dry ground, contrasted with the noxious vapours from the marshes in the early morning.

Flocks and shepherds appeared, and there was the sound of the axe busy in the woods; not the ringing sound of the bright large English axe, this being wanted in the stroke of the petty Oriental tools.

As evening drew on, and broad shadows fell from green hills across our way, Tibneen Castle came nobly into view, and there a goodly reception awaited us. A strange medley of splendour, with fleas and dust, obtained throughout the establishment, and our ladies visited those of the Hhareem, concerning whom they brought back no agreeable report.

We remained over two nights at Tibneen; the latter of which was, throughout its whole duration, one of furious storm, rattling the wooden lattices that served for windows; a storm not uncommon in the East, when an adverse wind meets and drives back a strong shirocco. At daybreak the first sound of the morning was that of a large trained hawk near the window, chained to his perch, and screaming out his delight in the bluster of the tempest. Mount Hermon appeared, not in his summer glow, but in solemn majesty, defying the clouds and the winds that raged in vain against his solid substance.

Our progress was thence towards Safed, which, however, we did not reach in less than eleven hours and a half, instead of six, because of our circuit made to see the antiquities of Kadis and Cuf'r Bera'am.

Turning off before Bint el Jebail, we came to 'Ain Atha, and next to Aituran. At Kadis (Kedesh Naphtali) I found that much of the principal and beautiful temple had been lately despoiled by our late host of Tibneen ('Ali Bek) for the ornamentation of his Hhareem or women's apartments, and balconies or galleries. Then to Yaroon, near which was still the ponderous sarcophagus upon a platform in the open country, and likely to stay there for ages to come. It is too plain and devoid of ornament or inscription for antiquarians from Europe to covet it, and to remove it for no particular use would demand too much exertion from the natives of the country. My groom, however, thought it might be useful as a depository of barley in the stable!

We overtook a party of Safed people returning from the weekly market at Bint el Jebail.

At Cuf'r Bera'am we inspected the ancient buildings now bearing Hebrew inscriptions, and I was more than ever convinced in my own mind, that neither these nor any edifices at Kadis have any relation to the Jewish people, in their origin or intention. The Hebrew writing is of inferior style, and very modern character, far, far unequal to the beauty of the architecture; besides having evident traces of animal figures which have been hastily chiselled off.

The sun set, and a bad road had to be traversed in order to reach our destination at Safed.

PART III.

In my two journeys just described, the route was over the southern part of the long Lebanon range, not only on the main ridge, but crossing some of the innumerable spurs thrown out towards the sea. This time, however, we have to deal with a more northerly and higher region; and it is because of its being in a different direction from those of 1849 and 1855 that I have not observed the consecutive order of date—this was in 1853. We shall start from the coast, where the most projecting and western spur subsides into Ras Bayroot, and the climbing begins almost immediately after leaving deep yellow sands and the pine forest.

The object was to reach Mokhtarah, perched high in the heart of the Shoof or central ridge of Lebanon, like an eyrie, as it was then, for the princely house of Jonblat. Mokhtarah lies S.-E. from Bayroot, and to arrive there we had to cross the intervening spurs, climbing as we went.

The town of Dair el Kamar and the palace of Beteddeen, formerly the headquarters of the house of Shehab, lay upon the road. The remainder of the journey after Mokhtarah consisted in a rapid descent to Sidon, the great port in antiquity for Damascus, Phoenicia, and the Lebanon.

This tour comprised the finest range of the territory occupied by the Druse nation.

1853. July.—From Bayroot, with its bewitching scenery and its gorgeous colouring of mountains and the sea, we went to 'Abeih, the best known of the American missionary stations in the Lebanon.

Through the woods of pines, with their reviving fragrance, and through El Hadeth, an entirely Christian village, where the bell of the Maronite convent was ringing as we passed, we came to Shuwaifat, and rose still higher towards the mountain pines and the breezes so desirable in Syria in the month of July, leaving below the olive in abundance, the mulberry and the fig-trees.

Beside the fountain called 'Ain Besaba was a pottery factory. The nature of the rocks around was soft sandstone; a gigantic pear-tree stood conspicuous among the excellent cultivation of the neighbourhood; higher still, between straight tall pines and wild holly-oaks, our road curved round and round the hills.

We overtook a company of Christians, the women riding and the men walking—this circumstance alone would show they were not Mohammedans. The two parties had to pass each other with much caution, as the path was narrow and the precipice deep below.

At 'Ain 'Anoob, where a copious supply of water issues from three spouts, the fountain has on each side the representation of a chained lion, sculptured in stone. One's first impression would be that this were a relic of the Genoese or Venetian crusaders; but these figures, whatever their meaning or origin, are not infrequent upon fountains about the Lebanon, even when only rustically daubed in red ochre; and it has not been often noticed that there are similar lions facing each other, only without the chains, one on each side of St Stephen's Gate at Jerusalem. Some of the women at the fountains wore the horns on their head, the fashion for which is gradually passing away. The terraces on the hills were in the highest state of cultivation, and gave abundant promise of fruit for the coming season; the sun was near setting, the rooks cawing overhead, and we saw two little girls each bring a lamb to the fountain to drink and then proceed to wash them.

Sidi Ahhmad, a Druse 'Akal, with, of course, a white turban, undertook to be our guide as far as 'Abeih.

Fresh air to breathe! how different from the oppressive heat of Bayroot! We all drank of every spring by the way, and by consequence lifted up the drooping head, (Ps. cx. 7,) thinking each fountain colder than that before it.

The most rugged portion of the road was between 'Ain 'Anoob and 'Ainab, and zigzag were the worn tracks of the way. Sometimes a musical jingle of bells announced the coming of travellers in front, who were however invisible till they pounced upon us from between two pinnacles of rocks. On the steepest ascents it was necessary to halt and await the coming up of our baggage mules.

From mountain heights it is often difficult to distinguish the blue expanse of the Mediterranean Sea from the similar blue expanse of the sky, until the actual moment of sunset, when the bright orb becoming suddenly flattened on its lower curve reveals the exact horizon line; and so it was this evening.

Wearied with the climbing position of the saddle, hour after hour, I passed 'Ain Kesoor on foot, the 'Akal leading the horse. This was shortly before 'Abeih, but there I rode up to the mansion of Kasim Bek, the local governor, to ask hospitality; it was dark night, and Saturday. My intention was to spend the Sunday in a Christian manner among the American missionaries. The journey had been one of five hours and a half from Bayroot.

We were heartily received into a fine old house, in which were shaikhs and chiefs of sundry grades seated on the divan with the host, and immediately the means for washing were brought by the domestics with great respect. A good supper was prepared, the Bek eating with us, to my surprise, but I afterwards learned that this is not uncommon with a non-'Akal Druse, as he was.

Sunday.—Quiet morning. Bell of the Capuchin Convent almost adjoining the house. From the windows there is a fine prospect of Bayroot and the coast-outline.

After breakfast I went up to the chapel of the American missionaries, and entered just as the Arabic service was about to commence—Dr de Forest in the pulpit; and his sermon was preached with fluency of language equal to that of a native. The subject was taken from 1 Cor. i. 12, 13, concerning those who named themselves followers of Paul or of Apollos. The women were screened off from the men in the congregation.

After service Dr de Forest welcomed me, and led me up the hill to the mission-house, where I found my old friend, Dr Eli Smith, who was unwell, and about to leave them on the morrow for his home at B'hamdoon. With Mrs de Forest there was a young lady just arrived from the United States to be a teacher in the school.

The residence is a good one; with the girls' school on the ground plan, and the dwelling apartments above. The scenery and prospect equal all that the highest imagination could conceive of the Lebanon. Over the sea, the island of Cyprus can occasionally be distinguished from the terrace, that is to say, three peaks of a mountain show themselves at sunset, particularly if the wind be in the north, in the month of May or the beginning of June. This view, therefore, gives the outskirts of "the isles of Chittim," as seen from the Holy Land, (Num. xxiv. 24, and Jer. ii. 10.)

After dinner we all went together to the English service in the chapel. Mr Colquhoun preached a simple but impressive sermon from John x. 4; which text he illustrated by an incident that he had witnessed in a recent journey northwards.

A shepherd with a flock arrived at a river of some impetuosity. He entered it first, trying the depths with his staff, got over at the best place, and then with his voice called over the sheep to him. From which the following points were deduced:—

1. That the shepherd led the way, and the flock waited for his call.

2. That the sheep followed when he called, although not all of them at the precise ford he had discovered. Some of them trusted to their own judgment, and these generally got out of their depths for a time. His way was certainly the best one.

3. That as the shepherd stood on the opposite bank, he showed no symptoms of uneasiness, for he was confident that every one of the flock would get safely across.

4. That the sheep in passing over used each his own efforts to get across, apparently just as much as if there were no one present to help; although no doubt the presence of the shepherd had a good effect upon their exertions. It is beyond our reach to explain the metaphysical mystery of this.

5. The shepherd in first crossing the stream himself tested the force of the stream. Each individual creature had to do the same; but those who followed the closest upon his track had an easy passage, while those who tried new ways for themselves were some of them swept down the current for a distance, and had to make hard struggles to rejoin their companions and to reach the beloved shepherd.

6. All got safely over, for they were his sheep; he knew them all by name; he had tried the way before them and shown it; he then called them to himself.

Of course each of these points was made use of as personally applicable to the hearers. The sermon did me much good from its quiet and truthful character.

At this service, it is needless to observe, that there was no separation of sexes in the congregation. The girls of the school (who are all taught English) were there placed by themselves, and prettily dressed, wearing the Oriental izar, (or large white veil,) with flowered borders, a novelty to us.

Returning to the mission-house, the late afternoon and the time of sunset and twilight were spent in rational conversation of Christian character. And such was our Sabbath-day of devotion and repose.

How glorious were the colours spread over the vast extent of mountain and sea, modified by length of shadows as the sun declined! Oh how deep are such beauties and the perception of their value laid in the innermost recesses of our soul's nature, only to be completely gratified in the eternity to come. Here, below, we have gorgeous tints differing in succession, even after actual sunset, to be followed by a delicate after-glow, which again gives place to the splendour of night. And as in earth, so in heaven, with the exception of night; for surely there will be alternations of beauteous scenes above; surely there will be developments and variety in light, colour, music, harmony, and the rest of those "pleasures for evermore," which are everywhere emanations from the direct love of "Him who first loved us,"—His gifts, who even here bestows prismatic hues upon icebergs in the arctic circle, and a rosy flush to the peaks of Jebel Sanneen in the Lebanon.

Monday.—Letters were brought at a late hour last night in four hours from Bayroot, giving recent intelligence from our fleet—all political affairs going on successfully.

Everybody speaks well of our host the governor, and his family. He is a studious man, and has acquired from the Americans a good deal of history and general knowledge; his youngest brother attends the natural-history class of the mission-school. He is a relative of the famous Abu Neked, and his wife (Druses have but one wife each) is of the Jonblat family. The ancestral mansion he inhabits was built by one of the ancient race called the T'noohh, who flourished there from the 10th to the 17th century, and artists had been brought for the purpose from Constantinople; the symmetry of the masonry is admirable, and consequently the shadows formed from it are particularly straight and sharp in outline.

The village contains specimens of every form of religion to be found throughout the Lebanon; each sect, however, keeps somewhat apart from the rest, which practice being common in the mountain, may account for the villages appearing to a stranger to consist of separate pieces not quite joined together.

Some women still wear horns, although the Christian clergy set themselves strongly against these ornaments; some even refusing the Communion-Sacrament to those who persist in retaining that heathenish emblem derived from ancient mythology.

Among the Druse men, the 'Akal are not so marked in their difference of costume from the Juhal as formerly, except in the extreme cleanliness and careful plaiting of the white turban. My host, notwithstanding the antiquity of his family and his studious character, is not one of the initiated, he is but a Jahel, yet he probably serves his people best in that capacity, as he is thereby enabled to hold government employments.

From his windows we could see on the south side of Ras Bayroot several small vessels engaged in sponge-fishing; the crews of these are generally Greeks from the islands: yesterday with the telescope we had a good view of the mail-steamer arriving.

We went to take leave of the American friends, who showed us some excellent specimens of English writing, and of drawing from the girls' school.

Returning to the Druse friends, I visited Seleem, a brother of the Bek. On hearing that we were proceeding to Mokhtarah, Naaman, (brother of Said Bek Jonblat,) who has retired from worldly affairs, and become a devout 'Akal, requested one of my party to ask Said to send him some orange-flower water. I have no doubt that this message ([Greek text]) covered some political meaning.

The house of Seleem was simplicity and neatness in the extreme, the only ornamentation being that of rich robes, pistols, swords, and the silver decorations of horses, suspended on pegs round the principal apartment; all thoroughly Oriental of olden time.

The Christian secretary of the Bek attended us to Cuf'r Natta on a fine Jilfi mare, where he got for us a pedestrian guide to Dair el Kamar. A very deep valley lay before us, into which we had to descend, lounging leftwards, and then to mount the opposite hill, returning rightwards, to an elevation higher than that of Cuf'r Natta. Down we went by zigzags through groves of pine that were stirred gently on their tops by the mountain breeze, and there was plenty of wild myrtle on the ground; we frequently met with specimens of iron ore, and pink or yellow metallic streaks in the rocks, to the river Suffar, being the upper part of the river that is called Damoor upon the sea-coast. This is crossed by the bridge Jisr' el Kadi, (so named from an ameer of the house of T'noohh, surnamed the Kadi, or Judge, from his legal acquirements, and who erected the bridge in old times,) near which the limestone rock of the water-bed is worn into other channels by the occasional escapements of winter torrents. There are mills adjoining.

We all rested in a coffee-station at the end of the bridge. Several parties of muleteers had halted there at the same time. By the little fireside a large hawk was perched, and the owner of the place had his apparatus for shoemaking in the middle of the room.

Flowering oleander and fruit trees imparted liveliness to the scene outside, our several parties in variegated costumes adding not a little to the same.

Crossing the bridge, (which is level, and has no side parapets,) we commenced the great ascent; the hill-side was largely planted with sherabeen, (sprouts,) of a kind of cedar, not the real cedar of Lebanon. At a spring half way up we found a poor Turkish infantry soldier resting all alone, he was a pitiable object in a district so unfriendly to him.

What a different country would Palestine or all Syria be were it like the Lebanon, industriously cultivated inch by inch! How different would the Lebanon be were this industry and its produce never interrupted by intestine warfare!

Higher still we saw a train of shaikhs on horseback, attended by men on foot, coming in our direction longitudinally on the opposite hill from a remote village.

All the distance, I think, from Jis'r el Kadi forwards, notwithstanding the steep nature of the country, was over a paved or made road. There is no such a thing in the south; here, however, the desolation of Turkish rule is but little known, and the people are not only industrious, but a fine muscular race.

We overtook small groups of village people who had, it seems, gone out to meet the important riding party lately seen by us. Suddenly, at a turn of the road, the cheerful town of Dair el Kamar opened out to view, with the hills and palaces of Beteddeen behind. This was at three hours from 'Abeih, exclusive of the hour's rest at the bridge.

The town appeared to be well built, better than many a European town, notwithstanding the destruction arising from recent warfare, and the people cleanly; it was, however, no proof of the latter quality that I saw a pig being fed at a house-door as we passed along.

We alighted at the best Arab house I had ever entered, namely, that of the influential Meshakah family. After some repose the host took me and the friends who had accompanied me from Soor and Saida to look about the town. Through streets and bazaars we came to a large open place occupied by silk weavers at work, among whom was the father of Faris, the Arabic teacher in the Protestant school at Jerusalem, he having been instructed by the Americans at 'Abeih, and whose sister I had seen there the day preceding. The silk stuffs of the town maintain a respectable rivalry with those of Damascus.

Turkish soldiers were dawdling about the streets.

We called at some Christian houses, in one of which (very handsome, with a garden) the recesses in the wall of one side of the divan room, containing bedding as usual in the East, were screened by a wide curtain of white muslin spangled with gold. Upon the other sides of the room were rude fresco paintings. Opposite the door on entering was the Virgin and Child; over the door was a dove with an olive branch; and the remaining side was embellished by the picture of a fine water-melon, with a slice cut off and lying at its side, the knife still upright in the melon, and an angel flying above it, blowing a trumpet!

The town is romantically situated upon successive levels of terraces in the hill, and environed by orchards of fruit. As evening approached, the opposite hill was suffused in a glow of pink, followed by purple light, and the Ramadan gun was fired from Beteddeen when the sun's orb dropped upon the horizon. Suddenly the hills exchanged their warm colours for a cold gray, in harmony with the gloaming or evening twilight.

The population of Dair el Kamar at that time numbered 700 full-grown men of Maronites, 220 of Greek Catholics, 150 of Druses, with a few Moslems and Jews—each of the sects living apart from the rest. The silk manufacture was more extensive than that of Saida, and a constant communication was kept up with Damascus, which is at twenty hours' distance. The Christians are far more hardy than their fellow-Christians the Maronites are in their special district to the north. The whole population is industrious, and the Druses maintain their characteristic steadfastness of purpose, secrecy, and union among themselves.

The house in which I was so hospitably received had been almost entirely destroyed in the war of 1841; and its proprietor (brother of the two brothers now its owners) shot dead in his own court, by persons who owed him money, namely, the Druse party of Abu Neked, two hundred of whom had for a fortnight lived at free quarters there.

The two brothers who were my hosts are Christians of the Greek Catholic sect, named Gabriel and Raphael. A third surviving brother is the talented Protestant controversialist residing in Damascus, and practising medicine as learned from the Americans. The one who was shot by the Druses was Andrew; the eldest of all is Ibrahim, settled in Bayroot, and his son named Khaleel is dragoman of the English consulate there—it was he who furnished us with the introduction to this house in Dair el Kamar.

How curious is the domestic life of these Oriental families. Eating takes place in the principal room, with a throng of women and children passing heedlessly about, or visitors entering as they please. Among these, during the dinner time, came in a Jew speaking Jewish-German. He was a dyer, who had known me at Jerusalem, and conversed with remarkable self-possession: it seemed as if the mountain air, and absence from the Rabbis of Jerusalem, had made a man of him. In attendance on the meal was an ancient woman-servant of the family, very wrinkled, but wearing the tantoor or horn on her head.

On retiring from the table, if we may use that expression as applicable to an Oriental dinner, there came in the Greek Catholic Bishop of Saida, and several heads of houses of the Maronites, on visits of ceremony.

The fatigue of the day was closed, and rewarded by a night of sleep upon a bed of down and crimson silk, under a covering of the same.

In the morning our journey was resumed; but before quitting this interesting town, I cannot forbear quoting Dr Porter's admirable description of Dair el Kamar, from Murray's "Handbook for Syria and Palestine," part ii. page 413:—

"Deir el Kamr is a picturesque mountain village, or rather town, of some 8000 inhabitants, whose houses are built along a steep, rocky hill-side. A sublime glen runs beneath it, and on the opposite side, on a projecting ledge, stands the palace of Bteddin. Both the banks, as well as the slopes above them, are covered with terraces, supporting soil on which a well-earned harvest waves in early summer, amid rows of mulberries and olives and straggling vines. Industry has here triumphed over apparent impossibilities, having converted naked rocky declivities into a paradise. In Palestine we have passed through vast plains of the richest soil all waste and desolate—here we see the mountain's rugged side clothed with soil not its own, and watered by a thousand rills led captive from fountains far away. Every spot on which a handful of soil can rest, every cranny to which a vine can cling, every ledge on which a mulberry can stand, is occupied. The people too, now nearly all Christians, have a thrifty well-to-do look, and the children, thanks to the energy of the American missionaries, are well taught."

This was in 1857, and the description corresponds to what I witnessed in 1853; but, alas! how great a change ensued in 1860. I must refrain, however, from enlarging upon the melancholy tragedy that occurred there during the insurrection of that memorable year.

First we went to Beteddeen, and witnessed the sad spectacle of the Ameer Besheer's luxurious palace in a process of daily destruction by the Turkish soldiery, who occupied it as a barrack. Accounts had been read by me in Europe {405} of its size and costliness, but the description had not exceeded the reality.

The officer in command gave us permission to be guided over the palatial courts and chambers. We wandered through the Hhareem-rooms, and saw baths of marble and gilding, sculptured inscriptions in the passages, coloured mosaics in profusion on the floors, painted roofs, rich columns, brass gates, carved doors, marble fountains, and basins with gold fish. We entered the state reception room, and the old ameer's little business divan, in a balcony commanding a view of the approaches in every direction, of the meidan for equestrian practice, of the inner courts, of the gardens below, and of a cascade of water rolling over lofty cliffs, at the exact distance whence the sound came gently soothing the ear, and from that spot also was obtained a distant view of the Mediterranean; not omitting the advantage of witnessing every important movement that could be made in the streets of Dair el Kamar, across the deep valley.

Beteddeen had been a truly princely establishment, but now adds one more lesson to the many others of instability in human greatness. Fourteen years before, it was all in its glory—the courts were thronged with Druse and Maronite chiefs arrayed in cloth of gold, with soldiers, with secretaries, with flatterers and suppliants; whereas now, before our eyes, the dirty canaille of Turkish soldiers were tearing up marble squares of pavement to chuck about for sport, doors were plucked down and burned, even the lightning-rods were demolished, and every species of devastation practised for passing away their idle time.

I shall not here describe the political movements that led to this great reverse of fortune, or to the present condition of the family of Shehab.

The mountains around were still in careful cultivation, chiefly with the vine and olive; and the aqueduct still brings water from the springs of Suffar at several miles' distance, and this it is which, after supplying the palace, forms the cascade above described, and afterwards turns two mills.

At short distances are smaller palaces, erected also by this powerful ameer for his mother and his married sons; but the same fate has overtaken them all—Turkish devastation.

Before leaving the place, I visited the tomb of the ameer's mother and that of his principal wife, who was a Christian; they are near the house, and surrounded by five cypresses.

Took the road towards Mokhtarah, the seat of the rival chief, the Druse Jonblat. For some distance after Beteddeen the roads have been carefully constructed, over an unusually level plateau for the Lebanon; but an enormous ridge of mountain stands conspicuous in the N.-E. This is the highest part of the Shoof, near the sources of the river Barook, so named from being the first place where the Arab camels knelt on arriving in the Lebanon in A.D. 821. The sad spectacle of villages and good farm-houses desolate and blackened by fire, frequently met the view; for this open tract, called the Sumkaniyeh, has frequently been a scene of conflict between the leading factions; it was especially the ground of the considerable battle of the Ameer Besheer and the Jonblatiyeh in 1825. At length, from the commencement of a descent, we saw Mokhtarah upon an opposite hill, commanding the view of our approach—a great advantage in times of warfare. Our road lay downwards by odd turns and twists, and over a precipice to the river Barook, with its romantic banks and fruit-trees peering between overhanging rocks.

On our arrival, the great man, Said Bek Jonblat, {408} came out with a train of 'Akal councillors and a crowd of humbler retainers. He was a handsome man of about twenty-eight, and richly apparelled. Beneath a large abai or cloak of black Cashmere, with Indian patterns embroidered about the collar and skirts, he wore a long gombaz of very dark green silk embossed with tambour work; his sash was of the plainest purple silk, and his sidriyeh or vest was of entire cloth of gold with gold filigree buttons: on the head a plain tarboosh, and in his hand sometimes a cane ornamented with ivory or a rosary of sandal-wood. His gold watch and chain were in the best European taste.

I need not here expatiate on the sumptuous reception afforded us; it may be enough to say, that having some hours to spare before sunset—the universal time for dinner in the East—we walked about, and the Bek shewed me the yet unrepaired damages, inflicted in his father's time, at the hands of the victorious Ameer Besheer's faction, on that palace and paradise which his father Besheer had created there, thus teaching the Shehab Ameer how to build its rival of Beteddeen,—and the limpid stream brought from the high sources of the Barook to supply cascades and fountains for the marble courts, which the other also imitated in bringing down the Suffar to his place. We sat beside those streams and cascades, so grateful at that season of the year, conversing about the Arab factions of Kaisi and Yemeni, or the Jonblat and Yesbeck parties of the Druses, or his own early years spent in exile either in the Hauran or with Mohammed 'Ali in Egypt,—but not a word about actual circumstances of the Lebanon, or about his plans for restoring the palace to more than its former splendour, which he afterwards carried out. This was all very agreeable, but a curious fit of policy assumed at the time rendered my host to some degree apparently inhospitable to us Christians.

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