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road still leading through rich plains affairs were going on, we resolved to destitute of wood. About half-way set out the next morning on foot, callwe crossed the Orontes, now dimi-ing on Narsah on our way. To this nished in breadth to a paltry stream. plan the Arab consented, and everyThe river here winds through a chasm. thing was agreed on; he swearing by There is a bridge of thirteen arches; the most sacred oaths that all should and the water is kept up for the pur- go on well, and that we should have pose of turning a mill. A cascade an ass to carry our bread, water, and which it forms, the khan, the neigh-sheep-skin coats. bouring village of Rastan, and a few January 21. trees on the bank of the rivulet, altogether make rather a pretty scene. Rastan stands on an eminence near the bridge, and the ancient Arethusia adjoins it, presenting an object of more interest than we had lately been accustomed to, though none of the buildings remain perfect. Part of the walls, the line of the streets, and the pedestals of some columns, being alone remarkable. We put up at a khan in Homs; and Pierre, who had followed us from Hamah, arrived soon after us. January 20.-We had some conversation with the Christian we had seen at Hamah; but it appeared evident he was undertaking a task that he was unable to execute. In the evening one of the Arabs who had visited us with Sheikh Salee, came with a letter from Sheikh Narsah, who, he said, was encamped one day's journey from Palmyra. The letter stated, "that Narsah had heard of our arrival in Hamah, and of our wish to visit Tadmor; that he expected by the 24th that the Fidon and Isbaah Arabs under Sheikh Haleel, who were at war with the Annasees, would have removed from the neighbourhood of Palmyra; and that, at the expiration of that time, he would come to Homs with three camels to conduct us." This story we afterwards had reason to believe was a fiction, to persuade us of the absolute necessity of his protection. In the mean time he desired we would give the bearer twenty piastres. Upon this we made great difficulties; for, as our departure was not yet completely settled, it might very likely be money thrown away; and we thought that if we showed an easy compliance in giving small sums, we might soon receive a demand for large ones. In short, finding how tardily
- This morning the man came again, saying, he could not take us, as he feared Narsah would cut off his head for having undertaken the business without express orders. Therefore, after much discussion, this last arrangement also terminated unfavourably, and the Arab set off a second time for the camp of Mahannah, to bring the camels as soon as possible, and apprise his chief that we had removed to Homs. In the afternoon it came on to blow hard, with continued squalls of snow, sleet, and rain; and we were not sorry that our walking trip was put off. The bad weather continued without intermission night and day till the 24th, on the evening of which day the man returned from Mahannah with the three camels; we could not, however, arrange for starting till the 26th, as the motsellim (governor) could not ratify the bargain, being busily engaged in taking an inventory of the effects of the pasha, who had shortly before been beheaded. This pasha had been appointed to the command of the hadj, and had set off from Constantinople. While he was on his return from Mecca, a khat-sherriffe was despatched from the capital, ordering his head to be cut off and sent immediately to Constantinople; and the sentence was carried into execution before he reached Damascus. We hear that he was accused of intriguing with the Russians against the state. We paid 300 piastres into the hands of Hadji Hassan, as part payment to the Arab sheikhs, but it was agreed that they should not themselves receive any portion of it till our safe return to Homs. Sheikh Narsah's order was, that we should pay all before starting; but we persisted in refusing, and moreover, we made the Arabs consent, before wit
nesses, that no further demands beyond the 600 piastres were to be made upon us on any pretence whatever. The motsellim, who, like all the Turks, had a great and unnecessary dread of these people, observed, "Why will you trust yourselves amongst the Arabs suppose they should destroy you!"
January 26.-At one P.M., after nineteen days' negotiation at Hamah and Homs, we started with our three camels and as many conductors, with two skin bottles, in which they had poured the melted butter bought with Lady Hester's present. We proved to them before departing that we had not a para in our pockets, thus preventing any temptation to pilfer. All our baggage consisted of a sheep-skin coat, the woolly side inwards, and the other side coloured red with ochre, and greased to keep out the rain. We rode for five hours, our guides nearly the whole time singing a favourite Arab song. On arriving at a Bedouin camp, we had some scruples about entering a tent, expecting they would have had many objections against receiving us. Instead of which, to our surprise, we were welcomed by both men and women; the latter smiling, said, we were Frangi (Franks), and retired to their part of the tent to prepare supper.
January 27-Having been regaled with a substantial breakfast, we proceeded at eight A.M. and rode till four in the afternoon, when we stopped at another Arab camp, where we were again well received.
January 28.-We started at dawn of day, and saw many dwarf trees, of which the country had hitherto been destitute. It now resembled a heath covered by a plentiful stock of aromatic shrubs, with occasional hill and dale. We followed no particular road or track; but our general direction appeared to be easterly. This morning we had a striking instance of the value the Arab sets on his time, and of his impatience to accomplish a journey when once he has undertaken it. Suddenly one of our party quitting us, hastened on in advance, and
was soon out of sight. On coming up
As we approached, we beheld a very animated and busy scene. The girls were singing, and the children busied in running down the young partridges with dogs; the birds being as yet only able to fly a short distance at a time. Presently we heard a hue and cry from all quarters, and soon perceived a large wild boar, with his bristles erect, beset by all the dogs; everybody running eagerly to the pur
suit. He was found behind one of the tents. They chased him all through the camp; and two Arabs on horseback, with spears, joined in the pursuit. The animal, however, kept both men and dogs at bay, and finally got off with only one wound.
We now approached the sheikh's tent and found Mahannah and his two sons, Sheikhs Narsah and Hamed, together with about thirty Arab chiefs of various camps, seated round an immense fire. Sheikh Narsah was leaning on a camel's saddle, their usual cushion. He did not rise to receive us, although we afterwards observed that he and the whole circle rose whenever a strange sheikh arrived. We attributed this cool reception to the low estimation he held us in, in consequence of the unusually small sum we were to pay for visiting Palmyra, and from the plainness of our dress and appearance. Mahannah was a short, crooked-backed, mean-looking old man, between seventy and eighty years of age, dressed in a coarse robe. His son, Narsah, to whom he had, in consequence of his age, resigned the reins of government, was good-looking, about thirty years of age, with very dignified and engaging manners. He had the Koran open in his hand when we arrived, to give us, we supposed, an idea of his learning. He was well dressed, with a red pelisse and an enormous white turban. We observed much whispering going forward between Narsah and every stranger that arrived; and our guides were separately questioned in the same manner, to learn, as we conjectured, whether we had much money or not. Narsah alone addressed us. He inquired why the English wished so much to see Palmyra, and whether we were not going to search for gold? We told him he should have half of any we might find there.
As the evening advanced, the Arab guests increased to the number of fifty. Their mode of saluting their chiefs is by kissing either cheek alternately, not the hand as in Nubia. Narsah questioned us about Buonaparte and the occupation of France by
the allied troops. I suspect his knowledge of these matters proceeded from his correspondence with Lady Hester Stanhope. On our inquiring after Sheikh Hamedy, a handsome young man, apparently between twenty and twenty-five years of age, with evident confusion in his countenance, acknowledged himself as that person; at the same time remarking that we had probably heard a bad account of him, but that the reports to his prejudice were not correct. It was this man who confined Mr. Bankes for a day, and obliged him to pay 200 piastres exclusive of the 1200 which he gave to Narsah for visiting Palmyra.
Some of the partridges which the children had caught, were now brought in. They roasted them on the fire, and part was given to us; Sheikh Hamedy throwing a leg and a wing to each of us. They afterwards gave us some honey and butter, together with bread to dip into it *. Narsah desired one of his men to mix the two ingredients for us, as we were awkward at it. The Arab having stirred the mixture up well with his fingers, showed his dexterity in consuming as well as in mixing, and recompensed himself for his trouble by eating half of it. At sunset, and again at eight o'clock, the whole assembly were summoned to prayers; a man standing outside the tent, and calling them to their devotions, in the same manner as is done from the minarets of the mosques of Turkish towns. Each man rubbed his face over with sand, a heap of which was placed in front of the tent for that purpose, to serve as a substitute for water in their religious ablutions. We could not but admire the decorous solemnity with which they all joined in worship, standing in a row, and bowing down and kissing the ground together. An immense platter of roast mutton was then brought in for supper, with pillaw of rice. The Arabs fed apart, while a separate portion was brought for Narsah and us. We observed the elderly men gave their half-gnawed bones to those around
*"Butter and honey shall he eat." Isa. vii. 5.
them, and we were told that they have had some weight with Narsah on this an adage commending the custom. A occasion. We found the meat both black slave was perpetually pounding coffee from the moment we entered the tent till we went to sleep, and as he began in the morning at day-light, and was constantly employed, it would seem that the consumption of this article must be considerable. Late at night Narsah began to address the whole circle of sheikhs, who, we found, had been convened in order that they might hear his request that some portions of grazing land, called "The Cottons," might be delivered up to him. Being tired with the length of his discourse, we removed to a corner of the tent and fell asleep. We heard afterwards that his harangue lasted till three in the morning.
savoury and tender, being a portion of the hump, which is considered the best part. There was little fat, and the grain was remarkably coarse; however, we made a hearty breakfast. The feast was conducted with much order and decorum. The sheikhs fed apart in a double row, with several immense platters placed at equal distances between them, and a rope line was drawn round to keep the people from pressing in. Narsah was at the head of the row, with a small select circle, amongst whom he placed us after we had breakfasted, having perceived us amongst the spectators. When the sheikhs had finished, the people were regaled with the remains; On the following day we wished to independent of which, portions were proceed, according to the promise to let distributed to the different tents of the us depart before sun-rise, which Nar- camp. This latter arrangement was sah had given us the preceding even- for the women and children. Several ing, swearing by his head, and lifting camels must have been cooked, judgup his hand at the same time. But as ing from the immense quantities of the chief had sat up so late he did not meat we saw. This feast was no doubt make his appearance till about ten intended to give weight to the proo'clock, when, instead of letting us ceedings of the former evening. We depart, he desired we would accom- were asked whether Christians did not pany him to a small vale contiguous to eat pigs' flesh; and, answering in the his tent. We found the Arabs assem- affirmative, were questioned if we did bling from all quarters, and following not also drink sow's milk, as they do us in great numbers. We were quite that of camels: this, however, we at a loss to know the meaning of this; stoutly denied. Mahannah made many at first we thought it was intended to signs for money, both for himself and show off the numbers of his people. Sheikh Alli, a very handsome little boy Presently, however, we came to a tent, about five years of age, the son of and found an immense feast of rice and Narsah. The Arab sign for money is camel's flesh prepared for the whole rubbing the fore finger and thumb assembly. We were conducted to a together. About eleven we set out. smaller tent apart, and had our share Our camels were changed for dromedasent to us. We were in doubt what ries of a heavy sort, which set off with object the sheikh had in thus separating us at full trot up hill and down dale, us; whether it was meant as an ac- each of us having his Arab conductor commodation to us, that we might eat mounted behind him. We had now an more comfortably and freely by our- addition to our party; as one of Narselves than in the midst of a concourse sah's men, who was called a guard, of people; or whether he thought accompanied us, mounted on a white we were not fit society for him. dromedary, decorated with tassels, and Our dress was certainly of a much armed with another old matchlock meaner description than that of any of gun. We rode till four o'clock in the the sheikhs and as throughout the afternoon. We found the pace of the East a stranger is generally estimated animals on level ground and up hill according to the dress he wears, it is good enough, but in descending we probable that our homely appearance | were dreadfully jolted.
January 30.-At dawn we resumed we had undergone to visit it. The our journey. Our new guard had projecting pedestals in the centre of endeavoured to make us start at mid- the columns of the great avenue have night, but we would not submit to this, a very unsightly appearance; there as the nights were very cold and frosty. is also a great sameness in the archiWe trotted this day at the same rate tecture, all the capitals being Coas on the preceding, and were jolted rinthian, excepting those which surand bruised almost beyond endurance. round the Temple of the Sun. These At two in the afternoon we arrived at last are fluted, and when decorated the object of our journey; our useful with their brazen Ionic capitals, were guard having previously lighted the doubtless very handsome. The sculpmatch of his gun, and gone through ture, as well of the capitals of the the ceremony of loading, but without columns, as of the other ornamental ammunition. parts of the door-ways and buildings, is very coarse and bad. Although the designs, as given in the work of Wood and Dawkins, are generally correct, we found that the execution of the sculpture is far inferior to what might have been expected, judging from their engravings. The three arches of the avenue at the end nearest the Temple of the Sun, so beautiful on paper, are excessively insignificant in reality; and the decorated frieze is very badly wrought: even the devices are not striking. These arches are not to be compared to the common portals of Thebes, although the Egyptians were unacquainted with the arch. Everything here is built of a very perishable stone; it does not deserve the name of marble; it is greatly inferior even to that of Baalbec; and we are inclined to think the ruins of the latter place are much more worthy the traveller's notice than those of Palmyra. We suspect that it is the difficulty of getting to Tadmor, and the fact that few travellers have been there, that has given rise to the great renown of these ruins. We give the preference to Baalbec, not only for the general superiority of the sculpture, but also for the extraordinary massive structure of the buildings; and while the columns of Baalbec, nearly 60 ft. in height, and 7 in diameter, supporting a most rich and beautifully wrought epistylium 20 ft. high, are formed of only three pieces of stone, the smallest columns of Palmyra, 33 ft. in diameter and 30 ft. high, are formed of six, seven, and even eight pieces; those, however, surrounding the peristyle court of the Temple of the Sun, are
On opening the ruins of Palmyra, from the Valley of the Tombs, we were much struck with the picturesque effect of the whole mass, presenting altogether the most imposing sight of the kind we had ever seen, and rendered doubly interesting by our having travelled through a wilderness destitute of a single building. The ruins stand on a sandy plain, on the skirts of the desert; their snow-white appearance, contrasted with the yellow sand, produced a very striking effect. Great, however, was our disappointment when, on a minute examination, we found that there was not a single column, pediment, architrave, portal, or frieze worthy of admiration. None of the columns exceeded, in diameter, 4 ft., or in height 40. Those of the boasted avenue were little more than 30 ft. high; the eristylium is in no instance ornamented with carved-work, excepting now and then an ill-executed cornice. The plates of Wood and Dawkins are certainly well executed, but they have done more than justice to the originals. Taken as a toutensemble, these ruins are certainly remarkable, by reason of their extent (being nearly a mile and a half in length); and they are, moreover, less encumbered by modern fabrics; for except the Arab village of Tadmor, which occupies the peristyle court of the Temple of the Sun, and the Turkish burying-place, there is nothing to obstruct the antiquary. But when examined in detail they excite little interest; and we judged Palmyra to be hardly worthy of the time, expense, anxiety, and fatiguing journey which