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Turkish post-horses and an escort from Damascus, and go in spite of the Arabs. This last plan, however,would have been a very expensive one. Our constrained residence of six weeks at Aleppo made us fully acquainted with the city and its environs. It is pleasantly situated in a hollow surrounded by sloping hills, which are, however, uninteresting, having no trees, and the land not being inclosed. The houses are built of stone; the streets narrow and ill-paved, except the bazars, which are all roofed over with arches of the same construction as the houses, and are lighted from above. Thus you can walk all over the town on the terraces of the houses; the arches connecting the streets one with the other. We visited houses half a mile distant in this manner. The Franks and Christians have their sepa
rate quarters here, as in all Turkish towns. The city, the walls of which resemble those of Antioch, is surrounded with gardens, watered by small rivulets drawn from the main stream which supplies the town. We visited some Turkish houses, and were much struck with the beautiful ceilings of the apartments, which are decorated by Persian artists. They are curiously gilt, and painted. The decorations in carve-work, on the doors and window-frames, are also extremely curious. The society of Aleppo is good: the men and women make separate parties to the baths, where they have coffee and refreshments, and pass the evening. We greatly admired the neat and cleanly appearance of the butchers' shops, which are equal to those of London.
Departure for Hamah-Letters of Introduction-Caravan from Mecca-Hamah-KhansGeorgian Slaves-Negotiations with the Arabs-Interview with them-Homs-Departure for Palmyra-Arab Camp-Interview with the Arab Chiefs-Arab Feast-Fine View of Palmyra-Disappointment on reaching the Ruins-Description of them-Return to the Arab Camp-Reach Homs-Expenses of our Journey-Traits of the Arabs-Their character for Dishonesty not deserved-Damascus-Sketch of intended Route.
January 3.-WE started for Hamah; | Maundrell's Travels in Syria, and a our kind and estimable host, and his good map of Asia Minor and Greece; brother, accompanied us on horseback and, not contented with doing us all for two hours outside the town. Such these good offices, furnished us, as I had been Mr. Barker's solicitude in have before stated, with all the money our behalf, that he furnished us with we wanted. letters to Selim, the governor's secretary at Hamah, and to Scander, the secretary to the motsellim of Homs; he likewise gave us a letter of recommendation to Hadgi Hassan, an elderly Turk at Homs, who has great dealings with the Arabs. All these people were requested to render us every assistance in their power to enable us to reach Palmyra. He gave us, besides, other letters to the Saraffs of the pasha of Damascus, urging them to assist us in getting horses, should we be obliged to travel post. Also, letters to Acre, Cyprus, and Smyrna; to Sir Robert and Lady Liston, and to several other persons at Constantinople. He lent us
At sun-set we stopped at the khan Touman, a spacious lodging, but filled to excess with the caravans for Damascus and Latachia. On the following morning we proceeded at daylight in their company; our road lay over naked plains partly cultivated. About three in the afternoon we stopped at Sermein. There are several villages in this quarter, and a few clumps of olives; otherwise the country is destitute of wood. Mount Cassius, whose summit was already covered with snow, was in sight on our right.
January 5.-We proceeded at sunrise, intending to go with the Latachia caravan as far as Shogher, and thence
follow up the banks of the Orontes to Hamah; but being late, and seeing a caravan on our left, we branched out in that direction, joined them, and finding that they were in the straight road to Hamah, and bound to that place and Damascus, we continued with them. About ten, we passed the ruins of a square Turkish fortress, inclosing a village, Many of these places, on the skirts of the desert, are walled in, probably to afford them protection against the Arabs. Shortly afterwards, we met a very extensive caravan, being part of the hadj or pilgrimage to Mecca, on their return from Damascus-they had the green flag, the prophet's banner, flying. There were but few camels, the animals being mostly horses and mules, and having all bells attached to them, which made a merry ringing noise. There were several tackterwans, the only species of vehicle in the East. We had seen one of them in the great Morocco hadj, which arrived at Cairo in September last; it resembled a sedan chair, supported before and behind by horses, instead of men: but of those which we saw to-day, one was a species of tent-bed, placed cross-way on the back of a mule; and another resembled two children's cradles, fitted like panniers on the back of a camel. These tackterwans are inclosed with curtains, and are generally used by women or sick people. Nearly the whole of this, and the next day, we continued to pass divisions of the had all the animals were laden with some private venture of the pilgrims, who always join commerce with religion in these expeditions. They have among themselves an old adage "Beware of thy neighbour if he has made a hadj; but if he has made two, quickly prepare to leave thy house." The keenness with which all the peasants, near the khans, bargain for everything they sell, seems to agree with this. We saw to-day some few Roman ruins, and sarcophagi, formed of the stone of the country, apparently of the date of the lower empire. At 2 P. M. we stopped
*In that day there shall be upon the bells
of the Horses, "Holiness unto the Lord." Zech. xiv. v. 20.
for the night at Marah, and slept in a very good khan. The next morning, Lebanon, now a mass of snow, lay before us; and Mount Cassius was shut in by the northern extremity of the Ansarian mountains. We passed several sites of ancient towns, tanks, sarcophagi, &c., everything much dilapidated, and little interesting, except as proving that the neighbourhood was more thickly peopled in former times than it is at present. The country was a succession of open plains, without a single tree, and inhabited by numerous gazelles, partridges, hares, bustards, &c. We passed the night at Khan Shekune, situated near an artificial hill, several of which we had seen during the day. They resembled those on Salisbury Plain, and other parts of England. We found the khan good, but very full of people, in consequence of the return of the hadj.
January 7.-Our road was still through open plains, partially cultivated, and running parallel with the range of the Ansarian mountains. Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon were before us.
About 3 P.M. we arrived at Hamah. The road for the last hour was pretty, descending into a vale, through which the Orontes takes a winding course. One of its banks is cultivated, wooded, and here and there laid out in gardens; the other consists in most parts of perpendicular chalky cliffs. Here are immense wheels turned by the stream to raise the water for the irrigation of the soil. Hamah is the Epiphania of the Greeks and Romans, though it is, no doubt, the site of the ancient Hamath, mentioned in various parts of scripture; together with Damascus, Lebanon, and other contiguous places, it took its name from the sons of Canaan, fourth son of Ham, the son of Noah, which proves its very high antiquity. Hamah is delightfully situated in a hollow, between and on the sides of two hills, near the west bank of the Orontes; but in itself it presents nothing worthy of notice at this day. We took up our quarters in a khan. These buildings in the towns differ consider. ably from those on the road side. Like
received by a messenger, express from Aleppo, a letter from Mr. Barker, inclosing the firman from the grand Signior, for which Mr. Barker had written to Sir Robert Liston. This firman empowers us to go with four servants through Syria, Cyprus, the islands of the Archipelago, Smyrna, Adana, Karaman, Karahissar, Kiutaya, to Broussa, and thence to Constantinople. We are to be treated in the most friendly manner; to be afforded every assistance, security, and protection, according to the imperial capitulations; and to be furnished with all necessary escorts whenever occasion may require.
While we were at this place, there arrived one evening four shabby-looking, ill-dressed Turks, attired somewhat like soldiers, and an elderly fellow better clad, though no better looking
them, they surround an open square, but are differently constructed, being intended for travellers and merchants to lodge in during the time they remain in the towns to dispose of their merchandise, or settle any private affairs they may have to transact; whereas the khans on the roadside are only intended to afford a night's lodging and security to the traveller and his beasts. In these latter the squares are formed in open piazzas, in which men and animals are lodged indiscriminately, there being no division into apartments, cells, or any detached chamber whatever; and for their use no payment is required. The khans in the towns, instead of having open piazzas, are furnished all round with two stories of small apartments, each chamber, or rather cell, being about 12 ft. square, with a door (the key of which is given you), and an iron-than the others. These people brought parred window with wooden shutters, but no glass. I suspect they were originally intended as a gratuitous lodging for travellers, the same as those on the high-roads and in the villages; but as they have only one small entrance, and are thereby the most secure places in the towns, the lower rooms are generally filled with merchandise of the different resident proprietors. In front of these are arched piazzas for the horses, mules, &c.; and also a balcony, or terrace, with wooden railing, fronting the upper row of cells, which are totally unfurnished. You must provide for yourself a mat to lie on, cooking utensils, fuel, &c. There is a porter who generally rents the khan, and in the daytime attends the gate, which is locked at night; he makes his profit by the fees from travellers, and also by a rent for the merchandise. We paid two piastres (1s. 5d.) for admittance, or as it is termed, for the key of our room; four paras (one penny English) a day for the lodging, and one para a day for each horse. Our provisions we always got from the market, and we cooked them in our own room. Our principal meat was mutton. The Turks do not eat much beef, and therefore it is never good. While at Hamah we
with them eleven Georgian girls, the remnant of between forty and fifty, as we were informed, whom they had stolen or kidnapped from their parents on the confines of Georgia. They were brought to be sold as slaves or mistresses to such wealthy Turks as could afford to pay high sums for them. The poor girls were lodged in the cells contiguous to ours. They were mostly between fifteen and twenty years of age; two were younger, being about twelve. All were exceedingly pretty, with black sparkling eyes, rosy cheeks, long black hair, and very fair complexions, contradicting the account which Volney gives of the Georgian and Circassian women, where he says, "that their fame for beauty arises more from the fancy of travellers, heightened by the difficulty they have always found to get a sight of them, than from any real charms they possess." The prices which were demanded and obtained for these girls is the best proof of the estimation in which they are held by the Turks. We were present at the purchase of one girl by a rich Turk; fourteen purses, each purse being 500 piastres, or about 187., were demanded. He offered ten; but they would not abate one para. The poor girl, who was about fifteen,
was standing up all the while, hearing the disputes about her purchase. They were all taken out four different times, and conducted through the town to the rich Turkish houses, to be viewed and bid for, the same as any other merchandise; and on two occasions considerable parties of the principal inhabitants came to our khan, and examined the unhappy creatures at the door of their cells; they being obliged to stand up in a row, while their several merits were discussed by the rival bidders. Several of the purchasers were upwards of fifty years of age; while the friendless objects of their choice were only fifteen. The food given to these unfortunates was of a character with the rest of their treatment, consisting only of a loaf of bread and a small piece of cheese twice a day; and although oranges were only two paras (a halfpenny) each, we never saw one given to them. When ever the owners went abroad they locked their charge up in the cells and carried away the key. On their return from one of their tours through the town, we heard some bitter lamenting in the cell next to ours, and found that it proceeded from one of the young girls, who was about to be sold, and was bewailing her separation from her sister and companions. These poor girls are carried from town to town on horseback. In this manner they had been brought from Georgia, being exposed for sale at all the principal | towns as they came along. They were now destined for Damascus, where it was thought a good mart would be found for them. They set out on their melancholy journey two days before we started. Bruce has given some account of the Georgian and Circassian women. I think he comes much nearer the truth than Volney does.
Nothing else worthy of mention occurred while we were at Hamah, excepting our negociations with the Arabs regarding our journey to Palmyra. Shortly after we arrived, our Maltese interpreter, when taking our letter of introduction to Selim, the governor's secretary, met at his house a man named Pierre, of Dar-el-Camar,
in the employ of Lady Hester Stanhope, by whom he had been sent, as he said, to fetch two horses which had been presented to Lady Hester by the governors of Homs and Hamah. He was also charged with a present of one hundred piastres to Narsah, the chief of the Annasee Arabs. This man, who returned with our interpreter, told us that he had accompanied Lady Hester to Palmyra and was acquainted with the Arab chiefs, and that it was he who made the bargain for Mr. Bankes, who was obliged to pay 1200 piastres, besides being sent back once by Nar. sah, and kept in confinement by Sheikh Hamed, his younger brother, at Palmyra, who extorted another 200 piastres from him. Selim, as well as Scander, being both absent at Damascus, we were at some difficulty how to proceed, but resolved to await the return of the former, as Pierre expected he would be back in a few days. We had much conversation with this man regarding the Arabs, and about the prices which travellers had at different times paid for visiting Palmyra; for, although we had made up our minds to go coûte qui coûte, we determined to fight as hard a battle as we could, and pretended to be very indifferent about it. We soon saw that if this man assisted us, he would at least make us pay as much money as he could, for he talked of two, three, four, and even six hundred piastres as nothing. We, however, told him that four hundred was the utmost we would pay; and that we knew Sir William Chatterton and Mr. Leslie had visited Palmyra, by Cariateen, at an expense of only one hundred piastres, while the Arabs were making extravagant demands of Mr. Bankes. Pierre, on hearing this, observed, "that if Sir William Chatterton and Mr. Leslie had gone for that sum, they had stolen to Tadmor." Perceiving that he was not inclined to make a moderate bargain for us, we were undetermined what course to pursue, as we made no doubt that he would at all events give information to the Arabs of our arrival and intention. In the meantime, a Christian, who lives at Homs, came to us, asserting,
then came down to 2000, but we re-
that there was no difficulty in getting to Palmyra, and that he was acquainted with two others of his own creed at Homs, who with himself would engage to conduct us upon asses, at a moderate price, and without any danger from the Arabs. We did not place very implicit confidence in his account, particularly as we knew that our deceased friend, Sheikh Ibrahim, had been robbed and stripped in his first attempt, and we had Mr. Bankes' fate also before us; but as time was pass-imperial firman, which he knew we ing away, and we were doing nothing, we decided on going with him to Homs, leaving Pierre and everybody else, to whom we spoke on the subject, to suppose that we had given up all idea of going to Palmyra, in consequence of the expense attending it, and had decided on pursuing our journey to Damascus and Jerusalem.
We had intended to have set out on the morning of the 16th. It however turned out very wet that day, and we did not accompany the man, as we had no idea of getting wet through on such an uncertain excursion; but we promised him to follow as soon as it cleared up. During the afternoon Pierre visited us, and appeared to be much surprised that we had not set out for Damascus. We told him that
had. They do not care, however, much for the Grand Signior. It was not a little remarkable to hear such threats from a boy only fourteen years of age. At last they quitted us, saying they must have 800. After some deliberation, we sent to say that we would give them 600, including the hire of the camels; but no part of the money to be paid until our safe return to Hamah. After much prevarication, during which they endeavoured to make us give them a further sum for the camels, they at length consented to our terms, "for the love," as they said, "of the Malaka" or queen, for such they were pleased to call Lady Hester Stanhope, who had herself given 5001. for this trip. Had we paid them as much, no doubt they were prevented from quitting would have called us two kings; for, Hamah by the rain. He made no fur- like the Nubians, money is their idol. ther observation, but shortly after The next morning we sent to the Aga retired, and in about half an hour to have the treaty ratified in writing. returned with five Arabs, whom he They now demanded 300 piastres in said he had brought to us that we advance. We positively refused to pay might make a bargain with them for a para until our safe return; and, going to Palmyra. The chief of these finally, the Aga declined being responwas Sheikh Salee, the nephew of sible unless Mahannah or Narsah sent Mahannah. He was a lad about four- a written document to say we might teen or fifteen years of age, very dirty pass safely. Thus the affair remained and ill-dressed, with a sheep-skin till the morning of the 19th, the Arabs cloak. He sat down in our room with still endeavouring to prevail on us to great composure, as did his four com- give them three, two, or even 100 panions, three of whom were blacks. piastres in advance; but as the smallWhile smoking their pipes, they exa- est sum paid beforehand would have mined everything in our apartment placed us in some measure in their with great attention; but we had pur-power, and rendered our journey unposely hid whatever was likely to attract notice, or give an idea of wealth. Their first demand was 3000 piastres, at which we burst out into an immoderate fit of laughter. They
certain, we persisted in refusing.
January 19.- No message from Mahannah having arrived, we left Hamah at dawn of day, and arrived at Homs in about eight hours, the