The Lands of the Saracen
Bayard Taylor

Part 3 out of 6

tub, or stretched out in his wet wrappings, like a sodden mummy, in a
catacomb of blankets and feather beds. As the rose in the East has a rarer
perfume than in other lands, so does the Bath bestow a superior
purification and impart a more profound enjoyment.

Listen not unto the lamentations of travellers, who complain of the heat,
and the steam, and the dislocations of their joints. They belong to the
stiff-necked generation, who resist the processes, whereunto the Oriental
yields himself body and soul. He who is bathed in Damascus, must be as
clay in the hands of a potter. The Syrians marvel how the Franks can walk,
so difficult is it to bend their joints. Moreover, they know the
difference between him who comes to the Bath out of a mere idle curiosity,
and him who has tasted its delight and holds it in due honor. Only the
latter is permitted to know all its mysteries. The former is carelessly
hurried through the ordinary forms of bathing, and, if any trace of the
cockney remain in him, is quite as likely to be disgusted as pleased.
Again, there are many second and third-rate baths, whither cheating
dragomen conduct their victims, in consideration of a division of spoils
with the bath-keeper. Hence it is, that the Bath has received but partial
justice at the hands of tourists in the East. If any one doubts this, let
him clothe himself with Oriental passiveness and resignation, go to the
Hamman el-Khyateen, at Damascus, or the Bath of Mahmoud Pasha, at
Constantinople, and demand that he be perfectly bathed.

Come with me, and I will show you the mysteries of the perfect bath. Here
is the entrance, a heavy Saracenic arch, opening upon the crowded bazaar.
We descend a few steps to the marble pavement of a lofty octagonal hall,
lighted by a dome. There is a jet of sparkling water in the centre,
falling into a heavy stone basin. A platform about five feet in height
runs around the hall, and on this are ranged a number of narrow couches,
with their heads to the wall, like the pallets in a hospital ward. The
platform is covered with straw matting, and from the wooden gallery which
rises above it are suspended towels, with blue and crimson borders. The
master of the bath receives us courteously, and conducts us to one of the
vacant couches. We kick off our red slippers below, and mount the steps to
the platform. Yonder traveller, in Frank dress, who has just entered, goes
up with his boots on, and we know, from that fact, what sort of a bath he
will get.

As the work of disrobing proceeds, a dark-eyed boy appears with a napkin,
which he holds before us, ready to bind it about the waist, as soon as we
regain our primitive form. Another attendant throws a napkin over our
shoulders and wraps a third around our head, turban-wise. He then thrusts
a pair of wooden clogs upon our feet, and, taking us by the arm, steadies
our tottering and clattering steps, as we pass through a low door and a
warm ante-chamber into the first hall of the bath. The light, falling
dimly through a cluster of bull's-eyes in the domed ceiling, shows, first,
a silver thread of water, playing in a steamy atmosphere; next, some dark
motionless objects, stretched out on a low central platform of marble. The
attendant spreads a linen sheet in one of the vacant places, places a
pillow at one end, takes off our clogs, deposits us gently on our back,
and leaves us. The pavement is warm beneath us, and the first breath we
draw gives us a sense of suffocation. But a bit of burning aloe-wood has
just been carried through the hall, and the steam is permeated with
fragrance. The dark-eyed boy appears with a narghileh, which he places
beside us, offering the amber mouth-piece to our submissive lips. The
smoke we inhale has an odor of roses; and as the pipe bubbles with our
breathing, we feel that the dews of sweat gather heavily upon us. The
attendant now reappears, kneels beside us, and gently kneads us with
dexterous hands. Although no anatomist, he knows every muscle and sinew
whose suppleness gives ease to the body, and so moulds and manipulates
them that we lose the rigidity of our mechanism, and become plastic in his
hands. He turns us upon our face, repeats the same process upon the back,
and leaves us a little longer to lie there passively, glistening in our
own dew.

We are aroused from a reverie about nothing by a dark-brown shape, who
replaces the clogs, puts his arm around our waist and leads us into an
inner hall, with a steaming tank in the centre. Here he slips us off the
brink, and we collapse over head and ears in the fiery fluid.
Once--twice--we dip into the delicious heat, and then are led into a
marble alcove, and seated flat upon the floor. The attendant stands behind
us, and we now perceive that his hands are encased in dark hair-gloves. He
pounces upon an arm, which he rubs until, like a serpent, we slough the
worn-out skin, and resume our infantile smoothness and fairness. No man
can be called clean until he has bathed in the East. Let him walk directly
from his accustomed bath and self-friction with towels, to the Hammam
el-Khyateen, and the attendant will exclaim, as he shakes out his
hair-gloves: "O Frank! it is a long time since you have bathed." The other
arm follows, the back, the breast, the legs, until the work is complete,
and we know precisely how a horse feels after he has been curried.

Now the attendant turns two cocks at the back of the alcove, and holding a
basin alternately under the cold and hot streams, floods us at first with
a fiery dash, that sends a delicious warm shiver through every nerve;
then, with milder applications, lessening the temperature of the water by
semi-tones, until, from the highest key of heat which we can bear, we
glide rapturously down the gamut until we reach the lowest bass of
coolness. The skin has by this time attained an exquisite sensibility, and
answers to these changes of temperature with thrills of the purest
physical pleasure. In fact, the whole frame seems purged of its earthy
nature and transformed into something of a finer and more delicate

After a pause, the attendant makes his appearance with a large wooden
bowl, a piece of soap, and a bunch of palm-fibres. He squats down beside
the bowl, and speedily creates a mass of snowy lather, which grows up to a
pyramid and topples over the edge. Seizing us by the crown-tuft of hair
upon our shaven head, he plants the foamy bunch of fibres full in our
face. The world vanishes; sight, hearing, smell, taste (unless we open our
mouth), and breathing, are cut off; we have become nebulous. Although our
eyes are shut, we seem to see a blank whiteness; and, feeling nothing but
a soft fleeciness, we doubt whether we be not the Olympian cloud which
visited lo. But the cloud clears away before strangulation begins, and the
velvety mass descends upon the body. Twice we are thus "slushed" from head
to foot, and made more slippery than the anointed wrestlers of the Greek
games. Then the basin comes again into play, and we glide once more
musically through the scale of temperature.

The brown sculptor has now nearly completed his task. The figure of clay
which entered the bath is transformed into polished marble. He turns the
body from side to side, and lifts the limbs to see whether the workmanship
is adequate to his conception. His satisfied gaze proclaims his success. A
skilful bath-attendant has a certain aesthetic pleasure in his occupation.
The bodies he polishes become to some extent his own workmanship, and he
feels responsible for their symmetry or deformity. He experiences a degree
of triumph in contemplating a beautiful form, which has grown more airily
light and beautiful under his hands. He is a great connoisseur of bodies,
and could pick you out the finest specimens with as ready an eye as an

I envy those old Greek bathers, into whose hands were delivered Pericles,
and Alcibiades, and the perfect models of Phidias. They had daily before
their eyes the highest types of Beauty which the world has ever produced;
for of all things that are beautiful, the human body is the crown. Now,
since the delusion of artists has been overthrown, and we know that
Grecian Art is but the simple reflex of Nature--that the old masterpieces
of sculpture were no miraculous embodiments of a _beau ideal_, but copies
of living forms--we must admit that in no other age of the world has the
physical Man been so perfectly developed. The nearest approach I have ever
seen to the symmetry of ancient sculpture was among the Arab tribes of
Ethiopia. Our Saxon race can supply the athlete, but not the Apollo.

Oriental life is too full of repose, and the Ottoman race has become too
degenerate through indulgence, to exhibit many striking specimens of
physical beauty. The face is generally fine, but the body is apt to be
lank, and with imperfect muscular development. The best forms I saw in the
baths were those of laborers, who, with a good deal of rugged strength,
showed some grace and harmony of proportion. It may be received as a
general rule, that the physical development of the European is superior to
that of the Oriental, with the exception of the Circassians and Georgians,
whose beauty well entitles them to the distinction of giving their name to
our race.

So far as female beauty is concerned, the Circassian women have no
superiors. They have preserved in their mountain home the purity of the
Grecian models, and still display the perfect physical loveliness, whose
type has descended to us in the Venus de Medici. The Frank who is addicted
to wandering about the streets of Oriental cities can hardly fail to be
favored with a sight of the faces of these beauties. More than once it has
happened to me, in meeting a veiled lady, sailing along in her
balloon-like feridjee, that she has allowed the veil to drop by a skilful
accident, as she passed, and has startled me with the vision of her
beauty, recalling the line of the Persian poet: "Astonishment! is this the
dawn of the glorious sun, or is it the full moon?" The Circassian face is
a pure oval; the forehead is low and fair, "an excellent thing in woman,"
and the skin of an ivory whiteness, except the faint pink of the cheeks
and the ripe, roseate stain of the lips. The hair is dark, glossy, and
luxuriant, exquisitely outlined on the temples; the eyebrows slightly
arched, and drawn with a delicate pencil; while lashes like "rays of
darkness" shade the large, dark, humid orbs below them. The alabaster of
the face, so pure as scarcely to show the blue branching of the veins on
the temples, is lighted by those superb eyes--

"Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone,"

--whose wells are so dark and deep, that you are cheated into the belief
that a glorious soul looks out of them.

Once, by an unforeseen chance, I beheld the Circassian form, in its most
perfect development. I was on board an Austrian steamer in the harbor of
Smyrna, when the harem of a Turkish pasha came out in a boat to embark for
Alexandria. The sea was rather rough, and nearly all the officers of the
steamer were ashore. There were six veiled and swaddled women, with a
black eunuch as guard, in the boat, which lay tossing for some time at the
foot of the gangway ladder, before the frightened passengers could summon
courage to step out. At last the youngest of them--a Circassian girl of
not more than fifteen or sixteen years of age--ventured upon the ladder,
clasping the hand-rail with one hand, while with the other she held
together the folds of her cumbrous feridjee. I was standing in the
gangway, watching her, when a slight lurch of the steamer caused her to
loose her hold of the garment, which, fastened at the neck, was blown back
from her shoulders, leaving her body screened but by a single robe
of-light, gauzy silk. Through this, the marble whiteness of her skin, the
roundness, the glorious symmetry of her form, flashed upon me, as a vision
of Aphrodite, seen

"Through leagues of shimmering water, like a star."

It was but a momentary glimpse; yet that moment convinced me that forms
of Phidian perfection are still nurtured in the vales of Caucasus.

The necessary disguise of dress hides from us much of the beauty and
dignity of Humanity, I have seen men who appeared heroic in the freedom of
nakedness, shrink almost into absolute vulgarity, when clothed. The soul
not only sits at the windows of the eyes, and hangs upon the gateway of
the lips; she speaks as well in the intricate, yet harmonious lines of the
body, and the ever-varying play of the limbs. Look at the torso of
Ilioneus, the son of Niobe, and see what an agony of terror and
supplication cries out from that headless and limbless trunk! Decapitate
Laocooen, and his knotted muscles will still express the same dreadful
suffering and resistance. None knew this better than the ancient
sculptors; and hence it was that we find many of their statues of
distinguished men wholly or partly undraped. Such a view of Art would be
considered transcendental now-a-days, when our dress, our costumes, and
our modes of speech either ignore the existence of our bodies, or treat
them with little of that reverence which is their due.

But, while we have been thinking these thoughts, the attendant has been
waiting to give us a final plunge into the seething tank. Again we slide
down to the eyes in the fluid heat, which wraps us closely about until we
tingle with exquisite hot shiverings. Now comes the graceful boy, with
clean, cool, lavendered napkins, which he folds around our waist and wraps
softly about the head. The pattens are put upon our feet, and the brown
arm steadies us gently through the sweating-room and ante-chamber into the
outer hall, where we mount to our couch. We sink gently upon the cool
linen, and the boy covers us with a perfumed sheet. Then, kneeling beside
the couch, he presses the folds of the sheet around us, that it may absorb
the lingering moisture and the limpid perspiration shed by the departing
heat. As fast as the linen becomes damp, he replaces it with fresh,
pressing the folds about us as tenderly as a mother arranges the drapery
of her sleeping babe; for we, though of the stature of a man, are now
infantile in our helpless happiness. Then he takes our passive hand and
warms its palm by the soft friction of his own; after which, moving to the
end of the couch, he lifts our feet upon his lap, and repeats the friction
upon their soles, until the blood comes back to the surface of the body
with a misty glow, like that which steeps the clouds of a summer

We have but one more process to undergo, and the attendant already stands
at the head of our couch. This is the course of passive gymnastics, which
excites so much alarm and resistance in the ignorant Franks. It is only
resistance that is dangerous, completely neutralizing the enjoyment of the
process. Give yourself with a blind submission into the arms of the brown
Fate, and he will lead you to new chambers of delight. He lifts us to a
sitting posture, places himself behind us, and folds his arms around our
body, alternately tightening and relaxing his clasp, as if to test the
elasticity of the ribs. Then seizing one arm, he draws it across the
opposite shoulder, until the joint cracks like a percussion-cap. The
shoulder-blades, the elbows, the wrists, and the finger-joints are all
made to fire off their muffled volleys; and then, placing one knee between
our shoulders, and clasping both hands upon our forehead, he draws our
head back until we feel a great snap of the vertebral column. Now he
descends to the hip-joints, knees, ankles, and feet, forcing each and all
to discharge a salvo _de joie_. The slight languor left from the bath is
gone, and an airy, delicate exhilaration, befitting the winged Mercury,
takes its place.

The boy, kneeling, presents us with _finjan_ of foamy coffee, followed by
a glass of sherbet cooled with the snows of Lebanon. He presently returns
with a narghileh, which we smoke by the effortless inhalation of the
lungs. Thus we lie in perfect repose, soothed by the fragrant weed, and
idly watching the silent Orientals, who are undressing for the bath or
reposing like ourselves. Through the arched entrance, we see a picture of
the bazaars: a shadowy painting of merchants seated amid their silks and
spices, dotted here and there with golden drops and splashes of sunshine,
which have trickled through the roof. The scene paints itself upon our
eyes, yet wakes no slightest stir of thought. The brain is a becalmed sea,
without a ripple on its shores. Mind and body are drowned in delicious
rest; and we no longer remember what we are. We only know that there is an
Existence somewhere in the air, and that wherever it is, and whatever it
may be, it is happy.

More and more dim grows the picture. The colors fade and blend into each
other, and finally merge into a bed of rosy clouds, flooded with the
radiance of some unseen sun. Gentlier than "tired eyelids upon tired
eyes," sleep lies upon our senses: a half-conscious sleep, wherein we know
that we behold light and inhale fragrance. As gently, the clouds dissipate
into air, and we are born again into the world. The Bath is at an end. We
arise and put on our garments, and walk forth into the sunny streets of
Damascus. But as we go homewards, we involuntarily look down to see
whether we are really treading upon the earth, wondering, perhaps, that we
should be content to do so, when it would be so easy to soar above the

Chapter XII.

Baalbec and Lebanon.

Departure from Damascus--The Fountains of the Pharpar--Pass of the
Anti-Lebanon--Adventure with the Druses--The Range of Lebanon--The Demon
of Hasheesh departs--Impressions of Baalbec--The Temple of the
Sun--Titanic Masonry--The Ruined Mosque--Camp on Lebanon--Rascality of
the Guide--The Summit of Lebanon--The Sacred Cedars--The Christians of
Lebanon--An Afternoon in Eden--Rugged Travel--We Reach the Coast--Return
to Beyrout.

"Peor and Baaelim
Forsake their temples dim."


"The cedars wave on Lebanon,
But Judah's statelier maids are gone."


Beyrout, _Thursday, May_ 27, 1852.

After a stay of eight days in Damascus, we called our men, Dervish and
Mustapha, again into requisition, loaded our enthusiastic mules, and
mounted our despairing horses. There were two other parties on the way to
Baalbec--an English gentleman and lady, and a solitary Englishman, so that
our united forces made an imposing caravan. There is always a custom-house
examination, not on entering, but on issuing from an Oriental city, but
travellers can avoid it by procuring the company of a Consular Janissary
as far as the gate. Mr. Wood, the British Consul, lent us one of his
officers for the occasion, whom we found waiting, outside of the wall, to
receive his private fee for the service. We mounted the long, barren hill
west of the plain, and at the summit, near the tomb of a Moslem shekh,
turned to take a last long look at the bowery plain, and the minarets of
the city, glittering through the blue morning vapor.

A few paces further on the rocky road, a different scene presented itself
to us. There lay, to the westward, a long stretch of naked yellow
mountains, basking in the hot glare of the sun, and through the centre,
deep down in the heart of the arid landscape, a winding line of living
green showed the course of the Barrada. We followed the river, until the
path reached an impassable gorge, which occasioned a detour of two or
three hours. We then descended to the bed of the dell, where the
vegetation, owing to the radiated heat from the mountains and the
fertilizing stimulus of the water below, was even richer than on the plain
of Damascus. The trees were plethoric with an overplus of life. The boughs
of the mulberries were weighed down with the burden of the leaves;
pomegranates were in a violent eruption of blossoms; and the foliage of
the fig and poplar was of so deep a hue that it shone black in the sun.

Passing through a gateway of rock, so narrow that we were often obliged to
ride in the bed of the stream, we reached a little meadow, beyond which
was a small hamlet, almost hidden in the leaves. Here the mountains again
approached each other, and from the side of that on the right hand, the
main body of the Barrada, or Pharpar, gushed forth in one full stream. The
fountain is nearly double the volume of that of the Jordan at Banias, and
much more beautiful. The foundations of an ancient building, probably a
temple, overhang it, and tall poplars and sycamores cover it with
impenetrable shade. From the low aperture, where it bursts into the light,
its waters, white with foam, bound away flashing in the chance rays of
sunshine, until they are lost to sight in the dense, dark foliage. We sat
an hour on the ruined walls, listening to the roar and rush of the flood,
and enjoying the shade of the walnuts and sycamores. Soon after leaving,
our path crossed a small stream, which comes down to the Barrada from the
upper valleys of the Anti-Lebanon, and entered a wild pass, faced with
cliffs of perpendicular rock. An old bridge, of one arch, spanned the
chasm, out of which we climbed to a tract of high meadow land. In the pass
there were some fragments of ancient columns, traces of an aqueduct, and
inscriptions on the rocks, among which Mr. H. found the name of Antoninus.
The place is not mentioned in any book of travel I have seen, as it is not
on the usual road from Damascus to Baalbec.

As we were emerging from the pass, we saw a company of twelve armed men
seated in the grass, near the roadside. They were wild-looking characters,
and eyed us somewhat sharply as we passed. We greeted them with the usual
"salaam aleikoom!" which they did not return. The same evening, as we
encamped at the village of Zebdeni, about three hours further up the
valley, we were startled by a great noise and outcry, with the firing of
pistols. It happened, as we learned on inquiring the cause of all this
confusion, that the men we saw in the pass were rebel Druses, who were
then lying in wait for the Shekh of Zebdeni, whom, with his son, they had
taken captive soon after we passed. The news had by some means been
conveyed to the village, and a company of about two hundred persons was
then marching out to the rescue. The noise they made was probably to give
the Druses intimation of their coming, and thus avoid a fight. I do not
believe that any of the mountaineers of Lebanon would willingly take part
against the Druses, who, in fact, are not fighting so much against the
institution of the conscription law, as its abuse. The law ordains that
the conscript shall serve for five years; but since its establishment, as
I have been informed, there has not been a single instance of discharge.
It amounts, therefore, to lifelong servitude, and there is little wonder
that these independent sons of the mountains, as well as the tribes
inhabiting the Syrian Desert, should rebel rather than submit.

The next day, we crossed a pass in the Anti-Lebanon beyond Zebdeni,
descended a beautiful valley on the western side, under a ridge which was
still dotted with patches of snow, and after travelling for some hours
over a wide, barren height, the last of the range, saw below us the plain
of Baalbec. The grand ridge of Lebanon opposite, crowned with glittering
fields of snow, shone out clearly through the pure air, and the hoary head
of Hermon, far in the south, lost something of its grandeur by the
comparison. Though there is a "divide," or watershed, between Husbeiya, at
the foot of Mount Hermon, and Baalbec, whose springs join the Orontes,
which flows northward to Antioch, the great natural separation of the two
chains continues unbroken to the Gulf of Akaba, in the Red Sea. A little
beyond Baalbec, the Anti-Lebanon terminates, sinking into the Syrian
plain, while the Lebanon, though its name and general features are lost,
about twenty miles further to the north is succeeded by other ranges,
which, though broken at intervals, form a regular series, connecting with
the Taurus, in Asia Minor.

On leaving Damascus, the Demon of Hasheesh still maintained a partial
control over me. I was weak in body and at times confused in my
perceptions, wandering away from the scenes about me to some unknown
sphere beyond the moon. But the healing balm of my sleep at Zebdeni, and
the purity of the morning air among the mountains, completed my cure. As I
rode along the valley, with the towering, snow-sprinkled ridge of the
Anti-Lebanon on my right, a cloudless heaven above my head, and meads
enamelled with the asphodel and scarlet anemone stretching before me, I
felt that the last shadow had rolled away from my brain. My mind was now
as clear as that sky--my heart as free and joyful as the elastic morning
air. The sun never shone so brightly to my eyes; the fair forms of Nature
were never penetrated with so perfect a spirit of beauty. I was again
master of myself, and the world glowed as if new-created in the light of
my joy and gratitude. I thanked God, who had led me out of a darkness more
terrible than that of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and while my feet
strayed among the flowery meadows of Lebanon, my heart walked on the
Delectable Hills of His Mercy.

By the middle of the afternoon, we reached Baalbec. The distant view of
the temple, on descending the last slope of the Anti-Lebanon, is not
calculated to raise one's expectations. On the green plain at the foot of
the mountain, you see a large square platform of masonry, upon which stand
six columns, the body of the temple, and a quantity of ruined walls. As a
feature in the landscape, it has a fine effect, but you find yourself
pronouncing the speedy judgment, that "Baalbec, without Lebanon, would be
rather a poor show." Having come to this conclusion, you ride down the
hill with comfortable feelings of indifference. There are a number of
quarries on the left hand; you glance at them with an expression which
merely says: "Ah! I suppose they got the stones here," and so you saunter
on, cross a little stream that flows down from the modern village, pass a
mill, return the stare of the quaint Arab miller who comes to the door to
see you, and your horse is climbing a difficult path among the broken
columns and friezes, before you think it worth while to lift your eyes to
the pile above you. Now re-assert your judgment, if you dare! This is
Baalbec: what have you to say? Nothing; but you amazedly measure the
torsos of great columns which lie piled across one another in magnificent
wreck; vast pieces which have dropped from the entablature, beautiful
Corinthian capitals, bereft of the last graceful curves of their acanthus
leaves, and blocks whose edges are so worn away that they resemble
enormous natural boulders left by the Deluge, till at last you look up to
the six glorious pillars, towering nigh a hundred feet above your head,
and there is a sensation in your brain which would be a shout, if you
could give it utterance, of faultless symmetry and majesty, such as no
conception of yours and no other creation of art, can surpass.

I know of nothing so beautiful in all remains of ancient Art as these six
columns, except the colonnade of the Memnonium, at Thebes, which is of
much smaller proportions. From every position, and with all lights of the
day or night, they are equally perfect, and carry your eyes continually
away from the peristyle of the smaller temple, which is better preserved,
and from the exquisite architecture of the outer courts and pavilions.
The two temples of Baalbec stand on an artificial platform of masonry, a
thousand feet in length, and from fifteen to thirty feet (according to the
depression of the soil) in height, The larger one, which is supposed to
have been a Pantheon, occupies the whole length of this platform. The
entrance was at the north, by a grand flight of steps, now broken away,
between two lofty and elegant pavilions which are still nearly entire.
Then followed a spacious hexagonal court, and three grand halls, parts of
which, with niches for statues, adorned with cornices and pediments of
elaborate design, still remain entire to the roof. This magnificent series
of chambers was terminated at the southern extremity of the platform by
the main temple, which had originally twenty columns on a side, similar to
the six now standing.

The Temple of the Sun stands on a smaller and lower platform, which
appears to have been subsequently added to the greater one. The cella, or
body of the temple, is complete except the roof, and of the colonnade
surrounding it, nearly one-half of its pillars are still standing,
upholding the frieze, entablature, and cornice, which altogether form
probably the most ornate specimen of the Corinthian order of architecture
now extant. Only four pillars of the superb portico remain, and the
Saracens have nearly ruined these by building a sort of watch-tower upon
the architrave. The same unscrupulous race completely shut up the portal
of the temple with a blank wall, formed of the fragments they had hurled
down, and one is obliged to creep through a narrow hole in order to reach
the interior. Here the original doorway faces you--and I know not how to
describe the wonderful design of its elaborate sculptured mouldings and
cornices. The genius of Greek art seems to have exhausted itself in
inventing ornaments, which, while they should heighten the gorgeous effect
of the work, must yet harmonize with the grand design of the temple. The
enormous keystone over the entrance has slipped down, no doubt from the
shock of an earthquake, and hangs within six inches of the bottom of the
two blocks which uphold it on either side. When it falls, the whole
entablature of the portal will be destroyed. On its lower side is an eagle
with outspread wings, and on the side-stones a genius with garlands of
flowers, exquisitely sculptured in bas relief. Hidden among the wreaths of
vines which adorn the jambs are the laughing heads of fauns. This portal
was a continual study to me, every visit revealing new refinements of
ornament, which I had not before observed. The interior of the temple,
with its rich Corinthian pilasters, its niches for statues, surmounted by
pediments of elegant design, and its elaborate cornice, needs little aid
of the imagination to restore it to its original perfection. Like that of
Dendera, in Egypt, the Temple of the Sun leaves upon the mind an
impression of completeness which makes you forget far grander remains.

But the most wonderful thing at Baalbec is the foundation platform upon
which the temples stand. Even the colossal fabrics of Ancient Egypt
dwindle before this superhuman masonry. The platform itself, 1,000 feet
long, and averaging twenty feet in height, suggests a vast mass of stones,
but when you come to examine the single blocks of which it is composed,
you are crushed with their incredible bulk. On the western side is a row
of eleven foundation stones, each of which is thirty-two feet in length,
twelve in height, and ten in thickness, forming a wall three hundred and
fifty-two feet long! But while you are walking on, thinking of the art
which cut and raised these enormous blocks, you turn the southern corner
and come upon _three_ stones, the united length of which is _one hundred
and eighty-seven feet_--two of them being sixty-two and the other
sixty-three feet in length! There they are, cut with faultless exactness,
and so smoothly joined to each other, that you cannot force a cambric
needle into the crevice. There is one joint so perfect that it can only be
discerned by the minutest search; it is not even so perceptible as the
junction of two pieces of paper which have been pasted together. In the
quarry, there still lies a finished block, ready for transportation, which
is sixty-seven feet in length. The weight of one of these masses has been
reckoned at near 9,000 tons, yet they do not form the base of the
foundation, but are raised upon other courses, fifteen feet from the
ground. It is considered by some antiquarians that they are of a date
greatly anterior to that of the temples, and were intended as the basement
of a different edifice.

In the village of Baalbec there is a small circular Corinthian temple of
very elegant design. It is not more than thirty feet in diameter, and may
have been intended as a tomb. A spacious mosque, now roofless and
deserted, was constructed almost entirely out of the remains of the
temples. Adjoining the court-yard and fountain are five rows of ancient
pillars, forty (the sacred number) in all, supporting light Saracenic
arches. Some of them are marble, with Corinthian capitals, and eighteen
are single shafts of red Egyptian granite. Beside the fountain lies a
small broken pillar of porphyry, of a dark violet hue, and of so fine a
grain that the stone has the soft rich lustre of velvet. This fragment is
the only thing I would carry away if I had the power.

After a day's sojourn, we left Baalbec at noon, and took the road for the
Cedars, which lie on the other side of Lebanon, in the direction of
Tripoli. Our English fellow-travellers chose the direct road to Beyrout.
We crossed the plain in three hours; to the village of Dayr el-Ahmar, and
then commenced ascending the lowest slopes of the great range, whose
topmost ridge, a dazzling parapet of snow, rose high above us. For several
hours, our path led up and down stony ridges, covered with thickets of oak
and holly, and with wild cherry, pear, and olive-trees. Just as the sun
threw the shadows of the highest Lebanon over us, we came upon a narrow,
rocky glen at his very base. Streams that still kept the color and the
coolness of the snow-fields from which they oozed, foamed over the stones
into the chasm at the bottom. The glen descended into a mountain basin, in
which lay the lake of Yemouni, cold and green under the evening shadows.
But just opposite us, on a little shelf of soil, there was a rude mill,
and a group of superb walnut-trees, overhanging the brink of the largest
torrent. We had sent our baggage before us, and the men, with an eye to
the picturesque which I should not have suspected in Arabs, had pitched
our tents under those trees, where the stream poured its snow-cold beakers
beside us, and the tent-door looked down on the plain of Baalbec and
across to the Anti-Lebanon. The miller and two or three peasants, who were
living in this lonely spot, were Christians.

The next morning we commenced ascending the Lebanon. We had slept just
below the snow-line, for the long hollows with which the ridge is cloven
were filled up to within a short distance of the glen, out of which we
came. The path was very steep, continually ascending, now around the
barren shoulder of the mountain, now up some ravine, where the holly and
olive still flourished, and the wild rhubarb-plant spread its large,
succulent leaves over the soil. We had taken a guide, the day before, at
the village of Dayr el-Ahmar, but as the way was plain before us, and he
demanded an exorbitant sum, we dismissed him, We had not climbed far,
however, before he returned, professing to be content with whatever we
might give him, and took us into another road, the first, he said, being
impracticable. Up and up we toiled, and the long hollows of snow lay below
us, and the wind came cold from the topmost peaks, which began to show
near at hand. But now the road, as we had surmised, turned towards that we
had first taken, and on reaching the next height we saw the latter at a
short distance from us. It was not only a better, but a shorter road, the
rascal of a guide having led us out of it in order to give the greater
effect to his services. In order to return to it, as was necessary, there
were several dangerous snow-fields to be passed. The angle of their
descent was so great that a single false step would have hurled our
animals, baggage and all, many hundred feet below. The snow was melting,
and the crust frozen over the streams below was so thin in places that the
animals broke through and sank to their bellies.

It were needless to state the number and character of the anathemas
bestowed upon the guide. The impassive Dervish raved; Mustapha stormed;
Francois broke out in a frightful eruption of Greek and Turkish oaths, and
the two travellers, though not (as I hope and believe) profanely inclined,
could not avoid using a few terse Saxon expressions. When the general
indignation had found vent, the men went to work, and by taking each
animal separately, succeeded, at imminent hazard, in getting them all
over the snow. We then dismissed the guide, who, far from being abashed by
the discovery of his trickery, had the impudence to follow us for some
time, claiming his pay. A few more steep pulls, over deep beds of snow and
patches of barren stone, and at length the summit ridge--a sharp, white
wall, shining against the intense black-blue of the zenith--stood before
us. We climbed a toilsome zig-zag through the snow, hurried over the
stones cumbering the top, and all at once the mountains fell away, ridge
below ridge, gashed with tremendous chasms, whose bottoms were lost in
blue vapor, till the last heights, crowned with white Maronite convents,
hung above the sea, whose misty round bounded the vision. I have seen many
grander mountain views, but few so sublimely rugged and broken in their
features. The sides of the ridges dropped off in all directions into sheer
precipices, and the few villages we could see were built like eagles'
nests on the brinks. In a little hollow at our feet was the sacred Forest
of Cedars, appearing like a patch of stunted junipers. It is the highest
speck of vegetation on Lebanon, and in winter cannot be visited, on
account of the snow. The summit on which we stood was about nine thousand
feet above the sea, but there were peaks on each side at least a thousand
feet higher.

We descended by a very steep path, over occasional beds of snow, and
reached the Cedars in an hour and a half. Not until we were within a
hundred yards of the trees, and below their level, was I at all impressed
with their size and venerable aspect. But, once entered into the heart of
the little wood, walking over its miniature hills and valleys, and
breathing the pure, balsamic exhalations of the trees, all the
disappointment rising to my mind was charmed away in an instant There are
about three hundred trees, in all, many of which are of the last century's
growth, but at least fifty of them would be considered grand in any
forest. The patriarchs are five in number, and are undoubtedly as old as
the Christian Era, if not the Age of Solomon. The cypresses in the Garden
of Montezuma, at Chapultepec, are even older and grander trees, but they
are as entire and shapely as ever, whereas these are gnarled and twisted
into wonderful forms by the storms of twenty centuries, and shivered in
some places by lightning. The hoary father of them all, nine feet in
diameter, stands in the centre of the grove, on a little knoll, and
spreads his ponderous arms, each a tree in itself, over the heads of the
many generations that have grown up below, as if giving his last
benediction before decay. He is scarred less with storm and lightning,
than with the knives of travellers, and the marble crags of Lebanon do not
more firmly retain their inscriptions than his stony trunk. Dates of the
last century are abundant, and I recollect a tablet inscribed: "Souard,
1670," around which the newer wood has grown to the height of three or
four inches. The seclusion of the grove, shut in by peaks of barren snow,
is complete. Only the voice of the nightingale, singing here by daylight
in the solemn shadows, breaks the silence. The Maronite monk, who has
charge of a little stone chapel standing in the midst, moves about like a
shade, and, not before you are ready to leave, brings his book for you to
register your name therein, I was surprised to find how few of the crowd
that annually overrun Syria reach the Cedars, which, after Baalbec, are
the finest remains of antiquity in the whole country.

After a stay of three hours, we rode on to Eden, whither our men had
already gone with the baggage. Our road led along the brink of a
tremendous gorge, a thousand feet deep, the bottom of which was only
accessible here and there by hazardous foot-paths. On either side, a long
shelf of cultivated land sloped down to the top, and the mountain streams,
after watering a multitude of orchards and grain-fields, tumbled over the
cliffs in long, sparkling cascades, to join the roaring flood below. This
is the Christian region of Lebanon, inhabited almost wholly by Maronites,
who still retain a portion of their former independence, and are the most
thrifty, industrious, honest, and happy people in Syria. Their villages
are not concrete masses of picturesque filth, as are those of the Moslems,
but are loosely scattered among orchards of mulberry, poplar, and vine,
washed by fresh rills, and have an air of comparative neatness and
comfort. Each has its two or three chapels, with their little belfries,
which toll the hours of prayer. Sad and poetic as is the call from the
minaret, it never touched me as when I heard the sweet tongues of those
Christian bells, chiming vespers far and near on the sides of Lebanon.

Eden merits its name. It is a mountain paradise, inhabited by people so
kind and simple-hearted, that assuredly no vengeful angel will ever drive
them out with his flaming sword. It hangs above the gorge, which is here
nearly two thousand feet deep, and overlooks a grand wilderness of
mountain-piles, crowded on and over each other, from the sea that gleams
below, to the topmost heights that keep off the morning sun. The houses
are all built of hewn stone, and grouped in clusters under the shade of
large walnut-trees. In walking among them, we received kind greetings
everywhere, and every one who was seated rose and remained standing as we
passed. The women are beautiful, with sprightly, intelligent faces, quite
different from the stupid Mahometan females.

The children were charming creatures, and some of the girls of ten or
twelve years were lovely as angels. They came timidly to our tent (which
the men had pitched as before, under two superb trees, beside a fountain),
and offered us roses and branches of fragrant white jasmine. They expected
some return, of course, but did not ask it, and the delicate grace with
which the offering was made was beyond all pay. It was Sunday, and the men
and boys, having nothing better to do, all came to see and talk with us. I
shall not soon forget the circle of gay and laughing villagers, in which
we sat that evening, while the dark purple shadows gradually filled up the
gorges, and broad golden lights poured over the shoulders of the hills.
The men had much sport in inducing the smaller boys to come up and salute
us. There was one whom they called "the Consul," who eluded them for some
time, but was finally caught and placed in the ring before us. "Peace be
with you, O Consul," I said, making him a profound inclination, "may your
days be propitious! may your shadow be increased!" but I then saw, from
the vacant expression on the boy's face, that he was one of those
harmless, witless creatures, whom yet one cannot quite call idiots. "He is
an unfortunate; he knows nothing; he has no protector but God," said the
men, crossing themselves devoutly. The boy took off his cap, crept up and
kissed my hand, as I gave him some money, which he no sooner grasped, than
he sprang up like a startled gazelle, and was out of sight in an instant.

In descending from Eden to the sea-coast, we were obliged to cross the
great gorge of which I spoke. Further down, its sides are less steep, and
clothed even to the very bottom with magnificent orchards of mulberry,
fig, olive, orange, and pomegranate trees. We were three hours in reaching
the opposite side, although the breadth across the top is not more than a
mile. The path was exceedingly perilous; we walked down, leading our
horses, and once were obliged to unload our mules to get them past a tree,
which would have forced them off the brink of a chasm several hundred feet
deep. The view from the bottom was wonderful. We were shut in by steeps of
foliage and blossoms from two to three thousand feet high, broken by crags
of white marble, and towering almost precipitously to the very clouds. I
doubt if Melville saw anything grander in the tropical gorges of Typee.
After reaching the other side, we had still a journey of eight hours to
the sea, through a wild and broken, yet highly cultivated country.

Beyrout was now thirteen hours distant, but by making a forced march we
reached it in a day, travelling along the shore, past the towns of Jebeil,
the ancient Byblus, and Joonieh. The hills about Jebeil produce the
celebrated tobacco known in Egypt as the _Jebelee_, or "mountain" tobacco,
which is even superior to the Latakiyeh.

Near Beyrout, the mulberry and olive are in the ascendant. The latter tree
bears the finest fruit in all the Levant, and might drive all other oils
out of the market, if any one had enterprise enough to erect proper
manufactories. Instead of this the oil of the country is badly prepared,
rancid from the skins in which it is kept, and the wealthy natives import
from France and Italy in preference to using it. In the bottoms near the
sea, I saw several fields of the taro-plant, the cultivation of which I
had supposed was exclusively confined to the Islands of the Pacific. There
would be no end to the wealth of Syria were the country in proper hands.

Chapter XIII.

Pipes and Coffee.

--"the kind nymph to Bacchus born
By Morpheus' daughter, she that seems
Gifted upon her natal morn
By him with fire, by her with dreams--
Nicotia, dearer to the Muse
Than all the grape's bewildering juice." Lowell.

In painting the picture of an Oriental, the pipe and the coffee-cup are
indispensable accessories. There is scarce a Turk, or Arab, or
Persian--unless he be a Dervish of peculiar sanctity--but breathes his
daily incense to the milder Bacchus of the moderns. The custom has become
so thoroughly naturalized in the East, that we are apt to forget its
comparatively recent introduction, and to wonder that no mention is made
of the pipe in the Arabian Nights. The practice of smoking harmonizes so
thoroughly with the character of Oriental life, that it is difficult for
us to imagine a time when it never existed. It has become a part of that
supreme patience, that wonderful repose, which forms so strong a contrast
to the over-active life of the New World--the enjoyment of which no one
can taste, to whom the pipe is not familiar. Howl, ye Reformers! but I
solemnly declare unto you, that he who travels through the East without
smoking, does not know the East.

It is strange that our Continent, where the meaning of Rest is unknown,
should have given to the world this great agent of Rest. There is nothing
more remarkable in history than the colonization of Tobacco over the whole
Earth. Not three centuries have elapsed since knightly Raleigh puffed its
fumes into the astonished eyes of Spenser and Shakspeare; and now, find me
any corner of the world, from Nova Zembla to the Mountains of the Moon,
where the use of the plant is unknown! Tarshish (if India was Tarshish) is
less distinguished by its "apes, ivory, and peacocks," than by its
hookahs; the valleys of Luzon, beyond Ternate and Tidore, send us more
cheroots than spices; the Gardens of Shiraz produce more velvety _toombek_
than roses, and the only fountains which bubble in Samarcand are those of
the narghilehs: Lebanon is no longer "excellent with the Cedars," as in
the days of Solomon, but most excellent with its fields of Jebelee and
Latakiyeh. On the unvisited plains of Central Africa, the table-lands of
Tartary, and in the valleys of Japan, the wonderful plant has found a
home. The naked negro, "panting at the Line," inhales it under the palms,
and the Lapp and Samoyed on the shores of the Frozen Sea.

It is idle for those who object to the use of Tobacco to attribute these
phenomena wholly to a perverted taste. The fact that the custom was at
once adopted by all the races of men, whatever their geographical position
and degree of civilization, proves that there must be a reason for it in
the physical constitution of man. Its effect, when habitually used, is
slightly narcotic and sedative, not stimulating--or if so, at times, it
stimulates only the imagination and the social faculties. It lulls to
sleep the combative and destructive propensities, and hence--so far as a
material agent may operate--it exercises a humanizing and refining
influence. A profound student of Man, whose name is well known to the
world, once informed me that he saw in the eagerness with which savage
tribes adopt the use of Tobacco, a spontaneous movement of Nature towards

I will not pursue these speculations further, for the narghileh (bubbling
softly at my elbow, as I write) is the promoter of repose and the begetter
of agreeable reverie. As I inhale its cool, fragrant breath, and partly
yield myself to the sensation of healthy rest which wraps my limbs as with
a velvet mantle, I marvel how the poets and artists and scholars of olden
times nursed those dreams which the world calls indolence, but which are
the seeds that germinate into great achievements. How did Plato
philosophize without the pipe? How did gray Homer, sitting on the
temple-steps in the Grecian twilights, drive from his heart the bitterness
of beggary and blindness? How did Phidias charm the Cerberus of his animal
nature to sleep, while his soul entered the Elysian Fields and beheld the
forms of heroes? For, in the higher world of Art, Body and Soul are sworn
enemies, and the pipe holds an opiate more potent than all the drowsy
syrups of the East, to drug the former into submission. Milton knew this,
as he smoked his evening pipe at Chalfont, wandering, the while, among the
palms of Paradise.

But it is also our loss, that Tobacco was unknown to the Greeks. They
would else have given us, in verse and in marble, another divinity in
their glorious Pantheon--a god less drowsy than Morpheus and Somnus, less
riotous than Bacchus, less radiant than Apollo, but with something of the
spirit of each: a figure, beautiful with youth, every muscle in perfect
repose, and the vague expression of dreams in his half-closed eyes. His
temple would have been built in a grove of Southern pines, on the borders
of a land-locked gulf, sheltered from the surges that buffet without,
where service would have been rendered him in the late hours of the
afternoon, or in the evening twilight. From his oracular tripod words of
wisdom would have been spoken, and the fanes of Delphi and Dodona would
have been deserted for his.

Oh, non-smoking friends, who read these lines with pain and
incredulity--and you, ladies, who turn pale at the thought of a pipe--let
me tell you that you are familiar only with the vulgar form of tobacco,
and have never passed between the wind and its gentility. The word conveys
no idea to you but that of "long nines," and pig-tail, and cavendish.
Forget these for a moment, and look upon this dark-brown cake of dried
leaves and blossoms, which exhales an odor of pressed flowers. These are
the tender tops of the _Jebelee_, plucked as the buds begin to expand, and
carefully dried in the shade. In order to be used, it is moistened with
rose-scented water, and cut to the necessary degree of fineness. The test
of true Jebelee is, that it burns with a slow, hidden fire, like tinder,
and causes no irritation to the eye when held under it. The smoke, drawn
through a long cherry-stick pipe and amber mouth-piece, is pure, cool, and
sweet, with an aromatic flavor, which is very pleasant in the mouth. It
excites no salivation, and leaves behind it no unpleasant, stale odor.

The narghileh (still bubbling beside me) is an institution known only in
the East. It requires a peculiar kind of tobacco, which grows to
perfection in the southern provinces of Persia. The smoke, after passing
through water (rose-flavored, if you choose), is inhaled through a long,
flexible tube directly into the lungs. It occasions not the slightest
irritation or oppression, but in a few minutes produces a delicious sense
of rest, which is felt even in the finger-ends. The pure physical
sensation of rest is one of strength also, and of perfect contentment.
Many an impatient thought, many an angry word, have I avoided by a resort
to the pipe. Among our aborigines the pipe was the emblem of Peace, and I
strongly recommend the Peace Society to print their tracts upon papers of
smoking tobacco (Turkish, if possible), and distribute pipes with them.

I know of nothing more refreshing, after the fatigue of a long day's
journey, than a well-prepared narghileh. That slight feverish and
excitable feeling which is the result of fatigue yields at once to its
potency. The blood loses its heat and the pulse its rapidity; the muscles
relax, the nerves are soothed into quiet, and the frame passes into a
condition similar to sleep, except that the mind is awake and active. By
the time one has finished his pipe, he is refreshed for the remainder of
the day, and his nightly sleep is sound and healthy. Such are some of the
physical effects of the pipe, in Eastern lands. Morally and
psychologically, it works still greater transformations; but to describe
them now, with the mouth-piece at my lips, would require an active
self-consciousness which the habit does not allow.

A servant enters with a steamy cup of coffee, seated in a silver _zerf_,
or cup-holder. His thumb and fore-finger are clasped firmly upon the
bottom of the zerf, which I inclose near the top with my own thumb and
finger, so that the transfer is accomplished without his hand having
touched mine.

After draining the thick brown liquid, which must be done with due
deliberation and a pause of satisfaction between each sip, I return the
zerf, holding it in the middle, while the attendant places a palm of each
hand upon the top and bottom and carries it off without contact. The
beverage is made of the berries of Mocha, slightly roasted, pulverized in
a mortar, and heated to a foam, without the addition of cream or sugar.
Sometimes, however, it is flavored with the extract of roses or violets.
When skilfully made, each cup is prepared separately, and the quantity of
water and coffee carefully measured.

Coffee is a true child of the East, and its original home was among the
hills of Yemen, the Arabia Felix of the ancients. Fortunately for
Mussulmen, its use was unknown in the days of Mahomet, or it would
probably have fallen under the same prohibition as wine. The word _Kahweh_
(whence _cafe_) is an old Arabic term for wine. The discovery of the
properties of coffee is attributed to a dervish, who, for some
misdemeanor, was carried into the mountains of Yemen by his brethren and
there left to perish by starvation. In order to appease the pangs of
hunger he gathered the ripe berries from the wild coffee-trees, roasted
and ate them. The nourishment they contained, with water from the springs,
sustained his life, and after two or three months he returned in good
condition to his brethren, who considered his preservation as a miracle,
and ever afterwards looked upon him as a pattern of holiness. He taught
the use of the miraculous fruit, and the demand for it soon became so
great as to render the cultivation of the tree necessary. It was a long
time, however, before coffee was introduced into Europe. As late as the
beginning of the seventeenth century, Sandys, the quaint old traveller,
describes the appearance and taste of the beverage, which he calls
"Coffa," and sagely asks: "Why not that black broth which the
Lacedemonians used?"

On account of the excellence of the material, and the skilful manner of
its preparation, the Coffee of the East is the finest in the world. I have
found it so grateful and refreshing a drink, that I can readily pardon the
pleasant exaggeration of the Arabic poet, Abd-el Kader Anazari Djezeri
Hanbali, the son of Mahomet, who thus celebrates its virtues. After such
an exalted eulogy, my own praises would sound dull and tame; and I
therefore resume my pipe, commending Abd-el Kader to the reader.

"O Coffee! thou dispellest the cares of the great; thou bringest back
those who wander from the paths of knowledge. Coffee is the beverage of
the people of God, and the cordial of his servants who thirst for wisdom.
When coffee is infused into the bowl, it exhales the odor of musk, and is
of the color of ink. The truth is not known except to the wise, who drink
it from the foaming coffee-cup. God has deprived fools of coffee, who,
with invincible obstinacy, condemn it as injurious.

"Coffee is our gold; and in the place of its libations we are in the
enjoyment of the best and noblest society. Coffee is even as innocent a
drink as the purest milk, from which it is distinguished only by its
color. Tarry with thy coffee in the place of its preparation, and the good
God will hover over thee and participate in his feast. There the graces of
the saloon, the luxury of life, the society of friends, all furnish a
picture of the abode of happiness.

"Every care vanishes when the cup-bearer presents the delicious chalice.
It will circulate fleetly through thy veins, and will not rankle there:
if thou doubtest this, contemplate the youth and beauty of those who drink
it. Grief cannot exist where it grows; sorrow humbles itself in obedience
before its powers.

"Coffee is the drink of God's people; in it is health. Let this be the
answer to those who doubt its qualities. In it we will drown our
adversities, and in its fire consume our sorrows. Whoever has once seen
the blissful chalice, will scorn the wine-cup. Glorious drink! thy color
is the seal of purity, and reason proclaims it genuine. Drink with
confidence, and regard not the prattle of fools, who condemn without

Chapter XIV.

Journey to Antioch and Aleppo.

Change of Plans--Routes to Baghdad--Asia Minor--We sail from
Beyrout--Yachting on the Syrian Coast--Tartus and Latakiyeh--The Coasts
of Syria--The Bay of Suediah--The Mouth of the Orontes--Landing--The
Garden of Syria--Ride to Antioch--The Modern City--The Plains of the
Orontes--Remains of the Greek Empire--The Ancient Road--The Plain of
Keftin--Approach to Aleppo.

"The chain is loosed, the sails are spread,
The living breath is fresh behind,
As, with dews and sunrise fed,
Comes the laughing morning wind."


Aleppo, _Friday, June_ 4, 1852.

A Traveller in the East, who has not unbounded time and an extensive
fortune at his disposal, is never certain where and how far he shall go,
until his journey is finished. With but a limited portion of both these
necessaries, I have so far carried out my original plan with scarcely a
variation; but at present I am obliged to make a material change of route.
My farthest East is here at Aleppo. At Damascus, I was told by everybody
that it was too late in the season to visit either Baghdad or Mosul, and
that, on account of the terrible summer heats and the fevers which prevail
along the Tigris, it would be imprudent to undertake it. Notwithstanding
this, I should probably have gone (being now so thoroughly acclimated that
I have nothing to fear from the heat), had I not met with a friend of
Col. Rawlinson, the companion of Layard, and the sharer in his discoveries
at Nineveh. This gentleman, who met Col. R. not long since in
Constantinople, on his way to Baghdad (where he resides as British
Consul), informed me that since the departure of Mr. Layard from Mosul,
the most interesting excavations have been filled up, in order to preserve
the sculptures. Unless one was able to make a new exhumation, he would be
by no means repaid for so long and arduous a journey. The ruins of Nineveh
are all below the surface of the earth, and the little of them that is now
left exposed, is less complete and interesting than the specimens in the
British Museum.

There is a route from Damascus to Baghdad, across the Desert, by way of
Palmyra, but it is rarely travelled, even by the natives, except when the
caravans are sufficiently strong to withstand the attacks of the Bedouins.
The traveller is obliged to go in Arab costume, to leave his baggage
behind, except a meagre scrip for the journey, and to pay from $300 to
$500 for the camels and escort. The more usual route is to come northward
to this city, then cross to Mosul and descend the Tigris--a journey of
four or five weeks. After weighing all the advantages and disadvantages of
undertaking a tour of such length as it would be necessary to make before
reaching Constantinople, I decided at Beyrout to give up the fascinating
fields of travel in Media, Assyria and Armenia, and take a rather shorter
and-perhaps equally interesting route from Aleppo to Constantinople, by
way of Tarsus, Konia (Iconium), and the ancient countries of Phrygia,
Bithynia, and Mysia. The interior of Asia Minor is even less known to us
than the Persian side of Asiatic Turkey, which has of late received more
attention from travellers; and, as I shall traverse it in its whole
length, from Syria to the Bosphorus, I may find it replete with "green
fields and pastures new," which shall repay me for relinquishing the first
and more ambitious undertaking. At least, I have so much reason to be
grateful for the uninterrupted good health and good luck I have enjoyed
during seven months in Africa and the Orient, that I cannot be otherwise
than content with the prospect before me.

I left Beyrout on the night of the 28th of May, with Mr. Harrison, who has
decided to keep me company as far as Constantinople. Francois, our classic
dragoman, whose great delight is to recite Homer by the sea-side, is
retained for the whole tour, as we have found no reason to doubt his
honesty or ability. Our first thought was to proceed to Aleppo by land, by
way of Homs and Hamah, whence there might be a chance of reaching Palmyra;
but as we found an opportunity of engaging an American yacht for the
voyage up the coast, it was thought preferable to take her, and save time.
She was a neat little craft, called the "American Eagle," brought out by
Mr. Smith, our Consul at Beyrout. So, one fine moonlit night, we slowly
crept out of the harbor, and after returning a volley of salutes from our
friends at Demetri's Hotel, ran into the heart of a thunder-storm, which
poured down more rain than all I had seen for eight months before. But our
rais, Assad (the Lion), was worthy of his name, and had two good Christian
sailors at his command, so we lay in the cramped little cabin, and heard
the floods washing our deck, without fear.

In the morning, we were off Tripoli, which is even more deeply buried than
Beyrout in its orange and mulberry groves, and slowly wafted along the
bold mountain-coast, in the afternoon reached Tartus, the Ancient Tortosa.
A mile from shore is the rocky island of Aradus, entirely covered by a
town. There were a dozen vessels lying in the harbor. The remains of a
large fortress and ancient mole prove it to have been a place of
considerable importance. Tartus is a small old place on the sea-shore--not
so large nor so important in appearance as its island-port. The country
behind is green and hilly, though but partially cultivated, and rises into
Djebel Ansairiyeh, which divides the valley of the Orontes from the sea.
It is a lovely coast, especially under the flying lights and shadows of
such a breezy day as we had. The wind fell at sunset; but by the next
morning, we had passed the tobacco-fields of Latakiyeh, and were in sight
of the southern cape of the Bay of Suediah. The mountains forming this
cape culminate in a grand conical peak, about 5,000 feet in height, called
Djebel Okrab. At ten o'clock, wafted along by a slow wind, we turned the
point and entered the Bay of Suediah, formed by the embouchure of the
River Orontes. The mountain headland of Akma Dagh, forming the portal of
the Gulf of Scanderoon, loomed grandly in front of us across the bay; and
far beyond it, we could just distinguish the coast of Karamania, the
snow-capped range of Taurus.

The Coasts of Syria might be divided, like those of Guinea, according to
the nature of their productions. The northern division is bold and bare,
yet flocks of sheep graze on the slopes of its mountains; and the inland
plains behind them are covered with orchards of pistachio-trees. Silk is
cultivated in the neighborhood of Suediah, but forms only a small portion
of the exports. This region may be called the Wool and Pistachio Coast.
Southward, from Latakiyeh to Tartus and the northern limit of Lebanon,
extends the Tobacco Coast, whose undulating hills are now clothed with the
pale-green leaves of the renowned plant. From Tripoli to Tyre, embracing
all the western slope of Lebanon, and the deep, rich valleys lying between
his knees, the mulberry predominates, and the land is covered with the
houses of thatch and matting which shelter the busy worms. This is the
Silk Coast. The palmy plains of Jaffa, and beyond, until Syria meets the
African sands between Gaza and El-Arish, constitute the Orange Coast. The
vine, the olive, and the fig flourish everywhere.

We were all day getting up the bay, and it seemed as if we should never
pass Djebel Okrab, whose pointed top rose high above a long belt of fleecy
clouds that girdled his waist. At sunset we made the mouth of the Orontes.
Our lion of a Captain tried to run into the river, but the channel was
very narrow, and when within three hundred yards of the shore the yacht
struck. We had all sail set, and had the wind been a little stronger, we
should have capsized in an instant. The lion went manfully to work, and by
dint of hard poling, shoved us off, and came to anchor in deep water. Not
until the danger was past did he open his batteries on the unlucky
helmsman, and then the explosion of Arabic oaths was equal to a broadside
of twenty-four pounders. We lay all night rocking on the swells, and the
next morning, by firing a number of signal guns, brought out a boat, which
took us off. We entered the mouth of the Orontes, and sailed nearly a mile
between rich wheat meadows before reaching the landing-place of
Suediah--two or three uninhabited stone huts, with three or four small
Turkish craft, and a health officer. The town lies a mile or two inland,
scattered along the hill-side amid gardens so luxuriant as almost to
conceal it from view.

This part of the coast is ignorant of travellers, and we were obliged to
wait half a day before we could find a sufficient number of horses to take
us to Antioch, twenty miles distant. When they came, they were solid
farmers' horses, with the rudest gear imaginable. I was obliged to mount
astride of a broad pack-saddle, with my legs suspended in coils of rope.
Leaving the meadows, we entered a lane of the wildest, richest and
loveliest bloom and foliage. Our way was overhung with hedges of
pomegranate, myrtle, oleander, and white rose, in blossom, and
occasionally with quince, fig, and carob trees, laced together with grape
vines in fragrant bloom. Sometimes this wilderness of color and odor met
above our heads and made a twilight; then it opened into long, dazzling,
sun-bright vistas, where the hues of the oleander, pomegranate and white
rose made the eye wink with their gorgeous profusion. The mountains we
crossed were covered with thickets of myrtle, mastic, daphne, and arbutus,
and all the valleys and sloping meads waved with fig, mulberry, and olive
trees. Looking towards the sea, the valley broadened out between mountain
ranges whose summits were lost in the clouds. Though the soil was not so
rich as in Palestine, the general aspect of the country was much wilder
and more luxuriant.

So, by this glorious lane, over the myrtled hills and down into valleys,
whose bed was one hue of rose from the blossoming oleanders, we travelled
for five hours, crossing the low ranges of hills through which the Orontes
forces his way to the sea. At last we reached a height overlooking the
valley of the river, and saw in the east, at the foot of the mountain
chain, the long lines of barracks built by Ibrahim Pasha for the defence
of Antioch. Behind them the ancient wall of the city clomb the mountains,
whose crest it followed to the last peak of the chain, From the next hill
we saw the city--a large extent of one-story houses with tiled roofs,
surrounded with gardens, and half buried in the foliage of sycamores. It
extends from the River Orontes, which washes its walls, up the slope of
the mountain to the crags of gray rock which overhang it. We crossed the
river by a massive old bridge, and entered the town. Riding along the
rills of filth which traverse the streets, forming their central avenues,
we passed through several lines of bazaars to a large and dreary-looking
khan, the keeper of which gave us the best vacant chamber--a narrow place,
full of fleas.

Antioch presents not even a shadow of its former splendor. Except the
great walls, ten to fifteen miles in circuit, which the Turks have done
their best to destroy, every vestige of the old city has disappeared. The
houses are all of one story, on account of earthquakes, from which Antioch
has suffered more than any other city in the world. At one time, during
the Middle Ages, it lost 120,000 inhabitants in one day. Its situation is
magnificent, and the modern town, notwithstanding its filth, wears a
bright and busy aspect. Situated at the base of a lofty mountain, it
overlooks, towards the east, a plain thirty or forty miles in length,
producing the most abundant harvests. A great number of the inhabitants
are workers in wood and leather, and very thrifty and cheerful people they
appear to be.

We remained until the next day at noon, by which time a gray-bearded
scamp, the chief of the _mukkairees_, or muleteers, succeeded in getting
us five miserable beasts for the journey to Aleppo. On leaving the city,
we travelled along a former street of Antioch, part of the ancient
pavement still remaining, and after two miles came to the old wall of
circuit, which we passed by a massive gateway, of Roman time. It is now
called _Bab Boulos_, or St. Paul's Gate. Christianity, it will be
remembered, was planted in Antioch by Paul and Barnabas, and the Apostle
Peter was the first bishop of the city. We now entered the great plain of
the Orontes--a level sea, rioting in the wealth of its ripening harvests.
The river, lined with luxuriant thickets, meandered through the centre of
this glorious picture. We crossed it during the afternoon, and keeping on
our eastward course, encamped at night in a meadow near the tents of some
wandering Turcomans, who furnished us with butter and milk from their

Leaving the plain the next morning, we travelled due east all day, over
long stony ranges of mountains, inclosing only one valley, which bore
evidence of great fertility. It was circular, about ten miles in its
greater diameter, and bounded on the north by the broad peak of Djebel
Saman, or Mount St. Simon. In the morning we passed a ruined castle,
standing in a dry, treeless dell, among the hot hills. The muleteers
called it the Maiden's Palace, and said that it was built long ago by a
powerful Sultan, as a prison for his daughter. For several hours
thereafter, our road was lined with remains of buildings, apparently
dating from the time of the Greek Empire. There were tombs, temples of
massive masonry, though in a bad style of architecture, and long rows of
arched chambers, which resembled store-houses. They were all more or less
shattered by earthquakes, but in one place I noticed twenty such arches,
each of at least twenty feet span. All-the hills, on either hand, as far
as we could see, were covered with the remains of buildings. In the plain
of St. Simon, I saw two superb pillars, apparently part of a portico, or
gateway, and the village of Dana is formed almost entirely of churches and
convents, of the Lower Empire. There were but few inscriptions, and these
I could not read; but the whole of this region would, no doubt, richly
repay an antiquarian research. I am told here that the entire chain of
hills, which extends southward for more than a hundred miles, abounds with
similar remains, and that, in many places, whole cities stand almost
entire, as if recently deserted by their inhabitants.

During the afternoon, we came upon a portion of the ancient road from
Antioch to Aleppo, which is still as perfect as when first constructed. It
crossed a very stony ridge, and is much the finest specimen of road-making
I ever saw, quite putting to shame the Appian and Flaminian Ways at Rome.
It is twenty feet wide, and laid with blocks of white marble, from two to
four feet square. It was apparently raised upon a more ancient road, which
diverges here and there from the line, showing the deeply-cut traces of
the Roman chariot-wheels. In the barren depths of the mountains we found
every hour cisterns cut in the rock and filled with water left by the
winter rains. Many of them, however, are fast drying up, and a month later
this will be a desert road.

Towards night we descended from the hills upon the Plain of Keftin, which
stretches south-westward from Aleppo, till the mountain-streams which
fertilize it are dried up, when it is merged into the Syrian Desert. Its
northern edge, along which we travelled, is covered with fields of wheat,
cotton, and castor-beans. We stopped all night at a village called Taireb,
planted at the foot of a tumulus, older than tradition. The people were
in great dread of the Aneyzeh Arabs, who come in from the Desert to
destroy their harvests and carry off their cattle. They wanted us to take
a guard, but after our experience on the Anti-Lebanon, we felt safer
without one.

Yesterday we travelled for seven hours over a wide, rolling country, now
waste and barren, but formerly covered with wealth and supporting an
abundant population, evidences of which are found in the buildings
everywhere scattered over the hills. On and on we toiled in the heat, over
this inhospitable wilderness, and though we knew Aleppo must be very near,
yet we could see neither sign of cultivation nor inhabitants. Finally,
about three o'clock, the top of a line of shattered wall and the points of
some minarets issued out of the earth, several miles in front of us, and
on climbing a glaring chalky ridge, the renowned city burst at once upon
our view. It filled a wide hollow or basin among the white hills, against
which its whiter houses and domes glimmered for miles, in the dead, dreary
heat of the afternoon, scarcely relieved by the narrow belt of gardens on
the nearer side, or the orchards of pistachio trees beyond. In the centre
of the city rose a steep, abrupt mound, crowned with the remains of the
ancient citadel, and shining minarets shot up, singly or in clusters,
around its base. The prevailing hue of the landscape was a whitish-gray,
and the long, stately city and long, monotonous hills, gleamed with equal
brilliancy under a sky of cloudless and intense blue. This singular
monotony of coloring gave a wonderful effect to the view, which is one of
the most remarkable in all the Orient.

Chapter XV.

Life in Aleppo.

Our Entry into Aleppo--We are conducted to a House--Our Unexpected
Welcome--The Mystery Explained--Aleppo--Its Name--Its Situation--The
Trade of Aleppo--The Christians--The Revolt of 1850--Present Appearance
of the City--Visit to Osman Pasha--The Citadel--View from the
Battlements--Society in Aleppo--Etiquette and Costume--Jewish Marriage
Festivities--A Christian Marriage Procession--Ride around the
Town--Nightingales--The Aleppo Button--A Hospital for Cats--Ferhat

Aleppo, _Tuesday, June_ 8, 1852.

Our entry into Aleppo was a fitting preliminary to our experiences during
the five days we have spent here. After passing a blackamoor, who acted as
an advanced guard of the Custom House, at a ragged tent outside of the
city, and bribing him with two piastres, we crossed the narrow line of
gardens on the western side, and entered the streets. There were many
coffee-houses, filled with smokers, nearly all of whom accosted us in
Turkish, though Arabic is the prevailing language here. Ignorance made us
discourteous, and we slighted every attempt to open a conversation. Out of
the narrow streets of the suburbs, we advanced to the bazaars, in order to
find a khan where we could obtain lodgings. All the best khans, however,
were filled, and we were about to take a very inferior room, when a
respectable individual came up to Francois and said: "The house is ready
for the travellers, and I will show you the way." We were a little
surprised at this address, but followed him to a neat, quiet and pleasant
street near the bazaars, where we were ushered into a spacious court-yard,
with a row of apartments opening upon it, and told to make ourselves at

The place had evidently been recently inhabited, for the rooms were well
furnished, with not only divans, but beds in the Frank style. A lean
kitten was scratching at one of the windows, to the great danger of
overturning a pair of narghilehs, a tame sea-gull was walking about the
court, and two sheep bleated in a stable at the further end. In the
kitchen we not only found a variety of utensils, but eggs, salt, pepper,
and other condiments. Our guide had left, and the only information we
could get, from a dyeing establishment next door, was that the occupants
had gone into the country. "Take the good the gods provide thee," is my
rule in such cases, and as we were very hungry, we set Francois to work at
preparing dinner. We arranged a divan in the open air, had a table brought
out, and by the aid of the bakers in the bazaar, and the stores which the
kitchen supplied, soon rejoiced over a very palatable meal. The romantic
character of our reception made the dinner a merry one. It was a chapter
out of the Arabian Nights, and be he genie or afrite, caliph or merchant
of Bassora, into whose hands we had fallen, we resolved to let the
adventure take its course. We were just finishing a nondescript pastry
which Francois found at a baker's, and which, for want of a better name,
he called _meringues a la Khorassan,_ when there was a loud knock at the
street door. We felt at first some little trepidation, but determined to
maintain our places, and gravely invite the real master to join us.

It was a female servant, however, who, to our great amazement, made a
profound salutation, and seemed delighted to see us. "My master did not
expect your Excellencies to-day; he has gone into the gardens, but will
soon return. Will your Excellencies take coffee after your dinner?" and
coffee was forthwith served. The old woman was unremitting in her
attentions; and her son, a boy of eight years, and the most venerable
child I ever saw, entertained us with the description of a horse which his
master had just bought--a horse which had cost two thousand piastres, and
was ninety years old. Well, this Aleppo is an extraordinary place, was my
first impression, and the inhabitants are remarkable people; but I waited
the master's arrival, as the only means of solving the mystery. About
dusk, there was another rap at the door. A lady dressed in white, with an
Indian handkerchief bound over her black hair, arrived. "Pray excuse us,"
said she; "we thought you would not reach here before to-morrow; but my
brother will come directly." In fact, the brother did come soon
afterwards, and greeted us with a still warmer welcome. "Before leaving
the gardens," he said, "I heard of your arrival, and have come in a full
gallop the whole way." In order to put an end to this comedy of errors, I
declared at once that he was mistaken; nobody in Aleppo could possibly
know of our coming, and we were, perhaps, transgressing on his
hospitality. But no: he would not be convinced. He was a dragoman to the
English Consulate; his master had told him we would be here the next day,
and he must be prepared to receive us. Besides, the janissary of the
Consulate had showed us the way to his house. We, therefore, let the
matter rest until next morning, when we called on Mr. Very, the Consul,
who informed us that the janissary had mistaken us for two gentlemen we
had met in Damascus, the travelling companions of Lord Dalkeith. As they
had not arrived, he begged us to remain in the quarters which had been
prepared for them. We have every reason to be glad of this mistake, as it
has made us acquainted with one of the most courteous and hospitable
gentlemen in the East.

Aleppo lies so far out of the usual routes of travel, that it is rarely
visited by Europeans. One is not, therefore, as in the case of Damascus,
prepared beforehand by volumes of description, which preclude all
possibility of mistake or surprise. For my part, I only knew that Aleppo
had once been the greatest commercial city of the Orient, though its power
had long since passed into other hands. But there were certain stately
associations lingering around the name, which drew me towards it, and
obliged me to include it, at all hazards, in my Asiatic tour. The scanty
description of Captains Irby and Mangles, the only one I had read, gave me
no distinct idea of its position or appearance; and when, the other day, I
first saw it looming grand and gray among the gray hills, more like a vast
natural crystallization than the product of human art, I revelled in the
novelty of that startling first impression.

The tradition of the city's name is curious, and worth relating. It is
called, in Arabic, _Haleb el-Shahba_--Aleppo, the Gray--which most persons
suppose to refer to the prevailing color of the soil. The legend, however,
goes much farther. _Haleb_, which the Venetians and Genoese softened into
Aleppo, means literally: "has milked," According to Arab tradition, the
patriarch Abraham once lived here: his tent being pitched near the mound
now occupied by the citadel. He had a certain gray cow (_el-shahba_)
which was milked every morning for the benefit of the poor. When,
therefore, it was proclaimed: "_Ibrahim haleb el-shahba_" (Abraham has
milked the gray cow), all the poor of the tribe came up to receive their
share. The repetition of this morning call attached itself to the spot,
and became the name of the city which was afterwards founded.

Aleppo is built on the eastern slope of a shallow upland basin, through
which flows the little River Koweik. There are low hills to the north and
south, between which the country falls into a wide, monotonous plain,
extending unbroken to the Euphrates. The city is from eight to ten miles
in circuit, and, though not so thickly populated, covers a greater extent
of space than Damascus. The population is estimated at 100,000. In the
excellence (not the elegance) of its architecture, it surpasses any
Oriental city I have yet seen. The houses are all of hewn stone,
frequently three and even four stories in height, and built in a most
massive and durable style, on account of the frequency of earthquakes. The
streets are well paved, clean, with narrow sidewalks, and less tortuous
and intricate than the bewildering alleys of Damascus. A large part of the
town is occupied with bazaars, attesting the splendor of its former
commerce. These establishments are covered with lofty vaults of stone,
lighted from the top; and one may walk for miles beneath the spacious
roofs. The shops exhibit all the stuffs of the East, especially of Persia
and India. There is also an extensive display of European fabrics, as the
eastern provinces of Asiatic Turkey, as far as Baghdad, are supplied
entirely from Aleppo and Trebizond.

Within ten years--in fact, since the Allied Powers drove Ibrahim Pasha
out of Syria--the trade of Aleppo has increased, at the expense of
Damascus. The tribes of the Desert, who were held in check during the
Egyptian occupancy, are now so unruly that much of the commerce between
the latter place and Baghdad goes northward to Mosul, and thence by a
safer road to this city. The khans, of which there are a great number,
built on a scale according with the former magnificence of Aleppo, are
nearly all filled, and Persian, Georgian, and Armenian merchants again
make their appearance in the bazaars. The principal manufactures carried
on are the making of shoes (which, indeed, is a prominent branch in every
Turkish city), and the weaving of silk and golden tissues. Two long
bazaars are entirely occupied with shoe-shops, and there is nearly a
quarter of a mile of confectionery, embracing more varieties than I ever
saw, or imagined possible. I saw yesterday the operation of weaving silk
and gold, which is a very slow process. The warp and the body of the woof
were of purple silk. The loom only differed from the old hand-looms in
general use in having some thirty or forty contrivances for lifting the
threads of the warp, so as to form, by variation, certain patterns. The
gold threads by which the pattern was worked were contained in twenty
small shuttles, thrust by hand under the different parcels of the warp, as
they were raised by a boy trained for that purpose, who sat on the top of
the loom. The fabric was very brilliant in its appearance, and sells, as
the weavers informed me, at 100 piastres per _pik_--about $7 per yard.

We had letters to Mr. Ford, an American Missionary established here, and
Signor di Picciotto, who acts as American Vice-Consul. Both gentlemen have
been very cordial in their offers of service, and by their aid we have
been enabled to see something of Aleppo life and society. Mr. Ford, who
has been here four years, has a pleasant residence at Jedaida, a Christian
suburb of the city. His congregation numbers some fifty or sixty
proselytes, who are mostly from the schismatic sects of the Armenians. Dr.
Smith, who established the mission at Ain-tab (two days' journey north of
this), where he died last year, was very successful among these sects, and
the congregation there amounts to nine hundred. The Sultan, a year ago,
issued a firman, permitting his Christian subjects to erect houses of
worship; but, although this was proclaimed in Constantinople and much
lauded in Europe as an act of great generosity and tolerance, there has
been no official promulgation of it here. So of the aid which the Turkish
Government was said to have afforded to its destitute Christian subjects,
whose houses were sacked during the fanatical rebellion of 1850. The world
praised the Sultan's charity and love of justice, while the sufferers, to
this day, lack the first experience of it. But for the spontaneous relief
contributed in Europe and among the Christian communities of the Levant,
the amount of misery would have been frightful.

To Feridj Pasha, who is at present the commander of the forces here, is
mainly due the credit of having put down the rebels with a strong hand.
There were but few troops in the city at the time of the outbreak, and as
the insurgents, who were composed of the Turkish and Arab population, were
in league with the Aneyzehs of the Desert, the least faltering or delay
would have led to a universal massacre of the Christians. Fortunately, the
troops were divided into two portions, one occupying the barracks on a
hill north of the city, and the other, a mere corporal's guard of a dozen
men, posted in the citadel. The leaders of the outbreak went to the latter
and offered him a large sum of money (the spoils of Christian houses) to
give up the fortress. With a loyalty to his duty truly miraculous among
the Turks, he ordered his men to fire upon them, and they beat a hasty
retreat. The quarter of the insurgents lay precisely between the barracks
and the citadel, and by order of Feridj Pasha a cannonade was immediately
opened on it from both points. It was not, however, until many houses had
been battered down, and a still larger number destroyed by fire, that the
rebels were brought to submission. Their allies, the Aneyzehs, appeared on
the hill east of Aleppo, to the number of five or six thousand, but a few
well-directed cannon-balls told them what they might expect, and they
speedily retreated. Two or three hundred Christian families lost nearly
all of their property during the sack, and many were left entirely
destitute. The house in which Mr. Ford lives was plundered of jewels and
furniture to the amount of 400,000 piastres ($20,000). The robbers, it is
said, were amazed at the amount of spoil they found. The Government made
some feeble efforts to recover it, but the greater part was already sold
and scattered through a thousand hands, and the unfortunate Christians
have only received about seven per cent. of their loss.

The burnt quarter has since been rebuilt, and I noticed several Christians
occupying shops in various parts of it. But many families, who fled at the
time, still remain in various parts of Syria, afraid to return to their
homes. The Aneyzehs and other Desert tribes have latterly become more
daring than ever. Even in the immediate neighborhood of the city, the
inhabitants are so fearful of them that all the grain is brought up to
the very walls to be threshed. The burying-grounds on both sides are now
turned into threshing-floors, and all day long the Turkish peasants drive
their heavy sleds around among the tomb-stones.

On the second day after our arrival, we paid a visit to Osman Pasha,
Governor of the City and Province of Aleppo. We went in state, accompanied
by the Consul, with two janissaries in front, bearing silver maces, and a
dragoman behind. The _serai_, or palace, is a large, plain wooden
building, and a group of soldiers about the door, with a shabby carriage
in the court, were the only tokens of its character. We were ushered at
once into the presence of the Pasha, who is a man of about seventy years,
with a good-humored, though shrewd face. He was quite cordial in his
manners, complimenting us on our Turkish costume, and vaunting his skill
in physiognomy, which at once revealed to him that we belonged to the
highest class of American nobility. In fact, in the firman which he has
since sent us, we are mentioned as "nobles." He invited us to pass a day
or two with him, saying that he should derive much benefit from our
superior knowledge. We replied that such an intercourse could only benefit
ourselves, as his greater experience, and the distinguished wisdom which
had made his name long since familiar to our ears, precluded the hope of
our being of any service to him. After half an hour's stay, during which
we were regaled with jewelled pipes, exquisite Mocha coffee, and sherbet
breathing of the gardens of Guelistan, we took our leave.

The Pasha sent an officer to show us the citadel. We passed around the
moat to the entrance on the western side, consisting of a bridge and
double gateway. The fortress, as I have already stated, occupies the crest
of an elliptical mound, about one thousand feet by six hundred, and two
hundred feet in height. It is entirely encompassed by the city and forms a
prominent and picturesque feature in the distant view thereof. Formerly,
it was thickly inhabited, and at the time of the great earthquake of 1822,
there were three hundred families living within the walls, nearly all of
whom perished. The outer walls were very much shattered on that occasion,
but the enormous towers and the gateway, the grandest specimen of
Saracenic architecture in the East, still remain entire. This gateway, by
which we entered, is colossal in its proportions. The outer entrance,
through walls ten feet thick, admitted us into a lofty vestibule lined
with marble, and containing many ancient inscriptions in mosaic. Over the
main portal, which is adorned with sculptured lions' heads, there is a
tablet stating that the fortress was built by El Melek el Ashraf (the
Holiest of Kings), after which follows: "Prosperity to the True
Believers--Death to the Infidels!" A second tablet shows that it was
afterwards repaired by Mohammed ebn-Berkook, who, I believe, was one of
the Fatimite Caliphs. The shekh of the citadel, who accompanied us, stated
the age of the structure at nine hundred years, which, as nearly as I can
recollect the Saracenic chronology, is correct. He called our attention to
numbers of iron arrow-heads sticking in the solid masonry--the marks of
ancient sieges. Before leaving, we were presented with a bundle of arrows
from the armory--undoubted relics of Saracen warfare.

The citadel is now a mass of ruins, having been deserted since the
earthquake. Grass is growing on the ramparts, and the caper plant, with
its white-and-purple blossoms, flourishes among the piles of rubbish.
Since the late rebellion, however, a small military barrack has been
built, and two companies of soldiers are stationed there, We walked around
the walls, which command a magnificent view of the city and the wide
plains to the south and east. It well deserves to rank with the panorama
of Cairo from the citadel, and that of Damascus from the Anti-Lebanon, in
extent, picturesqueness and rich oriental character. Out of the gray ring
of the city, which incloses the mound, rise the great white domes and the
whiter minarets of its numerous mosques, many of which are grand and
imposing structures. The course of the river through the centre of the
picture is marked by a belt of the greenest verdure, beyond which, to the
west, rises a chain of naked red hills, and still further, fading on the
horizon, the blue summit of Mt. St. Simon, and the coast range of Akma
Dagh. Eastward, over vast orchards of pistachio trees, the barren plain of
the Euphrates fades away to a glimmering, hot horizon. Looking downwards
on the heart of the city, I was surprised to see a number of open, grassy
tracts, out of which, here and there, small trees were growing. But,
perceiving what appeared to be subterranean entrances at various points, I
found that these tracts were upon the roofs of the houses and bazaars,
verifying what I had frequently heard, that in Aleppo the inhabitants
visit their friends in different parts of the city, by passing over the
roofs of the houses. Previous to the earthquake of 1822, these vast
roof-plains were cultivated as gardens, and presented an extent of airy
bowers as large, if not as magnificent, as the renowned Hanging Gardens of
ancient Babylon.

Accompanied by Signor di Picciotto, we spent two or three days in
visiting the houses of the principal Jewish and Christian families in
Aleppo. We found, it is true, no such splendor as in Damascus, but more
solid and durable architecture, and a more chastened elegance of taste.
The buildings are all of hewn stone, the court-yards paved with marble,
and the walls rich with gilding and carved wood. Some of the larger
dwellings have small but beautiful gardens attached to them. We were
everywhere received with the greatest hospitality, and the visits were
considered as a favor rather than an intrusion. Indeed, I was frequently
obliged to run the risk of giving offence, by declining the refreshments
which were offered us. Each round of visits was a feat of strength, and we
were obliged to desist from sheer inability to support more coffee,
rose-water, pipes, and aromatic sweetmeats. The character of society in
Aleppo is singular; its very life and essence is etiquette. The laws which
govern it are more inviolable than those of the Medes and Persians. The
question of precedence among the different families is adjusted by the
most delicate scale, and rigorously adhered to in the most trifling
matters. Even we, humble voyagers as we are, have been obliged to regulate
our conduct according to it. After our having visited certain families,
certain others would have been deeply mortified had we neglected to call
upon them. Formerly, when a traveller arrived here, he was expected to
call upon the different Consuls, in the order of their established
precedence: the Austrian first, English second, French third, &c. After
this, he was obliged to stay at home several days, to give the Consuls an
opportunity of returning the visits, which they made in the same order.
There was a diplomatic importance about all his movements, and the least
violation of etiquette, through ignorance or neglect, was the town talk
for days.

This peculiarity in society is evidently a relic of the formal times, when
Aleppo was a semi-Venetian city, and the opulent seat of Eastern commerce.
Many of the inhabitants are descended from the traders of those times, and
they all speak the _lingua franca_, or Levantine Italian. The women wear a
costume partly Turkish and partly European, combining the graces of both;
it is, in my eyes, the most beautiful dress in the world. They wear a rich
scarf of some dark color on the head, which, on festive occasions, is
almost concealed by their jewels, and the heavy scarlet pomegranate
blossoms which adorn their dark hair. A Turkish vest and sleeves of
embroidered silk, open in front, and a skirt of white or some light color,
completes the costume. The Jewesses wear in addition a short Turkish
_caftan_, and full trousers gathered at the ankles. At a ball given by Mr.
Very, the English Consul, which we attended, all the Christian beauties of
Aleppo were present. There was a fine display of diamonds, many of the
ladies wearing several thousand dollars' worth on their heads. The
peculiar etiquette of the place was again illustrated on this occasion.
The custom is, that the music must be heard for at least one hour before
the guests come. The hour appointed was eight, but when we went there, at
nine, nobody had arrived. As it was generally supposed that the ball was
given on our account, several of the families had servants in the
neighborhood to watch our arrival; and, accordingly, we had not been there
five minutes before the guests crowded through the door in large numbers.
When the first dance (an Arab dance, performed by two ladies at a time)
was proposed, the wives of the French and Spanish Consuls were first led,
or rather dragged, out. When a lady is asked to dance, she invariably
refuses. She is asked a second and a third time; and if the gentleman does
not solicit most earnestly, and use some gentle force in getting her upon
the floor, she never forgives him.

At one of the Jewish houses which we visited, the wedding festivities of
one of the daughters were being celebrated. We were welcomed with great
cordiality, and immediately ushered into the room of state, an elegant
apartment, overlooking the gardens below the city wall. Half the room was
occupied by a raised platform, with a divan of blue silk cushions. Here
the ladies reclined, in superb dresses of blue, pink, and gold, while the
gentlemen were ranged on the floor below. They all rose at our entrance,
and we were conducted to seats among the ladies. Pipes and perfumed drinks
were served, and the bridal cake, made of twenty-six different fruits, was
presented on a golden salver. Our fair neighbors, some of whom literally
blazed with jewels, were strikingly beautiful. Presently the bride
appeared at the door, and we all rose and remained standing, as she
advanced, supported on each side by the two _shebeeniyeh_, or bridesmaids.
She was about sixteen, slight and graceful in appearance, though not
decidedly beautiful, and was attired with the utmost elegance. Her dress
was a pale blue silk, heavy with gold embroidery; and over her long dark
hair, her neck, bosom, and wrists, played a thousand rainbow gleams from
the jewels which covered them. The Jewish musicians, seated at the bottom
of the hall, struck up a loud, rejoicing harmony on their violins,
guitars, and dulcimers, and the women servants, grouped at the door,
uttered in chorus that wild, shrill cry, which accompanies all such
festivals in the East. The bride was careful to preserve the decorum
expected of her, by speaking no word, nor losing the sad, resigned
expression of her countenance. She ascended to the divan, bowed to each of
us with a low, reverential inclination, and seated herself on the
cushions. The music and dances lasted some time, accompanied by the
_zughareet_, or cry of the women, which was repeated with double force
when we rose to take leave. The whole company waited on us to the street
door, and one of the servants, stationed in the court, shouted some long,
sing-song phrases after us as we passed out. I could not learn the words,
but was told that it was an invocation of prosperity upon us, in return
for the honor which our visit had conferred.

In the evening I went to view a Christian marriage procession, which,
about midnight, conveyed the bride to the house of the bridegroom. The
house, it appeared, was too small to receive all the friends of the
family, and I joined a large number of them, who repaired to the terrace
of the English Consulate, to greet the procession as it passed. The first
persons who appeared were a company of buffoons; after them four
janissaries, carrying silver maces; then the male friends, bearing colored
lanterns and perfumed torches, raised on gilded poles; then the females,
among whom I saw some beautiful Madonna faces in the torchlight; and
finally the bride herself, covered from head to foot with a veil of cloth
of gold, and urged along by two maidens: for it is the etiquette of such
occasions that the bride should resist being taken, and must be forced
every step of the way, so that she is frequently three hours in going the
distance of a mile. We watched the procession a long time, winding away
through the streets--a line of torches, and songs, and incense, and noisy
jubilee--under the sweet starlit heaven.

The other evening, Signor di Picciotto mounted us from his fine Arabian
stud, and we rode around the city, outside of the suburbs. The sun was
low, and a pale yellow lustre touched the clusters of minarets that rose
out of the stately masses of buildings, and the bare, chalky hills to the
north. After leaving the gardens on the banks of the Koweik, we came upon
a dreary waste of ruins, among which the antiquarian finds traces of the
ancient Aleppo of the Greeks, the Mongolian conquerors of the Middle Ages,
and the Saracens who succeeded them. There are many mosques and tombs,
which were once imposing specimens of Saracenic art; but now, split and
shivered by wars and earthquakes, are slowly tumbling into utter decay. On
the south-eastern side of the city, its chalk foundations have been
hollowed into vast, arched caverns, which extend deep into the earth.
Pillars have been left at regular intervals, to support the masses above,
and their huge, dim labyrinths resemble the crypts of some great
cathedral. They are now used as rope-walks, and filled with cheerful

Our last excursion was to a country-house of Signor di Picciotto, in the
Gardens of Babala, about four miles from Aleppo. We set out in the
afternoon on our Arabians, with our host's son on a large white donkey of
the Baghdad breed. Passing the Turkish cemetery, where we stopped to view
the tomb of General Bem, we loosened rein and sped away at full gallop
over the hot, white hills. In dashing down a stony rise, the ambitious
donkey, who was doing his best to keep up with the horses, fell, hurling
Master Picciotto over his head. The boy was bruised a little, but set his
teeth together and showed no sign of pain, mounted again, and followed
us. The Gardens of Babala are a wilderness of fruit-trees, like those of
Damascus. Signor P.'s country-house is buried in a wild grove of apricot,
fig, orange, and pomegranate-trees. A large marble tank, in front of the
open, arched _liwan_, supplies it with water. We mounted to the flat roof,
and watched the sunset fade from the beautiful landscape. Beyond the
bowers of dazzling greenness which surrounded us, stretched the wide, gray
hills; the minarets of Aleppo, and the walls of its castled mount shone
rosily in the last rays of the sun; an old palace of the Pashas, with the
long, low barracks of the soldiery, crowned the top of a hill to the
north; dark, spiry cypresses betrayed the place of tombs; and, to the
west, beyond the bare red peak of Mount St. Simon, rose the faint blue
outline of Giaour Dagh, whose mural chain divides Syria from the plains of
Cilicia. As the twilight deepened over the scene, there came a long,
melodious cry of passion and of sorrow from the heart of a starry-flowered
pomegranate tree in the garden. Other voices answered it from the gardens
around, until not one, but fifty nightingales charmed the repose of the
hour. They vied with each other in their bursts of passionate music. Each
strain soared over the last, or united with others, near and far, in a
chorus of the divinest pathos--an expression of sweet, unutterable,
unquenchable longing. It was an ecstasy, yet a pain, to listen. "Away!"
said Jean Paul to Music: "thou tellest me of that which I have not, and
never can have--which I forever seek, and never find!"

But space fails me to describe half the incidents of our stay in Aleppo.
There are two things peculiar to the city, however, which I must not omit
mentioning. One is the Aleppo Button, a singular ulcer, which attacks
every person born in the city, and every stranger who spends more than a
month there. It can neither be prevented nor cured, and always lasts for a
year. The inhabitants almost invariably have it on the face--either on the
cheek, forehead, or tip of the nose--where it often leaves an indelible
and disfiguring scar. Strangers, on the contrary, have it on one of the
joints; either the elbow, wrist, knee, or ankle. So strictly is its
visitation confined to the city proper, that in none of the neighboring
villages, nor even in a distant suburb, is it known. Physicians have
vainly attempted to prevent it by inoculation, and are at a loss to what
cause to ascribe it. We are liable to have it, even after five days' stay;
but I hope it will postpone its appearance until after I reach home.

The other remarkable thing here is the Hospital for Cats. This was founded
long ago by a rich, cat-loving Mussulman, and is one of the best endowed
institutions in the city. An old mosque is appropriated to the purpose,
under the charge of several directors; and here sick cats are nursed,
homeless cats find shelter, and decrepit cats gratefully purr away their
declining years. The whole category embraces several hundreds, and it is
quite a sight to behold the court, the corridors, and terraces of the
mosque swarming with them. Here, one with a bruised limb is receiving a
cataplasm; there, a cataleptic patient is tenderly cared for; and so on,
through the long concatenation of feline diseases. Aleppo, moreover,
rejoices in a greater number of cats than even Jerusalem. At a rough
guess, I should thus state the population of the city: Turks and Arabs,
70,000; Christians of all denominations, 15,000; Jews, 10,000; dogs,
12,000; and cats, 8,000.

Among other persons whom I have met here, is Ferhat Pasha, formerly
General Stein, Hungarian Minister of War, and Governor of Transylvania. He
accepted Moslemism with Bem and others, and now rejoices in his
circumcision and 7,000 piastres a month. He is a fat, companionable sort
of man; who, by his own confession, never labored very zealously for the
independence of Hungary, being an Austrian by birth. He conversed with me
for several hours on the scenes in which he had participated, and
attributed the failure of the Hungarians to the want of material means.
General Bem, who died here, is spoken of with the utmost respect, both by
Turks and Christians. The former have honored him with a large tomb, or
mausoleum, covered with a dome.

But I must close, leaving half unsaid. Suffice it to say that no Oriental
city has interested me so profoundly as Aleppo, and in none have I
received such universal and cordial hospitality. We leave to-morrow for
Asia Minor, having engaged men and horses for the whole route to

Chapter XVI.

Through the Syrian Gates.

An Inauspicious Departure--The Ruined Church of St. Simon--The Plain of
Antioch--A Turcoman Encampment--Climbing Akma Dagh--The Syrian
Gates--Scanderoon--An American Captain--Revolt of the Koords--We take a
Guard--The Field of Issus--The Robber-Chief, Kutchuk Ali--A Deserted
Town--A Land of Gardens.

"Mountains, on whose barren breast
The lab'ring clouds do often rest."


In Quarantine (Adana, Asia Minor), _Tuesday, June_ 15, 1852.

We left Aleppo on the morning of the 9th, under circumstances not the most
promising for the harmony of our journey. We had engaged horses and
baggage-mules from the _capidji_, or chief of the muleteers, and in order
to be certain of having animals that would not break down on the way, made
a particular selection from a number that were brought us. When about
leaving the city, however, we discovered that one of the horses had been
changed. Signor di Picciotto, who accompanied us past the Custom-House
barriers, immediately dispatched the delinquent muleteer to bring back the
true horse, and the latter made a farce of trying to find him, leading the
Consul and the capidji (who, I believe, was at the bottom of the cheat) a
wild-goose chase over the hills around Aleppo, where of course, the animal
was not to be seen. When, at length, we had waited three hours, and had
wandered about four miles from the city, we gave up the search, took leave
of the Consul and went on with the new horse. Our proper plan would have
been to pitch the tent and refuse to move till the matter was settled. The
animal, as we discovered during the first day's journey, was hopelessly
lame, and we only added to the difficulty by taking him.

We rode westward all day over barren and stony hills, meeting with
abundant traces of the power and prosperity of this region during the
times of the Greek Emperors. The nevastation wrought by earthquakes has
been terrible; there is scarcely a wall or arch standing, which does not
bear marks of having been violently shaken. The walls inclosing the
fig-orchards near the villages contain many stones with Greek
inscriptions, and fragments of cornices. We encamped the first night on
the plain at the foot of Mount St. Simon, and not far from the ruins of
the celebrated Church of the same name. The building stands in a stony
wilderness at the foot of the mountain. It is about a hundred feet long
and thirty in height, with two lofty square towers in front. The pavement
of the interior is entirely concealed by the masses of pillars, capitals,
and hewn blocks that lie heaped upon it. The windows, which are of the
tall, narrow, arched form, common in Byzantine Churches, have a common
moulding which falls like a mantle over and between them. The general
effect of the Church is very fine, though there is much inelegance in the
sculptured details. At the extremity is a half-dome of massive stone, over
the place of the altar, and just in front of this formerly stood the
pedestal whereon, according to tradition, St. Simeon Stylites commenced
his pillar-life. I found a recent excavation at the spot, but no
pedestal, which has probably been carried off by the Greek monks. Beside
the Church stands a large building, with an upper and lower balcony,
supported by square stone pillars, around three sides. There is also a
paved court-yard, a large cistern cut in the rock and numerous
out-buildings, all going to confirm the supposition of its having been a
monastery. The main building is three stories high, with pointed gables,
and bears a strong resemblance to an American summer hotel, with verandas.
Several ancient fig and walnut trees are growing among the ruins, and add
to their picturesque appearance.

The next day we crossed a broad chain of hills to the Plain of Antioch,
which we reached near its northern extremity. In one of the valleys
through which the road lay, we saw a number of hot sulphur springs, some
of them of a considerable volume of water. Not far from them was a
beautiful fountain of fresh and cold water gushing from the foot of a high
rock. Soon after reaching the plain, we crossed the stream of Kara Su,
which feeds the Lake of Antioch. This part of the plain is low and swampy,
and the streams are literally alive with fish. While passing over the
bridge I saw many hundreds, from one to two feet in length. We wandered
through the marshy meadows for two or three hours, and towards sunset
reached a Turcoman encampment, where the ground was dry enough to pitch
our tents. The rude tribe received us hospitably, and sent us milk and
cheese in abundance. I visited the tent of the Shekh, who was very
courteous, but as he knew no language but Turkish, our conversation was
restricted to signs. The tent was of camel's-hair cloth, spacious, and
open at the sides. A rug was spread for me, and the Shekh's wife brought
me a pipe of tolerable tobacco. The household were seated upon the
ground, chatting pleasantly with one another, and apparently not in the
least disturbed by my presence. One of the Shekh's sons, who was deaf and
dumb, came and sat before me, and described by very expressive signs the
character of the road to Scanderoon. He gave me to understand that there
were robbers in the mountains, with many grim gestures descriptive of
stabbing and firing muskets.

The mosquitoes were so thick during the night that we were obliged to fill
the tent with smoke in order to sleep. When morning came, we fancied there
would be a relief for us, but it only brought a worse pest, in the shape
of swarms of black gnats, similar to those which so tormented me in Nubia.
I know of no infliction so terrible as these gnats, which you cannot drive
away, and which assail ears, eyes, and nostrils in such quantities that
you become mad and desperate in your efforts to eject them. Through glens
filled with oleander, we ascended the first slopes of Akma Dagh, the
mountain range which divides the Gulf of Scanderoon from the Plain of
Antioch. Then, passing a natural terrace, covered with groves of oak, our
road took the mountain side, climbing upwards in the shadow of pine and
wild olive trees, and between banks of blooming lavender and myrtle. We
saw two or three companies of armed guards, stationed by the road-side,
for the mountain is infested with robbers, and a caravan had been
plundered only three days before. The view, looking backward, took in the
whole plain, with the Lake of Antioch glittering in the centre, the valley
of the Orontes in the south, and the lofty cone of Djebel-Okrab far to the
west. As we approached the summit, violent gusts of wind blew through the
pass with such force as almost to overturn our horses. Here the road from
Antioch joins that from Aleppo, and both for some distance retain the
ancient pavement.

From the western side we saw the sea once more, and went down through the
_Pylae Syriae_, or Syrian Gates, as this defile was called by the Romans. It
is very narrow and rugged, with an abrupt descent. In an hour from the
summit we came upon an aqueduct of a triple row of arches, crossing the
gorge. It is still used to carry water to the town of Beilan, which hangs
over the mouth of the pass, half a mile below. This is one of the most
picturesque spots in Syria. The houses cling to the sides and cluster on
the summits of precipitous crags, and every shelf of soil, every crevice
where a tree can thrust its roots, upholds a mass of brilliant vegetation.
Water is the life of the place. It gushes into the street from exhaustless
fountains; it trickles from the terraces in showers of misty drops; it
tumbles into the gorge in sparkling streams; and everywhere it nourishes a
life as bright and beautiful as its own. The fruit trees are of enormous
size, and the crags are curtained with a magnificent drapery of vines.
This green gateway opens suddenly upon another, cut through a glittering
mass of micaceous rock, whence one looks down on the town and Gulf of
Scanderoon, the coast of Karamania beyond, and the distant snows of the
Taurus. We descended through groves of pine and oak, and in three hours
more reached the shore.

Scanderoon is the most unhealthy place on the Syrian Coast, owing to the
malaria from a marsh behind it. The inhabitants are a wretched pallid set,
who are visited every year with devastating fevers. The marsh was partly
drained some forty years ago by the Turkish government, and a few
thousand dollars would be sufficient to remove it entirely, and make the
place--which is of some importance as the seaport of Aleppo--healthy and
habitable. At present, there are not five hundred inhabitants, and half of
these consist of the Turkish garrison and the persons attached to the
different Vice-Consulates. The streets are depositories of filth, and
pools of stagnant water, on all sides, exhale the most fetid odors. Near
the town are the ruins of a castle built by Godfrey of Bouillon. We
marched directly down to the sea-shore, and pitched our tent close beside
the waves, as the place most free from malaria. There were a dozen vessels
at anchor in the road, and one of them proved to be the American bark
Columbia, Capt. Taylor. We took a skiff and went on board, where we were
cordially welcomed by the mate. In the evening, the captain came to our
tent, quite surprised to find two wandering Americans in such a lonely
corner of the world. Soon afterwards, with true seaman-like generosity, he
returned, bringing a jar of fine Spanish olives and a large bottle of
pickles, which he insisted on adding to our supplies. The olives have the
choicest Andalusian flavor, and the pickles lose none of their relish from
having been put up in New York.

The road from Scanderoon to this place lies mostly along the shore of the
gulf, at the foot of Akma Dagh, and is reckoned dangerous on account of
the marauding bands of Koords who infest the mountains. These people, like
the Druses, have rebelled against the conscription, and will probably hold
their ground with equal success, though the Turks talk loudly of invading
their strongholds. Two weeks ago, the post was robbed, about ten miles
from Scanderoon, and a government vessel, now lying at anchor in the bay,
opened a cannonade on the plunderers, before they could be secured. In
consequence of the warnings of danger in everybody's mouth, we decided to
take an escort, and therefore waited upon the commander of the forces,
with the firman of the Pasha of Aleppo. A convoy of two soldiers was at
once promised us; and at sunrise, next morning, they took the lead of our

In order to appear more formidable, in case we should meet with robbers,
we put on our Frank pantaloons, which had no other effect than to make the
heat more intolerable. But we formed rather a fierce cavalcade, six armed
men in all. Our road followed the shore of the bay, having a narrow,
uninhabited flat, covered with thickets of myrtle and mastic, between us
and the mountains. The two soldiers, more valiant than the guard of
Banias, rode in advance, and showed no signs of fear as we approached the
suspicious places. The morning was delightfully clear, and the
snow-crowned range of Taurus shone through the soft vapors hanging over
the gulf. In one place, we skirted the shore for some distance, under a
bank twenty feet in height, and so completely mantled with shrubbery, that
a small army might have hidden in it. There were gulleys at intervals,
opening suddenly on our path, and we looked up them, expecting every
moment to see the gleam of a Koordish gun-barrel, or a Turcoman spear,
above the tops of the myrtles.

Crossing a promontory which makes out from the mountains, we came upon the
renowned plain of Issus, where Darius lost his kingdom to Alexander. On a
low cliff overhanging the sea, there are the remains of a single tower of
gray stone. The people in Scanderoon call it "Jonah's Pillar," and say
that it marks the spot where the Ninevite was cast ashore by the whale.
[This makes three places on the Syrian coast where Jonah was vomited
forth.] The plain of Issus is from two to three miles long, but not more
than half a mile wide, It is traversed by a little river, supposed to be
the Pinarus, which comes down through a tremendous cleft in the Akma Dagh.
The ground seems too small for the battle-field of such armies as were
engaged on the occasion. It is bounded on the north by a low hill,
separating it from the plain of Baias, and it is possible that Alexander
may have made choice of this position, leaving the unwieldy forces of
Darius to attack him from the plain. His advantage would be greater, on
account of the long, narrow form of the ground, which would prevent him
from being engaged with more than a small portion of the Persian army, at
one time. The plain is now roseate with blooming oleanders, but almost
entirely uncultivated. About midway there are the remains of an ancient
quay jutting into the sea.

Soon after leaving the field of Issus, we reached the town of Baias, which
is pleasantly situated on the shore, at the mouth of a river whose course
through the plain is marked with rows of tall poplar trees. The walls of
the town, and the white dome and minaret of its mosque, rose dazzlingly
against the dark blue of the sea, and the purple stretch of the mountains
of Karamania. A single palm lifted its crest in the foreground. We
dismounted for breakfast under the shade of an old bridge which crosses
the river. It was a charming spot, the banks above and below being
overhung with oleander, white rose, honeysuckle and clematis. The two
guardsmen finished the remaining half of our Turcoman cheese, and almost
exhausted our supply of bread. I gave one of them a cigar, which he was at
a loss how to smoke, until our muleteer showed him.

Baias was celebrated fifty years ago, as the residence of the robber
chief, Kutchuk Ali, who, for a long time, braved the authority of the
Porte itself. He was in the habit of levying a yearly tribute on the
caravan to Mecca, and the better to enforce his claims, often suspended
two or three of his captives at the gates of the town, a day or two before
the caravan arrived. Several expeditions were sent against him, but he
always succeeded in bribing the commanders, who, on their return to
Constantinople, made such representations that Kutchuk Ali, instead of
being punished, received one dignity after another, until finally he
attained the rank of a Pasha of two tails. This emboldened him to commit
enormities too great to be overlooked, and in 1812 Baias was taken, and
the atrocious nest of land-pirates broken up.

I knew that the town had been sacked on this occasion, but was not
prepared to find such a complete picture of desolation. The place is
surrounded with a substantial wall, with two gateways, on the north and
south. A bazaar, covered with a lofty vaulted roof of stone, runs directly
through from gate to gate; and there was still a smell of spices in the
air, on entering. The massive shops on either hand, with their open doors,
invited possession, and might readily be made habitable again. The great
iron gates leading from the bazaar into the khans and courts, still swing
on their rusty hinges. We rode into the court of the mosque, which is
surrounded with a light and elegant corridor, supported by pillars. The
grass has as yet but partially invaded the marble pavement, and a stone
drinking-trough still stands in the centre. I urged my horse up the steps
and into the door of the mosque. It is in the form of a Greek cross, with
a dome in the centre, resting on four very elegant pointed arches. There
is an elaborately gilded and painted gallery of wood over the entrance,
and the pulpit opposite is as well preserved as if the _mollah_ had just
left it. Out of the mosque we passed into a second court, and then over a
narrow bridge into the fortress. The moat is perfect, and the walls as
complete as if just erected. Only the bottom is dry, and now covered with
a thicket of wild pomegranate trees. The heavy iron doors of the fortress
swung half open, as we entered unchallenged. The interior is almost
entire, and some of the cannon still lie buried in the springing grass.
The plan of the little town, which appears to have been all built at one
time, is most admirable. The walls of circuit, including the fortress,
cannot be more than 300 yards square, and yet none of the characteristics
of a large Oriental city are omitted.

Leaving Baias, we travelled northward, over a waste, though fertile plain.
The mountains on our right made a grand appearance, with their feet
mantled in myrtle, and their tops plumed with pine. They rise from the sea
with a long, bold sweep, but each peak falls off in a precipice on the
opposite side, as if the chain were the barrier of the world and there was
nothing but space beyond. In the afternoon we left the plain for a belt of
glorious garden land, made by streams that came down from the mountains.
We entered a lane embowered in pomegranate, white rose, clematis, and
other flowering vines and shrubs, and overarched by superb plane, lime,
and beech trees, chained together with giant grape vines. On either side
were fields of ripe wheat and barley, mulberry orchards and groves of
fruit trees, under the shade of which the Turkish families sat or slept
during the hot hours of the day. Birds sang in the boughs, and the
gurgling of water made a cool undertone to their music. Out of fairyland
where shall I see again such lovely bowers? We were glad when the soldiers
announced that it was necessary to encamp there; as we should find no
other habitations for more than twenty miles.

Our tent was pitched under a grand sycamore, beside a swift mountain
stream which almost made the circuit of our camp. Beyond the tops of the
elm, beech, and fig groves, we saw the picturesque green summits of the
lower ranges of Giaour Dagh, in the north-east, while over the southern
meadows a golden gleam of sunshine lay upon the Gulf of Scanderoon. The
village near us was Chaya, where there is a military station. The guards
we had brought from Scanderoon here left us; but the commanding officer
advised us to take others on the morrow, as the road was still considered


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