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A jar of precisely similar make and size to those in the plate formed part of our baggage in Syria, to carry wine, when it chanced to be very good, and was filled at intervals "few and far between:" the young woman, playing with the child, is clad in the tunic, or short vest, which is embroidered: the large and full pantaloons of silk reach little more than half way down the leg: the shoes, of yellow leather, turn up sharp at the point; the child's dress, like that of most children of good condition in the East, is tasteful and picturesque, and more becoming and graceful to that age than the European costume. In the foreground are the nahrguillies, or pipes, for smoking with water. Two large citron-trees afford a scanty shade.
In the house of Girgius, the traveller feels completely at home, a rare yet blessed feeling in the East: if he be a traveller of taste and independence, his visit, though prolonged to many days, is considered a favour. It is usual, on departing, to give handsomely to the servants: the chief of these is Debro, who figures in the foreground of the plate, a knowing, bustling, and useful steward to his master, and particularly obliging to all travellers. In the evening there is generally quite a reunion in the house of Girgius, and an excellent supper is laid out, to which ample justice is always done: before seating, raki is served out in small glasses, as an appetizer: here are to be met Aleppines in their rich furs, Turks, Christians, officers of the Pasha; among the latter was a fine young Pole, in the medical service, personally attached to Ibrahim Pasha, and overlooking all his faults, clenching every argument with "Monsieur, il paie bien ses employes."
DER-EL-KAMAIt, AND THE PALACES OF BETEDDEIN.
The palace of the Emir Beshir is in front, that of his sons on the height above. The gathering of the chieftains, and of the troops hastening to the standard of Ibrahim, is ceased: the courts of the Emir are emptied of the eager crowds of horsemen and footmen, and in comparison there is "silence in the halls of Cuthullin, and the grey thistle bends its head to the blast, and seems to say, the time of my departure is near." The aged lord of the palace, on his divan within, his white beard sweeping his breast, must also feel that his departure is not far off. Can he meet it without inquietude, without pain? Rarely do Oriental princes exhibit, in old age, a picture of that sunset of the heart, whose last light and glory is so dear, so enviable, and sinks slowly but to awake again with that "day without night" A career of strong excitement and change, often of violence and crime, make men cling intensely to life, when ambition has been successful, though the sceptre is clasped in the withered hand. The Emir's hand is red with blood, which the beautiful white robe that covers him from head to foot, and the diamonds of matchless lustre that glitter in its folds, cannot cover, cannot dim. The powerful chiefs of rival tribes have been put to death, with their children, within the walls of his palace: many princes have had their eyes put out, their possessions confiscated, and are now living in exile with their families, in the remote villages of Lebanon. He would justify such deeds by the plea of necessity, and maintain, that under the selfish despotism of the Sultan, and the strife and jealousy of the Syrian governors, no just and peaceful ruler could prosper. But all the waters of Lebanon cannot quench the thirst of power and plunder of its princes: blood alone can quench it, and it is shed freely.
The scenery around the palace of Beteddein is favourable to cold and merciless thoughts, and, should any faint throb of conscience be left, is favourable also to remorse It is not a place in which a man who loves the soft and gentle sights of this world would like to meet his last enemy: savage dells, barren crags, and precipitous paths on every side: below, the stern and sunless ravines unfold their withered bosoms, bathed by unlovely streams, as if to say, "These, stranger, are the dark and cruel places of Lebanon, not her glories." Above, has the town of Der-el-Kamar any attractions?—its bald houses climbing up the rugged declivities, and almost resting on each other's roofs. Yet, higher, there are summits without beauty or sublimity. The writer passed twelve days at Der-el-Kamar and Beteddein, the most disconsolate and destitute days of all his journey. The roar of a waterfall from a mill-dam not far off, fifty feet high, rose above that of the torrents of rain; the sun looked forth at long intervals with a ghastly smile on palace, prison-like vales, and ferocious heights— one of those bold and picturesque coup-d'oeils, at first greatly to be admired, but, ere long, wearisome, gloomy, and depressing. How welcome to gaze on the distant sea, which rose gladly, like the face of a friend in a desert, through a wide opening in the hills; the sun was on its blue waves, breaking in light—even their voice seemed to come from afar, and say, "Come away to lovelier scenes." Alas f we could not: for the storm returned; it was the rainy season, the clouds fell dark and heavy on the cliffs, and the roads were impassable. There are groups of trees here and there, scattered over the surface of the declivities, but they look like strangers, and afford a scanty shelter or shade: the palm, the mulberry, the fig tree, are there. O groves of Egypt, over whose fall the people lamented, and the wail of the nation went up as for the first-born—how glorious would you be on these descents! It cannot be supposed that Der-el-Kamar is rich in gardens; Semiramis would have found it difficult to have hung any of her airy gardens here. The young women of the place are a fine and healthful race, of rather fair and florid complexion: their stature is heightened by the singular ornament worn on the top of the head, a silver horn, a foot high, with strange figures and characters carved on it, is placed upright on the head, and the cloke or robe drawn over it, so as to fall gracefully down on each side of the face. Perhaps this very ancient custom is alluded to in the Psalm, "They shall not lift up their horn on high: their horn shall be exalted." The people are civil and respectful to strangers, clean in their persons and attire, and neatly dressed. There is little delicacy or elegance of feature or form in the women, whose persons are rather robust: they have the frank and kindly look of mountaineers: in their dwellings luxury does not enter, or comfort find a home; the traveller is rarely invited to cross the threshold. The vine is carefully cultivated, and produces a strong, sweet white wine, of which about a quart may be purchased for a shilling: excellent beef, equal to that of England, is also to be had here, as in most other parts of Lebanon. The cultivation is on the acclivities, terraced up by walls, to prevent the soil from being washed away. Burckhardt says, "The tombs of the Christians deserve notice: every family has a stone building, about forty feet square, in which they place their dead; the entrance being always walled up after each deposit This mode of interment is peculiar to Der-elKamar, and arose probably from the difficulty of excavating graves in the rocky soil on which it is built The tombs of the richer Christian families have a small cupola on their summit" The inhabitants are about four thousand, consisting of Maronite and Druse families, who manufacture all the articles of dress worn by the mountaineers: they are particularly skilful in working the rich abbas, or silk gowns interwoven with gold and silver, which are worn by the principal Druse sheichs. A few Turkish families reside here, isolated in this mountain capital, in regard to their faith and usages; obliged to hear at times their Prophet derided, and their lonely mosque put to scorn: and now that their Sultan's fortunes are sunk beneath those of Ibrahim, their situation is even less desirable than formerly. The convent of the Maronites is at a short distance above, and commands the town and the vallies: the chapels of the Druses are scattered at intervals on the mountain, invisible to the observation of others: on their mysterious worship and ceremonies, no stranger is ever permitted to intrude: not that his curiosity would be rewarded by any impressive rituals or devotions, the relics of ancient and purer times: their religion is in part a Mohammedan heresy, mingled with some unmeaning rites, and some notions borrowed from Christianity, and an air of mystery thrown over the whole. The secret of this repulsive and unintellectual system is strictly kept by its votaries, in spite of its dark and comfortless influences, which, however, exercise a sort of spell over their ignorant minds, like that of freemasonry over the attachment of its followers.
There is much of costliness and splendour in the palace of Beteddein: in the southwest pavilion the floor is of inlaid marble, with a fountain in the centre; the walls are inlaid with ivory and gilding, and ornamented with Arabic inscriptions in large gold characters, as are the walls of the Emir's audience-room, one side of which was hung round with the richest Cashmere shawls, in folding drapery. "Light and elegant arcades," observes Lamartine, "like the trunks of the palm-trees, light and graceful colonnades ran along the courts and galleries: a marble staircase, ornamented with balustrades sculptured in Arabesque, led to the entrance of the palace of the women, which was surrounded with black slaves, splendidly attired, armed with silver-mounted pistols, and Damascus sabres sparkling with gold chasings. Five or six hundred Arabian horses were fastened by the head and feet to ropes which crossed the court Secretaries, with flowing robes and silver inkstands, stuck like a poniard on their girdles, attended in the saloon of the Emir. His baths consist of five or six halls, paved with marble; the roofs and walls stuccoed and painted in water colours, with great taste and elegance, by