Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

tween two steep mountains, about a day's relievo, the size of life, and also the tablet, ride from its mouth. Strabo asserted from the waist downwards, is covered with that it was formerly navigable, though small arrow-headed, or cuneiform inscripthe stream is rapid; but if so, it must tions. be vastly changed since that good old Satisfied with examining the rock sculpgentleman's day, for now there is a bar tures, we descended the rugged pathway, of shingle at the mouth of the river, and were soon upon the beach of the which prevents boats entering if laden, Nahr-el-Kelb, which is the boundary of unless when swollen by the rains, in the patriarchates of Jerusalem and Anwhich case it is just barely possible to tioch. Above us the grey rocks reared reach the bridge, which consists of three their hoary heads, and studded with olivearches, and was built by Fakr-el-Din, a trees. At our feet the river rolled with short distance from its mouth. The placid surface, a strong contrast to the present name given to the river is said boiling sea outside the bar, which dashed to be derived from an idol in the form of with savage fury against the black rocks, a dog, which was worshipped, and is said and covered them with its feathery to have pronounced oracles at this place; surge. Opposite us a khan, embowered but the oracular head was broken off, and with luxuriant vines, and surrounded with carried to Venice, and the body thrown odorous flowers aud herbs, enticed us to into the sea. The natives point to a mass dwell for a while beneath its shade. An of black rocks, near to the entrance of instant's reflection changed our purpose; the river, as the remains of the body; the tents were erected; the horses and and to a pedestal by the roadside, at the mules tethered; and the whole place was northern extremity of the promontory, occupied by our party, who were all enas the spot where the statue formerly gaged in endeavouring to make themselves stood. I much doubt the accuracy of comfortable. the dog tradition, because we know that The grave Moslems started to see the the ancient Lycopolis, or Wolf City, was wild Franks racing about, sketching, coolsituated here; and a relief on the rock, ing wine in the river, bathing, cooking, over the river at the end of the bridge, eating, singing, and dancing,portraying a wolf, though much defaced

“Till twillight's dewy tints deceived his eye, by the Moslems, confirms the supposition And fairy forests fringed the evening sky." that time and tradition have converted But we cared little what they thought the wolf into a dog.

of us, and kept up our fun, until dayThe rocks that overhang the road to the light bid us recline upon our bed of east are sculptured with mezzo-relievo, sand. cuneiform inscriptions, and hieroglyphics, The horses and mules are fed, the tents executed by order of some of the conquer- struck, our goods packed, and again we ing monarchs, especially Sesostris, who, move on, and crossing the bridge, pass after conquering Ethiopia, Persia, &c., the Roman aqueduct with its sixteen passed along this road, and left as a memo- arches, filled with creeping parasites, and rial the tablets that are cut on the rocks. above veiled over with blushing wreaths One of the tablets, and the best preserved, of mezereon, and many a bright-hued probably owing to its more elevated posi- flower, amid the long and luxuriant grass tion, contains the upright figure of a man, that is nurtured by the crystal waters habited like the modern Persians, exhi- that gleam on its ruined walls. biting the profile, which expresses intel- On we go, following the river's course ligence, misdness, and benevolence. The for about two hours ; and then we comleft hand rests on the breast, and the mence ascending the rugged sides of right hand is raised, and appears to hold Lebanon. some oval object; but being nearly effaced, The grandeur of the towering rocks, it is impossible to conjecture what it re- the beetling brow of the grey mountains, presented. The whole of the figure, which the beauty of the secluded glens, the is carved in the natural rock in mezzo. steepness of the declivities, the dashing,



leaping, and boiling torrents, the mur- recklessly along among rocks, reeds, and muring rills and bubbling springs thatwind shoals; and oftentimes the sound of the along the verdant plats woven with vege- monotonous dará bookket, or Arab drum, table gold, the waving boughs of the divert the attention from the beauties of massive sycamores, the ilex, fig, palm, and the scene, as plane-trees on the warm slopes, followed

“Away it sweeps, each other in quick succession. Here the A wide and smiling

prospect, gay with flowers, waters had washed down a huge mass of And waving grass, and trees of amplest growth, rock, and diverted the channel of the And sparkling rills, and rivers winding slow,

Through all the smooth immense.' stream; there a rock forms a wall, or, undermined by the mountain torrent, is

The day was waning fast as we drew converted into a cave.

near the end of our journey, and the for about six hours, we arrived at one of the valley, with its peaceful huts and Afterturning, descending, and climbing, rocky heights were still illumined with

the last rays of the glorious orb; while the high points of Lebanon, from whence rich screen of foliage, say in deep shadow we enjoyed the wild beauties of the majes

below. The bulbul's song, and the tic scenery; for

jackal's howl, and cataract's fall, were “ Where'er we gaze, around, above, below, What rainbow tints, what magic charms are

nearly the only sounds that saluted our found!

we approached the Djessr-elRock, river, forest, mountain, all abound : Khadjer. And bluest skies that harmonize the whole; Beneath, the distant torrent's rushing sound,

Pursuing a rugged and winding path Tells where the volumed cataract doth roll among the rocks and underwood for a Between those hanging rocks, that shock, yet short distance, we arrived at our destinaplease the soul."

tion, and, collecting the attendants, soon Descending by a zigzag pathway, the had the tents pitched, fires lighted, horses sides of which were studded by the kermes and mules tethered, and supper ready. oak and the olive, we arrived in a pic- The journey had sharpened our appetites; turesque valley, abounding in wheat, bar- we fared well

, and then, reclining under ley, and mulberry-trees, which afford a the cover of our tents, upon the “ cold goodly subsistence to the industrious pea- Alinty rock," courted sleep. sant. He cuts away about one-half of the When the morning dawned, we arose old trees, which serves him for wood; the refreshed, and walked to the Ain-el-Leban, fruit is sold, and the leaves supply food or fountain of milk, from whence the river for the silkworms. A man's wealth is hurries forward with mad and irresistible estimated by the number of rotolas (a vehemence, androtola is 176 drachms' of silk) he makes, “In one impetuous torrent down the steep and the annual taxes are calculated in It thundering shoots, and shakes the country proportion to them ; but the land-tax is estimated by the number of mule-loads of At first an azure sheet, it rushes broad;

Then whitening by degrees, as prone it falls, mulberry leaves.

And from the loud resounding rocks below We now passed through an orange Dash'd in a cloud of foam, it sends aloft grove,

A hoary mist, and forms a ceaseless shower.

Nor can the tortured wave here find repose; “ Where the lemon and piercing lime,

But, raging still amid the shaggy rocks, With the deep orange glowing through the green,

Now flashes o'er the scatter'd fragments, now Their lighter glories bend.”

Aslant the hollow channel rapid darts;

And falling fast from gradual slope to slope. The trees were ranged in avenues, literally with wild infracted course

and lessened roar, bending under the weight of the golden It gains a safer bed, and steals at last

Along the mazes of the quiet dale." fruit; the ground was dabbled o’er with their fruit and fragrant blossoms, and The rocks around, carpeted with velvetcrystal streams trickled around us. like moss, and the boiling waters below, Groups of peasants wending their way to tinged with the first rays of the morning their homes along the high and perilous sun, added considerably to the beauty of road, or the mounted traveller dashing the scene. Descending by a steep and


circuitous path to view the cascade from

“ IT'S RAINING !” below, I had an excellent opportunity of sketching the Djessr-el-Khadjer, or natu- |(A WATER SKETCH TAKEN ON A WET DAY ral bridge, which is one of the principal

IN LONDON.) curiosities in Syria. The span is 180 How it is raining! It is coming down feet, the spring of the arch 140 feet, the as thick as bell-ropes—bell-ropes that depth of the key-stone 20 feet, the breadth in a minute makes every one wringing of the bridge is 140 feet, and its beight, wet ! from the water to the summit, 160 feet. The streets are washed quite clean. It is a solid mass of rocks, and extends | The paving-stones stand up white and across the Nabr-el-Kelb as it leaves the round, like a series of bald heads, and the Ain-el-Leban, where it arises.

pavements are wet and shiny as if they Our sketches finished, and the mules had been laid down with oilskin. Every being ahead, we bade adieu to this romancabstand is deserted. The place of one tic spot, and set out for Beyrout; and is only indicated by a long litter of straw, after journeying for six hours over hill that draws a thick line of mud down the and dale, entered a more subdued and middle of the road. The unhappy chickens, softer kind of scenery.

that generally haunt the heels of the As evening set in, the mountain peaks horses, have been drenched through hours became crowned with the cloud of night, ago, and have doubtlesssly gone home to and as we attained the summit of the last warm themselves, and lay their " fresh high mountain, we saw the sea before us country eggs” in their native coal cellar. in placid beauty, dotted over with the The waterman, even, has had enough of white sails of the picturesque boats of water, and, if the truth were known, has Syria, which contrasted with the deep retired to his favourite Tap to mix a little blue waters, that beating on the golden brandy with it. The whole physiognomy beach, threw a hue of creamy foam along of the cabstand is altered. Not a laugh, the coast. At our feet lay the plain of not an oath is heard. There is nothing Beyrout, and here and there, on either that falls upon the ear but the heavy drip side as we descended, a gleam of light —drip-drip of the rain, and servant as we descended, a gleam of light from girls who run out to fetch a cab have only the various huts buried in the gloom of to throw their aprons over their heads trees and threatening rocks, guided us on and ran back again as quick as they

The moon shone with silver serenity, But the whole street is equally deserted. and the

The wet lamp-posts have not a soul to “ Chill mists were stealing

lean against them; there are no groups O'er the expanse so bright before ; The sunny rays no longer sparkled, of heavy fellows dawdling with their The radiance of the waves was o'er," hands in their pockets outside the beerwe rode into Beyrout.

shops. The apple and fish stalls are there, it is true, but there are no fair mistresses

in topcoats and short pipes enthroned be“OLD MAIDS.”—I have no sympathy with that hind them. Perhaps the violence of the rude, unfeeling, and indelicate phrase, old maid, which is bandied about in the mouths of rude, rain has washed them down the gutter in unfeeling, and indelicate persons. It is true that which they generally sit. At all events a selfish nature, cut off from all duties and ties, they are gone, and their goods are left all and sinking back into the solitary life of a selfish alone, with pieces of old sacking thrown heart, becomes most unlovely and useless. But shall the few cloud the true nobleness of the over them by way of mackintosh and many? How many elder sisters, it may be un, protection. There is'nt a soul to be seen into a brothers or sister's family, and accepted -not a boy even, fattening his nose all its cares as the duty of their life, and joining against the pastry-cook’s window ! hands with the mother, given to each child, as it The rain is falling, pouring, in all direcwere, two souls of love, like two

wings of God, to tions, and from all possible points. It is help it fly up withal from weakness and ignorance falling from the weathercock on the

our way.


church steeple, and from the three gilt as though their works had, by the quantity balls opposite, and from the "Jolly Tar” of the rain, been changed into waterround the corner, and from the barber's works. The big flag outside the Lowther pole, and from the “Golden Fleece,” Bazaar, like the flags you are walking which hangs over the hosier's window, upon, is exceedingly wet. The playbills exactly as if it was drowned. It is fall. are so wet that you could not read them ing from the postmen's hats, which look if you wished. The persons you meet as if they must fall in, every minute, inside a theatre are all wet, and the actors from the excess of wet; and it is falling act as if the rain had taken all the fire from the policeman's cape, that shines out of them, and they had not had time like patent leather boots. It is dripping to get a fresh supply. The chairs in the from every possible ledge, angle, house- shops are wet. The seats in the cabs are top, cave, and corner. A long stream of wet. The seats in the omnibuses are as it pours from George the Third's pigtail wet as they can be, and the change the in Waterloo-place, precisely as if his conductor hands you is sure, every penny blackleaded majesty was afflicted with of it, to be wet. water on the brain and it was being Oh! what a melancholy place an omni. quietly pumped out of him. It is drip- bus is for a person to squeeze his cheerless ping from the tarpaulin cases in which the body into on a wet day. It makes you saturated little news-boys have folded shiver only to think of it. First of all, their papers (in this instance literally you get in chilly, you do not feel in the “wet from the Press”), and it is over- most amiable humour, your umbrella is flowing from the milkman's pails, to the dripping, and your feet are as wet as a contents of which the rain is superfluously bathing-woman's. Then the omnibus, of contributing an extra degree of the real course, is full, no one makes room for you, London flavour. The potboy who walks and you are thrown on wet laps from one along with the cautiousness of a diver at side to another, till at last you are shaken the bottom of a river, seems to be nerv- down by the jolting of the vehicle into a ously afraid, from the care he takes of the seat about as large as the seat of mercy numerous pewters he is carrying, lest the at an Austrian court-martial. You find London Entire they contain should be your body wedged in between two muffled changed before they reach their destina- people as damp as yourself, with their tion into Half-and-half. All the pumps, umbrellas sticking like wet clothes to too, appear crying, for they keep snivel your knees. There is an agreeable perling and spouting away as if they were at fume of pluvial mackintoshes, which is, a Temperance meeting. As for the mise- perlaps, not the most exhilarating restorable statues, they look more miserable rative for a person who is labouring under than ever, and it would be a positive a violent depression of spirits. charity to lend them a pocket-handker- The prospect before you is not of the chief. But George the Fourth and the most cheering nature. There is a long Duke of Wellington extort your greatest avenue of faces pulled out by the influ. share of sympathy. There they stand, ence of the weather to a most telescopic poor fellows, exposed to the pelting piti- length, as though they were nautically less shower, and you begin to think that intent upon observing the storm that the artist who could turn them out in the was brewing in the distance. Every rain with nothing upon their heads, must human index points to wet-very wet. have had a heart harder than the material The gentlemen's whiskers are bearded he worked upon.

Steaming visions of with large drops, and the ladies' “whiswater-gruel rise before your imagination kers," in their bonnets) have the starch merely in looking at them!

taken completely out of them. There is Everything is wet. The door-knock- a hazy atmosphere rising from the straw ers are wet. Every persons hand you bed of the river which runs at the take is wet. The clocks, as they toll the bottom of the omnibus; and this atwatery hours, strike you as being wet;' mosphere settles on the window-panes

and the lungs of the passengers, inter being splashed by every revolving cab, cepting the view of the distant cad, and and the chance of being run over, as you making all the “insides” cough. Every stand in the middle of the road, battling, umbrella is a tributary to this portable like Napoleon, with the elements, and New River, which is generally about two struggling to raise your umbrella, which feet deep; those two feet being your flaps about in the wind like a wet sail. own, and it affords most pleasant angling Altogether, an omnibus on a wet day is to any gentleman who may happen to such avehicle of ague, rheumatism, melandrop his gloves in, or to any lady who coly, and discomfort, that I wouldn't put may happen to let fall a sixpence into it, a kitten into it, unless I wished to and we were never in an omnibus yet drown it. but a lady was sure, before the journey's What strikes a person most partiend, to drop something.

cularly in London on a wet day is the If there is a broken window right absence of all the dogs and birds. Where behind your back (and it is strange if an do the thousands of vagabond dogs that omnibus hasn't something of that sort), prowl about the metropolis when it is the cheerfulness, as a necessary conse- fine, hide themselves when it is raining ? quence, is greatly increased. In such a Where do the millions of sparrows fly case the cushion is saturated thoroughly, to ? You may search every mews, and and

you have the satisfaction of feeling yet not find one. What feathery Refuge as though you were sitting on a wet for the Destitute (like Leicester or Red sponge. Altogether you enjoy'a most Lion-square), I wonder, takes them in. delightful sitz-bath, cutting the miserable Another curious feature on

a wet figure of a Chevalier Seul in La Poule day is the independence of the cab(which, in this instance, should be spelt men. He, who is eager for a fare kool), until the Gampy old lady opposite, in dusty weather, will scarcely notice with the wet bundle of a baby in her you when the dust is laid by a few arms, gets out, and gives you an oppor- drops of rain. You may “Hi! hi!” in tunity of crossing over, and changing vain; he moves unconsciously on, his partners.

whip remains as motionless as his head; But the miseries of an omnibus on he will not take the one from out of his a wet day do not stop here. Every side pocket, nor lift up the other from off sense is put to the torture, laid under his chest, on which it is reposing, borne the very highest hydranlic pressure down by the weight of the plethoric of discomfort. The hearing fares just straw-band that threatens to throttle his as badly

as any other. You may have sloppy hat. Whether he has a fare or your ears bored with seven different not you cannot tell. The steam on the kinds of cough and colds, all running windows prevents your seeing inside. through your head at the same time. There you may remain, under your archOn certain occasions you can fancy the way, whistling, shivering for an houromnibus must be Shillibeer's, there being his independent highness on the box does inside nothing but the coughing. There not condescend to look at you; or, if he is a particular omnibus cough which, like does stop to take you up, he makes you an alarum, when once it goes off, is most clearly understand it is done as a favour, difficult to stop. It has been known to and drives a hard bargain, if nothing. start at Hammersmith, and not to halt else, with you, as if Lord Maidstone's once until it has reached the Bank. As Deluge had really come, and he was proyou hear it booming behind the folds of prietor of a second Noah's Ark. an immense woollen handkerchief, it How different, also, are the omnibus sounds anything but like the voice of a cads on a wet day! They are as mild comforter!

as possible. The heaviness of the rain These are not all. The misery of getting seems to have beaten all the chaff out of out is fully as great as the misery of them. getting in. There is the certainty of But there is a most humiliating sight

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »