The Project Gutenberg eBook of Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in conversations with her physician, vol. 3 (of 3)

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Title: Memoirs of the Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in conversations with her physician, vol. 3 (of 3)

Author: Lady Hester Stanhope

Editor: Charles Lewis Meryon

Release date: December 26, 2023 [eBook #72167]

Language: English

Original publication: London: Henry Colburn, 1846

Credits: Carol Brown, Emmanuel Ackerman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)



London, Henry Colburn, 1845

Day & Haghe, Lithʳᵉ to the Queen




All such writings and discourses as touch no man will mend no man.—Tyers’s Rhapsody on Pope.

Second Edition.










Prince Pückler Muskau—His letter to Lady Hester Stanhope—Story of the Serpent’s Cave—Letter from Lady Hester to the Prince—Ride from Jôon to Sayda—Cadi’s Justice—Madame Conti—Syrian surgeons 1
Mehemet Ali’s hospitality to travellers—Prince Pückler Muskau’s appreciation of it—His reception of the Author—Reflections on passports—Lady Hester’s pecuniary difficulties—Her reluctance to reduce her establishment—Her restlessness—Presents in Eastern countries—Severity necessary with Eastern servants—Letter from Lady Hester to Lord Ebrington—Outrage committed on old Pierre—Defection of the Ottoman fleet—Khalyl Aga 29
Lady Hester’s mode of life—Boghoz Bey—The insurrection of the Druzes—Character of the Emir Beshýr—Ibrahim[iv] Pasha—Lady Charlotte Bury—Preparations for the reception of Prince Pückler Muskau 50
Prince Pückler Muskau’s arrival at Jôon—His costume—Physiognomical doctrines—The Prince’s remarks on Lady Hester—Dr. Bowring—Lady Hester’s remarks on the Prince—Race of Abyssinian women—Remarks on public grants, &c.—The polytheistic school of Germany—Remarks on pensions, on Abyssinian slaves, &c.—Story of Sultan Abdallah, the negro—Excursion on horseback—Horse-jockeys in Syria—Servants’ vails—Lord M. and Captain G.—Talismanic charm about Lady Hester—Her visions of greatness 73
Prince Pückler Muskau’s style of writing—Talking beneficial to health—Young men of Lady Hester’s time—Lady Hester’s superstitious belief in good and bad days—Hamâady, the executioner—His importance—Folly of education, according to Lady Hester—Lord Hood, Lord Bridport, Payne, the smuggler’s son—the O****s—The Prince’s self-invitations to dine out—B.—Prince Pückler and old Pierre—The American Commodore—Lady Hester’s cats—Mahomet Ali’s secret devices 107
Author’s dilemma—Apprehensions of poisoning—Mr. Cooper’s dray-boy—Memoirs of a Peeress—Lady B. and the Duchess of——Novel scheme for making maids obedient—English servants—Lady J.—Lord C.—Mr. Pitt, and the[Pg v] disturbed state of England—Peers made by Mr. Pitt—Footmen’s nosegays—Mr. Pitt’s last words, as related by Gifford—Melancholy reflections—Mr. Pitt’s signature—Mr. Pitt a Statesman inferior to Lord Chatham—Mr. Fox—Sir Walter Scott—Shaykh Mohammed Nasýb—Turkish dervises—Anecdote of Sir William Pynsent—Sir John Dyke—High and low descent exemplified in Captain—and Count Rewisky—Lady Charlotte Bury—The Empress Josephine—Buonaparte—Mr. Pitt’s physiognomy—Advantageous offers refused by Lady Hester—Her house in Montague Square—The Cheshire Squire—Ingratitude of the world—Trust not in man, but in God 128
Journey to Beyrout—Death of Mrs. K—- —Mr. George Robinson and M. Guys—The River Damoor—Khaldy—Letter from Lady Hester to Mr. K.—Lord Prudhoe—Mrs. Moore—Lady Hester’s dislike to be the subject of occasional poetry—Striking a Turk—Lady Hester’s opinion of Lord Byron—Arrival of Maximilian Duke of Bavaria—Letter to the Baron de Busech—Letter to H.R H. the Duke Maximilian—Adventures of the Duke—Illness of the Duke’s negro, Wellington—Vexation of His Royal Highness—Letter to Mr. K., merchant at Beyrout—Letter to Lord Brougham—Professional visit to Sulyman Pasha’s child—League between the maids and receivers of stolen goods—Black doses for the Prince’s suite—Letter from Lady Hester to the Duke of Bavaria on his intended visit—The Duke leaves Syria 171
Petty annoyances in hot countries—Lady Hester refuses Duke Maximilian’s portrait—She insists on the Author’s leaving[vi] her—Continuation of the negro Wellington’s case—Progress of the Druze insurrection—Destruction of locusts—Mysterious visit at the Dar—Reasons why Lady Hester kept daring fellows in her service—Russian spies—Dr. Lœve’s visit—Dangerous state of the country—Lady Hester’s dream—Her resolution to immure herself—Visit from Mr. M.—Visit from Colonel Hazeta and Dr. Mill—Letter from Lord Palmerston to Lady Hester—Her answer—Inexpediency of having consular agents, not natives of the country they represent—Successes of the Druzes—Lady Hester’s belief in fortune-telling—Letter from Sir Francis Burdett—Colonel Needham’s property—Lord Coutts—Subscribers to pay Mr. Pitt’s debts—Fright from a serpent—Battle of Yanta—Sir N. Wraxall a peer—Discourse upon heads—A spy—Letter to the Duke Maximilian of Bavaria 225
Vessel hired for the Author’s departure—Lady Hester’s intention of writing her Memoirs—Letter from Lady Hester to Sir Francis Burdett—From Lady Hester to Count Wilsensheim—Events of the Druze insurrection—Inexpediency of M. Guys’s removal from Beyrout—Letter from the Author to Count Wilsensheim—Letter from Lady Hester Stanhope to the Baron de Busech—Lady Hester immured—Principal reason of the Author’s return to Europe—His adieux—Passage to Cyprus—Reception by Signor Baldassare Mattei—Provisions in Cyprus—Mademoiselle Longchamps—Letter from Lady Hester to the Author—Commissions—Second Letter from Lady Hester to the Author—Third Letter from Lady Hester to the Author—Advice—Obligations—Violence of temper—Mr.[vii] U.—General Loustaunau—Logmagi and the muleteer—Fourth Letter from Lady Hester to the Author—Correspondence of the first Lord Chatham—Lady Hester’s death—Conclusion 271






Prince Pückler Muskau—His letter to Lady Hester Stanhope—Story of the Serpent’s Cave—Letter from Lady Hester to the Prince—Ride from Jôon to Sayda—Cadi’s Justice—Madame Conti—Syrian surgeons.

March 20.—Lady Hester rose about three in the afternoon, and went into her garden: I joined her about five o’clock. Spring had already begun to display its verdant livery. The weather was exceedingly fine, and every bush and tree seemed to have swollen with sap, buds, and leaves, so that the eye could perceive a palpable difference even from the preceding day. The birds were singing on every branch (for nobody dared to molest them in this sacred spot), and the bulbuls sat warbling a low but gentle music, which, now and then, was broken in upon by their clear[2] whistle, falling in cadences on the ear like sweet concords. It was one of those hours which a man, who feels himself in the decline of life, or gradually sinking under disease, would most regret, in thinking that the harmony of nature must soon close on him for ever.

Lady Hester had placed herself in a small white alcove, which closed the vista at the bottom of a walk. A sofa, covered with marone-coloured cloth, with flowered chintz cushions, ran across the back of the alcove. On this she was leaning; and, being dressed in her white abah with its large folds, she looked exactly like an antique statue of a Roman matron. Half way up the avenue stood an attendant in a handsome white Nizàm dress, which is exceedingly becoming to youth, waiting her call. As I advanced towards her, between two hedges—the one of double jessamine in full bud, and the other of the bright green pervenche, or periwinkle-plant, with its blue flowers, forming an azure band from one end to the other, I was struck with the magical illusion which she ever contrived to throw around herself in the commonest circumstances of life.

As I approached, she addressed me with more cheerfulness than usual. “Do you know, doctor, that Prince Pückler Muskau is come to Sayda, and has written me a very agreeable, and what appears to be a[3] very sincere, letter. Read it, and say what you think of it.” Translated, it was as follows:

Prince Pückler Muskau to Lady Hester Stanhope.

March 20th, 1838.

My Lady,

As I am aware that you are but little fond of strangers’ visits, from having often found they proceeded from idle curiosity, and sometimes even from more illiberal motives, I freely confess, madam, it is not without some degree of apprehension that, in my turn, I solicit permission to pay my respects to you. Permit me, nevertheless, to assure you that, for many years past, I have anticipated in fancy the pleasure of knowing you, and that it would be a downright act of cruelty on your part, if now, when the long wished-for moment is at last arrived, you should refuse me the happiness of paying my homage to the queen of Palmyra and the niece of the great Pitt.

Besides, madam, I have the presumption to add that, from what I have heard of you, there must exist some affinity of character between us: for, like you, my lady, I look for our future salvation from the East, where nations still nearer to God and to nature can alone, some one day, purify the rotten civilization of decrepit Europe, in which everything is artificial, and where we are menaced, in a short time, with a[4] new kind of barbarism—not that with which states begin, but with which they end. Like you, madam, I believe that astrology is not an empty science, but a lost one. Like you, madam, I am an aristocrat by birth and in principle; because I find a marked aristocracy in nature everywhere. In a word, madam, like you, I love to sleep by day and be stirring by night. There I stop; for, in mind, energy of character, and in the mode of life, so singular and so dignified, which you lead, not every one that would can resemble Lady Hester Stanhope.

I close this letter, which already must appear too long to you, in earnestly entreating you not to set down as mere expressions the dictates of a heart artless and ingenuous, though old. I am neither a Frenchman nor an Englishman: I am but an honest and simple German, who perhaps lies open to the charge of too much enthusiasm, but never to that of flattery or insincerity.

[Signed] Prince of Puckler Muskau.

PS. Should you consent to my coming, might I presume to beg of you still farther to allow me to bring Count Tattenbach, a young man in my employ, who would be so much hurt to see me set off without him that I am induced to risk the request! Although severely wounded from a pistol-shot, he would not[5] remain at Acre, for fear of losing the opportunity of paying his homage to you: nevertheless, your will, my lady, and not mine, be done in everything.

When I had finished reading the letter, Lady Hester resumed: “Now, doctor, you must go and see the prince at Sayda, for I can’t see him myself. The fatigue is too great for the present; but I will engage him to return again when I am better. I could wish you to say many things to him; for I can see that he and I shall do very well together: besides, I must be very civil to him; for he has got such a tongue and such a pen! I think I shall invite him to come and see the garden and the horses; but you must tell him the mare’s back is not only like a natural saddle, but that there are two back bones for a spine; that is the most curious part.—But no! if he comes it will fill my house with people, and I shall be worried to death; it will only make me ill: so I’ll write to him after dinner.

“What I would wish you to talk to him about is principally the serpent’s cave. You must tell him that, at ten or twelve hours’ distance from Tarsûs, there is a grotto, where once lived an enormous serpent with a human head, such as he may have seen in paintings representing the temptation of Eve. This[6] serpent was possessed of all the skill in demonology and magic known on earth. There was an ancient sage who was desirous of acquiring this serpent’s wisdom, which he knew could be come at by destroying the serpent: he therefore induced the king of the country in which the grotto is situate to enter into his views, and, by the king’s orders, the neighbouring peasantry were assembled for that purpose. The sage, who had given instructions that, in killing the serpent, they were to proceed in a particular manner, and that the head was to be reserved for him, stationed himself not far off: and when the peasants went as usual to carry his food, intending to seize a proper moment for effecting the destruction of so formidable a reptile, the serpent, being gifted with the power of speech, said, ‘I know what you are come for; you are come to take my life. I am aware that I am fated to die now, and I shall not oppose it: but, in killing me, beware how you follow the instructions which the wicked man who sent you gave—do exactly the reverse.’ The peasants obeyed the serpent; and, doing precisely the reverse of what the sage had enjoined them to do, the king too died, and thus met the reward of his treacherous conduct. Since that time no other serpent has appeared with a human head, but several are living in the same grotto, and they still are fed by the neighbouring[7] villages, which send the food at stated times, and the people have opportunities of seeing them with their own eyes.

“You must tell the prince that this story is perfectly authentic, and that, since the time of Sultan Mûrad down to the present day, certain villages are exempted from taxes in consideration of providing sustenance for the serpents. As he naturally must wish to inquire into and see so remarkable a phenomenon, you may tell him that, if he puts himself into a boat, he can land at Tarsûs or Swadéya, and thence find his way a few hours’ distance farther, where the grotto is.”

I hung my head during the whole of this story, reflecting what a pretty errand I was going upon—to tell with a serious air a story so devoid of probability, and so likely to strengthen the supposition, common in England and elsewhere, that Lady Hester was crazy. She observed my ill-concealed incredulity, and bawled out rather than said, “Do you understand what I have been telling you? I suppose you’ll tell me I am mad. Do you believe these things or not? why don’t you answer?” As I remained mute, she said, “Well, will you repeat them to the prince as I have related them?” I answered, “Yes, I would do that.”—“But there,” said she, “go to dinner now, and come again in the evening: I suppose you are[8] thinking more of your soup getting cold than of anything else.”

It was now sunset, and I found my family waiting dinner for me: but that was a very common occurrence, and excited no surprise. Having dined, I returned to Lady Hester. She was in the drawing-room, and she immediately renewed the subject of the grotto.

“The king’s name,” said she, “was Tarsenus—he gave the name to Tarsûs, or took his from it, I don’t know which. You must not forget to speak to the prince likewise of the dervises’ monastery, called Sultan Ibrahim, which is near Tripoli. He has only to present himself there, and use my name; they are all like my brothers; they have many learned men amongst them: if he wants a letter to them, I’ll give him one. As for the Ansaréas, the Ishmäelites, the Kelbëas, and all the sects on the mountains between Tripoli and Latakia, he will get nothing out of them; so it is of no use his trying. If he returns to Jerusalem, beg him not to extend his excursions towards the back of the Dead Sea, or beyond the Jordan; for, as he is known to be a friend of Mahomet Ali’s, some Arab behind a rock may pick him off, just out of spite to Ibrahim Pasha.”

Lady Hester went on. “Did you perfectly understand what I said before dinner about the serpents?”[9] “Not altogether,” I replied. “Perhaps,” she observed, “you don’t like to go down to the prince?” I replied, anxious to seize any excuse for getting rid of the serpent story, “I can’t say I have any particular wish to go.”—“Why,” said Lady Hester, “you have done nothing but talk about him for these last five months; what was that for, if you don’t want to see him?”—“I talked about him,” answered I, “because I thought, from what I had read of his works, you would be pleased to see him, if he came this way?”

Lady Hester paused a little while, and then proceeded:—“Well, doctor, look here—you will talk a great deal about the serpents, and, when you can see a proper opportunity, and that nobody is likely to hear you, you will say to the prince in a low voice, ‘Lady Hester recommends you to make some inquiries about the serpents’ cave[1] when you are at Beyrout; for near to Tarsûs is Kolôok Bogàz, where Ibrahim Pasha’s army is encamped: you will probably like to[10] see it, and this will be a good excuse, as everybody then will fancy you had no political motive for going there.’”

The mystery was out; for two or three months Lady Hester had been introducing the story of the human-headed serpent into her conversations; for two or three months she had known of Prince Pückler Muskau’s coming; for the same period I had entertained apprehensions that her reason was impaired: M. Guys had been primed in the same way, and formed the same conclusions; and all turned out to be one of those long-laid plots, for which she was so famous, to save the prince from being considered as a spy in the dangerous neighbourhood of two hostile armies.

It had happened some years before, when the prince’s letters on England were first translated, I, being in London, had noticed the work in a letter to her, and had copied out a few observations on herself made to the prince by a Hanoverian gentleman. Subsequently, when with her, I had spoken of the prince’s increasing reputation as a literary man, and mentioned such particulars of him as had come to my knowledge. All this, and his alliance with the family of Prince Hardenberg, with whom Lady Hester had been acquainted, increased her desire to see him: but how to accomplish it now was the difficulty. The few[11] hours she spent with M. Guys had done her a great deal of harm; for, being obliged to exert herself, and not being able to treat a guest as unceremoniously as she could me, the exertion proved too much for her strength. “Englishmen,” she said, “are fond of turning everything into ridicule, and of saying spiteful things of me; with the French and foreigners in general, it is not so: and with a man of the world, like the prince, I have nothing to fear on that score; but then how am I to lodge him and accommodate his people and his dinners, with a wretched cook and nothing of any sort fit for a man of rank! No, doctor, it will not do: so sit down, and write and tell him so.”

The following letter was the result. It was in French; but, as her ladyship’s French was sometimes worded without much regard to genders and tenses, although in her expressions nobody could be happier, it will be better to give a translation.

Lady Hester Stanhope to the Prince of Pückler
Muskau, at Sayda.

Jôon, March 21, 1838.

I trust, Prince, you will believe me when I say, I am overwhelmed with regret that my health will not permit of my having, at this moment, the honour of[12] making the acquaintance of a philosopher and a philanthropist such as you are. You may ask everybody whether, for these last five months, I have seen a single soul, excepting Monsieur Guys once; and, although, in that once, I every now and then retired for a few moments to my room to recover myself, and then returned to him again, yet, after he was gone, I had a relapse for some days. I would willingly purchase at the same price the pleasure of seeing you; but, in doing so, it might incapacitate me for some months longer from managing a very disagreeable business that has sprung up between the Queen, the English government, and myself; they pretending to meddle with my affairs, which, be assured, is what I will not allow.

As my natural energy would not suffer me to converse tranquilly, when things sublime and of the highest importance would be our subjects, we must give up meeting each other for the present; but I console myself with the hope that your Highness will not leave Syria, until I have had an opportunity of appreciating a man, different they say from other men, and of making the acquaintance of your young Count, who, in devoting himself to your principles, necessarily secures one’s admiration of his character.

(Signed) Hester Lucy Stanhope.


PS. If you go to Damascus, do not neglect, in your way, to stop at a village named Hamâna, where Sultan Mûrad once halted. A very extraordinary and interesting story is attached to his stay there. Farther, do not forget to see the place at Damascus, where the Forty Sleepers (Welled el Kaf) and their black dogs are entranced: they will awake at the time that we are looking forward to.

I send my doctor to you, who is a very good sort of a man, but is no philosopher, like you and me. He can give you some little information on certain curious things in the north of Syria, which no traveller has yet investigated.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

This letter was despatched by the government estafette, who had brought the prince’s letter; and it was settled that I should pay the prince a visit this morning after breakfast, for it was now two hours after midnight.

March 21.—But just before setting off, Lady Hester altered her mind. An answer had come from Beyrout to a note I had written to Mr. Forster, saying he should reach Sayda on the 21st, at night, and leave it on the 22nd in the morning. It therefore suited better to combine two objects, and pay both visits together.


Prince Pückler Muskau, in the mean time, was unwilling to leave Sayda without a positive assurance from Lady Hester Stanhope that she would see him within a short time. Towards sunset, another estafette came, with a second letter from him, which, however, she did not suffer me to see. She merely said, “Doctor, the Prince won’t be put off; he renews his solicitations, and consents to go to a distance, and return again at the end of a week or ten days: so we must write him another letter.” This was as follows:

Lady Hester Stanhope to the Prince of Pückler Muskau.

Jôon, March 21, 1838.

I find your highness to be a great philosopher, but nevertheless a very unreasonable man. Is your object, in coming here, to laugh at a poor creature, reduced by sickness to skin and bone, who has lost half her sight and all her teeth, or is it to hear true philosophy? Alas, at this moment, a terrible cough puts it out of my power even to speak during the greater part of the twenty-four hours. But I will not be stubborn; and, if you will consent to put off your visit for eight or ten days, I will receive you then, even if my health should be no better, that you may fulfil the object of your visit. However, I hope, as the fine weather is at hand, and as I now begin to[15] get a little sleep, which I have not done for many months past, that I shall be able to converse with you for some hours at a time.

It appears that you beg me to give you the history of Hafânah, if it is but piecemeal; but it is too long a one to put down on paper.[2]


If you believe me, it is with regret that I am obliged to cross you; but I am convinced you would be the last man not to be sorry, if, from a degree of enthusiasm natural to me, which would be increased in finding in you sentiments analogous to my own, I should become excited, and fall anew into sufferings from which I am but just recovering.

Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday, will be the days most propitious for our first meeting: I should prefer Sunday or Thursday, according to the calculation I have made of your star and your character: so, Prince, depart in peace; only, when you return, write a little before, to apprize me of it.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

March 22.—The above letter was despatched by the estafette early in the morning, in the expectation that it would reach the Prince time enough to enable him to set off for Beyrout the same day. It was settled between Lady Hester and myself, that, having to meet Mr. Forster and Mr. Knox, I should afterwards call on the Prince. “Then, doctor,” said Lady Hester, “you will be enabled to give me a description[17] of his person, look, manners, &c.” So anxious was she that I should not miss him, that her manservant was at my door at sunrise, to see that I did not oversleep myself, although it was past three o’clock in the morning before I had retired to bed. Fatigue and want of rest were thoughts that never crossed her active mind, or, if they did, she pretended to forget them. Half an hour after sunrise I was on horseback, and on my road to Sayda.

The morning was beautiful. The shelving sides of the mountains, across which the path lay, just began to show forth the blades of corn with which they were generally sown. The birds carolled; the goats were browsing on the rocks; the village girls, with their water-pitchers on their heads, models of elegance for a statuary, were going slowly in groups to the spring. Not a breath of air, and not a cloud disturbed the serenity of the atmosphere. Before me an active lad, as walking groom, according to the custom of the country, led the way, with a pace as light as the antelope’s.

The road, with various windings, from a height of some five hundred feet above the level of the sea, descends, after a two hours’ ride, to the river Ewelly, where, on crossing a bridge of no very ancient construction, the traveller enters the orchards of Sayda, which continue, for a distance of another hour, to[18] the gates of the city. Close by the bridge stands a rude caravanserai, where travellers halt for a cup of coffee, to smoke a pipe, or, when the gates of the city are shut, which is always at two hours after sunset, to pass the night. A soldier or two may be generally seen squatted on the broad stone bench, or mustaby, as it is called, in front of the caravanserai, or khan, the more common name. These military loiterers are not such idlers as they seem, for they come here to watch for deserters, keeping a keen look-out upon all passengers that arrive by this road, and exercising, in fact, the scrutiny of a vigilant police, although with such apparent carelessness that it would be impossible for strangers to suspect their object.

Near the khan, about fifty yards higher up the river, is a water-mill, on the flat roof of which may be seen wheat just washed and spread out to dry, previous to being ground, and dozens of donkeys, with sacks of wheat or flour on their backs, coming and going to and from the mill and the city. Clumps of oleander bushes are scattered over the alluvial parts by the river side, and mulberry-tree plantations cover its banks.

I received a quiet salâam of recognition from two or three persons as I passed on; for here I was better known than I should have been at the same distance from my native place. Over the bridge the[19] road turns short to the right, and follows the seashore; an upper road inclines to the left, along the foot of the mountain, the track for those who would proceed to Tyr without entering Sayda. The space between the two, which is thickly covered with orchards and gardens, in the widest part may be nearly half a mile broad. The Mediterranean presented an unruffled deep blue expanse of waters, with here and there a shakhtoor lying as still on its bosom as in a picture.

Under the old and venerable sycamore, which I now remembered for five and twenty years, sat some peasant women, resting themselves on their way from the villages to the city, whose brown and uncovered bosoms contrasted unpleasantly with their intelligent and fine features and their white teeth. But they were bearers of heavy loads, and field-labour and the heat had made restraint irksome to them. Now and then a beautiful girl of fourteen or fifteen might be singled out from among them, whose well-turned ancle and finely-shaped foot, where not an inequality disfigured the beauty of the toes—whose rounded arm and taper fingers, with a form and face all Eastern, and her chemise buttoned with a little coquetry high up the neck—with her white pantaloons embroidered at the ancles, and silver rings round her legs and wrists—would arrest one’s attention, whilst the action of drawing her veil closer to her face seemed to signify that the passing glance[20] of admiration had not escaped her. Farther on, a long train of Druze women, known by the horns on their heads, from which their long veils, half crape half cotton, were suspended with more graceful folds, were seen winding along the sands, on their way to the Mountain, probably the harým of one of the numerous emirs or princes who inhabit Mount Lebanon. As I passed them they carefully drew their veils across their faces, and peered at me from one eye[3] with all the curiosity belonging to their sex. They were mounted on mules and asses, and their silk and brocaded dresses, with their cloth mantles, the trappings of their beasts, and the demeanour of their attendants, denoted them to be ladies of some rank.

Passing the Sebat ayôon, or Seven Springs, a clear rivulet of water which rises about a hundred and fifty yards from the seashore—the Shemaôony, where is a vaulted building enclosing the tombs of some ancient pashas, and also, as the tradition goes, that of one of the grandsons of Abraham—I approached the town. Close to the gate, but still in the suburbs, are two or three tombs held in great reverence, where some devout Mussulmans may generally be found in the attitude of prayer. Turning the corner by the barracks, I nodded to the blacksmith, who for many[21] years had shod Lady Hester’s horses, and entered the city-gate. A few guards as usual were seated on the outside, and heaps of oranges and vegetables, the property of the gardeners, who had come with their daily supply for sale, were scattered about in such quantities, that it required some little attention to steer through them, without treading on the people who were squatted here and there on the ground in perfect confusion.

I rode to the French khan, to put up my horse; and, giving him to be tethered in the quadrangle under the shade of some lofty trees, I directed my steps to the house of one Lufloofy, where English travellers, on passing through Sayda, generally lodge for the night. For the good old times are gone by, when consuls’ houses were open for the reception of strangers, and the hospitality they received was thought to be sufficiently repaid by the pleasure which the conversation of a European, fresh from Christendom, was thought to afford.

I found that Messieurs Knox and Forster had passed through the preceding day, leaving a message of regret behind that they were obliged to resume their journey without seeing me. Returning after breakfast to the French khan, I waited upon the French consular agent, Monsieur Conti, in the hope of learning something of the prince’s movements.[22] Having satisfied myself that he would not depart until the next day, I passed the morning very agreeably with Madame Conti, a lady remarkable for her conversational vivacity. A glance at the topics that make up the conversation in a gossiping visit of this sort in ancient Sidon may possibly afford some amusement to the English reader.

“You are a very bad neighbour, Mr. Doctor: we hardly ever see you now; and you have never yet brought your family here. You know this house is yours, and not ours: but then the air of the Mountain is so pure, and the road is so bad, that I don’t wonder at their seldom quitting it. We have had a very charming traveller here, who called on us in his way through—a man of most highly polished manners and agreeable address.”[4]

“Yes,” interrupted the husband: “I gave him such information as I could respecting the antiquities he would find between this place and Tyr, and I would have procured him a guide, but the nizàm has taken off all our idle fellows; so I advised him to address himself to the first peasant he met when he got near Sarfend (Sarpentum), and thus he would be able to see a particular grotto I directed him to.”

[23] “Oh!” said the mistress of the house, “it is that very curious grotto, the subterranean chamber, the walls of which are painted over with”—(I must suppress her expression, admissible in Italian, but hardly tolerable to English ears)—“they say that the inhabitants thereabouts used to worship these symbols; and even now the Ansaréas retain the same profane worship, which has continued down to them from the days when the inhabitants of these countries adored Astarte. Strange indeed are these aberrations of the human intellect! The name of the grotto is Megâara el bizàz.”

M. Conti resumed—“The prince is not like the English; he does not even inquire about antiquities: he only spoke to me of Bâalbec.”

Some fish, fresh from the net, were brought in for sale. The mistress, for her family, and I, for mine, each bought two fine ones at the rate of fourpence the oka (4lbs.). Just before, there came in a Turk, who sat down without being asked to do so, and as soon as there was a break in the conversation, addressed himself to M. Conti about some property in litigation in the cadi’s office. “That man,” said the mistress of the house in Italian, which, of course, the Turk did not understand, “is an imàm, and the cadi’s clerk: he is talking about justice. Do you know what he calls justice! it is this. When my husband has any[24] suit, which he and the cadi have to decide, and he comes to talk it over, I take an opportunity, and hold up one or more fingers, as the importance of the affair may require. He has a pretty quick eye, and he understands the number of fingers to mean so many khyreeas” (gold pieces of money) “as a present for himself and master if the business should be settled in our favour. If he has not been bribed higher, before the end of the week you may be sure how the case will go.”

The imàm addressed himself to me, and said that the Syt (her ladyship) had always been accustomed to give forty piasters a year to his mosque for charity, and, he did not know why, for the last two years, her donation had been discontinued. “I tell Logmagi of it,” added he, “but he always puts me off by saying he has forgotten to mention it: and now, when I meet him in the street, he thinks, I suppose, that I am going to bother him about it, and looks another way. ‘Ya, Logmagi,’ I cry; ‘ya Hassan el Logmagi!—ya Hassan Captàn—ya Abu Mohammed;’ and, although I use the politest appellations, they are of no avail: he turns his head away, and pretends not to hear me. This is very hard, for it used to be a few piasters in my pocket: and the cadi is going to dismiss me from my place, which is a certain two piasters a day (fivepence), besides other little perquisites,[25] in order to give it to his son, who is now grown a young man.”

“Yes, poor fellow!” interrupted Madame C.; “he picks up a few piasters by saying prayers over the graves for the dead, by writing petitions, letters, and so on:” then, turning to the imàm, she added, “Allah kerým! I dare say the doctor will speak a word for you.”

In shállah—please God—he will,” ejaculated the man. “Good, my lady! May the Almighty restore her to health: she is the benefactress of the poor; and, when we heard she was so ill, half Sayda was in tears. God prolong her life!”

“Amen!” echoed the whole party. And the imàm, who, hearing I was in M. Conti’s house, had, no doubt, come for no other purpose than to try his luck, took his leave.

The imàm spoke the truth. Several poor families lived on Lady Hester’s bounty, and she subscribed to nearly all the mosques and charitable institutions. The old and infirm frequently received little comforts at her hands which their own means would not enable them to procure; and it created no little surprise that, without any previous inquiry, she always seemed to know the precise nature of their wants. Her presents, too, were enhanced in value by being bestowed at the right moment: nobody had to wait for her benevolence.

[26] Madame Conti, the lively and loquacious lady of the khan, had been a severe sufferer by the earthquake of 1837. During that fearful convulsion, one of her ancles was crushed by the fall of a massive stone. One Abdhu, the son of a mason, and himself uniting the double occupations of mason and bone-setter, was immediately called in. The ancle was so mutilated that a European surgeon would have instantly proceeded to amputation; but Abdhu bound up the lacerated parts as well as he could with bandages, and, placing the patient in a damp vaulted warehouse on the ground-floor—the only room which the earthquake had not destroyed—confidently predicted her ultimate recovery. Prince Joinville, happening to be at Beyrout at the time in his frigate, very humanely sent his surgeon to Sayda to see what assistance he could render to the sufferers: the consul’s lady was, of course, the first person attended to. The surgeon pronounced his deliberate conviction that, if the leg were not amputated, the patient must sink under it: Dr. Canova, the Pasha’s physician, who was present, entertained the same opinion. Poor Abdhu lay crouched in a corner during the consultation; for his European brethren looked upon him with too much contempt even to recognize his presence in the room: but, when they were gone, Madame Conti again appealed to him, and he again reassured her. “Do[27] not be alarmed,” he exclaimed; “my father and I have cured many worse cases than this.” She followed his advice, the European doctors making no scruple in saying that she must pay with her life the penalty of her obstinacy. The result proved that she was right, nevertheless; for, at this time, March, 1838, she was in perfect health, with the prospect of being able to walk without the help of crutches, and in June following she became a mother. The case is a curious one, and shows what nature can do in some instances; but it is quite certain that, under such circumstances, amputation would be considered in Europe the only means of saving the patient’s life.

On surgery in the East, which, it must always be recollected, is in the hands of barbers, one more anecdote may find a place. Hassan Tirâany, a brave Albanian soldier, and one of those who, after the siege of Acre, found refuge in Lady Hester’s house, once had his leg shattered by a cannon-ball. A considerable portion of the tibia was carried away. A Turkish barber replaced the piece that was wanting by another piece, of as nearly similar length and dimensions as he could, from a dog that was killed immediately for the purpose. Union took place, the leg healed; and, with the exception of a little deformity, the man was as active as ever. This story Lady Hester used to relate with great exultation.[28] “There!” she would say; “tell Mr. Green that, and acquaint him with a discovery so useful to humanity.” But it is right to observe that the man was not a person of strict veracity; and that a little farther doubt is thrown on the anecdote by the fact that all Mussulmans consider dogs as unclean animals, so that they will hardly touch them, and are, therefore, very unlikely to consent to an osseous union with them.


[1] I am indebted to the reviewer of these “Memoirs” in the New Monthly Magazine of July last, for more accurate information about this legend of the serpent. He says that a cave does exist at a distance of a few hours’ travel from Tarsûs, with which many traditions are connected; and, among others, that of the Seven Sleepers, whom Lady Hester alludes to elsewhere. In the same neighbourhood are to be met the ruins of a castle, called, to the present day, the Castle of the King of the Serpents, to which the fabulous story related by her is attached.

[2] Here Lady Hester Stanhope interrupted the dictation of the letter. “You may tell the Prince,” said she, “a story about Sultan Mûrad—a sort of Eastern tale to put in his book. Sultan Mûrad was one day looking at the water boiling in a pot, and turning to his prime-minister who was with him, ‘Vizir,’ said he, ‘I wish to know from you what that bubbling water is talking about, and I command you to tell me.’ His manner was perfectly serious; and the vizir thought, that by such a strange command, expressed so doggedly, the sultan wished to pick a quarrel with him: so, after musing a little—‘Sire,’ replied he, ‘when one of the elements is in commotion, no doubt the master of the world would wish to know the reason. Be patient with me: give me ten days to interpret these signs, and I promise you I will do it.’—‘It is well,’ said the sultan; ‘remember that in ten days I shall expect your answer.’ The vizir retired from the sultan’s presence, and reflected very seriously on what he had to do. ‘My master,’ thought he, ‘is very ridiculous to set me to explain what a pot of boiling water is mumbling to itself about: but, as I am his slave, his orders must be obeyed in some shape. Who knows? there may be soothsayers or magicians who understand these things: I must find such a one out, at all events;’ and he resolved to go in quest of one. He accordingly mounted his horse, and with a single servant set out, without well knowing what road to take.” Lady Hester had got thus far in her story, when she said, “But, doctor, this will take too much time:—so let us finish the letter, and I shall perhaps be able to relate the whole story to the Prince himself.”

[3] “Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes.”—Solomon’s Song, c. iv., v. 9.

[4] I regret not having noted down this English gentleman’s name.



Mehemet Ali’s hospitality to travellers—Prince Pückler Muskau’s appreciation of it—His reception of Doctor M.—Reflections on passports—Lady Hester’s pecuniary difficulties—Her reluctance to reduce her establishment—Her restlessness—Presents in Eastern countries—Severity necessary with Eastern servants—Letter from Lady Hester to Lord Ebrington—Outrage committed on old Pierre—Defection of the Ottoman fleet—Khalyl Aga.

About noon, I went from the French khan to the house which Prince Pückler Muskau occupied. He was lodged in the residence of Ibrahim Nuckly, one of the richest merchants of the place, who, by the governor’s order, had removed his family to accommodate his highness, whose suite was numerous. Mahomet Ali, viceroy of Egypt, anxious to do honour to the Prince, had given him a special firmàn, requiring all official persons to treat him in a manner suitable to his rank. A military officer, a Tartar, and two or three chaôoshes, accompanied him in his travels;[30] and everything was provided for him at the Pasha’s expense.

These signal acts of oriental hospitality have given occasion to some discussion amongst European travellers. It is urged, on the one side, that such travellers should avail themselves of these favours merely as credentials for enabling them to procure whatever they may require in accordance with their rank; but that they should acknowledge all the courtesies they receive by presents and remuneration at least equivalent to the trouble and expense they occasion. On the other hand, it is said that such magnificent liberality should be accepted in its full and unrestricted sense, anything in the shape of largess or repayment being regarded only as a reduction from the free grace of the original courtesy. In this latter sense, Prince Pückler Muskau understood the viceroy’s hospitality: he took the firmàn strictly according to the letter; and his house, post-horses, and provisions—in short, his whole expenditure, was defrayed by checks on the viceroy’s treasury. The Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, Lord Prudhoe, and a few others, who were favoured with similar firmàns, thought otherwise: they left proofs of their generosity wherever they went, handsomely rewarding everybody whom they put to the least trouble or inconvenience. It is impossible to suppose that the Prince thought he could repay all the kindnesses[31] he received by the gratitude of his pen; because it is impossible to suppose that favours of that kind could exert any influence over his writings. The only conclusion at which we can reasonably arrive is that he was proud of this distinguished feature in his travels—namely, that of having traversed the whole of Egypt and Syria with all the pomp of a grandee without having expended a single farthing. The distinction is a strange one, but it is a distinction notwithstanding.

The courtyard of the prince’s house was filled with military officers, government people, and others, waiting to be presented; but, as soon as my name was announced, I was ushered by his dragoman into a handsome alliah, or saloon, gaily painted in Arabesque, with sofas round three sides of the room. The remains of breakfast were on the table. He expressed great pleasure in seeing me, and, by his countenance and manner, immediately prepossessed me in his favour. He is a tall man, about fifty years of age. I found him dressed in a loose morning-gown, with white trousers, and a yellow scarf thrown over his shoulders somewhat for effect, with a casquette on, and having the air and demeanour of what he was—a man of the world and of high birth. He had a chamelion crawling about on the tube of his pipe and on his chair; and, every now and then, the exclamation[32] of “Ou donc est le caméléon? ou est mon petit bijou?” made me fear at first we were going to have a second edition of Monsieur L—— with his lap-dog, who, in talking to it in all those endearing terms which the French use towards pet animals, and in making more fuss about its food, bed, and the like, than humanity requires, had greatly lessened himself in the estimation of both Turks and Christians, in a country where exaggerated and unnatural phraseology is never applied to brute animals.

The conversation naturally began by inquiries respecting Lady Hester Stanhope’s health, with expressions of deep interest for her recovery. He next spoke of our young queen. “Quel beau rôle!” he exclaimed, “to be a queen, and to be so lovely, so young, so clever! and where will she find a husband worthy of her?” A latent thought seemed to lurk in the prince’s breast, and who knows what he felt at the moment? Notwithstanding, of himself he said, “I have almost made up my mind to settle in this fine country: I will build myself a house, get what I want from Europe, make arrangements for newspapers, books, &c., and choose some delightful situation; but I think it will be on Mount Lebanon. However, after I have seen more of the country, I shall be better able to judge: for, after all, I find no country so charming as this, and Europe is no longer the land of liberty;[33] for there liberty and passports cannot exist together.” He then told me a story of his having been stopped somewhere in France from an informality in his passport.

I agreed with him most heartily on this head, and reminded him of that liberticide, M. Guizot, who, in a national senate, could dare to affirm that the locomotion of individuals was subject to the will of governments.[5] “Yes,” I added, “of governments such as he would frame, it might be: but, thank God! there are countries where sophists are not yet called to rule over mankind. Thank God! too, that, in his infinite wisdom, he has sent gout and palsy into the world to hamper the legs and movements of those who seek to trammel the industrious citizen or the enterprising traveller, and all those honest and necessary callings, the success of which often depends on unrestrained freedom in change of place.” Here I stopped: but, had I been more intimate with the prince, I would have added—“Use your pen, good prince: it has exposed with success some follies and prejudices in the world; let it shame tyranny and oppression: for never can Frenchmen boast of freedom whilst individuals are booked and labelled from place to place, like parcels in a diligence office.”[6]


The journal which lay before the prince caught my eye, clearly written, and no doubt long meditated. He spoke French with great purity.


Count Tattenbach was present during the interview, and his mild and somewhat melancholy manner led me to suppose that her ladyship had judged rightly of[36] one who had devoted himself to the prince’s service. He was a gentleman, as I had occasion afterwards to know, who, to a thorough acquaintance with the modern Greek language, to high talents for music and painting, as also to a general love of the fine arts and belles lettres, added a finished education and much instruction acquired by travel.

As the prince’s dragoman had now announced two more persons of consideration, who were waiting to be introduced, I drew my interview to a conclusion, although the prince was courteous enough to desire to prolong it by ordering pipes and coffee for his visitors in an ante-room. In the evening I returned to Jôon, and gave Lady Hester an account of my mission.

Friday, March 23.—One of Lady Hester Stanhope’s peculiarities was, that no business, however common, could be done without a reference to lucky and unlucky days. The season was now come for her mares to go to grass, and strict orders were issued that they should be taken this afternoon, just before sunset. The field of green barley in which they were to be placed was between Jôon and Sayda, close above the gardens. The grooms were furnished with a tent, a night lamp, tethering cords, and all that was necessary for a gipsy camp, which was to last six weeks: they were also put on board-wages. But a scene of violent excitement was acted by Lady Hester, in consequence[37] of finding that the field was rented this year for two hundred and sixty piasters, which field four years before was let for one hundred and thirty. “See,” she said, “how these bailiffs waste my money, and no one keeps watch over them, to check their rascality: they take bribes to let others cheat me, and nobody knows the real value of even an acre of grass.”

We were now again without money in the house, the last ten thousand piasters having been spent. No letter came from Sir Francis Burdett. Her pension was suspended. Seven thousand piasters were due to the people for a quarter’s wages: and, in consequence of the reports current even in the bazàars, the baths, and the barbers’ shops at Beyrout, that her income had been stopped by the Queen, there was little likelihood of her bills being negociable on London, even for the quarter’s money arising from the legacy of £1,500 a year, left her by her brother, Colonel James Stanhope, which still held good. Notwithstanding these difficulties, no disposition was manifested by her to curtail a single expense. There were still thirty-three or thirty-four servants, all of them doing what three good European men and two maids would have performed a great deal better. “For,” she would say, “how can I turn them away now, to fall victims to the conscription, and have to reproach myself for their misfortunes?” But it is much to be feared[38] that of all those to whom she afforded protection not one would have remained an hour in her service, had not that very apprehension been before their eyes: for, as mussulmans, they could not, according to the tenets of their religion, serve infidels. Confirmed in idleness as they were, they hated those who set them to do anything; and, knowing the weak points of Lady Hester’s character—her love of the semblance of sovereignty and of high-sounding titles, her avidity for supposed secret news, her dislike to women in general, and her disposition to mortify others—they flattered her foibles, provoked her jealousies, added fuel to her anger, and made the house a scene of trouble from morning to night, which answered their own purposes, by keeping their mistress constantly employed. Ill as she was, all this rendered her worse, and my days were literally passed in endeavouring to soothe her irritation.

Never was there so restless a spirit—never lived a human being so utterly indifferent to the inconvenience to which she subjected those, who she thought had been remiss in their duty. Nobody could pursue their avocations in quiet: she must give instructions to every one. And although the unexampled versatility of her talents and genius seemed to inspire her with an intuitive knowledge on all matters, yet it was irksome to remain three or four hours together to be taught how to govern one’s wife or how to[39] rear one’s children, how statesmen were made and how ministers were unmade, how to know a good horse or a bad man, how to plant lettuces or plough a field, &c. These lectures nobody could render more agreeable and instructive than Lady Hester Stanhope, if they had occurred less frequently, or if they had always arisen naturally out of the course of conversation. But I was the only English person with her: she made me the vehicle of all her wishes and instructions—her griefs and her abuse; she dictated all her letters to me; I comptrolled her accounts and was her treasurer; I directed her household; I read long files of newspapers, to cull the interesting articles for her; I had to discuss medicine with her, and was expected to cure an incurable disease; I had to scold her maids, and to become, if she could have persuaded me, a slave-driver: lastly, I generally sat up with her until two or three o’clock in the morning. All this was more than enough to do, even with all the appliances of a well furnished house and a well regulated English establishment; but, exposed to the many inconveniences that a house half furnished, a people half taught, and materials of comfort half wanting, caused, it is hardly to be wondered if I found my humble abilities unequal to the task.

Lady Hester Stanhope’s health in the mean time improved, whilst mine gave way. She was however[40] over-anxious about the prince’s expected visit, and returned to her favourite idea that a large body like hers required a great deal of substantial nourishment. She accordingly tried to eat forced-meat balls, meat-pies, lamb, chicken, &c., and hoped to calm her dyspnœa by spoonfuls of wine and lukewarm drinks. During these days I was busy in perusing a file of newspapers extending from November 23 to February 4. It was in them that we read the details of Mr. D. W. Harvey’s motion for a committee on the Pension List.

Saturday, March 25.—Lady Hester received a letter from the Viscount Ebrington, giving her notice also of the committee, saying he was on it, and that she could write to him whatever she had to suggest for securing a continuance of her pension: but the die was already cast—she had resigned it, and she was not a woman to retract her words.

Sunday, March 26.—Lady Hester sent to my family a fine cluster of bananas, weighing perhaps twenty-five pounds. When she saw me, she said, in allusion to them, “I suppose you will not take any of my presents as usual. Do as you like: but why do I send things to your house? because in this country nothing marks the regard one person has for another so much as presents: and, if you hear the servants wish to denote the thorough contempt that a sultan, a[41] pasha, or an emir has for any one, it will always be by saying he did not even give him a present to the value of a fig. In England, for example, it would be thought strange to send a couple of loaves of sugar to another man’s house, or a sheep, or a bag of coffee: but here it is done every day. In the same way, presents of clothes are very common: however, I will not trouble you that way any more if you don’t like it. But just tell me, when you first arrived in this country, and in a retired spot like this, where were you to get what was necessary to dress yourself as a Turk? it would have been impossible.”

This conversation arose from some expensive presents, which Lady Hester Stanhope had, on two or three occasions, just after our arrival, made to me and my family: such as some pieces of Damascus silks, a fine abah or cloak, exactly similar to the one she always wore, and a complete Turkish suit of clothes. I acknowledged in return how highly we were flattered by these tokens of regard, but requested leave to return the pieces of silk, and professed my willingness to keep the dress, as I could not absent myself to replenish my wardrobe, and I knew how much she disliked the European dress. I considered, too, though of course I did not say so, that her finances required that nothing should be spent unnecessarily, and I did not like to be supposed to encourage profusion; but she refused[42] to take back anything, and said she would immediately have them burned in the courtyard, if I returned them. There was no disputing with her, so she gained her point. As for fruit and such things, I raised no objection, and Lady Hester seldom let a day pass without contributing to the comforts or luxuries of our table.

It was impossible to enjoy a calm for any length of time. In the morning, when I went to Lady Hester, I found her greatly ruffled. The conversation that ensued will explain the cause. “You suffer yourself,” said she, “and I have told you so over and over again, to be trampled on by these people; who, when they say you are a kind-hearted man, only laugh at you. Which do you think they like best, Logmagi, who abuses them well, or you, who are afraid of them?—why, Logmagi, to be sure. Captain Logmagi is genteel, is delightful in their eyes; because masters here are only known to be such by their severity. What did one of my black girls, Zayneb, tell me many a time? ‘Why don’t you flog me well, if I do what you dislike? I shall know then what you mean: but when you are preaching to me, and what you call giving me advice for my good, I only fancy it all a trick for some purpose.’ There was Giovanni, your old servant, how often did he say to me, after I took him—‘I don’t understand all that jargon, but I know what the whip[43] means.’ Look again what they say about the prince”—(Pückler Muskau, of whom it appears they had heard something from the servants who had been to Sayda)—“‘That’s something like a man—he can put himself in a passion.’—Doctor, I can’t bear such cold milk and water people as you are, nor can they: I am like a hot iron—pour cold water on it, and see how it hisses.

“Women formerly found something like protection from men, and were not left alone in the world as they are now. What! shall I have a scoundrel of a fellow, like ——, come and stick his fingers in my face, and ‘you’ and ‘you’ me? but I’ll teach him better manners, or I’ll know why:—a set of beings, the slush of the earth! des âmes viles, as the prince calls them. I told Mr. Dundas that, now-a-days, one might think one’s self very well off, if, when some dirty fellow spits in one’s face, what was called a gentleman took out his white pocket-handkerchief and wiped it off, hoping one was not hurt!”

The conversation here took another turn. “I wish you,” said she, “to ask your little girl’s governess to come in, and iron some sheets for me: do you think she will do it? You may order Lunardi’s room to be cleaned out for her. As for my making company of her, you know it would be a farce: would it not? Not that a difference of rank makes any difference with me:[44] for I have seen poor people, whose natural qualities, whose pure unsophisticated minds, whose real virtues have made me feel myself their inferior in those things, although so much their superior perhaps in judgment and talents. Such people are oftentimes preferable, in my opinion, to all those who read out of one book and then out of another, thinking one day according to one author, and the next day quite the contrary: just like teapots, drizzling out of the spout what was poured into them under the lid. As for me, I would destroy all books in a lump. It was a lucky thing for mankind that the Alexandrian library was destroyed: there was good reason for what the caliph did.”

March 29.—An answer to Lord Ebrington’s letter, of which the following is a copy, was written to-day:

Lady Hester Stanhope to the Viscount Ebrington.

Jôon, March 29, 1838.

My dear Lord Ebrington,

Your letter of the 26th of December reached me a few days ago; and it gave me great satisfaction to find you had not altogether forgotten me or my interests. I am so ignorant of what passes in Europe, generally speaking, that I was not aware that pensions were to be revised. The first I heard of it was from a traveller (Mr. Vesey Foster) having mentioned, about a fortnight[45] ago, that such was the intention of Government: but, as I did not see him, I had no opportunity of inquiring into particulars. You tell me that you are on the committee, and that, whatever I have to say respecting my pension, I had better write it to you:—I have nothing to say. You can hardly suppose that I would owe a pension to the commiseration of a pettifogging committee, when I refused Mr. Fox’s liberal proposition of securing me a handsome income by a grant of Parliament: neither should I, under any circumstances, lower the name of my dear old King, or my own, by giving any explanation. It was His Majesty’s pleasure to give me a pension—that is sufficient—or ought to be sufficient. New-coined Royalties I do not understand, nor do I wish to understand them nor any of their proceedings. My ultimatum respecting my pension I have given to the Duke of Wellington, founded on the impudent letter of Colonel Campbell, a copy of which I enclose.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

April 1.—Although the European tricks of All Fools’ Day have no counterpart in the East, this morning was marked by a jest, if it were one, which was not unlike one of the dangerous practical jokes of the West, and which very nearly proved fatal to the[46] object of it. Old Pierre had contrived to render himself unpopular amongst the Christian servants by railing at their bad faith and their indifference to religion—abusing at the same time the mufti, the cadi, and priests of all denominations. The Turks swore to be revenged, and even went so far as to say that they would murder him. Whether they intended to execute their threat to the full is, perhaps, doubtful; but they fell upon him in the dead of the night, and might possibly have carried it into effect had not Lady Hester heard his cries and sent Logmagi to rescue him.

Not a word of this was breathed to me the next morning by any one: the same mystery would have been observed had they murdered him. It is amazing with what perfect combination of purpose these people keep their own counsel: you might be in the heart of a plot for days and days, and never know anything about it. Ever designing and ever mysterious, and always apparently most calm and most smiling the greater the mischief intended, they foil all your vigilance without any apparent effort, and, like the vampire, lull you to slumber when about to spill your blood.[7]

[47] Calling on Lady Hester about three o’clock, I found her in the saloon, seated on the sofa, with the heavy war-mace in her hand: it appears she had had the aggressors of the preceding night before her. “Oh! doctor,” said she, as I entered, “I have settled them.” Not knowing what she meant, I asked whom, and she briefly related Pierre’s jeopardy. “Yes,” continued she, “my arm has some strength in it yet, weak as I am: I have given it to them pretty well, and I don’t think they’ll molest Pierre again.” She rose from the sofa, and gesticulated with great force to show me how effectually she had wielded the mace. I suggested that she should turn the worst of them away, and keep only eight or ten servants; for they were only a torment to her. “Yes, but my rank!” was her characteristic answer.

The rest of the day was employed in making up two cases and two baskets, to be sent as a present to[48] Khalyl Aga Kezerlý, an old acquaintance of Lady Hester’s. They consisted of three bottles of champagne and twelve of Bordeaux, three bottles of rum, three of brandy, and five of different sherbets. Then there were about twenty different remedies in case of illness, a jar of Epsom salts, slips of adhesive plaster, &c.; and, lastly, a couple of needle-cases, with English needles and sewing thread. This man was a Mussulman, and the wine and spirits were for his own use: but he would not have dared to accept them before Ibrahim Pasha’s time; for then a Mussulman’s sobriety was as sure as an Englishman’s veracity was supposed to be, both which, half a century ago, admitted not of a question in Turkey. “God knows,” observed Lady Hester, as she was giving her directions about the packing, “I am always thinking about the comfort of others; but nobody thinks of mine. I am a slave in the service of humanity, and cannot find an atom of feeling, of sentiment, of courage, of energy, of fidelity, or of compassion, in all these wretches by whom I am surrounded.”

The conversation turned on Prince Pückler Muskau, and she regretted she had consented to see him, fearing she should never be able to get through the fatigue, and apprehensive that the expense would be greater than her present means would enable her to undertake. After many pros and cons, in which I[49] could but re-echo her fears and apprehensions, which were too justly grounded, I suggested that she might politely decline the prince’s visit. “Oh! but, doctor,” she answered, “his book, his book! I must see him, if it is only to have some things written down. Is it not cruel to be left here, as I am, without one relation ever coming to see me? To think of the times when the Duke of Buckingham would not even let a servant go to order an ice for me, but must go himself and see it brought—and now!”


[5] Speech of M. Guizot in the chambre des députés.

[6] The general feeling of disgust and bitterness with which all travellers, who are natives of Great Britain or of the United States, speak of the vexations they are compelled to undergo from the formalities and exactions to which they are subjected in obtaining signatures to passports on the continent, need not be dwelt upon. Much ill blood, more delay, not to speak of expense, are created by the insolence and legalized robbery of official persons, into whose hands the defenceless traveller falls in the fulfilment of these formalities. Passports are the alpha and omega of a man’s trouble on a continental journey.

In some particular cases, it may even be affirmed that the exercise of consular authority in reference to passports amounts to actual illegality. Captain B., an Englishman, in the winter 1836-7, was about to leave the Sardinian States, and made his arrangements accordingly, but neglected to settle a debt which he had contracted at a shop kept also by an Englishman. The creditor immediately went to the English vice-consul, and requested he would not deliver the captain’s passport until the bill was paid: and it was accordingly stopped, although Captain B. had taken his passage by the steamboat. This case is by no means singular; for many English consuls consider themselves justified in acting in the same way under similar circumstances. Now, the question at issue is—has a consul a right to do this? The answer will be found in the fact that no such right is known to the English constitution, and that, therefore, the conduct of the consul is unconstitutional and illegal. The British government has no power over the movements of an individual, except under the warrant of a magistrate. English legislation knows nothing of passports, except as a usage resorted to by foreign governments, to which British subjects must submit while they are within the range of their operation. But the consul, as a British officer, cannot recognize a passport otherwise than as a formality exacted by the government of the country in which he resides; he cannot, without laying himself open to a serious responsibility (which it is a great pity he should not be made to discharge) employ a passport as an instrument for the detention or arrest (for such it amounts to, in fact) of any free-born subject of Great Britain. Even the British consul at Havre did not feel himself authorised to stop Mr. Papineau’s passport on his way to Paris, although Mr. Papineau was denounced as a traitor and an outlaw by the British government.

Captain B.’s creditor ought to have applied to the Piedmontese police, and not to the English vice-consul, who was a native of the place. And this is one of the crying evils of our consular system. Instead of appointing meritorious half-pay officers, or other deserving gentlemen, born in Great Britain, to such offices, we frequently bestow them upon inhabitants of the place, who are bound by religious, social, and domestic ties, to prefer the interests of the country in which they live to those of the country which they represent, and who hold in much greater fear and respect the local authorities of the neighbourhood than the distant authority to which they owe no allegiance beyond that of official forms, which they can in most cases violate or misrepresent with impunity. Our consular system is open to many objections, but this is one of the most palpable and disgraceful.

[7] The defection of the Ottoman fleet to Mahomet Ali and the treachery of the Captain Pasha furnish a remarkable illustration. One cannot but be struck with the extraordinary fact of a whole crew’s not having, in hint or word, given the slightest intimation to Captain Walker of what was going on. Slight as may have been his knowledge of the Turkish language, yet one would have supposed some expression let fall must have betrayed their intention. He must have had servants likewise, who, mixing with the ship’s company and with the servants of the officers, might have heard some allusion dropped as to the council held to deliberate on so important a measure. But the newspapers said he was ignorant of the plot up to the last moment: and from my own experience I can believe such a thing very readily.



Lady Hester’s mode of life—Boghoz Bey—The insurrection of the Druzes—Character of the Emir Beshýr—Ibrahim Pasha—Lady Charlotte Bury—Preparations for the reception of Prince Pückler Muskau.

Tuesday, April 3, 1838.—I have frequently been asked this question in England—“How did Lady Hester pass her time in the solitude of the Lebanon?” and, if my answers were generally evasive, the reader of these pages can have no difficulty by this time in understanding the reason why. Another common inquiry was—“Is she writing her memoirs?” Some people were curious to know whether she read a great deal; and others fancied her to be riding in oriental splendour at the head of tribes of Arabs, or residing in a palace, where she sat on a throne of ivory and gold, robed in silk and brocade, and treading, when she walked from room to room, on cashmere shawls; elevating her, in fact, into the queen of realms which had as clear an existence in their imagination as the kingdoms in the thousand and one Arabian nights. Whoever has perused thus far this melancholy account[51] will have seen how sad a reality has been substituted for such pleasing visions. Her memoirs, if ever they are written, must be found in her letters, of which many hundreds may yet be in the hands of her various correspondents: for her pen was very prolific. And, were it possible to hope that a sufficient number of these could be obtained from the individuals possessing them, on the pledge that they should be devoted to such a purpose, a compilation might be made, not less entertaining than instructive. Some of her letters on political subjects would be read with great attention by the world, both for the style and for the enlarged and original views they contain. Of these perhaps the most carefully written, at least since she came abroad, are those addressed to the late Mr. Coutts, the eminent banker. The letters she received, I believe, were very generally burned. I have entered her room when she had before her a pile of them squeezed up that would have filled an oven, which she was preparing to have consigned to the flames. She told me that, before Miss Williams’s death, a heap twice as large had been destroyed. This gave me some idea of the extent of her correspondence.[8]

[52] The contrast between the way in which she actually employed her time and the way in which most people supposed she spent it affords a curious illustration of the strangely erroneous impressions which sometimes get abroad concerning remarkable individuals. For the last six or eight years, with the exception of her multifarious correspondence and the occasional visit of a traveller, her hours were filled up in counteracting the intrigues of her maids, or of the Emir Beshýr, or of Mahomet Ali—and I never could see that she attached much more importance to the one than the other: in doing acts of charity; in stimulating the Druzes to rise in arms against Ibrahim Pasha; in fostering the Sultan’s declining power; in bringing consuls to what she considered their true bearings; and in regulating her household. Who would suppose, for instance, that four long hours were spent this day in sorting napkins, table-cloths, quilts, pillows, &c., preparatory to the prince’s visit. Her minute directions in those matters would have worn out the most indefatigable housekeeper. Of what assistance I might be on such occasions I never could make out; but she generally requested me to be present, if it were only, she said, to be a voucher for her against the lies of the women, who often stood her out, when her orders were not executed, that she had not given them.

[53] During the day she called in a Metouali servant-girl about thirteen years old, who perhaps had not been in her presence for a year: but, under the pretence of examining whether her hair had been kept in a cleanly condition, she really wanted to ascertain whether there were any appearances of levity about her. This led to a conversation concerning little children. “Were I a despotic sovereign,” observed she, “I would institute a foundling hospital upon a different plan to those now in existence, where children should be received, and placed in the care of the daughters of people in good circumstances, under the direction of old women, that these young persons might learn how to nurse, and dress, and dandle, and manage infants when they themselves became mothers. What is so shocking as to find English girls who are married, and have never seen how an infant is taken care of?[9] They bring one into the world, and know no more the duties of a mother—no, not so well as the sheep and the asses. What is the reason you always see little lambs and little foals gambolling about so, and little children always crying? there[54] must be something wrong, and that I would obviate?”

Lady Hester spoke of Mahomet Ali and Boghoz Bey, his minister, once a penniless Armenian adventurer, who went to Egypt to seek his fortune. “I consider Boghoz,” said she, “as one of the most consummate politicians in Europe. He is not an Armenian, although he says he is—his mother was; so was his ostensible father, a rich merchant;—but I have found out his real father. His real father was a Turkish aga, named” (I forgot who) “who used to pay clandestine visits to her, and he is the fruits of them. When I wrote to him once, I gave him such a trimming!—something in this way.—‘Sir, I once knew, when I was in Egypt, a Mr. Boghoz, a polite and accomplished gentleman, who left very agreeable recollections of himself in my memory. I hear now there is a Boghoz Bey, the minister of his Highness the Viceroy of Egypt, and that he has joined in a revolution with his master against his legitimate sovereign. If Boghoz Bey would listen to me, I would tell him that partial revolutions never succeed, and that I never thought well of them. The lot of those who rise against their lawful sovereign has always been unfortunate. Show me an example of a usurper, who has not ended badly: even Buonaparte could not bear to be called one. I a usurper![55] were his words—I found a crown in the mud, and placed it on my head. When servants take a ride in their master’s coach, everybody scoffs and laughs at them, and they are sure to get overturned. The column of power, which Mahomet Ali has raised, will melt away, like snow before the sun, as soon as his good fortune has come to its zenith. I cannot change my opinion, and Boghoz Bey need not attempt to make me: for he might as well attempt to make a quaker uncover himself before a king, which several monarchs in Europe have not succeeded in doing.’”

Wednesday, April 4.—To-day, as usual, I did not see Lady Hester. Her maid told me she had ordered her window-shutters to be closed, and not to be disturbed on any account.

April 6.—Lady Hester was better. She informed me that Ibrahim Pasha’s affairs were growing critical; for Sherýf Pasha was so badly wounded in the leg that he could not stir from his bed, and Sulymàn Pasha was blockaded in the Horàn. These two generals, she added, had lost full 10,000 men, and the Arabs and Druzes were grown so bold that they had penetrated as far as Hasbéyah, and had made considerable booty.

As the Druze insurrection has excited considerable attention in Europe, and as the origin of it is but[56] imperfectly known, I may be excused for making a short digression from my diary in order to give the reader such information respecting it as I picked up in conversation with individuals, who, from their proximity to the scene of action, may naturally be supposed to have drawn it themselves from good sources.

The prince of the Druzes, known by the title of the Emir of the Druzes, or the Emir Beshýr (Emir being his title and Beshýr his prenomen, as we should say Prince Edward), has, in the course of his long life—for he is now more than eighty-four years of age—been obliged to fly from his principality three or four times, having, on many occasions, with difficulty escaped the vengeance of three successive pashas of Acre, who, for his treasonable practices, by mandates from the sultan, sought his head. Twice or three times he took refuge in Egypt. His last flight to that country was not many years ago; where, until he was able to return to Mount Lebanon again, he lived, it was said, in obscurity, unnoticed by Mahomet Ali. He must be a wise man who could say whom Mahomet Ali noticed or not; for, during this apparent neglect, it is suspected the plan for the conquest of Syria was laid between them. On his return to Syria, the Emir Beshýr was reinstated in his principality. Some events, not necessary to our[57] narrative, retarded for a time the projected invasion; but, at last, seizing upon a propitious moment, Ibrahim Pasha marched his father’s forces into Syria, besieged Acre, the stronghold of the country, took Damascus, all Cœle-Syria, and the sea-coast, and then led his troops, elate with victory, into Asia Minor, where he defeated the sultan’s army, and would have proceeded on to Constantinople, had not the intervention of the European powers arrested his course.

Returning to Syria, he organized his new government, and silently matured his scheme for bringing Mount Lebanon into subjection. In order to obtain popularity for himself, stories were industriously circulated by his emissaries of the total estrangement of Sultan Mahmood from every tenet and dogma of Islamism. He was said to frequent houses of ill repute, to dress like a Frank, to drink wine with the Greeks in the taverns at Pera, and to have lost all sense of Mussulman propriety. These scandalous rumours were promulgated in all directions with a sinister view to elevate, by comparison, the character and life of Ibrahim Pasha; for there is nothing so revolting to the true believers as any approximation to European usages and vices: and whatever some writers, in their ardour for civilization, as they designate it, may fancy, no amalgamation ever can be formed between[58] nations so opposite in climate, habits, religion, and dress, as the Europeans and Orientals. Be this as it may, it is not improbable that these malevolent reports, to a certain extent, answered the ends for which they were designed, insensibly undermining the sultan’s personal influence, and disposing the Syrian mussulmans to regard Ibrahim Pasha as an apostle of their faith.

It was not until the fourth year from his first invasion that Ibrahim Pasha attempted the complete subjugation of Mount Lebanon. The Druzes are a warlike people, hardy, accustomed to fatigue and to the use of arms, living in villages difficult, nay, impossible of access for artillery, and easily capable of defence from their natural position. All their houses are of stone, and the interminable succession of field walls forms favourable breastworks for opposing an approaching enemy. Some old castles, dating from the time of the crusaders, are still standing in various parts of the country, generally on sites commanding the surrounding neighbourhood. Beside the Druzes, there is a race of Christians, known as the Maronite population, whose villages cover that part of the chain of Mount Lebanon which runs behind Tripoli as far as Calât el Medýk and the plain of Accár, where a narrow defile occurs, through which there is a communication between the plains of Accár and the Bkâa,[59] which is the plain that divides Lebanon and Ante-Lebanon. Beyond this defile, the mountain rises into a lofty chain, running towards Latakia; and here dwell the Ansaréas, the Ishmaelites, and some other races:—but we have only to do now with Mount Lebanon.

By arrangements, supposed to have been previously made between the Emir and Ibrahim Pasha, and in order that it might look as if the Emir was taken totally by surprise, one fine night in the summer, several regiments of Ibrahim Pasha’s troops were marched from Acre, Sayda, and Tripoli, on one side, and from Damascus and Bâalbec on the other, so as to arrive at Btedýn (the Emir’s palace) at Dayr el Kamar (the chief town) and at all the other important points of Mount Lebanon, precisely on the same day, and as nearly as possible precisely at the same hour. Either that the time had been well chosen, inasmuch as the Druzes were then employed in harvesting and other agricultural labours, or else the plan had been so laid as to ensure success and to preclude resistance: the result was that the mountain was taken possession of without firing a gun. The Emir Beshýr, acknowledged to be the most consummate and perfidious hypocrite of modern times, played his part so well and feigned such great trepidation and alarm when two regiments marched into the courtyard of his palace, that he persuaded his household, his minister, and the[60] Druze people in succession, that he was the victim of the stratagem as much as they were themselves.

But, although Ibrahim Pasha had thus concentrated in the Lebanon a sufficient force to overawe the Druzes, the material fact was not to be overlooked that they were still in possession of their arms, which, under favourable circumstances, they might turn against the occupants. His first step, therefore, was to disarm them, which was done effectually; those who were refractory being either bastinadoed, or, if they exhibited any very aggravated resistance, put to death. Many, however, succeeded in secreting their weapons. Not to have too much work on his hands at once, Ibrahim exempted the Christians from the disarmament, and, by cajoling and pretending he was disposed to favour them, he flattered the petty vanity, that readily manifests itself in a population which the superiority of the Druzes and long habits of servility to mussulman masters had kept somewhat in a state of inferiority; for, although the Maronites, who never live much away from Mount Lebanon, hold themselves not at all inferior to the Druzes, it is not so with the Greeks and Greek Catholics of the villages, who, creeping through life in abject submissiveness to their rulers, were easily entrapped by so flattering and unexpected a compliment. The consequence was that, what with fine silk girdles and turbans of brighter[61] colours than before, what with a brace of pistols and the conceit their new privilege inspired, persons who had returned to the mountain after the absence of a year, would not have known them. Thus was created a certain degree of dislike in the breasts of the Druzes, who saw the Maronites and other Christians take the part of their oppressors against them; but, when a sufficient time had elapsed for leaving this source of jealousy to ferment between the two parties, Ibrahim Pasha played off another of those tricks for which he is unrivalled. Abbas Pasha, his nephew, one day happened to see one of the principal Christians, a warden of the Emir Beshýr’s, dressed out very finely, with his pistols in his girdle, and with side arms; “Who is that man?” said he, in a loud tone of voice; “what is all that finery? what is the meaning of those pistols, of that khanjàr, and that sabre? why, what am I to wear, if those fellows appear in my presence such fine gentlemen? Some remedy must be found for this—I must see to it.” True enough he did; for, very shortly after, the Christians were desired to bring their arms and give them up, and the same measures were resorted to for enforcing the order in reference to them which had already been applied with such savage rigour to the Druzes.

The whole of Syria was now defenceless. The beautiful bazars of Damascus, once famous for their[62] finely-tempered blades and weapons of defence, which, for many centuries, conferred such a remarkable reputation on the artificers of that city, were now shorn of their splendour. The Turks, who, in general, have always been proud of displaying their sabres, guns, and pistols, on their persons or suspended over their sofas, were now crestfallen: sadness was depicted in every countenance, and only wolves, jackals, and partridges seemed to rejoice in the change that had taken place.

But the spirit of the Druzes was not broken: they began to suspect that they had been betrayed by the Emir Beshýr. Circumstances transpired from time to time which led them to suppose that their independence had been made a traffic of between him and Mahomet Ali, and that they had been sold to enrich the coffers of the one, and enlarge the domains of the other. The equivocal conduct of the Emir Beshýr, his overacted apprehension, the treachery discoverable in some of his measures, finally, his known duplicity, led them to the conclusion that he had betrayed them. To complete their disasters, Ibrahim Pasha introduced the conscription among them, a measure so revolting to their usages, and so utterly at variance with the voluntary levies of their forefathers, that the severest punishment, not even the fear of death, could induce them to submit patiently to so hateful an infliction.

The Druzes are inhabitants of three provinces of[63] Syria, viz., Mount Lebanon, Gebel Aali, near Aleppo, and the Horàn. The proximity of the Horàn to the Desert and to the Bedouin Arabs, who acknowledge the authority of neither pasha nor sultan, obviously suggested that district—little known, indeed, to European travellers, but affording many natural means of defence, and far removed from garrisons and cities—as a refuge from the conscription. Many recruits, therefore, fled from their families in Mount Lebanon to the Horàn, until, from increase of numbers and of sufferings in a common cause, they mustered in sufficient force to oppose resistance to the Pasha’s troops. They were joined by the Bedouin Arabs, who hover round that quarter, and, in their approaches towards Damascus, gave considerable apprehension to their Egyptian masters. Sheryf Pasha marched to quell the insurrection, and Suliman, Pasha of Sayda, joined him. We have already seen that Sheryf Pasha was wounded in a rencontre with them; and, taking up the events that occurred in the course of the campaign from that date, I shall insert them in my diary as they come to my knowledge.[10]

[64] Lady Hester, who was favourable to the cause of the Sultan and abhorred the Emir Beshýr, whilst she admired the military talents and known courage of Ibrahim Pasha, determined, nevertheless, to stigmatize him as a rebel, and work his overthrow, if she could: she, therefore, encouraged in every way the hostile disposition of the Druzes. From the beginning of Ibrahim Pasha’s successes in Syria, the protection she afforded to the refugees and wounded from Acre sufficiently manifested her tendencies. Mahomet Ali, who was aware of her political abilities, her unflinching opposition to him, and her fearless support of the Sultan, had written, through Boghoz Bey, to deprecate her interference in the affairs of the province, and to signify that, if she afforded an asylum and counsel to his enemies, the tranquillity of Syria could not be secured. A portion of her answer has already been given; but when Ibrahim Pasha made so easy a conquest of the mountain, a word fell from his mouth, which, if ever the Druzes succeed in expelling him, may be said to have been the cause of his reverses. He is reported to have exclaimed from his divan, when the news of the entire occupation of Mount Lebanon without firing a single shot was brought to him, “What, those dogs of Druzes had not a single bullet for us!” This little sentence was repeated to Lady Hester, and not long afterwards a Druze of some[65] note came to pay her a visit. As he entered the room, she abruptly addressed him in the same words, “Dog of a Druze! what, hadn’t you one single bullet for Ibrahim Pasha?”—and then, with a sort of sarcastic pity, dilated on Ibrahim Pasha’s exultation over them. She made it a by-word among her servants; and not a Druze came near the house but he was saluted with, “Dog of a Druze! what, had not you a single bullet for the Pasha?” To people connected with Ibrahim Pasha’s government, she told the same story, seemingly as if in praise of the Pasha’s bravery, who loved war so much that he could not bear an easy and bloodless conquest, even though to his own advantage. In every quarter, through every channel, the Pasha’s saying was echoed in the Druzes’ ears: and his followers, thinking it an anecdote that told well for their master, did not consider that it rankled in the bosoms of the Druzes, who, stung to the core by these cutting words, swore never to sleep until the hour of vengeance came.

We will now return to the narrative of the occurrences which were passing in Lady Hester’s house.

Saturday, April 7.—This day, when I saw Lady Hester, she asked me if, on entering, I had observed anybody under the olive-tree outside of the gate: I answered I had. “Well,” said she, “go and talk to her.”—“But the person I saw was a poor man,” I[66] replied.—“Ah! that’s the one,” resumed Lady Hester; “that’s not a man, but a woman in man’s clothes: that woman, at the siege of Acre, used to carry water to the artillerymen on the ramparts, during the fire, to drink, and was never in the least afraid; she is worth seeing: she comes to me every year for a little money. I used to give her 150 or 200 piasters: but, as I am poor now, take her fifty, and tell her I am rather short of money.” I went, and sat down and talked with her. She had a small gray eye and a placid countenance: she seemed to be very well aware of the movements of the Pasha’s troops, and it struck me afterwards that she might be accustomed to use her disguise for the same purposes in Lady Hester’s service that the woman spoken of in a former part did for the first Lord Chatham. I told her Lady Hester was ill, and that there was no chance of seeing her: I added some tobacco to the present which her ladyship had sent her; and, in very proper terms, she returned thanks, and went away.

Sunday, April 8.—Osman Chaôosh had been sent to Beyrout for money, and returned to-day, bringing only £40, the bill on Mr. Michael Tutungi having been protested. The steamboat from England had arrived, and there were no letters.

Monday, April 9.—When I first came to Jôon, Lady Hester Stanhope had expressed an inclination to[67] see one of Lady Charlotte Bury’s novels: so, having at length received, on the preceding evening, the “Memoirs of a Peeress,” which I had written for to France, I began reading it to her to-day. She was calm and composed. The history of events, so well known to her, seemed to afford her singular pleasure; and it was evident that if she had always sought for amusement in books, instead of spending her time in disciplining incorrigible knaves and wenches, she might have found many happy hours, even in the midst of sickness and solitude.

Lady Hester had been looking into the book in the course of the day. “I do not think,” observed she, “that the heroine’s character is hers;” (meaning Lady Charlotte’s,) “it seems to me a fictitious one, made up partly of her own observations, partly of what has happened to herself: if it is anybody, it must mean Lady Caher. Perhaps Lady Charlotte’s husband writes the books, and she supplies the materials. The style is not that of a woman like her; she is more likely to set off on foot three or four miles to see how they ploughed (at Abra, for example,) like an active Scotch woman; but, as for writing a book, I think she was no more likely to do it than I am.[11] I could[68] not write a book, doctor, if you would give me the world. Ah! I could dictate a little to anybody who wanted to write down a correct account of circumstances that I know.

“I remember Lady Charlotte’s first going to court, and the effect was very much what she describes of Miss Mordaunt:—that is, somebody said she is too thin—very handsome, to be sure, but too thin: and somebody else observed that, in a year’s time, when she filled out, she would be remarkably beautiful, which turned out to be the case. She was three years older than me, but she had such a hand and arm, and such a leg! she had beautiful hair too, gold colour, and a finely-shaped nose, and fine complexion. In about three years she all at once disappeared from the beau monde: she married her cousin, who was poor, and was still Lady Charlotte Campbell, but always in uneasy circumstances. When he died, she travelled into Italy, for the sake of educating her children, and there she married the tutor:—some of those tutors are very good-looking men. There was a daughter of the D*** of B*******, who married a tutor. To be[69] sure they were carroty, although she was the prettiest; but the D*** would not see her for three years, and, at last, they gave him a living. One of the R****** family also married a tutor.”

I read on, and came to the passage where the heroine speaks of herself as grown old, and having lost her charms. Here Lady Hester interrupted me:—“That cannot be her,” said she; “for C. told me she is still a loveable woman, and that the Persian Ambassador left England desperately in love with her.”

An Englishman, as it was supposed, in the course of the day, was seen to pass the gate, and was observed taking sketches towards the south side of the walls; he spoke to nobody, and went his way: who or what he was no one knew.[12]

Thursday, April 12.—The whole of the last week had been a busy one with Lady Hester, who, in spite of her weakness, had rummaged out all her best sheets, bought new dinner-napkins, had particular and strange marks put to them, and, on the certainty of the[70] prince’s coming, had ordered the road within the gate up to the strangers’ garden to be new laid and rolled, the doors to be fresh painted, and such other preparations to be made as should give an air of cleanliness, if of nothing else, to her solitary abode.

This day was showery; yet, notwithstanding, about three o’clock, she issued from her chamber, and, requesting me to be present, she made the store-room man produce all the contents of his china-closet and spread them out on the pavement of the courtyard before her; where, seated with her stick in her hand to point and strike with, she examined, re-examined, and classed everything, until she had made up a breakfast and dinner service for the prince, as also one for his Turkish attendants, and one for his European servants.

It was on such occasions as these that Lady Hester infused activity into the most sluggish. A blunder, an act of stupidity, or a lie, was sure to be followed by a smart blow on the shoulders from her stick, which fell like a German corporal’s on a soldier at drill. The epithets of beast, rascal, stupid fellow, etcetera, were dealt out with much freedom and readiness in the Arabic language. An old blue and white teapot, two teacups and saucers, and two plates, one a little broken, were all she could muster of the same pattern for tea-things; and, for dinner, white[71] plates and dishes composed a plain but decent set. In my own house, not five hundred yards off, I had a complete breakfast set in white French porcelain, and another in English ware, as also a spare dinner service: these I pressed her to make use of for the prince, but she would not listen to it:—“let him see what I am reduced to,” she said. Lastly, she sent for the two servants who were to wait at table on the prince, and ordered them to set out on the ground (for there was no table in her apartments, except the old card-table, which alternately went from her bed-room to her saloon, and from her saloon to her bed-room, as she moved from one to the other) all the plates and dishes as if for dinner, that they might take a lesson. But, as it was impossible to make them understand anything about order or symmetry, I suggested that one of my lads, who was accustomed to lay the cloth, should be promoted to that post during the prince’s stay. “Let me see first if he knows,” said Lady Hester: so Mahmôod, a Turkish lad of sixteen, was sent for. He had never seen Lady Hester, and, like all those who were shut out from her courtyard and garden, thought her some mysterious being: judge, therefore, of his fright when he came before her. Being told what he was called for, he set about it as he had been taught by Miss Longchamp, who, in the French fashion, and at a round[72] table, had made him place the soup-terrine in the middle. This excited a loud exclamation from Lady Hester, and afforded her an opportunity of showing how a table was laid in fashionable houses. The scene lasted until sunset, and Mahmôod was duly promoted to the office of buffetier to the prince’s table!


[8] A collection of the Arabic letters which she had received from people of all classes and on all subjects would have been very valuable to the Oriental scholar: but these were also burned at various intervals.

[9] “There is perhaps not one mother in ten thousand, who, before becoming such, has ever inquired into the nature and wants of the newly-born infant, or knows on what principle its treatment ought to be directed.”—Physiology of Digestion, by Andrew Combe, M.D., p. 232, 2nd edition.

[10] It may be mentioned that Suliman Pasha is considered as the most efficient general in Syria, and, in difficult situations, he is supposed to direct the movements of the army. Ibrahim Pasha passes for being jealous of him, but unable to do without him.

[11] On returning to Europe, I discovered that this novel, although edited by Lady C. Bury, was the production of another lady, Mrs. C. Gore. Nevertheless, the observations made on it and on its supposed author are retained, in the hope that each of these highly-gifted persons, as well as the reader, will be amused in hearing Lady Hester’s comments, made in a different spirit from that which animates a critic in our periodical reviews.

[12] I have often thought it must have been Mr. Roberts, who, in his “Views of Syria,” has given such a beautiful drawing of Lady Hester’s house, notwithstanding that the surrounding scenery is somewhat embellished by the painter’s imagination; there being no river at the foot of the mount, but only a watercourse always dry, excepting after heavy rains.



Prince Pückler Muskau’s arrival at Jôon—His costume—Physiognomical doctrines—The Prince’s remarks on Lady Hester—Dr. Bowring—Lady Hester’s remarks on the Prince—Race of Abyssinian women—Remarks on public grants, &c.—The polytheistic school of Germany—Remarks on pensions, on Abyssinian slaves, &c.—Story of Sultan Abdallah, the negro—Excursion on horseback—Horse-jockeys in Syria—Servants’ vails—Lord M. and Captain G.—Talismanic charm about Lady Hester—Her visions of greatness.

Easter Sunday, April 15.—About five o’clock in the afternoon the prince’s two European servants rode into the yard, followed by three or four mule-loads of baggage. An immense sack, containing bedding, and two or three trunks were unloaded. A trestle, with a deal top, was set up immediately as a table in his room, and his portfolio, ink, &c., were put on it, as if ready for any memorandums he might wish to note down, whilst fresh in his memory, showing the foresight of a traveller who was aware of the impossibility of finding a thing so necessary as a table in Eastern[74] countries, where men make their knees their writing-desk. Close upon these arrived seven or eight more mules with his Tartar, the count’s servant, and the drivers, in all thirteen animals to keep. The rest of his suite remained in Sayda, Lady Hester having made a request to him that he would bring none of Mahomet Ali’s people with him, as she had no accommodation for them. The fact was, she did not wish them to come, lest they should get information from the servants respecting the different proscribed individuals who had from time to time found an asylum in her house. In about half an hour the prince’s arrival was announced, and I received him and Count Tattenbach at the entrance of the strangers’ garden.

The prince’s costume was picturesque, and, as far as a European dress will allow, was skilfully arranged for effect. An immense Leghorn hat, lined under the brim with green taffetas, shaded his very fair complexion. An Arab keffiyah was thrown over his shoulders in the shape of a scarf; and a pair of blue pantaloons of ample dimensions marked an approach towards the Turkish sherwàls, those indescribable brogues, which, from their immense width, take yards of cloth to make them. His boots were Parisian in their cut; and it was clear, from the excellent fit, that he felt his pretensions to a thorough-bred foot were[75] now to be decided magisterially. It was singular enough that every traveller, who came to Dar Jôon after M. Lamartine’s book had appeared, seemed to think that Lady Hester Stanhope would necessarily make comments on his feet, and so tried to screw them into an arch, under the hollow of which water might run without wetting the sole. One man, an Italian, had gone so far as to wear laced half-boots like women’s brodekins, and stuck them in my face, whilst we were smoking a pipe together preparatory to his interview, as much as to say—“Will these qualify me as high born?” But the prince had no occasion to use such artifices to set off his person: he was a fine man, whose exterior denoted high birth, and could not but leave a favourable impression. The grand ordeal however was still to go through, and Lady Hester’s opinion was yet to decide on his pretensions.[13]


As soon as he had rested an hour, she received him and the count, and at sunset they left her to go to dinner: for she had long ceased to dine with anybody, excepting now and then, though rarely, when she admitted me to that honour. Between dinner and his return to Lady Hester, the prince told me that, from the loss of her teeth, Lady Hester’s articulation was somewhat indistinct, and that moreover she spoke sometimes in a very low tone of voice. He therefore wished me to let her fancy he was a little deaf, and hoped to be permitted to draw his chair close to her[77] sofa.[14] This was settled to his satisfaction, and he again joined Lady Hester, and remained with her until an advanced hour in the night.

Monday, April 16.—The prince rose about eleven o’clock, and at noon I paid my respects to him. I found him in a dressing-gown with a fez on his head, tied round with a black bandelet, which set off his complexion. He dwelt for some time on the extraordinary powers and animation of Lady Hester Stanhope’s conversation. I then conducted him to the stables, and showed him the two mares, which he admired, but saw at once that the hollow back of one of them was a natural defect and not a miraculous formation. In the afternoon, when Lady Hester sent to say she was in her saloon, and was ready to receive him, he went, and remained with her until sunset.

After dinner a messenger came from Beyrout with a letter from Monsieur Guys to acquaint Lady Hester of the arrival of the steamboat, and that there was no letter for her. His letter also contained a message from Dr. Bowring, who was sojourning at Beyrout, signifying[78] that he was desirous of paying a visit to her. Lady Hester dictated an answer immediately to this effect:—“Lady Hester Stanhope cannot receive any Englishman holding an official situation, whatever his merit, &c., may be; because, if she did, it would be a mortal blow to him under a —— government like the present. When she has settled all these intriguers, she will be ready to pay homage to Dr. Bowring’s talents, if he chooses to come, or to those of others like him.” Lady Hester desired me to read this letter over to the prince, before it went. He suggested that the term “—— government” was too strong. “Lady Hester,” he remarked, “is a woman privileged to say anything, we all know—but she might suppress that word, or change it, and put ‘stupid,’ or ‘short-sighted,’ or ‘so ignoble in its proceedings.’” He observed too the words, “those of others like him”—as being a slight on Dr. Bowring. “He is an excellent man,” added the prince, “and I like him; and moreover I promised to ask her to receive his visit: he will take it into his head that I have a hand in the refusal, thinking that I hate the English, or some such thing.”

Dr. Bowring was very angry at Lady Hester’s declining his visit, and she afterwards showed me some uncourteous verses, which, on quitting Beyrout, he left to be sent to her. I neglected to take a copy of them;[79] but, as far as I recollect, they were to the effect that “He had found a welcome everywhere except at the door of a fellow-countrywoman.” If it be true, as was asserted by a gentleman at Beyrout, that Dr. Bowring had said in society, that as a member of the British Parliament, which assembly alone could give away the public money, he had a right to the hospitality of a pensioner of government, he grounded his claims on a very doubtful title. I took good care never to mention to Lady Hester Stanhope that I had been informed he had used such expressions: for I do not believe she would have rested in peace until she had coupled him with Lord Palmerston in her epistolary war. Doctor Bowring was not aware that she had thrown up her pension, and called herself no longer a British subject; nor did he know perhaps that, in addition to the prince, he had another advocate for his coming, in myself. I recollected that I had once been honoured with his acquaintance, slightly indeed; but I did my utmost to induce Lady Hester to write a favourable answer: she however was inexorable. Speaking of Dr. B., she said, “He is not come here about commerce and trade, as they pretend, rely upon it: it is all connected with some intrigue about Sir Sydney Smith’s wanting to re-establish the Knights of Malta.”

Tuesday, April 17.—Lady Hester began, “What a handsome man the prince has been, and is still,[80] doctor! don’t you think so?” I told her I did, and that he seemed to me to be what, in romance, would be called a preux chevalier. “And how handy he is, too,” resumed her ladyship. “Do you know, when I wanted him to write some memorandums down, he fetched the pen and ink, opened the card-table, pulled out the legs, spread the things out before him—a servant could not do it better. And, only think! he writes without spectacles, though he is a good deal older than you are.”—“I supposed him to be about my age,” said I. “No, he is older,” continued Lady Hester: “he is a man upon sixty.”

“As to-morrow is Wednesday, when, you know, I see nobody, you must employ the time in giving him some advice about different things. He says he must go away, as he has announced his intention of being at the Emir Beshýr’s on Thursday; his suite and luggage are already on the way to Btedýn: and his Abyssinian—, if she should come here, doctor, tell Osman that I will not have her stir out of the strangers’ garden; she must not go peeping here and peeping there. A slave is a slave: and, whether her master makes a companion or a scullion-maid of her, it is of no difference to me: she should remain in her place; and, whether she belongs to a prince or a shopkeeper, it is all one, with this difference, that, if the prince is fond of her, I should wish her to be made[81] quite comfortable. If she comes dressed in boy’s clothes, nobody must take any notice of her:—he is quite wrapt up in her.

“There are two sorts of Abyssinians,” continued Lady Hester; “one with Greek features in bronze, and one of a pug breed. The first have a noble demeanour, are born to command, and have hands and feet so beautiful, that nature has nothing superior: their arms, when they expand them, fly open like an umbrella: their gestures are clean (nets, as the French say) and perfect. I should not wonder if the prince contrives to bring her here for me to see her, and say whether her star is a good one.”

She then reverted to the prince’s person. “Did you observe his handsome figure?”—(drawing her hands over her own). “It is astonishing how well the German tailors, and particularly the Prussian ones, work: if it is but a cloth of five shillings a yard, no matter—it’s cut to fit beautifully. The army tailors in England can’t work a bit. What is a coat, with the seam of the shoulder coming right across the joint? how is a man to move his arm, or look well in it? The French army tailors are bad too: they make the coats too baboonish; but then they have a tail to them, a sort of something; it is at least the monkey who has seen the world: but with the English it is nothing at all. Then what a beautiful skin the prince[82] has got! Do tell me what Miss L. said: do show me some of her splaws. You know the French must be coquettes, from the first lady among them down to the femme de chambre: now, do show me how she sat and talked. Now, there, doctor, go! for I must see him; and, if he does not leave us to-morrow, we shall have time to talk over what you have to say to him.”

I informed the prince Lady Hester was ready to receive him, and he went to her. He remained from two o’clock until half-past six, writing, as she told me afterwards, from her dictation, several things that she wished to be known, in order that he might not forget them. In her usual manner, when he had left her, and had nearly reached his own room, she sent a servant to recall him, as having forgotten something. No one ever got clear off from her at the first congé.

The correspondence about her pension occupied much of Lady Hester’s thoughts. She had requested me to make a copy of the whole, and to give it to the prince; this employed me almost all night. When showing her the copies, she said, “Is there any stability in anything, if king’s deeds are to be reversed in this way? In Turkey, a Sultan’s firmans are respected, even down to a grant of five piasters, though they may kill him afterwards on his throne; but nothing in England is safe. If they take away my[83] pension, they’ll take Blenheim next, ay, and Strathfieldsaye too: I should like to write to the Duke of Wellington and tell him so.”

The prince pronounced himself rather indisposed, and thus had a sufficient pretext for remaining over Wednesday. He little knew the consequence of being unwell when under her ladyship’s roof; her sovereign remedy, a black dose, was immediately prepared for him, which he was to take next morning. But, it having been decided that he should remain, the ποδάρκης Ali was despatched over-night to the Emir Beshýr, with a verbal message to put off the prince’s going until Friday. Here, as upon all occasions, Lady Hester must give her instructions. It was six in the evening, and Ali had five hours’ quick walking to perform by moonlight over mountains that would frighten a European to look at; but he was to set off instantly, and to endeavour to arrive before the prince was gone to bed. He was to see the Emir, and to say, “Such are mylady’s words.” Ali started, and was back by ten next morning.

Wednesday, April 18.—“The Emir,” said Ali, in giving an account of his commission, “had retired to his harým when I got there, so that he could not be disturbed; but this morning, with the morning star, he was up, and I was called in. I had not seen him for three or four years: his beard is as white as snow.[84] Approaching, I raised both my hands to my mouth and forehead, went close to him, and kissed the hem of his garment. ‘What are you come for, my son?’ said he; ‘I hope her Felicity, my lady, is well.’—‘She salutes your Felicity,’ said I, ‘and has sent me, her slave and yours, to say that the German prince, her guest, being unwell, is obliged to defer the honour of paying his respects until Friday.’—‘The prince’s pleasure is mine,’ replied the Emir; ‘and, whenever he comes, this palace is his, and I shall be proud of his visit:’ and then,” said Ali, “I came back.” But Ali had likewise another commission, which he executed equally well. Wherever he found the prince’s suite, either on the road or at the Emir Beshýr’s, he was to order the two Abyssinians to be conducted back to their master, as he was unwilling they should remain alone for two or three days among strangers: this was done.

At half-past one, the slaves arrived. One was a black girl about twelve years old, and she was dressed in boy’s clothes; the other, the Abyssinian, a young woman, was veiled from head to foot in the Egyptian manner. The Turkish servants seemed to consider female slaves as a necessary part of a great man’s retinue: they spoke of it as a matter of course. “His wife is come,” cried one: “a chair is wanted for the prince’s shariáh” (concubine), said another: for the[85] term shariáh is not used in a disrespectful sense in the East. There was as much bustle about her as if she had been a European princess, because thus is it done to those whom their masters choose to honour. “Will my lady take it ill, that I have brought her here?” the prince asked me. I told him no; for so, anticipating the question, she had desired me to say; adding, “there is not a great man in these countries who does not travel with his harým in his train, when his means will allow of it; and in the eyes of the Mussulmans he is not compromised by having his slaves here, nor am I in receiving them.”

The prince confined himself to his chamber somewhat late. I seized the opportunity of enjoying the pleasing society of Count Tattenbach, whose amiable manners increased the pleasure which the presence of the prince had spread over the solitude of Jôon: when the latter joined us in the saloon, I paid my respects to him. At Lady Hester’s desire, I requested from him some information respecting the polytheistic school, which, from a biographical notice of Heyne, inserted in the Révue de Paris, she had learned existed in Germany. The prince told me Heyne was the chief of that sect, and that its tenets were of a rather general and vague nature, implying the probability of the existence of many intermediate links in the chain of beings between God and man, and of many subordinate deities.[86] “I myself,” he added, “if I am not one of them, am disposed to think that around us invisible spirits may be hovering higher in degree of creation than ourselves. When I reflect on man’s capacities and reasoning powers—just enough, as they are, to make him sensible how little he is—I sometimes am inclined to think that perhaps this is hell we live in.”

It appeared that M. Lamartine and his work on the East had been a subject of conversation between him and Lady Hester, and he told me the comments she had made on some passages: “I shall certainly,” said he, “put them into my journal. However,” he added, “I ought to observe, and I hope you will tell my lady so, that, as it will be impossible to have visited her without writing something about her, I shall say nothing that I have not first submitted to her inspection.”

He spoke in very ill humour about his dose of salts, which, as he thought, had done him no good; but he was much mistaken if he supposed that any objections he could have raised to being dosed, short of making his escape, would have saved him.

The correspondence with Lord Palmerston became a subject of conversation. “Why should my lady throw up her pension?” said he; “it is perfectly ridiculous to suppose that M. Guys or any other consul cares about Colonel Campbell’s silly threats:[87] as if he were to dictate to them, and prevent them from setting their signature to a life certificate, or any other document. He might say—‘That certificate will not be held good in England, when presented;’ but beyond that, it was a piece of presumption, which M. G. very justly called the act of a malotru. A pension is no bad thing. I once neglected an opportunity of having a good sinecure: for we have them in Prussia as well as in England. Prince Hardenberg, who was my father-in-law, and whose favourite I was, offered me a place, with nothing to do, and great pay. I refused it out of delicacy, but I have since repented of it; for, so long as they are to be given away, it is as well for one to take them as another.” I do not know whether the prince’s casuistry is conclusive, but I know it is entertained by many persons, although it did not accord with Lady Hester’s notions. After dinner, the prince went to her Ladyship, and remained till a late hour.

Thursday, April 19.—There came to-day a Mograbyn, or Barbary shaykh, a resident of Zyb, near Acre, a place where many shaykhs live, men versed in the Mahometan tenets and traditions, and reputed of great piety. He introduced himself to me as a person in the habit of receiving gifts in money from her ladyship, and of having conversations with her. I gave him to understand that the moment was not a[88] propitious one, and thought I had got rid of him, as he mounted his mare and rode away.

The prince sent Count Tattenbach to ask me to come and sit with him in the evening. His Abyssinian slave was at one end of the divan and he at the other. She appeared to be about seventeen, had regular features, and, as well as I could see by candlelight, where bronze features are rather indistinct, was, on the whole, a handsome girl. She was called Mahbôoby (Aimée). “Poor thing!” thought I, “the position to which you are raised would be envied by many a European fine woman, and to you it brings nothing but ennui. Your lord may adore you—perhaps does; but he cannot say five words to you in any language that you understand, although he speaks several with great purity; and every action of his life is contrary to the usages in which you have been brought up. Happier far would have been your lot, had your purchaser been some Turkish aga, or some shopkeeper, who, in making you mistress of a small household, would have found you employment conformable to your habits, and have left you to the natural and domestic occupations to which you have been accustomed: he would have placed you where your position, lawful in the eyes of your neighbours, would have been an honour to you, instead of its being, where you will go, a matter of scandal and reproach.[89] Time, however, may bring you acquainted with some language in which you and your master may exchange ideas, education may ripen them, and then, perhaps, you will have acquired tastes congenial to his, and the tie that unites you may be strengthened by something more lasting than at present.”

Whilst the conversation was going on, Mahbôoby fell asleep, and forgot for a time her greatness and her troubles. The little negress, about twelve years old, dressed as a boy, sat in a corner of the room, and was remarkable for her air, at once sprightly without being vulgar. The prince was summoned to go to Lady Hester. Our rising awoke the Abyssinian girl, and hardly were we out of the room when I heard their two tongues running glibly, as if relieved from the constraint which his presence and mine had put on them.

In the course of the day, he had taken the Abyssinian into Lady Hester’s garden to walk. I was in the saloon at the time with her ladyship, the windows of which looked into the garden. Zezefôon, who knew what a sacred place the garden was held, and who was jealous that a slave like herself should be acting the mistress where she was a menial, came in a hurry to say that the prince and Mahbôoby were in the garden. Lady Hester grew fidgety immediately at this intrusion on her privacy, so little in[90] accordance with her exclusive principles. “I can’t bear,” said she, “that anybody should be hanging about me in that manner; perhaps he may come in here as he goes past the door. It will not do; I must have my place to myself, if it is no bigger than a barn, and no better—no matter, so as nobody comes there but when I send for him: tell him, doctor, that I can’t bear it.” I observed that, to a man of his rank, it would seem rude for such a prohibition to come from me. “Well,” said she, “I will tell him myself; but there is one thing I wish you to say to him for me, for that I can’t say myself. You know he will be writing all about me; and, although I do not care what he says of my temper, understanding, doings, and all that, I shouldn’t like him to say anything about my person, either as to my looks, figure, face, or appearance: it will be better for him merely to write that he had nothing to observe about my personal appearance, as there were few people in society but might recollect what I was, and to dwell on the looks of a sick woman could have nothing very pleasing in it.”

In the mean time, Lady Hester saw the prince twice a day, once before dinner, and afterward in the evening, when he generally remained until a late hour. I could observe she already began to obtain an ascendency over him, such as she never failed to do[91] over those who came within the sphere of her attraction: for he was less lofty in his manner than he had been at first, and she seemed to have gained a step in height, and to be disposed to play the queen more than ever.

Woe to him who dared to show pretensions equal to hers! she would drive him from stronghold to stronghold, until he must capitulate upon any terms. The count at first had accompanied the prince in his interviews, but she gradually contrived to get rid of him in a certain degree, under the plea that his ill health and his wound would not be benefitted by sitting up: as she made it a rule, if possible, never to see more than one person at a time. She would say, “Do you suppose people will talk with freedom when any one is by?—and, besides, it distracts attention, first turning to one and then to another.”

An incident of some interest occurred about this time: Mahbôoby was conducted to Lady Hester by the prince to have her star read, and this is what her ladyship said to me afterwards on that subject: “I told you, doctor, there were two sorts of Abyssinians, one with Greek features, the other of the pug breed: Mahbôoby is not of the first class, but of the last. She will be good-tempered, faithful, and obedient: should the prince be ill, I’ll venture to say she will sit by him to guard him, and watch over him without[92] sleeping for months together: but she will never do for a housekeeper, never for a mistress; she will learn nothing. Her awkward gait, her roll in the fashion of the felláhs, and all that, are habits she will not easily get rid of. What the prince should have done was to have placed her for a year or two in a family at Cairo, where French was spoken, or Italian, and there, with another to wait on her, when she had acquired the language, he should have taken her to himself, and have sold or given away the other; but I question whether servants in Germany will wait on her. He bought her from a Frenchman, who had purchased some slaves on speculation to sell them. There were two others; but he saw they were devils; and, not wishing to have the trouble of putting up with a bad temper, or of putting it down, he took the one he thought good-natured. She is horribly dressed, but she is well made. It is a thing that will not last.”

During the morning, Count Tattenbach gave me the relation of a long illness which he had undergone in the neighbourhood of that unhealthy spot, Sparta: it was a malignant fever. Such fevers are the curse of those otherwise happy climates: for let not the native of a cold country, like England, when he reads the flowery description of blue skies and blue seas, of lands where eternal summer reigns, where the orange and the olive grow, fancy that Nature has forgotten[93] her general rule of equalizing her gifts. The favours she would at first sight seem to have bestowed on one region of the earth in preference to another have generally some counterpart in scourges and visitations, from which climates apparently less blessed are exempted. Count Tattenbach was confined six months to his bed with fever and dysentery.

I mentioned this to Lady Hester, and, in conformity with her system, that every person’s star, whilst descending to its nadir, even although otherwise a favourable one, may have sinister influences, which change to brighter prospects as the star again mounts to its zenith, she told me to comfort him by the assurance that he had seen the most unfortunate years of his life, and might now hope for better ones. “Tell him the story,” continued she, “of Abdallah, the black slave” (and this was a very favourite story of hers), “who was sultan for a day: you have heard of it twenty times, and I dare say you don’t recollect it.” I confessed I did not. “Well, then,” resumed she, “there was a black who had been bought by a cruel master, who treated him with constant harshness: he put him to the most severe tasks, and, not contented with the customary service of a slave, he made a beast of burden of him, by putting a pack-saddle on his back, and loading him like an ass. The poor Abdallah bore all his hardships without repining; when one day,[94] whilst he was in the fields, carrying manure with his panniers on his back, the tyr el hakem hovered over his head, and was seen by the inhabitants of the place. The tyr el hakem is a bird known in the East; and the people have a rooted belief that the individual, over whose head it hovers, is, or will come to be a sovereign. The reigning sultan died just at the time, and, the report having spread of the omen manifested in favour of Abdallah, nothing would content the populace, but that Abdallah should be proclaimed his successor: but Abdallah was a poor, uneducated creature, and, sensible of his incapacity for so elevated a station, he prayed to God that, if he were to be sultan, his reign might expire shortly. God granted his prayer; for he died the same day that he was proclaimed; and, to this hour, the curious and pious Mussulmans who visit Constantinople go to see the tomb of Sultan Abdallah, the negro. Thus,” continued Lady Hester, “those who are depressed by wretchedness and misfortune, may, in an hour, if such is the will of God, be elevated to the pinnacle of greatness.”

As I did not very clearly perceive what analogy there was between Count Tattenbach’s typhus fever and the black’s sufferings, although I complied with Lady Hester’s wish in relating the story, I generalized it, and left out the particulars of the pack-saddle. The count was grateful to her for the interest she took in[95] his past sufferings; and, to prove it to her, as she considered him hardly convalescent, he politely consented to take another black dose.

About four o’clock in the afternoon, I accompanied the prince and the count for a ride, and took them to a spot where, from a lofty peak, they looked down on a secluded valley, singularly striking, from the wild, mountainous scenery in which it is embosomed. In the bottom of the ravine stands a monastery of schismatic Catholics, called Dayr Sëydy. The prince proved himself a bold rider, as he often kept his horse in a trot over places where a person, used only to European roads, would have thought his neck in danger at a foot-pace. In our way I showed him Dayr el Benát, a convent; a fine old ilex, or evergreen oak, whose main branches stretch out horizontally about forty feet from the trunk, and whose trunk measures seven French metres in circumference; also a willow, with beautiful bloom, like orange flowers (saule du Levant aux fleurs odoriférantes). We returned just after sunset with a good appetite, I having slipped over my horse’s head, saddle and all, in one of the steep descents, where the prince trotted on like a fearless horseman, as he is. After dining with my family, I joined him again. He was dictating his journal to the young count: Mahbôoby was lying on an ottoman in the corner of the room covered over with a quilt, and the[96] black girl with her, one with her head peeping out at one extremity, and one at the other, a favourite mode of sleeping two in a bed in the Levant. What advantage it has over the European manner I never could discover. Lying at full length, and sleeping at all hours, whether by day or by night, are the great enjoyments of the blacks, as has been already observed. Travellers in these countries, however exalted their rank, are compelled, under many circumstances, to overlook such apparent violations of decorum, and descend from their stilted forms of good breeding to those homely approaches to a state of nature.

Saturday, April 21.—After a long conversation the preceding night with Lady Hester, the prince to-day prepared for his departure. I did not see him until noon, being engaged with Lady Hester for two or three hours, in hearing numberless fresh things which she had not had time to tell him, and which it now devolved on me to communicate: but when I joined him, he was ready to mount, and I was obliged to leave my commission unexecuted, as had happened before in the case of Mr. Forster.

“Tell the prince,” said she, “that he must not dawdle away his time on the road, because, on the 10th of next month (Mahometan), the caravan of the Hadj (or the Mecca pilgrims) will arrive at Damascus, and it is necessary he should be there to have the first[97] choice of all the precious things that the pilgrims bring. The caravan is no great things this year, but he will be able to find some good otto of roses, and some sandal-wood oil, which makes a charming perfume. Then there is a dry leaf, that is a delightful scent to shut up in bags, or put into a drawer. I don’t know how it is, doctor, but I never liked French perfumes—they always made my head ache; but these Eastern ones are so delightful.”

She went on: “Let the prince know all about buying horses at Damascus. The horse-dealers there are the most consummate jockeys I have seen in any country: they will fatten and make up a horse, that the devil himself would not know him again. I remember a horse—a beautiful looking one—was brought to me, and the man made a great fuss, saying he had refused I don’t know how many purses for it, but that, if I fancied the animal, I should have it a bargain. I answered, ‘that I would not take it even for a gift.’ To look at him he was a superb creature; but I saw he was made up, and true enough; for he was purchased at a high price for the Pasha, and, on his road to Acre, died. There is Mustafa Bey, whose father was a pasha: well, since he has been out of favour with the government, even he has carried on this trade. He has his emissaries, who find out every young horse good for anything, or any other that can[98] be made something of; and, when he has fattened them up a little, and changed the old ones so as not to be recognized, he brings them to market. As for the Emir Beshýr and his head-groom, tell the prince to have nothing to do with them. The Emir will give him a horse perhaps worth two or three purses, and the groom will swear it cost his master fifteen: so he had better accept none.

“There,” she continued, “I believe that’s all: but only think what it is to be a well-bred man. I merely told the prince that I thought he should not let his slave dine with him, and, lo! he writes me a note to say she had dined with him for the last time. And, doctor, I did not do this from ill nature, or from any other motive than because I think everybody should be kept in his place. The other little girl, poor thing, has been sadly used. The prince told me that, young as she is, she had not escaped the consequences of that miserable destiny to which slavery has exposed her.”

I now went to the prince, and, after a short conversation, about three in the afternoon, when the sun’s rays were losing their power, he departed. The prince had made a present of the little black slave to Lady Hester, but, with the mystery she liked to throw over everything, this was to be a secret in the house. Accordingly, Osman Chaôosh mounted an[99] ass, apparently to accompany the prince’s suite for a short distance; but his orders were that, being out of sight of the house, he should turn off into the Sayda road, and, taking the little black with him, should conduct her to town, and leave her at Logmagi’s, where she was to be trained by Logmagi’s wives for her ladyship’s service. Thus separated from an indulgent mistress and friend, where she had nothing to do, she was made over to people who would probably treat her in a very different spirit.

The prince left 500 piasters to be divided amongst the servants. This was a degree of liberality that was quite at variance with the reports which had preceded his arrival: for it was currently related of him, that his parsimony discredited his rank. Lady Hester immediately ordered the money to be brought to her, and took the opportunity of distributing it in such a manner as to reward the diligent and punish the idle, making the privation to be felt most by those who, habitually indolent, would only run about when their mercenary spirit made them anticipate a present. It may appear strange to the English that her ladyship should take upon herself the regulation of servants’ vails: but the great Turks always do so, and no doubt she thought the custom worthy of imitation.

When the cavalcade was gone, I retired to my house, and, after dinner, went to Lady Hester. She[100] appeared greatly pleased that her guest had staid so long, as she knew it would mortify the Emir Beshýr, to whom the prince had sent three successive messengers, each time to put off his visit twenty-four hours longer; whilst it would have a good effect in the eyes of the people, who saw that he contrived expedients to stay on at her ladyship’s, although from day to day he made preparations for going. “He must go to-morrow,” Lady Hester would say to me; “he kills me by these long conversations, and he is so tiresome, asking for this explanation and that explanation. I said to him last night, when he could not comprehend something, ‘Est ce que votre esprit est dans les ténèbres?’ This is the way I talk to princes—but to you, forsooth, I must not say so: I must not call you a fool when you are one, but you must go and sulk, and turn crusty; but I will though;—neither you, nor the greatest king on earth, shall make me alter my ways a tittle. Why, how did I talk to Lord M******* about G***, when he broke his word about giving him a ship? I remember, we had dined at the Admiralty: I had been sitting in the drawing-room with Lady M******* tête-à-tête—a tolerable bore, by the way—and they all came in from the dining-room. All the mylords were standing about, sipping their coffee, when Lord M. said to me in his broad Scotch—‘So, I understond, Lady Hostor, you are vorry[101] ongry with me aboot Coptain G——;’ upon which I gave him such a dressing—and all unprepared—for I was not thinking about it the least in the world. There I was in the middle of the room—for I stood up—like my grandfather, and out it all came. That was a separate affair from the Scotch job, when Mr. Pitt said that, during the twenty-five years he had known Lord M., he never saw him get such a trimming.

“People don’t like to take advice, or to be told of their faults; but if any one has a piece of bad money, you tell him of it, and he changes it away or gets rid of it: for, if he keeps it, he is no richer for it, and, if already a poor man, he may think he is worth more than he really is, and you do him a charity to tell him that what he has got is good for nothing: he may treasure it up, but it will never be worth a farthing.

“Had you followed my advice six years ago, when you came to this country, I fancy you would have had a very different reputation here. If you think that I am always trying to mortify people, when I am saying things for their good, you are much mistaken. If I wanted to humble any one, should I go as high as the window-seat to pull him down? no, it would be something higher than that. As I told the Emir Beshýr, ‘You may rest perfectly quiet; I shall not trouble myself about you; but, if I did, I would pull[102] you and your mountain down together.’ I must do everything en grand, as Dr. Canova said of me. He was the Pasha’s doctor, and he remarked to somebody, in speaking of me—‘I must see her, because, whether for good or bad, she is a person who does everything en grand: there is nothing little about her.’

“There is perhaps no one in the world who has ever done justice to everything in the creation, man or brute—even down to an ant—like me; even to the spirits that haunt the air: and I have gone out of my way to serve you and a thousand others, because I must be just to everybody. If I abuse people, I can also bear testimony to their good qualities. My observations are dictated by truth, and even in persons I dislike, I can equally see their merits; but, because they have merits, it does not follow that I must like them. People are not obliged to make a nosegay of a medicinal herb, however valuable its properties may be. But I must give the devil his due, even to his beauty and his talents, though he has all the vices attributed to him, and if I turn devil, my vices will be better than the virtues of most people—for I do not say of all. If it were not so, should I have resisted, as I did, all the flattery that was heaped upon me in Mr. Pitt’s time? but it never turned my head for a moment: I was as cool as I am now. Nobody could[103] ever come over me; and, knowing that, I will not pass for being capable of meanness and vulgarity, which only those ever attributed to me who are mean and vulgar themselves. If there is any one who thinks he is better than I am, or knows more than I do, let him come forward, and, if he can show that I am in the wrong, then I will knock under, but not till then. God has given me my estate in my head—that nobody can take from me: and do you think that I, with my high rank and talents, could be accountable for my actions, opinions, or expressions, to any human being, any more than the sun could have its brightness interfered with by a common star? What I am, you, if you live long enough, will see: and then you, and a thousand others, may think yourselves happy to kiss the dust under my slippers; so pray put all those ideas out of your head, that I can be unjust to any one.”

After a pause, she resumed:—“I must have something extraordinary about me, for Mr. Pitt listened to me, the Turks listen to me, the Arabs listen to me, and wherever I go I have a talisman, which makes it so, and so it must be. When I was young, people might say there was something brilliant about me, which caught everybody’s attention. Now, my looks are gone; but if I had not a tooth in my head, which will very soon be the case, I shall go on in my old way[104] and change for nobody; so do not think with your grumpiness that I shall alter: and now go to bed. I am very much obliged to you for writing copies of all those long letters for the prince; but some day I hope I shall have it in my power to thank you: so, good night.” I rose to go, and she went on—“And will you be so good as to give that blackguard, Mohammed, a good scolding about my pipes?—Oh! and send for the secretary to come up the day after to-morrow. I got rid of him whilst the prince was here: I did not choose to have him spying about, to carry all his spyifications to his father, for him to send them to Beyrout:—and the day after to-morrow I shall look over Fatôom’s store-room, to see if there are any good blue plates for visitors;—and mind you have the banana beignets made in the way I told you, for Mrs. M. to taste:—isn’t it extraordinary that I should know so much about cooking? I, who got a slap in the face if ever I went into the kitchen or spoke to a servant. I was not bred up to the plough; I was not bred up a carpenter, nor a mason, nor a blacksmith, nor a gardener; and yet I know all these trades: isn’t it very extraordinary? And, doctor, ask John if he will paint that border for me—there’s the pattern on the book-cover: and let me know if my two mares have got any more green barley to eat. Poor things!—every year but this they have always[105] had enough to last till the end of May: I don’t know what they will do. Oh! Fatôom was so delighted with her forty piasters! Did you rate that other beast as I told you? I have brought her down prettily to-day: I told her, if she was taken to market, she would not fetch so much as a skin[15] of good oil: it mortified her famously. And, doctor, I must cut out some linen for the little new black; for there is nobody can do it but myself. So, good night: only, when you go out, do just send for the store-room man, and ask if the wheat, that was put in the sun, is dry enough to go to the mill.—What a pack of ignorant people they are in Europe: they don’t know, I verily believe, what the bread they eat comes from.—Only look at my pocket-handkerchiefs;—not one that is not full of holes.—Stop, how is the money? God knows what we shall do: but never mind—when I get my £25,000 a-year, I’ll humble those consuls till they kiss my babôoches.”

Thus would she go on, on a score of different subjects, of which her head was always full, talking until two or three in the morning; and always talking most, just after the person who was with her had risen to go away. Her greatest delight was to sit and harangue when her hearers stood around her: it fostered the[106] dreams of greatness which floated in her brain; and, when she saw the homage the natives paid her, and looked on their oriental humility, she fancied herself, for a moment, the Queen of the East.


[13] Lady Hester’s doctrines went farther than the shape of the foot; they went even to the tread. “Did I never tell you the story,” said she one day, “of Lord B.’s friend? He was sleeping at some inn, I don’t know where, when, in the morning, as he was lying thinking in bed, he heard a step over his head: he immediately rang the bell in a state of agitation, and begged to see the landlord directly. ‘Sir,’ cried he to him, ‘you must tell me who the person is that slept over my head. I know it is a woman, and the one too I have been looking for all my life; her footstep has that in it which will fulfil my warmest hope: if she is single, I must marry her, or else it will be the death of me.’ He did marry her, and they were the happiest couple imaginable: he found in her all that his most sanguine expectations had fancied, and she made him a most excellent wife.”

Lady Hester delighted in anecdotes that went to show how much and how justly we may be biassed in our opinions by the shape of any particular part of a person’s body, independent of the face. She used to tell a story of ——, who fell in love with a lady on a glimpse of those charms which gave such renown to the Cnidian Venus. This lady—luckily or unluckily—happened to tumble from her horse, and by that singular incident fixed the gazer’s affection irrevocably. Another gentleman, whom she knew, saw a lady at Rome get out of her carriage, her head being covered by an umbrella, which the servant held over her on account of the rain, and, seeing nothing but her foot and leg, swore he would marry her—which he did.

[14] It must be recollected that Lady Hester’s guests were always placed on a sofa opposite to her.—(See frontispiece.) On some occasions, she had singular ways of talking, sometimes as if she was addressing herself to the wall, sometimes to her lap; and, latterly, when most of her teeth were gone, she mumbled a little. The prince at another time regretted that he lost more than half she said.

[15] Oil, in Syria, is sold in goat-skins, made air-tight like Macintosh pillows.



Prince Pückler Muskau’s style of writing—Talking beneficial to health—Young men of Lady Hester’s time—Lady Hester’s superstitious belief in good and bad days—Hamâady, the executioner—His importance—Folly of education, according to Lady Hester—Lord Hood, Lord Bridport, Payne, the smuggler’s son—the O****s—The Prince’s self-invitations to dine out—B.—Prince Pückler and old Pierre—The American Commodore—Lady Hester’s cats—Mahomet Ali’s secret devices.

Monday, April 23.—During the stay of the prince, the count lent me a work written by the former, under the assumed name of Semilasso, and I read a page or two of it to Lady Hester Stanhope. “Ah!” cried she, “I see; he writes as he talks: he is not profound.”

Lady Hester was decidedly better in health, in many respects; but, notwithstanding, she grew thinner, if that were possible, and wasted away: she had become too a little humpbacked. Nevertheless, she now rose every day, sat up for six or eight hours, walked a little in her garden, and was almost as active in correspondence[108] and in the business of the house as when she was in perfect health. But the spasmodic jerks in her lower extremities occasionally returned: her eyes were more sunk in her head, and her nails continued to crack; still, as far as I could prognosticate, she was saved for this year; what another might do was in the hands of God. The powerful reaction, which her naturally strong constitution supplied against pulmonary disease, lay in the unceasing exercise she gave to her lungs in talking. The ancient physicians held that speaking and reading aloud were succedanea for the cessation of bodily exercise in old age. Experience proves that orators in the senate, barristers (who have briefs, that is), infirm old women given to garrulity, scolds, showmen, and all those whose tongues are constantly going, reach to an advanced period of life, without motion or fresh air enough, as one would suppose, to keep the functions of life in activity.

I have known her lie for two hours at a time, with a pipe in her mouth, when she was in a lecturing humour, and go on in one unbroken discourse, like a parson in his pulpit, happy in some flights of eloquence, which every now and then she was so remarkable for. Reflection succeeded reflection, anecdote followed anecdote, so fast, that one drove the other out of my head, and left me in despair at the impossibility of committing them to paper.

[109] One of her favourite topics was the golden days of her time, when people of inferior station knew how to behave themselves; when young men were so well bred that they never stuck their legs in your face, never leaned their elbows on the table, never scratched their noses nor twisted their mustachios, never rubbed their eyes, never flapped their boots with their whips and canes, never did this and never did that, until at last one grew afraid to stir a limb before her, for fear of committing one of these numberless offences. And, as her temper was generally soured and her constitution much weakened, a person felt unwilling to move her susceptibility, however irksome this enforced stillness might be to him.

The best proof of good sense with her was to listen attentively to what she said, and the long experience of years had convinced me that she was justified, like Pythagoras, from the superiority of her reasoning powers, in demanding such acquiescence.

Tuesday, April 24.—It wanted about half an hour of sunset when I left her: it was Tuesday evening. Just before going, she said, with a serious air, “Doctor, take a bit of paper, and write—To-morrow, the 4th Adàr, the 13th Suffar, and the 25th of April[16]—nothing[110] whatever is to be done for me either by you or by anybody in the house, and the servants are to do no work. And, doctor, I would advise you to have nothing done by your family on that day: it is a nasty month, Suffar: I hate it.” I made no remark on this strange superstition, which Lady Hester Stanhope had in common with Julius Cæsar and others who have passed for great men.

Whilst walking with my family on the Sayda road, I saw a man coming towards us, mounted on a beautiful gray mare, with her tail reaching to the ground (the lower part of it dyed red with henna), and preceded by a walking groom. “Here comes Sulyman Hamâady,” said I. “And who is Sulyman Hamâady,” one of the party replied; “what’s he to us?” As soon as he had passed, I told them who he was. Sulyman Hamâady is, at this day, to the Emir Beshýr, what Tristram the Hermit was to Louis XI. of France. It is Hamâady who is the hangman of Mount Lebanon, and the executioner of the many cruelties that the Emir exercises against his devoted victims, and, like Tristram, he is the personal friend of that prince: he is well received by the great, feared by all classes, and a man of much importance. Honour, not disgrace, is attached to his office in this country. A proof of it was that, as we returned home through the village, we saw Hamâady sitting at the window[111] of the best house in the place, where he was lodged for the night.

Never was there a man more dreaded than Hamâady. He was rather thin, but apparently all nerve, grave in his deportment, with a large, full, but rolling black eye, and, on common occasions, without any sinister or harsh expression. Wherever he went, honours were paid him: he was often received by Lady Hester Stanhope, and I have drunk a glass of champagne with him in her company, which he professed not to like, preferring brandy to it. He was known to enjoy much of the familiarity, and some portion of the confidence, of the Emir himself.

It is strange that a drummer of a regiment, or a boatswain of a ship-of-war, may flog a man according to the caprice of a colonel or a commander of twenty-five; or the boatswain may hang him at the yard-arm, according to the sentence of a court-martial, or he shall die of the stripes he receives, yet the drummer shall, in process of time, become drum-major and be a fine gentleman, and the boatswain shall be a respectable petty officer among his acquaintance; whilst the Jack Ketch, who hangs a man, tried and condemned by a grave judge and a conscientious jury, is hooted at if he shows his face. Whence springs this abhorrence in the one case, this courtesy in the other? Is it that law, with its formalities, inspires more[112] disgust than the passionate freaks of individual severity? or have judge and jury, the real hangmen, had the art to throw the odium of spilling blood on a poor wretch, who is no more accessory to the act than the hempen cord which he ties?

I recollect once, in November last, riding over to the village of Jôon, to endeavour to persuade the goatherds, who supplied my family with milk, to send it with more regularity, having ineffectually requested them to do so several times by the servant. It was, I believe, on that day, when, in returning, I met Messrs. Poujolat and Boutés, the two French travellers, whose unsuccessful visit to Lady Hester Stanhope has been already narrated. I do not know whether other persons have made the observation, but it has occurred to me that, in countries called despotic, the lower orders give themselves more licence than in those where it is supposed, from the nature of the government, they possess greater impunity. The reason of this perhaps may be that, as their obedience to their superiors is regulated by the degree of fear in which they hold them, so they are always ready to disobey the injunctions of one superior at the command of another who happens to be more powerful. The consequence is, that no dependance can be placed on the word of the Syrian peasantry for any regular service required of them. A goatherd promised to[113] supply me punctually with milk all the year through: and he would probably have done so, if it had not been that a greater man than myself sometimes came to the village, who was fond of a bowl of milk for his breakfast. This man was Hamâady, who was not to be affronted with impunity: we were neglected therefore, so long as he staid, and I found all arguments vain against the terror of his formidable name.

Wednesday, April 25.—Lady Hester said to me to-night, “I always considered you as a respectable literary character—a little pedantic, and fond of showing people what you know—and, therefore, cannot but regret that you should have lost your energy, and your understanding, and your memory, by the perfect apathy to everything in which you are sunk. B. was clever as a literary character, too; but then he always affronted everybody by his immoderate pretensions: they might be just, but then he had no indulgence for any one. I always told him that people would never fail to be silent before him, and he would get nothing out of them; because I had observed at my father’s, how extremely modest people of knowledge generally were: they sat like scholars—I don’t mean like great scholars, but like scholars of a schoolmaster. You would spare a dunce, B. would not; and even sometimes he was quite rude. One day he and Lord S. were talking together, and Lord S. happened to say[114] to some passage B. was quoting—‘I believe it is so; when I was at college I could have told you, but now I can’t exactly say:’ when B. continued, ‘Why, you know Theocritus has a line,’ &c.—‘Who is Theocritus?’ I asked. ‘Madam,’ replied B., ‘I may say of you what was once said of the great Lord Chatham, as you call him, and whom you have been talking about for these last two hours—I hardly know which most to be astonished at, your extraordinary genius, or your extraordinary ignorance.’

“Now, doctor, I always say I am a great dunce in some things; for, though there are few persons who have a quicker conception, a better judgment, and a nicer discrimination, with a firmer decision, than I have, yet, if I were to be taught for six hours things that do not suit my capacity, I should forget them all next morning, just as if I had never heard them: and so I told Prince Pückler Muskau, when we almost quarrelled about education. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘you may educate a horse, and make him put a kettle on the fire, and drink tea, and dance a minuet on his hind legs, and a hundred things besides; but, leave him to himself, and he will do nothing of the kind:’ and so it is with the education of men. You may give a nobleman a tutor, and, so long as his father is alive, for fear he should be disinherited, or for fear of not marrying some particular woman who has got a large[115] fortune, or to drink his father’s champagne, or for fear of being kicked out of society, he will keep to his books and to appearances; but, as soon as his father is dead, he’ll show himself what he really is, and, if he is by nature a blackguard, the greater will he prove in proportion to his rank. Such was Lord B., worse than a hackney-coachman; but if a man has such vices as come from nature alone—as when a peasant, from ambition, does things to rise in the world which even are crimes, I can forgive him; or if another, from an unaffected flow of spirits, must get into society and get drunk, or, from an over-vigorous constitution, becomes debauched, I can overlook all this.

“I knew a man, who, seeing a family in distress, out of sheer pity, gave bills for their relief, although he must have been aware he could never repay a sixpence of it: this may be swindling in the eyes of man, but is it in the eyes of God? When a cold, artificial character reads, and then assumes from books qualities and appearances not his own, studies for debauchery’s sake, runs after women for fashion and not from constitution—all such performances I detest, and would be the first to kick him out of society.

“I was acquainted with two persons in the great world, one a lover of the Duchess of R., the other a great politician in the House of Commons, and highly[116] esteemed by his party: neither of them could write a common note without making one or two blunders. The former could not always spell his own name; for I knew his tutor, and he assured me that his pupil, at twenty, came to him sometimes to know if he had written his signature properly. He once wrote me a note so illegible, that all I could make out was that my letters were better than Madame de Sevigné’s; and then, with a scrawling hand, and with blots, he contrived to hide his blunders: but the latter was so fearful of betraying his ignorance, that, when any particular question about politics required a long explanation, he would evade it, if written to, by replying, in five words, that he had had for some time thoughts of going down in the country to visit his correspondent, and he would then talk over the business. It is said that the great Duke of Marlborough could not write a despatch without a dozen errors in it: but here the want of education did no harm. The lover could always be understood enough to know that an assignation was made, and the general that a victory had been gained.

“Education is all paint—it does not alter the nature of the wood that is under it, it only improves its appearance a little. Why I dislike education so much is that it makes all people alike, until you have examined into them: and it sometimes is so long before[117] you get to see under the varnish! Education, beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic, is of no use to persons who have shops to attend to, household duties to perform, and indeed in all the ordinary occupations of life. I told the prince that, in reality, my lord’s gentleman and my lady’s-maid were much better off than a clergyman or a doctor. The rooms they live in, their fine wines, their dress, everything about them is better; and what education do they want more than keeping an account of their master’s and mistress’s linen, and such trifling inventories? I cannot let you remain in your error—an error so fatal to everybody—that accomplishments and learning give any decided advantage to their possessors; it is a man’s star that effects all: if men are to be great, they will be so as well without learning as with. Why, there was Lord Hood and Lord Bridport, both sons of country clergymen, with not more than a hundred a year, and they surely could not have had much education: for they robbed orchards, played the truant, hated school, and were sent to sea: yet one became a viscount with an immense fortune, and the other a lord, but not so rich. There was no remarkable talent in either—both were very honest men. Payne, the smuggler’s son, whom I sent to sea, had no education; but he had activity and luck, and made his way. I had admired his discretion and intelligence[118] as a lad; and when, at a time that Lord St. Vincent had more prizes than he could well man, and Payne was put into one of them, he boldly asked for himself the command of it, little knowing that Lord St. Vincent and Mr. Pitt did not like each other at all. ‘Who are you, my brave lad?’ asked Lord St. Vincent.—‘Why,’ answered he, ‘Lady Hester Stanhope knows me.’—‘You know Lady Hester Stanhope?’ said my lord. ‘Yes,’ replied Payne, ‘I knew her at Deal, and Mr. Pitt I know too, and that’s no bad recommendation.’—‘I think so,’ cried Lord St. Vincent, laughing, and appointed him.

“Now, take the reverse of the picture, and look at the O***s, with their polished education and every sort of accomplishment, and compare their splendid misery—for misery I call it—with those I have mentioned. There was Mrs. W*****, Lady A***, and Mrs. B*******. Lady A. might be said to be well off, as a baronet’s wife; but the other two!—I have witnessed the anxious countenances of those people, who, at every knock at the door, involuntarily turned their eyes, as if expecting some troublesome dun or some unpleasant news; and then, if the husband was called out of the room, what a look the wife gave when he came in again, as seemingly fearful something might have happened! What a fool and abominable wretch the Prince must have been, to go and invite himself[119] to dine with such people, when he knew he put them to the expense of a quarter’s income!

“There you would see him at some party, at the doorway of two rooms, speaking loudly to some one:—‘Well, then, it’s all fixed; on Wednesday next I dine with you, and shall bring about a dozen friends.’ ‘Why does your royal highness say a dozen? let it be fifteen.’—‘Well, a dozen—fifteen; but we shall dine precisely at four.’ And there was the man’s wife, standing breathless, with scarce strength to keep down a suppressed sigh, thinking with herself, ‘What shall we do, and how shall we provide for all this?’ Then the husband, with a forced smile, would endeavour to relieve her with, ‘My dear, did you hear? his royal highness intends us the honour of dining with us on Wednesday—you forget to thank him:’ and the poor wife, who strains at a compliment, ill-worded from her uneasiness—Oh! Lord!—oh! Lord, doctor, it has made my heart ache.

“I recollect B******* going down into Kent, and going round among the farmers to buy up chestnut horses with white foreheads and white legs; and, when he had got nine of them, he trimmed them up, made them good-looking, and, by going about, pretending first he would not sell them on any account, then that he would sell them only for money down, contrived to get a buyer for them, and sold them at a[120] hundred pounds a pair, when he had given twenty-five, thus getting himself a little claret and champagne for the winter.

“These O***s were brought up from H. to be married to the Prince’s friends; for you know men will not go into society where there are no attractions from women; and the Prince, who saw them, said, ‘You must get them to town into our parties:’ but would they not have done better to have married some country squire, where at least they would have had their own mutton, a comfortable house, and plenty around them?”

Thursday, April 26.—Lady Hester was in better health, and in the best of humours: a gleam of sunshine seemed for awhile to dispel the gloom which had for so many months pervaded this unhappy abode. She talked over the gay scenes of her early travels, in which I had shared; of the festivities of Constantinople; reminded me of the sea captains (as she was accustomed to call them); of Mr. Fazakerly and Mr. Galley Knight; then how Mr. Tom Sheridan fell on his knees before her and made fine speeches at Malta; of General Oakes’s splendid parties; how Mr. Frederick North ran about in search of a —— he could not find; and related a hundred anecdotes, which her inexhaustible memory supplied at the suggestion of the moment.

[121] She at last brought the conversation round to the Prince Pückler Muskau. “Now do tell me, doctor,” she continued, “what the Prince said of me; for, you know, when they come to me, they all come with a set speech and a prepared bow, that they may put down in their book what passed; but I want you to tell me how he comes into a room in a common way, as when he paid your family a visit: what sort of a bow does he make? He is a handsome man; but, although his hands are very good and very white, I don’t think them as good as old Pierre’s. What beautiful fingers Pierre has got! and, with the dirty work he has to do, they are even now white:—what would they be if he wore gloves constantly? The Prince’s nails are very good, but Pierre’s are incomparably fine: his hand is like some of those you see in the pictures at the Vatican; and, when it hangs loose, with his arm extended, it falls at right angles to his wrist—and all this with no intention on his part: he never suspected even that I was looking at them. Poor old Pierre! he walked about his room, the maids say, praying for me half the night. I have sent him home to his wife. I shall make him up a basket of some potatoes and vermicelli, and salmon, and some brawn—he likes brawn: and perhaps we shall have some news how the Prince made out at the Emir Beshýr’s.”

[122] In fact, old Pierre was a regular spy, who, residing at Dayr el Kamar, was sent for from time to time to give an account of the visits of travellers to the Emir, of their reception, and what they talked about. He was not intentionally a spy; but, from his natural garrulity, he always recounted what he had heard, merely to please her ladyship, whom he knew to be very fond of such gossip.

Lady Hester pursued her discourse, and asked me if all the people now wore white gloves as the prince did. “It must be,” she observed, “very expensive: they can’t do with less than two pair a-day, which, at half-a-crown a pair, is about £70 a-year. I calculate it thus:—7s. 6d. in three days, 15s. in six, or one week, and 60s. in a month:—that, with the odd days left out in each week, will make about £70.[17]

“It is very odd,” she observed after a pause, “that all those who write books say that I shake hands with them: now, you know very well that I never do, and that it is quite contrary to my manner—what can be the reason of their saying so?” “But the Americans,” I rejoined. “Oh!” cried she, “as for the Americans, it was quite ridiculous. When the whole posse of sixteen came with Commodore ——, I thought they would have torn my arm off: not a simple shake,[123] but” (and here she imitated their rough way of doing it) “such as draymen would give. There were the Commodore’s daughters too—rather pretty girls, but ill dressed—something like Miss Williams; one with a beautiful set of teeth, which she showed, gums and all: but their clothes hung about them—you know how I mean. They wanted to appear rather clever, talking about the Sultan and his favourite, and having all the Turkish names at their tongues’ ends. I don’t know whether he talked to them, but I think he did: just, you know, speaking to the father, and then saying, ‘Are these your daughters?’—in that way. As for the Sultan’s favourite, he is a man to talk to anybody, and laugh in his sleeve.”

Logmagi had come up, his new house being finished, which Lady Hester had partly built, and nearly furnished at her expense. “Now,” she said, “I shall send him a voyage to sea, that he may do something for himself—perhaps to Constantinople.” In my own mind I conceived this to be some plan she had in contemplation for getting news from that city, or to send persons there, or to get somebody back—God knows what! All that could be conjectured on such occasions was, that there was something in the wind; but foolish was he who troubled himself in divining what it was; he was sure to be wide of the mark. Mystery and secresy were ever necessary to her nature. Her[124] plans were generally executed in the cause of humanity, and with the most disinterested feelings: sometimes they were political, and then might be viewed in different lights, according to the party or school in which men had been bred; but her tendency for masking the most simple actions ran into excess. All the common events of Beyrout must be related to her with a mysterious air, as if nobody else was privy to them. Had I never seen anybody from day to day but her ladyship, I might have remained for months in ignorance of what was the town talk. If a dispute had happened among the military, if a governor had been deposed, if the Pasha had arrived, if a consul had died, all the every-day chat which, in other houses, is as common as the tea and coffee on the table—not one word of all this would you ever hear from her lips: she made a disguise for things which everybody must have known quite as well as herself.

Lady Hester told me the cats had eaten up her dinner. This reminds me that I have said nothing of the prodigious number of these animals, which had the run of her house and courtyards. I have counted as many as thirty old cats and kittens, without including those that haunted the store-rooms, the granaries, the outhouses, and the gardens. It was forbidden to molest them; and the consequence was,[125] that neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, could be left for a moment on a table or a shelf, but half-a-dozen cats would be gnawing it or carrying it off. This was a trifling nuisance, however, in comparison with their caterwauling during their disputes, day and night, which was at once most overpowering and most ludicrous.

Lady Hester, before I left her, said, “You must write a letter to M. Guys, and tell him the Prince sent three times to the Emir Beshýr to say he was coming, and three times put it off again. The Emir will lay it upon me:—but you will see he will be as humble to the Prince; so humble! for I think the Prince has been instructed by Mahomet Ali to treat him like a dog.” She seemed to be reflecting a little while, and then resumed: “I don’t think Mahomet Ali is coming here, as the Prince told you he was: perhaps he has given out so, and will send that man, who, you know, resembles him so much; a figure he keeps to send out here and there, just to make his appearance and go again, to frighten people at certain places. He is so artful, doctor! he has tried to make savants of some of his women; he wanted some Madame de Staëls. There is no saying what pains he has taken to effect his purpose: I believe he would have been glad to have had me. But, as I said to the Prince, when he told me I ought to be on the throne[126] of England, I would not be queen of England, nor of twenty Englands, if you could place me there:—all that is too low for me. I prefer my corner of the earth, with my own wild ideas, to being a shackled sovereign, with a pack of fools about me; and you may think it an odd speech to make, but such is the case,—I am now above mortification and above ambition. Those who have thought to mortify me have been much mistaken: have you ever seen me mortified?” To this question I was silent, at the time not distinguishing in my mind the difference between the indignation I had seen her manifest at the neglect and baseness of some persons and the assumption of some supposed superiority, which is quite a separate ebullition of feeling. “If you have,” she repeated, “say so:” then, reverting to Mahomet Ali, she went on: “The viceroy is such a sharp man, doctor. Once he wanted to find out how the women in his harým conducted themselves, and he used to dress himself as a common soldier, and, going to some of the tiptop pimps of Cairo, he would say to them, ‘I should like to get into such a house,’ naming some merchant or aga’s; ‘I am but a common man, but I have had the luck to find a treasure, and can pay you well for your pains. Here is a large gold coin for you; it’s ancient, and will not pass—but you can get it melted down. I have many like it, and you shan’t want[127] cash, if you will but introduce me into one or two houses that I shall point out.’ By degrees, he would talk of the viceroy’s harým, and so at last he would obtain information, and find out who were the faithless and intriguing ones among his own women. What he did with them I don’t know, but he had twelve of the pimps thrown into the Nile.

“But now, doctor, I see you are drowsy, so go to bed and sleep, and then get up, and eat, and walk, and ride, if those are the great pursuits of life. If I die, I die; and if I live (as I think I shall yet), and even if I am reduced to walk about in an old sack, so that God but gives me strength enough to wear it, I shall be perfectly contented. You have not profited by my advice; but at least I have done my duty; so, good night.”

After that she, as usual, resumed the conversation for an hour: but who could write down all she said? nay, it were better, perhaps, that even the little I have recorded should have died with her, and have never met the public eye: for, in endeavouring to rescue her memory from the many unjust imputations cast upon her actions during life, I may unwittingly have entailed much odium, trouble, and reproach upon myself.


[16] All these are one and the same day in the corresponding months of the Syrian, Christian, Turkish, and European calendars.

[17] This is mentioned to give the reader a notion of Lady Hester’s manner of calculating money.



Dr. M.’s dilemma—Apprehensions of poisoning—Mr. Cooper’s dray-boy—Memoirs of a Peeress—Lady B. and the Duchess of ——Novel scheme for making maids obedient—English servants—Lady J.—Lord C.—Mr. Pitt, and the disturbed state of England—Peers made by Mr. Pitt—Footmen’s nosegays—Mr. Pitt’s last words, as related by Gifford—Melancholy reflections—Mr. Pitt’s signature—Mr. Pitt a Statesman inferior to Lord Chatham—Mr. Fox—Sir Walter Scott—Shaykh Mohammed Nasýb—Turkish dervises—Anecdote of Sir William Pynsent—Sir John Dyke—High and low descent exemplified in Captain —— and Count Rewisky—Lady Charlotte Bury—The Empress Josephine—Buonaparte—Mr. Pitt’s physiognomy—Advantageous offers refused by Lady Hester—Her house in Montague Square—The Cheshire Squire—Ingratitude of the world—Trust not in man, but in God.

Monday, April 30.—For three days I find a blank in my diary. The fact is, I had been so much fatigued for the last month that I threw my memorandums aside, and, on retiring to my house, gave myself up to the enjoyment of a little conversation with my family, or else buried my cares and anxieties in sleep.

[129] On the day when I paid my visit to Prince Pückler Muskau in Sayda, he had asked me, in the course of conversation, if I had been long in Syria, and whether I had any intention of returning to Europe. I answered, that I had come with the understanding of remaining some months only, and probably should go back in the summer. “But you will not leave my lady whilst she is so ill?” he exclaimed. These words of his were ever running in my mind. I saw no prospect of Lady Hester’s realizing her hopes respecting the property she supposed had been left her. I was fairly worn off my legs by late hours, multiplied occupations, and fruitless endeavours to soothe an irritated and neglected, although a high-born and gifted creature—the victim of fallen greatness, false hopes, and superhuman efforts to effect vast projects of philanthropy and political combinations on small means and ruined resources. I was therefore anxious to close my labours, and retire to the obscurity from which she had called me: but still the fatal words—“You will not leave my lady whilst she is so ill”—recurred to my thoughts, and I knew not what to do. Lady Hester would often say to me—“You are of no use to me: what good do you do me? I was just as well without you.”—But, during a long period of thirty years, in which I was either with, or in correspondence with her, I had good reason for believing[130] that I had been of much service to her, both as respected her health and her affairs—indeed I may say, without presumption, of greater service than any other person. This was felt by everybody around her; and throughout all her dilemmas and illnesses, the constant cry was—“My lady, you must send for the doctor: there is nobody suits you or understands your constitution so well as he does.” That I was devotedly attached to her, the best part of a life spent in her service will sufficiently testify; but I was now grown too old and infirm to be equal to the task of meeting her constant calls on my time and my energies: I had become nervous. Doctor C., an Englishman, had fled from her dwelling, fearing to be poisoned by her villanous servants; yet I had much greater reason to apprehend such a fate than he had: for the cook (who dressed my family dinner every day,) was the particular object of Lady Hester’s suspicions in what regarded the enormous waste of stores; and, although not entertaining the same suspicions myself, (from having had him once as my own servant, and having kept my eye upon him for some years, and from knowing also that there were worse depredators living in the house;) still, as she directed her daily attacks against him, and even said I suffered him to rob her by the forbearance I showed in not having him chastised, I was worked up, on many[131] occasions, into a state of excitement against him that carried me beyond all restraint, and necessarily made me hateful in his eyes, inasmuch as he considered me the principal hindrance to his peculations. I had rated him in unmeasured terms for his rascality, and the hot-blooded children of the East do not easily forget or forgive such language. All this anxiety could not render a man gay, and I wasted away visibly to the eye. I had nobody to confide in; for I studiously concealed all these vexations from my family, and endeavoured to put on a cheerful air before them, when my mind was far from being tranquil. Can it be wondered at, therefore, if I looked to Europe with a longing desire of returning thither?

But the prince had said, “You will not surely leave her whilst she is so ill:” and I was constantly reiterating to myself, “How can I leave her whilst she is so poor?” Her embarrassed circumstances, now that my stay with her could be considered as disinterested, seemed to be an insuperable barrier to my departure. Had she been rich, I need not have used any ceremony: the state of my health, now that hers was somewhat improved, would have been a sufficient plea: but she was known to be short of money and beset with creditors; and to leave her would seem to be the result of a mercenary calculation. Under all these circumstances, I held my peace, and was resolved to[132] remain, as long as I thought my presence could be either useful or consolatory to her.

The first subject of conversation to-day was this very cook’s peculations: “What am I to do?” said Lady Hester; “if nobody will help me, I’ll go myself, and stand from morning to night in the kitchen, and see everything come and go. Here am I ruined, because those about me are so proud and so particular about their dignity that they can’t put their heads into a kitchen. I presume your father was not better than Mr. Cooper of Sevenoaks; and, if he had had a son, a doctor, I’ll venture to say he would not have been so mighty fine.” Here her thoughts were luckily carried away from the vile cook to Mr. Cooper, and she went on: “What beautiful teams of gray horses Mr. Cooper had! There was a boy, who used to ride on one of the dray-horses dressed in green; a little fellow, who, having seen the Prince of Wales drive through Sevenoaks, going somewhere, set off by himself one fine day for London, found out where the Prince lived, and went and knocked at the gate of Carlton House. The porter was a giant, and wanted to know what the boy knocked so loudly for: he said he had something to say to the Prince of Wales. The porter called him an impudent little scoundrel, and told him to go about his business; but the boy would not go, and the fight between the giant and[133] this Tom Thumb made a sort of an uproar: upon which the Prince, who was at dinner, inquired what was the matter, and desired that the young urchin might be brought in; who, nothing abashed, being asked what he wanted, said that, having seen the Prince’s fine servants go along the road, he had come to London to be one of them; the Prince said very well, and sent him to the stables. Doctor, he became an excellent groom, and was afterwards for many years one of his best coachmen.”

This anecdote seemed to have tranquillized Lady Hester’s mind, as was generally the case when she talked about old times. She proposed that I should read a little of Lady Charlotte Bury’s novel, the “Memoirs of a Peeress.” After listening to a few pages, at the mention of some incident, interrupting me, she said:—“Ah! that was Lady B., who placed a cast of the statue of Antinous amidst myrtle-pots in a vestibule of her house: she had ten times more cleverness than her sister the duchess. The duchess’s reputation was, in great part, the effect of her position: for fine horses, fine carriages, and that éclàt that attends a great personage wherever she goes, made up the greatest part of it. Why, she sometimes would employ her own people to puff her off. You would see a man in a shop in Bond Street say to the people of the shop—‘Whose fine carriage is that yonder?’—‘That’s[134] the Duchess of **********’s, sir,’ the shopman would reply. Then another man, pretending to be a stranger to the first, would cry out, ‘Good God!—the Duchess of **********; do let me look: I would give more to get a sight of her grace than I would of the king.—Pray, excuse me; I shall be back in a moment;’—and off he would run.

“The Duchess of **********, when she did not smile, had something satanic in her countenance. Then her affectation was so high charged. No matter to whom—to a dirty clerk of the Foreign Office—she would say, ‘If you would be so very good, sir, just to give yourself the trouble to deliver this note—I am sure you are so kind a looking gentleman.’ And then she would speak in French to whoever was with her—‘Quels beaux yeux! ne le trouvez vous pas? C’est un bel homme, n’est ce pas?’ just as if the clerks in the Foreign Office might not know French.”

Wednesday, May 2, 1839.—To-day, as was usual on Wednesdays, I did not see Lady Hester until after sunset; but dinner was scarcely over, when came the accustomed message of “The Syt will be glad to see you as soon as you are at liberty?” She could not bear to be alone: and I was, therefore, summoned that she might have somebody to talk to. She made inquiries whether the dinner had been to our[135] liking; whether the tartlets and bread-pudding were well cooked; and, on such occasions, I always knew she had been lecturing the cook about his negligence, and answered accordingly, anxious, if possible, to avoid the broils which kept the house in a continual uproar; but I seldom succeeded in averting them entirely; for, after having manifested her anxiety about my family’s comfort, she would begin about her own, with—“Thus it is: I am obliged to look after everybody’s dinner, and am left to starve myself.” She then launched out into her customary complaints, and told me how she had contrived the means of at last bringing her maids down; for she had ordered a thing to be made like a clothes’ horse, which was to stand in her room with a sheet hanging over it, behind which the maids were to take turns to wait alternately, hour by hour, that she might be sure she had them within call: “for,” said she, “if they will not move fast enough when I ring, I’m determined I’ll keep them on their legs, one or the other, all day; and I have told them I put them behind a screen that I may not see their ugly faces. That beast, Sâada, scratches herself before me, just like an Italian or a Frenchman: I have never been used to such behaviour in servants, and will not bear it.

“When I recollect how differently servants conduct themselves in England! There was the groom of the[136] chamber at Mr. Pitt’s—I don’t think I ever held half an hour’s conversation with him the whole time he was there; he was, however, a man with quite a distinguished look, and ten times more of a gentleman than half those who call themselves so. He came in, delivered a note or a message with a proper air; and, if I had one to send anywhere, I threw it along the table to the end, so,” (and here Lady Hester put on one of those—what shall I call them?—queen-like airs, which she was fond of assuming)—“or else gave it into his hand, telling him, or not telling him—for he could see by looking at it—where it was to go. Do you think servants ever dared to smile, or scratch themselves, or seem to notice anything, as these beasts do? He afterwards married one of the maids, and took Thomas’s, or some such named, hotel, where he was well patronized by the great.

“Servants work twice as hard in England as they do here. Why, there was the boy of twelve or thirteen years old that used to go to Sevenoaks to fetch papa’s letters. Every day but one in the week did that boy ride backward and forward; and sometimes I have seen him lifted off his horse, with his fingers so benumbed that he could not even ring the bell; and his face and hands were rubbed with snow, and he was walked about for a quarter of an hour before he was allowed to go into the servants’ hall. There was the[137] shepherd’s daughter, who would take up a sheep over her shoulders, and carry it like a nothing; ay, and whilst it was struggling, too, pretty stoutly, I can tell you. Then the washerwomen, who used to begin on Monday morning half an hour after midnight, and work all through the day and the next night until eleven or twelve, without ever sitting down, except to their meals:—there was hard work! Here they have their sleep in the middle of the day, and will not eat or drink when they are warm, for fear of getting the lampas.”

Thursday, May 3.—I read a few more pages of Lady Charlotte Bury’s novel. The Duchess of Rochester was now set down as Lady J. “Those girls of hers,” observed Lady Hester, “were brought up so prim. I recollect seeing three of them sitting together in a box at the Opera, and nothing could be more beautiful. They had charming countenances, with fine eyes, very good teeth, and complexions quite ravishing; but none of them were remarkably clever.”

The narrative comes to where Mrs. Fitzirnham regrets how she was taking her pleasure, and putting her husband to the expense of hiring a country-house for her, when she should have been at home saving his money. “Ah!” said Lady Hester, “she should have been making his shirts;” and this text afforded her an opportunity of pronouncing an encomium on[138] Lady Mahon,[18] her brother’s wife. “She had,” said Lady Hester, “one good point about her, that, after her marriage, whilst my brother was poor, she was not extravagant:” then, reverting to other branches of her family, she dwelt for some time on the merits and demerits of them all, until she came round again to her brother and to his father-in-law. “Yes,” she said, “giving Lord Carrington a peerage was one of Mr. Pitt’s errors. I once asked Mr. Pitt if he did not repent of making so many peers; and he answered, if he had to go over his time again, he never would; ‘Age, Hester,’ said he, ‘brings experience.’ But he was in such a situation, that, to prevent a revolution in England, or to hinder England from becoming a province of France, he was obliged to patch up things as he could. He was like an ambassador, going in ill-health to some distant court on a mission of importance, and who would say to his physician, ‘You must patch me up in the best way you can for this journey; so that I get to the end of it, never mind what becomes of me.’ England at that time was not like France: the latter was obliged to go through a salivation; the former only wanted a dose of physic. Besides, fancy, what a revolution would have been in England. I have seen what an English mob is at an election:[139] they are the most horrid set I have ever beheld: a word will lead them any way; and as for reason, they will never listen to it. But there, doctor, go on with the book: it interests me, when I think who wrote it, and what we are both come to.”

I read on, until we came to where mention is made of a footman’s nosegay on a levée day. Upon this, Lady Hester remarked, “My footman always used to give a guinea for his on the Queen’s birthday. When you consider,” she added, “what those footmen spent in nosegays and silk stockings, and bags, and shoe-buckles, it was a pretty round sum. As for the fine ladies who make such a show in the fashionable world, I have known some of them borrow five guineas of their footmen. I sometimes went down to Putney, and shut myself up not to be seen, that I might not spend all my money on rich dresses; but I saved it for other purposes, to give away to poor people.”

As the work proceeded, I came to the account of Fitzirnham’s sufferings and his approaching dissolution: she told me to skip all that—“I don’t wish to hear it,” she said; “it is too melancholy.” Alas! I felt it applied to Mr. Pitt’s and to her own situation too much not to give her pain: so, shutting the book, I tried to converse on some other subject, but her thoughts still reverted to what I had been reading about. At last she broke out in these words:[140] “Poor Mr. Pitt! one of the nourishing things they gave him before his death was the yolk of an egg beat up so thick with pounded sugar that it was quite stiff: ‘I wonder,’ said the footman who prepared it for him, ‘that they persist in giving him the egg; for he brings it up every time.’” Lady Hester went on:—“Mr. Pitt died in the night, doctor.[19] Dr. Bailey acquainted me with his impending death the day before: Sir Walter Farquhar kept saying to the last that I need not afflict myself—always giving me hopes.[141] The carriages had been waiting at the door, ready for a long time: as soon as all was over, Williams and James,” (her brother) “set off for Downing Street, and sealed up everything. Miss Williams then took just what clothes she wanted for me, and they both returned to Putney, bringing with them Mr. Adams, Mr. Pitt’s secretary, whom they called up at his house in Queen Street, Westminster. On their way back they met the doctors going to town.”

I happened to observe that I had read an account of Mr. Pitt’s last moments in Gifford’s Life of him, and that his dying words, praying for forgiveness through the merits of his Redeemer, or words to that effect, together with the whole scene of his death-bed, appeared, as I thought, too much made up, and too formal to be true: leaving the impression that the author, and those from whom he gathered his information, had considered it a duty to make the close of a great man’s life conformable to their religious feelings rather than to facts and reality.[20] “Who is it that says it of him?” asked Lady Hester. “Dr. Prettyman[142] and Sir Walter Farquhar.”—“Oh! it’s all a lie,” she replied, rather indignantly:—“Dr. Prettyman was fast asleep when Mr. Pitt died: Sir Walter Farquhar was not there; and nobody was present but James. I was the last person who saw him except James, and I left him about eight o’clock, for I saw him struggling as if he wanted to speak, and I did not like to make him worse.” After a short pause, she resumed:—“What should Mr. Pitt make such a speech for, who never went to church in his life? Nothing prevented his going to church when he was at Walmer: but he never even talked about religion, and never brought it upon the carpet.

“When I think of poor Mr. Pitt, I am the more and more persuaded that the greater part of mankind are not worth the kindness we bestow on them. Never did so pure an angel enter upon life as he: but, good God! when he died, had he had to begin the world again, he would have acted in a very different manner. The baseness and ingratitude that he found in mankind were inconceivable. All the peers that he had made deserted him, and half those he had served returned his kindness by going over to his enemies.

“Then see, doctor, what fortune and luck are![143] Mr. Pitt, during his life spent in his country’s service, could seldom get a gleam of success to cheer him, whilst a Liverpool and a Castlereagh have triumphs fall upon them in showers. Oh! it makes me sick to think that Mr. Pitt should have died through hard labour for his country; that Lord Melville, so hearty as he was, should almost have sunk under it, and should have had nothing but difficulties and disappointments; whilst such fellows as H. and C., who do not care if the country were ruined, provided they kept their places, should have nothing but good fortune attend them, as if it was the effect of their stupid measures. But, not contented with that, they must even bring discredit on his memory by attributing to him a line of conduct he never pursued. To think of Canning’s going about and saying, ‘This is the glorious system of Pitt;’ and the papers echoing his words—‘this is the glorious system of Pitt!’ Why, when Louis XVIII. came to England, Mr. Pitt would not receive him as King, but only as Count Somebody, (I declare I forget what, it made so slight an impression on me;) and when I used to say to Mr. Pitt, ‘Oh, Lord! what does it signify?—do let him be king if he wants it’—‘No,’ replied Mr. Pitt, ‘I am not fighting to re-establish the Bourbons on the throne: only let the French have some stable government that we can make peace with, that’s all; I am not[144] going to sacrifice the interests of my country to the Bourbons, Hester.’”

I quitted her about three o’clock, when she said she was going into the bath, which she did about every third day; no proper place certainly for her in her state of health.

In crossing the courtyard to go to my house, there seemed somehow to be an unusual solitude about the premises. The stories, too, I had been hearing and reading were doleful; so that I became very melancholy for the rest of the day, and could not rally my spirits, do what I would. As I sat in my room, I reflected that, although Lady Hester would probably get through the summer, yet how surely, though slowly, disease was making irreparable inroads on her reduced frame.

May 8.—My fears about the servants now began to revive. Monsieur Guys had made his preparations for his departure, and was going in a few days to Aleppo—he, who knew all her servants, their names, where they had sprung from, and everything about them, and who, had they committed any crime, could have at once traced them to their hiding-places. I felt my loneliness: I had no one to look to, to help me in any great difficulty. I saw, when I returned from a walk, or entered the house unexpectedly, how the older ones were often sitting in close cabal together, and I[145] heard their whispers, like conspirators laying their heads together for some evil purpose. Why had I not written down more for these last three days? I said to myself, when I saw the scantiness of my memorandums: alas! my mind was ill at ease.

The name of Sir Francis Burdett was often mentioned, and various conjectures formed to account for his long silence. The prince, who had promised to write, where was he got to? Every hope seemed to fail. The prince, when he left Lady Hester Stanhope, had been entrusted with a copy of the correspondence, such as it afterwards appeared in the newspapers, and he had undertaken to make it public: she was therefore in daily expectation of receiving information from him of its transmission to Europe, and through what channel it would appear. But no letter came, and this rendered her fidgety and uneasy; for she conceived it to be of vital importance to her interests that her case should be made known as speedily as possible, hoping, from publicity, to come more speedily at the truth about the property to which she thought herself entitled, and which, she supposed, was withheld from her.

The time meanwhile was beguiled in reading Lady Charlotte Bury’s novel, which, from the remarks and anecdotes it called forth, lasted out much longer than it would with a common reader. In that part of the[146] “Memoirs” where mention is made of the doubts that existed as to the validity of the Duke of Rochester’s will, Lady Hester observed, “A person, who is in the daily habit of writing like another, might easily imitate his signature. Mr. Pitt, when I had written a paper, used to say, ‘Sign it for me,’ and I did; because, when you write quickly, you write like another if you will. It is those who sit down to forge, and make their strokes slowly, that are found out, because there is an uncertainty in what they do.”

Something else called forth another observation: “Oh!” said Lady Hester, “I used very often to tell Mr. Pitt ‘You are not the grand statesman; it was your father;—you are a little God Almighty sent from Heaven, who are always thinking of the respect due to the king, of complaisance to the peers, and who kill yourself out of compassion: he made them all tremble.’ Nevertheless, doctor, I know that he thought just as his grandfather did.”

Wednesday, May 9.—I resumed reading at that part where Squire Mordaunt returns to Spetchingly on New-year’s Day. When the narrative comes to Mrs. de Vere’s meeting with Mr. Fox, Lady Hester said, “Fox, I think, was thrown into a position with the Prince and his dissipated friends from which he never afterwards could extricate himself, otherwise he would have been a different man; but, mixed up with them,[147] the king never could bear him: for, when Mr. Pitt took office in 1803, the king wrote to him (for I saw the letter,) ‘Would you force on me Mr. Fox, who debauched my son?’ &c. The last time I saw Mr. Fox, he was at Vauxhall with Mrs. Fox. She was dressed as some respectable housekeeper might be, with a black bonnet and some sort of a gown. I looked at her several times, but I could see nothing like what I should have expected in Mrs. Armstead: there was none of that manner.—” (here Lady Hester made up a kind of courtezan look that conveyed what she meant to say.) “Mr. Fox looked like the landlord of a public-house; yet, when he spoke, doctor, he was sometimes very eloquent. On Mr. Hastings’s trial he made many people cry. There were all the peers with their pocket-handkerchiefs out—quite a tragedy! but he made such a business of it—” (here Lady Hester sat up in bed, and, to show what she meant, threw her arms first to the right and then to the left, and then thumped the bed violently, making me wonder where she had found such strength;)—“he was worse than Punch.”

Sir Walter Scott was mentioned in one place in the novel with great praise. “I’m not sure about Scott,” observed Lady Hester: “he pretended to be a great Pittite, but he was half inclined to go over to Fox. He sent some of his poetry, where he praised[148] Fox, before he published it, to say he would not publish it, if it were displeasing; but I told him he was to do just as he liked, and to let it stand, as it made no difference what he wrote.”

Thursday, May 10.—Lady Hester Stanhope was very low to-day, seemingly exhausted with coughing, when I saw her about one o’clock. She continued to follow her own mode of cure, which now consisted in swallowing the yolks of fresh eggs, sucking oranges by dozens, sipping finjàns of strong coffee with ambergris in it, and drinking small glasses of rum and milk. Her food was of the most objectionable kind. She thought, as many others do, that what are reputed strong viands give strength to the body, without the slightest regard as to whether the stomach could digest and assimilate them so as to afford nourishment. Thus she often had meat pies, eating the meat and jelly, forced meat balls, beef cabóbs, &c.

Shaykh Mohammed Nasýb, a Mograbyn, whom I had sent away on the 19th of April without a present, made his appearance again to-day. He had been to the Emir Beshýr and to other great persons in the mountain, to collect a hundred piasters or two here and there, a practice common with these shaykhs versed in the Mahometan religion and in the commentaries on the Alcoran. They go from palace to palace, are lodged and fed for a night or two, discourse[149] with the great man once or twice a day, if he is at liberty, and repay the hospitality they receive either by their learning, or by their skill as alchymists, or as astrologers, or by the news they bring from the cities they have passed through, and of the great men they have seen: for they find admission everywhere.

The dervises are another set of visitors, very frequent in the houses of the rich. They are the mendicant friars of the East, itinerant monks, whose pretensions to sanctity are heightened by a strange costume. Some of them—for they are of different orders—let their hair and beards grow long and hang dishevelled, and wear black and shaggy sheep or bear or tiger skins. By their side hang a score of strange-looking implements—a carved cup in wood, a back-scratcher, to facilitate the chase after vermin in parts where their hands cannot easily reach, a pottle for water, a bullock’s horn, or a conch shell to blow instead of it, long rosaries of immense beads, an ostrich’s egg—God knows what! They are all impudent, intrusive beggars, and are well known and appreciated in the East as the Franciscans, Capuchins, and other friars, are in the West, who are but the humble imitators of their more audacious, and, let me say, cleverer prototypes.

It was on a winter’s day that one of these people,[150] being refused a night’s lodging and a bakshysh at Lady Hester’s, invoked a curse on the house and its inmates. He took his horn from his side, blew three or four blasts, and uttered some imprecations which were unintelligible to me. The whole scene was a picture. He was a dervise of the order called Bektashy, daring and fearless as men are who know that none will venture to lay hands on them, athletic, with raven locks of disproportionate thickness and length, and clad in as wild-looking garments as the imagination of a stage-manager could invent for Caliban, or some such monster. His large, rolling eye, his features darkened by a weather-beaten existence, his white teeth, his shaggy and hairy breast, his naked feet and legs, and his strange accoutrements, made him altogether a remarkable being. The wind blew high at the time, the rain swept up through the valley from the sea in a white sheet, as the squalls every now and then succeeded each other; and there he stood, under the cover of a dilapidated building, which those who have visited Dar Jôon may recollect as being near the entrance gate. He had been fed with a good dinner—for nobody ever came without having something to eat put before him—but he had heard that other dervises had left the house with fifty, a hundred, nay, even two hundred piasters, and he expected to force a compliance with his demands for[151] himself. It must not be imagined that the servants beheld this action of his, and heard his anathema, with the same indifference that I did: they looked gloomy and apprehensive. It so happened that some pewits, or green plovers, had appeared in the mountain and in our neighbourhood just about the same time. The melancholy cry of these birds, as they are not common in Syria, is considered of bad augury by the Turks. It was in the month when Lady Hester was in the worst stage of her illness; and they coupled these things together, and drew from them unfavourable omens. But Lady Hester had said to me—“Keep away, if you can, all those shaykhs and dervises; it will only torment me to know they are there, for I can’t see them. I have no money to give them, and they are too cunning to trust their news and information, if they have any to give, to anybody but me.” I was determined, therefore, to send him off; the more so, as I did not like his physiognomy, and as the village was close at hand, where he would find a night’s lodging in the khan or caravansery.

But let us return to the Mograbyn shaykh. When I told him that Lady Hester was ill, and could see nobody, he said, if I would but let her know who he was, he was sure she would receive him: that he had several times had the honour of an audience, and that[152] her Felicity had expressed herself so pleased with his conversation as once to have engaged him to quit Zyb, where he lived, and to come and settle at Jôon with his family. I therefore represented this to her ladyship, but she refused to see him. The circumstance, however, gave rise to the following conversation:—

“People,” said she, “never should be sent away who show a very great earnestness to be admitted; for, although many times they might be but beggars, sometimes it was not so. When my grandfather was ill, a man on horseback came to the door and insisted on seeing him. My grandmamma presented herself, and asked him what was his business, telling him Lord Chatham was so ill that he could receive nobody. The man signified that nothing would do, but he must see Lord Chatham himself. After ineffectually trying to induce him to disclose his business, grandmamma Chatham at last admitted him into my grandfather’s room, but behind a screen, so that they were still invisible to each other. ‘That will not do,’ observed the persevering man; ‘I must see your lordship’s face, and be sure it is you.’ The screen being removed, and the man assured of whom he was speaking to, drew out a tin case, containing the will of Sir Something Pynsent, leaving my grandfather two estates, one in Wiltshire, of £4,000 a year, and the other, Burton Pynsent, of £10,000; his will only saying[153] he had done it in admiration of his character. The Wiltshire estate was sold immediately, and the money frittered away (as I heard from Mr. Wilson, the tutor) nobody knows how. Of the pictures my grandfather only reserved two, the portraits of the Marquis of Granby and of Admiral Saunders, to give to the corporation of Plymouth. Of the rest, which were old family pictures, like Lady Cobham, &c., he took no notice whatever.”[21]

Thursday, May 11.—I read to Lady Hester for three hours out of the “Memoirs of a Peeress.” As she lay on her bed, pale, wan, and exhausted, she looked like a person in the last stage of illness; but, as the day advanced, she generally grew more animated. She made few remarks. The Duchess of Rochester now was become the Marchioness of T*******. The “jokes of Stowe,” as alluded to in the Memoirs, she exemplified in this way: “One morning, whilst General Grenville was staying there, there came a letter, with his address on the cover, and ‘Montrose’ in the corner. The general, not being intimate with the duke, said—‘What’s this? let’s see: what can[154] make the duke write to me?’ On opening the letter, out came about fifty fleas, all jumping up to his face. The general’s extreme aversion to fleas was well known: he was so angry at this that he ordered a postchaise, and never would go to Stowe again. On Lord Glastonbury they played a joke of another sort: they put a paragraph in the papers, with initials and other indications, that he had run off to Gretna Green. His aversion to women and to marriage was as great as the general’s aversion to fleas.”

As I read on, the old squire’s death affected Lady Hester. “How rare is such a character now!” said she: “I recollect some in my time. There was Sir John Dyke, who was an excellent man, but careless in his affairs, and perhaps ruined by this time. But such men, when you get over the first two or three days, in which a few expressions may be strange in their conversation, become afterwards most agreeable society, and have much sterling worth. They are men who know something, and have real straitforwardness of character: I always liked them.”

In another place she said—“Doctor, when you reflect on this book, don’t you see the wide difference there is between refined people and vulgar ones? There is Lady Isabella and Lady Helen, with a tyrannical and unkind mother—see how obedient and submissive they are; and, I dare say, though the[155] daughters of a duchess, had she put them to do the most menial offices, they would have done them; but vulgar people are always fancying themselves affronted, and their pride is hurt, and they are afraid of being lowered, and God knows what. You will think it a strange thing to say, but it is my opinion that the vices of high-born people are better than the virtues of low-born ones. By low-born I do not mean poor people; for there are many without a sixpence who have high sentiments. It is that, among the low-born, there is no spring of action that is good, even in their virtues. If they are laborious and industrious, it is for gain, not for the love of labour; if they are learned, it is from pedantry; if they are charitable, it is from ostentation; if religious, from hypocrisy; if studious of health, it is to gratify their gormandizing; and so on. I repeat it again—the vices of the great are preferable to the virtues of such persons. Those of them that rise in the world always show their base origin: for if you kill a chicken and pick the feathers, they may fly up into the air for a time, but they fall down again upon the dunghill. The good or bad race must peep out. God created certain races from the beginning; and, although the pure may be crossed, and the cart-horse be taken out of the cart and put to the saddle, their foals will always show their good or bad blood. High descent always shows itself, and low[156] always will peep out. I never have known above two or three persons of common origin who had not something vulgar about them.”

It was curious to hear how she would quote the opinion of the commonest persons as affirmative of her notions in this respect. “A peasant told me, one day,” said Lady Hester, in a conversation on this subject, “that he had met Captain —— on the road, in his way to some part of the mountain; and I asked him what he thought of him. ‘Why,’ replied the man, ‘there is something of good blood about him, and something that is not: he is half thorough-bred and half kedýsh:’” (The reader has already been told that kedýshes are horses of no pedigree, used by shopkeepers and pedlars for the road:) “and the man was right,” added Lady Hester. “But, only think, what quickness of observation these people have: you cannot deceive them; for, at a glance, they discover at once what a man is. The girls, too, said Captain —— is not quite akâber:” (akâber means distinguished in appearance) “he has a third part of a bad breed in him: and they were right as well as the peasant; for his mother was a Miss ——, because his father, disappointed in marrying Miss ——, whom Lord O—— danced with at a ball and married the next day, went and married a young lady well brought up, but not thorough bred. He took his marines to the Emir[157] Beshýr on horseback; horse marines, doctor!—and the natives to this day talk with astonishment of the calves of the legs of one of the officers who was with him.

“Did you ever know a better proof again how high descent will show itself than in what I believe I told you about Count Rewisky? When coming to see me from Beyrout, he was met by a common shepherd, of whom he asked the road to Sayda. The count was dressed like a Bedouin Arab, and was mounted on a shabby mare, of good blood, it is true, but to all appearance not worth a hundred piasters. The shepherd, looking at him, replied, ‘Sir, you don’t want to go to Sayda; it is the way to Jôon you want to know. You are going to see the English meleky’ (queen); ‘for a man of your rank is fitting only to be her guest.’ This was exactly the case; he was coming to see me; and, mean and poor as his appearance was, the peasant detected his noble blood at a glance.

“That noble-minded man, doctor, was a perfect convert to my opinions. He assured me that I had appeared to him at different times, and once in particular he told me the following story. He had been in conversation with the Emperor Alexander on a state affair of great importance, and the Emperor had tried to induce him to do something which the Count felt was the course he ought not to pursue as a man of integrity, and he begged to be allowed some little time[158] for consideration before he acceded to the Emperor’s wishes. Alexander dismissed him, hoping that, by the next day, when he would see him again, the Count would recollect himself, and who he (the Emperor) was. Count Rewisky, fretted almost to death, between the ruin he might bring on his family, if he opposed the Emperor’s wishes, together with the prospect of Siberia, and the stings of conscience, still wanted resolution to follow the path of virtue. But at night, when he was in bed, I, as he told me, appeared to him with a star on my forehead, and said to him—‘Count, follow the road which conscience shows you is the right one, and fear nothing.’ The next day, the Count presented himself at the Emperor’s closet.—‘Who is that?’ said a voice from within, and Alexander himself opened the door. He started, when he saw the Count. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘I trust you have got a little sense into your head since yesterday: you have changed your mind, no doubt.’—‘My mind, sire, remains unchanged,’ said the Count.... ‘What a fine black horse that was I saw you riding two or three days ago—such a beautiful creature!’ cried the Emperor, turning the conversation suddenly; and he never after mentioned the subject to the Count.”

Sunday, May 13.—I did not see Lady Hester until three o’clock in the afternoon. “Read to me,” she said, almost as soon as I had sat down, “for I am[159] too exhausted to talk.” I began, in the “Memoirs of a Peeress,” at the chapter succeeding the burial of the squire, and she listened for some time without saying a word. At last she interrupted me, and observed that there was a great deal of good feeling in the book. “If I were rich enough,” she continued, “I would invite Lady Charlotte here—and she would come, for she has children, and would like to show them the East. How pleasant it would be for me to have such a companion for two or three hours a day! What a beautiful woman she was! what an arm and hand! I have seen the whole Opera-House turn to look at it on the front of the box. What a beautiful leg, too!—but the handsomest foot I ever saw in man or woman was Lord Down’s. The last time I ever met Lady Charlotte was walking with her brother in Kensington Gardens: she walked so well!—not mincing, like some women, nor striding, like others, but with a perfect use of her limbs, unaffected and graceful. The duke, too, was like her in that respect: his smile was incomparably sweet. I don’t know where they were going; but they walked up to a party, seemed to talk and inquire about somebody, and then walked away together. Her features were equally charming with her person—with hair not keteety” (the Arabic for hempy), “but approaching to a gold colour, and with a beautiful nose.”

[160] The narrative proceeded to the remarks made on the Empress Josephine. “There, you see,” exclaimed Lady Hester, interrupting me, “was I right about Josephine? As soon as I saw that print of her, which you sent me, I saw at once she was artful beyond measure: I told you so, you know, some time ago. There are two or three lines about her face that make me think she was satanic: as for being handsome, that she never could have been. But Buonaparte, whatever Lady Charlotte may think, had naturally something vulgar in his composition. He took a little from Ossian, a little from Cæsar, a little from this book, a little from that, and made up a something that was a good imitation of a great man; but he was not in himself naturally great. As for killing the Duke d’Enghein, if he had killed all the Bourbons for the good of France, I should say nothing to that; but he had not much feeling. Whenever he laments anybody, it is always for his own sake that he does it. I don’t understand, either, a great man making complaints about the room he slept in not being good enough for him, or complaining of his champagne: I dare say he had slept in many a worse. Had I been in his place, you would have seen how differently I should have acted, and that such a man as Sir Hudson Lowe should never have seen that he could have the power of vexing me. He was not[161] what I call a man of genius: a man of considerable talent he certainly was. A man of genius is like a fine diamond: what I understand by a fine diamond is one resembling a large drop of water—smooth and even on every side, so that, whichever way you look at it, there is a blaze of light that seems as if it would spread as you gaze on it. However, men of genius have seldom a look that would tell you they are so; for what a heavy-looking man Mr. Fox was! did you ever see him? Mr. Pitt, again, had nothing remarkable in his appearance; Mr. Pitt’s was not a face that gave one the idea of a clever man. As he walked through the park, you would have taken him for a poet, or some such person, thin, tall, and rather awkward; looking upwards as if his ideas were en air, and not remarking what was passing around him: there was no expression in him at such a moment. It was my grandfather who had the fine look. The best picture of him is that at Chevening: he is represented in his robes. The colour and fire in his eyes altogether is very fine. Georgio pleased me, when (on his return from England) he said, ‘Your face, my lady, is just like your grandpapa’s:’ for the forehead, and the upper part of the nose, and the contour of the countenance, I know are the same.”

As I read on about Mr. Fox’s illness and death, Lady Hester lay absorbed in her reflections almost as[162] if in a trance. Her pipe fell from her hands, and the bowl of it, turning downwards, emptied its lighted contents on the blanket of her bed. I had not observed this at first, until the smell of burning made me look up, and I rose to knock off the tobacco on the floor. A great round hole had been burnt; but this was a common occurrence, and she never or seldom noticed such accidents: my rising, however, disturbed her from her reverie, and she spoke as follows:—[22]

[163] “Mr. Fox, after Mr. Pitt’s death, sent two distinct messages to me, offering me the means of securing an independence for life. One was by Mr. Ward, who said plainly to me—‘You know, Lady Hester, you can never live, with your present income, as you[164] have been accustomed to live; and, therefore, take my advice, and accept Mr. Fox’s civility.’ I told him that it was not from a personal disregard for Mr. Fox that I refused; because, when I asked Mr. Pitt, upon one occasion, who was the cleverest man in England, he answered, ‘Mr. Fox:’ but, as the world only knew Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox as opposed to each other, I should be considered as receiving benefits from Mr. Pitt’s enemy. ‘You will live to repent your refusal,’ said Mr. Ward. I answered him that might be, but if he talked for a year, he never would alter my resolution.”

Lady Hester went on:—“Mr. Fox’s offer, doctor, was as good as ten thousand pounds a year to me. He was to make me ranger of some park, with a house; and then I was to have a house in town, and the rest was to be done in the way they shuffle those things through the public offices.

“By the other, I was offered apartments in” (I think she said) “Windsor Castle: but then, you know, I must have been a courtier; and I rather chose to live independent, on account of my two brothers. And why did I take that house in Mountague Square” (she always called it Mountague Square), “but on their account! When I furnished it, I had got some things which I had saved up, and which were of no use in Downing Street: these I made use[165] of now; but there were people so mean as to come and spy about me, and to form unfair conjectures as to how I got them. —— was one, who even went to a large shop, and, from a kind of pencil drawing which he had made, inquired how much such a lamp as he had seen at my house would cost. They told him seventy-five guineas. This lamp had been given me by the Princess of Wales; but I never satisfied their malignity by telling them: I let them talk on. And, doctor, furnishing my house was no trifling expense to me. But I thought it best that my brothers should have somewhere to invite their friends to when in town; and I fitted up two bed-rooms and two breakfast-rooms for them with every luxury they could have. Neither were they furnished in a common way; for there were their libraries to each, and everything customary in fashionable life. Why, James used to have quite a levée; and breakfast was always on table from nine to twelve, with tea and coffee, and chicken, and tongue, and cold meat, and all that. Nash often used to say to me, ‘Lord, my lady, it is a great pity to make all this waste: I am sure many of those officers make their dinner off the colonel’s late breakfasts.’ But I used to answer, ‘Never mind;’ because I thought some of those men, although they were people I could not know, might be useful to him. He might want a second, or there might be some other case, where one of these persons[166] might be sent when another could not, and so on. I do not say I could not know them, from pride; but it would have been very awkward for me to have had a red-faced captain coming up to me with, ‘My dear Lady Hester, how do you do?’ Why, I recollect a very respectable gentleman coming once into a box at the Opera, where I was seated with some duchess and some great folks, I forget who, and claiming acquaintance with me. I very civilly answered him with, ‘I hope you are well, Mr. T——, how are all your friends in Cheshire?’ But, doctor, to hear the tittering and the whispers of—‘Who is your dear friend, Lady Hester?—really, the cut of his breeches is particularly excellent!’ and another, in a simpering voice, asking, ‘What on earth did the man wear so many watches for?’ and then some one crying, ‘Oh! they are the buttons of his coat;’ and then a laugh, so that even I could hardly stand it.

“So, doctor, what I did for James and Charles was to let them have a place to see their acquaintances; and I every now and then gave a dinner, to keep together for them a certain number of Mr. Pitt’s particular friends. And then, in the summer, I would go down to some retired spot in Wales, or somewhere, where I saved as much as I could.[23]

[167] “But,” she continued, “would you believe it? all the time I kept house in Mountague Square, not one of these people, not one of my relations, ever sent me a single thing to help me on. Ah! now and then a sea-captain would offer me a pipe of wine: but I always put him civilly off with a ‘Not now, but when you return from India,’ or some such answer. And, from that time to this, these same relations would, I believe, have let me starve, for aught they cared.

“You often wonder why I scold and scold, and try to make you bring up your children to be useful to themselves and others, and neglect all frivolous and empty appearances: but the reason is that the world is so heartless, that if you came to want a shilling, you would not find a friend to give you one. If I,[168] who had thousands of friends and acquaintances, have been left to linger here, deserted and neglected, what would be the lot of a common person? Has any one of my relations, any one of my friends, any one of those whom Mr. Pitt, and perhaps I, enriched, come forward to help me?—not one.

“I have had a hard time for five-and-twenty years; but you will never see me now in some of those convulsions about it I once used to have: for, thank God, my spirits are as good, when my cough leaves me quiet, as ever they were. And what is the use of trusting in man? No; my reliance is in God; and, if it is his will to get me out of my difficulties, he will do it in spite of them all. My only trouble is sometimes about my debts: but I think all will be paid, and from England too. So here I am, and we will now talk of something else: but I must first tell you a little Eastern story.

“There was a man who lived in affluence at Damascus, surrounded by a happy and prosperous family, when some reverses in business ruined his fortune, and he was reduced to the necessity of exerting his talents and industry in order to try to maintain his station in life. As he wanted neither, he flattered himself that, from his numerous connexions, he should soon re-establish his affairs: but a fatality seemed to hang over him; for, just as he was about[169] to begin business again, the plague broke out in the city, and his wife and daughters were among the victims.

“Unable to bear the sight of a place where such afflictions had overtaken him, he removed to Beyrout, a seaport of some consequence even at that time, although much more so now, and there, with his son and a faithful servant, he opened a small shop, stocked with such wares as he could procure without much advance of capital. But here again he was unsuccessful; for, his son becoming answerable for the debts of a man who had befriended him, and being unable to pay, his father’s little all was disposed of to save him from prison, and by degrees beggary overtook them. He then engaged himself as clerk to a merchant, next turned schoolmaster, until his sight failing him, he at last became stone-blind, and, in despair, he resolved to quit a country, where, in spite of his exertions, his position every day had grown worse and worse.

“Accordingly, he embarked with his son for Damietta in a vessel where there were fourteen passengers besides himself, and among them two divers, people who get a living on these coasts by diving for sponges, which they bring up from the bottom of the sea. It was the winter season, and the weather proved tempestuous. In crossing the bar of Damietta, where the[170] current of the Nile, opposed to the waves of the sea, often makes a dangerous surf, the vessel foundered, and every soul perished, except the old man, who, when the others took to the boat, being blind, was unable to shift for himself, and clung to the wreck, from which he was removed the day afterwards.

“Struck with the singular decrees of Providence, that an old blind man should have escaped the dangers of the sea where even divers were drowned, he piously raised his eyes to Heaven and said, ‘I see where my fault has been: I have relied on my own exertions and the help of man, when I should have trusted in God alone. Henceforth I will put my faith in him, and nobody else.’ His peculiar case became known among the merchants of Damietta, and a subscription was made for him; so that, in a few days, he had more money at his disposal than all his friends, and all his exertions, when he looked to them alone, had ever procured for him. His serenity of mind returned: a small but sufficient subsistence was secured to him; and he spent the remainder of his days in pious gratitude to the Almighty, whose wholesome chastisements had brought him to a proper sense of the futility of human plans, unless we confide in his goodness to second our endeavours.”


[18] The late Countess Stanhope.

[19] “Lord Wellesley returned from his glorious administration at a very critical period in our parliamentary history. Mr. Pitt was stricken with the malady which proved fatal—a typhus fever, caught from some accidental infection, when his system was reduced by the stomach complaints he long laboured under. He soon appointed a time when his friend might come to see him. This, their last interview, was in the villa on Putney Heath, where he died a few days after. Lord Wellesley called upon me there many years after: it was then occupied by my brother-in-law, Mr. Eden, whom I was visiting. His lordship showed me the place where those illustrious friends sat. Mr. Pitt was, he said, much emaciated and enfeebled, but retained his gaiety and his constitutionally sanguine disposition; he expressed his confident hopes of recovery. In the adjoining room he lay a corpse the ensuing week; and it is a singular and melancholy circumstance, resembling the stories told of William the Conqueror’s deserted state at his decease, that, some one in the neighbourhood having sent a message to inquire after Mr. Pitt’s state, he found the wicket open, then the door of the house, and, nobody answering the bell, he walked through the rooms till he reached the bed on which the minister’s body lay lifeless, the sole tenant of the mansion of which the doors, a few hours before, were darkened by crowds of suitors alike obsequious and importunate, the vultures whose instinct haunts the carcases only of living ministers.”—Lord Brougham’s Historical Sketches.

[20] Lord Malmesbury cites Lady M.’s account of Mr. Pitt’s last words as follows:—“Lady M. who saw Sir Walter Farquhar three days after Pitt’s death, and received from him an account of his last hours, said that almost the last words he spoke intelligibly were these to himself, and more than once repeated, ‘Oh! what times! oh, my country!’”

[21] Here must be some mistake in my notes; for Lady Cobham’s might have been a family picture, if the term were applied to Lord Chatham’s residence; but how could it be so, as belonging to the Wiltshire estate? However, I let it stand as it was written at the time.

[22] Much has been written in prose and verse on the advantages and mischief of smoking tobacco. Tissot, among others, filled a volume to prove that half the maladies of mankind may be traced to the use of tobacco. But when some millions of people, male and female, as in Turkey, smoke from morning till night, and live, florid and robust, to a good old age, it may be questioned whether Tissot showed the same sagacity in his nosological researches on this as on other subjects. All I can say is that Lady Hester gave her sanction to the practice by the habitual use of the long oriental pipe, which use dated from the year 1817, or thereabouts.

As she had now kept her bed for many weeks, we will describe her there, when, lying with her pipe in her mouth, talking on politics, philosophy, morality, religion, or on any other theme, with her accustomed eloquence, and closing her periods with a whiff that would have made the Duchess of Rutland stare with astonishment, could she have risen from her tomb to have seen her quondam friend, the brilliant ornament of a London drawing-room, clouded in fumes so that her features were sometimes invisible. Now, this altered individual had not a covering to her bed that was not burnt into twenty holes by the sparks and ashes that had fallen from her pipe; and, had not these coverings been all woollen, it is certain that, on some unlucky night, she must have been consumed, bed and all.

Her bed-room, at the end of every twenty-four hours, was strewed with tobacco and ashes, to be swept away and again strewed as before; and it was always strongly impregnated with the fumes.

The finest tobacco the country could produce, and the cleanest pipes (for she had a new one almost as often as a fop puts on new gloves), could hardly satisfy her fastidiousness; and I have known her footman get as many scoldings as there were days in the week on that score. From curiosity, I once counted a bundle of pipes, thrown by after a day or two’s use, any one of which would have fetched five or ten shillings in London, and there were one hundred and two. The woods she most preferred were jessamine, rose, and cork. She never smoked cherry-wood pipes, from their weight, and because she liked cheaper ones, which she could renew oftener. She never arrived at that perfectability, which is seen in many smokers, of swallowing the fumes, or of making them pass out at her nostrils. The pipe was to her what a fan was or is in a lady’s hand—a means of having something to do. She forgot it when she had a letter to write, or any serious occupation. It is not so with the studious and literary man, who fancies it helps reflection or promotes inspiration.

[23] About the time of the Duke of York’s affair with Mrs. Clarke, Lady Hester went into Wales, and, in an inn at Builth, she got round her the exciseman, the apothecary, the landlord, and some of the village farmers. “Pray, Mr. Innkeeper,” she said, “how should you like a painted wife, with half-a-dozen fine gentlemen about her, shaking the hair-powder on her face? Or is it agreeable, Mr. M., to have the window opened at dinner-time, in a cold November day, to let out the smells of a parcel of dogs? I suppose, if you had an uncomfortable home, you would think yourself at liberty to take a little pleasure elsewhere.” With speeches of that sort she won them all over to the duke’s side. To hear her relate the story herself, with her mimickry of the men and the landlady, to each of whom she addressed some question, which brought the case home to their own feelings, was infinitely amusing: it was one of the best scenes I ever heard her act.



Journey to Beyrout—Death of Mrs. K—— —Mr. George Robinson and M. Guys—The River Damoor—Khaldy—Letter from Lady Hester to Mr. K.—Lord Prudhoe—Mrs. Moore—Lady Hester’s dislike to be the subject of occasional poetry—Striking a Turk—Lady Hester’s opinion of Lord Byron—Arrival of Maximilian Duke of Bavaria—Letter to the Baron de Busech—Letter to H.R.H. the Duke Maximilian—Adventures of the Duke—Illness of the Duke’s negro, Wellington—Vexation of His Royal Highness—Letter to Mr. K., merchant at Beyrout—Letter to Lord Brougham—Professional visit to Sulyman Pasha’s child—League between the maids and receivers of stolen goods—Black doses for the Prince’s suite—Letter from Lady Hester to the Duke of Bavaria on his intended visit—The Duke leaves Syria.

Tuesday, May 15.—I had been to Sayda to-day, and was within a mile of Jôon, on my return, when I saw a servant making towards me in breathless haste. A letter had arrived for me from Beyrout, which Lady Hester had immediately forwarded to me on the road by this man, charging him to deliver it with[172] all possible speed, so that it should reach me before the close of daylight. The reason of all this extraordinary haste was that I might be enabled to communicate at once with her, if necessary, concerning its contents; as the vigil of Wednesday commenced at sunset on Tuesday, from which hour till the following sunset she could neither see me, nor admit of any message from me. The reader will remember that on every Wednesday, from sunset to sunset, her ladyship was invisible.

There was indeed occasion, as it happened, for all this haste. The letter was from Mr. K., an English merchant at Beyrout, informing me of the alarming illness of his wife, and begging, in the most pressing terms, that I would use all expedition to come (as he was pleased to express himself) and save her.

As the sun was now setting, I desired the servant to tell Lady Hester that there would not be time in the interval for me to see her, and that I should be obliged to set off that night to Beyrout. I made my arrangements accordingly, and started at three o’clock in the morning, about two hours before daylight, accompanied by a servant. The horses were all at grass some miles from the house, so that I was compelled to perform the journey on an ass. It took me eleven hours; and, on my arrival, I found that Mrs. K. had died in the morning.

[173] There was a very decent inn at Beyrout, kept by one Guiseppe Paraschivà, a Greek, who gave the most copious repasts that a hungry traveller can desire to find. Having ordered my dinner, I went to the French consul’s house, thinking there to meet with the physician who attended Mrs. K. In the quadrangle of his residence I saw a number of persons assembled, and an auction going on. I had not made three steps towards the circle, when a gentleman who knew me advanced in a hurried manner towards me. “Touch nobody,” said he; “the plague is in the town: it has taken us by surprise; three persons have died to-day in the blacksmiths’ street.”[24] I thanked my friend, and, having seen Monsieur Guys, who confirmed the bad news of the plague and of Mrs. K.’s death, I hastened away, and went to the English consul’s, Mr. Moore. He was already in quarantine, and received me at the doorway of his house, where it happened Lord Prudhoe was then sitting, in the same predicament.

The funeral of Mrs. K. took place in the evening.[174] Her case had been a melancholy one: her sufferings must have been excruciating; and the affection of the husband, anxious to save the life of a wife he loved to distraction, induced him to allow of certain unskilful efforts for her relief, no doubt well intended, but assuredly baneful to the patient. The lady was a German, a model of domestic purity and affection, and idolized by her husband.

I saw Mr. K. the following day, and condoled with him on his loss. He was like a distracted man, and lay prostrate on his sofa, vowing vengeance against the French doctor, whom he denounced as his wife’s murderer.

Saturday, May 19.—As the Franks had now begun to shut up their houses, and the report of fresh cases of plague had created some consternation, I returned to Jôon. The preceding evening, whilst paying a visit to Monsieur and Madame Guys, he put into my hands a file of newspapers, a packet of letters, and a parcel, just arrived by a French merchant-vessel from Marseilles. The parcel contained Mr. George Robinson’s “Three Years’ Residence in the East,” which the author himself had kindly forwarded to me from Paris. I had the pleasure of opening it at the thirty-sixth page of his volume on Syria, and of reading to my friends, Monsieur and Madame Guys, the well-deserved tribute paid to their hospitality and distinguished[175] merits, which excited in them a lively emotion. “We do our best,” said Monsieur Guys, “to make Beyrout agreeable to such travellers as we are fortunate enough to become acquainted with; but it is not always that we meet with such grateful acknowledgments.” Mr. Robinson, in his Arab dress, was the exact similitude of Burckhardt, alias Shaykh Ibrahim. He also spoke Arabic with a degree of fluency that made it probable, had he spent as many years in the East as Mr. Burckhardt, he would have been able, like him, almost to have passed for a native.

Being long familiar with the road from Beyrout to Sayda, it would be difficult for me to conjure up such a picture of its rocky and solitary horrors as that which has been drawn by M. Lamartine. Features so romantic could have been portrayed only under the sudden inspiration of novelty and surprise. First impressions are strongly contrasted with the hackneyed indifference of one who has traversed the same ground over and over again, and is become familiar with its peculiarities. Instead, therefore, of describing what would strike the eye of the new-comer, let us substitute a sketch or two of the actual manners of the people in the khans or on the high road, as they are presented to the habitual observer.

I left Beyrout on my return as soon as the city[176] gates were open, which was before sunrise. The mulberry grounds and olive groves through which the road lies extend in this direction for four or five miles. Then the sandy soil ceases, the spurs of Mount Lebanon come down to within a few hundred yards of the seashore, and sometimes meet the waves. I was overtaken hereabout by three horsemen, all Christians—for Christians and Turks are seldom seen riding in company—and one of this goodly trio was, thus early in the morning, singing with all the force of his lungs. Osman Chaôosh, who was with me, said, “That man, who is so merry, is reputed to have the best voice in all Sayda; he goes very often into the Mountain to the different Emirs’ palaces, where he remains a fortnight together, and diverts them by his songs. They say the princes are so fond of him that he sometimes brings away bags full of money. Then he is invited to weddings, and to merchants’ and agas’ parties, and wherever gaiety or amusement of any kind is going forward.” By this time they had come up with us, and were questioning Osman, in a low voice, where I had been, &c. They then kissed their hands, touched their turbans, and, passing a-head, being well mounted on good mares, they soon outstripped us, and left us behind. Osman resumed the conversation—“Did you observe that rider, with a full face, on the chestnut mare, with a saddle covered with brocade? well, that[177] is one of the best penmen we have in all the pashalik. He was a government secretary at Acre, and vast sums of money passed through his hands; but some stuck to his fingers, and, being found out, he was bastinadoed and sent by the Pasha to the Lemàn,” (place for convicts) “where he remained some months. He was not badly off, however, as he did nothing except smoking his pipe all day. He has now been out a good bit, but is employed again.”—“And is he well received in society after such an exposure?” I asked.—“Why not?” replied Osman; “he was not quite clever enough, and he suffered for it—that’s all.”

We soon after came to a khan, called El Khaldy, where we found the three horsemen dismounted, and seated under the shed, drinking arrack and smoking. I made a halt likewise to get something for breakfast. The khankeeper spread a clean mat on the floor of the estrade, and on this I sat down. A brown earthenware dish of leben, or curdled milk, was served up with a wooden spoon, and about half a dozen bread-cakes, in size and substance like pancakes, were placed before me. When I had eaten this, a pipe and a finjàn of coffee, with a lump of sugar out of a little provision which Osman had in his saddle-bags (a precaution necessary in these public-houses, where no such luxury is found), finished my temperate meal. The ex-convict and the singer were treated as great gentry, which[178] I could easily observe by the attention the master paid them. Whilst I was smoking my pipe, another horseman arrived with a groom on foot. The groom tied up the horse in front of the khan, took off the saddle-bags, and, from a napkin, which he spread on the mat where his master had been littered down like myself, he pulled out bread, cheese, and a paper of halâwy or nougat, as the French call it. Then, having unstrapped the nosebag of corn, he tied it over the horse’s head, and came and seated himself opposite his master, and both began to eat with sharp appetites, master and servant without any distinction. The landlord brought a small bottle with a spout to it, full of arrack, and a tumbler, which were set down without a word being spoken, showing he was well acquainted with his guests’ taste. The gentleman—as persons always do in the East—invited me to join him; and, on my thanking him, he did the same to a poor peasant who was seated near us. Good breeding among them requires that, when they eat, they should ask those present to do the same; but nobody ever thinks of accepting the invitation, unless pressed upon him in a manner which is understood to preclude a refusal. I however accepted a bit of halâwy, not to appear uncivil, upon which the traveller asked me if we had any such sweetmeat in my country. I declared we had none more to my taste, although our confectioners’[179] shops possessed a great variety. He remarked that it was an excellent thing on the road wherewith to stay the appetite, and assured me that Haroun el Raschid himself, if I had ever heard of that caliph, did not disdain it. “Oh!” replied I, “we have many stories of the Caliph Haroun.”—“Have you?” cried he: “then, if you will give me leave, I will add one more to your store.[25]

“Hakem was one of the familiar friends of the Commander of the Faithful, Haroun el Raschid. The caliph said to him one day, ‘Hakem, I mean to hunt to-morrow, thou must go with me.’—‘Most willingly,’ answered Hakem. He went home and said to his wife, ‘The caliph has ordered me to go a hunting with him to-morrow, but really I cannot; I am accustomed to dine early, and the caliph never takes his dinner before noon: I shall die of hunger. Faith, I will not go.’—‘God forbid!’ said the wife: ‘you do not mean to say you will disobey the caliph’s order?’—‘But what am I to do?’ said Hakem; ‘must I die of hunger?’—‘No,’ quoth the wife; ‘you have nothing to do but to buy a paper of halâwy, which you can put in the folds of your turban, and so eat a bit every now and then whilst you are waiting for the caliph’s dinner time, and then you will dine with him.’—‘Upon my[180] word,’ said Hakem, ‘that’s an excellent idea.’ The next day Hakem bought a paper of halâwy, stuck it into his turban, and went to join the caliph. As they were riding along, Haroun turned round, and looking at Hakem, spied out in the folds of his turban, rolled round his head, the paper in which the halâwy was wrapped. He called to his Vizir Giaffer. ‘What is your pleasure, Commander of the Faithful?’ said the Vizir.—‘Do you see,’ said the caliph, ‘the paper of halâwy that Hakem has stuck in his turban? By the Prophet, I’ll have some fun with him: he shall not eat a bit of it.’ They went on for a while talking, until the caliph, pretending that he saw some game, spurred on his mule as if to pursue it. Hakem raised his hand up to his turban, took a bit of halâwy out of it, and put it into his mouth. The same moment, the caliph, turning back to him, cried out, ‘Hakem!’ Hakem spit out the halâwy, and replied:—‘Please your Highness!’—‘The mule,’ said Haroun, ‘goes very badly; I can’t think what is the matter with her.’—‘I dare say the groom has fed her too much,’ replied Hakem submissively; ‘her guts are grumbling.’ They went on again, and the caliph again took the lead. Hakem thought the opportunity favourable, took out another bit of halâwy, and whipped it slily into his mouth, when Haroun suddenly turned round, crying ‘Hakem! Hakem!’—‘What is your Highness’s will?’ said Hakem, again[181] dropping the halâwy. ‘I tell you,’ rejoined the caliph, ‘that this mule is a vile beast: I wonder what the devil it is that troubles her!’—‘Commander of the Faithful,’ said Hakem, ‘to-morrow the farrier shall look at her, and see what ails her. I dare say it is nothing.’ A few moments elapsed, and Hakem said to himself, ‘Am I a farrier, that that fool should bore me with his questions every moment? mule! mule! I wish to God the mule’s four feet were in the master’s belly!’

“Shortly after, the caliph pushed forward again. Hakem cautiously carried his hand to the halâwy, and made another trial; but, before he had time to put it into his mouth, the caliph rode up to him, crying out, ‘Hakem! Hakem! Hakem!’—‘Oh Lord,’ said Hakem, ‘what a wretched day for me! nothing but Hakem, Hakem! What folly is this!’—‘I think the farrier must have pricked the mule’s foot,’ said Haroun: ‘don’t you see that she is lame?’—‘My lord,’ said Hakem, ‘to-morrow we will take her shoe off; the farrier shall give her another shoe, and, please God, we shall cure her.’

“Just then a caravan came along the road on its way from Persia. One of the merchants approached the caliph, prostrated himself before him, and presented him with several objects of value, as also with a young slave of incomparable beauty and of a lovely figure,[182] remarkable for the charms of her person, with taper waist and swelling hips, eyes like an antelope’s, and a mouth like Solomon’s seal. She had cost the merchant a hundred thousand denàrs. When Haroun saw her, he was charmed at her aspect, and became at once passionately enamoured of her. He immediately gave orders to turn back to Bagdad, and said to Hakem, ‘Take that young creature with you, and make haste with her to the city. Get down at the palace—go up to the Pavilion—put it in order—uncover the furniture, set out the table—fill the bottles—and look that nothing is wanting.’ Hakem hastened on, and executed his commission. The caliph soon after arrived, surrounded by his cortège of vizirs, emirs, and courtiers. He entered the Pavilion, and dismissed his suite. Going into the saloon, where the young slave awaited him, he said to Hakem, ‘Remain outside the door of the saloon; stir not a single step from it; and see that the Princess Zobëide does not surprise us.’—‘I understand,’ said Hakem. ‘A thousand times obedience to the orders of God and to the Commander of the Faithful.’

“The caliph sat down to table with the young slave: they ate, and then went into another room, where wines and dessert were prepared. Haroun had just taken a seat, had filled his glass, and had got it to his mouth, when there was a knock at the door. ‘As sure as fate,’ said the caliph, ‘here is the Princess[183] Zobëide.’ He rose in a hurry, put away the wine and everything that was on the table, hid the young lady in a closet, and opened the door of the pavilion, where he finds Hakem. ‘Is the Princess Zobëide coming?’ said he to him. ‘No, my lord,’ said Hakem: ‘but I fancied you might be uneasy about your mule. I have questioned the groom, and, true enough, he had overfed her: the beast’s stomach was crammed. To-morrow we will have her bled, and all will be right again.’—‘Don’t trouble thyself about the mule,’ said the caliph; ‘I want none of thy impertinent stories now. Remain at thy post, and, if thou hearest the Princess Zobëide coming, let me know.’—‘Your highness shall be obeyed,’ replied Hakem.

“Haroun re-entered the apartment, fetched the beautiful slave out of the closet, and placed everything on the table as before. He had hardly done, when another knock was heard. ‘A curse on it! there is Zobëide,’ cries the caliph. He hides the slave in the closet, shuffles off the wine and dessert, and runs to the door. There he sees Hakem. ‘Well,’ says he, ‘what did you knock for?’—‘Indeed, Commander of the Faithful,’ replied Hakem, ‘I can’t help thinking about that mule. I have again interrogated the farrier, and he pretends there is nothing the matter with her, but that she has stood too long without work in the stable, and that’s the reason why she was a little[184] lazy when you rode her to-day: otherwise she is very well?—‘To the devil with ye both—thee and the mule!’ said Haroun; ‘didn’t I tell thee I would have none of thy impertinence? Stand where I told thee to remain, and take care that Zobëide does not catch us; for, if she did, this day would be a bad one for thee.’—‘May my head answer for my vigilance,’ said Hakem.

“Again the caliph goes in, and a third time lets out the young slave, replenishes the table, fills a goblet with wine, and carries it to his lips. Suddenly he hears a clatter on the terrace: ‘This time,’ said he, ‘there is Zobëide, sure enough.’ He pushes the slave into her hiding-place, removes the fruit and the wine, and burns some pastils to drive away the smell. He hastens up to the terrace of the pavilion, finds nobody but Hakem there, and says to him ‘Was that Zobëide?—where is she?—is she coming?’—‘No, no, Commander of the Faithful,’ said Hakem; ‘the princess is not here; but I saw the mule making a clatter with her feet, just as I did myself, and I am really quite uncomfortable about her; I was afraid she had the colic, and I feel quite alarmed.’—‘I wish to God thou may’st have the colic all thy life, cursed fool that thou art! Out with thee, and let me never see thy face again! If thou ever presumest to come into my presence again, I will have thee hanged.’ Hakem[185] went home and told his wife that the caliph had dismissed him, and had forbidden him ever to show his face at court again. He remained some time in his house, until he thought that the caliph’s anger had subsided. He then said to his wife, ‘Go to the palace, kiss Zobëide’s hand; tell her that the caliph is angry with me, and beg her to intercede with him for me.’ The wife fulfilled his commission. The Princess Zobëide interceded for Hakem, and the caliph pardoned him.”

My narrator, after receiving my thanks for his entertaining story, took his leave, mounted his horse, and rode off. The conversation now became general, and turned on the river Damôor, which empties itself into the sea midway between Beyrout and Sayda, and often swells, from the rains and the melting of the snows in the mountain, so as to become exceedingly dangerous to ford, as there is no bridge over it. “What a fool the Jew was,” cried one, “to lose his life for a few piasters! The guides offered to take him across for a khyréah—four of them, two at the head and two at the flanks of his mule; but he must needs haggle, and would give no more than ten piasters; and, seeing one of the Pasha’s estafettes get across safe, he fancied he could do the same: but they know the ford as well as the guides; for they traverse it daily. So the Jew was carried off, and neither he nor his mule were ever[186] seen afterwards.”—“It was just the same,” said a second speaker, “with the peasant from Medjdeloony who was going to buy wheat at Beyrout: for you know, gentlemen, a Greek vessel had arrived from Tarsûs with very good corn, at four and a half piasters the roop. Well, he too was rash enough to suppose he could get across alone, and they only asked him five piasters—only a fourth of what they wanted of the Jew. But the waters were up to his armpits; and, his foot slipping just in the deepest part, he fell, and, after a few struggles, was carried out to sea. All the peasants of the village, which, you know, is close by where the English queen lives, came down to watch if the body was cast ashore: for they say he had above a thousand piasters in his girdle from different poor families who had commissioned him to buy for them: and the poor creatures were naturally anxious to recover it.”

Having smoked my pipe, I mounted my ass, crossed the Damôor in safety, and halted again at Nebby Yuness, a santon’s, where there are two comfortable rooms for travellers, attached to the shrine. Here I smoked another pipe, heard a long string of compliments and grateful expressions from the imàm (who lived there to show the shrine to pilgrims), in return for the donations which Lady Hester sent occasionally to the shrine, and which he pocketed. I remounted,[187] struck off at Rumelly from the high road into the mountain by a cross country path, and at about five o’clock reached Jôon.

Khaldy, of which mention was made above, is a spot which has been too much neglected by travellers; and it would be well if some one, who had leisure and ability for such researches, would pass a day or two there, to make an accurate examination, and to take drawings of the numberless sarcophagi which lie about on the ground, or are hewn in the solid rock. Many of them have bas-reliefs on them; and, as such a mass of tombs must necessarily imply the former vicinity of some ancient city, diligent research might lead to the discovery of historical antiquities in the neighbourhood.

There is a day in the year, in the month of June or July, I now forget which, when hundreds of Christians resort to this spot from Beyrout, Sayda, and the villages of Mount Lebanon, for the celebration of a saint’s festival; and a part of the holiday consists in washing themselves in the sea. The craniologist might have a fine field for study in beholding a hundred bare heads at the same time around him. I happened once to ride through Khaldy on that very saint’s day, and never was I so struck with anything as with the sight of countless shaved heads, almost all having a conical shape, quite unlike European heads. But, besides[188] this, a stranger would see much merry-making, dancing, drinking, and many mountain female dresses united here, which he would have to seek for through twenty districts at any other time. Monsieur Las Cases has a painting of this spot, which may, or might once, be seen at the Gobelins manufactory at Paris, of which establishment he was director some years ago, or else in Monsieur Denon’s collection. It is one of those exaggerated fancy paintings which artists are never pardonable for making, when they are intended to be shown as faithful copies; because, like certain historical novels, they lend a false colouring to facts and realities. There are other untruths besides those which are spoken or written; and these undoubtedly may be classed amongst the most reprehensible. I often regretted that my numerous occupations prevented me from wandering over this interesting field of inquiry.

Sunday, May 20.—I gave Lady Hester an account of the tragical end of poor Mrs. K., which induced her to write a letter of consolation to the afflicted widower, of whom, though she had never seen him, she was a sincere well-wisher. This is a copy of it:—

To Mr. K., merchant at Beyrout.

Jôon, May 20, 1838.


Nearly a year ago I had commissioned Mohadýn—Mr. Lancaster’s idle and talkative ci-devant young[189] servant—to felicitate you upon your marriage: but now the task of administering consolation for the late sad event devolves upon me. Mrs. K.’s conduct, from the first, had made a strong impression upon my mind. Young and handsome, as she was, to have left her country to follow you, argued her to be of no common mould. Avoiding to be detrimental to your interests, and giving up the empty homage, which vanity would have demanded with most women, that you should have left your affairs to accompany her—above considering what scandal might set afloat in the world—she followed the dictates of her own heart, and relied upon your honour: a circumstance, which, in the annals of your life, ought not to be forgotten.

That you should be in despair at the loss of such a woman is but too natural: but you should consider, at the same time, that you have enjoyed perhaps in this one year more happiness than falls to the share of many, even during the course of their lives. Thank God for it! and do not, by despondency, displease the Omnipotent who has thus favoured you, or allow that amiable creature in other regions, from which she is perhaps still watching over you, to witness your despair. I have heard from one who knows you that you are of a manly character. Without making any sacrifice of those feelings which belong to energetic people only, make use of that energy and good sense[190] to palliate your griefs; and bow with resignation to the will of the Almighty. I am quite against persons endeavouring to drive away sorrow by hurry or dissipation: cool reflection can alone bring some balm to the soul.

I remain, sir, &c.
Hester Lucy Stanhope.

PS.—In the present state of your mind, I will not allow you to give me any answer. But I shall keep my eye upon you; and, if you are unheeding of my advice, I shall put myself into one of my great passions, which even exceed those which I understand you sometimes fall into, but which enhance your character in my estimation. For the cold-heartedness of men of the present generation is nearly death to me.

After this letter was written, Lady Hester talked about Lord Prudhoe and Colonel Davidson, who was also staying at the inn at Beyrout, and whose father, Lady Hester said, was a man of some note in her time. “Did you make acquaintance with them?” she asked: I replied, “No; for according to English custom, Englishmen, even in lands so remote from home, maintain their strange reserve, and carry their looks of distrust with them wherever they go. The[191] ‘Who are you, I wonder?—‘shall I degrade myself in speaking to you?’ seems to be ever uppermost in their thoughts.” She then spoke of Mrs. Moore, the lady of the British consul, whom she eulogized greatly. “That is one of the few women I must like,” said Lady Hester; “indeed it is my duty to do so, and, when next you go to Beyrout, you must tell her so: but you don’t know the reason, nor does she. What do you think of her, doctor?” I answered, “It appears to me that M. Lamartine, had he known her, would have felt the inspiration which he caught so readily in the poetic land of the East:—he has celebrated beauty less remarkable than hers.”

“And so I dare say you have supplied the omission,” observed Lady Hester. “I have attempted to do so in a very bungling way,” replied I. “Well,” said she, “never mind; let me hear what you have written.” So I drew out a few verses, which I had pencilled at the inn at Beyrout immediately after I had the honour of seeing that lady, and read them.

“They are not so bad,” observed Lady Hester; “but that was not what you went to Beyrout for.”

The subject carried her back to past times, and she said—“I have made it a rule all my life, from the moment I came into the great world, never to suffer verses to be written about me by anybody. If I had[192] liked the thing, I might have had thousands of poets to celebrate my praises in all manner of ways; but there is nothing I think so ridiculous. Look at the Duchess of Devonshire, with every day ‘A copy of verses on her taking a walk’—‘An impromptu on her having a headache’—and all such nonsense: I detest it.”

This brought to my mind a circumstance which occurred in the early part of our travels. I had written a small poem, in which a few lines, eulogistic of herself, were introduced; and one day I read it to her. After I had finished, she said, “You know, doctor, this will only do to show people in private; and, if ever you dare to put my name to any published poetry, I’ll take measures to make you heartily repent of it.”

Lady Hester, however, was not insensible to that species of praise which rests on the application of a passage of some classic author, to illustrate one character by its resemblance to that of another already stamped with celebrity. Thus she was greatly pleased when Mr. Pitt, in reading Gray’s fragment of the tragedy of Agrippina aloud, and in coming to some lines in which he recognized a great similarity to her language, cried out—“Why, Hester, that’s you; here you are—just like you!” then, reading on a little farther—“Here you are again scolding him!” meaning,[193] as Lady Hester told me at the time, that it was just like her, scolding Lord Mahon.

Tuesday, May 22.—I had struck a Turk, one of the servants, with a stick over his shoulders; but, in so doing, I forgot the penalty attached to striking a Mussulman. Formerly such an act, done by a Christian hand, was punished with death, or the alternative of becoming a renegado of one’s faith. Even now the old Mussulman servants muttered threats against me, as I was told, and I really think would have done me harm, if they could. For all Lady Hester’s power hardly went farther than to have her people punished by the instrumentality of another Turk; but the moment I thought proper to chastise a fellow’s insolence with my own hand, she did not hesitate to tell me that I must be wary how I repeated it again; assuring me that a blow from a Christian never could be pardoned by them.

Thursday, May 24.—In reading the newspapers, Lord Byron’s name occurred. “I think,” said Lady Hester, “he was a strange character: his generosity was for a motive, his avarice for a motive: one time he was mopish, and nobody was to speak to him; another, he was for being jocular with everybody. Then he was a sort of Don Quixote fighting with the police for a woman of the town; and then he wanted to make himself something great. But when he allowed[194] himself to be bullied by the Albanians, it was all over with him; you must not show any fear with them. At Athens, I saw nothing in him but a well-bred man, like many others: for, as for poetry, it is easy enough to write verses; and as for the thoughts, who knows where he got them? Many a one picks up some old book that nobody knows anything about, and gets his ideas out of it. He had a great deal of vice in his looks—his eyes set close together, and a contracted brow, so”—(imitating it). “Oh, Lord! I am sure he was not a liberal man, whatever else he might be. The only good thing about his looks was this part,” (drawing her hand under the cheek down the front of her neck), “and the curl on his forehead.”

Saturday, May 26.—About eleven at night, Lady Hester went into the bath, previous to which I passed two or three hours with her. The conversation ran on the arrival of some Europeans at Sayda, who, by the report of a servant returning from the town, had lost two of their number by the plague, and, in consequence, had been put into quarantine at Sheemaôony, the Turkish mausoleum spoken of in a former page, about a quarter of a mile from the city gate. Lady Hester had heard of their distressed situation about four o’clock in the afternoon, it being said they were pilgrims who had applied for permission to be lodged at Dayr el Mkhallas, the monastery at Jôon, which had[195] been acceded to by the monks but forbidden by the health officers, owing to a foul bill of health they brought with them. Subsequently it was given out that they were poor Germans; and she, with her accustomed humanity, thinking they might be in want of some little comforts, had made up a couple of baskets of violet and rose syrups, capillaire, lemons, &c., and despatched a man with a note, in these words:—“The humble offering of Lady Hester Stanhope to the sick Germans, with her request that they will make known their wants to her, whether for medicines, or for whatever they may need.”

The servant had hardly set off, when an express arrived with a letter to her ladyship from one of the strangers, to the effect that, one of the party being ill, the writer requested she would be kind enough to send down her doctor. It was signed Charles Baron de Busech, Knight of Malta. On asking me whether I was afraid of the plague, I answered, “Yes; and as it appeared they were men of rank, and could not fail of obtaining medical advice from Sayda, where there were four or five army surgeons, and two or three physicians, I thought it best not to go until more clear information had been obtained respecting them.” Lady Hester approved of this, and wrote the following reply:—

[196] To the Baron Charles de Busech, Knight of Malta, in
quarantine on the seashore, Sayda.

Jôon, May 26, 1838.

Sir Baron,

Although I myself have no fear of the plague, or of persons infected with it, almost all the Franks have. The physician who is with me happens to be of the number; therefore, it does not depend on me to cure people of what I consider prejudices. Our days are numbered, and everything is in the hands of God.

Your letter is without a date, and comes from I know not where. At the moment that I received it I had sent a servant with a few cooling syrups to some sick Germans, guarded by a ring of soldiers outside of the town, of whose names and class in life I am ignorant, although the peasants give out that there are some of very high quality among them: for I feared that, in a strange country, and thus surrounded by fever or perhaps plague, they would not be able to procure the drinks necessary in such maladies. I hope not to have offended any one, although I have made a blundering business, not knowing who I addressed myself to. But, having understood that they had yesterday demanded an asylum at Dayr Mkhallas, which had been refused them, I was uneasy on their account.

[197] I have ordered my purveyor at Sayda, Captain Hassan Logmagi, to come up to-morrow, that I may get a right understanding in this confused affair, and may see if it is in my power, by any trifling service, to be useful to them. Allow me to remark that, if, in any case, symptoms of plague, or even of the ardent fevers of the country, manifest themselves, the Frank doctors understand but little about it. The barbers of the country are those who have the most knowledge on the subject.

This letter goes by the servant, who has in charge the basket of syrups, and whom I had called back when about ten minutes on his road.

H. L. Stanhope.

The servant was despatched, and many conjectures were formed as to who the Baron de Busech could be. The reader will say that it mattered little who he was, and that humanity dictated, when a sick person demanded assistance, to go without delay and afford it. This, in common cases, no doubt was what I or any other medical practitioner should feel it his duty to do; but, where Lady Hester was concerned, the ordinary rules of life would not hold good. I at once considered what a warfare would ensue between her ladyship and myself on the treatment to be followed[198] (she always assuming the right of dictation); and I thought it best to say I was afraid of the plague: for, although I felt little difficulty in giving way to Lady Hester’s opinion on other matters in discussion between us of every possible kind, it was different where the treatment of the sick was concerned; for there the case became serious, and life and death were in the balance.

Lady Hester made this, my refusal, a pretext for a long lecture, which she delivered in a mild tone, but mixed with the self-boasting common to her. Her reasoning was indisputably sound, but she did not know the motive that guided me.

Sunday, May 27.—Her ladyship’s letter to the baron was taken to Logmagi at Sayda, who went immediately and delivered it to that gentleman, and, according to the orders sent to him, offered his services and those of her ladyship to all the party. He then came up to the Dar, and informed her that the strangers were several in number, Germans of distinction, and delivered a letter to her from one of them. It was couched in courtly language, to thank her for her attention to them. It repeated the request that she would let her doctor come down, and was signed Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria.

As Beyrout was closed, owing to the plague, and the Sayda bakers never make any bread but flat cakes,[199] flaky and unpalateable, Lady Hester ordered, as a first step for their comfort, a baking of forty or fifty loaves, about the size of twopenny loaves: and this supply was continued to the duke and his suite during the whole time they remained. She sent tea and a teapot, rum, brandy, and such little things as she knew could not be procured in the town. These articles were accompanied by a letter, as follows:—

To H.R.H. Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.

Jôon, May 27, 1838.


I have been but too much flattered by the goodness with which you were pleased to look on the liberty I have already taken: it is a proof of your greatness as well as of your condescension. Dr. M. has made up his mind to present himself to your highness; but perhaps, on a first visit, he will not say what I will presume to do.

In the first place, the air of the spot where chance has put you is bad. There is danger of getting a fever, unless you wrap yourself up well as the evening closes in, and take, in going to bed, a little brandy and water, with sugar in it, instead of cooling things: but what is best of all is a little rum, to prevent the circulation from becoming languid from the damp, and to keep up perspiration. Medical books say[200] nothing of this, nor, generally speaking, have doctors much knowledge about it: but I have acquired my information from people who have never been attacked with fever, although often exposed, from their occupations, to sun and fatigue. The Germans (who, according to the traditions of the ancient Arabians, are of exceeding high race), like the kings, their ancestors, are not brought up idlers: therefore, it seems much more reasonable to infer that, if they follow the practice of the laborious, it will suit them better than the system pursued by indolent beings, who lead a kind of false existence, and whose complaints are often imaginary or the consequence of their own prejudices. In fevers of the country one cannot drink too much of cooling things, or of cold water: for if, during one or two days previous to trying any remedies intended to excite the circulation, refreshing beverages are not given, internal inflammation comes on, which carries off a man in a few hours. Bleeding is almost never to be feared in this country.

Pardon me for having thus made myself a doctor; but it is necessary that your highness should have some insight into what is most necessary to observe in a climate which is a very wholesome one, if a person knows how to accustom himself to it.

H. L. Stanhope.

[201] The letter being sent off, I mounted, and rode down with the view of presenting myself to the prince. I have already described the Shemaôony, where he was encamped, as a vaulted building covering the tombs of some pashas of former days, and having an arcade of about thirty feet square, where devout pilgrims, who visited the tombs, might pray, eat, and sleep. The sand of the seashore reaches to its base, and behind is a lane running through gardens, overshadowed with sycamores, eastern lilac trees, vines, banana plants, orange-trees, &c. The prince’s tents were fixed some in front and some in rear of the building, and the platform of the arcade was given up to the servants. The quarantine guards had their tents in the foreground, at a convenient distance, and sentries at the four angles prescribed the bounds out of which the travellers were not to stir, and within which nobody from without was to intrude.

As soon as I alighted from my horse, Baron de Busech made his appearance, and, advancing to the boundary, told me the prince was gone with Khosrô Effendi, the government secretary, and a file of soldiers, to look at a villa not far off, where, if possible, he might be somewhat better accommodated than in the broiling spot they were then occupying. The baron took the opportunity of the duke’s absence to inform me of the state of his own health. He was[202] suffering from an indisposition, light, indeed, but alarming in his present situation. The history of the party was as follows:—

The Duke of Bavaria, prince of the blood royal, and brother-in-law to the reigning monarch, a young man, in size and appearance something like the Duke of Orleans, had left Europe for Egypt, had crossed the desert to Syria, and had visited Jerusalem. The plague was in the holy city; and on quitting it for Nazareth, the duke’s physician, a German of six and twenty, fell ill and died in two or three days, whilst at the same time a negro, the duke’s Mameluke, was attacked with symptoms similar to those that had carried off the doctor. The duke and his suite quitted Nazareth precipitately, and the monks of the monastery there caused the effects of the deceased to be burnt, considering his case one of plague. On reaching Sayda, the party, having a foul bill of health, were stopped, and put under quarantine. It consisted of his Royal Highness Duke Maximilian; of Charles Baron de Busech, and his brother, Baron Frederick; of the Count Wilsensheim, one of his Imperial Majesty’s chamberlains, and consul-general from his Holiness the Pope at Ancona; of the Chevalier Heusler; Captain Heugler of the Bavarian guards; Mr. Meyer, painter; Mr. Petzmeyer, an accomplished musician; with servants, to the number of fifteen or sixteen persons.

[203] In about half an hour the duke arrived, and with great condescension conversed with me for some time. He was much annoyed at the awkward situation in which he found himself, expressed great obligations to Lady Hester, and begged me to do what I could for the baron’s complaint. The interview over, I remounted my horse, and returned to Jôon, to send down medicines, and to give Lady Hester an account of my visit.

Tuesday, May 29.—I went down again. This time I was called upon to decide whether the duke’s black Mameluke had the plague or not. It may be conceived what agitation the duke himself was in; for, if the case was one of plague, in addition to the danger he ran of being himself infected, he would be subjected, perhaps, to a month’s quarantine. I had not been able to see the black on my previous visit; for he was in a tent behind the building; and, being too weak to walk to where I was, none of the servants were willing to lead him. A Turk, therefore, was hired for a pecuniary compensation to attend on him,[26][204] and he now led him, tottering and debilitated by sickness, to the exterior of the tents, under some trees, where a tent was fixed for him. There the poor fellow could lie and inhale the breezes of that blue sea, over which he never was to sail again; there he might have the view of travellers passing and repassing, and, if his thoughts were not disturbed by delirium, might find some solace from the novelty of the scene.

As I had declared my inability, from the distance at which I lived, to undertake the black’s cure, the duke had engaged one of the regimental surgeons from Sayda. The poor patient was conducted out, and with a glistening eye, furred lips, and a total inattention to objects around him, was half led and half supported to the spot destined for him. He fell on his mattress, and, after he had lain a minute or two, I spoke to him in English. At the sound of his mother tongue, he raised his head. It must be mentioned that his situation had something peculiarly distressing in it. Born in New York, a free black, he had at the age of fifteen accompanied a Dutch merchant to Havre, Paris, Antwerp, and Frankfort. There the duke, who one day caught sight of him and was taken with his fine countenance and person, offered him advantageous terms to come and live with him; which, with the consent of his first master, he did. The duke dressed him as a Mameluke, and (from being as handsome a[205] black as could be seen, even now in sickness) his good disposition, coupled with his appearance, made him a favourite. He accompanied his royal highness in his travels. Having picked up a little German, all went on very well so long as his health was good; but when sickness overtook him, and his supposed malady made him an object of terror to everybody, he had much difficulty in explaining his wants. Judge, then, of the electrical effect that the sound of English must have had on him. He was called Wellington.

“Wellington,” said I, “how do you do? Take courage, my good fellow; I am come to see if I can be of any use to you.” He stared for some time before he could recover himself, but at last he answered, “Blessings on you then, sir, for I am much in want of somebody to speak to. I am very ill, and nobody can understand me. I want a clean shirt, and they say I can’t have one washed: now, that I won’t believe; and I wish you would tell somebody to send a washerwoman to me.” I assured him that nobody was to blame. I endeavoured to make him understand how he was situated; and, after comforting him awhile, told him I was desirous of examining his swellings. I had never seen a plague-swelling but once, and that twenty years before: so that my evidence could only be negative proof of the nonexistence of that disease. His attendant placed him[206] in a favourable position, and, at the distance of five feet from him, I inspected it as well I could: it was as big, taking its outer border, as the back of a small hand, and seemingly angular. There was much stupor, into which he fell the moment I ceased to speak to him. His skin was dry, his tongue black, his head ran round if he raised it from the pillow; he had great thirst, great debility, and no appetite. These concomitant circumstances made it probable that the swelling was pestilential; and the surgeon of the regiment, who was with me, and who had seen many cases of plague, was of that opinion.

When I returned to the duke, who was waiting for me with the government secretary, and M. Lapi, the Austrian referendary, I told them I must decline saying it was not the plague. The duke was vexed; for I believe at that moment he would have given half his dukedom, and me a ribbon to my button-hole, to be out of his unpleasant situation; but I composed his mind as much as possible, by assuring him that, even if it were plague, neither he nor his suite now ran any risk of taking it: since, at such an advanced period of the spring, experience had shown that the contagion, under common precaution, was rarely propagated. Still the duke betrayed great anxiety, by his eagerness to obtain a positive denial from me of its being the plague. “It is nothing but a syphilitic case—I am[207] sure you think so—do tell the quarantine inspector so”—and many expressions of that sort fell from his mouth; but I could not conscientiously speak otherwise than I had done, as too much responsibility for the safety of the community rested upon it.

I requested that a cabin of branches might be made over Wellington’s tent, to keep the burning sun out; and recommended such little comforts as his case seemed to require. It was agreed that the medical treatment should be the same as in malignant fever, and I then returned to Jôon.

Wednesday, May 30.—I did not see Lady Hester until after sunset. Poor Wellington’s situation excited in her much sympathy, and the duke’s still more. She treated my opinion lightly, and considered his highness hardly dealt with. She wrote a letter to that effect, and gave her own view of the subject, which was certainly entitled to much consideration, from her having the conviction that she had had the plague herself many years before. Plague is generally sporadic the first year of its appearance, little contagious, and passes almost unobserved, under the denomination of humma, or malignant fever: it is in the second year that its ravages become terrible.[27]

[208] Thursday, May 3.—Provisions were sent down to the duke and his party, and Lady Hester was quite[209] busy in providing for, and anticipating their wants. M. Lapi came up at her request, to give her some information respecting the duke and his suite.

Friday, June 1.—This day a messenger came from Beyrout with a file of newspapers up to April 15th. In one of them (April 12th), appeared a paragraph regarding Lady Hester’s affairs. M. Guys wrote me word that he was still prevented from setting off to Aleppo, owing to the plague. He informed me also that Mr. K. was about to commence an action against the French doctor, for unprofessional treatment in his wife’s illness, which Mr. K. styled assassination. This line of conduct did not accord with Lady Hester’s notions of humanity and forbearance towards a practitioner to whom less blame attached than if the case had been left solely to his guidance. She accordingly wrote to him the following letter, which, however, did not go until the 3rd:—

To Mr. K., merchant, at Beyrout.

June 3rd, 1838.


If the interest I feel in your unhappiness gives me any claims upon your attention, you must allow me to make a few remarks on what I am sorry to hear is about to take place—the bringing Monsieur G. to a sort of trial respecting his unsuccessful treatment of your poor wife. I shall speak of it under two heads:[210] first, that of your being wanting in humanity and generosity towards a young man coming into the world, and, secondly, that of the great probability of your being nonsuited, which will make you appear very ridiculous, as well as be the means of bringing forward many unpleasant and unusual circumstances, which would excessively shock the delicacy of the English.

1. In Mr. Pitts last illness I expressed, as my opinion, that Sir Walter Farquhar did not understand the nature of his complaint, and begged him to call in other physicians. He replied, “Perhaps you are right, and such may be likewise my own opinion; but, if it is the will of God, I shall recover; and, if not, I shall be sorry that one of the last actions of my life should be that of injuring the character of a man who has acted to the best of his knowledge, and hitherto manifested the greatest interest about my health upon all occasions;”—therefore, nothing could be done with him: but Farquhar was himself persuaded to call in Doctor Bailey. Would it not be better to follow the example of that noble-minded man, than cast a slur upon the character of one who, unprepared for so difficult an accouchement, had neither sufficient self-confidence nor judgment to extricate himself in such a predicament? And all this will not recall Mrs. K—— again to the world.

2. I enclose a paragraph from the papers last come[211] to hand, which, in addition to my knowledge of law, strengthens my opinion that you may very likely prove unsuccessful.[28] You will then have to reproach yourself for not having acted—I will not say with the missionaries—with Christian charity, but with that feeling which ought to belong, and does belong, to many individuals, of whatever religion they may profess.

Do not understand by this that I am making you any reproaches; for the state of irritation you are in proceeds from the frame of mind which this unfortunate circumstance has caused, and which it is the duty of all those who call themselves your friends or your well-wishers to point out to you, that you may avoid future remorse when you see things more calmly.

H. L. Stanhope.

Saturday, June 2.—I rode down to the duke’s tents, to see him. The army surgeon in attendance on the black had reconsidered the case, and given in an opinion to the government secretary that it was one of typhus fever, supervening on a syphilitic taint, and, in consequence, his highness’s quarantine had been shortened to a fortnight. One must have lived in Turkey to know how such things are conducted there.[212] The conversation with the duke and his suite turned for a while on Prince Pückler Muskau.

Sunday, June 3.—A letter was written by Lady Hester to Lord Brougham. Whilst considering what she should say, previous to dictating it, she observed that she was sorry she did not write to him before; “for,” added she, “he loves to have something to talk about that will make a noise, and he will take it ill, when he was so civil to me formerly, if I seem to forget him. An Englishman, who was here, and who knew him, one day said to me—‘What do you think of Lord Brougham’s principles?’—‘Why,’ answered I, ‘I think they are like mine—none at all.’ How he stared, doctor, until I added, ‘He has peculiar ones made for himself, as I have.’”

To the Right Honourable Lord Brougham and Vaux.

Jôon, June 4th, 1838.

My Lord,

It is possible that, at times, your lordship may bear in mind the kindness with which you treated me, for the sake of those whom we mutually loved and admired, and the assistance you afforded me in my private concerns, about seventeen years ago: you will then, perhaps, not feel a little surprised that, having got myself into a strange predicament, I have been totally silent. It arose, my lord, from supposing you[213] in ill health. Receiving no newspapers from England, and news from France being oftentimes much retarded, I often owe the chief of my political information to travellers; among whom was the Prince Pückler Muskau, who, having heard of my affair before he saw me, advised me immediately to write to your lordship. I gave him my reasons for not having done so, and from him I received the assurance that you were quite recovered, and again had resumed your public duties. I have since read your most beautiful speech on the slave-trade, and I congratulate the country on your reappearance in the House.

Before this letter reaches you—for I have missed the last packet—your lordship will have probably heard of the manner in which her Majesty’s ministers have thought proper to treat me, with her sanction. I have always been the greatest of aristocrats; I was born so; yet no one is more tenacious of the rights of men in every class of life. I have written a very severe letter to the Queen, in which I have made her Majesty understand I am no longer an English subject: for I had sooner be the subject of a Hottentot chief than one to be commanded by a woman * * * * * * * * * guided by a man who possesses none of the qualities of his great patron, Mr. Fox, except his talens pour la débauche:—if he had, he would recollect that nobleman’s conduct to me after Mr. Pitt’s death.

[214] Although of a character violent to desperation, few persons, I believe, have given more examples of forbearance than I have done, both to those calling themselves my friends and to those who rank among my enemies, from these simple motives—either from my personal contempt of them or their opinion, or from the knowledge that they were acting upon a principle which they thought a meritorious one. But when a crowned head, or a minister, ventures to cast a slur upon my integrity (which I hope may vie with that which has ever distinguished my ancestors) without any inquiries into either facts or motives, and pretends to invest low venal people with any authority over me or my concerns, I shall repel the aggression with the energy it requires, and make every sacrifice which circumstances may call for: and, should starvation stare me in the face, it will not appal me. These are my fixed determinations, and this is the sovereign contempt I feel for * * * * * * and * * * * * *. As things must have already taken some turn, I will not request your lordship’s assistance: for I should not forgive myself for either causing you trouble or anxiety. I shall boldly follow my fate, as I always hitherto have done.

These few lines, therefore, are only to be considered as a mark of personal respect towards your lordship, and as affording me an opportunity of expressing my[215] congratulations for the restoration of your health; which, however, I hope you will continue to ménager, as you will want a great store of it in the bad times that are coming, and when the value of men of your extraordinary talents and exertions will be properly estimated.—I have the honour, my lord, to be, with great truth and esteem, yours,

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

Monday, June 4.—A letter from the Pasha’s wife to Lady Hester took me down to Sayda to see the Pasha’s little daughter, an angelic child of about seven years of age, ill of a fever. The mother did not show herself; Madame Lapi, the lady of the Austrian referendary, and Madame Bertrand, a French lady, receiving me. The Pasha was absent at the camp in the Horàn. Sulyman Pasha, when appointed to the pashalik of Sayda, had found no house fit for a residence, and had caused a small, low palace to be built, which, if placed in the midst of a paddock, might have passed for a gentleman’s house of a thousand a year in England. In the three rooms I went through, to the one wherein the little girl was lying, there was, as is usual in Turkish houses, the utmost simplicity: but one thing struck me as indicative of the nationality[216] of the master of the house[29]—a large French looking-glass; for I believe a person would with difficulty have found another mirror on the walls of a saloon all through Syria, excepting in a Frank house. The child was but slightly indisposed, and it is possible that mere feminine curiosity had induced her mother to send for me, that she might get a look through some peep-hole to see whether she should like to consult me for some complaint of her own: for such are the indirect ways of proceeding common in harýms, and such things had happened to me before. The Pasha’s wife was originally a Greek slave, bought during the horrors of the Greek revolution, when Turkish soldiers sold their prisoners into bondage. She had pleased him, and he eventually made her his wife. Report spoke highly of her beauty and her conduct.

Tuesday, June 5.—Logmagi had been sent for to rate the maids, who had been caught scaling the garden-wall before sunrise and going down to the spring, where they were seen with some one. As they never were permitted to leave the house, or the inner court, this violation of her ladyship’s orders, so contrary to Eastern propriety, which allows not of a woman’s being out of doors in the company of men, called for some chastisement, more especially when coupled with[217] suspicious circumstances. One of these very maids had introduced herself the preceding night into a room, where she was forbidden to enter, and had been detected untying bundles of things and pieces of stuffs; so that it was apprehended there was a league with persons without to carry off stolen goods. Zezefôon was locked up, and sentenced to remain in durance until she learned to behave better.

Thursday, June 7.—A servant was despatched over-night with a letter and seven black doses, and directions how to take them, for the baron and six others of the suite, with a promise of eight more doses the next day for the duke and the rest.

This general drenching of fifteen travellers, which will make many persons laugh, was treated with the utmost seriousness by Lady Hester Stanhope. It was a rule with her, as has been said above, never to let any one pass through her hands without some potion or another; and truly it may be asserted that she has saved many from the fevers of the country by her sage foresight and precautions; but it was too comical when seven or eight at a time were to be physicked. To have heard Lady Hester and myself in conference, weighing the probabilities of under or over dosing the tall captain of the guards, the mild and delicately framed baron, and the royal stomach of his highness, would have been quite a comedy.

[218] The servant had been ordered to arrive at midnight; the doses were to be administered at two in the morning; whilst I was to be down at the tents by noon to see if all had gone on properly. Accordingly, I mounted my horse after breakfast; but, being rather late, I did not get there until half-past two. What was my surprise, when the baron, advancing towards me, seized my hand. “Be not afraid,” said he; “we are out of quarantine, and have now no contagion about us. Upon the representation made, that our black Mameluke was lying ill of typhus fever only, the board of health at Beyrout has set us free. Let me take you to his royal highness, who now can receive you a little better than he has done.” I accordingly went with him behind the tombs, where we found the duke seated on a sofa in the open air, with his suite around him, and the place rolled and watered for coolness. He received me with great kindness and condescension, spoke in repeated terms of gratitude for Lady Hester’s attention to him, and said his first duty was to wait on her and thank her: he therefore charged me to let him know when she would permit him to pay his respects. Pipes and coffee were served; and, when I had time to look about me, I observed the manner in which they had bivouacked for some days past. Under the hedge, a few yards off, was an immense pile of burning live coals, on[219] which the saucepans and boilers were placed, gipsy-fashion: in this differing from the manner of the country, where, when cooking in the open air is going on, temporary stoves are constructed with three or four square stones, which confine the ashes and make a draught. In the background I was surprised to see about half a dozen Italian tumblers, who were preparing for an exhibition of feats of leaping, &c. These were a troop, who had that very day arrived from Beyrout, and whom the prince had engaged to divert him. Soon after arrived the government secretary, the colonels of the different regiments in garrison, the Austrian referendary and his family, &c., to congratulate the duke on the termination of his confinement. The exhibition being over, I rose to take leave. The duke pressed me to stop and dine with him; but I pleaded my three hours’ ride back in the dark, and returned home.

Friday, June 8.—When I told Lady Hester that the duke was coming up, she sent the following letter to him:—

To His Royal Highness Maximilian Duke of Bavaria.

Jôon, June 8, 1838.


I cannot sufficiently appreciate the honour you intend me in wishing to visit my hermitage: but permit[220] me to impose these conditions on you—that you say not a word more, neither you nor the noblemen in your suite, of those trifling services which you have so graciously and benevolently accepted. Allow me also to acquaint your highness that, although I was in my time a woman of the world, for these last twenty years I have been nothing but a philosopher, who turns out of her road for nobody. When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes, he neither changed his dress nor moved his tub for him: pardon me, prince, if I imitate his example.

There was a time when my house was passable: but now there are many rooms in ruins for want of repairs—especially a large pavilion in the garden, tumbling down from an earthquake; so that I could not lodge more than three or four persons at a time. What lodging I have for you is, first of all, a little garden on the east side of my residence, with a small saloon, and outside of the door two mustabys,[30] where two persons might sleep. Adjoining the saloon is a bed-room, and at the back of it a sleeping-room for two valets, with mattresses on the floor, according to the[221] custom of the country. The saloon has a trellis in front. Just out of the garden-gate is a little place to make coffee, or boil water for shaving; and opposite to it is another room for ordinary strangers, where two persons can sleep, and where Count Tattenbach was lodged. For the other servants there is room in one of the courtyards. As for my own divàn, it has been in a ruinous state for some years, and I inhabit at present a badly furnished little room.

I beg your highness will consider the little garden, and the pavilion in it, which I have just mentioned, as your own, until the ship which you expect arrives. You can make your excursions in the mountain when you like. With you you can bring two or three of the gentlemen of your suite, and these can make room for others in their turn. Only, I hope that the baron and Count Gaiety, as I call him (for, according to what the doctor tells me, during all your misfortunes he has always preserved his cheerfulness), will not come both together, because I have got a great deal to say to each. Thus, then, I shall expect your royal highness on Saturday evening.

I have the honour to salute you, prince, with the most perfect esteem and highest consideration, begging you to accept, with your known nobleness, the welcome of the dervise,

H. L. Stanhope.

[222] Saturday, June 9.—The morning came. Preparations for the reception of the duke had been going on all the day before. A lamb had been killed; beef had been sent for from Dayr el Kamar, the only place where it was sold; fruit and vegetables had come up from Sayda gardens, and Logmagi had sent fish; bills of fare had been made out for each meal by Lady Hester, as a guide to the cook; the silver spoons and forks had been given out; the servants had put on their best clothes, and all was bustle for the reception; for the duke’s liberality to all those who served him in any shape was very generally talked of, and this was an infallible spur to all the menials, who anticipated large vails. Mercenary wretches! whose God was a bakshýsh, and whose torpor, as Lady Hester often said, only two things could overcome—money, and a good flogging.

I waited on Lady Hester early. She told me she had passed a very bad night, that she was in a burning fever, and felt so ill it would be impossible to receive the duke. Her looks were pale, her skin parched and dry, her breathing short, and she complained of an increased pain in her side, which had entirely deprived her of rest. I felt her pulse, and encouraged her to hope that it was not so bad. “Doctor,” replied she, “it is nothing: it is when the thunder is in the air that you should feel it; my pulse beats then like two[223] bullets, and if, at that moment, I were to meet a thousand men opposed to me, I should brave them all: but, when the storm is over, my pulse falls into its natural state, and all is quiet again. Anybody but you would say now I must be bled; and, whether you approve it or not, bled I shall be: so be so good as to raise no difficulties, and you must set off immediately to Dayr Mkhallas, with an apology to his highness; for I have neither breath nor strength enough to undergo the exertion of conversation, and put him off you must.”

I set off to the monastery, and found the duke surrounded by a numerous company. Nothing could equal his regret at Lady Hester’s indisposition. Lady Hester’s state requiring my immediate return, I hastened back. The bleeding did her good. About five in the afternoon, the duke and his party were seen passing on the high-road on their way back to Sayda. His object in leaving the seaside had been to see Lady Hester, and, disappointed in that, he returned immediately. Eventually, this contrariety proved fortunate for him. He had hardly reached his tents, when the English steamboat arrived; his passage had been agreed for, and the duke and his suite, but too happy to quit a country where he had met with so many vexations, and had been exposed to so much danger, were on board in half an hour after her arrival. The[224] sick negro and four slaves, who had been purchased in Egypt, were left behind, under the care of Signor Lapi, with orders likewise to that gentleman that no expense or care should be spared to forward Wellington’s recovery.


[24] In all cities in Turkey, trades of the same kind are always in the same street in a cluster. Thus, the saddlers are in one street, the druggists or grocers in another, the shoemakers in another: and it is customary to say, when directing to a place in a town—“Close to the goldsmiths’ bazar, beyond the corn market, before you come to the Blacksmiths’ Street,” &c.

[25] What the traveller related to me had almost slipped my memory; but having since met with it in an Arabic book, I here translate it.

[26] The Mahometans, imbued with the persuasion that whatever is the will of the Almighty must come to pass, and that resignation to his decrees is their duty, never refuse assistance to persons afflicted with contagious maladies. Hence may be seen that marked difference in their conduct and that of Christians during the prevalence of the plague; the former attending on the sick bed of their relatives, the latter flying from them and leaving them to die through neglect.

[27] Thus, while writing out these memorandums in August, 1839, I learn that the plague has re-appeared at Jerusalem, Jaffa, and at other places, where, in 1838, a few cases announced its presence. We shall see whether a quarantine establishment will save Syria: I think it will not. The Turkish authorities, when left to themselves, invariably resist the introduction of all quarantine regulations; or, at least, they did so in the beginning of this century: it is only when the preponderance of European influence, backed by orders from their own government, compels submission, that they unwillingly adopt them. But Mahomet Ali and Ibrahim Pasha, when spoken of, are not to be considered as Mahometans. Imbued with Machiavelian principles, gathered from their intercourse with Europeans, they were not slow to see that, in fit hands, a quarantine establishment has little more to do with health than it has with the growth of the sugar-cane, or any extraneous employment. A Lazaretto, as conducted in Piedmont or France, is no more nor less than a fiscal measure and a legalized panoptikon. It is, first of all, subsidiary to the Customs, and next, a most efficient mode for staying travellers, crews of ships, and all manner of moving things entering on a territory, then and there to be enabled in cool despotism to examine letters, pry into men’s business, learn their opinions, destination, &c., and, finally, to tax them in their money and substance, in the most undisguised and complete manner yet invented by designing rulers. Quarantine ought never to exist in a free country, neither ought passports. A town properly built, ventilated, and cleansed, will not foster contagion, and passports do not facilitate the detection of offenders. The plague still visits the Levant, and Pichegru remained undiscovered in France for two years, in spite of all the passports and all the police of Buonaparte, his mortal enemy.

[28] This was the report of a suit in one of the county courts of assize, wherein, under somewhat similar circumstances, a surgeon was acquitted.

[29] It will be recollected that Sulyman Pasha was originally a French corporal in Buonaparte’s army.

[30] A mustaby is an estrade, or raised stone bench, in shape what a shop-counter would be against a wall, made at the doors of houses in the East for people to sit cross-legged on to enjoy the fresh air, or sometimes at the doors of rooms for servants to sleep on as sentries to those within.



Petty annoyances in hot countries—Lady Hester refuses Duke Maximilian’s portrait—She insists on my leaving her—Continuation of the negro Wellington’s case—Progress of the Druze insurrection—Destruction of locusts—Mysterious visit at the Dar—Reasons why Lady Hester kept daring fellows in her service—Russian spies—Dr. Lœve’s visit—Dangerous state of the country—Lady Hester’s dream—Her resolution to immure herself—Visit from Mr. M.—Visit from Colonel Hazeta and Dr. Mill—Letter from Lord Palmerston to Lady Hester—Her answer—Inexpediency of having consular agents not natives of the country they represent—Successes of the Druzes—Lady Hester’s belief in fortune-telling—Letter from Sir Francis Burdett—Colonel Needham’s property—Lord Coutts—Subscribers to pay Mr. Pitt’s debts—Fright from a serpent—Battle of Yanta—Sir N. Wraxall a peer—Discourse upon heads—A spy—Letter to the Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.

Lady Hester got up in the evening. The heat was now so great, that the covers of books, as they lay on the table, would curl up at the corners, and the joinings of furniture split. A host of a kind of small May-bugs made their appearance at sunset, and large[226] cockchafers, impudent as is every description of bug, fly, or bird, in this country, kept us all in a state of petty warfare, which was succeeded, when bed-time came, by a sleepless contest with those horrid tormentors, the musquitoes.

Lady Hester spoke a good deal about the property supposed to be left her. “Those,” she said, “who wrote me word about it would not deceive me; they were persons I have perfect reliance on. They were afraid to write names; but when they said that this property was come to me from the two plainest persons of my acquaintance, those two must have been Lord K. and his wife.”

The duke had asked me, when I was with him, whether I thought Lady Hester would be displeased if he sent her his portrait from Europe. I answered, “She could not but be pleased to have what, next to seeing him, would best recall his highness to her mind.” But, when I told Lady Hester of this, she said, “No; I must write to him, and prevent his sending it.”

Sunday, June 10, 1838.—I rode down to Sayda, not aware of the duke’s departure, and I found, to my astonishment, that the duke, tents, and everybody had disappeared, except the poor black, Wellington; so now, having nothing to distract my attention, I went and conversed with him. He asked for a loose[227] dressing-gown, warm stockings, as the cold struck up to his bowels from the stones, and a pillow for his head. This, together with tea and sugar, a teapot, and some other little things, were sent down to him.

Tuesday, June 12.—Lady Hester’s fever was somewhat abated. According to the date, the steamboat had arrived at Beyrout, and her expectations were wound up to a fearful height, in the hope that this time, at all events, a letter must have come from Sir Francis Burdett. Before noon, an express was announced: he was bearer of a letter to me to say that the steamboat had brought nothing. I knew not how to communicate the sad intelligence to her ladyship. When she heard it, she made a turn in her bed, and, with an exclamation of “Oh, Lord!” she said—“Doctor, the die is cast: the sooner you take yourself off, the better. I have no money—you can be of no use to me—I shall write no more letters, shall break up my establishment, wall up the gate, and, with a girl and a boy to wait on me, resign myself to my fate.—Let me have none of your foolish reasoning on the subject. Tell your family they may make their preparations, and in a fortnight’s time you must be gone. Who knows? perhaps Prince Pückler Muskau, after all his pretended interest about my affairs, has never sent the correspondence to Europe: he told you in three months we should see the letters[228] in the papers; and yet the papers neither come, nor do we hear from him: and do you think, after this, one can have any confidence in anybody?”

Wednesday, June 13.—I was glad to pass twenty-four hours without seeing her ladyship; for she was in too melancholy a humour to derive consolation, except from her own reflections: there she was most sure to find relief; for, endued with a sanguine temperament, and always building castles in the air, her depression never was of long continuance. In the evening, when I went to her, she dwelt on the necessity of repose for me, now old age had come upon me, in order to reconcile me to a separation which she seemed to think would give me pain.

Thursday, June 14.—I rode down to see Wellington, the black. His quarantine was to last in all forty days. He was alone in the building before described, called the Shemaôony, lying with his mattress on the stones, in the open air, and with an invalided soldier to attend on him, who of course was condemned to the same length of quarantine as himself. Wellington thanked me for the things which had been sent him. “Ah, sir,” said he, “this is not like my own country. At New York I should, even in a hospital, be attended by a good nurse; I should have my comfortable cup of tea, my bread pudding; and what the doctor ordered me would be properly administered:[229] but that man” (pointing to the soldier) “wants to kill me. He is tired of being as it were in prison, and last night he beat me—yes, he beat me, ill as I am, because I woke him to assist me in my helplessness. My swelling is broken too; and it wants rags and plasters, and I have not strength to dress it myself; for I am so weak! look, see how my arms and legs are reduced in size. Tell that lady who is so kind to me, that, when I get well, I will bring her some of the beads and cockle-shells, and other curiosities I bought at Jerusalem; and I have got some fine cotton stockings that I brought from New York,”—“Oh! but Wellington,” said I, interrupting him, “the lady is not in need of such things, although your feelings are not the less creditable on that account. She is a great lady, like the wife of your President, and she loves to do good to everybody.” “God bless her!” cried the poor fellow; “and it was so thoughtful of her to send me this soft pillow to put under my back, when I only asked for one for my head; for, do you know, it was the very thing I wanted, I have got such sores down my backbone from lying so long in the same position! Will you be so good as to explain to that man that he must make a fire, and boil the water here, when I want tea? for Lufloofy brings the water from the town, and it is quite cold before he gets here. And do, sir, tell[230] him he is not to beat me—but no! perhaps you had better not; for in the night he will be revenged on me, and who is to help me here? Oh, sir, if you knew what I suffer! I have not had a clean shirt, until those you sent me, since the day of our reaching this place.”

On leaving Wellington, I rode into Sayda, and going to Signor Lapi, where I found the governor’s secretary, I told them how the soldier maltreated the poor sick man. He immediately provided another attendant, an old Christian, named Anastasius, and, accompanying me to the Shemaôony himself, he menaced the soldier with a good bastinadoing, ordered him to the corner of the building farthest removed from Wellington’s bed, and threatened to have him shot if he dared molest either the black or Anastasius. Having settled this affair, I went to one of the city baths, called Hamàm el Gidýd, where I was obliged to hurry myself greatly to make way for the women, who, their time being come, were raising a clamour about the door. Baths are generally open for men until noon, and for women until sunset.

To-day news had come that the Druzes had advanced as far as Hasbéyah and Rashéyah about a day’s journey from Sayda; that they had killed the governor, and had spread consternation throughout the district. This news was confirmed by Khosrô[231] Effendi and Selim Effendi, two gentlemen in the governor’s service.

On my return, I had occasion to witness the successful results of the Emir Beshýr’s measure for the destruction of the locusts. Immense swarms of these insects had come from the south-east, and settled for many leagues around during the month of ——, laying their eggs in holes in the ground, which they bore, as far as I could observe, with a sort of auger, which nature has sheathed in their tails. Their eggs form a small cylinder about as big as a maggot, and in minute appearance like an ear of Turkey corn, all the little eggs, as so many pins’ heads, lying in rows with that beautiful uniformity so constant in all the works of the Creator. How many of these conglomerate little masses each female locust lays I know not, but those I handled were enough to equal in size a hazel-nut, and, united by some glutinous matter, they are hatched about May. But no sooner had the swarms laid their eggs, than, to prevent their hatching, an order was enforced all through the district where the locusts had settled, obliging every member of a family above a certain age to bring for so many days (say) half a gallon of eggs to the village green, where, lighted faggots being thrown on them, they were consumed. The order was in full force for, probably, three weeks, until it was supposed that the greatest[232] part of the eggs had been dug up and destroyed. The peasants know by certain signs where the females have laid their eggs: but the utmost vigilance may overlook some ovaries; and, as each clot of the size of a nut may produce 5,000 locusts (for the peasants told me that each separate cluster of the size of a maggot contained more than a hundred eggs), it may be easily imagined how they swarm as soon as they are hatched. What one first sees is a black heap, about the size of the brim of a coalheaver’s hat. A day or two after the heap spreads for some yards round, and consists of little black grasshopper-like things, all jumping here and there with such dazzling agility as to fatigue the eye. Soon afterwards they begin to march in one direction, and to eat; and then they spread so widely through a whole province that a person may ride for leagues and leagues, and his horse will never put a foot to the ground without crushing three or four at a step: it is then the peasants rush to their fields, if fortunate enough to meet the vanguard of this formidable and destructive army. With hoes, shovels, pickaxes and the like, they dig a trench as deep as time will permit across their march, and there, as the locusts, which never turn aside for anything, enter, they bury, burn, and crush them, until exhaustion compels them to desist, or until, as was the case this year, from previous destruction of the[233] eggs, and from having only partial swarms to contend with, they succeed in nearly annihilating them. When they fly, the whole village population comes out with kettles, pots, and pans, and, by an incessant din, tries to prevent their settling. The greatest enemy to locusts is a high wind, which carries them to the sea and drowns them, or, opposing their course, drives them back to the desert, probably to perish for want of sustenance.

In the evening, Lady Hester was in very low spirits. She said many unpleasant things to me, calling it frankness. She made a long tirade on my obstinacy in not listening to her prophetic voice. She said—“Wherever you go, you will regret not having followed my counsels, whether in Syria or in Europe. I should not,” she added, “have bestowed so much time on you, but I wish you well, and am sorry you will not put yourself in my train. You can be of no use to me, for I shall want persons of determination, judgment, and courage—neither of which you possess: but I know from what cause all your errors come—from having given up your liberty to a woman.”—Such was her opinion of what she called the slavery of marriage.

Monday, June 18.—I was mounting my horse to go to Sayda, when a person on a sorry nag, dressed in the nizàm dress, passed my gate, followed by a servant.[234] “Good morning,” said I, in Arabic (for it is a sin almost not to give a good day to friend or stranger in these countries), and, receiving a reply in the same language, I concluded he was some officer of the Pasha’s come on business, and I rode off. On arriving at Sayda, I was asked if I had met a Frank on the road, and replied no; until, by the description, I learned that the person in the nizàm dress was a European. “Of what nation he is,” said my informant, “I can’t tell; we spoke to him in three or four languages, but it was all the same to him—he answered fluently in all. There is his lodging” (and he pointed to a small tent pitched in the middle of the khan quadrangle); “for we told him we had not a room to give him, owing to the earthquake; but he said he preferred being near us to going into the town, and so there he slept. When he wanted a guide up to mylady’s house, we told him that he must first send to ask permission to visit her; but he maintained there was no occasion for that; so we left him to his own course.”

According to the news that I collected, the signs of the times were rather alarming. Whilst I was holding the above conversation, a peasant entered the khan gate with a brace of pistols in his girdle. “There they are,” whispered a Turk to me. “A fortnight ago, that peasant would have no more dared to come into[235] town with his arms—but now they hang them on a peg in their cottages, especially in and about Nablôos, and set the soldiers and the pasha at defiance; and the garrison here is as mute as a mouse. God knows how things will turn out! In the mountain there is even a fanatic shaykh who goes about haranguing the people, advising them to pay no more miri to Ibrahim Pasha. A man, too, has been murdered on the Beyrout road.”

When I returned to the Dar in the evening, I saw Lady Hester. Nothing was said about the stranger’s arrival, although, by the stranger’s garden-door being open, I knew he was installed there; but, according to the etiquette observed in the house, I made no inquiries, judging that this was to be a mysterious visit, with which I had nothing to do; so I went home. It must appear very strange to the reader, that there should be a European so near to me, who would have to dine alone when I would willingly have had his company; yet, without seriously offending Lady Hester, I could neither invite him, nor even pay him a visit—but such was her character. With her everything must be secret, and everything exclusive; and if ever there was a being who would have appropriated all authority to herself, and have shouldered out the rest of mankind from the enjoyment of any[236] privilege but such as she thought fit to concede, it was Lady Hester Stanhope.

Tuesday, June 19.—This morning the conversation turned on the Druze insurrection. Lady Hester now assumed the air of a person who, having made extraordinary prophecies, saw that the time of their accomplishment had arrived. “I foretold all this,” said she: “in a short time you will not be able to ride from here to Sayda; the country will be overrun with armed men; but I shall be as cool, from first to last, as at a fête. All the cowards may go: I want only those who can send a ball where I direct them. Why do I keep such men as Seyd Ahmed and some others? because I know they would mind no more killing a score of people than eating their dinner. You wanted me to get rid of them, and blamed my tubba [disposition] because I had such fellows about me, whose plots you are afraid of:—why, yes, they were uneasy and troublesome, because they had nothing to do: but I knew the time would come when they would be useful, as you will see.”

Finding that Lady Hester seemed, for some unknown reason, to wish for my absence, I took my leave of her until Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, June 20.—I rose rather late, and was told by my family that a curious figure of a European[237] on a mule, followed by a servant dressed as a sailor, and coming from Lady Hester’s house, had passed our gate just before, with two mule-loads of luggage, altogether bearing the appearance of a travelling pedlar. “What can this mean?” thought I: “this cannot be the stranger I heard of in Sayda, for he was dressed in the costume of the country; but perhaps this is some travelling merchant, who has been to show his European wares to her ladyship.”

Sunset came, and, after dinner, I joined Lady Hester. She began, as I entered the saloon, with—“Well, doctor, I have got rid of him.”—“Of whom!” I asked. “Oh!” rejoined she, “such a deep one!—a Russian spy from the embassy at Constantinople: but he got nothing out of me, although he tried in all sorts of ways. I as good as told him he was a spy: and the Russians employ such clever men, that I thought it best you should not see him; for he would have pumped you without your suspecting his design, and have been more than a match for you. I dare say he is affronted because I packed him off so soon. I told him his fortune. You should have seen his splaws and have heard him talk—it was quite a comedy. He asked me if it was true that I could describe a person’s character merely by looking at him. ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘and, although I don’t see very well, and the candles give a very bad light, I will describe[238] yours, if you like,’ and, without giving him time to stop me, I hit it off so exactly, that he exclaimed—‘Really, my lady, it is quite, quite wonderful!’ But, now he is gone, I must tell you that there is another person here—a sort of savant. Here, take this little book which he has given to me; but, you know, I don’t pretend to understand such things; it is something he has written about hieroglyphics: look at it, and then go and sit a little with him.”

After casting my eye over the work, I went to the strangers’ garden, and introduced myself. It was Dr. Lœve, the great orientalist and linguist, whom the newspapers had designated as librarian to his royal highness the D. of S., although I had thought that another gentleman of the medical profession held that honourable post. His knowledge of tongues was prodigious. I passed an hour or two with him, whilst he explained some of the objects of his Eastern researches. One thing struck me very forcibly, that, of all Europeans who study the literature of the East, the Jew has a decided advantage, inasmuch as his school studies in Hebrew render the transition to Arabic a step of no more difficulty than from Latin to Italian.

When I went back to Lady Hester, and told her that Dr. Lœve, as I thought, had been sent out at the expense of one of the oriental societies, or else at that[239] of the Duke of S., and that he had spoken very highly of his royal highness’s library and learning, Lady Hester halloed out—“Oh! Lord, doctor—the D. of S. learned! If I were to see him, I would tell him when and where he was laid across his horse drunk.—But I loved all the princes—all, except George the Fourth;—they were so lively, so good-natured;—people who would laugh at a straw.”

Thursday, June 21.—I rode down to Shemaôony to see Wellington, but not without some misgivings; for the groom who accompanied me related several things which made me suspect that the road was no longer safe. He had heard that between Tyr and Acre there was no passing: “and,” said he, “what is to prevent any desperate villain, or gang of villains, from attacking anybody anywhere? Our very governors hardly dare stir out of the towns; and who is to go in pursuit of robbers now? They know that; for the country is ready to rise, and in four or five days we shall perhaps see strange doings.”

After visiting the black, whose state was far from improving, I entered Sayda. I learned that from some villages a hundred and fifty horsemen had marched off the preceding night to join the insurgents; that, at Garýfy, a distance of four hours from Jôon, cattle had been carried off; that between Acre and Sayda travelling had become dangerous. At a village[240] called Helliléah, the people had shut up their houses, and taken refuge in the city: nay, the monks of Dayr el Mkhallas had packed up their valuables and church ornaments, and sent them to Sayda. The people in the gardens had also taken the alarm, and no longer slept there, as is customary in the summer season.

When I got back to the Dar, I told all this news to Lady Hester Stanhope. “Oh!” said she, “that’s not all—the people of Jôon are in a fright, and were going to desert the village; and Fatôom has been asking leave to bring her mother’s cow into my cow-house: but I sent word over to them to remain where they were, and that no harm should come to them.”

M. Guys, before setting off to Aleppo, had raised on a bill of her ladyship’s 27,000 piasters: these were in the house. “Would it be right,” said I, “to pay the servants the six months’ wages due to them, so that, if anything happens, each person may take care of his own?”—“Oh!” answered Lady Hester, “I don’t fear; I would throw all my doors open, if the Druzes were on the outside, and should not be afraid that anybody would touch me.”

My family in the mean time remained in total ignorance of what was going on around them; they ate, drank, slept, and walked out, totally unconscious[241] of danger. I did not apprehend that these reports would come to their ears, for they understood very little Arabic, and, even if they had, the Arabs, generally speaking, have so much tact in knowing when they ought to be silent, that I thought myself safe in that respect: but I was mistaken. An old chattering washerwoman, in bringing home the linen, began a long speech, addressing herself to me, as I was smoking at the door, about the risk that women ran in being away from any habitation in these lawless times. “Do you know,” said she, “there are deserters in the woods and disabled soldiers in the high roads? And it was but yesterday that those ladies were an hour’s distance off in the forest, that leads to the river: for some neighbours of mine, who had taken their grists to the water-mill, saw them. By the Prophet! you do wrong to let them go so far. We had yesterday two of Ibrahim Pasha’s soldiers in the village begging, each with one hand only; for the Druzes had taken them prisoners and cut off their right hands;[31] but though they can’t fight, they are very dangerous men: for, you see, they are Egyptians.” The woman talked with much vehemence, and, although I silenced her, by answering that I would inquire into it, she had said enough to excite suspicion, in those who stood by[242] listening, that something was not right, and I was obliged to disclose part of the truth.

Friday, June 22.—Lady Hester dictated a very uncivil letter to Signor Lapi, the Austrian referendary, in which she said things as if coming from me. It was not an unusual way with her to employ my name to repeat her opinions, by which people were offended, who afterwards vented their spite in some way or another: it was one of her many manœuvres to keep people aloof from each other when it suited her purposes. Twenty years before, I had a serious quarrel with Shaykh Ibrahim (Mr. Burckhardt) in the same way, she not having so high an opinion of that gentleman as people in general had: but this was independent of his literary merits, and on different grounds.

Lady Hester related to me a dream that some one had had about her, in which a hand waving over her head, and several crowned heads humbled before her, were interpreted to indicate the greatness that just now, as she flattered herself, awaited her. What reason she had for thinking that relief from all her troubles was near at hand the reader has had opportunity of judging. She was always disposed, however, to see things in their brightest aspect—yesterday plunged into difficulties, and to-day extricating herself, if not in reality at least in imagination. “I am,” said she,[243] “like the man in the Eastern story, who, imprisoned in a dungeon, and nearly starved to death, found in a poor sailor an old acquaintance, who conveyed to him secretly a basin of warm soup: but, just as he was putting it to his mouth, a rat fell from the ceiling, and knocked it out of his hand. Reduced thus to the lowest pitch of wretchedness, and seeing nothing left for him but to die, at the critical moment came a firmán from Constantinople to cut off the head of the pasha who had thrown him into prison, and he was saved. So it is with me: I cannot be worse off than I am; I shall, therefore, when the next steamboat comes, see what it brings; and, if I hear no news about the property that was left me, I shall get rid of you and everybody, and of all the women; and, with one black slave and Logmagi, I shall order the gateway to be walled up, leaving only room enough for my cows to go in and out to pasture, and I shall have no communication with any human being. I shall write to Lord Palmerston before you go, and tell him that, as he has thrown an aspersion on my name, I shall remain walled in here until he publicly removes it: and if he, or anybody, writes to me, there will be no answer; for, when you are gone, I shall have nobody to write for me.—This sort of life perhaps will suit me best, after all. I have often wished that I could have a room in my garden, and, lying there with only[244] some necessary covering, slip from my bed as I was into my garden, and after a turn or two slip back again: I do assure you I should neither be low-spirited nor dull.”

To-day a letter was brought from an English traveller, Mr. M., to Lady Hester, the purport of which was that a gentleman of an ancient and honourable family was desirous of paying his respects to her. Lady Hester asked me to go down to Sayda, to call on him and say she should be happy to see him: accordingly, next morning, I went. I found a gentleman, of about forty or forty-two years of age, installed at the customary lodging of the English, and, after delivering my message and conversing with him a little while, I left him to see Wellington, the black, and go in search of news. I learned from Khosrô Effendi, the government secretary, that one of Ibrahim’s regiments, sent to quell the rising in Hasbéyah and Rashéyah, had been compelled, by the superior numbers of the insurgents, to shut themselves up in the castle, and were there closely besieged, expecting a reinforcement from Damascus to their relief.[32]

Towards Jerusalem some manifestations of rising[245] had been made, and nearer to Jôon some bodies of insurgents, in their way from different villages to join the main body in Rashéyah and the Horàn, had, in passing Btedýn, the Emir Beshýr’s residence, uttered loud and reviling menaces and cries. The Emir, being deprived of arms to put his dependants in a state of defence, had sent to Beyrout to demand 400 muskets, and had induced the Patriarch of the Maronite Christians to assemble some of the chief shaykhs, and to bind them with an oath not to join the Druzes. He had despatched couriers to the Metoualy country (the mountains running parallel with the sea from Sayda to Acre, and in some measure a continuation of Mount Lebanon), calling on the chieftains to hold their allegiance to Ibrahim Pasha. But it was considered that all these were measures of little use, should the Christians and Metoualis see a chance of expelling their oppressors. The inhabitants of the peaceable villages kept themselves in readiness on the first alarm to fly to the towns for security. Looking, however, dispassionately at the probabilities of success between the rival parties, it is not likely, considering that the Egyptian satrap holds all the strong places, that the Druzes can do anything more than carry on[246] a harassing warfare, unless powerful aid comes from without, and ships of war blockade Acre, Beyrout, and the other ports.[33]

I saw Wellington: his case presented little hope. Dysentery had supervened, and, feeble as he already was, I judged it impossible that he could survive.

Sunday, June 24.—Mr. M. came up, and remained, I forget whether two or three days. He told me he was of Trinity College, Cambridge, but had been a long time abroad. Lady Hester said of him, “I like to converse with such people as are what you call country squires—one hears a great many anecdotes from them. Sometimes he makes very sensible remarks, and sometimes he is very strange. He asked me if I knew the Emir Beshýr; and, when I was giving him some information about him, all of a sudden he asked me if I liked dancing when I lived in England.[247] He goes from one thing to another, like a dog in a fair:” (I laughed):—“yes, doctor, just like a dog that goes from one booth to another, sniffing here and there, and stealing gingerbread nuts. When he sat with me in the evening, he was constantly turning his head to the window, which was open, as if he thought somebody was coming in that way.”

Tuesday, June 26.—Mr. M. went away.

Wednesday, June 27.—A letter came from two more travellers, dated from the quarantine ground, where the black lay ill. Colonel Hazeta, the writer, informed her ladyship that he had travelled overland from Calcutta, and was commissioned to deliver to her a letter from her nephew, Colonel T. Taylor; but he alleged the impossibility of being the bearer of it himself, owing to the necessity he was under of proceeding onward to Beyrout, and performing his quarantine there. He was accompanied by Dr. Mill.

Thursday, June 28.—I received a note, acquainting me with the death of Wellington, and I rode down to inform myself of the circumstances of his end. By Signor Lapi’s care he was decently interred in the Catholic burial-ground at Sayda. What religion he was of I never heard him say; but he was what is called a pious youth, and told me his mother had brought him up in the practice of virtue and godliness; and, from what I saw of him, I believe he spoke[248] truly; for he was of great singleness of mind, artless, ingenuous, and grateful to the duke, his master, and to Lady Hester, for the kindnesses they had shown him. But who shall console his poor mother!

I collected a little news, from which the Pasha’s affairs seemed to wear a better aspect. He had marched, it was said, with two regiments and some field-pieces against the rebels at Hasbéyah, and had sacked the place. The Horàn, it was reported, was also reduced to obedience.

Friday, June 29.—To-day Lady Hester wrote a letter to Lord Palmerston, in answer to one she had received from him, which I shall first transcribe.

Lord Palmerston to Lady Hester Stanhope.

Foreign Office, April 25, 1838.


I am commanded by the Queen to acquaint you that I have laid before her Majesty your letter of the 12th of February, of this year.

It has been my duty to explain to her Majesty the circumstances which may be supposed to have led to your writing that letter; and I have now to state to your ladyship that any communications which have been made to you on the matters to which your letter refers, either through the friends of your family or through her Majesty’s agent and consul-general at Alexandria,[249] have been suggested by nothing but a desire to save your ladyship from the embarrassments which might arise, if the parties who have claims upon you were to call upon the consul-general to act according to the strict line of his duty, under the capitulations between Great Britain and the Porte.

I have the honour to be, madam, your ladyship’s most obedient humble servant,


Lady Hester Stanhope to Lord Palmerston.

Jôon, Mount Lebanon, July 1, 1838.

My Lord,

If your diplomatic despatches are as obscure as the one which now lies before me, it is no wonder that England should cease to have that proud preponderance in her foreign relations which she once could boast of.

Your lordship tells me that you have thought it your duty to explain to the Queen the subject which caused me to address her Majesty: I should have thought, my lord, that it would have been your duty to have made those explanations prior to having taken the liberty of using her Majesty’s name, and alienated from her and her country a subject, who, the great and small must acknowledge, (however painful it may[250] be to some) has raised the English name in the East higher than any one has yet done, besides having made many philosophical researches of every description for the advantage of human nature at large, and this without having spent one farthing of the public money. Whatever may be the surprise created in the minds of statesmen of the old school respecting the conduct of government towards me, I am not myself in the least astonished; for, when the son of a king, with a view of enlightening his own mind and the world in general, had devoted part of his private fortune to the purchase of a most invaluable library at Hamburgh, he was flatly refused an exemption from the custom-house duties; but, if report speaks true, had an application been made to pass bandboxes, millinery, inimitable wigs, and invaluable rouge, it would have been instantly granted by her Majesty’s ministers, if we may judge by precedents. Therefore, my lord, I have nothing to complain of; yet I shall go on fighting my battles, campaign after campaign.

Your lordship gives me to understand that the insult which I have received was considerately bestowed upon me to avoid some dreadful, unnameable misfortune which was pending over my head. I am ready to meet with courage and resignation every misfortune it may please God to visit me with, but certainly not insult from man. If I can be accused of high crimes and[251] misdemeanours, and that I am to stand in dread of the punishment thereof, let me be tried, as I believe I have a right to be, by my peers; if not, then by the voice of the people. Disliking the English because they are no longer English—no longer that hardy, honest, bold people that they were in former times—yet, as some few of this race must remain, I should rely in confidence upon their integrity and justice, when my case had been fully examined.

It is but fair to make your lordship aware, that, if by the next packet there is nothing definitively settled respecting my affairs, and that I am not cleared in the eyes of the world of aspersions, intentionally or unintentionally thrown upon me, I shall break up my household and build up the entrance-gate to my premises: there remaining, as if I was in a tomb, till my character has been done justice to, and a public acknowledgment put in the papers, signed and sealed by those who have aspersed me. There is no trifling with those who have Pitt blood in their veins upon the subject of integrity, nor expecting that their spirit would ever yield to the impertinent interference of consular authority.

Meanly endeavouring (as Colonel Campbell has attempted to do) to make the origin of this business an application of the Viceroy of Egypt to the English Government, I must, without having made any inquiries[252] upon the subject, exculpate his highness from so low a proceeding. His known liberality in all such cases, from the highest to the lowest class of persons, is such as to make one the more regret his extraordinary and reprehensible conduct towards his great master, and that such a man should become totally blinded by vanity and ambition, which must in the end prove his perdition—an opinion I have loudly given from the beginning.

Your lordship talks to me of the capitulations with the Sublime Porte: what has that to do with a private individual’s having exceeded his finances in trying to do good? If there is any punishment for that, you had better begin with your ambassadors, who have often indebted themselves at the different courts of Europe as well as at Constantinople. I myself am so attached to the Sultan, that, were the reward of such conduct that of losing my head, I should kiss the sabre wielded by so mighty a hand, yet, at the same time, treat with the most ineffable contempt your trumpery agents, as I shall never admit of their having the smallest power over me—if I did, I should belie my origin.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

Here let me ask the reader whether Lady Hester had not indeed a right to be indignant with the minister who then directed the foreign affairs of the[253] country, for the illiberal manner in which he gratified his spleen and mortified vanity. He had not the power of directly stopping the payment of her pension, it being a parliamentary grant; but he had recourse to the unworthy artifice of directing his agent not to sign the certificate of her life, without which her pension could not be paid. Nothing can be added to the well-merited castigation inflicted upon him, and he has brought down upon himself the condemnation of all men of good breeding and generous sentiment. What his present feelings on the subject may be it is impossible to say; but I would fain hope that there are few who are disposed to envy him, much less to follow his example.

This day an English sloop of war hove-to off Sayda. The captain of her sent for the English consular agent alongside, and what took place on this occasion may serve as an example of the necessity of having Englishmen, and not foreigners, as consular agents in distant countries. The precise object that the captain of the sloop had in view of course can only be known to himself; but what queries he put to Mr. Abella, the agent, and what answers he received, very soon transpired. Since, how could it be otherwise, when the agent was a native of Syria, and understood no language but Arabic? Being, therefore, summoned to the ship, which he could not go aboard, as she[254] could not communicate with persons from the shore until her bill of health had been examined by the health officers, he was first of all compelled to take some one as an interpreter between the captain and himself, and then to hold his parley from the boat to the ship’s quarter; but, as the interpreter might only speak Italian, and the captain only English, a third aid is required, and we will suppose an officer to be called, who takes the question from the captain’s mouth in English, repeats it in Italian to the agent’s interpreter, who translates it into Arabic; and then the answer goes back through the same channels: so that it must necessarily happen that the sense and the wording undergo a material change. But there is yet a greater evil. If the questions relate to matters of importance, as the progress of the Druze insurrection (for example), or the probability of Ibrahim Pasha’s success or defeat, how is the consular agent, so circumstanced, to give a faithful account? for, should he divulge matters unfavourable to the Pasha’s cause, his well-being, and perhaps his life, may be endangered: since, although he himself, as an agent in the English service, receives a certain protection, he may have brothers and relations who are at the Pasha’s mercy: nay, he himself, perhaps an agent to-day and dismissed to-morrow, may be left to cope with powerful enemies for the rest of his life.

[255] Now, the French government secures Frenchmen for consuls and agents, and the English government, one would think, ought to act on the same principle. Let it not be said that men could not be found—native Englishmen—willing to banish themselves to these countries, and that for a very trifling salary. Among the half-pay officers of the army and navy might be selected numbers, who, even for so small a stipend as two hundred a year, would willingly accept such situations; because a very short residence would show them that, with economy, a hundred a year in the Levant is equivalent to two at home.

In affairs, where the conflicting interests of English and Mahometans, or disputes between travellers and natives, are to be settled, it is absurd to suppose that an agent, accustomed to cringe and fawn to the Turks all his life, will, or can, ever obtain redress for the party whose country he represents: it is impossible!

Saturday, June 30.—Lady Hester had sent to Dayr el Kamar for old Pierre, and he arrived this day. He brought news of a very different nature from that which I had learned at Sayda on the preceding Thursday. Ibrahim Pasha had been defeated by the insurgents, and had retreated as far as Zahly, a burgh overlooking the Bkâa, on the north-east slope of Mount Lebanon. In consequence of this, the road from Dayr el Kamar to Damascus was too dangerous[256] to pass, and all the muleteers were stopped at those two places, afraid to cross the intervening plain.

I was surprised in the evening, when conversing with her ladyship, to see how the strongest minds are borne into the regions of fancy by what, with people of common sense, would be considered as mere visionary absurdities. I believe I have related elsewhere how a person, having gained the confidence of Lady Hester, told her he knew of a book that foretold the destinies of persons, which book he procured at her desire, and out of it offered to answer any questions she chose to put about anybody. “I would not,” said Lady Hester, when narrating the story, “ask him what would happen in Syria, because I conceive the course of events may be predicted by a man of great sagacity in any country, where he has cast a wistful eye on things passing around him; but I fixed on you, and asked him, ‘What is the doctor doing in Europe?’ The man opened his book, and read, and explained thus:—‘I see an elderly person sitting up in his bed, and by the bed-side a young woman kneeling, whilst she entreats and implores the elderly person not to take some journey, or go on some voyage,’ which of the two he could not precisely say. Now, doctor, that you know was exactly the case: for did not Mrs. M. some one day cry and beg of you not to go and join me? I am sure it was so. I next asked him about myself.[257] He consulted his book, and said, I was to be witness to great battles, or be near where they were fought, and that one of the contests would be so bloody that, on one side, not a person would be left to tell the story: this battle, moreover, was to be fought on a plain three miles long and three broad, near Zahly, and upon Mount Lebanon. But,” added Lady Hester, “I never could find any solution to this prophecy until now; and the battle between Ibrahim Pasha and the insurgents clearly was the one meant. Neither could I discover where the plain was three miles long, and three broad, and I sent people to the neighbourhood of Zahly; but nobody knew anything of such a place, until at last information was brought me that there existed a plain as described in the heart of the mountain, like a basin, and which was shut out from the rest of the world. The book also said that a boy of royal blood would come from distant regions, would kiss my stirrup, and place himself under my guidance. All this was prophesied some years ago, and I always interpreted the bed-scene as relating to Mrs. M. That came to pass; for, though you will not confess it, I am sure it was so; and now the other part has been fulfilled too.”

In the course of the day, Lady Hester received a letter from Dr. Mill and Colonel Hazeta, to say that their quarantine was over, and that they would be at Jôon on the 1st of July.

[258] Sunday, July 1.—They arrived early in the morning. After they had breakfasted, I received a note from Dr. Mill to say that he was about to read the morning prayers in his room, and to invite me and any others so disposed to join him.

These gentlemen remained two days, but a press of business prevented me from making memorandums. They always went together, when Lady Hester sent word she was ready to receive them: and this vexed her a great deal. Dr. Mill’s profound knowledge of languages, and his extensive reading, had given her hopes that she might have cleared up some difficulties respecting Eastern history, and have discussed certain religious points about which she had not perfectly made up her mind; but Colonel Hazeta, who was a man of the world, and could take no part in abstruse subjects, was a barrier to such conversation.

Friday, July 6.—Lady Hester was very low spirited, and her cough troublesome. She was unable to converse, and I left her at ten in the evening. Ali, the messenger, had gone to Beyrout two or three days before to carry the letter to Lord Palmerston, and to await the arrival of the steamboat, which was expected. His delay in returning had created great despondency in her; and, as the air was balmy and serene and it was a moonlight night, I sat on my terrace, which overlooked the path by which Ali must pass, fondly hoping that he would make his[259] appearance with the long looked-for letter from Sir Francis Burdett. Presently I heard the dogs bark, and saw Freeky, the stoutest of our mastiffs, and generally the leader, rush towards the brow of the mountain which overlooked the valley through which Ali must come. Their barking grew fainter, and on a sudden ceased, and I then knew they had met some one belonging to the household. In about a quarter of an hour I recognized Ali, who, entering the gate, delivered his oilskin portfolio to me, and, under a cover to myself from the French chancellor, I found a packet for Lady Hester. I immediately sent it to her, and waited anxiously for the morning to learn what good news it brought.

Saturday, July 7.—It was Sir Francis Burdett’s long-expected, long-procrastinated answer, the delay of which had caused so many wretched nights and days to poor Lady Hester, and prevented her from forming any settled plans. Alas! now that it was come, it proved very unsatisfactory; yet, notwithstanding, Lady Hester invented a thousand excuses for him. “It is evident, doctor,” said she, “that he could not write what he wanted to write: he wishes me all the happiness that a mortal can share, but says not a word that I did not know before. I have told you that Colonel Needham left Mr. Pitt a large property in Ireland by his will; but it so happened that[260] Mr. Pitt died three days before Colonel Needham, and consequently the death of the legatee before the testator, in a legal point of view, put an end to the right. I knew that as well as he did; but that was not what I inquired about: for when Lord Kilmorey died, to whom the property went, I supposed that, as it was originally intended for Mr. Pitt, he might have said, ‘As I have no children, this may as well revert to where it was originally intended to go:—’ just as Mrs. Coutts did not get her property from Mr. Coutts, but with the understanding that it was to be left afterwards to some of his grandchildren. One time, when Lady B. was so odd in her conduct, Mr. C. had some thoughts of making his grandson his heir, and asked me to get him created Lord C.; but the pride of Lord Bute, and other reasons, prevented this.”

She went on. “I dare say Sir Francis was puzzled how to act. He was afraid some of my relations would say, ‘What business have you to interfere in family affairs?’ and so perhaps, thinking he might get into a duel, or some unpleasant business, he writes in an evasive manner. But never mind! when the correspondence gets into the newspapers, somebody will be found somewhere who will know something about the matter. Why, doctor, when Mr. Pitt died, there were people from the bank who came to tell me[261] of the money he had there, and advised me to take it—they came twice: I suppose it was money somebody had put in for him. But how Sir Nathaniel Wraxall could ever get into his head that Lord C. lent him any, I can’t imagine—a man who was so stingy, that nothing ever was like it. No! when Mr. Pitt went out of office, six great men subscribed a sum to pay his debts, but Lord C. was not one of them.”

Sunday, July 8.—To-day was marked by a little fright not uncommon in these countries. Mrs. M. was reading the morning service with the children, when, on looking up, she observed, outside of the window, which was open, an immense number of sparrows making sharp cries, fluttering about the terrace, and hovering round some object, which she immediately perceived to be the body of a huge serpent, hanging in one coil from the rafters of the terrace, and suspended by the head and the tail. Sayd Ahmed, the porter, or Black Beard, as he was usually called from that large jet black appendage to his chin, was known to be a deadly enemy to serpents, and my wife had the presence of mind to say to one of the children, “Steal gently out of the door, without alarming the serpent, and run and call Black Beard here directly, telling him what he is wanted for, that he may bring some weapon with him.” John did as he[262] was bid, and, not finding him in the lodge, called the first servant he saw. No less than seven ran together; and the cook, who had seized the porter’s blunderbuss, which was kept ready loaded on a peg, advanced to where the serpent was yet hanging precisely in the same position, aimed at it, and shot it through the body. The serpent fell, and was soon killed by blows from the bludgeons of the others. It proved, on measurement, to be seven feet and a half long: its colour was dark brown, somewhat mottled along the back, and gray under the belly: and it was the largest, excepting the boa-constrictor exhibited by T. Gully, that I had ever seen.

The alarm excited by this enormous reptile was scarcely over, when, two or three hours after sunset, a man was seen crouching under the garden-wall, about two hundred yards from the house; and my family, who supposed it was a deserter, or a robber concealing himself for some wicked purpose, informed me of it: but, as the dogs did not bark, I knew he must be one of the people, come there to receive stolen goods from the maids. Probably he saw he was observed, for he made off through the vines which grew thickly round the place.

News was brought that Ibrahim Pasha had enticed the insurgents into the plain, attacked them at a village called Yanta, near the Bkâa, and killed and[263] wounded nearly a thousand men; for the Druzes had no artillery, and, being undisciplined, were no match for regular troops in an open country. The Emir Beshýr, in the mean time, although it was said that he had been repeatedly summoned to take the field, was either unwilling or afraid to stir from his palace.

I read out of Wraxall’s Memoirs a page or two, which set Lady Hester talking, in her usual way, about old times. She related several anecdotes of the last Lord Chatham, of Lord Camden, of Lord Harrington, and of her father, but I forbear repeating them. “I dare say,” said she, “I have seen Sir Nathaniel when he dined at Mr. Pitt’s; but there came so many of them, one after another, rap, tap, tap, rap, tap, tap! and, as soon as the last entered, dinner was served immediately: I could not know every body. If I had known him, I would have made him a peer, he writes so well, and his opinions and remarks are so just! I don’t agree with him in one thing: the late Lord Chatham was not exactly like his father. His nose was more pointed, and my grandfather’s was thicker in the bone towards the top, and with more of a bump.”

When Lady Hester assumed the Turkish dress, she had her head shaved, as it is not possible to wear the red fez and a turban in any comfort with the hair[264] on. The conversation led her to speak of heads; when, on a sudden, she pulled off her turban, fez and all, and told me to examine her skull. Having no precise knowledge of phrenology, I could only make very general observations: but the examination, no doubt, would have been an excellent study for a craniologist. The frontal bone certainly was prominent: but, with this exception, and a marked cavity in the temporal bones, the skull was remarkably smooth in carrying the hand over it, and pleasing to the eye from its perfect form; perfect, as we should say of a cupola that crowned an edifice with admirable proportions.

She asked me, laughing, if I could see the thieving propensity strongly marked. Then she said, “I don’t think there are any improprieties; do say!”—“People,” she added, “have told me the fighting bump is as big as a lion’s:”—I felt it, but it did not correspond with the assertion. The general appearance was this: her head was somewhat small, her features somewhat long; her ear was by no means handsome, being rather large and the convolutions of it irregular.

After she had put her turban on again, she observed, “It is an erroneous opinion that a big head always denotes much sense. I knew a countess, who put her husband to the blush by her ignorance every[265] day of her life. She would read and pore over a book, in order to get ready something learned to say at dinner-time, and yet was sure to make some blunder. Thus, for example, she would be talking of a sea-fight, and then go to ancient history, and say something of the battle of Actium, where Scipio Africanus distinguished himself. ‘No, my dear,’ the husband would say, ‘you don’t mean Scipio—you forget,’ and so on. Well, this countess I recollect seeing at Dobree’s, the hatter in Bond Street:—he made the best beavers of any man in London, and generally charged half a guinea more than anybody else; but he was terribly impudent. She was trying on a beaver, the largest in the shop, and it would not fit her; and she was saying she must have it made larger, when Dobree gave it a blow with his measure, and knocked it off the counter, saying, ‘Ma’am, why, do you think I make hats half a yard in diameter? there ought to be no head that there hat won’t fit.’ Her head was enormous, doctor, spreading out all round here” (and Lady Hester put the forefinger and thumb of each hand in a semicircle to each temple), “so she was a pretty good proof that big heads have no memory. Your head is the same, and you have no memory whatever—were you always so from a boy?... Now I have reflected, and there was Mr. Coutts; he had a small head, but what a memory![266] and what sharpness and intelligence! Mr. Fox’s was small in proportion to his face: Mr. Pitt’s was neither small nor large: Lord Chatham, my grandfather’s, was large.

“The fact is, as it appears to me, that size has nothing to do with it, but all depends on the building of the skull; just as, in the making of a cupola or a dome, if the hemisphere is constructed in a proper way, it will render an echo, and, if any error is made in the arch, sound is no longer propagated in it: so, a skull, formed in a certain way, with the brain lodged in it, seems to give just echoes to the senses, and to form what is called a good understanding. All depends on construction, not size; and a little head, well made, will have twenty times the sense of a great one, badly built.”

Monday, July 9.—I went to Sayda. On my way I passed a man on foot, raggedly dressed, evidently weary with walking, and come from a distance: the walking groom who was with me loitered behind, and a recognition seemed to take place between them: they talked together for about a quarter of an hour, and then the groom resumed his station. “Do you know that poor wretch?” said I: “where does he come from?”—“He is a sort of kinsman of mine,” replied the lad; “for he was once a farrier’s boy like myself, and we are both nicknamed el beitàr: he is just[267] come from Damascus, or thereabouts.”—“How?” said I: “I thought the road was impassable.”—“So it is,” quoth the groom; “but he was not fool enough, I dare say, to come by the road: there are plenty of by-paths across the country.”—“Is there no news of the Pasha and the Druzes?” asked I. “Humph!” said the groom; “he does not dare to tell me if there is; but what he has let out is pretty much what was known already. A battle has been fought at Yanta, and things go badly.”

At night, on returning to the Dar, I was much surprised to see the same pauper sitting on the mustaby in front of the porter’s lodge. Logmagi was smoking his narkeely, and, seeing me stare at the man, observed, with a quiet air—“Here is a pretty fellow! come to offer himself as a cook; but I think he would hardly make a scullion: however, I suppose I must mention it to her felicity the Syt.” I immediately guessed the matter; he had been sent as a spy to the camp. This was Lady Hester’s way.

Her ladyship had now made up her mind to execute her threat of walling up her gateway. “You can be no longer of any use to me,” said she to me, “and therefore had better go as soon as you can, before the bad weather comes on. As for my health, I am as well, I dare say, as I shall be, and nothing that I can[268] take of you European doctors will make me better; so don’t fidget yourself on my account. All that remains to do now is to fill up the few days you have left in doing some necessary things for me. Let me see—I must write to the Duke Maximilian, to Count Wilsensheim (and you too had better write to him, or to the baron, that they may not think you left me unprotected; for you know how apt people are to put bad constructions on everything)—and then there must be a letter to Prince Pückler Muskau, and one to Sir Francis Burdett, besides a short one to Mr. Moore. And then you must pay the servants, and send them away: but that we will talk about afterwards. I shall keep none but the two boys, a man to fetch water, the gardener, and the girls. But you had better go to Sayda, and see about a vessel for carrying you to Cyprus. I should not like you to sail from Beyrout; for those people will be only bothering you about my debts, and at present there is nothing to be said but what has been said already. You must send, too, for a mason to come and wall up the gateway.”

Tuesday, July 10.—I did not go to Sayda to see about a boat, for I was resolved not to leave Lady Hester unless she insisted on it. The morning was employed in writing the following letter to the Duke Maximilian:—


Jôon, July 10, 1838.

My Lord Duke,

As the period of my sufferings and humiliation is not yet over, it would be unseemly in me to draw upon myself such an honour as you intend me in sending your royal highness’s portrait. If it is a proof of your friendship for me, as I flatter myself in believing it to be, allow me, by the same title, to ask a favour of you, which I hope you will not consider too bold.

At no distant time the world will be convulsed with extraordinary phenomena and horrible scourges, which will bring about changes in everything: it is then that I ask permission to address your royal highness with that freedom I am known for, without fear of displeasing you. Ideas bought by painful experience, and knowledge picked up on a path covered with thorns, may perhaps, at a crisis which will be without example, prove useful to your royal highness.

I will not recall the painful recollection of a moment when a high fever obliged me to sacrifice the honour and pleasure of making your personal acquaintance.

Be pleased, my lord duke, to accept the assurance of my highest consideration and esteem, and my[270] prayers that your royal highness will soon be restored to the bosom of your family.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

I send my cordial salutations to your royal highness’s suite.


[31] This is the parole that the Druzes take of their prisoners, to ensure their not fighting again.

[32] Hasbéyah and Rashéyah are two districts, situate midway between Tyr and Damascus, and comprehended in 30° 15′ and 33° 39′ N. lat. on the western flank of Gebel es Shaykh, the vast hump of Antilebanon: they are a part of the Cœle-syria of the Greeks and Romans. In Hasbéyah is the source of the Jordan. The castle, I believe, is one of the many yet remaining from the days of the Crusaders.

[33] The loss of the battle of Nasib somewhat altered the nature of these calculations. Had the Turks won that battle, all Syria would have united to expel Ibrahim Pasha; as it was, future conjunctures alone could enable them yet to display their hostile feelings against an innovator, who had few or no partisans in a country too primitive in its manners to rejoice in the introduction of a demi-civilization. This was written in July, 1839. The exploits of the English armaments, sent to expel Ibrahim Pasha from Syria, have since confirmed these details, which are left as they were first penned, although now necessarily devoid of all interest.



Vessel hired for Dr. M.’s departure—Lady Hester’s intention of writing her Memoirs—Letter from Lady Hester to Sir Francis Burdett—From Lady Hester to Count Wilsensheim—Events of the Druze insurrection—Inexpediency of M. Guys’s removal from Beyrout—Letter from Dr. M. to Count Wilsensheim—Letter from Lady Hester Stanhope to the Baron de Busech—Lady Hester immured—Principal reason of Dr. M.’s return to Europe—His adieux—Passage to Cyprus—Reception by Signor Baldassare Mattei—Provisions in Cyprus—Mademoiselle Longchamps—Letter from Lady Hester to Dr. M.—Commissions—Second Letter from Lady Hester to Dr. M.—Third Letter from Lady Hester to Dr. M.—Advice—Obligations—Violence of temper—Mr. U.—General Loustaunau—Logmagi and the muleteer—Fourth Letter from Lady Hester to Dr. M.—Correspondence of the first Lord Chatham—Lady Hester’s death—Conclusion.

Monday, July 16.—I went to Beyrout to see Monsieur Jorelle, the chancellor and chief interpreter of the French consulate (whose lady has inspired the pen of M. Lamartine in some beautiful lines to be found in his Souvenirs de l’Orient), in order to make[272] the necessary arrangements for Lady Hester’s letters, should any come, and to acquaint him and others with her extraordinary resolution to immure herself. I executed her orders and delivered her message punctually; but, I must say, I did not believe she would put such a determination into execution. However, I was much deceived; for, on my return to Jôon, I found she had already employed Logmagi to hire a boat to convey me and my family to Cyprus, seeing I took no steps to do so myself. Now, therefore, that her mind was made up, and knowing that, when that was the case, nothing on earth could shake her resolution, I employed the short space that remained in setting her house in order, in writing her letters, and in taking her instructions for such things as would be useful to her in Europe.

I rode down to Sayda to see the vessel which had been hired. It was a small schooner of Castel Rosso, with a Greek crew, the most cut-throat looking dogs I ever beheld. The passage-money had been agreed for by Logmagi at one thousand piasters, for a run of one hundred miles—a round sum of money for the distance in that country, where a single passenger often goes across in a trading-vessel for two piasters, or about ten-pence English. The captain accompanied me to M. Conti’s, the French agent, where an agreement was drawn up that he was to remain in[273] waiting fifteen days, at the expiration of which time, I, (if not ready to sail,) was to pay him thirty piasters a day for as many days as he was kept over his time. The sinister looks of the captain made me almost afraid to close the bargain with him. He had eyes protruding from their sockets so far, that, when he was arguing about the price of the passage, they stood out just as if the cavity of the skull had been puffed up with wind: and Lady Hester had, on some occasion, told me that was a sign of a murderer. I recollected, too, that it was in just such a schooner, a few years before, four or five Europeans had been murdered and thrown overboard in a passage from Syria to Cyprus;[34] and, coupling these circumstances together, I felt uneasy. It is true, the man was known to Monsieur Conti, as having once brought a freight of deals to Sayda; but only once. Logmagi, too, assured me he had frequented his house at Castel Rosso; and I was aware that, if I expressed any apprehensions to Lady Hester Stanhope, she would call them frivolous. I therefore signed the paper, and it was left to be registered in the chancery, for which the fees charged to the captain, as he told me afterwards, were some thirty or forty piasters. I was so far right in my conjectures about the captain’s murdering propensities,[274] that, when we were on our passage, he related a story of his having been one of the crew of a vessel which took a Turkish ship, every one of which was butchered in cold blood.

My family was made acquainted with what I had done, and the business of packing began on the morrow.

The following days I was by Lady Hester’s bedside from three to five hours every morning, and after dinner in the saloon with her from eight or half-past eight until twelve, one, or two o’clock. She repeated over again many of her stories with a view of impressing them, as I suppose, on my memory: for, having told her one day that if she would give herself the trouble of writing her Memoirs, she might pay her debts from the sale of such a work, she only laughed, and said, “Ah, well! when I get better, I shall tell you a few more anecdotes to make a book of, since you think it would be so profitable:” and, whenever, after dictating a letter, I wrote it out fairly, and gave the foul copy, together with the fair one, to her, she would take the latter, and say, “You may keep the other:” or, if she had reasons for wishing the contents to remain a secret, she would take them both, and put them by in her portfolio, and then I heard no more of the foul copy. It was thus she sometimes told me Eastern stories, after I had made some accidental observations on the charm that these little stories seemed to possess[275] for European readers, as was manifested in the praises bestowed on those in M. Lamartine’s work. Had her health been good, and had the course of events gone on peaceably, I am inclined to think she would have listened to my suggestion, and have dictated her memoirs to me. On some occasions, it was her custom to say—“Now, don’t go and write that down:” on others, “You have kept no copy of such and such a letter of mine,” and “You have destroyed such a paper; give me your word:” when I was obliged to answer categorically.

I was at last worn out with fatigue from long sittings and these various occupations, not the least of which was to put her affairs in such order, that, when she shut herself up, she should be in want of nothing, have nothing to pay, nothing to write, meet with no interruptions to her seclusion, and be dead to the world. All this I did, as far as I was able.

July 20.—Lady Hester dictated the following letter to Sir Francis Burdett, in answer to the one she had received on the 6th ultimo.

Lady Hester Stanhope to Sir Francis Burdett, Bart.

Jôon, July 20, 1838.

My dear Burdett,

I am no fool, neither are you: but you might pass for one, if in good earnest you did not understand my[276] letter. You tell me what is self-evident—that I have no right to inherit Colonel Needham’s property, &c.: neither had your daughter any right to inherit Mr. Coutts’s property: but, in all probability, his wife, being aware that you and your family stood high in his estimation, paid that compliment to his memory. Lord Kilmorey, who had no children, being aware of General Needham’s partiality towards Mr. Pitt, might, by his will, have allowed the property to return to the remaining branch of the Pitt family. Do not be afraid that I am going to give you any fresh trouble about this affair, notwithstanding I believe that you were some time hatching this stupid answer; but I do not owe you any grudge, as I know that it does not come from you:—I know where it comes from.

A lion of the desert, being caught in the huntsman’s net, called in vain to the beasts of the field to assist him, and received from them about as shuffling an answer as I have received from you, and previously from Lord H********. A little field mouse gnawed the master-knot, and called to the lion to make a great effort, which burst the noose, and out came the lion stronger than ever.

I am now about building up every avenue to my premises, and there shall wait with patience, immured within the walls, till it please God to send me a little mouse: and whoever presumes to force my retirement,[277] by scaling my walls or anything of the like, will be received by me as Lord Camelford would have received them.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.[35]

Tuesday, July 24.—Her ladyship dictated another letter to Count Wilsensheim. It was written in French, like all those addressed to foreigners, but which have all been given translated: for the style of Lady Hester’s French was composed of Anglicisms, and, in turning them into her native tongue, the very expressions which she would have used seemed naturally to present themselves.

Lady Hester Stanhope to Count Wilsensheim, Chamberlain
to His Imperial Majesty, &c. &c.

Jôon, June 24, 1838.

Sir Count,

I have delayed answering your amiable letter until I thought your voyage was over. I am happy that his Royal Highness quitted this country when he did; not because of the plague—the season was gone by[278] this year for that—but because of the aspect of affairs, and of the Druze insurrection, which has grown considerably hotter, and which would have made it impossible to travel with any comfort.

Ibrahim Pasha began the war in the Horàn with forty-five thousand men; the Druzes had but seven thousand, assisted by some tribes of the Arabs of the Desert. Ibrahim Pasha has lost thirty thousand, between Nizàm troops (as they are called), Sugmans, and Albanians, without reckoning the wounded. The Druze army, I believe, does not at present exceed two thousand five hundred men: but each man of that two thousand five hundred is singly worth twenty. The last seat of the war was about fourteen leagues distant in a strait line from my residence. The Druzes, after having well beaten Ibrahim Pasha and killed some of his officers, retreated to the Horàn, pursued by the Pasha.

You no doubt are aware that his Highness the Pasha, in concert with the Emir Beshýr, disarmed the Druzes some time ago by a stratagem, which gave the government means to take their sons as conscripts for the nizàm. After that, they, in like manner, disarmed the Christians: but necessity has compelled the pasha lately to give them their arms again, in order to enable the son of the Emir Beshýr to join the pasha’s forces with a reinforcement of Christians,[279] which he stood in need of to garrison the skirts of the mountain on the side of the Bkâa. The Druzes killed a great many of these Christians, and they could have annihilated them: but they said to them, “You are not to blame: it goes against us to exterminate you, for we have always lived with you on friendly terms; but we will slay without pity every Christian we find in arms, excepting those of the mountain.”

The French government has done an imprudent thing in removing Mr. Consul Guys from his post at Beyrout; because that gentleman had very extensive connexions amongst the bishops and priests, and all the numerous sects of Christians found on Mount Lebanon; and, by his information and experience, had means of giving them good advice. For, if by chance those Christians gave heed to bad counsel, it might not be impossible that half the Franks who inhabit this country would be massacred by the Nabloosians, the Druzes, the Ansaréas, the Ishmäelites, the Shemsíahs, the Kelbías, and the Koords in general, who occupy the country between Mount Lebanon and Aleppo on the side of Gebel el Segaun, not far from Antioch.

As I know how to speak no language but that of the Orientals, you will forgive me, Sir Count, if I call you the Pope’s Grand Vizir. It devolves, therefore, on you to think of a way to make Monsieur Guys[280] return to the post which he has just quitted:—a thing, in my opinion, very necessary both for the safety of the country, and of the Europeans in it. I have a great esteem for Monsieur Guys, but I see him so seldom, that, whether he is far or near, it is pretty much the same to me. As for the Christians here, I do not interest myself more about them than about other men—perhaps less; not on account of their religion, but of their qualities, of which egotism and perfidy are marked characteristics in most of them. As a religion is with me neither more nor less than a costume of adoration, it is all one whether it is green, white, blue, or black. To me it is all the same whether a man prostrates himself before a piece of wood, or before a cockle-shell, as the Metoualis do, provided his heart addresses itself to the Almighty.

Perhaps for saying this, you will have me crucified by the Pope: never mind—if it is my lot, I shall not repine; since, whatever is decreed must necessarily happen: but it is not necessary, for all that, by a want of policy, to make civil wars break out, which would do no good to anybody, and which would not turn to any account, even for those who stirred them up: neither is it proper to remove those to a distance, who have the means of pacifying the disputants, should the case require it.

If I had had the happiness of seeing you, I would[281] have asked you if you had ever seen the prophecy of a certain Pope, whose leaden coffin was found about seventy years ago: that prophecy has great analogy with some Oriental ones.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

Lady Hester wished me also to write to the count, to let him know how it happened that Prince Pückler Muskau had been entrusted with the correspondence between herself, Lord Palmerston, his grace the Duke of Wellington, &c., &c.,: and also, as much had been said of the prince’s way of travelling at the expense of Mahomet Ali Pasha, to assure him, the count, that the prince showed no signs of stinginess when at Jôon. The next day, being Wednesday, when I could not see Lady Hester, I executed her wish.

Dr. M. to Count Wilsensheim.

Jôon, July 25, 1838.

Sir Count,[36]

As you appear to take a lively interest in whatever regards Lady Hester Stanhope, I hope, on that account,[282] you will excuse me, if I join to her ladyship’s letter a few words from myself, to place in their true light some circumstances which might otherwise appear extraordinary to you.

In consequence of the proceedings instituted against her ladyship by the English government, Lady Hester has resolved to shut herself up in her house, to wall up the entrance, and to bury herself, as one would say, in a tomb, until those, who have attempted to cast a stain on her integrity (the rightful inheritance, as she affirms, of the Pitt family), shall, by a signal reparation, have washed it out. She is in the act of reducing her establishment to her strict wants by discharging her servants. I myself am on the point of my departure for Europe, forced by her ladyship to go,[283] but deeply regretting that I must leave her without a single European near her person, and without a single servant in whom she has confidence. My uneasiness, however, does not extend so far as to fear for her personal safety, although the war between the Druzes and the Pasha rages more fiercely than ever: because I know the firmness and intrepidity of her character, the resources of her mind, and the respect and dread in which the two hostile parties hold her.

It is probable that her ladyship’s grievances will find their way into the public papers; for Prince Pückler Muskau, when on his visit here, was so struck with the indignities of which she continued to be the victim, that he was resolved to give some true details of it to the public. Her ladyship had found in him a man at once intelligent and kind; ready indeed to offer her his assistance to a greater extent than she was willing to accept in everything relative to her affairs.

It is very extraordinary that, at that time, Lady Hester knew nothing of the avarice imputed to him, of which it was impossible she could have the least suspicion; for his stay at her house was marked by a degree of liberality in everything befitting a prince, and absolutely at variance with the reports spread about him in the places through which he has passed—reports, which astonished her ladyship as much[284] as they did me, since nothing of the kind was seen here.

Thank God! I leave her in better health, and lively as always, just as if nothing had happened.

I have the honour to be, Sir Count,
Your most obedient humble servant,

Sunday, July 29.—The last letter which Lady Hester wrote before I left her was the following, to Charles Baron de Busech:—

Jôon, July 29, 1838.

Sir Baron,

Mortified as I was that circumstances prevented me from felicitating you in person on the re-establishment of your health, I am nevertheless rejoiced that you all hastened to quit Syria, seeing that the warfare between Ibrahim Pasha and the Druzes has become exceeding rancorous, and would have made travelling through the country far from agreeable. The scene of action has lately been at Rashéyah, where the Druzes have performed miracles. The Emir Beshýr’s son marched with a reinforcement to assist Ibrahim Pasha, and of this the Druzes killed just enough in the twinkling of an eye to convince the whole body that, if they, the Druzes, had not chosen to recollect they were fighting with neighbours, they could have exterminated[285] them. The Emir’s son had his horse killed under him, and that prince took refuge very quickly in the mountain.

When the Druzes found out that the Pasha’s artillery in the valleys cut them up dreadfully, and that personal courage was of no value, they retreated to the Horàn, where the inequality of the ground was more favourable to them. At this moment, Ibrahim Pasha is in pursuit of them, and has given orders to his Bedouin robbers, whom he brought from Egypt (a tribe which is called the Hanâdy), to run down the greatest hero the Druzes have got, and to bring him alive; being so struck with the courage of the man, that he would willingly employ him in his own service. Poor Pasha! I fancy he has made a bad calculation, in thinking that one of the family of Arriàn, men accustomed like their ancestors to rule with sovereign authority in their castle at Gendal, would ever become a vile slave to save his wife. Shibly el Arriàn is not only a hero in battle but a Demosthenes in council: he makes even the great tremble by the language he holds.[37]

[286] An order has just been issued by the Emir Beshýr to search the dwellings of the Druzes afresh for concealed arms, and to take from them their horses: this is, at best, a great piece of imprudence, because, seeing that many of the cavaliers would sooner fly than give up their horses, he will thus increase the number of insurgents in the Horàn. Ibrahim Pasha with the wreck of his army, of which he has lost full thirty thousand without counting the wounded, cannot, if he does not soon make peace and come to some composition, do much more with the Druzes.

This is the state of affairs at this present moment; but it is difficult to get at the truth. Even your friend L., if he knows anything, dares not avow it: but what such sort of people know is so little—their information is so confined—they are all so ignorant of the true character, of the projects, and of the resources of the different races that inhabit Syria—that the reasonings they make are about as false as a fairy tale.

I have the honour to be, Sir Baron,
With all esteem and consideration,
H. L. Stanhope.

Monday, July 30.—The mason had been sent for from Sayda, and stones and materials had been collected for walling-up the gateway. Lady Hester[287] drew out on paper the exact manner in which she wished it to be done. It was a screen, which completely masked the gateway, and left a side opening just large enough for a cow or an ass laden with water to enter. I superintended this work of self-inhumation, the like of which never entered woman’s mind before. It was an affair of two days, Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 31.—To-day, I spoke to Lady Hester medically for the last time. Her pulse had recovered much of its wonted strength, and although there were periods when she coughed violently, still the struggles of a naturally good constitution and powerful lungs had enabled her to hold out against the most formidable attack of pulmonary catarrh that I had ever seen a human being withstand.

Thursday, August 2.—As no letters came from Prince Pückler Muskau, and as it was evident some reason had prevented him from fulfilling his promise of publishing Lady Hester’s correspondence, she now gave me her final instructions on that head. I am disposed to believe it was the strong desire that possessed her to ensure the publication of her letters in the newspapers, which, amidst much hesitation and wavering, made her decide on my departure; for she knew she could rely on me, and the publicity of her grievances now seemed to be the paramount object in her[288] thoughts. Her anxiety on this point was so great that, lest any accident might happen to the MS. by shipwreck or otherwise, she had a second copy made of the whole correspondence, which was to be left with her, whilst I retained the originals.

Her own conviction was that her constitution was invulnerable—she thought she should yet live to see her enemies confounded, the Sultan triumphant, her debts paid, and an ample income at her disposal. She dwelt with the same apparent confidence as ever on the approaching advent of the Mehedi, and still looked on her mare, Leila, as destined to bear him, with herself on Lûlû by his side. “I shall not die in my bed,” she would say, “and I had rather not; my brother did not, and I have always had a feeling that my end would be in blood: that does not frighten me in the least.”

From August the 1st until the 6th, I was too much employed to take notes. On the fourth, the fifteen days agreed on with the captain were at an end, and he became importunate for our departure. But, now that the moment of separation had arrived, Lady Hester had some misgivings, and seemed to wish to defer it: I accordingly paid a first day’s forfeit, then a second, then a third. At last, however, on Monday, August the 6th, 1838, I took an affectionate leave of her, and never saw her more.

[289] On quitting her I said—“It is better that I should not see you to-morrow, even though I should not set off early.”—“You do right,” she replied: “let this be our parting.”—“But you have no money,” I observed: “how will you do for your current expenses?”—“It’s true,” she answered; “I must thank you to lend me 2000 piasters before you go, and I’ll repay you as soon as I can: send them in by Ibrahim—he’s an honest lad, and, even if he knew it was money, would not touch it. But, however, you had better put two or three things of no value in a little basket, and a cup and saucer, or something that weighs, as if you sent them for my use, and then the gold will lie underneath unsuspected.” This was done, and I would have sent more (for I had twice as much more by me), but when I proposed to do so her ladyship objected—remarking, “You may be blown out of your course, and be obliged to remain days and days at some port where you may want it for the necessaries of life. Two thousand will do, and, if I want more, Logmagi, I am sure, will raise me as much.”

August 7.—It was eleven in the day before we could get everything ready. As we quitted the terrace, where we had passed nearly fifteen months, my wife and daughter shed tears. The black girl, Zezefôon, was seen looking after us from the garden-wall, where she, or the other maids, had kept watch from the[290] dawn. Our servants walked by our side to Sayda, and the secretary accompanied us.

When we were about two miles on the road, a servant was descried running after us. My heart beat—I knew not what might have happened: but his business was merely to deliver a bag he had on his shoulders, in which was a small Turkey carpet for spreading on the cabin-floor in the vessel: this Lady Hester had sent, with a message that perhaps we might find it serviceable in the passage. Even to the last moment did her kind consideration for our comforts manifest itself.

We embarked under the escort of Logmagi, amidst a crowd of persons who had collected on the strand. On board we found the entire hold neatly partitioned off by mats, which had been done by Logmagi’s care, and mats spread on the ballast; so that we had spacious and convenient berths for all the party. The schooner was fir-built, and quite new: whether this was the reason that she abounded in cockroaches I know not, or whether it was the extreme heat or her cargo that had introduced them; but there were thousands and thousands crawling in every direction, and this annoyance, added to the burning sun, made the passage far from pleasant. Our captain was named Kyriaco Candevíti, and the vessel the Thrasybulus. On Friday at sunset we anchored in Cyprus roads, and[291] on Saturday morning were received on the seashore by our excellent and generous friend, Signor Baldassare Mattei, at the door of his marine villa, into which he ushered us, and, in the true spirit of Eastern hospitality, made himself our guest, and insisted on it that we were from that moment in our own mansion. It was the same house we had inhabited in 1832.

We remained in Cyprus three weeks, delighted with the kindness of the Europeans and natives, and revelling in the abundance for which that happy island is so famous. We were luxuriously supplied with sweet and water melons, grapes, figs, pomegranates, and other fruits, of a flavour and size passing belief. Partridges were at 2½d. each, hares at 6d., a loaf of bread of the size of a quart basin at 1½d., mutton at 2d. a pound, a fine hen for 5d., and so in proportion of other things, with the exception of fish, which was rather dear.

Finding here the same vessel that had carried us to Europe in 1832 and still commanded by the same master, we took our passage by her for 1000 frs. board included, and on the 30th of August set sail. Our voyage was prosperous, and, reaching the port of Marseilles on the 7th of October, we disembarked on the 8th in the afternoon, and entered the lazaretto, where we performed quarantine for fifteen days. Then, resting ourselves for a week in a hotel at Marseilles,[292] during which time I transmitted a copy of the correspondence to England to be inserted in the newspapers, and, leaving Miss Longchamps with her friends, we betook ourselves to Nice, where we arrived on the 2nd of November, having been absent a little more than seventeen months. In mentioning the name of Mademoiselle Longchamps for the last time, I must, even at the risk of offending her extreme delicacy, bear testimony to her amiable cheerfulness of character under all our difficulties, to her rare conversational powers, her exemplary but unobtrusive piety, and those numberless good qualities, which a close acquaintance under trying circumstances gave us such peculiar opportunities of discovering.

After my arrival at Nice, I received letters from Lady Hester about once a month, up to the time of her death. The first was dated September 30, 1838.

Dear Doctor,

I cannot answer to-night the letters I have just received from you (from Cyprus), but must say two words to clear up what, to anybody but yourself, would appear but too extraordinary. The messenger, sent by Monsieur Jorelle, arrived at the moment my dinner was set before me: I looked at the direction of the letters, and gave them to Zezefôon to put by in the[293] same room until I had dined. When I wanted them, one of yours was not to be found; and she turned the room upside down, always with her usual impudence asking if she ate letters, &c.;—you know what beasts they all are. It cannot be lost; but where she has stuffed it God knows! Yesterday she lost a piece of fine cloth in the same way, which is not yet found:—to-morrow something else. You know them but too well, and also their impudent conduct, when they find they are in the wrong.

The prince is gone to Europe. I hope soon to hear of your safe arrival in France, and I shall write to you by the next Vapour.[38]

Yours sincerely,
H. L. Stanhope.

Lady Hester Stanhope to Dr. M.

Jôon, October 22, 1838.

Dear Doctor,

I hope soon to hear of your safe arrival at Marseilles, and take the first opportunity of repaying you the 2,000 piasters, for the loan of which I am very much obliged to you. I enclose a bill on Coutts for £50—twenty for you and thirty for commissions.

[294] What I immediately want (and, supposing you are at Nice, if procured by your friend, Captain Pardoe, will be better, as he understands these things), is—

Some dried cherries and Burgundy apricots, simply dried like raisins, if such are to be had at Marseilles, eight or ten pounds of each;

Small covered pans for milk;

Three wire blinds for the milk-room, fine, that flies cannot enter, each three spans square, or about half an ell;

Some wire covers for the milk-pans;

Pots and jugs of different sizes;

A supply of yellow and red earthenware.

I forgot to ask you, when you were here, if there were kettles in iron like tin ones, and coffee-pots: for they would be of great use, as tin is destroyed in a day, and a large boiler would stand better on the fire than a tin kettle—for always, I mean—and better for my kitchen: better also for the milkboy, to wash up his pots and pans. I want too some iron spoons, and some wooden ladles and skimmers.

I should like to have Miss Pardoe’s book on Constantinople, if it is come out, for strangers; for, I fear, I never could get through with it myself, no more than the others you have sent me; but I must trust to chance. This just puts me in mind that one of the books I should like to have would be Graham’s[295] Domestic Medicine—a good Red Book (Peerage, I mean)—and the book about the Prince of Wales, George the Fourth.

I have found out a person who can occasionally read French to me: so, if there was any very pleasing French book, you might send it—but no Bonapartes, &c., or “present times”—and a little brochure or two upon baking, pastry, gardening, &c.:—some haricot seeds, and also dahlias of different colours.

Are there no iron candlesticks for lamps, for the servants to work by at night? for my new people shall work like other servants: besides, in out-of-door rooms, there are no lamps to see by, and those thick glass globes, with two or three burners, would be useful. Add, also, some inkstands of thick glass, with a tray of tin or japan, like a coffee-tray.

I should think it right of you to send a line of certificate to Lord H., in case he should want it, just saying, “I have had a letter from Lady Hester Stanhope, in which she requests me to give your lordship, in writing, my opinion of her health,” &c.; then the essence of the said certificate to be (if you think so) “that, having known Lady Hester nearly thirty years, I can safely say that I never have yet seen such a constitution; that the most severe illnesses often have not appeared to attack or impair the stamina of it; that,” &c. &c.

[296] I have had a very kind letter from the Prince [Pückler Muskau]; he is gone to Europe, or, at least, is on his way: his slaves, &c., went by Leghorn. He says, there were difficulties respecting the Queen’s letter in Germany; but he has another plan. He desires to be kindly remembered to you.

If I inquire about your health, or that of your family, it will be in my own way, with interest, and perhaps giving some opinion, which, as usual, may be taken ill: so I shall say nothing, either now or hereafter, on that subject. I strained my eyes to write a long letter, now before me, about your complaint on the chest; but I shall burn it. Everybody is laid up here; Logmagi with a bad fever, as also Mustafa and the cowboy; Mohammed with a fit of the gout, unable to walk or stir: Fatôom, half with whims, always under the coverlet; Zezefôon ill, but keeping to her work. The early rain has caused illness everywhere.

Arriàn’s troops being so diminished, and his resources failing, owing to want of assistance from the other Druzes, who hung back after Ibrahim Pasha’s declaration that he would burn all Druze property in the mountain, he has surrendered, they say severely wounded by the Arabs of his party for being a traitor in their eyes. Affairs are, therefore, a little quiet in that quarter for the present; but, towards Aleppo, the Kûrds and Turkmans are very troublesome, and every[297] one seems alarmed. Corn has risen to a terrible price, and barley there is none: though some, they say, has been brought to Beyrout.

Twenty-five thousand purses have been found with the cheating Yazjees,[39] who are in a sad position. Four or five hundred families will be implicated in this business, and ruined by their want of honesty. The mountain is in a very disturbed state; but my habitation is well walled in, and the weight of all on poor me; for Logmagi is at Sayda. No letters from England.

So far till to-day; afterwards I shall not be able to give you any account of myself, as I suffer so by writing. The spectacles always cause me such a vast pain, that I cannot stand it: and, besides, it lasts all day, or next day. I was going to say, pray save your eyes, and do not read so much useless trash: but I forgot—I will never give you any more advice.

Mr. M., whom you did not see at Cyprus, has offered to serve me as secretary and to arrange my servants, he living at his own expense at Jôon or some[298] other village; but, as he refused all salary, I could not do otherwise than refuse his offer.

This is my last long letter.

Yours sincerely,
H. L. S.

PS.—The steamer is expected in two days—perhaps it may bring news.

Lady Hester Stanhope to Dr. M.

Jôon, February 9, 1839.

You need not tremble this time, my dear doctor, for I am not displeased with you. The “Sir William Knighton”[40] is not worth looking into, and “Love” is not amongst them. The book of medicine is clear and well written.

I have to thank you for a vast deal of trouble you have given yourself: all in the end will turn out well, I hope. I have written a few lines in answer to the “Morning Chronicle,” which you will afterwards see in “Galignani,” without doubt.

What a simpleton you are sometimes! Leave my systems to me, and adopt those of your own; but[299] don’t blame mine, as you have done, without knowing the reason of them.

Miss Pardoe’s book I have not yet looked into. The one[41] you sent me is interesting only to those who were acquainted with the persons named:—all mock taste, mock feeling, &c.; but that is the fashion. “I am this—I am that:” who ever talked such empty stuff formerly? I was never named by a well-bred person.

There has been a vast deal of rain this year; but not very cold: the house nearly as usual. My cough continues—my spirits the same.

A hyena came into the garden the other day, and Ibrahim Beytàr killed it with only a bludgeon, and brought me the skin: it is the first wild beast of the kind that has been so daring this winter. The dogs frightened the animal so much on the outside that it scaled the wall.

Let me hear when you leave Nice. I should think England would be a very unpleasant séjour in the present state of affairs; Switzerland, perhaps, more healthy, cheaper, and more agreeable, until you see distinctly the turn things take and my affairs settled. You do not mention your health; therefore, I hope it is not to be complained of at this moment.

Shut up, as I am, I can have no news:—advice you[300] take ill, and call it scolding. I am too much obliged to Captain Pardoe for having undertaken my commissions. I have safely received the stockings you had the attention to send me. * * * *

You must promise to state to me fairly the impression my affairs make with the English, and what sort, what class of English.

Arriàn has been bribed, and is now raising a regiment of two thousand for Ibrahim Pasha. There will be hard work here ere long. It appears the kurkuby [uproar] about money was certainly the disgusting examination into the private affairs of officers in the navy at the Admiralty, and of the army at the Horse Guards: it has disgusted every one, and roused a feeling about me.

[Not signed.]

Lady Hester Stanhope to Dr. M.

Jôon, March 11, 1839.

I send you something to get put into a newspaper: I think it is not bad. Some day, I shall write a manifesto, which will be superb, and open people’s eyes in all directions. * * * * *

I would have sent you Sir William Knighton’s[301] work; but I suppose you can get it where you are, and it would not amuse you: it speaks of nothing but common-place things. He has kept only—or, at least, they have published only—formal letters, and which throw little light on anything.

Miss Pardoe is very excellent upon many subjects; only there is too much of what the English like—stars, winds, black shades, soft sounds, &c. The Arabic story you ask me for, I have already dictated to the prince. I know many others; but they are too long. Are you going to write a book?

I believe your eyes and ears will be opened too late. You will then see, to your cost, that admonitions (called scoldings) were the highest compliment I could pay a man in your situation, by endeavouring to raise his mind to the altitude necessary to exist (one may say) in a wreck of worlds. If you were so uneasy at Jôon, how will your nerves bear what you will be doomed to see? but, when this time comes, no more advice from me to you or any one: let all pick their way, and abide by the consequences. Words are nothing: the hearts of men must be cleansed of all the vain idle stuff they now cherish as a sort of safeguard or escape-boat to evils of all kind. If the naked savage, who has the feelings of a man, is not in high[302] favour with the Almighty, and placed in a higher situation (if he continues to do his duty) than the educated mylord, the pedant, the gentleman, as it is called, without either conscience, talent, or money, I know nothing; and you may reproach me hereafter in the harshest possible terms.

It is a very mean spirit which fears obligation: we are under obligations of the most serious nature every day to the horse, the ass, the cow, &c. All the stuff persons now call spirit are the vulgar ideas of the lowest and least philosophical of human beings. What should I think of my deserted self, were I to constantly talk to Logmagi of obligation? I am proud to acknowledge all I owe to his zeal and obedience.

I am contented with the violence of my own character: it draws a line for me between friends and enemies.

There is at this moment a great kirkuby [uproar or disturbance,]—seizing recruits for the nizàm, and entering by force into all sorts of houses to seek for arms.

Will you see that I receive a dozen pair of spectacles like those you wear, six or seven of fine quality, and the others common black ones but with clear glasses: and a dozen like what I wear—not expensive.

[303] Always employ me if I can be useful to you here. I expect to hear from you. When do you think of leaving Nice? My affair will not finish quickly, I am afraid. Your friend U. will get on: he is all information, energy, and talent; but the times are gone by for people to go the beaten track, and all is too late. In less than a year, it is more than probable that all the world will be at war.

The Prophet [General Loustaunau] is most comfortable in his new habitation: I have planted shrubs for him round the windows, divided the room in two, and made all new with an excellent sofa.

I must tell you a story about Logmagi. He was reproaching one of the mukers [muleteers] about some neglect of his duty—only abusing him, never touching him—when the fellow ran and fetched his pistol, which he presented at Logmagi to shoot him. Logmagi, with a wonderful presence of mind, vulgar perhaps, (but every one in his way—the muker was a vulgar man), turned into his face not his own face, and said—“No honest man would meet a blackguard face to face—that was his khurge” [match]. The bystanders roared with laughter, and the man ran away.

Quickly, by the steamer, the spectacles. Seven pair of white ones, long; five others, long too, but like those you wear, black and light.

[No signature.]

[304] Lady Hester Stanhope to Dr. M.

Jôon, May 6, 1839.

The Vapour is expected in a few days. I am much better, but not yet well enough to make a little drawing, necessary to explain something I want you to get done for me. * * * * *

Thank God for my nerves:—would you sleep alone in a room with this girl [Zezefoon]? And, besides she told me, the other day, that she had only teeth for those who displeased her, and therefore you see she is not ashamed of herself: but I think no more of her than of a little babe, and sleep on quietly. All in the house have made wry faces after this affair—even Logmagi, who would not like to be bitten a second time.

I did not write to you before I had answered the “Morning Chronicle;” for I feared that perhaps my letter to you might be read, and so spoil all.

As yet, all things remain as before: what strange people! No answer from any one. Not one Englishman has set his foot in Syria since this business.

Some one—I suppose you—sent me the “Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald.” It is I who could give a true and most extraordinary history of all those transactions.[305] The book is all stuff. The duchess (Lord Edward’s mother) was my particular friend, as was also his aunt: I was intimate with all the family, and knew that noted Pamela. All the books I see make me sick—only catch-penny nonsense.

A thousand thanks for the promise of my grandfather’s letters; but the book will be all spoilt, by being edited by young men. First, they are totally ignorant of the politics of my grandfather’s age; secondly, of the style of the language used at that period; and absolutely ignorant of his secret reasons and intentions, and the real, or apparent footing he was upon with many people, friends and foes. I know all that from my grandmother, who was his secretary, and, Coutts used to say, the cleverest man of her time, in politics, business, &c. Even the late Lord Chatham, his son, had but an imperfect idea of all that took place; for he was either absent, or, when not so, taken up by dissipation; for no man was ever more admired or sought after. Pringle’s father, I suppose, is dead, and this is the son—Harriet Elliott’s son. At twenty, she married an officer, nearly fifty, I should think * * but who was, I believe, a very honourable, respectable man.

Do not keep reproaching yourself about leaving me; it did not depend on you to stay: also, do not put into your head that you have the seeds of the malady[306] you named to me. * * * * I hope to hear that you are better.

H. L. S.

I have written a sad, stupid letter, but I have no news—shut up.

This was the last letter I ever received from her ladyship. She died in June following, Ἄταφος, ἄκλαυτος, ἄφιλος, ἀνυμεναιος[42] everybody being in ignorance of her approaching end, except the servants immediately about her. She had no Frank or European near her, and Lunardi, who was coming out to her from Leghorn, reached Beyrout unfortunately too late. “The news[43] of her death was conveyed to Beyrout in a few hours, and the English consul, Mr. Moore, and the Rev. Mr. Thomson, an American missionary, went to Jôon, to bury her. Her emaciated corpse was interred in the same grave where the body of Captain Loustaunau had been placed, some years before, in her own garden: this was according to her desire, expressed to Logmagi before her death.” Reports were spread that her furniture,[307] plate, and other valuables, had been plundered, and much stress was laid on the circumstance that not even her watch was found: but she had no watch, and only a dozen and a half of silver spoons and forks. Fatôom, it is said, died two days before her mistress.

I have now brought this melancholy, but, I hope, not uninteresting, narrative to a conclusion. Upon a review of the incidents detailed in these pages—the vicissitudes of an extraordinary life, beginning in pomp and power, and closing in pecuniary difficulties and neglect—the reader can scarcely fail to be touched with profound sympathy at the altered fortunes of a remarkable woman, even if nothing else in the history of Lady Hester Stanhope should awaken his emotions. No lady of her age and station ever underwent such afflicting changes.

In early life she enjoyed the entire confidence of her uncle, Mr. Pitt; and many of the secret functions of government, most of the important measures of his administration, much of the patronage vested in the office which he filled, and the complete control of his domestic establishment, either passed through her hands or was directly influenced by her counsels. During this eventful period, her clear insight into human nature enabled her frequently to thwart the[308] intrigues and expose the designs of interested men, who swarmed about the avenues of the court and the cabinet. But it was not possible for one, endued with a courageous spirit and integrity like hers, to engage in such conspicuous scenes without exciting the bitterest animosities; and accordingly we find that, while she was openly hostile to some and maintained a less evident but persevering resistance to others, dealing out affronts where she thought them likely to tell with effect, or foiling subtile machinations on the one hand by counterplots artfully combined on the other, she raised up a host of enemies for herself, who only waited a fit opportunity to take their full revenge. In the assertion of that fearless rectitude which despises personal consequences, she overlooked the dangers which were growing up around her. Forgetting, as is usual, in the delirium of power, the uncertainty of all human greatness, the wheel of fortune went round, and, by the premature death of Mr. Pitt, she was precipitated, at once and irrecoverably, from the pinnacle of ambition into comparative obscurity, and was destined to wear out her existence in solitude and exile.

But her virtues were sterling, and gave a sort of lustre to her fall. She carried with her into exile and in adversity the same stern consistency and the same high principles which had all along regulated her conduct.[309] Incapable of abasing herself by meanness, she was sustained in her reverses by the fortitude which she derived from a clear conscience. If in her exaltation she had been bold, proud, and uncompromising, she had likewise shown herself disinterested and generous, firm in her convictions, insensible to the allurements of flattery or wealth, just, self-devoted, an open foe, a grateful friend, and a kind and most affectionate relative:—qualities which ennoble even where nobility is not. Caressed by royalty, surrounded by sycophants, a theme for the illustrations of poetry and painting, she resisted all those blandishments so alluring and so difficult to withstand, and has not left behind her one single memorial of any of the weaknesses incidental to human vanity under circumstances of such powerful temptation. No prince led her in his train; no mercenary laureat succeeded in bribing her by his praises; and no portrait of her person, attractive as it might have been in the bloom of her youth and beauty, is, as far as I have means of knowing, in existence. The good old king extolled her, Mr. Pitt confided in her, the aristocratic party toadied her, republicans admired her, and ladies envied her. Never was an elevation so dazzling, or a fall so clouded by the gloom of disappointment and neglect.

But there is yet a moral to be drawn from her life which is pregnant with serious reflections. That she[310] was more unhappy in her solitude than, in her unbending nature, she would stoop to avow, this diary of the last years of her existence but too plainly demonstrates. Although she derived consolation in retirement from the retrospect of the part she had played in her prosperity, yet her mind was embittered by some undefined but acute sense of past errors; and, although her buoyant spirits usually bore her up against the weight by which she was oppressed, still there were moments of poignant grief when all efforts at resistance were vain, and her very soul groaned within her. She was ambitious, and her ambition had been foiled; she loved irresponsible command, but the time had come when those over whom she had ruled defied her; she was dictatorial and exacting, but she had lost the talisman[44] of that influence which alone makes people tolerate control, when it interferes with the freedom of thought and action. She had neglected to secure wealth while she had it in her power; but the feelings which prompted her princely munificence were as warm as ever, now that the means were gone which enabled her to gratify them. Her mind was in a perpetual struggle between delusive schemes and incompetent resources. She incurred debts, and she was doomed to feel the degradation[311] consequent on them. She entertained visionary projects of aggrandizement, and was met by the derision of the world. She spurned the conventional rules of that society in which she had been bred, and perhaps violated propriety in the realization of a singularity in which she gloried. There was the rock on which she was finally wrecked: for, as Madame de Staël somewhere says, a man may brave the censures of society, but a woman must accommodate herself to them. She was thought to defy her own nation, and they hurled the defiance back upon her. She held in contempt the gentler qualities of her own sex, who, in return, were not slow to resent the masculine characteristics on which she presumed to maintain her assumed position. She carried with her from England the disposition to conciliate, by kindness and forbearance, the fidelity and obedience of her domestics: but she was eventually led into undue harshness towards them, which became more and more exaggerated in her by the idleness, the ignorance, and irritating vices of her Eastern household.

Another important lesson may be gleaned from her life. We have a favourable opportunity of observing, in her example, how far the human understanding may, by its own natural powers unassisted by books, work its way to celebrity. Her intellects were so[312] acute that she had little difficulty in comprehending all the moral and political questions discussed in her presence, and she consequently gathered information from very superior sources, as she enjoyed the intimacy of first-rate men. Still she had but narrow views of general policy, of the rights of mankind, in fine, of politics and ethics in the abstract; inasmuch as the discussions, which were carried on before her, were the debates of parties and sects, having immediate reference merely to certain men and certain questions, rather than presenting enlightened and comprehensive considerations grounded on philosophical principles. But it was here that her profound knowledge of mankind came into play; and this it was which impressed on her sayings and counsels the stamp of pre-eminent sagacity. Intercourse with the world, however, or even with cabinet ministers, although it may render us accomplished diplomatists, cannot make us statesmen, in the true acceptation of the word—least of all can it make us teachers and philosophers. We cannot solve a problem in mathematics, unless we have previously traced the steps which lead to it one by one; nor can we ever arrive at precision on any subject until we have mastered its elements and made ourselves acquainted with the results of antecedent investigations. In this, therefore, lay the grand defect of Lady Hester’s[313] education. She was not only wanting, as almost all women are, in the philosophical power of generalization, but her reading was literally so circumscribed, that her deficiency in what may be called book-learning often amounted to absolute ignorance. She said she despised books; but it was simply because she was never made aware how much valuable information they contain. She trusted everything to intuitive perception. Her constant denial of the utility of study, founded on the conviction that education does not alter men’s characters or change their innate disposition, is wholly independent of that other proposition, which recognizes knowledge as an edifice seated on a height, to which we must climb step by step, taking care that each fundamental truth, in the ascent, shall be laid down with certainty, in order to secure the solidity of the superincumbent materials. She disowned alike the benefits of learning and the necessity of the progressive acquisition of knowledge. Her ladyship jumped to conclusions in perfect ignorance of the researches and discoveries of previous inquirers.

Lady Hester possessed none of the more graceful accomplishments of her sex:—not from inability to acquire them, for her remarks on music, painting, and other fine arts, were always striking and apposite; but because she preferred occupying her mind on[314] matters more congenial to her peculiar tastes. It cannot be doubted that she had all the opportunities usually afforded to the children of the nobility for the culture of the mind in liberal pursuits and attainments; but she took no delight in such things, and only spoke of them slightly and incidentally.

Popular opinion has ascribed the eccentricities of Lady Hester Stanhope to a crazed brain:[45] it is not for me to venture upon a question of so delicate a nature. Lucius Junius Brutus was supposed to be insane, and played the part of an idiot until the proper time arrived for casting away the mask. Hamlet enacts madness for a purpose: and some writers go so far as to assert that Mahomet was insane, and that no enthusiast of a high order can achieve his ends and gain over proselytes to his views without a tincture of[315] insanity. The dream of Lady Hester’s life was sway and dominion—how to obtain the one or the other was the difficulty; for she was born a subject, and excluded by her sex from vice-royalties and governments: with the genius of a hero, she could neither take the command of fleets or armies, nor preside in the councils of state. How far then she may have contemplated the possibility of acquiring power by endeavouring to establish a superstitious belief amongst those around her, and, through them, over a wider range, that she possessed supernatural gifts; how far she may have tried to help out this design by professing implicit faith in strange and absurd legends and traditions, visions, and tales; and how far the delusion, originally taken up for a purpose, may have ultimately re-acted upon her own mind—these are speculations which I leave to others; but, whilst I decline, from motives of delicacy, and in deference to the public, from whose award the decree must finally come, to pronounce any opinion on Lady Hester Stanhope’s perfect sanity, I do not feel myself precluded from calling the reader’s attention to one striking point of evidence in favour of it, which extends, like a vein of pure ore, through the whole course of her varied career.

I have depicted, somewhat minutely, and without ostentation or disguise, her ladyship’s habitual deportment[316] and language towards her visitors, her household, and myself. I have introduced all those, who have patiently followed me in these pages, into her sanctuary; have let them join in her conversations; have, as I hope, induced them to listen to her improbable stories of witchcraft and astrology; and have shared their incredulity in her supernatural mission: but I would now invite them to weigh against these seeming hallucinations the remarkable fact, that, in all her epistolary correspondence, down to the close of her life, not one aberration of intellect occurs. It is as if she had said to herself—“Those who come to glean ridicule from my words, and presume to fathom my purposes, will I make fools of and confound: they shall go away loaded with a cargo of their own choosing, and shall retail countless absurdities in their books to amuse the world for awhile: but, when the time shall be accomplished, these absurdities shall rebound on themselves; for I will challenge the most diligent research to gather any from my writings, and then, who will believe that I uttered them, except to make the unworthy hearers ridiculous?” The fact is, she may have spoken a great many strange things, but she has written none. I am in possession of a letter of hers, drawn up with attention on a very serious subject in the very plenitude of her mental powers; but I declare that it presents no superiority,[317] either in style or composition, over the productions of her later years: neither do her familiar letters, from first to last, leave an opening for the most critical caviller to say that, down to the day of her death, she manifested any decline of reason, or disclosed one jot less of that sound sense or those discriminating powers which had made her the admiration of some of the leading characters of her times. Her letter to the Duke Maximilian of Bavaria breathes as much delicacy of sentiment as if it had issued from her boudoir in Downing Street: her condolence with the Beyrout merchant is more profound in reasoning, though less epigrammatic, than that of Servius Sulpicius to Cicero on the death of his daughter Tullia; and her appeal to the good feeling of her countrymen against the uncalled-for interference of the Foreign Office in her private affairs is inferior to no production of our ablest combatants against the abuses of authority.

One point more remains to be touched upon. Lady Hester Stanhope, the advocate of the divine right of sovereigns, the stickler for the exclusive privileges of the aristocracy, she, who treated with ineffable ridicule and disdain the presumption of people, who, belonging to the class of commoners, set up claims of equality with the noble born, was herself weak enough to betray irritation, and even resentment, towards that still higher power in the state to which our allegiance[318] is ever due. Of our beloved Queen, to whose sacred majesty she did homage in the abstract, she could not forbear speaking irreverently on many occasions. The letter which she wrote to her Majesty, in reference to the sequestration of her pension, was as unpardonable in diction as it was unjustifiable in substance. But great allowances are to be made for her; and they alone, who know the trying circumstances in which she was placed, can feel the full force of the plea that might be alleged in mitigation of her offence.

My task is done:—it has been one of no ordinary difficulty. I have had to undeceive the world respecting the real life of a distinguished woman, who, in her day, occupied a large share of its attention, and whose ill-defined celebrity was based chiefly on the accounts of travellers, written no doubt in good faith, but in grievous ignorance of the truth. I have had to remove the veil which shrouded her existence, to disperse the imaginary attributes with which the fancy of most readers had invested her, to dissipate the splendour thrown over her retirement, and to substitute unpleasant facts for Eastern fables. Let it not be suspected that, in doing this, I have overstepped the bounds of professional confidence or violated the sacred intimacies of domestic life.

My object has been to vindicate the fame of a persecuted lady, whose memory I honour, and most of[319] whose actions have been misrepresented; and, in pursuing this object with frankness and integrity, I have only fulfilled a plain duty, imposed upon me by her constant denunciations of the injustice which the English had done to the purity of her motives—a duty distinctly enjoined by her frequent appeals to me that I should make public some circumstances of her life, which might set them right, and correct their judgment concerning her conduct. Using as much as possible her own words (indeed I may say entirely), I have unavoidably introduced the names of many individuals yet alive, and of others but lately removed from the scene of ambition, envy, and political strife. The utmost delicacy consistent with the utmost candour has been observed in a task which presented such a dilemma of difficulties; and, if any persons should feel hurt at any of the disclosures in this work, I can assure them that, due regard being had to the state of mental irritation to which wounded feelings had brought Lady Hester Stanhope, they will do no wrong in considering all the acrimonious passages they may detect in these pages merely as a scene out of “Timon of Athens”—a burst of spleen against mankind, produced by a long series of mortifications, wrongs, and disappointments.


[34] See “Robinson’s Three Years in the East,” note xviii., page 125, vol. Palestine.

[35] This letter, and the letter to Lord Brougham, were intended by Lady Hester Stanhope for publication in the newspapers conjointly with the correspondence about her debts: but the space, which so much matter would have occupied, rendered it necessary to leave them out.

[36] The adoption of the words “Sir Baron, Sir Count,” at the beginning of letters, may appear to the reader quaint and ridiculous; but these expressions are only verbal translations of “Monsieur le Baron,” “Monsieur le Comte,” and less abrupt than plain “Baron,” “Count.” Abroad, the prefix “Dear” is not so lightly attached to a name as it is in England. I recollect, some years ago, an Italian gentleman, Signor Guiseppe Celi, proprietor of a marine villa on the Island of Palmaria, in the Gulf of Spezzia, to have shown me a letter he had received from an English gentleman, who had tenanted his house for some months, and between whom and himself, as it appeared, there existed a tolerable degree of intimacy, and his asking me what I thought of Mr. B.’s addressing him Caro Signore. The wary Italian seemed to imagine it was a term of friendship, to which he was not entitled, and fancied he was about to be wheedled out of something; he could not imagine it proceeded from the writer’s good nature.

Chi vi carezza più che non suole,
O vi ha ingannato, o ingannarvi vuole.

[37] Lady Hester Stanhope was deceived in her prediction. Shibly el Arriàn went over to the Pasha, and, by a letter received from Lady Hester, dated March, 1839, she informed me he was employed in raising troops among his dependants and friends against his former allies.

[38] A Gallicism, meaning by the next steamer.

[39] The yazjees, or government secretaries, are men of the same presumed respectability in Syrian towns as bankers, solicitors, or professional men are with us; yet, in cases of malversation of the public money, often, indeed, on mere suspicion of peculation, they are punished with the lash, or by bastinado. Woe to an exchequer defaulter under Ibrahim Pasha!

[40] Memoirs of Sir W. K. by Lady Knighton. Who shall say what Lady Hester meant by “Love is not amongst them?”

[41] Diary of the Times of George IV.

[42] Soph. Antig., l. 888.

[43] The lines with inverted commas I have copied from the newspapers, not having been able to obtain more authentic information; but I much doubt if Lady Hester ever expressed any desire to be interred in Loustaunau’s grave.


Quis enim virtutem amplectitur ipsam,
Præmia si tollas?

[45] “A group of Bedouins were disputing respecting the sanity of Lady Hester Stanhope; one party strenuously maintaining that it was impossible a lady so charitable, so munificent, could be otherwise than in full possession of her faculties; their opponents alleging that her assimilating herself to the Virgin Mary, her anticipated entry with our Saviour into Jerusalem, and other vagaries attributed to her, were proofs to the contrary. An old man with a white beard called for silence (a call from the aged amidst the Arabs seldom made in vain.) ‘She is mad,’ said he; and, lowering his voice to a whisper, as if fearing lest such an outrage against established custom should spread beyond his circle, he added, ‘for she puts sugar in her coffee.’”—Travels in Arabia, by Lieutenant Welsted, F.A.S. v. ii. p. 69.


F. Shoberl, Jun., Printer to H.R.H. Prince Albert, 51, Rupert Street, Haymarket

Preparing for Publication,


In three volumes, with numerous illustrations,








London: F. Shoberl, Printer, 37, Dean Street, Soho.

Transcriber’s Note:

This book was written in a period when many words had not become standardized in their spelling. Words may have multiple spelling variations or inconsistent hyphenation in the text. These have been left unchanged unless indicated below. Obsolete and alternative spellings were left unchanged.

Footnotes were renumbered sequentially and were moved to the end of the chapter. Obvious printing errors, such as backwards, reversed, upside down, or partially printed letters and punctuation were corrected. Final stops missing at the end of sentences and abbreviations were added. Duplicate words and letters at line endings or page breaks were removed. Quote marks, accents and parentheses were adjusted to standard usage.

In the index, there are numerous entries without corresponding volume or page numbers. There are additional entries with volume and page numbers that do not match the book.

The following were changed:

Added missing volume and page numbers to index entries:

The only mention of Signor Catafago is in the Index so references are not found on the page numbers listed. Also, page number 324 for Signor Baldassare Matteir does not exist in any of the three volumes.