The Project Gutenberg eBook of Travels of Lady Hester Stanhope, Volume 1 (of 3)

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Travels of Lady Hester Stanhope, Volume 1 (of 3)

Author: Lady Hester Stanhope

Editor: Charles Lewis Meryon

Release date: November 30, 2023 [eBook #72270]

Language: English

Original publication: London: Henry Colburn, 1846

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


Day & Haghe, Lithrs to the Queen


London, Henry Colburn, Gt. Marlborough St., 1846.










Frederick Shoberl, Junior, Printer to His Royal Highness Prince Albert, 51, Rupert Street, Haymarket, London.










The Travels now presented to the public are intended to complete the Memoirs of Lady Hester Stanhope; and the author trusts that the interest excited by his former work—shown by the rapid sale of an extensive first edition, and the demand for a second—will be manifested equally for this. Indeed, he cannot doubt that the reader will be anxious to learn by what steps an unprotected woman progressively gained so marked an ascendency in a strange land, the language and the usages of which were altogether contrary to her own, whereby the attempt became so much the more difficult. As, then, the Memoirs embraced a period of about fifteen years, in which the author endeavoured to trace the causes that led to the “decline and fall” of her ladyship’s somewhat visionary empire in the East, the Travels[vi] will now take up her history from the time she quitted England, and, by a faithful narrative of her extraordinary adventures, show the rise and growth of her Oriental greatness.

A distinct line may at once be drawn between this and other books of peregrinations in the East. The reader will here find no antiquarian research, no new views of the political relations of sects and parties: but these Travels exhibit what others do not—a heroine who marches at the head of Arab tribes through the Syrian desert; who calls governors of cities to her aid, whilst she excavates the earth in search of hidden treasures; who sends generals with their troops to carry fire and sword into the fearful passes of a mountainous country, to avenge the death of a murdered traveller; and who then goes, defenceless and unprotected, a sojourner amidst the people on whom these chastisements had fallen.

This work embraces a period reaching from the thirty-sixth to the forty-third year of Lady Hester’s life. It fills up an interval so far important, as connecting her residence with Mr. Pitt and the occurrences which marked the last fifteen years of her existence; and enables those, who may be disposed to blame or applaud her conduct, to speak at least upon[vii] certain grounds: and, though her enemies may find eccentricities enough to satisfy their inclination to ridicule her, her friends will dwell with pleasure on such of her actions as must, in the eyes of unbiassed persons, excite praise; whilst the undoubted marks of a superior mind, which, every now and then, show themselves, will bring into evidence the talents and energy which she inherited from her ancestor, the great Lord Chatham.

Some apology may seem necessary for the paucity of incidents in the first six or eight chapters. Twice had the author to lament the loss of what is most precious to a traveller, supposing him to have noted down from day to day the occurrences of his route. Up to the early part of the year 1812 the narrative is compiled from letters, written to friends in England, and from notes fortunately preserved. All that is subsequent to May, 1812, is copied from a journal kept unbroken for four or five years, during an intercourse which afforded the same facilities for observation as he enjoyed in preparing his former work.

On the criticisms which were passed on that work, the “Memoirs of Lady Hester Stanhope,” he feels bound, in justification of himself, to make a few observations. Unacquainted with the motives which[viii] actuated the writers of them, the public will, perhaps, when these are explained, entertain a different opinion from what, otherwise, it might be led to do.

Mr. Pitt, during his long administration, was surrounded by many coadjutors, who were raised by his patronage and favour to high places in the government. His generous nature led him to tolerate in some of them a line of conduct based on principles and motives less pure than his own. These men, in becoming the channel of advancement to others of an inferior class, created a host of followers, who thought it, and, where they survive, may think it still, a party duty to support the reputation of those persons to whom they owed their advancement. Mr. Pitt’s niece and companion, Lady Hester, endowed with a finer discrimination of character than her uncle, and enabled from her position as a bystander to take a just measure of the abilities and motives of those who seemed to be acting with him, could scarcely bear with the stupidity of some, the duplicity of others, and the baseness of almost all. Gifted by nature with a most retentive memory, so as to be able to compare men’s actions and assertions from time to time, just in her appreciation of their designs, fearless of their anger and a match for their ridicule, disclaiming all compromise with insincerity[ix] and vice, she aimed with an unerring hand the shafts of her disdain at all those whose vices and perfidy called forth her execration.

What then must have been the rage of these persons, who, finding their patrons unmasked in conversations related with strict fidelity, had no resource left them, but, where the narration was unimpeachable, to malign the narrator! All this is well understood by the higher classes of society in England: they may read the critic’s vituperation, but they know why he is enraged, and they leave out his observations in the estimate which they form of the author’s claim to their attention: but the mass of the public, who are less in the secret, pity the author, or perhaps even join in the ridicule against him.

Let those, therefore, who are open to conviction, correct their judgment and be undeceived. Let them be persuaded that, although the adherents of a Heliogabalus, of a versatile, or an insincere minister, a pompous Lord, or an intriguing Duchess, may for a time be successful in their abuse, truth at length will prevail, and the indignation of a noble-minded, upright, and virtuous woman, become matter of history.

Among a host of critics, the Memoirs have been[x] pronounced by some of another class as devoid of artistic excellence. The author’s total abnegation of self, and his steady adherence to the rule he had laid down of shadowing the background on which he stood, in order to throw greater light on the more prominent figure in front, seems to have availed him nothing! Surely these critics might have had the sense to perceive that the author, if he had been so disposed, could have given to himself a much more flattering costume, and have arrayed himself in a garb of Eastern glitter as imposing as the most vivid fancy could desire. What was to prevent him from describing his familiar visits to the great people of the country, and the intercourse which he enjoyed with many of them—from recounting his pleasant adventures with lords and princes—from enumerating the ambassadorial gaieties of Constantinople, the frivolities of Smyrna, Cairo, and other cities, in which he bore his share—or from colouring incidents calculated to impose on the reader, too far removed from the scene of action to be able to decide what degree of credit was to be given to them? But it was not the author’s purpose to divert attention from the heroine of his story; and in all the adventures which the reader may peruse in the following pages, he wishes his[xi] own share in them to be lost sight of, excepting where his presence is necessary for making the description complete.

One word more remains to be added as to the credit which is to be attached to what Lady Hester Stanhope says of herself and others. The author of this narrative can conscientiously affirm that, after an intimate knowledge of her ladyship’s character for upwards of thirty years, he was always impressed with the highest respect for her veracity. Indeed, her courage was of too lofty a nature ever to allow her to condescend to utter a falsehood.

May 1, 1846.


Shipwreck near the Island of Rhodes (see p. 99) Frontispiece.
Giorgio Dallegio, page to Lady Hester (see p. 131) xx
A Drùze Aakel 334
Drûze Women 345
Lady Hester Stanhope’s Arrival at Palmyra (see p. 130) Frontispiece.
Village of Yabrud 42
Bridge over the Orontes 47
Calat El Medyk 236
Convent of Mar Elias 309
Interior of a Syrian Cottage 313
A Greek Monk 333
Interior of a Greek Sepulchre 340
Various Sarcophagi hewn out of rocks 346
Meshmushy 375
Costume of the Drûzes 377
Geser Behannyn 381
Portrait of the Author in his Bedouin Dress Frontispiece.
Ras el Ayn, Bâlbec 21
Statue found at Gebayl, and presented to Lady Hester Stanhope by the Prince of the Drûzes, now in the possession of the Earl of Lonsdale 73
Princess of Wales’s Tent 127
Statue found at Ascalon 162
Palace of the Shayhh Beshýr at Muktara 319
English Consul’s House, at Larnaka 363


Departure from England—Danger of Shipwreck—Gibraltar—Malta—City of La Valetta—Public Edifices—General aspect of the Island—Commerce—Character of the Inhabitants—Island of Goza—Mansion of the Governor at San Antonio occupied by Lady Hester Stanhope—English Visitors—Lady Hester resolves on an Eastern Tour 1
Zante—Earthquakes—Patras—The Marquis of Sligo joins Lady Hester’s party—Corinth—Visit of the Bey’s harým to Lady Hester—Indiscreet curiosity—Women of the East—Isthmus of Corinth—Kencri—The Piræus 22
Athens—Residence there—Accommodations—Researches of Lord Sligo—Embarkation for Constantinople—Sunium—Temple of Minerva—Zea—The Hellespont—Greek Sailors in a gale of wind—Erakli—Constantinople 38
Procession of the Sultan to the Mosque—A Dinner party—Therapia—Visiters there—Lady Hester seeks permission to reside in France—Turbulence of the Janissaries—Pera—Visit to Hafez Aly—Captain Pasha—Mahometan patients attended by the Author—Princess Morousi—Disagreeable climate of Constantinople—Return Lord Sligo to Malta 50
The Author goes to Brusa—Situation of the city—Baths—Surrounding country—Residence at Brusa—Lady Hester mistaken for a youth—Women of Brusa—Return of the Author to Constantinople—Sudden death of Mr. Alexander, Lady Hester’s banker—Departure from Brusa—Residence at Bebec—Provisions—Excursion to the village of Belgrade—Throwing the Girýd—Fast of Ramadàn—Lady Hester resolves to winter in Egypt—Presents to the Author for professional attentions 73
Departure from Constantinople—Prince’s Islands—Scio—Drunken Turk—Rhodes—Storm—The ship springs a leak—Servants dismayed—Land seen—The ship founders—Escape of the passengers to a rock—The sailors proceed to the Island of Rhodes—They return—The crew mutiny—The passengers gain the Island; and reach a hamlet—Our distressed situation—The Author departs for the town of Rhodes—Hassan Bey refuses assistance—The houses—Lady Hester ill of a fever—Lindo—Its port—The Archon Petraki—Reports that the party were lost—Lady Hester arrives at Rhodes—Town—Why Lady Hester chose the Turkish dress—Posting in Turkey—Mustafa 95
The Author sets out for Smyrna—Etienne—Port of Marmora—Arabkui—Oolah—Moolah—Aharkui—Ancient temple—Capu Rash—Sarcophagi—Chinny Su—River Meander—Ferry—Guzel Issar—Frank doctor—Ruins of Magnesia—Chapan Oglu’s officers—Baynder—Civility of the governor—Pressing a horse—Smyrna—Visit to the consul—Purchases—Renegado Welchman—Mustafa lays a plan to rob the Author—Departure for Rhodes—Eleusis—Scio—Stancho—Cavo Crio, the ancient Cidus—Ruins—Wall—Temple—Theatre—Stadium—Rhodes—New dresses—Servants cabal—Georgio Dallegio—Town of Rhodes—Embarkation in the Salsette frigate—Harbour of Marmora—Arrival at Alexandria 112
Reception at Alexandria—Inhabitants—Commerce—Fortifications—Battle of Abukír—Administration of Justice—Servants—Climate—Asses—Ruins of Old Alexandria—Lake Madiah—Passage boats—The boat with the Author and his party pursued and the passengers made prisoners—Their liberation—Bay of Abukír—Lake Edko—Porters—Rosetta—House of Signor Petrucci—Fleas and musquitoes—The town of Rosetta and environs—Sedentary habits of the Turks—Abu Mandur—Exportation of corn—Mashes, a kind of barge—Voyage up the Nile—Banks of the river—Rich soil—Villages—First sight of the Pyramids—Bulák—Cairo—Pasha and his suite—Lodgings—Lady Hester’s attire—Her visit to the Pasha—Mameluke riding—Horse-market—Opening of a mummy—French Mamelukes—Mr. Wynne—Dancing Women—The Pyramids—Narrow escape from drowning 135
The Author returns to Alexandria, in company with Mr. Wynne and Mr. McNamara—Proceeds to Rosetta—Coast of the Delta—Deserted hamlet—Brackish water—Misery of the Peasantry—Mouth of Lake Brulos—Dews of Egypt pernicious—Brulos—Melons—Egyptian encampment—Quail-snares—Arrival at Damietta—Honours paid by the Pasha at Cairo to Lady Hester—Description of Damietta—Rice mills—Large oxen—Salt tanks—Papyrus—Literary Society—Abûna Saba—Lady Hester arrives at Damietta—Tents and baggage—Servants—Fleas, &c.—Departure from Damietta—El Usby—Sameness of scenery in Egypt—Naked children—Increase of the Delta denied—Martello towers—Iachimo hired—We sail for Syria—List of the party—French Mamelukes—Wages of servants in the Levant—Arrival at Jaffa—Customs in seaports—Costume of Egyptian women 167
Loss of journals—Difficulties in learning Eastern languages—Signor Damiani; his simplicity—Porters—Residence at the Franciscan convent—Lady Hester’s dress—Not distinguishable from a Turk—Description of Jaffa—Buildings—Environs of Jaffa—Orchards—Mohammed Aga: his revenues: his expenditure—Pilgrims: their sufferings—Object of their pilgrimage—Departure for Jerusalem—Mr. Pearce leaves the party—Peasants reaping—Ramlah—Its monastery—Locusts—Lyd—Departure from Ramlah—Sober exhortation of a drunken priest—Mountains of Judæa—Abu Ghosh—Supper—Guards—Selim’s apprehensions—Cold—Brothers’s prophecy—Jerusalem—Lady Hester’s lodgings—Dragomans—Visit to the governor—Kengi Ahmed—Emir Bey; his history—Holy Sepulchre—Mount Calvary—Visit to the Jews’ quarter—Bethlehem—Monastery—Bethlehemites reputed to be robbers—Horses—Accident to Mr. B.—Mufti’s dinner—Memorable places 188
Departure from Jerusalem—Arabian characters of horses not to be trusted—Ramlah—Demand of the governor to inspect Lady Hester’s firmâns—Alarm of Selim, the Mameluke—Illness of Mr. Pearce at Jaffa—Janissary dismissed—Departure from Ramlah—Politic conduct of Dragomans—River Awgy—Harým—Inhabitants of Galilee—Scorpions, and other venomous reptiles—Um Khaled—Marble columns—Illness of Yusef the guide—Mountaineers of Gebel Khalýl and Nablûs—Cæsarea—Remains of the ancient city—Obstacles to exploring them—Ma el Zerky—Tontûra—Women carrying water—Beauty of the road—Aatlyt—Mount Carmel—Häifa—Carmelite convent—River Mkutta, the Kishon of Scripture—Arrival at Acre 221
Increased illness of Yusef—Servants leave—Visit to Mâlem Haym, minister of the pasha—His history—Description of Acre—Visit to the pasha—Hospitality of M. Catafago—Disposal of time—Excursion to Nazareth—Franciscan convent—Residence and family of M. Catafago—Villages and lands farmed out by him—The Convent library—Arrival of Shaykh Ibrahim (Burckhardt), the celebrated traveller—Visit to the plain of Esdraëlon—Fûly—Battle of Fûly—Departure of Shaykh Ibrahim for Egypt—Excursion to Segery—Visit to the Shaykh—Bargain for a horse—Accident to Lady Hester 251







Departure from England—Danger of Shipwreck—Gibraltar—Malta—City of La Valetta—Public Edifices—General aspect of the Island—Commerce—Character of the Inhabitants—Island of Goza—Mansion of the Governor at San Antonio occupied by Lady Hester Stanhope—English Visitors—Lady Hester resolves on an Eastern Tour.

The writer of this narrative had just completed his studies in medicine, when he was engaged, through the recommendation of an eminent anatomist and surgeon, to attend Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope, in the capacity of her physician, on a voyage to Sicily; in which island it was her intention to reside two or three years, for the benefit of her health, that had[2] suffered greatly from family afflictions.[1] Her ladyship was accompanied by her half-brother, the Honourable James Hamilton Stanhope, and his friend, Mr. Nassau Sutton.

On the 10th of February, 1810, we embarked at Portsmouth, on board the Jason frigate, commanded by the Hon. James King, having under convoy a fleet of transports and merchant vessels bound for Gibraltar. Our voyage was an alternation of calms and gales. We were seven days in reaching the Land’s End; then, having passed Cape Finisterre and Cape St. Vincent, we were overtaken, on the 6th of March, by a violent gale of wind, which dispersed the convoy, and drove us so far to leeward that we found ourselves on the shoals of Trafalgar.

It was for some hours uncertain whether we should not have to encounter the horrors of shipwreck, on that very shore where so many brave sailors perished after the battle which derives its name from these shoals: but, on the following morning, by dint of beating to windward, under a pressure of sail, in a most tremendous sea, we weathered the land, and gained the Straits of Gibraltar, through which we ran.

We anchored in the Bay of Tetuan, at the back of the promontory of Ceuta, facing Gibraltar, on the[3] African coast. Mount Atlas, the scene of so many of the fables of antiquity, was visible from this point; but its form was far from corresponding with the shape pictured by my imagination, presenting rather the appearance of a chain of mountains than of one single mount.

The wind abated the next day, when we weighed anchor, and entered the Bay of Gibraltar. As we approached the rock, we were struck with the grandeur and singularity of its appearance. Lady Hester and her brother were received at the Convent, the residence of the lieutenant-governor, Lieut. Gen. Campbell. Mr. Sutton and myself had apartments assigned to us in a house adjoining the Convent, where we occasionally partook of the hospitality of Colonel M’Coomb, of the Corsican Rangers, although we dined and lived principally at the Governor’s palace.

I visited the fortifications in company with the Lieutenant-Governor and Captain Stanhope.

As I had never before sailed to a latitude so southern as Gibraltar, I was much struck with the difference of temperature into which we were now transported. There were flowers in bloom, shrubs in leaf, and other appearances of an early spring; and I hastened, the morning after our arrival, to enjoy the luxury of bathing in the sea. These feelings of pleasure at the change of climate were, however, greatly abated by the attacks to which we were daily and nightly exposed from the musquitoes, which entirely destroyed our rest.[4] How impartial has Nature been in all her dealings! Go where you will, if you sum up the amount of good and evil, every country will be found to have about an equal portion of both; and, in many cases, where Providence has seemed to be more beneficent than was equitable, a little fly will strike the balance.

The French, about this time, had overrun almost the whole of Spain, and parties of their cavalry had approached within three miles of the fortifications of Gibraltar. Our excursions, therefore, beyond the isthmus were exceedingly limited, and the only neighbouring places I saw were St. Roque and Algeziras. Numbers of Spanish fugitives flocked in every day. Those who bore arms were sent to Cadiz, and the rest remained in security at Ceuta, a possession of the Spanish on the African side of the Straits, ceded about this time to the English.

The Marquis of Sligo and Mr. Bruce,[2] both of whom afterwards joined Lady Hester’s party, were also at Gibraltar. These gentlemen, with several other Englishmen and many Spanish noblemen and officers, who, with their families, had taken refuge here, constituted the society at the Lieutenant-Governor’s house.

Gibraltar seemed to me to be a place where no one[5] would live but from necessity. Provisions and the necessaries of life of all kinds were exceedingly dear. The meat was poor and lean; vegetables were scarce; and servants, from the plenty of bad wine, were always drunk. Out-door amusements on a rock, where half the accessible places are to be reached by steps only, or where a start of a horse would plunge his rider over a precipice, must be, of course, but few; although, to horsemen, the neutral ground, which is an isthmus of sand joining the rock to Spain, affords an agreeable level for equestrian exercise.

Soon after our arrival at Gibraltar, Captain Stanhope, Lady Hester’s brother, received an order to join his regiment, the 1st Foot Guards, at Cadiz; and Mr. Sutton departed for Minorca, whither his affairs led him. Her ladyship, for whom a garrison town had no charms, was anxious to pursue her voyage. Her state of health rendered the civilities, with which she was overwhelmed, irksome to her; so that she readily availed herself of an offer made by Captain Whitby,[3] of the Cerberus frigate, to take her passage with him to Malta: and, on the 7th of April, we sailed out of the bay, after a double risk, first of the boat’s being swamped in getting on board, and then of the frigate’s falling on a rock, by missing stays, in going out. We put into Port Mahon on our way,[6] and arrived at Malta on the 21st of April, after a passage of fifteen days.

Few cities are more striking at first sight than La Valetta, the capital of Malta. It happened to be Easter day; and the ringing of bells and firing of crackers and guns, as we entered the harbour, about ten in the morning, together with the varied appearance of English, Moorish, and Greek ships, with their different flags mingled in a most agreeable confusion, and reflected from a green water, transparent to the bottom, at the foot of stupendous fortifications, altogether rendered it one of the most cheerful and animating sights we had ever beheld.

Lady Hester was expected at Malta, and the Governor and some other persons of note invited her to take up her residence at their houses. She accepted the invitation of Mr. Fernandez, the Deputy Commissary-General. We landed in the afternoon. In walking through the streets, I found myself surrounded by buildings, different in style from any that I had yet seen, and jostled by a race of people, sufficiently strange to attract my attention strongly. I now felt that I was fairly out of England; which, while in Gibraltar, where the population is so largely made up of English, and where the English language is so generally spoken, I never could persuade myself to be the case.

The residence of Mr. Fernandez was a large house, formerly the inn[4] or hotel of the French knights: each[7] nation, as it would appear, having had a separate palace to lodge in. The sleeping rooms were old-fashioned and gloomy, with windows like embrasures, almost twenty feet apart.

Malta contains two principal cities and twenty-two villages, or casals, as they are called. The old city, Civita Vecchia, was the only one at the time the knights took possession of the island. It is still called by the natives El Medina (the Arabic word for the city.). It has no edifices worthy of notice but the palace of the grand-master and the cathedral, in which are some paintings by Matthias Preti. Its greatest curiosity is the catacombs. They are very extensive, and contain what may be called excavated streets in all directions. From these branch off corridors, wherein are formed apartments containing tombs or sepulchres without number. These catacombs have likewise served as asylums for individuals who fled from religious persecution, and for the inhabitants generally, whenever piratical descents were made on the island.

The modern city, Valetta, was founded in 1566; and, by the enthusiasm of the islanders, who voluntarily aided in the works, it was finished in 1571. It is entirely built of the calcareous stone of the rock on which it stands. A piece of ground was given to each of the nations (or languages, as it was usual to style them) for their respective habitations or inns. The streets are built at right angles, and paved with[8] flat square stones, and the houses are spacious, lofty, and with regular fronts, most of them having a balcony projecting over the street. The object of the architect seems to have been, besides beauty and strength, to gain shade and coolness. Hence the walls of the houses are generally from six to twelve feet thick, and the floors always of stone:[5] the doors are folding, and the windows down to the ground. In every house of the principal inhabitants, in the summer, there is a suite of rooms thrown open. Thus, by having five or six rooms in a line, great coolness, and, if required, a current of air is obtained, the value of which can be sufficiently appreciated by those only who live in very hot countries. In most of the dwellings, the ground floor is used for warehouses and shops; and the family resides on the first floor, the bed-rooms and sitting-rooms being all on the same level. Every house has a cistern, into which rain-water runs from the roof. These roofs, formed of an excellent cement, are flat. Besides the private[9] cisterns, there are public reservoirs, and also a fountain, the source of which is at the village of Diar Chandal, twelve or thirteen miles from La Valetta whither the water is conveyed by a subterranean aqueduct.

The public edifices most worthy of notice are the Palace of the Grand Master, the Hotels or Inns of the different languages, the Conservatory, the Treasury, the University, the Town Hall, the Palace of Justice, the Hospital, and the Barracks, all built with great simplicity. Indeed, La Valetta is much more striking from the arrangement of the general mass of buildings than from the details of any particular one.

The palace, once the residence of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, is a magnificent edifice, in its general appearance somewhat like Somerset House. It contains many splendid rooms and saloons, hung with tapestry and damask; and there is a spacious hall, the walls of which are curiously painted in commemoration of the naval victories of the Christian knights over the Moslems. The grand staircase is of remarkably easy ascent. In one part of the Conservatory is the Library: in 1790, it had 60,000 volumes, although founded so lately as 1760: its rapid increase was owing to a law, whereby the books of every knight, at his decease, wherever he might be, were to be sent to Malta. Adjoining to the library is a museum, which contains many interesting objects.

The Hospital is a spacious edifice, open for the[10] sick and wounded of all countries. The knights were formerly bound to attend them, and the utensils employed were almost all of silver, but of quite plain workmanship; so that it might be seen that cleanliness, not ostentation, was the purpose for which they were made.

The Church of St. John is a building, the imposing grandeur of which, when I first saw it, made a strong impression upon me. It consists of an immense nave, from which branch off, right and left, small chapels, each adorned with richly sculptured altars, beautified with everything that superstition can collect. The roof is arched, and painted in fresco by Matthias Preti, the Calabrian. The walls are also decorated with paintings by him and other masters: and the pavement is one uninterrupted piece of mosaic of coloured marbles. Some idea of its effect may be formed by imagining the pictures in the gallery of the Louvre at Paris to be taken from their frames, sewed together, and the spectator to be walking on them. The subjects are less lively, certainly; because, in St. John’s church, each mosaic picture covers the tomb of some Maltese knight, and consequently death and his emblems form the principal features in it; but they are not the less beautiful. The church of St. John was built by the Grand-Master, La Cassière: its riches were, before their spoliation by the French, immense, from the donations made every five years by the master and priors of the order, and by the piety of individuals.[11] The carved ornaments were all gilt with sequin gold by the liberality of the Grand-Master, Coloner.

There is a pleasure garden, called the Boschetto, nearly south-west of La Valetta, which is the only place in the island that has trees of any size: they are arranged in symmetrical forms; and there are several avenues and arbours of orange-trees, interspersed with cedars. This garden is situate in a deep valley, where springs communicate a refreshing coolness to the atmosphere.

The general appearance of the island of Malta is the most unpromising for agriculture that can be conceived. Nowhere is the face of nature so uninviting. A surface of stone has, however, by the effect of industry, been powdered over with a soil, the general depth of which is said to be from six inches to a foot: yet, on this scanty bed, grow lemon, orange, pomegranate, fig, and other fruit-trees, besides corn, cotton, lichen, kali, &c., in the greatest luxuriance. The vines spread wherever they are trained, and the oranges acquire the richest flavour.

Cotton is much cultivated in Malta. That which I saw most frequently was of a cinnamon colour when raw, and not like the white common cotton. Corn is said to yield from 16 to 60 for 1. The fruits are of exquisite flavour. Flowers are very fine, and I could not help fancying the roses more fragrant than in my own country. Malta honey is highly esteemed; but always remains in a liquid state.


The commerce of Malta consists in the exportation of oranges and lemons, potash, lichen, orange-flower water, preserved apricots, pomegranates, honey, seeds of vegetables, and Maltese stone. The Maltese likewise export fillagree-work, in which the native artists excel; also clocks and boilers. They import corn, cloth, fuel, wine, brandy, &c. Ice brought from Sicily is likewise an article of great consumption. The profits of their exports would not have been sufficient to defray even the cost of the quantity of corn imported: but, to meet this, they had, during the existence of the Order, the prizes made at sea, whereas now they have the consumption of provisions for victualling ships and a flourishing commerce.

The Maltese are very expert and daring seamen. In their speronaras, which are boats without a deck, about thirty feet long, they are to be seen in all parts of the Mediterranean; and, like the sailors of the Kentish and Sussex coast, as their principal occupation is smuggling, they cannot always wait to choose their weather to put to sea in.

Since the English had been in possession of the island, commerce had flourished to a prodigious extent, as was demonstrated by the fleets of merchantmen constantly floating in the spacious harbours, and by the splendid equipages and sumptuous entertainments of the merchants, who were living in a style of luxury suitable to princes.

Nor can I refrain from saying a few words on the almost regal entertainments which the governor at[13] this time gave. His palace, well fitted for the display of a court, with its spacious halls and vast saloons, was often the scene of banquets and festivities, which I scarcely can hope to see again. The English, shut out from the continent, resorted principally to the Mediterranean. Malta, when we arrived there, was full of English and Neapolitan nobility, and the officers of the fleet and of the garrison, vying in their showy dresses with the foreign costumes intermixed with them, formed a striking picture. Dinners of fifty or sixty covers were of every day’s occurrence at the Governor’s palace, and the singular usage of a high table, as in college-halls at the Universities, was not uncommon at suppers after balls. On one occasion, it fell to my lot to hand a lady of rank into the supper-room, and, taking a seat by her side, I found myself directly opposite to the governor, separated by the breadth and not the length of the table, with the Duchess of Pienne on his right hand, Lady Hester on his left, and a string of Lords and Ladies and Counts and Countesses on either hand. But Lady Hester had then recently quitted England, and she had not yet begun her tirades against “doctors and tutors,” nor possibly would have dared openly to intimate the aristocratic superiority of rank over professional claims, as she did afterwards: so she was delighted to see me enjoy myself, and pleased at the attentions which the General showed me, in common with his other guests.


The Maltese have never mixed with the nations which have held them in subjection. Their original character, therefore, remains unchanged, and their physiognomy indicates an African origin. Their hair is curly; they have flattish noses, and turned-up lips, and their colour and language are nearly the same as those of the people of the Barbary States. It is a lingo of Italian grafted on Arabic. They are said to be active, faithful, economical, courageous, and good sailors; but they are Africans for passion, jealousy, vindictiveness, and thieving, being likewise very mercenary. Their superstition in religious matters is proverbial. By many English, however, who had resided among them for some time, the Maltese were pronounced to be ferocious, ignorant, lazy, passionate, revengeful, and, if married, jealous beyond conception.

Of their superstition an example occurred just before our arrival, in the brutal manner in which they treated a British officer of the 14th regiment of foot, who, whether purposely or unintentionally, offended them by passing through the line of a procession on horseback, for which supposed insult to their religion they dragged him from his horse, and nearly tore him in pieces. I cannot, however, forbear to observe that the lower orders did not appear to deserve the charge of laziness; for the men were slim in their persons, quick in their intellects, and of inconceivable activity. They are remarkably sober in their[15] diet: an onion or an anchovy, with dry bread, will serve them for a meal. No people are more attached to their country than the Maltese to their barren rock.

The upper classes of the inhabitants dress like the French: but the common people wear a dress resembling that which is given to Figaro in the opera, with this difference, that they have trousers instead of tight breeches.

The women are small, and have beautiful hands and feet. When they go out, they wear a black silk shawl, which covers their head and half the face, and is very gracefully wrapped about their bodies; beneath this is a coloured upper petticoat, and a corset or stomacher. They are fond to excess of gold ornaments, which they estimate by value more than taste: and their ears, necks, and arms are set off with rings, chains, and bracelets. They wear shoe-buckles of gold or silver. Although very brown, they are often handsome—I think generally so: and when I say that they are in figure like English maid-servants, I do not mean to disparage them by such a comparison, but rather to mark the plumpness of their flesh and the roundness of their limbs. Children, until they are six or seven years old, are seen rolling naked in the filth of the streets.

The repasts of the Maltese are plentiful: they dine at twelve and sup in the evening. When an entertainment is given, it is common to have three complete courses, and from five to ten different sorts of wine.[16] They rise from table after dinner, taking coffee and liqueurs, like the French. Both rich and poor indulge themselves with a siesta after dinner, generally until half-past two or three o’clock. During this time, the shops are shut; and, to judge by the stillness which reigns in town and country from twelve to three o’clock, one would suppose that the island was deserted. About half-past two the shops are re-opened; as evening comes on, the population appears out of doors, and all is gaiety and life.

There are some antient remains on the island, as the ruins of Ghorghenti; of Hagior Khan; of a Greek house at Casal Zorrick; and of a supposed temple of Hercules.

Goza, a smaller island, separated by a channel, four miles broad, from Malta, has some tracts of pasture land on it, and supplies Malta with cattle and fruit. There are some Cyclopean remains on this island worthy of inspection. It has also an alabaster quarry near the village of Zeberg, and a convent of Capuchin friars, about half a mile from which is a grotto of neat workmanship hollowed out of the rock.

I was told that, in sailing round this small island, several remarkable appearances are presented by its cliffs, which have some curious caves in their sides. For two or three miles, they rise quite perpendicular to the height of from 130 to 160 feet: yet so daring are the inhabitants, that, for the sake of birds’ eggs or of fishing, they will venture down their sides, stepping[17] from crag to crag, where, to an inexperienced eye, it would appear utterly impossible to find footing.

About five miles from La Valetta there was a country residence of the Governor’s, called the palace of St. Antonio, in a village of the same name. On our first arrival in the island, it was occupied by Lord and Lady Bute: but, on their departure for England, on the 28th of May, General Oakes,[6] who showed on all occasions great attention to Lady Hester, politely offered it for her residence; we therefore quitted the hospitable roof of Mr. Fernandez, and betook ourselves thither on the 1st of June.

This palace is a large irregular edifice, with a beggarly exterior, rendered more ugly by a quadrangular steeple, which looks like a belfry. It is constructed of the soft stone of the island, with stone floors, and with ceilings and walls painted in fresco. The walls were hung with some tolerable pictures. The entrance to it is by an avenue of orange trees, the appearance of which, though richer, is much less imposing than the lofty oaks and elms forming the avenues of our own country. About half way down the avenue, which is two hundred and fifty yards long, the road turns abruptly on the left into the courtyard of the palace: this is spacious, and covered with vines to the right and left. At the end of it two doors lead, one into the house and the other into the garden.


The house contains some handsome and spacious rooms, but the absence of carpeting and matting, rendered necessary by the heat of the climate, gave an air of nakedness displeasing to the eye of an Englishman. I always felt as if sitting in a stone kitchen. It was in the garden that a proper estimate might be formed of the magnificence of the mansion, which might vie, in horticultural beauties, with many of the first gardens in Europe. In its plan it was not unlike the orangerie at Versailles; but at Versailles, no care could ever give to the orange, pomegranate, and lemon trees, half the vigour they showed here. The walks were lined with myrtle hedges, ten feet high; and there was a terrace with a colonnade, where the vines twined their branches in wonderful profusion in every direction in which they were trained. There were five hedges also of double oleander; and, as a proof of the luxuriance of the growth of plants, the marshmallow, if left in the soil, grew to the height of a filbert-tree.

The Governor, General Oakes, strove, in every way in his power, to render Lady Hester’s stay at Malta agreeable to her. He visited her daily at the palace of St. Antonio, and we were his constant guests at the dinners and parties at his own residence.

At the beginning of July, in this year, an earthquake was felt by several inhabitants of Malta. I should presume that habit renders persons quicker at feeling these slight shocks; for, during many years[19] that I was up the Mediterranean, I was present when shocks were felt, but never perceived them myself.

On the 29th of July, Mr. Adair and Mr. Hobhouse, returning from Constantinople, landed at Malta, and, after performing a short quarantine, were entertained at the Governor’s. Many British travellers had visited Malta in the course of this year: for, besides those of whom mention has already been made, there were several noblemen, as also Mr. Thomas Sheridan, whose brilliant vivacity was not yet diminished by the incipient malady under which he finally sunk, Mr. Drummond, Mr. Fiott,[7] and Mr. B.; the last of whom, when he learned that Lady Hester’s brother had been called away by his duties as a soldier, undertook to escort her in the perilous journey which she had resolved to make through European and Asiatic Turkey.

Lady H. Stanhope had begun to grow tired of Malta. The thermometer generally stood as high as 85° Fahrenheit in the afternoon, and the excessive heat had produced some disagreeable effects on her constitution, so that she often complained of sickness of stomach, feverish thirst, and loss of appetite; and was tormented with many other painful sensations which the summer months commonly produce in those, who, for the first time, visit hot countries.

Sicily was at that time threatened with a descent[20] from the coast of Calabria; where Murat, the new King of Naples, was in person urging on the necessary preparations. Several English and Sicilian families had hastily quitted the island to take refuge in Malta, and many fears were entertained as to the probable issue of the enterprise. At all events, the impending storm presented no temptations to Lady Hester to go thither, and she accordingly changed her destination for the only part of Europe which was now open to the English, namely, Turkey.

I have said that Mr. B. had undertaken to escort Lady Hester into Greece. Her ladyship had brought out with her an English maid, named Ann Fry, and a valet, named François, a native of Coblentz.

Lady Hester had been fortunate enough, on two former occasions, to obtain a king’s ship to convey her from place to place: but it was vain to hope that one could now be spared, when every vessel on the station was so much needed to scour the Straits of Messina, and to prevent the threatened landing in Sicily. Accordingly, she resolved on hiring a merchant-vessel; and an American brig, bound for Smyrna, was almost engaged, when it happened that the Belle Poule frigate of 38 guns, commanded by Captain C. Brisbane, came into Malta from Corfu, to which island she was to return; and the captain very politely offered to convey her ladyship and her party to one of the Ionian Islands.

On the second of August, we embarked in the Belle[21] Poule, and arrived at the cruizing station, off Corfu, on the third day. We passed Corfu, Little and Great Cephalonia, and Fano, and on the 8th anchored in the bay of Zante.



Zante—Earthquakes—Patras—The Marquis of Sligo joins Lady Hester’s party—Corinth—Visit of the Bey’s harým to Lady Hester—Indiscreet curiosity—Women of the East—Isthmus of Corinth—Kencri—The Piræus.

A British ship of war is at all times a noble and interesting spectacle, but, in the Mediterranean, she becomes a beautiful one also. For a week together the sea was scarcely rougher than the bosom of a lake; and the white dresses and straw hats of the sailors, the cleanness of the decks, and the awning over our heads, combined with the serenity of the weather, gave to our voyage the appearance of a party of pleasure.

The view was truly enchanting, when, doubling the north-east point of the island of Zante, we of a sudden discovered the bay and surrounding country. At the foot of mountains which are seen on the right hand, stand the white houses of the chief town, extending for a mile and a half. Immediately behind, and elevated above them, olive-trees, cypresses, and vineyards,[23] meet the eye as it ascends: and the picture is crowned by the castle which commands the town beneath it. From the bottom of the bay a fertile plain extends four or five miles inland, bounded in the distance by blue hills. On the left, a high mountain, the ancient Etatus, corresponding with that on the opposite shore, rises conically from its promontory, and, like the other, exhibits at different heights white villas, olive woods, vineyards, and arid patches of soil, left apparently neglected, or else inaccessible to the plough of the husbandman.

Captain Brisbane went on shore the same evening; and the next morning Mr. Foresti, the English consul, and an aide-de-camp from Major-General Oswald, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Ionian Islands, came on board: soon after which we landed, and residences were assigned to us in the town. The civility and attention of Lady Hester’s host may be judged of from the fact that, every morning, as soon as she was visible, he waited on her, in full dress, to inquire if the arrangements of the house, from day to day, were such as she approved.

When seen from the castle, from which almost the whole circuit of the island can be taken in at one view, its features were not less delightful than those I have before described. Hence it has obtained the name of “the Golden Island,” “the Flower of the Levant,” &c. It is composed of two chains of mountains to the north and south, with a spacious vale between[24] them. Looking down upon this vale, instead of meadows of herbage and fields of corn, is beheld a luxuriant garden of all the productions of warm climates. It is here that the currants grow which are in such request in England. It was the vintage time at our arrival, and I saw the process of drying them. The vines which produce them grow no higher than gooseberry-bushes, and are not sticked. The currants, when gathered, are spread in the open fields, on spots smoothed for the purpose, near the vines, where they lie in square layers about an inch thick, until they become shrivelled and blackened by the sun, and assume the appearance which they have when they reach us, a change which is effected in a few days. They are shovelled up into sacks, and deposited in roomy places called seraglios, where they are kept for about three years, and are then fit for exportation and use. Undried, these grapes are about as large again as an English currant, and in taste exceedingly luscious. They are exclusively the production of this island, with the exception of those grown in the Morea. Currants, with dried olives and olive oil, are the staple commodities of Zante.

The fertility of this happy spot seemed inexhaustible, if a judgment might be formed from the cheapness of its productions. Half a dozen lemons cost only a halfpenny, and grapes, peaches, and other fruits were to be had almost for plucking. Turkeys were sold at one shilling each: geese, poultry, &c., in proportion.[25] The wines of the island, like those of Cephalonia, seemed to us to have little flavour: and it is said that, to make them keep, the skins, jars, or casks in which they are put, are smeared over with rosin. This is the case also up the Archipelago; and custom alone can reconcile a stranger to the taste, which at length becomes just tolerable.

Of the native Zanteots such as I saw may be described in a few words. The women paint their faces excessively, particularly with white round the mouth: they take great pride in long hair, and make the greatest possible display of it. Among the higher classes, the unmarried females are kept much shut up in rooms with blinds to the windows, and are often betrothed without being seen by their future husbands. Among the lower and middle orders there must be a greater freedom of conduct, since many young creatures of considerable beauty were pointed out to me as having attached themselves to English officers without the sanction of the Church; whilst assassination, which formerly followed almost inevitably an illicit connection, if discovered, from the hand of some of the relatives of the female, was now rarely heard of.

Zante was, at this time, garrisoned by the 35th regiment of infantry: it is a defensible place, owing to the strong castle above the town. There was an Albanian regiment quartered in it, under the command of Major (afterwards General) Church. Zante[26] is proverbial for the frequency of earthquakes. The Zanteots declare that they experience them every week; we were there a fortnight and felt none. But the fissures in the walls of almost every house bore sufficient testimony to the severity of one which shook the island at the end of July; in consequence of which some of the inhabitants were so much alarmed that they slept for some time in tents, and many of the English officers were among the number. It happened just after midnight. Those who spoke of it to me described it as beginning somewhat like the trembling that agitates a house in London when a carriage passes it rapidly. The shocks lasted for half a minute, and were repeated several times. Wine glasses danced off the table on which they were standing, and the houses and walls seemed almost to reel: yet, when all was over, nothing was to be seen but here and there a ceiling peeled off, and irregular cracks through the stone walls. Many ludicrous situations arose from the terror in which persons left their beds; as few had time or inclination to stop to put on their clothes before they ran out into the streets.

Captain Brisbane made no stay at Zante, but sailed to rejoin his squadron. General Oswald displayed much courtesy in his attentions to Lady Hester during the fortnight she was on the island; and, when she thought proper to depart, he furnished her with a government transport, in which we left Zante for Patras on the 23rd of August. A felucca was hired to accompany us, into which it was proposed[27] to disembark at Patras, in case (which was probable) the Turkish governor of the castle at the entrance of the Gulf of Lepanto should refuse admission to an English vessel. We landed at Patras on the following evening. Mr. Strani, the English consul, gave us a most hospitable reception in his own house.

A valley, about a mile in width, runs from the shore of the Gulf of Lepanto to a chain of mountains. The valley is covered with vineyards and olive-trees: and, at the verge of it, near the foot of the hills, stands Patras, the ancient Patra. The houses, built of mud, are despicable without and comfortless within. Here and there I observed a mosque. Melancholy indeed was the change from the fine streets of La Valetta to the mud habitations of Patras! Still I felt that I was in Greece, and the language and appearance of the inhabitants had something magical in it. My bosom beat with emotion as I now trod, for the first time, the soil of a people, in studying whose language and habits the chief part of fifteen years of my early life had been—I still think wisely—expended.

Mr. B. and myself, having some leisure here, resolved to try the hot bath. We were exceedingly overpowered by the heat, and experienced the feelings common I believe to all those who enter a hamám for the first time, namely, a sense of suffocation so great as to alarm ourselves and the bather. But those who overcome this first impression never fail to like the process better on each succeeding experiment.


We found at Patras an English woman married to a Greek sailor, and through her means her husband recommended himself to Lady Hester’s notice as a servant, and he was hired to accompany us to Athens.

Our two German servants had a quarrel when at this place, and sallied forth to fight with sabres. François had served in the Austrian, French, and English armies. As they were exceedingly vociferous, many persons assembled as spectators, and prevented their coming to blows.

The Marquis of Sligo had been cruizing some months in the Mediterranean Sea, in his yacht, a commodious vessel of considerable burden. He was at this time on a visit to Veli, pasha of the Morea, who resided at Tripolizza;[8] but no sooner did he hear of Lady Hester’s arrival at Zante, than he remanded his vessel to Malta, and hastened towards Patras to meet her. Mr. B. had written to him from Patras, and the letter found him at Corinth; where he took a boat, and arrived on the evening of the 27th, just as we were on the point of embarking in a felucca for Corinth, and he immediately joined Lady Hester’s[29] party. We set sail by night; and, passing the spot where once stood a temple of Neptune, we entered the Gulf of Lepanto or of Corinth. We proceeded up the gulf, landing to take our meals; for here the delightful bowers, formed by nature of myrtle, oleander, laurel, arbutus, and other shrubs, invite one to live in the open air. By night we slept on deck; the cabin, with a tilted awning toward the stem, being reserved for her ladyship, who suffered much from the heat.

We arrived at Corinth on the 7th of September. It blew so fresh on our reaching the landing-place, that we had much difficulty in getting on shore. Corinth is at some little distance from the strand. Here we made a stay of three days. The weather was so hot that Lord Sligo and myself suspended our beds in an arbour formed by vines, and there slept. Corinth is a miserable town, and has not much to interest the traveller in actual remains of edifices, although its desolate and altered state appeals very forcibly to his recollections. A fragment only of one Doric temple remains, affording no specimen of that order of architecture which derives its name from the city. One might question the existence even of a city of such celebrity, if there were not here and there some traces and fragments of buildings, which just satisfy doubt but not curiosity. Corinth is surrounded by marshes, which render it most unwholesome; and the plague was said to depopulate it frequently.[30] I paid a visit to the son of the bey, or governor: he received me very civilly, gave me a pipe and coffee, and permitted me to view his apartments: he begged some Peruvian bark of me, which he seemed to hold in great estimation.

The bey himself, an elderly man, sent his harým, consisting of his wife and about a dozen young females, her slaves, to visit Lady Hester. Lord Sligo, Mr. B., and myself, were sitting with her ladyship at the time; but it was intimated to us by the interpreter, that women could not enter whilst men were present. On an occasion so tempting, none but the over-fastidious will blame us for resolving to hide ourselves in an adjoining room, and obtain, through the crevices of the wainscot, a sight of these beauties of Corinth: for we naturally supposed that a man whose will was law throughout the province would have selected only beautiful females as the companions of his leisure hours.

As soon as we had retired, the ladies were introduced, and by the engaging manner with which Lady Hester welcomed them, they became in a few moments quite familiar with her. They unveiled their faces, threw off their ferigees,[9] and placed themselves on the sofa, in attitudes apparently negligent, although of studied grace, as best fitting to display their figures, their jewels, and the long tresses that contrasted with the dazzling clearness (for I will not say whiteness) of[31] their complexions. The conversation was carried on by signs and gestures; and, naturally inquisitive as females in all countries are on matters of dress, they began to examine Lady Hester’s, and to compare it with their own. Unconscious that the eyes of men were watching them, their naked feet, and sometimes their bosoms, Βαθυκολπαι, from the nature of a Turkish dress, were exposed. At length we relieved Lady Hester from the unpleasant situation in which she found herself unintentionally placed, both on our part and hers, by a half smothered laugh, which acted like an electric shock on the Moslem ladies; for, resuming their veils and ferigees in dismay, they suppressed their gaiety at once, and made earnest signs to know what the noise was. Our position was critical: for so surely as we had been discovered would the bey have endeavoured to do us some mischief. Her ladyship saw by their seriousness how much they were offended; she persisted in affirming it was nothing, and succeeded in pacifying them; but they very soon afterwards went away, and no doubt agreed that it would be best to hush up their suspicions, lest the bey’s jealousy might be excited to their own detriment.

I will here anticipate the course of my narrative, and put down a few observations about Turkish women, which are the result of seven years’ residence among them; observations, too, made under advantageous circumstances, from the frequent occasion I had to pay visits to harýms, in my capacity of physician.


A female in the Levant generally arrives at puberty about the age of twelve years, and is seldom married later than fifteen; often at twelve or thirteen, or even earlier. It is a mistake to suppose that Mahometans consider what the French call embonpoint as an essential quality of beauty: their taste I believe to be the same with that of men of other nations, who have given the matter a thought; and rounded limbs and a plumpness which conceals the bones, are with them, and I conceive elsewhere, the requisites for a perfect form.

From the fortieth day after birth, when the mother makes her appearance abroad, children in the East are carried to the bath, and continue, weekly, to frequent it for the rest of their lives. This custom, it is supposed, enervates their frames, renders the muscles flaccid, and prematurely brings on old age: but I differ entirely from those who assert this; convinced as I am that a woman of thirty-five in the East is in as good preservation as a woman of the same period of life in England or France. To say nothing of the antient Greeks and Romans, from whom we have the finest models of female beauty, and who made as frequent use of the bath as Turks now-a-days do, I would assert that travellers have been deceived by appearances; and, forgetting for the moment that no artificial means are used in the East to conceal the wearing effects of child-bearing, and the natural decay of the female frame, they have imagined that they saw no where the same graceful form which distinguishes[33] their own fair countrywomen, without considering how far that form may be owing to artificial means and expedients. On this point I will only make one other observation, namely, that I have seen a native lady of Damascus, the mother of seven children, whom I had considered in her own country as already shapeless, display, on her arrival in London, by the aid of a mantuamaker, a shape which was the envy of one sex and the admiration of the other.

It is for softness of skin and inodorous sweetness that the women of the East are without rivals. Depilation is used to its utmost extent; and the strigil and frequent ablutions give their bodies as much purity as is consistent with human nature. Does it not imply a commendable cleanliness of person, when an eastern coquette would think no more of winding off a skein of silk on her toes than on her hands, and has no idea that it is possible for the latter to be less agreeable to the touch or any other sense than the former?

The Turkish women stain their hair (if not naturally black or dark brown) with henna powder, made by pulverising the dried leaf of a shrub[10] which imparts a golden brown or auburn colour. But the unprejudiced eye will see nothing more unnatural in this than in the white powder formerly so much used in England and France for the same purpose. One cannot say so much for the straitness which they give to their hair, studiously shunning ringlets and curls; and there seem to[34] be no examples of it in antiquity. Of the custom which they have of giving a black rim to the eyelids I speak confidently in commendation; for no eyes are so brilliant as those which Nature has so set; examples of which, though rare, are not wanting among us.

The Turks, in their notions of grace, exclude all angular lines. Hence their women seldom walk or sit stiffly upright. The sofa is their throne, and the drooping-headed flower,[11] not the straight reed, is their model.

I now return to the course of my narrative. On the Isthmus of Corinth, towards the Ægean Sea, there is a small port, called Kenkri; there, a two-masted vessel, rigged like a bombard, was hired to convey us to Athens; and, on the evening of the fourth day, we embarked. Kenkri is eight miles from Corinth; and, as we crossed the Isthmus on post-horses, I shall describe the nature of our cavalcade. Persons of consideration, when travelling in Turkey, procure from the Pasha of the province, or the nearest governor, an order, by which post-horses are to be furnished to them—I believe gratis, if the order were complied with to the letter. Such an order as this the Marquis of Sligo had obtained at Tripolizza. The horses are used indifferently for riding or for luggage, and each person is provided with his own saddle. Lord Sligo had with him a Tartar, two Albanians (presented to him by Veli Pasha) superbly[35] dressed in the costume of their country, with silver-stocked pistols and silver-hilted yatagans; a dragoman, or interpreter; a Turkish cook; an artist, to paint views and costumes; besides three English servants in livery, and one out of livery. These, with himself, made up eleven persons. Lady Hester and Mr. B., with their retinue, made up eleven more; forming a cavalcade with myself and servant, of twenty-five persons, all the males of which were armed with a sabre and pistols.

In this manner we crossed the Isthmus, and, embarking, lay all night in the harbour. Kenkri (the ancient Cenchræa) has little left of its pristine splendour. There were a few broken columns lying about, and part of the pier of the harbour still remained. At daybreak on the 12th of September, we weighed anchor. The wind was fair, the day delightful, and by twelve o’clock we were at the entrance of the Piræus.

The master of the vessel was a man of fine stature, of noble mien, and of a prepossessing countenance. From beneath his red skull-cap, his curling hair behind formed a bush, somewhat like a bishop’s wig; for the Greeks of certain districts shave the forehead and crown, and leave the hair behind of its natural length. He had with him a son, about twelve years old, whom Lady Hester would have taken to attend upon her, could the captain have been induced to part with him.


The fame of Lord Byron’s exploit in swimming across the Hellespont, from Sestos to Abydos, in imitation of Leander, had already reached us, and, just as we were passing the molehead, we saw a man jump from it into the sea, whom Lord Sligo recognized to be Lord Byron himself, and, haling him, bade him hasten to dress and to come and join us.

Just before arriving at the Piræus is Caluri, formerly the island of Salamis, close to which the fleet of Xerxes was beaten by the Greeks. It seemed that in the strait between Salamis and another island called Psyttalia, where the battle raged the fiercest, there would be scarcely room for a seventy-four gun ship to wear; hence we may infer the small size of the ships of those days, and the Piræus, which contained the whole Athenian fleet, is hardly more spacious than the two harbours of Ramsgate. Its entrance is exceedingly narrow, but having, I was told, a depth of six or seven fathoms.

We sailed in, and anchored before a mean building at the bottom of the port, which served as a custom-house. There happened to be on the strand about a dozen horses, which had brought down part of the freight of a polacca lying at the quay to load. These were forcibly seized by our Tartar, and, laden with our baggage, sent off to the town, which is six miles inland. Lord Sligo himself set off on one of the horses of Lord Byron, who had now joined us, to send down conveyances for Lady Hester and the rest of us.


While we were waiting on the shore, we had leisure to survey what was around us. The country immediately adjoining the port seemed bare and without verdure. Some remains of the quays, which once bordered the Piræus, lay scattered at the water’s edge, and a few ill-constructed boats, made fast by rush hawsers, showed how low the navy of Athens had declined. There were some Turkish women sitting on the bank, covered in every part excepting their eyes, who immediately walked away when we attempted to approach them. We were ignorant of the customs of the country, and Mr. B. made signs to them to stop, which excited greatly the anger of some Turks who were standing near us.

The horses arrived in about two hours. As we quitted the Piræus, the aspect of the country became more pleasing. Gentle slopes and hills, rising and sinking with a pleasing wavy line, gave a tranquillity and repose to the scenery which few can understand who have not felt it in those countries.

While musing on the goodly prospect around me, on temples and demi-gods, on the Parthenon and Socrates, the cool Ilyssus and the shades of Academus, my reflections were interrupted by the loud smack of a whip, applied by Aly the Tartar to the back of a poor Greek, accompanied by a louder oath, which at once dissipated my vision, and brought me back to the reality of things around me.



Athens—Residence there—Accommodations—Researches of Lord Sligo—Embarkation for Constantinople—Sunium—Temple of Minerva—Zea—The Hellespont—Greek Sailors in a gale of wind—Erakli—Constantinople.

It was evening before we entered Athens. Preparations had been made for our coming, and a house was cleared of its tenants expressly for Lady Hester. Mr. B. and myself were lodged in a house which Lord Sligo had occupied some time previous to our reaching Greece. It had been tenanted by other English travellers, and the owners, who let it, were so far acquainted with Englishmen’s wants, as to have procured some chairs and a table, furniture then seldom found in a room in Turkey.

I employed the first day in making my apartment tidy. I found my bed-room to be a whitewashed chamber, having an unglazed window, with a shutter, which excluded light and let in the wind. There were large crevices in the floor, through which the dust and rubbish were swept, not by a long-handled broom, for I never saw one throughout Turkey, but by a hand-broom. Upon these materials my servant had to[39] go to work to make me a chamber. A mat was spread upon the floor, as being the coolest covering to the gaping chinks; my camp-bed was laid on boards, supported by two trestles; a piece of white linen formed a curtain to the window, and, my musquito net being suspended upon cross pieces of twine, I found myself almost as comfortable as if I had been lying upon an English fourpost bedstead. Lord Sligo and Mr. B., who seemed to despise luxuries in proportion as they had the means of enjoying them, made their beds on the floor, and all the servants slept in the open air. But, in this climate, to sleep under the cope of heaven is no cause of complaint; for, during the voyage from Patras to Corinth, all of us, as said above, excepting Lady Hester, lay on deck. It was now six months since I had seen a drop of rain, and, I might almost say a cloud; indeed, the serenity and dryness of the weather had been such, that prayers (we were told) had been offered up at Athens by the Christians for rain, accompanied by the novel expedient of penning a flock of sheep in the porch of the church, whose plaintive bleatings, it was supposed, would give greater effect to the petitions of the people, and move the pity of Heaven.

The house occupied by Lady Hester was spacious and handsome, having a courtyard, a bath, and other requisites for comfort and quiet. None of the windows of the house had casements, and, to ensure greater warmth, it was necessary to nail up some of them with old carpets, mats, &c. Her ladyship was a great contriver[40] of comfort, and I have often known her transform a naked room, with holes in the walls, floors, and doors, into a snug apartment. The janissary sat at her gate, on a raised wooden couch, something like a kitchen table with a railed back to it, which is generally to be seen at the doorways of most great persons in European Turkey, and upon which the master of the house will often place himself, to smoke his pipe, and to breathe the morning and evening air. The janissary acted as porter and guard.

I observed one morning that Aly, this janissary, had his feet swathed in old rags: on inquiring what was the matter, he pretended that they were covered on account of the cold; but I learned in the course of the day that he had been bastinadoed on the soles at the governor’s, for riotous behaviour at a tavern.

It was many days before we were settled, and very many more before we had surveyed the numerous beauties of architecture and statuary which are yet left in this celebrated city. Our time passed most delightfully. The mornings were spent in examining the remains of ancient edifices, in rides, and in excursions into the environs; the evenings in the society of a few clever artists, who, enamoured of the spot, seemed wedded to it for the rest of their days. Of these, M. Lusieri and M. Fauvel are very generally known by their drawings. Fauvel was living in a small house on the site of the ancient agora. There were likewise many English and some other foreigners[41] at this time at Athens. Among the English I may name Lord Plymouth, Messieurs Gordon, Hunt, and Haygarth. Two British merchants, Mr. John Galt,[12] and Mr. Struthers, passed through the place on their way to Constantinople. Of foreigners, there were gentlemen who have since distinguished themselves in their respective careers.

I had not been a day in Athens before I was beset with the sick, maimed, halt, and blind, importuning me for advice and medicine. St. Paul had not more patients than I, but how different our means of cure! I, however, did what I could for all, and obtained admission to several Turkish and Greek houses in my professional capacity.

Lord Sligo had, on a previous visit to Athens, carried on several excavations among the ruins, and he renewed them on his return thither. One of those was on the Theban road, about two hundred yards from the city wall, where he employed a dozen men; another was on the side of the Acropolis; others were in other parts, and all were attended with some success. His researches brought to light several tombs. He found, at different times, some beautiful vases, gold ornaments, lacrymatories, lamps, and other objects, generally buried with the ancient Greeks. He bought, likewise, many bas-reliefs, coins, and other antiquities, all of which now compose part of his valuable cabinet at Westport Place, in Ireland.


An English gentleman named Watson, coming from Janina, fell ill on his way, and died just as he reached Athens. He was buried in the Temple of Theseus; and, as there was no memorial to testify where his body lay and his death was yet recent and the circumstances known, Lord Sligo, to whom they were told, with that sympathy for the misfortunes of others which was so natural to him, immediately took the necessary steps for placing a marble slab with an epitaph over his grave. But no slab could be found fitting for the purpose, and there were no workmen in all Athens capable of cutting the inscription.

Lord Sligo and Mr. B. made an excursion to Delphos, but, on account of my professional avocations, I could not accompany them any farther than Thebes, whence I returned the following day, with a guide only, over unfrequented mountains.

Lord Byron made one of the small society which collected every evening at Lady Hester’s: he had been the college friend of Lord Sligo and Mr. B. It was strange enough, however, that on the third or fourth day after our arrival, he alleged pressing business at Patras, in the Morea, and left us, but returned some days before our departure from Athens, when I saw him frequently. Lady Hester’s opinion of him has appeared in another publication. What struck me as singular in his behaviour was his mode of entering a room; he would wheel round from chair to chair, until he reached the one where he proposed[43] sitting, as if anxious to conceal his lameness as much as possible. He consulted me for the indisposition of a young Greek, about whom he seemed much interested.

After having remained at Athens one month and four days, we were informed that a Greek polacca, a ship of nearly two hundred tons burden, was about to sail from the Piræus to Constantinople, with a cargo of wheat, part of the revenue of the Kislar Aga, to whom Athens belongs as a fief. As an opportunity like this might not very speedily offer again, it was resolved, now that we had seen whatever the place contained worthy of curiosity, to take our passage in her, which was agreed for at five hundred piasters, a sum equal to £25. The cabin, after having been whitewashed to kill the vermin, was set apart for Lady Hester; the servants occupied the hold, which was full of wheat, to within two feet and a half of the deck; and Lord S., Mr. B., and myself, slept in the open air, although the nights were beginning to be cold.

We embarked on the 16th of October, and, on the first day, sailed down the gulf of Ægina. The wind freshened so much as to induce the captain to cast anchor under the promontory of Sunium, where Theseus dedicated a temple to Minerva. The promontory is called by European mariners Capo de’ Colonni. We lay here the whole of the 17th, the storm still continuing, and we landed to see the ruins[44] of the temple, the columns of which still attract the admiration of the traveller.

In a little nook at the foot of the promontory lay a small Greek boat, bound from Athens to Zea. She was hauled up on the shore, and the crew, with a passenger or two, were sitting round a fire in a cave in the rock. One was a female, and I recognized in her a very pretty-faced woman, whom I had seen in the cell of a holy friar in Athens, when, on one occasion, I had paid him a visit in the evening, somewhat after the accustomed hour. Around the temple, and covering the adjacent mountains, was a forest of stunted firs; and, in the wantonness of idlers, which sometimes leads to a great deal of mischief, we threw some firebrands among the brushwood, with the intention of setting fire to the forest, and of scaring the wolves, which were said to be very numerous hereabouts; but, fortunately, the rain that had fallen prevented the conflagration.

We quitted the promontory on the 18th, and in a few hours reached Zea, and entered the port to pass the night. The servants, from some trifling cause, had quarrelled with the crew; and matters had become so serious, that we slept on our arms, we being only sixteen in number, and they twenty. There are no bounds to the restlessness and cupidity of Greeks. In the present instance, whilst, on the one hand, the crew were cheating and robbing the servants, the captain, on the other, was scheming and contriving[45] how he could obtain more passengers, in spite of the agreement he had made with us.

On the 19th, in the morning, no fewer than twenty persons came alongside, whom he wished to take on board; but we threatened to quit the vessel, and not to pay him anything—which menace had the desired effect, and they returned to the shore.

Those islands of the Cyclades which we saw had a barren appearance, exhibiting neither verdure nor trees. Zea is of the number. The town stands on the top of a conical mountain, which occupies the centre of the island. I landed, and procured a mule, which carried me up to it. I was entertained with coffee, preserves, and a pipe, at the house of Mr. Pangolo, the British agent, and I procured a few coins from some of the inhabitants.

On the 22nd we quitted Zea, and passed Negropont and Mytelene. The weather was unusually fine. Dolphins gambolled round our prow, and light airs filled our cotton sails. On the 24th we were abreast of the Troad, and entered the Hellespont at twelve o’clock.

When we had passed the two castles which guard the entrance, lovely indeed were the prospects that opened upon us, in each of the two quarters of the world! On the side of Europe the scenery was bolder than on the opposite; but the softness of the Asiatic shore was too attractive to lose by the comparison, and its warm and languishing features accorded[46] with the enervating character which we imagine to be so fatal to the energies of its natives. As we advanced, every spot on each side of us revived the recollections of some classic story. It was here that Xerxes lashed the waves—it was there that Leander braved them: now we looked for the corpse of the too adventurous lover; and now we thought we saw the eddies writhing under the scourge of the vain and baffled despot. We saw, also, where the battle of Ægos Potamos was fought.

On the 24th, in the evening, passing Gallipoli, we entered the sea of Marmora. On the 25th, we were becalmed within three miles of the island that gives its name to the sea.

At night the wind blew strongly, and our situation by degrees became extremely perilous. My cot was slung athwart the deck from the mizen-mast to the quarter-railing, which, landsman-like, (in spite of the representation of the Greek captain) I had fancied to be the best way; when, after having been a short time in bed, the heeling of the vessel became so great that I was constantly thrown to the foot of my cot, and was, at last, compelled to get out and dress myself, as the sailors wanted all the facility which could be afforded them for working the ship.

As the wind increased, the utmost noise and confusion prevailed among the crew. Instead of doing their duty, they set about collecting money from us, which they tied in a handkerchief, and fastened to the tiller,[47] making a vow to St. George that they would dedicate it to his shrine if we reached some port in safety. The wind was south, and we ran before it towards Erakli, a port on the N.W. shore of the Gulf of Rhodosto. We reached it in safety; but the specimen we had had of the incapacity of the captain and his crew induced Lady Hester to disembark. A house was provided for us on shore, and we, and all the baggage, were transferred to it.

There are many things revolting to a European when he first travels in the East, and nothing more so than the filth of the natives. This, perhaps, is more manifest in the Christians than in the Turks; for the former are not compelled, as the Mahometans are, by their religion, to wash themselves frequently; and one observes in them habits of uncleanliness which are quite disgusting. Thus, our captain, besides appearing to us to be no mariner, had the itch in its worst stage; and his men daily assisted each other, on the deck in the sunshine, in keeping under the stock of vermin attached to each. They were observed never to have shifted themselves during the whole voyage; and, to protect ourselves from the results of their filthiness, we were obliged peremptorily to forbid any one coming on the quarter-deck, except to steer and haul.

Erakli, the ancient Heraclea, is now a ruined village, but exceedingly pretty in its situation on a promontory that projects into the bay. We were lodged[48] in a Greek monastery. The same evening Lord Sligo and Mr. B. set off, on post-horses, for Constantinople. During the five days we remained there, I had excellent shooting at divers and teal, which abounded in the port.

On the 2nd of November, Lord Sligo and Mr. B. returned, accompanied by a Turkish officer, who was sent to conduct Lady Hester to Constantinople: he bore a firmán or mandate, that all proper facilities were to be afforded her for the completion of her voyage. As the roads were said to be infested with deserters from the army, who plundered and murdered travellers, it was thought best to continue our course by sea, more especially as we were now so near its termination. We therefore embarked in two open boats, which had come for that purpose from Constantinople. These galleys are as clean, as trim, and as richly gilded, as a nobleman’s barge on the Thames: they are elevated at the stern and the stem, and sharp at both ends.

On the 3rd of November, at eleven in the morning, we landed at Ponte Grande, where we dined, and arrived, at about eleven at night, at Topkhana, one of the principal stairs of the harbour of Constantinople, on the side towards Pera. A sedan-chair was sent down for Lady Hester, and the rest of the party walked up; whilst the luggage was carried on the backs of porters, who seemed to be very powerful men. We ascended a very steep street, where scores[49] of dogs, like so many Cerberuses, poked their ugly heads out of dark corners, and stunned us with their incessant barking. A huge lantern was carried before us, there being no lamps in use; and in this manner we reached Pera.

A house had been hastily prepared for Lady Hester, and Lord Sligo gave me a room in his lodgings at one Madam Onophrio’s, who kept an apothecary’s shop. Everything appeared to us inconvenient and dirty; and, what was most uncomfortable of all, the principal part of our luggage, from the frequent changes in our plans, had been sent to Smyrna.



Procession of the Sultan to the Mosque—A Dinner party—Therapia—Visiters there—Lady Hester seeks permission to reside in France—Turbulence of the Janissaries—Pera—Visit to Hafez Aly—Captain Pasha—Mahometan patients attended by the Author—Princess Morousi—Disagreeable climate of Constantinople—Return of Lord Sligo to Malta.

We were busied, during the first days, in making ourselves somewhat like the beings among whom we were come. Tailors, hatters, and such persons, are not wanting at Constantinople. We let our mustachios grow, bought ourselves horses, and went through the ceremony of paying and receiving visits. I was fortunate in procuring for myself a Persian horse, which, I was told, had brought Mr. Morier from Persia: it was very handsome, and proved capable of enduring great fatigue.

The first person generally resorted to, on arriving in a strange city, is the banker. I was commissioned to call on Lady Hester’s; and I found in Mr. Alexander a man of rare merit. He was dragoman of the Prussian mission, as well as a merchant, and to him[51] I was subsequently indebted for whatever information I needed on any point. His conversation abounded in anecdotes, which were highly useful and instructive to a traveller.

The house in which Lady Hester lived was too small, and in a narrow street (as indeed are all the streets in Pera but the two main ones); she therefore hastened to get into the country, after having seen the sights that are usually shown to strangers. By means of a firmán, we entered four of the principal mosques. I forbear giving descriptions of them, as they are to be found at length in several works.

In Constantinople all that one sees is odd and strange, but it is difficult to make another person understand in what that strangeness consists. The mere act of walking in the streets has something in it incompatible with recreation. There are no carriages or vehicles of any kind, and consequently the streets are so silent that people’s voices are heard as in a room. All the shops are entirely open to the air; you are therefore subjected to the gaze of the shopkeepers; so that the effect is similar to what is felt in walking through a hall, with a row of servants on each side.

All persons of the same trade here have their shops in the same place. Thus, there will be a row of tailors, a row of furriers, and a row of shoemakers; and such a street is called the tailors’ bazar, the furriers’ bazar, the shoemakers’ bazar. But, if the commodities are of a precious nature, or susceptible of[52] injury when exposed to the air or wet, as jewelry, drugs, and the like, then the street is covered in, the shops are fitted up in a somewhat more ornamented manner, and the place is called bezestan.

There was no audience of an English ambassador while we were at Constantinople, so that I had not an opportunity of seeing his highness, the Sultan, excepting on Fridays, when it was his custom to perform his public devotions at a mosque. The sight was magnificent and striking, but it is impossible to convey an adequate impression of it in a description: and I can only give the reader a general idea of it. The origin of it, as we were told, was this—that subsequent to some insurrection among the janissaries, in the reign of one of the early Sultans, a sort of charter of rights was obtained from their monarch; one of which was, that, instead of keeping himself shut up in his seraglio, as his predecessors had done, he should show himself once a week to his faithful subjects; since which time it has become a custom for him to go publicly to mosque every Friday, which is the Moslem’s sabbath.

On these occasions, when the Sultan issues from the harým, the janissary-aga holds his stirrup whilst he mounts his horse, and (as I was informed) draws on his legs a pair of new yellow boots, a ceremony always repeated. To secure a good view, I had taken a convenient situation in a street through which the Sultan was to pass; and, presently, the procession[53] approached in the following order. First came some dozens of water-carriers, who bore skins of water across their backs, with which they laid the dust as they advanced. On the right and left of the street was a double file of janissaries. Bostangis, with knotted whips, kept the crowd from pressing on the procession. Next to the water-carriers came a group of nondescript persons; grooms to hold horses, servants to unrobe their effendis or masters, and other hangers-on or attendants of great men. After these, upon a finely caparisoned horse, surrounded by a dozen valets on foot, followed a fierce-looking Turk, with a black beard; and I and my companion exclaimed, “Here comes the Sultan:”—it was only his coffee-bearer. We made the like remark at a second, and a third; but they were his stool, sword, and pipe-bearers, who, with the emblems of office in their hands, passed in succession.

The surprise which the splendour of these inferior officers of the palace excites is increased, when the Captain Pasha, the Reis Effendi, the Kakhya Bey, and the Grand Vizir, pass by, muffled in pelisses worth £200 each, wearing in their girdles hangers or daggers studded with diamonds, and mounted on horses almost sinking under the weight of gold housings. Our ideas were confused by the magnificence which we saw displayed. And now, on a sudden, the crowd, which had been noisy and making their remarks on the scene before them, was hushed.[54] A solemn and really an awful silence prevailed, whilst only low whispers were heard that the commander of the faithful was near. Every Turk immediately folded his long robe over his breast, crossed his hands before him, dropped his head on his bosom, and, in a tone of voice just audible, prayed Allah and Mahomet to preserve the perpetuity of the royal race. Our object was curiosity, and we looked eagerly for the Sultan, but could hardly obtain a glimpse of him. His person, too sacred to be gazed on, was almost hidden by the lofty plumes of feathers of the attendants who surrounded him, each of whom wore a vest of glittering stuff representing resplendent armour, and on his head a crested helmet. Fancy must assist the reader in imagining the gorgeous housings, studded with rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones, on a ground of gold, that covered the Sultan’s horse, which was a milk-white stallion.

He passed, and lo! an ugly blackamore, the minister of his pleasures, entitled the Kislar Aga, followed him. His deformity rendered him hideous, yet was he rivalled in it by fifty other black eunuchs, and as many white ones, who filled up his train. These were succeeded by a dwarf. Three hundred chokhadars, or pages, closed the procession, all clad in white, and all extremely beautiful in person. There were several men appointed, according to custom, to throw money to the mob; and several others whose duty it was to beat them unmercifully if they thronged[55] too riotously to pick it up; so that, between the sixpences and the blows, which seemed to be dealt out in about equal shares, there was much diversion for a bystander.

The procession arrived at the mosque. Prayers were said. But within those sacred walls, on such an occasion, no infidel dared cast even a glance, and we retired to our homes delighted with what we had seen, but mortified by our exclusion from the termination of the ceremony.

It was on one of these occasions that Lady Hester rode on horseback on a side-saddle to witness the procession. There is probably no other example of a European female having ridden through the streets of Constantinople in this manner on that day; and it may be reckoned as a proof of her courage that she did so, and of her conduct that she did so without insult.

The Mahometans are the most temperate men on earth: they are practical philosophers, unostentatiously sober in the use of everything. I dined, on two several occasions, with a Turk, named Azýz Effendy. The restrictions which their religion imposes on them make their meals so simple as to be not very grateful to a European stomach. The time was about one in the day, which is their first meal. Our party consisted of the chief clerks of the Admiralty; as Azýz Effendy, being physician to the Captain Pasha, or Lord High Admiral, had invited me[56] to the arsenal. A table, not so large as an English claw tea-table, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ebony, was covered with an embroidered satin cloth, round which, facing the place where each guest was to sit, were laid, not knives and forks, and plates, but mahogany spoons tipped with coral. A basin and ewer having been carried round by a black slave, each person washed his hands, and then took his place. A napkin was put over his knees, and another, much finer and embroidered, was thrown over his shoulders. I doubled my knees under me like a tailor, in imitation of the rest. Immediately, a single dish was placed in the middle of us, which, being of rice, was eaten with our spoons, each person scooping it up from the side next to him; and, after four or five mouthfuls, the dish was lifted off to be replaced by another. This was a stew, and, as fingers were to be used here, each person, helping himself with his right hand, had time for about five mouthfuls more, when other dishes were served up in succession, which, according as they were more or less liquid or solid, were eaten by means of the fingers or the spoon, always, however, to be spirited away immediately after the first relish. The cookery I liked very much. During the repast, those who wanted it called for water, which was the only beverage, and was handed in a cut glass mug; this being almost the only article of glass used among them. The last dish was a preparation of rice called pilau, which always concludes[57] a Turkish dinner. Every body then rose from table; the hand-washing was again performed, and coffee and pipes were handed round.

This description may serve for a general idea of the dinners of both the rich and poor; for I dined with a son of the celebrated Ibrahim Bey, one of the first people in the empire, and I saw no great difference, excepting in the number of dishes, and in several sweet things, as entremets and hors-d’œuvres, which stood constantly on the table, and of which, every now and then, a morsel or a spoonful was taken. A supper, in every respect similar, takes place about sunset.

Those Turks, who are not very rigid in the observance of the laws of Mahomet, and who wish to drink wine or spirits, do it I believe secretly, or go to the French coffee-houses at Pera, where their intemperance is not observed: but I entirely differ from many travellers, who tell us that the major part of the Turks drink fermented liquors. I aver that no people in the world adhere more rigidly to the injunctions of their religion in that and other respects. Those who take forbidden drinks are generally soldiers, Tartars and persons of the lowest class. The effects of spirituous liquors on the Turks are remarkable. Naturally sedate, composed, and amicable, they become, when intoxicated, downright madmen; and the inhabitants of Pera, who are accustomed to see them in this state, know[58] so well the danger of getting in their way at such a moment, that they avoid them as they would a mad bull.

A house was hired for six months at five hundred piasters per month, in the village of Therapia, on the Bosphorus, ten miles from Constantinople. Lady Hester had scarcely removed thither, when she was attacked with a severe indisposition, which confined her to her bed.

The house was at the bottom of a small creek, which formed a harbour to the village; it was three stories high. The ceilings and walls were painted in fresco ornaments on a white ground, and there were little jets d’eau in some of the rooms. Each story consisted of a grand saloon, with four rooms opening into it, most of which had broad sofas fixed to the walls all round, with furniture either of flowered velveteen or of printed cotton. The highest story in the house is the story of honour:—a custom remaining from the time when the Genoese possessed this quarter of Constantinople.

Lady Hester writes from this place to a friend thus:—

Lady Hester Stanhope to ——.

Therapia, upon the Bosphorus,

December 21, 1810.

My dear ——,

Since the fire at Pera good houses are so scarce that I have taken up my abode at this place, where I have a fine view[59] of the coast of Asia, and mouth of the Black Sea. Lord S—— and B—— are about to set off upon a tour; the latter returns here in a few weeks, but my lord means to take his passage to Malta by the first opportunity, and to return to us in the early spring. I flatter myself that you will take my word for his having the best of hearts, and being a most friendly creature, till you can judge yourself of his good qualities. B—— desires to be most kindly remembered to you.

Canning[13] has behaved to me in the civilest, kindest manner possible, but has never once mentioned his cousin’s name.

Our circle at Therapia was often enlivened by visitors, who came to dinner from Constantinople. Mr. Stratford Canning, at that time his Majesty’s Minister to the Sublime Porte, was not unfrequent in his visits. Among our most distinguished travellers, were Mr. Gally Knight, Mr. Henry Pearce, Mr. Fazakerly, and Mr. Taylor, who had recently traversed Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Mr. Pearce, being the particular friend of Mr. B., afterwards joined Lady Hester’s party, and accompanied us to Egypt and Syria. Lord Plymouth, whom we had seen at Athens, was at this time at Constantinople, and did me the honour of presenting me with a handsome Damascus sabre, in a silver scabbard, in consequence of some professional assistance which I had rendered him.

Lady Hester always showed a strong partiality for the French nation, and it was long a favourite scheme[60] with her to endeavour to obtain permission from the Emperor Napoleon to reside in France, thinking that the climate in the southern parts would be more beneficial to her than any other: an opinion in which I entirely agreed. Party spirit was at this time carried to a height unknown in former wars, so that individuals of belligerent nations were strictly forbidden to hold any intercourse. This prohibition, however, held good only with those who were immediately under the eye of the ambassadors and ministers: for, as well at Athens as at Brusa, we made no sort of difficulty, and found none, in visiting French families. But Lady Hester was a long time at Constantinople before she could contrive to communicate with M. de Maubourg, chargé d’affaires of France, who, however, no sooner learned what she desired from his court, than he offered to endeavour to obtain passports for her.

On the 21st December, the Marquis of Sligo and Mr. B. set off on their excursion to Smyrna: they bought fourteen horses for the journey.

We were constantly hearing of tumults among the janissaries, who seemed to be a very turbulent set of men. They feared that measures were planning for their suppression, and subsequent events have proved that their apprehensions were well founded.

The original institution of the janissaries was a species of militia, by which an army might always be collected in an emergency without being kept on foot.[61] In the metropolis, however, a certain number of regiments were maintained as a body-guard to the Sultan, and as a means of awing the population into obedience to the acts of an arbitrary government. In time, these very instruments of tyranny, finding out their own importance, began themselves to exercise authority over their nominal masters; and the annals of the empire present numerous instances of their dethroning sultans, and putting them to death. The last act of this kind was that in which, beholding with jealousy the attempt made by Sultan Selim to new organize the army, they cut in pieces the troops disciplined after the European manner, together with the vizir, Mustapha Biractar, who favoured the change. Since that time the tumult had never completely subsided; and occasional quarrels were constantly taking place between the innovators and the janissaries.

It is most likely that, if the Turkish government had been at peace with the neighbouring powers, these turbulent and disaffected bands would soon have been reduced to order: but, unfortunately for Turkey, in addition to the Russian war, she was at this epoch torn in pieces by rebels, who were infesting, in one shape or another, almost all the provinces of the empire. Bagdad and Egypt, extensive but distant pashaliks, were both disturbed by intestine commotions, in which the public treasury was always the loser. The Wahabys, a sect of fanatics, had possessed themselves of the holy sepulchre of Mahomet, and[62] were gaining ground on the Turks every day. Not thirty miles from the metropolis a petty war was waging between two provincial governors. The State, convulsed within, and threatened by formidable enemies from without, might be said to be in a tottering condition.

The janissaries, therefore, knowing that the government was too weak to control them, became every day more seditious. We were often told that tumults had taken place in Constantinople; but as Pera, where the Franks reside, is separated by the harbour from Constantinople proper, which is not often visited by the Franks, we were never eye-witnesses of them.

There was abundance of wild fowl on the Bosphorus during the cold weather; and I used sometimes to cross into Asia in a wherry to shoot. On two different occasions, I brought home two pelicans. They swam towards the boat, and suffered the gun to be levelled at them without showing the least symptom of alarm. Those who are desirous of shooting on the canal, or indeed anywhere in the neighbourhood of Constantinople, must obtain a teskery, or permission to that effect. I was stopped more than once by the keepers, who resorted to various stratagems to get money. One keeper, when I showed him my license, told me it was very true I had a teskery; but that an order had come down that no guns were to be fired on the canal, because two of the Sultan’s ladies were lying-in—at a distance of eight or ten miles! A piaster,[63] however, would always set matters right, and cause me to be left undisturbed.

Pera was very gay during the winter. There were many dinner parties, evening parties constantly, and not unfrequently balls. In these meetings, the only thing that reminded me of being in Turkey was the presence of the several dragomans, interpreters of the different missions, who, from the necessity they are under of being as much at the Porte as with their ambassadors, are habited in a Turkish dress peculiar to that office. The Turks rarely, if ever, mix with the Franks: for they would not thank them for the most splendid banquet, if smoking were not allowed: and they dislike, worse than the French, the tiresomeness of sitting long at table. Besides, the use of wine effectually banishes a respectable Moslem from the repasts of Europeans, who, on their side, are too strongly attached to it to give it up for the sake of a Turkish guest.

On one occasion, Lady Hester invited the brother-in-law of the Captain Pasha and another person of distinction to dinner. Although entirely unaccustomed to the use of knives and forks, to sitting in chairs, to remaining more than half an hour at table, and to solid food like joints dressed in the English manner, they complied with the hospitable intentions of their hostess with so much courtesy that everything seemed to give them pleasure. They tasted of different wines, and each drank three or four glasses.


Lady Hester alludes to this visit in a letter to one of her correspondents, as follows:—

I have made my own way with the Turks, and I have contrived to get upon so intimate a footing, that the Pasha’s brother, brother-in-law, and captain of the fleet, dined with us, accompanied by the confidential physician. This may not sound like a compliment; but see the Captain Pasha’s brother sitting under a tree in a public walk:—he neither notices Greek, Armenian, or Frank women of any kind, but looks at them all as if they were sheep in a field: and they dare not come near him, as his attendants form a circle which they never pass, but stand and look at him for an hour together. I must likewise tell you that —— has been much shocked at my having gone on board the fleet in men’s clothes; a pair of overalls, a military great-coat, and cocked hat, is so much less decent a dress than that of a real fine lady in her shift and gown, and half naked besides! The Captain Pasha said I was welcome to go, but that I must change my dress, and I certainly thought it worth while. I closely examined everything, and as I understand a little about a ship, it was not quite a useless visit.

When the answer arrives from Paris, I will communicate to you the nature of it; and, at all events, as soon as it comes, and Mr. Liston is arrived, we shall leave this place. I find he is a sensible, liberal man. By the by, though I have made it a rule never to repeat any conversation with Monsieur de M.,[14] I will tell you in confidence one thing I said to him. He seldom talks politics, but one day asked questions about L. Bonaparte, ‘How was he, how would he be treated in England, how considered,’ &c., &c., &c. I answered, I knew not, but were I a[65] public man I should have put him at once and kept him in close confinement. If he was his brother’s spy, he deserved it; if a traitor to his country, the same; for it is neither to the honour or interest of a great nation to encourage either the one or the other. These are my true feelings, and I am not ashamed to confess them to any one; and I fancy, although I can do justice to the French as a nation full of talent and resource, no one can better faire valoir their own country.

The long-promised bridle accompanies this letter. I fear you will not like it much, but it is of the newest fashion. There are two sorts of bridles here, such as I send, of various descriptions and colours, and those made for very great men of solid silver, weighing some of them twelve or fifteen pounds, which their own stallions can just bear the weight of during some grand procession. In the hand, these bridles are the most magnificent things you can imagine, but they are so confused with chains and ornaments that they bury a horse’s head, and have little effect. I have sent a red one to my brother, but I thought that a dark one would more become your white horse. All those with tassels are made with a little silk mixed with silver or gold twist: it looks pretty for a day, but the heat of the horse spoils it directly, and it cannot be cleaned! This bridle must be cleaned with lemon-juice.

Hafiz Aly was at this time Captain Pasha. Lady Hester became acquainted with him through me, and I was honoured with his notice in consequence of a cure performed on the Danish minister, Baron H., which had gained me much celebrity at Pera and Constantinople, so that I found myself on a sudden called to an extensive practice in my profession. He sent his physician, Azýz Effendy, to me one day,[66] begging I would go and see him at the arsenal, a handsome edifice overlooking the harbour in the Galata quarter. A boat came about ten in the morning of the next day to Therapia to fetch me; and, on arriving at the arsenal, I was conducted to Azýz Effendy, who showed me the buildings, and, as it appeared he had been commanded to do, endeavoured to amuse me during the day. I breakfasted with him and several other Turkish gentlemen, and at sunset dined, after which a slave came to say the Pasha would receive us.

I was led by Azýz Effendy to the entrance of the saloon in which he was sitting, and, it being winter, a curtain was drawn aside, and Azýz Effendy, without speaking, made a sign to me and my interpreter to enter. The pasha was seated at the farther end of the room: we approached him, and he desired me to sit down by him on the sofa, whilst the interpreter and his own doctor, at a sign made to them, placed themselves on the floor with their knees doubled under them, and their garments so smoothed that neither their hands nor their feet could be seen; for both are studiously hidden by the people of the East when respect is intended to be shown. Ten or twelve chokhadars, or servants, stood before him with their arms folded; his brother-in-law, a young man of interesting appearance, sat on the sofa with his face turned towards him, and his legs and clothes arranged with the same precision as those of the doctor: and, at the distance of three or four yards, stood his little son upon the sofa,[67] with his arms folded in the same respectful attitude as those of the servants. Every time that the brother-in-law replied to anything which the Pasha had said to him, he carried his hand to his mouth and forehead, and made a low inclination of his head, so as almost to touch the sofa with it. When the pasha did not speak, no one attempted to say a word, and the greatest silence prevailed.

Coffee was served to me, and the pipe presented, after which the pasha made a sign with his hand, and the servants left the room. Several questions were then asked me about my country, about anatomy, and about the opening of dead bodies, as practised in Europe, for the purpose of investigating the seat and nature of diseases. In conversation, in the course of the morning, I had inquired of the pasha’s physician where malefactors’ heads were cut off, and had said, that as I supposed such executions were frequent, I should be obliged to him if he would apprize me of one that I might be present. It seemed that all this and all my observations in the day had been reported to the pasha, for, among other questions, he asked me what made me think executions were frequent at the Arsenal. I told him plainly that we had an idea in England that cutting off heads was very common in the East, and that little account was taken of human life where the power of disposing of it was delegated to so many pashas and beys, whose will was law. He asked me how many executions took place in[68] London during the year, and when I said they might amount to forty or fifty, he smiled, and assured me we were not less bloody than he and the Grand Vizir both together, and perhaps more so. He then explained his own case to me, which was connected with a plethoric habit arising from a sedentary mode of living, and, on my taking leave, he presented me with a crimson Cashmere shawl. I saw him afterwards frequently, both there and at his house at Buyukdery, a village on the Bosphorus, where he resided in order to be near the fleet, which lay at the mouth of the Black Sea.

He had married a woman from the Sultan’s harým, whose influence had procured him the situation he held. She was consumptive, and I was called in to attend her. I found her lying in a bed, placed on the floor in the middle of the room, without curtains, tester, or any furniture but the coverlet and the sheets. She was addressed in the tenderest manner by the pasha, who desired me to bestow all my attention on her case. As we entered the harým, a slave had preceded us, who cried out “Testûr, testûr,” (which means by your leave), upon which all the female slaves disappeared, excepting two who were in attendance on the lady. I saw nothing in the behaviour of the pasha that marked any undue assumption of superiority over the female sex; on the contrary, it was all kindness. Azýz Effendy, who was with us, stood in the same attitude of respect as before the[69] pasha, and when speaking to the lady, or spoken to by her, preserved the same demeanour. I prescribed for her, and she grew for a while better, as it sometimes happens in such cases. I was desirous that she should be removed, when the weather would permit, to a pavilion on the banks of the canal, that she might breathe the air more freely than she could in the warm apartments of Buyukdery: this was done.

One day I had seen her, and signified that I should repeat my visit the next day, as she was much worse. The next day I went about noon, and, on entering the house, I found no appearance of the lady, or of her sick chamber, or of anything as it had been the day before. In fact, she had died in the night; was immediately washed, laid out, and buried; and, as the Mahometans make little outward show of grief, and never put on mourning garments that I could observe, no one could tell that a funeral had taken place, nor did the pasha, whom I saw, say anything more than that she was gone, and that it became us to be resigned to the decrees of the Almighty.

Not long afterwards, Azýz Effendy requested me to accompany him to the pasha, who wished to see me about a white slave or concubine whom he had bought since the death of his wife. He was still at Buyukdery, and I was ushered into his presence, nobody being with him but Azýz Effendy. He told me that a seryr, or concubine, whom he had taken to his bed, was pregnant, and, as her beauty was considerable, he was[70] fearful that child-bearing would destroy the symmetry of her person; he wished me, therefore, he added, to administer something to cause abortion. I was not surprised at such a proposal from him; for, in my conversation with medical men at Constantinople, I had learned, to my astonishment, that the Mahometans make no scruple of resorting to a variety of methods for attaining that end; and, without listening to what the pasha had further to say, I told him plainly that, by the laws of my country, I should be considered a criminal, if I were, in any shape whatever, consenting to such a deed. He said no more about it, and the subject was never introduced before me again.

Of my other patients, I will enumerate those only whose rank may entitle them to notice. The Princess Morousi, wife of the ex-Hospodar of Wallachia, was one. Her husband had been driven from his principality by the Russians. She was a woman of a highly amiable character, and the misfortunes which her family has since met with may serve to show at once how great was their power, and perhaps their guilt. Her palace was at Kurugesmy, a village on the European side of the Bosphorus. When I paid her a visit, everything was done with a view to inspire me with a notion of her greatness. Vanity is the failing of the Greeks. It was usual for me to be conducted up a flight of steps to the first or second floor, between two ranks of servants, then led through a suite of apartments, and, when arrived at the door of[71] the room where she was sitting, a page would draw aside a crimson curtain, and there I found the Princess, seated on a crimson sofa edged with gold. On a cushion on the floor, but at a distance of some yards, (for here respect is measured by the distance at which inferiors keep from the great) sat the physician; and, if her sons were in the room, although young men with their beards grown, they stood before her. Behind her would be her young daughter on the sofa. Sweetmeats, coffee, and the pipe were first handed to me; and then her doctor, a Greek, explained her case in Latin, in which language I always found the Greek physicians exceedingly ready, although their Latinity was not classical.

On these occasions, the little princess would plant herself at the door, and, as I was taking leave, would give me an embroidered scarf, an antique ring, or some such present, with a little speech of her own in French, calculated, by its amiability, to render the present more acceptable.

The princess had a daughter, lively, and of great wit, who was married to the Prince Mavrocordato. This prince was affected with spitting of blood; and I went to his villa, on the Prinkipi islands, to see him, and remained there two days. These islands, which are close to the mouth of the Bosphorus, in the sea of Marmora, are inhabited entirely by Greeks; and their archons here live in great pomp, unrestrained by the presence of the Turks.


Lady Hester, who always suffered more from variable weather than from periods of steady heat, rain, or drought, was grievously disappointed in the climate of Constantinople: for we had experienced, during the winter, a degree of cold equal to what is sometimes felt in Paris, and had been subject to vicissitudes quite as marked as those in England. The months of December and January were mild as our spring, and we naturally supposed that, these over, the winter was past; but it proved far otherwise. On the 28th of February there was a fall of snow a foot deep, which was again succeeded by some days more genial and mild than can ever be seen in England. March was a series of snowstorms and tempests, exceeding almost what I had ever witnessed elsewhere. Such weather, in a country where there are no fireplaces, and the houses are hardly weather-proof, made Lady Hester feel much regret at having quitted Athens, where we might have sat, as we were told, with our windows open all through the year.

At the end of this month, Lord Sligo, who, with Mr. B., had returned from Smyrna, was obliged to depart for Malta, for the purpose of being invested with the Order of St. Patrick, sent out to him by the king. It was with much regret that Lady Hester saw Lord Sligo depart: she always spoke of the qualities of his heart with commendation, and her friendship for him ever continued unaltered.



The Author goes to Brusa—Situation of the city—Baths—Surrounding country—Residence at Brusa—Lady Hester mistaken for a youth—Women of Brusa—Return of the Author to Constantinople—Sudden death of Mr. Alexander, Lady Hester’s banker—Departure from Brusa—Residence at Bebec—Provisions—Excursion to the village of Belgrade—Throwing the Girýd—Fast of Ramadàn—Lady Hester resolves to winter in Egypt—Presents to the Author for professional attentions.

It was represented to Lady Hester that the sulphureous baths of Brusa, a city of Asia Minor, might be serviceable to her; and, the testimony of several persons whom I consulted on the subject being in their favour, she resolved on going thither. But the reports we heard concerning the nature of the accommodations to be met with made it expedient that I should precede her a day or two, in order to provide a place for her reception. To avoid the heat, I set off at midnight, on the first of May, in an open four-oared barge with an awning, accompanied by Aly, a janissary,[74] and my servant: and, although the distance to Mudania, the landing-place nearest Brusa, is sixty or eighty miles, the watermen rowed it within twelve hours, including the time for allowing me to go on shore to breakfast, at a point of land at the entrance of the bay of Mudania.

A Turkish row-barge is an object more striking and picturesque than those on the Thames, and the watermen wear a costume more uniform and much more becoming. Their shirts, of a texture like Chinese crape, are open at the bosom; so that their muscular forms and brawny arms are seen to great advantage. They wear a red cloth skull-cap and white balloon trousers; the feet and legs are naked.

I landed at Mudania, a village nearly at the bottom of a gulf of the same name, about mid-day; and, as I had a firmán, or order, to be civilly treated by all persons whom it might concern, I escaped the exactions of the custom-house officer, who sat cross-legged on a bench near the beach to examine the baggage of persons landing.

Taking post-horses and a guide, I arrived in the dusk of the evening at Brusa. The distance might be about eighteen miles, through a country so fertile and so rich that I at once felt what was meant by the luxuriance of Asiatic scenery.

I had a letter of introduction to M. Arles, a French merchant established at Brusa, whose traffic consisted in raw silk for France, in skins for furriers at Constantinople,[75] and in embroidered silks; and he received me in a very hospitable manner.

On the following morning I hired three cottages just out of the city; one, which was new, belonging to a priest, and two others, in themselves somewhat humble dwellings, but advantageously situated on the sloping foot of Olympus, commanding a view of the vale of Brusa and the adjoining baths. The snowy summit of Olympus overhung them, and from their doors began the groves which covered the vale stretched out before them. To the right, the lengthened city displayed its hundred mosques, intermingled with cypresses and lofty planes. There are several baths: the principal of them is a large building, consisting of three spacious rooms with vaulted roofs, in which are bell-glasses to admit a dim light, and to confine the heat. These baths in their structure resemble the hot baths common throughout the Turkish empire. The water which supplies them is derived from several sulphureous springs, of different degrees of temperature, which rise near each other within a square place of a few acres. The spring belonging to the principal bath issued in a volume of water a foot in diameter, and of such a heat that the hand cannot bear it. A strong smell of sulphur, which filled the sudatory, was emitted by it as it ran, and to this quality its medicinal virtues are ascribed. The same water, which in the first room yields a vapour hot enough to steam the body, in a second is received into proper cisterns, where[76] the bather may immerse himself. These baths were not used by invalids only, but frequented generally by the inhabitants. I occasionally resorted to them, and should have done so oftener, but for the vermin with which the Turks filled the carpets and cloths.

The city of Brusa stands at the foot of Mount Olympus, one of the highest mountains in Asia Minor. Were we to speak of it in the language which we should use respecting a European town, we might say that it contains a hundred parishes, there being so many mosques. But places of worship in Mahometan countries are much more numerous than in Christian, and with such a number Brusa is perhaps not so populous as Bristol. It is divided into the old and new town: the former is inhabited by Turks alone, Armenians, Greeks, and Franks being excluded, and compelled to occupy the new town or suburbs. There is also a suburb for the Jews, who are here rather numerous, and have less of the degraded appearance so observable in their nation elsewhere in Turkey. Many of them are tall, well-made, and comely; and some of their women, whom I saw at M. Arles’s, were very handsome. Brusa, like all Turkish cities, is made up of mean streets, although it contains several splendid houses; and, seen from the mountain which overlooks it, presents a striking appearance, owing to the minarets of the mosques, and to the lofty trees which are interspersed among the houses.


I was now in a part of the empire where the Turks are seen in their true colours, their natural dislike to Christians not being softened down by any intercourse with civilized foreigners, as is the case in Constantinople: for there were no more than three Frank families of the middling rank of life in all Brusa, and the resort of European travellers was but rare. The epithet of Christian dog was frequently to be heard in the streets, not indeed applied to ourselves, but to the poor rayah Christians.

The vale of Brusa is almost as much renowned for its beauty as that of Tempe: its fertility is past conception. One may ride for miles in a continued shade of walnut, chestnut, fig, cherry, and mulberry trees. These are the trees by the road-side; but, within the hedges, as being less handy to be gathered, grow peach, apricot, pear, and apple trees.[15] In every hedge flowering shrubs grew spontaneously; at every step springs gushed from the side of the mountain. Through the centre of the vale flow two rapid streams, fed by the melting of the snow; and, surrounding the vale on every side, sloping hills, covered with villages and diversified by cornfields and vineyards, bound the horizon.

That Lady Hester’s opinion was in accordance with my own, may be gathered from a letter she wrote to[78] a friend, from which the following passages are extracted:—

“How I wish you were here to enjoy this delicious climate, and the finest country I ever beheld! Italy is nothing to it in point of magnificence. The town of Brusa is situated at the foot of the Mount Olympus; it is one of the largest towns, and may be considered the capital of Asia Minor: the houses are like all Turkish houses, bad in themselves, but so interspersed with trees and mosques that the whole has a fine effect; the view quite delightful over an immense plain more rich and beautiful than anything I ever saw, covered with trees, shrubs, and flowers of all descriptions; the rides are charming, and the horses better than any of those I have met with out of England.

“How beautiful are these Asiatic women! they go to the bath from fifty to five hundred together; and when I was bathing, the other day, the wife of a deposed pasha begged I would finish my bathing at a bath half a mile off, that she might have the pleasure of my society, but this I declined; they bathe with all their ornaments on—trinkets I mean—and, when they have finished, they bind up their hair with flowers, and eat and talk for hours; then fumble up their faces all but their eyes, and sit under trees till the evening.”

Brusa, nevertheless, was full of beggars; and the city gates used to be thronged with miserable objects, exciting compassion by the exhibition of distorted limbs, offensive sores, and filthy tatters. Add to this that, from the want of gutters in the streets, the pedestrian has to pick his way through mud and puddle every step he takes; and that the splendid supply of water, afforded them by the Almighty, is, by their[79] neglect, rendered an absolute nuisance. As the summit of Mount Olympus is so high as to be covered with snow all the year round, a portion of it melts annually, and pours, in numerous rivulets, down the sides into the plain.

Three days after my arrival, Lady Hester, accompanied by Mr. B., reached Brusa; and they were as much enchanted with the beauty of the country as I had been. We used to ride out every day in the environs of the city. One day we came to a large piece of ground, sown with barley, which was now just in ear; and on it, tied by the leg, were grazing twenty horses belonging to a banished pasha, who lived at Brusa. Lady Hester, who was a great admirer, as well as a great judge, of horses, thought one of them so beautiful that she fancied she should like to purchase it as a present to some friend in England. It was an Arabian, and she begged the groom, an Egyptian, who was tending them, to mount and show her its action; but he declined, alleging that he had no saddle.

We were witnesses, during our stay at Brusa, to the miseries consequent on war. Several hundreds of Bulgarians, who had been driven from their homes, and whose houses and property had been burned and destroyed in the war between the Russians and the Turks, passed through Brusa, in search of a spot on which to build themselves fresh habitations. They[80] drove before them their flocks, their mares, and their cows; whilst their wives rode in covered carts drawn by buffaloes, of which animals great use is made in this part of the world. These Bulgarians wore, for clothing, sheep-skins, with the wool turned inward in winter and outward in summer: their look was fierce and independent.

There was always a drawback on my pleasure, which there seemed to be little hope of surmounting. This was my ignorance of the Turkish language. I had now been in Turkey six months, and yet I hardly knew how to ask for water to drink. This was not owing to my aversion to the language, or to my indolence, but to the difficulty there is to a free intercourse with the people. Travelling here, I found, was not like travelling in Christendom, where a stranger goes into the society of the natives, is received with politeness by them, and can, if he chooses, take up his abode in the family of some one of the country. With Moslems this is not practised. A Turk would as soon receive a viper as an infidel into his house. The women, as they pass, cover themselves to the very tips of their fingers, lest the poisonous eyes of a Christian should bring evil upon them. The shopkeepers and artificers will, it is true, supply you with their commodities, if you pay for them; but with so ungracious an air, that one’s self-love is sorely wounded. This unwillingness to have any intercourse[81] with Christians is a partial barrier to the quick attainment of their language, and an almost effectual one to the knowledge of their domestic customs.

I was accompanied, in all the professional visits I made, by my servant Lorenzo, who acted as interpreter. Lady Hester found in Mademoiselle Arles, the daughter of the French merchant, a young lady whose perfect knowledge of the Turkish language made her an excellent means of communication between the Turkish ladies and herself, whenever she paid visits.

Soon after we were settled, I was solicited by the Governor of the city to visit his son, an infant, who was dangerously ill. I had him under my care for some time, and my constant attendance at the palace led to an acquaintance between the Governor’s wife and Lady Hester. Mademoiselle Arles would, on these occasions, perform the office of interpreter. In the course of a few days, Lady Hester had received and accepted invitations from some of the persons of distinction of whom Brusa is so full; it being the city to which the Sultan is accustomed to send vizirs and pashas, who suffer under his displeasure. At first, Mademoiselle Arles said, doubts had been raised whether Lady Hester was really a woman: for, as she rode about in an English riding-habit, a dress (if the skirts were shorter) not altogether unlike that of the pages of the Seraglio, it was whispered about that she was a boy; more especially as she rode on a side-saddle, somewhat in the manner in which the[82] dromedaries are ridden, instead of astride, like the women in the East. Besides, she went with her face uncovered. And so serious were these doubts, that, when she went to the public baths frequented by the women of the place, they all hid and covered themselves in a great bustle, and were not convinced of their error for some time.

The female dress at Brusa pleased me exceedingly: but my fair countrywomen will not admire my taste, when I tell them that here, and elsewhere throughout Turkey, women wear no stays. The sex seemed to have but few amusements. They were allowed to gad about the streets as much as they pleased, and go to the baths when they liked; and, although their faces and bodies on such occasions were so completely covered that their very husbands could not know them, yet the customs of the country, that do not admit of a woman’s walking out alone, are a barrier to intrigue. At home, even a married woman must not see any persons of the other sex but her husband and her nearest relations; while the unmarried are seen by no one out of the family. Mademoiselle Arles told us, likewise, that husbands here were very tyrannical, and that corporeal chastisement was by no means uncommon. The wife, who is on the very best terms with her husband, can be said, after all, to be but his slave. When he enters the harým, or women’s apartment, he claps his hands at the outer door as a signal, and the wife must immediately hasten to receive him.[83] As he walks, with an air of grandeur, into the inner room, she humbly follows. He seats himself on the sofa, but does not permit her to sit down until she has served him with a pipe and a cup of coffee: then, with a sign of submissive reverence to her lord and master, she takes her place at a distance; and, when he has smoked his pipe, he perhaps relaxes his heavy visage into a smile, and permits her to caress him. This is the way among the better sort of persons. Among the lower orders the husbands are said to be quite brutal: and the poor wife’s only protection is the occasional threat that she will have a separation; for divorce, by the Mahometan law, is an affair easily effected, and often practised.

As the time for occupying the house at Therapia had expired during our stay at Brusa, we had no longer any residence at Constantinople; Lady Hester, therefore, wished me to return thither for the purpose of hiring one. Accordingly, on the 1st of June, I set off; and, on my arrival, I hastened to the house of Mr. Alexander, her ladyship’s banker. I was shocked to learn that the worthy man had died of fright a few days before. It appeared that, in the street in which Lady Hester had lodged on her first arrival at Constantinople, a fire had broken out, which had raged so fiercely as to have consumed fifty houses, among which were those of the Russian and Austrian ambassadors. The conflagration would have extended farther, had not a copious fall of rain soaked the wooden houses,[84] and put a stop to it. But this of itself became a calamity: for, one of the street sewers having been stopped up, the street overflowed, and much damage was done by the water.

The frequency of these accidents is assigned as a reason why the inhabitants of Constantinople sleep in their clothes, that they may be ready to make their escape. When the fire broke out, Mr. Alexander had been suddenly awakened with the cry in the streets; and, hastily rising, had rushed to the street, where he fell dead in an apoplectic fit. He was a man who spoke fluently six languages. I visited the spot where the fire had raged; but, as the buildings in this city are almost always of wood and very slight, not a wall remained standing.

Having heard that the Austrian Internuncio, Baron Sturmer, had a roomy house in a village near Constantinople, where no Europeans lived (which I knew to be a particular recommendation to Lady Hester,) I went to him, procured the key, and looked it over: after which I hired it furnished for a thousand piasters, for six months.

It is said that there was a time when the ministers of two hostile courts residing at Constantinople would remain in friendly intercourse with each other: but an opposite principle had been adopted since the reign of the First Consul and Emperor of the French, who, both in regard to his own minister and to those ministers over whom he had influence, interdicted all[85] communication with the English. An interview therefore with the Austrian Internuncio was not a light matter; and, for the better prevention of any ill construction being put upon it, I received intimation that the place of meeting must be in his garden.

I remained to dine on the fourth of June at the English palace, in celebration of his Britannic Majesty’s birthday, and then returned to Brusa. Among the guests at the palace were the Hon. Frederick North (late Earl of Guilford,) and Mr. Frederick Douglas, his nephew, both of whom very shortly afterwards came to Brusa on a visit to Lady Hester.

On the 1st of July, 1811, we quitted Brusa, after passing two most agreeable months there. The same evening we embarked at Mudania, and on the close of the second day reached Bebec.

Bebec is a village on the Bosphorus, chiefly inhabited by Turks and Armenians: it is three or four miles from Constantinople. On the edge of the canal there was a very elegant kiosk, or summer residence of the Grand Signor, but which was not often visited by him. The house I had taken had once belonged to a Turk, from whom it passed into the hands of the Austrian Internuncio in lieu of a debt. It was built of weather-boarding, and painted of a tarry red, like some barracks built in England during the late war. This red is the privileged colour of Mahometans: for a Greek or an Armenian dares not paint his house with it, and can use only a lead colour.


The interior of all Turkish houses is divided into two parts; the largest and best furnished of them is occupied by the women, and is called the harým; the other part, named the selamlik, consists seldom of more than two or three rooms, where the master of the house receives male visitors, and transacts business. Into the harým female visitors enter, but no other man than the husband, his and his wives’ nearest relations, and now and then her physician. All the windows are barred and latticed, so that it is not only not possible to look in, but hardly possible for those inside to look out.

Attached to the harým of the house at Bebec there were a superb marble bath, a garden, and other comforts for the amusement of the imprisoned inmates. Provisions are taken in by means of a turn-about, such as is used in convents. All these contrivances are, in some measure, securities for the chastity of the women; but the greatest of all is included in the feeling, impressed upon them from their infancy, of the positive criminality of showing their faces to strangers.

Another fire broke out during this month in the south-east part of Constantinople, called the Fanál, the quarter where the Greeks reside, and consumed (as it was said) a thousand houses. Fires will be ever frequent in a metropolis where so much anarchy prevails, where the plunderers are more numerous than the sufferers, the gainers than the losers. It was rumoured that the janissaries were the wilful incendiaries[87] in this case. That corps still continued very disaffected, and always suspicious lest the Turkish government should effect their abolition. As a body they were too powerful to be punished openly; yet every day some of those known to be the most dangerous were secretly conveyed away, and were heard of no more.

Northerly winds were so prevalent at this time, that, for six weeks, they blew invariably from that quarter. Although the season was thus far advanced, the Turkish fleet had not yet begun its annual summer cruise. It is not difficult for two hostile fleets to find each other, if so disposed; but the Black Sea was roomy enough for the Russians and Turks to cruise without meeting.

The heat of the climate is by no means oppressive, tempered as it is by breezes from the two seas. The thermometer generally during this month stood at 80° Fahrenheit, at noon. Grapes were now at a penny per pound, melons three pence a piece, fresh figs almost for nothing; so that a handsome and plentiful dessert cost but a trifle. But the supply for the table was in many respects deficient; and it was seldom that a good dinner, according to the English fashion, could be served up. The mutton was not good, and beef and veal were rarely to be found in the market, although there are numerous droves of horned cattle to be seen on the mountains. The butter had a disagreeable taste. Potatoes and cabbages were scarcely to be met[88] with; turnips not at all. Few of the kinds of fish which were caught were well tasted: the best to my palate was the sword-fish, which is in season in August, and in appearance and taste, when served up, might be mistaken for delicate veal.

My long residence in Constantinople had given me time to form an extensive acquaintance, and, from some successful cures, I was much solicited to settle there. It would indeed have been a desirable situation as far as money was concerned; but I was under engagements with Lady Hester which precluded such a thought. The Turks, and also the Armenians, were exceedingly liberal in their fees; the Greeks were not so.

Lady Hester spent a few days, about this time, at Belgrade, a village rendered celebrated by the praises bestowed upon it by Lady M. W. Montague. With the exception of this one village, all the inhabitants of Constantinople who have villas prefer living in the villages on the banks of the Bosphorus. The wherries, with two or three pair of oars, transport them from door to door. Soft mattresses are spread, with cushions to recline on, there being no seats as in our wherries, and they indulge in an agreeable indolence, fanned by the zephyrs, and rocked by the scarcely undulating waves. It must not be imagined, however superior we may generally be to the Turks, that we are their inferiors in nothing; and I have been often vexed to hear persons, little acquainted with that people, pronounce[89] their entire inferiority with as little ceremony as if they had passed years in investigating the subject. Few of the travellers who visit Constantinople take the pains of learning the language, and most of the residents are equally negligent. There was one lady, an Englishwoman, who had lived three years at Pera, and yet had never had the curiosity to cross the harbour.

During the summer I learned to throw the girýd, or blunt javelin; and, as I conceive it to be thrown by the Turks in the same manner as practised by the ancients during the time of the Trojan war, I shall endeavour to make the reader understand it. When a javelin is put into the hand of a person unused to handle such a weapon, and he is desired to throw it, he invariably elevates his hand and arm; and, holding the javelin on a level with his head, or still higher, throws it overhanded. But this I conceive is not the mode employed by the ancients; nor is the same degree of power acquired as in the underhanded manner, which is as follows. The javelin, being from three and a half to five feet long, and of equal weight at both ends, is taken in the palm of the hand, resting in a position out of the horizontal one by a trifling elevation of the point, and is pressed almost entirely by the finger and thumb alone. The arm is straightened, the bend of the arm faces outwards, and the elbow is turned inwards, so that it points to the hipbone. Then a position is assumed, exactly such as a[90] man would take who should fence left-handed, and, in this way, the javelin is discharged as if slung from the whole arm, without any effort at the wrist, and little at the elbow. On horseback, the impulse is greater, because the horse is brought to a sudden halt and a wheel about to the left, just at the moment of throwing the javelin. Girýd is an Arabic word, meaning a branch of the palm-tree; such a branch being generally used for a sham javelin, as being firm, heavy, and elastic, and having a slight tapering from one extremity to the other.

About the 20th of April, the Captain Pasha was sent with troops and gun-boats to reduce a place called Heracli, on the Asiatic coast of the Black Sea, the governor of which was in rebellion. Up to the time of our departure it was not known what success had attended this expedition; but a Greek one day answered to my inquiries how the pasha got on—“Oh! we shall shortly have some information: for, according to his success or failure, there will be an exhibition at the Seraglio-gate, of the head of the rebel governor or of his own.”

The Ramadán, or fast of the Mahometans, began this year on the 27th of September. It is known to the reader that this fast continues for a whole moon, during which time no person, whatever his rank may be, takes nourishment of any sort from sunrise to sunset. When it falls, as it did this year, during the hot weather, so long an abstinence is intolerable; and[91] the boatman, who is rowing almost continually for twelve or fourteen hours, or the bathman, who remains for a whole day in an atmosphere fifteen degrees hotter than the hottest day in England, each without daring to cool his thirst with one drop of water, may be considered as enduring a species of penance, which shows the devoutest submission to the laws of his Prophet.

Lady Hester’s application to the French court was unsuccessful. It had given rise to a characteristic letter, which is inserted.

Lady Hester Stanhope to the Marquis Wellesley.

My Lord,

You are aware, my lord, that I left England on account of my health, which, though mended, is by no means re-established: and I always suffer extremely from cold. In the course of last winter I had often expressed a wish that it were possible I could visit either Italy or the South of France: which coming to the ears of Mr. Latour Maubourg, the French chargé d’affaires at this place, he was so good as to hint, through a third person, that he should be most happy to give me every assistance in his power to accomplish this object. I ought, perhaps, in the first instance, to have communicated this circumstance to Mr. Canning, and to have fairly told him it was my intention to take advantage of the opportunity which now presented itself of making the acquaintance of Mr. Maubourg, and of requesting him to forward my views in the manner which he thought most honourable and respectable to both parties. But respecting, as I do, his many virtues, I did not wish to quarrel with him, or appear openly to disregard his authority, or publicly to ridicule the very idea of any person presuming to doubt my patriotism.


The above reasons decided me to see Mr. M. privately; who is also very young for his situation, but which his talents fully qualify him to fill. Nothing can have been more candid, more honourable, than his conduct upon this occasion. He lost no time in writing to Paris for passports, and his answer may be expected every day.

Hester Lucy Stanhope.

August, 1811.

So, having grown fearful of spending another winter at Constantinople, preparations were made for quitting that city. At first she thought of returning to Athens, and of trying a winter there; for the air of Athens is salubrious and mild; the antiquities would always afford amusement, and subjects for study; whilst they constantly attract strangers of different countries who compose a small society. Lastly, its situation would be a step on the route which it was proposed to continue towards Syria and Egypt; but this plan was afterwards abandoned, and it was resolved to sail for Egypt, and pass the winter there.

A Greek vessel with a Greek crew was accordingly hired, for which the sum of £65 was to be paid for the whole voyage. In the mean time, I sold my horses, dismissed my Albanian groom, forwarded some books and other articles to England, in order to lighten my baggage, and bade adieu to my Constantinople friends; and, whether Turks, Armenians, Greeks, or Franks, I saw the moment approach of quitting them with sincere regret. I received from the fair hands of[93] several ladies various embroidered articles in which were wrapped their pecuniary acknowledgments of my professional attentions. One was from the wife of Ibrahim Effendy, son of the Ibrahim Kekhyah, who lost his head with Sultan Selim. She herself was daughter of the grand almoner of the Sultan; and she told the Countess of Ludolf, wife of the late ambassador from the court of Naples to England, but at that time residing at Constantinople, and in intimacy with her, that she began to think, since she had known me, there might be some good sort of people among the infidel barbarians of the West and North. An embroidered purse was presented to me from the wife of a gentleman named Mikitar, who was master of the mint, and an opulent banker, and the sister of Mr. Ayda, an Armenian gentleman, whom the charms of an English lady had nearly fixed in this country. This purse contained new specimens of every coin that had issued from the Mint during his administration. These and a variety of other curiosities, together with all my luggage of every kind, my journals, &c., were lost by shipwreck in our passage to Egypt, as will be narrated in its proper place.

Eastern countries became every day more agreeable to me. Whatever shocked at first, became by degrees familiar, and at last appeared almost necessary to my comfort. The dignified gravity of the men pleased me, and I admired the domestic virtues of the women. The placid mien and the extraordinary sobriety of all[94] persons (excepting the soldiery), the decorous, but condescending demeanour of superiors, and the humility of inferiors, were all marks of minds rightly organized; and I am not ashamed to say that I more than once applauded the principle which confined music and dancing to professors only, or to such as were born with a natural genius to excel in those arts, and banished from society that anomaly—a woman, half lady, half artist, half courtezan, who passes her time in displaying her attractions to gain the admiration of men to whom she ought to be perfectly indifferent, except on the score of worth, good conduct, and religion.



Departure from Constantinople—Prince’s Islands—Scio—Drunken Turk—Rhodes—Storm—The ship springs a leak—Servants dismayed—Land seen—The ship founders—Escape of the passengers to a rock—The sailors proceed to the Island of Rhodes—They return—The crew mutiny—The passengers gain the Island; and reach a hamlet—Our distressed situation—The Author departs for the town of Rhodes—Hassan Bey refuses assistance—The houses—Lady Hester ill of a fever—Lindo—Its port—The Archon Petraki—Reports that the party were lost—Lady Hester arrives at Rhodes—Town—Why Lady Hester chose the Turkish dress—Posting in Turkey—Mustafa.

We sailed from Constantinople on the 23rd of October, 1811. The party consisted of Lady Hester Stanhope, Mr. B., Mr. Henry Pearce, myself, an English maid servant, Mrs. Fry, a maître d’hôtel, four men servants, a cook, and a scullion, all Greeks. The master of the ship and his crew were likewise of that nation. Live sheep, poultry, wine, everything that could make the voyage comfortable, had been provided; and the hold of the ship had been partitioned into[96] small cabins, so as to lodge every individual separately.

On quitting the Bosphorus, we encountered a contrary wind, which compelled us to take refuge among the Prince’s Islands, where we remained weatherbound five or six days. At last a north wind set in, and carried us, in a short time, through the Dardanelles, to the Island of Scio, where strong gales again detained us, but not unpleasantly, for ten days; since the vivacity of the inhabitants and the novelty and beauty of the country offered us much diversion. Our pleasure, however, was likely to have been damped by an accident not uncommon in Turkey. A Turkish soldier, who was passenger in a ship moored next to ours, having drunk too freely of wine, took umbrage at something that was said by one of our sailors, who was on the quarter-deck, and drew his pistol from his girdle and fired at him; but, not taking a just aim, the ball entered the ship’s quarter, and passed through the musquito-net suspended over Lady Hester’s bed. Fortunately, it so happened that Lady Hester had gone on shore to take a ride in the country; otherwise some mischief might have been done. On her return, the man was apprehended, and the governor of the town politely sent word that he should be punished in any way she might desire; but she said she required no other chastisement for him than such as he merited by the laws of his own country.

The wind now becoming fair, we unmoored, and[97] were carried, without any accident, as far as Rhodes, where we stopped but a few hours to take in water and fresh bread; we then sailed, little imagining we should so soon return thither. It was on Saturday night, the 23rd November, that we quitted the island. We ran for two days under a press of sail, and must have made half our way to Alexandria, when the sky became lowering, and a southerly wind obliged us to beat to windward the whole of the 25th of November. In the evening, the gale having increased, we wore ship. On the 27th, the ship sprang a leak, and the cry of all hands to the pump immediately showed that some danger impended.

It is seldom that the Levantine ships have pumps, or, when they have, they are so little used as generally to be found unserviceable when wanted: and such was the case with ours. The water increased rapidly, and every exertion was necessary to check its progress. Mr. B., Mr. Pearce, myself, and all the servants, were unremittingly employed in raising and lowering the buckets, which were plied at the hatchways, as well as at the wells; whilst the pilot directed the ship’s course towards Rhodes.

In the mean time, Lady Hester, who had been informed of the leak, became aware, from the confusion which prevailed, that great danger was apprehended. She dressed herself, and quietly directed her maid to furnish a small box with a few articles of the first necessity, to be prepared against the worst. There[98] was a cask of wine in the cabin, which had been brought to drink on the voyage. This her ladyship, with her own hands, drew and distributed among the sailors, to cheer them under the labour, which became very severe.

The wind had now risen to a complete gale, and, about twelve o’clock, the ship heeled gunwale down, and was so waterlogged that she never recovered an upright position afterwards. As our situation became more alarming, two or three of the Greek servants began to lose courage, and, throwing themselves flat on the deck, vented the most womanish lamentations, nor could they be induced by either threats or promises to work any more. One shook as if he had an ague fit; and another invoked the Virgin Mary, with continued exclamations of, “Panagia mou! panagia mou!

Things wore this unpromising appearance when, about three o’clock, the south-west point of the island of Rhodes was discovered on our weather bow. The pilot immediately put the ship’s head as direct to it as the wind would permit. Every person took fresh courage, and our exertions became greater than ever. But the ship was no longer obedient to the helm, and we lost, in lee-way, what we gained in progress. We were perhaps not more than two miles from the island, and it was resolved to let go an anchor. The anchor, however, proved of no use, and the ship still drove.


The leak had now gained so much upon us that there was every probability the ship could not long keep afloat, and it was resolved that the long-boat should be hoisted out as our only resource. This was made known to Lady Hester, and, the order having been given that no one should burden the boat with luggage, it was with much difficulty lowered into the sea. Whilst this was doing, I went down into the cabin, and took from my trunk a bag of dollars, which, with my sabre and a pistol, was all that I saved.

I hastened upon deck, and, jumping into the boat, where already twenty-four persons had got before me, we let go the rope, and placed all our hopes on reaching a rock, which was about half a mile to leeward of us. No sooner were we free from the lee of the ship than the danger to which we were exposed became still more formidable than before. Almost every wave beat over us. Providence, however, watched over our safety; and we at last got to the leeward side of the rock, where a little creek, just large enough to shelter the boat, received us, and we landed. But, when we came to reflect on our position, it seemed still very deplorable. There was only one place, a sort of cavity in the rock, which afforded shelter from the spray. There was no fresh water, and, in the hurry of quitting the ship, that, as well as provisions, had been forgotten. Fatigue, however, was at present the most urgent sensation; and we all composed ourselves, in our wet[100] clothes, to sleep; the cave in the rock being assigned to Lady Hester and her maid.

About midnight the wind abated a little, and the master proposed attempting to reach the land; averring it was as well to perish at once as to be starved to death. He suggested that, if the crew only was taken with him, there would be a much better chance of effecting his purpose; and that, once arrived, he could provide boats for our deliverance: whereas, if all went, the boat would in all probability sink. These arguments were deemed valid, and, accompanied by our prayers, they launched off. It was agreed that, when they reached the shore, they should make a fire as a signal of their safety; and, in the course of two hours, we saw the wished-for blaze.

Daylight came, and we remained without food or drink, anxiously looking out for the return of the crew. Our reflections were by no means comfortable: for, knowing the character of the Greeks, we could not be sure that, once safe themselves, they would not abandon us to our fate. We watched all day, and it was not until about a quarter of an hour before sunset, that a black speck was seen on the sea, which we at length distinguished to be a boat. It contained the crew, but without the captain, who had declined the danger of coming off again. They brought us bread, cheese, water, and arrack; and thus, after thirty hours’ fasting, we satisfied our hunger and thirst.

But another danger now stared us in the face. The[101] sailors had found liquor on shore, and had made themselves drunk. They grew riotous and insolent, and, in the course of the night, declared their resolution of rowing back again. In vain we requested they would wait till daylight, till the wind abated, and till the rain was over. They were determined; and, as those who remained behind could have no chance but to perish, we were compelled to go with them. The sea was high; and, as they were pulling almost in the face of it, the labour of the sailors was very severe. But, for the same reason, the nearer we approached the shore the smoother the water became. At last the stern touched, and a wave, that filled her from head to stern, at once overwhelmed us. Lady Hester was hoisted out of the boat, and each made his way on shore as he could. The boat, soon after, was swamped and staved.

Close to where we landed there was a small windmill, where we accommodated Lady Hester and her maid in the best manner we could, whilst a blazing fire was made on the outside, round which we all collected. But we were soon joined by Mrs. Fry, who was so terrified by the rats, which ran up and down the ropes in the mill, that nothing could induce her to remain with her mistress. The rain all this time fell in torrents. The miller was despatched to his village, which was near at hand, to bring down conveyances to carry us to a place of shelter. At daylight he returned, and with him several peasants with mules and[102] asses, which we mounted, and reached in a short time a hamlet, the most miserable that can be conceived as the habitation of human beings. Among all the cottages, there was not one into which the rain did not penetrate, whilst the filth within and about them was to the last degree disgusting: add to which they all swarmed with fleas. Yet, in other parts of the island of Rhodes, we had reason to admire the neatness and comfort of the peasants’ habitations.

The weather now became beautifully fine, as if to mock our misfortunes. Nothing had been saved from our ship: no one had linen to change: and some speedy means were to be contrived, to remedy these inconveniences. Accordingly, it was settled that I should set off for the town of Rhodes, and, by means of the English agent, whom we had already seen, provide a few necessaries for Lady Hester, and, at the same time, try to procure money; since what I had saved was only enough for our immediate wants.

On the following morning, mounted on a mule and with a peasant for my guide, I set off for the town, which I reached on the second day in the evening. Not having ink or paper with me, I was unable to write down what I saw; but I have a perfect recollection of the beauty of the country, of the groves of myrtle and oleander, of the clean houses of the peasants, of their dresses of white cotton, and of their hospitality. For, having slept the first night at a cottage where I was entertained with a plentiful supper and accommodated[103] with a clean bed, on asking my guide what recompense I should make, he told me that twenty paras was quite enough, which were about equal to an English sixpence.

The news of our shipwreck had already reached the town by the captain, who had made the best of his way thither the moment he had landed. A large bundle of linen was immediately packed up, and sent back by the mule which brought me. The next day I paid a visit to the governor, Hassan Bey, to whom I represented the situation of Lady Hester and her party, and asked him to advance some money, until measures could be taken for obtaining some from Smyrna: but, ignorant who we were, he refused to lend assistance in any way. I found him seated on the landing-place of the staircase of his palace, and of so mean an appearance, that I had fairly passed him unnoticed, until Mr. Illarick called me back, and whispered, “There’s the bey.” On approaching him, one of his people roughly drove me back, and desired me to pull my shoes off. The reason for this probably was that my dress, spoiled by sea-water, was not such as to inspire much respect, and no one but a privileged person is allowed to dispense with this ceremony, according to Turkish usages.

As nothing was to be done with the bey, and as there was no time to be lost, Mr. Illarick’s assistance was put in requisition to the utmost. A house was prepared for Lady Hester, and another for the rest of her party.


The houses in the town of Rhodes are incapable of lodging more than one or two persons, if fixed bedsteads are used; for they consist, generally at least in the Frank quarter, of no more than two rooms, or three or four at the utmost. In those that I saw, the room on the ground floor was paved with pebbles of different colours, of the size of a hen’s egg, artificially and prettily arranged in stars, lozenges, and other devices. At one end there was a gallery, raised five or six feet, with a railing of unpainted fir. This served as a sitting-room by day and a sleeping-room by night, for the principal part of the family. On the first floor was a single room, floored, and ornamented with a few open cupboards, painted red or some glaring colour, with birds or trees upon them. Sometimes it had a recess in the wall for containing beds and coverlets, which are placed there the moment they are done with. The display of a store of these articles is a strong evidence of good circumstances, not only at Rhodes, but, as I have since observed, in other parts of Turkey.

In the midst of my preparations for Lady Hester’s reception, I was alarmed by the arrival of a peasant in the night with a letter, by which my immediate attendance was required at Lindo, on the east side of the island, where Lady Hester, exhausted by hunger and fatigue, had fallen ill of a fever. It appeared that, after my departure from the hamlet, the party had set off, and the route by the above-named town had[105] been suggested to them as least fatiguing. In it there lived a Greek of rank, who had retired from Constantinople to this, his native place. He had afforded them hospitality, and had offered to provide for their wants, until they should receive succour from the city: and it was at his house that Lady Hester was taken ill. A long day’s journey through a country still more beautiful than that which I had passed on the western side brought me to Lindo. Her Ladyship grew better after a few days’ repose, and I then found leisure to perambulate the environs of the town. I will leave Lady Hester herself to describe her situation.

Lady Hester Stanhope to ——.

Rhodes, Dec. 1811.

My dear ——,

I write one line by a ship which came in here for a few hours, just to tell you we are all safe and well. Starving thirty hours on a bare rock, even without fresh water, being half-naked and drenched with wet, having traversed an almost trackless country, over dreadful rocks and mountains, partly on foot and partly on a mule for eight hours, laid me up at a village for a few days: but I have since crossed the island on an ass, going for six hours a day, which proves I am pretty well now at least.

The Consul here is a dear old fellow of seventy-five, who thinks he cannot do too much for us; but the bey pretends to be so poor, that he cannot give us more than thirty pounds, which will neither clothe nor feed eleven naked people for[106] long; so we must send an express to Smyrna to get what we want. My locket, and the valuable snuff-box Lord Sligo gave me, and two pelisses, are all I have saved;—all the travelling equipage for Syria, &c., all gone;—the servants naked and unarmed: but the great loss of all is the medicine-chest, which saved the lives of so many travellers in Greece. How to repair it, I know not. I expected more medicine out by Mr. Liston; but whether he has forwarded it, or kept it, I know not: if you could assist me in this once more, I should thank you much. I may be able to get a little at Smyrna, but I am told all the medicine-shops were burnt by the late fire. The moment I can get a few necessaries from Smyrna, I shall depart to Tripoli, in Syria; therefore if you can assist me about medicine, pray forward it to Mr. Werry, and he will send it by the first opportunity.

B——, Mr. Pearce, and the doctor, are quite well. They have saved nothing; but do not fancy us dull, for we (myself included) danced the Pyrrhic dance with the peasants in the villages in our way hither.

We have lost a poor dog, which was quite a treasure; it was so frighted and so sick, we could not get it into the boat. I lament this every day, and little else, except the most beautiful collection of conserves for you and two other people, violets, roses, orange-flowers, and almost every sort of fruit.

Wynne is here, and is very kind to me. You will receive a longer letter through Mr. Werry. I enclose a line to Coutts and to my brother, whom I heard from at Scio. By accident, the young man you intrusted with my letters came there for a day. Remember me most kindly to Mr. Taylor: tell him I make conquests of Turks everywhere. Here they are ten times more strict than in Constantinople; yet a Turk has lent me a house and bath in the middle of an orange-grove, where[107] I go to-morrow. The houses on the outsides of the walls where Franks live are only fit for poultry.

Adieu, my dear General,

Believe me, ever yours, most sincerely,

H. L. Stanhope.

There is something curious in the situation of Lindo. It stands on a tongue of land cut off from the island by a rocky mountain, which can be crossed only at a foot pace, by a mule path, and which in some places is so steep as to have made it necessary to hew out rough steps. Looking down from the summit of this mountain, you behold a neat town of about 200 houses, commanded by a castle, built on an elevation at the extremity of the tongue of land. There is an indentation in the line of coast to the left of the town which forms a small bay; whilst, on the right, a roomy basin, scooped by the hand of Nature out of the solid rock, with an entrance half as narrow as its breadth within, seems to want nothing but a little squadron to give a maritime importance to the place. There was no vessel in either port.

The only spot of ground which the inhabitants seemed to have for cultivation, was on the strand to the north. This strand went traditionally by the name of the Arena, and seemed well adapted for such games as the ancients gave in places of that denomination. To the south-west of the town, but overhanging[108] it, were to be seen the remains of an ancient temple excavated in the rock, of which so much still was left, as to show that it had Ionic pilasters. In the front was an altar also hewn out of the rock.

The house in which Lady Hester was belonged to a person named Philippaki. He was nearly allied to a prince, and consequently was an archon himself. Mrs. Fry, however, Lady Hester’s maid, who had a great aversion to learning languages, and a strong predilection to her native one, as well as a habit of anglicising foreign words, used to call the archon Philip Parker; just as Mustapha, who was at one time our janissary, was metamorphosed into Muster Farr.

As soon as Lady Hester was well enough to resume her journey, we left Lindo for the town of Rhodes. We slept one night at a village called Archangelo, and arrived at Rhodes on the second evening.

Hassan Bey was not so polite to the party as most Turks would have been in his situation. The master of the ship, besides being suspected of having checked the bey’s civilities by not speaking of his passengers in proper terms, was supposed to have had some interest in destroying the vessel. It was accordingly determined not to make him any recompense for the losses he pretended to have suffered. The sailors, on the contrary, were rewarded liberally—more, perhaps, than their exertions merited. Lady Hester wrote from this place the following letter to a friend:—


Lady Hester Stanhope to ——

Rhodes, Dec. 19, 1811.

My dear ——,

I wrote to you by a vessel going to Malta, but must write again through Mr. Werry. We are all safe and well at this place. My health has suffered less than I expected; but I was sadly fatigued one day’s journey from where we landed at the extremity of this island. The wet, the starvation for thirty hours on a bare rock in the middle of the sea, eight hours’ scrambling over rocks and mountains, laid me up for a day or two at the house of a most hospitable Greek.

We can get nothing here, and have sent to Smyrna for clothes and money. We all mean to dress in future as Turks. I can assure you that if I ever looked well in anything, it is in the Asiatic dress, quite different from the European Turks.

When I went on shore at Scio, I slept two nights at a Turkish house, and they would not admit even a dragoman; but I contrived to make myself understood, got an excellent breakfast, and set it all out in my own way, which amused them of all things; and one of their friends lent me a horse and a black slave to attend me. I do not know how it is, but I always feel at home with these people, and can get out of them just what I like; but it is a very different thing with the Greeks, who shuffle and shuffle, and you never can depend upon them for one moment.

The late Grand-Vizier was exiled here, and is forbid to see people; but I mean to introduce myself into his society. I paid a visit to one at Scio, who was deposed when Turkey made peace with us, and a very gentlemanlike deep sort of a person he seemed to be.

Adieu; remember me kindly to Mr. Taylor, if he is with you, and pray write to me soon.

Yours most sincerely,

H. L. Stanhope.


As many things that were necessary for us in our destitute situation could not be procured at Rhodes, arrangements were made for my immediate departure for Smyrna, in order to purchase a refit for the whole party. It will be thought by many persons, that Lady Hester Stanhope violated too far the regard due to her sex in the resolution she now adopted of equipping herself as a man, and as a Turk. But let it be recollected that she had lost everything in the shipwreck, and that even the cities of the Levant, had she been in one, had neither milliners nor mantua-makers, who understand how to make European female dresses, nor materials for them, could she have made them herself. The impossibility of getting what she wanted was therefore so evident, that she unavoidably made choice of the Turkish costume, in which the long robes, the turban, the yellow slippers, and pelisses, have really nothing incompatible with female attire. Thus she was enabled to travel unveiled, which, in woman’s clothes, would have been contrary to the usages of the country: and, as Lady Hester decided on abandoning the English costume, the rest of the party did the same.

My journey to Smyrna was to be made post, which, in Turkey, signifies riding postillion fashion one’s self, and, instead of changing chaises, changing horses only, and galloping from stage to stage, as fast as mountains and forests will permit.

As I had never made an essay in this sort of travelling, it was necessary that I should be provided,[111] if not with a Tartar, (Tartars being the proper couriers), at least with a person furnished with his powers. Application was therefore made to Hassan Bey, to select such a man from his people, and to regulate the price that should be paid him for going and returning. He fixed on a robust fellow, of a dark stern countenance and of rough manners, with a yatagan full three feet in length, and a large brace of pistols in his girdle. He settled this man’s recompense at 100 piasters, and his maintenance: and furnished me with an order to have post-horses on the road.



The Author sets out for Smyrna—Etienne—Port of Marmora—Arabkui—Oolah—Moolah—Aharkui—Ancient temple—Capu Rash—Sarcophagi—Chinny Su—River Meander—Ferry—Guzel Issar—Frank doctor—Ruins of Magnesia—Chapan Oglu’s officers—Baynder—Civility of the governor—Pressing a horse—Smyrna—Visit to the consul—Purchases—Renegado Welchman—Mustafa lays a plan to rob the Author—Departure for Rhodes—Eleusis—Scio—Stancho—Cavo Crio, the ancient Cnidus—Ruins—Wall—Temple—Theatre—Stadium—Rhodes—New dresses—Servants cabal—Georgio Dallegio—Town of Rhodes—Embarkation in the Salsette frigate—Harbour of Marmora—Arrival at Alexandria.

On the 22nd of December, 1811, I crossed from Rhodes in an open boat for the coast of Caramania, accompanied by Mustafa, the chaûsh, and Etienne, servant to Mr. Pearce, whose capacity as a linguist induced Lady Hester to request his master to spare him to serve me as dragoman on the road.

We entered the bay of Marmora about midnight, and soon afterwards landed at a small town of the same name. Mustafa conducted me strait to the[113] aga of the place; whom he knocked up, and then made known to him our business. The aga read the order with which I was furnished, and immediately procured horses for us. Whilst these were getting ready he treated us with coffee and pipes. On settling for the horses, it appeared that all I was expected to pay for them was two piasters to the servants of the aga, and two and a half to the postmaster, which for about fifteen leagues (the distance we were to ride them before changing), must be called cheap travelling. It will be seen hereafter how trifling were the expenses of this journey.

The horses were most miserable jades, and five in number; it being customary to have a spare one in case of accidents. Our saddles were put on them; pieces of felt being previously laid on their backs here and there to save rubbing the old sores. We departed a quarter of an hour before the dawn. The road lay by the side of a little brook, which was almost hidden by a vast number of oleander bushes. We soon came to the foot of a mountain, which we ascended by a path that would not admit two horses abreast. The mountain was well wooded with pines, being one of a chain which seemed to extend in every direction. After toiling for two or three hours to the summit, which we reached about three in the afternoon, Mustafa’s horse knocked up, and he was obliged to shift from him to the spare one, and to leave the poor fatigued animal there to perish (so at least I supposed)[114] by cold and wild beasts: for through the whole day we had seen no hamlet or village. There was, however, at the top of the mountain, where the horse was left, a small caravansera containing a cistern supplied with rain water where a traveller might shelter himself from the inclemencies of the weather, and where perhaps the horse found (to him) a comfortable stable.

A succession of ascents and descents, always over mountains covered with firs, brought us at night to a village called Arabkui, which we dared not enter on account of the huge dogs that guarded it; and, turning somewhat to the left, our guide led us to a shed about two hundred yards from the village, where we passed an uncomfortable night.

Etienne made a fire, expecting that somebody would come out from the village of whom we might purchase provisions. At length, a tall, dark-complexioned, ill-dressed fellow made his appearance, and we begged him to get us something to eat. He gave us little hope; but disappeared, and soon afterwards returned with bread, milk, and a chicken, for which he was contented with one piaster and three paras.

As soon as day broke, we pursued our journey. In the course of about three hours, the face of the country began to change. We quitted the mountains for beautiful plains covered with verdure, watered by rivulets, and adorned with natural groves of trees. We passed a caravansera, like that of the preceding day,[115] having nothing but bare walls and a roof, and not a person in it.

Soon after noon we saw the minarets of mosques at a distance, and in a short time arrived at Oolah, a large village, but with mean houses. We stopped at the posthouse, where we found a fire, and an old carpet spread before it. Here we dried our clothes and ate some bread and honey whilst the horses were getting ready; in three hours, we reached the town of Moolah, and at sunset the village of Aharkui, where we were to stop for the night. We were shown into a cottage, where a dish of eggs fried in butter and a dish of milk were served up to me; and for this supper and the night’s lodging I was called upon to pay ten paras only.

During this morning’s journey, after descending a mountain which brought us into a most beautiful valley, terminated on the left by a deep bay of the sea, we came, on a sudden, at a turn that led us from the valley to the ascent of the mountain on the opposite side of it, to a small ancient temple hewn out of the rock. It was a single chamber, a few feet in depth, and from twenty to thirty broad. An architrave formed the front, supported by six Ionic pillars, two in the centre and two at each extremity.

At a place called Capu Tash, or stone gate, (where I remarked a great number of stone sarcophagi, which lay scattered about, and which might have given rise to the name,) we took horses for Guzel Issar, and, as[116] night overtook us, came to the banks of a broad river, which we forded with much risk; for the continuance of the rains had swollen it greatly.

At length, through the obscurity of the night, we saw innumerable lights; and Mustafa told me, with much exultation, that they marked the site of Guzel Issar. These lights were the lamps which the Turks suspend at the top of their mosques during the Ramazàn; and, as this was the last day, which is called with them the feast of the Beyràm, they were more than usually brilliant. We hurried on until we found ourselves on the edge of a sedgy marsh, where we proceeded with great caution upon narrow causeways, made to prevent animals from sinking into the mire. To the right and left of us was a flooded marsh, and in some places the causeway was so much covered that our guide could scarcely find his road. In half an hour we came to the bank of a broad and rapid river, the Meander: and our guide and Mustafa tired their lungs in bawling for the ferryman. At length, a boat, of triangular shape, was hauled across the stream, by means of a rope from bank to bank, upon which traversed a pulley. The barge would hardly contain us and our horses, and the apprehension of danger blinded me to the beauties of the river, so celebrated by poets.

Proceeding again along other causeways similar to those we had passed, we at last reached dry ground. Every thing now marked our approach to a city—[117] gardens, extensive cemeteries, and a wide and beaten road; until at last we entered it, amidst the light of thousands of lamps, which illuminated the coffee-houses, the mosques, and the streets. Our guide conducted us to a miserable room, from whence I hastened to the bath, which, during Ramazàn, and particularly on the last day of it, is open by night as well as by day. This served better than any thing else could have done to refresh me after the fatigues of the journey; and, returning from it to my bed on the floor at the posthouse, I slept as comfortably and profoundly as I had ever done in my life.

I rose early in the morning, wishing to get a sight of whatever antiquities the place might contain, and for this purpose I accosted an apothecary’s boy; whom I saw standing in a small shop just out of the caravansera door, dressed in Frank clothes; considering that he most likely had a Frank master, who would be more or less informed on these points. I was not mistaken, and he immediately sent a man to show me the house of his master. On going up stairs, and telling him in Italian what I wanted, he professed to be able to satisfy my curiosity. He introduced me to his wife, a pretty woman, and made me go through the usual civilities of a spoonful of preserve and coffee. He then took me to an eminence, a little way in the suburbs, where I saw the remains of several buildings. These were the ruins of Magnesia: but I had no time to examine them in detail. The face of the country[118] was extremely beautiful: but the beauties of the Meander and its banks must not be insisted on by one who passed it in a shower of rain in the winter.

On resuming our journey, we again entered among the mountains; and, continuing to ascend, stopped about noon at a hovel by the road-side, where a dirty-looking Greek sold coffee, bread and cheese, and other provisions for the accommodation of travellers. Whilst we were refreshing ourselves, three horsemen, exceedingly well mounted, arrived, and, by their commanding air, showed themselves to be people in authority. Mustafa told me they were officers of Chapan Oglu, carrying treasure from some governor to their master, and made me observe a pair of saddle-bags on a led horse, which he said were full of specie; and indeed, though nothing in bulk, the horse seemed much oppressed with the weight.

For many succeeding hours, the route lay over mountains, and always on the ascent; until at last, from the summit of one that had caused us more fatigue than the rest, the view of the city of Teery broke upon us, situate in a fine plain, but seemingly so immediately under our feet that it was difficult to conjecture how we should descend to it. A winding and zigzag path brought us rapidly down, and we entered the streets, proceeding, as usual, to the posthouse.

Teery struck me as a city with well built houses, and of much neatness. We quitted it early, and proceeded[119] on our way to Baynder, where we slept. Baynder is a place of about the same class as Teery.

In the morning, when the horses were brought to the door, Mustafa objected to them as sorry beasts that would not take us to Smyrna by nightfall, and he insisted, as there was no intermediate stage, that they should be changed. He might have insisted in vain, however, unless backed by some authority; he therefore advised me to go to the governor of the place, where, he said, he would show our order, make known who I was, and see what that would do: we accordingly went. His palace was a large wooden building, painted on the outside, and the room we were ushered into was a long saloon, with sofas on the three sides, rich and handsome. The governor, a fine-looking man, sat in the right-hand corner, and invited me to come and seat myself beside him. He very civilly desired to know who I was, and ordered some refreshment to be set before me, treating me with so much politeness, that, instead of coming to the point about better horses, to which Mustafa urged me by winks and signs, I felt ashamed to trouble him; and, after satisfying his curiosity about Lady Hester, concerning whom he asked many questions, I rose and took my leave, putting Mustafa greatly out of sorts for losing so favourable an occasion of getting what we wanted, and, above all, for increasing the exultation of the postmaster over him.

At last we mounted and rode off. The rain had[120] not ceased from the morning we left Marmora. The road lay for the most part of this day through a level country, and we proceeded slowly and with little prospect of reaching Smyrna by night, when, about three o’clock, as we were passing over a widely extended down, we saw coming towards us a solitary traveller. By his motions it was evident that he wished to avoid us, for he struck out of the road: but Mustafa had marked him for his prey; and, quitting the straight road likewise, he soon came up with the traveller, who proved to be a Christian with a pair of saddle-bags under him, mounted on a young horse. “Dismount, infidel,” were Mustafa’s first words to him; “I must have your horse.” The man remonstrated, saying he was going a long journey; that his horse was his property and would be lost in Smyrna, and alleged several other good reasons for refusing compliance: but Mustafa made no other reply than that he would have the horse, and, raising his whip, used such threatening gestures that the Christian dismounted, and prepared to ungirth the saddle. Whatever I could say to Mustafa of the injustice of what he was doing was in vain; my servant told me that such was the practice of Turkish Tartars, and I desisted. The traveller then named a particular caravansera in Smyrna, where he begged me to see his horse stabled, and mounting the posthorse rode off, somewhat relieved of his sorrow by a small present which I made him, and by my assurances that I would see his beast taken care of.


Mustafa was now contented, and we galloped on more rapidly than ever. Night soon overtook us, and about half an hour after sunset the barking of dogs gave us notice that we were near the suburbs of Smyrna. We reached the city gate, now shut, which was opened for a trifling consideration. We entered on the land side, and, as the Frank quarter is by the quays, we had nearly the whole town to traverse, under a deluge from all the waterspouts, which in Turkish towns are generally made to carry the rain from the roofs of the houses into the middle of the street. I inquired for a Frank inn, where I was accommodated with a very good chamber; and, having consigned the horses to the guide and desired Mustafa to lodge himself where he thought proper, after a good supper, I enjoyed a night’s refreshing sleep, which I had not been able to do since leaving Rhodes.

I may here observe that the country through which I had just passed, though at a season of the year when most naked in appearance, presents richer scenery than I had ever beheld, excepting perhaps in the environs of Brusa. There are magnificent mountains, vast forests, fertile plains, rivers with their banks overhung with myrtle, oleander, and willow, roaring cascades, rivulets—in fine, whatever Nature has to boast of may be seen in the space between Marmora and Smyrna.

How often, as we traversed the country, with timber, limestone, and all the facilities for colonizing, did[122] I not regret the obstacles arising from religion and prejudices, which must ever prevent the amalgamation of Western and Eastern nations!—that our superabundant population should be compelled to go in search of settlements to distant islands and continents, instead of recovering from their neglected state these once flourishing regions! Asia Minor is the field for emigrant labour; a country where the bounties of Nature are so happily distributed, in a climate so genial and so favourable to pleasurable life. Look at the bays, the gulfs, the havens, the harbours, that gird its shore; examine its mineral productions, its forests, its mountains, valleys, plains, and rivers: and description would fail in the imperfect attempt to paint such a noble region.

Baynder is twelve hours from Smyrna.

I did not forget, on awaking in the morning, to inquire, by means of Etienne, after the Christian’s horse, and I found that Mustafa had, according to my orders, consigned him over-night to the keeper of the caravansera which had been indicated by his owner.

I now turned my thoughts to the business on which I was come. Dressing myself in my still damp clothes, I inquired for the English consul’s house, and was shown up into a very handsome breakfast-room, quite in the English style, where a lady was preparing breakfast for two gentlemen, one of whom was Mr. Werry, the consul, the other Captain Beaufort.[16][123] My shabby clothes and somewhat equivocal appearance procured me no great civility from any of them, until I presented my letters to Mr. Werry, who, immediately on reading them, invited me to breakfast, condoled with me on the misfortunes we had suffered, and offered me every assistance in his power. Under his guidance, I employed my time in buying all sorts of articles, so that the merchants and shopkeepers could not imagine who I was, or why I could be laying in such a stock of goods.

I was one morning visited by a man in Turkish clothes, who addressed me in English. He told me he was a Welchman, and had come with a secretary to the English embassy, in the quality of servant, to Constantinople, where he had been induced to turn Mussulman. He said that he was poor and miserable, and was desirous, through my assistance, of escaping on board the Frederickstein, a British frigate, lying in the harbour, in order to quit the country. I professed my inclination to aid him, and addressed myself to Mr. Barthold, a gentleman connected with the consulship, to whom I told the story, and engaged him in the man’s interests. The means of his escape were all contrived; and, under the pretence of buying himself some necessaries, he obtained from us a few shillings, and left us under promise to come to the waterside at the time we appointed: but he never came, and, apparently, his object was no other than to get a little money from us.


Mustafa paid me regular visits every morning, being on board-wages of sixty paras a day. When the time drew near for our departure, Etienne told me many stories of the plots that Mustafa had laid in conjunction with a gang of thieves to rob and assassinate us on our return, and prayed me on no account to go back by land; I resolved to profit by his advice, but pretended not to take it. Foreseeing that my only chance of thwarting Mustafa, if he really were so disposed, was to mislead him, I desired Etienne to agree with the postmaster for what horses would carry the luggage, and continued my preparations as if going by land until the 17th of January, when, having everything in readiness, I found out a captain of a Greek saccolava or sloop, bound for Egypt, took him, for greater security, to Mr. Werry’s, and having agreed, in the presence of the consul, for my passage and my private accommodation in the small cabin, at the price of one hundred piasters, I, to the great astonishment of Mustafa, embarked the effects and ourselves the same day, and by evening we were on our passage to Rhodes.

We anchored that night under Yenghy Kalés, the castle that defends the entrance of Smyrna Bay. I had now time to examine my fellow-passengers, of whom there was a great number, but the only one with whom I could converse was a Catholic priest, who had studied at Rome, and spoke good Italian. Mustafa, disliking his berth in the hold, had made a bold[125] attempt to obtrude himself into my little cabin, which I absolutely opposed, as the medicine-chest, containing four or five hundred pounds in money, was there.

At noon the next day we weighed anchor, and, at sunset, reached a chiflik, or village, nearly opposite to Karabornu, where we cast anchor for the night. In the morning we proceeded for Scio, which we reached two hours after sunset, passing, in our way, the island of Eleusis. The wind and weather had been variable all day, and we had scarcely anchored in the harbour of Scio when a tremendous storm of wind, thunder, and rain, came on, and lasted all night: so we remained here, weatherbound, for three days.

On the 24th, a strong north wind having set in, we quitted Scio, and on the following morning found ourselves in sight of Stancho, which we were abreast of at sunset.

In the morning of the 26th, we weighed before daylight. Our course, owing to the nature of the coast, was very winding, and the wind that carried us from our anchorage would serve us no farther than to a port on the main land, called by the sailors Cavo Crio, which we entered.

Perceiving on the shore, and around the port, the ruins of a city, which I could distinguish by the columns and the size of the stones to be of no modern date, my impatience would scarcely allow me to wait until the vessel was moored, when I was put on shore; and the fruits of my observations during this and the[126] following day were as follows: premising that I discovered afterwards that these were the ruins of the city of Cnidus.

The ground is strewed with hewn stones, chiefly of the same materials as the rock on which they lie, but here and there of marble: the former seeming to be of a date more recent than the latter. In general, time and other circumstances have so entirely demolished the structures that it is impossible to trace out many of them with exactness. What I clearly ascertained were these:—

1. A portion of the city wall, passing at the back of the ruins to the south, parallel with the mole of the harbour: it had towers at certain distances, and bears marks of being the work of later ages.

2. A temple of the Doric order, the columns fluted and about three feet in diameter: of these none were standing. I could not make out the outline of the foundations of this temple sufficiently to ascertain its dimensions: neither could I discover any inscription that might throw light upon it.

3. A theatre in tolerable preservation, the benches being nearly all perfect, and only here and there overgrown with bushes. I counted thirty-six rows from the bottom to the top: there were two entrances, one at each wing, arched, and opening into the theatre about half the height of the benches. Within, close to the entrance on the right side (looking from the proscenium), there is a broad pedestal of marble somewhat[127] mutilated, but for what purpose designed I know not. Four alleys, about two feet broad, facilitated the passage of the spectators to the several benches. The whole is of an indifferently white marble. There were two doors in front, with a few steps, the traces of which are yet visible.

4. Adjoining to the theatre, the outline of a stadium may likewise (I think) be traced: but, as it was not very evident, I give this as a conjecture only.

5. At some distance from the theatre, and about halfway up the mountain, (for the site of the city is on a rocky soil, which comes down with a gradual slope to the harbour,) in prying among some bushes almost so thick as to be impenetrable, I discovered the ruins of another temple, the columns of which were much smaller than those above mentioned, and fragments of the capitals showed that they were of the Corinthian order. Portions of the entablature lay on the ground in the same disposition that they had occupied when upright.

A person versed in antiquities would have been able to distinguish many other interesting things. For instance, near the last mentioned temple is a structure which I knew not what to call. Its dimensions are too small to constitute it a theatre: it represented the segment of a circle, less than a semicircle: it had benches, beneath which ran a vaulted passage which served as an entrance.

After having finished my examination of the ruins, I[128] climbed up the rock at the back of the city wall; but it was barren, and I found nothing to repay the fatigue.

The 26th, during the night, we had a tremendous storm, which continued until the noon of the 27th. On the 28th the weather set in fine. We weighed anchor, and, quitting our snug little port with a fine and favourable breeze, we were not long before we saw Rhodes, which we entered at sunset. It being too late to land, I deferred my disembarkation until the following morning, when the cases were all safely conveyed to the Frank quarter.

I found Lady Hester established in a small cottage by the sea-side, about a league from the town, in a straggling village, named Trianda, whither Christian inhabitants are accustomed to retire in the summer season: and from this spot she addressed a letter which may find a place here without impropriety.

Lady Hester Stanhope to ——.

From a little habitation three miles from the town of Rhodes.

January 13th, 1812.

My dear ——,

Captain Beaufort will tell you in what sort of situation he and Captain Hope found us here, and that the latter is so good as to give us a passage to Egypt. I cannot say how much I feel obliged to both of them for the kindness they have shown us. Probably we shall see something more of Captain B. when he returns to this part of the world, and then I shall have the pleasure of hearing again about you.


I know no news of any kind, as our Firmans are not yet come from Constantinople; when they do, I suppose I shall hear from his Excellency.

I hear a party of fine gentlemen are come out to fish up curiosities, and that Mr. Gell is amongst the number. If I see anything of them, I will send you an account of all their learned airs, and the wise faces they will probably make over every crooked stick and worn-out stone which may meet their eye.

I find poor Mr. Taylor has been ill. Pray mention how he was when he got to Malta; he is such an amiable man I cannot but feel interested about him; and, if he is still with you, remember me very kindly, and say I beg another time he will travel with plenty of medicine and a few more comforts, in case of illness. Poor François must have been half out of his mind when he saw his master so ill, and without assistance, though I am sure he would do all he could for him, and he is an admirable nurse.

Captain Barrie, I find, has lost his fine ship. He had on board a most magnificent dress B. had sent home, and some beautiful Dresden china I picked up in a Jew’s shop, for which I paid about the tenth part of its value: also a very fine pelisse for old Mr. B.—— and all these things are lost. I am so sorry, too, for Captain B.; but as for the quiz of an ambassador, his losses concern me not at all.

If Captain Whitby should come into Malta, pray tell him that I bore in mind how much cold affected him, and had got him a very good pelisse, but that it is gone to the bottom with everything else. I think I have little more to add than my constant good wishes for your health and comfort. Do forgive this sad scrawl, but I write upon my knee, having no table in the house. B. desires to be most kindly remembered to you, and believe me,

Ever yours, most sincerely,

Hester Lucy Stanhope.


Much anxiety had been caused by my long absence. The cases were opened, and the party assumed their new dresses. Ignorant at that time of the distinctions of dress which prevail in Turkey as in all countries, every one flattered himself that he was habited becomingly. Lady Hester and Mr. B. little suspect what proved to be the case—that their exterior was that of small gentry; and Mr. Pearce and myself thought we were far from looking like chaôoshes with our yatagans stuck in our girdles. For each, in the choice he had made, had been guided by fancy: not considering that in all countries particular costumes are affected by particular ranks and professions: and that, excepting in the case of public functionaries, simplicity combined with the intrinsic value of the materials is, more than show, the mark of the private gentleman.

All the servants had been dismissed. As a recompense for their losses in the shipwreck, they had been promised each a new suit of clothes, and Lady Hester, not finding cloth to make them in Rhodes, had deferred giving them until we should get to Alexandria. This was construed by them into an evasion; and they thought, by threatening in a body to give up their service, that they should compel her into a compliance: but she immediately turned them off. Etienne, who was absent, though not involved in the cabal, having been detected in administering remedies as a doctor, was likewise dismissed.[131] One servant only was now left—Georgaki Dallegio, a native of Syra, in the Archipelago, who had offered himself as a footboy to me, whilst I was at Constantinople. He served me in this capacity for some weeks: and, being then somewhat under the eye of Lady Hester, who observed his attention and activity, he was taken into her service. He was a dark-complexioned boy, extremely alert, intelligent, and speaking three or four languages.

The island of Rhodes is no doubt more picturesque and fertile than any other in the Archipelago. The town of Rhodes must have once been very handsome and regularly constructed, since those parts of it, built by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, which still remain, attest its former respectability. There is still one street nearly perfect, where, according to tradition, the Knights resided. Escutcheons are sculptured over several doors. The fortifications, if kept in repair, might still be formidable. In several streets are to be seen those large stone balls which were thrown from the cannon during the siege of the place by the Turks; and one of these enormous guns still exhibits its immense, but, I believe, harmless mouth from the castle. It is well known that the Jews, for having betrayed the place to the Ottomans, obtained the privilege of residing within the city walls, which is generally denied them in other parts of the Turkish dominions.

The town has baths, several mosques, and derives[132] much wealth from the passage of shipping to and from Egypt, which generally touch here. Of the ancient colossus I can say nothing. There are two harbours, and it is even disputed across the entrance of which the giant strode. The harbour where vessels enter is more properly a basin, with hardly water enough to float a small ship; although, not many years back, it is said a frigate could enter. There is a small dockyard here, and the bey builds annually, I was told, a sloop of war, which he presents to the Porte, as part probably of his tribute.

The inhabitants often mention the vast sums of money which were spent by the English here, when, on the Egyptian expedition, the fleet rendezvoused in Marmora harbour. Oranges, usually sold forty for a piaster, rose to a piaster apiece; and so of other provisions. The fact is, that the English, go where they will, raise the price of articles unnecessarily to the most exorbitant pitch.

The city stands on the north-east extremity of the island, on a sandy tongue of land, which exposes it in the winter to the storms prevalent in that season, but gives it an agreeable freshness in the summer. There are several windmills on the point. The Frank quarter is removed from the town a few hundred yards: it is composed of a mixture of Greeks and Franks; which latter give themselves, by wearing a Frank dress, the only title they have to the name.[133] The wife of the Imperial agent, or, as he styled himself, consul, was my washerwoman.[17] The women of Rhodes weave good silk shirts, which are esteemed in the Levant. I bought a few that lasted me in very constant wear for three years.

Captain Henry Hope, of the Salsette frigate, having heard of Lady Hester’s shipwreck, sailed to Rhodes from Smyrna, and offered her and her party a passage to Alexandria. A ship, riding at anchor off the island, was by no means safe at this season of the year, and he became very urgent for us to embark, which we did about a week after my arrival. Nothing contributed so much to banish the recollection of the past shipwreck as the security we now enjoyed. The wind began to blow strongly the night we embarked, and compelled us to seek refuge the following morning in the harbour of Marmora. I had entered it on a former occasion by night, but I now had a complete view of it. Its mouth is between two mountains, wooded with firs down to the water’s edge, and affords a zigzag channel deep enough for the largest ships. After running some considerable distance, until the sea is lost sight of, the harbour then opens, landlocked on all sides. Around it considerable mountains rise from its strand, excepting where the little valley shuts in the town of Marmora. It is said that the bottom is excellent for anchorage, and that a more secure haven cannot be found.


The storm lasted throughout the following day; but on the 11th we sailed again with a fair wind for Alexandria. On the 13th, before sunset, we made Pompey’s Pillar, which serves as a landmark to mariners; and, standing off for the night, we entered the west harbour of Alexandria about nine on the following morning.

Alexandria strikes the spectator, when seen from the sea, as a handsome town; and it is the same with all Turkish towns up the Levant, which have much beauty in the exterior of the buildings; but, unlike many others, Alexandria does not belie its external appearance: it was then spacious, and adorned with handsome and lofty buildings, and I have no doubt is now much more so.

Colonel Misset, the British resident, immediately sent Mr. Thurburn, his secretary, to compliment Lady Hester on her arrival.



Reception at Alexandria—Inhabitants—Commerce—Fortifications—Battle of Abukír—Administration of Justice—Servants—Climate—Asses—Ruins of Old Alexandria—Lake Madiah—Passage boats—The boat with the Author and his party pursued and the passengers made prisoners—Their liberation—Bay of Abukír—Lake Edko—Porters—Rosetta—House of Signor Petrucci—Fleas and musquitoes—The town of Rosetta and environs—Sedentary habits of the Turks—Abu Mandur—Exportation of corn—Mashes, a kind of barge—Voyage up the Nile—Banks of the river—Rich soil—Villages—First sight of the Pyramids—Bulák—Cairo—Pasha and his suite—Lodgings—Lady Hester’s attire—Her visit to the Pasha—Mameluke riding—Horse-market—Opening of a mummy—French Mamelukes—Mr. Wynne—Dancing Women—The Pyramids—Narrow escape from drowning.

We were conducted to the Frank quarter, where Lady Hester was provided with a small house; whilst Mr. B., Mr. Pearce, and myself, were accommodated with rooms in different families. I took up my abode with Mr. Maltass, the English consul, who was anxious to have my advice on a chronic complaint to which he was subject; and I have found, in my intercourse with[136] people in the Levant, that, although disinterested hospitality is a virtue which they both know and practise, still my professional services were no small recommendation in securing me a more hearty welcome. The Turkish houses are in rows as in English towns: but the Franks, for security from plague, riots, and the domiciliary visits of marching troops, inhabit quadrangular buildings, which have one strong gateway as an entrance, within which a staircase leads to the corridor on the first story, and around it each family occupies its separate apartments, the basement story being reserved for stables and warehouses.

The impression left by the short reign of the French in Egypt was still observable. The Franks assumed here more license than would be tolerated in any other place in the Turkish dominions; though still less than they did, before the failure of the last expedition of the English, which convinced the natives that the Franks were not irresistible.

Alexandria is a large maritime port, and the vast number of vessels in the harbour gave sure evidence of its commerce. At the time to which this narrative refers, the sale of corn by the Egyptian government to the English brought in an immense profit to the Pasha of Egypt, who monopolized that branch of commerce entirely; as he had done, by degrees, every branch that was lucrative. Thus the rice mills, formerly held by industrious individuals, whose separate interest excited a competition in the trade, were in 1814–15–16[137] all taken into the hands of the pasha. It was said that the Armenians, who were at this time much employed about the person of the pasha, in the capacity of scribes, bankers, tax-gatherers, and the like, were the persons who prompted him to these measures, which in Europe would have been considered beneath the dignity of governors and viceroys, but are countenanced in Turkey by the general conduct of all persons, however exalted their rank, only excepting the sultan.

To house the grain that is brought to Alexandria, the pasha, in 1815, constructed on the strand of the western harbour a vast magazine, the dimensions of which make it an object worthy of curiosity. It is a single room, one hundred and twenty paces long by fifteen broad, and the roof is supported by one hundred and twenty shafts, surmounted by blocks of wood roughly worked into something in the shape of a capital, but with no resemblance to any of the orders of architecture, and probably not intended to imitate them.

As the pasha holds Alexandria to be the key of his dominions, he has fortified it with ramparts, which his courtiers may tell him are impregnable. In 1813, he demolished the old Saracen walls, which took in the circuit of what is called the old city, comprehending to the south-west a heap of ruins and rubbish greater in extent than the modern town itself; and, on the site of them and from their fragments, he erected a high but feeble wall, which, as it extends over a space so[138] considerable as to require a large garrison to defend it, is, from its thinness, thought not to be capable of opposing a besieging army. It was reported that he likewise intended levelling all the inequalities around the city which could afford a cover for troops, so as to make a glacis down to the bed of the lake. Pompey’s Pillar and Cleopatra’s Needle have been too often mentioned to require any description.

A morning or two after our arrival, we accompanied Mr. Thurburn over the field of battle of the 21st of March, 1801, when the English made good their footing in Egypt. The plain where the battle was fought has neither ditch nor wall, nor indeed anything to impede the movements of horse or foot; and the trial between the contending armies must have been that of courage more than skill. The entrenchments, which the French threw up after the battle, and where they made a stand of some weeks, were still visible.

But the achievements of the French in Egypt, to be candid, seem to have been a series of brilliant victories, not the least of which was the last defeat of the Turks, when, under the conduct of the grand vizir, they were routed on the same ground where the English afterwards beat them.

The native Christians of Egypt (I am disposed to believe) did not like the French as masters so well as the Turks. In one respect, they made a comparison between the two nations, which, from the proverbial venality of a Turkish cadi, was truly laughable. They contrasted the promptitude and celerity in the administration[139] of justice by the Turks with the dilatoriness and endless forms of the French courts. For example, they said, a Turkish governor sends for a man accused of a crime, and puts him face to face with his accusers. Both parties are heard, and either the accused man is acquitted, or forthwith he is bastinadoed or beheaded, and there is an end of the matter; or he is imprisoned, and told that ten, fifteen, a hundred, or one thousand purses are required of him. The prisoner sets his friends to work, who contrive a secret interview with those who are supposed to have most influence with the governor. To one they will say, “There are a thousand piasters for you; speak a good word for our friend.” If there be some lady who is thought to have captivated the governor, she receives from an unknown hand a diamond ring, and is required to have pity on a distressed family. In this way the governor is worried right and left: he relents: half the fine, or perhaps all of it, is remitted, and the prisoner is set at liberty. But with the Europeans, they say, a suit is never ended: and how should it, when it is the interest of so many persons, notaries, procureurs, and advocates, to perpetuate it?

Our time, owing to the kindness and hospitality of Colonel Misset, passed very agreeably. The colonel, whose long residence in these parts had made him a connoisseur in the Turkish dress, was much amused with our costumes: and he might be with reason, for, as I have said above, they were very ill assorted.


What Lady Hester’s opinion of Alexandria was may be shown from a letter she wrote about this time to one of her correspondents:—

Lady Hester Stanhope to ——

Alexandria, February 12, 1812.

My dear ——,

I have not time to write a long letter, as we leave this place to-morrow for Cairo.

Colonel Misset has been very kind to us, but the person to whom we owe the most obligations is Captain Hope: nothing can have equalled his attention and good nature. What we should have done without him I know not; perhaps he will be the bearer of this, and he will then give you a full account of us and of our intentions.

This place I think quite hideous, and if all Egypt is like it I shall wish to quit it as soon as possible. When I have seen the pasha, I trust my letter will contain a little amusing if not interesting matter: it would be affected in me to retail (even had I time) the news of Alexandria, as you must receive it all from higher authority. I have little more to add, at present, than my constant best wishes, and to trouble you to forward the enclosed letters; the packet to Lady Bute have the goodness to send by the first opportunity. I wish you could see the letter I received from her not long ago. She is a woman of ten thousand; so amiable herself, yet so indulgent to others, and so sincere a friend.

Adieu, my dear ——,

And believe me ever sincerely yours,

H. L. S.

Captain Hope (Chivalry Hope he is to be called, for the old knights of Malta and Rhodes could not have deserved more[141] praise from Burke)—Chivalry Hope then has taken under his protection a box of conserves for you. Alas, they are by no means so good as those I lost, or of the various sorts chance then put me in possession of; but accept them, dear ——, as they are. Colonel Misset has allowed me to take one of his iron beds; if it could be replaced from Malta I should be very glad, as I fear he will feel the loss of it. B—— desires to be most kindly remembered to you.

Some time was necessary to replace the servants who had been dismissed at Rhodes; and our stay was also prolonged at Alexandria in order to purchase such articles as we had been unable to obtain at Smyrna: but, at the end of a fortnight, preparations were made for our departure to Cairo.

I cannot take leave of Alexandria without adverting to the common belief of the little rain and great heat that is to be met with there. I was lodged in a house which overlooked the East harbour; and it was rarely that I had to complain of the heat. There were some houses, built with lofty saloons on the same side, which did not require even the windows to be opened to keep them cool. It is true that, to any one caught in some spot where the rays of the sun have full play, and where the wind has not, the heat is intolerable: but not so to those, however, who will so far exert themselves by riding or walking as to excite a copious perspiration.

The common beasts of burden in Egypt are asses, whose easy and quick pace renders them agreeable as well as serviceable. As the Turkish soldiers pay or do not pay for riding, according to their fancy, the ass-drivers[142] teach their animals to distinguish those unwelcome guests from better paymasters; and no sooner does a soldier, whose exterior denotes the bad state of his purse, lay hold of one of them, and mount him, than the ass feigns himself ill, and neither kicks nor blows can make him move a step. Some of these asses were hired to carry the luggage down to the edge of Lake Edko, which it is necessary to cross in going to Rosetta.

Mr. Pearce and myself, accompanied by an old janissary, whom Lady Hester had brought with her from Rhodes, set off early in the morning of the 28th of February. We passed through the ruins of the old city, where a few granite columns, the brick subterraneous cisterns, and that mass of stone and bricks which covers the surface for so many feet in depth, could not fail, though so often seen, of arresting our attention. Nor does the mind want objects to dwell upon out of the walls, where the remains of foundations, fragments of marble, and a soil composed of the remnants of art, forcibly strike the beholder, and give rise to the melancholy reflection, how vast a city has fallen to decay! At the end of two leagues, we came to lake Madiah. Here a number of small barges, or flat-bottomed boats, ply for passengers; and, before embarking, much time is to be spent in bargaining for the passage, or much imposition must be submitted to. Woe to him who manifests too great an anxiety to depart! he is sure to pay for it. Nay,[143] the mere exclamation of “How hot it is!”—“I wish we could get to a place where we could find something to eat”—or any like marks of impatience, cost some piasters more: and, as the boats are all subject to one master, there is no flying from the extortion of one to another. We at last settled the price; and, about twelve or one o’clock, got the luggage and ourselves on board.

Our crew consisted of an old man and a boy. There was no wind, and we were pushed along, as the lakes are seldom so deep that a pole cannot reach the bottom. We had proceeded about two miles on our way towards the mouth of the lake, where it enters into the bay of Abukír, when we heard a halloo; but, not supposing it to be intended for us, we paid no attention. Soon afterwards it was repeated, and we saw some persons running along the shore and hailing us. Our old helmsman then said there was something the matter, and that we must turn back. We strongly objected to this, and as fast as he pushed the boat round we altered the rudder to bring her back again. However, as he persisted, we suffered him to do as he pleased. Presently, when we were within half a mile of the shore, a boat was observed coming off to us, and a musket-shot whistled over our heads. We could distinguish that the people were armed soldiers, as well those on shore as in the boat. Mr. Pearce and myself could do nothing but wait patiently to know what was meant. The boat came alongside,[144] the steersman directed our boatman to quicken his speed, and kept close to us as we neared the strand. When within a stone’s throw, I cried out in Turkish—“What do you want?”—upon which we saw an Albanian, who appeared to command the rest, kneel down to take aim at us. Our old janissary no sooner beheld the muzzle of the gun than he dropped down in the boat: he expected the Albanian officer (for such he proved to be) would have fired; but the people with him were evidently urging him not to do so. We reached the shore, and were immediately seized, disarmed, and a volley of oaths and imprecations was vented upon us. In vain our trembling old janissary said that we were Englishmen, belonging to a great English person, and that those who did us harm would rue it: he was not heeded.

We were marched along the dam that separates Lake Mœris from Lake Madiah, upon which there is a block-house, built, I believe, by the French: we were led into it, and told that we were prisoners. It was with difficulty that we could learn why we had been stopped, until, at last, we comprehended that there was an existing order that the passports of all persons were to be examined before embarking, for some reasons of government, and that we were accused of having endeavoured to evade the order. The soldiers treated us very roughly. At last, a circumstantial conversation having convinced the officer that he was detaining persons who might get him into[145] trouble, he began by ordering us coffee, and softened his expressions. But we had been too much insulted (as we thought) to be reconciled so easily; and we threatened him with punishment.

It was now about eight o’clock at night; and I proposed to the Albanian captain to let me go up to Alexandria, leaving Mr. Pearce as a hostage, to which, either from fear, or else because he thought people might advise us to give him a present and let the matter drop, he consented. Taking the janissary with me, I set off, and arrived, about eleven o’clock, at Alexandria, where my return created no small surprise. Colonel Misset, being made acquainted with our detention, immediately sent his dragoman to the Governor; and, although he had retired to his harým, a place where great Turks are never interrupted, the dragoman, by the Colonel’s order, insisted on his being called up. When the business was heard, a proper officer was sent back with me, with orders to the Albanian to set us at liberty immediately. I returned to the dam, and there I found Mr. Pearce asleep in the boat, exposed to the dew, which in Egypt falls profusely, and passing a supperless night. No sooner was the Albanian taken to task for what he had done, by the officer who had accompanied me, than he became very humble; but we accepted none of his apologies or proffers of service, and waited impatiently for morning, to be gone.

This is one of three or four disagreeable adventures[146] that happened to me from contemptuous behaviour towards government officers in Turkey. Had we quietly returned to the shore, when first hailed, there could have been no plea whatever for detaining us; but our apparent wish to get away naturally irritated the guard, and brought on us the treatment we experienced, and which, perhaps, we deserved.

When it was day, we quitted the block-house and re-embarked; and, the wind blowing fresh, we soon came to an outlet, which was once the Canopic branch of the Nile, by which we got into Abukir bay; and, after coasting the shore a mile or two, entered Lake Edko, the mouth of which is, like that of Lake Madiah, a narrow opening into the sea, with little or no current. The bars of these bogàzes are not free from danger, though less so than the mouths of the Nile, where a large stream of water makes, with the opposing wind and sea, most dangerous breakers. We sailed up the lake, until we came to the village of Edko. As the water grows quite shallow near the shore, the boats generally ground as far off as one hundred yards, when immediately the porters come and take the luggage and the passengers on their shoulders, and carry them to dry ground. There cannot be a more robust race of people than those who work on the lakes of Egypt; they are often very tall and muscular: they have no other clothing than a blue smock frock, which is generally tucked up with little regard to decency.

At Edko a second bargain was to be made for the[147] hire of our asses to Rosetta; which being effected without entering the dirty village, where all these boatmen and porters resided, we proceeded towards Rosetta. The mirage, which we saw on the sands between Edko and Rosetta, was indeed a deception most striking: for nothing but the conviction, which arose from going over the ground where the mirage appeared, could have convinced us that it was not a sheet of water. About half way, the road passed through a forest of palm-trees, where the sands were exceedingly heavy, and might be supposed to be very moveable, since numbers of these palms were buried up to their very branches.

As we entered between the brick walls of the city of Rosetta, their appearance was not calculated to excuse the defeat which the English arms met with, before that place, in 1805. We wound through several narrow but well-built streets, and arrived at last at the Frank quarter on the banks of the Nile, where our mule-driver brought us to the house allotted for us: it faced the river, commanding a prospect of the country on the opposite side, which, being entirely flat, is very little diversified. But the Nile itself is a never-ceasing source of amusement; being at all times covered with barges, crowded with men, cattle, and goods, and with pleasure-boats, not much inferior to those on the Thames. The house which we were to occupy belonged to M. Petrucci, a gentleman who had been long in the service of the English: it had[148] not been inhabited for some time, and was so full of fleas that all the pains which were taken could not effect a clearance.

And it may not be out of place to observe, that, to a European, or at least to an Englishman, neither deliciousness of climate, nor the fertility of soil, nor the brilliancy of costumes, nor, finally, even the splendid remains of antiquity, which present themselves in that country, can counterbalance the distressing sensations which the fleas and musquitoes give rise to. Whatever pains he may take to keep his body free from fleas he tries in vain; in vain he repeatedly changes his linen, has his room swept, and resorts to all the measures he can think of to rid himself of these troublesome creatures. The first native who pays him a visit undoes all his labour, and he finds himself and his room filled anew. No remedy is then left him but to forego all society; which, if he resolves on, he necessarily foregoes, likewise, part of the advantages he must have proposed to himself in his travels—the study of the manners and customs of the people he is among. With respect to musquitoes, a net will certainly save a person from their sting during the night; but, in the evenings, when he would be anxious to pass an hour in reading or writing, he has the mortification to find himself assailed by a score of almost invisible enemies, whose bite does not fail to be the poison of his comfort, and obliges him to leave his studies in despair. It may seem to some persons that all this is[149] unworthy of the consideration of a traveller; but let them know that many a one has gone from Europe to Egypt to visit its antiquities, and has perhaps never, when at Cairo, summoned courage to finish the few remaining miles to the Pyramids, because the sun was too hot: such is the effect of trifles on the success of all enterprises.

Lady Hester arrived the next day, accompanied by Mr. B. and Captain Hope. The few days we spent at Rosetta were agreeably occupied in visiting the town and its environs. Rosetta is well built, and, in the private streets, has several fine, lofty houses. It is spacious, and not to be judged of by a mere superficial view of the street facing the Nile and of the markets. The Mahometan inhabitants were not courteous to Franks; nor are they generally so, wherever I have been, excepting when, from some motive of interest, they affect a civility which is not real. Rosetta, being the thoroughfare for trade from Alexandria to Cairo, is a place of great business, as the crowded warehouses and barges loading and unloading testified; for barges alone, owing to the shallow water over the bar at the mouth of the river, enter the port. The environs of Rosetta are celebrated for their beautiful gardens, which we should rather call orchards, as containing chiefly fruit trees, with ploughed ground beneath them, which is intersected with trenches made for irrigation. Parterres of flowers, green turf, winding or strait walks, are unknown[150] there, and the so-called gardens present to an Englishman an appearance totally foreign to what the name imports in his own language. But the native of Egypt asks for nothing but shade and running water; where, spreading his carpet, he lights his pipe, and reclines at his ease. If you sit down and converse with him, and contrast his indolence with the pleasure of strolling through serpentine walks with an agreeable female companion, or of straying through woods with a philosophical friend, he replies that conversation can never be so pleasurable as when held without fatigue, and that the beauties of nature are as striking to the tranquil spectator as to him who hurries hastily over them. He styles the restlessness and bustle of the Franks but a fever of the mind, from which he thanks God he is free.

We visited the town of Abu Mandûr, to the south of the town, where were the head-quarters of the English army in 1805. The facility with which Rosetta was taken, and the neglect by which it was immediately lost again, were talked of very frequently by the natives, who knew not how to reconcile the failure of the latter invasion with the complete success of the former, when the successful one was against the French, the conquerors of Egypt, and the latter against the Turks, so often beaten by them.

We visited the public bath, near the Frank quarter, which exceeds in elegance the baths of Alexandria and the greater part of those of Cairo. The fertility of[151] Egypt was well exemplified by the vast heaps of corn of all kinds that were lying on the wharfs, ready to be shipped for Alexandria, but particularly of wheat, the exportation of which, by English transports, formed, at this time, no small part of the revenue of the viceroy: and there is no better proof of it, than the vast fortunes that were amassed by individuals from agency and brokerage only.

Lady Hester’s stay at Rosetta was no longer than was sufficient to prepare the boats necessary for conveying us up to Cairo. The Nile was at this time at its lowest ebb. Two barges of a large size were hired, one for Lady Hester and her maids, and one for Mr. B., Mr. Pearce, and myself. They are called, in Arabic, mashes, and are very commodious; they have sometimes a single lateen sail, sometimes two or three. The portion of the vessel towards the stern is covered in, like a London pleasure-barge, and the mouldings and doors are neatly carved and gilded. They have two cabins of about eight feet square; small indeed, but sufficiently large to contain a bed, to eat in, and for whatever purposes a cabin can be wanted. The sail is used when the wind is fair, and, from the windings of the river, it happens that no one wind is always unfair: if the sail will not serve, then towing is resorted to; and the sailors show no little skill in keeping the head of the barge to the stream, and in forcing her onwards. There is a fireplace in the forecastle, and every village on the banks of the river[152] supplies eggs, milk, and poultry: so that nothing can exceed the convenience of such a conveyance.

Having taken leave of Captain Hope, who returned to Alexandria, we left Rosetta, on the 9th of March: and, proceeding up the Nile, we sailed in company for two days, generally landing once or twice a day to walk by the river-side, keeping pace with the boats, which often ran aground, owing to the sand-banks that abound, when the water is low. Not far up the river, in conformity with a promise I had made the Mufti of Rosetta to visit his brother, shaykh of a place named Debby, abreast of which we now were, and which is about a mile from the waterside, I landed; and, accompanied by Mr. B. and Mr. Pearce, was conducted to the house of the shaykh, who was labouring under ophthalmia: I gave him a collyrium, and we took our leave. As a mark of his gratitude for this little service, he sent on board three live lambs, one hundred eggs, and a gallon of milk, having previously overwhelmed us with thanks. We re-embarked: the stream was gentle, and the motion scarcely perceptible. Celebrated as the Nile has been in all ages, it has nothing to recommend it in point of beauty, and the water is the most turbid that can be seen. The third day, our barge ran aground so firmly, that, during the time that was spent in getting her off, Lady Hester’s barge got so much the start of us as to reach Cairo one day before us: and when we arrived, on the 14th of March, the sixth day from our[153] departure, she was already settled in the house prepared for her.

During the season of the ebb of the river, the banks are so high that nothing whatever can be seen from the boat; it is necessary, therefore, to land to get a view of the country. When landed, the eye roves over an endless plain, the sameness of which is broken by groves of date-trees, and, in the midst of them, on low eminences, generally stand villages and towns. The spectator feels a kind of loneliness, and is forced to recall to his mind the productiveneness of the land—to balance the useful with the agreeable—before he can bring himself to admit that Egypt in reality equals its renown. When, however, he walks inland a few furlongs, when he beholds the richness of vegetation, the variety of grain, the indescribable fatness of the soil—the whole together, if he reflects, must forcibly strike him as an example of fertility, well worthy of all the praises that poets and historians have bestowed upon it. The miserable villages of the peasants were an assemblage of hovels, made of mud, or of mud bricks baked in the sun. As they are fearful of Bedouins, or robbers of other kinds, the village is generally shut in by a mud wall, more often rudely quadrangular than otherwise, of a height sufficient to prevent a man’s getting over. To this there is one gate. On entering, a street somewhat wide generally leads from it, and here will be found the villagers squatted on their haunches, eyeing with suspicious[154] looks every stranger that enters, lest he should be some government officer, some soldier, or one of those from whom they are accustomed to experience harm or loss. If the stranger, led by the curiosity natural to a European, should endeavour to penetrate farther into the village, he finds himself, at every instant, opposed by a blind alley; or he winds through a lane which, perhaps, brings him out just where he entered: and, in some villages, we found mazes more intricate than the Cretan labyrinth is reported to have been. Then the alarm of the women running to hide themselves, and of the children scampering after them, the jealousy of the husbands, and sometimes the barking of dogs, make it altogether difficult for a European to do more than to seat himself in some open space, and limit his curiosity to the sight of what comes before him.

As a strong wind generally prevails during the heat of the day, the dust raised by it is sometimes borne in such volumes as almost to blind a person: and it is this that serves (not to generate, but once generated) to keep up the ophthalmia so common in Egypt. Eyes that have once become sore are seldom entirely cured in this country; and the soreness either terminates in blear eyes or blindness.

We were within ten or fifteen miles of Cairo, and at dinner, when we were informed that the Pyramids were in sight; we naturally rose from table, and hastened to behold these wonderful monuments: but at this distance they excited no astonishment, for the[155] size of their bases is so large as to render their height much less striking than it otherwise would be.

In the night of the fifth day from our departure, we arrived at Bulák, where are the warehouses and quays of Cairo. We had retired to rest, and, on waking in the morning, the crowd and bustle on the shore marked the vicinity of a metropolis. The mode of conveyance all through Egypt is on asses for short distances, and on camels for longer ones. The asses are trained to go at an amble so expeditiously and pleasantly that Indolence could not invent anything more agreeable. Their saddles were not made of leather, but of a sort of web, and stuffed, with a high pummel and low croup, to a considerable thickness. The stirrups were of bronze, and of the shape of those worn by the hussar cavalry. The bridle reins were made of silk and worsted, with gay tassels. The whole furniture of a gentleman’s ass would cost not less than from five to ten pounds. Each ass had its driver, who ran behind with a small goad, and warned the passengers to clear the road; and, as the passengers were many, and the roads generally narrow, his lungs were never at rest for a moment.

Being all mounted, and the luggage-asses loaded, we set off about nine o’clock in the morning for Cairo, which is (as far as I recollect) about a mile from the river. In entering the city from this quarter, the road passed through a large meadow in the suburbs, called the Usbekéah, on one side of which was the[156] palace of the pasha. He happened to be returning from a ride at the moment we were passing; and, just in the centre of the meadow, where the two main roads cut each other at right angles, he came up one as we came up the other. He was on a mule, accompanied by a numerous suite, more splendidly mounted and dressed than any retinue I had ever seen in Turkey, except in the imperial procession at Constantinople. Our ass-drivers immediately told us to get down until the pasha had passed by, which, being unaccustomed to such orders, we did not comply with. The pasha cast his eyes upon us, and naturally concluded we were strangers. His suite looked indignantly upon us, as if they waited for the word to make us dismount by force; for the liberties which the Franks think themselves entitled to in Turkish countries are always beheld with an eye of jealousy. The pasha passed on to his palace, and we entered the streets of Cairo.

As the Frank quarter is close to the Usbekéah, we soon came to it, and were shown to Lady Hester’s house through some streets hardly ten feet broad, and where the bow windows on the first floor almost touched: it was insufficient to contain all the party, and Mr. Pearce and myself had to look out lodgings for ourselves. He chose the Franciscan monastery, and I the house of a merchant, built in the flourishing times of Egypt. In some respects, it exceeded any house I afterwards saw. Every room, for the[157] sake of coolness, was floored with marbles, variegated in mosaic work, and wooden blinds, of curious workmanship not unlike the backs of old-fashioned cane chairs, admitted a dim light into the room, and excluded the glaring rays of the sun. The inmates of the house were the merchant himself and a black slave, his mistress—a gentleman who was said to be an apostate Jew, and who had at different times been commissary in the English army, a merchant, and I know not what—an Italian merchant who had become bankrupt, and who was in lodgings until he had retrieved his affairs; and a young clerk. In Turkish towns, where Franks are established, it is not uncommon to meet with adventurers of every kind; and those quiet persons who live by honest and plain dealing would fall into poverty in this country, where chicanery is considered as admissible in all transactions.

Lady Hester’s first care was to equip herself with proper clothes to appear in before the pasha. She chose (among the costumes of Mahometans) that of the people of Barbary, I believe of the Tunisians, and purchased a sumptuous dress, beautifully embroidered, of purple velvet and gold.[18] I dressed myself in the common costume of a gentleman or an effendi.

In four or five days everything was ready for this[158] important visit, no doubt very interesting to the pasha, as he had never seen an Englishwoman of rank before. Indeed her Ladyship’s arrival in Cairo had created a wonderful curiosity in all ranks both of Turks and Christians, and everybody was ambitious of her acquaintance. The pasha sent five horses, richly caparisoned after the Mameluke fashion, on which we mounted, and were conducted to the Usbekéah palace. Much honour was shown her on the occasion: as in the number of silver sticks that walked before her; in the privilege of dismounting at the inner gate; and in other such trifles, which are, however, the scale by which the spectators measure the consequence of a person.

The pasha, rising at her entrance, received Lady Hester in a small kiosk, or pavilion, being a detached room in the garden of his harým, painted and gilded so beautifully within and without that it looked like a fairy palace. The room had a divan or sofa of scarlet velvet gorgeously embroidered with gold, on three sides, and a fountain in the centre. A delicious sherbet of a green colour was first presented in cut glass cups: the pipe was presented, but declined by her ladyship, who had not yet learned to smoke. Coffee was then served in china cups, supported in[159] gold zerfs, ornamented with precious stones. The pasha smoked a rich pipe, and drank his coffee out of a cup equally costly: he is a small man, and was plainly though richly dressed. I do not now recollect what the conversation turned on. The visit lasted about an hour. The person who acted as interpreter on the occasion was Mr. Boghoz, a gentleman of the most courtier-like manners, and who, to a great fidelity of interpretation, of which, from his knowledge of many languages, he was perfectly capable, added an amiability that seemed to embellish the phrases he had to repeat. On taking leave, we were shown through the apartments of the harým, at that time under repair. They were in too confused a state for us to judge what they finally would be; but the ceilings which were finished had not half the taste that I afterwards observed in the arabesque gilding in some of the old houses of Cairo and Damascus.

One of our first employments in Cairo was to see the best riders of the old Mamelukes, whose reputation for horsemanship in Turkey is unrivalled. For this purpose we rose every morning with the sun; and, mounting asses, went to the open space in front of the castle, where the parades and drills are held, and where the officers of the court amuse themselves in throwing the girýd. The result of what we saw during ten or fifteen days was that a Mameluke will, in the bas airs of horsemanship, do as much as a European, but that his practice is[160] founded on no rules, and is derived from a cruel exercise of the power that an irresistible bit gives him over the animal, who is otherwise so overweighted with a heavy saddle and accoutrements that he cannot resist if he would.[19] The rapidity of his charge for a short distance, and the suddenness of his halt, are likewise matters of admiration. We were, however, present at Cairo at a time when the most famous of the Mamelukes no longer existed. The massacre of 1811 had destroyed or dispersed the whole of that body, and their very name and attire were enough to expose a person to suspicion.

The Place, or square before the castle, was likewise used for buying and selling horses. A common riding horse fetched about ten or twelve pounds, and a very good one about double that money. Franks, however, always seemed to have some disadvantage in purchasing, from their ignorance of the language, and their general custom of being more liberal of their money than the Turks and Christians of the country, and hence they always paid dearer.

Soon after our arrival, Monsieur Drovetti, the French consul, a Piedmontese, invited Lady Hester[161] to be present at the opening of a mummy. I went with her, and there we found also Mr. Milner and Mr. Calthorpe, English gentlemen on their travels. A French surgeon performed the dissecting part, which consisted in dividing a vast number of folds of fine linen or cotton which bandaged the body tight round from head to foot. When these were removed, the right hand was found to hold a papyrus. The features were not in good preservation. But M. Drovetti had in his possession the head of one so little changed that the spectator could with difficulty persuade himself of its great antiquity, as the features, hair, and teeth, still existed in good preservation. The surgeon drew a tooth from the mummy before us, which broke in the extraction, as a recent one would do.

Frequent opportunities occurred of seeing the troop of French Mamelukes, which remained in Egypt in the service of the beys after the evacuation of that country by the French army. Their complexion and look rendered them distinguishable from the other cavalry of the pasha. They were (by guess) from thirty to sixty in number; and, when the remnant of the Mamelukes fled to Nubia, they joined Mohammed Aly Pasha. As renegadoes and deserters, they would not seem to deserve our esteem; but the circumstances of the times in which they changed their religion and their masters must serve as their excuse. Certain it is that those whose sentiments we had an opportunity[162] of knowing did not repent the change. He that was a soldier in the French army, and subject to the hardships of a soldier’s life, found himself enabled, as a Mameluke, to keep his horse, his groom, and, what most accords with a Frenchman’s ideas, to take a wife and repudiate her as often as he liked, without scandal too. And he that worshipped the Goddess of Reason, or had no religion at all, had adopted a creed at least of some sort, although the creed of an impostor. As their characters accorded but very little with those of the Egyptians, so did their manners; which, with the exception of sitting and dressing like a Turk, were as much French as ever they were. They played at billiards, drank, and gamed as heretofore, and were always to be found in the Frank quarter.

Some days after us, Mr. Henry Wynne, brother of Sir W. W. Wynne, arrived at Cairo, with a dragoman and servant, having crossed the Desert from Gaza in Syria, on camels. That servant was the means of saving the life of Lady Hester Stanhope, and two or three persons who were with her, when returning from the Pyramids. This excursion, though the Pyramids are so near to Cairo, was not then altogether free from danger, or at least strangers who were desirous of visiting them were led to believe so. Lady Hester, therefore, engaged the French Mamelukes with their captain to accompany her, and she invited Monsieur Aslyn, a French savant and[163] linguist, residing at Cairo, to be of the party. Mounted and armed, we left Cairo in the afternoon. Four camels carried a tent, provisions, and water. We proceeded to Old Cairo, on the east bank of the Nile, once the capital of Egypt, and now in complete ruins, where it was settled that we should sleep. Mr. Pearce and Mr. Wynne were also of the party. Lady Hester had apartments provided for her in a separate house, and, being fatigued, retired to rest almost immediately.

Not knowing how to pass the evening, we resolved to send for the dancing women. As it was late, they were not found without difficulty; at last three came, attended by their keeper, who was likewise the tabor player. Just awaked from sleep, their motions at first were sluggish; but it was suggested that liquor would animate them: the experiment was tried, and succeeded admirably: they became gay, and accompanied their dancing with such gestures as are supposed to constitute its chief excellence; but, as they were devoid of grace, not being first-rate performers, they excited disgust rather than admiration.[20] They had[164] castanets on their fingers, with which they made good music. A blouse, with a girdle round the waist, was their only covering.

And here it may not be amiss to contrast with this light dress the usages of Europe with regard to the stays, bandages, collars, and other means, by which it is endeavoured to give uprightness and justness to the female shape. No race of people can be better formed than the Egyptians, who, from their infancy, scarcely wear any covering but a blue cotton shift with a girdle. They know not what stays are; yet, to see the women as they walk along, one is tempted to call them all tawny Venuses.

The next morning we ferried over the Nile; and, riding across the country for about six miles, through fields where reapers were now harvesting, we came to[165] the edge of the Desert, about half a mile from the Pyramids. On the top of the highest we perceived a man, who, the Mamelukes said, was planted there to give notice of the approach of Bedouins from the side of the Desert. On any alarm the peasants immediately retired with their cattle to a place of safety. The moment we could suppose he had made out what kind of persons we were, he scampered down the outside, just as if it had been a staircase; and, having met us, offered himself as a guide to conduct such as wished to mount to the top. The height is nearly 500 feet, and it was necessary to clamber, taking advantage of the receding layers of the stones that compose the vast mass, and making use of them as steps. From the summit we enjoyed a prospect, which is singular in its character, presenting on one hand a line of verdure intersected by the Nile, and of a cheerful aspect, with flocks, herds, and villages; and on the other a sandy desert, so dreary that it makes the beholder shudder merely to look across it. An English traveller, who had preceded us a short time, had acquired a temporary celebrity, by passing a night on the top of the Great Pyramid. We descended, and prepared to enter these stupendous monuments of antiquity: this was done by stripping off as much clothes as decency will permit, to save being too much oppressed by the heat within. Lady Hester, not choosing to venture in, awaited our coming out under a tent.

The first suggestions of common sense are often founded on better grounds than the parade of reasoning[166] will allow them to be. Every person who enters the chamber of the Great Pyramid would immediately and naturally say, when he saw the granite cist in the centre—this was a sarcophagus; and to enclose that in security from sacrilege, or for the purpose of veneration, has been the object of the builder of this vast pile.

Having carved our names over the door, and breakfasted near it, we left the spot to return, and arrived at the Nile before sunset. Here it was necessary to divide into separate parties, as the ferry-boats were of unequal sizes. Lady Hester Stanhope, Mr. B., Mr. Wynne, his servant, and myself, entered one which was both rickety and dirty, and rowed by a single man. The river at this place was broad, and the stream rapid. We had reached the middle; when, either from the strain which the old man made with his foot against the ribs of the boat, or from pure rottenness, a plank sprung in the bottom, and the water gushed in in a stream. In a moment we should have been overwhelmed. George, Mr. W.’s servant, whilst others were staring at their danger, pulled off his turban, and stuffed it into the leak; then, doubling his fist in the boatman’s face, he declared with vehemence that, if he did not pull with all his might, he would kill him. Urged by his fright, the man laboured hard, and we reached the shore. George there pulled his turban out of the hole, and the boat sunk immediately. We got to Cairo without any further danger; our horses having been ferried over in barges at the same time with ourselves.



The Author returns to Alexandria, in company with Mr. Wynne and Mr. McNamara—Proceeds to Rosetta—Coast of the Delta—Deserted hamlet—Brackish water—Misery of the Peasantry—Mouth of Lake Brulos—Dews of Egypt pernicious—Brulos—Melons—Egyptian encampment—Quail-snares—Arrival at Damietta—Honours paid by the Pasha at Cairo to Lady Hester—Description of Damietta—Rice mills—Large oxen—Salt tanks—Papyrus—Literary Society—Abûna Saba—Lady Hester arrives at Damietta—Tents and baggage—Servants—Fleas, &c.—Departure from Damietta—El Usby—Sameness of scenery in Egypt—Naked children—Increase of the Delta denied—Martello towers—Iachimo hired—We sail for Syria—List of the party—French Mamelukes—Wages of servants in the Levant—Arrival at Jaffa—Customs in seaports—Costume of Egyptian women.

I had not been long at Cairo when the alarming indisposition of an English lady at Alexandria was the cause of my returning thither. She was a bride, and on the day of her marriage had fallen so ill as to induce her husband to send off to Cairo for a physician. Of those who were applied to, none chose to go without[168] an exorbitant remuneration: and Lady Hester, feeling for the situation of the patient, asked me to take the journey. Mr. Wynne was on the point of his departure for Alexandria on his way to England; and the next morning I embarked with him on the Nile in his kanje, which is a pleasure barge, covered in with a pent roof like the others, but of a more light and elegant construction, and calculated for expedition. Mr. Wynne had likewise invited to be of his party Mr. McNamara, an English gentleman who had made a short excursion into Egypt from Malta to satisfy a rambling disposition. The passage down the Nile was very rapid; and the time passed agreeably. It was on the third day that we reached Rosetta, where we found lodgings with an Italian, named Dannese, whose house had been converted into an inn for the accommodation of travellers: but in a few hours we departed for Alexandria by the same route that I have described on a former occasion.

On arriving there, I had the happiness to place the sick lady out of all immediate danger: and having, by the end of the month, restored her to convalescence, and learning from Cairo that Lady Hester was on the point of quitting that city for Damietta to be there by the beginning of May, I lost no time, but quitted Alexandria for Rosetta, where I hired beasts of burden to proceed to Damietta, by land, across the foot of the Delta.

I had with me a Turkish servant named Mohammed,[169] by birth an Egyptian, who had quitted his country with the French army, in which he had served several years as a drummer. He was deformed, drunken, and of a bad character. Accompanied by Mohammed and a guide, I prepared to depart the following day for Damietta, when, early in the morning, I was informed that the pasha had passed through Rosetta in the night, and that one of my horses had been pressed for his service, although, as he was expected, they had been by precaution ferried over to the opposite bank of the Nile the preceding night. This created some delay; for Mr. Lenzi, the English agent, was some time before he could find another to replace it, as almost all the cattle of the town had gone off with the suite of the pasha. It was, therefore, about ten o’clock before I left Rosetta.

Having crossed the Nile, we gained the sea-side immediately, and continued along the sands until about four in the afternoon, having on our right, between us and the interior of the Delta, a slip of waste ground in sand hillocks, within which I could figure to myself the fertile fields and meads of the Delta, although I could not see them. The date-trees grew down to the seashore. About four o’clock in the afternoon, we took a path that inclined inland, and passed for an hour through sand hillocks, barren and unsightly, among which grew scattered date-trees. It was evident, after a time, that my guide had lost his way. At last we beheld some cabins, of a sugar-loaf shape,[170] to the number of ten or twelve, built of sunbaked bricks. We naturally expected to find in them inhabitants, and with them water, of which we and our animals were much in want: but, on coming up close, we discovered that they had been recently deserted.

It was now sunset, and there was no prospect of bettering ourselves: so my servant spread my mat, and arranged my bed as well as he could on the sand; for I objected to sleeping inside the huts through fear of vermin. In the mean time, I observed the guide scraping with both his hands, like a rabbit in the sand; and in a few minutes he called to Mohammed to bring him a cup, or whatever he had, to lade out water. On approaching the place, I found that he had made a hole of not more than five feet in depth, at the bottom of which water oozed out plentifully enough for us to water the horses with it, and to drink ourselves; but so brackish was it, that nothing but great thirst could induce a person to swallow it, and not even that could render it palatable. Thinking that its nauseous taste might be disguised by coffee, I boiled some; but, so far from benefiting by the change, it seemed as if all the saline particles were set afloat in it, and it was not possible to drink it. With bread, therefore, and such few provisions as we had brought in our knapsacks, I made a poor supper, and slept through the night. The dew was heavy, and by morning our coverings were as if dipped in water.

This hamlet (as the guide told me) had been[171] deserted to avoid the extortions of the proprietor of the land: for it is not uncommon in Turkey to fly from the oppression of a master as the only means left of resisting his encroachments; since, if he does not wish his fields to lie waste, he is necessitated to lower his demands and recall the peasantry. These emigrations from spot to spot are easy in such a climate; and a very little provocation drives them to it, where the whole household furniture of a family is only the load of a camel or an ass.

We proceeded early next morning on our journey; and my guide, as if apprehensive of losing his road a second time, regained the seashore as soon as possible. The sameness of the prospect rendered it a very dull day; and, after twelve hours’ continued march, we arrived, after sunset, at the mouth of Lake Brulos, on the opposite side of which we observed many lights as of a village or a town. But the ferrymen, who are accustomed to ply there, were already retired to their homes; and we were obliged, after bawling a long time in vain, to look about for a place where we might pass the night. On the edge of the lake we found a fisherman’s hut, large enough to hold one or two persons: this was given up to me. There was, fortunately, in it a large jar of water, which was looked on as a treasure. The provisions were dried up by the sun, and I again made as bad a meal as I had done the preceding evening: for then, if the provisions were good, the water was[172] brackish, and now the change in the water was counterbalanced by the bad state of the provisions.

However hot the days may be in Egypt, the nights never fail to be cool; and the dews are exceedingly pernicious, whenever the body, heated by the sun or by exercise, is too suddenly exposed to a check of perspiration. In the morning, when I awoke, I was surprised to see myself near the foot of a fortress built of brick; it served, or perhaps its time was gone by and it had served, to defend the entrance of the lake, which is narrow and deep. Some ferrymen came soon to carry us over, which, from the smallness of their boat, was a work of some time and difficulty.

Brulos stands close to the sea and the mouth of the lake: it shows marks of having been a much larger town than at present; it has a pretty look at a distance, from two or three white cupolas of mosques, and as many minarets. The old town, or what remained of it, was brick; the bricks of Egypt are of a deep red cast approaching to black. The modern houses were sugarloaf-shaped, of sun-dried bricks. Brulos is celebrated for its melons.

We made no stay there, having a long day’s journey to accomplish. Although the soil was mostly sandy, uncultivated, and barren, still the road was more pleasing than that by the seashore. We saw, soon afterwards, the ruins of a large village. Towards noon, at a turning in the road, a most agreeable[173] and novel sight presented itself; which was no other than a small encampment, probably of some lord of a village come to levy contributions. These lords were formerly the Mameluke beys, and, under the present pasha, some of his officers. The chief’s tent was conspicuous from its treble compartments, connected with each other by small corridors: it was of green, ornamented with stars and flowers. The other tents, though smaller, were coloured. In front of the encampment were tethered the horses, all stallions, whose neighings very pleasingly broke the stillness of mid-day, sometimes as profound in hot climates as that of midnight. None of the horsemen were out; but some were seen lying at full length in the tents, taking their afternoon’s nap.

We proceeded onward; and nothing occurred, excepting that we passed occasionally among ploughed fields. Towards evening, we came upon a large sandy plain, two or three leagues over, where we observed strait rows of reeds, planted on a broad circular base, and narrowing to a point where they were tied. Some of these rows seemed to run for a mile or two, each bundle at ten or fifteen yards’ distance, I was informed that within them there were snares; and that, whenever a cloud passed over the sun, the quails, which at certain seasons of the year frequent the plain, immediately run to hide themselves in these places, where they are caught. I had no time to examine them, that I might ascertain the truth of this[174] story. At sunset we reached the banks of the Damietta branch of the Nile, and were immediately ferried over. I was received very courteously by a native gentleman named Airût, who was already apprized of Lady Hester’s intention of coming to Damietta, and had vacated his house for her reception.

During my absence from Cairo, it appeared that the pasha, anxious to do honour to Lady Hester Stanhope, had reviewed his troops before her, and had presented her with a charger magnificently caparisoned. This horse was afterwards sent to his R.H. the D. of York. Abdhu Bey, who was the flower of the pasha’s court, and was said to be a very aspiring nobleman, likewise gave her a fine horse, which was, at the same time with the other, sent to the Viscount Ebrington. Mr. B. received a handsome sabre from the Pasha, and a fine cashmere shawl from Abdhu Bey.

Damietta is a large town, on an elbow of the Nile, on the eastern bank, about seven or eight miles from the sea. The houses are principally of brick: those upon the river enjoy an agreeable coolness, and command the most amusing prospect of any city in Lower Egypt; since the passage of large vessels over the bar of the river up to the wharfs affords a change of scene not observable elsewhere. The Christian quarter is at the south end of the city, and has the peculiarity, observable at Alexandria, of okels or quadrangular buildings for the Franks. The Franks, however,[175] were few in number at Damietta at the time I speak of; consisting only of a medical practitioner and a dragoman attached to the English consul; although there were several other persons who were denominated agents for different European nations, and, as such, were entitled to many of the privileges of Franks.

Rice mills are the main source of wealth to this city as well as to Rosetta. These mills were formerly the property, and under the direction, of individuals, who enriched themselves greatly by them; but, as the pasha of Egypt meddled with everything whereby money was to be gained, he had also recently monopolized the mills, allowing none but his own to work, by which means he sold the rice at what price he pleased. We must except that of Mr. Surur, the English agent at Damietta, who obtained a licence for one year (as I had heard) by a present of fifteen purses, equal to nearly £400 sterling.

A rice-mill is generally a spacious brick building, divided into a stable for the oxen, granaries for the rice, a room for the mill-wheel, and, lastly, rooms where the hammers beat the husk off the rice. Rice, when brought from the fields, somewhat resembles barley; but the grain is pale and smaller: it may be called an aquatic plant; since, from the moment it is sown until it is harvested, it remains almost continually under water, every irrigation covering the soil to the depth of six inches.

The whole machinery of the rice-mill seemed rough[176] and simple. A pair of oxen turn a wheel, the beam or axis of which passed through a hole in the wall into another room, where it had, at two, three, or four intervals, strong wooden cogs projecting from it, but not in the same line. These cogs, as the beam went round, pressed, one after the other, upon the ends of wooden levers, which were from ten to fifteen feet long, and suspended, not in the middle, but at a third part of their length from where the pressure was made; so that, when that pressure was taken off, they, by their own weight, fell down with great force. To this heavy end, in the manner a hammer is fixed to its handle, were fixed the rice-huskers, which were hollow cylinders of iron with sharpened edges, two and a half or three inches in diameter, much the same in form as a saddler’s punch. Where the hammers fell there were small bins, holding about a bushel of rice; and with the rice was mixed a proportion of salt. Every two hammers, with their bins, were generally so near that a man could sit between them, and, with either hand, reach one and the other.

The cogs then, pressing alternately on the ends of the hammer handles, bore them down, and consequently raised into the air the end to which the cylindrical pestle was attached. At this moment, the man seated by the bin gave the rice a rake with his hand, so as to heap it up just where the pestle would strike, which, losing its pressure at the short end, fell down with great violence on the rice. The second hammer[177] was now up, and the man’s second hand performed the same office for the second bin; and so, alternately, for one and the other. No one, on entering a rice dairy (for so the mills are called in Arabic), could view the situation of the man who plied at the bins without horror. A moment’s forgetfulness, either to remove his hand in time or to hold himself in an upright posture, subjected him to have his arm crushed to atoms; and the noise of the pestles was worse than the din of any engine I ever heard.

But there were mills where the pestles were raised by men’s feet; one man pressing alternately, with his two feet, first on one lever and then on the other.[21]

Some of the oxen employed in the rice-mills were of a prodigious size. I measured the largest of Mr. Surur’s, and found it to be eight feet long from between the horns to the edge of the os ischyi, near the tail, and[178] six feet one inch high from the ground to the withers: but they were not so fat as in England.

The environs of Damietta were, like those of Rosetta, covered with orchards, rice grounds, and corn fields. Towards the sea were some extensive salt tanks, from which Egypt and Syria are supplied with that useful condiment, and salt consequently formed an important article of export: they were about a league and a half from the town, in a north-east direction. On arriving at the spot, a vast number of shallow pits were observable, with a trench leading to each. At a certain time the sea water is let into them; and, when of a proper depth, they are left to evaporate for a sufficient number of months, until the evaporation is completed, when the salt is scraped up, and carried to the quays of the river on asses.

Close to these salt-pits, we were told, grew the papyrus. M. Basil Fackhr, the French agent, was obliging enough to send a man, with another gentleman and myself, who were curious to see this plant, to the pool of water where it grew. I found it to resemble the bulrush, with a cylindrical velvety head on a long stalk, and thought it to be such a rush as I had frequently seen in England. I brought away with me two or three.[22]

There were some literary men in Damietta. Travellers are too hasty in forming their opinions of[179] Levantines and the other subjects of the Turkish empire, when they fancy them to be grossly ignorant of book-learning. It will surprise many persons to know that, at Damietta, there was a small society of Christian merchants, at the head of which was M. Basilius Fakhr, who met for the purpose of reading and translating into Arabic such European works as they judged to be wanted in that language. They had already made versions of fifteen volumes upon different subjects; among which I recollect Lalande’s work on Astronomy, Tissot’s Avis au peuple, Volney’s Ruines de l’ancien monde; but the others have escaped my memory. Their meetings were held at each other’s houses in the evening. One of the members was a learned monk, named Saba, whom a ten years’ residence in the Società de Propaganda Fide, at Rome, had made perfect master of the Italian language. He had been called by his clerical duties into Syria, where he was chosen superior-general of the monasteries of the schismatic Greeks, to whom he belonged. It was to his scientific acquirements that the little society was chiefly indebted for the treatise on Astronomy by Lalande: and his loss was severely felt by it.

The day after my arrival, Lady Hester, Mr. B. and Mr. Pearce, reached Damietta. Great additions had been made to the retinue and baggage. There were six green marquees, ornamented with flowers. Several light coffers had been purchased, for the purpose[180] of mule carriage, of the peculiar manufacture of Egypt; being made of a slender frame of date-tree laths, as tough almost as metal, and yet light and spongy.[23] Nothing that could serve to render travelling in Syria agreeable had been neglected.

My servant, Mohammed, had been guilty of some trifling peculations, and I was under the necessity of dismissing him. The other servants, who had been hired at Alexandria, gave little satisfaction; but the country afforded no better. It will be seen hereafter that they were only making a convenience of their mistress, in order to get a passage to Syria and a sight of Jerusalem.

The first and most urgent business after Lady Hester’s arrival was to visit two or three vessels on the river, and to examine how far they were fit for our passage to Syria. Our misfortune at Rhodes had made us timorous; and, although the gales of wind, customary in the winter season, had ceased to blow,[181] our fears were yet awake to the risk of embarking in Levantine ships. A three-masted polacca was at last hired.

Our stay at Damietta was not long: for the fleas, musquitoes, and flies, engendered by the neighbourhood of the rice-marshes, rendered the place, during the spring of the year, insupportable as a residence. Some altercation had likewise taken place with our host, Maalem Ayrût, and this rather served to hasten our departure. On the 11th of May, therefore, we embarked on board the polacca, and sailed down as far as the bar of the river. Here all our luggage was transferred from the ship to flat-bottomed barges, and, the tents being pitched on the sands, we passed the night in them.

In descending from Damietta to the mouth of the river there are several villages, hamlets, and single cottages to be seen on its banks. The last place is El Usby, on the east bank, where the Christian merchants often go to recover their health when labouring under chronic maladies. It has the benefit of being near the sea; otherwise, it is a town just like the other towns of Egypt. Variety from hill or valley, wood or lawn, is looked for in vain in a country where the soil is one uniform level, subject to one uniform culture, and with productions which differ very little from province to province.

Naked children, both girls and boys, were seen running along the edge of the river, begging for biscuit[182] from the ships that were entering and going out; but they generally know that ships from long voyages have little to give away, and they rather follow those which, coming from Syria, may have laid in provisions for five days, and perhaps have run their passage with a fair wind in two. El Usby had a fortress with large cannon upon it, and, we were told, barracks for a great number of men.

The river, when it has reached the sea, turns suddenly to the east, so that vessels were obliged to keep close to the shore for nearly a mile before they were properly clear of the bar. Just at this turn are the foundations of a fortress at a small distance in the sea, which once guarded the entrance. I know not of what age this fortress may be, but certainly its present position is no proof of the inroads that the land is said to make on the sea, for I question whether it would be possible, at the present day, to lay the foundations of a structure farther in the water than where this one stood, and hence we may presume that the sea has rather gained on the land, since the architect would not have exposed his work to the effects of water when he could have lost no advantage of defence by placing it a few yards more inland.

When crossing the Delta, I was remarkably struck by the nature of the sea-coast about Brulos, and likewise both before arriving at it and after having passed it. Immediately at the back of Brulos there was a sand hill of a conical shape close to the sea: it was,[183] if I rightly recollect, bare not only of trees, but of shrubs also. To the east of it were others, and they continued to some distance. Similar eminences existed elsewhere along the coast of the Delta. Such were Mutro, a high land between Rosetta and Brulos, and Ras el Kebryt, between the latter place and Damietta. Now if the soil of the Delta is to be considered as a gradual deposition, from the earliest times, of the alluvions of the Nile, the phenomena would, most likely, every year, or every score of years, or every century, be the same; we therefore should expect to see that these lofty sand hills would be but one of many other similar chains that had succeeded each other in the course of ages. But, although I have never seen the interior of the Delta, yet, as far as I learned by general inquiries, its surface is a perfect level. It would therefore be more reasonable to suppose that the elevations were once the sites of buildings, and (if we do not allow them a more solid basis, in giving a natural instead of an adventitious one) that they are heaps of ancient ruins, which, forming a nucleus for the sand, have since swollen to their present magnitude. If, then, they are heaps of ruins, and of an unknown date, it is evident that the soil has not gained on the sea, for the sea touches the foot of them; and if the soil has made no advance in twenty years, allowing its encroachments to be gradual, why should it in a hundred, or a thousand, or ten thousand?


At the mouth of the Damietta branch of the Nile the French constructed two martello towers, or circular fortresses of brick, which command it entirely, one on either side. We passed a very agreeable afternoon in our little encampment. The arrangement of the tents, which now were pitched on service for the first time, was an amusement of an hour or two. To this succeeded the games of some Greek sailors, whose vessels lay near ours, and who danced, played at hop-step-and-jump, and wrestled in front of the tents, in expectation of a present from Lady Hester. Their games brought to our notice a young Ragusan, named Iachimo, who was about to sail in one of the Greek vessels for I know not where, but, hearing that we wanted a servant, came and offered himself. He was the voucher for his own character, and was immediately engaged at twenty-five piasters per month, and, as he had been a sailor the greatest part of his life, we were certain in him of a helper that would not be sick on board, a matter not always sure when all the servants are landsmen.[24]

The next morning, the ship, now light, crossed the bar, and the moment she was well over and anchored, we followed her in sailing barges, together with our luggage. The land wind, opposed to the current of the[185] river, caused some roughness in the sea, and much reciprocal bumping was exchanged between the ship and the lighters. We sailed that evening.[25] We were accompanied by two of the corps of the French Mamelukes, of whom mention was made in the last chapter, who, with the approbation of the viceroy and of the French consul, had engaged themselves to Lady Hester as guards.[26] Their names were Selim and Yusuf; such, at least, were their Turkish appellations, and each had with him his groom, or, as they are called in Arabic, säys. We were in all thirteen persons, of which six were men servants.

In England, where servants work well, and one pair of hands does a great deal, six men servants would be considered a numerous retinue, and their cost would be considerable; but in Turkey it is not so, for wages were generally not more than ten shillings and sixpence a month for grown persons, and for boys or lads a meal a day and a few rags to clothe them in was as ample a recompense for their services as they could claim. Hence, in the house of a common merchant,[186] it is not unusual to see six or seven men and boys who are his servants, or porters, or errand boys; and his wife will have as many maids to her share.

Our voyage to Syria lasted five days, and was not disturbed by any accident. The captain and his crew were obliging and civil, which was all that was to be expected from them. The ship had no pump, but only a well, from which the water, in case of a leak, was drawn up by a bucket; and this is generally the practice throughout the Levant.

It was about four in the afternoon that we approached Jaffa, and in an hour’s time we anchored close to the port. Boats immediately came off.

Before we dismiss the subject of Egypt, a few words may be said on the costume of the common people. The poorer sort of women in Egypt were dressed in a blue shift made something like a smock frock, the sleeves being very large. These shifts have at the sides two slits in the place of pocket-holes, so long that it not unfrequently happened in bending themselves forward that their naked skin was seen. Over their faces was a slip of black cotton or silk (according to the means of the wearer) tied round the head by a fillet or tape. From the centre of this, in a perpendicular line, pieces of silver or gold, or sometimes pearls, were hung. Over the head passed a long blue or black veil, one end of which had its two corners stitched together for about three inches, and, the corner so stitched being put under the chin, the face[187] came out as through an oval opening in it. The sleeves of the shift, which tapered down to a point, were often, when the women were employed, tied by the points behind the back. The arms, thus left bare up to the shoulders, showed sometimes as much symmetry of form as would enchant a statuary or a painter. Their feet were very well formed: their skins were of a deep brown, and sometimes of a light polish: their eyes were universally of a dark colour.



Loss of journals—Difficulties in learning Eastern languages—Signor Damiani; his simplicity—Porters—Residence at the Franciscan convent—Lady Hester’s dress—Not distinguishable from a Turk—Description of Jaffa—Buildings—Environs of Jaffa—Orchards—Mohammed Aga: his revenues: his expenditure—Pilgrims: their sufferings—Object of their pilgrimage—Departure for Jerusalem—Mr. Pearce leaves the party—Peasants reaping—Ramlah—Its monastery—Locusts—Lyd—Departure from Ramlah—Sober exhortation of a drunken priest—Mountains of Judæa—Abu Ghosh—Supper—Guards—Selim’s apprehensions—Cold—Brothers’s prophecy—Jerusalem—Lady Hester’s lodgings—Dragomans—Visit to the governor—Kengi Ahmed—Emir Bey; his history—Holy Sepulchre—Mount Calvary—Visit to the Jews’ quarter—Bethlehem—Monastery—Bethlehemites reputed to be robbers—Horses—Accident to Mr. B.—Mufti’s dinner—Memorable places.

It was my misfortune, in the year 1813, to ship from Latakia for England two cases of effects, in which were my memorandums and journals from the time of quitting Rhodes until our landing in Syria. The plague[189] at that time was making great ravages in Malta; and these cases, having been landed there to be reshipped on another vessel, were lost; and to this cause it is owing that my narrative, up to the period of our arrival at Jaffa, is for the most part written from letters, scattered notes, and memory, and must, consequently, be liable to numerous errors. The foregoing pages may therefore be considered in the light of an introduction to our future course of proceeding, and the peculiar mode of life which Lady Hester will hereafter be seen to lead on Mount Lebanon.

It was now two years and three months since her ladyship had quitted England. We had become accustomed to the manners and costumes of the Turks; and our ears, which at first were offended by the undistinguishable mixture of so many languages, had now learned to admire the sonorous tones of the Turkish, and to relish the nasal and guttural ones of the Arabic; nay, we had made that great step towards speaking them which consists in having a perception of the articulation of words. From this perception the progress to articulating one’s self is rapid.

I had likewise surmounted another difficulty, which is apt to stand in the way of a young traveller’s improvement, and which is said to accompany the English more than the people of any other nation;—that of fancying the inhabitants of other countries their inferiors in breeding, dress, mode of living, and intellectual acquirements. I could already see that a Turk,[190] however perfidious he might be, was certainly well bred; and that an Arab, even though he were a liar, had still his glow of imagination and his eloquence. I had learned too by what scale to measure the expressions of such a people; and, having once obtained the customary variation from truth, I found no difficulty in most instances in arriving at the same degree of correctness as in other countries. I had discovered that, to view things with a just eye, a traveller must have neither self-love nor national prejudice: although it was long before I could conquer a feeling of anger which would arise when a Turk treated me with disrespect, merely because I was a Christian. But to return to my narrative.

There was an English agent at Jaffa named Antonio Damiani, born in the country, but of Frank parentage, his father having been in the service of the English at the same port before him. Our räis (or captain) had hoisted an English flag, which anticipated the news of Lady Hester Stanhope’s arrival: for the intelligence of her ladyship’s intended visit to Syria had reached Signor Damiani from Egypt long before our departure. His house, an old roomy building, was immediately prepared for her reception. The baggage was then landed, and conveyed by porters from the wharf.[27]


Her ladyship disembarked in the evening, and was received by the venerable agent with that patriarchal simplicity noticed by a celebrated traveller (Dr. Clarke), and which Mr. D. no doubt eminently possessed; since it was confirmed to us by his own assurance: nor did he fail to tell us that he was actuated in all he did by a disinterested love for the British nation in general, positively declaring that his agency was no source of emolument to him but rather a loss. No credit therefore should be given to those malicious persons who afterwards informed us that his father and he had made a vast fortune under the protection of the English. Besides, he assured us that the honour of having Lady Hester in his house was a sufficient recompense for any trouble or expense he might be at, and he hoped (as he told us three or four times) that she would not think of making him too large a present. Damiani was nearly sixty, and dressed in the Turkish costume, or, as it is designated among the Levantine Franks, the long dress, except that, instead of the turban, he wore an old cocked-hat, with his hair tied in a thick pig-tail, so as to give him the look of a boatswain in Greenwich Hospital. This was the dress of most of the Franks previous to the French Revolution: and whilst English commerce[192] flourished in the Levant. He was a widower, and had a married son about twenty years of age, or somewhat more.

Lady Hester being accommodated as above mentioned, we took up our residence at the Franciscan monastery, or, as it is called in the Levant, the Convent of the Holy Land. No time was lost in making the necessary preparations for our departure to Jerusalem. Eleven camels were hired for the luggage at seven piasters twenty paras each, and thirteen horses for the party, at six piasters each. The governor of Jaffa, Mohammed Aga, at her ladyship’s request, sent two horsemen to accompany us.

In addition to her more splendid habiliments, Lady Hester had, whilst at Cairo, procured a travelling Mameluke dress. It consisted of a satin vest, with long sleeves, open to the bend of the arm, which reached to the hips only, and folding over at the chest was attached with a single button at the throat and waist; over this again she wore a red cloth jacket, in shape like a scanty spencer, with short sleeves, and trimmed with gold lace. The trowsers were of the same cloth, gorgeously embroidered with gold at the pockets, as well before as behind. They were large and loose, as is the fashion in Turkey, and, when worn, formed, by their numerous folds, a very beautiful drapery. Over the whole, when on horseback, she wore the burnooz or white-hooded cloak, the pendent tassels and silky look of which gave great elegance to her figure. The[193] turban was a Cashmere shawl, put on with the peculiar fulness which the Mamelukes affect in their head-dress, and which is very becoming. This dress, as far as regards the sherwals (or trowsers) which were of the same colour as the jacket, is peculiar to Egypt: for throughout Syria the sherwals are almost always blue, and generally dark. But this Egyptian costume was more proper for her ladyship, because her saddle and bridle were Egyptian; being of crimson velvet embroidered in gold.

She was generally mistaken for some young bey with his mustachios not yet grown; and this assumption of the male dress was a subject of severe criticism among the English who came to the Levant. Strangers, however, would frequently pass her without any notice at all; a strong proof that she felt no awkwardness in wearing a dress which would otherwise have attracted general attention. The fairness of her complexion was sometimes mistaken for the effect of paint. I have already described the superb velvet dress in which she visited the pasha of Egypt, and afterwards the pashas of Acre and Damascus. It was as rich as anything of the kind possibly could be. But, after a longer residence in the country, the distinctions of rank were better understood, together with the costume affected by each, whether men of letters, merchants, military or naval officers, or men of independent fortune: it was then easy to see that she had adopted a dress not appropriate to her station. It was therefore[194] laid aside some time afterwards, and long robes were substituted. The riding dress, used by people of consequence throughout the empire, was nevertheless worn when requisite.

Jaffa does not rank as a city from its size; for many villages in Syria are as large: it is, however, the residence of the governor of an extensive district. This district comprehends four towns, Ramlah, Gaza, Lydd and Jaffa; besides several large villages. It formerly composed a part of the pashalik of Damascus, was some time a pashalik by itself, but had now for many years been ceded to the pasha of Acre, under whose jurisdiction its natural situation seems to place it. It embraces the sea-coast of the southern part of Palestine, and is one of the most beautiful tracts of country in all Syria. Jaffa stands upon a small rocky eminence close to the sea; and may be a mile or a mile and a half in circumference. It might, perhaps, contain three thousand inhabitants. It had an agent for the English, but for no other nation. It was walled on all sides, excepting on that towards the sea; and had bastions at the angles where cannon were mounted. The cannon had painted muzzles, and were pointed through whitewashed embrasures, in order that they might be distinguished at a distance. The wall was encompassed by a dry ditch, of no great breadth or depth. The fortifications were, for the greater part, new, and were the work of the then governor, who kept them in good repair, and, as it[195] was said, conceived himself master of a place that was impregnable: but walls not eight feet thick, and a ditch not as many yards broad, were not likely to realize his expectations. To the S. W. and S. there are several eminences which overlook the principal works within musket-shot. The houses are in terraces, one above another, and crowded together. The streets are most irregular; and, owing to the inequalities of the ground, and the steep descent from the land to the sea, the communication between them is either very circuitous, or by a flight of fifty or sixty steps.

It must be allowed that the governor had done much toward beautifying the city. He had built a small but neat mosque; a caravansery; a bazar; and a town gate (the only entrance to the city), which is much ornamented, and has a very showy appearance: but all these buildings, the gate excepted, are on so diminutive a scale, that the whole do not occupy so much ground as many single edifices in a spacious metropolis. These structures are of stone, as are the houses. The Governor had enriched his masonry from the ruins of Cæsarea, Ascalon, and other cities along the coast, whence he had drawn abundant supplies of granite, marble, and stone, ready shaped to the hand. There is a convent of Franciscans, where, at the time of our arrival, resided not more than six or seven monks: there is also a Greek and an Armenian monastery. The former is pleasantly situated on the quays that run along the edge of the[196] harbour, not far from the warehouses of the merchants, and is the most agreeable residence in the place. The other, converted into an hospital, is said to have been the grave of many Frenchmen, poisoned by order of Buonaparte, when he raised the siege of St. Jean D’Acre.

The environs of the city are planted with fine orchards; and, although the soil seems to be nothing but sand, yet, wherever it is watered, all the productions of the earth thrive. Fine water-melons grow here, and are sent in smacks to every port in Syria. The soil is irrigated from wells, by means of wheels of the rudest construction, round which earthenware pots, fastened to a withy rope, are made to revolve in the manner of a chain pump. These pots, dipping at the bottom, empty themselves at the top into a wooden shoot, which conducts the water to canals of mortarwork, from which it is distributed by trenches to every part of the orchard. In each of the orchards is generally a stone cottage, in which resides the gardener with his family. The gardener does the work either in consideration of a certain proportion of the profits, or else he hires the garden at an annual rent.[28]


Large flights of storks are to be seen in the fields round Jaffa.

The governor was named Mohammed Aga Abu Nabût, rather a handsome man, of middling stature, with a florid complexion, and a well-shaped and becoming beard. He had been a Mameluke of Gezzàr Pasha’s.[29] He exercised rigorously the administration of justice, and was the terror of thieves and robbers: his mildest punishment was amputation of the hand. His retinue was very splendid for his rank, and he already seemed to act the pasha, which indeed he afterwards became. He was very religious, either from conviction or policy.

Like other motsellems, or governors of towns, he had no pension; but, after having transmitted the revenue with which his government was charged in taxes, customs, and the like, he was then allowed to make as much as he could of his place. The public officers of the pasha were sent annually to examine his accounts about April, which is the commencement of the Mahometan year. These accounts were kept[198] by Christians, who are everywhere the bankers and secretaries of the Turkish governors, the highest employments to which a Christian can rise.

Easter was just over. Jaffa being, as we have seen, a small place, with little commerce and few buildings, what was our surprise to find it transformed from a dull fishing-town into a populous mart, by the arrival of the pilgrims from Jerusalem? The number of those who visit the holy sepulchre every Easter varies. This year they amounted, we were told, to about four thousand. As travelling by land subjects the Christians to some danger and much oppression, those, whose destination permits, take shipping at Jaffa for their respective homes. The shipowners of the Levant know the season, and there were vessels of all sizes daily entering the roads to wait for passengers.

The grotesque figures of these poor wearied pilgrims, as they came into the town from Jerusalem, were truly ludicrous. Wheel carriages being unknown in this country, the women are compelled to ride on mules, asses, camels, or horses; and, from timidity or economy, they generally put themselves into a kind of panier. Fear of the Bedouins and mountaineers makes them apprehensive of stopping excepting at Ramlah, the only large village between Jaffa and Jerusalem; and they sometimes travel for fourteen hours without rest.


The pilgrims, in the dresses and with the languages of their different nations, produce a confusion of tongues and costumes that could hardly be exceeded by the Crusaders themselves. Nor is religion the only object they have in view. The great fairs at Leipsic and Frankfort are not more essential to the commercial interests of the Continental Jews than is this pilgrimage to the trade of the Eastern Christians. It is here that they procure their precious gums, valuable medicinal drugs, herbs, &c., for which they barter pearls, precious stones, stuffs, and the like. There is also a great exchange of Damascus silks, Angora stuffs, Barbary shawls, against the productions of European Turkey. In fact, every pilgrim can dispose of what he wants to sell, and can furnish himself with that of which he stands in need.

The pilgrims this year from the western world were but few. There were three from Spain, one from Germany, none from France, and, excepting ourselves, no English.

It will, no doubt, be imagined that, sanctified by the performance of so holy a vow, and filled with religious sentiments arising from the contemplation of the scenes of our Saviour’s sufferings, the pilgrim returns home pure in heart, and with the good resolution of amending his life. But we were credibly informed that this was not always the case; and that the promiscuous assemblage of so many persons gave rise[200] to much depravity of conduct. There is an Arabian proverb which says—“Beware of pilgrims, of Jerusalemites, and of Bethlehemites.”

Jaffa still boasts of a manufacture of glass. The bottles that are blown are as fine as Florence flasks. It was on the second day after our arrival that we quitted Jaffa, accompanied by two horsemen. We had ten camels for our baggage, and fourteen horses and mules for the party. Mr. Pearce had declined accompanying Lady Hester any farther than Jaffa, having planned for himself a different route from that which she intended to pursue; we therefore left him in the monastery.[30] The road lies due east, at first through gardens, and is broad, commodious, and picturesque. After quitting the gardens, we entered the open country. A mile or two farther we discovered a number of peasants reaping barley to the tune of a pipe and tabor and the noise of a great drum. Near them were several tents pitched; and a number of young Turks, with small sticks in their hands, not used merely as emblems of authority, were urging[201] them on in their work. These were labourers working for the Aga or governor at the barley harvest. One of the peasants ran towards us with a wisp of barley in his hand, and offered it to her ladyship, asking a present. No nation understands better the art of extorting presents than the Arabs; and small and great are alike shameless in that respect.

After a march of four hours we arrived at Ramlah, and were received at the Holy Land monastery by an old monk, who happened on that day to have made plentiful libations to the rosy god. As the monastery has a vast number of cells, we were all conveniently accommodated. It is said to have been founded by Philip the Good.[31] It is a strong building, having on the ground floor vaulted rooms, serving for the refectory, kitchen, offices, &c., above which are the cells; and the outer wall is strong and high enough to secure its inmates from popular tumults, or the equally unpleasant visits of marching troops.

The country between Jaffa and Ramlah is undulating, and of a rich soil, as might be judged from the fine crops of barley. We were witnesses, on approaching Ramlah, to a sight so extraordinary, that the image of it will never be effaced from my recollection. We had proceeded about half way, when every now and then we observed, as we thought, a vast number of grasshoppers: presently they became more numerous. One of the guides informed us they[202] were called geràd, ( ) which at last we understood to mean locusts. Our attention was immediately roused at the name of this destructive insect. As we advanced, they became so thick that they covered the fields to the right and left of us, and were seen marching in a strait line, not to be stopped by any impediment. At one place, there was a house and a tree in their way; they covered both so completely, that neither stone nor trunk could be descried, and both objects appeared as if cased in bright green. The young wheat had disappeared before them, and dreadful was the havoc they had made. To look at them must have filled with despair all who had aught to lose by these ravages, since their numbers seemed to bid defiance to human powers of destruction. The observations that we had an opportunity of making at this time were few; but we shall have occasion hereafter to speak more largely on the subject. Ramlah, according to Abulfeda, was founded by Soliman, the son of Abdel Malek, of the race of the Ommiades, and was the largest city of Judea in the time of this author.

As we were to rest one day at Ramlah, we took that opportunity of riding over to the adjoining village of Lyd, the Diospolis of the Romans. The road was pretty and picturesque, lying between hedges of the prickly pear shrub, with here and there fields of grain that would have enriched the prospect, but for the havoc which the locusts had made. Lyd[203] is a village much smaller than Ramlah; it has a very fine church, said to have been built by Justinian. Having satisfied our curiosity, we returned to Ramlah.

We set off the following morning, having handsomely rewarded our host for the lodging he had afforded us. As I was taking my leave of him, he, being now sober, addressed me in the following terms: “I participate in the pleasure you must feel at the prospect of your visit to the Holy Sepulchre. You have already, young man, travelled a great deal. To have seen the noblest works of antiquity, to have passed over the spots distinguished by the exploits of famous men of old, will perhaps afford you many amusing and instructive reflections, and will serve to enliven an idle hour with your friends in England. But, in the decline of life, when worldly objects and pursuits begin to lose their interest, to be succeeded by others more serious and important, the remembrance of your pilgrimage will be as a balm to your mind, and will serve to maintain that wholesome meditation, which, though proper at all periods of our life, is more peculiarly so when we are about to quit it. Englishmen, whose country is so remote from the Holy Land, cannot, in the common course of events, hope to have opportunities of performing this sacred duty, and they are apt to assign to it no particular importance; but, in these Eastern countries, where the enemies of the Christian religion keep alive, by their[204] persecutions, the ardour of its followers, it is esteemed the principal action of a man’s life. He acquires the proud title of pilgrim; his manners assume a sanctity which he is bound to keep up by the strictest morality and by every religious observance; every honourable distinction is paid him. I rejoice, therefore, with you in your undertaking; and, in time to come, whenever, from the weakness of human nature, you swerve from the line of conduct which a Christian ought to follow, let the recollection of it lead you back to the path of virtue.” I thanked the holy father for his good wishes. He then asked me whether I would not take a little brandy before starting, to keep out the heat; and, on my refusal, wished me a pleasant journey.

For the first half hour we had a continuation of the same beautiful country that we had passed between Jaffa and Ramlah; after which we began to ascend the mountain. We were not yet accustomed to the rugged and winding paths of the mountains of Syria; otherwise we should not have been so much surprised as we were at those we encountered. The French Mamelukes, habituated for so many years to the plains of Egypt, expressed more astonishment than ourselves, and seemingly felt more alarmed: yet the road to Jerusalem, as we afterwards found, is much more practicable than many in Mount Lebanon.

We reached a large village, encompassed by vineyards and fig and olive-trees, where we were to encamp[205] for the night. The soil was stoney, and hardly afforded us a smooth place whereon to lay our beds. We were received very courteously by the chieftain, or shaykh, who may be said to have the keys of Jerusalem; since no pilgrims can pass from Jaffa, unless by his permission, as the road lies through his village, and is at once narrow, difficult, and lonely. Hence it is that he stands in little awe of the pashas who threaten or would intimidate him; for, with his mountaineers, though few in number, he can brave almost any force they can send against him; and the trial has been made often enough not to leave it doubtful. He exacts a severe toll from all pilgrims that are Christians, and levies contributions on the monasteries of Jerusalem almost at his will. His name was Abu Ghosh, and he had three brothers, shaykhs, nearly of equal rank with himself, since they participated, to a certain degree, in his power and plunder.

Abu Ghosh, then, received us very courteously, killed a sheep for us, gave us corn for our animals, and supplied all our wants. He was naturally curious to see and converse with a lady, who was travelling so splendidly, and who, he soon observed, was not to be numbered with the pilgrims in the habit of traversing his territory. For these, even if Europeans, are ill mounted and accoutred, and are rendered timorous by the exaggerated accounts that are given them by the monks of this chieftain’s cruelty. Finding[206] the talents and conversation of her ladyship, and the dignity of her manners, to exceed anything he had ever seen in Europeans, his delight was unbounded.

The supper sent from his kitchen was prepared, as he told us, by the hands of his four wives, who vied with each other in cooking some delicacy. The reader may be curious to know what these delicacies were. From one it was a dish of rolled vine leaves, containing minced meat. From another, kusas (known in England as the vegetable-marrow) stuffed with rice and minced meat. From the third, a lamb roasted whole. From the fourth, an immense dish of boiled rice, surrounding and covering four boiled chickens. Besides these, there was the pilaw of the country, with morsels of meat stirred up among it. All this made but a homely supper, yet it is the best that the culinary art of the temperate Arabs is capable of furnishing.

At nightfall, Selim, one of the Mamelukes, suggested the necessity of having guards planted round our encampment to prevent any attempt of thieves. Selim, it was to be conjectured, in the number of years that he had lived with the Turks and Egyptians, had experienced nothing but treachery from them; for he beheld every action of a Turk with distrust. The civility of Abu Ghosh he considered as extremely questionable; and he asserted that we had everything to apprehend from men generally robbers and always[207] extortioners, and who must have filled their imagination with notions of the vast wealth contained in our trunks. Her ladyship accordingly thought the best plan would be to ask Abu Ghosh himself for guards; and the old shaykh not only complied immediately with her request, placing five around the tents, but said that he should keep watch himself; and, ordering a large fire to be made, occasionally sleeping, occasionally sitting up smoking, he kept his post all night. The temperature of the atmosphere was very different from what we had found it in the plains, and the night was chilling and misty.

The following morning, on quitting Abu Ghosh, a handsome present was made him, and his guards were likewise well paid. Her ladyship and he parted great friends, and it will be seen hereafter that he invariably entertained a great respect for her. He had known Sir Sydney Smith, and the prowess of that gallant officer not a little contributed to heighten his admiration of the bravery of the English. We were escorted by one of the brothers of Abu Ghosh, and continued our journey through mountains less wild than on the preceding day, as we were now apparently on a more level surface, and in a less woody district. But the view was always rocky, the road stoney, and the soil barren and unfriendly to cultivation.

At some period of her life, when such an event appeared very improbable, Lady Hester Stanhope had been told by Brothers, the fortune-teller, that she was[208] to make the pilgrimage of Jerusalem, to pass seven years in the Desert, to become the queen of the Jews, and to lead forth a chosen people. She now saw the first part of the prophecy verified; and she often openly, but laughingly, avowed that she had so much faith in the prediction as to expect to see its final accomplishment. We approached Jerusalem, all more or less awed by the recollection of the scenes which had been acted on this memorable spot, a feeling which the appearance of it is well calculated to inspire. For several miles around it, the mountains are bare, rugged, and rocky, presenting a uniformly deserted appearance. The city is seen standing as if cut off from the rest of the world, and its high walls, on the outside of which no object meets the eye but here and there an insulated church, add to the gloominess of the prospect. We entered by the gate of Bethlehem.

The monastery of the Franciscans generally receives all European travellers, excepting women, who, by a rule of the order, are not allowed to lodge within its walls: and Lady Hester Stanhope was conducted to a house that adjoined it.

This consisted of a few rooms, bare of everything but fleas, which, in Syria, always abound in places where the inmates are so often changing, and which hours of sweeping could not destroy. Mr. B. and myself were accommodated with two chambers in the monastery. These, adjoining each other, seemed to have[209] been long appropriated to this purpose, as on the doors, especially of one, were carved the names of different Europeans who had visited the Holy Land. The oldest name on the oak door is as early as 1690. It showed no great consideration in the superior of the monastery to consign his guests to rooms, which, we learned, are at other times the hospital of the sick, and consequently may abound in malignant effluvia.

The first day was devoted to repose, and to such arrangements as were necessary to make our stay comfortable. We were very soon surrounded by the dragomans of the monastery, the greatest harpies that Jerusalem can boast of, and, as we had reason to think, equally devoid of principle and of morality. But Lady Hester, with her accustomed promptitude and decision, immediately ordered the house to be cleared of them, as a set of hangers-on that would be very troublesome; and so indeed they afterwards proved; for it was impossible to stir out of doors without being immediately followed by them, and their company was a sufficient indication to the Turks that we were fair game for plunder, which, had we been alone, would have been less evident; since it only depended on ourselves to remain silent, and then our dresses disguised us very well.

On the second day Lady Hester Stanhope sent word to the motsellem, or governor, that she was desirous of paying him a visit. We mounted hack[210] horses, which were hired at fifty paras per diem. These horses are plentiful in Jerusalem, and the cavalcade, amounting to nearly twenty persons, wore a very respectable appearance. I may venture to assert, that no European travellers had then ever made so splendid a show. The governor, whose name was Kengi Ahmed, father-in-law of the governor of Jaffa, received us very formally, in a saloon at the top of his palace, where a window opened on the court of the Great Mosque, the supposed Temple of Solomon. On coming away about two guineas were distributed among the servants, whose cupidity was so unceremonious, that we ran some risk of being knocked down from the eagerness with which they pressed forwards to get a share of the vails.

There was residing at Jerusalem a Bey of the Mamelukes, who had escaped from the massacre of his brethren by Mohammed Ali Pasha at the castle of Cairo. He was living in a small house, in a very retired way, and chiefly upon the alms of benevolent Turks. Lady Hester had informed him, by a servant, that she should visit him; and from the governor’s house we accordingly passed to his. The entrance announced his poverty. We found him in a small room, which was matted, and had a carpet with two or three cushions at one end. His horse’s bridle and a pair of pistols hung on a peg.

He received his visitors without any embarrassment, and, in the course of conversation, related a part of[211] his extraordinary history. He was a purchased slave of Elfy Bey’s, whom he accompanied to England, and he still recollected several words of English. On his return from that country, he was created a Bey by Elfy, his master. On the bloody day in which so many Mamelukes were cut off by Mohammed Ali, he was, like the rest, advancing through the avenues to the castle, when he perceived that they were fired on by Albanian soldiers from the walls. His presence of mind was sufficient to tell him that to remain was certain death, and that any risk, however great, was to be run for the chance of escape. The avenue, leading from the great entrance of the castle, goes upon an ascent until it terminates in a platform. Round the platform, breast high, runs a wall that looks down on the open space before the castle gates. Its height from the ground must be very considerable. He drove his horse at it, and leaped over.

By what chance he was not killed on the spot is unimaginable. He secreted himself some days in Cairo; and then, in disguise, he attempted to fly into Syria across the Desert. His guides waited for a favourable opportunity, and attempted to murder him. Supposing him dead, they plundered and stripped the body, threw it into a cemetery which was near at hand, and then fled. When he recovered his senses sufficiently to know where and in what state he was, he crept under the shade of a tomb from the scorching rays of the sun, and was found in this lamentable[212] situation by a Bedouin, who had compassion on him, carried him to his tent, and concealed him until his wounds were healed. The bey then continued his flight across the Desert: and, arriving at Jerusalem, there sought the protection of the pasha of Acre. He still complained of great pain in his loins from the wounds he had received, and his wrist was yet bound up.

Lady Hester Stanhope administered to his pecuniary wants, and desired me to afford him whatever assistance lay in my power. He gratefully received her present with less scruple than an Englishman in distress would have done, because the acceptance of alms by Mahometans has nothing degrading in it. Emin Bey, for that was his name, was a man with an expressive but not a handsome countenance; and the loss of two or three front teeth, which were beaten out by his assailants, contributed greatly to disfigure him. He expressed much admiration of the English as a people, and of their arts and manufactures: he professed a great regard for all of us. His servants, who were two only, one of whom seemed to be hired for the occasion, partook, as well as their master, of Lady Hester’s bounty.

The same day was destined for visiting the Holy Sepulchre. The monks, as also the Turks who are stationed there to take the accustomed fees, were apprized of our coming. To make the ceremony more pompous, they shut the church doors, which on the[213] moment of our arrival flew open, and the monks appeared with candles in their hands, and preceded her ladyship to the sepulchre, as in a procession. Curiosity had likewise attracted a vast concourse of people; and the Turks, using their whips and sticks to keep them from pressing on, not less dishonoured the sacredness of the place than did the monks by their garrulity and mummery: whilst the tumultuous behaviour of the native Christians deserved all the chastisement it received. As the sanctuary or chapel that is built over the Holy Sepulchre is but small, her ladyship, Mr. B., myself, Giorgio, and one priest only entered, after we had first observed that it was decorated externally with tapestry, sculptures, and pictures. It consisted of an outer and inner chamber or cell, each of which might have been four feet by six, with no other light than that given by the silver lamps suspended from the ceiling. These lamps are presents from divers potentates of Europe, and generally of elegant shape. Vases of flowers fill up the intervals. The effect of the whole was solemn and beautiful. The grave itself of Jesus Christ is not seen: an oblong marble slab covers it. I placed several strings of beads with crosses on this lid or cover, as thereby I had been informed they acquired a degree of sanctity which would make them more acceptable to devout Catholics in Europe.

Disturbed as one’s thoughts were by the tumult[214] without, still the solemnity of the place, coupled with the reflections to which it gave rise, was inconceivably imposing, far exceeding anything I had ever felt before. We all kissed the sepulchre. The Greek dragoman, Giorgio, giving way to the impulse of his devotion, took off his turban,[32] and, with several prostrations with his forehead touching the ground, showed how profoundly he was impressed with what he beheld. The priest, like one too much accustomed to it, and in whom the feeling had worn off, was indecorously deficient in gravity.

From the Holy Sepulchre we were conducted up about forty steps to the top of Mount Calvary, where the different spots made memorable by Christ’s sufferings are shown; where he was scourged, where he was crucified, and some others; all which events, as being here said to have happened within the compass of a few yards, carry such an air of improbability with them, that the spectator is led to believe that distant places have been approximated for the greater convenience of worship; in the first instance, perhaps as emblematical of the real ones, which, because covered by Mahometan houses, it might be impossible to see or get at; but[215] afterwards, by priestcraft, held forth to the pilgrims as the very places that had been sanctified by the sufferings of the Redeemer.

In the year 1809 or 1810 the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was burned to the ground, having been, as was said by many, maliciously set on fire by the Turks, in order to extort money for the permission of rebuilding it; but different professions of Christians charge each other with the act; by the Catholics it is imputed to the Greeks, and by the Greeks to the Catholics. Be this as it may, the Greeks have been at the expense of rebuilding it, in a style of architecture that no doubt appears more beautiful to the Oriental pilgrims than that of the pristine church. It has now white walls, with blue and red mouldings, and unmeaning flowers and gilding in abundance.

Lady Hester was not forgetful of whatever might be curious in Jerusalem. Supposing that the Jewish nation could no where be seen to so great an advantage as in the city which they reverence as their holy place, she inquired who were the principal families, and sent a message expressing a wish to see them at their own houses in their own fashion. From the house of Emin Bey we proceeded to the quarter of the Jews; and, so disgraceful is the commerce with that people held by the Turks and even Christians, that our janissary, Mohammed, and the dragoman of the convent, made as many wry faces as if they were going to prison, and frequently looked behind them[216] to see who observed us. It is not unknown to our readers that the Jews, in the Turkish dominions, live in a particular quarter assigned to them, which in many places is without the walls of the town; but, whether within the walls or without, it is always remarkable for the narrowness of its streets, and the dirty exterior and ruined state of its houses. It was thus it proved in Jerusalem, the metropolis of the nation, where we were conducted into a small, mean, dilapidated house, and found no less a person than a Venetian Jewess dressed in much Italian finery, who had been selected in preference to others to receive Lady Hester, because she spoke bad Italian. They had prepared a tray of sweetmeats, which, with coffee, and some desultory conversation, finished the amusements of this day; to be numbered as one of the most busy that will be described in these pages.

The following day horses were hired, at two piasters a piece, to go to Bethlehem. Our guide was a Christian shaykh, an inhabitant of that place. The road was, similar to that which we had passed in coming from Abu Ghosh’s village, stoney and rocky. After three or four hours’ ride, we arrived at the monastery. We were much struck with the beauty of the portico or stoa, which, though disfigured and blocked up in front, forms an imposing colonnade of lofty granite pillars. Having reposed a little, and listened to the conversation of a monk, who, during Buonaparte’s stay[217] in Egypt, had thrown aside the cowl and fought under the French, we were conducted down some dark steps to the manger in which our Saviour was born. Like his tomb, it is so much disguised with silks and velvets, crucifixes and lamps, as to be hardly recognized for, what it seemed really to be, a trough hewn out of the solid rock. Such mangers are not uncommon in Syria at this day. The altars round the manger were more splendid than that at the sepulchre, as his birth was a more joyful event than his death. We here likewise saw the tomb of Nicodemus.

We were much pestered by the inhabitants of the village to induce us to buy their crosses and beads; but, as we had come just after Easter, we found that every good article had been carried off. This did not prevent us from purchasing as many rosaries as would suffice for a host of friends: for a trifle, however ordinary on the spot, has an inconceivable value a hundred leagues off. The inhabitants of Bethlehem have the mien and appearance of robbers; and their broad stilettoes stuck in the girdle, which they make use of very readily, contribute much to the impression, that, we were told, is by no means unfounded. After taking refreshment, we prepared to return; and, although the steward of the convent received a present of one guinea for the few hours we were there, he was very discontented; and our dislike seemed to be mutual, since we had no reason to be pleased with[218] the difficulties which had been opposed to every arrangement for our gratification.

Her ladyship caused several horses to be brought her to look at; but a numerous retinue and the reputation of being rich made it extremely difficult to buy, unless at an exorbitant rate. Nevertheless, from observations made since, on going through Syria, there is no place where better horses are to be obtained than at Jerusalem, Jaffa, and their environs. This is owing to the annual resort of the pilgrims, which induces the Arabs of the interior, from the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea, to bring their spare horses and mares to a market where they are sure to find a ready sale. In like manner, the shaykhs of the villages round Jerusalem are glad to dispose of their horses as soon as Easter is over, as they cannot expect to let them out to advantage until the ensuing year.

An unpleasant accident had nearly happened in our way back. Giorgio, the dragoman, who was but a lad not more than sixteen years old, was amusing himself with a gallop; and the horse, having a great deal of mettle, ran away with him. The saddle was one from Cairo, with stirrups like an iron shovel, sharpened at the ends. The horse, not obeying the rein, went furiously on, and passed Mr. B., who was not aware of his approach, so close, that the stirrup would have cut the calf of his leg in two, had not the cloth brogues performed the use they were, no doubt, in[219] some degree intended for, of turning the edge of the stirrup and deadening the blow. The shock, however, threw Giorgio from his seat to the ground, with no other consequences than a fright and a severe reprimand.

Mr. B. and myself were invited to dinner, on the following day, by the mufti of the place; and at about noon we betook ourselves to his house. The dragoman of the convent accompanied us as interpreter. Omar Effendi received us with civility. Emin Bey was likewise present. The dinner was served, as is the custom of the Mahometans, on a large copper tray tinned over; and we placed ourselves around it on the floor. The dishes were savoury, but what in England would be esteemed very homely. A boiled chicken was taken up by one of the servants, who was waiting, and torn with his hands joint from joint; it was then replaced on the dish; and this was instead of carving. The dinner went off with much merriment, and when we rose from table it was removed a little to one side, and several dervises or beggars (for in dress and in asking alms they are quite the same, glossing over their trade of mendicants with the knowledge of a few scraps of the Coran) took our places; and, between each mouthful, extolled the liberality of Omar Effendi. Indeed the mufti was reputed to be a very benevolent man: he kept open table for rich and poor. We left him, extremely well pleased with his entertainment.

There now remained nothing more to be seen in[220] Jerusalem than those particular spots which had been rendered famous by some miracle, action, or saying, of Jesus Christ, or of his disciples. But disgust succeeds to curiosity, when, instead of being led from place to place with the satisfaction of fancying that, however uncertain traditions may be when handed down through so many generations, there is still nothing impossible in them, we are conducted to view the print of the Virgin Mary’s foot, the impression of Elijah’s body where he slept, and a hundred such sights, which shock common sense and do no service to true religion. But the dragomans and showmen find, no doubt, such tales best suited to the majority of their visitors, or they would not persist in telling them.

I procured at Jerusalem a specimen of the fetid carbonate of lime brought from the Dead Sea. It is remarkable, in its fracture, for a degree of blackness and evenness greater than in most other fetid carbonates.



Departure from Jerusalem—Arabian characters of horses not to be trusted—Ramlah—Demand of the governor to inspect Lady Hester’s firmâns—Alarm of Selim, the Mameluke—Illness of Mr. Pearce at Jaffa—Janissary dismissed—Departure from Ramlah—Politic conduct of Dragomans—River Awgy—Harým—Inhabitants of Galilee—Scorpions, and other venemous reptiles—Um Khaled—Marble columns—Illness of Yusef the guide—Mountaineers of Gebel Khalýl and Nablûs—Cæsarea—Remains of the ancient city—Obstacles to exploring them—Ma el Zerky—Tontûra—Women carrying water—Beauty of the road—Aatlyt—Mount Carmel—Häifa—Carmelite convent—River Mkutta, the Kishon of Scripture—Arrival at Acre.

On the 30th of May, having hired ten camels to Ramlah at six piasters each, and four horses at eight, we sent off the baggage early in the morning, escorted by one of the Mamelukes and one of the Jaffa janissaries, as guards, and arrived there sufficiently early for the tents to be pitched before sunset. Abu Ghosh renewed all the honours he had shown before, and was as handsomely rewarded for them. The guards[222] were again placed; and, having passed the night very securely, we pursued our journey the following morning, accompanied by Abu Ghosh in person. I was mounted on a hired bay mare, that seemed to have been worked hard, but was nevertheless handsome and light in hand. The conversation ran much upon Arabian horses. Abu Ghosh boasted the blood and powers of his own, a large mare, gray and flea-bitten. On arriving in the plain, the road being extremely favourable for galloping, he was desirous of racing against the mare I rode; and, to his vexation, I beat him considerably. An Arab is perhaps to be believed implicitly on no occasion, but certainly not when speaking of his mare. He then launches out into exaggerated histories of the number of Shaykhs who have bid money for her, and of the prices he has refused; when, perhaps, all her merits lie in her master’s praise, and not in her intrinsic worth, and £15 or £20 would probably be a sufficient price for her. We reached Ramlah at night, took up our abode, as before, at the monastery, and Abu Ghosh made haste back to his four wives.

Lady Hester received next morning a message from the motsellem of Ramlah, saying that his master, Mohammed Aga of Jaffa, had ordered him to transmit her firmâns for his inspection: a duty he had neglected on her landing, having first thought it proper to write to Acre for instructions. It is likely that at first Mohammed Aga had considered her some[223] devout lady who had come to fulfil her vows at Jerusalem: but, having learned afterwards in what a distinguished manner Mohammed Ali Pasha had received her, he probably wished that his own neglect might be attributed to his ignorance of her rank and consequence, to be inferred from his not having seen her firmâns. Much parleying took place between Lady Hester Stanhope and the motsellem of Ramlah on the necessity there was for complying with his master’s orders; and he soon found that he had to deal with a person who was as good a judge of business as himself.

No sooner had the Mameluke Selim, who served in part as dragoman, observed the anxiety of the Ramlah motsellem to inspect the firmâns, than, considering that his own name could not be there, since he came into her service after the firmâns had been sent to Rhodes, and apprehensive that he had been recognized as one of those who were with Buonaparte in Syria, his fears got so far the mastery of him that, at every knock at the door, he thought some one was sent to seize him, and every loitering person round the monastery gates was a spy. He double charged his pistols, and declared his determination to sell his life dearly: whilst his unfounded suspicions, so valiantly acted upon, almost made us believe that there might be some reason for them.

As the repeated messages, that passed and repassed, seemed to have established a sort of acquaintance between[224] the motsellem and Lady Hester, he sent to ask her what the Europeans did to rid their fields of locusts. We may suppose that her ladyship had not studied this subject so profoundly as she had politics; and the advice she gave was not adopted.

The following day we endeavoured to hire horses and camels to pursue our journey to Acre, as it was not Lady Hester Stanhope’s intention to re-enter Jaffa: but the people becoming every hour more and more persuaded of her importance, and, according to their mode of reasoning, consequently of her wealth, were quite unreasonable in their demands. There was, therefore, no immediate prospect of our departure. We heard likewise that Mr. Pearce, who had quitted us at Jaffa in good health, was ill in bed at the monastery there; and her ladyship immediately requested me to ride over and see him. Mr. B. took his janissary, Hadj Mohammed, and accompanied me, anxious as he was about the health of Mr. Pearce, and more especially as he knew him to be in a manner alone, not considering that he could derive any assistance from the monks of the monastery.

The road, as I have before said, is level, spacious, and through a fertile country, and Ramlah is little more than two leagues and a half from Jaffa; so we could travel in the English fashion, galloping or trotting, and therefore were not long in reaching the monastery. We found Mr. Pearce convalescent. He had laboured under a remittent fever, which continued[225] some days: he had been bled, and some doses of Peruvian bark completed the cure.

We had not been in the monastery long when there came a kowàss,[33] one of those officials who wait about the palaces of governors to go on messages, and are known by a cane with a long silver head, which they carry in their hand, as the emblem of their office. He brought with him an elegant Cashmere shawl, which he presented to Mr. B. from his master, the governor. Mr. B. declined accepting presents from a man who was a stranger to him; which refusal, we heard afterwards, irritated him exceedingly. We took our final leave of Mr. Pearce, and reached Ramlah before night.

The following day I called on the aga of Ramlah, to try what could be done with the horse and camel-owners by means of his influence, in order to reduce their price to something reasonable. His dwelling was an old dilapidated stone house, which appeared as if it had been once large and handsome; but, as the place of governor of small towns is generally for a term, no one cares to expend his money on repairs which he shall not profit by. The motsellem received me with much civility; and the result of our conversation was that he promised to do all that lay in his power to assist us in procuring means of conveyance[226] at a reasonable rate. As yet, new to the Turks, we were ignorant that promises with them mean nothing, if their own interest is not concerned in the performance of them.

In the course of the afternoon, it was necessary to send to Jaffa upon some business, and one of the two janissaries who had hitherto accompanied us since our leaving Jaffa was desired to make himself ready. He had beheld the preference that was deservedly given to Mohammed, his companion, and perhaps sought for an occasion to get dismissed. He said that he was fatigued; that he was a guard, and not a messenger; in a word he refused to go: upon which Lady Hester desired him to be paid, and he left her service. Hadj Mohammed was sent to Jaffa, and returned the following morning.

It was on the 7th of June that we departed from Ramlah. There were ten camels, eight mules, and six horses, for luggage and mounting. Relying on the promises of the motsellem, we supposed the makayris (so muleteers are called) and the camel-drivers were already come to a reasonable agreement, and we questioned them no more on the subject. The baggage was loaded, when their spokesman told us that we knew, he supposed, that the prices were as had been originally demanded. Provoked beyond measure at the conduct of the aga, we declared that we would remain a month in the place sooner than be so imposed upon, and ordered the baggage to be unloaded[227] immediately. When they found that we were determined, they softened their language.

Nothing is more amusing to a bystander than to observe a European quarrelling with an Arab. He raves and sputters, heaps abuse and threats in a language unknown to the object of his passion, and then desires his dragoman to repeat it, word for word. The dragoman knows the revengeful nature of the Arabs, even between Mahometans among themselves, and more especially against Christians from whom they will not brook a hard word of any kind; he considers that when his present employers have quitted the country he shall be left at their mercy without protectors in it; nay, perhaps he is in league with these very men whom he is employed to vituperate; and lastly, he is generally aware of this great truth that he who bawls is seldom on the right side; the dragoman, therefore, repeats, in a moderate tone, about half of what he has been desired to interpret, and, omitting the harsh language, substitutes, instead of it, some clever reasoning of his own, which brings the whole by measure to about the quantity of words that the enraged man has uttered, and leaves him in the idea that he has terribly frightened the Arab, when no such effect has been produced. In a word, no person need flatter himself that what he says is, or ever can be, faithfully repeated by a dragoman of the country.

The price was then settled; for ten camels, 150[228] piasters, six horses, 120, and eight mules, 136: and we set off for the first stage, which was to be at a village on the seashore, where there is the sepulchre of a certain Mahometan shaykh, in great repute, called Aly Ebn Aâlym, who gives the name to the village, which is likewise called Mharrem (the consecrated spot). Our march was slow, but the beauty of the country prevented it from seeming tedious. We crossed the river El Awjy, a considerable stream, which rises at no great distance inland, and must therefore be supplied by other streams, unless we suppose its source to be very copious. The soil appeared sandy but very fertile, and was highly cultivated. It had a rural aspect, spreading in gentle undulations to the East for four or five leagues.[34]

We reached Mharrem before sunset, and pitched the tents on the downs close to the village, to the West, and upon the edge of the cliff which overhangs the sea. Whilst they were planting, we went with a janissary to look at the village. We found it to consist of about twenty or thirty huts of mud, with a patch of ground enclosed in the front of each by a small hedge of prickly acacia. To our application for chickens, eggs, honey, milk, and wood for firing, the general answer was by an interrogation: “And, pray, how are we to come by them?” for the sight of the[229] janissary was sufficient to intimidate the peasants, and make them suspect that, if they produced what they had, it would be taken at half price, or for nothing. We were therefore likely to go without our supper. But, when they learned soon afterwards from the servants that we were Franks, and paid liberally for what we bought, they were no longer shy of dealing with us. The shaykh, a dark handsome man of about twenty-five years, lent us, however, no assistance; for he found that we had no buyûrdy upon him.

We were scarcely settled, when there came a stranger on horseback, bearing a letter from a gentleman of Acre, of the name of Catafago, inviting Lady Hester to take up her abode at his house during her stay in that city. We made the stranger welcome. He was the brother-in-law of Mr. Catafago, and was charged to conduct us to Acre.

I have said that the cliff near the village of Mharrem overhung the sea. A fissure in it, abreast of the village, afforded a small path down to the shore, where, in the sand, was the well from which came the fresh water for the supply of the inhabitants. The building over the tomb enclosed within its walls a mosque, four or five rooms for lodging pilgrims, and commodious vaults for stabling, besides a well of tolerable water, where two blind shaykhs sat and wound up the bucket by turns. The situation is wonderfully pretty, exceedingly cool, and must be very healthy. The coast, for about two miles to the north of Jaffa,[230] is flat; it then rises in a bold but not very high cliff, which continues, with little interruption, as far as the eye can see, from the village of Mharrem to the north.

The inhabitants of Galilee, as far as we had opportunities of observing them, both male and female, were not handsome. In the colour of their skin they differed very little from the Egyptians. The dress of the men was a cotton shirt, buckled round the waist with a leathern belt; over which they threw a long woollen cloak, called an abah or meshlah, without sleeves. The dress of the women consists likewise of a coarse shift and of the same kind of cloak, with a white veil of coarse cotton. Both sexes go for the most part barefooted; and, as their village lanes and the courtyards of their cottages are covered with dung, their persons become filthy in the extreme.

The village of Mharrem is not of very ancient date. Formerly the shrine stood by itself, until the government, desirous of affording some protection to travellers on the road as well as accommodation, caused a certain number of peasants to establish themselves here, giving them exemptions from all taxes upon the consideration of supplying travellers and their horses (if furnished with a buyûrdy) with food and lodging. These peasants were all Moslems. Probably this was the site of Erbuf, a place mentioned by Abulfeda as being six miles from Jaffa, twelve from Ramlah, and eighteen from Cæsarea, a distance which seems to agree[231] likewise with the site of Apollonius (See Abulfeda, p. 81).

We obliged the shaykh to place guards round the tents during the night, at the suggestion of Selim, whose prudence often seemed overdone, but who might know whether there was danger better than we did. His object was not so much to prevent robbers from coming as to make the shaykh of the village responsible for our losses if they did come. In the morning, the guards were well paid for their pains. Just before going to sleep, when sitting on my bed, I found a scorpion under my pillow. Having killed it, I put it into a bottle of sweet oil, in order to have by me a supposed antidote for its bite: for although I felt somewhat incredulous as to its efficacy, I had had experience enough of the natives to know that, when they apply to a doctor for a remedy, it is not for the remedy which he considers adapted to their case, but for that which is in repute among them. I had likewise the misfortune, in entering a cave, to be bitten by a species of vermin, which in Syria is so venemous as by its bite to cause severe indisposition. It is a bug, called in Arabic dellem, resembling to my eye a common sheep-tick, and which infests all places occasionally frequented by men and cattle, when left uncleansed of their filth. Yusef, the Mameluke, alarmed me, but I afterwards found without foundation, by his asseverations that many persons had died of the venemous bite of these dellems. A kind of[232] black beetle was to be seen everywhere on the road, rolling before him round pieces of dung:—the scarabæus pillularius.

In quitting Mharrem the following morning, we went along the edge of the cliff; and, about a furlong or two from the village, our guide pointed out to us several fragments of spar, lying scattered about, of the colour of emeralds; which renders it probable that spars of this kind are abundant near the spot. The face of the country resembled for some distance that through which we had passed on the preceding day, until we came to a pool of stagnant water, about a quarter of a mile long, covered with the nymphæa palustris, and at the farthest extremity of which is a building like a mill. At the other end, where we passed, its waters ran off by a shallow stream of a yard or two broad. Here began a tract of country, composed of sand hills; which, together with the stream, was named by the guides Abu Zaburra.[35] This sandy tract lasted for about half an hour, when we entered upon a scattered forest of oaks (Strabo, xvi. 758), of a very stunted kind, none being larger than a full grown codling-tree, and so distant from each other that the soil was everywhere cultivated between them. We traversed this forest for an hour and a half; and, at its termination, we found ourselves near a[233] village, called Um Khaled;[36] where, at the foot of a large sycamore, and within about one hundred yards of the cottages, our little encampment was placed. Our conductor, Mâlem Yusef, charged himself with procuring provisions and corn for the cattle: and, whether by his eloquence or by other means, he soon returned, followed by several men and women, bearing a supply of everything we wanted, besides that they were satisfied at a less cost than those of Mharrem.

The village of Um Khaled is the site of some ancient place, as shafts of white marble pillars are to be seen lying about. Its present state is miserable. Cattle and human beings lie in the same stall. The ways are obstructed with ordure and rubbish, and no man seems to care for anything outside his own walls. Much inconvenience is experienced by travellers in these villages in the day-time from the dust which flies about. Hence, soreness of the eyes is a reigning malady; for those who have once the misfortune to be attacked with it stand little chance of ever recovering entirely, since the dust keeps the organ of vision in a constant state of irritation. But the plain around is in high cultivation, and seemingly very fertile. Um Khaled is about a mile from the sea. Guards were planted, and the order of this night was the same as that of the preceding.


Our conductor, Yusef, fell sick of a fever, and was so ill that he could no longer sit up; but, as there was not a possibility of leaving him behind, or of stopping so many persons on his account, he was put on his horse, and we proceeded the next morning on our journey. The road being considered somewhat insecure, we marched all in a body; for the mountaineers of Gebel Khalýl and Gebel Nablûs, (the chain which runs parallel to the sea-coast from abreast of Jaffa northward, to a distance short of Mount Carmel,) have been known, when in dispute with the pasha of Acre, to cut off all communication between that city and Jaffa, or at least to render the intercourse between the two places very difficult. Our road lay this day by the seashore, which, upon quitting Um Khaled, soon becomes flat: and, thereabouts, we met with a party of these mountaineers. They were decently mounted, and their dress was the same as that of the people of Mharrem, already described. They had broad tongue-shaped daggers in their girdles, called khanjars, and spears in their hands. They naturally stared at us, but quietly rode on. After four hours’ march, we arrived at the ruins of Cæsarea, and encamped near to one of the gateways on the outside, to the south, close to the seashore. At a short distance from Cæsarea is a stream called Nahr Kudâra.

Cæsarea is a city of Roman origin, since its Arabic name, Kysaréah, is evidently a corruption of its Latin one; whereas Jaffa, Sidon, and most of the others[235] along the coast, are corruptions of the Arabic or of languages anterior to the Arabic. The great mass of ruins, which was to be seen here at the beginning of the last century, exists no longer. The celebrated pasha, El Gezzàr, carried off whatever was removeable to beautify his favourite fortress of Acre. Many of the granite and marble columns that adorn the edifices which he built were taken from this place. The city was of an oblong form, with its outer sides, from north to south, surrounded with walls thicker at their base than their summit, and defended at equal distances by square bastions. These walls were built by the crusaders under Louis the Ninth, of France.[37]

To the south-east angle, towards the sea, are the remains of a castle that defended the port, a small and shallow harbour, since it never could have been broader than the distance which separates the two jetties that formed it, and which distance corresponds with the base of the city.[38]

Within the walls two or three indistinct fragments of buildings are still upright, and the vaults which[236] abound throughout serve by turns to shelter travellers or robbers, according as the vigilance of the reigning pasha represses crime with a vigorous hand, or is remiss in the punishment of it.

There is still a well of good water, from which travellers draw their supply, and there seem to have been many others that are now choked up: but the ancient city was supplied from a shallow river that empties itself into the sea, a mile and a-half north of the ruins. This river goes at present by the name of Ma el Zerka,[39] or the Blue waters, and flows winter and summer. The arcades that supported the aqueduct are still standing, but are almost covered by the sand, which shelves against them from the sea-side; they run parallel with the shore and with the road that travellers generally take going or coming from Cæsarea. Owing to the shelving sand, the traveller is not aware, unless at intervals, of the nature of the mound which he observes by the side of him, and fancies it to be a sand-bank. Hence, those who take pleasure in examining similar antiquities ought (the moment they arrive at Ma el Zerka, if coming from the north, or else on quitting the gates of Cæsarea in coming from the south) to follow the track that turns somewhat inward, and they will find themselves close to the aqueduct through its whole length.

To the east of the ruined city, which is walled in,[237] are other ruins said to be still more extensive, and to have formed a part of the Roman Cæsarea. Being in a great measure ignorant of the existence of these several heaps of stones, which were now so overgrown with grass and weeds as not to be visible, we did not chance to hit upon them; but there exist, among other vestiges of ancient edifices, those of an amphitheatre which are perfectly distinct. The dreariness of the place, the fear of robbers and of wandering Arabs, are the causes that have deterred many from going far out of their path to examine them. Here and there may be seen a Bedouin shepherd tending a flock of sheep; and, if properly questioned, such a person is more capable of giving information where fallen pillars, sculpture, or inscriptions are to be found than he would at first be supposed to be; for his habits of life lead him from spot to spot in search of pasture, and he knows every foot of ground for miles, and perhaps leagues, around.[40]

Our conductor, Yusef, in the mean time, continued very ill. He had taken several remedies with very little benefit. He was placed on his horse; and, had not his situation, coupled with ours, called for great exertions on his part, he would not have been able to support himself. We, however, pursued our journey,[238] and followed the line of the sea-coast, having close to our right what (as has been before said) seemed to be a sand-bank, but which was no other than the ancient aqueduct, covered by drifted sand. After an hour and a half, we arrived at Ma el Zerka. Lady Hester here rested under a small tent, which was carried with her generally for that purpose, and where she proposed remaining until the evening. This river, of which a few words have been said above, has the remains of a bridge over it, about a furlong from the sea; and, at the very mouth, on a rocky eminence, there appears to have been a tower. Somewhat east of this ends Gebel Nablûs, the ancient Samaria.

We continued our road with the camels, and in two hours and a half more, reached Tontûra, which was in sight at quitting Ma el Zerka. As water was the main object to be secured in making our encampment, it was the thing always first inquired for; and we were directed to a spot about half a-mile north of the village, close to the sea. We there found a circular basin, hewn out of the rock within about twelve feet of the water’s edge, from the bottom of which bubbled up a crystal spring. The spray of the sea (as there was a fresh breeze) occasionally broke into it; but the villagers told us that, at sunset, when the wind had sunk, we should find it to be limpid and sweet, which proved to be the case. Close to this spring the tents were pitched upon a crisp turf; whilst a delicious breeze from the sea recruited our spirits,[239] and prevented the lassitude which great heat so generally produces.

Tontûra is the ancient Dora. Here the flat land, extending from the coast east to the mountains, narrows to the width of half or three quarters of a mile. The foot of the mountain is quarried considerably, which evidently demonstrates the greater extent of the ancient than of the modern town. Tontûra, in its present state, is a village of stone cottages, no better than cow-lodges, as in fact they are. The inhabitants are Mahometans. It has a building, constructed of stone, which goes by the name of a castle; a very rude and modern edifice. The environs of the village are totally bare, neither beautified by trees nor gardens, the want of which gives them a desolate and forlorn appearance. There is a large pool of water not far from the back of the town. The ancient city stood a few hundred yards to the north of the present village, if we may judge from a wall yet standing, seemingly the portion of an old castle, and from a column or two lying about. The port, if it deserves that name, is formed by two or three islets, between which and the main land a masted boat of twenty tons could barely float, inasmuch as I observed fishermen wading across it with ease, not having the water above their waists.

The bucket and lever, a mode by which the land is irrigated from Egypt up to Tontûra, are used no farther; in their stead, the peasants substitute a[240] rude kind of wheel, which we shall find, on reaching the Orontes, to be in its turn replaced by the true Persian wheel. Lady Hester arrived in the cool of the evening. Guards were placed round the encampment; supper was served, and the season of the year rendered the tents much more agreeable than houses.

Towards the close of the day, the women, taking advantage of the coolness of the evening and the stillness of the sea,[41] came down, with their jars borne on their heads, to fetch water. As our people had nothing particular to do, they very naturally amused themselves in observing the women pass; but still in that discreet manner which is peculiar to the Levant when other persons are within hearing; and, at the utmost, hazarding an ogle, or a question respecting the goodness of the water. However, a young girl, of about fourteen, loitered behind at the spring, and showed herself to be, although not very pretty, yet very frolicsome. Her light behaviour made her pass, in the eyes of all those who observed her, for a girl of bad morals, and yet the utmost she said and did would not amount to half what an English or French maid-servant considers herself permitted to do every hour of her life.


Nothing contributes so much to the uprightness and elegance of figure so remarkable in the peasant-women of Syria and Egypt as the common practice of carrying water on their heads. So far from giving a curve to the spine, depressing the neck, or in any wise shortening the growth of the body, the resistance of the muscles seems to increase in proportion to the pressure, and much elasticity of action is the result. In some places, the springs are often a quarter of a mile from the villages, and much below them, so as to render the ascent very toilsome: yet every day in the week may be seen girls and women carrying these jars, containing not less than fifteen quarts of water, on their heads, with a natural grace not exceeded by the studied walk of a stage dancer. A favourite manner with them, when seen by men and when wishing to be coquettish, is to place both thumbs through the jar handles, which has a very statue-like appearance. When unobserved, they generally tuck up their gowns all round, showing their pantaloons. If in their best clothes, they are seen with silver bracelets instead of glass ones, and with similar rings round their ancles; with a silver relic case hanging at their bosom; with long sleeves to their gown; and over it, if in winter, a cloth vest, if in summer, one of bombazeen; with earrings; and with a species of ornament not known in England or France, silver rims of mail or of coins which take in the oval of the face from the temples to the chin, and have a very pretty effect.[242] The girdles are fastened by two silver bosses as large as the bottom of a tumbler, and they wear on their feet a pair of yellow slippers.

We passed the following day at Tontûra. I amused myself in walking over the rubbish of the ancient Dora. There is a part of it which seems to have been built on a rocky projection into the sea. Much industry is exhibited in the levelling of the surface of the rock for foundations to some superstructures that once stood there. To the east of the spring, near the burying-ground of the village, I likewise discovered a sepulchral vault with cells on either side for the sarcophagi; and these sepulchral chambers will be found to exist, wherever the soil in a large neighbourhood is rocky, throughout Syria.

A very fine chestnut stallion was brought to me for sale by one of the inhabitants. The horse was made to exhibit his different paces before me, and I was willing to purchase him at the price at which he was offered, which was 315 piasters, or about £15: but Hadj Mohammed, the janissary, considered it too much, and I therefore declined the offer.

We were now approaching fast to Acre, and it seemed that Lady Hester’s coming had excited much curiosity there. The shaykh of Tontûra, accompanied by six horsemen, solicited permission to escort her to the next town; for the pasha, his master, he said, would surely reprimand him if he were wanting in respect to so illustrious a person, whom they were[243] charged to receive with all the honours their means allowed of. Accordingly, on the following morning, well armed and mounted, they took the lead in the van of the cavalcade, along a smooth road.

The slip of land between the mountains and the coast still continued to narrow. There is a chain of rocky hills which is seen from the road, and which at first seems to be the foot of the lofty mountains in the background; but behind it will be found another valley, running from Tontûra up as far as Mount Carmel. Our path wound between low shrubs, which gave it sometimes the appearance of a serpentine walk in a garden. After about one hour’s riding, the shaykh and myself hurried on in order to mark out a proper spot for our encampment.

Aatlýt, the place to which we were going, had been in sight from the time we quitted Tontûra. When we were within about a mile of it, the road became still more picturesque. On our left was a vast pool of water, about which were flocks of storks: before us, on a promontory jutting into the sea, were the ruins of the castle of Aatlýt (the Castel Pellegrino of the Venetians); and, on the right, lofty mountains which crowned the whole view with their majestic appearance. We arrived at the walls of the place; and, entering by the south gate, crossed a bare space, the site of the ancient city, but now entirely covered with turf and mould; then, passing to the north-west angle, we ascended for a few yards a road both rough[244] and uneven, and strewed with hewn stones of a vast size. Here we entered the gateway of the ancient castle, within the ruins of which is built the modern village. The shaykh, having regaled me with a cup of coffee and a pipe, and satisfied himself as to who we were, whither we were going, and about such matters as concerned him, gave me to understand that we could encamp in security anywhere within the confines of the walls below; accordingly, on the arrival of the camels, Lady Hester having stopped, as usual, on the road, the tents were pitched, and everything was made comfortable for the night.

Thus far, the sea-coast of Syria (wherever we had seen it) has, generally speaking, a sandy strand; but from Aatlýt northward to Latakia it is rocky, with the exception of the deep bays, such as that of Acre.

Aatlýt was once a considerable city.[42] The ancient walls are still standing, and are built of rustic stones of a vast size. They have no battlements or embrasures.[43] Facing the site of the city is a small inlet of the sea, enclosed to the south by the city wall, and to the north by the small promontory on which the modern village stands. Close to the strand[245] is a well, from which the present inhabitants drink. Round the walls was anciently a ditch, probably filled from the lake which has been mentioned as existing to the south of the place. Within the walls of the present village are many fragments of columns scattered about. There is likewise part of a beautiful church still standing, attributed to the Venetians. The mud cottages in the midst of the ruins demonstrate forcibly the decline of the arts under the Turks; for the walls are composed of such rubbish as lies scattered on the ground, cemented with common mould.

The shaykh of Aatlýt at this time was brother to the shaykh of Hartha, a district of which I shall speak presently. Nothing happened to disturb the tranquillity of the night, excepting the molestation caused by musquitoes, which, as the weather was become exceedingly hot, rendered it impossible to sleep without a musquito net.

Our road was now no longer considered insecure. On the following morning we departed for Häyfa.[44] As we advanced along the seashore, the mountain on our right drew nearer and nearer. The plain was well cultivated. About two leagues from Aatlýt, on this[246] mountain, we perceived a village, distinguished by a white building near to it, which was the jamâ or mosque of the inhabitants, who are Mahometans. On inquiry, the camel-driver gave it the name of Tooty.[45]

In about four hours’ time we arrived at the promontory of Mount Carmel, where the flat land, which had hitherto continued along the seashore, comes to a point, leaving just room enough at the foot of the precipice to pass round. Beyond it the spacious bay of Acre opened upon our view, and the mountains again receded some leagues inland: for Mount Carmel runs E. and W., and the mountains which we had observed on our right, extending N. and S. parallel to the seashore, seem as if they issued from its side. What is called Mount Carmel by Europeans is a part of a district which goes by the name of Beled Hartha, comprehending the mountain and plain from Häyfa down to Mharrem. This district was commanded by Shaykh Messâd, a man of ancient family in these parts, and who resided at Yethem, his principal burgh.

The road, after passing the foot of the promontory, turns to the right or E. over a level and well cultivated soil of a fine black mould. One hour more brought us to the gate of Häyfa. Our conductor, Yusef, accompanied me to the governor, who, when[247] he learned our business, immediately gave orders to his people to see that we were provided with what we wanted. The tents were pitched close to the W. gate, on a plot of sand by the sea-side beneath the shade of some fig-trees. The heat was excessive. There were two or three of the poor inhabitants who spoke Italian, and who, for a trifle, made themselves useful in what we wanted.

Häyfa is a walled town; but the mountain rises at the back of it so steep and rapidly as to enable a person, at half pistol-shot distance, to look down into the courtyards of the houses. It consists of one long street, with a few shops, and derives its principal traffic from vessels that anchor in the bay. The bay, although open to the W., is considered one of the most secure in all Syria, and, as Acre has but a small and very shallow port, all European vessels bound thither ride at Häyfa. It is of a semicircular form. Acre is plainly distinguishable across it. There was a monastery, if a house of two or three rooms can be so named. One Carmelite priest was residing there: but the monastery, where that order of cenobites flourished, is on the promontory itself. It was much damaged by the French during their invasion of Syria, and has since been rebuilt on a very extensive plan. In the summer months, several European and other families resort thither for the benefit of the air, which, as in other elevated situations, is preferred to the low, hot, and contaminated atmosphere of Acre.[248] Half down the promontory is a large grotto or cave, hewn out of the rock, and said to have been a hiding-place of St. Elias. Häyfa has a mosque, and a building called a castle. The town walls are thin, and only sufficient to secure the inhabitants from Bedouin Arabs, or other enemies who have no artillery. At nightfall guards were placed around our encampment.

On the following day Mr. B. and myself, accompanied by one of the Mamelukes, set off early to announce Lady Hester’s approach to Mr. Catafago, to whose house, as we have mentioned above, she had been invited. Her ladyship and the luggage were to follow us later. We traversed the town of Häyfa, and, going out at the eastern gate, crossed a Turkish burying-ground: then, following the sands of the seashore, we pursued an E. and by N. and then a Northerly direction. In about an hour we came to a river, which we forded. It is called in Arabic Mkutta (the Kishon[46] of the Bible); in the summer an inconsiderable stream, but in the winter a dangerous torrent, as is the case with most of the rivers of Syria. To the right of us were sand hillocks which obstructed the view, and prevented us from observing the face of the country in the interior, but which, we were informed, consisted of fertile plains. The mountains seemed to be four or five leagues off.

We had not proceeded a great way farther when[249] we met two young gentlemen mounted on beautiful Arabian mares and followed by a groom, who made themselves known to us as the son[47] and nephew of Mr. Catafago, come to meet us. As they were lively boys and good riders, they continually exhibited their skill, in the Eastern way, by starting forth from the party on a sudden at a full gallop, and then by pulling up as suddenly. From the violence of this exercise, their horses’ mouths were besmeared with a mixture of blood and foam, whilst their sides were gashed with the cuts of the stirrups. This seemingly cruel practice is common, and passes unnoticed.

We soon beheld the palm-trees of Acre, rising above the walls. A quarter of an hour before reaching Acre, we forded a second river, called in Arabic El Naâmány,[48] whose source is from a lake some miles inland, called in d’Anville’s map Cenderia Palus. Our direction had been N. W.; and, after fording the river, became W. A burying-ground, with its white grave-stones, was, as is usual, the first thing we encountered in the suburbs; then skeletons of horses and asses and camels, whose carcases had been dragged a small distance from the town to be devoured[250] by the dogs.[49] These animals would not let us pass peaceably, as if apprehensive that we should rob them of their carrion. The road seemed much frequented, as loaded camels and asses in numbers were going out and in; which appearance of bustle was afterwards accounted for by the circumstance that Acre has but one gate. We entered it before noon. Many well dressed Turks, seated under the gateway, demonstrated the presence of a Pasha. About two hundred yards farther on we passed through a second gateway; and, entering into some narrow and badly paved streets, where our heads were every moment in danger of striking against the frames of the matting, which is suspended over the shops for the sake of shade, we arrived at a quadrangular court, in which was Mr. Catafago’s house, considered, as we afterwards learned, one of the best in Acre.

The friendly and hospitable reception which that gentleman and his lady gave us was highly pleasing. When Lady Hester arrived in the evening, it was repeated to her with increased warmth, and was succeeded by offers of service, which, however dependent on received usages of civility and good breeding, set the courteousness of the Syrian Christians in a most favourable light.



Increased illness of Yusef—Servants leave—Visit to Mâlem Haym, minister of the pasha—His history—Description of Acre—Visit to the pasha—Hospitality of M. Catafago—Disposal of time—Excursion to Nazareth—Franciscan convent—Residence and family of M. Catafago—Villages and lands farmed out by him—The Convent library—Arrival of Shaykh Ibrahim (Burckhardt), the celebrated traveller—Visit to the plain of Esdraëlon—Fûly—Battle of Fûly—Departure of Shaykh Ibrahim for Egypt—Excursion to Segery—Visit to the Shaykh—Bargain for a horse—Accident to Lady Hester.

It was on the 15th of June that we reached St. Jean d’Acre, after having been nine days on the road. We sat down to dinner in a large saloon, and after a cheerful evening retired to our chambers. The following day was given up to rest and domestic arrangements. The two Egyptian sayses, or grooms, who had walked by the side of the horses every day through the whole journey, were, beside their wages, rewarded with a present. Yusef, the sick man, received one hundred piasters for his trouble, and the tent-man and janissary were also recompensed, after their wages were paid, in proportion to their services. Yusef was[252] put to bed in the house of his sister, wife of one of the clerks of the public secretary; and the fatigue which he had undergone brought on such an increase of his fever that, on the next day, he was in a strong delirium.

It is the custom in the Levant, whenever a person is ill, and more especially when it is thought he will die, for all those who are relations or acquaintances of the family to visit him, and offer their condolence on the occasion. Accordingly, Yusef’s room was crowded; and, as I judged his case to be dangerous, and apprehended that the presence of so many people would disorder his brain still more, I resolved to break through so troublesome a custom, and to exclude every one but the necessary attendants. This was done forthwith; and, placing a servant at the chamber-door, where he remained sentry, I gave orders to admit nobody.

No sooner had our Cypriote servants gratified their curiosity at Jerusalem, than they had sought excuses to quit, and would have left us even at Ramlah to shift as we could in a country where it is not easy to supply one’s wants immediately, had it not been resolutely insisted on that they should remain as far as St. Jean d’Acre. We were now there, and one of the very first things done was to dismiss them. This was one of many other examples, showing how little reliance can be placed on the servants of the country, who know not what fidelity or attachment to Europeans[253] is, whom they serve for gain only, and quit for convenience.[50]

Lady Hester on the second day signified her intention of paying a visit to the rich Jew, Mâlem Haym Shâady,[51] the banker and the minister of the pasha, and the same evening was fixed on for their meeting. We went after dinner, and were received at the street entrance by Mâlem Haym himself, a man without a nose, with one eye, and with one ear, who conducted us into a small room with a raised divàn at one end, and on either side chairs, in the European fashion. Mr. Catafago acted as interpreter, and, with the nephew of the minister, named Solomon, was the only person present besides ourselves. The conversation was lively, and probably laid the ground for that friendly correspondence which afterwards existed between Lady Hester and Mâlem Haym until his death. This man’s history has something too curious to be passed over in silence.

He was the son of an eminent Jew, who filled the post of katib or yazgy to several pashas of Damascus, to which post Haym and his brothers, Rafael, Yusef, and Manasseh, succeeded him. Katib in Arabic, and yazgy in Turkish, mean no more than writer, or[254] scribe;[52] but the office confers more power than the name conveys. The katib is often at once government secretary and treasurer; and, as he is generally stationary in the pashalik for life, whilst the pashas, by removal or death, are often changed, it necessarily happens that he is a perfect master of the business of the pashalik, and of its revenues and resources; whilst the pashas, coming from distant provinces, enter upon a government of which the key is in the katibs’ hands, and are necessitated to keep them in their service, and to be guided by them.

But the pashalik of Damascus has this singularity, that its pasha and chief persons are absent annually on the pilgrimage to Mecca, and consequently are more especially bound to confide their affairs to the hands of their servants. Moreover, the order of march, the ordinances and regulations for the pilgrims, the quantity of provisions required, the pasha’s disbursements, and various other things essential to be known on this important occasion, have somehow become[255] secrets in the hands of these Jews, who it was told to us keep them registered in their own tongue. They thus become hieroglyphics to the Turks and Christians, who seek in vain to wrest the knowledge from the hands of the Jews, and so to stand in no farther need of them.

Haym was destined by his father to the priesthood, and we may suppose its holy functions do not incapacitate any one from filling secular offices, since he was both priest and minister. In the early part of his life the machinations of his enemies prevailed so far against him that he was summoned to Constantinople, to answer to certain accusations made against him; and, being condemned to a fine which he was unable to pay, he was thrown into prison. Haym had a sister, a woman of somewhat masculine appearance, but reputed to possess great qualities. Determined to release her brother, she undertook the journey from Syria to Constantinople; and, waiting for a convenient moment for her purpose, when the Grand Signor should be on his way to the mosque, where he goes publicly every Friday, she burst into the middle of the cavalcade, and threw herself at his feet, to petition for her brother’s release. Those who have witnessed the sultan’s procession to the mosque, the free use that is made of whips and cudgels to keep the populace in order, and the awe in which all stand of a monarch in whom a moment’s caprice or anger may beget a sentence of death, will admire the courage of her who[256] could brave it all. She succeeded, as she merited, and brought her brother back triumphantly to his home. And it is a proof of Haym’s prudence, that although he owed his freedom to his sister, and loved her exceedingly, he would not the more suffer her to meddle in the affairs of the pashalik.

When Ahmed Pasha, el Gezzàr, governed St. Jean d’Acre, Haym became his principal katib. The cruelties which that singular tyrant exercised on those in his service extended to Haym. He was accustomed to write down on a bit of paper, which he kept under his cushion, the names of those whom he intended to put to death or to mutilate by the loss of some member of the body; and this scrap he would produce, when the number became considerable enough to satisfy his bloodthirsty disposition. In this way he one day summoned Haym, among others, into his presence, and ordered his head to be cut off; but, immediately recalling the order, he desired that he should be deprived of his nose, one eye, and one ear. This was accordingly done. Haym was afterwards confined to the palace of the pasha, where he attended to the duties of his office by day, and by night was remanded to his apartment, and locked up. It was said that one of Haym’s great merits in the eyes of El Gezzàr was that, in writing despatches to the Porte, he mixed up respect and defiance in such a way that they breathed submission and yet showed the sword. Haym’s sufferings were not confined to these only.[257] At one time he was condemned to be baked in an oven; or, as others say, he was actually put into a heated oven, and there made to suffer unutterable torments.

El Gezzàr died, and was succeeded by Suliman, the reigning pasha, whose mild administration has not been charged with any of the horrors of which his predecessor was guilty. Haym now enjoyed power and affluence, and universally bore the character of a sage minister.

We were regaled with sweetmeats and confectionary, which Haym’s wife had prepared with her own hands, as she herself informed us. I had observed, nailed to the post of one or two doors, as we entered, what seemed to be from its perforations a small tin nutmeg-grater, and I was curious to know the purpose of it. I was informed that each one contained a copy of the ten commandments, which are nailed to the doorways as charms. The visit was prolonged to a late hour of the night. On taking leave, ten pounds were left to be divided as vails among the servants. On the following morning the visit was returned, and Mâlem Haym gave in his turn the same sum to Lady Hester’s domestics. He likewise presented her ladyship with a cashmere shawl worth fifty pounds.

Arrangements had been made to give Lady Hester every facility for seeing the city. Escorted by several persons, sent for that purpose, she visited the ramparts and the mosque, the two principal objects of curiosity[258] in it. After the ineffectual siege of the French, Ahmed el Gezzàr had sense enough to see that, but for the assistance afforded him by Sir W. Sydney Smith, Acre must inevitably have fallen into Buonaparte’s hands, and he resolved on fortifying the city in a way that would leave him less to apprehend in future.

Acre has two sides towards the sea, and two towards the land; so that its site is not a peninsula, as is said by some travellers, but rather a tongue of land, breaking the line of the crescent of the bay. The whole circumference of the walls does not exceed a mile and a half, but few persons have an opportunity of obtaining a correct measure. From whatever road you approach there is but one gate whereby to enter. To the left of it is the port, a small and shallow harbour, formed by a mole, which projects so as to make, with the curve which the strand takes, the form of an oblong with rounded corners. But this part is not more than a cable’s length across, and no vessel of more than 150 tons could lie in safety in it. The mouth lies direct west, and the gales of wind from that quarter set in with such violence, that, in March 1815, I saw a polacca wrecked in this harbour. That vessel, moored by two cables and a hawser, which passed through certain openings in the wall above the mole, broke and dragged them all, and swamped close to the city gate, where she would have gone to pieces, had not the wind abated in the afternoon,[259] and given time to take out her cargo. The only landing-place to the port is a flight of stairs, which has no outlet excepting by a passage that leads to the custom-house.

The Custom House is a single room, where the collector sits in a window seat, and, never putting pen to paper himself (perhaps not knowing how to write), transacts all the business of the chief part of the pashalik by means of one clerk. The then collector, Ayûb Selámy, was once a Christian; and, to save himself from the effects of a Turk’s anger, with whom he was in deadly dispute, he changed his religion. His wife and daughter still occupied his original dwelling at Jôon, a village about one league and a half from Sayda; and he secretly afforded them assistance, whilst he had espoused another woman, a Mahometan, by whom he had two or three children. As far as his worldly interest went, this man had no reason to regret his apostacy. From a farmer, he found himself exalted to one of the principal offices of the pashalik. But his air had always something that argued a man self-convicted of crime; and his demeanour had not, and perhaps could not have, that haughty look which characterizes the Mahometan-born, and which, from the authority they are accustomed to assume over Christians from their very infancy, becomes natural, and sits well upon them.

Adjoining the Custom House is the corn khan, or corn market, a quadrangular building about as large[260] again as the corn market of London; with this difference, however, in the uses they are put to, that in the one the corn to be sold is exposed in bulk, in the other in sample. The ground fronts of each side of the quadrangle are in arcades, from which open doors to vaulted magazines. The magazines are hired for a small sum per month, and the merchant is in perfect security from fire or robbery. A single staircase leads up to the first, which is likewise the upper, story (as the Levant buildings generally rise but to one, and in a few instances to two stories.) A corridor in arcades goes round it, and doors open from the corridor into the chambers, which are let by the week or month to travellers, or merchants, or whoever chooses to hire them. At the khan gate is a lodge answering to our porters’ lodges. Here sits and sleeps the khanatty, or master of the khan; and the form observed by those who desire to take an apartment is to call the khanatty, ask him to show what apartments are vacant; then, paying for a week or a month in advance, to take the key of that which pleases them. These apartments are double, having a room fronting the corridor and another towards the outer wall, both vaulted. In the outer one is a fireplace. They have nothing but bare walls, are generally full of fleas, and disgust a European, accustomed to the comforts of a well regulated inn. But reflection and habit will at last reconcile him to them, and even make him prefer them to better places; for, provided[261] he complies with the custom of the country to carry about with him his carpet, bed, and quilt, his servant buys a broom and a rush mat for sixpence or a shilling, and in half an hour converts his room into a furnished apartment, without fear of interruption from any one. The site of this khan is on the harbour, for el Gezzàr wisely covered with useful edifices that part of it which was shallow enough to be fordable, thus shutting up the passage of an enemy along the skirts of the city towards the south-west. The corn is brought in the morning in sacks on camels’ backs, two sacks making a load. The buyers attend, and purchase and remove it before evening; so that there may often be seen in the court eight or ten heaps, which disappear in the course of the day.

Passing from the north door of the khan, you come to an open space, where likewise the sea once flowed. On the right hand is a mosque displaying much neatness, but neither large nor otherwise remarkable. Upon the square the pedlars sell their wares, greengrocers their garden stuff, and who pleases spreads his mat, which, in the Levant, is equivalent to a stall with us, by bestowing a trifling gratuity on the person who rents the ground from the governor.

Quitting the open place at the north side, you come to a short street, which leads, at about a hundred yards’ distance, to the khan or caravansery, inhabited by the Franks. It is a spacious quadrangle of stone[262] buildings on the four sides, which were probably uniform in their original structure, although since deformed by changes and repairs. The ground-floor serves for magazines, stabling, &c. The first and second stories have wooden galleries that go round them, and afford space for exercise during the heat of the day, and allow of communication from dwelling to dwelling without being exposed to the weather. How much of all these edifices has been ruined by the late bombardment I have no opportunity of knowing.

But the object most worthy of a stranger’s curiosity in St. Jean d’Acre is the mosque built by El Gezzàr, and which is called Jamâ el Gedýd. It is rich in granite, porphyry, and the finest marbles. The ruins of Cæsarea and Ascalon were ransacked for its embellishment. It has a liberal endowment, and professors of theology have their share in it. It has, besides, a most splendid library, collected by El Gezzàr.

Not less magnificent is the bath constructed by the same pasha. It yields to few, if to any, of the baths of either Damascus or of Aleppo in splendour; and is far superior to anything of the kind in Egypt. In the centre of the building, a dome, that covers the principal vapour or hot room, is supported by a circular colonnade, almost every pillar of which is either porphyry, fine granite, or precious marble. The floors,[263] of variegated marbles, far exceed in beauty what the eyes of Europeans are accustomed to behold.[53]

The insufficiency of the old walls of Acre to protect the city from a bombardment induced El Gezzàr Pasha to obtain plans from European engineers for the building of others of more strength. The construction of these, which he thought to render impregnable, was, to him, the occupation of some years, and a work of oppression and terror to his subjects. Gangs, led to forced labour, succeeded each other; and when, towards the afternoon, the heat of the day was become oppressive, and lassitude, the consequence of eating and labour, began to overpower them, El Gezzàr would then issue forth among them; and, with a look rendered terrible from the ideas of stripes, imprisonment, torture, and death, that were associated with it, and, with a voice whose tones sunk to the very bottom of the heart, he would make the most sluggish active. In this way, Acre became the strongest fortress of Syria, and resisted for many years all assailants, until bombarded by the English fleet. The town is commanded from an eminence at the distance of half a mile from the walls. It was from this eminence that Buonaparte[264] directed his chief batteries in his unsuccessful attack against the place.

Lady Hester next paid a visit to the pasha. Her reception was splendid, and very complimentary. Every possible offer of service was made towards the prosecution of her journey through his pashalik. A beautiful gray horse awaited her on her return from the palace, as a present, which, being a stallion, she gave to me.

It has been made a cause of reproach towards Lady Hester, that she received presents from the Turks. We do not pretend to defend this usage; but a person of any consequence must comply with it in Turkey, or be exposed to continual altercations, and have all to give with nothing to receive.[54]

Mr. Catafago’s hospitality was unremitting. As the hours of eating, customary with the English, vary widely from those of the Levantines, much embarrassment[265] must have been experienced by that gentleman in his endeavours to suit our convenience. By questions (apparently of mere curiosity) he found out how, and at what hours, the English breakfasted and dined, and he studiously endeavoured to establish at his own table the same usages.[55]

The Turks almost invariably quit their beds before sunrise, on account of the early prayer; and native Christians very generally do likewise. They wash themselves, and take a cup of coffee, in quantity about as much as a small wine glass: this is accompanied by a pipe of tobacco. They then proceed to exercise or business, for both of which they are peculiarly fitted from the lightness of the body and clearness of the intellects consequent on an empty stomach. At noon, rich and poor all dine or breakfast; and, after a temperate repast, succeeded by a pipe and coffee, they retire to their harým to take a nap. About three, they rise again, and pursue their various occupations until sunset, when they sup. The evening is spent in visits, music, conversation, dancing, and the like, prolonged till a late hour. In this arrangement of their time, they approach the custom of the ancients.

Our host had a country residence at Nazareth, the dwelling-place of Joseph and Mary. He invited[266] Lady Hester to go thither; and, as this spot is considered as one of the great objects of curiosity among Christians, she accepted his invitation. We left Acre on the 22nd of June, at sunset. The night was dark and somewhat chilly. Our party was numerous: Mr. Catafago was our conductor. The road was as familiar to him as an English cross-road to any country gentleman in his own neighbourhood: yet, from some neglect on the part of Mr. Catafago’s groom, who led the cavalcade, we lost the way, and, to regain it, were compelled to ride through fields of Indian corn, and a wide tract of wild artichokes, which here are very abundant, but not pleasant as riding ground, from their prickly nature. Owing to this mistake, our journey proved very tedious, and it was nearly daylight before we arrived at Nazareth.

Nazareth is on Gebel Khalýl, which our translations call Galilee (Khalyly), and is about six leagues from Acre. The Franciscan friars are bound, by the rules of their order, not to admit women into their monasteries; but they have a salvo for their consciences in an imaginary wall of separation between their own cells and a part of the building which generally lies nearest to the entrance; and as Mr. C.’s house was too small to accommodate Lady Hester, this part of the monastery was fitted up for her reception, whilst a lodging was assigned for Mr. B. and myself adjoining the cells of the monks. All this had been previously arranged, and we found ourselves, on our arrival,[267] quartered in a few moments. The community consisted of thirteen monks, nine of whom were Spaniards. But there was the same querulous abuse of the Turks, the same spiteful feeling towards the schismatic Christians, the same prying curiosity into our concerns, and, with the exception of two, the same cunning and the same ignorance, that I have observed in every religious community in the East, with which it has been my lot to associate. The monastery is a strong and spacious stone building, accessible only by the great entrance, and having few windows or openings externally: for jealousy and fear have tended to convert every place of this kind into a fortress.

Nazareth is a large village, half Christian half Mahometan. Ali Bey gives it 2,000 inhabitants. It is subject to two bailiffs, each superintending his respective sect. The inhabitants, as mountaineers, have the character peculiar to that race of people. They are brave, hospitable, and ceremonious, but vindictive, cunning, and interested. The only trees to be seen about Nazareth are fig and olive, and verdure is as scanty as foliage. The soil is either rocky or stoney, and so stoney that, in the neighbourhood of the village, there was not a single spot to be found where I could gallop my horse for daily exercise.

It was here that Mr. C. dwelt, like an ancient patriarch, in a house opposite to the monastery. He had round him his own family, which was numerous; also his brother and his wife’s sisters, one of whom[268] was married and had children, making, with the servants, not fewer than thirty or thirty-five persons. He farmed under the pasha as many as five villages, the rents, taxes, and miri of which became his for a certain consideration, paid either annually or during some term agreed upon. He might take cognizance of petty delinquencies, and deliver the culprit over to the tribunal of the pasha; but in civil affairs his decision was to a certain extent law, provided it was connected with agricultural economy. Two of his villages, called Fûly, lay in the centre of the plain of Esdräelon, and the greatest part of the plain was farmed out by him. This spot, beautiful from its extent, its fertility, and its position, is of a fine rich black soil, and produces abundant crops; but its exposed situation, subjecting it to the inroads of the Bedouin Arabs, had rendered the land there of low price. Mr. C. had contrived, by yielding sometimes, by sometimes threatening, and especially by presents, liberally and judiciously dealt out among the shaykhs or chiefs of these Bedouins, to ensure the safety of the peasantry; and to him it was owing that villages before destitute of inhabitants were then the dwellings of industrious labourers.

There are in Nazareth many places which the traveller is taken to as objects of veneration or curiosity. The chapel built on the site of the Virgin Mary’s house, the room even that she inhabited, is shown, though the belief in these traditions calls forth a wonderful[269] exertion of faith. Indeed, the holy fathers yet bear in mind the scandal brought on their body in the eyes of the Mahometans and the Greek Christians, when Napoleon Buonaparte was led into the chapel of the monastery, and, on being shown the suspended pillar with other miraculous appearances, beheld them with indifference, and kept his hat on even to the very foot of the altar!

The apartment assigned to me was the library, where about fifty shelves of books, dusty from neglect, and worm-eaten for want of use, bore doubtful evidence to the studious propensities of the fathers. As a couple of days were sufficient to see what Nazareth contained, and as circumstances led me to imagine we might remain here for a time, I turned over the volumes to see whether I could find some book to assist me in learning Arabic. I was fortunate enough to light on Erpenius’s grammar and a dictionary, and I here commenced that study.

Thus the time passed pleasantly away. In the neighbourhood of Nazareth we visited Mount Tabor, and Cana, and rode to other places in the environs. Mr. B., accompanied by his Mameluke, Joseph, departed for the sea of Galilee. On his return, after an absence of two or three days, he informed us of a singular meeting with a person who called himself Shaykh Ibrahim. At Tabariah[56] he had been lodged at the[270] house of a priest to which Europeans were generally conducted. The weather was sultry, and Mr. B., confined within doors, heard some one in altercation with his Mameluke at the entry of the house. Joseph was endeavouring to turn out a meanly dressed man with a long beard, who insisted, in his turn, on speaking with the Englishman within. Upon advancing to the door, Mr. B. was surprised to hear himself addressed in good English. Shaykh Ibrahim made himself known, and they spent the day together. The succeeding day Mr. B. returned to Nazareth, having invited Shaykh Ibrahim to visit us. It is unnecessary to say he was the celebrated Burckhardt.

On the morrow he arrived, and his appearance was calculated to interest those who beheld him, from the singularity of his dress, so different from that of a European. As there will be occasion to speak of him again more than once, it is necessary to introduce him particularly to the notice of the reader. He was a robust and rather an athletic man, of about five feet nine, with blue eyes, a broad German face, and a pleasing look. His teeth were very unevenly set. I did not, at that time, know that he was travelling for the African Society, as he affected to pass for an Arab, and did not care to betray his secret to those from whom he could reap no advantage by the disclosure, and might derive some inconvenience. There was something in his speech that did not amount to a foreign accent, and yet it was at times enough to make[271] a listener suppose he might be Irish, so well had he learned to speak a language not vernacular. He remained, if I recollect rightly, two whole days at Nazareth. Lady Hester’s opinion of him was not a favourable one, and she never altered it. He took occasion, in conversation, to point out to Lady Hester the practicability of procuring certain objects of antiquity, which he supposed to come within the reach of her purse and influence, although not of his own. He was dressed as a peasant of Palestine, with a turban of about the length and fineness of a round towel. His shirt was coarse, long, and with pointed sleeves reaching considerably beyond his fingers’ ends. His legs were bare, and his feet were thrust into an old pair of shoes, somewhat resembling inn slippers. He had loose drawers, and a tunic or frock of white coarse cotton, reaching down to his feet, open in front, over which was a woollen cloak or abah, the favourite mantle of every person throughout Syria when travelling.

One day Mr. Catafago engaged Mr. B. and myself to accompany him to Fûly. Shaykh Ibrahim was of the party. We left Nazareth early. Lady Hester did not choose to go, not conceiving there could be anything interesting in a village. After riding over the flat space which lies to the west of Nazareth, we descended into the ravine that opens at its termination into the plain of Esdraelon, called by the natives Merge Ebn Omar. Mr. Catafago was on a bay Arabian[272] mare, the costly gift of a chieftain of one of the districts of Nablûs. She was small but beautiful, and swift as the antelope. His son Lewis was mounted on another, her very counterpart. Nothing certainly could exist in creation more showy, to an uninformed eye, than these two mares; but we were told afterwards that they were by no means of the purest breed; and, although then incredulous, we afterwards saw mares and horses as greatly superior to these as they were to the small breed of Malta, from which many a horse has been selected to impose on people in England as of untainted blood of Arabia.

We had never seen any soil so rich as the plain of Esdraelon then appeared; its extent fully sufficed to impress the mind with ideas of the immense produce to be obtained; and its fertility was evident from the rich mould under our feet. Its boundaries are of a kind to awaken feelings at once sublime and sacred. At one end is Mount Tabor, a truncated cone, wooded and verdant to the summit; and at the other extremity, as it appeared from the distance where we stood, is a narrow defile leading to the desert or to some unexplored district; on one side we were hemmed in by hills and low mountains, through which, towards the north, we had entered the plain; and towards the east lay the great and terrible wilderness, with Mount Gilboa between.

We had scarcely reached the skirts of the plain, when we started off in a gallop. Shaykh Ibrahim[273] was mounted on a roan mare, that had cost him two hundred piasters (ten pounds), and which had all the requisites of leanness and poor equipment to escape the avidity of the Bedouin Arabs. The evenness of the plain was delightful after the rugged paths we had just quitted. Some idea may be given of the complete level that prevails in this and other plains about Nazareth and Acre, from the fact that in a distance of some miles neither stone nor hillock is to be found. Fûly is a poor hamlet, consisting of houses of one story, with flat roofs, built with stones cemented with mud only, and apparently gathered (without any regard to symmetry) from several heaps of decayed stone-work, covering a considerable space near the hamlet; whence it is to be inferred that an ancient place of some size must formerly have occupied the same spot.

Mr. Catafago, who knew what slender accommodation Fûly afforded, had ordered a tent to be brought with us, which was immediately pitched. Coffee was made; the chief peasantry soon collected; and, whilst Mr. Catafago was arranging his farming concerns with some of them, we listened to the history of the battle of Fûly, given us by several of the natives who had witnessed it, and whose story, where not quite true, was corrected by Joseph and Selim, the latter having accompanied General Buonaparte’s army on that expedition.

It will be recollected that Buonaparte, having made himself master of Egypt, invaded Syria. A rapid[274] march brought him, by uninterrupted successes, under the walls of Acre, to which he laid siege, and was vigorously opposed by the Turkish garrison, assisted by Sir W. Sydney Smith, who threw reinforcements into the place, and continually found means of annoying the French from the sea. Upon the alarm which pervaded Syria at Buonaparte’s progress, a body of troops had been raised at Damascus, from different corps, principally of cavalry, collected from all the garrison towns of that country. This army, consisting of ten thousand men, was defeated at the village of Fûly by General Junot with a corps of only six thousand.

Some anecdotes were related of the French which are too trifling to be introduced here. The following, however, is illustrative of the character of Junot, who commanded the division at Nazareth. A French officer, mortally wounded, expressed a desire to confess, and sent for a priest from the monastery. A certain Père Hilarion went to him: he administered his ghostly consolation, and the officer breathed his last. On the following morning Junot heard of this. He went over to the monastery, called for Père Hilarion, and, seizing him by the beard, swore, with a tremendous oath, that he would cut his throat for having dared to introduce priestcraft among his soldiers, in order to make cowards of them. Having frightened him greatly, he let him go; but afterwards, wherever he met him, he drew his sabre and pretended[275] to sharpen it, as if going to put his threats into execution.

After spending a delightful day, we mounted to return home, and lengthened the way by a circuitous route through another of Mr. Catafago’s villages. We arrived late at Nazareth. It was at this time that Mr. Pearce, whom we left at Jaffa ill, joined our party again. He had been to Jerusalem, and had passed through the district and burgh of Nablûs (the ancient Samaria) to Nazareth. This addition to the party, which was now numerous, rendered the stay there very agreeable.

After two or three days, Shaykh Ibrahim took his departure for Egypt, to which country he intended to make his way at the back of the Dead Sea, which design he afterwards executed, and crossed the desert el Ty to Cairo. Mr. Pearce likewise left us, and directed his steps to another part of the country.

We had regretted much not having purchased horses in or about Jerusalem. Nazareth, however, and its environs, boast a very fine race of what in England would be called half-bred. It happened that a Jew, on his way from Acre to Suffad, passed a night at Nazareth, and, hearing of my wish to buy a horse, invited me to accompany him as far as Segery, a village halfway from Nazareth to Tabariah, where he assured me I should easily suit myself.

The first village we saw proved to be Cana. A spring, or conduit, attracted my attention, and recalled[276] the miracle that has rendered the name of Cana sacred. Arrived at Segery, I was taken to the house of the bailiff, or shaykh of the village, who was known to have a young horse for sale. The shaykh, as it happened, was ill in bed. He entertained us with coffee and pipes; and, having touched slightly on the merits of his colt, which was led out for me to look at, he talked at large of his malady, and earnestly solicited my advice respecting it. He had already discovered that I was eager to purchase, and he now perceived that the colt had met my fancy. He asked me, with a seeming air of friendly consideration, a price, which, by the kind interference of the Jew, whose regard for me would not allow me to be imposed upon, was diminished to one half, and I was pleased to think what an excellent bargain I had made. The Jew pursued his journey, and I bent my way back, with my new purchase ridden by the shaykh’s servant, who was commissioned to receive the money. I had read much of the pedigrees of Arab horses, and the shaykh (who saw my foible) supplied me with one sufficiently long to gratify my utmost ambition.

On my arrival at Nazareth, I went to the cadi, and stated to him the nature of the purchase I had made, with my desire that his name should be affixed to the pedigree, together with the seals of two witnesses, as the proof of its authenticity. He read the pedigree, put his name to it, and, instead of two, procured the signature of five witnesses. The servant received the money[277] (£13), and I thought I had made a bargain at once advantageous and complete in every single circumstance. At this distance of time, I laugh to think how much I was duped in the whole proceeding; for, putting out of the question the price which I paid, much more than the value of the horse, I subsequently knew that a cadi, and more especially a cadi of a country burgh, would not scruple to put his hand to a document of much more importance than this without believing one word of its contents.[57]

Lady Hester, having now seen what was worthy of notice in and about Nazareth, prepared to quit it. On the 5th of July, when the necessary number of camels had been provided and loaded, they were sent off about four in the afternoon for Acre. About an hour or two after sunset we followed. The evening was dark, and the priests, both to do honour to their departing guests, and because the street is tortuous and the road uneven, accompanied us two or three hundred yards with lanterns, and then left us. It would appear that the horses experienced the effect common on the sudden disappearance of light, and for a moment could not see. Lady Hester’s horse trod on a large stone lying in the road, and slipped upon his[278] side. The thing was instantaneous, and her ladyship was thrown with her horse partly upon her. We all dismounted, and extricated her; dismay seized every one, when it was found that one leg was severely hurt. She was carried back to the monastery and put to bed. A messenger was immediately despatched to bring back the baggage; and, as we were in a manner in want of many most essential articles until its return, the delay was very distressing. To the merriment and bustle of a departure had now succeeded solicitude and anxiety. Each person again took up his old quarters, but with very different feelings from those with which he had left them.

Lady Hester’s leg, however, was only bruised, and not fractured; and, at the end of a week, she was so far recovered, that we again departed: but it was thought better to avail ourselves of daylight; and on the 13th, in the evening, we arrived at Acre a second time, having been obliged, on account of her ladyship’s weakness, to make the journey in two days.

At the place where we reposed the first night, Selim, the Mameluke, met with a misfortune. We were scarcely arrived, and had tethered our horses, when his showed symptoms of colic. To cure him, he resorted to the means used in Syria and in Egypt, which, in my opinion, hastened his death. He mounted him and rode him in furious and short gallops backward and forward until the poor steed was covered with[279] lather. His sufferings were evidently increased by this violent exercise. A decoction of cummin and aniseed, a remedy of the country, was then administered. He lingered in great pain until morning, and then died.



Preparations for leaving Acre—Anecdotes of Gezzàr Pasha—Intrigues of his Women in his absence with the Mamelukes—Suspicions and plans of Gezzàr—Slaughter of the Women—Alarm and Rebellion of the Mamelukes—They take refuge in a tower and threaten to blow up the powder magazine—They escape in the night—General defection of the troops, who storm Tyre, but are routed before Acre—Further vengeance of Gezzàr.

Active preparations were now made for continuing our journey along the coast. Horses were purchased for the servants,[58] and camels hired for the baggage. But, before dismissing the subject of Acre altogether,[281] it will not be amiss to relate one or two anecdotes touching that extraordinary man, Hadj Ahmed el Gezzàr, a pasha, whose ferocious character seems to partake more of the brute than of human nature, but whose vices have in some measure been redeemed by his patronage of literary men and by the many useful buildings which he erected and establishments which he founded. Still, amongst the tyrants whom we read of in the history of the Turks, whose annals are fruitful in such monsters, few appear to have been more sanguinary than El Gezzàr. Although he had at this time been dead some years, yet his name was perpetually the theme of conversation; and traits of great vice and great virtue were everywhere recorded of him in a way to leave an impression on the mind that he was a man of no common stamp. The following is an imperfect narrative of the Mameluke sedition, an important event in his government, and which, arising from the suspicious jealousy of a lustful disposition, had nearly brought his career to an early termination.

El Gezzàr was, from causes which it is not necessary here to detail, appointed Pasha both of Damascus and Acre. His power was at this time at its height, and his cruelties were supposed to have reached their acmè also. It would seem, however, that the hitherto known scale of human tyranny was deficient with respect to him. As Pasha of Damascus, he was obliged to conduct the pilgrims to Mecca: he[282] left behind him a harým full of white beauties; it was said nearly one hundred. Of his Mamelukes, the whole number of whom was four hundred, half was thought unnecessary on the long journey on which he was gone, and therefore remained at Acre.

No sooner had El Gezzàr departed on the pilgrimage, than the eunuchs of the harým relaxed somewhat in their accustomed severity. At certain hours of the day, when the officers and attendants of the palace were moving about in the court below, the ladies would coax their black Arguses for permission to repair to the blinds of the windows to look at them. As they disputed on the respective merits of the gentlemen who passed, each would be led to select her favourite, and, by an easy transition, would feel desirous of informing him of her preference. Writing was dangerous, and a message still more so; but the language of flowers is understood in the East; and the present of a budding rose, a pink, or a carnation, is the billet-doux of the country.

Thus several intimations were given from those within to those without; and the agas and Mamelukes no doubt communicated their good fortune, each to his friend. Four or five of them entered into a secret resolution to attempt an entrance to the harým. One was the khasnadár, or treasurer of the Pasha, and brother of Selim, newly appointed pasha of two tails, the seraskier of El Gezzàr, and who had been left kekhyah, or vicegerent, in his absence.


The black eunuchs, who are the keepers of the harým, have each a key of the outer door. Whether by bribes or otherwise, the paramours contrived to obtain admission. After midnight, when all was quiet, the khasnadár and his companions opened the door; and, we may suppose, previously apprized where they were to go, found their expecting mistresses.

In the mean time the arduous and painful track of the Desert was traced and retraced, and El Gezzàr re-entered Acre. On his first visit to the harým, his keen eye soon told him that all was not as it used to be. To their submissive and servile manners was added something which showed him that other thoughts reigned in their bosoms besides dress and ornaments. He asked himself what it could be, and soon found a clue to guide his suspicions.

Sitting, one day, at a window that looked on the outer door of the harým, he observed a Christian, named Nummum, with a nosegay in his hand, knock at the door and deliver it to a slave. At night, when he retired to his harým, he thought he saw the same nosegay stuck carelessly under the tarbûsh[59] of one of his Sereahs, the lovely Zulyka, with the flowers hanging down and the stalks upwards according to the Eastern manner. “Come hither, girl: where did you get that nosegay?” said the Pasha. She readily[284] answered, “Out of the garden.” He put on a smiling look—“Come, come, I know better than that: I saw Nummum, the Nazareen, with it. Tell me, my girl, who your admirer is, and I’ll see if I cannot give you to him in marriage. I have intended to find you a husband for some time.” The foolish Zulyka believed him to be in earnest, and told him she thought it came from the khasnadàr.

Previous to this accident, whilst a prey to secret jealousy, his suspicions had fallen on the Mamelukes, and he had resolved within himself that he would make such an example of some of those who had been left behind, as should deter any one in future from similar attempts on his honour. His scheme was deep-laid, and not the gust of sudden passion. One day he told Selim Pasha, his seraskier, that he was resolved on an incursion into the province of the Drûzes, against the Emir Yusef. Disputes between El Gezzàr and his neighbours were too common to cause this order to excite any great surprise. Letters were accordingly written to the neighbouring governors secretly to hold themselves and their troops in readiness, and the place of meeting was to be at Khan Hasbéyah.

Selim Pasha assembled the Hawáry, the Arnaûts, and the Dellati troops; whilst El Gezzàr was employed in mustering his Mamelukes, giving some leave to go, ordering some to stay behind, according to the selection he had made in his own mind of the guilty[285] from the innocent: and the khasnadár was among those who remained at Acre. Selim marched with his men, and arrived at Hasbéyah, where he encamped, as was agreed, to give time to the other chiefs to join him. Thus El Gezzàr had contrived, under pretext of a war, to get rid of all such as he thought likely to be troublesome to him in the execution of his bloody plan. For his Mamelukes, if together, formed a body of 400 youths, and were also much connected, by ties of intimacy and friendship, with most of the officers of the pasha’s troops: so that to attempt a signal revenge, when thus united, he considered too hazardous, and accordingly separated them by the above stratagem.

It was close upon the march of Selim that the accident of Zulyka’s nosegay occurred, and gave him a clue to begin his inquiries. No sooner had she, as above related, confessed to him her partiality for the khasnadár than, pretending to be satisfied, he rose from his seat, took his balta[60] with him, and walked[286] into his garden. When there, he ordered Zulyka to be sent to him. She came; and the Pasha, no longer concealing his rage, furiously seized her by the hair and threw her on the ground: then placing his foot on her neck, and holding his balta as if he would strike her: “Wretch! tell me the truth,” he cried: “thou hast already confessed thyself guilty, and nothing but the denunciation of thy accomplices can save thee.” In vain she protested that she had no accomplices, was conscious of no guilt: he drew his sabre, and, with his own hand, severed her head from that bosom which in happier moments she had made the tyrant’s pillow! He commanded the corpse to be thrown into a well. It is related that three others, whose fidelity he most doubted, met with a similar fate at his hands: when fatigued, and aware how much more yet remained to be done, he sent for four Hawára soldiers, men naturally of a ferocious character, and, ordering fresh victims into his presence, bade them continue the work of death.

Quite unusual as it is for men even of a grave character, more especially soldiers, to enter the harým of a pasha, their summons caused much wonder among the Mamelukes in attendance in the seraglio. The cries of the women who had perished had already been heard: but the frequent use of the bastinado within made them at first pay little attention to such sounds. As they were busied in conjectures on what this proceeding could mean, a repetition of the cries was heard.[287] These, uttered with all the vehemence of distress, suddenly ceased. They remained mute and listening:—again the piercing scream was heard, and again as suddenly was hushed: but the voice was different from the former.

Assembling round the harým door, they contrived to speak to one of the harým agasis. They induced him to come out, and then asked him what those cries meant. He pretended that there was nothing unusual going forward; but they were not to be deceived; and, by threats and promises, at last extracted the truth from him that the pasha was murdering his women. The Mamelukes heard no more. Conscious of a participation in their guilt, they looked at each other with appalled countenances, and the stoutest heart trembled for a moment. At last they took courage; and some of the most resolute, and perhaps the most culpable, spoke. They asked, “What is to be expected for us from a cruel and jealous disposition like El Gezzàr’s? we shall be the next victims; let us be true to each other, and either die together or save ourselves.” They immediately flew to their apartments, armed themselves, and prepared for resistance. We have seen that the khasnadár was one most implicated in this affair. As master of the treasury, he had his apartment in a tower, which formed part of the palace. This tower, for the sake of security, was more than commonly strong, with an[288] iron door and iron grated windows, and it looked on the harým. To this building they betook themselves: they barred and blockaded the doors, and waited the event.

In the mean time, El Gezzàr, with his four executioners, was carrying on the horrid massacre, and fifteen young and beautiful creatures were murdered that night. When the slaughter was over, and the terror that prevailed within a little abated, some of his harým-agasis[61] took courage to tell him of the defection of his Mamelukes. He was furious: he sent to them immediately, and commanded them to quit the tower. Their reply was firm—“It is true we are your property; but you have imbrued your hands so deeply in human blood, and are so thirsty for ours, that our measures are irrevocably taken.” It so happened that the powder-magazine adjoined the treasury, and was a part of the tower. They added—“If you attempt to dislodge us from this place, we will fight as long as we can defend ourselves, and then will set fire to the powder-magazine, and signalize our end with the fall of El Gezzàr and the destruction of Acre; but if you will suffer us to depart unmolested, we will bid adieu to you and Acre for ever.” Frantic with rage, he fired on them with his own hand from the windows of his apartment; but was compelled to shelter himself, as they fired on him in return.


The news soon spread through the city: the extraordinary event of slaves in rebellion to their master, and the noise of musketry heard from within, with the various reports of a general extermination of the women in the harým: all was so full of horror, that the inhabitants retired trembling to their homes, and, shutting their doors, looked forward to the end with a mixture of curiosity and consternation. The segmàn bashi, or commander of the infantry, was the only military officer in the place: he thought it prudent to remain quiet, and the pasha did not call on him to act.

In the mean time, no one dared approach the pasha; he foamed and raged, and, in his fury, would listen to no reasoning. At length, the mufti and some others of the principal inhabitants resolved to enter his presence, cost what it might. “We will bring him to reason if we can, and if we cannot,” they said, “he must kill us.” They approached him, and began to intercede for the lives of the Mamelukes: they then spoke a little plainer, and told him he only endangered his own life and that of all the citizens by persisting in confining the Mamelukes to a place where one desperate act might blow them all to atoms. Finally, they begged him, for the honour of a pasha’s name and the odium it would bring upon him, to give the culprits a free passage. El Gezzàr seemed to yield: he said “He would not hinder their departure, provided they would only appear in his presence that[290] he might reproach them with their ingratitude.” But the Mamelukes declined this dangerous proposition, and adhered to their resolution: so that the good counsel of the elders profited nothing, and probably left a rancour against themselves in the heart of the tyrant.

For three days, matters remained in this uncertain state. On the fourth, it was known that the Mamelukes, to the number of fifteen, had found means to escape, being those arrived at manhood, whilst the boys were left behind to their fate. Those who had got away bent their steps towards Khan Hasbéya, and, on the fifth day, in the morning, arrived at Selim Pasha’s tent. Great was the surprise that their appearance excited: the Mamelukes of the pasha, with their horses fatigued, with no corn, no customary pomp—all announced that something was not right. When the khasnadár reached his brother’s tent, he related to him what had happened; and, when he had brought his story to the period of their taking refuge in the tower, he continued—“Thus shut up, and seeing no movement among the soldiers or inhabitants in our favour, we thought it better to contrive some plan of escape. You know that window of the tower which opens on the ditch: you are aware, likewise, that the money chests deposited in the treasury are all bound with large cords: having, therefore, with our baltas and battleaxes worked out some of the iron bars, we made use of the ropes to let ourselves down.[291] But first we ransacked the chests, and each loaded his pockets and girdle with as much money as he could take; then, one by one, we descended through the window: by the care of some well-wishers in the city, horses were waiting for us, and we found ourselves to be fifteen in number and outside of the walls. Here we sent defiance to the pasha, and told him he might now take us if he could.

Selim Pasha did not deliberate long on which side he should range himself. He was a Mameluke, and his brother was a leader of the fugitives: he therefore assembled all the principal officers of the camp, and addressed them thus—“You see here a body of men whom the jealousy of a cruel pasha would have sacrificed; but who is that pasha? A rebel to the Porte, driven out of Damascus, and a usurper of the government he holds. For myself,” said he, “you know the sultan some time since made me waly[62] of Sayda and its dependencies: to him I owe allegiance, and not to one who is denounced by him as a rebel. Let us then, in avenging the wrongs of these injured men, be faithful to our sovereign: let us—instead of wantonly attacking a prince, against whom we were not sent on the grounds of real aggression, but to remove us out of the way, in order that a tyrant might with more facility execute his bloody ends against our brethren—let us unite ourselves with this prince, and, marching against the monster, offer his[292] head as a just tribute to the Porte.” His advice was received with acclamations. A horseman was despatched to Emir Yusef, who, when acquainted with the defection of the Mamelukes, immediately joined the league and aided it with money and troops. After some days, the allied forces marched to Sayda, and there they remained for a time to mature their plans.

El Gezzàr was quite deserted: his soldiers had abandoned him, and he was loved by no one; yet was he not dismayed. He sent for his counsellors, one by one, and asked them what they would advise him to do: almost all told him his case was desperate, and that he would do well to fly. “Take what you will with you,” said they, “but leave us, and save the town from the sufferings of a siege.” He scorned their advice. “Go, my friends: God will manage it; and I shall some day have the pleasure of thanking you for your prudent counsels.”

Hadj Ali, the author of this narrative, was a soldier under Yahya Aga, who commanded a few troops, and was, when these events happened, encamped about three hours’ march from Acre. When Yahya heard what was going forward, he hesitated whose cause he should espouse, whether that of the pasha at Acre or of the pasha at Sayda. Ali signified that he was ready to follow him wherever he chose to go; but added that, if he thought obedience to an unjust master was a less sacred duty than fidelity to his comrades, with whom he had been bred up and had[293] fought, then it was with those comrades he must connect his fortunes and conquer or perish with them. “And such is my resolve,” replied the Aga: “their fate and mine shall be one!” He accordingly struck his tents, and joined Selim Pasha, who had quitted Sayda, and was lying before Tyre.

Tyre had remained faithful to El Gezzàr, and shut its gates against Selim. Although the town had no garrison, and the whole population did not amount to more than 2,000, they were willing to try the issue of a contest. But, on the following day, Selim stormed and sacked it, finding a very considerable booty. The women were violated; the houses plundered; and what could not be carried off was sold to camp followers, or thrown away in waste. Property of all kinds lay scattered in the streets, and all the excesses of Turkish warfare were here committed.

On the next day but one, Selim Pasha reached the environs of Acre, and encamped at Abu Ataby, where were provisions in abundance. What was el Gezzàr now to do? Soldiers he had none, and but few friends. His fate seemed certain, and every body foretold his ruin. Still, however, he remained firm. By means of emissaries, he contrived to disseminate a spirit of defection among the troops of his enemy, in holding forth the immense rewards that would attend those who should show themselves faithful to him. He insinuated that the lot of a brave soldier could only be prosperous under a warlike leader like himself, whose[294] contentions with his neighbours, however they might distress the labouring and manufacturing classes, filled the purses of the troops. These, with many other arguments adapted to the occasion, had the desired effect.

El Gezzàr then armed a number of labourers, who happened to be in Acre employed in buildings which he was erecting, and joined them to a few regular soldiers. They were instructed that, at midnight, when the enemy might be supposed asleep, they were to steal forth secretly until they came within the precincts of the camp. Their watchword was to be Balta, the instrument that El Gezzàr always carried about him, and the very name of which, from the fatal purposes to which he had so often turned it, inspired terror. On arriving at the camp, they were to set up a cry of Balta, balta, and to fire their muskets with as much noise as possible. It was supposed by him that the enemy, believing themselves attacked by a larger force than they really were, would be panic-struck, and might take to flight: and his anticipations were verified.

The precautions used to prevent surprise in European camps are unknown or seldom practised in those of Orientals. Fear magnified the number of the assailants, and the rebels fled in disorder. Selim Pasha and Suliman Aga (afterwards pasha of Acre) hovered for some time round the scene of action; until, finding that all was lost, they bent their way to Damascus;[295] and, the stragglers on the road joining them here and there, they made up a body of 300 or 400 men. The Delatis and Arnaûts retired to Nazareth, and soon afterwards, on professing their penitence, were received again into the service of El Gezzàr.

From Damascus Selim Pasha took the road to Aleppo, and from Aleppo went to Constantinople, plundering the villages in his route for subsistence. On arriving in Constantinople, he was seen by the Sultan, on a day of royal diversion, and had the honour of exhibiting together with his Mamelukes in some martial exercises before him. The Sultan took notice of them, and they were sent to the army, at that time in the field against the Russians, with a promise that, when the campaign was over, Selim Pasha should return to Syria with firmans to remove El Gezzàr from his government. But Selim Pasha was killed in the storming of Ismael, and El Gezzàr thus lost a troublesome enemy.

Of the Mamelukes left behind in the tower some were pardoned, some were mutilated by the loss of their noses, eyes, or ears; and some were punished still more severely. The rage of El Gezzàr was not yet appeased. He embarked the remainder of his women for Cairo, where he caused them to be sold. He vented his impotent fury against the trees that had afforded shade to their guilty loves, and against every object that could remind him of his dishonour. Will it be credited? The very cats of the harým[296] were destroyed, that nothing might exist that had witnessed his shame.[63]



Departure from Acre—Hadj Ali—Night journey—Encampment at El Guffer—Roman road—Dangerous pass—Distant view of Tyre—Ras-el-ayn—Aqueduct—Slave-dealer—Egyptian grooms—Women washing linen—River Kasmia—Blind travellers—Ancient sepulchral grottoes and other remains—Sarfent—Signor Damiani—The Khudder, used as a coffee-house—The hostess—Grave of Sayd el Abd—Village of Gazzeah—District of the Metoualis—Arrival at Sayda—Beautiful country.

On the 18th of July, the baggage being all loaded on camels, about three in the afternoon, the caravan, for such, from the number of people and animals, it now was, left Acre. To Hadj Ali, a janissary, who has already been mentioned in this narrative, was committed the conduct of the baggage. It has just now been seen how, in the revolt against El Gezzàr, he had fled with the rebels to Constantinople, under Selim Pasha; after whose death, Ali returned to Syria, and offered his services to Nasif, at that time pasha of Damascus. He remained with him some years; and when, in consequence of suspicions attached[298] to his government by the Porte, Nasif was obliged to quit his country, and exile himself in Europe, Ali was one of three or four who accompanied him, and, with him, visited Naples, Genoa, Leghorn, and Marseilles. Nasif Pasha being permitted to return, Ali was restored to his native country, and went and served Suliman, pasha of Acre. But Ali had likewise made a campaign in the vizir’s army in Egypt, and, on the reverses of the Turks in that country, had quietly remained at Cairo, where, by his activity and adaptation to Frank manners, he was employed by the French, at a pay (as he often said with exultation) of a dollar a day. He would sometimes likewise display his knowledge of the French language acquired when in their service; and no one would do him the injustice to infer anything from the expressions prison, garde, and sacre, which seemed to form almost the extent of his acquirements.

It was at Acre that we found him. He was past fifty; but active, intelligent, and a good Mussulman; which means that he strictly observed the rites and ceremonies of his religion. He was very diminutive in stature. This was the man who afterwards, in 1816, filled with the Princess of Wales the same situation which we shall now find him occupying in Lady Hester’s suite. Length of service, and more especially fidelity in the execution of his duties, had procured him advancement, and he now styled himself Khial el Khazny—a name implying treasury horse[299] messenger. With him was associated Mohammed el Ladkány, who, it will be recollected, was assigned to her ladyship as a guard at Jaffa. He was a man of not less activity and intelligence than his companion, and of noble physiognomy.

We left the city gates, and, as our people were somewhat heterogeneous, some confusion ensued the moment we were on the high road. Few of the Christian servants had probably ever mounted a horse before, since Christians, unless in the service of great Turks or Franks, are forbidden to ride on horseback. We were therefore entertained with a display of horsemanship that would not have disgraced a gentleman on the Easter hunt. Mrs. Fry, her ladyship’s maid, had been accoutred in man’s clothes; and, from her timidity in this new garb, and thus mounted, was often exposed to the danger of falling from her ass, on which she persisted in sitting in the decorous posture customary with women in England: although in a country where women invariably ride astride, and where there are no side saddles, she might have imitated them with less singularity and without indecency. Order was at length obtained, and we proceeded along the plain to the north of Acre. We passed on our left the village of Zyb,[64] where is the tomb of Saad-ed-dyn. We then reached the foot of a promontory jutting into the sea, called Gebel Msherify. At its first rise is a tower or πυργος, named[300] in Arabic (by a corruption of the word) Bûrge; one of many others which are seen at unequal distances all along the Syrian coast. The road here is steep and rugged, and very unfit for camels, which, however safely they travel on level ground, lose their footing where there are inequalities.

It was now dark. Sometimes I kept in front of the caravan with Hadj Ali; and sometimes, when the delay of the camels induced me to ride back towards them, in my anxiety for the medicine-chest, which was more particularly an object of care to me, I rode by the side of the camel which bore it, balanced on the opposite side by a large clothes’-trunk, and both surmounted by my camp bed. As we were ascending Gebel Msherify, what was my alarm when I saw, or rather heard (for the darkness of the night prevented my seeing clearly) the camel fall over what appeared to be a precipice. The caravan stopped, and we alighted to see what mischief was done. Instead of falling over the precipice into the sea, the camel had rolled down about nine feet, and was found rid of his load, which in his struggle had quitted him. By the aid of the camel-drivers, who are sturdy fellows, and probably used to such mishaps, the luggage was replaced on the same beast, who had experienced no serious injury. But to the chest, filled with glass bottles, much damage was to be apprehended. However, this was no place to examine it, both from the darkness that enveloped us, and from the apprehension[301] of robbers—a fear that possessed me more powerfully at this time than when I performed the same journey some years afterwards, when I knew how well the government of Suliman Pasha protected the traveller in his peregrinations.

When the caravan proceeded, a winding path seemed to carry us higher and higher, whilst the roaring of the sea, heard distinctly, indicated how near we were to the edge of the precipice. Underwood covered the soil. On a sudden, we descended rapidly by the side of a watercourse, which brought us to another bûrge on the seashore, and elevated but a few yards above it. Close to it was a cottage, or what we should in England designate as a lodge for cattle; for it seemed no better, although it was inhabited by a man who levied a toll on passengers and loaded animals, without the assistance of a gate or barrier. This place is called the Guffer. It was here that Hadj Ali, who had been desired to divide the distance between Acre and Tyre into two equal parts, caused us to halt; and, although the very stoney soil hereabouts left not a smooth spot for our encampment, yet, by beating the surface of the ground, a level was effected for Lady Hester’s tent, and, in an adjoining field, nearer to the seashore, the other tents were pitched with some regularity.

The following morning was hot, and the low spot of ground on which we were encamped seemed to confine the heat so as to make it additionally oppressive.[302] Behind us was a steep ascent covered with stunted oaks, and at the summit of it was the village of Nakûra, of about forty or fifty houses, from which were procured milk, eggs, and fowls. We walked down to the ruined tower by the edge of the sea, and found it in the last stage of dilapidation: it is, like the others, round, of common materials, and of ordinary construction. The pilgrims, who, with the exception of a few merchants, are the only Christians who travel along the coast, are contented with the current story respecting these towers; namely, that they were built by order of the Empress Helena, when, zealous in the search she was about to make at Jerusalem for the lost cross, she resolved to establish by beacons a speedy means of communication with Constantinople, to announce the important event; but they were probably built as watch-towers against maritime descents on the coast.

Soon after breakfast, all the tents were struck. Our next station was fixed near Tyre; it not being considered necessary to enter that city, inasmuch as it afforded no accommodation better than our tents. Proceeding from El Guffer[65] (the toll-house), we rode by the sea-side, along a stoney ridge elevated but a few feet above the sea, upon which were visible the remains[303] of a Roman paved road: this ridge continued, with now and then a few undulations, until we reached a promontory, which, similar to that passed over on the preceding evening, forms to the north the natural division of the plains of Acca and Tyre. We began to ascend it, and, at a small distance from its foot, passed a bûrge more ruinous than that of El Nakûra. At the top, we were obliged to traverse a road said to be the work of Alexander the Great, the side of which next to the sea overhangs a tremendous precipice: this road had no wall, either natural or artificial, to prevent the sudden start of a horse from precipitating himself and his rider to certain destruction.[66] Hadj Ali did not fail to tell me a story, always probably repeated at this place, of a beautiful bride, who, on her way to the bridegroom’s house, was, by her horse’s taking fright, thrown from the top to the bottom, and dashed to pieces.

When we arrived at the summit of the promontory, the town of Tyre came into view: its peculiar situation on a tongue of land, with the ruins of some towers, which, afar off, have still a picturesque appearance, has much to interest the traveller, exclusive of the sacred and pagan recollections which its name excites. In a climate almost always pure, a tree or a bush seen[304] through the haze of noonday, along a coast in some places presenting nothing but an even strand, becomes an object of attention. Much more beautiful was the sight of the town which now burst upon us; and of the plain, which, bounded by hills at first retreating and again at a distance of several miles bending towards the seashore, showed on its varied surface the ripened corn, the maize, the water-melon fields, and other grains and fruits which the inhabitant of the western world never sees growing. On entering the plain, some inconsiderable ruins were observable; and, whatever they might have formerly been, exhibiting at present nothing more than dispersed stones, and very small fragments of columns, once parts of buildings, the foundations of which no longer existed. Four hours’ march brought us to the skirt of a village, the direct road to which diverged somewhat to the right, through plantations of mulberry-trees, whilst we proceeded along the seashore. In a quarter of an hour, we came to a small rivulet, running over a gravelly bottom with a limpid stream. Here we were to halt for the night. The camels were unloaded, the tents pitched, and every disposition made for dinner, and for passing the night. The spot was truly romantic, and, when visited on subsequent occasions, although it had lost its novelty, it never lost its charms. The soil from Acre to Tyre we observed to be generally a rich black mould.

Ras-el-âyn (or the fountain head) is a village which[305] occupies the ground where perhaps once stood a part of Tyre. The rivulet, on the banks of which we were now encamped, is the almost neglected stream of two or three rich springs, which were carried by noble aqueducts to the old city, and inland, in another direction, for agricultural purposes. These springs now served to turn three water-mills: as they issued out of the ground, they were confined in spacious cisterns,[67] until they had reached a considerable height, and were then poured off by different spouts, and afterwards carried by trenches to irrigate the surrounding gardens, or were lost in the sea through two or three rivulets like those near which we were. The village, consisting of about thirty or forty houses, is inhabited by Metoualis (or Shyites), a sect of Mahometans held as heretics by the Turks. It owes its fertility to the springs, and its beauty to the verdure which they nourish. A portion of the ancient aqueduct crossed a watercourse, that traversed the village, and assumed the appearance of a bridge. It is still used for the purpose of carrying water to the neighbouring orchards, is beautifully covered with capillus Veneris and other aquatic plants. Farther on, in another direction, stalactitic incrustations[306] had in some places coated the whole pier of an arch, or blocked up an arch itself. There was a tree in the centre of the village, which I shall ever recollect, as having at different periods passed four nights of my life under it. I saw it now with the satisfaction that spreading trees give in hot climates, where their umbrageous covering is so delicious. It was an ilex, as large as an English elm, and is called sindean in Arabic.

In our walk through the village, coming into the fields from the south, we saw another party, that, like our own, was encamped. Curiosity induced us to advance close to them. At the foot of a spreading figtree, now in full foliage, a middle-aged, robust Turk was employed in boiling a saucepan over a fire made between some rough stones temporarily raised for the purpose. At a short distance, two pack-horses and an ass were grazing. A carpet was spread on the ground, on which was sitting a beautiful bronze-faced girl, about thirteen or fourteen, whom we guessed to be an Abyssinian. Beside her was a black girl, still younger, employed in washing rice to be prepared for dinner. The man showed no symptoms of displeasure at our approach, nor did the eldest girl attempt to conceal her face, which is generally the first action of Mahometan females, even of children, on the appearance of a stranger. The Turk invited us to join his party; and, on our thanking him, asked us if we belonged to the tents by the waterside, and whether it[307] was true that an English princess was travelling through the country. He then told us that he was a slave merchant, and had these two girls on sale; that if either of them would suit the English lady he should be happy to dispose of her. It was thus that, to induce us to recommend the Abyssinian from a sight of her extraordinary beauty, he had left her uncovered. An ignorance of the usages of the country, and an abhorrence of such traffic, induced us at that time to look with feelings of the sincerest pity on those poor creatures; but a more thorough knowledge of the institutions of the Turks has taught me to behold slavery among them as a means of advancement to situations, which otherwise Circassian women and negresses could never hope to obtain. It is the mother of a child thus stolen who is most to be pitied: she loses her offspring for ever; but the child will sometimes rise to extreme affluence, and seldom fails to meet with the same kind treatment as the children of the family in which she lives. We however quitted him, impressed with admiration of this young Abyssinian, whose symmetry of form and regularity of features gave us the idea of as perfect beauty as can be found, without any admixture of red and white.

We returned to our encampment through a lane with hedges on either side, and reached the turfy bank upon which some of the tents were pitched: whilst below the bank the tents for the servants and the Mamelukes, ranged by the side of the rivulet, with just space[308] enough between them to tether the neighing horses, formed one of those groups of picturesque objects which we so often had occasion to admire in our course through this charming country.

On the morrow, we proceeded on our route in the same order as before; Lady Hester, with her two grooms walking on either side of her horse’s head. There cannot be a class of persons more active than these Egyptian grooms, and, on this account, every gentleman throughout Turkey who pretends to make any figure has one or more of them in his stables. They are accustomed to run or walk by the side of their masters; and, as was the case with those who accompanied us, will do this for entire days without yielding to fatigue. Their dress is generally composed of a close waistcoat, embroidered at the bosom, and of a blue smockfrock, with very full sleeves and full body, which they tastily brace up by a silk cord that crosses behind, and passes round the shoulders, giving a form to the drapery which may be observed in the folds of the peplum on ancient statues. A red turban, a pair of linen drawers, and red shoes, complete the suit; and, thus lightly equipped, they show a degree of activity which makes them invaluable. Their skill as grooms in the stable is equally great.

Mr. B. did not pass by a place so celebrated as Tyre without entering it. Early in the morning, he had taken his janissary, and proceeded thither; and, after examining the few antiquities which are yet[309] left in it, he rejoined us on the road soon after our departure.

As we were riding along the high road, we were much surprised to observe, about a hundred and fifty yards from it, in a place where there was a running stream, several naked women, who were washing and spreading linen on the ground and hanging it on trees to dry. They paid little attention to us, excepting that they turned their backs on us. There was a low stone wall between them and the road. We afterwards found that it was customary, almost throughout Syria, for the female peasantry to resort to some spring close to their village, carrying with them boilers and earthenware pans, and there, stripping themselves naked, to wash even to the shifts from their backs, after which they comb their hair and wash themselves, or frolic away their time until their linen is dry. The hill that overhung the rivulet where they were washing was a part of the ruins of old Tyre, or the very mound which Nebuchadnezzar raised in order to take the city.

Our road this day was more diversified than on the preceding. We traversed the rich plain of Tyre, which is remarkable for its fertility. About two hours’ march brought us to the point at which the hills again advance to the sea-side. Through them, by a narrow valley, the river Kasmia[68] pours its clear waters into[310] the sea. It was, at this season of the year, fordable, not being deeper than up to the stirrups. A bridge of one arch, of modern date, but not devoid of beauty, leads over it, and its verdant banks are hedged in by oleander trees, a shrub which, whether in or out of flower, is highly beautiful. Close to the bridge, on the south side, and on the first rise of the hills, stand the venerable ruins of a khan or caravansery, now incapable of affording shelter to the traveller. In earlier times, it probably had been a castle for the defence of the passage of the river.

At about twenty minutes’ march from the bridge, we met with five blind men, led by a sixth, who, with their staves and wallets, were journeying towards Acre. Each held by the skirt of the one who preceded him. They had the appearance of dervises, or calenders, and their adventures would probably have furnished as much amusement as their one-eyed predecessors in the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. They appeared cheerful.

We next passed the dry bed of a river, called Abu-el-Aswad, over which is the ruin of an ancient bridge of one arch, and leading from it are seen the remains of an ancient road. In times of great security (as when El Gezzàr Pasha was alive), a guard was stationed at this bridge, in an old structure of masonry now going to decay. Abundance of tansy grows hereabouts. Patches of the ancient Roman road occasionally reappear.


Abreast of this road, upon the hills, is a sanctuary called the tomb of the Nebby (prophet) Sury; and on the left are some upright stones by the sea-side, fragments of a ruined building; but which the mule-driver told me were so many men petrified for having blasphemed the prophet. The regularity in which the stones stand no doubt gave rise to the popular tradition.

In the rocks which overhung the coast hereabouts we observed excavations with small entrances, which were ancient sepulchral grottoes. There were also appearances of quarries; and on the seashore were old foundations of edifices. Just before reaching this spot we passed a small creek, where were indistinct ruins and cisterns among some fig-trees. It is therefore probable that a town or city[69] once stood here, the antiquity of which may be inferred from the grottoes. A little farther on we came to a row of pedestals of pillars, and some indistinct foundations, and in three minutes more to a well-spring neatly cased in stone, with steps down to the water. It is called Ayn Bab el Feteh. In a quarter of an hour after quitting the spring there is a rocky promontory called Kysarrâa, which scarcely leaves a passage round it: it was the boundary of ancient Phœnicia. A small stream runs close by. At the distance of two hours and a quarter, reckoning from the bridge of the Kasmia, we halted for the night at a place called the Khudder (or green),[312] where is a small sanctuary dedicated to a santon, or some Mahometan of renowned sanctity. It stands close to the waterside, directly west from the burgh of Sarfent, which is built on the foot of the neighbouring mountains, one mile off.

This burgh has a very picturesque appearance when viewed at a distance. It is the general but loose assertion of travellers that its name is a corruption of Sarpentum, a Greek city, which once stood on the seashore, and the ruins of which are still visible, scattered about on the north of the Khudder. But it is known to every one from holy writ that there was a town hereabouts called Sarpent. The Arabic name, therefore, is prior to the Greek one, with the slight alteration necessary for affiliating it to the Greek language. It was adopted on the founding of a new city, in the same way as Acre is evidently a corruption of Acca, which name is to be found in the Bible, Although the perpetual plunder, for centuries, of the materials which once composed the edifices of the town, has almost cleared the spot of every moveable stone above ground, still old Sarpentum continues to be the quarry whence stones are supplied for Sayda, and excavations for foundations have now succeeded the demolition of the superstructures.

We marked out a green plot of ground, close by the place, for our encampment, and, overpowered by the heat, I removed a little way off to bathe. I had not been in the water long when I observed a horseman[313] in scarlet, with a cocked hat, arrive at the Khudder, and, dismounting, fix his attention on me. I hastened to dress myself, and joined him. He spoke to me in Italian, and declared himself to be Signor Damiani,[70] formerly dragoman to Sir W. Sydney Smith, and now established at Sayda as a self-created English agent. The object of his journey was to invite Lady Hester to take up her abode at his house during her stay there. With considerable energy he likewise vilified the character of the French consul of that place, stating his unjustifiable severities towards himself, and his dislike to the English name. New to the world, and to the sort of character I had to deal with in this man, I thought that he was an aggrieved and deserving person, and as such introduced him to her ladyship, who, however, dismissed him with a refusal.

The Khudder[71] was kept by a man, whose wife was a sprightly middle-aged woman. The building upon the consecrated spot was a square small chamber, surmounted by a cupola, and around it were three small rooms, little better than sheds, for the accommodation of travellers and their horses. For, as the Khudder lies in the high-road from Sayda to Tyre, the passage of travellers is frequent and the resort to the house considerable, owing to its equidistant situation from the[314] one and the other place; by which persons departing late from either, and under fear of being benighted or shut out from the city, where the invariable rule is to close the gates soon after sunset, can enter it early enough for business on the following morning. The Khudder, in fact, was no more than a coffee-hut, similar to many which exist throughout the country: and the entertainment to be found will serve as a sample of what the others produce. Provender for horses, mules, and asses, consisting of barley and chopped straw, is the chief article of sale: for the traveller himself are kept dried figs, bad bread, dibs (a kind of treacle,) coffee of the most common quality, tombac for the narkeely, and perhaps a few raisins. Leben or sour milk is generally to be procured from the neighbouring village. Our hostess had much the air of having departed somewhat from the strict rules of female reserve prescribed by the Mahometan faith: although her husband and she were Metoualys, whose notions regarding the privacy of the female sex are still more rigid than those of any other Mahometan sect. Her gallantries did not seem to be unknown to the camel-drivers, whose occupations often led them along that road; and her coquettish air, and the studied affectation of hiding her face in her veil in a way that constantly showed it, were indubitable signs of a wanton. In speaking of her thus, the reader will observe how much similar situations tend to form[315] similar characters in all countries. This woman subsequently ran away with a muleteer, and her husband married a young girl of 18 or 20: but, finding her, although more comely, less capable of serving him in the way of getting money, he recalled the first wife, and kept them both. During five years that we were in the habit of seeing her as we passed that road, we had often occasion to admire her activity and her complaisant attentions to her guests; whilst it was curious to see the divided empire which the one held by the precarious tenure of her personal charms, but which the other built on the more lasting foundation of her utility.

It should be observed that the portion of Mount Lebanon, that runs parallel with the coast, from Gebel el Msherify to Sayda, is inhabited entirely by Metoualys. Of this race of people we shall have to speak more at large hereafter. We have already seen the remarkable neglect of decency shown by them in the display of the naked persons of the women at Ras-el-ayn.

The following day, soon after sunrise, the march was resumed. From the Khudder, Sayda bore E.N.E. Sarfend was on the right, and the ruins of Sarpentum were scattered around us. In twenty minutes we passed a spring called Ayn-el-Kantara,[72] overhung[316] by a gemaizy or sycamore tree. There were some naked women bathing in the sea, at a small distance from the road. In twenty minutes we came to Burge el Akbeia (the tower of Akbeia) a ruined watch-tower close to the water’s edge. There is an appearance of a small port which, even now, occasionally serves as a nook for fishing-boats. Shallow tanks likewise have been here and there for the evaporation of sea-water to obtain salt. Portions of foundations on two sides of the gully, which here carries off rains running in winter from the neighbouring mountains, but was now dry, showed that it once had a bridge. In a few minutes more we crossed a small stream, scarcely up to the horse’s fetlocks, called, however, a river, the name of which was not noted down. Close beyond it there is a most plentiful and clear spring, issuing from the crevices of a large angular cistern in masonry, of antique date, and now crumbling away. It is called Berkyt-et-tel,[73] or the reservoir of the hill, there being[317] a hill or mound facing the reservoir, which bears the name of Tel Yea. At the distance of a quarter of an hour from the reservoir are some portions of columns lying on the ground, and by them a river called El Zahràny,[74] over which is a modern stone bridge of tolerable neatness. Beyond the Zahràny we observed, in the middle of the road, a loose conical heap of bowlders. To account for their lying so piled up, our muleteers related a long story, of a certain black, named Sayd el Abd, and his wife Luky, one or both of whom were murdered on the highway; and, to perpetuate the memory of their untimely end, every passer-by is expected to throw a stone on the grave. The gradual accumulation has now formed a very considerable heap.[75] In fourteen minutes more we observed some rubbish and stone masonry as of an old caravansery, and six minutes beyond it a dry watercourse. Fourteen minutes farther, the road being still by the sea-side, we passed another dry bed of a river, on the banks of which are some wells, that serve for shepherds to water their flocks.

We were now abreast of a considerable Metoualy village, half a mile off, at the foot of the neighbouring[318] hills, and distant from Sayda two leagues or thereabouts. Guzzeah is partly in ruins, otherwise it would be a pretty place, commanding a fine view of the plain and of the sea. It seems to have been populous, and to have had mosques. Guzzeah may be said to be the Northern boundary of the Metoualys; for their district is comprehended in two strait lines drawn from W. to E. through Gezýn to the N. and through Gebel el Msherify and Bussa to the South, including a length of about twelve leagues. Their principal burghs are Gebâa and Tibenyn, at which latter resided at this time the motsellem deputed by the Pasha of Acre, who was called Ibrahim Aga el Kûrdy, and his soldiers were, for the most part, Kûrds also.[76]

Before reaching Sayda, we crossed the beds of three other rivers, or more properly, watercourses, the first Nahr Kutýshy; the second Nahr Essýn, or Nahr Derb es syn; and the last, immediately before entering the town, and over which there is a bridge, Nahr Burgût. Derb es syn lies on the right within a nook of the mountain, through which the river runs: its inhabitants are Christians. Another Christian village, Mëah-wy-mëah, overlooks the other valley, out of which runs the Burgût river.[77] Winding round the foot[319] of the castle, through orchards now in full leaf, we turned by a short angle to the left, traversed a cemetery, and, continuing for four or five hundred yards close to the outside of the city wall, which appeared no stronger than gaol-walls in England, entered the city gate by the water side. As our file of camels and horses was of more than ordinary length, we attracted some notice as we traversed the narrow streets, and the arrival of the English Princess was already noised through the city.

Thus far the face of the country through which we had passed had seemed delightful. Palestine presents all the different varieties of plain and mountain, hill and valley, river and lake; and has likewise an exceedingly fine climate. The luxuriance of vegetation is not to be described. Fruits of all sorts, from the banana down to the blackberry, are abundant. The banks of the rivers are clothed naturally with oleander, myrtle, arbutus, and other flowering shrubs.

Mount Lebanon, through the whole of the distance from Acre to Sayda, seldom recedes from the sea more than a mile, and generally not so much, excepting immediately behind Acre, where there is a plain bounded by Mount Carmel, nine miles south of the city, and on the north by the promontory of Msherify.[78] The inhabitants there are Mussulmans, Christians, and Drûzes. The vestiges of ancient cities, bridges, and[320] roads, denote the vast population that once dwelt on the coast.



Governor’s visit—Mons. Taitbout—Streets—Shops—City gate—Castles—Ports—Ancient Sidon—Population of Modern Sidon—Revenue—Fertility of the soil—Bridges—Invitation from the Emir of the Drûzes—Salsette frigate—Mamelukes, considered as spies, are dismissed—Departure for Gebel ed Drûz—Stefano, Messieurs Bertrand—Masbûd—Difficulty of obtaining money—River Hamàm—Dayr el Kamar—The Emir’s character—The Drûze country—The Drûzes—Their supposed tenets—Akel and Jahel—Customs and real tenets of the Drûzes—Their resemblance to Quakers—Their hypocrisy.

Monsieur Taitbout, the French Consul, had made arrangements in the French caravansery for the lodging of us all. This caravansery is a quadrangular building, with few windows looking outward, and having but one gate. It was originally built for the residence of the French factors, but contained at this time only two or three families of that nation, being those who had returned to live there after the expulsion of the factory by El Gezzàr Pasha, and who were now starving for want of commerce. A visit to and from the governor were the only occurrences, in which Lady Hester took a part, that are worth notice. The governor received a watch as a present, in return for the[322] sheep, rice, coffee, sugar, &c., which he had sent on our arrival.

The town appeared dull, having nothing to boast of but its gardens, which are indeed fruitful, and its water, which is excellent, but not yet a temptation to us, who, new to the East, had not learned to relish that wholesome beverage.

Turkish towns are very much alike. A large building, with an open place before it, generally denotes the palace of the governor; a few streets called the sûk or bazar, from eight to fourteen or twenty feet broad, contain rows of shops; and other streets, equally narrow, are occupied by the Mahometan inhabitants, who live in retired and jealous stillness; whilst a second quarter contains the Christians; and, in a few dirty lanes, inaccessible from the stench and filth to any but their tenants, live the Jews.

A Turkish shop is commonly no more than from six to nine feet square, in the shape of an alcove, the floor of which is raised waist high, and before which the customer stands in the open street, whilst the shopkeeper sits cross-legged on the shop-board, and has only to reach his hand to what his customer applies for. A single shutter falls down and shuts in the whole, and a few shelves contain the goods of every day’s demand. But, often, a small door leads to a warehouse behind, where articles of more value and bulk are to be found. Merchants upon a larger scale have warehouses by the waterside, where rice, tobacco,[323] silk, and the like, are deposited. In the same room with the merchandize sits the merchant, upon a mat of a few feet square, on boards raised to a convenient height from the ground, where an inkstand and two or three half-bound account-books are the whole apparatus of sometimes very extensive dealings. There are no desks. Shopkeepers of the same trade generally live in a row. The artisans carry on their trades in the same sort of niches; and shoemakers, tailors, silversmiths, &c. may be seen in their shops, sitting cross-legged and working, so that passengers may almost learn a trade as they walk along.

The gate of the town is the general rendezvous of the chief people of the place, and the governors are accustomed to go and sit there on benches in the open air every day. The sentence that occurs so often in the Scriptures, “And the king sat at the gate,” shows how ancient this custom is. The name of the Sublime Porte is derived from this usage. Suliman Pasha of Acre might be seen every day sitting to administer justice at the city gate.

Sayda is supplied with water from the river Ewely, (pronounced Ouwely) a portion of which is conveyed by an aqueduct into the heart of the town, where the altitude of the water is found by pyramidal levels, and is then distributed by earthenware pipes to the houses of the inhabitants.

Sayda has two castles, which the firing of their own guns shakes to the foundation. It has likewise two[324] ports; but its inner port can admit fishing-smacks only. The haven is dangerous, and vessels can with difficulty ride out a storm.

It would appear that the extent of ancient Sidon was not so great as some travellers have imagined. At the foot of the mountain, east and north-east, I have myself traced the remains of several sepulchres, which, as having been on the outside of the city walls, prove that the city could not have extended so far. Thus, just above the modern village of Helliléah, east and by south of Sayda, is a sarcophagus, with some tombs, distant from the seashore one mile and a half. Due north, in a garden, is a sepulchre not half a mile from the town; so that, if the ancient city did not extend far to the north or east, and if there are no ruins to the south, as in fact I saw none, its boundaries are reduced to a very small space. Modern Sidon may be two miles in circumference.

Sayda,[79] according to some authors, is distant from Damascus sixty-six miles, west south west. Its population is carried by some persons as high as 15,000 souls, of whom 150 are Maronites, 300 Greek Catholics, from 100 to 150 Jews, and the remainder Turks: but, considering the size of the place, I should not be disposed to allow even half that number. A[325] native merchant, named Dubani, limited it to 4,500 or 5,000 souls, among whom were 100 Christian families. There are eight mosques, the largest of which was once a church of St. John. Here is also a palace, which formerly was the residence of the Emir of the Drûzes. It is now in ruins, but is still called Dar el Emir (the Emir’s place.). Close by the seashore stands likewise a large building, where are the sepulchres of several of the Emirs of that nation. As it was much neglected by the people of Sayda, and made the receptacle of filth of every kind, the Emir Beshýr, the reigning prince, obtained permission to block up the doors and windows.

Sayda pays annually to the pasha 200 purses, (each of 500 piasters), of which the customs and harbour dues (as they were farmed in 1818,) produced 100. Duties on imports were for Europeans 3 per cent., for Mahometan subjects of the Porte 4, and for Christians 4½. These latter, however, seldom pay more than the Turks.

The richness of the land in the environs of Sayda is very great. There is a patch of soil near the city so fertile as to produce for every mid or modius of corn, two gararas, a proportion of seventy-two fold, or one quintal out of as much land as a pair of oxen can plough in one day. And the same may be asserted of nearly all the plains and valleys that receive the alluvial soil from the mountains.

Two miles north of Sayda is the river Ewely. This river is crossed by a bridge of Saracen construction,[326] which is about four hundred yards from the seashore. Two hundred yards higher up are the remains of another bridge, now almost undistinguishable, but which, to judge from a few large stones lying about, similar in size to those of other bridges along the coast, was the work of Roman or Greek hands.

Scarcely had we arrived in Sayda, when the Emir of the Drûzes sent a courier with a letter to request Lady Hester to honour him with a visit at his residence. Her ladyship accepted the invitation, as it was her intention to go into the Drûze country, even had he not invited her. The day being fixed for our departure, the Emir sent down twelve camels, twenty-five mules, four horses, and seven foot soldiers, as an escort; but, as circumstances prevented our immediate departure, they were kept a couple of days waiting at Lady Hester’s expense. On the 27th July, the Salsette, Captain H. Hope, touched at Sayda, and nothing could equal the joy that was felt on again seeing a gentleman to whom we were so much indebted.

Our Mamelukes, Yusef and Selim, although good Mussulmans, had not so far forgotten the practices of their native country, as not to love wine when they could meet with it. In consequence of this, the French Consul, who entertained the whole of Lady Hester’s suite, complained that they exceeded too far the bounds of sobriety, which remark excited the choler of the two renegadoes, and a covert warfare was carried on between them and the consul.


Among other hints which he dropped respecting them, he insinuated that their services under the pasha of Egypt would make their journey into Syria be looked upon as pure spying, and that Lady Hester would be no where received without suspicion, whilst she had these men in her train. The consequence was that their dismissal was resolved upon. They received each one thousand piasters, and were furnished with a letter to the pasha of Egypt, thanking him for their services. They quitted us with regret. Before their departure, they, however, exhibited a little of their Mameluke horsemanship to Captain Hope on the sands close to the town.

Captain H. himself essayed their mode of riding, but found their saddles somewhat inconvenient in a European dress. For myself I had ridden constantly with an Egyptian saddle, since our first arrival in that country, and I had, from habit, conceived a favourable idea of its commodiousness: for, hitherto, we had but occasionally quitted the plains; and it is to them that this saddle is adapted. But, when afterwards we traversed Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, I abandoned it for the saddle of Syria.

We here began to learn the importance that was attached to the appearance of the pipe. I had already adopted the habit of smoking, and I was now persuaded to barter the only pistol I had saved from the shipwreck for an amber mouthpiece, which took my fancy, and which I could get on no other terms.[328] Milky opaque amber is most esteemed, and indeed it looks very beautiful. Rhinoceros’ tooth, bone, coloured glass, agate, and an imitation of amber, are the materials most commonly used.

Syria is celebrated for producing the best tobacco of Turkey, and it was, therefore, thought worth while to note down the districts and villages most in repute: for, as it happens in the growth of grapes for making wine, there are often patches of soil of a few acres only which alone produce a particular quality. The information here given on the subject is the result of several questions put, and observations made, at different times in different journeys through the country.

In crossing Mount Lebanon, in a direction from west to east, the soil which is met with, for the first two leagues and a half, is white, which, under the most favourable circumstances, never produces good tobacco. To an extent of three leagues west and east from this point onwards, the soil is red; and here a species of tobacco grows, known throughout Turkey and the East by the epithet of Gebely (or mountain tobacco), and in England called by the various names of Cham, Sham, or Damascus, all which words have the same meaning, Sham being the Arabic for Damascus, which the French, having no sh, spell Cham. But not the whole tract with the red soil enjoys the same reputation; for the growth of only ten or twelve villages is known to possess the requisite qualities; which are, scintillation and self-burning,[329] like touch-paper; ashes impalpable as hair-powder; fumes somewhat odoriferous; and a golden brown in the tint of the dried leaves.

Some more exact observations, which I made three years afterwards in a journey across Mount Lebanon due east from Sidon, may, without impropriety, be inserted here. Half a mile from Sidon is the foot of the mountain. The soil is scanty and white, leaving the rock bare in several places, which is partly limestone and partly sandstone and clay together. These appearances continue from the village of Helelíah, through Abra, Salhyah, Libbâa, as far as Aynàn before descending into the rich plain of Bisery, a distance of nine or ten miles. The soil becomes red at Isfarey, where also commence the good tobacco plantations, and continues as far as the last ridge but one of the mountain, which is a part of the highest chain, which chain runs north and south, whilst almost all those between it and the sea branch off perpendicularly from the main chain, and run east and west. About fifty or one hundred yards above Kharýby the rock is a carbonate of lime, and sometimes almost as white as chalk. At Baderán, which is on the highest part of the penultimate ridge east-north-east of Sidon, there are found, lying on the surface of the soil, numerous silicious pebbles, some as big in circumference as a tumbler, some as a wineglass, and resembling a flattened soap-ball. Their fracture presented a milky quartz.


Tobacco, when exported to Egypt, is always carried in open boats, for fear of heating. May not this be one of the reasons why the tobacco brought to England resembles so little the same plant when smoked in Syria?

Tobacco must be gathered in the decline of the moon, say the Syrian planters.

It was on the 29th of July that we departed for Dayr el Kamar, the residence of the Emir Beshýr. About one mile and a half from Sayda, the delightful gardens which surround it terminated at a river, before mentioned, of some size called Nahr el Ewely. Here we began to ascend Mount Lebanon, its foot touching the seashore; at Sayda it is only half a mile distant from it; and we were now on the territory of the Drûzes. To our party were added two dragomans, by name Bertrand, and both medical men, but who resigned the advantage of their practice for a consideration which they judged paramount to it.[80] There was likewise a cook of the name of Stefano, a Georgian; who, being carried from his own country as a slave to Constantinople, had somehow obtained his liberty, and resumed the religion of his parents.

To look at the soil, as we ascended the narrow paths of the mountain, one would have thought that no culture could have made it productive: yet industry had surmounted every obstacle; for vines, olive,[331] mulberry, and fig-trees, tobacco, and some other productions, bore evidence of its richness.

We proceeded for three hours, having passed the village of Jûn,[81] and encamped for the night at Masbûd. The Shaykh (for so the bailiff or chief of a village is called) had received orders to supply us with provisions, and we wanted for nothing. An unpleasant occurrence, however, retarded us some hours the next morning. We had always found difficulty in obtaining money, owing to the want of respectable European merchants in the southern part of Syria, and to the distrust excited by the frequent visits which adventurers from Christendom pay to those countries. Lady Hester had drawn a bill on the English vice-consul at Beyrout, Mâlem Messâad, which was refused, on account, as he alleged, of his inability to raise the sum drawn for. The Syrian Christian, who had cashed it at Sayda, came riding post after us; and, as we were on the point of quitting Masbûd, demanded back his money, which was forthwith counted out to him.

From Masbûd, a march of five hours brought us to Dayr el Kamar, having halted by the way at a river, Nahr el Hamam, to refresh ourselves and our horses. It was quite dark when we arrived. We were received[332] in a residence or palace of the Emir’s, which had been prepared for our reception. The constant repetition of the terms prince and minister, which were used by the new interpreters when speaking of the Emir and his principal secretary, had raised ideas of the grandeur of these people and their state, which the sight of our new residence first weakened, and subsequent knowledge of them entirely overthrew.

The next morning we viewed, from the terrace of the house, the whole of the burgh of Dayr el Kamar. It may contain four thousand souls. The houses are none of them more than two stories high, built of rough hewn stones, oftener cemented with mud than mortar. The only good residence in the place was that destined for us, which had been built by a person named Girius Baz, who had figured a great deal in the politics of the mountain not long before. He had been strangled by the order of the Emir, and his property confiscated. The palace of the Emir, and which from its size deserves the name, is at a distance of one mile from Dayr el Kamar, nearly on the summit of a small mountain, like every part of Mount Lebanon, not accessible but by the most rugged paths, such as would be considered impassable in England. The general character of the Emir, as described to us by persons at Sayda, was comprehended in a few prominent features. He was born of Mussulman parents, but was supposed to have apostatized to Christianity. He had mounted his[333] throne in blood; had put out the eyes of his three nephews, fearing they would aspire to it, and had reigned a tyrant and a hypocrite.

The people, of whom this Emir is the head, as was said above, are called Drûzes, and the territory which he rules obtains the name of Beled el Drûz, or the Drûze country. This territory lies chiefly on Mount Lebanon, and is comprehended between 33° 20´ and 30° 10´ north latitude, including a breadth of not more than twenty-five or thirty miles.

The religion of the Drûzes is a mystery among historians and travellers, and their tenets are so cautiously concealed from all but certain persons of their own sect that little credit is to be given to the relation of any author on the subject.[82] Some general facts, however, are known; as that they owe their origin to Hakym be Omrhu, Caliph, or Sultan of Egypt, in an early year of the Hegira, and that they are divided into two bodies, called the Initiated and Non-initiated, or Jahel and Aâkel. The Jahel are those who follow the common pursuits of mankind, and acknowledge, as the rules of society, the received customs of the country, putting no more restraints on their conduct than what these and the laws impose. Their sabbath is on Friday. The Drûzes have, at times, been totally independent, as during the reign of Fakr ed dyn; and are, in a certain degree, always[334] so, from the nature of their mountains. To become an Âakel, it is necessary for a Jahel to go through a probation of some years; when, if thought worthy, he is admitted to a participation in the rights of the adepts. The deportment of these is grave, and they are tied down to a plainness of dress and a sanctity of manners which give them a look that necessarily imposes somewhat on the beholder. One unvarying part of it is the white turban, made of a long band of linen or cotton, repeatedly folded around the tarbûsh (or red skull cap.). They likewise affect the black abah or cloak. An Âakel holds himself bound to the performance of all moral duties, so that the institution is in itself meritorious.



Their enemies, however, say that their sanctity consists in observing certain days of prayer, in letting their beard grow, in seldom or never being seen to smoke or to drink coffee; in studiously concealing from vulgar eyes their peccadilloes, and in withdrawing from public view to perform their devotions; which, add they, are most impure abominations, for they are grounded on a belief in the transmigration of souls, in non-entity after death, and in the lawfulness of incestuous cohabitation between daughters and fathers, or brothers and sisters. Neither do their revilers scruple to aver that they are idolaters, and worship the image of a calf. My subsequent knowledge of them leads me to subscribe to no such opinion, but to conceive that religious feelings, or pretended ones, lead some of them to a real or apparent sanctity, as in other sectaries and in all religions. And, although no deity is too gross for ignorance and superstition, no mode of worship so absurd that sophistry cannot find arguments to accredit it, and no avenging power so imbecile that priestcraft will not erect a tribunal upon its terrors, still there is, in general, such a positive and indignant denial of idolatry from all respectable Drûzes, that we do not think travellers are warranted in propagating the report. In a visit to Shaykh Daher, at the village of Rûm, one of the most venerable of the Drûze shaykhs, and one most in repute for his learning, the conversation turned on religious subjects, and I requested him to solve me certain[336] points, upon which, like other Europeans, I had hitherto been able to obtain no correct information.

“I know,” he interrupted me, “what you are going to ask. Like most new comers, you have been probably entertained with a number of strange stories respecting us, by the consuls and European merchants of the seaports, who treasure up these anecdotes as the best food for such travellers, as come prepared to listen only to the marvellous. These Franks are no more acquainted with our domestic habits or religious tenets than I am with what is transacted in the privy council of England. They will tell you we are an incestuous nation, idolaters, and I know not what: but let me ask you whether there have been, among such as have apostatized from us, any who have made authenticated disclosures of this nature. Rather regard our simple habits of life as proofs to the contrary. We seek no proselytes: we wear no garments of gold or silver, and affect the colours of blue, white, and black, as being the least showy. Our tarbûshes (skullcaps) and turbans differ from those of the jahel or uninitiated of our people, and of people in general, as a distinctive mark by which we may be known. We are mild and peaceable in our habits, but can go to war to defend ourselves. We accommodate ourselves to the prejudices and customs of those among whom we live; hence you see us oftentimes praying in mosques, and enduring the privations of Ramazàn. We are said to have two doors to our houses, because[337] we will not allow our women to go out by the same way that a stranger enters; and that a woman, in case of violence from a man, may more readily escape: but these are reports too absurd to require refutation. Retired and modest behaviour in our wives is their brightest ornament; and we wish them not to meet the gaze of visitors: hence we afford them every facility for escaping observation.

“Continence we hold as a virtue, and we endeavour to resist the blandishments of women. On this account there are certain of us who marry, but cohabit not with their wives. In such a case, previous to wedlock, the wife is made to understand that she will be in the light of a housekeeper only: and, as she is generally an aâkely,[83] her aim is consonant with that of the man whom she espouses. We smoke not, nor drink coffee, because they are indulgences without any advantage. We eat no meats but what are cooked by the initiated: for our object is to avoid intercourse with those with whom we must labour under restraint. Money received in the shape of a tax or an impost we hold to be unlawful: and this prohibition defends us at least from some vices which originate in money-getting.”

In fine, from what I could learn from the conversation of another shaykh, named Kalyb, the tenets of the Drûzes are as follow. The books held sacred by them are four: the Old and New Testament; the Koran;[338] and their own, which is the essence, say they, of the other three. They have two questions, which I believe to be a sort of countersign of their religion. Which was created first, the egg or the hen? Which was made first, the hammer or the anvil? and which seem to be puzzles, to bring man to a sense of his own incapacity to scan the works of the Creator. According to them, one is not prior to the other, and hence they believe the world was created, peopled, and stocked at once with rational and brute animals; which to Omnipotence is just as easy as any other way. Their paradise is eternal, and so is their hell; and the bliss of the one or the pains of the other are inconceivably great, but of what kind they were I could not learn. They do not believe in the transmigration of the soul: for they say the soul is of too divine a nature to take up its habitation in the body of a beast.

A Drûze, who is an âakel, if he make a promise, is bound to perform it, even at the hazard of his life. A Drûze may become an âakel, and wear the turban peculiar to an âakel, at any age, provided his conversation and actions are such as render him worthy of being so. Fornication, adultery, and murder, are insuperable obstacles. He that has divorced a woman must never see her again; and, if he should chance to enter a room where she is, she must retire immediately.

There is a very prevalent notion among them that there are Drûzes in England, or else that the tenets[339] of some sect (they mean the Quakers) are very much like their own. When familiarity had in some degree emboldened me, I said to Shaykh Kalyb that, as I had so often been told that the Drûzes worshipped a calf as a divinity, I supposed their religion was something like that of the Hindoos, who worshipped the same animal. But he assured me positively that, if that animal were sacred in their eyes, they could not eat of it, which I very well knew they did; and that those who had said they had seen images of a calf among them must have been mistaken.

I thanked the shaykh for his information, which I thought was as likely to be true as that of those who averred the contrary. But that I may not be accused of favouring the Drûzes, for whom I confess I felt a partiality, it becomes me not to conceal what was related to me by a Christian in great estimation for his learning, on Mount Lebanon.

He said that, during the incursions made by El Gezzàr Pasha into the Drûze country, in which their temples and houses were ransacked, books relating to their religion had been found and carried to Acre. In one of these is the following passage:—“The Ansáry are fools, because they allow crimes to be venial that are not secret:” from which it is to be inferred that the Drûzes hold what is done in secret to be lawful and just, even if it be what is generally considered as criminal. “And this, moreover,” (added the reverend gentleman, my informant,) “is conformable to[340] their practice, in which incest, murder, and other crimes, have been committed very commonly where the proof of the commission was not easily to be made out.”

It is certain, however, that, when assembled at their khalweh or megesy on a Thursday evening, the vigil of their Sabbath, after a time the jahel quit the place, and the âakel remain alone: upon which occasions some of them walk round the building, and take great care that no curious person be lurking near. Besides the Drûzes of Mount Lebanon, there are several villages of them in Gebel Aâly near Aleppo, at Hasbeyah, in the Horàn, and at Wadytain, where they first settled, all which districts are to the south and south-west of Damascus.



Dayr el Kamar—Palace of Btedýn—The Shaykh Beshýr—Mukhtâra—The Shaykh Beshýr’s wife—His palace—- Rivalship of the Shaykh Beshýr and Emir Beshýr—Horns worn by the Women—Mercenary hospitality of the Emir—Drûzes eat raw meat—Butrus or Pierre—Mr. B. attempts to see a Khalwa or place of worship of the Drûzes—Shaykh el Okal—Cure for rabid animals—Libertinism punished with the bastinado—Mr. B. goes to Aleppo—Aleppo bouton—Departure for Damascus—Presents distributed—The Cury Marûn—Sedition at Damascus—Siege of the Citadel—Disdar Aga strangled—River Ewely—Village of El Barûk—Ayûn el Bered—Chokadar sent to escort Lady Hester—Turkish harým travelling—View from the summit of Mount Lebanon—River Letanus and plain of the Bkâ—Palma Christi oil—Jub Genýn—Gebel es Shaykh—Anti-Lebanon—Springs—Sepulchres—Vultures—Village of Demâs—Chalky soil—Rocky plain—Distant view of Damascus—Garden walls—Salhéah—Damascus—Courtyard of the palace—Haym’s brothers—Simple manner of doing business—Ejectment of a family from their house—European dress not seen at Damascus—Danger for a woman to go unveiled—Lady Hester’s entry into Damascus.

We remained at Dayr el Kamar until the 26th of August. During this time Lady Hester paid a visit[342] to the Emir at his palace at Btedýn. Great preparations were made for her reception. When there, the whole day was taken up in viewing the apartments, drinking sherbet, smoking, and eating. The palace is destitute of beauty. It is new, but irregular, having no two parts alike, and built by additions made as fancy or convenience suggested, and money and leisure permitted. The Emir presented Lady Hester with a handsome horse, richly caparisoned.

A visit was next projected to the Shaykh Beshýr, a Drûze by birth, and in consideration not inferior, among his own sect, to the Emir himself.[84] He dwelt at Makhtâra, a considerable village, distant three or four hours from Dayr el Kamar, in a district abounding in vines, olive, fig, and mulberry trees, tobacco, &c. He possessed the power of life and death,[343] emanating nominally from the Emir, but in truth totally independent of him.

He was married to a beautiful woman, and had by her some very pretty children. It would naturally be supposed that the chief of the Drûzes must be enrolled among the âakel, seeing that they claim a superiority over the jahel. But it was not so; nay, he was even excluded from their body by the duties of his situation, which obliged him to drink coffee, smoke tobacco, use money raised by taxation, (which in the code of the âakels is not permitted) and to partake in many more worldly indulgences than they allow. His wife, not called to the exercise of public duties, was a rigid âakely: but, although there was so wide a difference between the supposed piety of these two, still I did not find that the family harmony was interrupted by it. His palace, like that of the Emir, was new, and of his own building. It stood in a very conspicuous situation, and may be seen some miles off in several directions. It was particularly celebrated for its fountains, and streams of crystal water, which traversed every apartment, giving a most agreeable freshness in the hot months of the year. This water was brought from the river Ewely, almost close to its source, by an aqueduct of the Shaykh’s construction.

He generally ate and drank, even at his own table, of such things only as he knew to be prepared particularly for him. Poisoning is often in the thoughts[344] of Eastern chieftains, no doubt; for they cannot but be an object of jealousy to their rivals, who are scarcely their superiors in power and influence.[85]

The Drûze women affect a singular ornament, worn on the head, and called by travellers the horn, though not made of that substance. The Arabic name of kern is sometimes used for it, as also that of tontûra and of tassy. I endeavoured to learn the origin of this ornament, but was obliged at last to satisfy myself with an etymological signification drawn from my own conjectures. Tassy signifies a drinking-cup, and a drinking-cup in the East (for water, at least) is generally shaped like an English decanter-stand, and is made of silver or tinned copper. A cup inverted, of precisely this shape, is worn in some places (as in Sayda, Beyroût, &c.,) on the women’s heads, and is possibly the original and old-fashioned form, which the fancy of some might have changed for a deeper cup, when we should have the resemblance of a large tumbler or the tontûra. In process of time, this, by continued elongations, would be brought to its present shape; or an intermediate generation might effect the change to a bell form, as worn still by the women of Botrûn. I have said the tassy is made either of silver or tinned copper, and by[345] the very poor of pasteboard. When of the long sort, it is fastened on by a handkerchief, that goes under the chin, and by another round the forehead. The women sleep with it on, and only pull it off when in the bath or when combing their hair, which is but rarely. In some villages the horn is worn perpendicularly, in some horizontally, in others at an angle between the two. But this is not done indifferently; for the Catholics, it is said, affect one way; the Maronites, another; and the Drûzes, whose distinguishing emblem it more properly is, another. No traveller, who passes hastily through the mountain, can get a woman to show her horn to him: as it is a greater breach of decorum to unveil the horn than it is the face.[346] Nothing can look more ugly than it does without the veil; but, with it on, the appearance becomes graceful.


The dress of the Drûze women generally consists of a blue gown, open in front (excepting where it is buttoned at the waist) and ill-concealing the neck and bosom, which, so industriously covered by European women, are here shown with the utmost indifference. The horn, if of silver, is more or less chased, or even studded with precious stones. It seems contrived to hang the veil upon, which is, in some districts, white, in some black, and of linen or silk according to the wearer’s means. It gives great beauty to the folds of the veil, and adds much majesty to the figure. From the hair behind fall down three silken cords, to which are suspended three silk tassels, about ten inches or a foot long, red or black or blue or green according to the custom of the district. A pair of embroidered trowsers, a shift hanging out of the trowsers, and a pair of yellow shoes, make up the costume, which is both graceful and (saving the horn) convenient. A woman of respectability, instead of a blue gown, wears satin and over it a cloth vest.

Our table was entirely supplied by the Emir, one of whose cooks was established in a house adjoining our residence; and nothing necessary to housekeeping was allowed to be bought. It was hinted, however, by one of his emissaries, that he expected at Lady Hester’s departure a present equivalent to all the expenses he had been at. This insinuation, according[347] to the usages of the country, was neither to be considered unreasonable nor indecorous. Hospitality on so large a scale has something princely in it: but it loses all its merit in an Englishman’s eyes from the dishonourable sentiment which is rooted in every inhabitant of Turkey, from the Grand Signor down to his lowest subject, that they may look for a return of the same or of greater value than any favour which they confer: and, shameless on this point, where it is not given, they fail not to demand it. We have been somewhat circumstantial on this subject, because Eastern hospitality has become proverbial, and is, by most persons, supposed to be gratuitous; we shall often have occasion to show that it is not always so.

There was nothing which engaged Lady Hester’s attention more than the peculiarities of the Drûzes: and, among other things, she was desirous of verifying what she had heard of their feeding on raw flesh. Accordingly, on an appointed day, a sheep was bought, and notice given that such Drûzes as chose to partake of it would be welcome. A spot was fixed on for this extraordinary feast about half a mile from the burgh, and the time appointed was at the close of the day, when the inhabitants of Eastern countries generally make their fullest meal. I accompanied her ladyship. The sheep was killed, blown, skinned, and cut up: and, whilst yet reeking, was placed before the people assembled. As they knew wherefore they were invited,[348] they probably added a few grimaces of pretended voraciousness to their customary manner: but the fact was well established before us that they eat mutton raw as we do when roasted. It may be observed that the sheep was of the large-tailed breed; and the tail itself, although a mass of fat, was cut into mouthfuls, and swallowed with the same avidity as the fleshy parts.[86]

My servant Jachimo, bearing in recollection the flesh-pots of Egypt, had been induced by the Mamelukes to accompany them back. On my arrival at Dayr-el-Kamar, a thin, lively, dirty-looking man had offered himself to replace him. He was named Butrus Abu Ayûb. In the early part of his life he had made a voyage to Marseilles, where he had learned Provençal and cooking: and he now presented himself as a person equal to the multifarious functions of a cook, valet, and interpreter, and dubbed himself Pierre. As this man was more or less a servant in the party for seven years afterwards, it is necessary to premise thus much concerning him. Among the various scenes of his motley life, he had been an under-interpreter, and then a subaltern officer, in Buonaparte’s Syrian army, and knew more anecdotes, he said, of that great man[349] than he chose to tell me—enhancing the value of his communications that they might attract the notice of Lady Hester, who was so much amused with him that she soon afterwards took him for her cook.

Mr. B. had resolved in his own mind to obtain a sight of the secret worship of the Drûzes: and, one day, in riding out, he contrived to approach very near to a khalweh. There was some danger in the experiment, and he had been warned of the jealous seclusion of that people when in prayer. The event justified the caution. The Drûzes, who, as it is customary, were hanging about the precincts of the building to keep watch, immediately drove him off, with many expressions of dissatisfaction at his intrusion.

I went one evening to the only bath there was in the place. During my ablutions, the Shaykh El Aâkal arrived for the purpose of bathing also. He is the chief of the initiated Drûzes, and is held in much veneration by his sect, as his learning and exemplary life alone procure him his elevation, which is founded on no positive titular rank, but solely on consideration. He would not enter the vapour chamber until I had quitted it, for he would have been defiled by so doing.

The Mountain occasionally produces men and women who acquire considerable celebrity for the cure of diseases. At this time, there was a woman at Kilfair, near Hasbeyah, who had an antidote for the bite of rabid animals. The Emir in conversation had[350] said that on the Mountain grew a plant, called Abu Mensheh, which was entirely efficacious as a cure for the bite of a mad dog. A Turk in 1815 died of hydrophobia at Sayda: I saw him just before his death; but the virtues of the plant, Abu Mensheh, were not relied on in his case.

I was one day entreated by a Christian in the service of the Emir to go and look at his favourite mare, dying, as he said, of the cholic. I found her lying down, and occasionally, by violent kicks, groans, and pitiable looks towards her belly, denoting the severity and place of her sufferings. The remedies usual among the Syrians, and mentioned in the case of Selim’s horse, which died on the road from Nazareth, had been ineffectually tried: I bled her in the neck, and ordered repeated clysters (both these remedies being not in use in farriery, among the Syrians), and I succeeded in curing her.

Once, when at dinner, soon after our arrival, we were alarmed on hearing the loud cries of a man beneath the window of the room where we were sitting. It overlooked the market-place; and a culprit was undergoing the chastisement of the bastinado. He made frequent appeals to her ladyship’s pity, whom he knew to be within hearing, by the epithet of meleky or queen, a title she now generally went by. The dragoman, M. Bertrand, strongly solicited her interference to suspend the punishment, and to obtain his[351] pardon, which, by the received usage of Eastern nations, could not be denied to a guest. But Lady Hester immediately told him to desist from asking such a thing: for, she said, she saw no merit in interrupting the course of justice anywhere, and least of all where she was not acquainted with the nature and degree of the man’s crimes. We afterwards found that he had been detected in visiting too frequently, and at unseasonable hours, a woman whose character was stigmatized as disreputable: and it appeared that the Emir exerted unusual severity in guarding the morals of the women.

Mr. B. resolved, about this time, to make a journey to Aleppo. It was not unlikely that the fear of the Aleppo bouton[87] deterred Lady Hester from going also: the more especially as she rejected a second and more favourable opportunity for visiting this beautiful city. Her avowed reason was her dislike to Levantine Franks, a race of people neither Turks nor Europeans,[352] and against whom she always inveighed with much acrimony. But my own conviction as to the real motive of Lady Hester Stanhope’s route to Damascus at this time was, that she had already formed a scheme of visiting, by herself, the Bedouin Arabs, and which she afterwards put into execution. It will be seen that, at Damascus, she contrived a plan for keeping me away also, and threw herself on the protection of the robbers of the Desert, alone and unescorted.

Mr. B., accompanied by his dragoman, M. Bertrand, set off by the direct road for Aleppo; and, a day or two afterwards, being the 27th of August, we departed for Damascus. Her ladyship previously distributed presents to the different persons who had been employed in her service during her stay at Dayr-el-Kamar. Of these presents, it may be well to enumerate a few, to exemplify the manner of paying for one’s entertainment in a gentleman’s house in Syria. To the Emir himself were sent 2,000 piasters in money, equal to £100, half of which he kept and returned half; to his chief secretary, the efficient director of the detail of most of his measures, a piece of Aleppo brocade, worth about 200 piasters; to his deputy, a stuff of less value. The maître d’hôtel, cook, and other servants, had their vails, each according to his station. There was one person, whom I have omitted to mention, who yet was a chief actor in all transactions during our stay here. On the day of our arrival, this gentleman was deputed to receive us at[353] the mansion-gate, and signified that he should be always in attendance to execute Lady Hester’s commands. He was a respectable-looking Maronite priest, who had been educated at Rome, and spoke Italian with considerable purity and fluency. As he was often at a loss how to dispose of his time, I was indebted probably to his ennui for frequent conversations in my room, to which he came to loiter away the day. The information which he gave me chiefly regarded the people and country around us, and is already embodied in this journal.

We were four days on the road to Damascus, a journey generally of two: for, besides the advantage of seeing more leisurely the country as we proceeded, we were anxious to assure ourselves of the tranquillity of the city before we entered; news having reached us that civil warfare was raging between a newly-arrived pasha and a rebel disdar aga, or commandant of the garrison. Sayd Sulimàn, formerly Selictár Aga or sword-bearer to Sultan Selim, had been appointed pasha of Damascus, and had recently arrived to take possession of his new dignity. The military commander, I know not upon what grounds, refused submission to his new master, and, throwing himself into the castle with the troops under his command, assumed a posture of defiance.

So weak was the citadel, as scarcely to deserve to bear the name. Its chief protection was a ditch, and the want of cannon on the part of the assailants. We[354] were told that three six-pounders were the artillery planted to batter in breach. Persons accustomed to the scale of warfare in European countries will laugh at these pigmy sieges; but it is of use to detail them, as illustrative of the politics of the country, and to show, when heretofore Buonaparte advanced with such rapid strides through Syria, what were the castles that retarded his progress.

As little resistance was made on the part of the besieged, who were picked off as fast as they appeared on the battlements, the citadel was taken, and on the following morning the aga was put to death. It was said that, from some fear of resistance on his part, he was strangled by throwing a noosed cord over his head, conveyed unperceived behind him through the gratings of his prison window; the end being drawn tight by two soldiers placed ready on the outside for that purpose.

It will not be out of place to mention here that the notions entertained in Europe, of the manner of putting to death by the bowstring, are extremely erroneous. It is supposed that a condemned person submits to his fate without a murmur, and kisses the sentence that announces to him his doom. But repeated inquiries lead me to affirm that it is otherwise, and that Mahometans seldom die magnanimously by the hand of an executioner: they often utter piercing cries, or else, a prey to despair, become insensible: the executioner generally stabs or shoots them first,[355] and then, if not quite dead, strangles them with the shawl snatched from his head, or with the girdle from his waist, or with the first rope at hand.

We left Dayr el Kamar on the 27th of August, and, uncertain of the tranquillity of Damascus, our journey was far from a hurried one. The road lay along the sides of the mountains, sometimes approaching to the tops, sometimes descending towards the valleys. After an hour’s march we came to the edge of a precipice, at the bottom of which is a deep valley, well planted with mulberry-trees, through which runs, with considerable rapidity, the river Ewely, of which mention has been already made as emptying itself at Sayda. Farther on we passed a village, beyond which our course, hitherto north-east, took a northerly direction, and we kept along the edge of a valley until we reached El Barûk.

El Barûk is a populous village, situated about 300 yards from the sources of the river Ewely, which, rising in four or five springs, form immediately a stream capable of turning a mill. This stream runs through a small valley, entirely embosomed among the mountains, so that, on every side, the view is bounded, at the distance of two or three hundred yards, by precipitous rocks. This valley, unlike the other parts of the mountain we had passed through, is of a fine soil, and not stony: numerous rivulets, sometimes directed for the culture of the ground, sometimes running neglected along, increase the fertility[356] and beauty of the place: melon plants were crawling across the very road on which our horses trod, and fruits of all the sorts that were in season at the time were hanging luxuriantly around: but, as this spot is much elevated above the level of the sea, we found few of them as yet ripe. The village, built a few yards up the mountain, overlooks the plantations. Its inhabitants are chiefly Drûzes, with a few Christians and some Moslems. Vineyards surround the village. Colonel Boughton, an Englishman, had left some recollections of his passage through this place, and the villagers spoke much of him.

The cold and crystal sources of the river Ewely have obtained a name for themselves independent of that of the river, being always spoken of as Ayûn el Bered, or the cold springs. The evening air was very chill: our tents were pitched close to the springs on a green plot of ground which the dampness of the spot and the fogs of the mountain keep in perpetual verdure—the situation was altogether picturesque.

In a general view of that part of Mount Lebanon over which we had passed, it appeared to me, that the summits and sides of the different chains of which it is composed were for the most part arid, rocky, and thinly studded with trees; whilst in the valleys, and more especially in those which had a river running through them, there was much fertility and verdure. But the mountaineers seemed not to choose these valleys, however fertile, for the sites of their villages, but[357] to prefer the slope or summit of a mountain; the reason for which I conceive is, that the great heats of summer are tempered by the constant breezes from the sea; besides, that their commanding situations, sometimes very difficult of access, serve them as a means of defence in troublesome times.

Scanty as the soil was on the heights, the mountaineers had, by their industry, turned it to great advantage. The population of a given number of square miles, taken anywhere on it, was not exceeded by the number of inhabitants, on an equal space, in the plains; the cause of which was owing, in a great measure, to the protection which Christians enjoyed from the Emir Beshýr, who, if not himself a Christian, which some dared openly to affirm, made no distinction between them and his Drûze or Mahometan subjects.

I had forgotten to mention that, previous to quitting Dayr-el-Kamar, Lady Hester had written to apprize the pasha of Damascus of her purposed visit to his capital. In answer, she had received a courteous invitation; and a chokadàr, or page, the bearer of it, was commissioned to be our conductor to Damascus. He was shivering with cold at this place, as he sat smoking his pipe, cross-legged on his carpet, in front of his tent. He nevertheless wore two pair of thick cloth breeches, two pelisses, and other clothes in proportion. He was however good-humoured, and amused us.

On the following day, we mounted by a very zigzag[358] path to the summit of Lebanon. For three hours the ascent continued with different degrees of acclivity over a stony and rocky soil. Nearly at the top, we met with a Turkish harým, or, in other words, the female part of a Turkish family. The order of their march, and the manner of their equipage, will give a general idea of the mode that women adopt in travelling in this country. First of all, upon two mules, covered with saddle-bags or wallets and small carpets, sat astride two female black slaves, veiled. A leathern bottle of water hung down by the side of each of their pack-saddles: two muleteers walked by the side of them. Next followed a stout mule; on each side of which was suspended an oblong box, tilted, large enough to hold one person seated with his legs doubled under him. In one of these sat the lady, and in the other her two children, squatting on their hams, and whose weight seemed to balance hers. Each step of the mule gave a vibrating or swinging motion to the boxes, and the sensation must have been that of a rickety boat on a short sea. Behind came several mules with luggage; and the whole was closed by a chokadàr, or confidential servant, who generally accompanies the women, and is most times an elderly man.

We gained the summit of the mountain; and, after traversing a somewhat level surface for a couple of furlongs, with little patches of snow lying here and there wherever they were sheltered from the southern[359] sun, we began to descend. At this part, the mountain was thinly covered with low firs. Suddenly we came upon a glade, where the extensive view of the plain of the Bkâ broke upon us, bounded to the east by the Anti-Lebanon, whose bare and craggy sides ran parallel to the mountain on which we were. Before us was the lofty summit of Gebel el Shaykh, covered with everlasting snow. The fertile plain beneath our feet presented a surface variegated with yellow and green; having low hamlets scattered about, and now and then a considerable village. Throughout its whole length, but nearer the Lebanon than the Anti-Lebanon, ran the river Casmia (the ancient Leontes, or Letanus), which takes its rise beyond Baâlbec; towards whose ruined temples we turned our eager eyes, and indistinctly beheld them, although at thirty miles’ distance, as they reflected the rays of the luminary in whose honour they had been erected.

Having halted at noon, after a rest of four hours, we renewed our journey, descending by a rapid zigzag path. The cook, with his horse, fell over a small precipice, but without sustaining any injury. When we had reached the plain, we came to the village of Keferea. We conceived ourselves to be still on very high land, as we had descended from the summit in so short a time in comparison with that which it required to ascend it. We quickened our pace to reach the village of Jûb Genýn, where we[360] were to encamp that night. Here for the first time I beheld the Palma Christi, or castor-oil plant, cultivated in fields as we sow beans in England, and now about two or three feet high. The berries were nearly ripe, and, as I learned, would soon be harvested for the purpose of extracting the oil; which is done by roasting them in the same manner as coffee, and afterwards boiling them. The oil floats on the surface of the water, and is skimmed off. This oil is used for lamps only, its medicinal properties being, nevertheless, not unknown to the natives; but when called into use it is customary to administer one berry in substance, which acts as a most violent and uncertain purgative.

After one hour’s march from the foot of the mountain, we reached the village of Jûb Genýn, and encamped on a spacious greensward, close to a bridge which crosses the river. On the opposite bank is a piece of ruinous masonry, which is called a caravansery. The village itself is beautifully situate at the distance of half a mile or more from the bridge, and on a rising ground, at the foot of Gebel el Shaykh. The village looked somewhat large and respectable, and excited my curiosity so much as to induce me to go and examine it. It proved to be half in ruins, from the effect of pillage and desertion, to which it had been subjected more than once in the contentions between the Emir of the Drûzes and the pasha of Damascus. The greatest part of the plain of the[361] Bkâ belongs to the Emir of the Drûzes; so that we were yet within his territory, and consequently his officers caused provisions of all sorts to be brought to us.

We departed next day in the usual manner; and, in the afternoon, reached the foot of Anti-Lebanon, into which we entered, by a winding path and by a very gentle ascent, through valleys surrounded by low mountains: and, in two hours and a half from the time of our departure, we encamped at the village of Ayta, noted for its pottery. The village might contain about fifty families, who wore the appearance of squalid poverty.

On the 30th of August, early in the morning, I quitted the party, accompanied by one of the chokadàr’s soldiers and my groom, Ibrahim, in order to precede Lady Hester by a day and prepare a house. For two hours I continued still winding through the mountains, which by degrees became lofty, totally uncultivated, and very abrupt. At the distance of one hour from Ayta there is a small spring of water, and three hours farther there are two or three springs, which unite and form a rivulet. Close by the rivulet are the ruins of a caravansery, and, on the adjoining mountain, some patches of a wall that once, apparently, belonged to a castle. Excavations in the rocks mark out, likewise, the mansions of the dead of earlier times. A flock of vultures, perched on the pinnacles of the rocks, testified who were the present tenants of this wild spot. Caravans[362] sometimes, as we could see by the traces they had left, had been tempted to make this place a station, and might have enlivened the scene with momentary bustle: but now a mournful silence reigned around.

A little further on, we passed close by the village of Demás, on our left. The small stream, which took its rise near the caravansary, had continued its course to Demás, where it was diverted into trenches to irrigate several gardens. The mountains now changed their appearance, and the soil, from a sandstone, became chalky. Demás looked like a miserable village. Some women, who were coming out of it, were remarkably tall.

At a quick foot-pace, we pursued our way, and, in fifteen minutes, entered a plain, which proved to be about six miles across, totally rocky and barren. At the extremity of it was a rivulet, and here commenced the orchards and gardens of Damascus. Throughout the whole plain the rock had been of a gray stone: the soil became again chalky, and the gardens, with the stream running between them down the valley, formed by their verdure a singular contrast with the whiteness of the hills. Following the course of the stream, we came soon afterwards to a river, where the adjoining grounds were in a still higher state of cultivation. Upon its banks stood a small village, called Dymmásh. Here we crossed a rickety bridge about a dozen feet over, close to which was a water-mill, and now began to ascend a mountain,[363] whence my guide told me I should see the city of Sham.[88] At the summit stands a sanctuary, built in memory of some holy Mahometan, and by it is a spring of water, which is said never to fail. I was somewhat amazed at this my guide’s assertion, when I saw that we were some hundred feet above the plain, and on the ridge of a mountain: but I was less surprised, when, on looking around, I beheld another mountain top, still higher, at no great distance, communicating by a sloping ridge with that on which I was.

It was on the 30th of August, in the afternoon, that, as we came upon the brow of the mountain which overlooks Damascus, the view of that beautiful city and its environs broke upon me. I was much struck at the sight. The plain of Brusa had hitherto dwelt upon my memory as the richest scenery I had ever beheld: but I now did not hesitate to consider this far beyond it. Descriptions, when best painted, although they may come home to the imagination, must necessarily be fallacious: I shall therefore forbear enlarging upon it.

Having indulged a short time in the pleasure which the view afforded, I descended the mountain, and soon arrived among the orchards and gardens. These are all enclosed by mud walls, of considerable thickness and durability, which would have made the road somewhat monotonous, but for the overshadowing branches[364] of the fig, mulberry, apricot, and other fruit-trees, with here and there rich festoons of vine-branches clustered with grapes, which most agreeably diversified it.

In a large suburb, called Salhiah, were the first houses we approached. A broad paved road, evidently Roman remains, gave an impression of grandeur to the entrance of the city, which the streets, upon advancing farther, were not calculated to maintain. They were narrow, mean, and unpaved, obstructed with filthy puddles and unseemly ordure.

I came to the quarter of the city where the Christians live, and alighted at the house of a gentleman to whom I was recommended. He told me I must go in person to the serai, or governor’s palace, where I should immediately be furnished with an order for a house. But his tribulation was excessive when he heard that I intended to present myself to the governor without a benýsh, or coat of ceremony.[89] He begged me to wear one of his, and dwelt much on the necessity of not appearing before him in a dusty riding-dress: but, as I was not then acquainted with the extreme punctiliousness of the Turks, I declined his offer.

Accompanied by my guard, I rode strait to the palace, and entered a spacious courtyard. Neighing steeds were picketed in a row on one side of it: and[365] gaily dressed officers and attendants were smoking in the corridors above them. Busy faces were seen crossing and re-crossing the area of the court, whilst everything argued the presence of a viceroy.

I dismounted at the door of the seráfs, to whom the letter I bore was addressed. These seráfs, or bankers, were Jews, the brothers of that Mâlem Haÿm Shäaty, of whom so much has been said, under the head of Acre. I was shown into a little room, about twelve or fourteen feet square, where I found Mâlem Rafaël, squatting, cross-legged, with an inkstand only before him, transacting the affairs of a large province. The apparatus of desks, tables, records, journals, and all the necessaries of a public office in England, is here almost unknown; nor are books and papers lying in confusion round an official person a necessary mark of business. Mâlem Rafael despatched some other matters, and then took my letter and read it. He said some civil things, and told me to follow him. We went into an adjoining office, a larger room, where sate the kakhyah, Ibrahim Pasha, the pasha’s prime minister. We stood before him for a while, when the Jew desired me to be seated, and remained standing himself. Some discourse, in a low tone, passed between him and the kakhyah, after which the Jew beckoned me to follow him out. We returned to his own room, and he desired a servant to lead me to a house in the Christian quarter, which was destined fur us. I here left my guide, the soldier, telling him to come in a day[366] or two, and claim his reward for his trouble. The house was a very good one: indeed one of the best in the Christian quarter. Being very much fatigued, and it being now late, I dined, and retired to rest.

As I was furnished with an order for turning out the inhabitants of the house, they saved me the pain that such a proceeding must necessarily cause, by removing themselves and such little articles as they wished to take with them to an adjoining street, not without expressing much discontent.

September 1.—I rode out of Damascus to meet Lady Hester.

The reader is aware that, throughout the East, women, above the level of peasantry, dare not go unveiled. It is therefore always with sentiments of contempt that European ladies, who may chance to visit or to reside at the seaports of the Ottoman Empire, are beheld by the natives when they are seen unveiled out of doors. But the protection afforded by consuls, on the one hand, and the necessity of being on a good understanding with the Frank merchants, from whom they gain so much, on the other, together with other causes, induce them to tolerate the custom. It is not so in the interior, where the intercourse is less; and it was an opinion then current in the Levant that no man even could venture to appear at Damascus, the inhabitants of which place were considered as most bigoted, in European clothes. Lady Hester, therefore, needed no little courage to undergo the trial that[367] awaited her. A woman, unveiled, and in man’s attire, she entered in broad daylight one of the most fanatic towns in Turkey.

From the moment of quitting Dayr el Kamar, the Turkish chokadàr had once or twice hinted to Mr. Bertrand, the interpreter, that it would be necessary for her ladyship to veil herself on entering Damascus, otherwise the populace might insult her. Mr. Bertrand, moved by his own terrors, did not fail to back the chokadàr’s opinion, and was utterly dismayed when he understood, from her own mouth, that she should brave public opinion, dressed as she was, and by day. I think it was at this time that she began to wear a fine Bagdad abah, or mantle, which Mrs. Rich[90] had sent her. About four in the afternoon the cavalcade which consisted of fifteen or eighteen horsemen and as many loaded mules, reached the suburbs, where I met it as it advanced. The people gazed at us, and all eyes were turned towards her ladyship. Her feminine looks passed with many, without doubt, for those of a beardless youth. More saw at once that it must be a woman; but, before they could recover from their astonishment, we had passed on. Thus we arrived, followed by a few boys only, at the Christian quarter of the city, and went to the house which had been prepared, as above mentioned, for her reception.



“Reached Bebec.”—p. 85.

As soon as Lady Hester was comfortably established in her suburban villa, which placed her in the same relation to Constantinople that a house at Putney would to London, Mr. B. projected an excursion to Adrianople, in company with Mr. Frederick Douglas. When they had reached that city, Mr. B. wrote the following lively description of it.

Mr. B. to ——.

Adrianople, July 23rd, 1811.

My dear ——,

You will no doubt be surprised to receive a letter from me dated from this place, but I cannot let slip an opportunity of a ship which takes its departure in a few days from Onos without returning you my most sincere thanks for your very noble and generous conduct to my friend Lord Sligo, and for which, I assure you, he feels most grateful.

I left Constantinople about eight days ago, in company with Mr. Douglas, a nephew of Mr. North’s, and whom you have no doubt seen at Malta. We performed the journey in four days and a half, and passed through the towns of Selebrya, Chomlon, and Brurgos, and over a country which bears every appearance of having been desolated by the merciless troops which go and return from the war; very different indeed from the description which is given by Lady Wortley Montague—of fields enamelled with flowers and smiling with plenty. I by no means, however, wish to impeach the veracity of that lady, as a century produces a great change, not only in the manners and customs of a nation, but likewise in the face of a country.


The town of Adrianople is beautifully situated in a rich and cultivated plain, which is watered by three rivers. The Marepa (the ancient Hebrus), which takes its rise in the mountains near Philipopoli; the Toungi, whose source is near the Black Sea; and the Lardi. These three rivers join a little below the town, and lose themselves in the sea at Onos. The city is eight miles in circumference, and its population eighty thousand souls—consisting of forty thousand Turks, twenty thousand Greeks, six thousand Armenians, and the same number of Jews. Since the province of Bulgaria has been ravaged by the Turks, many of the poor inhabitants have taken refuge in this place, which has very much increased the number. Like all other Turkish towns, (Turkey in Europe) the houses are built of wood, and the streets are excessively narrow and very badly paved. From a distance, the irregularity of the houses, with the interspersion of trees, and the mosques, with their lofty minarets, produce a very picturesque and fantastic appearance. Adrianople boasts, however, of many magnificent buildings—the mosque built by Selim the Second is a noble structure, and, in my opinion, far surpasses Sophia, Sultan Achmet, or any of the others which I have [seen] at Constantinople. It is, I am told, one of the truest specimens of Turkish architecture. It consists of two courts, surrounded by porticoes, which are supported by large and massive columns of porphyry and verd-antique. The roof is composed of several cupolas—the interior appeared to be spacious and magnificent, and has one prodigious dome. I am unable, however, to give you a minute description, as I was only allowed to have a hasty glance. The Turks do not wish it to be profaned by the eyes of an infidel. Not very distant from Sultan Selim is another mosque, which was formerly the church of the Trinity, and is now called by the Turks “Utchirif,” which, I believe, is nothing more than a translation of the word “Trinity.” It is a very handsome building, but very inferior to the other. There is[371] likewise another mosque, which is near the Hospital for Idiots. We found there many noble columns of porphyry and verd-antique, and likewise a statue of the European Adrian; at least they say so. It is very much trunculated, as it has lost its head and arm. The dress, however, is certainly Roman, and is the one which was generally worn by the Emperor.

The English consul, who was my guide, and who is a very worthy and hospitable man, told me a very ridiculous, but, in my opinion, not an untrue story relating to this statue, which at once proves the ignorance and superstition of the Turks. The statue is very near the hospital for idiots. The master of the hospital had a great number of chickens, but, unfortunately, one night, the greater number were stolen. The poor Turk thought that Adrian had devoured them; so, in revenge, he cut off his head, and threw [it] into the river Marepa.

Formerly there were many valuable remains of antiquity to be found in this city, but they have been almost all destroyed by the merciless and unrelenting Turks. Many of the columns have been employed in building their houses, but the greater part, I am told, have been buried under the foundation of Sultan Selim. The Turks respect neither the sanctity of religion, nor the genius of man. There are in the town two very fine Besisteens. The largest was built by Ali Pasha, and is of a prodigious length. It consists of three hundred and sixty-five shops, in which every sort of merchandize is exposed for sale. The other, which is called “Arasta,” is smaller, and is more particularly appropriated to the sale of shoes. They are both built of solid masonry, and have a beautiful appearance.

Adrianople, as you well know, is celebrated as being the first capital of the Turks in Europe. Mahomet the fourth and Mustapha the first lived here entirely, which occasioned so much jealousy among the Janissaries of Constantinople that they rebelled and deposed those two monarchs. Achmet the third, not dismayed by the fate of his two predecessors, was[372] very partial to this city, and continued [to] live here a considerable time. It was here that he received Mr. Wortley Montague, the husband of Lady Mary. There is here an Imperial Palace, which is agreeably situated on an island formed by the river Toungi. It is of considerable extent; but, like all other Turkish buildings, very straggling and irregular. The greater part is going rapidly to decay. The audience-chamber and the throne, under which the Sultan sat when he received the ambassadors of foreign nations, are in a tolerable state of preservation. I have now, my dear general, finished a very long and, no doubt, very tedious description of the city of Adrianople, but you may always make it as short as you please by throwing it into the fire.

You have no doubt already heard of the retreat of the Russians and the capture of Ruschuk. The Turks, led on by the new Grand Vizir, attacked the town in seven divisions. They were at first repulsed with considerable slaughter. The Russians, however, finding themselves too weak to defend their position any longer, demolished the works, set fire to the town, and crossed the Danube. Ibrail, Sistof, Sylistria, Necropolis, and the other fortresses which were in their possession, have met with the same fate. Nothing can exceed the cruelties which they have committed. Desolation has marked their footsteps.

I must beg pardon for this very long and tedious letter. Mr. Douglas, who is with me, begs me to present you his compliments, and believe me,

My dear ——,

Your most sincere friend,



Frederick Shoberl, Junior, Printer to His Royal Highness Prince Albert,
51, Rupert Street, Haymarket, London.


[1] These were principally the death of Mr. Pitt, her uncle, with whom she had resided for several years, and of her half-brother, the Hon. Charles Stanhope, who was killed at the battle of Corunna.

[2] Mr. Michael Bruce will be known to most readers as the gentleman, who, conjointly with Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Wilson and the Hon. Mr. Hutchinson, effected the escape of Lavallette from prison on the eve of his execution.

[3] Captain Whitby was distinguished by his active service in the war of America, and, subsequently, by his gallant conduct in a severe naval engagement up the Adriatic.

[4] As we say Furnival’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, &c.

[5] The advantage of these stone walls and floors was exemplified in an accident which occurred whilst I was at La Valetta. I was attending, professionally, on Viscount Ebrington, the present Earl Fortescue, who was indisposed in bed, when his servant, in holding the candle, set fire to the musquito net. His lordship jumped out of bed, and the net blazed and was consumed, without any other apprehension for the result than the personal inconvenience and danger caused to a sick man by sudden exposure to cold.

[6] Afterwards Sir Hildebrand Oakes.

[7] Now Dr. Fiott Lee, of Hartwell.

[8] Lord Sligo spent two days with his Highness, who manifested the pleasure he experienced in the visit, as well by splendid presents, as by the manner in which he treated his lordship. At one dinner eighty dishes were served up for his Highness and the marquis only. He sent a polite message to Lady Hester to express his regret that he should not see her, as he had been called by the Porte to the army, then marching against Russia.

[9] A long mantle used to hide the person out of doors.

[10] The Lawsonia, Lin.

[11] Lasso papavera collo.

[12] Mr. Galt, the novelist.

[13] Now Sir Stratford Canning.

[14] M. de Maubourg, chargé d’affaires at Constantinople.

[15] Cherries sold at a farthing per pound, and walnuts in the season, I was told, at ninepence per bushel.

[16] Now Hydrographer to the Admiralty.

[17] Things are much changed since that time.

[18] For her turban and girdle she bought two handsome cashmere shawls, each at £50. Her pantaloons, most richly embroidered in gold, cost £40; her waistcoat and her pelisse £50; her sabre £20; her saddle £35. Other articles necessary for the completion of the costume amounted to £100 more. Mr. B.’s dress was equally expensive; his sword more so, as he purchased it at 1000 piasters, at the exchange of 21, making about £50.

[19] A Mameluke saddle and bridle alone, without the rider, pistol, gun, or sword, weigh 17 rotolos, 3 oz., equal to 43½ lbs. English. A Turkish saddle and bridle, with the rider’s carbine, pistols, sabre, cartouch-box, brogues, and cloak, weigh about 53 lbs. English. A common Turkish saddle weighs 34 lbs. English.

[20] That the learned reader, however, may not be deprived of a description of this kind of dancing, which was so much talked about during the trial of Caroline, the queen of George IV., we will insert that which is given by Emanuel Martin to his friend J. A. Not recollecting whence this extract was made, I am unable to say precisely who Martin and his friend were, but will vouch for the correctness of the delineation, which is quite graphic. “Nôsti saltationem illam Gaditanam, obscenitate suâ per omne œvum famosam: atqui ipsammet hodii per omnia hujus urbis compita, per omnia cubicula, cum incredibili astantium plausu, saltari videas. Nec inter Æthiopos tantem et obscuros homines, sed inter honestissimas fæminas ac nobili loco natas. Saltationis modus hoc ritu peragitur. Saltant vir et fæmina, vel bini vel plures. Corpora ad musicos modos per omnia libidinorum irritimenta versantur. Membrorum mollissimi flexus, clunium motationes, micationes fæmorum, salacium insultuum imagines, omnia denique turgentis lasciviæ solertissimo studio expressa simulacra. Videas cevere virum et cum quodam gannitu crissare feminam eo lepore et venustate ut ineptæ profecto ac rusticæ tibi viderentur tremulæ nates Photidos Appuleianæ. Interim omnia constrepunt cachinnis: quin spectatores ipsi, satyricæ Atellanæque ορχκεσεως furore correpti, in ipso simulatæ libidinis campo leni quodam gestu nutuque vellicantur et fluctuant.”

[21] I was likewise shown a more complicated machine, invented by one of the workmen at the English Consul’s dairy. A perpendicular axis, passing through the floor of the ceiling, and set in motion by a wheel in an upper room or underneath, had a certain number of stout cogs projecting from it horizontally, but wedge-shaped, so that the edge which takes the end of the hammer handle is sharp at first, and grows broader; consequently, as it passes round, will press down the short end of the hammer: and, as the idea was ingenious for such poor machinists as the Egyptians, I made a sketch of it. Thus one yoke of oxen might set to work eight or ten pestles, and much room be saved.

[22] These rushes were shown to Sir Joseph Banks, who pronounced them to be not the papyrus.

[23] These coffers are covered with web-cloth, girted with cords: they are extremely useful in travelling; and, speaking from six years’ experience, it may be averred that, though apparently so rickety and fragile, they resist longer than any other species of travelling-trunk of Turkish manufacture, and have the advantage of peculiar lightness. They will not certainly bear a comparison with English leather trunks: but I would still recommend every one who visits Turkey to leave behind him as much as possible what is not in the fashion of the country, for fear of exciting the cupidity of the natives, who are too apt to imagine everything strange to be valuable.

[24] I afterwards saw this same Iachimo, in the year 1819, in the service of some English travellers in Syria. He was by this time exalted to the rank of dragoman.

[25] Our party was made up of the following persons: Lady Hester Stanhope, Mr. B., Mr. Pearce, and myself; Mrs. Fry, Lady Hester’s maid; a cook, two valets, both Cypriots, and Iachimo, the Ragusan, my servant. There was likewise an akkam, or tent-pitcher.

[26] As these men had now been in the country twelve or fourteen years, they spoke the language, and were acquainted with the character of the people, so that they could serve in the double capacity of guards and interpreters.

[27] These porters, who carry burdens under which an English porter would sink, are provided with a cushion made of old sacking stuffed with rushes. This hangs a little below the shoulder-blades, and on it their burden rests; it is kept steady by a long cord which goes round the forehead. As they walk under their load, they bend the body forward, the trunk forming almost a right angle with the lower extremities.

[28] The two which Mr. Damiani owned were let at 4000 piasters per annum, as he said. It is true, they were very large, and well stocked with lemon, orange, almond, peach, pear, apple, pomegranate, and other trees. But these trees were yet young; for, in the invasion of the French, the orchards were destroyed for fire-wood. This was now a period of fifteen or sixteen years before; and there can be no greater proof of the fertility of the soil, and of the quickness of vegetation, than the rapid growth of these orchards.

[29] Of the Mamelukes of the Pasha el Gezzàr there were yet alive six—Solyman, Pasha of Acre; Mohammed, Governor of Jaffa; Musa, motsellem of Gebâa; Khalyl, motsellem of Nabatéa; Solyman Effendy, motsellem of Sayda; and Hossayn Aga, collector of the customs at Latakia.

[30] I would apologize for inserting routes so often described, if it were not that I feel I may be able to rectify some errors both in distances and in the names of places, which are found in the books of many travellers, owing to their ignorance of the Arabic language, and the consequent difficulty of acquiring correct information. Routes are, no doubt, uninteresting to most readers; as much, therefore, as possible has been thrown into the appendix.

[31] Pococke.

[32] It is not to be imagined that pulling off the turban is like pulling off the hat: it is more than that, as those who wear turbans have the head close shaved, and consequently expose a bald pate when they take it off: a Turk never would do it. We took off our shoes also.

[33] Kowass means an archer; the name being still preserved, although the weapons are laid aside.

[34] The Augey or Awjey was the boundary of the country of the Philistines, which extended north and south from below Gaza to this river.

[35] This name has since struck me as fictitious, as it signifies merely “The Sands.”

[36] Probably the site of Antipatris—“Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.”—Acts xxiii. 31.

[37] Abulfeda speaks of Cæsarea as having been a flourishing city, and marks it in his time as in a ruinous state. It is sixty-two miles from Jerusalem, thirty from Joppa, thirty-six from Acre. For the frequent mention made in Scripture of Cæsarea, consult the Acts of the Apostles, x. 24; xxi. 8; xxvi; xxi. 10; ix. 30; xviii. 22.

[38] Yet Josephus (Antiq. Jud. xv. c. 13., and de Bell. Jud. 1, xxi.) describes an extraordinary port made by Herod.

[39] The Crocodilon of Pliny.

[40] “The persons to whom I applied the most for information were the shepherds, who lead their flocks into all parts of the country, and see more of it than other men.”—Morier’s Second Journey through Persia, &c. p. 73.

[41] They also fetch water at sunset on account of the coolness which the water acquires by standing all night. In ch. xxiv. Genesis, v. 11, we read, “And he made his camels to kneel down by a well of water, at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.”

[42] Probably the ancient Sycaminos, as the distance will be found between it and the promontory of Mount Carmel to be four leagues; and so it is laid down in d’Anville’s map of Palestine.

[43] Pococke says, that this castle was built by the Greek emperors to repel the attacks of the Saracens.

[44] Erroneously, on most maps and by most travellers, spelt Caifa, on account of the deep aspiration of the Arabic h, which Europeans seldom are able to pronounce. In some authors it is called Hepha or Kepha. It would seem to be the ancient Porphyrion.

[45] Perhaps the ancient Calamon. It seemed to abound in olive and fig trees.

[46] The Kishon was the boundary of the tribe of Issachar, to within three or four leagues of the sea.

[47] This son, Mr. Louis Catafago, was the gentleman who afterwards accompanied H. R. H. the Princess of Wales to Jerusalem. The father of the nephew, named Fathallah Carali, had been beheaded at Aleppo for mixing in government intrigues, he being a merchant.

[48] The antient Belus.

[49] Jer: c. xxii. v. 15. He shall be buried with the burial of an ass—drawn and cast forth beyond the gates.

[50] Many years afterwards, I saw one of these, named Andréa, at Larnaka in Cyprus, where, with the money he had scraped together in Syria, he had established himself as a small shopkeeper.

[51] Mr. Burckhardt calls him Haÿm Farkhy, p. 327.

[52] A katib is generally known by his inkstand, which he wears in the girdle of his vest. The form of the inkstand seems designed to answer this purpose. A great man or katib like Mâlem Haym has his of silver: for common persons they are made of brass. In Ezechiel we read, ix., 2—“And one man with a writer’s inkhorn by his side;” alluding to this custom; but the translators have substituted the word horn. Horn, however, is never used for this purpose; indeed, the shape of the instrument would render it impossible.

[53] It might be asked how this bath is supplied with water. There is an aqueduct raised on arches, which conveys water from the foot of the adjoining mountains. Abulfeda speaks of a fountain, for which Acre, in his time, was celebrated, and calls it Ayn el bakr: perhaps its spring was now converted to the use of the New Bath.

[54] See Bruce’s opinion on this subject in the sixth volume of his Travels, 8vo. edition. See also the first book of Samuel, x. 27:—“and they despised him, and brought him no presents.” Maundrell says, “It is counted uncivil to visit in this country without an offering in hand. All great men expect it as a kind of tribute due to their character and authority, and look upon themselves as affronted, and indeed defrauded when this compliment is omitted. Even in familiar visits amongst inferior people, a flower, an orange, or some such token of respect to the person visited is offered: the Turks in this point keeping up the ancient Oriental custom frequently mentioned in Sacred History.”

[55] The Levantine custom of dining at noon and supping at sunset gave way to coffee and tea breakfasts, and dinner at three or four, for the sake of walking in the cool of the evening.

[56] The baths of Tabariah are called , Hamam el damakyr (which is the largest), and , Hamam el lulu.

[57] The conclusion of this affair will be related hereafter at Damascus. Mr. B. likewise purchased a horse of Mr. C.’s brother-in-law for £35.

[58] One for 200 piasters, or £10; one for £4, a serviceable beast that I afterwards left in Syria, still well and hard working. Lady Hester’s retinue consisted now of the following persons: Giorgio filled the place of interpreter; Mr. Catafago made over to her his own cook, a Cypriot, marked with all the characteristic filth of his island. Mr. B. hired a good-natured Akáwi, or native of Acre, a barber by trade, named Hanah, or John, whose recommendation consisted principally in knowing a little Italian. My Ragusan sailor still remained with me.

[59] The tarbûsh is a red skull cap worn by females: round it the handkerchief which forms the turban is attached. Sereah is a white slave or concubine.

[60] This bulta or balta, a kind of battle-axe, was the emblem of authority which El Gezzàr generally bore about with him. It is said that upon the retreat of the French from before Acre, El Gezzàr, to show his sense of Sir W. S. Smith’s success, gave this balta into the hands of the gallant commodore, and said to him—“You now represent myself: exercise for twenty-four hours the power with which you are invested, in what acts you please.” Sir Sydney ordered the prison doors to be thrown open, and gave the prisoners their liberty.

[61] Squires of the bed-chamber.

[62] Governor.

[63] II. Samuel, c. xx. v. 3. And David took the ten women, his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them inward, and fed them, but went not in unto them: so they were shut up unto the day of their death.

[64] Zyb is the ancient Ecdippa.—Poc.

[65] There is reason to believe that pay-gates and toll-bars were of frequent occurrence in Judea and Palestine. Capernaum, in the New Testament, is no other than a compound of Guffer and nâam.

[66] Since that time, I have traversed this same road five times, and on every occasion I have observed some persons so alarmed at the danger to which they were exposed as to choose to lead their horses over rather than to remain mounted.

[67] I measured the largest of these basins or reservoirs on the top, and found its circumference to be eighty paces. It was much damaged by time and use, but seemed, when perfect, to have been of a heptagonal or hexagonal form. This reservoir alone supplied water to four pair of mill-stones, which were rented at the rate of 2500 piasters (£75) a year each pair.

[68] The Kasmia would seem to be the ancient Leontes, as marked on d’Anville’s map of Palestine.

[69] Upon the hills above these grottoes is the village of Adlûn, which Pococke calls Adnou.

[70] Cousin to Damiani of Jaffa.

[71] Khudder is an appellative of St. George, but why he is considered a holy man by the Mahometans I am ignorant.

[72] This spring is named by Pococke Sakat Elourby. Saka is a watercourse, and Elourby is mistaken by him for El Kharby, a ruin. His muleteers, ignorant of the real name, probably answered him, when he asked what do you call this? This? why, this is the watercourse of the ruin, and so it was entered in his note-book. We shall have occasion to remark several errors of this sort, regarding names of more consequence than of a spring, and the more dangerous in such a man, inasmuch as he has always been considered a good Arabic scholar.

[73] This reservoir Pococke calls Elborok, meaning to say El Burky, the reservoir, which he should designate as such, otherwise the name obtains a place in a map as that of a village or town.

[74] This river Pococke calls the Torrent Ezuron.

[75] This custom exists in the north of Scotland. In Galloway, for example, in 1798, on the estate of Kironchtree was found, under a cairn of stones which was removed to build a dyke, a sepulchre, within which was an urn. The cairn had been heaped up precisely in the same way as that of Sayd el Abd.

[76] The Kûrds are a ferocious people inhabiting a part of Mesopotamia. They pass into Syria as mercenaries, and are often selected as executioners.

[77] Nahr Burgût is mis-named by Pococke Barout.

[78] Beled Suffad, of which Suffad is the capital, extends from Calâat Sâas to Geser Benàt Yacûb and to Khan el Minny between Tabariah and Suffad. Calâat Sâsa lies in a strait line from Suffad to Acre.

[79] For Sayda, see likewise Nub Geogr. A. iii. S. v. p. 135. Prin. ed. Ar. Also Gen. x. 15.; xlix. 13. Joshua, xi. 8; xix. 28; Judges, i. xxxi.; Strabo, xvi. p. 757; Plin. Nat. Hist. v. 17; Il. Hom. xxiii. 744, et passim, Σιδονες πολυδαιδαλοι.

[80] Their father, a Frenchman, had been a doctor at Sayda, but had educated these his children as merchants, until the overthrow of the French trade in the Levant necessitated them to convert the counting-house into an apothecary’s shop.

[81] Pronounced Joon; afterwards for many years the residence of Lady Hester, and where also she died.

[82] The reader is referred to a recent work, called “The Modern Syrians,” for a learned dissertation upon them.

[83] Âakel, masculine; âakely, feminine.

[84] To prevent confusion, it may be as well to explain the difference of two names sometimes confounded from the supposed resemblance in the term Beshýr. The appellation Beshýr is what we should call the Christian name. Thus we will suppose two persons bearing the same name, George—the one will be emir George—the other shaykh George. So we have here two persons called Beshýr, and one is the Emir Beshýr—the other the Shaykh Beshýr. In this instance, the Emir and the Shaykh are of two different families. The Shaykh is of the house Jumbalat. At the time this work goes to the press, the Emir Beshýr must be 86 years of age. He is of venerable appearance, has met with many adversities, and has yet so often extricated himself from them that it would not be surprising if he again recovered his principality.

[85] There were three families among the Drûzes, which were more especially remarkable for their influence and antiquity: these were the house of Jambalat (Beyt Jambalat), the house of Amád (Beyt-el-Amád), and the house of Neked (Beyt Neked.)

[86] Hadj Aly assured me that his wife, who was a Metoualy woman, made no scruple of eating raw meat; and that, when mincing mutton to make a farce called cubby, she often ate so much as to spoil her dinner. It is plain that the Israelites did the same. Exodus ix. 12.; “Eat not of it raw.”

[87] The Aleppo bouton (in Arabic the one-year tetter) is a solitary, sanious, scabby ulcer, about the size of a sixpence, which breaks out once, and once only, on almost all persons indiscriminately who reside at, or visit, Aleppo. No part of the body is exempt from it; and perhaps the face is oftener attacked than any. Its duration is about twelve months, and hence its name. No remedy has yet been discovered for it; and it generally gives least trouble when let alone. The cicatrix, which it always leaves, resembles that of a vaccine pock, or of an issue dried up: and, when, for example, it has chosen the tip of the nose for its seat, it much disfigures the face.

[88] The Arabic name of Damascus.

[89] This benýsh is of cloth in winter, and of thin woollen stuff in the summer. It is made to envelop the whole body, excepting the face.

[90] The wife of our consul there.

Transcriber’s Notes:

1. Obvious printers’, punctuation and spelling errors have been corrected silently.

2. Where hyphenation is in doubt, it has been retained as in the original.

3. Some hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of the same words have been retained as in the original.