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together with two cooks and a waiter; and this baggage train always preceded us, if possible, on our daily journeys. We ourselves formed a party of fifteen, viz. eleven travellers, two dragomans, and two waiters to lay out the lunch al fresco; all of course mounted, and one or two extra animals to carry provisions for the mid-day meal, carpets to spread, etc. Beyrout is accustomed to such processions, but our start caused considerable attention as we passed through the bazaars and skirts of the town. Leaving Beyrout, we at once entered upon an excellent coach-road, constructed by a French company, and opened in 1875, for the daily running of a diligence between Beyrout and Damascus, a distance of fifty-five miles. Of this road we availed ourselves for the whole of the first day's journey, gradually ascending by zigzags up the slope of Mount Lebanon. It was a lovely ride, first through groves of mulberries, walnuts, chestnuts, olives, and fig-trees, mingled with some palms and thick hedges of cactus or prickly pear. As we rose higher we gained beautiful views over the city and the sea, and we were in no hurry to reach the summit and descend on the other side. Our pace was mostly a walking one, to suit all capacities, but this did not prejudice those who desired a canter now and then. The road was much frequented, and we met from time to time long trains of camels, laden with sacks and bags of merchandise, trudging along with their usual patient looks and tranquil bearing, however much they may be murmuring at heart (as camels do murmur) at their lot. Here, as usual, it is customary for a man or boy to ride a donkey at the head of the train, to which the first camel's head is tied by a loose cord, and each camel similarly attached behind, head to tail, so that they are easily led. There were also waggons drawn by three mules, strings of mules and asses laden with packs, Syrians, Arabs, etc., and now and then some veiled Syrian ladies in wide trousers, sitting across mules, with their escort. As we rose higher we crossed some magnificent gorges and defiles in the mountain, or long limestone terraces, caused by fracture, and forming fine sections, which looked as though they were artificially constructed walls. Of flowers there were unfortunately few at this time of the year, the most conspicuous being some tree-mallows and large yellow autumnal crocuses. Bright green umbrella or Italian pines succeeded, and leafless fig-trees. Eagles or large buzzard-like hawks soared over our heads from time to time, pairs of ravens, a flock of hooded crows, and smaller birds accompanied us, and added to the life and interest of the scene.
At noon we halted, and some of us who were not much accustomed to riding were glad to dismount and rest upon our mats, while our
attendants provided an excellent al fresco meal, consisting of hardboiled eggs, fowls, mutton, bread, and dried fruits; and after an hour's rest thus spent we once more proceeded. As we approached the summit of the pass the scene became grander, the peak of Sunnin was conspicuous, and far away to sea we could distinctly perceive the island of Cyprus lying in misty outline upon the blue waters of the Mediterranean, while our aneroid barometer informed us that we had ascended to a height of 5500 feet above our starting-place, the city of Beyrout, which seemed to be at our feet at a great depth. A line of telegraph wires accompanied us all the way, and near the summit long poles about forty feet high were fixed upright at intervals, their use being to mark the road in winter, when it is sometimes covered fifteen or twenty feet deep with snow, and all other landmarks are obliterated. At four P.M. we crossed the summit and addressed ourselves to the other side. Now was our view changed. The ocean gave place to a broad and rather desolate valley some ten miles wide, bounded by a range of lofty hills, and at our feet were sharp zigzags down which we were to descend. This valley was the plain of Cole Syria (i.e. hollow Syria), and the mountain-range was the Anti-Lebanon, which runs parallel to Mount Lebanon; and away to our right was its highest point, a peak 10,000 feet high, with which we were destined to become very familiar, and which seldom or never was out of sight during our whole journey through; Palestine-the picturesque, the ancient, and the sacred Mount Hermon.
As we descended, the sun set, gilding the top of Hermon, dusk rapidly followed, and we began to wish we could reach the camp. At a turn of the road I thought I could discern the tents below us, but it took many turns to reach them. Before doing so, a large space was passed, which seemed full of camels, mules, and drivers, all lying down in a confused mass together. It was a caravan which had bivouacked for the night; and not long after we reached camp, and were right glad to resume our legs after a ride of thirty miles, which to such as, like myself, were unused to horse exercise, was not a bad beginning.
How snug the camp looked in the dusky light! There were seven tents-five for the travellers, one for the kitchen, and one for a saloon or dining-room. In the kitchen tent a ruddy fire proclaimed preparations for a hearty and well-earned meal. The baggage animals, weary enough, no doubt, were tethered closely, lying down or standing up, as it pleased them, while the muleteers were busy feeding or otherwise attending upon them. Repairing to my own tent, I found it a commodious apartment, containing three small and low iron bedsteads
and a table and chairs, the walls of the tent itself being elegantly decorated with Arabesque designs in white, blue, red, and yellow. My tent companions were an American Congregational minister and a gentleman whose brother I had known in England.
Within twenty minutes of our arrival dinner was served, with tea for those who liked it—and a very welcome addition; and as I am alluding to these facts once for all, I may mention that our dinner always consisted of mutton and fowls, with vegetables, pudding, and various dried fruits. Fowls we generally easily obtained from the natives, mutton, however, was the only butcher's meat obtainable, and it was served in every possible way, and not unacceptable to most of our party, if we except one, who had an unfortunate idiosyncrasy which excluded mutton in any shape from her diet. After the meal was concluded we usually assembled in the tent of an old American Presbyterian minister, for reading the Scriptures and prayer; after which, writing letters, making up diaries, a little interchange of visiting, etc., occupied the rest of the evening; for we never wandered far beyond the precincts of the camp after our evening meal, in fact fatigue alone kept us from too much of that. The muleteers and attendants slept soundly enough, no doubt, extended anywhere, as was their wont; the camp, however, was not left unguarded, but a watch of one or two men of the district, armed with guns, always took up their station in our midst: whether they slept or not I am hardly in a position to say.
At six next morning we were aroused by a horn, and every one jumped up; but before we were fairly dressed the tents were struck, and amid loud shouts of "Y'allah! Y'allah ! from our Arabs, the beds, luggage, and tents were packed, the mules laden, and the breakfast prepared; but long before it was finished our baggage train was under way, and soon after seven we were all in the saddle. Still following the coach-road, we soon reached the spot where our route diverged to the north; for we were bound for the magnificent ruins of Baalbek, considerably to the north of Damascus, and situated in the valley of Cole Syria. Quitting, then, the Damascus route, we diverged into a mere mule-track, and for two hours were busy at a foot-pace fording rugged gullies and marching over rough stones and rocks, when a sudden turn of the road disclosed a deep cleft in the hills on the left, in which there nestled a large, clean, and prosperous-looking town. This was Zachleh, a Christian settlement of some 10,000 inhabitants, all except a few families being Maronites, but notwithstanding which it must be told that it is a town "notorious for pride and turbulence."
The Mahommedan dwellers in Syria may be classed in two divisions, viz. Sonnites, or orthodox Mahommedans, who are also known as Traditionists, who in addition to the Koran pay great attention to the oral teaching said to have descended from the Prophet himself. But the majority are called Druzes, a bold and hardy mountaineer race, who hold some forty villages exclusively, and share two hundred more with the Maronites, with whom however they have lived by no means peacefully, at least of late years. Whatever may have been the merits of the quarrel which took place about the year 1840, there can be no doubt that the fearful Syrian massacres, which at one time enchained public attention, were as much owing to the Maronites, who were the victims, as to the Druzes; nor do the Maronites appear to have exhibited any of those Christian virtues of charity and forgiveness of which they ought to have set an example.
The Maronites, who appear considerably to outnumber the Druzes, are subject to the Patriarch of Antioch, who acknowledges the supremacy of the Pope. They are, as a sect, of considerable antiquity, and it is believed that they settled in the Lebanon when flying from the persecution of the Emperor Anastasius II. early in the eighth century. Since the massacres, an arrangement has been come to by which both Druzes and Maronites are placed under the authority of the governor of the Lebanon, who is appointed by the Turkish authorities with a view to prevent like outbreaks in future.
In these massacres Zachleh occupied a prominent position, and in 1860 the town was captured by the Druzes, and the greater part of its inhabitants put to the sword, without respect of age or sex. It has now, however, recovered from the effect of these fearful scenes of intolerant violence, and it has all the appearance of a peaceful and prosperous settlement. There is a mission of the Free Church of Scotland settled here, schools are established and other missionary operations are carried on. We rode up the steep and narrow streets, like flights of steps, and were conducted by our dragoman to the house of Mr. Dale, a young American missionary, who has been for two years past established at Zachleh. He appeared to be an earnest young man, and had mastered Arabic so as to be able to speak it fluently. He told us that he was in the habit of paying a missionary visit to the village of Baalbék (which contains four or five thousand inhabitants) about once in a month, and that as we were going to spend Sunday there, he would be glad to take the opportunity of accompanying us as soon as he had made the necessary arrangements. He did indeed overtake us before we were far upon the road, and proved an intelligent addition to our party.
Although in a very steep situation, the houses of Zachleh had an air of comfort which most Syrian villages did not possess. They were all neatly whitewashed, and the roughness of the stone walls is thus concealed, although painfully visible in most Syrian houses, which usually have flat wattled roofs of wood, covered with a thick layer of earth, which is not unfrequently level with the uneven ground at the back, so that one walks sometimes upon a housetop before knowing that one has quitted the soil.
Having ridden down some steep flights of steps, we quitted Zachleh, and proceeded along the valley through orchards and poplar groves for a considerable distance, gradually rising. A curious instance of Mussulman credulity was pointed out, viz. what was said to be the tomb of Noah; but although there may have been giants in the earth in those days, we felt rather faithless upon perceiving that the patriarch's supposed resting-place was some seventy yards long. It is probably the remains of an ancient aqueduct. But the Moslem is never at a loss. Every patriarch has his tomb marked out, and many scenes of incidents recorded in the Bible are pointed out to the faithful, in spots where they could not in the nature of things have really happened.
With the slopes of Lebanon on our left, and those of Anti-Lebanon on our right, we travelled up the valley of Cole Syria. High up on the former side may be descried ruins which some attribute to the house of the forest of Lebanon which Solomon builded, and which is described in 2 Kings vii. 2-12. Then crossing the Litány river, we arrived at a long stretch of new road, constructed, I believe, by the French company. It was well supplied with metal, and had never yet been used-not therefore very inviting. We were informed also by Mr. Dale that the metal was formed of broken-up stones from the ruins of Baalbek; we will hope those of the massive substructure, and not of the beautiful temple, of which Time has already made too great havoc. After a weary progress of some hours we at length descried afar off, at the foot of the slope of Anti-Lebanon, the still standing columns of the Temple of the Sun, which looked insignificant enough at an hour's distance. Of their grandeur and magnificence on a nearer approach I must, however, speak in another paper.
(To be continued.)
SCRAPS OF CHURCH HISTORY.
NO. I. THE NAZARENES.
WHEN we remember how often the apostles and disciples of the Lord misunderstood the spirit of the Saviour's teaching while He was with them, we cannot be surprised at the fact that differences of opinion as to the doctrines of Christianity began to be manifested at a very early period in the history of the Church. With very imperfect notions of the genius of the new religion, it was to be expected that the early Christians would soon be split up into various sects or