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discharged twenty seconds later. This incident gave us cause for much serious reflection; for, ever since we left Paris, we have had so many manifestations of a controlling Providence interposing in our behalf, when dangers have assailed us, that we have often inquired of each other if we have done sufficient to merit so much favour, or if our unworthiness may not, sooner or later, cause this protection to be withdrawn.
A NARROW ESCAPE.
After a tedious and toilsome climb, we found ourselves on the summit of the Anti-Lebanon, whence we had a fine view over the vast plains of Cœlo Syria, bounded on the west by Mount Lebanon, and stretching far away to the north and south.
Descending the western slope of the mountain, we found ourselves in a well-beaten path leading north, directly to Balbec. We gave orders for our caravan to follow on, and we rode off in advance of it. We found that we either had been deceived as to the distance, or had overrated the strength of our animals; for night overtook us before we had accomplished what we had laid out to do in the morning. We selected a site for our camp, and, while waiting for our caravan to come up, Giovanni rode forward to an eminence, and declared to us that he could see the temples close beneath it.
We were tempted to go forward, and got ourselves into a serious dilemma, for we were soon enveloped in such total darkness that we could not see our horses' heads. Their feet began to give notice of a stream before us; I could go no farther. The gentlemen thought they saw a light a short distance ahead. Myself and husband dismounted, while Mr. R. and Giovanni rode forward to ascertain, if possible, our position. After they had been gone a short time, my husband's horse slipped his bridle and ran off, putting in jeopardy saddle, carpet, cloak, holsters, and pistols, by the animal's rolling (as is their custom at night), or by his stray. VOL. II.-Q
ing away where he might be robbed. Such articles are not to be replaced in these regions; so, without reflecting on our lone situation, my husband followed after the horse by the sound of his retreating steps. After I was thus left alone, I heard footsteps approaching; I called out, and had no reply. I called again, when a voice answered in Arabic. Now, for the first time since I have been travelling, I was seized with a panic (the camel affair in Palestine was only a sudden fright). My first impulse was to draw out both my pistols and arm them. The footsteps were heard close to me; to fire at random would have been to throw away my only protection in case of attack. My groundless fears were, however, soon relieved by a cow passing along the path, driven by a peasant, who, as he came up to me, said, Salaam howajah, and quietly passed on in the track of his beast.
After a fruitless search for his horse, which he had followed nearly a mile (supposing that the others would not be absent more than five minutes), my husband gave up the pur. suit, and thought about returning to where he had left me. This was no easy matter in the dark. He called out, but his voice could not reach me. Fortunately, he stumbled into the brook by which I stood, and following this, he was soon again beside me.
Mr. R. and Giovanni returned about the same time, without making any other discovery than that we must bivouac for the night where we were; for, it being so long past the time when our caravan should have overtaken us, we concluded they must have got off the road. Carpets were soon spread, and a few biscuits which remained in the bottom of our lunch-basket were shared round for our supper, the brook furnishing delightful cold tea, according to the Graham gastronomic manual. With saddles for pillows and cloaks for covering, we were preparing to take our al fresco nap
on the Syrian plain, or amuse ourselves in studying Chaldean mysteries in the star-spangled canopy above us.
In a few minutes after we heard the report of a pistol to the south of us, to which we replied in the same strain: immediately after, our caravan came up, having got off the track, by which they had lost much time before they were put right by a peasant, who guided them to us. Lanterns were lighted, and a bright blaze of dried thistles exposed to view a piece of ground covered with stones. After some time spent in clearing away this rubbish, our tent was pitched. By ten o'clock we were comfortably seated round our table, enjoying a much better meal than most of the road inns in Europe or America set before hungry travellers. I had been this day fourteen hours in the saddle, and, in addition to the fatigue consequent upon so long and toilsome a ride, the morning fright and the evening panic made me appre ciate the comforts of an in-door bed far higher than the airy lodgings we had at first taken possession of.
Our excellent meal being discussed, all our fatigues and anxieties were soon drowned in a cup of delicious hyson. The good book then claimed its usual half hour; and after several chapters appropriate to the locality had been read, we retired for the night.
I will here leave you, as our time is up at the Cedars, and we have a short distance to ride in order to reach our en campment for this night. We arrived here quite carly this morning, and have passed a delightful day under the shade of the mighty trees of Solomon, which I will describe to you in a future letter from Beyrout. The messenger we sent down to the coast has met us here, according to appointment, and we find we can approach the coast with little danger, by taking the necessary quarantine precautions. Au revoir.
A NIGHT ADVENTURE.
Arrival at Beyrout.—An Army of Worshippers.-Arab Steeds.-Temple of the Sun.-Ascent of Mount Lebanon.-Cedars of Lebanon.-Village of Eden. Singular Cavern.-Gebal.-Approach to Beyrout.-General Character of Palestine.-Tour of the Holy Land completed.
BEFORE I resume my account of our route to this place, I will merely remark, that we are now safely encamped near the seashore, on a fine bluff, and protected from the sun by a grove of locust-trees. We are about a mile from the town, and keep up a strict quarantine.
What plague there is here is confined to the houses in the very same garden where we performed our quarantine when we first arrived in Syria; and as we rode by it, on our way hither, we saw a cordon sanitaire, composed of Egyptian troops, drawn round it, in order to prevent any communication between the inmates of those houses and their friends without the infected district. What a singular position we are in! We keep quarantine against the town, and the authorities keep guard over us. The latter precaution is necessary, as we have called on them to give us a clean bill of health when our vessel shall be ready to receive us. We have chartered a brig to take us to Smyrna (touching where we like). She has just arrived here in ballast, and has not had any communication with the shore; she is, therefore, fortunately, not yet "in contumacia."
We must remain here for a day or two more, in order that our chef may get his supplies of provisions from the country for our voyage.
Enfin ! here we are among the plague again; but if the usual precautions of water-tubs for purifying our provisions,
smoke-boxes for our letters, and bayonets to keep us in order, are any protection, wc are supplied at all points.
We will now return to our encampment near Balbec. It was a beautiful morning when, from an eminence, we first descried the god of day just rising over the crest of Anti-Lebanon, and darting his first rays on the magnificent colonnade of the Temple of the Sun. Had that splendid monument now stood in its accustomed loneliness, it might have required some effort of imagination to repeople its lofty portals with the multitudes of devotees who formerly flocked thither to hail each diurnal appearance of their di vinity. But, so far from seeing a ruin in a desert, we were scarcely able to believe our senses, when we beheld thousands of human beings surrounding this once proud pagan temple, with their faces turned towards the rising sun, and their hands stretched forth in seeming adoration of the bright luminary before them. The swell of voices that came up to us, increasing, together with the incessant prostrations and genuflexions of the multitude, could easily be mistaken. for those of a nation of Guebres at their morning orisons. Besides, their extremely diversified and truly Oriental costumes seemed to give such a reality to the scene, that the beautiful story of the fire-worshippers came forcibly to my mind.
AN ARMY OF WORSHIPPERS.
This was the most singular and impressive scene I had ever beheld, simply from its bearing such an exact resemblance to what must have been daily seen on this spot when the sun was here worshipped by countless thousands, in ages long past.
Before us stood the forest of columns, and the beautiful ruins of Heliopolis (the city of the Sun), with a nation engaged in prayer around the altars of her sublime temples.
Beyond, the plain was covered with tents and pavilions, with their banners and oriflammes, and hundreds of gray Arab war-steeds arranged in lines down each avenue, their