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this strange being. On most subjects she was not merely sane, but sensible, well-informed, and extremely shrewd. She possessed extraordinary powers of conversation, and was perfectly fascinating to all with whom she chose to make herself agreeable. She was, however, whimsical, imperious, tyrannical, and, at times, revengeful in a high degree. Bold as a lion, she wore the dress of an emeer, weapons, pipe, and all; nor did she fail to rule her Albanian guards and her servants with absolute authority. She kept spies in the principal cities, and at the residences of pashas and emeers, and knew every thing that was going forward in the country. Her garden of several acres was walled round like a fort; and crowning the top of this conical hill, with deep wadies on all sides, the appearance from a distance was quite imposing. But the site was badly chosen. The hill has no relative elevation above others; the prospect is not inviting; the water is distant, far below, and had to be carried up on mules. She, however, had the English taste for beautiful grounds, and spared neither time, labor, nor expense to convert this barren hill into a wilderness of shady avenues, and a paradise of sweet flowers; and she succeeded. I have rarely seen a more beautiful place.
The morning after the funeral the consul and I went round the premises, and examined thirty-five rooms, which had been sealed up by the vice-consul of Sidon to prevent robbery. They were full of trash. One had forty or fifty oil-jars of French manufacture, old, empty, and dusty. Another was crammed with Arab saddles, moth-eaten, tattered, and torn. They had belonged to her mounted guard. Superannuated pipe-stems without bowls filled one room. Two more were devoted to medicines; and another to books and papers, mostly in boxes and ancient chests. Nothing of much value was found any where, and the seals were replaced to await legal action. The crowd of servants and greedy retainers had appropriated to themselves her most valuable effects. One of the wealthy citizens of Sidon is said to have obtained his money in this way. She told Mrs. T—that once, when she was supposed to be dying of
plague, she could hear her servants breaking open her chests, and ripping off the embossed covers of her cushions. “Oh! didn't I vow," said she," that if I recovered I would make a scattering of them!" and she performed her vow to the letter. But each succeeding set, like the flies in the fable of the fox, were as greedy as their predecessors; and, as she finally died of a lingering disease, they had time enough to work their will, and nothing valuable escaped their rapacity. What a death! Without a European attendantwithout a friend, male or female—alone, on the top of this bleak mountain, her lamp of life grew dimmer and more dim, until it went quite out in hopeless, rayless night. Such was the end of the once gay and brilliant niece of Pitt, presiding in the saloons of the master-spirit of Europe, and familiar with the intrigues of kings and cabinets. With Mr. Abbott and his lady she would sit out the longest night talking over those stirring times of the last century and the beginning of the present, with exhaustless spirit and keen delight. But nothing could tempt her back to England. At length, her income was greatly curtailed in order to pay off her numerous debts. She was furious, but unsubdued. In her mountain nest, and all alone, she dragged out the remnant of her days in haughty pride and stubborn independence.
She could be extremely sarcastic, and her satire was often terrible. Many of her letters, and the margin of books which I purchased at the auction, are "illuminated" with her caustic criticisms. There was no end to her eccentricities. In some things she was a devout believer-an unbeliever in many. She read the stars, and dealt in nativities and a sort of second-sight, by which she pretended to foretell coming events. She practiced alchemy, and in pursuit of this vain science was often closeted with strange companions. She had a mare whose back-bone sank suddenly down at the shoulders, and rose abruptly near the hips. This deformity her vivid imagination converted into a miraculous saddle, on which she was to ride into Jerusalem as queen by the side of some sort of Messiah, who was to introduce a fancied millennium. Another mare had a part to play in this august pageant, and both were tended with extraordinary care. A lamp was kept burning in their very comfortable apartments, and they were served with sherbet and other delicacies. Nothing about the premises so excited my compassion as these poor pampered brutes, upon which Lady Hester had lavished her choicest affections for the last fourteen years. They were soon after sold at auction, when hard work and low living quickly terminated their miserable existence. Lady Hester was a doctor, and most positive in her prescriptions to herself, her servants, her horses, and even to her chickens, and often did serious mischief to all her patients. She had many whimsical tests of character both for man and beast, and, of course, was often deceived by both to her cost. But we must end these random sketches. To draw a full-length portrait is aside from our purpose and beyond our power. She was wholly and magnificently unique. Now riding at the head of wild Arabs, queen of the desert, on a visit to Palmyra ; now intriguing with mad pashas and vulgar emeers; at one time treating with contempt consuls, generals, and nobles, bidding defiance to law, and thrashing the officers sent to her lodge; at another resorting to all sorts of mean shifts to elude or confound her creditors; to-day charitable and kind to the poor, to-morrow oppressive, selfish, and tyrannical in the extreme. Such was Lady Hester in her mountain home on Lebanon. I should like to read the long, dark, interior life of such a being, but not to live it. Alas! she must have drained to the dregs many a bitter cup. Her sturdy spirit here fought out all alone a thousand desperate battles, and lost them all. Let those who are tempted to revolt against society, and war with nature, God, and man, come to Dahr June—sit on the fragments of this broken tomb, amid ruins without beauty to charm, or age to make venerable—itself a ruin of yesterday, and sinking fast to hopeless oblivion. Will such an end pay for such a life? But enough of Lady Hester. Poor wandering star, struck from the bright galaxy of England's happy daughters to fall and expire on this
solitary summit of Lebanon! I drop a tear upon thy lonely grave, which, living, thy proud spirit would have scored.
We will now pass round the head of this ravine, through June, and down those sloping hills of white marl to the River Owely. Let me call your attention to that large convent, called Deir Mukhullis, on the mountain side across the wady. It is the wealthiest establishment of the kind in this part of the country; sustains a school, not very ably conducted, and owns a printing-press not now in operation. East of us extends the large district of the Shûf, the stronghold of the Druses. It is governed and largely owned by Saied Beg, of the Jemblât family, whose palace is at Mukhtarah.
Our path is leading us into the midst of a very lively agricultural scene; but are not these farmers too late in sowing their grain?
That depends on the nature of coming spring. If the latter part of March and the first half of April be rainy, the wheat, and especially the barley, sown now, and even weeks later, may yield a better harvest than what has been in the ground for the last month. In such seasons, the early crop grows so rank as to lodge, when it is entirely spoiled. If the spring, however, should be early and dry, the late sown will fail altogether. This is one of many circumstances which renders the crop less certain in Palestine than in Ohio. We may now gather a harvest of our own peculiar kind from the operation going on under our eye. The parable about sowing has here its illustration, even in its most minute details. Behold, a sower went forth to sow. There is a nice and close adherence to actual life in this form of expression. These people have actually come forth all the way from June to this place. The expression implies that the sower, in the days of our Saviour, lived in a hamlet, or village, as all these farmers now do; that he did not sow near his own house, or in a garden fenced or walled, for such a field does not furnish all the basis of the parable. There are neither roads, nor thorns, nor stony places in such lots. He must go forth into the open country as these have done, where there are no fences; where the path passes through the cultivated land; where thorns grow in clumps all around; where the rocks peep out in places through the scanty soil; and where, also, hard by, are patches extremely fertile. Now here we have the whole four within a dozen rods of us. Our horses are actually trampling down some seeds which have fallen by this wayside, and larks and sparrows are busy picking them up. That man, with his mattock, is digging about places where the rock is too near the surface for the plow, and much that is sown there will wither away, because it has no deepness of earth. And not a few seeds have fallen among this bellan, and will be effectually choked by this most tangled of thorn bushes. But a large portion, after all, falls into really good ground, and four months hence will exhibit every variety of crop, up to the richest and heaviest that ever rejoices the heart even of an American farmer.
1 Matt. xiii. 3-8.
Certainly nothing could be more to the point than this illustration. We doubtless are looking upon the very facts which suggested to Him who taught in parables the instructive lesson of the sower. May our hearts be like that good ground which brought forth fruit, some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold! But do you suppose that the enormous increase of a hundred fold is ever gathered by the modern farmer?
I was greatly surprised, when discussing this question on the fertile plain of Esdraelon, to hear not merely the peasants, but intelligent gentlemen, who had rented the district from government, stoutly maintain that they had themselves, and that very year, reaped more than a hundred fold from part of that plain. I could not understand it until by accident it came out that they had a peculiar mode of calculation. In sowing they allow one third of the seed for the birds, particularly the crows, which settle down upon the fields in countless flocks. Another third is supposed to be destroyed by mice and insects, and only one third of the seed sown actually comes to maturity. Thus a man sows