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37 signed and adapted to excite emotions which should be utterly banished from the place of prayer. Put the case thus : A pious and modest Oriental preacher (who perhaps has rarely looked upon the face of any woman except those of his nearest relations), when he rises to preach, finds himself confronted by the beauty and fashion of the city in their best attire, is it strange that he should be confused and disturbed? And, moreover, the veil is as necessary for the modest female, who desires to worship in purity and peace, as it is for the “angel." Secluded by the rigid laws of Eastern society from familiar association with all men except near relatives, so that she would be overwhelmed with confusion should her veil fall in the presence of a stranger; it is no reflection upon her purity of mind, but the contrary, that she can not appear unveiled before the “angel” with that entire composure which becomes the house of God. Such will wear the veil from choice. Change the state of society (and in many places it is being changed), educate the females (and the males too), let the community be pure from Moslem and heathen mixtures, and trained to free and becoming social intercourse, and then neither men nor women will think of veils and screens, nor need these apostolic directions in their exact letter. Their spirit, however, will always be obligatory in every country and all states of society; and a little more modesty in female attire would be a very happy improvement in many a Western congregation. But it is time we turn our steps homeward. The muezzin calls to sunset prayers from this tall minaret, and dinner will be waiting. As in ancient times, men now eat when the day's work is done.
“Seeing is believing,” says the proverb, and it is understanding also. I have read all my life about crooked, narrow streets, with the gutters in the middle, and no sidewalks, but I never understood till now. How are we to get past this line of loaded camels? Well, by bowing the head, creeping under, and dodging from side to side, we have accomplished that feat; but here is a string of donkeys carrying brush and water; their bundles actually sweep
both sides of the street, and the ground too; there can be no creeping under this time.
True; but here is a recess in the wall into which we can step until they have passed by.
What is that fellow shouting all the while at the top of his voice?
He cries Daharak! wûshhak! daharak! wûshhak! " your back! your face! your back! your face!" to warn all concerned to look sharply before and behind, or they may be
39 run over, crushed against the wall, or have their clothes and faces torn by this brush: a very necessary admonition.
That I perceive well enough; but are all Oriental cities built after this fashion-streets eight feet wide, houses sixty feet high, with dead stone walls without ornament or relief of any kind? They are sad and sombre at best, and must be particularly so at night. Already the shades of evening fall heavily along these gloomy avenues, and I see no provision for lighting them.
There is none; and you observe that the shopkeepers are already shutting up, and leaving for home. Thenceforward until morning the streets are deserted and silent, with only here and there a company returning from a visit, with a servant bearing a lantern before them. The city guard creeps softly about in utter darkness, and apprehends all found walking the streets without a light. Remember, and act accordingly, or you may get locked up in quarters not very comfortable. Beirat is gradually departing from some of these customs, but enough remain to afford a type of all you will see elsewhere, except at Damascus. The style of that city is wholly different, and carries one back as by enchantment to the age of the Califs and the fantastic creations of the “Thousand Nights.”
alreay morning a compa nefore theand appt
* January 25th. How is it that you never told me in any of your letters that Beirût is such a beautiful place?
I did; but you could not understand, and no wonder. Neither pen nor pencil can do justice to Beirût. Things hereabouts are on a scale so vast, and there is such an infinite variety in the details, that it is almost impossible to select, group together, and condense into reasonable limits enough to give an adequate idea of the whole.
That I can readily believe; and yet I am unwilling to pass away from Beirût without imprinting on memory's tablet a fairer, truer copy of her charming scenery than I have yet obtained.
Follow me, then, to the terrace of our house. It commands the whole prospect. The city and suburbs, as you perceive, are situated on the northern slopes of a triangular plain, whose base line is the shore, from Ras Beirût to Nahr Yâbis, some six miles toward Sidon. The perpendicular runs in eastward from the Ras about five miles to the foot of Lebanon, at the bottom of St. George's Bay. The hypothenuse is the irregular line of the mountains. The whole plain is a projection seaward from the general direction of the coast, and along the base of the hills it is so low as to appear like an island to one sailing up from Sidon. The surface rises gradually from the south to the immediate vicinity of the city, where it is about three hundred feet above the sea. Thence it falls rapidly down toward the roadstead on the north by abrupt, irregular, and winding terraces. It is this feature that imparts such variety and beauty to the environs of Beirût. The substratum of this plain is every where a white marl, passing into compact limestone, and inclosing nodules of flint and thin seams of chert, similar to the adjoining hills of Lebanon. Upon this rests a very large formation of arenaceous, unstratified stone, easily wrought, and hence used from time immemorial for building. It is mixed with comminuted shells and corals, is very porous, and absorbs water with great rapidity, which renders the houses damp in winter. This, indeed, is almost the only defect in this otherwise admirable building stone. The quarries are to the southwest of the city, and from them a broad belt of loose, movable sand stretches inward from the shore, quite down to the point at Nahr Yabis. The southeastern part of the plain is one dense olive grove, the largest and most productive in Syria. In the centre are beautiful pine forests, planted, or rather sowed by successive governors at different times, from the famous Druse chief, Fakhr ed Dîn to Wamic Pasha, the present representative of the Sublime Porte at Beirût. There are a few orange and lemon gardens, where they can be irrigated. Figs, almonds, and apricots abound, and in certain parts
ENVIRONS OF BEIRUT.
- The palm-tree rears his stately head on high,
And spreads his feathery plume along the sky;" while the mulberry, melia, kharûb, sycamore, prickly oak, and many a tree and shrub of humbler name, cast abroad their grateful shade, and draw their green mantles over our lovely suburbs. Seen from any point, Beirût is charming. Many, however, are best pleased with the view from the roadstead north of the city.
I am one of those; as our steamer came bravely into harbor at early dawn, the scenery was beautiful, and even sublime. Good old Lebanon, with a diadem of stars around his snowy turban, looked for all the world like some august monarch of the universe, with his head in heaven and his feet upon the sea, and I could and did salute him with profound respect; laugh at me if you please, but I could not help it. And as morning grew into bright and glorious day, what a charming panorama was revealed all around the city!
The deep Bay of St. George sweeping around the base of the hills; the mountains of Metn and the Kesrawan on the east and northeast, rugged, steep, and lofty, shaded with pine forests, and dotted with villages, churches, and convents; the wild gorge of the Dog River, with snowy Sunnîn beyond and above; the sandy ridge of Brumanah, and Deir el Kŭlâh, with the deep ravine of Nahr Beirût; the hills of El Ghurb, bold and bright against the southern sky, from Aleih to Abeîh, with hamlets, and factories, and orchards peeping over the smiling suburbs; and the city itself, with white houses seated seaward on overhanging cliffs, or grouped on showy terraces and commanding hill-tops, or stowed away along retiring glens, half revealed, now quite concealed by crowding mulberry and parasol China trees, and waving festoons of vines and cunning creepers of many colors—this, this is Beirût, with the glorious Mediterranean all around, and ships and boats of various nations and picturesque patterns sailing or at rest. You will travel far ere you find a prospect of equal variety, beauty, and magnificence.
Is Beirût mentioned in the Bible?