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this the river turns westward, and falls into the sea just south of this long, straggling village of Mûallakah. Though not more than twenty-five miles long, yet, from the vast extent of lofty mountains which pour their winter floods into its channel, it rises suddenly into a furious, unfordable river. Many people are carried away by it, and perish at this ford. This broken bridge was built by the Emeer Beshîr Shehab, some thirty-five years ago, but it soon gave way before the violence of the stream. From the nature of the bottom, it has always been difficult to establish a bridge at this place. The emîr erected his on the ruins of one more ancient, built probably by the Romans, and with no better success than they. The river frequently changes its channel, and the Romans constructed this heavy wall running up the stream to confine it to its proper bed, but in winter it sets all bounds at defiance. During a great flood last year it spread through these gardens of Mûallakah, tore up the mulberry-trees, and swept them off to the sea. The scenery around the head of this river is not so wild as in many other places; but the basins of the different tributaries expand on an immense scale, spreading up the declivities of Lebanon, and opening out prospects which, for depth and height, vastness and variety, are rarely surpassed. The view from Mûtyar Abeih, to which I directed your eye as we came along the shore, is particularly impressive. The wady of 'Ain Zehalteh abounds in remarkable cliffs of blue argillaceous marl, which are subject to slides and avalanches on a terrific scale. The Emîr Hyder, in his history of Lebanon, says that about ninety-five years ago a projecting terrace at Kefr Nabrûkh, which had a small village on it, parted from the main mountain, and plunged with prodigious uproar into the wady below, carrying houses, gardens, and trees with it in horrid confusion. It completely stopped the river for seven days. Repeatedly have I stood on the awful precipice, and gazed upon the wrecks of this avalanche with terror. Few heads are steady enough for the giddy perch; and no one breathes freely there, or looks without a shudder into the gulf which opens fifteen hundred feet deep directly below him. The
Emeer relates that one man who was on the sliding mass escaped unhurt, but was ever after a raving maniac. The catastrophe occurred during the life of the historian, and not far from his home, and we may therefore give full credit to his narrative. I have seen many similar slides on Lebanon. Indeed, they occur every winter, but rarely on so gigantic a scale, or accompanied by circumstances so romantic and tragical.
Such avalanches appear to have been known even in the days of Job, and he refers to them to illustrate the overthrow of vain man's hope and confidence. Surely, says he, the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is moved out of his place;' and he connects this with the waters which wear the stones, when, as now, they were occasioned by the great rains of winter.
They were, perhaps, more common in ancient days than at present. But there comes the call for dinner, and we must return to the tent.
What an abundant table the Lord, by the ministration of this lively cook of ours, has spread for us here in the wilderness! Neatly got up, too, and nothing seems wanting. Do you know, I looked on during those days of preparation at Beirût with wonder and alarm at the hundred and one things which you were gathering around you. I could not conceive where they were to be stowed away, or how they were to be carried on the mules. Now I find that every thing has a place, and an office to discharge. It is said that Bonaparte never spent more than fifteen minutes at the table. However that may be, I have no inclination to devote much time at present to this “vulgar function of eating.” Dinner over, I can not abide the tent; for, though it has somewhat the shape, it has none of the glory of this starry canopy above. As to sleep, the very idea seems absurd. Could one sleep on the golden streets of the New Jerusalem the first night? You shake your head reprovingly, and the allusion is extravagant, but all my present surroundings seem equally so. Boyhood's possible and impossible fancies are gathering thick about me in living realities. I was ever given to reverie, and many a day, beneath the leafy canopy of maple-trees on the banks of our own Ohio, have lain at ease, and dreamed of this land of the sun, its mysteries and its miracles, and longed to be there, and wondered if I ever should. And now I am here, on the shore of this great and wide sea, with its everlasting anthem going up to the listening stars. Here am I- but you smile, and I do not choose just now to furnish food for your mirth. .
1 Job xiv. 18.
Better stop. Why, you have been dreaming, with that Longfellow, who
“Used to lie And gaze into the summer sky, Where the sailing clouds went by
Like ships upon the sea.” All this is a quarter of a century behind my experience. At that remote date I might have understood you, but not now. From this, on, waste no more breath in rhapsodies. A pilgrimage to Palestine has too much of the real in it to permit us to expire in the romantic. We had better prepare to imitate this muleteer, that we may be ready for the early dawn, and the bustle of a new day.
The fellow is sound asleep on the bare ground, and, like Jacob at Bethel, he has actually got a stone for his pillow.
You will often see that in this country. I have tried it myself, but could never bring sleep and stone pillows together. I suspect Jacob was not used to it, for he was disturbed with extraordinary dreams; but to Ahmed, with his hard head and stuffed cap, this stone is soft as a cushion of down.
You do not mean that he will sleep all night on this sand, and with no covering but his old cloak ?
Certainly; and if he were at home he would do the same, at least as to covering. This custom of sleeping in their ordinary clothes is the basis of that humane law of Moses for the protection of the poor. If thou at all take thy neighbor's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down; for that is his covering only, it