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manship and prodigality of design. The pictures I have dreamed of Aladdin's palace grow dim in this enchanted place. No wonder the faithful linger here on their way to and from Mecca; for after the long desert stages it is like a vision of that lavish paradise which their generous prophet has provided. They are all about-prostrating themselves with many genuflections and murmurings—and we step on them as little as possible, but they are a good deal in the way. The place holds ten or twelve thousand of them every Friday, Habib said.
Habib, by-the-way, has small respect for the Moslem. Also, he does not seem to fear consequences, which I confess I do, being in the very stronghold of fanaticism, and remembering that some five thousand Christians were suddenly and violently destroyed in Damascus not so many years ago. We were in front of a very marvellous mosaic shrine, and Habib beckoned us to come closer to admire its exquisite workmanship. A devotee was prostrated in the little alcove, bowing and praying in the usual rhythmic way. We surrounded him, but were inclined to hold a little aloof.
"Closer, closer!” urged Habib. “You must see it!”
We crowded up and entangled the praying person, who became aware of our presence and turned up his face helplessly. Then he pressed it again to the floor, and tried to go on with his murmurings. It was no use. Habib jostled him, waved his pointing stick over his head, tapped the ornamentation within an inch of his nose. We were told to step up and examine the work closely—to touch it, smell of it. Clearly Habib regarded that devotee no more than if he had been a mile removed instead of being actually against us. The poor pious pilgrim stole another look at us, this way and that, slipped a notch in his prayers, gathered himself and tried again, let go a whole distich, quavered in his attempt to make himself heard, cast another appealing glance at the Kurfürsters, broke through, and fled. This is not an exaggeration, but an actual happening. In America there would have been trouble.
“He is nothing" said Habib, when I seemed disturbed. “He is only an Arab." Still, he was praying to Habib's God.
Many persons do not realize, I believe, that Christianity and Mohammedanism differ mainly in their Messiah. The Jew furnished the Moslem as well as the Christian with a God, patriarchs, and prophetsthe Old Testament being common to all. The Moslem goes further than the Jew, for he accepts parts of the New Testament. He recognizes John the Baptist as a holy messenger, even claiming to have his head in this very church, in a shrine which we saw, though I could see that Habib thought the relic apocryphal. Furthermore, the Moslem accepts Christ! To him, Christ is only a lesser prophet than Mohammed, but still a great being—an emissary of Godand on this same mosque is the Minaret of Jesus, where, one day, as they believe, he will stand to judge the world. On the other hand, the average Christian believes that Mohammed was merely a fraud, and it is this difference of opinion that has reddened the East with blood. I am moved to set down this paragraph of rather general information for the reason that it contains some things which I suppose others to be as ignorant of as I was—things which seem to me interesting.
We did see one old book, by-the-way — fifteen hundred years old, Habib said, and a member of our party asked if it was printed on a press; though that is nothing—I have done worse myself. Then we ascended the Minaret of the Bride for the view. We climbed and climbed, and got hot, and shaky in the knees, but the view repaid us. There was Damascus spread out in its beauty; its marble courts, its domes and minarets and painted houses—a magic city in the midst of a garden of bloom. Certainly this is fairyland—a mirage whose fragile fabric may vanish in a breath. Oh, our time is all too short! One must have long and long to look upon the Eastit has taken so long to build!
We went to Saladin's tomb, and that is authoritative, though I confess that I could not realize, as we stood in that narrow building and viewed the catafalque in the centre, that the mighty Saracen hero of romance rested there. For me, he belongs only in tales of enchantment and fierce deeds, and not in that quiet place. I remembered that his sword was so sharp that a feather pillow dropped on its edge would fall on either side. Perhaps they have the sword there, and possibly the pillow to prove it, but I did not see them.
A Turkish school turned out to look at us and smile. We looked and smiled back, and everybody was satisfied. It is certain that we look more strange 16
to them than they do to us, now. I know this, for when I stop anywhere and look over our party, here amid the turbans and fezzes and long flowing garments of the Orient, I can see for myself that it is really our party that looks queer and fantastic and out of place—not these people at all.
It is natural that one should realize this in Damascus, for Damascus is the great reality—the unchanged and changeless. Algiers was a framed picture; Constantinople was a world's Midway - a sort of masquerade, prepared for our benefit. Here it is different. No longer the country and the people constitute the show, but ourselves. One presently discovers that he is artificial-an alien, a discord—that he has no place here. These others are the eternal verities; their clothes are the real clothes — not ours, that change fashion with every year and season. One is tempted to abjure all the fanfare and flourish of his so-called progress—to strip off his ridiculous garments and customs and fall in with the long steady rhythm of the ages.
Only, you don't do it. You discover objections to such a course. I could name some of them if I wanted to. Never mind; you couldn't do it anyway. You have been hurrying and sweating and capering about and wearing your funny clothes and singing in false keys too long. You cannot immediately put on the garb of the ages, and lock step with the swing of a thousand years.
FOOTPRINTS OF PAUL
W E entered the “street which is called Straight,”
VV and came to the house of Judas, where St. Paul lodged when he was led blind into Damascus, trembling and astonished of the Lord. His name was Saul, and he had been on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians, by the authority of Rome. The story is in the ninth chapter of Acts, and is too familiar to repeat here. I believe, though, most of us thought the house of Judas had some connection with the unfaithful disciple of that name, until Habib enlightened us. Habib said that this was another Judas-a good man-well-to-do for his time. The Street called Straight runs through the Grande Bazaar, and the house of Judas is in the very midst of that dim aggregation of trades. It is roofless and unoccupied, but it is kept clean and whitewashed, and its stone walls will stand for another two thousand years.
Next to the birth and crucifixion of the Saviour, the most important event in the story of Christianity happened there. It seemed strange and dreamlike to be standing in the house of St. Paul's conversion - a place which heretofore had seemed to exist only in the thin leaves and fine print of our Sundayschool days — and I found myself wondering which