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NARROW PATHS—DAHR JUNE.
were obliged to lie down upon a bare rock and wait for the morning. At such times one can appreciate those promises which insure from sliding and falling. To slide and fall is, in a thousand places, certain destruction; and no threatenings against the workers of iniquity are more terrible than that they shall be set in slippery places; that their feet shall slide in due time. One needs a steady eye and obedient nerves to ride along the edge of yawning chasms, and listen calmly to the hard clatter of the iron upon the smooth rock. I generally dismount and walk; but some native horsemen ride over every thing. Burkhardt describes the obstinate perseverance of the old Sheikh of Kerak in this sort of desperate daring. They were descending into Wady il 'Ahsa: "It had now become dark, and this was, without exception, the most dangerous route I ever traveled in my life. The descent is steep, and there is no regular road over the smooth rocks, where the foot slips at every step. We had missed our way, and were obliged to alight from our horses after many of us had suffered severe falls. Our sheikh was the only horseman who would not alight from his mare, whose step, he declared, was as sure as his own." Very likely; but I would rather fall from my own feet than plunge, horse and all, over some break-neck precipice. Therefore I dismount, as I do here, out of respect to this broad, slanting rock; and you had better do the same, or we may have to pick up both horse and rider from that terrace down yonder, in no wise improved by the feat. And now we must climb once more up five hundred feet, to that castle-like inclosure around the top of this bold mountain pyramid. Safely done; and here we stand on Dahr June, and beneath this rude and broken tomb lies buried the once lovely, and witty, and most eccentric Lady Hester Stanhope.
Is it possible? Can any thing be more sad and solitary? But perhaps it is well that it should be thus.
A melancholy change has indeed come over the scene since I first visited it. The garden, with its trellised arbors, ? Prov. iii. 23; Jer. xxxi. 9.
2 Deut. xxxii. 35.
and shaded alleys, and countless flowers, is utterly destroyed, and not one room of all her large establishment remains entire. This on the southwest corner was the apartment in which her ladyship wore out the three last dreary months of life, and this on the east of it was the open lewan, where we found the body wrapped in waxed cloths dipped in turpentine and spirits. The whole of these premises were alive with her servants and others assembled on this mournful occasion. Now not a dog, cat, or even lizard appears to relieve the utter solitude. The tomb also is sadly changed. It was then embowered in dense shrubbery, and covered with an arbor of running roses, not a vestige of which now remains, and the stones of the vault itself are broken and displaced. There is no inscription—not a word in any language, and, unless more carefully protected than hitherto, the last resting-place of her ladyship will soon be entirely lost. The history of this place is peculiar. It belonged to a wealthy Christian of Damascus, who built the original house, to which Lady Hester added some twenty-five or thirty rooms. At his death, soon after that of Lady Hester, the property was left to an only son, who quickly spent it all by his extravagance. He then turned Moslem, and not long ago hung himself in a neighboring house. His Moslem wife--a low, vulgar creature-fearing that the Christians would one day deprive her of the place, tore down the buildings, and sold the materials to the people of June. Thus the destruction has been intentional, rapid, and complete.
The British consul at Beirût requested me to perform the religious services at the funeral of Lady Hester. It was an intensely hot Sabbath in June, 1839. We started on our melancholy errand at one o'clock, and reached this place about midnight. After a brief examination, the consul decided that the funeral must take place immediately. This vault in the garden was hastily opened, and the bones of General L or of his son, I forget which—a Frenchman: who died here, and was buried in the vault by her ladyship —were taken out and placed at the head.
LADY H. STANHOPE-FUNERAL.
The body, in a plain deal box, was carried by her servants to the grave, followed by a mixed company, with torches and lanterns, to enable them to thread their way through the winding alleys of the garden. I took a wrong path, and wandered some time in the mazes of these labyrinths. When at length I entered the arbor, the first thing I saw were the bones of the general, in a ghastly heap, with the head on top, having a lighted taper stuck in either eye-socketa hideous, grinning spectacle. It was difficult to proceed with the service under circumstances so novel and bewildering. The consul subsequently remarked that there were some curious coincidences between this and the burial of Sir John Moore, her ladyship’s early love. In silence, on the lone mountain at midnight,“our lanterns dimly burning,” with the flag of her country over her, “she lay like a warrior taking his rest,” and we left her" alone in her glory." There was but one of her own nation present, and his name was Moore.
The people of June, that village across the wady, made large profits from the liberality and extravagances of Lady Hester, and they are full of wonderful stories about her. Several of our friends in Sidon were in her service for years, and from them, and from others still more closely connected, I have had abundant opportunity to learn the character of