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It may be so; but can any thing of the kind be more rich and ravishing than those orange and lemon trees, loaded with golden fruit, single or in compact clusters, garnished with leaves of liveliest green, and spangled all over with snow-white flowers of sweetest fragrance? With a little distance to lend enchantment, Sidon's fair daughters gliding through these verdant bowers might pass for “ladies of the Hesperides," as Milton has it, set to watch these golden apples. Then those bananas, with their extraordinary leaves a dozen feet long, and drooping like great pendent ears,
strike my fancy exceedingly. I can not say that I am yet reconciled to the fruit. When green it looks like our pawpaw of Ohio, and when ripe has a sickish-sweet taste, and
a doughy feel in the mouth. Miss Bremer says she thought she was biting into soap.
Yes; but she soon became extravagantly fond of them, and so will you.
Did it ever occur to you to compare the list of modern fruits with those mentioned in the Bible? The result will probably surprise you.
In numberless places we read of grapes and figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, apples, and almonds, and these cover almost the entire list. But here, in Sidon, we have all these, and, in addition, oranges, lemons, citrons, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, quinces, bananas, prickly pears, and many smaller berries and fruits, none of which are once named in the Bible. The same superiority characterizes the modern Flora. There is no allusion to our glorious oleanders, which adorn every water-course in the land. It is doubtful whether even the rose is mentioned. The word khúbbāzleh, translated rose in the Song of Solomon' and in Isaiah, is so like our Arabic name of the malva, khubbazy, as to suggest the inquiry whether a beautifully flowering variety of this plant was not the “rose" of the Hebrew poets. We have them very large, double, and richly variegated. Some are perennial, and grow into a prettily shaped bush. Again, there is no mention of pinks, or geraniums, or the clematis, the ivy, the honeysuckle, or of scores of other flowers which add so much to the beauty of the hedges, and forests, and fields of Palestine. What a pity that Solomon's botany is lost, in which he spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon, to the hyssop that springeth out of the wall! The cedar we know, but what is the hyssop of the royal botanist? Mr. B-French consul of this city, and an enthusiastic botanist, exhibited to me two varieties of hyssop: one, called z'atar by the Arabs, having the fragrance of thyme, with a hot, pungent taste, and long, slender stems. A bunch of these would answer very well for sprinkling the paschal and sacrificial blood on the lintel and posts of the doors," and over the persons and houses cleansed from the leprosy. Mr. B-, however, thinks, that a very small green plant, like a 1 Song ii. 1.
3 1 Kings iv. 33 4 Ex. xii. 22.
moss which covers old walls in damp places, is the hyssop of Solomon. This I doubt. The other kind also springs out of walls, those of the gardens especially, and was much more likely to attract the attention of the royal student.
I begin to understand
your "reunions," and have been highly entertained by them. I am amused with that ceremonious politeness kept up between these intimate friends. When one enters the room, all rise to their feet, and stand steadfast and straight as a palm-tree to receive SALUTATIONS-SMOKING.
him. The formal salam is given and taken all round the room, with the dignity of a prince and the gravity of a court; and when the new-comer reaches his seat, the ceremony is repeated in precisely the same words. In one of your full divans, therefore, a man gives and receives about fifty salams before he is fairly settled and at his ease. Then comes the solemnity of coffee and smoking, with a great variety of apparatus. Some use the extemporaneous cigarette, obviously a modern innovation. Others have pipes with long stems of cherry or other wood, ornamented with amber mouth-pieces. The argeleh, however, with its flexible tube of various-colored leather, seems to be the greatest favorite. Some of these are very elegant. The tube of the one brought to me the other evening was at least sixteen feet long, of bright green leather, corded with silver wire; the bottle, or kuzzazeh, as you call it, was very large, of thick cut glass, inlaid with gold, really rich and beautiful. I, however, could produce no effect upon the water in the bottle. One needs a chest deep as a whale, and powers of suction like another maelstrom,
to entice the smoke down the tube, through the water, and along the coiled sinuosities of the snake, or nabridj; and yet I saw a lady make the kuzzazeh bubble like a boiling caldron without any apparent effort. The black coffee, in tiny cups, set in holders of china, brass, or silver filigree, I like well enough, but not this dreadful fumigation. A cloud soon fills the room so dense that we can scarcely see each
FINJAN AND ZARF.
other, and I am driven to the open court to escape suffocation. Another thing which surprises me is the vehemence of the speakers. When fairly roused, all talk together at the top of their voices, and a great way above any thing of the kind I have ever heard. Noticing my surprise, one said
"You Americans talk as if you were afraid to be heard, and we as if we feared we should not be." Indeed, it is an incessant tempest of grating gutturals, which sets one's teeth on edge; and, in addition, head and shoulders, hands and feet, the whole body, in fact, is wrought up into violent action to enforce the orator's meaning. I wonder how you comprehend a single sentence.
We are used to it; and, unless a stranger calls attention to that which has confounded you, we never notice it. I wish you could have understood the discussions, for they embraced some of those grand and solemn themes which can and ought to stir the deepest fountains of feeling in the human breast. The Arabs delight in such questions.
My two young friends, who speak English, kept me aware of the leading topics as they came up; but it was a great annoyance not to be able to appreciate the remarks which so interested the company. We finally took a corner to