Slike strani

"I like to perfume myself with precious effences, and to crown my head with rofes."

“About noon the table is covered. A large flat plate of copper, tinned, receives the dishes. No great variety is difplayed, but there is an abundance of provifions. In the middle rifes up a mountain of rice boiled with poultry, feafoned with faffron and a quantity of fpices. Round it are placed hafhed meats, pigeons, ftuffed cucumbers, delicious melons, and other fruits, Their roast meat confifts of flf cut into fmall morfels, covered with the fat of the animal, feafoned with falt, fpitted and roafted on the coals. It is tender and juicy. The guests are feated on a carpet round the table. A flave holding a bafon and ewer, offers it to wath with. This ceremony is indifpenfible in a country where every one puts his hand into the plate, and wi.ere they are unacquainted with the ufe of forks. This is repeated at the end of the repaft Thefe cuftoms appear very ancient in the Eaft.

"Menelaus and the beautiful Helen, after loading Telemachus and Pifiitratus with prefents, gave them the banquet of hofpitality. "The fair Menelaus conducte his guests to the place of entertainment. He made them be feated on thrones. A female flave, carrying in her hand a golden ewer with a filver bafon, offers them to wafh. She places before them a polifhed table, on which the arranges the victuals."

"The manner in which the fon of Thetis received the Grecian deputies very much refembles that of the Egyptians towards their guetts. "Achilles perceiving the deputies of the Greeks, rifes up, takes them by the hand, gives them the falute,

and introduces them into his tent, where he makes them be feat

ed on beds of repofe, covered with purple tapetry.-The banquet is prepared.

Automedon holds the flefl, the noble Achilles divides it into pieces, and fpits them. Menetius, a mortal like unto a god, lights the fire, fpreads out the coals, arranges the fpits upon the cinders, and ftrows over them the facred falt-Achilles, feated oppofite to the divine Ulyffes, fhares our the victuals.-The guests put their hands to the meat that is ferved out to them." A poet of an inferior genius to Homer would have thought he difhonoured a poem filled with magnificent deferiptions by mixing fuch details with them. Yet how precious are they, by making us acquainted with the fimplicity of ancient manners, a fimplicity loft to Europe, but which is ftill exifting in the eaftern world.

"After dinner, the Egyptians retire into their harams, where they flumber a few hours in the midst of their children and their women. It is a great article of voluptuoufnefs with them, to have a convenient and agreeable place of repofe. Mahomet, accordingly, who neglected nothing that could feduce mankind, whofe wants and taftes he knew thoroughly, fays to them, "The guefts of Paradife shall enjoy the luxury of repofe, and fhall have a delicious place to fleep in at noon."

"The poor, who have neither fopha nor haram, lie down on the mat where they have dined. Thus, when Jefus Chrift took the fupper with his difciples, he whom he loved had his head repofed upon his bofom.

"In the evening one goes in a boat upon the water, or to breathe the cool air on the banks of the Nile, under the fhade of orange and fycamore trees. Supper-time is an hour after funfet. The tables are D +


fpread with rice, poultry, vegetables, and fruit. Thefe aliments are wholefome during the heats. The ftomach, which would reject more fubftantial nourishment, has occafion for them They eat little. Temperance is a virtue of this cli


"Such is the ufual life of the Egyptians. Our places of amufement, our noify pleafures, are unknown to them. That fameness which would be the greatest punithment to an European, appears to them delicious. They pafs their

whole life in doing the fame thing, in following the established cuftoms, without defiring any thing beyond them, without extending their ideas any farther. Having neither lively appetites, nor ardent defires, they are ftrangers to what we call l'ennui; that is a torment referved for fuch perfons as neither being able to moderate their pallions, nor to fatisfy the extent of their taftes, are a burthen to themselves, s'ennuient wherever they are, and only live where they are not."



[From the fame Work.]

"YPfylli of antiquity, thofe

OU are acquainted with the

celebrated eaters of ferpents, who amufed themselves with the bite of vipers, and the credulity of the people, Cyrene, a town fituated to the west of Alexandria, formerly a dependency of Egypt, reckoned a great many of thefe people among its inhabitants. You know that the unworthy Octavius, who wifhed to gratify his vanity by chaining Cleopatra to his triumphal car, vexed at feeing that haughty female efcape from him by death, made one of the Pfylli fuck the wound made by the afp which bit her. The attempt was fruitless; the poifon had already corrupted the mafs of biood. She was not reftored to life. Will you believe it, thefe very eaters of ferpents ftill exist in our days. A fact to which I was a witnefs will convince you of it,

"Laft week was celebrated the feast of Sidi Ibrahim, which drew a vast concourfe of people to Ro

fetta. A Turk permitted me to come to his houfe to fee the proceffion. Seated at the window, I obferved attentively this new fpectacle. The different bodies of ariizans gravely marched along under their respective banners.. The standard of Mahomet, which was carried in triumph, attracted a vast crowd. E. very body was defirous of touching, of kiffing it, of putting it to his eyes. Such as were fortunate enough to partake of that favour returned contented The tumult was inceffantly renewed, At length came the Cheiks, (the priests of the country) wearing long caps of leather, in the form of a mitre. They marched with folemn fteps, chanting the Coran. A few paces behind them, I perceived a band of madmen, with their arms bare, and a wild look, holding in their hands enormous ferpents, which were twiled round their bodies, and were endeavouring to make their efcape. Thefe Pfylli, griping them


forcibly by the neck, avoided their bite, and notwithstanding their hiffing, tore them with their teeth, and ate them up alive, the blood ftreaming down from their polluted mouths. Others of the Pfylli were ftriving to tear from them their prey; it was a ftruggle who fhould devour a ferpent.

"The populace followed them with amazement, and believed it to be a miracle. They pafs for perfons inspired, and poffeffed by a fpirit who deftroys the effect of the bite of the ferpent. This defcription, which I give you after nature,

at first frightened me, and then made me reflect on man, that firange being, for whom poifon becomes food; that credulous being, whose eyes are not opened by the spectacle renewed every year; and who in the blindne's of his ignorance, is ready to worship as a God, his fellow creature who has the art to impofe upon his understanding. You fee, thote ancient utages are not loft in a country where cuftom, that imperious tyrant of the world, has peculiarly established her throne, and her altars."

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[Extracted from M. RUFFIN'S APPENDIX to the MEMOIRS of the Baron DE TOTT.]


N the coast of Syria is a nation known only by name, but which merits our ferious at tention. Its laws, culoms, and religion, are peculiar to itself, and form a people very different from any other with whom we are acquainted. However obfcure they may be, they, nevertheless, enjoy the inestimable blefling of liberty; which they have taken care to pre. ferve, even though furrounded by tyranny; the glory of which circumftance alone renders them highly interesting, and worthy the attention of philofophy.

"The Drufes refide upon the mountains known by the names of Lebanon and Antilebanon, feperated from each other by a fertile plain of twelve or thirteen leagues in length, and four or five in breadth, divided in its whole extent by the river Kafmie, the fource of which is near Balbec,

and its mouth about three miles to the north of Sour (the ancient Tyre.) Their maritime coaft itretches for fifteen leagues from the river Sidon to Gebail; where begins the pachalick of Tripolis.-The country which they poffefs is held in fief, one part from the government of Sidon, and the other from that of Damafcus; which renders them tributary to these two pachalicks.

"Their finet poffeffions, and thofe which form the principal force of their dominions, are furrounded by the Lebanon and the Kefroan, which belong to the district of Sidon; this is properly the principality of the Grand Em r, and Dair-Kamar is its capital. The annual tribute which it pays to the pacha of Sidon is 350 puries. Antilebanon, in which is fituated the plain of Bekaa, is held in fief from Damafcus, and forms another principality, poffeffed by a Drulian

family allied to the Grand Emir. Hafbeia is its capital. The fame blood, the fame interefts, the fame defire to shake off the Ottoman yoke (which they fubmit to with impatience) unite them on all occations.

"The government of the Drufes is feudal; a prince, to whom they give the title of Emir, occupies The first station in quality of lord paramount; he receives from them fealty and homage; but his power is confined within narrow limits; it extends not to making new laws, or over-awing the people.

"His finances contit only in the revenues of his perfonal eftates, the produce of the customs, and the farm of the country appropriated to his peculiar profit.-Thefe riches are, however, fufficient to maintain a pomp and retinue which dazzle,the eyes of a people unacquainted with luxury. Refpen fible to the Porte for the miri of the mountain, he is charged to exact the payment.-This tribute is affeffed with equity, and without variation, on all the poffeffors of lands.

Next to the emir are the great vaffals; they confist of feven, among whom we diflinguifh three principal families, whofe forces and riches might difpute for power with the reigning emir. They are the families of Chek Ali Gembilat, Keleib, and D'Abou Selame.

"Thefe great vaffals, who, in the Arabic language, are called, El Sebaa Tavaif, enjoy a noble privilege, which has never been infringed, on any occafion, not even in cale of rebellion.-The emir cannot pronounce fen ence of death against them; the only punishment he can inflict is to fend troops to burn the house of the guilty, lay

wafe his lands, and cut down his mulberry-trees, but the conftitution permits him not even to attempt his liberty.

"When harmony and concord reign in thefe mountains, the Drufes are in a condition to make themselves refpected. They have often refifted, with vigour, the united forces of the pachas of Damafcus, of Tripoli, and of Sidon, leagued against them by command of the Porte.

"The emirs of the Drufes in general make Dair Kamar the place of their refidence, a village fituated in the interior parts of the mountains, ten or twelve leagues distant from Baruth. There their councils are held, and all the great affairs of the n tion decided.

“The Drufes have no fortress in their country; but their mountains, inacceffible and impenetrable to an enemy, are a fufficient defence

The most celebrated is that of Kefroan. This is the name of that part of Lebanon which extends from Gebail to the river of Chier, the mouth of which is four leagues from Baruth.

"The mountains of Lebanon are every where interfected by vallics, of which the labour and induttry of the Drufes have formed mot delicious gardens. Water melons, cucumbers, melongenes, banias, and all forts of garden vegetables grow there, under the fhade of fruit-trees of every kind, and recompence with profunion the care of the cultivator.

"The laborious Drufe knows how to derive advantage from the moft ungrateful foil. He poffeffes not an inch of land, proper for cultivation, on which he does not attempt to raise a tree or produce fome plant more ufeful. The ftony foil is defined for the cultivation of


rye or tobacco; and the plains for that of wheat, neceffary for the fupport of their inhabitants. Although the Bekaa produces moft abundant crops, they are neverthelefs obliged to import a large quantity to fupply the ordinary confumption.

"But the principal riches of thefe mountains are its mulberry trees, which are every where cultivated with the greateft fuccefs.At the latter end of Autumn they lop off all their branches, which, in the fpring following, fhoot out with a profution of tender fucculent leaves, on which the filkworm feeds with rapacity.-In the interior parts of thefe mountains this valuable infect is nurtured within doors; but in the territory of Baruth in the open air, under fheds, covered with briars and brambles; the only care neceffary is cleanlinefs. This occupation belongs to the woman.-As they do not hatch before the end of the rainy season, and when thunder is no more heard, their general increafe is prodigious.-Thofe brought up under the fhelter of a good houfe produce yellow filk; thofe under the fheds, white. The annual products are all collected by and in the month of Auguft; and in a divan or council, where the emir prefides, the price of the filk is fixed, according to its plenty or fcarcity and the demand of foreign markets. The price ftated regulates the payment of thofe duties which the cultivator owes to the emir, or to his respective cheik, and which they pay, at their option, either in kind or money. The public market is afterwards opened at Baruth, where the French mer chants, cftablished at Sidon, either go or fend brokers to execute their committions,

"The produce of filk is amply fufficient to pay the miri to the Grand Signior; to purchase rice and linens from Egypt, which are abfolute neceffaries; and to procure to the happy inhabitants, of thefe mountains, the feveral articles of pleasure and convenience with which they are fupplied by the French.

"When the harvest of filk is over, the women employ themfelves in fpinning cotton and raw filk, the lait is fent into Egypt, the former ferves to make coarfe linens and dimities for common ufe. This is alfo a branch of industry which contributes to the enjoyments of the inhabitants of thefe mountains.

"The Drufes are a very nume rous people; the tranquillity which they enjoy, joined to the beauty and temperature of their climate, attract, in crowds, the Chriftians of Syria, who fly from the tyranny of the pachas.-This nation can with eafe raife 50,000 men, tolerably capable of undertaking the defence of their mountains and defiles. But this militia, affembled in haite, and without any kind of difcipline, never atchieved any thing glorious whenever they left their mountains to defcend into the plains, where the little order they obferve gives too great an advantage to the cavalry of their ene mies.

"Thefe armies are never any expence to the emir; either the hope of pillage engages them to follow their leaders, or critical circumftances, fuch as the danger of the ftate, induce them to take up arms for the defence of their country. They then convoke the general affembly of the flate: every cheik, whether Drufe or Chriftian, is obliged to repair to


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