Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

JOURNEY FROM ALEPPO TO THE BANKS OF THE EUPHRATES.

After a long and perilous journey from Egypt, through Palestine, Syria, and the untravelled countries East of the Jordan and Orontes, I enjoyed a repose of some days, in the city of Aleppo : from whence, however, I soon prepared again to depart for the equally interesting regions of Mesopotamia, on my progress to the farther East. The state of the city itself was, at this period, sufficiently tranquil; but the whole of the surrounding country was in a state of turbulent commotion, so that travelling, either singly or in small parties, was impossible, without imminent risk of plunder, and perhaps destruction ; and the difficulty of assembling sufficient numbers, to form a caravan of strength enough to force a passage through the Desert, was such as to leave little hope of that being

B

[ocr errors]

accomplished till the return of more tranquil times. It was in the month of May, 1816, that hostilities had broken out between the Anazie Arabs, and another tribe, each belonging to the great division of this people which had embraced the new and reforming doctrines of the Wahābees, a sect of deistical puritans, who had, for some time past, disturbed the peace of Arabia, by their conversions and their wars. The immediate cause of this rupture was stated to be this: that one of the warm-blooded sons of Mahānna, the great Chief of the Anazies, who assumed to himself the title of Sultan of the Desert, had stolen away, by force, from a neighbouring camp, a beautiful virgin, of whom, at first sight, as is not uncommon with Orientals, he had become passionately enamoured. This Trojan treachery had roused the whole of the surrounding country to arms: and the most romantic tales of heroism, love, and selfdevotion, with all the exaggerations which Eastern fancies give to such traits of character, were repeated by every tongue, and greedily drank in by every ear.

As a detail of preparations for a journey through rarely frequented countries is not only beneficial to those who may contemplate pursuing the same route at any future period, but instructive to all who desire to see the modes of thinking and the manners of acting, which prevail in distant countries, exhibited in the freshness of their original colouring; and to be transported, as it were, to the immediate scene, so as to become a co-spectator and a co-actor, as far as sympathy can effect this, with the Traveller himself, this detail will be given, and will serve at once to introduce to the reader's attention the characters in whose society, and the circumstances under which, the Journey about to be described was undertaken.

The great regular caravan from Aleppo to Bagdad, across the Syrian Desert, was not expected to leave the former city until September; but a smaller one had been formed, for the purpose of going, by a more circuitous route, to Mardin, and Mousul on the Tigris. This caravan was, indeed, now on the point of departure. Mr. Vigoroux, a French gentleman, recently appointed consul for Bussorah, in the Persian Gulph, and whom I had seen some months before at Alexandria, in Egypt, had gone by the same way not more than ten days before my arrival at Aleppo; but accounts had already reached this, of certain arbitrary demands being made on him, as a Frank or European traveller, by the governors of the different stations on the road ; and Mr. Barker, the British Consul at this city, spoke also of the route by Mardin and Mousul being extremely troublesome and vexatious on account of such exactions, of which he had heard much during his residence here.

My anxiety to enter upon the journey, and the faint prospect which presented itself of any better occasion, determined me, however, to accept this, whatever might be its disadvantages. I accordingly obtained an introduction to a merchant of Mousul, named Hadjee Abd-el-Rakhmān, who was returning by this caravan to his native city, with merchandize from the pilgrimage at Mecca. For the respect which, as he said, he bore the English nation, from having always traded with them until the decline of their commerce at Aleppo, he consented to admit me into his party, the only condition exacted of me being, that I should conform myself, in every respect, to his advice and direction, and take no servant of my own to disturb the good understanding of his personal dependants. This was readily assented to, and it was stipulated, that I should furnish my horse and its trappings only, and for the rest, that I should be considered, in every respect, as one of the Hadjee's own family, as well for our general security from interruption on the road, as for my own comfort, which was likely to be much increased by my being placed on this familiar footing.

As it was thought that Hadjee Abd-el-Rakhmān was a person of too great respectability to accept for himself any sum of money, as a compensation for this favor, it was agreed between Mr. Barker the Consul, on my part, and the Hadjee's Factor at Aleppo, that I should give, before our departure, the sum of 150 piastres to the chief cameldriver of the Hadjee's party, who would put my small portion of baggage among the merchandize of his master, to be free from examination and prying curiosity, so that I should have nothing but my

horse to look after; and, on my safe arrival at Mousul, it would be sufficient to make some handsome acknowledgement to the Hadjee himself, proportionate to the service he might have rendered me, with a proper distribution of presents among such of his servants as had been attentive and useful to me on the way.

My dress and arms were like those of his nephew, Hadjee Abdel-Ateef, a young man of twenty-five, who had accompanied his venerable uncle on the pilgrimage. The former consisted of the blue cloth sherwal, jubba, and benish, of the Arab costume; a large overhanging tarboosh, or red cap, falling over the neck and shoulders.behind; a white muslin turban, and a red silk sash: the latter, of a Damascus sabre, a Turkish musket, small carbine, and pistols, with ammunition for each. The conveniences borne on my own horse were, a pipe and tobacco-bag, a metal drinking cup, a pocket-compass, memorandum books, and ink-stand, on one side of a pair of small khoordj, or Eastern travelling-bags; and on the other, the maraboot, or chain-fastenings and irons for securing the horse, by spiking him at night to the earth, on plains where there are no shrubs or trees. A small Turkey carpet, which was to serve for bed, for table, and for prayers ; and a woollen cloak for a coverlid during the cold nights, in which we should have to repose on the ground, without covering or shelter, were rolled up behind the seat of the saddle with straps; and my equipment, for any length of route, was thus thought to be complete. The supplies 1 had taken with me for the journey, included a bill of exchange for 6000 piastres (then about 1001. sterling) on a merchant at Bagdad; and nearly 2000 piastres in small gold coin, which, with such papers as I considered of importance to me, I carried concealed in an inner girdle round my waist, called, by the people, a khummr, and generally used for this purpose, as it cannot be lost, or taken from a traveller, without his being absolutely stripped. All

my own arrangements being completed, I took leave of Mr.

« EdellinenJatka »