Billeder på siden

I did not see the minister; he was busily engaged; but the secretary of the legation received me with a humanity which made my heart thrill, heightened as was its effect by the contrast with all I had lately experienced. I told my story plainly he went to the minister, and returned with a paper written in his own hand, on showing which the Papal police were to give me the necessary permission to reside in Rome:-" For," said he, "it is clear that without means you cannot proceed; and as you are probably in want of funds necessary for the moment, the minister has directed me to hand you this as a loan. You can take it without any unpleasant feeling, as it is part of a şum which Prince Henry (brother to the reigning king, then residing in Rome) has placed at the disposal of Mr. Niebuhr for the assistance of gentlemen who might return from Greece. Prince Henry, of course, does not wish to know the names of those who have been assisted by his means; so you need feel no scruples."

I had to make yet another request. I was anxious to read Mr. Niebuhr's History of Rome in Rome, and had been unsuccessful in obtaining a copy; I therefore asked whether I might borrow one from Mr. Niebuhr's library. Here my frankness embarrassed the secretary, and he very justly observed that the minister, after all, knew as yet nothing of me. I felt the propriety of his remark, and answered, that I was so desirous of reperusing the work just at this moment, that I had considered it due to myself to make so bold a request, though I was aware I had nothing upon which I could found any hope of success except the honesty of my purpose. He advised me to ask the minister myself, which I might do the following day at a certain hour when he had expressed a wish to see me.

When I went the next morning at the appointed time, as I thought, Mr. Niebuhr met me on the stairs, being on the point of going out. He received me with kindness and affability, returned with me to his room, made me relate my whole story, and appeared much pleased that I could give him some information respecting Greece, which seemed to be not void of interest to him. Our conversation lasted several hours, when he broke off, asking me to return to dinner. I hesitated in accepting the invitation, which he seemed unable to understand. He probably thought that a person in my situation ought to be glad to receive an invitation of this kind; and, in fact, any one might feel gratified in being asked to dine with him, especially in Rome. When I saw that my motive for declining so flattering an invitation was not understood, I said, throwing a glance at my dress," Really, sir, I am not in a state to dine with an excellency." He stamped with his foot, and said with some animation, "Are diplomatists always believed to be so cold-hearted? I am the same that I was in Berlin when I delivered my lectures: your remark was wrong." No argument could be urged against such reasons.

I recollect that dinner with delight. His conversation, abounding in rich and various knowledge and striking observations; his great kindness; the acquaintance I made with Mrs. Niebuhr; his lovely and interesting children; a good dinner (which I had not enjoyed for a long time) in a high vaulted room, the ceiling of which was painted in the style of Italian palaces; a picture by the mild Francia close by; the sound of the murmuring fountain in the garden, and the refreshing beverages in coolers, which I had seen but the day before represented in some of the most masterly pictures of the Italian schools;-in short, my consciousness of being at dinner with Niebuhr in his house in Rome-and all this in so bold relief to my late and not unfrequently disgusting sufferings, would have rendered the moment one of almost perfect enjoyment and happiness, had it not been for an annoyance which, I have no doubt, will appear here a mere trifle. However, reality often widely differs from its description on paper. Objects of great effect for the moment become light as air, and others, shadows and vapours in reality, swell into matters of weighty consideration when subjected to the recording pen ;-a truth, by the way, which applies to our daily life, as well as to transactions of powerful effect;-and it is, therefore, the sifting tact which constitutes one of the most necessary yet difficult requisites for a

sound historian.

My dress consisted as yet of nothing better than a pair of unblacked shoes, such as are not unfrequently worn in the Levant; a pair of socks of coarse Greek wool; the brownish pantaloons frequently worn by sea-captains in the Mediterranean; and a blue frock-coat, through which two balls had passed—a fate to which the blue cloth cap had likewise been exposed. The socks were exceedingly short, hardly covered my ankles, and so indeed were the pantaloons; so that when I was in a sitting position they refused me the charity of meeting, with an obstinacy which

reminded me of the irreconcilable temper of the two brothers in Schiller's Bride of Messina. There happened to dine with Mr. Niebuhr another lady besides Mrs. Niebuhr; and my embarrassment was not small when, towards the conclusion of the dinner, the children rose and played about on the ground, and I saw my poor extremities exposed to all the frank remarks of quick-sighted childhood; fearing as I did, at the same time, the still more trying moments after dinner, when I should be obliged to take coffee near the ladies, unprotected by the kindly shelter of the table. Mr. Niebuhr observed perhaps that something embarrassed me, and he redoubled, if possible, his kindness.

After dinner he proposed a walk, and asked the ladies to accompany us. I pitied them; but as a gentleman of their acquaintance had dropped in by this time, who gladly accepted the offer to walk with us, they were spared the mortification of taking my arm. Mr. Niebuhr, probably remembering what I had said of my own appearance in the morning, put his arm under mine, and thus walked with me for a long time. After our return, when I intended to take leave, he asked me whether I wished for anything. I said I should like to borrow his History. He had but one copy, to which he had added notes, and which he did not wish, therefore, to lend out of his house; but he said he would get a copy for me. As to his other books, he gave me the key of his library to take whatever I liked. He laughed when I returned laden with books, and dismissed me in the kindest manner.

A short time after, I had the pleasure of accompanying him and Mr. Bunsen, then his secretary, now minister in his place, to Tivoli, where we remained a few days, residing in a house which belonged to Cardinal Gonsalvi; and, but a few days after, he invited me to live with him, assisting, if agreeable to me, in the education of his son Marcus. I thus became the constant companion of this rarely-gifted man at meals and on his daily walks after dinner, which were the most instructive hours of my life. He also gave to the Danish gentleman whom I have mentioned the means of returning to his own country.



Ir would be difficult to describe (so as to convey an accurate idea to shore-going people) the excitement on board a man-of-war when engaged in a chase. The quick, loud cry from the masthead of "A sail, a sail !" is followed by a simultaneous shout along the lower deck; all, every one, without reference to occupation, age, or rank, rush on deck: for although mercenary feelings were forgotten at the moment, yet a rich smuggler was not less an object of importance than the legitimate trader of France or Holland would have been in the war time: and then follow the anxious queries-"What does she look like?-Is she large or smallsquare-rigged or fore-and-aft; does she look lofty?" and the quick eyes of the mariners scan the horizon, to gather from it how far the stranger may be off. We then come to the active, bustling preparations for the chase. Sails are loosed and spread like magic to catch the welcome breeze; the cordage flies through the blocks with the rapidity of lightning; and presently the stately ship bends to the favouring gale, and the sailors almost bless their ship because she bears herself gallantly through the water and then come the alternate moments of hope and fear, varying with the breeze, which at one time favours the pursuer, and at another time the pursued. Thus the naturally buoyant feelings of the man-of-war's men are kept in an almost thrilling state of apprehension and uncertainty-one of the few instances wherein suspense is the reverse of being painful.


Williamson had taken his station for the night on the forecastle, and his eye was seldom removed from his night-telescope. At one time the Palmyra seemed to gain on the schooner; at another she seemed to fall astern of the chase. Towards midnight the breeze freshened so much as to require another reef in the top-sails, and this duty was performed with the alacrity of seamen who knew the value of seconds at such a moment. But the yards were scarcely trimmed again, when the wind suddenly changed, and threw the chase three points in the wind's eye of the frigate. She was about six miles off, and had the advantage of smooth water from her affinity with the land.

"Curse that fellow's luck!" impatiently exclaimed Williamson; "he'd have been ours by daylight: we were coming up with him hand-over-hand."

“The breeze is unsteady, sir," observed Fearnought. "No higher, my man, no higher; your jib-sheet is chattering like a

monkey-it may veer round again more in our favour. I say, Mr. Logship, what is that man about at the helm? tell him to keep his sleepy eye on the weather-leech of the mainsail, will you?" In this way Fearnought continued alternately speaking to the captain and directing the steerage of the ship, which now laboured under rather more sail than it was prudent to carry. In a short time she fell off three points more, which threw the schooner on her beam.

"Now, then, Fearnought," exclaimed the captain, "ready about."

"She won't stay, sir," said Fearnought.

"She must stay, sir," said the captain.

"What, in this heavy chop of a head sea, sir?" asked Fearnought.

[ocr errors]

"Fearnought," said the captain, "our cutters would reach that fellow in half an hour."

"Yes, sir," answered Fearnought; "but if in the mean time the breeze should spring up, he will get the start of us whilst we heave to, to pick up our boats."

"True," said Williamson with an anxious expression, "I confess I neither like the look of the weather nor our affinity with this rascally coast." Then, turning to the master, he inquired— "How is the tide, Mr. Logship?"

"Low water at ten o'clock, sir," replied the master; adding, as if to draw the attention of the captain to the danger, and anxious to be included in the consultation, "Mutton Island bears S. by E. two short leagues.'

[ocr errors]

It would be difficult to imagine a ship in a much more critical Yes, Mr. Fearnought," replied the captain in a determined position than that in which the Palmyra was now placed. Wiltone; "if you can't make the Palmyra stay, I will;" and relin-liamson, in the eagerness of the chase, had allowed himself to be quishing his night-glass to the forecastle lieutenant, Williamson walked aft, and took his station on the weather-side of the quarter-deck.

Every officer and man were now at their station; for their commander's experience would be of but little avail if they were not prompt in obeying his orders. They had each their own separate duty to perform, whilst he kept his eye on the ship, watching a favourable moment.

Upon a sudden the word of command was given, “Hard down helm a-lee." Away flew the fore and jib-sheets; and the frigate, released from the pressure of her head-canvas, flew nobly up into the wind's eye in gallant style. For one anxious moment she remained stationary, and it was very doubtful which way she would cant. But her commander was not inattentive to the motion of the sea at such a moment; he had his sharp eye fixed on the weatherleech of the fore-topsail, and by bracing to a little, but very little, he gave the ship a fresh impulse, and she swung round with her head once more towards the schooner.

The noble frigate, under treble-reefed topsails and courses, rose on the very edge of the waves, and darting along the troubled surface of the ocean, proudly dashed the foamy spray from her bows, as if conscious that the eyes of her commander were on her. Then, after descending into the hollow of the sea, and tottering for a moment under the mighty force of the waves which broke over her, she rose again to the margin of the deep, and, under the pressure of her well-trimmed canvas, skimmed once more along the wide waste of waters, as if resolved to sustain at this critical moment the character she had long borne of being one of the best sea-boats in the service.

For four hours both vessels carried on famously through the gale; tacking alternately, and bending and straining to the frequent squalls which came off the land. Day was now beginning to break feebly through the folds of night, and the grey mist hung sullenly over the land and almost obscured the dreary


Williamson stood erect upon a quarter-deck carronade, holding on by the weather-hammock rail, and watching, with calm yet intense interest, a dark squall which was gathering on the leebeam; for upon the issue of that squall he well knew the fate of the schooner, and possibly that of his own vessel, might depend. The officers and crew, at their respective posts, with well-disciplined silence, steadfastly eyed every motion of their commander with that firm reliance his seamanlike skill was calculated to inspire; for they had served long and happily under his command; but little could they at this trying moment gather from the tranquillity of his mien, whether the energy of his mind was at all disturbed by the change which the gathering squall denoted.

At last the tremendous blast came, "like a mighty rushing wind," with fearful violence. The noble frigate trembled for a moment under the shock of the hurricane, and was thrown on her beam-ends. The tacks and sheets snapped like spun-yarn, the sails flapped about the masts and rigging, and the sudden noise they made resembled the report of cannon.

In five minutes the squall had passed away. The ship rose again to her bearings, and her crew were actively engaged bending new sails. The rain now came down in torrents, and the hurricane of the moment was succeeded by a dead calm.

drawn farther into the Mal Bay than the safety of his frigate justified; but, in so settled a gale, who could have predicted that so sudden a squall would have sprung up from almost the opposite point of the compass, fearful in its consequences?

Fearnought would have hinted to Williamson the risk he incurred, but we have seen that he had already received a rebuff from his captain on the tacking question; and little Logship refrained from doing what would have been after all but his duty, under the foolish apprehension of being again jeered at for his croaking propensity. Williamson paced the quarter-deck in a thoughtful mood;-the broken water along the shore was distinctly visible, as it dashed against the bold promontory with a noise resembling distant thunder; the rain still continued to fall in torrents; and there were now occasional flashes of lightning, which, with the increasing swell, denoted the coming storm.

"Fearnought," said Williamson, "keep your eye on the sheets and halyards-let good ones be rove and bent-we may require them before we sleep."

"Ay, ay, sir," replied the first lieutenant.

The schooner was preparing to get her sweeps out, when the dreaded breeze sprung up from the S.S.W., which threw her on the lee-bow of the frigate; and now the eventful moment to both vessels had arrived. It was possible that they might weather the island. The frigate had the better chance, being a little more to windward. At any other time of tide, the schooner could have run between the island and the main, for although the channel was intricate, her captain knew every rock in it; but now he had no such alternative. Both vessels were again under as heavy a press of sail as the already increasing gale would permit them to carry, and the crew almost held in their breath, as every succeeding wave carried the ship nearer to the lee-shore. The gallant frigate plunged again into the hollow of the sea-her very timbers shook under the pressure of her canvas-and her noble commander stood erect and resolute at his former station, with his eye calmly fixed upon the breakers under the lee-bow, over which the sea broke in long successive waves of mountain height.

And now the schooner approached so near the island as to appear from the frigate to be almost in the midst of the breakers. "That fellow," exclaimed Williamson, "carries through it in gallant style; he deserves a better fate than to be wrecked or captured."

The officers and crew appeared to participate in the feelings of their commander; for every eye was turned towards the schooner, and their own critical position seemed to be almost lost sight of in the interest which she excited.

[ocr errors]

'Sharp work, Mr. Fearnought," said Williamson to his first lieutenant, as a white spray dashed against his face and drenched him to the skin. "The old craft is resolved to give us a sprinkling this morning."

Not the first time, sir," answered Fearnought, laughingly, for he had already had forty such seas over him ;-" it shows the old lady is walking through it, sir."

"Yes," observed Williamson; "but I wish the old lady would keep her favours to herself:" then addressing the helmsman,"Luff! my man,-luff! mind your steerage! I'll tell you what, Mr. Fearnought, if that fellow yonder don't weather the island, we have no business here. If he but once touches the ground in such a sea as this, he'll be to pieces in five minutes.-Have all ready for

The schooner, who was lost sight of during the squall, appeared again, without a stitch of sail set; and both vessels lay rolling about in the trough of the sea, almost within gun-shot of each other-wearing round at the moment.' helpless and partly dismantled.

In trying moments Williamson always consulted his first lieutenant; and it would be well for some of our young naval commanders if they followed the same prudent example.

[ocr errors]

Fearnought had scarcely time to answer, when Williamson exclaimed, "She's struck!" All eyes were instantly directed towards the schooner, who appeared to be in the midst of the breakers, with the sea breaking over her, and at that moment on

her broadside, but she rights once more and weathers the threatened danger.

It was very beautiful to see the small sylph-like schooner, at this instant so fragile-looking, and to all appearance so helpless, forcing her way through the breakers, at one moment lifted with the apparent lightness of a feather to the very top of the wave, and at another suddenly sunk into the hollow of the sea and wholly obscured from view. There were times when only a portion of the white sail of the tiny craft was visible, and then it might have been easily mistaken for the wing of the stormy petrel, so light and beautiful did it appear on the troubled surface of the ocean.

The vessels were now within a mile of each other, and the schooner had already weathered the low reef of rocks which ran out from the island. The frigate, like an angry leviathan, eager and impatient, dashed the broad foam from her bows, under which the broken water almost bubbled. "Luff! my boy,-luff!" exclaimed her commander to the helmsman; and "Luff it is, sir," was the quick reply. "Luff again to the gale!" continued the captain; 66 a point-another point!-Hold on good tacks and sheets,-full and by, my lad-full and by," again exclaimed Williamson; and well did the anxious helmsman discharge his arduous duty. The rocks were on the lee-beam; another anxious, trying moment, and the danger was cleared--the bow lines were checked-the main-sheet was eased off-and the stately vessel, grateful for being released from the pressure of her canvas, then sailed gallantly onward in pursuit of her chase and towards the haven she had only left the day before.

The moment the danger was passed, Williamson ordered the bow-guns to be cleared away; and when ready, a shot was dropped to leeward of the chase, and the small storm ensign of St. George was hoisted at the peak. But the schooner did not heed it or show any flag in return. Williamson then ordered the shot to be fired over her. "Do not," said he to Fearnought, "strike her hull, but rather cripple the masts and rigging if we can."

The Palmyra was now nearly within musket-shot of the chase. The deck of the latter seemed deserted, save by one man who took his station at the helm; and there he stood alone, erect and undaunted, steering his little vessel through the danger that encompassed him, with a countenance as free from fear as it was singularly placid and determined. He did not once alter his position, nor did he make a single effort to discern whether the frigate was closing on him or not. There the old man stood, a conspicuous solitary mark for the small arms of the marines.

The frigate was now obliged to yaw about to avoid running over the schooner, who still held on her course, though hailed repeatedly to shorten sail. The marines were firing volleys into her, but still there stood the solitary helmsman, after each succeeding volley, as erect and as undaunted as before.

"What!" exclaimed the captain impatiently, "is there no one can knock that stubborn fellow on the head?"

At that moment a shout from the crew announced the fatal reply; a bullet had done its duty,-it had pierced the back of the skull. The old man sprang upwards from the deck, and then fell dead at the wheel of his little vessel.

On the following morning the sea was as tranquil as if it had never been disturbed; the sky was clear and serene; the waters seemed refreshed by the tempest; and the frigate, with her little prize, lay in apparent sluggishness, as though they were reposing from their previous labours.

At the head of the roadstead lay a small fishing hamlet, which in that day consisted of only a few humble dwellings, so rudely constructed as to resemble strange-looking mounds of earth rather than the wretched tenements of human beings; a small river, after winding its course from the neighbouring mountain through a deep valley or ravine, clothed on either side with the wildest verdure, emptied itself into the Atlantic a little below the village, and a small cove inside the rude breakwater before spoken of afforded a welcome asylum for the boats of the fishermen. The margin of the sea was sprinkled with many of those picturesque-looking little vessels which had emerged with the first grey streak of morning twilight from the creeks wherein they had sheltered themselves during the storm. Some were creeping along the land with a light partial breeze, which barely rippled the water; while others lay at a distance upon the broad bosom of the smooth Atlantic, with their white sails glittering in the brilliant rays of the morning sun.

The stirring events of the previous day left those on board the frigate sufficient to engage the attention of both officers and men. The fore-works of the ship were much strained from the heavy press of sail that had been carried on; it was even feared that the

gammoning and quick-work was injured; and the bowsprit was discovered to be slightly sprung between the knightheads.

Fearnought was discharging the responsible duties of a first lieutenant with his usual seamanlike activity. The little master was superintending the sails; the fat doctor and marine officers. were on shore scouring the huts of the natives for something in the shape of provender; and the only idlers on board the Palmyra that day were the unfortunate smugglers, who gazed about them in dogged silence, stung to their heart's core at having been captured when within an hour's sail of their destined beach.

Towards the close of that day preparations were made for committing to the deep the corpse of the smuggler. The crew of the first cutter were dressed in their Sunday suit, and the smugglers were permitted to take a last sad view of their brave but ill-fated leader as he lay partly sown up in a hammock.

But who is that curly-headed boy who throws himself across the body of the smuggler, and in silent yet convulsive agony presses his warm lips against the cold clammy features of the dead?

This, reader, was the adopted child of our departed friend,-the boy he had sheltered in his bosom, and to whom he had been as a father. It was Henry Trevillian.

Oh! how beautiful, and yet how sorrowful, it was to see that friendless boy, unknown to all around him, cling to the lifeless body of the only protector he had ever known in this world, and sob in all the bitterness of agonizing, heart-rending grief, as he cried in a broken voice, "Kiss me, dear papa."

And where was then the spirit of him who had looked upon that dear child with all the love and pride of a parent?-where the sanguine tone of confidence with which he had told the anxious wife that this trip, if well ended, should be his last. Last, did he say?—yes, he said, "This shall be my last voyage." Little did the old man then foresee that his swollen corse might probably be thrown in, after the ninth day, on that very beach where he intended to run his cargo !

As the sun's disk was sinking into the horizon, the body of the smuggler was cautiously lowered into the boat; and the only persons permitted to enter her were Roderick, the mate of the smuggler, and Harry Trevillian.

The assembled officers and crew stood in meek silence uncovered on the quarter deck of the frigate, and the captured smugglers were ranged along the gangway. The crew of the boat destined to tow that which contained the dead, lay on their oars abreast of the ship. The body rested upon gratings, with the union flag of England spread over it.

The captain then read the beautiful and solemn service for the burial of the dead, and the boat pulled silently away from the ship to a considerable distance. There was not at that moment a passing cloud in the studded canopy of heaven,-all around was hushed in the silence of midnight,-the tint which the setting sun had left was still faint in the western horizon. The body was consigned to the waters of the Atlantic, while the stars twinkled in countless myriads overhead, and sparkled like diamonds on the broad dark surface of the grave of THE SMUGGLER.

A VISIT TO "THE MAID OF SARAGOSSA *." THE town of Hernani, the scene of one of those memorable tragedies, in which the British Legion was doomed, as usual, to play the principal part, is situated about two and a half leagues eastward of San Sebastian, and composed principally of one long, continuous, and narrow street; flanked, however, by many tolerably well-built and substantial houses. Major B, as we rode through the town, suddenly pulled up into a walk, and pointing to a house of very respectable exterior, recommended my attention to the first-floor windows, where it was probable we should seesurprise and incredulity took possession of me as he spoke-the Maid of Saragossa. He could not have named a name to which my imagination had attached warmer associations of interest and admiration; having, just before I left England, purchased the beautiful engraving of Wilkie's spirited picture representing that heroic being in the act of discharging a cannon from the heights of Saragossa, to avenge her fallen lover and injured country.

We looked in vain for her at the windows; but so anxious was I to see this celebrated heroine, that I immediately made a vow that I would not leave Hernani without effecting my object. Observing the obstinacy of my resolve, and not himself sorry for the opportunity, Major B forthwith hit upon an expedient for the purpose.


From Rambles in the Pyrenees, by F. W. Vaux, Esq.-Longman and Co.

It was not at all an unlikely policy, especially at that moment, to add to the military garrison of the town; and by no means an unusual proceeding for an officer to pay a preliminary visit to a respectable inhabitant, for the purpose of ascertaining how many men could be conveniently billeted in a given house. Now, as the father of the fair object who was the occasion of this manoeuvre was absent-holding, as he did, a high office under Don Carlos in the medical department,-it became necessary to make known our pretended mission to his daughter, who, notwithstanding the politics and situation of her father, still resided at Hernani, where she was universally respected for her amiable and excellent qualities.

Having put up our horses at a stable in the neighbourhood, we went straight to the house; and Major B- having informed a domestic that he had business with the señora, we were ushered into an upper apartment, where we awaited her entrance for some minutes.

At length the door opened, and a lady of middle stature, but finely proportioned, made her appearance. Her countenance was of the most pleasing cast; her dark eyes beaming with expression; her nose slightly arched, and her mouth displaying, when she spoke or smiled, a row of teeth like polished ivory, and giving instant animation to her whole countenance. Her age did not appear to accord with what a reference to historic data would attribute to her; for, though approaching the “mezzo del cammin," the colour on her cheeks and the lively expression of her features still arrayed her in the mantle of youth. She received us in the most courteous manner, and conversed for a considerable time with Major B, who, as my interpreter, alluded to the interest attached to her character in England, and to the fact of her portrait having been drawn, not only by our artists, but by the greatest of our poets; of which she seemed to be aware, but by no means vain; and testified her acknowledgment of the compliment by a smile of very winning sweetness. It is said she has had numerous offers of marriage since her residence at Hernani, but on that point she is inexorable; a determination which enhances the interest of her character, and the universal regard in which she is held. Having protracted our visit as long as politeness would admit, we took our leave of the señora; and remounting our horses, we rode gently through the town.

JOURNEY FROM BAGHDAD TO AL HADHR. AL HADHR is the name given by the Arabs to the ruins of an ancient city situated about two hundred miles to the north-west of Baghdad. These have been rarely visited by Europeans; but in 1836 and 1837, Dr. Ross, the surgeon to the British Residency at Baghdad, succeeded in reaching them twice. His account of his journeys, published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, gives so lively a picture of Eastern travelling, that we have been induced to transfer it in an abridged form to our columns. "After numerous failures," says Dr. Ross, "for nearly two years, in endeavouring to get Bedwins to escort me to the ruins of Al Hadhr, I have at length succeeded in persuading Salah-elMezeini, a well-known Ajeili, to make the attempt. The ruins themselves and the country round them are looked upon by the Arabs with superstitious awe, as the haunts of evil spirits; moreover, the roads to them are always infested by plundering parties of the Shammah and Aneizah, passing to and from forays; so Salah determined to proceed with as few attendants and as little display as possible. I take two servants, and Salah two Bedwins : we are all to ride horses except one, who rides the dhulul, or racing camel, carrying our small store of provisions."

Setting out with his party on the 6th of May, 1836, Dr. Ross travelled on in the direction of Al Hadhr till the 12th, when, on

encamping, they found themselves utterly deserted by the donkeys and their drivers, who had charge of the barley they carried for the horses' provender.

The next morning, the barley not making its appearance, "Salah called a council of war, and, after commenting very strongly upon the treachery of the Tekritis and the revenge he should have on his return, he told old Shi'al the object of our coming, and said that as Al Hadhr was only a day's journey off, it would be a disgrace to turn back, and proposed that, as the horses were good, and a chance of green grass inland, and that as we could see the ruins and return to Tekrit in five days, we should trust in God and go on. We unanimously agreed to his [proposal, and, after

the Arabs had repeated a short prayer aloud for safety and divine protection, we, at 7h. 30m. A.M., mounted and struck off N.W. W., first over undulating ground, then along the bed of a small brackish stream in a small valley called Wadi-el-Meheih. At 9h. 30m. halted at a plot of fine green grass to give the horses a feed, Sherkat bearing S.E. † E. Here I observed the Arabs were evidently not at ease; each got on the top of a small knoll, and, lying flat on his face, kept scanning the horizon in all directions, for upwards of an hour looking for smoke or any signs of human beings being about. At noon we mounted; at 2 P.M. Sherkat bore S.E. E.: here we crossed a brackish rivulet called 'Ain-el-Tha'leb: the country now consists of long low undulating ridges, like the waves of the sea, and we can see nothing beyond the one we happen to be on. Between each undulation is a valley, which in winter must have abundance of water. The Arabs are now gloomy and silent, looking suspiciously about; their very features are changed, and, as I happen to have the best eyes of the party, they are constantly reminding me to make good use of them. At 4 P.M., in ascending one of the backs or ridges, came upon the foundation of a thick stone wall or pavement running in a straight line nearly N.W. At 4h. 15m. I saw ruins far distant W. by S., which the Arabs instantly pronounced to be Al Hadhr, and we changed our course straight for them. The distant ruins soon appeared with an awfully grand effect; a thick black cloud behind them was darting out the most vivid flashes of lightning, and we could distinctly hear the peals of thunder. Old Salah shook his head and said, 'Sir, I do not like this, we should not have come here; this ground belongs to Iblis.' I confess I myself felt a sort of creeping sensation coming over me. At 5h. 15m. having reached grass and water, and finding it impossible to arrive at the ruins to-night, we halted, and had barely time to fasten the cattle and huddle together, when there burst over us the most terrific storm I ever beheld: we were ankle-deep in water in a few minutes, though on a slight declivity. The storm lasted for about four hours, and the water settled into the valley; yet in less than an hour afterwards the Arabs, to my astonishment, contrived to light a fire and boil a little coffee.

"14th.-At 4h. 30m. A.M. mounted and made straight in the direction of the ruins. At 6h. 40m. got to the Tharthar, in a Wadi about 200 yards broad covered with grass. The Tharthar itself is here about 50 feet broad, deep, and the water just drinkable. We wandered up and down, but could find no ford: at last Salah and I stripped to our shirts, and I tied my watch, compass, and note-book on my head, and, being sure of my horse, plunged in, followed by Salah, at 7h. 45m. The current was rapid, but a few strokes landed us in safety. We reached the ruins at 8h. 10m.

"We had been about two hours among the ruins, taking rough sketches, measurements, &c., and I was just proceding to measure the diameter of the city walls, and to count the bastions, when I saw on a rising ground in the distant horizon to the north a horseWhile pointing out the direction, I saw another join the first. Salah still man. I called Salah, but he could not distinguish him. doubted, saying it must be a wild hog or a bush, as no human being could be there-for if the Aneizah were out, they must appear from the south, or if the Shammar, from the west. The appearance of a third, though still invisible to Salah, settled the business. He said, with a hollow, changed voice, 'We must be off. Allah! Allah! what brought us here?' And off we went, as hard as our horses could, to join our people. I had just time in passing to observe that the general course of the Tharthar is S.E. and S. by E. On getting to our people we instantly saddled, and at 10h. 40m. we were on our return, flying by the same route which brought us. I told Salah to be more calm-we were five, the enemy only three: he called out, 'Oh, sir, where you see dogs, you will find fleas.'

"At 11h. we heard the horrible war-howl of Arabs behind us. Salah called out to us to stand fast together while he went to meet them. If they are Shammar, we shall be plundered; but if Aneizah, my party may get off: but the Bedwins must fall. I ordered my people to be cool, and not on any account to fire unless I ordered. We were in a hollow, and our speeches were cut short by the appearance of about a hundred horsemen coming over the low ridge behind us at full gallop, and about the same number on our flank. The sight, though far from pleasant, was very grand; the wild disorder, loose flying robes of every colour, spears with round tufts of ostrich-feathers; the howling and yelling had a most romantic effect. When within about 150 yards, my camel man called out that they were Shammar (he himself was of that tribe), and told us not to attempt resistance. In another instant they were upon us, and I found myself alone, separated from my people, whose

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

horses had started, perfectly jammed up by the Arabs, and their spears within a few inches of every part of my body. One called to me to dismount and throw down my gun. I asked, 'And if I do?' He answered, Safety; fear not.' I uncocked my gun, and laid it across the saddle: they at the same time shouldered their spears. One seized me by the clothes, and, my horse having kicked out at his, the part gave way; another then seized my gun and pulled me off, and in the fall the gun remained with him. My old horse appeared to take the matter up, and by kicking and fighting cleared an open space; in the mean time Salah had been undergoing the same treatment, but, getting a hearing, said he was an Ajeil and a Shammari. The chief asked what he did here? Salah said, 'By Allah, we were going from 'Ali Pasha to Mohammed Pasha of Mosul, and that I was an Albanian.' The chief answered, 'Oh, Bedwin, do not lie: first, this is not the road; and, secondly, your backs are to Mosul, and your faces to Baghdad.' All called out, "They are from Reshid Pasha; cut the dogs' heads off.' A second scramble took place; our camel was made to kneel, and the baggage thrown off. I was knocked down, and in an instant was nearly naked, when an old man (for they were still galloping up by dozens) pushed them all aside with an air of authority, calling out in a thundering voice, Avast (awash)! that is no Turk, that is the Baliyoz*. I saw him two years ago in Sheikh Zebaid's tent: let no one touch him; I protect him.' An immediate calm ensued, when Salah, now nearly naked, advanced, and said, 'Now that you know us, I shall tell you the truth ;-that is the Baliyoz; we came here to see Al Hadhr, and we are now going back.' Everything was now set right; an order was given to restore everything taken, even to a hair if one had fallen from our heads, and duly obeyed. We sat on the ground, good friends. Their chief told us we had done a very foolish thing in coming here without their knowledge, as it was dangerous ground; they never see any one here except themselves or their enemies, and for the latter they had taken us. He then said, in the most beautiful Arabic style, 'If we had in the hurry killed you all, what answer could we give your friends, or what satisfaction could they expect? When we find strange people here, it is not the time to ask who they are, or whence they have come. Allah has saved you.' He then told us that all was in confusion, that Reshid Pasha had in a most treacherous manner seized their sheikh, Sufuk, while a guest in the Turkish camp on the most solemn pledge of safety, and had sent him prisoner to Constantinople; consequently the Shammar had all rebelled and come to the desert. They then invited us to their camp, and I was inclined to go, but Salah whispered to me that we must get off as soon as possible, for as soon as the seizure of Sufuk was known there would be a great outbreak in Mesopotamia.

"They are the Abdah and Aslam branches of the Shammar, and had seen me this morning on the top of the ruins, when, taking us for Aneizah, the tocsin was sounded; even as long as we remained with them parties were dashing in. All carried reed spears, and many rode beautiful horses. After many protestations and oaths by the Arabs, that their tribe and ours had, thank God! always been friends, and that they had never seen anything from us but good (illa-al-khir), and that, please God, that friendship would last for ever, the affair of to-day being nothing at all, and after many huggings and kissings, we parted, they to their tents,

and we on our return."

After this adventure, Dr. Ross made the best of his way back to Baghdad, which he reached in safety on the 20th May.

Disappointed in his hopes on his first visit, Dr. Ross determined to make a second attempt, on which occasion he was successful, and made a minute examination of the ruins, which "occupy a space of ground upwards of a mile in diameter, inclosed by a circular, or nearly circular wall, of immense thickness, with square bastions or towers at about every sixty paces, built of large square cut stones. The upper portions of the curtains have in most places been thrown down, as have been also some of the bastions; but most of the latter may still be said to be in very fair preservation, each having towards the city vaulted chambers. Outside the wall is a broad and very deep ditch, now dry; and 100 or 150 paces beyond it is a thick rampart, now only a few feet high, going round the town; and at some distance beyond the fortifications stand two high mounds with square towers upon them, one on the eastern side, the other on the north.

"In nearly the exact centre of the town stands the grand object of curiosity, whether temple or palace I shall not pretend to say, Consul: from the Greek Balios, and Italian Bailo.

enclosed by a strong, thick, square wall (partly demolished), with bastions similar to those of the city wall, fronting the four cardinal points, each face measuring 300 long paces inside. The square is in its centre intersected from north to south by a range of buildings greatly damaged, a confused mass of chambers, gateways, and one built pillar reduced to about thirty feet. Between this range and the eastern wall appears to have been a clear space. The principal buildings occupy the western side, and consist of a huge pile fronting the east, and part of a wing fronting the north. The ground-story only remains perfect, and consists of a range of vaulted halls of two sizes."

He thus relates his second journey :

"My examination of the ruins of Al Hadhr having been put a stop to in such a sudden and disagreeable manner in May 1836, I determined to revisit them as soon as possible: accordingly, early in May 1837, a party of Shammar Arabs being about to return from Baghdad to join the Sheik, who was encamped near the ruins, I resolved to accompany them, and having easily made their acquaintance, and all arrangements being settled, on May 10th, 1887, we left Baghdad by the Kadhimein gate; the party consisting of myself, two servants, seven Shammar Bedwins, and a native of Baghdad going on business to the tribe. The Bedwins carry a present from 'Ali Pasha to Mohammed-el-Faris (the Horseman, Cavaliere), the Shammar sheikh.

in an immense camp of the Shammar at Sultaniyah bitter wells. No particular incident occurred till the 13th, when they halted

"The Arabs are the Alian branch of the tribe, under Sheikh Dukheil-ibn-Shebanah, to whose tent we went, and met with a real Arab welcome. I got the Sheikh's own camel-saddle to lean against as a pillow, and, as no concealment of my character was necessary, we were at home with each other. The Sheikh is a venerable-looking old man, and is looked upon as one of the patriarchs of the tribe, and has great influence. After about an hour had been spent in coffee-drinking, smoking, and news-telling, about ten or a dozen men carried in a sort of net a huge wooden dish of boiled rice; others followed with one of stewed meat: part of the latter was shovelled over the former by the not overclean hands of the Bedwins; and over all were poured a pot of melted butter and a skin of sour milk, and then to work we went. As one set left the dish, another sat down; and I am certain that after all present, not less than a hundred, had finished, enough for fifty more was carried away. After this we had coffee, and then troughs of fresh camel's milk were brought in, of which each drank ad libitum; the milk, with the exception of being slightly salt, was equal to the richest cream. Outside the tent was placed in a rude sort of tripod a monstrous leathern bucket, filled with camel's milk; to this our horses were led up in succession, and they drank very copiously with great zest.

The next day they reached the Tharthar, and crossed it, only knee deep; and in five min. halted in a camp of the Zobah branch of the Shammar.

"This year the Tharthar is very low, and the water abominably bitter and salt, the source of it having been blocked up by the Yezidis in Jebel Sinjar.

"15th.-Formed a party of eleven spears with the young Sheikh. I only take three of my own people. At 6h. 15m. A.M. we crossed the Tharthar, and went over the country at a quick walk, about N.W. by N. The Tharthar was close to us for about one hour; it then took a sweep to the right. At 10h. 45m. were surprised to see tents on the stream; made for them; and at 11h. 20m., on getting close to them, found all the men under arms, but their number only about twenty. Nijirib galloped up alone to them, and quieted their alarm. They prove to be a few families of the Al Bu Mohammed Arabs flying to the Shammar for protection, as the Aneizah are out in good earnest; as is also Fa'ad, the deposed Shammar Sheikh, with a band. My fellows got a good deal staggered by the intelligence; but, as the ruins were close to us, I promised to be ready to return at sunset. At 11h. 45m. turned off left; and at 12h. 30m. P.M. got to Al Hadhr. I examined the ruins thoroughly, but at last, being unable to keep my people in good humour any longer, (and one of them, an old man, bringing up my horse and saying, For God's sake, my son, take for this once the advice of an old man, who has seen many days, and let us return!') we at 4h. 15m. P.M. mounted and kept about S.S.E., often cantering. A snake having started, Nijirib drove his spear right through its head. The Arabs called out, 'Bravo!' I said it was an accident: he threw it down, and said, 'Where will you have me pierce it this time?' I said, in the tail. The reptile was wriggling about, yet he made a rush at it,

« ForrigeFortsæt »