The Lands of the Saracen eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about The Lands of the Saracen.

The fragments cumbering the arena were enormous, and highly interesting from their character.  There were rich blocks of cornice, ten feet long; fluted and reeded pillars; great arcs of heavily-carved sculpture, which appeared to have served as architraves from pillar to pillar, along the face of the proscenium, where there was every trace of having been a colonnade; and other blocks sculptured with figures of animals in alto-relievo.  There were generally two figures on each block, and among those which could be recognized were the dog and the lion.  Doors opened from the proscenium into the retiring-rooms of the actors, under which were the vaults where the beasts were kept.  A young fox or jackal started from his siesta as we entered the theatre, and took refuge under the loose blocks.  Looking backwards through the stadium from the seats of the theatre, we had a lovely view of the temple, standing out clear and bright in the midst of the summer plain, with the snow-streaked summits of Murad Dagh in the distance.  It was a picture which I shall long remember.  The desolation of the magnificent ruins was made all the more impressive by the silent, solitary air of the region around them.

Leaving Chavduer in the afternoon, we struck northward, down the valley of the Rhyndacus, over tracts of rolling land, interspersed with groves of cedar and pine.  There were so many branch roads and crossings that we could not fail to go wrong; and after two or three hours found ourselves in the midst of a forest, on the broad top of a mountain, without any road at all.  There were some herdsmen tending their flocks near at hand, but they could give us no satisfactory direction.  We thereupon, took our own course, and soon brought up on the brink of a precipice, overhanging a deep valley.  Away to the eastward we caught a glimpse of the Rhyndacus, and the wooden minaret of a little village on his banks.  Following the edge of the precipice, we came at last to a glen, down which ran a rough footpath that finally conducted us, by a long road through the forests, to the village of Daghje Koei, where we are now encamped.

The place seems to be devoted to the making of flints, and the streets are filled with piles of the chipped fragments.  Our tent is pitched on the bank of the river, in a barren meadow.  The people tell us that the whole region round about has just been visited by a plague of grasshoppers, which have destroyed their crops.  Our beasts have wandered off to the hills, in search for grass, and the disconsolate Hadji is hunting them.  Achmet, the katurgee, lies near the fire, sick; Mr. Harrison complains of fever, and Francois moves about languidly, with a dismal countenance.  So here we are in the solitudes of Bithynia, but there is no God but God, and that which is destined comes to pass.

Chapter XXIV.

The Mysian Olympus.

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The Lands of the Saracen from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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