A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy.

BEYROUT

lies in a sandy plain; but the mulberry-trees by which it is surrounded impart to this city an air of picturesque beauty.  Still we wade every where, in the streets, gardens, and alleys, through deep sand.  Viewed from a distance, Beyrout has a striking effect, a circumstance I had remarked on my first arrival there from Constantinople; but it loses considerably on a nearer approach.  I did not enjoy walking through the town and its environs; but it was a great pleasure to me to sit on a high terrace in the evening, and look down upon the landscape.  The dark-blue sky rose above the distant mountains, the fruitful valley, and the glittering expanse of ocean.  The golden sun was still illumining the peaks of the mountains with its farewell rays, until at length it sunk from view, shrouding every thing in a soft twilight.  Then I saw the innumerable stars shine forth, and the moon shed its magic light over the nocturnal landscape; and that mind can scarcely be called human which does not feel the stirring of better feelings within it at such a spectacle.  Truly the temple of the Lord is every where; and throughout all nature there is a mysterious something that tells even the infidel of the omnipresence of the Great Spirit.  How many beautiful evenings did I not enjoy at Beyrout! they were, in fact, the only compensation for the grievous hardships I was obliged to endure during my stay in this town.

In the inn I could again not find a single room, and was this time much more at a loss to find a place of shelter than I had been before; for our host’s wife had gone out of town with her children, and had let her private house; so I sat, in the fullest sense of the word, “in the street.”  A clergyman, whose acquaintance I had made in Constantinople, and who happened just then to be at Beyrout, took compassion upon me, and procured me a lodging in the house of a worthy Arab family just outside the town.  Now I certainly had a roof above my head, but I could not make myself understood; for not a soul spoke Italian, and my whole knowledge of Arabic was comprised in the four words:  taib, moi, sut, mafish—­beautiful, water, milk, and nothing.

With so limited a stock of expressions at my command, I naturally could not make much way, and the next day I was placed in a very disagreeable dilemma.  I had hired a boy to show me the way to a church, and explained to him by signs that he was to wait to conduct me home again.  On emerging from the church I could see nothing of my guide.  After waiting for some time in vain, I was at length compelled to try and find my way alone.

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A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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