We drank to my safe return to my country, in real old Cyprian wine. Shall I ever see it again? I hope so, if my journey progresses as favourably as it has begun. But Syria is a bad country, and the climate is difficult to bear; yet with courage and perseverance for my companions, I may look forward to the accomplishment of my task. The good doctor seemed much annoyed that he had nothing to offer me but Cyprian wine and a few German biscuits. At this early season fruit is not to be had, and cherries do not flourish here because the climate is too hot for them. In Smyrna I ate the last for this year. When I re-embarked in the afternoon, Mr. Bartlett came with the English consul, who wished, he said, to make the acquaintance of a lady possessing sufficient courage to undertake so long and perilous a journey by herself. His astonishment increased when he was informed that I was an unpretending native of Vienna. The consul was kind enough to offer me the use of his house if I returned by way of Cyprus; he also inquired if he could give me some letters of recommendation to the Syrian consuls. I was touched by this hearty politeness on the part of a perfect stranger—an Englishman moreover, a race on whom we are accustomed to look as cold and exclusive!
Arrival at Beyrout—Fellahs—Backsheesh—Uncomfortable quarters— Saida—Tyre—St. Jean d’Acre—Caesarea—Excursion among the ruins— Jaffa—An eastern family—The Indian fig-tree—An Oriental dinner— Costume of the women of Jaffa—Oppressive heat—Gnats—Ramla—Syrian convents—Bedouins and Arabs—Kariet el Areb, or Emmaus—The Scheikh—Arrival at Jerusalem.
This morning I could discern the Syrian coast, which becomes more glorious the nearer we approach. Beyrout, the goal of our voyage, was jealously hidden from our eyes to the very last moment. We had still to round a promontory, and then this Eden of the earth lay before us in all its glory. How gladly would I have retarded the course of our vessel, as we passed from the last rocky point into the harbour, to have enjoyed this sight a little longer! One pair of eyes does not suffice to take in this view; the objects are too numerous, and the spectator is at a loss whither he should first direct his gaze,—upon the town, with its many ancient towers attached to the houses, giving them the air of knights’ castles— upon the numerous country-houses in the shade of luxurious mulberry plantations—upon the beautiful valley between Beyrout and Mount Lebanon—or on the distant mountain-range itself. The towering masses of this magnificent chain, the peculiar colour of its rocks, and its snowclad summits, riveted my attention longer than any thing else.