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Uictoria K'S" 










3 11 97 22902 61 22 






VOL. 1400. 


VOL. I. 

"Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians: 

as no unbeliever is permitted to enter the city, our travellers 

are silent." 

Gibbon, chap. 50. 













The Right of Translation is reserved. 

O ~G 9 ,. wO P- 






F. R. SOC, M. R. G. SOC., M. R. A. SOC., 



I do not parade your name, my dear Colonel, 
in the van of this volume, after the manner of that 
acute tactician who wore a Koran upon his lance 
in order to win a battle. Believe me it is not my 
object to use Your Orthodoxy as a cover to my 
heresies of sentiment and science, in politics, political 
economy and — what not? 

But whatever I have done on this occasion, if 
I have done any thing, has been by the assistance 
of a host of friends, amongst whom you were ever 
the foremost. And the highest privilege I claim 
is this opportunity of publicly acknowledging the 
multitude of obligations owed to you and to them. 
Accept, my dear Colonel, this humble return for your 
kindness, and ever believe me, 

The sincerest of your well wishers, 



The interest now felt in everything that relates 
to the East would alone be sufficient to ensure to the 
author of "El Medinah and Meccah" the favourable 
consideration of the Reading Public. But when it is 
borne in mind that since the days of William Pitts of 
Exeter (a. d. 1678 — 1688) no European travellers, 
with the exception of Burckhardt (181 1) and Lieut. 
Burton, have been able to enter the city and to send 
us back an account of their travels there, it cannot be 
doubted but that the present work will be hailed as a 
welcome addition to our knowledge of these hitherto 
mysterious penetralia of Mohammedan superstition. In 
fact, El Medinah may be considered almost a virgin 
theme; for as Burckhardt was prostrated by sickness 
throughout the period of his stay in the Northern 
Hejaz, he was not able to describe it as satisfactorily 
or minutely as he did the southern country; he could 
not send a plan of the mosque, nor correct the popular 
but erroneous ideas which prevail concerning it and 
the surrounding city. 


The reader may question the propriety of intro- 
ducing in a work of description, anecdotes which may 
appear open to the charge of triviality. The author's 
object, however, seems to be to illustrate the peculiarities 
of the people; to dramatise, as it were, the dry journal 
of a journey, and to preserve the tone of the ad- 
ventures, together with that local colouring in which 
mainly consists "V education d'un voyage." For the 
same reason, the prayers of the "Visitation" ceremony 
have been translated at length, despite the danger of 
inducing tedium; they are an essential part of the 
subject, and cannot be omitted, nor be represented by 

Mr. Burton is already known by his "History of 
Sindh." As if to mark their sense of the spirit of 
observation and daring evinced by him when in that 
country, and still more during his late journeyings in 
Arabia and East Africa, the Geographical Society, 
through their learned Secretary, Dr. Norton Shaw, 
have given valuable aid to this work in its progress 
through the press. 

It was during a residence of many years in India 
that Mr. Burton had fitted himself for his late under- 
taking, by acquiring, through his peculiar aptitude for 
such studies, a thorough acquaintance with various 
dialects of Arabia and Persia; and, indeed, his Eastern 
cast of features seemed already to point him out as 


the very person of all others best suited for an expedi- 
tion like that described in the following pages. 

It will be observed that in writing Arabic, Hin- 
doostanee, Persian, or Turkish words, the author has 
generally adopted the system proposed by Sir William 
Jones and modified by later Orientalists. But when a 
word has been "stamped" by general popular use, the 
conversational form has been preferred; and the same, 
too, may be said of the common corruptions, Cairo, 
Mohammed, &c, which, in any other form, would ap- 
pear to us pedantic and ridiculous. 

Let us hope that the proofs now furnished of un- 
tiring energy and capacity for observation and research 
by our author, as well as his ability to bear fatigue 
and exposure to the most inclement climate, will in- 
duce the Governments of this country and of India to 
provide him with men and means (evidently all that 
is required for the purpose) to pursue his adventurous 
and useful career in other countries equally difficult 
of access, and, if possible, of still greater interest, than 
the eastern shores of the Red Sea. 

T. L. W. 

Hampton Court Palace, 
June, 1855. 



After a lapse of nearly twenty years a third edi- 
tion of my Pilgrimage has been called for "by the public, 
to whom I take this opportunity of returning thanks. 

The text has been carefully revised and the "bag- 
gage of notes" has been materially lightened. From 
the appendix I have removed matter which, though 
useful to the student, is of scant general interest. The 
quaint and interesting " Narrative and Voyages of Lu- 
dovicus Vertomannus, Gentleman of Rome," need no 
longer be read in extracts, when the whole has been 
printed by the Hakluyt Society. (The Travels of 
Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta 
and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India and Ethiopia, a. d. 
1503 to 1508. Translated from the original Italian 
edition of 15 10, with a preface by John Winter Jones, 
Esq., F.S.A., and edited, with notes and an intro- 
duction, by George Percy Badger, late Government 
Chaplain in the Presidency of Bombay. London. 
Printed for the Hakluyt Society.) On the other hand 


I have inserted, with the permission of the author, 
two highly interesting communications from Dr. Aloys 
Sprenger, the well-known Orientalist and Arabist, con- 
cerning the routes of the Great Caravans. My friend 
supports his suspicions that an error of direction has 
been made, and geographers will now enjoy the bene- 
fit of his conscientious studies, topographical and 

The truculent attacks made upon pilgrims and 
Darwayshes call for a few words of notice. Even the 
learned and amiable Dr. Wilson of Bombay (Lands 
of the Bible, vol. 2, p. 302) alludes in the case of the 
Spaniard Badia, alias Ali Bey el Abbasi, to the "un- 
justifiable disguise of a Mohammedan Pilgrim." The 
author of the Ruddy Goose Theory (Voice of Israel 
from Mount Sinai) and compiler of the Historical 
Geography of Arabia has dealt a foul blow to the 
memory of Burckhardt, the energetic and inoffensive 
Swiss traveller, whose name has ever been held in the 
highest repute. And now the "Government Chaplain" 
indites (Introduction p. xxvn) the following invidious 
remarks touching the travels of Ludovico di Varthema 
— the "vir Deo cams," be it remarked, of Julius Caesar 
Scaliger: — 

"This is not the place to discuss the morality of 
an act, involving the deliberate and voluntary denial 
of what a man holds to be truth in a matter so sacred 
as that of Religion. Such a violation of conscience 


is not justifiable by the end which the renegade may 
have in view, however abstractedly praiseworthy it 
may be; and even granting that his demerit should be 
gauged by the amount of knowledge which he pos- 
sesses of what is true and what false, the conclusion 
is inevitable, that nothing short of utter ignorance of 
the precepts of his faith, or a conscientious disbelief 
in them, can fairly relieve the Christian, who conforms 
to Islamism without a corresponding persuasion of its 
verity, of the deserved odium which all honest men 
attach to apostasy and hypocrisy." 

The reply to this tirade is simply, "judge not; 
especially when you are ignorant of the case which 
you are judging." Perhaps also the writer may ask 
himself, Is it right for those to cast stones who dwell 
in a tenement not devoid of fragility'? 

The second attack proceeds from a place whence 
no man would reasonably have expected it. The 
author of the "Narrative of a Year's Journey through 
Central and Eastern Arabia" (vol. i. pp. 258 — 59) thus 
expresses his opinions: — 

"Passing oneself off for a wandering Darweesh, as 
some European explorers have attempted to do in the 
East, is for more reasons than one a very bad plan. 
It is unnecessary to dilate on that moral aspect of the 
proceeding which will always first strike unsophisticated 
minds. To feign a religion which the adventurer him- 
self does not believe, to perform with scrupulous 


exactitude, as of the highest and holiest import, prac- 
tices which he inwardly ridicules, and which he in- 
tends on his return to hold up to the ridicule of others, 
to turn for weeks and months together the most sacred 
and awful bearings of man towards his Creator into a 
deliberate and truthless mummery, not to mention 
other and yet darker touches, — all this seems hardly 
compatible with the character of a European gentle- 
man, let alone that of a Christian." 

This comes admirably a propos from a Christian 
who, born a Protestant, of Jewish descent, placed him- 
self "in connection with," in plain words took the 
vows of, "the order of the Jesuits," an order "well- 
known in the annals of philanthropic daring"; a popular 
preacher who declaimed openly at Bayrut and else- 
where gainst his own nation, till the proceedings of a 
certain Father Michael Cohen were made the subject 
of an official report by Mr. Consul General Moore 
(Bayrut, November n, 1857); an Englishman by birth 
who accepted French protection, a secret mission and 
the "liberality of the present Emperor of the French;" 
a military officer travelling in the garb of what he 
calls a native (Syrian) "quack" with a comrade who 
"by a slight but necessary fiction passed for his brother- 
in-law; "* a gentleman who by return to Protestantism 

* The brother-in-law Barakat J'rayj'ray has since that time followed suit : 
educated at the Jesuit college of Mu' allakah (Libanus) he has settled as a 
Greek Catholic priest at the neighbouring town of Zahleh. 


violated his vows, and a traveller who was proved by 
the experiment of Colonel Pelly to have brought upon 
himself all the perils and adventures that have caused 
his word to be considered so little worthy of trust. 
Truly this attack argues the sublime of daring: can it 
be accounted for by the principle of "vieille coquette, 
nouvelle devote"? 

Both writers certainly lack the "giftie" to see them- 
selves as others see them. 

In noticing these extracts my object is not to defend 
myself: I recognize no man's right to interfere between 
a human being and his conscience. But what is there, 
I would ask, in the Moslem Pilgrimage so offensive to 
Christians — what makes it a subject of "inward ridi- 
cule"? Do they not also venerate Abraham, the Father 
of the Faithful? Did not Locke, and even greater 
names, hold Mohammedans to be heterodox Christians, 
in fact Arians who, till the end of the 4th century, re- 
presented the mass of North-European Christianity? 
Did Mr. Lane never conform by praying at a Mosque 
in Cairo? did he ever fear to confess it? has he been 
called an apostate for so doing? 

The fact is, there are honest men who hold that El 
Islam, in its capital tenets, approaches much nearer to 
the faith of Jesus than do the Pauline and Athanasian 
modifications which, in this our day, have divided the 
Indo-European mind into Catholic and Roman, Greek 
and Russian, Lutheran and Anglican. The disciples 


of Dr. Daniel Schenkel's school (A Sketch of the Char- 
acter of Jesus. Longmans, 1869) will indeed find little 
difficulty in making this admission. Practically, a visit 
after Arab Meccah to Anglo-Indian Aden, with its 
"political" chaplain and its "priests after the order of 
Melchisedeck," suggested to me that the Moslem may 
be more tolerant, more enlightened, more charitable, 
than many societies of the so-called Christians. 

And why rage so furiously against the "disguise 
of a wandering Darwaysh 1 ?" In what point is the 
Darwaysh more a mummer or show more of "betise" 
than the quack 1 ? Is the Darwaysh anything but an 
Oriental Freemason, and are Freemasons less Christians 
because they pray with Moslems and profess their be- 
lief in simple unitarianism'? 

I have said. And now to conclude. 

After my return to Europe many enquired if I was 
not the only living European who has found his way 
to the Head Quarters of the Moslem Faith. I may 
answer in the affirmative, so far at least that when 
entering the penetralia of Moslem life my Eastern 
origin was never questioned, and my position was never 
what some would describe as "in loco apostatae." 

On the other hand any Jew, Christian or Pagan, 
after declaring before the Kazi and the Police Au- 
thorities at Cairo, or even at Damascus, that he em- 
braces El Islam, may perform without fear of the so- 
called Mosaic institution "El Sunnah" his pilgrimage 


in all safety It might be dangerous to travel down 
L Lerl Une between Meccab and ElMedinah dunn, 
times of popular excitement; but the coast route is 
always sal To the "new Moslem" however the old 
MlTem is rarely well affected; and the forme, a 
rule, returns home unpleasantly impressed by his ex 

periences. . ^, rA » 

The Eastern world moves slowly « eppur si muove. 
Half a generation ago steamers were first started to 
Teddah: now we hear of a railroad from that port to 
Meccah, the shareholders being all Moslems And 
the example of Jerusalem encourages to hope that long 
before the end of the century a visit to Meccah wi 
not be more difficult than a trip to Hebron. I shall 
have more to say upon this subject when writing about 


Ziyadeh hadd i adab. 

Richard F. Burton. 

Trieste, 1873. St>L}X. ^^' 



To Alexandria. A Few Words concerning what compelled me to a Pil- 
grimage i 

I leave Alexandria 16 

The Little Asthmatic * 29 

Life in the Wakaleh 42 

The Ramazan 73 

The Mosque 88 

Preparations to quit Cairo 107 

From Cairo to Suez 134 

Suez 153 

The Pilgrim Ship 178 




To Yambu 

The Halt at Yambu' 


From Yambu' to Bir Abbas . . , • 

From Bir Abbas to El Medinah 257 







To Alexandria. 
A few Words concerning what induced me to a Pilgrimage. 

In the autumn of 1852, through the medium of 
my excellent friend, the late General Monteith, I 
offered my services to the Royal Geographical Society 
of London, for the purpose of removing that oppro- 
brium to modern adventure, the huge white blot which 
in our maps still notes the Eastern and the Central 
regions of Arabia. Sir Roderick I. Murchison, Colonel 
P. Yorke and Dr. Shaw, a deputation from that dis- 
tinguished body, with their usual zeal for discovery 
and readiness to encourage the discoverer, honored 
me by warmly supporting, in a personal interview with 
the then Chairman of the then Court of Directors to 
the then Honorable East India Company, my applica- 
tion for three years' leave of absence on special duty 
from India to Muscat. But they were unable to 
prevail upon the said Chairman, Sir James Hogg, who ? 

Mecca and Medina. I. I 


much disliking, if report spoke truly, my impolitic 
habit of telling political truths, and not unwilling to 
mortify my supporter, his colleague, Colonel W. Sykes, 
refused his sanction, alleging as a no-reason that the 
contemplated journey was of too dangerous a nature. 
In compensation, however, for the disappointment, I 
was allowed the additional furlough of a year, in order 
to pursue my Arabic studies in lands where the language 
is best learned. 

What remained for me but to prove, by trial, that 
what might be perilous to other travellers was safe to 
me'? The "experimentum crucis" was a visit to El 
Hejaz, at once the most difficult and the most dangerous 
point by which a European can enter Arabia. I had 
intended, had the period of leave originally applied 
for been granted, to land at Muscat — a favourable 
starting-place — and there to apply myself, slowly and 
surely, to the task of spanning the deserts. But now 
I was to hurry, in the midst of summer, after a four 
years' sojourn in Europe, during which many things 
Oriental had faded from my memory, and — after 
passing through the ordeal of Egypt, a country where 
the police is curious as in Rome or Milan — to begin 
with the Moslem's Holy Land, the jealously guarded 
and exclusive Haram. However, being liberally sup- 
plied with the sinews of travel by the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society; thoroughly tired of "progress" and 
of "civilisation-" curious to see with my eyes what 
others are content to "hear with ears," namely, Moslem 
inner life in a really Mohammedan country; and 


longing, if truth be told, to set foot on that mysterious 
spot which no vacation tourist has yet described, 
measured, sketched and photographed, I resolved to 
resume my old character of a wandering "Dervish," 
and to make the attempt. 

The principal object with which I started was this: 
— To cross the unknown Arabian Peninsula, in a direct 
line from either El Medinah to Muscat, or diagonally 
from Meccah to Makallah on the Indian Ocean. By 
what "circumstance, the miscreator" my plans were 
defeated, the reader will discover in the course of 
these volumes. The secondary objects were numerous. 
I was desirous to find out if any market for horses 
could be opened between Central Arabia and India, 
where the studs were beginning to excite general dis- 
satisfaction; to obtain information concerning the Great 
Eastern wilderness, the vast expanse marked Ruba el 
Khali (the "Empty Abode") in our maps; to inquire 
into the hydrography of the Hejaz; its water-shed, the 
disputed slope of the country, and the existence or 
non-existence of perennial streams; and finally, to try, 
by actual observation, the truth of a theory proposed 
by Colonel W. Sykes, namely, that if tradition be 
true, in the population of the vast Peninsula there 
must exist certain physiological differences sufficient 
to warrant our questioning the common origin of the 
Arab family. As regards horses, I am satisfied that 
from the Eastern coast something might be done, — 
nothing on the Western, where the animals, though 
thorough-bred, are mere "weeds," of a foolish price 


and procurable only by chance. Of the Ruba el Khali 
I have heard enough, from credible relators, to con- 
clude that its horrid depths swarm with a large and 
half- starving population; that it abounds in Wadys, 
valleys, gullies and ravines, partially fertilised by inter- 
mittent torrents; and therefore, that the land is open 
to the adventurous traveller. Moreover, I am satis- 
fied, that in spite of all geographers, from Ptolemy 
to Jomard, Arabia, which abounds in Nullahs or Fiu- 
maras, possesses not a single perennial stream worthy 
the name of river; and the testimony of the natives 
induces me to think, with Wallin, contrary to Ritter 
and others, that the Peninsula falls instead of rising 
towards the south. Finally, I have found proof, to be 
produced in a future part of this publication, for be- 
lieving in three distinct races, i. The aborigines of 
the country, driven, like the Bhils and other autoch- 
thonic Indians, into the eastern and south-eastern wilds 
bordering upon the ocean. 2. A Syrian or Mesopotamian 
stock, typified by Shem and Joktan, that drove the In- 
digenae from the choicest tracts of country; these in- 
vaders still enjoy their conquests, representing the great 
Arabian people. And 3. An impure Egypto-Arab clan 
— we personify it by Ishmael, his son Nebajoth and 
Edom (Esau, the son of Isaac) — that populated and still 
populates the Sinaitic Peninsula. And in most places, 
even in the heart of Meccah, I met with debris of 
heathenry, proscribed by Mohammed, yet still popular, 
though the ignorant observers of the old customs assign 
to them a modern and a rationalistic origin. 


I have entitled this account of my summer's tour 
through El Hejaz, a Personal Narrative, and I have 
laboured to make its nature correspond with its name, 
simply because "it is the personal that interests man- 
kind." Many may not follow my example; but some 
perchance will be curious to see what measures I 
adopted, in order to appear suddenly as an Eastern 
upon the stage of Oriental life; and as the recital may 
be found useful by future adventurers, I make no 
apology for the egotistical semblance of the narrative. 
Those who have felt the want of some "silent friend" 
to aid them with advice, when it must not be asked, 
will appreciate what may appear to the uninterested 
critic mere outpourings of a mind full of self. 

On the evening of April 3, 1853, I left London 
for Southampton. By the advice of a brother officer 
— little thought at that time the adviser or the advised 
how valuable was the suggestion! — my Eastern dress 
was called into requisition before leaving town, and 
all my "impedimenta" were taught to look exceedingly 
Oriental. Early the next day a "Persian Prince," ac- 
companied by Captain Henry Grindlay of the Bengal 
Cavalry, embarked on board the Peninsular and Oriental 
Company's magnificent screw steamer "Bengal." 

A fortnight was profitably spent in getting into the 
train of Oriental manners. For what polite Chester- 
field says of the difference between a gentleman and 
his reverse, — namely, that both perform the same offices 
of life, but each in a several and widely different way 
— is notably as applicable to the manners of the 


Eastern as of the Western man. Look, for instance, 
at that Indian Moslem drinking a glass of water. With 
us the operation is simple enough, but his performance 
includes no less than five novelties. In the first place, 
he clutches his tumbler as though it were the throat 
of a foe; secondly, he ejaculates, "In the name of 
Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful !" before wetting 
his lips; thirdly, he imbibes the contents, swallowing 
them, not sipping them as he ought to do, and ending 
with a satisfied grunt; fourthly, before setting down 
the cup, he sighs forth, "Praise be to Allah!" — of which 
you will understand the full meaning in the Desert; 
and, fifthly, he replies, "May Allah make it pleasant 
to thee!" in answer to his friend's polite "Pleasurably 
and health!" Also he is careful to avoid the irreligious 
action of drinking the pure element in a standing 
position, mindful, however, of the three recognised ex- 
ceptions, the fluid of the Holy Well Zem Zem, water 
distributed in charity, and that which remains after 
Wuzu, the lesser ablution. Moreover, in Europe, where 
both extremities are used indiscriminately, one forgets 
the use of the right hand, the manipulation of the 
rosary, the abuse of the chair, — your genuine Oriental 
gathers up his legs, looking almost as comfortable in 
it as a sailor upon the back of a high-trotting horse — 
the rolling gait with the toes straight to the front, the 
grave look ancTthe habit of pious ejaculations. 

Our voyage over the "summer sea" was eventless. 
In a steamer of two or three thousand tons you dis- 
cover the once dreaded, now contemptible, "stormy 


waters" only by the band — a standing nuisance be it 
remarked — performing 

"There we lay 
All the day, 
In the Bay of Biscay, O ! " 

The sight of glorious Trafalgar excites none of the 
sentiments with which a tedious sail used to invest it. 
"Gib" is, probably, better known to you, by Theo. 
Gautier and Warburton, than the regions about Corn- 
hill; besides which, you anchor under the Rock exactly 
long enough to land and to breakfast. Malta, too, 
wears an old familiar face, which bids you order a 
dinner and superintend the iceing of claret (beginning 
of Oriental barbarism), instead of galloping about on 
donkey-back through fiery air in memory of St. Paul 
and White-Cross Knights. 

But though our journey was monotonous, there 
was nothing to complain of. The ship was in every 
way comfortable; the cook, strange to say, was good, 
and the voyage lasted long enough, and not too long. 
On the evening of the thirteenth day after our start, 
the big-trowsered pilot, so lovely in his deformities to 
western eyes, made his appearance, and the good screw 
"Bengal" found herself at anchor off the Headland of 
Figs — the promontory upon which immortal Pharos 
once stood. 

Having been invited to start from the house of a 
kind friend, John Larking, I disembarked with him, 
and rejoiced to see that by dint of a beard and a 
shaven head I had succeeded, like the Lord of Geesh ? 


in "misleading the inquisitive spirit of the populace." 
The mingled herd of spectators before whom we passed 
in review on the landing-place, hearing an audible 
"Alhamdulillah" (praise be to Allah, Lord of the [three] 
worlds!) whispered "Muslim!" The infant population 
spared me the compliments usually addressed to hatted 
heads; and when a little boy, presuming that the oc- 
casion might possibly open the hand of generosity, 
looked in my face and exclaimed "Bakhshish" (lar- 
gesse!) he obtained in reply a "Mafish" (not a — bless!) 
which convinced the bystanders that the sheep-skin 
covered a real sheep. We then mounted a carriage, 
fought our way through the donkeys, and in half an 
hour found ourselves, chibouque in mouth and coffee- 
cup in hand, seated on the divan of my friend's hos- 
pitable home. 

Wonderful was the contrast between the steamer 
and that villa on the Mahmudiyah canal! Startling 
the sudden change from presto to adagio life! In 
thirteen days we had passed from the clammy grey 
fog, that atmosphere of industry which kept us at 
anchor off the Isle of Wight, through the liveliest air 
of the Inland Sea, whose sparkling blue and purple 
haze spread charms even on N. Africa's beldame 
features, and now we are sitting silent and still, listen- 
ing to the monotonous melody of the East — the soft 
night-breeze wandering through starlit skies and tufted 
trees, with a voice of melancholy meaning. 

And this is the Arab's "Kayf." The savouring of 
animal existence; the passive enjoyment of mere sense j 


the pleasant languor, the dreamy tranquillity, the airy 
castle-building, which in Asia stand in lieu of the 
vigorous, intensive, passionate life of Europe. It is 
the result of a lively, impressible, excitable nature, and 
exquisite sensibility of nerve; it argues a facility for 
voluptuousness unknown to northern regions, where 
happiness is placed in the exertion of mental and 
physical powers; where "Ernst ist das Leben;" where 
niggard earth commands ceaseless sweat of brow, and 
damp chill air demands perpetual excitement, exercise, 
or change, or adventure, or dissipation, for lack of 
something better. In the East, man wants but rest 
and shade: upon the bank of a bubbling stream, or 
under the cool shelter of a perfumed tree; he is per- 
fectly happy, smoking a pipe, or sipping a cup of 
coffee, or drinking a glass of sherbet, but above all 
things deranging body and mind as little as possible; 
the trouble of conversations, the displeasures of memory, 
and the vanity of thought being the most unpleasant 
interruptions to his "Kayf." No wonder that "Kayf" 

is a word untranslatable in our mother- tongue! 

"Laudabunt alii claram Rhodon aut Mitylenen." 

Let others describe this once famous Capital of 
Egypt, the City of Misnomers, whose dry docks are 
ever wet, and whose marble fountain is eternally dry, 
whose "Cleopatra's Needle" is not Cleopatra's; whose 
"Pompey's Pillar" never had any connection with 
Pompey; and whose Cleopatra's Baths are ? according 


to veracious travellers, no baths at all. Yet is it a 
wonderful place, this "Libyan suburb" of our day, 
this outpost of civilisation planted upon the skirts of 
barbarism, this Osiris seated side by side with Typho, 
his great old enemy. Still may be said of it, "it ever 
beareth something new;" and Alexandria, a thread- 
bare subject in Bruce's time, is even yet, from its per- 
petual changes, a fit field for modern description. 

The better to blind the inquisitive eyes of servants 
and visitors, my friend Larking lodged me in an out- 
house, where I could revel in the utmost freedom of 
life and manners. And although some Armenian 
Dragoman, a restless spy like all his race, occasionally 
remarked that "voila un Persan diablement degage," 
none, except those who were entrusted with the secret, 
had any idea of the part I was playing. The domes- 
tics, devout Moslems, pronounced me to be an Ajami, 
a Persian as opposed to an Arab, not a good Moham- 
-medan like themselves, but, still, better than nothing. 
I lost no time in securing the assistance of a Shaykh 
or private tutor, and plunged once more into the in- 
tricacies of the Faith, revived my recollections of 
religious ablution, read the Koran, and again became 
an adept in the art of prostration. My leisure hours 
were employed in visiting the baths, and coffee-houses, 
in attending the bazars, and in shopping, — an opera- 
tion which hereabouts consists of sitting upon a chap- 
man's counter, smoking, sipping coffee, and telling 
your beads the while, to show that you are not of the 
slaves for whom time is made; in fact, in pitting your 


patience against that of your adversary, the vendor. 
I found time for a short excursion to a country village 
on the banks of the canal; nor was an opportunity of 
seeing "El-nahl," the Bee-dance, neglected, for it would 
be some months before my eyes might dwell on such 
pleasant spectacle again. 

"Delicias videam, Nile jocose, tuas!" 

Careful also of graver matters, I attended the 
mosque, and visited the venerable localities in which 
modern Alexandria abounds. Pilgrimaging Moslems 
are here shown the tomb of El-nabi Daniyal (Daniel 
the Prophet), discovered upon a spot where the late 
Sultan Mahmud dreamed that he saw an ancient man 
at prayer. Sikandar El-Rumi, a Moslem Alexander the 
Great, of course left his bones in the place bearing 
his name, or — as he ought to have done so — bones 
have been found for him. Alexandria also boasts of 
two celebrated Walis — holy men. One is Mohammed 
El-Busiri, the author of a poem called El-Burdah, 
universally read by the world of Islam, and locally 
recited at funerals, and on other solemn occa- 
sions. The other is Abu Abbas El-Andalusi, a sage 
and saint of the first water, at whose tomb prayer is 
never breathed in vain. 

It is not to be supposed that the people of 
Alexandria could look upon my phials and pill-boxes, 
without a yearning for their contents. An Indian 
doctor, too, was a novelty to them; Franks they de- 
spised, but a man who had come so far from East and 


West! Then there was something infinitely seducing 
in the character of a magician, doctor, and fakir, each 
admirable of itself, thus combined to make "great 
medicine." Men, women, and children besieged my 
door, by which means I could see the people face to 
face, and especially the fair sex, of which Europeans, 
generally speaking, know only the worst. Even re- 
spectable natives, after witnessing a performance of 
the Magic mirror, opined that the stranger was a holy 
man, gifted with supernatural powers, and knowing 
everything. One old person sent to offer me his 
daughter in marriage; — he said nothing about dowry, 
— but I thought proper to decline the honor. And 
a middle-aged lady proffered me the sum of ioo 
piastres, one Napoleon, if I would stay at Alexan- 
dria, and superintend the restoration of her blind 
left eye. 

But the reader must not be led to suppose that I 
acted "Carabin," or "Sangrado" without any know- 
ledge of my trade. From youth I have always been a 
dabbler in medical and mystical study. Moreover, the 
practice of physic is comparatively easy amongst 
dwellers in warm latitudes, uncivilised peoples, where 
there is not that complication of maladies which 
troubles more polished nations. And further, what 
simplifies extremely the treatment of the sick in these 
parts is, the undoubted periodicity of disease, reducing 
almost all to one type — ague. Hence the origin of 
the Chronothermal System, a discovery which physic 
owes to my old friend, the late Dr, Samuel Dickson, 


Many of the complaints of tropical climates, as medical 
men well know, display palpably intermittent symptoms 
little known to colder countries; and speaking from 
individual experience, I may safely assert that in all 
cases of suffering, from a wound to ophthalmia, this 
phenomenon has forced itself into my notice. So 
much by way of excuse. I therefore considered my- 
self as well qualified for the work as if I had taken 
out a a buono per Testero" diploma at Padua, and not 
more likely to do active harm than most of the 
regularly graduated young surgeons who start to 
" finish themselves" upon the frame of the British 

After a month's hard work at Alexandria, I prepared 
to assume the character of a wandering Dervish, after 
reforming my title from "Mirza," the Persian "Mister," 
to "Shaykh" Abdullah. Arab Christians sometimes 
take the name of servant of God — "which," as a 
modern traveller observes, " all sects and religions might 
be equally proud to adopt." The Moslem Prophet 
said, "the names most approved of God are, Abdullah, 
Abd-el-rahman (Slave of the Compassionate), and such 
like." A reverend man, whose name I do not care to 
quote, some time ago initiated me into his order, the 
Kadiriyah, under the high-sounding name of Bis- 
millah-Shah — "King-in-the-name-of- Allah," a manner 
of Oriental "Praise-God-Barebones" — and, after a due 
period of probation, he graciously elevated me to the 
proud position of Murshid* or Master in the mystic 

* A Murshid is one allowed to admit Muriels or apprentices into the order. 


craft. I was therefore sufficiently well acquainted with 
the tenets and practices of these Oriental Freemasons. 
No character in the Moslem world is so proper for 
disguise as that of the Dervish. It is assumed by all 
ranks, ages, and creeds; by the nobleman who has 
been disgraced at court, and by the peasant who is 
too idle to till the ground; by Dives, who is weary of 
life, and by Lazarus, who begs his bread from to door 
to door. Further, the Dervish is allowed to ignore 
ceremony and politeness, as one who ceases to appear 
upon the stage of life; he may pray or not, marry or 
remain single as he pleases, be respectable in cloth of 
frieze as in cloth of gold, and no one asks him — the 
chartered vagabond — Why he comes here? or Where- 
fore he goes there? He may wend his way on foot or 
alone, or ride his Arab mare followed by a dozen 
servants; he is equally feared without weapons, as 
swaggering through the streets armed to the teeth. 
The more haughty and offensive he is to the people, 
the more they respect him; a decided advantage to 
the traveller of choleric temperament In the hour of 
imminent danger, he has only to become a maniac, 
and he is safe; a madman in the East, like a notably 
eccentric character in the West, is allowed to say or 
do whatever the spirit directs. Add to this character 
a little knowledge of medicine, a "moderate skill in 
magic and a reputation for caring for nothing but 
study and books," together with capital sufficient to 
save you from the chance of starving, and you appear 
in the East to peculiar advantage. The only danger 


of the "Mystic Path" which leads, or is supposed to 
lead, to heaven, is, that the Dervish's ragged coat not 
unfrequently covers the cut-throat, and, if seized in the 
society of such a "brother," you may reluctantly be- 
come his companion, under the stick or on the stake. 
For be it known, Dervishes are of two orders, the 
Sharai, or those who conform to religion, and the Bi- 
Sharai, or Luti, whose practices are hinted at by their 
own tradition that "he we daurna name" once joined 
them for a week, but at the end of that time left them 
in dismay, and returned to whence he came. 



I leave Alexandria. 

The thorough-bred wanderer's idiosyncrasy I pre- 
sume to be a composition of what phrenologists call 
"inhabitiveness" and " locality" equally and largely 
developed. After a long and toilsome march, weary 
of the way, he drops into the nearest place of rest to 
become the most domestic of men. For awhile he 
smokes the "long pipe of permanence" with an infinite 
zest; he . delights in various siestas during the day, 
relishing withal deep sleep through the dark hours; he 
enjoys dining at a fixed dinner-hour, and he wonders 
at the demoralisation of the mind which cannot find 
means of excitement in chit-chat or small talk, in a 
novel or a newspaper. But soon the passive fit has 
passed away; again a paroxysm of ennui coming on 
by slow degrees, Viator loses appetite, he walks about 
his room all night, he yawns at conversations, and a 
book acts upon him as a narcotic. The man wants 
to wander, and he must do so or he shall die. 

After about a month most pleasantly spent at 
Alexandria, I perceived the approach of the enemy, 
and as nothing hampered my incomings and outgoings, 
I surrendered. The world was "all before me," and 
there was pleasant excitement in plunging single- 
handed into its chilling depths. My Alexandrian 
Shaykh, whose heart fell victim to a new "jubbah" or 
cloak of broad cloth, which I had given in exchange 


for his tattered "za'abut," woollen cloak, offered me, in 
consideration of a certain monthly stipend, the affec- 
tions of a brother and religious refreshment, proposing 
to send his wife back to her papa, and to accompany 
me, in the capacity of private chaplain, to the other 
side of Kaf, the mountain that encircles the world. I 
politely accepted the "Bruderschaft," but many reasons 
induced me to decline his society and services. In 
the first place, he spoke the detestable Egyptian jargon. 
Secondly, it was but prudent to lose the "spoor" be- 
tween Alexandria and Suez. And, thirdly, my "brother" 
had shifting eyes (symptoms of fickleness), close to- 
gether (indices of cunning); a flat-crowned head, and 
large ill-fitting lips; signs which led me to think lightly 
of his honesty, firmness, and courage. Phrenology and 
physiognomy, be it observed, disappoint you often 
amongst civilised people, the proper action of whose 
brains upon the features is impeded by the external 
pressure of education, accident, example, habit, and 
necessity. But they are tolerably safe guides when 
groping your way through the mind of man in his so- 
called natural state, a being of impulse in that chrysalis 
state of mental development which is rather instinct 
than reason. 

Before my departure, however, there was much to 
be done. 

The land of the Pharaohs is becoming civilised, 
and unpleasantly so: nothing can be more uncom- 
fortable than its present middle-state between barbarism 
and the reverse. The prohibition against carrying arms 

Mecca and Medina. I. 2 


is rigid as in Italy; all "violence" is violently de- 
nounced, and beheading being deemed cruel, the 
most atrocious crimes, as well as those small political 
offences, which in the days of the Mamelukes would 
have led to a beyship or a bow-string, receive fourfold 
punishment by deportation to Faizoghli, the local 
Cayenne. If you order your peasant to be flogged, 
his friends gather in threatening hundreds at your 
gates; when you scold your boatman, he complains to 
your consul; the dragomans afflict you with strange 
wild notions about honesty; a government order pre- 
vents you from using vituperative language to the 
"natives" in general; and the very donkey boys are 
becoming cognisant of the right of man to remain un- 
bastinadoed. Still the old leaven remains behind: 
here, as elsewhere in "Morning-land," you cannot hold 
your own without employing the vote de fait. The 
passport system, now dying out of Europe, has sprung 
up, or rather has revived in Egypt, with peculiar 
vigour. Its good effects claim for it our respect; still 
we cannot but lament its inconvenience. We, I mean 
real Easterns. As strangers — even those whose beards 
have whitened in the land — know absolutely nothing 
of what unfortunate natives must endure, I am tempted 
to subjoin a short sketch of my adventures in search 
of a Tezkirah, or passport, at Alexandria. 

Through ignorance which might have cost me dear 
but for friend Larking' s weight with the local authorities, 
I had neglected to provide myself with a passport in 
England, and it was not without difficulty, involving 


much unclean dressing and an unlimited expenditure 
of broken English, that I obtained from H. B. M's 
Consul at Alexandria a certificate, declaring me to be 
an Indo-British subject named Abdullah, by profession 
a doctor, aged thirty, and not distinguished — at least 
so the frequent blanks seemed to denote — by any 
remarkable conformation of eyes, nose, or cheek. For 
this I disbursed a dollar. And here let me record the 
indignation with which I did it. That mighty Britain 
— the mistress of the seas — the ruler of one-sixth of 
mankind — should charge five shillings to pay for the 
shadow of her protecting wing! That I cannot speak 
my modernised "civis sum Romanus" without putting 
my hand into my pocket, in order that these officers 
of the Great Queen may not take too ruinously from 
a revenue of 70 millions! O the meanness of our 
magnificence! the littleness of our greatness! 

My new passport would not carry me without the 
Zabit or Police Magistrate's counter-signature, said 
H. B. M's Consul. Next day I went to the Zabit, who 
referred me to the Muhafiz (Governor) of Alexandria, 
at whose gate I had the honor of squatting at least 
three hours, till a more compassionate clerk vouchsafed 
the information that the proper place to apply to was 
the Diwan Kharijiyah (the Foreign-Office). Thus a 
second day was utterly lost. On the morning of the 
third I started, as directed, for the palace, which 
crowns the Headland of Figs. It is a huge and couth- 
less shell of building in parallelogrammic form con- 
taining all kinds of public offices in glorious confusion, 


looking with their glaring whitewashed faces upon a 
central court, where a few leafless wind- wrung trees 
seem struggling for the breath of life in an eternal at- 
mosphere of clay-dust and sun-blaze. 

The first person I addressed was a Kawwas or 
police officer, who, coiled comfortably up in a bit of 
shade fitting his person like a robe, was in full enjoy- 
ment of the Asiatic "Kayf." Having presented the 
consular certificate and briefly stated the nature of my 
business, I ventured to inquire what was the right 
course to pursue for a visa. 

They have little respect for Dervishes, it appears, 
at Alexandria! 

M'adri — "Don't know," growled the man of authority 
without moving any thing but the quantity of tongue 
necessary for articulation. 

Now there are three ways of treating Asiatic of- 
ficials, — by bribe, by bullying, or by bothering them 
with a dogged perseverance into attending to you and 
your concerns. The latter is the peculiar province of 
the poor; moreover, this time I resolved, for other 
reasons, to be patient. I repeated my question in al- 
most the same words. Ruh! "Be off," was what I 
obtained for all reply. But this time the questioned 
went so far as to open his eyes. Still I stood twirling 
the paper in my hands, and looking very humble and 
very persevering, till a loud Ruh ya Kalb! "Go, O 
dog!" converted into a responsive curse the little 
speech I was preparing about the brotherhood of El- 
Islam and the mutual duties obligatory on true be- 


lievers. I then turned away slowly and fiercely, for 
the next thing might have been a cut with the Kurbaj 
or cravache of hippopotamus hide, and, by the ham- 
mer of Thor! British flesh and blood could never 
have stood that. 

After which satisfactory scene, — for satisfactory it 
was in one sense, proving the complete fitness of the 
Dervish's costume, — I tried a dozen other promiscuous 
sources of information, — policemen, grooms, scribes, 
donkey boys, and idlers in general. At length, wearied 
of patience, I offered a soldier some pinches of tobacco, 
and promised him an oriental sixpence if he would 
manage the business for me. The man was interested 
by the tobacco and the pence; he took my hand, and 
inquiring the while he went along, led me from place 
to place, till, mounting a grand staircase, I stood in 
the presence of Abbas Effendi, Naib or deputy to the 

It was a little, whey-faced, black-bearded Turk, 
coiled up in the usual conglomerate posture upon a 
calico-covered divan , at the end of a long bare large- 
windowed room. Without deigning even to nod the 
head, which hung over his shoulder with transcendent 
listlessness and affectation of pride, in answer to my 
salams and benedictions, he eyed me with wdcked eyes, 
and faintly ejaculated "Min enf?" for "man anta?" 
who art thou? Then hearing that I was a Dervish and 
doctor — he must be an Osmanli Voltairian, that little 
Turk—the official snorted a contemptuous snort. He 
condescendingly added, however, that the proper source 


to seek was "Taht," which meaning simply "below/' 
conveyed to an utter stranger rather imperfect informa- 
tion in a topographical point of view. 

At length, however, my soldier guide found out 
that a room in the custom-house bore the honorable 
appellation of "Foreign Office." Accordingly I went 
there, and, after sitting at least a couple of hours at 
the bolted door in the noon-day sun, was told, with a 
fury which made me think I had sinned, that the of- 
ficer in whose charge the department was, had been 
presented with an olive branch in the morning, and 
consequently that business was not to be done that 
day. The angry-faced official communicated the in- 
telligence to a large group of Anadolian, Caramanian, 
Boshniac, and Roumelian Turks, — sturdy, undersized, 
broad-shouldered, bare-legged, splay-footed, horny- 
fisted, dark-browed, honest-looking mountaineers, who 
were lounging about with long pistols and yataghans 
stuck in their broad sashes, head-gear composed of 
immense tarbooshes with proportionate turbans coiled 
round them, and two or three suits of substantial 
clothes, even at this season of the year, upon their 
shoulders. Like myself they had waited some hours, 
but they were not so patient under disappointment: they 
bluntly told the angry official that he and his master 
were a pair of idlers, and the curses that rumbled and 
gurgled in their hairy throats as they strode towards 
the door, sounded like the growling of wild beasts. 

Thus was another day truly orientally lost. On 
the morrow, however, I obtained permission, in the 


character of Dr. Abdullah, to visit any part of Egypt 
I pleased, and to retain possession of my dagger and 

And now I must explain what induced me to take 
so much trouble about a passport. The home reader 
naturally inquires, why not travel under your English 

For this reason. In the generality of barbarous 
countries you must either proceed, like Bruce, pre- 
serving the "dignity of manhood," and carrying matters 
with a high hand, or you must worm your way by 
timidity and subservience; in fact, by becoming an 
animal too contemptible for man to let or injure. But 
to pass through the Holy Land, you must either be a 
born believer, or have become one; in the former case 
you may demean yourself as you please, in the latter 
a path is ready prepared for you. My spirit could not 
bend to own myself a Burmah, a renegade — to be 
pointed at and shunned and catechised, an object of 
suspicion to the many and of contempt to all. More- 
over, it would have obstructed the aim of my wander- 
ings. The convert is always watched with Argus eyes, 
and men do not willingly give information to a "new 
Moslem," especially a Frank: they suspect his conver- 
sion to be feigned or forced, look upon him as a spy, 
and let him see as little of life as possible. Firmly as 
was my heart set upon travelling in Arabia, by Heaven ! 
I would have given up the dear project rather than 
purchase a doubtful and partial success at such a 
price. Consequently, I had no choice but to appear 


as a born believer, and part of my birthright in that 
respectable character was toil and trouble in obtaining 
a Tezkirah.* 

Then I had to provide myself with certain neces- 
saries for the way. These were not numerous. The 
silver-mounted dressing-case is here supplied by a rag 
containing a Miswak or tooth-stick, a bit of soap and 
a comb, wooden, for bone and tortoiseshell are not, 
religiously speaking, correct. Equally simple was my 
wardrobe; a change or two of clothing. It is a great 
mistake to carry too few clothes, and those who travel 
as Orientals should always have at least one very grand 
suit on critical occasions. Throughout the East a 
badly dressed man is a pauper, and, as in England, a 
pauper — unless he belongs to an order having a right- 
to be poor — is a scoundrel. The only article of canteen 
description was a Zemzemiyeh, a goat-skin water-bag, 
which, especially when new, communicates to its con- 
tents a ferruginous aspect and a wholesome, though 
hardly an attractive, flavour of tanno-gelatine. This 
was a necessary; to drink out of a tumbler, possibly 
fresh from pig-eating lips, would have entailed a certain 
loss of reputation. For bedding and furniture I had 
a coarse Persian rug — which, besides being couch, 
acted as chair, table, and oratory — a cotton-stuffed 
chintz-covered pillow, a blanket in case of cold, and 
a sheet, which did duty for tent and mosquito curtains 

* During my journey, and since my return, some Indian papers con- 
ducted by jocose editors made merry upon an Englishman "turning Turk.'* 
Once for all, I beg leave to point above for the facts of the case ; it must serve 
as a general answer to any pleasant little fictions which may hereafter appear. 


in nights of heat. Almost all Easterns sleep under a 
cloth, which becomes a kind of respirator, defending 
them from the dews and mosquitos by night and the 
flies by day. The "rough and ready" traveller will 
learn to follow the example, remembering that "Nature 
is founder of Customs in savage countries;" whereas, 
amongst the soi-disant civilised, Nature has no deadlier 
enemy than Custom. As shade is a convenience not 
always procurable, another necessary was a huge cotton 
umbrella of Eastern make, brightly yellow, suggesting 
the idea of an overgrown marigold. I had also a sub- 
stantial housewife, the gift of a kind relative Miss 
Elizabeth Stisted; it was a roll of canvas, carefully 
soiled, and garnished with needles and thread, cobblers'- 
wax, buttons, and other such articles. These things 
were most useful in lands where tailors abound not; 
besides which, the sight of a man darning his coat or 
patching his slippers teems with pleasing ideas of 
humility. A dagger, a brass inkstand and pen-holder 
stuck in the belt, and a mighty rosary, which on oc- 
casion might have been converted into a weapon of 
offence, completed my equipment. I must not omit to 
mention the proper method of carrying money, which 
in these lands should never be entrusted to box or 
bag. A common cotton purse secured in a breast 
pocket, (for Egypt now abounds in that civilised animal 
the pickpocket,) contained silver pieces and small 
change. My gold, of which I carried twenty-five 
sovereigns, and papers, were committed to a substantial 
leathern belt of Maghrabi manufacture, made to be 


strapped round the waist under the dress. This is the 
Asiatic method of concealing valuables, and one more 
civilised than ours in the last century, when Roderic 
Random and his companion, "sewed their money be- 
tween the lining and the waistband of their breeches, 
except some loose silver for immediate expense on the 
road." The great inconvenience of the belt is its 
weight, especially where dollars must be carried, as in 
Arabia, causing chafes and discomfort at night. More- 
over, it can scarcely be called safe. In dangerous 
countries wary travellers will adopt surer precautions. 
Some prefer a long chain of pure gold divided into 
links and covered with leather, so as to resemble the 
twisted girdle which the Arab fastens round his waist. 
It is a precaution well known to the wandering knights 
of old. 

A pair of common native Khurjin or saddle-bags 
contained my wardrobe, the bed was readily rolled up 
into a bundle, and for a medicine chest I bought a 
pea-green box with red and yellow flowers, capable of 
standing falls from a camel twice a day. 

The next step was to find out when the local 
steamer would start for Cairo, and accordingly I be- 
took myself to the Transit Office. No vessel was ad- 
vertised; I was directed to call every evening till satis- 
fied. At last the fortunate event took place: a "weekly 
departure," which, by the by, occurred once every fort- 
night or so, was in orders for the next day. I hurried 
to the office, but did not reach it till past noon — the 
hour of idleness, A little, dark gentleman — Mr. G. 


— so formed and dressed as exactly to resemble a liver- 
and-tan bull-terrier, who with his heels on the table 
was dozing, cigar in mouth, over the last " Galignani," 
positively refused, after a time, — for at first he would 
not speak at all, — to let me take my passage till three 
p.m. I inquired when the boat started, upon which 
he referred me, as I had spoken bad Italian, to the 
advertisement. I pleaded inability to read or write, 
whereupon he testily cried "Alle novel alle novel" — 
at nine! at nine! Still appearing uncertain, I drove 
him out of his chair, when he rose with a curse and 
read 8 a.m. An unhappy Eastern, depending upon 
what he said, would have been precisely one hour 
too late. 

Thus were we lapsing into the real good old East- 
Indian style of doing business. Thus Anglo-Indicus 
orders his first clerk to execute some commission; the 
senior, having "work" upon his hands, sends a junior; 
the junior finds the sun hot, and passes on the word 
to a "peon;" the "peon" charges a porter with the 
errand, and the porter quietly sits or dozes in his 
place, trusting that Fate will bring him out of the 
scrape, but firmly resolved, though the shattered globe 
fall, not to sfir an inch. 

The reader, I must again express a hope, will pardon 
the egotism of these descriptions, — my object is to 
show him how business is carried on in these hot 
countries. Business generally. For had I not been. 
Abdullah the Dervish, but a rich native merchant, it 
would have been the same, How many complaints of 


similar treatment have I heard in different parts of the 
Eastern world! and how little can one realise them 
without having actually experienced the evil! For the 
future I shall never see a "nigger" squatting away half 
a dozen mortal hours in a broiling sun patiently waiting 
for something or for some one, without a lively re- 
membrance of my own cooling of the calceS at the 
custom-house of Alexandria. 

At length, about the end of May (1853) all was 
ready. Not without a feeling of regret I left my little 
room among the white myrtle blossoms and the rosy 
oleander flowers with the almond smell. I kissed with 
humble ostentation my good host's hand in presence 
of his servants, — he had become somewhat unpleasantly 
anxious, of late, to induce in me the true Oriental 
feeling, by a slight administration of the bastinade — I 
bade adieu to my patients, who now amounted to 
about fifty, shaking hands with all meekly and with 
religious equality of attention, and, mounted in a "trap" 
which looked like a cross between a wheel-barrow and 
a dog-cart, drawn by a kicking, jibbing, and biting 
mule, I set out for the steamer, the "Little Asthmatic." 



The Little Asthmatic. 

In the days of the Pitts we have invariably a "Re- 
lation" of Egyptian travellers who embark for a place 
called "Roseet" on the "River Nilus." Wanderers of 
the Brucean age were wont to record their impressions 
of voyage upon land subjects observed between Alex- 
andria and Cairo. A little later we find every one 
inditing rhapsodies about, and descriptions of, his or 
her Dahabiyeh (barge) on the canal. After this came 
the steamer. And after the steamer will come the 
railroad, which may disappoint the author tourist, but 
will be delightful to that class of men who wish to get 
over the greatest extent of ground with the least in- 
convenience to themselves and others. Then shall the 
Mahmudiyeh — ugliest and most wearisome of canals 
— be given up to cotton boats and grain barges, and 
then will note-books and the headings of chapters 
clean ignore its existence. 

I saw the canal at its worst, when the water was 
low: I have not one syllable to say in its favour. In- 
stead of thirty hours, we took three mortal days and 
nights to reach Cairo, and we grounded with painful 
regularity four or five times between sunrise and sun- 
set. In the scenery on the banks sketchers and de- 
scribes have left you nought to see. From Pompey's 
Pillar to the Maison Carree, Kariom and its potteries, 
El Birkah of the night birds, Bastarah with the alleys 


of trees, even unto Atfeh, all things are perfectly 
familiar to us, and have been so years before the 
traveller actually sees them. The Nil el Mubarak it- 
self—the Blessed Nile, — as notably fails too at this 
season to arouse enthusiasm. You see nothing but 
muddy waters, dusty banks, a sand mist, a milky sky, 
and a glaring sun: you feel nought but a breeze like 
the blast from a potter's furnace. You can only just 
distinguish through a veil of reeking vapours the vil- 
lage Shibr Katt from the village Kafr el Zayyat, and 
you steam too far from Wardan town to enjoy the 
Timonic satisfaction of enraging its male population 
with "Haykal! ya ibn Haykal!" — O Haykal! O son of 
Haykal! "Haykal" was a pleasant fellow, who, having 
basely abused the confidence of the fair ones of War- 
dan, described their charms in sarcastic verse, and 
stuck his scroll upon the door of the village mosque, 
taking at the same time the wise precaution to change 
his lodgings without delay. The very mention of his 
name affronts the brave Wardanenses to the last ex- 
tent, making them savage as Oxford bargees. You are 
nearly wrecked, as a matter of course, at the Barrage; 
and you are certainly dumbfoundered by the sight of 
its ugly little Gothic crenelles. The Pyramids of 
Cheops and Cephren, "rearing their majestic heads 
above the margin of the Desert," only suggest of remark 
that they have been remarkably well-sketched; and 
thus you proceed till with a real feeling of satisfaction 
you moor alongside of the tumble-down old suburb, 


To me there was double dulness in the scenery: 
it seemed to be Sind over again — the same morning 
mist and noon-tide glare; the same hot wind and heat 
clouds, and fiery sunset, and evening glow; the same 
pillars of dust and "devils" of sand sweeping like 
giants over the plain; the same turbid waters of a 
broad, shallow stream studded with sand-banks and 
silt-isles, with crashing earth slips and ruins nodding 
over a kind of cliff, whose base the stream gnaws 
with noisy tooth. On the banks, saline ground sparkled 
and glittered like hoar-frost in the sun; and here and 
there mud villages, solitary huts, pigeon-towers, or 
watch turrets, whence little brown boys shouted and 
slung stones at the birds, peeped out from among 
bright green patches of palm-tree, tamarisk, and mi- 
mosa; maize, tobacco, and sugar-cane. Beyond the 
narrow tongue of land on the river banks lay the 
glaring, yellow desert, with its low hills and sand 
slopes bounded by innumerable pyramids of Nature's 
architecture. The boats, with their sharp bows, pre- 
posterous sterns, and lateen sails, might have belonged 
to the Indus. So might the chocolate-skinned, blue- 
robed peasantry; the women carrying progeny on their 
hips, with the eternal waterpot on their heads; and 
the men sleeping in the shade, or following the plough, 
to which probably Osiris first put hand. The lower 
animals, like the higher, are the same; gaunt, mange- 
stained camels, muddy buffaloes, scurvied donkeys, 
sneaking jackals, and fox-like dogs. Even the 
feathered creatures were perfectly familiar to my eye 


— paddy birds, pelicans, giant cranes, kites, and wild 

I had taken a third-class or deck passage, whereby 
the evils of the journey were exasperated. A roasting 
sun pierced the canvas awning like hot water through 
a gauze veil, and by night the cold dews fell raw and 
thick as a Scotch mist. The cooking was abominable, 
and the dignity of Dervish-hood did not allow me to 
sit at meat with Infidels or to eat the food which they 
had polluted. So the Dervish squatted apart, smoking 
perpetually, with occasional interruptions to say his 
prayers and to tell his beads upon the mighty rosary; 
and he drank the muddy water of the canal out of a 
leathern bucket, and he munched his bread and garlic 
with a desperate sanctimoniousness. Those skilled in 
simples, Eastern as well as Western, praise garlic 
highly, declaring that it "strengthens the body, pre- 
pares the constitution for fatigue, brightens the sight, 
and, by increasing the digestive power, obviates the 
ill effects arising from sudden change of air and water." 
The traveller inserts it into his dietary in some pleasant 
form, as "Provence-butter," because he observes that, 
wherever fever and ague abound, the people, ignorant 
of cause but observant of effect, make it a common 
article of food. The old Egyptians highly esteemed 
this vegetable, which, with onions and leeks, enters 
into the list of articles so much regretted by the 
Hebrews (Numbers, xi. 5.; Koran, chap. 2.). The 
modern people of the Nile, like the Spaniards, delight 
in onions, which, as they contain between 25 and 


30 per cent, of gluten, are highly nutritive. In Arabia, 
however, the stranger must use this vegetable sparingly. 
The city people despise it as the food of a Fellah — a 
boor. The Wahhabis have a prejudice against onions, 
leeks, and garlic, because the Prophet disliked their 
strong smell, and all strict Moslems refuse to eat them 
immediately beforb visiting the mosque or meeting for 
public prayer. 

The "Little Asthmatic" was densely crowded, and 
discipline not daring to mark out particular places, 
the scene on board of her was motley enough. There 
were two Indian officers, who naturally spoke to none 
but each other, drank bad tea, and smoked their cigars, 
exclusively like Britons. A troop of Kurd policemen, 
escorting treasure, was surrounded by a group of noisy 
Greeks; these men's gross practical jokes sounding 
anything but pleasant to the solemn Moslems, whose 
saddle-bags and furniture were at every moment in 
danger of being defiled by abominable drinks and the 
ejected juices of tobacco. There was one pretty 
woman on board, a Spanish girl, who looked strangely 
misplaced — a rose in a field of thistles. Some silent 
Italians, with noisy interpreters, sat staidly upon the 
benches. It was soon found out, through the com- 
municative dragoman, that their business was to buy 
horses for H. M. of Sardinia: they were exposed to a 
volley of questions delivered by a party of French 
tradesmen returning to Cairo, but they shielded them- 
selves and fought shy with Machiavellian dexterity. 
Besides these was a German — a "beer-bottle in the 

Mecca and Medina. /. 3 


morning and a bottle of beer in the evening," to 
borrow a simile from his own nation — a Syrian mer- 
chant, the richest and ugliest of Alexandria, and a few 
French house-painters going to decorate the Pasha's 
palace at Shoobra. These last were the happiest of 
our voyagers, veritable children of Paris, Montagnards, 
Voltairiens, and thorough-bred Sans-Soucis. All day 
they sat upon deck chattering as only their lively na- 
tion can chatter, indulging in ultra-gallic maxims, such 
as "on ne vieillit jamais a table;" now playing ecarte 
for love or nothing, then composing "des ponches un 
peu chiques;" now reciting adventures of the category 
"Mirabolant," then singing, then dancing, then sleeping 
and rising to play, to drink, talk, dance, and sing again. 
One chaunted: 

" Je n'ai pas connu mon pere, 
Ce respectable vieillard ; 
Je suis ne trois ans trop tard, &c." 

Whilst another trolled out: 

" Qu'est ce que je vois ? 
Un canard en robe de chambre ! " 

They, being new comers, free from the disease 
morgue so soon caught by Oriental Europeans, were 
particularly civil to me, even wishing to mix me a strong 
draught; I was not so fortunate, however, with all on 
board. A large shopkeeper threatened to "briser" my 
"figure" for putting my pipe near his pantaloons; but 
seeing me finger my dagger curiously, though I did 
not shift my pipe, he forgot to remember his threat. 

I had taken charge of a parcel for one M. P , a 

student of Coptic, and remitted it to him on board; 


of this little service the only acknowledgment was a 
stare and a petulant inquiry why I had not given it to 
him before. And one of the Englishmen, half publicly, 
half privily, as though communing with himself, con- 
demned my organs of vision because I happened to 
touch his elbow. He was a man in my own service; 
I pardoned him in consideration of the compliment 
paid to my disguise. 

Two fellow-passengers were destined to play an 
important part in my comedy of Cairo. Just after we 
had started, a little event afforded us some amusement. 
On the bank appeared a short, crummy, pursy kind of 
man, whose efforts to board the steamer were notably 
ridiculous. With attention divided between the vessel 
and a carpet-bag carried by his donkey boy, he ran 
along the sides of the canal, now stumbling into 
hollows, then climbing heights, then standing shouting 
upon the projections with the fierce sun upon his 
back, till every one thought his breath was completely 
gone. But no! game to the back-bone, he would have 
perished miserably rather than lose his fare: " per- 
severance ," say the copy-books, "accomplishes great 
things:" at last he was taken on board, and presently 
he lay down to sleep. His sooty complexion, lank 
black hair, features in which appeared beaucoup de 
finesse, that is to say, abundant rascality; an eternal 
smile and treacherous eyes; his gold ring, dress of 
showy colours, fleshy stomach, fat legs, round back 
and a peculiar manner of frowning and fawning simul- 
taneously, marked him an Indian. When he awoke 


he introduced himself to me as Miyan Khudabakhsh 
Namdar, a native of Lahore: he had carried on the 
trade of a shawl merchant in London and Paris, where 
he had lived two years, and after a pilgrimage intended 
to purge away the sins of civilised lands, he had 
settled at Cairo. 

My second friend, Haji Wali, I will introduce to 
the reader in a future chapter. 

Long conversations in Persian and Hindostani 
abridged the tediousness of the voyage, and when we 
arrived at Bulak, the polite Khudabakhsh insisted upon 
my making his house my home. I was unwilling to 
accept the man's civility, disliking his looks, but he 
advanced cogent reasons for changing my mind. His 
servants cleared my luggage through the custom-house, 
and a few minutes after our arrival I found myself in 
his abode near the Ezbekiyeh Gardens, sitting in a 
cool Mashrabiyah — the projecting latticed window of 
richly-carved wood, for which Cairo was once so famous 
— that gracefully projected over a garden, and sipping 
the favourite glass of pomegranate syrup. 

As the Wakalehs or caravanserais were at that time 
full of pilgrims, I remained with Khudabakhsh ten 
days or a fortnight. But at the end of that time my 
patience was thoroughly exhausted. My host had be- 
come a civilised man, who sat on chairs, who ate with 
a fork, who talked European politics, and who had 
learned to admire, if not to understand liberty — liberal 
ideas! and was I not flying from such things? Besides 
which, we English have a peculiar national quality, 


which the Indians, with their characteristic acuteness, 
soon perceived, and described by an opprobrious 
name. Observing our solitary habits, that we could 
not, and would not, sit and talk and sip sherbet and 
smoke with them, they called us "Jangli" — wild men, 
fresh caught in the jungle and sent to rule over the 
land of Hind. Certainly nothing suits us less than 
perpetual society, an utter want of solitude, when one 
cannot retire into oneself an instant without being 
asked some puerile question by a companion, or look 
into a book without a servant peering over one's 
shoulder; when from the hour you rise to the time 
you rest, you must ever be talking or listening, you 
must converse yourself to sleep in a public dormitory, 
and give ear to your companion's snores and mutterings 
at midnight. 

The very essence of Oriental hospitality, however, 
is this family style of reception, which costs your host 
neither money nor trouble. You make one more at 
his eating tray, and an additional mattress appears in 
the sleeping-room. When you depart, you leave if you 
like a little present, merely for a memorial, with your 
entertainer; he would be offended if you offered it him 
openly as a remuneration, and you give some trifling 
sums to the servants. Thus you will be welcome 
wherever you go. If perchance you are detained per- 
force in such a situation, — which may easily happen 
to you, medical man, — you have only to make your- 
self as disagreeable as possible, by calling for all 
manner of impossible things. Shame is a passion with 


Eastern nations. Your host would blush to point out 
to you the indecorum of your conduct; and the laws 
of hospitality oblige him to supply the every want of 
a guest, even though he be a detenu. 

But of all orientals, the most antipathetical com- 
panion to an Englishman is, I believe, an East-Indian. 
Like the fox in the fable, fulsomely flattering at first, 
he gradually becomes easily friendly, disagreeably 
familiar, offensively rude — which ends by rousing the 
"spirit of the British lion." Nothing delights the Hindi 
so much as an opportunity of safely venting the spleen 
with which he regards his victors.* He will sit in the 
presence of a magistrate, or an officer, the very picture 
of cringing submissiveness. But after leaving the room, 
he is as different from his former self as a counsel in 

* The Calcutta Review (No. 41.) , noticing "L'Inde sous la Domination 
Anglaise," by the Baron Barchou dePenhoen, delivers the following sentiment : 
"Whoever states, as the Baron B. de P. states and repeats again and again, 
that the natives generally entertain a bad opinion of the Europeans generally, 
states what is decidedly untrue." 

The reader will observe that I differ as decidedly from the Reviewer's opinion. 

Popular feeling towards the English in India was "at first one of fear, 
afterwards of horror: Hindoos and Moslems considered the strangers a set of 
cow-eaters and fire-drinkers, tetrse belluae ac molossis suis ferociores, who would 
fight like Eblis, cheat their own fathers, and exchange with the same readiness 
a broadside of shots and thrusts of boarding-pikes, or a bale of goods and a bag 
of rupees." (The English in Western India.) We have risen in a degree above 
such low standard of estimation ; still, incredible as it may appear to the Frank 
himself, it is no less true, that the Frank everywhere in the East is considered 
a contemptible being , and dangerous withal. As regards Indian opinion con- 
cerning our government, my belief is, that in and immediately about the three 
presidencies, where the people owe every thing to and hold every thing by our 
rule, it is popular. At the same time I am convinced that in other places the 
people would most willingly hail any change. And how can we hope it to be 
otherwise, — we, a nation of strangers, aliens to the country's customs and creed, 
who, even while resident in India, act the part which absentees do in other 
lands? Where, in the history of the world, do we read that such foreign 
dominion ever made itself loved ? 


court from a counsel at a concert, a sea captain at a 
club dinner from a sea captain on his quarter deck. 
Then he will discover that the English are not brave, 
nor clever, nor generous, nor civilised, nor anything 
but surpassing rogues; that every official takes bribes, 
that their manners are utterly offensive, and that they 
are rank infidels. Then he will descant complacently 
upon the probability of a general Bartholomew's day 
in the East, and look forward to the hour when en- 
lightened young India will arise and drive the "foul 
invader" from the land.* Then he will submit his 
political opinions nakedly, that India should be wrested 
from the Company and given to the Queen, or taken 
from the Queen and given to the French. If the 
Indian has been a European traveller, so much the 
worse for you. He has blushed to own, — explaining, 
however, conquest by bribery, — that 50,000 English- 
men hold 150,000,000 of his compatriots in thrall, and 
for aught you know, republicanism may have become 
his idol. He has lost all fear of the white face, and, 
having been accustomed to unburden his mind in 

"The land where, girt by friend or foe, 
A man may say the thing he will," 

he pursues the same course in other countries, where 
it is exceedingly misplaced. His doctrines of liberty 
and equality he applies to you personally and prac- 
tically, by not rising when you enter or leave the 
room, — at first you could scarcely induce him to sit 

* Note to Third Edition. — This was written three years before the Indian 
Mutiny. I also sent in to the Court of Directors a much stronger report — for 
which I duly suffered. 


down, — by not offering you his pipe, by turning away 
when you address him, — in fact, by a variety of similar 
small affronts which none know better to manage skil- 
fully and with almost impalpable gradations. If, — and 
how he prays for it! — an opportunity of refusing you 
any thing^presents itself, he does it with an air. 

"In rice strength, 
In an Indian manliness," 

say the Arabs. And the Persians apply the following 
pithy tale to their neighbours. " Brother ," said the 
leopard to the jackal, "I crave a few of thy cast-off 
hairs; I want them for medicine (for an especial pur- 
pose, an urgent occasion); where can I find them?" 
"Wallah!" replied the jackal, "I don't exactly know — 
I seldom change my coat — I wander about the hills. 
Allah is bounteous — (' Allah Karim!' said to a beggar 
when you do not intend to be bountiful) — brother! 
hairs are not so easily shed." 

Woe to the unhappy Englishman, Pasha, or private 
soldier, who must serve an Eastern lord! Worst of all, 
if the master be an Indian who, hating all Europeans, 
adds an especial spite to Oriental coarseness, treachery, 
and tyranny. Even the experiment of associating with 
them is almost too hard to bear. But a useful de- 
duction may be drawn from such observations; and as 
few have had greater experience than myself, I venture 
to express my opinion with confidence, however un- 
popular or unfashionable it may be. 

I am convinced that the natives of India cannot 
respect a European who mixes with them familiarly, or 


especially who imitates their customs, manners, and 
dress. The tight pantaloons, the authoritative voice, 
the pococurante manner, and the broken Hindostani 
impose upon them — have a weight which learning and 
honesty, which wit and courage, have not. This is to 
them the master's attitude: they bend to it like those 
Scythian slaves that faced the sword but fled from the 
horsewhip. Such would never be the case amongst a 
brave people, the Afghan for instance. And for the 
same reason it is not so, we read, with "White Plume" 
the North American Indian. "The free trapper com- 
bines in the eye of an Indian (American) girl, all that 
is dashing and heroic, in a warrior of her own race, 
whose gait and garb and bravery he emulates, with all 
that is gallant and glorious in the white man." There 
is but one cause for this phenomenon; the "imbelles 
Indi" are still, with few exceptions, a cowardly and 
slavish people, who would raise themselves by depre- 
ciating those superior to them in the scale of the crea- 
tion. The Afghans and American aborigines, being 
chivalrous races, rather exaggerate the valour of their 
foes, because by so doing they exalt their own. 



Life in the Wakaleh. 

The "Wakaleh," as the Caravanserai or Khan is 
called in Egypt, combines the offices of hotel, lodging- 
house, and store. It is at Cairo, as at Constantinople, 
a massive pile of buildings surrounding a quadrangular 
"Hosh" or court-yard. On the ground-floor are rooms 
like caverns for merchandise, and shops of different 
kinds — tailors, cobblers, bakers, tobacconists, fruiterers, 
and others. A roofless gallery or a covered verandah, 
into which all the apartments open, runs round the 
first and sometimes the second story; the latter, how- 
ever, is usually exposed to the sun and wind. The 
accommodations consist of sets of two or three rooms, 
generally an inner one and an outer; the latter con- 
tains a hearth for cooking, a bathing-place, and similar 
necessaries. The staircases are high, narrow, and ex- 
ceedingly dirty, dark at night and often in bad repair; 
a goat or donkey is tethered upon the different 
landings; here and there a fresh skin is stretched in 
process of tanning, and the smell reminds the veteran 
traveller of those closets in the old French inns where 
cat used to be prepared for playing the part of jugged 
hare. The interior is unfurnished; even the pegs upon 
which clothes are hung have been pulled down for 
firewood: the walls are bare but for stains, thick cob- 
webs depend in festoons from the blackened rafters of 


the ceiling, and the stone floor would disgrace a 
civilised prison: the windows are huge apertures care- 
fully barred with wood or iron, and in rare places 
show remains of glass or paper pasted over the frame- 
work. In the court-yard the poorer sort of travellers 
consort with tethered beasts of burden, beggars howl, 
and slaves lie basking and scratching themselves upon 
mountainous heaps of cotton bales and other mer- 

This is not a tempting picture, yet is the Wakaleh 
a most amusing place, presenting a succession of 
scenes which would delight lovers of the Dutch school 
— a rich exemplification of the grotesque, and what is 
called by artists the "dirty picturesque." 

I could find no room in the Wakaleh Khan Khalil 
(the Long's, or Meurice's, of native Cairo) ; I was there- 
fore obliged to put up with the Jemaliyeh, a Greek 
quarter, swarming with drunken Christians, and there- 
fore about as fashionable as Oxford Street or Covent 
Garden. Even for this I had to wait a week. The 
pilgrims were flocking to Cairo, and to none other 
would the prudent hotel keepers open their doors, for 
the following sufficient reasons. When you enter a 
Wakaleh, the first thing you have to do is to pay a 
small sum, varying from two to five shillings, for the 
Miftah (the key). This is generally equivalent to a 
month's rent; so the sooner you leave the house the 
better for it. I was obliged to call myself a Turkish 
pilgrim in order to get possession of two most com- 
fortless rooms, which I afterwards learned were 


celebrated for making travellers ill, and I had to pay 
eighteen piastres for the key and eighteen ditto per 
mensem for rent, besides five piastres to the man who 
swept and washed the place. So that for this month 
my house hire amounted to nearly four-pence a day. 

But I was fortunate enough in choosing the Jema- 
liyeh Wakaleh, for I found a friend there. On board 
the steamer a fellow-voyager, seeing me sitting alone 
and therefore as he conceived in discomfort, placed 
himself by my side and opened a hot fire of kind in- 
quiries. He was a man about forty-five, of middle 
size, with a large round head closely shaven, a bull- 
neck, limbs sturdy as a Saxon's, a thin red beard, and 
handsome features beaming with benevolence. A 
curious dry humour he had, delighting in "quizzing," 
but in so quiet, solemn, and quaint a way that before 
you knew him you could scarcely divine his drift. 

"Thank Allah, we carry a doctor!" said my friend 
more than once, with apparent fervour of gratitude, 
after he had discovered my profession. I was fairly 
taken in by the pious ejaculation, and some days 
elapsed before the drift of his remark became ap- 

"You doctors," he explained when we were more 
intimate, "what do you do? a man goes to you for 
ophthalmia. It is a purge, a blister, and a drop in the 
eye! Is it for fever? well! a purge and Kinakina 
(quinine). For dysentery? a purge and extract of opium. 
Wallah! I am as good a physician as the best of you," 
he would add with a broad grin, "if I only knew the 


Dirhambirhams — drams and drachms — and a few 
break-jaw Arabic names of diseases." 

Haji Wali therefore emphatically advised me to 
make bread by honestly teaching languages. "We are 
doctor-ridden," said he, and I found it was the case. 

When we lived under the same roof, the Haji and 
I became fast friends. During the day we called on 
each other frequently, we dined together, and passed 
the evening in a Mosque, or some other place of 
public pastime. Coyly at first, but less guardedly as 
we grew bolder, we smoked the forbidden weed 
"Hashish," conversing lengthily the while about that 
world of which I had seen so much. Originally from 
Russia, he also had been a traveller, and in his 
wanderings he had cast off most of the prejudices of 
his people. "I believe in Allah and his Prophet, and 
in nothing else," was his sturdy creed; he rejected 
alchemy, genii and magicians, and truly he had a most 
unoriental distaste for tales of wonder. When I en- 
tered the Wakaleh, he constituted himself my Cicerone, 
and especially guarded me against the cheating of 
tradesmen. By his advice I laid aside the Dervish's 
gown, the large blue pantaloons, and the short shirt, 
in fact all connection with Persia and the Persians. 
"If you persist in being an Ajemi," said the Haji, "you 
will get yourself into trouble; in Egypt you will be 
cursed, in Arabia you will be beaten because you are 
a heretic, you will pay the treble of what other 
travellers do, and if you fall sick you may die by the 
road-side." After long deliberation about the choice 


of nations I became a "Pathan." Born in India of 
Afghan parents, who had settled in the country, edu- 
cated at Rangoon, and sent out to wander, as men of 
that race frequently are, from early youth, I was well 
guarded against the danger of detection by a fellow- 
countryman. To support the character requires a 
knowledge of Persian, Hindostani, and Arabic, all of 
which I knew sufficiently well to pass muster; any 
trifling inaccuracy was charged upon my long residence 
at Rangoon. This was an important step: the first 
question at the shop, on the camel, and in the Mosque, 
is "What is thy name?" the second "Whence comest 
thou?" This is not generally impertinent, nor intended 
to be annoying ; if, however, you see any evil intention 
in the questioner, you may rather roughly ask him, 
"What may be his maternal parent's name" — equivalent 
to inquiring, Anglic^, in what church his mother was 
married — and escape your difficulties under cover of 
the storm. But this is rarely necessary. I assumed 
the polite pliant manners of an Indian physician, and 
the dress of a small Effendi or gentleman, still, how- 
ever, representing myself to be a Dervish, and fre- 
quenting the places where Dervishes congregate. 
"What business," asked the Haji, "have those reverend 
men with politics or statistics, or any of the informa- 
tion which you are collecting? Call yourself a religious 
wanderer if you like, and let those who ask the object 
of your peregrinations know that you are under a vow 
to visit all the holy places in Islam. Thus you will 
persuade them that you are a man of rank under a 


cloud, and you will receive much more civility than 
perhaps you deserve," concluded my friend with a dry 
laugh. The remark proved his sagacity, and after 
ample experience I had not to repent having been 
guided by his advice. 

Haji Wali, by profession a merchant at Alexandria, 
had accompanied Khudabakhsh the Indian, to Cairo, 
on law-business. He soon explained his affairs to me, 
and as his case brought out certain Oriental peculiarities 
in a striking light, with his permission I offer a few of 
its details. 

My friend was defendant in a suit instituted against 
him in H. B. M's Consular court, Cairo, by one Mo- 
hammed Shafi'a, a scoundrel of the first water. This 
man lived, and lived well, by setting up in business 
at places where his name was not known; he enticed 
the unwary by artful displays of capital, and after suc- 
ceeding in getting credit, he changed residence, car- 
rying off all he could lay hands upon. But swindling 
is a profession of personal danger in uncivilised 
countries, where law punishes pauper debtors by a 
short imprisonment; and where the cheated prefer to 
gratify their revenge by the cudgel or the knife. So 
Mohammed ShafVa, after a few narrow escapes, hit 
upon a prime expedient. Though known to be a 
native of Bokhara — he actually signed himself so in 
his letters — and his appearance at once bespoke his 
origin, he determined to protect himself by a British 
passport. Our officials are sometimes careless enough 
in distributing these documents, and by so doing, they 


expose themselves to a certain loss of reputation at 
Eastern courts*; still Mohammed Shafi'a found some 
difficulties in effecting his fraud. To recount all his 
Reynardisms would weary the reader; suffice it to say 
that by proper management of the subalterns in the 
consulate, he succeeded without ruining himself. Armed 
with this new defence, he started boldly for Jeddah 
on the Arabian coast. Having entered into partner- 
ship with Haji Wali, whose confidence he had won 
by prayers, fastings, and pilgrimages, he openly traf- 
ficked in slaves, sending them to Alexandria for sale, 
and writing with matchless impudence to his cor- 
respondent that he would dispose of them in person, 
but for fear of losing his British passport and pro- 

An unlucky adventure embroiled this worthy 
British subject with Faraj Yusuf, the principal mer- 
chant of Jeddah, and also an English protege. 
Fearing so powerful an adversary, Mohammed ShafVa 
packed up his spoils and departed for Egypt. Presently 
he quarrels with his former partner, thinking him a 

* For the simple reason that no Eastern power confers such an obligation 
except for value received. In old times, when official honor was not so rigorous 
as it is now, the creditors of Eastern powers and principalities would present 
high sums to British Residents and others for the privilege of being enrolled in 
the list of their subjects or servants. This they made profitable ; for their 
claims, however exorbitant , when backed by a name of fear, were certain to be 
admitted , unless the Resident's conscience would allow of his being persuaded 
by weightier arguments of a similar nature to abandon his protege. 

It is almost needless to remark that nothing of the kind can occur in the 
present day, and at the same time that throughout the Eastern world it is firmly 
believed that such things are of daily occurrence. Ill fame descends to distant 
generations ; whilst good deeds, if they blossom, as we are told, in the dust, are 
at least as short lived as they are sweet. ; , 


soft man, and claims from him a debt of 165/. He 
supports his pretensions by a document and four wit- 
nesses, £ who are ready to swear that the receipt in 
question was "signed, sealed, and delivered" by Haji 
Wali. The latter adduces his books to show that ac- 
counts have been settled, and he can prove that the 
witnesses in question are paupers, therefore, not legal; 
moreover, each has received from the plaintiff two 
dollars, the price of perjury. 

Now had such a suit been carried into a Turkish 
court of justice, it would very sensibly have been 
settled by the bastinado, for Haji Wali was a re- 
spectable merchant, and Mohammed Shafi'a a notorious 
swindler. But the latter was a British subject, which 
notably influenced the question. The more to annoy 
his adversary, he went up to Cairo, and began pro- 
ceedings there, hoping by this acute step to receive 
part payment of his demand. 

* Arrived at Cairo Mohammed ShafVa applied him- 
self stoutly to the task of bribing all who could be 
useful to him, distributing shawls and piastres with 
great generosity. He secured the services of an effi- 
cient lawyer, and, determining to enlist heaven itself 
in his cause, he passed the Ramazan ostentatiously, 
he fasted, and he slaughtered sheep to feed the poor. 

Meanwhile Haji Wali, a simple truth-telling man, 
who could never master the rudiments of that art, 
which teaches man to blow hot and to blow cold with 
the same breath, had been persuaded to visit Cairo by 
Khudabakhsh, the wily Indian, who promised to in- 

Mecca and Medina. I, 4 


trodiice him to influential persons, and to receive him 
in his house till he could provide himself with a 
lodging at the Wakaleh. But Mohammed ShafVa, who 
had once been in partnership with the Indian, and 
who possibly knew more than was fit to meet the 
public ear, found this out, and, partly by begging, 
partly by bullying, persuaded Khudabakhsh to transfer 
the influential introductions to himself. Then the 
Hakim Abdullah — your humble servant — appears upon 
the scene : he has travelled in Feringistan, he has seen 
many men and their cities, he becomes an intimate 
and an adviser of the Haji, and he finds out evil 
passages in Mohammed ShafiVs life. Upon which 
Khudabakhsh ashamed, or rather afraid of his du- 
plicity, collects his Indian friends. The Hakim Ab- 
dullah draws up a petition addressed to Mr. Walne, 
H. B. M's Consul, by the Indian merchants and 
others resident at Cairo, informing him of Mohammed 
ShafiVs birth, character, and occupation as a vendor 
of slaves, offering proof of all assertions, and praying 
him for the sake of their good name to take away his 
passport. And all the Indians affix their seals to this 
paper. Then Mohammed ShafVa threatens to waylay 
and to beat the Haji. The Haji, not loud or hector- 
ingly, but with a composed smile, advises his friends 
to hold him off. 

One would suppose that such a document would 
have elicited some inquiry. 

But Haji Wali was a Persian prot6g6, and pro- 
ceedings between the consulates had commenced be- 


Fore the petition was presented. The pseudo-British 
subject, having been acknowledged as a real one, must 
be supported. Consuls, like kings, may err, but must 
not own to error. No notice was taken of the Indian 
petition; worse still, no inquiry into the slave-affair 
was set on foot, and it was discovered that the pass- 
port having been granted by a Consul-general could 
not with official etiquette be resumed by a Consul. 
Yet at the time there was at Alexandria an acting 
Consul-general, to whom the case could with strict 
propriety have been referred. 

Thus matters were destined to proceed as they 
began. Mohammed Shafi'a had offered 5,000 piastres 
to the Persian Consul's interpreter; this of course was 
refused, but still somehow or other all the Haji's 
affairs seemed to go wrong. His statements were mis- 
translated, his accounts were misunderstood, and the 
suit was allowed to drag on to a suspicious length. 
When I [left Cairo in July Haji Wali had been kept 
away nearly two months from his business and family, 
though both parties — for the plaintiff's purse was 
rapidly thinning — appeared eager to settle the difference 
by arbitration: when I returned from Arabia in October 
matters were almost in statu quo ant£, and when I 
started for India in January, the proceedings had not 

Such is a brief history, but too common, of a case 
in which the subject of an Eastern state has to contend 
against British influence. It is doubtless a point of 
honor to defend our proteges from injustice, but the 



higher principle should rest upon the base of common 
honesty. The worst part of such a case is, that the 
injured party has no redress. 

" Fiat zwjustitia, mat coelum," 

js the motto of his "natural protectors," who would 
violate every law to gratify the false pride of a petty 
English official. And, saving the rare exceptions 
where rank or wealth command consideration, with 
what face, to use the native phrase, would a hapless 
Turk appeal to the higher powers, our ministers or our 

After lodging myself in the Wakaleh, my first ob- 
ject was to make a certain stir in the world. In Europe 
your travelling doctor advertises the loss of a diamond 
ring, the gift of a Russian autocrat, or he monopolises 
a whole column in a newspaper, feeing perhaps a title 
for the use of a signature; the large brass plate, the 
gold-headed cane, the rattling chariot, and the sum- 
mons from the sermon complete the work. Here, 
there is no such royal road to medical fame. You 
must begin by sitting with the porter, who is sure to 
have blear eyes, into which you drop a little nitrate 
of silver, whilst you instil into his ear the pleasing in- 
telligence that you never take a fee from the poor. 
He recovers; his report of you spreads far and wide, 
crowding your doors with paupers. They come to you 
as though you were their servant, and when cured, 
they turn their backs upon you for ever. Hence it is 
that European doctors generally complain of ingratitude 


on the part of their Oriental patients. It is true that 
if you save a man's life he naturally asks you for the 
means of preserving it. Moreover, in none of the 
Eastern languages with which I am acquainted, is there 
a single term conveying the meaning of our "gratitude/' 
and none but Germans have ideas unexplainable by 
words. But you must not condemn this absence of a 
virtue without considering the cause. An Oriental 
deems that he has a right to your surplus. "Daily 
bread is divided" (by heaven), he asserts, and eating 
yours, he considers it his own. Thus it is with other 
things. He is thankful to Allah for the gifts of the 
Creator, but he has a claim to the good offices of a 
fellow creature. In rendering him a service you have 
but done your duty, and he would not pay you so 
poor a compliment as to praise you for the act. He 
leaves you, his benefactor, with a short prayer for the 
length of your days. "Thank you," being expressed 
by "Allah increase thy weal!" or the selfish wish that 
your shadow (with which you protect him and his 
fellows) may never be less. And this is probably the 
last you hear of him. 

There is a discomfort in such proceedings, a 
reasonable, a metaphysical coldness, uglily contrasting 
in theory with the genial warmth which a little more 
heart would infuse into them. In theory, I say, not in 
practice. What can be more troublesome than, when 
you have obliged a man, to run the gauntlet of his 
and his family's thanksgivings, — to find yourself be- 
come a master from being a friend, a great man when 


you were an equal; nQt to be contradicted, where 
shortly before every one gave his opinion freely? You 
must be unamiable if these considerations deter you 
from benefiting your friend, yet, I humbly opine, you 
still may fear his gratefulness. 

To resume. When the mob has raised you to 
fame, patients of a better class will slowly appear on 
the scene. After some coquetting about "etiquette," 
whether you are to visit them, or they are to call upon 
you, they make up their minds to see you, and to 
judge with their eyes whether you are to be trusted or 
not; whilst you, on your side, set out with the deter- 
mination that they shall at once cross the Rubicon, — 
in less classical phrase, swallow your drug. If you 
visit the house, you insist upon the patient's servants 
attending you; he must also provide and pay an ass 
for your conveyance, no matter if it be only to the 
other side of the street. Your confidential man ac- 
companies you, primed for replies to the "fifty search- 
ing questions" of the servants' hall. You are lifted 
off the saddle tenderly, as nurses dismount their 
charges, when you arrive at the gate, and you waddle 
up stairs with dignity. Arrived at the sick room, you 
salute those present with a general "Peace be upon 
you!" to which they respond, "And upon thee be the 
peace and the mercy of Allah, and his blessing!" To 
the invalid you say, "There is nothing the matter, 
please Allah, except the health;" to which the proper 
answer — for here every sign of ceremony has its counter- 
sign—is, "May Allah give thee health!" Then you 


sit down, and acknowledge the presence of the com«j 
pany by raising your right hand to your lips and fore- 
head, bowing the while circularly; each individual re- 
turns the civility by a similar gesture. Then inquiry 
about the state of your health ensues. Then you are 
asked what refreshment you will take: you studiously 
mention something not likely to be in the house, but 
at last you rough it with a pipe and a cup of coffee. 
Then you proceed to the patient, who extends his 
wrist, and asks you what his complaint is. Then you 
examine his tongue, you feel his pulse, you look 
learned, and — he is talking all the time — after hearing 
a detailed list of all his ailments, you gravely discover 
them, taking for the same as much praise to yourself 
as does the practising phrenologist, for a similar simple 
exercise of the reasoning faculties. The disease, to be 
respectable, must invariably be connected with one of 
the four temperaments, or the four elements, or the 
"humors of Hippocrates." Cure is easy, but it will 
take time, and you, the doctor, require attention; any 
little rudeness it is in your power to punish by an 
alteration in the pill, or the powder, and, so unknown 
is professional honor, that none will brave your dis- 

If you would pass for a native practitioner, you 
must finally proceed to the most uncomfortable part of 
your visit, bargaining for fees. Nothing more effectually 
arouses suspicion than disinterestedness in a doctor, I 
once cured a rich Hazramaut merchant of rheumatism, 
and neglected to make him pay for treatment; he 


carried off one of my coffee cups, and was unceasingly- 
wondering where I came from. So I made him 
produce five piastres, a shilling, which he threw upon 
the carpet, cursing Indian avarice. "You will bring 
on another illness," said my friend, the Haji, when he 
heard of it. Properly speaking, the fee for a visit to 
a respectable man is 20 piastres, but with the rich 
patient you begin by making a bargain. He complains, 
for instance, of dysentery and sciatica. You demand 
10/. for the dysentery, and 20L for the sciatica. But 
you will rarely get it. The Eastern pays a doctor's bill 
as an Oirishman does his "rint," making a grievance 
of it. Your patient will show indisputable signs of 
convalescence: he will laugh and jest half the day; but 
the moment you appear, groans and a lengthened 
visage, and pretended complaints welcome you. Then 
your way is to throw out some such hint as 

"The world is a carcass, and they who seek it are dogs." 

And you refuse to treat the second disorder, which 
conduct may bring the refractory one to his senses. 

"Dat Galenus opes," however, is a Western apo- 
thegm: the utmost "Jalinus" can do for you here is to 
provide you with the necessaries and the comforts of 
life. Whatever you prescribe must be solid and 
material, and if you accompany it with something 
painful, such as rubbing unto scarification with a horse 
brush, so much the better. Easterns, as our peasants 
in Europe, like the doctor to "give them the value of 
their money." Besides which, rough measures act 


beneficially upon their imagination. So the Hakim of 
the King of Persia cured fevers by the bastinado; 
patients are beneficially baked in a bread-oven at 
Baghdad; and an Egyptian at Alexandria, whose quar- 
tan resisted the strongest appliances of European 
physic, was effectually healed by the actual cautery, 
which a certain Arab Shaykh applied to the crown of 
his head. 

When you administer with your own hand the 
remedy — half-a-dozen huge bread pills, dipped in a 
solution of aloes or cinnamon water, flavoured with 
assafcetida, which in the case of the dyspeptic rich 
often suffice, if they will but diet themselves — you are 
careful to say, "In the name of Allah, the Compas- 
sionate, the Merciful." And after the patient has been 
dosed, "Praise be to Allah, the Curer, the Healer;" 
you then call for pen, ink, and paper, and write some 
such prescription as this — 


(A monogram generally placed at the head of 
writings. It is the initial letter of "Allah," and the 
first of the Alphabet, used from time immemorial to 
denote the origin of creation. "I am Alpha and Omega, 
the first and the last.") 

"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the 
Merciful, and blessings and peace be upon our Lord 
the Apostle, and his family, and his companions one 
and all! But afterwards let him take bees'-honey and 
cinnamon and album graecum, of each half a part, and 


of ginger a whole part, which let him pound and mix 
with the honey, and form boluses, each bolus the 
weight of a Miskal, and of it let him use every day a 
Miskal on the saliva (that is to say, fasting — the first 
thing in the morning). Verily its effects are wonder- 
ful! And let him abstain from flesh, fish, vegetables, 
sweetmeats, flatulent food, acids of all descriptions, as 
well as the major ablution, and live in perfect quiet. 
So shall he be cured by the help of the King the 
Healer (i. e. the Almighty). And the peace (W'as- 
salam, u e. adieu)." 

The diet, I need scarcely say, should be rigorous; 
nothing has tended more to bring the European system 
of medicine into contempt among orientals than our 
inattention to this branch of the therapeutic art. When 
a Hindi or Hindu " takes medicine," he prepares him- 
self for it by diet and rest two or three days before 
adhibition, and as gradually, after the dose, he relapses 
into his usual habits; if he break though the regime 
it is concluded that fatal results must ensue. The 
ancient Egyptians, we learn from Herodotus, devoted a 
certain number of days in each month to the use of 
alteratives, and the period was consecutive, doubtless 
in order to graduate the strength of the medicine. 
The Persians, when under salivation, shut themselves 
up in a warm room; never undress, and so carefully 
guard against cold that they even drink tepid water. 
When the Afghan princes find it necessary to employ 
Chob-Chini, (the Jin-seng, or China root so celebrated! 


as a purifier, tonic, and aphrodisiac) they choose the 
spring season; they remove to a garden, where flowers 
and trees and bubbling streams soothe their senses; 
they carefully avoid fatigue and trouble of all kinds, 
and will not even hear a letter read, lest it should 
contain bad news. 

When the prescription is written out, you affix an 
impression of your ring seal to the beginning and to 
the end of it, that no one may be able to add to or 
to take from its contents. And when you send medi- 
cine to a patient of rank, who is sure to have enemies, 
you adopt some similar precaution against the box or 
the bottle being opened. One of the Pashas whom I 
attended, — a brave soldier who had been a favourite 
with Mohammed Ali, and therefore was degraded by 
his successor, — kept an impression of my ring in wax, 
to compare with*that upon the phials. Men have not 
forgotten how frequently, in former times, those who 
became obnoxious to the state were seized with sudden 
and fatal cramps in the stomach. In the case of the 
doctor it is common prudence to adopt these precau- 
tions, as all evil consequences would be charged upon 
him, and he would be exposed to the family's re- 

Cairo, though abounding in medical practitioners, 
can still support more; but to thrive they must be In- 
dians, or Chinese, or Maghrabis. The Egyptians are 
thoroughly disgusted with European treatment, which 
is here about as efficacious as in India — that is to say, 
not at all, But they are ignorant of the medicine of 


Hind, and therefore great is its name; deservedly per- 
haps, for skill in simples and dietetics. Besides which 
the Indian may deal in charms and spells, — things to 
which the latitude gives such force that even Europeans 
learn to put faith in them. The traveller who, on the 
banks of the Seine, scoffs at Sights and Sounds, Table- 
turning and Spirit-rapping, in the wilds of Tartary and 
Thibet sees a something supernatural and diabolical 
in the bungling Sie-fa of the Bokte* Some sensible 
men, who pass for philosophers among their friends, 
have been caught by the incantations of the turbaned 
and bearded Cairo magician. In our West African 
colonies the phrase "growing black," was applied to 
colonists, who, after a term of residence, became 
thoroughly imbued with the superstitions of the land. 
And there are not wanting old English Indians, in- 
telligent men, that place firm trust in tales and tenets 
too puerile even for the Hindus to believe. As a 
"Hindi" I could use animal magnetism, taking care, 
however, to give the science a specious supernatural 
appearance. Haji Wali, who, professing positive scep- 
ticism, showed the greatest interest in the subject as a 
curiosity, advised me not to practise pure mesmerism; 
otherwise, that I should infallibly become a "Com- 
panion of Devils." "You must call this an Indian 
secret," said my friend, "for it is clear that you are no 
Mashaikh (holy man), and people will ask, where are 
your drugs, and what business have you with charms'?" 
It is useless to say that I followed his counsel; yet 

* See M. Hue's Travels. 


patients would consider themselves my disciples, and 
delighted in kissing the hand of the Sahib Nafas or 
minor saint. 

The Haji repaid me for my docility by vaunting 
me everywhere as the very phcenix of physicians. My 
first successes were in the Wakaleh; opposite to me 
there lived an Arab slave dealer, whose Abyssinians 
constantly fell sick. A tender race, they suffer when 
first transported to Egypt from many complaints, 
especially consumption, dysentery and varicose veins. 
I succeeded in curing one girl. As she was worth at 
least fifteen pounds, the gratitude of her owner was 
great, and I had to dose half a dozen others in order 
to cure them of the pernicious and price-lowering 
habit of snoring. Living in rooms opposite these slave 
girls, and seeing them at all hours of the day and 
night, I had frequent opportunities of studying them. 
They were average specimens of the steatopygous 
Abyssinian breed, broad-shouldered, thin-flanked, fine- 
limbed, and with haunches of a prodigious size. None 
of them had handsome features, but the short curly 
hair that stands on end being concealed under a ker- 
chief, there was something pretty in the brow, eyes 
and upper part of the nose, coarse and sensual in the 
pendent lips, large jowl and projecting mouth, whilst 
the whole had a combination of piquancy with sweet- 
ness. Their style of flirtation was peculiar. 

"How beautiful thou art, O Maryam! — what eyes! 
— what— " 


"Then why," — would respond the lady — "don't you 
buy me?" 

"We are of one faith — of one creed — formed to 
form each other's happiness." 

"Then why don't you buy me!" 

"Conceive, O Maryam, the blessing of two 
hearts — " 

"Then why don't you buy me?" 

And so on. Most effectual gag to Cupid's eloquence ! 
Yet was not the plain-spoken Maryam's reply without 
its moral. How often is it our fate in the West, as in 
the East, to see in bright eyes and to hear from rosy 
lips an implied, if not an expressed, "Why don't you 
buy me?" or, worse still, "Why carit you buy me?" 

All I required in return for my services from the 
slave dealer, whose brutal countenance and manners 
were truly repugnant, was to take me about the town, 
and explain to me certain mysteries in his craft, which 
knowledge might be useful in time to come. I have, 
however, nothing new to report concerning the present 
state of bondsmen in Egypt. England has already 
learned that slaves are not necessarily the most 
wretched and degraded of men. Some have been 
bold enough to tell the British public, that, in the 
generality of Oriental countries, the serf fares far better 
than the servant, or indeed than the poorer orders of 
freemen. "The laws of Mahomet enjoin his followers 
to treat slaves with the greatest mildness, and the 
Moslems are in general scrupulous observers of the 
Prophet's recommendation. Slaves are considered 


members of the family, and in houses where free ser- 
vants are kept besides, they seldom do any other work 
than filling the pipes, presenting the coffee, accom- 
panying their master when going out, rubbing his feet 
when he takes his nap in the afternoon, and driving 
away the flies from him. When a slave is not satisfied, 
he can legally compel his master to sell him. He has 
no care for food, lodging, clothes and washing, and 
has no taxes to pay; he is exempt from military service 
and socage, and in spite of his bondage is freer than 
the freest Fellah in Egypt." This is, I believe, a true 
statement, but of course it in nowise affects the ques- 
tion of slavery in the abstract. A certain amount of 
reputation was the consequence of curing the Abys- 
sinian girls: my friend Haji Wali carefully told the 
news to all the town, and before fifteen days were 
over, I found myself obliged to decline extending a 
practice which threatened me with fame. 

Servants are most troublesome things to all English- 
men in Egypt, but especially to one travelling as a 
respectable native, and therefore expected to have 
slaves. After much deliberation, I resolved to take a 
Berberi or Native of Upper Egypt, and accordingly 
summoned a Shaykh — there is a Shaykh for every 
thing down to thieves in Asia — and made known my 
want. The list of sine qui nons was necessarily rather 
extensive, good health and a readiness to travel any- 
where, a little skill in cooking, sewing and washing, 
willingness to fight, and a habit of regular prayers. 

After a day's delay the Shaykh brought me a 


specimen of his choosing, a broad-shouldered, bandy- 
legged fellow, with the usual bull-dog expression of 
the Berberis, in his case rendered doubly expressive 
by the drooping of an eyelid — an accident brought 
about with acrid juice in order to avoid conscription. 
He responded sturdily to all my questions. Some 
Egyptian donkey boys and men were making a noise 
in the room at the time, and the calm ferocity with 
which he ejected them commanded my approval. 
When a needle, thread, and an unhemmed napkin 
were handed to him, he sat down, held the edge of 
the cloth between his big toe and its neighbour, and 
finished the work in superior style. Walking out he 
armed himself with a Kurbaj, which he used, now 
lightly, then heavily, upon all laden animals, biped 
and quadruped, that came in the way. His conduct 
proving equally satisfactory in the kitchen, after getting 
security from him, and having his name registered by 
the Shaykh, — who becomes responsible, and must pay 
for any theft his protege may commit, — I closed with 
him for eighty piastres a month. But Ali the Berberi 
and I were destined to part. Before a fortnight he 
stabbed his fellow servant — a Surat lad, who wishing 
to return home forced his services upon me, and for 
this trick he received, with his dismissal, 400 blows on 
the feet by order of the Zabit, or police magistrate. 

After this failure I tried a number of servants, 
Egyptians, Saidis, and clean- and unclean-eating Ber- 
beris. Recommended by different Shaykhs all had 
some fatal defect: one cheated recklessly, another 


robbed me, a third drank, a fourth was always in 
scrapes for infringing the Julian edict, and the last, a 
long-legged Nubian, after remaining two days in the 
house, dismissed me for expressing my determination to 
travel by sea from Suez to Yambu. I kept one man; 
he complained that he was worked to death: two — 
they did nothing but fight; and three — they left me, 
as Mr. Elwes said of old, to serve myself. 

At last, thoroughly tired of Egyptian domestics, 
and one servant being really sufficient for comfort, as 
well as suitable to my assumed rank, I determined to 
keep only the Indian boy. He had all the defects of 
his .nation; a brave at Cairo, he was an arrant coward 
at El Medina; and the Bedawin despised him heartily 
for his effeminacy in making his camel kneel to dis- 
mount. But the choice had its advantages: his swarthy 
skin and chubby features made the Arabs always call 
him an Abyssinian slave, which, as it favoured my 
disguise, I did not care to contradict; he served well, 
he was amenable to discipline and, being completely 
dependent upon me, he was therefore less likely to 
watch and especially to prate about my proceedings. 
As master and man we performed the pilgrimage to- 
gether; but, on my return to Egypt after the pilgrimage, 
Shaykh, become Haji Nur, finding me to be a Sahib 
or English official, changed for the worse. He would 
not work, and he reserved all his energy for the pur- 
pose of pilfering, which he practised so audaciously 
upon my friends, as well as upon myself, that he could 
not be kept in the house. 

Mecca and Medina* I. 5 



Perhaps the reader may be curious to see the ne- 
cessary expenses of a bachelor residing at Cairo. He 
must, observe, however, in the following list that I 
was not a strict economist, and, besides that, I was a 
stranger in the country: inhabitants and old settlers 
would live as well for little more than two-thirds 
the sum. 



House rent at 3 

c8 piastres per mensem 


Servant at 80 piastres per do. 



Breakfast for 

- 10 eggs 


self and < 

Water melon 



. Two rolls of bread 


/ 2 lbs. of meat 



Two rolls of bread 


Dinner. * 

Vegetables . 





. Oil and clarified butter 


' A skin of Nile water 

, X 

Sundries. i 




Hammam, (hot bath) . 




I 12 


equal to about two shi 

llings and 


In these days who at Cairo without a Shaykh? I 
thought it right to conform to popular custom, and 
accordingly, after having secured a servant, my efforts 
were directed to finding a teacher — the pretext being 
that as an Indian doctor I wanted to read Arabic 
works on medicine, as well as to perfect myself in 
divinity and pronunciation. My theological studies 
were in the Shafe'i school for two reasons: in the first 
place, it is the least rigorous of the Four Orthodox, 
and, secondly, it most resembles the Shi'ah heresy, 
with which long intercourse with Persians had made 


me familiar. My choice of doctrine, however, con- 
firmed those around me in their conviction that I was 
a rank heretic, for the Ajemi, taught by his religion to 
conceal offensive tenets in lands where the open ex- 
pression would be dangerous, always represents himself 
to be a Shafe'i. This, together with the original mis- 
take of appearing publicly at Alexandria as a Mirza in 
a Persian dress, caused me infinite small annoyance at 
Cairo, in spite of all precautions and contrivances. 
And throughout my journey, even in Arabia, though I 
drew my knife every time an offensive hint was thrown 
out, the ill-fame clung to me like the shirt of Nessus. 

It was not long before I happened to hit upon a 
proper teacher, in the person of Shaykh Mohammed 
el Attar, or the druggist. He had known prosperity, 
having once been a Khatib (preacher) in one of Mo- 
hammed AH's mosques. But H. H. the late Pasha had 
dismissed him, which disastrous event, with its sub- 
sequent train of misfortunes, he dates from the mel- 
ancholy day when he took to himself a wife. He 
talks of her abroad as a stern and rigid master dealing 
with a naughty slave, though, by the look that accom- 
panies his rhodomontade, I am convinced that at home 
he is the very model of "managed men." His dis- 
missal was the reason that compelled him to fall back 
upon the trade of a druggist, the refuge for the once 
wealthy, though now destitute, Sages of Egypt. 

His little shop in the Jemeliyeh Quarter is a per- 
fect gem of Nilotic queerness. A hole pierced in the 
wall of some house, about five feet long and six deep, 



it is divided into two compartments separated by a 
thin partition of wood, and communicating by a kind 
of arch cut in the boards. The inner box, germ of a 
back parlour, acts store-room, as the pile of empty old 
baskets tossed in dusty confusion upon the dirty floor 
shows. In the front is displayed the stock in trade, 
a matting full of Persian tobacco and pipe bowls of 
red clay, with a palm-leaf bag, containing vile coffee and 
large lumps of coarse, whity-brown sugar wrapped up 
in browner paper. On the shelves and ledges are rows 
of well-thumbed wooden boxes, labelled with the greatest 
carelessness, pepper for rhubarb, arsenic for Tafl or 
wash-clay, and sulphate of iron where sal ammoniac 
should be. There is also a square case containing, 
under lock and key, small change and some choice ar- 
ticles of commerce, damaged perfumes, bad antimony 
for the eyes, and pernicious rouge. And dangling close 
above it is a rusty pair of scales, ill poised enough for 
Egyptian Justice herself to use. To hooks over the 
shop front are suspended reeds for pipes, tallow candles, 
dirty wax tapers and cigarette paper; instead of plate- 
glass windows and brass-handled doors, a ragged net 
keeps 1 away the flies when the master is in, and the 
thieves when he goes out to recite in the Hasanayn 
mosque his daily Chapter, "Ya Sin." A wooden shutter 
which closes down at night-time, and by day two palm- 
stick stools intensely dirty and full of fleas, occupying 
the place of the Mastabah, or earthen bench, which 
once accommodated purchasers, complete the furniture 
of my preceptor's establishment. 


There he sits or rather lies (for verily I believe he 
sleeps through three-fourths of the day), a thin old 
man, about fifty-eight, with features once handsome and 
regular, a sallow face, shaven head, deeply wrinkled 
cheeks, eyes hopelessly bleared, and a rough grey beard 
ignorant of oil and comb. His turban, though large, 
is brown with wear, his coat and small-clothes display 
many a hole, and though his face and hands must be 
frequently washed preparatory to devotion, still they 
have the quality of always looking unclean. It is 
wonderful how fierce and gruff he is to the little boys 
and girls who flock to him grasping farthings for pepper 
and sugar. On such occasions I sit admiring to see 
him, when forced to exertion, wheel about on his 
place, making a pivot of that portion of our organisa- 
tion which mainly distinguishes our species from the 
other families of the Simiadae, to reach some distant 
drawer, or to pull down a case from its accustomed 
shelf. How does he manage to say his prayers, to 
kneel and to prostrate himself over that two feet of 
ragged rug, scarcely sufficient for a British infant to 
lie upon] He hopelessly owns that he knows nothing 
of his craft, and the seats before his shop are seldom 
occupied. His great pleasure appears to be when the 
Haji and I sit by him a few minutes in the evening, 
bringing with us pipes, which he assists us to smoke, 
and ordering coffee, which he insists upon sweetening 
with a lump of sugar from his little store. There we 
make him talk and laugh, and occasionally quote a 
few lines strongly savouring of the jovial: we provoke 


him to long stories about the love borne him in his 
student-days by the great and holy Shaykh Abdul 
Rahman, and the antipathy with which he was re- 
garded by the equally great and holy Shaykh Nasr el 
Din, his memorable single imprisonment for contumacy, 
and the temperate but effective lecture, beginning with 
"O almost entirely destitute of shame!" delivered on 
that occasion in presence of other undergraduates by 
the Right Reverend principal of his college. Then we 
consult him upon matters of doctrine, and quiz him 
tenderly about his powers of dormition, and flatter him, 
or rather his age, with such phrases as, "the water 
from thy hand is of the waters of Zem Zem," or, "we 
have sought thee to deserve the blessings of the wise 
upon our undertakings." Sometimes, with interested 
motives it must be owned, we induce him to accom- 
pany us to the Hammam, where he insists upon paying 
the smallest sum, quarrelling with every thing and 
every body, and giving the greatest trouble. We are 
generally his only visitors; acquaintances he appears 
to have few, and no friends; he must have had them 
once, for he was rich, but he is now poor, so they have 
fallen away from the old man. 

When the Shaykh Mohammed sits with me, or I 
climb up into his little shop for the purpose of re- 
ceiving a lesson from him, he is quite at his ease, read- 
ing when he likes, or making me read, and generally 
beginning each lecture with some such preamble as 
this ; — 

"Aywa! aywa! aywa!" — "even so, even so, even so! 


we take refuge with Allah from the Stoned Fiend! In 
the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, 
and the blessings of Allah upon our lord Mohammed, 
and his family, and his companions one and all! Thus 
saith the author, may Almighty Allah have mercy upon 
him! ' Section I. of chapter two, upon the orders of 
prayers/ &c." 

He becomes fiercely sarcastic when I differ with 
him in opinion, especially upon a point of the grammar, 
or the theology over which his beard has grown grey, 

"Subhan Allah! Allah be glorified! — this is of 
course ironical, 'Allah be praised for creating such a 
prodigy of learning as thou art!' — What words are 
these? If thou be right, enlarge thy turban (i. e. set 
up as a learned man),, and throw away thy drugs, for 
verily it is better to quicken men's souls than to de- 
stroy their bodies, O Abdullah!" 

Oriental-like, he revels in giving good counsel. 

"Thou art always writing, O my brave!" (this is said 
on the few occasions when I venture to make a note 
in my book,) "what evil habit is this? Surely thou 
hast learned it in the lands of the Frank. Repent!" 

He loathes my giving medical advice gratis. 

"Thou hast two servants to feed, O my son! The 
doctors of Egypt never write A, B, without a reward. 
Wherefore art thou ashamed? Better go and sit upon 
the mountain at once (i. e. go to the desert), and say 
thy prayers day and night!" 

And finally he is prodigal of preaching upon the 
subject of household expenses. 


"Thy servant did write down 2 lbs. of flesh yester- 
day! What words are these, O he? — Ya hu, a com- 
mon interpellative, not, perhaps, of the politest de- 
scription — Dost thou never say, i Guard us, Allah, from 
the sin of extravagance?'" 

He delights also in abruptly interrupting a serious 
subject when it begins to weigh upon his spirits. For 

"Now the waters of ablution being of seven different 

kind, it results that hast thou a wife] No? Then 

verily thou must buy thee a female slave, O youth! 

This conduct is not right, and men will say of thee 

Repentance: I take refuge with Allah 'of a truth 

his mouth watereth for the spouses of other Moslems.'" 

But sometimes he nods over a difficult passage 
under my very eyes, or he reads it over a dozen times 
in the wantonness of idleness, or he takes what school- 
boys call a long "shot" most shamelessly at the signifi- 
cation. When this happens I lose my temper, and 
raise my voice, and shout, "Verily there is no power 
nor might save in Allah, the High, the Great!" Then 
he looks at me, and with passing meekness whispers — 

"Fear Allah, Oman!" ' 



The Ramazan. 

* This year the Ramazan befel in June, and a fear- 
ful infliction was that "blessed month," making the 
Moslem unhealthy and unamiable. For the space of 
sixteen consecutive hours and a quarter, we were for- 
bidden to eat, drink, smoke, snuff, and even to swallow 
our saliva designedly. I say forbidden, for although 
the highest orders of Turks, — the class popularly de- 
scribed as 

"Turco fino 
Mangia porco e beve vino" — 

may break the ordinance in strict privacy, popular 
opinion would condemn any open infraction of it with 
uncommon severity. In this, as in most human things, 
how many are there who hold that 

"Pdcher en secret n'est pas pecher, 
Ce n'est que l'eclat qui fait le crime." 

The middle and lower ranks observe the duties of 
the season, however arduous, with exceeding zeal: of 
all who suffered severely from such total abstinence, I 
found but one patient who would eat even to save his 
life. And among the vulgar, sinners who habitually 
drink when they should pray, will fast and perform 
their devotions through the Ramazan. 

Like the Latin, Anglo-Catholic and Greek fasts, 
the chief effect of the "blessed month" upon True 


Believers is to darken their tempers into positive gloom. 
Their voices, never of the softest, acquire, especially- 
after noon, a terribly harsh and creaking tone. The 
men curse one another and beat the women. The 
women slap and abuse the children, and these in their 
turn cruelly entreat, and use bad language to, the dogs 
and cats. You can scarcely spend ten minutes in any 
populous part of the city without hearing some violent 
dispute. The "Karakun," or station-houses, are filled 
with lords who have administered an undue dose of 
chastisement to their ladies, and with ladies who have 
scratched, bitten, and otherwise injured the persons of 
their lords. The Mosques are crowded with a sulky, 
grumbling population, making themselves offensive to 
one another on earth, whilst working their way to 
heaven; and in the shade, under the outer walls, the 
little boys who have been expelled the church attempt 
to forget their miseries in spiritless play. In the bazars 
and streets, pale long-drawn faces, looking for the 
most part intolerably cross, catch your eye, and at this 
season a stranger will sometimes meet with positive 
incivility. A shopkeeper, for instance, usually says 
when he rejects an insufficient offer, Yaftah Allah, 
"Allah opens" viz., the door of daily bread, a 
polite way of informing a man that you and he are 
not likely to do business; in other words, that you 
are not in want of his money. In the Ramazan, he 
will grumble about the bore of Ghashim ("Johnny 
raws"), and gruffly tell you not to stand there wasting 
his time. But as a rule the shops are either shut or 


destitute of shopmen, merchants will not purchase, 
and students will not study. In fine, the Ramazan, 
for many classes, is one twelfth of the year wantonly 
thrown away. 

The following is the routine of a fast day. About 
half an hour after midnight, the gun sounds its warning 
to faithful men that it is time to prepare for the Sahur 
(early breakfast). My servant then wakes me, if I have 
slept, brings water for ablution, spreads the Sufrah or 
leather cloth, and places before me certain remnants 
of the evening's meal. It is some time before the 
stomach becomes accustomed to such hours, but in 
matters of appetite, habit is everything, and for health's 
sake one should strive to eat as plentifully as possible. 
Then sounds the Salam, or Blessings on the Prophet, 
an introduction to the Call of Morning Prayer. Smok- 
ing sundry pipes with tenderness, as if taking leave of 
a friend, and until the second gun, fired at about half 
past two a.m., gives the Imsak, — the order to abstain 
from food, — I wait the Azan, or summons to prayer, 
which in this month is called somewhat earlier than 
usual. Then, after a ceremony termed the Niyat (in- 
tention) of fasting, I say my prayers, and prepare for 
repose. At 7 a.m. the labors of the day begin for the 
working classes of society; the rich spend the night in 
revelling, and rest in down from dawn till noon. 

The first thing on rising is to perform the Wuzu, 
or lesser ablution, which invariably follows sleep in a 
reclining position; without this it would be improper 
to pray, to enter the Mosque, to approach a religious 


man, or to touch the Koran. A few pauper patients 
usually visit me at this hour, report the phenomena of 
their complaints, — which they do, by-the-by, with un- 
pleasant minuteness of detail, — and receive fresh in- 
structions. At 9 a.m. Shaykh Mohammed enters, with 
"lecture" written upon his wrinkled brow, or I pick 
him up on the way, and proceed straight to the Mosque 
el Azhar. After three hours' hard reading with little 
interruption from bystanders, — most of the students 
being at home, — comes the call to mid-day prayer. 
The founder of Islam ordained but few devotions for 
the morning, which is the business part of the Eastern 
day, but during the afternoon and evening they succeed 
one another rapidly, and their length increases. It is 
then time to visit my rich patients, and afterwards, by 
way of accustoming myself to the sun, to wander 
among the bookshops for an hour or two, or simply 
io idle in the street. At 3 p.m. I return home, recite 
the afternoon prayers, and re-apply myself to study. 

This is the worst part of the day. In Egypt the 
summer nights and mornings are, generally speaking, 
pleasant, but the forenoons wax sultry, and the after- 
noons become serious. A wind wafting the fine dust and 
furnace heat of the desert blows over the city, the 
ground returns with interest the showers of caloric 
from above, and not a cloud or a vapour breaks the 
dreary expanse of splendor on high. There being no 
such comforts as Indian tatties, and few but the 
wealthiest houses boasting glass windows, the interior 
of your room is somewhat more fiery than the street. 


Weakened with fasting, the body feels the heat trebly, 
and the disordered stomach almost affects the brain. 
Every minute is counted with morbid fixity of idea as 
it passes on towards the blessed sunset, especially by 
those whose terrible lot is manual labor at such a 
season. A few try to forget their afternoon miseries 
in slumber, but most people take the Kaylulah, or 
Siesta, shortly after the meridian, holding it unwhole- 
some to sleep late in the day. 

As the Maghrib, the sunset hour, approaches — and 
how slowly it comes! — the town seems to recover from 
a trance. People flock to the windows and balconies, 
in order to watch the moment of their release. Some 
pray, others tell their beads, while others, gathering 
together in groups or paying visits, exert themselves 
to while away the lagging time. 

O gladness! at length it sounds, that gun from the 
citadel. Simultaneously rises the sweet cry of the 
Muezzin, calling men to prayer, and the second cannon 
booms from the Abbasiyeh Palace. "El Fitar! el 
Fitar!" fast-breaking! fast-breaking! shout the people, 
and a hum of joy rises from the silent city. Your 
acute ears waste not a moment in conveying the de- 
lightful intelligence to your parched tongue, empty 
stomach, and languid limbs. You exhaust a pot full 
of water, no matter its size. You clap hurried hands 
for a pipe, you order coffee, and, provided with these 
comforts, you sit down, and calmly contemplate the 
coming pleasures of the evening. 

Poor men eat heartily at once. The rich break 


their fast with a light meal, — a little bread and fruit, 
fresh or dry, especially water-melon, sweetmeats, or 
such digestible dishes as "Muhallabeh" — a thin jelly of 
milk, starch, and rice- flour. They then smoke a pipe, 
drink a cup of coffee or a glass of sherbet, and recite 
the evening prayers; for the devotions of this hour are 
delicate things, and while smoking a first pipe after 
sixteen hours' abstinence, time easily slips away. Then 
they sit down to the Fatur (breakfast), the meal of the 
twenty- four hours, and eat plentifully, if they would 
avoid illness. 

There are many ways of spending a Ramazan 
evening. The Egyptians have a proverb, like ours of 
the Salernitan school. 

"After El-Ghada (early dinner) rest, if it be but for two moments : 
After El- Asha (early supper) walk, if it be but two steps." 

The streets are now crowded with a good-humoured 
throng of strollers, the many bent on pleasure, the few 
wending their way to mosque, where the Imam recites 
"Tarawih," or extra prayers. They saunter about, the 
accustomed pipe in hand, shopping, for the stalls are 
open till a late hour, or they sit in crowds at the 
coffee-house entrance, smoking Shishahs (water-pipes), 
chatting, and listening to storytellers, singers and 
itinerant preachers. Here, a barefooted girl trills and 
quavers, accompanied by a noisy tambourine and a 
"scrannel pipe" of abominable discordance, in honor 
of a perverse saint whose corpse insisted upon being 
buried inside some respectable man's dwelling-house. 
The scene reminds you strongly of the Sonneurs of 


Brittany and the Zampognari from the Abruzzian High- 
lands bagpiping before the Madonna. There, a tall 
gaunt Maghrabi displays upon a square yard of dirty 
paper certain lines and blots, supposed to represent 
the venerable Kaabah, and collects coppers to defray 
the expenses of his pilgrimage. A steady stream of 
loungers sets through the principal thoroughfares to- 
wards the Ezbekiyeh Gardens, which skirt the Frank 
quarter: there they sit in the moonlight, listening to 
Greek and Turkish bands, or making merry with 
cakes, toasted grains, coffee, sugared-drinks, and the 
broad pleasantries of Kara-Gyuz, the local Punch and 
Judy. Here the scene is less thoroughly oriental than 
within the city, but the appearance of Frank dress 
amongst the varieties of Eastern costume, the moon- 
lit sky, and the light mist hanging over the deep shade 
of the Acacia trees — whose rich scented yellow-white 
blossoms are popularly compared to the old Pasha's 
beard — make it passing picturesque. And the traveller 
from the far East remarks with wonder the presence 
of certain ladies, whose only mark of modesty is the 
Burka', or face-veil: upon this laxity the police looks 
with lenient eyes, inasmuch as, until very lately, it paid 
a respectable tax to the state. 

Returning to the Moslem quarter, you are bewildered 
by its variety of sounds. Everyone talks, and talking 
here is always in extremes, either in a whisper, or in a 
scream; gesticulation excites the lungs, and strangers 
cannot persuade themselves that men so converse with- 
out being or becoming furious. All the street-cries, 


too, are in the soprano key. "In thy protection! in 
thy protection!*' shouts a Fellah (peasant) to a sentinel, 
who is flogging him towards the station-house, followed 
by a tail of women, screaming, "Ya Gharati — Ya 
Dahwati — Ya Hasrati — Ya Nidamati" — "O my ca- 
lamity! O my shame!" The boys have elected a 
Pasha, whom they are conducting in procession, with 
wisps of straw for Mashals, or cressets, and outrunners, 
all huzzaing with ten-schoolboy power. "O thy right! 
O thy left! O thy face! O thy heel! O thy back, thy 
back!" cries the panting footman, who, huge torch on 
shoulder, runs before the grandee's carriage; "Bless 
the Prophet, and get out of the way!" "O Allah, 
bless him!" respond the good Moslems, some shrinking 
up to the walls to avoid the stick, others rushing across 
the road, so as to give themselves every chance of 
being knocked down. The donkey boy beats his ass 
with a heavy palm-cudgel, — he fears no treadmill here, 
— cursing him at the top of his voice for a "pander," 
a "Jew," a "Christian," and a "son of the One-eyed, 
whose portion is Eternal Punishment." " O chick pease ! 
O pips!" sings the vender of parched grains, rattling 
the unsavoury load in his basket. "Out of the way, 
and say, l There is one God/" pants the industrious 
water-carrier, laden with a skin, fit burden for a buffalo. 
"Sweet- water, and gladden thy soul, O lemonade!" 
pipes the seller of that luxury, clanging his brass cups 
together. Then come the beggars, intensely Oriental. 
"My supper is in Allah's hands, my supper is in Allah's 
hands! whatever thou givest, that will go with thee!" 


chaunts the old vagrant, whose wallet perhaps contains 
more provision than the basket of many a respectable 
shopkeeper. "Naal 'abuk — drat thy father* — O brother 
of a naughty sister!" is the response of some petulant 
Greek to the touch of the old man's staff. "The grave 
is darkness, and good deeds are its lamp!" sings the 
blind woman, rapping two sticks together: "upon 
Allah! upon Allah! O daughter!" cry the bystanders, 
when the obstinate "bint" of sixty years seizes 
their hands, and will not let go without extorting 
a farthing. "Bring the sweet (z. e. fire) and take the 
full" (3. e. empty cup, euphuistically), cry the long- 
mustachioed, fierce-browed Arnauts to the coffee-house 
keeper, who stands by them charmed by the rhyming 
repartee that flows so readily from their lips. 

"Hani^w," may it be pleasant to thee! is the signal 
for encounter. 

"Thou drinkest for ten" replies the other, instead 
of returning the usual religious salutation. 

"I am the cock and thou art the hen!" is the re- 
joinder, — a tart one. 

"Nay, I am the thick one and thou art the thin!" 
resumes the first speaker, and so on till they come to 
equivoques which will not bear a literal English 

And sometimes, high above the hubbub, rises the 
melodious voice of the blind muezzin, who, from his 
balcony in the beetling tower rings forth, "Hie ye to 

* For Laan 'abuk, curse thy father. So in Europe pious men have sworn per 
Diem instead of per Deum. 

Mecca and Medina. I. 6 


devotion! Hie ye to salvation! Devotion is better than 
sleep! Devotion is better than sleep!" Then good 
Moslems piously stand up, and mutter, previous to 
prayer, "Here am I at thy call, O Allah! here am I at 
thy call!" 

Sometimes I walked with my friend to the citadel, 
and sat upon a high wall, one of the outworks of Mo- 
hammed Ali's mosque, enjoying a view which, seen 
by night, when the summer moon is near the full, has 
a charm no power of language can embody. Or 
escaping from "stifled Cairo's filth," we passed, through 
the Gate of Victory, into the wilderness beyond the 
City of the Dead. Seated upon some mound of ruins, 
we inhaled the fine air of the desert, inspiriting as a 
cordial, when starlight and dew-mists diversified a 
scene, which, by day, is one broad sea of yellow loam 
with billows of chalk rock, thinly covered by a spray 
of sand surging and floating in the fiery wind. There, 
within a mile of crowded life, all is desolate; the town 
walls seem crumbling to decay, the hovels are tenant- 
less, and the paths untrodden; behind you lies the 
wild; before you, the thousand tomb-stones, ghastly in 
their whiteness, while beyond them the tall dark forms 
of the Mameluke Sultans' towers rise from the low and 
hollow ground like the spirits of kings guarding ghostly 
subjects in the Shadowy Realm. Or we spent the 
evening at some Takiyeh (Dervish's Oratory), generally 
preferring that called the " Gulshani," near the Muayyid 
Mosque outside the Mutawalli's saintly door. There 
is nothing attractive in its appearance. You mount a 


flight of ragged steps, and enter a low verandah en- 
closing an open stuccoed terrace, where stands the 
holy man's domed tomb; the two stories contain small 
dark rooms in which the Dervishes dwell, and the 
ground-floor doors open into the verandah. During 
the fast-month, zikrs (forms of Dervish worship) are 
rarely performed in the Takiyehs; the inmates pray 
there in congregation, or they sit conversing upon 
benches in the shade. And a curious medley of men 
they are, composed of the choicest vagabonds from 
every nation of Islam. Beyond this I must not describe 
the Takiyeh or the doings there, for the "path" of the 
Dervish may not be trodden by feet profane. 

Curious to see something of my old friends the 
Persians, I called with Haji Wali upon one Mirza 
Husayn, who by virtue of his dignity as "Shahbandar," 
— "consul-general," — ranks with the dozen little quasi- 
diplomatic kings of Cairo. He suspends over his lofty 
gate a sign-board in which the Lion and the Sun, 
Iran's proud ensign, are by some Egyptian limner's art 
metamorphosed into a preternatural tabby-cat grasping 
a scimitar, with the jolly fat face of a "gay" young 
lady, curls and all complete, resting fondly upon her 
pet's concave back. This high dignitary's reception 
room was a court-yard "sub dio:" fronting the door 
were benches and cushions composing the . Sadr or 
high place, with the parallel rows of Divans spread 
down the less dignified sides, and a line of naked 
boards, the lowest seats, ranged along the door-wall. 

In the middle stood three little tables supporting three 



huge lanterns — as is their size so is the owner's dignity 
— each of which contained three of the largest sper- 
maceti candles. 

The Haji and I entering took our seats upon the 
side benches with humility, and exchanged salutations 
with the great man on the Sadr. When the Darbar or 
levee was full, in stalked the Mirza, and all arose as 
he calmly divested himself of his shoes and with all 
due solemnity ascended his proper cushion. He is a 
short thin man about thirty-five, with regular features 
and the usual preposterous lamb-skin cap and beard, 
two peaked black cones at least four feet in length, 
measured from the tips, resting on a slender basement 
of pale yellow face. After a quarter of an hour of 
ceremonies, polite mutterings and low bendings with 
the right hand on the left breast, the Mirza's pipe was 
handed to him first, in token of his dignity — at 
Teheran he was probably an under-clerk in some 
government office. In due time we were all served 
with Kaliuns (Persian hookahs) and coffee by the ser- 
vants, who made royal congees whenever they passed 
the great man, and more than once the janissary in 
dignity of belt and crooked sabre, entered the court to 
quicken our awe. 

The conversation was the usual oriental thing. It 
is, for instance, understood that you have seen strange 
things in strange lands. 

"Voyaging — is — victory," quotes the Mirza; the 
quotation is a hackneyed one, but it steps forth ma- 
jestic as to pause and emphasis. 


"Verily," you reply with equal ponderousness of 
pronunciation and novelty of citation, "in leaving home 
one learns life, yet a journey is a bit of Jehannum." 

Or if you are a physician the "lieu commun" will be, 

" Little-learn'd doctors the body destroy : 
Little-learn'd parsons the soul destroy." 

To which you will make answer, if you would pass 
for a man of belles lettres, by the well-known lines, 

"Of a truth, the physician hath power with drugs, 
Which, long as the patient hath life, may relieve him ; 
But the tale of our days being duly told, 
The doctor is daft, and his drugs deceive him." 

After sitting there with dignity, like the rest of the 
guests, I took my leave, delighted with the truly Per- 
sian "apparatus" of the scene. The Mirza, having no 
salary, lives by fees extorted from his subjects, who 
pay rather than lack protection; and his dragoman for 
a counter-fee will sell their interests shamelessly. He 
is a hidalgo of blue blood in pride, pompousness and 
poverty. There is not a sheet of writing paper in the 
"consulate" — when they want one a farthing is sent to 
the grocer's — yet the consul drives out in an old car- 
riage with four out-riders, two tall-capped men pre- 
ceding and two following the crazy vehicle. And the 
Egyptians laugh heartily at this display, being ac- 
customed by sensible Mohammed Ali to consider all 
such parade obsolete. 

About half an hour before midnight sounds the 
Abrar or call to prayer, at which time the latest wan- 
derers return home to prepare for their dawn-meal. 
You are careful on the way to address each sentinel 


with a "Peace be upon thee!" especially if you have 
no lantern, otherwise you may chance to sleep in the 
guard-house. And, "chemin faisant," you cannot but 
stop to gaze at streets as little like what civilised 
Europe understands by that name as is an Egyptian 
temple to the new Houses of Parliament. 

There are certain scenes, cannily termed "Ken- 
speckle," which print themselves upon memory, and 
which endure as long as memory lasts, — a thunder- 
cloud bursting upon the Alps, a night of stormy dark- 
ness off the Cape, an African tornado, and, perhaps, 
most awful of all, a solitary journey over the sandy 

Of this class is a strojl through the thoroughfares 
of old Cairo by night. All is squalor in the brilliancy 
of noon-day. In darkness you see nothing but a 
silhouette. When however the moon is high in the 
heavens, and the summer stars rain light upon God's 
world, there is something not of earth in the view. A 
glimpse at the strip of pale blue sky above scarcely 
reveals three ells of breadth: in many places the in- 
terval is less; here the copings meet, and there the 
outriggings of the houses seem to interlace. Now they 
are parted by a pencil, then by a flood of silvery 
splendor; while under the projecting cornices and the 
huge hanging- windows of fantastic wood-work, sup- 
ported by gigantic corbels, and deep verandahs, and 
gateways vast enough for Behemoth to pass through, 
and blind wynds and long cul-de-sacs, lie patches of 
thick darkness, made visible by the dimmest of oil 


lights. The arch is a favourite form : in one place you 
see it a mere skeleton of stone opening into some 
huge deserted hall; in another it is full of fretted stone 
and carved wood. Not a line is straight, the tall dead 
walls of the mosques slope over their massy buttresses, 
and the thin minarets seem about to fall across your 
path. The cornices project crookedly, from the houses, 
while the great gables stand merely by force of cohe- 
sion. And that the Line of Beauty may not be want- 
ing, the graceful bending form of the palm, on whose 
topmost feathers, quivering in the cool night breeze, 
the moonbeam glistens, springs from a gloomy mound, 
or from the darkness of a mass of houses almost level 
with the ground. Briefly, the whole view is so fan- 
tastic, so ghostly, that it seems rather preposterous to 
imagine that in such places human beings like our- 
selves can be born, and live through life, to carry out 
the command "increase and multiply," and die. 



The Mosque. 

When the Byzantine Christians, after overthrowing 
the temples of Paganism, meditated re-building and 
remodelling them, poverty of invention and artistic im- 
potence reduced them to group the spoils in a hetero- 
geneous mass. The seaports of Egypt and the plains 
of Syria abounding in pillars of granite, syenite, and 
precious marbles, in Pharaonic, Greek, and Roman 
statuary, and in all manner of structural ornaments, 
the architects were at no loss for material. Their 
Syncretism, the result of chance and precipitancy, of 
extravagance and incuriousness, fell under eyes too 
ignorant to be hurt by the hybrid irregularity: it was 
perpetuated in the so-called Saracenic style, a pla- 
giarism from the Byzantine, and it was reiterated in 
the Gothic, an off-shoot from the Saracenic. This fact 
accounts in the Gothic style for the manifold incon- 
gruities in the architecture, and for the phenomenon, 
— not solely attributable to the buildings having been 
erected piece-meal, — of its most classic period being 
that of its greatest irregularity. 

Such "architectural lawlessness," such disregard 
for symmetry, — the result, I believe, of an imperfect 
"amalgamation and enrichment," — may doubtless be 
defended upon the grounds both of cause and of effect. 


Architecture is of the imitative arts, and Nature, the 
Myriomorphous, ^everywhere delighting in variety, ap- 
pears to abhor nothing so much as perfect similarity 
and precise uniformity. To copy her exactly we must 
therefore seek that general analogy compatible with 
individual variety; in fact, we should avoid the over- 
display of order and regularity. And again, it may be 
asserted that, however incongruous these disorderly 
forms may appear to the conventional eye, we find it 
easy to surmount our first antipathy. Perhaps we end 
in admiring them the more, as we love those faces in 
which irregularity of feature is compensated for by 
diversity and piquancy of expression. 

There is nothing, I believe, new in the Arab Mosque; 
it is an unconscious revival of the forms used from 
the earliest ages to denote by symbolism the worship 
of the generative and the creative gods. The reader 
will excuse me if I only glance at a subject of which 
the investigation would require a volume, and which, 
discussed at greater length, would be out of place in 
such a narrative as this. 

The first mosque in El-Islam was erected by Mo- 
hammed at Kuba near El Medina: shortly afterwards, 
when he entered Mecca as a conqueror, he destroyed 
the 360 idols of the Arab pantheon, and he purified 
that venerable building from its abominations. He 
had probably observed in Syria the two forms appro- 
priated by the Christians to their places of worship, 
the cross and the parallelogramic Basilica; he therefore 
preferred for the prayers of the "Saving Faith" a 


square, some authors say with, others without, an arcade. 
At length in the reign of El Walid (about a.h. 90) the 
cupola, the niche, and the minaret made their ap- 
pearance, and what is called the Saracenic style be- 
came for ever the order of the Moslem world. 

The Hindoos I believe to have been the first who 
symbolised by an equilateral triangle their peculiar 
cult, the Yoni-Lingam: in their temple architecture it 
became either a conoid or a perfect pyramid. Egypt 
denoted it by the obelisk, peculiar to that country; 
and the form appeared in different parts of the world: 
— thus in England it was a mere upright stone, and 
in Ireland a round tower. This we might expect to 
see. D'Hancarville and Brotier have successfully traced 
the worship itself, in its different modifications, to all 
people: the symbol would therefore be found every- 
where. The old Arab minaret is a plain conical or 
polygonal tower, without balcony or stages, widely 
different from the Turkish, Modern-Egyptian, and 
Hejazi combinations of cylinder and prism, happily 
compared by a French traveller to "une chandelle 
coiffee d'un eteignoir." And finally the ancient minaret, 
made solid as all Gothic architecture is, and provided 
with a belfry, became the spire and steeple of our 

From time immemorial, in hot and rainy lands, a 
hypaethral court, either round or square, surrounded 
by a covered portico, was used for the double purpose 
of church and mart, — a place where God and Mam- 
mon were worshipped turn by turn. In some places 


we find rings of stones, like the Persian Pyrcetheia; in 
others, circular concave buildings representing the 
vault of heaven, where Fire, the divine symbol, was 
worshipped; and in Arabia, columnar aisles, which, 
surmounted by the splendid blue vault, resemble the 
palm-grove. The Greeks adopted this area in the 
fanes of Creator Bacchus; and at Puzzuoli, near Naples, 
it may be seen in the building vulgarly called the 
Temple of Serapis. It was equally well known to the 
Celts: in some places the Temenos was a circle, in 
others a quadrangle. And such to the present day is 
the Mosque of El-Islam. 

Even the Riwak or porches surrounding the area 
in the Mosque are revivals of older forms. "The 
range of square buildings which enclose the temple of 
Serapis are not, properly speaking, parts of the fane, 
but apartments of the priests, places for victims, and 
sacred utensils, and chapels dedicated to subordinate 
deities, introduced by a more complicated and corrupt 
worship, and probably unknown to the founders of the 
original edifice." The cloisters in the Mosque became 
cells, used as lecture rooms, and stores for books be- 
queathed to the college. They are unequal, because 
some are required to be of larger, others to be of 
smaller dimensions. The same reason causes difference 
of size when the building is distributed into four 
hyposteles opening upon the area: the porch in the 
direction of the Kaabah, where worshippers mostly 
congregate, demands greater depth than the other 
three. The wings were not unfrequently made unequal, 


either from want of building materials, or because the 
same extent of accommodation was not required in both. 
The columns were of different substances; some of 
handsome marble, others of rough stone meanly plas- 
tered over with dissimilar capitals, vulgarly cut shafts 
of various sizes, here with a pediment, there without; 
now turned upside down, then joined together by 
halves in the centre, and almost invariably nescient of 
intercolumnar rule. This is the result of Byzantine 
syncretism, carelessly and ignorantly grafted upon Arab 
ideas of the natural and the sublime. Loving and 
admiring the great, or rather the big in plan, they care 
little for the execution of mere details, and they have 
not the acumen to discern the effect which clumsy 
workmanship, crooked lines, and visible joints, — parts 
apparently insignificant, — exercise upon the whole of 
an edifice. Their use of colors was a false taste, com- 
monly displayed by mankind in their religious houses, 
and statues of the gods. The Hindus paint their 
pagodas inside and outside; and rub vermilion, in 
token of honor, over their deities. The Persian Colossi 
of Kaiomars and his consort on the Balkh road, and 
the Sphinx of Egypt, as well as the temples of the 
Nile, still show traces of artificial complexion. The 
fanes in classic Greece have been dyed. In the Forum 
Romanum, one of the finest buildings still bears stains 
of the Tyrian purple. And to mention no other in- 
stances, in the churches and belfries of Modern Italy, 
we see alternate bands of white and black material so 
disposed as to give them the appearance of giant 


zebras. The origin of "Arabesque" ornament must be 
referred to one of the principles of El-Islam. The 
Moslem, forbidden by his law to decorate his Mosque 
with statuary and pictures, supplied their place with 
quotations from the Koran, and inscriptions, "plastic 
metaphysics ," of marvellous perplexity. His alphabet 
lent itself to the purpose, and hence probably arose 
that almost inconceivable variety of lace-like fretwork, 
of incrustations, of Arabesques, and of geometric 
flowers, in which his eye delights to lose itself. 

The Meccan mosque became a model to the world 
of El-Islam, and the nations that embraced the new 
faith copied the consecrated building, as religiously as 
Christendom produced imitations of the Holy Sepulchre. 
The Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, of Amru at Ba- 
bylon on the Nile, and of Taylun at Cairo were erected 
with some trifling improvements, such as arched 
cloisters and inscribed cornices, upon the plan of the 
Kaabah. From Egypt and Palestine the ichnography 
spread far and wide. It was modified, as might be 
expected, by national taste; what in Arabia was simple 
and elegant became highly ornate in Spain, florid in 
Turkey, and effeminate in India. Still divergence of 
detail has not, even after the lapse of twelve centuries, 
materially altered the fundamental form. 

Perhaps no Eastern city affords more numerous or 
more accessible specimens of Mosque architecture than 
Cairo. Between 300 or 400 places of worship, some 
stately piles, others ruinous hovels, many new, more 
decaying and earthquake-shaken, with minarets that 


rival in obliquity the Pisan monster, are open to the 
traveller's inspection. And Europeans by following 
the advice of their hotelkeeper have penetrated, and 
can penetrate, into any one they please. If architec- 
ture be really what I believe it to be, the highest ex- 
pression of a people's artistic feeling, — highest because 
it includes all others, — to compare the several styles 
of the different epochs, to observe how each monarch 
building his own Mosque, and calling it by his own 
name, identified the manner of the monument with him- 
self, and to trace the gradual decadence of art through 
twelve hundred years, down to the present day, must 
be a work of no ordinary interest to orientalists. The 
limits of my plan, however, compel me to place only 
the heads of the argument before the reader. May I 
be allowed to express a hope that it will induce some 
learned traveller to investigate a subject in every way 
worthy his attention? 

The Jami Taylun (9th cent.) is simple and massive, 
yet elegant, and in some of its details peculiar. One 
of the four colonnades still remains to show the original 
magnificence of. the building; the other porches are 
walled and inhabited by paupers. In the centre of 
a quadrangle about 100 paces square is a domed 
building springing from a square which occupies the 
proper place of the Kaabah. This "Jami" (cathedral) 
is interesting as a point of comparison. If it be an 
exact copy of the Meccan temple, as it stood in a.d. 
879, it shows that the latter has greatly altered in this 
our modern day. 


Next in date to the Taylun Mosque is that of the 
Sultan El Hakim, third Caliph of the Fatimites, and 
founder of the Druze mysteries. The minarets are re- 
markable in shape, as well as size: they are unprovided 
with the usual outer gallery, they are based upon a 
cube of masonry, and they are pierced above with 
apertures apparently meaningless. A learned Cairene 
informed me that these spires were devised by the ec- 
centric monarch to disperse, like large censers, fragrant 
smoke over the city during the hours of prayer. The 
Azhar and Hasanayn Mosques are simple and artless 
piles, celebrated for sanctity, but remarkable for no- 
thing save ugliness. Few buildings, however, are 
statelier in appearance, or give a nobler idea of both 
founder and architect than that which bears Sultan 
Hasan's name. The stranger stands awe-struck before 
walls high towering without a single break, a hypaethral 
court severe in masculine beauty, a gateway that 
might suit the palace of the Titans, and a lofty minaret 
of massive grandeur. This Mosque, with its fortress 
aspect, owns no more relationship to the efforts of a 
later age than does Canterbury Cathedral to an Anglo- 
Indian "Gothic." For dignified beauty and refined 
taste, the mosque and tomb of Kaid Bey and the other 
Mameluke kings are admirable. Even in their present 
state picturesqueness presides over decay, and the 
traveller has seldom seen aught more striking than the 
rich light of the stained glass pouring through the first 
shades of evening upon the marble floor. 

The modern Mosques must be visited, to see 


Egyptian architecture in its decline and fall. That of 
Sittna Zaynab (our Lady Zaynab), founded by Murad 
Bey, the Mameluke, and interrupted by the French in- 
vasion, shows, even in its completion, some lingering 
traces of taste. But nothing can be more offensive ' 
than the building which every tourist flogs donkey in 
his hurry to see — old Mohammed Air's "Folly" in the 
citadel. Its Greek architect has toiled to caricature a 
Mosque, to emulate the glories of our English " Oriental 
Pavilion." Outside, as Monckton Milnes sings, 

"The shining minarets, thin and high," 

are so thin, so high above the lumpy domes, that they 
look like the spindles of crouching crones, and are 
placed in full sight of Sultan Hasan the Giant, so as 
to derive all the disadvantages of the contrast. Is the 
pointed arch forgotten by man, that this hapless build- 
ing should be disgraced by large and small parallelo- 
grams of glass and wood, so placed and so formed as 
to give its exterior the appearance of a European 
theatre coiffe with oriental cupolas? Inside, money 
has been lavished upon alabaster full of flaws; round 
the bases of pillars run gilt bands; in places the walls 
are painted with streaks to mock marble, and the 
woodwork is overlaid with tinsel gold. After a glance 
at these abominations, one cannot be surprised to hear 
the old men of Egypt lament that, in spite of European 
education, and of prizes encouraging geometry and 
architecture, modern art offers a melancholy contrast 
to antiquity. It is said that H. H. Abbas Pasha 


proposed to erect for himself a mosque that shall far 
surpass the boast of the last generation. I venture to 
hope that his architect will light the "sacred fire" from 
Sultan Hasan's, not from Mohammed Ali's Turco- 
Grecian splendors. The former is like the genuine 
Osmanli of past ages, fierce, cold, with a stalwart 
frame, index of a strong mind — there was a sullen 
grandeur about the man. The latter is the pert and 
puny modern Turk in pantaloons, frock coat, and Fez, 
ill-dressed, and ill-bred, body and soul. 

We will now enter the Mosque El Azhar. At the 
dwarf wooden railing we take off our slippers, hold 
them in the left hand, sole to sole, that no dirt may 
fall from them, and cross the threshold with the right 
foot, ejaculating, Bismillah, &c. Next we repair to the 
Mayza'ah, or large tank, for ablution, without which it 
is unlawful to appear in the House of Allah. We 
then seek some proper place for devotion, place our 
slippers on some other object in front of us to warn 
the lounger, and perform a two-bow prayer in honour 
of the Mosque. This done, we may wander about, 
and inspect the several objects of curiosity. 

The moon shines splendidly upon a vast open 
court, paved with stones which are polished like glass 
by the feet of the Faithful. There is darkness in the 
body of the building, a large oblong hall, at least 
twice too lengthy for its height, supported by a forest 
of pillars, thin, poor-looking, crooked marble columns, 
planted avenue-like, upon torn and dirty matting. A 
few oil lamps shed doubtful light over scanty groups, 

Mecca and Medina. /. 7 


who are debating some point of grammar, or are listen- 
ing to the words of wisdom that fall from the mouth 
of a Wa'iz (lecturer). Presently they will leave the 
hypostyle, and throw themselves upon the flags of the 
quadrangle, where they may enjoy the open air, and 
avoid some fleas. It is now "long vacation:" so the 
holy building has become a kind of caravanserai for 
travellers; perhaps a score of nations meet in it; there 
is a confusion of tongues, and the din at times is 
deafening. Around the court runs a tolerably well- 
built colonnade, whose entablature is garnished with 
crimson arabesques, and in the inner wall are pierced 
apartments, now closed with plank doors. Of the 
Biwak, as the porches are called, the Azhar contains 
twenty-four, one for each recognised nation in El- 
Islam, and of these, fifteen are still open to students. 
Inside them we find nothing but matting, and a pile 
of large dingy wooden boxes, which once contained 
the college library: they are now, generally speaking, 

There is nothing worth seeing in the cluster of 
little dark chambers that form the remainder of the 
Azhar. Even the Zawiyat el Umy&n (or the Blind 
Men's Oratory), a place whence so many "gown-rows" 
have emanated, is rendered interesting only by the 
fanaticism of its inmates, and the certainty that, if re- 
cognised in this sanctum, we shall run the gauntlet 
under the staves of its proprietors, the angry blind. > 

The Azhar is the grand collegiate Mosque of this 
city, — the Christ Church, in fact, of Cairo, — once 


celebrated through the world of El-Islam. It was built, 
I was told, originally in poor style by one Jauhar, the 
slave of a Moorish merchant, in consequence of a 
dream that ordered him to erect a place whence the 
light of science should shine upon El-Islam. It 
gradually increased by "Wakf" (entailed bequests) of 
lands, money, and books; and pious rulers made a 
point of adding to its size and wealth. Of late years 
it has considerably declined, the result of sequestra- 
tions, and of the diminished esteem in which 'the 
purely religious sciences are held in the land of 
Egypt. Yet it is calculated that between 2000 and 
3000 students of all nations and ages here receive in- 
struction gratis. Each one is provided with bread, 
in a quantity determined by the amount of endow- 
ment, at the Riwak set apart for his nation, with some 
article of clothing on festival days, and with a few 
piastres once a year. The professors, wfio are about 
150 in number, may not take fees from their pupils; 
some lecture on account of the religious merit of the 
action, others to gain the high title of "Teacher in 
El Azhar." Six officials receive stipends from the 
government, — the Shaykh el Jami or dean, the Shaykh 
el Sakka, who regulates the provision of water for 
ablution, and others that may be called heads of de- 

The following is the course of study in the Azhar. 
The school-boy of four or five years' standing has 
been taught, by a liberal application of the maxim 
"the Green Rod is of the Trees of Paradise," to chaunt 



the Koran without understanding it, the elementary 
rules of arithmetic, and, if he is destined" to be a 
learned man, the art of writing. He then registers his 
name in El Azhar, and applies himself to the branches 
of study most cultivated in El-Islam , namely Nahw 
(syntax), Fikh (the Law) , Hadis (the Traditions of the 
Prophet), and Tafsir, or Exposition of the Koran. 

The young Egyptian reads at the same time Sarf, 
or Inflexion, and Nahw (syntax). But as Arabic is his 
mother- tongue, he is not required to study the former 
so deeply as are the Turks, the Persians, and the In- 
dians. If he desire, however, to be a proficient, he 
must carefully peruse five books in Sarf, and six in 

Master of grammar, our student now applies him- 
self to its proper end and purpose, Divinity. Of the 
four schools those of Abu Hanifah and El Shafe'i are 
most comm'on in Cairo; the followers of Ibn Malik 
abound only in Southern Egypt and the Berberah 
country, and the Hanbali is almost unknown. The 
theologian begins with what is called a Matn or text, 
a short, dry, and often obscure treatise, a mere string 
of precepts; in fact, the skeleton of the subject. This 
he learns by repeated perusal, till he can quote almost 
every passage literatim. He then passes to its "Sharh," 
or commentary, generally the work of some other 
savant, who explains the difficulty of the text, amplifies 
its Laconicisms, enters into exceptional cases, and 
deals with principles and reasons, as well as with 
mere precept. A difficult work will sometimes require 


"Hashiyah," or marginal notes; but this aid has a 
bad name. 

"Who readeth with note, 
But learneth by rote," 

says a popular doggrel. The reason is, that the 
student's reasoning powers being little exercised, he 
learns to depend upon the dixit of a master rather 
than to think for himself. It also leads to the neglect 
of another practice, highly advocated by the eastern 

"The lecture is one. 
The dispute (upon the subject of the lecture) is one thousand." 

In order to become a Fakih, or divine of dis- 
tinguished fame, the follower of Abu Hanifah must 
peruse about ten volumes, some of huge size, written 
in a diffuse style: the Shafe'i's reading is not quite so 
extensive. Theology is much studied, because it leads 
directly to the gaining of daily bread, as priest or 
tutor; and other scientific pursuits are neglected for 
the opposite reason. 

The theologian in Egypt, as in oth£r parts of El- 
Islam, must have a superficial knowledge of the 
Prophet's traditions. Of these there are eight well 
known collections, but only the three first are gene- 
rally read. 

School-boys are instructed, almost when in their in- 
fancy, to intone the Koran; at the university they are 
taught a more exact system of chaunting. The style 
called "Hafs" is the most common in Egypt, as it is 
indeed throughout the Moslem world. And after 


learning to read the holy volume, some savans are 
ambitious enough to wish to understand it: under 
these circumstances they must dive into the Ilm el 
Tafsir, or the Exegesis of the Koran. 

Our student is now a perfect Fakih or Mulla. But 
the poor fellow has no scholarship or fellowship — no 
easy tutorship — no fat living to look forward to. After 
wasting seven years, or twice seven years, over his 
studies, and reading till his brain is dizzy, his diges- 
tion gone, and his eyes half blind, he must either 
starve upon college alms, or squat, like my old Shaykh 
Mohammed, in a druggist's shop, or become pedagogue 
and preacher in some country place, on the pay of 
8/. per annum. With such prospects it is wonderful 
how the Azhar can present any attractions; but the 
southern man is essentially an idler, and many be- 
come Olema, like Capuchins, in order to do nothing. 
A favoured few rise to the degree of Mudarris (pro- 
fessors), and thence emerge Kazis and Muftis. This 
is another inducement to matriculate; every under- 
graduate having an eye upon the Kazi-ship, with as 
much chance of obtaining it as the country Parocco 
has of becoming a cardinal. Others again devote 
themselves to laical pursuits, degenerate into Wakils 
(lawyers), or seek their fortunes as Katibs — public or 
private accountants. 

To conclude this part of the subject, I cannot 
agree with Dr. Bowring when he harshly says, upon 
the subject of Moslem education: "The instruction 
given by the Doctors of the Law in the religious 


schools, for the formation of the Mohammedan priest- 
hood, is of the most worthless character." Would not 
a superficial, hasty, and somewhat prejudiced Turk 
say exactly the same thing about the systems of Christ 
Church and Trinity College'? His opinion is equally 
open to objection with that of those who depreciate 
the law itself because it deals rather in precepts than 
in principle, in ceremonies and ordinances rather than 
in ethics and aesthetics. Both are what Eastern faiths 
and Eastern training have ever been, — both are emi- 
nently adapted for the Oriental mind. When the 
people learn to appreciate ethics, and to understand 
psychics and aesthetics, the demand will create a supply. 
Meanwhile they leave transcendentalism to their poets 
and philosophers, and they busy themselves with pre- 
paring for heaven by practising the only part of their 
faith now intelligible to them — the material. 

It is not to be supposed that a nation in this stage 
of civilisation could be so fervently devout as the 
Egyptians are, without the bad leaven of bigotry. The 
same tongue which is employed in blessing the Al- 
mighty, is, it is conceived, doing its work equally well 
in cursing his enemies. Wherefore the Kafir is de- 
nounced by every sex, age, class, and condition, by 
the man of the world as by the boy at school; and 
out of, as well as in, the Mosque. If you ask your 
friend who is the person with a black turban, he 

"A Christian. Allah make his Countenance cold!" 
If you inquire of your servant, who are the peojue 


singing in the next house, it is ten to one that his an- 
swer will be, 

"Jews. May their lot be Jehannum!'* 
It appears unintelligible, still it is not less true, that 
Egyptians who have lived as servants under European 
roofs for years, retain the liveliest loathing for the 
manners and customs of their masters. Few Franks, 
save those who have mixed with the Egyptians in 
Oriental disguise, are aware of their repugnance to, 
and contempt for, Europeans, — so well is the feeling 
veiled under the garb of innate politeness, and so great 
is their reserve, when conversing with those of strange 
religions. I had a good opportunity of ascertaining 
the truth when the first rumour of a Russian war 
arose. Almost every able-bodied man spoke of hasten- 
ing to the Jihad or holy war, and the only thing that 
looked like apprehension was the too eager deprecia- 
tion of their foes. All seemed delighted at the idea 
of French cooperation, for, somehow or other, the 
Frenchman is everywhere popular. When speaking of 
England, they were not equally easy : heads were rolled, 
pious sentences were ejaculated, and finally out came 
the old Eastern cry, "Of a truth they are Shay tans, 
those English." The Austrians are despised, because 
the East knows nothing of them since the days when 
Osmanli hosts threatened the gates of Vienna. The 
Greeks are hated as clever scoundrels, ever ready to 
do El-Islam a mischief. The Maltese, the greatest of 
cowards off their own ground, are regarded with a 
profound contempt: these are the proteges which bring 


the British nation into disrepute at Cairo. And Italians 
are known only as "istruttori" and "distruttori" — 
doctors, druggists, and pedagogues. 

Yet Egyptian human nature is, like human nature 
everywhere, contradictory. Hating and despising Eu- 
ropeans, they still long for European rule. This people 
admire an iron-handed and lion-hearted despotism; 
they hate a timid and a grinding tyranny. Of all 
foreigners, they would prefer the French yoke, — a cir- 
cumstance which I attribute to the diplomatic skill and 
national dignity of our neighbours across the Channel. 
But whatever European nation secures Egypt will win 
a treasure. Moated on the north and south by seas, 
with a glacis of impassable deserts to the eastward 
and westward, capable of supporting an army of 
180,000 men, of paying a heavy tribute, and yet able 
to show a considerable surplus of revenue, this country 
in western hands will command India, and by a ship- 
canal between Pelusium and Suez would open the 
whole of Eastern Africa.* 

* As this canal has become a question of national interest, its advisability 
is surrounded with all the circumstance of unsupported assertion and bold 
denial. The English want a railroad , which would confine the use of Egypt 
to themselves. The French desire a canal that would admit the hardy cruisers 
of the Mediterranean into the Red Sea. The cosmopolite will hope that both 
projects may be carried out. Even in the seventh century Omar forbade Amru 
to cut the Isthmus of Suez for fear of opening Arabia to Christian vessels. 

Note to Third Edition. The Canal is now a fact. As late as April 1864 Lord 
Palmerston informed the House of Commons that labourers might be more use- 
fully employed in cultivating cotton than in "digging a canal through a sandy 
desert, and in making two harbours in deep mud and shallow waters." It is 
however understood that the Premier was the only one of his cabinet who took 
this view. Mr. Robert Stephenson, C.E., certainly regretted before his death the 
opinion which he had been induced to express — by desire. 


There is no longer much to fear from the fanaticism 
of the people, and a little prudence would suffice to 
command the interests of the Mosque. The chiefs of 
corporations, in the present state of popular feeling, 
would offer even less difficulty to an invader or a 
foreign ruler than the Olema. Briefly, Egypt is the 
most tempting prize which the East holds out to the 
ambition of Europe, not excepted even the Golden 



Preparations to quit Cairo. 

At length the slow "month of blessings" passed 
away. We rejoiced like Romans finishing their Quar- 
esima, when a salvo of artillery from the citadel an- 
nounced the end of our Lenten woes. On the last 
day of Ramazan all gave alms to the poor, at the rate 
of a piastre and a half for each member of the house- 
hold — slave, servant, and master. 

The next day, first of the three composing the Eed, 
or Lesser Festival, we arose before dawn, performed 
our ablutions, and repaired to the Mosque, to recite 
the peculiar prayer of the season, and to hear the 
sermon which bade us be "merry and wise." After 
which we ate and drank heartily; then with pipes 
and tobacco-pouches in hand, we sauntered out, to 
enjoy the contemplation of smiling faces and street 

The favourite resort on this occasion is the large 
cemetery beyond the Bab el Nasr — that stern, old, 
massive gateway which opens upon the Suez road. 
There we found a scene of jollity. Tents and am- 
bulant coffee-houses were full of men equipped in 
their "Sunday best," listening to singers and musicians, 
smoking, chatting, and looking at jugglers, buffoons, 


snake-charmers, Dervishes, ape-leaders, and dancing 
boys habited in women's attire. Eating-stalls and 
lollipop-shops, booths full of playthings, and sheds for 
lemonade and syrups, lined the roads, and disputed 
with swings and merry-go-rounds the regards of the 
little Moslems and Moslemahs. The chief item of the 
crowd, — fair Cairenes, — carried in their hands huge 
palm branches, intending to ornament therewith the 
tombs of parents and friends. Yet, even on this solemn 
occasion, there is, they say, not a little flirtation and 
love-making; parties of policemen are posted, with 
orders to interrupt all such irregularities with a long 
cane; but their vigilance is notoriously unequal to the 
task. I could not help observing that frequent pairs 
— doubtless cousins or other relations — wandered to 
unusual distances among the sand-hills, and that some- 
time^ the confusion of a distant bastinado struck the 
ear. These trifles did not, however, by any means 
interfere with the general joy. Every one wore some- 
thing new; most people were in the fresh suits of 
finery intended to last through the year, and so strong 
is personal vanity in the breasts of Orientals, men and 
women, young and old, that from Cairo to Calcutta it 
would be difficult to find a sad heart under a hand- 
some coat. The men swaggered, the women minced 
their steps, rolled their eyes, arid were eternally ar- 
ranging, and coquetting with their head- veils. The 
little boys strutting about foully abused any one of 
their number who might have a richer suit than his 
neighbours. And the little girls ogled every one in 


the ecstacy of conceit, and glanced contemptuously at 
other little girls their rivals. 

Weary of the country, the Haji and I wandered 
about the city, paying visits, which at this time are 
like new-year calls in continental Europe. I can de- 
scribe the operation of calling in Egypt only as the 
discussion of pipes and coffee in one place, and of 
coffee and pipes in another. But on this occasion 
whenever we meet a friend we throw ourselves upon 
each other's breast, placing right arms over left 
shoulders, and vice versa, squeezing like wrestlers, with 
intermittent hugs, then laying cheek to cheek deli- 
cately, at the same time making the loud noise of 
many kisses in the air. You are bound also to meet 
even your enemies in the most friendly way — for which 
mortification you afterwards hate them more cordially 
than before. The compliment of the season is, "KuH'am 
antum bil khair" — "Every year may you be well!" — 
in fact, our "Many happy returns of the day!" After 
this come abundant good wishes, and kindly prophecies, 
and from a "religious person" a blessing, and a short 
prayer. To complete the resemblance between a Mos- 
lem and a Christian festival, we have dishes of the 
day, fish, Shurayk the cross-bun, and a peculiarly in- 
digestible cake, called in Egypt Kahk, the plum-pudding 
of El-Islam. 

This year's Eed was made gloomy, comparatively 
speaking, by the state of politics. Report of war with 
Russia, with France, with England, who was going to 
land 3,000,000 men at Suez, and with Infideldom in 


general, rang through Egypt, and the city of Mars* 
became unusually martial. The government armouries, 
arsenals, and manufactories, were crowded with kid- 
napped workmen. Those who purposed a pilgrimage 
feared forcible detention. Wherever men gathered 
together, in the Mosques, for instance, or the coffee- 
houses, the police closed the doors, and made forcible 
capture of the able-bodied. This proceeding, almost 
as barbarous as our old impressment law, filled the main 
streets with detachments of squalid-looking wretches, 
marching to be made soldiers with collars round their 
necks and irons on their wrists. The dismal impres- 
sion of the scene was deepened by crowds of women, 
who, habited in mourning, and scattering dust and 
mud over their rent garments, followed their sons, 
brothers, and husbands, with cries and shrieks. The 
death-wail is a peculiar way of cheering on the patriot 
departing "pro patria mori," and the origin of the 
custom is characteristic of the people. The principal 
public amusements allowed to Oriental women are 
those that come under the general name of "Fantasia," 
— birth-feasts, marriage festivals, and funerals. And 
the early campaigns of Mohammed Air's family in 
Syria and El Hejaz having, in many cases, deprived 
the bereaved of their sex-right to "keen" for the dead, 
they have now determined not to waste the opportunity, 

* With due deference to the many of a different opinion, I believe "Ka- 
hirah" (corrupted through the Italian into Cairo) to mean, not the "victorious," 
but the "City ofKahir," or Mars. It was so called because, as Richardson 
has informed the world, it was founded in a.d. 968 by one Jauhar when the 
warlike planet was in the ascendant. 


but to revel in the luxury of woe at the live man's 

Another cloud hung over Cairo. Rumors of con- 
spiracy were afloat. The Jews and Christians, — here 
as ready to take alarm as the English in Italy, — 
trembled at the fancied preparations for insurrection, 
massacre, and plunder. And even the Moslems whis- 
pered that some hundred desperadoes had resolved to 
fire the city, beginning with the bankers' quarter, and 
to spoil the wealthy Egyptians. Of course H. H. Abbas 
Pasha was absent at the time, and, even had he been 
at Cairo, his presence would have been of little use: 
the ruler can do nothing towards restoring confidence 
to a panic-stricken Oriental nation. 

At the end of the Eed, as a counter-irritant to 
political excitement, the police magistrates began to 
bully the people. There is a standing order in the 
chief cities of Egypt, that all who stir abroad after 
dark without a lantern shall pass the night in the 
station-house. But in certain quarters at Cairo, the 
Ezbekiyeh for instance, a little laxity is usually 
allowed. Before I left the capital the licence was with- 
drawn, and the stidden strictness caused many ludi- 
crous scenes. 

If by chance you (clad in Oriental garb) had sent 
on your lantern to a friend's house by your servant, 
and had leisurely followed it five minutes after the 
hour of eight — you were sure to be met, stopped, 
collared, questioned, and captured by the patrol. You 
probably punched three or four of them, but found 


the dozen too strong for you. Held tightly by the 
sleeves, skirts, and collar of your wide outer garment, 
you were hurried away on a plane of about nine 
inches above the ground, your feet mostly treading the 
air. You were dragged along with a rapidity which 
scarcely permitted you to answer strings of questions 
concerning your name, nation, dwelling, faith, profes- 
sion, and self in general, — especially concerning the 
present state of your purse. If you lent an ear to the 
voice of the charmer that began by asking a crown to 
release you, and gradually came down to two-pence 
half-penny, you fell into a simple trap; the butt-end 
of a musket applied a posteriori, immediately after 
the transfer of property, convicted you of wilful waste. 
But if, more sensibly, you pretended to have forgotten 
your purse, you were reviled, and dragged with in- 
creased violence of shaking to the office of the Zabit, 
or police magistrate. You were spun through the 
large archway leading to the court, every fellow in 
uniform giving you, as you passed, a Kafa, "cuff," on 
the back of the neck. Despite your rage, you were 
forced up the stairs to a long gallery full of people in 
a predicament like your own. Again your name, na- 
tion — I suppose you to be masquerading — offence, 
and other particulars were asked, and carefully noted 
in a folio by a ferocious-looking clerk. 

If you knew no better, you were summarily thrust 
into the Hasil, or condemned cell, to pass the night 
with pickpockets and ruffians, pell-mell. But if an adept 
in such matters, you insisted upon being conducted 


before the "Pasha of the night," and, the clerk fearing 
to refuse, you were hurried to the great man's office 
hoping for justice, and dealing out ideal vengeance to 
your captors, — the patrol. Here you found the dignitary 
sitting with pen, ink, and paper before him, and pipe 
and coffee-cup in hand, upon a wide Divan of dingy 
chintz, in a large dimly-lit room, with two guards by 
his side, and a semicircle of recent seizures vociferating 
before him. When your turn came, you were care- 
fully collared, and led up to the presence, as if even 
at that awful moment you were mutinously and mur- 
derously disposed. The Pasha, looking at you with a 
vicious sneer, turned up his nose, ejaculated "Ajemi," 
and prescribed the bastinado. You observed that the 
mere fact of being a Persian did not give mankind a 
right to capture, imprison, and punish you; you de- 
clared moreover that you were no Persian, but an 
Indian under British protection. The Pasha, a man 
accustomed to obedience, then stared at you, to frighten 
you, and you, we will suppose, stared at him, till, with 
an oath, he turned to the patrol, and asked them your 
offence. They all simultaneously swore by Allah, that 
you had been found without a lantern, dead-drunk, 
beating respectable people, breaking into houses, rob- 
bing and invading harems. 

You openly told the Pasha, that they were eating 
abominations; upon which he directed one of his 
guards to smell your breath, — the charge of drunken- 
ness being tangible. The fellow, a comrade of your 
capturers, advanced his nose to your lips; as might be 

Mecca and Medina. I. 8 


expected, cried, "Kikh," — Fie! or Ugh! — contorted his 
countenance, and answered, by the beard of "Effen- 
dina" — "Our lord," i, e. H. H. the Pasha — that he 
perceived a pestilent odour of distilled waters. This 
announcement probably elicited a grim grin from the 
"Pasha of the night," who loves Cura^oa, and who is 
not indifferent to the charms of Cognac. Then by 
his favour (for you improved the occasion), you were 
allowed to spend the hours of darkness on a wooden 
bench, in the adjacent long gallery, together with 
certain little parasites, for which polite language has 
no name. 

In the morning the janissary of your consulate was 
sent for; he came, and claimed you; you were led off 
criminally; again you gave your name and address, 
and if your offence was merely sending on your 
lantern, you were dismissed with advice to be more 
careful in future. And assuredly your first step was 
towards the Hammam. 

But if, on the other hand, you had declared your- 
self a European, you would either have been dismissed 
at once, or sent to your consul, who is here judge, 
jury, and jailor. Egyptian authority has of late years 
lost half its prestige. When Mr. Lane first settled at 
Cairo, all Europeans accused of aggression against 
Moslems were, he tells us, surrendered to the Turkish 
magistrates. Now, the native powers have no juris- 
diction over strangers, nor can the police enter their 
houses. If the West would raise the character of its 
Eastern co-religionists, it will be forced to push the 


system a point further, and to allow all bona-fide 
Christian subjects to register their names at the different 
consulates whose protection they might prefer. This is 
what Russia has so "unwarrantably and outrageously" 
attempted. We confine ourselves to a lesser injustice, 
which deprives Eastern states of their right as in- 
dependent Powers to arrest, and to judge foreigners, 
who for interest or convenience settle in their do- 
mions. But we still shudder at the right of arrogating 
any such claim over the born lieges of Oriental 
Powers. What, however, would be the result were 
Great Britain to authorise her sons resident at Paris, 
or Florence, to refuse attendance at a French or an 
Italian court of justice, and to demand that the police* 
should never force the doors of an English subject? I 
commend this consideration to all those who "stickle 
for abstract rights" when the interest and progress of 
others are concerned, and who become somewhat 
latitudinarian and concrete in cases where their own 
welfare and aggrandisement are at stake. 

Besides patients I made some pleasant acquaint- 
ances at Cairo. Antun Zananire, a young Syrian of 
considerable attainments as a linguist, paid me the 
compliment of permitting me to see the fair face of 
his "Hareem." Mr. Hatchadur Nury, an Armenian 
gentleman, well known in Bombay, amongst other acts 
of kindness, introduced me to one of his compatriots, 
Khwajah Yusuf, whose advice was most useful to me. 
The Khwajah had wandered far and wide, picking up 

everywhere some scrap of strange knowledge, and his 



history was a romance. Expelled for a youthful pec- 
cadillo from Cairo, he started upon his travels, qualified 
himself for sanctity at Mecca and El Medina, became 
a religious beggar at Baghdad, studied French in Paris, 
and finally settled down as a professor of languages, 
under an amnesty, at Cairo. In his house I saw an 
Armenian marriage. The occasion was memorable: 
after the gloom and sameness of Moslem society, no- 
thing could be more gladdening than the unveiled 
face of a pretty woman. Some of the guests were un- 
deniably charming brunettes, with the blackest possible 
locks, and the brightest conceivable eyes. Only one 
pretty girl wore the national costume; yet they all 
smoked chibouques 'and sat upon the Divans, and, as 
they entered the room, they kissed with a sweet sim- 
plicity the hands of the priest, and of the other old 
gentlemen present. 

Among the number of my acquaintances was a 
Meccan boy, Mohammed el Basyuni, from whom I 
bought the pilgrim-garb called "El Ihram" and the 
Kafan or shroud, with which the Moslem usually starts 
upon such a journey as mine. He, being in his way 
homewards after a visit to Constantinople, was most 
anxious to accompany me in the character of a "com- 
panion." But he had travelled too much to suit me; 
he had visited India, he had seen Englishmen, and he 
had lived with the "Nawab Balu" of Surat. More- 
over he showed signs of over-wisdom. He had been 
a regular visitor, till I cured one of his friends of an 
ophthalmia, after which he gave me his address at 


Mecca, and was seen no more. Haji Wali described 
him and his party to be "Nas jarrar" (extractors), and 
certainly he had not misjudged them. But the sequel 
will prove how "der Mensch denkt und Gott lenkt," 
and as the boy, Mohammed, eventually did become 
my companion throughout the pilgrimage, I will place 
him before the reader as summarily as possible. 

He is a beardless youth, of about eighteen, choco- 
late-brown, with high features, and a bold profile; his 
bony and decided Meccan cast of face is lit up by 
the peculiar Egyptian eye, which seems to descend 
from generation to generation. His figure is short 
and broad, with a tendency to be obese, the result of 
a strong stomach and the power of sleeping at discre- 
tion. He can read a little, write his name, and is un- 
commonly clever at a bargain* Mecca had taught him 
to speak excellent Arabic, to understand the literary 
dialect, to be eloquent in abuse, and to be profound 
at prayer and pilgrimage. Constantinople has given 
him a taste for Anacreontic singing, and female society 
of the questionable kind, a love of strong waters, — 
the hypocrite looked positively scandalised when I first 
suggested the subject, — and an off-hand latitudinarian 
mode of dealing with serious subjects in general. I 
found him to be the youngest son of a widow, whose 
doting fondness had moulded his disposition; he was 
selfish and affectionate, as spoiled children usually are, 
volatile, easily offended and as easily pacified (the 
Oriental), coveting other men's goods, and profuse of 
his own (the Arab), with a matchless intrepidity of 


countenance (the traveller), brazen lunged, not more 
than half brave, exceedingly astute, with an acute 
sense of honor, especially where his relations were 
concerned (the individual). I have seen him in a fit 
of fury because some one cursed his father; and he 
and I nearly parted because on one occasion I applied 
to him an epithet which etymologically considered 
might be exceedingly insulting to a high-minded 
brother, but which in popular parlance signifies nothing. 
This "point d'honneur" was the boy Mohammed's 
strong point. 

During the Ramazan I laid in my stores for the 
journey. These consisted of tea, coffee, loaf-sugar, 
rice, dates, biscuit, oil, vinegar, tobacco, lanterns, and 
cooking pots, a small bell-shaped tent, costing twelve 
shillings, and three water-skins for the desert. The 
provisions were placed in a "Kafas" or hamper 
artistically made of palm sticks, and in a huge Sah- 
harah, or wooden box, about three feet each way, 
covered with leather or skin, and provided with a 
small lid fitting into the top. The former, together 
with my green box containing medicines, and saddle- 
bags full of clothes, hung on one side of the camel, a 
counterpoise to the big Sahharah on the other flank, 
Bedawin, like muleteers, always requiring a balance 
of weight. On the top of the load was placed trans- 
versely a Shibriyah or cot, on which Shaykh Nur 
squatted like a large crow. This worthy had strutted 
out into the streets armed with a pair of horse-pistols 
and a sword almost as long as himself. No sooner 


did the mischievous boys of Cairo — they are as bad 
as the gamins of Paris and London — catch sight of 
him than they began to scream with laughter at the 
sight of the "Hindi (Indian) in arms," till like a 
vagrant owl pursued by a flight of larks he ran back 
into the caravanserai. 

Having spent all my ready money at Cairo I was 
obliged to renew the supply. My native acquaintances 
advised me to take at least eighty pounds sterling, and 
considering the expense of outfit for desert travelling, 
the sum did not appear excessive. I should have 
found some difficulty in raising the money had it not 
been for the kindness of a friend at Alexandria, John 
Thurburn, and Mr. Shepherd, then of Shepherd's Hotel, 
Cairo, presently a landed proprietor near Rugby, and 
now no more. My Indians scrutinised the diminutive 
square of paper — the letter of credit — as a raven may 
sometimes be seen peering, with head askance, into 
the interior of a suspected marrow-bone. "Can this 
be a bona fide draft?" they mentally inquired. And 
finally they offered, most politely^ to write to England 
for me, to draw the money, and to forward it in a 
sealed bag directed "El Medina." I need scarcely say 
that such a style of transmission would, in the case 
of precious metals, have left no possible chance of its 
safe arrival. 

When the difficulty was overcome, I bought fifty 
pounds' worth of German dollars (Maria Theresas), and 
invested the rest in English and Turkish sovereigns. 
The gold I myself carried; part, of the silver I sewed 


up in Shaykh Nur*s leather waist-belt, and part was 
packed in the boxes, for this reason. When Bedawin 
begin plundering a respectable man, if they find a 
certain amount of ready money in his baggage, they 
do not search his person: if they find none they 
proceed to a bodily inspection, and if his waist-belt 
be empty they are rather disposed to rip open his 
stomach, in the belief that he must have some pecu- 
liarly ingenious way of secreting valuables. 

Having passed through this trouble I immediately 
fell into another. My hardly-earned Alexandrian pass- 
port required a double visa, one at the Police office, 
the other at the Consul's. After returning to Egypt I 
found it was the practice of travellers who required 
any civility from Dr. Walne, then the English official 
at Cairo, to enter the "presence" furnished with an 
order from the Foreign Office. I had neglected the 
precaution, and had ample reason to regret having 
done so. Failing at the British consulate, and un- 
willing to leave Cairo without being "en r£gle," — the 
Egyptians warned me that Suez was a place of ob- 
stacles to pilgrims — I was obliged to look elsewhere 
for protection. My friend Haji Wali was the first con- 
sulted: after a long discussion he offered to take me 
to his consul, the Persian, and to find out for what 
sum I 'could become a temporary subject of the Shah. 
We went to the sign of the "Lion and the Sun," and 
we found the dragoman,* a subtle Syrian Christian, 

* The consular dragoman is one of the greatest abuses I know. The tribe 
is, for the most part, Levantin^ftand Christian, and its connections are extensive. 


who, after a rigid inquiry into the state of my purse 
(my country was no consideration at all), introduced 
me to the Great Man. I have described this personage 
once already, and he merits not a second notice. The 
interview was truly ludicrous. He treated us with 
exceeding hauteur, motioned me to sit almost out of 
hearing, and after rolling his head in profound silence 
for nearly a quarter of an hour, vouchsafed the in- 
formation that though my father might be a Shirazi, 
and my mother an Afghan, he had not- the honor of 
my acquaintance. His companion, a large old Persian 
with Polyphemean eyebrows and a mulberry beard, 
put some gruff and discouraging questions. I quoted 
the verses 

" He is a man who benefits his fellow-men, 
Not he who says 'why?' and ' wherefore* V and 'how much?' " 

upon which an imperious wave of the arm directed 

The father will perhaps be interpreter to the English, the son to the French 
consulate By this means, the most private affairs will become known to every 

Tr^ It d ' P \ rtment ' exce P l the head > and eventually to that best of spy- 
trainers, the Turkish government. This explains how a subordinate, whose pay 
is 200/ per annum, and who spends double that sum, can afford, after twelve 
or thirteen years service to purchase a house for 2000/. and to furnish it for as 
much more. Besides which the condition, the ideas, and the very nature of 
these dragomans are completely Oriental. The most timid and cringing of men, 
they dare not take the proper tone with a government to which, in case of the 
expulsion of a consul, they and their families would become subject. And their 

ZTrTTK ^ Uttedy 0HentaL Hanna MaSSara ' d ~™ t0 ** consul 
murder of K M°l ™ "T *"*?"*• and before oth ers, advocated the secret 
murder of a Modem girl who had fled with a Greek, on the grounds that an 
adulteress must always be put to death, either publicly or under the rose. Ye" 
this man is an "old and tried servant" of the state. 

an !ZlA VilS ^ u 6 ^ Part miti ^ ated by employing English youths, of whom 
an ample supply, if there were any demand, would soon be forthcoming. This 
nrob^r >t ^vocated by the best authorities, but without success. Most 

end TZa ^fT ° i hG negIeCt Is the difficultv how t0 be S in > ov where to 
end, the Augean labor of consular reform. 


me to return to the dragoman, who had the effrontery 
to ask me four pounds sterling for a Persian passport. 
I offered one. He derided my offer, and I went away 
perplexed. On my return to Cairo some months after- 
wards, he sent to say that had he known me as an 
Englishman, I should have had the document gratis 
— a civility for which he was duly thanked. 

At last my Shaykh Mohammed hit upon the plan. 
"Thou art," said he, "an Afghan; I will fetch hither 
the principal of the Afghan college at the Azhar, and 
he, if thou make it worth his while" (this in a whisper), 
"will be thy friend." The case was looking desperate; 
my preceptor was urged to lose no time. 

Presently Shaykh Mohammed returned in company 
with the principal, a little, thin, ragged-bearded, one- 
eyed, hare-lipped divine, dressed in very dirty clothes, 
of non-descript cut. Born at Muscat of Afghan parents, 
and brought up at Mecca, he was a kind of cos- 
mopolite, speaking five languages fluently, and full of 
reminiscences of toil and travel. He refused pipes 
and coffee, professing to be ascetically disposed: but 
he ate more than half my dinner, to reassure me I 
presume, should I have been fearful that abstinence 
might injure his health. We then chatted in sundry 
tongues. I offered certain presents of books, which 
were rejected (such articles being valueless), and the 
Shaykh Abd el Wahhab having expressed his satis- 
faction at my account of myself, told me to call for 
him at the Azhar Mosque next morning. 

Accordingly at six p.m. Shaykh Mohammed and 


Abdullah Khan — Khan is a title assumed in India and 
other countries by all Afghans and Pathans, their de- 
scendants, simple as well as gentle — the latter equipped 
in a gigantic sprigged-muslin turban, so as to pass for 
a student of theology, repaired to El Azhar. Passing 
through the open quadrangle we entered the large 
hall which forms the body of the Mosque. In the 
northern wall was a dwarf door, leading by break-neck 
stairs to a pigeon-hole, the study of the learned Afghan 
Shaykh. We found him ensconced behind piles of 
musty and greasy manuscripts, surrounded by scholars 
and scribes, with whom he was cheapening books. 
He had not much business to transact; but long be- 
fore he was ready, the stifling atmosphere drove us 
out of the study, and we repaired to the hall. Presently 
the Shaykh joined us, and we all rode on away to the 
citadel, and waited in a mosque till the office hour 
struck. When the doors were opened we went into 
the "Divan," and sat patiently till the Shaykh found 
an opportunity of putting in a word. The officials 
were two in number; one an old invalid, very thin 
and sickly-looking, dressed in the Turco-European 
style, whose hand was being severely kissed by a troop 
of religious beggars, to whom he had done some small 
favors; the other was a stout young clerk, whose duty 
it was to engross, and not to have his hand kissed. 
My name and other essentials were required, and no 
objections were offered, for who holier than the Shaykh 
Abd el Wahhab ibn Yunus el Sulaymani? The clerk 
filled up a printed paper in the Turkish language, 


apparently borrowed from the European method for 
spoiling the traveller; certified me, upon the Shaykh's 
security, to be one Abdullah, the son of Yusuf (Joseph), 
originally from Cabool; described my person, and, in 
exchange for five piastres, handed me the document. 
I received it with joy. 

With bows, and benedictions, and many wishes 
that Allah might make it the officials' fate to become 
pilgrims, we left the office, and returned towards El 
Azhar. When we had nearly reached the Mosque, 
Shaykh Mohammed lagged behind, and made the sign. 
I drew near the Afghan, and asked for his hand. He 
took the hint, and muttering "It is no matter!" — "It 
is not necessary!" — "By Allah it is not required!" ex- 
tended his fingers, and brought the musculus guineorum 
to bear upon three dollars. Poor man! I believe it 
was his necessity that consented to be paid for doing 
a common act of Moslem charity; he had a wife and 
children, and the calling of an Alim is no longer worth 
much in Egypt. 

My departure from Cairo was hastened by an ac- 
cident. I lost my reputation by a little misfortune 
which happened in this wise. 

At Haji Wali's room in the caravanserai, I met a 
Yuz-bashi, or captain of Albanian Irregulars, who was 
in Egypt on leave from El Hejaz. He was a tall, bony, 
and broad-shouldered mountaineer, about forty years 
oldj with the large "bombe" brow, the fierce eyes, thin 
lips, lean jaws, and peaky chin of his race. His 
mustachios were enormously long and tapering, and 


the rest of his face, like his head, was close shaven. 
His "Fustan" (kilt) was none of the cleanest, nor was 
the red cap, which he wore rakishly pulled over his 
frowning forehead, quite free from stains. Not per- 
mitted to carry the favourite pistols, he contented him- 
self with sticking his right hand in the empty belt, 
and stalking about the house with a most military 
mien. Yet he was as little of a bully as carpet knight, 
that same Ali Agha; his body showed many a grisly 
scar, and one of his shin bones had been broken by 
a Turkish bullet, when he was playing tricks on the 
Albanian hills, — an accident inducing a limp, which 
he attempted to conceal by a heavy swagger. When 
he spoke, his voice was affectedly gruff; he had a 
sad knack of sneering, and I never saw him thoroughly 

Our acquaintance began with a kind of storm, 
which blew over, and left fine weather. I was show- 
ing Haji Wali my pistols with Damascene barrels when 
Ali Agha entered the room. He sat down before me 
with a grin which said intelligibly enough, "What 
business have you with weapons'?" — snatched the arm 
out of my hand, and began to inspect it as a con- 
noisseur. Not admiring this procedure, I wrenched it 
away from him, and, addressing myself to Haji Wali, 
proceeded quietly with my dissertation. The captain 
of Irregulars and I then looked at each other. He 
cocked his cap on one side, in token of excited 
pugnacity. I twirled my mustachios to display a 
kindred emotion. Had he been armed, and in ElHejaz, 


we should have fought it out at once, for the Arnaouts 
are "terribili colla pistola," as the Italians say, mean- 
ing that upon the least provocation, they pull out a 
horse-pistol, and fire it in the face of friend or foe. 
Of course, the only way under these circumstances is 
to anticipate them; but even this desperate prevention 
seldom saves a stranger, as whenever there is danger, 
these men go about in pairs. I never met with a more 
reckless brood. Upon the line of march Albanian 
troops are not allowed ammunition; for otherwise there 
would be half a dozen duels a day. When ( they 
quarrel over their cups, it is the fashion for each man 
to draw a pistol, and to place it against his opponent's 
breast. The weapons being kept accurately clean 
seldom miss fire, and if one combatant draw trigger 
before the other, he would immediately be shot down 
by the bystanders. In Egypt these men, — who are 
used as irregulars, and are often quartered upon the 
hapless villagers, when unable or unwilling to pay 
taxes, — were the terror of the population. On many 
occasions they have quarrelled with foreigners, and 
insulted European women. In El Hejaz their reckless- 
ness awes even the Bedawin. The townspeople say of 
them that "tripe-sellers, and bath-servants at Stambul, 
they become Pharaohs — tyrants, ruffians — in Arabia." 
At Jeddah the Arnaouts have amused themselves with 
firing at the English consul (Mr. Ogilvie) when he 
walked upon his terrace. And this man-shooting ap- 
pears a favourite sport with them: at Cairo numerous 
stories illustrate the sang froid with which they used 


to knock over the camel-drivers, if any one dared to 
ride past their barracks. The Albanians vaunt their 
skill in using weapons, and their pretensions impose 
upon Arabs as well as Egyptians; yet I have never 
found them wonderful with any arm (the pistol alone 
excepted), and our officers, who have visited their 
native hills, speak of them as tolerable, but by no 
means first-rate rifle shots. 

The captain of Irregulars being unhappily debarred 
the pleasure of shooting me , after looking fierce for a 
time, rose, and walked majestically out of the room. 
A day or two afterwards, he called upon me civilly 
enough, sat down, drank a cup of coffee, smoked a 
pipe, and began to converse. But as he knew about 
a hundred Arabic words, and I as many Turkish, 
our conversation was carried on under difficulties. 
Presently he asked me in a whisper for "Raki." I 
replied that there was none in the house, which in- 
duced a sneer, and an ejaculation sounding like 
"Himar" (ass), the slang synonym amongst fast Mos- 
lems for water-drinker. 

After rising to depart he seized me waggishly, with 
an eye to a trial of strength. Thinking that an Indian 
doctor and a temperance man would not be very 
dangerous, he exposed himself to what is professionally 
termed a "cross-buttock," and had his "nut" come in 
contact with the stone floor instead of my bed, he 
might not have drunk for many a day. The fall had 
a good effect upon his temper. He jumped up, patted 
my head, called for another pipe, and sat down to 


show me his wounds, and to boast of his exploits. I 
could not help remarking a ring of English gold, with 
a bezel of bloodstone, sitting strangely upon his coarse 
sun-stained hand. He declared that it had been 
snatched by him from a Konsul (consul) at Jeddah, 
and he volubly related, in a mixture of Albanian, 
Turkish, and Arabic, the history of his acquisition. 
He begged me to supply him with a little poison that 
"would not lie," for the purpose of quieting a trouble- 
some enemy, and he carefully stowed away in his 
pouch five grains of calomel, which I gave him for 
that laudable purpose. Before taking leave he pressed 
me strongly to go and drink with him: I refused to 
do so during the day, but, wishing to see how these 
men sacrifice to Bacchus, promised compliance that 

About 9 o'clock, when the caravanserai was quiet, 
I took pipe, and tobacco-pouch, stuck my dagger 
in my belt, and slipped into Ali Agha's room. He 
was, fitting on a bed spread upon the ground: in front 
of him stood four wax candles (alt Orientals hate 
drinking in any but a bright light), and a tray con- 
taining a basin of stuff like soup maigre, a dish of 
cold stewed meat, and two bowls of Salatah (sliced 
cucumber and curds). The "materials" peeped out 
of an iron pot filled with water; one was a long, thin, 
white-glass flask of Raki, the other a bottle of some 
strong perfume. Both were wrapped up in wet rag, 
the u$ual refrigerator. 

Ali Agha welcomed me politely, and seeing me 


admire the preparations, bade me beware how I sus- 
pected an Albanian of not knowing how to drink; he 
made me sit by him on the bed, threw his dagger to 
a handy distance, signalled me to do the same, and 
prepared to begin the bout. Taking up a little 
tumbler, in shape like those from which French pos- 
tilions used to drink "la goutte," he inspected it nar- 
rowly, wiped out the interior with his forefinger, filled 
it to the brim, and offered it to his guest with a bow. 
I received it with a low salam, swallowed its contents 
at once, turned it upside down in proof of fair play, 
replaced it upon the floor, with a jaunty movement of 
the arm, somewhat like a pugilist delivering a "rounder," 
bowed again, and requested him to help himself. The 
same ceremony followed on his part. Immediately 
after each glass, — and rapidly the cup went about, — 
we swallowed a draught of water, and ate a spoonful 
of the meat or the Salatah in order to cool our palates. 
Then we reapplied ourselves to our pipes, emitting 
huge puffs, — a sign of being "fast" men, — and looked 
facetiously at each other, — drinking being considered 
by Moslems a funny and pleasant sort of sin. 

The Albanian captain was at least half seas over 
when we began the bout, yet he continued to fill and 
to drain without showing the least progress towards 
ebriety. I in vain for a time expected the "bad-masti," 
(as the Persians call it,) the horse play, and the gross 
facetiae, which generally accompany southern and 
eastern tipsiness. Ali Agha, indeed, occasionally took 
up the bottle of perfume, filled the palm of his right 

Mecca and Medina. /. 9 


hand, and dashed it in my face; I followed his example, 
but our pleasantries went no further. 

Presently my companion started a grand project, 
namely, that I should entice the respectable Haji Wali 
into the room, where we might force him to drink. 
The idea was facetious: it was making a Bow-street 
magistrate polk at a casino. I started up to fetch the 
Haji: and when I returned with him AH Agha was 
found in a new stage of "freshness." He had stuck 
a green-leaved twig upright in the floor, and had so 
turned over a goblet of water, that its contents trickled 
slowly, in a tiny stream under the verdure; whilst he 
was sitting before it mentally gazing, with an outward 
show of grim Quixotic tenderness, upon the shady 
trees and the cool rills of his fatherland. Possibly he 
had peopled the place with "young barbarians at play;" 
for verily I thought that a tear "which had no busi- 
ness there" was glistening in his stony eye. 

The appearance of Haji Wali suddenly changed 
the scene. Ali Agha jumped up, seized the visitor by 
the shoulder, compelled him to sit down, and, ecstasied 
by the good man's horror at the scene, filled a tum- 
bler, and with the usual grotesque grimaces insisted 
upon its being drunk off. Haji Wali stoutly refused; 
then Ali Agha put it to his own lips, and drained it 
with a hurt-feeling and reproachful aspect. We made 
our unconvivial friend smoke a few puffs, and then 
we returned to the charge. In vain the Haji protested 
that throughout life he had avoided the deadly sin; in 
vain he promised to drink with us to-morrow, — in 


vain he quoted Koran, and alternately coaxed, and 
threatened us with the police. We were inexorable. 
At last the Haji started upon his feet, and rushed 
away, regardless of any thing but escape, leaving his 
Tarbush, his slippers, and his pipe, in the hands of 
the enemy. The host did not dare to pursue his re- 
creant guest beyond the door, but returning he care- 
fully sprinkled the polluting liquid on the cap, pipe, 
and shoes, and called the Haji an ass in every tongue 
he knew. 

Then we applied ourselves to supper, and dis- 
patched the soup, the stew, and the Salatah. A few 
tumblers and pipes were exhausted to obviate indiges- 
tion, when Ali Agha arose majestically, and said that 
he required a troop of dancing girls to gladden his 
eyes with a ballet. 

I represented that such persons are no longer ad- 
mitted into caravanserais. He inquired, with calm 
ferocity, "who hath forbidden if?" I replied "the 
Pasha;" upon which Ali Agha quietly removed his cap, 
brushed it with his dexter fore-arm, fitted it on his fore- 
head, raking forwards, twisted his mustachios to the 
sharp point of a single hair, shouldered his pipe, and 
moved towards the door, vowing, that he would make 
the Pasha himself come, and dance before us. 

I foresaw a brawl, and felt thankful that my boon 
companion had forgotten his dagger. Prudence whis- 
pered me to return to my room, to bolt the door, and 
to go to bed, but conscience suggested that it would 
be unfair to abandon the Albanian in his present 



helpless state. I followed* him into the outer gallery, 
pulling him, and begging him, as a despairing wife 
might urge a drunken husband, to return home. And 
he, like the British husband, being greatly irritated by 
the unjovial advice, instantly belaboured with his pipe- 
stick the first person he met in the gallery, and sent 
him flying down the stairs with fearful shouts of "O 
Egyptians! O ye accursed! O genus of Pharaoh! O 
race of dogs! O Egyptians!" 

He then burst open a door with his shoulder, and 
reeled into a room where two aged dames were placidly 
reposing by the side of their spouses, who were basket- 
makers. They immediately awoke, seeing a stranger, 
and hearing his foul words, they retorted with a hot 
volley of vituperation. 

Put to flight by the old women's tongues, Ali Agha, 
in spite of all my endeavours, reeled down the stairs, 
and fell upon the sleeping form of the night porter, 
whose blood he vowed to drink — the Oriental form of 
threatening "spiflication." Happily for the assaulted, 
the Agha's servant, a sturdy Albanian lad, was lying 
on a mat in the doorway close by. Roused by the 
tumult he jumped up, and found the captain in a state 
of fury. Apparently the man was used to the master's 
mood. Without delay he told us all to assist, and we 
lending a helping hand, half dragged and half carried 
the Albanian to his room. Yet even in this ignoble 
plight, he shouted with all the force of his lungs the 
old war-cry, "O Egyptians! O race of dogs! I have 
dishonored all Sikandariyah — all Kahirah — all Suways " 


— Anglic^, Alexandria, Cairo, and Suez, — an extensive 
field of operations. And in this vaunting frame of 
mind he was put to bed. No Welsh undergraduate 
at Oxford, under similar circumstances, ever gave more 

" You had better start on your pilgrimage at once," 
said Haji Wali, meeting me the next morning with a 
" goguenard" smile. 

He was right. Throughout the caravanserai nothing 
was talked of for nearly a week but the wickedness of 
the captain of Albanian Irregulars, and the hypocrisy 
of the staid Indian doctor. Thus it was, gentle reader, 
that I lost my reputation of being a "serious person" 
at Cairo. And all I have to show for it is the per- 
sonal experience of an Albanian drinking-bout. 

I wasted but little time in taking leave of my 
friends, telling them by way of precaution, that my 
destination was Mecca via Jeddah, and firmly deter- 
mining, if possible, to make El Medina via Yambu. 
"Conceal," says the Arab's proverb, "thy tenets, thy 
treasure, and thy travelling." 



From Cairo to Suez. 

Shaykh Nassar, a Bedawi of Tur (Mount Sinai), 
being on his way homewards, agreed to let me have 
two dromedaries for the sum of 50 piastres, or about 
ten shillings each. Being desirous to set out with a 
certain display of respectability, I accepted these terms; 
a man of humbler pretensions would have travelled 
with a single animal, and a camel-man running behind 
him. But, besides ostentation, I wanted my attendant 
to be mounted, that we might make a forced march 
in order to ascertain how much a four years' life of 
European effeminacy had impaired my powers of en- 
durance. The reader may believe the assertion that 
there are few better tests than an eighty-four-mile-ride 
in midsummer, on a bad wooden saddle, borne by a 
worse dromedary, across the Suez desert. Even the 
Squire famed for being copper-sheeted might not have 
disdained a* trial of the kind. 

I started my Indian boy and heavy luggage for 
Suez two days before the end of the Eed, — laden 
camels generally taking fifty-five or sixty hours to do 
the journey, and I spent the intermediate time with 
Haji Wali. He advised me to mount about 3 p.m., so 
that I might arrive at Suez on the evening of the next 
day, and assisted me in making due preparations of 


water, tobacco, and provisions. Early on the morning 
of departure the Afghan Shaykh came to the caravan- 
serai, and breakfasted with us, "because Allah willed 
it." After a copious meal he bestowed upon me a 
stately benediction, and would have embraced me, 
but I humbly bent over his hand: sad to relate, im- 
mediately that his back was turned, Haji Wali raised 
his forefinger to a right angle with the palm, and burst 
into a shout of irreverent laughter. At 3 o'clock 
Nassar, the Bedawi > came to announce that the dro- 
medaries were saddled. I dressed myself, sticking a 
pistol in my belt, and passing the crimson silk cord 
of the Hamail or pocket Koran over my shoulder, in 
token of being a pilgrim. Then distributing a few 
trifling presents to friends and servants, and, accom- 
panied by the Shaykh Mohammed, and Haji Wali, I 
descended the stairs with an important gait. In the 
court-yard squatted the camels, (dromedaries they 
could not be called,) and I found that a second driver 
was going to accompany us. I objected to this, as 
the extra Bedawi would, of course, expect to be fed 
by me; but Nassar swore that the man was his brother, 
and, as you rarely gain by small disputes with these 
people, he was allowed to have his own way. 

Then came the preparatory leave-takings. Haji 
Wali embraced me heartily, and so did my poor old 
Shaykh, who, despite his decrepitude and my objec- 
tions, insisted upon accompanying me to the city 
gate. I mounted the camel, crossed my legs before 
the pommel — stirrups are not used in Egypt — and, 


preceding my friend, descended the street leading to- 
wards the desert. As we emerged from the huge gate- 
way of the caravanserai all the bystanders, except only 
the porter, who believed me to be a Persian, and had 
seen me with the drunken captain, exclaimed, "Allah 
bless thee, Y'al Hajj (O pilgrim!), and restore thee to 
thy country and thy friends!" And passing through 
the Bab el Nasr, where I addressed the salutation of 
peace to the sentry, and to the officer commanding 
the guard, both gave me God-speed with great cor- 
diality — the pilgrim's blessing in Asia,, like the old 
woman's in Europe, being supposed to possess peculiar 
efficacy. Outside the gate my friends took a final 
leave of me, and I will not deny having felt a tighten- 
ing of heart as their honest faces and forms faded in 
the distance. 

But Shaykh Nassar switches his camel's shoulder, 
and appears inclined to take the lead. This is a trial 
of manliness. There is no time for emotion. Not a 
moment can be spared, even for a retrospect. I kick my 
dromedary, who steps out into a jog-trot. The Bedawin 
with a loud ringing laugh attempt to give me the go- 
by. I resist, and we continue like children till the 
camels are at their speed, though we have eighty- four 
miles before us, and above us an atmosphere like a 
furnace blast. The road is deserted at this hour, 
otherwise grave Moslem travellers would have believed 
the police to be nearer than convenient to us. 

Presently we drew rein, and exchanged our pace 
for one more seasonable, whilst the sun began to tell 


on man and beast. High raised as we were above 
the ground, the reflected heat struck us sensibly, and 
the glare of a macadamised road added a few extra 
degrees of caloric. The Bedawin, to refresh them- 
selves, prepare to smoke. They fill my chibouque, 
light it with a flint and steel, and cotton dipped in a 
solution of gunpowder, and pass it over to me. After 
a few puffs I return it to them, and they use it turn 
by turn. Then they begin to while away the tedium 
of the road by asking questions, which passe-temps is 
not easily exhausted; for they are never satisfied till 
they know as much of you as you do of yourself. 
They next resort to talking about victuals; for with 
this hungry race, food, as a topic of conversation, 
takes the place of money in happier lands. And lastly, 
even this engrossing subject being exhausted for the 
moment, they take refuge in singing: and, monotonous 
and droning as it is, their Modinha has yet an artless 
plaintiveness, which admirably suits the singer and 
the scenery. If you listen to the words, you will surely 
hear allusions to bright verdure, cool shades, bubbling 
rills, or something which hereabouts man hath not, 
and yet which his soul desires. 

And now while Nassar and his brother are chaunt- 
ing a duet, the refrain being, 

" W'al arz mablul bi matar," 
"And the earth wet with rain," — 

I must crave leave to say a few words, despite the 
triteness of the subject, about the modern Sinaitic race 
of Arabs, 


Besides the tribes occupying the northern parts of 
the peninsula, five chief clans are enumerated by 
Burckhardt Nassar, and other authorities at Suez, 
divided them into six, namely: — 

1. Karashi, who, like the Gara in Eastern Arabia, 
claim an apocryphal origin from the great Koraysh 

2. Salihi, the principal family of the Sinaitic 

3. Arimi: according to Burckhardt this clan is 
merely a sub-family of the Sawalihahs. 

4. Saidi. Burckhardt calls them Welad Said, and 
derives them also from the Sawalihahs. 

5. Aliki, and lastly, the 

6. Muzaynah, generally pronounced M'zaynah. 
This class is an off-shoot from the great Jehaynah 
tribe inhabiting the barrens about Yambu\ According 
to oral tradition five persons, the ancestors of the 
present Muzaynah race, were forced by a blood-feud 
to fly their native country. They landed at the Shu- 
rum or Creek-ports, and have now spread themselves 
over the eastern parts of the peninsula. In El Hejaz 
the Muzaynah is an old and noble tribe. It produced 
Kaab el Ahbar, the celebrated poet, to whom Moham- 
med gave the cloak which the Ottomans believe to have 
been taken by Sultan Selim from Egypt, and to have 
been converted under the name of Khirkah Sherif into 
the national Oriflamme. 

There are some interesting ethnographical points 
about these Sinaitic clans — interesting at least to those 


who would trace the genealogy of the great Arabian 
family. Any one who knows the Bedawin can see 
that the Muzaynah are pure blood. Their brows are 
broad, their faces narrow, their features regular, and 
their eyes of a moderate size: whereas the other 
Tawarah (Sinaitic) clans are as palpably Egyptian. 
These have preserved that roundness of face which 
may still be seen in the Sphinx as in the modern 
Copt, and their eyes have that peculiar size, shape,- 
and look which the old Egyptian painters attempted 
to express by giving to the profile, the form of the 
full organ. Upon this feature, so characteristic of the 
Nilotic race, I would lay great stress. No traveller 
familiar with the true Egyptian eye, long, almond- 
shaped, deeply fringed, slightly raised at the outer 
corner and dipping in front like the Chinese, can 
ever mistake it. It is to be seen in half-castes, and, 
as I have before remarked, families originally from 
the banks of the Nile, but settled for generations in 
the Holy Land, El Hejaz, retain the peculiarity. 

I therefore believe the Turi Bedawin to be an im- 
pure race, Egypto-Arab, whereas his neighbour the 
Hejazi is the pure Syrian or Mesopotamian. "And 
he (Ishmael) dwelt in the wilderness of Paran (Wady 
Firan?), and his mother took him a wife, out of the 
land of Egypt." (Gen. xxi. 21.) I wonder that some 
geographers have attempted to identify Massa the son 
of Ishmael (Gen. xxv. 14.) with Mecca, when in verse 
18 of the same chapter we read, "And they (the twelve 
princes, sons of Ishmael) dwelt from Havilah unto Shur" 


This asserts, as clearly as language can, that the pos- 
terity of, or the race typified by, Ishmael, — the Egypto- 
Arab, — occupied only the northern parts of the pen- 
insula. Their habitat is not even included in Arabia 
by those writers who bound the country on the north 
by an imaginary line drawn from Ras Mohammed to 
the mouths of the Euphrates. 

Dr. Wilson (Lands of the Bible), repeated by Eliot 
Warburton, (Crescent and Cross,) lays stress upon the 
Tawarah tradition, that they are Beni-Israel converted 
to El-Islam, considering it a fulfilment of the prophecy, 
"that a remnant of Israel shall dwell in Edom." With 
due deference to so illustrious an orientalist and 
Biblical scholar as Dr. Wilson, I believe that most 
modern Moslems, being ignorant that Jacob was the 
first called "prince with God," apply the term Beni- 
Israel to all the posterity of Abraham, not to Jews 

A wonderful change has taken place in the Ta- 
warah tribes, whilome portrayed by Sir John Mande- 
ville as "folke fulle of alle evylle condiciouns." 
Niebuhr notes the trouble they gave him, and their 
perpetual hankering for both murder and pillage. 
Even in the late Mohammed Air's early reign, no 
governor of Suez dared to flog, or to lay hands upon 
a Turi, whatever offence he might have committed 
within the walls of the town. Now the wild man's 
sword is taken from him, before he is allowed to enter 
the gates, and my old acquaintance, Giaffar Bey, would 
think no more of belabouring a Bedawi than of 


flogging a Fellah. Such is the result of Mohammed 
All's rigorous policy, and such the effects of even 
semi-civilisation, when its influence is brought to bear 
direct upon barbarism. 

To conclude this subject, the Tawarah still retain 
many characteristics of the Bedawi race. The most 
good-humoured and sociable of men, they delight in 
a jest, and may readily be managed by kindness and 
courtesy. Yet they are passionate, nice upon points 
of honor, revengeful and easily offended where their 
peculiar prejudices are misunderstood. I have always 
found them pleasant companions, and deserving of 
respect, for their hearts are good, and their courage 
is beyond a doubt. Those travellers who complain 
of their insolence and extortion may have been either 
ignorant of their language or offensive to them by 
assumption of superiority, — in the Desert man meets 
man, — or physically unfitted to acquire their esteem. 

We journeyed on till near sunset through the 
wilderness without ennui. It is strange how the mind 
can be amused by scenery that presents so few objects 
to occupy it. But in such a country every slight 
modification of form or color rivets observation: the 
senses are sharpened, and the perceptive faculties, 
prone to sleep over a confused mass of objects, act 
vigorously when excited by the capability of em- 
bracing each detail. Moreover desert views are emi- 
nently suggestive; they appeal to the Future, not to 
the Past; they arouse because they are by no means 
memorial. To the solitary wayfarer there is an interest 


in the wilderness unknown to Cape seas and Alpine 
glaciers, an<J even to the rolling Prairie, — the effect 
of continued excitement on the mind, stimulating its 
powers to their pitch. Above, through a sky terrible 
in its stainless beauty, and the splendors of a pitiless 
blinding glare, the Simum caresses you like a lion 
with flaming breath. Around lie drifted sand-heaps, 
upon which each puff of wind leaves its trace in solid 
waves; flayed rocks, the very skeletons of mountains, 
and hard unbroken plains, over which he who rides 
is spurred by the idea that the bursting of a water- 
skin, or the pricking of a camePs hoof would be a 
certain death of torture, — a haggard land infested with 
wild beasts, and wilder men, — a region whose very 
fountains murmur the warning wdrds "Drink and 
away!" What can be more exciting? what more 
sublime'? Man's heart bounds in his breast at the 
thought of measuring his puny force with Nature's 
might, and of emerging triumphant from the trial. 
This explains the Arab's proverb, "Voyaging is a 
Victory." In the Desert even more than upon the 
ocean, there is present death: hardship is there, and 
piracies, and shipwreck — solitary, not in crowds, where, 
as the Persians say, "Death is a Festival," — and this 
sense of danger, never absent, invests the scene of travel 
with an interest not its own. 

Let the traveller who suspects exaggeration leave 
the Suez road for an hour or two, and gallop north- 
wards over the sands: in the drear silence, the solitude, 
and the fantastic desolation of the place, he will feel 


what the Desert may be. And then the Oases, and 
little lines of fertility — how soft and how beautiful! — 
even though the Wady el Ward (the Vale of Flowers) 
be the name of some stern flat upon which a handful 
of wild shrub blossoms while struggling through a cold 
season's ephemeral existence. 

In such circumstances the mind is influenced 
through the body. Though your mouth glows, and 
your skin is parched, yet you feel no languor, the 
effect of humid heat; your lungs are lightened, your 
sight brightens, your memory recovers its tone, and 
your spirits become exuberant; your fancy and imagina- 
tion are powerfully aroused, and the wildness and 
sublimity of the scenes around you stir up all the 
energies of your soul — whether for exertion, danger, 
or strife. Your morale improves: you become frank 
and cordial, hospitable and single-minded: the hypo- 
critical politeness and the slavery of civilisation are 
left behind you in the city. Your senses are quickened: 
they require no stimulants but air and exercise, — in 
the Desert spirituous liquors excite only disgust. 
There is a keen enjoyment in mere animal existence. 
The sharp appetite disposes of the most indigestible 
food, the sand is softer than a bed of down, and the 
purity of the air suddenly puts to flight a dire cohort 
of diseases. Hence it is that both sexes, and every 
age, the most material as well as the most imaginative 
of minds; the tamest citizen, the parson, the old maid, 
the peaceful student, the spoiled child of civilisation, 
all feel their hearts dilate, and their pulses beat strong, 


as they look down from their dromedaries upon the 
glorious Desert. Where do we hear of a traveller 
being disappointed by it? It is another illustration 
of the ancient truth that Nature returns to man, how- 
ever unworthily he has treated her. And believe me, 
when once your tastes have conformed to the tranquillity 
of such travel, you will suffer real pain in returning 
to the turmoil of civilisation. You will anticipate the 
bustle and the confusion of artificial life, its luxury 
and its false pleasures, with repugnance. Depressed 
in spirits, you will for a time after your return feel 
incapable of mental or bodily exertion. The air of 
cities will suffocate you, and the care-worn and ca- 
daverous countenances of citizens will haunt you like 
a vision of judgment. 

As the black shadow mounted in the Eastern sky, 
I turned off the road, and was suddenly saluted by a 
figure rising from a little hollow with an "As' Salamo 
Alaykum" of truly Arab sound. I looked at the 
speaker for a moment without recognising him. He 
then advanced with voluble expressions of joy, invited 
me to sup, seized my camel's halter without waiting 
for an answer, "nakh'd" it (i. e. forced it to kneel), 
led me hurriedly to a carpet spread in a sandy hollow, 
pulled off my slippers, gave me cold water for ablu- 
tion, told me that he had mistaken me at a distance 
for a "Sherif" or Prince of the Arabs, but was de- 
lighted to find himself in error, and urged me to hurry 
over ablution, otherwise that night would come on 
before we could say our prayers. It was Mohammed 


el Basyuni, the Meccan boy of whom I had bought 
my pilgrim-garb at Cairo. There I had refused his 
companionship, but here for reasons of his own — one 
of them was an utter want of money — he would take 
no excuse. When he prayed he stood behind me, 
thereby proving pliancy of conscience, for he sus- 
pected me from the first of being at least a heretic. 
There are many qualifications necessary for an Imam, 
a leader of prayer; the first condition, of course, is 

After devotions he lighted a pipe, and immediately 
placed the snake-like tube in my hand; this is an 
argument which the tired traveller can rarely resist. 
He then began to rummage my saddle-bags; he drew 
forth stores of provisions, rolls, water-melons, boiled 
eggs, and dates and, whilst lighting the fire and boil- 
ing the coffee, he managed to distribute his own stock, 
which was neither plentiful nor first-rate, to the camel- 
men. Shaykh Nassar and his brother looked aghast 
at this movement, but the boy was inexorable. They 
tried a few rough hints, which he noticed by singing 
a Hindostani couplet that asserts the impropriety of 
anointing rats' heads with jasmine oil. They sus- 
pected abuse, and waxed cross; he acknowledged this 
by deriding them. "I have heard of Nasrs and Nasirs, 
and Mansiirs, but may Allah spare me the mortifica- 
tion of a Nassar!" said the boy, relying upon my 
support. And I urged him on, wanting to see how 
the city Arab treats the countryman. He then took 
my tobacco-pouch from the angry Bedawin, and in a 

Mecca and Medina. I. I O 


stage-whisper reproved me for entrusting it to such 
thieves; insisting, at the same time, upon drinking all 
the coffee, so that the poor guides had to prepare 
some for themselves. He improved every opportunity 
of making mischief. "We have eaten water-melon!" 
cried Nassar, patting its receptacle in token of reple- 
tion. "Dost thou hear, my lord, how they grumble? 
the impudent ruffians !" remarked Mohammed. " We 
have eaten water-melon! that is to say, we ought 
to have eaten meat!" The Bedawin, completely out 
of temper, told him not to trust himself among their 
hills. He seized a sword, began capering about 
after the fashion of the East-Indian school of arms, 
and boasted that he would attack single-handed the 
whole clan — which elicited an ironical "Allah! Allah!" 
from the hearers. 

After an hour most amusingly spent in this way I 
arose, much to the dissatisfaction of my guides, who 
wished to sleep there, and insisted upon mounting. 
Shaykh Nassar and his brother had reckoned upon 
living gratis, for at least three days, judging it im- 
probable that a soft Effendi would hurry himself. 
When they saw the fair vision dissolve, they began to 
finesse: they induced the camel-man, who ran by the 
side of Mohammed's dromedary, to precede the animal 
— a favourite manoeuvre to prevent overspeed. Ordered 
to fall back, the fellow pleaded fatigue, and inability 
to walk. The boy Mohammed immediately asked if 
I had any objection to dismount one of my guides, 
and to let his weary attendant ride for an hour or so, 


I at once assented, and the Bedawin obeyed me with 

ominous grumblings. When we resumed our march 

the melancholy Arabs had no song left in them, whereas 

Mohammed chanted vociferously, and quoted bad 

Hindostani and worse Persian till silence was forcibly 

imposed upon him. The camel-men lagged behind, 

in order to prevent my dromedary advancing too fast, 

and the boy's guide, after dismounting, would stride 

in front of us, under pretext of showing the way. 

And so we jogged on, now walking, then trotting, till 

the dromedaries began to grunt with fatigue, and the 

Arabs clamoured for a halt. 

At midnight we reached the Central Station, and 

lay down under its walls to take a little rest. The 

dews fell heavily, wetting the sheets that covered us; 

but who cares for such trifles in the Desert? The 

moon shone bright; the breeze blew coolly, and the 

jackal sang a lullaby which lost no time in inducing 

the soundest sleep. As the Wolf's Tail, the first brushes 

of grey light which appear as forerunners of dawn, 

showed in the heavens we arose. Grey mists floating 

over the hills northwards gave the Dar el Bayda, the 

Pasha's Palace, the look of some old feudal castle. 

There was a haze in the atmosphere, which beautified 

even the face of Desolation. The swift-flying Kata 

(sand-grouse) sprang in noisy coveys from the road, 

and a stray gazelle paced daintily over the stony plain. 

As we passed by the Pilgrim's tree, I added another 

rag to its coat of tatters. We then invoked the aid 

of the holy saint El Dakruri from his cream-colored 



abode, mounted our camels, and resumed the march 
in real earnest. The dawn passed away in its de- 
licious coolness, and sultry morning came on. Then 
day glared in its fierceness, and the noontide sun 
made the plain glow with terrible heat. Still we pressed 
onwards. ' 

At 3 p.m. we turned off the road into a dry water- 
course, which is not far from No. 13 station. The 
sand was dotted with the dried-up leaves of the Datura, 
and was strongly perfumed by "Shih" a kind of 
Absinthe, sweetest herb of the desert. A Mimosa 
was there, and although its shade at this season is 
little better than a cocoa tree's, the Bedawin would 
not neglect it. We lay down upon the sand, to rest 
among a party of Maghrabi pilgrims travelling to Suez. 
These wretches, who were about a dozen in number, 
appeared to be of the lowest class; their garments 
consisted of a Burnus-cloak and a pair of sandals, 
their sole weapon a long knife, and their only stock 
a bag of dry provisions. Each had his large wooden 
bowl, but none carried water with him. It was im- 
possible to help pitying their state, nor could I eat, 
seeing them hungry, thirsty, and wayworn. Nassar 
served out about a pint of water and a little bread to 
each man. Then they asked for more. None was to 
be had, so they cried out that money would do as 
well. I had determined upon being generous to the 
extent of a few pence. Custom, as well as inclina- 
tion, was in favor of the act; but when the alms be- 
came a demand, and the demand was backed by fierce 



looks and a derisive sneer, and a kind of reference to 
their knives, gentle Charity took the alarm and fled. 
My pistols kept them at bay, for they were only mak- 
ing an attempt to intimidate, and, though I took the 
precaution of sitting apart from them, there was no 
real danger. The Suez road, by the wise regulations 
of Mohammed AH, has become as safe to European 
travellers as that between Hampstead and Highgate, 
and even Easterns have little to fear but what their 
fears create. My Indian servant was full of the 
dangers he had run, but I did not believe in them. I 
afterwards heard that the place where the Maghrabis 
attempted to frighten what they thought a timid Turk 
was once notorious for plunder and murder. Here 
the spurs of two opposite hills almost meet upon the 
plain, a favorable ground for Bedawi ambuscade. Of 
the Maghrabis I shall have more to say when relating 
my voyage in the Pilgrim Ship: they were the only 
travellers from whom we experienced the least an- 
noyance. Numerous parties of Turks, Arabs, and Af- 
ghans, and a few East-Indians were, on the same 
errand as ourselves. All, as we passed them, wel- 
comed us with the friendly salutation that becomes 
men engaged in a labor of religion. 

About half an hour before sunset, I turned off the 
road leftwards and, under pretext of watering the 
dromedaries, rode up to inspect the fort El Ajrudi. It 
is a quadrangle with round towers at the gateway and 
at the corners, newly built of stone and mortar; the 
material is already full of crevices, and would not stand 


before a twelve-pounder. Without guns or gunners, it 
was occupied by about a dozen Fellahs who act as 
hereditary "Ghafirs" (guardians); they were expecting 
at that time to be reinforced by a party of Bashi 
Buzuks — irregulars from Cairo. The people of the 
country were determined that an English fleet would 
soon appear in the Red Sea, and this fort is by them 
ridiculously considered the key A of Suez. As usual in 
these Vauban-lacking lands, the well supplying the 
stronghold is in a detached and distant building, which 
can be approached by an enemy with the greatest 
security. Over the gateway was an ancient inscription 
reversed; the water was brackish, and of bad quality. 
We resumed our way: Suez was now near. In the 
azure distance the castellated peaks of Jebel Rahah, 
and the wide sand-tracts over which lies the land- 
route to El Hejaz. Before us the sight ever dear to 
English eyes, — a strip of sea gloriously blue, with a 
gallant steamer walking the waters. On the right- 
hand side the broad slopes of Jebel Mukattam, a range 
of hills which flanks the road all the way from Cairo. 
It was at this hour a spectacle not easily to be for- 
gotten. The near range of chalk and sand-stone wore 
a russet suit, gilt where the last rays of the sun seamed 
it with light, and the deep folds were shaded with the 
richest purple; whilst the background of the higher 
hills, Jebel Taweri, generally known as Abu Deraj| (the 
Father of Steps), was sky-blue streaked with the lightest 
plum color. We drew up at a small building called 
Bir Suways (well of Suez), and under pretext of 


watering the cattle, I sat for half an hour admiring the 
charms of the Desert. The eye never tires of such 
loveliness of hue, and the memory of the hideousness 
of this range, when a sun in front exposed each gaunt 
and barren feature, supplied the evening view with 
another element of attraction. 

It was already night when we passed through the 
tumbling six-windowed gateway of Suez; and still re- 
mained the task of finding my servant and effects. 
After wandering in and out of every Wakaleh in the 
village, during which peregrination the boy Mohammed 
proved himself so useful that I determined at all risks 
to make him my companion, we accidentally heard 
that a Hindi had taken lodgings at a hostelry bearing 
the name of Jirjis el Zahr, the "George:" so called 
after its owner, a Copt, Consular Agent for Belgium. 
On arriving there our satisfaction was diminished by 
the intelligence that the same Hindi, after locking the 
door, had gone out with his friends to a ship in the 
harbour; in fact, that he had made all preparations for 
running away. I dismounted, and tried to persuade 
the porter to break open the wooden bolt, but he ab- 
solutely refused, and threatened the police. Mean- 
while Mohammed had found a party of friends, men 
of El Medinah, returning to the pilgrimage after a 
begging tour through Egypt and Turkey. The meeting 
was characterised by vociferous inquiries, loud guffaws, 
and warm embraces. I was invited to share their 
supper, and their dormitory, — an uncovered platform 
projecting from the gallery over the square court below, 


— but I had neither appetite nor spirits enough to be 
sociable. The porter, after much persuasion, showed 
me an empty room, in which I spread my carpet. That 
was a sad night. My eighty- four (85?) mile ride had 
made every bone ache; I had lost much epidermis, 
and the sun had seared every portion of skin exposed 
to it. So, lamenting my degeneracy and the ill effects 
of four years' domicile in Europe, and equally dis- 
quieted in mind about the fate of my goods and chat- 
tels, I fell into an uncomfortable sleep. 




Early on the morning after my arrival, I arose, 
and consulted my new acquaintances about the means 
of recovering the missing property. They unanimously 
advised a visit to the governor, whom, however, they 
described to be a "Kalb ibn kalb," (dog, son of a 
dog,) who never returned Moslems' salutations, and 
who thought all men dirt to be trodden under foot 
by Turks. The boy Mohammed showed his savoir 
faire by extracting from his huge Sahharah-box a fine 
embroidered cap, and a grand peach-coloured coat, 
with which I was instantly invested; he dressed him- 
self with similar magnificence, and we then set out to 
the "palace." 

Giaffar Bey, — he has since been deposed, — then 
occupied the position of judge, officer commanding, 
collector of customs, and magistrate of Suez. He was 
a Mir-liwa, or brigadier-general, and had some reputa- 
tion as a soldier, together with a slight tincture of 
European science and language. The large old Turk 
received me most superciliously, disdained all return 
of salam, and fixing upon me two little eyes like 
gimlets, demanded my business. I stated that one 
Shaykh Nur, my Hindi servant, had played me false; 
therefore I required permission to break into the room 


supposed to contain my effects. He asked my pro- 
fession. I replied the medical. This led him to in- 
quire if I had any medicine for the eyes, and being 
answered in the affirmative, he sent a messenger with 
me to enforce obedience on the part of the porter. 
The obnoxious measure was, however, unnecessary. 
As we entered the caravanserai, there appeared at the 
door the black face of Shaykh Nur, looking, though 
accompanied by sundry fellow-countrymen, uncom- 
monly as if he merited and expected the bamboo. 
He had, by his own account, been seduced into the 
festivities of a coal-hulk manned by Lascars, and the 
vehemence of his self-accusation saved him from the 
chastisement which I had determined to administer. 

I must now briefly describe the party of Mecca 
and Medina men into which fate threw me: their 
names will so frequently appear in the following pages, 
that a few words about their natures will not be mis- 

First of all comes Umar Effendi, — so called in 
honor, — a Daghistani or Circassian, the grandson of a 
Hanafi Mufti at El Medinah, and the son of a Shaykh 
Rakb, an officer whose duty it is to lead dromedary- 
caravans. He sits upon his cot, a small, short, plump 
body, of yellow complexion and bilious temperament, 
grey-eyed, soft-featured, and utterly beardless — which 
affects his feelings — he looks fifteen, and he owns to 
twenty-eight. His manners are those of a student; he 
dresses respectably, prays regularly, hates the fair sex, 
like an Arab, whose affections and aversions are always 


in extremes, is serious, has a mild demeanour, an 
humble gait, and a soft slow voice. When roused he 
becomes furious as a Bengal tiger. His parents have 
urged him to marry, and he, like Camaralzaman , has 
informed his father that he is "a person of great age, 
but little sense." Urged moreover by a melancholy 
turn of mind, and the want of leisure for study at El 
Medinah, he fled the paternal domicile, and entered 
himself a pauper Talib ilm (student) in the Azhar 
Mosque. His disconsolate friends and afflicted rela- 
tions sent a confidential man to fetch him home by 
force, should it be necessary; he has yielded, and is 
now awaiting the first opportunity of travelling gratis, 
if possible, to El Medinah. 

That confidential man is a negro-servant, called 
Sa'ad, notorious in his native city as El Jinni, the 
Demon. Born and bred a slave in Umar Effendi's 
family, he obtained manumission, became a soldier in 
El Hejaz, was dissatisfied with pay perpetually in ar- 
rears, turned merchant, and wandered far and wide, 
to Russia, to Gibraltar, and to Baghdad. He is the 
pure African, noisily merry at one moment, at another 
silently sulky; affectionate and abusive, brave and 
boastful, reckless and crafty, exceedingly quarrelsome, 
' and unscrupulous to the last degree. The bright side 
of his character is his love and respect for the young 
master Umar Effendi; yet even him he will scold in a 
paroxysm of fury, and steal from him whatever he can 
lay his hands on. He is generous with his goods, but 
is ever borrowing and never paying money; he dresses 


like a beggar, with the dirtiest Tarbush upon his tufty 
poll, and only a cotton shirt over his sooty skin, whilst 
his two boxes are full of handsome apparel for him- 
self and the three ladies, his wives, at El Medinah. He 
knows no fear but for those boxes. Frequently during 
our search for a vessel he forced himself into Giaffar 
Bey's presence, and there he demeaned himself so im- 
pudently, that we expected to see him lamed \>y the 
bastinado; his forwardness, however, only amused the 
dignitary. He wanders all day about the bazar, talking 
about freight and passage, for he has resolved, cost 
what it will, to travel free, and, with doggedness like 
his, he must succeed. 

Shaykh Hamid el Samman derives his cognomen, 
the "Clarified-Butter-Seller," from a celebrated saint 
and Sufi of the Kadiriyyeh order, who left a long line 
of holy descendants at El Medinah. This Shaykh squats 
upon a box full of presents for the daughter of his 
paternal uncle, his wife, a perfect specimen of the 
town Arab. His poll is crowned with a rough Shushah 
or tuft of hair; his face is of a dirty brown; his little 
goatee straggles untrimmed; his feet are bare, and his 
only garment is an exceedingly unclean, ochre-colored 
blouse, tucked into a leathern girdle beneath it. He 
will not pray, because he is unwilling to take pure* 
clothes out of his box; but he smokes when he can 
get other people's tobacco, and groans between the 
whiffs, conjugating the verb all day, for he is of active 
mind. He can pick out his letters, and he keeps in 
his bosom a little dog's-eared MS. full of serious 


romances and silly prayers, old and exceedingly ill- 
written: this he will draw forth at times, peep into for 
a moment, devoutly kiss, and restore to its proper 
place with the veneration of the vulgar for a book. 
He can sing all manner of songs, slaughter a sheep 
with dexterity, deliver a grand call to prayer, shave, 
cook, fight, and he excels in the science of vitupera- 
tion: like Sa'ad, he never performs his devotions, except 
when necessary to "keep up appearances," and though 
he has sworn to perish before he forgets his vow to 
the "daughter of his uncle," I shrewdly suspect he is 
no better than he should be. His brow crumples at 
the word wine, but there is quite another expression 
about the region of the mouth; Stamboul, where he 
has lived some months, without learning ten words of 
Turkish, is a notable place for displacing prejudice. 
And finally, he has not more than a piastre or two in 
his pocket, for he has squandered the large presents 
given to him at Cairo and Constantinople by noble 
ladies, to whom he acted as master of the ceremonies, 
at the tomb of the Prophet. 

Stretched on a carpet, smoking a Persian Kaliun 
all day, lies Salih Shakkar, a Turk on the father's, and 
an Arab on the mother's side, born at El Medinah. 
This lanky youth may be 16 years old, but he has the 
ideas of 46; he is thoroughly greedy, selfish, and un- 
generous, coldly supercilious as a Turk, and ener- 
getically avaricious as an Arab. He prays more often, 
and dresses more respectably, than the descendant of 
the Clarified-Butter-Seller; he affects the Constantinople 


style of toilette, and his light yellow complexion makes 
people consider him a "superior person." We were 
intimate enough on the road, when he borrowed from 
me a little money. But at El Medinah he cut me piti- 
lessly, as a "town man" does a continental acquaint- 
ance accidentally met in Hyde Park, and of course he 
tried, though in vain, to evade repaying his debt. He 
had a tincture of letters, and appeared to have studied 
critically the subject of "largesse." "The generous is 
Allah's friend, ay, though he be a sinner, and the miser 
is Allah's foe, ay, though he be a saint," was a 
venerable saying always in his mouth. He also in- 
formed me that Pharaoh, although the quintessence of 
impiety, is mentioned by name in the Koran, by reason 
of his liberality, whereas Nimrod, another monster of 
iniquity, is only alluded to, because he was a stingy 
tyrant. It is almost needless to declare that Salih 
Shakkar was, as the East-Indians say, a very "fly- 
sucker." There were two other men of El Medinah in 
the Wakalet Girgis; but I omit description, as we left 
them, they being penniless, at Suez. One of them, 
Mohammed Shiklibha, I afterwards met at Mecca, and 
seldom have I seen a more honest and warm-hearted 
fellow. When we were embarking at Suez, he fell 
upon Hamid's bosom, and both of them wept bitterly, 
at the prospect of parting even for a few days. 

All the individuals above mentioned lost no time 
in opening the question of a loan. It was a lesson in 
oriental metaphysics to see their condition. They had 
a twelve days' voyage, and a four days' journey, be- 


fore them; boxes to carry, custom-houses to face, and 
stomachs to fill; yet the whole party could scarcely, I 
believe, muster two dollars of ready money. Their 
boxes were full of valuables, arms, clothes, pipes, 
slippers, sweetmeats, and other "notions," but nothing 
short of starvation would have induced them to pledge 
the smallest article. 

Foreseeing that their company would be an ad- 
vantage, I hearkened favourably to the honeyed request 
for a few crowns. The boy Mohammed obtained six 
dollars; Hamid about five pounds, — I intended to 
make his house at El Medinah my home; UmarEffendi 
three dollars; Sa'ad the Demon, two — I gave the money 
to him at Yambu', — and Salih Shakkar fifty piastres. 
But since in these lands, as a rule, no one ever lends 
coins, or borrowing ever returns them, I took care to 
exact service from the first, to take two rich coats 
from the second, a handsome pipe from the third, a 
"bala" or yataghan from the fourth, and from the fifth 
an imitation Cashmere shawl. After which, we sat 
down and drew out the agreement. It was favorable 
to me: I lent them Egyptian money, and bargained 
for repayment in the currency of El Hejaz, thereby 
gaining the exchange, which is sometimes 16 per cent. 
This was done, not so much for the sake of profit, as 
with the view of becoming a Hatim, a well-known 
Arab chieftain, whose name has come to stand for 
generosity itself, by a "never mind" on settling day. 

My companions having received these small sums, 
became affectionate, and eloquent in my praise: they 


and precious stones; and they delight in strong per- 
fumes, — musk, civet, ambergris, ottar of rose, oil of 
jasmine, aloe-wood, and extract of cinnamon. Both 
sexes wear Constantinople slippers. The women draw 
on Khuff, inner slippers, of bright yellow leather, 
serving for socks, and covering the ancle, with Papush 
of the same material, sometimes lined with velvet and 
embroidered with a gold sprig under the hollow of the 
foot. In mourning the men show no difference of 
dress, like good Moslems, to whom such display of 
grief is forbidden. But the women, who cannot dis- 
sociate the heart and the toilette, evince their sorrow 
by wearing white clothes and by doffing their orna- 
ments. This is a modern custom: the accurate Burck- 
hardt informs us that in his day the women of El Me- 
dinah did not wear mourning. 

The Madani generally appear abroad on foot. Few 
animals are kept here, on account, I suppose, of the 
expense of feeding them. The Cavalry are mounted 
on poor Egyptian nags. The horses ridden by rich 
men are generally Nejdi, costing from $200 to $300. 
Camels are numerous, but those bred in El Hejaz are 
small, weak, and consequently little prized. Drome- 
daries of good breed, called Ahrar (the noble) and 
Na'amani, from the place of that name, are to be had 
for any sum between Sio and $400; they are di- 
minutive but exceedingly swift, sure-footed, sagacious, 
thoroughbred, with eyes like the antelopes, and muzzles 
that would almost enter a tumbler. Mules are not 
found at El Medinah, although popular prejudice 


does not now forbid the people to mount them. Asses 
come from Egypt and Meccah: I am told that some 
good animals are to be found in the town, and that 
certain ignoble Bedawi clans have a fine breed, but I 
never saw any. 

Of beasts intended for food, only the sheep is com- 
mon in this part of El Hejaz. There are three dis- 
tinct breeds. The larger animal comes from Nejd and 
from the Anizah Bedawin, who drive a flourishing trade; 
the smaller is a native of the country. Both are the 
common Arab species, of a tawny colour, with a long 
fat tail. Occasionally one meets with what at Aden 
is called the Berberah sheep, "a totally different beast, 
— white, with a black broad face, a dew-lap, and a 
short fat tail, that looks as if twisted up into a knot: 
it was doubtless introduced by the Persians. Cows 
are rare at El Medinah. Beef throughout the East is 
considered an unwholesome food, and the Bedawin 
will not drink cow's milk, preferring that of the camel, 
the ewe, and the goat. The flesh of the latter animal 
is scarcely ever eaten in the city, except by the poorest 

The manners of the Madani are graver and some- 
what more pompous than those of any Arabs with 
whom I ever mixed. This they appear to have bor- 
rowed from their rulers, the Turks. But their austerity 
and ceremoniousness are skin-deep. In intimacy or 
in anger the garb of politeness is thrown off, and the 
screaming Arab voice, the voluble, copious, and em- 
phatic abuse, and the mania for gesticulation, return 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 1 


the end of the season, when they are hurried down 
that way, lest they should arrive at Mecca too late. 
As most of the Egyptian high officials have boats, 
which sail up the Nile laden with pilgrims and return 
freighted with corn, the government naturally does its 
utmost to force the delays and discomforts of this line 
upon strangers. And as those who travel by the Hajj 
route must spend money in the Egyptian territories, at 
least fifteen days longer than they would if allowed to 
embark at once for Suez, the Bey very properly assists 
them in the former, and obstructs them in the latter 

Knowing these facts, I felt that a difficulty was at 
hand. The first thing was to take Shaykh Nur's pass- 
port, which was "en r£gle," and my own which was 
not, to the Bey for signature. He turned the papers 
over and over, as if unable to read them, and raised 
false hopes high by referring me to his clerk. The 
under official at once saw the irregularity of the docu- 
ment, asked me why it had not been vise at Cairo, 
swore that under such circumstances nothing would 
induce the Bey to let me proceed, and when I tried 
persuasion, waxed insolent. I feared that it would be 
necessary to travel via Cosseir, for which there was 
scarcely time, or to transfer myself on camel back to 
the harbour of Tur, and there to await the chance 
of finding a place in some half-filled vessel to El 
Hejaz, — which would have been relying upon an ac- 

My last hope at Suez was to obtain assistance 



from Mr. West, then H. B. M/s vice-consul and 
since then consul. I therefore took the boy Moham- 
med with me, choosing him on purpose, and excusing 
the step to my companions by concocting an artful 
fable about my having been, in Afghanistan, a bene- 
factor to the British nation. We proceeded to the 
consulate. Mr. West, who had been told by imprudent 
Augustus Bernal to expect me, saw through the dis- 
guise, despite jargon assumed to satisfy official scruples, 
and nothing could be kinder than the part he took. 
His clerk was directed to place himself in communica- 
tion with the Bey's factotum, and when objections to 
signing the Alexandrian Tezkirah were offered, the 
vice-consul said that he would, at his own risk, give 
me a fresh passport as a British subject from Suez to 
Arabia. His firmness prevailed, and on the second 
day, the documents were returned to me in a satis- 
factory state. I take pleasure in owning this obliga- 
tion to Mr. West: in the course of my wanderings, I 
have often received from him open-hearted hospitality 
and the most friendly attentions. 

Whilst these passport difficulties were being solved, 
the rest of the party was as busy in settling about 
passage and passage-money. The peculiar rules of the 
port of Suez require a few words of explanation * 

* The account here offered to the reader was kindly supplied to me by- 
Henry Levick, Esq., (late vice-consul, and afterwards postmaster at Suez), and 
it may be depended upon, as coming from a resident of 16 years' standing. All 
the passages marked with inverted commas are extracts from a letter with 
which that gentleman favored me. The information is obsolete now (1873), ^ ut 
it may be interesting as a specimen of the things that were. 



"About thirty-five years ago (1853), the ship-owners 
proposed to the then government, with the view of 
keeping up freight, a Farzah, or system of rotation. 
It might be supposed that the Pasha, whose object 
notoriously was to retain all monopolies in his own 
hands, would have refused his sanction to such a 
measure. But it so happened in those days that all 
the court had ships at Suez: Ibrahim Pasha alone 
owned four or five. Consequently they expected to 
share profits with the merchants, and thus to be com- 
pensated for the want of port-dues. From that time 
forward all the vessels in the harbour were registered, 
and ordered to sail in rotation. This arrangement 
benefits the owner of the craft 'en depart/ giving him 
in his turn a temporary monopoly, with the advantage 
of a full market; and freight is so high that # a single 
trip often clears off the expense of building and the 
risk of losing the ship — a sensible succedaneum for 
insurance companies. On the contrary, the public 
must always be a loser by the 'Farzah/ Two of a 
trade do not agree elsewhere; but at Suez even the 
Christian and the Moslem ship-owner are bound by a 
fraternal tie, in the shape of this rotation system. It 
injures the general merchant, and the Red Sea trader, 
not only by perpetuating high freight, but also by 
causing at one period of the year a break in the 
routine of sales and in the supplies of goods for the 
great Jeddah market* At this moment (Nov. 1853), 

* Note to Second Edition. The " Farzah," I may here observe, has been 
abolished by Said Pasha since the publication of these lines : the effects of "free- 
trade " are exactly what were predicted by Mr. Levick. 


the vessel to which the turn belongs happens to be a 
large one; there is a deficiency of export to El Hejaz, 
— her owner will of course wait any length of time 
for a full cargo; consequently no vessel with mer- 
chandise has left Suez for the last seventy-two days. 
Those who have bought goods for the Jeddah market 
at three months' credit will therefore have to meet 
their acceptances for merchandise still warehoused at 
the Egyptian port. This strange contrast to 'free- 
trade' principle is another proof that protection benefits 
only one party, the protected, while it is detrimental 
to the interests of the other party, the public." To 
these remarks of Mr. Levick's, I have only to add that 
the government supports the Farzah with all the energy 
of protectionists. A letter from Mr. J. Drummond 
Hay was insufficient to induce the Bey of Suez to 
break through the rule of rotation in favour of certain 
princes from Morocco. The recommendations of Lord 
Stratford de Redcliffe met with no better fate; and all 
Mr. West's good will could not procure me a vessel 
out of her turn. 

We were forced to rely upon our own exertions, 
and the activity of Sa'ad the Demon. This worthy, 
after sundry delays and differences, mostly caused by 
his own determination to travel gratis, and to make 
us pay too much, finally closed with the owner of the 
Golden Thread. He took places for us upon the 
poop, the most eligible part of the vessel at this 
season of the year; he premised that we should not 
be very comfortable, as we were to be crowded 


with Maghrabi pilgrims, but "Allah makes all things 
easy!" Though not penetrated with the conviction 
that this would happen in our case, I paid for two 
deck passages eighteen Riyals (dollars), my companions 
seven each, whilst Sa'ad secretly entered himself as an 
able seaman. Mohammed Shiklibha we were obliged 
to leave behind, as he could not or would not afford 
the expense, and none of us might afford it for him. 
Had I known him to be the honest, true-hearted fellow 
he was — his kindness at Mecca quite won my heart — 
I should not have grudged the small charity. 

Nothing more comfortless than our days and nights 
in the "George" Inn. The ragged walls of our rooms 
were clammy with dirt, the smoky rafters foul with 
cobwebs, and the floor, bestrewed with kit in terrible 
confusion, was black with hosts of cockroaches, ants 
and flies. Pigeons nestled on the shelf, cooing amatory 
ditties the live-long day, and cats like tigers crawled 
through a hole in the door, making night hideous with 
their cat-a-waulings. Now a curious goat, then an in- 
quisitive jackass, would walk stealthily into the room, 
remark that it was tenanted, and retreat with dignified 
demeanour, and the mosquitoes sang Io Paeans over 
our prostrate forms throughout the twenty- four hours. 

I spare the reader the enumeration of the other 
Egyptian plagues that infested the place. After the 
first day's trial, we determined to spend the hours of 
light in the passages, lying upon our boxes or rugs, 
smoking, wrangling, and inspecting one , another's 
chests. The latter occupation was a fertile source of 


disputes, for nothing was more common than for a 
friend to seize an article belonging to another, and to 
swear by the Prophet's beard that he admired it, and, 
therefore, would not return it. The boy Mohammed 
and Shaykh Nur, who had been intimates the first day, 
differed in opinion on the second, and on the third, 
came to pushing each other against the wall. 

Sometimes we w r ent into the bazar, a shady street 
flanked with poor little shops, or we sat in the coffee- 
house, drinking hot saltish water tinged with burnt 
bean, or we prayed in one of the three tumble-down 
old Mosques, or we squatted upon the pier, lamenting 
the want of Hammams, and bathing in the tepid sea. 
I presently came to the conclusion that Suez as a 
"watering-place" is duller even than Dover. 

The only society we found — excepting an occa- 
sional visitor — was that of a party of Egyptian women, 
who with their husbands and families occupied some 
rooms adjoining ours. At first they were fierce, and 
used bad language, when the boy Mohammed and I, 
whilst Umar Effendi was engaged in prayer, and the 
rest were wandering about the town, ventured to linger 
in the cool passage, where they congregated, or to 
address a facetious phrase to them. But hearing that 
I was a Hakim-bashi — for fame had promoted me to 
the rank of a "Physician General" at Suez — all dis- 
covered some ailments. They began prudently with 
requesting me to display the effects of my drugs by 
dosing myself, but they ended submissively by swallow- 
ing the nauseous compounds. To this succeeded a 


primitive form of flirtation, which mainly consisted of 
the demand direct. The most charming of the party- 
was one Fattumah, a plump-personed dame fast verging 
upon her thirtieth year, fond of a little flattery, and 
possessing, like all her people, a most voluble tongue. 
The refrain of every conversation was "Marry me, O 
Fattumah! O daughter! O female pilgrim!" In vain 
the lady would reply, with a coquettish movement of 
the sides, a toss of the head, and a flirting manipula- 
tion of her head-veil, "I am mated, O young man!" — 
it was agreed that she, being a person of polyandrous 
propensities, could support the weight of at least three 
matrimonial engagements. 

Sometimes the entrance of the male Fellahs inter- 
rupted these little discussions, but people of our re- 
spectability and nation were not to be imposed upon 
by such husbands. In their presence we only varied 
the style of conversation — inquiring the amount of 
"Mahr," or marriage settlement, deriding the cheap- 
ness of womanhood in Egypt, and requiring to be 
furnished on the spot with brides at the rate of ten 
shillings a head. 

More often the amiable Fattumah — the fair sex in 
this country, though passing frail, have the best tempers 
in the world — would laugh at our impertinences. Some- 
times vexed by our imitating her Egyptian accent, 
mimicking her gestures, and depreciating her country- 
women, she would wax wroth, and order us to be 
gone, and stretch out her forefinger, a sign that she 
wished to put out our eyes, or adjure Allah to cut the 


hearts out of our bosoms. Then the "Marry me, O 
Fattumah, O daughter, O female pilgrim!" would give 
way to Y'al Ago-o-oz! (O old woman and decrepit!) 
"O daughter of sixty sires, and fit only to carry wood 
to market!" — whereupon would burst a storm of wrath, 
at the tail of which all of us, like children, starting 
upon our feet, rushed out of one another's way. But 
— "qui se dispute, s'adore" — when we again met 
all would be forgotten, and the old tale be told over 
de novo. 

This was the amusement of the day. At night we, 
men, assembling upon the little terrace, drank tea, re- 
cited stories, read books, talked of our travels, and in- 
dulged in various pleasantries. The great joke was 
the boy Mohammed's abusing all his companions to 
their faces in Hindostani, which none but Shaykh Nur 
and I could understand; the others, however, guessed 
his intention, and revenged themselves by retorts of 
the style uncourteous in the purest Hejazi. 

I proceed to offer a few more extracts from Mr. 
Levick's letter about Suez and the Suezians. "It ap- 
pears that the number of pilgrims who pass through 
Suez to Mecca has of late been steadily on the de- 
crease. . When I first came here (in 1838) the pilgrims 
who annually embarked at this port amounted to be- 
tween 10,000 and 12,000, the shipping was more 
numerous, and the merchants were more affluent. 

"I have ascertained from a special register kept in 
the government archives that in the Moslem year 1268 
(from 1 85 1 to 1852) the exact number that passed 


through was 4893. In 1299 a.h. it had shrunk to 
3136. The natives assign various causes to the falling 
off, which I attribute chiefly to the indirect .effect of 
European civilisation upon the Moslem powers im- 
mediately in contact with it. The heterogeneous mass 
of pilgrims is composed of people of all classes, colors, 
and costumes. One sees among them, not only the 
natives of countries contiguous to Egypt, but also a 
large proportion of central Asians from Bokhara, Persia, 
Circassia, Turkey and the Crimea, who prefer this 
route by way of Constantinople to the difficult, ex- 
pensive, and dangerous caravan-line through the desert 
from Damascus and Baghdad. The West sends us 
Moors, Algerines, and Tunisians, and Inner Africa a 
mass of sable Takrouri, and others from Bornou, the 
Sudan, Ghedamah near the Niger, and Jabarti from 

the Habash. 

"The Suez ship-builders are an influential body of 
men, originally Candiots and Alexandrians. When 
Mohammed Ali fitted out his fleet for the Hejaz war, 
he transported a number of Greeks to Suez, and the 
children now exercise their fathers' craft. There are 
at present three great builders at this place. Their 
principal difficulty is the want of material. Teak comes 
from India via Jeddah, and Venetian boards, owing 
to the expense of camel-transport, are a hundred per 
cent, dearer here than at Alexandria. Trieste and 
Turkey supply spars, and Jeddah, canvass: the sail- 
makers are Suez men, and the crews a mongrel mix- 
ture of Arabs and Egyptians; the Rais, or captain, 


being almost invariably, if the vessel be a large one, a 
Yambu man. There are two kinds of craft, distinguished 
from each other by tonnage, not by build. The Baghlah 
(buggalow) is a vessel above 50 tons burden, the Sam- 
buk (a classical term) from 15 to 50. The ship-owner 
bribes the Amir el Bahr, or port-captain, and the Nazir 
el Safayn, or the captain commanding the government 
vessels, to rate his ship as high as possible — if he pay 
the price, he will be allowed 9 ardebbs (each 300 lbs.) 
to the ton. The number of ships belonging to the 
port of Suez amounts to 92; they vary from 25 to 250 
tons. The departures in a.h. 1269 (1852 and 1853) 
were 38, so that each vessel, after returning from a 
trip, is laid up for about two years. Throughout the 
passage of the pilgrims, that is to say, during four 
months, the departures average twice a week; during 
the remainder of the year from 6 to 10 vessels may 
leave the port. The homeward trade is carried on 
principally in Jeddah bottoms, which are allowed to 
convey goods to Suez, but not to take in return-cargo 
there: they must not interfere with, nor may they par- 
take in any way of the benefits of the rotation system. 
"During the present year the imports were con- 
tained in 41,395 packages, the exports in 15,988. 
Specie makes up in some manner for this preponder- 
ance of imports: a sum of from 30,000/. to 40,000/., 
in crown, or Maria Theresa, dollars annually leaves 
Egypt for Arabia, Abyssinia, and other parts of Africa. 
I value the imports at about 350,000/.; the export 
trade to Jeddah at 300,000/. per annum. The former 


consists principally of coffee and gum Arabic; of these 
there were respectively 17,460 and 15,132 bales, the 
aggregate value of each article being from 75,000/. to 
80,000/., and the total amount 160,000/. In the pre- 
vious year the imports were contained in 36,840 
packages, the exports in 13,498: of the staple articles 
— coffee and gum Arabic — they were respectively 1 5,499 
and 14,129 bales, each bale being valued at about 5/. 
Next in importance comes wax from Yemen and the 
Hejaz, mother-of-pearl from the Red Sea, sent to Eng- 
land in rough, pepper from Malabar, cloves brought by 
Moslem pilgrims from Java, Borneo, and Singapore, 
cherry pipe-sticks from Persia and Bussora, and Per- 
sian or Surat 'Timbak' (tobacco). These I value at 
20,000/. per annum. There were also (a. d. 1853) of 
cloves 708 packages and of Malabar pepper 948 : the 
cost of these two might be 7000/. Minor articles of 
exportation are, general spiceries (ginger, cardamoms, 
&c), Eastern perfumes, such as aloes wood, ottar of 
rose, ottar of pink and others, tamarinds from India 
and Yemen, Banca tin, hides supplied by the nomade 
Bedawin, senna leaves from Yemen and the Hejaz, 
and blue chequered cotton Melayahs (women's man- 
tillas), manufactured in southern Arabia. The total 
value of these smaller imports may be 20,000/. per 

"The exports chiefly consist of English and native 
i grey domestics/ bleached Madipilams, Paisley lappets, 
and muslins for turbans; the remainder being Man- 
chester prints, antimony, Syrian soap, iron in bars, and 


common ironmongery, Venetian or Trieste beads, used 
as ornaments in Arabia and Abyssinia, writing paper, 
Tarbooshes, Papooshes (slippers), and other minor ar- 
ticles of dress and ornaments. 

"The average annual temperature of the year at 
Suez is 67 Fahrenheit. The extremes of heat and cold 
are found in January and August; during the former 
month the thermometer ranges from a minimum of 
3 8° to a maximum of 68°; during the latter the varia- 
tion extends from 68° to 102 , or even to 104 , when 
the heat becomes oppressive. Departures from these 
extremes are rare. I never remember to have seen the 
thermometer rise above 108 during the severest 
Khamsin, or to have sunk below 34 in the rawest 
wintry wind. Violent storms come up from the south 
in March. Rain is very variable: sometimes three years 
have passed without a shower, whereas in 1841 tor- 
rents poured for nine successive days, deluging the 
town, and causing many buildings to fall. 

"The population of Suez now numbers about 4800. 
As usual in Mohammedan countries no census is taken 
here. Some therefore estimate the population at 6000. 
Sixteen years ago it was supposed to be under 3000. 
After that time it rapidly increased till 1850, when a 
fatal attack of cholera reduced it to about half its 
previous number. The average mortality is about 
twelve a month. The endemic diseases are fevers of 
typhoid and intermittent types in spring, when strong 
northerly winds cause the waters of the bay to recede* 

* During these North winds the sandy bar is exposed and allows men to 


and leave a miasma-breeding swamp exposed to the 
rays of the sun. In the months of October and No- 
vember febrile attacks are violent; ophthalmia more so. 
The eye-disease is not so general here as at Cairo, 
but the symptoms are more acute; in some years it 
becomes a virulent epidemic, which ends either in 
total blindness or in a partial opacity of the cornea, 
inducing dimness of vision, and a permanent weakness 
of the eye. In one month three of my acquaintances 
lost their sight. Dysenteries are also common, and so 
are bad boils, or rather ulcers. The cold season is 
not unwholesome, and at this period the pure air of 
the Desert restores and invigorates the heat-wasted 

"The walls, gates, and defences of Suez are in a 
ruinous state, being no longer wanted to keep out the 
Sinaitic Bedawin. The houses are about 500 in num- 
ber, but many of the natives prefer occupying the 
upper stories of the Wakalehs, the rooms on the ground 
floor serving for stores to certain merchandise, wood, 
dates, cotton, &c. 

"The Suezians live well, and their bazar is abun- 
dantly stocked with meat and clarified butter brought 
from Sinai, and fowls, corn, and vegetables from the 
Sharkiyah province; fruit is supplied .by Cairo as well 
as by the Sharkiyah, and wheat conveyed down the 
Nile in flood to the capital is carried on camel-back 
across the Desert. At sunrise they eat the Fatur, or 

cross, which may explain the passage of the Israelites. Similarly as Jeddah, the 
bars are covered during the South and bare during the North winds. 


breakfast, which in summer consists of a 'fatireh/ a 
kind of muffin, or of bread and treacle. In winter it 
is more substantial, being generally a mixture of lentils 
and rice, with clarified butter poured over it, and a 
' kitchen' of pickled lime or stewed onions. At this 
season they greatly enjoy the 'Ful mudammas/ (boiled 
horsebeans), eaten with an abundance of linseed oil, 
into which they steep bits of bread. The beans form, 
with carbon-generating matter, a highly nutritive diet, 
which, if the stomach can digest it, — the pulse is never 
shelled, — gives great strength. About the middle of 
the day comes 'El Ghada/ a light dinner of wheaten 
bread, with dates, onions or cheese: in the hot season 
melons and cooling fruits are preferred, especially by 
those who have to face the sun. 'El Asha/ or supper, 
is served about half an hour after sunset; at this meal 
all but the poorest classes eat meat. Their favourite 
flesh, as usual in this part of the world, is mutton; 
beef and goat are little prized."* 

The people of Suez are a finer and a fairer race 
than the Cairenes. The former have more the ap- 
pearance of Arabs: their dress is more picturesque, 
their eyes are carefully darkened with Kohl, and they 
wear sandals, not slippers. They are, according to all 
accounts, a turbulent and somewhat fanatic set, fond 
of quarrels, and slightly addicted to "pronunciamientos." 
The general programme of one of these latter diver- 
sions is said to be as follows. The boys will first be 

* Here concludes Mr. Levick's letter. For the following observations, I 
alone am answerable. 


sent by their fathers about the town in a disorderly 
mob, and ordered to cry out "Long live the Sultan!" 
with its usual sequel, "Death to the Infidels!" The 
Infidels, Christians or others, must hear and may 
happen to resent this; or possibly the governor, fore- 
seeing a disturbance, orders an ingenous youth or two 
to be imprisoned, or to be caned by the police. Where- 
upon some person, rendered influential by wealth or 
religious reputation, publicly complains that the Chris- 
tians are all in all, and that in these evil days El Islam 
is going to destruction. On this occasion the speaker 
conducts himself with such insolence, that the governor 
perforce consigns him to confinement, which exas- 
perates the populace still more. Secret meetings are 
now convened, and in them the chiefs of corporations 
assume a prominent position. If the disturbance be 
intended by its main spring to subside quietly, the 
conspirators are allowed to take their own way; they 
will drink copiously, become lions about midnight, 
and recover their hare-hearts before noon next day. 
But if mischief be intended, a case of bloodshed is 
brought about, and then nothing can arrest the torrent 
of popular rage. The Egyptian, with all his good 
humour, merriment, and nonchalance, is notorious for 
doggedness, when, as the popular phrase is, his "blood 
is up." And this, indeed, is his chief merit as a 
soldier. He has a certain mechanical dexterity in the 
use of arms, and an Egyptian regiment will fire a volley 
as correctly as a battalion at Chobham. But when the 
head, and not the hands, is required, he notably fails. 


The reason of his superiority in the field is his peculiar 
stubbornness, and this, together with his powers of 
digestion and of enduring hardship on the line of 
march, is the quality that makes him terrible to his old 
conqueror, the Turk. 

Note to Third Edition. I revisited Suez in September 1869, and found it 
altered for the better. The population had risen from 6000 to 20,000. The 
tumble-down gateway was still there, but of the old houses — including the 
"George Inn" whose front had been repaired— I recognized only four, and they 
looked mean by the side of the fine new buildings. In a few years ancient Suez 
will be no more. The bazars are not so full of filth and flies, now that pilgrims 
pass straight through and hardly even encamp. The sweet-water canal renders 
a Hammam possible ; coffee is no longer hot saltish water ; and presently irriga- 
tion will cover with fields and gardens the desert plain extending to the feet of 
Jebel Atakah. The noble works of the "Canal Maritime," which should in justice 
be called the " Lesseps Canal," shall soon transform Clysma into a modern and 
civilized city. The Railway station close to the hotel, the new British hospital ; 
the noisy Greek casino ; the Frankish shops ; the puffing steamers and the 
ringing of morning bells , gave me a novel impression. Even the climate has 
been changed by filling up the Timsah Lakes. Briefly, the hat is now at home 
in Suez. 


Mecca and Medina. T. 12 



The Pilgrim Ship. 

The larger craft anchor some three or four miles 
from the Suez pier, so that it is necessary to drop 
down in a skiff or shore-boat. 

Immense was the confusion at the eventful hour of 
our departure. Suppose us gathered upon the beach, 
on the morning of a fiery July day, carefully watching 
our hurriedly-packed goods and chattels, surrounded 
by a mob of idlers, who are not too proud to pick up 
waifs and strays, whilst pilgrims are rushing about ap- 
parently mad, and friends are weeping, acquaintances 
are vociferating adieux, boatmen are demanding fees, 
shopmen are claiming debts, women are shrieking and 
talking with inconceivable power, and children are 
crying — in short, for an hour or so we stand in the 
thick of a human storm. To confound confusion, the 
boatmen have moored their skiff half a dozen yards 
away from the shore, lest the porters should be unable 
to make more than double their fare from the Hajis. 
Again the Turkish women make a hideous noise, as 
they are carried off struggling vainly in brawny arms; 
the children howl because their mothers howl; and the 
men scold and swear, because in such scenes none 
may be silent. The moment we had embarked, each 
individual found that he or she had missed something 


of vital importance — a pipe, a child, a box, or a 
water-melon; and naturally all the servants were in the 
bazars, when they should have been in the boat. 
Therefore, despite the rage of the sailors, who feared 
being too late for a second trip, we stood for some 
time on the beach before putting off. 

From the shore we poled to the little pier, where 
sat the Bey in person to perform a final examination 
of our passports. Several were detected without the 
necessary document. Some were bastinadoed, others 
were peremptorily ordered back to Cairo, and the rest 
were allowed to proceed. At about 10 a.m. (July 6) 
we hoisted sail, and ran down the channel leading to 
the roadstead. On our way we had a specimen of 
what we might expect from our fellow passengers, the 
Maghrabi — men of the Maghrab, or Western Africa. 
A boat crowded with these ruffians ran alongside of 
us, and, before we could organise a defence, about a 
score of them poured into our vessel. They carried 
things too with* a high hand, laughed at us, and 
seemed quite ready to fight. My Indian boy, who 
happened to let slip the word "Mu'arras," narrowly 
escaped a blow with a palm-stick, which would have 
felled a camel. They outnumbered us, and they were 
armed; so that, on this occasion, we were obliged to 
put up with their insolence. 

Our Pilgrim Ship, the Silk el Zahab, or the "Golden 
Wire," was a Sambuk of about fifty tons, with narrow 
wedge-like bows, a clean water line, a sharp keel, un- 
decked except upon the poop, which was high enough 



to act sail in a gale of wind. She carried two masts, 
raking imminently forwards, the main being consider- 
ably larger than the mizen; the former was provided 
with a huge triangular latine, very deep in the tack, 
but the second sail was unaccountably wanting. She 
had no means of reefing, no compass, no log, no 
sounding lines, no spare ropes, nor even the suspicion 
of a chart: in her box-like cabin and ribbed hold there 
was something which savoured of close connexion be- 
tween her model and that of the Indian Toni (dug- 
out). Such, probably, were the craft which carried 
old Sesostris across the Red Sea to Deir; such were 
the cruisers which once every three years left Ezion- 
Geber for Tarshish; such the transports of which 130 
were required to convey yElius Gallus, with his 10,000 

"Bakhshish" was the last as well as the first odious 
sound I heard in Egypt. The owner of the shore-boat 
would not allow us to climb the sides of our vessel 
before paying him his fare, and whe*n we did so, he 
asked for Bakhshish. If Easterns would only imitate 
the example of Europeans — I never yet saw an Eng- 
lishman give Bakhshish to a soul — the nuisance would 
soon be abated^. But on this occasion all my com- 
panions complied with the request, and at times it is 
unpleasant to be singular. 

The first look at the interior of our vessel showed 
a hopeless sight; for Ali Murad, the greedy owner, 
had promised to take sixty passengers in the hold, 
but had stretched the number to ninety-seven. Piles 


of boxes and luggage in every shape and form filled 
the ship from stem to stern, and a torrent of Hajis 
was pouring over the sides like ants into the East- 
Indian sugar-basin. The poop, too, where we had 
taken our places, was covered with goods, and a num- 
ber of pilgrims had established themselves there by 
might, not by right. 

Presently, to our satisfaction, appeared Sa'ad the 
Demon, equipped as an able seaman, and looking most 
unlike the proprietor of two large boxes full of valuable 
merchandise. This energetic individual instantly pre- 
pared for action. With our little party to back him, 
he speedily cleared the poop of intruders and their 
stuff by the simple process of pushing or rather throw- 
ing them off it into the pit below. We then settled 
down as comfortably as we could; three Syrians, a 
married Turk with his wife and family, the Rais or 
captain of the vessel, with a portion of his crew, and 
our seven selves, composing a total of eighteen human 
beings, upon a space certainly not exceeding 10 feet 
by 8. The cabin — a miserable box about the size of 
the poop, and three feet high — was stuffed, like the 
hold of a slaver, with fifteen wretches, women and 
children, and the other ninety-seven were disposed 
upon the luggage, or squatted on the bulwarks. Having 
some experience in such matters, and being favoured 
by fortune, I found a spare bed-frame slung to the 
ship's side; and giving a dollar to its owner, a sailor 
— who flattered himself that, because it was his, he 
would sleep upon it — I instantly appropriated it, pre- 


ferring any hardship outside, to the condition of a 
packed herring inside, the place of torment. 

Our Maghrabis were fine-looking animals from the 
deserts about Tripoli and Tunis; so savage that, but a 
few weeks ago, they had gazed at the cock-boat, and 
wondered how long it would be growing to the size of 
the ship that was to take them to Alexandria. Most 
of them were sturdy young fellows, round-headed, 
broad-shouldered, tall and large-limbed, with frowning 
eyes, and voices in a perpetual roar. Their manners 
were rude, and their faces full of fierce contempt or 
insolent familiarity. A few old men were there, with 
countenances expressive of intense ferocity; women as 
savage and full of fight as men; and handsome boys 
with shrill voices, and hands always upon their daggers. 
The women were mere bundles of dirty white rags. 
The males were clad in Burnus, brown or striped 
woollen cloaks with hoods; they had neither turban 
nor Tarbush, trusting to their thick curly hair or to 
the prodigious hardness of their scalps as a defence 
against the sun; and there was not a slipper nor a 
shoe amongst the party. Of course all were armed; 
but, fortunately for us, none had anything more for- 
midable than a cut-and-thrust dagger about ten inches 
long. These Maghrabis travel in hordes under a leader 
who obtains the temporary title of "Maula," — the 
master. He has generally performed a pilgrimage or 
two, and has collected a stock of superficial informa- 
tion which secures for him the respect of his followers, 
and the profound contempt of the heaven-made Ciceroni 


of Meccah and El Medinah. No people endure greater 
hardships when upon the pilgrimage than these 
Africans, who trust almost entirely to alms and to 
other such dispensations of Providence. It is not 
therefore to be wondered at that they rob whenever 
an opportunity presents itself. Several cases of theft 
occurred on board the "Golden Wire;" and as such 
plunderers seldom allow themselves to be baulked by 
insufficient defence, they are accused perhaps de- 
servedly of having committed some revolting murders. 
The first thing to be done after gaining standing- 
room was to fight for greater comfort; and never a 
Holyhead packet in the olden time showed a finer 
scene of pugnacity than did our pilgrim ship. A few 
Turks, rugged old men from Anatolia and Caramania, 
were mixed up with the Maghrabis, and the former 
began the war by contemptuously elbowing and scold- 
ing their wild neighbours. The Maghrabis under their 
head man, "Maula Ali," a burly savage, in whom I 
detected a ridiculous resemblance to the Rev. Charles 
Delafosse, an old and well-remembered schoolmaster, 
retorted so willingly that in a few minutes nothing 
was to be seen but a confused mass of humanity, each 
item indiscriminately punching and pulling, scratching 
and biting, butting and trampling whatever was ob- 
noxious to such operations, with cries of rage, and all 
the accompaniments of a proper fray. One of our party 
on the poop, a Syrian, somewhat incautiously leapt 
down to aid his countrymen by restoring order. He 
sank immediately below the surface of the living mass; 


and when we fished him out, his forehead was cut 
open, half his beard had disappeared, and a fine sharp 
set of teeth belonging to some Maghrabi had left their 
mark in the calf of his leg. The enemy showed no 
love of fair play, and never appeared contented unless 
five or six of them were setting upon a single man. 
This made matters worse. The weaker of course drew 
their daggers, and a few bad wounds were soon given 
and received. In a few minutes five men were com- 
pletely disabled, and the victors began to dread the 
consequences of their victory.. 

Then the fighting stopped, and, as many could not 
find places, it was agreed that a deputation should 
wait upon Ali Murad, the owner, to inform him of the 
crowded state of the vessel. After keeping us in ex- 
pectation at least three hours, he appeared in a row- 
boat, preserving a respectful distance, and informed 
us that any one who pleased might quit the ship and 
take back his fare. This left the case exactly as it 
was before; none would abandon his party to go on 
shore: so Ali Murad rowed off towards Suez, giving us 
a parting injunction to be good boys, and not fight; to 
trust in Allah, and that Allah would make all things 
easy to us. 

His departure was the signal for a second fray, 
which in its accidents differed a little from the first. 
During the previous disturbance we kept our places 
with weapons in our hands. This time we were sum- 
moned by the Maghrabis to relieve their difficulties, 
by taking about half a dozen of them on the poop. 


Sa'ad the Demon at once rose with an oath, and. threw 
amongst us a bundle of "Nebiit" — goodly ashen staves 
six feet long, thick as a man's wrist, well greased, and 
tried in many a rough bout. He shouted to us, 
"Defend yourselves if you don't wish to be the meat 
of the Maghrabis!" and to the enemy, "Dogs and sons 
of dogs! now shall you see what the children of the 
Arab are," — "I am Umar of Daghistan!" "I am Ab- 
dullah the son of Joseph!" "I am Sa'ad the Demon!" 
we exclaimed, "renowning it" by this display of name 
and patronymic. To do our enemies justice, they 
showed no sign of flinching; they swarmed towards 
the poop like angry hornets, and encouraged each 
other with loud cries of "Allahu akbarl" But we had 
a vantage ground about four feet above them, and 
their palm-sticks and short daggers could do nothing 
against our terrible quarter-staves. In vain the "Jac- 
querie" tried to scale the poop and to overpower us 
by numbers; their courage only secured them more 
broken heads. 

At first I began to lay on load with "main morte," 
really fearing to kill some one with such a weapon; 
but it soon became evident that the Maghrabis' heads 
and shoulders could bear and did require the utmost 
exertion of strength. Presently a thought struck me. 
A large earthen jar full of drinking water — in its 
heavy frame of wood the weight might have been 
100 lbs. — stood upon the edge of the poop, and the 
thick of the fray took place beneath. Seeing an op- 
portunity I crept up to the jar, and, without attracting 


attention, rolled it down by a smart push with the 
shoulder upon the swarm of assailants. The fall 
caused a shriller shriek to rise above the ordinary din, 
for heads, limbs, and bodies were sorely bruised by 
the weight, scratched by the broken potsherds, and 
wetted by the sudden discharge. A fear that some- 
thing worse might be coming made the Maghrabis 
slink off towards the end of the vessel. After a few 
minutes, we, sitting in grave silence, received a deputa- 
tion of individuals in whity-brown Burnus, spotted 
and striped with what Mephistopheles calls a "curious 
juice." They solicited peace, which we granted upon 
the condition that they would pledge themselves to 
keep it. Our heads, shoulders, and hands were peni- 
tentially kissed, and presently the fellows returned to 
bind up their hurts in dirty rags. 

We owed this victory entirely to our own exertions, 
and the meek Umar was by far the fiercest of the 
party. Our Rais, as we afterwards learned, was an 
old fool who could do nothing but call for the Fatihah, 
or opening chapter of the Koran, claim Bakhshish at 
every place where we moored for the night, and spend 
his leisure hours in the "Caccia del Mediterraneo." 
Our crew consisted of half a dozen Egyptian lads, 
who, not being able to defend themselves, were pe- 
riodically chastised by the Maghrabi, especially when 
any attempt was made to cook, to fetch water, or to 
prepare a pipe. 

At length, about 3 p.m. on the 6th July, 1853, we 
shook out the sail and, when it bellied in the favourable 


wind, we recited the Fatihah with upraised hands 
which we afterwards drew down our faces. As the 
"Golden Wire" started from* her place, I could not 
help casting one wistful look upon the British flag 
floating over the Consulate. But the momentary regret 
was stifled by the heart-bounding which prospects of 
an adventure excite, and by the real pleasure of leav- 
ing Egypt. I had lived there a stranger in the land, 
and a hapless life it had been: in the streets every 
man's face, as he looked upon the Persian, was the 
face of a foe. Whenever I came in contact with the 
native officials, insolence marked the event; and the 
circumstance of living within hail of my fellow country- 
men, and yet finding it impossible to enjoy their so- 
ciety, still throws a gloom over the memory of my first 
sojourn in Egypt. 

The ships of the Red Sea — infamous region of 
rocks, reefs, and shoals — cruise along the coast by day, 
and at night lay to in the first cove they find; they do 
not sail when it blows hard, and as in winter time the 
weather is often stormy and the light of day does not 
last long, the voyage is intolerably slow. At sunset 
we stayed our adventurous course and, still within 
sight of Suez, we anchored comfortably under the lee 
of Jebel Atakah, the "Mountain of Deliverance," the 
butt-end of Jebel Joshi. We were now on classic 
waters. The Eastern shore was dotted with the little 
grove of palm-trees which clusters around the Uyun 
Musa, or Moses' Wells; and on the west, between two 
towering ridges, lay the mouth of the valley (Badia or 


Wadi Tawarik or Wadi Musa) down which, according 
to Father Sicard, the Israelites fled to the Sea of 
Sedge. The view was by no means deficient in a sort 
of barbarous splendour. Verdure there was none, but 
under the violet and orange tints of the sky the chalky 
rocks became heaps of topazes, and the brown-burnt 
ridges masses of amethyst. The rising mists, here 
silvery white, there deeply rosy, and the bright blue of 
the waves, lining long strips of golden sand, com- 
pensated for the want of softness by a semblance of 
savage gorgeousness. 

Next morning (July 7), before the cerulean hue had 
vanished from the hills, we set sail. It was not long 
before we came to a proper sense of our position. 
The box containing my store of provisions, and, worse 
still, my opium, was at the bottom of the hold, per- 
fectly unapproachable; we had, therefore, the pleasure 
of breaking our fast on "Mare's skin,"* and a species 
of biscuit, hard as a stone and quite as tasteless. 
During the day, whilst unsufferable splendor reigned 
above, the dashing of the waters below kept my nest 
in a state of perpetual drench. At night rose a cold 
bright moon, with dews falling so thick and clammy 
that the skin felt as though it would never be dry 
again, It is, also, by no means pleasant to sleep 
upon a broken cot about four feet long by two broad, 
with the certainty that a false movement would throw 

* Jild el Faras (or Kamar el din), a composition of apricot paste , dried, 
spread out, and folded into sheets , exactly resembling the article after which it 
is named. Turks and Arabs use it when travelling; they dissolve it in water, 
and eat it as a relish with bread or biscuit. 


you over-board, and a conviction that if you do fall 
from a Sambuk under sail, no mortal power can save 
you. And as under all circumstances in the East, 
dozing is one's chief occupation, the reader will un- 
derstand that the want of it left me in utter, utter 

The gale was light that day, and the sunbeams 
were fire; our crew preferred crouching in the shade 
of the sail to taking advantage of what wind there was. 
In spite of our impatience we made but little way: 
near evening time we anchored on a tongue of sand, 
about two miles distant from the well-known and pic- 
turesque heights called by the Arabs Hammam Far'aun, 
"Pharaoh's Hot Baths," which 

" Like giants stand 
To sentinel enchanted land." 

The strip of coarse quartz and sandstone gravel is ob- 
viously the offspring of some mountain torrent; it 
stretches southwards, being probably disposed in that 
direction by the currents as they receive the deposit. 
The distance of the "Hammam Bluffs" prevented 
my visiting them, which circumstance I regretted the 
less as they have been described by pens equal to 
the task. 

That evening we enjoyed ourselves upon clean 
sand, whose surface, drifted by the wind into small 
yellow waves, was easily converted by a little digging 
and heaping up into the coolest and the most com- 
fortable of couches. Indeed, after the canescent heat 
of the day, and the tossing of our ill-conditioned 


vessel, we should have been contented with lodgings 
far less luxurious. Fuel was readily collected, and 
while some bathed, others erected a hearth — three 
large stones and a hole open to leeward — lit the fire, 
and put on the pot to boil. Shaykh Nur had for- 
tunately brought a line with him; we had been success- 
ful in fishing; a little rice also had been bought; with 
this boiled and rock-cod broiled upon the charcoal, 
we made a dinner that caused every one to forget the 
'grievance of "mare's skin" and hard biscuit. A few 
Maghrabis had ventured on shore — the Rais having 
terrified the others by threatening them with those 
"bogies," the Bedawin — they offered us Kuskusu in 
exchange for a little fish. As evening fell we deter- 
mined, before sleeping, to work upon their morale as 
effectually as we had attacked their physique. Shaykh 
Hamid stood up and indulged them with the Azan, 
or call to prayers, pronounced after the fashion of El 
Medinah. They performed their devotions in lines 
ranged behind us as a token of respect, and when 
. worship was over we were questioned about the Holy 
City till we grew tired of answering. Again our heads 
and shoulders, our hands and knees, were kissed, but 
this time in devotion, not in penitence. My com- 
panions could scarcely understand half the rugged 
words which the Maghrabis used, as this dialect was 
fresh from the distant desert: still we succeeded in 
making ourselves intelligible to them, vaunting our 
dignity as the Sons of the Prophet, and the sanctity 
of our land which should protect its children from 


every description of fraud and violence. We benignantly 
promised to be their guides at El Medinah, and the boy 
Mohammed would conduct their devotions at Mecca, 
always provided that they repented their past mis- 
deeds, avoided any repetition of the same, and 
promised to perform the duties of good and faithful 

Presently the Rais joined our party, and the usual 
story-telling began. The old man knew the name of 
each hill, and had a legend for every nook and corner 
in sight. He dwelt at length upon the life of Abu 
Zulaymah, the patron saint of these seas, whose little 
tomb stands at no great distance from our bivouac 
place, and told us how he sits watching over the 
safety of pious mariners in a cave among the neigh- 
bouring rocks, and sipping his coffee, which is brought 
in a raw state from Mecca by green birds, and prepared 
in the usual way by the hands of ministering angels. 
He showed us the spot where the terrible king of 
Egypt, when close upon the heels of the children of 
Israel, was whelmed in the "hell of waters," and he 
warned us that next day our way would be through 
breakers, and reefs, and dangerous currents, over whose 
troubled depths, since that awful day, the Ifrit of the 
storm has never ceased to flap his sable wing. The 
wincing of the hearers proved that the shaft of the old 
man's words was sharp; but as night was advancing, 
we unrolled our rugs, and fell asleep upon the sand, 
all of us happy, for we had fed and drunk, and — the 
homo sapiens is a hopeful animal — we made sure that 


on the morrow the Ifrit would be merciful, and allow 
us to eat fresh dates at the harbour of Tur. 

Fair visions of dates doomed to the Limbo of things 
which should have been! The grey dawn (July 8) 
looked down upon us in difficulties. The water is 
deep near this coast; we had anchored at high tide 
close to the shore, and the ebb had left us high and 
dry. As the fact became apparent, a storm was 
upon the point of breaking. The Maghrabis, but for 
our interference, would have bastinadoed the Rais, 
who, they said with some reason, ought to have known 
better. When this phase of feeling passed away, they 
applied themselves to physical efforts. All except the 
women and children, who stood on the shore en- 
couraging their relatives with shrill quaverings, threw 
themselves into the water; some pushed, others applied 
their shoulders to the vessel's side, and all used their 
lungs with might and main. But the "Golden Wire" 
was firmly fixed, and their exertions were too irregular. 
Physical force failed, upon which they changed their 
tactics. At the suggestion of their "Maula," they pre- 
pared to burn incense in honor of the Shaykh Abu 
Zulaymah. The material not being forthcoming, they 
used coffee, which perhaps accounts for the short- 
comings of that holy man. After this the Rais remem- 
bered that their previous exertions had not begun 
under the auspices of the Fatihah. Therefore they 
prayed, and then re-applied themselves to work. Still 
they failed. Finally, each man called aloud upon his 
own particular saint or spiritual guide, and rushed 


forward as if he alone sufficed for the exploit. Shaykh 
Hamid unwisely quoted the name, and begged the as- 
sistance of his great ancestor, the " Clarified-Butter- 
Seller;" the obdurate "Golden Wire" was not moved, 
and Hamid retired in momentary confusion. 

It was now about nine a.m., and the water had 
risen considerably. My morning had been passed in 
watching the influx of the tide, and the grotesque 
efforts of the Maghrabis. When the vessel showed 
some symptoms of unsteadiness, I arose, walked gravely 
up to her, ranged the pilgrims around her with their 
shoulders to the sides, and told them to heave with 
might when they heard me invoke the revered name 
of my patron saint. I raised my hands and voice; 
"Ya Piran Pir! Ya Abd el Kadir Jilani!" was the 
signal. I thus called upon a celebrated Sufi or mystic, 
whom many East-Indian Moslems reverence as the 
Arabs do their Prophet. Each Maghrabi worked like 
an Atlas, the "Golden Wire" canted half over, and, 
sliding heavily through the sand, once more floated 
off into deep water. This was generally voted a minor 
miracle, and the Effendi was respected — for a day 
or two. 

The wind was fair, but we had all to re-embark, 
an operation which went on till noon. After starting, 
I remarked the natural cause which gives this Birket 
Far'aun, "Pharaoh's Bay," a bad name. Here the 
gulf narrows, and the winds, which rush down the clefts 
and valleys of the lofty mountains on the Eastern and 
Western shores, meeting currents and counter-currents, 

Mecca and Medina. I. 1 3 


cause a perpetual commotion. That day the foam- 
tipped waves repeatedly washed over my cot, by no 
means diminishing its discomforts. In the evening, or 
rather late in the afternoon, we anchored, to our in- 
finite disgust, under a ridge of rocks, behind- which 
lies the plain of Tur. The Rais deterred all from 
going on shore by terrible stories about the Bedawin 
that haunt the place, besides which there was no sand 
to sleep upon. We remained, therefore, on board that 
night, and, making sail early the next morning, we 
threaded reefs and sand-banks, and we made about 
noon the intricate and dangerous entrance of Tur. 

Nothing can be meaner than the present appear- 
ance of the old Phoenician colony, although its posi- 
tion as a harbour, and its plentiful supply of fruit and 
fresh water, make it one of the most frequented places 
on the coast. The only remains of any antiquity, 
except the wells, are the fortifications which the Por- 
tuguese erected to keep out the Bedawin. The little 
town lies upon a plain that stretches with a gradual 
rise from the sea to the lofty mountain-axis of the 
Sinaitic group. The country around reminded me 
strongly of maritime Sind — a flat of clay and sand, 
clothed with sparse tufts of Salsolae, and bearing strong 
signs of a (geologically speaking) recent origin. The 
town is inhabited principally by Greek and other 
Christians, who live by selling water and provisions 
to ships. 

A fleecy cloud hung lightly over the majestic head 


of Jebel Tur, about eventide, and the outlines of the 
giant hills stood "picked out" from the clear blue sky. 
Our Rais, weather-wise man, warned us that these 
were indications of a gale, and that, in case of rough 
weather, he did not intend to leave Tur. I was not 
sorry to hear this. We had passed a pleasant day, 
drinking sweet water, and eating the dates, grapes, and 
pomegranates, which the people of the place carry 
down to the beach for the benefit of hungry pilgrims. 
Besides which, there were various sights to see, and 
with these we might profitably spend the morrow. We 
therefore pitched the tent upon the sand, and busied 
ourselves with extricating a box of provisions, a labor 
rendered lighter by the absence of the Maghrabis, 
some of whom were wandering about the beach, whilst 
others had gone off to fill their bags with fresh water. 
We found their surliness insufferable; even when we 
were passing from poop to forecastle, landing or board- 
ing, they grumbled forth their dissatisfaction. 

Our Rais was not mistaken in his prediction. The 
fleecy cloud on Tur's top had given true warning. 
When morning (9th July) broke, we found the wind 
strong, and the sea white with foam. Most of us thought 
lightly of these terrors, but our valorous captain swore 
that he dared not for his life cross in such a storm the 
mouth of ill-omened Akabah. We breakfasted, there- 
fore, and afterwards set out to visit Moses' Hot Baths, 
mounted on wretched donkeys with pack-saddles, ig- 
norant of stirrups, and without tails, whilst we ourselves 
suffered generally from boils, which, as usual upon a 



journey, make their appearance in localities the most 

Our road lay northward across the plain towards a 
long narrow strip of date ground, surrounded by a 
ruinous mud wall. After a ride of two or three miles, 
we entered the gardens, and came suddenly upon the 
Hammam. It is a prim little cockney bungalow, built 
by the present Pasha of Egypt for his own accom- 
modation, glaringly whitewashed, and garnished with 
divans and calico curtains of a gorgeous hue. The 
guardian had been warned of our visit, and was present 
to supply us with bathing-cloths and other necessaries. 
One by one, we entered the cistern, which is now in 
an inner room. The water is about four feet deep, 
warm in winter, cool in summer, of a saltish-bitter 
taste, but celebrated for its invigorating qualities, when 
applied externally. 

On one side of the calcareous rock, near the ground, 
is the hole opened for the spring by Moses' rod, which 
must have been like the "mast of some tall Ammiral," 
and near it are the marks of Moses' nails — deep in- 
dentations in the stone, which were probably left there 
by some extinct Saurian. Our cicerone informed us 
that formerly the finger-marks existed, and that they 
were long enough for a man to lie in. The same 
functionary attributed the sanitary properties of the 
spring to the blessings of the Prophet, and, when asked 
why Moses had not made sweet water to flow, informed 
us that the Great Lawgiver had intended the spring 
for bathing, not for drinking. We sat with him, eating 


the small yellow dates of Tur, which are delicious, 
melting like honey in the mouth, and leaving a sur- 
passing arri£re gout. 

After finishing sundry pipes and cups of coffee, we 
gave the bath-man a few piastres, and, mounting our 
donkeys, started eastward for the Bir Musa, "Moses' 
Well," which we reached in half an hour. It is a fine 
old shaft, built round and domed over with roughly 
squared stones, very like what may be seen in some 
rustic parts of Southern England. The sides of the 
pit were so rugged that a man could climb down 
them, and at the bottom was a pool of water, sweet 
and abundant. We had intended to stay there, and 
to dine al fresco, but the hated faces of our com- 
panions, the Maghrabis, meeting us at the entrance, 
nipped that project in the bud. Accordingly we retired 
from the burning sun to a neighbouring coffee-house 
— a shed of palm-leaves kept by a Tur man, and 
there, seated on mats, we demolished the contents of 
our basket. Whilst we were eating, some JBedawin 
came in and joined us, when invited so to do. They 
were poorly dressed, and all armed with knives and 
cheap sabres, hanging to leathern bandoleers: in 
language and demeanour they showed few remains of 
their old ferocity. As late as Mohammed Ali's time 
these people were noted wreckers, and formerly they 
were dreaded pirates — now they are lions with their 
fangs and claws drawn. 

In the evening, when we returned to our tent, a Syrian, 
one of our party on the poop, came out to meet us 


with the information that several large vessels had ar- 
rived from Suez, comparatively speaking, empty, and 
that the captain of one of them would land us at 
Yambu' for three dollars a head. The proposal was 
tempting. But, presently it became apparent that my 
companions were unwilling to shift their precious boxes, 
and moreover, that I should have to pay for those 
who could not or would not pay for themselves — that 
is to say, for the whole party. As such a display of 
wealth would have been unadvisable, I dismissed the 
idea with a sigh. 

Amongst the large vessels was one freighted with 
Persian pilgrims, a most disagreeable race of men on 
a journey or a voyage. They would not land at first, 
because they feared the Bedawin. They would not 
take water from the town people, because some of 
these were Christians. Moreover, they insisted upon 
making their own call to prayer, which heretical pro- 
ceeding — it admits five extra words — our party, ortho- 
dox Moslems, would rather have died than have per- 
mitted. When their crier, a small wizen-faced man, 
began the Azan with a voice 

"In quel tenore 
Che fa il cappon quando talvolta canta," 

we received it with a shout of derision, and some, 
hastily snatching up their weapons, offered him an op- 
portunity of martyrdom. The Maghrabis, too, hearing 
that the Persians were Rafaz (heretics) crowded fiercely 
round to do a little Jihad, or fighting for the faith. 
The long-bearded men took the alarm. They were 


twice the number of our small party, and therefore 
they had been in the habit of strutting about with 
nonchalance, and looking at us fixedly, and otherwise 
demeaning themselves in an indecorous way. But when 
it came to the point, they showed the white feather. 

These Persians accompanied us to the end of our 
voyage. As they approached the Holy Land, visions 
of the "Nebut" caused a change for the better in their 
manners. At Mahar they meekly endured a variety- of 
insults, and at Yambu' they cringed to us like dogs. 



To Yambu'. 

On the nth July 1853, about dawn, we left Tur, 
after a pleasant halt, with the unpleasant certainty of 
not touching ground for thirty-six hours. I passed 
the time in steadfast contemplation of the web of my 
umbrella, and in making the following meteorological 

Morning, The air is mild and balmy as that of 
an Italian spring; thick mists roll down the valleys 
along the sea, and a haze like mother-o'-pearl crowns 
the headlands. The distant rocks show Titanic walls, 
lofty donjons, huge projecting bastions, and moats full 
of deep shade. At their base runs a sea of amethyst, 
and as earth receives the first touches of light, their 
summits, almost transparent, mingle with the jasper 
tints of the sky. Nothing can be more delicious than 
this hour. But, as 

" — Les plus belles choses 
Ont le pire destin — " 

so lovely Morning soon fades. The sun bursts up from 
behind the main, a fierce enemy, a foe that will force 
every one to crouch before him. He dyes the sky 
orange, and the sea incarnadine, where its violet sur- 
face is stained by his rays, and he mercilessly puts to 


flight the mists and haze and the little agate-coloured 
masses of cloud that were before floating in the firma- 
ment The atmosphere is so clear that now and then 
a planet is visible. For the two hours following sun- 
rise the rays are endurable; after that they become a 
fiery ordeal. The morning beams oppress' you with 
a feeling of sickness; their steady glow, reflected by 
the glaring waters, blinds your eyes, blisters your skin, 
and parches your mouth: you now become a mono- 
maniac; you do nothing but count the slow hours that 
must minute by before you can be relieved. 

Noon. The wind reverberated by the glowing hills, 
is like the blast of a lime-kiln. All color melts away 
with the canescence from above. The sky is a dead 
milk-white, and the mirror-like sea so reflects the tint 
that you can scarcely distinguish the line of the ho- 
rizon. After noon the wind slumbers upon the reeking 
shore; there is a deep stillness; the only sound heard 
is the melancholy flapping of the sail. Men are not 
so much sleeping as half senseless; they feel as if a 
few more degrees of heat would be death. 

Sunset. The enemy sinks behind the deep cerulean 
sea, under a canopy of gigantic rainbow which covers 
half the face of heaven. Nearest to the horizon is an 
arch of tawny orange; above it another of the brightest 
gold, and based upon these a semicircle of tender sea- 
green blends with a score of delicate gradations into 
the sapphire sky. Across the rainbow the sun throws 
its rays in the form of giant wheel-spokes tinged with 


a beautiful pink. The Eastern sky is mantled with .a 
purple flush that cloaks the forms of the desert and 
the hills. Language is a thing too cold, too poor, to 
express the harmony and the majesty of this hour, 
which is evanescent, however, as it is lovely. Night 
falls rapidly, when suddenly the appearance of the 
zodiacal light restores the scene to what it was. Again 
the grey hills and the grim rocks become rosy or 
golden, the palms green, the sands saffron, and the sea 
wears a lilac surface of dimpling wavelets. But after a 
quarter of an hour all fades once more; the cliffs are 
naked and ghastly under the moon, whose light falling 
upon this wilderness of white crags and pinnacles is 
most strange, most mysterious. 

Night. The horizon is all darkness, and the sea 
reflects the pale visage of the night-sun as in a 
mirror of steel. In the air we see giant columns of 
pallid light, distinct, based upon the indigo-coloured 
waves, and standing with their heads lost in endless 
space. The stars glitter with exceeding brilliance. At 
this hour are 

"River and hill and wood, 
With all the numberless goings on of life, 
Inaudible as dreams ; " 

while the planets look down upon you with the faces 
of smiling friends. You feel the "sweet influence of 
the Pleiades." You are bound by the "bond of Orion." 
Hesperus bears with him a thousand things. In com- 
munion with them your hours pass swiftly by, till the 


heavy dews warn you to cover up your face and sleep. 
And with one look at a certain little Star in the North, 
under which lies all that makes life worth living 
through — surely it is a venial superstition to sleep 
with your face towards that Kiblah! — you fall into 

Those thirty-six hours were a trial even to the 
hard-headed Bedawin. The Syrian and his two friends 
fell ill. Umar ErTendi, it is true, had the courage to 
say his sunset prayers, but the exertion so altered him 
that he looked another man. Salih Shakkar in despair 
ate dates till threatened with a dysentery. Sa'ad the 
Demon had rigged out for himself a cot three feet 
long, which, arched over with bent bamboo and covered 
with cloaks, he had slung on to the larboard side; but 
the loud grumbling which proceeded from his nest 
proved that his precaution had not been a cure. Even 
the boy Mohammed forgot to chatter, to scold, to 
smoke, and to make himself generally disagreeable. 
The Turkish baby appeared to be dying, and was not 
strong enough to wail. How the poor mother stood 
her trials so well, made every one wonder. The most 
pleasant trait in my companions' characters was the 
consideration they showed to her, and their attention 
to her children. Whenever one of the party drew 
forth a little delicacy — a few dates or a pomegranate 
— they gave away a share of it to the children, and 
most of them took their turns to nurse the baby. 

This was genuine politeness — kindness of heart. 


It would be well for those who sweepingly accuse 
Easterns of want of gallantry, to contrast this trait of 
character with the savage scenes of civilisation that 
take place among the "Overlands" at Cairo and Suez. 
No foreigner could be present for the first time 
without bearing away the lasting impression that 
the sons of Great Britain are model barbarians. On 
board the "Golden Wire" Salih Shakkar was the sole 
base exception to the general geniality of my com- 

As the sun starts towards the west, falling harm- 
lessly upon our heads, we arise, still faint and dizzy, 
calling for water — which before we had not the strength 
to drink — and pipes, and coffee, and similar luxuries. 
Our primitive kitchen is a square wooden box, lined 
with clay, and filled with sand, upon which three or 
four large stones are placed to form a hearth. Prepara- 
tions are now made for the evening meal, which is of 
the simplest description. A little rice, a few dates, or 
an onion, will keep a man alive in our position; a 
single "good dinner" would justify long odds against 
his seeing the next evening. Moreover, it is impossible 
in such cases to have an appetite — fortunately, as our 
store of provisions is a scanty one. Arabs consider it 
desirable on a journey to eat hot food once in the 
twenty- four hours; so we determine to cook, despite 
all difficulties. The operation, however, is by no means 
satisfactory; twenfy expectants surround the single fire, 
and there is sure to be a quarrel amongst them every 
fivt minutes. 


As the breeze, cooled by the dew, begins to fan 
our parched faces, we recover our spirits amazingly. 
Songs are sung, and tales are told, and rough jests 
are bandied about, till not unfrequently Oriental sen- 
sitiveness is sorely tried. Or, if we see the prospect 
of storm or calm, we draw forth, and piously peruse, 
a "Hizb el Bahr." As this prayer is supposed to 
make all safe upon the ocean wave, I will not selfishly 
withhold it from the British reader. To draw forth 
its virtues, the reciter should receive it from the 
hands of his Murshid or spiritual guide, and study it 
during the Chilian, or forty days of fast, of which, I 
venture to observe, few Sons of Bull are capable. 

"O Allah, O Exalted, O Almighty, O All-pitiful, 
O All-powerful, Thou art my God, and sufficeth to 
me the knowledge of it! Glorified be the Lord my 
Lord, and glorified be the Faith my Faith! Thou 
givest Victory to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou art 
the Glorious, the Merciful! We pray Thee for Safety 
in our goings forth and our standings still, in our 
Words and our Designs, in our Dangers of Tempta- 
tion and Doubt, and the secret Designs of our Hearts. 
Subject unto us this Sea, even as Thou didst subject 
the Deep to Musa (Moses), and as Thou didst subject 
the Fire to Ibrahim (Abraham), and as Thou didst 
subject the Iron to Daud (David), and as Thou didst 
subject the Wind and the Devils and Genii and Man- 
kind to Sulayman (Solomon), and as Thou didst sub- 
ject the Moon and El Burak to Mohammed, upon 
whom be Allah's Mercy and His Blessing! And sub- 


ject unto us all the Seas in Earth and Heaven, in Thy 
visible and in Thine invisible Worlds, the Sea of this 
Life, and the Sea of Futurity. O Thou who reignest 
over everything, and unto whom all Things return, 
Khyas! Khyas! Khyas!"* And lastly, we lie down 
upon our cribs, wrapped up in thickly padded cotton 
coverlets, we forget the troubles of the past day, and 
we care nought for the discomforts of that to come. 

Late on the evening of the nth July we passed in 
sight of the narrow mouth of Akabah, whose famosi 
rupes are a terror to the voyagers of these latitudes. 
Like the Gulf of Cambay, here a tempest is said to be 
always brewing, and men raise their hands to pray as 
they cross it. We had no storm that day from with- 
out, but a fierce one was about to burst within our 
ship. The essence of Oriental discipline is personal 
respect based upon fear. Therefore it often happens, 
that the commanding officer, if a mild old gentleman, 
is the last person whose command is obeyed — his only 
privilege being that of sitting apart from his inferiors. 
And such was the case with our Rais. On the present 
occasion, irritated by the refusal of the Maghrabis to 
stand out of the steerman's way, and excited by the 
prospect of losing sight of shore for a whole day, he 
threatened one of the fellows with his slipper. It re- 
quired all our exertions, even to a display of the 
dreaded quarter-staves, to calm the consequent excite- 
ment. After passing Akabah, we saw nothing but sea 

* These are mystic words, and entirely beyond the reach of dictionaries and 


and sky, and we spent a weary night and day tossing 
upon the waters — our only exercise: every face 
brightened as, about sunset on the 12th July, we sud- 
denly glided into the mooring-place. 

Marsa Damghah- — "Damghah Anchorage" — is 
scarcely visible from the sea. An islet of limestone 
defends the entrance, leaving a narrow passage 
on each side. It is not before he enters that the 
mariner discovers the extent and the depth of this 
creek, which indents far into the land, and offers 
15 — 20 feet of fine clear anchorage which no swell 
can reach. Inside it looks more like a lake, and at 
night its colour is gloriously blue as Geneva itself. I 
cquld not help calling to mind, after dinner, the old 
school lines, 

"Est in secessu longo locus ; insula portum 
Efficit objectu laterum ; quibus omnis ab alto 
Frangitur, inque sinus scindit sese unda reductos." 

Nothing was wanted but the "atrum nemus." 
Where, however, shall we find such luxury in arid 

The Rais, as usual, attempted to deter us from 
landing, by romancing about the "Bedoynes and Asco- 
pards," representing them to be "fblke ryghte felonouse 
and foule and of cursed kynde." To which we replied 
by shouldering our Nebiits and scrambling into the 
cock boat. On shore we saw a few wretched-looking 
beings, Jahaynahs or Juhaynahs, seated upon heaps of 
dried wood, which they sold to travellers, and three 


boat-loads of Syrian pilgrims who had preceded us. 
We often envied them their small swift craft, with 
their double latine sails disposed in "hare-ears" 
which, about even-tide in the far distance, looked like 
a white gull alighting upon the purple wave; and they 
justified our jealousy by arriving at Yambu' two days 
before us. The pilgrims had bivouacked upon the 
beach, and were engaged in drinking their after dinner 
coffee. They received us with all the rights of hos- 
pitality, as natives of the Medinah should everywhere 
be received; we sat an hour with them, ate a little 
fruit, satisfied our thirst, smoked their pipes, and when 
taking leave blessed them. Then returning to the 
vessel we fed, and lost no time in falling asleep. 

The dawn of the next day saw our sail flapping ki 
the idle air. And it was not without difficulty that in 
the course of the forenoon we entered Wijh Harbour, 
distant from Damghah but very few miles. Wijh is 
also a natural anchorage, in no way differing from that 
where we passed the night, except in being smaller 
and shallower. From this place to Cairo the road is 
safe. The town is a collection of huts meanly built of 
round stones, and clustering upon a piece of elevated 
rock on the northern side of the creek. It is distant 
about five miles from the inland fort of the same name, 
which receives the Egyptian caravan, and which thrives, 
like its port, by selling water and provisions to pilgrims. 
The little bazar, almost washed by every high tide, 
provided us with mutton, rice, baked bread, and the 
other necessaries of life, at a moderate rate. Luxuries 


also were to be found: a druggist sold me an ounce 
of opium at a Chinese price. 

With reeling limbs we landed at Wijh, and finding 
a large coffee-house above and near the beach, we in- 
stalled ourselves there. But the Persians who preceded 
us had occupied all the shady places outside, and were 
correcting their teeth with their case-knives; we were 
forced to content ourselves with the interior. It was 
a building of artless construction, consisting of little 
but a roof supported by wooden posts, roughly hewn 
from date trees: round the tamped earthen floor ran a 
raised bench of unbaked brick forming a Divan for 
mats and sleeping-rugs. In the centre a huge square 
Mastabeh, or platform, answered a similar purpose. 
Here and there appeared attempts at long and side 
walls, but these superfluities had been allowed to ad- 
mit daylight through large gaps. In one corner stood 
the apparatus of the "Kahwahji," an altar-like eleva- 
tion, also of earthen work, containing a hole for a 
charcoal fire, upon which rested three huge coffee-pots 
dirtily tinned. Near it were ranged the Shishehs, or 
Egyptian hookahs, old, exceedingly unclean, and worn 
by age and hard work. A wooden framework, pierced 
with circular apertures, supported a number of porous 
earthenware "gullehs" (monkey jars) full of cold sweet 
water; the charge for each was, as usual in El Hejaz, 
five paras. Such was the furniture of the cafe, and 
the only relief to the barrenness of the view was a 
fine mellowing atmosphere composed of smoke, steam, 
flies, and gnats, in about equal proportions. I have 

Mecca and Medina. I. 1 4 


been diffuse in my description of the coffee-house, as 
it was a type of its class: from Alexandria to Aden 
the traveller will everywhere meet with buildings of the 
same kind. 

Our happiness in this Paradise — for such it was to 
us after the "Golden Wire" — was nearly sacrificed by 
Sa'ad the Demon, whose abominable temper led him 
at once into a quarrel with the master of the cafe. 
And the latter, an ill-looking, squint-eyed, low-browed, 
broad-shouldered fellow, showed himself no wise un- 
willing to meet the Demon half way. The two worthies, 
after a brief bandying of bad words, seized each other's 
throats leisurely, so as to give the spectators time and 
encouragement to interfere. But when friends and 
acquaintances were hanging on to both heroes so 
firmly that they could not move hand or arm, their 
wrath, as usual, rose, till it was terrible to see. The 
little village resounded with the war, and many a 
sturdy knave rushed in, sword or cudgel in hand, so 
as not to lose the sport. During the heat of the fray, 
a pistol which was in Umar Effendi's hand went off 
— accidentally of course — and the ball passed so close 
to the tins containing the black and muddy mocha, 
that it drew the attention of all parties. As if by 
magic, the storm was lulled. A friend recognised 
Sa'ad the Demon, and swore that he was no black 
slave, but a soldier at El Medinah — "no waiter, but a 
Knight Templar." This caused him to be looked 
upon as rather a distinguished man, and he proved 
his right to the honour by insisting that his late 


enemy should feed with him, and when the other de- 
corously hung back, by dragging him to dinner with 
loud cries. • 

My alias that day was severely tried. Besides 
the Persian pilgrims, sundry nondescripts who came 
in the same vessel were hanging about the coffee- 
house, lying down, smoking, drinking water, bathing, 
and picking their teeth with their daggers. One in- 
quisitive man was always at my side. He called him- 
self a Pathan; he could speak five or six languages, 
he knew a number of people everywhere, and he had 
travelled far and wide over central Asia. These fellows 
are always good detectors of an incognito. I avoided 
answering his question about my native place, and 
after telling him that I had no longer name or nation, 
being a Dervish, I asked him, when he insisted upon 
my having been born somewhere, to guess for himself. 
To my joy he claimed me for a brother Pathan, and 
in course of conversation he declared himself to be 
the nephew of an Afghan merchant, a gallant old man 
who had been civil to me at Cairo. We then sat 
smoking together with "effusion." Becoming con- 
fidential, he complained that he, a Sunni or orthodox 
Moslem, had been abused, maltreated, and beaten by 
his fellow-travellers, the heretical Persian pilgrims. I 
naturally offered to arm my party, to take up our 
cudgels, and to revenge my compatriot. This tho- 
roughly Sulaymanian style of doing business could 
not fail to make him sure of his man. He declined, 
however, wisely remembering that he had nearly a 



fortnight of the Persians' society still to endure. But 
he promised himself the gratification, when he reached 
Mecca, of sheathing his Charay — the terrible Afghan 
knife — in the chief offender's heart. 

At 8 a. m. on the 14th of July we left Wijh, after 
passing a night, tolerably comfortable by contrast, in 
the coffee-house. We took with us the stores necessary, 
for though our Rais had promised to anchor under 
Jebel Hasan that evening, no one believed him. We 
sailed among ledges of rock, golden sands, green 
weeds, and in some places through yellow lines of 
what appeared to me at a distance foam after a storm. 
All day a sailor sat upon the mast-head, looking at 
the water, which was transparent as blue glass, and 
shouting out the direction. This precaution was some- 
what stultified by the roar of voices, which never 
failed to mingle with the warning, but we wore every 
half hour, and we did not run aground. About mid- 
day we passed by Shaykh Hasan el Marabit's tomb. 
It is the usual domed and whitewashed building, sur- 
rounded by the hovels of its guardians, standing upon 
a low flat island of yellow rock, vividly reminding me 
of certain scenes in Sind. Its dreary position attracts 
to it the attention of passing travellers; the dead 
saint has a prayer and a Fatiheh for the good of his 
soul, and the live sinner wends his way with religious 

Near sunset the wind came on to blow freshly, 
and we cast anchor together with the Persian pilgrims 
upon a rock. This was one of the celebrated coral 


reefs of the Red Sea, and the sight justified Forskal's 
emphatic description — luxus lususque naturae. It was 
a huge ledge or platform rising but little above the 
level of the deep; the water-side was perpendicular as 
the wall of a fort, and whilst a frigate might have 
floated within a yard of it, every ripple dashed over 
the reef, replenishing the little basins and hollows in 
the surface. The colour of the waves near it was a 
vivid amethyst. In the distance the eye rested upon 
what appeared to be meadows of brilliant flowers re- 
sembling those of earth, only brighter far and more 
lovely. Nor was this land of the sea wholly desolate. 
Gulls and terns here swam the tide, there, seated 
upon the coral, devoured their prey. In the air, troops 
of birds contended noisily for a dead flying fish, and 
in the deep water they chased a shoal, which, in fright 
and hurry to escape the pursuers, veiled the surface 
with spray and foam. And as night came on the 
scene shifted, displaying fresh beauties. Shadows 
clothed the background, whose features, dimly revealed, 
allowed full scope to the imagination. In the forepart 
of the picture lay the sea, shining under the rays of 
the moon with a metallic lustre, while its border, where 
the wavelets dashed upon the reef, was lit by what 
the Arabs call the "jewels of the deep" — brilliant 
flashes of phosphoric light giving an idea of splendour 
which art would vainly strive to imitate. Altogether 
it was a bit of fairy-land, a spot for nymphs and sea- 
gods to disport upon: you might have heard, without 
astonishment, old Proteus calling his flocks with the 


writhed conch; and Aphrodite seated in her shell 
would have been only a fit and proper climax of its 

But — as philosophically remarked by Sir Cauline 
the Knyghte — 

' ' Every whyte must have its blacke, 
And every sweete its soure — " 

this charming coral-garden was nearly being the scene 
of an ugly accident. The breeze from seaward set us 
slowly but steadily towards the reef, a fact of which 
we soon became conscious. Our anchor was not 
dragging; it had not rope enough to touch the bottom, 
and vainly we sought for more. In fact the "Golden 
Wire" w r as as disgracefully deficient in all the ap- 
pliances of safety, as any English merchantman in the 
nineteenth century, — a circumstance which accounts 
for the shipwrecks and for the terrible loss of life 
perpetually occurring about the pilgrimage season in 
these seas. Had she struck upon the razor-like edges 
of the coral-reef, she would have melted away like a 
sugar-plum in the ripple, for the tide was rising at 
the time. Having nothing better to do, we began to 
make as much noise as possible. Fortunately for us, 
the Rais commanding the Persians' boat was an Arab 
from Jeddah, and more than once we had treated 
him with great civility. Guessing the cause of our 
distress, he sent two sailors overboard with a cable; 
they swam gallantly up to us; and in a few minutes 
we were safely moored to the stern of our useful 


Which done, we applied ourselves to the grateful 
task of beating our Rais, and richly had he deserved 
it. Before noon, when the wind was shifting, he had 
not once given himself the trouble to wear; and when 
the breeze was falling he preferred dozing to taking 
advantage of what little wind remained; with energy 
we might have been moored that night comfortably 
under the side of Mount Hasan, instead of floating 
about on an unquiet sea with a lee-shore of coral reef 
within a few yards of our counter. 

At dawn next day (July 15) we started. We made 
Jebel Hasan about noon, and an hour or so before 
sunset we glided into Marsa Mahar. Our resting- 
place resembled Marsa Damghah at an humble dis- 
tance; the sides of the cove, however, were bolder 
and more precipitous. The limestone rocks presented 
a peculiar appearance; in some parts the base and 
walls had crumbled away, leaving a coping to project 
like a canopy; in others the wind and rain had cut 
deep holes, and pierced the friable material with 
caverns that looked like the work of art. There was 
a pretty opening of backwood at the bottom of the 
cove, and palm trees in the blue distance gladdened 
our eyes, which pined for the sight of something green. 
The Rais, as usual, would have terrified us with a 
description of the Hutaymi tribe that holds these parts, 
and I knew from Welsted and Moresby that it is a 
troublesome race. But forty-eight hours of cramps on 
board ship would make a man think lightly of a much 
more imminent danger. 


Wading on shore we cut our feet with the sharp 
rocks. I remember to have felt the acute pain of 
something running into my toe; but after looking at 
the place and extracting what appeared to be a bit of 
thorn, I dismissed the subject, little guessing the trouble 
it was to give me. Having scaled the rocky side of 
the cove, we found some half-naked Arabs lying in 
the shade; they were unarmed, and had nothing about 
them except their villanous countenances wherewith to 
terrify the most timid. These men still live in lime- 
stone caves, like the Thamud tribe of tradition; also 
they are still Ichthyophagi , existing without any other 
subsistence but what the sea affords. They were un- 
able to provide us with dates, flesh or milk, but they 
sold us a kind of fish called in India "Bui:" broiled 
upon the embers, it proved delicious. 

After we had eaten and drunk and smoked, we 
began to make merry; and the Persians, who, fearing 
to come on shore, had kept to their conveyance, ap- 
peared proper butts for the wit of some of our party: 
one of us stood up and pronounced the orthodox call 
to prayer, after which the rest joined in a polemical 
hymn, exalting the virtues and dignity of the three 
first Caliphs. Then, as general on such occasions, the 
matter was made personal by informing the Persians 
in a kind of rhyme sung by the Meccan gamins, that 
they were the "slippers of AH and the dogs (of 
Omar." But as they were too frightened to reply, 
my companions gathered up their cooking utensils, 
and returned to the "Golden Wire," melancholy, like 


disappointed candidates for the honors of Donny- 

Our next day was silent and weary, for we were 
all surly and heartily sick of being on board ship. We 
should have made Yambu' in the evening but for the 
laziness of the Rais. Having duly beaten him, we 
anchored on the open coast, insufficiently protected 
by a reef, and almost in sight of our destination. In 
the distance rose Jebel Radhwah or Radhwa, one of 
the "Mountains of Paradise" in which honored Arabia 
abounds. It is celebrated by poetry as well as by 

"Did Radhwah strive to support my woes, 
Radhwah itself would be crushed by the weight," 

says Antar. It supplies El Medinah with hones. I 
heard much of its valleys and fruits and bubbling 
springs, but afterwards I learned to rank these tales 
with the superstitious legends which are attached to 
it. Gazing at its bare and ghastly heights, one of our 
party, whose wit was soured by the want of fresh 
bread, surlily remarked that such a heap of ugliness 
deserved ejection from heaven, — an irreverence too 
public to escape general denunciation. We waded on 
shore, cooked there and passed the night; we were 
short of fresh water, which, combined with other 
grievances, made us as surly as bears. Sa'ad the De- 
mon was especially vicious; his eyes gazed fixedly on 
the ground, his lips protruded till you might have 
lifted his face by them, his mouth was garnished with 


bad wrinkles, and he never opened it but he grumbled 
out a wicked word. He solaced himself that evening 
by crawling slowly on all fours over the boy Moham- 
med, taking scrupulous care to place one knee upon 
the sleeper's face. The youth awoke in a fiery rage; 
we all roared with laughter, and the sulky Negro, after 
savouring the success of his spite, grimly, as but half 
satisfied, rolled himself like a hedgehog into a ball, 
and, resolving to be offensive even in his forgetfulness, 
snored violently all night. 

We slept inpon the sands and arose before dawn 
(July 17), determined to make the Rais start in time 
that day. A slip of land' separated us from our haven, 
but the wind was foul, and by reason of rocks and 
shoals, we had to make a considerable detour. 

It was about noon on the 12th day after our de- 
parture from Suez, when, after slowly beating up the 
narrow creek leading to Yambu' harbour, we sprang 
into a shore boat and felt new life, when bidding an 
eternal adieu to the vile "Golden Wire." 

I might have escaped much of this hardship and 
suffering by hiring a vessel to myself. There would 
then have been a cabin to retire into at night, and 
shade from the sun; moreover the voyage would have 
lasted five, not twelve days. But I wished to witness 
the scenes on board a pilgrim ship, — scenes so much 
talked of by the Moslem palmer home-returned. More- 
over the hire was exorbitant, ranging from 40/. to 50/., 
and it would have led to a greater expenditure, as the 



man who can afford to take a boat must pay in pro- 
portion during his land journey. In these countries 
you perforce go on as you .begin: to "break one's ex- 
penditure/' that is to say, to retrench expenses, is con- 
sidered all but impossible. We have now left the 
land of Egypt. 



The Halt at Yambu'. 

The heat of the sun, the heavy dews, and the 
frequent washings of the waves, had so affected my 
foot, that on landing at Yambu', I could scarcely place 
it upon the ground. But traveller's duty was to be 
done; so, leaning upon my "slave's" shoulder, I 
started at once to see the town, whilst Shaykh Hamid 
and the others of our party proceeded to the custom- 

Yanbu'a el Bahr, Yambu' or fountain of the Sea, 
identified, by Abyssinian Bruce, with the Iambia village 
of Ptolemy, is a place of considerable importance, and 
shares with others the title of "Gate of the Holy City." 
It is the third quarter of the caravan road from Cairo 
to Mecca; and here, as well as at El Bedr, pilgrims 
frequently leave behind them in hired warehouses 
goods too heavy to be transported in haste, or too 
valuable to risk in dangerous times. Yambu' being 
the port of El Medinah, as Jedda is of Mecca, is 
supported by a considerable transport trade and ex- 
tensive imports from the harbours on the western coasts 
of the Red Sea: it supplies its chief town with grain, 
dates and henna. Here the Sultan's dominion is sup- 
posed to begin, whilst the authority of the Pasha of 
Egypt ceases; there is no Nizam or Regular Army, 


however, in the town, and the governor is a Sherif or 
Arab chief. I met him in the great bazar; he is a fine 
young man of light complexion and the usual high 
profile, handsomely dressed, with a Cashmere turban, 
armed to the extent of sword and dagger, and followed 
by two large fierce-looking Negro slaves leaning upon 
enormous Nebuts. 

The town itself is in no wise remarkable. Built 
on the edge of a barren plain that extends between 
the mountains and the sea, it fronts the northern ex- 
tremity of a narrow winding creek. Viewed from the 
harbour, it is a long line of buildings, whose painful 
whiteness is set off by a sky like cobalt and a sea like 
indigo; behind it lies the flat, here of a bistre-brown, 
there of a lively tawny; whilst the background is formed 
by dismal Radhwah, 

" Barren and bare, unsightly, unadorned." 

Outside the walls are a few little domes and tombs, 
which by no means merit attention. Inside, the streets 
are wide, and each habitation is placed at an un- 
sociable distance from its neighbour, except near the 
port and the bazars, where ground is valuable. The 
houses are roughly built of limestone and coralline, 
and their walls full of fossils crumble like almond 
cake; they have huge hanging windows, and look 
mean after those in the Moslem quarters of Cairo. 
There is a "Suk," or market-place, of the usual form, 
a long narrow lane darkened by a covering of palm 
leaves, with little shops let into the walls of the houses 
on both sides. The cafes, which abound here, have 


already been described in the last chapter; they are 
rendered dirty in the extreme by travellers, and it is 
impossible to sit in them without a fan to drive away 
the flies. The custom-house fronts the landing-place 
upon the harbour; it is managed by Turkish officials, 
— men dressed in Tarbushes, who repose the live-long 
day upon the Divans near the windows. In the case 
of us travellers they had a very simple way of doing 
business, charging each person of the party three 
piastres for each large box, but by no means troubling 
themselves to meddle with the contents. This, as far 
as I could learn, is the only tax which the Sultan's 
government derives from the northern Hejaz; the 
people declare it to be, as one might expect at this 
distance from the capital, liable to gross peculation. 
When the Wahhabis held Yambu', they assessed it, like 
all other places; for which reason their name is held 
in the liveliest abhorrence. 

Yambu > also boasts of a Hammam or Hot Bath, a 
mere date-leaf shed, tenanted by an old Turk, who, 
with his surly Albanian assistant, lives by "cleaning" 
pilgrims and travellers. Some whitewashed mosques 
and minarets of exceedingly simple form, a Wakaleh 
or two for the reception of merchants, and a saint's 
tomb, complete the list of public buildings. 

f In one point Yambu' claims superiority over most 
other towns in this part of El Hejaz. Those who can 
afford the luxury drink sweet rain-water, collected 
amongst the hills in tanks and cisterns, and brought 
on camel-back to the town. Two sources are especially 


praised, the Ayn el Berkat, and the Ayn Ali, which 
suffice to supply the whole population: the brackish 
water of the wells is confined to coarser purposes. 
Some of the old people here, as at Suez, are said to 
prefer the drink to which years of habit have ac- 
customed them, and it is a standing joke that, arrived 
at Cairo, they salt the water of the Nile to make it 

The population of Yambu', — one of the most 
bigoted and quarrelsome races in El Hejaz — strikes 
the eye after arriving from Egypt, as decidedly a new 
feature. The Shaykh or gentleman is over-armed and 
over-dressed as Fashion, the Tyrant of the Desert as 
well as of the Court, dictates to a person of his con- 
sequence. The civilised traveller from El Medinah 
sticks in his waist-shawl a loaded pistol, garnished 
with crimson silk cord, but he partially conceals the 
butt end under the flap of his jacket. The irregular 
soldier struts down the street a small armoury of 
weapons: one look at the man's countenance suffices 
to tell you what he is. Here and there stalk grim 
Bedawin, wild as their native wastes, and in all the 
dignity of pride and dirt; they also are armed to the 
teeth, and even the presence of the policeman's quarter- 
staff cannot keep their swords in their scabbards. What 
we should call the peaceful part of the population 
never leave the house without a "nebut" (cudgel) over 
the right shoulder, and the larger, the longer, and the 
heavier the weapon is, the more gallantry does *the 
bearer claim. The people of Yambu' practise the use 


of this implement diligently; they become expert in 
delivering a head blow so violent as to break through 
any guard, and with it they always decide their trivial 

The dress of the women differs but little from that 
of the Egyptians, except in the face veil, which is 
generally white. There is an independent bearing 
about the Yambu' men, strange in the East; they are 
proud without insolence, and they look manly without 
blustering. Their walk partakes somewhat of the 
nature of a swagger; owing, perhaps, to the shape of 
the sandals, not a little assisted by the self-esteem of 
the wearer, but there is nothing offensive in it; more- 
over, the population has a healthy appearance, and, 
fresh from Egypt, I could not help noticing their free- 
dom from ophthalmic disease. The children, too, ap- 
pear vigorous, nor are they here kept in that state of 
filth to which fear of the Evil Eye devotes them in the 
Valley of the Nile. 

My companions found me in a coffee-house, where 
I had sat down to rest from the fatigue of halting on 
my wounded foot through the town. They had passed 
their boxes through the custom-house, and were now 
inquiring in all directions "Where's the Effendi?" 
After sitting for half an hour, we rose to depart, when 
an old Arab merchant whom I had met at Suez, 
politely insisted upon paying for my coffee, still a 
mark of attention in Arabia as it was whilome in 
FrarTce. We then went to a Wakaleh, near the bazar, 
in which my companions had secured an airy upper 


room on the terrace opposite the sea, and tolerably 
free from Yambu's plague, the flies. It had been 
tenanted by a party of travellers, who were introduced 
to me as Umar Effendi's brothers; he had by accident 
met them in the streets the day before their start for 
Constantinople, where they were travelling to receive 
the Ikram.* The family was, as I have said before, 
from Daghistan (Circassia), and the male members still 
showed unequivocal signs of a northern origin, in light 
yellowish skins, grey eyes fringed with dark lashes, 
red lips, and a very scant beard. They were broad- 
shouldered, large-limbed men, distinguished only by a 
peculiar surliness of countenance; perhaps their ex- 
pression was the result of their suspecting me; for I 
observed them watching every movement narrowly 
during Wuzu and prayers. This was a good oppor- 
tunity for displaying the perfect nonchalance of a True 
Believer, and my efforts were, I believe, successful, for 
afterwards they seemed to treat me as a mere stranger, 
from whom they could expect nothing, and who there- 
fore was hardly worth their notice. 

On the afternoon of the day of our arrival we sent 
for a Mukharrij (hirer of conveyance), and began to 
treat for camels. One Amm Jemal, a respectable 
native of El Medinah who was on his way home, un- 
dertook to be the spokesman: after a long palaver, 
(for the Shaykh of the camels and his attendant 
Bedawin were men that fought for farthings, and we 

* A certain stipend allowed by the Sultan to citizens of the Haramayn 
(Meccah and El Medinah). It will be treated of at length in a future chapter. 
Mecca and Medi?ia. I. 1 5 


were not far inferior to them), a bargain was struck. 
We agreed to pay three dollars for each beast, half in 
ready money, the other half after reaching our destina- 
tion, and to start on the evening of the next day with 
a grain-caravan, guarded by an escort of irregular 
cavalry. I hired two animals, one for my luggage and 
servant, the other for the boy Mohammed and myself, 
expressly stipulating, that we were to ride the better 
beast, and that if it broke down on the road, its place 
should be supplied by another as good. 

My friends could not dissemble their uneasiness, 
when informed by the Mukharrij, that the Hazimi tribe 
was "out," and that travellers had to fight every day. 
The Daghistanis also contributed to their alarm. "We 
met," said they, "between 200 and 300 devils on a 
Razzia near El Medinah; we gave them the Salam, 
but they would not reply, although we were all on 
dromedaries. Then they asked us if we were men of 
El Medinah, and we replied 'Yes/ and lastly, they 
wanted to know the end of our journey; so we said 
Bir Abbas." The not returning "Salam" was a sign 
on the part of the Bedawin that they were out to fight, 
and not to make friends; and the dromedary riders, 
who generally travel without much to rob, thought this 
behaviour a declaration of desperate designs. The 
Bedawin asked if they were El Medinah men; because 
the former do not like, unless when absolutely neces- 
sary, to plunder the people of the Holy City. And the 
Daghistanis said their destination was Bir Abbas, a 
neighbouring, instead of Yambu', a distant post, because 


those who travel on a long journey, being supposed to 
have more funds with them, are more likely to be 

The Bedawin who had accompanied the Daghistanis 
belonged to some tribe unconnected with the Hazimi: 
the spokesman rolled his head, as much as to say, 
"Allah has preserved us!" And a young Indian of the 
party, — I shrewdly suspect him of having stolen my 
pen-knife that night, — displayed the cowardice of a 
"Miyan," by looking aghast at the memory of his im- 
minent and deadly risk. "Sir," said Shaykh Nur to 
me, "we must wait till all this is over." I told him 
to hold his tongue, and sharply reproved the boy Mo- 
hammed, upon whose manner the effect of finding 
himself suddenly in a fresh country had wrought a 
change for the worse. "Why, ye were lions at Cairo 
— and here, at Yambu', you are cats, hens!" It was 
not long, however, before the youth's impudence re- 
turned upon him with increased violence. 

We sat through the afternoon in the little room on 
the terrace, whose reflected heat, together with the 
fiery winds from the wilderness, seemed to incommode 
even my companions. After sunset we dined in the 
open air, a body of twenty: master, servants, children 
and strangers. All the procurable rugs and pillows 
had been seized to make a Divan, and we squatted 
together round a large cauldron of boiled rice, con- 
taining square masses of mutton, the whole covered 
with clarified butter. Sa'ad the Demon was now in 
his glory. With what anecdotes the occasion supplied 



him! — his tongue seemed to wag with a perpetual 
motion — for each man he had a boisterous greeting, 
and to judge from his whisperings he must have been 
in every one's privacy and confidence. Conversation 
over pipes and coffee was prolonged to 10 p.m., a late 
hour in these lands; then we prayed the Isha, or ves- 
pers, and, spreading our mats upon the terrace, we 
slept in the open air. 

The forenoon of the next day was occupied in 
making sundry small purchases. We laid in seven 
days' provisions for the journey, repacked our boxes, 
polished and loaded our arms, and attired ourselves 
appropriately for the road. By the advice of Amm 
Jemal I dressed as an Arab, in order to avoid paying 
the Jizyat, a capitation tax, which upon this road the 
settled tribes extort from stranger travellers; and he 
warned me not to speak any language but Arabic, 
even to my slave, in the vicinity of a village. I bought 
for my own conveyance a Shugduf or litter, for which 
I paid two dollars. It is a vehicle appropriated to 
women and children, fathers of families, married men, 
"Shelebis" (Exquisites), and generally to those who are 
too effeminate to ride. 

The Shugduf of El Hejaz differs greatly from that 
used in Syria and other countries. It is composed of 
two corded cots 5 feet long, slung horizontally about 
half-way down, and parallel with the camel's sides. 
These cots have short legs, and at the halt may be 
used as bedsteads; the two are connected by loose 
ropes, attached to the inner long sides of the frame- 


work, and these are thrown over the cameFs pack-* 
saddle. Thick twigs inserted in the ends and the outer 
long sides of the framework, are bent over the top, 
bower-fashion, to support matting, carpets, and any 
other protection against the sun. There is an opening 
in this kind of wicker-work in front (towards the camel's 
head), through which you creep, and a similar one 
behind creates a draught of wind. Outside, towards 
the camel's tail, are pockets containing gullehs, or 
earthenware bottles of cooled water. Inside, attached to 
the wicker-work, hang large provision pouches, similar 
to those used in old-fashioned travelling chariots. At 
the bottom are spread the two beds. The greatest dis- 
advantage of the Shugduf is the difficulty of keeping 
balance. Two men ride in it, and their weights must 
be made to tally. Moreover, it is liable to be caught and 
torn by thorn trees, and to be blown off in a gale of wind; 
while its awkwardness causes the camel repeated falls, 
which are likely to smash it. Yet it is not necessarily 
an uncomfortable machine. Those for sale in the bazar 
are of course worthless, being made of badly seasoned 
wood. But private litters are sometimes pleasant vehi- 
cles, with turned and painted framework, silk cordage, 
and valuable carpets. The often described "Mahmal" 
is nothing but a Syrian Shugduf, royally ornamented. 
My reason for choosing a litter was that notes are 
more easily taken in it than on a dromedary's back; 
the excuse of lameness prevented it detracting from 
my manhood, and I was careful when entering any 
populous place to borrow or hire a saddled beast. 


* Our party dined early that day, for the camels had 
been sitting at the gate since noon. We had the usual 
trouble in loading them: the owners of the animals 
vociferating about the unconscionable weight, the 
owners of the goods swearing that such weight a child 
could carry, while the beasts, taking part with their 
proprietors, moaned piteously, roared, made vicious 
attempts to bite, and started up with an agility that 
threw the half-secured boxes or sacks headlong to the 
ground. About 3 p.m. all was ready; the camels 
formed into Indian file were placed standing in the 
streets. But, as usual with Oriental travellers, all the 
men dispersed about the town: we did not mount be- 
fore it was late in the afternoon. 

I must now take the liberty of presenting to the 
reader an Arab Shaykh fully equipped for travelling. 
Nothing can be more picturesque than the costume, 
and it is with regret that we see it exchanged in the 
towns and more civilised parts for any other. The 
long locks or the shaven scalps are surmounted by a 
white cotton skull-cap, over which is a Kufiyah — a 
large square kerchief of silk and cotton mixed, and 
generally of a dull red color with a bright yellow bor- 
der, from which depend crimson silk twists ending in 
little tassels that reach the wearer's waist. Doubled 
into a triangle, and bound with an A'akal or fillet of 
rope, a skein of yarn or a twist of wool, the kerchief 
fits the head close behind: it projects over the fore- 
head, shading the eyes, and giving a fierce look to the 
countenance. On certain occasions one end is brought 


round the lower part of the face, and is fastened be- 
hind the head. This veiling the features is technically 
called "Lisam:" the chiefs generally fight so, and it is 
the usual disguise when a man fears the avenger of 
blood, or a woman starts to take her "Sar."* In hot 
weather it is supposed to keep the Simum, in cold 
weather the catarrh, from the lungs. 

The body dress is simply a Kamis or cotton shirt: 
tight sleeved, opening in front, and adorned round the 
waist and collar, and down the breast, with embroidery 
like net- work, it extends from neck to foot. Some 
wear wide trousers, but the Bedawin consider such 
things effeminate, and they have not yet fallen into 
the folly of socks and stockings. Over the Kamis is 
thrown a long skirted and short-sleeved cloak of 
camel's hair, called an Aba. It is made in many 
patterns, and of all materials from pure silk to coarse 
sheep's wool; some prefer it brown, others white, 
others striped: in El Hejaz the favourite hue is white, 
embroidered with gold, tinsel, or yellow thread in two 
large triangles, capped with broad bands and other 
figures running down the shoulders and sides of the 
back. It is lined inside the shoulders and breast with 
handsome stuffs of silk and cotton mixed, and is tied 
in front by elaborate strings, and tassels or acorns of 
silk and gold. A sash confines the Kamis at the waist, 
and supports the silver-hilted Jambiyah or crooked 
dagger: the picturesque Arab sandal completes the 
costume. Finally, the Shaykh's arms are a sword and 

* Generally written "Thar," the blood-revenge. 


a matchlock slung behind his back; in his right hand 
he carries a short javelin or a light crooked stick 
about two feet and a half long, called a Mas'hab, used 
for guiding camels. 

The poorer classes of Arabs twist round their waist, 
next to the skin, a long plait of greasy leather, to sup- 
port the back, and they gird the shirt at the middle 
merely with a cord, or with a coarse sash. The dagger 
is stuck in this scarf, and a bandoleer slung over the 
shoulders carries their cartridge-case, powder-flask, flint 
and steel, priming-horn, and other necessaries. With 
the traveller, the waist is an elaborate affair. Next to 
the skin is worn the money-pouch, concealed by the 
Kamis; the latter is girt with a waist shawl, over which 
is strapped a leathern belt. This affair should al- 
ways be well garnished with a pair of long-barrelled 
and silver-mounted flint pistols, a large and a small 
dagger, and an iron ramrod with pincers inside; a 
little leathern pouch fastened to the waist-strap on the 
right side contains cartridge, wadding, and priming 
powder. The sword hangs over the shoulder by crim- 
son silk cords and huge tassels: well-dressed men 
apply the same showy ornaments to their pistols. In 
the hand may be borne a bell-mouthed blunderbuss, 
or, better still, a long single-barrel gun with an ounce 
bore. All these weapons must shine like silver, if you 
wish to be respected; for the knightly care of arms is 
here a sign of manliness. 

Pilgrims, especially those from Turkey, carry, I 
have said, a "Hamail," to denote their holy errand, 


This is a pocket Koran, in a handsome gold-em- 
broidered crimson velvet or red morocco case, slung 
by red silk cords over the left shoulder. It must hang 
down by the right side, and should never depend be- 
low the waist-belt. For this I substituted a most use- 
ful article. To all appearance a "Hamail," it had in- 
side three compartments, one for my watch and com- 
pass, the second for ready money, and the third con- 
tained penknife, pencils, and slips of paper, which I 
could hold concealed in the hollow of my hand. These 
were for writing and drawing: opportunities of making 
a "fair copy" into the diary-book, are never wanting 
to the acute traveller. He must, however, beware of 
sketching before the Bedawin, who would certainly 
proceed to extreme measures, suspecting him to be a 
spy or a sorcerer. Nothing so effectually puzzles these 
people as the Frankish habit of putting everything on 
paper; their imaginations are set at work, and then the 
worst may be expected from them. The only safe way 
of writing in presence of a Bedawi would be when 
drawing out a horoscope or preparing a charm; he 
also objects not, if you can warm his heart upon the 
subject, to seeing you take notes in a book of ge- 
nealogies. You might begin with, "And you, men of 
Harb, on what origin do you pride yourselves?" And 
while the listeners became fluent upon the, to them, 
all-interesting theme, you could put down whatever you 
please upon the margin. The towns-people are more 
liberal, and years ago the Holy Shrines have been 
drawn, surveyed, and even lithographed, by Eastern 


artists: still, if you wish to avoid all suspicion, you 
must rarely be seen with pen or with pencil in hand. 

At 6 p.m. descending the stairs of our Wakaleh, 
we found the camels standing loaded in the street and 
shifting their ground in token of impatience. My 
Shugduf, perched upon the back of a tall strong 
animal, nodded and swayed about with his every mo- 
tion, impressing me with the idea that the first step 
would throw it over the shoulders or the crupper. The 
camel-men told me I must climb up the animal's neck, 
and so creep into the vehicle. But my foot disabling 
me from such exertion, I insisted upon their bringing 
the beast to squat, which they did grumblingly. 

We took leave of Umar EfTendi's brothers and 
their dependents, who insisted upon paying us the 
compliment of accompanying us to the gate. Then 
we mounted and started, which was a signal for all 
our party to disperse once more. Some heard the 
report of a vessel having arrived from Suez, with Ma- 
hommed Shiklibha and other friends on board; these 
hurried down to the harbour for a parting word. 
Others, declaring they had forgotten some necessaries 
for the way, ran off to spend one last hour in gossip 
at the coffee-house. Then the sun set, and prayers 
must be said. 

The brief twilight had almost faded away before 
all had mounted. 

With loud cries of "Wassit, ya hu!" — go in the 
middle of the road, O He! — and "Jannib, y'al Jammal!" 
— keep to the side, O camel-man! — we threaded our 


way through long, dusty, narrow streets, flanked with 
whitewashed habitations at considerable intervals, and 
large heaps of rubbish, sometimes higher than the 
houses. We were stopped at the gate to ascertain if 
we were strangers, in which case, the guard would have 
done his best to extract a few piastres before allowing 
our luggage to pass; but he soon perceived by my 
companions' accent, that they were Sons of the Holy 
City, consequently, that the case was hopeless. While 
standing here, Shaykh Hamid vaunted the strong walls 
and turrets of Yambu', which he said were superior to 
those of Jeddah: they kept Sa'ud, the Wahhabi, at bay 
in a.d. 1802, but would scarcely, I should say, resist 
a field battery in a.d. 1853. The moon rose fair and 
clear, dazzling us with light as we emerged from the 
shadowy streets, and when we launched into the Desert 
the sweet air delightfully contrasted with the close 
offensive atmosphere of the town. My companions, as 
Arabs will do on such occasions, began to sing. 



From Yambu' to Bir Abbas. 

On the 18th July, about 7 p.m., we passed through 
the gate of Yambu', and took a due easterly course. 
Our route lay over the plain between the mountains 
of Radhwah on the left, and the sea on the right 
hand; the land was desert, that is to say, a hard level 
plain, strewed with rounded lumps of granite and 
greenstone schist, with here and there a dwarf Acacia, 
and a tuft of rank camel grass. By the light of a 
glorious moon, nearly at the full, I was able to see the 
country tolerably well. 

Our party consisted of twelve camels, and we tra- 
velled in Indian file, head tied to tail, with but one 
outrider, Umar Effendi, whose rank required him to 
mount a dromedary with showy trappings. Immediately 
in front of me was Amm Jemal, whom I had to re- 
prove for asking the boy Mohammed "Where have 
you picked up that Hindi (Indian) V 9 "Are we, the 
Afghans, the Indian-slayers, become Indians'?" I vo- 
ciferated with indignation, and brought the thing home 
to his feelings, by asking him how he, an Arab, would 
like to be called an Egyptian, a Fellah? The rest of 
the party w T as behind, sitting or dozing upon the rough 
platforms made by the lids of two huge boxes slung 
to the sides of their camels. Only one old woman, 


El Sitt Maryam (the lady Mary), returning to El Me- 
dinah, her adopted country, after a visit to a sister at 
Cairo, allowed herself the luxury of a half-dollar 
Shibriyah or cot, fastened crosswise over the animal's 
load. Moreover, all the party, except Umar Effendi, 
in token of poverty, were dressed in the coarsest and 
dirtiest of clothes, — the general suit consisting of a 
shirt torn in divers places and a bit of rag wrapped 
round the head. They carried short chibouques with- 
out mouth-pieces, and tobacco-pouches of greasy 
leather. Though the country hereabouts is perfectly 
safe, all had their arms in readiness, and the unusual 
silence that succeeded to the singing — even Sa'ad the 
Demon held his tongue — was sufficient to show how 
much they feared for their property. After a slow 
march of two hours facing the moon, we turned some- 
what towards the N. E., and began to pass over un- 
dulating ground, in which a steady rise was per- 
ceptible. We arrived at the halting-place at three in 
the morning after a short march of about eight hours, 
during which we could not have passed over more 
than sixteen miles. The camels were made to kneel; 
the boxes were taken off and piled together as a pre- 
caution against invisible robbers; my little tent, the 
only one in the party, was pitched; we then spread 
our rugs upon the ground and lay down to sleep. 

We arose at about 9 a.m. (July 19) and after con- 
gratulating one another upon being once more in the 
"dear Desert," we proceeded in exhilarated mood to 
light the fire for pipes and breakfast. The meal — a, 


biscuit, a little rice, and a cup of milkless tea — was 
soon despatched, after which I proceeded to inspect 
our position. 

About a mile to the westward lay the little village 
of Musahhal, a group of miserable mud hovels. On 
the south was a strip of bright blue sea, and all 
around, an iron plain producing naught but stones 
and grasshoppers, and bounded northward by a grisly 
wall of blackish rock. Here and there a shrub fit only 
for fuel, or a tuft of coarse grass, crisp with heat, met 
the eye. All was. sun-parched; the furious heat from 
above was drying up the sap and juice of the land, 
as the simmering and quivering atmosphere showed; 
moreover the heavy dews of these regions, forming in 
large drops upon the plants and stones, concentrate 
the morning rays upon them like a system of burning- 
glasses. After making these few observations I fol- 
lowed the example of my companions, and returned 
to sleep. 

At 2 p.m. we were roused to a dinner as simple as 
the breakfast had been. Boiled rice with an abundance 
of the clarified butter, in which Easterns delight, some 
fragments of Kahk, or soft biscuit, and stale bread 
and a handful of stoned and pressed date-paste, called 
Ajwah, formed the menu. Our potations began before 
dinner with a vile-tasted but wholesome drink called 
Akit, dried sour milk dissolved in water; during the meal 
we drank the leather-flavoured element, and ended 
with a large cupful of scalding tea. Enormous quan- 
tities of liquid were consumed, for the sun seemed to 



have got into our throats, and the perspiration trickled 
as after a shower of rain. Whilst we were eating, a 
Bedawi woman passed close by the tent, leading a 
flock of sheep and goats, seeing which I expressed a 
desire to drink milk. My companions sent by one of 
the camel-men a bit of bread, and asked in exchange 
for a cupful of "laban." Thus I learned that the 
Arabs, even in this corrupt region, still adhere to the 
meaningless custom of their ancestors, who chose to 
make the term "Labban" (milk-seller) an opprobrium 
and a disgrace. Possibly the origin of the prejudice 
might be the recognising of a traveller's guest-right to 
call for milk gratis. However this may be, no one 
will in the present day sell this article of consumption, 
even at civilised Mecca, except Egyptians, a people 
supposed to be utterly without honor. As a general 
rule in the Hejaz, milk abounds in the spring, but at 
all other times of the year it is difficult to be procured. 
The Bedawi woman managed, however, to send me 
back a cupful. 

At 3 p.m. we were ready to start, and all saw, with 
unspeakable gratification, a huge black nimbus rise 
from the shoulder of Mount Radhwah, and range itself, 
like a good Genius, between us and our terrible foe, 
the sun. We hoped that it contained rain, but pre- 
sently a blast of hot wind, like the breath of a vol- 
cano, blew over the plain, and the air was filled with 
particles of sand. This is the "dry storm" of Arabia; 
it appears to depend upon some electrical phenomena 
which it would be desirable to investigate. 


When we had loaded and mounted, my camel- 
men, two in number, came up to the Shugduf and 
demanded "Bakhshish," which, it appears, they are 
now in the habit of doing each time the traveller 
starts. I was at first surprised to find the word here, 
but after a few days of Bedawi society, my wonder 
diminished. The men were Beni-Harb of the great 
Hejazi tribe, which has kept its blood pure for the 
last thirteen centuries — how much more we know not, 
— but they had been corrupted by intercourse with 
pilgrims, retaining none of their ancestral qualities but 
greed of gain, revengefulness, pugnacity, and a frantic 
kind of bravery, displayed on rare occasions. Their 
nobility, however, did not prevent my quoting the 
Prophet's saying, "Of a truth, the worst names among 
the Arabs are the Beni-Kalb (Dog-Sons), and the 
Beni-Harb ( Fight-Sons) "; whilst I taunted them se- 
verely with their resemblance to the Fellahs of Egypt. 
They would have resented this with asperity, had it 
proceeded from their own people, but the Turkish 
pilgrim — the character in which they knew me, despite 
my Arab dress — is a privileged person. 

The outer man of these Fight- Sons was con- 
temptible; small chocolate-colored beings, stunted and 
thin, with mops of coarse bushy hair burned brown by 
the sun, straggling beards, vicious eyes, frowning brows, 
screaming voices, and well-made, but attenuated, limbs. 
On their heads were Kufiyahs (kerchiefs) in the last 
stage of wear; a tattered shirt, indigo-dyed, and girt 
with a bit of common rope, composed their clothing; 


and their feet were protected from the stones by soles 
of thick leather, kept in place by narrow thongs tied 
to the ankle. Both were armed, one with a match- 
lock, and a Shintiyan or common sword-blade in a 
leathern scabbard, slung over the shoulder, the other 
with a Nebut, and both showed at the waist the Arab's 
invariable companion, the dagger. 

These ragged fellows, however, had their pride. 
They would eat with me, and not disdain, like certain 
self-styled Caballeros, to ask for more; but of work 
they would do none. No promise of "Bakhshish," 
potent as the spell of that word is, would induce them 
to assist in pitching my tent: they even expected 
Shaykh Nur to cook for them, and I had almost to 
use violence, for even the just excuse of a sore foot 
was insufficient to procure the privilege of mounting 
my Shugduf while the camel was sitting. It was, they 
said, the custom of the country from time immemorial 
to use a ladder when legs would not act. I agreed 
with them, but objected that I had no ladder. At 
last, wearied with their thick-headedness, I snatched 
the nose-string of the camel, and by main force made 
it kneel. 

Our party was now strong enough. We had about 
200 beasts carrying grain, attended by their proprietors, ^ 

truculent looking as the contrabandistas of the Pyrenees. 
The escort was composed of seven Irregular Turkish 
cavalry, tolerably mounted, and supplied each with an 
armoury in epitome. They were privily derided by 
our party, who, being Arabs, had a sneaking fondness 

Mecca and Medina. I. 1 6 


for the Bedawin, however loth they might be to see 
them amongst the boxes. 

For three hours we travelled in a south-easterly 
direction upon a hard plain and a sandy flat, on which 
several waters from the highlands find a passage to 
the sea westward. Gradually we were siding towards 
the mountains, and at sunset I observed that we had 
sensibly neared them. We dismounted for a short 
halt, and, strangers being present, my companions be- 
fore sitting down to smoke said their prayers — a pious 
exercise in which they did not engage for three days 
afterwards, when they met certain acquaintances at 
El Hamra. 

As evening came on, we emerged from a scrub of 
Acacia and tamarisk and turned due east, traversing 
an open country with a perceptible rise. Scarcely was 
it dark before the cry of "Harami" (thieves) rose loud 
in the rear, causing such confusion as one may see in 
a boat in the Bay of Naples when suddenly neared 
by a water-spout. All the camel-men brandished their 
huge staves, and rushed back vociferating in the direc- 
tion of the robbers. They were followed by the horse- 
men, and truly, had the thieves possessed the usual 
acuteness of the profession, they might have driven 
off the camels in our van with safety and convenience. 
But these contemptible beings were only half a dozen 
in number, and they had lighted their matchlocks, 
which drew a bullet or two in their direction; where- 
upon they ran away. 

This incident aroused no inconsiderable excitement, 


for it seemed ominous of worse things about to happen 
to us when entangled in the hills, and the faces of 
my companions, perfect barometers of fair and foul 
tidings, fell to zero. For nine hours' we journeyed 
through a brilliant moonlight, and as the first grey 
streak appeared in the Eastern sky we entered a scanty 
"Misyal," or Fiumara, strewed with pebbles and 
rounded stones, about half a mile in breadth, and 
flanked by almost perpendicular hills of primitive for- 
mation. I began by asking the names of peaks and 
other remarkable spots, when I found that a folio 
volume would not contain a three months' collection: 
every hill and dale, flat, valley, and water-course here 
has its proper name or rather names. The ingenuity 
shown by the Bedawin in distinguishing between lo- 
calities the most similar, is the result of a high orga- 
nisation of the perceptive faculties, perfected by the 
practice of observing a recurrence of landscape features 
few in number and varying but little amongst them- 
selves. After travelling two hours up this torrent bed, 
winding in an easterly direction, and crossing some 
"Harreh," or ridges of rock, "Ri'a," steep descents, 
"Kita'ah," patches of stony flat and bits of Sahil, dwarf 
plains, we found ourselves about 8 a.m., after a march 
of about thirty-four miles, at Bir Sa'id (Sa'id's well), 
our destination. 

I had been led to expect at the "well" a pastoral 
scene, wild flowers, flocks and flowing waters; so I 
looked with a jaundiced eye upon a deep hole full of 

slightly brackish water dug in a tamped hollow — a 



kind of punch-bowl with granite walls, upon whose 
grim surface a few thorns of exceeding hardihood 
braved the heat for a season. Not a house was in 
sight — it was as barren and desolate a spot as the sun 
ever "viewed in his wide career." But this is what 
the Arabian traveller must expect. He is to traverse, 
for instance, a Vale of Flowers. He indulges in sweet 
recollections of Indian lakes beautiful with the lotus, 
and Persian plains upon which Narcissus is the meanest 
of grasses. He sees a plain like swish- work, where 
knobs of granite act daisies, and where at every fifty 
yards some hapless bud or blossom is dying of inani- 
tion among the stones. 

The sun scorched our feet as we planted the tent, 
and, after drinking our breakfast, we passed the usual 
day of perspiration and semi-lethargy. In discomfort 
man naturally hails a change, even though it be one 
from bad to worse. When our enemy began slanting 
towards the west, we felt ready enough to proceed on 
our journey. The camels were laden shortly after 
3 p.m. (July 20), and we started with water jars in our 
hands through a storm of Simum. 

We travelled five hours in a north-easterly course 
up a diagonal valley, through a country fantastic in its 
desolation — a mass of huge hills, barren plains, and 
desert vales. Even the sturdy Acacias here failed, 
and in some places the camel grass could not find 
earth enough for its root. The road wound among 
mountains, rocks and hills of granite, and over broken 
ground, flanked by huge blocks and boulders, piled 


up as if man's art had aided Nature to disfigure her- 
self. Vast clefts seamed like scars the hideous face 
of earth; here they widened into dark chasms, there they 
were choked with glistening drift sand. Not a bird 
nor a beast was to be seen or heard; their presence 
would have argued the vicinity of water, and though 
my companions opined that Bedawin were lurking 
among the rocks, I decided that these Bedawin were 
the creatures of their fears. Above, a sky like polished 
blue steel with a tremendous blaze of yellow light 
glared upon us without the thinnest veil of mist cloud. 
Below, the brass-coloured circle scorched the face and 
dazzled the eyes, mocking them the while with offers of 
water that was but air. The distant prospect appeared 
more attractive than the nearer view, because it borrowed 
a bright azure tinge from the intervening atmosphere; 
but the jagged peaks and the perpendicular streaks of 
shadow down the flanks of the mountainous back- 
ground showed that yet in store for us was no change 
for the better. 

Between 10 and 1 1 p.m., we reached human habita- 
tions — a phenomenon unseen since we left Musahhal 
— in the shape of a long straggling village. It is called 
El Hamra, from the redness of the sands near which 
it is built, or El Wasitah, the "half-way," because it is 
the middle station between Yambii' and El Medinah. 
It is therefore considerably out of place in Burckhardt's 
map, and those who copy from him make it much 
nearer the sea-port than it really is. We wandered 
nearly an hour in search of an encamping place, for 


the surly villagers ordered us off every flatter bit of 
ground, without, however, deigning to show us where 
the jaded beasts might rest. At last, after long 
wrangling, we found the usual spot; the camels were 
unloaded, the boxes and baggage were disposed in a 
circle for greater security against the petty pilferers in 
which this part of the road abounds, and my com- 
panions spread their rugs so as to sleep upon their 
valuables. I was invited to follow the general example, 
but I absolutely declined the vicinity of so many 
steaming and snoring fellow-travellers. Some wonder 
was excited by the Afghan Haji's obstinacy and reck- 
lessness; but resistance to these people is sometimes 
bien place, and a man from Cabool is allowed to say 
and to do strange things. In answer to their warnings 
of nightly peril I placed a drawn sword by my side 
and a cocked pistol under my pillow, the saddle-bag; 
a carpet spread upon the cool loose sand, formed by 
no means an uncomfortable couch, and upon it I en- 
joyed a sound sleep till day-break. 

Rising at dawn (July 21), I proceeded to visit the 
village. It is built upon a narrow shelf at the top of 
a precipitous hill to the North, and on the South runs 
a sandy Fiumara about half a mile broad. On all 
sides are rocks and mountains rough and stony; so 
you find yourself in another of those punch-bowls 
which the Arabs seem to consider choice sites for 
settlements. The Fiumara, hereabouts very winding, 
threads the high grounds all the way down from the 
plateau of El Medinah: during the rainy season it 


becomes a raging torrent, carrying westwards to the 
Red Sea the drainage of a hundred hills. Water of 
good quality is readily found in it by digging a few 
feet below the surface at the angles where the stream 
forms the deepest hollows, and in some places the 
stony sides give out bubbling springs. 

El Hamra itself is a collection of stunted houses 
or rather hovels, made of unbaked brick and mud, 
roofed over with palm leaves, and pierced with air- 
holes, which occasionally boast a bit of plank for a 
shutter. It appears thickly populated in the parts 
where the walls are standing, but, like all settlements 
in the Holy Land El Hejaz, it abounds in ruins. It 
is well supplied with provisions, which are here cheaper 
than at El Medinah, — a circumstance that induced 
Sa'ad the Demon to overload his hapless camel with 
a sack of wheat. In the village are a few shops where 
grain, huge plantains, ready-made bread, rice, clarified 
butter, and other edibles are to be purchased. Palm 
orchards of considerable extent supply it with dates. 
The bazar is, like the generality of such places in the 
villages of Eastern Arabia, a long lane, here covered 
with matting, there open to the sun, and the narrow 
streets — if they may be so called — are full of dust 
and glare. 

Near the encamping ground of caravans is a fort 
for the officer commanding a troop of Albanian cavalry, 
whose duty it is to defend the village, to hold the 
country, and to escort merchant travellers. The build- 
ing consists of an outer wall of hewn stone, loopholed 


for musketry, and surmounted by "Shararif," — "rem- 
parts coquets," — about as useful against artillery as the 
sugar gallery round a Twelfth- cake. Nothing would 
be easier than to take the place: a false attack would 
draw off the attention of the defenders, who in these 
latitudes know nothing of sentry-duty, whilst scaling- 
ladders or a bag full of powder would command a 
ready entrance into the other side. Around the El 
Hamra fort are clusters of palm-leaf huts, where the 
soldiery lounge and smoke, and near it is the usual 
coffee-house, a shed kept by an Albanian. These 
places are frequented probably on account of the in- 
tense heat inside the fort. 

We passed a comfortless day at the "Red Village." 
Large flocks of sheep and goats were being driven in 
and out of the place, but their surly shepherds would 
give no milk, even in exchange for bread and meat. 
The morning was spent in watching certain Bedawin, 
who, matchlock in hand, had climbed the hills in 
pursuit of a troop of cranes: not one bird was hit of 
the many fired at — a circumstance which did not say 
much for their vaunted marksmanship. Before break- 
fast I bought a moderately sized sheep for a dollar. 
Shaykh Harnid butchered it, according to rule, and my 
companions soon prepared a feast of boiled mutton. 
But that sheep proved a "bone of contention." The 
boy Mohammed had, in a fit of economy, sold its 
head to a Bedawi for three piastres, and the others, 
disappointed in their anticipations of "haggis," lost 
temper. With the Demon's voluble tongue and im- 


pudent countenance in the van, they opened such a 
volley of raillery and sarcasm upon the young "tripe- 
seller," that he in his turn became excited — furious. 
I had some difficulty to keep the peace, for it did not 
suit my interests that they should quarrel. But to do 
the Arabs justice, nothing is easier for a man who 
knows them than to work upon their good feelings. 
"He is a stranger in your country — a guest!" acted as 
a charm; they listened patiently to Mohammed's gross 
abuse, only promising to answer him when in his land, 
that is to say, near Meccah. But what especially soured 
our day was the report that Sa'ad, the great robber- 
chief, and his brother were in the field; consequently 
that our march would be delayed for some time: every 
half-hour some fresh tattle from the camp or the coffee- 
house added fuel to the fire of our impatience. 

A few particulars about this Schinderhans of El 
Hejaz may not be unacceptable. He is the chief of 
the Sumaydah and the Mahamid, two influential sub- 
families of the Hamidah, the principal family of the 
Beni-Harb tribe of Bedawin. He therefore aspired to 
rule all the Hamidah, and through them the Beni- 
Harb, in which case he would have been, de facto, 
monarch of the Holy Land. But the Sherif of Meccah, 
and Ahmed Pasha, the Turkish governor of the chief 
city, for some political reason degraded him, and 
raised up a rival in the person of Shaykh Fahd, an- 
other ruffian of a similar stamp, who calls himself 
chief of the Beni-Amr, the third sub-family of the 
Hamidah family. Hence all kinds of confusion. 


Sa'ad's people, who number it is said 5000, resent, 
with Arab asperity, the insult offered to their chief, 
and beat Fahd's, who do not amount to 800. Fahd, 
supported by the government, cuts off Sa'ad's supplies. 
Both are equally wild and reckless, and — nowhere 
doth the glorious goddess, Liberty, show a more brazen 
face than in this Eastern 

" Inviolate land of the brave and the free ; " — 

both seize the opportunity of shooting troopers, of 
plundering travellers, and of closing the roads. 

This state of things continued till I left the Hejaz, 
w T hen the Sherif of Meccah proposed, it was said, to 
take the field in person against the arch-robber. And, 
as will afterwards be seen in these pages, Sa'ad had 
the audacity to turn back the Sultan's Mahmal or litter 
— the ensign of Imperial power — and to shut the road 
against its cortege, because the Pashas of El Medinah 
and of the Damascus caravan would not guarantee his 
restitution to his former dignity. 

That such vermin is allowed to exist proves the 
imbecility of the Turkish government. The Sultan 
pays pensions in corn and cloth to the very chiefs 
who arm their varlets against him, and the Pashas, 
aftes purloining all they can, hand over to their 
enemies the means of resistance. It is more than 
probable, that Abdul Mejid has never heard a word of 
truth concerning El Hejaz, and that fulsome courtiers 
persuade him that men there tremble at his name. 
His government, however, is desirous, if report speaks 
truth, of thrusting El Hejaz upon the Egyptian, who 


on his side would willingly pay a large sum to avert 
such calamity. The Holy Land drains off Turkish 
gold and blood in abundance, and the lords of the 
country hold in it a contemptible position. If they 
catch a thief, they dare not hang him. They must pay 
black mail, and yet be shot at in every pass. They 
affect superiority over the Arabs, hate them, and are 
despised by them. 

Such in El Hejaz are the effects of the charter of 
Gulkhaneh, a panacea like Hollo way's pills for all the 
evils to which Turkish, Arab, Syrian, Greek, Egyptian, 
Persian, Armenian, Kurd, and Albanian flesh is heir 
to. Such the results of the Tanzimat, the silliest copy 
of Europe's folly — bureaucracy and centralisation — 
that the pen of empirical statecraft ever traced.* Under 
a strong-handed and strong-hearted despotism, like 
Mohammed AH's, El Hejaz, in one generation, might 
be purged of its pests. By a proper use of the blood 
feud; by vigorously supporting the weaker against the 
stronger classes; by regularly defeating every Bedawi 
who earns a name for himself, and, above all, by the 
exercise of unsparing, unflinching, justice, the few 
thousands of half naked bandits, who now make the 
land a fighting field, would soon sink into utter in- 

But to effect such end, the Turks require the old 

* The greatest of all its errors was that of appointing to the provinces , in- 
stead of the single Pasha of the olden time , three different governors , civil, 
military, and fiscal, all depending upon the supreme council at Constantinople. 
Thus, each province has three plunderers instead of one, and its affairs are re- 
ferred to a body that can take no interest in it. 


stratocracy, which, bloody as it was, worked with far 
less misery than the charter and the new code. What 
Milton calls 

"The solid rule of civil government" 

has done wonders for the race that nurtured and 
brought to perfection an idea spontaneous to their 
organisation. The world has yet to learn that the ad- 
mirable exotic will thrive amongst the country gentle- 
men of Monomotapa or the ragged nobility of El 

Sa'ad, the Old Man of the Mountains, was de- 
scribed to me as a little brown Bedawi, contemptible 
in appearance, but remarkable for courage and ready 
wit. He has for treachery a keen scent which he re- 
quires to keep in exercise. A blood feud with Abdel 
Muttalib, the present Sherif of Meccah, who slew his 
nephew, and the hostility of several Sultans has rendered 
his life eventful. He lost all his teeth by poison, 
which would have killed him, had he not, after swal- 
lowing the potion, corrected it by drinking off a large 
pot-full of clarified butter. Since that time he has 
lived entirely upon fruits, which he gathers for him- 
self, and coffee which he prepares with his own hands. 
In Sultan Mahmud's time he received from Constan- 
tinople a gorgeous purse, which he was told to open, 
as it contained something for his private inspection. 
Suspecting treachery, he gave it for this purpose to a 
slave, bidding him carry it to some distance; the 

* These remarks were written in 1853 : I see no reason to change them in 



bearer was shot by a pistol cunningly fixed, like Rob 
Roy's, in the folds of the bag. 

Whether this far-known story be "true or only well 
found," it is certain that Shaykh Sa'ad now fears the 
Turks, even when they bring gifts. The Sultan sends, 
or is supposed to send him presents of fine horses, 
robes of honor, and a large quantity of grain. But 
the Shaykh, trusting to his hills rather than to steeds, 
sells them; he gives away the dresses to his slaves, 
and he distributes the grain among his clansmen. Of 
his character men as usual tell two tales: some praise 
his charity, and call him the friend of the poor, as 
certainly as he is a foe to the rich. Others on the 
contrary describe him as cruel, cold-blooded, and 
notably, even among Arabs, revengeful and avaricious. 
The truth probably lies between these two extremes, 
but I observed that those of my companions who spoke 
most highly of the robber chief when at a distance 
seemed to be in the sudori freddi whilst under the 
shadow of his hills. 

El Hamra is the third station from El Medinah in 
the Darb Sultani — the Sultan's or High Road, — the 
westerly line leading to Meccah along the sea coast. 
When the robbers permit, the pilgrims prefer this route 
on account of its superior climate, the facility of pro- 
curing water and supplies, the vicinity of the sea, and 
the circumstance of its passing through "Bedr," the 
scene of the Prophet's greatest military exploit. 

After mid-day on the 21st July, when we had made 
up our minds that Fate had determined we should halt 


at El Hamra, a caravan arrived from Mecca, and the 
new travellers had interest to procure an escort, and 
permission to proceed without delay towards El Me- 
dinah. The good news filled us with joy. A little 
after 4 p.m. we urged our panting camels over the fiery 
sands to join the Meccans, who were standing ready 
for the march, on the other side of the torrent bed, and 
an hour afterwards, we started in an easterly direction. 
My companions having found friends and relations 
in the Meccan caravan, — the boy Mohammed's elder 
brother, about whom more anon, was of the number; 
— were full of news and excitement. At sunset they 
prayed with unction: even Sa'ad and Hamid had not 
the face to sit their camels during the halt, when all 
around were washing, sanding themselves,* and busy 
with their devotions. We then ate our suppers, re- 
mounted, and started once more. Shortly after night 
set in, we came to a sudden halt. A dozen different 
reports rose to account for this circumstance; it 
was occasioned by a band of Bedawin, who had 
manned a gorge, and sent forward a "parliamentary" 
ordering us forthwith to stop. They at first demanded 
money to let us pass; but at last, hearing that we were 
Sons of the Holy Cities, they granted us transit on 
the sole condition that the military — whom they, like 
Irish peasants, hate and fear — should return to whence 
they came. Upon this, our escort, 200 men, wheeled 

* When water cannot be obtained for ablution before prayers, Moslems clap 
the palms of their hands upon the sands , and draw them down the face and 
both fore-arms. This operation, which is performed once or twice — it varies in 
different schools— is called Tayammum. 


their horses round and galloped back to their bar- 

We moved onwards, without, however, seeing any 
robbers; my camel-man pointed out their haunts, and 
showed me a small bird hovering over a place where 
he supposed water trickled from the rock. The fellow 
had attempted a sneer at my expense when the fray 
was impending. "Why don't you load your pistols, 
Effendi," he cried, "and get out of your litter, and 
show fight?" " Because," I replied as loudly, "in my 
country, when dogs run at us, we thrash them with 
sticks." This stopped Mansur's mouth for a time, but 
he and I were never friends. Like the lowest orders of 
Orientals he required to be ill-treated; gentleness and 
condescension he seemed to consider proofs of cow- 
ardice or of imbecility. I began with kindness, but 
was soon compelled to use hard words at first, and 
then threats, which, though he heard them with frowns 
and mutterings, produced manifest symptoms of im- 

"Oignez vilain, il vous poindra ! 
Poignez vilain, il vous oindra!" 

says the old French proverb, and the lesson is more 
valuable in the East even than in the West. 

Our night's journey had no other incident. We 
travelled over rising ground with the moon full in our 
faces, and about midnight we passed through another 
long straggling line of villages, called Jadaydah,* or 

* I write this word as my companions pronounced it. Eurckhardt- similarly 
gives it "Djedeyde," and Ali Bey "Djideida." Giovanni Finati wrongly calls 


El Khayf. The principal part of it lies on the left of 
the road going to El Medinah; it has a fort like that 
of El Hamra, springs of tolerable drinking water, a 
Nakhil or date ground, and a celebrated (dead) saint, 
Abd el Rahim el Burai. A little beyond it lies the 
Bughaz, or defile, where in a.d. 181 1 Tussun Bey and 
his 8000 Turks were totally defeated by 25,000 Harbi 
Bedawin and Wahhabis. This is a famous attacking 
point of the Beni-Harb. In former times both Jezzar 
Pasha, the celebrated "butcher" of Syria, and Abdullah 
Pasha of Damascus, were baffled at the gorge of Ja- 
daydah; and this year the commander of the Syrian 
caravan, afraid of risking an attack at a place so ill- 
omened, avoided it by marching upon Meccah by the 
desert road of Nejd. At 4 a.m., having travelled about 
twenty-four miles due east, we encamped at Bir Abbas. 

the place "Jedeed Bughaz," which Mr. Bankes , his editor, rightly translates 
the "new opening or pass." 



From Bir Abbas to El Medinah. 

The 22 nd of July was a grand trial of temper to 
our little party. The position of Bir Abbas exactly 
resembles that of El Hamra, except that the bulge of 
the hill-girt Fiumara is at this place about two miles 
wide. There are the usual stone forts and palm-leaved 
hovels for the troopers, stationed here to hold the 
place and to escort travellers, with a coffee-shed, and 
a hut or two, called a bazar, but no village. Our en- 
camping ground was a bed of loose sand, with which 
the violent Simum filled the air: not a tree nor a bush 
was in sight; a species of hardy locust and swarms of 
flies were the only remnants of animal life: the scene 
was a caricature of Sind. Although we were now some 
hundred feet, to judge by the water-shed, above the 
level of the sea, the mid-day sun scorched even through 
the tent; our frail tenement was more than once blown 
down, and the heat of the sand made the work of re- 
pitching it painful. 

Again my companions, after breakfasting, hurried 
to the coffee-house, and returned one after the other 
with dispiriting reports. Then they either quarrelled 
desperately about nothing, or they threw themselves 
on their rugs, pretending to sleep in very sulkiness. 
The lady Mary am soundly rated her surly son, for 

Mecca and Medina. I. 1 7 


refusing to fill her chibouque for the twelfth time that 
morning, with the usual religious phrases, "Ali direct 
thee into the right way, O my son!" — meaning that 
he was going to the bad, — and "O my calamity, thy 
mother is a lone woman, O Allah!" — equivalent to 
the European parental plaint about grey hairs being 
brought down in sorrow to the grave. 

Before noon a small Caravan which followed us 
came in with two dead bodies — a trooper shot by the 
Bedawin, and an Albanian killed by sun-stroke, or the 
fiery wind. Shortly after mid- day a Caravan, travelling 
in an opposite direction, passed by us; it was com- 
posed chiefly of Indian pilgrims, habited in correct 
costume, and hurrying towards Meccah in hot haste. 
They had been allowed to pass unmolested, because 
probably a pound sterling could not have been col- 
lected from a hundred pockets, and Sa'ad the Robber 
sometimes does a cheap good deed. But our party 
having valuables with them did not seem to gather 
heart from this event. 

In the evening we all went out to see some Arab 
Shaykhs who were travelling to Bir Abbas in order to 
receive their salaries. Without such douceurs, it is 
popularly said and believed, no stone walls could 
enable a Turk to hold El Hejaz against the hill-men. 
Such was our system in Afghanistan — most unwise, 
teaching in limine the subject to despise rulers subject 
to black-mail. Besides which these highly paid Shaykhs 
do no good. When a fight takes place or a road is 
shut, they profess inability to restrain their clansmen, 


and the richer they are, of course the more formidable 
they become. 

The party looked well; they were Harb, dignified 
old men in the picturesque Arab costume, with erect 
forms, fierce thin features, and white beards, well 
armed, and mounted upon high-bred and handsomely 
equipped dromedaries from El Shark, the Eastern 
Region. Preceded by their half-naked clansmen, car- 
rying spears twelve or thirteen feet long, garnished 
with single or double tufts of black ostrich feathers, 
and ponderous matchlocks, which were discharged on 
approaching the fort, they were not without a kind of 
barbaric pomp. 

Immediately after the reception of these Shaykhs, 
there was a parade of the Arnaut Irregular Horse. 
About 500 of them rode out to the sound of a Nakus 
or little kettle-drum, whose puny notes strikingly con- 
trasted with this really martial sight. The men, it is 
true, were mounted on lean Arab and Egyptian nags, 
ragged-looking as their clothes, and each trooper was 
armed in his own way, though all had swords, pistols, 
and matchlocks, or firelocks of some kind. But they 
rode hard as Galway buckeens, and there was a gallant 
reckless look about the fellows which prepossessed me 
strongly in their favour. Their animals, too, though 
notable "screws," were well trained, and their accoutre- 
ments were intended for use, not show. 

I watched their manoeuvres with curiosity. They 

left their cantonments one by one, and, at the sound 

of the tom-tom, by degrees formed a "plump" or 



"herse" — column it could not be called — all huddled 
together in confusion. Presently the little kettle-drum 
changed its note and the parade its aspect. All the 
serried body dispersed as Light Infantry would, now 
continuing their advance, then hanging back, then 
making a rush, and all the time keeping up a hot fire 
upon the enemy. At another signal they suddenly put 
their horses to full speed, and, closing upon the centre, 
again advanced in a dense mass. After three quarters 
of an hour parading, sometimes charging singly, often 
in bodies, to the right, to the left, and straight in 
front, halting when requisite, and occasionally retreat- 
ing, Parthian-like, the Arnauts turned en masse towards 
their lines. As they neared them all broke off and 
galloped in, ventre a terre, discharging their shotted 
guns with much recklessness against objects assumed 
to denote the enemy. But ball cartridge seemed to be 
plentiful hereabouts; during the whole of this and the 
next day, I remarked that bullets, notched for noise, 
were fired away in mere fun. 

Barbarous as these movements may appear to the 
Cavalry Martinet of the "good old school ," yet to 
something of the kind will the tactics of that arm, I 
humbly opine, return, when the perfect use of the 
rifle, the revolver, and field artillery shall have made 
the present necessarily slow system fatal. Also, if we 
adopt the common-sense opinion of a modern writer 
— the late Captain Nolan — and determine that "in- 
dividual prowess, skill in single combats, good horse- 
manship, and sharp swords render cavalry formidable," 


these semi-barbarians are wiser in their generation 
than the civilised, who never practise arms (properly 
so called), whose riding-drill never made a good rider, 
whose horses are over-weighted, and whose swords are 
worthless. They have yet another point of superiority 
over us — they cultivate the individuality of the soldier, 
whilst we strive to make him a mere automaton. In 
the days of European chivalry, battles were a system 
of well fought duels. This was succeeded by the age 
of discipline , when , to use the language of Rabelais, 
"men seemed rather a consort of organ-pipes, or mutual 
concord of the wheels of a clock, than an infantry and 
cavalry, or army of soldiers." Our aim should now 
be to combine the merits of both systems; to make 
men individually excellent in the use of weapons, and 
still train them to act naturally and habitually in con- 
cert. The French have given a model to Europe in 
the Chasseurs de Vincennes — a body capable of most 
perfect combination, yet never more truly soldier-like 
than when each man is fighting alone. We, I suppose, 
shall imitate them at some future time. 

A distant dropping of fire-arms ushered in the 
evening of our first melancholy day at Bir Abbas. 
This, said my companions, was a sign that the troops 
and the hill-men were fighting. They communicated 
the intelligence, as if it ought to be an effectual check 
upon my impatience to proceed; it acted, however, in 
the contrary way. I supposed that the Bedawin, after 
battling out the night, would be less warlike the next 
day; the others, however, by no means agreed in 


opinion with me. At Yambu' the whole party had 
boasted loudly that the people of El Medinah could 
keep their Bedawin in order, and had twitted the boy 
Mohammed with their superiority in this respect to his 
townsmen, the Meccans. But now that a trial was im- 
pending I saw none of the fearlessness so conspicuous 
when peril was only possible. The change was 
charitably to be explained by the presence of their 
valuables; the " Sahharehs ," like conscience, making 
cowards of them all. But the young Meccan, who, 
having sent on his box by sea from Yambu' to Jeddah, 
felt merry, like the empty traveller, would not lose the 
opportunity to pay off old scores. He taunted the 
Medinites till they stamped and raved with fury. At 
last, fearing some violence, and feeling answerable to 
his family for the boy's safety, I seized him by the 
nape of his neck and the upper posterior portion of 
his nether garments, and drove him before me into 
the tent. 

When the hubbub had subsided and all sat after 
supper smoking the pipe of peace in the cool night 
air, I rejoined my companions, and found them talking, 
as usual, about old Shaykh Sa'ad. The scene was ap- 
propriate for the subject. In the distance rose the 
blue peak said to be his eyrie, and the place was 
pointed out with fearful meaning. As it is inaccessible 
to strangers, report has converted it into another garden 
of Irem. A glance, however, at its position and for- 
mation satisfied me that the bubbling springs, the deep 
forests, and the orchards of apple trees, quinces and 


pomegranates, with which my companions furnished it, 
were a "myth," whilst some experience in Arab 
ignorance of Vauban suggested to me strong doubts 
about the existence of an impregnable fortress on 
the hill-top. The mountains, however, looked beau- 
tiful in the moonlight, and distance gave them a sem- 
blance of mystery well suited to the grisly themes 
which they inspired. 

That night I slept within my Shugduf, for it would 
have been mere madness to lie on the open plain in 
a place so infested by banditti. The being armed is 
but a poor precaution near this robbers' den. If you 
wound a man in the very act of plundering, an 
exorbitant sum must be paid for blood-money. If you 
kill him, even to save your life, then adieu to any 
chance of escaping destruction. Roused three or four 
times during the night by jackals and dogs prowling 
about our little camp, I observed that my companions, 
who had agreed amongst themselves to keep watch by 
turns, had all fallen into a sound sleep. However, 
when we awoke in the morning, the usual inspection of 
goods and chattels showed that nothing was missing. 

The next day (July 2$) was a forced halt, a sore 
stimulant to the traveller's ill-humour; and the sun, 
the sand, the dust, the furious Simum, and the want 
of certain small supplies, aggravated our grievance. 
My sore foot had been inflamed by a dressing of 
onion skin which the lady Maryam had insisted upon 
applying to it. Still, being resolved to push forward 
by any conveyance that could be procured, I offered 


ten dollars for a fresh dromedary to take me on to 
El Medinah. Shaykh Hamid also declared he would 
leave his box in charge of a friend and accompany 
me. Sa'ad the Demon flew into a passion at the idea 
of any member of the party escaping the general evil, 
and he privily threatened Mohammed to cut off the 
legs of any camel that ventured into the camp. This, 
the boy — who, like a boy of the world as he was, 
never lost an opportunity of making mischief — in- 
stantly communicated to me, and it brought on a 
furious dispute. Sa'ad was reproved and apologised 
for by the rest of the party, and presently he himself 
was pacified, principally, I believe, by the intelligence 
that no camel was to be hired at Bir Abbas. One of 
the Arnaut garrison, who had obtained leave to go to 
El Medinah, came to ask us if we could mount him, 
as otherwise he should be obliged to walk the whole 
way. With him we debated the propriety of attempting 
a passage through the hills by one of the many by- 
paths that traverse them: the project was amply dis- 
cussed, and duly rejected. 

We passed the day in the usual manner; all crowded 
together for shelter under the tent. Even Maryam 
joined us, loudly informing AH, her son, that his 
mother was no longer a woman but a man, whilst our 
party generally, cowering away from the fierce glances 
of the sun, were either eating or occasionally smoking, 
or were occupied in cooling and drinking water. 

About sunset-time came a report that we were to 
start that night. None could believe that such good 


was in store for us; before sleeping, however, we 
placed each earners pack apart, so as to be ready for 
loading at a moment's notice, and we took care to 
watch that our Bedawin did not drive their animals 
away to any distance. 

At last about n p.m., as the moon was beginning 
to peep over the eastern wall of rock, was heard the 
glad sound of the little kettle-drum calling the Albanian 
troopers to mount and march. In the shortest possible 
time all made ready, and hurriedly crossing the sandy 
flat, we found ourselves in company with three or four 
caravans, forming one large body for better defence 
against the dreaded Hawamid.* By dint of much 
manoeuvring, arms in hand — Shaykh Hamid and the 
"Demon" took the prominent parts — we, though the 
last comers, managed to secure places about the middle 
of the line. On such occasions all push forward reck- 
lessly, as an English mob in the strife of sight-seeing; 
the rear, being left unguarded, is the place of danger, 
and none seek the honor of occupying it. 

We travelled that night up the Fiumara in an 
easterly direction, and at early dawn (July 24) we found 
ourselves in an ill-famed gorge called Shu'ab el Hajj 
(the "Pilgrim's Pass"). The loudest talkers became 
silent as we neared it, and their countenances showed 
apprehension written in legible characters. Presently 
from the high precipitous cliff on our left, thin blue 
curls of smoke — somehow or other they caught every 
eye — rose in the air, and instantly afterwards rang the 

* Hawamid is the plural of Hamidah, Shaykh Sa'ad's tribe. 


sharp cracks of the hill-men's matchlocks echoed by 
the rocks on the right. My Shugduf had been broken 
by the camel falling during the night, so I called out 
to Mansur that we had better splice the frame-work 
with a bit of rope: he looked up, saw me laughing, 
and with an ejaculation of disgust disappeared. A 
number of Bedawin were to be seen swarming like 
hornets over the crests of the hills, boys as well as 
men carrying huge weapons, and climbing with the 
agility of cats. They took up comfortable places on 
the cut-throat eminence, and began firing upon us 
with perfect convenience to themselves. 

The height of the hills and the glare of the rising 
sun prevented my seeing objects very distinctly, but 
my companions pointed out to me places where the 
rock had been scarped, and where a kind of rough 
stone breastwork — the Sangah of Afghanistan — had 
been piled up as a defence, and a rest for the long 
barrel of the matchlock. It was useless to challenge the 
Bedawin to come down and fight us like men upon 
the plain; they will do this on the eastern coast of 
Arabia, but rarely, if ever, in El Hejaz. And it was 
equally unprofitable for our escort to fire upon a foe 
ensconced behind stones. Besides which, had a robber 
been killed, the whole country would have risen to a 
man; with a force of 3000 or 4000, they might have 
gained courage to overpower a caravan, and in such 
a case not a soul would have escaped. 

As it was, the Bedawin directed their fire prin- 
cipally against the Albanians. Some of these called 


for assistance to the party of Shaykhs that accom- 
panied us from Bir Abbas, but the dignified old men, 
dismounting and squatting in council round their 
pipes, came to the conclusion that, as the robbers 
would probably turn a deaf ear to their words, they 
had better spare themselves the trouble of speaking. 
We had therefore nothing to do but to blaze away as 
much powder, and to veil ourselves in as much smoke, 
as possible; the result of the affair was that we lost 
twelve men, besides camels and other beasts of bur- 
den. Though the bandits showed no symptoms of 
bravery, and confined themselves to slaughtering the 
enemy from their hill-top, my companions seemed to 
consider this questionable affair a most gallant exploit. 
After another hour's hurried ride through the Wady 
Sayyalah appeared Shuhada, to which we pushed on, 

"Like nighted swain on lonely road, 
When close behind fierce goblins tread." 

Shuhada, "The Martyrs," is so called because here 
are supposed to be buried forty -braves that fell in 
one of Mohammed's many skirmishes. Some authorities 
consider it only the cemetery of the Wady Sayyalah 
people. The once populous valley is now desert and 
barren, and one might easily pass by the consecrated 
spot without observing a few ruined walls and a 
cluster of rude Bedawi graves, each an oval of rough 
stones lying beneath the thorn trees on the left of and 
a little off the road. Another half hour took us to a 
favourite halting-place, Bir el Hindi, so called from 
some forgotten Indian who dug a well there. But 


we left it behind, wishing to put as much space as 
we could between our tents and the nests of the 

Then quitting the Fiumara, we struck northwards 
into a well-trodden road running over stony rising 
ground. The heat became sickening; here, and in the 
East generally, at no time is the sun more dangerous 
than between 8 and 9 a.m. Still we hurried on. It 
was not before 11 a.m. that we reached our destina- 
tion, a rugged plain covered with stones, coarse gravel, 
and thorn trees in abundance, and surrounded by in- 
hospitable rocks, pinnacle-shaped, of granite below, 
and in the upper parts fine limestone. The well was 
at least two miles distant, and not a hovel was in sight: 
a few Bedawi children belonging to an outcast tribe fed 
their starveling goats upon the hills. This place is 
called "Suwaykah;" it is, I was told, the site of the 
foray celebrated in the history of El Islam. Yet not for 
this reason did my comrades look lovingly upon its 
horrors: their boxes were safe, and with the eye of 
imagination they could now behold their homes. That 
night we must have travelled about twenty-two miles; 
the direction of the road was due east, and the only 
remarkable feature in the ground was its steady rise. 

We pitched the tent under a villanous Mimosa, the 
tree whose shade is compared by poetic Bedawin to 
the false friend who deserts you in your utmost need. 
I enlivened the hot dull day by a final affair with 
Sa'ad the Demon. His alacrity at Yambu' obtained 
for him the loan of a couple of dollars: he had bought 


grain at El Hamra, and now we were near El Medinah; 
still there was not a word about repayment. And 
knowing that an Oriental debtor discharges his debt 
as he pays his rent — with the greatest unwillingness 
— and that, on the other hand, an Oriental creditor 
will devote the labor of a year to recovering a six- 
pence, I resolved to act like a native of the country 
placed in my position, and by dint of sheer dunning 
and demanding pledges to recover my lawful pro- 
perty. About noon Sa'ad the Demon, after a furious 
rush, bare-headed, through the burning sun, flung the 
two dollars down upon my carpet: however, he presently 
recovered temper, and, as subsequent events showed, I 
had chosen the right part. Had he not been forced 
to repay his debt, he would have despised me for a 
" freshman ," and would have coveted more. As it 
was, the boy Mohammed bore the brunt of unpopular 
feeling, my want of liberality being traced to his secret 
and perfidious admonitions. He supported his burden 
the more philosophically, because, as he notably cal- 
culated, every dollar saved at El Medinah would be 
spent under his stewardship at Meccah. 

At 4 p.m. (July 24) we left Suwaykah, all of us in 
the worst of bad humours, and travelled in a N.E. direc- 
tion. So "out of temper" were my companions, that 
at sunset, ®f the whole party, Umar Effendi was the 
only one who would eat supper. The rest sat upon 
the ground, pouting, grumbling, and — they had been 
allowed to exhaust my stock of Latakia — smoking 
Syrian tobacco as if it were a grievance. Such a game 


at naughty children, I have seldom seen played even 
by Oriental men. The boy Mohammed privily re- 
marked to me that the camel-men's beards were now 
in his fist — meaning that we were out of their kins- 
men, the Harb's, reach. He soon found an opportunity 
to quarrel with them; and, because one of his ques- 
tions was not answered in the shortest possible time, 
he proceeded to abuse them in language which sent 
their hands flying in the direction of their swords. 
Despite, however, this threatening demeanour, the 
youth, knowing that he now could safely go to any 
lengths, continued his ill words, and Mansur's face 
was so comically furious, that I felt too much amused 
to interfere. 

At last the camel-men disappeared, thereby punish- 
ing us most effectually for our sport. The road lay 
up rocky hill and down stony vale; a tripping and 
stumbling dromedary had been substituted for the 
usual monture: the consequence was that we had 
either a totter or a tumble once per mile during the 
whole of that long night. In vain the now fiery Mo- 
hammed called for the assistance of the camel-men 
with the full force of his lungs: "Where be those owls, 
those oxen of the oxen, those beggars, those cut-off 
ones, those foreigners, those Sons of Flight?* withered 
be their hands! palsied be their fingers! th*e foul mus- 
tachioed fellows, basest of the Arabs that ever ham- 
mered tent-peg, sneaking cats, goats of El Akhfash! 

* A popular but not a bad pun — "//arb" (Fight) becomes, by the alteration 
of the H, "Harb" (Flight). 


(a noted wiseacre). Truly I will torture them the tor- 
ture of the oil (t. e. burn them alive), the mines of in- 
famy! the cold of countenance!" (fools). 

The Bedawi brotherhood of the camel-men looked 
at him wickedly, muttering the while "By Allah! and 
by Allah! and by Allah! O boy, we will flog thee like 
a hound when we catch thee in the Desert!" All our 
party called upon him to desist, but his temper had 
got completely the upper hand over his discretion, and 
he expressed himself in such classic and idiomatic 
Hejazi, that I had not the heart to stop him. Some 
days after our arrival at El Medinah, Shaykh Hamid 
warned him seriously never again to go such perilous 
lengths, as the Beni-Harb were celebrated for shooting 
or poniarding the man who ventured to use even the 
mild epithet "O jack-ass!" to them. And in the quiet 
of the city the boy Mohammed, like a sobered man 
shuddering at dangers braved when drunk, hearkened 
with discomposure and penitence to his friend's words. 
The only immediate consequence of his abuse was 
that my broken Shugduf became a mere ruin, and we 
passed the dark hours perched like two birds upon 
the only entire bits of frame-work the cots contained. 

The sun had nearly risen (July 25) before I shook 
off the lethargic effects of such a night. All around 
me were hurrying their camels, regardless of rough 
ground, and not a soul spoke a word to his neighbour. 
"Are there robbers in sight 1 ?" was the natural ques- 
tion. "No!" replied Mohammed; "they are walking 


with their eyes, they will presently see their homes !" 
Rapidly we passed the Wady el Akik, of which, 

" O my friend, this is Akik, then stand by it, 
Endeavouring to be distracted by love, if not really a lover," * 

and a thousand other such pretty things, have been 
said by the Arab poets. It was as "dry as summer's 
dust," and its "beautiful trees" appeared in the shape 
of vegetable mummies. Half an hour after leaving 
the "Blessed Valley" we came to a huge staircase 
roughly cut in a long broad line of black scoriaceous 
basalt. This is the Mudarraj or flight of steps travers- 
ing the western ridge of the so-called El Harratayn. 
It is holy ground; for the Prophet spoke well of it. 
Arrived at the top, we passed through a lane of dark 
lava, with steep banks on both sides, and after a few 
minutes El Medinah suddenly opened upon our dazed 

We halted our beasts as if by word of command. 
All of us descended, in imitation of the pious of old 
and sat down, jaded and hungry as we were, to feast 
our eyes with a view of the Holy City. "O Allah! 
this is the Haram (sanctuary) of Thy Prophet; make 
it to us a Protection from Hell Fire, and a Refuge 
from Eternal Punishment! O open the Gates of Thy 
Mercy, and let us pass through them to the Land of 
Joy!" and "O Allah, bless the last of Prophets, the 
Seal of Prophecy, with Blessings in number as the 

* The esoteric meaning of this couplet is, " Man ! this is a lovely portion of 
God's creation : then gaze upon it, and here learn to love the perfections of thy 
Supreme Friend." 


Stars of Heaven, and the Waves of the Sea, and the 
Sands of the Waste — bless him, O Lord of Might and 
Majesty, as long as the Corn-field and the Date-grove 
continue to feed Mankind !"* And again, "Live, for 
ever, O Most Excellent of Prophets! — live in the 
Shadow of Happiness during the Hours of Night and 
the Times of Day, whilst the Bird of the Tamarisk 
(the dove) moaneth like the childless Mother, whilst 
the West-wind bloweth gently over the Hills of Nejd, 
and the Lightning flasheth bright in the Firmament of 
El Hejaz!" 

Such were the poetical exclamations that rose all 
around me, showing how deeply tinged with imagina- 
tion becomes the language of the Arab under the in- 
fluence of strong passion or religious enthusiasm. I 
now understood the full value of a phrase in the 
Moslem ritual, "And when his (the pilgrim's) eyes shall 
fall upon the Trees of El Medinah, let him raise his 
Voice and bless the Prophet with the choicest of 
Blessings." In all the fair view before us nothing was 
more striking, after the desolation through which we 
had passed, than the gardens and orchards about the 
town. It was impossible not to enter into the spirit 
of my companions, and truly I believe that for some 
minutes my enthusiasm rose as high as theirs. But 
presently, when we remounted, the traveller returned 
strong upon me: I made a rough sketch of the town, 

* That is to say, " throughout all ages and all nations." The Arabs divide 
the world into two great bodies, first themselves , and, secondly, "Ajam ," i. e 
all that are not Arabs. Similar bi-partitions are the Hindus and Mlenchhas 
the Jews and Gentiles, the Greeks and Barbarians, &c. &c. 

Mecca and Medina. I. 1 8 



put questions about the principal buildings, and in fact 
collected materials for the next chapter. 

The distance traversed that night was about twenty- 
two miles in a direction varying from easterly to north- 
easterly. We reached El Medinah on the 25th July, 
thus taking nearly eight days to travel over little more 
than 130 miles. This journey is performed with camels 
in four days, and a good dromedary will do it without 
difficulty in half that time.* 

* The following is a synopsis of our stations : 

t. From Yambu' 18th July to Musahhal, N.E 16 miles 

2. From Musahhal 19th July to Bir Sa'id, S. and E. . . 34 

3. From Bir Sa'id 20th July to El Hamra, N.E. ... 14 

4. From El Hamra 21st July to Bir Abbas, E 24 

5. From Bir Abbas 23d July to Suwaykah, E 22 

6. From Suwaykah 24th July to El Medinah, N. and E. 22 

Total English miles 132. 

64 miles. 


68 miles. 






VOL. 1401. 





OF. A 









•'-.'• 1874. 

% The Right of Translatio?i is reserved. 




Through the Suburb of El Medinah to Hamid's House .... i 

A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb 20 

An Essay towards the History of the Prophet's Mosque . 54 

El Medinah . 86 

A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba 107 

The Visitation of Hamzah's Tomb 125 

The People of El Medinah] 146 

A Visit to the Saints' Cemetery 172 

The Damascus Caravan 193 



From El Medinah to El Suwayrkiyah 

The Bedawin of El Hejaz 


From El Suwayrkiyah to Meccah . . , • 









Through the Suburb of El Medinah to Hamid's House. 

As we looked eastward the sun arose out of the 
horizon of low hill, blurred and dotted with small 
tufted trees, which gained from the morning mists a 
giant stature, and the earth was stained with purple 
and gold. Before us lay a spacious plain, bounded 
in front by the undulating ground of Nejd; on the left 
was a grim pile of rocks, the celebrated Mount Ohod, 
with a clump of verdure and a white dome or two 
nestling at its base. Rightwards, broad streaks of 
lilac-coloured mists, here thick with gathered dew, 
there pierced and thinned by the morning rays, stretched 
over the date groves and the gardens of Kuba, which 
stood out in emerald green from the dull tawny sur- 
face of the plain. Below, distant about two miles, 
lay El Medinah; at first sight it appeared a large place, 
but a closer inspection proved the impression to be 

Mecca and Medina. II. I 


A tortuous road from the Harrah to the city, wound 
across the plain, and led to a tall rectangular gateway, 
pierced in the ruinous mud wall which surrounds the 
suburb. This is the "Ambari" entrance. It is flanked 
on the left (speaking as a sketcher) by the domes and 
minarets of a pretty Turkish building, a "Takiyah," 
erected by the late Mohammed Ali for the reception 
of Dervish travellers; on the right by a long low line 
of whitewashed buildings garnished with ugly square 
windows, an imitation of civilised barracks. Beginning 
from the left hand, as we sat upon the ridge, the re- 
markable features of the town thus presented them- 
selves in succession. Outside, amongst the palm trees 
to the north of the city, were the picturesque ruins of 
a large old Sebil, or public fountain, and between 
this and the enceinte, stood a conspicuous building, 
in the Turkish pavilion style — the Governor's palace. 
On the north-west angle of the town wall is a tall 
whitewashed fort, partly built upon an outcropping 
mass of rock; its ramparts and embrasures give it a 
modern and European appearance, which contrasts 
strangely with its truly Oriental history. In the suburb 
"El Manakhah" (the kneeling-place of camels) rise the 
bran-new domes and minarets of the Five Mosques, 
standing brightly out from the dull grey mass of house 
and ground. And behind, in the most easterly part 
of the city, remarkable from afar, is the gem of El 
Medinah — the four tall substantial towers, and the 
flashing green dome under which the Prophet's re- 
mains rest. Half concealed by this mass of buildings 


and by the houses of the town, are certain white 
specks upon a green surface, the tombs that adorn the 
venerable cemetery of El Bakia. From that point south- 
wards begins the mass of palm groves celebrated in 
El Islam as the "Trees of El Medinah." The fore- 
ground is well fitted to set off such a view; fields 
of black basalt, showing clear signs of a volcanic 
origin, are broken up into huge blocks and boulders, 
through which a descent, tolerably steep for camels, 
winds down into the plain. 

After a few minutes' rest I remounted, and rode 
on slowly towards the gate. Even at this early hour 
the way was crowded with an eager multitude coming 
out to meet the Caravan. My companions preferred 
walking, apparently for the better convenience of kiss- 
ing, embracing, and shaking hands with relations and 
friends. Truly the Arabs show more heart on these 
occasions than any Oriental people I know; they are 
of a more affectionate nature than the Persians, and 
their manners are far more demonstrative than those 
of the Indians. The respectable Maryam's younger 
son, a pleasant contrast to her surly elder, was weep- 
ing aloud for joy as he ran round his mother's camel, 
he standing on tiptoe, she bending double in vain 
attempts to exchange a kiss; and, generally, when near 
relatives or intimates, or schoolfellows, met, the 
fountains of their eyes were opened. Friends and 
comrades greeted one another, regardless of rank or 
fortune, with affectionate embraces, and an abundance 
of queries, which neither party seemed to think of 


answering. The general mode of saluting was to throw 
one arm over the shoulder and the other round the 
side, placing the chin first upon the left and then 
upon the right collar bone, and rapidly shifting till a 
"jam satis" suggested itself to both parties. Inferiors 
recognized their superiors by attempting to kiss hands, 
which were violently snatched away; whilst mere ac- 
quaintances gave each other a cordial "poignee de 
mains ," and then raising the finger tips to their lips, 
kissed them with apparent relish. 

Passing through the Bab Ambari we defiled slowly 
down a broad dusty street, and traversed the Harat 
(Quarter) El Ambariyah, the principal in the Ma- 
nakhah suburb. The thoroughfare is by no means 
remarkable after Cairo; only it is rather wider and 
more regular than the traveller is accustomed to in 
Asiatic cities. I was astonished to see on both sides 
of the way, in so small a place, so large a number of 
houses too ruinous to be occupied. Then we crossed 
a bridge — a single little round arch of roughly hewn 
stone, built over the bed of a torrent, El Sayh, which 
in some parts appeared about fifty feet broad, with 
banks showing a high and deeply indented water-mark. 
Here the road abuts upon an open space called the 
"Barr el Manakhah," or more concisely El Barr, "the 
Plain." Straightforward a line leads directly into the 
Bab el Misri, the Egyptian gate of the city. But we 
turned off to the right, and, after advancing a few 
yards, we found ourselves at the entrance of our friend 
Hamid's house. 


The Shaykh had preceded us early that morning, 
in order to prepare an apartment for his guests, and 
to receive the first loud congratulations and embraces 
of his mother and the daughter of his uncle. Ap- 
parently he had not concluded this pleasing duty 
when we arrived, for the camels were kneeling at least 
five minutes at his door, before he came out to offer 
the usual hospitable salutation. I stared to see the 
difference of his appearance this morning. The razor 
had passed over his head and face; the former was 
now surmounted by a muslin turban of goodly size, 
wound round a new embroidered cap, and the latter, 
besides being clean, boasted of neat little mustachios 
turned up like two commas, whilst a well-trimmed 
goafs beard narrowed until it resembled what our 
grammars call an "exclamation point." The dirty torn 
shirt, with the bit of rope round the loins, had been 
exchanged for a Jubbah or outer cloak of light pink 
merinos, a long-sleeved Caftan of rich flowered stuff, 
a fine shirt of Halaili (silk and cotton), and a sash of 
plaid pattern, elaborately fringed at both ends, and, 
for better display, wound round two-thirds of his body. 
His pantaloons were also of Halaili with tasteful 
edgings about the ankles like a "pantilette's" and his 
bare and sun-burnt feet had undergone a thorough 
purification before being encased in new Mizz (inner 
slippers) and Papush (outer slippers) of bright lemon- 
colored leather of the newest and most fashionable 
Constantinopolitan cut. In one of his now delicate 
hands the Shaykh bore a mother-of-pearl rosary, token 


of piety, in the other a handsome pipe with a jasmine 
stick, and an expensive amber mouth-piece; the tobacco- 
pouch dangling from his waist, like the little purse in 
the bosom pocket of his coat, was of broad cloth 
richly embroidered with gold. 

In course of time I saw that all my companions 
had metamorphosed themselves in an equally remark- 
able manner. As men of sense they appeared in 
tatters where they were, and when they wished to be, 
unknown, and in fine linen where and when the world 
judged their prosperity by their attire. Their grand 
suits of clothes, therefore, were worn only for a few 
days after returning from the journey, by way of proof 
that the wearer had wandered to some purpose; they 
were afterwards laid up in lavender, and reserved, as 
old ladies in Europe store up their state dresses, for 
choice occasions. 

The Shaykh, whose manners had changed with his 
garments, from the vulgar and boisterous to a certain 
staid courtesy, took my hand, and led me up to the 
Majlis (parlour), which was swept and garnished, with 
all due apparatus, for the forthcoming reception cere- 
mony. And behind us followed the boy Mohammed, 
looking more downcast and ashamed of himself than 
I can possibly describe; he was still in his rags, and 
he felt keenly that every visitor staring at him would 
mentally inquire "Who may that snob be?" With the 
deepest dejectedness he squeezed himself into a corner, 
and Shaykh Nur, who was foully dirty, as an Indian 
en voyage always is, would have joined him in his 


shame, had I not ordered the "slave" to make himself 
generally useful. 

It is customary for all relations and friends to call 
upon the traveller the very day he returns, that is to 
say, if amity is to endure. The pipes therefore stood 
ready filled, the Divans were duly spread, and the 
coffee was being boiled upon a brazier in the passage. 

Scarcely had I taken my place at the cool window- 
sill — it was the best in the room — when the visitors 
began to pour in, and the Shaykh rose to welcome 
and embrace them. They sat down, smoked, chatted 
politics, asked all manner of questions about the other 
wayfarers and absent friends, drank coffee, and after 
half an hour's visit, rose abruptly, and, exchanging 
embraces, took leave. The little men entered the as- 
sembly, after an accolade at the door, noiselessly, 
squatted upon the worst seats with polite conges to 
the rest of the assembly, smoked, took their coffee, 
as it were, under protest, and glided out of the room 
as quietly as they crept in. The great people, generally 
busy and consequential individuals, upon whose 
countenances were large-writ the words "well to do 
in the world," appeared with a noise that made each 
person in the room rise reverentially upon his feet, sat 
down with importance, monopolised the conversation, 
and, departing in a dignified manner, expected all to 
stand on the occasion. 

The Holy War, as usual, was the grand topic of 
conversation. The Sultan had ordered the Czar to 
become a Moslem. The Czar had sued for peace, and 


offered tribute and fealty. But the Sultan had ex- 
claimed, "No, by Allah! El Islam!" The. Czar could 
not be expected to take such a step without a little 
hesitation, but "Allah smites the faces of the Infidels !" 
Abd el Mejid would dispose of the "Moskow" in a 
short time; after which he would turn his victorious 
army against all the idolaters of Feringistan, beginning 
with the English, the French, and the Arwam or 
Greeks. Amongst much of this nonsense — when ap- 
plied to for my opinion, I was careful to make it 
popular — I heard news foreboding no good to my 
journey towards Maskat. The Bedawin had decided 
that there was to be an "Arab contingent," and had 
been looking forward to the spoils of Europe: this had 
caused quarrels, as all the men wanted to go, and not 
a ten-year-old would be left behind. The consequence 
was, that this amiable people was fighting in all direc- 
tions. At least so said the visitors, and I afterwards 
found out that they were not far wrong. 

The Samman is a great family in numbers, as in 
dignity; from 8 a.m. till midday therefore the Majlis 
was crowded with people, and politeness delayed our 
breakfasts until an unconscionable hour. 

To the plague of strangers succeeded that of 
children. No sooner did the parlour become, com- 
paratively speaking, vacant than they rushed in en 
masse; treading upon our toes, making the noise of a 
nursery of madlings, pulling to pieces everything they 
could lay their hands upon, and using language that 


would have alarmed an old man-o' war's-man. In fact, 
no one can conceive the plague but those who have 
studied the "enfans terribles" which India sends home 
in cargoes. One urchin, scarcely three years old, told 
me, because I objected to his perching upon my 
wounded foot, that his father had a sword at home 
with which he would cut my throat from ear to ear, 
suiting the action to the word. By a few taunts, I 
made the little wretch furious with rage; he shook his 
infant fist at me, and then opening his enormous round 
black eyes to their utmost stretch, he looked at me, 
and licked his knee with portentous meaning. Shaykh 
Hamid, happening to come in at the moment, stood 
aghast at the doorway, chin in hand, to see the Effendi 
subject to such indignity, and it was not without 
trouble that I saved the offender from summary nursery 
discipline. Another scamp caught up one of my 
loaded pistols before I could snatch it out of his hand, 
and clapped it to his neighbour's head; fortunately, it 
was on half-cock, and the trigger was stiff. Then a 
serious and majestic boy about six years old, with an 
ink-stand in his belt, in token of his receiving a literary 
education, seized my pipe and began to smoke it with 
huge puffs. I ventured laughingly to institute a com- 
parison between the length of his person and the pipe- 
stick, when he threw it upon the ground, and stared 
at me fixedly with flaming eyes and features distorted 
by anger. The cause of this "boldness" soon appeared. 
The boys, instead of being well beaten, were scolded 
with fierce faces, a mode of punishment which only 


made them laugh. They had their redeeming points, 
however; they were manly angry boys, who punched 
one another like Anglo-Saxons in the house, whilst 
abroad they were always righting with sticks and 
stones. And they examined our weapons — before 
deigning to look at anything else — as if eighteen in- 
stead of eight had been the general age. 

At last I so far broke through the laws of Arab 
politeness as to inform my host in plain words — how 
inconceivably wretched the boy Mohammed was there- 
by rendered! — that I was hungry, thirsty, and sleepy, 
and that I wanted to be alone before visiting the 
Haram. The good-natured Shaykh, who was preparing 
to go out at once in order to pray before his father's 
grave, immediately brought me breakfast, lighted a 
pipe, spread a bed, darkened the room, turned out the 
children, and left me to the society I most desired — 
my own. I then overheard him summon his mother, 
wife, and other female relatives into the store-room, 
where his treasures had been carefully stowed away. 
During the forenoon, in the presence of the visitors, 
one of Hamid's uncles had urged him, half jocularly, 
to bring out the Sahhareh. The Shaykh did not care 
to do anything of the kind. Every time a new box is 
opened in this part of the world, the owner's generosity 
is appealed to by those whom a refusal offends, and 
he must allow himself to be plundered with the best 
possible grace. Hamid therefore prudently suffered all 
to depart before exhibiting his spoils; which, to judge 
by the exclamations of delight which they elicited from 


feminine lips, proved highly satisfactory to those con- 

After sleeping, we all set out in a body to the 
Haram, as this is a duty which must not be delayed 
by the pious. The boy Mohammed was in better 
spirits — the effect of having borrowed from Hamid, 
amongst other articles of clothing, an exceedingly 
gaudy embroidered coat. As for Shaykh Nur, he had 
brushed up his Tarbush, and, by means of some cast- 
off dresses of mine, had made himself look like a re- 
spectable Abyssinian slave, in a nondescript toilette, 
half Turkish, half Indian. I propose to reserve the 
ceremony of Ziyarat, or Visitation, for another chapter, 
and to conclude this with a short account of our style 
of living at the Shaykh's hospitable house. 

Hamid's abode is a small corner building, open on 
the north and east to the Barr el Manakhah: the 
ground floor contains only a kind of vestibule, in 
which coarse articles, like old Shugdufs, mats and bits 
of sacking, are lying about; the rest is devoted to 
purposes of sewerage. Ascending dark winding steps 
of ragged stone covered with hard black earth, you 
come to the first floor, where the men live. It consists 
of two rooms to the front of the house, one a Majlis, 
and another converted into a store. Behind them is 
a dark passage, into which the doors open; and the 
back part of the first story is a long windowless room, 
containing a Hanafiyah or large copper water-pot, and 
other conveniences for purification. On the second 


floor is the kitchen, which I did not inspect, it being 
as usual occupied by the "Harem." 

The Majlis has dwarf windows, or rather apertures 
in the northern and eastern walls, with rude wooden 
shutters and reed blinds — the embrasures being 
garnished with cushions, where you sit, morning and 
evening, to enjoy the cool air. The ceiling is of date 
sticks laid across palm rafters stained red, and the 
walls are of rough scoriae, burnt bricks, and wood- 
work cemented with lime. The only signs of furniture 
in the sitting-room are a Diwan (divan) round the 
sides and a carpet in the centre. A huge wooden box, 
like a seaman's chest, occupies one of the corners. In 
the southern wall there is a Suffah, or little shelf of 
common stone, supported by a single arch; upon this 
are placed articles in hourly use, perfume-bottles, 
coffee-cups, a stray book or two, and sometimes a 
turban, to be out of the children's way. Two hooks 
on the western wall, placed jealously high up, hold a 
pair of pistols with handsome crimson cords and tas- 
sels, and half a dozen cherry-stick pipes. The centre 
of the room is never without one or more Shishehs 
(water-pipes), and in the corner is a large copper 
brazier containing fire, with all the utensils for making 
coffee either disposed upon its broad brim or lying 
about the floor. The passage, like the stairs, is spread 
over with hard black earth, and is regularly watered 
twice a day during the hot weather. 

The household consisted of Hamid's mother, wife, 
some nephews and nieces, small children who ran 


about in a half-wild and more than half-nude state, 
and two African slave girls. When the Damascus 
Caravan came in, it was further reinforced by the ar- 
rival of his three younger brothers. 

Though the house was not grand, it was made 
lively by the varied views out of the Majlis' windows. 
From the east, you looked upon the square El Barr, 
the town walls and houses beyond it, the Egyptian 
gate, the lofty minarets of the Haram, and the distant 
outlines of Jebel Ohod. The north commanded a 
prospect of Mohammed's Mosque — one of the Khamsah 
Masajid, or the Five suburban Mosques, of part of the 
fort wall, and, when the Damascus caravan came in, 
of the gay scene of the "Prado" beneath. The Majlis 
was tolerably cool during the early part of the day; 
in the afternoon the sun shone fiercely upon it. I have 
described the establishment at some length as a spe- 
cimen of how the middle classes are lodged at El 
Medinah. The upper ranks affect Turkish and Egyp- 
tian luxuries in their homes, as I had an opportunity 
of seeing at Umar EfFendi's house in the "Barr;" and 
the abodes of the poor are everywhere in these coun- 
tries very similar. 

Our life in Shaykh Hamid's house was quiet, but 
not disagreeable. I never once set eyes upon the face 
of woman there, unless the African slave girls be 
allowed the title. Even these at first attempted to 
draw their ragged veils over their sable charms, and 
would not answer the simplest question; by degrees 
they allowed me to see them, and they ventured their 


voices to reply to me; still they never threw off a 
certain appearance of shame. Their voices are strangely 
soft and delicate, considering the appearance of the 
organs from which they proceed. Possibly this may be 
a characteristic of the African races; it is remarkable 
amongst the Somali women. I never saw, nor even 
heard, the youthful mistress of the household, who 
stayed all day in the upper rooms. The old lady, 
Hamid's mother, would stand upon the stairs, and 
converse aloud with her son, and, when few people 
were about the house, with me. She never, however, 
as afterwards happened to an ancient dame at Meccah, 
came and sat by my side. When lying during mid- 
day in the gallery, I often saw parties of women mount 
the stairs to the Gynaeconitis , and sometimes an in- 
dividual would stand to shake a muffled hand with 
Hamid, to gossip awhile, and to put some questions 
concerning absent friends; but they were most deco- 
rously wrapped up, nor did they ever deign to deroger, 
even by exposing an inch of cheek. 

At dawn we arose, washed, prayed, and broke our 
fast upon a crust of stale bread, before smoking a 
pipe, and drinking a cup of coffee. Then it was time 
to dress, to mount, and to visit the Haram or one of 
the Holy Places outside the city. Returning before 
the sun became intolerable, we sat together, and with 
conversation, Shishehs and Chibouques, coffee, and cold 
water perfumed with mastich-smoke, we whiled away 
the time till our Ariston, a dinner which appeared at 
the primitive hour of u a.m. The meal, here called 


El Ghada, was served in the Majlis on a large copper 
tray, sent from the upper apartments. Ejaculating 
"Bismillah" — the Moslem "grace" — we all sat round 
it, and dipped equal hands in the dishes placed before 
us. We had usually unleavened bread, different kinds 
of meat and vegetable stews, and at the end of the 
first course, plain boiled rice eaten with spoons; then 
came the fruits, fresh dates, grapes, and pomegranates. 
After dinner I used invariably to find some excuse — - 
such as the habit of a "Kaylulah" (mid-day siesta) or 
the being a "Saudawi" — a person of melancholy tem- 
perament — to have a rug spread in the dark passage 
behind the Majlis, and there to lie reading, dozing, 
smoking or writing, en cachette, in complete deshabille 
all through the worst part of the day, from noon to 

Then came the hour for receiving or paying visits. 
We still kept up an intimacy with Umar Effendi and 
Sa'ad the Demon, although Salih Skakkar and Amm 
Jemal, either disliking our society, or perhaps thinking 
our sphere of life too humble for their dignity, did 
not appear once in Hamid's house. The evening 
prayers ensued, either at home or in the Haram, fol- 
lowed by our Asha or "deipnon," another substantial 
meal like the dinner, but more plentiful, of bread, 
meat, vegetables, plain rice and fruits, concluding with 
the invariable pipes and coffee. To pass our soiree, 
we occasionally dressed in common clothes, shouldered 
a Nebut, and went to the cafe; sometimes on festive 
occasions we indulged in a Ta'atumah (or Itmiyah), a 


late supper of sweetmeats, pomegranates and dried 
fruits. Usually we sat upon mattresses spread over 
the ground in the open air at the Shaykh's door, re- 
ceiving evening visits, chatting, telling stories, and 
making merry, till each, as he felt the approach of the 
drowsy god, sank down into his proper place, and fell 

Whatever may be the heat of the day, the night 
at El Medinah, owing, I suppose, to its elevated posi- 
tion, is cool and pleasant. In order to allay the dust, 
the ground before the Shaykrr's door was watered 
every evening, and the evaporation was almost too 
great to be safe — the boy Mohammed suffered from 
a smart attack of lumbago, which, however, yielded 
readily to frictions of olive oil in which ginger had 
been boiled. Our greatest inconvenience at night time 
was the pugnacity of the animal creation. The horses 
of the troopers tethered in the Barr were sure to break 
loose once in twelve hours. Some hobbled old nag, 
having slipped his head-stall, would advance with 
kangaroo-leaps towards a neighbour against whom he 
had a private grudge. Their heads would touch for a 
moment; then came a snort and a whinny, a furious 
kick, and lastly, a second horse loose and dashing 
about with head and tail viciously cocked. This was 
the signal for a general breaking of halters and heel- 
ropes; after which, a "stampede" scoured the plain, 
galloping, rearing, kicking, biting, snorting, pawing, 
and screaming, with the dogs barking sympathetically, 
and the horse-keepers shouting in hot pursuit. It was 


a strange sight to see by moonlight the forms of these 
"demon steeds " exaggerated by the shades; and on 
more than one occasion we had all to start up pre- 
cipitately from our beds, and yield them to a couple 
of combatants who were determined to fight out their 
quarrel a Poutrance, wherever the battle-field might be. 
The dogs at El Medinah are not less pugnacious 
than the horses * They are stronger and braver than 
those that haunt the streets at Cairo; like the Egyptian, 
they have amongst themselves a system of police re- 
gulations, which brings down all the posse comitatus 
upon the unhappy straggler who ventures into a strange 
quarter of the town. They certainly met in El Barr 
upon common ground, to decide the differences which 
must arise in so artificial a state of canine society. 
Having had many opportunities of watching them, I 
can positively assert that they were divided into two 
parties, which fought with a skill and an acharnement 
that astounded me. Sometimes when one side gave 
way, and the retreat was degenerating into a sauve 
qui peut, some proud warrior, a dog-hero, would sacri- 
fice himself for the public weal, and with gnashing 
teeth and howls of rage encounter the assaults of the 
insolent victors until his flying friends had time to 
recover heart. Such a one my companions called 

* Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. n. p. 268) remarks that El Medinah 
is the only town in the East from which dogs are excluded. This was probably 
as much a relic of Wahhabeism (that sect hating even to look at a dog), as 
arising from apprehension of the mosque being polluted by canine intrusion. I 
have seen one or two of these animals in the town , but I was told, that v/hen 
they enter it in any numbers, the police-magistrate issues orders to have them 

Mecca and .Medina. II. 2 


"Mubariz," the single combatant, the champion of the 
Arab's classical and chivalrous age. At other times, 
some huge animal, an Ajax of his kind, would plunge 
into the ring with frantic yells, roll over one dog, snap 
at a second, worry a third for a minute or two, and 
then dash off to a distant part, where a thicker field 
required his presence. This uncommon sagacity has 
been remarked by the Arabs, who look on amused at 
their battles. There are also certain superstitions about 
the dog resembling ours, only, as usual, more poetical 
and less grotesque, current in El Hejaz. Most people 
believe that when the animal howls without apparent 
cause in the neighbourhood of a house, it forebodes 
death to one of the inmates. For the dog they say 
can distinguish the awful form of Azrael, the angel of 
death, hovering over the doomed abode, whereas 
man's spiritual sight is dull and dim by reason of 
his sins. 

When the Damascus caravan entered El Medinah, 
our day became a little more amusing. From the 
windows of Shaykh Hamid's house there was a per- 
petual succession of strange scenes. A Persian noble- 
man, also, had pitched his tents so near the door, that 
the whole course of his private life became public 
and patent to the boy Mohammed, who amused his 
companions by reporting all manner of ludicrous 
scenes. The Persian's wife was rather a pretty woman, 
and she excited the youth's fierce indignation, by not 
veiling her face when he gazed at her, — thereby show- 
ing that, as his beard was not grown, she considered 


him a mere boy. "I will ask her to marry me," said 
Mohammed, "and thereby rouse her shame!" He did 
so, but, unhappy youth! the fair Persian never even 
ceased fanning herself. 

The boy Mohammed was for once confounded. 


A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb. 

Having performed the greater ablution, and used 
the tooth-stick as directed, and dressed ourselves in 
white clothes, which the Prophet loved, we were ready 
to start upon our holy errand. As my foot still gave 
me great pain, Shaykh Hamid sent for a donkey. A 
wretched animal appeared, raw-backed, lame of one 
leg, and wanting an ear; with accoutrements to match, 
a pack-saddle without stirrups, and a halter instead of 
a bridle. Such as the brute was, however, I had to 
mount it, and to ride through the Misri gate, to the 
wonder of certain Bedawin, who, like the Indians, 
despise the ass. 

"Honorable is the riding of a horse to the rider, 
But the mule is a dishonor, and the ass a disgrace," i 

says their song. The Turkish pilgrims, however, who 
appear to take a pride in ignoring all Arab points of 
prejudice, generally mount donkeys when they cannot 
walk. The Bedawin therefore settled among them- 
selves, audibly enough, that I was an Osmanli, who of 
course could not understand Arabic, and they put the 
question generally, "By what curse of Allah had they 
been subjected to ass-riders?" 


But Shaykh Hamid is lecturing me upon the sub- 
ject of the mosque. 

The Masjid El Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, 
is one of the Haramayn, or the "two sanctuaries" of 
El Islam, and is the second of the three most venerable 
places of worship in the world; the other two being 
the Masjid El Haram at Meccah (connected with 
Abraham) and the Masjid El Aksa of Jerusalem (the 
peculiar place of Solomon). A Hadis or traditional 
saying of Mohammed asserts, "One prayer in this my 
mosque is more efficacious than a thousand in other 
places, save only the Masjid El Haram." It is there- 
fore the visitor's duty, as long as he stays at El Me- 
dinah, to pray the five times per diem there, to pass 
the day in it reading the Koran, and the night, if pos- 
sible, in watching and devotion. 

A visit to the Masjid El Nabawi, and the holy 
spots within it, is technically called "Ziyarat" or Visi- 
tation. An essential difference is made between this 
rite and Hajj or pilgrimage. The latter is obligatory 
by Koranic order upon every Moslem once in his life: 
the former is only a meritorious action. "Tawaf," or 
circumambulation of the House of Allah at Meccah, 
must never be performed at the Prophet's tomb. This 
should not be visited in the Ihram or pilgrim dress; 
men should not kiss it, touch it w r ith the hand, or 
press the bosom against it, as at the Kaabah; or rub 
the face with dust collected near the sepulchre; and 
those who prostrate themselves before it, like certain 
ignorant Indians, are held to be guilty of deadly sin. 


On the other hand, to spit upon any part of the 
Mosque, or to treat it with contempt, is held to be the 
act of an infidel. 

Thus the learned and religious have settled, one 
would have thought, accurately enough the spiritual 
rank and dignity of the Masjid El Nabawi. But man- 
kind, especially in the East, must always be in ex- 
tremes. The orthodox school of El Malik holds El 
Medinah, on account of the sanctity of, and the re- 
ligious benefits to be derived from, Mohammed's tomb, 
more honorable than Meccah. Some declare that the 
Prophet preferred his place of refuge, blessing it as 
Abraham did Meccah. Moreover, as a tradition de- 
clares that every man's body is drawn from the ground 
in which he is buried, El Medinah evidently had the 
honor of supplying materials for the Prophet's person. 
Others, like Omar, were uncertain which to prefer. 
The Wahhabis, on the other hand, rejecting the inter- 
cession of the Prophet on the Day of Judgment, con- 
sidering the grave of a mere mortal unworthy of notice, 
and highly disgusted by the idolatrous respect paid to 
it by certain foolish Moslems, plundered the sacred 
building with sacrilegious violence, and forbade visitors 
from distant countries to enter El Medinah. The 
general consensus of El Islam admits the superiority 
of the Bayt Allah ("House of God") at Meccah to the 
whole world, and declares El Medinah to be more 
venerable than every part of Meccah, and consequently 
all the earth, except only the Bayt Allah. This last 
is a. juste milieu view by no means in favour with the 


inhabitants of either place. In the meanwhile the 
Meccans claim unlimited superiority over the Medani: 
the Medani over the Meccans. 

Passing through muddy streets — they had been 
freshly watered before evening time — I came suddenly 
upon the Mosque. Like that at Meccah, the approach 
is choked up by ignoble buildings, some actually 
touching the holy "enceinte," others separated by a 
lane compared with which the road round St. Paul's 
is a Vatican square. There is no outer front, no 
general prospect of the Prophet's Mosque; conse- 
quently, as a building, it has neither beauty nor 
dignity. And entering the Bab el Rahmah — the Gate 
of Pity — by a diminutive flight of steps, I was as- 
tonished at the mean and tawdry appearance of a 
place so universally venerated in the Moslem world. 
It is not, like the Meccan Temple, grand and simple 
— the expression of a single sublime idea. The longer^ 
I looked at it, the more it suggested the resemblance 
of a museum of second-rate art, a curiosity-shop, full 
of ornaments that are not accessories, and decorated 
with pauper splendor. 

The Masjid el Nabi is a parallelogram about 420 
feet in length by 340 broad, the direction of the long 
walls being nearly north and south. As usual in El 
Islam, it is a hypsethral building with a spacious cen- 
tral area, called El Sahn, El Hosh, El Haswah, or El 
Ramlah, surrounded by a peristyle with numerous 
rows of pillars like the colonnades of an Italian 
cloister. The arcades or porticoes are flat-ceilinged, 


domed above with the small " Media Naranja," or half- 
orange cupola of Spain, and divided into four parts 
by narrow passages, three or four steps below the level 
of the pavement. Along the whole inner length of 
the northern short wall runs the Mejidi Riwak, so 
called from the reigning Sultan. The western long 
wall is occupied by the Riwak of the Rahmah Gate; 
the eastern by that of the Bab el Ni&a, the "Women's 
Entrance." Embracing the inner length of the southern 
short wall, and deeper by nearly treble the amount of 
columns than the other porticoes, is the main colon- 
nade, called El Rauzah, or the Garden, the adytum 
containing all that is venerable in the building. These 
four Riwaks, arched externally, are supported internally 
by pillars of different shape and material, varying from 
fine porphyry to dirty plaster. The southern, where 
the sepulchre or cenotaph stands, is paved with hand- 
some slabs of white marble and marquetry work, here 
and there covered with coarse matting, and above this 
by unclean carpets, well worn by faithful feet. 

But this is not the time for Tafarruj, or lionizing. 
Shaykh Hamid warns me with a nudge, that other 
things are expected of a Zair. He leads me to the 
Bab el Salam, fighting his way through a troop ol 
beggars, and inquires markedly if I am religiously pure. 
Then, placing our hands a little below and on the left 
of the waist, the palm of the right covering the bad 
of the left, in the position of prayer, and beginninj 
with the dexter feet, we pace slowly forwards down 
the line called the Muwajihat el Sharifah, or "the 


Illustrious Fronting" which, divided off like an aisle, 
runs parallel with the southern wall of the Mosque. 
On my right hand walks the Shaykh, who recites aloud 
the following prayer, making me repeat it after him. 
It is literally rendered, as, indeed, are all the formulae, 
and the reader is requested to excuse the barbarous 
fidelity of the translation. 

"In the Name of Allah and in the Faith of Allah's 
Prophet! O Lord cause me to enter the Entering of 
Truth, and cause me to issue forth the Issuing of 
Truth, and permit rfte to draw near to Thee, and 
make me a Sultan Victorious!" Then follow blessings 
upon the Prophet, and afterwards: "O Allah! open to 
me the Doors of Thy Mercy, and grant me Entrance 
into it, and protect me from the Stoned Devil!" 

During this preliminary prayer we had passed 
down two-thirds of the Muwajihat el Sharifah. On the 
left hand is a dwarf wall, about the height of a man, 
painted with arabesques, and pierced with four small 
doors which open into the Muwajihat. In this barrier 
are sundry small erections, the niche called the Mihrab 
Sulaymani, the Mambar, or pulpit, and the Mihrab el 
Nabawi. The two niches are of beautiful mosaic, 
richly worked with various coloured marbles, and the 
pulpit is a graceful collection of slender columns, 
elegant tracery, and inscriptions admirably carved. 
Arrived at the western small door in the dwarf wall, 
we entered the celebrated spot called El Rauzah, or 
the Garden, after a saying of the Prophet's, "Be- 
tween my Tomb and my Pulpit is a Garden of the 


Gardens of Paradise." On the north and west sides 
it is not divided from the rest of the portico; on the 
south lies the dwarf wall, and on the east it is limited 
by the west end of the lattice-work containing the 

Accompanied by my Muzawwir I entered the 
Rauzah, and was placed by him with the Mukab- 
bariyah* behind me, fronting Meccah, with my right 
shoulder opposite to and about twenty feet distant 
from the dexter pillar of the Prophet's Pulpit. There, 
after saying the afternoon prajters, I performed the 
usual two bows in honor of the temple, and at the 
end of them recited the 109th and the 112th chapters 
of the Koran — the "Kul, ya ayyuha'l Kafiruna," and 
the "Surat el Ikhlas," called also the "Kul, Huw' 
Allah," or the Declaration of Unity; and may be thus 

"Say, He is the one God!" 

"The eternal God!" 

"He begets not, nor is He begot," 

"And unto Him the like is not." 

After which was performed a single Sujdah of 
Thanks, in gratitude to Allah for making it my fate to 
visit so holy a spot. 

This being the recognised time to give alms, I was 
besieged by beggars, who spread their napkins before 
us on the ground sprinkled with a few coppers to 

* This is a stone desk on four pillars, where the Muballighs (clerks) re- 
cite the Ikamah, the call to divine service. It was presented to the mosque by 
Kaid-Bey, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. 


excite generosity. But not wishing to be distracted 
by them, before leaving Hamid's house I had changed 
two dollars, and had given the coin to the boy Mo- 
hammed, who accompanied me, strictly charging him 
to make that sum last through the Mosque. My an- 
swer to the beggars was a reference to my attendant, 
backed by the simple action of turning my pockets 
inside out, and whilst he was battling with the beg- 
gars, I proceeded to cast my first coup-d'ceil upon the 

The "Garden" is the most elaborate part of the 
Mosque. Little can be said in its praise by day, when 
it bears the same relation to a second-rate church in 
Rome as an English chapel-of-ease to Westminster 
Abbey. It is a space of about eighty feet in length, 
tawdrily decorated so as to resemble a garden. The 
carpets are flowered, and the pediments of the columns 
are cased with bright green tiles, and adorned to the 
height of a man with gaudy and unnatural vegetation 
in arabesque. It is disfigured by handsome branched 
candelabras of cut crystal, the work, I believe, of a 
London house, and presented to the shrine by the 
late Abbas Pasha of Egypt. The only admirable fea- 
ture of the view is the light cast by the windows of 
stained glass in the southern wall. Its peculiar back- 
ground, the railing of the tomb, a splendid filagree- 
work of green and polished brass, gilt or made to 
resemble gold, looks more picturesque near than at a 
distance, when it suggests the idea of a gigantic bird- 
cage. But at night the eye, dazzled by oil-lamps 


suspended from the roof, by huge wax candles, and 
by smaller illuminations falling upon crowds of visitors 
in handsome attire, with the richest and the noblest 
of the city sitting in congregation when service is per- 
formed, becomes less critical. Still the scene must be 
viewed with Moslem bias, and until a man is thoroughly 
imbued with the spirit of the East, the last place the 
Rauzah will remind him of, is that which the architect 
primarily intended it to resemble — a garden. 

Then with Hamid, professionally solemn, I reas- 
sumed the position of prayer, and retracted my steps. 
After passing through another small door in the dwarf 
wall that bounds the Muwajihah, we did not turn 
to the right, which would have led us to the Bab el 
Salam; our course was in an opposite direction, to- 
wards the eastern wall of the temple. Meanwhile we 
repeated, "Verily Allah and His Angels bless the 
Prophet! O ye who believe, bless him, and salute 
him with Honor!" At the end of this prayer, we ar- 
rived at the Mausoleum, which requires some descrip- 
tion before the reader can understand the nature of 
our proceedings there. 

The Hujrah or "Chamber" as it is called, from 
the circumstance of its having been Ayisha's room, is 
an irregular square of from 50 to 55 feet in the S.E. 
corner of the building, and separated on all sides 
from the walls of the Mosque by a passage about 26 
feet broad on the S. side, and 20 on the E. The 
reason of this isolation has been before explained, 
and there is a saying of Mohammed's, "O Allah, 


cause not my Tomb to become an Object of Idolatrous 
Adoration! May Allah's Wrath fall heavy upon the 
People who make the Tombs of their Prophets Places 
of Prayer!" Inside there are, or are supposed to be, 
three tombs facing the south, surrounded by stone 
walls without any aperture, or, as others say, by strong 
planking. Whatever this material may be, it is hung 
outside with a curtain, somewhat like a large four- 
post bed. The outer railing is separated by a dark 
narrow passage from the inner, which it surrounds, 
and is of iron filagree painted of a vivid grass green, 
— with a view to the garden — whilst carefully inserted 
in the verdure, and doubly bright by contrast, is the 
gilt or burnished brass work forming the long and 
graceful letters of the Suls character, and disposed 
into the Moslem creed, the profession of unity, and 
similar religious sentences. 

On the south side, for greater honor, the railing is 
plated over with silver, and silver letters are inter- 
laced with it. This fence, which connects the columns 
and forbids passage to all men, may be compared to 
the baldacchino of Roman churches. It has four 
gates: that to the south is the Bab el Muwajihah; 
eastward is the gate of our Lady Fatimah; westward 
the Bab el Taubah (of repentance), opening into the 
Rauzah or garden, and to the north, the Bab el Shami 
or Syrian gate. They are constantly kept closed, ex- 
cept the fourth, which admits, into the dark narrow 
passage above alluded to, the officers who have charge 
of the treasures there deposited, and the eunuchs who 


sweep the floor, light the lamps, and carry away the 
presents sometimes thrown in here by devotees. 

In the southern side of the fence are three win- 
dows, holes about half a foot square, and placed from 
four to five feet above the ground; they are said to be 
between three and four cubits distant from the Prophet's 
head. The most westerly of these is supposed to front 
Mohammed's tomb, wherefore it is called the Shubak 
el Nabi, or the Prophet's window. The next, on the 
right as you front it, is Abubekr's, and the most 
easterly of the three is Omar's. 

Above the Hujrah is the Green Dome, surmounted 
outside by a large gilt crescent springing from a series 
of globes. The glowing imaginations of the Moslems 
crown this gem of the building with a pillar of 
heavenly light, which directs from three days' distance 
the pilgrims' steps towards El Medinah. But alas! 
none save holy men (and perhaps, odylic sensitives), 
whose material organs are piercing as their spiritual 
vision, are allowed the privilege of beholding this 
poetic splendor. 

Arrived at the Shubak el Nabi, Hamid took his 
stand about six feet or so out of reach of the railing, 
and at that respectful distance from, and facing * the 
Hazirah (or presence), with hands raised as in prayer, 
he recited the following supplication in a low voice, 

* The ancient practice of El Islam during the recitation of the following 
benedictions was to face Meccah, the back being turned towards the tomb, and 
to form a mental image of the Prophet , supposing him to be in front. El Kir- 
mani and other doctors prefer this as the more venerable custom, but in these 
days it is completely exploded, and the purist would probably be soundly 
bastinadoed by the eunuchs for attempting it. 


telling me in a stage whisper to repeat it after him 
with awe, and fear, and love. 

"Peace be upon Thee, O Prophet of Allah, and 
the Mercy of Allah and his Blessings ! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Friend of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, O best of 
Allah's Creation! Peace be upon Thee, O pure Crea- 
ture of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, O chief of 
Prophets! Peace be upon Thee, O Seal of the Prophets! 
Peace be upon Thee, O Prince of the Pious! Peace 
be upon Thee, O Prophet of the Lord of the (three) 
Worlds! Peace be upon Thee, and upon Thy Family, 
and upon Thy pure Wives! Peace be upon Thee, 
and upon all Thy Companions! Peace be upon Thee, 
and upon all the Prophets, and upon those sent to 
preach Allah's Word! Peace be upon Thee, and upon 
all Allah's righteous Worshippers! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Thou Bringer of Glad Tidings! Peace be 
upon Thee, O Bearer of Threats! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Thou bright Lamp! Peace be upon Thee, 
O Thou Prophet of Mercy! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Ruler of Thy Faith! Peace be upon Thee, O Opener 
of Grief! Peace be upon Thee! and Allah bless Thee! 
and Allah repay Thee for us, O Thou Prophet of 
Allah! the choicest of Blessings with which He ever 
blessed Prophet! Allah bless Thee as often as Men- 
tioners have mentioned Thee, and Forgetters have for- 
gotten Thee! And Allah bless Thee among the First 
and the Last, with the best, the highest, and the fullest 
of Blessings ever bestowed on Man, even as we escaped 


Error by means of Thee, and were made to see after 
Blindness, and after Ignorance were directed into the 
Right Way. I bear Witness that there is no god but 
Allah, and I testify that Thou art His Servant, and 
His Prophet, and His Faithful Follower, and Best 
Creature. And I bear Witness, O Prophet of Allah! 
that Thou hast delivered Thy Message, and discharged 
Thy Trust, and advised Thy Faith, and opened Grief, 
and published Proofs, and fought valiantly for Thy 
Lord, and worshipped Thy God till Certainty came 
to Thee (*. e. to the hour of death); and we Thy 
Friends, O Prophet of Allah, appear before Thee 
Travellers from distant Lands and far Countries, 
through Dangers and Difficulties, in the Times of 
Darkness, and in the Hours of Day, longing to give 
Thee Thy Rights (*. e. to honor thee by benediction 
and visitation), and to obtain the Blessings of Thine 
Intercession, for our Sins have broken our Backs, and 
Thou intercedest with the Healer. And Allah said,* 
' And though they have injured themselves, they came 
to Thee, and begged Thee to secure their Pardon, 
and they found God an Acceptor of Penitence, and 
full of Compassion/ O Prophet of Allah, Interces- 
sion! Intercession! Intercession! O Allah, bjess Mo- 
hammed and Mohammed's Family, and give Him 
Superiority and high Rank, even as Thou didst promise 
Him, and graciously allow us to conclude this Visita- 
tion. I deposit on this Spot, and near Thee, O Prophet 
of God, my everlasting Profession (of faith) from this 

* This is the usual introduction to a quotation from the Koran. 


our Day, to the Day of Judgment, that there is no 
god but Allah, and that our Lord Mohammed is His 
Servant, and His Prophet. Amen! O Lord of the 
(three) Worlds!" 

After which, performing Ziyarat for ourselves, 
we repeated the Fatihah or "opening" chapter of the 

"In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Com- 

"Praise be to Allah, who the (three) Worlds made. 

"The Merciful, the Compassionate. 

"The King of the Day of Faith. 

"Thee (alone) do we worship, and of Thee (alone) 
do we ask Aid. 

"Guide us to the Path that is straight — 

"The Path of those for whom Thy Love is great, 
not those on whom is Hate, nor they that deviate. 

"Amen! O Lord of Angels, Jinns, and men!"* 

After reciting this mentally with upraised hands, 
the forefinger of the right hand being extended to its 
full length, we drew our palms down our faces and 
did alms-deeds, a vital part of the ceremony. Thus 
concludes the first part of the ceremony of Visitation 
at the Prophet's tomb. 

Hamid then stepped about a foot and a half to 
the right, and I followed his example, so as to place 
myself exactly opposite the second aperture in the 

* I have endeavoured in this translation to imitate the imperfect rhyme 
of the original Arabic. Such an attempt, however , is full of difficulties : the 
Arabic is a language in which, like Italian, it is almost impossible not to 

Mecca and Medina, II. 3 


grating called Abubekr's window. There, making a 
sign towards the mausoleum, we addressed its inmate, 
as follows: — 

"Peace be upon Thee, O Abubekr, O Thou Truth- 
ful One! Peace be upon Thee, O Caliph of Allah's 
Prophet over his People! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Companion of the Cave, and Friend in Travel! Peace 
be upon Thee, O Thou Banner of the Fugitives and 
the Auxiliaries! I testify Thou didst ever stand firm 
in the right Way, and wast a Smiter of the Infidel, 
and a Benefactor to Thine own People. Allah grant 
Thee through His Prophet Weal! We pray Almighty 
God to cause us to die in Thy Friendship, and to 
raise us up in Company with His Prophet and Thy- 
self, even as he hath mercifully vouchsafed to us this 

After which we closed one more step to the right, 
and standing opposite Omar's window, the most 
easterly of the three, after making a sign with our 
hands, we addressed the just Caliph in these words: — 

"Peace be upon Thee, O Omar! O Thou Just 
One! Thou Prince of True Believers! Peace be upon 
Thee, who spakest with Truth, and who madest Thy 
Word agree with the Strong Book! (the Koran), O 
Thou Faruk! (the Separator). O Thou Faithful One! 
who girdedst Thy Loins with the Prophet, and the 
First Believers, and with them didst make up the full 
Number forty,* and thus causedst to be accomplished 

* When the number of the Ashab or "Companions" was thirty-nine, they 
were suddenly joined by Omar, who thus became the fortieth. 


the Prophet's Prayer, and then didst return to Thy 
God a Martyr leaving the World with Praise! Allah 
grant Thee, through His Prophet and His Caliph and 
His Followers, the Best of Good, and may Allah feel 
in Thee all Satisfaction!" 

Shaykh Hamid, after wrenching a beggar or two 
from my shoulders, then permitted me to draw near 
to the little window, called the Prophet's, and to look 
in. Here my proceedings were watched with suspicious 
eyes. The Persians have sometimes managed to pol- 
lute the part near Abubekr's and Omar's graves by 
tossing through the aperture what is externally a hand- 
some shawl intended as a present for the tomb. After 
straining my eyes for a time I saw a curtain, or rather 
hangings, with three inscriptions in long gold letters, 
informing readers, that behind them lie Allah's Prophet 
and the two first Caliphs. The exact place of Mo- 
hammed's tomb is moreover distinguished by a large 
pearl rosary, and a peculiar ornament, the celebrated 
Kaukab el Durri, or constellation of pearl, suspended 
to the curtain breast high. This is described to be 
a "brilliant star set in diamonds and pearls," placed 
in the dark that man's eye may be able to bear its 
splendors: the vulgar believe it to be a "jewel of the 
jewels of Paradise." To me it greatly resembled the 
round glass stoppers, used for the humbler sort of de- 
canters, but I thought the same of the Koh i Nur. 
Moreover I never saw it quite near enough to judge 
fairly, and I did not think fit to pay an exorbitant 
sum for the privilege of entering the inner passage of 


the baldaquin. Altogether the coup-d'oeil had nothing 
to recommend it by day. At night, when the lamps 
hung in this passage shed a dim light upon the mosaic 
work of the marble floors, upon the glittering inscrip- 
tions, and the massive hangings, the scene is more 

Never having seen the tomb, I must depict it from 
books, — by no means an easy task. Most of the 
historians are silent after describing the inner walls of 
the Hujrah. El Kalkashandi declares "in eo lapidem 
nobilem continere sepulchra Apostoli, Abubecr et 
Omar, circumcinctum peribole in modum conclavis 
fere usque ad tectum assurgente quae velo serico nigro 
obligatur." This author, then, agrees with my Persian 
friends, who declare the sepulchre to be a marble 
slab. Ibn Jubayr, who travelled a.h. 580, relates that 
the Prophet's coffin is a box of ebony (abnus) covered 
with sandal-wood, and plated with silver; it is placed, 
he says, behind a curtain, and surrounded by an iron 
grating. El Samanhudi, quoted by Burckhardt, de- 
clares that the curtain covers a square building of 
black stones, in the interior of which are the tombs of 
Mohammed and his two immediate successors. He 
adds that the tombs are deep holes, and that the coffin 
which contains the Prophet is cased with silver, and 
has on the top a marble slab inscribed "Bismillah! 
Allahumma salli alayh!" ("In the name of Allah! Allah 
have Mercy upon Him!") 

The Prophet's body, it should be remembered, lies, 
or is supposed to lie, stretched at full length on the 



right side, with the right palm supporting the right 
cheek, the face fronting Meccah, as Moslems are al- 
ways buried, and consequently the body lies with the 
head almost due West and the feet due East. Close 
behind him is placed Abubekr, whose face fronts the 
Prophet's shoulder, and lastly Omar holds the same 
position with re- r — be thus disposed. 

spect to his prede- 
cessor. The places 
they are usually 
supposed to oc- 
cupy, then, would 

But Moslem his- 
torians are not 
agreed even upon 
so simple a point 
as this. Many 


prefer this position, in line [ [; some thus in unicorn, 


and others the right angle, 



vulgar story of the suspended coffin has been ex- 
plained in two ways. Niebuhr supposes it to have 
arisen from the rude drawings sold to strangers. Mr. 
William Bankes (Giovanni Finati, vol. n. p. 289) be- 
lieves that the Sakhrah or rock popularly described as 
hanging unsupported in the mosque of Omar at Jeru- 
salem was confounded by Christians, who could not 
have seen either of these Moslem shrines, with the 
Prophet's Tomb at El Medinah. 

It is popularly asserted that in the Hujrah there is 
now spare place for only a single grave, reserved for 
Isa bin Maryam after his second coming. The historians 
of El Islam are full of tales proving that though many 
of their early saints, as Osman the Caliph and Hasan 


the Imam, were desirous of being buried there, and 
that although Ayisha, to whom the room belonged, 
willingly acceded to their wishes, son of man has as 
yet been unable to occupy it. 

After the Fatihah pronounced at Omar's tomb, and 
the short inspection of the Hujrah, Shayhk Hamid led 
me round the south-east corner of the baldaquin. 
Turning towards the north we stopped at what is com- 
monly called the Mahbat Jibrail ("Place of the Arch- 
angel Gabriel's Descent with the Heavenly Revela- 
tions"), or simply El Malaikah — the Angels. It is a 
small window in the eastern wall of the mosque; we 
turned our backs upon it, and fronting the Hujrah, 
recited the following prayer: — 

"Peace be upon You, Ye Angels of Allah, the 
Mukarrabin (cherubs), and the Musharrifin (seraphs), 
the pure, the holy, honored by the Dwellers in Heaven, 
and by those who abide upon the Earth. O beneficent 
Lord! O Long-suffering! O Almighty! O Pitier! O 
Thou Compassionate One! perfect our Light, and 
pardon our Sins, and accept Penitence for our Of- 
fences, and cause us to die among the Holy! Peace 
be upon Ye, Angels of the Merciful, one and all! 
And the Mercy of God and His Blessings be upon 
You!" After which I was shown the spot in the 
Hujrah where Sayyidna Isa shall be buried by Mo- 
hammed's side. 

Then turning towards the west, at a point where 
there is a break in the symmetry of the Hujrah, we 
arrived at the sixth station, the sepulchre or cenotaph 


of the Lady Fatimah. Her grave is outside the en- 
ceinte and the curtain which surrounds her father's 
remains: so strict is Moslem decorum, and so exalted 
its opinion of the "Virgin's" delicacy. The eastern 
side of the Hujrah, here turning a little westward, in- 
terrupts the shape of the square, in order to give this 
spot the appearance of disconnection with the rest of 
the building. The tomb, seen through a square aper- 
ture like those above described, is a long catafalque, 
covered with a black pall. Though there is great 
doubt whether the Lady be not buried with her son 
Hasan in the Bakia cemetery, this place is always 
visited by the pious Moslem. The following is the 
prayer opposite the grave of the amiable Fatimah: — 

"Peace be upon Thee, Daughter of the Messenger 
of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, Daughter of the 
Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, Thou Daughter 
of Mustafa! Peace be upon Thee, Thou Mother of 
the Shurafa! (seed of the Prophet). Peace be upon 
Thee, O Lady amongst Women! Peace be upon Thee, 
O fifth of the Ahl El Kisa!* Peace be upon Thee, 
O Zahra and Batul! (pure and virgin). Peace be upon 
Thee, O Daughter of the Prophet! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Spouse of our Lord Ali El Murtaza! Peace 
be upon Thee, O Mother of Hasan and Husayn, the 
two Moons, the two Lights, the two Pearls, the two 
Princes of the Youth of Heaven, and Coolness of the 

* The "people of the garment," so called, because on one occasion the 
Prophet wrapped his cloak around himself, his daughter, his son-in-law, and his 
two grandsons, thereby separating them in dignity from other Moslems. 


Eyes (i. e. joy and gladness) of true Believers! Peace 
be upon Thee and upon Thy Sire, El Mustafa, and 
Thy Husband, our Lord Ali! Allah honor His face, 
and Thy Face, and Thy Father's Face in Paradise, 
and Thy two Sons the Hasanayn! And the Mercy of 
Allah and His Blessings!" 

We then broke away as we best could from the 
crowd of female "askers," who have established their 
Lares and Penates under the shadow of the Lady's 
wing, and, advancing a few paces, we fronted to the 
north, and recited a prayer in honor of Hamzah, and 
the martyrs who lie buried at the foot of Mount 
Ohod. We then turned to the right, and, fronting 
the easterly wall, prayed for the souls of the blessed 
whose mortal spirits repose within El Bakia's hallowed 

After this we returned to the southern wall of the 
Mosque, and, facing towards Meccah, we recited the 
following supplication: — "O Allah! (three times re- 
peated) O Compassionate! O Beneficent! O Requiter 
(of good and evil)! O Prince! O Ruler! O ancient of 
Benefits! O Omniscient! O Thou who givest when 
asked, and who aidest when Aid is required, accept 
this our Visitation, and preserve us from Dangers, and 
make easy our Affairs, and expand our Chests (gladden 
our hearts), and receive our Prostration, and requite 
us according to our good Deeds, and turn not our 
evil Deeds against us, and place not over us one who 
feareth not Thee, and one who pitieth not us, and 
write Safety and Health upon us and upon Thy Slaves, 


the Hujjaj (pilgrims), and the Ghuzzat (fighters for the 
faith), and the Zawwar (visitors to the tomb), and the 
Home-dwellers and the Wayfarers of the Moslems, by 
Land and by Sea, and pardon those of the Faith of 
our Lord Mohammed One and All!" 

From the southern wall we returned to the "Prophet's 
Window," where we recited the following tetrastich and 

" O Mustafa ! verily, I stand at Thy Door, 
A man, weak and fearful, by reason of my Sins : 
If Thou aid me not, O Prophet of Allah ! 
I die — for, in the World there is none generous as Thou art ! " 

"Of a Truth, Allah and His Angels bless the 
Prophet! O Ye who believe, bless Him and salute Him 
with Salutation! O Allah! verily I implore Thy Par- 
don, and supplicate Thine Aid in this World as in 
the next! O Allah! O Allah! abandon us not in this 
Holy Place to the consequences of our Sins without 
pardoning them, or to our Griefs without consoling 
them, or to our fears, O Allah! without removing them. 
And Blessings and Salutation to Thee, O Prince of 
Prophets, Commissioned (to preach the Word), and 
praise to Allah the Lord of the (three) Worlds!" 

We turned away from the Hujrah, and after grati- 
fying a meek-looking but exceedingly importunate 
Hindi beggar, who insisted on stunning me with the 
Chapter Y, S., we fronted southwards, and taking care 
that our backs should not be in a line with the 
Prophet's face, stood opposite the niche called Mihrab 
Osman. There Hamid proceeded with another sup- 
plication. a O Allah! (three times repeated), O Safe- 


guard of the Fearful, and Defender of those who trust 
in Thee, and Pitier of the Weak, the Poor, and the 
Destitute! accept us, O Beneficent! and pardon us, O 
Merciful! and receive our Penitence, O Compassionate! 
and have Mercy upon us, O Forgiver! — for verily none 
but Thou can remit Sin! Of a Truth Thou alone 
knowest the hidden and veilest Man's Transgressions: 
veil, then, our Offences, and pardon our Sins, and ex- 
pand our Chests, and cause our last Words at the 
Supreme Hour of Life to be the Words, * There is no 
god but Allah, and our Lord Mohammed is the Mes- 
senger of Allah !' O Allah! cause us to live according 
to this Saying, O Thou Giver of Life; and make us 
to die in this Faith, O Thou Ruler of Death! And 
the best of Blessings and the completest of Saluta- 
tions upon the sole Lord of Intercession, our Lord 
Mohammed and His Family, and His Companions One 
and All!" 

Lastly, we retured to the Garden, and prayed an- 
other two-bow prayer, ending, as we began, with the 

worship of the Creator. 

* *• # * # * 

Unfortunately for me, the boy Mohammed had 
donned that grand embroidered coat. At the end of 
the ceremony the Aghas, or eunuchs of the Mosque, a 
race of men considered respectable by their office, and 
prone to make themselves respected by the freest ad- 
ministration of club-law, assembled in El Rauzah to 
offer me the congratulation "Ziyaratak Mubarak" — 
"Blessed be thy Visitation," — and to demand fees. 


Then came the Sakka, or water-carrier of the Mosque 
well, Zem Zem, offering a tinned saucer filled from the 
holy source. And lastly I was beset by beggars, — 
some, mild beggars and picturesque who sat upon the 
ground immersed in the contemplation of their nap- 
kins; others, angry beggars who cursed if they were 
not gratified; and others noisy and petulant beggars, 
especially the feminine party near the Lady's tomb, 
who captured me by the skirt of my garment, com- 
pelling me to ransom myself. There were, besides, 
pretty beggars, boys who held out the right hand on 
the score of good looks; ugly beggars, emaciated 
rascals whose long hair, dirt, and leanness entitled 
them to charity; and lastly, the blind, the halt, and the 
diseased, who, as Sons of the Holy City, demanded 
from the Faithful that support with which they could 
not provide themselves. Having been compelled by 
my companions, highly against my inclination, to be- 
come a man of rank, I was obliged to pay in propor- 
tion, and my almoner in the handsome coat, as usual, 
took a kind of pride in being profuse. This first visit 
cost me double what I had intended — four dollars — 
nearly one pound sterling, and never afterwards could 
I pay less than half that sum. 

Having now performed all the duties of a good 
Zair, I was permitted by Shaykh Hamid to wander 
about and see the sights. We began our circum- 
ambulation at the Bab el Salam — the Gate of Salvation 
— the south-western entrance pierced in the long wall 
of the Mosque. It is a fine archway handsomely in- 


crusted with marble and glazed tiles; the many gilt 
inscriptions on its sides give it, especially at night- 
time, an appearance of considerable splendor. The 
portcullis-like doors are of wood, strengthened with 
brass plates, and nails of the same metal. Outside this 
gate is a little Sabil, or public fountain, where those 
who will not pay for the water, kept ready in large 
earthen jars by the "Sakka" of the Mosque, perform 
their ablutions gratis. Here all the mendicants con- 
gregate in force, sitting on the outer steps and at the 
entrance of the Mosque, up and through which the 
visitors must pass. 

About the centre of the western wall is the Bab el 
Rahmah — the Gate of Mercy. It admits the dead 
bodies of the Faithful when carried to be prayed over 
in the Mosque; there is nothing remarkable in its ap- 
pearance; in common with the other gates it has huge 
folding doors, iron-bound, an external flight of steps, 
and a few modern inscriptions. 

The Bab Mejidi, or Gate of the Sultan Abd el 
Mejid, stands in the centre of the northern wall; like 
its portico, it is unfinished, but its present appearance 
promises that it will eclipse all except the Bab el 

The Bab el Nisa or Gate of Women, is in the 
eastern wall opposite the Bab el Rahmah, with which 
it is connected by the "Farsh el Hajar, a broad band 
of stone, two or three steps below the level of the 
portico, and slightly raised above the Sahn or the 
hypaethral portion of the Mosque. And lastly, in the 


southern portion of the same eastern wall is the Bab 
Jibrail, the Gate of the Archangel Gabriel. 

All these entrances are arrived at by short external 
flights of steps leading from the streets, as the base of 
the temple, unlike that of Meccah, is a little higher 
than the foundations of the buildings around it. The 
doors are closed by the attendant eunuchs immediately 
after the night prayers, except during the blessed 
month El Ramazan and in the pilgrimage season, 
when pious visitors pay considerable fees to pass the 
night there in meditation and prayer. 

The minarets are five in number; but one, the 
Shikayliyyah, at the north-west angle of the building, 
has been levelled, and is still in process of being re- 
built. The Munar Bab el Salam stands by the gate 
of that name: it is a tall handsome tower surmounted 
by a large ball or cone* of brass gilt or burnished. 
The Munar Bab el Rahmah, about the centre of the 
western wall, is of more simple form than the others: 
it has two galleries with the superior portion circular, 
and surmounted by the conical "extinguisher" roof so 
common in Turkey and Egypt. On the north-east 
angle of the Mosque stands the Sulaymaniyah Munar, 
so named after its founder, Sultan Sulayman the 
Magnificent. It is a well-built and substantial stone 
tower divided into three stages; the two lower por- 
tions are polygonal, the upper cylindrical, and each 
terminates in a platform with a railed gallery carried 

* By some wonderful process the "Printer's Devil" converted, in the first 
edition, this ball or cone into a "bull or cow." 


all round for the protection of those who ascend. And 
lastly, from the south-east angle of the Mosque, sup- 
posed to be upon the spot where Belal, the Prophet's 
loud-lunged crier, called the first Moslems to prayer, 
springs the Munar Raisiyah, so called because it is 
appropriated to the Ruasa or chiefs of the Muezzins. 
Like the Sulaymaniyah, it consists of three parts: the 
first and second stages are polygonal, and the third 
a cylinder is furnished like the lower two with a railed 
gallery. Both the latter minarets end in solid ovals of 
masonry, from which project a number of wooden 
triangles. To these and to the galleries on all festive 
occasions, such as the arrival of the Damascus caravan, 
are hung oil lamps — a poor attempt at illumination, 
which may rationally explain the origin of the Medinite 
superstition concerning the column of light which 
crowns [the Prophet's tomb. There is no uniformity 
in the shape or the size of these four minarets, and at 
first sight, despite their beauty and grandeur, they ap- 
pear somewhat bizarre and misplaced. But after a few 
days I found that my eye grew accustomed to them, 
and I had no difficulty in appreciating their massive 
proportions and lofty forms. 

Equally irregular are the Riwaks, or porches, sur- 
rounding the hypsethral court. Along the northern 
wall there will be, when finished, a fine colonnade of 
granite, paved with marble. The eastern Riwak has 
three rows of pillars, the western four, and the southern, 
under which stands the tomb, of course has its columns 
ranged deeper than all the others. These supports of 



the building are of different material; some of fine 
marble, others of rough stone merely plastered over 
and painted with the most vulgar of arabesques — ver- 
milion and black in irregular patches, and broad 
streaks like the stage face of a London clown. Their 
size moreover is different, the southern colonnade being 
composed of pillars palpably larger than those in the 
other parts of the Mosque. Scarcely any two shafts 
have similar capitals; many have no pedestal, and 
some of them are cut with a painful ignorance of art. 
1 cannot extend my admiration of the minarets to the 
columns — in their "architectural lawlessness" there is 
not a redeeming point. 

Of these unpraisable pillars three are celebrated in 
the annals of El Islam, for which reason their names 
are painted upon them, and five others enjoy the 
honor of distinctive appellations. The first is called 
El Mukhallak, because, on some occasion of impurity, 
it was anointed with a perfume called Khaluk. It is 
near the Mihrab el Nabawi , on the right of the place 
where the Imam prays, and it notes the spot where, 
before the invention of the pulpit, the Prophet, leaning 
upon the Ustuwanat el Hannanah — the Weeping Pillar 
— used to recite the Khutbah or Friday sermon. 

The second stands third from the pulpit, and third 
from the Hujrah. It is called the Pillar of Ayisha, 
also the Ustuwanat el Kurah, or the Column of Lots, 
because the Prophet, according to the testimony of his 
favourite wife, declared that if men knew the value of 
the place, they would cast lots to pray there: in some 


books it is known as the Pillar of the Muhajirin or 
Fugitives, and others mention it as El Mukhallak — the 

Twenty cubits distant from Ayisha's Pillar, and the 
second from the Hujrah and the fourth from the pul- 
pit, is the Pillar of Repentance, or of Abu Lubabah. 
It derives its name from the following circumstance. 
Abu LuBabah was a native of El Medinah, one of the 
Auxiliaries and a companion of Mohammed, originally 
it is said a Jew, according to others of the Beni Amr 
bin Auf of the Aus tribe. Being sent for by his kins- 
men or his allies, the Benu Kurayzah, at that time 
capitulating to Mohammed, he was consulted by the 
distracted tribe: men, women and children threw them- 
selves at his feet, and begged of him to intercede for 
them with the offended Prophet. Abu Lubabah swore 
he would do so: at the same time, he drew his hand 
across his throat, as much as to say, "Defend your- 
selves to the last, for if you yield, such is your doom." 
Afterwards repenting, he bound himself with a huge 
chain to the date-tree in whose place the column now 
stands, vowing to continue there until Allah and the 
Prophet accepted his penitence — a circumstance which 
did not take place till the tenth day, when his hearing 
was gone and he had almost lost his sight. 

The less celebrated pillars are the Ustuwanat Sarir, 
or Column of the Cot, where the Prophet was wont to 
sit meditating on his humble couch-frame of date- 
sticks. The Ustuwanat Ali notes the spot where the 
fourth caliph used to pray and watch near his father- 

x , 


in-law at night. At the Ustuwanat el Wufud, as its 
name denotes, the Prophet received envoys, couriers, 
and emissaries from foreign places. The Ustuwanat 
el Tahajjud now stands where Mohammed, sitting upon 
his mat, passed the night in prayer. And lastly is the 
Makam Jibrail (Gabriel's place), for whose other name, 
Mirba'at el Ba'ir, "the Pole of the Beast of Burden," I 
have been unable to find an explanation. 

The four Riwaks, or porches, of the Medinah 
Mosque open upon a hypaethral court of parallelo- 
grammic shape. The only remarkable object in it is 
a square of wooden railing enclosing a place full of 
well-watered earth, called the Garden of our Lady 
! Fatimah. It now contains a dozen date-trees — in Ibn 
Jubayr's time there were fifteen. Their fruit is sent 
by the eunuchs as presents to the Sultan and the great 
men of El Islam; it is highly valued by the vulgar, 
: but the Olema do not think much of its claims to im- 
portance. Among the palms are the venerable remains 
: of a Sidr, or Lote tree (Rhamnus Nabeca, Forsk.), whose 
produce is sold for inordinate sums. The enclosure 
is entered by a dwarf gate in the south-eastern portion 
of the railing, nearer the well, and one of the eunuchs 
is generally to be seen there: it is under the charge of 
the Mudir, or chief treasurer. These gardens are not 
uncommon in Mosques, as the traveller who passes 
through Cairo can convince himself. They form a 
pretty and an appropriate feature in a building erected 
for the worship of Him "who spread the Earth with 
Carpets of Flowers and drew shady Trees from the 

Mecca and Medina. II. 4 


dead Ground ." A tradition of the Prophet also de- 
clares that "acceptable is Devotion in the Garden and 
in the Orchard." 

At the south-east angle of this enclosure, under a 
wooden roof supported by pillars of the same material, 
stands the Zem Zem, generally called the Bir el Nabi, 
or "the Prophet's well." My predecessor declares that 
the brackishness of its produce has stood in the way 
of its reputation for holiness. Yet a well educated 
man told me that it was as "light" (wholesome) water 
as any in El Medinah, — a fact which he accounted 
for by supposing a subterraneous passage which con- 
nects it with the great Zem Zem at Meccah. Others, 
again, believe that it is rilled by a vein of water 
springing directly under the Prophet's grave : generally, 
however, among the learned it is not more revered 
than our Lady's Garden, nor is it ranked in books 
among the holy wells of El Medinah. 

Between this Zem Zem and the eastern Riwak 
is the Stoa, or Academia, of the Prophet's city. In the 
cool mornings and evenings the ground is strewed 
with professors, who teach the young idea, as an 
eminent orientalist hath it, to shout rather than to 
shoot. A few feet to the south of the palm garden is 
a moveable wooden planking painted green, and about 
three feet high; it serves to separate the congregation 
from the Imam when he prays here; and at the north- 
eastern angle of the enclosure is a Shajar Kanadil, a 
large brass chandelier which completes the furniture 
of the court: 


After this inspection, the shadows of evening began 
to gather round us. We left the Mosque, reverently 
taking care to issue forth with the left foot and not 
to back out of it as is the Sunnat or practice derived 
from the Prophet, when taking leave of the Meccan 

To conclude this long chapter. Although every 
Moslem, learned and simple, firmly believes that Mo- 
hammed's remains are interred in the Hujrah at El 
Medinah, I cannot help suspecting that the place is 
doubtful as that of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. 
It must be remembered that a tumult followed the an- 
nouncement of the Prophet's death, when the people, 
as often happens, believing him to be immortal, re- 
fused to credit the report, and even Omar threatened 
destruction to any one that asserted it. Moreover the 
body was scarcely cold when the contest about the 
succession arose between the fugitives of Meccah and 
the auxiliaries of El Medinah: in the ardour of which, 
according to the Shiahs, the house of Ali and Fatimah, 
— within a few feet of the spot where the tomb of the 
Prophet is now placed — was threatened with fire, and 
Abubekr was elected caliph that same evening. If 
any one find cause to wonder that the last resting- 
place of a personage so important was not fixed for 
ever he may find many a parallel case in El Medinah. 
To quote no other, three several localities claim the 
honor of containing the Lady Fatimah's mortal spoils, 
although one might suppose that the daughter of the 
Prophet and the mother of the Imams would not be 



laid in an unknown grave. My reasons for incredulity 
are the following: 

From the earliest days the shape of the Prophet's 
tomb has never been generally known in El Islam. 
For this reason it is that graves are made convex in 
some countries, and flat in others: had there been a 
Sunnat, such would not have been the case. 

The accounts of the learned are discrepant. El 
Samanhudi, perhaps the highest authority, contradicts 
himself. In one place he describes the coffin; in an- 
other he expressly declares that he entered the Hujrah 
when it was being repaired by Kaid Bey, and saw in 
the inside three deep graves, but no traces of tombs. 
Either, then, the mortal remains of the Prophet had — 
despite Moslem superstition — mingled with the dust, 
a probable circumstance after nearly 900 years' inter- 
ment, or, what is more likely, they had been removed 
by the Shiah schismatics who for centuries had charge 
of the sepulchre.* 

And lastly, I cannot but look upon the tale of the 
blinding light which surrounds the Prophet's tomb, 
current for ages past and still universally believed 
upon the authority of the attendant eunuchs, who must 
know its falsehood, as a priestly gloss intended to 
conceal a defect. 

I here conclude the subject, committing it to some 
future and more favored investigator. In offering the 

* Note to Third Edition. I have lately been assured by Mohammed el 
Halabi, Shaykh el Olema of Damascus, that he was permitted by the Aghawat 
to pass through the gold-plated door leading into the Hujrah and that he saw- 
no trace of a sepulchre. 


above remarks, I am far from wishing to throw a 
doubt upon an established point of history. But where 
a suspicion of fable arises from popular "facts," a 
knowledge of a man and of his manners teaches us to 
regard it with favoring eye.* 

* In these pages I have often translated Rasul Allah by the popular 
i( Prophet of Allah." The reader, however, is warned that the word means 
"one sent," i. e. an Apostle, and that Mohammed repeatedly and absolutely 
disclaimed powers of prophecy and of miracle-mongering. Those who call him. 
the "false prophet" little know his character. 



An Essay towards the History of the Prophet's Mosque. 

Ibn Abbas has informed the world that when the 
eighty individuals composing Noah's family issued 
from the ark, they settled at a place distant 10 marches 
and 12 parasangs (36 — 48 miles) from Babel or Ba- 
bylon. There they increased and multiplied and spread 
into a mighty empire. At length under the rule of 
Namrud (Nimrod), son or Kana'an (Canaan), son of 
Ham, they lapsed from the worship of the true God: 
a miracle dispersed them into distant parts of the 
earth, and they were further broken up by the one 
primaeval language being divided into seventy-two 
dialects. A tribe called Aulad Sam bin Nuh (the 
children of Shem), or Amalikah and Amalik, from 
their ancestor Amlak bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin 
Nuh, was inspired with a knowledge of the Arabic 
tongue: it settled at El Medinah, and was the first to 
cultivate the ground and to plant palm trees. In 
course cf time these people extended over the whole 
tract between the seas of El Hejaz (the Red Sea) and 
El Oman (north-western part of the Indian Ocean), 
and they became the progenitors of the Jababirah 
(Tyrants or "Giants") of Syria as well as the Fara'inah 
(Pharaohs) - of Egypt. Under these Amalik such was 


the age of man that during the space of 400 years a 
bier would not be seen, nor could "keening" be 
heard in their cities. 

In this wild tradition we find a confirmation of the 
sound geographical opinion which makes Arabia "une 
des pepini£res du genre humain" (M. Jomard). It 
must be remembered that the theatre of all earliest 
civilisation has been a fertile valley with a navigable 
itream, like Sind, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The 
existence of such a spot in Arabia would have altered 
e/ery page of her history; she would then have be- 
- come a centre, not a source of civilisation. Strabo's 
Malothes River in Yemen is therefore a myth. As it 
is, the immense population of the peninsula — still thick, 
even in the "deserts" — has, from the earliest ages, 
beei impelled by drought, famine, or desire of con- 
que.t, to emigrate into happier regions. All history 
menions two main streams which took their rise in 
the vilds: — the first set to the north-east, through 
Persii, Mekran, Beluchistan, Sind, the Afghan Moun- 
tains, as far as Samarcand, Bokhara, and Tibet; the 
other, flowing towards the north-west, passed through 
Egypt and Barbary into Etruria, Spain, the Isles of the 
Mediteranean, and southern France. There are two 
minor ^migrations chronicled in history, and written 
in the ndelible characters of physiognomy and phi- 
lology. One of these set in an exiguous but peren- 
nial strezn towards India, especially Malabar, where, 
mixing wth the people of the country, the Arab mer- 
chants be.ome the progenitors of the Moplah race. 


The other was a partial emigration, also for com- 
mercial purposes, to the coast of Berberah, in Eastern 
Africa, where, mixing with the Galla tribes, the people 
of Hazramaut became the sires of the extensive Somali 
and Sawahil nations. Thus w r e have from Arabia foun 
different lines of emigration, tending N.E. and S.E., 
N.W. and S.W. 

At some future time I hope to develop this curioui 
but somewhat obscure portion of Arabian history. J 
bears upon a most interesting subject, and serves t> 
explain, by the consanguinity of races, the marvellois 
celerity with which the faith of El Islam spread fron 
the Pillars of Hercules to the confines of China — en- 
bracing part of Southern Europe, the whole of Northern 
and a portion of Central Africa, and at least thiee- 
fourths of the continent of Asia. 

The last king of the Amalik, "Arkam bin elAr- 
kam," was, according to most authors, slain ly an 
army of the children of Israel sent by Moses after the 
Exodus, with orders thoroughly to purge Meccal and 
El Medinah of its Infidel inhabitants. All the tribe 
was destroyed, with the exception of the women, the 
children, and a youth of the royal family, wh)se ex- 
traordinary beauty persuaded the invaders to spire him 
pending a reference to the Prophet. When tie army 
returned, they found that Moses had died diring the 
expedition, and they were received with reprotches by 
the people for having violated his express (pmmand. 
The soldiers, unwilling to live with their ofn nation 


under this reproach, returned to El Hejaz, and settled 

Moslem authors are agreed that after the Amalik, 
the Benu Israel ruled in the Holy Land of Arabia, but 
the learned in history are not agreed upon the cause 
of their emigration. According to some, when Moses 
was returning from a pilgrimage to Meccah, a multitude 
of his followers, seeing in El Medinah the signs of 
the city which, according to the Taurat, or Pentateuch, 
should hear the preaching of the last Prophet, settled 
there and were joined by many Bedawin of the neigh- 
bourhood who conformed to the law of Moses. Ibn 
Shaybah also informs us that when Moses and Aaron 
were wending northwards from Meccah, they, being 
in fear of certain Jews settled at El Medinah, did not 
enter the city, but pitched their tents on Mount Ohod. 
Aaron being about to die, Moses dug his tomb, and 
said, "Brother, thine hour is come! turn thy face to 
the next world!" Aaron entered the grave, lay at full 
length, and immediately expired, upon which the Jewish 
lawgiver covered him with earth, and went his way 
towards the Promised Land. 

Abu Hurayrah asserted that the Benii Israel, after 
long searching, settled in El Medinah, because, when 
driven from Palestine by the invasion of Bukht el 
Nasr (Nebuchadnezzar), they found in their books that 
the last Prophet would manifest himself in a town of 
the towns of Arabiyah, called Zat Nakhl, or the "place 
of palm trees." Some of the sons of Aaron occupied 
the city; other tribes settled at Khaybar, and in the 


neighbourhood, building " Utum," or square, flat-roofed, 
stone castles for habitation and defence. They left an 
order to their descendants that Mohammed should be 
favourably received, but Allah hardened their hearts 
unto their own destruction. Like asses they turned 
their backs upon Allah's mercy,* and the consequence 
is, that they have been rooted out bf the land. The 
Tarikh Tabari declares that when Bukht el Nasr, after 
destroying Jerusalem, attacked and slew the king of 
Egypt, who had given an asylum to a remnant of the 
house of Israel, the persecuted fugitives made their 
way into El Hejaz, settled near Yasrib (El Medinah), 
where they founded several towns, Khaybar, Fadak, 
Wady el Subu', Wady el Kura, Kurayzah, and many 
others. It appears, then, by the concurrence of his- 
torians, that the Jews at an early time either colonised, 
or supplanted the Amalik at, El Medinah. 

At length the Israelites fell away from the worship 
of the one God, who raised up against them the Arab 
tribes of Aus and Khazraj, the progenitors of the 
modern Ansar. Both these tribes claimed a kindred 
origin, and Yemen as the land of their nativity. The 
circumstances of their emigration are thus described. 
The descendants of Yarab bin Kahtan, bin Shalik, bin 
Arfakhshad, bin Sam, bin Nuh, kinsmen to the Amalik, 
inhabited in prosperity the land of Saba. Their sway 
extended two months' journey from the dyke of Mareb, 
near the modern capital of Yemen, as far as Syria, 

* When the Arabs see the ass* turn tail to the wind and rain, they exclaim, 
" Lo ! he turneth his back upon the mercy of Allah ! 


and incredible tales are told of their hospitality and 
the fertility of their land. As usual, their hearts were 
perverted by prosperity. They begged Allah to relieve 
them from the troubles of extended empire and the 
duties of hospitality by diminishing their possessions. 
The consequence of their impious supplications was 
the well-known flood of Irem. The chief of the de- 
scendants of Kahtan bin Saba* one of the ruling 
families in Yemen, was one Amru bin Amin Ma-el- 
Sama, called "El Muzaykayh" from his rending in 
pieces every, garment once worn. His wife Tarikah 
Himyariah, being skilled in divination, foresaw the 
fatal event, and warned her husband, who, unwilling 
to break from his tribe without an excuse, contrived 
the following stratagem. He privily ordered his 
adopted son, an orphan, to dispute with him, and 
strike him in the face at a feast composed of the prin- 
cipal persons in the kingdom. The disgrace of such 
a scene afforded him a pretext for selling off his pro- 
perty, and, followed by his thirteen sons, — all borne 
to him by his wife Tarikah, — and others of the tribe, 
Amru emigrated northwards. The little party, thus 
preserved from the Yemenian Deluge, was destined by 
Allah to become the forefathers of the Auxiliaries of 
his chosen Prophet. 

All the children of Amru thus dispersed into dif- 
ferent parts of Arabia. His eldest son, Salabah bin 
Amru, chose El Hejaz, settled at El Medinah, then in 
the hands of the impious Beni Israel, and became the 
father of the Aus and Khazraj, In course of time 3 


the new comers were made by Allah an instrument 
of vengeance against the disobedient Jews. Of the 
latter people the two tribes Kurayzah and Nazir 
claimed certain feudal rights (well-known to Europe) 
upon all occasions of Arab marriages. The Aus and 
the Khazraj, after enduring this indignity for a time, 
at length had recourse to one of their kinsmen, who, 
when the family dispersed, had settled in Syria. Abu 
Jubaylah, thus summoned, marched an army to El 
Medinah, avenged the honor of his blood, and de- 
stroyed the power of the Jews, who from that moment 
became Mawali, or clients to the Arabs. 

For a time the tribes of Aus and Khazraj, freed 
from the common enemy, lived in peace and harmony. 
At last they fell into feuds and fought with fratricidal 
strife, until the coming of the Prophet effected a re- 
conciliation between them. This did not take place, 
however, before the Khazraj, at the battle of Buas 
(about a. d. 615), received a decided defeat from 
the Aus. 

It is also related, to prove how El Medinah was 
predestined to a high fate, that nearly three centuries 
before the siege of the town by Abu Jubaylah, the 
Tobba el Asghar marched northward, at the requisi- 
tion of the Aus and Khazraj tribes, in order to punish 
the Jews; or according to others, at the request of the 
Jews to revenge them upon the Aus and Khazraj. 
After capturing the town, he left one of his sons to 
govern it, and marched onwards to conquer Syria 
and El Irak. Suddenly informed that the people of 


El Medinah had treacherously murdered their new- 
prince, the exasperated Tobba returned and attacked 
the place, and when his horse was killed under him, 
he swore that he would never decamp before razing it 
to the ground. Whereupon tw T o Jewish priests, Ka'ab 
and Assayd, went over to him and informed him that 
it was not in the power of man to destroy the town, 
it being preserved by Allah, as their books proved, 
for the refuge of his Prophet, the descendant of Ish- 
mael. The Tobba Judaized. Taking 400 of the 
priests with him he departed from El Medinah, per- 
formed pilgrimage to the Kaabah of Meccah, which he 
invested with a splendid covering,* and, after erecting 
a house for the expected Prophet, he returned to his 
capital in Yemen, where he abolished idolatry by the 
ordeal of fire. He treated his priestly guests with par- 
ticular attention, and on his death-bed he wrote the 
following tetrastich: — 

" I testify of Ahmed that he of a truth 
Is a prophet from Allah, the Maker of souls. 
Be my age extended into his age, 
I would be to him a Wazir and a cousin. 

Then sealing the paper he committed it to the charge 
of the High Priest, with a solemn injunction to deliver 

* If this be true it proves that the Jews of El Hejaz had in those days a 
superstitious reverence for the Kaabah ; otherwise the Tobba, after conforming 
to the law of Moses, would not have shown it this mark of respect. Moreover 
there is a legend that the same Rabbis dissuaded the Tobba from plundering the 
sacred piace when he was treacherously advised so to do by the Benu Hudayl 

I have lately perused "The Worship of Baalem in Israel," based upon the 
work of Dr. R. Dozy. "The Israelites in Mecca," By Dr. H. Oort. Translated 
from the Dutch, and enlarged, with Notes and Appendices, by the Right Rev. 


the letter, should an opportunity offer, into the hands 
of the great Prophet; and that if the day be distant, 
the missive should be handed down from generation 
to generation till it reached the person to whom it 
was addressed. The house founded by him at El Me- 
dinah was committed to a priest of whose descendants 
was Abu Ayyub the Ansari, the first person over 
whose threshold the Prophet passed when he ended 
the flight. Abu Ayyub had also charge of the Tobba's 
letter, so that, after three or four centuries, it arrived 
at its destination. 

El Medinah was ever well inclined to Mohammed. 
In the early part of his career, the emissaries of a 
tribe called the Benu Abd el Ashhal came from that 
town to Meccah, in order to make a treaty with the 
Kuraysh, and the Prophet seized the opportunity of 
preaching El Islam to them. His words were seconded 
by Ayyas bin Ma'az, a youth of the tribe, and opposed 
by the chiefs of the embassy, who, however, returned 
home without pledging themselves to either party. 
Shortly afterwards a body of the Aus and the Khazraj 
came to the pilgrimage of Meccah; when the Prophet 
began preaching to them, they recognised the person 
so long expected by the Jews, and swore to him an 
oath which is called in Moslem history the "First 

John William Colenso, D.D. (Longmans). I can see no reason why Meccah 
or Beccah should be made to mean "A slaughter," why the Kaabah should be 
founded by the Simeonites , why the Hajj should be the Feast of Trumpets, 
and other assertions, in which everything seems to be taken for granted except 
etymology which is tortured into confession. If Meccah had been founded by 
the Simeonites why did the Guebres and the Hindus respect it ? 


Fealty of the Steep." After the six individuals who 
had thus pledged themselves returned to their native 
city, the event being duly bruited abroad caused such 
an effect that when the next pilgrimage season came, 
twelve, or according to others forty persons, led by 
Asad bin Zararah, accompanied the original converts, 
and in the same place swore the "Second Fealty of 
the Steep." The Prophet dismissed them in company 
with one Musab bin Umayr, a Meccan, charged to 
teach them the Koran and their religious duties, which 
in those times consisted only of prayer and the pro- 
fession of unity. They arrived at El Medinah on a 
Friday, and this was the first day on which the city 
witnessed the public devotions of the Moslems. 

After some persecutions Musab had the fortune to 
convert a cousin of Asad bin Zararah , a chief of the 
Aus, Sa'ad bin Ma'az, whose opposition had been of 
the fiercest. He persuaded his tribe, the Benii Abd el 
Ashhal, to break their idols and openly to profess El 
Islam. The next season, Musab having made many 
converts, some say seventy, others three hundred, 
marched from El Medinah to Meccah for the pil- 
grimage, and there induced his followers to meet the 
Prophet at midnight upon the steep near Muna. Mo- 
hammed preached to them their duties towards Allah 
and himself, especially insisting upon the necessity of 
warring down infidelity. They pleaded ancient treaties 
with the Jews of El Medinah, and showed apprehen- 
sion lest the Prophet, after bringing them into disgrace 
with their fellows, should desert them and return to 


the faith of his kinsmen the Kuraysh. Mohammed, 
smiling, comforted them with the assurance that he was 
with them, body and soul, for ever. Upon this they 
asked him what would be their reward if slain. The 
Prophet replied "Gardens 'neath which the streams 
flow" — that is to say, Paradise. 

Then, in spite of the advice of El Abbas, Moham- 
med's uncle, who was loud in his denunciations, they 
bade the preacher stretch out his hand, and upon it 
swore the oath known as the "Great Fealty of the 
Steep." After comforting them with an Ayat, or 
Koranic verse, which promised heaven to them, Mo- 
hammed divided his followers into twelve parties, and 
placing a chief at the head of each, dismissed them to 
their homes. He rejected the offer made by one of 
the party — namely, to slay all the idolaters present at 
the pilgrimage — saying that Allah had favored him 
with no such order. For the same reason he refused 
their invitation to visit El Medinah, which was the 
principal object of their mission, and he then took an 
affectionate leave of them. 

Two months and a half after the events above 
detailed, Mohammed received the inspired tidings that 
El Medinah of the Hejaz was his predestined asylum. 
In anticipation of the order, for as yet the time had 
not been revealed, he sent forward his friends, among 
whom were Omar, Talhah, and Hamzah, retaining with 
him Abubekr and Ali. The particulars of the Flight, 
that eventful accident to El Islam, are too well known 
to require mention here, besides which they belong 


rather to the category of general than of Medinite 

Mohammed was escorted into El Medinah by one 
Buraydat el Aslami and eighty men of the same tribe, 
who had been offered by the Kuraysh 100 camels for 
the capture of the fugitives. But Buraydat, after 
listening to their terms, accidentally entered into con- 
versation with Mohammed, and no sooner did he hear 
the name of his interlocutor, than he professed the 
faith of El Islam. He then prepared for the Prophet 
a standard by attaching his turban to a spear, and 
anxiously inquired what house was to be honored by 
the presence of Allah's chosen servant. "Whichever," 
replied Mohammed, "this she-camel is ordered to 
show me." At the last halting-place, he accidentally 
met some of his disciples returning from a trading 
voyage to Syria; they dressed him and his companion 
Abubekr in white clothing, which it is said caused 
the people of Kuba to pay a mistaken reverence to 
the latter. The Moslems of El Medinah were in the 
habit of repairing every morning to the heights near 
the city, looking out for the Prophet, and when the 
sun waxed hot they returned home. One day, about 
noon, a Jew, who discovered the return from afar, 
suddenly warned the nearest party of Ansar, or Auxil- 
iaries of El Medinah, that the fugitive was come. 
They snatched up their arms and hurried from their 
houses to meet him. Mohammed's she-camel ad- 
vanced to the centre of the then flourishing town of 
Kuba. There she suddenly knelt upon a place which 

Mecca and Medina, IT, 5 


is now consecrated ground; at that time it was an 
open space, belonging, they say, to Abu Ayyub the 
Ansari, who had a house there near the abodes of 
the Benu Amr bin Auf. This event happened on the 
first day of the week, the twelfth of the month Rabia 
el Awwal, in the first year of the Flight: for which 
reason Monday, which also witnessed the birth, the 
mission, and the death of the Prophet, is an auspicious 
day to El Islam. 

After halting two days in the house of Kulsum 
bin Hadmah at Kuba, and there laying the foundation 
of the first Mosque, upon the lines where his she- 
camel trod, the Prophet was joined by Ali, who had 
remained at Meccah, for the purpose of returning 
certain trusts and deposits committed to Mohammed's 
charge. He waited three days longer: on Friday 
morning (the 16th Rabia el Awwal, a.h. i == July 2nd, 
A. D. 622), about sunrise, he mounted El Kaswa, and, 
accompanied by a throng of armed Ansar on foot and 
on horseback, he took the way to the city. At the 
hour of public prayer, he halted in the wady or valley 
near Kuba, upon the spot where the Masjid el Jumah 
still is, performed his devotions, and preached 
an eloquent sermon. He then remounted. Numbers 
pressed forward to offer him hospitality; he blessed 
them, and bade them stand out of the way, declaring 
that El Kaswa would halt of her own accord at the 
predestined spot. He then advanced to where the 
Prophet's pulpit now stands. There the she-camel 
knelt, and the rider exclaimed, as one inspired, "This 


is our place, if Almighty Allah please!" Descending 
from El Kaswa, he recited, "O Lord, cause me to 
alight a good Alighting, and Thou art the Best of 
those who cause to alight!" Presently the camel rose 
unaided, advanced a few steps, and then, according 
to some, returning, sat down upon her former seat; 
according to others, she knelt at the door of Abu 
Ayyub el Ansari, whose abode in those days was the 
nearest to the halting-place. The descendant of the 
Jewish High Priest in the time of the Tobbas, with 
the Prophet's permission, took the baggage off the 
camel, and carried it into his house. Then ensued 
great rejoicings. The Abyssinians came and played 
with their spears. The maidens of the Benii Najjar 
tribe sang and beat their kettle-drums. And all the 
wives of the Ansar celebrated with shrill cries of joy 
the auspicious event; whilst the males, young and old, 
freemen and slaves, shouted with effusion, "Allah's 
Messenger is come! Allah's Messenger is here!" 

Mohammed caused Abu Ayyub and his wife to 
remove into the upper story, contenting himself with 
the humbler lower rooms. This was done for the 
greater convenience of receiving visitors without 
troubling the family; but the master of the house was 
thereby rendered uncomfortable in mind. His various 
remarks about the Prophet's diet and domestic habits, 
especially his avoiding leeks, onions, and garlic, are 
gravely chronicled by Moslem authors. Mohammed 
never would eat these strong-smelling vegetables on 
account of his converse with the angels, even as 



modern " Spiritualists " refuse to smoke tobacco; at the 
same time he allowed his followers to do so, except 
when appearing in his presence, entering a Mosque, 
or joining in public prayers. 

After spending seven months, more or less, at the 
house of Abu Ayyub, Mohammed, now surrounded by 
his wives and family, built close to the Mosque, huts 
for their reception. The ground was sold to him by 
Sahal and Suhayl, two orphans of the Benu Najjar,* a 
noble family of the Khazraj. Some time afterwards 
one Harisat bin el Nu'man presented to the Prophet 
all his houses in the vicinity of the temple. In those 
days the habitations of the Arabs were made of a 
framework of Jerid or palm sticks, covered over with 
a cloth of camel's hair, a curtain of similar stuff form- 
ing the door. The richer sort had walls of un- 
baked brick, and date-leaf roofs plastered over with 
mud or clay. Of this description were the abodes of 
Mohammed's family. Most of them were built on the 
N. and E. of the Mosque, which had open ground on 
the western side; and the doors looked towards the 
place of prayer. In course of time, all, except Abubekr 
and Ali, were ordered to close their doors, and even 
Omar was refused the favour of having a window 
opening into the temple. 

Presently the Jews of El Medinah, offended by the 
conduct of Abdullah bin Salam, their most learned 

* The name of the tribe literally means "sons of a carpenter;" hence the 
error of the learned and violent Humphrey Prideaux, corrected by Sale. 


priest and a descendant from the Patriarch Joseph, 
who had become a convert to the Moslem dispensa- 
tion, began to plot against Mohammed. They were 
headed by Hajj bin Akhtah, and his brother Yasir bin 
Akhtah, and were joined by many of the Aus and the 
Khazraj. The events that followed this combination 
of the Munafikun, or Hypocrites, under their chief, 
Abdullah, belong to the domain of Arabian history. 

Mohammed spent the last ten years of his life at 
El Medinah. He died on Monday, some say at nine 
a. m., others at noon, others a little after, the twelfth 
of Rabia el Awwal in the eleventh year of the Hijrah. 
When his family and companions debated where he 
should be buried Ali advised El Medinah, and Abubekr, 
Ayisha's chamber, quoting a saying of the deceased 
that prophets and martyrs are always interred where 
they happen to die. The Apostle of El Islam was 
placed, it is said, under the bed where he had given 
up the ghost, by Ali and the two sons of Abbas, 
who dug the grave. 

With the life of Mohammed the interest of El Me- 
dinah ceases, or rather is concentrated in the history 
of its temple. Since then the city has passed through 
the hands of the Caliphs, the Sherifs of Meccah, the 
Sultans of Constantinople, the Wahhabis, and the 
Egyptians. It has now reverted to the Sultan, whose 
government is beginning to believe that, in these days 
when religious prestige is of little value, the great 
Khan's title, "Servant of the Holy Shrines," is pur- 
chased [at too high a price. As has before been 


observed, the Turks now struggle for existence in El 
Hejaz with a soldiery ever in arrears, and officers un- 
equal to the task of managing an unruly people. The 
pensions are but partly paid, and they are not likely 
to increase with years. It is probably a mere con- 
sideration of interest that prevents the people rising 
en masse, and reasserting the liberties of their country. 
And I have heard from authentic sources that the 
Wahhabis look forward to the day when a fresh crusade 
will enable them to purge the land of its abominations 
in the shape of silver and gold. 

The Masjid el Nabi, or Prophet's Mosque, is the 
second in El Islam in point of seniority, and the 
second, or according to others the first in dignity, 
ranking with the Kaabah itself. It is erected around 
the spot where the she-camel, El Kaswa, knelt down 
by the order of Heaven. At that time the land was 
a palm grove and a Mirbad, or place where dates are 
dried. Mohammed, ordered to erect a place of wor- 
ship there, sent for the youths to whom it belonged 
and certain Ansar, or Auxiliaries, their guardians; the 
ground was offered to him in free gift, but he insisted 
upon purchasing it, paying more than its value. 
Having caused the soil to be levelled and the trees 
to be felled, he laid the foundation of the first Mosque. 
In those times of primitive simplicity its walls were 
made of rough stone and unbaked bricks: trunks of 
date-trees supported a palm-stick roof, concerning 
which the Archangel Gabriel delivered an order that it 
should not be higher than seven cubits, the elevation 


of Moses's temple. All ornament was strictly for- 
bidden. The Ansar, or men of El Medinah, and the 
Muhajirun, or Fugitives from Meccah, carried the 
building materials in their arms from the cemetery El 
Bakia, near the well of Ayyub, north of the spot where 
Ibrahim's Mosque now stands, and the Prophet was 
to be seen aiding them in their labours, and reciting 
for their encouragement, 

" O Allah ! there is no good but the good of futurity, 
Then have mercy upon my Ansar and Muhajirun ! " 

The length of this Mosque was fifty-four cubits from 
north to south, and sixty-three in breadth, and it was 
hemmed in by houses on all sides save the western. 
Till the seventeenth month of the new aera the con- 
gregation faced towards the northern wall. After that 
time a fresh revelation turned them in the direction 
of Meccah — southwards: on which occasion the Arch- 
angel Gabriel descended and miraculously opened 
through the hills and wilds a view of the Kaabah, that 
there might be no difficulty in ascertaining its true 

After the capture of Khaybar in a.h. 7, the Prophet 
and his first three successors restored the Mosque, but 
Moslem historians do not consider this a second 
foundation. Mohammed laid the first brick, and Abu 
Hurayrah declares that he saw him carry heaps of 
building material piled up to his breast. The Caliphs, 
each in the turn of his succession, placed a brick 
close to that laid by the Prophet, and aided him in 


raising the walls. El Tabrani relates that one of the 
Ansar had a house adjacent which Mohammed wished 
to make part of the place of prayer; the proprietor 
was promised in exchange for it a home in Paradise, 
which he gently rejected, pleading poverty. His ex- 
cuse was admitted, and Osman, after purchasing the 
place for 10,000 dirhams, gave it to the Prophet on 
the long credit originally offered. 

This Mosque was a square of 100 cubits. Like 
the former building it had three doors: one on the 
south side, where the Mihrab el Nabawi, or the 
"Prophet's niche," now is; another in the place of the 
present Bab el Rahmah, and the third at the Bab 
Osman, now called the Gate of Gabriel. Instead of 
a Mihrab or prayer niche, a large block of stone 
directed the congregation; at first it was placed 
against the northern wall of the Mosque, and it was 
removed to the southern when Meccah became the 

In the beginning the Prophet, whilst preaching the 
Khutbah or Friday sermon, leaned when fatigued 
against a post. The Mambar, or pulpit, was the in- 
vention of a Medinah man of the Benu Najjar. It was 
a wooden frame, two cubits long by one broad, with 
three steps, each one span high; on the topmost of 
these the Prophet sat when he required rest. The 
pulpit assumed its present form about a.h. 90, during 
the artistic reign of El Walid. 

In this Mosque Mohammed spent the greater part 
of the day with his companions, conversing, instructing, 


and comforting the poor. Hard by were the abodes 
of his wives, his family, and his principal friends. 
Here he prayed, at the call of the Azan (devo- 
tion-cry), from the roof. Here he received worldly 
envoys and embassies, and the heavenly messages 
conveyed by the Archangel Gabriel. And within a 
few yards of the hallowed spot, he died, and found a 

The theatre of events so important to El Islam 
could not be allowed — especially as no divine degree 
forbade the change — to remain in its pristine lowli- 
ness. The first Caliph contented himself with merely 
restoring some of the palm pillars, which had fallen 
to the ground: Omar, the second successor, surrounded 
the Hujrah, or Ayisha's chamber, in which the Prophet 
was buried, with a mud wall; and in a. h. 17, he en- 
larged the Mosque to 140 cubits by 120, taking in 
ground on all sides except the eastern, where stood 
the abodes of the "Mothers of the Moslems" — Mo- 
hammed's fifteen widows. Outside the northern wall 
he erected a Suffah, called El Batha — a raised bench 
of wood, earth, or stone, upon which the people might 
recreate themselves with conversation and quoting 
serious poetry, for the Mosque was now becoming a 
place of peculiar reverence to men. 

The second Masjid was erected a. h. 29, by the 
third Caliph, Osman, who regardless of the clamors of 
the people, overthrew the old walls and extended the 
building greatly towards the north, and a little to- 
wards the west; but he did not remove the eastern 


limit on account of the private house. He made the 
roof of Indian teak (Saj), and the walls of hewn and 
carved stone. These innovations caused some excite- 
ment, which he allayed by quoting a tradition of the 
Prophet, with one of which he appears perpetually to 
have been prepared. The saying in question was, ac- 
cording to some, "Were this my Mosque extended to 
Safa — a hill in Meccah — it verily would still be my 
Mosque;" according to others, "Were the Prophet's 
Mosque extended to Zu'l Halifah — a place five miles 
from El Medinah — it would still be his." But Osman's 
skill in the quotation of tradition did not prevent the 
new building being in part a cause of his death. It 
was finished on the ist Muharram, a.h. 30. 

At length, El Islam, grown splendid and powerful, 
determined to surpass other nations in the magnificence 
of its public buildings. In a. h. 88, El Walid the 
First, twelfth Caliph of the Benu Ummayah race, after 
annexing and converting the noble "Jami el Am- 
mawi" (cathedral of the Ommiades) at Damascus, 
determined to display his liberality at El Medinah. 
The governor of the place, Umar bin Abd-el-Aziz, 
was directed to buy for 7000 Dinars (ducats) all the 
hovels of raw brick that hedged in the eastern side of 
the old Mosque. They were inhabited by descendants 
of the Prophet and of the early Caliphs, and in more 
than one case, the ejection of the holy tenantry was 
effected with considerable difficulty. Some of the 
women — ever the most obstinate on such occasions — 
refused to take money, and Umar was forced to the 


objectionable measure of turning them out of doors 
with exposed faces in full day. The Greek Emperor, 
applied to by the magnificent Caliph, sent immense 
presents, silver lamp chains, valuable curiosities, forty 
loads of small cut stones for pietra-dura, and a sum 
of 80,000 Dinars, or, as others say, 40,000 Miskals of 
gold. He also despatched forty Coptic and forty 
Greek artists to carve the marble pillars and the 
casings of the walls, and to superintend the gilding 
and the mosaic work. One of these Christians was 
beheaded for sculpturing a hog on the Kiblah wall, 
and another, in an attempt to defile the roof, fell to 
the ground, and his brains were dashed out. The 
remainder Islamized, but this did not prevent the 
older Arabs murmuring that their Mosque had been 
turned into a Kanisah — a Christian idol-house. 

The Hujrah, or chamber, where, by Mohammed's 
permission, Azrael, the Angel of Death, separated his 
soul from his body, whilst his head was lying in the 
lap of Ayisha, his favourite wife, was now for the first 
time taken into the Mosque. The raw-brick enceinte 
which surrounded the three graves was exchanged for 
one of carved stone, enclosed by an outer precinct 
with a narrow passage between. These double walls 
were either without a door, or had only a small 
blocked- up wicket on the northern side, and from 
that day (a. h. 90), no one, says El Samanhudi, has 
been able to approach the sepulchre. A minaret was 
erected at each corner of the Mosque. The building 
was enlarged to 200 cubits by 167, and was finished 


in A. h. 91. When El Walid, the Caliph, visited it 
in state, he inquired of his lieutenant why greater 
magnificence had not been displayed in the erection; 
upon which Umar, the Governor, informed him, to 
his astonishment, that the walls alone had cost 45,000 

The fourth Mosque was erected in a. h. 191, by 
El Mehdi, third prince of the Benu Abbas or Baghdad 
Caliphs — celebrated in history only for spending 
enormous sums upon a pilgrimage. He enlarged the 
building by adding ten handsome pillars of carved 
marble, with gilt capitals, on the northern side. In 
a. h. 202, El Ma'mun made further additions to this 
Mosque. It was from El Mehdi's Masjid that El 
Hakim b'amr Illah, the third Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, 
and the deity of the Druze sect, determined to steal 
the bodies of the Prophet and his two companions. 
About a. h. 412, he sent emissaries to El Medinah: 
the attempt, however, failed, and the would-be violators 
of the tomb lost their lives. It is generally supposed 
that El Hakim's object was to transfer the Visitation 
to his own capital; but in one so manifestly insane it 
is difficult to discover the spring of action. Tw< 
Christians, habited like Maghrabi pilgrims, in a.h. 550, 
dug a mine from a neighbouring house into the temple. 
They were discovered, beheaded, and burned to ashes. 
In relating these events the Moslem historians mix u] 
many foolish preternaturalisms with credible matter. 
At last, to prevent a recurrence of such sacrilegious 
attempts, El Malik el Adil Nur el Din of the Baharit( 


Mamluk Sultans, or, according to others, Sultan Nur 
el Din Shahid Mahmud bin Zangi, who, warned by a 
vision of the Prophet, had started for El Medinah only 
in time to discover the two Christians, surrounded the 
holy place with a deep trench filled with molten lead. 
By this means Abubekr and Omar, who had run con- 
siderable risks of their own, have ever since been en- 
abled to occupy their last homes undisturbed. 

In a. h. 654, the fifth Mosque was erected in con- 
sequence of a fire, which some authors attribute to a 
volcano that broke out close to the town in terrible 
eruption; others, with more fanaticism and less proba- 
bility, to the schismatic Beni Husayn, then the guar- 
dians of the tomb. On this occasion the Hujrah was 
saved, together with the old and venerable copies of 
the Koran there deposited, especially the Cufic MSS., 
written by Osman, the third Caliph. The piety of 
three sovereigns, El Mustasim (last Caliph of Baghdad), 
El Muzaffar Shems el Din Yusuf, chief of Yemen, and 
El Zahir Beybars, Baharite Sultan of Egypt, completed 
the work in A. h. 688. This building was enlarged 
and beautified by the princes of Egypt, and lasted up- 
wards of 200 years. 

The sixth Mosque was built, almost as it now 
stands, by Kaid Bey, nineteenth Sultan of the Circas- 
sian Mamluk kings of Egypt, in A. h. 888: it is 
therefore more than four centuries old. El Mustasim's 
mosque had been struck by lightning during a storm; 
thirteen men were killed at prayers, and the destroying 


element spared nothing but the interior of the Hujrah.* 
The railing and dome were restored; niches and a 
pulpit were sent from Cairo, and the gates and minarets 
were distributed as they are now. Not content with 
this, Kaid Bey established "Wakf" (bequests) and pen- 
sions, and introduced order among the attendants on 
the tomb. In the tenth century, Sultan Sulayman the 
Magnificent paved with fine white marble the Rauzah 
or garden, which Kaid Bey, not daring to alter, had 
left of earth, and erected the fine minaret that bears 
his name. During the dominion of the later Sultans, 
and of Mohammed Ali, a few trifling presents, of 
lamps, carpets, wax candles and chandeliers, and a few 
immaterial alterations, have been made. The present 
head of El Islam is, as I have before said, rebuilding 
one of the minarets and the northern colonnade of the 

Such is the history of the Mosque's prosperity. 

During the siege of El Medinah by the Wahhabis, 
the principal people seized and divided amongst them- 
selves the treasures of the tomb, which must have 
been considerable. When the town surrendered, Saud, 
accompanied by his principal officers, entered the 
Hujrah, but, terrified by dreams, he did not penetrate 
behind the curtain, or attempt to see the tomb. He 
plundered, however, the treasures in the passage, the 

* "On this occasion," says El Samanhudi, quoted by Burckhardt, "the in- 
terior of the Hujrah was cleared, and three deep graves were found in the in- 
side, full of rubbish, but the author of this history, who himself entered it, saw 
no traces of tombs " Yet in another place he, an eye-witness, had declared that 
the coffin containing the dust of Mohammed was cased with silver. 


"Kaukab el Durri," or pearl star, and the ornaments 
sents as presents from every part of El Islam. Part 
of these he sold, it is said for 1 50,000 Riyals (dollars), 
to Ghalib, Sherif of Meccah; the rest he carried with 
him to Dara'iyyah, his capital. An accident prevented 
any further desecration of the building. The greedy 
Wahhabis, allured by the appearance of the golden or 
gilt globes and crescents surmounting the green dome, 
attempted to throw down the latter. Two of their 
number, it is said, were killed by falling from the 
slippery roof, and the rest, struck by superstitious 
fears, abandoned the work of destruction. They in- 
jured, however, the prosperity of the place by taxing 
the inhabitants, by interrupting the annual remittances, 
and by forbidding visitors to approach the tomb. 
They are spoken of with abhorrence by the people, 
who quote a peculiarly bad trait in their characters, 
namely, that in return for any small religious assistance 
of prayer or recitation, they were in the habit of 
giving a few grains of gunpowder, or something equally 
valuable, instead of " stone-dollars." * 

When Abdullah, son of Sa'ud, had concluded in 
a. d. 18 15 a treaty of peace with Tussun Pasha, the 
Egyptian General bought back from the townspeople, 
for 10,000 Riyals, all the golden vessels that had not 
been melted down, and restored the treasure to its 
original place. This I have heard denied; at the same 
time it rests upon credible evidence. Amongst Ori- 

* The Bedawin calls a sound dollar "Kirsh Hajar," or Riyal Hajar, a 
" stone-dollar." 


entals the events of the last generation are usually 
speaking imperfectly remembered, and the Olema are 
well acquainted with the history of vicissitudes which 
took place 1200 years ago, when profoundly ignorant 
of what their grandfathers witnessed. Many incredible 
tales also I heard concerning the present wealth of the 
El Medinah Mosque: this must be expected when the 
exaggeration is considered likely to confer honor upon 
the exaggerator. 

The establishment attached to the El Medinah 
Mosque is greatly altered since Burckhardt's time, the 
result of the increasing influence of the Turkish half- 
breeds. It is still extensive, because in the first place 
the principle of divided labor is a favorite throughout 
the East, and secondly because the Sons of the Holy 
Cities naturally desire to extract as much as they can 
from the Sons of other Cities with the least amount 
of work. The substance of the following account 
was given to me by Umar Effendi, and I com- 
pared it with the information of others upon whom I 
could rely. 

The principal of the Mosque, or Shaykh £1 Haram, 
is no longer a neuter. The present is a Turkish 
Pasha, Usman, appointed from Constantinople with a 
salary of about 30,000 piasters a month. His Naib 
or deputy is a black eunuch, the chief of the Aghawat, 
upon a pay of 5000 piasters. The present principal 
of this college is one Tayfur Agha, a slave of Esma 
Sultanah, sister to the last Sultan Mahmud. The 


chief treasurer is called the Mudir el Haram; he keeps 
an eye upon the Khaznadar or treasurer, whose 
salary is 2000 piasters. The Mustaslim is the chief 
of the Katibs, or writers who settle the accounts of 
the Mosque; his pay is 1500, and under him is a 
Nakib or assistant upon 1000 piasters. There are 
three Shaykhs of the eunuchs, who receive from 700 
to 1000 piasters a month each. The eunuchs, about 
120 in number, are divided into three orders. The 
Bawwabin, or porters, open the doors of the Mosque. 
The Khubziyah sweep the purer parts of the temple, 
and the lowest order, popularly called "Battalin," 
clean away all impurities, beat those found sleeping, 
and act as beadles, a duty here which involves con- 
siderable use of the cane. These men receive as per- 
quisites presents from each visitor when they offer 
him the usual congratulation, and for other small 
favours, such as permitting strangers to light the 
lamps, or to sweep the floor. Their pay varies from 
250 to 500 piasters a month: they are looked upon 
as honorable men, and are generally speaking married, 
some of them indulging in three or four wives, 
which would have aroused Juvenal's bile. The Agha's 
character is curious and exceptional as his outward 
conformation. Disconnected with humanity, he is 
cruel, fierce, brave, and capable of any villany. His 
frame is unnaturally long and lean, especially the 
arms and legs, with high shoulders, protruding joints, 
and a face by contrast extraordinarily large; he is 
unusually expert in the use of weapons, and, sitting 

Mecca and Medina. II. 6 


well "home/ 7 he rides to admiration, his hoarse thick 
voice investing him with all the circumstance of com- 

Besides the eunuchs there are a number of free 
servants, called Farrashin, attached to the Mosque; 
almost all the middle and lower class of citizens be- 
long to the order. They are divided into parties of 
thirty each, and are changed every week, those on 
duty receiving a Ghazi, or twenty-two piasters, for 
their services. Their business is to dust, and spread 
the carpets, to put oil and wicks into the lamps which 
the eunuchs let down from the ceiling, and, generally 
speaking, diligently to do nothing. 

Finally, the menial establishment of the Mosque 
consists of a Shaykh el Sakka (chief of the water 
carriers), under whom are from forty-five to fifty men 
who sprinkle the floors, water the garden, and, for a 
consideration, supply a cupful of brackish liquid to 

The literary establishment is even more extensive 
than the executive and the menial. There is a Kazi, 
or chief judge sent every year from Constantinople. 
After twelve months at El Medinah he passes on to 
Meccah, and returns home after a similar term of 
service in the second Holy city. Under him are 
three Muftis, of the Hanafi, the Shafei, and the Maliki 
schools; — the fourth, or Hanbali, is not represented 
here or at Cairo; — each of these officers receives as 
pay about 250 piasters a month. The Ruasa, as the 


Muezzins (prayer-callers) here call themselves, are ex- 
tensively represented; there are forty-eight or forty- 
nine of the lowest order, presided over by six Kubar 
or Masters, and these again are under the Shaykh el 
Ruasa, who alone has the privilege of calling to 
prayers from the Raisiyah minaret. The Shaykh re- 
ceives 150 piasters, the chiefs about 100, and the 
common criers sixty; there are forty-five Khatibs, who 
preach and pray before the congregation on Fridays 
for 120 piasters a month; they are under the Shaykh 
el Khutaba. About the same sum is given to seventy- 
five Imams, who recite the five ordinary prayers of 
every day in the Mosque; the Shaykh el Aimmat is 
their superior. 

Almost all the citizens of El Medinah who have 
not some official charge about the temple qualify 
themselves to act Muzawwirs. They begin as boys 
to learn the formula of prayer, and the conducting of 
visitors, and partly by begging, partly by boldness, 
they often pick up a tolerable livelihood at an early 
age. The Muzawwir will often receive strangers into 
his house, as was done to me, and direct their devo- 
tions during the whole time of their stay. For such 
service he requires a sum of money proportioned to 
his guests' circumstances, but this fee does not end 
the connexion. If the Muzawwir visit the home of 
his Zair, he expects to be treated with the utmost 
hospitality, and to depart with a handsome present. 
A religious visitor will often transmit to his cicerone 
at Meccah and at El Medinah yearly sums to purchase 


for himself a prayer at the Kaabah and the Prophet's 
Tomb. The remittance is usually wrapped up in 
paper, and placed in a sealed leathern bag, some- 
what like a portfolio, upon which is worked the name 
of the person entitled to receive it. It is then given 
in charge either of a trustworthy pilgrim, or of the 
public treasurer, who accompanies the principal 

I could procure no exact information about the 
amount of money forwarded every year from Con- 
stantinople and Cairo to El Medinah; the only point 
upon which men seemed to agree was that they were 
defrauded of half their dues. When the Sadaka and 
Aukaf (the alms and bequests) arrive at the town, 
they are committed by the Surrah, or financier of 
the caravan, to the Muftis, the chief of the Khatibs, 
and the Kazi's clerk. These officers form a com- 
mittee, and after reckoning the total of the families 
entitled to pensions, divide the money amongst them, 
according to the number in each household, and the 
rank of the pensioners. They are divided into five 

The Olema, or learned, and the Mudarrisin, who 
profess, lecture, or teach adults in the Haram. 

The Imams and Khatibs. 

The descendants of the Prophet. 

The Fukaha, poor divines, pedagogues, gerund- 
grinders, who teach boys to read the Koran. 

The Awam, or nobile vulgus of the Holy City, in- 


eluding the Ahali, or burghers of the town, and the 
Mujawirin, or those settled in the place. 

Umar Effendi belonged to the second order, and he 
informed me that his share varied from three to fifteen 
Riyals per annum. 



El Medinah. 

It is equally difficult to define politically and 
geographically, the limits of El Hejaz. Whilst some 
authors, as Abulfeda, fix its northern frontier at Aylah 
and the Desert, making Yemen its southern limit, 
others include in it only the tract of land lying be- 
tween Meccah and El Medinah. The country has no 
natural boundaries, and its political limits change with 
every generation: perhaps, therefore, the best distribu- 
tion of its frontier would be that which includes all 
the properly called Holy Land, making Yambu' the 
northern and Jeddah the southern extremes, while a 
line drawn through El Medinah, Suwayrkiyah, and 
Jebel Kora — the mountain of Taif — might represent 
its eastern boundary. Thus El Hejaz would be an 
irregular parallelogram, about 250 miles in length, 
with a maximum breadth of 150 miles. 

Two meanings are assigned to the name of this 
venerated region. Most authorities make it mean the 
"Separator," thle "Barrier," between Nejd andTehamah, 
or between Yemen and Syria. According to others, 
it signifies the "colligated," u e. by mountains. It is 
to be observed that the people of the country, 
especially the Bedawin, distinguish the lowlands from 


the high regions by different names; the former are 
called Tehamat el Hejaz, the sea-coast of El Hejaz, 
as we should say in India, "below the Ghats;" the 
latter is known peculiarly as El Hejaz. 

Medinat el Nabi, the Prophet's City, or, as it is 
usually called for brevity, El Medinah, the City, is 
situated on the borders of Nejd, upon the vast plateau 
of high land which forms central Arabia. The limits 
of the sanctuary called the Hudud el Haram, as de- 
fined by the Prophet, may still serve to mark out the 
city's plain. Northwards, at a distance of about three 
miles, is Jebel Ohod, or, according to others, Jebel 
Saur, a hill somewhat beyond Ohod; these are the last 
ribs of the vast primitive and tertiary chine which, 
extending from Taurus to near Aden, and from Aden 
again to Maskat, fringes the Arabian trapezium. To the 
S.W. the plateau is bounded by ridges of scoriaceous 
basalt, and by a buttress of rock called Jebel Ayr, like 
Ohod, about three miles distant from the town. West- 
ward, according to some authors, is the Mosque Zu'l 
Halifah. On the east there are no natural landmarks, 
nor even artificial, like the "Alamayn" at Meccah; an 
imaginary line, therefore, is drawn, forming an ir- 
regular circle, of which the town is the centre, with a 
diameter of from ten to twelve miles. Such is the sanc- 
tuary. Geographically considered, the plain is bounded, 
on the east, by a thin line of low dark hills, traversed 
by the Darb el Sharki, or the "Eastern road," through 
Nejd to Meccah: southwards, the plateau is open, and 
almost perfectly level as far as the eye can see. 


Within the sanctuary all Muharramat, or sins, are 
forbidden; but the several schools advocate different 
degrees of strictness. The Imam Malik, for instance, 
allows no latrinae nearer to El Medinah than Jebel 
Ayr, a distance of about three miles. He also forbids 
slaying wild animals, but at the same time he specifies 
no punishment for the offence. Some do not allow 
the felling of trees, alleging that the Prophet enjoined 
their preservation as an ornament to the city, and a 
pleasure to visitors. El Khattabi, on the contrary, 
permits people to cut wood, and this is certainly the 
general practice. All authors strenuously forbid within 
the boundaries slaying man (except invaders, infidels, 
and the sacrilegious), drinking spirits, and leading an 
immoral life. As regards the dignity of the sanctuary, 
there is but one opinion; a number of Hadis testify to 
its honor, praise its people, and threaten dreadful 
things to those who injure it or them. It is certain 
that on the last day, the Prophet will intercede for, 
and aid, all those who die and are buried, at El Me- 
dinah. Therefore, the Imam Malik made but one pil- 
grimage to Meccah, fearing to leave his bones in any 
other cemetery but El Baki'a. There is, however, 
much debate concerning the comparative sanctity of 
El Medinah and Meccah. Some say Mohammed pre- 
ferred the former, blessing it as Abraham did Meccah. 
Moreover, as a tradition declares that every man's 
body is drawn from the dust of the ground in which 
he is buried, El Medinah, it is evident, had the honor 
of supplying materials for the Prophet's person. Others, 


like Omar, were uncertain in favour of which city to 
decide. Others openly assert the pre-eminence of 
Meccah. The general consensus of El Islam preferring 
El Medinah to Meccah, save only the Bayt Allah in 
the latter city, is a juste-milieu view, by no means in 
favor with the inhabitants of either place. Meanwhile 
the Meccans claim unlimited superiority over the Ma- 
dani; the Madani over the Meccans. 

El Medinah dates its origin doubtless from ancient 
times, and the cause of its prosperity is evident in the 
abundant supply of water, a necessary generally scarce 
throughout Arabia. The formation of the plateau is in 
some places salt sand, but usually a white chalk, and a 
loamy clay, which even by the roughest manipulation 
makes tolerable bricks. Lime also abounds. The 
town is situated upon a gently shelving part of the 
plain, the lowest portion of which, to judge from the 
versant, is at the southern base of Mount Ohod, 
hence called El Safilah, and the highest at the Awali, 
or plains about Kuba, and the East. The southern 
and south-eastern walls of the suburb are sometimes 
carried away by violent "Sayl," or torrents, which, 
after rain, sweep down from the western as well as 
from the eastern highlands. The water-flow is towards 
El Ghabbah, lowlands in the northern and western 
hills, a little beyond Mount Ohod. This basin re- 
ceives the drainage of the mountains and the plain, 
according to some absorbing it, according to others 
collecting it till of sufficient volume to flow off to 
the sea. 


Water, though abundant, is rarely of good quality. 
In the days of the Prophet, the Madani consumed the 
produce of wells, seven of which are still celebrated 
by the people. Historians relate that Omar, the 
second Caliph, provided the town with drinking-water 
from the northern parts of the plains by means of an 
aqueduct. The modern city is supplied by a source 
called the Ayn el Zarka or Azure Spring, which 
arises some say at the foot of Mount Ayr, others, 
with greater probability, in the date-groves of Kuba. 
Its waters were first brought to El Medinah by Marwan, 
governor in El Muawiyah's day. It now flows down 
a subterraneous canal, about 30 feet below the sur- 
face; in places the water is exposed to the air, and 
steps lead to it for the convenience of the inhabitants: 
this was the work of Sultan Su layman the Magnificent. 
After passing through the town it turns to the N.West, 
its course being marked by a line of circular walls 
breast high, like the Kariz of Afghanistan, placed at 
unequal distances, and resembling wells: it then loses 
itself in the Nakhil or palm-groves. During my stay 
at El Medinah, I always drank this water, which ap- 
peared to me, as the citizens declared it to be, sweet 
and wholesome.* There are many wells in the town, 
as water is found at about 20 feet below the surface 
of the soil: few produce anything fit for drinking, 

* Burckhardt confounds the Ayn el Zarka with the Bir el Khatim, or Kuba 
well, of whose produce the surplus only mixes with it, and he complains loudly 
of the "detestable water of Medinah." But he was ill at the time, otherwise 
he would not have condemned it so strongly after eulogising the salt-bitter pro- 
duce of the Meccan Zem Zem. 


some being salt, and others bitter. As usual in the 
hilly countries of the East, the wide beds and Fiu- 
maras, even in the dry season, will supply travellers 
for a day or two with an abundance of water, fil- 
trating through, and, in some cases, flowing beneath, 
the sand. 

The climate of the plain is celebrated for a long 
and comparatively speaking a rigorous winter: a 
popular saying records the opinion of the Prophet 
"that he who patiently endures the cold of El Me- 
dinah and the heat of Meccah, merits a reward in 
Paradise." Ice is not seen in the town, but may 
frequently be met with, it is said, on Jebel Ohod; 
fires are lighted in the houses during winter, and 
palsies attack those who at this season imprudently 
bathe in unwarmed water. The fair complexions of 
the people prove that this account of the brumal 
rigors is not exaggerated. Chilly and violent winds 
from the eastern desert are much dreaded, and though 
Ohod screens the town on the N. and N.E. a gap in 
the mountains to the N.W. fills the air at times with 
raw and comfortless blasts. The rains begin in Oc- 
tober, and last with considerable intervals through six 
months; the clouds, gathered by the hill-tops and the 
trees near the town, discharge themselves with violence, 
and about the equinoxes thunder-storms are common. 
At such times the Barr el Manakhah, or the open 
space between the town and the suburbs, is a sheet 
of water, and the land near the south and the south- 
eastern wall of the faubourg becomes a pool. Rain 3 


however, is not considered unhealthy here, and the 
people, unlike the Meccans and the Cairenes, expect 
it with pleasure, because it improves their date-trees 
and fruit plantations. 

In winter it usually rains at night, in spring during 
the morning, and in summer about evening time. This 
is the case throughout El Hejaz, as explained by the 
poet Lebid in the lines which describe the desolate 
site of an old encampment: — 

" It (the place) hath been fertilised by the first spring-showers of the constella- 
tions, and hath been swept by 
The incessant torrents of the thunder-clouds , falling in heavy and in gentle 

From each night-cloud, and heavily dropping morning-cloud, 
And the even-cloud, whose crashings are re-echoed from around." 


And the European reader will observe that the 
Arabs generally reckon three seasons, including our 
autumn in their summer. The hot weather at El Me- 
dinah appeared to me as extreme as the hibernal cold 
is described to be, but the air was dry, and the open 
plain prevented the faint and stagnant sultriness which 
distinguishes Meccah. Moreover, though the after- 
noons were close, the nights and the mornings were 
cool and dewy. At this season of the year the citizens 
sleep on the house-tops, or on the ground outside 
their doors. Strangers must follow this example with 
circumspection; the open air is safe in the Desert, but 
in cities it causes, to the unaccustomed, violent catarrhs 
and febrile affections. 

I collected the following notes upon the diseases 


and medical treatment of the northern Hejaz. El Me- 
dinah has been visited four times by the Rih el Asfar 
(yellow wind), or Asiatic Cholera, which is said to 
have committed great ravages, sometimes carrying off 
whole households. In the Rahmat el Kabirah, the 
"Great Mercy," as the worst attack is piously called, 
whenever a man vomited, he was abandoned to his 
fate; before that, he was treated with mint, lime-juice, 
and copious draughts of coffee. It is still the boast 
of El Medinah that the Ta'un, or plague, has never 
passed her frontier. The Judari, or small-pox, appears 
to be indigenous to the countries bordering upon the 
Red Sea; we read of it there in the earliest works of 
the Arabs * and even to the present time, it some- 
times sweeps through Arabia, Central Africa and the 
Somali country with desolating violence. In the town 
of El Medinah it is fatal to children, many of whom, 
however, are in these days inoculated: amongst the Be- 
dawin old men die of it, but adults are rarely victims, 
either in the city or in the desert. The nurse closes 
the room whilst the sun is up, and excludes the night- 
air, believing that, as the disease is "hot," a breath of 

* Conjecture, however, goes a little too far when it discovers small-pox in 
the Tayr Ababil, the "swallow birds," which, according to the Koran, destroyed 
the host of Abrahat el Ashram. Major Price (Essay) may be right in making 
Ababil the plural of Abilah, a vesicle ; but it appears to me that the former is 
an Arabic and the latter a Persian word , which have no connexion whatever. 
M. C. de Perceval, quoting the Sirat el Rasul, which says, that at that time 
small-pox first appeared in Arabia, ascribes the destruction of the host of Yemen 
to an epidemic and a violent tempest. The strangest part of the story is , that 
although it occured at Meccah, about two months before Mohammed's birth, 
and, therefore , within the memory of many living at the time , the Prophet al- 
ludes to it in the Koran as a miracle. 


wind would kill the patient. During the hours of 
darkness, a lighted candle or lamp is always placed 
by the side of the bed, or the sufferer would die of 
madness, brought on by fright or evil spirits. SheepV 
wool is burnt in the sick-room, as death follows 
the inhaling of any perfume. The only remedy I 
have heard of is pounded Kohl (antimony) drunk in 
water, and the same is drawn along the breadth of 
the eyelid, to prevent blindness. The diet is Adas 
(lentils*), and a peculiar kind of date, called Tamr el 
Birni. On the 21st day the patient is washed with 
salt and tepid water. Ophthalmia is rare. In the 
summer, quotidian and tertian fevers (Hummah Salis) 
are not uncommon, and if accompanied by emetism, 
they are frequently fatal. The attack generally begins 
with the Naffazah, or cold fit, and is followed by El 
Hummah, the hot stage. The principal remedies are 
cooling drinks, such as Sikanjebin (oxymel) and syrups. 
After the fever the face and body frequently swell, 
and indurated lumps appear on the legs and stomach. 
There are also low fevers, called simply Hummah; 
they are usually treated by burning charms in the 
patient's room. Jaundice and bilious complaints are 
common, and the former is popularly cured in a 
peculiar way. The sick man looks into a pot full of 
water, whilst the exorciser, reciting a certain spell, 
draws the heads of two needles from the patient's ears 

* This grain is cheaper than rice on the banks of the Nile — a fact which en- 
lightened England, now paying a hundred times its value for " Revalenta 
Arabica," apparently ignores. 


along his eyes, down his face, lastly dipping them 
into water, which at once becomes yellow. Others 
have "Mirayat," magic mirrors,* on which the patient 

* This invention dates from the most ancient times, and both in the East 
and the West has been used by the weird brotherhood to produce the ap- 
pearances of the absent and the dead , to discover treasure , to detect thieves, 
to cure disease , and to learn the secrets of the unknown world. The Hindus 
called it Anjan, and formed it by applying lamp-black, made of a certain root, 
and mixed with oil to the palm of a footling child, male or female. The 
Greeks used oil poured into a boy's hand. Cornelius Agrippa had a crystal 
mirror, which material also served the Counts de St. Germain and Cagliostro. 
Dr. Dee's "show-stone" was a bit of cannel coal. The modern Sindians 
know the art by the name of Gahno or Vinyano ; there , as in southern Persia, 
ink is rubbed upon the seer's thumb-nail. The people of northern Africa are 
considered skilful in this science , and I have a Maghrabi magic formula for 
inking the hand of a "boy, a black slave girl, a virgin, or a pregnant woman," 
which differs materially from those generally known. The modern Egyptians 
call it Zarb el Mandal, and there is scarcely a man in Cairo who does not 
know something about it. In selecting subjects to hold the ink, they observe 
the right hand, and reject all who have not what is called in palmistry the 
"Linea media naturalis" straight and deeply cut. Even the barbarous 
Finns look into a glass of brandy, and the natives of Australia gaze at a kind 
of shining stone. Lady Blessington's crystal ball is fresh in the memory of the 
present generation, and most men have heard of Electro- Biology and the Cairo 

Upon this latter subject, a vexed one, I must venture a few remarks. In 
the first account of the magician by Mr. Lane, we have a fair and dispassionate 
recital of certain magical , mystical, or mesmeric phenomena , which "excited 
considerable curiosity and interest throughout the civilised world." As usual 
in such matters , the civilised world was wholly ignorant of what was going on 
at home; otherwise, in London, Paris, and New York, they might have found 
dozens studying the science. But a few years before, Di-. Herklots had de- 
scribed the same practice in India , filling three goodly pages ; but he called 
his work "Qanoon-i-Islam," and, consequently, despite its excellences, it fell 
still-born from the press. Lady H. Stanhope frequently declared "the spell 
by which the face of an absent person is thrown upon a mirror to be within 
the reach of the humblest and most contemptible of magicians ; " but the 
civilised world did not care to believe a prophetess. All, however, were aroused 
by Mr. Lane's discovery, and determined to decide the question by the ordeal 
of reason. 

Accordingly, in a. d. 1844, Mr. Lane, aided by Lord Nugent and others, 
discovered that a "coarse and stupid fraud" had been perpetrated upon him 
by Usman Effendi, the Scotchman. In 1845, Sir G. Wilkinson remarked of 
this rationalism, "The explanation lately offered, that Usman Effendi was in 


looks, and loses the complaint. Dysenteries frequently 
occur in the fruit season, when the greedy Arabs 
devour all manner of unripe peaches, grapes, and 
pomegranates. The popular treatment is by the 
actual cautery; the scientific affect the use of drastics 
and astringent simples, and the Bizr el Kutn (cotton- 
seed) toasted, pounded, and drunk in warm water. 
Almost every one here, as in Egypt, suffers more or 
less from haemorrhoids; they are treated by dietetics 
— eggs and leeks — and by a variety of drugs, Myro- 
balans, Lisan-el-Hamal, (Arnoglossum,) &c. But the 
patient looks with horror at the scissors and knife, so 
that they seldom succeed in obtaining a radical cure. 
The Filaria Medinensis, locally called "Farantit," is 
no longer common at the place which gave it its 
European name. At Yambu', however, the people 
suffer much from the Vena appearing in the legs. The 
complaint is treated here as in India and Abyssinia: 
when the tumour bursts, and the worm shows, it is 
extracted by being gradually wound round a splinter 
of wood. Hydrophobia is rare, and the people have 

collusion with the magician , is neither fair on him nor satisfactory, as he was 
not present when those cases occurred which were made so much of in Europe," 
and he proposed "leading questions and accidents" as the word of the riddle. 
Eothen attributed the whole affair to "shots," as schoolboys call them, and 
ranks success under the head of Paley's "tentative miracles." A writer in the 
Quarterly explained them by suggesting the probability of divers (impossible) 
optical combinations , and , lest the part of belief should have been left unre- 
presented, Miss Martineau was enabled to see clear signs of mesmeric action, 
and by the decisive experiment of self, discovered the magic to be an "affair of 
mesmerism." Melancholy to relate, after all this philosophy, the herd of 
travellers at Cairo is still divided in opinion about the magician, some holding 
his performance to be "all humbug," others darkly hinting that "there may be 
something in it." I commend the subject to the enlightened Mgr. Gaume. 


many superstitions about it. They suppose that a bit 
of meat falls from the sky, and that a dog eating it 
goes mad. I was assured by respectable persons, 
that when a man is bitten, they shut him up with 
food, in a solitary chamber, for four days, and that if 
at the end of that time he still howls like a dog, 
they expel the Ghul (Devil) from him, by pouring 
over him boiling water mixed with ashes — a certain 
cure I can easily believe. The only description of 
leprosy known in El Hejaz is that called "El Baras:" 
it appears in white patches on the skin, it seldom at- 
tacks any but the poorer classes, and it is considered 
incurable. Wounds are treated by Marham, or oint- 
ments, especially by the "Balesan," or Balsam of 
Meccah; a cloth is tied round the limb, and not 
removed till the wound heals, which, amongst this 
people of simple life, generally takes place by first in- 
tention. Ulcers are common in El Hejaz, as indeed 
all over Arabia. We read of them in ancient times. 
In a. d. 504, the poet and warrior, Amr el Kays, died 
of this dreadful disease, and it is related that when 
Mohammed Abu Si Mohammed, in a. h. 132, con- 
quered Yemen with an army from El Hejaz, he found 
the people suffering from sloughing and mortifying 
sores, so terrible to look upon that he ordered the 
sufferers to be burnt alive. Fortunately for the patients, 
the conqueror died suddenly before his inhuman man- 
date was carried out. These sores here, as in Yemen, 
are worst when upon the shin bones; they then eat 
deep into the leg, and the patient dies of fever and, 

Mecca and Medina. II. 7 


gangrene. They are treated on first appearance by 
the actual cautery, and when practicable, by cutting 
off the joint; the drugs popularly applied are Tutiya 
(tutty) and verdigris. There is no cure but rest, a 
generous diet, and change of air. 

By the above short account it will be seen that 
the Arabs are no longer the most skilful physicians 
in the. world. They have, however, one great ad- 
vantage in their practice, and they are sensible enough 
to make free use of it. As the children of almost all 
the respectable citizens are brought up in the Desert, 
the camp becomes to them a native village. In cases 
of severe wounds or chronic diseases, the patient is 
ordered off to the Black Tents, where he lives as a 
Bedawi, drinking camels' milk, a diet for the first three 
or four days highly cathartic, and doing nothing. This 
has been the practice from time immemorial in Arabia, 
whereas Europe is only beginning to systematize the 
adhibition of air, exercise, and simple living. And 
even now we are obliged to veil it under the garb of 
charlatanry — to call it a "milk-cure" in Switzerland, a 
"water-cure" in Silesia, a "grape-cure" in France, a 
"hunger-cure" in Germany, and other sensible names 
which act as dust in the public eyes. 

El Medinah consists of three parts, — a town, a fort, 
and a suburb little smaller than the body of the place. 
The town itself is about one-third larger than Suez, or 
nearly half the size of Meccah. It is a walled en- 
closure forming an irregular oval with four gates. The 
Bab el Shami, or "Syrian Gate," in the north-west 


side of the enceinte leads towards Jebel Ohod, Ham- 
zah's burial-place and the mountains. In the eastern 
wall, the Bab el Jum'ah, or Friday Gate, opens upon 
the Nejd road and the cemetery, El Baki'a. Between 
the Shami and the Jum'ah gates, towards the north, is 
the Bab el Ziyafah (of Hospitality); and westwards the 
Bab el Misri (Egyptian) opens upon the plain called 
the Barr el Manakhah. The eastern and the Egyptian 
gates are fine massive buildings, with double towers 
close together, painted with broad bands of red, 
yellow, and other colours, not unlike that old entrance 
of the Cairo citadel which opens upon the Rumayliyah 
plain. They may be compared with the gateway 
towers of the old Norman castles — Arques, for in- 
stance. In their shady and well-watered interiors, 
soldiers keep guard, camel-men dispute, and numerous 
idlers congregate to enjoy the luxuries of coolness 
and companionship. Beyond this gate, in the street 
leading to the Mosque, is the great bazar. Outside it 
lie the Suk el Khuzayriyah, or green-grocers' market, 
and the Suk el Habbabah, or the grain bazar, with a 
fair sprinkling of coffee-houses. These markets are 
long masses of palm-leaf huts, blackened in the sun 
and wind, of a mean and squalid appearance, de- 
tracting greatly from the appearance of the gates. 
Amongst them there is a little domed and white- 
washed building, which I was told is a Sabil or public 

In the days of the Prophet the town was not 
walled. Even in El Edrisi's time (twelfth cent), and 



as late as Bartema's (eighteenth cent.), the fortifications 
were mounds of earth, made by order of Kasim el 
Daulat el Ghori, who repopulated the town and 
provided for its inhabitants. Now, the enceinte is in 
excellent condition. The walls are well built of 
granite and lava blocks, in regular layers, cemented 
with lime; they are provided with "Mazghal" (or 
"Matras") long loopholes, and "Shararif" or trefoil- 
shaped crenelles: in order to secure a flanking fire, 
semicircular towers, also loopholed and crenellated, 
are disposed in the curtain at short and irregular in- 
tervals. Inside, the streets are what they always should 
be in these torrid lands, deep, dark, and narrow, in 
few places paved — a thing to be deprecated — and 
generally covered with black earth well watered and 
trodden to hardness. The most considerable lines 
radiate towards the Mosque. 

There are few public buildings. The principal 
Wakalahs are four in number; one is the Wakalat Bab 
Salam near the Haram, another the Wakalat Jabarti, 
and two are inside the Misri gate; they all belong to 
Arab citizens. These caravanserais are principally 
used as stores, rarely for dwelling places like those of 
Cairo; travellers, therefore, must hire houses at a con- 
siderable expense, or pitch tents to the detriment of 
health and to their extreme discomfort. The other 
public buildings are a few mean coffee-houses and an 
excellent bath in the Harat Zarawan inside the town: 
far superior to the unclean establishments of Cairo, it 
borrows something from the luxury of Stamboul. 


The houses are for the East well built, flat-roofed 
and double- storied; the materials generally used are a 
basaltic scoria, burnt brick and palm wood. The best 
enclose spacious court-yards and small gardens with 
wells, where water-basins and date-trees gladden the 
owner's eyes. The latticed balconies, first seen by the 
European traveller at Alexandria, are here common, 
and the windows are mere apertures in the wall, 
garnished, as usual in Arab cities, with a shutter of 

El Medinah fell rapidly under the Wahhabis, but 
after their retreat, it soon rose again, and now it is 
probably as comfortable and flourishing a little city as 
any to be found in the East. It contains between fifty 
and sixty streets, including the alleys and culs de sac. 
There is about the same number of Harat or quarters; 
but I have nothing to relate of them save their names. 
Within the town few houses are in a dilapidated con- 
dition. The best authorities estimate the number of 
habitations at about 1500 within the enceinte, and 
those in the suburb at 1000. I consider both ac- 
counts exaggerated; the former might contain 800, and 
the Manakhah perhaps 500; at the same time I must 
confess not to have counted them, and Captain Sadlier 
(in a. d. 1 8 19) declares that the Turks, who had just 
made a kind of census, reckoned 6000 houses and a 
population of 18,000 souls. Assuming the population 
to be 16,000 (Burckhardt raises it as high as 20,000), 
of which 9000 occupy the city, and 7000 the suburbs 
and fort, this would give little more than twelve in- 


habitants to each house, a fair estimate for an Arab 
town, where the abodes are large and slaves abound. 

I afterwards received the following information 
from Mr. Charles Cole, H. B. M. vice-consul for Jeddah, 
a gentleman well acquainted with western Arabia, and 
having access to official information. 

"The population of El Medinah is from 16,000 to 
18,000, and the Nizam troops in garrison 400. Meccah 
contains about 45,000 inhabitants, Yambu' from 6000 
to 7000, Jeddah about 2500 (this I think is too low), 
and Taif 8000. Most of the troops are stationed at 
Meccah and Jeddah. In El Hejaz there is a total 
force of five battalions, each of which ought to contain 
800 men; they may amount to 3500, with 500 artillery, 
and 4500 irregulars, though the muster rolls bear 6000. 
The government pays in paper for all supplies, (even 
water for the troops,) and the paper sells at the rate 
of forty piastres per cent." 

The castle joins on to the N. W. angle of the city 
enceinte, and the wall of its eastern outwork is pierced 
for a communication, through a court strewed with 
guns and warlike apparatus, between the Manakhah 
Suburb, and the Bab el Shami, or the Syrian Gate. 
Having been refused entrance into the fort, I can de- 
scribe only its exterior. The outer wall resembles that 
of the city, only its towers are more solid, and the 
curtain appears better calculated for work. Inside, a 
donjon, built upon a rock, bears proudly enough the 
banner of the Crescent and the Star; its whitewashed 
walls make it a conspicuous object, and guns pointed 


in all directions, especially upon the town, project 
from their embrasures. The castle is said to contain 
wells, bomb-proofs, provisions, and munitions of war; 
if so, it must be a kind of Gibraltar to the Bedawin 
and the Wahhabis. The garrison consisted of a Nisf 
Urtah, or half battalion (400 men) of Nizam infantry, 
commanded by a Pasha; his authority also extends to 
a Sanjak, or about 500 Kurdish and Albanian Bashi 
Buzuks, whose duty it is to escort caravans, to convoy 
treasure, and to be shot at in the Passes. The 
Madani, who, as usual with Orientals, take a personal 
pride in their castle, speak of it with much exaggera- 
tion. Commanded by a high line of rocks on the 
N.W., and built as it is in most places without moat, 
glacis, earthwork, or outworks, a few shells and a 
single battery of siege guns would soon render it un- 
tenable. In ancient times it has more than once been 
held by a party at feud with the town, for whose 
mimic battles the Barr el Manakhah was a fitting 
field. Northward from the fort, on the road to Ohod, 
but still within fire, is a long many-windowed building, 
formerly Daud Pasha's palace. In my time it had been 
bought by Abbas Pasha of Egypt. 

The suburbs lie to the S. and W. of the town. 
Southwards they are separated from the enceinte by a 
wide road, called the Darb el Jenazah, the Road of 
Biers, so called because the corpses of certain schis- 
matics, who may not pass through the city, are carried 
this way to their own cemetery near the Bab el Jum'ah, 
or Eastern Gate. Westwards, between El Medinah and 


its faubourg, lies the plain of El Manakhah, about 
three quarters of a mile long, by 300 yards broad. 
The straggling suburbs occupy more ground than the 
city; fronting the enceinte they are without walls; to- 
wards the west, where open country lies, they are en- 
closed by mud or raw brick ramparts, with little round 
towers, all falling to decay. A number of small gates 
lead from the suburb into the country. The only 
large one, a poor copy of the Bab el Nasr at Cairo, is 
the Ambari or western entrance, through which we 
passed into El Medinah. The suburb contains no 
buildings of any consequence, except the Khaskiyah, 
or official residence of the Muhafiz (governor), a plain 
building near the Barr el Manakhah, and the Khamsah 
Masajid, or Five Mosques, which every Zair is ex- 
pected to visit. They are 

The Prophet's Mosque in the Manakhah. 

Abubekr's near the Ayn el Zarka. 

Ali's Mosque in the Zukak el Tayyar of the 
Manakhah. Some authors call this the "Musalla el 
Eed," because the Prophet here prayed the Festival 

Omar's Mosque, near the Bab Kuba of the Ma- 
nakhah, and close to the little torrent called El Sayh. 

Belal's Mosque, celebrated in books; I did not see 
it, and some Madani assured me that it no longer 

A description of one of these buildings will suffice, 
for they are all similar. Mohammed's Mosque in the 
Manakhah stands upon a spot formerly occupied, some 


say, by the Jami' Ghamamah. Others believe it to be 
founded upon the Musalla el Nabi, a place where the 
Prophet recited the first Festival prayers after his ar- 
rival at El Medinah, and used frequently to pray, and 
to address those of his followers who lived far from 
the Haram or Sanctuary. It is a trim modern build- 
ing of cut stone and lime in regular layers, of parallelo- 
grammic shape, surmounted by one large and four 
small cupolas. These are all whitewashed, and the 
principal is capped with a large crescent, or rather a 
trident rising from a series of gilt globes: the other 
domes crown the several corners. The minaret is of 
the usual Turkish shape, with a conical roof, and a 
single gallery for the Muezzin. An Acacia tree or two 
on the eastern side, and behind it a wall-like line of 
mud-houses, finish the coup-d'oeil; the interior of this 
building is as simple as the exterior. And here I may 
remark that the Arabs have little idea of splendor, 
either in their public or in their private architecture. 
Whatever strikes the traveller's eye in El Hejaz is al- 
ways either an importation or the work of foreign 
artists. This arises from the simple tastes of the 
people, combined, doubtless, with their notable thrifti- 
ness. If strangers will build for them, they argue, why 
should they build for themselves? Moreover, they 
have scant inducement to lavish money upon grand 
edifices. Whenever a disturbance takes place, domestic 
or from without, the principal buildings are sure to 
suffer. And the climate is inimical to their enduring. 
Both ground and air at El Medinah 3 as well as at 


Meccah, are damp and nitrous in winter, in summer 
dry and torrid: the lime is poor; palm-timber soon 
decays; even foreign wood- work suffers, and a few 
years of neglect suffice to level the proudest pile with 
the dust. 

The suburbs to the S. of El Medinah are a collec- 
tion of walled villages, with plantations and gardens 
between. They are laid out in the form, called here 
as in Egypt, Hosh (court-yards), with single-storied 
tenements opening into them. These enclosures con- 
tain the cattle of the inhabitants; they have strong 
wooden doors, shut at night to prevent "lifting," and 
they are capable of being stoutly defended. The in- 
habitants of the suburb are for the most part Bedawin 
settlers, and a race of schismatics who will be noticed 
in another chapter. Beyond these suburbs, to the S., 
as well as to the N. and N. E., lie gardens and ex- 
tensive plantations of palm-trees. > 



A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba. 

The principal places of pious visitation in the 
vicinity of El Medinah, are the Mosques of Kuba, the 
Cemetery El Baki'a, and the martyr Hamzah's tomb, 
at the foot of Mount Ohod. These the Zair is directed 
by all the Olema to visit, and on the holy ground to 
pray Allah for a blessing upon himself, and upon his 
brethren of the faith. 

Early one Saturday morning, I started for Kuba 
with a motley crowd of devotees. Shaykh Hamid, my 
Muzawwir, was by my side, mounted upon an ass 
more miserable than I had yet seen. The boy Mo- 
hammed had procured for me a Meccan dromedary, 
with splendid trappings, a saddle with burnished metal 
peaks before and behind, covered with a huge sheep- 
skin dyed crimson, and girthed over fine saddle-bags, 
whose enormous tassels hung almost to the ground. 
The youth himself, being too grand to ride a donkey, 
and unable to borrow a horse, preferred walking. He 
was proud as a peacock, being habited in a style 
somewhat resembling the plume of that gorgeous bird, 
in the coat of many colours — yellow, red, and golden 
flowers, apparently stitched on a field of bright green 
silk — which cost me so dear in the Haram. He was 


armed, as indeed all of us were, in readiness for the 
Bedawin, and he anxiously awaited opportunities of 
discharging his pistol. Our course lay from Shaykh 
Hamid's house in the Manakhah, along and up the 
Fiumara, "El Sayh ," and through the Bab Kuba, a 
little gate in the suburb wall, where, by the bye, my 
mounted companion was nearly trampled down by a 
rush of half-wild camels. Outside the town, in this 
direction, southward, is a plain of clay, mixed with 
chalk, and here and there with sand, whence protrude 
blocks and little ridges of basalt. As far as Kuba, 
and the Harrah ridge to the west, the earth is sweet 
and makes excellent gugglets. Immediately outside 
the gate I saw a kiln, where they were burning tolerable 
bricks. Shortly after leaving the suburb, an Indian, 
who joined our party upon the road, pointed out on 
the left of the way what he declared was the place of 
the celebrated Khandak, or Moat, the Torres Vedras 
of Arabian History. 

Presently the Nakhil, or palm plantations, began. 
Nothing lovelier to the eye, weary with hot red glare, 
than the rich green waving crops and the cool shade, 
the "food of vision," as the Arabs call it, and "pure 
water to the parched throat:" for hours I could have 
sat and looked at it. The air was soft and balmy, a 
perfumed breeze, strange luxury in El Hejaz, wandered 
amongst the date-fronds; there were fresh flowers and 
bright foliage, in fact, at midsummer, every beautiful 
feature of spring. Nothing more delightful to the ear 
than the warbling of the small birds, that sweet familiar 


sound; the splashing of tiny cascades from the wells 
into the wooden troughs, and the musical song of the 
water-wheels. Travellers — young travellers — in the 
East talk of the "dismal grating," the "mournful 
monotony," and the "melancholy creaking of these 
dismal machines." To the veteran wanderer their 
sound is delightful from association, reminding him of 
fields, and water-courses, and hospitable villages, and 
plentiful crops. The expatriated Nubian, for instance, 
listens to the water-wheel with as deep emotion as the 
Ranz des Vaches ever excited in the hearts of Switzer 
mercenary at Naples, or "Lochaber no more," among 
a regiment of Highlanders in the West Indies. 

The date-trees of El Medinah merit their celebrity. 
Their stately columnar stems, here, seem higher than 
in other lands, and their lower fronds are allowed to 
tremble in the breeze without mutilation. These 
enormous palms were loaded with ripening fruit, and 
the clusters, carefully tied up, must often have weighed 
upwards of eighty pounds. They hung down between 
the lower branches by a bright yellow stem, as thick 
as a man's ancle. Books enumerate 139 varieties of 
trees; of these between sixty and seventy are well- 
known, and each is distinguished, as usual among 
Arabs, by its peculiar name. The best kind is El 
Shelebi; it is packed in skins, or in flat round boxes 
covered with paper, somewhat in the manner of French 
prunes, and sent as presents to the remotest parts of 
the Moslem world. The fruit is about two inches 
long, with a small stone, and appeared to possess a, 


peculiar aromatic flavour and scent; it is seldom eaten 
by the citizens on account of the price, which varies 
from two to ten piastres the pound. The tree, more- 
over, is rare, and is said to be not so productive as 
the other species. The Ajwah date is eaten, but not 
sold, because a tradition of the Prophet declares, that 
whoso breaketh his fast every day with six or seven 
of these fruits need fear neither poison, nor magic. 
The third kind, El Hilwah, also a large date, derives 
a name from its exceeding sweetness: of this palm the 
Moslems relate that the Prophet planted a stone, which 
in a few minutes grew up and bore fruit. Next comes 
El Birni, of which was said, "It causeth sickness to 
depart, and there is no sickness in it." The Wahshi 
on one occasion bent its head, and "salamed" to Mo- 
hammed as he ate its fruit, for which reason even now 
its lofty tuft turns earthwards. The Sayhani (Crier) is 
so called, because when the founder of El Islam, 
holding Air's hand, happened to pass beneath, it cried, 
"This is Mohammed the Prince of Prophets, and this 
is Ali the Prince of the Pious, and the Progenitor of 
the Immaculate Imams." * Of course the descendants 
of so intelligent a vegetable hold high rank in the 
kingdom of palms, and the vulgar were in the habit 
of eating the Sayhani and of throwing the stones 
about the Haram. The Khuzayriyah is thus named, 
because it preserves its green colour, even when per- 
fectly ripe; it is dried and preserved as a curiosity. 

* So in a.d. 1272 the Crucifix spoke to St. Thomas Aquinas. Superstitions 
are of no age or country. 


The Jebeli is the common fruit: the poorest kinds are 
the Laun and the Hilayah, costing from 4 to 7 piastres 
per mudd.* 

I cannot say that the dates of El Medinah are 
finer than those of Meccah, although it is highly 
heretical to hold such tenet. The produce of the 
former city was the favorite food of the Prophet, who 
invariably broke his fast with it: a circumstance which 
invests it with a certain degree of relic-sanctity. The 
citizens delight in speaking of dates as an Irishman 
does of potatoes, with a manner of familiar fondness: 
they eat them for medicine as well as food; "Rutab," 
or wet dates, being held to be the most saving, as it 
is doubtless the most savoury of remedies. The fruit 
is prepared in a great variety of ways: the favorite 
dish is a broil with clarified butter, extremely dis- 
tasteful to the European palate. The date is also left 
upon the tree to dry, and then called "Balah:" this is 
eaten at dessert as the "Nukliyat" — the "quatre men- 
diants" of Persia. Amongst peculiar preparations must 
be mentioned the "Kulladat el Sham" (necklace of 
Sham). The unripe fruit is dipped in boiling water 
to preserve its gamboge color, strung upon a thick 

* At El Medinah 

12 Dirhams (drams) . make i Wukkiyah (ounce). 

20 Wukkiyah . . . ,, i Rati (pound). 

33 Wukkiyah and 3 drams ,, 1 Wukkah (less than 2 lbs.) 
4 Wukkah . . . ,, 1 Mudd. 

24 Mudd „ 1 Ardebb. 

This Rati or pound is the larger one applied to particular articles of com- 
merce—such as meat, vegetables, and clarified butter. Coffee, rice, soap, &c. 
are sold by the smaller Rati of Meccah, equal to 140 dirhams. In Egypt the 
Rati is 144 Dirhams or 12 Wukkiyahs, about 1 lb. 2 oz. and 8 dwts. troy. 


thread and hung out in the air to dry. These strings 

are worn all over El Hejaz as necklaces by children, 

who seldom fail to munch the ornament when not in 


fear of slappings; and they are sent as presents to 
distant countries. 

January and February are the time for the mascula- 
tion of the palm. The "Nakhwali," as he is called, 
opens the female flower, and having inserted the in- 
verted male blossom, binds them together: this opera- 
tion is performed, as in Egypt, upon each cluster. 
The fruit is ripe about the middle of May, and the 
gathering of it forms the Arabs' "vendemmia." The 
people make merry the more readily because their 
favorite fruit is liable to a variety of accidents: 
droughts injure the tree, locusts destroy the produce, 
and the date crop, like most productions which men 
are imprudent enough to adopt singly as the staff of 
life, is subject to failure. One of the reasons for the 
excellence of Medinah dates is the quantity of water 
they obtain: each garden or field has its well, and 
even in the hottest weather the Persian wheel floods 
the soil every third day. It has been observed that 
the date-tree can live in dry and barren spots; but it 
loves the beds of streams and places where moisture 
is procurable. The palms scattered over the other 
parts of the plain, and depending solely upon rain 
water, produce less fruit, and that too of an inferior 

Verdure is not usually wholesome in Arabia, yet 
invalids leave the close atmosphere of El Medinah to 


seek health under the cool shades of Kuba. The 
gardens are divided by what might almost be called 
lanes, long narrow lines with tall reed fences on both 
sides. The graceful branches of the Tamarisk, pearled 
with manna, and cottoned over with dew, and the 
broad leaves of the castor plant, glistening in the sun, 
protected us from the morning rays. The ground on 
both sides of the way was sunken, the earth being 
disposed in heaps at the foot of the fences, an ar- 
rangement which facilitates irrigation, by giving a fall 
to the water, and in some cases affords a richer soil 
than the surface. This part of the Medinah plain, 
however, being higher than the rest, is less subject to 
the disease of salt and nitre. On the way here and 
there the earth crumbles and looks dark under the 
dew of morning, but nowhere has it broken out into 
that glittering efflorescence which denotes the last stage 
of the attack. The fields and gardens are divided 
into small oblongs separated from one another by 
little ridges of mould which form diminutive water- 
courses. Of the cereals there are luxuriant maize, 
wheat, and barley, but the latter two are in small 
quantities. Here and there patches of "Barsim," or 
Egyptian clover, sparkle brightly in the sunbeams. The 
principal vegetables are Badanjan (Egg plant), the 
Bamiyah (a kind of esculent hibiscus, called Bhendi 
in India), and Mulukhiyah (Corchorus olitorius), a 
mucilaginous spinage common throughout this part of 
the East. These three are eaten by citizens of every 
rank; they are in fact the potatoes and the greens of 

Mecca and Medina. II 8 


Arabia. I remarked also onions and leeks in fair 
quantities, a few beds of carrots and beans, some Fiji 
(radishes), Lift (turnips), gourds, cucumbers, and similar 
plants. Fruit trees abound. There are five descriptions 
of vines, the best of which is El Sherifi, a long white 
grape of a flavour somewhat resembling the produce 
of Pisa in Tuscany. Next, and very similar, is El Birni. 
The Hejazi is a round fruit, sweet, but insipid, which 
is also the reproach of the Sawadi, or black grape. 
And lastly, the Raziki is a small white fruit, with a 
diminutive stone. The Nebek, Lote or Jujube, is 
here a fine large tree with a dark green leaf, roundish 
and polished like the olive; it is armed with a short, 
curved, and sharp thorn *, and bears a pale straw- 
colored bacca, about the size of a gooseberry, with red 
streaks on the side next the sun. Little can be said 
in favor of the fruit, which has been compared suc- 
cessively by disappointed "Lotus eaters" to a bad 
plum , an unripe cherry, and an insipid apple. It is, 
however, a favorite with the people of El Medinah, 
who have reckoned many varieties of the fruit: Hindi 
(Indian), Baladi ("native"), Tamri (date-like) and 
others. There are a few peaches, hard like the Egyp- 
tian, and almost tasteless, fit only for stewing, but 
greedily eaten in a half-ripe state; large coarse bananas, 
lime trees, a few water melons, figs, and apples, but 

* This thorn (the Rhamnus Nabeca, or Zizyphus Spina Christi) is supposed 
to be that which crowned the Saviour's head. There are Mimosas in Syria ; 
but no tree, save the fabled Zakkum, could produce the terrible apparatus with 
which certain French painters of the modern school have attempted to heighten 
the terrors of the scene. 


neither apricots nor pears. There are three kinds of 
pomegranates: the best is the Shami (Syrian); it is red 
outside, very sweet, and costs one piastre; the Turki 
is large, and of a white color; and the Misri has a 
greenish rind, and a somewhat sub-acid and harsh 
flavour: the latter are sold four times as cheap as the 
best. I never saw in the East, except at Meccah, finer 
fruits than the Shami: almost stoneless, like those of 
Maskat, they are delicately perfumed, and as large as 
an infant's head. El Medinah is celebrated, like Taif, 
for its "Rubb Rumman," a thick pomegranate syrup, 
drunk with water during the hot weather, and esteemed 
cooling and wholesome. 

After threading our way through the gardens, an 
operation requiring less time than to describe them, 
we saw, peeping through the groves, Kuba's simple 
minaret. Then we came in sight of a confused heap 
of huts and dwelling-houses, chapels and towers with 
trees between, and foul lanes, heaps of rubbish, and 
barking dogs — the usual material of a Hejazi village. 
1 Having dismounted, we gave our animals in charge of 
a dozen infant Bedawin, the produce of the peasant 
gardeners, who shouted "Bakhshish" the moment they 
saw us. To this they were urged by their mothers, 
and I willingly parted with a few paras for the purpose 
of establishing an intercourse with fellow-creatures so 
fearfully and wonderfully resembling the tailless si- 
miad. Their bodies, unlike those of Egyptian children, 
were slim and straight, but their ribs stood out with a 

curious distinctness, the color of the skin was that oily 



lamp-black seen upon the face of a European sweep, 
and the elf-locks, thatching the cocoa-nut heads, had 
been stained by the sun, wind, and rain to that reddish- 
brown hue which Hindu romances have appropriated 
to their Rakshasas or demons. Each anatomy carried 
in his arms a stark-naked miniature of himself, fierce- 
looking babies with faces all eyes; and the strong little 
wretches were still able to extend the right hand and 
exert their lungs with direful clamor. Their mothers 
were fit progenitors for such progeny: long, gaunt, with 
emaciated limbs, wall-sided, high-shouldered, and 
straight-backed, with pendulous bosoms, spider-like 
arms, and splay feet. Their long elf-locks, wrinkled 
faces, and high cheek-bones, their lips darker than the 
epidermis, hollow staring eyes, sparkling as if to light 
up the extreme ugliness around, and voices screaming 
as though in a perennial rage, invested them with all 
the "charms of Sycorax." These "Houris of Jehan- 
num" were habited in long night-gowns dyed blue to 
conceal want of washing, and the squalid children had 
about a yard of the same material wrapped round 
their waists for all toilette. This is not an overdrawn 
portrait of the farmer race of Arabs, the most despised 
by their fellow-countrymen, and the most hard-favored, 
morally as well as physically, of all the breed. 

Before entering the Mosque of El Kuba it will be 
necessary to call to mind some passages of its past 
history. When the Prophet's she-camel, El Kaswa, as 
he was approaching El Medinah after the flight from 
Meccah, knelt down here, he desired his companions 


to mount the animal. Abubekr and Omar did so; 
still she sat upon the ground, but when Ali obeyed 
the order, she arose. The Prophet bade him loose 
her halter, for she was directed by Allah, and the 
Mosque walls were built upon the line over which she 
trod. It was the first place of public devotion in El 
Islam. Mohammed laid the first brick, and with an 
"Anzah" or iron-shod javelin, marked out the direction 
of prayer, each of his successors followed his example. 
According to most historians, the land belonged to 
Abu Ayyub the Ansari, the Prophet's host; for which 
reason the "Bayt Ayyub," his descendants, still per- 
form the service of the Mosque, keep the key, and 
share with the Bawwabs or porters the alms and fees 
here offered by the Faithful. Others declared that the 
ground was the property of one Linah, a woman who 
was in the habit of tethering her ass there. The 
Prophet used to visit the place every Saturday on foot, 
and made a point of praying the dawn-prayer there 
on the 17th Ramazan. A number of traditions testify 
to its dignity: of these, two are especially significant. 
The first assures all Moslems that a prayer at Kuba is 
equal in religious efficacy to a Lesser Pilgrimage at 
Meccah; and the second declares that such devotion 
is more acceptable to the Deity than prostrations at 
the Bayt el Mukaddas (Jerusalem). Moreover sundry 
miracles took place here, and a verset of the Koran 
descended from heaven. For which reasons the Mosque 
was much respected by Omar, who, once finding it 
empty, swept it himself with a broom of thorns, and 


expressed his wonder at the lukewarmness of Moslem 
piety. It was originally a square building of very 
small size; Osman enlarged it in the direction of the 
minaret, making it sixty-six cubits each way. It is no 
longer "mean and decayed" as in Burckhardt's time: 
the Sultan Abd el Hamid, father of the Sultan Mah- 
mud, erected a minaret of Turkish shape and a neat 
structure of cut stone, whose crenelles make it look 
more like a place of defence than of devotion. It has, 
however, no pretensions to grandeur. To the south 
a small and narrow Riwak (porch) with unpretending 
columns, looks out northwards upon a little open area 
simply sanded over; and this is the whole building. 

The large Mastabah or stone bench at the entrance 
of the Mosque, was crowded with sitting people: we 
therefore lost no time, after ablution and the Niyat 
("the Intention") peculiar to this Visitation, in ascend- 
ing the steps, in pulling off our slippers, and in enter- 
ing the sacred building. We stood upon the Musalla 
el Nabi (the Prophet's place of prayer): after Shaykh 
Nur and Hamid had forcibly cleared that auspicious 
spot of a devout Indian, and had spread a rug upon 
the dirty matting, we performed a two-bow prayer, in 
front of a pillar into which a diminutive marble Mihrab 
or niche had been inserted by way of memento. Then 
came the Dua, or supplication, which was as follows: 

"O Allah! bless and preserve, and increase, and 
perpetuate, and benefit, and be propitious to, our Lord 
Mohammed, and to his Family, and to his Companions, 
and be Thou their Preserver! O Allah! this is the 


Mosque Kuba, and the Place of the Prophet's Prayers. 

Allah! pardon our Sins, and veil our Faults, and 
place not over us one who feareth not Thee, and who 
pitieth not us, and pardon us, and the true Believers, 
Men and Women, the Quick of them and the Dead; 
for verily Thou, O. Lord, art the Hearer, the near to 
us, the Answerer of our Supplications." After which 
we recited the Testification and the Fatihah, and we 
drew our palms as usual down our faces. 

We then moved away to the south-eastern corner 
of the edifice, and stood before a Mihrab in the 
southern wall. It is called "Takat el Kashf" or 
"Niche of Disclosure," by those who believe that as 
the Prophet was standing undecided about the direc- 
tion of Meccah, the Archangel Gabriel removed all 
obstructions to his vision. There again we went 
through the two-bow prayer, the Supplication, the 
Testification, and the Fatihah, under difficulties, for 
people mobbed us excessively. During our devotions, 

1 vainly attempted to decipher a Cufic inscription 
fixed in the wall above and on the right of the Mihrab 
— my regret, however, at this failure was transitory, 
the character not being of an ancient date. Then we 
left the Riwak, and despite the morning sun which 
shone fiercely with a sickly heat, we went to the open 
area where stands the "Mabrak el Nakah," or the 
"Place of kneeling of the she-Dromedary." This, the 
exact spot where El Kaswa sat down, is covered with 
a diminutive dome of cut stone, supported by four 
stone pillars: the building is about eight feet high and 


a little less in length and breadth. It has the ap- 
pearance of being modern. On the floor, which was 
raised by steps above the level of the ground, lay, as 
usual, a bit of dirty matting, upon which we again 
went through the ceremonies above detailed. 

Then issuing from the canopy into the sun, a little 
outside the Riwak and close to the Mabrak, we prayed 
upon the "Makan el Ayat," or the "Place of Signs." 
Here was revealed to Mohammed a passage in the 
Koran especially alluding to the sanctity of the place 
and of the people of Kuba, "a Temple founded in 
Purity from its first Day;" and again: "there live Men 
who love to be cleansed, and verily Allah delights in 
the Clean." The Prophet exclaimed in admiration, 
"O ye Sons of Amr! what have ye done to deserve 
all this Praise and Beneficence'?" when the people 
offered him an explanation of their personal cleanli- 
ness which I do not care to repeat. The temple of 
Kuba from that day took a fresh title — Masjid el 
Takwa, or the "Mosque of Piety" 

Having finished our prayers and ceremonies at the 
Mosque of Piety, we fought our way out through a 
crowd of importunate beggars, and turning a few paces 
to the left, halted near a small chapel adjoining the 
south-west angle of the larger temple. We there stood 
at a grated window in the western wall, and recited a 
supplication looking the while reverently at a dark 
dwarf archway under which the Lady Fatimah used 
to sit grinding grain in a hand-mill. The Mosque in 
consequence bears the name of Sittna Fatimah. A 


surly-looking Khadim, or guardian, stood at the door 
demanding a dollar in the most authoritative Arab 
tone — we therefore did not enter. At El Medinah and 
at Meccah the traveller's hand must be perpetually in 
his pouch: no stranger in Paris or London is more 
surely or more severely taken in. Already I began to 
fear that my eighty pounds would not suffice for all 
the expenses of sight-seeing, and the apprehension 
was justified by the sequel. My only friend was the- 
boy Mohammed, who displayed a fiery economy that 
brought him into considerable disrepute with his 
countrymen. They saw with emotion that he was 
preaching parsimony to me solely that I might have 
more money to spend at Meccah under his auspices. 
This being palpably the case, I threw all the blame of 
penuriousness upon the young Machiavel's shoulders, 
and resolved, as he had taken charge of my finances at 
El Medinah, so at Meccah to administer them myself. 
After praying at the window, to the great disgust 
of the Khadim, who openly asserted that we were 
"low fellows/' we passed through some lanes lined 
with beggars and Bedawi children, till we came to a 
third little Mosque situated due south of the larger 
one. This is called the Masjid Arafat, and is erected 
upon a mound also named Tall Arafat, because on 
one occasion the Prophet, being unable to visit the 
Holy mountain at the pilgrimage season, stood there, 
saw through the intervening space, and in spirit per- 
formed the ceremony. Here also we looked into a 
window instead of opening the door with a silver key, 


and the mesquin appearance of all within prevented 
my regretting the necessity of economy. In India or 
Sind every village would have a better mosque. 

Our last visit was to a fourth chapel, the Masjid 
Ali, so termed because the Prophet's son-in-law had a 
house upon this spot. After praying there — and 
terribly hot the little hole was! — we repaired to the 
last place of visitation at Kuba — a large deep well 
called the Bir El Aris, in a garden to the west of the 
Mosque of Piety, with a little oratory adjoining it. A 
Persian wheel was going drowsily round, and the cool 
water fell into a tiny pool, whence it whirled and 
bubbled away in childish mimicry of a river. The 
music sounded sweet in my ears, I stubbornly refused 
to do any more praying — though Shaykh Hamid, for 
form's sake, reiterated, with parental emphasis, "how 
very wrong it was" — and sat down, as the Prophet 
himself did not disdain to do, with the resolution of 
enjoying on the brink of the well a few moments of 
unwonted "Kayf." The heat was overpowering, though 
it was only nine o'clock, the sound of the stream was 
soothing, that water wheel was creaking a lullaby, 
and the limes and pomegranates, gently rustling, shed 
voluptuous fragrance through the morning air. I fell 
asleep — and wondrous the contrast! — dreamed that I 
was once more standing 

" By the wall whereon hangeth the crucified vine," 

looking upon the valley of the Lianne, with its glaucous 
seas and grey skies, and banks here and there white 
with snow. 


The Bir el Aris, so called after a Jew of El Medinah, 
is one which the Prophet delighted to visit. He would 
sit upon its brink with his bare legs hanging over the 
side, and his companions used to imitate his example. 
This practice caused a sad disaster; in the sixth year of 
his caliphate, Osman, according to Abulfeda and Yakut, 
dropped from his finger Mohammed's seal ring, which, 
engraved in three lines with "Mohammed — Apostle — 
(of) Allah," had served to seal the letters sent to neigh- 
boring kings, and had descended to the first three suc- 
cessors. The precious article was not recovered after 
three day's search, and the well was thenceforward called 
Bir el Khatim — of the Seal Ring. It is also called the 
Bir el Taflat (of Saliva), because the Prophet honored 
it by expectoration, as, by the by, he seems to have 
done to almost all the wells in El Medinah. The 
effect of the operation upon the Bir el Aris, say the 
historians, was to sweeten the water, which before was 
salt. Their testimony, however, did not prevent my 
detecting a pronounced medicinal taste in the luke- 
warm draught drawn for me by Shaykh Hamid. In 
Mohammed's day the total number of wells is recorded 
to have been twenty: most of them have long since 
disappeared; but there still remain seven, whose waters 
w T ere drunk by the Prophet, and which, in consequence, 
the Zair is directed to visit. They are known by the 
classical title of Sab'a Abar, or the seven wells, and 
their names are included in this couplet, 

"Aris and Ghars, and Rumah and Buza'at 
And Busat, with Bayruha and Ihn." 


After my sleep, which was allowed to last until a pipe 
or two of Latakia had gone round the party, we re- 
mounted our animals. Returning towards El Medinah, 
my companions pointed out to me on the left of the 
village a garden, called El Madshuniyah. It contains 
a quarry of the yellow loam or bole-earth, called by 
the Arabs Tafl, the Persians Gil i Sarshui and the 
Sindians Metu. It is used as soap in many parts of 
the East, and, mixed with oil, it is supposed to cool 
the body, and to render the skin fresh and supple. It 
is related that the Prophet cured a Bedawi of the Benu 
Haris tribe of fever by washing him with a pot of Tafl 
dissolved in water, and hence the earth of El Medinah 
derived its healing fame. As far as I could learn from 
the Madani, this clay is no longer valued by them, 
either medicinally or cosmetically. 



The Visitation of Hamzah's Tomb. 

On the morning of Sunday, the twenty-third Zu'l 
Ka'adah (28th August, 1853), arrived from El Sham 
or Damascus the great Caravan, popularly called Hajj 
El Shami, the "Damascus pilgrimage," as the Egyptian 
Cafila is El Misri, or the Cairo pilgrimage. It is the 
main stream which carries off all the small currents 
that at this season of general movement flow from 
central Asia towards the great centre of the Islamitic 
world, and in 1853 it amounted to about 7000 souls. 
The arrival was anxiously expected by the people for 
several reasons. In the first place, it brought with it 
a new curtain for the Prophet's Hujrah, the old one 
being in a tattered condition; secondly, it had charge 
of the annual stipends and pensions of the citizens; 
and thirdly, many families expected members returning 
under its escort to their homes. The popular anxiety 
was greatly increased by the disordered state of the 
country round about; and, moreover, the great caravan 
had been one day late, generally arriving on the 
morning of the 22nd Zu'l Ka'adah.* 

* I reprint the following from the Illustrated London News, in proof 
that the literati of England have still something to learn. 

"On the 1st inst the annual ceremony of the departure of the Surc-emini 


During the night three of Shaykh Hamid's brothers, 
who had entered as Muzawwirs with the Hajj, came 
suddenly to the house: they leaped off their camels, 
and lost not a moment in going through the usual 
scene of kissing, embracing, and weeping bitterly for 
joy. I arose in the morning, and looked out from the 
windows of the Majlis. The Barr el Manakhah, from 
a dusty waste dotted with a few Bedawin and hair 
tents, had assumed all the various shapes and the 
colors of a kaleidescope. The eye was bewildered by 
the shifting of innumerable details, in all parts totally 
different from one another, thrown confusedly together 
in one small field; and, however jaded with sight- 
seeing, it dwelt with delight upon the variety, the 
vivacity, and the intense picturesqueness of the scene. 
In one night had sprung up a town of tents of every 
size, color, and shape — round, square and oblong, 
open and closed, — from the shawl-lined and gilt- 
topped pavilion of the Pasha, with all the luxurious 
appurtenances of the Harem, to its neighbour the little 

with the Imperial gifts for the Prophet's tomb at Meccah took place in front 
of the palace at Constantinople. The Levant Herald states that the presents, 
which consist, beside the large money donation , of rich shawls and gold-woven 
stuffs, were brought out of the Imperial apartments and packed, in presence of 
the Sultan, on two beautiful camels, which, after the delivery of the usual 
prayers , were then led in grand procession , accompanied by all the high of- 
ficers of state , to the landing-place at Cabatash , where the Sure-emini and 
camels were embarked on a Government steamer and ferried over to Scutari. 
There the holy functionary will remain some days , till the ' faithful ' of the 
capital and those who have come from the interior have joined him, when the 
caravan will start for Damascus. At this latter city the grand rendezvous 
takes place, and, that accomplished, the great caravan sets out for Mecca under 
the Emir-el- Hadj of the year. The Imperial presents on this occasion cost more 
than ;£ 20,000." 


dirty green "rowtie" of the tobacco-seller. They were 
pitched in admirable order: here ranged in a long 
line, where a street was required; there packed in 
dense masses, where thoroughfares were unnecessary. 
But how describe the utter confusion in the crowding, 
the bustling, and the vast variety and volume of 
sound'? Huge white Syrian dromedaries, compared 
with which those of El Hejaz appeared mere pony- 
camels, jingling large bells, and bearing Shugdufs 
(litters) like miniature green tents, swaying and tossing 
upon their backs; gorgeous Takhtrawan, or litters 
carried between camels or mules with scarlet and 
brass trappings; Bedawin bestriding naked-backed 
"Daluls" (dromedaries), and clinging like apes to the 
hairy humps; Arnaut, Kurd, and Turkish Irrregular 
Cavalry, fiercer looking in their mirth than Roman 
peasants in their rage; fainting Persian pilgrims, forcing 
their stubborn camels to kneel, or dismounted grum- 
bling from jaded donkeys; Kahwajis, sherbet sellers, 
and ambulant tobacconists crying their goods; country- 
people driving flocks of sheep and goats with infinite 
clamor through lines of horses fiercely snorting and 
biting and kicking and rearing; townspeople seeking 
their friends; returned travellers exchanging affectionate 
salutes; devout Hajis jolting one another, running un- 
der the legs of camels, and tumbling over the tents' 
ropes in their hurry to reach the Haram; cannon roar- 
ing from the citadel; shopmen, water-carriers and fruit 
vendors fighting over their bargains; boys bullying 
heretics with loud screams; a well-mounted party of 


fine old Arab Shaykhs of the Hamidah clan, preceded 
by their varlets, performing the Arzah or war dance, 
— compared with which the Pyrenean bear's per- 
formance is grace itself — firing their duck-guns up- 
wards, or blowing the powder into the calves of those 
before them, brandishing their swords, leaping fran- 
tically the while, with their bright-colored rags floating 
in the wind, tossing their long spears tufted with 
ostrich feathers high in the air, reckless where they 
fall; servants seeking their masters, and masters their 
tents with vain cries of "Ya Mohammed !" grandees 
riding mules or stalking on foot, preceded by their 
crowd- beaters, shouting to clear the way; here the 
loud shrieks of women and children, whose litters are 
bumping and rasping against one another; there the 
low moaning of some poor wretch that is seeking a 
shady corner to die in: add a thick dust which blurs 
the outlines like a London fog, with a flaming sun 
that draws sparkles of fire from the burnished weapons 
of the crowd, and the brass balls of tent and litter; 
and — I doubt, gentle reader, that even the length, the 
jar, and the confusion of this description is adequate 
to its subject, or that any " word-painting " of mine 
can convey a just idea of the scene. 

This was the day appointed for our visiting the 
martyrs of Ohod. After praying the dawn-prayers as 
directed at the Haram, we mounted our donkeys, and, 
armed with pistols and knives, we set out from the 
city. Our party was large. Sa'ad the Demon had of- 
fered to accompany us, and the bustle around kept 


him in the best of humours; Umar Effendi was also 
there, quiet-looking and humble as usual, leading his 
ass to avoid the trouble of dismounting every second 
minute.* I had the boy Mohammed and my "slave," 
and Shaykh Hamid was attended by half a dozen re- 
lations. To avoid the crush of the Barr el Manakhah, 
we made a detour westwards, over the bridge and 
down the course of the torrent-bed "El Sayh." We 
then passed along the southern wall of the castle, 
traversed its eastern outwork, and issued from the 
Bab el Shami. During the greater part of the time 
we were struggling through a living tide; and among 
dromedaries and chargers a donkey is by no means a 
pleasant monture. With some difficulty, but without 
any more serious accident than a fall or two, we found 
ourselves in the space beyond and northward of the 
city. This also was covered with travellers and tents, 
amongst which, on an eminence to the left of the road, 
rose conspicuous the bright green pavilion of the Emir 
El Hajj, the commandant of the Caravan. Hard by, 
half its height surrounded by a Kanat or tent wall, 
stood the Syrian or Sultan's Mahmal (litter), all glitter- 
ing with green and gilding and gold, and around it 
were pitched the handsome habitations of the prin- 
cipal officers and grandees of the pilgrimage. On the 
right hand lay extensive palm plantations, and on the 
left, strewed over the plain, were signs of wells and 
tanks, built to supply the Hajj with water. We pass 

* Respectable men in El Hejaz, when they meet friends, acquaintances, or 
superiors, consider it only polite to dismount from a donkey. 
Mecca and Medina. II, 9 


two small buildings, one the Kubbat El Sabak, or 
Dome of Precedence, where the Prophet's warrior 
friends used to display their horsemanship; the second 
the Makan, or burial-place of Sayyidna Zaki el Din, 
one of Mohammed's multitudinous descendants. Then 
we fall into a plain, resembling that of Kuba, but less 
fertile. While we are jogging over it, a few words 
concerning Mount Ohod may not be misplaced. 
A popular distich says, 

"Verily there is healing to the eye that looks 
Unto Ohod and the two Harrahs (ridges) near." 

And of this holy hill the Prophet declared, "Ohod is 
a Mountain which loves Us and which We love: it is 
upon the Gate of Heaven;" adding, "and Ayr is a 
Place which hates Us and which We hate: it is upon 
the Gate of Hell." The former sheltered Mohammed 
in the time of danger, therefore, on Resurrection Day 
it will be raised to Paradise: whereas Jebel Ayr, its 
neighbour, having been so ill-judged as to refuse the 
Prophet water on an occasion while he thirsted, will 
be cast incontinently into Jehannum. 

Moslem divines, be it observed, ascribe to Moham- 
med miraculous authority over animals, vegetables, 
and minerals, as well as over men, angels, and jinns. 
Hence the speaking Wolf, the weeping Post, the Oil- 
stone, and the love and hate of these two mountains. 
It is probably one of the many remains of ancient 
paganism pulled down and afterwards used to build 
up the edifice of El Islam. According to the old Per- 
sians, the sphere has an active soul. Some sects of 


Hindus believe "mother earth," upon whose bosom we 
little parasites crawl, to be a living being. This was 
a dogma also amongst the ancient Egyptians, who de- 
noted it by a peculiar symbol, — the globe with human 
legs. Hence the "Makrokosmos" of the plagiaristic 
Greeks, the animal on a large scale, whose diminutive 
was the "Mikrokosmos" — man. "Tota natura," repeats 
Malpighi, "existit in minimis." Amongst the Romans, 
Tellus or Terra was a female deity, anthropomorphised 
according to their syncretic system, which furnished 
with strange gods their Pantheon, but forgot to ap- 
pend the scroll explaining the inner sense of the 
symbol. And some modern philosophers, Kepler, 
Blackmore, and others, have not scrupled to own their 
belief in a doctrine which as long as "Life" is a mere 
word on man's tongue, can neither be proved nor dis- 
proved. The Mohammedans, as usual, exaggerate the 
dogma — a Hadis related by Abu Hurayrah casts on the 
Day of Judgment the sun and the moon into hell fire. 
Jebel Ohod owes its present reputation to a cave 
which sheltered the Prophet when pursued by his 
enemies, to certain springs of which he drank, and 
especially to its being the scene of a battle celebrated 
in El Islam. On Saturday, the nth Shawwal, in the 
3rd year of the Hijrah (26th January A. d. 625) Mo- 
hammed with 700 men engaged 3000 infidels under 
the command of Abu Sufiyan, ran great personal 
danger, and lost his uncle Hamzah, the "Lord of 
Martyrs." On the topmost pinnacle, also, is the Kub- 

bat Harun, the dome erected over Aaron's remains. 



It is now, I was told, in a .ruinous condition, and is 
placed upon the "pinnacle of seven hills" in a position 
somewhat like that of certain buildings on St. Angelo 
in the bay of Naples. Alluding to the toil of reach- 
ing it, the Madani quote a facetious rhyme inscribed 
upon the wall by one of their number who had wasted 
his breath — 

Man talaa Kubbat Harun !" 

Anglice, "The man must be a ruffian who climbs up 
to Aaron's Dome." Devout Moslems visit Ohod every 
Thursday morning after the dawn devotions in the 
Haram, pray for the Martyrs, and, after going through 
the ceremonies, return to the Haram in time for mid- 
day worship. On the 12th of Rajab, Zairs come out 
in large bodies from the city, encamp here for three 
or four days and pass the time in feasting, jollity, and 
devotion, as usual at pilgrimages and saints' festivals 
in general. 

After half an hour's ride we came to the Mustarah 
or resting place, so called because the Prophet sat 
here for a few minutes on his way to the battle of 
Ohod. It is a newly-built square enclosure of dwarf 
whitewashed walls, within which devotees pray. On 
the outside fronting El Medinah is a seat like a chair 
of rough stones. Here I was placed by my Muzawwir, 
who recited an insignificant supplication to be repeated 
after him. At its end, with the Fatihah and accom- 
paniments, we remounted our asses and resumed our 
way. Travelling onwards, we came in sight of the 


second Harrah or ridge. It lies to the right and left 
of the road, and resembles lines of lava, but I had 
not an opportunity to examine it narrowly. Then we 
reached the gardens of Ohod, which reflect in minia- 
ture those of Kuba, and presently we arrived at what 
explained the presence of verdure and vegetable life 
— a deep Fiumara full of loose sand and large stones 
denoting an impetuous stream. It flows along the 
southern base of Ohod, said to be part of the plain 
of El Medinah, and collects the drainage of the high 
lands lying to the S. and S.E. The bed becomes im- 
passable after rain, and sometimes the torrents over- 
flow the neighbouring gardens. By the direction of 
this Fiumara I judged that it must supply the Ghab- 
bah or "basin" in the hills north of the plain. Good 
authorities, however, informed me that a large volume 
of water will not stand there, but flows down the beds 
that wind through the Ghauts westward of El Medinah 
and falls into the sea near the harbour of Wijh. To 
the south of the Fiumara is a village on an eminence, 
containing some large brick houses now in a ruinous 
state; these are the villas of opulent and religious 
citizens who visited the place for change of air, re- 
creation, and worship at Hamzah's tomb. Our donkeys 
presently sank fetlock-deep in the loose sand of the 
torrent-bed. Then reaching the northern side and as- 
cending a gentle slope, we found ourselves upon the 

This spot, so celebrated in the annals of El Islam, 
is a shelving strip of land, close to the southern base 


of Mount Ohod. The army of the Infidels advanced 
from the Fiumara in crescent shape, with Abu Sufiyan, 
the general, and his idols in the centre. It is distant 
about three miles from El Medinah, in a northerly 
direction. All the visitor sees is hard gravelly ground, 
covered with little heaps of various colored granite, 
red sandstone, and bits of porphyry, to denote the 
different places where the martyrs fell and were buried. 
Seen from this point, there is something appalling in 
the look of the Holy Mountain. Its seared and jagged 
flanks rise like masses of iron from the plain, and the 
crevice into which the Moslem host retired, when the 
disobedience of the archers in hastening to plunder, 
enabled Khalid bin Walid to fall upon Mohammed's 
rear, is the only break in the grim wall. Reeking with 
heat, its surface produces not one green shrub or 
stunted tree; neither bird nor beast appeared upon its 
inhospitable sides, and the bright blue sky glaring 
above its bald and sullen brow, made it look only the 
more repulsive. I was glad to turn away my eyes 
from it. 

To the left of the road N. of the Fiumara, and 
leading to the mountains, stands Hamzah's Mosque, 
which, like the Haram of El Medinah, is a mausoleum 
as well as a fane. It is a small strongly-built square 
of hewn stone, with a dome covering the solitary 
hypostyle to the south, and the usual minaret. The 
westward wing is a Zawiyah or oratory, frequented by 
the celebrated Sufi and Saint, Mohammed el Samman, 
the "Clarified Butter-Seller," one of whose blood, the 


reader will remember, stood by my side in the person 
of Shaykh Hamid. On the eastern side of the build- 
ing a half wing projects, and a small door opens to 
the south upon a Mustabah or stone bench five or six 
feet high; this completes the square of the edifice. On 
the right of the road opposite Hamzah's Mosque is a 
large erection, now in ruins, containing a deep hole 
leading to a well, with huge platforms for the accom- 
modation of travellers. Beyond, towards the mountains, 
are the small edifices presently to be described. 

Some Turkish women were sitting veiled upon the 
shady platform opposite the Martyrs' Mosque. At a 
little distance their husbands, and the servants .holding 
horses and asses, lay upon the ground, and a large 
crowd of Bedawin, boys, girls, and old women, had 
gathered around to beg, draw water, and sell dry 
dates. They were awaiting the guardian, who had 
not yet acknowledged the summons. After half an 
hour's vain patience, we determined to proceed with 
the ceremonies. Ascending by its steps the Mastabah 
subtending half the eastern wall, Shaykh Hamid placed 
me so as to front the tomb. There, standing in the 
burning sun, we repeated the following prayer: "Peace 
be upon Thee, O our Lord Hamzah! O Paternal-Uncle 
of Allah's Messenger! O Paternal- Uncle of Allah's 
Prophet! Peace be upon Thee, O Paternal-Uncle of 
Mustafa! Peace be upon Thee, O Prince of the Mar- 
tyrs! O Prince of the Happy! Peace be upon Thee, 
O Lion of Allah! O Lion of His Prophet!" 

After which, we asked Hamzah and his companions 


to lend us their aid, in obtaining for us and ours 
pardon, worldly prosperity, and future happiness. 
Scarcely had we finished when, mounted on a high- 
trotting dromedary, appeared the emissary of Moham- 
med Khalifah, descendant of El Abbas, who keeps the 
key of the Mosque, and who receives the fees and 
donations of the devout. It was to be opened for the 
Turkish pilgrims. I waited to see the interior. The 
Arab drew forth from his pouch, with abundant 
solemnity, a bunch of curiously made keys, and sharply 
directed me to stand away from and out of sight of 
the door. When I obeyed, grumblingly, he began to 
rattle the locks, and to snap the padlocks, opening 
them slowly, shaking them, and making as much noise 
as possible. The reason of the precaution — it sounded 
like poetry if not sense — is this. It is believed that 
the souls of martyrs, leaving the habitations of their 
senseless clay, are fond of sitting together in spiritual 
converse, and profane eye must not fall upon the 
scene. What grand pictures these imaginative Arabs 
see! Conceive the majestic figures of the saints — for 
the soul with Mohammedans is like the old European 
spirit, a something immaterial in the shape of the 
body — with long grey beards, earnest faces, and solemn 
eyes, reposing beneath the palms, and discussing events 
now buried in the gloom of a thousand years. 

I would fain be hard upon this superstition, but 
shame prevents. When in Nottingham, eggs may not 
be carried out after sunset; when Ireland hears Ban- 
shees, or apparitional old women, with streaming hair, 


and dressed in blue mantles; when Scotland sees a 
shroud about a person, showing his approaching death; 
when France has her loup-garous, revenants, and 
poules du Vendredi Saint (/. e. hens hatched on Good 
Friday supposed to change color every year): as long 
as the Holy Coat cures devotees at Treves, Madonnas 
wink at Rimini, San Januario melts at Naples, and 
Addolorate and Estatiche make converts to hysteria at 
Rome — whilst the Virgin manifests herself to children 
On the Alps, whilst Germany sends forth Psychography, 
whilst Europe, the civilised, the enlightened, the 
sceptical, registers miracles by the dozen, miracles 
believed in even by millions of hard-headed Ameri- 
cans; whilst "Creation by Law" is scouted — I must 
hold the men of El Medinah to be as wise, and 
their superstition to be as respectable as that of 

But the realities of Hamzah , s Mosque have little 
to recommend them. The building is like that of 
Kuba, only smaller; and the hypostyle is hung with oil 
lamps and ostrich eggs, the usual paltry furniture of 
an Arab mausoleum. On the walls are a few modern 
inscriptions and framed poetry, written in a caligraphic 
hand. Beneath the Riwak lies Hamzah, under a mass 
of black basaltic stone, resembling that of Aden, only 
more porous and scoriaceous, convex at the top, like 
a heap of earth, without the Kiswah, or cover of a 
saint's tomb, and railed round with wooden bars. At 
his head, or westward, lies Abdullah bin Jaysh, a name 
little known to fame, under a plain whitewashed tomb, 


also convex; and in the court-yard is a similar pile, 
erected over the remains of Shammas bin Usman, an- 
other obscure Companion. We then passed through 
a door in the northern part of the western wall, and 
saw a diminutive palm plantation and a well. After 
which we left the Mosque, and I was under the "fatal 
necessity" of paying a dollar for the honor of entering 
it. But the guardian promised that the chapters Y. S. 
and El Ikhlas should be recited for my benefit — the 
latter forty times — and if their efficacy be one-twentieth 
part of what men say it is, the reader cannot quote 
against me a certain popular proverb, concerning an 
order of men easily parted from their money. 

Issuing from the Mosque, we advanced a few paces 
towards the mountain. On our left we passed by — 
at a respectful distance, for the Turkish Hajis cried 
out that their women were engaged in ablution — a 
large Sehrij or tank, built of cut stone with steps, and 
intended to detain the overflowing waters of the tor- 
rent. The next place we prayed at was a small square, 
enclosed with dwarf whitewashed walls, containing a 
few graves denoted by ovals of loose stones thinly 
spread upon the ground. This is primitive Arab sim- 
plicity. The Bedawin still mark the places of their 
dead with four stones planted at the head, the feet, 
and the sides; in the centre the earth is either heaped 
up Musannam (1. e. like the hump of a camel), or 
more generally left Musattah — level. I therefore sup- 
pose that the latter was the original shape of the 
Prophet's tomb. 


Within the enclosure certain martyrs of the holy 
army were buried. After praying there, we repaired 
to a small building still nearer to the foot of the 
mountain. It is the usual cupola springing from four 
square walls, not in the best preservation. Here the 
Prophet prayed, and it is called the Kubbat el Sanaya, 
"Dome of the Front Teeth/' from the following cir- 
cumstance. Five infidels were bound by oath to slay 
Mohammed at the battle of Ohod: one of these, Ibn 
Kumayyah, threw so many stones, and with such good 
will that two rings of the Prophet's helmet were driven 
into his cheek, and blood poured from his brow down 
his mustachios, which he wiped with a cloak to prevent 
the drops falling to the ground. Then Utbah bin Abi 
Wakkas hurled a stone at him, which, splitting his 
lower lip, knocked out one of his front teeth. On the 
left of the.Mihrab, inserted low down in the wall, is 
a square stone, upon which Shaykh Hamid showed 
me the impression of a tooth: he kissed it with peculiar 
reverence, and so did I. But the boy Mohammed 
being by me objurgated — for I remarked in him a 
jaunty demeanour combined with neglectfulness of 
ceremonies — saluted it sulkily, muttering the while 
hints about the holiness of his birth-place exempting 
him from the trouble of stooping. Already he had 
appeared at the Haram without his Jubbah, and with 
ungirt loins — in waistcoat and shirt sleeves. More- 
over he had conducted himself indecorously by nudging 
Shaykh Hamid's sides during divine service. Feeling 
that the youth's "moral man" was, like his physical, 


under my charge, and determined to arrest a course 
of conduct which must have ended in obtaining for 
me, the master, the reputation of a "son of Belial," I 
insisted upon his joining us in the customary two-bow 
prayers. And Sa'ad the Demon taking my side of the 
question with his usual alacrity when a disturbance 
was in prospect, the youth found it necessary to yield. 
After this little scene, Shaykh Hamid pointed out 
a sprawling inscription blessing the companions of the 
Prophet. The unhappy Abubekr's name had been half 
effaced by some fanatic Shiah, a circumstance which 
seemed to arouse all the evil in my companions' 
nature, and looking close at the wall I found a line of 
Persian verse to this effect: 

" I am weary of my life (Umr), because it bears the name of Umar." * 

We English wanderers are beginning to be shamed 
out of our "vulgar" habit of scribbling names and 
nonsense in noted spots. Yet the practice is both 
classical and oriental. The Greeks and Persians left 
their marks everywhere, as Egypt shows, and the paws 
of the Sphinx bear scratches which, being interpreted, 
are found to be the same manner of trash as that 
written upon the remains of Thebes in a.d. 1874. And 
Easterns appear never to enter a building with a white 
wall without inditing upon it platitudes in verse and 
prose. Influenced by these considerations, I drew forth 
a pencil and inscribed in the Kubbat el Sanaya, 

* In Persian characters the word Umr, life, and Umar, the name of the 
hated caliph, are written in the same way ; which explains the pun. 



"Abdullah, the servant of Allah." 
(a. h.) 1269. 

Issuing from the dome we turned a few paces to 
the left, passed northwards, and thus blessed the Mar- 
tyrs of Ohod: 

"Peace be upon Ye, O Martyrs! Peace be upon 
Ye, O Blessed! Ye Pious! Ye Pure! who fought upon 
Allah's Path the good Fight, who worshipped your 
Lord until He brought you to Certainty .* Peace be 
upon You of whom Allah said (viz. in the Koran) 
' Verily repute not them slain on God's Path (i. e. 
warring with Infidels); nay, rather they are alive, and 
there is no Fear upon them, nor are they sorrowful!' 
Peace be upon Ye, O Martyrs of Ohod! One and All, 
and the Mercy of Allah and his Blessings." 

Then again we moved a few paces forward and 
went through a similar ceremony, supposing ourselves 
to be in the cave that sheltered the Prophet. After 
which, returning towards the torrent-bed by the way 
we came, we stood a small distance from a cupola 
called Kubbat el Masra. It resembles that of the 

* That is to say, "to the hour of death.' 


"Front-teeth," and notes, as its name proves, the place 
where the gallant Hamzah fell by the spear of Wahshi 
the slave. We faced towards it and finished the 
ceremonies of this Ziyarat by a Supplication, the 
Testification, and the Fatihah. 

In the evening I went with my friends to the 
Haram. The minaret galleries were hung with lamps, 
and the inside of the temple was illuminated. It was 
crowded with Hajis, amongst whom were many women, 
a circumstance which struck me from its being un- 
usual. Some pious pilgrims, who had duly paid for 
the privilege, were perched upon ladders trimming 
wax candles of vast dimensions, others were laying up 
for themselves rewards in Paradise, by performing the 
same office to the lamps; many were going through 
the ceremonies of Ziyarat, and not a few were sitting 
in different parts of the Mosque apparently over- 
whelmed with emotion. The boys and the beggars 
were inspired with fresh energy, the Aghawat were 
gruffer and surlier than I had ever seen them, and the 
young men about town walked and talked with a freer 
and an easier demeanour than usual. My old friends 
the Persians — there were about 1200 of them in the 
Hajj caravan — attracted my attention. The door- 
keepers stopped them with curses as they were about 
to enter, and all claimed from each the sum of five 
piastres, whilst other Moslems are allowed to enter the 
Mosque free. Unhappy men! they had lost all the 
Shiraz swagger, their mustachios drooped pitiably, 
their eyes would not look any one in the face, and 


not a head bore a cap stuck upon it crookedly. When- 
ever an "Ajemi," whatever might be his rank, stood 
in the way of an Arab or a Turk, he was rudely 
thrust aside, with abuse muttered loud enough to be 
heard by all around. All eyes followed them as they 
went through the ceremonies of Ziyarat, especially as 
they approached the tombs of Abubekr and Omar — 
which every man is bound to defile if he can — and 
the supposed place of Fatimah's burial. Here they 
stood in parties, after praying before the Prophet's 
window: one read from a book the pathetic tale of the 
Lady's life, sorrows, and mourning death, whilst the 
others listened to him with breathless attention. Some- 
times their emotion was too strong to be repressed. 
"AyFatimah! Ay Mazlumah! Way! way! — O Fatimah! 
O Thou injured one! Alas! alas!" — burst involuntarily 
from their lips, despite the danger of such exclama- 
tions, tears trickled down their hairy cheeks, and their 
brawny bosoms heaved with sobs. A strange sight it 
was to see rugged fellows, mountaineers perhaps, or 
the fierce Iliyat of the plains, sometimes weeping 
silently like children, sometimes shrieking like hysteric 
girls, and utterly careless to conceal a grief so coarse 
and grisly, at the same time so true and real, that I 
knew not how to behold it. Then the Satanic scowls 
with which they passed by or pretended to pray at 
the hated Omar's tomb! With what curses their 
hearts are belying those mouths full of blessings! 
How they are internally canonising Fayruz — the Per- 
sian slave who stabbed Omar in the Mosque — and 


praying for his eternal happiness in the presence of 
the murdered man! Sticks and stones, however, and 
not unfrequently the knife and the sabre, have taught 
them the hard lesson of disciplining their feelings, and 
nothing but a furious contraction of the brow, a roll 
of the eye, intensely vicious, and a twitching of the 
muscles about the region of the mouth, denotes the 
wild storm of wrath within. They generally, too, 
manage to discharge some part of their passion in 
words. "Hail Omar Thou hog!" exclaims some fanatic 
Madani as he passes by the heretic — a demand more 
outraging than requiring a red-hot, black-north Protes- 
tant to bless the Pope. "O Allah! hell him!" meekly 
responds the Persian, changing the benediction to a 
curse most intelligible to, and most delicious in, his 
fellows' ears. I have heard of a Persian being beaten 
to death, because instead of saying "Peace be with 
Thee, Ya Omar," he insisted upon saying "Peace be 
with Thee, Ya Humar (O ass!)" A favorite trick is to 
change Razi Allahu anhu — May Allah be satisfied with 
him! — to Razi Allahu Aan. This last word is not to 
be found in Richardson, but any "Luti" from Shiraz 
or Isfahan can make it intelligible to the curious 

An evening hour in the steamy heat of the Haram 
was equal to half a dozen afternoons; and I left it re- 
solved never to revisit it till the Hajj departed from 
El Medinah. It was only prudent not to see much of 
the Ajamis; and as I did so somewhat ostentatiously, 
my companions discovered that the Shaykh Abdullah,. 


having slain many of those heretics in some war or 
other, was avoiding them to escape retaliation. In 
proof of my generalistic qualities, the rolling down of 
the water jar upon the heads of the Maghribi pilgrims 
in the "Golden Thread" was quoted, and all offered 
to fight for me a Toutrance. 

I took care not to contradict the report. 

Mecca and Medina, II. IO 



The People of El Medinah. 

El Medinah contains but few families descended 
from the Prophet's Auxiliaries. I heard only of four 
whose genealogy is undoubted. These were, — 

1. The Bayt el Ansari, or descendants of Abu 
Ayyub, a most noble race whose tree ramifies through 
a space of 1500 years. They keep the keys of the 
Kuba Mosque, and are Imams in the Haram, but the 
family is no longer wealthy or powerful. 

2. The Bayt Abi Jud: they supply the Haram with 
Imams and Muezzins. I was told that there are now 
but two surviving members of this family, a boy and 
a girl. 

3. The Bayt el Sha'ab, a numerous race. Some of 
the members travel professionally, others trade, and 
others are employed in the Haram. 

4. The Bayt el Karrani, who are mostly engaged 
in commerce. 

There is also a race called el Nakhawilah, who, 
according to some, are descendants of the Ansar, 
whilst others derive them from Yezid, the son of 
Muawiyah: the latter opinion is improbable, as the 
Caliph in question was a mortal- foe to Air's family, 
which is inordinately venerated by these people. As 


far as I could ascertain, they abuse the Shaykhayn 
(Abubekr and Omar): all my informants agreed upon 
this point, but none could tell me why they neglected 
to bedevil Osman, the third object of hatred to the 
Shiah persuasion. They are numerous and warlike, 
yet they are despised by the townspeople, because 
they openly profess heresy, and are moreover of low de- 
gree. They have their own priests and instructors, al- 
though subject to the orthodox Kazi, marry in their own 
sect, are confined to humble offices, such as slaughter- 
ing animals, sweeping, and gardening, and are not 
allowed to enter the Haram during life, nor to be car- 
ried to it after death. Their corpses are taken down 
an outer street called the Darb el Jenazah — Road of 
Biers — to their own cemetery near El Baki'a. They 
dress and speak Arabic, like the townspeople; but the 
Arabs pretend to distinguish them by a peculiar look 
denoting their degradation :. it is doubtless the mistake 
of effect for cause, made about all such 

"Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast." 

A number of reports are current about the horrid 

customs of these people, and their community of 

women with the Persian pilgrims who pass through 

the town. It need scarcely be said that such tales 

coming from the mouths of fanatic foes are never to 

be credited. I regret not having had an opportunity 

to become intimate with any of the Nakhawilah, from 

whom curious information might be elicited. Orthodox 

Moslems do not like to be questioned about such 



hateful subjects; when I attempted to learn something 
from one of my acquaintance, Shaykh Ula el Din, of 
a Kurd family, settled at El Medinah, a man who had 
travelled over the East, and who spoke five languages 
to perfection, he coldly replied that he never consorted 
with heretics. 

Sayyids and Sherifs*, the descendants of the 
Prophet, here abound. The Benu Husayn of El Me- 
dinah have their head-quarters at Suwayrkiyah: the 
former place contains six or seven families; the latter, 
ninety-three or ninety- four. Anciently they were much 
more numerous, and such was their power, that for 
centuries they retained charge of the Prophet's Tomb. 
They subsist principally upon their Amlak, property 
in land, for which they have title-deeds extending 
back to Mohammed's day, and Aukaf, religious be- 
quests; popular rumour accuses them of frequent 
murders for the sake of succession. At El Medinah 
they live chiefly at the Hosh Ibn Sa'ad, a settlement 
outside the town and south of Darb el Jenazah. There 
is, however, no objection to their dwelling within the 
walls, and they are taken to the Haram after death, if 
there be no evil report against the individual. Their 
burial-place is the Baki'a cemetery. The reason of 

* In Arabia the Sherif is the descendant of Hasan through his two sons, 
Zayd and Hasan el Musanna : the Sayyid is the descendant of Hosayn through 
Zayn el Abidin, the sole of twelve children who survived the fatal field of Ker- 
bela. The former devotes himself to government and war , the latter to learn- 
ing and religion. In Persia and India, the Sherif is the son of a Sayyid woman 
and a common Moslem. The Sayyid "Nejib el Taraf " (noble on one side) is 
the son of a Sayyid father and a common Moslemah. The Sayyid "Nejib el 
Tarafayn " (noble on both sides) is one whose parents are both Sayyids. 


this toleration is, that some are supposed to be Sunni, 
or orthodox, and even the most heretical keep their 
"Rafz" (heresy) a profound secret. Most learned 
Arabs believe that they belong, like the Persians, to 
the sect of Ali; the truth, however, is so vaguely known, 
that I could find out none of the peculiarities of their 
faith, till I met a Shirazi friend at Bombay. 

The Benu Husayn are spare dark men of Bedawi 
appearance, and they dress in the old Arab style still 
affected by the Sherifs, a Kufiyah (kerchief) on the 
head, and a Benish, a long and wide-sleeved garment 
resembling our magicians' gown, thrown over the white 
cotton Kamis (shirt) : in public they always carry swords, 
even when others leave weapons at home. There 
are about 200 families of Sayyid Alawiyah, who are 
descendants of Ali by any of his wives but Fatimah; 
they bear no distinctive mark in dress or appearance, 
and are either employed at the temple or engage in 
trade. Of the Khalifiyyah, or posterity of Abbas, 
there is, I am told, but one household, the Bayt el 
Khalifah, who act as Imams in the Haram, and have 
charge of Hamzah's tomb. Some declare that there 
are a few of the Siddikiyah, or descendants from 
Abubekr; others ignore them, and none could give me 
any information about the Benu Najjar. 

The rest of the population of El Medinah is a 
motley race composed of offshoots from every nation 
in El Islam. The sanctity of the city attracts strangers 
who, purposing to stay but a short time, become resi- 
dents: after finding some employment, they marry, 


have families, die, and are buried there with an eye 
to the spiritual advantages of the place. I was much 
importuned to stay at El Medinah. The only known 
physician was one Shaykh Abdullah Sahib, an Indian, 
a learned man, but of so melancholic a temperament, 
and so ascetic in his habits, that his knowledge was 
entirely lost to the public. "Why dost thou not," 
said my friends, "hire a shop somewhere near the 
Prophet's Mosque? There thou wilt eat bread by thy 
skill, and thy soul will have the blessing of being on 
holy ground." Shaykh Nur also opined after a short 
residence at El Medinah that it was "bara jannati 
Shahr," a "very heavenly City," and little would have 
induced him to make it his home. 

The present ruling race at El Medinah, in con- 
sequence of political vicissitudes, are the "Sufat," sons 
of Turkish fathers by Arab mothers. These half- 
castes are now numerous, and have managed to secure 
the highest and most lucrative offices. Besides Turks, 
there are families originally from the Maghrib, Takruris, 
Egyptians in considerable numbers, settlers from Yemen 
and other parts of Arabia, Syrians, Kurds, Afghans, 
Daghistanis from the Caucasus, and a few Jawis — 
Java Moslems. The Sindis, I was told, reckon about 
100 families, who are exceedingly despised for their 
cowardice and want of manliness, whilst the Baloch 
and the Afghan are respected. The Indians are not 
so numerous in proportion here as at Meccah; still 
Hindostani is by no means uncommonly heard in the 
streets. They preserve their peculiar costume, the 


women persisting in showing their faces, and in wear- 
ing tight, exceedingly tight, pantaloons. This, together 
with other reasons, secures for them the contempt of 
the Arabs. At El Medinah they are generally small 
shopkeepers, especially druggists and sellers of Kumash 
(dry goods), and they form a society of their own. The 
terrible cases of misery and starvation which so com- 
monly occur among the improvident Indians at Jeddah 
and Meccah are here rare. 

The Hanafi school holds the first rank at El Me- 
dinah, as in most parts of El Islam, although many of 
the citizens, and almost all the Bedawin, are Shafeis. 
The reader will have remarked with astonishment that 
at one of the fountain-heads of the faith, there are 
several races of schismatics, the Benu Husayn, the 
Benu Ali, and the Nakhawilah. At the town of Safra 
there are said to be a number of the Zuyud* schis- 
matics, who visit El Medinah, and have settled in 
force at Meccah, and some declare that the Bayazi** 
sect also exists. 

The citizens of El Medinah are a favoured race, 
although their city is not, like Meccah, the grand mart 
of the Moslem world or the meeting-place of nations. 
They pay no taxes, and reject the idea of a "Miri," or 
land-cess, with extreme disdain. "Are we, the children 
of the Prophet," they exclaim, "to support or to be 

* Plural of Zaydi. These are well known schismatics of the Shiah persua- 
sion, who abound in Southern Arabia. 

** The Bayazi sect flourishes near Muscat, whose Imam or Prince, it is 
said, belongs to the heretical persuasion. It rejects Osman, and advocates the 
superiority of Omar over the other two Caliphs. 


supported 1 ?" The Wahhabis, not understanding the 
argument, taxed them, as was their wont, in specie 
and in kind, for which reason the very name of those 
Arab Puritans is an abomination. As has before been 
shown, all the numerous attendants at the Mosque are 
paid partly by the Sultan, partly by Aukaf, the rents 
of houses and lands bequeathed to the shrine, and 
scattered over every part of the Moslem world. When 
a Madani is inclined to travel, he applies to the Mudir 
el Haram, and receives from him a paper which en- 
titles him to the receipt of a considerable sum at Con- 
stantinople. The "Ikram" (honorarium), as it is called, 
varies with the rank of the recipient, the citizens being 
divided into these four orders, viz. 

First and highest: the Sadat (Sayyids) and Imams, 
who are entitled to 1 2 purses, or about 60/. Of these 
there are said to be 300 families. 

The Khanahdan, who keep open house and receive 
poor strangers gratis. Their Ikram amounts to 8 purses, 
and they number from 100 to 150 families. 

The Ahali (burghers) or Madani properly speaking, 
who have homes and families, and were born in El 
Medinah. They claim 6 purses. 

The Mujawirin, strangers, as Egyptians or Indians 
settled at, though not born in, El Medinah. Their 
honorarium is 4 purses. 

The Madani traveller, on arrival at Constantinople, 
reports his arrival to his consul, the Wakil el Hara- 
mayn. This "Agent of the two Holy Places" applies 
to the Nazir el Aukaf, or "Intendant of Bequests;" the 


latter, after transmitting the demand to the different 
officers of the treasury, sends the money to the Wakil, 
who delivers it to the applicant. This gift is some- 
times squandered in pleasure, more often profitably 
invested either in merchandise or in articles of home- 
use; presents of dress and jewellery for the women; 
handsome arms, especially pistols and Balas (yataghans), 
silk tassels, amber pipe-pieces, slippers, and embroidered 
purses. They are packed up in one or two large 
Sahharahs, and then commences the labor of returning 
home gratis. Besides the Ikram, most of the Madani, 
when upon these begging trips, are received as guests 
by great men at Constantinople. The citizens whose 
turn it is not to travel, await the Aukaf and Sadakat 
(bequests and alms), forwarded every year by the 
Damascus caravan; besides which, as has been before 
explained, the Haram supplies even those not officially 
employed in it with many perquisites. 

Without these advantages El Medinah would soon 
be abandoned to cultivators and Bedawin. Though 
commerce is here honorable, as everywhere in the 
East, business is "slack," because the higher classes 
prefer the idleness of administering their landed estates, 
and being servants to the Mosque. I heard of only 
four respectable houses, El Isawi, El Sha'ab, Abd el 
Jawwad, and a family from El Shark (the Eastern 
Region). They all deal in grain, cloth, and provisions, 
and perhaps the richest have a capital of 2 0,000 dollars. 
Caravans in the cold weather are constantly passing 
between El Medinah and Egypt, but they are rather 


bodies of visitors to Constantinople than traders 
travelling for gain. Corn is brought from Jeddah by 
land, and imported into Yambu' or via El Rais, a port 
on the Red Sea, one day and a halfs journey from 
Safra. There is an active provision trade with the 
neighbouring Bedawin, and the Syrian Hajj supplies 
the citizens with apparel and articles of luxury — to- 
bacco, dried fruits, sweetmeats, knives, and all that is 
included under the word "notions." 

There are few store-keepers, and their dealings are 
petty, because articles of every kind are brought from 
Egypt, Syria, and Constantinople. As a general rule, 
labour is exceedingly expensive, and at the Visitation 
time a man will demand fifteen or twenty piastres 
from a stranger for such a trifling job as mending an 
umbrella. Handicraftsmen and artisans — carpenters, 
masons, locksmiths, potters, and others — are either 
slaves or foreigners, mostly Egyptians. This proceeds 
partly from the pride of the people. They are taught 
from their childhood that the Madani is a favored 
being, to be respected however vile or schismatic, and 
that the vengeance of Allah will fall upon any one 
who ventures to abuse, much more to strike him. 
They receive a stranger at the shop window with the 
haughtiness of Pashas, and take pains to show him, 
by words as well as by looks, that they consider them- 
selves as "good gentlemen as the king, only not so 
rich." Added to this pride are indolence, and the 
true Arab prejudice, which, even in the present day, 
prevents a Bedawi from marrying the daughter of an 


artisan. Like Castilians, they consider labor humiliat- 
ing to any but a slave; nor is this, as a clever French 
author remarks, by any means an unreasonable idea, 
since Heaven, to punish man for disobedience, caused 
him to eat daily bread by the sweat of his brow. 
Besides, there is degradation, moral and physical, in 
handiwork compared with the freedom of the desert. 
The loom and the file do not conserve courtesy and 
chivalry like the sword and spear — man "extends his 
tongue," to use an Arab phrase, when a cuff and not 
a stab is to be the consequence of an injurious ex- 
pression. Even the ruffian becomes polite in the "Far 
West," where his brother-ruffian carries a revolver, and 
those European nations who were most polished when 
every gentleman wore a rapier, have become the rudest 
since Civilisation disarmed them. 

El Medinah is not a cheap place. Yet the citizens, 
despite their being generally in debt, manage to live 
well. Their cookery, like that of Meccah, has bor- 
rowed something from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Persia, 
and India; as all Orientals they are exceedingly fond 
of clarified butter. I have seen the boy Mohammed 
drink off nearly a tumbler full, although his friends 
warned him that it would make him as fat as an 
elephant. When a man cannot enjoy clarified butter 
in these countries, it is considered a sign that his 
stomach is out of order; and all my excuses of a 
melancholic temperament were required to be in full 
play to prevent the infliction of fried meat swimming 
in grease, or that guest-dish, rice saturated with melted 


— perhaps I should say — rancid butter. The "Samn" 
of El Hejaz, however, is often fresh, being brought in 
by the Bedawin; it has not the foul flavor derived 
from the old and impregnated skin-bag which distin- 
guishes the "ghi" of India. 

The house of a Madani in good circumstances is 
comfortable, for the building is substantial, and the 
attendance respectable. Black slave-girls here perform 
the complicated duties of servant-maids in England; 
they are taught to sew, to cook, and to wash, besides 
sweeping the house and drawing water for domestic 
use. Hasinah (the "Charmer," a decided misnomer) 
costs from $40 to $50: if she be a mother, her value 
is less, but neat-handedness, propriety of demeanour, 
and skill in feminine accomplishments, raise her to 
$ 100 = 25/. A little black boy, perfect in all his points, 
and tolerably intelligent, costs about 1000 piastres; 
girls are dearer, and eunuchs fetch double that sum. 
The older the children become, the more their value 
diminishes, and no one would purchase, save under 
exceptional circumstances, an adult slave, because he 
is never parted with but for some incurable vice. The 
Abyssinian, mostly Galla, girls, so much prized because 
their skins are always cool in the hottest weather, are 
here rare; they seldom sell for less than 20/., and they 
often fetch 60/. I never heard of a Jariyah Bayza, a 
white slave girl, being in the market at El Medinah: 
in Circassia they fetch from 100/. to 400/. prime cost, 
and few men in El Hejaz could afford so expensive a 
luxury. The bazar at El Medinah is poor, and, as 


almost all the slaves are brought from Meccah by the 
Jallabs, or drivers, after exporting the best to Egypt, 
the town receives only the refuse. 

The personal appearance of the Madani makes the 
stranger wonder how this mongrel population of settlers 
has acquired a peculiar and almost an Arab physiog- 
nomy. They are remarkably fair, the effect of a cold 
climate; sometimes the cheeks are lighted up with red, 
and the hair is a dark chestnut — at El Medinah I was 
not stared at as a white man. The cheeks and dif- 
ferent parts of the children's bodies are sometimes 
marked with Mashali or Tashrih, not the three long 
stripes of the Meccans, but little scars generally in 
threes. In some points they approach very near the 
true Arab type , that is to say, the Bedawin of ancient 
and noble family. The cheek-bones are high and 
saillant, the eye small, more round than long, piercing, 
fiery, deep-set, and brown rather than black. The 
head is dolicho-cephalic, the ears well-cut, the face 
long-oval, not unfrequently disfigured by what is 
popularly called the "lantern-jaw;" the forehead high, 
bony, broad and slightly retreating, and the beard and 
mustachios scanty, consisting of two tufts upon the 
chin, with, generally speaking, little or no whisker. 
These are the points of resemblance between the city 
and the country Arab. The difference is equally re- 
markable. The temperament of the Madani is not 
purely nervous, like that of the Bedawin, but admits a 
large admixture of the bilious and, though rarely, the 
lymphatic. The cheeks are fuller, the jaws project 


farther than in the pure race, the lips are more fleshy, 
more sensual and ill-fitting, the features are broader, 
and the limbs are stouter and more bony. The beard 
is a little thicker, and the young Arabs of the towns 
are beginning to imitate the Turks in that abomina-' 
tion to their ancestors — shaving. Personal vanity, al- 
ways a ruling passion among Orientals, and a hope- 
less wish to emulate the flowing beards of the Turks 
and the Persians — perhaps the only nations in the 
world who ought not to shave the chin — have over- 
ruled even the religious objections to such innovation. 
I was more frequently appealed to at El Medinah than 
anywhere else, for some means of removing the op- 
probrium "Kusah" or scant-bearded man. They 
blacken the beard with gall-nuts, henna, and other 
preparations, especially the Egyptian mixture, com- 
posed of sulphate of iron one part, ammoniure of iron 
one part and gall-nuts two parts, infused in eight parts 
of distilled water. It is a very bad dye. 

Much refinement of dress is now found at El Me- 
dinah, Constantinople, the Paris of the East, supplying 
it with the newest fashions. Respectable men wear 
either a Benish or a Jubbah; the latter, as at Meccah, 
is generally of some light and flashy color, gamboge, 
yellow, tender green, or bright pink. This is the sign 
of a "dressy" man in other countries. If you have a 
single coat, it should be of some modest colour, as a 
dark violet; to appear always in the same tender green, 
or bright pink, would excite derision. But the Hejazis, 
poor and rich, always prefer these tulip tints. The 


proper Badan, or long coat without sleeves, still worn 
in truly Arab countries, is here confined to the lowest 
classes. That ugliest of head-dresses, the red Tunisian 
cap, called "Tarbush," is much used, only the Arabs 
have too great regard for their eyes and faces to wear 
it, as the Turks do, without a turban. It is with regret 
that one sees the most graceful head-gear imaginable, 
the Kufiyah and the A'akal, proscribed except amongst 
the Sherifs and the Bedawin. 

The women dress, like the men, handsomely. In- 
doors they wear, I am told, a Sudayriyah, or boddice 
of calico and other stuffs, like the Choli of India, 
which supports the bosom without the evils of European 
stays. Over this is a Saub, or white shirt, of the thin 
stuff called Halaili or Burunjuk, with enormous sleeves, 
and flowing down to the feet: the Sarwal or pantaloons 
are not wide, like the Egyptians', but rather tight, ap- 
proaching to the Indian cut, without its exaggeration. 
Abroad, they throw over the head a silk or a cotton 
Milayah, generally chequered white and blue. The 
Burka' (face-veil), all over El Hejaz, is white, a decided 
improvement in point of cleanliness upon the "nose- 
bag" of Egypt. Women of all ranks dye the soles and 
the palms of the hands black, and trace thin lines down 
the inside of the fingers, by first applying a plaster of 
henna and then a mixture, called "Shadar," of gall- 
nuts, alum, and lime. The hair, parted in the centre, 
is plaited into about twenty little twists called Jadilah. 
Of ornaments, as usual among Orientals, they have 
a vast variety, ranging from brass and spangles to gold 


and precious stones; and they delight in strong per- 
fumes,— musk, civet, ambergris, ottar of rose, oil of 
jasmine, aloe-wood, and extract of cinnamon. Both 
sexes wear Constantinople slippers. The women draw 
on Khuff, inner slippers, of bright yellow leather, 
serving for socks, and covering the ancle, with Papush 
of the same material, sometimes lined with velvet and 
embroidered with a gold sprig under the hollow of the 
foot. In mourning the men show no difference of 
dress, like good Moslems, to whom such display of 
grief is forbidden. But the women, who cannot dis- 
sociate the heart and the toilette, evince their sorrow 
by wearing white clothes and by doffing their orna- 
ments. This is a modern custom: the accurate Burck- 
hardt informs us that in his day the women of El Me- 
dinah did not wear mourning. 

The Madani generally appear abroad on foot. Few 
animals are kept here, on account, I suppose, of the 
expense of feeding them. The Cavalry are mounted 
on poor Egyptian nags. The horses ridden by rich 
men are generally Nejdi, costing from $200 to $300. 
Camels are numerous, but those bred in El Hejaz are 
small, weak, and consequently little prized. Drome- 
daries of good breed, called Ahrar (the noble) and 
Na'amani, from the place of that name, are to be had 
for any sum between $10 and $400; they are di- 
minutive but exceedingly swift, sure-footed, sagacious, 
thoroughbred, with eyes like the antelopes, and muzzles 
that would almost enter a tumbler. Mules are not 
found at El Medinah, although popular prejudice 


does not now forbid the people to mount them. Asses 
come from Egypt and Meccah: I am told that some 
good animals are to be found in the town, and that 
certain ignoble Bedawi clans have a fine breed, but I 
never saw any. 

Of beasts intended for food, only the sheep is com- 
mon in this part of El Hejaz. There are three dis- 
tinct breeds. The larger animal comes from Nejd and 
from the Anizah Bedawin, who drive a flourishing trade; 
the smaller is a native of the country. Both are the 
common Arab species, of a tawny colour, with a long 
fat tail. Occasionally one meets with what at Aden 
is called the Berberah sheep, a totally different beast, 
— white, with a black broad face, a dew-lap, and a 
short fat tail, that looks as if twisted up into a knot: 
it was doubtless introduced by the Persians. Cows 
are rare at El Medinah. Beef throughout the East is 
considered an unwholesome food, and the Bedawin 
will not drink cow's milk, preferring that of the camel, 
the ewe, and the goat. The flesh of the latter animal 
is scarcely ever eaten in the city, except by the poorest 

The manners of the Madani are graver and some- 
what more pompous than those of any Arabs with 
whom I ever mixed. This they appear to have bor- 
rowed from their rulers, the Turks. But their austerity 
and ceremoniousness are skin-deep. In intimacy or 
in anger the garb of politeness is thrown off, and the 
screaming Arab voice, the voluble, copious, and em- 
phatic abuse, and the mania for gesticulation, return 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 1 


in all their deformity. They are great talkers, as the 
following little trait shows. When a man is opposed 
to more than his match in disputing or bargaining, in- 
stead of patiently saying to himself, S'il crache il est 
mort, he interrupts the adversary with a "Sail* ala 
Mohammed," — Bless the Prophet. Every good Moslem 
is obliged to obey such requisition by responding, 
"Allahumma salli alayh," — O Allah bless him! But the 
Madani curtails the phrase to "A'n," supposing it to 
be an equivalent, and proceeds in his loquacity. Then 
perhaps the baffled opponent will shout out "Wahhid," 
z. e. "Attest the unity of the Deity;" when, instead of 
employing the usual religious phrases to assert that 
dogma, he will briefly ejaculate "Al," and hurry on 
with the course of conversation. As it may be sup- 
posed, these wars of words frequently end in violent 
quarrels; for, to do the Madani justice, they are al- 
ways ready to fight. The desperate old feud between 
the "Juwwa" and the "Barra" — the town and the 
suburbs — has been put down with the greatest dif- 
ficulty. The boys, indeed, still keep it up, turning 
out in bodies and making determined onslaughts with 
sticks and stones. 

It is not to be believed that in a town garrisoned 
by Turkish troops, full of travelled traders, and which 
supports itself by plundering Hajis, the primitive virtues 
of the Arab could exist. The Meccans, a dark people, 
say of the Madani, that their hearts are black as their 
skins are white. This is of course exaggerated; but 
it is not too much to assert that pride, pugnacity, a 


peculiar point of honour, and a vindictiveness of won- 
derful force and patience, are the only characteristic 
traits of Arab character which the citizens of El Me- 
dinah habitually display. Here you meet with scant 
remains of the chivalry of the desert. A man will 
abuse his guest, even though he will not dine without 
him, and would protect him bravely against an enemy. 
And words often pass lightly between individuals 
which suffice to cause a blood feud amongst Bedawin. 
The outward appearance of decorum is conspicuous 
amongst the Madani. There are no places where 
Corinthians dwell, as at Meccah, Cairo, and Jeddah. 
Adultery, if detected, would be punished by lapidation 
according to the rigour of the Koranic law, and simple 
immorality by religious stripes, or, if of repeated oc- 
currence, by expulsion from the city. But scandals 
seldom occur, and the women, I am told, behave with 
great decency. Abroad, they have the usual Moslem 
pleasures of marriage, lyings-in, circumcision-feasts, 
holy visitations, and funerals. At home, they employ 
themselves with domestic matters, and especially in 
scolding "Hasinah" and " Za'afaran." In this occupa- 
tion they surpass even the notable English house- 
keeper of the middle orders of society — the latter being 
confined to "knagging" at her slavey, whereas the 
Arab lady is allowed an unbounded extent of vocabu- 
lary. At Shaykh Hamid's house, however, I cannot 
accuse the women of 

"Swearing into strong shudders 
The immortal gods who heard them." 



They abused the black girls with unction, but without 
any violent expletives. At Meccah, however, the old 
lady in whose house I was living would, when ex- 
cited by the melancholy temperament of her eldest 
son and his irregular hours of eating, scold him in the 
grossest terms, not unfrequently ridiculous in the ex- 
treme. For instance, one of her assertions was that 
he — the son — was the offspring of an immoral mother; 
which assertion, one might suppose, reflected not in- 
directly upon herself. So in Egypt I have frequently 
heard a father, when reproving his boy, address him 
by a O dog, son of a dog!" and "O spawn of an In- 
fidel — of a Jew — of a Christian!" 

Amongst the men of El Medinah I remarked a 
considerable share of hypocrisy. Their mouths were 
as full of religious salutations, exclamations, and hack- 
neyed quotations from the Koran, as of indecency and 
vile abuse — a point in which they resemble the Per- 
sians. As before observed, they preserve their reputa- 
tion as the sons of a holy city by praying only in 
public. At Constantinople they are by no means re- 
markable for sobriety. Intoxicating liquors, especially 
Raki, are made in El Medinah, only by the Turks: 
the citizens seldom indulge in this way at home, as 
detection by smell is imminent among a people of 

The Madani are, like the Meccans, a curious mix- 
ture of generosity and meanness, of profuseness and 
penuriousness. But the former quality is the result of 
ostentation, the latter is a characteristic of the Semitic 


race, long ago made familiar to Europe by the Hebrew. 
The citizens will run deeply in debt, expecting a good 
season of devotees to pay off their liabilities, or relying 
upon the next begging trip to Turkey; and such a 
proceeding, contrary to the custom of the Moslem 
world, is not condemned by public opinion. Above 
all their qualities, personal conceit is remarkable: they 
show it in their strut, in their looks, and almost iri 
every word. "I am such a one, the son of such a 
one," is a common expletive, especially in times of 
danger; and this spirit is not wholly to be condemned, 
as it certainly acts as an incentive to gallant actions. 
But it often excites them to vie with one another in 
expensive entertainments and similar vanities. The 
expression, so offensive to English ears, "Inshallah 
Bukra"— l-Please God, to-morrow — always said about 
what should be done to-day, is here common as in 
Egypt or in India. This procrastination belongs more 
or less to all Orientals. But Arabia especially abounds 
in the "Tawakkal al' Allah, ya Shaykh ! "—Place thy 
reliance upon Allah, O Shaykh! — enjoined when a 
man should depend upon his own exertions. Upon 
the whole, however, though alive to the infirmities of 
the Madani character, I thought favourably of it, find- 
ing among this people more of the redeeming point, 
manliness, than in most eastern nations with whom I 
am acquainted. 

The Arabs, like the Egyptians, all marry. Yet, as 
usual, they are hard and facetious upon that ill-treated 
subject — matrimony. It has exercised the brain of their 


wits and sages, who have not failed to indite notable 
things concerning it. Saith "Harikar el Hakim" (Do- 
minie Do-all) to his nephew Nadan (Sir Witless), whom 
he would dissuade from taking to himself a wife, 
"Marriage is joy for a month and sorrow for a life, 
and the paying of settlements and the breaking of 
back (i. e. under the load of misery), and the listen- 
ing to a woman's tongue!" And again, we have in 
verse — 

"They said 'Marry ! ' I replied, ' Far be it from me 
To take to my bosom a sackful of snakes 
I am free — why then become a slave ? 
May Allah never bless womankind ! ' " 

And the following lines are generally quoted, as afford- 
ing a kind of bird's-eye view of female existence: — 

" From 10 (years of age) unto 20, 
A repose to the eyes of beholders. 
From 20 unto 30, 
Still fair and full of flesh. 
From 30 unto 40, 

A mother of many boys and girls. 
From 40 unto 50, 
An old woman of the deceitful. 
From 50 unto 60, 
Slay her with a knife. 
From 60 unto 70, 
The curse of Allah upon them, one and all ! " 

Another popular couplet makes a most unsupported 
assertion — 

"They declare womankind to be heaven to man, 
I say, 'Allah! give me Jehannum, and not this heaven.' " 

Yet the fair sex has the laugh on its side, for these 
railers, at El Medinah as at other places, invariably 


The ceremony is tedious and expensive. It begins 
with a Khitbah or betrothal: the father of the young 
man repairs to the parent or guardian of the girl, and 
at the end of his visit exclaims, "The Fatihah! we beg 
of your kindness your daughter for our son." Should 
the other be favourable to the proposal, his reply is, 
"Welcome and congratulation to you: but we must 
perform Istikharah" (religious lot-casting); and when 
consent is given, both pledge themselves to the agree- 
ment by reciting the Fatihah. Then commence ne- 
gotiations about the Mahr or sum settled upon the 
bride;* and after the smoothing of this difficulty follow 
feastings of friends and relatives, male and female. 
The marriage itself is called Akd el Nikah or Ziwaj. 
A Walimah or banquet is prepared by the father of the 
Aris (groom) at his own house, and the Kazi attends 
to perform the nuptial ceremony, the girl's consent 
being obtained through her Wakil, any male relation 
whom she commissions to act for her. Then, with 
great pomp and circumstance, the Aris visits his Arusah 
(bride) at her father's house; and finally, with a pro- 
cession and sundry ceremonies at the Haram, she is 
brought to her new home. 

Arab funerals are as simple as their marriages are 
complicated. Neither Naddabah (myriologist or hired 
keener), nor indeed any female, even a relation, is 
present at burials as in other parts of the Moslem 

* Among respectable citizens 400 dollars would be considered a fair average 
sum ; the expense of the ceremony would be about half. This amount of ready 
money (150/.) not being always procurable, many of the Madani marry late 
in life. 


world, and it is esteemed disgraceful for a man to 
weep aloud. The Prophet, who doubtless had heard 
of those pagan mournings, where an effeminate and 
unlimited display of woe was often terminated by 
licentious excesses, like the Christian's half-heathen 
"wakes," forbad aught beyond a decent demonstration 
of grief. And his strong good sense enabled him to 
see through the vanity of professional mourners. At 
El Medinah the corpse is interred shortly after de- 
cease. The bier is carried through the streets at a 
moderate pace, by friends and relatives, these bringing 
up the rear. Every man who passes lends his shoulder 
for a minute, a mark of respect to the dead, and also 
considered a pious and a prayerful act. Arrived at 
the Haram, they carry the corpse in visitation to the 
Prophet's window, and pray over it at Osman's niche. 
Finally, it is interred after the usual Moslem fashion 
in the cemetery El Baki'a. 

El Medinah, though pillaged by the Wahhabis, still 
abounds in books. Near the Haram are two Ma- 
drasah or colleges — the Mahmudiyah, so called from 
Sultan Mahmud, and that of Bashir Agha: both have 
large stores of theological and other works. I also 
heard of extensive private collections, particularly of 
one belonging to the Nejib el Ashraf, or chief of the 
Sherifs, a certain Mohammed Jamal el Layl, whose 
father is well known in India. Besides which, there is 
a large Wakf or bequest of books presented to the 
Mosque or entailed upon particular families. The 
celebrated Mohammed Ibn Abdillah el Sannusi has 


removed his collection, amounting it is said to 8000 
volumes, from El Medinah to his house in Jebel Ku- 
bays at Meccah. 

The burial-place of the Prophet therefore, no longer 
lies open to the charge of utter ignorance brought 
against it by my predecessor * The people now praise 
their Olema for learning, and boast a superiority in 
respect of science over Meccah. Yet many students 
leave the place for Damascus and Cairo, where the 
Riwak El Haramayn (College of the Two Shrines) in 
the Azhar Mosque-University is always crowded, and 
though Umar Effendi boasted to me that his city was 
full of lore, he did not appear the less anxious to 
attend the lectures of Egyptian professors. But none 
of my informants claimed for El Medinah any facilities 
of studying other than the purely religious sciences. 
Philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, mathematics, and 
algebra cannot be learnt here. I was careful to in- 
quire about the occult sciences, remembering that Pa- 
racelsus had travelled in Arabia, and that the Count 
Cagliostro (Giuseppe Balsamo), who claimed the Mec- 
can Sherif as his father, asserted that about ad. 1765 
he had studied alchemy at El Medinah. The only 
trace I could find was a superficial knowledge of the 
Magic Mirror. 

But after denying the Madani the praise of varied 
learning, it must be owned that their quick observa- 
tion and retentive memories have stored up for them 
an abundance of superficial knowledge, culled from 

* Burckhardt's Travels in Arabia, vol. II. p. 174. 


conversations in the market and in the camp. I found 
it impossible here to display those feats which in 
Sind, Southern Persia, Eastern Arabia, and many parts 
of India, would be looked upon as miraculous. Most 
probably one of the company had witnessed the per- 
formance of some Italian conjuror at Constantinople 
or Alexandria, and retained a lively recollection of 
every manoeuvre. As linguists they are not equal to 
the Meccans, who surpass all Orientals excepting only 
the Armenians; the Madani seldom know Turkish, and 
more rarely still Persian and Indian. Those only who 
have studied in Egypt chaunt the Koran well. The 
citizens speak and pronounce their language purely; 
they are not equal to the people of the southern Hejaz, 
still their Arabic is refreshing after the horrors of Cairo 
and Maskat. 

The classical Arabic, be it observed, in consequence 
of an extended empire, soon split up into various 
dialects, as the Latin under similar circumstances se- 
parated into the Neo-Roman patois of Italy, Sicily, 
Provence, and Languedoc. And though Niebuhr has 
been deservedly censured for comparing the Koranic 
language to Latin and the vulgar tongue to Italian, 
still there is a great difference between them, almost 
every word having undergone some alteration in ad- 
dition to the manifold changes and simplifications of 
grammar and syntax. The traveller will hear in every 
part of Arabia that some distant tribe preserves the 
linguistic purity of its ancestors, uses final vowels with 
the noun, and rejects the addition of the pronoun 


which apocope in the verb now renders necessary. 
But I greatly doubt the existence of such a race of 
philologists. In El Hejaz, however, it is considered 
graceful in an old man, especially when conversing 
publicly, to lean towards classical Arabic. On the 
contrary, in a youth this would be treated as pedantic 
affectation, and condemned in some such satiric quota- 
tion as 

" There are two things colder than ice, 
A young old man, and an old young man." 



A Visit to the Saints' Cemetery. 

A splendid comet, blazing in the western sky, had 
aroused the apprehensions of the Madani. They all 
fell to predicting the usual disasters — war, famine, 
and pestilence — it being still an article of Moslem 
belief that the Dread Star foreshows all manner of 
calamities. Men discussed the probability of Abd el 
Mejid's immediate decease; for here as in Rome, 

"When beggars die, there are no comets seen : 
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes : " 

And in every strange atmospheric appearance about 
the time of the Hajj, the Hejazis are accustomed to 
read tidings of the dreaded Rih el Asfar (cholera). 

Whether the event is attributable to the Zu Zuwa- 
bah — the "Lord of the Forelock," — or whether it was 
a case of post hoc, ergo, propter hoc, I would not 
commit myself by deciding; but, influenced by some 
cause or other, the Hawazim and the Hawamid, sub- 
families of the Benu Harb, began to fight about this 
time with prodigious fury. These tribes are generally 
at feud, and the least provocation fans their smoulder- 
ing wrath into a flame. The Hawamid number, it is 
said, between 3000 and 4000 fighting men, and the 


Hawazim not more than 700: the latter, however, are 
considered a race of desperadoes who pride them- 
selves upon never retreating, and under their fiery 
Shaykhs, Abbas and Abu Ali, they are a thorn in the 
sides of their disproportionate foe. On the present 
occasion a Hamidah happened to strike the camel of 
a Hazimi which had trespassed; upon which the 
Hazimi smote the Hamidah, and called him a rough 
name. The Hamidah instantly shot the Hazimi, the 
tribes were called out, and they fought with asperity 
for some days. During the whole of the afternoon of 
Tuesday the 30th August the sound of firing amongst 
the mountains was distinctly heard in the city. 
Through the streets parties of Bedawin, sword and 
matchlock in hand, or merely carrying quarter-staves 
on their shoulders, might be seen hurrying along, 
frantic at the chance of missing the fray. The towns- 
people cursed them privily, expressing a hope that 
the whole race of vermin might consume itself. And 
the pilgrims were in no small trepidation, fearing the 
desertion of their camel-men, and knowing what a 
blaze is kindled in this inflammable land by an ounce 
of gunpowder. I afterwards heard that the Bedawin 
fought till night, and separated after losing on both 
sides ten men. 

This quarrel put an end to any lingering possibility 
of my prosecuting my journey to Maskat as originally 
intended. I had on the way from Yambu' to El Me- 
dinah privily made a friendship with one Mujrim of 
the Benu Harb. The " Sinful " as his name, ancient 


and classical amongst the Arabs, means, understood 
that I had some motive of secret interest to undertake 
the perilous journey. He could not promise at first 
to guide me, as his beat lay between Yambu', El Me- 
dinah, Meccah, and Jeddah. But he offered to make 
all inquiries about the route, and to bring me the 
result at noonday, a time when the household was 
asleep. He had almost consented at last to travel 
with me about the end of August, in which case I 
should have slipped out of Hamid's house and started 
like a Bedawi towards the Indian Ocean. But when 
the war commenced, Mujrim, who doubtless wished to 
stand by his brethren the Hawazim, began to show 
signs of recusancy in putting off the day of departure 
to the end of September. At last, when pressed, he 
frankly told me that no traveller, nay, not a Bedawi, 
could leave the city in that direction, even as far as 
historic Khaybar, which information I afterwards as- 
certained to be correct. 

It was impossible to start alone, and when in 
despair I had recourse to Shaykh Hamid, he seemed 
to think me mad for wishing to wend northwards when 
all the world was hurrying towards the south. My 
disappointment was bitter at first, but consolation soon 
suggested itself. Under the most favorable circum- 
stances, a Bedawi-trip from El Medinah to Maskat, 
1500 or 1600 miles, would require at least ten months; 
whereas, under pain of losing my commission, I was 
ordered to be at Bombay before the end of March. 
Moreover, entering Arabia by El Hejaz, as has before 


been said, I was obliged to leave behind all my in- 
struments except a watch and a pocket compass, so 
the benefit rendered to geography by my trip would 
have been scanty. Still remained to me the comfort 
of reflecting that possibly at Meccah some opportunity 
of crossing the Peninsula might present itself. At any 
rate I had the certainty of seeing the strange wild 
country of the Hejaz, and of being present at the ce- 
remonies of the Holy City. 

I must request the reader to bear with a Visita- 
tion once more: we shall conclude it with a ride to 
El Baki'a, the Place of many Roots. This venerable 
spot is frequented by the pious every day after the 
prayer at the Prophet's Tomb, and especially on 

Our party started one morning — on donkeys, as 
usual, for my foot was not yet strong — along the Darb 
el Jenazah round the southern wall of the town. The 
locomotion was decidedly slow, principally in con- 
sequence of the tent-ropes which the Hajis had pinned 
down literally all over the plain, and falls were by no 
means infrequent. At last we arrived at the end of 
the Darb, where I committed myself by mistaking the 
decaying place of those miserable schismatics the Nak- 
Imwilah for El Baki'a, the glorious cemetery of the 
Saints. Hamid corrected my blunder with tartness, 
to which I replied as tartly, that in our country — 
Affghanistan — we burned the body of every heretic 
upon whom we could lay our hands. This truly Is- 
lamitic custom was heard with general applause, and 


as the little dispute ended, we stood at the open gate 
of El Baki'a. Then having dismounted I sat down on 
a low Dakkah or stone bench within the walls, to 
obtain a general view and to prepare for the most 
fatiguing of the visitations. 

There is a tradition that 70,000, or according to 
others 100,000 saints, all with faces like full moons, 
shall cleave on the last day the yawning bosom of El 
Baki'a. About 10,000 of the Ashab (companions of 
the Prophet) and innumerable Sadat are here buried: 
their graves are forgotten, because, in the olden time, 
tombstones were not placed over the last resting-places 
of mankind. The first of flesh who shall arise is Mo- 
hammed, the second Abubekr, the third Omar, then 
the people of El Baki'a (amongst whom is Osman, the 
fourth Caliph), and then the incolae of the Jannat el 
Ma'ala, the Meccan cemetery. The Hadis, "whoever 
dies at the two Haram shall rise with the Sure on 
the Day of Judgment," has made these spots priceless 
in value. And even upon earth they might be made 
a mine of wealth. Like the catacombs at Rome, El 
Baki'a is literally full of the odour of sanctity, and a 
single item of the great aggregate here would render 
any other Moslem town famous. It is a pity that this 
people refuses to exhume its relics. 

The first person buried in El Baki'a was Usman 
bin Ma'azun, the first of the Muhajirs who died at El 
Medinah. In the month of Sha'aban, a.h. 3, the 
Prophet kissed the forehead of the corpse and ordered 
it to be interred within sight of his abode. In those 


days the field was covered with the tree Gharkad; the 
vegetation was cut down, the ground was levelled, and 
Usman was placed in the centre of the new cemetery. 
With his own hands Mohammed planted two large 
upright stones at the head and the feet of his faithful 
follower; and in process of time a dome covered the 
spot. Ibrahim, the Prophet's infant second son, was 
laid by Usman's side, after which El Baki'a became a 
celebrated cemetery. 

The Burial-place of the Saints is an irregular oblong 
surrounded by walls which are connected with the 
suburb at their S.W. angle. The Darb el Jenazah 
separates it from the enceinte of the town; and the 
Eastern Desert Road beginning from the Bab el Jumah 
bounds it on the north. Around it palm plantations 
seem to flourish. It is small, considering the extensive 
use made of it: all that die at El Medinah, strangers 
as well as natives, except only heretics and schismatics, 
expect to be interred here. It must be choked with 
corpses, which it could never contain did not the 
Moslem style of burial greatly favour rapid decom- 
position, and it has all the inconveniences of "intra- 
mural sepulture." The gate is small and ignoble; a 
mere doorway in the wall. Inside there are no flower- 
plots, no tall trees, in fact none of the refinements 
which lighten the gloom of a Christian burial-place: 
the buildings are simple, they might even be called 
mean. Almost all are the common Arab Mosque, 
cleanly whitewashed, and looking quite new. The 
ancient monuments were levelled to the ground by 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 2 


Sa'ad the Wahhabi and his puritan followers, who 
waged pitiless warfare against what must have ap- 
peared to them magnificent mausolea, deeming as 
they did a loose heap of stones sufficient for a grave. 
In Burckhardt's time the whole place was a "con- 
fused accumulation of heaps of earth, wide pits, and 
rubbish, without a single regular tombstone." The 
present erections owe their existence, I was told, to 
the liberality of the Sultans Abd el Hamid and 

A poor pilgrim has lately started on his last 
journey, and his corpse, unattended by friends or 
mourners, is carried upon the shoulders of hired 
buriers into the cemetery. Suddenly they stay their 
rapid steps, and throw the body upon the ground. 
There is a life-like pliability about it as it falls, and 
the tight cerements so define the outlines that the 
action makes me shudder. It looks almost as if the 
dead were conscious of what is about to occur. They 
have forgotten their tools; one man starts to fetch 
them, and three sit down to smoke. After a time a 
shallow grave is hastily scooped out. The corpse is 
packed in it with such unseemly haste that earth 
touches it in all directions, — cruel carelessness among 
Moslems, who believe this to torture the sentient 
frame. One comfort suggests itself. The poor man 
being a pilgrim has died "Shahid" — in martyrdom. 
Ere long his spirit shall leave El Baki'a, 

"And he on honey-dew shall feed, 
And drink the milk of Paradise." 


I entered the holy cemetery right foot forwards, as 
if it were a Mosque, and barefooted, to avoid suspicion 
of being a heretic. For though the citizens wear their 
shoes in the Baki'a, they are much offended at seeing 
the Persians follow their example. 

We began by the general benediction. "Peace be 
upon You, O People of El Baki'a! Peace be upon 
You, O Admitted to the Presence of the Most High! 
Receive You what You have been promised! Peace 
be upon You, Martyrs of El Bakia, One and All! We 
verily, if Allah please, are about to join You! O Allah 
pardon us and Them, and the Mercy of God, and 
His Blessings!" After which we recited the Chapter 
El Ikhlas and the Testification, then raised our hands, 
mumbled the Fatihah, passed our palms down our faces, 
and went on. 

Walking down a rough narrow path, which leads 
from the western to the eastern extremity of El Baki'a, 
we entered the humble mausoleum of the Caliph 
Osman — Osman "El Mazlum," or the "ill-treated," he 
is called by some Moslems. When he was slain, his 
friends wished to bury him by the Prophet in the 
Hujrah, and Ayisha made no objection to the measure. 
But the people of Egypt became violent, swore that 
the corpse should neither be buried nor be prayed 
over, and only permitted it to be removed upon the 
threat of Habibah (one of the "Mothers of the Mos- 
lems," and daughter of Abu Sufiyan) to expose her 
face. During the night that followed his cruel death, 

Osman was carried out by several of his friends 



to El Baki'a, from which, however, they were driven 
away, and obliged to deposit their burden in a 
garden, eastward of, and outside, the saints' cemetery. 
It was called Hisn Kaukab, and was looked upon as 
an inauspicious place of sepulture, till Marwan in- 
cluded it in El Baki'a. We stood before Osman's 
monument, repeating, "Peace be upon Thee, O our 
Lord Osman, Son of Affan! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Caliph of Allah's Prophet! Peace be upon Thee, O 
Writer of Allah's Book! Peace be upon Thee, in 
whose Presence the Angels are ashamed! Peace be 
upon Thee, O Collector of the Koran! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Son-in-law of the Prophet! Peace be upon 
Thee, O Lord of the Two Lights! (the two daughters 
of Mohammed). Peace be upon Thee, who fought the 
Battle of the Faith! Allah be satisfied with Thee, and 
cause Thee to be satisfied, and render Heaven Thy 
Habitation! Peace be upon Thee, and the Mercy of 
Allah and His Blessing, and Praise be to Allah, Lord 
of the (three) Worlds!" This supplication concluded 
in the usual manner. After which we gave alms, and 
settled with ten piastres the demands of the Khadim 
who takes charge of the tomb: this double-disbursing 
process had to be repeated at each station. 

Then moving a few paces to the north, we faced 
eastwards, and performed the visitation of Abu Sa'id 
el Khazari, a Sahib or companion of the Prophet, 
whose sepulchre lies outside El Baki'a. The third 
place visited was a dome containing the tomb of our 
lady Halimah, the Bedawi wet-nurse who took charge 


of Mohammed: she is addressed thus: "Peace be 
upon Thee, O Halimah the Auspicious! Peace be 
upon Thee, who didst perform Thy Trust in suckling 
the Best of Mankind! Peace be upon Thee, O Wet- 
nurse of El Mustafa! (the chosen). Peace be upon 
Thee, O Wet-nurse of El Mujtaba! (the accepted). May 
Allah be satisfied with Thee, and cause Thee to be 
satisfied, and render Heaven Thy House and Habita- 
tion! and verily we have come visiting Thee, and by 
means of Thee drawing near to Allah's Prophet, and 
through Him to God, the Lord of the Heavens and 
the Earths." 

After which, fronting the north, we stood before a 
low enclosure, containing ovals of loose stones, dis- 
posed side by side. These are the martyrs of El 
Baki'a, who received the crown of glory at the hands 
of El Muslim, the general of the arch-heretic Yezid. 
The prayer here recited differs so little from that ad- 
dressed to the martyrs of Ohod, that I will not tran- 
scribe it. The fifth station is near the centre of the 
cemetery at the tomb of Ibrahim, who died, to the 
eternal regret of El Islam, some say six months old, 
others in his second year. He was the son of Mariyah, 
the Coptic girl, sent as a present to Mohammed by 
Jarih, the Mukaukas or governor of Alexandria. The 
Prophet with his own hand piled earth upon the grave, 
and sprinkled it with water — a ceremony then first 
performed — disposed small stones upon it, and pro- 
nounced the final salutation. For which reason many 
holy men were buried in this part of the cemetery, 


every one being ambitious to lie in ground which had 
been honored by the Prophet's hands. 

Then we visited El Nan* Maula, son of Omar, 
generally called Imam Nafi el Kari, or the Koran 
chaunter; and near him the great doctor Imam Malik 
Ibn Anas, a native of El Medinah, and one of the 
most dutiful of her sons. The eighth station is at the 
tomb of Ukayl bin Abi Talib, brother of Ali. Then 
we visited the spot where lie interred all the Prophet's 
wives, Khadijah, who lies at Meccah, alone excepted. 
After the "Mothers of the Moslems," we prayed at 
the tombs of Mohammed's daughters, said to be ten 
in number.. 

In compliment probably to the Hajj, the beggars 
mustered strong that morning at El Baki'a. Along the 
walls and at the entrance of each building squatted 
ancient dames, all engaged in anxious contemplation 
of every approaching face, and in pointing to dirty 
cotton napkins spread upon the ground before them, 
and studded with a few coins, gold, silver, or copper, 
according to the expectations of the proprietress. 
They raised their voices to demand largesse: some 
promised to recite Fatihahs, and the most audacious 
seized visitors by the skirts of their garments. Fakihs, 
ready to write "Y. S.," or anything else demanded of 
them, covered the little heaps and eminences of the 
cemetery, all begging lustily, and looking as though 
they would murder you, when told how beneficent is 
Allah — a polite form of declining to be charitable. At 
the doors of the tombs old housewives, and some 


young ones also, struggled with you for your slippers 
as you doffed them, and not unfrequently the charge 
of the pair was divided between two. Inside, when 
the boys were not loud enough or importunate enough 
for presents, they were urged on by the adults and 
seniors, the relatives of the "Khadims" and hangers- 
on. Unfortunately for me, Shaykh Hamid was re- 
nowned for taking charge of wealthy pilgrims: the 
result was, that my purse was lightened of three dollars. 
I must add that although at least fifty female voices 
loudly promised that morning, for the sum of ten 
parahs each, to supplicate Allah in behalf of my lame- 
foot, no perceptible good came of their efforts. 

Before leaving El Baki'a, we went to the eleventh 
station, the Kubbat el Abbasiyah, or Dome of Abbas. 
Originally built by the Abbaside Caliphs in a.h. 519, 
it is a larger and a handsomer building than its fellows, 
and it is situated on the right-hand side of the gate 
as you enter. The crowd of beggars at the door 
testified to its importance: they were attracted by the 
Persians who assemble here in force to weep and pray. 
Crossing the threshold with some difficulty, I walked 
round a mass of tombs which occupies the centre of 
the building, leaving but a narrow passage between it 
and the walls. It is railed round and covered over 
with several "Kiswahs" of green cloth worked with 
white letters: it looked like a confused heap, but it 
might have appeared irregular to me by the reason of 
the mob around. The eastern portion contains the 
body of El Hasan, the son of Ali and grandson of 


the Prophet; the Imam Zayn el Abidin, son of El 
Husayn, and great-grandson to the Prophet; the Imam 
Mohammed El Bakir (fifth Imam), son to Zayn el 
Abidin; and his son the Imam Ja'afar el Sadik — all 
four descendants of the Prophet, and buried in the 
same grave with Abbas ibn Abd el Muttalib, uncle to 
Mohammed. It is almost needless to say that these 
names are subjects of great controversy. El Mas'udi 
mentions that here was found an inscribed stone de- 
claring it to be the tomb of the Lady Fatimah, of 
Hasan her son, of Ali bin Husayn, of Mohammed bin 
Ali, and of Ja'afar bin Mohammed. Ibn Jubayr, de- 
scribing El Baki'a, mentions only two in this tomb, 
Abbas and Hasan; the head of the latter, he says, lies in 
the direction of the former's feet. Other authors relate 
that in it, about the ninth century of the Hijrah, was 
found a wooden box covered with fresh-looking red 
felt cloth, with bright brass nails, and they believe it 
to have contained the corpse of Ali, placed here by 
his son Hasan. 

Standing opposite this mysterious tomb we re- 
peated, with difficulty by reason of the Persians weep- 
ing, the following supplication: — -"Peace be upon Ye, 
O Family of the Prophet! O Lord Abbas, the free 
from Impurity and Uncleanness, and Father's Brother 
to the Best of Men! And Thou too O Lord Hasan, 
Grandson of the Prophet! And Thou also O Lord 
Zayn el Abidin! Peace be upon Ye, One and All, for 
verily God hath been pleased to deliver You from all 
Guile, and to purify You with all Purity. The Mercy 


of Allah and His Blessings be upon You, and verily 
He is the Praised, the Mighty!" After which, freeing 
ourselves from the hands of greedy boys, we turned 
round and faced the southern wall, close to which is 
a tomb attributed to the Lady Fatimah. I will not 
repeat the prayer, it being the same as that recited in 
the Haram. 

Issuing from the hot and crowded dome, we re- 
covered our slippers after much trouble, and found 
that our garments had suffered from the frantic ges- 
ticulations of the Persians. We then walked to the 
gate of El Baki'a, stood facing the cemetery upon an 
elevated piece of ground, and delivered the general 

"O Allah! O Allah! O Allah! O full of Mercy! O 
abounding in Beneficence! Lord of Length (of days), 
and Prosperity, and Goodness! O Thou who when 
asked, grantest, and when prayed for aid, aidest! Have 
Mercy upon the Companions of Thy Prophet, of the 
Muhajirin, and of the Ansar! Have Mercy upon them, 
One and All! Have Mercy upon Abdullah bin Hantal 
(and so on, specifying their names), and make Para- 
dise their Resting-place, their Habitation, their Dwelling, 
and their Abode! O Allah! accept our Ziyarat, and 
supply our Wants, and lighten our Griefs, and restore 
us to our Homes, and comfort our Fears, and dis- 
appoint not our Hopes, and pardon us, for on no other 
do we rely; and let us depart in Thy Faith, and after 
the Practice of Thy Prophet, and be Thou satisfied 
with us! O Allah! forgive our past Offences, and leave 


us not to our (evil) Natures during the Glance of an 
Eye, or a lesser Time; and pardon us, and pity us, 
and let us return to our Houses and Homes safe (/. e. 
spiritually and physically), fortunate, abstaining from 
what is unlawful, re-established after our Distresses, 
and belonging to the Good, Thy Servants upon whom 
is no Fear, nor do they know Distress. Repentance, O 
Lord! Repentance, O Merciful! Repentance, O Pitiful! 
Repentance before Death, and Pardon after Death! I 
beg Pardon of Allah! Thanks be to Allah! Praise be 
to Allah! Amen, O Lord of the (three) Worlds!" 

After which, issuing from El Baki'a, we advanced 
northwards, leaving the city gate on the left hand, till 
we came to a small Kubbah (dome) close to the road. 
It is visited as containing the tomb of the Prophet's 
paternal aunts , especially of Safiyah , daughter of Abd 
el Muttalib, sister of Hamzah, and one of the many 
heroines of early El Islam. Hurrying over our direc- 
tions here — for we were tired indeed — we applied to 
a Sakka for water, and entered a little coffee-house 
near the gate of the town, after which we rode home. 

I have now described, at a wearying length, I fear, 
the spots visited by every Zair at El Medinah. The 
guide-books mention altogether between fifty and fifty- 
five mosques and other holy places, most of which are 
now unknown even by name to the citizens. The most 
celebrated of these are the few following, which I de- 
scribe from hearsay. 

About three miles to the N.W. of the town, close to 
the Wady el Akik, lies the Mosque called El Kiblatayn 


— "The Two Directions of Prayer." Some give this 
title to the Masjid el Takwa at Kuba. Others assert 
that the Prophet, after visiting and eating at the house 
of an old woman named Umm Mabshar, went to pray 
the mid-day prayer in the Mosque of the Benii Salmah. 
He had performed the prostration with his face to- 
wards Jerusalem, when suddenly warned by revelation 
he turned southwards and concluded his orisons in 
that direction. I am told it is a mean dome without 
inner walls, outer enclosures, or minaret. 

The Masjid Benii Zafar (some write the word Tifr) 
is also called Masjid el Baghlah — of the She-mule — 
because, according to El Matari, on the ridge of stone 
to the south of this Mosque are the marks where the 
Prophet leaned his arm, and where the she-mule, Dul- 
dul, sent by the Mukaukas as a present with Mariyah 
the Coptic Girl and Yafur the donkey, placed its hoofs. 
At the Mosque was shown a slab upon which the 
Prophet sat hearing recitations from the Koran; and 
historians declare that by following his example many 
women have been blessed with offspring.* This Mosque 
is to the east of El Baki'a. 

The Masjid el Jum'ah — of Friday, or El Anikah, 
of the Sand-heaps — is in the valley near Kuba, where 
Mohammed prayed and preached on the first Friday 
after his flight from Meccah. 

The Masjid el Fazikh — of Date-liquor — is so called 

* I cannot say whether this valuable stone be still at the Mosque Benii Tifr. 
But I perfectly remember that my friend Larking had a mutilated sphynx in 
his garden at Alexandria, which was found equally efficacious. 


because when Abu Ayyub and others of the Ansar 
were sitting with cups in their hands, they heard that 
intoxicating draughts were for the future forbidden, 
upon which they poured the liquor upon the ground. 
Here the Prophet prayed six days whilst he was en- 
gaged in warring down the Benii Nazir Jews. The 
Mosque derives its other name, El Shams — of the Sun 
— because, being erected on rising ground east of and 
near Kuba, it receives the first rays of morning light. 
To the eastward of the Masjid el Fazikh lies the 
Masjid el Kurayzah, erected on a spot where the Pro- 
phet descended to attack the Jewish tribe of that 
name. Returning from the Battle of the Moat, way- 
worn and tired with fighting, he here sat down to 
wash and comb his hair, when suddenly appeared to 
him the Archangel Gabriel in the figure of a horse- 
man dressed in a corslet and covered with dust. "The 
Angels of Allah ," said the preternatural visitor, "are 
still in Arms, O Prophet, and it is Allah's Will that 
Thy Foot return to the Stirrup. I go before Thee to 
prepare a Victory over the Infidels, the Sons of Ku- 
rayzah." The legend adds that the dust raised by the 
angelic host was seen in the streets of El Medinah, 
but that mortal eye fell not upon horseman's form. 
The Prophet ordered his followers to sound the battle- 
call, gave his flag to Ali — the Arab token of appoint- 
ing a commander-in-chief — and for twenty-five days 
invested the habitations of the enemy. This hapless 
tribe was exterminated, sentence of death being passed 
upon them by Sa'ad ibn Ma'az, an Ausi whom they 


constituted their judge because he belonged to an 
allied tribe. Six hundred men were beheaded in the 
market-place of El Medinah, their property was plun- 
dered, and their wives and children were reduced to 

"Tantane relligio potuit suadere malorum!" 

The Masjid Mashrabat Umm Ibrahim, or Mosque 
of the garden of Ibrahim's mother, is a place where 
Mariyah the Copt had a garden and became the mother 
of Ibrahim, the Prophet's second son. It is a small 
building in what is called the Awali, or highest part 
of the El Medinah plain, to the north of the Masjid 
Benu Kurayzah, and near the eastern Harrah or ridge. 

Northwards of El Baki'a is, or was, a small building 
called the Masjid el Ijabah — of Granting — from the 
following circumstance. One day the Prophet stopped 
to perform his devotions at this place, which then be- 
longed to the Benu Muawiyah of the tribe of Aus. He 
made a long Dua or supplication, and then turning to 
his companions, exclaimed, "I have asked of Allah 
three favors, two hath he vouchsafed to me, but the 
third was refused!" Those granted were that the 
Moslems might never be destroyed by famine or by 
deluge. The third was that they might not perish by 
internecine strife. 

The Masjid el Fath (of Victory), vulgarly called 
the "Four Mosques," is situated in the Wady el Sayh, 
which comes from the direction of Kuba, and about 
half a mile to the east of "El Kiblatayn " The largest 


is called the Masjid el Fath or El Ahzab — of the 
troops — and is alluded to in the Koran. Here it is 
said the Prophet prayed for three days during the 
Battle of the Moat, also called the affair of "El Ahzab," 
the last fought with the Infidel Kuraysh under Abu 
Sufiyan. After three days of devotion, a cold and 
violent blast arose, with rain and sleet, and discomfited 
the foe. The Prophet's prayer having here been 
granted, it is supposed by ardent Moslems that no 
petition put up at the Mosque El Ahzab is ever neg- 
lected by Allah. The form of supplication is dif- 
ferently quoted by different authors. When El Shafei 
was in trouble and fear of Harun el Rashid, by the 
virtue of this formula he escaped all danger: I would 
willingly offer so valuable a prophylactory to my readers, 
only it is of an unmanageable length. The doctors of 
El Islam also greatly differ about the spot where the 
Prophet stood on this occasion; most of them support 
the claims of the Masjid el Fath, the most elevated of 
the four, to that distinction. Below, and to the south 
of the highest ground, is the Masjid Salman el Farsi, 
the Persian, from whose brain emanated the bright 
idea of the Moat. At the mature age of 250, some 
say 350, after spending his life in search of a religion, 
from a Magus (fire-worshipper) becoming successively 
a Jew and a Nazarene, he ended with being a Moslem, 
and a companion of Mohammed. During his eventful 
career he had been ten times sold into slavery. Below 
Salman's Mosque is the Masjid Ali, and the smallest 
building on the south of the hill is called Masjid 


Abubekr. All these places owe their existence to El 
Walid the Caliph: they were repaired at times by his 

The Masjid el Rayah — of the Banner — was origin- 
ally built by El Walid upon a place where the Pro- 
phet pitched his tent during the War of the Moat. 
Others call it El Zubab, after a hill upon which it 
stands. El Rayah is separated from the Masjid el 
Fath by a rising ground called Jebel Sula or Jebel 
Sawab: the former being on the eastern, whilst the 
latter lies upon the western declivity of the hill. The 
position of this place is greatly admired, as command- 
ing the fairest view of the Haram. 

About a mile and a half south-east of El Baki'a is 
a dome called Kuwwat Islam, the "Strength of El Is- 
lam." Here the Prophet planted a dry palm-stick, 
which grew up, blossomed, and bore fruit at once. 
Moreover, on one occasion when the Moslems were 
unable to perform the pilgrimage, Mohammed here 
produced the appearance of a Ka'abah, an Arafat, and 
all the appurtenance of the Hajj. I must warn my 
readers not to condemn the founder of El Islam for 
these puerile inventions. 

The Masjid Unayn lies south of Hamzah's tomb. 
It is on a hill called Jebel el Rumat, the Shooters' 
Hill, and here during the battle of Ohod stood the 
archers of El Islam. According to some the Prince 
of Martyrs here received his death-wound; others place 
that event at the Masjid el Askar or the Masjid el 


Besides these fourteen, I find the names, and no- 
thing but the names, of forty Mosques. The reader 
loses little by my unwillingness to offer him a detailed 
list of such appellations as Masjid Bemi Abd el Ashhal, 
Masjid Bemi Harisah, Masjid Bemi Haram, Masjid el 
Fash, Masjid el Sukiya, Masjid Bemi Bayazah, Masjid 
Bemi Hatmah, 

"Cum multis aliis quae nunc perscribere longum est." 



The Damascus Caravan. 

The Damascus Caravan was to set out on the 
27th Zu'l Ka'adah (1st September). I had intended to 
stay at El Medinah till the last moment, and to ac- 
company the Kafilat el Tayyarah, or the "Flying Ca- 
ravan ," which usually leaves on the 2nd Zu'l Hijjah, 
two days after that of Damascus. 

Suddenly arose the rumour that there would be no 
Tayyarah, and that all pilgrims must proceed with the 
Damascus Caravan or await the Rakb. This is a 
dromedary Caravan, in which each person carries only 
his saddle-bags. It usually descends by the road 
called El Khabt, and makes Meccah on the fifth day. 
The Sherif Zayd, Sa'ad the Robber's only friend, had 
paid him an unsuccessful visit. Schinderhans de- 
manded back his Shaykh-ship, in return for a safe- 
conduct through his country: "Otherwise," said he, 
"I will cut the throat of every hen that ventures into 
the passes." 

The Sherif Zayd returned to El Medinah on the 
25th Zu'l Ka'adah (30th August). Early on the morning 
of the next day, Shaykh Hamid returned hurriedly 
from the bazar, exclaiming, "You must make ready at 
once, EfTendi! — there will be no Tayyarah — all Hajis 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 3 


start to-morrow — Allah will make it easy to you!— 
have you your water-skins in order] — you are to travel 
down the Darb el Sharki, where you will not see water 
for three days!" 

Poor Hamid looked horror-struck as he concluded 
this fearful announcement, which filled me with joy. 
Burckhardt had visited and described the Darb el 
Sultani, the road along the coast. But no European 
had as yet travelled down by Harun el Rashid's and 
the Lady Zubaydah's celebrated route through the 
Nejd Desert. 

Not a moment, however, was to be lost: we ex- 
pected to set out early the next morning. The boy Mo- 
hammed went forth, and bought for eighty piastres a 
Shugduf, which lasted us throughout the pilgrimage, 
and for fifteen piastres a Shibriyah or cot to be oc- 
cupied by Shaykh Nur, who did not relish sleeping on 
boxes. The youth was employed all day, with sleeves 
tucked up and working like a porter, in covering the 
litter with matting and rugs, in mending broken parts, 
and in providing it inside and outside with large pockets 
for provisions, with pouches to contain the gugglets 
of cooled water. 

Meanwhile Shaykh Nur and I, having inspected 
the water-skins, found that the rats had made con- 
siderable rents in two of them. There being no work- 
man procurable at this time for gold, I sat down to 
patch the damaged articles, whilst Nur was sent to lay 
in supplies for fourteen days. The journey is cal- 
culated at eleven days; but provisions are apt to spoil, 


and the Bedawi camel-drivers expect to be fed. Besides 
which, pilferers abound. By my companion's advice 
I took wheat- flour, rice, ^turmeric, onions, dates, un- 
leavened bread of two kinds, cheese, limes, tobacco, 
sugar, tea and coffee. 

Hamid himself started upon the most important 
part of our business. Faithful camel-men are required 
upon a road where robberies are frequent and stabbings 
occasional, and where there is no law to prevent de- 
sertion or to limit new and exorbitant demands. After 
a time he returned, accompanied by a boy and a Be- 
dawi, a short, thin, well-built old man with regular 
features, a white beard, and a cool clear eye; his 
limbs, as usual, were scarred with wounds. Mas'ud, 
of the Rahlah, a sub-family of the Hamidah family of 
the Benu-Harb, came in with a dignified demeanour, 
applied his dexter palm to ours, sat down, declined a 
pipe, accepted coffee, and after drinking it, looked at 
us to show that he was ready for negotiation. 

We opened the proceedings with "We want men 
and not camels," and the conversation proceeded in 
the purest Hejazi. After much discussion we agreed, 
if compelled to travel by the Darb el SKarki, to pay 
$ 20 for two camels, and to advance Arbun or earnest- 
money to half that amount. The Shaykh bound him- 
self to provide us with good animals, which more- 
over were to be changed in case of accidents; he was 
also to supply his beasts with water, and to accom- 
pany us to Arafat and back. But, absolutely refusing 
to carry my large chest, he declared that the tent 



under the Shugduf was burden enough for one camel, 
and that the green box of drugs, the saddle-bags, and 
the provision-sacks surmounted by Nur's cot, were 
amply sufficient for the other. On our part we bound 
ourselves to feed the Shaykh and his son, supplying 
them either with raw or with cooked provender, and, 
upon our return to Meccah from Mount Arafat, to pay 
the remaining hire with a discretionary present. 

Hamid then addressed to me flowery praises of 
the old Bedawi. After which, turning to the latter, he 
exclaimed, "Thou wilt treat these friends well, O 
Mas'ud the Harbi!" The ancient replied with a dignity 
that had no pomposity in it, — "Even as Abu Shawarib 
— the Father of Mustachios* — behaveth to us, so will 
we behave to him!" He then arose, bade us be pre- 
pared when the departure-gun sounded, saluted us, 
and stalked out of the room, followed by his son, 
who, under pretext of dozing, had mentally made an 
inventory of every article in the room, ourselves 
especially included. 

When the Bedawin disappeared, Shaykh Hamid 
shook his head, advising me to give them plenty to 
eat, and never to allow twenty-four hours to elapse 

* Most men of the Shafei school clip their mustachios exceedingly short ; 
some clean shave the upper lip, the imperial , and the parts of the beard about 
the corners of the mouth, and the fore-part of the cheeks. I neglected so to do, 
which soon won for me the epithet recorded above. 

Arabs are vastly given to "nick-naming God's creatures ;" their habit is the 
effect of acute observation, and the want of variety in proper names. Sonnini 
appears not to like having been called the "Father of a nose." But there is 
nothing disrespectful in these personal allusions. In Arabia you must be 
"Father" of something, and it is better to be Father of a feature, than Father of 
a Cooking-pot, or Father of Fetor ("Abu-Zirt.") 


without dipping hand in the same dish with them, in 
order that the party might always be "Malihin," — on 
terms of salt. He concluded with a copious lecture 
upon the villany of Bedawin, and their habit of drink- 
ing travellers' water. I was to place the skins on a 
camel in front, and not behind; to hang them with 
their mouths carefully tied, and turned upwards, con- 
trary to the general practice; always to keep a good 
store of liquid, and at night to place it under the safe- 
guard of the tent. 

In the afternoon, Umar Effendi and others dropped 
in to take leave. They found me in the midst of pre- 
parations, sewing sacks, fitting up a pipe, patching 
water-bags, and packing medicines. My fellow-traveller 
had brought me some pencils and a penknife, as "for- 
get-me-nots," for we were by no means sure of meet- 
ing again. He hinted, however, at another escape 
from the paternal abode, and proposed, if possible, to 
join the Dromedary-Caravan. Shaykh Hamid said the 
same, but I saw, by the expression of his face, that his 
mother and wife would not give him leave from home 
so soon after his return. 

Towards evening-time the Barr el Manakhah be- 
came a scene of exceeding confusion. The town of 
tents lay upon the ground. Camels were being laden, 
and were roaring under the weight of litters and cots, 
boxes and baggage. Horses and mules gallopped 
about. Men were rushing wildly in all directions on 
worldly errands, or hurrying to pay a farewell visit to 
the Prophet's Tomb, Women and children sat screaming 


on the ground, or ran to and fro distracted, or called 
their vehicles to escape the danger of being crushed. 
Every now and then a random shot excited all into 
the belief that the departure-gun had sounded. At 
times we heard a volley from the robbers' hills, which 
elicited a general groan, for the pilgrims were still, to 
use their own phrase, "between fear and hope," and, 
consequently, still far from "one of the two com- 
forts."* Then would sound the loud "Jhin-Jhin" of 
the camels' bells, as the stately animals paced away 
with some grandee's gilt and emblazoned litter, the 
sharp plaint of the dromedary, and the loud neighing 
of excited steeds. 

About an hour after sunset all our preparations 
were concluded, save only the Shugduf, at which the 
boy Mohammed still worked with untiring zeal; he 
wisely remembered that he had to spend in it the best 
portion of a week and a half. The evening was hot, 
we therefore dined outside the house. I was told to 
repair to the Haram for the Ziyarat el Wida'a, or the 
"Farewell Visitation;" but my decided objection to this 
step was that we were all to part — how soon! — and 
when to meet again we knew not. My companions 
smiled consent, assuring me that the ceremony could 
be performed as well at a distance as in the temple. 

Then Shaykh Hamid made me pray a two-prostra- 
tion prayer, and afterwards facing towards the Haram, 
to recite this supplication with raised hands: 

* The "two comforts" are success and despair; the latter, according to the 
Arabs, being a more enviable state of feeling than doubt or hope deferred. 


"O Prophet of Allah, we beg Thee to entreat Al- 
mighty Allah, that He cut off no Portion of the Good 
resulting to us, from this Visit to Thee and to Thy 
Haram ! May He cause us to return safe and prosperous 
to our Birthplaces; aid then us in the Progeny He 
hath given us, and continue to us His Benefits, and 
make us thankful for our daily Bread! O Allah, let 
not this be the last of our Visitations of Thy Prophet's 
Tomb! Yet if Thou summon us before such Blessing, 
verily in my Death I bear Witness, as in my Life" 
(here the forefinger of the right hand is extended, that 
the members of the body may take part with the tongue 
and the heart), "that there is no god but Allah, One 
and without Partner, and verily that our Lord Moham- 
med is His Servant and His Apostle! O Allah, grant 
us in this World Weal, and in the future Weal, and 
save us from the Torments of Hell-fire ! Praise to Thee, 
O Lord, Lord of Glory, greater than Man can describe! 
and Peace be upon the Prophet, and Laud to Allah, 
the Lord of the (three) Worlds." This concludes, as 
usual, with the Testification and the Fatihah. Pious 
men on such an occasion go to the Rauzah, where 
they strive, if possible, to shed a tear — a single drop 
being a sign of acceptance — give alms to the utmost 
of their ability, vow piety, repentance, and obedience, 
and retire overwhelmed with grief, at separating them- 
selves from their Apostle and Intercessor. It is cus- 
tomary, too, before leaving El Medinah, to pass at least 
one night in vigils at the Haram, and for learned men 
to read through the Koran once before the Tomb, 


Then began the uncomfortable process of paying 
off little bills. The Eastern creditor always, for divers 
reasons, waits the last moment before he claims his 
debt. Shaykh Hamid had frequently hinted at his 
difficulties; the only means of escape from which, he 
said, was to rely upon Allah. He had treated me so 
hospitably, that I could not take back any part of the 
5/. lent to him at Suez. His three brothers received a 
dollar or two each, and one or two of his cousins 
hinted to some effect that such a proceeding would 
meet with their approbation. 

The luggage was then carried down, and disposed 
in packs upon the ground before the house, so as to 
be ready for loading at a moment's notice. Many 
flying parties of travellers had almost started on the 
high road, and late in the evening came a new report 
that the body of the Caravan would march about 
midnight. We sat up till about 2 a.m., when, having 
heard no gun, and having seen no camels, we lay 
down to sleep through the sultry remnant of the hours 
of darkness. 

Thus, gentle reader, was spent my last night at El 

I had reason to congratulate myself upon having 
passed through the first danger. Meccah is so near 
the coast, that, in case of detection, the traveller might 
escape in a few hours to Jeddah, where he would find 
an English vice-consul, protection from the Turkish 
authorities, and possibly a British cruiser in the harbour. 


But at El Medinah discovery would entail more serious 
consequences. The next risk to be run was the journey 
between the two cities, where it would be easy for the 
local officials quietly to dispose of a suspected person 
by giving a dollar to a Bedawi. 



From El Medinah to El Suwayrkiyah. 

Four roads lead from El Medinah to Meccah. 
The "Darb el Sultani," or "Sultan's Way," follows the 
line of coast: this general passage has been minutely 
described by my exact predecessor. The "Tarik el 
Ghabir," a mountain path, is avoided by the Mahmal 
and the great Caravans, on account of its rugged 
passes; water abounds along the whole line, but there 
is not a single village; and the Sobh Bedawin, who 
own the soil, are inveterate plunderers. The route 
called "Wady el Kura" is a favorite with Dromedary- 
Caravans; on this road are two or three small settle- 
ments, regular wells, and free passage through the 
Benu Amr tribe. The Darb el Sharki, or "Eastern 
road," down which I travelled, owes its existence to 
the piety of Zubaydah Khatun, wife of Harun el 
Rashid. That estimable princess dug wells from Bagh- 
dad to El Medinah, and built, we are told, a wall to 
direct pilgrims over the shifting sands. There is a 
fifth road, or rather mountain-path, concerning which 
I can give no information. 

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the 26th Zu'l Ka'adah 
(31st August, 1853), as we were sitting at the window 
of Hamid's house after our early meal, suddenly ap- 


peared, in hottest haste, Mas'ud, our camel-Shaykh. 
He was accompanied by his son, a bold boy about 
fourteen years of age, who fought sturdily about the 
weight of each package as it was thrown over the 
earners back; and his nephew, an ugly pock-marked 
lad, too lazy even to quarrel. We were ordered to 
lose no time in loading; all started into activity, and 
at 9 a.m. I found myself standing opposite the Egyp- 
tian Gate, surrounded by my friends, who had accom- 
panied me thus far on foot, to take leave with due 
honour. After affectionate embraces and parting me- 
mentos, we mounted, the boy Mohammed and I in the 
litter, and Shaykh Nur in his cot. Then, in company 
with some Turks and Meccans, for Mas'ud owned a 
string of nine camels, we passed through the little gate 
near the castle, and shaped our course towards the 
north. On our right lay the palm-groves, which con- 
ceal this part of the city; far to the left rose the domes 
of Hamzah's Mosques at the foot of Mount Ohod; and 
in front a band of road, crowded with motley groups, 
stretched over a barren stony plain. 

After an hour's slow march, bending gradually from 
2sT. to N.E., we fell into the Nejd highway and came 
to a place of renown called El Ghadir, or the Basin. 
This is a depression conducting the drainage of the 
plain towards the Northern Hills. The skirts of Ohod 
still limited the prospect to the left. On the right was 
the Bir Rashid (Well of Rashid), and the little white- 
washed dome of Ali el Urays, a descendant from Zayn 
el Abidin: the tomb is still a place of visitation. 


There we halted and turned to take farewell of the 
Holy City. All the pilgrims dismounted and gazed at 
the venerable minarets and the Green Dome — spots 
upon which their memories would for ever dwell with 
a fond and yearning interest. 

Remounting at noon we crossed a Fiumara which 
runs, according to my camel-Shaykh, from N. to S.; 
we were therefore emerging from the Medinah basin. 
The sky began to be clouded and, although the air 
was still full of Simum, cold draughts occasionally 
poured down from the hills. Arabs fear this 

"bitter change 
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce," 

and call that a dangerous climate which is cold in the 
hot season and hot in the cold. Travelling over a 
rough and stony path, dotted with thorny Acacias, we 
arrived about 2 p.m. at the bed of lava heard of by 
Burckhardt. The aspect of the country was volcanic, 
abounding in basalts and scoriae, more or less porous: 
sand veiled the black bed whose present dimensions 
by no means equal the descriptions of Arabian histo- 
rians. I made diligent inquiries about the existence 
of active volcanos in this part of El Hejaz, and heard 
of none. 

At 5 p.m., travelling towards the East, we entered 
a Bughaz, or Pass, which follows the course of a wide 
Fiumara, walled in by steep and barren hills — the 
portals of a region too wild even for Bedawin. The 
torrent-bed narrowed where the turns were abrupt, and 
the drift of heavy stones, with a water-mark from 


6 to 7 feet high, showed that after rains a violent 
stream runs from E. and S.E. to W. and N.W. The 
fertilising fluid is close to the surface, evidenced by a 
spare growth of Acacia, camel-grass and, at some 
angles of the bed, by the Daum, or Theban palm. I re- 
marked what are technically called "Hufrah," holes dug 
for water in the sand; and the guide assured me that 
somewhere near there is a spring flowing from the rocks. 

After the long and sultry afternoon, beasts of burden 
began to sink in numbers. The fresh carcasses of 
asses, ponies, and camels dotted the way-side: those 
that had been allowed to die were abandoned to the 
foul carrion-birds, the Rakham (vulture), and the yellow 
Ukab; and all whose throats had been properly cut, 
were surrounded by troops of Takruri pilgrims. These 
half-starved wretches cut steaks from the choice por- 
tions, and slung them over their shoulders all ready 
for an opportunity of cooking. I never saw men 
more destitute. They carried wooden bowls, which 
they filled with water by begging; their only weapon 
was a small knife, tied in a leathern sheath above the 
elbow; and their costume an old skull-cap, strips of 
leather like sandals under the feet, and a long dirty 
shirt, or sometimes a mere rag covering the loins. 
Some were perfect savages, others had been fine-looking 
men, broad-shouldered, thin-flanked and long-limbed; 
many were lamed by fatigue and thorns; and looking 
at most of them, I fancied death depicted in their 
forms and features. 

After two hours' slow marching up the Fiumara 


eastwards, we saw in front of us a wall of rock, and 
turning abruptly southwards, we left the bed, and 
ascended rising ground. Already it was night; an 
hour, however, elapsed before we saw, at a distance, 
the twinkling fires, and heard the watch-cries of our 
camp. It was pitched in a hollow, under hills, in ex- 
cellent order; the Pasha's pavilion surrounded by his 
soldiers and guards disposed in tents, with sentinels 
regularly posted, protecting the outskirts of the en- 
campment. One of our men, whom we had sent for- 
ward, met us on the way, and led us to an open place, 
where we unloaded the camels, raised our canvas 
home, lighted fires, and prepared, with supper, for a 
good night's rest. 

Living is simple on such marches. The pouches 
inside and outside the Shugduf contain provisions and 
water, with which you supply yourself when inclined. 
At certain hours of the day, ambulant vendors offer 
sherbet, lemonade, hot coffee, and water-pipes admirably 
prepared. Chibouques may be smoked in the cage; 
but few care to do so during the Simum. The first 
thing, however, called for at the halting-place is the 
pipe, and its delightfully soothing influence, followed 
by a cup of coffee, and a "forty winks" upon the sand, 
will awaken an appetite not to be roused by other 
means. How could Waterton, the Traveller, abuse a 
pipe? During the night-halt, provisions are cooked: 
rice, or Kichri, a mixture of pulse and rice, are eaten 
with Chutnee and lime-pickle, varied, occasionally, by 
tough mutton and indigestible goat. 


We arrived at Ja el Sherifah at 8 p.m,, after a 
march of about twenty-two miles. This halting-place 
is the rendezvous of caravans: it lies 50 S.E. of El 
Medinah, and belongs rather to Nejd than to El 

At 3 a.m., on Thursday (Sept. 1), we started up at 
the sound of the departure-gun, struck the tent, loaded 
the camels, mounted, and found ourselves hurrying 
through a gloomy Pass, in the hills, to secure a good 
place in the Caravan. This is an object of some im- 
portance, as, during the whole journey, marching order 
must not be broken. We met with a host of minor 
accidents, camels falling, Shugdufs bumping against 
one another, and plentiful abuse. Pertinaciously we 
hurried on till 6 a.m., at which hour we emerged from 
the black pass. The large crimson sun rose upon us, 
disclosing, through purple mists, a hollow of coarse 
yellow gravel, based upon a hard whitish clay. About 
five miles broad by twelve long, it collects the waters 
of the high grounds after rain, and distributes the sur- 
plus through an exit towards the N.W., a gap in the 
low undulating hills around. Entering it, we dis- 
mounted, prayed, broke our fast, and after half an 
hour's halt proceeded to cross its breadth. The ap- 
pearance of the Caravan was most striking, as it 
threaded its slow way over the smooth surface of the 
Khabt (low plain). To judge by the eye, the host was 
composed of at least 7000 souls, on foot, on horse- 
back, in litters, or bestriding the splendid camels of 
Syria. There were eight gradations of pilgrims, The 


lowest hobbled with heavy staves. Then came the 
riders of asses, camels, and mules. Respectable men, 
especially Arabs, were mounted on dromedaries, and 
the soldiers had horses: a led animal was saddled for 
every grandee, ready whenever he might wish to leave 
his litter. Women, children, and invalids of the poorer 
classes sat upon a "Haml Musattah" — rugs and cloths 
spread over the two large boxes which form the camel's 
load. Many occupied Shibriyahs, a few, Shugdufs, 
and only the wealthy and the noble rode in Takht- 
rawan (litters), carried by camels or mules. The 
morning beams fell brightly upon the glancing arms 
which surrounded the stripped Mahmal, and upon the 
scarlet and gilt conveyances of the grandees. Not the 
least beauty of the spectacle was its wondrous variety 
of detail: no man was dressed like his neighbour, no 
camel was caparisoned, no horse was clothed in uni- 
form, as it were. And nothing stranger than the con- 
trasts; a band of half-naked Takruri marching with 
the Pasha's equipage, and long-capped, bearded Per- 
sians conversing with Tarbush'd and shaven Turks. 

The plain even at an early hour reeked with vapors 
distilled by the fires of the Simum : about noon, how- 
ever, the air became cloudy, and nothing of colour 
remained, save that milky white haze, dull, but glaring 
withal, which is the prevailing day-tint in these regions. 
At mid-day we reached a narrowing of the basin, 
where, from both sides, "Irk," or low hills, stretch their 
last spurs into the plain. But after half a mile, it 
again widened to upwards of two miles. At two p.m. 


(Friday, Sept. 2) we turned towards the S.W., ascended 
stony ground, and found ourselves one hour after- 
wards in a desolate rocky flat, distant about twenty- 
four miles of unusually winding road from our last 
station. "Mahattah Ghurab," or the Raven's Station, 
lies io° S.W. from Ja el Sharifah, in the irregular 
masses of hill on the frontier of El Hejaz, where the 
highlands of Nejd begin. 

After pitching the tent, we prepared to recruit our 
supply of water; for Mas'ud warned me that his camels 
had not drunk for ninety hours, and that they would 
soon sink under the privation. The boy Mohammed, 
mounting a dromedary, set off with the Shaykh and 
many water-bags, giving me an opportunity of writing 
out my journal. They did not return home till after 
nightfall, a delay caused by many adventures. The 
wells are in a Fiumara, as usual, about two miles dis- 
tant from the halting-place, and the soldiers, regular 
as well as irregular, occupied the water and exacted 
hard coin in exchange for it. The men are not to 
blame; they would die of starvation, but for this re- 
source. The boy Mohammed had been engaged in 
several quarrels; but after snapping his pistol at a 
Persian pilgrim's head, he came forth triumphant with 
two skins of sweetish water, for which we paid ten 
piastres. He was in his glory. There were many 
Meccans in the Caravan, among them his elder brother 
and several friends: the Sherif Zayd had sent, he said, 
to ask why he did not travel with his compatriots. 
That evening he drank so copiously of clarified butter, 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 4 


and ate dates mashed with flour and other abomina- 
tions to such an extent, that at night he prepared to 
give up the ghost. 

We passed a pleasant hour or two before sleeping. 
I began to like the old Shaykh Mas'ud, who, seeing it, 
entertained me with his genealogy, his battles, and his 
family affairs. The rest of the party could not prevent 
expressing contempt when they heard me putting 
frequent questions about torrents, hills, Bedawin, and 
the directions of places. "Let the Father of Mus- 
tachios ask and learn," said the old man; "he is 
friendly with the Bedawin, and knows better than you 
all." This reproof was intended to be bitter as the 
poet's satire — 

" All fools have still an itching to deride, 
And fain would be upon the laughing side." 

It called forth, however, another burst of merriment, 
for the jeerers remembered my nickname to have be- 
longed to that pestilent heretic, Sa'ud the Wahhabi. 

On Saturday, the 3rd September, the hateful signal- 
gun awoke us at one a.m. In Arab travel there is no- 
thing more disagreeable than the Sariyah or night- 
march, and yet the people are inexorable about it. 
"Choose early Darkness (daljah) for your Wayfarings," 
said the Prophet, "as the Calamities of the Earth (ser- 
pents and wild beasts) appear not at Night." I can 
scarcely find words to express the weary horrors of the 
long dark march, during which the hapless traveller, 
fuming, if a European, with disappointment in his 
hopes of "seeing the country," is compelled to sit upon 


the back of a creeping camel. The day sleep too is 
a kind of lethargy, and is all but impossible to pre- 
serve an appetite during the hours of heat. 

At half-past five a. m., after drowsily stumbling 
through hours of outer gloom, we entered a spacious 
basin at least six miles broad, and limited by a circlet 
of low hill. It was overgrown with camel-grass and 
Acacia (shittim) trees — mere vegetable mummies, — in 
many places the water had left a mark; and here and 
there the ground was pitted with mud-flakes, the re- 
mains of recently dried pools. After an hour's rapid 
march we toiled over a rugged ridge, composed of 
broken and detached blocks of basalt and scoriae, 
fantastically piled, and thinly dotted with thorny 
trees. Shaykh Mas'ud passed the time in walking to 
and fro along his line of camels, addressing us with a 
Khallikum guddam, "to the front (of the litter)!" as we 
ascended, and a Khallikum wara "to the rear!" during 
the descent. It was wonderful to see the animals 
stepping from block to block with the sagacity of 
mountaineers; assuring themselves of their forehands 
before trusting all their weight to advance. Not a camel 
fell, either here or on any other ridge: they moaned, 
however, piteously, for the sudden turns of the path 
puzzled them; the ascents were painful, the descents 
were still more so; the rocks were sharp; deep holes 
yawned between the blocks, and occasionally an 
Acacia caught the Shugduf, almost overthrowing the 
hapless bearer by the suddenness and the tenacity of 
its clutch. This passage took place during daylight. 



But we had many at night, which I shall neither forget 
nor describe. 

Descending the ridge, we entered another hill-en- 
circled basin of gravel and clay. In many places 
basalt in piles and crumbling strata of hornblende 
schiste, disposed edgeways, green within, and without 
blackened by sun and rain, cropped out of the ground. 
At half-past ten we found ourselves in an "Acacia- 
barren/' one of the things which pilgrims dread. Here 
Shugdufs are bodily pulled off the camel's back and 
broken upon the hard ground; the animals drop upon 
their knees, the whole line is deranged, and every 
one, losing temper, abuses his Moslem brother. The 
road was flanked on the left by an iron wall of black 
basalt. Noon brought us to another ridge, whence 
we descended into a second wooded basin surrounded 
by hills. 

Here the air was filled with those pillars of sand 
so graphically described by Abyssinian Bruce. They 
scudded on the wings of the whirlwind over the plain; 
huge yellow shafts, with lofty heads, horizontally 
bent backwards, in the form of clouds; and on more 
than one occasion camels were thrown down by them. 
It required little stretch of fancy to enter into the 
Arabs' superstition. These sand-columns are Supposed 
to be Genii of the Waste, which cannot be caught — 
a notion arising from the fitful movements of the 
electrical wind-eddy that raises them — and, as they 
advance, the pious Moslem stretches out his fore-finger, 
exclaiming, "Iron! O thou ill-omened one!" 


During the forenoon we were troubled by the 
Simum, which, instead of promoting perspiration, 
chokes up and hardens the skin. The Arabs complain 
greatly of its violence on this line of road. Here I 
first remarked the difficulty with which the Bedawin 
bear thirst. "Ya Latif!" — O Merciful (Lord)!— they 
exclaimed at times, and yet they behaved like men. 
I had ordered them to place the water-camel in front, 
so as to exercise due supervision. Shaykh Mas'ud and 
his son made only an occasional reference to the skins. 
But his nephew, a short, thin, pock-marked lad of 
eighteen, whose black skin and woolly head suggested 
the idea of a semi- African and ignoble origin, was 
always drinking; except when he climbed the camel's 
back and, dozing upon the damp load, forgot his 
thirst. In vain we ordered, we taunted, and we abused 
him: he would drink, he would sleep, but he would 
not work. 

At one p.m. we crossed a Fiumara; and an hour 
afterwards we pursued the course of a second. Mas'ud 
called this the Wady el Khunak, and assured me that 
it runs from the E. and the S.E. in a N. and N.W. 
direction, to the Medinah plain. Early in the after- 
noon we reached a diminutive flat, on the Fiumara 
bank. Beyond it lies a Mahjar or stony ground, black 
as usual in El Hejaz, and over its length lay the road, 
white with dust and the sand deposited by the camels' 
feet. Having arrived before the Pasha, we did not 
know where to pitch; many opining that the Caravan 
would traverse the Mahjar and halt beyond it. We 


soon alighted, however, pitched the tent under a burn- 
ing sun, and were imitated by the rest of the party. 
Mas'ud called the place Hijriyah. According to my 
computation it is twenty-five miles from Ghurab, and 
its direction is S.E. 22°. 

Late in the afternoon the boy Mohammed started 
with a dromedary to procure water from the higher 
part of the Fiumara. Here are some wells, still called 
Bir Harun, after the great Caliph. The youth re- 
turned soon with two bags filled at an expense of nine 
piastres. This being the twenty-eighth Zu'l Ka'adah, 
many pilgrims busied themselves rather fruitlessly with 
endeavours to sight the crescent moon. They failed; 
but we were consoled by seeing through a gap in the 
western hills a heavy cloud discharge its blessed load, 
and a cool night was the result. 

We loitered on Sunday, the 4th of September, at 
El Hijriyah, although the Shaykh forewarned us of a 
long stage. But there is a kind of discipline in these 
great Caravans. A gun sounds the order to strike the 
tents, and a second bids you march off with all speed. 
There are short halts of half an hour each, at dawn, 
noon, afternoon, and sunset, for devotional pur- 
poses, and these are regulated by a cannon or a cul- 
verin. At such times the Syrian and Persian servants, 
who are admirably expert in their calling, pitch the 
large green tents, with gilt crescents, for the dignitaries 
and their harims. The last resting-place is known 
by the hurrying forward of these "Farrash" or "tent- 
Lascars," who are determined to be the first on the 


ground and at the well. A discharge of three guns 
denotes the station, and when the Caravan moves by 
night, a single cannon sounds three or four halts at 
irregular intervals. 

The principal officers were the Emir Hajj, one 
Ashgar Ali Pasha, a veteran of whom my companions 
spoke slightingly, because he had been the slave of a 
slave, probably the pipe-bearer of some grandee, who 
in his youth had been pipe-bearer to some other 
grandee. Under him was a Wakil or lieutenant, who 
managed the executive. The Emir el Surrah — called 
simply El Surrah, or the Purse — had charge of the 
Caravan-treasure, and remittances to the Holy Cities. 
And lastly there was a commander of the forces (Bashat 
el Askar): his host consisted of about 1000 irregular 
horsemen, Bashi Buzuks, half bandits half soldiers, 
each habited and armed after his own fashion, ex- 
ceedingly dirty, picturesque-looking, brave, and in such 
a country of no use whatever. 

Leaving El Hijriyah at seven a.m., we passed over 
the grim stone-field by a detestable footpath, and at 
nine o'clock struck into a broad Fiumara, which runs 
from the east towards the north-west. Its sandy bed 
is overgrown with Acacia, the Senna plant, different 
species of Euphorbiae, the wild Capparis and the Daum 
Palm. Up this line we travelled the whole day. About 
six p.m., we came upon a basin at least twelve miles 
broad, which absorbs the water of the adjacent hills. 
Accustomed as I have been to mirage, a long thin line 
of salt efflorescence appearing at some distance on the 


plain below us, when the shades of evening invested 
the view, completely deceived me. Even the Arabs 
were divided in opinion, some thinking it was the 
effects of the rain which fell the day before: others 
were more acute. It is said that beasts are never de- 
ceived by the mirage, and this, as far as my experience 
goes, is correct. May not the reason be that most of 
them know the vicinity of water rather by smell than 
by sight? 

Upon the horizon beyond the plain rose dark, 
fort-like masses of rock which I mistook for buildings, 
the more readily as the Shaykh had warned me that 
we were approaching a populous place. At last de- 
scending a long steep hill, we entered upon the level 
ground, and discovered our error by the crunching 
sound of the camels' feet upon large curling flakes of 
nitrous salt overlying caked mud. Those civilised 
birds, the kite and the crow, warned us that we were 
in the vicinity of man. It was not, however, before 
eleven p.m., that we entered the confines of El Su- 
wayrkiyah. The fact was made patent to us by the 
stumbling and the falling of our dromedaries over the 
little ridges of dried clay disposed in squares upon 
the fields. There were other obstacles, such as garden 
walls, wells, and hovels, so that midnight had sped 
before our weary camels reached the resting place. A 
rumour that we were to halt here the next day, made 
us think lightly of present troubles; it proved, however, 
to be false. 

During the last four days I attentively observed the 


general face of the country. This line is a succession 
of low plains and basins, here quasi-circular, there ir- 
regularly oblong, surrounded by rolling hills and cut 
by Fiumaras which pass through the higher ground. 
The basins are divided by ridges and flats of basalt 
and greenstone averaging from ioo to 200 feet in 
height. The general form is a huge prism; sometimes 
they are table-topped. From El Medinah to El Su- 
wayrkiyah the low beds of sandy Fiumaras abound. 
From El Suwayrkiyah to El Zaribah, their place is 
taken by "Ghadir," or hollows in which water stag- 
nates; and beyond El Zaribah the traveller enters a 
region of water-courses tending W. and S.W. The 
versant is generally from the E. and S.E. towards the 
W. and N.W. Water obtained by digging is good 
where rain is fresh in the Fiumaras; saltish, so as to 
taste at first unnaturally sweet, in the plains; and bitter 
in the basins and lowlands where nitre effloresces and 
rain has had time to become tainted. The landward 
faces of the hills are disposed at a sloping angle, con- 
trasting strongly with the perpendicularity of their sea- 
ward sides, and I found no inner range corresponding 
with, and parallel to, the maritime chain. 

Nowhere had I seen a land in which Earth's 
anatomy lies so bare, or one richer in volcanic and 
primary formations. Especially towards the south, the 
hills were abrupt and quasi-vertical, with black and 
barren flanks, ribbed with furrows and fissures, with 
wide and formidable precipices and castellated sum- 
mits like the work of man. The predominant formation 


was basalt, called by the Arabs Hajar Jehannum, or 
Hell-stone; here and there it is porous and cellular; 
in some places compact and black; in others coarse 
and gritty, of a tarry colour, and when fractured 
shining with bright points. Hornblende is common 
at El Medinah and throughout this part of El Hejaz: 
it crops out of the ground edgeways, black and brittle. 
Greenstone, diorite, and actinolite are found, though 
not so abundantly as those above mentioned. The 
granites, called in Arabic Suwan, abound. Some are 
large grained, of a pink color, and appear in blocks, 
which, flaking off under the influence of the atmosphere, 
form ooidal blocks and boulders piled in irrregular 
heaps. Others are grey and compact enough to take 
a high polish when cut. The syenite is generally 
coarse, although there is occasionally found a rich red 
variety of that stone. I did not see eurite or euritic 
porphyry except in small pieces, and the same may 
be said of the petrosilex and the milky and waxy 
quartz* In some parts, particularly between Yambu' 
and El Medinah, there is an abundance of tawny 
yellow gneiss markedly stratified. The transition for- 
mations are represented by a fine calcareous sandstone 
of a bright ochre color: it is used at Meccah to adorn 
the exteriors of houses, bands of this stone being here 

* This country may have contained gold ; but the superficial formation has 
long been exhausted. At Cairo I washed some sand brought from the Eastern 
shore of the Red Sea North of Wijh, and found it worth my while. I had a 
plan for working the diggings, but H. B. M.'s Consul Dr. Walne opined that 
"gold was becoming too plentiful" and would not assist me. This wise saying 
has since then been repeated to me by men who ought to have known better 
than Dr. Walne. 


and there inserted into the courses of masonry. There 
is also a small admixture of the greenish sandstone 
which abounds at Aden. The secondary formation is 
represented by a fine limestone, in some places al- 
most fit for the purposes of lithography, and a coarse 
gypsum often of a tufaceous nature. For the super- 
ficial accumulations of the country, I may refer the 
reader to any description of the Desert between Cairo 
and Suez. 



The Bedawin of El Hejaz. 


The Arab may be divided into. three races — a 
classification which agrees equally well with genesitic 
genealogy, the traditions of the country, and the ob- 
servations of modern physiologists.* 

* In Holy Writ, as the indigens are not alluded to — only the Noachian race 
being described — we find two divisions : 

i. The children of Joktan (great grandson of Shem), Mesopotamians settled 
in Southern Arabia, "from Mesha (Musa or Meccah?) to Sephar (Zafar) a 
mount of the East" (Gen. X. 30) : that is to say, they occupied the lands from 
El Tehamah to Mahrah. 

2. The children of Ishmael, and his Egyptian wife ; they peopled only the 
wilderness of Paran in the Sinaitic Peninsula and the parts adjacent. 

Dr. Aloys Sprenger (Life of Mohammed, p. 18.) throws philosophic doubt 
upon the Ishmaelitish descent of Mohammed, who in personal appearance was 
a pure Caucasian, without any mingling of Egyptian blood. And the Ish- 
maelitish origin of the whole Arab race is an utterly untenable theory. Years 
ago, our great historian sensibly remarked that "the name (Saracens), used by 
Ptolemy and Pliny in a more confined, by Ammianus and Procopius in a larger 
sense, has been derived ridiculously from Sarah the wife of Abraham." In 
Gibbon's observation , the erudite Interpreter of the One Primaeval Language 
— the acute bibliogist who metamorphoses the quail of the wilderness into a 
"ruddy goose" — detects " insidiousness " and "a spirit of restless and ran- 
corous hostility " against revealed religion. He proceeds on these sound grounds 
to attack the accuracy, the honesty, and the learning of the mighty dead. This 
may be Christian zeal ; it is not Christian charity. Of late years it has been the 
fashion of every aspirant to ecclesiastical honors to deal a blow at the ghost of 
Gibbon. And, as has before been remarked , Mr. Foster gratuitously attacked 
Burckhardt, whose manes had long rested in the good will of man. This con- 
trasts offensively with Lord Lindsay's happy compliment to the memory of the 
honest Swiss and the amiable eulogy quoted by Dr. Keith from the Quarterly 
(vol. xxiii.), and thus adopted as his own. 

It may seem folly to defend the historian of the Decline and Fall against 


The first race, indigens or autochthones, are those 
sub-Caucasian tribes which may still be met with in 
the province of Mahrah, and generally along the coast 
between Maskat and Hadramaut. The Mahrah, the 
Jenabah, and the Gara especially show a low develop- 
ment, for which hardship and privation only will not 
satisfactorily account. These are "Arab el Aribah," 
for whose inferiority oriental fable accounts as usual 
by thaumaturgy. 

The principal advenae are the Noachians, a great 
Chaldaean or Mesopotamian tribe which entered Arabia 
about 2 200 A. a, and by slow and gradual encroach- 
ments drove before them the ancient owners and seized 
the happier lands of the Peninsula. The great Anizah 
tribe and the Nejdi families are types of this race, 
which is purely Caucasian and shows a highly nervous 
temperament, together with those signs of "blood" 
which distinguish even the lower animals, the horse 
and camel, the greyhound and the goat of Arabia. 
These advenae would correspond with the Arab el 
Musta' aribah, or Arabicized Arabs of the eastern his- 

The third family, an ancient and a noble race, 
dating from A.c. 1900, and typified in history by Ish- 
mael, still occupies the Sinaitic Peninsula. These 
Arabs, however, do not, and never did, extend beyond 

the compiler of the Historical Geography of Arabia. But continental Orien- 
talists have expressed their wonder at the appearance in this 19th century of 
the "Voice of Israel from Mount Sinai" and the "India in Greece:" they 
should be informed that all our Eastern students are not votaries of such ob- 
solete vagaries. 


the limits of the mountains, where, still dwelling in 
the presence of their brethren, they retain all the wild 
customs and the untameable spirit of their forefathers. 
They are distinguished from the pure stock by an 
admixture of Egyptian blood, and by preserving the 
ancient characteristics of the Nilotic family. The Ish- 
maelites are sub-Caucasian, and are denoted in history 
as the "Arab el Muta'arribah," the insititious or half- 
caste Arab. 

Oriental ethnography, which, like most Eastern 
sciences, luxuriates in nomenclative distinction, re- 
cognises a fourth race under the name of "Arab el 
Musta'ajamah." These "barbarized Arabs" are now 
represented by such a population as that of Meccah. 

That Aus and Khazraj, the Himyaritic tribes which 
emigrated to El Hejaz, mixed with the Amalikah, the 
Jurham and the Katirah, also races from Yemen, and 
with the Hebrews, a northern branch of the Semitic 
family, we have ample historical evidence. And they 
who know how immutable is race in the desert, will 
scarcely doubt that the Bedawi of El Hejaz preserves 
in purity the blood transmitted to him by his an- 

I will not apologise for entering into details con- 
cerning the personale of the Bedawin; a precise 
physical portrait of race, it has justly been remarked, 
is the sole deficiency in the pages of Bruce and 

The temperament of the Hejazi is not unfrequently 
the pure nervous, as the height of the forehead and 


the fine texture of the hair prove. Sometimes the 
bilious, and rarely the sanguine, elements predominate : 
the lymphatic I never saw. He has large nervous 
centres, and well-formed spine and brain, a conforma- 
tion favorable to longevity. Bartema well describes 
his color as a "dark leonine:" it varies from the 
deepest Spanish to a chocolate hue, and its varieties 
are attributed by the people to blood. The skin is 
hard, dry, and soon wrinkled by exposure. The 
xanthous complexion is rare, though hot unknown in 
cities, but the leucous does not exist. The crinal hair 
is frequently lightened by bleaching, and the pilar is 
browner than the crinal. The voice is strong and 
clear, rather barytone than bass: in anger it becomes a 
shrill chattering like the cry of a wild animal. The 
look of a chief is dignified and grave even to pensive- 
ness; the "respectable man's" is self-sufficient and 
fierce; the lower orders look ferocious, stupid, and in 
quisitive. Yet there is not much difference in this 
point between men of the same tribe, who have similar 
pursuits which engender similar passions. Expression 
is the grand diversifier of appearance among civilised 
people: in the Desert it knows few varieties. 

The Bedawi cranium is small, ooidal, long, high, 
narrow, and remarkable in the occiput for the develop- 
ment of Gall's second propensity; the crown slopes 
upwards towards the region of firmness, which is 
elevated; whilst the sides are flat to a fault. The hair, 
exposed to sun, wind, and rain, acquires a coarseness 
not natural to it: worn in "Kurun," ragged elf-locks, 


hanging down to the breast, or shaved in the form 
"Shushah," a skull-cap of hair, nothing can be wilder 
than its appearance. The face is made to be a long 
oval, but want of flesh detracts from its regularity. 
The forehead is high, broad, and retreating; the upper 
portion is moderately developed; but nothing can be 
finer than the lower brow, and the frontal sinuses 
stand out, indicating bodily strength and activity of 
character. The temporal fossa are deep, the bones 
are salient, and the elevated zygomata combined with 
the "lantern-jaw," often give a "death's-head" ap- 
pearance to the face. The eyebrows are long, bushy, 
and crooked, broken, as it were, at the angle where 
"Order" is supposed to be, and bent in sign of 
thoughtfulness. Most popular writers, following De 
Page, describe the Arab eye as large, ardent, and 
black. The Bedawi of the Hejaz, and indeed the 
race generally, has a small eye, round, restless, deep- 
set and fiery, denoting keen inspection with an ardent 
temperament and an impassioned character. Its colour 
is dark brown or green-brown, and the pupil is often 
speckled. The habit of pursing up the skin below the 
orbits, and half closing the lids to exclude glare, plants 
the outer angles with premature crows' feet. Another 
peculiarity is the sudden way in which the eye opens, 
especially under excitement. This, combined with its 
fixity of glance, forms an expression now of lively 
fierceness, then of exceeding sternness; whilst the narrow 
space between the orbits impresses the countenance in 
repose with an intelligence, not destitute of cunning. 


As a general rule, however, the expression of the 
Bedawi's face is rather dignity than that cunning for 
which the Semitic race is celebrated, and there are 
lines about the mouth in variance with the stern or 
the fierce look of the brow. The ears are like those 
of Arab horses, small, well-cut, "castey" and elaborate, 
with many elevations and depressions. The nose is 
pronounced, generally aquiline, but sometimes straight 
like those Greek statues which have been treated as 
prodigious exaggerations of the facial angle. For the 
most part, it is a well-made feature with delicate 
nostrils, below which the septum appears: in anger 
they swell and open like a blood mare's. I have, 
however, seen, in not a few instances, pert and offen- 
sive "pugs." Deep furrows descend from the wings 
of the nose, showing an uncertain temper, now too 
grave, then too gay. The mouth is irregular. The 
lips are either bordes, denoting rudeness and want of 
taste, or they form a mere line. In the latter case 
there is an appearance of undue development in the 
upper portion of the countenance, especially when the 
jaws are ascetically thin, and the chin weakly retreats. 
The latter feature, however, is generally well and 
strongly made. The teeth, as usual among Orientals, 
are white, even, short, and broad — indications of 
strength. Some tribes trim their mustachios accord- 
ing to the "Sunnat;" the Shafe'i often shave them, 
and many allow them to hang Persian-like over the 
lips. The beard is represented by two tangled 
tufts upon the chin; where whisker should be, the 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 5 


place is either bare or thinly covered with strag- 
gling pile. 

The Bedawin of El Hejaz are short men, about the 
height of the Indians near Bombay, but weighing on 
an average a stone more. As usual in this stage of 
society, stature varies little; you rarely see a giant, 
and scarcely ever a dwarf. Deformity is checked by 
the Spartan restraint upon population, and no weakly 
infant can live through a Bedawi life. The figure, 
though spare, is square and well knit; fulness of limb 
seldom appears but about spring, when milk abounds: 
I have seen two or three muscular figures, but never 
a fat man. The neck is sinewy, the chest broad, the 
flank thin, and the stomach in-drawn; the legs, though 
fleshless, are well made, especially when the knee and 
ankle are not bowed by too early riding. The shins 
do not bend cucumber-like to the front as in the 
African race. The arms are thin, with muscles like 
whip-cords, and the hands and feet are, in point of 
size and delicacy, a link between Europe and India. 
As in the Celt, the Arab thumb is remarkably long, 
extending almost to the first joint of the index, which, 
with its easy rotation, makes it a perfect prehensile 
instrument: the palm also is fleshless, small-boned, and 
elastic. With his small active figure it is not strange 
that the wildest Bedawi's gait should be pleasing; he 
neither unfits himself for walking, nor distorts his 
ankles by turning out his toes according to the farcical 
rule of fashion, and his shoulders are not dressed like 
a drill sergeant's, to throw all the weight of the body 


upon the heels. Yet there is no slouch in his walk; 
it is light and springy, and errs only in one point, 
sometimes becoming a strut. 

Such is the Bedawi, and such he has been for 
ages. The national type has been preserved by sys- 
tematic intermarriage. The wild men do not refuse 
their daughters to a stranger, but the son-in-law would 
be forced to settle among them, and this life, which 
has charms for a while, ends in becoming wearisome. 
Here no evil results are anticipated from the union of 
first cousins, and the experience of ages and of a 
mighty nation may .be trusted. Every Bedawi has a 
right to marry his father's brother's daughter before 
she is given to a stranger; hence "cousin" (bint 
Amm) in polite phrase signifies a "wife." Our physi- 
ologists * adduce the Sangre Azul of Spain and the 
case of the lower animals to prove that degeneracy 
inevitably follows "breeding- in." Either they have 
theorized from insufficient facts, or civilisation and 
artificial living exercise some peculiar influence, or 
Arabia is a solitary exception to a general rule. The 
fact which I have mentioned is patent to every Eastern 

After this long description, the reader will perceive 
with pleasure that we are approaching an interesting 

* Dr. Howe (Report on Idiotcy in Massachusetts, 1848,) asserts that "the 
law against the marriage of relations is made out as clearly as though it were 
written on tables of stone." He proceeds to show that in seventeen house- 
holds where the parents were connected by blood , of ninety-five children one 
was a dwarf, one deaf, twelve scrofulous , and forty-four idiots —total fifty-eight 
diseased ! 



theme, the first question of mankind to the wanderer 
— "What are the women like 1 ?" 

Truth compels me to state that the women of the 
Hejazi Bedawin are by no means comely. Although 
the Benii Amur boast of some pretty girls, yet they 
aire far inferior to the high-bosomed beauties of Nejd. 
And I warn all men that if they run to El Hejaz in 
search of the charming face which appears in my 
first edition as "a Bedawi girl," they will be bitterly 
disappointed: the dress was Arab, but it was worn by 
a fairy of the West. 

The Hejazi woman's eyes are fierce, her features 
harsh, and her face haggard; like all people of the 
South, she soon fades, and in old age her appearance 
is truly witch-like. Withered crones abound in the 
camps, where old men are seldom seen: the sword 
and the sun are fatal to 

"A green old age, unconscious of decay." 

The manners of the Bedawin are free and simple: 
"vulgarity" and affectation, awkwardness and embar- 
rassment, are weeds of civilised growth, unknown to 
the People of the Desert* Yet their manners are 
sometimes dashed with a strange ceremoniousness. 
When two friends meet, they either embrace or both 
extend the right hands, clapping palm to palm; their 
foreheads are either pressed together, or their heads 
are moved from side to side, whilst for minutes to- 
gether mutual inquiries are made and answered. It 

* This sounds in English like an " Irish bull." I translate " Badu ," as the 
dictionaries do, "a desert." 


is a breach of decorum, even when eating, to turn the 
back upon a person, and if a Bedawi does it, he in- 
tends an insult. When a man prepares coffee he 
drinks the first cup: the "Sharbat Kajari" (poison) of 
the Persians, and the "Sulaymani" of Egypt, render 
this precaution necessary. As a friend approaches the 
camp — it is not done to strangers for fear of startling 
them — those who catch sight of him shout out his 
name, and gallop up saluting with lances or firing 
matchlocks in the air. This is the well-known "La'ab 
el Barut," or gunpowder play. Bedawin are generally 
polite in language, but in anger temper is soon shown, 
and, although life be in peril, the foulest epithets, dog, 
drunkard, liar, and, infidel, are discharged like pistol 
shots by both disputants. 

The best character of the Bedawi is a truly noble 
compound of gentleness, determination, and generosity. 
Usually they are a mixture of worldly cunning and 
great simplicity, sensitive to touchiness, good-tempered 
souls, solemn and dignified withal, fond of a jest yet 
of a grave turn of mind, easily managed by a laugh 
and a soft word, and placable after passion, though 
madly revengeful after injury. It has been sar- 
castically said of the Benu-Harb that there is not 
a man 

"Que s'il ne violoit, voloit, tuoit, bruloit 
Ne fut assez bonne personne." 

The reader will inquire, like the critics of a certain 
modern humorist, how the fabric of society can be 
supported by such material. In the first place, it is a 


kind of "societe leonine," in which the fiercest, the 
strongest, and the craftiest obtains complete mastery- 
over his fellows, and this gives a key-stone to the arch. 
Secondly, there is the terrible blood-feud, which even 
the most reckless fear for their posterity. And, thirdly, 
though the revealed law of the Koran, being insuf- 
ficient for the Desert, is openly disregarded, the im- 
memorial customs of the "Kazi el Arab" (the Judge of 
the Arabs) * form a system stringent in the extreme. 

The valour of the Bedawi is fitful and uncertain. 
Man is by nature an animal of prey, educated by the 
complicated relations of society, but readily relapsing 
into his old habits. Ravenous and sanguinary pro- 
pensities grow apace in the Desert, but for the same 
reason the recklessness of civilisation is unknown there. 
Savages and semi-barbarians are always cautious, be- 
cause they have nothing valuable but their lives and 
limbs. The civilised man, on the contrary, has a 
hundred wants or hopes or aims, without which exist- 
ence has for him no charms. Arab ideas of bravery 
do not prepossess us. Their romances, full of fool- 
hardy feats and impossible exploits, might charm for 

* Throughout the world the strictness of the Lex Scripta is in inverse ratio 
to that of custom : whenever the former is lax , the latter is stringent , and vice 
versa. Thus in England , where law leaves men comparatively free , they are 
slaves to a grinding despotism of conventionalities, unknown in the lands of 
tyrannical rule. This explains why many, accustomed to live under despotic 
governments, feel fettered and enslaved in the so-called free countries. Hence, 
also , the reason why notably in a republic there is less private and practical 
liberty than under a despotism. 

The "Kazi el Arab" (Judge of the Arabs) is in distinction to the Kazi el 
Shara , or the Kazi of the Koran. The former is , almost always , some sharp- 
witted greybeard, with a minute knowledge of genealogy and precedents, a re- 
tentive memory and an eloquent tongue. 


a time, but would not become the standard works of 
a really fighting people. Nor would a truly valorous 
race admire the cautious freebooters who safely fire 
down upon caravans from their eyries. Arab wars, 
too, are a succession of skirmishes, in which five 
hundred men will retreat after losing a dozen of their 
number. In this partisan fighting the first charge 
secures a victory, and the vanquished fly till covered 
by the shades of night. Then come cries and taunts 
of women, deep oaths, wild poetry, excitement, and 
reprisals, which will probably end in the flight of the 
former victor. When peace is to be made, both 
parties count up their dead, and the usual blood- 
money is paid for excess on either side. Generally, 
however, the feud endures till, all becoming weary of 
it, some great man, as the Sherif of Meccah, is called 
upon to settle the terms of a treaty, which is no- 
thing but an armistice. After a few months' peace, 
a glance or a word will draw blood, for these hates 
are old growths, and new dissensions easily shoot up 
from them. 

But contemptible though their battles be, the Be- 
dawin are not cowards. The habit of danger in raids 
and blood-feuds, the continual uncertainty of existence, 
the desert, the chase, the hard life and exposure to 
the air, blunting the nervous system; the presence and 
the practice of weapons, horsemanship, sharpshooting, 
and martial exercises, habituate them to look death in 
the face like men, and powerful motives will make 
them heroes. The English, it is said, fight willingly 


for liberty, our neighbours for glory; the Spaniard 
fights, or rather fought, for religion and the "Pun- 
donor;" and the Irishman fights for the fun of fight- 
ing. Gain and revenge draw the Arab's sword; yet 
then he uses it fitfully enough, without the gay gal- 
lantry of the French or the persistency of the Anglo- 
Saxon. To become desperate he must have the all- 
powerful stimulants of honour and fanaticism. Frenzied 
by the insults of his women, or by the fear of being 
branded as a coward, he is capable of any mad deed. 
And the obstinacy produced by strong religious im- 
pressions gives a steadfastness to his spirit unknown 
to mere enthusiasm. The history of the Bedawi tells 
this plainly. Some unobserving travellers, indeed, 
have mistaken his exceeding cautiousness for stark 
cowardice. The incongruity is easily read by one who 
understands the principles of Bedawi warfare; with 
them, as amongst the Red Indians, one death dims a 
victory. And though reckless when their passions are 
thoroughly aroused, though heedless of danger when 
the voice of honour calls them, the Bedawin will not 
sacrifice themselves for light motives. Besides, they 
have, as has been said, another and a potent incentive 
to cautiousness. Whenever peace is concluded, they 
must pay for victory. 

There are two things which tend to soften the 
ferocity of Bedawi life. These are, in the first place, 
intercourse with citizens, who frequently visit and 
intrust their children to the people of the Black tents; 
and, secondly, the social position of the women. 


The Rev. Charles Robertson, author of a certain 
"Lecture on Poetry, addressed to Working Men," as- 
serts that Passion became Love under the influence 
of Christianity, and that the idea of a Virgin Mother 
spread over the sex a sanctity unknown to the poetry 
or the philosophy of Greece and Rome.* Passing over 
the objections of deified Eros and Immortal Psyehe 
and of the Virgin Mother — symbol of moral purity — 
being common to every old and material faith, I be- 
lieve that all the noble tribes of savages display the 
principle. Thus we might expect to find, wherever 
the fancy, the imagination, and the ideality are strong, 
some traces of a sentiment innate in the human organi- 
sation. It exists, says Mr. Catlin, amongst the North 
American Indians, and even the Gallas and the Somal 
of Africa are not wholly destitute of it. 

Miss Martineau, when travelling through Egypt, 
once visited a harem, and there found, among many 
things, especially in ignorance of books and book- 
making, materials for a heart-broken wail over the 
degradation of her sex. The learned lady indulges, 
too, in sundry strong and unsavoury comparisons 
between the harem and certain haunts of vice in 

* Though differing in opinion, upon one subject, with the Rev. Mr. Charles 
Robertson , the lamented author of this little work , I cannot refrain from ex- 
pressing the highest admiration of those noble thoughts , those exalted views, 
and those polished sentiments which, combining the delicacy of the present 
with the chivalry of a past age, appear in a style 

"As smooth as woman and as strong as man." 

Would that it were in my power to pay a more adequate tribute to his 
memory ! 


On the other hand, male travellers generally speak 
lovingly of the harem. Sonnini, no admirer of Egypt, 
expatiates on "the generous virtues, the examples of 
magnanimity and affectionate attachment, the senti- 
ments ardent, yet gentle, forming a delightful unison 
with personal charms in the harems of the Mame- 

As usual, the truth lies somewhere between the 
two extremes. Human nature, all the world over, 
differs but in degree. Every where women may be 
"capricious, coy, and hard to please" in common con- 
junctures: in the hour of need they will display devoted 
heroism. Any chronicler of the Afghan war will bear 
witness that warm hearts, noble sentiments, and an 
overflowing kindness to the poor, the weak, and the 
unhappy are found even in a harem. Europe now 
knows that the Moslem husband provides separate 
apartments and a distinct establishment for each of 
his wives, unless, as sometimes happens, one be an 
old woman and the other a child. And, confessing 
that envy, hatred, and malice often flourish in poly- 
gamy, the Moslem asks, Is monogamy open to no ob- 
jections? As far as my limited observations go, poly- 
andry is the only state of society in which jealousy 
and quarrels about the sex are the exception and not 
the rule of life. 

In quality of doctor I have seen a little and heard 
much of the harem. It often resembles a European 
home composed of a man, his wife, and his mother. 
And I have seen in the West many a "happy fire-side" 


fitter to make Miss Martineau's heart ache than any 
harem in Grand Cairo. 

Were it not evident that the spiritualising of 
sexuality by sentiment, of propensity by imagination, 
is universal among the highest orders of mankind — 
c'est Petoffe de la Nature que Pimagination a brodee, 
says Voltaire — I should attribute the origin of "love" 
to the influence of the Arabs' poetry and chivalry 
upon European ideas rather than to mediaeval Chris- 
tianity. The "Fathers of the Church," it must be re- 
membered, did not believe that women have souls. 
The Moslems never went so far. 

In nomad life, tribes often meet for a time, live 
together whilst pasturage lasts, and then separate per- 
haps for a generation. Under such circumstances 
youths, who hold with the Italian that 

"Perduto e tutto il tempo 
Che in amor non si spende," 

will lose heart to maidens, whom possibly, by the laws 
of the clan, they may not marry, and the light o' love 
will fly her home. The fugitives must brave every 
danger, for revenge, at all times the Bedawi's idol, 
now becomes the lode-star of his existence. But the 
Arab lover will dare all consequences. "Men have 
died and the worms have eaten them, but not for 
love," may be true in the West: it is false in the East. 
This is attested in every tale where love, and not am- 
bition, is the groundwork of the narrative. And no- 
thing can be more tender, more pathetic than the use 
made of these separations and long absences by the 


old Arab poets. Whoever peruses the Suspended Poem 
of Lebid, will find thoughts at once so plaintive and 
so noble, that even Dr. Carlyle's learned verse cannot 
wholly deface their charm. 

The warrior-bard returns from afar. He looks 
upon the traces of hearth and home still furrowing 
the desert ground. In bitterness of spirit he checks 
himself from calling aloud upon his lovers and his 
friends. He melts at the remembrance of their de- 
parture, and long indulges in the absorbing theme. 
Then he strengthens himself by the thought of Na- 
wara's inconstancy, how she left him and never thought 
of him again. He impatiently dwells upon the charms 
of the places which detain her, advocates flight from 
the changing lover and the false friend, and, in the 
exultation with which he feels his swift dromedary 
start under him upon her rapid course, he seems to 
seek and find some consolation for woman's perfidy 
and forgetfulness. Yet he cannot abandon Nawara's 
name or memory. Again he dwells with yearning 
upon scenes of past felicity, and he boasts of his 
prowess — a fresh reproach to her — of his gentle birth, 
and of his hospitality. He ends with an encomium 
upon his clan, to which he attributes, a^s a noble Arab 
should, all the virtues of man. This is Goldsmith's 
deserted village in El Hejaz. But the Arab, with equal 
simplicity and pathos, has a fire, a force of language, 
and a depth of feeling, which the Irishman, admirable 
as his verse is, could never rival. 

As the author of the Peninsular War well remarks, 


women in troubled times, throwing off their accustomed 
feebleness and frivolity, become helpmates meet for 
man. The same is true of pastoral life. Here, be- 
tween the extremes of fierceness and sensibility, the 
weaker sex, remedying its want of power, raises it- 
self by courage, physical as well as moral. In the 
early days of El Islam, if history be credible, Arabia 
had a race of heroines. Within the last century, Gha- 
liyah, the wife of a Wahhabi chief, opposed Moham- 
med Ali himself in many a bloody field. A few years 
ago, when Ibn Asm, popularly called Ibn Rumi, chief 
of the Zubayd clan about Rabigh, was treacherously 
slain by the Turkish general, Kurdi Usman, his sister, 
a fair young girl, determined to revenge him. She 
fixed upon the "Arafat-day" of pilgrimage for the ac- 
complishment of her designs, disguised herself in male 
attire, drew her kerchief in the form "Lisam" over the 
lower part of her face, and with lighted match awaited 
her enemy. The Turk, however, was not present, and 
the girl was arrested to win for herself a local reputa- 
tion equal to the "maid" of Salamanca. Thus it is 
that the Arab has learned to swear that great oath "by 
the honour of my women." 

The Bedawin are not without a certain Platonic 
affection, which they call "Hawa (or Ishk) uzri" — 
pardonable love. They draw the fine line between 
amant and amoureux: this is derided by the towns- 
people, little suspecting how much such a custom says 
in favour of the wild men. Arabs, like other Orientals, 
hold that, in such matters, man is saved, not by faith, 


but by want of faith. They have also a saying not 
unlike ours — 

" She partly is to blame who has been tried, 
He comes too near who comes to be denied." 

The evil of this system is that they, like certain 
Southerns, pensano sempre al male — always suspect, 
which may be worldly-wise, and also always show their 
suspicions, which is assuredly foolish. For thus they 
demoralise their women, who might be kept in the way 
of right by self-respect and a sense of duty. 

From ancient periods of the Arab's history we find 
him practising knight-errantry, the wildest form of 
chivalry. "The Songs of Antar," says the author of 
the "Crescent and the Cross," "show little of the true 
chivalric spirit." What thinks the reader of sentiments 
like these]* "This valiant man," remarks Antar, (who 
was "ever interested for the weaker sex,") "hath de- 
fended the honour of women." We read in another 
place, "Mercy, my lord, is the noblest quality of the 
noble." Again, "it is the most ignominious of deeds 
to take free-born women prisoners." "Bear not malice, 
O Shibub," quoth the hero, "for of malice good never 
came." Is there no true greatness in this sentiment? 
— "Birth is the boast of the faineant; noble is the youth 
who beareth every ill, who clotheth himself in mail 
during the noon-tide heat, and who wandereth through 
the outer darkness of night." And why does the 
"knight of knights" love Ibla? Because "she is 

* I am not ignorant that the greater part of "Antar" is of modern and dis- 
puted origin. Still it accurately expresses Arab sentiment. 


blooming as the sun at dawn, with hair black as the 
midnight shades, with Paradise in her eye, her bosom 
an enchantment, and a form waving like the tamarisk 
when the soft wind blows from the hills of Nejd!" 
Yes! but his chest expands also with the thoughts of 
her "faith, purity, and affection" — -it is her moral as 
well as her material excellence that makes her the 
hero's "hope, and hearing, and sight." Briefly, in 
Antar I discern 

"a love exalted high, 
By all the glow of chivalry ; " 

and I lament to see so many intelligent travellers mis- 
judging the Arab after a superficial experience of a 
few debased Syrians or Sinaites. The true children 
of Antar, my Lord Lindsay, have not "ceased to be 

In the days of ignorance, it was the custom for 
Bedawin, when tormented by the tender passion, which 
seems to have attacked them in the form of "posses- 
sion," to sigh and wail and wander for long years, 
doing the most truculent deeds to melt the obdurate 
fair. When Arabia Islamized, the practice changed 
its element for proselytism. The Fourth Caliph is 
fabled to have travelled far, redressing the injured, 
punishing the injurer, preaching to the infidel, and 
especially protecting women — the chief end and aim 
of knighthood. The Caliph El Mutasim heard in the 
assembly of his courtiers that a woman of Sayyid 
family had been taken prisoner by a "Greek barbarian" 
of Ammoria. The man on one occasion struck her: 


when she cried "Help me, O Mutasim!" and the 
clown said derisively, "Wait till he cometh upon his 
pied steed!" The chivalrous prince arose, sealed up 
the wine cup which he held in his hand, took oath to 
do his knightly devoir, and on the morrow started for 
Ammoria, with 70,000 men, each mounted on a pie- 
bald charger. Having taken the place, he entered it, 
exclaiming, "Labbayki, Labbayki!" — "Here am I at 
thy call!" He struck off the caitiff's head, released 
the lady with his own hands, ordered the cupbearer to 
bring the sealed bowl, and drank from it, exclaiming, 
"Now, indeed, wine is good!" 

To conclude this part of the subject with another 
far-famed instance. When El Mutanabbi, the poet, 
prophet, and warrior of Hums (a.h. 354) started to- 
gether with his son on their last journey, the father 
proposed to seek a place of safety for the night. "Art 
thou the Mutanabbi," exclaimed his slave, " who wrote 
these lines — 

" ' I am known to the night, to the wild, and the steed, 
To the guest, and the sword, to the paper and reed ? ' " * 

The poet, in reply, lay down to sleep on Tigris' 
bank, in a place haunted by thieves, and, disdaining 
flight, lost his life during the hours of darkness. 

It is the existence of this chivalry among the 
"Children of Antar" which makes the society of Be- 
dawin ("damned saints," perchance, and "honorable 

* I wish that the clever Orientalist who writes in the "Saturday Review" 
would not translate "Al Layl " hylenes sub node susurri : the Arab bard alluded 
to no such effeminacies. 


villains, ") so delightful to the traveller who, like the 
late Haji Wali (Dr. Wallin), understands and is under- 
stood by them. Nothing more naive than his lamen- 
tations at finding himself in the "loathsome company 
of Persians," or among Arab townspeople, whose 
"filthy and cowardly minds" he contrasts with the 
"high and chivalrous spirit of the true Sons of the 
Desert." Your guide will protect you with blade and 
spear, even against his kindred, and he expects you 
to do the same for him. You may give a man the 
lie, but you must lose no time in baring your sword. 
If involved in dispute with overwhelming numbers, 
you address some elder, "Dakhilak, ya Shaykh!" (I 
am) thy protected, O Sir, and he will espouse your 
quarrel with greater heat and energy, indeed, than if 
it were his own. But why multiply instances? 

The language of love and war and all excitement 
is poetry, and here, again, the Bedawi excels. Travellers 
complain that the wild men have ceased to sing. This 
is true if "poet" be limited to a few authors whose 
existence everywhere depends upon the accidents of 
patronage or political occurrences. A far stronger 
evidence of poetic feeling is afforded by the phrase- 
ology of the Arab, and the highly imaginative turn of 
his commonest expressions. Destitute of the poetic 
taste, as we define it, he certainly is: as in the Mile- 
sian, wit and fancy, vivacity and passion, are too strong 
for reason and judgment, the reins which guide Apollo's 
car. And although the Bedawin no longer boast a 
Lebid or a Maysunah, yet they are passionately fond 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 6 


of their ancient bards. A man skilful in reading El 
Mutanabbi and the Suspended Poems would be re- 
ceived by them with the honors paid by civilisation to 
the travelling millionnaire. And their elders have a 
goodly store of ancient and modern war songs, legends, 
and love ditties which all enjoy. 

I cannot well explain the effect of Arab poetry to 
one who has not visited the Desert. Apart from the 
pomp of words, and the music of the sound, there is 
a dreaminess of idea and a haze thrown over the ob- 
ject, infinitely attractive, but indescribable. Descrip- 
tion, indeed, would rob the song of indistinctness, its 
essence. To borrow a simile from a sister art: the 
Arab poet sets before the mental eye, the dim grand 
outlines of picture, which must be filled up by the 
reader, guided only by a few glorious touches, power- 
fully standing out, and the sentiment which the scene 
is intended to express; whereas, we Europeans and 
moderns, by stippling and minute touches, produce a 
miniature on a large scale so objective as to exhaust 
rather than to arouse reflection. As the poet is a 
creator, the Arab's is poetry, the European's versical 
description. The language, "like a faithful wife, fol- 
lowing the mind and giving birth to its offspring," and 
free from that "luggage of particles," which clogs our 
modern tongues, leaves a mysterious vagueness be- 
tween the relation of word to word, which materially 
assists the sentiment, not the sense, of the poem. 
When verbs and nouns have, each one, many different 
significations, only the radical or general idea suggests 


itself. Rich and varied synonyms, illustrating the finest 
shades of meaning, are artfully used; now scattered to 
startle us by distinctness, now to form as it were a 
star about which dimly seen satellites revolve. And, 
to cut short a disquisition which might be prolonged 
indefinitely, there is in the Semitic dialect a copious- 
ness of rhyme which leaves the poet almost unfettered 
to choose the desired expression. Hence it is that a 
stranger speaking Arabic becomes poetical as naturally 
as he would be witty in French and philosophic in 
German. Truly spake Mohammed el Damiri, "Wis- 
dom hath alighted upon three things — the brain of 
the Franks, the hands of the Chinese, and the tongues 
of the Arabs." 

The name of "Harami" — brigand — is still honor- 
able among the Hejazi Bedawin. Slain in raid or 
foray, a man is said to die "Ghandur," or a brave. 
He, on the other hand, who is lucky enough, as we 
should express it, to die in his bed, is called "Fatis" 
(carrion, the corps creve of the Klephts); his weeping 
mother will exclaim, "O that my son had perished of 
a cut throat!" and her attendant crones will suggest, 
with deference, that such evil came of the will of 
Allah. It is told of the Lahabah, a sept of the Auf 
near Rabigh, that a girl will refuse even her cousin 
unless, in the absence of other opportunities, he 
plunder some article from the Hajj Caravan in front 
of the Pasha's links. Detected twenty years ago, the 
delinquent would have been impaled; now he escapes 

with a rib-roasting. Fear of the blood-feud, and the 



certainty of a shut road to future travellers, prevent 
the Turks proceeding to extremes. They conceal their 
weakness by pretending that the Sultan hesitates to 
wage a war of extermination with the thieves of the 
Holy Land. 

It is easy to understand this respect for brigands. 
Whoso revolts against society requires an iron mind 
in an iron body, and these mankind instinctively ad- 
mires, however mis-directed be their energies. Thus, 
in all imaginative countries, the brigand is a hero; 
even the assassin who shoots his victim from behind 
a hedge appeals to the fancy in Tipperary or on- the 
Abruzzian hills. Romance invests his loneliness with 
grandeur; if he have a wife or a friend's wife, romance 
becomes doubly romantic, and a tithe of the super- 
fluity robbed from the rich and bestowed upon the 
poor will win to Gasparoni the hearts of a people. 
The true Bedawi style of plundering, with its numerous 
niceties of honor and gentlemanly manners, gives the 
robber a consciousness of moral rectitude. "Strip off 
that coat, O certain person! and that turban," exclaims 
the highwayman, "they are wanted by my lady- 
cousin." You will (of course, if necessary) lend ready 
ear to an order thus politely attributed to the require- 
ments of the fair sex. If you will add a few obliging 
expressions to the bundle, and offer Latro a cup of 
coffee and a pipe, you will talk half your toilette back 
to your own person; and if you can quote a little 
poetry, you will part the best of friends, leaving per- 
haps only a pair of sandals behind you. But should 


you hesitate, Latro, lamenting the painful necessity, 
touches up your back with the heel of his spear. If 
this hint suffice not, he will make things plain by the 
lance's point, and when blood shows, the tiger-part of 
humanity appears. Between Bedawin, to be tamely 
plundered, especially of the mare, is a lasting dis- 
grace; a man of family lays down his life rather than 
yield even to overpowering numbers. This despera- 
tion has raised the courage of the Bedawin to high 
repute amongst the settled Arabs, who talk of single 
braves capable, like the Homeric heroes, of overpower- 
ing three hundred men. 

I omit general details i about the often described 
Sar, or Vendetta. The price of blood is $ 800=200/., 
or rather that sum imperfectly expressed by live-stock. 
All the Khamsah or A'amam, blood relations of the 
slayer, assist to make up the required amount, rating 
each animal at three or four times its proper value. 
On such occasions violent scenes arise from the con- 
flict of the Arab's two pet passions, avarice and 
revenge. The "avenger of blood " longs to cut the 
foe's throat. On the other hand, how let slip an op- 
portunity of enriching himself? His covetousness is 
intense, as are all his passions. He has always a pro- 
ject of buying a new- dromedary, or of investing capital 
in some marvellous colt; the consequence is, that he 
is insatiable. Still he receives blood-money with a 
feeling of shame, and if it be offered to an old woman 
— the most revengeful variety of our species, be it re- 
marked — she will dash it to the ground, and clutch 


her knife, and fiercely swear by Allah that she will not 
"eat" her son's blood. 

The Bedawi considers himself a man only when 
mounted on horseback, lance in hand, bound for a 
foray or a fray, and carolling some such gaiety as — 

"A steede ! a steede of matchlesse speede ! 
A sword of metal keene ! 
All else to noble minds is drosse, 
All else on earth is meane." 

Even in his pastimes he affects those that imitate 
war. Preserving the instinctive qualities which lie dor- 
mant in civilisation, he is an admirable sportsman. The 
children, men in miniature, begin with a rude system 
of gymnastics when they can walk. "My young ones 
play upon the backs of camels," was the reply made 
to me by a Jahayni Bedawi when offered some Egyp- 
tian plaything. The men pass their time principally 
in hawking, shooting, and riding. The "Sakr," I am 
told, is the only falcon in general use; they train it to 
pursue the gazelle, which greyhounds pull down when 
fatigued. I have heard much of their excellent marks- 
manship, but saw only moderate practice with a long 
matchlock rested and fired at standing objects. Double- 
barrelled guns are rare amongst them. Their principal 
weapons are matchlocks and firelocks, pistols, javelins, 
spears, swords, and the dagger called "Jambiyah;" the 
sling and the bow have long been given up. The 
guns come from Egypt, Syria, and Turkey; for the 
Bedawi cannot make, although he can repair, this 
arm. He particularly values a good old barrel seven 


spans long, and would rather keep it than his coat; 
consequently, a family often boasts of four or five 
guns, which descend from generation to generation. 
Their price varies from two to sixty dollars. The Be- 
dawin collect nitre in the country, make excellent 
charcoal, and import sulphur from Egypt and India; 
their powder, however, is coarse and weak. For hares 
and birds they cut up into slugs a bar of lead ham- 
mered out to a convenient size, and they cast bullets 
in moulds. They are fond of ball-practice, firing, as 
every sensible man does, at short distances, and striv- 
ing at extreme precision. They are ever backing 
themselves with wagers, and will shoot for a sheep, the 
loser inviting his friends to a feast: on festivals they 
boil the head, and use it as mark and prize. Those 
who affect excellence are said to fire at a bullet hang- 
ing by a thread; curious, however, to relate, the Be- 
dawin of El Hejaz have but just learned the art, 
general in Persia and Barbary, of shooting from horse- 
back at speed. 

Pistols have been lately introduced into the Hejaz, 
and are not common amongst the Bedawin. The 
citizens incline to this weapon, as it is derived from 
Constantinople. In the Desert a tolerable pair with 
flint locks may be worth thirty dollars, ten times their 
price in England. 

The spears, called Kanat, or reeds, are made of 
male bamboos imported from India. They are at least 
twelve feet long, iron-shod, with a tapering point, 
beneath which hang one or two tufts of black ostrich 


feathers. Besides the Mirzak, or javelin, they have a 
spear called "Shalfah," a bamboo or a palm stick 
garnished with a head about the breadth of a man's 

No good swords are fabricated in El Hejaz. The 
Khelawiyah and other Desert clans have made some 
poor attempts at blades. They are brought from Persia, 
India, and Egypt; but I never saw anything of value. 

The Darakah, or shield, also comes from India. It 
is the common Cutch article, supposed to be made of 
rhinoceros hide, and displaying as much brass knob 
and gold wash as possible. The Bedawin still use in 
the remoter parts Dira'a, or coats of mail, worn by 
horsemen over buff jackets. 

The dagger is made in Yemen and other places: 
it has a vast variety of shapes, each of which, as usual, 
has its proper name. Generally they are but little 
curved — whereas the Gadaymi of Yemen and Hazra- 
maut is almost a semicircle — with tapering blade, 
wooden handle, and scabbard of the same material 
overlaid with brass. At the point of the scabbard is 
a round knob, and the weapon is so long, that a man 
when walking cannot swing his right arm. In narrow 
places he must enter sideways; but it is the mode 
always to appear in dagger, and the weapon, like the 
French soldier's coupe-choux, is really useful for such 
bloodless purposes as cutting wood and gathering grass. 
In price they vary from one to thirty dollars. 

The Bedawin boast greatly of swordmanship; but it 
is apparently confined to delivering a tremendous slash, 


and to jumping away from a return-cut instead of 
parrying either with sword or shield. The citizens 
have learned the Turkish scimitar play, which, in 
grotesqueness and general absurdity, rivals the East- 
Indian school. None of these Orientals know the use 
of the point which characterises the highest school of 

The Hejazi Bedawin have no game of chance, and 
dare not, I am told, ferment the juice of the Daum 
palm, as proximity to Aden has taught the wild men 
of Yemen. Their music is in a rude state. The prin- 
cipal instrument is the Tabl, or kettle-drum, which is 
of two kinds; one, the smaller, used at festivals; the 
other, a large copper "tom-tom," for martial purposes, 
covered with leather, and played upon, pulpit-like, 
with fist and not with stick. Besides which, they have 
the one-stringed Rubabah, or guitar, that "monotonous 
but charming instrument of the Desert." In another 
place I have described their dancing, which is an 
ignoble spectacle. 

The Bedawin of El Hejaz have all the knowledge 
necessary for procuring and protecting the riches of 
savage life. They are perfect in the breeding, the 
training, and the selling of cattle. They know suf- 
ficient of astronomy to guide themselves by night, and 
are acquainted with the names of the principal stars. 
Their local memory is wonderful. And such is their 
instinct in the art of Asar, or tracking, that it is popu- 
larly said of the Zubayd clan, which lives between 
Meccah and El Medinah, a man will lose a she camel 



and know her four-year-old colt by its foot. Always 
engaged in rough exercises and perilous journeys, 
they have learned a kind of farriery and a simple 
system of surgery. In cases of fracture they bind on 
splints with cloth bands, and the patient drinks camel's 
milk and clarified butter till he is cured. Cuts are 
washed carefully, sprinkled with meal gunpowder, and 
sewn up. They dress gunshot wounds with raw camel's 
flesh, and rely entirely upon nature and diet. When 
bitten by snakes or stung by scorpions, they scarify 
the place with a razor, recite a charm, and apply to 
it a dressing of garlic. The wealthy have "Fiss," or 
ring-stones, brought from India, and used with a 
formula of prayer to extract venom. Some few possess 
the "Teriyak" (Theriack) of El Irak; the great counter- 
poison, internal as well as external, of the East. The 
poorer classes all wear the Za'al or "Hibas" of Yemen; 
two yarns of black sheep's wool tied round the leg, 
under the knee and above the ankle. When bitten, 
the sufferer tightens these cords above the injured part, 
which he immediately scarifies; thus they act as tourni- 
quets. These ligatures also cure cramps — and there 
is no other remedy. 

The Bedawi's knowledge of medicine is unusually 
limited in this part of Arabia, where even simples are 
not required by a people who rise with dawn, eat 
little, always breathe desert air, and "at night make 
the camels their curfew." The great tonic is clarified 
butter, and the "kay," or actual cautery, is used even 
for rheumatism. This counter-irritant, together with a 


curious and artful phlebotomy, blood being taken, as 
by the Italians, from the toes, the fingers, and other 
parts of the body, are the Arab panaceas. They treat 
scald-head with grease and sulphur. Ulcers, which 
here abound, without, however, assuming the fearful 
type of the "Helcoma Yemenense," are cauterised and 
stimulated by verdigris. The evil of which Fracastorius 
sang is combated by sudorifics, by unguents of oil and 
sulphur, and especially by the sand-bath. The patient, 
buried up to the neck, remains in the sun fasting all 
day; in the evening he is allowed a little food. This 
rude course of "packing" lasts for about a month. It 
suits some constitutions; but others, especially Euro- 
peans, have tried the sand-bath and died of fever. 
Mules' teeth, roasted and imperfectly pounded, remove 
cataract. Teeth are extracted by the farrier's pincers, 
and the worm which throughout the East is supposed 
to produce toothache, falls by fumigation. And, finally, 
after great fatigue, or when suffering from cold, the 
body is copiously greased with clarified butter and ex- 
posed to a blazing fire. 

Mohammed and his followers conquered only the 
more civilised Bedawin; and there is even to this day 
little or no religion amongst the wild people, except 
those on the coast or in the vicinity of cities. The 
faith of the Bedawi comes from El Islam, whose hold 
is weak. But his customs and institutions, the growth 
of his climate, his nature, and his wants, are still those 
of his ancestors, cherished ere Meccah had sent forth 
a Prophet, and likely to survive the day when every 


vestige of the Ka'abah shall have disappeared. Of this 
nature are the Hejazi's pagan oaths, his heathenish 
names (few being Moslem except "Mohammed") his 
ordeal of licking red-hot iron, his Salkh, or scarifica- 
tion — proof of manliness — his blood revenge, and his 
eating carrion (i e. the body of an animal killed 
without the usual formula). All these I hold to be 
remnants of some old creed; nor should I despair of 
finding among the Bedawin bordering upon the Great 
Desert some lingering system of idolatry. 

The Bedawin of El Hejaz call themselves Shaf'ei; 
but what is put into the mouths of their brethren in 
the West applies equally well here. "We pray not, 
because we must drink the water of ablution; we give 
no alms, because we ask them; we fast not the Ra- 
mazan month, because we starve throughout the year; 
and we do no pilgrimage because the world is the 
House of Allah." Their blunders in religious matters 
supply the citizens with many droll stories. And it is 
to be observed that they do not, like the Greek pirates 
or the Italian bandits, preserve a religious element in 
their plunderings; they make no vows and they care- 
fully avoid offerings. 

The ceremonies of Bedawi life are few and simple 
— circumcisions, marriages, and funerals. Of the former 
rite there are two forms, "Taharah," as usual in El 
Islam, and "Salkh," an Arab invention, derived from 
the times of Paganism. During Wahhabi rule it was 
forbidden under pain of death, but now the people 
have returned to it. The usual age for Taharah is 


between five and six; among some classes, however, 
it is performed ten years later. On such occasions 
feastings and merry-makings take place as at our 

Women being a marketable commodity in bar- 
barism as in civilisation, the youth in El Hejaz is not 
married till his father can afford to pay for a bride. 
There is little pomp or ceremony save firing of guns, 
dancing, singing, and eating mutton. The "settlement" 
is usually about thirty sound Spanish dollars, half paid 
down, and the other half owed by the bridegroom to 
the father, the brothers, or the kindred of his spouse. 
Some tribes will take animals in lieu of ready money. 
A man of wrath not contented with his bride, puts 
her away at once. If peaceably inclined, by a short 
delay he avoids scandal. Divorces are very frequent 
among Bedawin, and if the settlement money be duly 
paid, no evil comes of them. 

The funerals of the wild men resemble those of 
the citizens, only they are more simple, the dead being 
buried where they die. The corpse, after ablution, is 
shrouded in any rags procurable, and, women and 
hired weepers not being permitted to attend, it is 
carried to the grave by men only. A hole is dug, ac- 
cording to Moslem custom; dry wood, which every- 
where abounds, is disposed to cover the corpse, and 
an oval of stones surrounding a mound of earth keeps 
out jackals and denotes the spot. These Bedawin have 
not, like the wild Sindis and Belochis, favorite ceme- 
teries, to which they transport their dead from afar. 


The traveller will find no difficulty in living amongst 
the Hejazi Bedawin. "Trust to their honour and you 
are safe," as was said of the Crow Indians; "to their 
honesty, and they will steal the hair off your head." 
Only, the wanderer must adopt the wild man's motto, 
"omnia mea mecum porto," he must have good nerves, 
be capable of fatigue and hardship, possess some 
knowledge of drugs, shoot and ride well, speak Arabic 
and Turkish, know by reading the customs, and avoid 
offending against local prejudices, by causing himself, 
for instance, to be called "Tagga'a." The payment of 
a small sum secures to him a "Rafik," and this "friend," 
after once engaging in the task, will be faithful. "We 
have eaten salt together" (Nahnu Malihin) is still a 
bond of friendship: there are, however, some tribes 
who require to renew the bond every twenty-four 
hours, as otherwise, to use their own phrase, "the salt 
is not in their stomachs." Caution must be exercised 
in choosing a companion who has not too many blood 
feuds. There is no objection to carrying a copper 
watch and a pocket compass, and a Koran could be 
fitted with secret pockets for notes and pencil. Strangers 
should especially avoid handsome weapons; these tempt 
the Bedawi's cupidity more than gold. The other 
extreme, defencelessness, is equally objectionable. It 
is needless to say that the traveller must never be seen 
writing anything but charms, and on no account sketch 
in public. He should be careful in questioning, and 
rather lead up to information than ask directly. It 
offends some Bedawin, besides denoting ignorance and 


curiosity, to be asked their names or those of their 
clans: a man may be living incognito, and the tribes 
distinguish themselves when they desire to do so by 
dress, personal appearance, voice, dialect, and accen- 
tuation, points of difference plain to the initiated. A 
few dollars suffice for the road, and if you would be 
"respectable," a taste which I will not deprecate, some 
such presents as razors and Tarbushes are required 
for the chiefs. 

The government of the Arabs may be called almost 
an autonomy. The tribes never obey their Shaykhs, 
unless for personal considerations, and, as in a civilised 
army, there generally is some sharp-witted and brazen- 
faced individual whose voice is louder than the general's. 
In their leonine society the sword is the great ad- 
ministrator of law. 

Relations between the Bedawi tribes of El Hejaz 
are of a threefold character: they are either "Ashab," 
"Kiman," or "Akhwan." 

"Ashab," or "comrades," are those who are bound 
by oath to an alliance offensive and defensive: they 
intermarry, and are therefore closely connected. 

"Kiman," or foes, are tribes between whom a 
blood feud, the cause and the effect of deadly enmity, 

"Akhawat," or "brotherhood," denotes the tie be- 
tween the stranger and the Bedawi, who asserts an 
immemorial and inalienable right to the soil upon 
which his forefathers fed their flocks. Trespass by a 
neighbour instantly causes war. Territorial increase 


is rarely attempted, for if of a whole clan but a single 
boy escape he will one day assert his claim to the 
land, and be assisted by all the Ashab, or allies of the 
slain. By paying to man, woman, or child a small 
sum, varying, according to your means, from a few 
pence worth of trinkets to a couple of dollars, you 
share bread and salt with the tribe, you and your 
horse become "Dakhil" (protected), and every one 
must afford you brother-help. If traveller or trader 
attempt to pass through the land without defraying El 
Akhawah or El Rifkah, as it is termed, he must expect 
to be plundered, and, resisting, to be slain: it is no 
dishonor to give it, and he clearly is in the wrong who 
refuses to conform to custom. The "Rafik," under 
different names, exists throughout this part of the 
world; at Sinai he was called a "Ghafir," a "Rabi'a" 
in Eastern Arabia, amongst the Somal an "Abban," 
and by the Gallas a "Mogasa." I have called the tax 
"black mail;" it deserves a better name, being clearly 
the rudest form of those transit dues and octrois which 
are in nowise improved by "progress." The Ahl Bayt, 
or dwellers in the Black Tents, levy the tax from the 
Ahl Hayt, or the People of Walls; that is to say, 
townsmen and villagers who have forfeited right to be 
held Bedawin. It is demanded from bastard Arabs 
and from tribes who, like the Hutaym and the 
Khelawiyah, have been born basely or have become 
"nidering." And these people are obliged to pay it 
at home as well as abroad. Then it becomes a 
sign of disgrace, and the pure clans, like the Benu- 


Harb, will not give their damsels in marriage to 

Besides this Akhawat-tax and the pensions by the 
Porte to chiefs of clans, the wealth of the Bedawi 
consists in his flocks and herds, his mare, and his 
weapons. Some clans are rich in horses; others are 
celebrated for camels; and not a few for sheep, asses, 
or greyhounds. The Ahamidah tribe, as has been 
mentioned, possesses few animals; it subsists by plunder 
and by presents from pilgrims. The principal wants 
of the country are sulphur, lead, cloths of all kinds, 
sugar, spices, coffee, corn, and rice. Arms are valued 
by the men, and it is advisable to carry a stock of 
Birmingham jewellery for the purpose of conciliating 
womankind. In exchange the Bedawin give sheep, 
cattle, clarified butter, milk, wool, and hides, which 
they use for water-bags, as the Egyptians and other 
Easterns do potteries. But as there is now a fair 
store of dollars in the country, it is rarely necessary 
to barter. 

The Arab's dress marks his simplicity; it gives him 
a nationality, as, according to John Evelyn, "prodigious 
breeches" did to the Swiss. It is remarkably pictu- 
resque, and with sorrow we see it now confined to the 
wildest Bedawin and a few Sherifs. To the practised 
eye, a Hejazi in Tarbush and Caftan is ridiculous as 
a Basque or a Catalonian girl in a cachemire and a 
little chip. The necessary dress of a man is his Saub 
(Tobe), a blue calico shirt, reaching from neck to 
ankles, tight or loose-sleeved, opening at the chest in 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 7 


front, and rather narrow below; so that the wearer, 
when running, must either hold it up or tuck it into 
his belt. The latter article, called Hakw, is a plaited 
leathern thong, twisted round the waist very tightly, 
so as to support the back. The trowsers and the 
"Futah," or loin-cloth of cities, are looked upon as 
signs of effeminacy. In cold weather the chiefs wear 
over the shirt an Aba, or cloak. These garments are 
made in Nejd and the eastern districts; they are of 
four colors, white, black, red, and brown-striped. The 
best are of camel's hair, and may cost fifteen dollars; 
the worst, of sheep's wool, are worth only three; both 
are cheap, as they last for years. The Mahramah 
(head-cloth) comes from Syria; which, with Nejd, sup- 
plies also the Kuflyah, or headkerchief. The "Ukal," 
fillets bound over the kerchief, are of many kinds; 
the Bishr tribe near Meccah make a kind of crown 
like the gloria round a saint's head, with bits of wood, 
in which are set pieces of mother-o'-pearl. Sandals, 
too, arc of every description, from the simple sole of 
leather tied on with thongs, to the handsome and 
elaborate chaussure of Meccah; the price varies from 
a piaster to a dollar, and the vexy poor walk bare- 
footed. A leathern bandoleer, called Majdal, passed 
over the left shoulder, and, reaching to the right hip, 
supports a line of brass cylinders for cartridges. The 
other cross-belt (El Masdar), made of leather orna- 
mented with brass rings, hangs down at the left side, 
and carries a Kharizah, or hide-case for bullets. And 
finally, the Hizam, or waist-belt, holds the dagger and 


extra cartridge cases. A Bedawi never appears in 
public unarmed. 

Women wear, like their masters, dark blue cotton 
Tobes, but larger and looser. When abroad they cover 
the head with a Yashmak of black stuff, or a poppy- 
colored Burka'a of the Egyptian shape. They wear no 
pantaloons, and they rarely affect slippers or sandals. 
The hair is twisted into "Majdul," little pig-tails, and 
copiously anointed with clarified butter. The rich per- 
fume the skin with rose and cinnamon-scented oils, 
and adorn the hair with El Shayh, sweetest herb of 
the desert; their ornaments are bracelets, collars, ear 
and nose-rings of gold, silver, or silver-gilt. The 
poorer classes have strings of silver coins hung round 
the neck. 

The true Bedawi is an abstemious man, capable of 

living for six months on ten ounces of food per diem; 

the milk of a single camel, and a handful of dates, dry 

or fried in clarified butter, suffice for his wants. He 

despises the obese and all who require regular and 

plentiful meals, sleeps on a mat, and knows neither 

luxury nor comfort, freezing during one quarter and 

frying three quarters of the year. But though he can 

endure hunger, like all savages, he will gorge when 

an opportunity offers. I never saw the man who could 

refrain from water upon the line of march, and in this 

point they contrast disadvantageously with the hardy 

Wahhabis of the East, and the rugged mountaineers 

of Jebel Shammar. They are still "acridophagi," and 

even the citizens far prefer a dish of locusts to the 



"Fasikh," which act as anchovies, sardines, and herrings 
in Egypt. They light a fire at night, and as the in- 
sects fall dead they quote this couplet to justify their 
being eaten — 

"We are allowed two carrions and two bloods, 
The fish and locust, the liver and the spleen." * 

Where they have no crops to lose, the people are 
thankful for a fall of locusts. In El Hejaz the flights 
are uncertain; during the last five years El Medinah 
has seen but few. They are prepared for eating by 
boiling in salt water and drying four or five days in 
the sun: a "wet" locust to an Arab is as a snail to a 
Briton. The head is plucked off, the stomach drawn, 
the wings and the prickly part of the legs are plucked, 
and the insect is ready for the table. Locusts are 
never eaten with sweet things, which would be nauseous: 
the dish is always "hot," with salt and pepper, or 
onions fried in clarified butter, when it tastes nearly as 
well as a plate of stale shrimps. 

The favorite food on the line of march is meat cut 
into strips and sun-dried. This, with a bag of milk- 
balls and a little coffee, must suffice for journey or 
campaign. The Bedawin know neither fermented nor 
distilled liquors, although "Ikhs ya '1 Khammar!" Fie 
upon thee, drunkard! is a popular phrase, preserving 
the memory of another state of things. Some clans, 
though not all, smoke tobacco. It is generally the growth 

* The liver and the spleen are both supposed to be "congealed blood." 
Niebuhr has exhausted the names and the description of the locust. In El 
Hejaz they have many local and fantastic terms : the smallest kind, for instance, 
is called " Jarad Iblis," Satan's locust. 


of the country called Hejazi or Kazimiyah; a green weed, 
very strong, with a foul smell, and costing about one 
piastre per pound. The Bedawin do not relish Persian 
tobacco, and cannot procure Latakia: it is probably the 
pungency of the native growth offending the delicate 
organs of the Desert-men, that caused nicotiana to be 
proscribed by the Wahhabis, who revived against its 
origin a senseless and obsolete calumny. 

The almost absolute independence of the Arabs, 
and of that noble race the North American Indians of 
a former generation, has produced a similarity between 
them worthy of note, because it may warn the anthro- 
pologist not always to detect in coincidence of custom 
identity of origin. Both have the same wild chivalry, 
the same fiery sense of honor, and the same boundless 
hospitality: elopements from tribe to tribe, the blood 
feud, and the Vendetta are common to the two. Both 
are grave and cautious in demeanour, and formal in 
manner — princes in rags or paint. The Arabs plunder 
pilgrims, the Indians, bands of trappers; both glory 
in forays, raids, and cattle-lifting; and both rob 
according to certain rules. Both are alternately brave 
to desperation, and shy of danger. Both are remark- 
able for nervous and powerful eloquence, dry humour, 
satire, whimsical tales, frequent tropes, boasts, and 
ruffling style, pithy proverbs, extempore songs, and 
languages wondrous in their complexity. Both, re- 
cognising no other occupation but war and the chase, 
despise artifices and the effeminate people of cities, as 
the game-cock spurns the vulgar roosters of the poultry- 


yard. The chivalry of the western wolds, like that of 
the eastern wilds, salutes the visitor by a charge of 
cavalry, by discharging guns, and by wheeling around 
him with shouts and yells. The "brave" stamps a red 
hand upon his mouth to show that he has drunk the 
blood of a foe. Of the Utaybah "*Harami" it is 
similarly related, that after mortal combat he tastes the 
dead man's gore. 

Of these two chivalrous races of barbarians, the 
Bedawi claims our preference on account of his treat- 
ment of women, his superior development of intellect, 
and the glorious page of history which he has filled. 



From el Suwayrkiyah to Meccah. 

We have now left the territory of El Medinah. El 
Suwayrkiyah, which belongs to the Sherif of Meccah, 
is about twenty-eight miles distant from Hijriyah, and 
by dead reckoning ninety-nine miles along the road 
from the Prophet's burial-place. Its bearing from the 
last station was S.W. ii°. The town, consisting of 
about 100 houses, is built at the base and on the 
sides of a basaltic mass, which rises abruptly from the 
hard clayey plain. The summit is converted into a 
rude fortalice — without one no settlement can exist 
in El Hejaz — by a bulwark of uncut stone, piled up 
so as to make a parapet. The lower part of the town 
is protected by a mud wall, with the usual semicircular 
towers. Inside there is a bazar, well supplied with 
meat (principally mutton) by the neighbouring Be- 
dawin, and wheat, barley, and dates are grown near 
the town. There is little to describe in the narrow 
streets and the mud houses, which are essentially 
Arab. The fields around are divided into little square 
plots by earthen ridges and stone walls; some of the 
palms are fine grown trees, and the wells appear 
numerous. The water is near the surface and plenti- 
ful, but it has a brackish taste, highly disagreeable 



after a few days' use, and the effects are the reverse 
of chalybeate. 

The town belongs to the Bemi Husayn, a race of 
schismatics mentioned in the foregoing pages. They 
claim the allegiance of the Bedawi tribes around, prin- 
cipally Mutayr, and I was informed that their fealty to 
the Prince of Meccah is merely nominal. 

The morning after our arrival at El Suwayrkiyah 
witnessed a commotion in our little party: hitherto 
they had kept together in fear of the road. Among 
the number was one Ali bin Ya Sin, a perfect "old 
man of the sea." By profession he was a "Zem Zemi," 
or dispenser of water from the Holy Well, and he had 
a handsome "palazzo" at the foot of Abu Kubays in 
Meccah, which he periodically converted into a board- 
ing house. Though past sixty, very decrepit, bent by 
age, white-bearded, and toothless, he still acted cicerone 
to pilgrims, and for that purpose travelled once every 
year to El Medinah. These trips had given him the 
cunning of a veteran voyager. He lived well and 
cheaply; his home-made Shugduf, the model of com- 
fort, was garnished with soft cushions and pillows, 
whilst from the pockets protruded select bottles of 
pickled limes and similar luxuries; he had his travelling 
Shishah (water-pipe), and at the halting-place, dis- 
daining the crowded, reeking tent, he had a contrivance 
for converting his vehicle into a habitation. He was 
a type of the Arab old man. He mumbled all day 
and three-quarters of the night, for he had des in- 
somnies. His nerves were so fine, that if any one 


mounted his Shugduf, the unfortunate was condemned 
to lie like a statue. Fidgetty and priggishly neat, no- 
thing annoyed him so much as a moment's de»lay or 
an article out of place, a rag removed from his water- 
guggle t, or a cooking pot imperfectly free from soot; 
and I judged his avarice by observing that he made a 
point of picking up and eating the grains scattered 
from our pomegranates, exclaiming that the heavenly 
seed (located there by Arab superstition) might be one 
of those so wantonly wasted. 

Ali bin Ya Sin, returning to his native city, had 
not been happy in his choice of a companion this 
time. The other occupant of the handsome Shugduf 
was an ignoble-faced Egyptian from El Medinah. This 
ill-suited pair clave together for awhile, but at. El 
Suwayrkiyah some dispute about a copper coin made 
them permanent foes. With threats and abuse such 
as none but an Egyptian could tamely hear, Ali 
kicked his quondam friend out of the vehicle. But 
terrified, after reflection by the possibility that the man 
now his enemy might combine with two or three 
Syrians of our party to do him a harm, and frightened 
by a few black looks, the senior determined to fortify 
himself by a friend. Connected with the boy Moham- 
med's family, he easily obtained an introduction to 
me; he kissed my hand with great servility, declared 
that his servant had behaved disgracefully, and begged 
my protection, together with an occasional attendance 
of my "slave." 

This was readily granted in pity for the old man, 


who became immensely grateful. He offered at once 
to take Shaykh Nur into his Shugduf. The Indian 
boy had already reduced to ruins the frail structure 
of his Shibriyah, by lying upon it lengthways, whereas 
prudent travellers sit in it cross-legged and facing the 
camel. Moreover, he had been laughed to scorn by 
the Bedawin, who seeing him draw up his dromedary 
to mount and dismount, had questioned his sex, and 
determined him to be a woman of the "Miyan."* I 
could not rebuke them; the poor fellow's timidity was 
a ridiculous contrast to the Bedawin's style of mount- 
ing; a pull at the camel's head, the left foot placed 
on the neck, an agile spring, and a scramble into the 
saddle. Shaykh Nur, elated by the sight of old AH's 
luxuries, promised himself some joyous hours; but 
next morning he owned with a sigh that he had pur- 
chased splendor at the extravagant price of happiness 
— the senior's tongue never rested throughout the live- 
long night. 

During our half-halt at El Sawayrkiyah we deter- 
mined to have a small feast; we bought some fresh 
dates, and we paid a dollar and a half for a sheep. 
Hungry travellers consider "liver and fry," a dish to 
set before a Shaykh. On this occasion, however, our 
enjoyment was marred by the water; even Soyer's 
dinners would scarcely charm if washed down with 
cups of a certain mineral-spring found at Epsom. 

We started at 10 a.m. (Monday, Sept. 5) in a south- 

* The Hindostanee "sir:" Bedawin address it slightingly to Indians, 


easterly direction, and travelled over a flat, thinly 
dotted with desert vegetation. At 1 p.m. we passed a 
basaltic ridge, and then, entering a long depressed 
line of country, a kind of valley, paced down it five 
tedious hours. The Simum as usual was blowing 
hard, and it seemed to affect the travellers' tempers. 
In one place I saw a Turk, who. could not speak a 
word of Arabic, violently disputing with an Arab who 
could not understand a word of Turkish. The pilgrim 
insisted upon adding to the camel's load a few dry 
sticks, such as are picked up for cooking. The camel- 
man as perseveringly threw off the extra burthen. 
They screamed with rage, hustled each other, and at 
last the Turk dealt the Arab a heavy blow. I after- 
wards heard that the pilgrim was mortally wounded 
that night, his stomach being ripped open with a 
dagger. On inquiring what had become of him, I 
was assured that he had been comfortably wrapped 
up in his shroud and placed in a half-dug grave. 
This is the general practice in the case of the poor 
and solitary, whom illness or accident incapacitates 
from proceeding. It is impossible to contemplate 
such a fate without horror: the torturing thirst of a 
wound, the burning sun heating the brain to madness, 
and — worst of all, for they do not wait till death — the 
attacks of the jackal, the vulture, and the raven of 
the wild. 

At 6 p.m., before the light of day had faded, we 
traversed a rough and troublesome ridge. Descending 
it, our course lay in a southerly direction along a road 


flanked on the left by low hills of red sandstone and 
bright porphyry. About an hour afterwards we came 
to a basalt field, through whose blocks we threaded 
our way painfully and slowly, for it was then dark. 
At 8 p.m. the camels began to stumble over the dwarf 
dykes of the wheat and barley fields, and presently we 
arrived at our halting-place, a large village called El 
Sufayna. The plain was already (lotted with tents 
and lights. We found the Baghdad Caravan, whose 
route here falls into the Darb el Sharki. It consists 
of a few Persians and Kurds, and collects the people 
of north-eastern Arabia, Wahhabis and others. They 
are escorted by the Agayl tribe and the fierce moun- 
taineers of Jebel Shammar. Scarcely was our tent 
pitched when the distant pattering of musketry and 
an ominous tapping of the kettle-drum sent all my 
companions in different directions to inquire what was 
the cause of quarrel. The Baghdad Cafila, though 
not more than 2000 in number, men, women, and 
children, had been proving to the Damascus Caravan, 
that, being perfectly ready to fight, they were not 
going to yield any point of precedence. From that 
time the two bodies encamped in different places. I 
never saw a more pugnacious assembly: a look sufficed 
for a quarrel. Once a Wahhabi stood in front of us, 
and by pointing with his finger, and other insulting 
gestures, showed his hatred to the chibouque, in which 
I was peaceably indulging. It was impossible to re- 
frain from chastising his insolence by a polite and 
smiling offer of the offending pipe. This made him 


draw his dagger without a thought; but it was sheathed 
again, for we all cocked our pistols, and these gentry 
prefer steel to lead. We had travelled about seventeen 
miles, and the direction of El Sufayna from our last 
halting-place was S.E. 5 . Though it was night when 
we encamped, Shaykh Mas'ud set out to water his 
moaning camels: they had not quenched their thirst 
for three days. He returned in a depressed state? 
having been bled by the soldiery at the well to the 
extent of forty piastres, or about eight shillings. 

After supper we spread our rugs and prepared to 
rest. And here I first remarked the coolness of the 
nights, proving, at this season of the year, a consider- 
able altitude above the sea. As a general rule the 
atmosphere stagnated between sunrise and 10 a.m., 
when a light wind rose. During the forenoon the 
breeze strengthened, and it gradually diminished through 
the afternoon. Often about sunset there was a gale 
accompanied by dry storms of dust. At El Sufayna, 
though there was no night-breeze and little dew, a 
blanket was necessary, and the hours of darkness were 
invigorating enough to mitigate the effect of the sand 
and Simum-ridden day. 

Before sleeping I was introduced to a namesake, 
one Shaykh Abdullah of Meccah. Having committed 
his Shugduf to his son, a lad of fourteen, he had 
ridden forward on a dromedary, and had suddenly 
fallen ill. His objects in meeting me were to ask for 
some medicine, and a temporary seat in my Shugduf; 
the latter I offered with pleasure, as the boy Mohammed 


was longing to mount a camel. The Shaykh's illness 
was nothing but weakness brought on by the hard- 
ships of the journey: he attributed it to the hot wind, 
and to the weight of a bag of dollars, which he had 
attached to his waist belt. He was a man about forty, 
long, thin, pale, and of a purely nervous temperament: 
and a few questions elicited the fact, that he had lately 
and suddenly given up his daily opium pill. I pre- 
pared one for him, placed him in my litter, and per- 
suaded him to stow away his burden in some place 
where it would be less troublesome. He was my com- 
panion for two marches, at the end of which he found 
his own Shugduf. I never met amongst the Arab 
citizens a better bred or better informed man. At 
Constantinople he had learned a little French, Italian, 
and Greek; and from the properties of a shrub to the 
varieties of honey, he was full of "useful knowledge," 
and openable as a dictionary. We parted near Meccah, 
where I saw him only once, and then accidentally, in 
the Valley of Muna. 

At half-past 5 a.m., on Tuesday the 6th of Sep- 
tember, we arose refreshed by the cool, comfortable 
night, and loaded the camels. I had an opportunity 
of inspecting El Sufayna. It is a village of fifty or 
sixty mud-walled, flat-roofed houses, defended by the 
usual rampart. Around it lie ample date-grounds, 
and fields of wheat, barley, and maize. Its bazar at 
this season of the year is well supplied: even fowls 
can be procured. 

We travelled towards the south-east, and entered 


a country destitute of the low ranges of hill which 
from El Medinah southwards had bounded the horizon. 
After two miles' march, our camels climbed up a pre- 
cipitous ridge, and then descended into a broad gravel 
plain. From 10 to n a.m. our course lay southerly 
over a high table-land, and we afterwards traversed 
for five hours and a half a plain which bore signs of 
standing water. 

This day's march was peculiarly Arabia. It was a 
desert peopled only with echoes — a place of death for 
what little there is to die in it — a wilderness where, 
to use my companion's phrase, there is nothing but 
He.* Nature, scalped, flayed, discovered *all her 
skeleton to the gazer's eye. The horizon was a sea 
of mirage; gigantic sand-columns whirled over the 
plain; and on both sides of our road were huge piles 
of bare rock, standing detached upon the surface of 
sand and clay. Here they appeared in oval lumps, 
heaped up with a semblance of symmetry; there a 
single boulder stood, with its narrow foundation based 
upon a pedestal of low, dome-shaped rock. All were 
of a pink coarse-grained granite, which flakes off in 
large crusts under the influence of the atmosphere. I 
remarked one block which could not measure less than 
thirty feet in height. 

Through these scenes we travelled till about half- 
past 4 p.m., when the guns suddenly roared a halt. 
There was not a trace of human habitation around us ; 

* << 

La siwa Hu," /. e* where there is none but Allah, 


a few parched shrubs and the granite heaps were the 
only objects diversifying the hard clayey plain. Shaykh 
Mas'ud correctly guessed the cause of our detention at 
the inhospitable "halting-place of the Mutayr." "Cook 
your bread and boil your coffee," said the old man; 
"the camels will rest for awhile and the gun will sound 
at nightfall." 

We had passed over about eighteen miles of 
ground; and our present direction was S.W. 20 of 
El Sufayna. 

At half-past ten that evening we heard the signal 
for departure, and, as the moon was still young, we 
prepare^ for a hard night's work. We took a south- 
westerly course, through what is called a Wa'ar — stony 
ground covered with scrub. Darkness fell upon us 
like a pall. The camels tripped and stumbled, tossing 
their litters like cock-boats in a short sea; at times the 
Shugdufs were well nigh torn off their backs. When 
we came to a ridge worse than usual, old Mas'ud would 
seize my camel's halter, and, accompanied by his son 
and nephew bearing lights, encourage the animals with 
gesture and voice. 

It was a strange, wild scene. The black basaltic 
field was dotted with the huge and doubtful forms of 
spongy-footed camels, with silent tread, looming like 
phantoms in the midnight air; the hot wind moaned, 
and whirled from the torches flakes and sheets of 
flame and fiery smoke; whilst ever and anon a swift- 
travelling Takht-rawan, drawn by mules, and surrounded 
by runners bearing gigantic Mash'als or cressets, threw 


a passing glow of red light upon the dark road and 
the dusky multitude. 

On this occasion the rule was "every man for him- 
self." Each pressed forward into the best path, think- 
ing only of preceding his neighbour. The Syrians, 
amongst whom our little party had become entangled, 
proved most unpleasant companions : they often stopped 
the way, insisting upon their right to precedence. On 
one occasion a horseman had the audacity to untie 
the halter of my dromedary, and thus to cast us adrift, 
as it were, in order to make room for some excluded 
friend. I seized my sword; but Shaykh Abdullah 
stayed my hand, and addressed the intruder in terms 
sufficiently violent to make him slink away. Nor was 
this the only occasion on which my companion was 
successful with the Syrians. He would begin with a 
mild "Move a little, O my Father!" followed, if fruit- 
less, by "Out of the way, O Father of Syria!" and, if 
still ineffectual, advancing to a "Begone, O he!" This 
ranged between civility and sternness. If without 
effect, it was supported by revilings to the "Abusers 
of the Salt," the "Yezid," the "Offspring of Shimr." 
Another remark which I made about my companion's 
conduct well illustrates the difference between the 
Eastern and the Western man. When traversing a 
dangerous place, Shaykh Abdullah the European at- 
tended to his camel with loud cries of "Hai! Hai!" 
and an occasional switching. Shaykh Abdullah the 
Asiatic commended himself to Allah by repeated ejacu- 
lations of "Ya Satir! Ya Sattar!" 

Mecca and Medina. II '. 1 8 


The morning of Wednesday (Sept. 7th) broke as 
we entered a wide plain. In many places were signj 
of water: lines of basalt here and there seamed the 
surface, and wide sheets of the tufaceous gypsum called 
by the Arabs "Sabkhah" shone like mirrors set in the 
russet frame-work of the flat. This substance is found 
in cakes, often a foot long by an inch in depth, curled 
by the sun's rays and overlying clay into which water-: 
had sunk. 

After our harassing night, day came on with a sad 1 
feeling of oppression, greatly increased by the un- 
natural glare; — 

"In vain the sight, dejected to the ground, 
Stoop'd for relief: thence hot ascending streams 
And keen reflection pain'd." 

We were disappointed in our expectations of water, 
which usually abounds near this station, as its name, "El 
Ghadir," denotes. At 10 a.m. we pitched the tent in the 
first convenient spot, and we lost no time in stretching 
our cramped limbs upon the bosom of mother Earth. 
Erom the halting-place of the Mutayr to El Ghadir is 
a march of about twenty miles, and the direction S.W. 
21 . El Ghadir is an extensive plain, which probably 
presents the appearance of a lake after heavy rains. 
It is overgrown in parts with desert vegetation, and 
requires nothing but a regular supply of water to make 
it useful to man. On the east it is bounded by a wall 
of rock, at whose base are three wells, said to have 
been dug by the Caliph Harun. They are guarded by 
a Burj, or tower, which betrays symptoms of decay. 


In our anxiety to rest we had strayed from the 
Damascus Caravan amongst the mountaineers of Sham- 
mar. Our Shaykh Mas'ud manifestly did not like the 
company; for shortly after 3 p.m. he insisted upon our 
striking the tent and rejoining the Hajj, which lay en- 
camped about two miles distant in the western part 
of the basin. We loaded, therefore, and half an hour 
before sunset found ourselves in more congenial so- 
ciety. To my great disappointment, a stir was ob- 
servable in the Caravan — I at once understood that 
another night-march was in store for us. 

At 6 p.m. we again mounted, and turned towards 
the eastern plain. A heavy shower was falling upon 
the western hills, whence came damp and dangerous 
blasts. Between 9 p.m. and the dawn of the next day 
we had a repetition of the last night's scenes, over a 
road so rugged and dangerous, that I wondered how 
men could prefer to travel in the dark. But the tall 
camels of Damascus were now worn out with fatigue; 
they could not endure the sun, and our time was too 
precious for a halt. My night was spent perched upon 
the front bar of my Shugduf, encouraging the drome- 
dary; and that we had not one fall excited my extreme 

At 5 a.m. (Thursday, 8th Sept.) we entered a wide 
plain thickly clothed with the usual thorny trees, in 
whose strong grasp many a Shugduf lost its covering, 
and not a few were dragged w T ith their screaming in- 
mates to the ground. About five hours afterwards we 

crossed a high ridge, and saw below us the camp of 



the Caravan, not more than two miles distant. As we 
approached it, a figure came running out to meet us. 
It was the boy Mohammed, who, heartily tired of 
riding a dromedary with his friend, and possibly 
hungry, hastened to inform my companion Abdullah 
that he would lead him to his Shugduf and his son. 
The Shaykh, a little offended by the fact that for two 
days not a friend nor an acquaintance had taken the 
trouble to see or to inquire about him, received Mo- 
hammed roughly; but the youth, guessing the grievance, 
explained it away by swearing that he and all the 
party had tried to find us in vain. This wore the 
semblance of truth: it is almost impossible to hit 
upon any one who strays from his place in so large 
and motley a body. 

At 1 1 a.m. we had reached our station. It is about 
twenty- four miles from El Ghadir, and its direction i§ 
S.E. io°. It is called El Birkat (the Tank), from a 
large and now ruinous cistern built of hewn stone by 
the Caliph Harun. The land belongs to the Utaybah 
Bedawin, the bravest and most ferocious tribe in El 
Hejaz; and the citizens denote their dread of these 
banditti by asserting that, to increase their courage, 
they drink their enemy's blood. My companions shook 
their heads when questioned upon the subject, and 
prayed that we might not become too well acquainted 
with them — an ill-omened speech! 

The Pasha allowed us a rest of five hours at El 
Birkat: we spent them in my tent, which was crowded 
with Shaykh Abdullah's friends. To requite me for 


this inconvenience, he prepared for me an excellent 
water-pipe, a cup of coffee, which, untainted by cloves 
and cinnamon, would have been delicious, and a dish 
of dry fruits. As we were now near the Holy City, 
all the Meccans were busy canvassing for lodgers and 
offering their services to pilgrims. Quarrels, too, were 
of hourly occurrence. In our party was an Arnaut, a 
white bearded old man, so decrepit that he could 
scarcely stand, and yet so violent that no one could 
manage him but his African slave, a brazen-faced little 
wretch about fourteen years of age. Words were 
bandied between this angry senior and Shaykh Mas'ud, 
when the latter insinuated sarcastically, that if the 
former had teeth he would be more intelligible. The 
Arnaut in his rage seized a pole, raised it, and de- 
livered a blow which missed the camel-man, but 
brought the striker headlong to the ground. Mas'ud 
exclaimed, with shrieks of rage, "Have we come to 
this, that every old-woman Turk smites us?" Our 
party had the greatest trouble to quiet the quarrellers. 
The Arab listened to us when we threatened him with 
the Pasha. But the Arnaut, whose rage was "like 
red-hot steel," would hear nothing but our repeated 
declarations, that unless he behaved more like a pil- 
grim, we should be compelled to leave him and his 
slave behind. 

At 4 p.m., we quitted El Birkat, and travelled east- 
wards over rolling ground thickly wooded. There was 
a network of footpaths through the thickets, and clouds 
obscured the moon; the consequence was inevitable 


loss of way. About 2 a.m. we began ascending hills 
in a south-westerly direction, and presently we fell into 
the bed of a large rock-girt Fiumara, which runs from 
east to west. The sands were overgrown with saline 
and salsolaceous plants; the Coloquintida, which, having 
no support, spreads along the ground; the Senna, with 
its small green leaf; the Rhazya stricta; and a large 
luxuriant variety of the Asclepias gigantea, cottoned 
over with mist and dew. At 6 a.m. (Sept. 9.) we left 
the Fiumara, and, turning to the west, we arrived 
about an hour afterwards at the station. El Zaribah, 
"the valley," is an undulating plain amongst high 
granite hills. In many parts it was faintly green; water 
was close to the surface, and rain stood upon the 
ground. During the night we had travelled about 
twenty- three miles, and our present station was S.E. 
5 6° from our last. 

Having pitched the tent and eaten and slept, we 
prepared to perform the ceremony of El Ihram (as- 
suming the pilgrim-garb), as El Zaribah is the Mikat, 
or the appointed place.* Between the noonday and 
the afternoon prayers a barber attended to shave our 
heads, cut our nails, and trim our mustachios. Then, 
having bathed and perfumed ourselves — the latter is 
a questionable point — we .donned the attire, which is 
nothing but two new cotton cloths, each six feet long 
by three and-a-half broad, white, with narrow red 
stripes and fringes; in fact, the costume called "El 

* Those coming from the North assume the pilgrim-garb at or, if afloat, off 
the village of Rabigh. 


Eddeh" in the baths at Cairo. One of these sheets, 
technically termed the "Rida," is thrown over the back, 
and, exposing the arm and shoulder, is knotted at the 
right side in the style "Wishah." The "Izar" is 
wrapped round the loins from waist to knee, and, 
knotted or tucked in at the middle, supports itself. 
Our heads were bare, and nothing was allowed upon 
the instep. It is said that some clans of Arabs still 
preserve this religious but most uncomfortable costume : 
it is doubtless of ancient date, and to this day, in the 
regions lying west of the Red Sea, it continues to be 
the common dress of the people. 

After the toilette we were placed with our faces in 
the direction of Meccah, and were ordered to say aloud 
"I vow this Ihram of Hajj (the pilgrimage) and the 
Umrah (little pilgrimage) to Allah Almighty!" Having 
thus performed a two-bow prayer, we repeated, with- 
out rising from the sitting position, these words, "O 
Allah! verily I purpose the Hajj and the Umrah, then 
enable me to accomplish the two, and accept them 
both of me, and make both blessed to me!" Followed 
the "Talbiyat," or exclaiming — 

" Here I am ! O Allah ! here am I— 
No Partner hast Thou, here am I : 

Verily the Praise and the Beneficence are Thine, and the kingdom — 
No Partner hast Thou, here am I !" * 

* "Talbiyat" is from the word Labbayka ("Here I am") in the cry — 

"Labbayk' Allahumma, Labbayk ! 
(Labbayka) La Sharika laka, Labbayk ! 
Inna '1 Hamda wa 'n 'Ni'amata laka w 'al Mulk 
La Sharika laka, Labbayk ! " 


•And we were warned to repeat these words as often 
as possible, until the conclusion of the ceremonies. 

Then Shaykh Abdullah, who acted as director of 
our consciences, bade us be good pilgrims, avoiding/ 
quarrels, bad language, immorality, and light conversa- 1 ' 
tion. We must so reverence life that we should avoid 
killing game, causing an animal to fly, and even point- 
ing it out for destruction; nor should we scratch our- 
selves, save with the open palm, lest vermin be de- 
stroyed, or a hair uprooted by the nail. We were to 
respect the sanctuary by sparing the trees, and not to 
pluck a single blade of grass. As regards personal 
considerations, we were to abstain from all oils, per- 
fumes, and unguents; from washing the head with 
mallow or lote leaves; from dyeing, shaving, cutting, 
or vellicating a single pile or hair; and though we 
might take advantage of shade, and even form it with 
upraised hands, we must by no means cover our 
sconces. For each infraction of these ordinances we 
must sacrifice a sheep; and it is commonly said by 
Moslems, that none but the Prophet could be perfect 
in the intricacies of pilgrimage. Old Ali began with 
an irregularity: he declared that age prevented his as- 
suming the garb, bat that, arrived at Meccah, he would 
clear himself by an offering. 

The wife and daughters of a Turkish pilgrim of 
our party assumed the Ihram at the same time as 

Some add , " Here I am, and I honour thee, I the son of thy two slaves : bene- 
ficence and good are all between thy hands." The "Talbiyat" is allowed in 
any language, but is preferred in Arabic. It has a few varieties ; the form above 
given is the most common. 


ourselves. They appeared dressed in white garments; 
and they had exchanged the Lisam, that coquettish 
fold of muslin which veils without concealing the lower 
part of the face, for a hideous mask, made of split, 
dried, and plaited palm-leaves, with two "bulls'-eyes" 
for light. I could not help laughing when these 
strange figures met my sight, and, to judge from the 
shaking of their shoulders, they were not less suscep- 
tible to the merriment which they had caused. 

At 3 p.m. we left El Zaribah, travelling towards 
the S.W., and a wondrously picturesque scene met the 
eye. Crowds hurried along, habited in the pilgrim 
garb, whose whiteness contrasted strangely with their 
black skins, their newly shaven heads glistening in the 
sun, and their long black hair streaming in the wind. 
The rocks rang with shouts of "Labbayk! Labbayk!" 
At a pass we fell in with the Wahhabis, accompanying 
the Baghdad Caravan, screaming "Here am I;" and, 
guided by a large loud kettle-drum, they followed in 
double file the camel of a standard-bearer, whose 
green flag bore in huge white letters the formula of 
the Moslem creed. They were wild-looking moun- 
taineers, dark and fierce, with hair twisted into thin 
Dalik or plaits: each was armed with a long spear, a 
matchlock, or a dagger. They were seated upon 
coarse wooden saddles, without cushions or stirrups, a 
fine saddle-cloth alone denoting a chief. The women 
emulated the men; they either guided their own drome- 
daries, or, sitting in pillion, they clung to their hus- 
bands; veils they disdained, and their "countenances 



certainly belonged not to a "soft sex." These Wah- 

habis were by no means pleasant companions. Most 
of them were followed by spare dromedaries, either 
unladen or carrying water-skins, fodder, fuel, and other 
necessaries for the march. The beasts delighted in 
dashing furiously through our file, which being lashed 
together, head and tail, was thrown each time into 
the greatest confusion. And whenever we were ob- 
served smoking, we were cursed aloud for Infidels and 

Looking back at El Zaribah, soon after our, de- 
parture, I saw a heavy nimbus settle upon the hill 
tops, a sheet of rain being stretched between it and 
the plain. The low grumbling of thunder sounded 
joyfully in our ears. We hoped for a shower, but were 
disappointed by a dust-storm, which ended with a few 
heavy drops. There arose a report that the Bedawin 
had attacked a party of Meccans with stones, and the 
news caused men to look exceeding grave. 

At 5 p.m. we entered the wide bed of the Fiu- 
mara, down which we were to travel all night. Here 
the country falls rapidly towards the sea, as the in- 
creasing heat of the air, the direction of the water- 
courses, and signs of violence in the torrent-bed show. 
The Fiumara varies in breadth from 150 feet to three- 
quarters of a mile; its course, I was told, is towards 
the south-west, and it enters the sea near Jeddah. 
The channel is a coarse sand, with here and there 
masses of sheet rock and patches of thin vegetation. 

At about half-past 5 p.m. we entered a suspicious- 


looking place. On the right was a stony buttress, 
along whose base the stream, when there is one, 
swings; and to this depression was our road limited 
by the rocks and thorn-trees, which filled the other 
half of the channel. The left side was a precipice, 
grim and barren, but not so abrupt as its brother. Op- 
posite us the way seemed barred by piles of hills, crest 
rising above crest into the far blue distance. Day still 
smiled upon the upper peaks, but the lower slopes 
and the Fiumara bed were already curtained with gray 
sombre shade. 

A damp seemed to fall upon our spirits as we ap- 
proached this Valley Perilous. I remarked that the 
voices of the women and children sank into silence, 
and the loud Labbayk of the pilgrims were gradually 
stilled. Whilst still speculating upon the cause of this 
phenomenon, it became apparent. A small curl of the 
smoke, like a lady's ringlet, on the summit of the right- 
hand precipice, caught my eye, and, simultaneous with 
the echoing crack of the matchlock, a high-trotting 
dromedary in front of me rolled over upon the sands 
— a bullet had split its heart — throwing the rider a 
goodly somersault of five or six yards. 

Ensued terrible confusion; women screamed, chil- 
dren cried, and men vociferated, each one striving 
with might and main to urge his animal out of the 
place of death. But the road being narrow, they only 
managed to jam the vehicles in a solid immovable 
mass. At every matchlock-shot a shudder ran through 
the huge body, as when the surgeon's scalpel touches 


some more sensitive nerve. The irregular horsemen, 
perfectly useless, galloped up and down over the stones, 
shouting to and ordering one another. The Pasha of 
the army had his carpet spread at the foot of the left- 
hand precipice, and debated over his pipe with the 
officers what ought to be done. No good genius 
whispered "Crown the heights." 

Then it was that the conduct of the Wahhabis 
found favor in my eyes. They came up, galloping 
their camels — 

"Torrents less rapid, and less rash — " 

with their elf-locks tossing in the wind, and their flaring 
matches casting a strange lurid light over their features. 
Taking up a position, one body began to fire upon 
the Utaybah robbers, whilst two or three hundred, dis- 
mounting, swarmed up the hill under the guidance of 
the Sherif Zayd. I had remarked this nobleman at 
El Medinah as a model specimen of the pure Arab. 
Like all Sherifs, he is celebrated for bravery, and has 
killed many with his own hand. When urged at El 
Zaribah to ride into Meccah, he swore that he would 
not leave the caravan till in sight of the walls; and, 
fortunately for the pilgrims, he kept his word. 

Presently the firing was heard far in our rear, the 
robbers having fled. The head of the column ad- 
vanced, and the dense body of pilgrims opened out. 
Our forced halt was now exchanged for a flight. It 
required much management to steer our desert-craft 
clear of danger; but Shaykh Mas'ud was equal to the 


occasion. That many were lost was evident by the 
boxes and baggage that strewed the shingles. I had 
no means of ascertaining the number of men killed 
and wounded: reports were contradictory, and exag- 
geration unanimous. The robbers were said to be 
150 in number; their object was plunder, and they 
would eat the shot camels. But their principal ambi- 
tion was the boast "We, the Utaybah, on such and 
such a night stopped the Sultan's Mahmal one whole 
hour in the Pass." 

At the beginning of the skirmish I had primed my 
pistols, and sat with them ready for use. But soon 
seeing that there was nothing to be done, and, wishing 
to make an impression — nowhere does Bobadil now 
"go down" so well as in the East — I called aloud for 
my supper. Shaykh Nur, exanimate with fear, could 
not move. The boy Mohammed ejaculated only an 
"Oh, sir!" and the people around exclaimed in dis- 
gust, "By Allah, he eats!" Shaykh Abdullah, the 
Meccan, being a man of spirit, was amused by the 
spectacle. "Are these Afghan manners, Effendim?" 
he inquired from the Shugduf behind me, "Yes," I 
replied aloud, "in my country we always dine before 
an attack of robbers, because that gentry is in the 
habit of sending men to bed supperless." The Shaykh 
laughed aloud, but those around him looked offended. 
I thought the bravado this time mal place; but a little 
event which took place on /ny way to Jeddah proved 
that it was not quite a failure. 

As we advanced, our escort took care to fire every 


large dry Asclepias, to disperse the shades which 
buried us. Again the scene became wondrous wild: — 

" Full many a waste I've wander'd o'er, 
Clomb many a crag, cross'd many a shore, 

But, by my halidome, 
A scene so rude, so wild as this, 
Yet so sublime in barrenness, 
Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press, 

Where'er I chanced to roam." 

On either side were ribbed precipices, dark, angry, 
and towering above, till their summits mingled w^ith 
the glooms of night; and between them formidable 
looked the chasm, down which our host hurried with 
shouts and discharges of matchlocks. The torch-smoke 
and the night-fires of flaming Asclepias formed a 
canopy, sable above and livid red below; it hung over 
our heads like a sheet, and divided the cliffs into two 
equal parts. Here the fire flashed fiercely from a tall 
thorn, that crackled and shot up showers of sparks 
into the air; there it died away in lurid gleams, which 
lit up a truly Stygian scene. 

As usual, however, the picturesque had its incon- 
veniences. There was no path. Rocks, stone-banks, 
and trees obstructed our passage. The camels, now 
blind in darkness, then dazzled by a flood of light, 
stumbled frequently; in some places slipping down a 
steep descent, in others sliding over a sheet of mud. 
There were furious quarrels and fierce language be- 
tween camel-men and their hirers, and threats to 
fellow-travellers; in fact, we were united in discord. I 
passed that night crying, "Hai! Hai!" switching the 


camel, and fruitlessly endeavoring to fustigate Mas'ud's 
nephew, who resolutely slept upon the water-bags. 
During the hours of darkness we made four or five 
halts, when we boiled coffee and smoked pipes, but 
men and beasts were beginning to suffer from a deadly 

Dawn (Saturday, Sept. n) found us still travelling 
down the Fiumara, which here is about 100 yards 
broad. The granite hills on both sides were less pre- 
cipitous, and the borders of the torrent-bed became 
natural quays of stiff clay, which showed a water-mark 
of from twelve to fifteen feet in height. In many parts 
the bed was muddy; and the moist places, as usual, 
caused accidents. I happened to be looking back at 
Shaykh Abdullah, who was then riding in old Ali bin 
Ya Sin's fine Shugduf; suddenly the camel's four legs 
disappeared from under him, his right side flattening 
the ground, and the two riders were pitched severally 
out of the smashed vehicle. Abdullah started up 
furious, and, with great zest, abused the Bedawin, who 
were absent. "Feed these Arabs," he exclaimed, quot- 
ing a Turkish proverb, "and they will fire at Heaven!" 
But I observed that, when Shaykh Mas'ud came up, 
the citizen was only gruff. 

We then turned northward, and sighted El Mazik, 
more generally known as Wady Laymun, the Valley of 
Limes. On the right bank of the Fiumara stood the 
Meccan Sheriffs state pavilion, green and gold: it was 
surrounded by his attendants, and he had prepared to 
receive the Pasha of the Caravan. We advanced half 


a mile, and encamped temporarily in a hill-girt bulge 
of the Fiumara-bed. At 8 a.m. we had travelled about 
twenty-four miles from El Zaribah, and the direction 
of our present station was S.W. 50 °. 

Shaykh Mas'ud allowed us only four hours' halt; he 
wished to precede the main body. After breaking our 
fast joyously upon limes, pomegranates, and fresh 
dates, we sallied forth to admire the beauties of the 
place. We are once more on classic ground — the 
ground of the ancient Arab poets — 

"Deserted is the village — waste the halting place and home 
At Mina, o'er Rijam and Ghul wild beasts unheeded roam, 
On Ra}>yan hill the channel lines have left their naked trace, 
Time-worn, as primal Writ that dints the mountain 's flinty face ;* — 

and this Wady, celebrated for the purity of its air, has 
from remote ages been a favorite resort of the Mec- 
cans. Nothing can be more soothing to the brain than 
the dark-green foliage of the limes and pomegranates; 
and from the base of the southern hill bursts a bub- 
bling stream, whose 

"Chiare, fresche e dolci acque" 

flow through the gardens, filling them with the most 
delicious of melodies, the gladdest sound which Nature 
in these regions knows. 

* In these lines of Lebid, the "Mina" alluded to must not, we are warned 
by the scholiast, be confounded with "Mina" (vulg. "Muna"), the Valley of 
Victims. Ghul and Rayyan are hills close to the Wady Laymum. 

The passage made me suspect that inscriptions would be found among the 
rocks, as the scholiast informs. us that "men used to write upon rocks in order 
that their writing might remain." (De Sacy's Moallaka de Lebid, p. 289.) I 
neither saw nor heard of any. But some months afterwards I was delighted to 
hear from the Abbe Hamilton that he had discovered in one of the rock monu- 
ments a "lithographed proof" of the presence of Sesostris (Rhameses II.). 


Exactly at noon Mas'ud seized the halter of the 
foremost camel, and we started down the Fiumara. 
Troops of Bedawi girls looked over the orchard walls 
laughingly, and children came out to offer us fresh 
fruit and sweet water. At 2 p.m., travelling south-west, 
we arrived at a point where the torrent-bed turns to 
the right, and quitting it, we climbed with difficulty 
over a steep ridge of granite. Before three o'clock we 
entered a hill-girt plain, which my companions called 
"Sola." In some places were clumps of trees, and 
scattered villages warned us that we were approaching 
a city. Far to the left rose the blue peaks of Taif, 
and the mountain road, a white thread upon the nearer 
heights, was pointed out to me. 

Here I first saw the tree, or rather shrub, which 
bears the balm of Gilead, erst so celebrated for its 
tonic and stomachic properties. I told Shaykh Mas'ud 
to break off a twig, which he did heedlessly. The act 
was witnessed by our party with a roar of laughter, 
and the astounded Shaykh was warned that he had 
become subject to an atoning sacrifice. Of course he 
denounced me as the instigator, and I could not fairly 
refuse assistance. The tree has of late years been 
carefully described by many botanists; I will only say 
that the bark resembled in color a cherry-stick pipe, 
the inside was a light yellow, and the juice made my 
fingers stick together. 

At 4 p.m. we came to a steep and rocky Pass, up 
which we toiled with difficulty. The face of the 
country was rising oflce more, and again presented 

Mecca and Medina. II. 1 9 


the aspect of numerous small basins divided and sur- 
rounded by hills. As we jogged on we were passed 
by the cavalcade of no less a personage than the 
Sherif of Meccah. Abd el Muttalib bin Ghalib is a 
dark, beardless, old man with African features derived 
from his mother. He was plainly dressed in snowy 
garments and a white muslin turban, which made him 
look jet black; he rode an ambling mule, and the 
only emblem of his dignity was the large green satin 
umbrella borne by an attendant on foot. Scattered 
around him were about forty matchlock-men, mostly 
slaves. At long intervals, after their father, came his 
four sons, Riza Bey, Abdullah, Ali and Abmed, the 
latter still a child. The three elder brothers rode 
splendid dromedaries at speed; they were young men 
of light complexion, with the true Meccan cast of 
features, showily dressed in bright-colored silks, and 
armed, to denote their rank, with sword and gold- 
hilted dagger. 

We halted as evening approached, and strained our 
eyes, but all in vain, to catch sight of Meccah, which 
lies in a winding valley. By Shaykh Abdullah's direc- 
tion I recited, after the usual devotions, the following 
prayer. The reader is forewarned that it is difficult to 
preserve the flowers of Oriental rhetoric in & European 

"O Allah! verily this is Thy Safeguard (Amn) and 
Thy Sanctuary (Haram)! Into it whoso entereth be- 
cometh safe (Amin). So deny (Harrim) my Flesh and 
Blood, my Bones and Skin, to Hell-fire. O Allah! Save 


me from Thy Wrath on the Day when Thy Servants 
shall be raised from the Dead. I conjure Thee by this 
that Thou art Allah, besides whom is none (Thou 
only), the Merciful, the Compassionate. And have 
Mercy upon our Lord Mohammed, and upon the 
Progeny of our Lord Mohammed, and upon his Fol- 
lowers, One and All!" This was concluded with the 
"Talbiyat," and with an especial prayer for myself. 

We again mounted, and night completed our dis- 
appointment. About i a.m. I was aroused by general 
excitement. "Meccah! Meccah!" cried some voices; 
"The Sanctuary! O the Sanctuary!" exclaimed others; 
and all burst into loud "Labbayk," not unfrequently 
broken by sobs. I looked out from my litter, and saw 
by the light of the southern stars the dim outlines of 
a large city, a shade darker than the surrounding 
plain. We were passing over the last ridge by a 
cutting, called the Saniyat Kuda'a, the Winding place 
of the Cut. The "tortuous path" is flanked on both 
sides by watch-towers, which command the "Darb el 
Ma'ala," or road leading from the north into Meccah. 
Thence we passed into the Ma'abidah (northern suburb), 
where the Sherifs Palace is built. After this, on the 
left hand, came the deserted abode of the Sherif bin 
Aun, now said to be a "haunted house." Opposite to 
it lies the Jannat el Ma'ala, the holy cemetery of 
Meccah. Thence, turning to the right, we entered the 
Sulaymaniyah or Afghan quarter. Here the boy Mo- 
hammed, being an inhabitant of the Shamiyah or Syrian 

ward, thought proper to display some apprehension. 



The two are on bad terms; children never meet with- 
out exchanging volleys of stones, and men fight 
furiously with quarter-staves. Sometimes, despite the 
terrors of religion, the knife and sabre are drawn. But 
these hostilities have their code. If a citizen be killed, 
there is a subscription for blood-money. An inhabitant 
of one quarter, passing singly through another, becomes 
a guest; once beyond the walls, he is likely to be* 
beaten to insensibility by his hospitable foes. 

At the Sulaymaniyah we turned off the main road , 
into a by-way, and ascended by narrow lanes the 
rough heights of Jebel Hindi, upon which stands a 
small whitewashed and crenellated building called a 
fort. Thence descending, we threaded dark streets, 
in places crowded with rude cots and dusky figures, 
and finally at 2 a.m. we found ourselves at the door 
of the boy Mohammed's house. 

From Wady Laymun to Meccah the distance, ac- 
cording to my calculation, was about twenty-three 
miles, the direction S.W. 45 °. We arrived on the 
morning of Sunday the 7th Zu'l Hijjah (nth Sep- 
tember, 1853), and had one day before the beginning 
of the pilgrimage to repose and visit the Haram. 

I conclude this chapter with a few remarks upon 
the watershed of El Hejaz. The country, in my humble 
opinion, has a compound slope, southwards and west- 
wards. I have, however, little but the conviction of 
the modern Arabs to support the assertion that this 
part of Arabia declines from the north. All declare 
the course of water to be southerly, and believe the 


fountain of Arafat to pass underground from Baghdad. 
The slope, as geographers know, is still a disputed 
point. Ritter, Jomard, and some old Arab authors, 
make the country rise towards the south, whilst Wallin 
and others express an opposite opinion. From the sea 
to El Musahhal is a gentle rise. The water-marks of 
the Fiumaras show that El Medinah is considerably 
above the coast, though geographers may not be cor- 
rect in claiming for Jebel Radhwa a height of 6000 
feet; yet that elevation is not perhaps too great for the 
plateau upon which stands the Prophet's burial-place. 
From El Medinah to El Suwayrkiyah is another gentle 
rise, and from the latter to El Zaribah stagnating water 
denotes a level. I believe the report of a perennial 
lake on the eastern boundary of El Hejaz as little as 
the river placed by Ptolemy between Yambu' and 
Meccah. No Bedawi could tell me of this feature, 
which, had it existed, would have changed the whole 
conditions and history of the country; we know the 
Pelusian's river to be a Fiumara, and the lake probably 
owes its existence to a similar cause, a heavy fall of 
rain. Beginning at El Zaribah is a decided fall, which 
continues to the sea. The Arafat torrent sweeps from 
east to west with great force, sometimes carrying away 
the habitations, and even injuring the sanctuary.* 

* This is a synopsis of our marches, which, protracted on Burckhardt's map, 
gives an error of ten miles. 


1. From El Medinah, to Ja el Sharifah, . S.E. 50 . 22 

2. From Ja el Sharifah to Ghurab, . . S.W. io° . 24 

3. From Ghurab to El Hijriyah, . . . S.E. 22 . 25 = 71 





Brought forward . 71 

From El Hijriyah to El Suwayrkiyah, . S.W. ii° 

From El Suwayrkiyah to El Sufayna, . S.E. 5 

From El Sufayna to the " Benu Mutayr," S.W. 20 

From the " Benii Mutayr" to El Ghadir, S.W. 21° 

From El Ghadir to El Birkat, .... S.E. io° 

From El Birkat to El Zaribah, .... S.E. 56 

From El Zaribah to Wady Laymun, . . S.W. 50 

, . S.W. 45° 

From Wady Laymun to Meccah, 




23 = 177 

Total English miles 








VOL. 1402. 














The Right of Translation is reserved. 




The Bayt Ullah r 

The first Visit to the House of Allah 38 


The Ceremonies of the Yaum el Tarwiyah, or the First Day . . 58 


The Ceremonies of the Yaum Arafat, or the Second Day ... 72 


The Ceremonies of the Yaum Nahr, or the Third Day .... 83 

The Three Days of Drying Flesh ........ 100 

Life at Meccah, and Umrah, or the Little Pilgrimage .... 108 

Places of Pious Visitation at Meccah 129 

To Jeddah ............ 141 

Remarks on the Map .......... 163 

The Mecca Pilgrimage 175 

Index ............. 185 





The Bayt Ullah. 

The House of Allah has been so fully described 
by my predecessors, that there is little inducement to 
attempt a new portrait. I will, therefore, do homage to 
the memory of the accurate Burckhardt, and extract 
from his pages a description which shall be illustrated 
by a few notes. 

"The Ka'abah stands in an oblong square (en- 
closed by a great wall) 250 paces long, and 200 broad,* 
none of the sides of which run quite in a straight 
line, though at first sight the whole appears to be of 
a regular shape. This open square is enclosed on the 
eastern side by a colonnade. The pillars stand in a 
quadruple row; they are three deep on the other sides, 
and united by pointed arches, every four of which 

* Ali Bey gives 536 feet 9 inches by 356 feet ; my measurement 257 paces 
by 310. Most Moslem authors, reckoning by cubits, make the parallelogram 
404 by 310. 

Mecca and Medina. III. I 


support a small dome plastered and whitened on the 
outside. These domes, according to Kotobeddyn, are 
152 in number.* The pillars are above twenty feet 
in height, and generally from one foot and a half to 
one foot and three quarters in diameter; but little re- 
gularity has been observed in regard to them. Some 
are of white marble, granite or porphyry; but the 
greater number are of common stone of the Meccah 
mountains.** El Fasy states the whole at 589, and 
says they are all of marble excepting 126, which are 
of common stone, and three of composition. Koto- 
beddyn reckons 555, of which, according to him, 311 
are of marble, and the rest of the stone taken from the 
neighbouring mountains; but neither of the authors 
lived to see the latest repairs of the mosque, after the 
destruction occasioned by a torrent in a.d. 1626.*** 
Between every three or four columns stands an octa- 
gonal one, about four feet in thickness. On the east 

* On each short side I counted 24 domes; on the long, 35. This would 
give a total of 118 along the cloisters. The Arabs reckon in all 152 ; viz. 24 on 
the east side, on the north 36, on the south 36 ; one on the mosque corner, near 
the Zarurah minaret ; 16 at the porch of the Bab el Ziyadah ; and 15 at the Bab 
Ibrahim. The shape of these domes is the usual "Media-Naranja," and the 
superstition of the Meccans informs the pilgrim that they cannot be counted. 
Books reckon 1352 pinnacles or battlements on the temple wall. 

** The "common stone of the Meccah mountains" is a fine grey granite 
quarried principally from a hill near the Bab el Shabayki, which furnished 
materials for the Ka'abah. Eastern authors describe the pillars as consisting 
of three different substances, viz. : Rukham, white marble, not "alabaster," its 
general sense ; Suwan, or granite (syenite ?) ; and " Hajar Shumaysi," a kind of 
yellow sandstone, so called from " Bir Shumays," a place on the Jeddah road, 
near Haddah, the half-way station. 

*** I counted in the temple 554 pillars. It is, however, difficult to be ac- 
curate , as the four colonnades and the porticos about the two great gates are 
irregular; topographical observations, moreover, must here be made under 


side are two shafts of reddish grey granite in one 
piece, and one fine grey porphyry with slabs of white 
feldspath. On the north side is one red granite column, 
and one of fine-grained red porphyry; these are probably 
the columns which Kotobeddyn states to have been 
brought from Egypt, and principally from Akhmim 
(Panopolis), when the chief (Caliph) El Mohdy en- 
larged the mosque in a.h. 163. Among the 450 or 
500 columns which form the enclosure I found not 
any two capitals or bases exactly alike. The capitals 
are of course Saracen workmanship; some of them, 
which had served for former buildings, by the ignorance 
of the workmen , have been placed upside down upon 
the shafts. I observed about half a dozen marble 
bases of good Grecian workmanship. A few of the 
marble columns bear Arabic or Cufic inscriptions, in 
which I read the dates 863 and 762 (a.h.).* A column 
on the east side exhibits a very ancient Cufic inscrip- 
tion, somewhat defaced, which I could neither read 
nor copy. Some of the columns are strengthened with 
broad iron rings or bands,** as in many other Saracen 
buildings of the East. They were first employed by 

difficulties. Ali Bey numbers them roughly at "plus de 500 colonnes et 

* The author afterwards informs us, that "the temple has been so often 
ruined and repaired , that no traces of remote antiquity are to be found about 
it." He mentions some modern and unimportant inscriptions upon the walls 
and over the gates. Knowing that many of the pillars were sent in ships from 
Syria and Egypt by the Caliph El Mahdi, a traveller would have expected 
better things. 

** The reason being, that "those shafts formed of the Meccan stone are 
mostly in three pieces ; but the marble shafts are in one piece." 


Ibn Dhaher Berkouk, king of Egypt, in rebuilding the 
mosque, which had been destroyed by fire in a.h. 

"Some parts of the walls and arches are gaudily 
painted in stripes of yellow, red, and blue, as are also 
the minarets. Paintings of flowers, in the usual Musel- 
man style, are nowhere seen; the floors of the colon- 
nades are paved with large stones badly cemented 

"Some paved causeways lead from the colonnades 
towards the Ka'abah, or Holy House, in the centre.** 
They are of sufficient breadth to admit four or five 
persons to walk abreast, and they are elevated about 
nine inches above the ground. Between these cause- 
ways, which are covered with fine gravel or sand, 
grass appears growing in several places, produced by 
the Zem Zem water oozing out of the jars which are 
placed in the ground in long rows during the day.*** 
There is a descent of eight or ten steps from the 

* To this may be added, that the fagades of the cloisters are twenty-four 
along the short walls, and thirty-six along the others; they have stone orna- 
ments, not inaptly compared to the French "fleur de lis." The capital and 
bases of the outer pillars are grander and more regular than the inner ; they 
support pointed arches , and the Arab secures his beloved variety by placing at 
every fourth arch a square pilaster. Of these there are on the long sides ten, 
on the short seven. 

** I counted eight, not including the broad pavement which leads from the 
Bab el Ziyadah to the Ka'abah , or the four cross branches which connect the 
main lines. These "Firash el Hajar," as they are called, also serve to partition 
off the area. One space, for instance, is called "Haswat el Harim," or the 
" Women's sanded place," because appropriated to female devotees. 

*** The jars are little amphorae, each inscribed with the name of the donor 
and a peculiar cypher. 


gates on the north side into the platform of the colon- 
nade, and of three or four steps from the gates on the 
south side. 

"Towards the middle of this area stands the Ka'a- 
bah; it is 115 paces from the north colonnade, and 
88 from the south. For this want of symmetry we 
may readily account, the Ka'abah having existed prior 
to the mosque, which was built around it, and en- 
larged at different periods. The Ka'abah is an oblong 
massive structure, 18 paces in length, 14 in breadth, 
and from 35 to 40 feet in height* It is constructed 
of the grey Mekka stone, in large blocks of different 
sizes joined together, in a very rough manner, with 
bad cement.** It was entirely rebuilt, as it now stands, 
in a.d. 1627. The torrent in the preceding year had 
thrown down three of its sides, and, preparatory to its 
re-erection, the fourth side was, according to Asamy, 
pulled down, after the Olemas, or learned divines, 
had been consulted on the question whether mortals 
might be permitted to destroy any part of the holy 
edifice without incurring the charge of sacrilege and 

"The Ka'abah stands upon a base two feet in 

* My measurements give 22 paces or 55 feet in length by 18 (45), of 
breadth, and the height appeared greater than the length. Ali Bey makes 
the eastern side 37 French feet, 2 inches and 6 lines, the western 38 ', 4, 6, the 
northern 29 feet, the southern 31 , 6, and the height 34, 4. He therefore calls 
it a "veritable trapezium." In El Idrisi's time it was 25 cubits by 24, and 27 
cubits high. 

** I would alter this sentence thus — "It is built of fine grey granite in 
horizontal courses of masonry of irregular depth ; the stones are tolerably fitted 
together, and are held by excellent mortar like Roman cement." The lines 
are also straight. 


height, which presents a sharp inclined plane* Its 
roof being flat, it has at a distance the appearance of 
a perfect cube.** The only door which affords en- 
trance, and which is opened but two or three times 
in the year,*** is on the north side, and about seven 
feet above the ground.f In the first periods of Islam, 

* This base is called El Shazarwan, from the Persian Shadarwan, a cornice, 
eaves, or canopy. It is in pent-house shape , projecting about a foot beyond 
the wall, and composed of fine white marble slabs, polished like glass ; there are 
two breaks in it, one opposite and under the doorway, and another in front of 
Ishmael's tomb. Pilgrims are directed, during circumambulation, to keep their 
bodies outside of the Shazarwan ; this would imply it to be part of the building, 
but its only use appears in the large brass rings welded into it , for the purpose 
of holding down the Ka'abah covering. 

** Ali Bey also errs in describing the roof as "plat en dessus." Were such 
the case, rain would not pour off with violence [through the spout. Most 
Oriental authors allow a cubit of depression from south-west to north-west. In 
El Idrisi's day the Ka'abah had a double roof. Some say this is the case in 
the present building , which has not been materially altered in shape since its 
restoration by El Hajjaj a. h. 83. The roof was then eighteen cubits long by 
fifteen broad. 

*** In Ibn Jubayr's time the Ka'abah was opened every day in Rajab, 
and in other months on every Monday and Friday. The house may now 
be entered ten or twelve times a year gratis ; and by pilgrims as often as 
they can collect, amongst parties, a sum sufficient to tempt the guardians' 

t This mistake, in which Burckhardt is followed by all our popular authors, 
is the more extraordinary, as all Arabic authors call the door-wall Janib el 
Mashrik — the eastern side— or Wajh el Bayt, the front of the house, opposed 
to Zahr el Bayt, the back. Niebuhr is equally in error when he asserts that the 
door fronts to the south. Arabs always hold the "Rukn el Iraki" or Irak angle, 
to face the polar star, and so it appears in Ali Bey's plan. The Ka'abah, there- 
fore, has no northern side. And it must be observed that Moslem writers make 
the length of the Ka'abah from east to west , whereas our travellers make it 
from north to south. 

Ali Bey places the door only six feet from the pavement , but he calculates 
distances by the old French measure. It is about seven feet from the ground, 
and six from the corner of the Black Stone. Between the two the space of wall 
is called El Multazem (in Burckhardt, by a clerical error, " El Metzem," vol. 1. 
p. 173). It derives its name , the "Attached-to," because here the circumam- 
bulator should apply his bosom , and beg pardon for his sins. El Multazem, 
according to M. de Percival, following d'Ohsson, was formerly "le lieu des 


however, when it was rebuilt in a.h. 64 by Ibn Zebeyr 
(Zubayr), chief of Mecca, it had two doors even with 
the ground-floor of the mosque* The present door 
(which, according to Azraky, was brought hither from 
Constantinople in a.d. 1633), is wholly coated with silver, 
and has several gilt ornaments; upon its threshold are 
placed every night various small lighted wax candles, 
and perfuming pans, filled with musk, aloe-wood, &c.** 

engagements," whence, according to him, its name. "Le Moltezem," says M. 
Galland (Rits et Ceremonies du Pelerinage de la Mecque) "qui est entre la 
pierre noire et la porte, est l'endroit ou Mahomet se reconcilia avec ses dix 
compagnons, qui disaient qu'il n'etait pas veritablement Prophete." 

* From the Bab elZiyadah, or gate in the northern colonnade, you descend 
by two flights of steps , in all about twenty-five. This depression manifestly 
arises from the level of the town having been raised , like Rome , by successive 
layers of ruins ; the most populous and substantial quarters (as the Shamiyah 
to the north) would, we might expect, be the highest, and this is actually the 
case. But I am unable to account satisfactorily for the second hollow within 
the temple, and immediately around the House of Allah, where the door, ac- 
cording to all historians, formerly on a level with the pavement, and now about 
seven feet above it , shows the exact amount of depression, which cannot be ac- 
counted for simply by calcation. Some chroniclers assert, that when the Ku- 
raysh rebuilt the house they raised the door to prevent devotees entering with- 
out their permission. But seven feet would scarcely oppose an entrance , and 
how will this account for the floor of the building being also elevated to that 
height above the pavement ? It is curious to observe the similarity between 
this inner hollow of the Meccan fane and the artificial depression of the Hindu 
pagoda where it is intended to be flooded. The Hindus would also revere the 
form of the Meccan fane, exactly resembling their square temples, at whose 
corners are placed Brahma, Vishnu, Shiwa and Ganesha, who adore the Uni- 
versal Generator in the centre. 

The second door anciently stood on the side of the temple opposite the 
present entrance ; inside , its place can still be traced. AH Bey suspects its 
having existed in the modern building , and declares that the exterior surface 
of the wall shows the tracery of a blocked-up adit , similar to that still open. 
Some historians declare that it was closed by the Kuraysh when they rebuilt 
the house in Mohammed's day, and that subsequent erections have had only 
One. The general opinion is, that El Hajjaj finally closed up the western en- 
trance. Doctors also differ as to its size ; the popular measurement is three 
cubits broad and a little more than five in length. 

** Pilgrims and ignorant devotees collect the drippings of wax , the ashes 


"At the north-east* corner of the Ka'abah, near 
the door, is the famous 'Black Stone;' ** it forms a 

of the aloe-wood, and the dust from the "Atabah," or threshold of the Ka'abah, I 
either to rub upon their foreheads or to preserve as relics. These superstitious 9 
practices are sternly rebuked by the Olema. 

* For north-east read south-east. 

** I will not enter into the fabulous origin of the Hajar el Aswad. Some of I 
the traditions connected with it are truly absurd. "When Allah," says Ali,j 
"made covenant with the Sons of Adam on the Day of Fealty, he placed the | 
paper inside the stone;" it will, therefore, appear at the judgment, and bear 1 
witness to all who have touched it. Moslems agree that it was originally white, 1 
and became black by reason of men's sins. It appeared to me a common I 
aerolite covered with a thick si aggy coating, glossy and pitch-like , worn and | 
polished. Dr. Wilson of Bombay showed me a specimen in his possession, \ 
which externally appeared to be a black slag, with the inside of a bright and i 
sparkling greyish- white , the result of admixture of nickel with the iron. This i 
might possibly, as the learned Orientalist then suggested, account for the 
mythic change of color , its appearance on earth after a thunderstorm , and its 
being originally a material part of the heavens. Kutb el Din expressly declares 
that, when the Karamitah restored it after twenty-two years to the Meccans, 
men kissed it and rubbed it upon their brows ; and remarked , that the black- 
ness was only superficial, the inside being white. Some Greek philosophers, it 
will be remembered , believed the heavens to be composed of stones (Cosmos, 
"Shooting Stars"): and Sanconiathon , ascribing the aerolite-worship to the 
god Coelus, declares them to be living or animated stones. "The Arabians," 
says Maximus of Tyre (Dissert. 38. p. 455), "pay homage to I know not what 
god, which they represent by a quadrangular stone." The gross fetishism of 
the Hindus , it is well known , introduced them to litholatry. At Jagannath 
they worship a pyramidal black stone, fabled to have fallen from heaven, or 
miraculously to have presented itself on the place where the temple now stands. 
Moreover, they revere the Salagram, as the emblem of Vishnu, the second 
person in their triad. The rudest emblem of the "Bonus Deus" was a round 
stone. It was succeeded in India by the cone and triangle ; in Egypt by the 
pyramid; in Greece it was represented by cones of terra-cotta about three 
inches and a half long. Without going deep into theory, it may be said that 
the Ka'abah and the Hajar are the only two idols which have survived the 360 
composing the heavenly host of the Arab pantheon. Thus the Hindu poet 
exclaims — 

" Behold the marvels of my idol- temple, O Moslem ! 
That when its idols are destroy'd, it becomes Allah's House." 

Wilford (As. Soc. vols. in. and iv.) makes the Hindus declare that the 
Black Stone at Mokshesha, or Moksjia-sthana (Meccah) was an incarnation of 
Moksheshwara, an incarnation of Shiwa, who with his consort visited ElHejaz. 
When the Ka'abah was rebuilt , this emblem was placed in the outer wall for 


part of the sharp angle of the building,* at four or 
five feet above the ground .** It is an irregular oval, 
about seven inches in diameter, with an undulating 
surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of 
different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a 
small quantity of cement, and perfectly well smoothed : 
it looks as if the whole had been broken into many 
pieces by a violent blow, and then united again. It 
is very difficult to determine accurately the quality of 
this stone, which has been worn to its present surface 
by the millions of touches and kisses it has received. 
It appeared to me like a lava, containing several small 

contempt, but the people still respected it. In the Dabistan the Black Stone 
is said to be an image of Kaywan or Saturn ; and El Shahristani also declares 
the temple to have been dedicated to the same planet Zuhal , whose genius is 
represented in the Puranas as fierce , hideous , four-armed , and habited in a 
black cloak, with a dark turban. Moslem historians are unanimous in asserting 
that Sasan, son of Babegan, and other Persian monarchs, gave rich presents to 
the Ka'abah ; they especially mention two golden crescent moons , a significant 
offering. The Guebers assert that, among the images and relics left by Ma- 
habad and his successors in the Ka'abah, was the Black Stone, an emblem 
of Saturn. They also call the city Mahgah — moon's place — from an ex- 
ceedingly beautiful image of the moon ; whence they say the Arabs derived 
"Meccah." And the Sabaeans equally respect the Ka'abah and the pyramids, 
which they assert to be the tombs of Seth, Enoch (or Hermes), and Sabi the 
son of Enoch. 

Meccah, then, is claimed as a sacred place, and the Hajar el Aswad, as 
well as the Ka'abah , are revered as holy emblems by four different faiths — the 
Hindu, Sabsean, Gueber, and Moslem. I have little doubt, and hope to prove 
at another time, that the Jews connected it with traditions about Abraham. 
This would be the fifth religion that looked towards the Ka'abah — a rare meet- 
ing-place of devotion. 

* Presenting this appearance in profile. The Hajar has suffered from the 
iconoclastic principle of Islam , having once narrowly escaped destruction by 
order of El Hakim of Egypt. In these days the metal rim serves as a protection 
as well as an ornament. 

** The height of the Hajar from the ground, according to my measure- 
ment , is four feet nine inches ; AH Bey places it forty-two inches above the 


extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellowish 
substance. Its colour is now a deep reddish brown, 
approaching to black. It is surrounded on all sides 
by a border composed of a substance which I took to 
be a close cement of pitch and gravel of a similar, 
but not quite the same, brownish colour* This border 
serves to support its detached pieces; it is two or 
three inches in breadth, and rises a little above the 
surface of the stone. Both the border and the stone 
itself are encircled by a silver band,** broader below 
than above, and on the two sides, with a considerable 
swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden 
under it. The lower part of the border is studded 
with silver nails. 

"In the south-east corner of the Ka'abah,*** or, as 
the Arabs call it, Rokn el Yemany, there is another 

* The colour was black and metallic, and the centre of the stone was 
sunk about two inches below the metal circle. Round the sides was a reddish 
brown cement, almost level with the metal, and sloping down to the middle of 
the stone. 

Ibn Jubayr declares the depth of the stone unknown , but that most people 
believe it to extend two cubits into the wall. In his day it was three "Shibr" 
(the large span from, the thumb to the little finger tip) broad , and one span 
long, with knobs, and a joining of four pieces, which the Karamitah had 
broken. The stone was set in a silver band. Its softness and moisture were 
such, says Ibn Jubayr, "that the sinner never would remove his mouth from 
it, which phenomenon made the Prophet declare it to be the covenant of Allah 
on earth." 

*■ The band is now a massive circle of gold or silver gilt. I found the 
aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers broad. 

*** The "Rukn el Yemani" is the corner facing the south. The part 
alluded to in the text is the wall of the Ka'abah, between theShami and Yemani 
angles , distant about three feet from the latter , and near the site of the old 
western door , long since closed. The stone is darker and redder than the rest 
of the wall. It is called El Mustajab (or Mustajab min el Zunub or Mustajab 
el Du'a, " where prayer is granted "). Pilgrims here extend their arms, press 
their bodies against the building, and beg forgiveness for their sins. 


stone about five feet from the ground; it is one foot 
and a half in length, and two inches in breadth, 
placed upright, and of the common Meccah stone. 
This the people walking round the Ka'abah touch only 
with the right hand; they do not kiss it* 

"On the north side of the Ka'abah, just by its 
door, and close to the wall, is a slight hollow in the 
ground, lined with marble, and sufficiently large to 
admit of three persons sitting. Here it is thought 
meritorious to pray: the spot is called El Ma'ajan,** 
and supposed to be where Abraham and his son Is- 
mael kneaded the chalk and mud which they used in 
building the Ka'abah; and near this Ma'ajan the former 
is said to have placed the large stone upon which he 
stood while working at the masonry. On the basis of 
the Ka'abah, just over the Ma'ajan, is an ancient Cufic 
inscription; but this I was unable to decipher, and had 
no opportunity of copying it. 

"On the west (north-west) side of the Ka'abah, 

* I have frequently seen it kissed by men and women. 

** El Ma'ajan, the place of mixing or kneading, because the patriarchs 
here kneaded the mud used as cement in the holy building. Some call it El 
Hufrah (the digging), and it is generally known as Makam Jibrail (the place of 
Gabriel) , because here descended the inspired order for the five daily prayers, 
and at this spot the Prophet and the Archangel performed their devotions, 
making it a most auspicious site. It is on the north of the door, from which it 
is distant about two feet ; its length is seven spans and seven fingers ; breadth 
five spans three fingers ; and depth one span four fingers. 

The following sentence from Herklet's "Qanoon e Islam" (ch. xn. sec. 5.) 
may serve to show the extent of error still popular. The author , after separat- 
ing the Bayt Ullah from the Ka'abah, erroneously making the former the name 
of the whole temple, proceeds to say, "the rain water which falls on its (the 
Ka'abah' s) terrace runs off through a golden spout on a stone near it , called 
R ookn-e- Yemeni , or alabaster-stone, and stands over the grave of Ish- 
mael" 1 


about two feet below its summit, is the famous Myzab, 
or water-spout,* through which the rain-water collected 
on the roof of the building is discharged, so as to fall 
upon the ground; it is about four feet in length, and 
six inches in breadth, as well as I could judge from 
below, with borders equal in height to its breadth. At 
the mouth hangs what is called the beard of the 
Myzab; a gilt board, over which the water flows. This 
spout was sent hither from Constantinople in a.h. 981, 
and is reported to be of pure gold. The pavement 
round the Ka'abah, below the Myzab, was laid down 
in a.h. 826, and consists of various coloured stones, 
forming a very handsome specimen of mosaic. There 
are two large slabs of fine verde antico %% in the centre, 
which, according to Makrizi, were sent thither, as 
presents from Cairo, in a.h. 241. This is the spot 
where, according to Mohammedan tradition, Ismayl 
the son of Ibrahim, and his mother Hajirah, are 
buried; and here it is meritorious for the pilgrim to 
recite a prayer of two Rikats. On this side is a semi- 
circular wall, the two extremities of which are in a 
line with the sides of the Ka'abah, and distant from 

* Generally called Mizab el Rahmah (of Mercy.) It carries rain from the 
roof, and discharges it upon Ishmael's grave , where pilgrims stand fighting to 
catch it. In El Idrisi's time it was of wood ; now it is said to be gold, but it 
looks very dingy. 

** Usually called the Hajar el Akhzar, or green stone. El Idrisi speaks of 
a white stone covering Ishmael's remains, Ibn Jubayr of "green marble, 
longish, in form of a Mihrab arch, and near it a white round slab, in both of 
which are spots that make them appear yellow." Near them, we are told, and 
towards the Iraki corner , is the tomb of Hagar , under a green slab one span 
and a half broad, and pilgrims used to pray at both places. Ali Bey erroneously 
applies the words El Hajar Ismail to the parapet about the slab. 


lit three or four feet,* leaving an opening, which leads 
I to the burial-place of Ismayl. The wall bears the 
■name of El Hatym;** and the area which it encloses 
lis called Hedjer or Hedjer Ismael,*** on account of 
■its being separated from the Ka'abah: the wall itself 
Ijalso is sometimes so called. 

"Tradition says that the Ka'abah once extended as 
far as the Hatym, and that this side having fallen 
down just at the time of the Hadj, the expenses of 
repairing it were demanded from the pilgrims, under 
a pretence that the revenues of government were not 
acquired in a manner sufficiently pure to admit of 
their application towards a purpose so sacred. The 
sum, however, obtained proved very inadequate; all 
that could be done, therefore, was to raise a wall, 
which marked the space formerly occupied by the 
Ka'abah. This tradition, although current among the 

* My measurements give five feet six inches. In El Idrisi's day the wall 
was fifty cubits long. 

e * ElHatim (* r Jil*>.«oJf lit. the "broken"). Burckhardt asserts that the 

Mekkawi no longer apply the word, as some historians do, to the space bounded 
by the Ka'abah, the Partition, the Zem Zem, and the Makam of Ibrahim. I 
heard it, however, so used by learned Meccans, and they gave as the meaning 
iof the name the break in this part of the oval pavement which surrounds the 
Ka'abah. Historians relate that all who rebuilt the "House of Allah" followed 
Abraham's plan till the Kuraysh, and after them El Hajjaj , curtailed it in the 
direction of El Hatim , which part was then first broken off, and ever since re- 
mained so. 

t ° 
f** El Hijr VC^v^dLf) is the space separated, as the name denotes, from 

the Ka'abah. Some suppose that Abraham here penned his sheep. Possibly 

Ali Bey means this part of the Temple when he speaks of El Hajar (<*„£g^S» J ) 
■ Ismail— les pierres d'Ismail. / 


Metowefs (cicerones), is at variance with history; which 
declares that the Hedjer was built by the Beni Koreish^J 
who contracted the dimensions of the Ka'abah; thatj 
it was united to the building by Hadjadj ,* and again 
separated from it by Ibn Zebeyr. It is asserted by 
Fasy, that a part of the Hedjer as it now stands wasj 
never comprehended within the Ka'abah. The law 
regards it as a portion of the Ka'abah, inasmuch as it: 
is esteemed equally meritorious to pray in the Hedjer! 
as in the Ka'abah itself; and the pilgrims who have 
not an opportunity of entering the latter are permitted] 
to affirm upon oath that they have prayed in thej 
Ka'abah, although they have only prostrated them- 
selves within the enclosure of the Hatym. The wall 
is built of solid stone, about five feet in height, and 
four in thickness, cased all over with white marble,, 
and inscribed with prayers and invocations neatly, 
sculptured upon the stone in modern characters.** 
These and the casing, are the work of El Ghoury, the 
Egyptian sultan, in a.h. 917. The walk round the 
Ka'abah is performed on the outside of the wall — the 
nearer to it the better. 

"Round the Ka'abah is a good pavement of 
marble*** about eight inches below the level of the 
great square; it was laid in A.H. 981, by order of the 

* "El Hajjaj ;" this, as will afterwards be seen, is a mistake. He excluded 
the Hatim. 

** As well as memory serves me , for I have preserved no note , the inscrip- 
tions are in the marble casing, and indeed no other stone meets the eye. 

*** It is a fine, close, grey, polished granite : the walk is called El Mataf, 
or the place of circumambulation. 


sultan, and describes an irregular oval; it is surrounded 
by thirty- two slender gilt pillars, or rather poles, be- 
tween every two of which are suspended seven glass 
lamps, always lighted after sunset.* Beyond the poles 
is a second pavement, about eight paces broad, some- 
what elevated above the first, but of coarser work; 
then another six inches higher, and eighteen paces 
broad, upon which stand several small buildings; 
beyond this is the gravelled ground; so that two broad 
steps may be said to lead from the square down to 
the Ka'abah. The small buildings just mentioned which 
surround the Ka'abah are the five Makams,** with 
the well of Zem Zem, the arch called Bab es Salam, 
and the Mambar. 

"Opposite the four sides of the Ka'abah stand four 
other small buildings, w T here the Imaums of the ortho- 
dox Mohammedan sects, the Hanefy, Shafey, Hanbaly, 
and Maleky take their station, and guide the con- 
gregation in their prayers. The Makam el Maleky on 
the south, and that of Hanbaly opposite the Black 

* These are now iron posts , very numerous , supporting cross rods , and of 
tolerably elegant shape. In Ali Bey's time there were "trente-une colonnes 
minces en piliers en bronze." Some native works say thirty-three, including 
two marble columns. Between each two hang several white or green glass 
globe-lamps , with wicks and oil floating on water ; their light is faint and dis- 
mal. The whole of the lamps in the Haram is said to be more than iooo, yet 
they serve only to make "darkness visible." 

** There are only four "Makams," the Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, and the 
Makam Ibrahim; and there is some error of diction below, for in these it is 
that the Imams stand before their congregations, and nearest the Ka'abah. In 
Ibn Jubayr's time the Zaydi sect was allowed an Imam , though known to be 
schismatics and abusers of the caliphs. Now, not being permitted to have a 
separate station for prayer , they suppose theirs to be suspended from heaven 
above the Ka'abah roof, 


Stone, are small pavilions open on all sides, and sup- 
ported by four slender pillars, with a light sloping 
roof, terminating in a point, exactly in style of Indian 
pagodas.* The Makam el Hanafy, which is the largest, 
being fifteen paces by eight, is open on all sides, and] 
supported by twelve small pillars; it has an upperl 
story, also open, where the Mueddin who calls to j 
prayers takes his stand. This was first built in a.h. J 
923, by the Sultan Selim L; it was afterwards rebuilt | 
by Khoshgeldy, governor of Djidda, in 947; but all | 
the four Makams, as they now stand, were built in a.h. I 
1074. The Makam-es'-Shafey is over the well Zem \ 
Zem, to which it serves as an upper chamber.** 

"Near their respective Makams the adherents of 
the four different sects seat themselves for prayers. 
During my stay at Meccah the Hanefys always began 
their prayer first; but, according to Muselman custom, 
the Shafeys should pray first in the mosque; then the 
Hanefys , Malekys , and Hanbalys. The prayer of the 
Maghreb is an exception, which they are all enjoined 
to utter together.*** The Makam el Hanbaly is the 1 

* The Makam el Maliki is on the west of, and thirty seven cubits from, the 
Ka'abah ; that of the Hanbali forty-seven paces distant. 

** Only the Muezzin takes his stand here , and the Shafe'is pray behind 
their Imam on the pavement round the Ka'abah, between the corner of the well ''' 
Zem Zem, and the Makam Ibrahim. This place is forty cubits from the Ka'abah, 
that is to say, eight cubits nearer than the northern and southern "Makams." 
Thus the pavement forms an irregular oval ring round the house. 

**# j n Burckhardt's time the schools prayed according to the seniority of 
their founders, and they uttered the Azan of El Maghrib together, because that 
is a peculiarly delicate hour, which easily passes by unnoticed. In the twelfth 
century, at all times but the evening , the Shafe'i began , then came the Ma- 
liki and Hanbali simultaneously, and , lastly, the Hanafi. Now the Shaykh el 
Muezzin begins the call, which is taken up by the others. He is a Hanafi ; as ; 


place where the officers of government and other great 
people are seated during prayers; here the Pasha and 
the sheriff are placed, and in their absence the eunuchs 
of the temple. These fill the space under this Makam 
in front, and behind it the female Hadjys who visit 
the temple have their places assigned, to which they 
repair principally for the two evening prayers, few of 
them being seen in the mosque at the three' other 
daily prayers: they also perform the Towaf, or walk 
round the Ka'abah, but generally at night, though it is 
not uncommon to see them walking in the day-time 
among the men. 

"The present building which encloses Zem Zem 
stands close by the Makam Hanbaly, and was erected 
in a.h. 1072: it is of a square shape, and of massive 
construction, with an entrance to the north,* opening 
into the room which contains the well. This room is 
beautifully ornamented with marbles of various colours; 
and adjoining to it, but having a separate door, is a 
small room with a stone reservoir, which is always full 
of Zem Zem water. This the Hadjys get to drink by 
passing their hand with a cup through an iron grated 
opening, which serves as a window, into the reservoir, 
without entering the room. The mouth of the well is 
surrounded by a wall five feet in height and about ten 
feet in diameter. Upon this the people stand who 
draw up the water in leathern buckets, an iron railing 

indeed are all the principal people at Meccah, only a few wild Sherifs of the 

hills being Shafe'i. 

* The door of the Zem Zem building opens to the south-east. , 
Mecca and Medina. III. 2 


being so placed as to prevent their falling in. In El 
Fasy's time there were eight marble basins in this 
room, for the purpose of ablution. 

"On the north-east (south-east) side of Zem Zem 
stand two small buildings, one behind the other* 
called El Kobbateyn; they are covered by domes 
painted in the same manner as the mosque, and in 
them are kept water-jars, lamps, carpets, mats, brooms, 
and other articles used in the very mosque.** These 
two ugly buildings are injurious to the interior ap- 
pearance of the building, their heavy forms and struc- 
ture being very disadvantageously contrasted with the 
light and airy shape of the Makams. I heard some 
Hadjys from Greece, men of better taste than the 
Arabs, express their regret that the Kobbateyn should 
be allowed to disfigure the mosque. They were built 
by Khoshgeldy, governor of Dijidda a.h. 947; one is 
called Kobbet el Abbas, from having been placed on 

* This is not exactly correct: the angle of one building fronts the angle of 
its neighbour. 

*•* Their names and offices are now changed. One is called the Kubbat el 
Sa'at , and contains the clocks and chronometers (two of them English) sent as 
presents to the mosque by the Sultan. The other, known as the Kubbat el 
Kutub, is used as a store-room for manuscripts bequeathed to the mosque. 
They still are open to Burckhardt's just criticism, being nothing but the com- 
mon cupola springing from four walls, and vulgarly painted with bands of red, 
yellow, and green. In Ibn Jubayr's time the two domes contained bequests of 
books and candles. The Kubbat Abbas, or that further from the Ka'abah 
was also called Kubbat el Sherab (the Dome of Drink), because Zem 
Zem water was here kept cooling for the use of pilgrims in Daurak, or 
earthen jars. The nearer was termed Kubbat el Yahudi; and the tradition 
they told me was , that a Jew having refused to sell his house upon this spot, it 
was permitted to remain in loco by the prophet, as a lasting testimony to his 
regard for justice. A similar tale is told of an old woman's hut, which was 
allowed to stand in the corner of the great Nushirawan's royal halls. 


the site of a small tank said to have been formed by 
Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed. 

"A few paces west (north-west) of Zem Zem, and 
directly opposite to the door of the Ka'abah, stands a 
ladder or staircase,* which is moved up to the wall of 
|the Ka'abah on days when that building is opened, 
and by which the visitors ascend to the door. It is 
of wood, with some carved ornaments, moves on low 
wheels, and is sufficiently broad to admit of four per- 
sons ascending abreast. The first ladder was sent 
hither from Cairo in a.h. 818 by Moyaed Abou el 
Naser, king of Egypt. 

"In the same line with the ladder and close by it 
stands a lightly built insulated and circular arch, about 
fifteen feet wide, and eighteen feet high, called Bab- 
es-Salam, which must not be confounded with the 
great gate of the mosque, bearing the same name. 
Those who enter the Bait Ullah for the first time are 
enjoined to do so by the outer and inner Bab-es- 
Salam; in passing under the latter they are to exclaim, 
'O God, may it be a happy entrance.' I do not know 
by whom this arch was built, but it appears to be 

"Nearly in front of the Bab-es-Salam and nearer 
the Ka'abah than any of the other surrounding build- 
ings, stands the Makam Ibrahim.*** This is a small 

* Called "El Daraj." A correct drawing of it may be found in AH Bey's 

** The Bab el Salam , or Bab el Naby, or Bab beni Shaybah , resembles in 
its isolation a triumphal arch, and is built of cut stone. 

*** " The (praying) place of Abraham." Readers will remember that the 



building supported by six pillars about eight feet high, 
four of which are surrounded from top to bottom by 
a fine iron railing, while they leave the space beyond 
the two hind pillars open; within the railing is a frame 
about five feet square, terminating in a pyramidal top, 
and said to contain the sacred stone upon which 
Ibrahim stood when he built the Ka'abah, and which 
with the help of his son Ismayl he had removed from 
hence to the place called Ma'ajen, already mentioned. 
The stone is said to have yielded under the weight of 
the Patriarch, and to preserve the impression of his 
foot still visible upon it; but no Hadjy has ever seen 
it,* as the frame is always entirely covered with a 

Meccan Mosque is peculiarly connected with Ibrahim, whom Moslems prefer 
to all prophets and apostles except Mohammed. 

* This I believe to be incorrect. I was asked five dollars for permission to 
enter; but the sum was too high for my finances. Learned men told me that 
the stone shows the impress of two feet, especially the big toes, and devout 
pilgrims fill the cavities with water, which they rub over their eyes and faces. 
When the Caliph el Mahdi visited Meccah, one Abdullah binUsman presented 
himself at the unusual hour of noon and , informing the prince that he had 
brought him a relic which no man but himself had . yet seen, produced this 
celebrated stone. El Mahdi, rejoicing greatly, kissed it, rubbed his face against 
it, and pouring water upon it, drank the draught. KutbelDin, one of the 
Meccan historians, says that it was visited in his day. In AH Bey's time it was 
covered with "un magnifique drap noir brode en or et en argent avec de gros 
glands en or;" he does not say, however, that he saw the stone. Its veils, 
called Sitr Ibrahim elKhalil, are of green " Ibrisham," or silk mixed with cotton 
and embroidered with gold. They are made at Cairo of three different colours, 
black, red, and green ; and one is devoted to each year. The gold embroidery 
is in the Sulsi character, and expresses the Throne-verse , the Chapter of the 
Cave, and the name of the reigning 'Sultan ; on the top is "Allah," below is 
'* Mohammed;" beneath this is "Ibrahim el Khalil;" and at each corner is the 
name of one of the four caliphs. 

In a note to the "Dabistan" (vol. n. page 410) we find two learned Orien- 
talists confounding the Black Stone with Abraham's Station or Platform. "The 
Prophet honoured the Black Stone, upon which Abraham conversed with 
Hagar , to which he tied his camels , and upon which the traces of his feet are 
still seen." 


brocade of red silk richly embroidered. Persons are 
constantly seen before the railing invoking the good 
offices of Ibrahim; and a short prayer must be uttered 
by the side of the Makam after the walk round the 
Ka'abah is completed. It is said that many of the 
Sahaba, or first adherents of Mohammed, were interred 
in the open space between this Makam and Zem 
Zem;* from which circumstance it is one of the most 
favorite places of prayers in the mosque. In this part 
of the area the Khalif Soleyman Ibn Abd el Melek, 
brother of Wolyd (El Walid), built a fine reservoir in 
a.h. 97, which was filled from a spring east of Ara- 
fat ;** but the Mekkawys destroyed it after his death, 
on the pretence that the water of Zem Zem was 

"On the side of Makam Ibrahim, facing the middle 
part of the front of the Ka'abah, stands the Mambar, 
or pulpit of the mosque; it is elegantly formed of fine 
white marble, with many sculptured ornaments; and 
was sent as a present to the mosque in a.h. 969 by 

; Sultan Soleyman Ibn Selym.*** A straight, narrow 
staircase leads up to the post of the Khatyb, or 

; preacher, which is surmounted by a gilt polygonal 
pointed steeple, resembling an obelisk. Here a ser- 
mon is preached on Fridays and on certain festivals. 

* Not only here , I was told by learned Meccans , but under all the oval 
pavements surrounding the Ka'abah. 

** The spring gushes from the southern base of Mount Arafat , as will 
afterwards be noticed. It is exceedingly pure. 

*** The author informs us that "the first pulpit was sent from Cairo in 
a.h. 818, together with the staircase, both being the gifts of Moayed, caliph of 
Egypt." Ali Bey accurately describes the present Mambar. 



These, like the Friday sermons of all mosques in the 
Mohammedan countries, are usually of the same turn, 
with some slight alterations upon extraordinary oc- 

"I have now described all the buildings within the 
inclosure of the temple. 

"The gates of the mosque are nineteen in number, 
and are distributed about it without any order or 
symmetry ." ** 

* The curious will find a specimen of a Moslem sermon in Lane's Mod. 
Egypt, vol. i. ch. 3. 

** Burckhardt "subjoins their names as they are usually written upor 
small cards by the Metowefs ; in another column are the names by which the] 
were known in more ancient times, principally taken from Azraky andKotoby.' 
I have added a few remarks in brackets. 

Modern names. Arches. Ancient names. 

1. Bab el Salam, composed of Bab Beni Shaybah (this is properly ap- 

smaller gates or arches . . 3 plied to the inner , not the outer 

Salam Gate). 

2. Bab el Neby 2 Bab el Jenaiz, Gate of Biers, the 

dead being carried through it to the 

3. Bab el Abbas, opposite to this Bab Sertakat (some Moslem authors 

the house of Abbas once confound this Bab el Abbas with the 

stood 3 Gate of Biers). 

4. Bab Aly 3 Bab Beni Hashem. 

5. Bab el Zayt 1 Bab Bazan (so called from a neigl 
Bab el Ashra J bouring hill). 

6. Bab el Baghlah 2 

7. Bab el Szafa (Safa) .... 5 Bab Beni Makhzoum. 

8. BabSherif. ...... 2 Bab el Djiyad (so called because leac 

ing to the hill Jiyad). 

9. Bab Medjahed 2 Bab el Dokhmah. 

to. Bab Zoleykha 2 Bab Sherif Adjelan, who built it. 

Ti. Bab Om Hany, so called 

from the daughter of Aby 
Taleb 2 

Carry forward .... 28 



Burckhardt's description of the gates is short and 
imperfect. On the eastern side of the Mosque there 
are four principal entrances, seven on the southern 
side, three in the western, and five in the northern 

The eastern gates are the Greater Bab el Salam, 
through which the pilgrim enters the temple; it is 
close to the north-east angle. Next to it the Lesser 
Bab el Salam, with two small arches; thirdly, the Bab 
el Nabi, where the Prophet used to pass through from 
Khadijah's house; and, lastly, near the south-east 

Modern names. Arches. Ancient names. 

Brought forward . . . .28 

12. Bab el Woda'a (El Wida'a) Bab el Hazoura (some write this Bab 

through which the pilgrim el Zarurah). 

passes when taking hisfinal 
leave of the temple ... 2 

13. Bab Ibrahim, so called from Bab el Kheyatyn or Bab Djomah. 

a tailor who had a shop 
near it 1 

14. Bab el Omra, through which 

pilgrims issue to visit the 
Omra. Also called Benu 
Saham 1 

15. Bab Atech 1 Bab Amer Ibn el Aas , or Bab el 


16. Bab el Bastye 1 Bab el Adjale. 

17. Bab el Kotoby, so called Bab Zyade Dar el Nedoua. 

from an historian of Mek- 
ka who lived in an ad- 
joining lane and opened 
this small gate into the 
mosque 1 

18. Bab Zyade 3 (It is called Bab Ziyadah — Gate of Ex- 

cess — because it is a new structure 
thrown out into the Shamiyah, or 
Syrian quarter). 

19. Bab Dereybe 1 Bab Medrese. 

Total 39 


corner, the Bab Ali, or of the Bemi Hashim, opening 
upon the street between Safa and Marwah. 

Beyond the north-eastern corner, in the northern 
wall, is the Bab Duraybah, a small entrance with one 
arch. Next to it, almost fronting the Ka'abah, is the 
grand adit, Bab el Ziyadah, also known as Bab el 
Nadwah. Here the colonnade, projecting far beyond 
the normal line, forms a small square or hall supported 
by pillars, and a false colonnade of sixty-one columns 
leads to the true cloister of the Mosque. This por- 
tion of the building, being cool and shady, is crowded 
by the poor, the diseased, and the dying, during divine 
worship, and at other times by idlers, schoolboys, and 
merchants. Passing through three external arches, 
pilgrims descend by a flight of steps into the hall, 
where they deposit their slippers, it not being con- 
sidered decorous to hold them when circumambulating 
the Ka'abah. A broad pavement, in the shape of an 
irregular triangle, whose base is the cloister, leads to 
the circuit of the house. Next to the Ziyadah Gate 
is a small, single-arched entrance, "Bab Kutubi," and 
beyond it one similar, the Bab el Ajlah (&Xs\.&), also 
named El Basitiyah, from its proximity to the college 
of Abd el Basitah. Close to the north-west angle of 
the cloister is the Bab el Nadwah, anciently called Bab 
el Umrah, and now Bab el Atik, the Old Gate. Near 
this place and opening into the Ka'abah, stood the 
"Town Hall" (Dar el Nadwah), built by Kusay, for 
containing the oriflamme "El Liwa," and as a council- 
chamber for the ancients of the city. 


In the western wall are three entrances. The single- 
arched gate nearest to the north angle is called Bab 
Beni Saham or Bab el Umrah, because pilgrims pass 
through it to the Tanim and the ceremony El Umrah 
(Little Pilgrimage). In the centre of the wall is the 
Bab Ibrahim, or Bab el Khayyatin (the Tailors' Gate); 
a single arch leading into a large projecting square, 
like that of the Ziyadah entrance, but somewhat smaller. 
Near the south-west corner is a double-arched adit, 
the Bab el Wida'a ("of Farewell"): hence departing 
pilgrims issue forth from the temple. 

At the western end of the southern wall is the two- 
arched Bab Umm Hani, so called after the lady's 
residence, when included in the Mosque. Next to it 

is a similar building, "Bab Ujlan" (-jitasvx), which 
derives its name from the large college "Madrasat 
Ujlan;" some term it Bab el Sherif, because it is op- 
posite one of the palaces. After which, and also 
pierced with two arches, is the Bab el Jiyad (some 
erroneously spell it El Jihad, "of Religious War"), the 
gate leading to Jebel Jiyad. The next is also double 
arched, and called the Bab el Mujahid or El Rahmah 
("of Mercy"). Nearly opposite the Ka'abah, and con- 
nected with the pavement by a raised line of stone, is 
the Bab el Safa, through which pilgrims now issue to 
perform the ceremony "El Sa'i;" it is a small and un- 
conspicuous erection. Next to it is the Bab el Baghlah, 
with two arches; and close to the south-east angle of 
the Mosque the Bab Yunus, alias Bab Bazan, alias 


Bab el Zayt, alias Bab el Asharah, "of the Ten," be- 
cause a favorite with the ten first Sahabah, or Com- 
panions of the Prophet. "Most of these gates," says 
Burckhardt, "have high pointed arches; but a few- 
round arches are seen among them, which, like all 
arches of this kind in the Hejar, are nearly semi- 
circular. They are without ornament, except the in- 
scription on the exterior, which commemorates the 
name of the builder, and they are all posterior in date 
to the fourteenth century. As each gate consists of 
two or three arches, or divisions, separated by narrow 
walls, these divisions are counted in the enumeration 
of the gates leading into the Ka'abah, and they make 
up the number thirty-nine. There being no doors to 
the gates, the Mosque is consequently open at all 
times. I have crossed at every hour of the night, and 
always found people there, either at prayers or walk- 
ing about* 

"The outside walls of the mosques are those of the 
houses which surround it on all sides. These houses 
belonged originally to the Mosque; the greater part are 
now the property of individuals. They are let out to 
the richest Hadjys, at very high prices, as much as 500 
piastres being given during the pilgrimage for a good 
apartment with windows opening into the Mosque.** 

* The Meccans love to boast that at no hour of the day or night is the 
Ka'abah ever seen without a devotee to perform "Tawaf." 

** This would be about 50 dollars, whereas 25 is a Fair sum for a single apart- 
ment. Like English lodging-house keepers, the Meccans make the season pay 
for the year. In Burckhardt's time the colonnato was worth from 9 to 12 pias- 
tres : the value of the latter coin is now greatly decreased , for 28 go to the 
Spanish dollar all over El Hejaz. 


Windows have in consequence been opened in many 
parts of the walls on a level with the street, and above 
that of the floor of the colonnades. Hadjys living in 
these apartments are allowed to perform the Friday's 
prayers at home; because, having the Ka'abah in view 
from the windows, they are supposed to be in the 
Mosque itself, and to join in prayer those assembled 
within the temple. Upon a level with the ground 
floor of the colonnades and opening into them are 
small apartments formed in the walls, having the ap- 
pearance of dungeons; these have remained the pro- 
perty of the Mosque while the houses above them be- 
long to private individuals. They are let out to water- 
men, who deposit in them the Zem Zem jars, or to 
less opulent Hadjys who wish to live in the Mosque* 
Some of the surrounding houses still belong to the 
Mosque, and were originally intended for public schools 
as their names of Medresa implies; they are now all 
let out to Hadjys. 

"The exterior of the Mosque is adorned with seven 
minarets irregularly distributed: — i. Minaret of Bab el 
Omra (Umrah); 2. of Bab el Salam; 3. of Bab Aly; 
4. of Beb el Wodaa (Wida'a); 5. of Medesa Kail (Kait) 
Bey; 6. of Beb el Zyadi; 7. of Medreset Sultan Soley- 
man.** They are quadrangular or round steeples, in 

* I entered one of these caves , and never experienced such a sense of suf- 
focation even in that favourite spot for Britons to asphixiate themselves —the 
Baths of Nero. 

** The Magnificent (son of Selim I.), who built at El Medinah the minaret 
bearing his name. The minarets at Meccah are far inferior to those of her 
rival , and their bands of gaudy colours give them an appearance of tawdry 


no way differing from other minarets. The entrance 
to them is from the different buildings round the 
Mosque, which they adjoin.* A beautiful view of the 
busy crowd below is attained by ascending the most 
northern one."** 

Having described at length the establishment at- 
tached to the Mosque of El Medinah, I spare my 
readers a detailed account of the crowd of idlers that 
hang about the Meccan temple. The Naib el Haram, 
or vice-intendant, is one Sayyid Ali, said to be of 
Indian extraction; he is superior to all the attendants. 
There are about eighty eunuchs, whose chief, Serur 
Agha, was a slave of Mohammed Ali Pasha. Their 
pay varies from ioo to iooo piastres per mensem; it 
is, however, inferior to the Medinah salaries. The 
Imams, Muezzins, Khatibs, Zem Zemis, &c. &c, are 
under their respective Shaykhs who are of the Olema. 

Briefly to relate the history of the Ka'abah. 

The "House of Allah" is supposed to have been 
built and rebuilt ten times. 

The first origin of the idea is manifestly a sym- 
bolical allusion to the angels standing before the Al- 
mighty and praising His name. When Allah, it is said, 

* Two minarets , namely, those of the Bab el Salam and the Bab el Safa, 
are separated from the Mosque by private dwelling-houses, a plan neither com- 
mon nor regular. 

** A stranger must be careful how he appears at a minaret window, unless 
he would have a bullet whizzing past his head. Arabs are especially jealous of 
being overlooked, and have no fellow-feeling for votaries of "beautiful views." 
For this reason here, as in Egypt, a blind Muezzin is preferred, and many 
ridiculous stories are told about men who for years have counterfeited cecity to 
live in idleness. 


informed the celestial throng that he was about to 
send a vicegerent on earth, they deprecated the design. 
Being reproved with these words, "God knoweth what 
ye know not," and dreading the eternal anger, they 
compassed the Arsh, or throne, in adoration. Upon 
this Allah created the Bayt el Ma'amur, four jasper 
pillars with a ruby roof, and the angels circumam- 
bulated it, crying, "Praise be to Allah, and exalted be 
Allah, and there is no god but Allah, and Allah is 
omnipotent!" The Creator then ordered them to build 
a similar house for man on earth. This, according to 
Ali, took place 40, according to Abu Hurayrah, 2000 
years before the creation; both authorities, however, 
are agreed that the firmaments were spread above and 
the seven earths beneath this Bayt el Ma'amur. 

There is considerable contradiction concerning the 
second house. Ka'ab related that Allah sent down 
with Adam* a Khaymah, or tabernacle of hollow ruby, 
which the angels raised on stone pillars. This was 
also called Bayt el Ma'amur. Adam received an order 
to compass it about; after which he begged a reward 
for obedience, and was promised a pardon to himself 
and to all his progeny who repent. 

Others declare that Adam, expelled from Paradise, 
and lamenting that he no longer heard the prayers of 
the angels, was ordered by Allah to take the stones of 
five hills, Lebanon, Sinai, Tur Zayt (Olivet), Ararat, 


It must be remembered that the Moslems, like many of the Jews, hold 
that Paradise was not on earth , but in the lowest firmament , which is , as it 
were, a reflection of earth. 


and Hira, which afforded the first stone. Gabriel, 
smiting his wing upon earth, opened a foundation to 
the seventh layer, and the position of the building is 
exactly below the heavenly Bayt el Ma'amur — a Mos- 
lem corruption of the legends concerning the heavenly 
and the earthly Jerusalem. Our First Father circum- 
ambulated it as he had seen the angels do, and was 
by them taught the formula of prayer and the number 
of circuits. 

According to others, again, this second house was 
not erected till after the "Angelic Foundation" was 
destroyed by time. 

The history of the third house is also somewhat 
confused. When the Bayt el Ma'amur, or, as others 
say, the tabernacle, was removed to heaven after 
Adam's death, a stone-and-mud building was placed 
in its stead by his son Shays (Seth). For this reason 
it is respected by the Sabseans, or Christians of St. 
John, as well as by the Moslems. This Ka'abah, ac- 
cording to some, was destroyed by the deluge, which 
materially altered its site. Others believe that it was 
raised to heaven. Others, again, declare that only the 
pillars supporting the heavenly tabernacle were allowed 
to remain. Most authorities agree in asserting that the 
Black Stone was stored up in Abu Kubays, whence 
that "first created of mountains " is called El Amin, 
"the Honest." 

Abraham and his son were ordered to build the 
fourth house upon the old foundations: its materials, 
according to some, were taken from the five hills 


which supplied the second; others give the names 
Ohod, Kuds, Warka, Sinai, Hira, and a sixth, Abu 
Kubays. It was of irregular shape: $2 cubits from 
the eastern to the northern corner; 32 from north to 
west; 31 from west to south; 20 from south to east; 
and only 9 cubits high. There was no roof; two 
doors, level with the ground, were pierced in the 
eastern and western walls; and inside, on the right 
hand, near the present entrance, a hole for treasure 
was dug. Gabriel restored the Black Stone, which 
Abraham, by his direction, placed in its present corner, 
as a sign where circumambulation is to begin; and 
the patriarch then learned all the complicated rites of 
pilgrimage. When this house was completed, Abra- 
ham, by Allah's order, ascended Jebel Sabir, and 
called the world to visit the sanctified spot; and all 
earth's sons heard him, even those "in their father's 
loins or in their mother's womb, from that day unto 
the day of resurrection." 

The Amalikah (descended from Imlik, great grand- 
son of Sam, son of Noah), who first settled near 
Meccah, founded the fifth house. El Tabari and the 
Moslem historians generally made the erection of the 
Amalikah to precede that of the Jurham; these, ac- 
cording to others, repaired the house which Abraham 

The sixth Ka'abah was built about the beginning 
of the Christian era by the Beni Jurham, the children 
of Kahtan, fifth descendant from Noah. Ismael mar- 
ried, according to the Moslems, a daughter of this tribe, 


Da'alah bintMuzaz (jjoLdtf) bin Umar, and abandon- 
ing Hebrew, he began to speak Arabic (Ta'arraba). 
Hence his descendants are called Arabicized Arabs. 
After IsmaiPs death, which happened when he was 
130 years old, Sabit, the eldest of his twelve sons, be- 
came "Lord of the house." He was succeeded by his 
maternal grandfather Muzaz, and afterwards by his 
children. The Jurham inhabited the higher parts of 
Meccah, especially Jebel Ka'aka'an, so called from their 
clashing arms; whereas the Amalikah dwelt in the 
lower grounds, which obtained the name of Jiyad, from 
their generous horses. 

Kusay bin Kilab, governor of Meccah, and fifth 
forefather of the Prophet, built the seventh house, ac- 
cording to Abraham's plan. He roofed it over with 
palm-leaves, stocked it with idols, and persuaded his 
tribe to settle near the Haram. 

Kusay's house was burnt down by a woman's 
censer, which accidentally set fire to the Kiswat, or 
covering, and the walls were destroyed by a torrent. 
A merchant-ship belonging to a Greek trader, called 
"Bakum" ((••i'Lj), being wrecked at Jeddah, afforded 
material for the roof, and the crew were employed as 
masons. The Kuraysh tribe, who rebuilt the house, 
failing in funds of pure money, curtailed its propor- 
tions by nearly seven cubits, and called the omitted 
portion El Hatim. In digging the foundation they 
came to a green stone, like a camel's hunch, which, 
struck with a pickaxe, sent forth blinding lightning, 


and prevented further excavation. The Kuraysh, 
amongst other alterations, raised the walls from nine 
to eighteen cubits, built a staircase in the northern 
breadth, closed the western door, and placed the eastern 
entrance above the ground, to prevent men entering 
without their leave. 

When the eighth house was being built, Moham- 
med was in his twenty-fifth year. His surname of El 
Amin, the Honest, probably induced the tribes to 
make him their umpire for the decision of a dispute 
about the position of the Black Stone, and who should 
have the honour of raising it to its place. Others 
derive the surname from this affair. He decided 
for the corner chosen by Abraham, and distributed 
the privilege amongst the clans. The Berni Zahrah 
and Benu Abd Manaf took the front wall and the 
door; to the Benu Jama and the Berni Sahm was al- 
lotted the back wall; the Benu Makhzum and their 
Kuraysh relations stood at the southern wall; and at 
the "Stone" corner were posted the Benu Abd el Dar, 
the Benu Asad, and the Berni Ada. 

Abdullah bin Zubayr, nephew of Ayisha, rebuilt 
the Ka'abah in a.h. 64. It had been weakened by 
fire, which burnt the covering, besides splitting the 
Black Stone into three pieces, and by the Manjanik 
(catapults) of Husayn (^a^l^) bin Numayr, general 
of Yezid, who obstinately besieged Meccah till he 
heard of his sovereign's death. Abdullah, hoping to 
fulfil a prophecy, and seeing that the people of Meccah 

Mecca and Medina, III. 'X 


fled in alarm, pulled down the building by means of 
"thin-calved Abyssinian slaves:" when they came to 
Abraham's foundation he saw that it included the 
Hijr, which part the Kuraysh had been unable to 
build. This house was made of cut stone and fine 
lime brought from Yemen. Abdullah, taking in the 
Hatim, lengthened the building by seven cubits, and 
added to its former height nine cubits, thus making a 
total of twenty-seven. He roofed over the whole, or 
a part; re-opened the western door, to serve as an 
exit; and, following the advice of his aunt, who quoted 
the Prophet's words, he supported the interior with a 
single row of three columns, instead of the double 
row of six placed there by the Kuraysh. Finally, he 
paved the Mataf, or circuit, ten cubits round with the 
remaining slabs, and increased the Haram by taking 
in the nearer houses. During the building, a curtain 
was stretched round the walls, and pilgrims compassed 
them externally. When finished, it was perfumed in- 
side and outside, and invested with brocade. Then 
Abdullah and all the citizens went forth in procession 
to the Tanim, a reverend place near Meccah, returned 
to perform Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage), slew ioo 
victims, and rejoiced with great festivities. 

The Caliph Abd el Malik bin Marwan besieged 
Abdullah bin Zubayr, who, after a brave defence, was 
slain. In a.h. 74 Hajjaj bin Yusuf, general of Abd el 
Malik's troops, wrote to the prince, informing him that 
Abdullah had made unauthorised additions to and 
changes in the Haram: the reply brought an order to 


rebuild the house. Hajjaj again excluded the Hatim, 
and retired the northern wall six cubits and a span, 
making it twenty-five cubits long by twenty- four broad: 
the other, three sides were allowed to remain as built 
by the son of Zubayr. He gave the house a double 
roof, closed the western door, and raised the eastern 
four cubits and a span above the Mataf, or circuit, 
which he paved over. The Haram was enlarged and 
beautified by the Abbasides, especially by El Mehdi, 
El Mutamid, and El Mutazid. Some authors reckon, 
as an eleventh house, the repairs made by Sultan 
Murad Khan. On the night of Tuesday, 20th Sha'a- 
ban, a.h. 1030, a violent torrent swept the Haram; it 
rose one cubit above the threshold of the Ka'abah, 
carried away the lamp-posts and the Makam Ibrahim, 
all the northern wall of the house, half of the eastern, 
and one-third of the western side. It subsided on 
Wednesday night. The repairs were not finished till 
a.h. 1040. The greater part, however, of the building 
dates from the time of El Hajjaj; and Moslems, who 
never mention his name without a curse, knowingly 
circumambulate his work. The Olema indeed have 
insisted upon its remaining untouched, lest kings in 
wantonness should change its form: Harun el Rashid 
desired to rebuild it, but was forbidden by the Imam 

The present proofs of the Ka'abah's sanctity, as ad- 
duced by the learned, are puerile enough, but curious. 
The Olema have made much of the verselet: "Verily 
the first house built for mankind (to worship in) is 



that in Bakkah* (Meccah), blessed and a salvation to 
the three worlds. Therein (fihi) are manifest signs, 
the standing-place of Abraham, which whoso entereth 
shall be safe." (Kor. ch. 3.) The word "therein" is 
interpreted to mean Meccah, and the "manifest signs" 
the Ka'abah, which contains such marvels as the foot- 
prints on Abraham's platform, and the spiritual safe- 
guard of all who enter the Sanctuary. The other 
"signs" — historical, psychical, and physical — are 
briefly these: — 

The preservation of the Hajar el Aswad and the 
Makam Ibrahim from many foes, and the miracles put 
forth (as in the War of the Elephant) to defend the 
house; the violent and terrible deaths of the sacrile- 
gious; and the fact that, in the Deluge, the large fish 
did not eat the little fish in the Haram. A wonderful 
desire and love impel men from distant regions to 
visit the holy spot; and the first sight of the Ka'abah 
causes awe and fear, horripilation and tears. Further- 
more, ravenous beasts will not destroy their prey in 
the Sanctuary land, and the pigeons and other birds 
never perch upon the house, except to be cured of 
sickness, for fear of defiling the roof. The Ka'abah, 
though small, can contain any number of devotees: no 

* Makkah (our Mecca) is the common word ; Bakkah is a synonyme never 
used but in books. The former means "a concourse of people." But why derive 
it from the Hebrew and translate it "a slaughter?" Is this a likely name for a 
Holy Place? Dr. Colenso actually turns the Makorabe of Ptolemy into "Mak- 
kahrabbah "—plentiful slaughter. But if Makorabe be Mecca it is evidently a 
corruption of "Makkah" and "Arabah" — the Arab race. 

Again supposing the Meccan temple to be originally dedicated to the Sun, 
why' should the pure Arab word ' ' Ba'al " become Hobal with the Hebrew article ; 
that deity being only one of the 360 that formed the Pantheon ? 


one is ever hurt in it, — this is an audacious falsehood 
the Ka'abah is scarcely ever opened without some ac- 
cident happening — and invalids recover their health 
by rubbing themselves against the Kiswah and the 
Black Stone. Finally, it is observed that every day 
100,000 mercies descend upon the house; and especially 
that if rain come up from the northern corner, there 
is plenty in Irak; if from the south, there is plenty in 
Yemen; if from the east, plenty in India; if from the 
western, there is plenty in Syria; and if from all four 
angles, general plenty is presignified. 



The first Visit to the House of Allah. 

The boy Mohammed left me in the street, and 
having at last persuaded the sleepy and tired Indian 
porter, by violent kicks and testy answers to twenty 
cautious queries, to swing open the huge gate of his 
fortress, he rushed up stairs to embrace his mother. 
After a minute I heard the Zaghritah, lululu or shrill 
cry which in these lands welcomes the wanderer home; 
the sound so gladdening to the returner sent a chill 
to the strangers heart. 

Presently the youth returned. His manner had 
changed from a boisterous and jaunty demeanour to 
one of grave and attentive courtesy — I had become 
his guest. He led me into the gloomy hall, seated me 
upon a large carpeted Mastabah, or platform, and told 
his "bara Miyan" (great sir), the Hindostani porter, 
to bring a light. Meanwhile a certain shuffling of 
slippered feet above informed my hungry ears that the 
"Kabirah," the mistress of the house, was intent on 
hospitable thoughts. When the camels were unloaded 
appeared a dish of fine vermicelli, browned and 
powdered with loaf-sugar. The boy Mohammed, I, 
and Shaykh Nur, lost no time in exerting our right 
hands: and truly, after our hungry journey, we found 


the "Kunafah" delicious. After the meal we procured 
cots from a neighbouring coffee-house, and we lay 
down, weary, and anxious to snatch an hour or two of 
repose. At dawn we were expected to perform our 
"Tawaf el Kudum," or "Circumambulation of Arrival," 
at the Haram. 

Scarcely had the first smile of morning beamed 
upon the rugged head of the Eastern hill, Abu Kubays, 
when we arose, bathed, and proceeded in our pilgrim- 
garb to the Sanctuary. We entered by the Bab el 
Ziyadah, or principal northern door, descended two 
long flights of steps, traversed the cloister, and stood 

in sight of the Bayt Allah. 

* * * * * % 

There at last it lay, the bourn of my long and 
weary pilgrimage, realising the hopes and plans of 
many and many a year. The mirage medium of Fancy 
invested the huge catafalque and its gloomy pall with 
peculiar charms. There were no giant fragments of 
hoar antiquity as in Egypt, no remains of graceful and 
harmonious beauty as in Greece and Italy, no barbaric 
gorgeousness as in the buildings of India; yet the 
view was strange, unique — and how few have looked 
upon the celebrated shrine! I may truly say that, of 
all the worshippers who clung weeping to the curtain, 
or who pressed their beating hearts to the stone, none 
felt for the moment a deeper emotion than did the 
Haji from the far north. It was as if the poetical 
legends of the Arab spoke truth, and that the waving 
wings of angels, not the sweet breeze of morning, 


were agitating and swelling the black covering of the 

Few Moslems contemplate for the first time the 
Ka'abah, without fear and awe: there is a popular jest 
against new comers, that they generally inquire the 
direction of prayer. This being the Kiblah, or front- 
ing place, Moslems pray all around it; a circumstance 
which of course cannot take place in any spot of El 
Islam but the Haram. The boy Mohammed there- 
fore, left me for a few minutes to myself; but presently 
he warned me that it was time to begin. Advancing, 
we entered through the Bab Beni Shaybah, "Gate 
of the Sons of the Shaybah" (old woman). There 
we raised our hands, repeated the Labbayk, the Takbir, 
and the Tahlil; after which we uttered certain sup- 
plications, and drew our hands down our faces. Then 
we proceeded to the Shafe'i place of worship — the 
open pavement between the Makam Ibrahim and the 
well Zem Zem — here we performed the usual two- 
prostration prayer in honour of the Mosque. This was 
followed by a cup of holy water and a present to the 
Sakkas, or carriers, who for the consideration dis- 
tributed a large earthen vaseful in my name to poor 

The word Zem Zem has a doubtful origin. Some 
derive it from the Zam Zam, or murmuring of its 
waters, others from Zam! Zam! (fill! fill! u e. the bottle), 
Hagar's impatient exclamation when she saw the stream. 
Sale translates it stay! stay! and says, that Hagar called 
out in the Egyptian language, to prevent her son 


wandering. The Hukama, or Rationalists of El Islam, 
who invariably connect their faith with the worship of 
Venus especially, and the heavenly bodies generally, 
derive Zem Zem from the Persian, and make it signify 
the "great luminary." Hence they say the Zem Zem, 
as well as the Ka'abah, denoting the Cuthite or Am- 
monian worship of sun and fire, deserve man's rever- 
ence. So the Persian poet Khakani addresses these 
two buildings — 

"O Ka'abah, thou traveller of the heavens!" 
O Venus, thou fire of the world ! " 

Thus Wahid Mohammed, founder of the Wahidiyah 
sect, identifies the Kiblah and the sun; wherefore he 
says the door fronts the east. By the names Yemen 
("right-hand"), Sham ("left-hand"), Kubul, or the east 
wind ("fronting"), and Dubur, or the west wind ("from 
the back"), it is evident that worshippers fronted the 
rising sun. According to the Hukama, the original 
Black Stone represents Venus, "which in the border 
of the heavens is a star of the planets," and symbolical 
of the power of nature, "by whose passive energy the 
universe was warmed into life and motion." The 
Hindus accuse the Moslems of adoring the Bayt 
Ullah — 

"O Moslem, if thou worship the Ka'abah, 
Why reproach the worshippers of idols?" 

Says Rai Manshar. And Musaylimah, who in his at- 
tempt to found a fresh faith, gained but the historic 
epithet of "Liar," allowed his followers to turn their 
faces in any direction, mentally ejaculating, "I address 


myself to thee, who hast neither side nor figure ;" a 
doctrine which might be sensible in the abstract, but 
certainly not material enough and pride-flattering to 
win him many converts in Arabia. 

The produce of Zem Zem is held in great esteem. 
It is used for drinking and religious ablution, but for 
no baser purposes; and the Meccans advise pilgrims 
always to break their fast with it. It is apt to cause 
diarrhoea and boils, and I never saw a stranger drink 
it without a wry face. Sale is decidedly correct in 
his assertion: the flavour is a salt-bitter, much resem- 
bling an infusion of a tea-spoonful of Epsom salts in 
a large tumbler of tepid water. Moreover, it is ex- 
ceedingly "heavy" to digest. For this reason Turks 
and other strangers prefer rain-water, collected in 
cisterns and sold for five farthings a gugglet. It was 
a favorite amusement with me to watch them whilst 
they drank the holy water, and to taunt their scant 
and irreverent potations.* 

The water is transmitted to distant regions in 
glazed earthen jars covered with basket-work, and 
sealed by the Zem Zemis. Religious men break their 
lenten fast with it; apply it to their eyes to brighten 
vision, and imbibe a few drops at the hour of death, 
when Satan stands by holding a bowl of purest water, 
the price of the departing soul. Of course modern 

* The strictures of the Calcutta Review (No. 41. art 1.) based upon the 
taste of Zem Zem, are unfounded. In these days a critic cannot be excused 
for such hasty judgments ; at Calcutta or Bombay he would easily find a jar of 
Zem Zem water, which he might taste for himself. 


superstition is not idle about the waters of Zem Zem. 
The copious supply of the well is considered at Mec- 
cah miraculous; in distant countries it facilitates the 
pronunciation of Arabic to the student, and every- 
where the nauseous draught is highly meritorious in a 
religious point of view. 

We then advanced towards the eastern angle of 
the Ka'abah, in which is inserted the Black Stone, and, 
standing about ten yards from it, repeated with up- 
raised hands, "There is no god but Allah alone, Whose 
Covenant is Truth, and Whose Servant is victorious. 
There is no god but Allah, without Sharer; His is the 
Kingdom, to Him be Praise, and He over all Things 
is potent." After which we approached as close as 
we could to the stone. A crowd of pilgrims prevent- 
ing our touching it that time, we raised our hands to 
our ears, in the first position of prayer, and then 
lowering them, exclaimed, a O Allah (I do this), in 
Thy Belief, and in Verification of Thy Book, and in 
Pursuance of Thy Prophet's Example — may Allah bless 
Him and preserve! O Allah, I extend my Hand to 
Thee, and great is my Desire to Thee! O accept 
Thou my Supplication, and diminish my Obstacles, 
and pity my Humiliation and graciously grant me Thy 
Pardon!" After which, as we were still unable to 
reach the stone, we raised our hands to our ears, the 
palms facing the stone as if touching it, recited the 
various religious formulae, the Takbir, the Tahlil, and 
the Hamdilah, blessed the Prophet, and kissed the 
finger-tips of the right hand. 


The Prophet used to weep when he touched the 
Black Stone, and said that it was the place for the 
pouring forth of tears. According to most authors, 
the second Caliph also used to kiss it. For this reason 
most Moslems, except the Shafe'i school, must touch 
the stone with both hands and apply their lips to it, 
or touch it with the fingers, which should be kissed, 
or rub the palms upon it, and afterwards draw them 
down the face. Under circumstances of difficulty, it 
is sufficient to stand before the stone, but the Prophet's 
Sunnat, or practice, was to touch it. Lucian mentions 
adoration of the sun by kissing the hand. 

Then commenced the ceremony of "Tawaf," or 
circumambulation , our route being the "Mataf" — the 
low oval of polished granite immediately surrounding 
the Ka'abah. I repeated, after my Mutawwif, or ci- 
cerone, "In the Name of Allah, and Allah is omni- 
potent! I purpose to circuit seven Circuits unto Al- 
mighty Allah, glorified and exalted!" This is technically 
called the Niyat (intention) of Tawaf. 

Then we began the prayer, "O Allah (I do this) 
in Thy Belief, and in Verification of Thy Book, and 
in Faithfulness to Thy Covenant, and in Perseverance 
of the Example of the Prophet Mohammed — may 
Allah bless Him and preserve!" till we reached the 
place El Multazem, between the corner of the Black 
Stone and the, Ka'abah door. 

Here we ejaculated, "O Allah, Thou hast Rights, 
so pardon my transgressing them!" Opposite the door 
we repeated, "O Allah, verily the House is Thy House, 


and the Sanctuary Thy Sanctuary, and the Safeguard 
Thy Safeguard, and this is the Place of him who flies 
to Thee from (hell) Fire!" 

At the little building called Makam Ibrahim we 
said, "O Allah, verily this is the Place of Abraham, 
who took Refuge with and fled to Thee from the Fire! 
— O deny my Flesh and Blood, my Skin and Bones 
to the (eternal) Flames!" 

As we paced slowly round the north or Irak 
corner of the Ka'abah we exclaimed, "O Allah, verily 
I take Refuge with Thee from Polytheism, and Dis- 
obedience, and Flypocrisy, and evil Conversation, and 
evil Thoughts concerning Family, and Property, and 

When fronting the Mizab, or spout, we repeated 
the words, "O Allah, verily I beg of Thee Faith which 
shall not decline, and a Certainty which shall not 
perish, and the good Aid of Thy Prophet Mohammed 
— may Allah bless Him and preserve! O Allah, shadow 
me in Thy Shadow on that Day when there is no 
Shade but Thy Shadow, and cause me to drink from 
the Cup of Thy Prophet Mohammed — may Allah bless 
Him and preserve! — that pleasant Draught after which 
is no Thirst to all Eternity, O Lord of Honour and 

Turning the west corner, or the Rukn el Shami, 
we exclaimed, "O Allah, make it an acceptable Pil- 
grimage, and a Forgiveness of Sins, and a laudable 
Endeavour, and a pleasant Action (in Thy Sight), and 


a Store which perisheth not, O Thou Glorious! O Thou 

This was repeated thrice, till we arrived at the 
Yemani, or south corner, where, the crowd being less 
importunate, we touched the wall with the right hand, 
after the example of the Prophet, and kissed the 

Finally between the south angle and that of the 
Black Stone, where our circuit would be completed, 
we said, "O Allah, verily I take Refuge with Thee 
from Infidelity, and I take Refuge with Thee from 
Want, and from the Tortures of the Tomb, and from 
the Troubles of Life and Death. And I fly to Thee 
from Ignominy in this World and the next, and I im- 
plore Thy Pardon for the Present and for the Future. 
O Lord, grant to me in this Life Prosperity, and in 
the next Life Prosperity, and save me from the Punish- 
ment of Fire." 

Thus finished a Shaut, or single course round the 
house. Of these we performed, the three first at the 
pace called Harwalah, very similar to the French "pas 
gymnastique," or Tarammul, that is to say, "moving 
the shoulders as if walking in sand." The four latter 
are performed in Ta'ammul, slowly and leisurely; the 
reverse of the Sa'i, or running. These seven Ashwat, 
or courses, are called collectively one Usbu. The 
Moslem origin of this custom is too well known to 
require mention. After each Taufah, or circuit, we 
being unable to kiss or even to touch the Black Stone, 
fronted towards it, raised our hands to our ears, 


exclaimed "In the Name of Allah, and Allah is omni- 
potent!" kissed fingers, and resumed the ceremony of 
circumambulation, as before, with "Allah, in Thy Be- 
lief," &c. 

At the conclusion of the Tawaf it was deemed ad* 
visable to attempt to kiss the stone. For a time I 
stood looking in despair at the swarming crowd of 
Bedawin and other pilgrims that besieged it. But the 
boy Mohammed was equal to the occasion. During 
our circuit he had displayed a fiery zeal against heresy 
and schism, by foully abusing every Persian in his path; 
and the inopportune introduction of hard words into 
his prayers made the latter a strange patchwork; as 
"Ave Maria purissima, — arrah, don't ye be letting the 
pig at the pot! — sanctissima," and so forth. He might, 
for instance, be repeating "and I take Refuge with 
Thee from Ignominy in this World," when, "O thou 
rejected one, son of the rejected!" would be the in- 
terpolation addressed to some long-bearded Khorasani 
— "and in that to come" — "O hog and brother of a 
hoggess!" And so he continued till I wondered that 
none ■ dared to turn and rend him. After vainly ad- 
dressing the pilgrims, of whom nothing could be seen 
but a mosaic of occiputs and shoulder-blades, the 
boy Mohammed collected about half a dozen stalwart 
Meccans, with whose assistance, by sheer strength, we 
wedged our way through the thin and light-legged crowd. 
The Bedawin turned round upon us like wild cats, 
but they had no daggers. The season being autumn, 
they had not swelled themselves with milk for six 


months; and they had become such living mummies, 
that I could have managed single-handed half a dozen 
of them. After thus reaching the stone, despite popular 
indignation testified by impatient shouts, we monopo- 
lised the use of it for at least ten minutes. Whilst 
kissing it and rubbing hands and forehead upon it I 
narrowly observed it, and came away persuaded that 
it is an aerolite. 

It is curious that almost all travellers agree upon 
one point, namely, that the stone is volcanic. Ali Bey 
calls it "mineralogically" a "block of volcanic basalt, 
whose circumference is sprinkled with little crystals, 
pointed and straw-like, with rhombs of tile-red feld- 
spath upon a dark background, like velvet or charcoal, 
except one of its protuberances, which is reddish." 
Burckhardt thought it was "a lava containing several 
small extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yel- 
lowish substance." 

Having kissed the stone, we fought our way through 
the crowd to the place called El Multazem. Here we 
pressed our stomachs, chests, and right cheeks to the 
Ka'abah, raising our arms high above our heads, and 
exclaiming, "O Allah! O Lord of the Ancient House, 
free my Neck from Hell-fire, and preserve me from 
every ill Deed, and make me contented with that daily 
Bread which Thou hast given to me, and bless me in 
all Thou hast granted!" Then came the Istighfar, or 
begging of pardon: "I beg Forgiveness of Allah the most 
high, who, there is no other god but He, the Living, 
the Eternal, and unto Him I repent myself!" After 


which we blessed the Prophet, and then asked for our- 
selves all that our souls most desired. 

After embracing the Multazem we repaired to the 
Shafe'i place of prayer near the Makam Ibrahim, and 
there recited two prostrations, technically called "Sun- 
nat el Tawaf," or the (Prophet's) practice of circum- 
ambulation. The chapter repeated in the first was 
"Say thou, O Infidels:" in the second, "Say thou He 
is the one God." We then went to the door of the 
building in which is Zem Zem: there I was condemned 
to another nauseous draught, and was deluged with 
two or three skinfuls of water dashed over my head 
en douche. This ablution causes sins to fall from the 
spirit like dust. During the potation we prayed, "O 
Allah, verily I beg of Thee plentiful daily Bread, and 
profitable Learning, and the Healing of every Disease!" 
Then we returned towards the Black Stone, stood far 
away opposite, because unable to touch it, ejaculated 
the Takbir, the Tahlil, and the Hamdilah, and 
thoroughly worn out with scorched feet and a burning 
head — both extremities, it must be remembered, were 
bare, and various delays had detained us till ten a.m. 
— I left the Mosque. 

The boy Mohammed had miscalculated the amount 
of lodging in his mother's house. She, being a widow 
and a lone woman, had made over for the season all 
the apartments to her brother, a lean old Meccan, of 
true ancient type, vulture-faced, kite-clawed, with a 
laugh like a hyena, and a mere shell of body. He 
regarded me with no favoring eye when I insisted as 

Mecca and Medina, III, 4 


a guest upon having some place of retirement; but he 
promised that, after our return from Arafat, a little 
store-room should be cleared out for me. With this 
I was obliged to be content and pass that day in the 
common male drawing-room of the house, a vestibule 
on the ground-floor, called in Egypt a " Takhta-bush." 
Entering, to the left was a large Mastabah, or plat- 
form, and at the bottom a second, of smaller dimen- 
sions and foully dirty. Behind this was a dark and 
unclean store-room containing the Hajis' baggage. 
Opposite the Mastabah stood a firepan for pipes and 
coffee, superintended by a family of lean Indians; and 
by the side a doorless passage led to a bathing-room 
and staircase. 

I had scarcely composed myself upon the com- 
fortably carpeted Mastabah, when the remainder of it 
was suddenly invaded by the Turkish pilgrims in- 
habiting the house, and a host of their visitors. They 
were large, hairy men with gruff voices and square 
figures; they did not take the least notice of me, al- 
though, feeling the intrusion, I stretched out my legs 
with a provoking nonchalance. At last one of them 
addressed me in Turkish, to which I replied by shak- 
ing my head. His question being interpreted to me 
in Arabic, I drawled out, "My native place is the land 
of Khorasan." This provoked a stern and stony stare 
from the Turks, and an "ugh," which said plainly 
enough, "Then you are a pestilent heretic." I sur- 
veyed them with a self-satisfied simper, stretched my 
legs a trifle farther, and conversed with my water-pipe. 


Presently, when they all departed for a time, the boy 
Mohammed raised, by request, my green box of medi- 
cines, and deposited it upon the Mastabah; thus de- 
fining, as it were, a line of demarcation, and asserting 
my privilege to it before the Turks. Most of these 
men were of one party, headed by a colonel of Nizam, 
whom they called Bey. My acquaintance with them 
began roughly enough, but afterwards, with some ex- 
ceptions, who were gruff as an English butcher when ac- 
costed by a wretched foreigner, they proved to be kind- 
hearted and not unsociable men. It often happens to 
the traveller, as the charming Mrs. Malaprop observes, 
to find intercourse all the better for beginning with a 
little aversion. 

In the evening, accompanied by the boy Moham- 
med, and followed by Shaykh Nur, who carried a 
lantern and a praying-rug, I again repaired to the 
"Navel of the World;" this time aesthetically, to enjoy 
the delights of the hour after the "gaudy, babbling 
and remorseful day." The moon, now approaching 
the full, tipped the brow of Abu Kubays, and lit up 
the spectacle with a more solemn light. In the midst 
stood the huge bier-like erection — 

" Black as the wings 
Which some spirit of ill o'er a sepulchre flings," — 

except where the moonbeams streaked it like jets of 
silver falling upon the darkest marble. It formed the 
point of rest for the eye; the little pagoda-like build- 
ings and domes around it, with all their gilding and 



fretwork, vanished. One object, unique in appearance, 
stood in view — the temple of the one Allah, the 
God of Abraham, of Ishmael, and of their posterity. 
Sublime it was, and expressing by all the eloquence 
of fancy the grandeur of the One Idea which vitalised 
El Islam, and the strength and steadfastness of its 

The oval pavement around the Ka'abah was 
crowded with men, women, and children, mostly 
divided into parties, which followed a Mutawwif; some 
walking staidly, and others running, whilst many stood 
in groups to prayer. What a scene of contrast! Here 
stalked the Bedawi woman, in her long black robe 
like a nun's serge, and poppy-coloured face-veil, 
pierced to show two fiercely-flashing orbs. There an 
Hindi woman, with her semi-Tartar features, nakedly 
hideous, and her thin legs, encased in wrinkled tights, 
hurried round the fane. Every now and then a corpse, 
borne upon its wooden shell, circuited the shrine 
by means of four bearers, whom other Moslems, as 
is the custom, occasionally relieved. A few fair- 
skinned Turks lounged about, looking cold and re- 
pulsive, xas is their wont. In one place a fast Cal- 
cutta "Khitmugar" stood, with turban awry and arms 
akimbo, contemplating the view jauntily, as those 
"gentlemen's gentlemen" will do. In another, some 
poor wretch, with arms thrown on high, so that every 
part of his person might touch the Ka'abah, was 
clinging to the curtain and sobbing as though his 
heart would break. 


From this spectacle my eyes turned towards Abu 
Kubays. The city extends in that direction half way 
up the grim hill: the site might be compared, at an 
humble distance, to Bath. Some writers liken it to 
Florence; but conceive a Florence without beauty! To 
the south lay Jebel Jiyad the Greater, also partly built 
over and crowned with a fort, which at a distance 
looks less useful than romantic: a flood of pale light 
was sparkling upon its stony surface. Below, the 
minarets became pillars of silver, and the cloisters, 
dimly streaked by oil lamps, bounded the view of the 
temple with horizontal lines of shade. 

Before nightfall the boy Mohammed rose to feed 
the Mosque pigeons, for whom he had brought a 
pocketful of barley. He went to the place where 
these birds flock; the line of pavement leading from 
the isolated arch to the eastern cloisters. During the 
day women and children are to be seen sitting here, 
with small piles of grain upon little plaited trays of 
basket-work. For each they demand a copper piece; 
and religious pilgrims consider it their duty to provide 
the reverend volatiles with a plentiful meal. 

The Hindu Pandits assert that Shiwa and his 
spouse, under the forms and names of Kapot-Eshwara 
(pigeon god) and Kapoteshi, dwelt at Meccah. The 
dove was the device of the old Assyrian Empire, be- 
cause it is supposed Semiramis was preserved by that 
bird. The Meccan pigeons — large blue rocks — are 
held sacred probably in consequence of the wild 


traditions of the Arabs about Noah's dove. Some 
authors declare that, in Mohammed's time, among the 
idols of the Meccan Pantheon, was a pigeon carved 
in wood, and above it another, which Ali, mounting 
upon the Prophet's shoulder, pulled down. This might 
have been a Hindu, a Jewish, or a Christian symbol. 
The Moslems connect the pigeon on two occasions 
with their faith: first, when that bird appeared to 
whisper in Mohammed's ear; and, secondly, during 
the flight to El Medinah. Moreover, in many countries 
they are called "Allah's Proclaimers," because their 
movement when cooing resembles inclination. 

Almost everywhere the pigeon has entered into the 
history of religion; which probably induced Mr. Las- 
celles to incur the derision of our grandfathers by 
pronouncing it a "holy bird." At Meccah they are 
called the doves of the Ka'abah, and never appear at 
table. They are remarkable for propriety when sitting 
upon the holy building. This may be a minor miracle :