Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

said.

Susie opened her mother's bundle of work, and took As the man counted the shirts over, she said, “Please, out two that were unfinished.

sir, I've left one at home, it ain't quite finished ; but “I'll finish them and take them home, and ask them mother,” to give me some,” she said.

“ There, there, child, I can't listen to tales about your Elfie seized one and examined it. "Well, I shouldn't mother," interrupted the man; "she's always been honest, know how to put all them bits in the right places,” she and I won't grumble about the shirt this time; but it must

not occur again. I can't give you so many either this This was a difficulty that had never struck Susie. time, trade is getting dull now," and pushing Susie's She had helped her mother to make these coarse blue bundle towards her, he turned to another work woman, shirts-sewing, hemming, and stitching in turn; but she and Susie went out wishing she had had the courage had never put one together entirely by herself. She to say her mother was dead; for she felt as though looked up in a little dismay. “I don't think I know she was deceiving bin, taking this work to do by how to do it either,” she said in a tone of perplexity. herself.

But Elfie turned and turned the shirt about, and at last As she went back, Elfie met her. “I've got a nice lot she said, “Look bere, Susie, you'll have to keep one of of cold potatoes at home," she said, “and a big handful these back when you take the others home, and then of cherries that I picked up in the market; and I've we'll find out how they're to be done between us." seen the work-house man, and told him you ain't going

Susie hegan to think Elfie almost as wise as her with him." mother. She seemed to know how to manage everything, “What did you say ?" asked Susie. and before evening came she began to look up to her as “I told him somebody was coming to live here and a friend as well as a companion. Elfie hardly liked take care of you. It's just what I mean to do, Susie,” sleeping in the room with that long stretch of whiteness she added ; " for I like you, and it'll be fair, you see, if at the further end. She had never seen Susie's mother I comes to sleep here when it's cold and wet ; for it ain't while living, and would not have raised the sheet now nice out-of-doors then, I can tell you." to look at the still, calm face for anything. She would So the compact was formed between these two, and rather have gone out to sleep in one of the holes or they agreed to help each other and live together, if only corners of the Adelphi arches, even risking an encounter the neighbours and work-house people would leave them with the rats, rather than sleep there ; but for Susie's alone. sake she determined to stay.

They need not have troubled themselves very much The next morning she persuaded Susie to sit down to about this. The neighbours thought they had done her sewing, while she went out to look for something to enough when they told the man he had better take Susie eat. Meals taken in the ordinary way, Elfie had no idea to the work-house; while he evidently thought the parish of; she was used to look about the streets for any scraps need not be troubled if she had some one to come and of food she could pick up, in the same way that a home- live with and take care of her. And so, after the coffin less, hungry dog might do, and so it was no hardship for was taken out and carried to its lowly resting-place, no her to go without her breakfast. Susie had often had to one troubled himself to visit the little garret, or look wait for it lately-wait all day, feeling faint and hungry, after the lonely orphan. Elfie did not stay in-doors but obliged to sew and stitch on still, that her mother much; but whenever she found anything extra nice, she might get the work home in time. She had to do this always ran home to share it with Susie, and faithfully to-day, and then could not finish all. But she tied up brought in every penny she earned to put into the tin her bundle, leaving the unfinished one out for a pattern; box where the rent-money was kept. Susie succeeded in and then put on her bonnet to go forth to tell the sad her shirt-making better than she expected; but life was story to another-that her mother was dead, and would very hard, and she sorely missed her mother, and shed never sew shirts any more.

many bitter tears when she thought of her.

E. B.

THE DIVINE OUTCAST.

“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his heard."

LUKE ix. 58.
JOT where to lay Thine head !-O'erwhelming | When sleep from man, with balmy pinions, stole
thought

Life's cares, Thou wert beneath the night alone!
Amidst the splendour of Thy healing power,
That from the silent land earth's dead ones Not where to lay Thine head! - Say, were there
brought!

none, And yet, when softly fell the twilight hour,

On all the slopes that kissed Bethsaida’s wave,
Thou hadst no home to gladden Thy sweet soul,- To shelter Thee, the lordly, noble One,
No resting-place that Thou couldst call Thine own: Who came the tribes of all the earth to save ?

[ocr errors]

Or, didst Thou find their doors upon Thee closed, Why had the Prince of Salem, Lord of Grace,
As was that inn, far in the days gone by,

To sleep beneath the shades of Olivet?
Against Thy virgin mother, who reposed
In lowly shed, beneath the starlit sky?

Not where to lay Thine head !—When bowëd down

Upon the slopes of dark Gethsemane,
Not where to lay Thine head !--By Kidron's rills Was there not one kind heart in yonder town,
Was there no other quiet resting-place,

Whose far-off hum Thou heardst, to grant to Thee Besides that home of peace which ever fills

A chamber where Thy soul, in its despair, The world's broad heart with thoughts of love and grace ? Might cling to Heaven amidst its bitter moan ? Is Bethany alone in all Thy life,

Why had Thy wail to cleave the midnight air,
With its three loved ones sitting at Thy feet,

As, 'neath the olives, Thou didst kneel alone?
To soothe Thy troubled soul, new from the strife
That swayed around Thee in the noisy street ?

Not where to lay Thine head !-Amidst the gloom

That wrapped the stricken earth from sea to sea, Not where to lay Thine head!—’Midst Salem's domes, When, dying, Thou didst vanquish death and doom, All gleaming like a snowy-crested sea ;

Was there no peaceful sepulchre for Thee?In all its temples and ten thousand hcmes,

Conld Judah's tribe not honour its great Son, Was there no voice to say,- -"Abide with me" ?

And honour more itself in what it gave? No hand to lead Thee from that temple gate,

Say, why hadst Thou, its best and noblest One, When fell the dews of night upon Thy hair ?

To find a refuge in the stranger's grave ? No loving spirit by Thy side to wait Till break of day, and find Thee kneeling there? Not where to lay Thine head !-Sweet, only Rest

For those who, weary, in the darkness dwell; Not where to lay Thine head !-In all that throng Come in Thy love and lean upon our breast, That welcomed Thee to Zion with delight,

And tell our yearning soul that all is well! 'Mid waving palms and grand triumphal song,

Come in Thy Spirit and with us abide;
Were there no hearts, when fell the gloomy night, Lift us above the world's sin-stricken throng!
To lead Thee to a quiet resting-place,

Be Thou our Friend and sweet sustaining Guide, And there rejoice that they their King had met ?- And in Thy wondrous love we shall be strong!

ALEXANDER LAMOXT.

SKETCHES FROM A VILLAGE IN MOUNT LEBANON.

BY MISS M. WHATELY, AUTHOR OF “RAGGED LIFE IN EGYPT,” “ AMONG THE NUTS," ETC.
T has been suggested that, though the ac- It is a large rambling place, beautifully situated, and

counts of tours in Lebanon and Syria are only needing more shade to be a very agreeable summer
numerous enough, a few notes made dur- residence for those who can bear a considerable amount

ing a sojourn in a secluded spot among of “roughing.” The houses are built up and down the Syrian mountains might not be uninteresting to without regularity, but all are of solid stone, fit to defy English readers, especially as my familiarity with the the winter storms, flat-roofed, like all Eastern houses, language enables me to give more details of the customs and the roofs rolled smooth with a stone roller, and and ways of the people than is possible for passing tra- carefully plastered to serve as a drying-ground for corn, vellers, who (except as regards scenery and the mere silk, and all manner of things. outside casual observation) are usually dependent for There is neither street nor market, but the houses are information on a dragoman, who is rarely an accurate intersected with rough paths covered with loose stones, informant.

brought down by winter torrents, so that even a call on The inhabitants of Lebanon consist, as is generally a neighbour a hundred yards off demands an actual known, of Christians, Druses, and Moslems, the two scramble ; and the wear of shoe leather is amazing. former being the most numerous, and almost the exclu- j Mulberry plantations surround most of the dwellings; sive occupants of a large part of the country. The ob- and though a few have a pretty vine trellis, or even a servations I have been enabled to make relate to them plane or apricot tree in front, these are quite exceptions only.

-silk being the staple of the country, and the people This village (which I avoid naming, for several reasons) mostly poor, every available corner is generally given to may serve as a fair specimen of its kind; those nearer the mulberry. Every house has a wooden pillar, and to the sea-port of Beyrout are more advanced in civiliza- sometimes two, in the centre, to support the rafters and tion; those still more remote, and without the advan- the weight of the roof. They are built in many cases tages of any means of education, are less so.

uncomfortably close together ; but this was the old cus

clay.

ton, for the sake of protection. It seems that all belong simply before the door in a rude fire-place of baked to the occupants, instead of being rented, and this causes them to build more solidly, because each man builds for It seemed very funny at first making tea at such a his children, and not for strangers. The beautiful little primitive kitchen, but use soon reconciled us to it. The river in the valley below the village has only one or two dwellings of rich and poor are all in the same style here, isolated buildings near it besides the mill. In Switzer- the difference being only in superior cleanliness. In land the valley would have been the place selected to our temporary abode the rooms are both furnished, build in; but probably the higher ground is more healthy, like those of our neighbours, with hollow receptacles though the fountains are not very abundant, and in in the walls called kowara, and used to hold stores summer afford only a slender stream, the women having of corn, &c. Curious niches in the plaster serve to spend much time and labour in bringing and filling the place of cupboards, though here and there an heavy pitchers sometimes a good distance. The vine- enterprising individual has set up a press, and even a yards are all on the higher land; but the little vegetable shelf or two. A larger niche every house has in its gardens are all near either to the river or the fountains, chief room (where two exist), for holding the bedding of as they need irrigation. The potato grows very well, the family, which consists of thin cotton or wool matbut is of recent introduction; and besides it their variety tresses, easily folded and stowed away, and covered with of vegetables is not great, considering the capability of wadded quilts: they are spread out at night, and put the climate.

out of sight in the niche (shaded by a light curtain) by In this spot there are three divisions of Christians,- day. Usually the rooms are large, and therefore capable Greek, Maronite, and Protestant, and Druses; the latter of containing the household goods without seeming being the most numerous and the poorest, because they crowded. It is true there are neither tables nor chairs are not fond of work, and will scramble for a comfortless to take up space. A thin long mattress, covered with living rather than engage in regular labour ; while most coloured print, and furnished with cushions stuffed with of the Christian population are very hard-working and dry rushes, and made quite hard, forms the chief furniindustrious.

ture of a country farm-house here; the clay floor is The want of roads (for there is, properly speaking, spread with mats, and, if the owner is well-off, a handonly one road in North Syria,—that from Beyrout to some carpet at the upper end of the room. There are Damascus), and, even more, the long centuries of crush- no wash-stands; a large brass vessel is held by a servant ing oppression under which the Christian population or young member of the family, and water poured over laboured, kept them in a rough, uncivilized state, and the hands of any one who wants to wash, this (with hindered progress. In fact, frequent massacres, and soap and towel) being presented after meals, and also revolutions, and constant fear, reduced them to a con- after a walk or ride. This all seems, and is, very rude dition probably far below that of their ancestors; but and primitive; but I can say, from experience of both, latterly more liberal rulers have opened the way for im- that the dirty, half-civilized state of things one has met provement, and a great increase of education (for which in many of the less frequented parts of the Continent the people are mainly indebted to the efforts of English (to say nothing of inns and rm-houses in dear old Ireand American Christians) has done yet more. But it land) is a great deal worse. Furniture and all the takes time for education to penetrate, especially in a appliances of civilized life need to be kept in nice order scattered mountain population; and of course there are and very clean in order to be comfortable; and one is plenty of old folks who shrug their shoulders at“ new better without them if the owners do not understand ways,” wonder why women should learn to read, and this. A fusty little room, stuffed with worm-eaten chairs why old ways should ever be changed. But the young and sofas, cracked basins and jngs, a venerable four-post are very different where they have had any advantage. bed, &c., with a vulgar paper on the wall stained with In one village the few boys or girls who have had good smoke, glass windows that need cleaning, and atrocious Christian schooling are bright, intelligent, well-man- prints hanging against it, and a mirror that makes you nered, and every way hopeful, and would never consent look as if just having a tooth drawn. to go back to ignorance and superstition.

Who that has travelled has not seen such ? and is not But matters are yet in a very infant state in the a large airy room, plainly whitewashed, with a clean mountain villages. The houses consist mostly of a mat, and a mattress covered with white cotton or pink single room, and those which have two have no upper print, better than all this? There is so little to keep story; nor glass windows, wooden shutters being the clean that, except in very slovenly families, it generally substitute. However, for the greater part of the year is kept so. The personal habits of the worthy peasant the climate is so equable and so fine that this incon- women want reform more than their houses; but the venience does not amount to the misery it would be in fact is, they are as a rule too hard-worked, and a drudge our cold rainy islands. Before the door is frequently finds it hard to be tidy. With the first peep of day up a sort of verandah roofed over, which answers as a springs the active matron, who having lain down in her kind of ante-room. The cooking is done out-of-doors, clothes has no dress to put on. She is in her workingeither in a little court, or (with the poorer people) | gown of coarse, dark-blue cotton (or more primitive

brown or red cloth, but these are less frequent latterly). The good woman sits at her door feeding, or rather stuffing, her sheep, which has to be fattened for Michaelmas, and is the great resource of the family in winterits fat being boiled down and kept in jars to use as we do salt butter, but much more largely-being, in fact, the chief animal food of the people. A huge basket of mulberry or vine leaves stands beside the woman, as she fills the great creature's mouth till he can swallow no more, snatching a mouthful of bread for her own breakfast meantime. There seems

no regular breakfast among the poorer peasants; but every one gets a thin loaf of coarse bread, and a cucumber or some other relish whenever inclined.

The more advanced of the people wish to introduce the plan of getting a shepherd with assistants to fatten all the sheep of a village, instead of letting the mother of a family neglect her children, and be dirty and coarse herself, from the constant rough work needed for at least three months. But it was impossible to convince them that a change from old ways could be good; and eren the wives of the priests and of the Protestant minister are to be seen sitting at their doors, cramming a fat sheep like the rest. Every day this precious beast has to be led to the fountain and drenched with water, and its wool scrubbed. I one day ask a good woman, whose little children were all rags and dirt, whether they did not need a daily scouring more even than her sheep. She laughed at the novel idea, and replied, “The sheep-yes, yes! We wash him; but the children, there is no time for that!"-"What! because you can't eat them must they be dirty ?" I said. She laughed more heartily than before ; but voilà tout. I have, indeed, seriously argued the point of children versus sheep with some of the more sensible women, and they allowed it was a pity things should be so; but they said, truly, that unless there were a company large enough to pay a shepherd, one alone could not afford to change the old custom.

Before the sheep are the silk-worms. In the spring and early summer, if the house is uncomfortable, the woman untidy, or the little ones neglected, the answer to everything is “the worms!” And these voracious little things do really require such attention, that the poor woman has to rise in the night to go and gather fresh leaves and feed them ; but only for a short time. Meanwhile the men are not idle. Clad in the picturesque garment of goat's hair, dyed crimson, between a coat and a cloak in shape, loose trousers of blue cotton descending just below the knee, and a coloured handkerchief bound turban-ways over the red cap or tarboush, the sturdy farmers, whether owners of the plot of wheat or barley, or labourers employed by the possessors (receiving half the produce as payment), are to be seen at daybreak going forth to their work, ploughing up the land where the corn bas been reaped, or threshing it with the primitive wooden machine, which the little mountain oxen draw round and round on a

space prepared for the purpose. At busy seasons they will work till long after sunset; but a rest in the heat of the day is usual. And as workmen are paid not by the time but by the work, there is a more independent, cheerful way of going about their business, and sometimes there appears more leisure, than one would expett; but this arises from the men being able to choose their own time for doing things.

The people of Lebanon are eminently social and generally of a cheerful turn, I have heard them called the French of the East; but this is not a very correct expression, for they are not so light and merry as the French, and much quieter in their amusements. Instead of seeking excitement, they appear especially to relish the calmer pleasures. Dancing and diversions of that class are never seen in the villages ; but the men assemble in groups for quiet though lively chat after work is done, or in its intervals, and need no absinthe to enliven them, or pots of beer to stupify their heads, like too many Europeans of the workingclasses.

The women mix less freely with men than with us, but among the Christians more so than the Mohammedans; and they move about without hiding the face. They wear a veil, usually of white muslin, large enough to answer as a shawl ; and when strangers are present, they will sometimes draw it slightly over the lower part of the face, but habitually they go about without ang concealment.

The Druse women, on the contrary, always cover every part of the face but one eye when outside their doors, or when men not of their family are present. These strange people are often on familiar terms with their Christian neighbours, but do not assimilate: like oil and water, they may approach, but not meet. They are of much more modern origin than the Christians of Lebanon, and are quite a mixed race, made

of several tribes, some of the country and many others from a distance, as Kurds and Algerines, who joined the sect and formed one body. Their warlike habits

, and the strength always given by a secret faith, enabled thein to wrest most of the Lebanon from the Christians, and for many years they were lords over the whole of the mountains. Now, when their power has, happily for the country, been considerably reduced, many of the Christians continue to show to the chiefs among them an almost cringing deference of manner, painful to see, especially as it is often accompanied by secret dislike. On the whole, however, there is more friendliness than could well be expected, considering how recent and how terrible was the massacre.

In our village, several of the poorer Druse families have been indebted to the chief Protestant family for assistance, and have received from their liberal hands provisions in scarce winters, as well as numberless acts of kindness; and in consequence, they, I believe, sincerely respect these friends.

One day I was seated near the fountain sketching,

up

anů a Druse woman, with whom I had a slight acquain- , &c., but all very ill kept; and a heap of corn lay on the tance from previous visits to the place, came up, and floor in one corner, near the cradle where the baby was after saluting me, began to bewail the recent loss of asleep, its covering fringed with gold, and its cap a highly-esteemed member of the family I allude to. adorned with little silver chains and coins. The mother “ Never," she said, wiping her eyes, never shall we and wife of the Bey (as he was usually called) looked as see his like again! Who that saw his life could if they led a quiet in-door life, not being weather-beaten help loving him ?”—“Do you believe he is with God and roughened by daily toil like most of their neighnow?” I asked, knowing that the Druses excluded Chris- | bours ; in fact, they rarely stir from the house. But tians from their heaven, and indeed all but themselves. when we came to talk to them, they had even less to say “ Ah yes!” replied the poor woman, weeping more than the poorest peasant woman, their minds seeming than before, “I feel sure of it. He served God and utterly blank of ideas. The younger one was pretty, as helped every one, Druse and Christian-he must be far as a face devoid of expression can be. It was imposwith God now." What a testimony! I went on to ask sible to keep up conversation long with people who had her if her people did not think that the blessed among nothing to say, and it was quite a relief when grapes themselves went to China after death (a very odd were brought in, giving sonjething to occupy guests and paradise, certainly, but such is their idea). “Yes," she hostess. (In this season grapes supply the place of said, " they say so ; but I am ignorant-I don't know sherbet and coffee.) The men are much more conversamuch about China.”—“Well, I have read a good deal tional, as they mix more with others; and many of them about it," I told her, "and the people there are clever are in the habit of dropping in quite familiarly into our in making cups and in cultivating tea ; but crockery abode, the venerable head of the family being highly and tea do not constitute paradise. Ah no! my dear esteemed by them. Sometimes two or three will come friend; our Book tells us that the blessed go to a far in the evening, and stay during evening worship. better place, where sin and sorrow and tears cannot A few days ago an elderly man, who was with us at follow them.” And I told her of Jesus and his love, prayers, held a long conversation respecting the chapter and of our hopes in him. She seemed much interested; | just read with his host and myself, and made some very but the bard part of speaking to Druses is, that they intelligent remarks, but only in an intellectual point of are too ready to acquiesce and please at the time; while view. the awe in which they are brought up of the secret Another (who is a n:an of property, and has one of the tenets, which only the asleh or initiated among them- handsomest faces that can be seen, but for the fault, so selves know, keeps them from daring to think steadily general in his people, of a suspicious and curious expresand seriously on religious subjects, or avowing it if they sion of eye, as if unable to look quite straight at you) did. They will often listen, especially to English comes here occasionally; and when some of my friends people, and this is always some advantage. We know went by special invitation to visit him, having some not where the seed may, by grace, be enabled to take mutual business to transact, they met with a most root; but vords of acquiescence mean nothing with hospitable reception, and found quite a feast prepared, or them, because their curious tenets permit that, for what, considering the poverty of the mountains, seemed political ends, they should please strangers, and say such. And yet they do not venture to drink coffee with that falsehoods towards them are no sin.

this friend ! Personally, they would have no idea that A little while ago a very agreeable and handsome he would think of injuring them; but among the nume, Druse chief visited us. I was asked afterwards by one rous relatives who reside in his house there are supposed

of my friends if I noticed him clear his throat, as if he to be some who are not so friendly as he is to Christians ; had a cold, on entering. I replied, “I suppose he felt and they will always shield one another under any cirhoarse.”—“Not at all; this clearing or hemming is a cumstances, so that the friendship of the scheikh could ceremony among his people, and means to convey twenty be no absolute protection. curses to every Christian in the room (a higher number For the same reason, they take care to return by broad to Jews and to Moslems; but as we were all Christians, daylight if possible when going to this family, who live this was only our share). Nor does personal friendship at two hours' distance. excuse him from the custom.”

The Christians, having often rougher manners and We visited the wife of the principal Druse the other less complimentary language, are not so popular with day, and the Christian maid-servant who went before to foreigners as Druses ; but though we know God's Spirit announce us evidently thought extraordinary respect can change even a nature warped by being bred up in was necessary, for she ran first to change her walking-deceit, we ought to be aware that the polite expressions dress, and after ushering us in with much ceremony, are, as a general rule, merely assumed for policy. The herself seized the head of the mistress of the house and roughest Lebanon peasant, however, in hairy garment kissed the top of it! (this being a special mark of and ragged shirt, is courteous and graceful compared to humility and devotion, it seems). There were signs that most English or German countrymen, and that not to greater wealth had once been in the house, which pos- strangers only, nor nearly so much, as to their own sessed some ancient wood-carving and arched windows, equals! I often observe with pleasure the meeting of

« PredošláPokračovať »