Title


PALMYRA AND ZENOBIA. CHAPTER 4.

CHAPTER IV.

ENTABLATURE OF GRAND ENTRANCE, TEMPLE OF THE SUN.
ENTABLATURE OF GRAND ENTRANCE, TEMPLE OF THE SUN.

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THE halt gave me an opportunity of estimating the magnitude and organization of our party. Two cavaliers stood out conspicuous from all the others. They were Gazawy, the dragoman, the same who brought "Sheikh Stanley" through "Sinai and Palestine," and a Moslem sheikh, brought from Nebk as guide to the expedition.

Gazawy was the prince of dragomans ; his weakness, perhaps his strength, was to have everything of the best, and always ten times more than enough. The long line of laden mules carried, I believe, provisions for the party for twelve months. Booted and braced, he sat on a splendid horse, called the " Steam Engine," as if he were a part of the horse, and viewed the long cavalcade with a smile of pride on his kindly, weather-beaten face.

Gazawy's chief pride and glory that morning was his guide, chosen expressly on account of his radiant waist-coat. Half a mile from the village this guide lost the [25] road, and led us astray, and fell back to the rear, where he could do no harm. When a village would rise into sight before us, he would suddenly gallop up ail declare it was " Sudud," or some other town that he knew was on our way ; but as we saw Sudud far down on the plain to the left, we called the guide " Sudud" for the rest of the journey, and groped our way by the aid of an incorrect map.

Our course during the day lay north-east over gently undulating ground. On our right was the bare northern shoulder of KKalamoun, which we were rounding, and to our left was the great plain. which stretches away to Hums and IIamah. Green spots clotted the red expanse, and marked the sites of such towns as Kara, Hafr, and Sudud, the Zedad of Scripture, one of the border cities of the Land of Promise.

That plain once supported the flocks and hosts of the Hittites and the armies of the Seleucidae but under the beneficent rule of our Turkish allies, the sites of great cities are marked by lofty mounds and wretched huts, and the miserable inhabitants carry their provisions from the Euphrates. We met no travellers, for all who wished to escape the Bedawin travelled under the protection of the darkness. Persian larks, hawks, vultures, and pin-tailed grouse, were the only tenants of that desolate region.

A little after mid-day Sudud" spied two human beings creeping down from the mountain as if going to cross our path. He immediately gave the alarm, and as [27]

SUDUD'S VAULTING AMBITION.
SUDUD'S VAULTING AMBITION.

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there were only two, and they were not likely to be Bedawîn, he charged direct at them, valiantly brandishing his rusty weapons, with all the awkwardness of a vil- lage horseman. Our bandit guard joined iii the chase, which was picturesque and exciting, though ludicrous. "Sudud" kept in advance, and as he became convinced that there were no Bedawîn, and no ambuscade, he became more valorous. He would show that though he might not know the way, he was the hero of the party in the hour of danger.

But just as he was snatching his laurels, the fate of "vaulting ambition" befell him; for his horse, having had enough of it, stopped short at the edge of a dry river-bed, and "Sudud" shot over his head to the other side. All cheered, and called on "Sudud" to charge the enemy; but he once more retired to the rear, where he kept guard for the remainder of the day. The Bedawîn that we were going to annihilate turned out to be two gipsy tinsmiths who were stealing down the ravine to the village below, when the eagle eye of our " Sudud " discovered them.

We reached Mulîin before sunset, and pitched our camp beside a copious fountain. The water was warm and slightly sulphurous. Few Europeans had passed that way before, and the people of the village swarmed about us, more curious than civil. They were Moslems of the surly kind.

Mulîn stands on a little bill, and on the highest part, west of the houses, there are the remains of an ancient [29] church. The building was about twenty paces long and sixteen paces broad, and from twenty-live to thirty feet high. The circular end of the church was towards the north-west, and from the middle of the side wall on either side, all round the circular end, there were pilasters with pedestals and Corinthian capitals. A piece had fallen out of the circular end, but there still remained seven pilasters on one side and five on the other intact. The church is still very perfect, and is unlike any other building I have seen in Syria. From the top we had a magnificent view of the whole country, from the Wall of Lebanon to the Gate of Palmyra, and we were able to take bearings, and mark out our line of march for the morrow.

About two o'clock in the morning we were startled by a horrid din in the village: every human being that could scream screamed ; every dog harked to the utmost limit of his capacity; every horse that could make a clatter on the rocks galloped hither and thither. An alarm of Bedawin had been given, and the people were gathering in their flocks for safety, and preparing to defend their threshing-floors. As we were close by the threshing-floors, we had a fair prospect of seeing play ; but we kept our beds till morning, and by the time we were ready to rise the noise had all died away.

The Bedawin, as we found out afterwards, made their attack, but not on Mullin.

Every year the people of these regions go to the Hauran during the harvest. The men reap for wages, and their wives and daughters, Ruth-like, glean after them. This [30] having been an unusually bad year, an unusual number of reapers and gleaners had gone to the Hauran.1

1I have seen scores of young Syrian women, frmn distant villages, gleaning in safety after the rough Bashan reapers.

I here quote the sequel from the Levant Herald of 9th July, 1874: These poor reapers had amassed 17,000 piasters, and were returning to their starving families. But the Arabs were informed of the easy prey they would find in these unarmed peasants. They waylaid them, and left them hardly a shred to cover their nakedness. The Arabs then swept on unopposed, under their leader Sheikh Dabbous; and making a circuit by Sudud, Ilawarîn, and Karyetein, carried oft all the stray ilocks and donkeys that came in their way."

PALMYRA TESSERAE BELONGING TO THE LATE M. WADDINGTON.
PALMYRA TESSERAE BELONGING TO THE LATE M. WADDINGTON.




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