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The convent, at the period of Dr. von Schubert's visit, contained twentysix monks, but several were absent at Cairo, attending to the temporal affairs of the community. The discipline of the house is extremely severe ; but as each monk is obliged to exercise some handicraft, they are strangers to that languor and ennui to which the members of most religious orders are condemned by the absence of all regular employment. This may account for the strong attachment which the reverend fathers are said to manifest to their home in the desert. As idleness is sure to beget dirt, so constant occupation gives birth to habits of order and cleanliness; accordingly, we find our worthy professor dwelling with much satisfaction on the total absence from the convent of every description of vermin, the excessive abundance of which is a constant theme for lamentation with every traveller who visits Egypt and Arabia.
The most romantic part of the journey commences at Akaba, where the professor, with his male and female companions, had to confide themselves to the wild Arabs of Idumea, the terror of the whole Arab race, and, according to the unanimous account of all travellers, fully entitled to the bad character which they every where enjoy. Before leaving Akaba, however, we have a most characteristic anecdote, which, though told in few words, is calculated to awaken a vast train of reflections. The professor and his party had strolled down to the sea-shore, to see some fishermen casting their nets. “ The fish,” continues our author, “are in such abundance here, that a single boat manned by skilful seamen, and provided with good apparatus, might catch more than enough to supply the whole market of Genoa. But along the whole coast there does not exist even a canoe, and the fisherman in pursuit of his finny prey is forced to wade up to his waist into the sea.
We found also some people with beautiful shells for sale, several of which we bought for a mere trifle, for the museum at Munich. On the shore we found, and caught with our hands, a cidaris (a marine hedgehog) of most extraordinary size and beauty, with all his quills upon him, as thick as so many fingers. How and in what were we to convey home this magnificent specimen? My good housewife soon helped us out of our embarrassment. Her best bonnet (Staatsreisehut) was packed up in a box precisely of the size we wanted. A plain straw hat was surely enough for a pilgrim, and a crimson satin bonnet might after all, be a superfluo costume in the desert of Edom and among the temples of Jerusalem. The dainty head-gear was condemned by a unanimous vote, and in its late tenement the lovely cidaris was carefully installed.” And even thus was Frau Professor in Von Schubert's best crimson satin bonnet barbarously abandoned on the shore of Akaba, “ to waste its sweetness on the desert air;” and a filthy sea-urchin was enshrined in the delicate bandbox, which till then had been held sacred to the service of female finery! Let all ladies who contemplate a trip to the desert beware how they place themselves under the escort of so enthusiastic a naturalist as Professor von Schubert; or if they do confide themselves to the ruthless contemner of crimson satin, let them carefully conceal from him the number of their bonnets and the capabilities of their boxes. Where did this barbarous man expect that his wife was to repair a loss so irreparable in such a land ? If she was content to show herself to the untenanted mansions of Petra in her old chip, or to submit to go to church in Jerusalem in a bat that had braved for forty days the scorching sun and the sweeping hurricane of the desert, where in all Palestine did the monster expect to find a milliner's shop fit to supply a substitute for the crimson satin that was “left blooming alone” on the beach of Akaba?
Accustomed as we have been by the narratives of Burckhardt, Laborde, and other more recent travellers, to look upon the journey through Edom as beset with perils of no ordinary kind, we are somewhat disappointed to read with what facility our elderly professor and his worthy dame passed along, without a single horror to enliven their book withal. A violent sandstorm, of which a very graphic description is given, was the only adventure of any consequence that occurred between Akaba and Petra, the only one at all events that our author has recorded; and on their arrival at the latter place the professor, who, with some of his party, commenced the ascent of Mount Hor, on whose summit still remains the tomb of Aaron, sent the ladies and the artist of the party to wander through the desolate streets of the rock-hewn metropolis of Edom. We may almost fancy we read of a sober citizen, who, having ventured with his spouse on a Sunday excursion to Greenwich, leaves her to stroll about the park, while he himself climbs up the hill to enjoy the glorious view that nature and art have combined to feast his
with. Most of our readers have probably read the description of the unique city of Petra, in the works of Burckhardt and Laborde. There is also a very fair account of the place in the last edition of Lemprière's Classical Dictionary. To those to whom these works are strangers it may be sufficient to remark, that Petra, unlike all other cities known to us, has not been built of stone, but has been hewn out of the rock. The antiquity of the city rises beyond any record of which we are possessed; for in the Book of Job, generally supposed to be the oldest portion of Scripture, the country of Uz or Edom is spoken of as one that had even then attained a high degree of civilisation. In Genesis too, and in many other parts of the Bible, frequent allusion is made to Sela and Jaktheel, which received from the Romans the name of Petra, and is now known to the wandering Arabs under the title of Wady Musa. For an account of the divine denunciations pronounced against the Edomites and their city, see Psalm cxxxvii.; Ezekiel, xx.; Isaiah, xxxiv.; Jeremiah, xlix.; Obadiah, xviii.; Malachi, i. From the time of the Romans till within the last twenty years, all trace of Petra was completely lost, and the prophecies respecting it were little understood. Bishop Lowth even conjectured that the word Edom was used merely as a common figure intended to point at the enemies of God generally. Burckhardt, in 1811, was the first to discover the long-lost city, and to decide the oftenagitated question whether it ever had an existence; but Laborde, in 1818, examined the place more minutely. A very lively description of Petra is given by Mr. Lee Stephens, an American traveller, who visited it about ten years ago.
Among the most recent visitors from our own country is Mr. Roberts, the artist; who, it is said, intends to enrich the next exhibition with several pictures, painted from sketches taken at Petra, and in Palestine.
Petra itself is now destitute of inhabitants; but close to it is the valley of Eljee, in which an Arab sheikh bears sway, and who appears to look upon the city itself as a part of his domain. This sheikh and his people have been the terror of all travellers, with the exception of one or two-among whom Lord Prudhoe may be named, — whose wealth allowed them to purchase the goodwill of these exorbitant hosts by the payment of an extravagant sum of money. Professor von Schubert was not disposed to conciliate the robber chief by a present of some hundreds of piasters, and therefore hastened away with his party as soon as he found that the sheikh's people were beginning to muster around him. The professor and his escort had prepared themselves for a fight, in case the people of Eljee had pursued
them, but they were allowed to pass on towards Palestine without any farther interruption.
And in Palestine we will leave the worthy professor, to whose sober tour we have insensibly been led to devote a larger portion than we at first contemplated of what at starting bid fair to be a very innocent rhapsody on steamboats and railroads, and the increased facilities for locomotion which modern improvements have placed within the .reach of all classes. After all, perhaps, though it may not be quite so romantic to jog unconcerned with a party of one's female friends through the Arabian desert, it may be quite as agreeable as going over the same ground with a shrewd guess that the chances are ten to one against ever returning to give an account of the marvels one has seen ; nay, we question very much whether the morals of our transatlantic brethren will be exposed to any very perilous ordeal by the ease with which New York milliners are now able to step over to Europe, and study the devious and eccentric sinuosities of fashion, en at the fountaid head, in the gay metropolis of France. We may pass a harmless jest at the idea of cits gazing at the Pyramids and attorneys passing the long vacation at Constantinople, or on the other side of the Alleghanies; for the practice of affecting to look down on cits and lawyers, which originated in the days of Charles the Second, continues to flourish in an age as distinguished for piety as that was for every social virtue ; but, in sober truth, we all of us rejoice in a change of which we all feel the advantage. Why should we repine even
“ If blues desert their coteries
Nor fear of Mamelukes forbids,
To glide among the Pyramids ?” Among the Pyramids let them glide; and may we be there before long to glide with them. And long life to the old rebel Mehemet, who has made it a safe thing for little misses with spencers and parasols to go gliding along where, in the memory of many now living, the stoutest of us would not have shown his face without constant misgivings as to what was going on behind his back.
“ Who knows, if to the West we roam,
Among the blacks of Carolina ;
And toast upon the walls of China." Heaven grant the vision may be realised! Heaven grant that our friends the Yankees may advance in civilisation so far as to make it probable that our Lady Babs and our Mrs. Trollopes may be able at no remote day to sit down sociably with a black congress-man's lady to discuss the cut of their respective gowns, and pass judgment indiscriminately on the taste and discretion of all the belles of Washington,—whether their locks be crisp and woolly, or dangle in bewitching curls adown their cheeks in the vain attempt to hide the little loves and graces that are nestling there. Then, as to Mrs. Hopkins's tea-party on the wall of China !- we trust the good lady, when she does issue her cards, will not neglect to drop one into our editorial box. If she do honour us with an invitation, let her rest assured we will not be among the last comers. We would walk barefoot from Putney to Pekin for the pleasure of handing her kettle and toasting her muffins !
SOME RECOLLECTIONS OF CHILDHOOD.
“I never venture out of my depth; I never go far from the bank; I will never venture out of my depth, until I have learned to swim ! I have heard from very good authority, upon which I can rely, that it was the practice of the greatest scholars not to attempt too much at first; and I will imitate them. I will be prudent, I will not go out of my depth, lest some day I should repent it! This little book is the version of Sebastian Castalio : the Latinity is pure, elegant, almost classical, but, to tell you the truth, I am afraid of it; I very much fear I shall never be able to relish it, to seize the meaning, to comprehend it - it is so refined: it is so very chaste indeed, that I am afraid to meddle with it. The larger book is Theodore Beza's translation.
It is a pretty copy, is it not? Our friend is less graceful, less classical, but then he is clearer, plainer, easier, more literal, more intelligible. I am more at home there
I will stick to him, at least for some years to come. I ought not to boast, certainly, but I must say, that when I have read a chapter of the Gospels attentively, or have just heard one read in church, and then find the same chapter in Beza, it is quite surprising, in going slowly over it, how many things I see, that remind me of the English. Every here and there is a part of a verse, which I almost fancy I can construe. I was recommended to try a chapter of the Latin without looking at the English first; and I did so. But how different! Biess my soul! What confusion! I was lost - bewildered! Take the nominative case
then the verb. Oh, yes ! it is very fine talking. I will never venture out of my depth — never; I will be prudent. Dear me, how the sky is overcast!”
With these words, Theodore Beza was laid upon the table, and the speaker ran out of the room: he rushed out at the front door, and out at the back-door, without his hat, and as it were at the same time; he looked towards the east and towards the west, at the heavens and at the earth, at the horizon, at the zenith, at his watch, and in the wind's eye. Presently he returned very deliberately, and said calmly, although still panting for breath
“ It will not rain, so we shall have Miss Burtenshaw."
After a short silence, Mrs. Featherby opened the door, and, without entering the room, remarked
“ If you please, sir, the bells are going for church. And could I say a word with you?”
The master having exchanged certain whispers with his housekeeper, in the darkest corner of the passage, left her at home, and we proceeded cheerfully towards the church of a quiet country parish.
It was the first Sunday in July and the third Sunday after Trinity; and it was, moreover, as charming a day as ever the sun shone upon. It would have been hot, but that the west wind blew pretty strongly, and the sky was often overcast — so often, indeed, that the unskilful said it would rain. When we returned from church the heat had increased, for the wind had abated, and the clouds for the most part had disappeared, but there was a fine air — a soft, fresh air gratefully felt, and long remembered. Mrs. Featherby met us at the door: she said to her master, who pressed forward
on seeing her, as he set his foot upon the step, “ If you please, sir, Miss Burtenshaw is come.” 6 Is she alone?” And he trembled as he withdrew his foot from the whitened step. “ She came alone, sir.” - When?" "Just this moment, sir; I almost wonder you did not see her.” " And where is she?” “I took her up stairs, sir -- she wished to put herself to rights after her walk.” “ Where did you take her?” “I showed her into your room, sir." “ Into my room
?” “ Yes, sir, you told me to make your room ready for her.” “ True, true.” Through the open door we reverently turned our eyes towards those stairs which Miss Burtenshaw had just ascended to put herself to rights after her walk; and that we might not even enter the house, while such things were going on in it, we swept round behind, and all went together into the garden; and we remained there respectfully, at the most distant part, for a considerable time, not venturing to approach until the snow-white apron of Mrs. Featherby gave a signal, at the backdoor, that dinner was ready.
During the tedious interval it was stated, more than once, in a low voice, “I believe, Miss Burtenshaw will dine with us." “I believe, we shall have Miss Burtenshaw at dinner.” And, in respectful confidential whispers, it was often communicated, “ Her family are great brewers ;” “very great brewers ; " “ opulent brewers ;” “respectable brewers ;” “very considerable brewers." The veneration inspired by these mysterious praises was not the least profound in one who knew nothing of brewers, save that they produce ale and beer, two agreeable liquors; and that by dipping into Boswell's Life of Johnson he had gathered that, by virtue of their office, they are patrons of learning and of learned men.
Miss Burtenshaw's host was in stature of the middle size, but being thin, slight, and active, and, after the usage of little men,dapper, he seemed shorter than he was; his age, in fact, did not exceed thirty years, but a thoughtful countenance added to it in appearance about five years more. His hair was light, as were his eyes, and his complexion was fair, or rather pale, yet was his aspect by no means sickly. Being in deacon's orders, as all his acquaintance were frequently reminded, his costume was clerical, black from top to toe, but neat, bright, and spotless, as his honour and reputation: in his house and lands, in his books and writings, in clothes and person cleanliness grew to be godliness; and a genuine enthusiastic piety it was. He was regular, exact, punctual, precise, and earnest, and withal cheerful and good-natured. He could not be insensible of his attainments, of his vast superiority over his neighbours, farmers and tradesmen, his equals in birth, and accordingly his soul was duly elevated by an honest pride; but as he had made a sufficient progress to discern at least some small portion of the immense interval that separated him from the really learned, he was humble, modest, and respectful. As to his name, he preferred to be called the master of the free-school. In an adjoining parish, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, some five or six miles from the free-school, was another school of much higher pretensions, a private preparatory boarding-school. The sudden death of a relative of the master's wife compelled him, the executor, to proceed to London without delay, and to remain there with his family for some weeks; the event having happened towards the end of the halfyear, the midsummer vacation was anticipated by about three weeks. The change was not inconvenient to the parents of the greater part of the select number of young gentlemen; thirty-five of the forty were sent home at once, but five were to be otherwise disposed of. Three Scotch boys had always spent the vacations at school, a young Indian was destined to do the like, and the family of another boy, calculating upon holidays at the accus-.