« PreviousContinue »
The Turks to this day call out, Allah, Allah, Allah, upon the like occasion. At their funerals also, and upon other melancholy occasions, they repeat the same noise (Loo), only they make it more deep and hollow, and end each period with some ventriloquous sighs. The anaλagorras wonλa, or wailing greatly (as our version expresses it, Mark v. 38.) upon the death of Jairus's daughter, was probably performed in this manner. For there are several women hired to act* upon these lugubrious occasions, who, like the Prafice, or mourning women of old, are skilful in lamentation, Amos v. 16. and great mistresses of these melancholy expressions; and indeed they perform their parts with such proper sounds, gestures and commotions, that they rarely fail to work up the assembly into some extraordinary pitch of thoughtfulness and sorrow. The British factory has often been very sensibly touched with these lamentations, whenever they were made in the neighbouring houses.
"No nation in the world is so much given to superstition as the Arabs, or even as the Mahometans in general. They hang about their childrens necks, the figure of an open hand, usually the right, which the Turks and Moors paint likewise upon their ships and houses, as a counter-charm to an evil eye; for five is with them an unlucky number. And five (meaning their fingers) in your eyes, is their proverb of cursing and defiance. Those of riper years carry with them some paragraphs of their Koran, which, as the Jews did their phylacteries, Exod. xiii. 16. Numb. xv. 38. they place upon their breast, or sew under their caps, to prevent fascination or withcraft, and to secure themselves from sickness and misfortunes. The virtue of these scrolls and charms is supposed likewise to be so far universal, that they suspend them even upon the necks of their cattle, horses, and other beasts of burden. They place great faith and confidence in magicians and sorcerers, as the Egyptians and Moabites did, who in old time were their neighbours; and upon some extraordinary occasions, particularly in a lingering distemper, they use several superstitious ceremonies in the sacrificing of a cock, a sheep, or a
"Call for the mourning women that they may come—and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eye lids gush out with water, Jer. ix. 17. 18. Such extraordinary demonstrations of sorrow we have related Ps. vi. 6. Every night wash I my bed, or make I my bed to swim. I water my couch with my tears. Ps. cxix. 136. Rivers of waters run down my eyes. Jer. ix. 1. 0 that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears. Lament. iii. 48. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of waters. The drawing of water at Mixpeh (1 Sam. vii. 6.) and pouring it out before the Lord, and fasting, may likewise denote, in the Eastern manner of expression, some higher degree of grief and contrition. Effuderunt cor suum in pœnitestia ut aquas ante Deum, as the Chaldee Paraphrase interprets it; or as Vatablus, Hauserunt aquas a puteo cordis sui, et abunde lachrymati sunt coram Domino, resipiscentes. Aqua effusa lachrymas significat, says Grotius in locum."
goat, by burying the whole carcase under ground, by drinking a part of the blood, or by burning or dispersing the feathers. For it is a prevailing opinion all over this country, that a great many diseases proceed from some offence or other that has been given to the Jenoune, a class of beings placed by them betwixt angels and devils. These, like the fairies of our forefathers, are supposed to frequent shades and fountains, and to assume the bodies of toads, worms, and other little animals, which being always in our way, are liable every moment to be hurt or molested by us. When any person, therefore, is lame or sickly, he fancies that he has injured one or other of these beings; upon which the women, who, like the ancient Venefica, are dextrous in these ceremonies, are sent for, and go, as I have seen them upon a Wednesday, with frankincense and other perfumes, to some neighbouring spring, where they sacrifice a hen or a cock, an ewe or a ram, &c. according to the sex and quality of the patient, and the nature of the disease."
Page 230. "Provisions of all kinds are very cheap. A large piece of bread, a bundle of turnips, and a small basket of fruit, may each of them be purchased for an asper, i. e. for the six hundred and ninety-sixth part of a dollar; which is not the quarter of one of our farthings. Fowls are frequently bought for a penny or three half-pence a-piece; and a full grown sheep for three shillings and sixpence; and a cow and a calf for half a guinea. A bushel of the best wheat likewise is usually sold for fifteen, seldom so dear as eighteen pence, which is a great blessing and advantage, inasmuch as they, no less than the Eastern nations in general, are great eaters of bread, it being computed that three persons in four live entirely upon it, or else of such compositions as are made of barley or wheat flour. Frequent mention is made of this simple diet in the holy scriptures, Gen. xviii. 5. xxi. 14. xxxvii. 25. xliii. 31. Exod. ii. 20. xvi. 3. Deut. ix. 9. 1 Sam. xxviii. 20. 22. where the flesh of animals, though sometimes indeed it may be included in the eating of bread, or ma king a meal, is not often recorded.
"In cities and villages, where there are public ovens, the bread is usually leavened; but among the Bedoweens and Kabyles, as soon as the dough is kneaded, it is made into thin cakes, either to be baked immediately upon the coals, or else in a ta-jen, or shallow earthen vessel like a frying pan, Lev. ii. 5. Such were the unleavened cakes which we so often read of in scripture; such likewise were the cakes which Sarah made quickly upon the hearth, Gen. xviii. 6.
"Most families grind their wheat and barley at home, having two portable mill-stones for that purpose, the uppermost whereof is turned round by a small handle of wood or iron, that is placed in the rim. When this stone is large, or expedition is required,
then a second person is called in to assist. And as it is usual for the women alone to be concerned in this employment, who seat themselves over against each other with the mill-stones between them, we may see not only the propriety of the expression, Exod. xi. 5. of sitting behind the mill, but the force of another, Matt. xxiv. 40. that two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left. The custom which these women have of singing during the time they are thus employed, is the same with what is related in an expression of Aristophanes, viz. twv alıcoyow, aλλn is won, as is preserved by Athenæus Deipn. p. 619. Edit. Casaub.
"Besides several different sorts of fricassees, and of roasted, boiled, and forced meats, the first and last of which are always high seasoned, and very savoury, Gen. xxvii. 4. the richer part of the Turks and Moors mix up a variety of dishes with almonds, dates, sweet-meats, milk and honey. which it would be too tedious to enumerate. I have seen at some of their festivals more than two hundred dishes, whereof forty at least were of different kinds. But But among the Bedoweens and Kabyles, there are neither utensils nor conveniences for such entertainments; two or three wooden bowls, with a pot and a kettle, being the whole kitchen furniture of the greatest prince or emeer.
"All the several orders and degrees of these people, from the bedoween to the bashaw, eat in the same manner; first washing their hands, and then sitting themselves down cross-legged, their usual posture of sitting, round about a mat, Ps. cxxviii. 3. 1 Sam. xvi. 11. or a low table where their dishes are placed. No use is made of a table-cloth; each person contenting himself with a share of a long towel, that is carelessly laid round about the mat or table. Knives and spoons likewise are of little service; for their animal food being always well roasted or boiled, requires no carving. The cuscassowe, pilloe, and other dishes also, which we should reckon among spoon-meats, are served up in the same manner, in a degree of heat little better than lukewarm; whereby the whole company eat of it greedily, without the least danger of burning or scalding their fingers. The flesh they tear into morsels, and the cuscassowe they make into pellets, squeezing as much of them both together, as will make a mouthful. When their food is of a more liquid nature, such as oil and vinegar, robb, hatted milk. honey, &c. then after they have broken their bread or cakes into little bits, (wa, or sops,) they fall on as before, dipping their hands and their morsels together therein, Matt. xxvi. 23. Ruth ii. 14. John xiii. 26. At all these meals, they feed themselves with their right hand, the left being reserved for more ignoble uses.
"As soon as any person is satisfied, he rises up and washes his hands, his arms, and his beard, without taking the least notice
of the remaining part of the company; whilst another takes instantly his place, the servant sometimes (for there is no distinction of tables) succeeding his master.
"At all these festivals and entertainments, the men are treated in separate apartments from the women, Esth. i. 9. not the least intercourse or communication being ever allowed betwixt the two
"When they sit down to these meals, or when they eat or drink at other times, and indeed when they enter upon their daily employments, or any other action, they always use the word Bismillah, i. e. in the name of God. With the like seriousness and reverence also they pronounce the word Alhandillah, i. e. God be praised, when nature is satisfied, or when their affairs are attended with success."
Of the Animals mentioned in Scripture.
[From Dr Shaw's Travels, formerly quoted.]
Page 165. "THE horse, formerly the glory and distinguishing badge of Numidia, has of late years very much degenerated; or rather, the Arabs have been discouraged from keeping up a fine breed, which the Turkish officers were sure at one time or another to be masters of. At present, therefore, the Tingitanians. and Egyptians have justly the reputation of preserving the best; which no longer than a century ago, they had only in common with their neighbours. Now, a valuable and well taught Barbary horse is never to lie down; he is to stand still and be quiet, whenever the rider quits him and drops the bridle. He is besides to have a long pace, and to stop short if required in a full career; the first of which qualities shews the goodness and perfection of the horse; the proper management of the latter, shews the dexterity and address of the rider. No other motions are either practised or admired in these countries, where it is accounted very impolite to trot or to amble. But the Egyptian horses have deservedly the preference of all others, both for size and beauty, the smallest being usually sixteen hands high, and shaped, according to their phrase, like the antelope. The usual price of the best Barbary horse is from three to four hundred dollars, i. e. from fifty to sixty or seventy pounds of our money; whereas, in the days of Solomon, as indeed silver was then nothing accounted of, a horse came out of Egypt for an hundred and fifty shekels, which amount to little more than seventeen pounds.
"The ass, the wov anlov, and the mule, which deserves the like appellation, are their most hardy and useful creatures, requir ing little or no attendance. The first is not so generally trained
up for the saddle at Algiers as at Tunis, where they are frequently of a much larger size. But the mule is in general demand at both places, and preferred to the horse for common use and fatigue. It is certainly surer footed, and vastly stronger in proportion to its bulk. I could never learn that the mule was prolific ; which notion Pliny and some other authors seem to have entertained."-Page 427. "The riding on mules seems to have been of no less antiquity in Egypt, than in other eastern countries; as appears from one of them with a rider upon it under the walls of Memphis."-Page 441. "The more early ages, in all probability, were not acquainted with mules. The first mention that is made of mules (7) is in the time of David, asses having served them to ride upon before. Anah's memory might be well transmitted to posterity, for finding in the wilderness some source or collection of waters, (a thing rarely to be met with), till then undiscovered, as ', Gen. xxxvi. 24. perhaps may be better rendered than finding the mules. In the midland road betwixt Cairo and mount Sinai, I do not remember to have heard or tasted of more than five such wells or sources, which were all of them brakish or sulphureous."
Page 166. "Yet all these species are vastly inferior to the camel for labour and fatigue. For this creature travels four or five days without water; whilst half a gallon of beans and barley, or else a few balls made of the flour, will nourish it for a whole day. Pliny's observation of their disturbing the water with their feet before they drink it, is very just; and it may be farther observed, that they are a long time in drinking, first of all thrusting their heads a great way above their nostrils into the water, and then making several successive draughts, in the like manner with pigeons. In travelling over the deserts of Arabia to Mount Sinai, each of our camels carried a burden of at least seven quintals. And what farther shews the great strength of this animal, a day's journey consisted sometimes of ten, sometimes of fifteen hours, at the rate of two miles and an half an hour. These extraordinary qualities are, without doubt, sufficient encouragemerits for the Arabs of all countries, that are not rocky or mountainous, to keep up and multiply the breed.
"The species of the camel-kind, which is known to us by the name of the dromas or dromedary, is here called Maihary or Ashaary, though it is much rarer in Barbary than in Arabia. It is chiefly remarkable for its prodigious swiftness, the swift dromedary, as the prophet calls it, Jer. ii. 23.; the Arabs affirming that it will run over as much ground in one day, as one of their best horses will perform in eight or ten. For which reason, those messages which require haste, are in Getulia, and the more southern parts, dispatched upon dromedaries, as in Esth. viii. 10. The Shekh, who conducted us to mount Sinai, rode upon a camel