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Where do they list for her step? where do they look for her face?
Dead, dead, dead !
For not one of them all,
Alas, will fall On that bosom's marble grace!
Why do you sigh, O Sea ? why do you wail, O Wind ?
Wail, wail, wail,
For the loveliness rare,
So pallid and fair, You slew in your fury blind !
Let us bear her away to a grave in the churchyard's calm green
breast, Where the sound of the wind and waves in strife may never her peace molest.
Though we cannot carve her name,
And the wild-rose bloom
Shall cover her tomb, And she shall have perfect rest!
To regard the Arab with wonder has long been the proper function of all European writers, and for some thousands of years yet the untamable rover of the desert will in all probability be an interminable source of astonishment. The interest, moreover, which we bestow upon him has little chance of ever being reciprocated. Our ways are to him objects of less curiosity than the doings of orangoutangs and chimpanzees are to ourselves; and all he requires of us is, to be let alone. He knows himself he is a wonderful being-as wonderful as the Great Pyramid, and a good deal older as a race. He despises your progress, your railways, your steamships, and your electric telegraphs. His tastes and his wants remain pretty nearly the same as they were in the days of Abraham ; and his ways of satisfying them are pretty nearly the same also. His costume is still the same as it was three thousand years ago, and the very fashion of his wife's jewelry is unchanged also since the days of the patriarchs. Mahomet alone, with the edge of the sabre, has been able to make some impression on his granite nature ; but even that was of a superficial character.
The French in Algeria have been trying their hands on the Arab, but not with much success. He still remains the same indigestible element to civilisation as when they went there. • Put the tail of a greyhound into a straight tube for twenty years,' said an Arab chief to General Daumas, it will curl up again the moment you take it out.' It is the same with the Arab. No art, no form of education, will change him a whit. Take a Frenchman and an Arab,' said the same individual; 'cut them up into little bits, boil them in a caldron, and make broth of them; the broth of the Arab will no more mix with that of the Frenchman than oil and vinegar. You will find the broth of Frenchman and Arab separate.'
However, since we have no new solvent to propose on this insoluble subject, let us descend from loose generalities, and consider a little the best feature of Arab life-its hospitality, taking as our guide in the main a late book of the same General Daumas, who has passed years in studying the habits of the tribes of the Sahara, and is an intimate friend of Abd-el-Kader himself. Hospitality has always been practised lavishly among the Semitic races, and with good reason, for without it almost all travel would have been impossible in the vast solitudes which they have ever loved to inhabit.
Abraham, when he sat in the tent-door in the heat of the day in the plains of Mamre, and lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him, behaved towards them much as an Arab chief would at the present day. He ran to meet them from the tentdoor, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.'
Hospitality is, as we have said, a necessity in the desert. In the Tell and the Sahara it is, so to speak, the very tent-pole of Arab life. The religious nobility, the warrior nobility, the marabout and the djouad, the rich and the poor, the shepherd and the agriculturist, all put it equally in practice. The angels, Arabs say, do not frequent the houses of those who entertain not strangers. The best pilgrimage also, and that from which the best fruit is to be expected, consists in entertaining strangers.
Strange to us, but very monotonous, is the life of the Arab douar, to which the traveller bends his steps to pass the night. The time of its greatest movement, however, is the hour of sunrise, when the great crimson crest of the sun starts above the desert horizon; for then all the inmates of the douar awake to life. The Arab possesses no feather-beds, no spring-mattresses ; a carpet on the sand forms all his bedding. Moreover, were he a lingerer in his tent in the morning, the finger of scorn would soon be pointed at him—for prayer and ablutions, by the law of Mohammed, have to be got through at this hour; not to say that the morning air in the desert is considered the purest and healthiest of the day.
No sooner, then, has the sun just lifted the edge of his fiery disk above the horizon, and the last stars faded out of the sky, than the programme of the Arab day begins. A light mist runs curling low over the convolutions of the sand. The watch-dogs, tired-out of baying at the moon, stalk round the tents; the horses, tethered close at hand, stretch their necks around with loving expectant eye, awaiting the caresses of the women and children; the flocks bleat, and prepare to travel to the place of pasture; and the camels bellow loudly in concert as the Arabs emerge one by one from the tents.
Each Arab casts an eye over his horses, his camels, and his sheep, to see that nothing has been stolen during the night; and then they all go, each to salute his immediate chief, his lord and master' (sidna ou moulna), who awaits his clients seated in Oriental gravity on the ground. He greets his tribesmen one by one, and then proceeds to adjudicate on all their differences, with the assistance of the kadi, learned in the quips and quibbles of Mohammedan law. Complaints, replies, oaths, and counter-oaths begin to abound.
* 0, my lord, the part of God !' says sometimes a young wife whom her husband has neglected. Yes, my daughter, the religion of women is love. We will give a delay to thy husband ; and if he does not conduct himself better in future, the law will grant thee a divorce.'
0, my lord, Yuseph, the son of Mohammed, refuses to give me back the sowing-seed which I lent him.'
0, my lord, Ahmed - ben - Salem will not give me back the horse which I lent him, and which has died by his fault on a long journey.' * Accused,' says the chief, 'what have you to reply ?
In such disputes the Arab chief not rarely displays a sagacity, acuteness, and gravity well suiting his judicial character, and he well remembers the adage, 'Patience is the key of success' (Es seberr meftahh le feredj).
It is rarely, of course, at such an hour that the traveller comes to the Arab tent for hospitality. It is usually hours after mid-day, when the tents have long been sweltering in the fierce heat of sand and sun, that he makes his appearance, and directs his steps to the first habitation of the douar. When he has arrived within about thirty steps of the tent, he cries aloud, “O master of the tent (Ya moul el kheïma)! 'a guest from God' (Dif Rebbi).
This is the invitation he gives himself; and for reply the master of the tent comes out and salutes him, saying, “Be welcome; all will be easy' (Marhaba bik; Koulchi sahel aalik).
It must be understood, however, that the Arab rarely takes the stranger to the tent in which he dwells with his wife. With the 'Arab's susceptibility about women, this is avoided as much as possible ; although even in his own tent the wife is always in her own compartment, concealed by a curtain. Some one then advances from the douar, and leads the stranger to a tent, which the owner keeps prepared for travellers -- the beit-ed dyaf, the house of the guests. The stranger's stirrup is held for him to descend from horseback, and the Arabs say to him, My lord, enter into thy house' (Ya sidi, edkhol fi darek).
As soon as the traveller has gone in, preparatory refreshments are served before him, bread, milk, figs, dried raisins, dates, and coffee, sufficient to stay his hunger till dinner is served.
The horse of the guest is as well cared for as himself, he need not look after him ; he will be tethered for him in front of his own tent. One of the chief points of Arab hospitality is to take care of the steed of the stranger. The Arab's horse is a pleasure to the eye and to the heart of the master, and his host will take care the two are in close company. Later in the evening, the noble creature will have water brought to him, and straw and barley, and a warm wrapper to preserve him from the cold of the night; he will be treated with all the more care since he is the steed of the guest of the guest from God.
The supper of the guest, that too will be served at last. The master of the tent, who has himself been looking after everything, takes the first dish that is brought and places it himself on the table in front of his principal guest, and will say sometimes, if he will do him especial honour, 'Eat, eat, O my friend! this repast has been prepared by the very hands of the mistress of the house.'
What are the viands thus set before the stranger in the tent ? In the days of olden simplicity, a plate of boiled or roast meat eaten with salt sufficed for the Arab ; but he has now invented for himself a cuisine, which proves indeed that he is capable of progress in the way of eating at all events.
The basis of the Arab menu is, and has been for centuries, the cousscoussou, also called in different countries taam and messeefouf. The cousscoussou is made of wheaten flour, which has been ground in portable handmills by the women of the camp, and then passed through a sieve, rolled with the fingers, cooked by steam, and finally sprinkled copiously either with broth or with milk. The richer Arabs add to this preparation mutton, fowl, hard eggs, beans, with artichokes, sugar, dried grapes, and sometimes, when near the coast, potatoes which they purchase from the Christians. This is, as we have said, the national dish, perfectly suited to the climate and the habits of the people. Rich and poor equally delight in it, and they are never tired of it from one end of the year to the other. It must be well-cooked, and it is never eaten cold.
The staple food, however, of the poorest Arabs is the dchicharoasted corn—which they pound and then boil with butter; or it may even consist of roasted barley or beans which they pound also, and then wet with water, and they carry sometimes a supply of it in the corner of their bernous.
In the way of such preparations of meal, the Arab also has the mermez. The mermez is made of unripe ears of barley, lightly roasted, and pounded in the handmill. These are then moistened with water or milk, and mixed with salt meat and butter. And there is also another compound called the cherchem, made of corn boiled in salt-and-water, with which they provide themselves when on expeditions in countries devoid of resources; and by the aid of which they find they can the most easily dispense with all other kinds of food.
The richer Arabs have, however, excellent bread, while the poorer folk content themselves with flat cakes of meal cooked hastily in earthenware dishes. Bread of new barley is a luxury for every Arab. For condiment the Arab not only has salt, but he makes abundant use of black and red pepper, of which the quantity he eats is enormous. It is the great delight and joy of the poor Arab : it replaces wine as a tonic; and when an Arab of the poorer sort leaves his tent to go to market to purchase provisions for his family, his wife winds-up her list of commissions by crying after him, ' And don't forget the pepper' (Ou ma tennsach el felfel).
The butter of the Arabs from being cured in goatskins acquires & rancid flavour; which, however, as is the case in other parts of