« ElőzőTovább »
the reader for entering into such details. They may, however, be interesting, as illustrative of the character of the genuine Arab, with whom the traveller is seldom brought so much into contact as I have been. Early in December a sufficient number of bas-reliefs were collected for another raft, and I consequently rode into Mosul to make preparations for sending a second cargo to Baghdad. I had soon procured all that was necessary for the purpose; and loading a small raft with spars and skins for the construction of a larger, and with mats and felts for packing the sculptures, I returned to Nimroud. The raft-men having left Mosul late in the day, and not reaching the Awai until after nightfall, were afraid to cross the dam in the dark; they therefore tied the raft to the shore, and went to sleep. They were attacked during the night, and plundered. I appealed to the authorities, but in vain. The Arabs of the desert, they said, were beyond their reach. If this robbery passed unnoticed, the remainder of my property, and even my person, might run some risk. Besides, I did not relish the reflection, that the mats and felts destined for my sculptures were now furnishing the tents of some Arab Sheikh. Three or four days elapsed before I ascertained who were the robbers. They belonged to a small tribe encamping at some distance from Nimroud—notorious in the country for their thieving propensities, and the dread of my Jebours, whose cattle were continually disappearing in a very mysterious fashion. Having learnt the position of their tents, I started off one morning at dawn, accompanied by Ibrahim Agha, the Bairakdar, and a horseman, who was in my service. We reached the encampment after a long ride, and found the number of the Arabs to be greater than I had expected. The arrival of strangers drew together a crowd, which gathered round the tent of the Sheikh, where I seated myself. A slight bustle was apparent in the women's department. I soon perceived that attempts were being made to hide various ropes and felts, the ends of which, protruding from under the canvass, I
had little difficulty in recognising. “Peace be with you!”. said I, addressing the Sheikh, who showed by his countenance that he was not altogether ignorant of the object of my visit. “ Your health and spirits are, please God, good. We have long been friends, although it has never yet been my good fortune to see you. I know the laws of friendship; that which is my property is your property, and the contrary. But there are a few things, such as mats, felts, and ropes, which come from afar, and are very necessary to me, whilst they can be of little use to you ; otherwise God forbid that I should ask for them. You will greatly oblige me by giving these things to me.” “ As I am your sacrifice, O Bey,” answered he, “no such things as mats, felts, or ropes were ever in my tents (I observed a new rope supporting the principal pole). Search, and if such things be found, we give them to you willingly." “Wallah! the Sheikh has spoken the truth,” exclaimed all the bystanders. “That is exactly what I want to ascertain ; and as this is a matter of doubt, the Pasha must decide between us,” replied I, making a sign to the Bairakdar, who had been duly instructed how to act. In a moment he had handcuffed the Sheikh, and, jumping on his horse, dragged the Arab, at an uncomfortable pace, out of the encampment. “Now, my sons," said I, mounting leisurely, “I have found a part of that which I wanted; you must search for the rest.” They looked at one another in amazement. One man, more bold than the rest, was about to seize the bridle of my horse; but the weight of Ibrahim Agha’s courbatch across his back, drew his attention to another object. Although the Arabs were well armed, they were too much surprised to make any attempt at resistance; or perhaps they feared too much for their Sheikh, still jolting away at an uneasy pace in the iron grasp of the Bairakdar, who had put his horse to a brisk trot, and held his pistol cocked in one hand. The women, swarming out of the tents, now took part in the matter. Gathering round my horse, they kissed the tails of my coat and my shoes, making the most dolorous supplications. I was not to be moved, however; and extri
cating myself with difficulty from the crowd, I rejoined the Bairakdar, who was hurrying on his prisoner with evident good will. The Sheikh had already made himself well known to the authorities by his dealings with the villages, and there was scarcely a man in the country who could not bring forward a specious claim against him —either for a donkey, a horse, a sheep, or a copper kettle. He was consequently most averse to an interview with the Pasha, and looked with evident horror on the prospect of a journey to Mosul. I added considerably to his alarm, by dropping a few friendly hints on the advantage of the dreary subterraneous lock-up house under the governor's palace, and of the pillory and sticks. By the time he reached Nimroud, he was fully alive to his fate, and deemed it prudent to make a full confession. He sent an Arab to his tents; and next morning an ass appeared in my court-yard bearing the missing property, with the addition of a lamb and a kid, by way of a conciliatory offering. I dismissed the Sheikh with a lecture, and had afterwards no reason to complain of him or of his tribe, –nor indeed of any tribes in the neighbourhood; for the story got abroad, and was invested with several horrible facts in addition, which could only be traced to the imagination of the Arabs, but which served to produce the effect I desired —a proper respect for my property. During the winter Mr. Longworth, and two other English travellers, visited me at Nimroud. They were the only Europeans (except Mr. Ross), who saw the ruins when uncovered.” I was riding home from the ruins one evening with Mr. Longworth. The Arabs returning from their day's work were following a flock of sheep belonging to the people of the village, shouting their war-cry, flourishing their swords, and indulging in the most extravagant gesticulations. My friend, less acquainted with the excitable temperament of the children of the desert than myself, was somewhat amazed at these vio* Mr. Seymour was also with me at Nimroud, but before the excavations were in an advanced stage. R
lent proceedings, and desired to learn their cause. I asked one of the most active of the party. “O Bey,” they exclaimed almost all together, “God be praised, we have eaten butter and wheaten bread under your shadow, and are content, but an Arab is an Arab. It is not for a man to carry about dirt in baskets, and to use a spade all his life ; he should be with his sword and his mare in the desert. We are sad as we think of the days when we plundered the Aneyza, and we must have excitement, or our hearts would break. Let us then believe that these are the sheep we have taken from the enemy, and that we are driving them to our tents !” And off they ran, raising their wild cry and flourishing their swords, to the no small alarm of the shepherd, who, seeing his sheep scampering in all directions, did not seem inclined to enter into the joke.
By the middle of December, a second cargo of sculptures was ready to be sent to Baghdad. I was again obliged to have recourse to the buffalo-carts of the Pasha ; and as none of the bas-reliefs and objects to be moved were of great weight, these rotten and unwieldy vehicles could be patched up for the occasion. On Christmas-day I had the satisfaction of seeing a raft, bearing twenty-three cases, in one of which was the obelisk, floating down the river. I watched them until they were out of sight, and then galloped into Mosul to celebrate the festivities of the season, with the few Europeans whom duty or business had collected in this remote corner of the globe.
DEATH OF TAHYAR PASHA. - DISCOVERIES IN THE NORTH-WEST PALACE.
-IVORY ORNAMENTS AND CARTOUCHES WITH HIEROGLYPHICS.PAINTED
As I was drawing one morning at the mound, Ibrahim Agha came to me, with his eyes full of tears, and announced the death of Tahyar Pasha. The Cawass had followed the fortunes of the late Governor of Mosul almost since childhood, and was looked upon as a member of his family. Like other Turks of his class, he had been devoted to the service of his patron, and was treated more like a companion than a servant. In no country in the world are ties of this nature more close than in Turkey; nowhere does there exist a better feeling between the master and the servant, and the master and the slave.
I was much grieved at the sudden death of Tahyar; for he was a man of gentle and kindly manners, just and considerate in his government, and of considerable information and learning for a Turk. The cause of his death showed his integrity, His troop had plundered a friendly tribe, falsely represented to him as rebellious by his principal officers, who were anxious to have an opportunity of enriching themselves with the spoil. · When he learnt the truth, and that the tribe, so far from being hostile, were peaceably pasturing their flocks on the banks of the Khabour, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my house,” (i.e. its honor); and, without speaking again, died of a broken heart. He was buried in the court-yard of the principal mosque at Mardin. A simple but elegant tomb, surrounded by