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Yesterday all those dogs were kissing my feet; to-day every one, and everything, falls upon me, even the rain!"
Meanwhile the state of the country rendering the continuation of my researches at Nimroud almost impossible, I determined to proceed to Baghdad, to make arrangements for the removal of the sculptures at a future period.
RETURN TO MOSUL.— ISMAIL PASHA. — CHANGE IN THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY. — RETURN TO NIMROUD. THE RUINS IN SPRING. — EXCAVATIONS RESUMED. FURTHER DISCOVERIES. — NEW INTERRUPTIONS.
SHEIKH ABD-UR-RAHMAN AND THE ABOU-SALMAN ARABS FRESH BASRELIEFS IN THE NORTH-WEST CORNER.—DISCOVERY OF THE PRINCIPAL
PALACE. — ENTIRE BAS-RELIEFS. DISCOVERY OF THE COLOSSAL LIONS.
— SURPRISE OF THE ARABS. — SENSATION AT MOSUL, AND CONDUCT OF THE PASHA AND CADI EXCAVATIONS STOPPED. FURTHER DISCOVERIES. DESCRIPTION OF THE HUMAN-HEADED LIONS. REFLECTIONS
ON THEIR ANTIQUITY AND OBJECT. — THE JEBOUR ARABS. THEIR
SHEIKHS.—NIMROUD IN MARCH. DESCRIPTION OF THE PLAIN AT SUNSET.
THE TUNNEL OF NEGOUB. AN ASSYRIAN INSCRIPTION.
On my return to Mosul in the beginning of January, I found Ismail Pasha installed in the government. He received me with courtesy, offered no opposition to the continuation of my researches at Nimroud, and directed the irregular troops stationed at Selamiyah to afford me every assistance and protection. The change since my departure had been as sudden as great. A few conciliatory acts on the part of the new Governor, an order from the Porte for an inquiry into the sums unjustly levied by the late Pasha, with a view to their repayment, and a promise of a diminution of taxes, had so far encouraged those who had fled to the mountains and the desert, that the inhabitants of the villages were slowly returning to their homes; and even the Arab tribes, whose pasture grounds are in the districts of Mosul, were again pitching their tents on the banks of the Tigris.
During my absence my agents had not been inactive. Several trenches had been opened in the great mound of Baasheikha; and fragments of sculpture and inscriptions, with entire pottery and inscribed bricks, had been discovered there. At Karamles a platform of brickwork had been uncovered, and the Assyrian origin of the ruin proved by the inscription on the bricks, which contained the name of the Khorsabad king.
I rode to Nimroud on the 17th of January, having first engaged a party of Nestorian Chaldaeans to accompany me.
The change that had taken place in the face of the country during my absence, was no less remarkable than that in the political state of the province. To me they were both equally agreeable and welcome. The rains, which had fallen almost incessantly from the day of my departure for Baghdad, had rapidly brought forward the vegetation of spring. The mound was no longer an arid and barren heap; its surface and its sides were covered with verdure. From the summit of the pyramid my eye ranged, on one side, over a broad plain enclosed by the Tigris and the Zab; on the other, over a low undulating country bounded by the snow-capped mountains of Kurdistan; but it was no longer the dreary waste I had left a month before; the landscape was clothed in green, the black tents of the Arabs chequered the plain of Nimroud, and their numerous flocks pastured on the distant hills. The Abou-Salman had recrossed the Zab, and had sought their old encamping grounds. The Jehesh and Shemutti Arabs had returned to their villages, around which the wandering Jebours had pitched their tents, and were now engaged in cultivating the soil. Even on the mound the plough opened its furrows, and corn was sown over the palaces of the Assyrian kings.
Security had been restored, and Nimroud offered a more convenient and agreeable residence than Selamiyah. Hiring, therefore, three huts, I removed to my new dwelling place. A few rude chairs, a table, and a wooden bedstead, formed the whole of my furniture. My Cawass spread his carpet, and hung his tobacco pouch in the corner of a hovel, which he had appropriated, and spent his days in peaceful contemplation. The servants constructed a rude kitchen, and the grooms shared the stalls with the horses. Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, the brother of the British Vice-Consul, came to reside with me, and undertook the daily payment of the workmen and the domestic arrangements.
My agent, with the assistance of the chief of the Hytas, had punctually fulfilled the instructions he had received on my departure. Not only were the counterfeit graves carefully removed, but even others, which possessed more claim to respect, had been rooted out. I entered into an elaborate argument with the Arabs on the subject of the latter, and proved to them that, as the bodies were not turned towards Mecca, they could not be those of true believers. I ordered the remains, however, to be carefully collected, and to be reburied at the foot of the mound.
Since my last visit, a sculptured slab, divided into two compartments, had been discovered in the S. W. ruins.* The upper bas-relief had been destroyed; the lower contained four figures, carrying supplies for a banquet, or spoil taken from the enemy. The object carried by the foremost figure could not be determined; the second bore either fruit or a loaf of bread; the third a basket and a skin of wine; the fourth a similar skin, and a vessel of not inelegant shape. The four figures were clothed in long fringed robes, descending to the ankles, and wore the conical cap or helmet before described. The slab had been reduced in size, to the injury of the sculpture, and had evidently belonged to another building. It had on either side the usual inscription, and had been so much injured by fire that it could not be moved.
My labors had scarcely been resumed when I received information that the Cadi of Mosul was endeavoring to stir up the people against me, chiefly on the plea that I was carrying away treasure; and, what was worse, finding inscriptions proving that the Franks once held the country, and upon the evidence of which they intended immediately to resume possession of it, exterminating all true believers. These stories, however absurd they may appear, rapidly gained ground in the
* No. 12, wall k, plan 1.
town. Old Mohammed Emin Pasha brought out his Yakuti, and confirmed, by that geographer's account of treasures anciently found at Khorsabad, the allegations of the Cadi. A representation was ultimately made by the Ulema to Ismail Pasha; and as he expressed a wish to see me, I rode to Mosul. He was not, he said, influenced by the Cadi or the Mufti, nor did he believe the absurd tales which they had spread abroad. I should shortly see how he intended to treat these troublesome fellows, but he thought it prudent at present to humor them, and made it a personal request that I would, for the time, suspend the excavations. I consented with regret; and once more returned to Nimroud, without being able to gratify the ardent curiosity I felt to explore further the extraordinary building, the nature of which was still a mystery to me.
The Abou-Salman Arabs, who encamp around Nimroud, are known for their thievish propensities, and might have caused me some annoyance. Thinking it prudent, therefore, to conciliate their chief, I rode over one morning to their principal encampment. Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman received me at the entrance of his capacious tent of black goat-hair, which was crowded with relations, followers, and strangers, enjoying his hospitality. He was one of the handsomest Arabs I ever saw; tall, robust, and well-made, with a countenance in which intelligence was no less marked than courage and resolution. On his head he wore a turban of dark linen, from under which a many-colored kerchief fell over his shoulders; his dress was a simple white shirt, descending to the ankles, and an Arab cloak thrown loosely over it. Contrary to the custom of the Arabs, he had shaved his beard; and, although he could scarcely be much beyond forty, I observed that the little hair which could be distinguished from under his turban was grey. He received me with every demonstration of hospitality, and led me to the upper place in the tent, which was divided by a goat-hair curtain from the harem. The place of reception for the guests was at the same time occupied by two favorite mares and a colt. A few camels were kneeling on the grass around, and the