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somewhat similar have been found in Egypt. The inscribed tablets appear to have been built into the walls of sun-dried bricks, to record the foundation of the edifice. The inscription upon them resembled that on all the slabs in the N.W. palace.
It is remarkable that whilst such parts of the great hall as had been uncovered were paved with baked bricks, and the smaller entrance to it with a large slab of alabaster, between the two great lions there were only sun-dried bricks. In the middle of this entrance, near the fore-part of the lions, were a few square stones carefully placed. I expected to find under them small figures in clay, similar to those discovered by M. Botta in the doorways at Khorsabad; but nothing of the kind existed.
As several of the principal Christian families of Mosul were anxious to see the sculptures, whose fame had spread over the town and province, I was desirous of gratifying their curiosity before the heat of summer had rendered the plain of Nimroud almost uninhabitable. An opportunity, at the same time, presented itself of securing the good-will of the Arab tribes encamped near the ruins, by preparing an entertainment which might gratify all parties. The Christian ladies, who had never before been out of sight of the walls of their houses, were eager to see the wonders of Nimroud, and availed themselves joyfully of the permission, with difficulty extracted from their husbands, to leave their homes. The French consul and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Rassam, joined the party. On the day after their arrival I issued a general invitation to all the Arabs of the district, men and women.
White pavilions, borrowed from the Pasha, had been pitched near the river, on a broad lawn still carpeted with flowers. These were for the ladies, and for the reception of the Sheikhs. Black tents were provided for some of the guests, for the attendants, and for the kitchen. A few Arabs encamped around us to watch the horses, which were picketted on all sides. An open space was left in the centre of the group of tents for dancing, and for various exhibitions provided for the entertainment of the company.
Early in the morning came Abd-ur-rahman, mounted on a tall white mare. He had adorned himself with all the finery he possessed. Over his keffiah or head-kerchief, was folded a white turban, edged with long fringes which fell over his shoulders, and almost concealed his handsome features. He wore a long robe of red silk and bright yellow boots, an article of dress much prized by Arabs. He was surrounded by horsemen carrying spears tipped with tufts of ostrich feathers.
As the Sheikh of the Abou-Salman approached the tents I rode out to meet him. A band of Kurdish musicians advanced at the same time to do honor to the Arab chief. As he drew near to the encampment, the horsemen, led by Schloss, his nephew, urged their mares to the utmost of their speed, and engaging in mimic war, filled the air with their wild war-cry. Their shoutings were, however, almost drowned by the Kurds, who belabored their drums, and blew into their pipes with redoubled energy. Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman, having dismounted, seated himself with becoming gravity on the sofa prepared for guests of his rank; whilst his Arabs picketted their mares, fastening the halters to spears driven into the ground.
The Abou-Salman were followed by the Shemutti and Jehesh, who came with their women and children on foot, except the Sheikhs, who rode on horseback. They also chanted their peculiar war-cry as they advanced. When they reached the tents, the chiefs placed themselves on the divan, whilst the others seated themselves in a circle on the greensward.
The wife and daughter of Abd-ur-rahman, mounted on mares, and surrounded by their slaves and hand-maidens, next appeared. They dismounted at the entrance of the ladies' tents, where an abundant repast of sweetmeats, halwa, parched peas, and lettuces had been prepared for them.
Fourteen sheep had been roasted and boiled to feast the crowd that had assembled. They were placed on large wooden platters, which, after the men had satisfied themselves, were passed on to the women. The dinner having been devoured to the last fragment, dancing succeeded. Some scruples had to be overcome before the women would join, as there were other tribes, besides their own, present; and when at length, by the exertions of Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, this difficulty was overcome, they made up different sets. Those who did not take an active share in the amusements seated themselves on the grass, and formed a large circle round the dancers. The Sheikhs remained on the sofas and divans. The dance of the Arabs, the Debke, as it is called, resembles in some respects that of the Albanians, and those who perform in it are scarcely less vehement in their gestures, or less extravagant in their excitement, than those wild mountaineers. They form a circle, holding one another by the hand, and, moving slowly round at first, go through a shuffling step with their feet, twisting their bodies into various attitudes. As the music quickens, their movements are more active; they stamp with their feet, yell their war-cry, and jump as they hurry round the musicians. The motions of the women are not without grace; but as they insist on wrapping themselves in their coarse cloaks before they join in the dance, their forms, which the simple Arab shirt so well displays are entirely concealed.
When those who formed the Debkfe were completely exhausted by their exertions, they joined the lookers-on, and seated themselves on the ground. Two warriors of different tribes, furnished with shields and naked scimitars, then entered the circle, and went through the sword-dance. As the music quickened the excitement of the performers increased. The bystanders at length were obliged to interfere and to deprive the combatants of their weapons, which were replaced by stout staves. With these they belabored one another unmercifully to the great enjoyment of the crowd. On every successful hit, the tribe, to which the one who dealt it belonged, set up their war-cry and shouts of applause, whilst the women deafened us with the shrill tahlehl, a noise made by a combined motion of the tongue, throat, and hand vibrated rapidly over the mouth. When an Arab or a Kurd hears this tahlehl he almost loses his senses through excitement, and is ready to commit any desperate act.
A party of Kurdish jesters from the mountains entertained the Arabs with performances and imitations, more amusing than refined. They were received with shouts of laughter. The dances were kept up by the light of the moon, the greater part of the night.
On the following morning Abd-ur-rahman invited us to his tents, and we were entertained with renewed Debkes and sword-dances. The women, undisturbed by the presence of another tribe, entered more fully into the amusement, and danced with greater animation. The Sheikh insisted upon my joining with him in leading off a dance, in which we were followed by some five hundred warriors, and Arab women.
The festivities lasted three days, and made the impression I had anticipated. They earned me a great reputation and no small respect, the Arabs long afterwards talking of their reception and entertainment. When there was occasion for their services, I found the value of the feeling towards me, which a little show of kindness to these ill-used people had served to produce.
Hafiz Pasha, who had been appointed to succeed the last governor, having received a more lucrative post, the province was sold to Tahyar Pasha, who made his public entry into Mosul early in May, followed by a large body of troops, and by the Cadi, Mufti, Ulema, and principal inhabitants of the town. The Mosuleeans had not been deceived by the good report of his benevolence and justice which had preceded him. He was a perfect specimen of the Turkish gentleman of the old school, of whom few are now left in Turkey: venerable in his appearance, bland and polished in his manners, courteous to Europeans, and well informed on subjects connected with the literature and history of his country. I had been furnished with serviceable letters of introduction to him; he received me with every mark of attention, and at once permitted me to con
tinue the excavations. As a matter of form, he named a Cawass, to superintend the work on his part. I willingly concurred in this arrangement, as it saved me from any further inconvenience on the score of treasure; for which, it was still believed, I was successfully searching. This officer's name was Ibrahim Agha. He had been many years with Tahyar Pasha, and was a kind of favourite. He served me during my residence in Assyria, and on my subsequent journey to Constantinople, with great fidelity; and, as is very rarely the case with his fraternity, with great honesty.
The support of Tahyar Pasha relieved me from some of my difficulties; for there was no longer cause to fear any interruption on the part of the authorities. But my means were very limited, and my own resources did not enable me to carry on the excavations as I wished. I returned, however, to Nimroud, and formed a small but effective body of workmen, choosing those who had already proved themselves equal to the work.
The heats of summer had now commenced, and it was no longer possible to live under a white tent. The huts were equally uninhabitable, and still swarmed with vermin. In this dilemma I ordered a recess to be cut into the bank of the river, where it rose perpendicularly from the water's edge. By screening the front with reeds and boughs of trees, and covering the whole with similar materials, a small room was formed. I was much troubled, however, with scorpions and other reptiles, which issued from the earth forming the walls of my apartment; and later in the summer by the gnats and sandflies, which hovered on a calm night over the river. Similar rooms were made for my servants. They were the safest that could be invented, should the Arabs take to stealing after dark. My horses were picketted on the edge of the bank above, and the tents of my workmen were pitched in a semi-circle behind them.
The change to summer had been as rapid as that which ushered in the spring. The verdure of the plain had perished almost in a day. Hot winds, coming from the desert, had