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the Ex-Emir Beschir, and that he did not consider the change of hands into which the government of Syria had recently passed one that was likely to benefit the country. From motives of delicacy, perhaps, he said but little in praise of Ibrahim Pasha ; but made no scruple in asserting that the Ex-Emir was the only man who could govern a people so divided, so ignorant, and so lawless as the Syrians.
The announcement of supper broke off our conversation, and we sat down, a curious enough partie carrée--an Armenian Archbishop, a Syrian Prince, myself, and the clever little swarthy Egyptian who served me as Dragoman and Valet ; for the Patriarch insisted on his taking a place at the table,-an indulgence that he was by no means accustomed to receive from me; but to which, under the present circumstances, of course I could not object. The fare was passably good, the wine excellent, and our host a most agreeable person. The Emir Said, of Beskiata, seemed a stupid youth, which most young Maronite Princes do seem. But I verily believe that if he were brought to England and lodged at Mivart's for a fortnight, he would discover wit enough to make people believe he was a “great man entirely” in his own country.
On the following morning the Patriarch was so good as to conduct me all over the Convent, which contains a very handsome church and a“ College," the latter under the patronage of St. Michael. Thirty lads are here fed, clothed, housed, and educated, and it is by far the best ordered establishment of the kind that I have seen in this country. His Eminence very kindly pressed me to prolong my stay, but circumstances having occurred that rendered it necessary for me to return to Beyrout, I was obliged to decline his invitation and take my leave.
Being desirous to vary the route, I proceeded for about two miles on the Zachle road, to gain the village of Ashcout, whence a road proceeds direct to Antourah. The country in the immediate vicinity of Bezommar, though extremely rocky, is planted with vines and mulberry trees, wherever sufficient soil can be collected to cover their roots, and at the distance of about half a mile from the Convent, the road descends into a singularly romantic dell, where the rocks are tossed about in most fantastic forms; and the bright verdure of the vine and mulberry being here mixed with the more sombre hues of the Olive, Carob, and llex, renders it a spot of surpassing beauty. This kind of scenery continues for many miles, but on the present occasion I quitted the secluded valley on arriving abreast of the before-named village of Ashcout, and after ascending to and passing through it, turned westward, the road thenceforth keeping under the crest of one of the principal lateral ridges of the Lebanon range that stretch towards the sea-coast.
In about an hour I arrived at Rayfoun, a small village clustered round a conical mound that rises along the summit of the ridge. Bezommar was now on my right hand, and scarcely more than a mile distant, but separated from Rayfoun by a wide and deep ravine. The way now, for some time, lay amongst some curiously formed rocky pinnacles, and the course of half an hour brought me to the large scattered village of Argeltoun, containing several churches, and a population of 600 or 800 souls. About a mile to the N.W. of this vil. lage, agreeably situated on the summit of a hill, but sheltered by orchards and mulberry plantations, is the Convent of Marshalita, the winter residence of the Patriarch of the Maronites.
The road now began to descend more rapidly than heretofore. Tu about half an hour I passed through a small village called Rahin Berdahhah, and at the end of another hour I reached Antourah, a flourishing village, situated on the northern acclivity of the ridge along which I had been gradually descending towards the coast. I proceeded to the College of the Lazarists, and was very hospitably received by the Fraternity. I found them to be superior to the general run of European Missionaries in Syria, excepting perhaps the Carmelites and Jesuits. Their college contains forty pupils, who appeared to be well taken care of.
Next morning, soon after sunrise, I was on my way to Beyrout, taking a pathway which crosses the Nahr El Kelb, near some caverns from which issue the copious sources which give their name to the river. The road crosses over the pine-clad ridge at the back of An, tourah, and in about an hour, by a toilsome and difficult descent, reaches the bed of the stream. The river is fordable at most seasons, but the current is rapid. The caverns are about half a mile above the point of passage, but the road to them is only passable for horses for part of that distance. They are situated near the foot of a high and steep mountain of limestone, of which the strata are disposed nearly vertically ; two copious streams issue from the caverns, forming together a far greater body of water than that with which they unite. Indeed, it not unfrequently happens, that all the upper sources of the Nahr El Kelb are completely consumed in the irrigation of gardens, &c. long before reaching this spot.
The ravine is here remarkably wild and impracticable; but this part of it is much frequented, from there being several water mills, to which the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages bring their corn and olives to be ground.
Our horses had some difficulty in scrambling up the steep road that winds up the mountain which overhangs the left bank of the stream ; but in about a quarter of an hour we reached a more practicable country, planted with vineyards, and here, of course, convents without end came in view. On our right rose Mar Abdu, on our left Mar Hannah, Mar Tamash in front.
Our way now wound round the heads of several ravines opening into a wide valley or basin, and after mounting a steep ridge we reached the little village of Beit Schaah. Leaving now Mar Tamash on our right, the road continued for several miles along the tops of hills clothed with pine woods; and finally reaching yet another convent, which is dedicated to England's patron saint, descended to the seashore.
It is well that the Maronite monks employ themselves in agriculture, otherwise, from the number of religious houses in this part of Syria, there would not be hands enough left to till the ground; and it may, by some, be considered fortunate that they are not noted for a very strict adherence to their vow of chastity, otherwise the country would soon be without inhabitants.
When the condition of the Christian population of this country is considered three fourths of the young, able bodied men being devoted to the monastic life-it ought not to excite surprise that in the various contests which have occurred between the Christians and Druses, the latter, though inferior in point of numbers, should generally bave had the advantage. The Druses, moreover, have latterly had the advantage of military instruction, many of them having served in the Egyptian ranks; for Ibrahim Pasha subjected them to the conscription, though he exempted from it the Christians.
In point of courage I suspect there is but little difference between them, and that neither possess a greater share than falls to the lot of the natives of Asia generally. The Maronites, however, admit that their adversaries have an advantage over them, namely, that of not fearing death :--the dread of punishment in a future state not being before the eyes of a Druse.
Ao hour's ride along the sea-shore brought me once more to Beyrout—" the mother and nurse of the law," as it was styled by Justinian. But the old lady has latterly taken to smoking, and now, squatted immoveably on a cushion, consults only her own ease; whilst the bantling committed to her charge having tumbled out of its cradle, has, for future security, been wrapped up in Turkish swaddling clothes.
Reviews of the Month.
Father Connell. By the O'Hara Family. In Three Volumes.
T. C. Newby, Mortimer Street, It is some time since we have had the satisfaction of meeting with a work of Mr. Banim's. We gratefully remember how much we owe him for the varied excitement caused by the perusal of his former tales. Never can we forget the intense and powerful interest be created in his wonderful and appalling story of Crohore na Bilhoge;"' the breathless state in which we read the scene of the murder in " The Slate-house," so graphically and almost revoltingly described in “ The Nowlans;" and although we did not consider his “Ghost Hunter" equal to his former efforts, still, as it bore such evidence of the author's extraordinary power to arrest the attention, we will not refuse to give it all due praise.
The present work is, to our mind, the most perfect of all Mr. Banim's productions. The characters are admirably drawn, the incidents, sometimes of a comic nature, and at others of a most terrible and harrowing order, are naturally blended ; and they arise so perfectly from the events and circumstances leading to them, that startling as they are, the reader has the conviction that it were scarcely possible malters could take any other course but the one the writer describes as happening.
Now and then, it is true, there is an absence of Dramatic conduct in the plot, somewhat bewildering to the reader, and betokening haste, or inadvertence, on the part of the writer. More than once things are mentioned as likely to produce the most serious, if not fatal results to the actors, our sympathies are awakened in vain, nothing comes to pass of the threatened mischief. Crimes are committed, we will take the fabrication of base money for example, but no absolute punishment is awarded to the coiners, the author contenting himself by getting rid of the rascals upon the gibbet, for other high offences and misdemeanours.
Another exception we must also make; to fill up the scene a liost of characters are introduced who have very little to do with the main purpose of the story, we allude particularly to the congregation of Idiots, or as they are called in Ireland, “Nathurals." The purpose of the person who is mixed up with them in the loft of Nick McGrath could have been narrated, without awakening our disgust by minute details of his drivelling and disgusting associates.
Father Connell is the impersonation of all that is good; a more loveable or estimable being we never encountered. Pure in heart, simple in manners, he shines forth as great as he is good. A servant of God, he fulfils to the utmost his mission upon earth, gaining not only the respect of all parties and creeds, but ensuring to himself that blissful peace of mind that can only result from the fulfilment of all moral and religious duties; serving Heaven by constant acts of sell sacrifice in behalf of Heaven's creatures,
. It would be the most intolerable and intolerant bigotry, were we not to believe that many such exemplary and pious men are to be found amongst the Catholic Priesthood ; alas ! too many of very opposite character exist, as any one who has resided in Ireland cannot fail to know. * Few of Mr. Banim's characters are described as belonging to the Protestant faith ; his heroine and her father are members of the Reformed Church ; but although Helen is represented as a most amiable and excellent girl, her father is drawn as a drinking, swearing, rakehelly old fellow; his person is thus described. · -"Gaby was tall and bulky, but stooped in his shoulders. He could not be said to have an ill-tempered face ; but it had a domineering look, befitting a person of much importance in the world, both as to rank and religious creed ; and this was one of the characteristics of what the papists of the time used to term a 'Protestant face.""
Speaking of another of the same creed, it is said that he had — " tremendous grey eyebrows always knit together, and a huge projecting under lip. He seemed as if ever revolving some unpleasant subject; and Jack was said to have a ' Protestant face,' too; that is, he looked as if he did not like a papist, and was therefore conscious that a papist could not like him."
In fact, wherever the author can indulge in a sly hit at " the Heretics,” he does not let slip the opportunity ; but Mr. Banim should remember that when he drew such an incarnate fiend as Robin Costigan, alias Darby Cooney, or so lost a creature as Nelly Carty, they were, if any religion at all, Papists; and why would such miscreants prefer the Church of Rome?-for this simple reason, the Ministers of Popery can, for coined money, absolve any penitent from crime, the prices varying according to the enormity of the act committed ; a man does not pay so much for hamstringing his Protestant neighbour's cattle, as he would be called on to produce for having deprived a fellow creature of life, which he softens down by designating it “a small thrifle of murther.”
The spiteful allusion to the late Judge Norbury is in the vilest possible taste; his Lordship could not help his personal defects, or habits arising from them ; but these are brought in array against his memory, because, forsooth, he passed sentence of Death upon that Arch-Rebel, Emmett.
We have too much regard for the enjoyments of our Readers to give even a brief outline of the plot ; it would be an act of cruelty to forestall the very highly wrought dénouement, or to anticipate, by relation here, any of the most striking passages ; but we must indulge in one little extract, which does not interfere with the story, being about as perfect a picture of Irish character as ever was portrayed.
We must premise that the ensuing dialogue takes place between Bridget Mulrooney, and her crony, Nelly Carty :
"__'and I was livin' under the wan roof of Tim Donoher. He goes by the name of Woodbine
Woodbine, enagh! And what do they call him by that name for, Nelly ? ''He has wan good leg, Bridget, but the other isn't the fellow iv it; and