Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 17
DOI Page: Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/warburton1859/0043
License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
CHAP. IV.]

MALTA.

17

called), are palaces that bear testimony to the taste and power
of their former proprietors. The principal are the Auberges de
Castile, and de Provence; and the palace of the Grand Master,
now that of the British governor. The others are converted into
barracks; and probably the costumes of their olden time did not
differ more from one another than those of its present military
occupants—the dark green of the rifleman, the scarlet uniform
of the 88th, and the varied garb of the Highlander, " all plaided
and plumed in his tartan array." Every costume of Europe,
Asia, and Africa, is to be met with in the streets, which swarm
with the most motley and picturesque population. The brilliant
sunshine gives an almost prismatic effect to every object, from
the gorgeously clad Turk to the beautiful fish, streaked with
every color in the rainbow • quantities of fruit and vegetables
are ranged on tables along the pave ; and roguish-looking little
children persecute you with flowers.

The principal dress of the natives is a bright blue cotton shirt,
with a colored scarf round the waist, and a scarlet or blue cap
hanging down behind, containing all their worldly goods. These
last seemed to me to consist for the most part of a comb and a
needle and thread. I speak of the poorer class, who generally
sleep in the streets, and wear their clothes like their skins.
They are a swarthy, stunted race, of very indifferent character,
but with great vivacity and intelligence in their glistening eyes.

The population in both town and country abounds in a propor-
tion eight times as great as that of England.* Being very fru-
gal and industrious, they are just able to keep themselves alive
at present; but what is to become of them a few years hence,
Sir Patrick Stuart and Malthus only know. The celibacy en-
joined to the knights produced its usual licentious results ; and
the Order bequeathed its morals to the present inhabitants—a
legacy which does not tend to diminish their 'number.

Many of tha women are very beautiful, combining the gazelle
eye of the east with the rich tresses of the north, and the statues-
que profile of Greece and Italy. Their peculiar head-dress, the
annelid, contributes not a little to the effect of their beauty. This

* 130,000 within a circuit of sixty miles.
3
loading ...