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: 163
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DAMASCUS

163

the tramp of the pursuer among the palms and mimosas in the
strange-looking courtyard, the whole seemed to me like some fear,
ful dream, of which I watched the result in painful and con-
strained suspense.

At length the slave became exhausted by the violence of Jais
emotions, and, flinging himself on the ground, sobbed as if his
heart would break. Gradually he came to himself, looked puz-
zledly round on the scene of devastation he had wrought, and
then quietly resumed his meek attitude, and stood with folded
arms on his naked chest.

Peace being restored, the scattered audience appeared one by
one from their hiding-places, the lantern and fresh pipes were
lighted, and we all resumed our seats, except the Armenian priests,
who had disappeared in the confusion. The negro was then ex-
amined, and he described his sensations as those of exquisite de-
light, but he was quite unconscious of all that he had done.

As I had preserved an air of quiet indifference (which I was
far from feeling) through the transaction, the Orientals thought
the matter was all quite right, and looked upon me with great re-
spect. My host professed himself as much obliged as astonished
by the performance, and begged of me to return the next evening
to repeat the experiment. " Heaven forbid !" thought I, as I took
leave of my host, as the following day I did of Damascus.*

* The celebrated sword-blades are no longer manufactured here. The trade
was transferred to Kharassan by one of the many conquerors that have ravaged
this fair city. The steel was " cut as fine as horsehair, and interwoven with
gold as finely drawn as woman's tresses," then subjected to fire till each metal
became imbued with the virtuef :>f the other, and the blade would cut gossamer
as it floated in the air.
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