Travels In Arabia By  John Lewis Burckhardt

 -  I inquired after lodgings, but
learned that the town was already full of pil-grims, and that many
others, who - Page 140
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I Inquired After Lodgings, But Learned That The Town Was Already Full Of Pil-Grims, And That Many Others, Who Were Expected, Had Engaged Apartments.

After some time, however, I found a man who offered me a ready-furnished room:

Of this I took possession, and having no servant, boarded with the owner. He and his family, consisting of a wife and two children, retired into a small, open court-yard, on the side of my room. The landlord was a poor man from Medina,


[p.100] and by profession a Metowaf, or cicerone. Although his mode of living was much below that of even the second class of Mekkawys, yet it cost me fifteen piastres a day; and I found, after we parted, that several articles of dress had been pilfered from my travelling sack; but this was not all: on the feast-day he invited me to a splendid supper, in company with half a dozen of his friends, in my room, and on the following morning he presented me with a bill for the whole expense of this entertainment.

The thousands of lamps lighted during Ramadhan in the great mosque, rendered it the nightly resort of all foreigners at Mekka; here they took their walk, or sat conversing till after midnight. The scene presented altogether a spectacle which (excepting the absence of women) resembled rather an European midnight assemblage, than what I should have expected in the sanctuary of the Mohammedan religion. The night which closes Ramadhan, did not present those brilliant displays of rejoicing that are seen in other parts of the East; and the three subsequent days of the festival are equally devoid of public amusements. A few swinging machines were placed in the streets to amuse children, and some Egyptian jugglers exhibited their feats to multitudes assembled in the streets; but little else occurred to mark the feast, except a display of gaudy dresses, in which the Arabians surpass both Syrians and Egyptians.

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