Travels In Syria And The Holy Land By John Lewis Burckhardt


























































 -  On their return to
Damascus, if they have already extorted from the pilgrims in the course
of the journey more - Page 310
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On Their Return To Damascus, If They Have Already Extorted From The Pilgrims In The Course Of The Journey More

Than the amount of their contract, as often happens, they generally declare themselves to be bankrupts, and then the value

Of a few camels is all that remains to pay their debts to the pilgrims.

Those pilgrims who do not engage with the Mekouam, as is generally the case with those who come from Armenia and the borders of the Black sea, perform the journey somewhat cheaper upon their own beasts; but they are ill-treated on the road by the Mekouam, are obliged to march the last in the caravan, to encamp on the worst ground, to fill their water skins the last, and are often even avanized by the Pasha. It is difficult to conceive the wretched condition of the greater part of the Hadjis, and the bad conduct of the troops and Arabs. Thieving and robbery have become general among them, and it is more the want of sleep from fear of being plundered, which causes the death of so many pilgrims, than the fatigues of the journey. The Pasha's troops, particularly those called Howara, which bring up the rear of the caravan, are frequently known to kill the stragglers during the night, in order to strip them of their property. The Pasha, it is true, often punishes such delinquents, and scarcely a day passes without some one being empaled alive; the caravan moves on, and the malefactor is left to be devoured by the birds of prey.

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