Then Came The Hour For Receiving Or Paying Visits.
We still kept up an
intimacy with Omar Effendi and Sa'ad the Demon, although Salih Skakkar
and Amm Jamal, either disliking our society, or perhaps thinking our
sphere of life too humble for their dignity, did not appear once in
The evening prayers ensued, either at home, or in the
Harim, followed by our Asha or "deipnon," another substantial meal like
the dinner, but more plentiful, of bread, meat, vegetables, plain rice
and fruits, concluding with the invariable pipes and coffee.
To pass our soiree, we occasionally dressed in common clothes,
shouldered a Nabbut,[FN#28] and went to the cafe; sometimes on festive
occasions we indulged in a Taatumah (or Itmiyah), a late supper of
sweetmeats, pomegranates, and dried fruits. Usually we sat upon
mattresses spread upon the ground in the open air at the Shaykh's door;
receiving evening visits, chatting, telling stories, and making merry,
till each, as he felt the approach of the drowsy god, sank down into
his proper place, and fell asleep.
Whatever may be the heat of the day, the night at Al-Madinah, owing, I
suppose, to its elevated position, is cool and pleasant. In order to
allay the dust, the ground before the Shaykh's door was watered every
evening, and the evaporation was almost too great to be safe,-the boy
Mohammed suffered from a smart attack of lumbago,
[p.301] which, however, yielded readily to frictions of olive oil in
which ginger had been boiled.
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