My paradise is heaven; I cannot enter yonder city!"
a city to-day of unsurpassed beauty, when viewed from the
distance, with its white domes and slender minarets rising above
the shrubbery and trees of its thirty thousand gardens.
this old city; in this historic city; in this beautiful city; in
Damascus, I greet you and extend to you an invitation to join me
in my proposed trip through Gilead.
My party as yet consists of but two persons. My dragoman, William
Barakat, of Jerusalem, in response to a telegram sent from
Constantinople, met me several days ago at Beyrout. He is a native
Syrian, talks good English, dresses like an American, (save that
he wears a red fez,) and is a Christian in faith. Before reaching
this city he has already rendered me excellent service. He is
intelligent, having attended the American College at Beyrout. I
can trust him.
My arrangements with my guide are simple. He is to take me over my
desired route by best possible methods of travel; to furnish the
best of fare and lodging obtainable; to guarantee me a safe
escort; and he is to do all this within a specified time and for a
stipulated price. I did not then know how little I was asking as
to fare and lodging, but when I knew that he was fulfilling his
part of the agreement I had little cause for just complaint.
By early dawn, on October thirtieth, we had breakfasted and had
bidden good-by to all the servants about the hotel, (many of whom
I did not know to exist, but who, somehow, had learned of me, and
had risen thus early to witness my departure and to ask a fee for
services that I am quite sure some of them had had no part in
rendering,) and had ordered the driver to lose no time in reaching
the station of the Damascus-Hauran Railroad, about two miles
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