Earth In Its Length And Its Breadth And All The Deep Universe Of
Sky Was Steeped In Light And Heat.
On I rode through the fire, but
long before evening came there were straining eyes that saw, and
joyful voices that announced, the sight of Shaum Shereef - the
"holy," the "blessed" Damascus.
But that which at last I reached with my longing eyes was not a
speck in the horizon, gradually expanding to a group of roofs and
walls, but a long, low line of blackest green, that ran right
across in the distance from east to west. And this, as I
approached, grew deeper, grew wavy in its outline. Soon forest
trees shot up before my eyes, and robed their broad shoulders so
freshly, that all the throngs of olives as they rose into view
looked sad in their proper dimness. There were even now no houses
to see, but only the minarets peered out from the midst of shade
into the glowing sky, and bravely touched the sun. There seemed to
be here no mere city, but rather a province wide and rich, that
bounded the torrid waste.
Until about a year, or two years, before the time of my going there
Damascus had kept up so much of the old bigot zeal against
Christians, or rather, against Europeans, that no one dressed as a
Frank could have dared to show himself in the streets; but the
firmness and temper of Mr. Farren, who hoisted his flag in the city
as consul-general for the district, had soon put an end to all
intolerance of Englishmen.
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