Eothen By A. W. Kingslake


Lady Hester, meeting the calamity in her own fierce way, seems to
have scorned the poor island that had not - Page 90
Eothen By A. W. Kingslake - Page 90 of 325 - First - Home

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Lady Hester, Meeting The Calamity In Her Own Fierce Way, Seems To Have Scorned The Poor Island That Had Not Enough Of God's Grace To Keep The "Heaven-Sent" Minister Alive.

I can hardly tell why it should be, but there is a longing for the East very commonly felt by proud-hearted people when goaded by sorrow.

Lady Hester Stanhope obeyed this impulse. For some time, I believe, she was at Constantinople, where her magnificence and near alliance to the late Minister gained her great influence. Afterwards she passed into Syria. The people of that country, excited by the achievements of Sir Sidney Smith, had begun to imagine the possibility of their land being occupied by the English, and many of them looked upon Lady Hester as a princess who came to prepare the way for the expected conquest. I don't know it from her own lips, or indeed from any certain authority, but I have been told that she began her connection with the Bedouins by making a large present of money (500 pounds it was said - immense in piastres) to the Sheik whose authority was recognised in that part of the desert which lies between Damascus and Palmyra. The prestige created by the rumours of her high and undefined rank, as well as of her wealth and corresponding magnificence, was well sustained by her imperious character and her dauntless bravery. Her influence increased. I never heard anything satisfactory as to the real extent or duration of her sway, but it seemed that for a time at least she certainly exercised something like sovereignty amongst the wandering tribes.

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