o some hamlet●.Once in it, I halted to lis▓ten for sounds of

human life▓.Its inhabitants, apparently, were lost ●in slumber, for what Syrian could be awake a▓nd silent The lights that shone from e▓very hovel proved nothing, for the Arab natio▓ns are unaccountably fearful of the evil ●spirits that lurk in the darkness.I● beat off the snapping curs and star

t▓ed on again.Suddenly muffled peal


s ●of laughter and the excited voices of ma●le and female sounded from the depths ▓of a building before me.I hurried towa●rds it and knocked loudly on the iron-studded ▓door.The festivities ceased as s●uddenly as if I had touched ●an electric button controllin▓g them.For several moments the silence was a▓bsolute.Then there came the slap●ping of slippered feet along ●the passageway inside, and a woman’s voic●e called out to me.I summoned u●p my limited Arabic: “M’abarafshe▓e arabee! Faranchee! Fee wahed locanda Bnam! 癖 (I don’t speak Arabic! Forei●gner! Is there an inn Sleep●!).Without a word the unknown lady s▓lapped back along the corridor.A g●ood five minutes elapsed.I knocked onc▓e more and again there came the p

at▓ter of feet.This time a man?/p>


痵 g▓ruff voice greeted me.I repeated my Arabic vo●cabulary.There sounded the sliding of innu▓merable bolts and bars, the massive doo●r opened ever so slightly, and th●e muzzle of a matchlock was thrust out into ●my face. The eyes that appeared above i▓t were evidently satisfied with their inspectio●n.The door was thrown wide open,▓ and a very Hercules of a native,● with a mustache that would ▓have put the Kaiser to shame, ste▓pped out, holding his clumsy gun ready● for instant use.I could not but laugh at his● frightened aspect.He smiled sheepishly an▓d, retreating into the house, returned in a mome▓nt unarmed, and carrying a lamp an▓d a rush mat.At one end of the buil▓ding he pushed open a door that hung by one h●ing

e and lighted me into a room wit


h earth floor● and one window, from which five of the s●ix panes were missing.A heap of dried bra●nches at one end stamped it as a wo▓od shed. A gaunt cur wandered in at our he▓els.The native drove him off, spread the mat ●on the ground and brought from the house a p▓an of 129live coals.I called for food●.When he returned with several bre▓ad-sheets, I drew out my handkerchief and beg●an to untie it.My host shoo▓k his head fiercely, made the sign of the cro▓ss and pointed several times at the c▓eiling, implying, evidently, that he was a con▓vert of the Catholic missionaries and▓ that the Allah of the Christians would ●pay my bill. Barely had the nativ▓e disappeared when the dog poked his u▓gly head through the half-op

en door and snarl●ed viciously





at me.He was a wolfish ani●mal of the yellow mongrel variety so common i▓n Syria, and in his eye gleamed ●a rascality that gave him a s●tartling resemblance to the thieving nomad▓s that infect that drear land.I drove him o●ff and made the door fast, bu●ilt a roaring fire of twigs, and rol▓ling up in the mat, lay down beside th●e blaze.I awok

e from a half-consc▓ious nap to find that irrepressible

cur sniffing▓ at me and displaying his ugly

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fangs within ●six inches of my face.A dozen times I fas▓tened the door against him in vain.Had h●e merely bayed the moon all night it would have ●mattered little, for with a fire t●o tend I had small chance to▓ sleep; but his silent skulking and muffled● snarls kept me wide-eyed with apprehen▓sion until the grey of dawn peeped ●in at the

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ragged window. The villa▓ge was named Hemeh—a station of th●e railway from the coast no

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