« PreviousContinue »
"The question, my honest friend, "is, will they admit us to shelter?"
"Never fear," replied my companion. "This small estate belongs "to a particular friend of mine, an "honest good fellow; who delights "in the exercise of hospitality. Come, "Sir, be of good cheer, he will give "us lodging, I warrant you."
Although we were rather tired.... this pleasing discovery gave us new strengthf arid. we posted down the
hill at a tolerable good pace When
we came to the bottom, we found ourselves in an avenue of tall chesnut trees, leading to a large:plain building, which I imagined to be.the-residence of the person to whom this'.estate belonged. '#
As we approached the mansion, our
ears were saluted with vocal harmony
from the united voices of several male
and female singers...The stillness of the
night assisted the effect of its melody, and the whole was charming
I immediately fancied I was among
that order of beings, who, as the
Stranger assured me, could alone
prepare me for the service of the Lord.
My guide, however, betrayed no
symptoms of surprize, and I at once suspected our arrival not to be the sj&ort of chance, but a concerted plan to bring me there.
We listened till the singing ended, when, my guide giving three separate taps at the outward gate....a voice from within enquired, "Who "is there,....and what do you want?"
My companion made some reply
in Syriac; and then added in Greek
that he was attended by two strangers bound for Pitane, whom he had misled...by mistaking his road through
the forest; and intreated shelter
for the night.
Immediately the gate was opened,... and a tall man, of about fifty, advanced taking each of us by the hand
.....to bid us welcome. A fine little
boy one of his s«Hs lighted us
and we proceeded to a small hail
where five or six lively youths of the family exerted themselves to display the hospitality of their father.
An equal number of girls, from the ages of thirteen to twenty, next presented themselves with utensils for
washing our feet Their dress and
manners were simple but so interesting was the native innocence
complaisance and virgin timidity
of these lovely girls I think they
differed from all the females I had
ever seen.. They placed the water
before us laid towels, &c. on the
table, and retired, without having once raised their eyes from the employment they were engaged in. . -, C 3
he' £\^younge»ef 'Jftom, regardless of the intreaties both of my servant an,d« mj^self.;',......^>erf(|rmed the
ceremony oY Washing bur feety..,'... as .did theinext, those of" our guide.. ...
the whole being conducted irt silence; ....and with an humility of demeanor
that had tl^appearanoe of devotion, i k Hatmg^rested-asJi^e^T/ahd being
• very much recruited1 byfrnVfesf indulgence....our host'led us to another apartment-, where we gladly sat down to 'a eovered tableMaid but with eggs... fftnX**. .excellent bread and dried
* fruits*:*' *
Here we were* introduced. to the
lady of the house.; a fine elderly
woman who requested we-* would consider ourselves at home; and
partake without ceremony the
frugal repast which she was prevented by the late hour from making more acceptable.
It is not possible to give you an idea of the sort of sentiment the first sight of this amiable matron inspired
we with She had the dignity of a
Queen, tempered with the meekness
of a Saint I do not think she had
ever been a beauty but she was
infinitely more and the expression
of her countenance then indefinable to me......I found after my
initiation into the rites of Christianity
.....to have been of that composed
serene holy kind of complexion,
which a painter would have taken as a model to represent the blessed Virgin.
It was a most gratifying sight to view this noble pair, surrounded by