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SYRIA   103

the hwise "f a medical man whoa enabled me to witness sonic gorgeous Jewish domestic ceremonies. I also tookk elementary lessons in Hebrew at his house, for which the little I knew of Arabic made an excellent preparation. A sad grief befell me there in the deathh of my faithful dragoman, Ali, through violent dysentery. All the last duties to the Moslem dead, the washings, the shrouding, and the wailings, took place in the courtyard. My own presence, as a Christian, at the funeral would have been seriously resented by the Moslems, though I was able to arrange about his tombstone. The sculptors here adopt a very simple process for their illiterate workmen. A flat face is given to the stone, on which the inscription is painted in black. Then all that is not painted is chipped away. The populace at Damascus was then in a fanatical humour and Christians had to be careful. There had been a frightful persecution of Jews a little previously, and there were others of Christians subsequently. '

Ali had some trifling personal property, and wages were due to him. I sent these to his wife in Cairo, who was the only relative I ever heard him mention, together with a little present for herself, and thought my duty fulfilled and that all was finished. On the contrary, I had inadvertently roused a hornet's nest of greedy claimants. An official Arabic letter was sent to me demanding various payments to numerous relatives, together with a threat of legal proceedings if not attended to. My banker, to whom I referred it, advised me to get out of the reach of the law as soon as I conveniently could, or I might find myself fleeced, and