104 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
perhaps entangled interminably. Fortunately, this circumstance occurred about the time when I should
have been returning to P"11gr1,11)(1 1)1) my ()W11
so I " re-levanteW if it may he so expressed. Defaulters ordinarily "levant," or run from Europe to the Levant; I ran in the opposite direction.
At Damascus in the hot time of the year there was more than one delicious retreat in public coffeeplaces with gardens, through which one of the innumerable runnels of clear river water was conducted. I also took an interesting ride through the outskirts of the town, where a vast amount of dried apricot is prepared. It looks like greasy brown paper, is wrapped in rolls, and is largely consumed. Each orchard has a smoothed place like a small threshingfloor, as well as a big cauldron over an oven into which the apricots are put. The resulting slush is ladled out and spread over the floor; when it is sufficiently hardened, it is rolled off it as if it were a sheet of oilcloth. The cost of preparation is so small and the results so good that this manufacture might be found remunerative in other countries where apricots grow in abundance.
I spent some happy days at Aden on the Lebanon, a little below the famous cedars. The Sheikh was only too glad to entertain me, because one of the miserable tribal fights was expected, and he was glad of the presence of armed persons in his house, to protect it. Nothing, however, happened, beyond a few harmless shots. I afterwards revelled in the glorious beauty of the gorges leading down to the Mediterranean, and rank the view down one of them as the very finest my eyes have ever rested