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TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT.
APPENDIX C.
A 8EETGE OF LIFE IN DAMASCUS.
Being an Abstract from a Letter of M. M. Iresco, Director oe the Alliance School.
[Translation.]
It affords me sincere pleasure to note clown for the purposes of the Anglo-Jewish. Association the following details concerning Damascus.
Seen from the heights of Salhieh (on the outer spurs of the Anti-Lebanon), an indescribable panorama is unrolled. Damascus appears like a white island in an ocean of verdure , m the further distance the desert melts away. So far Damascus may well bear its epithets of " Paradise," " Pearl of the Deseit, " Grain of Beauty," etc.; but enter the city, and the charm is suddenly lost. 1 be streets are narrow, tortuous, daik, and terribly unclean, all garbage being thrown out of the windows.
The houses, though uncomfortable, retain some degree of pretty outside show. They have marble pavements, with central basins surrounded by orange trees. The halls are much adorned with paintings, fretwork, and arabesques, very often not in good taste. On the exterior, all houses without exception present a sad, dilapidated, and miserable appearance. They look like stables.
The climate of Damascus is healthy, though somewhat favourable to fevers, owing to the humidity of the atmosphere. The underground portion of the city is intersected by numberless channels. No stranger could reside on a ground floor.
The inhabitants have a certain touch of good nature— they are sympathetic, kind, and affable; but their affability is not of a solid character, and their friendships are not enduring. Obsequiously polite, they sometimes exhibit greater coarseness than would be tolerated elsewhere in the lowest society. The hospitality for which the Arabs are celebrated consists here in empty show. True hospitality, I am told, is only to be found amongst the Arabs of the desert. In their social relations, uprightness is wanting; a lie is uttered without a moment's hesitation, nor is it a grave offence to call a man a liar. Calm and noiseless in their movements, gentle and retired in their habits, they perform their business quietly, ' ' ' " ' ' r y thing. They have no
have never left their
and do not put themselves out for conccrn with politics ; many of them
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