Narrative of a Year's Journey Through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862-63)

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The subtitle of the book is "A Personal Narrative of a Year's Journey, 1862-1863". It was published in two volumes and is considered one of the best travel books ever written. Palgrave became a Jesuit ... Read full review

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Page 117 - ... for amusement, for plaguing them so long with old-fashioned politics, and Whig and Tory, and Hanoverians and Jacobites. The truth is, I cannot promise them that this story shall be intelligible, not to say probable, without it. My plan requires that I should explain the motives on which its action proceeded ; and these motives necessarily arose from the feelings, prejudices, and parties of the times.
Page 39 - docile " means stupid, well and good ; in such a case the camel is the very model of docility. But if the epithet is intended to designate an animal that takes an interest in its rider so far as a beast can, that in some way understands his intentions or shares them in a subordinate fashion, that obeys from a sort of submissive or half fellowfeeling with his master, like the horse and elephant, then I say that the camel is by no means docile...
Page 364 - Thus immeasurably and eternally exalted above, and dissimilar from, all creatures, which lie levelled before Him on one common plane of instrumentality and inertness, God is One in the totality of omnipotent and omnipresent action, which acknowledges no rule, standard, or limit, save His own sole and absolute will. He communicates nothing to His creatures, for their seeming power and act ever remain His alone, and in return He receives nothing from them ; for whatever they may be, that they are in...
Page 371 - I have no intention here — it would be extremely out. of place — of entering on the maze of controversy, or discussing whether any dogmatic attempt to reproduce the religious phase of a former age is likely to succeed. I only say that life supposes movement and growth, and both imply change ; that to censure a living thing for growing and changing is absurd ; and that to attempt to hinder it from so doing by pinning it down on a written label, or nailing it to a Procrustean framework, is tantamount...
Page 19 - My comrades appeared more like corpses than living men, and so, I suppose, did I. However, I could not forbear, in spite of warnings, to step out and look at the camels; they were still lying flat as though they had been shot . The air was yet darkish, but before long it brightened up to its usual dazzling clearness. During the whole time that the semoom lasted, the atmosphere was entirely free from sand or dust; so that I hardly know how to account for its singular obscurity.
Page 51 - But should he happen to be of antiWahhabee tendencies, the odds are that he will say "Marhaba," or "Ahlan w' sahlan," ie, "welcome," or "worthy, and pleasurable," or the like ; for of such phrases there is an infinite, but elegant variety. All present follow the example thus given, by rising and saluting. The guest then goes up...
Page 370 - Islam is in its essence stationary, and was framed thus to remain. Sterile like its God, lifeless like its First Principle and Supreme Original, in all that constitutes true life, — for life is love, participation, and progress, and of these the Koranic Deity has none, — it justly repudiates all change, all advance, all development. To borrow the forcible words of Lord Houghton, the 'written book' is the ' dead man's hand,' stiff and motionless ; whatever savors of vitality is by that alone convicted...
Page 40 - In a word, he is from first to last an undomesticated and savage animal, rendered serviceable by stupidity alone, without much skill on his master's part, or any cooperation on his own save that of an extreme passiveness. Neither attachment nor even habit impress him; never tame, though not wide-awake enough to be exactly wild.
Page 159 - ... what ails him, not without some curiosity to hear the answer, so little does the herculean frame before me announce disease. Whereto Do'eymis, or whatever may be his name, replies, " I say, I am all made up of pain.
Page 34 - ... never heard of it ; nor for his religion, he owns and cares for none. His only object in* war is the temporary occupation of some bit of miserable pasture-land, or the use of a brackish well ; perhaps the desire to get such a one's horse or camel into his own possession.

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