Page images
PDF
EPUB

EFFECTS OF MACHINERY.

139

Meanwhile in every other respect a large saving is effected. Not only is the quality produced of more equal threads, finer, and more glossy, but the cocoon is reeled off to the very last atom of silk within the husk, so that, in reality, there is not lost one particle that is valuable; besides this, at the season of the silk recolt, that is when the cocoons are freshly formed, the advantages derivable by using European machinery are great, and productive of immense profit. Before the cocoon is stifled it has been calculated to produce ten times as much silk, and of a brighter and finer quality than when it has been subjected to that process; but as the cocoons cannot be kept more than ten days, or a fortnight at the most, on account of the moth perforating after that time and ruining their value, it stands to reason that the peasants who were restricted to their ordinary slow process of reeling could never hope to reel off more than two or three rotolos from unstified cocoons.

The consequence was an immense loss in the profits yielded by their gardens; it was, therefore, an admirable and profitable chance for the peasant when Europeans established factories on the mountains, and offered to take their whole supply of cocoons off their hands without putting them to the risk and trouble of reeling, at the same time that they received a greater valuation than they could ever hope to get for their silk.

Meanwhile the factories, during the height of the

140

ARTIFICIAL PRECIPICE.

season, kept their two hundred reels perpetually at work, so that before it was absolutely necessary to subject the cocoons to the smothering process, they had reeled off thousands of rotolos of fresh ones, gaining an immense average per cent. upon the process.

. Our host employs, besides his European assistant, an English engineer, and three or four native overseers, who are adepts in the art of reeling, and who superintend the others at work, besides assisting in airing, weighing, and packing the silk. Night and day, day and night, around this solitary abode of industry is heard the perpetual roar and foaming of cataracts of water as the stream rushes down an artificial precipice made for the tourbin, and thence, passing through the building and out into the open air, it gushes over another point, and so disappears in the hazy distance.

With the exception of the utter seclusion, their being out of the way of the world and the world's news, the inmates of the factory have nothing to complain of in the way of comfort and enjoyment. Their own gardens afford healthy recreation, and supply all their wants in vegetables, fruits, and flowers; their poultry yard is extensive and well stocked; the scenery around them is magnificent; their walks and rides are boundless, and always full of novelty and wild picturesque beauty; whilst game in abundance gives ample occupation for their sporting propensities whenever the all-absorbing business of the factory may permit a day's or a week's respite from labour. Above

DEPARTURE FROM THE FACTORY.

141

all, the climate is healthy, and the atmosphere pure and unclouded, so that saving only the want of society, or mental amusements, they can be said to lack nothing

The papers that have arrived this evening will afford them occupation for a week to come; meanwhile some other adventures may drop in upon their solitude, and help to cast a cheerful beam upon their social inclinations. But for ourselves the term of our visit has expired—the pale moon peeping over Lebanon, warns us of this fact--so thanking our friends for the hospitality and information we had obtained, we scramble into our saddles again, and leaving our horses to their natural instinct to guide them home, leisurely we follow upon the tract of the night breeze as it sweeps by us on its rapid career towards the plains and the distant ocean.

CHAPTER XI.

А

BRIDAL PROCESSION ARRIVAL OF THE BRIDE BRILLIANT CORTÉGE -- JUVENILE FIANÇAILLES — DRUSE MORALITY — LOVE MATCHES — MARRIAGE CONTRACT TIE BRIDEGROOM THE BRIDE-DISPLAY OF GRIEF-ILLUSTRATION OF PARABLES-PREPARATIONS FOR THE MARRIAGE-ARRIVAL OF THE CAVALCADE.

We haste--the chosen and the lovely bringing;
Love still goes with her from her place of birth!
Deep, silent joy, within her soul is springing,
Though in her glance the light no more is mirth.

MRS. HEMANS.

Thus might sing the noisy and clamorous crew who burst upon our solitude and startle our horses beyond measure, as with torches and noisy drum, with hootings and exclamations, and firing of musketry and pistols, they bear away, not to unwilling captivity, the newly-made bride of some happy Druse who is impatiently awaiting her arrival at K’farchima, the same village that we are returning to; we say, thus might they sing, only unfortunately for themselves, no Arabian poet has translated the verses of Mrs. Hemans into their vernacular, and this being the

A BRIDAL PROCESSION.

143

case, they are compelled to content themselves with snatches of their own peculiar love ditties.

We rein in our horses so as to suffer the riotous crew to pass, and as they throng by, lighted by the glaring flame of numerous torches, they present a most picturesque appearance. The vanguard of the procession consists of two young men, dressed in a bran new suit of clothes with many bright colours about them, who lead the way, leaping and dancing and shouting as they go along, and firing off their old fowling pieces as quickly as they can re-load them. These are particular friends and companions of the bridegroom, and they are presumed to be in as complete a state of felicity as the bridegroom himself.

Next to these comes the band, consisting of a couple of native drums and as many primitive pipes, which emit a most discordant clamour, and play over the same bars of music full a hundred times in as many minutes. The drummers, however, belabour their instruments most unmercifully, effectually drowning several of the squeeling notes of the other musicians ; behind these, and to support their energy, runs an old fellow with a bottle and a glass, from which he liberally supplies them ever and anon ; then by two or threes come from twenty to forty shebbabeen,young lads belonging to the village of the bridegroom, all of whom have long since sung themselves into a state of helpless hoarseness, but they still persist in their unromantic hootings, each by turn singing a line of

« PreviousContinue »