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he doubtless often thinks of the benefits which he receives from the faithful slave which stands by his side, and he is grateful and kind to him. Such a group Denon has delineated.
In the countries of the East, amongst the many remarkable contrasts which the natural productions and the customs of the people present to those of Europe, there is nothing more striking than the universal employment of the camel. It is not necessary to penetrate into the interior of Asia to witness this great change in the mode by which commercial operations are conducted. For instance, the merchant who visits the sea-port of Smyrna, the great point of traffic between the Franks and the Turks, sees this new animal power every where around him, performing those services which he has been accustomed to observe executed by the horse and the mule; and even superseding, and rendering unnecessary, that great medium of more advanced communication—canal carriage. Burckhardt, the celebrated traveller, says, "In countries where camels are bred in great numbers, land-carriage is almost as cheap as that by water. The carriage for a camelload of goods, weighing from six to seven hundred pounds English, from Bagdad to Aleppo, a distance of six hundred miles, is four pounds." * All labour, of course, is cheaper in countries where the people are contented with scanty fare, and know nothing of those luxuries which almost the meanest among us enjoy; but the great abundance of camels, and the easy rate at which they are maintained, render this animal power the readiest instrument of commercial
* Travels in Nubia. 4to. p. 120.
intercourse. The use of it is therefore universal throughout Asia Minor, a country where considerable trading adventures are carried on, and from which Europeans, and particularly the English, derive large supplies of the valuable productions of a fertile soil and a delicious climate.
Through the kindness of a gentleman who resided several years at Smyrna, and who has just published a very interesting narrative of what he saw in Asia Minor*, we have received some lively descriptions of the impressions which he derived from his observations of this useful animal. He was lodged with a merchant of Smyrna, who largely exported the fruits of the interior. To the house of the merchant was attached a large court-yard, and here a portion of the caravan, principally laden with figs, arrived at stated seasons. The number of camels which came from time to time was considerable, but they entered and departed with a peculiar silence. The camel's tread is perfectly noiseless. The foot, composed of an elastic substance, and covered with hair, falls on the pavement in a manner very different from the rattling of the iron-shod horse. The large creature moves along, under a heavy load, with no greater noise than is made by the deer that bounds over the mossy turf. Mr. Mac Farlane thus describes this peculiarity:—"What always struck me as something extremely romantic and mysterious was the noiseless step of the camel, from the spongy nature of his foot. Whatever be the nature of the ground—sand, or rock, or turf, or paved stones, you hear no footfall; you see an immense animal approaching you stilly as a cloud floating on air, and unless he wear a bell, your sense of hearing, acute as it may be, will give you no intimation of his presence." In a
* Constantinople in 1828,by Charles Mac Farlane, Esq.4to. 1829.
book which we shall have occasion to notice more particularly (" Riley's Shipwreck and Captivity in the Great Desert"), the silent passage of a train of camels up a rocky steep near Santa Cruz, "because their feet are as soft as sponge or leather," is well contrasted with "the clanking sound of iron against the stones, which announced the approach of horses or mules that were shod."* But the noiseless movement of a caravan of camels is also produced by their perfect discipline. Mr. Mac Farlane was delighted to see the precision with which these docile creatures executed their duties, without scarcely a command from their drivers. Marching into the yard in single file, they formed a crescent; and the first camel having knelt down to be relieved of his load, the rest patiently waited till it should come to the turn of each to be disburthened in a similar manner. The merchant with whom our friend resided used to feel great delight in recognising the countenances of the camels; and he would readily point out the individuals that he had noticed in previous caravans. This was a task of some difficulty; for the appearances of camels vary much less than those of horses both in colour and form. Their devidgis, or drivers, know them thoroughly, and have favourites that are more particularly the objects of their attention. One person has seldom the charge of more than a dozen; and each camel has a particular name, to which he readily pays attention. There is nothing remarkable in this; for even if one camel were perfectly like another in form and colour, with a creature so tractable there would naturally be some expression of countenance which the driver would easily distinguish. Mr. Mac Farlane says that he never could see any particular beauty in a camel,
as distinguishing him much from his fellows, except now and then a clearer or a brighter hue, a smaller head, or more lively eye, but that the devidgis talk of their proportions as we do of those of horses. But although there may appear to a stranger a perfect similarity between individual camels, they vary just as much in some minute circumstances as all other animals. The Arabs of the desert readily track their wandering camels over plains covered with the feet-marks of other camels and men*, and the Bedouins have the same extraordinary accuracy of observation. "These Bedouins, being under no fear of robbers, leave their goods, and allow their beasts to pasture without any one to watch them. When they want the camels, they send to the springs in search of them; and if not found there, they trace their footsteps through the valleys, for every Bedouin knows the print of the foot of his own camel." f
The Turks, who are idle and luxurious, and affect a contempt for the quiet virtues, call the Armenians, whom they despise as a patient and drudging race, camels. This is a compliment both to the poor animals and to the Armenians; for the camels are the most amiable of creatures. Their good nature to other beasts, we are told, is remarkable. They will let the goats of the towns and villages share their meals, and almost take the provender from their mouths; the ass of the driver takes equal liberties, and dogs lie down to sleep with them without interruption. But the Turks take a sorry advantage of those periodical fits of rage, which constitute the exception to the general character of this useful creature. At particular seasons of the year, camel-fights are common at Smyrna and at Aleppo,
* Lyon's Northern Africa, p. 237.
f Burckhardt's Syria, p. 536,