BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


Illustrations of Jerusalem and Mount Sinai

by Francis Arundale

Excerpt:

It was only by means of the activity of my servant with the "coorbaj" that I could make any progress in the bazaar. The principal commerce here is coffee, f and the shops displayed little else; there seemed to be not the slightest appearance of activity in the bazaar ; the master of each shop being quietly engaged in smoking his pipe. A few small vessels were on the stocks by the sea-side: their mode of ship-building is curious; not having the art of bending the timbers, they have to depend entirely on the growth of the tree. There were also some individuals occupied in rope making: fishermen, generally seen at every port, are scarcely to be met with here, there being little else in the gulf but oysters and a few other shell fish. The inhabitants depend entirely on the caravans from Cairo, or from ports on the Red Sea; they have not even, within the town, a supply of water, but are obliged to send for their principal supply to the Beer Naba, at a distance of about five hours to the N. E. The well called Beer es Suez, which we had passed, and that on the opposite coast called Ayoun Mousa, also afford supplies; this serves to give occupation to the poorer class; who accompany the camels at stated hours of departure, and sell it at so much per skin.

* The Arabic for present. ,

t The first traveller who brought any account of the coffee plant was Prosper Alpin, a doctor of medicine and botanist of Padua, who, in his journey to Egypt with the Consul of the Republic of Venice, in I08O, remained three or four years studying the plants of that country, and ultimately

c2

presented the result of his labours to the world in a publication at Venice, in the year 1592. M. Paschius, in a Latin work upon the new discoveries made in ancient literature, (Leipsic, 1700) mentions that coffee is meant by the "parched corn" among the presents that Abigail gave to David. — 1 Samuel, xxv, 18v.

Coffee was first drunk at Aden, a town of Arabia Felix, by the Mufti Gemaleddin, in the fifteenth century, from whence it passed to Mecca, where it was much drunk by the Dervishes. In the year 1511, A. D. and 917 of the Hejira, Khair Beg, Governor of Mecca, one day on his return from the mosque, was surprised to see the Dervishes, instead of being assembled at their prayers, drinking: he immediately thought they were indulging in wine, and, on finding it was coffee, prohibited the use of it: which caused a great disturbance at Mecca; on which the Sultan of Egypt ordered it again to be drunk. In 1524, the Cadi ordered all the coffee houses to be closed, on account of continual disturbances, and the use of this beverage was about this time discussed by the doctors at Cairo. About the year 1554, Cafes were first opened at Constantinople; but Monsieur Thevenot relates that in 1657 it again became a subject of discussion, and was again condemned. Monsieur la Roque, in his " Voyage de l'Arabie Heureuse," mentions that in the year 1644 his father was the first to introduce it at Marseilles; in 1671, coffee-houses were first opened at Marseilles; and in the following year a small shop was opened at Paris by an Armenian named Pascal. Whether it was beneficial to the health soon became a subject of dispute at Paris; it, however, obtained the approbation of the principal doctors; who condemned those who, introducing too much sugar, thought only of gratifying their palate. In 1714, a young coffee tree was brought to the Jardin des Plantes at Paris. Monsieur la Roque made his first Oriental voyage by order of the French in the years 1708, 1709, 1710, and his second to the port of Mocha and kingdom of Yemen in the three following years. Hasselquist, who travelled in the year 1749, mentions that caravans bring every year 36,000 bales of coffee from Mecca into Egypt, each bale averaging sixty dollars.

There is an agent here appointed by the English Consul at Alexandria; a Copt, whom we visited; he seemed anxious that the steam-boat communication from India should be more frequent; he said they had a large supply of coals when necessary.


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