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The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Narrative of a ten years' residence at Tripoli in Africa

by Tully (Miss.)


Merchandize is usually carried on the backs of camels and mules; and the dust they raise, in these dry sandy streets, is intolerable. The town stands on a foundation of rock. Here and there a few remains of pavement, some of which are very ancient, and appear evidently to be Roman. They do not excel here in shops, the best of these being little better than booths, though their contents are sometimes invaluable, consisting of pearls, gold, gems, and precious drugs. There are two covered bazars, or market-places; one of which is very large, and built in four aisles, meeting in a cross. These aisles are fitted up with shops, built on each side of them, containing every sort of merchandize, and having a way in the middle for purchasers to walk in. Several parts ef this place are nearly dark, and the powerful smell of musk makes it very unpleasant to pass through it. The other bazar is much smaller, and has no shops in it. Thither only black men and women are brought for sale! The very idea of a human being, bought and examined as a bale of goods, is repugnant to a feeling heart; yet is this one of their principal modes of traffic.


In consequence of the ruinous state of this city, the Bashaw incurs a great deal of displeasure from the Grand Signior, who rather than see it in the hands of the Christians, will garrison it again with a Turkish force. Heavy tributes used to be paid the Grand Signior from hence, which for many years he has generously excused; and if the Bashaw were to keep the place in order, the Porte would leave him in quiet possession of it.

The exterior of the great mosque, where the deceased relations of the royal family are buried, is extremely handsome. It stands in the main street, near the gate of the city which leads to the country, and almost opposite to the palace. Before the door of this mosque there is a second entry of neat lattice wood-work, curiously carved, with two folding doors of the same work: a great number of beautiful colored tiles, with which the bottom of the lattice work is set, gives it an appearance of delicate neatness very pleasing to the eye. Over the doors of all the mosques are long sentences from the Koran sculptured and painted; those over the door of this mosque being more richly gilt and painted, and the sculpture much handsomer than in any others in the town. There is another mosque at no great distance, having a door of most curious workmanship, carved in wood by the Moors. We stopped to look at it, but could not enter the building, it being the time of divine service. The appearance of the Moors at prayer was as solemn as it was strange. They were at that part of the service which obliged them to prostrate themselves and salute the earth: the whole congregation was accordingly in this posture, absorbed in silent adoration. Nothing seemed capable of withdrawing their attention for a moment from the object they were engaged on. The eye was alternately directed from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth again, uncaught by any objects around, unheeded even by each other. They seemed wholly enwrapped in the prayers they offered up, in this humble manner, from the ground. There are no seats in the mosque, no desks, nor hassocks, nor pews: the people stand promiscuously together, without distinction of rank or dress. The women are not permitted to attend public worship: they go to the mosques only at midnight.

The coffee bazar is where the Turks meet to hear and tell the news of the day, and to drink coffee: it is filled with coffee houses, and coflee kitchens, which within are very black with smoke, and in which nothing but coffee is dressed. No Moorish gentlemen enter these houses, but send


their slaves to bring out • coffee to them at the doors, where are marble couches, covered with green arbours. These couches are furnished with the most rich and beautiful mats and carpets'. Here are found, at certain hours of'the day, all the principal Moors, !seated cross-legged, with cups of coffee in'their hands, made as strong as the essence itself. The coffee served to the ladies of the castle has sometimes in it a quantity of cinnamon, oloVes, and-nutmeg. The Moors, when at these coffee-houses, are waited oil by their own black servants, who stand constantly by their masters, one' with his pipe, another'with his eup, and a third holding his handkerchief while he is talking, as his hands are absolutely necessary for his discourse, as he marks with the fore-finger of his right hand "upon the palm of his left, as accurately as we do with a pen, the different parts of his speech, a comma, a quotation, or a striking passage.. This fenders their manner of conversing very singular; and an European, wfi6 is not used to this part of their discourse, is altogether at a loss to understand what the speakers mean. One of the grandest arches of antiquity stands yet entire at the Marine. The old arch, as the Moors term it, was built so long ago as A. D. 16*, by a Roman who had the control of the customs. He erected it in honour of, and during the joint reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius JElms Verus. Marcus Aurelius, on the death of Antoninus Pius, with whom .Lucius' Verus likewise reigned, took him also as his colleague in the empire, though Lucius Verus had proved so vile a character that Antoninus did not nominate him at his death. When, in 161, these two emperors began to" reign, they changed their names, which accounts for the great number of initials in the inscriptions on the arch. When this arch was built, there were few habitations nearer this place than Labeda, the Leptfe Magna of the ancients, which is about three days' journey from Tripoli. Lucius Verus was at this'time rioting in the wopds of Daphne at Antioch, and committing all kinds of outrages throughout Africa; and the Romans, having strayed 'to the spot where Tripoli now stands, to hunt wild beasts^ found. under' this arch< a welcome retreat from the burning rays of the sun at noonday. It is thought by all,good judges to be handsomer than, any of the most celebrated m Italy, as the temple of Janus, though built of'marble, and' esteemed one' of the finest of these'edifiees, has only a plain roof! This ajfch' is'vei'y;higtov but doris not appear «6i being, from the great accumulation of s;uuis carried thither by the winds, exactly as deep beneath the.sur-!

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