Lost in the Lebanon

Material Information

Lost in the Lebanon
Series Title:
The Victoria tales and stories
Yonge, Charlotte Mary, 1823-1901 ( Editor )
Frederick Warne and Co ( Publisher )
Dalziel Brothers ( Engraver )
Place of Publication:
Frederick Warne and Co.
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
[16] p. : ill. ; 14 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Trust in God -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Missing children -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Justice -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Mothers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Lebanon -- Druze and Maronite Conflict, 1860 ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1870
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
Date from inscription.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Dalziel.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
edited by the author of "The heir of Redclyffe.".

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
027275324 ( ALEPH )
ALK2843 ( NOTIS )
56970081 ( OCLC )

Full Text

The Baldwin Library
I University

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" iOTHER! MOTHER!" shouted
Miriam, "Saf6 has fallen down!"
The mother hastilythrew aside
the slipper she was sewing, and
ran out of the cottage. Miriam, a girl of
twelve, was holding up her little sister, whose
olive face had grown deadly white-perhaps
it looked the more so from the contrast with
the red blood that was dripping down from
a great gash on her curly dark head. Saf6
had been climbing up the rocks on the moun-
tain-side at the back of the house, and had
slipped back and fallen head-foremost upon a
bit of rusty iron that lay half embedded in
the ground. The mother quickly carried the

Lost in the Lebanon.

child indoors, t, bathe her head with water,
and bind up the wound. Miriam stood by,
holding a bowl of water.
"Mother, why does God let such a little
child as Saf6 hurt herself? She was not doing
anything wrong. Only wicked people ought
to be hurt."
"Hush, child! God is good What He
does is for the best, though we may not see
But Safe will always have that dreadful
mark. It is very unjust," urged Miriam."
The mother did not know what to answer.
Poor woman she was very ignorant, but had
a firm belief in Providence.
It must be for the best, because God has
sent it," she repeated; and, as Saf6 needed
quiet, she sent Miriam out of the cottage.
Miriam stepped forth into the sunshine with
pouting lips and stormy brow, and seated her-
self on the low mud wall that formed the
enclosure of their little yard. It was a splen-
did view that lay beneath her. Just below

Lost in the Lebanon.

the cottage, down the side of the mountain,
stood the village of Deir-el-Kamar, with its
flat-roofed houses, and its church. At the
bottom of the valley ran the little river, like
a white ribbon leaping over the red rocks.
The mountain-side was covered with trees and
shrubs. On the other bank of the stream the
mountains rose again-wooded, and terraced
with vineyards; and the grand old palace of
the Emirs, Bettedin, standing half-way up
the mountain, commanding all the valley.
The June afternoon sunshine was over all.
As Miriam sat leaning her head against a
projection of the wall, she thought over her
mother's words: It must be all for the best."
What could her mother mean? How could
it be a good thing that Safe, who was so
innocent and gentle, should hurt herself so
terribly ? Could it be for the best that her
mother was made so anxious ? And Miriam
kept growing more confused about the justice
of Providence, till the view gradually faded
before her eyes, and she slept.

Lost in the Lebanon.

She was awakened an hour later by her
mother calling to her to come and help pound
the coffee for their evening meal.
The days passed on, and soon Saf6 was
running about as though nothing had hap-
pened. The middle of June was past, and
all was quiet in the Christian village of Deir-
el-Kamar. True, rumours had reached the
inhabitants that there were disturbances in
other parts of the Lebanon, that the Druses,
a sect of Mahometans very much opposed to
Christianity, had risen, and massacred some
Christians in a village several miles away; but
the Governor at Deir-el-Kamar was much re-
spected and trusted by all the country round,
and such Druses as lived in the village seemed
peaceably disposed. But one day, when the
Christians were at their work, some tending
their flocks on the mountain-side, some tilling
the ground or carrying in the harvest, others in
their cottages, weaving or shoemaking, a great
cry rose in the streets, "The Druses! The
Druses!" and bands of armed men poured

Lost in the Lebanon.

into the village, and, joined by the Druses
already there, fell upon the Christians before
they could resist,and began a terrible slaughter.
It would be sickening to dwell long upon
all the murderous wretches did: how they
tore children from their mothers, wives from
their husbands, torturing one of the principal
men of the place, tearing him limb from limb
before the very eves of his wife, hacking the
priest with their knives and daggers till he
died. Oi'W., to all apostacv or death, they
pulled down the cottages, destroyed the vine-
yards, and, when evening came, the moon
looked down upon a sad scene of desolation.
Not a single cottage that was not destroyed;
the church in ruins; not a sound except the
groans of those poor wretches who lay
wounded in the streets, and the murmur of
the river in the valley beneath.
A figure stole out from behind a ruined
shed, and stood in the moonlight.
"Miriam Miriam it cried, "where are
you and Safe ? and as no response came, the

Lost in the Lebanon.

mother threw her arms wildly above her head,
and groaned aloud.
But presently a sound caught her ear. A
pile of stones near at hand was being pushed
aside. Was it one of the Druses who had
stayed behind to complete his murderous
work? Well, she did not care. What was
life without her little ones ? And she crouched
on the ground, expecting the blow that should
send her out of this sorrowful world. But
it was no Druse who lightly touched her
shoulder, and then threw two arms tight'v
round her neck. Mother! mother! cried
Miriam, and the mother felt that all happiness
was not gone out of the world. Together
they wandered through the town, seeking
Saf6: they climbed over heaps of stones,
passed hundreds of corpses that lay ghastly in
the moonlight, found many other little ones
cold and motionless, but they found no trace
of Saf6. When the massacre first began, the
two children had been playing together near
the cottage while their mother went to draw

Lost in the Lebanon.

water at the well. When a fierce Druse
rushed upon the two little sisters, they ran,
frightened, up the side of the hill, climbing
like young goats, so that their pursuer turned
aside in search of easier prey.
Miriam lost sight of Safe among the rocks,
and crouched down behind some bushes,
fancying her sister was near, but not daring
to call to her for fear of the enemy. There
she stayed concealed till evening, when, hear-
ing her mother calling her, she crept down
the hill, and pushed her way through the
ruins towards the place from which the sound
As to the mother, she had been seized at
the well, bound hand and foot, and pushed
into an empty house, together with many
other captives, to wait till their persecutors
had time to torture them more completely
than by simply putting them to death. Mad-
dened by the desire to protect her children,
she had succeeded in tearing asunder the rope
that bound her, and in stealing away unper-

Lost zn the Lebanon.

ceived; but the streets were so crowded with
Druses that it was impossible to reach the
cottage, and she had hidden in an empty tank
till nightfall.
No trace of Saf6 They sought all night,
but without success. When the sun rose next
morning, it only served to show more clearly
the horrors of the previous day. One by one
those who had escaped the massacre stole back
to the village, and gathered round the well,
trying to gain tidings from each other of their
friends and relations, and then dispersed to
the heart-breaking task of identifying the
The mother's heart sank when she found
that no one had seen Safe. Again she sought
her, but had not even the sad satisfaction of
finding the little body. For days she and
Miriam lingered near the village, questioning
every one, and making the mountains resound
with the name of Safe, till at last Miriam
grew pale and feeble, for they had nothing to
eat but the corn they picked in the deserted

Lost in the Lebanon.

fields and some bunches of half-ripened grapes.
Then she sorrowfully left the place, and tra-
velling over the mountains, reached a deen
valley, where her sister lived which had escaped
the Druses. There she and Miriam lived,
toiling hard to earn enough to keep body
and soul together, ever thinking of Safe, and
hardly able to persuade themselves that they
should never see her bright eyes or hear her
merry voice again.
Five years passed, and Miriam and her
mother returned to Deir-el-Kamar, which was
now being built up again, slowly, indeed, for
so surely had the Druses done their work, that
not one house had been left standing after
that dreadful day. The country was quiet
now, the Druses had been put down by the
government with a strong hand, and the
Christians no longer trembled for their safety.
It was again June, the fifth anniversary of
the insurrection, that the mother, leaving
Miriam at work on some gay slipper-for
they had returned to their shoemaking trade-

Lost in the Lebanon.

descended into the valley, crossed the stream,
and took her way up the zigzag path that led
to the palace of the Emirs, carrying on her
head a basket of eggs to sell to the Governor's
wife. Half-way up the path she paused to
rest at a fountain overhung with trees, and
almost hidden by the long ferns that drooped
over the water. As she sat there on a stone,
the missionary, whose white house was rising
on the mountain-side, passed on his way back
to the village, and seeing she looked sad, for
the bright June weather reminded her of the
last time she had seen her little one, stopped
to say a few kind words.
It must be for the best, though we cannot
see how," he said kindly, as he bade her good
day; and as she lifted the basket on her head
and resumed her way, he stood still for a few
moments and watched her as she toiled up the
mountain path.
Bettedin stood glorious in the sunshine,
with its grand courtyard and cool cloisters,
its lofty deserted rooms, half-ruined baths,

Lost in the Lebanon.

summer-houses and gardens, a wilderness of
flowers run wild.
As the mother was leaving the courtyard,
after having sold her eggs, she was attracted
by a bright-eyed girl who stood on a broken
fragment of the wall, with her lap full of
flowers-roses, jasmin, and geranium. Her
head was turned away, but hearing footsteps
on the flag-stones, she looked down. What
was there in her look that made the poor
woman start forward with a cry, Safe!
Saf !" But the child, frightened, sprang
farther up the wall, out of reach, while the
woman below stood with outstretched arms
imploring the child to come to her. The
Governor's wife, hearing the sounds, came to
the spot, and listened to the mother's inco-
herent protestation that the child was hers-
her Saf Give her back to me, lady, she is
mine." But the Governor's wife told her it
could not be so. The child was one she had
adopted; the daughter of a fisherman, who
lived far, far away in the little seaport-town

Lost in the Lebanon

of Djouni, on the coast of the Mediterranean.
And then, as the woman would not believe,
but kept on calling and moaning, she had
her forcibly put outside the gates.
Till long after the sun had set, the mother sat
at the gate, her head buried on her knees, till
remembering that Miriam would be watching
for her, she slowly crept home to Deir-el-
Kamar. Day after day she went back to the
gates of Bettedin, first wailing and entreating,
then silent and heart-broken. Vainly Miriam
tried to convince her that she must have been
deceived in the likeness-she would not be
persuaded. One day that Miriam had gone
with her, that she might prevail upon her to
come home earlier than usual, the Governor,
who had been absent from the palace for some
time, came home, riding on his grey Arab,
attended by his servants. Seeing a woman
crouching at the gateway, he stopped to ask
what she wanted. Miriam stepped forward
and told him her mother's claim. He paused
to think: he too was fond of his wife's adopted

Lost in the Lebanon.

child, and did not care to give her up lightly;
but he was a just man, and the poor woman's
claim might be true.
Listen," he said: "is there any way by
which you can prove that she is yours ? "
"Mother," whispered Miriam, "the great
scar on her head "
The child was brought. They lifted the
curly dark hair, and the long scar was found
among the thick curls! It was never rightly
made out how Safe had got to Djouni; but
it was supposed, from fragments that the child
let drop unconsciously, that wandering on the
mountains, some shepherd had found her, and
carried her with him in his flight from the
Druses-possibly down to the sea-shore. That
she was living as the daughter of the fisher-
manfrom whom the Governor's wife had taken
her, was all that was known for certain. But
once back at the cottage, no one could doubt
Safe's identity. The place was familiar to
her; and coming upon the rock from which
she had fallen years ago, some vague memory
seemed to cross her mind.

Lost in the Lebanon.

It was a long way to fall," she said, and
the pain was great."
But when they questioned her closer, she
could remember no more.
"Mother," said Miriam, that evening, as
they sat watching the sun setting behind the
mountains, "you said all God did was for
the best. I see it now. If it had not been
for that fall that I rebelled about, we should
never have been able to have claimed Saf6."
And the mother said, as she looked up to-
wards the sky, Ay, child, all that God does
is for the best."


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