284 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
war is to plunder, or to occupy a poor bit of pasture land, or to get the use of some wr
wells of brackish water, are but withered unsightly branches of a far nobler trunk. The
a pastoral population grown out of and round the real fixed nation. The circumstance
the country and the* difficulties of the climate compelled them to wander, and so to encroach
noticeable in the early history of the Egyptian Delta) on lands which from their fertility
and capabilities had attracted the primaeval colonists of the human race. Possibly, at r.
tt encroachments, not resulting in permanent occupation, would escape notice ; and
ence would give encouragement to insolence and rapine, until the very civilisation which
iild have checked or absorbed the Arabs seemed to them to be but a contemptible tf
because possessed by a people willing to be preyed upon and pillaged.
Anything which may be said of the Arab tribes and their nationality.
beginnings of the Israelite people. The symmetry of the later Jewish commonwealth 5
times blinds us and prevents us from imagining that there ever could have been ,1
I <>r instance, we seldom think of the twelve tribes or clans, unequal in
strength, as being divided between themselves or engaged in tribal wars. We hardl)
picture the tribesmen in the full strength of their manly independence They always appeal
being led by opportunist leaders ; for the life of the nation in the time of the I
confusedly put before us'that even in that interval we seem to be reading the histOT
a hoin< »us nation, living under an orderly government, however weak and |
the presence of stronger neighbouring people. Mr. Palgrave bids us see the Arab tri
almost from the first split up, each and all, into two branches, correlative, but unequal in siic
and importance, The larger portion became townsmen and villagers with perma
upations, gendering necessarily culture. The smaller portion gave itself up to the pastoral
life in that hard desert land, whose valleys are only distinguishable by less degl
barrenne The one division of the clan under the favourable circumstances oi settled UR
advanced, the other retrograded, till at length it bore the same relation to the
fellow-countrymen (though pure in descent, and competent to trace out a line ol ano
il tree which would intoxicate the European pedant in heraldry) which a wild c
offshoot below does to the thriving and fruit-laden branches above.
It is in tin- midst of his description of his life at Hofhoof, far away near to the
the Persian Gulf, that Mr. Pal-rave, having given a most lucid account of the conventw
n •• Nabathcean," points out how confusion likewise has burdened all our concept**
the A with inaccuracies and misapplications. The passage is too pointed to
condensation. II.- "The European public is deluged with accounts et" Arab
Vrab qualities, houses, dresses, women, warriors, and what not : the most pfl
materials collected in Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, 'Irak, perhaps Tunis, AI ntl •
or at th.- 1 Djiddah and on the \i<A Sea coast Sometimes a romantic spiritwil
among the hybrid Bedawin of Palmyra as portraits A Ar.il> lit".-: sometime*
invited to study Aral, society in a divan at Cairo or Aleppo. Such narratr-