Page:Lands of the Saracen 1859.djvu/36

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26 THE LAXDS OF THE SARACE^r. snbje:t to Quarantine, he informed me that it did not ccnvej infection, and that three old geese, who walked out past the guard with impunity, were free to go and come, as they had never been known to have the plague. Yesterday evening the medical attendant, a Polish physician, came in to inspect us, but he made a very hasty review, looking down on us fi'om the top of a high horse. Monday, April 19. Eureka ! the whole thing is explained. Talking to day with the guardiano, he happened to mention that he had been three years in Quarantine, keeping watch over infected travellers. "What!" said I, '*you have been sick three years." "Oh no," he replied ; " I have never been sick at all." " But are not people sick in Quarantine ?" " Stafferillah .'" he exclaimed ; " they are always in better health than the people outside." " What is Quarantine for, then ?" I persisted. " What is it for ?" he repeated, with a pause of blank amazement at my ignorance,

  • 'why, to get money from the travellers !" Indiscreet guar-

diano ! It were better to suppose ourselves under suspicion of the plague, than to have such an explanation of the mystery. Yet, in spite of the unpalatable knowledge, I almost regret that this is our last day in the establishment. The air is so pure and bracing, the views from our windows so magnificent, the colonized branch of the Beyrout Hotel so comfortable, that I am content to enjoy this pleasant idleness — the more pleasant since, being involuntary, it is no weight on the con- science. I look up to the Maronite villages, perched on the elopes of Lebanon, with scarce a wish to climb to them, or tnrning to the sparkling Mediterranean, view