derful degree of mechanical skill. The bow-iron was as thick as my arm, but could be bent by means of an ingenious lever; the cord was made of a curious kind of vegetable fiber, stout, but twisted as evenly as a lute-string, and retaining that appearance under a tension that would have snapped the strongest sinew. The arrows were altogether unlike ours—unfeathered, short and thick, and terminating in a dagger-like point of hardened steel. With a shower of these darts the Monakees have often repulsed the charge of the best warriors of Darfoor and Khundistan.
We had now reached the ridge of this hill-country; to the west the view was bounded only by an airy-blue mountain-range; at a distance of now less than twelve leagues we recognized the hill with the towering mosques of Kápeebad, and at our feet lay the town of Beth-Raka, embowered in trees and shrouded in a cloud of murky smoke. At the next cross-road our companion left us, after giving me the names of several learned friends of his in the city of Kápeebad, for I had not mentioned the object of my journey, and, judging from my questions, he probably took me for one of those traveling scholars who visit foreign countries for the love of learning.
My guide had never been in Beth-Raka before, as Kápeebad can be reached by a road through the northern highlands, which is preferable in the rainy season; but the suburbs of the city were already in sight, and, as the sun was still more than an hour high, we were in no danger of losing our way. Our road led now steadily down-hill, and we quickened our pace in order to reach the town before dark, for I was curious to ascertain the cause of the black smoke that rose incessantly from the bottom of the valley.
- The scholars of the Arabs, like those of ancient Greece, were mostly peripatetic philosophers. Tabari, Ibn-Koteiba, and Ibn-Baitar traveled on foot through all the provinces of the Saracenic empire.