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minute speck in one quarter fixed their attention.
It became larger, and proved to be a
vulture flying in a straight line out of the far
heavens towards their wild boar. In less than
an hour seventy vultures had thus flown in
straight lines from all quarters of the sky.
Again,—Aleppo is so placed that it may be
seen from a great distance. Stand after
dinner on the terrace roof of a house at Aleppo,
and make gestures with your hand, as if you
were scattering crumbs. Flocks of birds will
dart to your feet out of a sky in which, just
before, perhaps not one was visible. From
the upper regions of the air they keep a
look-out on the flesh-pots of the Syrians.
The bird that is so far-sighted is near-sighted
too; it discriminates morsels, and sees
accurately what it should pick up, between its
eyes and the point of its beak; for it must
adjust its eye, and does so readily, even to
that short distance. The bird too has a
surprising quickness of sight. When flying at
the pace of an express train under shelter of
a forest, it will steer its way among the
boughs, and never once suffer collision, after
our express-train fashion. So quick-sighted,
short-sighted, and far-sighted are birds.*
Now, I have observed you when among
unfeathered songsters at the Opera, looking
from your box at Signor Lablachewho is
not the smallest crumb in naturethrough a
powerful pair of glasses to the aid of your
eyes. Properly to admire your lovely face,
I have myself used a little telescope when
you shone as a star from the grand tier.

You will rely then upon your ears, your
power of enjoying music; but that power does
not reside in your ears. It belongs to your
spiritual nature, to your intellectual and
moral part, wherein alone you are above the
birds, and beasts, and fishes. Take away
those, and you will find yourself possessed of
inferior senses and inferior physical powers.
Whoever among us is less than man is less
than beast. The broken vase does not
become a jug,but something more useless
and worthless; and it is most unjust to the
lower animals to say of a man with his brains
and heart chipped off, that he has sunk down
to the level of a brute.

* See Number 231 of Household Words, page 31.


A GRIM title enough, and appropriate to
many not formally ranked under its heading;
but in the present instance meaning nothing
more formidable than the Yezidis of
Mesopotamia, the worshippers of the Melek Taous,
or Brazen Peacock; a peaceful, and, of late,
much persecuted sect of Mohammedans,
whose name seems to be the only diabolical
thing about them. Their sufferings arose
from a matter of conscientiousness against
citizenship, and began in this wise:—

In eighteen hundred and forty-seven, the
Yezidis were, for the first time, included in the
Turkish military conscription. Until then,
they had never been made nizam, or disciplined
soldiers, on the ground of their religion and
peculiar observances. For instance, the
Yezid is forbidden by his ecclesiasical laws
to wear blue; and blue makes part of the
Turkish uniform. The Yezid is polluted if he
bathes with a Mussulman, and the Turkish
soldiers are obliged to bathe weekly, in a body.
Many articles of food served out to the
Turkish army are unlawful to the Yezid; and
various other differences preserved them from
military service, until, in eighteen hundred and
forty-seven, they and other out-lying sects,
were placed on an equality of hardship with
the orthodox. The Yezidis resisted being forced
into the army. The virtue that lay in long
white shirts buttoned to the throat, in white
cloaks, white trousers, and black turbans; the
sin of blue shirts and open throats, and the
terrible Fez cap; were of far greater consequence
than obedience to authority, or the sharing
of national burdens. The poor devil-
worshipper remained try to his faith, if
rebellious to his sovereign; but the Turkish
recruiting officers carried off or slew the
unfortunate zealots, with whose zeal they did not
sympathise. In the midst of the oppression and
tyranny that fell upon themmen and women
tortured, young girls carried off to the Moslem
harems, and children sold into bondage
Cawal Yusuf, the head of their preachers, was
chosen, with others, as a deputation to
Constantinople; and, chiefly through the British
ambassador's intercession, procured a
firman, which secured the uninterrupted
enjoyment of all Yezid religious peculiarities
whatsoever. Cawal Yusuf and his party
rode back to their mountain home with these
glad tidings; passing through a country, so
beautiful that it might have been the ancient
Eden, till they came to the Yezid village of
Hamki, where the preacher was received as a
saint risen from the dead. Men, women,
and children pressed round him, kissing his
hands and face with tears of joy, and all
blessing and praising himman of God that
he was among them!

This simple-hearted, gentle-judging, Cawal
Yusuf was a very different kind of man to
Sheikh Jindi, their peeshamaz, or prayer-
leaderan Eastern John Knoxa tall, grave,
and stern man, never seen to smileto whom
indeed a jest would have been profanity, and
laughter sinful. His eyes burnt like fire
from beneath his bushy eyebrows, and his
face, brown in tint, was sternly regular in
outline. In all manner and appearance he
was the very man most fitted to be the
prayer-leader to a sect of devil-worshippers,
had that sect been what the name implies
defiant of good, instead of timidly propitious
of evil. Yet the Yezidis loved this man; for
they are exceedingly affectionate to their
chiefs and teachers, and Cawal Yusuf and
Sheikh Jinda were both almost sacred to