Damascus are a theme of wonder and admiration throughout the Orient. In a land in which a moist spot is called a garden, and a canal bordered by willows a Paradise, the fancy constructs a palace of the utmost splendor and luxury out of materials which in a less glowing country would scarcely satisfy moderate notions of comfort or of ostentation. But the East is a region of contrasts as well as of luxury, and it is difficult to say how much of their reputation the celebrated mansions of Damascus owe to the wretchedness of the ordinary dwellings, and also to the raggedness of their surroundings. We spent a day in visiting several of the richest dwellings, and steeping ourselves in the dazzling luxury they offer. The exterior of a private house gives no idea of its interior. (Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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