Escapes And Returns To Beyroot
2. Rose early, and repaired to the room, where Asaad would have been,
had he come; but there were no tidings from him. Little expectation
remained of his coming to-day, and we were not without our fears that
the attempt had miscarried. It was not long, however, before it was
announced, that Asaad was at the door.
The meeting was one of great joy and thanksgiving to us all.--After a
little rest and refresh
ent, he gave us a brief account of his escape.
He had not seen the youth, who had undertaken to befriend him, but
finding he did not call the night before, as he expected, he resolved
not to wait another day. Therefore, at about twelve o'clock last night,
having written a paper and left it on his bed, with the quotation, "Come
out of her my people," &c. he set off on foot, committing himself to God
for strength and protection. The darkness was such, that he often found
himself out of his road, sometimes miring in mud, and sometimes wading
in rivers. After some hours of weariness and anxiety, he came to the
shore of the sea, where he found a large boat thrown up, under which he
cast himself, and obtained a little rest. After this, he continued his
walk without interruption, till he reached Beyroot.
In the course of the forenoon, a messenger came from the neighbouring
shekh, or sheriff, requesting Asaad to come and see him; adding, that if
he did not come, he would watch an opportunity to take his life. The
messenger came a second time, and returned without accomplishing his
object. We afterwards wrote a line to the shekh to say, that if he would
favour us with a call in person and take a cup of coffee, he could have
the privilege of an interview with Asaad. Just as the note was sent, the
consul providentially came in, and the shekh found him ready to give him
a seasonable reprimand for presuming to threaten a person under English
protection. The shekh declared, that he had never sent such a message;
that the man who brought it was but an ass, and said it from his own
brain; that having heard of Asaad's arrival, he merely wished to see
whether the reports respecting his insanity were true or false; that
Asaad was his bosom friend, his own son, and that whatever he had was
his; and that as for church, and priests, and patriarch, he cared for
none of them.
Towards evening, the youth already mentioned entered the house, ready to
faint with excessive fear and fatigue. He had fled from the mountains in
all haste, under the absurd apprehension, that he should be suspected
and taken up as an accomplice with Asaad. Having thrown himself upon a
seat, and taken a little breath, he began to relate what had happened.
He was at the convent, when it was first discovered that Asaad had fled.
The patriarch and his train were occupied in the religious services of
the morning, so that no great sensation was at first apparent among
them. One individual spoke boldly in favour of Asaad, saying, "Why
should he not leave you? What inducement had he to remain here? What had
he here to do? What had he to enjoy? Books he had none; friendly society
none; conversation against religion abundant; insults upon his opinions
and his feelings abundant. Why should he not leave you?"
Others, especially the great ones, pitied the poor maniac, (as they
called him,) and sent in quest of him to every direction, lest
peradventure, he might be found starving in some cavern, or floating in
the sea, or dashed in pieces at the bottom of a precipice.
On learning of Asaad all that had passed during his absence, we
requested him to write a statement of the facts somewhat in the form of
a journal. We wished this not only for our own information, but to
produce it to those who shall inquire on the subject of Asaad's lunacy