RATTRAY, Harriet. Country Life in Syria. Passages of Letters written from Anti-Lebanon. London, Church of England Book Society, [c. 1879].
8vo. Original presentation binding of mauve cloth, spine lettered in gilt and with publisher's presentation inscription stamped in gilt to upper cover, their presentation bookplate inside front cover, patterned endpapers; pp. viii, 232, four wood-engraved plates, several wood-engravings in the text; cloth very faded, worn and spotted, but firm; internally very good.
Extremely rare first edition. The book is too rare to find any information about it or the author. In 1863 Ms Rattray and her husband John settled in Muallaka in 'a small house in the plain which separates the chain of Anti-Lebanon from the mountains of Lebanon, in sight of Mount Hermon, and within a few hours' ride from the famous Temple of Baalbek' (p. 2). The couple apparently farmed on the slopes of the Anti-Lebanon, roamed around the countryside and experienced at close range the religious and ethnic tensions between Christians (Greek and Maronite), Druzes and Shi'ites (called Motawali there). They really mix with the population and these matter-of fact letters are definitely not by a missionary, and religious zeal is totally absent.
COPAC locates only two copies of an edition published by Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, at Trinity College Dublin and in the British Library.