IF you were to call upon your little friends in Syria on a warm summer evening, you would not find them in the parlor, or sitting upon the piazza, but on the roof of the house. Dr. Jessup, who has lived there a great many years, thus describes such a family gathering: "An American family on the housetop would be a strange sight; but it is not a strange sight in the East. The roofs of the houses are flat, and play an important part in the domestic history of the family. In the mild climate of Syria and Palestine, the housetop is the resort at evening; and in the hot summer months, here their beds are spread, covered by a booth, or awning; and the whole family sleep in the open air to avoid the heat, and escape from the fleas." Here the Turkish rug is spread, and the family take their evening meal. Flowerpots stand on the wall, as the Orientals are excessively fond of flower-culture, prizing above all others the rose, the jasmine, the pink, and tuberose.

"A housetop has a parapet around, according to the Mosaic injunction. This precaution is too often neglected, and I have sometimes heard of boys falling backward from the roofs while flying their kites. In many of the cities and towns, the houses are built close together, even covering the streets, which pass beneath them like tunnels; so that the roofs of the houses form one continuous surface. In the villages the streets are so narrow, and the roof-beams project so far over the streets, that one can readily run from one end of the town to the other on the roofs. 

When our Lord said, 'Let him that is on the housetop not come down,' he meant let those who are on the housetop in time of attack upon the city not try to come down into the city, but jump across from roof to roof to the end of the town, and then escape into the country.

"Town-meetings are held on the house-tops, proclamations are made on the house-tops, and olives, figs, and grapes are here spread out to dry. Before the wheat is ground, it is washed and spread on the housetop, and the children watch it while drying to keep away the sparrows. Here the washed clothes are hung out; and here the women of the households meet and lean over the parapets, either to see what is passing in the street, or to talk with the neighbors. The Mohammedans pray on the housetops, turning their faces toward Mecca.

"In the cities the roofs are made of cement, and in the mountain villages, of earth a foot thick. Sometimes bonfires are built on the housetops; and watchmen often watch the village vineyards in fruit-time, sitting in booths on the highest housetops in the village.

"An Oriental housetop is a great convenience; but, alas! these flat roofs too often leak, and sometimes, when covered with earth, and soaked with rain, they fall in, and bury the whole family alive in the ruins.

" Christian " Weekly.