ABABIA, or "the desert," is called in the Scriptures, "the east country," and its people " the children of the east." In early Bible times, it was the country of the Edomites, Ishmaelites, and Midianites. 

In later ages the people were known under the general name of Saracens.  Though some of the Arabs live in houses in towns, yet the larger portion of them dwell in tents made of camel's hair cloth, and their wealth is in their flocks. Each tent is divided into two parts, one for the men and the other for the women. Within the tent are camel's skin water-bags, goat skins for milk and butter, a leathern bucket for drawing up water from deep wells, a hand-mill, wooden dishes, a few other domestic articles, and the beautiful saddles for their much prized horses.

Living as the Arabs do in the open air, their senses are very acute. They can see distant objects in their vast plains, which others cannot see; and sounds are also caught by them with great ease and certainty.

An Arab, too, can tell by the footprints on the sand whether they were made by one of his own, or another tribe; whether the man passed on that day or several days before; whether he carried a load or not, and whether he was fatigued or not. He judges of the last by the intervals between the steps. He is equally clever as to the feet of camels, and his skill is useful in recovering those that have been stolen, or have strayed.

One bad feature in the character of the people is their dishonesty. An Arab considers plunder as his right. He does not say, "I robbed," but, "I gained." The traveler is waylaid, seized, and stripped of almost everything; but unless he resists, or sheds the blood of an Arab, his life is safe.

The dress of the people varies in different tribes. Those who live in the district known as Yemen, or Happy Arabia, are clothed very much in the same style as the Turks. The mantles worn by the chiefs are interwoven with gold; and the headdress or cap is embroidered with gold, and inwrought with texts and passages from the Koran.

The Arabians are followers of the false prophet Mohammed, though not of the strictest sort, as indeed they are generally ignorant of his doctrines. The means of education among them are very limited, and of a humble kind, and they are intended only for boys. Girls are looked upon and treated quite as inferior beings. There is no school for them excepting those, which belong to Christian missions.