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May 25th.

This morning I could discern the Syrian coast, which becomes more glorious the nearer we approach. Beyrout, the goal of our voyage, was jealously hidden from our eyes to the very last moment. We had still to round a promontory, and then this Eden of the earth lay before us in all its glory. How gladly would I have retarded the course of our vessel, as we passed from the last rocky point into the harbour, to have enjoyed this sight a little longer! One pair of eyes does not suffice to take in this view; the objects are too numerous, and the spectator is at a loss whither he should first direct his gaze, upon the town, with its many ancient towers attached to the houses, giving them the air of knights’ castles upon the numerous country-houses in the shade of luxurious mulberry plantations upon the beautiful valley between Beyrout and Mount Lebanon or on the distant mountain-range itself. The towering masses of this magnificent chain, the peculiar colour of its rocks, and its snowclad summits, riveted my attention longer than any thing else.

Scarcely had the anchor descended from the bows, before our ship was besieged by a number of small boats, with more noise and bustle than even at Constantinople. The half-naked and excitable Arabs or Fellahs are so ready with offers of service, that it is difficult to keep them off. It almost becomes necessary to threaten these poor people with a stick, as they obstinately refuse to take a gentler hint. As the water is here very shallow, so that even the little boats cannot come quite close to shore, some others of these brown forms immediately approached, seized us by the arms, took us upon their backs amidst continual shouting and quarrelling, and carried us triumphantly to land.

Before the stranger puts himself into the hands of men of this kind, such as captains of small craft, donkey-drivers, porters, etc., he will find it a very wise precaution to settle the price he is to pay for their services. I generally spoke to the captain, or to some old stager among the passengers, on this subject. Even when I gave these people double their usual price, they were not contented, but demanded an additional backsheesh (gratuity). It is therefore advisable to make the first offer very small, and to retain something for the backsheesh. At length I safely reached the house of Herr Battista (the only inn in the place), and was rejoicing in the prospect of rest and refreshment, when the dismal cry of “no room” was raised. I was thus placed in a deplorable position. There was no second inn, no convent, no place of any kind, where I, poor desolate creature that I was, could find shelter. This circumstance worked so much on the host’s feelings, that he introduced me to his wife, and promised to procure me a private lodging.

I had now certainly a roof above my head, but yet I could get no rest, nor even command a corner where I might change my dress. I sat with my hostess from eleven in the morning until five in the afternoon, and a miserably long time it appeared. I could not read, write, or even talk, for neither my hostess nor her children knew any language but Arabic. I had, however, time to notice what was going on around me, and observed that these children were much more lively than those in Constantinople, for here they were continually chattering and running about. According to the custom of the country, the wife does nothing but play with the children or gossip with the neighbours, while her husband attends to kitchen and cellar, makes all the requisite purchases, and besides attending to the guests, even lays the tablecloth for his wife and children. He told me that in a week at furthest, his wife would go with the children to a convent on the Lebanon, to remain there during the hot season of the year. What a difference between an Oriental and a European woman!

I still found the heat at sea far from unendurable; a soft wind continually wafted its cooling influence towards us, and an awning had been spread out to shelter us from the rays of the sun. But what a contrast when we come to land! As I sat in the room here the perspiration dropped continually from my brow, and now I began to understand what is meant by being in the tropics. I could scarcely await the hour when I should be shewn to a room to change my clothes; but to-day I was not to have an opportunity of doing so, for at five o’clock a messenger came from Mr. Bartlett with the welcome intelligence that we could continue our journey, as nothing was to be feared from the Druses and Maronites, and the plague only reigned in isolated places through which it was not necessary that we should pass. He had already engaged a servant who would act as cook and dragoman (interpreter); provisions and cooking utensils had also been bought, and places were engaged on an Arab craft. Nothing, therefore, remained for me to do but to be on the sea-shore by six o’clock, where his servant would be waiting for me. I was much rejoiced on hearing this good news: I forgot that I required rest and a change of clothes, packed up my bundle, and hurried to the beach. Of the town I only saw a few streets, where there was a great bustle. I also noticed many swarthy Arabs and Bedouins, who wore nothing but a shirt. I did not feel particularly anxious to see Beyrout and its vicinity, as I intended to return soon and visit any part I could not examine now.

Before sunset we had already embarked on board the craft that was to carry us to the long-wished-for, the sacred coast of Joppa. Every thing was in readiness, and we lacked only the one thing indispensable a breeze.

No steamers sail between Joppa and Beyrout; travellers must be content with sailing vessels, deficient alike as regards cleanliness and convenience; they are not provided with a cabin, or even with an awning, so that the passengers remain day and night under the open sky. Our vessel carried a cargo of pottery, besides rice and corn in sacks.

Midnight approached, and still we were in harbour, with not a breath of wind to fill our sails.

Wrapping my cloak tightly round me, I lay down on the sacks, in the absence of a mattress; but I was not yet sufficiently tired out to be able to find rest on such an unusual couch. So I rose again in rather a bad humour, and looked with an evil eye on the Arabs lying on the sacks around me, who were not “slumbering softly,” but snoring lustily. By way of forcing myself, if possible, into a poetical train of thought, I endeavoured to concentrate my attention on the contemplation of the beautiful landscape by moonlight; but even this would not keep me from yawning. My companion seemed much in the same mood; for he had also risen from his soft couch, and was staring gloomingly straight before him. At length, towards three o’clock in the morning of

May 26th,

a slight breath of wind arose, we hoisted two or three sails, and glided slowly and noiselessly towards the sea.

Mr. B. had bargained with the captain to keep as close to the shore as possible, in order that we might see the towns as we passed. Excepting in Caesarea, it was forbidden to cast anchor any where, for the plague was raging at Sur (Tyre) and in several other places.

Bargains of this kind must be taken down in writing at the consulates, and only one-half of the sum agreed should be paid in advance; the other half must be kept in hand, to operate as a check on the crew. After every precaution has been taken, one can seldom escape without some bickering and quarrelling. On these occasions it is always advisable at once to take high ground, and not to give way in the most trifling particular, for this is the only method of gaining peace and quietness.

Towards seven o’clock in the morning we sailed by the town and fortress of Saida. The town looks respectable enough, and contains some spacious houses. The fortress is separated from the town by a small bay, across which a wooden bridge has been built. The fortress seems in a very dilapidated condition; many breaches are still in the same state in which they were left after the taking of the town by the English in 1840, and part of the wall has fallen into the sea. In the background we could descry some ruins on a rock, apparently the remains of an ancient castle.

The next place we saw was Sarepta, where Elijah the prophet was fed by the poor widow during the famine.

The Lebanon range becomes lower and lower, while its namesake, the Anti-Lebanon, begins to rise. It is quite as lofty as the first-named range, which it closely resembles in form. Both are traversed by fields of snow, and between them stands a third colossus, Mount Hermon.

Next came the town of Tyre or Sur, now barren and deserted; for that mighty scourge of humanity, the plague, was raging there to a fearful extent. A few scattered fragments of fortifications and numerous fallen pillars lie strewed on the shore.

And now at length I was about to see places which many have longed to behold, but which few have reached. With a beating heart I gazed unceasingly towards St. Jean d’Acre, which I at length saw rising from the waves, with Mount Carmel in the background. Here, then, was the holy ground on which the Redeemer walked for us fallen creatures! Both St. Jean d’Acre and Mount Carmel can be distinguished a long distance off.

For a second time did a mild and calm night sink gently on the earth without bringing me repose. How unlucky it is that we find it so much harder to miss comforts we have been used to enjoy, than to acquire the habit of using comforts to which we have been unaccustomed! Were this not the case, how much easier would travelling be! As it is, it costs us many an effort ere we can look hardships boldly in the face. “But patience!” thought I to myself; “I shall have more to endure yet; and if I return safely, I shall be as thoroughly case-hardened as any native.”

Our meals and our beverage were very simple. In the morning we had pilau, and in the evening we had pilau; our drink was lukewarm water, qualified with a little rum.

From Beyrout to the neighbourhood of St. Jean d’Acre, the coast and a considerable belt of land adjoining it are sandy and barren. Near Acre every thing changed; we once more beheld pretty country-houses surrounded by pomegranate and orange plantations, and a noble aqueduct intersects the plain. Mount Carmel, alone barren and unfruitful, stands in striking contrast to the beauteous landscape around; jutting boldly out towards the sea, it forms the site of a handsome and spacious convent.

The town of St. Jean d’Acre and its fortifications were completely destroyed during the last war (in 1840), and appear to sigh in vain for repairs. The houses and mosques are full of cannon-balls and shot-holes. Every thing stands and lies about as though the enemy had departed but yesterday. Six cannons peer threateningly from the wall. The town and fortifications are both built on a tongue of land washed by the sea.

May 27th.

During the night we reached Caesarea. With the eloquence of a Demosthenes, our captain endeavoured to dissuade us from our project of landing here; he pointed out to us the dangers to which we were exposing ourselves, and the risks we should run from Bedouins and snakes. The former, he averred, were accustomed to conceal themselves in hordes among the ruins, in order to ease travellers of their effects and money; being well aware that such spots were only visited by curious tourists with well-filled purses, they were continually on the watch, like the robber-knights of the good old German empire. “An enemy no less formidable,” said the captain, “was to be encountered in the persons of numerous snakes lurking in the old walls and on the weed-covered ground, which endangered the life of the traveller at every step.” We were perfectly well aware of these facts, having gleaned them partly from descriptions of voyages, partly from oral traditions; and so they were not powerful enough to arrest our curiosity. The captain himself was really less actuated by the sense of our danger, in advising us to abandon our undertaking, than by the reflection of the time it lost him; but he exerted himself in vain. He was obliged to cast anchor, and at daybreak to send a boat ashore with us.

Our arms consisted of parasols and sticks (the latter we carried in order to beat the bushes); we were escorted by the captain, his servant, and a couple of sailors.

In the ruins we certainly met with a few suspicious-looking characters in the shape of wandering Bedouins. As it was too late to beat a retreat, we advanced bravely towards them with trusting and friendly looks. The Bedouins did the same, and so there was an end of this dangerous affair. We climbed from one fragment to another, and certainly spent more than two hours among the ruins, without sustaining the slightest injury at the hands of these people. Of the threatened snakes we saw not a single one.

Ruins, indeed, we found every where in plenty. Whole side-walls, which appeared to have belonged to private houses, but not to splendid palaces or temples, stood erect and almost unscathed. Fragments of pillars lay scattered about in great abundance, but without capitals, pedestals, or friezes.

It was with a feeling of awe hitherto unknown to me that I trod the ground where my Redeemer had walked. Every spot, every building became invested with a double interest. “Perchance,” I thought, “I may be lingering within the very house where Jesus once sojourned.” More than satisfied with my excursion, I returned to our bark.

By three o’clock in the afternoon we were close under the walls of Joppa. To enter this harbour, partially choked up as it is with sand, is described as a difficult feat. We were assured that we should see many wrecks of stranded ships and boats; accordingly I strained my eyes to the utmost, and could discover nothing. We ran safely in; and thus ended a little journey in the course of which I had seen many new and interesting objects, besides gaining some insight into the mode of life among the sailors. Frequently, when it fell calm, our Arabs would recline on the ground in a circle, singing songs of an inconceivably inharmonious and lugubrious character, while they clapped their hands in cadence, and burst at intervals into a barking laugh. I could not find any thing very amusing in this entertainment; on the contrary, it had the effect of making me feel very melancholy, as displaying these good people in a very idiotic and degrading light.

The costume of the sailors was simple in the extreme. A shirt covered them in rather an imperfect manner, and a handkerchief bound round their heads protected them from a coup de soleil. The captain was distinguished from the rest only by his turban, which looked ridiculous enough, surmounting his half-clad form. Their diet consisted of a single warm meal of pilau or beans, eaten in the evening. During the day they stayed their appetites with bread. Their drink was water.

The town of Joppa, extending from the sea-shore to the summit of a rather considerable and completely isolated hill, has a most peculiar appearance. The lower street is surrounded by a wall, and appears sufficiently broad; the remaining streets run up the face of the hills, and seem at a distance to be resting on the houses below. Viewing the town from our boat, I could have sworn that people were walking about on flat house-tops.

As Joppa boasts neither an inn nor a convent which might shelter a traveller, I waited upon the Consul of the Austrian Empire, Herr D –­, who received me very kindly and introduced me to his family, which comprised his lady, three sons, and three daughters. They wore the Turkish costume. The daughters, two of whom were exceedingly beautiful, wore wide trousers, a caftan, and a sash round the waist. On their heads they had little fez-caps, and their hair was divided into fifteen or twenty narrow plaits, interwoven with little gold coins, and a larger one at the end of each plait. A necklace of gold coins encircled their necks. The mother was dressed in exactly the same way. When elderly women have little or no hair left, they make up with artificial silk plaits for the deficiencies of nature.

The custom of wearing coins as ornaments is so prevalent throughout Syria, that the very poorest women, girls, and children strive to display as many as possible. Where they cannot sport gold, they content themselves with silver money; and where even this metal is not attainable, with little coins of copper and other baser metals.

The Consul and his son were also clothed in the Turkish garb; but instead of a turban the father wore an old cocked hat, which gave him an indescribably ludicrous appearance. A son and a daughter of this worthy patron of the semi-Turkish, semi-European garb, had but one eye, a defect frequently met with in Syria. It is generally supposed to be caused by the dry heat, the fine particles of sand, and the intense glare of the chalky hills.

As I reached Joppa early in the afternoon, I proceeded in company of the Consul to view the town and its environs. In dirt, bad paving, etc., I found it equal to any of the towns I had yet seen. The lower street, near the sea, alone is broad and bustling, with loaded and unloaded camels passing continually to and fro. The bazaar is composed of some miserable booths containing common provisions and a few cheap wares.

The neighbourhood of Joppa is exceedingly fertile. Numerous large gardens, with trees laden with all kinds of tropical fruits, and guarded by impenetrable hedges of the Indian fig-tree, form a half-circle round the lower portion of the town.

The Indian fig-tree, which I here saw for the first time, has an odd appearance. From its stem, which is very dwarfish, leaves a foot in length, six inches in breadth, and half an inch in thickness, shoot forth. This tree seldom sends forth branches; the leaves grow one out of another, and at the extremity the fruit is formed. Its length is about two or three inches. Ten or twenty such figs are frequently found adhering to a single leaf.

I could not conceive how it happened that in these hot countries, without rain to refresh them, the trees all looked so healthy and beautiful. This fact, I found, was owing to the numerous channels cut through the gardens, which are thus artificially irrigated. The heavy dews and cool nights also tend to restore the drooping vegetation. One great ornament of our gardens was, however, totally wanting a lawn with wild flowers. Trees and vegetables here grow out of the sandy or stony earth, a circumstance hardly noticed at a distance, but which produces a disagreeable effect on a near view. Flowers I found none.

The whole region round Joppa is so covered with sand, that one sinks ankle-deep at every step.

Consul D –­ fulfils the duties of two consulates, the Austrian and the French. From both these offices he derives no benefit but the honour. By some people this honour would be highly valued, but many would rate it at nothing at all. This family, however, seems to have a great idea of honour; for the consul’s office is hereditary, and I found the son of the present dignitary already looking forward to filling his place.

In the evening I was present at a real Oriental entertainment in the house of this friendly family.

Mats, carpets, and pillows were spread out on the terrace of the house, and a very low table placed in the centre. Round this the family sat, or rather reclined, cross-legged. I was accommodated with a chair somewhat higher than the table. Beside my plate and that of the Consul were laid a knife and fork, that appeared to have been hunted out from some lumber closet; the rest ate with a species of natural knife and fork, namely fingers.

The dishes were not at all to my taste. I had still too much of the European about me, and too little appetite, to be able to endure what these good people seemed to consider immense delicacies.

The first dish appeared in the form of a delicate pilau, composed of mutton, cucumbers, and a quantity of spice, which rendered it more unpalatable to me than common pilau. Then followed sliced cucumbers sprinkled with salt; but as the chief ingredients, vinegar and oil, were entirely wanting, I was obliged to force down the cucumber as best I could. Next came rice-milk, so strongly flavoured with attar of roses, that the smell alone was more than enough for me; and now at length the last course was put on the table stale cheese made of ewe’s milk, little unpeeled girkins, which my entertainers coolly discussed rind and all, and burnt hazel-nuts. The bread, which is flat like pancakes, is not baked in ovens, but laid on metal plates or hot stones, and turned when one side is sufficiently done. It tastes better than I should have expected.

Our conversation during dinner was most interesting. Some of the family spoke a little Italian, but this little was pronounced with such a strong Greek accent, that I was obliged to guess at the greater portion of what was said. No doubt they had to do the same with me. The worthy Consul, indeed, affirmed that he knew French very well; but for this evening at least, his memory seemed to have given him the slip. Much was spoken, and little understood. The same thing is said often to be the case in learned societies; so it was not of much consequence.

There are many different kinds of cucumber in Syria, where they are a favourite dish with rich and poor. I found numerous varieties, but none that I found superior to our German one. Another favourite fruit is the water-melon, here called “bastek.” These also I found neither larger in size nor better flavoured than the melons I had eaten in southern Hungary.

The Consul’s house seems sufficiently large; but the architectural arrangement is so irregular that the extended area contains but few rooms and very little comfort. The apartments are lofty and large, extremely ill-furnished, and not kept in the best possible order.

I slept in the apartment of the married daughter; but had it not been for the beds standing round, I should rather have looked upon it as an old store-closet than a lady’s sleeping-room.

May 28th.

At five o’clock in the morning Mr. Bartlett’s servant came to fetch me away, as we were at once to continue our journey. I betook myself to the house of the English Consul, where I found neither a horse nor any thing else prepared for our departure. It is necessary to look calmly upon these irregularities here in the East, where it is esteemed a fortunate occurrence if the horses and mukers (as the drivers of horses and donkeys are called) are only a few hours behind their time. Thus our horses made their appearance at half-past five instead of at four, the hour for which they had been ordered. Our baggage was soon securely fixed, for we left the greater portion of our effects at Joppa, and took with us only what was indispensably necessary.

As the clock struck six we rode out of the gate of Joppa, and immediately afterwards reached a large well with a marble basin. Near places of this description a great number of people are always congregated, and more women and girls are seen than appear elsewhere.

The dress of females belonging to the lower orders consists of a long blue garment fastened round the throat, and reaching below the ankle. They completely cover the head and face, frequently without even leaving openings for the eyes. Some females, on the other hand, go abroad with their faces totally uncovered. These are, however, exceptional cases.

The women carry their water-pitchers on their head or shoulder, as their ancestors have done for thousands of years, in the manner we find represented in the oldest pictures. But unfortunately I could discover neither the grace in their gait, the dignity in their movements, nor the physical beauty in their appearance, that I had been led to expect. On the contrary, I found squalor and poverty more prevalent than I had thought possible. We rode on amid the gardens, every moment meeting a little caravan of camels. Immediately beyond the gardens we descry the fruitful valley of Sharon, extending more than eight miles in length, and to a still greater distance in breadth. Here and there we find villages built on hills, and the whole presents the appearance of an extremely fertile and well-populated region. In all directions we saw large herds of sheep and goats; the latter generally of a black or brown colour, with long pendent ears.

The foreground of the picture is formed by the Judaean mountains, a range apparently composed of a number of barren rocks.

A ride of two hours through this plain, which is less sandy than the immediate neighbourhood of Joppa, brought us to a mosque, where we made halt for a quarter of an hour and ate our breakfast, consisting of some hard-boiled eggs, a piece of bread, and a draught of lukewarm water from the cistern. Our poor beasts fared even worse than ourselves they received nothing but water.

On leaving this place to resume our journey across the plain, we not only suffered dreadfully from the heat, which had reached 30 degrees Reaumur, but were further persecuted by a species of minute gnats, which hovered round us in large swarms, crept into our noses and ears, and annoyed us in such a manner that it required the utmost of our patience and determination to prevent us from turning back at once. Fortunately we only met with these tormentors in those parts where the corn had been cut and was still in the fields. They are not much larger than a pin’s head, and look more like flies than gnats. They are always met with in great swarms, and sting so sharply that they frequently raise large boils.

The vegetation was at this season already in so forward a state that we frequently passed stubble-fields, and found that the wheat had in several cases been already garnered up. Throughout the whole of Syria, and in that part of Egypt whither my journey afterwards led me, I never once saw corn or vegetables, wood or stores, carried in wagons; they were invariably borne by horses or asses. In Syria I could understand the reason of this proceeding. With the exception, perhaps, of the eight or ten miles across the valley of Sharon, the road is too stony and uneven to admit the passage of the lightest and smallest carts. In Egypt, however, this is not the case, and yet wagons have not been introduced.

A most comical effect was produced when we met long processions of small donkeys, so completely laden with corn, that neither their heads nor their feet remained visible. The sheaves seemed to be moving spontaneously, or to be propelled by the power of steam. Frequently after a train of this kind has passed, lofty grey heads appear, surrounded by a load piled up to so great a height, that one would suppose large corn-wagons were approaching rather than the “ship of the desert,” the camel. The traveller’s attention is continually attracted to some novel and curious object totally dissimilar to any thing he has seen at home.

Towards ten o’clock we arrived at Ramla, a place situate on a little hill, and discernible from a great distance. Before reaching the town, we had to pass through an olive-wood. Leaving our horses beneath a shady tree, we entered the coppice on the right: a walk of about a quarter of a mile brought us to the “Tower of the Forty Martyrs,” which was converted into a church during the time of the Knights Templars, and now serves as a dwelling for dervishes. It is a complete ruin, and I could scarcely believe that it was still habitable.

We made no stay at Ramda, a place only remarkable for a convent built, it is said, on the site of Joseph of Arimathea’s house.

The Syrian convents are built more like fortresses than like peaceful dwellings. They are usually surrounded by strong and lofty walls, furnished with loopholes for cannon. The great gate is kept continually closed, and barred and bolted from within for greater security; a little postern is opened to admit visitors, but even this is only done in time of peace, and when there is no fear of the plague.

At length, towards noon, we approached the mountains of Judaea. Here we must bid farewell to the beautiful fruitful valley and to the charming road, and pursue our journey through a stony region, which we do not pass without difficulty.

At the entrance of the mountain-chain lies a miserable village; near this village is a well, and here we halted to refresh ourselves and water our poor horses. It was not without a great deal of trouble and some expense that we managed to obtain a little water; for all the camels, asses, goats, and sheep from far and wide were collected here, eagerly licking up every drop of the refreshing element they could secure. Little did I think that I should ever be glad to quench my thirst with so disgusting a beverage as the muddy, turbid, and lukewarm water they gave me from this well. We once more filled our leathern bottles, and proceeded with fresh courage up the stony path, which quickly became so narrow, that without great difficulty and danger we could not pass the camels which we frequently met. Fortunately a few camels out of every herd are generally provided with bells, so that their approach is heard at some distance, and one can prepare for them accordingly.

The Bedouins and Arabs generally wear no garment but a shirt barely reaching to the knee. Their head is protected by a linen cloth, to which a thick rope wound twice round the head gives a very good effect. A few have a striped jacket over their shirt, and the rich men or chiefs frequently wear turbans.

Our road now continues to wind upwards, through ravines between rocks and mountains, and over heaps of stones. Here and there single olive-trees are seen sprouting from the rocky clefts. Ugly as this tree is, it still forms a cheerful feature in the desert places where it grows. Now and then we climbed hills whence we had a distant view of the sea. These glimpses increase the awe which inspires the traveller when he considers on what ground he is wandering, and whither he is bending his steps. Every step we now take leads us past places of religious importance; every ruin, every fragment of a fortress or tower, above which the rocky walls rise like terraces, speaks of eventful times long gone by.

An uninterrupted ride of five hours over very bad roads, from the entrance of the mountain-range, added to the extreme heat and total want of proper refreshment, suddenly brought on such a violent giddiness that I could scarcely keep myself from falling off my horse. Although we had been on horseback for eleven hours since leaving Joppa, I was so much afraid that Mr. B. would consider me weak and ailing, and perhaps change his intention of accompanying me from Jerusalem back to Joppa, that I refrained from acquainting him with the condition in which I felt myself. I therefore dismounted (had I not done so, I should soon have fallen down), and walked with tottering steps beside my horse, until I felt so far recovered that I could mount once more. Mr. B. had determined to perform the distance from Joppa to Jerusalem (a sixteen hours’ ride) at one stretch. He indeed asked me if I could bear so much fatigue; but I was unwilling to abuse his kindness, and therefore assured him that I could manage to ride on for five or six hours longer. Fortunately for my reputation, my companion was soon afterwards attacked with the same symptoms that troubled me so much; he now began to think that it might, after all, be advisable to rest for a few hours in the next village, especially as we could not hope in any case to reach the gates of Jerusalem before sundown. I felt silently thankful for this opportune occurrence, and left the question of going on or stopping altogether to the decision of my fellow-traveller, particularly as I knew the course he would choose. Thus I accomplished my object without being obliged to confess my weakness. In pursuance of this resolve, we stayed in the neighbouring village of “Kariet el Areb,” the ancient Emmaus, where the risen Saviour met the disciples, and where we find a ruin of a Christian church in a tolerable state of preservation. The building is now used as a stable. Some years ago this was the haunt of a famous robber, who was scheikh of the place, and let no Frank pass before he had paid whatever tribute he chose to demand. Since the accession of Mehemet Ali these exactions have ceased both here and in Jerusalem, where money was demanded of the stranger for admission into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred places. Even highway robberies, which were once on a time of daily occurrence among these mountains, are now rarely heard of.

We took possession of the entrance-hall of a mosque, near which a delicious spring sparkled forth from a grotto. Seldom has any thing strengthened and refreshed me so much as the water of this spring. I recovered completely from my indisposition, and was able to enjoy the beautiful evening.

As soon as the scheikh of the village heard that a party of Franks had arrived, he despatched four or five dishes of provisions to us. Of all these preparations we could only eat one the butter-milk. The other dishes, a mixture of honey, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, onions, oil, olives, etc., we generously bestowed upon the dragoman and the muker, who caused them quickly to disappear. An hour afterwards the scheikh came in person to pay his respects. We reclined on the steps of the hall; and while the men smoked and drank coffee, a conversation of a very uninteresting kind was kept up, the dragoman acting as interpreter. At length the scheikh seemed seized with the idea that we might possibly be tired with our journey. He took his leave, and offered unasked to send us two men as sentries, which he did. Thus we could go to rest in perfect safety under the open sky in the midst of a Turkish village.

But before we retired to rest, my companion was seized with the rather original idea that we should pursue our journey at midnight. He asked me, indeed, if I was afraid, but at the same time observed, that it would be much safer for us to act upon his suggestion, as no one would suspect our departure by such a dangerous road at midnight. I certainly felt a little afraid, but my pride would not allow me to confess the truth; so our people received the order to be prepared to set out at midnight.

Thus we four persons, alone and totally unarmed, travelled at midnight through the wildest and most dangerous regions. Fortunately the bright moon looked smilingly down upon us, and illuminated our path so brightly, that the horses carried us with firm step over every obstruction. I was, I must confess, grievously frightened by the shadows! I saw living things moving to and fro forms gigantic and forms dwarfish seemed sometimes approaching us, sometimes hiding behind masses of rock, or sinking back into nothingness. Lights and shadows, fears and anxiety, thus took alternate possession of my imagination.

A couple of miles from our starting-place we came upon a brook crossed by a narrow stone bridge. This brook is remarkable only as having been that from which David collected the five stones wherewith he slew the Philistine giant. At the season of my visit there was no water to be seen; the bed of the stream was completely dry.

About an hour’s journey from Jerusalem the valley opens, and little orchards give indication of a more fertile country, as well as of the proximity of the Holy City. Silently and thoughtfully we approached our destination, straining our eyes to the utmost to pierce the jealous twilight that shrouded the distance from our gaze. From the next hill we hoped to behold our sacred goal; but “hope deferred” is often the lot of mortals. We had to ascend another height, and another; at length the Mount of Olives lay spread before us, and lastly Jerusalem.