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DEPARTURE FROM JAFFA.
from Jaffa hither had, instead of saddle, a prodigious bag full of I know not what, spliced cords for stirrups, and a chain fastened round his neck for a bridle. I scolded, I intreated, I promised money, but to no purpose; I
I was obliged to clamber up to my wretched seat, and to keep my legs so wide apart, that I arrived with my back almost broken. How shall I get from this place to Jerusalem! Twelve or fourteen hours more on such a steed, and upon dreadful roads — what will become of me! But I am forgetting myself ... I am complaining ! .... And is it on the way to Jerusalem that a Christian, a monk, a Trappist, should complain at the idea of a hardship!
In leaving Jaffa, I lost my guide, and strayed into a square where a market was held, and where the numerous dealers had spread oranges, glasses, pots, and various other wares upon the ground. About the eatables in particular I observed a great number of Turks, Arabs, and Egyptian soldiers, who were easily known by their red dress, and many women and children; all these groupes were intermixed with asses and camels, in such a manner as not to leave a passage; and I, on my sorry mule without bridle, hemmed in among the populace, inquired, in Italian, if any one had seen my guide, and which was the way to Rama : but they laughed at me. The sellers, too near whom I was coming, and who already saw my mule's hoofs among their commodities, set up loud cries; every body shoved me; the little Arabs pelted me : in short, I was in a situation the more unpleasant, inasmuch as the least impatience, the least violence, on my part, might have led to disastrous consequences.
PLAIN OF SHARON.
However, I soon perceived a Turk, in whom I had probably excited some pity, coming towards me : without saying a word to me, he seized my mule by the chain, and clearing a way, at the same time showing little mercy to the young Bedouins, he led me to the gate through which I had to pass in order to reach the Rama road. There I found my guide and my baggage .... I must do justice to the Egyptian soldiers : they behaved very well, and did not even indulge in a smile. In general, soldiers, even though ill-trained and ill-clothed, have a sort of discipline that is easily perceived.
The weather was brilliant, and reminded me of the beautiful spring days of Italy. The plain of Sharon, which I traversed, so extolled in Scripture, was enamelled with flowers. In this beautiful plain you perceive, from time to time, some mean hamlets. I passed near one of them; it was surrounded by innumerable herds of cows, flocks of sheep, and, above all, of black goats of extraordinary beauty. Their long pendent ears are particularly remarkable. I do not recollect to have seen so great a quantity of cattle near any village in Europe : they reminded me of the flocks of Abraham, of Lot, and of Jacob. It was in this plain that Sampson burned the corn of the Philistines : foxes are very common there.
The nearer I approached to Jerusalem, the more my heart throbbed. I was glad to arrive on Saturday evening at Rama, that I might pass the Sunday there, and prepare myself for the memorable day of my entry into the holy city — the fairest, the happiest day of my life!
Rama, nearly on the borders of the plain of Sharon, is in a delightful situation. The town is very ill built.
The houses, of gray stone, look like large sheds; the streets are horrible : in rainy weather, you cannot take four steps without getting up to your knees in mud. To reach the place, I passed through a forest of nopals, of immense extent. I alighted at the house of the Fathers of the Holy Land, where I was very kindly received, though it was late.
The monastery is built on the site of the house of Nicodemus, to whom the church is dedicated. Its only inmates are two Spanish Fathers and a lay-brother.
This morning, after service, I went to see the cistern constructed by direction of St. Helena, mother of Constantine. You descend into it by about thirty steps: the interior is very spacious; it contains twenty-four arcades, formerly adorned with fine paintings, which time has almost effaced. Palestine is full of monuments, which attest the piety and charity of that illustrious princess.
At the distance of a short quarter of a league is the Tower of the Forty Martyrs, from the top of which you have a magnificent view. This tower, which produces a very good effect, is falling to ruin. It is surrounded with cloisters of handsome architecture belonging to a monastery, the name of which has slipped my memory.
I reckoned upon leaving to-day ; but the weather, hitherto so fine, has suddenly changed: it has been raining all night. My guide, like all the Turks, is not fond of getting wet : he has not come for me, though I expected him with the beasts. Of course I cannot start till to-morrow. The most contradictory reports are circulated respecting the greater or less degree of safety
DEPARTURE FROM RAMA.
upon the roads between this place and Jerusalem. Some assert that there is no danger whatever; others say that Arabs, taking advantage of the anarchy prevailing in Palestine, now in a manner without master, are infesting the roads, and adding murder and massacre to robbery and plunder. I shall know more about it to-morrow.
DEPARTURE PROM RAMA - MOUNTAINS OP JUDEA - VILLAGE OP JERE
MIAH-ABOU Gosh - BEDOUINS – MOUNT OY OLIVES-JERUSALEM, ENTRY INTO THE Holy City - CHURCH OF ST. SAVIOUR - FRANCISCAN FATHERS — Foot-WASHING-CelL-FIRST NIGHT IN JERUSALEM — TERRACE OF THE MONASTERY_VIEW PROM IT-Via DOLOROSA - Pilate's PRÆTORIUM — The Gate BAB-El-Sidi-MARIAM — SPOT WHERE STEPHEN WAS STONED-GARDEN OP GETHSEMANE—The BROOK CEDRON - OLIVE TREES — GROTTO OF THE AGONY - PLACE WHERE JUDAS BETRAYED HIS MASTER-FESTIVAL OF THE CONCEPTION-MAGNIFICENCE OF THE CHURCH — VISITS TO THE PRINCIPAL FATHERS.
Jerusalem, December 8th, 1831. The day before yesterday, at five in the morning, redoubled knocks at the gate of the monastery intimated to me the arrival of my guide. Day was beginning to dawn, when I mounted a horse. The guide rode upon an ass, and my baggage was carried by a mule. I was dressed in my Trappist habit; for, as I have already had occasion to tell you, in this land of infidels, a monk may do what he would not dare to do in countries calling themselves Christian. A wooden cross and a chaplet hung at my side. To my shame be it said, I should not have been sorry to add to them the sword that I formerly wore. The sky was cloudy. The thoughts of that city, where every thing reminds you of the Saviour of the
VILLAGE OF JEREMIAH.
world, filled my soul more than ever, and wholly engrossed me. I had before me the hills of Judea, which I was two hours and a half in reaching, after having crossed an unequal and uncultivated plain. These hills, at first very low, gradually increase in height, and present but a stern and gloomy aspect. They are rocks piled amphitheatrically one upon another, on the flanks of which you perceive nought save a few olive-trees and some oaks, that look as though scathed by lightning.
As for roads, there is not a trace of any-nothing but stones that roll under your feet. Fortunately, the horses and mules of the country are so accustomed to them that they seldom trip, even in the most difficult places. When arrived at a certain height, I turned about towards the south, to look at that beautiful plain of Sharon and the sea which bounds it; my eye, saddened by the sterility of the soil, needed that relief.
Between Rama and Jerusalem you pass through a village called Jeremiah. There you have to pay a duty, or rather a forced contribution, to the chief of an Arab tribe, who might, without any violation of charity, be termed a chief of banditti. His name is Ibrahim Abou Gosh. He has succeeded his brother, Ibals el Rouman, who was the terror of the country, and died a few months since, while returning from Mecca. As some travellers had recently been plundered and their guide murdered, it was not without some alarm that I approached this place, especially when I found that I was obliged to pass through about thirty Arabs lying on the ground, whose turbans I had not perceived till within pistol-shot of them.
As we advanced, the more arid became the mountains