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FIRST VIEW OF JERUSALEM.
culty and danger ; and that inany disasters befel the messengers who were engaged in carrying communications to Titus.
On ascending out of the valley, we passed several caves in the rocks, some of which were natural, and others formed by the hand of man, the latter probably for village sepulchres. These natural caves, we are informed, were the habitations of the early inhabitants or aborigines of the land. As we advanced, the features of the country became still more wild and barren, the steeps more rugged, and the descents more precipitous, until we approached near to Jerusalem, and arrived at our journey's end. Indeed the whole of the journey to Jerusalem forms a striking analogy to that experienced by the spiritual pilgrim, and would form the subject of a beautiful allegory. Tossed and buffeted by the tempestuous waves of the Mediterranean ; endangered, when on the very entrance to the promised inheritance, by the rocks, the shoals, the quicksands, and unsafe anchorage at Jaffa—the plain of Sharon for a while cheers his onward course, and strews his path with flowers—then intervene the ascents, the difficulties, the fatigues, and the dangers of the hill country of Judea, to check his pride, to try his faith, and to prepare him for the glories of Jerusalem, the long sought object of his fond desires.
Hippolite, our guide, now informed us, that we were approaching near to the Holy City; when all became excitement—enthusiasm appeared in every face-anxious hope beamed in every eye—each pressed forward beyond his neighbour ; we quickened our horses' paces, and every turn and rising ground upon the road was gained with accelerated speed, in order to catch the first distant view of the city. At length we arrived at an old marabut, where the country became more level, but still presenting the same stony character; and here we caught the first glimpse of Jerusalem, at about a mile's distance. The first object which attracted our attention, was a line of dead wall, flanked by two or three square towers, above which could be distinguished a few domes and minarets. Such is the appearance which the city presents when seen from this point. Beyond the city, on the eastern side, rose a threecapt hill, whose highest point was surmounted by a white dome and one or two straggling buildings; its sides, which were studded with low shrubby plants, exhibited a brown and rugged aspect. This is the memorable Mount of Olives. Our party reined in their horses and stood in motionless silence for some
ENTRANCE INTO THE HOLY CITY.
minutes gazing on the scene. The expectations we had formed respecting the appearance of Jerusalem were disappointed, but our enthusiasm had not, in the least degree, abated. For myself, I confess, that as I gazed upon the north-western angle of that solitary embattled wall, sorrow came over my heart; no living thing could be seen on the intervening ground; nothing stirred, and solitude seemed to reign within. The Lamentations of the prophet are now truly applicable—“How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is she become a widow, she that was great among the nations, and princes among the provinces, how is she become tributary! and from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed.” It was then approaching towards the close of day, and every thing we saw appeared lone and desolate ; so quiet and solitary did the city appear, that it looked as if its inhabitants had been asleep for years, and that we had come to awaken them from their slumbers. As we approached the city, the line of wall which we had first seen, opened out and extended to the right. We passed the upper pool of Gihon, and met a few Arab crones going with their pitchers on their heads to draw water from a neighbouring well. They appeared like so many of those witches described in works of fiction, coming forth to meet us from the silent city. Turning a sharp angle of the wall, we reached a large massive square building, commonly called the castle of David, and now known as the citadel of the modern city. To the left of it is the Jaffa gate, which was guarded by a few Egyptian soldiers, who offered no obstruction to our entrance.
We rode on through a narrow street with a low dead wall on both sides. On our left lay a piece of waste ground, covered with old walls, broken cisterns, and prickly pears of an enormous size, jumbled together. On our right, the apertures in the broken wall afforded us occasional glimpses of the minarets and domes that rise throughout the lower and more populous parts of the city. A few minutes more conducted us to the Latin convent, which we entered by an arched gateway that rang with the sound of our arms and the horses' hoofs, which echoing through the old building, soon aroused its inmates. Presently, we found ourselves in a square court, from whose surrounding windows, numbers of bearded monks peered forth, astonished at our appearance, and wondering who the party could be that had created such an unusual stir within their solitary dwelling.
THE LATIN CONVENT.
As the Latin convent is that most frequented by European travellers, the number of whom has much increased of late years, the monks found it inconvenient to afford accommodation to all, and they, therefore, established an hospice in the immediate vicinity. To this place we were conducted by Elias, the cook of the establishment, a friendly old fellow, whose attention every traveller will, I am persuaded, acknowledge. We found the best rooms of this inn already occupied by other travellers, and so were compelled to take up our quarters in a cold, dark apartment, with a stone roof, without even the necessary comfort of a fire-place.
A letter from Signior Campanelli procured us the services and kind assistance of Father Benjamin, the curate of the convent. He generally acted as our guide. The curé was a kind, goodnatured creature, but extremely dirty in his habits. He had been but a few years in the country, and had not yet told his tale often enough to believe it himself; for, on questioning him as to the locality of many of the sacred places, he usually finished his speech with, “But I am sure it is all tradition.” His evening visits to us were often very acceptable, for he generally produced from underneath his brown cloak a bottle of good wine, much better than that supplied to us by the convent.
After dinner, we proceeded to pay our respects to the superior of the convent, and in passing to his apartment we were conducted through a long gallery, on either side of which were ranged the cells of the Padres, numbers of whom stood waiting at their doors to catch a chance word, to know our country, and hear something of what was going forward in Europe. The reception-room we found a very comfortable apartment, in which were some good old paintings. It was partly hung with tapestry, and a deewan ran along two sides of it. The superior was a stout, intelligent-looking Italian, about forty years of age ; courteous, well bred, and apparently well skilled in the art of pleasing. He appeared to be well acquainted with the general affairs of Europe ; and hearing that we had been lately in Spain, he was particularly anxious to learn the success of Don Carlos, in which he seemed to be deeply interested. In the course of conversation, he learned that I was an Irishman, and instantly inquired after Daniel O'Connell, and asked if the bishops of Ireland were not now a very learned body. Being an Irishman
VISIT TO THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.
seemed to raise me not a little in his estimation, perhaps from his supposing that I must, of necessity, be also a Roman Catholic, as it is considered in several places abroad, that none others are to be found in Ireland; and I attribute the attention I received in visiting many places of worship here to this circumstance. The superior invited us to partake of lemonade, and brandy flavoured with aniseed, which brought to our recollection the day we spent at Mafra. In the secretary of the superior I found a good botanist, and a man of more taste and refinement than we were led to believe could exist among the Terra Santa friars. We returned to our hospice, and thus ended our first evening in Jerusalem.
Having taken up our residence in the Holy City, I here close my diary for the present, and instead of dragging my readers from place to place, and enumerating all that we saw and heard, I choose rather to compress my notes of the week which I spent here, into distinct sections upon some of the most remarkable places and objects which have been least dwelt upon or described by recent travellers.
One of the first places visited by the traveller or the pilgrim, is the Holy Sepulchre ; and here I generally spent an hour daily during our sojourn at Jerusalem-for all must be willing to accept the invitation—“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Our way from the Latin convent to the sepulchre led down through a tolerably wide street, having high dead walls on either side, with low massive doors at intervals, leading into the courts and houses within. Turning to the right, at the end of this street, we proceeded through one of the smaller bazaars, generally filled with ragged Arab women, the vendors of vegetables and snails, the latter of which are much eaten here, especially during the season of lent. Pursuing this path for a short distance, our attention was attracted to a crowd of people of different nations and various costumes hastening towards a narrow lane upon the left. Mixing with these, we found both sides of the lane crowded with shops for the sale of wearing apparel, besides crosses, rosaries, and such other sacred ware. Several crooked turnings, and a steep descent, conducted us into a large square court in front of the church of the Holy Sepulchre. Part of this enclosure is raised a few steps, and these steps form the basement of a row of pillars ; so that, in all probability, the whole
COURT OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.
of this court was originally covered in. The scene that presented itself in this space was of most novel and exciting interest, and the motley groups of figures that thronged it gave it a very extraordinary appearance. On the upper raised steps were tables spread with coffee, sherbet, sweetmeats, and refreshments; and throughout the court were seated pedlars, and the Bethlehemite vendors of carved shells, beads, ornaments in mother-ofpearl, bituminous amulets, bowls made of the asphaltum of the Dead Sea, and other articles of holy merchandise, some of which each of the pilgrims purchased during their stay. Through these wares, hundreds of persons passed and repassed to the church door. Pilgrims of many nations were to be seen in their different costumes ; Latin, Armenian, Russian, Greek, and Coptish friars, with Turks and Egyptian soldiers, all forming the most extraordinary scene that could be found in any spot upon the globe ; and a polyglot language is heard, such as few other places in the world could exhibit.
The front of the church presents little worth describing. No architectural beauty seems to have been attempted in its erection; and it is now a poor, mean-looking building, and very much defaced, as for many years past the Turks would not permit any of the Christian edifices to be repaired.
The entrance was originally a double arch, supported by three sets of clustered pillars of grey marble and verd-antique. On the architrave above it is represented the Messiah's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, in good basso-relievo. This is a handsome piece of sculpture, but like the others in the building, it too is greatly defaced. Several other scriptural devices are distinguishable round the cornices and windows. On the left stand the ancient belfry and the Greek convent, and on the right, some old walls and ruined houses. We were not a little surprised, upon entering the door of the church, to see the stiff form of an Egyptian soldier guarding the entrance to the tomb of Christ! On the left, upon a raised platform, half a dozen turbaned Turks sat smoking and drinking coffee. These Mohammadans are necessarily placed there, for the purpose of preserving order and decorum among the devout priests and Christian pilgrims during their religious ceremonies! They keep the keys of the church, and open it every morning and evening, except during passionweek, when it remains open the entire day.