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mits of Arabia ; for which reason the highest of the group has been assigned by tradition as the very spot whence all the kingdoms of the world were seen in a moment of time. It is, as St Matthew styles it, an exceeding high mountain, and in its ascent not only difficult but dangerous. It has a small chapel at the top, and another about half-way down, founded upon a projecting part of the rock. Near the latter are observed several caves and holes, excavated by the solitaries, who thought it the most suitable place for undergoing the austerities of Lent, -a practice which has not even at the present day fallen altogether into disuse. Hasselquist describes the path as “ dangerous beyond imagination. I went as far up on this terrible mountain of Temptation as prudence would admit, but ventured not to go to the top; whither I sent my servant, to bring what natural curiosities he could find, whilst I gathered what plants and insects I could find below.”*
Mariti, whose religious zeal was fanned into a temporary flame, ascended the formidable steep as far as the grottos, which he delineates with much minuteness. He pronounces the chapel inaccessi, ble from the side on which he stood, and is very doubtful whether it could now be approached on any quarter, the ancient road being so much neglected. But it should seem that most travellers are smitten with the feeling which seized the breast of Maundrell, although they all have not the candour to acknowledge it. Alluding to the Arabs, who demanded a sum of money for liberty to ascend, he says, “we departed without farther trou
* Amongst these he found, with great delight, a very curious new cimex or bug, p. 129.
ble, not a little glad to have so good an excuse for not climbing so dangerous a precipice."*
The imagination of Milton has thrown a captivating splendour around this scene, which, at the same time, he appears to have transferred to the mountain-range beyond the Jordan in the country of the Moabites.
6 Thus wore out night; and now the herald lark
That opened in the midst a woody scene.”+ Leaving the Quarantina with its dreary scenes and solemn recollections, the pilgrim returning from the Jordan finds himself on a beaten path which, since the days of Moses, it is probable has connected the rocks of Salem with the banks of the sacred river. Chateaubriand informs us that it is broad, and in some parts paved; having undergone, as he conjectures, several improvements while the country was in possession of the Romans. On the top of a mountain there is the appearance of a castle, which, we may conclude, was meant to protect and command the road ; and at a little distance, in the bottom of a deep gloomy valley, is the Place of Blood,
* Journey, p. 80.
+ Paradise Regained, Book II. v. 281.
called in the Hebrew tongue Abdomim, where once stood a small town belonging to the tribe of Judah, and where the good Samaritan is imagined to have succoured the wounded traveller who had fallen into the hands of thieves. That sombre dell is still entitled to its horrible distinction; it is still the place of blood, of robbery, and of murder; the most dangerous pass for him who undertakes to go down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
As a proof of this, we may shortly mention an assault which was made upon Sir F. Henniker, who a few years ago resolved to accomplish that perilous journey. “The route is over hills, rocky, barren, and uninteresting. We arrived at a fountain, and here my two attendants paused to refresh themselves ; the day was so hot that I was anxious to finish the journey, and hastened forwards. A ruined building, situated on the summit of a hill, was now within sight, and I urged my horse towards it; the janizary galloped by me, and, making signs for me not to precede him, he himself rode into and round the building, and then motioned me to advance. We next came to a hill, through the very apex of which has been cut a passage, the rocks overhanging it on either side. I was in the act of passing through this ditch when a bullet whizzed by close to my head. I saw no one, and had scarcely time to think when another was fired, some short distance in advance. I could yet see no one; the janizary was beneath the brow of the hill in his descent. I looked back, but my servant was not yet within sight. I looked up, and within a few inches of my head were three muskets, and three men taking aim at me, Escape or resistance was alike impossible. I got off my horse. Eight men jumped down from the rocks, and commenced a scramble for me. As he (the janizary) passed, I caught at a rope hanging from his saddle; I had hoped to leap upon his horse, but found myself unable ; my feet were dreadfully lacerated by the honey-combed rocks ; nature would support me no longer ; I fell, but still clung to the rope ; in this manner I was drawn some few yards, till, bleeding from my ancle to my shoulder, I resigned myself to my fate. As soon as I stood up one of my pursuers took aim at me; but the other, casually advancing between us, prevented his firing. He then ran up, and with his sword aimed such a blow as would not have required a second: his companion prevented its full effect, so that it merely cut my ear in halves, and laid open one side of my face : they then stripped me naked."*
It is impossible not to suspect that the depraved government at Jerusalem connives at such instances of violence, in order to give some value to the protection which they sell at a very dear rate to Christian travellers. The administration of Mohammed Ali would be a blessing to Palestine, inasmuch as it would soon render the intercourse between the capital and the Dead Sea as safe as that between Alexandria and Grand Cairo.
Refreshing himself at the fountain where our Lord and his Apostles, according to a venerable tradition, were wont to rest on their journey to the holy city, the tourist sets his heart on revisiting the sacred remains of that decayed metropolis. When
* A Visit to Egypt, &c. p. 285.
at the summit of the Mount of Olives, he is again struck with the mixture of magnificence and ruin which marks the queen of nations in her widowed estate. Owing to the clear atmosphere and the absence of smoke, the view is so distinct that one might count the separate houses. The streets are tolerably regular, straight, and well-paved; but they are narrow and dull, and almost all on a declivity. The fronts of the houses, which are generally two or three storeys high, are quite plain, simply constructed of stone without the least ornament; so that in walking past them a stranger might fancy himself in the galleries of a vast prison. The windows are very few, and extremely small; and, by a singular whim, the doors are so low that it is commonly requisite to bend the body nearly double in order to enter them. Some families have gardens of moderate dimensions; but, upon the whole, the ground within the walls is fully occupied with buildings, if we except the vast enclosures in which are placed the mosques and churches.
There is not observed at Jerusalem any square properly so called ; the shops and markets are universally opened in the public streets. Provisions are said to be abundant and cheap, including excellent meat, vegetables, and fruit. Water is supplied by the atmosphere, and preserved in capacious cisterns; noris it necessary,except when a long drought has exhausted the usual stock, that the inhabitants should have recourse to the spring near the Brook Kedron. Rice is much used for food; but as the country is quite unsuited to the production of that aquatic grain, it is imported from Egypt in return for oil, the staple of Palestine.