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ten minutes distant from us. The castle is situated on the top of a hill, on the sides of which is the village, nearly surrounded by a valley and by high hills, forming a very picturesque object. The neighbourhood abounds in vineyards and olives. We found the finest raisins here that we had seen in Syria. The inhabitants of Szalt are numerous, and more than one-third of them are Christians. We arrived wet through. The people showed us great attention, drying our clothes before the fire. We first went to the travellers' room, but were soon after conducted to the house of a Christian. The weather continued bad the whole of the next day, but on the 23rd became fairer. In consequence of the treachery of the Arabs, we wished to be quit of them, and, if possible, to get the natives of Szalt to conduct us to Kerek. The prime minister made some extravagant demands; however, he was paid up to the day, and told that his services and those of his comrades were no longer wanted. He now tried all he could to induce us to consent to go to their camp, but this would have been a very imprudent course to have taken. Finding that he could not, either by good or bad words, prevail on us to go, he went off in a huff, saying, that his companions would take care that we did not stir from Szalt until we consented to his scheme. To show how little we feared these threats, we took a walk of two hours, and returned in the evening. Some of the Mahommedan natives of Szalt insulted us on our return. We wished next day to go to Amaun, but the son of the sheikh of the town told us his father was gone to the Arabs, and that nothing could be done till his return.
March 24. This morning the sheikh's son and five other guards accompanied us to visit some places in the neighbourhood. The first was a village called Athan, situated two hours distant to the N.N.W. There is a ruined village here. We saw no remains of antiquity; but in ascending from it, we observed some sarcophagi cut out of the rock. We afterwards went to a place called Gilhad Gilhood,
said by the natives to be the birthplace of the prophet Elijah. There are here two old tombs; one of them has been used as a Christian chapel; also some sarcophagi cut out of the rock, and other antique remains. We visited, in all, five ruined villages, which serve at least to show that the country lying five or six miles to the north of Szalt, was once more populous than it is at present. Szalt has been thought to be the ancient Amathus, but we are more inclined to believe it to be Macharus, where John the Baptist was beheaded. The country in general is extremely beautiful and woody. On our return to the town we found a black messenger from the Benesuckher prince, inviting us to go to his camp and adjust our differences; but we had determined, if the natives of Szalt refused to conduct us to Kerek, to recross the Jordan on the following day, and proceed to Jerusalem, where we could adopt other measures for carrying our plans into execution.
March 29.-In the morning, at nine o'clock, we quitted Szalt, in the middle of a great dispute amongst the natives, whether they should or should not deliver us up to the Arabs. The tops of all the houses were covered with women and children to see the result of the fray. On quitting the house, our interpreter was missing, and after some delay, we found him concealed behind the door, crying bitterly. The first person we met was the prime minister, whom we had not seen since the 23rd. He was in company with the black, and another Benesuckher Arab; and mounting their horses they immediately joined us, and endeavoured all in their power to persuade us to go the wrong road; in which they were joined by all the Turkish natives of the place, who kept bawling to us that we were going wrong. Fortunately, when walking out one day, we had made inquiries, and had discovered the right road to Jerusalem; which, in spite of all their remonstrances, we accordingly took. The plan of the prime minister was, doubtless, to lead us to the Arabs' camp, and there detain us until they had got what they
comes very rugged, consisting of hills, vales, and deep chasms, in a dry salt
This continues to within a quarter of a mile of the river's bank; whence the rest is a rich, flat plain to the margin of the river, which is at the bottom of a deep ravine, beautifully wooded, and so overgrown, that the stream is not seen till you are close to it. The Callah-el-Rubbat bore N.E. half N. from the ford.
Hereabouts it would be interesting to search for the twelve stones erected by the Israelites to commemorate their passing the river.* The water was too high for us to make the search; and, indeed, we were not sufficiently at our ease, with the idea of the Arabs being in chase of us. We were detained till nearly three o'clock before we could cross the river, which we were surprised to find very much swollen. An Arab, on horseback, arrived shortly after us, and as he had no baggage, was well mounted, and
wanted. As we ascended the hill, followed by the Arabs, we soon got a view of the Dead Sea, the neighbour-ish soil, of a very white appearance. hood of Jericho, and the plain of the Jordan. We had given out that our intention was to pass through Jericho on our way to Jerusalem; but having deviated from the right path shortly after we began to descend, we thought of passing on to Bysan. One of the Arabs quitted us on the brow of the hill; and when they saw that we had ceased to keep the road to Jericho, the black man went also. Both departed, no doubt, to give information to the prince and his party of the track we had taken. A little after mid-day, when we had nearly descended to the plain, to the minister's surprise and vexation, we turned short off to the ford of the Jordan, which we saw in the distance, and quitted him, notwithstanding his numerous remonstrances. Indeed had we continued long in the track we were going, we should soon have been amongst some of the Bene-likely to be acquainted with the ford, suckher camps, as we had shortly before passed five or six small camps, but of what tribe we did not know. We now pushed straight for the Jordan, and reached its banks about two o'clock. At the foot of the mountains we observed some singular, and certainly very ancient tombs, composed of great rough stones, resembling what is called "Kitt's Cotty House," in Kent. They were built of two long stones, for sides, with one at each end, and a small door in front, mostly facing to the north. This door was cut in the stone. All were of rough stones apparently not hewn, but found in huge flakes, such as are still seen about the spot over the whole was laid an immense flat piece projecting both at the sides and ends. What rendered these tombs more remarkable was, that the interior was not long enough for a corpse, being only 5 ft. both the front and back stones being considerably within the ends of the side one3.
There were about twentyseven of these tombs, very irregularly situated. The plain, about half way from the foot of the mountains, is tolerably level, but barren; it then be
we requested him to cross first, that we might profit by his example: but, like the peasants on Mount Lebanon, he refused to lead the way. We therefore crossed one at a time, the others, from an eminence on the banks, directing his progress. The stream was exceedingly rapid, and so deep, that we were obliged to swim our horses, which, as they had our fire-arms and our baggage, as well as ourselves on their backs, was no easy task. We all got completely wet through, and our papers, pocket-books, &c., were totally spoiled. From the river we pursued a direction W.N.W. for two hours, into a rich valley: there was no road or track. On the right we passed a great cave with an artificial door. A labourer misinformed us, and directed us up the dry course of a torrent in search of a village. After vainly wandering about till dark, we came to the termination of the valley, and saw no signs of any path or habitation. Heavy rain came on, with thunder and lightning,
* "And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there unto this day." Joshua, iv. 9.
and we were glad to take shelter for the night in a cave used occasionally by the shepherds.
March 26.-At day-light we were forced to retrace our steps, and return to the valley we had left, which we found was called Wady Zeit (Oil Valley); in it is a village called Agrarba, which we did not see. On entering Wady Zeit, the peasants all came out, armed with six muskets and their instruments of agriculture. Seeing a mounted party, issuing out of an uninhabited valley, so early in the morning, they had mistaken us for Bedouins. We obtained a guide for Nablous. From these people we learnt that the Arabs had crossed the Jordan the preceding evening in chase of us, and not being able to get any information, had returned to the other side of the river. We, therefore, owe our escape to the circumstance of having lost our way. We observed that this rich valley ends abruptly at the foot of the hills to the westward. We followed the principal road, which led us out by a ravine, to the S. W., and continuing in this track till about 11 o'clock, we crossed over the hills to the westward. About half an hour after mid-day we reached the village of Bait Forage, situated by the side of a rich extensive plain, having six other villages on its borders, many oliveyards, and much corn. We were glad to get some breakfast here, after a twenty-eight hours' fast, with the exception of a few dirty raisins, which we found in the bottom of one of our hourges. We remained till 2 o'clock, and then proceeded for Nablous, about two hours distant. In twenty minutes we arrived at a ruined village, called Kaffer Baiter, around which are several old Roman tombs and tanks. In one of the tombs, the mouth of which was closed with rubbish, we found some dead bodies concealed. Thence we went to Nablous, the road leading us by Jacob's Well, a short distance from which, a valley, in a southern direction, unites with that in which stand Bait Forage and the six other villages. Maundrell says, these rich valleys are supposed to be "the portion of land
given by Jacob to his son Joseph." Nablous is the ancient Sychem. We went to the summit of Mount Gerizim, and found the ruins of a large town, with a tank, near a conspicuous tomb.
On the 28th of March we quitted Nablous, and reached Jerusalem the next day. For an excellent description of Nablous, and also of all the objects of interest at Jerusalem, I must refer the reader to Maundrell. We took his book in our pockets, and visited every place which he mentions, most of them three different times. Once by ourselves, once as ciceroni to Lord Belmore and his family, and once with Mr. Legh, the gentleman who has published his Journey in Nubia. We have been to Bethlehem and St. John's, visited the Holy Sepulchre at the Greek Easter, and saw the celebrated trick of the holy fire, &c.
May 1-After staying for more than a month at Jerusalem, we started for the Jordan with all the pilgrims, escorted by the governor and a body of troops. The sight was most impressive. The immense number of Christians, from all quarters, the various costumes of the Greeks, the Copts from Egypt, the Abyssinians from Æthiopia: some of the pilgrims on camels, with double cradles on their backs; some on mules, also with cradles ; some on horses; some on asses; in all amounting to about 5000, presented a most curious and interesting scene, winding amongst the hills, in a line as far as the eye could reach, and sometimes through different openings in the mountains, appearing in two or three divisions. In the evening we arrived at the camp near Jericho. We could trace no remains of the Hippodrome which Josephus places here.
May 2.-At two this morning we started by torch-light for the Jordan, which we reached at 7 A.M. Here we found the pilgrims bathing in the river, men, women, and children, all mixed together. They immersed their clothes in the river, gathered boughs off the trees, and filled bottles with the water to take home, in commemoration of their pilgrimage. We went, attended by two Arabs, to the Dead Sea, and
bathed in it; the water was bitter and buoyant. Those of our party who could not swim, floated on the surface like corks; on dipping the head in, the eyes smarted dreadfully, and we were much surprised to observe, on coming out of the lake, that the water did not evaporate from the body, as is the case on emerging from fresh water, but adhered to the skin, and was greasy to the touch. At night we returned to Jerusalem.
We propose starting to-morrow with two Arabs to make the tour of the Dead Sea, and search for the sites of the cities that are known to have stood in that direction. Our party will consist of Messrs. Legh and Bankes, with their attendants, and Captain Irby and myself. We have plenty of arms, and shall muster altogether eleven persons, including two Arabs. The trip will probably take us about three weeks. We have all dressed ourselves as Arabs of the desert, to excite less observation.
Lord and Lady Belmore and their party have been here about three weeks. They came from Cairo by land, having taken the same route as we did. Their party is very strong, and they had the brother of a famous Arab chief to protect them. They are all now attiring themselves as Arabs, and are going to visit Baalbec, Damascus, &c., after which they embark in his lordship's yacht for Europe. The friars of the convent had a serious dispute in the Holy Sepulchre the day before yesterday. They were performing one of their ceremonies, when the Greeks attacked them, wounding several of them. There has been much disputing before the governor in consequence, and a Tartar has been sent with their complaints to Constantinople. In Maundrell's time there was a similar fray between the Greeks and Latins, and the jealousy has existed ever since. A rather singular adventure befel us while at Jerusalem. There is amongst the sepulchres, which travellers have designated as "the Tombs of the Kings," an excavated vault with an oblong portico. The only visible entrance to this vault is at one end of the
portico, while from its construction there is every reason to suppose that a corresponding entrance would be found at the other end, which is now filled with rubbish. Mr. Bankes was so thoroughly convinced of this, that when at Constantinople he used every exertion, but in vain, to procure a firman authorising him to excavate and ascertain the fact. We now endeavoured to obtain permission from the governor of Jerusalem to dig there, but without success. As we could not procure legal authority, we determined on prosecuting the undertaking secretly in the night, and accordingly purchased privately some pickaxes and other implements. Late in the evening we quitted the town, singly, and from different gates, to avoid suspicion; and assembling at the rendezvous after dark, found that we mustered a party of ten persons, viz., Messrs. Bankes and Legh, Captain Corry, and ourselves, together with five servants, including two of Lord Belmore's sailors, whom his lordship had allowed to join us. We divided our party into two watches, and worked hard four hours at a time during the whole night, digging and clearing away the rubbish. We were obliged to station one of the servants as a sentinel near the road side, to apprise us of the approach of any one. In the morning we had removed the rubbish to a depth of about 10 ft., when we came to an immense block of stone, apparently in the very spot where we expected to find the entrance to the tomb. As we were unable to move this mass, we returned to the city, pretty well fatigued, having been obliged, for want of spades, to clear away the rubbish with our hands. The next day Captain Corry, Mr. Bankes, and Mahomet his janissary, acting on the suggestion of Lord Belmore, succeeded in breaking the stone by heating it, and then pouring cold vinegar on it; but, unfortunately, shortly after this was done, our proceedings were discovered by some Turks, and reported to the governor, who put a very effectual stop to our researches, by ordering the whole of the portico to be walled in.
A TOUR TO PETRA AND THE DEAD SEA.
Difficulties attending our proposed Visit to Petra-Our Party-Our assumed Names and Costumes Departure from Jerusalem-The Mountain of the Franks-The LabyrinthTekoa-Hebron-Its Governor-Difficulty in obtaining a Guide-Jellaheen ArabsPlain of the Dead Sea-Salt Hills-Singular Trees and Plants-Favourable Reception by the Ghorneys-Beautiful Geological Specimens-Stopped by Arabs-The Castle of Kerek -Description of Kerek-Christian Church-Reception at Kerek-Skeikh Yousouf--His openness of Character-Departure from Kerek-The Wahabees-Mahannah--MoteRuins at Dettrass-The Wady-el-Ahsa-Ruined Temple-Gharundel-Volcanic Mountains-Shobek-Abon Raschid-His Dispute with the Sheikh of Wady Mousa, who refuses to permit our Advance-Noble conduct of Abon Raschid-View of Wady Mousa -Conferences of the Rival Chiefs-Preparations for Hostilities-Reinforcement from Kerek-Hindi-Failure of Negotiations-The Enemy suddenly withdraw their opposition. GREAT were the obstacles which pre- Grand Seignior's dominions; " but as sented themselves, and innumerable he and Mr. Frere, the British ministhe difficulties which we had to sur-ter, pressed the point very much, they mount before we could commence our at length referred him to the Pasha journey to Petra. It had for some time been the wish of Mr. Bankes to undertake this tour, as the only two Europeans who had ever been either at Kerek or Wady Mousa (Valley of Moses or Petra) were both dead, viz., Sheikh Ibrahim and Mr. Seetzen. Both these indefatigable travellers performed this journey alone and in disguise, and were consequently obliged to conceal their papers, and make all their observations by stealth, which must necessarily have rendered their remarks very brief and cursory, compared to what they would have been had the writers been unrestrained. Seetzen travelled as an Arab, calling himself Moosa, but never got so far as Petra.
Although we are of opinion that Mr. Bankes could not have succeeded in accomplishing this journey without his junction with Mr. Legh and ourselves, still he has the merit of being the first person travelling as a European, who ever thought of extending his researches in that direction; and from his profound knowledge of ancient history, as well as his skill in drawing, he was by far the best calculated to go on such an expedition. When Mr. Bankes applied at Constantinople to have Kerek and Wady Mousa inserted in his firman, the Turkish Government returned for answer, "that they knew of no such places within the
of Damascus, who, equally averse to have anything to do with the business, passed him on to the governor of Jerusalem. This latter tried all he could to dissuade us from the undertaking, though Mr. Legh gave him a handsome spy-glass to induce him to assist us. He advised us to apply to Mahommed Aga, the governor of Yaffa. The communication between Egypt and Mousa being usually through Gaza, which is under Mahommed Aga's government, it was supposed that he would have the greatest influence over the Arabs about Wady Mousa, inasmuch as he possessed the means of punishing them for any violence they might commit, either by stopping their supplies from Egypt, or by making prisoners of such of their people as came within his reach. The governor of Yaffa, however, not only evaded the affair altogether, but in order to put a stop to our journey, ordered us to return the horses which he had lent us. A second visit to the governor of Jerusalem seemed to promise as little as the preceding. We all four called on him. On this occasion, a former motsellim, who had been twenty years in office, and was sitting with the governor, pledged his word to us that the Arabs are a most savage and treacherous race; and to prove it, added, that they think Franks' blood a good medicine for their women when sick, and