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other two cover the ears, and come down over the shoulders. When the weather is cold, the Arabs tuck up these corners under the chin, and cover the whole face with the exception of the eyes. Over all we had the woollen abba, which we had long worn, and which we procured at Yaffa. As regards arms, we had amongst us six muskets, one blunderbuss, five braces of pistols, and two sabres. Our money, consisting of small gold coins, was concealed in leathern belts round our waists next the skin.
In the evening of the 6th of May, we left Jerusalem two hours before dark, our party consisting of eleven persons, all mounted. We slept at Bethlehem.
that they would make use of ours for this purpose. All that we could procure from the governor was a promise to write to the Sheikh of Kerek to apprise him of our coming. When we went with the Greek pilgrims to Jericho and the Jordan, the governor sent a man to us, whom he thought fit to call the Sheikh of Kerek, congratulating us on the obstacles to our going to that place having been overcome. This man, however, was no sheikh, and we suspect the motive of the motsellim for sending the counterfeit, was to obtain another present. Finding that there was no getting any of the public authorities to render us any assistance, we determined to proceed, trusting to our numbers and force, and to try our fortune with the Sheikh of Hebron. May 7.-At 8 A.M. we proceeded to Each of the party procured a Bedouin "Solomon's Pools," and thence down Arab dress of the most ordinary de- the valley towards the Mountain of the scription, and we all bought horses for Franks, which we ascended. We found the journey, except Mr. Bankes, who it hollow on the top, with walls round was already provided. Our party con- it, and four towers, all much in ruins. sisted of Mr. Legh, attended by an This post is said to have been maininterpreter, a Tartar from Constantino- tained by the Franks forty years after ple, and a seyes (hostler); Mr. Bankes, the fall of Jerusalem. Though the who had with him a soldier of the place is too small ever to have conPasha of Egypt, and ourselves with a tained one half the number of men Christian Arab servant. We had for which would have been requisite to our guides an Arab named Mahom- make any stand in such a country; med, who lived near Jericho, and a and the ruins, though they may be native of Hebron. We took the pre- those of a place once defended by caution of having as little baggage as Franks, appear to have had an earlier possible with us, and sent the greater origin, as the architecture seems to be part to Acre with one of Mr. Legh's Roman. From the Mount of the servants. We assumed Eastern names Franks we could see part of the Dead for the journey: Mr. Legh was called Sea, and Kerek on the other side of Osman; Mr. Bankes, Halleel; Cap-it. We took the following bearings by tain Irby, Abdallah; and I, in remembrance of Collins' beautiful Eclogue of the Camel Driver, chose the name of Hassan. Our dress consisted of a frock and drawers of very coarse linen; the frock being fastened round the waist by a red leathern girdle, about 4 in. broad. The head-dress was a handkerchief of mixed silk and cotton, coloured with broad stripes of alternate red, green, and yellow. This was doubled into a triangular form and thrown over the head, to which it was attached by a double girdle of brown worsted rope. One corner of the handkerchief hangs down over the back of the neck the
compass: Abou Jane, a village on the right, between Bethlehem and the Frank Mountain, West.-Bethlehem, N.W.-St. Elias, N.N.W.
We now proceeded to see the labyrinth. On approaching it, we left our horses at the ruins of a village called Hariatoon, and proceeded on foot, by the side of the cliffs on the southern side of a deep and picturesque ravine, to the mouth of the cave, which is entered by a long, winding, narrow passage, with small natural chambers or cavities on either side. We soon came to a large chamber, with natural arches of a great height; from this
chamber there were numerous passages leading in all directions, occasionally joined by others at right angles, and forming a perfect labyrinth, which our guides assured us had never been thoroughly explored, the people being afraid of losing themselves. The passages were generally four feet high, by three feet wide, and were all on the same level. We saw but few petrifactions; nevertheless, the grotto was perfectly clear, and the air pure and good. In the large chamber we found some broken pottery, by which it would seem that this place had once been inhabited, probably it had served for a place of concealment. We observed a few English names written with charcoal. We now returned to the horses, and proceeded to the southward, to visit the ruins of Tekoa. They stand on a slight eminence, commanding several bursts of the Dead Sea, and cover a considerable extent. This place was built by King Rehoboam.* We could not find the remains of any distinct temple or public edifice, though there are a few fragments of columns. From Tekoa we passed through a plain of cultivated land, and thence all the way to Hebron, through a much prettier country than that near Jerusalem, the sides of the hills being richly studded with shrubs and dwarf trees in full verdure. The prickly oak, arbutus, and Scotch fir, were most abundant. About five o'clock we passed a village called Sipheer, by the side of a wellcultivated valley. There are about nine Roman sepulchral caves near this vil. lage. From this point we crossed a rugged road into another plain, where are the ruins of a small convent, called by the Jews" the House of Abraham." We now ascended considerably, and passing between numerous vineyards, with a watch-tower in each, (some of which appeared to be very ancient,) we reached Hebron at dusk. It appears by sacred history, that " Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt."+ Josephus makes it not only older than Zoan, or Tanais, but also
"He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa." 2 Chron. xi. 6. † Numbers, xiii. 22.
than Memphis. Here Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac died.* We had this day passed many camps of Arabs; towards evening some of them invited us to pass the night in their tents. The Sheikh of Hebron received us very kindly. We were lodged in a small prayer-room attached to the khan; it was furnished with mats and carpets for us, and we were presently served with a beverage we never before saw in the East,"warm rice milk with sugar." It was handed round before coffee, and in the usual small cups. The Turks of Hebron having little intercourse with Europeans, are extremely jealous of Franks, not one of whom is allowed to live in the town, and I believe very few travellers have ever visited it; in consequence we found it impossible to gain admission into the mosque, in which is said to be the "tomb of Abraham." The lower part of this building is very curious, evidently antique, being formed of great stones, some of which are upwards of twenty-five feet in length; it has sixteen pilasters on each side, and eight at either end, without capitals, excepting a sort of ornamental summit which extends along the whole building, and is a species of cornice. Above this is a continuation of modern masonry. The approach to the entrance of the edifice is by a long flight of steps between it and other ruined buildings which stand on its S.E. side. I imagine that the outside walls only inclose the court which surrounds the mosque, and are not part of the mosque itself. The town of Hebron is not of large dimensions, though its population is great. The country all round it is cultivated to a considerable extent. The streets are winding, and the houses unusually high. We visited a manufactory of glass lamps, which are exported to Egypt. We were told by the governor of Hebron, that there is a regular party of pilgrims who set out from hence every year, without any escort, depending entirely on their own strength. They arrange so as to fall in with the great Damascus hadj, near to, or at Mecca, which is at the distance of thirty days.
* Genesis, xxiii. 2; xlix. 31.
From a merchant of Cairo we ascertained the existence of vast ruins at Abdi, in the Desert to the south, about three days' distance.
early in the morning, but he said that
The first evening the governor of Hebron made no difficulty about our going to Wady Mousa, and Kerek, saying, "it was an easy matter, and he would undertake it." On the seventh, however, difficulties began. We visited, after dinner, the house of the Jewish priest. There are one hundred Jewish houses in Hebron; we found their quar-ceived a present as well as his kinsters excessively clean, and neatly white- man. Lastly came all the law officers, washed; that of the priest was particu- and heads of authorities. These, tolarly so; it had a very nice divan, and gether with the motsellim, advised us commanded a fine view of the country. to go to Kerek direct, and not to Wady The Jews were very civil, and offered us Mousa. The governor, however, told letters to the places we were going to. the guides that there were 400 piasOn our return to the khan, from visit- tres for them if they chose to take us; ing the synagogue, Mr. Bankes pre- but these people, who had, in all prosented a watch to the governor, who bability, previously received instructook it without making any remark at tions to the purpose, declined conductthe time, but soon retired; shortly ing us. Finally, seeing there was no after a messenger arrived to say, that dealing with such people, we mounted the motsellim was not content with his our horses and left the town. In juspresent, and had given it to the Jewish tice to the governor, it should be menpriest. Soon, however, another person tioned that he not only returned the made his appearance, saying, they 400 piastres but the watch also. When wished to arrange the bargain for pay- we had got outside the town we held a ing the guides, &c. Three hundred and consultation together, and finding it fifty piastres were offered, but imme- impossible to proceed alone, without a diately rejected, as three thousand guide to shew us the road, we sent would have been at the first offer. into the town to say we would consent After a second visit to the Jew's house, to visit Kerek, first, in the mean time where we again found the governor, we retired to a neighbouring olivefour hundred piastres were paid down, yard. Our messenger returned with and we were to proceed the following word from the governor, "that he morning. After supper, the governor would have nothing at all to do with called at the khan; he appeared to be our concerns.” A man on horseback shuffling a good deal, altering the order offered to show us the road, and we in which the different places were to accordingly proceeded with him, but be visited; but as he did not make any had scarcely advanced half an hour, material change, still placing Wady when two men came galloping and Mousa before Kerek, we did not much hallooing after us; upon which we care about it. He looked at all the stopped in a corn field, whilst we sent firmans, boyourdees, &c., but did not Mr. Bankes' soldier, Mahommed, with appear to pay as much respect as is them into the town, as the governor usual to the firman of the Grand Seig-wished to communicate with us; this nior. On observing Mr. Legh's Con- was about mid-day. Towards two stantinople Tartar, he said, but in ao'clock, Mahommed the Arab, who had good-humoured way, that a few years accompanied us from Jerusalem, ago, if a Tartar had come to Hebron, quitted us. About three o'clock Ma he would have had his head cut off, hommed the soldier returned with one but that it was not so now. We re- of the Jews, the sheikh having conquested to proceed on our journey sented to send us to kerek, with a
letter to Sheikh Yousouf. He likewise sent as a guide one of the Jellaheen Arabs. In return for this the motsellim demanded 300 piastres, or the watch and 200. The watch and 150 were given, as the former was of more value than they imagined. Two roubees (five piastres and a half) were given to the Jew, and he begged one for the governor's brother. A roubee is less than two shillings value.
We now proceeded. The country was ugly enough, but tolerably well cultivated with corn. We passed several ruined sites. One of them, which they called Hagee, stands on a hill, and has a large square building, which appeared partly perfect. We saw another on our right, and a column which was too far off to be visited. We afterwards passed two Roman excavated tombs, with porticoes in front, not very interesting. There are two ruined sites near them, to one of which they probably belonged. About five o'clock we reached a well, where we gave our horses water, as the camp where we were to sleep was ill-provided. They called this well "Al-baid," there are two pools. One is small with green water, the other a fountain in the rock. There is an ancient site N.W. of it, with a wall of large construction, and some good masonry. There are slanting passages cut in the rock, leading to caves which have probably served for tombs. We reached a Jellaheen camp of thirty tents about dusk. It was situated on the summit of a hill, an unusual position, as they generally pitch their camps in valleys. The harems, or parts of each tent allotted to the women, were covered in front, and they all appeared carefully veiled. We found these people extremely poor in appearance, though they had plenty of sheep, goats, and camels. The camp was placed in a desert country, the cultivated land having ceased about the well Al-baid. We had mutton for supper, but were obliged to find our own coffee. An Arab journeyman tailor arrived, and was employed making coats of sheep-skins, which he dyed red with ochre, or some such substance. |
These people said that in years of scarcity they retired to Egypt. Our course from Hebron to this camp was in a south-easterly direction.
May 9.-We wished to make a bargain with the Jellaheens to conduct us to Wady Mousa. But nothing would induce them to consent. After much bargaining, they agreed to take us to Kerek, if we would give seventyfive piastres to the chief, and fifty to the five guides, who were to accompany us with muskets. Though these people had for a long time refused to accept this sum, they all, when it was agreed to, began fighting who should go. After we had descended from the camp, we offered 500 piastres if they would conduct us to Wady Mousa ; but nothing could induce them to consent. They said they would not go if we would give them 5000 piastres! observing, that money was of no use to a man if he lost his life, and that the people of Wady Mousa were a treacherous and cruel race, and always attacked strangers by firing at them from rocky eminences, which concealing the hostile party gave the others no chance. Seeing that all our endeavours were fruitless, we ceased to press the subject. We left the camp about eight, and at nine we arrived at a well where we watered our horses. We remained here about half an hour and then proceeded, when our conductors began their tricks, by saying they would go no further unless we gave them 500 piastres, the sum which we had offered if they would conduct us to Wady Mousa. After much altercation, seeing that nothing would bring them to reason, we said we would go alone, which they defied us to do. We, however, left them, taking a course in the desert about S.E. by the compass, and trusting to our good fortune to meet with some Arabs or tents in our way. We had proceeded in this manner till eleven o'clock, when one of the guides appeared in the rear, waving his turban, and making all possible signs for us to stop. In about half an hour two of them joined us. We were greatly rejoiced to see these people return, but affected to be quite indif
wood which the Dead Sea had thrown up at high-water mark, and endeavoured to make a fire in order to bake bread, as we had flour. The wood
ferent about it, to prevent further roguery. We now proceeded a little more to the south, and about mid-day had, from a slight eminence to the left of the road, a fine view of the south-was, however, so impregnated with ern extremity of the Dead Sea, toge- salt, that all our efforts to light it were ther with the back-water and plain at unavailing, and we contented ourselves the end of it. The lake Asphaltes ap- with drinking the flour and water peared not to be nearly so long as is mixed, which, though not very palatusually supposed, or as all the ancient able, served to appease our hunger. authors have made it out to be. We All night our guides, not being able now began a continued descent into through fear to sleep themselves, a deep, barren valley, and did not get endeavoured to prevent us from sleepto the bottom till near five o'clock, ing by alarms of the dytchmaan. On passing with considerable difficulty the 10th, at the very dawn of day, we over a path so rugged, barren, and full proceeded across the plain; for the of great stones, that we were obliged first half hour we had still the sand to lead our horses. At last we reached hill on our right. We found, beside the ruins of an old Turkish fort, stand- the saline appearance left by the ing on a single rock to the left of the retiring of the waters, several large road; to the right there is a pool of fragments of clear rock-salt lying on green water, fit only for horses, but of the ground, and, on examining the hill, which we were glad to drink, although we found it composed partly of salt an old man was stripped and washing and partly of hardened sand. In many himself in the middle of it at the time. instances the salt was hanging from Beyond the fort, on the same side of cliffs in clear perpendicular points, the road, the cliff is excavated at a like icicles; and we observed numeconsiderable height with loop-holes, rous strata of that material of consipossibly meant for a post whence a derable thickness, having very little sentinel might see all passengers, and sand mixed with it. Strabo mentions, apprise those in the castle of their "that to the southward of the Dead approach. It would appear that this Sea there are towns and cities built was a sort of "barrier," where duties entirely of salt;" and although such were levied on the passers-by; they an account seems strange, yet when call the place El Zowar. From hence we contemplated the scene before us, we passed through a pretty, gravelly it did not appear very improbable. ravine, with bushes of the acacia, and The torrents, during the rainy season, a tree bearing a small stone fruit, had brought down immense masses of resembling in taste a dried apple; the salt, and we observed that the strata Arabs call it "doom," though it is a were generally in perpendicular lines. very different tree from the doom Leaving this hill, the plain opens conpalm. About six we entered the great siderably to the south, and is bounded plain at the end of the Dead Sea; for at the distance of about eight miles by about a quarter of an hour we passed a sandy cliff, from 60 to 80 feet in a few bushes, but afterwards found the height, which runs directly across and soil sandy and perfectly barren. On closes the valley of El-Ghor, thus our right we had a continued hill of a forming a margin for the uttermost sandy soil, running in a S.E. and limits of the Dead Sea to the southN.W. direction towards the middle of ward. We were told that the plain the plain. At dark we stopped for the on the top of this range of cliffs connight in a ravine at the side of this tinues the whole way to Mecca. It hill, much against the wishes of our appeared to us that the mountains to guides, who strongly urged the want the westward of the Dead Sea graduof water, and the dread of the dytch-ally decreased their height to the maan, as inducements to make us pro- southward, while those to the eastward ceed. We collected a quantity of continued to preserve the same altitude