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had predicted, the fellow brought a reed from the banks of the sea in question. I looked stedfastly at him, and clapped spurs to my horse. He said not a word more, but kept hovering about me the whole day, while I pretended not to notice him. However, before we parted, I gave him a trifle, not for the reed, but merely for the trouble of going to and fro, which I did not wish him to take for nothing.

Though, in general, the appellation of sea is given only to those immense expanses of water which encompass the land, or which cover a large portion of the surface of the earth in the interior of continents, this word is frequently used in Scripture to designate certain masses of water of far less extent. The Dead Sea is, at the utmost, twenty-four leagues in length, and five or șix wide. It is called in Genesis (xiv. 3.), and in Numbers (xxxiv. 3.), the Salt Sea; in history it is named the Eastern Lake, Lake Asphaltites, the Sea of Sodom, the Sea of the Desert; and, by the Arabs, Barrei Louth, that is, the Lake of Lot. It covers the beautiful valley of Siddim, where were situated the five guilty cities, Sodom, Gomorrah, Adama, Seboim, and Bala, or Segor. Before the terrible chastisement inflicted by God on the Pentapolis, the country was so fertile, its woods, its groves, its orchards, watered by the Jordan, were so agreeable, so delightful, that the Scripture likens their advantages to those of Egypt, and represents it as the garden of the Lord (Gen. xiii. 10.)

It is now a region of desolation and death. The divine malediction is not confined to the bed of the waters; it is stamped upon the shores and upon the surrounding

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country. It is, as it were, but dust, but ashes, like those of a large fire — ashes, to which dews and rain cannot impart either life or fertility.

Vestiges of the reprobate cities still exist in the Dead Sea. This is a fact, regarded at the present day as incontestable : several travellers have discovered in it remains of walls, pillars, and particularly ruins, conjectured to be those of Segor, a town which was at first spared at the prayer of Lot, but which was finally engulphed when he had withdrawn from it.

I should have been glad to have had an opportunity of satisfying myself on this point, by deferring my return till the evening of the following day; but this would have been too dangerous under the present circumstances, with the ephemeral government which rules Palestine, and which is most frequently obliged to tolerate or to leave unpunished the crimes which the Arabs are pleased to commit. It is to be presumed, however, that, if the Egyptian sway becomes firmly established, order will be restored. Travellers will then be able to visit these parts with greater safety, and, by means of small vessels, which may easily be constructed, to discover the monuments of the wrath of God at the bottom of the sea which has engulphed them.

Writers and geographers have stated that the Dead Sea is frequently covered with a thick vapour or smoke, which rises from its bosom: others have asserted the very contrary. The fault of travellers in general is, that they make too short a stay in the countries which they visit to be able to say, in a positive manner, what is or is not in this or that country.

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For my own part, whenever I have ascended the Mount of Olives, and also during my stay at Bethlehem, I have had occasion to remark this vapour.

There are days when it is scarcely perceptible, but in general it is seen very distinctly.

The salt obtained from the Dead Sea forms an important article of commerce. The Arabs carry it for sale to all parts of Palestine, and it is the only kind that is used there. It is universally admitted, that to the abundance of this salt is to be attributed the extraordinary gravity of the waters from which it is extracted. Josephus, in the fourth book of his History of the War of the Jews, relates that it supports upon the surface every thing that is thrown into it; he adds, that the emperor Vespasian, to convince himself of the truth of this assertion, ordered several persons, with their hands and legs tied, to be thrown in, and that not one of them sank. Perhaps we may be allowed to entertain some doubt of the truth of this statement. What I can assert as much more certain is, that several travellers, who have bathed in this water, have floated upon it without being able to swim ; but this does not appear to me a sufficient reason for running the same risk.

During the journey I frequently questioned individually the Arabs of our escort and their chiefs, to ascertain if it had ever come to their knowledge that persons who had dwelt from infancy on the shores of this sea had seen any fish in it: they were unanimous in replying Never. These men could not have any interest in deceiving me: I consider their testimony as the most positive confirmation of the accounts of historians and travel

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lers, especially those of Marison, who asserts that “ such is the noxious nature of these waters, that they suffer nothing that has life to exist in them, and that they kill the fish of the Jordan, which have no sooner entered than they find their grave

in them." There are persons who think that not even microscopic animals can subsist there. It has frequently happened that I have met with small white shells, and empty, like those of snails, but they were at a great distance from the shore, and probably came from the Jordan.

To judge from the efforts which I made to obtain precise intelligence on the subject of the chastisement inflicted on Lot's Wife, it is very difficult, not to say impossible, to assign the spot where the disobedience of this woman was punished by her transformation into a statue of salt. It was incontestably at some point very near the shore, but which that is, the diversity of accounts will not admit of deciding. At any rate, the certainty of the fact, attested by the narrative of Moses, and confirmed by the words of Christ himself, is not to be impugned.

We advanced towards Jerusalem, amidst arid mountains, dry torrents, a country entirely desert, similar in this respect to the road which we had travelled the preceding day. As then, eagles were soaring in the air, but in greater number, and sometimes came, flapping their wings, to settle on the heights. Among the rocks, of fantastic shapes, which presented themselves to our view, some exhibited a few blades of grass; others displayed, even on their bare flanks, a patch of verdure, with red or yellow flowers, which render them still more



horrible : images which, I must confess, reminded me, in spite of myself, of those women, slaves to the world, whom age and the passions have robbed of their charms; and who, by the flowers with which they continue to adorn themselves, only render the ravages of time more conspicuous and more hideous.

As for roads, there are none, excepting narrow paths, the traces of which appear and disappear, as it were, at the same instant. We met, at intervals, one or two Bedouins, armed with muskets, whom our advanced guard stopped and searched, to ascertain whether they had any tobacco, and to rob them of it. These men suffered the greatest part of their provisions to be taken from them without saying a word, calculating, no doubt, that they should make themselves amends on the morrow : had our's been the weaker, they would have submitted to their lot, with the same resignation and in the same hope.

Meanwhile, we pursued our route, without knowing where we were to pass the night. The sheik, the Bedouins, our Turkish soldier, the dragoman, and the janissary, maintained that it would be impossible to reach Jerusalem before sunset, when the gates are closed. They added, that our horses were jaded, and that the safest way was to go to the camp of our Bedouins, from which we were but a few leagues distant. The sheik, in particular, insisted on going no farther. I peremptorily rejected a proposition which could have no other result than to make us lose a day, without compensating us by a few moments' rest among people whose excessive filthiness would, of itself, have prevented us from sleeping.

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