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FAMINE AMONG THE BEDOUINS.
It was, besides, easy enough to guess the motive which induced our sheik to try to drag us to his residence : he coveted the remainder of our provisions; and feared lest, if he missed this opportunity, he should lose the prize. For this apprehension I speedily perceived a remedy-to give up the provisions to him-my travelling companions assented. No sooner were we in sight of the camp, than we delivered to our escort and its chief the butter and the rice which remained : as for bread, there was none left. You should have witnessed the dreadful dearth which prevailed at that time, to conceive the burst of joy that proceeded from the wretched Bedouins. Our unexpected generosity gave them all that they wished for; of course, there was no longer any question about diverging from our track.
The acclivities are frequent and steep; the heat was excessive; our horses were exhausted with fatigue, and we were all suffering from a burning thirst. We halted in a little plain, where some grass was to be seen. The sheik sent one of his men to some distance for water. The man staid a long time, and I began to be seriously afraid that we should not reach the holy city before the gates were shut. I soon cheered myself, it is true, by the thought that the complaisance of the governor would cause them to be opened for us. We had still two leagues to go, and the sun was gradually sinking behind the rocks. The night promised to be magnificent ; I found it delightful after the scorching heat of the day.
After we had passed through Bethany, the sight of which renewed all my emotions, all my recollections, our guides, wishing to take a shorter way, led us through
CEMETERY OF THE JEWS.
places so encumbered with stones, that sometimes our horses were stopped short, and we were obliged to alight. My poor mare was knocked
up. At length we reached the side of the Mount of Olives, and descended by the tombs of the Jews, whence we perceived the “ melancholy' walls of Jerusalem, rising above Mount Sion and Mount Moriah, like a funeral catafalque in ruin. That multitude of tombs, whose white stones were visible amid the darkness; those of Absalom and Zachariah, the pinnacles of which were discernible, those places of mourning, those monuments of death, that dust of sepulchres with which I was surrounded, that doleful silence which pervaded these abodes of death — all these forcibly reminded me of the nothingness of human grandeur, of the frailty of life, and transported my thoughts to that sombre region which I must once enter to appear before the awful tribunal of Him, who, in the city that lay before me, mercifully offered himself a sacrifice for the salvation of men ; but who, then, alas ! will judge me with the severity of his inexorable justice.
It was near nine o'clock, when we found ourselves before the gate of St. Stephen : we begged that it might be opened for us. The Egyptian subaltern, commanding the post, replied that he had not the keys. After a long parley with our dragoman, he was induced, by the promise of a bakschisch, to go and acquaint the governor with our arrival. In a few moments he returned, saying, with the expression of regret, that the keys were in the custody of the commandant of the castle, and that it was impossible to obtain admission to him. We were obliged
NIGHT OUTSIDE THE GATES.
to make up our minds to pass the night in the open air. I would fain have gone till day-light to the tomb of Absalom, or to that of Barachias, but a few moments' reflection made me apprehensive that the inhabitants of the village of Siloa, a fanatical and thievish race, might perceive our light, and come to molest us: we stretched ourselves, therefore, on the ground, without being able to close our eyes. Hunger annoyed us : a small loaf, which had hitherto escaped our researches, and which we discovered at the bottom of one of our panniers, assisted us to take patience. For want of common water, we drank a little of that from the Jordan, and we thus passed the night around our horses, with part of our retinue. The rising sun found me sitting opposite to the Mount of Olives.
At length the gates were opened : we mounted our horses and made our entry, preceded by our guards. As the way leading from the place where we were to the monastery is the Via Dolorosa, I took this occasion to point out the stations to Mons. R. . . ., who was by
Had we at first bethought ourselves to go to the Jaffa gate, which, it is true, we could not have done without making a considerable circuit, it would, no doubt, have been opened to us. In consequence of the great number of pilgrims arriving on that side, the keys are always kept there; but, when we thought of this expedient, it was too late.
DescripTION OF JERUSALEM - Mount Sion - House of CAIAPHAS –
TOMB OF DAVID - The HALL OF THE LAST SUPPER.
Jerusalem, March 30th, 1832. Hitherto, my dear Charles, the various excursions which I have hastened to make, and the time which I have been obliged to spend in furnishing you with the particulars of them, have not allowed me to tell
all that I had to say concerning the city itself, in order to make you acquainted with it. I will make amends as much as I can, in the intervals between my little tours ; intervals, of which I always take advantage, to seek out and to examine whatever can be worthy of the curiosity of the traveller, and especially of the Christian pilgrim. It is an ever new gratification to me, to see again and again the things and the places which I have already seen, and to explore the interior and the environs of the city; and this gratification, whenever I am at liberty for a few moments, I never miss any opportunity of procuring myself.
It takes a man, who is not anxious to observe, only an hour, perhaps less, to make the circuit of Jerusalem. I love to tarry before those walls, built with the fragments of destroyed monuments, to contemplate these ruins of men and
I cannot pass so many places, where my Saviour himself, eighteen centuries ago, went about doing good, but this recollection again awakens in my soul all the sentiments which affected it the first time; and when the heart is thus agitated, it is difficult to walk quick.
WALLS OF JERUSALEM.
The walls which form the present inclosure of Jerusalem, if we may believe various accounts,* were built about the year 1534, by Sultan Soliman, only son of Selim I. Upon them are to be seen various inscriptions, which, no doubt, date from that period ; but I have never been able to obtain any explanation of them that satisfied me. There is, perhaps, no city in the world, where it is less possible to procure certain particulars concerning Jerusalem, than Jerusalem itself. More than once I have had to rectify the interpretations of my dragoman, who nevertheless passes for an adept in the science of inscriptions : he has not always a correct and precise idea of them : he confounds things. A person who has rendered me signal service in this point, is the good brother Elias, of the monastery of St. Saviour, who, having resided thirty years in the Holy Land, is thoroughly acquainted with the country. I have only to regret that his age and his occupations have not permitted him to accompany me in my walks.
D'Anville has proved by strong arguments, and by the measurements which he made on the spot, that ancient Jerusalem could not have been much larger than the modern. It stood nearly on the same site; with this difference, however, that Calvary was not within its inclosure, but that Mount Sion was. Soliman, on learning that the architect employed in the construction of the walls of the new Jerusalem had not included Mount Sion, ordered his head to be struck off. The walls are about one hundred and twenty feet high : their thickness appeared to me not proportionate to
See d'Anville's Dissertation on the Extent of ancient Jerusalem.