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48

CATHOLIC MONASTERY.

roy of Egypt, great numbers of whom were there, much as they might be astonished at my conduct, showed not the least sign of disapprobation; nay, several of them, apparently comprehending its motive, gave me tokens of respect : the word hadji, pilgrim, was heard on all sides. Meanwhile, as the crowd kept increasing, the dragomans of the Fathers of the Holy Land of Jaffa, who had been sent to meet me, cleared the way, and, walking before me, conducted me to the monastery. I begged, before I did any thing else, to be taken to the church. I then carried my letters of recommendation to the superior, and visited the other Fathers, who received me kindly and politely. The nephew of cardinal Don Emmanuel Cantillo Jovellanos, archbishop of Toledo, a young priest of the Holy Land, gave up his chamber to me. The monastery had just been rebuilt with materials brought from Cæsarea. 0, Providence of my God! those stones which had been used by Hered to found a town in honour of Augustus now served to build a temple to the child whose birth had filled him with such alarm, and whom he purposed to destroy. Though entirely new-built, the monastery of Jaffa, which has cost a great deal of money, is like all the monasteries of the Holy Land : it exhibits the appearance of a fortress, of a castle of the tenth century; a heap of stones piled one upon another, and that is all.

The cell which I occupy looks out upon the sea. Long did I linger at my window, contemplating that superb but treacherous element, the bond of the two worlds, which its roaring billows would engulph, if the mighty hand of God had not placed a barrier to it in the grain of sand,

WRECK OF THE TURKISH SCHOONER.

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which he has commanded to stop it. I looked with a feeling of pleasure, and a sort of gratitude, at the frail vessel which had conveyed me to Palestine. Such is the way with man; a passenger in this great vale of tears, he suffers his soul and his immortal affections to cling to every thing that surrounds and is close to him ... Alas! never was I to behold that vessel again: a few hours afterwards she struck upon the rocks, which render the road of Jaffa so dangerous. She was completely wrecked; the crew were saved, after having undergone all the horrors of death. Had I continued on board a few moments longer, I too might perhaps have by this time been no more. At the moment that I am writing these lines, the Fathers of the Holy Land would probably have been employed in removing my body, extended on the beach; and after a few hours passed in the church, amidst funereal chants, they would have carried it to its last home. The Arab, on seeing the procession, would have inquired whom they were interring. “ We know not,” would have been the reply of one of the Fathers; " it is a pilgrim from the vessel that has just been wrecked; from his dress he appears to be a monk.” And the cold earth would have covered me, the while not one friend would have stood beside my grave, not one tear would have dropped upon my coffin; and, upon the little mound of dust, formed by my mortal remains, never would there have been seen the print of the knee of a creature that had loved me!

At the time of our arrival, Jaffa, as you may have inferred from what I have previously said, was in the power of the viceroy of Egypt. Ibrahim Pacha, the son of that

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prince, had taken it some days before by a stratagem, the idea of which had been suggested to him by an unexpected circumstance, and which he had carried into execution with equal skill and promptitude. He was going with some ships to attack St. Jean d'Acre; as he was passing Jaffa, a number of persons belonging to that town took it into their heads to put off and visit him. But no sooner were they on board than, profiting by the occasion, he ordered the pilots who had brought them to be seized, and forced them to steer some of the ships of war, and to effect during the night the landing of fifteen hundred men, who immediately made themselves masters of the place. Taken unawares, the soldiers of the Pacha of St. Jean d'Acre fled without fighting.

There is at Jaffa a Russian consul, M. Mostras, a very amiable man, who is kept there by his sovereign solely to afford assistance to the pilgrims of his nation.

Nothing can be more beautiful or more fertile than the gardens around the town. The lemon and orange trees, the fruit of which is in high repute, are in such profusion that the leaves scarcely allow you to discern the stems and the branches which support them.

Here it is that the traveller begins to meet with women completely veiled. When I say veiled, I mean not that kind of veil which descends from the head to the waist, but a sort of black or yellowish green covering, drawn so close over the face as to suffer nothing but the marks of the nose, chin, and cheeks to be perceived: of the mouth and eyes you see no traces. It is frightful, it is horrible, to a European not accustomed to this sight. I met in a street a party of these phantom women, whose notice

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was attracted by my Trappist habit. I shuddered on finding myself surrounded by such figures; I could not help thinking of the witches in Macbeth.... They are all thickly clothed; they throw over them, when they go abroad, a large piece of white cotton, which covers them from head to foot, and with which they form a graceful drapery. With this they wear boots, generally yellow; which, by their capaciousness, perfectly correspond with all the rest. I know not to what to compare a Turkish woman, accoutred in this fashion : by her head she is like a spectre, and by the rest of her body she resembles a walking barrel, set up on two thick pieces of timber. The women of the lowest class fasten a dirty rag over the nose and mouth, leaving only the eyes, which are very often sore, uncovered ... But what am I about, my friend ? Am I not going out of my way to notice things so foreign to the object of my travels ? The disagreeable impression which they have made upon me has caused me to forget that I am in the Holy Land, and has, I may say, in spite of myself, diverted my thoughts for a moment from the happiness that awaits me.

I set out to-morrow for Rama, and shall thence proceed to Jerusalem.

A few words more. The monastery which I am about to leave is inhabited by Spanish Franciscan Fathers only, who, with the Italians, are charged with the service of the monasteries of Palestine in general. The Father warden of the tomb of our Saviour, who is highest in dignity, must always be an Italian ; the vicar, who is next to him, was always a Frenchman; but, since the suppression of the monastic orders in France, that office

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FRANCISCAN CONVENTS.

is given alternately to Spaniards and Italians. The third high office, and perhaps the most important, is that of procurator : it embraces the temporal concerns of the monasteries of the Holy Land, and can be conferred only on a Spaniard. The convents occupied by the Franciscan Fathers, in Asia and Africa, are those of Jerusalem, Rama, St. Jean d'Acre, Jaffa, Larnaca, Nicosia, Bethlehem, St. John of the Desert, Nazareth, Sidon, Tripoli in Syria, Alexandria, Cairo, Mount Lebanon, Damascus, and Aleppo.

At Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, the Fathers are of the two nations; at Jaffa, Rama, St. John of the Desert, and Damascus, the Fathers are exclusively Spaniards. The other places are served by the Italians.

Adieu, my dear Charles, adieu.

LETTER XIII.

DEPARTURE PROM JAPPA - UNPLEASANT RIDING — AdvenTURE IN THE MARKET-PLACE SPLENDID WEATHER CATTLE - RAMA — Monas. Tery-CISTERN OF St. Helena — Tower OP TAE FURTY MARTYRS.

Rama, December 5th, 1831.

I set out yesterday afternoon from Jaffa, with a guide, a mule for myself, and two asses for my baggage: I brought away, among other things, a sack of potatoes. This may appear strange to you ; but as I never eat meat, as there are few culinary vegetables in Palestine, and as the fruit season is over, I must make some provision for my numerous excursions.

I cannot tell you how much I was alarmed on seeing that the mule on which I was to perform the journey

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