The Innocents Abroad, Part 6 of 6
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Part 1 out of 2

Produced by David Widger


by Mark Twain

[From an 1869--1st Edition]

Part 6.


We descended from Mount Tabor, crossed a deep ravine, followed a hilly,
rocky road to Nazareth--distant two hours. All distances in the East are
measured by hours, not miles. A good horse will walk three miles an hour
over nearly any kind of a road; therefore, an hour, here, always stands
for three miles. This method of computation is bothersome and annoying;
and until one gets thoroughly accustomed to it, it carries no
intelligence to his mind until he has stopped and translated the pagan
hours into Christian miles, just as people do with the spoken words of a
foreign language they are acquainted with, but not familiarly enough to
catch the meaning in a moment. Distances traveled by human feet are also
estimated by hours and minutes, though I do not know what the base of the
calculation is. In Constantinople you ask, "How far is it to the
Consulate?" and they answer, "About ten minutes." "How far is it to the
Lloyds' Agency?" "Quarter of an hour." "How far is it to the lower
bridge?" "Four minutes." I can not be positive about it, but I think
that there, when a man orders a pair of pantaloons, he says he wants them
a quarter of a minute in the legs and nine seconds around the waist.

Two hours from Tabor to Nazareth--and as it was an uncommonly narrow,
crooked trail, we necessarily met all the camel trains and jackass
caravans between Jericho and Jacksonville in that particular place and
nowhere else. The donkeys do not matter so much, because they are so
small that you can jump your horse over them if he is an animal of
spirit, but a camel is not jumpable. A camel is as tall as any ordinary
dwelling-house in Syria--which is to say a camel is from one to two, and
sometimes nearly three feet taller than a good-sized man. In this part
of the country his load is oftenest in the shape of colossal sacks--one
on each side. He and his cargo take up as much room as a carriage.
Think of meeting this style of obstruction in a narrow trail. The camel
would not turn out for a king. He stalks serenely along, bringing his
cushioned stilts forward with the long, regular swing of a pendulum, and
whatever is in the way must get out of the way peaceably, or be wiped out
forcibly by the bulky sacks. It was a tiresome ride to us, and perfectly
exhausting to the horses. We were compelled to jump over upwards of
eighteen hundred donkeys, and only one person in the party was unseated
less than sixty times by the camels. This seems like a powerful
statement, but the poet has said, "Things are not what they seem." I can
not think of any thing, now, more certain to make one shudder, than to
have a soft-footed camel sneak up behind him and touch him on the ear
with its cold, flabby under-lip. A camel did this for one of the boys,
who was drooping over his saddle in a brown study. He glanced up and saw
the majestic apparition hovering above him, and made frantic efforts to
get out of the way, but the camel reached out and bit him on the shoulder
before he accomplished it. This was the only pleasant incident of the

At Nazareth we camped in an olive grove near the Virgin Mary's fountain,
and that wonderful Arab "guard" came to collect some bucksheesh for his
"services" in following us from Tiberias and warding off invisible
dangers with the terrors of his armament. The dragoman had paid his
master, but that counted as nothing--if you hire a man to sneeze for you,
here, and another man chooses to help him, you have got to pay both.
They do nothing whatever without pay. How it must have surprised these
people to hear the way of salvation offered to them "without money and
without price." If the manners, the people or the customs of this
country have changed since the Saviour's time, the figures and metaphors
of the Bible are not the evidences to prove it by.

We entered the great Latin Convent which is built over the traditional
dwelling-place of the Holy Family. We went down a flight of fifteen
steps below the ground level, and stood in a small chapel tricked out
with tapestry hangings, silver lamps, and oil paintings. A spot marked
by a cross, in the marble floor, under the altar, was exhibited as the
place made forever holy by the feet of the Virgin when she stood up to
receive the message of the angel. So simple, so unpretending a locality,
to be the scene of so mighty an event! The very scene of the
Annunciation--an event which has been commemorated by splendid shrines
and august temples all over the civilized world, and one which the
princes of art have made it their loftiest ambition to picture worthily
on their canvas; a spot whose history is familiar to the very children of
every house, and city, and obscure hamlet of the furthest lands of
Christendom; a spot which myriads of men would toil across the breadth of
a world to see, would consider it a priceless privilege to look upon.
It was easy to think these thoughts. But it was not easy to bring myself
up to the magnitude of the situation. I could sit off several thousand
miles and imagine the angel appearing, with shadowy wings and lustrous
countenance, and note the glory that streamed downward upon the Virgin's
head while the message from the Throne of God fell upon her ears--any one
can do that, beyond the ocean, but few can do it here. I saw the little
recess from which the angel stepped, but could not fill its void. The
angels that I know are creatures of unstable fancy--they will not fit in
niches of substantial stone. Imagination labors best in distant fields.
I doubt if any man can stand in the Grotto of the Annunciation and people
with the phantom images of his mind its too tangible walls of stone.

They showed us a broken granite pillar, depending from the roof, which
they said was hacked in two by the Moslem conquerors of Nazareth, in the
vain hope of pulling down the sanctuary. But the pillar remained
miraculously suspended in the air, and, unsupported itself, supported
then and still supports the roof. By dividing this statement up among
eight, it was found not difficult to believe it.

These gifted Latin monks never do any thing by halves. If they were to
show you the Brazen Serpent that was elevated in the wilderness, you
could depend upon it that they had on hand the pole it was elevated on
also, and even the hole it stood in. They have got the "Grotto" of the
Annunciation here; and just as convenient to it as one's throat is to his
mouth, they have also the Virgin's Kitchen, and even her sitting-room,
where she and Joseph watched the infant Saviour play with Hebrew toys
eighteen hundred years ago. All under one roof, and all clean, spacious,
comfortable "grottoes." It seems curious that personages intimately
connected with the Holy Family always lived in grottoes--in Nazareth, in
Bethlehem, in imperial Ephesus--and yet nobody else in their day and
generation thought of doing any thing of the kind. If they ever did,
their grottoes are all gone, and I suppose we ought to wonder at the
peculiar marvel of the preservation of these I speak of. When the Virgin
fled from Herod's wrath, she hid in a grotto in Bethlehem, and the same
is there to this day. The slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem was
done in a grotto; the Saviour was born in a grotto--both are shown to
pilgrims yet. It is exceedingly strange that these tremendous events all
happened in grottoes--and exceedingly fortunate, likewise, because the
strongest houses must crumble to ruin in time, but a grotto in the living
rock will last forever. It is an imposture--this grotto stuff--but it is
one that all men ought to thank the Catholics for. Wherever they ferret
out a lost locality made holy by some Scriptural event, they straightway
build a massive--almost imperishable--church there, and preserve the
memory of that locality for the gratification of future generations. If
it had been left to Protestants to do this most worthy work, we would not
even know where Jerusalem is to-day, and the man who could go and put his
finger on Nazareth would be too wise for this world. The world owes the
Catholics its good will even for the happy rascality of hewing out these
bogus grottoes in the rock; for it is infinitely more satisfactory to
look at a grotto, where people have faithfully believed for centuries
that the Virgin once lived, than to have to imagine a dwelling-place for
her somewhere, any where, nowhere, loose and at large all over this town
of Nazareth. There is too large a scope of country. The imagination can
not work. There is no one particular spot to chain your eye, rivet your
interest, and make you think. The memory of the Pilgrims can not perish
while Plymouth Rock remains to us. The old monks are wise. They know
how to drive a stake through a pleasant tradition that will hold it to
its place forever.

We visited the places where Jesus worked for fifteen years as a
carpenter, and where he attempted to teach in the synagogue and was
driven out by a mob. Catholic chapels stand upon these sites and protect
the little fragments of the ancient walls which remain. Our pilgrims
broke off specimens. We visited, also, a new chapel, in the midst of the
town, which is built around a boulder some twelve feet long by four feet
thick; the priests discovered, a few years ago, that the disciples had
sat upon this rock to rest, once, when they had walked up from Capernaum.
They hastened to preserve the relic. Relics are very good property.
Travelers are expected to pay for seeing them, and they do it cheerfully.
We like the idea. One's conscience can never be the worse for the
knowledge that he has paid his way like a man. Our pilgrims would have
liked very well to get out their lampblack and stencil-plates and paint
their names on that rock, together with the names of the villages they
hail from in America, but the priests permit nothing of that kind.
To speak the strict truth, however, our party seldom offend in that way,
though we have men in the ship who never lose an opportunity to do it.
Our pilgrims' chief sin is their lust for "specimens." I suppose that by
this time they know the dimensions of that rock to an inch, and its
weight to a ton; and I do not hesitate to charge that they will go back
there to-night and try to carry it off.

This "Fountain of the Virgin" is the one which tradition says Mary used
to get water from, twenty times a day, when she was a girl, and bear it
away in a jar upon her head. The water streams through faucets in the
face of a wall of ancient masonry which stands removed from the houses of
the village. The young girls of Nazareth still collect about it by the
dozen and keep up a riotous laughter and sky-larking. The Nazarene girls
are homely. Some of them have large, lustrous eyes, but none of them
have pretty faces. These girls wear a single garment, usually, and it is
loose, shapeless, of undecided color; it is generally out of repair, too.
They wear, from crown to jaw, curious strings of old coins, after the
manner of the belles of Tiberias, and brass jewelry upon their wrists and
in their ears. They wear no shoes and stockings. They are the most
human girls we have found in the country yet, and the best natured.
But there is no question that these picturesque maidens sadly lack

A pilgrim--the "Enthusiast"--said: "See that tall, graceful girl! look at
the Madonna-like beauty of her countenance!"

Another pilgrim came along presently and said: "Observe that tall,
graceful girl; what queenly Madonna-like gracefulness of beauty is in her

I said: "She is not tall, she is short; she is not beautiful, she is
homely; she is graceful enough, I grant, but she is rather boisterous."

The third and last pilgrim moved by, before long, and he said: "Ah, what
a tall, graceful girl! what Madonna-like gracefulness of queenly beauty!"

The verdicts were all in. It was time, now, to look up the authorities
for all these opinions. I found this paragraph, which follows. Written
by whom? Wm. C. Grimes:

"After we were in the saddle, we rode down to the spring to have a
last look at the women of Nazareth, who were, as a class, much the
prettiest that we had seen in the East. As we approached the crowd
a tall girl of nineteen advanced toward Miriam and offered her a cup
of water. Her movement was graceful and queenly. We exclaimed on
the spot at the Madonna-like beauty of her countenance. Whitely was
suddenly thirsty, and begged for water, and drank it slowly, with
his eyes over the top of the cup, fixed on her large black eyes,
which gazed on him quite as curiously as he on her. Then Moreright
wanted water. She gave it to him and he managed to spill it so as
to ask for another cup, and by the time she came to me she saw
through the operation; her eyes were full of fun as she looked at
me. I laughed outright, and she joined me in as gay a shout as ever
country maiden in old Orange county. I wished for a picture of her.
A Madonna, whose face was a portrait of that beautiful Nazareth
girl, would be a 'thing of beauty' and 'a joy forever.'"

That is the kind of gruel which has been served out from Palestine for
ages. Commend me to Fennimore Cooper to find beauty in the Indians, and
to Grimes to find it in the Arabs. Arab men are often fine looking, but
Arab women are not. We can all believe that the Virgin Mary was
beautiful; it is not natural to think otherwise; but does it follow that
it is our duty to find beauty in these present women of Nazareth?

I love to quote from Grimes, because he is so dramatic. And because he
is so romantic. And because he seems to care but little whether he tells
the truth or not, so he scares the reader or excites his envy or his

He went through this peaceful land with one hand forever on his revolver,
and the other on his pocket-handkerchief. Always, when he was not on the
point of crying over a holy place, he was on the point of killing an
Arab. More surprising things happened to him in Palestine than ever
happened to any traveler here or elsewhere since Munchausen died.

At Beit Jin, where nobody had interfered with him, he crept out of his
tent at dead of night and shot at what he took to be an Arab lying on a
rock, some distance away, planning evil. The ball killed a wolf. Just
before he fired, he makes a dramatic picture of himself--as usual, to
scare the reader:

"Was it imagination, or did I see a moving object on the surface of
the rock? If it were a man, why did he not now drop me? He had a
beautiful shot as I stood out in my black boornoose against the
white tent. I had the sensation of an entering bullet in my throat,
breast, brain."

Reckless creature!

Riding toward Genessaret, they saw two Bedouins, and "we looked to our
pistols and loosened them quietly in our shawls," etc. Always cool.

In Samaria, he charged up a hill, in the face of a volley of stones; he
fired into the crowd of men who threw them. He says:

"I never lost an opportunity of impressing the Arabs with the
perfection of American and English weapons, and the danger of
attacking any one of the armed Franks. I think the lesson of that
ball not lost."

At Beit Jin he gave his whole band of Arab muleteers a piece of his mind,
and then--

"I contented myself with a solemn assurance that if there occurred
another instance of disobedience to orders I would thrash the
responsible party as he never dreamed of being thrashed, and if I
could not find who was responsible, I would whip them all, from
first to last, whether there was a governor at hand to do it or I
had to do it myself"

Perfectly fearless, this man.

He rode down the perpendicular path in the rocks, from the Castle of
Banias to the oak grove, at a flying gallop, his horse striding "thirty
feet" at every bound. I stand prepared to bring thirty reliable
witnesses to prove that Putnam's famous feat at Horseneck was
insignificant compared to this.

Behold him--always theatrical--looking at Jerusalem--this time, by an
oversight, with his hand off his pistol for once.

"I stood in the road, my hand on my horse's neck, and with my dim
eyes sought to trace the outlines of the holy places which I had
long before fixed in my mind, but the fast-flowing tears forbade my
succeeding. There were our Mohammedan servants, a Latin monk, two
Armenians and a Jew in our cortege, and all alike gazed with
overflowing eyes."

If Latin monks and Arabs cried, I know to a moral certainty that the
horses cried also, and so the picture is complete.

But when necessity demanded, he could be firm as adamant. In the Lebanon
Valley an Arab youth--a Christian; he is particular to explain that
Mohammedans do not steal--robbed him of a paltry ten dollars' worth of
powder and shot. He convicted him before a sheik and looked on while he
was punished by the terrible bastinado. Hear him:

"He (Mousa) was on his back in a twinkling, howling, shouting,
screaming, but he was carried out to the piazza before the door,
where we could see the operation, and laid face down. One man sat
on his back and one on his legs, the latter holding up his feet,
while a third laid on the bare soles a rhinoceros-hide koorbash
--["A Koorbash is Arabic for cowhide, the cow being a rhinoceros.
It is the most cruel whip known to fame. Heavy as lead, and
flexible as India-rubber, usually about forty inches long and
tapering gradually from an inch in diameter to a point, it
administers a blow which leaves its mark for time."--Scow Life in
Egypt, by the same author.]--that whizzed through the air at every
stroke. Poor Moreright was in agony, and Nama and Nama the Second
(mother and sister of Mousa,) were on their faces begging and
wailing, now embracing my knees and now Whitely's, while the
brother, outside, made the air ring with cries louder than Mousa's.
Even Yusef came and asked me on his knees to relent, and last of
all, Betuni--the rascal had lost a feed-bag in their house and had
been loudest in his denunciations that morning--besought the Howajji
to have mercy on the fellow."

But not he! The punishment was "suspended," at the fifteenth blow to
hear the confession. Then Grimes and his party rode away, and left the
entire Christian family to be fined and as severely punished as the
Mohammedan sheik should deem proper.

"As I mounted, Yusef once more begged me to interfere and have mercy
on them, but I looked around at the dark faces of the crowd, and I
couldn't find one drop of pity in my heart for them."

He closes his picture with a rollicking burst of humor which contrasts
finely with the grief of the mother and her children.

One more paragraph:

"Then once more I bowed my head. It is no shame to have wept in
Palestine. I wept, when I saw Jerusalem, I wept when I lay in the
starlight at Bethlehem. I wept on the blessed shores of Galilee.
My hand was no less firm on the rein, my anger did not tremble on
the trigger of my pistol when I rode with it in my right hand along
the shore of the blue sea" (weeping.) "My eye was not dimmed by
those tears nor my heart in aught weakened. Let him who would sneer
at my emotion close this volume here, for he will find little to his
taste in my journeyings through Holy Land."

He never bored but he struck water.

I am aware that this is a pretty voluminous notice of Mr. Grimes' book.
However, it is proper and legitimate to speak of it, for "Nomadic Life in
Palestine" is a representative book--the representative of a class of
Palestine books--and a criticism upon it will serve for a criticism upon
them all. And since I am treating it in the comprehensive capacity of a
representative book, I have taken the liberty of giving to both book and
author fictitious names. Perhaps it is in better taste, any how, to do


Nazareth is wonderfully interesting because the town has an air about it
of being precisely as Jesus left it, and one finds himself saying, all
the time, "The boy Jesus has stood in this doorway--has played in that
street--has touched these stones with his hands--has rambled over these
chalky hills." Whoever shall write the boyhood of Jesus ingeniously will
make a book which will possess a vivid interest for young and old alike.
I judge so from the greater interest we found in Nazareth than any of our
speculations upon Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee gave rise to. It was
not possible, standing by the Sea of Galilee, to frame more than a vague,
far-away idea of the majestic Personage who walked upon the crested waves
as if they had been solid earth, and who touched the dead and they rose
up and spoke. I read among my notes, now, with a new interest, some
sentences from an edition of 1621 of the Apocryphal New Testament.

"Christ, kissed by a bride made dumb by sorcerers, cures her. A
leprous girl cured by the water in which the infant Christ was
washed, and becomes the servant of Joseph and Mary. The leprous son
of a Prince cured in like manner.

"A young man who had been bewitched and turned into a mule,
miraculously cured by the infant Savior being put on his back, and
is married to the girl who had been cured of leprosy. Whereupon the
bystanders praise God.

"Chapter 16. Christ miraculously widens or contracts gates,
milk-pails, sieves or boxes, not properly made by Joseph, he not
being skillful at his carpenter's trade. The King of Jerusalem
gives Joseph an order for a throne. Joseph works on it for two
years and makes it two spans too short. The King being angry with
him, Jesus comforts him--commands him to pull one side of the
throne while he pulls the other, and brings it to its proper

"Chapter 19. Jesus, charged with throwing a boy from the roof of a
house, miraculously causes the dead boy to speak and acquit him;
fetches water for his mother, breaks the pitcher and miraculously
gathers the water in his mantle and brings it home.

"Sent to a schoolmaster, refuses to tell his letters, and the
schoolmaster going to whip him, his hand withers."

Further on in this quaint volume of rejected gospels is an epistle of St.
Clement to the Corinthians, which was used in the churches and considered
genuine fourteen or fifteen hundred years ago. In it this account of the
fabled phoenix occurs:

"1. Let us consider that wonderful type of the resurrection, which
is seen in the Eastern countries, that is to say, in Arabia.

"2. There is a certain bird called a phoenix. Of this there is
never but one at a time, and that lives five hundred years. And
when the time of its dissolution draws near, that it must die, it
makes itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices,
into which, when its time is fulfilled, it enters and dies.

"3. But its flesh, putrefying, breeds a certain worm, which, being
nourished by the juice of the dead bird, brings forth feathers; and
when it is grown to a perfect state, it takes up the nest in which
the bones of its parent lie, and carries it from Arabia into Egypt,
to a city called Heliopolis:

"4. And flying in open day in the sight of all men, lays it upon
the altar of the sun, and so returns from whence it came.

"5. The priests then search into the records of the time, and find
that it returned precisely at the end of five hundred years."

Business is business, and there is nothing like punctuality, especially
in a phoenix.

The few chapters relating to the infancy of the Saviour contain many
things which seem frivolous and not worth preserving. A large part of
the remaining portions of the book read like good Scripture, however.
There is one verse that ought not to have been rejected, because it so
evidently prophetically refers to the general run of Congresses of the
United States:

"199. They carry themselves high, and as prudent men; and though
they are fools, yet would seem to be teachers."

I have set these extracts down, as I found them. Everywhere among the
cathedrals of France and Italy, one finds traditions of personages that
do not figure in the Bible, and of miracles that are not mentioned in its
pages. But they are all in this Apocryphal New Testament, and though
they have been ruled out of our modern Bible, it is claimed that they
were accepted gospel twelve or fifteen centuries ago, and ranked as high
in credit as any. One needs to read this book before he visits those
venerable cathedrals, with their treasures of tabooed and forgotten

They imposed another pirate upon us at Nazareth--another invincible Arab
guard. We took our last look at the city, clinging like a whitewashed
wasp's nest to the hill-side, and at eight o'clock in the morning
departed. We dismounted and drove the horses down a bridle-path which I
think was fully as crooked as a corkscrew, which I know to be as steep as
the downward sweep of a rainbow, and which I believe to be the worst
piece of road in the geography, except one in the Sandwich Islands, which
I remember painfully, and possibly one or two mountain trails in the
Sierra Nevadas. Often, in this narrow path the horse had to poise
himself nicely on a rude stone step and then drop his fore-feet over the
edge and down something more than half his own height. This brought his
nose near the ground, while his tail pointed up toward the sky somewhere,
and gave him the appearance of preparing to stand on his head. A horse
cannot look dignified in this position. We accomplished the long descent
at last, and trotted across the great Plain of Esdraelon.

Some of us will be shot before we finish this pilgrimage. The pilgrims
read "Nomadic Life" and keep themselves in a constant state of Quixotic
heroism. They have their hands on their pistols all the time, and every
now and then, when you least expect it, they snatch them out and take aim
at Bedouins who are not visible, and draw their knives and make savage
passes at other Bedouins who do not exist. I am in deadly peril always,
for these spasms are sudden and irregular, and of course I cannot tell
when to be getting out of the way. If I am accidentally murdered, some
time, during one of these romantic frenzies of the pilgrims, Mr. Grimes
must be rigidly held to answer as an accessory before the fact. If the
pilgrims would take deliberate aim and shoot at a man, it would be all
right and proper--because that man would not be in any danger; but these
random assaults are what I object to. I do not wish to see any more
places like Esdraelon, where the ground is level and people can gallop.
It puts melodramatic nonsense into the pilgrims' heads. All at once,
when one is jogging along stupidly in the sun, and thinking about
something ever so far away, here they come, at a stormy gallop, spurring
and whooping at those ridgy old sore-backed plugs till their heels fly
higher than their heads, and as they whiz by, out comes a little
potato-gun of a revolver, there is a startling little pop, and a small pellet
goes singing through the air. Now that I have begun this pilgrimage, I
intend to go through with it, though sooth to say, nothing but the most
desperate valor has kept me to my purpose up to the present time. I do
not mind Bedouins,--I am not afraid of them; because neither Bedouins nor
ordinary Arabs have shown any disposition to harm us, but I do feel
afraid of my own comrades.

Arriving at the furthest verge of the Plain, we rode a little way up a
hill and found ourselves at Endor, famous for its witch. Her descendants
are there yet. They were the wildest horde of half-naked savages we have
found thus far. They swarmed out of mud bee-hives; out of hovels of the
dry-goods box pattern; out of gaping caves under shelving rocks; out of
crevices in the earth. In five minutes the dead solitude and silence of
the place were no more, and a begging, screeching, shouting mob were
struggling about the horses' feet and blocking the way. "Bucksheesh!
bucksheesh! bucksheesh! howajji, bucksheesh!" It was Magdala over
again, only here the glare from the infidel eyes was fierce and full of
hate. The population numbers two hundred and fifty, and more than half
the citizens live in caves in the rock. Dirt, degradation and savagery
are Endor's specialty. We say no more about Magdala and Deburieh now.
Endor heads the list. It is worse than any Indian 'campoodie'. The hill
is barren, rocky, and forbidding. No sprig of grass is visible, and only
one tree. This is a fig-tree, which maintains a precarious footing among
the rocks at the mouth of the dismal cavern once occupied by the
veritable Witch of Endor. In this cavern, tradition says, Saul, the
king, sat at midnight, and stared and trembled, while the earth shook,
the thunders crashed among the hills, and out of the midst of fire and
smoke the spirit of the dead prophet rose up and confronted him. Saul
had crept to this place in the darkness, while his army slept, to learn
what fate awaited him in the morrow's battle. He went away a sad man, to
meet disgrace and death.

A spring trickles out of the rock in the gloomy recesses of the cavern,
and we were thirsty. The citizens of Endor objected to our going in
there. They do not mind dirt; they do not mind rags; they do not mind
vermin; they do not mind barbarous ignorance and savagery; they do not
mind a reasonable degree of starvation, but they do like to be pure and
holy before their god, whoever he may be, and therefore they shudder and
grow almost pale at the idea of Christian lips polluting a spring whose
waters must descend into their sanctified gullets. We had no wanton
desire to wound even their feelings or trample upon their prejudices, but
we were out of water, thus early in the day, and were burning up with
thirst. It was at this time, and under these circumstances, that I
framed an aphorism which has already become celebrated. I said:
"Necessity knows no law." We went in and drank.

We got away from the noisy wretches, finally, dropping them in squads and
couples as we filed over the hills--the aged first, the infants next, the
young girls further on; the strong men ran beside us a mile, and only
left when they had secured the last possible piastre in the way of

In an hour, we reached Nain, where Christ raised the widow's son to life.
Nain is Magdala on a small scale. It has no population of any
consequence. Within a hundred yards of it is the original graveyard, for
aught I know; the tombstones lie flat on the ground, which is Jewish
fashion in Syria. I believe the Moslems do not allow them to have
upright tombstones. A Moslem grave is usually roughly plastered over and
whitewashed, and has at one end an upright projection which is shaped
into exceedingly rude attempts at ornamentation. In the cities, there is
often no appearance of a grave at all; a tall, slender marble tombstone,
elaborately lettred, gilded and painted, marks the burial place, and this
is surmounted by a turban, so carved and shaped as to signify the dead
man's rank in life.

They showed a fragment of ancient wall which they said was one side of
the gate out of which the widow's dead son was being brought so many
centuries ago when Jesus met the procession:

"Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a
dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a
widow: and much people of the city was with her.

"And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said, Weep

"And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood
still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, arise.

"And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered
him to his mother.

"And there came a fear on all. And they glorified God, saying, That
a great prophet is risen up among us; and That God hath visited his

A little mosque stands upon the spot which tradition says was occupied by
the widow's dwelling. Two or three aged Arabs sat about its door. We
entered, and the pilgrims broke specimens from the foundation walls,
though they had to touch, and even step, upon the "praying carpets" to do
it. It was almost the same as breaking pieces from the hearts of those
old Arabs. To step rudely upon the sacred praying mats, with booted
feet--a thing not done by any Arab--was to inflict pain upon men who had
not offended us in any way. Suppose a party of armed foreigners were to
enter a village church in America and break ornaments from the altar
railings for curiosities, and climb up and walk upon the Bible and the
pulpit cushions? However, the cases are different. One is the
profanation of a temple of our faith--the other only the profanation of a
pagan one.

We descended to the Plain again, and halted a moment at a well--of
Abraham's time, no doubt. It was in a desert place. It was walled three
feet above ground with squared and heavy blocks of stone, after the
manner of Bible pictures. Around it some camels stood, and others knelt.
There was a group of sober little donkeys with naked, dusky children
clambering about them, or sitting astride their rumps, or pulling their
tails. Tawny, black-eyed, barefooted maids, arrayed in rags and adorned
with brazen armlets and pinchbeck ear-rings, were poising water-jars upon
their heads, or drawing water from the well. A flock of sheep stood by,
waiting for the shepherds to fill the hollowed stones with water, so that
they might drink--stones which, like those that walled the well, were
worn smooth and deeply creased by the chafing chins of a hundred
generations of thirsty animals. Picturesque Arabs sat upon the ground,
in groups, and solemnly smoked their long-stemmed chibouks. Other Arabs
were filling black hog-skins with water--skins which, well filled, and
distended with water till the short legs projected painfully out of the
proper line, looked like the corpses of hogs bloated by drowning. Here
was a grand Oriental picture which I had worshiped a thousand times in
soft, rich steel engravings! But in the engraving there was no
desolation; no dirt; no rags; no fleas; no ugly features; no sore eyes;
no feasting flies; no besotted ignorance in the countenances; no raw
places on the donkeys' backs; no disagreeable jabbering in unknown
tongues; no stench of camels; no suggestion that a couple of tons of
powder placed under the party and touched off would heighten the effect
and give to the scene a genuine interest and a charm which it would
always be pleasant to recall, even though a man lived a thousand years.
Oriental scenes look best in steel engravings. I cannot be imposed upon
any more by that picture of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. I shall
say to myself, You look fine, Madam but your feet are not clean and you
smell like a camel.

Presently a wild Arab in charge of a camel train recognized an old friend
in Ferguson, and they ran and fell upon each other's necks and kissed
each other's grimy, bearded faces upon both cheeks. It explained
instantly a something which had always seemed to me only a farfetched
Oriental figure of speech. I refer to the circumstance of Christ's
rebuking a Pharisee, or some such character, and reminding him that from
him he had received no "kiss of welcome." It did not seem reasonable to
me that men should kiss each other, but I am aware, now, that they did.
There was reason in it, too. The custom was natural and proper; because
people must kiss, and a man would not be likely to kiss one of the women
of this country of his own free will and accord. One must travel, to
learn. Every day, now, old Scriptural phrases that never possessed any
significance for me before, take to themselves a meaning.

We journeyed around the base of the mountain--"Little Hermon,"--past the
old Crusaders' castle of El Fuleh, and arrived at Shunem. This was
another Magdala, to a fraction, frescoes and all. Here, tradition says,
the prophet Samuel was born, and here the Shunamite woman built a little
house upon the city wall for the accommodation of the prophet Elisha.
Elisha asked her what she expected in return. It was a perfectly natural
question, for these people are and were in the habit of proffering favors
and services and then expecting and begging for pay. Elisha knew them
well. He could not comprehend that any body should build for him that
humble little chamber for the mere sake of old friendship, and with no
selfish motive whatever. It used to seem a very impolite, not to say a
rude, question, for Elisha to ask the woman, but it does not seem so to
me now. The woman said she expected nothing. Then for her goodness and
her unselfishness, he rejoiced her heart with the news that she should
bear a son. It was a high reward--but she would not have thanked him for
a daughter--daughters have always been unpopular here. The son was born,
grew, waxed strong, died. Elisha restored him to life in Shunem.

We found here a grove of lemon trees--cool, shady, hung with fruit. One
is apt to overestimate beauty when it is rare, but to me this grove
seemed very beautiful. It was beautiful. I do not overestimate it. I
must always remember Shunem gratefully, as a place which gave to us this
leafy shelter after our long, hot ride. We lunched, rested, chatted,
smoked our pipes an hour, and then mounted and moved on.

As we trotted across the Plain of Jezreel, we met half a dozen Digger
Indians (Bedouins) with very long spears in their hands, cavorting around
on old crowbait horses, and spearing imaginary enemies; whooping, and
fluttering their rags in the wind, and carrying on in every respect like
a pack of hopeless lunatics. At last, here were the "wild, free sons of
the desert, speeding over the plain like the wind, on their beautiful
Arabian mares" we had read so much about and longed so much to see! Here
were the "picturesque costumes!" This was the "gallant spectacle!"
Tatterdemalion vagrants--cheap braggadocio--"Arabian mares" spined and
necked like the ichthyosaurus in the museum, and humped and cornered like
a dromedary! To glance at the genuine son of the desert is to take the
romance out of him forever--to behold his steed is to long in charity to
strip his harness off and let him fall to pieces.

Presently we came to a ruinous old town on a hill, the same being the
ancient Jezreel.

Ahab, King of Samaria, (this was a very vast kingdom, for those days, and
was very nearly half as large as Rhode Island) dwelt in the city of
Jezreel, which was his capital. Near him lived a man by the name of
Naboth, who had a vineyard. The King asked him for it, and when he would
not give it, offered to buy it. But Naboth refused to sell it. In those
days it was considered a sort of crime to part with one's inheritance at
any price--and even if a man did part with it, it reverted to himself or
his heirs again at the next jubilee year. So this spoiled child of a
King went and lay down on the bed with his face to the wall, and grieved
sorely. The Queen, a notorious character in those days, and whose name
is a by-word and a reproach even in these, came in and asked him
wherefore he sorrowed, and he told her. Jezebel said she could secure
the vineyard; and she went forth and forged letters to the nobles and
wise men, in the King's name, and ordered them to proclaim a fast and set
Naboth on high before the people, and suborn two witnesses to swear that
he had blasphemed. They did it, and the people stoned the accused by the
city wall, and he died. Then Jezebel came and told the King, and said,
Behold, Naboth is no more--rise up and seize the vineyard. So Ahab
seized the vineyard, and went into it to possess it. But the Prophet
Elijah came to him there and read his fate to him, and the fate of
Jezebel; and said that in the place where dogs licked the blood of
Naboth, dogs should also lick his blood--and he said, likewise, the dogs
should eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. In the course of time, the
King was killed in battle, and when his chariot wheels were washed in the
pool of Samaria, the dogs licked the blood. In after years, Jehu, who
was King of Israel, marched down against Jezreel, by order of one of the
Prophets, and administered one of those convincing rebukes so common
among the people of those days: he killed many kings and their subjects,
and as he came along he saw Jezebel, painted and finely dressed, looking
out of a window, and ordered that she be thrown down to him. A servant
did it, and Jehu's horse trampled her under foot. Then Jehu went in and
sat down to dinner; and presently he said, Go and bury this cursed woman,
for she is a King's daughter. The spirit of charity came upon him too
late, however, for the prophecy had already been fulfilled--the dogs had
eaten her, and they "found no more of her than the skull, and the feet,
and the palms of her hands."

Ahab, the late King, had left a helpless family behind him, and Jehu
killed seventy of the orphan sons. Then he killed all the relatives, and
teachers, and servants and friends of the family, and rested from his
labors, until he was come near to Samaria, where he met forty-two persons
and asked them who they were; they said they were brothers of the King of
Judah. He killed them. When he got to Samaria, he said he would show
his zeal for the Lord; so he gathered all the priests and people together
that worshiped Baal, pretending that he was going to adopt that worship
and offer up a great sacrifice; and when they were all shut up where they
could not defend themselves, he caused every person of them to be killed.
Then Jehu, the good missionary, rested from his labors once more.

We went back to the valley, and rode to the Fountain of Ain Jelud. They
call it the Fountain of Jezreel, usually. It is a pond about one hundred
feet square and four feet deep, with a stream of water trickling into it
from under an overhanging ledge of rocks. It is in the midst of a great
solitude. Here Gideon pitched his camp in the old times; behind Shunem
lay the "Midianites, the Amalekites, and the Children of the East," who
were "as grasshoppers for multitude; both they and their camels were
without number, as the sand by the sea-side for multitude." Which means
that there were one hundred and thirty-five thousand men, and that they
had transportation service accordingly.

Gideon, with only three hundred men, surprised them in the night, and
stood by and looked on while they butchered each other until a hundred
and twenty thousand lay dead on the field.

We camped at Jenin before night, and got up and started again at one
o'clock in the morning. Somewhere towards daylight we passed the
locality where the best authenticated tradition locates the pit into
which Joseph's brethren threw him, and about noon, after passing over a
succession of mountain tops, clad with groves of fig and olive trees,
with the Mediterranean in sight some forty miles away, and going by many
ancient Biblical cities whose inhabitants glowered savagely upon our
Christian procession, and were seemingly inclined to practice on it with
stones, we came to the singularly terraced and unlovely hills that
betrayed that we were out of Galilee and into Samaria at last.

We climbed a high hill to visit the city of Samaria, where the woman may
have hailed from who conversed with Christ at Jacob's Well, and from
whence, no doubt, came also the celebrated Good Samaritan. Herod the
Great is said to have made a magnificent city of this place, and a great
number of coarse limestone columns, twenty feet high and two feet
through, that are almost guiltless of architectural grace of shape and
ornament, are pointed out by many authors as evidence of the fact. They
would not have been considered handsome in ancient Greece, however.

The inhabitants of this camp are particularly vicious, and stoned two
parties of our pilgrims a day or two ago who brought about the difficulty
by showing their revolvers when they did not intend to use them--a thing
which is deemed bad judgment in the Far West, and ought certainly to be
so considered any where. In the new Territories, when a man puts his
hand on a weapon, he knows that he must use it; he must use it instantly
or expect to be shot down where he stands. Those pilgrims had been
reading Grimes.

There was nothing for us to do in Samaria but buy handfuls of old Roman
coins at a franc a dozen, and look at a dilapidated church of the
Crusaders and a vault in it which once contained the body of John the
Baptist. This relic was long ago carried away to Genoa.

Samaria stood a disastrous siege, once, in the days of Elisha, at the
hands of the King of Syria. Provisions reached such a figure that "an
ass' head was sold for eighty pieces of silver and the fourth part of a
cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver."

An incident recorded of that heavy time will give one a very good idea of
the distress that prevailed within these crumbling walls. As the King
was walking upon the battlements one day, "a woman cried out, saying,
Help, my lord, O King! And the King said, What aileth thee? and she
answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him
to-day, and we will eat my son to-morrow. So we boiled my son, and did
eat him; and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son that we may
eat him; and she hath hid her son."

The prophet Elisha declared that within four and twenty hours the prices
of food should go down to nothing, almost, and it was so. The Syrian
army broke camp and fled, for some cause or other, the famine was
relieved from without, and many a shoddy speculator in dove's dung and
ass's meat was ruined.

We were glad to leave this hot and dusty old village and hurry on. At
two o'clock we stopped to lunch and rest at ancient Shechem, between the
historic Mounts of Gerizim and Ebal, where in the old times the books of
the law, the curses and the blessings, were read from the heights to the
Jewish multitudes below.


The narrow canon in which Nablous, or Shechem, is situated, is under high
cultivation, and the soil is exceedingly black and fertile. It is well
watered, and its affluent vegetation gains effect by contrast with the
barren hills that tower on either side. One of these hills is the
ancient Mount of Blessings and the other the Mount of Curses and wise men
who seek for fulfillments of prophecy think they find here a wonder of
this kind--to wit, that the Mount of Blessings is strangely fertile and
its mate as strangely unproductive. We could not see that there was
really much difference between them in this respect, however.

Shechem is distinguished as one of the residences of the patriarch Jacob,
and as the seat of those tribes that cut themselves loose from their
brethren of Israel and propagated doctrines not in conformity with those
of the original Jewish creed. For thousands of years this clan have
dwelt in Shechem under strict tabu, and having little commerce or
fellowship with their fellow men of any religion or nationality. For
generations they have not numbered more than one or two hundred, but they
still adhere to their ancient faith and maintain their ancient rites and
ceremonies. Talk of family and old descent! Princes and nobles pride
themselves upon lineages they can trace back some hundreds of years.
What is this trifle to this handful of old first families of Shechem who
can name their fathers straight back without a flaw for thousands
--straight back to a period so remote that men reared in a country where
the days of two hundred years ago are called "ancient" times grow dazed
and bewildered when they try to comprehend it! Here is respectability
for you--here is "family"--here is high descent worth talking about.
This sad, proud remnant of a once mighty community still hold themselves
aloof from all the world; they still live as their fathers lived, labor
as their fathers labored, think as they did, feel as they did, worship in
the same place, in sight of the same landmarks, and in the same quaint,
patriarchal way their ancestors did more than thirty centuries ago. I
found myself gazing at any straggling scion of this strange race with a
riveted fascination, just as one would stare at a living mastodon, or a
megatherium that had moved in the grey dawn of creation and seen the
wonders of that mysterious world that was before the flood.

Carefully preserved among the sacred archives of this curious community
is a MSS. copy of the ancient Jewish law, which is said to be the oldest
document on earth. It is written on vellum, and is some four or five
thousand years old. Nothing but bucksheesh can purchase a sight. Its
fame is somewhat dimmed in these latter days, because of the doubts so
many authors of Palestine travels have felt themselves privileged to cast
upon it. Speaking of this MSS. reminds me that I procured from the
high-priest of this ancient Samaritan community, at great expense, a
secret document of still higher antiquity and far more extraordinary
interest, which I propose to publish as soon as I have finished
translating it.

Joshua gave his dying injunction to the children of Israel at Shechem,
and buried a valuable treasure secretly under an oak tree there about the
same time. The superstitious Samaritans have always been afraid to hunt
for it. They believe it is guarded by fierce spirits invisible to men.

About a mile and a half from Shechem we halted at the base of Mount Ebal
before a little square area, inclosed by a high stone wall, neatly
whitewashed. Across one end of this inclosure is a tomb built after the
manner of the Moslems. It is the tomb of Joseph. No truth is better
authenticated than this.

When Joseph was dying he prophesied that exodus of the Israelites from
Egypt which occurred four hundred years afterwards. At the same time he
exacted of his people an oath that when they journeyed to the land of
Canaan they would bear his bones with them and bury them in the ancient
inheritance of his fathers. The oath was kept. "And the bones of Joseph,
which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in
Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor
the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver."

Few tombs on earth command the veneration of so many races and men of
divers creeds as this of Joseph. "Samaritan and Jew, Moslem and
Christian alike, revere it, and honor it with their visits. The tomb of
Joseph, the dutiful son, the affectionate, forgiving brother, the
virtuous man, the wise Prince and ruler. Egypt felt his influence--the
world knows his history."

In this same "parcel of ground" which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor
for a hundred pieces of silver, is Jacob's celebrated well. It is cut in
the solid rock, and is nine feet square and ninety feet deep. The name
of this unpretending hole in the ground, which one might pass by and take
no notice of, is as familiar as household words to even the children and
the peasants of many a far-off country. It is more famous than the
Parthenon; it is older than the Pyramids.

It was by this well that Jesus sat and talked with a woman of that
strange, antiquated Samaritan community I have been speaking of, and told
her of the mysterious water of life. As descendants of old English
nobles still cherish in the traditions of their houses how that this king
or that king tarried a day with some favored ancestor three hundred years
ago, no doubt the descendants of the woman of Samaria, living there in
Shechem, still refer with pardonable vanity to this conversation of their
ancestor, held some little time gone by, with the Messiah of the
Christians. It is not likely that they undervalue a distinction such as
this. Samaritan nature is human nature, and human nature remembers
contact with the illustrious, always.

For an offense done to the family honor, the sons of Jacob exterminated
all Shechem once.

We left Jacob's Well and traveled till eight in the evening, but rather
slowly, for we had been in the saddle nineteen hours, and the horses were
cruelly tired. We got so far ahead of the tents that we had to camp in
an Arab village, and sleep on the ground. We could have slept in the
largest of the houses; but there were some little drawbacks: it was
populous with vermin, it had a dirt floor, it was in no respect cleanly,
and there was a family of goats in the only bedroom, and two donkeys in
the parlor. Outside there were no inconveniences, except that the dusky,
ragged, earnest-eyed villagers of both sexes and all ages grouped
themselves on their haunches all around us, and discussed us and
criticised us with noisy tongues till midnight. We did not mind the
noise, being tired, but, doubtless, the reader is aware that it is almost
an impossible thing to go to sleep when you know that people are looking
at you. We went to bed at ten, and got up again at two and started once
more. Thus are people persecuted by dragomen, whose sole ambition in
life is to get ahead of each other.

About daylight we passed Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant rested
three hundred years, and at whose gates good old Eli fell down and "brake
his neck" when the messenger, riding hard from the battle, told him of
the defeat of his people, the death of his sons, and, more than all, the
capture of Israel's pride, her hope, her refuge, the ancient Ark her
forefathers brought with them out of Egypt. It is little wonder that
under circumstances like these he fell down and brake his neck. But
Shiloh had no charms for us. We were so cold that there was no comfort
but in motion, and so drowsy we could hardly sit upon the horses.

After a while we came to a shapeless mass of ruins, which still bears the
name of Bethel. It was here that Jacob lay down and had that superb
vision of angels flitting up and down a ladder that reached from the
clouds to earth, and caught glimpses of their blessed home through the
open gates of Heaven.

The pilgrims took what was left of the hallowed ruin, and we pressed on
toward the goal of our crusade, renowned Jerusalem.

The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare,
repulsive and dreary the landscape became. There could not have been
more fragments of stone strewn broadcast over this part of the world, if
every ten square feet of the land had been occupied by a separate and
distinct stonecutter's establishment for an age. There was hardly a tree
or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends
of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. No landscape
exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bounds the
approaches to Jerusalem. The only difference between the roads and the
surrounding country, perhaps, is that there are rather more rocks in the
roads than in the surrounding country.

We passed Ramah, and Beroth, and on the right saw the tomb of the prophet
Samuel, perched high upon a commanding eminence. Still no Jerusalem came
in sight. We hurried on impatiently. We halted a moment at the ancient
Fountain of Beira, but its stones, worn deeply by the chins of thirsty
animals that are dead and gone centuries ago, had no interest for us--we
longed to see Jerusalem. We spurred up hill after hill, and usually
began to stretch our necks minutes before we got to the top--but
disappointment always followed:--more stupid hills beyond--more unsightly
landscape--no Holy City.

At last, away in the middle of the day, ancient bite of wall and
crumbling arches began to line the way--we toiled up one more hill, and
every pilgrim and every sinner swung his hat on high! Jerusalem!

Perched on its eternal hills, white and domed and solid, massed together
and hooped with high gray walls, the venerable city gleamed in the sun.
So small! Why, it was no larger than an American village of four
thousand inhabitants, and no larger than an ordinary Syrian city of
thirty thousand. Jerusalem numbers only fourteen thousand people.

We dismounted and looked, without speaking a dozen sentences, across the
wide intervening valley for an hour or more; and noted those prominent
features of the city that pictures make familiar to all men from their
school days till their death. We could recognize the Tower of Hippicus,
the Mosque of Omar, the Damascus Gate, the Mount of Olives, the Valley of
Jehoshaphat, the Tower of David, and the Garden of Gethsemane--and dating
from these landmarks could tell very nearly the localities of many others
we were not able to distinguish.

I record it here as a notable but not discreditable fact that not even
our pilgrims wept. I think there was no individual in the party whose
brain was not teeming with thoughts and images and memories invoked by
the grand history of the venerable city that lay before us, but still
among them all was no "voice of them that wept."

There was no call for tears. Tears would have been out of place. The
thoughts Jerusalem suggests are full of poetry, sublimity, and more than
all, dignity. Such thoughts do not find their appropriate expression in
the emotions of the nursery.

Just after noon we entered these narrow, crooked streets, by the ancient
and the famed Damascus Gate, and now for several hours I have been trying
to comprehend that I am actually in the illustrious old city where
Solomon dwelt, where Abraham held converse with the Deity, and where
walls still stand that witnessed the spectacle of the Crucifixion.


A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely
around the city in an hour. I do not know how else to make one
understand how small it is. The appearance of the city is peculiar. It
is as knobby with countless little domes as a prison door is with
bolt-heads. Every house has from one to half a dozen of these white
plastered domes of stone, broad and low, sitting in the centre of, or in
a cluster upon, the flat roof. Wherefore, when one looks down from an
eminence, upon the compact mass of houses (so closely crowded together,
in fact, that there is no appearance of streets at all, and so the city
looks solid,) he sees the knobbiest town in the world, except
Constantinople. It looks as if it might be roofed, from centre to
circumference, with inverted saucers. The monotony of the view is
interrupted only by the great Mosque of Omar, the Tower of Hippicus, and
one or two other buildings that rise into commanding prominence.

The houses are generally two stories high, built strongly of masonry,
whitewashed or plastered outside, and have a cage of wooden lattice-work
projecting in front of every window. To reproduce a Jerusalem street, it
would only be necessary to up-end a chicken-coop and hang it before each
window in an alley of American houses.

The streets are roughly and badly paved with stone, and are tolerably
crooked--enough so to make each street appear to close together
constantly and come to an end about a hundred yards ahead of a pilgrim as
long as he chooses to walk in it. Projecting from the top of the lower
story of many of the houses is a very narrow porch-roof or shed, without
supports from below; and I have several times seen cats jump across the
street from one shed to the other when they were out calling. The cats
could have jumped double the distance without extraordinary exertion. I
mention these things to give an idea of how narrow the streets are.
Since a cat can jump across them without the least inconvenience, it is
hardly necessary to state that such streets are too narrow for carriages.
These vehicles cannot navigate the Holy City.

The population of Jerusalem is composed of Moslems, Jews, Greeks, Latins,
Armenians, Syrians, Copts, Abyssinians, Greek Catholics, and a handful of
Protestants. One hundred of the latter sect are all that dwell now in
this birthplace of Christianity. The nice shades of nationality
comprised in the above list, and the languages spoken by them, are
altogether too numerous to mention. It seems to me that all the races
and colors and tongues of the earth must be represented among the
fourteen thousand souls that dwell in Jerusalem. Rags, wretchedness,
poverty and dirt, those signs and symbols that indicate the presence of
Moslem rule more surely than the crescent-flag itself, abound. Lepers,
cripples, the blind, and the idiotic, assail you on every hand, and they
know but one word of but one language apparently--the eternal
"bucksheesh." To see the numbers of maimed, malformed and diseased
humanity that throng the holy places and obstruct the gates, one might
suppose that the ancient days had come again, and that the angel of the
Lord was expected to descend at any moment to stir the waters of
Bethesda. Jerusalem is mournful, and dreary, and lifeless. I would not
desire to live here.

One naturally goes first to the Holy Sepulchre. It is right in the city,
near the western gate; it and the place of the Crucifixion, and, in fact,
every other place intimately connected with that tremendous event, are
ingeniously massed together and covered by one roof--the dome of the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Entering the building, through the midst of the usual assemblage of
beggars, one sees on his left a few Turkish guards--for Christians of
different sects will not only quarrel, but fight, also, in this sacred
place, if allowed to do it. Before you is a marble slab, which covers
the Stone of Unction, whereon the Saviour's body was laid to prepare it
for burial. It was found necessary to conceal the real stone in this way
in order to save it from destruction. Pilgrims were too much given to
chipping off pieces of it to carry home. Near by is a circular railing
which marks the spot where the Virgin stood when the Lord's body was

Entering the great Rotunda, we stand before the most sacred locality in
Christendom--the grave of Jesus. It is in the centre of the church, and
immediately under the great dome. It is inclosed in a sort of little
temple of yellow and white stone, of fanciful design. Within the little
temple is a portion of the very stone which was rolled away from the door
of the Sepulchre, and on which the angel was sitting when Mary came
thither "at early dawn." Stooping low, we enter the vault--the Sepulchre
itself. It is only about six feet by seven, and the stone couch on which
the dead Saviour lay extends from end to end of the apartment and
occupies half its width. It is covered with a marble slab which has been
much worn by the lips of pilgrims. This slab serves as an altar, now.
Over it hang some fifty gold and silver lamps, which are kept always
burning, and the place is otherwise scandalized by trumpery, gewgaws, and
tawdry ornamentation.

All sects of Christians (except Protestants,) have chapels under the roof
of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and each must keep to itself and not
venture upon another's ground. It has been proven conclusively that they
can not worship together around the grave of the Saviour of the World in
peace. The chapel of the Syrians is not handsome; that of the Copts is
the humblest of them all. It is nothing but a dismal cavern, roughly
hewn in the living rock of the Hill of Calvary. In one side of it two
ancient tombs are hewn, which are claimed to be those in which Nicodemus
and Joseph of Aramathea were buried.

As we moved among the great piers and pillars of another part of the
church, we came upon a party of black-robed, animal-looking Italian
monks, with candles in their hands, who were chanting something in Latin,
and going through some kind of religious performance around a disk of
white marble let into the floor. It was there that the risen Saviour
appeared to Mary Magdalen in the likeness of a gardener. Near by was a
similar stone, shaped like a star--here the Magdalen herself stood, at
the same time. Monks were performing in this place also. They perform
everywhere--all over the vast building, and at all hours. Their candles
are always flitting about in the gloom, and making the dim old church
more dismal than there is any necessity that it should be, even though it
is a tomb.

We were shown the place where our Lord appeared to His mother after the
Resurrection. Here, also, a marble slab marks the place where St.
Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, found the crosses about
three hundred years after the Crucifixion. According to the legend, this
great discovery elicited extravagant demonstrations of joy. But they
were of short duration. The question intruded itself: "Which bore the
blessed Saviour, and which the thieves?" To be in doubt, in so mighty a
matter as this--to be uncertain which one to adore--was a grievous
misfortune. It turned the public joy to sorrow. But when lived there a
holy priest who could not set so simple a trouble as this at rest? One
of these soon hit upon a plan that would be a certain test. A noble lady
lay very ill in Jerusalem. The wise priests ordered that the three
crosses be taken to her bedside one at a time. It was done. When her
eyes fell upon the first one, she uttered a scream that was heard beyond
the Damascus Gate, and even upon the Mount of Olives, it was said, and
then fell back in a deadly swoon. They recovered her and brought the
second cross. Instantly she went into fearful convulsions, and it was
with the greatest difficulty that six strong men could hold her. They
were afraid, now, to bring in the third cross. They began to fear that
possibly they had fallen upon the wrong crosses, and that the true cross
was not with this number at all. However, as the woman seemed likely to
die with the convulsions that were tearing her, they concluded that the
third could do no more than put her out of her misery with a happy
dispatch. So they brought it, and behold, a miracle! The woman sprang
from her bed, smiling and joyful, and perfectly restored to health. When
we listen to evidence like this, we cannot but believe. We would be
ashamed to doubt, and properly, too. Even the very part of Jerusalem
where this all occurred is there yet. So there is really no room for

The priests tried to show us, through a small screen, a fragment of the
genuine Pillar of Flagellation, to which Christ was bound when they
scourged him. But we could not see it, because it was dark inside the
screen. However, a baton is kept here, which the pilgrim thrusts through
a hole in the screen, and then he no longer doubts that the true Pillar
of Flagellation is in there. He can not have any excuse to doubt it, for
he can feel it with the stick. He can feel it as distinctly as he could
feel any thing.

Not far from here was a niche where they used to preserve a piece of the
True Cross, but it is gone, now. This piece of the cross was discovered
in the sixteenth century. The Latin priests say it was stolen away, long
ago, by priests of another sect. That seems like a hard statement to
make, but we know very well that it was stolen, because we have seen it
ourselves in several of the cathedrals of Italy and France.

But the relic that touched us most was the plain old sword of that stout
Crusader, Godfrey of Bulloigne--King Godfrey of Jerusalem. No blade in
Christendom wields such enchantment as this--no blade of all that rust in
the ancestral halls of Europe is able to invoke such visions of romance
in the brain of him who looks upon it--none that can prate of such
chivalric deeds or tell such brave tales of the warrior days of old. It
stirs within a man every memory of the Holy Wars that has been sleeping
in his brain for years, and peoples his thoughts with mail-clad images,
with marching armies, with battles and with sieges. It speaks to him of
Baldwin, and Tancred, the princely Saladin, and great Richard of the Lion
Heart. It was with just such blades as these that these splendid heroes
of romance used to segregate a man, so to speak, and leave the half of
him to fall one way and the other half the other. This very sword has
cloven hundreds of Saracen Knights from crown to chin in those old times
when Godfrey wielded it. It was enchanted, then, by a genius that was
under the command of King Solomon. When danger approached its master's
tent it always struck the shield and clanged out a fierce alarm upon the
startled ear of night. In times of doubt, or in fog or darkness, if it
were drawn from its sheath it would point instantly toward the foe, and
thus reveal the way--and it would also attempt to start after them of its
own accord. A Christian could not be so disguised that it would not know
him and refuse to hurt him--nor a Moslem so disguised that it would not
leap from its scabbard and take his life. These statements are all well
authenticated in many legends that are among the most trustworthy legends
the good old Catholic monks preserve. I can never forget old Godfrey's
sword, now. I tried it on a Moslem, and clove him in twain like a
doughnut. The spirit of Grimes was upon me, and if I had had a graveyard
I would have destroyed all the infidels in Jerusalem. I wiped the blood
off the old sword and handed it back to the priest--I did not want the
fresh gore to obliterate those sacred spots that crimsoned its brightness
one day six hundred years ago and thus gave Godfrey warning that before
the sun went down his journey of life would end.

Still moving through the gloom of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre we
came to a small chapel, hewn out of the rock--a place which has been
known as "The Prison of Our Lord" for many centuries. Tradition says
that here the Saviour was confined just previously to the crucifixion.
Under an altar by the door was a pair of stone stocks for human legs.
These things are called the "Bonds of Christ," and the use they were once
put to has given them the name they now bear.

The Greek Chapel is the most roomy, the richest and the showiest chapel
in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its altar, like that of all the
Greek churches, is a lofty screen that extends clear across the chapel,
and is gorgeous with gilding and pictures. The numerous lamps that hang
before it are of gold and silver, and cost great sums.

But the feature of the place is a short column that rises from the middle
of the marble pavement of the chapel, and marks the exact centre of the
earth. The most reliable traditions tell us that this was known to be
the earth's centre, ages ago, and that when Christ was upon earth he set
all doubts upon the subject at rest forever, by stating with his own lips
that the tradition was correct. Remember, He said that that particular
column stood upon the centre of the world. If the centre of the world
changes, the column changes its position accordingly. This column has
moved three different times of its own accord. This is because, in great
convulsions of nature, at three different times, masses of the earth
--whole ranges of mountains, probably--have flown off into space, thus
lessening the diameter of the earth, and changing the exact locality of
its centre by a point or two. This is a very curious and interesting
circumstance, and is a withering rebuke to those philosophers who would
make us believe that it is not possible for any portion of the earth to
fly off into space.

To satisfy himself that this spot was really the centre of the earth, a
sceptic once paid well for the privilege of ascending to the dome of the
church to see if the sun gave him a shadow at noon. He came down
perfectly convinced. The day was very cloudy and the sun threw no
shadows at all; but the man was satisfied that if the sun had come out
and made shadows it could not have made any for him. Proofs like these
are not to be set aside by the idle tongues of cavilers. To such as are
not bigoted, and are willing to be convinced, they carry a conviction
that nothing can ever shake.

If even greater proofs than those I have mentioned are wanted, to satisfy
the headstrong and the foolish that this is the genuine centre of the
earth, they are here. The greatest of them lies in the fact that from
under this very column was taken the dust from which Adam was made. This
can surely be regarded in the light of a settler. It is not likely that
the original first man would have been made from an inferior quality of
earth when it was entirely convenient to get first quality from the
world's centre. This will strike any reflecting mind forcibly. That
Adam was formed of dirt procured in this very spot is amply proven by the
fact that in six thousand years no man has ever been able to prove that
the dirt was not procured here whereof he was made.

It is a singular circumstance that right under the roof of this same
great church, and not far away from that illustrious column, Adam
himself, the father of the human race, lies buried. There is no question
that he is actually buried in the grave which is pointed out as his
--there can be none--because it has never yet been proven that that grave
is not the grave in which he is buried.

The tomb of Adam! How touching it was, here in a land of strangers, far
away from home, and friends, and all who cared for me, thus to discover
the grave of a blood relation. True, a distant one, but still a
relation. The unerring instinct of nature thrilled its recognition. The
fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,
and I gave way to tumultuous emotion. I leaned upon a pillar and burst
into tears. I deem it no shame to have wept over the grave of my poor
dead relative. Let him who would sneer at my emotion close this volume
here, for he will find little to his taste in my journeyings through Holy
Land. Noble old man--he did not live to see me--he did not live to see
his child. And I--I--alas, I did not live to see him. Weighed down by
sorrow and disappointment, he died before I was born--six thousand brief
summers before I was born. But let us try to bear it with fortitude.
Let us trust that he is better off where he is. Let us take comfort in
the thought that his loss is our eternal gain.

The next place the guide took us to in the holy church was an altar
dedicated to the Roman soldier who was of the military guard that
attended at the Crucifixion to keep order, and who--when the vail of the
Temple was rent in the awful darkness that followed; when the rock of
Golgotha was split asunder by an earthquake; when the artillery of heaven
thundered, and in the baleful glare of the lightnings the shrouded dead
flitted about the streets of Jerusalem--shook with fear and said, "Surely
this was the Son of God!" Where this altar stands now, that Roman
soldier stood then, in full view of the crucified Saviour--in full sight
and hearing of all the marvels that were transpiring far and wide about
the circumference of the Hill of Calvary. And in this self-same spot the
priests of the Temple beheaded him for those blasphemous words he had

In this altar they used to keep one of the most curious relics that human
eyes ever looked upon--a thing that had power to fascinate the beholder
in some mysterious way and keep him gazing for hours together. It was
nothing less than the copper plate Pilate put upon the Saviour's cross,
and upon which he wrote, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." I think St.
Helena, the mother of Constantine, found this wonderful memento when she
was here in the third century. She traveled all over Palestine, and was
always fortunate. Whenever the good old enthusiast found a thing
mentioned in her Bible, Old or New, she would go and search for that
thing, and never stop until she found it. If it was Adam, she would find
Adam; if it was the Ark, she would find the Ark; if it was Goliath, or
Joshua, she would find them. She found the inscription here that I was
speaking of, I think. She found it in this very spot, close to where the
martyred Roman soldier stood. That copper plate is in one of the
churches in Rome, now. Any one can see it there. The inscription is
very distinct.

We passed along a few steps and saw the altar built over the very spot
where the good Catholic priests say the soldiers divided the raiment of
the Saviour.

Then we went down into a cavern which cavilers say was once a cistern.
It is a chapel, now, however--the Chapel of St. Helena. It is fifty-one
feet long by forty-three wide. In it is a marble chair which Helena used
to sit in while she superintended her workmen when they were digging and
delving for the True Cross. In this place is an altar dedicated to St.
Dimas, the penitent thief. A new bronze statue is here--a statue of St.
Helena. It reminded us of poor Maximilian, so lately shot. He presented
it to this chapel when he was about to leave for his throne in Mexico.

From the cistern we descended twelve steps into a large roughly-shaped
grotto, carved wholly out of the living rock. Helena blasted it out when
she was searching for the true Cross. She had a laborious piece of work,
here, but it was richly rewarded. Out of this place she got the crown of
thorns, the nails of the cross, the true Cross itself, and the cross of
the penitent thief. When she thought she had found every thing and was
about to stop, she was told in a dream to continue a day longer. It was
very fortunate. She did so, and found the cross of the other thief.

The walls and roof of this grotto still weep bitter tears in memory of
the event that transpired on Calvary, and devout pilgrims groan and sob
when these sad tears fall upon them from the dripping rock. The monks
call this apartment the "Chapel of the Invention of the Cross"--a name
which is unfortunate, because it leads the ignorant to imagine that a
tacit acknowledgment is thus made that the tradition that Helena found
the true Cross here is a fiction--an invention. It is a happiness to
know, however, that intelligent people do not doubt the story in any of
its particulars.

Priests of any of the chapels and denominations in the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre can visit this sacred grotto to weep and pray and worship the
gentle Redeemer. Two different congregations are not allowed to enter at
the same time, however, because they always fight.

Still marching through the venerable Church of the Holy Sepulchre, among
chanting priests in coarse long robes and sandals; pilgrims of all colors
and many nationalities, in all sorts of strange costumes; under dusky
arches and by dingy piers and columns; through a sombre cathedral gloom
freighted with smoke and incense, and faintly starred with scores of
candles that appeared suddenly and as suddenly disappeared, or drifted
mysteriously hither and thither about the distant aisles like ghostly
jack-o'-lanterns--we came at last to a small chapel which is called the
"Chapel of the Mocking." Under the altar was a fragment of a marble
column; this was the seat Christ sat on when he was reviled, and
mockingly made King, crowned with a crown of thorns and sceptred with a
reed. It was here that they blindfolded him and struck him, and said in
derision, "Prophesy who it is that smote thee." The tradition that this
is the identical spot of the mocking is a very ancient one. The guide
said that Saewulf was the first to mention it. I do not know Saewulf,
but still, I cannot well refuse to receive his evidence--none of us can.

They showed us where the great Godfrey and his brother Baldwin, the first
Christian Kings of Jerusalem, once lay buried by that sacred sepulchre
they had fought so long and so valiantly to wrest from the hands of the
infidel. But the niches that had contained the ashes of these renowned
crusaders were empty. Even the coverings of their tombs were gone
--destroyed by devout members of the Greek Church, because Godfrey and
Baldwin were Latin princes, and had been reared in a Christian faith
whose creed differed in some unimportant respects from theirs.

We passed on, and halted before the tomb of Melchisedek! You will
remember Melchisedek, no doubt; he was the King who came out and levied a
tribute on Abraham the time that he pursued Lot's captors to Dan, and
took all their property from them. That was about four thousand years
ago, and Melchisedek died shortly afterward. However, his tomb is in a
good state of preservation.

When one enters the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Sepulchre itself is
the first thing he desires to see, and really is almost the first thing
he does see. The next thing he has a strong yearning to see is the spot
where the Saviour was crucified. But this they exhibit last. It is the
crowning glory of the place. One is grave and thoughtful when he stands
in the little Tomb of the Saviour--he could not well be otherwise in such
a place--but he has not the slightest possible belief that ever the Lord
lay there, and so the interest he feels in the spot is very, very greatly
marred by that reflection. He looks at the place where Mary stood, in
another part of the church, and where John stood, and Mary Magdalen;
where the mob derided the Lord; where the angel sat; where the crown of
thorns was found, and the true Cross; where the risen Saviour appeared
--he looks at all these places with interest, but with the same conviction
he felt in the case of the Sepulchre, that there is nothing genuine about
them, and that they are imaginary holy places created by the monks. But
the place of the Crucifixion affects him differently. He fully believes
that he is looking upon the very spot where the Savior gave up his
life. He remembers that Christ was very celebrated, long before he came
to Jerusalem; he knows that his fame was so great that crowds followed
him all the time; he is aware that his entry into the city produced a
stirring sensation, and that his reception was a kind of ovation; he can
not overlook the fact that when he was crucified there were very many in
Jerusalem who believed that he was the true Son of God. To publicly
execute such a personage was sufficient in itself to make the locality of
the execution a memorable place for ages; added to this, the storm, the
darkness, the earthquake, the rending of the vail of the Temple, and the
untimely waking of the dead, were events calculated to fix the execution
and the scene of it in the memory of even the most thoughtless witness.
Fathers would tell their sons about the strange affair, and point out the
spot; the sons would transmit the story to their children, and thus a
period of three hundred years would easily be spanned--[The thought is
Mr. Prime's, not mine, and is full of good sense. I borrowed it from his
"Tent Life."--M. T.]--at which time Helena came and built a church upon
Calvary to commemorate the death and burial of the Lord and preserve the
sacred place in the memories of men; since that time there has always
been a church there. It is not possible that there can be any mistake
about the locality of the Crucifixion. Not half a dozen persons knew
where they buried the Saviour, perhaps, and a burial is not a startling
event, any how; therefore, we can be pardoned for unbelief in the
Sepulchre, but not in the place of the Crucifixion. Five hundred years
hence there will be no vestige of Bunker Hill Monument left, but America
will still know where the battle was fought and where Warren fell. The
crucifixion of Christ was too notable an event in Jerusalem, and the Hill
of Calvary made too celebrated by it, to be forgotten in the short space
of three hundred years. I climbed the stairway in the church which
brings one to the top of the small inclosed pinnacle of rock, and looked
upon the place where the true cross once stood, with a far more absorbing
interest than I had ever felt in any thing earthly before. I could not
believe that the three holes in the top of the rock were the actual ones
the crosses stood in, but I felt satisfied that those crosses had stood
so near the place now occupied by them, that the few feet of possible
difference were a matter of no consequence.

When one stands where the Saviour was crucified, he finds it all he can
do to keep it strictly before his mind that Christ was not crucified in a
Catholic Church. He must remind himself every now and then that the
great event transpired in the open air, and not in a gloomy,
candle-lighted cell in a little corner of a vast church, up-stairs
--a small cell all bejeweled and bespangled with flashy ornamentation,
in execrable taste.

Under a marble altar like a table, is a circular hole in the marble
floor, corresponding with the one just under it in which the true Cross
stood. The first thing every one does is to kneel down and take a candle
and examine this hole. He does this strange prospecting with an amount
of gravity that can never be estimated or appreciated by a man who has
not seen the operation. Then he holds his candle before a richly
engraved picture of the Saviour, done on a messy slab of gold, and
wonderfully rayed and starred with diamonds, which hangs above the hole
within the altar, and his solemnity changes to lively admiration. He
rises and faces the finely wrought figures of the Saviour and the
malefactors uplifted upon their crosses behind the altar, and bright with
a metallic lustre of many colors. He turns next to the figures close to
them of the Virgin and Mary Magdalen; next to the rift in the living rock
made by the earthquake at the time of the Crucifixion, and an extension
of which he had seen before in the wall of one of the grottoes below; he
looks next at the show-case with a figure of the Virgin in it, and is
amazed at the princely fortune in precious gems and jewelry that hangs so
thickly about the form as to hide it like a garment almost. All about
the apartment the gaudy trappings of the Greek Church offend the eye and
keep the mind on the rack to remember that this is the Place of the
Crucifixion--Golgotha--the Mount of Calvary. And the last thing he looks
at is that which was also the first--the place where the true Cross
stood. That will chain him to the spot and compel him to look once more,
and once again, after he has satisfied all curiosity and lost all
interest concerning the other matters pertaining to the locality.

And so I close my chapter on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre--the most
sacred locality on earth to millions and millions of men, and women, and
children, the noble and the humble, bond and free. In its history from
the first, and in its tremendous associations, it is the most illustrious
edifice in Christendom. With all its clap-trap side-shows and unseemly
impostures of every kind, it is still grand, reverend, venerable--for a
god died there; for fifteen hundred years its shrines have been wet with
the tears of pilgrims from the earth's remotest confines; for more than
two hundred, the most gallant knights that ever wielded sword wasted
their lives away in a struggle to seize it and hold it sacred from
infidel pollution. Even in our own day a war, that cost millions of
treasure and rivers of blood, was fought because two rival nations
claimed the sole right to put a new dome upon it. History is full of
this old Church of the Holy Sepulchre--full of blood that was shed
because of the respect and the veneration in which men held the last
resting-place of the meek and lowly, the mild and gentle, Prince of


We were standing in a narrow street, by the Tower of Antonio. "On these
stones that are crumbling away," the guide said, "the Saviour sat and
rested before taking up the cross. This is the beginning of the
Sorrowful Way, or the Way of Grief." The party took note of the sacred
spot, and moved on. We passed under the "Ecce Homo Arch," and saw the
very window from which Pilate's wife warned her husband to have nothing
to do with the persecution of the Just Man. This window is in an
excellent state of preservation, considering its great age. They showed
us where Jesus rested the second time, and where the mob refused to give
him up, and said, "Let his blood be upon our heads, and upon our
children's children forever." The French Catholics are building a church
on this spot, and with their usual veneration for historical relics, are
incorporating into the new such scraps of ancient walls as they have
found there. Further on, we saw the spot where the fainting Saviour fell
under the weight of his cross. A great granite column of some ancient
temple lay there at the time, and the heavy cross struck it such a blow
that it broke in two in the middle. Such was the guide's story when he
halted us before the broken column.

We crossed a street, and came presently to the former residence of St.
Veronica. When the Saviour passed there, she came out, full of womanly
compassion, and spoke pitying words to him, undaunted by the hootings and
the threatenings of the mob, and wiped the perspiration from his face
with her handkerchief. We had heard so much of St. Veronica, and seen
her picture by so many masters, that it was like meeting an old friend
unexpectedly to come upon her ancient home in Jerusalem. The strangest
thing about the incident that has made her name so famous, is, that when
she wiped the perspiration away, the print of the Saviour's face remained
upon the handkerchief, a perfect portrait, and so remains unto this day.
We knew this, because we saw this handkerchief in a cathedral in Paris,
in another in Spain, and in two others in Italy. In the Milan cathedral
it costs five francs to see it, and at St. Peter's, at Rome, it is almost
impossible to see it at any price. No tradition is so amply verified as
this of St. Veronica and her handkerchief.

At the next corner we saw a deep indention in the hard stone masonry of
the corner of a house, but might have gone heedlessly by it but that the
guide said it was made by the elbow of the Saviour, who stumbled here and
fell. Presently we came to just such another indention in a stone wall.
The guide said the Saviour fell here, also, and made this depression with
his elbow.

There were other places where the Lord fell, and others where he rested;
but one of the most curious landmarks of ancient history we found on this
morning walk through the crooked lanes that lead toward Calvary, was a
certain stone built into a house--a stone that was so seamed and scarred
that it bore a sort of grotesque resemblance to the human face. The
projections that answered for cheeks were worn smooth by the passionate
kisses of generations of pilgrims from distant lands. We asked "Why?"
The guide said it was because this was one of "the very stones of
Jerusalem" that Christ mentioned when he was reproved for permitting the
people to cry "Hosannah!" when he made his memorable entry into the
city upon an ass. One of the pilgrims said, "But there is no evidence
that the stones did cry out--Christ said that if the people stopped from
shouting Hosannah, the very stones would do it." The guide was perfectly
serene. He said, calmly, "This is one of the stones that would have
cried out. "It was of little use to try to shake this fellow's simple
faith--it was easy to see that.

And so we came at last to another wonder, of deep and abiding interest
--the veritable house where the unhappy wretch once lived who has been
celebrated in song and story for more than eighteen hundred years as the
Wandering Jew. On the memorable day of the Crucifixion he stood in this
old doorway with his arms akimbo, looking out upon the struggling mob
that was approaching, and when the weary Saviour would have sat down and
rested him a moment, pushed him rudely away and said, "Move on!" The
Lord said, "Move on, thou, likewise," and the command has never been
revoked from that day to this. All men know how that the miscreant upon
whose head that just curse fell has roamed up and down the wide world,
for ages and ages, seeking rest and never finding it--courting death but
always in vain--longing to stop, in city, in wilderness, in desert
solitudes, yet hearing always that relentless warning to march--march on!
They say--do these hoary traditions--that when Titus sacked Jerusalem and
slaughtered eleven hundred thousand Jews in her streets and by-ways, the
Wandering Jew was seen always in the thickest of the fight, and that when
battle-axes gleamed in the air, he bowed his head beneath them; when
swords flashed their deadly lightnings, he sprang in their way; he bared
his breast to whizzing javelins, to hissing arrows, to any and to every
weapon that promised death and forgetfulness, and rest. But it was
useless--he walked forth out of the carnage without a wound. And it is
said that five hundred years afterward he followed Mahomet when he
carried destruction to the cities of Arabia, and then turned against him,
hoping in this way to win the death of a traitor. His calculations were
wrong again. No quarter was given to any living creature but one, and
that was the only one of all the host that did not want it. He sought
death five hundred years later, in the wars of the Crusades, and offered
himself to famine and pestilence at Ascalon. He escaped again--he could
not die. These repeated annoyances could have at last but one effect
--they shook his confidence. Since then the Wandering Jew has carried on a
kind of desultory toying with the most promising of the aids and
implements of destruction, but with small hope, as a general thing. He
has speculated some in cholera and railroads, and has taken almost a
lively interest in infernal machines and patent medicines. He is old,
now, and grave, as becomes an age like his; he indulges in no light
amusements save that he goes sometimes to executions, and is fond of

There is one thing he can not avoid; go where he will about the world, he
must never fail to report in Jerusalem every fiftieth year. Only a year
or two ago he was here for the thirty-seventh time since Jesus was
crucified on Calvary. They say that many old people, who are here now,
saw him then, and had seen him before. He looks always the same--old,
and withered, and hollow-eyed, and listless, save that there is about him
something which seems to suggest that he is looking for some one,
expecting some one--the friends of his youth, perhaps. But the most of
them are dead, now. He always pokes about the old streets looking
lonesome, making his mark on a wall here and there, and eyeing the oldest
buildings with a sort of friendly half interest; and he sheds a few tears
at the threshold of his ancient dwelling, and bitter, bitter tears they
are. Then he collects his rent and leaves again. He has been seen
standing near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on many a starlight night,
for he has cherished an idea for many centuries that if he could only
enter there, he could rest. But when he approaches, the doors slam to
with a crash, the earth trembles, and all the lights in Jerusalem burn a
ghastly blue! He does this every fifty years, just the same. It is
hopeless, but then it is hard to break habits one has been eighteen
hundred years accustomed to. The old tourist is far away on his
wanderings, now. How he must smile to see a pack of blockheads like us,
galloping about the world, and looking wise, and imagining we are finding
out a good deal about it! He must have a consuming contempt for the
ignorant, complacent asses that go skurrying about the world in these
railroading days and call it traveling.

When the guide pointed out where the Wandering Jew had left his familiar
mark upon a wall, I was filled with astonishment. It read:

"S. T.--1860--X."

All I have revealed about the Wandering Jew can be amply proven by
reference to our guide.

The mighty Mosque of Omar, and the paved court around it, occupy a fourth
part of Jerusalem. They are upon Mount Moriah, where King Solomon's
Temple stood. This Mosque is the holiest place the Mohammedan knows,
outside of Mecca. Up to within a year or two past, no Christian could
gain admission to it or its court for love or money. But the prohibition
has been removed, and we entered freely for bucksheesh.

I need not speak of the wonderful beauty and the exquisite grace and
symmetry that have made this Mosque so celebrated--because I did not see
them. One can not see such things at an instant glance--one frequently
only finds out how really beautiful a really beautiful woman is after
considerable acquaintance with her; and the rule applies to Niagara
Falls, to majestic mountains and to mosques--especially to mosques.

The great feature of the Mosque of Omar is the prodigious rock in the
centre of its rotunda. It was upon this rock that Abraham came so near
offering up his son Isaac--this, at least, is authentic--it is very much
more to be relied on than most of the traditions, at any rate. On this
rock, also, the angel stood and threatened Jerusalem, and David persuaded
him to spare the city. Mahomet was well acquainted with this stone.
From it he ascended to heaven. The stone tried to follow him, and if the
angel Gabriel had not happened by the merest good luck to be there to
seize it, it would have done it. Very few people have a grip like
Gabriel--the prints of his monstrous fingers, two inches deep, are to be
seen in that rock to-day.

This rock, large as it is, is suspended in the air. It does not touch
any thing at all. The guide said so. This is very wonderful. In the
place on it where Mahomet stood, he left his foot-prints in the solid
stone. I should judge that he wore about eighteens. But what I was
going to say, when I spoke of the rock being suspended, was, that in the
floor of the cavern under it they showed us a slab which they said
covered a hole which was a thing of extraordinary interest to all
Mohammedans, because that hole leads down to perdition, and every soul
that is transferred from thence to Heaven must pass up through this
orifice. Mahomet stands there and lifts them out by the hair. All
Mohammedans shave their heads, but they are careful to leave a lock of
hair for the Prophet to take hold of. Our guide observed that a good
Mohammedan would consider himself doomed to stay with the damned forever
if he were to lose his scalp-lock and die before it grew again. The most
of them that I have seen ought to stay with the damned, any how, without
reference to how they were barbered.

For several ages no woman has been allowed to enter the cavern where that
important hole is. The reason is that one of the sex was once caught
there blabbing every thing she knew about what was going on above ground,
to the rapscallions in the infernal regions down below. She carried her
gossiping to such an extreme that nothing could be kept private--nothing
could be done or said on earth but every body in perdition knew all about
it before the sun went down. It was about time to suppress this woman's
telegraph, and it was promptly done. Her breath subsided about the same

The inside of the great mosque is very showy with variegated marble walls
and with windows and inscriptions of elaborate mosaic. The Turks have
their sacred relics, like the Catholics. The guide showed us the
veritable armor worn by the great son-in-law and successor of Mahomet,
and also the buckler of Mahomet's uncle. The great iron railing which
surrounds the rock was ornamented in one place with a thousand rags tied
to its open work. These are to remind Mahomet not to forget the
worshipers who placed them there. It is considered the next best thing
to tying threads around his finger by way of reminders.

Just outside the mosque is a miniature temple, which marks the spot where
David and Goliah used to sit and judge the people.--[A pilgrim informs
me that it was not David and Goliah, but David and Saul. I stick to my
own statement--the guide told me, and he ought to know.]

Every where about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously
wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble--precious
remains of Solomon's Temple. These have been dug from all depths in the
soil and rubbish of Mount Moriah, and the Moslems have always shown a
disposition to preserve them with the utmost care. At that portion of
the ancient wall of Solomon's Temple which is called the Jew's Place of
Wailing, and where the Hebrews assemble every Friday to kiss the
venerated stones and weep over the fallen greatness of Zion, any one can
see a part of the unquestioned and undisputed Temple of Solomon, the same
consisting of three or four stones lying one upon the other, each of
which is about twice as long as a seven-octave piano, and about as thick
as such a piano is high. But, as I have remarked before, it is only a
year or two ago that the ancient edict prohibiting Christian rubbish like
ourselves to enter the Mosque of Omar and see the costly marbles that
once adorned the inner Temple was annulled. The designs wrought upon
these fragments are all quaint and peculiar, and so the charm of novelty
is added to the deep interest they naturally inspire. One meets with
these venerable scraps at every turn, especially in the neighboring
Mosque el Aksa, into whose inner walls a very large number of them are
carefully built for preservation. These pieces of stone, stained and
dusty with age, dimly hint at a grandeur we have all been taught to
regard as the princeliest ever seen on earth; and they call up pictures
of a pageant that is familiar to all imaginations--camels laden with
spices and treasure--beautiful slaves, presents for Solomon's harem--a
long cavalcade of richly caparisoned beasts and warriors--and Sheba's
Queen in the van of this vision of "Oriental magnificence." These
elegant fragments bear a richer interest than the solemn vastness of the
stones the Jews kiss in the Place of Wailing can ever have for the
heedless sinner.

Down in the hollow ground, underneath the olives and the orange-trees
that flourish in the court of the great Mosque, is a wilderness of
pillars--remains of the ancient Temple; they supported it. There are
ponderous archways down there, also, over which the destroying "plough"
of prophecy passed harmless. It is pleasant to know we are disappointed,
in that we never dreamed we might see portions of the actual Temple of
Solomon, and yet experience no shadow of suspicion that they were a
monkish humbug and a fraud.

We are surfeited with sights. Nothing has any fascination for us, now,
but the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We have been there every day, and
have not grown tired of it; but we are weary of every thing else. The
sights are too many. They swarm about you at every step; no single foot
of ground in all Jerusalem or within its neighborhood seems to be without
a stirring and important history of its own. It is a very relief to
steal a walk of a hundred yards without a guide along to talk unceasingly
about every stone you step upon and drag you back ages and ages to the
day when it achieved celebrity.

It seems hardly real when I find myself leaning for a moment on a ruined
wall and looking listlessly down into the historic pool of Bethesda. I
did not think such things could be so crowded together as to diminish
their interest. But in serious truth, we have been drifting about, for
several days, using our eyes and our ears more from a sense of duty than
any higher and worthier reason. And too often we have been glad when it
was time to go home and be distressed no more about illustrious

Our pilgrims compress too much into one day. One can gorge sights to
repletion as well as sweetmeats. Since we breakfasted, this morning, we
have seen enough to have furnished us food for a year's reflection if we
could have seen the various objects in comfort and looked upon them
deliberately. We visited the pool of Hezekiah, where David saw Uriah's
wife coming from the bath and fell in love with her.

We went out of the city by the Jaffa gate, and of course were told many
things about its Tower of Hippicus.

We rode across the Valley of Hinnom, between two of the Pools of Gihon,
and by an aqueduct built by Solomon, which still conveys water to the
city. We ascended the Hill of Evil Counsel, where Judas received his
thirty pieces of silver, and we also lingered a moment under the tree a
venerable tradition says he hanged himself on.

We descended to the canon again, and then the guide began to give name
and history to every bank and boulder we came to: "This was the Field of
Blood; these cuttings in the rocks were shrines and temples of Moloch;
here they sacrificed children; yonder is the Zion Gate; the Tyropean
Valley, the Hill of Ophel; here is the junction of the Valley of
Jehoshaphat--on your right is the Well of Job." We turned up
Jehoshaphat. The recital went on. "This is the Mount of Olives; this is
the Hill of Offense; the nest of huts is the Village of Siloam; here,
yonder, every where, is the King's Garden; under this great tree
Zacharias, the high priest, was murdered; yonder is Mount Moriah and the
Temple wall; the tomb of Absalom; the tomb of St. James; the tomb of
Zacharias; beyond, are the Garden of Gethsemane and the tomb of the
Virgin Mary; here is the Pool of Siloam, and----"

We said we would dismount, and quench our thirst, and rest. We were
burning up with the heat. We were failing under the accumulated fatigue
of days and days of ceaseless marching. All were willing.

The Pool is a deep, walled ditch, through which a clear stream of water
runs, that comes from under Jerusalem somewhere, and passing through the
Fountain of the Virgin, or being supplied from it, reaches this place by
way of a tunnel of heavy masonry. The famous pool looked exactly as it
looked in Solomon's time, no doubt, and the same dusky, Oriental women,
came down in their old Oriental way, and carried off jars of the water on
their heads, just as they did three thousand years ago, and just as they
will do fifty thousand years hence if any of them are still left on

We went away from there and stopped at the Fountain of the Virgin. But
the water was not good, and there was no comfort or peace any where, on
account of the regiment of boys and girls and beggars that persecuted us
all the time for bucksheesh. The guide wanted us to give them some
money, and we did it; but when he went on to say that they were starving
to death we could not but feel that we had done a great sin in throwing
obstacles in the way of such a desirable consummation, and so we tried to
collect it back, but it could not be done.

We entered the Garden of Gethsemane, and we visited the Tomb of the
Virgin, both of which we had seen before. It is not meet that I should
speak of them now. A more fitting time will come.

I can not speak now of the Mount of Olives or its view of Jerusalem, the
Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab; nor of the Damascus Gate or the tree
that was planted by King Godfrey of Jerusalem. One ought to feel
pleasantly when he talks of these things. I can not say any thing about
the stone column that projects over Jehoshaphat from the Temple wall like
a cannon, except that the Moslems believe Mahomet will sit astride of it
when he comes to judge the world. It is a pity he could not judge it
from some roost of his own in Mecca, without trespassing on our holy
ground. Close by is the Golden Gate, in the Temple wall--a gate that was
an elegant piece of sculpture in the time of the Temple, and is even so
yet. From it, in ancient times, the Jewish High Priest turned loose the
scapegoat and let him flee to the wilderness and bear away his
twelve-month load of the sins of the people. If they were to turn one
loose now, he would not get as far as the Garden of Gethsemane, till
these miserable vagabonds here would gobble him up,--[Favorite pilgrim
expression.]--sins and all. They wouldn't care. Mutton-chops and sin
is good enough living for them. The Moslems watch the Golden Gate with
a jealous eye, and an anxious one, for they have an honored tradition
that when it falls, Islamism will fall and with it the Ottoman Empire.
It did not grieve me any to notice that the old gate was getting a
little shaky.

We are at home again. We are exhausted. The sun has roasted us, almost.
We have full comfort in one reflection, however. Our experiences in
Europe have taught us that in time this fatigue will be forgotten; the
heat will be forgotten; the thirst, the tiresome volubility of the guide,
the persecutions of the beggars--and then, all that will be left will be
pleasant memories of Jerusalem, memories we shall call up with always
increasing interest as the years go by, memories which some day will
become all beautiful when the last annoyance that incumbers them shall
have faded out of our minds never again to return. School-boy days are
no happier than the days of after life, but we look back upon them
regretfully because we have forgotten our punishments at school, and how
we grieved when our marbles were lost and our kites destroyed--because we
have forgotten all the sorrows and privations of that canonized epoch and
remember only its orchard robberies, its wooden sword pageants and its
fishing holydays. We are satisfied. We can wait. Our reward will come.
To us, Jerusalem and to-day's experiences will be an enchanted memory a
year hence--memory which money could not buy from us.


We cast up the account. It footed up pretty fairly. There was nothing
more at Jerusalem to be seen, except the traditional houses of Dives and
Lazarus of the parable, the Tombs of the Kings, and those of the Judges;
the spot where they stoned one of the disciples to death, and beheaded
another; the room and the table made celebrated by the Last Supper; the
fig-tree that Jesus withered; a number of historical places about
Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, and fifteen or twenty others in
different portions of the city itself.

We were approaching the end. Human nature asserted itself, now.
Overwork and consequent exhaustion began to have their natural effect.
They began to master the energies and dull the ardor of the party.
Perfectly secure now, against failing to accomplish any detail of the
pilgrimage, they felt like drawing in advance upon the holiday soon to be
placed to their credit. They grew a little lazy. They were late to
breakfast and sat long at dinner. Thirty or forty pilgrims had arrived
from the ship, by the short routes, and much swapping of gossip had to be
indulged in. And in hot afternoons, they showed a strong disposition to
lie on the cool divans in the hotel and smoke and talk about pleasant
experiences of a month or so gone by--for even thus early do episodes of
travel which were sometimes annoying, sometimes exasperating and full as
often of no consequence at all when they transpired, begin to rise above
the dead level of monotonous reminiscences and become shapely landmarks
in one's memory. The fog-whistle, smothered among a million of trifling
sounds, is not noticed a block away, in the city, but the sailor hears it
far at sea, whither none of those thousands of trifling sounds can reach.
When one is in Rome, all the domes are alike; but when he has gone away
twelve miles, the city fades utterly from sight and leaves St. Peter's
swelling above the level plain like an anchored balloon. When one is
traveling in Europe, the daily incidents seem all alike; but when he has
placed them all two months and two thousand miles behind him, those that
were worthy of being remembered are prominent, and those that were really
insignificant have vanished. This disposition to smoke, and idle and
talk, was not well. It was plain that it must not be allowed to gain
ground. A diversion must be tried, or demoralization would ensue. The
Jordan, Jericho and the Dead Sea were suggested. The remainder of
Jerusalem must be left unvisited, for a little while. The journey was
approved at once. New life stirred in every pulse. In the saddle
--abroad on the plains--sleeping in beds bounded only by the horizon: fancy
was at work with these things in a moment.--It was painful to note how
readily these town-bred men had taken to the free life of the camp and
the desert The nomadic instinct is a human instinct; it was born with
Adam and transmitted through the patriarchs, and after thirty centuries
of steady effort, civilization has not educated it entirely out of us
yet. It has a charm which, once tasted, a man will yearn to taste again.
The nomadic instinct can not be educated out of an Indian at all.

The Jordan journey being approved, our dragoman was notified.

At nine in the morning the caravan was before the hotel door and we were
at breakfast. There was a commotion about the place. Rumors of war and
bloodshed were flying every where. The lawless Bedouins in the Valley of
the Jordan and the deserts down by the Dead Sea were up in arms, and were
going to destroy all comers. They had had a battle with a troop of
Turkish cavalry and defeated them; several men killed. They had shut up
the inhabitants of a village and a Turkish garrison in an old fort near
Jericho, and were besieging them. They had marched upon a camp of our
excursionists by the Jordan, and the pilgrims only saved their lives by
stealing away and flying to Jerusalem under whip and spur in the darkness
of the night. Another of our parties had been fired on from an ambush
and then attacked in the open day. Shots were fired on both sides.
Fortunately there was no bloodshed. We spoke with the very pilgrim who
had fired one of the shots, and learned from his own lips how, in this
imminent deadly peril, only the cool courage of the pilgrims, their
strength of numbers and imposing display of war material, had saved them
from utter destruction. It was reported that the Consul had requested
that no more of our pilgrims should go to the Jordan while this state of
things lasted; and further, that he was unwilling that any more should
go, at least without an unusually strong military guard. Here was
trouble. But with the horses at the door and every body aware of what
they were there for, what would you have done? Acknowledged that you
were afraid, and backed shamefully out? Hardly. It would not be human
nature, where there were so many women. You would have done as we did:
said you were not afraid of a million Bedouins--and made your will and
proposed quietly to yourself to take up an unostentatious position in the
rear of the procession.

I think we must all have determined upon the same line of tactics, for it
did seem as if we never would get to Jericho. I had a notoriously slow
horse, but somehow I could not keep him in the rear, to save my neck.
He was forever turning up in the lead. In such cases I trembled a
little, and got down to fix my saddle. But it was not of any use. The
others all got down to fix their saddles, too. I never saw such a time
with saddles. It was the first time any of them had got out of order in
three weeks, and now they had all broken down at once. I tried walking,
for exercise--I had not had enough in Jerusalem searching for holy
places. But it was a failure. The whole mob were suffering for
exercise, and it was not fifteen minutes till they were all on foot and I
had the lead again. It was very discouraging.

This was all after we got beyond Bethany. We stopped at the village of
Bethany, an hour out from Jerusalem. They showed us the tomb of Lazarus.
I had rather live in it than in any house in the town. And they showed
us also a large "Fountain of Lazarus," and in the centre of the village
the ancient dwelling of Lazarus. Lazarus appears to have been a man of
property. The legends of the Sunday Schools do him great injustice; they
give one the impression that he was poor. It is because they get him
confused with that Lazarus who had no merit but his virtue, and virtue
never has been as respectable as money. The house of Lazarus is a
three-story edifice, of stone masonry, but the accumulated rubbish of
ages has buried all of it but the upper story. We took candles and
descended to the dismal cell-like chambers where Jesus sat at meat with
Martha and Mary, and conversed with them about their brother. We could
not but look upon these old dingy apartments with a more than common

We had had a glimpse, from a mountain top, of the Dead Sea, lying like a
blue shield in the plain of the Jordan, and now we were marching down a
close, flaming, rugged, desolate defile, where no living creature could
enjoy life, except, perhaps, a salamander. It was such a dreary,
repulsive, horrible solitude! It was the "wilderness" where John
preached, with camel's hair about his loins--raiment enough--but he never
could have got his locusts and wild honey here. We were moping along
down through this dreadful place, every man in the rear. Our guards--two
gorgeous young Arab sheiks, with cargoes of swords, guns, pistols and
daggers on board--were loafing ahead.


Every man shrunk up and disappeared in his clothes like a mud-turtle.
My first impulse was to dash forward and destroy the Bedouins. My second
was to dash to the rear to see if there were any coming in that
direction. I acted on the latter impulse. So did all the others. If
any Bedouins had approached us, then, from that point of the compass,
they would have paid dearly for their rashness. We all remarked that,
afterwards. There would have been scenes of riot and bloodshed there
that no pen could describe. I know that, because each man told what he
would have done, individually; and such a medley of strange and
unheard-of inventions of cruelty you could not conceive of. One man
said he had calmly made up his mind to perish where he stood, if need
be, but never yield an inch; he was going to wait, with deadly patience,
till he could count the stripes upon the first Bedouin's jacket, and
then count them and let him have it. Another was going to sit still
till the first lance reached within an inch of his breast, and then
dodge it and seize it. I forbear to tell what he was going to do to
that Bedouin that owned it. It makes my blood run cold to think of it.
Another was going to scalp such Bedouins as fell to his share, and take
his bald-headed sons of the desert home with him alive for trophies.
But the wild-eyed pilgrim rhapsodist was silent. His orbs gleamed with
a deadly light, but his lips moved not. Anxiety grew, and he was
questioned. If he had got a Bedouin, what would he have done with him
--shot him? He smiled a smile of grim contempt and shook his head.
Would he have stabbed him? Another shake. Would he have quartered him
--flayed him? More shakes. Oh! horror what would he have done?

"Eat him!"

Such was the awful sentence that thundered from his lips. What was
grammar to a desperado like that? I was glad in my heart that I had been
spared these scenes of malignant carnage. No Bedouins attacked our
terrible rear. And none attacked the front. The new-comers were only a
reinforcement of cadaverous Arabs, in shirts and bare legs, sent far
ahead of us to brandish rusty guns, and shout and brag, and carry on like
lunatics, and thus scare away all bands of marauding Bedouins that might
lurk about our path. What a shame it is that armed white Christians must
travel under guard of vermin like this as a protection against the
prowling vagabonds of the desert--those sanguinary outlaws who are always
going to do something desperate, but never do it. I may as well mention
here that on our whole trip we saw no Bedouins, and had no more use for
an Arab guard than we could have had for patent leather boots and white
kid gloves. The Bedouins that attacked the other parties of pilgrims so


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