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. 2 



The expectations which have been excited in the 
minds of men by the prophecies contained in 
Scripture, and the hopes whicli have been roused 
by them, have ever invested Palestine with an 
exceptional interest to Biblical students ; while its 
sacred conditions, historical associations, and ex- 
isting remains prove an attraction to crowds of 
pilgrims and tourists, who annually Hock to the 
Holy Land. As, however, the impressions of a 
resident and those of a visitor are apt to differ 
widely in regard to the conditions which actually 
exist there, and the former has opportunities of 
researches denied to the latter, I have ventured to 
think that a series of letters originally addressed to 
the New York ' Sun,' and extending over a period 
of three years passed in the country, might not lie 
without interest to the general reader. Many of 
these will be found to deal chiefly with archaeolo- 
gical subjects, which must, indeed, form the main 
subject of attraction to any one living in the 
countr}', and conversant with its history. 

A flood of light has l)een thrown of rec&nt years 

I \ rilEFAOE. 

upon its t"0|t()i2;i-a|ihy, its aiu'ioiit sites, ;ni(l the ex- 
tensive niiiis wliicli still exist to testify to its once 
teeming population, by the prolonged and valuable 
researches of tlie " Palestine Ex])loratioii Fund " of 

As, however, these arc embodied in volumes so 
expensive that they arc beyond the reach of the 
o;eneral public, and arc too technical in their char- 
acter to suit the taste of the ordinary reader, I have 
in many instances endeavoured to popularise them, 
availing myself extensively of the information con- 
tained in them and in Captain Conder s excellent 
' Tent Work in Palestine,' and quoting freely such 
passages as tended to the elucidation of the subject 
under consideration, more especially with regard 
to recent discovery at Jerusalem ; but which, as 
I was grubbing about, I have not been able to 
define as exactly as I should have liked to do had 
all the publications been beside me at the moment. 

The experience and investigation of the last three 
years, however, have only served to convince me that 
the field of research is far from being exhausted, 
and that, sliould the day ever come when excavation 
on a, large scale is possible, the Holy Land will yield 
treasures of infinite interest and value,, alike to the 
archreologist and tJie historian. 

Haifa, 1886. 



Introduction vii 

A Visit to Ephesus 1 

The Ruins of Athlit 6 

A Jewish Colony in its Infancy 11 

The Temple Society 17 

The Temple Colonies in Palestine 22 

Exploring ]Mount Carmel 27 

The Valley op the Martyrs 33 

The Rock-hewn Cemetery op Sheik Abreik 38 

Easter among the Melchites 43 

The Jewish Question in Palestine 48 

"Holy Places" in Galilee , 53 

Progress in Palestine 59 

The First Palestine Railway 63 

Safed 68 

Meiron 72 

The Feast op St. Elias 77 

A Summer Camp on Carmel . . ^ 82 

The Druses op Mount Carmel 87 

Exploration on Carmel 93 

A Place Famous in History 98 

The Babs and their Prophet 103 

An Ancient Jewish Community 108 

Domestic Life among the Syrians 114 

Fishing on Lake Tiberias 119 

A Visit to the Sulphur Springs of Amatha 125 

Exploration op the Valley op the Yarmuk 130 

Exploration on the Yarmuk 135 

A Druse Religious Festival 139 

The Great Festival of the Druses. . . ' 145 

Hattin and Irbid . . . . • 152 

The Jewish Feast of the Burning at Tieeri.\s 157 

House-building on Carmel 162 

Domestic Life Among the Druses 168 



CincAssiAN IIioinvAYMEN. — A DiiusK Festival at Elijah's 

Altak 173 

aumac.icdoon.— tlik liosman coi.ony at c.esauea 178 


ViLi.AOE Fevus 193 

The AlusTocRACY op Mount Cakmel 198 

The Jokiian Valley Canal 204 

Local Politics and Puooress 208 

The luEXTiricATioN of Ancient Sites 213 

The Sea of Galilee in the Time of Chkist 218 

The Scene of the JIiracle op the Five Loaves and Two 

Small Fishes 223 

Capernaum and Chorazin 228 

Discovery of an Ancient Synagogue 233 

Characteristics of the Ruins op Synagogues 239 

A Night Adventure Near the Lake of Tiberias .... 244 

Khisfin 250 

Further Exploration and Discovery . . > 256 

The Place aviiere the Saviour Sent the Evil Spirits into 

the Herd of Swine 262 

The Kock Tomus of Palestine 268 

General Gordon's Last Visit to Haifa 374 

The Con^-ent of Carmel versus The Town of IL\ifa . . .281 

Progress even in Palestine 285 

The Pecent Discovery of Gezer 290 

Traditional Sites at Jerusalem 296 

Traditional Sites at Jerusalem. — Continued. 303 

Progress in Jerusalem 309 

The Three Jericiios 319 

Modern Life in Palestine 325 

Rambles in Palestine 332 

Explorations in Palestine: 339 

Sacred Samaritan Records 345 

The Ten Lost Tribes .352 

Researches in Samaria 358 

A Druse Father's Vengeance 364 


The chapters which compose this vohirae originally formed 
a series of letters, all of which passed through my hands. I 
prepared them for their first appearance in print, and cor- 
rected the proofs afterwards. Finally, it was at my sugges- 
tion and advice that they were gathered together in a book. 

The deep interest which the land of Palestine possesses 
for every thoughtful mind makes us all greedy for fresh 
and truthful information, alike concerning its present con- 
dition and the discoveries which n^^w researches add to our 
knowledge of the past. From this point of view, many of 
the pages which follow are of exceeding importance. Every 
Christian will read with deep attention the author's descrip- 
tion of the present state of places connected with momentous 
events of New-Testament history; and when, as in the pres- 
ent instance, the traveller and investigator is one whose 
judgment and whose accuracy may be entirely relied upon, 
the value of the report surpasses every careless estimate. 

It is with this feeling that I liave urged my friend to 
complete his work for publication, and with this feeling 
I earnestly commend it to the reader. Nor is its interest 
confined to historical and Biblical questions alone; the eth- 
nologist examining the races of modern Syria, and the phi- 
losopher contemplating the marvellous processes of Asiatic 
transformation, will also find here material which will repay 
their most careful study. 

C, A. Dana. 

New York, November, 1886. 



Smyrna, Nov. 4, 1882. — There are two ways of doing 
Epliesus : you may either go there and, like the Apostle, 
"fight with beasts," in the shape of donkeys and donkey 
boys, or you may wear yourself to death under the blazing 
sun, alternately scrambling over its rocks, and sinking ankle 
deep in the mire of its marshes. In old days it was an easy 
two days' ride from Smyrna to Ephesus, the distance being 
about fifty miles, but the Smyrna and Aiden Railway speeds 
you to the ruins in about \,\io hours now, first through the 
romantic little gorge from whose rocky ledge rises the hill 
crowned by the ruined castle which overlooks the town, past 
a modern and an ancient aqueduct, the latter moss-grown 
and picturesque, with its double sets of arches rising one 
above the other ; through orange and pomegranate groves, 
and vineyards yellow and languishing at this season of the 
year from the drought ; across fertile plains from which the 
cereals and corn crops have been removed, and where flocks 
of sheep and goats are scattered on distant hill slopes, or 
follow in long lines the striking figures of the shepherds in 
their broad-shouldered felt coats ; past the black tents of the 
Yourouks, a nomadic tribe of Turcomans, whose kindred 
extend from here to the great wall of China, and who vary 
their pastoral operations from one end of Asia to the other 
with predatory raids upon unsuspecting travellers ; and so 
on into a w- ilder country, where the mountains close in upon 
us, and the Western tourist begins to realize that he is really 
in Asia, as groups of grunting camels, collected at the little 
railway stations, and their wild-looking owners, tell of jour- 
neys into the far interior, and excite a longing in his Cock- 


ncy breast to emancipate himself from tlie guiilanco of Cook, 
ami plunge into the remote recesses of Asia Minor or Kur- 

As we ajiproach Epliesus llie country again becomes more 
fertile, and groves of fig-trees, surpassing all preconceived 
notions of the size ordinarily attained by these trees, reveal 
one of the principal sources of supply of those "fine fresh 
figs" which find their way in such abundance to American 
railway cars. As the modern Epliesus is a miserable little 
village, containing only a few huts and a very limited sup- 
ply of donkeys, the wary traveller will see that his are sent 
on from Smyrna beforehand, and Avill ])robably find some 
consolation for the absence of any competent guide or de- 
cent accommodation, or appliances for seeing the ruins, in 
the evidence Avhich this fact affords of the com2)arative 
rareness of tourist visitors. 

So far from being assailed by shouts for backsheesh, or 
bombarded by sellers of sham antiques, or struggled for by 
rival guides, one is left entirely to one's own devices on that 
desolate little platform. There is an apology for a hotel, 
it is true, where cold potted meats are to be obtained, and, 
by dint of much searching, a guide, himself an antique, turns 
up, but we are very sceptical of his competency. A row of 
columns still standing, which once supported an aqueduct, 
and the crumbling ruins of a castle on a conical little hill 
immediately behind the railway station, suggest the mis- 
taken idea that these are the ruins of Ephcsus. They are 
very decent ruins, as ruins go, but the castle is a compai*a- 
tively modern Seljuk stronghold, and there is nothing cer- 
tain about the antiquity of the aqueduct. In exploring the 
castle we find that the blocks of stone of old Ephesus have 
been built into its walls, and that a still more ancient gate- 
way, dating from the early period of the Byzantine Em- 
pire, is also largely composed of these antique fragments, 
upon which inscriptions are to be deciphered, proving 
that they formed part of a Greek temple. So, in the 
old mosque of Sultan Selim, which is at the base of the 
hill, we find that the magnificent monolith columns of a 
still more ancient edifice have been used in the construc- 
tion of v>hat must in its day have been a fine specimen 


of Saracenic arcliitecture; l)iit we have not yet reached the 
site of ancient Ephesus. As we stand on the steps of the 
old mosque we look over a level and marshy plain, about a 
mile broad, which extends to the foot of two rocky hills, 
each about two hundred feet high, and divided from each 
other by what appears to be a chasm. Behind these is a 
hio[her rido-e, backed by the mountain chain. It is on these 
two rocky eminences, and on their farther slopes, now hid- 
den from view, that the ancient Ephesus stood ; but the 
problem which has for many years vexed antiquarians is the 
site, until recently undiscovered, of Avhat gave the tov/u its 
chief notoriety. 

The temple of the great goddess Diana, about a quarter 
of the way across the plain, was a wide, low mound, and here 
it is that the recent excavations of Mr. Wood have laid bare 
one of the most interesting archfeological discoveries of 
modern times. We eagerly tramp across the mud and over 
the corn-stalks of this year's crop to the debris, and, climbing 
up it, look down upon a vast depressed area, filled with frag- 
ments of magnificent marble columns, and with carved blocks 
on which are inscriptions so fresh that they seem to have 
been engraved yesterday, all jumbled together in a hopeless 
confusion, but from amid which Mr. Wood, who has had a 
force of three hundred men excavating here for the three pre- 
vious years, has unearthed many valuable memorials. At the 
time of our visit the work was suspended and Mr. Wood was 
away, nor was it possible to obtain from the utterly dilapi- 
dated old Arab who called himself a guide, any coherent ac- 
count of the last results, beyond the fact that a ship had 
come to take them away. 

I made out one inscription, which was apparently a votive 
tablet to the daughter of the Emperor Aurelius Antoninus, 
but in most cases, though the engraving, as far as it went, was 
clear, the fragments were too small to contain more than a 
few words. In places the marble pavement of the temple 
was clearly defined, and its size was Avell worthy the fame 
which ranked it among the seven wonders of the world. 
From here a long, muddy trudge took us to the base of the 
hill, or mount, called Pion, on the flank of which is the cave 
of the Seven Sleepei's, and attached to it is the well-known 


IcEfcnd of tlic seven young mtn wlio wont to sleep here, and 
awoTce, after two huiuhvd years, to fnul matters tso elianged 
tliat tliey -wore overcome by the shook. AVhen I surmounted 
tlie liill and Uioked down upon the Stadium, the Agora, the 
Odeon, and other ruins, I was conscious of two predominat- 
ing sentiments. One was surprise and the other disap- 
pointment; surprise, that one of the most populous and cele- 
brated cities in the world should have arisen on such a site; 
and disappointment, that so little of its magnificence re- 

From an architectural point of view there is absolutely 
nothinsx left worth looking at. Lines of broken stone mark 
the limits of the principal buildings. The Stadium, which 
accommodated VG,000 persons, and one of the theatres, which 
accommodated over 56,000, are almost shapeless mounds. 
The whole scene is one of most complete desolation, and 
we are driven to our imagination to realize what Ephesus 
once must have been. In the case of Palmyra and Baalbec 
no such effort is necessary; enough is left for us to repeople 
without difficulty those splendid solitudes; but in Ephesus 
all is savage and dreary in the extreme; deep fissures run into 
the rock, which must have formed nearly the centre of the 
town ; huge boulders of natural stone suggest the wild 
character of some portion of the city in its palmiest days. 
It is difficult to conceive to what use the citizens devoted 
this Mount Pion, with its crags and caverns and fissures. 
The lines of the old port are clearly defined by the limits 
of a marsh, from which a sluggish stream, formerly a canal, 
runs to the sea, about three miles distant, not far from the 
debouchure of the Meander. No doubt the mass of the city 
surrounded the port, but there is a marvellous lack of debris 
in this direction. Between the Temple of Diana and the foot 
of Mount Pion there is not a stone, so that the probability is 
that the temple was situated amid groves of trees. On the 
hill there are stones, or, rather, rocks, enough, but they are 
of huge size, and for the most part natural. Of actual city 
comparatively few remains still exist. No doubt its columns 
and monuments and slabs have supplied materials for the 
ornamentation and construction of many cities, and the con- 
venience of getting to it by sea has materially aided the 


spoilers. Still, the site of ancient Epliesus affords abundant 
material for conjecture, and the more one studies the local 
topography the more difficult is it to picture to one's self what 
the ancient city was like. 

From historical association it must ever remain one of the 
most interesting spots in the East, while, even from a pure- 
ly picturesque point of view, the wild and rugged grandeur 
of the scenery amid which it is situated cannot fail to stamp 
it upon the memory. As I believe it is intended to continue 
excavations, we may hope for still further results, and there 
can be no doubt that, when once the obstacles which are 
now thrown in the way by the present government, to all 
scientific or antiquarian research in Turkey, are removed by 
the political changes now pending in the East, a rich field 
of exploration Avill be opened, not at Ephesus alone, but 
throughout the little-known ruined cities of Asia Minor. 


Haifa, Nov. 27, 1882. — The more you examine the coun- 
tries most frequented by tourists, the more you are per- 
plexed to comprehend the reasons which decide tliem to 
coniine tliemselves to certain specified routes, arranged ap- 
parently by guides and dragomans, with a view of conceal- 
ing from them the principal objects of interest. There is 
certainly not one tourist in a huiulred who visits the Holy 
Land who has ever heard of Athlit, much less been there, 
and yet I know of few finer ruins to the west of the Jordan. 
To the east the magnificent remains of Jerash, Amman, and 
Arak-el Emir are incomparably more interesting, and these, 
of course, are also almost ignored by tourists ; but that may 
be accounted for by the fact that special permission from the 
government is required to visit them, while an impression 
still exists that the journey is attended with some risk. 
Practically this is not the case. It takes a long time to re- 
move an impression of this kind, and it is the interest of a 
large class of persons who live on blackmail to keep it up. 
But in the case of Athlit there is no such drawback. Prob- 
ably the neglect with which it is treated is due largely to the 
fact that no scriptural association attaches to the locality, 
and people would rather go to Nazareth than examine the 
majestic remains of Roman civilization, or the ruder super- 
structures of crusading warfare. 

The easiest way to reach Athlit is to go to it from Car- 
mel. As the monastery there is a most modern structure, 
about fifty years old, tourists often get as far as that, be- 
cause the guide takes them there; but they know nothing 
of the mysteries of this sacred mountain, second only to 
Sinai, in the estimation of the modern Jew, in the sanctity of 
its reputation, and they turn back wlien, by riding a few 
miles down the coast, they would follow a route full of in- 


terest. The road traverses a plain about two miles in 
width. On the left, the rugged limestone slopes of the 
mountain are perforated with caves — in the earliest ages of 
Christianitjr the resorts of hermits, from whom the order 
of the Carmelites subsequently arose. Here tradition still 
points out the spot where the crusading king, St. Louis of 
France, was shipwrecked; and in a gorge of the mountains 
may still be seen the foundations of the first monastery, near 
a cojHous spring of clearest water, where the pious monarch 
was entertained by the first monks, whom, out of gratitude, 
, he enabled subsequently to establish themselves upon the 
site occupied by the present monastery, and to found an or- 
der which has since become celebrated. Along this line of 
coast there is an uninterrupted stretch of sandy beach, upon 
which the full force of the Mediterranean breaks in lono: 
lines of rollers, and which would afford an interesting field 
of study to the conchologist. Among the most curious 
shells are the Murcx brandaris and thr> 3£urex trimctdus, the 
jDrickly shells of the fish Avhich in ancient times yielded the 
far-famed Tyrian purple. The Phoenicians obtained the 
precious dye from a vessel in the throat of the fish. 

Instead of following closely the line of coast, I kept near 
the base of the Carmel range, reaching in about two hours 
from Carmel the village of El Tireh, where the mosque is 
part of an old Benedictine monastery, the massive walls of 
which have been utilized for religious purposes by the Mos- 
lems. Their worship has had little effect upon the inhab- 
itants, who are the most notorious thieves and turbulent 
rogues in the whole country side. They arc rich enough to 
indulge their taste for violence with comparative impunit)^, 
as they can always square it with the authorities. Their vil- 
lage is surrounded w4th a grove of thirty thousand olive- 
trees and the rich plain, extending to the sea, is nearly all 
owned by them. Indeed, their evil reputation keeps other 
would-be proprietors at a distance. Here the plain begins to 
slope backward from the sea, so as to prevent the water 
from the mountains from finding a natural outlet, and in 
summer the country becomes miasmatic and feverish. 

From El Tireh, where the inhabitants treated me with 
great civility, I crossed the plain, and in an hour more 


roacliod an iiisignilicaiit riiiii called Kl Dustroy, a oorniption 
of tlu' tTiisailiiiLC name ''"Lcs J>ciitroiti<,'''' or "The Sliaii>lits," 
so calk'tl from a gorge in the limestone riilge, Avhich liere sep- 
arates the jilain from the sea. This very remarkable forma- 
tion extcnils for many miles down the coast. It is a rugged 
ridge, varying from twenty to iifty feet in height, and com- 
pletely cutting oiT the sea Ijeaeli from the fertile ])lain be- 
hind. Here and there it is split by fissures, through Avhich 
the winter torrents find their way to the sea. Skirting this 
ridge, we suddenly come xipon an artificial cutting, just 
wide enough to allow the ])assage of a chariot. At the en- 
trance, holes were cut into the rock on both sides, evidently 
used in ancient times for closing and barring a passage-way. 
The cutting through the rock was from six to eight feet 
deep and from sixty to eighty yards in length. The deep 
ruts of the chariot-wheels were distinctly visible. Here and 
there on the sides steps had been cut leading to the ridge, 
which had been fortified. 

Passing through this cutting, we debouch upon a sandy 
plain and a reedy marsh, in which my companion had the 
year before killed a wild boar; and here we Avere in the 
presence of a majestic ruin. Immediately facing us was a 
fragment of wall, eighty feet high, sixteen feet thick, and 
thirty-five yards long. It towers to a height of one hun- 
dred and twenty feet above the sea, and is a conspicuous 
landmark. It has been partially stri))ped of the external 
layer of carved stone blocks, and has furnished a quarry to 
the inhabitants for some centuries. The wall had evidently 
once continued across the base of the promontory upon 
which the ancient fortress and town were built. Passing up 
a rocky passage and under an archway of comparatively 
modern date, and v.iiich could still be closed by means of 
massive wooden doors, we enter the enceinte, and discover 
that the whole promontory is underlaid with huge vaults. 
It became also evident that the immense fragment I have de- 
scribed was the outer wall of a large building, for on the 
inside were three ribbed, i:)ointed arches, supported on cor- 
bels, representing on the left a bearded head, on the right a 
head shaven on the crown, with curling hair on the sides; 
in the centre a cantalever, with three lilies in low relief. As 


the roof had fallen in, the spring of the arches alone re- 
mained. The whole was constructed of blocks of stone about 
three feet long, two feet high, and two feet wide. The prom- 
ontory upon which all this solid masonry had been erected 
was washed on three sides by the sea. It rose above it pre- 
cipitously to a height of about fifty feet. The area was occu- 
pied by a miserable population of possibly a hundred squalid, 
half-clad Arabs, whose huts were built among the ruins, thus 
preventing any effectual examination of them. It would be 
difficult to conceive a greater contrast than is presented by 
these wretched fellahin and their burrowing habitations with 
the splendour of the edifices and the opulence which must 
have characterized the former inhabitants. Here and there we 
see a fragment of a granite column, while, when we reach the 
brink of the cliff which forms the sea-face of the promontory, 
we are again surprised at the stupendous scale of these an- 
cient works, and of the sea-wall built out upon a ledge of 
rocks, exposed to the full fury of the waves, and still stand- 
ing to a height of forty or fifty feet. 

To the right of the promontory, a wall, the base of which 
is washed by the waves, is perforated by three arches. It 
presents a most picturesque a|)pearance. The southern face 
is, however, the most perfect. Here there Avere evidently 
two tiers of walls, one upon the sea-level and one upon the 
face of the cliff. Descending into the space between these 
I perceived an opening in the side of the rock, and found 
myself in a vaulted chamber, which was suflSciently lighted 
by apertures in the rock for me to measure it roughly. I es- 
timated the length at a hundred and twenty feet, the breadth 
at thirty -six, and the height at thirty. It so happened 
that on the occasion of my visit it was blowing half a gale 
of wind from the seaward. The breakers were rolling in 
upon the reefs at the base of the promontory, throwing 
their spray high up on the ruined walls, and producing an 
effect which, with the grandeur of the surroundings, was in- 
describably impressive. This chamber was the handsomest 
of a series of vaults, several others of which I have explored 
under the guidance of the shiek, by means of candles and 
torches. They are altogether six in number, running round 
a rectangle measuring about five hundred feet by three 

10 HAIFA. 

lniiulrL(l. Tlu'v arc of (lifTcrciil .sizes, varyiiiL;^ from fifty to 
tlui'o liuiulri'd foot ill Irii^tli, from tliirty to lifty in breadth, 
an<l from tweiity-iive to thirty in heij^ht. 

The name of tlie town -which stood Iicre in ancient times 
has never been discovered. This is the more sinc;nhir as it 
must evidently have been a pLacc of considerable im])or- 
tanee in the time of the Romans, more probably as a fortress 
than as a j)lace of commerce. Its natural advantages for 
defence suggest themselves at once. It is important in the 
history of the crusades as being the last spot hekl in Pales- 
tine by the crusaders, -who evacuated it in 1291. It was 
then destroyed by the Sultan Melik el Ashraf, so that the 
most modern parts of the ruins arc only six hundred years 
old. But the crusaders must have entered into possession 
of what Avas then an ancient fortress in a high state of pres- 
ervation. When they took it, it became celebrated as Cas- 
tellum Peregrinorum, or the Castle of the Pilgrims. It is 
also spoken of in the crusading records as Petra Incisa, 
from the fact that it was entered through the cutting in the 
rock Avhich I have described. In 1218 the Knights Tera- 
]dars restored the castle, and constituted it the chief seat of 
their order. They found " a number of strange, unknown 
coins." That it was a place of great strength may be in- 
ferred from the fact that it was chosen by such good judg- 
es as the Knights Templars as their chief stronghold; that 
it was successfully besieged by one of the sultans of Egypt, 
and that it was finally abandoned only because every other 
crusading possession in Palestine had succumbed. 


Haifa, Dec. 10. — About sixteen miles to the south of the 
projecting point of Carmel, upon which the celebrated mon- 
astery is perched above the sea, there lies a tract of land 
which has suddenly acquired an interest owing to the fact 
of its having been purchased by the Central Jewish Coloni- 
zation Society of Rouniania, with a view of placing iipon it 
emigrants of the Hebrew persuasion who have been com- 
pelled to quit the country of their adoption in consequence of 
the legal disabilities to which they are subjected in it, and 
who have determined upon making a bona Jide attempt to 
change the habits of their lives and engage in agricultural 
pursuits. I was invited by the local agent in charge of 
this enterprise to accompany him on a visit to the new 
property, whither he was bound with a view of making ar- 
rangements for housing and placing upon it the first settlers. 
Traversing the northern portion of the fertile plain of Sha- 
ron, which extends from Jaffa to Carmel, we enter by a 
gorge into the lower spurs of the Carmel range, which is 
distant at this point about three miles from the seacoast, 
and, winding up a steep path, find ourselves upon a fertile 
plateau about four hundred feet above the level of the sea. 
Here over a thousand acres of j^asture and arable land have 
been purchased, on which a small hamlet of half a dozen 
native houses and a storehouse belonging to the late pro- 
prietor compose the existing accommodation. This hamlet 
is at present occupied by the fellahin wlio worked the land 
for its former owner, and it is proposed to retain their ser- 
vices as laborers and copartners in the cultivation of the soil 
until the new-comers shall have become sufficiently indoc- 
trinated in the art of agriculture to be able to do for them- 

The experiment of associating Jews and Moslem fellahin 

12 HAIFA. 

ill iu'ld labor will be an interesting one to watch, and the 
preliminary discussions on the subject were inore pictu- 
res'juo than satisfactory. The meeting took ])laco in the 
storehouse, where Jews and Arabs s(]uatted promiscuously 
amid the heaps of grain, and ehafTered over the terms of 
their mutual copartnership. It would be difhcult to im- 
a2:iue anvthiiiix more utterly incon<j:ru()us than the spectacle 
thus ]>resented — the stalwart fellahin, with their Avild, 
shaggy, black beards, the brass hilts of their pistols project- 
ing from their waistbands, their tasselled kufeihahs drawn 
tightly over their heads and girdled with coarse black 
cords, their loose, flowing abbas, and sturdy bare legs and 
feet; and the ringleted, effeminate - looking Jews, in caf- 
tans reaching almost to their ankles, as oily as their red or 
sandy locks, or the expression of their countenances — the 
former inured to hard labor on the bnrnincj hillsides of 
Palestine, the latter fresh from the Ghetto of some Rou- 
manian town, unaccustomed to any other description of ex- 
ercise than that of their wits, but already quite convinced 
that they knew more about agriculture than the people of 
the country, full of suspicion of all advice tendered to them, 
and animated by a pleasing self-confidence which I fear tlie 
first practical experience will rudely belie. In strange con- 
trast with these Roumanian Jews was the Arab Jew who 
acted as interpreter — a stout, handsome man, in Oriental 
garb, as unlike his European coreligionists as the fellahin 
themselves. My friend and myself, in the ordinary costume 
of the British or American tourist, completed the party. 

The discussion was protracted beyond midnight — the na- 
tive peasants screaming in Arabic, the Roumanian Israel- 
ites endeavoring to outtalk them in German jargon, the 
interpreter vainly trying to make himself heard, everybody 
at cross - purposes because no one was patient enough to 
listen till another had finished, or modest enough to wish to 
hear anybody speak but himself. Tired out, I curled my- 
self on an Arab coverlet, which seemed principally stuffed 
with fleas, but sought repose in vain. At last a final rup- 
ture was arrived at, and the fellahin left us, quivering with 
indignation at the terms proposed by the new-comers. 
Sleep brought better counsel to both sides, and an arrange- 


ment was finally arrived at next morning which I am afraid 
has only to be put into operation to fail signally. There is 
nothing more simple than farming in co-operation with the 
fellahin of Palestine if you go the right v/ay to work about 
it, and nothing more hopeless if attempted upon a system 
to which they are unaccustomed. Probably, after a consid- 
erable loss of time, money, and especially of temper, a more 
practical modus operandi will be arrived at. I am bound to 
say that I did not discover any aversion on the part of the 
Moslem fellahin to the proprietorship by Israelites of their 
land, on religious grounds. The only difficulty lay in the 
division of labor and of profit, Avhere the owners of the 
land were entirely ignorant of agriculture, and therefore de- 
pendent on the co-operation of the peasants, on terms to 
be decided between them. 

I eagerly welcomed the first streaks of dawn to get out 
of the close atmosphere in which three had been sleeping be- 
sides myself, and watch the sun rise over the eastern moun- 
tains of Palestine. Ascending to the top of the hill in rear 
of the hamlet, I enjoyed a magnificent view. To the south 
the eye followed the coast-line to a point where the ruins of 
Cresarea, plainly visible through a glass, bounded the pros- 
pect. From the plain of Sharon, behind it, the hills rose in 
swelling undulations, unusually v/ell-wooded for Palestine, to 
a height of about two thousand feet, the smoke of numerous 
villages mingling with the morning haze. In the extreme 
distance to the northeast might be discerned the lofty sum- 
mits of Hermon, and in the middle distance the rounded 
top of Tabor ; while northward, in immediate proximity, 
was the range of Carmel, with the Mediterranean bounding 
the western horizon. While exploring the newly purchased 
tract and examining its agricultural capabilities, I came 
upon what were evidently the traces — they could hardly be 
called the ruins — of an ancient town. They were on a 
rocky hillside, not far from the hamlet. My attention was 
first attracted by what had evidently been an old Roman 
road, the Avorn ruts of the chariot - wheels being plainly 
visible in the rock. Farther on were the marks of ancient 
quarrjdng, the spaces in the rock, about two feet square, 
showing where massive blocks had been hewn. The former 


owners of the property, observinf^ the interest witli avIucIi I 
cxnininod these traces, took me to a spot Avliere tlie natives, 
in quarrying, had nnearlhed a piece of Avail composed of 
stone bloeks of the same size, neatly fitted, and approached 
by steps carved in the rock. In" close proximity to this was 
a monument, the meaning of which I was for some time at 
a loss to conjecture. It consisted of three sides of a square 
excavation hewn out of the solid rock of the liillside, un- 
covered, and the depth of which it was diihcult to deter- 
mine, on account of the debris which had accumulated. 
Upon the faces of the chamber thus formed, rows of small 
niches had been carved, each niche about a foot high, six 
inches wide, and six inches deep. The niches were about 
two inches apart, and on one face I counted six rows or 
tiers of eighteen niches each. The other sides were not so 
perfect, and the rock had broken away in places. I finally 
decided that the Avhole had probably in ancient times been 
a vault appropriated to the reception of cinerary urns, but 
the matter is one which I must leave to some more ex- 
perienced ar-tiquarian than I am to determine definitely. 
It is not to be wondered at that this obscure and partially 
concealed ruin should have escaped the notice of the Pales- 
tine Exploration Survey. 

One of the fellahin now told us of a marvel in the neigh- 
bourhood. It was a hole in the rock, to which, by apply- 
ing one's ear, one could hear the roar of a mighty river. 
Attracted by the prospect of so singular a phenomenon, wo 
scrambled through the prickly underwood with which the 
hillsides are thickly covered, and finally emerged upon a 
small valley, at the head of which was an open grassy space, 
and near it a table of flat limestone rock. In the centre 
of it was an oblong hole, about two inches by three, the 
sides of which had been worn smooth by the curious or 
superstitious, who had probably visited the spot for ages. 
First, the Arab stretched himself at full length, and laid 
his ear npon the aperture. I followed suit, and became 
conscious not only of a strong draught rushing ujiward 
from subterranean depths, but of a distant roaring sound, 
as of a remote Niagara. For a moment I was puzzled, 
and the Arab was triumphant, for I had treated his rush- 


ing subterranean river with a contemptuous scepticism ; yet 
here were undeniably tlie sounds of roaring water. Had 
it been a distant gurgle or trickle it would have been ex- 
plicable, but it was manifestly impossible tliat any river 
could exist large enough to produce the- sounds I heard. 
Though the day was perfectly still, the draught upward 
was strong enough to blow away the corner of a hand- 
kerchief held over the mouth of the hole. At last I solved 
the iH'oblem to my own satisfaction. By ascending the hill 
on the right the roar of " the loud - voiced neighbouring 
ocean," distant between two and three miles, was distinctly 
audible. It had been blowing the day before, and the 
rollers were breaking upon the long line of coast. I now 
conjectured that the crack in the rock must extend to some 
cavei'n on the seashore, and form a sort of whispering-gal- 
lery, conducting the sound of the breakers Avith great dis- 
tinctness to the top of the hills, but blending them so much 
that it seemed at first a continuous rushing noise. This 
was an explanation contrary to all tradition, and it was re- 
ceived by the Arab with incredulity. 

We now descended once more to the plains, and, cross- 
ing them, reached the village of Tantura, where we arrived 
about midday, passing first, however, the ruined fortress of 
Muzraa, a massive block of masonry about fifty yards 
square, the walls of which are standing to a height of about 
ten feet ; then turning aside to the old Roman bridge, which 
spans in a single high arch the artificial cutting through 
the limestone rocks by which the ancients facilitated the 
egress of a winter-torrent to the sea. The inhabitants of 
Tantura have the reputation of being very bad people, and 
three years ago I saw a party of French tourists at Jeru- 
salem who had been attacked and robbed by them. We 
were, however, entertained with the greatest hospitality, 
having a levee of the sheik and village notables, and with 
difficulty escaping from a banquet which they were prepar- 
ing for us. They live in a miserable collection of hovels 
amid the almost defaced ruins of the old town, traces of 
which, however, are abundant in the neighbourhood. A 
lofty fragment of wall on a projecting promontory half a 
mile to the north of the town is all that remains of what 

10 HAIFA. 

must liavc been a castle of grand dimensions. A cliain of 
small, rocky islets, a few hundred yards from tlic shore, 
forms a sort of natural breakwater, and at very little ex- 
pense Tantura could be converted into a good ])ort. As it 
is, wlu'ii (he weather is smooth, native craft run in here, and 
when once at their anchorage can defy any gale. Tantura, 
or Dor, was one of the towns assigned to the half tribe of 
3Ianasseh, but we read that they failed to c\\)q\ the Ca- 
naanites from it, though Avlien Israel " became strong they 
put them to tribute, but did not utterly drive them out." 

In the time of the Romans Dor was a mercantile town of 
some importance, and, though in the wars of the Diadochi 
it was besieged and partly destroyed, the Roman general 
Gabinius restored the town and harbor, and its architectu- 
ral beauty was such that we read that even in the time of 
St. Jerome its ruins were still an object of admiration. Un- 
fortunately, since the Turkish occupation, all these coast 
cities have been used as quarries for the construction of 
mosques and fortifications. The marble and granite pil- 
lars and columns, and the carved blocks of stone which 
formed the outside casings of the walls, have been carried 
away, leaving nothing but the mere skeletons of ruins as 
forlorn and desolate as the peasantry who find shelter be- 
neath them. 


Haifa, Dec. 25. — There are probably not many of your 
readers who have ever heard of " The Temple Society," 
and yet it is a religions body numbering over 5000 mem- 
bers, of Avhom more than 300 are in America, 1000 in Pales- 
tine, and the remainder scattered over Europe, principally 
in Germany, Russia, and Switzerland. 

The founder of the sect, if sect it can be called, is a cer- 
tain Prof. Christopho Hoffman of Wurtemberg, who, after 
studying at the University of Tubingen about thirty - five 
years ago, became a minister of the Lutheran Church and 
the principal of the College of Crischona, not far from 
Basle, in Switzerland. Here he became known as entertain- 
ing certain theological opinions which soon acquired some 
notoriety, as they consisted mainly of a criticism on the ac- 
tion of the Church with reference to the rationalistic opin- 
ions then becoming prevalent in Germany, and which found 
their culminating expression in the v/ritings of the late Dr. 
Sti-auss. Mr. Hoffman, who was an ardent opponent of the 
modern and sceptical tendency of German thought, attrib- 
uted its growing influence to the feeble opposition offered 
to it by the Church, and maintained that its impotency to 
arrest the evil arose from the inconsistent practice of its 
members with the moral teaching which they professed. 
Under the influence of this conviction he abandoned his 
charge at Crischona, and with his brothers-in-law founded 
a college at "Salon," not far from Stuttgart, and commenced 
an agitation in favour of church reform, both in written 
publications and by his personal influence. He was shortly 
after elected to the Diet at Frankfort, where he presented a 
petition signed by 12,000 persons in favour of reform of the 
Lutheran Churcli. 

His Biblical studies at this time, especially of the book of 

18 HAIFA. 

Revelations, led him to the conchisiou that the ])erio(l of 
the soooiul advent of the ]\Iossiah was appvoaoliing, hut that 
Christ could onlv be received bv a Church v.liich had at- 
tempted to embody his moral teaching in daily life; in fact, 
that he could only recognize those as his own at hi:^ second 
coming who had succeeded in practically apjjlying the ethi- 
cal code which he had tauglit when he came first; and he 
reproaclied the Church with failing to inaugurate a social 
reconstruction which should render possible a Christ life 
iu the true acceptation of the term, A doctrine based on 
Scripture, and directed against the ecclesiastical system to 
Avhich he belongctl, naturally brought him into direct collis- 
ion Avith it; and as an interpretation of the New Testament 
which strikes at the root of all compromise between pro- 
fession and practice must ever be an inconvenient doctrine 
to churches which are based upon such compromise, Mr. 
Hoffman was summarily expelled, carrying with him, how- 
ever, a large body of followers. 

He now, with a few friends, established a sort of colony 
in Wiirtemberg, where an effort was made to put into daily 
practice these high aspirations, and the number of adher- 
ents throughout Europe and in America grew as his views 
began to be more widely promulgated and understood. In 
1867 the more prominent members of the society held a 
meeting, at which it was decided that as the second advent 
of the Messiah Avas expected to occur in Palestine, the Holy 
Land was the fitting \>lace for the establishment of the cen- 
tral point of the Church which was preparing itself to re- 
ceive him ; that there should be laid the corner-stone of the 
new spiritual temple which gave the name of the society ; 
and that it was the first duty of those who Avcro waiting 
for his cominsc to restore the land to which so manv Bibli- 
cal promises especially attached. "While they considered 
that the new kingdom which was to own Christ as its king 
was to embrace all those who were prepared to receive him, 
in all lands and from among all races, yet the spiritual throne 
would be erected in Palestine, and its material restoration 
must be a necessary preliminary to its final and ultimate re- 
demption. It was therefore decided that while the great 
majority of the members of the society should remain iu 


Europe to witness for the truth, and to contribute to the 
support of the attempt to be made in the Holy Land, a cer- 
tain number should proceed thither to establish themselves 
in trade and agriculture, and endeavour by the example of 
honest industry to elevate the native population and redeem 
the land from its present Avaste and desolate condition. 

In 1868 Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Hartegg, and some others went 
to Constantinople with a view of obtaining a firman from 
the Porte, but, failing in this, they proceeded in the follow- 
ing year to Palestine, where, attracted by the great advan- 
tages of soil, climate, and position offered by the lands at 
the foot of Mount Carmel, in the neighbourhood of Haifa, 
they fixed upon that locality as the initial point of the en- 
terprise. Hither shortly flocked agriculturists and handi- 
craftsmen representing all the important industries, and they 
proceeded to lay out their village and build their houses on 
the slope between the foot of the mount and the sea, about 
a mile to tlie westward of the native town; but they soon 
found that it was impossible to do this Avithout meeting 
with the most strenuous opposition on the part of the na- 
tive government, and incurring the covert hostility of the 
monks Avho have for seven hundred years enjoyed a spiritual 
monopoly of Mount Carmel. As the colonists w'ere almost 
without exception men of very moderate means, and be- 
lieved in the responsibilities of individual ownership, and 
not in any communistic system, they soon found themselves 
engaged in a severe and unequal struggle. 

Ignorant of the language, the country, the methods of 
agriculture, the manners and customs of the inhabitants, 
wdio regarded them askance, and unused to the climate, their 
faith and powers of endurance were taxed to the utmost. 
Not only did they persevere Avith the most unflinching reso- 
lution at Haifa, but extended their operations to Jaffa, Avhere 
at that time a colony of American Adventists, Avhom some 
of your readers may remember, and who had emigrated 
there about twenty years ago, was in process of dissolution. 
Purchasing the remains of their settlement, a new group of 
the Temple Society established themselves there. Since 
then two more colonics have been formed, one at Sarona, 
about an hour distant from Jaffa, and one in the immediate 

20 HAIFA. 

luitjhbourliood of Jerusalem, wlierc the leader, Mr. Hoffman, 
at ]irescnt resides. 

'riie united ]iopnlation of these four colonies amounts to 
about one thousand souls, besides Avhich a few families are also 
established at Bcyrout and Nazareth. But the largest settle- 
ment is at Haifa, where the society numbers over three hun- 
dred. These now, after fourteen years of vicissitudes, a])pear 
to be entering upon a period of comparative prosperity. They 
have not long since comideted a twelve years' struggle with 
the government for the legalization of the titles to their land, 
Avhich the authorities endeavoured to prevent by throwing 
every possible obstacle in the way ; and while the question 
was pending they Avere compelled to pay their taxes through 
the nominal native owners, who assessed the lands at four 
times their actual value, putting the balance into their own 
pockets. All these difficulties have, however, at last been 
surmounted. They now hold their seven hundred acres of 
fine arable and vine land free of all encumbrance, and their 
well- cultivated fields, trim gardens, and substantial white 
stone mansions form a most agreeable and unexpected pict- 
ure of civilization ui)on this semi-barbarous coast. 

Meanwhile, the influence of three hundred industrious, 
simple, honest farmers and artificers has already made its 
mark upon the surrounding Arab joopulation, who have 
adopted their improved methods of agriculture, and whose 
own industries have received a stimulus which bids fair to 
make Haifa one of the most prosperous towns on the coast. 
Already, since the advent of the Germans, the native poi>u- 
lation has largely increased. Kcav stone houses have sprung 
up in all directions, and many are in course of construction. 
The value of land has increased threefold, and the statistics 
of the port show a large increase in the exports and imports. 
Perhaps the most remarkable innovation is the introduction 
of wheeled vehicles. Fifteen years ago a cart had never 
been seen by the inhabitants of Haifa. Omnibuses, owned 
and driven by natives, now run four or five times a day be- 
tween Haifa and Acre, the capital of the province, distant 
about ten miles. It is true that the road is the smooth sea 
beach, and that its excellence varies according to the state 
of the tide, but in this country carts come before roads, and 


fortunately its topographical features have been favourable 
to the employment of "wheeled vehicles. On one side of 
Carmel, extending southward, is the plain of Sharon, and 
over this one may drive to Jaffa without the necessity of 
road-making, so level and free from natural obstacle is it. 
On the other we may cross with equal ease the plain of Es- 
draclon to the Sea of Tiberias — the experiment laaving been 
made recently — and a road has been constructed to Nazareth, 
distant about twenty-two miles. This involved an expenditure 
on the part of the colonists of about one thousand dollars. 
It is used largely by the Arabs, who have contributed 
nothing towards it; but the effect on their minds, as they 
drive over it in their own carts, and remember that they 
ov/e both cart and road to the colonists, whom at first they 
mistrusted and disliked, is a sound moral investment, and 
bears its fruit in many ways. 

Fifteen years ago no one could venture outside the town 
gates to the westward after nightfall, for fear of being way- 
laid and robbed by the lawless inhabitants of Tireh — a vil- 
lage noted for its bad character, about seven miles distant — 
who used to come marauding up to the outskirts of Haifa. 
Now one can ride and walk with safety in all directions and 
at all hours. The Germans have most of them learned to 
talk Arabic, and many an Arab that one meets salutes you 
with a giiten morgen or giiten abend, though that is probably 
the limit of their linguistic accomplishments ; but they re- 
spect and like the colonists, and a good deal of land is now 
cultivated on shares by Germans and Arabs, who seem to 
arrange their business and agricultural operations to their 
mutual satisfaction and in perfect harmony. When we re- 
member that the Carmelite monks have held the mountain 
for seven hundred years, and compare their influence over 
the native population with that which these honest Germans 
have acquired by simple example during less than fifteen, 
we have a striking illustration of the superiority of practice 
to preacliing, for it should be remarked that any attempt at 
proselytism is entirely foreign to their principles. Their 
whole effort has been to commend their Christianity by 
scrupulous honesty in their dealings, by the harmony and 
simplicity of their conduct, and by the active industry of 
their lives. 


Haifa, Jan. 20, 1883. — In a former letter I gave you 
a sketch of the origin of the Temple Society and of the 
religious motives "which have led to the establishment of 
four agricultural colonies in the Holy Land by emigrants 
from Germany, America, Russia, and Switzerland. As I 
have taken up my winter residence in the principal one of 
these, situated beneath the shadow^ of Mount Carmel, some 
description of the place and its resources may not be with- 
out interest for your readers. I know of no locality in the 
East which offers greater attractions of position, climate, 
and association than this spot. Thanks to the efforts of the 
colonists, it has become an oasis of civilization in the wilder- 
ness of Oriental barbarism, where the invalid in search of 
health, or the tourist on the lookout for a comfortable rest- 
ing-place on his travels, will find good accommodation, and 
all the necessaries, if not the luxuries, of civilized life. 

Throughout the whole length of the coast of Palestine 
from Tyre to Gaza, only one deep indentation occurs. This 
is where it sweeps in a curve around the old fortress of St. 
Jean d'Acre, and terminates in the projecting precipice 
upon whose ledge the monastery of Carmel is situated. 
The bay thus formed is nine miles across from Acre to Car- 
mel, and about four miles broad. It is bordered the whole 
distance by a smooth, hard beach, at the southeastern and 
most sheltered extremity of which is situated the town of 
Haifa, a modern native town, squeezed in between an over- 
hanging bluff, on which are the ruins of an old castle, and 
the sea. It owes its origin to the arbitrary act of a pacha 
who, about a century ago, had rendered himself quasi-inde- 
pendent of the Porte, and established the seat of his gov- 
ernment at Acre. The population of old Haifa, situated 
near the point, having rebelled against him, he punished 


them Ly razins; it to the ground, and transported the inhab- 
itants to the edge of the bay under the rock, on which he 
put a castle, while he surrounded them with a wall, thus 
keeping them prisoners. When he died, his successor was 
suppressed, the garrison of the castle was removed, and the 
wall was allowed to fall into disrepair. The inhabitants, 
who thus were restored, to liberty, accustomed to their new 
location, began to cultivate the surrounding land and to in- 
crease in wealth and prosperity. Their gardens spread to 
the eastward, where the brook Kishon, winding through a 
fertile plain, struggles to debouch into the sea, but only 
succeeds at certain seasons, owing to the huge sand-bars 
which form at its mouth. These dam it back into small 
lakes, which are surrounded by date-groves, thus forming a 
most agreeable feature in the scenery. Behind the plain 
rises the low, wooded range which is traversed by the road 
leadino; to Nazareth. 

Though Haifa is compai'atively modern, there are some 
traces of old ruins in the town, the walls of an old crusad- 
ing castle, one or two caverns, which bear marks of having 
been inhabited in the rocks immediately behind them, and 
the crumbling remains of an archway, dating, probably, from 
a period anterior to the crusades. Prior to the arrival of 
the colonists of the Temple Society, Haifa was as dirty 
as most Arab villages. It is now well paved throughout. 
The houses, all constructed of white limestone, quarries of 
which abound in the immediate vicinity, give it a clean and 
substantial appearance, and contain a bustling and thriving 
population of about six thousand inhabitants. Under the 
high cactus hedges at its eastern gateway are usually to be 
seen, squatting amid sacks of grain, hundreds of camels, 
which, attended by wild-looking Arabs, have arrived with 
their loads of cereals from the Hauran, on the other side of 
the Jordan; for Haifa is gradually becoming one of the 
great grain-exporting ports of the country, and one or two 
steamers are generally to bo seen loading in the harbour. 

Leaving the town by the western gateway, we ride for about 
a mile parallel to the seashore between high cactus hedges, 
and suddenly find ourselves apparently transported into the 
heart of Europe. Running straight back from the beach 

24 HAIFA. 

for ahont lialf a rtiilo, am"! sloping upward for al)out a hun- 
dred foot in that distance, to the base of the rooky sides of 
t'arniol, runs the viihige street. On eaoh side of it is a ])ath- 
way, willi a double row of shade-trees, and behind them a 
series of white stone houses, of one and two stories, generally 
with tiled roofs, each surrounded with its garden, and cacli 
with a text in German engraved over the doorway. Tlicre 
is another, smaller, parallel street. The whole settlement con- 
tains about sixty houses and three hundred inhabitants. The 
p]nglish, American, and German vice-consuls are all colonists. 
There is a skilled physician, an architect, and engineer in the 
colony, an excellent hotel, a school, and meeting-house. The 
German government subscribes two thirds and the colonists 
one third of the funds required for the school. Some of 
the colonists are in business, and have stores in Haifa. 
There is also a good store in the colony, where all the most 
important trades are represented. There is one wind grist, 
and one steam mill, the latter in process of erection. There 
is a manufactory of olive-oil soap, the export of which to 
America is yearly increasing, and now amounts to 50,000 
pounds, and which may be purchased in New York by such 
of your readers as have a fancy to wash their hands with 
soap direct from the Holy Land, made from the oil of the 
olives of Carmel, at F. B. Nichols's, 62 William Street. 
There is also a factory for the manufacture of articles from 

olive wood. 


Where Carmel rises abruptly from the upper end of the 
street, its rocky sides have been terraced to the sumiuit, and 
about a hundred acres are devoted to the cultivation of the 
vine. Unfortunately, the varieties which have been im- 
ported from Germany all suffer severely from mildew. I 
have therefore sent to the United States for Concords and 
some of the hardier American varieties. Alone: the lower 
slopes are thick groves of olives. Scarped along the rugged 
mountain - side leads the road to the monastery, distant 
about a mile and a half. Situated about live hundred feet 
above the sea, it forms a conspicuous object in the land- 
scape as seen from the colony. 

The views from the house in which I am living are a 
never-ending source of delight. To the east I look over 


the native town and harbour, with the date-groves and the 
plain of the Kishon beyond, backed by the wooded range 
which separates it from the plain of Esdraelon. To the 
northeast the eye rests on the picturesque outline of the 
mountains of northern Palestine, with the rounded top of 
Jebc'l Jernink rising to a height of 4000 feet in the middle 
distance, and snow-clad Ilermon towering behind to a height 
of 9000 feet. Immediately to the north, across the blue 
waters of the bay, the white walls and minarets of Acre 
rise from the margin of the sea, and beyond it the coast- 
line, terminating in the Avhite projecting cliff known as 
"The Ladder of Tyre," To the northwestward we look 
across a plain about a mile wide, containing the colony 
lands, and beyond is the sea horizon, till we turn sufficiently 
to meet Carmel bluff and monastery. Behind us the moun- 
tain rises precipitously, throwing us at this time of the year 
into shade by three in the afternoon. But even on New-Year's 
Day Ave do not grudge the early absence of the sun, for as 
I write the thermometer is standing at GG°'in the shade. It 
is not, however, the features of the scenery which constitute 
its chief beauty, but the wonderful variations of light and 
shade, and the atmospheric effects peculiar to the climate, 
which invest it with a special charm. On the plain to the 
west of the colony, which is bounded on two sides by the 
sea, on one by the mountain, and on one by the colony, are 
the traces of the old town of Haifa, mentioned in the Tal- 
mud, but not in the Bible, which was besieged and taken 
by storm by Tancred, the crusader, in 1100, with a massive 
ruin of sea-wall and other remains, from which I have al- 
ready dug out fragments of glass and pottery. Behind are 
the almost obliterated remains of an old fort, with here and 
there a piece of limestone cropping up, bearing the marks of 
man's handiwork. 

Everywhere in Palestine we come upon the evidences of 
its anticpiity. This plain, now made to yield of its abun- 
dance under the skilful labour of the German colonists, is no 
exception, for in the time of the Romans it was the site of 
the city of Sycaminum, and in the groovings of rocks upon 
which the sea now breaks we see the traces of what were 
its baths ; in the mounds we lind fragments of old masonry 

20 HAIFA. 

ami oeinoiit ; in tlie depressions we sec signs of wells, and 
in the roek euLtiiigs ol' tombs. Only the other day I found, 
while dicriiing in the garden for the prosaic ]>urpose of 
planting cabbages, a fragment of polished agate which 
lirt)bably formed a part of the tessellated pavement of some 
Koman villa. 

So the jirocess of decay and reconstruction goes on, and 
man is ever trying to rear something new on the ruins of 
the old. Let us hope that the sixty or seventy substantial 
iiouses of the new colony are but the outward and visible 
signs of that moral edifice which these good people have 
come to Palestine to erect, and that from the ruins of a 
crumbling ecclesiasticism they may build a temple worthy 
the worship of the future. 


Haifa, Feb. Y. — It was my fate as a child to live in a 
country-house in Scotland, of which one half was some cen- 
turies old, with stone walls several feet thick, and circular 
stone steps leading up into a mysterious tower, which was 
supposed to be haunted, and in which it was rumoured that 
a secret chamber existed, built in the wall, and I remember 
perfectly that certain places seemed to sound hollow to blows 
of a crowbar, which as I got older, I used to apply to sus- 
pected localities. It is more years than I care to think of 
since those days, but I can trace a resemblance to that child- 
ish feeling in the sensations by which I am animated when 
I wander over the gloomiest recesses of Carmel alone in 
search of caverns. 

It is called in some ancient Jewish record " the mountain 
of the thousand caves," and has been inhabited from time 
immemorial by hermits and religious devotees. Independ- 
ently of tlie Biblical record, we have historical traces of its 
holy character. According to the most ancient Persian 
traditions, sacred lire burned at the extreiue western point 
of Carmel. Suetonius speaks of the oracles of the god of Car- 
mel, and Alexander the Great repeats the saying. The 
Syrian city, Ecbatana, alluded to by Pliny, was situated on 
this mountain. Pythagoras lived here in retreat for some 
time because it had a reputation for superior sanctity, but 
Strabo mentions the caves as being haunts of pirates. They 
were doubtless used as places of refuge for bad characters, 
as well as of seclusion for pious ones. Others were used for 
tombs, others for crusaders' sentry-boxes, and now they are 
the retreat of flocks and herds, and in some instances store- 
houses for grain. 

Those, however, thus utilized are comparatively few in 
number; I believe many to be unknown even to the natives, 

28 HAIFA. 

while others are invest eel by them with a mysterious character, 
ami their diniensions are probably exaggerated. I have re- 
ceived accounts of some, Avhieh I hoi)e to visit, which are 
said to extend beyond any known exploration, of others 
which bear traces of carving and inscriptions, but noth- 
ing can be more uncertain or unsatisfactory than native 
accounts upon all matters where definite information is re- 
quired. I have tried ex])l()ring -svith guides and exploring 
alone, and have been almost as successful one way as the 

One of my first visits Avas to a ruin which I had observed 
crowning a summit of the range, but which was only visible 
from certain points, so shut in Avas it by the intervening 
mountain-tops. I started on horseback, determined to find 
my way alone, and struck into a valley where the narrow 
path followed a ledge of limestone rock, often not more than 
two feet wide. I soon found myself diving into a sombre 
gorge, the precipitous sides of which rose abruptly from the 
bed of the winter torrent. As I proceeded it became more 
and more uncanny; the path was so narrow I could no longer 
venture to risk my horse's footing, as a slip would have in- 
volved a fall of at least tvvo hundred feet. My ruin disap- 
peared, and my gorge seemed to trend away from it, the sun 
sank behind the range, and the deep gloom of the solitary 
valley, hemmed in on all sides by terraces of limestone, with 
here and there a fissure indicating some cavernous recess, 
was becoming depressing. 

I tried to turn, but the ledge was too narrow, so I was 
obliged to creep cautiously on in the wrong direction. 
I began now rather to fear lest I should meet some one, 
not merely because passing would have been impossible, 
but because the spot was eminently well calculated for an 
act of violence, and, while I always go about unarmed, I find 
that my neighbours seldom go out riding alone without 
carrying revolvers. The aspect of a Avild-looking Arab, 
with a gun slung behind him, suddenly turning a corner and. 
coming straight towards me, was, under these circumstances, 
not reassuring. Fortunately, at the moment I saw him I 
had reached a spot where a huge rock had been displaced, 
and had left a vacant space large enough to enable me to 


turn comfortably, and I retraced my steps, amply repaid for 
my failure in not reaching the ruin, by the solemn grandeur 
of the part of the mountain into which I had been penetrat- 
ing, and by finding my Aral), when he overtook me, to be a 
communicative and harmless individual, who was on his way 
home from a cave in which he stored his grain, and which 
he assured me I should have reached if I had continued a 
few hundred yards farther. Beyond this, he said, tlie path 
led nowhere. 

My next attempt was made with a friend who knew the 
svay, and who led me along a corresponding ledge upon the 
opposite side of the valley, into a side gorge, which we fol- 
lowed past a wall of rock, in which were two or three small 
caverns, which I entered, the largest not jnore than twelve 
or fourteen feet square, and showing no signs of having been 
inhabited. A huge rock detached from the mountain-side, 
and hollowed into a sort of gallery, is so celebrated among 
the natives that it has a name of its own. Just behind it we 
turned to scramble almost straight up the mountain-side, 
covered with a scrub composed of camelthorn, odoriferous 
thyme, sage, marjoram, and arbutus, and then found we 
were at the foot of seven clearly defined terraces, com- 
pletely encircling the rounded hill, upon the top of which 
stood the crumbling walls of an old fort, and which formed 
portions of its defences. On one of these stood a shepherd's 
hut, and inside the enclosure made of bushes Avas the en- 
trance to a cavern, about thirty yards long, four feet high, 
and twenty or thirty feet across. In it, when they were 
not out feeding, the shei^herd ke2:)t his fiock of long-eared 

Ascending to the ruin, I found it to consist of the remains 
of what had evidently been a fort, the walls of which, enclos- 
ing a space of about sixty yards long by forty broad, were 
standing to a height of eight or ten feet, and were composed 
of blocks of limestone. At one angle a portion of the fortress 
had at a later period been converted into a chui'ch, the apse, 
with its arches, being in a tolerable state of preservation. 
The name of this ruin is Rushraea, and according to the 
most reliable sources of information to Avhich I have had 
access, it was used by Saladin to watch the progress of the 

80 HAIFA. 

siege of Acre when that jilaoe was held by the crnsaclci'S. 
Prior to the crusatlos ami the formation of tlic order of the 
Carmelite monks, tlie monntain was inhabited by anchorites, 
some of whom claimed to have inherited the sacred char- 
acter of P^lijah and Elisha. For some time seven of tluiu 
seem to have divided the claim between them, and one of 
them is reported to have lived in a cave at Rnshmca, which 
is said to contain carving and inscriptions. It was for this cave 
I was especially in search; but though I have visited the lo- 
cality three times in all, twice with guides, and have found 
some seven or eight caves, one of Avhicli had a carved lime- 
stone entrance, none of them seemed of sufficient importance 
to answer the traditional description. A magnificent view 
is obtained from the ruin over the Bay of Acre, Avith the 
town in the distance and the plain of Kishon beneath, and 
plainly visible the famous well for the possession of which 
Saladin and Richai'd Co^ur de Lion fouglit. I have visited 
this celebrated source, with its massive masonry and crum- 
bling cistern, in the centre of which there is now a flourishing 
fig-tree. During the siege which Haifa then withstood, the 
town was completely destroyed, so that the crusading army 
had to remain in tents, and here it was that the lion-hearted 
king caught that severe fever which gave rise to reports of 
his death, and which resulted in his i-emaining for four weeks 
at Haifa to recover his health. That plain is as unhealthy 
now as it was then, and the date-groves, Avhich are its most 
striking feature, must have existed then, for they are men- 
tioned in the records of the year 1230, when King Ainalrich 
H. died of a surfeit of sea-fish, for which the place is cele- 

To return to Rushraea. The whole hill-top is covered with 
the traces of remains far anterior to the ruins of crusading 
times. Everywhere we come upon the solid limestone foun- 
dations of what must have been large buildings; there are 
flights of steps hewn in the rock, large square cuttings from 
which blocks have been taken, places where circular holes 
have been drilled, grooves, niches, and excavations. On a 
plateau about a hundred 3'ards to the west is a series of mas- 
sive stone arches in a very fair state of preservation. I 
found the elevation of Rushmea, by my aneroid, to be as 


nearly as jjossible seven hundred feet above the sea. In a val- 
ley behind it, and a hundred feet below it, are a dozen olive- 
trees of immense age, and near them a celebrated sjn-ing, 
called the Well of Elisha. It is not above twelve feet deep, 
and, on descending into it, I found that it was in fact not a 
spring, but a subterranean stream which enters a receptacle 
formed for it in the rock, from a cave at the side, and from 
which it disappears again. Instead of returning from Rush- 
mea by the way I had come, I pushed up to the head of the 
valley in which the spring is situated. On two of the hills 
which rise from it I found terraces and the foundations of 
stone edifices. Indeed, wherever one wanders in Carmel, 
one is apt to stumble upon these substantial records of its 
bygone history. As the mountain is aboiit thirteen miles 
long and nine miles wide at its southeastern extremity, and 
as every valley and hillside and plateau has at one time or 
other been inhabited, and as many of these remain still to be 
explored for the first time, there is abundant field for inves- 
tigation, and it is impossible to take a ride or a scramble in 
any direction without coming upon some object of interest. 
Nor is it possible to lose one's way Avhen alone, except to a 
limited extent, for the nearest hill-top, if you can get to it, is 
sure to let you know where you are. 

Thus leavino- Rushmea without a guide, and soon Avlthout 
a path, I pushed through the scrub, now dismounting and 
driving my horse before me, now forcing him, much to his 
discomfort, through the prickly bushes. Even at this time 
of year the hills are bright with scarlet anemones, and the 
delicate pink or white cyclamen, and fragrant with aromatic 
odours as we crush through the shrubs. Suddenly I came 
iipon the foundations of a wall, which I followed for about a 
hundred yards, and Avliich was about four feet in thickness. 
Near it, half hidden by the bushes,' was a circular block of 
limestone about five feet high and the same in diameter, in 
the centre of which had been drilled a hole. It looked like 
the section of some gigantic column such as Ave see in some 
of the temples of Upper Egypt; but it stood alone, and I fail 
to imagine its design. Possibly it may have been used for 
sacrificial purposes. Shortly after I found myself on a high, 
level plateau, where the soil was so excellent, and the rocks 

32 HAIFA. 

bad so far disapponrod, lliat it Avould do admirably for farm- 
in"; purposos. It seemed to extend over some luindreds 
of acres. Formerly, the Avholc of these fertile ti'acts of 
Carmcl -were covered with magnificent forests — even in 
the memory of man — but of late years the demand for 
charcoal has so mnch increased that the mountain has 
been almost completely denuded of trees, and although a 
strict order has been issued by the government against the 
felling of timber, it still continues, and, thanks to the system 
of backsheesh, the export of charcoal from Haifa last year 
exceeded that of any previous year. Kee])ing westward b)^ 
my compass I soon after struck a path, and iinally dropped 
down upon the German colony near Haifa, after a day's ram- 
ble through the most delightful scenery, every step of which 
•was replete with historical association and antiquarian in- 


Haifa, Feb. 12. — A more thorough examination of the 
rocky hillsides of the Carmel promontory in the vicinity of 
the celebrated monastery than I have been liitherto able to 
give it, has revealed many spots of interest, and one in par- 
ticular, which seems to have escaped the observation of the 
Palestine Exploration Fund Survey. About two miles and a 
half from Haifa the road to Jaffa passes between a project- 
ing spur of the range and a mound about a hundred feet 
high, which formed the centre of the ancient city of Sy- 
caminum, and which probably conceals some interesting re- 
mains, which I hope some day to be able to unearth. 

It projects out into the sea, and on the flat rocks at its 
base, over which the waves break in stormy weather, there is 
a large circular bath excavated by the Romans, about twen- 
ty feet in circumference, with a chaimel cut through the 
rock, which admits the rising tide. All round this mound 
are fragments of colunms, carved capitals, and blocks of 
polished marble, some of the lightest of which I have car- 
ried away; but it is upon the unknown contents of the 
mound itself that my imagination is ^irone to speculate. On 
the left of the road are caverns and rock-cut tombs, some 
containing the remains of loculi; and the surface of the 
smooth limestone rock leaves traces of ancient steps, and 
cuttings, showing that in old times the hand of man had 
been actively employed upon it. I had often examined these, 
and thought I had reached their limit, when, pushing my 
exploration farther up the steep hillside a few days ago, 
through the low brush by which it is covered, I unexpect- 
edly came upon a plateau eight or ten acres in area, and 
about two hundred feet above the level of the sea, covered 
with the debris of ancient ruins. It was evidently the up- 
per part of the old city of Sycaminum, and commanded a 

34 HAIFA. 

magnificent view of the coast-line soutlnvanl, and of what 
was formerly the lower town, which has heretofore been 
8U))))0se(.l to be all that there was of tlie city. 

This up]ier town, from its cool and delightful position, 
was probably the residence of the wealthier inhabitants; 
here, too, were fragments of marble columns and carved 
capitals, and conspicuous among them two gigantic old 
olive millstones, one about eight feet in diameter and two 
feet thick, and the other of less diameter, but of more 
than three feet in thickness. There were, moreover, many 
rock tombs with loculi, the fouiulations of ancient walls 
of immense thickness, and here and there fragments of 
the wall itself standing, in one place to a height of about 
five feet. But the most interesting find was a triangular 
piece of marble, on which was an inscription in a character 
Avhich may possibly be ancient Syriac. It is certainly not 
Greek, Roman, or Ilebrevv', though at the first glance I 
thought it was the former. Unfortunately, the stone has 
been cut since the inscription was engraved, and there are 
only a few letters of each word, one below the other, but it 
was evidently originally a long one, consisting of many 
lines. I also discovered here a cistern, with four circular 
apertures; causing myself to be lowered into it, I found 
it to be seventy feet long, supported by four pillars hewn 
from the living rock, lined with cement, and twenty feet 
high, from the debris with which it was partially choked. 
Altogether the place is Avell worth a fuller and more careful 
investigation, which I hope to give it. 

About an hour's ride farther south is an interesting spot 
called the Valley of the Martyrs, which, though rarely vis- 
ited, is well worth an excursion, not merely on account of 
its peculiar geological features and its great scenic attrac- 
tions, but from the historical associations which attach to it. 
It was towards the close of the twelfth century that Father 
Brocard was elected vicar -general of the order "of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmcl," whoso sanctuary 
had been long established upon the mountain, though the 
members of the order had their homes in its numerous cav- 
erns, resorting to the shrine only for purposes of worship, 
while they lived as scattered ascetics in the surrounding 


valleys. Father Brocard concoived the idea of collecting 
them in a monastery, and placing them under certain 
fixed regulations, which have ever since been the rules of 
the order, and which were sanctioned in a.d, 1207 by Saint 
Albert, Patriarch at Jerusalem, Pope's Legate, and then res- 
ident at Acre. 

It Avas in this gorge, which subsequently became known 
as the Valley of the Martyrs, that Father Brocard decided 
to build the first monastery, attracted thither, probably, by 
its beauty of situation and the copiousness of its springs, 
one of which is called after Elijah, as tradition has it that 
the inhabitants in his time complained of a lack of water, 
and he touched the rock and caused the present stream to 
gusli forth. It wells up from under the limestone rock, and 
flows through a channel cut for it, for a few yards, into a 
basin hollowed out of the solid rock, about twelve feet 
square and six feet deep; from here it flows down the nar- 
row gorge, and speedily expends itself in fertilizing some 
small gardens of figs, oranges, and pomegranates, which are 
wedged in between the rocky hillsides, and are tended by 
one or two poor families who live in caves. These gardens 
are now claimed by the present monastery, but there seems 
much doubt as to the validity of their title. 

It is safer to dismount after passing this spring, as we 
now have to cross the smooth sra-face of the limestone rock 
as we follow tlie steep path that leads up to the ruin of the 
old monastery, the position of which is indicated by the re- 
mains of an enormous wall which nearly reaches across the 
gorge, looking from below like some huge dam, and Avhich 
must have concealed the monastery itself from public gaze, 
except from the hills above. We are now struck by the ex- 
traordinary petrifactions over whicli we are passing. The 
path is worn deep by centuries into the soft limestone, in 
the sides of which appear layers of petrified twigs and 
branches of the bushes of a bygone period. They are per- 
fectly white, except where fractures exhibit the black flint 
core; but in some instances the form of the branch is perfect 
with all its twigs. Passing under the projecting buttress of 
the dam-like wall, we suddenly open on a terrace covered 
with vines and fruit-trees on one side, and find oui'selvcs at 

30 HAIFA. 

the moutli of a lars;e cave on the other, EnterinGr this, if 
WO are willing to hrave the fleas — for, as it is generally in- 
habited by an Arab family, they abound — we find that we 
are in a spaeious apartment supi)urted by a column of solid 
rock, while all around are mangers for liorses, cut out of the 
stone. Of these we count fourteen, whicli will give some 
idea of the size of the cave. Probably in crusading times 
it was a cavalry outpost, affording, from its strong natural 
position and proximity to the plain of Sharon, a splendid 
point of vantage from which to pounce upon an unsuspect- 
ing enemy. 

Ascending from the cave by some steps to the terrace, we 
come unexpectedly upon a delicious spring overshadowed 
by spreading lig-trees, which lills with crystal water a basin 
that has been hollowed out of the overhanging rock; from 
this it trickles into another stone-cut reservoir, from whence 
it is led by a stone channel, hollowed by the monks, to the 
monastery itself, one small room of which is still standing. 
The rock rises perpendicularly behind, and is scooped here 
and there into recesses, which were formerly, doubtless, the 
cells of monks, while the cool shade of spreading fruit-trees, 
the beauty of tlie view, the presence of running water, and 
the ever-blowing southwest wind, of which they got the 
full benefit, must have modified to a considerable extent the 
austerities of their existence. 

There came a day, however, when their peaceful solitude 
was rudely disturbed. In 1238 the Saracens came upon 
them unexpectedly, and massacred them all, not leaving one 
to tell the bloody tale. There seems to be no record of the 
actual number who fell victims upon this occasion, but they 
must have been very numerous, as the Monastery of St. 
Brocard had become a refuge for monks from all parts of 
Palestine, who fled hither to escape the persecution to 
wdiich they were being subjected in other parts of the coun- 
iYj. Not content with putting them to death, the Saracens 
dragged their bodies down to the Spring of Elijah, and flung 
them into the square reservoir there, Avhich I have already 
described. According to the ptious chronicler of this tragic 
event, the spring immediately refused to flow, and when the 
Christians of Acre, hearing the news, came to bury their co- 


religionists, they found it dry. When they had completed 
their melancholy task, they prayed that the water might 
commence to run once more, which it immediately did, and 
has never ceased since. 

The result of this tragedy was the practical expulsion of 
the order of the Carmelites from Palestine. The Monastery 
of St. Brocard, after its short-lived existence, fell into ruins, 
and more than four hundred years elapsed before the order 
once more secured a footing on Mount Carmel, and built a 
■ monastery upon it at the end of the promontory, which 
served as a hospital for the French soldiers during Napo- 
leon's occupation of this part of the country. His hurried 
evacuation of Palestine involved the destruction of the mon- 
astery and the massacre of all the Avounded, to whose mem- 
ory a monument has since been erected in the garden at- 
tached to the present edifice. But there can be no doubt 
that both for picturesqueness and historical association the 
old ruin of the Monastery of Saint Brocard, Avhich altogether 
escapes the attention of the tourist and the pilgrim, is far 
more interesting than the modern monastery, which is not 
fifty years old, and which is about two miles distant from 
this old site. 

On the top of the hill above the ruins of the Monastery of 
St. Brocard is a plateau, called the Garden of Elijah, or the 
field of melons, which is abundantly strewn with geodes, or 
fragments of calcareous stone, having all the shape and ap- 
pearance in many cases of petrified fruit, the crystallization 
of the centres when they are split open having confirmed this 
idea, thus doubtless giving rise to the legend that Elijah on 
one occasion, passing through the gardens which were once 
situated here, asked the proprietor for some fruit. He re- 
plied, not wishing to comply with the request, that they 
were stones, on which the jirophet, apparently in a fit of 
temper, said, "Well, stones let them remain," and stones 
they have remained ever since. I found some curious spec- 
imens so like small melons that one can well understand 
how this fable may have originated among an ignorant pop- 



Nazareth, Feb. 18. — Thei-e is a low range of Lills, about 
five luiiidred feet above the sea -level, half- way between 
Haifa and Nazareth. It is beautifully timbered with oalc- 
trees, and cut up into the most cliarming valleys. Run- 
ning almost due north and south, it divides the plain of 
Esdraelon from that of Acre. Its southern extremity, ter- 
minating abruptly, forms a small gorge with the Carmel 
range, through Avhieh the Kishon forces its Avay to the sea. 
It was during a heavy rain-storm a week ago that I ap- 
proached the ford of this river from Haifa. It was not 
without trepidation, for the stream had been so swollen by 
recent rains that communication with the interior had been 
interrupted. It was doubtful whether the passage of this 
river, which almost dries up in summer, would not involve 
a ducking. I therefore prudently requested my companion 
to precede me into the yellow, swirling stream, and although 
the water came up to our saddle-bags, the horses managed 
to get across without losing their footing. Then we gal- 
loped into the oak-woods. The sun broke out from behind 
the clouds, and w'e determined to prosecute our search for 
certain caves, of the existence of which we had heard, and 
which, owing to th£ state of the Aveather, we had almost 
decided to abandon. 

Leaving the high-road to Nazareth to the right, we fol- 
lowed a path for about half an hour which took us to the 
village of Sheik Abreik. It was a miserable collection of 
mud hovels, in the muddiest of which dwelt the sheik. 
After much palaver and j^romises of abundant backsheesh 
we got him to admit the existence of the caverns of which 
we were in search, and persuaded him to be our guide to 
them. The first M'as called by the Arabs "The Cave of 


Hell," Its entrance seemed to justify the ill-omened appel- 
lation. It Avas a steep, sloping tunnel into the bowels of 
the eartli, just large enough to admit the passage of a man's 
body. To slide into this feet foremost after a heavy rain 
involved a coating of mud from top to toe. After going 
down a few yards we found a chamber in whicb Ave could 
stand erect. Here we lighted our candle and looked about 
us. We found that it was the first of a series of similar 
chambers opening one into another. Each contained loculi, 
liewn out of the solid rock. The entrances to these cham- 
bers were arched. The pilasters on each side of the entrance 
were in some cases ornamented with rude sculptures and 
decorated with designs in a yelloAV pigment. These were in 
the form of curves, scrolls, and circles, and were carried over 
the roof. Each chamber was about ten feet long by six 
feet wide, and on an average contained three tombs or loculi, 
one across the chamber, facing the entrance, and one on 
each side. There do not seem ever to have been lids to 
these stone receptacles for the corpses. 

The bodies Avere embalmed, Avrapped in cloths, as Ave read 
in Scriptural accounts of burials, notably in that of our 
Saviour. "Each in his narrow cell forever laid," they re- 
mained undisturbed until rude hands, ages afterwards, 
"rolled aAvay the stone from the mouth of the cave" and 
rifled the contents. 

Some of the entrances to the chambers had been com- 
pletely filled up. In such cases the partition Avail of rock 
had been broken through. Some of the chambers were 
larger than others, and there Avere two tiers of loculi. In 
order to get from one chamber to another it was often neces- 
sary to drag yourself along at full length upon the ground. 
In one case the roof had been broken throu!j;h into a cham- 
ber above, and this probably led to more. 

I had not time fully to explore this most curious and in- 
teresting spot. Examinations of this sort in the middle of a 
long day's ride are very fatiguing. The effort of scram- 
bling about on all fours, or after the fashion of the serpent, 
is very great, and makes you very dirty. In the absence of a 
string you are haunted by the idea of not being able to find 
your Avay back, to say nothing of the chance of sticking in 

40 HAIFA. 

one of tliosc narrow passages. Altogether, I entered about 
fiftoiii diflVrent clianibcrs, and doubtless the others did not 
diiVcr Ml any inijiortant particulars. I am afraid, liowever, 
that I was not the iirst to discover them, but that this honour 
rests with Captain Conder, Royal Engineers, of the Pales- 
tine Exploration Fund. The shrik told us he had once be- 
fore guided a foreigner to this locality, and on the next cave 
we visited we fouiul the letters R. E. scratched in red paint 
on the rock, which under these circumstances can only mean 
Royal Engineers. 

The next cave was a much more comfortable one to exam- 
ine, though not nearly so interesting. You coidd walk about 
it comfortably, but there Avas no ornamentation. The cham- 
bers were larger, but there were only five or six of them. 
The stone coffins had, in many instances, been completely 
destroyed, but the massive stone columns, or rather blocks, 
of living rock Avhich supported the roof were finer than 
those in the "Cave of Hell." Perhaps it owed its more 
dilapidated condition to the largeness of its entry, and its 
proximity to another huge cave which had evidently in 
crusading times been converted into a Christian place of 
worship. According to a rough measurement obtained by 
pacing it, the nave was seventy feet by thirty, the apse 
eighteen by twenty-one, and two apse - shaped transepts 
about twenty by eighteen ; but these were very much filled 
with rubl)ish. The height of the cave was about thirty 
feet. The wiiole formed a subterranean church, which, in 
its perfect condition, when entered from the hillside, must 
have presented a very imposing appearance. On the slope 
of the hill, not far from this cave, was the carved pedestal 
of a granite column, and near it a handsome stone sarcopha- 

Instead of going back to the Xazareth road after finish- 
ing our examination of this interesting spot, we made for a 
hill on the summit of which we saw some large blocks of 
stone betokening ruins. Here we came upon a native exca- 
vation, evidently very recent. Indeed, we heard later that 
it had only been abandoned the week before. The na- 
tives occasionally find an unopened tomb, and dig into it 
for treasure. It was useless to attempt to disabuse their 


minds of the idea that we were treasure-hunters. On ask- 
ing them what they had found, they said, some red glass 
bottles, which they had bi-oken to discover what they con- 
tained. They had also found three jars, one containing 
ashes, one earth, and one was empty. These tliey had also 
smashed. It was enough to make one's mouth water to 
hear of the destruction of these curiosities so very recently. 
I implored them if they found any more not to break them, 
but to bring them to me. They laughed, and promised to 
do so, saying, at the same time, "They are so very old that 
they ai-e not worth anything." This cave was evidently an 
important one, but the natives, finding nothing but the glass 
and the jars, had blocked up the entrance again, and I had 
to put olf the examination of it to some future time. On 
the top of the hill there were several sarcophagi, some cof- 
fins hewn out of the living rock on the surface, v/ith the 
stone lid at the side. At one place I saw a huge stone lid 
about eight feet long, two feet six inches broad at its base, 
and the same in height, but coming up to a ridge, w^hich was 
evidently still covering the mortal remains which had origi- 
nally been placed beneath it. The position of this I have 
also marked, and jjropose, at some future time, to remove it 
by gunpowder and see what is below. 

Had it not been necessary to push on in order to reach 
Nazareth before night, I would have lingered longer at 
these ruins, which are called Zebda by the natives. They 
are worthy of a full examination. The whole rocky sum- 
mit of the hill is evidently honeycombed with cave tombs, 
many of which had not yet been opened. One of these, some 
miles farther on towards Nazareth, especially attracted my 
attention. A huge circular stone about two feet in diame- 
ter had been rolled into the carved. stone entrance to the 
cave, and become tightly wedged. All the efforts of the na- 
tives to remove it, and the marks of such efforts w^ere visi- 
ble, had evidently been unavailing. It needed a very small 
charge of dynamite to remove the obstacle which had so 
successfully resisted the barbarian ingenuity of ages. This 
I had arranged to do, but on the day fixed for the purpose 
persistent rain disappointed me. However, it is a treat in 

42 HAIFA. 

The first entrance into one of tliese old Jewish tomb- 
caverns will be an exciting ej)isode, but there is an amount of 
suspicion and jt'alousy on the jiart of the natives which will 
render jirudenco and circumspection necessary if any at- 
tempt of this sort is to be carried out with success. 

The whole plain of Esdraelon, on the verge of which this 
ruin is situated, as well as part of the hills behind, is now 
all owned by one rich firm of Syrian bankers, who draw an 
annual income of about 8'2UO,000 a year from it. They own 
practically about five thousand human beings as well, who 
form ^the population of thirty villages, Avhich are in their 
hands. I found no more potent talisman in inducing the 
natives to comply with my request than to mention the 
name of " Sursuk," and imply that I had the honour of his 
acquaintance. No despot exercises a more autocratic power 
over the liberties or the lives of his subjects than does this 
millionaire landed proprietor, who continues annually to 
add to his territory till the whole of Galilee seems in danger 
of falling into his hands. This part of the country, how- 
ever, is at present beginning to attract the attention of 
foreigners, and it is to be hoped that before long he may find 
rivals in the field who will do more to improve the condition 
of the peasantry, and introduce methods of agriculture which 
may make them more independent of the monev-lcnders 
who now make their profit by sucking their very life-blood. 


Haifa, April 2. — The population of Haifa, which amounts 
to about six thousand souls, consists, so far as religious dis- 
tinctions are concerned, of Moslems, Roman Catholics — here 
called "Latins" — orthodox Greeks, and Greek Catholics, 
or Melchites. Of these the latter are the most numerous. 
This town may be considered the stronghold of the Mel- 
chite schismatics. They are more influential here than in 
any other town in Syria. They compose two thirds of its 
entire population. Originally orthodox Greek, they owe 
their origin to the missionary efforts oi Romish priests and 
Jesuits during the last two centuries. As the object has 
been to gain partisans, more pains have been taken to ob- 
tain nominal submission to the authority of the pope than 
any real change of doctrine or ritual. To this day, Lazar- 
ists, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Jesuits are active in their 
efforts to make proselytes to this sect from the orthodox 
Greek Church. They allow them to retain their indepen- 
dence of Rome in many particulars. Thus it is governed 
by a patriarch at Damascus who owes allegiance to the 
pope. Mass is celebrated in Arabic, they administer the 
sacrament in both kinds, they retain their Oriental calendar, 
and their priests may be married men, though they may not 
marry after ordination. They differ from the orthodox 
Greek Church in this, that they take the Romanist view 
of the procession of the Holy Spirit. They believe in Pur- 
gatory, they eat fish in Lent, and acknowledge the papal su- 
premacy. Otherwise they have made no change in passing 
from one jurisdiction to the othei'. As perverts they are 
naturally intensely hated by the orthodox Greeks, and when 
disturbances take place between Moslems and Christians, 
the Greek orthodox are generally to be found siding with 
the Moslems against Roman Catholics and Melchites. 

44 HAIFA. 

To this sect belong some of tlie wealthiest and most aris- 
tocratic families in Syria. As the ordinary traveller is not 
often hrKiight into contact with them, I was not sorry for 
the opportunity which my residence furnished me of Avit- 
nessing their Easter observances. At midnight on the Sat- 
urday preceding Easter Sunday the festival is announced 
by a great consumption of gunpowder. An uproar Avhich 
would do credit to a prolonged skirmish lasts till the early 
mass. The Melchite church is the largest and most impos- 
ing in Haifa. It is enclosed in a courtyard, round one side 
of which runs a balcony. At an early hour on Sunday 
morning the whole population turns out in its grandest at- 
tire. The men wear short embroidered jackets, Avith long 
sleeves slashed to the elbow, waistcoats of brilliant colours 
and innumerable buttons, bright-coloured sashes, and baggy 
trousers. The women are in flowing Avhite robes, which, 
drawn over their heads, are held under their chins, only 
partially concealing their gay head-dresses sparkling with 
coins, and their low-cut vests, gaudy with gold or silver em- 
broidery. The children are especially subjects of decora- 
tion in costume, and strut about in the brightest of gar- 
ments, plentifully ornamented with gold lace and flowers. 

The narrow street leading to the church is tolerably 
crowded as we force our M'ay along until we suddenly meet 
a loud-voiced jirocession, the priests, accompanied by chor- 
isters, keeping up a discordant nasal chant as they march 
round the church with the image of the Saviour on a cruci- 
fix, with red and green banners, and with swinging censers, 
followed by a miscellaneous crowd, all carrying tajDers. 
This occurs three times. Afterwards the church square fills 
with a noisy crowd of men. The windows and housetops 
which command a view of it are filled with female specta- 
tors, who are not allowed to mingle freely Avith the men. 
On the stairs leading to the housetops are clustered the 
tawdrily dressed little girls, upon whom no such restriction 
is imposed, and then, if I may be pardoned the expression, 
the religious fun may be said to begin. It consists in let- 
ting off squibs, crackers, pistols, and guns till the spectator 
is almost deafened. The men form themselves in a circle 
so large that it fills the whole courtyard, each man throw- 


ing his arras right and left round his neighbour's neck, and, 
lifting up his voice in a discordant scream, wliich is sup- 
posed to have some musical connection with the screams of 
all his neighbours. It is a dull dance, although noisy. Ev- 
erybody makes ungainly steps in time, yelling and leering 
at each other in an idiotic manner, and letting off their guns 
when impelled to do so by excitement. As far as I could 
make out, their songs were rather of an amorous than a re- 
ligious character. 

When this entertainment came to an end a seedy-looking 
character entered the arena with an open Bible in his hand. 
He proceeded up the stairs to the open balcony, whither he 
was followed by the armed crowd who had been dancing. 
These ranged themselves right and left beside him, and he 
commenced in Arabic to read in a loud voice a chapter from 
the Gospel of St. John. When he had read a certain num- 
ber of verses he paused, and about a hundred guns went off 
in a sort oi feu dejoie. Then he read on, while his audience 
loaded their guns. Then he paused again. They fired again, 
and so on all through the chapter, thus emphasizing as it 
were the most striking passages by periodical explosions of 
gunpowder. When this was over the church bell rang, and 
some priests with round, high-crowned hats and locks flow- 
ing over their sl>oulders made their appearance. I was told 
by a Melchite friend that there was no use in going to 
church now, as everybody intended to go and get drunk 
and pay visits, and indulge in more dancing of a less re- 
strained character, but that there Vv'ould be a better mass on 
the following day, because the French consul was going to 
attend in full uniform, and everybody would be there. 

This Easter festival lasts three days. The merriment in- 
creases and culminates on the last day, at the expiration of 
which everybody has given proof of his religious devotion 
by arriving at a blind state of intoxication. When in this 
sanctified condition disturbances not unfrequently occur be- 
tween these Christian worshippers and the Moslems, in whose 
mind Christian religious ceremonial is inseparably connect- 
ed with drunken riots and wild orgies. The Caimakam or 
Turkish governor of the town, fearing that the strict ob- 
servance of Easter according to their custom on the part of 

46 HAIFA. 

the Molchitc'S miglit load to these results, issued an order 
that on Easter ^Monday and the day following no firing was 
to be allowed, but the Melchites replied to the police officer 
charged •with enforcing this order, that they had no inten- 
tion of obeying it, A serious difficulty might have occurred 
were it not for the intervention of the English and French 
vice-consuls, who gave the Melehites to understand that the 
Turkish authority must be respected. It Avas a curious il- 
lustration of the state of Turkish administration here that a 
Turkish governor should have to appeal to foreign consuls 
in order to secure compliance on the part of Turkish sub- 
jects Avith his own orders. When I attended mass on the 
following day thei*e "was no firing. "With the exception of 
the French consul, my friends, and myself, the whole con- 
gregation stood. Three priests officiated at an altar unusu- 
ally tawdry, and a group of men and boys kept up a sten- 
torian nasal chant from first to last. They Avere accom- 
panied by an orchestra of two men, each of whom had a 
pair of common steel table knives, with which they kept up 
a most ear-splitting clatter on the rim of a copper bowl, 
that might on ordinary occasions have been used for salad. 
The incense-swingers puffed fumes of incense into the faces 
of the French consul and myself as being honoured guests, 
and a priest brought him an open Bible to kiss, but ab- 
stained from offering it to me — on religious grounds best 
known to himself. Then he painted a good many people 
with holy water, using a piece of cotton jjut on the end of 
a wire. Then there Avas the usual procession and elevation 
of the Host, and the more devout members prostrated them- 
selves and kissed the flagstones of the church. The sacra- 
ment Avas administered, the bread and Avine being mixed to- 
gether in a silver cup, Avhich was held over an embroidered 
napkin stretched between two boys, so that none of the 
contents fell to the ground as the priest put the teaspoon- 
ful into the mouths of those Avho knelt before him. The 
women did not seem to need it, as they Avere all bottled up 
in a gallery, and could only see or be seen through a lat- 
tice- Avork. 

The service came to an end, and the people divided to al- 
low the French consul, Avho, with his cocked hat and gold 


lace, had been the figurehead of the ceremony, to march out 
in state. These French consuls are all very pious men in 
Syria. The French government, which has been ejecting 
monks and nuns and closing religious establishments, and 
making laws against religious instruction in France, is very 
particular about tlic religious principles of their representa- 
tives in Syria; as a member of the French government re- 
cently remarked, " Religion is only useful as an article of 
exjDort." Thus, tlie French consul-general at Beyrout goes 
to mass on Easter Sunday with the Koman Catholics. On 
Easter Monday he attends mass with the Maronites, and on 
Tuesday he worships with the Melchites, thus dividing his 
favours equally, and patronizing with great impartiality any 
heresies he may happen to come across. 

As the correct tliino; amonsc the Melchites after beinsr at 
church is to go and "have something to drink," I followed 
tlie usual custom and paid a visit to my Melchite friend's 
family. The ladies of his establishment, in gorgeous attire, 
pressed beer and wine and raki, and sweetmeats and cakes 
and coffee, upon our enfeebled digestion. We smoked nar- 
ghiles, and enlightened our minds upon Melchite manners 
and customs. As I passed through the outskirts of the town 
on my return home, I came iipon the m^alo Melchite j^opula- 
tion indulging in their circular dance and their discordant 
chants. They continued on the following day, stimulated 
by a plentiful indulgence in intoxicating liquors, tlius to 
glorify God, and to celebrate the resurrection of the Saviour 
among men. 


TTaifa, April 17. — The exceptional interest whicli, in the 
minds of many people, attaches to the Jewish question in 
Palestine must be my excuse for now alluding to it. Al- 
though, in consequence of the strenuous opposition of the 
Turkish government, the tide of emigration into the coun- 
try has hecn checked, the desire of tlie Russian and Rou- 
manian Jews to escape from the persecution to which they 
are subjected in Europe to the Holy Land has in no degree 
diminished. On the contrary, colonization societies continue 
to be formed and funds collected both in Russia and Rou- 
mania, and the English government has lately remonstrated 
with the Porte on the breach of treaty which the prohibi- 
tion of Jews to settle in Palestine involves, "with what suc- 
cess remains to be seen. The diplomatic action of the pres- 
ent government of England is by no means of a robust 
kind. Curiously enough, the Russian policy on this inter- 
esting cjuestion appears to be undergoing a change. The 
Russian government seems dis2:)0sed to espouse in Turkey 
the cause of the race which it oppresses so unmercifully at 
home. M. de Nelidoff, the Russian jNIinister at Constanti- 
nople, has lately addressed a note to the Porte, in which he 
complains that the imperial authorities at Jaffa place every 
possible obstacle in the way of Jewish pilgrims from Russia 
^vho wish to disembark there in order to pi'oceed to Jerusa- 
lem. The Porte has replied that no restriction whatever 
has been placed upon pilgrimages to the Holy City, and that 
the Jews, like everybody else, are free to go there. The 
Porte, however, draws attention to the imperial decree, re- 
cently published, which strictly prohibits the provincial 
authorities from allowing Jews, under any condition what- 
soever^ to settle in Palestine, and states that should any 


Jews, in spite of such express prohibition, seek to establish 
themselves there, the law of exclusion would be rigorously 
enforced. But all foreigners, of any nationality whatsoever, 
have a treaty right to settle in Palestine. The proof of 
which is that American and German colonists have estab- 
lished themselves here; that a society has been formed in 
Petersburg for promoting colonization in Palestine by Rus- 
sian Christian subjects. A Jew, therefore, who is a Rus- 
sian subject has manifestly as good a right to buy a piece 
of land in the country and settle upon it as a Christian. At 
this moment the Russian Consul - General at Beyrout is 
warmly espousing the cause of a Russian Jew colonist, who 
forms one of a colony of twenty-five Russian and Rouma- 
nian JcAV families who have bought land and settled not far 
from the Lake of Tiberias. A Moslem youth wishing to ex- 
amine his revolver, which the Jew refused to allow him to 
do, the weapon accidentally went off in the struggle, and 
mortally wounded the Moslem. The whole Mussulman vil- 
lage was np in arms, and it was only by the exercise of 
much tact on the part of the native Arab Jews that a gen- 
eral massacre was averted. The young Jew was thrown 
into prison, although it was recognized as an accident, and 
has been confined in a filthy cell for more than four months. 
His case was Avarmly taken up by the Russian authorities, 
and the plea of the Porte is that he had already signed a 
paper declaring himself an Ottoman subject. The Russian 
officials reply to this that he has since travelled under his 
Russian passport, has been recognized as a Russian subject 
by the authorities, and that the Arabic paper he signed was 
erroneously represented to him as being only a permission 
from the local authority to buy land and build a house. 
There the matter stands at present, and a warm correspon- 
dence is taking place on the subject. It is significant as 
showing the attitude which the Russians are assuming in 
tlie matter. The Russian vice-consul hero not long since 
brought some Russian immigrant Jews on shore in spite of 
the remonstrances of the local authorities. It is evident 
that if the Russian government adopts the policy of encour- 
aging Jewish immigration into Palestine, and of protecting the 
immigi-ants when here, they will have obtained an excellent 

50 HAIFA. 

excuse for political interference in the country. This was 
always the dani^or, and niiixht have been avoided hy a more 
cnliixhtened and rar-sij;"hted policy on the part of the i'orte. 
Had the Turkish uovernnient encouracjed Jewish ininiicjration 
on the condition of every immigrant becoming a Turkish sub- 
ject, they "would have added to the population by an indus- 
trious class of people, Avho Avould sj)eedily have increased 
its material prosperity, while the government might have 
so controlled and regulated the immigration and the coloni- 
zation that there would have been nothing to fear from it. 
By adojiting this policy they would avoid possible com})li- 
cations with foreign powders, while they would at the same 
time gain the sympathy of the most enlightened among 
them, by affording to a suffering and persecuted race an 
asylum where their presence would not only be harmless, 
but in the highest degree advantageous to the Turkish prov- 
ince they had chosen for their home. Of late the pros- 
pects of both the Jewish agricultural colonies which have 
been established in Galilee have improved. The assiduity 
and perseverance with which, in spite of their inexperience, 
of the obstacles thrown in their way, and of the hardships 
inseparable from settlement in a new country, they have la- 
boured on the soil, the progress they have made, and their 
prospects for the future, all go to show that under favoura- 
ble auspices colonies of this nature cannot but succeed ; and 
this belief has taken too firm a hold on the Jewish mind 
both in Russia and Roumania for it to be lightly abandoned. 
At present the pressure on the part of the Roumanian Jews 
to emigrate hither is greater than in Russia, where there 
has been a lull in the persecution; but unfortunately the 
Roumanian government has no dij)lomatic agents in these 
parts, and is indifferent to the fate of the Jews Avho leave 
their country. In former times the British government had 
a habit of taking waifs and strays of this description under 
its protection. Thus, nearly the whole Jewish community 
at Tiberias were originally Russian refugees who emigrated 
to Palestine thirty years ago, and applied for British protec- 
tion, a privilege which Lord Palmerston promptly granted 
them, and to this day they travel with British passports, 
and pay five shillings a year to renew their registration, 


which secures theiu the protection of the British consul. If 
any government were philanthropic enough to adopt a simi- 
lar plan now, there would be no difficulty in these poor 
Roumanians entering the country and settling here ; but 
it is a course which naturally involves responsibilities, and 
opens a door to possible complications, iind in these practi- 
cal days people's sufferings, unless something is to be made 
out of them, do not furnish a sufficient justification to com- 
pensate for the amount of trouble which they might involve. 
Meantime the agricultural enterprise of the Jews in Pales- 
tine has to contend not merely with local opposition, but 
w^ith the unaccountable indifference with which tlieir efforts 
in this direction ai'e regarded, with a few brilliant excep- 
tions, by their Western coreligionists. At present the 
seven oi' eight colonics wiiich exist are all com])osed of 
Russian or Roumanian refugees, but the best material for 
farmers is to be found among those Jews who have been 
bred and born in the country, who are already Turkish sub- 
jects, who speak the language, and are familiar with all the 
local conditions, and who are now mendicants, subsisting on 
that most pernicious institution, the Ilaluka, which, while it 
is a tax upon the whole Jew^ish nation outside of Palestine, 
is a fruitful source of pillage, contention, and sloth, among 
its recipients at Jerusalem and Safed. Out of some seven 
thousand Jews resident at the latter place, many are willing 
to give up all claim to the Ilaluka, and establish themselves 
as agriculturists, if they could be assisted in the first in- 
stance with the necessary capital. With some of these the 
experiment has been tried on a small scale, and they have 
proved more successful farmers in every way than the for- 
eign immigrants, while, as they are natives of the country 
and subjects of the government, the latter does not interfere 
with their operations, as in the case of the foreigners. Un- 
der these circumstances, it is a thousand pities that Western 
Jews do not come to their assistance. They would confer 
thereby a twofold benefit upon their race. They would as- 
sist the industry and enterprise of their coreligionists, while 
they would undermine that system of religious mendicancy 
which is a disgrace to any religion, and they would de- 
prive thereby their adversaries of the right to say, as 

52 HAIFA. 

they do now, that the success which attends missionary 
elTorts at ])rosolytism is due chiefly to the fact that Jews 
abroad arc iudilYeront to the best interests of such of their 
race as have chosen for their home the Lmd of their an- 


Nazareth, May 1. — Talking the other day to a Francis- 
can monk on the prospects of liis religion and of the prop- 
aganda for the faith which his order is making in these 
parts, he informed me that much depended npon the resto- 
ration of "holy places," with a view to increasing their im- 
portance and popularity, for practically the most effective 
agent for the conversion of infidels is hard cash, and the 
increase of expenditure means the increase of converts. Of 
course he did not put it in this undisguised language, but it 
is distinctly a great pecuniary advantage to a native village 
that it should become a centre of religious attraction to pil- 
grims and tourists, and that money should bo spent in 
building churches and monasteries, and otherwise civilizing 
remote and outlying localities where the inhabitants would 
remain paupers but for the sanctity of the spot upon which 
they are fortunate enough to live. Indeed, the latter are 
acute enough to understand that they can frequently make 
a good thing of it by the exploitation of the rivalries of op- 
posing creeds, and they cleverly change from one to the 
other, when they perceive that it would be to their advan- 
tage to do so. Thus, not long ago, no fewer than a hun- 
dred and twenty of the inhabitants of the village of Kefr 
Kenna, situated only a few miles from this jilace, who be- 
longed to the orthodox Greek Church, became Roman Cath- 
olics, and as a reward for this proof of their spiritual intel- 
ligence a Franciscan monastery is now in process of con- 
struction. The small village is deriving no little profit in 
consequence, to say nothing of the fact that it will draw 
pilgrims to visit the historic locality now that they will be 
received there by the holy fathers. For both the Greek 
and the Catholic churches have hitherto assumed the truth 
of a tradition to the effect that Kefr Kenna was the villau'e 

64 HAIFA. 

in Mliich llie mirat'lo took })lace of the conversion of water 
into -svine — that it is none other, indeed, than tlie ('ana of 
GaliU^e — and tliey show you the house where the marriage 
took plaee, and the stone water-pots, to prove it, 'J'he fact 
that it is a matter of great doubt whether it be C'ana of 
Galilee at all, does not affect the question where religious 
faith is concerned, but it seems a |»ity that the inhabitants 
of Ktina el Jelil, commonly called Khurbet Kana, should 
not be put up to the fact that they are possibly the pos- 
sessors of the site of the veritable Cana, and may have got 
a " holy place " worth thousands of dollars to them if turned 
to proper account. 

I will not trouble my readers with quotations from Scewelf 
(a.d. 1102), from Marinus Sanutus in the fourteenth century, 
from Andrichomius, and from De Vogue and Dr. Robin- 
son in later times, to prove that this may be so. The fact 
that it is admitted by many modern geogra]thers would be 
enough for the inhabitants of Khurbet Kdna or for the 
Greek Church, if they wished to revenge themselves upon 
their Catholic rivals. These latter have made another still 
more happy hit quite lately at Sefurieh, the ancient Sep- 
phoris, distant about three miles from Khurbet Kana, in 
reviving there an almost forgotten " holy place." The 
merit of its discovery seems to rest with Saint Helena, who 
made a pulgrimage to Palestine in the fourth century, and 
to whose ardent piety, vivid imagination, and energetic 
exertions are due most of those traditional spots connected 
Avith the life of Christ Avhich attract pilgrims to the Holy 
Land, On what authority she decided that a certain house 
in Sepphoris — called in those days Diocsesarea — had been 
the abode of Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Virgin, 
we are not told, nor how, ujoon descending into details, she 
was further enabled to identify the exact &\)0t upon Avhich 
the Virgin received the salutation of the angel ; suffice it to 
say that the proofs Avere so convincing to her devout and 
august mind that she stamped it with her sanction, and a 
cathedral Avas af terAvards erected upon it. In the course of 
centuries this edifice crumbled away, the site, curiously 
enough, became the manure and rubbish heap of the village, 
and under the mound thus formed was buried nearly all 


that remained of tins ancient cntliedral. Only the high 
arch of the middle aisle and the lower ones of the side aisles 
still testified to the modern tourist the ancient proportions 
of the edifice. 

Within the last two years, however, it has occurred to the 
Franciscans to make excavations here, with the \\ew of re- 
storing the ancient cathedral and of renewing its fame as a 
holy place,, for, to all good Catholics, it must ever be a mat- 
ter of the deepest interest to see where the angel saluted 
the Virgin, and where her parents lived, and to pi-ess their 
lips to the ancient stones thus hallowed. Moreover, an in- 
flux of pilgrims to this point will have a threefold effect. 
It will bring money to the Franciscan treasury ; it will 
probably be the means of converting the resident local pop- 
ulation, who have been fanatic Moslems, but who, I was as- 
sured by my ecclesiastical informant, had benefited so much 
by the money already spent, that they were only deterred 
by fear, and by its not being quite enough, from declaring 
their conversion to Christianity to-morrow; and, thirdly, it 
would give the French government another holy place to 
protect. For it is by the manufacture and protection of 
holy places that I'epublican France extends and consoli- 
dates her influence in these parts. 

It was with a view of seeing what had been done that I 
determined to ride over to Sefurieh and from there take a 
line of my own through the woods to the Bay of Acre, in- 
stead of returning to the coast by the regular road across 
the plain of Esdraelon. Passing Cana and the Christian vil- 
lage of Reineh, where there is an old Avell with a sculptured 
sarcophagus, we leave to our right a Moslem " holy place," 
called Mashad, where there is a conspicuous Avely, or Moslem 
shrine. This spot Moslem as well as Christian tradition de- 
clares to be the tomb of Jonah. This tradition is based on 
the fact that the prophet is said in the Bible to be of 
Gath — Hepher — and this site is pretty well identified with 
that of the modern Mashad. There can be little doubt that 
these Moslem welies are the modern representatives of those 
"high places" which the ancient Jews were so constantly 
punished for erecting. They seem, indeed, to differ in no very 
marked degree from the "holy places" of the present day. 

56 HAIFA. 

In an hour more wc are ixallopincj up tlie grassy slope on 
the side of whioli are tlie niiul liovels of tlio jnoJern ]iopu- 
latioii, whose conversion is so imininent, and tlie suiiiniit of 
which is crowned with the picturesque ruins of a crusading 
castle, reared upon foundations which are evidently of a 
far anterior date. This building is about fifty feet square, 
and from the top, which we reach by a dihipidatcd stair, wo 
liave a magniticent view of the surrounding country, the 
Buttauf, formerly the plain of Zebulon, at our feet — at this 
time of vear a sheet of water — with the hiorh rancce of the 
Jebel Safed behind, and bounding the horizon Avestward the 
sea-line of the Bay of Acre, with the wooded hills, through 
which lies my proposed route, intervening. On the side of 
the hill near the village is the church in process of restora- 
tion, and in the courtyard which has been recently built in 
front of it, wdiere the rubbish mound lately stood, are no 
less than a dozen syenite columns, some standing to a height 
of twelve or fifteen feet, some j^rostrate, while their capitals 
and entablatures are strewn around. A small chapel has been 
fitted up in one of the side aisles, where a priest from 
Nazareth comes every Sunday to perform mass to the Arab 
and his wife who are left in charge during the w^eek, and 
who at present form the whole congregation. The priest 
told me that many more handsome columns were in a sub- 
terranean part of the church which had recently been dis- 
covered, but which I could not visit, on account of debris. 
He also ])ointed out the fact that the pillars which sup- 
ported the arches were divided into five sections, so built 
that they might actually enclose the ancient walls of the 
house of Joachim and Anna. 

What renders this excavation interesting is, that as Sep- 
phoris was, at the time of Christ, the principal Roman city 
and fortress of Galilee, some relics of a date anterior to 
that of the church itself may very likely be discovered. 
The former importance of the town may be fairly estimated 
by the extent of its ancient rock cemetery, which lies about 
a mile to the eastward, and which I visited. Here abound 
caves wdth loculi for the dead, sarcophagi, either cut into 
the living rock, with their stone lids still upon them, or else 
detached and strewn like huge water-troughs over the 


rocky area, immense cisterns, and rock - cut steps, and a 
quarter of a mile distant is a wonderful work of Roman 
engineering skill in the shape of an aqueduct many miles 
long, Avhich supplied the citadel Avith water, which it is 
supposed continues to Sheik Abreik, a distance of ten 
miles, and which here tunnels through the hill for a quarter 
of a mile. The roof has in places fallen in, and exposes to 
view the canal itself, which is about twenty feet deep, with 
sides beautifully cemented. This subterranean aqueduct 
has only been recently discovered by the Palestine Explo- 
ration Fund Survey, and is quite unknown to tourists, 
though the whole place is well worth visiting. 

Leaving it with regret, for it required a longer examina- 
tion than I was able to give it, I struck off j^ast the lovely 
springs of Sefurieh, where a copious stream gushes out full- 
blown from its source, to fertilize a valley rich Avith olive 
and fig gardens — a spot celebrated in crusading annals as the 
scene of many skirmishes, in some of which Richard Coeur 
de Lion distino-uished himself so much that his name is still 
handed down in tradition among the natives. Grossing 
wooded hills, we find that every step opens new surprises 
upon us of scenery and of discovery, for these wild forest 
recesses have never been thoroughly explored. First we 
came upon a group of prostrate columns on which we found 
inscriptions, so worn, however, that we were unable to de- 
cipher them, but the native who was with us told us that 
the clump of old trees Avhich overhung them bore the name 
of " Trees of the Bridegroom," suggestive of Baal-worship 
and a holy place of antiquity. Then we examined two hill- 
tops covered with cave tombs, and strewn with massive and 
overgrown remains hitherto undiscovered. One of these 
was called Jissy and the other Hamitz. The largest of the 
caves contained three chambers with loculi. The entrances 
were carved, Not far from them I found another group of 
columns, and on them managed to trace the letters IMP. 
AVR., evidently standing for Imperator Aurelian, which 
would make them date from the third century after Christ. 
So, winding through rocky, wooded dells, we reached Bethle- 
hem of Galilee, the modern Beit Lahm, where there were the 
remains of an ancient subterranean aqueduct or sarcophagus 

58 HAIFA. 

ami (ho frarjniont of a oolinnn, and on throucjli more glassy 
gladi's, ihuliiig our way l»y instinct, for we were Avitliout a 
guide; but we had a better chance of stumbling upon un- 
discovered ruins this way, and whatever path we followed 
was sure in the end to lead us somewlicre ; moreover, the 
view guided us from the hill-tops, and our compass when 
we Avere in the valleys. I quite regretted when at last we 
suddenly emerged from these old oak woods — alas! so 
rapidly being destroyed by the charcoal burners — and 
found ourselves on the edge of a hill overlooking the plain 
of the Kishon, across w'hich a rapid ride of three hours 
brought us to our journey's end, and completed one of the 
most delightful rides it has ever been my fortune to make 
in this country. 


Haifa, May 16. — Considering the number of tourists, 
both American and English, who annually visit the Holy 
Land, I have been much struck with the erx'oneous impres- 
sion which still continues to prevail in regard to its availabil- 
ity as a field of colonization, and as an opening for foreign 
enterprise and capital. 

For some time past a discussion has been taking place in 
the Jewish papers on both sides of the Atlantic, in which the 
merits of Palestine from this point of view have been can- 
vassed, and I can only account for the extraordinary inac- 
curacies which have characterized the arguments of the dis- 
putants, by the supposition that they have derived their in- 
formation from sources Avhich, owing to the changes which 
liave taken place in the country during the last few years, 
may now be considered obsolete. 

Readers will be surprised to learn that almost every 
acre of the plain of Esdraelon is at this moment in the 
highest state of cultivation; that it is perfectly safe to ride 
across it unarmed in any direction, as I can testify; that, 
so far from plundering and despoiling villages, the few 
Bedouins, whose "black tabernacles" are now confined to 
the southern margin of the plain, have, in their turn, be- 
come the plundered and despoiled, for they are all reduced 
to the position of being subject to inexorable landlords, 
who charge them exorbitantly for the land which they oc- 
cupy, and for which they pay in hard cash, under penalty 
of instant ejection, which is ruthlessly enforced, so that 
the inhabitants of the villages, with which the j^lain is now 
dotted, live in perfect security, though more than twen- 
ty years have elapsed since it was predicted that " in ten 
years more there will not be an inhabited village in Es- 
draelon." It looks to-day like a huge green lake of waving 


•\vlicat, with its villago-crowncd mounds rising from it like 
islands; and it presents one of tlie most striking pictures of 
luxuriant fertility whieli it is j)ossible to eoneeive. 

When, therefore, I read the other day, as an argument why 
colonies should not be established in this part of Galilee, a 
description of the dangers which woidd attend any such ex- 
periment,! was amazed at the temerity of the assertion. But 
as so much attention is just now devoted to the consideration 
of the agricultural capabilities of Palestine, I think it only 
right that the delusions which evidently continue to exist on 
the subject should be dissipated with as little delay as possible. 
The fact is, that ncarl}^ the whole plain of Esdraelon is di- 
vided between two great proprietors, the Sultan himself, who 
has recently acquired a great part of the eastern portion of 
it, and the Sursocks, the richest bankers in Syria, who are 
resident in Beyrout, and who own nearly all the villages ex- 
tending from the foot of the Nazareth lulls to the sea. 
Some idea of the amount of the grain which is annually 
grown on their portion of the plain of Esdraelon alone may 
be gathered from the fact that Mr. Sursock himself told me 
a few weeks ago that the cost of transporting his last year's 
crop to Haifa and Acre amounted to $50,000. This was 
said as illustrating the necessity of a railway across the 
plain, with a view of cheapening the cost of trans2:>ort, as, 
owing to the Sultan having property here, it has be- 
come desirable in his majesty's interest. A concession has 
recently been granted to these Beyrout capitalists for the 
purpose of constructing a line which shall connect the Bay 
of Acre and the two ports upon it Avith the great grain- 
growing province to the east of the Jordan, called the 
Hauran, from which region thousands of camels loaded with 
cereals come annually to Acre and Haifa. 

As I Avrite the engineers are starting to commence the 
surveys of this line, which will run right through to the cen- 
tre of the plain of Esdraelon, and open up a great extent of 
new country lying in the hills behind it, which will now find 
an easier access to the sea, while the whole of Galilee will 
benefit from so important a means of communication. In- 
deed, it is a remarkable fact that while eveiy province in 
Turkey has been steadily retrograding during the last few 


years, Palestine alone has been rapidly developing in agri- 
cultural and material j^rosperity. In Haifa and its neigli- 
bourhood land has risen threefold in value during the last 
five years, while the export and import trade has increased 
with a remarkable rapidity, and the population has doubled 
within ten years. Indeed, the population of the whole of 
Palestine shows an increase during that period, more partic- 
ularly owing to immigration within the last year or two. 
The consequence is that although, so far as security for life 
and property is concerned, there is still much to be desired, 
great jDrogress has been made, and with a more energetic 
government the country might be rendered as safe as any in 
the world. 

As it is, the Bedouins are being gradually pushed east of 
the Jordan, and it is now becoming more and more rare for 
an Arab encampment to be seen in the neighbourhood of the 
more settled and prosperous pai't of the country. There are, 
of course, villages where the inhabitants have a bad reputa- 
tion, and, as a rule in the establishment of new colonies, 
proximity to these should be avoided ; but fertile lands, 
near peaceable villages, removed from all risk of Arab in- 
cursion, and which can be purchased at a low price, abound; 
and I know of no more profitable investment of money, were 
the government favorable to it, whether by Jew or Gentile, 
than is furnished by a judiciously selected tract of this de- 
scrij^tion. In proof of which may be cited the extraordinary 
wealth which has been accumulated by the Sursocks alone, 
who now own thousands of acres of the finest land in Pales- 
tine, and who purchase numerous new villages every year. 

At the same time it must be admitted that, practically, the 
purchase of land in this country is attended with many dif- 
ficulties. It is either held by villages in a communal man- 
ner, or in very small patches, many of which have several 
owners. In the first case the whole village, with its lands, 
must be purchased, an operation involving many official 
formalities, or the co-jDroprietors of the small patches have to 
agree upon the amount of the purchase-money, and then to 
show a clear title and the payment of all arrears of taxes. As 
a rule the purchase of any considerable extent of land in- 
volves negotiations extending over several months, and 

62 HAIFA. 

strnnc^crs unused to the ways of the country and the methods 
by -whicli otiieial rontiiio may he expedited and obstacles re- 
moved arc apt to meet with many disappointments. On the 
otlier liaiid, owing to otricial corrwjjtion, immense tracts of 
huid iit for cuUivation, but which are unoccupied owing to 
the sparseness of tlie population generally, may, through 
favouritism and backsheesh, be obtained at an almost nomi- 
nal ])rice. 

The same erroneous impression prevails in regard to the 
barrenness of the country, as in regard to its insecurity. 
Few travellers see more than the beaten routes, where the 
liills hapjien to be unusually stony and barren; but the ex- 
tent of the population which once inhabited the country 
furnishes the best evidence of what it is capable of support- 
ing, and its capacities in this respect have been most forcibly 
dwelt upon by the officers engaged in the survey of the 
country for the Palestine Exploration Fund, who have en- 
joyed unequalled opportunities of judging upon the question. 
The fact that the resident Jewish agricultural jjopulation of 
Galilee alone amounts to over a thousand souls, is probably 
one which will astonish Western Jews more than any one 
else; but I have verified it by actually visiting myself the 
localities in which they arc engaged in their farming opera- 
tions, and am not giving the number without having arrived 
at it upon sure data. 

There are three ])rejudices which have operated against 
the colonization of Palestine by Jews, and which are all ab- 
solutely unsound, and these are, first, that the Jew cannot be- 
come an agriculturist; secondly, that the country is barren, 
and, thirdly, that it is unsafe. The real obstacle in the way 
to Palestine colonization does not lie in any of these direc- 
tions, but in the fact that the government is most deter- 
minedly opposed to it. 


Haifa, June. 13. — When Thackeray foretold that the clay 
would come %vhen the scream of the locomotive would awake 
the echoes in the Holy Land, and the voice of the conduct- 
or be heard shouting, "Ease her, stop her! Any passen- 
gers for Joppa?" he probably did so very much in the spirit 
in which Macaulay prophesied the New-Zealander sitting on 
the ruins of London Bridge, as an event in the dim future, 
and as a part of some distant impending social revolution; 
but the realization of the prediction is becoming imminent. 
The preliminary survey has just been completed as far as 
the Jordan, of the Hamidie, or Acre and Damascus Railway, 
which bids fair to be the first Palestine railway. 

It is called the Hamidie line because it is named after his 
present majesty the Sultan Abdul Hamid, and probably one 
reason why the firman has been granted so easily lies in the 
fact that it passes through a great extent of property which 
he has recently acquired to the east of the plain of Esdrae- 
lon. The concession is held by ten or twelve gentlemen, 
some of whom are Moslems and some Christians, but all are 
Ottoman subjects resident in Syria. Among the most in- 
fluential are the IMessrs. Sursock, bankers, who own the 
greater part of the plain of Esdraelon, and who have there- 
fore a large interest in the success of the line. From which 
it will appear that this is no speculation of Western promot- 
ers or financiers, but a real, bona-fide enterprise, and one 
which is likely to become a large soui'ce of profit to the 
holders of the concession and to the shareholders, for it will 
tap one of the richest grain-producing districts in the East. 

I have myself ridden over the line for the first twenty 
miles, and have just seen the surveying party, who have re- 
turned well satisfied with the facilities which it offers from 
an engineering point of view. Starting from Acre, it will 


follow the curve of tlie bay for ten miles in a sontlicrly di- 
rection at a distance of about two miles from tlie l^each. 
Crossing the Kishon by a sixty-foot bridge, it will turn 
cast at the junction of a short branch line, two miles long, 
at Haifa. Hugging the foot of the Caniul range, so as to 
avoid the Kishon marshes, it Avill pass through the gorge 
Avhieh separates that mountain from the lower ranges of the 
Galilee hills, and debouch into the |)lain of Esdraelon. This 
]>lain it -will traverse in its entire length. The station for 
Nazareth will be distant about twelve miles from that town; 
tliere may, however, be a short branch to the foot of the 

So far there has only been a rise from the sea-level in 
twenty miles of two hundred and ten feet, so that the grade 
is imperceptible. It now crosses the Avatershed, and com- 
mences to descend across the plain of Jezreel to the valley 
of the Jordan. Here the Wady Jalud offers an easy incline 
as far as Beisan, the ancient Bethshean, and every mile of 
the country it has traversed so far is private property, and 
fairly cultivated. At Beisan it enters upon a region which 
has, partly owing to malaria and partly to its insecurity, 
been abandoned to the Arabs, but it is the tract of all oth- 
ers which the passage of a railway is likely to transfigure, 
for the abundance of the "water, which is now allowed to 
stagnate in marshes, and which causes its unhealthiness, is 
destined to attract attention to its great fertility and natural 
advantages, which would, with proper drainage, render it 
the most profitable region in Palestine. Owing to the ele- 
vation of the springs, which send their copious streams 
across the site of Beisan, the rich plain which descends to 
the Jordan, five hundred feet below, can be abundantly ir- 
rigated. " In fact," says Dr. Thomson, describing this 
place in his " Land and the Book," " few spots on earth, and 
none in this country, possess greater agricultural and manu- 
facturing advantages than this valley, and yet it is utterly 

It needs only a more satisfactory administration on the 
part of the government, and the connection of this district 
with the sea by rail, to make Beisan an important commei*- 
cial and manufacturing centre. All kinds of machinery 


might be driven at small expense by its abounding brooks, 
and then the lovely valley of Jezreel above it, irrigated l)y 
the Jalud, and the Ghor Beisan below, watered in every 
part by many fertilizing streams, are capable of sustaining 
a little nation in and of themselves. There is a little bit of 
engineering required to carry the line down to the valley 
of the Jordan, here eight hundred feet below the level of 
the sea, which it then follows north as far as the Djisr el- 
Medjamieh. Xear this ancient Roman bridge of three arch- 
es, which is used to this day by the caravans of camels 
which bring the produce of the Ilauran to the coast, the 
new railway bridge will cross the Jordan, probably the only 
one in the world which will have for its neighbour an actual 
bridge in use which was built by the Romans, thus, in this 
now semi-barbarous country, bringing into close contact an 
ancient and a modern civilization. After crossing the Jor- 
dan, the line will still follow the banks of that river to its 
junction with the Yarmuk, Avhich it will also ci'oss, and then 
traverse a fertile plain of rich alluvium, about five miles 
long by four wide, to the base of the ridge which overlooks 
the eastern margin of the Sea of Tiberias. 

This is the extent to which the survey has been complet- 
ed. It is not decided whether to rise from the valley by 
the shoulder of the ridge Avhich overlooks the Yarmuk, or 
to follow the east shore of the Lake of Tiberias to the Wady 
Semakh, which offers great advantages for a grade by 
which to ascend nearly three thousand feet in about fifteen 
miles. This is the toughest bit of engineering on the line, 
and is in close proximity to the steep place down which the 
swine possessed by devils are said to have rushed into the 
sea. Once on the plateau it will traverse the magnificent 
pasture-lands of Jaulan, across which I rode four years ago 
in the spring, when the numerous streams by which it was 
watered were flowing copiously, and the tall, waving grass 
reached nearly up to my horse's belly. 

This rich tract was the one on which it is probable that 
Job pastured his flocks and herds — at least, all the local tra- 
dition points to this. It was well populated until compara- 
tively recent times, but the sedentary inhabitants, the ruins 
of whose villages dot the country, were driven out by the 


Arabs, ^vllo now pasture vast herds of cattle upon it, and 
droves of horses which are fattened here after tlieir journey 
from ]\[esoj>otamia previous to being exported to Egypt. 
Tlie course ot" the line across this region has not been defi- 
nitely fixed, but it will probably take as southern a direction 
as possible, so as to tap the grain-growing country of the 
Hauran. Tiiere may possibly be a short branch to Mezrib, 
which is the princijial grain emporium, and one of the most 
important halting-])laces on the great pilgrimage road from 
Damascus to JMecca. It is calculated that the transport of 
grain alone from this region to the coast will sufhce to pay 
a large dividend upon the capital required for the construc- 
tion of the road, which will be about one hundred and thirty 
miles in length. I do not remember the number of tons an- 
nually conveyed on the backs of camels to Acre and Haifa, 
but I have seen thousands of these ungainly animals collect- 
ed at the gates of both those towns during the season, and 
the amount must be something enormous. This does not 
include the whole of the Damascus trade, which now finds 
its way by the French carriage road across the Lebanon to 
Beyrout, and which will all be diverted to the railway, or 
the produce of the rich country it traverses between the sea- 
coast and the Jordan. 

The grantees have also secured the right to put steam-tugs 
U2:)on the Lake of Tiberias, and imder the influence of this 
new means of transportation the desolate shores will under- 
go transformation. The great plain of Genesareth, across 
Avhicli I rode a month ago, is now a waste of the most luxu- 
riant Avild vegetation, watered by three fine streams, besides 
being well supplied with springs. It was celebrated of old 
for the amount and variety of its produce, and I have no 
doubt is again destined to be so. The plains in which Beth- 
saida and Capernaum stood formerly are all covered with 
heavy vegetation w^hich conceals the extensive ruins of the 
cities which once adorned them; and there is a fine back 
country within easy reach of the lake which will send its 
produce to it as soon as means of transportation are pro- 
vided. At present there are only half a dozen sailing-boats 
on the lake, rather a contrast from the time when Jose})hus 
collected no fewer than two hundred and thirty war-ships 


with which to attack Tiberius in the war against the Ro- 
mans; and the fish w^ith which it abounded in the days of the 
miraculous draught are more miraculously numerous than 
ever, for fishing as an industry has almost ceased to exist, 
and the finny tribe are left undisturbed. There are some 
celebrated sulphur baths also on the shores of the lake and 
within two miles of the town, which are visited annually by 
thousands of patients. I was there during the bathing sea- 
son, and found them camped in tents on the margin of the 
lake, or sweltering in the fetid atmosphere of the one large 
bathing-room, in which a crowd of naked and more or less 
cutaneous patients were disporting themselves. 

The surveying party tell me that they received the great- 
est kindness and hospitality from the Arabs in the Jordan 
valley, who Avere of a sedentary tribe, and cultivated the 
land, and who looked forward with pleasure to the advent 
of a railwaj^, and to the chances of employment which it af- 
forded them. Indeed, both natives and foreigners are not 
a little excited at the prospect which is now being opened 
to them, and which promises to be the dawn of a new era of 
prosperity for the country. 

Note. — Since the above was written, the concession has lapsed in conse- 
f^uence of difficulties wliich arose at the last moment in the formation of 
the company for carrying out the enterprise ; but it is again in process of re- 
newal, and I have little doubt but that it will be ultimatelj accomplished. 


Haifa, July 10. — Xcxt to Jerusalem, tbc city most high- 
ly venerated by the Jews in Palestine is Safed. I had oc- 
casion to visit it a few weeks ago on my way to a colony of 
Russian and Roumanian Jews which has been established 
in the neighbourhood. Perched on the summit of a moun- 
tain nearly three thousand feet high, it is one of the most 
picturesquely situated towns in the country; and there is a 
tradition to the effect that it was alluded to by Christ as 
" the city that is set on a hill, and cannot be hid," when he 
preached the Sermon on the jVIount, the mount being sup- 
posed to be one of the Horns of Ilattin, a remarkably shaped 

The whole of this district is indeed full of romantic 
scenery. It is a country of wild gorges and huge preci- 
pices, Avhich escape the attention of the traveller following 
the beaten routes, and to most of them associations are at- 
tached, investing them with an interest beyond that of a 
mere scenic character. There is, for instance, the Wady 
Hammam, where the bluffs are about twelve hundred feet 
high, perforated with caves, communicating with each other 
by passages concealed in the rock, once the abode of bands 
of robbers who lived like eagles in their eyries. Looking np 
at these holes in the cliff some seven or eight hundred feet 
above me, I tried to picture the terrible battle which was 
once fought in mid-air between the denizens of these caves 
and the soldiers whom Ilerod let down the face of the cliff 
in baskets to attack them. The desperate nature of the 
struggle, as the soldiers strove to make good their foothold 
on the edge of the caves, and the frenzy with which the rob- 
bers, who had no loophole of escape, must have defended 
themselves as they endeavoured to hurl their assailants from 
their baskets, suggested a scene which was quite in keeping 

SAFED. 69 

with tbo gloomy character of the surroundings. Some of 
the more accessible of these caves have been occupied at a 
later period by hermits, and they may have been utilized for 
military purposes at the time of the crusades, but they have 
never been thoroughly explored. 

Just before reaching Safed there is a rock called Akhbera, 
which rises five hundred feet sheer up from the path, and is 
also full of'similar caves. Josephus mentions having fortified 
it. However prepossessing Safed may look from a distance, 
it does not bear a close acquaintance. Down the centre of 
every street runs an open sewer, which renders it the most 
odoriferous and pestiferous place that it has ever been my 
fate to sleep in. The aspect of the population is in keeping 
with the general smell. One seems transported into the 
ghetto of some Roumanian or Russian town, with a few 
Eastern disagreeables added. The population here have not 
adopted the Oriental costume as tliey have at Tiberias, but 
wear the high hats, gi'easy gabardines, and ear-curls of the 
Jews of Europe. Instead of Arabic, one hears nothing in 
the streets but " jargon," as the dialect used by the Jews in 
eastern Europe is called. The total poiDulation of AshJcena- 
zim, or German Jews, who are hived in this unenviable lo- 
cality, is between five and six thousand; besides these there 
are about twelve hundred /Sephardiin, or Spanish Jews, who 
wear Oriental costumes, and in the other quarter of the town 
from six to seven thousand Moslems, making the total num- 
ber of inhabitants about fourteen thousand. 

As there is nothing approaching to a hotel or boarding- 
house in the place, I was of course dependent on the na- 
tive hospitality for board and lodging, and thus able to ac- 
quire an insight into the mode of life of rather a curious 
section of the human family. The. majority of the Jews 
here are supported by a charitable fund called the Haluka, 
which is subscribed to by pious Jews all over the world as 
a sacred duty, for the purpose of i)roviding support to those 
of their coreligionists who come here or to Jerusalem to 
pass the last years of their lives in devotional exercises, and 
to die on the sacred soil. The practical result of this sys- 
tem is to maintain in idleness and mendicancy a set of use- 
less bigots, who combine superstitious observance with im- 

70 IIMIW. 

fiMirfil \>Y',\(\'\vc, ftrul wlio, UH a rule, mc (.|.|)f,H<<l to «v(Ty 
proji'ct wliirh lifiM for \\n olijr-(!t \.]u', rc'il prop^ri'dM of tlio 
Jcwinli luilioii. \\\\uv \\u-y n-jrard uilli alarm flui CHlalilihli- 
tiiciil. of at.^ricnltiiral /'olrjiiicM, or llw inaii!.Miraf ion of an (-ra 
of any kind *>i lal^oiir l»y ,\t'Mn in I'alcMlinc. 'I'licy ;<.r{: liit- 
t«-rly lioHliln to hcIiooIn in wlii<li any M«'<Milar tcachinj; Ih far- 
I'liifl on, and nfj^nMi willi \■\u^n^^ VVcslorn ih-UH who oonnidcr 
llia(. any M/dicrno for dovolopinj^ llm matirial rcMoiirccn of 
I'alrhtitio l»y inr-an« of .h-winli indiiv.lry in fanta-ilif; and 
viniofiary. It- in 'luf: to lln; Jcwich |ioj(ulal.ion of Safcd in 
nay (liat lliin spirit d(»OM not [»r(5vail arnon^ tlio young('r 
nil iiilici't i>\ ii. Tlirrt! aro al»ont a luinrlnil young Hafed 
J<!\v>» who actually work as daydahomcrH (.n th(! farms of 
Mohh-rnN arwl Chrif.tianM, and I wan inforin(-d hy ono of the 
niortt lih(rid of iIm; raldiiM, th*' only one, in fad, who was in- 
elinod to promoto JowiMh agii'Mdtiirr-, that ahoiit two hun- 
dred famili<!» in Saf<'d woro d(»irou» <<) Ix inj,^ (MlahJinhf-d on 
farniM, whilo Hovcral had owned land and cultivated it, and 
ordy ahandoned it at la.'.t for want of protretion against thft 
extorliijniilc demandn of 'I'nrki.'ih tax)L{athererH. It i** Iruo 
that moMt of tho Jcwh at Hafed mu under tho protection of 
wome Kui'oj»ean fiower, l»iii. nnlil lately no power ha» taken 
nuflieient inten-Ht in the rae(3 in raiHo a Jewish qur;htion with 
thf! '^rurkihh Kov('iiMnent. Nrjw that im|iortant politieal in- 
tercMlM ar<5 to he huh«erved hy doii;^ ho, and tin- destiny of 
I'alentine in likely to become a crucial poini in the Kastem 
que»ti(»n, both Hufiwia and I'Vanec aro seizing (svcry fexcuse 
for interference and complaint, and the rpie«tions which aro 
coiihtnnlly ariwinj.^ in reji^ard to thr-ir .I(-wiKh ]>rot!'ffh,\uA}\ in 
'J'ihfM'iaM and Saf(d, arc- likely to fiirnii-.h thrin with the [irc- 
tcxt« thoy dcnire. 

When I wan in Hafed, llussia wan actively espousing the 
cause of a young Jew who had ac(!id<-ntally shot a Moslem, 
and ov(-r whom the 'Curkinh p^rivf-rnment elaiinid jurisdic- 
tion, («n the ground that, thou'jh a UiisHian, he hud r(-pudi- 
ated his allegiance to Jtussia. As the youth was not of age 
at the time, th(5 Itussian government still claimed the right 
to ))roti-ct him in 'I'lirkey, th<jn<.di it had not exer(!i«ed this 
right in Uusf.ia itnclf, from which country he had hf-en com- 
pelled to llee f(j|' hiM life. An 1 irxle thrcMlgh thi; village 


uhoro (lio ;u'i'i'iiMit had (akoii plaoo, in oomjianv with soiuo 
Jews, w i> wi'i'i' jH'ld'tl by (ho ]\lo!slom ju>|>iilation. aud. al- 
though ihi' roloaso o( (hr boy is now oortain. hk> w ill proha- 
bly bo ooiupoUod to K>a\ o tlu' oouutry, uidoss (hi' rolalivos 
of tho docousod lMo^'.lom ran bopaoiliid w i( h (Iio bUiod inouov 
thai lias boiMi olVorod (liom. 

.launa, wliii'li was (lu> namo o\' tho a illauo (o which I was 
bound, w as -sit 11 a led a boil I ( lir<>t> niiios I'coni Sal'od, in a li'Ol'U'O, 
from which, as wo »U>soondod i(,a niag'iiiliiH'nt. viow was ob- 
tainod ovoi- tho .lordan valloy, with (ho Lako oi' TiluM-ias 
lying (hroo (housand l'oc\ bolow us on (ho right, and (ho 
walors of JMoroni, »>r ilu- Lako vi' lliiloli. on (ho lof(, Tho 
intorviMiing plain was a rich i>xj)anso of ooundy, only wait- 
ing dovi>Ioitnu'n(. 'Tho iu>\v colony liad boon i>s(ablishod 
abi)n(. oight. nu>nths, tho land having boi'ii itnr<'hasod from 
tlu> Moslem villagors, of whom twHMity familios romainod. 
who li\ od on (ormsof ))orfi'o( ami(\ widi (ho .lows. Thoso 
oonsistv'd oi' ( wont V -( hroo Ixonmaniau and four Ivussian 
fainiru's, miniboring in all ono luuub'od and fi)rty souls. 'IMio 
groator numbt'r wor*' hard a( work t>n thoir polato-pati'hos 
wlion 1 arrivoil, and I was ploasod to lind i'\ idonoi>s o\' thrift, 
and indus(ry. .V row of sixloon noal litllo housos had luun 
buill.aud nior(> wcro in proooss of oroo(ion. AUogothor 
(his is iho niosl hopiful atdMiipt at a oolony which 1 havo 
soon in l*a!ostino. Tho oolonis(s own abon( a (honsand ai'ros 
of oxooUonf land, w hioli (hoy won* ablo ti) piirohast> at from 
(hroo to ['o[iv dollars au acr(>. Tho Kussiaiis arc <'slal>lishing 
(homs(>lvos about, half a niilo from (ho Koumanians, as .lows 
of ililTiMont, nationalities i>asily giM on wtdl ti\gi>tlu'r. Thoy 
call tho oolony Ivosoh Pina, or "lload o( tho (,'oriu'r." (ho 
word ooourring in tho vorsi', " 'I'ho s(oiu> whiidi tlu' buiKl- 
crs rojoctoil, tlio sanio is bocomo (ho h.oad o\' (ho oornor/' 


Haifa, July 20. — One of the most interesting and little- 
known spots in Palestine is the famous slirine of Jewish pil- 
grimage called Meiron. Hither, in the latter part of the 
month of May, Hebrews resort in vast numbers from all 
parts, especially of the East, and as many as two thousand 
are often encamped there at a time. It is situated in a 
wild part of the mountains of central Galilee, on the edge 
of the most fertile plateau in the whole district, where the 
villages are surrounded by the most luxuriant gardens and 
groves, and the peasantry are in a more prosperous condition 
than I have seen elsewhere. Meiron itself is a wonderfully 
romantic spot; perched at an elevation of twenty five hun- 
dred feet above the sea, upon the northeastern flank of 
a high spur of the Jebel Jermuk range, it commands a mag- 
nificent view of the surrounding country, with the town of 
Safed, towering on its mountain-top, distant about five miles. 
A clear, brawling stream tumbles in a series of small cas- 
cades down the narrow gorge, which expands just here suf- 
ficiently to allow of some orchards of apricots, figs, and 
pomegranates ; and near a spreading weeping-willow there 
is a picturesque old flour-mill, which turns to advantage so 
unusual a supply of water-power. A hundred yards or so 
above it is the spot sacred to Jewish devotees. A large, ob- 
long courtyard, around which runs a broad stone balcony, 
upon which open chambers crowned with domes, mai'ks the 
site of the burial-places of some of the most celebrated rab- 
bis of Jewish history, and forms a sort of caravansary for 
the pilgrims. It was not the moment of the pilgrimage at 
the time of my visit, and I had a choice of chambers. Two 
of these had been fitted up most comfortably for my bene- 
fit, with beds and tables, by the Safed Jews who accom- 
panied me, and who did the honours of the place. It was 


no doubt the sacreclness of the tombs at Meiron which was 
the cause of Safed being constituted a Jewish colony and 
a holy city. Here are situated the tombs of the Kabbi 
Jochanau Sandelar, of the celebrated Rabbi Simeon ben 
Jochai, the reputed author of the book of the Sohar, and 
the Father of the Gabalists. Here repose the remains of his 
son, the Rabbi Eleazer ; but more celebrated than all are 
the sepulchres of the great saints and doctors, Shammai 
and Hillel. The thirty-six pupils of the latter were buried 
with him. He founded a school of morals immediately 
prior to the birth of Christ ; and, indeed, it is main- 
tained by Jews that all the ethics of Christianity are to be 
found in the teaching of Hillel, to which Christ simply 
gave a more forcible expression than it had hitherto re- 

Of all the tombs that of Hillel is the most remarkable. It 
is a huge cavern on the steep hillside, situated about half-way 
between the Courtyard of Shrines above, and the stream be- 
low. We first enter a chamber with loculi hewn out of the solid 
rock on each side. Passing through a doorway cut in the 
rock, we enter a chamber eighteen feet by twenty-five, with 
seven loculi in recess on the right, and the same number on 
the left, while facing us is a recess eighteen feet deep and 
seven wide, containing four sarcophagi hewn out of the rock. 
On each side of this recess is a smaller one, each containing 
four loculi. Most of them are covered by stone lids with 
raised corners, making in all thirty-six rock tombs in this 
one cave. The rocks all around are much cut in places into 
steps, cisterns, and olive-presses. There are also three dol- 
mens on the north side of Meiron; they are not far apart, 
and are quite distinct, though of small dimensions; there are 
no traces or marks of any kind on the stones. In the shrine 
above these are chambers which are pointed out as tradition- 
al tombs. Near one of these was the synagogue, in which, 
when I visited it, there were an old man and his son engaged 
in their devotions. The old man had never left the room 
day or night for seven years, having lived the Avhole of that 
time on one meal a day of bread and water, while he slept 
on a mat on the stones. He had thus become invested with 
the odour of sanctity in the eyes of my Jewish companions. 

74 HAIFA. 

His son, a boy of fifteen, was rapidly praying himself into 
the state of imbecility at Avhich his venerable parent, l)y dint 
of swaying his body to and fro, and bis unceasing chanting, 
had already arrived. He reminded me of the Buddliist her- 
mits whom I have seen in China on their way to Nirvana, 
and was a sight more painful than edifying. At the corners 
of the courtyard are stone erections like fonts, and some of 
these are also near the rock tombs; these, Avhen the Jewish 
festival of "the burning" takes place, are filled with oil, 
"which is set on fire, and rich Jews, desirous of showing their 
devotion, offer to the flames the most costly articles in their 
possession. The richest shawls, scarfs, handkerchiefs, and the 
rarest books are dipped in oil and consumed, and when any 
article of special value is burned, the spectators, who are 
already intoxicated with wine and excitement, burst forth 
with frantic plaudits of delight. Such was the account given 
to me by eye-witnesses, but possibly next year I may be able 
to give you a description of this unique and little-known fes- 
tival from personal observation. 

About fifty yards higher up the hill is one of the most 
interesting Jewish ruins existing in Palestine. It is the re- 
mains of a synagogue, which, according to Jewish tradition, 
dates from fifty years after the destruction of Jerusalem, 

It was about this time, or a little later, that the Jews pre- 
sented the extraordinary spectacle of two regular and or- 
ganized communities, one under a sort of spiritual head, the 
Patriarch of Tiberias, comprehending all of Israelitish de- 
scent who inhabited the Roman Erapii-e ; the other under 
the Prince of the Captivity, to whom all the Eastern Jews 
paid their allegiance. The Romans recognized the Patriarch- 
ship of Tiberias, granted it special privileges, and the Jew- 
ish colony round Tiberias under its auspices became very 
powerful. Schools of Talmudic learning were established, 
and the most celebrated rabbis wrote, and, in fact, stamped 
with their learning the Judaism which has felt their influence 
to the present day. Then it was that Meiron became their 
place of burial, and that the largest and most ancient syna- 
gogue of which we have any traces was built at Meiron. 
The site of the synagogue was chosen on the eastern side of 
a rockv mound, and the western side and floor were excavated 

meiron: V5 

out of the solid rock. The whole of the area is ninety feet 
by fifty. Pieces of columns are lying about, Avith pedestals 
and capitals, but many of the finest fragments have rolled 
down the eastern slope. The edifice fronted the south, and 
here the facade remains, Avith a fine portal of large hewn 
blocks of stone, and a side door. Some of the stones are 
four and a half feet long by two and a half thick. The 
portal is ten and a half feet high by five and a half 
wide. Its side-posts are each of a single stone elaborately 
sculptured. The sculptured lintel projects somewhat above 
the side-posts, but I could see nothing of the Hebrew in- 
scription which some of the old writers mention as being- 
over the door. The centre stone was shaken out of its place 
by the earthquake of 1837. Altogether, the situation and gen- 
eral aspect of this singular ruin, projecting as it does out of 
the overhanging solid rock, is full of picturesque as Avell as 
of historical interest, Meiron is probably mentioned by 
Josephus as Meroth, a place fortified by him in Upper Gali- 
lee. Dr. Thomson identifies it Avith the Meroz, so bitterly 
cursed by Deborah because the inhabitants Avould not join 
the expedition of Barak. And, in confirmation of this, there 
is a fountain near Meiron called to this day by the Jews 
Deborah's fountain, but the Sephardim rabbi, Avho Avas my 
guide, philosopher, and friend at Meiron, identified it Avith 
Shimrom-Meron, whose king Avas one of the thirty-one 
mentioned in the Book of Joshua as having been smitten by 
him on entering Canaan. 

A great part of the village belonged to the rabbi, and, 
with a vicAv of encouraGfins: agriculture among his core- 
ligionists, he had put six Jewish families from Morocco on 
the laud, Avho were accustomed to farming, and Avere doing 
well. Besides these there Avere twelve Moslem families, 
which completed the population of the village. I Avas much 
struck by the good-feeling which existed between them and 
the Jews, the sheik whom I visited speaking in the highest 
terms of the latter, as being hard-working and excellent ag- 
riculturists. Indeed, in Avalking over the village lands, 
those which were cultivated by Jewish labour compared fa- 
vourably with the crops of the Fellahin. Altogether, I Avas 
so much attracted by Meiron and its neighbourhood, which 

70 HAIFA. 

is full of interesting remains that have not yet been thorough- 
ly examined, from an antiquarian jJoint of view, that I pro- 
pose paying it another visit. 

Behind IMeiron rises Jehel .Terniuk, the highest mountain 
in western l*alestine. I serambled up it one day, linding my- 
self as I did so in the midst of the wildest seenery to the 
west of the Jordan. Here villages were few and far be- 
tween. Nothing was to be seen but roeky gorges and 
wild hillsides, trackless, excepting Avhere the goats follow 
each other in search of herbage, but with a grand and sav- 
age beauty which it is difficult to reconcile with the idea 
that they ever supported a large population. Probably, 
even in the most flourishing days of Palestine, these high- 
lands were always its wildest jjarts, and there are compara- 
tively few ancient sites or traces of ruins in the remote re- 
cesses of these mountains. Jebel Jermuk rears its rounded 
summit to a height of four thousand feet above the sea-level, 
and about three hundred feet below the top are the ruins of 
a village which was abandoned about twenty years ago by 
twelve Jewish families, which formed its entire population, 
and Avho were all cultivators of the soil and owners of flocks 
and herds. In those days it was the highest inhabited spot 
in Palestine, and it is wonderful to think its pure mountain 
air should not have protected the inhabitants against cholera, 
which was then decimating the country. So far from such 
being the case, nearly the whole male population was car- 
ried off, and the village was abandoned, and finally be- 
came the property of a Druse village about three miles dis- 
tant. The stone walls of the houses ai-e still standing, and 
there is a well of delicious water, shaded by trees, making 
the spot altogether a desirable retreat from the summer heats 
and a healthy locality for a colony, if it were not so inacces- 
sible. These mountains are not frequented by Bedouin 
Arabs, and need nothing but roads and cultivation to make 
many now barren spots fertile and jorofitable. The more one 
travels over the less-frequented parts of the country, the 
more one is struck Avith the extent of its undeveloped re- 
sources and with the possible future which is in store for it. 


Haifa, July 31. — The greatest religious festival of the 
year in these parts takes plaee on the 20th of July at the 
Monastery of Mount Carmel, and is called the Feast of St. 
Elias. It does not rank in the Roman Catholic Church 
generally as one of the highest importance, but among the 
Maronites, Melchites, and the Latin Oriental Church, as 
well as among the Carmelites themselves, it is par excellence 
tlie great annual ecclesiastical event. From all parts of Pal- 
estine worshippers of all ranks flock to the sacred grotto, and 
on the evening before the saint's day as many as five or six- 
thousand souls are often assembled on the rugged prom- 
ontory and in the enclosures surrounding the monastery. 
Hither I repaired about six o'clock on the evening of the 
19th, and sipped coffee, smoked cigarettes, and chatted with 
the reverend fathers, while I looked out of the iron-barred 
windows on the multitude assembling beneath them. It 
was composed for the most part of venders of fruit, sweet- 
meats, and refreshments of all sorts, who Avere establishing 
their stalls for the night in sheltered nooks, for the feast 
begins at midnight, and is carried on till nine o'clock next 
day, being, in fact, a species of religious orgy, which ap- 
pears to have great fascination for the native Christian 
mind. It must be admitted that devotions which consist 
chiefly in dancing and drinking, with an occasional free 
fight, all through the small hours of the morning, arc re- 
ligious exercises of a kind not unlikely to attract the coun- 
try people, who go in for a sort of holy spree on a scale of 
large proportions. This year, however, a general panic 
which pervaded the country in consequence of the cholera 
in Egypt reduced the numbers materially, especially of the 
Fellahin, among whom all kinds of absurd rumours were 
prevalent that the disease had spread to Haifa, and that the 

78 HAIFA. 

monastery it sol f was in quarantine. After watcliing the 
i)ictures(nie arrivals for some time, I cleclincd an invitation 
to spend the night in the monastery, and determined to re- 
turn next morning at five o'eloek, when I was assured that 
the fun would be fast and furious. 

As I appi'oachcd at that hour my expectations were ex- 
cited by the reports of the discharge of pistols and guns, 
and the sounds of the discordant chorus-chanting which 
forms the usual accompaniment to the native dances. Pass- 
ing under the archway and entering the large courtyard of 
the monastery, I found it nearly full of excited groups in 
large circles, their arms clasped around each other's necks, 
swaying their bodies to and fro, and keeping time with 
their feet to their songs, while they occasionally Avaved their 
arms aloft and iired in the air. This is the regular Syrian 
dance of the towns, and it is sufficiently monotonous. The 
Fellahin, however, have a far more picturesque perform- 
ance, in which the girls, in bright-coloured garments, join, 
dancing singly, or in twos and threes. Of these, unfortu- 
nately, there were very few. No doubt it was in consequence 
of the small attendance that there had not been so much 
drinking as usual, and I only saw one man captured by half 
a dozen Turkish soldiers, who must have a curious idea of 
Christian devotions, for an improper use of his fist. 

About this time the guest-chambers and corridors of the 
monastery — where families o'f the better class who had come 
from Acre, Tyre, Nazareth, Jaffa, and other towns had 
passed the night, in the lodging provided for them — began 
to disgorge, and the variety of costume displayed by the 
shouting, singing, and dancing multitude formed a scene 
sufficiently picturesque and animated. Sometimes proces- 
sions are formed, where offerings are made to the miracle- 
working statue of Notre Dame de Mont Carmel, in return 
for a child that has been prayed for, or a sick person who 
has been healed, but on this occasion her protection did not 
seem to have been invoked, or, at all events, there was no 
public display of gratitude. There is a large terrace in 
front of the monastery, and here a dozen horsemen or so 
were throwing the djerrid and exhibiting their equestrian 
skill, much to the detriment of the unfortunate animals they 


bestrode, Avhose flanks were bleeding profusely from the 
pointed angles of the iron stirrups which serve as spurs, and 
from the cruel bits by which, when going at full speed, they 
were jerked back upon their haunches. 

While all this was going on outside, mass was being per- 
formed in the church for those who wished to vary the enter- 
tainment. This is a spacious, vaulted building in the form of 
a Greek cross, with a fine-toned organ in one transept, and a 
statue of the miraculous Ladv of Mount Carmel, between four 
Corinthian columns, seated on a sort of throne in a richly 
decorated dress of white satin, in the other. Both the Vir- 
gin and the Infant in her arms had golden crowns on their 
heads, the result of a miracle, for when the Frere Jean Bap- 
tiste undertook the reconstruction of the monastery fifty 
years ago, he intrusted the carving of the statue to Caraven- 
ta, a sculptor of Genoa, and, not having money enough to 
buy her a crown suitable to her position, procured her one 
of silver, and one of copper gilt for the Child, saying as he 
did so, " You will know how to procure yourself a better 
one;" and this she achieved shortly after at Naples, where 
a rich nobleman presented her with two in return for a mi- 
raculous cure of which he was the subject. There is a book 
sold in the monastery containing a list of the miracles that 
have been performed by this statue, Avhich was gazed upon 
with the greatest awe and veneration by the country people. 
They prostrate themselves before her, touching the ground 
with their foreheads, and offering up their supplications 
after a fashion that would shock an enlightened Buddhist 
by the superstition and credulity thus suggested. On each 
side of the figure are two altars, one dedicated to St. Jean 
Baptiste, and the other to St. Simon. Stock, an English- 
man, who was made Prior-General of the Order of Carmel- 
ites in 1245, and who in his day did more than any other to 
increase their renown. On the right of this is the statue of 
Elijah slaying a prophet of Baal, which was sculptured at 
Barcelona by Dom Amedeo. The prophet has got his false 
rival on the ground between his feet, and, with uplifted 
sword, is in the act of cutting his head off. He is hung 
round with votive offerings, and worshippers crowd around 
to touch some part of the statue, and then kiss the finger 

80 HAIFA. 

that has touelioil it. On a tabic in front a monk was selling 
cnc;ravings to tlie "worshippers. I bouglit one of these, rep- 
resenting Elijah sending Elisha to look for the sign of rain. 
In the distance is the small cloMtl, no bigger than a man's 
liand, and emerging from it is the lignre of the Virgin and 
Child, for the Roman Catholic tradition has it that in this 
clond was revealed to tlie prophet the dogma of the immac- 
ulate conception, in which he was a firm believer from that 
time forward. 

Descending a few rock-cut stops close to this image, we 
find ourselves in the cave of Elijah, a small grotto about ten 
feet by fifteen, at one end of which is an altar, wbich the 
devotees firmly believe is the actual rock that he used as 
his bed. Here a priest was performing mass. The body of 
the cluirch was full of devotees, for the most part women 
in white burnooscs, Avho squatted on the ground, and seemed 
principally engaged in suckling their babies. 

The monastery derives a considerable revenue from these 
celebrations, as in good seasons votive offerings to a large 
value are brought; but the chief source of its wealth is de- 
rived from the sale of indulgences, or at least what virtually 
amounts to this. By these means it exercises a very powerful 
moral as well as financial influence all through the country, 
and as the Christian population, which is subject to it, is very 
large in proportion to the Moslem in the neighbourhood, and 
as it is under the exclusive protectorate of Franco, this influ- 
ence partakes also of a very distinct political character. In 
fact, the Christians of the whole of this district enjoy a far 
more eflicient protection against the o])pression of the Turk- 
ish government than do the Moslems themselves. 

The monastery is a modern building, and if it only had 
a tall chimney instead of a cupola it would look more like a 
manufactory than a religious edifice. The top of the cupola 
is five hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea, which 
is immediately beneath, and commands a magnificent view. 
When Napoleon besieged Acre in 1799, and v/as compelled 
to raise the siege and retreat, the Turks fell upon the wounded 
French soldiers who were left in hospital here and massa- 
cred them to a man. The convent Avas, of course, deserted, 
and soon after fell into ruin. For twenty-seven years this 


much venerated spot was abandoned, but the order to which 
it had given its name never ceased to agitate for the restora- 
tion of its sanctuarv, and the Avork of reconstruction was 
finally undertaken in 182G, by Jean Baptiste, and completed 
in 1853. So the present building is only thirty years old. 
In front of the main terrace is a flower - garden and some 
trellised vines, in the centre of vvdiich is a pyramid sur- 
mounted by a cross, with an inscription to the effect that it 
commemorates the resting-place of the bones of the French 
soldiers. It was not till five years after their massacre that 
Father Jules du St. Sauveur ventured back to the moun- 
tain, where he found these melancholy traces of the tragedy 
scattered among tho ruins, and, collecting them, hid them 
in a cave until, under more auspicious circumstances, they 
could receive a Christian burial. There can be no doubt 
that the order is now increasing in wealth and influence, and 
expectation runs high that the day is not far distant when 
northern Palestine will become a French province, and when 
its prosperity will be still further seciired. 


EsFiA, Aug. 20. — The fact thai the cholera Avas raging- in 
Egypt, that in the ordinary course of events it was certain 
to visit Syria, that even if it did not, the montlis of July, 
August, and September are disagreeably hot at Haifa, de- 
termined me to make the experiment of camping out on the 
highest jioint of Carmcl, and I am at this moment sitting 
under a IJedouin tent, arranged after a fashion of my own, 
at an altitude of eighteen hundred feet above the level of 
the sea, upon whicli I look down in two opposite directions. 

On the northwest, distant six miles, curves the Bay of 
Acre, with the town itself glistening white in the distance ; 
and on the southwest, distant seven miles, the ^Mediterranean 
breaks upon the beach that bounds the plain of Sharon, and 
v.ith a good glass I can make out the outlines of the ruins 
of the old port of C?esarea. Southward are the confused 
hills known as the mountains of Samaria; beyond them, in 
the blue haze, I can indistinctly see the highlands of Gilead; 
while nearer still. Mount Gilboa, Mount Tabor, the Naza- 
reth range, with a house or two of that town visible, and 
Mount Ilerraon, rising behind the high ranges of northern 
Galilee, are all comprised in a prospect unrivalled in its pan- 
oramic extent and in the interest attached to the localities 
upon which the eye rests in every direction. I was some 
time picking out just the spot on which to camp, so many 
advantageous sites suggested themselves, but the paramount 
necessity of being near a village for security and supplies, 
and, above all, near a good spring, decided me in favour of 
my present location; and as the conditions under which I 
have brought a large party up to the top of this somewhat 
inaccessible mountain and planted them upon it are novel, 
I venture to think that an account of our experience may 
prove interesting. 


In tlie first place, the village itself was out of the ques- 
tion, partly because Arab houses, as a rule, do not consist of 
more than one room, and even when one has turned out their 
human inhabitants, it still remains tenanted by so many 
others of a carnivorous character, though minute in size, 
that existence becomes a burden; and partly because they 
are pervaded with a singular odour of burnt manure, which 
the natives use as fuel for the ovens in which they bake 
their bread, and which is too pungent to be agreeable to 
unsophisticated nostrils. After inhaling it for a month I 
have got rather to like it than otherwise. As I suspected 
that such might be the case, and believed that a successful 
war might be waged against the insects, I decided on hiring 
one of these rooms as a guest-chamber and a place of resort 
from the midday sun, in case the camp did not prove a suf- 
ficient protection. This room Avas nothing more nor less 
than a vault like a cellar, with stone walls and a stone roof, 
supported by cross arches, about twenty feet by thirty ; and 
I may here mention that the precaution turned out wise, for 
we got fairly rid of the fleas, and the temperature in the 
middle of the day, when we usually repair to it for our siesta, 
has never been over 80°. But how to make a camp which 
should accommodate three ladies and four gentlemen was a 
serious question. We had one European tent capable of 
holding two people, and a smaller one for a bachelor of 
modest requirements in the way of standing-room, and these 
we supplemented with a tent which we hired of some neigh- 
bouring Bedouins, which was thirty feet long, but which, 
when pitched according to their fashion, was an impossible 
habitation for civilized beings, as it had no walls. Indeed, 
the whole breadth of the black camel's-hair cloth of which 
it was composed Avas only ten feet. We therefore decided 
on using it merely as a roof, and sent down to Haifa for 
a camel load of light lumber in order to make a frame on 
which to stretch it. We also got up two dozen cheap mats, 
six feet square, at twenty-five cents apiece. With these we 
made front and back walls and partitions for sleeping cribs. 
Finally oar erection, on which we proudly hoisted the na- 
tional flag, was thirty-four feet long, ten feet wide, seven 
feet hiii-h in front and five feet in rear. These mats can be 

84 HAIFA. 

triced up in front and rear in the daytime so as to allow a 
free circulation of air. On tlie roof, in order to keep the 
sun from beating too fiercely upon us, we spread branches 
of the odorous bay-tree, "with Avhich the scrubby Avoods of 
the mountain abound, and of these same brandies we erected 
a kitchen, and stable for the liorse and three donkeys -which 
composed our establishment. The thermometer usually fell 
to 70° at night, and there were heavy morning dews and 

It was no slight task selecting the furniture, bedding, 
cooking-utensils, and comestibles for a party of seven, and 
it took eight camels, besides sundry donkeys, to carry all our 
necessaries. In order to understand the nature of the jiath 
over which vt'e had to travel, the reader must get rid of the 
popular notion conveyed by the Avord "Mount," -which is 
usually applied to Carmel, that it is a solitary hill. So far 
from such being the case, it is a mountainous district about 
fourteen miles long and twelve -wide at its base. It culmi- 
nates in a promontory, -which projects into the sea at its 
apex, but -we are established ten miles from Haifa, the path 
ascending abruptly from that town, and following for near- 
ly three hours' travel the backbone of the ridge, disclosing 
views of -wondrous beauty down gorges on the right and 
left. It is "a rocky road to travel" for a delicate lady, 
involving steep, precipitous ascents, for which sure-footed 
donkeys are best ; but we were obliged to resort to a chair 
and a litter, each carried by four bearers, who, as they stum- 
bled and clambered up the narrow path, seemed bent upon 
capsizing their human burdens. Now, however, that we 
have safely endured the perils of the way, we are amply re- 
paid for them. 

The nights and mornings are of ideal beauty. The ef- 
fects of sunrise and sunset, ever varying, over the vast land- 
scape that stretches around and beneath us, are a constant 
source of wonder and delight. From the vine-covered ter- 
race on M'hich our camp is situated we look down a wild, 
rocky, precipitous gorge eighteen hundred feet upon the 
plain of the Kishon, scarce a mile distant, so steep is it. To 
the right this gorge widens into an amphitheatre, and the 
hillsides, sloping more gently, are terraced with vines, figs, 


and pomegranates, and at its Lead is the copious spring 
wliich supplies us with water, to which one of our donkeys 
makes several pilgrimages a day with a large earthen jar 
slang in a straw cradle on each side. Here, morning and 
evening, files of Druse women resort, and stand and gossip 
round the cistern into wiiich the water gushes from the 
rock, their bright-coloured dresses forming a charming con- 
trast with the dark-green foliage of the gardens and or- 
chards that are irrigated in the immediate vicinity. Be- 
sides about five hundred Druses there are fifty Christians 
in the village, who do not hai-monize with the Druses very 
well, and there is a hot rivalry for our favour, so that we 
have to exercise a considerable amount of diplomacy to 
keep on good terms with all. 

We have hired the vault from a Christian, and his family 
next door consists of his stepmother and four half-sisters, 
strapping, good-looking wenches, Avh.o are not yet married, 
for lack of the necessary dowers. With them is staying a 
cousin from Acre, one of the most beautiful women I have 
ever seen, quite Caucasian in type and complexion, which is 
white and transparent as that of any Western beauty. We 
have great difficulty in keejiing this bevy of damsels out of 
our room, as Arabs have no idea of privacy, and they im- 
agine that politeness consists in squatting round in a circle 
and asking silly questions. Excepting for the practice it 
gives one in Arabic, and for a certain insight which one thus 
gains into the manners and customs of the natives, these 
visits would be intolerable, and, indeed, we have found it 
necessary to take stringent measures -to limit them. It is 
more interesting to go and sit in the cool veranda outside 
of the little Druse place of worship, and talk to the bright 
young man who is passing most of his time in studying the 
abstruse metaphysical system of his religion, and who is far 
more intelligent than the Syrian Catholic priest, who also 
comes and sits and smokes with us with the view of obtain- 
ing, which he has not yet succeeded in doing, some knowl- 
edge of our own religious belief. Now and then an ej^isode 
occurs illustrating the conditions of native existence iu these 
parts. One day I found the village excited at an outrage 
which a native mounted policeman had perpetrated. On 

86 HAIFA. 

lr:u'ning that he had assaulted not merely one of the vil- 
lagers, but my own servant, Avho had refused him access to 
our vault, I iuilietcd.a little corporal punishment u})on him, 
■\vhen his oflicer and the villaLije notables interfered, and in- 
terceded in his behalf, I asked the latter Avhy they "svere 
not glad to see a man punished who, like the rest of his 
class, was forever persecuting them; they said that when I 
■was gone he would come back and take his revenge upon 
them. I finally made the man apologize to the Druse he 
Lad assaulted, and to my servant, all which he did very 
humbly, feai'ing that unless he did so I should insist upon 
his receiving a still severer punishment from the Caimacan, 
or local governor, at Haifa, The villagers were very grate- 
ful to see one of this arrogant and overbearing class hum- 
bled, but they say that unless one can stay and protect them 
their last state will be worse than their first. 


In Camp, Mount Carmel, Sept. 10. — It is not generally 
known that the Druse nation extends as far south as Car- 
mel, The most southern village occupied by them in Syria is 
at Dalieh, about two miles from my present camp; their most 
northern home is at Alcp])0. When, nine hundred years ago, 
Duruzi, the teacher from whom they take tlieir name, came 
from Egypt to spread his new teaching, it was accepted by 
a tribe of people who lived in the neighbourhood of Aleppo, 
whither they had originally migrated from the province of 
Yemen, in Arabia. x\dopting the new and mysterious faith, 
which, while it is a most interesting metaphysical and theo- 
logical study, is too recondite to enter .upon here, the body 
of the tribe migrated south, took possession of the val- 
leys of the southern Lebanon, and made their headquar- 
ters at the foot of Mount Ilerinon. Spreading east from 
there, they crossed the tract known in ancient times as 
Iturea, and found a natural fortress in the volcanic re- 
gion anciently called Trachonitis, the Biblical Argob, and 
in the mountains now called the Jebel Druse. Here they 
increased and multiplied, and in the early part of the seven- 
teenth century produced that most remarkable warrior 
Fakr-Eddin, the only man of note of whom the Druses can 
boast. He conquered Beyrout and the southern coast 
towns, extending his sway as far south as Carmel, and as 
far east as Tiberias; and under his auspices the mountains 
of Galilee and Carmel became settled by Druses. 

It is, therefore, not much more than two hundred and 
fifty years since the Druses first came to Carmel, and it is 
probable that when they did so they found the mountain 
wholly unoccupied, excepting by a few Christian hermits 
and devotees who lived in its caves — for the Carmelite 
monks had been driven away and their monastery destroyed 


three bumlrod years before; ami, indeed, it was only at the 
time of the Druse occupation that the iirst attempt was 
made to restore it. For the two centuries durinuj which 
tlie crusaders hekl the Holy Land prior to tlie end of tiie 
thirteentli century, Carmel was occupied by them, and tlic 
remains of their military posts are still to be found on 
many of the summits of the mountain ; indeed, many of 
the old stones of wliich the village of Estia is built, near 
Avhieh my camp is situated, bear their devices carved on 
them. Before the time of the crusaders there may have 
been Moslem villages on Carmel, but its glory departed 
when Palestine was conquered by the Saracens in the 
seventh century, and the last remains of Roman civilization, 
the traces of Avhich still cover the mountain, were de- 

About the time of Christ, and for four or five centuries 
afterwards, it must have been in its full loveliness, its hill- 
sides terraced with vineyards or clothed Avith magnificent 
forests, and its summits crowned with towns adorned with 
the grace and beauty of the architecture of the period. 
The discoveries I have made in jjroof of this I will post- 
pone to another letter, as my intention now is to describe 
the present population by which the mountain is inhabited. 

It is a curious fact that to this day there are no jMoslems 
on Carmel proper. There are five or six Moslem villages 
at its base, on the various sides of the triangle which com- 
prises the district, and they have lands running up into the 
mountain; but the actual population consists of two Druse 
villages, numbering together about eight hundred souls, and 
about fifty Christians, besides the twenty-five monks who 
inhabit the monastery. The mountain is nevertheless capa- 
ble of containing a population of many thousands, as it evi- 
dently did in old times, and is a much larger district than is 
jjopularly supposed. 

The eastern side, from the apex of the triangle, is thirteen 
miles in length, the western twelve, and the base nine, giv- 
ing a total circumference to this highland region of thirty- 
four miles. The tract comprised in this area is beautifully 
diversified by wild gorges, grassy valleys, level or undulat- 
ing plateaus covered with underwood, and rocky summits; 


and the scenery in places is as romantic as can well be 
iina2;ined. The two Druse villao;cs of Esfia and Dalich are 
situated two miles apart, about three quarters of the way 
down the triangle from its apex (the projecting promontory 
on which the monastery is built), and occupy the most fer- 
tile jDart of the mountain. 

When the Druses first settled here they founded no 
fewer than eight villages, but when, forty years ago, this 
country was conquered by Egypt and governed by Ibrahim 
Pacha, his rule was distasteful to the majority of Druses, 
and the inhabitants of six villages abandoned them, and 
migrated to the Jebcl Druse. All these villages occupied 
the sites of ancient Roman towns, and were constructed of 
the ancient stones. In the course of my rambles I have 
visited them all. Of the two villages which rem.ained, one, 
Dalieh, was occupied by some families which had migrated 
direct from Aleppo; the other, Esfia, is peopled by Druses 
from the Lebanon. There is a marked difference between 
the two, and the people of Dalieh are far superior to those 
of Esfia. 

I went over there the other day, and spent the day and 
night as the guest of 'the sheik — or, I should rather say, of 
the sheiks, for there arc two — one is the temporal and the 
other the spiritual head of the village — and I divided my 
attentions and my meals equally between them. They are 
very reluctant to talk about their religion, always turning 
the subject when any attempt is made to induce them to 
converse about it; but there is one question which they al- 
ways ask, and that is whether there are any Druses in Eng- 
land. As it is an acce])ted fact among them that there are, 
any denial of it is considered a discreet reticence, and rath- 
er a proof than otherwise that one is somewhat of a Druse 
one's self. They also believe that the majority of China- 
men are, nnconsciously to themselves. Druses; and they are 
firmly convinced that the world is drawing to a close, and 
that the appearance of Hakim, a divine incarnation, which 
was prophesied to take i^lace nine hundred years after his 
last manifestation and translation, is now imminent, as the 
time is just about expiring. 

The Druses arc a sober, fairly honest, and industrious peo- 

90 HAIFA. 

plo, ami have tluir own notions of morality, to which they 
rigidly adhere. 'I'hey have only one -wife, but they have 
great facilities of divorce. An amusing illustration of this 
came under my inimodiatc notice Avhile I was the sheik's 
guest. His son, a line young man, had been my guide 
among some neighbouring ruins the day before. I liad also 
made the acquaintance of the wife of the latter, a remark- 
ably pretty woman, with a baby. Indeed, I Avas much 
struck with the beauty of the type of all the Dalieli Avomen. 
Suddenly a tremendous uproar took place in the village. 
My host rushed out to restore order. While I looked 
down on the scene from an upper window, I saw his son, 
bareheaded, brandishing a huge stone in the air, and vehe- 
mently gesticulating, aj^parently in reply to a bevy of wom- 
en who were screaming at him at the top of their voices. 
Indeed, all the women in the place seemed to have con- 
spired to drive him to frenzy by their abuse. When the 
sheik appeared in the midst of them order was somewhat 
restored, for, to my surprise, he seemed to take part with 
the women, and dealt his son one or two sound blows. 
Then there was some palavering, and during the whole time 
I saw the wife of the enraged young man looking calmly on 
as a spectator. She had put her child in its cradle and wag 
rocking it. Two or three old women were crying and still 
vociferating. Presentlv I saw a man come and lift the 
cradle with the baby, and the mother rose and followed him. 
They went into a neighbouring house, and were followed by 
the sheik and as many as could crowd in. Then ensued a 
long pause, until the sheik reappeared, with a document 
which he had been writing, in his hand, and the village popu- 
lation gathered around. At this time I could not see his son 
anywhere, but the wife was among the audience. When he 
had finished reading, the audience broke up and the sheik 
returned to me. When I asked what had been the matter, 
he replied, "Oh, foolish people quarrelling." So I applied 
elsewhere for information, and was told that for some tim.e 
past the sheik's son had been tired of his wife and in love 
with another woman, and had been seeking a cause of quar- 
rel. He had a])parently found it in some dis])utc he had just 
been having with iiis wife, and had uttered in his rage the 


formula of divorce, by wbich ho dismissed her and sent her 
back to her family. Hence the feminine outbreak against 
him. The sheik had disapproved his son's conduct, as the 
wife was his own niece, and, therefore, her husband's first 
cousin, and he considered it a family disgrace; but, after 
what had happened, patching up the matter liad become im- 
possible, and he had nothing for it but, according to Druse 
law, to pronounce the divorce. I must say that the entire in- 
difference manifested by the wife, when she followed her 
baby's cradle away from her husband's house, deprived her 
of the sympathy I should otherwise have felt. 

From what I have been able to gather, the Druse women, 
if they are pretty, are a heartless lot. Another characteris- 
tic incident was a procession of Esfia Druses to the cave of 
Elijah, below the monastery, in fulfilment of a vow, Avhen a 
child was dedicated to a religious life, and a goat was sacri- 
ficed to God, as in the times of old. After being sacrificed, 
it Avas nevertheless eaten, Avhich seems somewhat to deprive 
the performance of its merit, as the shai*e of the Deity was 
the bones. There was a great clanrrino; of discordant in- 
struments and loud singing as they came back, some of the 
men caracoling ai'ound. on horseback, and others, with arms 
clasped, dancing in a measured, step, followed by a group 
of dancing women, in dark-blue garments, with gaudy bor- 
ders and fringes and sashes, and fiowing white head-dresses 
bound with bright - coloured scarfs. They formed a most 
picturesque tableau, chanting their way to their home on 
this wild mountain hill-top. 

One day a magnificent figure of a man, armed with sword 
and pistol, suddenly entered my tent. I asked him where 
he had come from. He said from the Jebel Druse, and, 
seeing a foreign tent, he had turned in to see who I was. So 
we exchanged confidences. He was, in fact, an outlaw. He 
had been fighting against the government, and was wander- 
ing from one Druse village to another, not daring to go back 
to his own, which was in the Lebanon. He said that at this 
moment the Druses of the Jebel Druse were in full revolt 
against the Turkish government; that no Druse dare show 
himself in Damascus, and no Turk dare show himself in the 
Jebel Druse. They had defied the Governor-General, wlio 

92 HAIFA. 

kiK'W that it woultl be useless in tlieir wild mountains to at- 
tempt to conquer them. lie offered to take me to the Jebel 
Druse, if I -would avoid all places ■where there wore any 
Turks. lie had a profound contempt for his coreligionists 
of Dalieh and Eslia. "I am ashamed of such Druses," he 
said. " Why, I saw a Moslem insult one, the other day, and, 
instead of killing him, he walked away. Why don't they 
leave a place where they dare not punish insult, and come 
to the mountain?" I have rarely seen a finer specimen of 
humanity than this man was, and, Avith all the defiant reck- 
lessness and daring of his expression, there was the charm of 
entire frankness and good-nature combined with it. 

Besides the two villages on Carmel, there are fourteen 
Druse villages, nearly all within sight of it, on the southern 
slopes of the mountains of Galilee. It is not improbable 
that, unable to support the military conscription and taxa- 
tion which presses upon them, the inhabitants may, before 
long, abandon their present homes, and go to swell the num- 
bers of their brethren in the Jebel Druse. The whole pop- 
ulation of the Druse nation is about 120,000; they can put 
into the field 25,000 men of the best fighting material in 
Turkey ; they are slowdy migrating to the Jebel Druse, 
where about two thirds of the nation have already asserted 
their semi-independence. 


Haifa, Sept. 24. — During the two months that I Lave been 
cam2)ed on the highest summit of Mount Carmel, I have 
visited no fewer than twenty ruins of ancient tov>^ns and 
villages. Of these I have discovered six which were hereto- 
fore unknown, the others having been found ten years ago 
by the oflicers of the Royal Engineers sent out to survey 
Palestine by the Society for Palestine Exploration, 

Prior to that time, this historic locality was a terra in- 
cognita. The tourists who visited the mountain, like the pil- 
grims who journeyed thither for devotional reasons, satisfied 
themselves with a short stay at the convent, and even then 
did not understand that they were only on one mountain 
spur of a highland region thirty-five miles in circumference, 
where almost every hilltop was crowned with a ruin, and 
every gorge might open up new and unexpected beauties of 

It is only after so exhaustive an examination as I have just 
accomplished that any idea can be formed of the extent of 
the population by which Carmel was once inhabited, of the 
high state of civilization which must have prevailed here, 
and of the extent to which its lovely hills and valleys were 
cultivated. These ruins bear a great resemblance to each 
other ; and although they none of them cover a very great 
extent of ground, they Avere built of most solid materials, 
and, to judge by some of the architectural remains, and the 
elaborate carvings and devices, they must have contained 
some handsome buildino;s. 

The houses were built of blocks of drafted stone, usually 
four feet long by two and a half high, and two thick. The 
door-jambs and lintels, which in some instances are still in 
situ, were often seven or eight feet long by two feet six 
by two feet. In these were holes or sockets, in which the 

94 HAIFA. 

]iivots wovkcil. Some of tlie lintels over the doors were or- 
namoiitrd willi clcvic-os ; these were usually hexagons and 
circles, in the centre of which Avere ovals or other orna- 
mental scrolls. Sometimes there was a bird or an animal, 
sueh as an eagle or ii leopard, or seven-branched candlesticks, 
or raised bosses or crosses; here and there was a cornice with 
a florid carving, evidently of the Roman period, with frag- 
ments of columns or capitals. But some of these ruins have 
been inhabited by later inhabitants, who used the old stones 
for their modern constructions, and too often chipped off the 
carving. Indeed, they ai"e the ready-made quarries of the 
countr}'' people of the present day, who come and carry off 
the stones to build their houses. 

A notable and melancholy instance of this has occurred in 
the case of a place called Khurbet Semmaka. This was the 
most interesting ruin in Carmel, and was discovered ten 
years ago by the officers of the Palestine Exploration Sur- 
vey. Here they found the portal of what once had been an 
ancient Jewish synagogue still standing, its door-jambs and 
lintels elaborately carved, part of the walls and fragments of 
the columns which formed an enclosing colonnade were in 
position, and formed the subject of much speculation, as it 
was the only specimen of Jewish architecture in this part of 
the country, and presented some features which were dif- 
ferent from anything hitherto discovered; and it was there- 
fore suggested that the building must have been built at a 
different period from any of those the remains of which still 
exist. Judge of my disappointment on visiting this spot to 
find that, with the exception of three feet of one door-jamb, 
all had disappeared; there was scarcely a stone left. The 
inhabitants of a Moslem village about two miles distant had 
within the last decade made a clean sweep of all these most 
interesting remains. Fortunately they still exist in the 
Palestine Society's Memoirs in the shape of most elaborate 
drawings and measurements, vv'hich were made by the Sur- 
vey and have since been published. 

Apart from the actual stones themselves and the carvings 
which are to be found upon them, the objects of interest 
which mainly characterize all these Carnlel ruins are ancient 
olive-mills and wine-presses, often in a very perfect state of 


preservation, tombs and cisterns. First, in regard to the 
olive-raills. I found more tlian a dozen of these. On two 
occasions they were hewn out of the living rock. The lower 
stone, which was circular, had usually a diameter of eight 
feet, with a raised rini outside nine or ten inches high, 
and a raised socket in the centre, in which was a hole a foot 
square, where the upright was fitted to hold the lateral beam 
which worked the npper stone. This was usually five feet 
in diameter and eighteen inches thick, and had a hole pierced 
through the centre. Through this the long beam was passed, 
to which, as it extended far beyond the circumference of the 
lower stone, the horse was attached which worked the mill, 
the upper stone travelling on its broad edge around the lower 
stone, over the olives. From the lower stone a gutter was 
carved into the vat, also hewn out of the living rock, into 
which trickled the oil. I often found near these mills huge 
limestone rollers about three feet in diameter and seven feet 
long. On the sides of these were four vertical lines of sunk 
grooves, four or five grooves in each line. Taking 2.7 as 
the specific gravity of the stone, they must have Aveighed 
about two tons each. What their functions were, or whether 
they had anything to do with the olive-crushing process, I am 
at a loss to conjecture. The wine-presses were nothing more 
than huge vats, also hewn out of the living rock, sometimes 
above ground, in the shape of sarcoj)hagi, sometimes pits 
eight or nine feet square and the same in depth. 

The limestone hillsides in the neighbourhood of these ruins 
were almost invariably honeycombed with cave tombs, whose 
doorways were often rudely ornamented with devices, and 
in one instance I found an inscription in Greek characters so 
much defaced that I could not decipher it. They usually 
consisted of only one chamber, eight or ten feet square, but 
Avere sometimes larger, and contained either kokim or loculi 
under arcosolia, sometimes both. The kokinx are tunnel- 
shaped excavations, usually seven feet long, two feet six 
wide, and the same in height — in other words, just largo 
enough to contain a corpse. The loculus is an oblong tomb, 
wMth sides about two feet high, also large enough convenient- 
ly to contain a body. It is cut out of the living rock, as well 
as the arch which overspans it. Sometimes there is a large, 

96 HAIFA. 

arcliod recess opening out of the central cliamher, containing 
several loculi. On more than one occasion I found a circu- 
lar stone like a millstone in a groove in the doorway, which 
only required to be rolled a couple of feet to close the tomb 
completely, but the tombs are generally closed by an oblong 
stone slab, not iinfrequently ornamented with devices. I 
also found several sarcophagi. 

The cisterns are of two kinds, bell-mouthed and of demi- 
john shape, or open rock-hewn reservoirs or tanks. At one 
ruin I found an extensive system of these latter. There Avcre 
no fewer than six, of which the largest was forty feet square, 
all close together, divided only by narrow ledges of the solid 
rock out of which they had been hewn. They were from 
fifteen to twenty feet to the soil at the bottom, now over- 
grown with shrubs, so that in reality they are probably much 
deeper. In some cases stone steps lead to the bottom, and 
on the sides "were deep niches from whicli evidently sprang 
arches to form the roof, for there can be little doubt that the 
most of them vrere originally covered. From the great num- 
ber and extent of these cisterns it is manifest that the in- 
habitants were, in some instances, entirely dependent upon 
them for their water supply. 

At the southeastern extremity of the mountain is the spot 
known as " the place of burning," or sacrifice, because tra- 
dition assigns it as the locality where Elijah had his contro- 
versy with the prophets of Baal, and in commemoration 
thereof the Carmelite monks are at this moment jbuilding a 
church there, and using, by the way, some of the carved 
stones of a neighbouring ruin, regardless of all antiquarian 
considerations. I feel, therefore, a malignant satisfaction in 
the conviction at which I have arrived that they are build- 
ing their church on a spot which is indisputably not the 
place on which the altar of Elijah was erected, if we are to 
believe the Biblical record, for it is in full view of the Medi- 
terranean, and it would have been quite unnecessary for 
Elijah to tell his servant to " go up and look toward the 
sea," for there is no higher point to go up to, and he could 
see the sea himself. But about a mile from this spot there 
stands, curiously enough, a pile of stones in a locality which 
would exactly fulfil the required conditions. I came upon 


it unexpectedly, almost concealed in a thicket of underwood. 
The stones are placed one upon the other Avithout cement, 
and average eighteen inches square and eight or nine thick, 
forming a rude altar about twelve feet long and four high. 
The breadth varies, as the}^ have been broken away, but 
there is a large artificial slab, six feet square, lying at the 
base. Thpugh I do not for a moment mean to imply that 
this Avas the original altar, the unusual shape and position of 
this pile suggests that it may have been the result of some 
sacred tradition connected with the Biblical event, or it may 
be the remains of an ancient vineyard v*'atch-tov,'er. From 
it the ground swells back and upward in every direction, so 
that a vast host might have been assembled around and 
witnessed whatever was going forward, which would 
have been impossible at the traditional locality. A ten 
minutes' walk would have taken Elijah's servant to a neigh- 
bouring summit which commanded a full view of the sea, 
and the twelve barrels of water required to drench the altar 
could have been obtained from some rock-hewn tanks in the 
immediate vicinity, while the jiath that passes the pile leads 
straight down to the hill on the bank of the Kishon, where 
tradition has it that the priests were massacred. Moreover, 
it was in the centre of the most populous part of the mountain. 
Within a radius of two miles and a half from this pile of 
stones there are no fewer than twelve ruins of ancient towns 
and villages on the various hill -tops and mountain -spurs 
which surround it. 

No fact could give a better idea than this of the populous 
character of Carmel in the days of the prophet. Not very 
far from this I discovered, half-way down the steep flank of 
the mountain, a fortress of a most ancient race, the stones 
which were piled one above another three high to form the 
rampart being immense natural unhewn boulders weighing 
from two to three tons each. I am not aware of anything 
of the kind having yet been found in Palestine, and as carry- 
ing one back to a period probably anterior to Jewish occu- 
pation, I regard it as the most interesting discover}^ I have 
made on Carmel. 


St, Jeax d'Acke, Oct. 14. — Of all the towns on the 
coast, from Antiocli to Gaza, none has bad a more eventful 
history than Acre, or one which more directly affected the 
fortunes of the rest of the country at large. Napoleon I. 
called it the key of Palestine, and it is doubtless owing to 
its important strategical position that it has undergone so 
many vicissitudes, and been the scene of so many sanguinary 
battles. There is, indeed, probably no similar area on the 
face of the globe on which so much blood has been shed. 

I was at some trouble the other day to add up the list of 
sieges it has undergone, and the total was fifteen, not count- 
ing doubtful ones in the earliest history of the country, 
Avhen it was invaded and conquered by the ancient Egyp- 
tians; but beginning with the siege of Acre by Shalmaneser, 
721 B.C., when the fortress belonged to the Tyrians, and 
ending Avith its bombardment, in a. d. 1840, by the English 
Admiral Sir Charles Napier, the list is one which suggests 
•a record of blood unparalleled in history. Its Avorst time 
was undoubtedly during the two hundred years when it Avas 
taken and retaken several times by Crusaders and Saracens 
successively. On one of these occasions when, after a tAVO 
years' siege, the town fell into the hands of the Saracens, 
sixty thousand Christians are said to haA'e fallen by the 
svv'ord. The place is still shown, at the northeast salient of 
the outer wall, whore stood the English tower, Avhich was 
guarded by the troops of Richard Coeur de Lion. 

The town noAV contains only about nine thousand inhabi- 
tants, cooped up by the fortifications in the very limited 
area of about fifty acres; and it is more picturesque than 
agreeable to live in. There is no more characteristic bazaar 
in the East than that of Acre, with its motley crowd of 
wild Bedouins from the desert, Persian devotees gathering 


around a Persian boly man who lias taken up liis re&iclence 
liere, Turkish soldiers who form its garrison, Druses, with 
their white turbans and striped abeihs, or overcoats, Meta- 
walis, who are wikl and gipsy-looking Moslem schismatics, 
Syrian Christians, and Moslem peasantry; add to these veiled 
women, long strings of camels, with an occasional foreigner, 
or sailor ffom a merchant-ship in the harbour, and you get 
a population as varied as any town in the country can show. 
Acre, therefore, is a most interesting place to spend a day 
in, apart from any antiquarian attraction it may possess, or 
monuments of more modern architecture which are worthy 
of attention. 

There are few finer mosqxies in Syria than that of Jezzar 
Pacha, which stands vx'ithin a large rectangular area, where 
there are vaulted galleries, supported by ancient columns 
ornamented by capitals brought from the ruins of Tyre and 
Cffisarea. Along these galleries have been built cells, des- 
tined for the people employed at the mosque, or the pil- 
grims who came to visit it. They surround a magnificent 
court, under Avliich are cisterns, and u)>on which are palms, 
cypress, and other trees. Among them are white marble 
tombs, notably those of Jezzar and Suleiman Pacha. The 
town contains three other mosques, the columns in which 
and the pavement have certainly belonged to more ancient 
buildings. There are four Christian churches in the city, 
which belong to the Roman Catholics, the Schismatic Greeks, 
the Maronites, and the United Greeks respectively. Under 
the house of the Sisters of Nazareth and the neighbouring 
houses extend vast vaulted cellars which are now divided 
by walls of separation, and belong to diff"erent proprietors; 
they are doubtless of crusading origin. Deep cisterns also 
date from that period. Of the same date also are certain 
remains of walls and vaults near the convent, Avhich are the 
ruins of a church almost completely destroyed. The most 
remarkable khan is near the port, called the Khan el Aurid 
on account of its columns, the galleries surrounding it being 
built on pillars of gray or red granite, covered by capitals 
of different orders, brought from more ancient monuments. 
The citadel, as may be imagined, has often been destroyed 
and rebuilt. On one side is the military hospital, the lower 

100 HAIFA. 

part of which belongs entirely to crusatlers' work, and con- 
sists of large subterranean magazines. In the middle is a 
great court, shaded by fig, })alin, and other trees, under 
which are vaulted galleries and cisterns. Under the ram- 
parts also extend immense ogival vaults, many of which be- 
long to the time of the crusades. These have furnished 
magazines for later defenders of the fortress, and, during the 
bombardment by the English in 1840, the principal one ex- 
ploded, with a loss to the defenders of 1600 men, 30 camels, 
50 asses, besides horses, cows, and a great store of arms. 
Some of the guns lying about the ramparts are of old French 
manufacture, with the dates 1V85, '86, '87. They are those 
which were sent by sea, for the use of Napoleon, but w^ere 
captured by Sir Sydney Smith, and brought here to serve 
for the defence of the city. About half a mile from the 
city walls is an artificial hill or tumulus, called Napoleon's 
Hill, from the fact that he used it as his headquarters during 
one of the sieges of Acre. It was occupied for the same pur- 
pose six hundred years before by Richard Cceur de Lion, 

In ancient times Acre was the most populous and flourish- 
ing port on the sea-coast after the decline of Tyre and Sidon, 
and contained an immense population; the town must have 
extended over the plain to the east of the city, which is still 
rich in ancient debris, fragments of pottery, and marble 
carvings, A great j^art of the modern fortification has been 
built from the ruins of Athlit, which I have described in a 
former letter, and which, before it Avas thus despoiled at the 
beginning of this century, must have been an ancient cru- 
sading fortress in almost perfect condition. When one 
thinks how lately it has been destroyed, one is all the more 
inclined to regret the disappearance of a monument which 
would have been the most interesting relic of its kind in ex- 
istence. Acre possesses little Biblical interest. It is only 
mentioned once in the Old Testament, where it is alluded to 
as beinjx a town from which the tribe of Asher, in whose 
territory it was situated, did not succeed in driving the Ca- 
naanites, but seemed to have lived with them in it upon 
friendly terras; and once in the New Testament, where, un- 
der the name of Ptolemais, it was visited by Paul on his 
way from Greece to Jerusalem, 


There are many old people now in Acre who tell thrilling 
stories of the episodes M^hich occurred here during the years 
when it was occupied by the Egyptians, between 1830 and 
1840, and when it became necessary not merely to concil- 
iate the conquerors, but to play a double game of keeping 
on good terms with the Turks, to whom it was ultimately, 
and, as it now turns out, foolishly, restored by the British; 
but none so thrilling as those which they have heard from 
their fathers, of the incidents which marked tlie reigns of 
Jczzar and Abdullah Pacha, especially the former. The fol- 
lowing story was told me by the son of the man who was 
the confidential secretary of this fiend in human shape, who 
gloried in the name of " The Butcher." In youth he sold 
himself to a slave-merchant in Constantinople, and, being 
purchased by Ali Bey of Egypt, he rose from the humble 
station of a mameluke to be Governor of Cairo. In 1773 
he was placed by the Emir of the Druses in command at 
Beyrout. There his first act was to seize 50,000 piastres, 
the property of the emir, and the second to declare that he 
acknowledged no superior but the sultan. The emir, by the 
aid of a Russian fleet, drove Jezzar from Beyrout, but he was 
soon after made Pacha of Acre and Sidon. Under his vig- 
orous rule the pachalik extended from Baalbec on the north 
to Jerusalem on the south. My informant told me that he 
was not originally a cruel man, but that one day he was 
playing with a little daughter who pulled his beard. " This 
is very wrong," be said; "how did you learn to play with 
men's beards ?" " Oh," she replied, " I always play with the 
beards of the mamelukes when they visit the ladies of the 
harem in your absence." This excited a fit of frenzied jeal- 
ousy. Taking an escort, he announced that he was going 
on an official visit to a distant part of his pachalik. When 
he was a stage out of Acre, he told his escort to remain 
where they were, disguised himself, and returned rapidly 
and secretly to his harem. Here he found all his favourite 
wives disporting themselves with his mamelukes or military 
body-guard. Instantly he drew his cimcter and fell, not 
upon the men, but upon the women. Fifteen of these he is 
said to have killed with his own hand, and then, growing 
tired of the effort, he called in some soldiers to complete the 

102 HAIFA. 

massacre, not leaving one alive. My informant did not re- 
member the total number slain. The mamelukes rushed to 
the great magazines, and swore they would blow themselves 
up and the whole town if a hair of tlieir heads was touched. 
Tiiey were allowed, therefore, to saddle their horses and 
ride off in peace; but from that day the whole character of 
Jezzar Pacha was changed, and he made it a rule never to 
allow a week to pass without executions. His Jew banker 
was a handsome man. One day Jezzar coniiilimented him 
on his looks, and then, calling a servant, ordered him to put 
out one of the Jew's eyes. Some time after Jezzar ob- 
served (hat the banker had arranged his turban so as almost 
to hide the lost eye, and he then, without a moment's hesi- 
tation, had his nose cut off. The poor Jew finally lost his 
head. Tlie family of this man are still among the chief 
bankers of Damascus. 

This butcher also employed his own leisure moments in 
unexpectedly drawling his sword and cutting off the ears 
and noses of his favourites and the people about him, and 
sometimes their heads, Avith his own hand. This was the 
man whom Napoleon besieged in Acre, and with whom 
British troops wan-e unfortunately compelled to ally them- 
selves to prevent the fortress from falling into French hands. 
My informant told me that during the latter years of Jezzar 
Pacha's life his character again changed for the better, and 
he gradually gave up his cruel practices. In fact, he de- 
scribed his cruelty as a monomania produced by a fit of 
jealousy, which it took him some years to get over. 


Haifa, ISTov. 1. — The Nalir N'aman, called by the ancients 
the river Belus, rises in a large marsh at the base of a 
mound in the plain of Acre called the Tell Kurdany, and, 
after a short course of four miles, fed by the swampy ground 
through which it passes, it attains considerable dimensions. 
Before falling into the sea it winds through an extensive 
date -grove, and then, twisting its way between banks of 
fine sand, falls into the ocean scarcely two miles from the 
walls of Acre. Pliny tells us that glass was first made by 
the ancients from the sands of this river, and the numerous 
specimens of old glass which I found in grubbing bear tes- 
timony to the extensive usage of this material in the neigh- 
bourhood. The beach at its mouth Avas also celebrated as 
a locality where the shells v\^hich yielded the Tyrian purple 
were to be found in great abundance, and I have succeeded 
in extracting the dye from some of those I have collected 
here. It was also renowned for a colossal statue of Mem- 
non, which, according to Pliny, was upon its banks, but the 
site of this has not been accurately identified. The only 
point of attraction now upon its Avaters is a garden belong- 
ing to an eminent Persian, whose residence at Acre is in- 
vested with such peculiar interest that I made an expedition 
to his pleasure-ground on the chance of discovering some- 
thing more in regard to him than it Avas possible to do at 

Turning sharply to the right before reaching Acre, and 
passing beneath the mound upon Avhich Napoleon planted 
his batteries in 1799, avc enter a grove of date-trees by a 
road bordered Avith high cactus hedges, and finally reach a 
causcAvay Avhich traA^erses a small lake formed by the Avaters 
of the Belus, and which, crossing one arm of the river, lands 
us upon an island Avliich it encircles. This island, which is 

104 HAIFA. 

about two buiulrccl yards long by scarcely a bundrcd wide, 
is all laid out in tlower-beds and planted witli ornamental 
sbrubs and "witli fruit-trees. Cominsjj upon it suddenly it is 
like a scene in fairy land. In the centre is a ])laslung foun- 
tain from Avbicli the Avater is conveyed to all parts of the 
garden. The flower-beds are all bordered with neat edges 
of stone-work, and are sunk below the irrigating channels. 
Over a marble bed the waters from the fountain come rip- 
pling down in a broad stream to a bower of bliss, where two 
immense and venerable mulberry-trees cast an impenetrable 
shade over a platform w'itli seats along the entire length 
of one side, protected by a balustrade projecting over the 
waters of the Belus, which here runs in a clear stream, four- 
teen or fifteen feet wide and two or three deep, over a peb- 
bly bottom, where fish of considerable size, and evidently 
preserved, are darting fearlessly about, or coming up to the 
steps to be fed. The stream is fringed with w^eeping wil- 
lows, and the spot, with its wealth of water, its thick shade, 
and air fragrant with jasmine and orange blossoms, forms 
an ideal retreat from the heats of summer. The sights and 
sounds are all suggestive of langour and dolcefar niente, of 
that peculiar condition known to Orientals as kief, when the 
senses are lulled by the sounds of murmuring w^ater, the 
odours of fragrant plants, the flickering shadows of foliage, 
or the gorgeous tints of flowers and the fumes of the nar- 

The gardener, a sedate Persian in a tall cap, who kept 
the place in scrupulous order, gave us a dignified welcome. 
His master, he said, would not come till the afternoon, and 
if we disappeared before his arrival we wei-e welcome to 
spread our luncheon on his table under the mulberry-trees, 
and sit round it on his chairs; nay, further, he even extend- 
ed his hospitality to providing us with hot water. 

Thus it was that we took possession of Abbas Effeudi's 
garden before I had the honour of making that gentleman's 
acquaintance, an act of no little audacity, when I inform 
you that he claims to be the eldest son of the last incarna- 
tion of the Deity. As his father is alive and resident at 
Acre — if one may venture to talk of such a being as resi- 
dent anywhere — my anxiety to see the son was only ex- 


ceeded by ray curiosity to investigate the father. But this, 
as I shall presently explain, seems a hope that is not likely 
to be realized. Meantime I shall proceed to give you, so 
far as I have been able to Icai'n, an account of who Abbas 
Effendi's father is, and all that I know about him, premising 
always that I only do so subject to any modification which 
further investigation may suggest. 

It is now forty-eight years since a young man of three- 
and-twenty appeared at the shrine of Hussein, the grandson 
of the Prophet, who was made a martyr at Kerbela. Ho 
was said to have been born at Shiraz, the son of a merchant 
there, and his name was Ali Mohammed. It is supposed 
that he derived his religious opinions from a certain Indian 
Mussulman, called Achsai, who instituted a system of re- 
form, and made many disciples. AVhether this is so or not, 
the young Persian soon acquired a pre-eminent reputation 
for sanctity, and the boldness and enthusiasm of his preach- 
ing and the revolutionary sentiments he uttered attracted 
many to his teaching. So far as I have been able to judge, 
he preached a pure morality of the loftiest character, de- 
nouncing the abuses of existing Islam as Christ did the 
Judaism of his day, and fearlessly incurring the hostility of 
Persian Phariseeism. A member liimself of the Shiite sect 
of Moslems, he sought to reform it, as being the state re- 
ligion of Persia, and finally went so far as to proclaim him- 
self at Kufa the hab, or door, through which alone man 
could approach God. At the same time he announced that 
he was the Mahdi, or last Imaum, who was descended from 
Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet, and whom the Shiites be- 
lieve to have been an incarnation of the Deity. Mahdi is 
supposed by all Persian Moslems not to have died, but to 
be awaiting in concealment the coming of the last day. 

As may be imagined, the sudden appearance after so 
many centuries of a reformer who claimed to be none other 
than the long-exj^ected divine manifestation, created no 
little consternation throughout Persia, more especially as, 
according to tradition, the time had arrived when such a 
manifestation was to be looked for, and men's minds were 
prepared for the event. The Persian enthusiast, as soon 
as his preaching became poiJular and his pretensions vast, 

100 HAIFA. 

roused the most violent hostility, and he was executed at 
Tabriz in 1849, after a brief career of fourteen years, at the 
early age of thirty-seven. The tragic circumstances at- 
tending his death enhanced his glory, for he was repeatedly 
offered his life if lie Avould consent to abate his claims, or 
even leave the country. He preferred, however, a martyr's 
crown, and was executed in the presence of a vast multi- 
tude, leaving behind him a numerous and fanatic sect, who 
have since then been known as the Babs, and whose belief 
in the founder subsequent persecutions on the part of the 
government have only served to confirm. 

The Bab before his execution gave it to be understood 
that though he was apparently about to die, he, or rather 
the divine incarnation of which he was the subject, would 
shortly reappear in the person of his successor, whom, I be- 
lieve, he named secretly. I do not exactly know when the 
present claimant first made known his pretensions to be 
that successor, but, at all events, he was universally ac- 
knowledged by the Bab sect, now numbering some hundreds 
of thousands, and became so formidable a personage, being 
a man of high lineage — indeed, it is whispered that he is a 
relative of the Shah himself — that he M'as made prisoner by 
the government and sent into exile. The Sultan of Turkey 
kindly undertook to provide for his incarceration, and for 
some years he was a state prisoner at Adrianople. Finally 
he was transj^orted from that place to Acre, on giving his 
parole to remain quietly there and not return to Persia, and 
here he has been living ever since, an object of adoration to 
his countrymen, w^ho flock hither to visit him, who load him 
with gifts, and over two hundred of whom remain here as 
a sort of permanent body-guard. 

He is visible only to Avomen or men of the poorest class, 
and obstinately refuses to let his face be seen by any man 
above the rank of a fellah or peasant. Indeed, his own dis- 
ciples who visit him are only allowed a glimpse of his au- 
gust back, and in retiring from that they have to back out 
with their faces towards it. I have seen a lady who has 
been honoured with an interview, during which he said 
nothing beyond giving her his blessing, and after about 
three minutes motioned to her to retire. She describes 


liim cas a man of probably about seventy years of age, but 
much younger- looking-, as he dyes both his hair and his 
beard black, but of a very mild and benevolent cast of 
countenance. He lives at a villa in the plain, about two 
two miles beyond Acre, which he has rented from a Syrian 
gentleman of my acquaintance, who tells me that once or 
twice he htis seen him walking in his garden, but that he al- 
ways turns away so that his face shall not be seen. Indeed, 
the most profound secrecy is maintained in regard to him 
and the religious tenets of his sect. 

Not long ago, however, public curiosity was gratified, for 
one of his Persian followers stabbed another for havinjx 
been unworthy of some religious trust, and the great man 
himself was summoned as a witness. 

"Will you tell the court Avho and what you are?" was 
the first question put. 

"I will begin," he replied, " by telling you who I am not. 
I am not a camel driver " — this was an allusion to the Proph- 
et Mohammed — "nor am I the son of a carpenter" — this 
in allusion to Christ. "This is as much as I can tell you 
to-day. If you will now let me retire, I will tell you to- 
morrow who I am." 

Upon this promise he vras let go ; but the morrow never 
came. "With an enormous bribe he had in the interval pur- 
chased an exemption from all further attendance at court. 

That his wealth is fabulous may be gathered from the 
fact tlsat not long since a Persian emir or prince, possess- 
ing large estates, came and offered them .all, if in return he 
would only allow him to fill his water-jars. The offer was 
considered worthy of acceptance, and the emir is at this 
moment a gardener in the grounds which I saw over the 
wall of my friend's villa. This is only one instance of the 
devotion with which he is regarded, and of the honours 
which are paid to him : indeed, when we remember that he 
is believed to possess the attributes of Deity, this is not to 
be wondered at. Meantime his disciples are patiently wait- 
ing for his turn to come, which will be on the last day, 
when his divine character will be recognized by unbelievers. 


Haifa, Nov. 25. — In one of tlie most remote and secluded 
valleys in the mountains of northern Galilee lies a village, 
the small population of which possesses an interest altogether 
unique. As I looked down wpon it from the precipitous and 
dangerous path by means of which I was skirting the flank 
of the mountain, I thought I had rarely seen a spot of such 
ideal beauty. It was an oasis, not actually in a desert — for 
the rocky mountain ranges were covered with wild herbage 
— but in a savage wilderness of desolation, in the midst of 
which the village nestled in a forest of orange, almond, fig, 
and pomegranate trees, the tiny rills of Avater by which they 
were irrigated glistening like silver tlireads in the sunlight, 
and the yellow crops beyond contrasting with the dull 
green of the hill verdure, long deprived of water, and the 
gray rocks Avhich reared their craggy pinnacles above it. 

The name of this villaG;e was Bukeia. I had heard vacruelv 
of the existence of a spot in Galilee where a community of 
Jews lived who claimed to be the descendants of families 
who had tilled the land in this same locality prior to the de- 
struction of Jerusalem and the subsequent dispersion of the 
race; as it had never been suspected that any remnant 
of the nation had clung to the soil of their fathers from 
time immemorial, and as it is certain that this is the only 
remnant that has, I took some trouble to ascertain the name 
of the village, and felt that it was worth a pilgrimage to 
visit it. Although hitherto unknown to Europeans and 
tourists, it has been for many years a spot much frequented 
by the Jews of Saf ed and Tiberias, and this summer especial- 
ly, when the cholera panic prevailed in the country, there 
was a perfect rush of the wealthier Jews and rabbis of those 
towns to its pure air and bracing climate. In a small Avay 
it is a sort of Jewish sanatorium. 


But the village does not consist altogether of Jews. In 
fact, they form the minority of the population, which is com- 
posed of eighty Druse, forty Greek-Christian, and twenty 
Jewish families, the latter nunabering about one hundred and 
twenty souls in all. Refusing the invitation of the Druse 
and Christian sheiks to accept their hospitality, I listened 
rather to the solicitations of the elderly Hebrew who eager- 
ly placed his house at my disposal, and was the patriarch of 
his coreligionists, his local title being, like those of the heads 
of the other communities, that of sheik. His house was a 
stone erection with a court-yard, and contained a single large 
room, which, as is common in Arab houses, afforded eating 
and sleeping accommodation for the whole family. On this 
occasion it soon became crowded to excess. 

First appeared the Druse sheik, with white turban, and 
composed and dignified bearing. Then the sheik of the 
Christians, a man in no way to be distinguished from the or- 
dinary type of native fellahin; then the Greek priest, in his 
high, round-topped black hat and long black coat, reaching 
nearly to his feet; then the Jewish rabbi, who officiates at 
the synagogue, in flowing Eastern robe; then some village 
notables of all three religions, who all squatted on mats, 
forming a semicircle, of which my friends and I were the 
centre, and which involved a largo demand upon our host 
for coffee, for on these occasions it is a great breach of po- 
liteness not to furnish all the uninvited guests who flock in 
to see distinguished strangers with that invariable beverage. 
When one or two JNIoslems, who were temporary visitors to 
the village, dropped in from curiosity, I could not fail to be 
struck with the sino-ular ethnolosjical and theoloGjical com- 
pound by which I was surrounded. Here, in these Christian 
and Moslem peasants, were the descendants of those ancient 
Canaanites whom the conquering Jews failed to drive out 
of the country during the entire period of their occupation 
of it, though they doubtless served their conquerors as hew- 
ers of wood and drawers of water, and as farm- servants 
generally; for the result of the most recent and exhaustive 
research proves, I think, incontestably that the fellahin of 
Palestine, taken as a whole, are the modern representatives 
of those old tribes which the Israelites found settled in the 

110 HAIFA. 

country, sucli as tbc Canaanitcs, llivites, Jebusitcs, Amorites, 
Philistines, Edoniites. In what proportion these various 
tribes are no\v represented, Avhetlior they were preceded 
by a still older autochthonous population, namely, the Ana- 
kini, Jlorites, and so forth, are questions which have so far 
been beyond the reach of scientific research. But though 
this race, or rather conglomeration of races, which may be 
designated for want of a better by the vague title of pre- 
Israelite, still survives beneath the Mohammedan or Chris- 
tian exterior, it has not remained uninfluenced during the 
lapse of centuries by the many events and circumstances that 
have happened in Palestine. 

Each successive change in the social and political condition 
of the country has more or less affected it in various ways, 
and we must not be surprised when studying the fellahin 
at finding Jewish, Hellenic, Rabbinic, Christian, and Mussul- 
man reminiscences mingled pell-mell, and in the quaintest 
combinations, with traits which may bring us back to the 
most remote and obscure periods of pre-Israclite existence. 
Indeed, for anything one could say to the contrary, the 
Christian fellahin of this village, though they had resisted 
the proselytizing efforts of the Saracen conquest in the sixth 
century, may, before they were converted to Christianity, 
have worshipped the gods of the Gra^co-Roman period; be- 
fore that they may have been Jews, for there can be little 
question that the aboriginal population, to some extent, 
adopted the Jewish faith after the conquest, and before that 
were worshippers of the Syro-Phoenician deities, Baal and 
Ashtaroth. They may in those old times, when Jewish 
power was supreme, have been in this very village the ser- 
vants of the ancestors of these very Jews who now share its 
land with them, as they had, according to their traditions, 
done from the most ancient period; and this means, in a 
country where genealogies are preserved for centuries upon 
centuries, a very long time ago. I have a friend at Haifa 
w^ho says he can trace his ancestry back to the crusades, 
when his family was resident at the old town of the same 
name; and, as a grotesque illustration of their pretensions, a 
story is told of a Bedouin sheik who, being asked whether 
be was descended from Abraham, said that he could trace 


further back, and that, in fact, Abraham was not a sheik of 
a very good family. 

The only really modern intruders in the group by which 
I was surrounded Avero the Druses, who only settled in the 
village about three hundred years ago, and whose origin 
prior to nine hundred years ago, when we know that they 
were settled at Aleppo, is rather obscure; but it is general- 
ly believed that they were originally a tribe inhabiting the 
province of Yemen. Here, too, in this small group of Ara- 
bic-speaking people, were represented four of the most wide- 
ly divergent religions. There were the two Moslems, 
whose ancestors, probably, prior to the conquest of Palestine 
by the Saracens, had been Christians, but had then adopted 
the faith of the Prophet. There was the priest of the Greek 
Church, still clinging to the dogmas Avhich he inherited 
from the first Christians — the descendant, possibly, of one 
who had actually listened to the woids of Christ and his 
disciples, in the country which their posterity has never left. 
And indeed it is a curious reflection in looking at these fel- 
lahin to think that they may be the direct descendants of 
some of those thousands who were influenced at the time 
by the teaching which has since swayed the moral sentiment 
of civilized humanity. Then there were the Jews — the only 
group of Jews existing in the world whose ancestors have 
clung to the soil ever since that Teacher's tragic death, and 
whose fathers may have shared in the general hostility to 
him at the time — representing still the faith which was the 
repository of the highest moral teaching. prior to Christian- 
ity, prior to Mohammedanism. Lastly, there were the 
Druses, in whose esoteric religion is to be found the most 
extraordinary confusion of metaphysical notions, gnostic and 
pagan, the outcome of a mystical intei-weaving of ideas de- 
rived from the most divergent faiths, with a Magian or Zo- 
roastrian basis, u])on which Hindoo and Buddhist, Jewish 
and Platonic, Christian and Moslem dogmas have been suc- 
cessively grafted, forming a system so recondite and ab- 
struse that only the initiated can comprehend it, if indeed 
they can. 

Such were the mixed religious and race conditions by 
Avhich I was surrounded, and I was much struck by the ap- 

112 HAIFA. 

parent tolerance and amiability -with \Yliich all the members 
of these different religions regarded each other. The Jew- 
ish rabbi told me privately that ho much jireferred Druses 
to Chris^tians; but he lived on good terms M'ith all. And 
■when I went to see the synagogue the Greek priest strolled 
round -with me, and the rabbi returned the compliment by 
accompanying us Avhen I went to visit the little Greek 
church. JMeantime, the Hebrew sheik had summoned all 
the Jewish population, and they came trooping in to ])erform 
the usual Eastern salutation of kissing the hand. Old men 
and maidens, young men and married women and children, 
I saw them all, nor, so far as dress and facial type were 
concerned, was it possible to distinguish them from the fel- 
lahin of the country generally. These twenty families 
seemed all to have descended from one stock, they all had 
the same name, Cohen, and they have never intermarried 
either with the people of the country or even with other 
Jews. I afterwards had some conversation with the Chris- 
tian and Druse sheiks in regard to them. They said that 
formerly more of the village lands belonged to them, but 
owing to the wars, pestilences, and other misfortunes which 
had overtaken the country at various times, their property 
had become diminished; indeed, there can be little doubt 
that the Druses themselves, when Fakr Eddin conquered 
this part of the country, appropriated some of it; so that now, 
so far as their worldly circumstances go, the Jews are bad- 
ly off. Nevertheless they do not complain, and are skilful, 
hard-woi'king, and persevering agriculturists, to my mind 
more deserving of sympathy than m.any of their coreligion- 
ists who have come to settle in the country as colonists, de- 
pending more upon the assistance which they derive from 
without than npon their own efforts. The experience and 
example of their coreligionists at Bukeia would make the 
neighbourhood of that place a desirable locality for a col- 

From Bukeia I followed a northwesterly direction, l)y a 
most picturesque mountain path, and in a few hours reached 
the romantically situated town of Tershiha, where I was 
most hospitably entertained by the Cadi, a dignified Arab 
gentleman of a true old Oriental type which is now becom- 


ino- rare. This place contains about two thousand inliaLi- 
tants. They arc nearly all the adherents of a certain sheik, 
All el-Mograbi, a Moslem reformer, who emigrated to this 
place from the north of Africa many years ago, and whose 
preaching has been attended with remarkable success. As 
his fame grew he moved to Acre, where he exercises an ex- 
traordinary influence. The tenets of the sect of which he 
is the head are kept a profound secret, though there is noth- 
ing to distinguish the Avorship of the initiated from that of 
any ordinary sect of howling dervishes, to the outside ob- 
server, except the sparing use of the name of Mohammed. 
It is said, however, that their views are latitudinarian, and, 
that, so far from being exclusive or fanatic, are rather in the 
sense of extreme toleration for other religions. Whatever 
be the nature of their heterodoxy, it is not now interfered 
with. Indeed, it is hinted that the sheik counts among his 
followers some of the most highly placed officials in the em- 
pire, and there can be little doubt that his doctrines are 
spreading rapidly among jMoslems, while even Christians 
liave joined the society. A large new mosque is now in 
progress of erection at Haifa. The sheik himself, Avhose 
acquaintance I made subsequently, is now a very old man, 
regarded with the most extreme veneration by his followers, 
and the results of his teaching prove that he must be en- 
dowed vrith gifts of a very high order. 


Haifa, March 1, 1884. — The ordinary tourists in Palestine 
who write books of their experience have so little oppor- 
tunity of knowing the conditions Avhich surround the daily 
life of a resident in a small countiy town, that a few details 
of domestic existence here, as contrasted with those of more 
civilized countries, may not be uninteresting. As a general 
rule, the foreigner who comes to a native town to settle down 
as a permanent inhabitant finds himself compelled more or 
less to adopt the manners and customs of the richer class of 
Syrians, which gives him an opportunity of becoming ac- 
quainted with their home life. Some of these are wealthy 
merchants or large landed proprietors, with incomes varying 
from 85000 to 615,000, though a man whose yearly revenue 
reached the latter amount, of which he would not spend half, 
would be considered a millionaire, and few small towns can 
boast of so great a capitalist. As, owing to the march of 
civilization, the richer classes have of late years taken to 
travel and the study of languages, persons occupying this 
position generally speak either French or Italian, have visited 
Paris, Constantinople, or Alexandria, and have a thin varnish 
of European civilization overlaying their native barbarism. 

The rich families of the Syrian aristocracy are almost in- 
variably Christians, but they have only recently shaken off 
the manners of their Mohammedan neiirhbours and con- 
querors. The women associate far more freely than they 
used to do with the men. Thej^ now no longer cover their 
faces, and although they still M^ear the "fustan," or white 
winding-sheet, which serves as cloak and head-dress in one, 
it nearly always conceals a dress of European make, while, 
instead of bare feet thrust into slippers, they have Paris bot- 
tines and stockings. The men of this class also dress in 
European garments, wearing, however, the red fez cap. 


The domestic arrangements of a family of this description 
are by no means so refined in character as the external as- 
pect of the house and its proprietor, when he is talcing his 
exercise on a gorgeously caparisoned Arab horse, would sug- 
gest. If "we are on sufficiently intiuuite terms with him to 
stay as a guest in his house, we find that his pretty wife, 
with her Paris dress and dainty chaussure, walks about in 
the privacy of the domestic home with bare, or at best stock- 
inged, feet, thrust into high wooden pattens, with which she 
clatters over the handsome marble hall that forms the central 
chamber of the house, slipping out her feet and leaving the 
pattens at the door of any of the rooms she may be about to 
enter. She wears a loose morning- wrapper, Avhich she is not 
particular about buttoning, but in this respect she is outdone 
by sundry dishevelled maid-servants, who also clatter about 
the house in pattens and in light garments that seem to re- 
quire very little fastening in front. As for the husband, 
who, Avhen he called upon you, might have come off the boule- 
vards of Paris, barring always the red cap, he has now re- 
verted absolutely into the Oriental. He wears a long white 
and not unbecoming garment that reaches from his throat to 
his heels, and his feet are thrust into red slippers. As he 
sips his matutinal cup of coffee and smokes his first narghileh 
of the day, there is nothing about him to remind you that he 
knows a word of any other lang-uacre than Arabic, or has ever 
worn any other costume than that of his Eastern ancestors. 
He is sitting in his own little den, with his feet tucked under 
him on the divan which runs around the room, and with his 
wife in close proximity, her feet tucked under her, and also 
smoking a narghileh and sipping coffee. 

Yet, if you call upon this worthy couple as a distinguished 
foreigner, in the afternoon, accompanied by your wife, and 
are not on intimate terms, you are received in a room Avhich 
they never enter, except upon such state occasions, by the 
same gentleman, in a perfectly fitting black frock-coat and 
trousers, varnished boots, and a white waistcoat, and by the 
same lady, in a dress which has been made in Paris. 

The furniture consists of massive tables with marble tops, 
and handsome arm-chairs and couches covered with costly 
satins. The walls are resplendent with gilt mirrors and with 


heavy hanging curtains. The floors are covered with rich 
carj)ots. Tlicrc is a threc-hundrcil-Jollar piano, on which the 
hidy never j)lays; and there are pictures, of which the frames 
are niorc artistic than the subjects — tlie whole having the air 
of a sliow repository of some sort. Indeed, if your host is at 
all taken by surprise, the lirst thing he does is to open all 
the shutters, as, except upon such occasions, the ajoartment is 
one of silent and absolute gloom. He has a guest-chamber, 
also furnished after a civilized style, in Avhich he jjuts you, 
if you arc going to stay with him, and he has so far adopted 
civilized habits that he sleeps on a bed himself, and not on 
mats on the floor, like his forefathers. His dinner is served 
on a table, which is spread as he has seen it spread in the 
houses of foreigners, but he retains the native cooking, the 
huge pillaw of rice, the chicken stew with rich and greasy 
gravy, the lamb stuffed with pistachio nuts, the Icben or sour 
milk, the indescribable sweet dishes, crisp, sticky, and nutty, 
the delicious preserves of citrons, dates, and figs, the flat 
bread and the goat cheese, and the wine of the country. 

Altogether, he gives you plenty to eat, drink, and siuoke, 
but his conversational j^owers and ideas are limited, which 
is not to be wondered at, considering that there is not a 
book in the house. He tells you that the house cost him 
$9000, which does not seem likely to be an exaggeration 
when we look at the handsome marble floors and staircase, 
massive arches, and the extent of ground which is covered by 
spacious halls and ample courts. 

The kitchen and offices, if you have the curiosity to look 
into them, are filthy in the extreme, and the process of cook- 
ing the dinner, performed by a slovenly female, had better 
not be too closely examined. His domestic establishment 
probably consists of four women and two or three men who 
look after the stables, in which are three or four handsome 
horses, and a garden requiring constant attention. He has no 
wheeled vehicle, for there are no roads. The women rarely 
take any other exercise than that of waddling on gossiping 
visits to each othei', when their conversation turns entirely 
on domestic subjects, on the marital traits of their respective 
husbands, on congratulations on the arrival of children, if 
they are boys, and condolences if they are girls, and on hope- 


ful speculation and encouragement if there are none at all ; 
for of all misfortunes wbicli can befall a Syrian lady, to be 
childless is the greatest. If there are grown-up daughters 
they are carefully protected from intimacy with young men, 
and marriages are arranged by the parents. The chances of 
making a good match depend more on the amount of the 
marriage-settlement than on their looks. If the family hap- 
pens to be a large one it is not uncommon to see a young 
lady who has been brought up in wdiat, in Syria, is consid- 
ered luxury, married to some poor and distant connection, 
whose family live in the humblest manner. In such a case 
the contrast is greater than can be imagined in our country. 
She is transferred from the palatial residence I have de- 
scribed to a one-storied house which probably does not con- 
sist of more than two rooms, and where her husband's fam- 
ily live in the old style. Here she is received, perhaps, by 
his mother and sister, with whom she is to live; who wear 
the pure native costume ; who have never had a shoe or 
stocking on in their lives; who sleep on mats on the floor, 
for there are no bedsteads; who partake of their meals squat- 
tinsi on their heels, for there are no chairs or tables; and 
who eat with their fingers, for there are no knives and forks. 
If the newly married couple do not occupy the same room 
with the rest of the family, they share the other one with 
the domestic animals. These probably consist of a horse, a 
cow, and a donkey. For the sake of security they are stabled 
in the room of the master of the house. Their manger is on 
a level with the floor on which he and his bride sleep. I 
have before now shared such a room with a young married 
couple — she, the daughter of a wealthy man who lived in 
civilized style — and all night I have been disturbed by the 
crunching of the animals feeding within a few feet of where 
I was lying; with their constant rising up and lying down; 
with the movements of my host and hostess, who would get 
up constantly in the night, sometimes to feed the animals, 
which w^ere required for work before sunrise, sometimes to 
replenish the charcoal fire, sometimes to attend to the baby, 
or to open the door and hold a whispered conference with 
some nocturnal visitor. As there is no undressing on going 
to bed, among these people, and as they indulge in long 

118 HAIFA. 

snoozes during the day, the night docs not seem to be so 
especially devoted to sleep as Avith us. They appear to 
think that, as going to bed simply consists in lying down 
on the lioor in your clothes, one part oi' the twenty-lour 
hours will do as well for sleep as another, and their nights 
are restless accordingly. As a general rule, for persons 
who have not been long enough in the country to get 
used to insects, the nights are made restless from other 

It is curious, in the case of such a marriage as I have 
described, to see the change which takes place when the 
vouncc wife leaves the retired villacje to which she has been 
banished, owing to the impoverished circumstances of her hus- 
band, to pay a visit to her own family. I scarcely recognize 
her when I meet her ao;ain. When last I saw her in her 
humble home her costume consisted of a thin sort of chemi- 
sette, a pair of full, baggy trousers fastened at the knee, 
leaving the legs and feet bare, and over these a skirt, and we 
Avere dipping our fingers amicably into tlie same dish of rice. 
Now I would walk down Broadway with her on my arm, and 
be rather proud of her fashionable "get up " than otherwise; 
and she handles her knife and fork with far greater dexter- 
ity than I did my fingers. 

The wave of civilization is, however, rapidly encroaching 
upon these humbler classes. It is only natural that a girl 
brought up in this way should endeavour to introduce in- 
novations into her husband's home. Within the last few 
years there has been a marked change in this respect, par- 
ticularly in a town like Haifa, where the Christian popula- 
tion largely predominates. A veiled face is rarely to be seen, 
while women, even of the poorer classes, are introducing the 
fashion of wearing gowns, adding a table and a few chairs 
to their domestic furniture, and have even gone the length 
of sleeping on bedsteads, thoixgh I have not yet pried suf- 
ficiently into nocturnal mysteries to know whether, M'hen 
they go to bed, they have progressed in civilization so far as 
to undress. 


Haifa, Aj)!-!! 2. — I have just returned from a trip into 
the interior, during which I have been exploring some new 
and interesting country. Instead of following the usual 
road to the eastward uy Avay of the valley of Esdraelon, I 
struck in a nortlieasterly direction across the fertile plain 
of Acre, fording the Kishon at the point of its debouchure 
into the sea, where, after the winter rains, we are generally 
obliged to swim the horses, while we cross ourselves in a ferry- 
boat. In two hours from this point a\ e strike the first low 
range of the Galilee hills, at a depression from which, in the 
times of the crusaders, the armies of Saladin used to issue 
forth to give them battle. Indeed, the whole ground over 
v/hicli we ride has been from time immemorial the scene of 
bloody warfare, and it is not impossible, considering how 
events are shaping themselves in the East, that it may be- 
come so again. Rising gently, by grassy vales carpeted 
with wild flowers, to a height of about five hundred feet, 
we shortly reach the picturesquely situated town of Shefr 
Arar, dominated by the extensive walls of its ruined 

This has been a place of considerable importance ever 
since, shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem, it was the 
seat of the Jew'ish sanhedrim. It was then called Shefaram, 
and is probably identical Avith the Kefraini which Eusebius 
says was six miles north of Legio, and with Ilapraim, Avhicli 
we read in the Bible was assigned to the tribe of Issachar. 
Since then its name has been changed to Shefr Amr, or " the 
healing of Omar," from a tradition that Daher el-Arar, a 
prince who governed this country about a hundred and 
sixty years ago, recovered here from a severe illness. The 
fortress is said to have been built by his son Othman in 
17G1, and it does not appear to be older, though probably it 

120 HAIFA. 

occupies the site of a nuicli more ancient castle. It covers 
a very extensive area of groiuul, Mitli crenellated battlements, 
and contains stalls for four hundred horses. It is now 
partly ruined, but a portion of it is still suflleicntly well 
preserved to be the residence of the Mudir, or local gov- 

I scrambled by a most dilaj)idated stone stair to the toj) 
of the Avails, and had a niagnilicent view over the surround- 
ing country. The position is so commanding that I could 
Avell understand why Saladin chose it as a point from which 
he could harass the Franks who were besieging Acre, which 
town was plainly visible in the distance. I was informed 
that the whole of this extensive fortress was offered by the 
government for sale for ^1500. The stones alone would bo 
worth more than this amount, if it were not for the cost of 
transport, to sa}^ nothing of the area of land which they 
cover. But, as a matter of speculation, Barn urn's pink-and- 
white elephant would be about as convenient a possession 
for a private individual. It is no wonder that it has been 
for some time in the market, or that the town itself, when 
capital is so scarce, should be a sleepy looking, stagnant 
place. Still, it is better built than the average; the houses 
are generally constructed of stone — many of them are of two 
stories — there is a fair bazaar, and a population of about 
two thousand five hundred inhabitants, of which fifteen 
hundred are Greek Christians, three hundred Moslems, six 
hundred Druses, and the remainder Jews. Some thirty fam- 
ilies of Morocco Jews settled here as agriculturists about 
the year 1850, but after struggling against extortion for 
twenty years they had to give it up, and the colony is now 
extinct, the Jews now here being natives of the countrv. 
The Druse population is also rapidly diminishing from the 
same cause; a slow but steady migration takes place annu- 
ally to the Druse mountains to the east of the Ilauran, 
where they are practically independent of government con- 
trol; there are also a few Protestants here, Avith a school- 
house, besides a convent and church of the Roman Catholic 
nuns (Dames de Nazareth), built in 1806, with a girls' 

The only other interesting building at Shofr Amr is the 


Greek church, which has been rebuilt on old fouiulalions. 
The remains were evidently Byzantine work, dating proba- 
bly from the fifth or sixth century. Many interesting tombs 
are to be found both north and south of the town. The 
most noteworthy has a handsome fa9ade, covered with a de- 
sign of a vine with grapes in bold relief, and with small fig- 
ures of birds introduced. Each vine-plant grows out of a 
pot. On each side of the door is an efi'aced Greek inscrip- 
tion, with rosettes in lozenges below and birds above. 
Here, also, are fragments of Greek inscriptions, and on the 
left side-wall of the vestibule is a bas-relief of a lion and a 
small animal, perhaps a cub; on the right a lion, a cub, and 
a bird. The drawing is very primitive, and has a Byzan- 
tine appearance. Inside this tomb, which contains three 
loculi, there are mouldings round the principal arch, with 
tracery of vines and carvings of birds. These tombs are in- 
teresting because both the inscriptions and ornamentation 
belong to the Byzantine period, thus proving that the mode 
of sepulture practised by the Jews from the most remote 
date was continued by the Christians up to the fifth or 
sixth century after Christ. 

Our way from Shefr Amr led through the beautiful oak 
woods which belong to that town, but which seem doomed 
to destruction, for I observed that many of the handsomest 
trees were girdled near the base, Avhile numerous stumps 
bore testimony to this lamentable work of denudation. In 
a country where wood is becoming so. rare it was heart- 
breaking to ride through this beautiful, park-like scenery 
and witness the work of destruction going on in spite of the 
government prohibition against felling timber. Emerging 
from these grassy glades we descend into the magnificent 
plain of the Buttauf, now a sheet of emerald green, as the 
young crops extend before us as far as the eye can reach. 
Traversing this fertile country one is more and more impressed 
with the incorrectness of the judgment of the ordinary tour- 
ist, who, confining himself to the route prescribed by Cook, 
is taken through the barren hills of Judea, and to one or 
two holy places in Galilee, and then goes home and talks 
about the waste and desolation of Palestine. The trite say- 
ing recurred to my mind as I looked on this wealth of grain: 

122 HAIFA. 

''I pity the man Avho can go from Dan to Bcersheba and 
say that all is barren;" or, as my travelling -companion, 
who -was an American, more forcibly put it: "If ever I 
meet a tourist who tells me that Palestine is barren, Til 
lick him." 

But we were not on the tourist track, and it was not till we 
reached Tiberias that Ave found specimens, and they were 
too discreet in their remarks to give my friend an opportu- 
nity of expressing his views in the manner contemplated. 
Here we took a boat and crossed the lake, I wanted to in- 
vestigate the present fishing capabilities of these waters, but 
I soon found that I had not the appropriate tackle. The 
natives either iish with circular hand-nets, which they throw 
with great dexterity, or with long hand -lines, which they 
bait with small dead fish and haul in, thus trav.diusr in a 
rough way. They have no idea of fishing Avith a rod, and 
mine came to grief, so that I had no opportunity of casting 
a fly, but I think it not unlikely, from the Avay I saAV the 
fish jumping toAvards evening, that they Avould rise to it. 
The natives catch their bait by poisoning the Avater with 
pinches of a poAvder Avhich they throAV in near the margin. 
In a few moments the minnows and small fish are to be seen 
swimming lazily along the surface, completely stupefied, and 
one has only to put one's hand in and take them out. The 
fish we caught Avere princij^ally of the bass or perch species, 
averaging half a pound or more each. One of the boatmen 
caught a dozen with two or three casts of the hand-net, but 
it Avas useless to try Avith a rod Avithout proper tackle. I 
am convinced that a spinning artificial minnoAv, or a copper 
spoon, Avould be A'ery killing; so, of course, Avould be traAvl- 
ing live bait, but the natives know only their OAvn primitive 
style of fishing, and the idea of a rod and line, even with 
the common angle-AVorm at one end and a fool at the othei", 
was entirely ncAV to them. Indeed, scarcely any fish are 
taken from the lake. There arc only four boats on it, but 
these are used more for transport than fishing purposes, and 
the population is so sparse on the shores that there is no de- 
mand. We Avere assured by our boatmen, however, that 
they occasionally took fish over five feet in length, and I 
have seen enough of what may be done to decide me to go 


there again some day properly provided, instead of relying 
on native appliances. 

The spot at which we were moored on the eastern shore 
of the lake was immediately under a precipitous conical- 
shaped hill, which rose abruptly to a height of twelve hun- 
dred feet from the waters. Its summit was crowned with 
the ruins- of the ancient city of Gamala. The modern name 
for it is Kalat el-Hosn, hut it ov/cs its ancient appellation 
to its shape, which is exactly that of a camel's hump. It is 
interesting as having been a purely Jewish fortification, the 
last that was sacked by Vespasian and Titus before the 
siege of Jerusalem, and it has remained to this day exactly 
as they left it. Josephus gives a very graphic account of 
the siege, which took place in the last days of September, 
sixty-nine years after the birth of Christ. Owing to the 
precipices by which it was surrounded it was supposed to 
be impregnable, and when, at last, after a twenty-nine 
days' siege, it was found not to be so, the whole popula- 
tion who had survived its horrors, consisting of five thou- 
sand men, women, and children, fiung themselves into the 
yawning gulf below the ramparts, thus perishing by their 
own act. Of the entire population only two women es- 
caped alive. 

When we compare the fighting of those days with the 
siege of Paris, for instance, where the population surren- 
dered because there was a little too much sawdust in the 
bread, the results of modern as contrasted with ancient civ- 
ilization suggest some curious reflections. That the civiliza- 
tion of those days was of a high order is attested by the 
magnificent reinains which still exist in Gamala. Here are 
to be found, strewn over the ground, some thirty huge 
gi'anite columns, which must have been transported from 
Egypt to this giddy height by engineering contrivances 
which would puzzle the science of these days, and Corin- 
thian capitals neatly cut in hard, black basalt, and sar- 
cophagi and other monuments, all evidencing a high state 
of art. 

These ruins have hitherto been only superficially exam- 
ined, and there can be no doubt that the investigations of 
the Palestine Exploration Fund, when the society is per- 

124 HAIFA. 

mitt til by the Turkish government to prosecute their re- 
searches to the east of the Jordan, will bring many interest- 
ing treasures to light. I only regretted that I hurl no time 
to give to these ruins, as my objective point lay farther to 
tlie south and east. 


Haifa, April 15. — At the spot where the Jordan issues 
from Lake Tiberias there are two large mounds, a fragment 
of sea-wall, and a causeway on arches which projects into the 
river, dividing it from the waters of the lake, and suggest- 
ing that it may possibly, in ancient times, have formed the 
approach to a bridge. There is no bridge there now. The 
river swirls round the arches, which are choked with ruins 
and reeds, and in a broad, swift stream winds its way to the 
Dead Sea. Here, in old time, stood the Roman city of Ta- 
richtea, built on the site of a Phoenician fortress of still older 
date. Nothing remains but heaps of rubbish covered with 
broken pottery, and fragments of sculpture ; but it offers, 
probably, a rich field for future excavation. The modern 
name Kerak signifies in Syriac " fortress," and its natural 
position was remarkably strong, as the Jordan, after leaving 
the lake, takes a sharp bend to the westward and flows al- 
most parallel with it, thus leaving an intervening peninsula 
on which the town was situated. It Avas defended on the 
westward by a broad ditch, traces of which still remain, con- 
necting the Jordan with the lake, thus making the peninsula 
an island approached only by a causeway. 

Josephus mentions Taricha?a as having been an important 
military post in the wars of his time. When I visited it the 
lake was unusually high, and the Jordan was unfordable, so 
we were obliged to ferry over, swimming our horses and mules 
a distance of seventy or eighty yards across the rapid current. 
Then we mounted, and galloped in a southeasterly direction, 
over a fertile plain, waving at this season of the year with 
luxuriant crops. I was so much struck with the fertility and 
agricultural capacity of this region that I made inquiry as 
to its ownership, and found that it had been presented by a 
former sultan to one of the principal Bedouin sheiks of this 

126 HAIFA. 

Eastern country, and that he "was exempt froni all taxation. 
His lands extend to the foothills, Avhere the Yarniuk issues 
from the mountains of Gilead and Jaulan, which ^^■o were 
now approaching. We had ascended these but a little way 
■when a scene burst upon us which sur])riscd and dclighte<l 
us by its wild and unexpected grandeur. The Yarmuk hero 
enters the plain of the Jordan on its way to join that river, 
with a volume of water fully equal to the latter, pouring its 
swollen torrent between two perfectly perpendicular preci- 
pices of basalt, M-hich are about two liundred yards apart, 
and look like some majestic gateway expressly designed by 
nature to afford the river a fitting outlet to the plain after 
its wild course through the mountains. 

On each side of these cliffs the country swells back abrupt- 
1}" to a height of seventeen hundred feet above the stream. 
At their base, here and there, the limestone or basalt rock, for 
the two formations are curiously intermixed, crops out sharp- 
ly, forming terraces with precipitous sides. The more distant 
summits are fringed with oak forests. The general effect 
of the landscape, as you first burst upon it after leaving the 
Jordan valley, is in the highest degree impressive. The path, 
gradually ascending, winds along the edge of cliffs, rising to 
a sheer height of three hundred feet from the torrent which 
foams beneath. We are so close to their margin on the 
right that it makes us giddy to look down, while on the left 
hand grassy slopes, covered with wild fiowers, rise to the 
base of other cliffs above us. For an hour we wind along 
these dizzy ledges. In one place I observed a hundred feet 
of limestone superimposed upon two hundred of basalt, the 
whole forming a black-and-white precipice very remarkable 
to look upon. In fact, my further investigations of this 
valley of the Yarmuk, some portion of Avhich, I believe, we 
were the first to explore, have convinced me that it affords 
finer scenery than is to be found in any other part of Pales- 
tine. It is astonishing that it should have remained until 
now almost entirely unknown. Where the valley opened a 
little we saw beneath us a small plain, almost encircled by 
the river, and on it about twenty Bedouin tents. Our unex- 
pected and novel appearance on the cliff above evidently 
caused some little stir and amazement, but they were too far 


below us to communicate with, so we pushed on to a point 
where the path suddenly plunged down by a series of steps 
between walls of black basalt, making a very steep descent 
for loaded mules, and one not altogether pleasant for mounted 
men. It had the advantage of bringing us soon to the bot- 
tom, however, but not before my eyes were gladdened by 
the sight of one of the objects for which I had undertaken 
the trip. 

At my feet, and separated from, the river by a narrow 
strip of land covered with bushes, was a long pool of bluish- 
gray water, in marked contrast Avith the yellow stream. 
Above it floated a very light mist, or, rather, haze. Follow- 
ing with the eye a little stream of the same coloured water 
Avhicli entered it, past a primitive mill, I saw that it de- 
bouched from another pond similar in colour, and evidently 
its source, and to this our path was conducting us. It was 
the first of the hot sulphur springs of Amatha, celebrated 
by Eusebius as being much frequented in the time of the 
Romans, and famous for their healing qualities. "We soon 
reached its margin, and, dismounting, tethered our horses 
under the shade of a large tree, and stretched ourselves for 
a rest after our ride, preparatory to a slight repast and a 
more minute investigation of the springs and the ruins l^y. 
which they are surrounded. Our nostrils were regaled by a 
strong odour of rotten eggs, which left no doubt in our 
minds as to the quality of the water in the immediate neigh- 
borhood. We were here at a depression of five hundred and 
fifty feet below the surface of the sea, but the climate, which 
must be intolerably hot in summer, was at this time of year 
delightful. "We were soon sufficiently rested to scramble 
down to the pool, only a few yards belov/ us, Avhich was about 
fifty yards long by thirty broad, and apparently five or six feet 
deep. The temperature was 98'^j and the taste of the water 
very strongly sulphurous. Then we ascended a mound be- 
hind, covered with ruins, consisting principally of fragments 
of columns, carved stone seats, and drafted blocks which 
bad been used for building purposes. Immediately behind 
this mound was an extensive ruin, consisting of three arches 
in a fair state of preservation. Two of the arches were fif- 
teen or twenty feet high, and enclosed a semicircular space 

128 HAIFA. 

or hall for bathers. On the otlicr side was a vaulted build- 
ing which partly enclosed wliat is at this day the only fre- 
quented spring. This is a circular pool. Part of the old 
masonry which enclosed it still remains, 'i'he pool is about 
twenty-live feet wide, with a temperature so high that I found 
it iui})0ssible to keep my hand in it. To my great astonish- 
ment, and to theirs also when they saw me suddenly appear, 
four or five Arabs were bathing in it. How their bodies 
could support the heat was to me a mystery. They did not 
support it long. They were no sooner in than out, their 
bodies looking as much like lobsters as the complexion of 
their skins would permit. They laughed, and invited me to 
join them. One or two Avcre stretched full length on the 
identical stone slabs under the building on which, doubtless, 
two thousand years ago, the bathers of that date used to re- 
pose after having been half boiled alive. 

This spring must be of immense volume, to judge by the 
size of the torrent which gushed from it, and which was 
crossed on stepping-stones, Howing away in what would be 
considered a good-sized trout stream, to mingle its waters 
with the Yarmuk after a course of a few hundred yards. 
We determined, when our tents arrived, to pitch them near 
this spring, on the brink of another stream which flowed 
in from the eastward, and which, though slightly sulphu- 
rous, was drinkable. Indeed, we did not object to taking a 
moderate amount of this wholesome medicament into our 
organisms. We found another strong spring, not quite so 
hot as the one in use, a little above our tents, so that there 
is no lack of water. Indeed, I doubt whether sulphur springs 
of so much volume exist anywhere else in the world. Not 
far from this, with its back to another mound, were the ruins 
of an old Roman theatre, some of the rows of seats still 
clearly discernible. 

These springs are situated on a plain about a mile long 
and half a mile broad, semicircular in shape, the chord of the 
arc consistmg of a line of basalt precipices, from which it 
slopes gradually to the river, which forms the bow. It is 
watered by a good fresh-water spring, v^'hich rushes from 
the base of the cliffs. The hot sulphur stream which issues 
from the pool we first visited turns a mill and then flows into 


the long, oblong pond I first saw from above. Here, after 
the exertions of the day, I determined to bathe. I never 
enjoyed a swim more than the one in this soft sulphur water, 
with a tempei-ature of 95°. The pool was about one hundred 
yards long and ten wide, and out of my depth nearly through- 
out its length. The rocks, upon which I could sit comfort- 
ably up to nay neck, where the stream entered the pool were 
covered with a heavy white deposit. The sensation after- 
wards was one of delicious languor ; but my full enjoyment 
of the bath was a little marred by the fact that I had to 
walk a quarter of a mile back to the tents afterwards. I had 
a long talk on my way, to the miller, the solitary resident of 
this lonely but enchanting spot, and tried to induce him to 
desert the mill, of which he vras the guai'dian, and act as my 
guide up the river on the following day; but he was either 
too conscientious, too lazy, or too ignorant — I suspect the 
latter, as I found by experience that all the information he 
gave me of a topographical nature was utterly erroneous. 
It was, therefore, with a pleasing sense of anticipation that 
we retired to rest, determined to trust to our own geographi- 
cal instincts alone for our proposed exploration. 



Haifa, April 30. — In my last letter I described the little- 
known hot sulphur springs of Amatha, with their extensive 
ruins, -which indicate the celebrity they must have acquired 
in the days of the Romans, As the river Yarmuk above 
this point had, so far as I know, never been explored, I deter- 
mined to push up the gorges through which it cleaves its 
way from the highlands of the Ilauran to the valley of the 

Some years ago I had crossed it about thirty miles higher 
up, where it flows across a plateau at an elevation of 1800 
feet above the sea. I was now standing on its margin, 550 
feet below the sea. In the course of this thirty miles, there- 
fore, it has a fall of 2350 feet. In other words, it was a fair 
presumption that there was a waterfall somewhere between 
those two points which had never been visited. The inquiries 
which I made from the natives on the point were unsatis- 
factory in their result. They seemed unable to discriminate 
between a rapid and a waterfall, and although they told me 
of many places whore the water rushed witli great violence, 
they seemed to know of none where it was precipitous. Ui)on 
one point they were, unfortunately, all agreed, which Avas 
that there was no path up the river-side, and that it would 
be found impossible at this time of year, when the stream 
was flooded, to force a way up. However, we determined 
to try. We thought we should be more free in our move- 
ments if we were unhampered by a guide, and directed only 
by our topographical instincts. 

We therefore left our tents standing, as a sort of home on 
which to retreat in case of need, and struck across the small 
plain upon which the springs are situated, to a ford, which 
four days previously had been impracticable, but which we 


were assured we might now risk with safety. The stream 
was here a hundred yards broad, full of large rocks, and 
with a swift, turbid current that was by no means reassur- 
ing. The water came high up on our saddle-flaps, but we 
reached the other bank without mishap, and found ourselves 
skirting a dense thicket of tropical underwood, above which 
a grove of- at least three hundred date-trees reared their 
tufted crests. It was a spot unlike any other to be found in 
Palestine, for, although the heat in the valley of the Jordan, 
owing to its depression below the sea, is as great as this, and 
at its southern extremity greater, nowhere throughout its 
length is to be found a spot where the vegetation is so dense 
and luxuriant. Here were wild orange, lemon, fig, almond, 
and mulberry trees, oleanders growing to a gigantic size, 
besides butm, sidr, carob, and other trees peculiar to the 
country, and thickets of cane tvv^enty feet high, forming a 
splendid cover for the wild boars with which we were as- 
sured this jungle abounds. 

The Arabs come here at certain seasons to gather the 
dates, Aveave mats from the reeds, and harvest the crops of 
the slopes behind, which were now all waving with young 
grain. During that time they live in mud hovels, partly ex- 
cavated in the ground, which were now deserted. There 
was only one inhabitant, and he ran a small mill, pictu- 
resquely situated under some date-trees, which was turned 
by a stream of hot suli)hur water issuing from a coi:)ious 
spring, with a temperature of 112°. The Yarmuk, which 
flows beneath a cliff of black basalt three hundred feet high, 
half encircles this unique spot, and I regretted that I had 
not time to explore it thoroughly; but the jungle was so im- 
penetrable that it was impossible to make any impression 
upon it without an axe, and then it would have been a work 
of time. 

We now followed a track which approached the river 
bank. The hills, fortunately, on our side sloped back grad- 
ually. Midway up the sheer face of the cliff opposite 
we saw here and there caves, which, from their regular 
shape, appear at one time to have been inhabited, but if so, 
the only approach could have been from above, by baskets 
lov/ered to the mouths, similar to the method used by the 

132 HAIFA. 

robbers Avho inhabited the Wady Ilaniani, behind the plain 
of Gcnncsareth, in days of ohl. Xow, instead of robbers in 
baskets, \vc saw immense eagles sailing in front of the clilT, 
in the crevices of which they had placed their nests. Cross- 
ing a spur which jutted into the river from the mountains 
on our right, and which prevented our following it closely, 
we obtained a splendid view of its course for some miles. 
To our left were basalt and limestone cliffs, and above them 
steep, slo])ing grass lands, now carpeted with wild flowers. 
Above theni again were more crags and cliffs, and then the • 
rim which marked the edge of the plateau, fifteen hun- 
dred feet above us. To the right the hills sloped back 
more slowly, cleft here and there by wild, rocky valleys, 
Avhilc their summits were fringed with oak forests. Here 
and there the river foamed between precipices on both sides, 
and we began to perceive that the task of exploration was 
by no means easy. But it was jDerhaps all the more interest- 
ing. "We made our horses scramble where only goats had 
been before, nov/' along the base of the cliff over huge boul- 
ders, now half-way up its precipitous side, Avlien prudence 
suggested that horse and rider should separate, and each be 
responsible for his own life and limbs. Now w^e forced our 
way through tangled thickets of flowering shrubs that clung 
to the rocky sides where they were less steep, and now, ut- 
terly baffled, diverging from the river and toiling up a steej) 
grassy slope, only to slip and scramble down it again on the 
other side so as to rcfjain the marsrin of the stream. 

Our progress was necessarily slow, not only owing to the 
natural obstacles we encountered, but to the fact that we 
were mapping the country as we advanced; but the scenery 
by w'hich we were surrounded was too romantic to be hur- 
ried over, and too interesting, from its novelty, not to be 
carefully noted. At last we reached a point where there 
had been a land-slide, leaving bare one precipice a thousand 
feet high, while it formed another above the stream, Avhich 
it had displaced. Nothing remained for it but to attempt 
another ford, and try our luck on the opposite bank. This, 
to the amazement of some Bedouins, who watched us from 
it and waved us back, we succeeded in accomplishing, not 
without a narrow escape on the part of one of our party who, 


boldly leading the way, got entangled among the rocks and 
eddies. We were cordially welcomed by an Arab sheik, as avg 
scrambled like half-drowned rats up the bank. He invited us 
to his tents, which were pitched a few hundred yards back 
from the stream, on a small plain. Here mats were spread for 
us, coffee roasted, pounded, and prepared, and, the young men 
gathering abound, we proceeded, under the influence of an 
abundant distribution of cigarettes on my part, to exchange 
ideas. They told us they belonged to a village two and a 
half hours distant, and were therefore not nomads. They 
came liither at this season of the year to pasture their herds 
and look after their crops. I hardly like to report the con- 
versation of these poor people as they came to confide their 
grievances to us, witliout our in any way inviting their con- 
fidence. Suffice it to say that the recent measure of the 
government by vrhich it has been decided to substitute for 
the dime, which has heretofore been the share of the gov- 
ernment in the entire produce of every village, an assess- 
ment based on tlie highest five years' average, has produced 
the greatest discontent among the rural population, whose 
j)Overty and distress, already extreme, owing to the extor- 
tion of the tax-gatherers even under the old system, and the 
withdrawal of the bone and sinew of the country by con-* 
scription, especially during the recent Russo-Turkish vrar, 
will thus be intensified. In fact, these poor people were 
driven to such desperation that they were most unreserved 
in their language, and although they are the most long-suf- 
fering and much-enduring of races, there is a point where 
the crushed worm will turn. However great the financial 
exigencies of the empire may be, they would better be 
met by a thorough reorganization and reform in the whole 
system of tax-collecting, than in adding to the burdens of 
the people, which arc already greater than they can bear. 

Our hosts assured us that we should find any further at- 
tempt to ascend the river impracticable, and that there was 
a place where the water fell for a considerable height, but 
we could only reach it by making a circuit, which would take 
a day. However, Ave determined to judge for ourselves, and 
succeeded in getting about a mile farther, when we found the 
river shut in by j^recipices on both sides. It was impossible 

134 HAIFA. 

to dosccnd to it from the brow of the cliiT on Avliicli wc stood, 
much less to ford it afterwards, or to scramble up the preci- 
pice on the other side. There was notliing for it but to make 
an ascent of at least fifteen hundred feet, either to the hii^h 
plateau of Jaulan,on the right, or to recross the river where 
we had already forded it, and scramble up the steep, wood- 
ed hillsides of Ajlun until we could find a path leading in 
the desired direction. This latter course -we determined to 
adopt; so Ave returned to the Arab tents, crossed the river 
more successfully than before, warned by our previous ex- 
perience, and braced ourselves for a twelve -hundred-feet 
elirab up the best track we could find, under the guidance of 
one of our recent Arab acquaintances. I had been on the 
lookout all through the day for ruins, and I was now cheered 
by the intelligence that I should find some on the summit 
of the hill we were climbing. Such proved to be the case. 
The situation, at an elevation by my aneroid of about eleven 
hundred feet above the sea, would indicate that in old time 
it was a fortress. It was supplied with water by cisterns, 
the remains of which still exist, some of them demijohn- 
shaped, and one about ten feet square and twenty feet to 
the bottom, which, however, Avas much filled up. There 
•were many piles of huge blocks of drafted stone, but I did 
not observe any columns or carving, and I think the re- 
mains date from a period anterior to the Roman occupation. 
The modern name of the place is Tel el-IIiJsn, but its exist- 
ence has heretofoi'B been unknown, except to the Arabs of 
the neighborhood, and its discovery was some compensation 
to me for the effort I had made to reach it. 


Haifa, May 15. — From tlie ancient fortress of El-Hosn 
we crossed a spur to a high projecting point, from -which 
we could look down a sheer precipice one tliousand feet 
high, Avhich had been formed by a land-slip, to the bed of 
the river. Forcing their way impetuously through a gorge 
opposite, the tributary waters of the Rukkad mingled their 
clear stream with the turbid Yarmuk, after a rapid course 
from their source in the highlands of Jaulan, f roin which ele- 
vated plateau they are precipitated in a raagnilicent water- 
fall eight hundred feet high. All this scenery is as yet ab- 
solutely unknown and unexplored, this fall having only re- 
cently been discovered, by my travelling companion on this 
occasion. I regretted being unable to visit it, but we were 
limited for time, and although it was only hidden from 
view by a projecting spur of the valley, so broken up is this 
country by precipitous ravines and gorges, that it would 
have taken us a day's hard riding to reach it. 

It was with regret that we found ourselves compelled 
to leave the elevated position on which we now stood, and 
which commanded an extensive view, limited in the extreme 
cast by the lofty mountains of the Jebel Druze; and, steering 
our way by compass, struck a southeasterly direction, over 
a park-like, undulating country, covered with oak forest, 
with occasional patches of cultivation. This part of the 
country to the east of the Jordan, which is called the Kefe- 
rat, is thinly inhabited, the villages being very small, 
squalid, and far apart, but it is a country all waiting to 
yield of its abundance to some future race who may turn 
its magnificent resources to good account. In many places 
the trees were festooned with vines, the grapes of this dis- 
trict being celebrated, but the population pay little heed to 
their cultivation, for it is impossible to protect them from 

136 HAIFA. 

robbers. The Bedouins consider the sedentary inliabitants 
as lawful spoil, and raid over these lands at will, ])ractically 
almost unchecked by the authorities, whose administrative 
hold on the country is of the slenderest description. It is, 
in fact, chiefly exercised at those times when it is necessary 
to send the mounted police into the villages to collect the 
taxes, and they clear up all that the IJedouins may have 
left, so that these poor people are engaged in a perpetual 
struggle to keep body and soul together, and although they 
are surrounded by a fertile country Avhich, if it were prop- 
erly cultivated, would make them wealthy, they only culti- 
vate enough for their barest necessities, and have not the 
heart to attempt to accumulate wealth which they would 
not be permitted to keep. Situated at an elevation of about 
eighteen hundred feet above the sea, these high, wooded, 
fertile table-lands form a district Avhich, should this coun- 
try ever come to be occupied under more favourable con- 
ditions than now exist, will certainly be among the first to 
attract an agricultural population. The wild, rocky gorges 
by which it is intersected render the task of exploration, 
without a guide, one attended with some uncertainty. We 
take our bearings by compass, gallop under the vine-trel- 
lised trees, over green, level slopes, or along inviting glades, 
till we are suddenly brought up by a ^^I'ecipice down which 
it is impossible to scramble, which opens unexpectedly in a 
gulf at our feet. The spot we are making for is not half a 
mile distant, but we have to follow the edge of the gorge in 
the ojiposite direction. Then we come upon another at 
right angles, which forces us to double back still farther; so 
at last we wind round the head, first of one ravine and then 
of another, till we find two hours have elapsed since we 
were driven back on our tracks; the half-mile has now ex- 
tended over five or six, the sun is declining with a rapidity 
which seems accelerated because the daylight has become 
so precious to us that we cannot bear to anticipate the pros- 
pect of its vanishing. At last we reach the head of the 
valley M^hich has baffled us so long, and are compensated by 
discovering a ruin. Here are sarcophagi, rock tombs and 
cisterns, and carved fragments. Fortunately we come across 
a peasant, the only one we have seen since leaving the 


river, and be tells us that its name is Ilaleebna. Wo write 
it down and take its bearings as well as we can, for it is un- 
known heretofore, but the day is too far spent for us to lin- 
ger for minute examination. The peasant tells us that the 
best thing w^e can do, if we Avould get back to our tents, is 
to go down the valley Ave had intended to cross. We fol- 
low his advice and have no reason to regret it. It is a Via 
Mala of grandeur and beauty, though on a small scale. We 
pass between curved limestone cliffs, the fissures in which 
are filled with underwood, the shrubs cling to the rocks, 
from which at one place gushes a co})ious stream of water, 
by the side of which we hurry with it down the valley, till 
we get back to the Yarmuk once more, and, wearied and ex- 
hausted, reach our tents in the gathering darkness. Here 
we find a picturesque-looking Kurd waiting to receive us; 
he is an old soldier, and shows us the scars of five wounds — 
not all, however, received in military service, but for the 
most part in Arab skirmishes. He is the agent of the gov- 
ernment in these parts, and also of the native capitalist who 
is the prnctical OAvner of the land, Avhich is cultivated by an 
Arab tribe Avhose tents are pitched near us; they are heav- 
ily indebted to the capitalist aforesaid, who allows them 
enough of the crops to keej) them from starving and takes 
all the rest himself. And our Kurdish visitor is his collec- 
tor of revenue, lie seems to have some difliculty in pro- 
tecting his employer's interests, and tells us triumphantly 
that only a fcAV nights before he has shot an Arab whom he 
caught plundering. He says that during the bathing season 
as many as a hundred tents may be seen pitched round the 
sulphur springs of Amatha, and that their fame is so great 
that they arc visited by invalids from Aleppo and Damascus. 
The fact, however, that Tiberias, which is five hours dis- 
tant, is the nearest place in Avhich supplies of any sort can 
be procured, and that the only accommodation to be ob- 
tained is the patient's own tent, must operate as a serious 
obstacle to the use of these springs, about Avhose curative 
value, hoAvever, there can be no doubt. 

Our Avay from Amatha lay back across the Jordan valley, 
Avhich at this season of the year is a sheet of waving grain, 
cultivated by a branch of the Beni Sukkr Arabs, Avhose 

138 HAIFA. 

large onoampmont, with the haiulsonic tent of tlio sheik in 
the centre, we pass without stopping, for we are in full pur- 
suit at the moment of five gazelles, which scamper across 
country, giving us a good run, in which we should have cer- 
tainly overtaken them had we not been checked by a ravine. 
"We cross the Yarniuk at a point near its junction with the 
Jordan, and where it carries a volume of water certainly 
equal to that stream. The Jordan here falls in a fine rapid 
of about thirty feet in a distance of less than a hundred 
yards, and would furnish splendid water-power for mills in 
a part of the country which is much in want of them. The 
ancient Jisr cl-Medjamieh spans the stream at this point, 
guarded by a government toll-house. Crossing it, we deter- 
mined to try a short-cut up the littlc-knov.n Wady Bireh, 
Avhich is watered by a clear, purling brook, which, if it were 
utilized, would make this valley one of the most fertile and 
attractive in this part of the country. After following its 
winding course for some miles, vre found it finally narrow- 
ing into a crooked gorge, the sides of which ajjproach so 
closely as scarcely to admit the passage of a loaded camel 
between the overhanging rocks. Indeed, when we after- 
wards described our route to the natives they said it was 
never used by them. However, it gave us an opportunity 
of seeing some most romantic scenery, and by shortening 
the way enabled us to reach Nazareth, jaded and M'orn out, 
it is true, the same night. 


Haifa, May 27. — Travellers who have gone from Naza- 
reth to Tiberias must be familiar Avitli the singular outline 
of a mountain which they perceive to the left of the I'oad, 
with its two rocky crests separated from each other by 
a hog's back about a quarter of a mile long, and called the 
Horns of Hattin. The summit of the higher peak, one thou- 
sand feet above the sea, and about three hundred feet above 
the plain across which they are riding, forms a conspicuous 
object in a landscape which, at this point, is one of singular 
interest and beauty. Rising like a gigantic natural pulpit, 
tradition has since declared it to be the Mount of the Beati- 
tudes, and asserts that it was from this picturesque eleva- 
tion that Christ delivered that sermon which has exercised 
so vast an influence on mankind ever since. 

Whether this be so or not, it is certain that the plain on 
which the audience was supposed to have gathered which 
listened to it, was the scene, about eleven hundred and fifty- 
seven years afterwards, of the most memorable conflict in 
which the Crusaders ever engaged, for it was the one which 
lost them Palestine, and which resulted in' the triumph of 
Saladin, the Saracen, and the slaughter or capture of the 
most powerful and celebrated of the Crusading chiefs. At 
the extremity of the j^lain, and immediately beneath one of 
the horns of the mountain, there is a precipitous gorge, 
do\j'n wliich some of the hardly pressed Crusaders vainly 
attempted flight, the horses and their riders, heavily pano- 
plied with armour, only escaping the spear of the Arab to 
meet an even more terrible fate, as they hurled themselves 
headlong down the rocky precipice. As, dismounting from 
my active steed, I allowed him to pick his own way down 
this dangerous defde, I looked with interest at the scene 
of the disaster, and listened to the story of my guide, who 

140 HAIFA. 

narrated how, only twenty years ago, a fight liad taken 
place here between a eelebrateil IJedouin chief and a Kurd- 
ish tribe, in which the latter Avere signally defeated on the 
old Crusading battle-ground, and, seeking safety, like the 
Christian warriors, in the direction of this treacherous gorge, 
left sixty dead men and horses at the bottom. 

These traditions and associations served to enhance the 
novelty and picturesqueness of the view before me as I en- 
tered the gorge, for it was now the scene of a great gather- 
ing of the sheiks and chiefs of the Druse nation, who come 
here annually on a pilgrimage to the shrine of one of their 
most celebrated saints, at which I was fortunate enough to 
be allowed to assist, a privilege which, so far as I am aware, 
had not before been granted to a foreigner. The building 
which forms this sacred resort has been erected by the 
Druses over the tomb of a certain holy man called Schaib, 
but exactly who Schaib was my utmost endeavours failed to 
discover. The Moslems say that he is Jethro, the father-in- 
law of Moses; but when I asked the Druses whether Moses' 
had married Schaib's daughter, they denied it. Then a Jew 
of the country, familiar with the Druses, suggested that 
Schaib was Balaam, but they refused altogether to admit 
that an ass had ever spoken to their holy man. lie had 
crossed the Red Sea Avith Moses, they said, and after Moses' 
death had been ordered by God to bury him, and had done 
so, and had fought against a mighty king and prevailed 
against him, and had himself been buried here, and he Avas 
the Father of all Prophets and the elect of God, and there 
Avere none greater or more sacred than he. I thought pos- 
sibly he might be Joshua, but him they kncAA' by his own 
name, so I have given up the personality of Schaib as an in- 
soluble mystery. He is one of those Druse characters vvhom 
their tradition has interwoven with Biblical history, but,the 
tomb AA'hich they thus honour is undoubtedly considered by 
Moslems to be the tomb of Jethro, Avho is known among 
them as Schaib; and the Rabbi Bar Simeon, Avriting in 
1210 A.D., mentions the tomb of Jethro as beins: at Hattin. 
Considering that Jethro lived in Midian, on the shores of 
the Red Sea, it seems rather unlikely that he should be bur- 
ied here. However, that is a detail. The fact remains that 


the spot is one of great sanctity, but is infinitely more ven- 
erated by the Druses than by the Moslems. Indeed, I met 
a Moslem who laughed at the Druses' superstitions in re- 
gard to it, and who was as much surprised and puzzled as I 
was when he heard them deny that Moses was the son-in- 
law of the buried saint. 

The building which the Druses have erected over the old, 
dilapidated Moslem shrine, which still stands here, has al- 
ready cost more than $5000, all subscribed by the Druses 
among themselves, and it is not yet completed. It consists 
of a courtyard, one side of which is formed by the solid 
rock, while the other contains chambers. The roof forms a 
terrace, and above it, also partly faced by rock, is a large 
upper chamber s^lrmounted by a dome. The scene as we 
approached was very striking. The Druse sheiks, desirous 
of doing honour to their guest, formed in two lines to re- 
ceive me, Avhile guns were fired off and songs of v/elcome 
were sunsr. The white buildino-, with its terraces crowded 
by men and women in bright -coloured garments, harmo- 
nized well with the romantic character of the scenery, and 
formed a picture calculated to impress the imagination. 

I was ushered by my hosts into an anteroom, after ex- 
changing cordial greetings with those I knew, and being in- 
troduced to those who were still strangers to me; and then 
we all squatted on carpets, thus occupying all the four sides 
of the room, which assumed the appearance of a sort of 
council-chamber. As, with the exception of the Japanese, 
the Druses are the politest and most courteous people I 
have ever met, a great part of our time is taken up in salu- 
tations and compliments. First we press our hands to our 
hearts and lips and foreheads, with great effusion. No soon- 
er are we seated than w^e repeat this process as if we had 
not done it jnst before. Then, in flowery language, we ask 
each other repeatedly after our respective healths, and are 
profuse in our thanks to God that we are well, that they 
are well, that our families are well, and that we are permit- 
ted to enjoy the great privilege of meeting one another. 
Then coffee is brought in, and after drinking it we go 
thi'ough the same process of saluting each other all around. 
Then I request permission to light a cigarette, which is 

142 HAIFA. 

necessary, as the Druses never indulge in tobacco; indeed, 
tlic more rigid eschew coffee. 

As I look around at the twenty or thirty sheiks, solemnly 
seated with their hacks to the wall, I am much struck with 
the diguity of their bearing, the intelligence of their counte- 
nances, and their superior physique generally. As a rule, 
there is a religions and a secular sheik to each village, so 
that about half my entertainers exercise spiritual functions, 
and half temporal. 'Jlierc was nothing, however, in their 
dress to distinguish them. They all wore white turbans, 
black or striped abbas, or wide-sleeved cloaks reaching to 
the knee, beneath which was the usual flowing garment of 
the Oriental, and their feet were bare. Many of the Druses, 
both men and Avomen, have broAvn hair and blue eyes, and 
complexions as light as our own, and some of both sexes are 
singularly handsome. 

As all the sheiks had not yet assembled, we had not been 
long in conclave — indeed, had hardly exhausted our stock of 
compliments — before the singing of men and the fii-ing of 
guns announced a distinguished arrival. Then we all went 
out to meet him, and I was interested in watching the meth- 
od of greeting. I soon perceived that the forms of etiquette 
are most rigidly adhered to among them. When two of 
equal rank meet they clasp hands, and there appears a slight 
struggle — as they both bow their heads and lift their 
clasped hands towards their lips — as to who shall kiss the 
back of the other's hand first. This involves rather a curi- 
ous twisting movement of the hands and heads, which pro- 
duces a somewhat comical effect. Let any of my readers 
make the experiment, and, grasping each other's hands, try 
and kiss the respective backs of each without unclasj^ing 
them, and the effort as to which shall succeed first makes 
quite a little game. My servant, who is a Moslem from 
Egypt, declared that they each kissed their own hands, and 
the argument waxed so hot between us that we had to refer 
the matter to a Druse to know Avhich was right, so difficult 
was it to perceive exactly what really happened. If one 
felt himself inferior in rank to the other, he always succeed- 
ed in kissing the othei''s hand first, and snatching his OAvn 
away before the other had time to kiss it. But if the dif- 


ference in rank v/as still more marked, the superior made 
no pretence of wanting to kiss the inferior's hand after his 
own had heen kissed. 

Next came a great struggle as to who should take the 
lowest place. The place of honour was a particular corner, 
which, had I been better versed in their etiquette, I should 
have insisted on declining; but I innocently accepted it, and 
then the invariable struggle came as to who should be forced 
to sit next to me, I observed that in most instances the re- 
fusals were of that formal kind which young ladies indulge 
in when they have made up their minds to sing, but decline 
to do so until after they have been sufficiently pressed. I 
suppose there were envyings, jealousies, pride, and other 
base passions among my hosts as among other men, but if 
so they certainly concealed their failings with marvellous 
skill. One could not but be struck with the air of genuine 
harmony and affectionate cordiality which seemed to pre- 
vail among them. 

The respect they showed to the head sheik of all, and the 
warm terras in Avhich they spoke of him to me in private, 
could not but have been sincere, and, indeed, he seemed to 
deserve it. Though only a young man of about thirty-five, 
he inherited his honours, coming as he did of one of the 
most honourable Druse families; yet his distinguishing 
characteristic was a marked humility and consideration for 
others. His wife was certainly the most charming and lady- 
like person I have yet seen among Druse women. She was 
not more than three or four and twenty, with a fair com- 
plexion, magnificent eyes, and an elegant figure, a grace 
natural to her characterizing all her movements. Indeed, 
had she been dressed in the latest Parisian fashion, she 
would have been a strikingly attractive person in any societ}^, 
nor would it have been possible by her features or complex- 
ion to distinguish her from any pretty American woman. 
As it was, her dress was exceedingly becoming. On her 
head was a long white veil; a loose, tunic-shaped jacket, 
with full sleeves, covered an embroidered sort of chemisette, 
and her short, flowing skirts partially concealed full trousers, 
tight around the ankle. On her wrists Avere a pair of heavy 
gold bracelets, and she was the only woman of the party 


who inilul_i;oil in the luxury of shoes and stockings. The 
shoes, however, were always slipped off before entering a 

The Druse women of Galilee do not, like those of the 
Lehanoii, cover their faces; and, indeed, they are allowed 
a freedom which contrasts strongly with the position of 
their Moslem sisters. This wife of the head sheik enjoyed 
a privilege denied to any of the other women who had ac- 
companied their lords to the shrine, for she frec^ucntly sat 
in the men's council, taking part in the conversation, though 
modestly, and ■with great reserve. In talking to me, which 
she did freely, I found that she was bright and intelligent, 
and full of inquiries as to the manners and customs of the 
females of civilization, in regard to whom she had an intense 
curiosity. I do not know, however, whether, if it had been 
fully gratified, it would have tended very much to her moral 
and intellectual improvement. She had brought her baby 
with her, and was generally surrounded by some of the 
more prominent of the other ladies, who, however, treated 
her with a marked deference. I watched her mode of greet- 
ing the different ladies as they arrived, with even more in- 
terest than I had that of the men. We read in the Bible of 
people falling upon each other's necks; this was exactly 
what the Druse women did, and very prettily and gracefully 
they did it, while they recognized the men by a distant, 
modest, and deferential salutation. 


Haifa, May 30. — Towards evening of the day on which 
I arrived at the great Druse shrine of Neby Schaib, near 
Hattin, most of the sheiks who were expected had arrived, 
with their retinues. It might have been a feudal gathering 
of oklen time; the noisy welcome of the chiefs, the clans- 
men singing war-songs and firing guns, the women follow- 
ing on donkeys, all combined to make a scene which carried 
one back to the Middle Ages, and I never wearied looking 
at it. 

My tent was pitched on the lowest terrace of the sacred 
building, for it is not allowed to the unbeliever to pass the 
night within those holy precincts. Indeed, it Avas an un- 
precedented privilege to be permitted even to camp on the 
terrace, where there was only just room for my tent, nor 
should I have been allowed to edge in so close to the mys- 
teries of Druse worsliip had there been five square yards 
of level ground within a quarter of a mile. But the pre- 
cipitous rocks frowned above us all around, and the com- 
paratively open space below was crowded with camels, 
horses, and donkeys, compelled to chum t&gether, whether 
they liked it or not, and where the incessant din added to 
the general uproar of the place. The constant and stento- 
rian braying of donkeys, varied occasionally by a horse 
fight, mingled with the barking of dogs, the shrill scream 
of welcome or ululation of women, the loud singing and 
clapping of hands of the dancing circles, and the firing of 
guns, all augured badly for a night's rest. 

However, there was no thdught of going to bed yet; great 
piles of rice on which whole sheep had been skilfully dis- 
sected wei"e now borne in on round platters, each carried by 
two men. There must have been from three to four hun- 
dred people now collected at the shrine, and the feeding of 


sut'h a imiltitude was no joke. Of these nearly lialf -were 
women, all in gala dress, the favourite colours being blue, 
green, and red. I don't know that I ever remember in the 
name number to have seen a larger proportion of ])rctty 

"When I went up-stairs to the large vault which contains 
the tomb of the prophet I came upon them unexpectedly, 
all seated on the floor around the circular mats of parti- 
coloured straw which they use as tablecloths. The room, 
which was seventy feet long by forty wide, Avas crowded 
with this laughing, chattering, feeding, feminine multitude, 
with their glorious eyes, white, regular teeth, bewitching 
smiles, and delicate fingers plunged up to the knuckles into 
huge piles of greasy rice. Their invitation that I should 
come and take pot-luck with them produced a mixed senti- 
ment in my breast. However, it was only said as a joke, 
for even had I desired I should not have been allowed to 
accept it. The entertainment was exclusively feminine, and 
I was surprised at so little reverence being shown to the 
venerated shrine by the close proximity of all this fes- 

Taking off our shoes and picking our way between these 
festive groups, we reached, at the other end of the hall, the 
tomb of the prophet, enclosed in a wooden screen hung 
with red cloth, Avhile over the tomb itself was spread a sort 
of green silk pall, embroidered with gold stars. Some of 
the Druse sheiks who accompanied me reverently pressed 
their lips to this. They then pointed out a square block of 
limestone, in the centre of which Avas a piece of alabaster 
containing the imprint of a human foot of natural size. 
The toes are defined with more clearness than is usual in 
sacred footprints of this nature, and the Druses stooped and 
kissed the impression, assuring me that, if I would do so, I 
should feel that the rock exuded moisture, and that its pe- 
culiarity Avas that it was ncA'er dry. I was constrained out 
of politeness to appear to accede to their wishes, though I 
refrained from testing the condition of the stone Avith my 
lips, as I felt suspicious, considering how many lips had pre- 
ceded mine, that any little dampness I might discoA'cr might 
be easily accounted for otherwise than supernaturally. 


The question of footprints in the rock suggests some in- 
teresting considerations. There are one or two otliers in 
different parts of Palestine, as in the mosque at Hebron, 
built over the Cave of Macpelah, and as they are artificial, 
it is probable that they are coronation stones. We know 
by tradition that in ancient times a custom of this sort ex- 
isted in the British Isles, where footprints in rock exist, and 
there are Scriptural allusions wdiich give colour to a similar 
hypothesis in Palestine. The pillar alluded to in the crown- 
ing of kings was probably nothing more nor less than a 
coronation stone; and the habit which existed in some 
countries of making the king stand with his foot in the im- 
pression of a print in the stone, as a sign that he would 
w^alk in the footsteps of his predecessor, may account for 
their occurrence in Palestine. Thus we read that Abime- 
lech " was made king by the oak of the pillar that was in 
Shechem;" when Joash was anointed king by Jehoida, 
" he stood by the pillar as the manner was," and the same 
king " stood by a pillar to make a covenant, and all the peo- 
ple stood to the covenant." The place of the footprint at 
Neby Schaib, in its elevated position above the copious foun- 
tain which gushes from the base of the opposite cliff, and 
the remarkable cropping up of the alabaster through the 
rock, rendered it just such a spot as would be likely to be 
chosen for such a purpose, and I think we may fairly hazard 
the conjecture that the footprint at the Neby Schaib marks 
the coronation stone of the rulers in this part of the coun- 
try in early Jewish, or perhaps even more ancient, times. 
It is far otherwise with the footprint of Buddha on Adam's 
Peak in Ceylon, and with that of Christ on the Mount of 
Olives, both of which I have seen, and both of which are 
natural, and bear only a fancied resemblance to the human 
foot, that of Buddha being a depression in the rock about 
five feet long. In the case of the j^rint under consideration, 
there was a split in the rock across the centi'c, which the 
Druses accounted for by saying that when the prophet 
stepped here he split the rock. 

Meanwhile the women, having finished their repast, now 
prepared for a dance on the terrace. The music consisted 
of singing, with a band-clapping accompaniment, executed 


])rin('ipally by tlic spectators, ■while the dancers formed in 
a circle, lidding each other by the "waistband, and rhylh- 
niically swaying to and fro, as from time to time they 
changed the character and the measure of their step. All 
their movements were decorous, if not all actually graceful. 
Sometimes one Avould separate herself from the ring, and, 
advancing to the centre, perform ^ pas seul, Avhile the others 
danced around her, she the while iiinging her hands aloft, 
waving in each a light muslin veil, and making it float above 
her head, while she kept time with her feet. 15ut among 
the Druses, as among most Orientals, the hands play as 
prominent a part in their terpsichorean exercises as their 
feet. The eminently good looks of the dancers were set ofi; 
by their becoming costumes. These consisted of outer 
cloaks of a rich colour, linen or woollen, oj^en all down the 
front so as to dis])lay the Avhole underdress, with light sleeveu 
cut above the elbow, the whole trimmed either with wide 
bands of reddish satin or with a rich cross-stitch embroidery 
of silk. The unsightliness of the baggy trousers of dark 
blue is lost under the long, semi-transparent chemise, which 
falls over them as a white tunic, generally striped with 
thicker white, and tastefully embroidered with silk around 
the neck. The white sleeves of the chemise, widely point- 
ed, and which flow about the forearm after escaping from 
the short cloak sleeve, form a simple but very graceful 
feature of this costume, whether they float freely or arc 
twisted, for convenience in work, about the elbow. Scarfs 
of various bright colours are wound below the waist, and 
the cloak is usually caught together below the bosom by 
a cord or button, giving that double girdle often present- 
ed in ancient classical costume. The simple long, white 
cloth, with the centre of one edge drawn low upon the 
forehead, its two ends hanging down the back almost to 
the heels, bound fast by a wide flllet of brilliant colour 
tied around the head, completes very attractively, with its 
ancient Egyptian appearance, this simple but highly char- 
acteristic dress, which is enhanced by necklaces and ban- 
gles, according to the rank and position of the wearer. 

Our attention was now distracted by some rival perform- 
ances of the male part of the community in the courtyard 


below. Here the singing and clapping of hands were loud- 
er and more vehement, and time was given by one gentle- 
man who played a pipe and another who was a sort of band- 
master, and directed the changes of time and step. Here 
the central figure who danced in the circle, instead of wav- 
ing veils or handkerchiefs, flourished a sword with great 
grace and dexterity, slashing it about in excellent time to 
the music, and within an inch sometimes of the noses, some- 
times of the legs, of the performers. The dancers worked 
themselves uj) at last to a high pitch of excitement and per- 
spiration, new ones perpetually dashing into the ring and 
taking the places of those who were exhausted. 

At last the gayeties were put an end to by the sheiks, 
who took no part in them themselves, but looked on with 
solemn dignity. The "okal," or initiated in the holy mys- 
teries, despise all such frivolities, which are reserved for 
women and the uninitiated. Most of these had been sitting 
in a circle in a quiet part of the terrace by themselves, dis- 
cussing either religion or the political questions afi^ectmg 
the interests of their nation, most probably the latter; but 
the hour had now arrived when the serious business of the 
night Avas to begin and festivity was to cease. The uproar 
died away, the elders wished us good -night, and silently 
trooped up the stone stairs to the great hall, whence issued 
the younger part of the female community, and I retired to 
the door of my tent to sit in the bright moonlight and con- 
template the strange surroundings of my night quarters. 

Soon there broke lapon the stillness of the night the meas- 
ured cadence of a sacred chant. Now it swelled, as numer- 
ous voices, male and female, took up the chorus; now it 
died away to a single voice. Never before, probably, had 
stranger been able to listen so closely to the prayers and in- 
vocations wliich characterize the mysterious and occult 
worship of the Druses. One thing surprised me, which I 
think is not generally known, and this is that women un- 
doubtedly take part in some of their forms of worship, not, 
however, in all, for on the following night they were ex- 
cluded, and the service was conducted by males alone. At 
last I Avent to bed, but not to sleep; the noises of the ani- 
mals, to Avhich I Avas in close proximity, for a long time ban- 

150 HAIFA. 

islunl repose, ami wlicii at last it came fitfully, I hoard ever 
and amm the rhythm of the sacred chant. 'J'hroughout two 
entire nights, to my certain knowledge, did these Druses 
]>ray and sing, though, as I fell asleep on each occasion 
towards morning, I cannot precisely say at what hour their 
service was concluded. 

There can be no doubt that, while these gatherings are 
essentially religious in their character, they are largely used 
for political purposes. In this respect a Avonderful organi- 
zation exists among the Druses, Although the nation may 
be said to be divided into three sections, of which one — by 
far the largest — occupies the mountains of the Hauran, 
known as the Jebel Druse, another the mountains of the 
Lebanon, and the third and smallest the hills of northern 
Galilee, they keep up a close contact with each other, and 
meetings such as these afford opportunities for them to hold 
counsel in regard to the political fortunes and condition of 
the nation. The Druses of the Jebel Druse, who form two 
thirds of the nation, have only this year made peace with 
the Turkish government, with whom they were at v,-ar last 
year. The impracticable nature of the countr}', combined 
with their own bravery, enables them to maintain a sort of 
quasi independence. They are free from the conscription, 
have a governor, or Caimakam, chosen from among them- 
selves, and their taxes are little more than nominal. The 
Druses of the Lebanon come under the special statute re- 
lating to the government of that province, and as this is 
subject to the supervision of the six European treaty pow- 
ers, their position is secured, and they have no cause of 
crrievance, thouG:h thev are in close contact with their neifjh- 
hours, the Maronites, with whom they live on terms of con- 
siderable tension. The Druses of Galilee differ in position 
from the other two sections of the nation, in that they en- 
joy no privileges of any kind, but are, on the contrary, less 
fortunately placed in their relations to the government than 
either Moslems or Christians, the former being naturally, to 
a certain extent, favored by their government, and the lat- 
ter being always able, in case of a grievance, to appeal to 
some Christian European power. These Druses are, how- 
ever, absolutely without protection of any kind, and have 


many grievances unredressed, and many acts of hostility on 
the part of the peasantry of other religions, among whom 
tliey live, to struggle against. The only consolation they 
enjoy is the support and comfort they derive from the close 
tribal family connection which they keep up with the other 
two more fortunate branches of the nation. It is easv to 
perceive, 'therefore, why they should attach great value to 
these religious gatherings, and utilize them for secular pur- 
poses. There can be no doubt that the character of their re- 
ligion, with the secrecy which surrounds it, enables them to 
organize in a special manner, and that the theocratic element 
which enters into their political constitution gives them a 
cohesion, a unity, and a power for combined action which 
the Christian sects, with their jealousies, bigotry, and in- 
ternal dissensions, do not enjoy. 


Haifa, June 22. — While my two clays' experiences at tlie 
Neby Schaib, described in my last two letters, were in the 
highest degree novel and picturesque, and enabled me to 
obtain an nnusual insight into the manners and customs and 
religious observances of the Druse nation, my stay at this 
celebrated shrine of their pilgrimage was by no means des- 
titute of archaeological interest. The village of Hattin, 
which is in the immediate neighbourhood of the tomb of 
the prophet, forms the centre of many sacred and historical 
associations, while it is in itself a place of unusual beauty 
of situation. 

In the overhanging rocks on the other side of the gorge, 
immediately opposite my tent, Avere several sepulchral 
chambers, all traditional burying-places of persons more or 
less historical. Some of these I examined. The largest 
was one entered by a doorway, Avhich had recently been in- 
habited, for the framework of a wooden door to it still re- 
mained. It was supposed to be the burial-place of one of 
Jethro's daughters. We arc told by Josephus that his fam- 
ily followed the Israelites out of Midian. Its last occupant 
was an Indian hermit, who bad lived here in solitude for 
three years, when, getting tired of his seclusion, he had 
gone to Tiberias about a year ago, married there, and im- 
mediately disappeared with his wife, no one knew whither. 

About a hundred yards from the Neby there issues from 
the mouth of the gorge a copious spring which, in fact, 
forms the source of a brook, that ultimately finds its way 
into the Sea of Galilee. It commences its beneficent course, 
however, by fertilizing a large area immediately surround- 
ing the village, where flourishing gardens of oranges, lemons, 
figs, apricots, pomegranates, and other fruit - trees impart 
an air of luxuriant fertility to the landscape not common in 


these parts. Among these gardens is one which was pur- 
chased a few years ago by Sir Moses Montefiore, and pre- 
sented by him to the Jews of Tiberias. Here I went, at the 
invitation of the overseer, and, seated on mats under tlie 
spreading arms of a fig-tree, I listened, while I sipped his 
coffee, to his tale of woe: how last year he had resisted what 
he considered an exorbitant charge for taxes, how his gar- 
den had in consequence been invaded and despoiled by the 
tax-gatherers; how, being a British-protected subject, and 
the garden being the property of British subjects, he had 
appealed to the British consul for redress; how he had 
spent £50 in the effort to obtain it, and had found British 
protection not only a broken, but an expensive reed to trust 
to; and how he was driven, by the refusal of the British 
government to protect its subjects, to try and protect him- 
self by the plentiful expenditure of backsheesh. I explained 
to him that it was not the habit of the British government 
to protect its subjects, but rather to abandon them, even 
though they might be of exalted rank, and their lives might 
be at stake; and then I went in search of ruins, 

I found some immediately adjoining the garden. What 
had evidently once formed part of an old Byzantine church 
was here turned into a mosque; and upon one of the stones 
was a curious Cufic inscription. In some of the other gar- 
dens were traces of foundations, indicating that in old times 
Hattin must have been the site of a considerable town. It 
is about two miles from the ruins of Irbid (which is no 
doubt the Arbela of Josephus), and is probably the Caphar 
Hittia of the Talmud, but I find no mention of the Hattin 
ruins in the memoii's of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 
nor of the Cufic inscription which I found. The way to Ir- 
bid lies across the plain, on which a collection of seven 
basalt stones in a ring are called the " ITajaret en ISTusara," 
or " stones of the Christians," because tradition has it that 
it was here that Christ performed the miracle of the seven 
loaves and two fishes. 

The plain was now waving with grain, nor would it be 
possible to imagine a more fertile or luxuriant upland. On 
its margin, where it breaks off abruptly into the marvellous 
gorge of El-IIamam, with its precipitous sides rising twelve 

154 HAIFA. 

hundroil feet sheer up from the little stream which trickles 
.It tlieir base, arc the ruins of Irbid, interesting as contain- 
ing the remains of the oldest Jewish synagogue j)robably to 
be found in Palestine. 

The steep hillside which slopes down to the edge of the 
cliff is very rocky, and numerous sarcophagi are carved on 
the surfaces of the natural slabs. The larijest measure from 
six feet to six feet five inches long, and one foot ten inches 
deep, being round at the head and square at the foot, which 
is slightly deeper. There Avas a ledge cut round to receive 
the stone cover, and a channel made to keep the surface 
■\vater from running in. They were of all sizes, some, evi- 
dently, for small children and babies. But the most remark- 
able tomb was one which opened out of a deep, rock-cut 
chamber, which appeared to have been in connection with 
a wine-press. The antechamber formed a sunk court, about 
twenty feet by ten, and contained a sarcophagus. It opened 
into a tomb containing six loculi. My guide was the Jew 
who had entertained me in the garden, and who was well 
versed in local traditions. 

He informed me that here were supposed to be buried 
four of the sons of Jacob, he did not know which, and Jo- 
chabed and Dinah. He also pointed out to me the tomb of 
the Rabbi Nitai, who was supposed to have built the syna- 
gogue I had been examining, and who was a native of the 
jilace, and lived about two hundred years B.C.; also a mound 
of stones covering apparently a rock tomb, which he de- 
clared was the burial-place of Seth, the son of Adam; but, 
although from much habit I am accustomed to swallow a 
fair amount of traditional information, I was unable to push 
mv credulity thus far. It is described, however, by the 
Rabbi Gerson, a.d. 15G1, as being in a cave with a spring 
to which a flight of steps led down. The tombs of Zerah 
and Zephaniah Avere also pointed out. Indeed, there are 
few places in Palestine where in the same limited area such 
a number of distinguished personages of sacred history are 
buried as in the neighbourhood of Arbela, or Irbid. I do 
not now include the tombs of the numerous rabbis whom 
the Jews hold sacred. If it has a character for sanctity, it 
must at one time haA^e had a reputation for strength. From 


its position it must always have been a military stronghold. 
Josephus tells us, in bis "Life," that wben be was Governor 
of Galilee be fortified it, and laid up stores of grain bere; 
and it is without doubt the Casale Ardelle of the Teutonic 
knights (1250 a.d.), the d being an error for b, as it is men- 
tioned in connection with Tiberias and Beisan, both places 
not very distant. 

The only Biblical reference to this place is that made by 
Hosea, when he says, " Therefore shall a tumult arise among 
thy people; all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shahnan 
spoiled Beth-Arbel in the day of battle." As we stand here 
we can almost look into the caverns with which the face of 
the opposite cliff is perforated, while the one on the edge of 
which we stand is literally honeycombed with these subtei'- 
ranean abodes. They are of immense extent, and are 
placed over each other in different stories; some are walled 
up, leaving doors and windows. Some idea of the extent 
of this singular natural fastness may be formed from the 
fact that it is capable of containing six thousand men. The 
caves communicate with each other by subterranean gal- 
leries. These are the fortified caverns mentioned by Jose- 
])hus in connection with Arbela, Bachides, the general of 
Demetrius, the third King of Syria, when he invaded Pales- 
tine, encamped at Arbela and subdued those who had taken 
refuffe in the caves. This event is narrated in Maccabees, 
where the caves are called "stories," It was here, also, 
that Herod the Great had his famous fight with the robbers 
who had made their dens in the caves, letting down his sol- 
diers in baskets, and fighting them in mid-air. 

I was determined to push my explorations to the summits 
of the rocky crests which frowned above, and are called the 
Horns of Hattin, Scrambling up the steep, rocky hillsides, 
we found ourselves at last obliged to leave our horses and 
make our way on foot over the huge blocks of basalt which 
are thickly strewn around these singular peaks. On reach- 
ing the top we found that they had been artificially super- 
imposed one on the top of another, so as to form a rocky 
rampart of immense solidity. Both crests had, at some pe- 
riod of remote antiquity, been thus fortified. Beneath one 
of them were the foundations and ruins of an ancient town 


•\vliicli the inliabit.ints call " INfcdinct ol-Tiiweilcb," or "the 
ruins of the long tower." At tlie soutlieast of the l)ill is 
an ohloiig cavern cut in the rock and cased wilh cement, 
which may formerly Lave been a cistern; and not far from 
it arc the foundations of a building which the natives say 
was a Christian church before the conquest of the country 
by the JMohaniincdans, avIio subsequently converted it into 
a mosque. Nothing- could be more striking than the view 
from the summit of the highest horn. Immediately beneath 
us, some six or seven hundred feet below, I looked down 
into the gloomy gorge, with the white walls of the Neby 
Schaib contrasting with the black basalt rocks, its terraces 
covered with grouj)s of brightly costumed Druses, their 
songs as they danced in circles reaching us on the still air 
of evening, and beyond, the modern village of Ilattin, sur- 
rounded by orange- groves and fruit -gardens of the most 
brilli.'^nt green. Stretching away on all other sides were vast 
uplands of waving grain, till they cither sunk away into 
valleys or terminated at the base of hills which rose abrupt- 
ly above them. To the northeast the precipitous sides of 
the Wady Hamara, honeycombed Avith caves, formed a vista 
through which appeared in the distance a green strip of the 
plain of Gcnesareth ; beyond it the waters of the Sea of 
Galilee, seventeen hundred feet below us, gleamed in the 
setting sun. Fi'om its eastern margin rose the steep cliffs 
above which is the vast plateau of Jaulan, once the grazing 
lands of the flocks and herds of Job, while a line of conical 
volcanic peaks, backed by snow-clad Ilermon, closed the 



Haifa, July 8. — In the early days of May there is annu- 
ally celebrated at Tiberias a festival in honour of the Rabbi 
Mair, at the large shrine built above his tomb, within a few 
hundred yards from the sulphur baths. Thither, having 
terminated my visit to the Druses, I determined to repair to 
witness the nocturnal ceremonies. 

I was escorted to the extremity of the village of Ilattin 
by a band of young Druses, firing guns and singing compli- 
mentary odes, who thus sought to speed with honour the 
parting guest, and soon found myself crossing the plain and 
entering upon the steep descent that leads to the shores of 
the lake. It was a soft, balmy evening, about sunset, when 
I reached Tiberias, and found the whole population in move- 

The distance from the town to the tomb of the rabbi is 
about a mile and a half along the lake shore, and the road 
was crowded with merry groups of Jewish men, women, 
and children in gala dress, all flocking to the. jjlace of meet- 
ing. The two or three boats of Avhich the lake can boast 
were even put into requisition, and were slowly drifting 
down, their large sails hardly filled with the gentle breeze, 
and packed to overflowing with women and children. Ti- 
berias contains between three and four thousand Jews, and 
certainly more than half that number must have turned out, 
to say nothing of those attracted from Jerusalem, Safed, 
and other places. As those Avho inhabit Tiberias are near- 
ly all Sephardim, or Spanish Jews, the men wear the Oriental 
dress, while the women indulge in a costume in which the 
Western fashions seem grafted on those of the East. The 
visitors, who were for the most part Ashkenazim, or German 
Jews, could easily be distinguished, as thoy always appear 

158 HAIFA. 

in the clothes to which they are accustomed in eastern ICu- 
rope. It must be confessed that the flowing robe of Asia 
is preferable to the long coat or gabardine of Russia and 

The men usually Avalked,but a favourite method of loconio- 
tion among the -women Avas donkeyback, and very comical 
they looked, sitting astride very wide pads, with their skirts 
well up to their knees, and their necks and wrists and fore- 
heads bedizened with ornaments, while their wigs were of- 
ten a perfect garden of flowers. However pretty some of 
the faces of the younger members of the female community 
might be — and they could not compare for good looks with 
the Druse girls — nothing can compensate for the abomina- 
ble practice which prevails among them of shaving their 
heads and wearing wigs of black hair, which come low down 
upon the forehead, and the falseness of which no attempt is 
made to disguise. 

It occurred to me upon this occasion, as I contrasted their 
chevelure with that of the Druses, to speculate on the cus- 
tom of Druse hairdressing, Avhich is nothing more nor less 
than that square cutting across the forehead of locks drawn 
over it Avhich has been so much in vogue in England and 
America for the last fifteen years, popularly called "bang- 
ing," and which Avas supposed at first to be copied from the 
well-known picture of Raphael as a child. I have since in- 
quired of some fashionable young Syrian ladies, and the 
younger ones assured me at first that the Druses must have 
copied this from the Parisian fashions lately introduced at 
Beyrout — an obvious impossibility. On applying to older 
ladies, however, they confirm the curious fact that this bang- 
ing has always been a custom with the Druse people. The 
fine ladies of the present generation have little guessed 
whom they were imitating in setting saucers ujoon their oavm 
heads and those of their little ones, and snipping their hair 
around them just above their eyes. Nothing could exceed 
in A'ulgaritv the tinsel ornamentation of the Jewish head- 
dresses, and, to increase the effect, various pigments Avcre 
apparently used by many of the ladies to improve their com- 

As this festival takes place in the height of the bathing 


season, the shore of the lake at this point presented an ap- 
pearance of unwonted animation. There were some thirty 
or forty tents pitched round the bath-house, which an enter- 
prising Syrian has leased this year from the government, 
and whitewashed; he even went so far as to offer to build a 
carriage-road at his own expense for the mile and a half 
which it is distant from the town, so as to accommodate pa- 
tients who had no tents of their own; but this was the thin 
cdcre of a wedsje of civilization at which the authorities took 
alarm, and he was sternly forbidden to sjiend any of his 
own money for the public convenience in the manner pro- 
posed. The result is that the bathers are all obliged to live 
in tents or mat huts, which are unbearably hot during the 
day, or ride from the town and back again for every bath. 

Patients from all the neighbouring parts of Syria now 
mingled with the Jewish crowd, and streamed up the short 
ascent which leads to the tomb, the terrace of which was 
already thronged. Passing through an archway, I entered 
a courtyard where the usual circular dance was in progress, 
the performers being exclusively male. The bedizened fe- 
males sat in groups, feasting on good things they had 
brought with them, and smoking narghiles. Their small 
children were tricked out gaudily, and by the light of nu- 
merous flaring lamps the general effect was quaint and gay 

Ascending from this scene of revelry up a massive stone 
stair, I entered a chamber where the tomb of the rabbi Avas 
surrounded by a wooden enclosure, inside of which were 
sundry rabbis and their neophytes praying, with the swaying 
motion of the body peculiar to that act of worship, the 
whole brilliantly lighted with lamps. There was in the 
centre of this chamber, which was crowded, an immense 
chandelier, of which only a few lamps were lighted, and 
beyond it I was ushered by a Jew, Avho volunteered to be 
my guide, into another room, stifling hot, in which sat the 
chief rabbi himself. Here a man was perpetually shouting 
in a stentorian voice something which I failed to under- 
stand. The chief rabbi, however, to whom I was introduced, 
explained to me that he was at that moment selling by auc- 
tion the privilege of lighting the bonfires which were soon 

100 HAIFA. 

to blaxc in honour of the deceased rabbi and Simon Ben 
Jochai, who, however, seems to be buried elsewhere. This 
privilege was put up at two napoleons each, and the first 
iinallv Avent for three, a fact Avhich the rabbi announced to 
the audience in a sonorous Hebrew chant. Then the other 
lighting privilege was bought for a little less, the money, 
according to my informant, being given to the poor. Af- 
ter that a dozen more sales were made, simply for lamp- 
lighting, the amounts bid averaging half a napoleon. 

Then a sort of procession was formed, and. the crowd 
surged out down the steps to the courtyard, in the centre of 
which were two columns, each surmounted by a sort of 
large saucer. The excitement now became great, the danc- 
ing stopped, and men and women joined in noisy acclama- 
tions. A man bearing aloft an iron cradle full of flaming 
rags, which had been lighted by the highest bidder, placed 
them in the saucer at the top of the column and poured a 
bottle of kerosene oil upon it. People now came forward 
with offerings to be burned. These consisted, for the most 
part, so far as I could judge, of old handkerchiefs and scarfs. 
The theory is that they should be articles of value, covered 
with gold and silver embroidery, and that, after they have 
been committed to the flames, the residue of gold and silver 
which remains should be scraped up and given to the poor; 
but I doubt whether the residue of the rags which I saw 
would amount in value to ten cents. Then the second bon- 
fire was lighted, and as both piles blazed up and shed their 
lurid glow over the eager faces of swarthy men, with their 
long ear-curls, and bedizened women, the scene was in the 
highest degree novel and picturesque. The proceedings 
were not, however, characterized by the gravity and har- 
mony befitting the occasion. 

As I looked down upon the crowd from the steps upon 
which I was standing, I observed suddenly a violent commo- 
tion, which soon culminated in blows and sharp cries, and 
the crowd beejan to surije violentlv to and fro. I failed to 
discover the cause of the disturbance, but it was speedily 
interrupted by a strong body of Turkish police, who rushed 
in brandishing their muskets and laying about them with 
the butt ends. The riot speedily subsided under this op- 


portune display of energy, and the ringleaders were hustled 
off with commendable promptness. 

Meantime a somewhat similar ceremony was taking place 
in the adjoining courtyard, where some wicker lamps were 
being lighted. The pilgrims who filled this court were 
Ashkenazim, and in their more European clothes they were 
by no means so picturesque a crowd. It is a singular fact 
that the Sephardim should be confined to one court and the 
Ashkenazim to another. There is, indeed, very little sym- 
pathy between the two great branches of the Jewish race 
in Palestine. They live for the most part in different cities, 
and have but little intercourse with each other. Thus, near- 
ly all the Jews in Tiberias are Sephardim, while those at 
Safed are Ashkenazim. 

The ceremonies Avhich I have just described are a mild 
edition of what was to take place on a far larger and more 
important scale at Meron a week later, but as these latter 
differ in no important respect from those Avhich I witnessed, 
I did not think it worth while to stay for them. Jews como 
from great distances to take part in the burnings at Meron, 
where a crreat number of bonfires are made in honour of the 
numerous celebrated rabbis who are buried in the neighbour- 
hood; and here I was assured that articles of great value 
are consumed, and the festivities are of a much more noisy 
character, and last through the whole night instead of wind- 
ing up before midnight, as was the case at Tiberias. I did 
not even prolong my stay till this hour, satisfied with hav- 
ing assisted at ceremonies which prove that the Jewish it) 
not exempt from that tendency which characterizes all other 
religions, of pandering to the grosser tastes of the masses. 


Daliet-el-Carmel, July 12. — Those readers who may 
have read my letters from Palestine, may remember that 
last year I took refuge from the summer heats at the vil- 
lage of Esfia, on the highest point of Mount Carmel, where 
I established a temporary camp. The disadvantage of liv- 
ing under canvas is that, though it may secure you cool 
nights, it affords but insufficient shelter from I lie noonday 
sun. I therefore determined to build myself something more 
substantial. My experiences of house -building on Carmel 
have been both characteristic and instructive. 

When I announced my intention to the villagers of Esfia, 
they professed the greatest enthusiasm, and the owners of 
the land which I had chosen for a site expressed their de- 
sire to make me a present of it, so anxious did they pretend 
to be that I should settle among them. I absolutely refused, 
however, to receive anything as a gift, and told them to 
name their price. This they modestlj^ put at $650. As the 
most trustworthy estimate I could obtain put its value at 
850, I said I would reconsider my original decision and ac- 
cept it as a gift. This seemed to afford them intense amuse- 
ment. Offers of this sort were merely complimentary, they 
said, and meant nothing. I replied that the joke of offer- 
ing me the land for nothing was only equalled by their 
asking me twelve times its value, which I should also con- 
sider meant nothing. They came down at a bound to 6250, 
pi'ovided I would pay the costs of the transfer. This I 
found to mean procuring them a valid title to the land, 
which they admitted they had not got, and which it would 
cost 850, expended in bribes to the government, to obtain. 
I suggested that I might in that case expend the 850 in pro- 
curing a valid title from the government in my own name, 
and j^ay them nothing, seeing that, though theoretically, 


they were not practically, the ov.ners of the land. This, 
though it might possibly have been accomplished, would 
have placed me in open warfare with the village. Rather 
than live there under such conditions, I declined to have 
anything more to do with people who had shown such dis- 
honest and grasping propensities. I will say, however, that 
these were confined exclusively to the Christian section of 
the population, who claimed the ownership of the site, and 
that the Druses held themselves aloof and repudiated all 
participation in the negotiations, expressing great indigna- 
tion at the conduct of the Christians, and offering me sites 

I was too disgusted with these latter, however, to be 
tempted to live near them, and was casting about in despair 
for an alternative, when one day I received a visit from the 
Druse sheik of Dalieh, the only othf village on Carmel, 
and distant about thirteen miles from Haifa, who arrived 
in great distress to tell me that his only son had just been 
drawn as a conscript for the army, and that the whole fam- 
ily, including his son's wife, whom I had remarked on the 
occasion of a former visit as one of the most beautiful girls 
I have ever seen, were thrown into the greatest grief, as 
they were unable to pay the 8250 which was required to 
buy a substitute. I rode up to the village to inquire into 
the matter, and, in return for the required sum, which I paid, 
received a vineyard and garden of fruit-trees, with a good 
title, and a site far surpassing in loveliness of situation that 
which I had failed to secure at Esfia. The whole village 
turned out en masse to express their gratitude and make 
professions of service. As the village is exclusively Druse, 
and does not contain a single Christian inhabitant, I felt 
that these were to be relied upon; nor, so far, has this con- 
fidence turned out misplaced. The sheik to whom I had 
thus been able opportunely to render assistance, was the 
spiritual head of the village. Its temporal affairs are man- 
aged by another sheik. The site for my house was only di- 
vided by a terrace from the little Druse place of worship, 
where, however, the services are conducted under the strict- 
est secrecy. The whole hillside here is terraced with vines, 
pomegranates, and wide-spreading fig-trees, at an altitude 

104 2IAIFA. 

of thirteen humlred feet above the sea, wliicli is distant as 
tlic crow tlies about live miles. It commands a magniiiccnt 
view of it and of the picturesque ruin of Athlit on its pro- 
jecting promontory, while a smiling valley, the slo])ing hills 
of which are partially cultivated and partially covered with 
co])Sc-wood, winds down to a wild gorge between whose pre- 
cijntous clilYs one enters the plain of kSharon. 

The difhculty in placing the house was to do so without 
having to cut down any of the fig-trees that formed a sort 
of bower in which we had to nestle, and which secures us 
abundant thick shade. No sooner did we begin to excavate 
for the foundations than we came upon huge, massive cut 
blocks of stone, which evidenced the existence of some pre- 
vious building of great antiquity. Soon there turned up a 
beautifully carved cornice, then a coin of one of the Con- 
stantines of the period of the Byzantine Empire, then about 
a dozen iron rings about two and a half inches in diameter, 
attached to iron staples, and a quantity of nails about four 
inches long, all heavily encrusted with rust. These Avere 
dug up about two feet beneath the surface. Then came 
handles of jars and fragments of pottery, some pieces of old 
glass, one apparently the stem of a vase, and quantities of 
tesserre, showing the existence of a tessellated pavement 
somewhere beneath. I was sorely tempted to diverge from 
building into excavating, but I should have destroyed my 
site, indefinitely postponed the erection of the house when 
time was of the utmost value, and forfeited my contract 
with the builder. So I have had to do the barbarous thing 
of building on the top of what may be a most interesting 
ruin, and of actually using the old foundations and some of 
the stone which composed this house of the ancients. 

The most of the stones of which the house is built come, 
however, from the ruins of Dubil, the extensive remains of 
which are about a mile distant. Here is the finest collection 
of rock-cut tombs on Carmel; Avhile the number and size of 
the cisterns, the huge circular stones of the old olive-press- 
es, the basins carved in the solid rock as wine vats, the 
fragments of columns, and the area over which the solid 
foundations of the former town extend, prove that it con- 
tained, in the most ancient times, a larger population than 


any other spot on the mountain. I am able to say this with 
the more confidence as I liave visited over twenty other 
sites of ancient towns on Carmel. From this almost inex- 
haustible quarry of old dwellings is ray new one mainly con- 
structed, and thus do I live and move and have my being 
amid the relics of a most remote past. 

One of the most puzzling of these is an immense roller, 
which I came upon in making a terrace for the veranda, 
from which it now projects as a conspicuous ornament. It 
is eight feet long, but one end has been a good deal broken, 
and it may have been longer. It tapers very slightly at 
both extremities, and is nine feet in circumference around 
the centre, the ends being about two feet six in diameter. 
It has four parallel lines of slots a little over two feet apart, 
each slot about eight inches long and three deep, and two 
wide at the top. There are four of these slots in each line, 
and they are about eight inches apart. The whole mass 
weighs probably from three to four tons. We had quite a 
force of men to move it into its present position. I leave it 
to the wise in such matters to conjecture what its possible 
use may have been. I have seen others scattered about in 
some of the ruins on the mountain, generally near olive- 
presses. I think they Lad some reference to the crushing- 

But by far the most important find — and this was not 
made until after the house Avas finished and Ave were clear- 
ing up the debris — was an ancient cistern; and, as luck 
would have it, it was just in the position in which I would 
have put a cistern had this not appeared ready to hand, 
thus saving me an expenditure of about |200. The aper- 
ture, cut in the solid rock, is two feet three inches square. 
It is then hollowed, demijohn shape, out of the rock to a 
depth of fourteen feet, with an average breadth at the bot- 
tom of twelve feet. In the bottom is a circular hole five 
feet in diameter by three deep. This is evidently for clean- 
ing out the cistern, and is a good idea, which I should sug- 
gest be adopted by us moderns. It is plain that if, instead 
of having a fiat bottom to a cistern, you have a hole in the 
bottom into which you can sweep all the dirt, the process of 
cleaning is simplified. It took four men several days to 


clean out tins old cistern. It contain(>(l a great quantity of 
tine niouUl, some bruken earthenware jars, a good many 
large stones, and a rather good fragment of a glass cup. 
The old cement is still visible, about lialf an inch thick. 

Besides the cistern, I have found a cave, formerly a tomb, 
close to the house, Avhich I shall use as a cellar, and store 
away my wine in the stone coffins, or loculi, in which the 
bones of some ancient characters have reposed. From all 
which it will appear that house-building in Palestine, if it 
is attended with the inconveniences arising from the back- 
ward state of civilization, may nevertheless possess a charm 
of its own. 

If some of our appliances are rough-and-ready, they of- 
ten possess the merit of cheapness. Plastering, for instance, 
is an expensive luxury; but the natives have a way of plas- 
tering the walls which is nearly as good, and by no means 
costly. This is entirely done by the women, Avho come and 
sift soil, which they mix Avith cut straw and water, and 
knead into a paste. When they have plastered the walls 
and floor with this, they make another with a peculiar, fine 
white clay, which they dig from certain ])laces in the hill- 
sides, and, mixing this also with finely chopped straw, lay it 
on as an outer covering. It makes a very pale yellow coat- 
ing for the walls, which is by no means unsightly. It is 
not so good, however, for the floors, as it is said to give a 
better harbour for fleas than another and more expensive 
cement which is made with lime, and is called barbarica. 
This is better also for the flat roofs, as it is more impervious 
to Avater in the rainy season. 

These roofs enable us to double our accommodations in a 
most economical fashion. For instance, Ave have a guest 
coming, and if the house is full, Ave build him a leaf hut on 
the roof at the exti'avagant rate of ^5 cents. These charm- 
ing little leaf huts, Avhich can be made most snug and com- 
fortable when lined Avith mats, can be multiplied at Avill 
over the Avhole roof, and the occupants have a cooler time 
and a more extensive vicAV than the dwellers in the stone 
chambers beneath. As, however, in these climates air and 
room add materially to comfort, our principal living-room is 
thirty feet by tAventy, and fifteen feet high, though I have 


not aspired to anytbing but a summer cottage, and tbe 
Avliole cost bas not exceeded 'tSOO. 

In tbe eyes of tbe natives, tbis modest erection bas 
seemed sometbing pabatial. Tlie peo2)le of Esfia bave come 
over, green Avitb envy of tbeir Dabeb rivals, and bitterly 
reproacbing tbemselves Avitb tbe sbort-sigbtcd cupidity wbicb 
bas deprived tbem of tbe prestige wbicb now attacbes to 
Dalieb, and filled witb regret at tbe loss of tbe money wbicb 
would otberwise bave been spent ainong tbem, wbile to tbe 
Dalieb villagers it is a source of pride and deligbt. Wben- 
ever any Druse sbeik comes from a neigbbouring village, 
be is at once brougbt to see tbe sigbt. Tbe consequence is 
that I bave no lack of visitors, and, foreseeing tbis, took cai-e 
to bave a special ap.artment called a " liwan," exclusively 
devoted to tbeir reception, 'llicy are tbus barricaded from 
tbe rest of tbe bouse. Otberwise, witb tbe pi'ying curiosity 
wbicb cbaracterizes tbe race, privacy would be impossible. 
As it is, from morning to nigbt tbere is always a grouj) 
round tbe kitcben, mucb to tbe detriment of culinary opera- 
tions and tbe annoyance of tbe servants engaged in tbem. 
Still, in order to keep on good terms, we bave to make con- 
cessions, to Waste time over mucb drinking of coffee out of 
minute cups, to bear tbeir gossip on local politics, and, Avbat 
is still more difficult, to try and give tbem some larger ideas 
tban tbe very narrow ones wbicb tbey bave acquired upon 
tbese wild billsides. 

Altogetber, altbougb tbeir defects are of -a somewbat try- 
ing kind, and tbeir essential insincerity makes tbem arrant 
bumbugs, tbey are ratbcr pleasant bumbugs, and, provided 
tbey do not test one's affection by too many invitations to 
dinner, wbicb involves squatting on your beds and eating 
witb your fingers, tbe Druses are, taking tbem altogetber, 
by far tbe most agreeable class of people to live among in 


Daliet-el-Carmel, Aug. 1, — A residence in a Druse vil- 
lage upon the familiar terms which I have now established 
with the inliabitants of this one, opens up a phase of ex- 
istence so utterly foreign to all AVestern notions of domestic 
life, and involves experiences so novel and characteristic, 
that I am constantly receiving illustrations of the truth of 
the saying that one half of the world has no idea how the^ 
other half lives. 

Early the other morning, for instance, my native servant 
appeared in a state of no little excitement to tell me that 
there had been a row in the night in the village, from which 
my house is distant only a few hundred yards, and that a 
young man was being killed. This was modified a few 
minutes after by the arrival of some ■weeping females, who 
said that if the young man could not find a place of refuge 
somewhere he would be killed; and, as if to emphasize this 
statement, no great interval elapsed before, on going out 
into the kitchen, I found the young man in question cling- 
ing to the legs of the kitchen table as though they were the 
horns of the altar. He was a not very prepossessing-look- 
ing young man of two or three and twenty, and on my ap- 
pearance he abandoned the legs of the table and rushed at 
my hand, which he seized and kissed effusively. It is as- 
tonishino- how affectionate a man can become under the in- 
fluence of panic. I told him to go back to the table-legs 
and hold on there, and consider himself perfectly safe. I 
felt I could say this with a feeling of proud satisfaction, 
for had I not the British government at my back, and is 
not the British government celebrated for the chivalrous 
promptitude with which it rushes to the rescue of those m 
bodily peril? 

Meantime I sent for the spiritual sheik of the village, as 


the secular one, who is the real supreme authority in such 
matters, liappened to be absent. Now, so far as I have 
been able to ascertain, the whole village, consisting of some 
five hundred souls, is related to the two sheiks, for the pop- 
ulation has gone on marrying and intermarrying till the re- 
lationships are unfathomable. The young man in question 
was the youngest of four brothers, and he had one sister 
Avho had married the spiritual sheik's son. His mother, af- 
ter having this numerous family, had married the secular 
sheik, who had himself had two sons by a former wife and 
Avho has one daughter by his present one. You will observe 
that the affair was already becoming mixed, and a strong 
suspicion was gradually stealing over me that there was a 
woman at the bottom of it. Such, indeed, proved to be the 
case; in fact, there turned out to be two. 

Now it happened, and this is not pe^-uliar to the domestic 
relations of the Druses, that the secular sheik's sons by his 
first wife were very jealous of the children of their step- 
mother, and hated that elderly lady herself with the cordial 
hatred not unknown to stepchildren, Tliey had contrived 
so to embitter the family circle, that the secular sheik, 
partly for the sake of peace, and partly, as I afterwards dis- 
covered, for another reason, had banished her for two years 
past from the marital roof; indeed, it had often been a mat- 
ter of surj^rise to me when calling on this sheik, or dining 
with him, that I was always waited on by his daughter and 
not by his wife. 

Now the mystery was solved; but the sheik did not ex- 
tend this inhospitality to his stepsons, and the young man 
now holding on to the kitchen table was especially favoured, 
and, although not an inmate of his stepfather's house, made 
himself too much at home there to suit his half-brothers. 
They determined, therefore, to drive him forth. Now, the 
sheik had another brother, who had a wife much younger 
than himself, and who, it was whispered, was much admii-ed 
by the obnoxious young man. And it being the end of 
Ramadan, and the village being in a state of nocturnal fes- 
tivity, people were in a mood for mischief all around, and, 
rightly or wrongly, the young man being found in the 
sheik's brother's house in the middle of the niofht, fell un- 

170 HAIFA. 

tier grave suspicion, and a tremendous tumult took jilace, 
in the eourse of wliicli the slieik's son belaboured liis step- 
mother, being assisted thereto by his uncle; and here I may 
incidentally remark that Druse men appear to think nothing 
c)f beatins: their friends' wives, "whose husbands seem to 
think it (juite natural they should do so. Perhaps it saves 
them the trouble; anyhow, on this occasion the women gave 
vent to their tongues, and the men retaliated with bloAvs. 
Of course, the Avomen took the part of the gay but indis- 
creet youth, who declared that he was in search of a missing 
cow, though it Avas suggested with some force that to go 
and look for her on the roof of the sheik's brother's house 
after midnight showed an unpardonable ignorance of the 
usual haunts of cows. The Avhole of the secular sheik's 
first family, therefore, and their relations to the fifth degree, 
who form the majority of the male population, refusing to 
admit any sueli excuse, and considering tlie young man's 
guilt proved, vowed to have his life, death being the not 
uncommon penalty among them for a crime of this sort; 
but the whole of the spiritual sheik's family, Avhich seems 
to me to consist principally of all the women in the village, 
acce})ted the young man's version of the affair, and main- 
tained his innocence; and, with that knowledge of human 
nature which characterizes the sex, they instinctively turned 
to me as their natui'al ally, and hence I was saddled M'ith the 
protection of this too-suscei:)tible and much-menaced youth. 
The position was delicate, for though I am not insensible 
to the advantage of possessing the suffrages of the female 
part of the community, I desired also to stand well with the 
males, and I felt that to interpose between them and the 
object of their vengeance was likely to prejudice me in 
their eyes. At the same time one could not turn a youtK 
out of one's kitchen to go like a sheep to the slaughter, 
even though he may have been an erring lamb. Moreover, 
when I came to hear the spiritual sheik's version of the 
story, though it was imdoubtedly one-sided, the question of 
guilt did not appear to be satisfactorily established. So I 
sent for the injured husband, and the sheik's son, who had 
beaten his stepmother, to hear their version of the matter, 
but they refused to answer ray summons. 


Under these circumstances I determined to wait for the 
return of the secuhxr sheik, which took place the same even- 
ing. After sympathizing Avith liim on the distracted con- 
dition of his household, I asked him if he could suggest tho 
best course of action for me to pursue, as it was evidently 
impossible for me to board and lodge his stepson for an 
indefinite time on the kitchen table. This, he admitted, was 
an undue tax on my hospitality. I asked him if he could 
not exercise suificient authority over the members of his 
own family to protect the life of his stepson. Tliis, he said, 
ho could do Avhile he remained in the village, but as he was 
constantly being called away on business, he could not an- 
swer for what might happen in his absence. 

I then asked whether it might not be best to send the 
young man away from the village until the storm had blown 
over, I had suggested this to the ?piritual sheik, but he 
said that in that case the youth's mother would follow him; 
and, as I remarked to the secular sheik, I was loath to 
propose this to him, as it would separate him from his wife. 
The sheik, with apparent distress, observed that his wife 
did not see much of him. I asked whether I could not be 
the means of healing this breach, and whether he would al- 
low me to send for his wife; this he at once assented to, 
but the old lady refused to come. This refusal on her part 
seemed to afford the sheik immense relief, seeing which, I 
remarked, "Perhaps, if your Avife did go away with your 
stepson, you would not mind it very much." "No," he 
said, "I sliould not mind it very much." 

I have since discovered that he is very anxious to get rid 
of her, in order to marry some one else. So I packed the 
young man off to a Christian of my acquaintance at Esfia, 
two miles off, thinking his mother would follow him; but 
not a bit. She has now taken up her abode with the spir- 
itual sheik, and I am at this moment employing her to make 
a mud floor under a fig-tree, on which I intend to put bee- 
hives. I rode over a few days ago to Esfia, and found the 
young man comfortably installed with his Christian host, 
who, with true Arab hospitality, charges him nothing for 
his entertainment, but who will probably be indemnified for 
it by a present from the spiritual sheik. Meantime, influ- 

172 HAIFA. 

ences are at work to prepare the Avay for liis safe return, 
and I trust that I liave so nianaixod tlicso delicate negotia- 
tions as to secure me the good-will of botli factions, though 
I am afraid that the breach between them will never be 
healed until the secular sheik divorces liis present wife and 
takes a fresh departure by uniting himself to the lady of his 


Daliet-el-Carmel, Aug. 15. — About this time last year, 
when I was at Esfia, we were suddenly disturbed by the 
intelligence that a German teamster, whom I have been in 
the habit of employing, had been attacked in the night at 
the bridge over the Kishon, distant about three miles from 
my camp, while on his way from Haifa to Nazareth, by four 
Circassians, who, suddenly surrounding him, pointed their 
guns at his head, thus jireventing him from using his re- 
volver, which they stole from him, at the same time cutting 
the traces of his team and carrying off a valuable pair of 
horses, leaving the poor man helpless Avith his wagon at 
about one o'clock in the morning, far from any help, but 
thankful to have escaped with his life. 

The whole machinery of the local police was put in mo- 
tion, and the authorities professed to take up the matter in 
earnest. Some of the German colonists scoured the coun- 
try in pursuit of the robbers, who appear to have fled to 
some Circassian colonies which were establi-shod about five 
years ago on the plains of Iturea, near the foot of Ilermon, 
beyond the Jordan, and there all trace of them was lost. 
They had got among friends, who covered their tracks, and 
the horses were never recovered.* 

Since this time the colonists, who are constantly travel- 
lino- in their wagons between Haifa and Nazareth, and in 
the hottest weather generally make the journey by night, 
always go two or three together, and had not been molested 
until a few nights ago, when two of them started for Naza- 
reth, one of them the victim of last year. His companion, 
who had left Haifa a little before him, expecting to be 
shortly overtaken, was jogging along at about 8 p.m., and 

* A year later the tliieves were found, and the Chxassian colony to which 
they belonged was compelled by the govcrnracnt to refund the Germans the 
value of the horses. 


was not above four miles distant from Haifa,' wlien a Cir- 
cassian rode past him, ■\visliing liim good-evening. Tlie 
German returned tlie salute, but his susj)ioions were roused 
by the man's manner, and he got his revolver ready. Al- 
most immediately after he hoard a whistle, the man who 
had ])assed him turned sharply back, and two others sprang 
npon him from an ambush, where they had been concealed, 
by the roadside. One of them seized his horses' heads, while 
the others began cutting the traces. The teamster instantly 
jumped from the box, and, iinwilling to shoot before it was 
absolutely necessary, closed with one of the robbers, strik- 
ing at him with tlie butt of his pistol. lie was, however, 
nearly overpowered, and had just time, as he saw his ad- 
versary draw a knife, to send a bullet through him. At 
this moment he received a severe blow on the back from 
one of the other men, who rushed to the assistance of his 
comrade, but the German, who was an old soldier and had 
been through the Franco-German campaign, was a quick 
shot, and knocked this man over with a second barrel. At 
this moment a fourth Circassian a])peared upon the scene. 
Fortunately, the attacking party were only armed Avith 
knives. The two remaining Circassians now, seeing that 
two of their number had been disposed of, began to draw 
off their bodies, it being a first principle of their warfare to 
carry away their dead. This gave the German, who was 
scarcely able to raise himself from the ground, a chance to 
fire tv>'0 more shots, but, as it seemed at the time, without 
effect, and the two Circassians, throwing the bodies of their 
companions over their horses, made off. 

By this time the other German teamster, who had been 
a quarter of a mile behind, but had pushed on on liearing 
the shots, came up and helped his wounded friend. He, 
however, was able to continue his journey to Nazareth, 
and in a few days recovered from the effects of his 
bruises. Meantime information has been received from 
a peasant where the Circassians passed the night, that one 
of them had been killed on the spot, that another died of 
his wound shortly after he was brought to his cottage, and 
that the third had a ball through his leg, but that his wound 
had not been sufficiently serious to prevent his continuing 


his joiu-ney the following night with the corpses of his 
companions. One would think, under these circumstances, 
that if the authorities chose there could be no great diffi- 
culty in tracing the miscreants; but no steps whatever have 
been taken in the matter, which is, perhaps, the best solu- 
tion of it, for whenever a foreigner is unhappily obliged to 
kill a native in self-defence in this country the chance is 
that he has to stand his trial on a counter charge of murder. 
Now, thanks to the precautions taken by the Circassians, 
and the apathy of the government, there is no proof of any 
one having been killed, and the Circassians have received a 
much severer punishment than any that would have been 
inflicted upon them for horse-stealing by the authorities, and 
they are likely to be careful how they meddle again with 
the Germans. 

Opinions are divided as to whether they will seek their 
revenge or not. The Germans still continue to team by 
night to Nazareth, but they go in parties of never less than 
three wagons together, and well armed. Had the robbers 
been Bedouins or native Arabs, this encounter would mean 
a blood feud, and sooner or later revenge would be taken; 
but I once spent some weeks with the Circassians in their 
own country,- and I do not think that they have the same 
custom of vendetta. Indeed, notwithstanding the fact that 
they are a most lawless and thieving set as colonists, I 
found them a very safe and pleasant people to travel among 
in their own mountains, where they have their code of 
honour and hospitality, and I have spent a day with them in 
one of their colonics beyond Jordan, and received nothing 
but civility. It would, however, be better to keep them in 
those wild and half-savage regions than bring them within 
range of the temptations which civilization offers to them. 

I have just seen a man who has been paying them a 
visit at the old city of Jerash, which, with the exception of 
Palmyra, is the most perfect Greco-Roman ruin which exists 
to the east of Baalbec. My informant tells me that in the 
course of their excavations for stone for, their habitations 
they are making great discoveries. They have unearthed a 
heretofore undiscovered and unsuspected temple, with a 
subterranean conduit of flowing water, and many fragments 

1 70 HAIFA. 

of statues and coins. One largo jar of gold coins, worth 
§50 each, was an immense prize, which they oidy succeeded 
in keeping by paying a bribe to the government official of 
$2500. 3Iy informant saw one of these coins, but, as he 
was a native, and ignorant of such matters, his descri])tion 
was too vague to convey any dehnite idea of their date. I 
should feel much tempted to pay these ruins, which I have 
already examined once, another visit, but of late years the 
government throws so many obstacles in the way of travel- 
lers to the east of the Jordan that such a journey now may 
expose one to annoyances. 

Meantime, there are many objects of interest in this im- 
mediate neighbourhood; within a distance of three miles I 
have found the extensive remains of what have been un- 
doubtedly iron and copper mines. The former ore was 
jn'esent in large quantities, and the day may come when 
this discovery may prove of considerable value to this part 
of the country, though it would be useless, under existing 
conditions, to take any steps towards its exploration now. It 
is probable that the old iron rings which I found in dig- 
ging the foundations of my house were made from this ore. 

I have also found a curious square structure, fourteen 
feet in height, twelve feet square, composed of stones aver- 
aging three feet by two, by about one in thickness, all care- 
fully squared, and laid one upon another without cement, 
the whole forming a perfectly solid erection of great an- 
tiquity. It may j^ossibly have been a vineyard watch- 
tower. It is on the way from here to the " Place of Burn- 
ing," or Elijah's sacrifice, and is the second I have found 
in that neighbourhood, the other being considerably small- 
er. I came upon it accidentally on the occasion of a Druse 
picnic to which I was invited, and which took place at the 
" Place of Burning," in celebration of the last day of the 
feast of Ramadan, which the Druses seem to observe as 
well as the Moslems, though on a different day. 

The female population of the village, in their gayest 
dresses, had preceded us on donkeys. I accompanied the 
sheik, who had drawn up on a little plain outside the town 
about a dozen horsemen as an escort, and thus, after a little 
of the usual imitation of the equestrian game of the djerrid, 


at which, in default of the real thing, the horsemen delight 
to exercise their horses Ly a mock encounter, we formed in 
a sort of procession, the young men of the village on foot, 
armed with great clubs, chanting songs of love and war, 
as they marched in front. There were from two to three 
hundred persons collected on the flat space in front of the 
church which the Carmelite monks have recently erected on 
the supposed site of Elijah's altar. And here the usual 
dancing-circles were formed, and the fun of the day com- 
menced. But it was melancholy fun. How could it be 
otherwise, when the young men and women are not allowed 
to dance together, scarcely even to speak to one another ? 
It was quite pitiful to see half a dozen of the prettiest girls 
tliat could be found in Syria sitting under the shade of a 
tree, gossiping, and looking at half a dozen line, stalwart, 
handsome young fellows prancing about on their horses, or 
singing and dancing, without there being the ghost of a 
chance of a flirtation. The girls cooked together and ate 
together and danced together and sang together, and the 
young men amused themselves apart as best they could. 
As the delights of flirting are unknown to them, I suppose 
they did not miss them; but as I looked at the young peo- 
ple of both sexes thus divided, I wondered what would be 
the result of a similar experiment if it were tried at an 
American picnic. 

It was a curious sight to see a bevy of at least fifty wom- 
en and girls rush into the Carmelite chapel, which during 
the week is left in charge of a Druse, who on this occasion 
did the honours of it to his coreligionists, who scampered 
all over the premises, gazing wonderingly at the altar or- 
naments, and forming large dancing- circles on the flat 
roof. I could not exactly find out why the Druses chose 
the place of Elijah's sacrifice as the scene of their festivity, 
but there is no doubt that the traditions of a special sanc- 
tity are attached to it in their religion as well as in that of 
the Roman Catholics, and that the slaughter of the eight 
hundred false projohets by the holy man whose prayers for 
rain were heard on this spot, and upon whom the divine ven- 
geance was invoked, appeals to a sentiment which is com- 
7non to the Christian, the Moslem, and the Druse religions. 



Daliet-el-Carmel, Sept. 11. — There is no fact at 
first more puzzling to the traveller in Palestine than the 
contrast between the misery and poverty of the fellahin 
and the extent and fertility of land owned by each village. 
This is, however, the inevitable result of the various fiscal 
devices to which the government has been compelled to re- 
sort, in order to provide a revenue which shall meet the 
needs of its internal administration, and the claims of its 
foreign bondholders. These press more severely on the 
peasant class than on any other in the community, and as 
the financial necessities of the empire increase, new meth- 
ods are being constantly devised to meet them. Thus 
the latest arrangement requires the taxes to be paid in 
money instead of in kind, as heretofore, the amount being 
assessed on an average of the crops extending over a period 
of five years. This has produced the greatest consternation 
among the peasantry throughout the country, who find them- 
selves quite unable to meet this new demand, and who are 
compelled, in consequence, to resort to extortionate money- 
lenders, who charge from thirty to forty per cent, for their 
advances, thus ruining the fellahin, whose villages are all 
destined by this process to fall into the hands of these grasp- 
ing usui'ers, while the peasants remain upon them as serfs, 
merely receiving so much of the crop as will keep them 
from starving. Thus it happened that, in the belief that I 
had more bowels of compassion than their own countrymen, 
I was applied to by the villagers in all directions; among 
others, by those who owned the lands of Lejjun, or the bib- 
lical Megiddo. This is generally supposed to be identical 
with Armageddon, and the notion of becoming the proprie- 
tor of a battle-field which possesses such interesting his- 


torical associations in the past, to say nothing of the future, 
which may be mythical or not, according to theological 
fancy, induced me to pay a visit to that celebrated locality. 
Its position was as tempting as its sentimental considerations 
were remarkable. Here, jutting out into the plain of Es- 
drrelon, of which it commands an extensive view, stands the 
Tell et Mutsellira, or governor's hill, upon which the traces 
of what may have been a palace are distinctly visible. Right 
opposite to us across the plain, about twelve miles distant, 
the houses of Nazareth gleam upon the lofty hillside; to 
the right are Tabor, Little Ilermon, and Mount Gilboa, with 
the mountains of Gilead in the rear. Beneath, circling round 
the base of the mound, are " the waters of Megiddo," a 
copious stream, turning two water-mills and irrigating an 
extensive tract of plain. Behind us is an undulating plateau 
covered with the ruins of the ancient city. Here are fraoj- 
ments of columns, carved capitals and cornices, and I found 
some subterranean chambers into which I crawled, and 
which, as they connected with the stream by stone conduits, 
I assume must, in old times, have been baths. The peasants 
have found antiques of various kinds, and I was shown the 
hand and forearm of a female figure, life-size, and beauti- 
fully carved in marble, which they had dug up. There is 
no saying what treasures the fortunate proprietor of this 
place may not unearth, and with the wealth of water at his 
command, of which but little advantage is now taken, he 
might have extensive gardens and orange groves. From 
this point a great military road passed, in the most 
ancient times, connecting Galilee with the coast road. 
Along it, before the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, 
Thothmes, the King of Egypt, led his invading hosts into 
Syria. Here, by " the waters of Megiddo," was fought the 
great battle between Barak and Sisera, when the stars 
in their courses fought against Sisera; and on the same 
ground, six centuries later, the hosts of Pharaoh Necho 
met the army of Josiah, King of Judah, and vanquished 
it, while the king himself, being "sore wounded" as he 
rode in his chariot, was carried away to Jerusalem to 

On making inquiries of a practical kind in regard to the 

180 HAIFA. 

present financial position of this property ami its peasant 
owners, I began to suspect tliat any foreigner wlio desired 
to become its possessor -would iind himself involved in a 
struggle of a different kind from that of which in past 
times it has been the scene, and one more consonant with 
the spirit of the age in wliieh we live. The invasion of 
Palestine of late years by foreigners of all religions and 
nationalities, the constant influx of Jews, and the increasing 
attention which the Holy Land is concentrating upon itself, 
has so far alarmed the Porte that foreigners are practically 
prohibited from purchasing any more land in the country; 
and tlie peasantry of the villages Avho applied to me for as- 
sistance were informed that, even if I were prepared to lend 
them money, they were not to be allowed to borrow. I 
was thus relieved of the great annoyance of having con- 
stantly to refuse applications, which, under any circumstan- 
ces, I could not have satisfied. 

From Megiddo I followed the historical highway through 
the mountain, which, in the days of Christ, when Cfesarea 
was rising into its grandeur, must have been one of the 
most frequented routes in the country. The road led 
through charmingly diversified scenery, I turned off from 
it to ascend to the town of Umm-cl-Fahm, an important 
place, containing about two thousand inhabitants, situated 
on copse-clothed hills, at an elevation of fifteen hundred 
feet above the level of the sea, and commanding extensive 
views. Here I was the guest of a local millionaire, noted 
for his penurious habits and his grasping nature. Ilis rag- 
ged appearance and humble establishment did not belie his 
reputation. I had, however, no reason to complain, for, if 
the accommodation was rough, his intentions were certainly 

The romantic valleys by wliich the village is surrounded 
are thickly planted with olive groves, which contain over a 
hundred thousand trees, and are a great source of revenue. 
While, when they are too far from the village for the pro- 
tection of any crop, the hillsides and summits are clothed 
with a dense undergrowth of scrub oak, terebinth, and other 
shrubs, which are only prevented from becoming forest trees 
by the charcoal-burners ; but their quick growth testifies to 


the richness of the soil. To tlie north the range extends for 
fifteen miles, to the base of Carmel. The woodland disap- 
jDears, and is succeeded by rolling chalk downs, affording 
magnificent pasturage and good arable land, for it is well 
watered, and from its temperate and healthy climate is 
called the " breezy land," 

The villages here are small, few, and far between, and 
there is room for a large jjopulation; but the most tempting 
land of all is the tract between Umm-el-Fahm and the sea, 
where the oak-trees which are scattered over the pastures 
and cornfields attain a large growth, and the country pre- 
sents the appearance of an immense park. From an artis- 
tic point of view the woods and the farm lands are so com- 
bined as to form the most perfectly diversified scenery, just 
where the rolling hills slope gently down into the plain of 
Sharon. It was across this country that our road lay to 
CoBsarea, which was our objective point, first, through the 
thick copse of the upper valleys, and so out upon the park- 
like uplands, where the Avhole jiopulation was out in the 
fields gathering the crops, which strings of camels were con- 
veying to the village threshing-floors. Here and there was 
a money-lender from Acre or Beyrout, squatting under an 
umbrella, to see that the peasantry did not rob him of his 
share. This is a busy time with these gentry, who are the 
bloodsuckers of the fellahin, to whom they advance money 
at exorbitant rates of interest, while the latter, in revenge, 
resort to every conceivable device to conceal from them the 
real extent of the crop, and to make the proportion coming 
to them as small as possible. 

At one village called Ararch I found three old Roman 
arches, a fine fragment of a column, and some rock-cut 
tombs, Avhich seem hitherto to have escaped observation. 
The remains indicate that it must have been a place of con- 
siderable importance, but I have not yet been able to iden- 
tify it. The plain of Sharon, where we struck it, is being 
by degrees brought into cultivation, partly by colonists, 
Circassian and Bosnian, and partly by native capitalists. 
The peasantry themselves are rapidly losing all proprietor- 
ship in the soil, unable to contend against the exactions of 
the government tax-gatherer, on the one hand, and of the 

182 HAIFA. 

usurious money-londcr, on the other; but while they are 
yearly becoming more impoverished and dependent, the 
wealth of the country is steadily increasing, and its develop- 
ment must follow as a matter of course, though, in accord- 
ance with the tendencies of modern civilization, it will be 
at the expense of the masses. 

I went to lunch with the largest of these local magnates. 
He was a Turk, and spoke Turkish in preference to Arabic. 
lie had, as may be supposed, little sympathy with the Arab 
peasantry, who were practically his serfs, and their condi- 
tion was by no means improved by their lands having fall- 
en into his hands. On the other hand, they never Avould 
have introduced the civilized iron ploughs Avith which he 
was bringing land into cultivation. His farm-house was a 
large, straggling, isolated building, which stood on a hillock 
in the plain, with extensive outhouses and dependencies, 
not unlike the residence of a Southern planter, while, curi- 
ously enough, a large proportion of his farm hands con- 
sisted of African negroes located in a village hard by — but 
he had none of the lavish hospitality which characterized 
the landed ])roprietors of the South. 

A ride of an hour over a part of the plain which, from 
the peculiar quality of its soil, is exclusively devoted to the 
growth of water-melons, hitherto the sole export of the lit- 
tle haven of Ca^sarea, brought me to that spot. Although 
the remains of the old port have been used as a harbour for 
coasting craft, these ruins have not been inhabited since 
they were evacuated by the crusaders at the end of the 
thirteenth century. Indeed, there is a curious prediction 
connected with them, to the effect that the rebuilding of 
a town here would immediately precede a great disaster 
to Islam. It has been in consequence of this, as I have 
understood, that while villages have sprung up on all the 
other crusading ruins on the coast, this one alone has re- 
mained untenanted. However this may be, the spell is 
broken now, for about six months ago the first instal- 
ment of a band of refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina 
arrived here, having been allotted this ruin and the lands 
surrounding it by the government, as the nucleus of a new 


Apart from the great interest which these extensive ruins 
must ever have from an antiquarian point of view, I was 
anxious to visit Caesarea to judge for myself of the pros- 
pects of this embryo colony, and make personal acquaint- 
ance with this new and interesting class of immigrants. 
Moreover, as the new town is to be built upon the ruins 
of the old, it was evident that I should never have another 
chance of seeing what these were like. They have already 
during the last twenty years served as a quarry from whence 
the magnificent building-stones, cut originally by llerod the 
Great when he built the town, have been transported in 
thousands of boat-loads to Acre and Jaffa. The ruins have 
therefore lost much of the pristine grandeur which is de- 
scribed in the records of travellers in the early part of the 
present century. In a few years more they will probably 
have disappeared altogether. The subterranean treasures, 
whatever they may be, ^\\\\, however, remain luitouched, 
and the Schliemann of a future age will find here the 
traces of five successive epochs of civilization. On the top 
he will find the ruins of the stone houses of the Bosnians 
and Herzegovinians, now in process of erection; below 
them the foundations of the great Crusading fortress, and 
below them accain the remains of the first Mohammedan 
period; beneath them, traces of the Byzantine period, and, 
at the bottom, the tessellated pavements, the fragments 
of carved marble, the statuary, and the coios of the Ro- 
man period. 

Meantime it is a singular fact that the strip of coast from 
Haifa to Ctesarea seems to have become a centre of influx 
of colonists and strangers of the most diverse races. The 
new immigrants to Ctesarea are Slavs. Some of them 
speak a little Turkish. Arabic is an unknown tongue to 
them, which they are learning. Their own language is a 
Slav dialect. When the troubles in the provinces of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina first broke out, which led to the Russo- 
^J"'urkish war, a howl of indignation went up from the phi- 
lanthropists on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially 
from the Radical party in England, against the Turkish 
government, for its persecution of the Slav population of 
the Danubian provinces. Nor do I think that the general 

184 HAIFA. 

imblic have yet realized tlie fact that of these Slavs more 
tliaii half Avere Moslem, and that the Turkisli government 
was not persecuting them more than it was persecuting 
any other of its subjects, but that the persecutors of the 
Slav peasantry, who -were Christian, were the Slav aris- 
tocracy, who were Moslem. It was, in fact, not a question 
of an oppressed nationality, but a strictly agrarian question 
between people of the same race. When it was settled by 
handing over the provinces to Austria, the Slav-Moslem 
aristocracy, finding themselves in their turn persecuted by 
their former ])casants and the Christian power which pro- 
tected them, migrated to the more congenial rule of the 
sultan. So the curious spectacle is presented of a Slav jiop- 
ulation mijiratinsr from Austrian rule to Asia, in order to be 
under a jMoslem government. 

Close beside the new Bosnian colony there are planted in 
the plain of Sharon two or three colonies of Circassians. 
These are the people who committed the Bulgarian atroci- 
ties. The irony of fate has now placed them within tbreo 
or four miles of colonists belonging to the very race they 
massacred. They, too, fleeing from government by Chris- 
tians, have sought refuge under the sheltering wing of tlie 
sultan, where, I regret to say, as I described in a former let- 
ter, they still indulge in their predatory propensities. In 
immediate proximity to them are the black tents of a tribe 
of Turcomans. They belong to the old Seljuk stock, and 
the cradle of their tribe gave birth to the present rulers of 
the Turkish Empire. They have been here for about three 
hundred years, and have forgotten the Turkish language, 
but a few months ago a new migration arrived from the 
mountains of Mesopotamia. These nomads spoke nothing 
but Turkish, and hoped to find a warm welcome from their 
old tribesmen on the plain of Sharon. In this they were 
disappointed, and they have now, to my disgust, pitched 
their tents on some of the spurs of Carmel, where their 
great hairy camels and their own baggy breeches contrast 
curiously with the camels and costumes of the Bedouins 
with whom Ave are familiar. 

Besides the Slavs, the Circassians, and the Turcomans, 
we have the Jewish colony of Zimniarin, distant about 


ten miles from Cresarea; tlie German colony at Haifa, and 
the Druse villages on Carmel, making, with the Bedouins, 
the negroes, and the native fellahin, no fewer than nine 
different races engaged in the cultivation of the soil in this 


Daliet-el-Carmel, Oct. 2. — The habit of tourists of vis- 
iting only those spots in Palestine called holy places, or to 
•which some striking Biblical association is attached, causes 
them to neglect ruins of the liighest historical interest, and 
■which are often as well Avorth seeing from a picturesque as 
from an archreological point of view. They make an effort 
to go to Nazareth, which differs in no respect from an ordi- 
nary Syrian town, and which does not boast a single object 
of antiquarian interest, while they omit from their pro- 
gramme, because it is not included in the books, a ruin 
like Caisarea, a city unsurpassed for grandeur and magnifi- 
cence by anything in Palestine when Herod raised it to the 
dignity of a metropolis, and the scene of many important 
events, both Biblical and historical. Here Peter baptized 
the first Gentile convert to Christianity; here Philip lived 
with his four daughters, engaged in missionary work; 
here Paul preached before Felix, and " almost persuaded " 
Agrippa to become a Christian. It Avas in the theatre, the 
lemains of which are still to be seen, that Herod made his 
oration to the multitude when " the angel of the Lord 
smote him, and he was eaten of worms and gave up the 
ghost," It was in the streets of Cajsarea that, on the occa- 
sion of a quarrel between the Greek and Jewish population, 
twenty thousand Jews were massacred. Here the celebrat- 
ed historians Eusebius and Procopius were born, and here 
was found, when the city was taken by tlie crusaders, the 
hexagonal vase of green crystal which was supposed to con- 
tain the Holy Grail. 

The old Roman wall can be traced for a mile and a half, 
enclosing an area strewn with the remains of a theatre, hip- 
podrome, temple, aqueducts, and mole ; while a second line 
of fortification, still in admirable preservation, and over 

C^SAREA. 187 

half a raile in extent, marks the enceinte of the okl Crusad- 
ing fortress, with its castle and donjon keep, its cathedral, 
its Northern church, and harbour. This tendency on the 
part of travellers is the more to be regretted as the oppor- 
tunity of examining these extensive ruins is now about to 
pass away, never again to return. 

The Slav colonists, M-hose immigration I described in my 
last letter, are laying out broad streets right across the most 
interesting ruins, using the old foundations, appropriating 
the beautiful masonry, the Avhite stones which formed the 
temple built by Ilerod, and the brown limestone blocks of 
the cathedral of the crusaders, quarrying into ancient build- 
ings beneath the surface of the ground, levelling down the 
ruins at one place, levelling them up in another, and so ut- 
terly transforming the whole picturesque area that it will 
soon be no lontrer recognizable. Within five months over 

<Z> CD 

twenty good stone houses have been built, some of three 
stories high, others with vaults for merchandise and stor- 
ing grain; in some cases the old Crusading vaults, evident- 
ly used for the same purpose, have been made available. 
The dwellings are being built on the plan which renders the 
towns of the Moslem Skivs of European Turkey so dull and 
uninteresting; they are all enclosed with courtyards, the 
high stone walls of which jealously guard the harems of the 
proprietors. In this respect these Avestern Mohammedans 
are far more particular than the Arabs, who allow their 
women comparative freedom; but during the period of my 
stay in Caisarea I did not see one of the female colonists. 

Their male belongings, however, were most hospitable, 
especially when they found that I knew their country and 
was familiar with Mostar and Cognitza, in the neighbour- 
hood of which towns had been their former homes. They 
were the landed aristocracy of their own country, and have, 
therefore, brought a considerable amount of M-ealth with 
them. A large tract of the most fertile land of the plain of 
Sliaron has been donated to them by the Turkish govern- 
ment, and there can be no doubt that the country will gain 
by their settlement in it. In manners and costume they 
form a marked contrast to the natives, who are evidently 
much impressed by their wealth and dignity. 

188 HAIFA. 

The lower or peasant class of Bosnia and Ilcrzogovina 
were not oblijjjcd, wlien the country was conciuereJ by the 
]\[oslenis, to change their religion, and they have continued 
Christians; while the descendants of their masters, who re- 
mained the proprietors of the soil, became bigoted Mussul- 
mans. The consequence has been that now that the coun- 
try has been handed over to the Austrians, the Christian 
peasantry have naturally found protection from the author- 
ities against the oppression of their former masters, who, 
unable to endure the humiliation of seeing the tables turned, 
and their old servants enabled to defy them with impunity, 
have sold all their possessions and migrated to the domin- 
ions of the sultan, rather than endure the indignities to 
which they declare they were exposed from their new Chris- 
tian rulers and their old Christian serfs — very much on the 
same principle that the Southern States became intolerable 
to some of the landed proprietors after the emancipation of 
their slaves. Whether they will agree with their Circas- 
sian neighbours remains yet to be seen. They form the 
avant garde of a much larger migration which is to follow 
as soon as arranijements can be made to receive them. One 
of the leading men, who has opened a store, assigned me an 
unfinished house as a lodging, and said that he intended to 
enlarge it into a hotel for travellers. 

It is worthy of the notice of intending travellers in Pal- 
estine next season that they can now drive the whole way, 
if they wish, in wagons belonging to the German colonists, 
from Jerusalem to Nazareth, in four easy days, instead of 
having to ride, and camp in tents as heretofore. There are 
excellent hotels at Jaffa. The next stopping-place would, 
now that accommodation is promised there, be CaBsarea, the 
next day to Haifa, where the hotel is being enlarged and 
put on a thoroughly comfortable and European basis, and 
the next day to Nazareth, where good quarters can be ob- 
tained at the convent, but where, if this route comes to be 
adopted, a hotel will doubtless shortly be built. As soon 
as travellers give up their present expensive habit of travel- 
liner throuofh Palestine with tents, the hotel accommodation 
will be increased, and the existing carriage roads, as well as 
the vehicles which traverse them, be improved. The gov- 

C^SAREA. 189 

ernment has recently determined to construct a carriage 
road along the coast from Acre to Beyrout and Tripoli, 
which, if it is carried out, will alter all the existing condi- 
tions of tx*avel. 

The most striking features of the ruins of Cffisarea are 
the Crusading castle and the old Roman mole. The former 
is built upon a long, narrow reef or breakwater, partly arti- 
ficial, which runs out into the sea for one hundred and sixty 
yards, forming the southern side of the harbour, while the 
northern side is formed by a sort of mole or jetty more than 
two hundred feet long, which is composed of some sixty or 
seventy prostrate columns lying side by side in the water 
like rows of stranded logs. They are from five to twenty 
feet in length, and average about eighteen inches in diame- 
ter. I never in my life before saw such an array of granite 
pillars so closely piled together or used for such a purpose. 
Indeed, to judge by those which remain, Ctesarea must have 
been a city of columns. The crusaders used them to thor- 
ough-bind their walls, from which the butts project like 
rows of cannon from the side of a man-of-war. They must 
have built many hundreds of old Roman columns thus into 
their fortification. 

The Crusading wall enclosing the town rises from a moat 
which is about forty feet wide, but, being much filled in 
with rubbish, is not more than five or six feet deej). The 
wall itself is about nine feet thick, with buttresses at inter- 
vals Avhich are from thirty to fifty feet long and project 
from twenty to twenty-six feet; but it is especially in the 
castle and donjon, which is built out into the sea on the 
projecting i*eef,that the columns are used as thoi'ough-bonds. 
Some of these are of red granite, others of gray. The Bos- 
nian colonists are perching a cafe on the ruins of the old 
donjon, immediately above two magnificent prostrate col-^ 
umns of red granite, nine feet long and four in diameter. 
I observed here also a finely polished block of red granite 
over six feet square and three feet six inches thick. There 
is also a curious double tessellated pavement, evidently of 
two periods, as the upper tesserae are at least six inches 
above the lower ones. I am afraid, as the masons are work- 
ing immediately above them, they will soon disappear, as 

100 HAIFA. 

will also a beautiful carved caj)ital in while marble. I 
scranibleil up to the top of this pieluresque ruin, where the 
rib of the groined roof of the upper ehaniber still reiTiains 
supported on a corbel in the form of a human hcail, and 
looked out of the pointed, arched window sheer down sev- 
enty feet on the sea, beating against the base of the sea 
wall. The mouth of the small artiticial harbour is about 
two hundred yards across, but the latter is too much ex- 
posed and too small ever to be of much value. 

Among the Roman remains, the hippodrome, the theatre, 
and the aqueduct are the most interesting. The first is a 
sunken level space about three hundred yards long by one 
hundred wide, surrounded by a mound, and in the middle 
are three truncated blocks of red granite, which, when stand- 
ing on each other, must have formed a conical pillar about 
nine feet high and seven feet diameter at the base. There 
is also another fine block of red granite nearly forty feet 
long and four feet in diameter, Avhich has been broken. 
The theatre is a semicircular building of masonry in an im- 
mense artificial mound, surrounded by a trench near the sea. 
It is mentioned by Josephus as capable of containing a large 
number of persons. Indeed, the account by this historian 
of the building of this city by Herod the Great, which I 
have just been reading, is most interesting. It occupied 
twelve years, and was finished thirteen years before Christ. 
He says that the stones of which the sea wall was built were 
fifty feet in length, eighteen in breadth, and nine in depth. 

For nearly six hundred years it was a Christian city and 
the seat of an archbishop, then for five hundred years it fell 
under Moslem rule, and an Arab traveller in a.d. 1035 de- 
scribes it as " an agreeable city, irrigated with running wa- 
ter and planted Avith date palms and oranges, surrounded 
by a strong wall pierced by an iron gate, and containing a 
fine mosque." Then for one hundred and fifty years it re- 
mained a Crusading stronghold, while its final and complete 
destruction by the Sultan Bibars took place in 1265 a.d., 
since which time it has remained a howling wilderness. I 
have dwelt somewhat fully on the present aspect of the 
ruins, as the transformation they are undergoing will soon 
be complete. 

C^SAREA. 191 

From Ccesarea I followed the coast northward with the 
high-level aqueduct, which in places is still in tolerably 
good preservation, on my right. This aqueduct was the 
chief source of the water supply for the inhabitants. It 
was eight miles long, and at one point tunnels the rock for 
a quarter of a mile, thirty feet below its surface. There 
was also a. low-level aqueduct, three miles long, which drew 
its water supply from the Crocodile River. At some sea- 
sons this is a dangerous stream to ford, though I experi- 
enced no difficulty. That it is not misnamed I possess indis- 
putable proof, for a few weeks ago an Arab acquaintance 
presented me with a piece of crocodile skin about a foot 
square, cut from the hide of a crocodile which he himself 
helped to kill in this river. Passing Tantura, which also 
contains some Crusading ruins and rock-cut tombs, I reached 
the Jewish colony of Zimmarin, which I had not visited for 
eighteen months, and where I was pleased to iind the colony 
in a thriving condition, the colonists hopeful, industrious, 
and contented, the crops promising fairly, and their prog- 
ress only checked by the refusal of the government to al- 
low them to build permanent dwellings, a difficulty Avhich 
it is hoped may be overcome by a judicious display of firm- 
ness and patience. 


Daliet-el-Caemel, Oct. 15. — In order to really under- 
stand this country, to become acquainted with tlie inner 
life of its inhabitants, to familiarize one's self with their 
manners and customs, their necessities, and their aspirations, 
such as they are, and to arrive at a true estimate of the na- 
tional character, it is needful to remove one's self from any 
centre of so-called civilization, however crude, and to live 
amoncf them, as I have been doing for the last three months 
and a half, not as a stranger, but as a villager owning prop- 
erty, identified with their local interests, and with a will 
to afford them such practical counsel and aid as may lie in 
one's power. People wonder what I can find to do in a re- 
mote Druse village in the back parts of Carmei; but in 
practice the days are not long enough to deal with the 
varied interests that crowd into them. 

Scarcely a day passes that visitors do not arrive from 
some of the surrounding villages — sheiks of high or low de- 
gree, as the case may be — generally with polite invitations 
that I should return their visits, which I know from expe- 
rience means a financial proposition of some sort in reserve, 
for all the villages are more or less embarrassed in their pe- 
cuniary circumstances, and have been so victimized by the 
native money-lenders of Haifa that they eagerly turn tow- 
ards any one who they think possesses bowels of comjDas- 

The return visits which these invitations involve are often 
highly characteristic in their attendant circumstances, and 
in the varied incidents which accompany them; and, besides, 
they give one an opportunity of becoming minutely ac- 
quainted with the neighbourhood, and afford one an insight 
into the motives by which Oriental human nature is actuated. 
There is, for instance, a village about four miles from here, 


SO beautifully situated among its olive groves, as seen from 
a distance, that I had long intended paying it a visit, and 
wondered why its sheik had never come to make ray ac- 
quaintance. The mystery was explained one day by an old 
woman whose extreme poverty had induced me to employ 
her as a water-carrier. On asking how she had become so 
destitute, she said that she was a widow, and that her only 
son and support had been waylaid and murdered some 
months previously by some of the young men of the village 
in question. All her efforts to obtain justice had been un- 
availing, and since then the two villages had not been on 
visiting terms. 

As none of the inhabitants of Dalieh would accompany 
me, I found my own Avay one day to the village, to try and 
discover the rights of the story. I was received with great 
politeness by a tall, gentlemanlike man, whom I supposed 
to be the sheik, but who turned out to be the very individ- 
ual who had been accused of the murder. Soon the sheik 
and a number of village notables arrived, and, seated around 
the neatly-matted guest-chainber, we exchanged compli- 
ments and discussed the topics of the day. These all turn 
upon the payment of the new government taxes; and the 
price of wheat this year has been so low that the unhappy 
peasantry are driven to their wits' end, and finally to usu- 
rious money-lenders, to obtain the necessary cash. In this 
emergency I am appealed to in every direction for assist- 
ance, and I was well aware that our interview on this occa- 
sion would not terminate without the usual demand. 

When it came, I saw my chance for alluding to the deli- 
cate subject of the murder, and the objections I entertained 
to lending money to people who were in the habit of mur- 
dering their neighbours. They admitted the murder, which 
had been attended with robbery, but my host denied that 
he had been in any way implicated, though he had unjustly 
suffered several months' imprisonment on suspicion, and had 
only been finally released on payment of a heavy sum as 
backsheesh. It seems that the evidence as to who the cul- 
prit i-eally Avas rested on the dying deposition of the victim, 
who had been attacked by four men, all of whom he named 
on his deathbed. On the other hand, my host had succeeded 

104 HAIFA. 

in i)roving an alibi. The real culprit had, he said, escaped, 
and had never ventured back to the village. 

Under these circumstances I refused any loan of money, 
uidess the notables of the village would come to Dalieh, 
tender their humble apologies, offer a money indemnity to 
the mother of the murdered man, and effect a complete 
reconciliation. This, according to Arab custom, is a solemn 
ceremony, which must be performed in the presence of the 
notables of neighbouring villages; but it yet remained to 
be seen whether the indemnity question could be arranged 
at Dalieh, as the man who said he had been unjustly ac- 
cused declared that he had already suffered so much, in 
person and in purse, that he was indisposed to do much in 
that line. The poor widow, in spite of her destitution, was 
still more intractable; she thirsted for vengeance, for which 
she said no money could compensate. However, I have 
hopes of bringing them both to reason, and so healing the 
feud which extends to all the population of both villages. 
Meantime the loan stands in abeyance. 

There would, indeed, be a good opening for a professional 
peacemaker in these villages, v.'here feuds are bitter and 
prevalent, not merely between different villages, but be- 
tween rival sheiks in the same locality. There are almost 
always two, and sometimes three, of these in each vil- 
lage who are not on speaking terms, and who each have 
their partisans, so that the opposing factions keep them- 
selves entirely aloof from each other. More than once I 
have had occasion to call on the same day on two rival 
sheiks. In that case one escorts me until he sees his enemy 
in the distance. He then takes leave of me, and I stand 
still until the other comes up to take me in charge. These 
sheiks, I am sorry to say, often combine with the money- 
lenders against the interests of their own fellow-villagers. 
The mode by which a money-lender obtains possession of a 
village is simple; he goes to the sheik, and says: " You and 
your village are unable to meet the government demands; 
if you will persuade your village to borrow from me at 
forty per cent., I will give you so much commission, and if 
at the end of three years you can manage irretrievably to 
ruin your villagers, so that I can come down upon them and 


obtain possession of the village in satisfaction of my debt 
for Lalf its value, your profit shall be so much, and you 
shall retain such a share of the villajje lands." As the 
sheiks wield an unbounded influence over their OAvn fac- 
tion, this would be an easy operation were it not for the 
rival sheik, who is in negotiation Avith a rival money- 
lender. When two money-lenders take to fighting over 
a village there is some chance for the villagers, and from 
this point of view the feuds of their sheiks are not an un- 
mixed evil. 

Where a sheik is supreme, as at Dalieh, he has practically 
the fortunes of the villagers in his hands, and he must be 
watched to see that he uses his influence and authority just- 
ly. The only man in a position to watch him is the person 
upon whom he depends for assistance to meet the govern- 
ment demands. If this individual happens to be content 
with a moderate rate of interest, and to have no ulterior de- 
signs upon the village itself, it is evident that he may have 
it in his power to do a great deal of good. The villagers 
are quite astonished if one comes to them and says, " I do 
not want your village, I only want your good-will. I desire 
to help you out of your financial scrape, and I am willing to 
lend you money at the legal rate of interest if you will fur- 
nish me with the necessary securlt}^" Any one saying this 
finds at once that he has arrayed against him the money- 
lenders, who take three times the legal rate of interest; the 
government officials, Avho go shares with the money-lenders; 
and, in many instances, the village sheiks themselves, who, 
of course, find their interest lies rather Avitli these two 
classes than Avitli the unhappy villagers. These latter, ac- 
customed to be plundered all around, naturally do not know 
Avhom to trust, and are apt to look Avith suspicion on a neAV 
proposal, however favourable and disinterested it may seem. 
The obstacles, therefore, to the working-out of improved 
conditions by any single man, even in the case of one vil- 
lage, seem almost insuperable, and can only be overcome 
by much personal intercourse Avith the villagers them- 

The Druses are sensitive to kindness, and grateful for it, 
and as there are generally some sick in the village, and 

190 HAIFA. 

quack doctoring, provided one treads cautiously, is better 
than none, we do a good deal of empirical practice, and our 
efforts have met with such success that we are obtaining a 
somewhat alarming reputation. Of course, we conic across 
difficult cases, as, for instance, the sheik's daughter. She is 
rather a nice-looking girl of eighteen, with a crick in her 
neck and an asthmatic affection. On asking how long she 
bad been ill, we were informed that her mother, on the oc- 
casion of her birth, was so angry at finding the child was a 
girl and not a boy, that she threw her out of the window, 
and she had never been well since. Cases of this sort we 
don't attempt to grapple with, but I have ceased to wonder 
at the sheik having taken a dislike to the old lady. Indeed, 
my own feelings towards her have entirely changed since 
hearing of this episode, and, although it happened eighteen 
years ago, I treat her with comparative coolness. 

Why the sheik hesitates so long about divorcing her I 
fail to understand, more especially as he is anxious to marry 
a young and handsome girl. I have discovered, by the 
way, that divorced people are never allowed to meet again, 
even in the street, after the separation has finally taken 
place. I saw a young friend of mine, in a fit of passion, di- 
vorce his wife last year. She was young and pretty. He 
married again, but has already repented, and wants to di- 
vorce his present and remarry his first wife, whom he has 
never seen since; but Druse law is inexorable on this point. 
There was a meeting of elders on the subject, but they de- 
cided that it was impossible. So now, when this rash 
young man sees the former partner of his life at the other 
end of the street, he is obliged hurriedly to turn around and 
walk the other way, with a sadly beating heart and repent- 
ant spirit. 

Some weeks ago we opened a boys' school at Dalieh, 
where English and Arabic were taught. In a few days we 
had an average attendance of over fifty childx'en, while we 
received applications from more than twenty girls, which 
we were making arrangements to satisfy, as the desire 
which the parents manifested to have their children edu- 
cated was so strong that we felt it should be encouraged 
in every possible way. One day, however, a summons ar- 


rived for the sheik to appear before the authorities, when he 
was informed that a fine of $250 w^ould be levied on every 
child who ventured to go to school; a threat which, to my 
great regret, most effectually extinguished that humble in- 


Daliet-el-CxVrmel, Oct, 30. — I have boon making ac- 
quaintance with some of my neighbours, and will take you 
■with me to call upon what in England would be called the 
leading members of the county aristocracy. They are the 
blue blood of this region of country, the families which in 
the early part of the present century exercised power of life 
and death, and supreme control, over the inhabitants for many 
miles around; who thought nothing of calling out their re- 
tainers and resisting the constituted authority, whether it 
was that exercised by the various pachas of Acre, who, 
though nominally Turkish governors, were themselves 
quasi-independent, or the more iron rule of the Egyptian 
conqueror, Ibrahim Pacha, to which, ho"s\'evcr, they were 
eventually forced to succumb. 

One of these families lives at a village about two hours' 
ride from here. In response to a letter couched in the most 
flowery Oriental hyperbole, in which my rank is exalted, my 
virtues are exaggerated, and the beneficent warmth which 
my presence is supposed to radiate is dwelt upon, I determine 
to shed it upon the writer of the letter; in other words, to pay 
him a visit in the gardens to which he has invited me. Our 
way lies down a wild, romantic gorge which leads to a valley 
situated among the lower spurs of Carmel, beyond the con- 
fines of the mountain proper, Avhere the country is broken 
up by volcanic action into chasms and precipices, well 
adapted for defensive purposes, and admirably calculated to 
be the stronghold of a not over-scrupulous tribal chief. The 
village itself is situated upon a high conical mound, rising 
some three hundred feet above the plain ; and towering above 
the surrounding houses is the high, two-storied, half-castel- 
lated mansion. It is not thither that I am at present bound, 
but to a narrow vallev about a mile distant from it, Avhich is 


wedged in between frowning precipices, and is a bright green 
strip, in delightful contrast to the gray, overhanging crags, 
for it is a dens« mass of orange, lemon, fig, pomegranate, 
olive, quince, and other fruit-trees, the result of a crystal 
fountain which gushes from the rock and fertilizes this fairy- 
like scene. 

These are the summer gardens of my host, and from them, 
as he sees me approach, he issues, with several of his retain- 
ers, and leads me to an arbour of overhanging trees, whose 
dense foliage forms an impenetrable shade against the noon- 
day sun. Here carpets have been spread, cushions arranged, 
narghiles and coffee have been prepared, and the circle is 
formed and the compliments interchanged which are the in- 
variable prelude to an Eastern entertainment. Soon appear, 
on prancing horses, a picturesque group of men in white 
flowing abbayes, or transparent summer robes, which flutter 
gracefully in the wind. They are richly embroidered, and the 
horses are gayly comparisoned ; these are the brothers, neph- 
ews, and other members of my host's family. One of them 
is a holy man, who has studied theology in the celebrated 
seat of Moslem learning, the College of El-Ahzar, in Cairo, 
and he is much respected and looked up to in consequence. 

Knowing that I cannot introduce a more grateful topic, 
and anxious to stave off as long as possible the financial one, 
Avhich I suspect is in the background, I ask the dignified 
group of narghile smokers by which I am surrounded to tell 
me something of their family history. About four hundred 
years ago, they say, their ancestors came from the Hedjaz, 
being a branch of the tribe of Beni Ab Arabs, whose home 
were the deserts near Mecca, and who were closely related 
to the family of Mohammed. It is this ancestral connection 
with the Prophet which has always given the family the 
great prestige and consideration which it has enjoyed. In 
those days they came into the country as conquerors, and, 
settling themselves in their present village, soon reduced the 
surrounding district to subjection, and continued to rule it, 
nommally subject to the Pacha of Acre, but really inde- 
pendently, until the invasion of Palestine by Ibrahim Pacha, 
when, after a sturdy resistance, they were overcome, and the 
grandfather of my host was executed and the greater part of 

200 HAIFA. 

tlu'ir lands taken from them. From tliat time the fortunes 
of the family began to decline. On the restoration of the 
country to the sultan, by means of the intervention of Eng- 
land, they derived no benefit. 'Die Turkish government 
took care not to re-establissli an inlhience which in former 
times had proved so formidable, and, indeed, one of my hosts 
had spent two years in prison. Some say it was because he 
had manifested a spirit of too great independence, but others 
allege that it was for the more pi'osaic reason of an inability 
or refusal to pay his debts. 

At all events, when the money-lending question came up, 
not then, but on the occasion of a return visit which they 
afterwards paid me, I was assured by those who ought to 
know that my picturesque, hospitable, dignified, and aristo- 
cratic hosts were — well, I won't exactly repeat what it was 
said they were, but they were not just the kind of people 
that one would select to lend money to. This grieved me 
exceedingly, not because I wanted to lend them any, but be- 
cause they w'cre such gentlemen; in fact, I have been there 
since, and been very royally entertained in the old castle — 
where the guests' room is gorgeously furnished, for this part 
of the world — in order to make my peace for not lending them 
money; for it is considered an insult, after you have been a 
man's guest and he asks you to accommodate him financially, 
if you refuse — Avhich is perplexing when he has no satisfac- 
tory security to offer. Now, I want to keep on good terms 
with this powerful and fascinating and somewhat scampish 
family without losing my money to them, and the problem 
I am engaged in solving is how to do it. I have a horrible 
suspicion that it will yet be solved rather to their satisfaction 
than to mine. 

Under these circumstances, paying aristocratic visits does 
not seem likely to be an altogether profitable occupation; 
but they are not always attended with eml)arrassments of 
this nature. I have other aristocratic friends, who live about 
five hours distant from here. They are also originally from 
the Iledjaz; they also claim kinship with the Prophet, and 
they also once ruled a large tract of country. In fact, the 
two families divided the whole of this country between them, 
and their history has been almost identical. 


My visit to this family was in some respects highly char- 
acteristic. My way led across the Ruhah, or "Breezy-land," 
across open, rolling downs, fairly watered, and covered with 
the remains of what was once a mafrniiicent oak forest. The 
trees are now dotted singly over it, in park-like fashion. 
The village itself was beautifully situated at an elevation 
of about "seven hundred feet above the sea, on the side 
of a thickly wooded mountain, twelve hundred feet high. 
On this occasion my host, who came out to meet me, led me 
to an elevated platform in front of the village mosque, an 
unusually imposing edifice. Here, under the shade of a 
spi'eading mulberry-tree, were collected seven brothers, who 
represented the family, and about fifty other members of it. 
They were in the act of prayer when I arrived — indeed, they 
are renowned for their piety. Along the front of the ter- 
race was a row of water-bottles for ablutions, behind them 
mats on which the praying Avas going forward, and behind 
the worshippers a confused mass of slippers. When they 
had done praying, they all got into their slippers. It was a 
marvel to me how each knew his own. 

They led me to what I supposed was a place of honour, 
where soft coverlets had been spread near the door of the 
mosque. "VVe formed the usual squatting circle, and were 
sipping coffee, when suddenly every one started to his feet; 
a dark, active little man seemed to dart into the midst of us. 
Everybody struggled frantically to kiss his hand, and he 
passed through us like a flash to the other end of the plat- 
form, followed by a tall negro, whose hand everybody, in- 
cluding my aristocratic host, seemed also anxious to kiss. I 
had not recovered from my astonishment at this proceeding, 
when I received a message from the new-comer to take a 
place by his side. I now found that he was on the seat of 
honour, and it became a question, until I knew who he was, 
whether I should admit his right to invite me to it, thus 
acknowledging his superiority in rank — etiquette in these 
matters being a point which has to be attended to in the 
East, however absurd it may seem among ourselves. I there- 
fore for the moment ignored his invitation, and asked my 
host, in an off-hand way, who he was. lie informed me that 
he was a mollah, held in the highest consideration for his 

202 HAIFA. 

learning and i)iety all tlirougli the country, upon which he, 
in fact, levied a sort of religious tax; that he Avas here on a 
visit, and that in his own home he was in the habit of enter- 
taining two hundred guests a night, no one being refused 
hospitality. His father was a dervish, celebrated for his 
miraculous powers, and the mantle thereof had fallen upon 
the negro, who had been his servant, and who also was much 
venerated, because it was his habit to go to sleep in the 
mosque, and be spirited away, no one knew whither, in the 
night; in fact, he could become invisible almost at will. 

Under these circumstances, and seeing that I should seri- 
ously embarrass my host if I stood any longer on my digni- 
ty, I determined to waive it, and joined the saint. He re- 
ceived me with supercilious condescension, and we exchanged 
compliments till dimier was announced, when my host asked 
Avhether I wished to dine alone or with the world at large. 
As the saint had been too patronizing to be strictly polite, I 
thought I would assert my right to be exclusive, and said I 
would djnc alone, on which he, with a polite sneer, remarked 
that it would be better so, as he had an objection to eating 
Avith any one who drank wine, to which I retorted that I had 
an equal objection to dining with those who ate with their 
fingers. From this it will appear that my relations with the 
holy man were getting somewhat strained. 

I was, therefore, supplied with a pyramid of rice and six 
or seven elaborately cooked dishes all to myself, and squatted 
on one mat, while a few yards off the saint, my host, and all 
his brothers squatted on another. "When they had finished 
their repast their places were occupied by others, and I 
counted altogether more than fifty persons feeding on the 
mosque terrace at my host's expense. Dinner over, they all 
trooped in to pray, and I listened to the monotonous chant- 
ing of the Koran till it was time to go to bed. My host offered 
me a mat in the mosque, where I should have a chance of 
seeing the miraculous disappearance of the negro; but as I 
had no faith in this, and a great deal in the snoring by which 
I should be disturbed, I slept in a room apart, as exclusively 
as I had dined. 

I Avas surprised next morning to observe a total change in 
the saint's demeanour. All the supercilious pride of the 


previous evening had vanished, and we soon became most 
amiable to each other. That he was a fanatic hater of the 
Giaour I felt no doubt, but for some reason he had deemed 
it politic to adopt an entirely altered demeanour. It was an- 
other illustration of the somewhat painful lesson Avhich one 
has to learn in one's intercourse with Orientals. They must 
never be allowed to outswagger you. 


Haifa, Nov. 10. — In one of my former letters I described 
the nature of the concession Avliicli had been obtained by 
some capitalists at Beyrout for the construction of a railway 
from Haifa to Damascus, and of the survey of the line, 
which had already been completed half-way to the latter 
city. The matter has been the subject of a good deal of 
financial intrigue, and the capital which was sought for in 
London has not been forthcoming in consequence. A new 
element of uncertainty has just been imported into the proj- 
ect by the agitation created by the proposal to connect the 
Red Sea with the Mediterranean by means of a ship canal, 
which, commencing at Haifa, should be cut through the 
plain of Esdraelon to the valley of the Jordan, letting the 
waters of the Mediterranean into the Ghor, as that valley 
is called, and connecting the lower end of the Dead Sea 
with the Red Sea by a canal Avhich should debouch at 

This project originated principally among British ship- 
owners and capitalists, who have hoped in this way to de- 
stroy the monopoly Avhich M. de Lesseps claims to possess 
of water communication between the Mediterranean and the 
Red Sea across the Isthmus of Suez. As the proposed 
canal does not touch the isthmus, the French company 
would have no ground of complaint. As, however, great 
uncertainty still exists as to the practicability of the scheme, 
a sum of £10,000 has been subscribed by the promoters of 
the proposed company to make the preliminary surveys, and 
to obtain the necessary permission from the sultan to do so. 
According to the first accounts, his majesty set his face 
against any survey of the kind proposed, but the latest ad- 
vices would go to show that he has changed his mind, and 
it would seem not only that the requisite permission has 


been granted, but that tbe surveying party are actually on 
their way to Port Said, 

It will now be interesting to consider, by the light of our 
present information, what are the chances of success, what 
is the nature of the obstacles the scheme will have to en- 
counter, and how it proposes to overcome them, so far as 
they are known. In the first place, it does not follow, be- 
cause the sultan has granted permission for the survey, that 
he will afterwards, supposing it to be found practicable, 
grant a firman for the accomplishment of the work. The 
advantages he will derive from it are: Easy access to his 
dominions in Arabia, which extend as far south as Aden; 
an enormous sum of money, Avhich will be paid to him in 
compensation for about fifteen hundred square miles of land 
submerged, chiefly government property, and a large annual 
income to be derived from tolls on the canal, and the de- 
velopment of extensive tracts of fertile country, especially 
to the east of the Jordan, which are now inaccessible and 
unproductive. That such a canal would add immensely to 
the resources of the empire, and be a source of great profit, 
there can be no doubt. On the other hand, it would almost 
amount to the virtual annexation of Palestine by England, 
whose influence in that country, backed by the enormous 
expenditure of capital which would be involved, would bo 
supreme. It is a question, therefore, whether the sultan 
would consider that the pecuniary advantage which he 
would gain would be compensated by the political sacrifice 
which would have to be incurred. 

In regard to the engineering difficulties, so far as they 
are known, the only records of levels which we have of the 
elevation of the land between the Red Sea and the Dead 
Sea are those made at different times by three Frenchmen 
— Mons. Lartet, Mons. Vigne, and Mons. Luynes. These 
only differ nineteen feet — the lowest being seven hundred 
and eighty-one feet, the highest eight hundred; but it must 
be remembered that these are not the result of actual sur- 
vey, but of rough estimates, and there may be depressions 
in the dividing ridge Avhich may have escaped these gen- 
tlemen's observation.* The dividing ridge is said to be cal- 

* Since the above was written the dividing range has been carefully sur- 

206 HAIFA. 

carcous rock — the summit level distant fifty-two miles from 
tbe Red Sea and fifty-eight from tlie Dead Sea, Avliich is 
nearly thirteen hundred feet lower than the level of the 
ocean — and it is assumed that the engineering work Avould 
be facilitated by the scour wliich would be caused by the 
sea rushing down such a steep incline in a distance of one 
hundred miles. It is not, however, proposed to let the full 
force of the ocean in from this end. The operation of 
flooding the Jordan valley would be commenced at Haifa; 
from this point to the sea-level in the Ghor is only twenty- 
five miles. The highest point in the plain of Esdraelon is 
one hundred and fifty-seven feet above the sea. Through 
this it is proposed to cut a canal two hundred feet wide and 
forty feet deep. The volume of water thus let in, it is cal- 
culated, would bo regulated to an inflow which would equal 
about twenty Jordans, and, allowing for evaporation, it is 
estimated that in five years the Dead Sea and the whole 
valley of the Jordan would be submerged to the sea-level. 

The effect of this submergence would be, of course, to 
bury the Dead Sea under twelve hundred feet of ocean, and 
to create an inland sea about ninety miles long and from 
four to six wide. Jericho, Beisan (the ancient Bethshean), 
and Tiberias would be the principal places submerged, be- 
sides a few small villages. With the exception of Tiberias, 
none of these are, however, of any importance. Tiberias 
contains a population of over three thousand, chiefly Jews, 
and a Latin and Greek monastery. Apart from the ques- 
tion of compensating this population, and paying for the 
fertile lands wliich they occupy, a very important political 
question enters into consideration. Tlie French have been 
the protectors of the Latin monastery at Tiberias from 
time immem.orial, and the Russians occupy the same posi- 
tion with regard to the Greek monastery. Are these two 
powers, M'hose interests would be in different ways vitally 
affected by the success of the scheme, likely to be induced 
to consent to it by any proposal of pecuniary indemnifica- 
tion? Its success would utterly ruin the Suez Canal and 
almost extinguish French influence in Syria, while Russia, 

veyed, and the lowest part found to be between six and seven hundred feet 
above the level of the Red Sea. 


which now .aims at the annexation of Palestine and the oc- 
cupation of Jerusalem, wOiere hei* influence is at this moment 
greater than that of any otlier European nation, would find 
herself practically cut off from it by an inland sea, the pri- 
vate property of her traditional enemy. In both countries 
the governments could appeal to the religious sentiment of 
the people to support them in resisting, even to a war if 
necessary, the flooding of the holy places at Tiberias which 
they have guarded for so many centuries, 

Nor would this sentimental feeling be confined to France 
and Russia. Even in England and America there would be 
a strong objection to the Lake of Tiberias, Aviththe historic 
sites of Capernaum and the other cities on its margin, which 
were the scenes of some of the most remarkable ministra- 
tions of our Lord, being buried five hundred feet deep be- 
neath the sea. Curiously enough, the project is no less 
keenly supported by one set of religionists than it is con- 
demned by the other. The former pin their faith to the 
prophecy contained in the forty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, 
eighth to tenth verses, where it is predicted that "fishers 
shall stand upon the sea from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim," 
but even this would not be the case if the scheme were car- 
ried out, for then En-gedi Avould be several hundred feet 
heloio the surface of the sea. 

The sanguine supporters of the scheme maintain that it 
can be accomplished for eight millions sterling, while its op- 
ponents have entered upon an elaborate calculation to prove 
that the lowest figure is £225,573,648 and some odd shillings. 
Supposing, as seems not impossible, that the one set prove 
too little, and the other too much, if it could be done for 
fifty millions sterling it would pay a fair interest. The 
last year's receipts of the Suez Canal, which cost twenty 
millions, were £4,800,000. The whole length of the canal 
wotild be two hundred and fifty miles, of which, however, 
only about one hundred and twenty would be actual cutting, 
but cutting of a nature unparalleled in the history of engi- 
neering. My own impression is that, both from a political 
and an engineering point of view, it will be found to be 
impracticable; but who can say in these days what science 
may not accomplish or what combinations of the Eastern 
question may not arise to remove political difticulties? 


Haifa, Xov. 27. — The native population here is in a bigli 
state of excitcmont at news which has just reached us. The 
government, it is reported, intends transferring the seat of 
the provincial government from Acre to this place. This 
change has been recommended on the grounds of the superior 
excellence of the liarbour of Haifa, of its increasing export 
trade and rapidly growing population, and, above all, of the 
constantly augmenting influence of foreigners, which is the 
natural result of the inflow of their capital and of their in- 
dustry and enterprise. 

The old fortress of Acre, at present the residence of the 
governor, or niutessarif, contains a population of about nine 
thousand, pent up within the walls of the fort and crowded 
, into an area of little more than fifty acres. They are for 
the most part fanatic Moslems, which means a state of stag- 
nation in industry and commercial pursuits; and in conse- 
quence of the military rule which prohibits any extension of 
the town outside of the walls of the fortress within range of 
the guns, no expansion is possible to the inhabitants. The 
population of Haifa, on the other hand, is increasing with 
great rapidity, and the place seems to resound from one end 
to the other with the clink of the stone-mason's chisel, as 
new houses spring up in all directions. These considerations 
would not alone, however, account for the resolution at which 
the government seems to have arrived. 

Thi-ee fourths of the population of Haifa are either Roman 
or Greek Catholics; in other words, they are under the pro- 
tection of the French Consul when religious questions are 
concerned; and the policy of the French government in Syria 
has been to extend its religious protectorate into political and 
secular matters, to a degree which is constantly giving rise to 
awkward questions and complications not devoid of danger. 


A great part of the house property in the town of Haifa 
is owned by the monks of Mount Carmel, who consider the 
whole of Carmel, from the monastery at the western ex- 
tremity of the mountain, to their chapel at the Place of Eli- 
jah's Sacrifice at the other end, as a sort of private preserve, 
and push their religious pretensions to such an extreme that 
they look with the utmost jealousy upon any foreigner who 
attempts to buy land in the mountain, and oppose any such 
proceeding with all their energy. 

The policy of the Turkish government, on the other hand, 
is to prevent any foreigners buying land there, or, indeed, 
anywhei'e else in Palestine, although they are entitled to do 
so by treaty; and in pursuit of this policy the local authori- 
ties are instructed to throw every obstacle in the way of 
foreign enterprise of all descriptions, but especially to render 
it impossible for persons not subjects of Turkey to acquire 
landed property. They have, on these grounds, used their 
utmost endeavors to ruin the Jewish colony of Zimmarin, 
which is also in the neighborhood of Haifa, by prohibiting 
the colonists from building houses for themselves, on the 
ground that they have no right to the land. They have 
based this claim on the allegation that the proprietor of the 
property, who was an Austrian Jew, in whose name it was 
bought for the colonists, died childless, and, according to 
Turkish law, landed property reverts to the Turkish govern- 
ment under these circumstances; and the government there- 
fore claimed the property. It so happened, however, that 
the owner did not die childless. Indeed, I know his son my- 
self, but the government refused to admit the evidence of 
any but Moslems as to whether he had a son or not, a de- 
mand which, as the deceased proprietor did not live in Tur- 
key, it was naturally impossible to comply with. The ques- 
tion has therefore been pending between Baron Rothschild, 
who took over the property on the death of its nominal 
proprietor, and the Turkish government for nearly two years; 
but I understand that permission has at last been obtained 
for the erection of houses by the colonists, and the affair 
has been arranged. 

The fact, however, that foreign questions are constantly 
arising at Haifa, either out of French pretensions or the 

210 HAIFA. 

claims of the German or Jewish colonists, and that no such 
questions are jwssible at Acre, where there is but a limited 
Christian or foreiijn population, has rendered it desirable in 
the eyes of the Governor-general of Syria to suggest the 
removal of the governor of the district to this place. The 
change has not yet been sanctioned at Constantinople, and 
the inhabitants of Acre, where property will suffer an im- 
mediate depreciation, have been pouring petitions into Con- 
stantinople to protest against the change, urging as a reason 
that they, who were loyal and devoted subjects of his majes- 
ty, will suffer; Avhile the population of Haifa, composed 
principally of Christians and foreigners, will benefit. It is 
just possible, however, that the government may consider 
that the loyalty and devotion of the petitioners form the 
best reasons why the governor should be moved to a place 
where the loyalty and devotion of the people are not so 
assured, and should therefore be watched. At all events, 
there can be no doubt that the change, should it take place, 
will cause an immediate rise in the value of property here, 
and that there will be a considerable influx of people from 
Acre to this town, which has the advantage in summer of 
being a much cooler and more agreeable place of residence. 

Meantime, advantage has been taken of this opportunity 
to remove the present governor and replace him by a more 
intelligent and active functionary, a change which has caused 
great satisfaction, both to Moslems and Christians, as, in 
spite of his fanaticism, he had contrived to make himself 
very unpopular with the former, while he altogether failed 
to keep the peace at Acre between the rival sects of the lat- 
ter, who, though very limited in number, were constantly 
engaged in broils. Moreover, it is not the habit of the 
Turkish government to retain its functionaries, under any 
circumstances, long at the same post. 

The only drawback to Haifa as the new seat of govern- 
ment is its limited water supply. At present the town de- 
pends entirely upon its wells, and although an abundance of 
water can be found at a trifling depth, it is usually a little 
too brackish to be altogether palatable. Under these circum- 
tances it became of the utmost importance, in view of the 
proposed change, to try and find a spring, sufiiciently copi- 


ous and near the town to be utilized, and it occurred to a 
friend and myself that such a one might exist at Rushmea, 
where are the ruins of an old Crusading fort, which I liave 
described in a former letter, distant about an hour's ride 
from the town, at an elevation of about seven hundred feet 
above the level of the sea. There is a well here called the 
Well of E'lias, into which I once descended, and found that 
it was supydied with water which entered through a tunnel 
in the rock, but had no outlet; and the shepherds told me 
that, however much they Avatered their flocks, the water 
always remained at the same height, while in winter, although 
the well was eight feet deep, the water rose in it so high as 
to overflow the mouth. Under these circumstances it was 
evident that the well vras, in fact, a sort of back-water of 
some underground stream or rivulet, M'hich found a subter- 
ranean channel for itself. This Ave determined, by excava- 
tion, to try and discover. 

We therefore commenced digging near the well, and about 
two feet from the surface struck the roof of a subterranean 
aqueduct. Uncovering this, Ave found that the channel had 
become silted up with mud, which required to be removed. 
We then found that Ave were in an arched tunnel, the sides 
of Avhich Avere roughly built Avith stone, while the floor Avas 
paved Avith the same material, in Avhich a cliannel had been 
cut, but it was four inches higher than the Avater in the Avell. 
We Avere therefore obliged to take it up, cutting, altogether, 
a trench thirty yards long and eight feet deep. " On drawing 
the Avater off by means of this channel, we uncovered the 
mouth of the tunnel, by which it entered, sufficiently to send 
in a man Avith a light. After Avading through the mud for 
a few paces, he came upon a vault beautifully cemented, 
thus proving that in ancient times the stream had been 
utilized. It Avould have involved a greater expense, liow- 
cver, to clear out than I Avas prepared to incur, unaided by 
the community for Avhose benefit it Avould have inured. As 
it was, the stream thus discovered Avas almost sufficient in 
volume to be Avorth conveying to Haifa, a distance of three 
miles, and could doubtless be much increased. In the course 
of our excaA'ations we came upon several large blocks of 
square stone, Avhich had formed part of the ancient tunnel. 

212 HAIFA. 

The j)iojoct of the railway from Haifa to Damascus, tlio 
concession for which liad lapsed in consequence of the com- 
bined greed and apathy of the first grantees, is now revived 
under more favorable auspices, and I have little doubt that 
the change of the seat of the government to this ])lace will 
give it a renewed impetus, so that before long it will be car- 
ried out. 

Meantime, unwonted energy is displayed by the govern- 
ment in improving our communications. Having occasion 
a few weeks ago to ride to Beyrout, I saw the surveyors at 
work tracing out a line for a carriage road to connect that 
important city with Haifa, The distance is about eighty 
miles, and there are no serious engineering difficulties in the 
way. This road is sadly needed, especially now, when, owing 
to the cholera in lilurope, no steamer touches here on its way 
to Beyrout, although we are visited once a fortnight by one 
coming from that place after it has performed there a quar- 
antine of five days. The habit, unfortunately, of the gov- 
ernment of making the road, and postjjoning to an indefinite 
period the construction of the bridges, goes far to neutralize 
its good intentions. The towns through which the road 
passes are heavily taxed, and then, owing to the Avant of 
bridges, it is useless for a great part of the year. Should 
this road be completed, Beyrout, Damascus, Jaffa, Jerusalem, 
Nazareth, Haifa, Tyre, and Sidon will all be connected by 
roads over which stages could run; and this would go far to 
facilitate travel in Palestine, and enable tourists to dispense 
with that system of tenting which now renders it so slow 
and expensive. 


Haifa, Dec. 13. — The researches which I have been mak- 
ing into the oldest authorities, witli the view of identifying 
the sites of the numerous ancient towns tliat once formed 
the homes of the extensive population which in ages long 
gone by inhabited this coast, have only served to reveal to 
me the enormous difficulty of the task. This difficulty is 
created partly by the confusion introduced by the crusading 
nomenclature and traditions, partly by the inaccuracy of the 
itineraries of early pilgrims and travellers, and to the dis- 
crepancies existing in the most primitive maps, and the con- 
tradictions in historical records. Thus between this place 
and Tantura, a distance of fifteen miles, I have visited the 
ruins of no fewer than nine ancient towns or villages, some 
of them of considerable size, not one of which, with the ex- 
ception of Tantura, which is the Biblical Dor, has been posi- 
tively identified. I do not include in these the ruins of 
towns a mile or more inland, which would double the num- 
ber and convey some idea of the denseness of the popu- 
lation which once inhabited this section of the country. 
At the same time it is possible, from the varied character 
of these ruins, that some were far more ancient than the 
others, and that they may have existed as traces of a still 
more early people, when other cities, also now in ruin, were 
rich and flourishing. Thus we have on this coast remains of 
the early Phcenician period, of the Greek period, of the Ro- 
man or Byzantine period, and, lastly, of the crusading period 
— the latter too modern to be of any archaiological interest. 
They consist merely of constructions built from the mate- 
rials of the civilizations which had preceded it. Not con- 
tent with using up these materials, the crusaders gave the 
towns and forts which they built wrong names, refusing to 
adopt the Saracen nomenclature, which was generally a cor- 
ruption of the original Canaanitish or Hebrew, and attempt- 

214 HAIFA. 

ing to iilentify them according to their own ideas of Bibli- 
cal topography, or reading of Roman history, thereby intro- 
ducing inextricable confusion. Thus we have William of 
Tyre, one of the crusading historiographers, gravely inform- 
ing: us that "Duke Godfrey de liouillon awarded, uith his 
usual magnanimity, to the generous and noble Tancred the 
city of Tiberias, on the Lake of Genasereth, as well as of 
the ■whole of Galilee and the sea-town of Kaypha (or Haifa), 
which is otherwise called Porphyria." 

The Carmelite monks still cling to this tradition, although 
modern research has proved beyond a doubt that the site, 
at all events of one Roman city of Porphyrion, was at 
Khan-Yunis, a ruin, eight miles north of Sidon, and at least 
seventy miles from Haifa. To escape this difficulty some 
have supposed there were two Porphyrions, and that one 
was here, basing their argument on the fact that in the Ono- 
raasticon of Eusebius and Jerome there is a city marked at 
the point of Carmel, called Chilzon, and that Chilzon is the 
Hebrew for the murex, or shellfish which produced the pur- 
ple dye found there in great quantities; hence Por^jhyrion, 
or the purple city. 

In carefully examining these ruins, and remarking the 
great quantity of carved porphyry which is peculiar to them, 
I have thought it furnished a stronger argument in favor of 
what would seem an appropriate appellation. The crusaders 
even confounded the Sea of Galilee with the Mediterranean; 
thus they supposed a connection to exist between the town 
of Caiapha, or Caiaphas (the modern Haifa), which Benjamin 
of Tudela asserts to have been founded by Caiaphas, the 
high-priest, and Cephas, the Greek name of Simon Peter. 
Hence near Haifa the crusading clergy showed the rock 
where Simon Peter fished, called to this day Tell el-Samak, 
or the Mound of the Fish. Laboring under a similar con- 
fusion of idea, they built a fort out of the ruins of a place 
called at the present day Kefr Lam, a name which, no doubt, 
dates back before the times of the crusaders, and which they 
twisted into Capernaum, that place being, as Ave all know, 
on the Sea of Galilee. The Capei-naum of the crusaders, 
however, is a village on the Mediterranean shore, thirteen 
miles dov/n the coast from here. . 


The itineraries of the pilgrims and early travellers are 
scarcely less perplexing. They are generally careful to re- 
cord the distances between the various places they visit, but 
rarely with accuracy. Their remarks, however, are naive 
and amusing. I have just been reading the journal of a 
certain Antoninus, the Martyr, who travelled in Palestine 
about the. year a.d. 530. Writing of Tyre, he says: 

" The city of Tyre contains influential men ; tlie life there is very wiokecl ; 
the hixury such as cannot be described. There are public brothels, and silk 
and other kinds of clothing are woven." 

We do not altogether see the connection in this last sen- 
tence. Going on, he remarks: 

" Thence we came to Ptolemais (the modern Acre), a respectable city, 
where we found good monasteries. Opposite Ptolemais, six miles off, is a 
city which is named Sycaminus, under Mount Carmel. A mile from Sycami- 
nus are the hamlets of the Samaritans, and above the hamlets, a mile and a 
half away, is the Monastery of Ileliseus (or Elijah), the prophet, at the place 
where the woman met him whose child he raised from the dead. On Mount 
Carmel is found a stone, of small size and round, wliicli, when struck, rings 
because it is solid. This is the virtue of the stone — if it be hung on to a 
woman, or to any animal, they will never miscarry. About six or seven miles 
off is the city of Porpliyrion." 

Now there are as many mistakes as there are sentences in 
this quaint account by the holy man. It is a matter of dis- 
pute which are the ruins of Sycaminus. Two ruins claim 
that honor, and one of these it undoubtedly is. They are 
only two miles apart, but the nearest is thirteen miles from 
Acre, instead of six, and the other fifteen. A mile from 
Sycaminus, he says, are the hamlets of the Samaritans. These 
have been identified beyond all doubt as a ruin called Kefr 
es Samir, two miles and a half beyond one of the above- 
mentioned ruins, and four miles and a half beyond the oth- 
er. The Monastery of Ileliseus, the prophet, " a mile and 
a half away," I have described in a former letter. It is the 
picturesque gorge and ruin called Ain Siah, but the place 
where Elijah met the woman of Sarepta was, if we are to 
believe the Bible, "at the gate of that city," at least fifty 
miles distant from Carmel. There is no doubt as to its site, 
between Tyre and Sidon. As to " the stone of small size, 
which, when struck, rings because it is solid," it happens to 

ojo HAIFA. 

rinsj because it is liollow. I have an interesting collection 
of these geodes, found near Ain Siah, their peculiar shapes 
liaving given rise to the legend that they were melons and 
other fruits which the pro])rietor refused the ])rophet when 
lie was hungry, and which the latter therefore blasted with 
petrifaction. And then comes the final statement about 
the unhappy Porphyrion, which he puts six miles off, thus 
probably identifying it with Athlit, and making confusion 
worse confounded. First we have the Jerusalem Itinerary, 
distinctly placing it to the north of Sidon, a position con- 
firmed by other authorities; then we have William of Tyre 
identifying it with Haifa, and now we have Antoninus put- 
ting it six miles off. 

I will not inflict upon you all my reasons for coming to 
the conclusion that the ruin at Tell el-Samak, the Mound of 
the Fish already alluded to, is the site of Sycaniinum, though 
I doubt whether a larger population did not inhabit the city 
two miles nearer Haifa, where the porphyry fragments 
abound. To judge by the fine carvings at both places, they 
must have been wealthy as well as populous, and their most 
prosperous period was in all probability during the first 
three or four centuries of our era. The coins which I have 
found so far are of that epoch. Exploring the ruins of 
what must have been the upper tower of Sycaminus, dis- 
tant about four hundred yards from the Fish Moujid, and 
two hundred feet above it, a few days ago, I came upon a 
cistern with four circular apertures. Upon being let down 
into it I found it was seventy feet long, hewn out of the 
solid rock, twenty feet broad, and twelve feet high from the 
debris at the bottom, but in reality much deeper. The roof 
was supported by three columns, four feet square, also hewn 
from the living rock. The cement was still in some places 
perfect, and the cistern must have been capable of contain- 
ing a vast supply of watei*. It was about fifteen yards from 
an angle of a wall composed of rubble, from Avhich the ash- 
lar had been removed, about four feet thick, and still stand- 
ing in places to a height of four feet. In others the foun- 
dations of this wall were easily traceable. As the whole ruin 
seems to have escaped the ob3ervation of the Palestine Ex- 
ploration Survey, I measured it, and found the east wall to 


be one hundred and twelve yards long, the south wall sixty- 
live, the west wall seventy, and an intersecting wall forty. 
I could find no traces of a north wall. It was probably a 
fortress, which was supplied by the cistern already men- 
tioned. In the neighborhood were some fine rock-cut tombs, 
two with six loculi, each in a good state of preservation. I 
also picked up a piece of white marble on which was an in- 
scription in early Arabic characters, but only the word "Al- 
lah " and two or three more letters remained on the frag-' 

At Kefr Lam, the crusaders' Capernaum, which I had oc- 
casion recently to visit, I discovered two very remarkable 
vaults, each forty feet long by twelve broad and seven high. 
The roof was supported by five arches, each arch composed 
of a single stone four feet broad, on the top of which huge 
flat stones had been laid. I have never seen any construc- 
tions like these vaults, and think they probably dated from 
a very ancient period. In the immediate neighborhood the 
peasantry had recently opened an ancient well, thirty-five 
feet deep, the water being approached by a flight of steps 
round two sides of the well, the shaft of which was about 
thirty feet square. There were no fewer than seventeen 
handsome rock-cut tombs in the neighboi'hood of the vil- 
lage, and I regretted that I had not time to prolong my in- 
vestigations, as I feel convinced that the vicinity Avould 
repay examination. As it is, I have obtained from the vil- 
lagers several good specimens of terra-cotta lamps, two curi- 
ous alabaster saucers, some coins, and other antiquities. 


Haifa, Dec. 26. — In reading the works of Dr. Kitto and 
other writers who have endeavoured to ])rcsent a picture of 
the manners and customs of the population which inhabited 
Palestine in ancient times, I have been much struck by the 
erroneous impressions which the descriptions of those writ- 
ers are calculated to convey in many important respects. 
This has arisen from the fact that while they have portrayed, 
with tolerable accuracy, the rude civilization of the original 
inhabitants and the subsequent civilization grafted upon it 
by their Jewish conquerors, they have left out of consider- 
ation the changes worked upon, and the modifications intro- 
duced into, the social conditions thus produced by that still 
hiirher and later civilization which resulted from Greek and 
Roman invasions. Thus wliile tliey carefully trace back 
the habits of the modern fellahin, and show that they differ 
slightly from those of the peasantry of the country in the 
time of Christ, and invoke the testimony of modern Bedou- 
ins as evidence of a mode of life which has undergone no 
perceptible alteration since the days of Abraham, they leave 
out of account altogether that magnificent Roman and By- 
zantine civilization, traces of which still exist in such abun- 
dance as to astound the traveller with its splendor and its 
richness, but which has passed away like a dream, leaving 
nothing behind but the coarse barbarism which has suc- 
ceeded it, and which is almost identical in character with 
what it supplanted. Hence it is that these writers have 
found those resemblances between the modern and ancient 
manners and customs of the inhabitants of this country by 
which they were so much struck, and which they have given 
to the public as furnishing an accurate picture of what an- 
cient Palestine was like. 

We are so much in the habit of confining our interest in 


this country to its history before the time of Christ that it 
will probably strike many with surprise to learn that the 
most flourishing epoch of its history was subsequent to that 
time; that never before had the arts and sciences reached 
so high a pitch; that never before had its population been 
so wealthy and luxurious, its architecture so grand, its com- 
merce so 'flourishing, and its civilization generally so ad- 
vanced. It is true it had lost its independence, and was 
only a Roman province, but it is just because it was one, 
and not a Jewish kingdom, that our impression of its act- 
ual condition at the time of Christ is apt to be so erroneous. 

This fact has been very forcibly brought to mj^ notice in 
a recent iv\\) which I have made along the shores of the Sea 
of Galilee, more especially along its little-explored northern 
and eastern coasts, where the evidences of the wealth and 
luxury of the former inhabitants still remain in t;nexampled 
profusion. In reading in the Gospels the narrative of the 
works and life of Christ, so much of which was spent upon 
the shores of the lake, in one of the cities of vrhich he for 
some time took up his abode, most of us have endeavoured, 
probably, to picture him to ourselves amid purely Jewish 
surroundings and conditions closely resembling those Avhich 
we have been in the habit of associating with that previous 
period of Jewish history with which Ave are familiar in the 
books of the Old Testament. So far from that being the 
case, the part of the country in which his ministrations were 
principally exercised, was beyond all others a centre of Ro- 
man life, with all its luxurious accompaniments. Nowhere 
else in Palestine was there such a congeries of rich and 
populous cities as were crowded round the shores of this 
small lake. Nowhere else could the Jewish reformer come 
into closer contact with the rites of a worship alien to his 

On the shores of this lake might be seen temple after 
temple rearing their vast colonnades of graceful columns, 
their courts ornamented with faultlessly carved statues to 
the deities of a heathen cult. Here were the palaces of 
the Roman high functionaries, the tastefully decorated 
villas of rich citizens, with semi-tropical gardens irrigated 
by the copious streams which have their sources in the 


plain of Gencsarcth and the neighbouring hills. Here were 
broail avenues and populous thoroughfares, thronged with 
the motley concourse which so much wealth and magnifi- 
cence liad attracted — rich merchants from Antioch, then 
the most gorgeous city of the East, and from the Greek 
islands, traders and visitors from Damascus, I'almyra, and 
the rich cities of the Decapolis; caravans from Egypt and 
Persia, Jewish rabbis jostling priests of the worship of the 
sun, and Roman soldiers swaggering across the market- 
places, where the peasantry were exposing the produce of 
their fields and gardens for sale, and where fish was dis- 
played by the hardy toilers of the lake, among whom were 
those whom the Great Teacher selected to be the first re- 
cipients of his message and the channels for its communica- 
tion to after ages. 

Thus it Avas, as I rode along the margin of the sea the 
other day, that I was enabled to repeople its shores in imag- 
ination by the light of the remains with whicli they are still 
strewn, and, overtaken in its desolation by the shades of 
night, to fancy its now gloomy shores ablaze with the scin- 
tillations proceeding from the lamps of at least a dozen 
large cities, and the almost continuous street of habitations 
which connected them, and to illuminate its now dark and 
silent waters with countless brilliantly-lighted boats, skim- 
ming over its smooth surface, containing noble ladies and 
gallants on their Avay to or from scenes of nocturnal festiv- 
ity, or indulging in moonlight picnics, with the accompani- 
ments of wine and song and music. That life in these cities 
was profligate and dissipated in a high degree we may gather 
from Christ's denunciation of Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Ca- 
pernaum, Avhich he declared to be so much more wicked than 
Tyre or Sidon, or even Sodom, that it would be more toler- 
able in the day of judgment for those cities than for the 
three he was denouncing. That among these Capernaum 
was the one of the greatest splendor, and was puffed up 
therefore with the pride of its own pomp and magnificence, 
we may gather from the indignant apostroplie: "And thou, 
Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven." It may have 
been because he considered this city the wickedest, as it ap- 
pears to have been the largest on the lake, and therefore 


the most in need of his ministrations, that he chose it for 
some time as his residence. Hence it came to be called 
" his own city." This circumstance invests it with a special 
interest in our eyes. 

Unfortunately, a violent contest rages between Palestin- 
ologists, if I may be allowed to coin the Avord, as to the 
exact site' of Capernaum. The two places which claim this 
honor are now called Khan Minieh and Tell Hum respect- 
ively. Until lately the weight of o])inion Avas in favor of 
the former site; latterly the researches of Sir Charles Wil- 
son, on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund, have con- 
vinced that accomplished archaeologist and careful explorer 
that the true site of this celebrated city is to be found at 
Tell Hum. It would weary my readers if I were to quote 
all the texts relied upon by the disputants to maintain each 
hypothesis, supported by calculations of distance, the ac- 
counts of Josephus, and of early pilgrim or Arab travellers. 
The subject has been pretty well thrashed out, but I doubt 
whether it is even yet exhausted. I incline strongly to the 
Tell Hum theory, but as Khan Minieh comes first on our 
way as we glide from Tiberias to the head of the lake, as it 
is unquestionably the site of v.'hat was once a city, and as it 
is a highly picturesque spot, and one, moreover, full of Bib- 
lical interest as being, if not Capernaum itself, Avithiu three 
miles of that city, and therefore a spot which must have 
been the scene of some of Christ's labours, I will begin by 
describing it. 

The plain of Genesareth, the unrivalled fertility and luxu- 
riance of which, though it is now uncultivated, I described 
in a former letter, Avhen I crossed it eighteen months ago 
on my way to Safed, is terminated at its northern extrem- 
ity by a mountain range, which projects in a lofty and 
precipitous crag into the lake, and renders any passage 
round it by land extremely difficult. This projection forms 
a little bay, or rather rush-grown lagoon, running back into 
the head of the plain. Into it falls a small stream, powerful 
enough, however, to turn a mill. It is this building and the 
ruins of an ancient khan near it, which was itself construct- 
ed from the remains of an ancient city about three hundred 
vards distant, which is now called Khan Minieh. The true 

222 HAIFA. 

site of ibo old city is not, liowever, -wljcrc tlie khan now 
stands, but not far from a fountain, sliaded by an old fig- 
tree, from Avhieb the fountain takes its name — Ain el-Tin, 
or the Fountain of the Fig-tree, which suggests the idea 
that either the name is very new or the iig-tree very old. 
A plentiful supply of water flows from it, slightly brackish, 
with a temperature of 82° Fahrenheit. The water is crowd- 
ed with fish and surrounded with green turf. It appears to 
be one of the seven fountains mentioned by Theodoras, 
A.D. 530, as being two miles from Magdala, the city of 3Iary 
Magdalene, in the direction of Capernaum. 

Near this fountain are some old foundations and traces of 
ruins, but these for the most part cover a series of mounds 
where a few walls are visible, but no traces of columns, 
cajdtals, or handsome blocks of stone, and much smaller in 
extent than those of Tell Hum. Indeed, the whole area is 
not more than two hundred yards long by one hundred 
broad, and this is one reason for supposing that it cannot be 
the site of that important city. The khan itself is at least 
as old as the twelfth century, being mentioned by Bohaed- 
din in his life of Saladin. A road from here leads up the 
steep hillside to Safed. The view from it, as we ascend to 
some elevation above the plain, is very beautiful. That fer- 
tile expanse which Josephus calls " the ambition of nature," 
lies stretched at our feet, with the waters of the lake rip- 
pling upon its pebbly beach, while we look right up the 
gorge of Ilammam, its beetling cliffs on both sides towering 
in rugged cave-perforated precipices to a height of twelve 
hundred feet above the tiny stream which, compressed be- 
tween these lofty walls of limestone and basalt, winds its 
way to the lake. 

But it is not up the wild mountain-side that our present 
way lies; so, taking our last look at the crumbling walls of 
the old khan, at the picturesque water-mill, the ruin-strewn 
mounds, and the grassy lagoon, we prepare to skirt the rocky 
flank of the ledge which here dips into the waters of the 
Sea of Genesareth, and by which we hope to reach the 
ruins of Bethsaida. 


Haifa, Jan. G, 1885. — If, as I stated in my last letter, stu- 
dents of Biblical topography have been much exercised in 
their minds as to the identilication of the ruins on the north- 
west shore of the Sea of Galilee, which indicate the site of 
the once famous city of Capernaum, and have applied not 
only a great amount of antiquarian reseai'ch and of time in 
the way of minute local examination and literary labor in 
the hope of definitely settling this knotty point, there is an- 
other upon Avhich they have no less anxiously expended their 
ingenuity. This is to solve the vexed question as to wheth- 
er there were, in the time of Christ, two Bethsaidas or one. 
This question would never have arisen but for the confusion 
introduced into the scriptural narrative by the puzzling ac- 
counts given in all the four gospels of the miracle of the 
feeding of the multitude with five loaves and two fishes, the 
scene of which the four evangelists are unanimous in de- 
scribing as having been in a desert spot which must have 
been on the eastern side of the lake, for immediately after- 
wards " they crossed over to the other side," arriving at 
Capernaum, which Avas on the western side. But according 
to one (Luke) this desert place (on the eastern side) be- 
longed to a city called Bethsaida ; and according to an- 
other (Mark) Christ, after the miracle, "constrained his 
disciples to get into the ship and go to the other (or western) 
side before, unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people." 
Hence the confusion; starting from the Avcstern side, they 
take ship, cross over to a desert place belonging to Beth- 
saida; the miracle is performed there, and the disciples are 
constrained by their Master to take ship and cross the lake 
back again to what must be another Bethsaida. Then the 
storm arises, he comes to them on the waters, and they final- 
ly reach Capernaum in safety. 

224 HAIFA. 

Rolaiul, llie learned gcograplier of the last century, was 
the first to invent the second IJcthsaula on the western side, 
which is not mentioned by either Josoj)lius or Pliny, the 
latter of whom distinctly puts it on the eastern side; and I 
have not been able exactly to discover upon what authority 
Ki.'land hit upon this easy solution of the jjrobleni. The 
only historical Bethsaida of which we have any certain rec- 
ord was a place at the northeastern extremity, originally a 
village, but rebuilt and adorned by Philip the Tetrarch, and 
raised to the dignity of a town under the name of Julias, 
after the daughter of the emperor. Here, in a magnificent 
tomb, Philip was himself buried. On the other hand, we 
have indications of the existence of another Bethsaida in 
the mention of a Bethsaida which was the birth})lace of 
Peter and Andrew and Philip, which Mark tells us was "in 
the land of Gencsareth," and therefore on the west shore 
of the lake. Supposing Tell Hum to be Capernaum, and 
the western Bethsaida to be on the site usually assigned to 
it, this hypothesis Avould give us two Bethsaidas only six 
miles apart, not a very probable supposition; or else we 
have to suppose that the land of Genesareth extended 
across the Jordan to the east side, which we know to have 
had another name, and to have been in another province; or 
to suppose, as Dr. Thomson — who resolutely refuses to have 
two Bethsaidas — does, that half the town was on one side of 
the Jordan and half on the other, and that the half on the 
Avest side was called Bethsaida in the land of Genesareth, 
though the plain of that name is five miles distant. More- 
over, there are no ruins conveniently placed to support the 
presumption, which is very strained. Altogether the sub- 
ject is one which has puzzled every Biblical geographer 
hitherto, and, after a careful examination of all their argu- 
ments, I find myself just as much in the dark about it as 
when I entered upon the investigation. As, therefore, after 
visiting all the disputed localities, I do not feel any the more 
competent to enlighten your readers, I will confine myself 
to describing the different places which have been suggested 
as the sites of these cities, as well as of others which I vis- 
ited in the section of country to the east of the Jordan, some 
of which I was the first to discover, and none of which have 
been positively identified. 


Meantime, the scene, which the tradition of many centu- 
ries located erroneously as the si)Ot upon which the miracle 
took place, is exactly above us as we wind along a rocky 
path cut in the precipice which overhangs the Sea of Gali- 
lee. This huge impending crag is crowned by an artificial 
plateau, which is two hundred feet long by one hundred 
broad, and In the northwest angle are the remains of a wall 
and the ruins of a building, ])i-obably a fortress of some 
sort. This spot was known in the middle ages as the Mensa 
Christi, or Table of Christ. In olden time the great Damascus 
high-road ran just below^ and the fort above doubtless com- 
manded this pass; but it has become impassable, and the 
path now follows the channel of an aqueduct hewn out of the 
living rock. For about two hundred yards we find ourselves 
riding along the narrow floor of this ancient watercourse. 
On our left the smooth rock rises ^^I'ecipitousl}', and on our 
right it forms a wall from three to lour feet high, over- 
which Ave could drop a stone perpendicularly into the wa- 
ters of the lake. The aqueduct which thus forms our sin- 
gular roadway is about three feet wide; emerging from it, 
after we turn the angle of the rock, we find ourselves over- 
looking a little bay, into which rushes a brawling torrent, 
the largest which enters the lake excepting the Jordan, and 
which here turns a mill. It is, however, only a few yards 
long, as it bursts from the ground in great force, in wliat is 
by far the most powerful spring in Galilee, and is, without 
doubt, the celebrated Fountain of Capernaum mentioned by 
Josephus as watering the plain of Genesareth. This it did 
by means of the aqueduct which we had already traversed, 
the distance from the fountain to the plain not being above 
a mile. Besides the principal fountain, which is estimated 
as being more than half the size of the celebrated source of 
the Jordan at Banias, there are four smaller fountains, all 
more or less brackish, and varying in temperature from 73° 
to 86°. 

One of the special subjects of interest connected with 
these fountains is the presence in them of the remarkable fish 
called the coracinus. The only known habitats of this fish 
in the world are in the Nile, in a fountain which I have also 
visited in the plain of Genesareth, called Mudawara, and in 

ooc HAIFA. 

this spring. Josoj)hus accounts for its existence here, as 
well as in the Nile, by a hypothetical subterranean Avater 
conimunieation Avith the great river of p]gy})t. Modern 
geologists point to it as an evidence of the fact that in some 
long bygone period Palestine might have been inchuled in a 
great Ethiopian basin. However the circumstance is to be 
accounted for, it is most remarkable, and was doubted until 
Canon Tristram veritied it twenty years ago by a somewhat 
singular experience. Crossing the little stream which issues 
from the fountain of Mudawara and flows into the lake, and 
which ha[)pened to be very low at the time, he was surprised 
to observe a quantity of fish wriggling along in single file, 
and so close together that the mouth of one touched the tail 
of the one before it. In places there Avas so little water 
that they had to flop across intervals of almost dry land; 
here he caught them easily with his hand, and, as many 
averaged three feet in length, he was not long in making a 
good bag. "What surprised him most, however, was to find 
that as soon as he laid hold of one it began hissing and 
screaming like a cat. IMaking a bag of his cloak, he car- 
ried them off in triumph to his camp, which was three 
hours distant, and could hear them hissing and caterwaul- 
ing in it all the way. lie describes them as being a most 
delicious fish to eat, something like an eel in flavor, and 
possessed of extraordinary vitality, as some of them were 
still living after they had been two days out of the Avater. 
The last volume just issued by the Palestine Exploration 
Fund contains a print of this extraordinary creature, Avhich 
has a long, slender body, apparently not much thicker than 
that of a good-sized eel, with two long fins, one on the back 
and one on the belly. The mouth, Avith its long, cartilagi- 
nous streamers (I do not knoAV the ichthyological term for 
them), somewhat resembles that of a catfish. I unfortunately 
had no means of fishing for them on the occasion of my visit, 
and they did not happen to be migrating to their spawning 
grounds, Avhich they Avere evidently doing Avhen Tristram 
caught them; but my late experiences on the shores of the 
lake have been so full of interest that I propose to make 
another visit in the spring, Avhen I hope to go supplied with 
tackle, and to give you my OAvn piscatory experiences. 


There is a small tract of fertile land in the rear of the 
mill, but no ruins except those connected with mills or wa- 
ter-works. Nevertheless, it is impossible almost to conceive 
that a position so favored by nature should not have been 
the site of a town, and it is on this spot that many geogra- 
phers place the western Bethsaida. There are no apparent 
grounds for their doing so beyond the necessity of finding a 
spot somewhere which should support their hypothesis. If, 
however, they must have a second Bethsaida, I should rath- 
er put it a mile farther off, at Khan Minich, instead of so 
very close to Capernaum as this would be, always supposing 
Tell Hum to be Capernaum, which is only two miles distant 
from this spot. Dr. Thomson's theory that El-Tabghah, the 
modern name of this place, was the grand manufacturing 
suburb of that large city, from Avhich its fountain took its 
name, seems to me rational. Here were the mills, not only 
for it, but for all the neighbourhood; so also the potteries, 
tanneries, and other operations of this sort would be clus- 
tered around these great fountains, a theory somewhat borne 
out by the name, Tabgliah, which resembles the Arabic word 
Dabbaga, meaning tannery. 

There is no doubt that in this neighbourhood somewhere, 
probably on the plain of Genesareth, was the location of a 
town far older than any of those Avhose sites we are now dis- 
cussing, and this is the Chinncroth mentioned in the Old 
Testament, from which the lake, in days long anterior to 
those of Christ, took its name, and which the Talmud ren- 
ders Ginizer, which is therefore doubtless identical with Ge- 
nesareth. Indeed, it may be noted as a curious fact, Avhich 
has been forced upon me by these investigations, that the 
towns noticed in the Gospels, excluding the large cities, 
such as Jerusalem, Tyre, and Sidon, are almost all places 
not mentioned in the Old Testament. Nazareth and Caper- 
naum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin and Tiberias are names never 
occurring in the Hebrew Scriptures; and the scenery of the 
life of Christ lies, as a rule, apart from the centres, religious 
or political, which reappear again and again in the earlier 
episodes of Jewish history. 


Haifa, Jan, 20. — PcM-haps tlie most interesting spot in the 
world to those dee])ly under the iiifluence of that cliarm 
Avhieh association lends to places hallowed by the ministra- 
tions of the Founder of Christianity is to be found in a des- 
ert, rock-strewn promontory on the northwest shore of the 
Lake of Tiberias; for among these piles of hewn blocks of 
black basalt still remain the ruins of a great synagogue, with- 
in whose walls, the foundations of which may still be dis- 
tinctly traced, were collected the multitudes Avho flocked to 
hear the teaching of Christ. While modern tourists resort 
in crowds to Jerusalem to visit the mythical sites which arc 
supposed, upon the vague basis of ecclesiastical tradition, to 
be identified with episodes in the life of the great Teacher, 
scarcely one ever finds his way to this remote locality lying 
just out of the beaten track along which Cook leads his 
herds of sightseers; and yet it is probable that the greater 
part of that period in the life of Christ, the record of which 
is contained in the four Gospels, was spent at Capernaum, 
which the most careful investigation, by the highest author- 
ities in such matters, has identified with these ruins of Tell 
Hum, amid which I was just now standing. Here it was 
that Christ cured Peter's mother-in-law, restored the para- 
lytic, called Matthew, cured the centurion's servant, raised 
Jairus's daughter from the dead, and obtained the tribute 
of money from the mouth of a fish. It was here that he 
spoke the parables of the sower, the tares, the treasure hid 
in the field, the merchant seeking goodly pearls, and the net 
cast into the sea. Sir Charles AVilson, whose researches on 
this spot led him to identify it as being the site of the city 
of Capernaum, believes this synagogue was, "without doubt, 
the one built by the Roman centurion (Luke vii. 51), and, 
therefore, one of the most sacred spots on earth." It was 


in tliis building, if that l)e the case, that the well-known dis- 
course contained in the sixth chapter of John was delivered; 
and it was not without a strange feeling, says the same ex- 
plorer, "that, on turning over a large block, we found the 
pot of manna cngi'aved on its face, and remembered the 
words: "I am tliat bread of life. Your fathers did eat 
manna in the wilderness and are dead." 

This very synagogue was probably the scene of the heal- 
ing of the demoniac and of the delivery of many of those 
divine lectures on faith, humility, brotherly love, and for- 
mality in worship, as we read at the end of one of them: 
" These things said he in the synagogue as he taught in 
Capernanm." Perhaps it was in the little creek, where a boat 
was now riding at anchor only a few feet from the shore, 
that Christ taught the people from the boat so as to avoid 
the crush of tlie multitude. It was doubtless in one of 
these inlets that James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his 
brother, were mending their nets when, being called, they 
left their ship and followed him; and it was on this coast 
that Andrew and Peter were casting their nets when they 
were .summoned to become fishers of men. It has a high- 
er claim to be called the birthplace of the religion which 
has since revolutionized the world than any other spot upon 
it; and it is a matter of some surprise to me that neither the 
Greek nor the Roman Catholic churches, in their zeal to 
discover holy places, Avhich may serve as levers for political 
intrigue, have yet thought of occupying this one, which 
would seem the holiest of all. Perhaps it would lead to a 
comparison between their practice and the teaching of which 
it was the scene, which might give rise to some iuconvenient 

Apart from their associations the ruins themselves are not 
particularly striking. They cover an area of about half a 
mile in length by a quarter in breadth, and consist chiefly 
of the black blocks of basaltic stone which formed the walls 
of the houses. The traces of the synagogue, however, re- 
main sufficiently for the building to be planned. Built of 
white limestone blocks, it must have formed a conspicuous 
object amid the black basalt by which it was surrounded. 
It was seventy-five feet by fifty-seven, built north and south. 

230 HAIFA. 

and at the souilicrn eiul liad three entrances. Many oi" the 
eoliunns and capitals have been carried away, but enough 
still remain to convey some idea of the general plan and 
aspect of the building. The cajiitals are of the Corinthian 
order, and there were cpistylia that rested upon the columns 
and probably supported wooden rafters. There are also re- 
mains of a heavy cornice and frieze. The exterior was prob- 
ably decorated with attached pilasters. 

Two miles north of Capernaum are the ruins of Chorazin. 
There is no difticulty in identifying the site, which may be 
determined partly by the itineraries of early travellers, and 
partly by the similarity of the modern name, Kirazeh. The 
path to them leads up the sloping, rocky hillside, but, owing 
to the peculiar character of the masonry, which is barely to 
be distinguished at one hundred yards from the rocks which 
surround it, the extent and importance of these ruins have 
been overlooked until quite recently. They cover an area 
as large as, if not larger, than, those of Capernaum, and are 
situated partly in a shallow valley, partly on a rocky spur 
formed by a sharp bend in the Wady Kii-azeh, here a wild 
gorge eighty feet deep. From this spot there is a beautiful 
view of the Lake of Tiberias to its southern end; and here, 
too, are gathered the most interesting ruins — a synagogue 
with Corinthian capitals and niche-heads cut, not, as at Ca- 
pernaum, in limestone, but in hard black basalt. The di- 
mensions of this building are about the same as those of the 
one at Capernaum, but the interior is a mass of ruins. Two 
pedestals still remain in situ, and a portion of the wall. The 
characteristic of this synagogue is an excess of ornamenta- 
tion of rather a debased kind. The niches are most elabo- 
rate, and remain as sharp as when they were cut in the hard 
material used. The mouldings of the door-posts are similar 
to those used in other synagogues, and there are many 
stones cut with deep mouldings and pieces of classical cor- 
nices strewn among the ruins. 

Many of the dwelling-houses were until recently in a toler- 
abl}' perfect state, the walls being in some cases six feet high ; 
and, as they are probably of the same class of houses as that 
in which Christ dwelt, a description of them may be inter- 
esting. They are generally square, of different sizes, the 


largest, bowevor, not over thirty feet square, and liavc one or 
two columns down the centre to support the roof, which ap- 
pears to have been fiat, as in the modern Arab houses. The 
v>^alls are about 'two feet thick, built of masonry or of loose 
blocks of basalt. There is a low doorway in the centime of 
one of the walls, and each house has Avindows twelve inches 
high and six wide. In one or two cases the house Avas di- 
vided into four chambers. 

We now pushed on to the point where the Jordan enters 
the lake, distant about three miles, for it was only on the 
other side of that river that my exploration of new ground 
might be said to commence. I had been attracted hither by 
rumours which had reached me of a remarkable stone which 
M'as said to be in the possession of an Arab, on which were 
pictorial representations and inscriptions. As my informa- 
tion on the point was somewhat vague, I rode up to a Bed- 
ouin encampment, near which was also a collection of mud 
hovels occupied by fellaheen, which were situated on the 
west bank of the river. They were naturally so suspicious 
that I pretended at tirst to be merely anxious to have a 
guide to show me the ford, but it was not until the old 
sheik himself appeared tliat I could find any one willing to 
offer me the slightest assistance. They gazed at me with 
open-mouthed stupidity, real or assumed, and the siglit of 
silver scarcely moved their stolidity. Far different was it 
with the eagle-eyed old gentleman who, haying seen the 
group assembled round us, strode up from the Bedouin en- 
campment, and at once entered into the spirit of the thing. 
Not only was he prepared to show me the ford, but, for ade- 
quate consideration, would take me to all the ruins in the 
neighbourhood, with the positions of which he professed an 
accurate acquaintance, if 1 would only wait until he went 
for his horse. This I was only too happy to do, and in a 
few minutes he galloped up with his k-uJiJia and ahbaye 
fluttering in the Avind, a genuine son of the desert. We 
forded the Jordan by following the little bar which it makes 
on entering the lake, the water reaching to our. saddle-flaps, 
and, following the shore, here a grassy plain for half a mile, 
reached a large square building, charmingly situated near 
some trees on the margin of the Avater. This Avas the gran- 

232 HAIFA. 

arv aiul storehouse of tlu- i^rcat Aral) proprietor of the 
neighbourhood, the only buiklinti; witli any pretensions for 
miles round; and it was (he local agent of this man, himself 
,1 resident in Damascus, whom I now found to be in posses- 
sion of the relic I had travelled so far to see. JNIy disap- 
pointment may be easily conceived when I was told that he 
had gone to Damascus, and would not return for a week. 
My disgust, as I squatted beneath the walls of this detesta- 
ble building, making a lunch off hard-boiled eggs, and re- 
volving burglarious schemes of entry, all of which came to 
naught, may easily be imagined. The fact that the build- 
ing itself was surrounded by ruins was small consolation, 
for these consisted only of large hewn blocks of black basalt, 
and the foundations of houses which were clearly to be 
traced, but the area they covered was not extensive, and I 
could not find any indications of any public building. The 
name of the spot is El-Araj, which signifies The Lame, but 
I was unable to identify it with any Biblical locality. 


Haifa, Feb. 2. — I narrated in my last letter the disappoint- 
ment I experienced when, after making a pilgrimage to the 
north end of the Lake of Tiberias for the express purpose 
of seeing some stones covered with inscriptions and pictorial 
representations, said to be in the possession of the agent of 
a rich Arab proprietor, I found their owner gone and the 
relics locked up in a building of which he had taken the key, 
and all ingress to which was impossible. The Bedouin sheik 
whom I had picked up as a guide at a neighboring encamp- 
ment, seeing my chagrin, comforted me by the assurance 
that if I would only follow him he would take me to a place 
where I could find others which were quite as good. I 
mounted my horse, therefore, in somewhat better spirits, as 
from his description of the locality I knew it must have 
escaped the attention of all former travellers, and consoled 
myself by the reflection that a discovery of some importance 
might still be in store for me. 

Our way took us due north across the fertile plain of 
the Buteha, an alluvial expanse about two miles in length 
by one in breadth, formed by the detritus Avhich, in the 
course of ages, has been washed down the Jordan, and the 
winter torrents which rush into the plain down the wadys 
that descend from the elevated plateau of Jaulan, 

The Buteha is not unlike the plain of Genesarcth. Both 
are well watered and extremely fertile. Buteha has the 
largest and most prominent brooks, Genesareth the most 
numerous and abundant springs. The old traveller, Ijurck- 
hardt, says that the Arabs of the Buteha have the earliest 
cucumbers and melons in all this region. It was on this 
plain, at the foot of the hill or " tell " we were now approach- 
ing, that Josephus fought the Romans under Sylla, concern- 
ing which battle he says: "I would have performed great 

•234 HAIFA. 

tliinc^s that day if a ecrf ain fate had not l)ccn inv liiiulcranco, 
for the liorse on -wliich I rode and upon whose back 1 fought 
fell into a quagmire and threw me to the ground, and I was 
bruised on my wrist and was carried into a certain village 
called Cuphcrnome or Capernaum." 

The tell Avhieh rises from this plain, about a mile and a 
half from the lake, is thickly strewn with ruins, consisting 
of hewn blocks of black basalt, Mith which, in the ancient 
times, all the liouses in this region were constructed; but as 
yet no traces of any large building have been discovered. 
It has, indeed, been very rarely visited, but it is considered 
by many to be the site of IJethsaida-Jiilias and the scene of 
the miracle of the loaves and fishes. At present all wc 
know for certain is that one of the Bethsaidas Avas some- 
where in the Buteha; that Josephus in his descriptions ad- 
vanced it to the dignity of a city, both by reason of the 
number of inhabitants it contained and its other grandeur; 
and that inasmuch as the plain of the Buteha contains many 
heaps of ruins, none of any very great extent, any of them 
may be Bethsaida, while if it were a large city in our mod- 
ern acceptation of the term, the Avhole plain would not be 
larg;e enough to contain it. 

Indeed, one is much struck in exploring the ruins of the 
country by the limited areas which they cover. I am afraid 
to say how many sites of ruined towns I have visited in 
Palestine, certainly not less than forty; and I think one 
could crowd them all into the area occupied by the ruins f)f 
one large ancient Egyptian city — Arsinoe in the Fayoum, 
for instance ; but then the ruins of an Egyptian city are 
composed mainly of mounds of potsherds, while these con- 
sist of large blocks of building stone, either limestone or 
basalt, measuring generally two feet or two feet six one 
way, and a foot or eighteen inches the other. Then they 
are usually comparatively near together; all around the Lake 
of Tiberias, and in the country in its vicinity, they are gen- 
erally not more than from one to three miles apart; so that 
this section of country must have been very thickly ])eopled. 
The ruins of Et-Tell are now built over by the Arabs, who 
live in a squalid village among the basalt blocks which 
formed the mansions inhabited by the more highly civil- 


ized race which occupied the country in the days when all 
this region Avas the favourite haunt of Christ and his dis- 

Leaving Et-Tell on our left, we followed the east bank of 
the Jordan for more than a mile. This river is here very 
rapid, and, splitting into numerous streams, whirls past the 
small islets they form. It is the very ideal of a trout stream, 
on Avhich on some more propitious occasion I propose to 
cast a fly. Meantime, even had I been provided wuth the 
requisite tackle, I should have been obliged to forego the 
temptation. It was on the steep rise of a hill, about a hun- 
dred yards from the river, that my guide suddenly stopped. 
Here was a small collection of Arab hovels, recently con- 
structed, and it was in their search for stone, last summer, 
ihat the natives had for the first time uncovered the ruin 
which now met my delighted gaze. 

I found myself in the presence of a building the character 
of wliich I had yet to determine, the walls of which were 
still standing to a height of eight feet. The area they en- 
closed Avas thickly strewn with building-stones, fragments 
of columns, pedestals, capitals, and cornices. Two at least 
of the columns Avere in situ, Avhile the bases of others Avere 
too much concealed by piles of stone to enable me to deter- 
mine their original positions. My first impression, from the 
character of the architecture Avhich Avas strewn about, Avas 
that this Avas formerly a Roman temple; but n further and 
more careful examination convinced me that it had origi- 
nally been a Jewish synagogue, which at a later period had 
been converted to another use; probably it had been ap- 
propriated by the B3v,antines as a basilica, or Christian 
church. This Avas the more probable, as the existing Avails 
had evidently been built upon the foundations of a former 
structure. The massive stones Avere set in mortar, Avhich 
is not the case with the synagogues hitherto discovered; 
and I should doubtless have been completely at fault in 
classing this building had my attention not been already 
directed to the remains of the synagogues brought to light 
recently by the exertions of the Palestine Exploration 

I Avasnow fortunately in a position to compare the dimen- 



sions, fijrouii(l-plnn, and arcliitcctural fragiuciits which were 
strewn about, with tliose which tlic synagogues 
ah-cady discovered, in regard to Mhoso original character 
there can be no doubt, as the Hebrew inscriptions and sacred 
Jewisli symbols carved on the lintels i)rove it. The build- 
ing measured forty-tive feet by thirty-three, which is exactly 
the measurement of the small synagogue at Kefr-Birim. 
The columns were exactly of the same diameter. The floor 
was depressed, and reached by a descent of two steps, which 
were carried around the building in benches or seats each a 
foot high, the face of the upper one ornamented by a thin 
scroll of floral tracery. These features occur in the syna- 
gogue at Irbid. There was a single large stone cut into the 
shape of an arch, which had evidently been placed on the 
lintel of the principal entrance, like the one which stands to 
this day over the doorway of the great synagogue at Kefr- 
Birim. The niches, with the great scallop-shell pattern 
which distinguishes them, almost exactly resemble those of 
the synagogue of Kerazeh or Chorazin; wliile the cornice, 
which was extremely florid, and not unlike what in modern 
parlance is called " the egg-and-dart ])attern," though differ- 
ing in some respects from the cornices hitherto observed, 
was evidently of the same school of design. The capitals 
were two feet three inches high, and Corinthian, in the same 
style and of the same dimensions as those of the small syna- 
gogue of Kefr-IJirim, and there was the upper fragment of 
two semi-attached fluted columns, with Doric capitals, the 
ditto of which is to be found at Irbid. The two columns in 
situ exactly answer in position those of several of the syna- 
gogues, and though the position of the door, which was in 
the centre of the western wall, was somewhat unusual, this 
was accounted for by the fact that the building had been 
excavated from the hillside, so that the top of the east wall, 
nine feet of which was still standing, was level with the sur- 
face of the slope of the hill. 

The only convenient entrance was in the wall of the side 
immediately opposite to it. The name of this most interest- 
ing locality was ed-Dikkeh, a spot hitherto unvisited by any 
traveller. Indeed, if it had been visited, it would have been 
passed unnoticed, for its antiquarian treasures have only 


been revealed for the first time <i few months ago. The 
word ed-Dikkeh means "platform," a name, considering its 
position, not inappropriate ; but I have not been able to 
identify it with any Biblical site. 

The area of ruins apart from those of the synagogue 
itself was not very large, but the situation was highly pict- 
uresque. 'Half a mile to the north of where we stood the 
Jordan forces its way through a gorge which I hope some 
day to explore, while immediately below us it rushed be- 
tween numerous small islets. Opposite the hills swelled 
gently back from its western bank, behind us they rose 
more abruptly to the high table-land of Jaulan, while to the 
southward stretched the plain of Buteha, Avith the Lake of 
Tiberias in the distance. 

Meantime the few wild-looking natives Avho inhabit this 
remote locality clustered around me, as they watched me 
measuring and sketching, with no little suspicion and alarm. 
" See," said one to another, " our country is being taken 
from us." My request for old coins only frightened them 
the more. Thej^ vehemently protested that not one had 
been found, an assertion which, under the circumstances, I 
felt sure was untrue; nor did the most gentle and reassuring 
lanojuajxe, with tenders of backshish — which Avas ncverthe- 
less greedily accepted — tend to allay their fears. I have 
forgotten to mention Avhat was perhaps the most interesting 
object of all, and this Avas the carved figure of a Avinged 
female Avaving what seemed to be a sheaf in one hand, Avhile 
her legs were doubled backward in a most uncomfortable 
and ungraceful position. It Avas on an isolated slab about 
six inches thick, and tAVO feet one Avay by eighteen inches 
the other. 

The area of the hillside all around Avas strevrn Avith the 
blocks of building-stone of which the town had been built. 
It had apparently not been a very large place, but as the 
villagers Avill probably continue their excavations for their 
OAvn purposes next summer, it is not at all unlikely that they 
may bring some more interesting remains to light. I ear- 
nestly impressed upon them the necessity of preserving 
these, promising another visit next year, Avhen I Avould reward 
them in proportion to the carvings, coins, or other antiqui- 

238 HAIFA. 

tics thoy could ])i-ovide lor uie; but they iistcuod to my ox- 
hortaliou witli sucli a stupid and suspicious expression of 
countenance that I did not derive much encouragement from 
their reluctant consent. 


Haifa, Feb. IG. — I described in my last letter the discov- 
ery of the ruins of an ancient Jewish synagogue at a spot 
on the east bank of the Jordan, about three miles north of 
the upper end of the Lake of Tiberias. As the question of 
ancient Jewish synagogues is one of great interest, in re- 
gard to which considerable misapprehension prevails even 
among archaeologists, I may be excused for entering upon a 
short disquisition upon the subject, as I am not aware that 
the great light which has been thrown upon it by recent 
Palestinian research has yet been distributed in a popular 
form to the general public, and the old and recognized au- 
thorities are often misleading. For example, "Smith's Dic- 
tionary of the Bible " contains a long article on Jewish syna- 
soofues which has hitherto been considered the great author- 
ity on the subject, in which I observe that it states under 
the sub-head "Structure:" 

" Its position, however, was determined. It stood, if possible, on the high- 
est ground iti or near tlie city to which it lielonged. Its direction, too, was 
fixed. Jerusalem was the Kibleh of Jewish devotion. Tiie synagogue was 
so constructed that the worshippers, as they entered and as they prayed, 
looked towards it." 

This may have been the case in respect of the earlier syn- 
agogues, long anterior to the time of Christ, the traces of 
which have been lost, but in the case of eleven which have 
been discovered by the officers of the Palestine Exploration 
Fund, since the above was written, no such rules have been 
adhered to. These all date either from the time of Christ, 
or shortly before it, to three centuries after it. We know 
they were synagogues, and can approximately calculate 
their dates, from the Hebrew inscriptions found on some of 
them, and from the emblems with which they were orna- 

240 HAIFA. 

nicntod, siu-h as the put of manna, the seven-branched can- 
dlestick, and otlicr purely Jewish devices. In the cases of 
these synagogues, many of which I have seen, the builders 
have by no means selected the most prominent positions; 
the existing remains have, with two exceptions — at Iibid and 
at cd-DikkeJi, where the ground would not admit of such an 
arrangement — their doors on tiie southern side, so that every 
Jew entering would have to turn his back (»ii Jerusalem. 
The ark, if there Avas one in these synagogues, Avould neces- 
sarily, in that case, be ])laced at the northern end, and the 
worshippers would therefore have to pray with their backs 
to Jerusalem. 

We know, besides, how abhorrent to the Jews were the 
figures of animals, and the popular impression has been that 
none such were permitted to decorate their synagogues; yet 
in these synagogues we find them prominently carved in 
stone in six out of the eleven. The carved iigure I found 
at cd-Dikkeh makes a seventh, and they probably existed in 
the others and in greater quantities than those already noted, 
but have been destroyed b}^ the Mohammedans as contrary 
to their religion. As may be supposed, as they were all 
built at nearly the same period, there is a great similaritv 
in the architecture of the synagogues recently discovered. 
It is of an extremely florid and somewhat debased Roman 
type. In all of them the same class of mouldings is observa- 
ble. There is a great resemblance in the niches and cornices, 
while the capitals show some variation, being Corinthian, 
Doric, and Ionic. There is also a great similarity in the 
ground plan and in the position of the cohunns. In the 
case of a Roman temple these are all in colonnades outside 
the building, in cases of synagogues they are all within it. 
There should be no possibility,therefore, of confusing a svn- 
agogue with a Roman temple, even though it abounds with 
Roman architecture; but it is not always so easy to distin- 
guish it from an early Christian church, or basilica, where 
the columns were also inside. The reason that the archi- 
tecture of these latter synagogues was so purely Roman in 
character is to be found in the conditions under which they 
were built. Shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem by 
the Romans, the Jewish Sanhedrim Avas established at Tibe- 


rias, under a patriarchate whose authority was recognized 
by the foreign communities at Rome and in Asia Minor, 
and large numbers of these came to live in the district, 
while alms poured into the treasury at Tiberias from all di- 
rections. It thus became very wealthy, and the centre of a 
great Jewish population. It was recognized by the Romans, 
and by th6m granted many indulgences, and, during the 
reign of Antoninus Pius, a.d. 138-161, increased in power 
and influence. 

At the beginning of the third centurv the Jews were in 
high favor with the Emperor Alexander Severus, who was 
even called the Father of the Synagogue, and this name 
may have been given him from his influence over the erec- 
tion and architecture of these buildings. It seems, there- 
fore, almost a certainty that the Roman emperors aided and 
inspired the erection of these synagogues. They were built 
by Roman labor, for the Jews, being immersed in commer- 
cial pursuits, by using Roman workmen, obtained much finer 
results than we are led to think they would themselves have 
been capable of. No synagogues of the kind have been 
found in other countries, though there were many in Baby- 
lon and in the colonies of the Jews, and this type has never 
been perpetuated in later works, while we have seen how 
many points in their religion Avere disregarded in their de- 
sign and ornamentation. Wc may therefore suppose that 
they were forced upon the people by their Roman rulers at 
a time when they were completely submissive to their power, 
and directly they were able they deserted such pagan build- 
ings as a disloyalty to their religion. It is stated that Rab- 
bi Simon, son of Jochai, is the founder of many of these 
buildings. Indeed, it is related that he built with his own 
money twenty-four synagogues in this jsart of the country. 
As he was a most fanatical teacher of the law, it is evident 
that if he erected so many buildings in such violent contra- 
diction to many points of his own religion, he must have 
done it under great pressure. These synagogues built un- 
der Roman auspices were pi'obably only an alternative evil; 
they had to choose between having them or none at all. 
With the exception of one on Carmel, and a problematical 
one at Shefr-Amr, about six miles from Haifa, all the syna- 

24-2 HAIFA. 

goguos liitlicrto found liave been ■witliin the immediate lim- 
its of wliat was formerly the ])atriarehate of Tiberias. The 
fact that the building at ed-I)ikkeh would be included in 
ill is district is an additional reason for assumins: it to have 
been one of tliis class of synagogues, and, if so, Ave should 
probably be accurate in fixing its date at somewhere in the 
first or second century after Christ. 

From ed-Dikkeh I proceeded under the guidance of the 
old sheik, who was much pleased at the satisfaction which I 
evinced at his successful leadershij. thus far, in an easterly 
direction to another place, where he assured me that the 
villagers had also been at work getting out stone during the 
summer, and had unearthed some more old ruins. Our way 
led us along the flank of the Jaulan hills, with the plain of 
the Buteha on our right, and, after a ride of about an hour, 
we reached a village of huts, in the midst of which was the 
anticipated excavation. I could not quite expect such an- 
other stroke of luck as that which had befallen me at ed- 
Dikkeh, but yet I had no reason to be dissatisfied. Here, upon 
a terrace built of large blocks of basalt about five inches in 
height, I found a curious condition of things. The villagers 
had laid bare, eighteen inches below the surface of the earth, 
the cement floor of an old chamber about twenty feet in one 
direction. I could not tell hov/ far it went in the other, as 
it was still covered with earth, but M'here it abruptly termi- 
nated it revealed, about eighteen inches beneath, another 
floor of some building of much older date, across Avhich it 
had been built diagonally. This floor was of stone. It, too, 
had been cleared for some distance by the natives, and upon 
it was standing, at intervals of six feet apart, five solid cubes 
of stone, measuring two feet each way, which had probably 
been the foundations or lower stones on which had been 
placed the pedestals of columns. As this lowest floor was 
three feet below the present surface of the ground, the top 
of these stones Avas one foot below it, and the line of them 
may have continued, though only five had been uncovered. 
I have no means of conjecturing what the building may 
have been. I found many fragments of columns and caj^i- 
tals strewn around among the ruins, which covered a larger 
area than those at ed-Dikkeh, and which, like them, are a new 


discovery, though what its results may be must depend very 
much upon further excavation. I impressed upon the vil- 
lagers here, as I had already done at ed-Dikkeh, if, in the 
course of their excavating for stone, they came upon any 
with inscriptions or pictorial representations, to preserve 
them; but I felt, as I did so, that my words fell upon deaf 
or rather imwilling ears. Thoy gazed at me with alarmed 
stolidity, either not understanding or not caring to under- 
stand, and evidently dominated by the fixed impression that 
my proceedings implied in some Avay the future ownership 
of the soil. I looked from here wistfully up a valley, at the 
mouth of which this ruin was situated, and at the head of 
which others were reported to exist, but circumstances pre- 
vented me at the time from pushing my explorations in this 
direction. Indeed, travel in this part of the country is at- 
tended with many difticulties, some political and some mate- 
rial, among the latter the chief one being, if one is unpro- 
vided wuth a tent, the question of where one is to spend the 
night. If, on the other hand, one is provided with a tent, 
it involves a much larger retinue, increased expense, excites 
even more distrust among the natives, and becomes some- 
times dangerous from arousing their cupidity, and this ne- 
cessitates having guards and escorts, which are the cause of 
endless quarrels and annoyance, as the more people you have 
with you the less are you your own master to go where you 
like, and the more difficult it is to provide for man and beast. 
It is a choice of evils at best of times, and the worry and dis- 
comfort can only be compensated for by good luck in ob- 
taining results, and this is by no means always to be secured, 
though thus far on this particular journey I had had no rea- 
son to complain. I now propose to tempt fate on the high- 
lands to the east of Lake Tiberias, with what success remains 
to be seen. 



Haifa, February 28, — The tourist wlio follows the ordi- 
nary track of Palestine travel from Jerusalem to Damascus 
inevitably passes Tiberias. Standing on the flat roof of the 
convent, where, if he is not one of a Cook's party, he is com- 
pelled to lodge, he has a splendid view of the lake and of 
the precipitous cliffs opposite, which descend abruptly to its 
margin from the elevated plateau behind, that averages two 
thousand feet above the level of the lake. That sheet of 
water being nearly eight hundred feet below the sea-level, 
the only engineering problem Avhich presents itself to the 
consideration of the surveyors who have been engaged in 
tracing a railroad line between Haifa and Damascus is how 
to ascend from this depression to the highlands above. 

The solution of the problem is to be found in a large wide 
valley called the Wady Samak, which is exactly opposite 
Tiberias, and np the unknown recesses of which our tourist 
looks with longing eyes. Practically this wady is a sealed 
book to the Palestine traveller. To explore it he would have 
to obtain special permission from the government, with a 
guard, and be exposed to all manner of extortion from his 
dragoman, Avho would take advantage of his ignorance to 
magnify the dangers and add to the already existing ob- 
stacles. Indeed, one of the most singular characteristics of 
Palestine travel is the close proximity of unknown and un- 
explored districts to beaten tracks. Just as it often happens 
in a large city, that in the immediate neighborhood of one 
of the most frequented thoroughfares there are back slums 
inhabited by thieves and criminals, into which no respectable 
person penetrates, so, in Palestine, within ten miles of a 
place like Tiberias, there are spots as yet untrodden by the 
foot of the explorer; but these are all to the east of the lake 


and of tlie Jordan. Almost every inch of western Palestine 
has succumhed to the exhaustive researches of the Palestine 
Exploration Fund. 

It was on a gloomy winter afternoon that I found myself 
skirting the eastern shore of the lake with the view of at- 
tacking the mysteries of this interesting valley — interesting 
from a practical point of view, because I wanted to look at 
the possible gradients which it might offer for a railway, 
and still more interesting from an archjeological point of 
view, because I felt sure that in searching for gradients I 
should find ruins. But the search was undertaken under 
difficulties. I was without a tent, because ray journey par- 
took of the nature of an exploratory dash, and a tent would 
have been an encumbrance. I was without a guide, because 
my guide had deserted nie in consequence of one of those 
misunderstandings which are not uncommon between travel- 
lers and their guides; but I had two companions, baggage 
animal and servant, and an amiable soldier, upon whom, in 
case of trouble, it was supposed we should be able to rely 
for protection and aid. 

Owing to a variety of causes, principally arising from a 
desire to find ruins where there were none, and to map cer- 
tain wadys which are incorrectly laid down in the maps, we 
were about two hours later than we should have been when 
we reached the mouth of the wady. The clouds were lower- 
ing ominously, there had been no sun all day, and now that 
luminary seemed to have given up the attempt to shine upon 
us in despair, and to have made up his mind, in a fit of dis- 
gust, to retire permanently to rest. I felt, considering the 
journey up the unknown wady, which we still had to perform 
without a guide before I coukl hope to reach a resting-place 
(I did not look forward to its being much of a sleeping- 
place), that it had no business to get dark so early. How- 
ever, it was still broad daylight, and we took our bearings 
by compass as carefully as was possible, and were encouraged 
by observing that the track we Avere on was a broad and 
well-beaten one, and which, as the formation was white lime- 
stone, would show plainly even when it got dark. The val- 
ley I knew to be about seven miles long. The village we 
were bound for, the only village in it or near it, was at its 

1>4G HAIFA. 

Load. Wo had oidy to kooji li^oing straiglit uj), and tlio i)atli 
M'o were on Avould surely load us to it. 

This fond delusion I hugged to my soul as wo pushed on 
as rapidly as our wearied steeds, which had been travelling 
since daybreak, Avould allow us. The breadth of the valley 
in a bee-line from one edge of the plateau above us to the 
other was not less than two miles. It was a broad valley, 
with many shoulders running into it from both sides, and 
terraces here and there of cultivated land, the crops the 
property of wandering Bedouins, who come here in winter 
to sow them, and come back in spring to gather them. 
Down the centre of the valley brawled, over a rocky bed, a 
mountain brook, even in the dryest season a respectable 
trout stream, and often after heavy rains an impassable tor- 
rent. On the present occasion, however, it was behaving 
itself respectably, and gave us no trouble. It was fringed 
with oleanders, and here and there received tiny tributaries, 
which all helped to produce more vegetation than is usual in 
Palestine valleys, and to enhance the beauty of scenery the 
natural features of which were strikingly picturesque. As 
long as it was light I could see natural terraces on the flanks 
of the valley, up which it would be easy to take the line. 
Then I saw where long curves must be taken, winding up 
lateral hollows, through which we could twist the line up 
the two thousand feet it had to ascend, and lengthen out the 
seven miles of the wady to a distance which would suffice 
for the required gradient. 

Assuredly when that long-looked-for and much-to-be-de- 
sired line is made, the stretch up the Wady Samak \;'\\\ be 
one of the most romantic and interesting sections upon it, 
Avhile its well-watered slopes will doubtless tempt the specu- 
lative agriculturist or stock-farmer to intrude upon domains 
now appropriated by a few wandering Arabs, whose scanty 
flocks might be increased tenfold without consuming half its 
pasture, and who do not cultivate a tithe of its fertile soil. 

While thus indulging in airy imaginings of the future, 
darkness gradually closed in, and I became suddenly aware, 
as so often happens in this world, that all my calculations 
would have been sound in regard to my finding my way if 
they had not been based upon thoroughly delusive premises. 


The cause of my error may be summed up in the one word, 
basalt. I had forgotten one of the most remarkable geo- 
logical features of this part of the country, and this is, that 
only the lower stratum of the range which rises from the 
east shore of Lake Tiberias is of limestone. All tlie rest is 
basaltic, and this formation is of vast thickness. The whole 
of this district is, indeed, an immense volcanic field, consist- 
ing of irregular heaps of amorphous lava and disintegrating 
scoria?, with mounds of globular basalt. So that when dark- 
ness came on everything below me, as well as all above, 
seemed suddenly to have become as black as night. The 
path had disappeared as if by magic, and I called a halt, and 
we found ourselves on a patch of black rock, with exactly 
similar patches of black rock all around us. The outlines of 
the hills had vanished, the 2>ath had led us up from the bed 
of the torrent, so we no longer had that to guide us. To at- 
tempt to descend to it would have been madness, as we might 
have fallen over a precipice in the darkness; indeed, we were 
afraid to move, except with extreme caution, in any direction. 
We had a compass and matches, and knew that by keeping 
due south we might, if no accident befell us, and the rocks 
permitted a passage, ultimately reach the plateau; but we 
also knew that the direction of our night-quarters was due 
east; but here we ran the greater risk of tumbling into un- 
known transverse gorges with precipitous cliffs. We cau- 
tiously worked south, but our progress soon became barred 
by thorny brushwood, and we had to face the alternative of 
a night out-of-doors without water or anything to drink, and 
a very limited supply of food. 

We were just bracing ourselves to this unpleasant pros- 
pect, when, ill a southwesterly direction, we suddenly saw a 
gleam of light; it lasted for a moment, then seemed to go 
out. But that one ray was one of hope, and we steered cau- 
tiously for it. We had been scrambling by compass in the 
dark for about half an hour, and were just beginning to de- 
spair, when the bark of a distant dog put new energy into us, 
and not long after, around the shoulder of a hill, we came 
upon an encampment, and were greeted by the furious yells 
of the mob of noisy curs which infest the tents of the Bed- 
ouins. It was a startling apparition to burst upon these 

248 HAIFA. 

nomads in tlioir remote retreat — horsemen of a type they had 
never seen hefore, and an armed soldier. Such children as 
were awake set up a dismal squalling, the women cowered 
troniblincjly over their camp-fires under thepPnt roof of l)lack 
camels' hair. All the side of the tent being open, its whole 
internal economy was exposed to view, and enabled us to 
judge of the slight protection in the way of bedding or 
clothing or covering of any sort Avhich was provided against 
the inclemency of the season. 

Meantime the men had gathered round us, half timidly, 
half threateningly. The presence of the soldier suggested 
fear and suspicion, while the sraallness of our party encour- 
aged tlie bolder ones to look defiant. As far as I could 
make out in the darkness there were about a dozen tents 
here in all — a])parently the fag end of an insignificant tribe 
whose name I forget. It was at first impossible to induce 
any one at that late hour to act as guide. Even abundant 
offers of backshish failed to shake their suspicion, which 
was to the effect that we wished to decoy one into durance 
to act as a hostage until some arrears of taxes which they 
owed the government should be paid up. 

The other alternative was that we should take up our 
quarters in the sheik's tent, whether he liked it or not, which, 
with a piercing wind blowing, accompanied by sleet, was 
not a very pleasant prospect. He seemed to relish it as little 
as we did, and finally consented to be our guide as we made 
some silver gleam in the firelight. As he seized his eighteen- 
foot lance and mounted his ragged steed he looked like some 
Arab Don Quixote; and as the camp-fire threw its ruddy 
glow upon a group of wild-looking women, with dishevelled 
hair and tattooed chins, crooning over a pot like the witches 
of " Macbeth," and upon barelegged men, as they flitted to 
and fro between the black tents, I thought I had seldom 
gazed upon a more weird and unreal-looking scene. 

How our guide could find his way up the rocky hillside 
and across the prairie remained a mystery during the long 
two hours that we followed him. Of this I feel sure, that 
we scrambled up places in the dark that we should never 
have thought of facing by daylight. The very horses 
seemed to have become desperate, and to have abandoned 


themselves to tlieir fate. At last we dismounted and scaled 
the rocks like goats, every one, man or beast, doing the best 
he could for himself on his own account, and so at last, 
wearied and half-starved, for we had fasted for about ten 
hours, we reached the goal of our endeavour, too tired to 
see what an utterly miserable hole it was. 

I passed- a wretched night in a room in the middle of 
which a lire had been built, which filled it with smoke, for 
it had no other exit but the door, which it was too cold to 
keep open. Around the fire were stretched fifteen Arabs, 
who quarrelled with a government ofticial, whom they were 
compelled to entertain, about their taxes, until they exhausted 
themselves, and then they exchanged their discordant Avrang- 
ling ibr no less discordant snoring. After replenishing ex- 
hausted nature with the eggs which was all that my host 
could provide me with, and a tin of canned meat, 1 vainly 
tried to follow their example, but Avas too busily occupied 
in scratching to think of anything but fleas, and so tossed 
and tumbled and longed for the morning, Avhen I proposed 
to enter upon a new field of exploration, for this was tiie 
village of El-Al, where I had heard that ruins existed; and 
as I had every reason to believe that in ancient times this 
neighbourhood had been the centre of a large population, 
I felt sure that they had left interestinoc traces, which were 
yet to be discovered. 


Haifa, March 15. — There is no part of ancient Palestine 
■\vliich offers a more fertile field for anti(|uarian research than 
that ])orlion lying to the east of the Jordan, which fell to 
the share of the half-tribe of Manasseh. In Biblical times 
a part of it was called Golan, and its modern name of Jaulan 
is almost identical with its ancient appellation. It is to this 
day the finest grazing land in all Palestine, as it was in the 
days of old, when Job fed his vast flocks and herds upon its 
more eastern pastures, but it is now very sparsely inhabited. 
The sedentary population has all been driven away by the 
wandering tribes of Bedouins who have appropriated the 
country; the very few villages that remain are squalid and 
miserable, and the inhabitants live in terror for their lives, 
for they never know what day, or rather night, the Arabs 
may not be down upon them, and carry off their stock. 
They surround their houses, therefore, with large yards en- 
closed by stone walls, and it Avas in one of these that I found 
a lodging on the night that I had so ncarlv been obliged to 
spend in the wilds of the Wady Samak. Attached to these 
yards are large stone vaults, capable of containing great 
herds of cattle, and some of them apparently of great an- 
tiquity. In the one in which I staked my horses I found, 
on examining it in the morning, part of a Corinthian column, 
still in situ, standing to a height of about six feet. I faile<l 
to discover any more, but the vault was so dark that my 
examination was carried on with difficulty, and I had no time 
to spend over it. The sheik's house in which I lodged, and 
to which this vault belonged, M'as evidently, however, built 
on the site of what had formerly been a building of some im- 
portance, for in the yard, to my surprise and delight, I came 
upon a prostrate statue of a woman, life size. The head was 
severed from the body, and the feet had been broken off at 

K HIS FIN. 251 

the ankles, but it was a fine specimen of Greek statuary. 
Both tlie features and the drapery were beautifully executed. 
The feet I found in situ, the ankles just appearing on a level 
with the ground. On clearing this away I laid bare the feet, 
which were still firmly fixed on the original pedestal, which 
it would have required a great deal of labour to disinter. It 
is not improbable that the pedestal is covered with carving 
in basso relievo, and I promise myself at some future time to 
dig it up. In the meantime both feet and pedestal cannot 
be safer than where they are, more especially as my com- 
panions secured the head. This the sheik was induced to 
part with for $3. The body was too cumbersome to carry 
away now, as a camel would have been needed for its trans- 
port, and, as it is not of much value without the head, it may 
be considered secured by the possession of that })ortion. 

The statue apparently represented Artemis, as the left arm 
clasped what seemed to be a quiver for arroAvs. The right 
arm was unfortunately broken away, otherwise the statue 
would be perfect when put together. The pedestal, without 
doubt, contains an inscription describing the statue and the 
goddess represented upon it. I was sorely tempted to de- 
vote a day to its examination, but, in that case, I should 
have been compelled to give up visiting some other spots of 
interest which had never before been investigated, and the 
hardships and discomforts of these preliminary dashes into 
the wilds, more es2)ecially in the depth of winter, are so 
great that one is not tempted to prolong them — my present 
object being rather to know where to go at some future time, 
when the conditions, political and otherwise, may be more 
favourable than they are now. I therefore did not linger 
longer than was absolutely necessary at this place. I had 
seen enough to prove to me that it would, in all probability, 
amply repay a fuller investigation, and I determined with- 
out delay to push on to a village called Khisfin, which I was 
extremely anxious to examine, as it has hitherto escaped the 
careful attention of all former travellers. And vet, from 
the records which I have been able to examine in regard to 
it, it must have been a place of considerable importance in 
mediaeval history, though hitherto my efforts to trace it back 
to an earlier date than the beginning of the tenth century 

252 HAIFA. 

or to idontily it with any ]5iblical site have l;cen in vain. 
Yakuhi, an Arab geographer, Avho lived about tlie year 900 
A.i>., mentions it as one of tlie chief towns of the profince 
of the Jordan. In his day Syria was divided into three prov- 
inces, namely: The j)rovince of Damascus, the province of 
the Jordan, and the j)rovince of l*alestine. Yakut, in the 
thirteenth century, mentions it as a town of the llauran dis- 
trict, below Nawa on the Damascus road, between Nawa 
and the Jordan. Khisfin was also at one time a fortress of 
the Saracens, as it is further mentioned as the place to Avhich 
Al Melek Al Adil, Saladin's son and successor, fled after 
having been routed at the battle of Eeisan by the Crusaders, 
who advanced upon him from Acre. As it is mentioned as 
being one of the chief towns of the province, so long ago as 
900 A.D., it is probable that its importance dates from a 
much older period, as indeed was indicated by some of the 
ornamentation ■which I found there. 

Securing my host, the sheik, as a guide to a locality which 
promised to be so full of interest, we started at a brisk pace 
across the plateau, in the teeth of a bitterly cold east wind 
and driving sleet, and, after riding an hour, came to the 
ruins of Nab, situated on a small mound. Thev consist of 
blocks of basalt building-stone, some traces of foundations, 
some fragments of columns and capitals, and a tank, dry at 
the time of my visit, but which evidently held water at some 
time of the year. It had, apparently, been much deeper at 
a former period, only the two upper courses of masonry being 
now^ visible. It w\as oval in shape, and measured sixty yards 
by thirty. This place does not appear to have been pre- 
viously visited or described. Shortly after leaving it I ob- 
served masses of black stone, which, on nearer approach, 
proved to be the walls of a fortress that, my guide told me, 
was Khisfin itself. It loomed strikingly up from the grassy 
plain, and gave rise to pleasing anticipations as I galloped 
impatiently up to the base of the walls, and, jumjiing ofi^ my 
horse without even waiting to tether him, in ray excitement, 
scrambled up a breach to see what was inside. I looked 
down upon a ruin-strewn area, but, alas, no columns, noi 
capitals, nor signs of Roman remains. This had evidently 
been in turn a Saracen and a Crusading construction. The 

KHISFm. 253 

outer walls measured sixty-eight yards one way by fifty-four 
the other. They are nine feet in thickness, and are eight 
courses of stone in height, the stones being from one foot 
to one foot six inches square; but some are much larger. 
Within the fort are the traces of a second or inner wall, 
forming a sort of keep in the centre; but the whole area 
was too much encumbered with ruin for any accurate plan 
to be possible in the limited time at my disposal. 

A little beyond the fort stood the village itself. All the 
intervening and snri'ounding fields Avere thickly strewn with 
the large hewn blocks of black basalt of which the houses 
of the former population had been constructed, and which, 
to judge from the area which they covered, quite justified 
the description of Yakubi, that in his day this was one of 
the chief towns of the province, and the centre of a very 
large population. The present squalid inhabitants, few in 
number, seemed to live in a perfect quarry of these old 
building-blocks. No difficulty had they in finding material 
wherewith to build their houses, their large cattle vaults, 
and enclosing yards. They simply piled the tumbled masses 
of stone in a little more regular order, one above another, 
to make walls of any height or thickness they chose, with- 
out mortar or cement, and had houses that would last for- 
ever. As all the stones were beautifully squared and shaped, 
they had far more symmetrical walls, thanks to the ancients, 
than if they had been left to themselves. These black, mas- 
sive huts all jumbled together with their vaults and yards, 
without i-egular streets or lanes, formed one of the strangest 
looking villages I ever saw. In some cases the walls were 
formed of stones placed diagonally, in others horizontally, 
in others perpendicularly. The very roofs were of stone, 
with earth on the top of them to fill up the cracks. Where 
hewn stone is so abundant and Avood almost impossible to 
obtain, it is astonishing what uses the former can be put 
to. And now came a search which I would willingly have 
protracted over days instead of over minutes, which were 
all I had to give to it. To " do " Khisfin thoi'oughly one 
ought to examine carefully every stone in every house, be- 
sides the acres of stones by which the present village is sur- 
rounded. As it was, I went into as many houses as I had 

254 HAIFA. 

time for, ;iiul mado sketches of wliat oniaineiitatioii I found. 
The natives liad evidently used as lintels for their doorways 
the stones Avhich had served the ancients for the same ])nr- 
pose. These were usually four or even five feet long, and 
many of them Avere ornamented M'ith curious devices. They 
"were in part Crusading and in part Saracenic. There Avere 
the tablets Avith half-effaced escutcheons, rosettes, bosses, 
crosses, and other Crusading emblems, Avhich left no doubt 
in my mind that this must haA'e been at one time an impor- 
tant Crusading fortress, though in the only book relating to 
the crusades which I happen to have by me no mention is 
made of it. There Avere several of those curious carvings, 
difficult to describe, Avhich characterize Saracenic architec- 
tui'e as an cAadence that the Moslem conquerors of the cru- 
saders had also had a hand in its adornment; but Avhat Avas 
more interesting, there Avere floral Avreaths and carved de- 
vices Avhich are a feature in Byzantine art, Avhich gave clear 
evidence that before the conquest of this province from the 
Byzantine empire in the seventh century it had been an im- 
portant city of that civilization Avhich immediately succeeded 
the Roman. 

The important question Avhich I could not determine Avas 
Avhether, in the old Roman times, it had been a place of note. 
There can be little doubt that a future examination, of a 
more minute character than I Avas able' to give, Avould deter- 
mine this ])oint, and it is not at all impossible that upon the 
old stones might be found seven-branched candlesticks, pots 
of manna, or emblems of a still older date, Avhich Avould 
carry it back to JcAvish times. MeanAvhile I looked anxious- 
ly, but in vain, for an inscription Avhich might throAv some 
light on the subject, and it is certain that amid such a mass 
of ruin such are to be found. All ray inquiries for old coins 
only tended to alarm the villagers, Avho looked on my pro- 
ceedings Avitli their usual suspicion, and associated my visit 
and my desire for old money A\'ith their taxes, Avhit-h is the 
only idea that the fellah of Palestine seems able to connect 
Avith the visit of a prying and inquisitive stranger. The 
Avhole of the country Avhich surrounds Khisfin is susceptible 
of the highest degree of cultivation; the land is eminently 
fertile and almost a dead IcA-el, capable of producing abun- 


dant crops, if tliere were any people to cultivate it. As it 
is, it is allowed to run to waste. It affords pasture to their 
flocks, but these are scanty, through fear of the Arabs, and 
the people, unable to rely upon the government for protec- 
tion, and, indeed, being only aware that there is a govern- 
ment through its tax-gatherers, arc sullen and suspicious 
and discouraged, and utterly without energy to do more 
than provide themselves with the barest necessaries of life. 


Haifa, March 31. — From Khisfin, tLc ruins of -wljich I 
described in my last letter, I struck off in a -westerly direc- 
tion under the guidance of the sheik who had been my 
host the night before, and who, now that he was convinced 
that I had nothing to do with tax-gathering, and was only 
possessed by what must have seemed to him an insane desire 
to find old stones and make pictures of them, took an evi- 
dent pleasure in ministering to such a harmless form of in- 
sanity; in fact he became quite a bore on the subject. As 
he was naturally unable to appreciate any distinction be- 
tween one old stone and another, he was constantly making 
me ride out of my way to look at some weather-beaten piece 
of basalt Avhich had a fancied resemblance to a wild animal; 
or to a mound, the ruins on which belonged to a village that 
had been deserted within the last twenty years. Still I 
never could afford to treat his assurances with indifference, 
as there was always the possibility, until I satisfied myself 
to the contrary, that the stones to which he was guiding me 
might possess interest; and indeed on one occasion they did, 
for they turned out to be the ruins of a Roman town, where 
a few fragments of columns and capitals still remained to 
bear testimony to the particular civilization to which the}^ 
belonged, and which, although they did not present any 
striking architectural features — indeed, the remains were 
somewhat insignificant — it was always a satisfaction to have 
been the first to discover. The name of these ruins was 

Near them a very singular and unpleasant accident oc- 
cuiTcd to me. I rode my horse to drink at what seemed a 
muddy puddle, which was about ten or tAvelve feet in diam- 
eter. Instead of being content to drink at the margin, he 
took two steps into it, and suddenly disappeared head first; 


that is, ]]is head disappeared, his hind-quarters remained for 
a nioraent poised above the water just long enough to en- 
able me to throw myself off backward into about two feet 
of puddle. We had walked into an overflowed well. When 
his hind-quarters at last went down into it his head came 
up, or, at all events, as much of it as was required for 
breathing aiid snorting, which he did prodigiously, evidently 
in a panic of terror, while I stood drenched and shivering on 
the bank in the cold east wind and sleet, wondering how we 
were ever to get him out. The jioor beast was out of his 
depth, but the dimensions of the well were too limited to 
enable him to swim, or even to scram])le freely. Fortu- 
nately I had sent on my saddlebags by my servant, or the 
animal would have been hopelessly weighted down. As it 
was, it was only by the united efforts of the party tugging 
at the bridle and stirrup-leathers that, after many futile 
efforts, at the end of each of which he fell back and for a 
moment disappeared altogether, we ultimately succeeded in 
extricating him. Meantime my own plight was in the last 
degree unenviable, the more especially as I was not in very 
good health at the time, a consideration which induced my 
companion, w^ith a truly commendable devotion, to take off 
his nether garments and insist on my Avearing them instead 
of my own, while he performed the remainder of the day's 
journey in the slight protection which he wore beneath 

It Avas in this guise, and while still discussing my strange 
mishap, that our attention v/as suddenly arrested by finding 
ourselves surrounded by what are perhaps the most interest- 
ing of antiquarian objects, a number of dolmens. In a very 
limited area — none of them were over two hundred yards 
apart — I counted twenty. The subject of these rude stone 
monuments of a prehistoric age is so interesting that I will 
venture on a few words in regard to them. 

The most remarkable point about Syrian dolmens is, that 
while they have been found in numbers to the east of the 
Jordan, not one has been discovered in Judea or Samaria, 
and only two or three in Galilee; and those are doubtful 
specimens. Indeed, it is only of late years that they have 
attracted the notice of explorers cast of the Jordan ; but 

258 HAIFA. 

since attention lias been specially directed to the suLjcet, 
we have constantly been liaving new discoveries. Six years 
ago I found one of the first at a spot not more than twenty 
miles from the hitherto unknown field I had now come upon. 
That dolmen stood alone, and being previously unaware of 
their existence in this part of the world, I examined it Avith 
the greatest interest. Since then Captain Condcr, during 
his hurried survey in Moab, has found above seven hundred 
in that ]>art of the country, and the result has been that the 
controversy as to the purpose for which they were designed 
has been reopened with renewed vigor. 

The dolmen, which usually consists of three perpendicular 
stones forming three sides of a small chamber, with a single 
huge covering slab as its roof, is found in almost every part 
of the Avorld except America, though I saw a notice in a 
paper the other day of one having been discovered in Mis- 
souri. There are stone monuments in Central America, I be- 
lieve, somewhat resembling them, but I am not aware that 
the point has been satisfactorily determined, and it is of the 
highest interest that it should be, as it would establish the 
existence of general contact between the universal families 
of that ancient stock which preceded both the Aryan and 
Semitic races, and which belonged, therefore, to the illitei-- 
ate and prehistoric age of the use of bronze and of flint. 

Dolmens have been found in almost every country in 
Europe. They are numerous in the British Isles, France, 
Denmai-k, SAveden, Norway, Prussia, and the south of Rus- 
sia. I have myself found them in the mountains of Circas- 
sia, and they exist in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, in great 
numbers in Algeria and the north coast of Africa, in Asia 
Minor and India, and we have recently heard of them in 
Japan! Wherever they exist are generally to be found 
menhirs, or single monolithic stones, and stone circles, such 
as Stonehenge in England, or long rows of standing stones, 
such as those to be found at Carnac in Brittany, or smaller 
stone circles, such as are common to the east of the Jordan. 
Those found in Syria are generally placed in a position com- 
manding an extensive view and in close jiroximity to Avater. 
They are either " free standing," that is, quite alone and 
isolated, or they are covered by cairns of stones; or they 


are, as the majority were in this instance, perched upon 
piles of stones. 

It has been hitherto supposed that in all these cases they 
were sepulchral monuments, but it has been recently sug- 
gested that those alone beneath the cairns may have served 
this purposCj and those which were free standing or on cairns 
may have been used as altars. The basis for this conjecture 
consists in the fact that the flat covering stones of the Syrian 
dolmens are very often provided with cups or hollows, which 
may have served to hold sacrificial oil; and, moreover, the 
free standing dolmens are often on smooth rock, so that it 
would not be possible to inter a body beneath them. I have 
seen the covering slab to be as large as eleven feet long by 
five wide, though those in the field I was now examining 
were much smaller, some of the covering stones not being 
above five feet by three or four; this vas probably owing 
to their being of basalt, which is much heavier than ordi- 
nary stone. iSTcarly all were trilithons, the covering slab 
being sometimes held in position by pebbles inserted under 
it; and in many instances they appeared to have a slight 
slant which was not the result of accident. 

The natives here call them "Jews' burial-grounds," show- 
ing that the local tradition is in favor of their being sejiul- 
chral monuments, though it is very certain they, date from a 
period long anterior to the Jews. Indeed, the probability is 
that the disappearance of these monuments from western 
Palestine, where they no doubt existed, is due to the com- 
mand to destroy heathen monuments. Thus, in Deuteronomy, 
we find again and again repeated injunctions to overthrow 
the Canaanite altars, and to break or smash their pillars. 
These exhortations we find carried into practice by Heze- 
kiah and Josiah in Judea, and as the Book of Deuteronomy 
was licld sacred by the ten tribes as well as by the two, we 
are justified in supposing that they carried out the order in 
Samaria and Galilee. But the land to the east of the Jordan 
always contained a mixed population, over which the kings 
of Israel and Judah exercised but little control. Baal wor- 
ship was rife in Bashan, Gilead, and Moab in the days of 
Jeremiah, and the reforming zeal of Ilezekiah did not affect 
the land where Chemosh and Ishtar, Baal, Peor, Nebo, and 

2(50 HAIFA. 

Meni yet contiimed to be Avorshippcd, This accounts for 
(lolmcTis not having boon found, except witli a few doubtful 
specimens, in Galilee to the west of the Jordan. 

AVith the exception of the roughly excavated hollows in 
the covering slab, these rude stone monuments of Syria 
have, so far as is known, neither ornamentation nor rune nor 
other mark of the engraver's tool. In comparatively few 
instances they are made of hewn stone, very roughly cut, 
but generally they are of natural blocks and slabs entirely 
unformed. Thus, if there be any comparative scale of an- 
tiquity on which we can rely connected with the finish of 
the monument, the Syrian dolmens may claim to be consid- 
ered among the oldest of their kind. 

The word " dolmen," usually rendered table-stone, should, 
according to Max Miillcr, be more properly translated 
" lioled " stone, implying either a gateway, sucli as is formed 
by the trilithon, or else applying to menhirs and dolmens 
pierced with a hole, as in the case of the Ring stone, the 
Odin stone, and a peculiar class of holed dolmens. The one 
I saw in Circassia was of this latter category. Instead of 
three stones supporting the covering slab, as is almost inva- 
riably the case in Syria, there were four, and in the centre 
of the fourth was a circular hole, about eighteen inches in 
diameter, or just large enough to allow a thin man to 
squeeze through. Some have supposed these holes to be 
connected with some sacrificial rite, others to be due to the 
superstition that the dead could not rest in peace in tombs 
without an inlet for air. But the whole subject is encom- 
passed Avith mystery, and affords material for endless con- 

So also do the sacred stone circles, of which I have seen 
several to the east of the Jordan. They are held in the 
greatest veneration by the Arabs, who can give no rational 
explanation of the sacred character they possess, except that 
they have been sacred from immemorial time. Here, again, 
these may either have originally had a sepulchral character, 
or they may have had reference to that peculiar and most 
ancient worship of which the menhir or monolith was the 
emblem, for in some instances menhirs are placed in certain 
fixed positions in regard to the circles, or they may have 


had an astronomical significance. It is singular that to 
this day the reverential attitude of the Arab is outside of 
the circle with his face to the rising sun, while in India the 
same circles ai*e to be found among the Khonds in connec- 
tion with the worship of the rising sun, the tallest member 
of" the circle being towards the east. 

The conclusions at which we may proximately arrive with 
reference to these interesting monuments are — according 
to Captain Conder, to whose researches I am indebted for 
many of the foregoing remarks — that the menhir is the em- 
blem of the earliest religious idea suggested by the crea- 
tive potency; that the cii'cle may either have a sacred sig- 
nificance connected therewith, or be a sepulchral enclosure; 
that the dolmen, when free standing, is more likely to have 
been an altar than a tomb, but when buried beneath a cairn 
it may have been sepulchral; that the cairn is not always 
sepulchral, being sometimes a memorial heap; and that all 
are relics of a long-buried past. 


Haifa, March 20. — When vre had sufficiently satisfied our 
curiosity with regard to the dolmens, which I described in my 
last letter, the sheik who was our guide disai^pearcd suddenly 
over the edge of the plateau on which they stood, down what 
seemed to be a precipice of black basalt. His reply to our 
anxious inquiry as to whither he was leading us — " to very 
old stones, with writing on them " — was a talismanic utter- 
ance which at once overcame all hesitation. On such occa- 
sions there rises in the mind of the cold and Aveary and half- 
starving traveller (and I answered to this description at the 
moment) visions of possible Moabite stones, trilingual in- 
scriptions, and all the other prizes which reward successful 
Palestine research. I felt, therefore, ready to make any 
plunge into unknown dejiths that he might choose to sug- 
gest, but certainly this was a bad one. Some two thousand 
feet below us, distant not more than seven miles, gleamed 
the still waters of the Sea of Galilee. "VVe stood on the 
upper edge of one of the branches of the Wady Samak, 
which leads down to it. To our left, scarce a mile oflp, we 
could see the old crusading ruin of the Kasr Berdawil, or 
Baldwin's Castle, perched on a promontory the sides of 
which are sheer precipices, thus offering to the old warriors 
a position of magnificent strength. It is one of the least 
known of the Crusading strongholds, but I was assured by a 
friend, who, so far as I know, is the only traveller who has 
visited it, that beyond a few crumbling Avails there was ab- 
solutely nothing to be seen, so, as I had better game in pros- 
pect, I did not turn aside to it, as I had originally intended, 
but resolutely prepared to risk my neck amid the basalt 
hlocks of the cliff down which the sheik was now disappear- 
ing. Fortunately, though it was a bad descent, it was not 


a long one. I never could understand how my horse man- 
aged it, for I had left him to take care of himself, finding 
my own legs a safer method of descent; but in these lonely 
regions the instinct of not getting separated from the rest 
of the party is as strong with animals as with men, and they 
may generally be trusted to follow their companions. 

After scrambling down about five hundred feet we came 
to a sort of bench or narrow plateau, on the flank of the ra- 
vine, and on turning round a huge rock of black basalt came 
suddenly upon one of the most delightful scenic surprises 
which it was possible to imagine. Here in this wild, inacces- 
sible spot, in ages long gone by, the ancients had evidently 
contrived a secure and enchanting retreat, for it was pro- 
vided with the first requisite of beauty and of pleasure — a 
copious fountain of watei'. It lay in crystal purity in a still, 
oblong pool, beneath the perpendicular black rock. Against 
the rock, and projecting from it, were tveo large arches which 
had been constructed of solid masonry, with blocks of stone 
of immense size. One of these arches was almost destroyed, 
but the other vras still in perfect preservation. It measured 
twenty-three feet in breadth, sixteen feet in height, and six 
feet six inches in depth, this being therefore the Avidth of 
the fountain, Avhich was also twenty-three feet long and 
about two feet deep. To my astonishment it contained 
numbers of small fish, which was the more surprising as it 
possessed no apparent outlet; but it was too cold and fresh 
and sparkling to be anything but a living stream, and prob- 
ably disappeared by a subterranean passage through a large 
crevice which I observed in the rock. 

The wide-spreading branches of a venerable oak which 
grew directly in front of the arch threw a delightful shade 
over it, while delicate ferns clothed the sides of the grotto, 
which seemed to woo us to a repose and indolence which 
was, alas, under the circumstances, denied to us. On the 
keystone of the arch there was a partially efi^accd inscrip- 
tion. Though it was sixteen feet overhead, and therefore 
inaccessible, I should not have abandoned some attempt to 
decipher it had I not felt sure that, even if I were close to it, 
it was too much defaced by the storms of ages to be legible. 
I feel little doubt, however, about its having been in the 

204 HAIFA. 

Greek fliaractor; Avliile on a slab of stone at the side of the 
spring I found carved the figure of a lion, -wliich Avas in 
good preservation, and of which I made a sketch. 

The sheik was so impatient to take me somewhere else 
tliat he scarcely allowed me time to avail myself of this 
tempting spot to take the refreshment of which I stood 
much in need, lie told me the name of the Y>\oice was Umm 
el-Kanatar, or, being interpreted, " the place of arches," a 
name evidently derived from its most striking feature, and 
he said there was a ruin close by. This turnc>d out to be not 
a hundred yards distant, and consisted of walls still standing 
to a height of about seven feet, composed of three courses 
of stone, the blocks averaging about two feet one Avay by 
two feet six the other, but being in some instances much 
larger. These walls enclosed an area of about fifty feet by 
thirty-five, which was covered by a mass of ruins which had 
been tossed about in the wildest confusion. It was quite 
evident that it had been the work of an earthquake. Six 
columns, varying from ten to twelve feet in height, rose 
from the tumbled masses of building-stone at every angle. 
It was impossible without moving the huge blocks which en- 
cumbered their bases and hid their pedestals, and balanced 
them in all sorts of positions, to tell whether they were in 
situ or not. The husce moulded stones which formed the 
sides of the entrance, though still one above the other, had 
been shaken out of position, but they bore all the character 
of carving which is peculiar to Jewish architecture, and at 
once led me to conclude that here, as at Eddikke, I had dis- 
covered the ruins of an ancient Jewish synagogue, dating 
probably from the first or second century a. d. This im- 
pression was confirmed as I came to examine the ruin more 
narrowly. Here was the large stone cut in the shape of an 
arch, which had probably stood upon the lintel of the princi- 
pal entrance; and here was a fragment of a handsome cor- 
nice of the same peculiar pattern I had found at Eddikke, 
resembling the egg-and-dart pattern of modern ornamenta- 
tion. Here were the columns inside the walls of the build- 
ing instead of outside, which would have been the case had 
it been a Greek temple, and here were the massive stones, 
not set in mortar, which would have been the case if it had 


been an early Christian basilica or church. Here, too, was 
a stone on which was carved the rej^resentation of an eagle, 
in deference to the prejudices of the Roman conquerors 
under whose auspices these synagogues appertaining to the 
Jewish Patriarchate of Tiberias were built, the work having 
evidently been executed by Roman workmen. 

I could find no inscription, but it Vv^ould take days to 
examine all the stones thoroughly, and it is most probable 
that a careful investigation of them would reveal something 
which would throw a still more definite light on the char- 
acter and period of the building, though I confess I enter- 
tain very little doubt in respect to either. Altogether I re- 
gard these ruins of Umra el-Kanatar as the most interesting 
discovei-y I have yet made, and as being well worthy an- 
other visit and a more minute examination than I was able 
to bestow upon them. 

The sheik now appeared to think he had done his duty, 
and expressed his intention of returning to his village and 
of leaving me to find my way down the Wady Samak by 
myself. This I did not object to, as there was still plenty 
of daylight, and I could, in fact, make out from where I was 
now standing the position of the ruins of Kersa on the mar- 
gin of the lake, whither I had despatched my servants and 
baggage animals direct from my last night's quarters, with 
orders to await my arrival there. 

It was up the branch of the wady that I was descending 
that the projected railway from Haifa to Damascus would 
have to be led, and it was some satisfaction to see that it 
offered facilities for the ascent of the line. The scenery was 
in the highest degree picturesque, the sides of the valley 
sometimes sloping back for some distance to the foot of the 
basalt precipices which formed its upper wall; at others 
these approached and formed projecting and overhanging 
promontories, like that on which the Kasr Berdawil was 
situated. We scrambled down by a rugged path to the 
small stream at the bottom with the view of following it, if 
possible, to its outlet on the lake, but this we soon found to 
be impracticable, and were assured by a Bedouin, whose hut 
we finally readied on its margin, that Ave must cross it, and 
make an ascent on the opposite side. This led us by a 

200 HAIFA. 

roumlabout, hilly, but picturesque route across numerous 
and intersecting wadj-s, and past one ruin, of which noth- 
ing remained but the black blocks of hewn basalt. I was 
fortunate enough, however, to meet a man wlio told me the 
name, which I added to my list of unknown ruins, and so, 
after much scrambling, Ave reached at last the white lime- 
stone strata, and the purling brook again with its fringe of 
oleanders, and could see in the distance the one large soli- 
tary tree which we had given as our rendezvous, and beneath 
which our servants were standing, that marks the site of the 
ruins of Kersa, or the Gergesa of the Bible, where Christ 
healed the two men jDossessed with devils, and suffered those 
malignant spirits to enter into the herd of swine. 

There is a discrej^ancy in the accounts of the Evangelists 
in their narrative of the incident. Mark and Luke, in our 
version, locate it in the country of the Gadarenes, but 
Matthew states it to have taken place in the country of the 
Gergesenes. The Vulgate, Arabic, and others that follow 
the Vulgate read Gergesa in all the Evangelists, and there 
can be no doubt that this is the correct reading, for the sim- 
ple reason that the miracles could not have taken place in 
the country of the Gadarenes, a district which lies south of 
the Yarmuk, and at a long distance from the lake, the prin- 
cipal town, Gadara, the modern Um Keis, about the identi- 
fication of which there can be no doubt, being at least eight 
miles from it. Now the account says that " when he came 
out of the ship immediately there met him a man," also that 
the herd ran down a steep place violently into the sea. To 
do this, if the incident had taken place at Gadara, they must 
have descended twelve hundred feet to the Yarmuk, swam 
across that river, clambered up the opposite bank, and then 
raced for about six miles across the plain before they could 
reach the nearest margin of the lake. Scarcely any amount 
of insanity on the part of the devils would account for such 
a mad career, but in point of fact it does not tally with the 
Scripture record, according to which they rushed down a 
steep place into the sea. This is exactly what they could do 
at Kersa. The margin of the lake is here within a few rods 
of the base of the cliff, where there are ancient tombs, out 
of which may have issued the men who met Christ on the 


plateau above; and it is easy to suppose tliat the swine, rusli- 
ing down the sloping cliff, would have enough impetus 
to carry them across the narrow slip of shore at its base. 
The remains now only consist of long lines of wall, which 
may easily be traced, and of a considerable area strewn with 
building-stones, which show that it must in old time have 
contained a'considei'able population. This is the more likely 
to be the case as it was the chief tow^n of a district which 
was called after it. In fact, this picturesque and interesting 
AVadv Samak, with its evidences of a former civilization, 
and its " place of arches" and handsome synagogue, was, in 
fact, "the country of the Gergesenes;" and there can be 
little doubt that to Christ and his disciples the remote cor- 
ners of it, w'hich I had been one of the lirst to explore, were 
intimately known.* 

The ruins of Kersa are a good deal overgrow^n, and in the 
cover which is thus afforded I put u]) a wild boar. He 
dashed away so suddenly, however, that a bullet from a re- 
volver, which was sent after him, failed to produce any re- 
sult. I have little doubt that the old Roman road turned 
from the lake at this point up the Wady Samak, as there are 
traces here and there indicating such a probability. It will 
be a singular commentary on the progress of events if it 
turns out that it has taken the best gradient, and if, upon 
its ancient track, the scream of the locomotive may in the 
near future be heard waking up the long-silent echoes of the 
country of the Gergesenes. 

* The greater part of the Wady Samak and the surrounding country had, 
immediately prior to my visit, been most accurately surveyed by Mr. Gotlheb 
Schumacher, the son of the American vice-consul at Haifa, whose admirable 
and exhaustive surveys are embodied in the proceedings of the English and 
German Palestine Exploration Societies, and who was my companion on the 
occasion of our discoverv of the ruins of Uiuni el-Kanatar. 


Haifa, April 26. — The fact that I am laborinjif under a 
peculiar phase of insanity, which takes the form of descend- 
ing with a light into the bowels of the earth with a measur- 
ing tape, and writing down cabalistic signs of what I find 
there, whether it be in a cistern or a tomb, or a natural cav- 
ern, has become pretty widely known among the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring villages, and the consequence is that 
from time to time I receive information which may minister 
to this harmless monomania. The other day, for instance, a 
stonecutter whom I had employed on some building opera- 
tions came to me with the intelligence that while he and 
some villagers had been getting out stone for a house at a 
])Iace about twenty miles distant they had unexpectedly 
come upon a series of subterranean chambers. His ac- 
count was so tempting that, though prepared by experience 
for disappointment when acting upon purely native infor- 
mation,! nevertheless thought the possible results worth an 
effort, and proceeded therefore to the village in question, 
which was situated in the centre of the Plain of Esdraelon. 
The sheik was at first somewhat reluctant to show me the 
spot, as the fellahin have an inherent suspicion of all in- 
vestigations of this nature, believing them to be mysterious- 
ly connected with the discovery of treasure, which, Avhen 
found, they will be accused of having concealed, and j^un- 
ished for it. He finally consented, however, to lead the 
way, and brought me to an opening in the earth, from the 
surface of which a flight of nine stone steps led down to a 
small paved court, about six feet square, which had now 
been emptied of the soil which had previously concealed its 
existence. The sides of this court, which were about twelve 
feet high, were formed of massive masonry, the blocks of 
stone being each from eighteen inches to two feet square, 


set in mortar. A short vaultGcl passage, three feet long, 
two feet six wide, and five feet high, led from it into a sub- 
terranean chamber of fine workmanship, and in such a liigh 
state of preservation that it was difficult to realize that from 
fifteen hundred to two thousand years had elapsed since its 
stone floor had been trodden by the foot of man. It was 
fourteen feet long, eight broad, and eight feet six in height, 
with a vaulted roof, the walls consisting of plain chiselled 
stones set in mortar, in courses of from two feet to two feet 
six inches in height. On the left of this chamber was a sin- 
gle koka, or tunnel, hewn in the rock for the reception of a 
dead body. The roof was vaulted and of solid masonry. 
On the side opposite the entrance was another vaulted pas- 
sage, which was seven feet six in length, and led into a 
chamber hewn out of the solid rock, twelve feet by ten feet 
six, and six feet six in height. This contained three kokim 
and a loculus under an arcosolium; but the side of the locu- 
lus, as well as those of the kokim, had been much injured. 
The villagers, who had opened these tombs for the first 
time only a few weeks before, told us they had only found 
human bones in them, but I strongly suspect they had 
found ornaments v/hich they were afraid to exhibit, though 
I offered them money. One or two glass bottles and earth- 
enware jars they also said they had found and broken. 

Not far from these tombs was another smaller excavation, 
the entrance to which presented the appearance of an ordi- 
nary cave, but on entering it we found ourselves in a small, 
circular, chamber, the floor so covered with rub- 
ble that it was not possible to stand upright. In the centre 
of the roof was an aperture eighteen inches square, opening 
to the sky, carefully hewn, and from it led a passage of 
masonry, the stones also set in mortar, two feet six broad, 
and about five feet to the point where it was completely 
choked with earth. Had I had time to excavate I should no 
doubt have found that it led into a tomb. The entrance to 
this passage was almost completely blocked by the capital 
of a handsome Ionic column ; the column itself was eighteen 
inches in diameter. IIow it ever came to be wedged down 
in this underground passage I cannot conceive. Among the 
stones in the vicinity which had been unearthed by the na- 

270 HAIFA. 

tivcs I fouiul one on wliich was carved a scvcn-branclied 
candlestick, another of Jewish moulding, a sarcophagus, 
several fragments of columns, and a monolith standing ten 
feet from the debris at its base, with grooves and slots sim- 
ilar to others which I have seen on Carmel, but taller. I 
can only imagine it to have formed ]>art of some olive-press- 
ing machinery. In the neighbouring rocks were hewn vats 
and wine-presses. 

The discovery of this tomb, with the peculiar character- 
istics which marked its construction, and the objects which 
surrounded it, afforded a fertile subject of conjecture. In 
order that my readers may understand the considerations to 
which it gave rise, I must enter a little more fully than I 
have hitherto done into the subject of the ancient Jewish 
methods of sepulture. These consist of sundry varieties, 
audit has been attempted to fix their dates from the varia- 
tions which have been observed, as avcII as to discriminate 
by them between Christian and Jewish tombs. So far as 
my own investigation goes, I have been unable to fix any 
positive rule in the matter, my experience being that one 
no sooner forms a theory based upon observation, than one 
makes some new discovery which upsets it. Roughly, the 
tombs which I have investigated may be divided into the 
following categories : 1. Rock-hewn tombs containing noth- 
ing but loculi; 2. Rock-hewn tombs containing nothing but 
kokim; 3. Rock-hewn tombs containing both; 4. Masonry 
tombs containing either loculi or kokim, or both toorether: 
5. Sarcophagi; G. Rock-sunk tombs. A rock-hewn tomb is 
an excavation made in the solid rock (advantage generally 
has been taken of a natural cavern), and round the sides 
of the chambers so formed, Avhich vary in dimensions, are 
ranged the receptacles for the dead. In some cases these 
are more than one chamber. In Sheik Abreikh, for in- 
stance, I counted fifteen opening one into another. Some- 
times these are one above another, and one has to enter 
them from below through a hole in the stone roof which 
forms the floor of the upper chamber. A koka is a rec- 
tangular sloping space cut into the rock, tunnel fashion, ex- 
tending six feet horizontally, sufiiciently wide and high to 
admit of a corpse being pushed into it. A loculus is a 


trough cut laterally into the rock, which is arched above so 
as to form what is called an arcosolium. This trough is 
generally about six feet long, two feet six broad, and two 
feet deep. It is thus separated from the chamber by a wall 
of rock two feet high. A large tomb will contain as many 
as twelve loculi ranged around it. 

At first it was supposed that the kokim tombs were the 
oldest; then it was found that loculi and kokim were some- 
times found in the same tomb; and, indeed, there seems now 
to be no reason to suppose that one kind is older than the 
other. That the Christians used both is certain from the 
fact that Greek inscriptions with Christian ornaments are to 
be found over the doors of tombs containing kokim as well 
as loculi. Masonry tombs are only found in Galilee, where 
they are very rare. Indeed, so far as I am aware, this is 
only the sixth that has been discovered; but what gave it a 
special intei'est in my eyes is the fact that the stones were 
set in mortar, which is not the case with any of the others, 
ancient Jewish synagogues, as well as their masonry tombs, 
being built without cement. I therefore had made up my 
mind that this was a Christian tomb, the early Christians 
having evidently continued the Jewish method of sepulture, 
more especially as it is oriented, which is not the case with 
Jewish tombs; and, indeed, the character of .the masonry 
and the fragments of columns and capitals lying about in- 
duced me to place it in the Byzantine period, possibly as late 
even as the fourth or fifth century a.d. But then I stum- 
bled upon the stone with the seven-branched candlestick, an 
unmistakably Jewish emblem, which threw the date back. 
It is true that this stone was not built into the tomb, and 
miglit have formed part of a building of a date long ante- 
rior to it. Indeed, we know that on this spot, which is now 
called Jebata, and which is undoubtedly the Biblical Gaba- 
tha, was formerly a Jewish town of some importance, and 
its remains have doubtless got mixed up with those of a 
later Byzantine period, to which I still think it probable 
that tlie tomb which I discovered belonois. 

It differs from any I have yet seen in the imposing char- 
acter of its entrance. Its fliccht of nine handsome stone 
steps, leading down the open court, and the vaulted passage, 

272 HAIFA. 

with its massive masonry, give it quite a peculiar character. 
The entrance to the rock-hewn tomb is usually tluv^ugh a 
small doorway from three to four feet in height, just large 
enough to permit a man to squeeze through without very 
great inconvenience, and it is usually closed by a circular 
stone like a millstone, which runs in a groove, and can be 
rolled across it, though sometimes the door consists of a huge 
curved slab. The sarcophagus is too well known to need 
description. The most remarkable collection of them which 
I have seen is at Umm Keis, the biblical Gadara, where there 
are at least two hundred, many of them ranged in two rows 
on either side of the way leading out of the city. They are 
of black basalt, and are often beautifully carved and high- 
ly ornamented. I do not think they were so much used by 
the Jews as by Christians, though sometimes sarcophagi are 
found placed in loculi. At all events, they were not the orig- 
inal Jewish method of burial, and, if used by them at all, 
the habit was one which they probably adopted from their 
Roman conquerors. 

The sunk tombs are common in various parts of Galilee 
— especially in the rocky hillsides of the range upon which 
Nazareth is situated. They consist of rectangular troughs, 
sufficiently large to contain a human body, sunk into the 
surface of the living rock, and covered with a huge lid of 
stone, sometimes flat, but more often cut conically, so as to 
have a high central ridge. I have more than once endeav- 
oured to remove these from the tombs, which had never been 
opened, where they were still in situ, but never happened 
to be accompanied by a sufficient number of men or to have 
adequate leverage appliances with me. As these stones are 
generally about seven feet long, three broad, and from tw^o 
to three feet thick, they require the application of no little 
force to remove them. They vary in size, however, and I 
have seen sunk tombs for babies not above eighteen inches 
long. Apart from the interest which attaches to the whole 
question of rock sepulture in Palestine, the most interesting 
relics of antiquity are generally found in the tombs, while 
not uncommonly valuable inscriptions are met with. Many 
of them are ornamented with pictorial representations, 
which have been laid on with coloured pigment, and the 


designs are often curious and interesting. Altogether, al- 
though the investigation of these mortuary chambers is 
often attended with great difficulty and discomfort, they 
frequently furnish results which compensate for the fatigue 
that they involve. 


Haifa, May 10. — The interest which attaches to tlie 
memory of the late General Gordon must be my apology 
for devoting a letter to my personal reminiscences of one 
whose singularly pure and lofty character attracted me to 
him at a time when he was comparatively unknown. Noth- 
ing is in fact more remarkable than the suddenness of the 
notoriety into which he sprang, a notoriety from which he 
of all men would have the most shrunk, and of the knowl- 
edge of Avhich, by the singular fatality which isolated him 
from the world in his beleaguered garrison, he was to the 
last unconscious. Owing to his own modesty and love of 
retirement, and to the fact that his lite had been largely 
spent abroad and in the service of foreign governments, he 
was personally almost unknown in London society. His 
friends consisted chiefly of his brother ofiiccrs and a few 
congenial spirits whose acquaintance he had made in various 
parts of the world. By the jMiblic at large he had only 
been heard of as " Chinese " Gordon, and few cared to inquire 
what manner of man he was. 

It was just twenty-nine years ago since I first met him in 
the trenches before Sebastopol. He was quite a young and 
unknown ofiicer at that time, and I should have forgotten 
the circumstance had we not again come across each other 
three years afterwards in China, and upon comjiaring notes 
found that we had already met in the Crimea. He had not 
then been appointed to the command of the " ever victorious 
army," and was still a junior Captain of Engineers. I left 
China before he entered the Chinese service, and almost im- 
mediately after his arrival, so that I saw very little of him. 
Still, I had seen enough to make me watch his subsequent 
career with great interest, but our paths had not again 
crossed until one day, about two years ago, I received a let- 



tcr from Jaffa signed C. G. Gordon, asking for information 
in regard to Haifa as a residence, and expressing bis inten- 
tion of possibly paying me a visit. As I bave many friends 
of tbe name, I was puzzled for tbe moment. The writer did 
not mention anything in tbe letter to give a clew to bis 
identity, tbougb it was addressed as from one old friend to 
another. It was only accidentally that the same afternoon 
tbe vice-consul here asked me if I knew anything of a Gen- 
eral Gordon, as some letters had arrived to bis care for an 
individual of that name. I at once perceived who my cor- 
respondent must be. I immediately addressed him a cordial 
invitation to pay me a visit, which be promptly responded 
to, and Ave spent a few very pleasant days together. The 
Ilicks disaster in the Soudan had not then occurred, so 
that tbe affairs of that country and its Mabdi had not yet 
acquired the notoriety they were destined so soon to at- 
tain ; but Gordon's intimate knowledge of the country in- 
duced him to express bis opinion in regard to its condi- 

He deprecated strongly the whole course adopted by the 
British government in Egypt from the beginning, warned 
me that they underrated the nature of the movement in the 
Soudan, to vv'hicb country he was then in favour of granting 
independence under native rulers, was entirely opposed to 
English officers at the head of Egyptian troops, thrusting 
themselves into the mess, and maintained that tbe whole af- 
fair should be settled by a civil commissioner, who should 
at once be sent by England to tbe Mabdi to arrange with 
bim tbe terms upon which tbe Soudan should be rendered 
independent of Egypt. As at this time tbe English had not 
come into violent hostile collision with tbe Mabdi, Gordon 
declared his conviction that such a mission would be favour- 
ably received, and that a state of affairs might be arranged 
wliich, although not so favourable to the Soudanese as be 
could bave wished, Avould leave them better off than under 
Egyptian rule. His idea v»-as that if the Mabdi did not show 
himself amenable to reason, he might be threatened with a 
rebellion of the local Soudanese chiefs, who, be felt con- 
vinced, could easily be induced to combine against him. In 
fact, before going to the Madhi he would bave sounded tbe 

270 HAIFA. 

feeling of these cliiefs, with a view, if necessary, to organiz- 
ing a revolt against him. 

In a wortl, his view was that the Soudan question should 
be settled by the Soudanese alone, that no Egyptians should 
be mixed up in the affair; and I have no doubt that if the 
British government had thouglit of availing themselves of 
Gordon's services at this juncture, the question of the Soudan 
might have been arranged satisfactorily to all parties, ex- 
cept, perhaps, the Egyptian and Turkish governments. He 
was at that time particularly strong on the necessity of a 
railway from Suakim to Berber, the concession for which 
was being then applied for by English railway contractors, 
who Avere sanguine of success. He assured me that tliey 
were wasting their time; that it was a concession the Egyp- 
tian government would never grant, as they were afraid if 
they did that the whole trade of the Soudan would be di- 
verted to Suakim instead of, as now, coming down to Cairo. 
"It is a short-sighted policy," he remarked, "for witliout 
that railway Egypt will one day not only lose the trade of 
the Soudan, but the Soudan itself. 

iSTot long afterwards there was a report that the concession 
had been granted, and he wrote me a long letter of many pages, 
which began with warning me not to believe the report, as 
it was quite impossible that it could be true, his knowledge 
of the Egyptian government convincing him that they would 
make promises, but that nothing would ever induce them to 
consent to this railway being made, unless they were coerced 
into it by the British government. He felt equally con- 
vinced that the Britisb government had no intention of 
using their authority in this direction, as, in his opinion, 
they should do, and that the report, therefore, was without 
foundation. This, in fact, turned out to be the case. 

General Gordon, after spending a few days at Haifa, re- 
turned to Jerusalem, promising to bring his tents two months 
later and pitch them next to mine at Esfia on the summit of 
Carmel. I was eagerly looking forward to his companion- 
ship in the delightful wilderness of this mountain, and had 
even marked out in my own mind a spot for his camping- 
ground within fifty yards of my own, when, to my great dis- 
appointment, I received a letter from him saying that he was 


SO deeply interested in biblical studies at the Holy City that 
he felt it his duty to change his mind, as he might never 
again have an opportunity of verifying the correctness of 
the views he entertained in regard to the typical nature of 
its configuration. 

Not long afterwards I received another long letter from 
him on the subject of the Jordan valley canal scheme, in 
Avhich he took a warm interest. This led to a correspondence, 
as I entirely differed from him as to its practicability. Tow- 
ards the end of the year he wrote, saying that he was sudden- 
ly summoned to the Congo, and bidding me adieu. Curious- 
ly enough, in my reply I said that I did not say good-bye, 
as I felt sure I should see him again before he left the 
country. A few days afterwards he once more turned up at 
Haifa. He had embarked at Jaffa for Port Said in a coun- 
try sailing craft, and he had been driven by stress of weath- 
er so far out of his course that his crew finally ran in here 
for shelter. 

At this time affairs in the Soudan were in a very acute 
stage, and we again discussed them at great length. His 
views had naturally undergone a change, as the policy which 
had been possible seven or eight months previously was im- 
practicable now. He felt great doubt whether, if he went 
to the Soudan, he could succeed in achieving now what he 
was convinced he could have accomplished then, or whether 
the policy he had sketched out was longer feasible. " If it 
were not for the Soudanese, whom I love," he said, " the 
easy M^ay out of it for the English government would be 
to invite the Turks to go, but it is not probable that they 
have the sense to make the proposition, or that the Turks 
would be such fools as to accept it." 

He refused altogether to anticipate the possibility of his 
being sent to the Soudan, partly because he felt bound in 
honour to go to the Congo for the King of the Belgians, and 
partly because he had already had too many differences with 
the heads of departments under Avhich he had served, and 
was regarded with too little favour, on account of his refusal 
to look at every question through official spectacles, to be a 
persona grata to the English government. He Avas detained 
here a week, during which time w' e not only discussed fully 

278 ^^l^^^l- 

tlic Eijvptian and Soudanese qnostioiis, hut talked over old 
times in China, Avhen he gave nie many gra])hic descriptions 
of incidents in his Chinese camjiaigns, which have prob- 
ably never been heard of, and which I now regret I did not 
record. His modesty was such that I could only compel him 
to narrate his own adventures by a process of severe cross- 

One of his marked peculiarities in conversation Avas his 
employment of phrases which he had himself coined to repre- 
sent certain ideas. Thus he would say of a man: "So-and- 
so is a very good fellow, but he would never break his 
medal," by which he meant that he was ambitious. Gordon 
himself, when the Emperor of China gave him, in return for 
his services, a very valuable gold medal, fearing that the sense 
of gratification he derived from it might prove a snare to 
him, broke it up and gave away the pieces. Hence the 

Again, he would say, if asked if he knew so-and-so. "I 
only met him once and then he rent me." From which I 
understood that he had felt it his duty on that occasion to 
give the individual in question a word of good advice, and 
that the only thanks was that the man resented it, or, in 
Scripture phraseology, " turned again and rent him." 

One day I observed him Avriting notes on a slip of paper. 
He asked me the Christian names of two friends who were 
staying with me. I told him, and feeling, I suppose, that my 
curiosity ought to be gratified, he said, " I am writing them 
down on my prayer list." 

Another day, after using some very strong language in 
regard to a very high personage who shall be nameless, he 
added quickly, "but I pray for him regularly." All this 
without a vestige of cant. If there was a thing he detested 
it was hypocris}^, and I trust I may not be suspected of it 
when I say that the thought of Gordon at Khartoum, and 
the knowledge that I was on his prayer list, v/as calculated 
to produce a lump in my throat. He Avas full of fun 
and a most cheery companion with those he knew^ intimate- 
ly. He never forced a conversation in a religious channel. 
He brought with him from Jerusalem a raised model Avhich 
he had made, to carry out his theory that the hill upon which 


the greater part of the city was built was in tlic form of a 
woman. Taking tlie mound commonly identified as " tbe 
place of the skull" as the head, the lines of topographical 
configuration certainly bore out the resemblance in a very 
remarkal)le manner. He was far more full of this than 
either of the Soudan or the Congo, and was takinsr it with 
him to Brussels to shov/ the King of the Belgians, " I sup- 
pose, as you are the king's guest, you will go and stay at the 
palace," I remarked. "No, certainly not," lie replied; "I 
shall go to a hotel. I don't want the king's servants to see 
my old comb." He left here on the 18th or 19th of Decem- 
ber, 1883, and walked to Acre, twelve miles, to meet the 
steamer that was to take him direct to Marseilles. He sent 
his luggage in a carriage. 

His last words as we parted were that he felt sure we 
should never meet again. I said he had been wronc; once 
when he told me that he should not see me again, and I 
hoped ho was wrong now. He said no, he felt that he liad 
no more work to do for God on this earth, and that he 
should never return from the Congo, Within a month he 
was in upper Egypt. 

It was characteristic of the man that scarcely any one in 
Haifa knew who he w\as. Seeing a very handsome garden 
belonging to a rich Syrian, near Acre, he strolled into it, 
and was accosted by the proprietor, who asked him avIio he 
was. He replied, " Gordon Pasha," on Avhich my Syrian 
friend, Avho told me the storj^ laughed incredulously, and 
politely showed him out. Gordon meekly departed without 
attempting to insist on his identity. The proprietor told me 
tliat he felt convinced that he was being imposed upon, be- 
cause Gordon, when spoken to in English, would answer in 
bad Arabic, and because, when asked his name, he took 
his card-case half out of his pocket, as though to give his 
card, and then, on second thought, put it back again and 
answered verbally. So my friend lost his chance of enter- 
taining an angel unawares, which he has never ceased to re- 
gret, the more especially as his friends take a pleasure in 
teasinsr him about it. 

My last letter from Gordon is dated Khartoum, the Cth 
of March, Now that he is gone, and his name has be- 

280 HAIFA. 

come :i household -word in almost all countries, and among 
the professors of all religions, tlie few among the natives 
■who know him here treasure up every trait of his marked 
individuality, and arc fond of narrating anecdotes, which 
grow by repetition, Ilis instinct of retirement and ex- 
tremely unassuming manner concealed him, so to speak, 
from general observation; but his simplicity, purity, and 
absolute singleness of aim made him a sort of moral mag- 
net, irresistibly attractive to those who came directly beneath 
the sphere of his influence. The potency of his virtue in 
life has been proved by the imperishable moral legacy which 
in death he has bequeathed to humanity. 



Haifa, May 25. — It was from Carinel that in times of old 
a small cloud was seen rising not bigger than a man's liand, 
whicli overcast the heavens, and it is not impossible that a 
political incident which has just occurred here may prove 
the diiDloraatic commencement of a storm of another kind 
pregnant with untold issues. If we look back through his- 
tory at the origin of some of its greatest events, we often 
almost fail to discover them, on account of their insignifi- 
cance. When the moral atmosphere is charged with elec- 
tricity, it needs but a spark to produce the shock; and so it 
is just possible that the upsetting of a few stones, on a bar- 
ren hillside, may open up a question Avhich may assume j^ro- 
portions of very considerable magnitude, as it involves the 
most dangerous of all elements in a dispute, that, of religious 
fanaticism. The Monastery of Carmel, as your readers are 
doubtless aware, is situated on the spur of the mountain 
which projects in a point at an elevation of about five hun- 
dred feet above the sea. From this point the mountain grad- 
ually rises until it attains a height of about nine hundred 
feet, immediately behind the town of Haifa and the German 
colony. The mountain here spreads into an elevated plateau 
of some extent, affording extensive pasture-ground and good 
arable and vineyard land. For some years past the claim 
of the convent over a large area of this plateau has been a 
matter of dispute, but it only reached an acute stage the 
other day, when the towns-people were called upon to pay 
taxes on it. They naturally objected that they ought not to 
pay taxes on land the use of which they did not enjoy, and 
access to which was forbidden to them by a wall which had 
been built by the convent as the boundary to its possessions. 
In order to bring the matter to an issue, some thirty of the 


German colonists and as many of the Moslem inhabitants of 
the town went np in a body and proceeded vl ct armls to 
tear down the wall. While thus engaged some of the monks 
emerged, armed with spiritual weapons alone. One of them, 
elevating his cross, pronounced a solemn curse, first in Ger- 
man and then in Arabic, upon the profaners of their sacred 
soil. The convent being under the protection of the French 
government, a formal complaint v.'as lodged against the ac- 
tion of the Germans in the matter, and a deputation, con- 
sisting of the German and French vice - consuls, were sent 
down from Beyrout to inquire into it. Meantime the Turk- 
ish government interfered, as it had a right to do, seeing 
that many Ottoman subjects had particijjated in the act com- 
plained of, and decided that the right of the convent to 
erect the wall was a matter for the local tribunals to decide 
upon, as well as the question of the validity of their title to 
the part of the mountain claimed by them. In the mean- 
time instructions were given that, pending the decision of 
the court, the wall should be replaced in exactly the same 
position, and of the same dimensions, as before its removal. 
Advantage was taken of this order to rebuild the wall much 
more solidly, and to increase its height far beyond the limits 
prescribed in the order, and the result was the removal of 
the local governor for negligence in not seeing that the in- 
structions were properly carried out. Meantime the town 
instituted a lawsuit against the convent, calling upon them 
to substantiate their legal title to the land. 

Xow, one third of the population of Haifa is Moslem and 
Jews, and about two thirds are Christian. The Christians 
are all under the direct influence of the convent, and the 
spirit of religious fanaticism runs high on both sides. On 
measurement being made of the land claimed by the convent 
it was found to amount to an area of about twelve square 
miles. Accordinor to Turkish law the whole of this would 
originally belong to the inhabitants of the town for their 
common use, unless the town council had at some time or 
other legally parted with it for an adequate consideration. 
This it was denied on the part of the municipality that they 
had ever done, and search was consequently made in the 
records for the act of sale, which would liave been registered. 


On the other hand, the monks had a duly-signed document 
under which they cLaimed, but which, on further investiga- 
tion, v/as found to be practically a fraud, as none of the for- 
malities had been complied with, and the seal had been 
affixed illegally by an officer who had been induced for a 
certain consideration to perform the act. It is not contended 
that the monks were a party to this irregularity. They seem, 
indeed, rather to have been the victims of their agent at the 
time, who perpetrated it, leaving them under the delusion 
that they possessed a valid title, but the discovery left the 
court no alternative but to pronounce judgment against 
them. Against this judgment they have appealed to Con- 
stantinople, and it would be difficult to see how it could be 
reversed, were it not that the interests involved are of such 
a peculiar character that the purely legal side of the ques- 
tion may be overlooked. 

The prestige which the order of barefooted Carmelites en- 
joys in all Catholic countries is so great that the most power- 
ful influences will be invoked, and possibly not invoked in 
vain, in their favor. Strong articles have already appeared 
on the subject in the Continental pi'ess of Europe. The 
Emperor of Austria has, I understand, been personally ap- 
pealed to, while the pilgrims, who, to the number of about 
four hundred, have already visited the sacred shrine this 
yeai', are every one of them missionaries who will be so many 
Peter the Hermits, invoking once more the faith of the true 
believer to protect the sacred mountain from the grasp of 
the infidel. But there is an element in the affair which re- 
moves it from the simple category of Cross versus Crescent, 
and that is, that the interests of some three hundred Germans 
are involved. As forming part of the population of Haifa, 
they enjoy equal rights with the rest of the towns-people, and 
Prince Bismarck is not a man to see their rights tamely 
abandoned to the monks. It is true that the question is one 
which affects exclusively tlie Turkish government, and there 
can be no doubt that it would not willingly deprive an Otto- 
man population of twelve square miles of mountain if they 
are legally entitled to it, but the united pressure of Catholic 
Europe might be too powerful a force for the Porte to resist 
single-handed. It is a different matter when they have the 

284 JIAIFA. 

German government at tbolr back, and this quarrel over a 
riij^lit of way and a patcli of hillside may yet be pregnant 
■with important consequences. Had the convent entered 
upon large agricultural operations, their rights over land 
thus brought into cultivation could not be disputed. The 
complaint of the population is that they neither cultivate it 
themselves, nor allow others to cultivate it, or even to graze 
their liocks upon it. The exclusive possession thus claimed 
has deprived the German colonists of one of the most ira- 
j)ortant desiderata for the success of their colony. 

A retreat from the heats of summer is almost essential to 
the health of the colonists. If they had the right of way 
claimed they could, with ease, construct a wagon-road to the 
top of the hill overhanging the colony, where, at an eleva- 
tion of nine hundred feet, they would be in full enjoyment 
of the sea breezes, while only half an hour distant from their 
homes. The money necessary for the construction of such 
a sanitarium Avas provided under singular circumstances a 
few weeks ago. I was riding just outside the town, on the 
Nazareth road, when to my surprise I met a foreign lady 
riding by herself, accompanied only by an Arab, an nnusual 
sight in this country. Following her was a covered litter. 
On returning to the colony an hour later I found that the 
litter contained the body of the husband of the lady I had 
met. He had died in it on the road from Nazareth a couple 
of hours before I met the poor widow, a perfect stranger and 
unable to speak a word of the language, forming the solitary 
attendant of her husband's corpse. These painful circum- 
stances enlisted the warmest sympathy on the part of the 
colonists, whose kindness and consideration so overwhelmed 
the lady, who was herself a countrywoman, that befoi'e leav- 
ing she presented the colony with a check for $7500. These 
simple people had no idea when they were lavishing their 
kindness on the widow that she was a lady of large forttme, 
and this was their unexpected reward. And it is with this 
money they hope to build their sanitarium. 


Haifa, June 7. — I was glad to avail mj^sclf of an oppor- 
tunity to revisit Jerusalem after an interval of six years, 
and hy a journey through a part of Judea to see the changes 
within that perio<l. The attention which has of recent years 
been directed towards Palestine has perhaps produced more 
marked results in this pi'ovince than in Galilee, and in some 
respects its progress has been more rapid. This is partly 
owing to the fact that for the past eight years it has been 
under the administration of a more than usually enlightened 
pasha, who exercises his authority independently of the 
Governor-General of Syria, and partly because its holy 
places prove more attractive both to Jews and Gentiles than 
do those of Galilee. Hence there has been a larger inflow 
of capital and of immigration. 

Three miles from Jalfa lies the German colony of Sarona, 
which, like the one at Haifa, was founded some years ago by 
the Temple Society. It resembles the one there in the char- 
acter of its buildings and general plan. There is a wide 
central street with neat stone and tiled roofed houses, and 
two rows of shade trees, with a short cross street, church, and 
schoolhouse, and that general air of cleanliness and comfort 
which Germans understand so well how to impart to their 
settlements. It is far inferior to Haifa, however, both on the 
score of salubrity and beauty of position, being situated on 
a grassy, rolling country destitute of woods, some miles from 
the sea and the mountains. There is therefore somethinc: 
forlorn in the solitude of its position. The inhabitants suf- 
fer a good deal from fever, and many deaths took place last 
year, which was unusually unhealthy. On the other hand, 
the fertility of the soil and its proximity to so large and 
prosperous a town as Jaffa, which now numbers close upon 
twenty thousand inhabitants, enables the settlers to do 


somowliat bettor financially tlian tlioso at Haifa. They are 
enoant'd in extending the area of their orange-groves and 
vineyards; and as the general experience is that the climate 
of tliis country imjirovcs under the inlluencc of husbandry, 
it is to be hoped that a few more years Avill work a change 
in this respect, as tliey certainly must in the general attrac- 
tiveness of the place. Tlie Temple Society has also a small 
colony actually in the suburbs of Jaffa, the members of which 
are engaged in commercial pursuits in that town, and are 
doing Avell. 

Since I last visited this place emigrant Jews from Kussia 
and Roumania have established no fewer than four colonies 
in its neighbourhood, which, however, are scattered in dif- 
ferent directions at distances of several miles apart. The 
circumstances under which my journey Avas made prevented 
me, unfortunatel}-, from inspecting them as thoroughly as I 
could have desired. Two of these are under the protection 
of Baron Rothschild, and enjoy such pecuniary support from 
him as will secure their future, in spite of the obstacles 
which, owing to government opposition and other local 
difficulties, they have had to encounter. So far as energy, 
industry, and aptitude for agricultural pursuits are con- 
cerned, the absence of which has always been alleged as the 
reason why no Jewish colony could succeed, the experience 
of more than two years has noAv proved that such apprehen- 
sions are groundless, and that with a fair chance Jews make 
very good colonists, and are likely, in fact, to succeed better 
in this country as agriculturists than in America, where they 
have the skilled industry and indomitable energy of the 
American farmer to compete with, instead of the heli)less 
ignorance and ingrained indolence of the native fellahin, 
who are their only rivals here. 

Besides these two colonies there are two others, one of 
which has been struggling on unaided for the last seven years, 
and which has latterly almost succumbed to themethods which 
have been resorted to by the government to extinguish it, 
but which has Avithin the last month derived fresh aid and 
encouragement from the visit of Dr. Adler, the Grand Rabbi 
of London, and Mr. Wissbtsky, the delegate of a society 
which has recently been formed in Poland, called "The 


Lovers of Israel." The visit of these two gentlemen marks 
a new era in the fortunes of the Petach Tikvch colony, as it 
is called, as it resulted in the substantial donation of a sum 
of £300j and in bringing it to the knowledge of the public. 
One of the chief drawbacks of the colony has been the un- 
healthiness of its site, and the purchase of a healthy hill-top, 
about half an hour distant, has been attended with so much 
difficulty that it is only now that the colonists have at last 
secured their title to it sufficiently to warrant the building 
of houses upon it. 

Besides these four Jewish and two German colonies there 
has been for fifteen years established in the neighbourhood 
of Jaffa a large Jewish agricultural college, which was 
founded by the Israelite Alliance, for the purpose of edu- 
cating Jewish youths in agricultural pursuits. It is a hand- 
some and extensive building, standing a little to the right of 
the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, amid groves of trees and 
gardens, and surrounded by a fine tract of arable land. 
Here are avenues of eucalypti and of bamboos, both trees 
unknown in this country, and which, from their novelty, form 
a striking feature in the plantations near the house. For 
many years this establishment was a source of permanent ex- 
pense to its founders, and it was feared that. the results 
would never justify the original outlay. Their perseverance 
has, however, met with its reward. The increase of the an- 
nual income last year amounted to loOOO. One of the prin- 
cipal sources of revenue are the ethrogim, or gigantic citrons, 
which are used by the Jews all over Europe at some of their 
religious festivals, and which, if they can be guaranteed as 
coming from the Holy Land, command a fictitious price. 
Besides these they export oranges and vegetables, and have 
engaged in the manufacture of wines and brandy, for Avhich 
they find a good sale. It is to be hoped that as Jewish 
colonies in Palestine increase, and the demand for skilled 
Jewish agriculturists conversant with the local methods of 
cultivation and familiar with the language is augmented, a 
better opening will be found for the youths who have re- 
ceived their education in this establishment. Hitherto the 
young men, after receiving a good education, of which agri- 
cultural science only formed part, have genei*ally seen their 

288 HAIFA. 

way on leaving the college to engage in some more profit- 
able and 0(nigenial pursuits than tilling the land. As a rule, 
mitldle-aged men with a limited edueation and large families 
make better agriculturists than ambitious and well-educated 

There is a fifth colony in Judea, which is nearer to Jeru- 
salem than JalVa, formed of Jews who have ai)parently been 
hired to become Christians, by being ])roYided for as colonists; 
but so far it has proved a failure. The government has re- 
fused all permission to build. They are at present living in 
a large wooden shanty, and arc said to be reverting to their 
old faith, as they find that the new one does not pay. 

I have also heard of a sixth colony which is in process of 
formation, so that adding to these three which are in Galilee, 
there are altoi^ether nine Jewish colonies now in Palestine — 
all of v.-hich, with one exception, have been established within 
the last two years and a half, in spite of difficulties which 
would have discouraged people animated by no higher senti- 
ment than that of merely finding a living. However slow 
and uncertain their progress may be now, these first settlei-s 
may console themselves by the reflection that their experi- 
ence as pioneers will be of incalculable value to their suc- 
cessors, Vt'hen altered conditions may arise, which shall oiler 
increased inducement to emigration. 

Meantime, it is as well that intending immigrants should 
not be misled by the delusive reports which are promulgated 
from time to time of a change in the policy of the govern- 
ment in this respect. Practically the opposition to Jewi.-h 
colonization on the part of the authorities is as stringent 
as ever, and any action taken upon a contrary hypothesis 
will only lead to disappointment. 

This increasing tendency to flock into the Holy Land is 
not confined, however, to Jews alone. There is an annual 
augmentation in the number of pilgrims who invade it, of 
nearly all the Christian sects, besides those who establish 
themselves here under the influence of various religious hob- 
bies. Thus the foreign and Jewish population of this prov- 
ince is constantly increasing, and the efi^ect of this influx is 
more strikingly marked at Jerusalem than elsewhere; but it 
is natural that Jaffa, as the port of Judea, should also large- 


ly have benefited by its influence, and I was much struck by 
the growth of the place and the signs of its increasing pros- 
jjerity. This is, no doubt, due also in some measure to the 
excellent carriage-road which now connects it with Jerusa- 
lem. I saw several large gangs of men at work upon those 
sections which still remain of the old rouo-h track, which in 
former days made the journey between these places upon 
wheels a positive torture. It is true that many excruciating- 
ly rough places still remain, but another year will remove 
them, and it is the intention of the present govei-nor to ex- 
tend the road from Jerusalem by Av!ly of Bethlehem (it is 
now almost completed to the latter place) to Hebron, and 
also to connect the rich coimtry east of the Jordan with 
Judea by a carriage-road which is in immediate contempla- 
tion from Jerusalem to Jericho. 

The rapidly improving facilities for travelling in Pales- 
tine, the annual increase in the number of tourists who each 
year visit it, the numerous ecclesiastical and charitable es- 
tablishments which have been already constructed and are 
yearly extended, the influx of foreign capital resulting there- 
from, and the increase of the foreign population, both Jew 
and Christian, all tend to give Palestine an exceptional posi- 
tion as a province in the Turkish empire. It is the only one, 
indeed, where the evidences of progress are steady and sub- 
stantial; and there can be no doubt that one of the most 
marked results of this progress will be the importance which 
the Holy Land is destined to assume in the event of the 
Eastern question being reopened, for there is no province in 
the empire upon which political and religious interests of so 
varied and universal a nature are concentrated. 


Jerusalem, June 23. — I was much struck on my way from 
Jaffa to this place the other day by contrasting the different 
systems which are resorted to by the varied races of for- 
eigners who are invading Palestine. There is the Jew, with 
cui'ling ear-locks and greasy gaberdine, and wallet slung 
over his shoulder, trudging painfully along the dusty road. 
He has had hard work to slip into the country at all, and has 
only succeeded probably by means of backshish and a false 
passport. He has undergone discomfort and privations in- 
numerable to win the privilege, which, to judge by his wan 
and sickly face, is not likely long to be denied him, of dying 
in Jerusalem. 

As he plods on, leaning wearily on his long staff, he is al- 
most run over by a bright yellow barouche dashing along 
the road, with four horses, in a style which shows how rapidly 
Western civilization is striding into the East. It is an Eng- 
lish duke "doing" Palestine. He is followed by a motley 
group of his own country men and women, mounted on horses 
and donkeys, the women for the most part apparently old 
maids in straw hats, green spectacles, and veils, while a large 
proportion of the men are evidently parsons, who wear cleri- 
cal coats and waistcoats and unclerical pith hats and jack 
boots. The whole party, consisting of about thirty persons, 
white Avith dust, are preceded by an elaborately attired 
dragoman, whom they are about to follow over the country 
like a flock of sheep, for they are the last batch of the season 
of Cook's tourists. 

But they were not to be compared for picturesqueness or 
singularity of appearance with the next corttge which I 
overtook, and the aspect of which, from a distance, puzzled 
me excessively. There appeared in front of me a large ob- 
ject of some sort, which was being slowly dragged along by 


a crowd of people who were evidently not natives of the 
country. On reaching it I found that it was a huge bell, 
weighing seven or eight tons, elaborately ornamented 
with scriptural and sacred designs in hnsso-rillevo, and which, 
placed on a truck with low wlicels, was being hauled by 
about eighty Russian peasants, more than half of whom 
were women. Looking on this singular group of rugged- 
featured people, with their light hair and Kalmuck coun- 
tenances, one felt suddenly transported from the hills of 
Palestine to the steppes of Southern Russia. The men wore 
high boots, baggy trousers, long full-skirted coats, tight at 
the waist, and flat caps, and the women the sombre and dowdy 
habiliments common to the Russian peasant class. They 
were all yoked by the breast with ropes to the truck, tug- 
ging it slowly but cheerfully along, and when I stopped and 
tried to stammer out the few words of Russian which I still 
remembered, tliey greeted my attempts with loud shouts of 
laughter, and made explanations which my knowledge of tbe 
language was too limited to enable me to comprehend. But 
my curiosity was destined to be satisfied at a later period on 
the arrival of this precious burden at Jerusalem. Meantime 
I could not but regard with interest the eager devotion of 
these poor people, and especially of the women, who were 
thus satisfying a religious instinct by exercising the func- 
tions of draught animals, and toiling up the road they 
deemed so saci*ed to the holy city, which is invested with a 
higher sanctity to the adherents of the Greek rite than to 
those of any other Christian communion. I found afterwards 
that it took them just a week to drag their bell up to Jeru- 
salem, many falling ill by the way, and one dying, and rein- 
forcements had to be sent from Jerusalem to assist them. 

Had it not been for the various houses which have been 
built for the accommodation of travellers the mortality 
would probably have been greater, but the increase of travel 
along this road has multiplied the number of rest-houses, 
and there are now four or five of various degrees of excel- 
lence, to say nothing of Greek and Catholic convents, more 
or less far from the road, to which pilgrims can resort. The 
new hotel which has just been put up by a German colonist 
at Ramleh is among the most conspicuous of these improve- 

092 HAIFA. 

merits; and hero, as the place is one of some arclireological 
interest, aiul 1 tliought tlie enterprise of my host deserved to 
be encouraged, I stayed to pass the nigl)t. 

In the centuries immediately subsequent to the crusades, 
Ramleh is often mentioned by the old chroniclers, for it was 
then, as now, a favorite resting-place for travellers and pil- 
grims on their way between Jaffa and Jerusalem. But it 
gradually fell into decay, and three hundred years ago, Avhen 
the traveller Belon was there, he found it almost deserted, 
scarcely twelve houses being inhabited, and the fields mostly 
untilled. It is now one of the most go-ahead places in 
Palestine, containing a population of at least five thousand, 
and is surrounded by extensive gardens and olive groves, 
above which the lofty tower erected by the Sultan Bibars, 
in the thirteenth century, conspicuously rears its graceful 

By far the most interesting spot, however, in the whole of 
this section of country lies about two miles to the right of 
the road from Ramleh to Jerusalem, an hour after leaving 
the former place, which places it as much out of the track 
of tourists as if it were a day's journey. It is a mound called 
Tell el-Gezer, at the village of Abu Shusheh. This village is 
the property of a Mr. Bergheim, a Jew banker of Jerusalem, 
who owns an estate here of about five thousand acres, from 
which I may say, e?i passant, that he derives a very large 
revenue.* Apart from the interest of the fact of a Jew be- 
ing so large a landed proprietor in Palestine, Abu Shusheh 
has claims upon our notice v.'hich have only recently been 
discovered, and which to those who have been bitten Avith 
the enthusiasm of elucidating the ancient topography of 
Palestine, and identifying its antique sites, is replete with 
the highest importance. 

Among those who have devoted themselves to the study 
of Palestine geography and antiquarian research the French 
savant Monsieur Clermont Ganneau ranks second to none. 
One of the problems which has for many years excited the 
interest and curiosity of Palestine explorers was the Avhere- 

* Since the above was written Mr. Bergheim has been brutally murdered 
by the peasants on his estate. 


abouts of the ancient city of Gezer. We gather from the 
Biblical record that this was an important town prior to the 
arrival and settlement of the Israelites in the country. In 
the book of Joshua it is classed among the royal cities of 
Canaan. Its king, Horam, was defeated by Joshua while at- 
tempting to relieve Lacbish, which was besieged by the Is- 
raelites. Later it was included in the territory of the tribe 
of Ephraim, and assigned to the Levitical family of Kohath. 
It is mentioned several times during the wars between David 
and the Philistines, and during Solomon's reign one of the 
Pharaohs made an expedition against it, which resulted in 
the capture and burning of the town. It afterwards became 
part of the dowry of Pharaoh's daughter when she became 
Solomon's wife, and he rebuilt it. The last we hear of it 
was in the wars of the Maccabees, M'hen it reappears under 
the name of Gazara. Taken by assauK in the first instance 
by the Jews, it passed successively into the hands of the two 
contending parties, who attached equal importance to its 
possession. John ITyrcanus, the Jewish commander, made 
it his military residence. 

It was during his study of the old Arab geographers that 
M. Clermont Ganneau came upon the name Tell el-Gezer, and 
finding that it met all the topographical requirements of 
the Bible, he went in search of it at Abu Shusheh. Here he 
found that a mound on Mr. Bergheim's property was known 
to the natives by that name, though it was too insignificant 
ever to have figured on any map. On making minute in- 
vestigation, he discovered, to his delight, a bilingual inscrip- 
tion; the first word, in Greek characters of the classical epoch, 
Avas the name of a man, " Alkio," immediately followed by 
Hebrew letters of ancient square form, the translation of 
which was "limit of Gezer." Tliis settled the question, and 
the English Palestine Exploration Fund at once sent a spe- 
cial mission to verify Monsieur Ganneau's discoveries. This 
they did most completely, finding four other inscriptions, 
besides making a most complete survey of the i)lace. As is 
not uncommon with such very ancient remains, the first as- 
pect of the spot is disappointing. There are, in fact, no 
ruins visible, with the exception of a few terraces on the 
Tell, consisting of large blocks of unhewn stone. The Tell 

294 HAIFA. 

itself, on wliicli part of tlie city appears to have stood, is a 
sort of ridge about six liundred yards long, one Lundred 
across, and two hundred and fifty feet above the surround- 
ing rocky valleys. The foundations of the ancient houses 
may be traced possibly in the numerous rock-cuttings with 
which the place abounds, but it is difficult to distinguish 
them from cuttings for quarrying stone on the old method, 
and certainly many of the cuttings were those of quarriers. 
There are the remains of what was apparently an old. fortress 
at the eastern end of the Tell, but the most remarkable 
features are the numerous wine-presses, which number about 
thirty, some of them in an excellent state of preservation. 
There are also some tombs, but these are rare and scattered, 
which is to be accounted for by the fact that this was a Le- 
vitical city, within the limits of which no interment was al- 
lowed. There are numerous chips of stone, some a])]^arently 
basaltic, and. much broken jjottery all over the Tell, and 
many flints, some of which were worked, have been discov- 
ered. While he was building his houL^e, which is just under 
the Tell, Mr. Bergheim found a deep cistern about forty feet 
square, lined with small stones and covered with two coats 
of cement, which was hard and white; the Avails were about 
two feet thick, and it seemed to have a niche in its eastern 
wall, as though it had at one time been used as a chapel. In 
the niche a cross w^as found, painted red, and beneath it a 
stone altar, which has been removed; but all this points to 
an early Christian occupation. Mr. Bergheim has since con- 
verted the cistern to its original iise. He also found a 
curious idol in hard red pottery. The fellahin say that 
many of these " dolls," as they call them, used to be picked 
up, and were given* to the children as playthings. Flint in- 
struments, earthenware weights, and rubbers in composition, 
for use in cementing cisterns, have been found in ploughing 
on the Tell, and near its southwest extremity a number of 
skeletons were discovered, apparently of persons slain in bat- 
tle; one had a sword-cut on the skull. An aqueduct cut in 
the rock is also traceable along the hillside. 

Altogether the place is a good deal more interesting than 
it looks at first sight, and had its owner been an antiquary 
he would doubtless have had splendid opportunities of mak- 


ing a valuable collection. That the spot has always had a 
semi-sacred character in the eyes of the country people is 
evident from the traditions which attach to it. One is that 
the city of Noah stood upon the hill here, and that the deluge 
came from a place called Et Tannar, which is a cavity with 
an old well on the east slope of the hill. The modern name 
Abu Shusheh, or " Father of the Topknot," is said to be de- 
rived from a dervish Avho prayed for rain in time of drought, 
and Avas told by a sand diviner that he would perish if it 
came. The water came out of the earth and formed a pool, 
into which he stepped and was drowned. The people, seeing 
only his topknot left, cried, " Ya Abu Shusheh" (O Father 
of the Topknot). 

It is a pity that, with the exception of the one deciphered 
by Monsieur Ganneau, the inscriptions are so much effaced 
that, although certain characters can be made out, they have 
hitherto defied translation. Some of them appear to ap- 
proach to the later Hebrew forms, while others bear some 
resemblance to Cufic. 

There are other sites of interest which lie more or less dis- 
tant from the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, but I had not 
time to visit them, though the comparatively more advanced 
state of civilization of this province and the good 'accommo- 
dation to be found on the road would facilitate the explorer's 
task. On the other hand, the examination of this jjart of 
the country has been so thorough that he cannot hope for 
the rich rewards that are to be found in more inaccessible 


Haifa, July 20. — It is a melancholy reflection, and one 
by no means creditable to the Christianity which prevailed 
in the fourth century after Christ, that the Jerusalem of 
the present day, the Holy City of the world par excellence, 
should contain within its walls more sacred shams and im- 
postures than any other city in the world. The res2)onsi- 
bility for the gross superstition which prevails in regard to 
sites and localities mainly rests with the fourth century, and 
chiefly with the Empress Helena, who Avas principally instru- 
mental in inventing them, and the Christian churches, csj^e- 
eially the Greek and Latin, find it in their interest to foster 
these transparent frauds, for the enormous pecuniary advan- 
tages which accrue from them. 

The extraordinary amount of research and investigation 
of which Jerusalem has been the subject during the last 
twentv vears, the extent of the excavations which have been 
made, involving an expenditure of about |100,000, and the 
conscientious impartiality and profound acquirements of the 
explorers, have demolished the whole superstructure which 
early and medireval Christianity had reared upon the cre- 
dulity of its votaries; and which the churches of the present 
day, despite all the evidences to the contrary, find it in their 
interest to perpetuate. Thus it has now been proved to 
demonstration that, wherever the tomb in which Christ was 
laid after his crucifixion may liave been, it could not liave 
been in the cave over wliich the gorgeous edifice called the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands ; for we now 
know by recent examination the position of tlie walls which 
enclosed the city in the time of Christ, though some still 
deny the correctness of the latest conclusions which have 
been arrived at. We also know that Calvary, or Golgotha, 
where he was crucified, was " nigh at hand " to the sepul- 
chre ; that Golgotha was " nigh to the city," and not in it, 


and that Jesus "suffered without the gate." and that all 
tombs, saving those of David and lluldab and eight Jewish 
kings, were without the walls, while the cave over which the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built is within them. As, 
however, even the churches do not go so far as to maintain 
that any tradition had been preserved among Christians dur- 
ing the first three centuries after the death of Christ of his 
place of burial, they have had to resort to inspiration as the 
means of its discovery. Some of the early writers maintain 
that it was the Emperor Constantine himself who was divine- 
ly inspired to find it ; others that it was his mother, the Em- 
press Helena. This is a trifling discrepancy. Whichever 
it was, the fact of the inspiration remains, and scientific 
investigation has, ever since the days of Galileo, been bound 
to give way before ecclesiastical inspiration and infallibility. 
So, no matter whatever evidences exist to the contrary, 
crowds of pilgrims will continue to crawl over those sancti- 
fied stones, wearing them hollow with their kisses, as long 
as the sacerdotal organization of which it is the representa- 
tive remains to impose upon them its authority. 

With considerate ingenuity, and possibly with a view to 
lightening the labors of the pilgrims as much as possible, 
the early Church crowded as many sacred stones together 
under the roof of the holy edifice as it could Avith decency. 
Thus we have the Stone of Unction, on which Christ's body 
was laid for anointing, but it was getting so worn that the 
real stone lies below the marble slab, which, however, an- 
swers the purpose for the pilgrims. Close by is the Circular 
Stone, where the Virgin stood while the body was being 
anointed ; also the stone on Avhich Jesus stood when he 
appeared to Mary Magdalene, and the stone on which she 
stood, and the column to which he was bound when scourged; 
and your devout guide will show you, if you have the pa- 
tience to attend to him, the exact place where Jesus was 
stripped by the soldiers, the place Avhere the purple robe 
was put on him, the place where the soldiers cast lots for 
his raiment, the rent in the rock made by the earthquake, 
the place where his body was wrapped in linen cloths, the 
place where he indicated with his own hand the centre of 
the world, and so on, ad ncmseam. 

298 IIAIFA. 

Sometimes another Church commits a burglary and steals 
some of tliese stones. "^^Die Armenians have been especially 
guilty in this respect. They have stolen i'rom the holy sej)ul- 
chre the stone on which the angel sat, that had been rolled 
away from the door of the sepulchre, which they now dis- 
play in the chapel of the Palace of Caiaphas; also a piece of 
the true cross, which was originally discovered under inspira- 
tion by Helena, as well as that of the penitent thief, who is 
now canonized under the name of Dimas. I don't know 
what authority they have for calling him Dimas, whose 
reputed birthplace is, for political reasons, going to be con- 
verted into another holy place. There is something rather 
appropriate in the idea of the power that is Avaiting for a 
chance to despoil the Turkish empire of Syria erecting a 
shrine in worship of the penitent thief. 

The most remarkable sites are those which illustrate the 
parables. Thus, pilgrims are shown the window which was 
the i^ost of observation of Dives, and the stone, now worn 
by the kisses of the faithful, where Lazarus sat when the 
dog licked his sores. I asked my guide where the dog was, 
but he said he was dead, and added, with a smile, " I don't 
believe any of these things." 

I asked him Avhy not. 

" Oh," he replied, " I'm a Jew." 

After that the glibness with which he pattered off all the 
Christian traditions was very edifying until my patience was 
exhausted, and I said, " Well, supposing, as we neither of 
us believe in any of these invented sites, we go and try aid 
find something that is real." 

He had been in the service of some of the recent Jerusa- 
lem explorers, and I afterwards found him an intelligent 

It is a striking illustration of ]\Ioslem religious toleration, 
as compared with that shown by Christians in Jerusalem 
towards Jews, that while this man could accompany me into 
the Mosque of Omar, that most beautiful and sacred of Mo- 
hammedan temples, he was not allowed even to enter the 
street in vvliich stands the Christian Church of the Holy 

So far as Christian rites are concerned, it may, then, be 


taken as a fact that the interest which attaches to Jerusalem 
has but a very slender relation to thera. The great natural 
features, of course, must always remain. Bethlehem, Beth- 
any, and the Mount of Olives are as they ever were, but 
there are two Gardens of Gethseraane, one claimed by the 
Latins and one by the Greeks. When we descend to more 
minute details they are either purely mythical or at best 
only matters of vague conjecture. One of the best illustra- 
tions of the purely mythical is Christ's footprint on the rock 
from which he ascended into heaven, which is a good deal 
smaller than that of Buddha, which I have also seen on the 
top of Adam's Peak in Ceylon, or of Jcthro, which the 
Druses showed me in the Neby Schaib. 

Among those open to conjecture, the position of Calvary 
and the tomb of Joseph of Arimatliea are points upon which 
research may still throw light. Every indication goes to 
show that Golgotha, or Calvary, was a knoll outside the Da- 
mascus gate, exactly in the opposite direction to that affixed 
by Christian tradition, and which would do away with the 
Via Dolorosa as a sacred thoroughfare, the street shown as 
that along which Christ bore his cross on his way to execu- 
tion. It is only probable that Calvary was the ordinary 
execution ground of Jerusalem, which is called in the Tal- 
mud " the House of Stoning " about a.d. 150, and which 
current tradition among the Jews identifies with this knoll, 
a tradition borne out by the account of it contained in the 
Mishnah, or text of the Talmud, which describes a cliff 
over which the condemned was thrown by the first witness. 
If he was not killed by the fall, the second witness cast a 
stone on him, and the crowd on the cliff or beneath it com- 
pleted his execution. It was outside the gate, at some dis- 
tance from the Judgment Hall. The knoll in question is 
just outside the gate, Avith a cliff about fifty feet high. 
Moreover, we are informed that sometimes " they sunk a 
beam in the ground, and a crossbeam extended from it, and 
they bound his hands, one over the other, and hung him 
up." (Sanhedrim vi. 4.) Thus the House of Stoning was 
a recognized place of crucifixion. It is curious that an early 
Christian tradition pointed to this site as the place of ston- 
ing of Stej)hen, the proto-martyr. The vicinity has appar- 

300 JIAIFA. 

cntly always been considered unluclcy. An Arab writer in 
the iNIiddle A2:es ]>ronounces a barren tract adjoining ac- 
cursed and liaunted, so that the traveller should not pass 
it at night. 

The Valley of Judgment (or Jeliosaphat), wliich the Arab 
calls the Valley of Hell, passes not far east of the knoll, 
the Arab name of which is Ilcirimayeh, probably from a 
cave in the knoll called Jeremiah's grotto. The idea that 
this was in fact the Place of the Skull was warmly adopted 
by the late heroic defender of Khartoum, General Gordon, 
who spent the year before he went on his fatal mission to 
the Soudan in investigating points bearing on these subjects 
as tending to uphold theories which he held in regard to 
them, and which he explained to me at great length. Be- 
fore leaving England he sent some notes on these to the 
Palestine Exploration Fund, and in their last quarterly 
statement these are published. They are full of pathetic 
interest now. In regard to the Place of the Skull, General 
Gordon says that "the mention of the Place of the Skull in 
each of the four Gospels is a call to attention. Whenever a 
mention of any particular is made frequently we maj?- rely 
there is something in it. If the skull is mentioned four times, 
one naturally looks for the body, and if you take Warren's 
or other contours, with the earth or rubbish removed, show- 
ing the natural state of the land, you cannot help seeing 
that there is a body, that the conduit (discovered by Shick) 
is the oesophagus, that the quarries are the chest, and if 
you are venturesome you will carry out the analogy further. 
You find in the verse in the Psalms, ' Zion on the sides of 
the North,' the word 'j^leura,' the same as they 'pierced his 
pleuron, and there came forth blood and water.' God took 
a pleuron from the side of Adam and made woman. Now 
the Church of Christ is made up of or came from his pleura. 
The stones of the Temple came from the quarries, or chest 
of the figure, and so on. So that fixed the figure of the 
body to the skull." 

This theory led to Gordon's forming a singular and mys- 
tical conception of the emblematic character of the city as 
typifying in actual configuration the New Jerusalem, the 
divine bride. 


The most interesting fact, however, in connection with 
this knoll is the recent discovery upon it of a tomb, whicli 
has excited considerable interest as being, from its position, 
more likely to be the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, in which 
never man had been laid before Christ, than any hitherto 
known. From the knowledge we have now acquired of 
rock-cut tombs in Palestine we are able to judge from its 
ai)pearance and construction its probable date, and these all 
go to prove that it belongs to the later Jewish period, or 
that which terminated with the destruction of Jerusalem. 
The appearance of this tomb so near the old place of exe- 
cution, and so far from the other tombs in the old ceme- 
teries of the city, is very remarkable. A careful plan of 
the site and tomb has been made by Lieutenant Mantel), 
R. E., and sent to England, where the subject has lately 
afforded matter for discussion. The reason why the toml) 
was not found by the early Christians in their search for 
it at the time of Constantine is easy to be accounted for 
by the fact that, about ten 3'ears after the crucifixion, the 
" Women's Towers " were built by Agrippa upon the rock 
over the tomb, and it must have been hidden beneath or 
within the new building. Under these circumstances the 
sepulchre could no longer be visited, and in course of time 
its existence was forgotten, until the Empi'ess Helena de- 
stroyed the temple to Venus which the Romans had built 
on the present site of the Holy Sepulchre Church, and "be- 
yond all hope" (as Eusebius words it), discovered the rock- 
cut Jewish tomb, which the faithful accepted as the tomb 
of Christ. 

A peculiar interest does nevertheless attach to these ex- 
tremely ancient tombs in the Holy Sepulchre Church, one 
of which is now appropriated to Kicodemus, the nature of 
which I will discuss in my next letter. It is extremely 
probable that cither Constantine or Helena heard that 
tombs of a high sanctity stood beneath the Venus tem- 
ple, and they thought they could not do better than take 
the most sacred tomb to which tradition of any sort at- 
tached, and call it the holy sepulchre. Modern iconoclas- 
ticism and love of truth have, however, proved too strong 
for fourteen hundred vears of unfounded tradition. If the 

302 HAIFA. 

churches liad only taken half as much trouble to preserve 
the moral truths which are to be found in the teachings 
of Christ, as they have to preserve a cave in which he was 
never buried, the world would have been so much the bet- 
ter instead of so much the worse for their exertions. 


HzViFA, August 3. — The discoveries which liave been made 
in Jerusalem during the last few years, and the conclusions 
at which those who have most deeply studied the subject 
have arrived in consequence, render it extremely desirable 
that a new or revised description of the Holy City should 
be inserted in the tourists' hand-books for Syria and Pales- 
tine. Travellers should be warned against dragomans who 
waste their time taking them to see Christian sites which 
have no relation to the facts they are supposed to commem- 
orate, and possess no interest of any kind beyond the philo- 
sophical one that they illustrate the extraordinary credulity 
and superstitions which exist among the professors of Chris- 
tianity in the nineteenth century, and which are certainly 
not exceeded, even if they are paralleled, by those of any 
heathen religion. 

A Jerusalem hand-book, to be of any interest, should deal 
with the conclusions resultimx from the excavations and re- 
searches of Sir Charles Wilson, Sir Charles Warren, Captain 
Conder, M. Clermont Ganneau, and others, during the last 
twenty years, and leave the traditions of the Latin and 
Greek churches almost out of the question altogether. 
Their researches have settled nearly all the topographical 
questions connected with ancient Jerusalem, wdilch had pre- 
viously been the subject of so much controversy and error, 
the doubts and difficulties connected with them arising from 
the fact that the city had been more or less destroyed and 
built over so many times that the original foundations of its 
walls and Temple could only be determined by extensive and 
laborious excavations; and in the course of these many col- 
lateral discovei'ies were made. 

We learn from the publications of the Palestine Explora- 

304 HAIFA. 

tion Fuml tliat those excavations were carrlod on under dif- 
ficulties of every kind, in face of the opposition of the local 
government and in spite of continued fevers and lack of 
funds. The mines were driven to extraordinary depths; one 
at the southeast angle of the Ilaram being eighty feet deep, 
and another, near the northeast angle, being one hundred 
and twenty feet beneath the surface, where it reaches the 
solid rock. In consequence of the great depths, the scarcity 
of the mining frames, and the treacherous character of the 
debris through which the shafts and galleries were driven, 
the work was one of unusual danger and difficulty, requiring 
much courage and determination. Sir Charles Warren and 
the non-commissioned officers of his staff worked constantly 
with their lives in their hands, and often undertook opera- 
tions from Avhich the native workmen recoiled. The pru- 
dence and discipline of the party, however, secured valuable 
discoveries without an accident; and it is generally acknowl- 
edged that the results are of an importance which fully re- 
pays the labor and difficulty of the operations. 

Sir Charles Warren was the officer who so courasreouslv 
entered the desert of Sinai after the late Egyptian war, when 
he succeeded in capturing the murderers of Professor Pal- 
mer, Captain Gill, and Lieutenant Sharrington, and bringing 
them to justice. The result of his labors in Jerusalem, and 
that of his fellow-explorers, is a magnificent atlas, published 
last year by the Palestine Exploration Fund, containing a 
most elaborate series of maps, plans, elevations, and engrav- 
ings, which reproduce the sacred city in all its most striking 
features, accompanied by a handsome volume of descriptive 
matter. We ai-e thus able to base an account of the ancient 
topography of the city on data more exact than any pre- 
viously acquired, and to read the ancient historic accounts 
by the light of ascertained facts, instead of guessing at 
probabilities by the aid of descriptions, which, however care- 
fully written, are still, as all descriptions must be, vague 
where the student requires most exactitude, and deficient 
where he most washes for details. 

With the assistance of these publications a guide-book 
might be compiled which would enable the tourist to order 
his dragoman to take him straight to the places worth see- 


ing, instead of — following on the track of exploded tradition 
— going Avilli bira like a sbeep to those tliat are not. Much 
could be done to clear away existing confusion and prevent 
the perpetuation of error by a change in the received nomen- 
clature, whereby things should be called by their right names 
so far as they are known, instead of by misleading appella- 
tions, derived from the records of early pilgrims or the later 
crusaders. I will take a few examples as illustrations. Not 
far from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre the guide shows 
the traveller an immense reservoir, now being filled up. This, 
he says, is the Pool of Bethesda, but it has only been thus 
designated since the fourteenth century. In the twelfth 
this pool was supposed to be a cistern near the Church of 
St. Anne, and in the fourth the site of Bethesda was shown 
at the twin pools, northwest of Antonia. The fact is that 
there are only two sites which may be regarded as possible 
for Bethesda, one being the spring of En-Rogel, which has 
an intermittent ebb and flow, and which is still frequented 
by the Jews, who bathe in it to cure various diseases. The 
other is the curious well immediately west of the Temple 
enclosure, now called Hamnian Esh-Shefa, or the Healing 
Spring, a long reservoir reached by a shaft nearly one hun- 
dred feet deep. None of the pools which have at various 
times been selected by tradition have any supply of living 
water, and none can well be supposed to have any intermit- 
tent rise and fall, such as we understand by the moving of 
the waters. 

Again, take the tombs of Absalom and St. James. There 
is nothing whatever to connect the first with Absalom. The 
singular style of its architecture shows that it cannot be the 
pillar "Absalom reared up for himself during his lifetime in 
the king's dale." M. Clermont Ganneau has made excava- 
tions uncovering the bases and pedestals of the columns, all 
of Avhich are purely Greek. Indeed, it is only since the 
twelfth century that it was called the tomb of Absalom at 
all. The author of the Jerusalem Itinerary calls it the tomb 
of llezekiah, and Adamanus, in the seventh century, calls it 
the tomb of Jehoshaphat. It is possibly the monument of 
Alexander Janmeus spoken of by Jose])hus. So, too, the 
tomb of St. James has nothing to do with St. James ; for 

306 HAIFA. 

there lias lately been tliscovered on the facade an inscription 
in square Hebrew in so inaccessible a position as to have 
been only probably cut before the facade M'as conii)letecl, 
which mentions that the family of the Beni Ilezir are buried 
there. This family of priests is mentioned in the iriblc 
(1 Chron, xxiv. 15). The inscription seems to date from 
the first century before Christ. 

The so-called tomb of David is a vault over which has 
been built a room, called the chamber in which the Feast of 
the Passover prior to the crucifixion is supposed to have 
taken place. Close to it is the Palace of Caiaphas, and in it 
is shown the spot where Peter stood when he denied his 
Master, Near it is the rock upon which the cock roosted when 
he crew. The "rock," the "spot," the "palace," the "Cro- 
naculum," and the "tomb" all rest upon equally invalid au- 
thority. As regards the tomb of David, Ave know that it was 
within the Avails, together Avith those of eight other Jewish 
kings. That the ])lace Avas apparently Avell knoAvn as late as 
the time of Christ we gather both from the Acts and 
Josephus. It is remarkable that one undisputed Jewish 
tomb still exists in such a position as to have been certainly 
within the city of David. This is the so-called tomb of 
Nicodemus, and it is yet more remarkable that in its original 
condition, before it Avas partly destroyed, this tomb must 
have been just made to contain nine bodies, placed in kokim, 
or graves cut according to the oldest arrangement employed 
by the Jews. Josephus mentions as a peculiarity of the 
tombs of the kings that some of the coffins Avere buried be- 
neath the surface, so as to be unseen even to those standing 
Avithin the monument. Just such an arrangement exists in 
the tomb under consideration, the floor of which is sunk so 
that the graves on one side are on a loAver tier. It seems, 
therefore, quite possible that the Church of the Holy Sepul- 
chre preserves the monument of the nine chief kings of 
Jerusalem. Of course, tradition, with its usual ignorance, 
places "the tombs of the kings" on the hill of the upper 
city, Avhere your guide takes you to see them, and Avhere 
there are no ancient tombs at all, the tombs there being of 
a date not earlier than the first century before Christ. A 
fine sarcophagus, Avith an Aramaic inscription, stating that 


it held the body of a certain Queen Sara, was discovered in 
them. Though called by a Avrong name, they are, never- 
theless, well worth visiting. As it is supposed by some au- 
thorities that Helena, Queen of Adiabene, was also buried 
here, they might more projierly be called the tombs of the 

But the really great work which recent investigation has 
accomplished has mainly reference, not so much to such de- 
tails as these, which must always remain more or less matters 
of speculation, as to the settlement of controversies affect- 
ing the topographical questions connected with ancient Jeru- 
salem. First, in regard to points upon which all are now 
agreed. There is no doubt about the Mount of Olives and 
the brook Kedron. It is agreed that the Temple stood on 
the spur immediately west of the Kedron, and that the 
southern tongue of this spur was called Ophel. It is also 
agreed that the flat valley west of this spur is that to which 
Josephns applies the name Tyropa?an, though there was a 
diversity as to the exact course of the valley, which has now 
been set at rest by the collection of the i-ock levels within 
the city. It is also agreed by all authorities that the high 
southwestern hill, to which the name of Sion has been ap- 
plied since the fourth century, is that which Josephus calls 
the upper city, or upper Market Place. The site of the 
Pool of Siloara is also undisputed, and certain natural feat- 
ures have been determined, which serve as data on which to 
construct the walls of the ancient city and fix the site and 
area of the Temple enclosure in the time of Ilerod. There 
is still some controversy in regard to the exact position and 
course of the city walls prior to its destruction by Titus, but 
this is chiefly maintained by those who are fatally affected 
in their religious sentiments. There is also a difference of 
opinion in regard to the area of the Temple building. Prac- 
tically, however, this point has been settled by the great 
weight of authority on one side, which aflirms that the pres- 
ent Haram enclosure, in which are situated the mosque of 
Omar, and the sacred stone, represent the area of Herod's 
Temple, only one or two standing out for a restriction of 
this area. If the Turkish government would only allow ex- 
plorations to be made under the platform of the dome of the 

308 HAIFA. 

rock, the very rock upon wliicli Ahralmm is supposed to have 
been ordered to sacrifice Isaac, and if the exaiuiuation of the 
closed chambers known to exist on the north and east sides 
of this j)latforni coukl be carried out, the controversy niiglit 
be set at rest by actual discovery. Of the Temple of Solo- 
mon little is known, though it is possible that the great 
scarps in the present British cemetery may be as old as the 
time of David, or the eleventh century before Christ. They 
are, without doubt, the oldest existing remains in Jerusalem, 
and formed part of the ramparts of the upper city. Mean- 
time, the most interesting spot which it contains, whether 
for Jew, Christian, or Mohammedan, is that mysterious 
dome of the rock, with its gorgeous mosque covering the 
sacred stone, which Christ himself must have regarded with 
as much veneration in his day as the adherents of the two 
other religions, so widely opposed to the one of which he 
was the founder, do now. 


Haifa, August 10. — There is probably no city in tbe do- 
minions of the sultan wliich has undergone more change dur- 
ing the last few j^ears than Jerusalem, and as any change 
Avhich implies progress, implies also the increase of foreign 
influence, and is always viewed with suspicion by the Porte, 
the march of events in Palestine is watched by Turkish 
statesmen with a jealousy which finds its expression in a 
persistent effort to oppose it. As, however, the basis of the 
movement to which Jerusalem owes its increase during re- 
cent years is a religious one, and is founded upon a senti- 
ment which proverbially thrives by opposition, all efforts to 
retard the influx of population and capital into the Holy 
City have proved unavailing. Owing to increased facilities 
of travel, the pilgrimages both of the Greek and Latin 
churches have been more numerous. A new feature is that 
some of the richer pilgrims from time to time establish them- 
selves here. This is especially the case with the Russian 
members of the Greek Church. The influx of Jews has also 
been increasing to a remarkable extent. The Protestant 
sects are constantly enlarging the field of their operations, 
and new charitable and educational establishments are 
springing up from year to year. An American society of 
Second Advent ists has been resident here for some years, 
while isolated religious cranks find in the Holy City an ap- 
propriate dwelling-place, for reasons known only to them- 

The result of all this is that whereas Avhen I was last 
here, six years ago, only a very few houses had been built 
on the Jaffa road outside the walls of the town, now there is 
an extensive and constantly increasing Frank suburb. The 
price of land has risen fifty per cent., and is still constantly 
rising. New hotels and shops have been opened to meet 

310 HAIFA. 

the incrcasinpf dcniaml. Within the last twenty years the 
popuhition of tlie Holy City has certainly douhled, the in- 
crease consisting entirely of Jews and Christians. Apart 
from its sacred associations the city lias no attractions as a 
residence of any kind, but quite the reverse. This fact pos- 
sesses a highly important political significance, because it is 
evident that in the degree in which the vested interests of 
rival sects and religions accumulate upon this spot is it 
destined some day to become a bone of contention between 
them. It is probably the only city in the world where the 
same amount of cajjital and enterprise is exj)ended on objects 
%vhich are in no sense remunerative, while in j)roportion to its 
size there is none where a larger sum is annually given away, 
either in the form of charitable or religious donations. 
Nothing strikes one more than the projjortion of buildings 
having some sort of public character or other to private 
dwellings, and these buildings are constantly increasing. 
This year the estimated expenditure of the Greek and Latin 
churches will be over $600,000 for building purposes alone. 
The number of Russian pilgrims who visit Jerusalem annual- 
ly is about five thousand, and it is constantly increasing. 
They are all accommodated in the extensive premises be- 
longing to the Russian government, in the centre of which 
the Russian consulate is situated, and which forms a sort of 
Russian suburb to the Holy City. Here one feels trans- 
ported for the time to the dominions of the czar, as he hears 
on all sides the Slav tongue, and finds himself jostled by 
men and Avomen in the peasant costume of their own country, 
chaffering over wares which the more enterprising of their 
number have imported to sell to their own country people, 
while they squat in stalls and booths which they have rough- 
ly extemporized for the purpose. 

When you consider the amount of foreign money which 
is annually expended in Jerusalem by these hosts of pilgrims 
— those of the Latin Church, however, do not equal in num- 
ber those of the Greek — by the tourists and general influx 
of sightseers Avho flock here during Easter week, and by the 
churches and societies in building operations, you cannot 
wonder that many persons have of late years become wealthy, 
and that many natives of Syria and the Levant are attracted 


to the town in the hope of becoming so. The tide having 
thus set in, it goes on increasing, and the rivalry of the Lat- 
in and Greek churches imparts, as it were, a stimulus to the 
whole jumble of creeds and nationalities which cluster round 
the sacred shrines. 

Amomx the latest and most interestinjx arrivals are a num- 
ber of Jews from Yemen. Hitherto these little -known 
people had only been heard of, or at most seen, by one or 
two enterprising travellers who have penetrated from Aden 
into the southern deserts of Arabia Felix. I was told that 
they consider themselves as belonging to the tribe of Dan. 
They have lately arrived as refugees in Jerusalem from 
Yemen, where they have suffered great misery during the 
recent wars between the Arab tribes which inhabit that prov- 
ince and the Turkish troops. Finding themselves ultimately 
reduced to starvation by the plunder of which they were the 
victims from both sides, they determined to seek shelter in 
the Holy City, Avhere they arrived in rags in a starving and 
destitute condition. They have since been provided for by 
subscriptions among their co-religionists raised in Europe. I 
met some of them one afternoon, down at the Place of Wail- 
ing, and w%as much struck by the mild and gentle expression 
of their countenances. They are reputed to be well versed 
in their own religious lore, and to be devout without being 
hypocritical, which is more than can be said for Palestinian 
Jews generally. Although they were themselves engaged 
in sedentary and commercial pursuits in Sana and other 
towns in the fertile oases of southern Arabia, they report 
that among the nomads of these deserts are wandering tribes 
in no wise, so far as their external appearance goes, to be 
distinguished from Arabs, but who are nevertheless purely 

I also met while in Jerusalem a black Jew from Cochin in 
India, where Jews have been established fi'om time imme- 
morial, but he seemed somewhat vague as to his ancestry. 

Among all these different nationalities and sects, which as 
a rule hold each other in holy abhorrence, it is singular that 
they all have one view in common, or rather, perhaps, it 
sbould be said that they all seem to labour under one im- 
pression, or presentiment, and that is that before very long 

312 HAIFA. 

the Holy City Avill undergo a change of some sort. Tlie 
nature of this change naturally takes the form peculiar to 
the national or religious tendency of thought. With the 
Russians and French it is reduced to a very simple political 
expression, which may be summed up in the word annexa- 
tion. This idea is more firmly fixed among the Russians 
than the French. Indeed, the Holy City ])lays a greater 
part in the Greek religion than it does in the Latin, and the 
affections of the orthodox are centred on tliese shrines to a 
degree unknown among Christians of any other denomina- 
tion. There is hardly a village in Russia in which there is 
not to be found a bottle of Jordan water, and the devotional 
instincts of the peasantry, which are very strong, are directed 
by the Church, which is in Russia synonymous with the gov- 
ernment, upon the holy places in Palestine, as shrines which 
have a spiritual value not recognized by other churches to 
the same extent, and which, therefore, when the day comes, 
should entitle it to their temporal and tei-ritorial proprietor- 
ship. In other words, there is not a Russian pilgrim who 
visits Jerusalem who does not hope that he may live to see 
the day Avhen it will become a Russian city, and who does 
not long for the call to a holy war, the object of which 
should be the exclusive possession by Russia of the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre and of the city in which it stands.* 

In France there is no such religious enthusiasm, except 
with a section of society, and, although the conquest of Syria 

* Russia in Palestine. — Tlie St. Petersburg correspondent of the Dall^ 
News saj-s, " lu Palestine, the orthodox religion and Russian influence seem 
to be increasing. Some days ago ' The Orthodox Palestine Society ' celebrated 
its anniversary. It was made known on this occasion that the societ}' — which 
is protected by the government, and which has one of the emperor's uncles, 
the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievitcli, as president — numbers already si.x 
hundred and fifteen members, and that its reserve capital amounts to about 
90,000 roubles. The society has constructed a church at Nazareth, is con- 
structing a church at Mudshile, and has bought a piece of ground at Jerusa- 
lem. The leaders of the Palestine Society assert that their researches have 
proved in ' the most indubitable ' manner that Christ, on his way to Golgotha, 
'passed just over the ground which has been bought by the society.' One of 
the society's tasks is to facilitate Russian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The 
emperor has recently given his sanction to the establishment of branches of 
this society in all cities of the Russian Empire." 


and Palestine enters into the programme of the government, 
and their religious protectorate over the Latin Church and 
its interests gives them a strong point of departure, it is 
weakened by the fact that the government is professedly 
anti-Catholic, and that, even Avere it not so, the sentiment 
for the holy places is not so strong among the Latins as 
among the Greeks. With the Protestants there is a large 
class who base their belief in an immediately pending altera- 
tion in the political conditions under which Jerusalem now 
exists, upon their interpretation of prophecy. They profess 
to find it clearly indicated in Ezekiel, Daniel, Revelations, 
and elsewhere in the Bible, that the protectorate of Pales- 
tine is to be vested in England. Among the Jews there are 
many also, though they interpret the prophetic writings in 
a totally different sense, who believe that the fulfilment of 
the prophecy which is to restore to them their ancient coun- 
try', with its sacred city, is at hand, and all Moslem tradition 
points to the present time as one critical to the fortunes of 
Islam, with which the fate of Jerusalem, which is to them 
also a holy city, is inextricably interwoven. 

Whether we have any sympathy with any of these views 
or not, the mere fact that so many nations and races of di- 
verse religions, from one point of view or another, centre their 
political and religious aspirations upon this spot, makes it 
the most interesting city upon the earth's surface, because 
there is none other which, when its possession comes to be 
disputed, will excite such powerful or such conflicting ambi- 
tions, superstitions, and passions. These considerations be- 
come doubly interesting when we connect them with the 
events which are now transpiring in the East. 

One day while I was in Jerusalem the huge bell which I 
had seen dragged by Russian pilgrims along the road from 
Jaffa arrived. It was destined for a new Russian church 
which has lately been built upon the Mount of Olives. 
Anxious to witness the ceremony of its reception, I set out 
for the Mount and reached the summit just in time to see 
the bronze monster, which I calculated weighed about eight 
tons, arrive at its destination. A large crowd of Russian 
men and women, headed by two priests of the Greek Church 
in full canonicals, and chanting sacred songs, were dragging 

314 HAIFA. 

it to tlio ])l:ilf()rin from Avliich it was to be finally elevated 
into the belfry ])repare(l for it. When, after mueh ])ulling 
and hauling, it was at last placed upon the platform, a sol- 
emn religious service took place. Every individual man and 
woman in the crowd pressed forward to kiss the uplifted 
crucifix which the priest presented for their adoration, cross- 
ing and prostrating themselves, and crowding also around 
the bell to kiss the various sacred groups of figures repre- 
sented upon it in basso-rilievo. At last, after a final melodi- 
ous chant in which all joined with great earnestness, the 
ofiiciating ])riest gave the signal for three cheers, which 
was rcs2)onded to with heartiness, and the ceremony was 

I now went to examine the interior of the new church 
which it was intended to decorate, and was glad to find that 
the accident which had led me to come here to witness the 
arrival of the bell was the means of introducing me to a new 
and interesting discovery of recent date. The Russians, in 
excavating for the foundations of their new church, came 
upon the pavement and other remains of an ancient building, 
which they have been careful to preserve. Many of the most 
interesting objects found are placed in a cabinet. In the hall 
of the priest's house adjoining the church is a beautiful tes- 
sellated pavement, representing animals, fish, apples, and 
geometrical patterns, with an inscription in Armenian formed 
of colored tessera?. East of the gate into the garden, and 
close to the house, is a rock-cut chamber, with a vault of 
modern masonry. It measures about twenty-four feet by 
fourteen, and contains sixteen sarcophagi, arranged in groups 
of four, with a passage between. These were closed by slabs, 
and on three inscriptions were dimly discernible. North 
of this Avere the foundations of a building, apparently a 
chapel, with a tessellated floor and a row of piers about two 
feet square. Near by is a cave with a modern vaulted 
chamber, and an iron door which has apparently been placed 
there to protect a long inscription in old Armenian characters, 
formed also of colored tessera?, but I have no means of know- 
ins: what it signifies. Beneath the floor of the house are said 
to be other tombs, which can be reached through a masonry 
trap-door. It is not unlikely that all these remains belong 


to an Annenian medifeval monastery. The site, which lias 
recently been acquired by the Russians, is some hundreds of 
yards distant from the highest part of Olivet, where the 
Latin chapel stands, usually visited by tourists who go there 
to see Christ's footprint. It commands a magnificent view, 
and the new Russian edifice will make an important addition 
to their rapidly growing collection of sacred buildings. 

Nothing is more aggravating to the members of either the 
Greek or Latin churches than to find the rival sect in solitary 
possession of a holy place. It is the immediate signal for 
the purchase of another site as near as possible to the one 
already occupied, and the erection upon it of an opposition 
building. No greater piece of luck can befall the owner of 
a piece of land than to stumble upon remains which show 
that it had been in the occupation of the early Christians. 
He can then name his own price, and, like the fortunate pro- 
prietor of the land on which St. Stephen's Church is now 
about to be built by the French, may get a thousand napo- 
leons for what he had a very short while before only paid 

Before bidding adieu to Jerusalem, it mav be interesting 
to my readers that I should notice some of the more.impoi-- 
tant discoveries that have been made there within the last 
year or two, and which are not, therefore, to be found in 
any guide-book. For many of the details I, am indebte-d 
to the Palestin'e Exploration Fund publications. Among 
these have been many tombs, some of them of much inter- 
est, but none equal to that to which I have already alluded, 
as being the most likely of any which have yet been discov- 
ered, to be the tomb of Christ. I have given at length the 
reasons in a former letter in support of this presumption. 
It is approached by a court cut in the rock seven feet square, 
and two stones in this are so placed as to give the idea that 
they may have held in place a rolling stone before the door. 
On the right is a side entrance leading into a chamber with 
a single loculus, and thence into a cave eight feet by ten. 
If, instead of turning into this, we go straight on, we descend 
two steps into a chamber six feet by nine; from either side 
wall, and in the back wall of this chamber, are three low 
passages; they lead into three other small chambers, each 

31 C HAIFA. 

about seven I'eet long by six wide, and on each side of each 
are stone benches on which bodies could be placed, with a 
narrow passage between them ; so that, in fact, the whole 
tomb could contain six bodies. Whether it be the real 
Holy Sepulchre or not, it is interesting from the fact that 
it is the only Jewish tomb that has ever been found so close 
to the ram])avts of the modern city on the north, and to the 
spot which may, with comparative certainty, be identified 
with Calvary, It stands not very far distant from a piece 
of land which a man bought a year or so ago for fifty na- 
poleons. On beginning to excavate for the foundations of 
liis house he came upon some tessellated pavement, carvings, 
and all the evidences of remains of some importance. He 
lost no time in making his discovery known, and, finding 
that it stood upon what must have been the site of the early 
Christian Church of St. Stephen, to commemorate the s})ot 
of his martyrdom, the Roman Catholics gave the man a 
thousand napoleons for liis land, and have laid bare the re- 
mains with a view to building another church over them. I 
examined them with some interest, as it was such a recent 
discovery, though the historical interest only dates back to 
the year a.d. 4G0, Avhen it was built by the Empress Eu- 
doxia. The crusaders found it in ruins, since which time it 
had become buried, and its site lost. The Avhole plan of the 
church can r\pw be distinctly traced, its pavements in many 
places remaining perfect, with the foundations of its side 
walls, fragments of columns, etc. The two most interesting 
features in connection with it, however, are a slab of fine 
limestone on which are the figures of the twelve apostles, each 
surrounded by a sort of canopy. They stand six each side of 
a central figure of a throned Christ. The figures are rather 
stifliy drawn and have long robes; although they were very 
distinct when first discovered, instead of moving the slab 
under shelter, it has been left exposed to the storms of win- 
ter; the result is that the outlines, Avhich were in colour, can 
now scarcely be distinguished, and another year will com- 
pletely efface them; besides this there is an inscription which 
has so far puzzled experts, though it is in Greek characters, 
but a good deal of it is effaced. There are also tombs in the 
vicinity, but though rock-cut they are evidently Christian. 


Recent excavations witliin the city have also exposed avast 
area, depressed considerably below the jDresent level of the 
surface, which once formed the extensive establishment of the 
Knights Hospitallers, or Knights of St. John. It was given 
some time ago by the Turkish government to the Crown- 
Prince of Germany; since then the whole place has been 
cleared out with a view to its restoration on a grand scale, 
and it will doubtless form, when completed, one of the finest 
architectural monuments of modern date in Jerusalem. Sev- 
eral very deep and finely-vaulted cisterns, with arches fifty 
feet high, have been brought to light, besides cloisters, cor- 
ridors, and vaulted chambers hitherto unknown. Some idea 
of the scale of the establishment which these celebrated 
knights possessed in Jerusalem may be gathered from the 
character and extent of the ruins, which cover an area of 
one hundred and seventy squai-e yai-ds, of which only half, 
unfortunately, belongs to the German government. 

But the latest discovery, which has excited the greatest 
interest, is that of the inscription in the tunnel which con- 
nects the Virgin's Fount with the Pool of Siloam. Tlie ex- 
ploration of this tunnel, which is about six hundred yards 
long, involved great danger and difficulty. Colonel, now 
Sir Charles Warren, gives a most graphic picture of the 
horrors of his experience. For some distance the passage 
was only one foot four inches high, and as there was one 
foot of water, the explorers, who were crawling on their 
stomachs, naked, were submerged to their chins, having only 
four inches of breathing-room, with the additional danger 
of being drowned by the rising of the waters, which does 
not take place regularly. Often their mouths were under 
water, and a breath of air could only be obtained by twist- 
ing their faces up. To keep a light burning, to take meas- 
urements, and make observations under these circumstances 
was a work of no little difficulty ; and yet, after crawling 
through mud and water for four hours, the honour of finding 
the insci'iption was reserved for a naked urchin of the town, 
who, some years after, announced he had seen writing on 
the wall. Whereupon Professor Sayce, and Ilerr Schick, 
and Doctor Guthe plunge naked into the muddy tunnel with 
acid solutions, and blotting-paper, and everything necessary 

318 HAIFA. 

to make squeezes, and emerge shivering and triumphant wit li 
the most interesting Hebrew inscription tliat lias ever been 
found in Palestine, about which pamphlets and articles have 
been written, and scholars have wrangled, but which is now 
admitted to be as old as the time of Solomon, and it is 
agreed on all hands that the interpretation thereof is as fol- 

" Behold the excavation. Now this is the history of the 
Tunnel. While the excavators were still lifting up the Pick 
towards each other, and while there were yet three cubits 
to be broken through, the voice of one called to his neigh- 
bour, for there was an excess in the rock on the right. They 
rose up. They struck on the west of the excavation. They 
struck, each to meet the other, pick to pick. And there 
flowed the waters from their outlet to the Pool, for a thoxi- 
sand two hundred cubits, and ... of a cubit was the height 
of the rock over the heads of the excavators." From this 
it will appear that there were two w^orking-parties, working 
from opposite ends, and the indefatigable explorers have 
actually discovered the spot where the " excess " in the 
rock occurred and where they probably met. Most people 
who have not got Palestine exploration on the brain will, 
however, be content to take their word for it without going 
to see for themselves. Still it cannot be denied that an 
engineering work, executed in the time of Solomon, and an 
inscription describing it, is of the greatest interest. The 
date of the inscription can be determined with tolerable 
accuracy by a comparison of the letters with those on the 
Moabite stone and other of the most ancient inscriptions 


Haifa, Sept. 2. — The signs of progress to wbicli I have al- 
luded in former letters as being manifest in Judea are not 
confined to Jaffa and Jerusalem. The contemplated carriage- 
road to Jericlio will be an immense boon to the crowds of 
jDilgrims who liock annually to the Jordan. The first evi- 
dence of activity in this direction was at tlie Khan el-Ahmah. 
Here are the ruins of an old building. Fragments of walls 
and broken arches remahi, and a deep well indicates that in 
former days it was inhabited — probably as a half-way house 
of entertainment. Whether this be so or not, I was glad to see 
a large force of stone-masons and builders actively engaged, 
under the superintendence of a European, in erecting a hand- 
some khan or rest-house, which, considering that there is not 
at present a single habitation between Jerusalem and Jeri- 
cho, with the exception of Bethany, distant only two miles 
from the former city, is much needed. 

This place has always had an evil reputation for thieves 
since the days when the Good Samaritan performed his 
charitable offices to the plundered and beaten wayfarer. In- 
deed, it is at this very place that the spot is shown to the 
credulous pilgrim where the incident in the parable is said to 
have occurred, and the guide-books solemnly warn the tourist 
that he must be careful to be p>rovided with an escort, be- 
cause an English traveller, Sir Frederick Henniker, was at- 
tacked here by Bedouins, stripped, wounded, and left for 
dead in 1820. This is imputing stagnation to the Turkish 
government with a vengeance. It moves slowly, it is true, 
but the state of security has improved somewhat in sixty- 
five years. Six years ago I rode alone with a friend from 
Jericho to Jerusalem with no thour;;ht of dano-er. The 
Bedouins find it to their interest to keep up the traditions of 
the guide-books, and travellers continue to pay Bedouin 

320 HAIFA. 

slieiks blackmail wliicli llioy iuio;lit witii perfect confidence 
keep in their pockets. I consider the road from Jerusalem 
to Jericho in the present day as safe as Broadway, at all 
events in the daytime. 

It might not be safe to venture along it quite alone at 
night, but the same might be said of roads in other far more 
civilized countries. Nevertheless, the road in places is so 
wild and desolate that it may well appal the imagination of 
the timid traveller, notably so where it enters the Wady Kelt, 
a deep, narrow gorge, flanked l)y precii)itous cliffs, honey- 
combed with caverns, above which rise white chalk hills, 
presenting a tangled network of narrow w^ater-worn torrent 
beds with knife-like ridges between. Hundreds of feet below 
the path rushes a mountain torrent, which is none other than 
the traditional brook Cheritt. Here, if we leave the regular 
track, and make uj") our minds to follow a dizzy path cut out 
of the i)recipitous cliff, which winds back up the gorge, soon 
disappearing in the depth of its gloomy recesses, we i:)lunge 
into one of the wildest and weirdest scenes that the ingenu- 
ity of nature has conceived in any country, so fantastic are 
the crags and so labyrinthine the gorges. The only travel- 
lers who ever thus diverije from the beaten route are Rus- 
sian pilgrims, whose devotional instincts lead them to pay 
their homage to every accessible shrine, and to the credit of 
the Greek Church it must be said that it has contrived to 
perch shrines on spots which nature only intended for eagles. 

One of the most notable of these is the monastery whicli 
commemorates the cave, to which the path Ave are no-v 
following M'ill lead us, in which Elijah is said to have been 
fed by the ravens. The monastery is literally hung on to 
the face of the precipice, and consists of a series of cells, and 
a hall supported on vaults through which lies the entrance. 
A few Greek monks live, like birds perched on the edge of 
a nest, in this singular abode, to which a chapel pinnacled on 
a rock is attached, dating, if we may judge from the character 
of the masonry, from about the twelfth century. Perhaps 
the little side chapel, with rock-cut chambers, and the vault 
containing ancient bones, to which a corridor covered with 
frescoes representing the Last Judgment leads, is the oldest 
part of these buildings, which were apparently constructed 


at three different epochs, as two layers of frescoes cover the 
wall, while the newest is in its turn covered by the piei's sup- 
porting the ribs of the roof. Numerous caves, now inacces- 
sible, are visible in the face of the cliff, which for a distance 
of about thirty yards is covered witu frescoes now almost 
entirely defaced. In front of one of the cells is a heavy 
iron bar, from which, no doubt, in former days a ladder de- 
pended, the only means of access when these caves, now al- 
most deserted, contained quite a population of hermits. This 
curious place is well worth a visit, and though lying so close 
to the tourist's route, I have not seen it described in any 

On reaching the base of the hills where the Wady Kelt 
debouches into the Jordan Valley, Ave find ourselves in the 
immediate presence of four ancient sites. Three of these are 
the sites of three different Jerichos, and one is the site of 
Gilgal. It is certain that the Jewish, the Roman, and the 
Byzantine Crusaders' Jericho occupied three different posi- 
tions. The first has been identified with tolerable certainty 
as having existed where mounds of rubble mark its site, near 
the spring called in old times the Fountain of Elijah, and 
known now as the Ain es-Sultan. This was the Jericho of 
Joshua, and these mounds of rubble may contain the debris 
of the identical walls which fell to the sound of his trumpet. 
We pitched our tents at the beautiful and copious spring 
which must have supplied the old town with water, so as to 
have an opportunity of examining the neighbourhood at our 
leisure. The spring comes out beneath the mound on the 
east, and has on the west a wall of small masonry in hard 
cement. In this wall there is a small semicircular niche, 
probably intended to hold a statue of the genius of the spring. 
The reservoir from which the water gushes forth is about 
twenty by forty feet, and, though shallow, forms a delight- 
ful bath, with temperature slightly tepid. The high tumuli 
behind had been excavated by Sir Charles Warren, and I ex- 
amined the traces of his cuttings. The mounds are formed 
for the most part of a light yellow clay, which, on being 
touched, crumbles into an impalpable powder. In some cases 
no strata could be discerned in the clay, in others, layers of 
brick, stone, and mortar Averc clearly visible. In another 

322 HAIFA. 

large mound, .1 little to the south, graves were found six feet 
beloAv the surface. All these except one were of sun-dried 
brick. Bones appeared to have been thrown into these after 
the decomposition of the bodies. Altogether Sir Charles 
Warren dug trenches through no fewer than eight of the 
mounds, which form a conspicuous feature in the plain in 
which the ancient cities of Jericho were situated, as they 
stand to a height of about sixty feet above it; and the re- 
sult at which he arrived was that they are formed by the 
gradual crumbling avy-ay of great towers or castles of sun- 
burned brick. Although in some cases shafts were sunk to 
a dejith of forty feet, nothing was found except pottery jars, 
stone mortars for grinding corn, and broken glass. In one 
were found, eight feet below the surface, the remains of a 
large amphora, the neck, handles, and base of which were en- 
tire, and Avhich must have stood about five feet high. Sir 
Charles "Warren's working party consisted of one hundred 
and seventy-four men, and he thoroughly exhausted the sub- 

Near the spring is a ruin which may have been that of a 
small Roman temple, a portion of an aqueduct, for the waters 
of the spring evidently irrigated a large extent of the plain, 
and near by traces of ruins, apparently Byzantine. Here are 
pillar-shafts, cornices, capitals, and other indications of a city 
of later date than those we have been considering. 

The site of the Jericho of Herod, which existed at the 
time of Christ, was at the mouth of the Wady Kelt, deriv- 
ing its water supply from that stream, and more than a mile 
from Ain es-Sultan, Here there are the remains of a bridge, 
foundations of buildings which were evidently Roman work, 
and two large artificial mounds, in one of which was found 
a rectangular chamber, the outer wall built of sun-dried 
bricks, and the interior of undressed stones cemented over. 

The site of the third, or Crusading Jericho, was probably 
identical with that on which the modern village of Jericho 
now stands; but no ruins of importance remain there, though 
the whole surface of the plain between the sites of the thi-ee 
Jerichos is covered with remains which attest the denseness 
of the population which once inhabited it. That this should 
once have been a large inhabited centre must ever appear an 


astounding fact to the modern traveller who has suffered 
from the heat of the plain. Except during the winter months 
all this region is not only unbearably hot, but most insalu- 
brious. Tlie very Arabs desert it for the hillsides. It is 
possible that neglect and inattention to irrigation works 
may make the climate much less healthy than it was in 
former times, but nothing can be changed in the matter of 
temperature, and either the population must liave deserted 
it for tlie mountains during summer or they must have been 
far better able to bear heat than their degenerate descendants. 
Sunk nearly twelve luindred feet below the level of the sea, 
and shut in from all breeze by lofty ranges of barren moun- 
tains on both sides, Jericho in summer must be one of the 
hottest places on the earth's surface. Even Jerusalem, 
which is four thousand feet above it, is pretty warm. On 
the other hand, Josephus vaunts the wonderful fertility of 
the place, and calls it " a region fit for the gods." 

Its magnificent and extensive palm groves were celebrated, 
but these have disappeared since the eighth century, and there 
is only one date-tree left. Still the abundance of the water, 
the richness of the soil, and the warmth of the climate, won- 
derfully adapt it to the growth of all tropical produce. ■ All 
kinds of vegetables are in season all the year round. Grapes, 
which are trellised on high poles, as in Italy, grow to enor- 
mous size; indigo, cotton, and sugar would all flotirish, but 
there are no people to cultivate them. 

The remains of the old aqueducts testify to the skilful 
manner in which the ancients used their abundant water 
supply for the irrigation of this extensive plain. I counted 
altogether nine different ancient aqueducts. One or two of 
these are still utilized, and of late years a handsome bridge 
has been built in connection with one of them, but the engi- 
neering skill of the ancients holds its own with our more 
modern constructions. Many of the bridges by which these 
aqueducts span the ravines are very handsome. Some are 
on two tiers of arches, one above another. In places they 
are tunnelled through the hills. One bridge of massive ma- 
sonry of large stones is one hundred and twenty feet long 
and thirty-five feet high, with pointed arches. There is one 
aqueduct eight miles long, consisting of a cemented channel 

324 HAIFA. 

two feet broad, and terminating in a handsome cemented 
cistern. It is carried over several bridges, one tifty feet long 
and thirty feet high. 

I mention this system of aquedncts because I have never 
seen any account of Jericho in the records of travellers or 
in guide-books which does justice to them. They are im- 
portant as showing how much money must have been spent 
in developing the resources of this phiin, and wliat a garden it 
must liave been in old times. So late as tlie thirteenth century 
we hear that the sugar-cane was cultivated around Jericho, 
and I believe that at this day there are few spots on the 
earth's surface which could be turned to more profitable ac- 
count. Here all the products of the tropics coxtld be raised 
without having to go to the tropics for them, and many 
fruits could be conveyed from here to a European market, 
which it would be impossible to joreserve for the length of 
time which is now required to transport them from the trop- 
ics. At a comparatively small expense the ancient system 
of aqueducts could be repaired and the abundant water sup- 
ply utilized, which is now left to stagnate in marshes and 
breed fever and pestilence. It is, in fact, impossible to ap- 
preciate the magnificent capabilities Avhich this plain pos- 
sesses and not feel convinced that in these days of civilized 
enterprise the question of their development is only one of 


Haifa, .Sept. 15. — When I last visited Jericho, six years 
ago, it consisted of a miserable village of mud huts, 
containing a population of mixed negroes and Bedouins, 
amounting at most to three hundred souls. I was aston- 
ished now to find that, of all places in the world, it w^as 
going ahead. There w^as a sort of boom going on; a very 
minute boom, it is true, but still it was progress, and there 
is no saying what it may lead to. 

It is due entirely to the Russians, and I think that a pro- 
gressive Jericho, owing to Russian enterprise, is a phenom- 
enon worthy of remark. Indirectly it may be attributed to 
the passion Russian pilgrims have for bathing in the Jordan 
and carrying away bottles full of the water of that sacred 
stream. This passion for holy ablutions is one whicli a. wise 
and far-seeing government has turned to profitable political 
account. It was only in obedience to the most ordinary in- 
stincts of humanity that some sort of accommodation should 
be provided for the pious crowds, consisting largely of old 
and frail women, who trudge thirty miles in a broiling sun 
to bathe in the Jordan, and Avho could not find a roof to 
shelter them, or a place in which to be fed, until they got 
back to Jerusalem. So a large, handsome, red-stone building, 
not unlike a state lunatic asyhini, has been erected for their 
* accommodation at Jericho. Here not only the Russian pil- 
grim, but the ordinary travelling lunatic, can find first-class 

The protection which so handsome an establishment af- 
forded Avas all that was required to give a start to the place. 
Devout Russians, always acting under the auspices of a 
pious, intelligent, and paternal government, are beginning 
gradually to make Jericho a place of winter resort. They 
build little cottages there, surround them with gardens 

326 HAIFA. 

which supply tlicm with most delicious fruit and vegetables, 
spciul thfir summors in Jorusalein, and come down here in 
the winter and bathe in the Jordan to tlieir hearts' content. 
In other words, in a religious and quite unostentatious way, 
Russia is quietly colonizing Jericho, The obnoxious word 
colony, so hateful to Turkish cars, is never pronounced, but 
I counted no fewer than twelve neat little whitewashed cot- 
tages, where a few years ago there was not one. 

One of my travelling companions, who was an English 
medical man of some eminence, was so much struck with 
the climatic advantages of the place as a winter resort for 
consumptive patients that, now that good accommodation is 
to be found there, he has decided to advise invalids to try 
the effects of its air. Ilith.erto when one told a person "to 
go to Jericho " it was a polite M'ay of intimating to him that 
he might go somewhere else, Jericho being the next hottest 
])lace known to that more distant region; but now Ave maj' 
tell our friends to go to Jericho in a spirit of benevolence, in 
the hope that it may restore them to health. What an un- 
bearable place, by the way, Jericho would be if all the bores 
who have been metaphorically sent there had literally gone. 
As it is, I cannot imagine a more agreeable place for a per- 
son not absolutely dependent upon society to go to and spend 
a month or two in winter. 

There is a peculiar softness and balminess in the air, not 
to be found elsewhere in the world, for there is no other 
]>lace in the world eleven hundred feet below the sea-line. 
There is a wide, level, open plain to scamper across on horse- 
back in all directions; there are thickets of tamarisk and 
nebk and bamboo swarming with wild boai", deer, gazelle, 
and other animals, some of them not to be found elsewhere, 
to delight the sportsman. There is the Jordan handy, with* 
first-rate fishing to satisfy the most ardent angler; there is 
the Dead Sea to bathe in and boat on (only there are no 
boats) for persons whose tastes are aquatic. There is a flora 
which v\'0uld be a soui'ce of never-ending interest to the 
botanist, for it is peculiar to this region ; and the same re- 
mark applies, to some extent, to its ornithology and ento- 
mology. There are ancient ruins in all directions to satisfy 
the most inveterate archaeologist, while the exjDlorer has only 


to cross tlie Jordan, and in a few hours lie will find himself 
in a region almost untrodden by the foot of the tourist, with 
all manner of interesting discoveries awaiting him. Then 
lie is still comparatively in the world, for a smart ride of five 
hours will take him back to Jerusalem, and he need not be 
afraid of having to suffer hardship, for the fare in the Rus- 
sian hospice is reported excellent, especially in the matter of 
milk and vegetables. My advice, then, to the invalid, the 
sportsman, the man of natural history, and the antiquarian, 
who may be looking out for a new winter resort, is, " Go to 
Jericho !" There is no particular reason that I can see why 
the Russians should have a monopoly of this charming spot, 
though we should be very much obliged to them for making 
it habitable. No doubt when the partition of "the sick 
man's" property, for which they have been waiting so long, 
takes place, they will put in a claim for Jericho. 

Meantime I am glad to see that the government seem to 
be put upon their mettle. Not only have they built a hand- 
some acpieduct across the ravine on which the modern vil- 
lage stands, but they have cleared a large expanse of the 
plain on the other side with a view of bringing it into cul- 
tivation and irrigating it by means of the said aqueduct. 
This plain extends in an unbroken level to the Dead Sea, 
and affords a pleasant six-miles scamper. It is the grazing- 
ground generally of large herds of camels, and on a hot 
and thirsty day they come in very opportunely. They are 
ever-ready if not ever-willing fountains, and there is nothing 
more refreshing than a drink of warm camels' milk. It is 
not easy to milk them, as they don't like strangers, and one 
is apt to get charged by a savage mother who mistakes one's 
intentions. Moreover, it requires some dexterity to milk a 
camel into a tumbler. In fact, this is difficult with any 
animal. I have had a battle with a nanny-goat on a bare 
Palestine hillside when I was thirsty, which ended in my 
utter discomfiture. The only plan is to backshish the 
goatherd or camelherd. It is an odd sight to see a young 
camel tugging away at one side of its mother and tlie camel- 
herd tugging away at the other, and the resigned old female 
chewing her cud between them; it suggested to me a design 
for a picture which I sent to an artist friend, to be called 

328 HAIFA. 

" Tlu" Rivals." With tlic Dcail Sea and tlio l)uniin,cr hills of 
Moab for a background, I think it would make rather an 
effective picture. 

However often I might visit the Dead Sea, I would always 
bathe in it, in spite of its stickiness afterwards. The sensa- 
tion of floating without the slightest effort for an indefinite 
time when one is hot and tired is infinitely soothing. 

The government intend building a bridge over the Jordan, 
and on my way back from visiting its proposed site I passed 
the much-disputed position of Gilgal, where the Israelites 
made their first cam)) in the Promised Land. This has but 
recently been identified by the ever-to-be-lamented l^ilestine 
explorer, Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake, Avho fell a victim to his zeal 
in the Joi'dan valley. Nothing is to be seen there now but 
some mounds, in Avliich have been found pottery, broken 
glass, and tessera?. It was for long the resting-place of the 
Ark and the Tabernacle. It was somewhere on this plain 
that Sodom and Gomorrah, " the Cities of the Plain," were 
situated, and not to the south of the Dead Sea, as was 
formerly supposed, but their sites have been looked for in 

The great events of which the plain of Jericho had in 
early times been the scene, together with its traditional con- 
nection with the temptation of Christ on the Mount, which 
rises abru2)tly behind the Sj^ring of Ain-es-Sultan, and actual 
interest w^ith regard to his baptism in the Jordan and other 
events, attracted the Christians of a very early age to this 
part of the country. Hence from Justinian's time the plain 
began to be covered with monastic edifices, and the gorges 
and precipices of the enclosing mountains to be burrowed 
with hermit's caves and sacred shrines and chapels. 

There is a tendency, on the j)art especially of the Greek 
and Armenian churches, to reoccupy some of these. Certainly 
of all the uncomfortable and dreary and broiling monasteries 
I ever saw, that of Kusr Hajlah, near the Dead Sea, now in- 
habited by half a dozen monks, claims pre-eminence. It is 
placed just on the edge of the saline plain, which exhales in 
summer a pungent heat that must render life almost insup- 
portable. Nevertheless, it bears all the marks of having 
been an important mediaeval monastery. The old walls still 


exist on tbrec sides, and measure about forty yards by sixty. 
These contained two cLapels above ground and one beneath 
in the vaults. The walls are still covered with frescoes, the 
designs of which are distinctly visible, as well as the inscrip- 
tions in Greek beneath them. They are evidently of Crusad- 
ing times. There is a large cistern here, thirty feet by ten 
and twenty-four deep, which is in good preservation. So is 
another at the monastery of El-Yahud, thirty feet deep, with 
piers and arches also almost perfect. This monastery is dis- 
tant about half an hour from the Jordan, and dates from the 
twelfth century. It stands on the site of one which was 
called the Monastery of St. John on the Jordan, but which 
was destroyed by an earthquake. The interest attaching to 
these monasteries, however, is comparatively slight. Upon 
archaeological grounds they cxliibit no very striking features, 
while from a religious point of view they are significant 
chiefly as showing how soon the religion of Christ became 
degraded into a system of useless asceticism, and, consider- 
ing the tendency which is exhibited to return to it, the lam- 
entable reflection is forced upon one that the true spirit of 
Christianity is as little understood now as it was in those 

The monks who inhabit these buildings are in one sense 
as interesting as the buildings themselves, for one has only 
to converse with tlicm to be transported to the Middle Ages. 
They are probably the only class of men who have remained 
absolutely unaffected by nineteenth-century civilization or 
modes of thought. They are like the toads tliat have been 
locked up for centuries in stone, and might in so far as their 
religious views are concerned be the identical individuals 
who, in the time of the crusaders, used to inhabit the cells 
they now occupy. From a psychological point of view, then, 
it is curious to converse with them on matters of faitli and 
religion, for unless one has had personal experience of the 
degree of ignorance and superstition wliich are still to be 
found in a recluse of the Armenian Church, for instance, 
one could not credit the fact that such a being exists; and 
still represents a considerable class in the days in which we 

The Arabs around Jericho are of a tribe called Abou 

330 HAIFA. 

Nuscir. They venerate a place called "The I'lacc of Sepul- 
cliro of Dawar." Tliis personage -was their ancestor, and the 
Abou Nuseir bury their dead in the tombs of the Dawar 
people. Arabs of any other tribe passing this spot make 
use of the expression, "Permission, oh, i)awar," and the 
valley is sacred, and ploughs, grain, and other articles are 
deposited here for safety. The usual votive offerings — sticks, 
rags, bracelets — are found near the tombs. This tribe is 
scattered about in tents among the thorny bushes that cover 
the plain, amid which their flocks lind good pasture. They 
are reputed to have a bad character, but Ave made great 
friends Avith them, owing to a circumstance which secured 
their gratitude. 

AVhile sitting by the fountain one afternoon we saw a 
number of Arabs carrying a man on a litter. This excited 
our doctor's curiosity, and we immediately hailed the pro- 
cession. They told us they had a wounded man, and wo 
replied we had a doctor, and they Avaited till we came up. 
In fact, an elderly man had just received a bullet in the leg 
from a friend with whom he had had a quarrel, which splint- 
ered the bone a little beloAV the knee. The ball Avas still 
lodged in the leg. The doctor, who had made five military 
campaigns, and had probably dressed as many gunshot wounds 
as any man alive, was in his element. Instantly the man 
Avas taken to the nearest tents, splints of bamboo and band- 
ages of flour and the white of an egg were speedily extem- 
porized, Avhile a large audience of wild-looking men, Avomen, 
children, and dogs crowded around to watch operations. 

The ball Avas probed for, not Avith any surgical instru- 
ment, for Ave were unprepared for any such emergency, but 
Avith the finger. The only instruments forthcoming Avere a 
penknife and a razor. The question was how to get the 
ball out with such appliances. The occasion Avas one Avhich 
called for a display of genius, but the demand was not made 
in vain ; with that simplicity Avhich is its most marked 
characteristic, the doctor cut into the opposite side of 
the leg Avith the razor, and then pushed the ball clean 
through with his finger. The astonishment of the audience 
was excessive at the appearance of the crushed bullet, and 
the wounded man, a weather-beaten old Semite, Avho had 


bellowed lustily while the operation was going on, kissed 
the doctor's band effusively, and consoled himself with 
coffee and cigarettes, in which wo joined, ivhile the band- 
aging and splinting was in progress. For a couple of days 
after this the doctor visited his patient twice a day amid the 
warmest expressions of gratitude on the part of the tribe, 
who forthwith brought all their sick to be cured, and the 
blessings which were invoked upon us echoed in our ears 
when we took our departure, till they died away in the dis- 


Haifa, Oct. 1. — About half a mile in roar of our camp, at 
Ain-os-Sultan, rose a precipice a thousand feet high, which 
culminated in the lofty crest of a mountain called Quarantul. 
It derives its name from a tradition which idcntilies it with 
the mount upon which Christ was tempted for forty days in 
the wilderness. Of course, it is not the mountain at all, or, 
at all events, there is not the smallest particle of evidence to 
prove that it is, but that is a trifle where sacred sites are 
concerned. The face of this precipitous cliff is honeycombed 
with the black mouths of caverns. Sitting round our camp- 
fire at night we observed lights gleaming from the sheer side 
of the rock. Otherwise there was nothing to lead us to sup- 
pose that any of these caverns could be occupied by human 
beinsfs. But these fires excited our curiosity, and we de- 
termined to pay the cave-dwellers perched so high above our 
heads a visit. 

The operation turned out a more dizzy one than I had 
anticipated. No guide was necessary, for we could see the 
track winding like a thread up the face of the precipice. 
For the first tliree hundred feet or so it Avas all plain sailing, 
but then the ledge became horribly narrow. Occasionally 
the path was so steep that it dwindled into rock-cut steps. 
A false step would have sent you thundering hundreds of 
feet down into the abyss. At one place the height Avas so 
dizzy, the foothold so slight, that my nerve, which for this 
sort of work is not what it once was, began to give way, and 
I ignominiously squatted doAvn, with my face turned to the 
rock, and tried to steady myself by forgetting that six inches 
behind me was a yawning chasm, from which a pebble might 
have been dropped plumb to the bottom. Retreat was as 
bad as advance, and more humiliating. For the rest of the 
way I went on my hands and knees, to the amusement of my 


companion, whose brain "was not similarly affected. I don't 
know anything more disagreeable than the irresistible im- 
pulse which overtakes one sometimes to pitch one's self head- 
long over a precipice of this kind. 

At last, to my inexpressible relief, I reached the mouth of 
a cave, into which I sprawled, panting, with thankfulness, 
but oppressed nevertheless watli the horrible consciousness 
that 1 had the return voyage still to make. However, I dis- 
missed this painful consideration for the moment, and ap- 
plied myself to the examination of the curious grotto Avhich 
we had reached. It was a sort of ante-chamber to a tunnel 
in the rock, passing through which we came upon some 
dreadful steps cut on the face of the rock; but here there 
was a slight, rickety balustrade of wood, and at the top stood 
a greasy old monk, a sight which, under the circumstances, 
produced a more soothing effect upon my mind than such a 
sight usually does. This ecclesiastical worthy received us 
with gracious smiles, and led us through another tunnel into 
a sort of vestibule, which opened into a chapel which had been 
constructed at the mouth of a cave, so that the front facing 
the precipice was of masonry. Looking out of the window 
which had been constructed in this wall, a stone might have 
been dropped at least five hundred feet without touching 
anything till it reached the bottom. This chapel was gor- 
geously fitted up, thanks to the contributions of pilgrims 
whose heads must have been steadier than mine was. It 
had a handsomely decorated screen covered with sacred 
designs richly gilt. The apse was six feet in diameter, and 
the total length from the inside of the apse to the back of 
the cave about twenty -five feet, the breadth being about 
twenty. A door led out of this chapel into a narrow pas- 
sage and up two or three steps into another cave, or niche, 
where there was a figure of a saint. 

As far as I could understand from the monk, Avho spoke 
Greek, and very bad Italian, somewhere here was the spot 
where Christ stood when he was tempted. The walls of the 
chapel w^ere covered with frescoes. The large, cavernous 
vestibule was the dwelling-place of the monk, with whom 
was associated a younger sort of acolyte, who lived in a cave 
overhead, which was reached by a flight of stone-cut steps 

034 HAIFA. 

from the back of tlio vestibule. There was also a small 
inner cave, litted with a door, in which they kept their 
stores. The old man told me he had lived here like an 
eagle in an eyrie for ten years without even descending to 
the plain below. I wondered hoAv he kept his health with- 
out taking exercise. All hermits who live on the sides of 
])recipices should, I think, have treadwheels of some kind 
fitted up for them, or rotating cages like those in Avhich 
Italian Avhite mice take their exercise. I don't think our 
old friend, however, led a very ascetic life, so far as eating 
and drinking are concerned. lie insisted on our staying to 
drink some excellent coffee, after Avhich he produced a bot- 
tle of very good mastic, or spirit made from corn and flavored 
with anise-seed. I observed some fresh green salad and 
cauliilower on his side-table, which the Arabs bring him 
from their gardens at the foot of the hill. lie had also an 
abundant supply of good Arab bread. His water is sup- 
plied from a cistern, of which there are several attached to 
the caves. He told me that eight of these were at present 
inhabited, but most of them were higher up. He was the 
spiritual superior of them all, and although there Avas an- 
other chapel in ruins, his was the only one in Avhich service 
was performed. He invited nie to continue my explorations 
to the caves higher uj?, but my mind was so much occupied 
with thinking hoAv I was to get down as to exclude from it 
any idea of going higher up. Altogether this hermit Avas a 
jollj", hospitable old felloAA', and it Avould be as cruel to pick 
him out of his hole and drop him into the busy Avorld as it 
is to pick a periwinkle out of his shell Avith a pin. 

Partially shutting my eyes and presenting my rear to the 
enemy, I crawled backAvards down the giddy steps, and just 
at an uncomfortable corner came upon a jet-black man in a 
sort of priestly garb, AA'ho turned out to be an Abyssinian 
hermit. He has no connection Avith the establishment I had 
been visiting, having his own cell and his OAvn church all to 
himself. His bosom was stuffed with manuscripts in Ethio- 
pian characters. Under any other circumstances I would 
have endeavored to converse with so rare a specimen of 
ecclesiastical humanity ; but how can a man engage in a 
theological discussion in an unknown tongue, hanging be- 


twcen earth and heaven on six inches of slippery rock? I 
felt rather inclined to say vcide retro Satanas — not an inap- 
propriate remark, considering the mountain I was on; and 
yet the poor man meant well, and, indeed, gave me an arm. 
He does not stick to his perch, however, like the old raven I 
had been visiting above, but usually resides in Jerusalem, 
visiting his cave during the forty days of Lent and at other 
stated periods. 

We now determined to bid adieu to Jericho and the Mount 
of the Temptation and to strike across country into Samaria. 
This would take us over an unbeaten track and show us a 
country very imperfectly known. We trusted to finding our 
way by asking it, or by picking up local guides Avhcn we 
were utterly at a loss. By this means, although one runs a 
considerable risk of being benighted, or of having to scram- 
ble over almost impracticable mountain paths, you get a bet- 
ter chance of stumbling upon objects of interest than by fol- 
lowing a more trodden route. For more than two miles we 
skirted in a northeasterly direction the base of the lofty cliffs 
of the Jebel Quarantul. On our right a coidIous steam, which 
has its rise in a fountain called Ain Duk, irrigated an exten- 
sive tract of land, which was green and well cultivated. . If 
there had only been population enough to develop it proper- 
ly it would be a most productive region. There were all the 
evidences that in ancient times its resources were not thus 
neglected. Everywhere the remains of stone watercourses 
and aqueducts were visible, one bridge in particular having 
no fewer than three tiers of arches one above another. The 
construction was ingenious and peculiar. At the bottom or 
narrowest part of the ravine which it spanned was one huge 
pointed arch. Immediately over this were four pointed 
arches, while at the side of them was a fifth, double the 
height of the others, the foundations of which were in the 
steep side of the ravine. Above these again were six more 
pointed arches which supported the aqueduct. Thus there 
were altogether twelve arches, and of these only two were 
the same size. The old Roman masonry of which they were 
composed was still in a very good state of preservation. 
Near this aqueduct Avere also the substantial remains of an 
old Roman road. 

336 HAIFA. 

"We now crossed, for about throe miles, n fine undulating 
country covered with rich herbage, upon which large herds 
of cattle were feeding, and followed most of the way an 
ancient cemented channel, about four feet wide, Mhich had 
formerly conveyed the ■waters of another stream to swell 
those which had their origin at Ain I)uk, and all of which, 
were carried over the aforementioned high level bridge. The 
stream M'hich we were now approaching was also surrounded 
by cultivated and irrigated land. The whole of this plain 
in its richness and wealth of water far surpassed anything 
my expectations had led me to anticipate. Near the base of 
the mountains from which this line stream issues are the re- 
mains of an ancient fortress situated on a high mound or 
tell, called Khurbet el Aujeh. The stream bears the same 
name. This is the sixth large stream Avhich I have counted 
gushing from these mountains in a distance of about eight 
miles. My compass now told me that I must get up into 
the mountains if I intended to strike the Jerusalem and Sa- 
maria road at the point which I proposed. From informa- 
tion which I had taken before starting I expected to find the 
track in question ascending the valley from wliicli the Aujeh 
issues, but we looked in vain for signs of any such track. 
Indeed, on forcing our Avay up it a little distance, we found 
that its precipitous sides closed in on us in a manner which 
effectually barred all further progress. We were wonder- 
ing what to do in our dilemma, Avhen, fortunately, we ob- 
served some peasants making some irrigating channels, and 
from them, after much chaffering, we obtained a guide. It 
is a singular thing that these poor peasantry, whose day's 
labor in the fields cannot be worth more than ten cents to 
them, will refuse fifty rather than leave v»'hat they are about 
and act as guides. On this occasion it was with great diffi- 
culty that I bribed a man with a dollar. To our surprise he 
took us straight to the base of an apparently impracticable 
cliff and proceeded to climb up it. As my experience of 
Palestine horses has convinced me that they can go almost 
wherever a man can, provided you leave them to find their 
own way, we proceeded to breast the limestone crags Avithout 
misgiving, the only hardship being that the day was hot 
and we had to climb them on foot. To scramble up a 


thousand feet on a stretch by a path wliich v\\t,s generally 
quite invisible is no slight operation, and one which, in this 
instance, it "would have been impossible to perform without 
a guide, such impassable barriers did the rocks seem to pre- 
sent until the guide showed us the way to circumvent thera. 
When we. did reach what we fondly hoped was the summit, 
it Avas only to find a barren, undulating wilderness stretch- 
ing before us, every now and then involving more climb- 
ing, for the elevation at which we were destined to arrive 
before the end of our day's joiirney Avas more than four 
thousand feet higher than the level from which w^e started. 

If the scenery by Avhich we now found ourselves sur- 
rounded Avas rugged, it Avas Avild and grand in the extreme. 
Gloomy and precipitous gorges intersect these mountains in 
every direction. Not a sign of a habitation is visible any- 
where, and Avith the exception of a si'igle goalherJ we did 
not meet a human beino: for hours. The vetretation Avas 
also very sparse, relieved, however, by great quantities of 
the fragrant Avhite broom in flower, and cyclamen and scarlet 
anemones. Even in the days of the ancients it must haAX* 
been a barren, uncultivated tract, but I Avas repaid for the 
scramble across it by one or two evidences of extreme an- 
tiquity of the greatest interest. The first of these consisted 
of four huge prostrate slabs of stone. They Avere evident- 
ly the blocks Avhich had once formed a dolmen that had been 
overturned. Noav, the interest of this lies in the fact that 
no dolmen, or signs of a dolmen, has ever yet been discov- 
ered in Judea, though eagerly searched for. There is only 
one doubtful one in Galilee, but they are abundant to the 
east of the Jordan. The reason assigned for this is that the 
tribes to the east of the Jordan did not obey the command, 
when they entered the land of Canaan, to " overturn the ta- 
bles of stone," to destroy the Canaanitish altars, and to break 
or smash their pillars; Avhile the tribes to the west, especial- 
ly Judah and Benjamin, Avere very particular i;i this regard. 

Here, I think, is the only evidence Avhich has yet been 
found in Judea of this interesting^ fact. This recrion Avas 
apparently one much dedicated to J3aal worship. I saw 
many stone circles and one or two alignments of large 
stones, but the most curious Avas an enclosure about tv/enty- 

338 HAIFA. 

four yards squnro, formed of rough, unhewn stones, each 
Nvoigliing a ton or more, piled to a height of two or tlirec 
uj)on each other. In the centre was a circle, eight feet in 
diameter, of large stones, with a single stone in the middle of 
it. This was a monument wliich evidently existed from pre- 
Judaic times; but, although I attempted hurriedly to take its 
bearings, I am afraid that in that wilderness of stone I should 
never be able to tind it again. 

We were pretty well worn out when we reached at last the 
village of Mugheir, the first inhabited place we had seen 
since leaving our camp near Jericho, and where we proposed 
to call a halt for the refreshment of man and beast. Mean- 
time, as our tents and baijijatje had been sent bv another 
road, we began to feel extremely doubtful as to when we 
should ever see them again. 


Haifa, Oct. 7. — The village of Mngheir, where we halted 
to rest after our loiig and weary scratBble from the Jordan 
valley, is one of the most out-of-the-way places to be found 
in Palestine. It is not on the way anywhere, but a sort of 
Ultima Thide — the last spot where ground lit for cultiva- 
tion is to be found. It stands on the margin of a charming 
little plain, where there is a fine olive grove. Indeed, look- 
ing westward, the prospect is cheery enough, but eastward 
it is wild rock, black, gloomy gorges, or less precipitous but 
equally barren valleys. The sheik received us with great 
cordiality, albeit quite unused to the visits of travellers, and 
spread before us such fare as he could, fiat Arab bread, 
roasted eggs, curdled goat's milk, and figs, butter, and hon- 
ey. I mention the last three together because you eat -them 
together. You first dip your dried fig into the butter, you 
then dip it into the honey, and then put it into your mouth. 
I never tried the combination before, but it is not bad. He 
also gave us a hot compound of flour and sugar boiled to- 
gether, which he seemed to think a great deal of, but, be- 
yond being sweet and stick}^ it had no especial merit. His 
wife was the fairest woman I ever saw for a pure-blooded 
fellahah peasant. In fact, she could not have been fairer 
had she been a blue-eyed, light-haired Swede or German. 

After satisfying my hunger I went to look for antiqui- 
ties, and found several rock-cut tombs and cisterns, a fine 
rock-hewn wine-press, and four towers all in a good state of 
jDreservation, and three of them inhabited. They measured 
thirty feet square and as many in height. The basement 
stones were massive enough to be the masonry of a former 
period, but exactly of what date I am unable to say, possi- 
bly not earlier than the crusades; though I found some 
foundations of walls which I am inclined to ascribe to a 

340 HAIFA. 

much older date. There has been ])robably a town or village 
here from time immemorial, though I am unable to identify 
it with any IJiblical site. 

The sheik insisted upon accompanying us himself as 
guide to a place called iSingil, which we had fixed upon as 
our night quarters. Our way led us through a small, de- 
pressed plain. After passing some remains of no special in- 
terest we reached a very remarkable ruin, called El-IIabs. 
It is a tower on a rocky scarp, with walls built partly of 
masonry, partly of rock, which measure about sixty feet by 
thirty. The stones of which these walls are composed are 
of immense size, measuring from twelve feet up to eighteen 
feet in length, with a height of from three to four feet each. 
The masonry is thus quite equal to the average size of the 
temple stones in Jerusalem. The tower has two entrances. 
Near it are the remains of another large building of al)0ut 
one hundred feet square outside measurement, and with 
walls six feet thick. Its interior is divided into four paral- 
lel chambers, running east and west, of various breadth. 
One of the partition walls has archways through it, Avith 
piers between. All round these buildings are the founda- 
tions of ancient walls and houses and bell-mouthed cisterns. 
The Avhole place bears the marks of extreme antiquity. It 
has been examined by the officers of the Palestine Survey, 
but is not mentioned in any guide-book, and I am unable to 
form any conjecture in regard to it. 

Our road now lay through a fertile plain, called The 
Meadow of the Feast, possibly in some connection with the 
yearly feast which used to be held by the Jews in old times 
at Shiloh, from which historical site we were not far dis- 
tant. It is a comfort now and then to come upon a Biblical 
site about the identity of which there is not the slightest 
doubt, and such is the case with Seilun, the modern name 
for Shiloh. It stands in an extremely retired valley, and on 
our w'ay to it we put up the third batch of gazelles we had 
started in one da3^ This was the spot where the Taber- 
nacle was first permanently set up in Canaan, and M'here the 
Israelites assembled to allot the Promised Land, They were 
probably encamped hard by on The Meadow of the Feast, 
across which we had just been riding, and it was probably 


on this meadow, Avbile the maideTis were dancing at the fes- 
tival in honour of the ark, that the remnant of the Benja- 
mites concealed themselves among the vineyards on the hill- 
sides and carried off two hundred maidens. At present it 
is impossible to be certain whether any of the remains now 
visible existed at the time when the Tabernacle was there. 
The ruins which first strike the eye on the hillside are evi- 
dently those of a comparatively modern village, with hero 
and there fragments of masonry which may date back to 
Crusading times. Then there is a low, square building sup- 
ported by two rows of columns, which has been used as a 
mosque, but in early times may have been a Christian church; 
but the most remarkable monument is a square building of 
which only the Avails remain. It is apparently of three ar- 
chitectural periods, and it is just possible that the oldest 
may have been Jewish. The original vails have been added 
to by a sloping scarp having been built against them, so that 
the wall, which is about fourteen feet high, is nine feet thick 
at the bottom, and about three feet thick at the top. In- 
side are some fragments of columns, capitals, and a door 
lintel, which has recently fallen from the principal entrance, 
on which are carved two wreaths, flanked by two double- 
handled pitchers, and in the centre an amphora. 

There are no inhabitants at Shiloh now, so we pushed on 
to Sinofil, a village situated about three thousand feet above 
the sea -level, and commanding a most magnificent view. 
The villagers here showed me some foundations of what 
thoy said had been an old castle built by a certain King Sin- 
bil, but I strongly suspect that they substituted the b for a 
g, as the village takes its name from a certain Crusading 
hero, who was afterwards canonized and became St. Gilles, 
and that here he built himself a castle. The natives also 
sent me into a cave on a wild goose chase after an inscrip- 
tion, which, after much scrambling Avith lighted tapers, I 
failed to find. 

We had now left Judea, and Avere entering ancient Sa- 
maria, which is governed, not from Jerusalem, but Damas- 
cus, the seat of government being Nablous, a large toAvn of 
about tAventy thousand inhabitants, Avhose principal indus- 
try is the manufacture of soap, Avith Avhich they supply al- 

342 UAIFA. 

most the whole country. The town is squeezed in between 
the lofty hills of ICbal and Gcrizim, both of which are over 
three thousand feet above the sea-level. This is the valley 
of Shecheni. Nothing can exceed in picturesquenoss the 
situation of this place and the beauty of its surroundings, 
especially when the almond and peach trees ai-e in bloom in 
the valley. The steep hillsides seem to be a mass of huge 
cactuses; these are used to line the terraces of the vineyards 
as hedges, but as they are great absorbers of vitality from 
the soil, I should think they must impoverish the land. In 
the autumn these ungainly plants arc thickly covered with 
fruit about the size of a large fig, when ripe of a bright red. 
They are full of small seeds, but sweet and refreshing. The 
natives gorge themselves upon them, as they are esteemed 
wholesome, but they are traps to the unwary and inexpe- 
rienced of the most painful kind, being covered outside with 
diminutive and almost invisible prickly hairs. The first time 
I ever tried to eat one I filled my mouth with these unpleas- 
ant little spikes, and spent half an hour with my tongue out, 
wliile a friend was engaged Avith a pair of tweezers extract- 
ing each individual irritant, but then he only partially suc- 
ceeded, and for the rest of the day I felt as if I had tried to 
swallow half a chopped-up hair-brush. The natives pick 
the fruit by digging a pronged iron into them, with which 
they twitch them off the stalk; they then roll them on the 
ground, so as to get the hairy prickles off, and then care- 
fully peel them. The great green leaves have spikes like 
pins half an inch long upon them, which inflict a most vi- 
cious and poisonous prick. I once tumbled into a cactus 
bush, and really suffered severely for many hours. Under 
these circumstances it is something amazing to see camels 
munching these leaves, prickles and all, with apparent relish; 
a donkey eating thistles is a joke to it. 

Nablous is also surrounded by extensive olive groves, and 
the oil is celebrated throughout Palestine; it also exports 
cotton of native growth. In fact, for a Moslem city, it may 
be considered an enterprising and go-ahead place. At pres- 
ent it lacks the prime necessity of a carriage road to the sea- 
coast. All its exports and imjjorts have to be conveyed on 
the backs of camels. If the long-projected railway from 


Haifa to Damascus could evei* bo consummated, a wagon 
road could easily be constructed in connection with it, and 
Haifa would then become the port of Nablous, instead of 
Jaffa, which is slightly nearer to it. With the exception of 
the long central street, which forms the principal bazaar, the 
streets as a rule are more gloomy and tunnel-like than most 
Oriental towns, though there are many handsome stone 
houses, and the building of new ones afforded evidence of 
the growing wealth of the inhabitants. The consequence 
is an improvement in the reputation of the population, who 
have in former times been notorious for their turbulent fa- 
naticism, but of late years the Turkish government has suc- 
ceeded in establishing its authority on a firmer foundation 
and making its exercise felt. Indeed, the superficial ti'avel- 
ler in the Turkish empire, who only sees the defects of the 
existing system of administration, is hardly a fair judge of 
the progress that has been made in a certain direction un- 
less he is able to compare it with what has been. 

There can be no doubt that during the last twenty years 
a great change has been worked in the establishment of law 
and order and in the security of life and property. If op- 
pression has the disadvantage of grinding the people and 
making their lives miserable, it, at all events, has the merit 
of intimidating them and restraining them fi'om acts of vio- 
lence and crime. If the unjust judge and extortionate tax- 
gatherer are taking the heart out of the people, they are 
taking the pluck out of them, too, and one result is that the 
stranger can now travel in safety through regions where he 
was once sure of being plundered and possibly murdered, 
and walk unmolested through Moslem crowds, where for- 
merly he might have been subjected to insult. ISTor is this 
due to the direct action of any foreign power or to the ex- 
ercise of any diplomatic pressure in favor of reform. On 
the contrary, the influence of foreign powers was never so 
low as it is at present, and I am convinced that all attempts 
on the part of foreign powers to enforce reforms on Turkey 
only hinder them. The influence of the sultan and his gov- 
ernment is not to be maintained throughout Islam by any 
action in obedience to the dictates of Christian povrers. 
They resent it, just as the South used to resent the inter- 

344 HAIFA. 

fcrcncc of the North in tlic matter of slavery; but tliis does 
not prevent their being alivo to any advantages wliich ac- 
crue to the empire by enforcing, as far as may be, a respect 
for lau- and order; and, so far as it is possible, to develop 
its resources without being beholden to foreign capital, or 
increasing the power and influence of the native Christian 
population. The difficulty is that the instinct of the ]\ros- 
lera is not in favor of progress, and that ho is always out- 
stripped in the race by bis Christian neighbour. 

Again, the country can only be developed through the 
education and enlightenment of the people; but where an 
administrative system is in itself corrupt and unenlightened, 
the education and illumination of the masses means their 
endowment with the faculty of perceiving abuses, and pos- 
sibly Avith a determination to resist them; and this danger 
is so great that it must be averted, even at the cost of the 
national prosperity. For this reason the government sets 
its face against the education of Moslems in Christian 
schools, not because they are afraid of the Moslems being 
converted to Christianity — there is not the slightest danger 
of that— but because they are afraid of their imbibing West- 
ern ideas of social and political life, which are opposed to 
the conditions which characterize the existing administra- 
tion of affairs. In fact they are not opposed to reform, but 
it must be a reform not suggested from Avithout, nor im- 
posed upon them from within; it must neither be in obedi- 
ence to diplomatic pressure nor to popular clamour; it must 
be a reform of their own initiative, and as any such reform, 
to be effectual, must begin by the authorities with whom it 
is to originate reforming themselves, the process seems al- 
most hopeless. Still, as I have already remarked, there has 
distinctly been change, and change for the better, so far as 
security for life and property and the extension and en- 
forcement of official authority are concerned, durinc the 
last twenty years— security of property to the people, be it 
understood, from their own mutual plundering propensities. 
Whether this security extends to the demands of the tax- 
gatherer, and how far it has conduced to their own material 
Avelfare and happiness, is quite another question. 


Haifa, Oct. 15. — The chief interest connected with Na- 
blous lies in the fact that it is the residence of the remnant 
of those Samaritans wlio were colonized here by Shahiia- 
neser. King of Assyria, when he carried away the children 
of Israel captive. From the Biblical record (2 Kings xvii.), 
it would appear that the new settlers were drawn from 
mixed nationalities and various cities within his domin- 
ions. Some came from Babylon itseK, some from Ilamath, 
a town between Damascus and Aleppo, and others from 
Cuthah — probably the Kutha of Arabian geographei'S, a 
town and district between the Tigris and Euphrates — some 
from Ava, which has been identitied with the modern Hit, 
and some from Sepharvaim, once the famous city of Sip- 
para, both cities on the Euphrates, in lower Mesopotaiiiia. 

We are also told that the new colonists petitioned the 
King of Assyria to be taught the religion of the Jcavs, and 
that he sent them a Jewish priest to teach it to them, and 
that they added it on, after a curious fashion, to the various 
forms of idolatry which they had imported from their dif- 
ferent localities, and hence established a mongrel sort of 
v/orship, which became afterwards purified, but which never- 
theless rendered them especially obnoxious to the Jews of 
Judea, all the more so becrfiise they intermarried with the 
remnant of the tribes of Israel which had escaped the cap- 
tivity, thus forming a race as mongrel as their religion. It 
is about twenty -six hundred years since this event took 
place, but the ancient worship of the Samaritans exists to 
this day; so also does the bitter antagonism which they and 
the Jews entertain for each other. 

This is the oldest national feud, probably, in existence, but 
is as fresh as if it only originated yesterday. Like the Jews, 
the Samaritans have managed to survive all the vicissitudes 

34 G HAIFA. 

of fate, but -with the difference that a small remnant has 
clung through them all to the locality in which they were 
oriirinall V established, though thev have dwindled in numbers 
to one hundred and sixty souls. As an ethnological fraction 
of antiquity they are, perhaps, the most interesting group 
of peo])le extant. The first one I ever made acquaintance 
with was a young man who called upon me in a mysterious 
manner one day in Haifa. He handed me a document in 
Arabic, in which, after stating that for certain reasons, which 
he implied were by no means discreditable to him (he was 
an outcast from his own people), he im])lorcd charity, and 
requested me " to cast upon him a regard of compassion and 
benevolence." The document further said: 

"All that I have inherited fi'oin my parents ami ancestors is a manuscript 
written in ancient Hebrew, nine hundred years old, containing two chapters 
of the Bible, including the commandments, which I beg to offer yon, in the 
hope that you will recompense ine in return by a sum which will relieve my 
distress. " 

He signed himself " Shellabi, the son of Jacob, the Samar- 
itan." Now, I knew tliat Jacob es Shellabi was once the 
spiritual head of the sect, for he had been in London under 
the title of "The Prince of the Samaritans," and the ro- 
mance which attended his style and dignity had, it was re- 
ported, even captivated a fair Englishwoman, who was will- 
ing to become a Samaritan for his sake. Fortunately for 
her " the Prince " was already married, a fact which I be- 
lieve he only divulged on his return to his native land. 

Anyhow, here was the son of a prince in distress, and 
here was an extremely ancient and curious manuscript for 
sale. The youth looked such a scamp, however, that he did 
not enlist my sympathies. I sifSpected that he had lost his 
money by gambling, which proved afterwards to be the case; 
so when he said he considered the manuscript worth ten 
dollars I offered him one dollar, on which he retired indig- 
nantly. A few days later, however, he reappeared, took his 
dollar thankfully, and I retain possession of the manuscript. 
It is on coarse parchment of a yellowish-brown color, two 
feet six long, and fifteen inches wide. It was evidently 
originally longer, but has been torn off. One edge has been 
subjected to the action of fire. The writing is in transverse 


columns, each column thirteen inches long by five wide, and 
containing from sixty to seventy lines. The characters are 
Oi. the old Samaritan type, small, rude, and irregular, differ- 
ing in many important respects from the ancient Hebrew, 
and illegible to a good modern Hebrew scholar to whom I 
have shown it. I have no doubt, however, that it could be 
deciphered by an expert in such matters, who would also 
be able to establish from the formation of tlie characters its 

Tliis incident excited my interest in the Samaritan ques- 
tion, and Avhen I was at Nablous I visited the synagogue, 
examined the ancient Thorah, or book of the law, and have 
since looked into the subject generally. The ancient syna- 
gogue was appropriated by the Moslems some centuries ago. 
The modern building is a small, unpretentious, oblong struc- 
ture. The walls are rough and whitewaslied, and the roof 
is vaulted with two little domes in the centre. The mizbah, 
or altar, is about five feet square, covered with a veil of 
yellow silk. Within are receiDtacles for the sacred books. 
Of these the most valuable are never shown to strangers. 
One or two persons have, however, seen the most ancient, 
which the Samaritans claim to have been written by Abishua, 
the son of Phinehas, thirty-five hundred years ago. It is 
only seen by the congregation once a year, when elevated 
above the priest's head on the Day of Atonement. 

The Thorah was rolled round a cylinder of wood similar 
to those used in ordinary Jewish synagogues, and I was 
gratified to observe that it exactly resembled the fragment 
in my possession. It was evidently very ancient. The priest 
who showed me the synagogue was a remarkably handsome, 
dignified-looking man about forty years old, I asked liim 
whether he was the chief priest. He said he was, and that 
Jacob Shellabi no longer had any position among them. I 
then said I had obtained Q. piece of manuscript from his son, 
to which he made no reply, but at once turned the subject. 
I suspect the youth was a manvais siijet, who committed an 
act of sacrilegious theft before leaving the paternal mansion, 
and who did not, therefore, deserve more than lie got. 

* This MS. has since been examined, and is pronounced to be part of the 
Pentateuch in Samaritan characters of the fifteenth centur.v. 

348 HAIFA. 

Now, with rogaril to tlio saorod books which I flicl not see: 
Tliey are in .st)nie respects in the higliest degree interesting, 
as throwing light upon the Biblical record. In the first 
place, from what is known of the most ancient version, 
claiming to be by Abishua, Gesenins and other great schol- 
ars have given it as their opinion that if it could be col- 
lated, it would be found in many cases to preserve the sense, 
which has been lost in the Jewish version. This opinion is 
founded upon the results of such collation as has been pos- 
sible with Samaritan texts which have fallen into the hands 
of scholars. 

Besides the most ancient roll there are three other books 
known to be in the possession of the Samaritans.* These are 
the Samaritan book of Joshua, the Samaritan Chronicle, and 
the so-called " Fire-tried Manuscript." The Samaritan book 
of Joshua probably dates from the thirteenth century. It 
was published at Leyden about forty years ago from an 
Arabic manuscript in Samaritan character, and is thought to 
have been compiled from an early Samaritan and three later 
Arabic chronicles. It is invested with a peculiar interest 
from the fact that it helps to supply a remarkable lacuna in 
the Biblical record, which does not ai)pear to have received 
the attention it deserves from Biblical students. It is, in 
fact, evident that a large portion of the present book of 
Joshua is missing. That book purports to be an account of 
the conquest of Canaan and its allotment among the twelve 
tribes. Under these circumstances it is most remarkable that 
we have no account of the conquest of Samaria, though the 
campaigns in the south, including the siege and taking of 
seven cities, and the invasion of Galilee, and the defeat of 
the league of six kings of Northern Palestine, are fully de- 
scribed. Then we have no list of royal Samaritan cities, 
though all of them in the other parts of the country are 
carefully enumerated. We have no description of the bound- 
aries of the two tribes to which Samaria was allotted, nor 
any list of the cities awarded to them. Some of the Levitical 
towns mentioned in Chronicles as belonging to Samaria are 
not to be found in Joshua. It will be found also that, taken 

* I am indebted to the researches of the Palestine Exploration Fund fui- 
these details. 


as a whole, tliere are only about forty Samaritan places 
noted out of some four or five hundred places in Western 

The Jewish hatred of the Samaritans rose in the early 
Christian period to so great a pitch that the Mishnic doc- 
tors avoided even mentioning the name of Samaria. Thus, 
in the Talmud only some half-dozen Samaritan towns are 
noticed. In describing Palestine the Mishna divides it 
into Judea, Galilee, and Pera?a, leaving out all mention of 
Samaria. It is just possible that long before this an omis- 
sion may have been purposely made by the early transcribers 
of the Biblical book of Joshua in regard to Samaria. At all 
events, the meagre record which it contains is richh^ supple- 
mented by the Samaritan book of Joshua, which brings down 
the history of Israel from the date of the conquest to the 
time of Samuel, "svhose predecessor, Eli, was, from a Samari- 
tan point of view, the earliest schismatic, and the founder of 
a new and heretical temple at Shiloli in opposition to that 
built by Joshua on Mount Gerizim. The divine glory rested 
upon Gerizim for two hundred and sixty years, or during the 
reign of nine successors of Joshua, the schism between the 
children of Judah and the orthodox, as the Samaritans' call 
themselves, dating from the time of Sin, after the death of 

The book opens much in accordance with the Biblical nar- 
rative, but no less than four chapters are devoted to the his- 
tory of Balaam and his death, being an enlargement of one 
Biblical verse. The conquest of Shcchem by Joshua con- 
tains an account of the miraculous discomfiture of the enemy, 
and of a letter sent by him announcing it to Eleazar, the 
priest, fastened to the wings of a dove. It contains also the 
account of a new leafrue aocainst the children of Israel under 
a king called Saubac, in conjunction with the kings of five 
other towns, Avhich can all now be identified. A thrilling 
narrative of the battle which takes place between Joshua 
and these kings at El-Lejjun, on the ancient Megiddo (Ar- 
mageddon), is also given. With this episode the history of 
the war ends. The chief value of the book lies, however, in 
the light it throws upon the ancient geography of Samaria. 
Out of a total of thirty-one places mentioned in it, thirteen 

350 HAIFA. 

arc Nvitliin the confines of Samaria, and most of these are 
not to bo found in the Bible. 

The Samaritan chronicle goes back to the beginning and 
gives the astronomical reckoning from Adam. Some of its 
topographical details are of much value. Thus it contains a 
list of twenty-two towns where tlie high -priest who suc- 
ceeded Tubiah resided, all being ai)parcntly in Samaria as 
far as the}' can be identified. It is known that in the second 
and third centuries the Samaritans were in a very flourish- 
ing condition, and had colonies in Egypt, and even a syna- 
gogue in Rome. The chronicle gives their possessions in 
Palestine as allotted by the High -Priest Baba the Great, 
about one hundred and sixty years after the destruction of 
Jerusalem. This description is interesting, as it seems to in- 
clude all Palestine, with the exception of Judea proper, to 
the mountains of which the Jews are confined. 

At a later period the chronicle gives a list of those towns 
which were inhabited by the Samaritans after the Ilegira. 
This is a period when very little is known of this nation. 
The places mentioned extend nearly over the whole of Pal- 
estine outside of Judea, and colonies are also mentioned in 
Damascus, Cairo, and Baalbek. There is a ruin about five 
miles from Haifa called Kefr Samir, or the town of the 
Samaritans, which I occasionally visit to grub for inscrip- 
tions, which Avas one of their colonies. Those at Gerar and 
Gaza lasted till the present century, but none are to be found 
now outside of Xablous. It is only to be ex])ectcd that the 
chronicle should centre all the holy places of the Samaritans 
at Shechem or Nablous. 

The fifth article of the Samaritan creed was the assertion 
that Gerizim Avas the chosen abode of God upon earth. 
Here Adam and Seth raised altars; here Melchisedec, ser- 
vant of the Most High God, was met by Abraham — for Geri- 
zim the Samaritans hold to the present day is the highest 
mountain in the world, the only one not covered by the 
flood. Here Abraham offered up Isaac, the very spot being 
shown on the eastern brow of the mountain; and, indeed, as 
Dean Stanley has argued, it is as likely to be here as at 
Jerusalem, as Josephus and the Talmudists aftirm. Gerizim 
was also the site of Jacob's vision, and, finally, it was on 


Gerizim, and not on Ebal, just opposite, as stated in the 
Bible, that, according to the Samaritans, Joshua erected, 
lirst an altar, afterwards the tabernacle, and lastly a temj^le. 
The fourth and last of the known ancient sacred books of 
the Samaritans is the fire-tried manuscript. It consists of 
two hundred and seventeen leaves, containing the law from 
the twenty-ninth verse of the first chapter of Genesis to the 
blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy. It is much worn; the 
letters are not so small as those of Abishua's roll, nor as 
large as those of the later roll. The hand is steady and 
uniform, and the character of the letters indicates that it is 
of very ancient date. A note at the end of the book of 
Numbers connects the manuscript with a story in the Sama- 
ritan book of Joshua. It runs: 

" It came out from the fire by the power of the Lord to tlie hand of the 
King of Eabel in tlic presence of Zerubbabel tlie Jew, and was not burned. 
Thanl£3 be to the Lord for the law of Moses." 


Haifa, Oct. 25. — In my last letter I gave some account 
of the ancient literature of the Samaritans, which is still 
extant and in their possession. The people themselves, how- 
ever, are such an interesting ethnological fragment of a re- 
mote past that there are many points connected with their 
origin and history Avhich arc worthy of consideration, tho 
more especially as they bear upon a problem which has, of 
late years, exercised a singular species of fascination over a 
certain class of minds. I refer to the so-called "lost" ten 
tribes. It may be a disappointment to the Anglo-Israelites 
to suggest that they are more likely to be found in the 
neigiibourhood of the country they were carried from tlian 
in England ; but, under the circumstances, it is certainly a 
more rational and less strained hypothesis, as I think may 
be clearly shown by a reference to existing traditions, facts, 
and records. 

It would appear from the recently discovered cuneiform 
tablets which are now under the investigation of Assyrian 
scholars, that, Avhile they substantially afford a remarkable 
confirmation of Biblical history, there are certain discrepan- 
cies in regard to the capture of Samaria and the carrying 
away of the Israelites into captivity, which make it some- 
what difficult to determine the exact date and nature of that 
event. The complete recovery of the records of Shalma- 
neser (IV.), who no doubt did besiege Samaria, will clear 
this up, and throw light upon the records of his successor, 
Sarfjon, who seems to have succeeded to the throne about 
the time of the capture of the city, after a three years' siege, 
and who in that case would be the monarch who actually 
carried off the Israelites. If this were so, then, according to 
the date of his accession, the captivity must have occurred 
before the invitation which Ilezekiah sent out through the 


country of Ephraira and Manasseh inviting Israelites to the 
Passover at Jerusalem, where we are informed that large 
numbers attended it (2 Cbron. xxx. 18) ; and it would put 
beyond a doubt, wbat is in fact most probable, that Sargon, 
in carrying away the Israelites captive, did exactly what 
Nebuchadnezzar also did not long afterwards, when he car- 
ried off the tribes of Judah and I>enjamin, and left a large 
population. of the poorer classes behind, who were not worth 

Indeed, when one comes to consider tlie population which 
we know to have inhabited Samaria and Galilee at this time, 
it seems incredible that any conqueror would have burdened 
himself with a host which must have numbered at the low- 
est estimate over a million souls and probably a great many 
more; and this conjecture is borne out by the fact that we 
read, in Jeremiah xli. 5, that a deputation of fourscore Israel- 
ites came to Jerusalem after its destruction, or more than a 
hundred years after the captivity of the Israelites. That 
the Israelites thus left intermarried with the colonists sent 
from Assyria on the adoption by these latter of the Jewish 
religion, under the instruction of a priest sent for the pur- 
pose, is extremely probable. The Samaritans themselves, 
however, deny all intermixture Avith the colonists, and main- 
tain they are pure-blooded Isi*aelites ; and in confirmation of 
this we may mention their marked Jewish type of counte- 
nance, their possession of an ancient text of the books of 
Moses, and their observance of the Jewish Passover accord- 
ing to the most ancient forms of tliat rite. 

The Samaritan account of their origin and composition is, 
as may be supposed, diametrically opposed to that contained 
in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. They assert that at 
the time when the two tribes returned from the captivity 
a lartre number of the ten tribes also returned to Samaria 
under Sanballat, called by Nehemiah a Iloronite, but the 
Samaritans call him a Levite. The Samaritan account goes 
on to state that w^hile the two tribes under Zerubbabel re- 
paired to Jerusalem, the rest of the congregation, three hun- 
dred thousand in all, besides youth, women, children, and 
strangers, were led to Gerizim, where they established the 
Temple. Then came the quarrels between the Jews a.t Jeru- 

354 HAIFA. 

salom aivl the Israelites at Samaria about tlie bnildinsr of 
the TcnipU^ ; ami the accounts contained in the books of 
Ezra and Ncheniiah and the Samaritan records are not very 
discordant. Making alhiwance always for the fact that the 
Biblical books do not admit that the Samaritans were Israel- 
ites at all, though they admit that Sanballat's son was mar- 
ried to the daughter of Eliashib, the Jewish high -priest, 
while this latter is stated to have allied himself with Tobiah, 
who was a Samaritan priest. This caused great displeasure 
to Nehemiah, and increased the schism, but it goes, too, far 
to confirm the supposition that Sanballat and Tobiah were 

The Samaritans are, indeed, in the peculiarities of their 
doctrine, almost identical with the original Jewish party — 
the Karaite and Sadducean sects. They are even called Sad- 
ducees in Jewish writings, and their denial of the resurrec- 
tion was, like that of the Sadducees, based on the declaration 
that nothing Avas to be found in the law of Moses on the 
subject. Again, their version of the law is closely similar 
to that of the Septuagint, which was a translation authorized 
by a Sadducean high-priest from a text differing from that 
finally established by the Pharisees. It is often Supposed 
that the Samaritans borrowed their doctrine from the Sad- 
ducees, but it seems more rational to admit that they were 
a sect originally identical, because originally Israelite. The 
animosity of Josephus, who was a Pharisee; the fierce denun- 
ciation of the TalmucI, written by Pharisees; the destruction 
of the Gerizim temple by Ilyrcanus, also a Pharisee — all 
combine to indicate that the Jewish hatred had nothing to 
do with any foreign origin of the race, but was rather roused 
by the religious differences of a people whom they knqw to 
be their own kith and kin. 

If we adopt this theory the fate of the ten tribes is no 
longer a mystery. As we know that before the captivity 
they were addicted to strange gods and strange marriages, 
it is not improbable that a large proportion lost their tribal 
identity while in captivity by intermarrying with the people 
by whom they were surrounded, and became merged with 
them. It is also probable that a certain number, according 
to the Samaritan chronicle three hundred thousand (but it 


need not be so large a numbei'), returned from their captiv- 
ity at the time when the two tribes received permission from 
Cyrus to return. It is also likely that others who still re- 
tained their religion did not return, and are the ancestors of 
certain Hebrew nomads still wandering in the desert. The 
Jews fro.m Yemen, for instance, assert that they are of the 
tribe of Dan, while there are Jewish shepherds in Mesopo- 
tamia whose ancestry seems not distinctly traceable to the 
two tribes. 

The fact that those who returned to Palestine have dwin- 
dled numerically to so small a number is no reason why they 
should not have been at one time a considerable nation, as 
indeed we know they were from their subsequent history. 
They made serious revolts against the Romans in the time 
of Pilate, and again during the reigns of Vespasian and Se- 
verus, but under Hadrian they assisted the Romans against 
the Pharisees. In the sixth century they attacked the Chris- 
tians and put the Bishop of Nablous (or, as it was then called, 
Neapolis) to death, being at that time spread over Egypt 
and the whole of Palestine, except the hills of Judea. Cling- 
ing to the unity of God, they hold Moses to be the one mes- 
senger of God, and Gerizim to be the earth's centre, as it is 
the shrine of their faith. In this they are supported by the 
fact that while blessings and curses are invoked on the two 
Samaritan mountains in the books of Moses, there is no men- 
tion in those books of Jerusalem. 

They also believe in a state of future retribution, and of 
angels and devils as ministers of God in the unseen world. 
They look for a Messiah who is to be of the sons of Jose2)h, 
and they hold that he is now on earth, though not yet de- 
clared. His name is to begin with the letter M. His titles 
are Taheb, "the restorer," and El-Mahdi, "the guide." Un- 
der his direction the congregation will rejsair to Gerizim. 
Under the famous twelve stones they will find the ten com- 
mandments, and under the stone of Bethel the golden ves- 
sels of the Temple and the manna. After one hundred and 
ten years the Prophet, who is considered inferior to Moses, 
is to die, and be buried beside Joseph, whose tomb they show 
in the valley. Soon after, on the conclusion of seven thou- 
sand years from its creation, the world is to come to an end. 

356 il^I^'^- 

The Samaritans keep tlic Feast of the Passover on Geri- 
zim, near the ruins of the aneient tem])lc; here they pitcli 
their tents, and at sunset they shxy sheep and bake tliem for 
several hours in a huge oven in the ground, which is lined 
with stone. Tlie men are girded -wilh ropes, with staves in 
their hands and shoes on their feet, as though prepared for 
a journey. They generally eat standing or Avalking. After 
the women have eaten, the scraps are burned and a bonfire 
kindled and fed with the fat. The rest of the night is spent 
in prayer, and the following day in rejoicing. Besides this, 
the Feast of Tabernacles is also held on the mountain, where 
they construct arbors of arbutus branches. The Feasts of 
Pentecost and of Purim and the Day of Atonement are also 

The mountain is very barren, rising abruptly to a height 
of one thousand feet above the valley in which the town is 
situated. The ruins which are to be found upon it are de- 
scribed in the guide-books, so I shall only allude to what is 
new in regard to them. Considerable excavation was car- 
ried out here by Captain Anderson under the auspices of 
the Palestine Exploration Fund, and plans made of what 
remains of the Fortress of Justinian, which is one of the 
most valuable monuments of Byzantine art in Palestine, and 
of the church said to have been built by Zeno. The twelve 
stones, traditionally said to have come from the Jordan, 
were also excavated, and found to be large, unhewn masses 
of rock placed upon two other courses of stone rudely dressed 
and not squared. Some paved platforms were also laid bare. 
These, together with the tw^elve stones, may possibly have 
formed part of the temple built by Sanballat on Gerizim, 
Curiously enough, there is a sacred rock here, with a cave 
under it, not very unlike the rock and cave over which the 
Mosque of Omar is built in the Ilaram at Jerusalem, and 
with the same traditions attached to them. There is also a 
large ruin on Mount Ebal, enclosing an area ninety-two feet 
square, with walls twenty feet thick; but the excavations 
which were made here were attended with no result, and 
conjecture is at fault as to what it may have been. 

Perhaps the most interesting spots at Nablous are Jacob's 
well and Joseph's tomb, but this from the point of view 


purely of association. "Where sites wliich can be identified 
with any certainty are so rare, these two spots stand out pre- 
eminently as places about which there is a unanimity of 
agreement and force of tradition which go far to confirm 
their authenticity. Tliey are venerated by the members of 
every religious community in Palestine. Here also we may 
look with almost positive certainty upon the position taken 
up by the Israelites when they stood " half over against Geri- 
zim" and "half over against Ebal," to listen to the readins: 
of the law. Great pains have also been taken to discover 
the position of " the great stone " which Joshua " set up 
under an oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord " when 
he made his covenant with the people in Shechem imme- 
diately before his death, and not altogether without success. 
The exactitude Avitli wliich the tombs of Joshua, Eleazar, 
and Phinehas arc described in the sacred record enables us 
to regard the ancient sepulchres which are still pointed out 
as theirs with far less skepticism than usually accompanies 
our notice of such memorials of the dead. 

Altogether, the extreme antiquity of Shechem as a site, 
and the important events of Avhich it was the scene in the 
earliest period of Jewish history, invest it with an interest 
denied to every other locality in Palestine, excepting Jeru- 
salem itself, while the well of Jacob must ever be memo- 
rable — if, as was most likely, it was the spot where Christ 
met the woman of Samaria — for perhaps the most remarkable 
of all his utterances. When we remember the religious 
fanaticism which characterized both Jew and Samaritan, and 
the bigoted prejudice which envenomed the inveterate hatred 
they felt for each other, and which turned principally upon 
the rival claims for sanctity of Jerusalem and Gerizim, it 
seems almost incredible that a Jew could have been found, 
and he a carpenter, gifted with such lofty courage and such 
high spiritual intuition that he should dare to say: "Woman, 
believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither on this 
mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father. They that 
worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." 


Haifa, Nov, 3. — While at Nablous I received information 
that a large piece of ancient sculpture had been discovered 
by a man in excavating some foundations. I procured a 
guide, and proceeded to his dwelling. It was evidently the 
residence of a man of means, and stood in a large courtyard, 
at the entrance to which I knocked for admittance. After 
hammering for some time a voice from within asked who I 
was and what I wanted. On my shouting a reply, I was 
abruptly told to go away, and all was silent. Now, the ac- 
counts I had heard of this antiquity stimulated my curiosity 
to such a desfree that, in addition to the indio-nation I felt 
at this treatment, my desire to see the relic overcame my 
forbearance, and, seizing a stone, while I ordered my attend- 
ant to take another, we made the quarter ring with our 
blows. After a time the voice was heard again: "Why 
don't you go away. I won't open the door." 

" I won't go away, and I will break open the door if you 
don't open it," I shouted. 

" But I am the chief of the police." 

" I don't care who you are; open the door," and bang went 
a stone asrainst it. 

There was silence for a moment, and then another and a 
milder voice: " Wait a moment. I will let you in," and 
the door opened and revealed an empty courtyard and a 

"JMy father was angry because you disturbed him so 
early," he remarked, apologetically, and I then observed 
many signs betokening a recent rapid evacuation on the part 
of the female members of the family. 

Now that I was in, with a large fragment of a beautifully 
carved frieze staring me in the face, I could afford to be 
civil. I was profuse in my apologies, and promised to dis- 


turb no one if I were only shown the antiquities. But I was 
destined to experience another reaction of disappointment 
when the mild youth informed me that this was all there 
was left. The others had been sent to the museum at Con- 
stantinople. Fortunately antiquities, especially when they 
are massive, travel slowly in this country, and as I had an 
opportunity of seeing these before they left Haifa, and made 
such careful copies of them as time permitted, I will describe 

The peculiar interest which attaches to these remains, 
which evidently belong to the Grajco-Roman period, arises 
from the fact that they may possibly have formed part of 
the great pagan temple which is represented on the Greek 
imperial coins of the ancient Acropolis. The main objec- 
tion to this theory is that the temple, it is supposed, was 
erected on Mount Gerizim, and the coins show that it Avas 
appi'oached by a handsome flight of steps, whereas these re- 
mains were found not far from the base of the mountain, 
though sufficiently on its slope to warrant the approach of 
a flight of steps. The fact that the subjects of the tableaux 
are all taken from Greek mythology would indicate that 
there must have been a large population in Samaria in those 
days, who, so far as their worship was concerned, Avere not 

Besides two draped figures, unfortunately without their 
heads, one life-size and one fifty inches in height, there was a 
pedestal forty inches high, triangular in shape, and on each 
face were two tableaux in bas-relief, making six carved 
representations in all, in a very perfect state of preservation, 
with inscriptions in Greek above them, of which, however, 
I have only been able to make out the general tenor in some 
cases. Besides copying the inscriptions, I made such sketch- 
es as I was able of the tableaux. Where many figures are 
crowded together this is a very difficult operation. The 
first scene represents a chariot drawn by serpents, in Avhich 
is a robed female, while on the left a woman is crouched 
down under a tree. The second consists of Artemis, Apollo, 
and Leto, with their names inscribed above them, while on 
the right is the serpent Python, his head pierced by an ar- 
row. The third represented an infant struggling with a 


serpent between two draped female figures, evidently Iler- 
culos strangling the serpents sent against him by Ilenx; for 
above -were the words, " Troj)hol AWi/des.^^ These formed 
the upper tableaux. Below them were three other tableaux, 
illustrating the legend of Theseus, the inscription being 
" IVa'seus </nor/fi»H(tay^'' above a tableau in which he is rep- 
resented raising a stone under which arc hidden the sword 
and shoes of his father Aigcus. In the second he is kneel- 
ing on one knee in a struggle with the Minotaur, while be- 
hind liim are a group of boys whom he came to save. In 
the third he has slain the robber, who is lying prostrate at 
his feet. Theseus is nude and leaning on his club, with three 
other persons all robed standing by him. 

There can be little doubt that had any one been present 
when this discovery was made, a fuller excavation would 
have been amply repaid, and that the house of the ill-tem- 
pered old Moslem stands on a site of the highest interest. 
I have carefully noted its position, in the hope that at some 
future day conditions may exist which would render possi- 
ble an examination of his garden, which is now surrounded 
by a high wall. It would require little digging to deter- 
mine whether this was the site of the celebrated temple or 

I now left Nablous for the purpose of visiting the ruins 
of the ancient city of Samaria, distant about five miles, and 
formerly the political capital of the country. It is placed 
in a most commanding position, and, from a strategical 
point of view, was well chosen. Nothing can exceed the 
beauty of the prospect of the surrounding country which is 
obtained from it. We first inspect the Crusading church of 
St. John the Baptist, which must have been a beautiful edi- 
fice in its day. The walls alone are now standing. In an 
underground crypt, now held sacred by the Moslem peas- 
antry, the saint is supposed to have been beheaded. The 
tradition, though erroneous, is ancient, and existed in 380 
A.D. It has some colour, from the fact that the wilderness 
in which John preached is near this, and not near Jericho, 
as is generally supposed. It can be pretty well identified 
by the description " Onon, near to Salem," where John was 
baptizing, " because there was much water there." Both 


these places retain theii* names, and there is an abundant 
supply of water, which flows hence into the Jordan. The 
fact that Bethabara must be placed much higher np tlie Jor- 
dan valley than the position usually assigned to it by tradi- 
tion makes it pretty certain that the Wady Far'ah, tlie head 
of which is near Samaria, in which are Onon and Salem, 
and which flows into the Jordan not far from the probable 
position of Bethabara, Avas the scene of John's ministra- 

The most interesting ruins, however, are those of Herod's 
Colonnade, to the west of the modern village. It seems to 
have run round the hill on a flat terrace, in the middle of 
which rises a rounded knoll, on which the temple dedicated 
to Augustus, and stated by Josephus to be in the middle of 
the town, presumably stood. The remains are most perfect 
on the south, where some eighty columns are standing. 
These are mainly monolithic. The width of the cloister 
was sixty feet, and the pillars are sixteen feet high and six 
feet apart. The whole length of what must have been a 
most imposing colonnade was about two thousand yards, or 
nearly a mile and a quarter. Josephus makes it nearly two 
miles, but this is exaggerated. There is another street of 
columns at the bottom of the hill running in a line oblique 
to the sides of the upper colonnade. The colonnade was 
entered by a gateway, flanked by small towers, the scarps of 
v.'hich still remain. 

Samaria is not to be compared in antiquity with Shechem, 
its most flourishing time being, probably, during the reign 
of Herod, when, in fact, all Palestine enjoyed a period of 
architectural magnificence greater than anything it had pre- 
viously known. If, instead of following the ordinary road 
from Samaria, we ascend, from the large village of Burka, a 
steep hill, we burst upon a view which is well worth the 
climb, which has also the advantage of being a short cut. 
We look down into a fertile basin covered with olive groves 
and villages, and in the distance can see a considerable ex- 
tent of coast line near Ctesarea, while the familiar outline of 
Carmel to the northwest closes the prospect. Then we 
plunge down into the gardens of the village of Fendakumi- 
yeh, where there is a sacred cave worth visiting, contain- 



ing two recesses, before wliich tlicre is a detacliecl block of 
stone like an altar. It may jirobably have been an ancient 
rock-cut cbapel. Close to this village is another called Zeba, 
which I was sorely tempted to visit, as I had received an in- 
vitation to do so from the sheik who lives here, and who is 
one of the richest and most powerful sheiks in the countrj-. 
He had already called upon nie in Haifa, and represents the 
great family of Jerrar, who once exercised an almost inde- 
pendent rule in this district, setting the Turkish govern- 
ment at defiance, and levying blackmail on the inhabitants, 
while they were in perpetual feud with rival families who 
claimed a like local supremacy in other parts of the country. 
The whole of this svstem was broken down during the 
Egyptian occupation of the country by Ibrahim Pasha. 
When, by British intervention, it was handed back to the 
Turkish government, the latter succeeded in preventing its 
recurrence — not, however, without the ap})lication of force. 
More than one of these local sheiks can point out to you a 
hole in the wall of his house which was made by a Turkish 
cannon-ball. They are by degrees submitting to the influ- 
ence of civilization, and, finding that it is no longer possible 
to compete successfully with the officials in plundering the 
peasantry, are making friends with these latter, so as either 
to go shares with them, or to obtain their favor and assist- 
ance in their own agricultural operations, and thus avoid 
being robbed themselves. 

Thus in the immediate neighbourhood of this village 
there is a plain called the Drowned Meadow, from the fact 
that during a great jjart of the year it is a marsh, and 
therefore unavailable for crops. Could it be drained it 
Avould add some thousands of acres of arable land to the 
villarje to which it belono^ed. Not long a2:o I was consulted 
in regard to the possibility of its being drained, and an en- 
gineer even went so far as to make an estimate of the prob- 
able cost of the operation. Although the sum charged was 
very moderate, it was more than the capitalists could vent- 
ure upon, but the very fact that they could entertain such 
an idea was a marked evidence of progress on the part of 
men whose only notion of drainage heretofore bad been con- 
fined to their neighbours' pockets. 


Although probably I should have seen a splendid speci- 
men of a native magnate's establishment,! found that a halt 
at Zeba would have lost me a day, and I therefore pushed 
on without allowing the sheik to suspect my jiroximity to 
his hospitable abode, still keeping to bypaths instead of 
following the beaten track to Jenin, the ancient Engannin, 
or Spring of Gardens. From thence, in a day's journey 
across the plain of Esdrsslon, I reached Haifa, 


Daliet - EL - C.vRiiEL, Nov. 7. — An incident so liiglily 
characteristic of Druse life and manners lias just occurred 
here that it seems worthy of narration. About three months 
ago I was invited to be present at the ceremony of the 
betrothal of the son of the richest man in the village, by 
name Sheik Saleh, with the daughter of a jieighbour called 
Kara, whose wife was a sister of Sheik Saleh. The affair 
came off in the house of the former, a small mud-built cot- 
tage situated in a court, with the usual arched roof, and floor 
of a rough kind of cement, on which were spread rugs and 
mats for the guests who crowded in to witness the ceremony. 
This took place at nine o'clock at night, and was performed 
by the khateeb, or spiritual sheik. It consisted in his join- 
ing the hands of the future bridegroom and bride's father — 
the bride herself was not present — and in his repeating sev- 
eral formulas in Arabic, among which I detected some of the 
verses of the Koran. A small sura of money was then paid 
over to the family of the bride, the khateeb took his fee 
out of it, refreshments were brought in, and the rite was 

It was a relatively tame performance, and not to be com- 
pared with an actual wedding of another couple which took 
place shortly afterwards, when the festivities lasted three 
days and nights, during which time the bride, loaded with 
her dowry, which consisted chiefly of silver coins formed 
into a head-dress and breastplate, danced incessantly in the 
centre of admiring circles of girls who danced round her, 
while the men were also making the night resound with their 
discordant clamour to the litter destruction of slumber, firing 
off guns, making bonfires, and singing. In fact, at the end 
of the three days the whole village, but especially the bride, 
were utterly exhausted by their protracted gaieties. At 


the end of this time she was put upon a horse and marched 
in solemn procession to the door of every house in the village, 
followed by a bevy of damsels screaming and clapping their 
hands. Each house was expected to contribute a small sum 
— make a wedding-present, in fact, to the newly-married 
couple. In this way she was finally conducted to the bride- 
groom's house, vrhere he was waiting for her with a capacious 
mantle, in which, on her arrival, he enveloped her, and then 
carried her into his house triumphant. 

To" go back to the episode of the betrothal. It is the Druse 
custom for the father of the bridegroom to pay a sum of 
money to the bride's family — in other words, he buys his son 
a wife. Now, in this case, although I saw some money pass 
on the occasion, it was a mere formality. The father of the 
bride had, in a fit of generosity, probably interested, refused 
a sum of 2000 piastres, or about $75 for his daughter. He 
proposed instead that he should form a partnership for 
agricultural operations with Sheik Saleh, who, being rich, 
would be an advantageous partner. This Sheik Saleh 
agi'eed to, and the arrangement was completed, when it was 
objected to by Sheik Saleh's wife, who, being a woman of 
character and resolution, induced her husband to break it 
off. This made Kara furious. He is a man of ungovernable 
temper, and he determinecl that his daughter should never 
wed Sheik Saleh's son. But a betrothal of the kind I had 
witnessed is a very solemn ceremony, and the only person 
who can bi'eak it is the betrothed bridegroom. The girl and 
her family are powerless in the matter. Kara was so mad- 
dened by what had occurred that, rather than let his daugh- 
ter marry the son of the man by whom he felt himself to 
have been outraged, he determined to kill her. This was an 
odd resolution to arrive at. One would have thought he 
might have gratified his vengeance better by killing Sheik 
Saleh or his son. Di'use passion, however, runs in curious 
channels, and he appears to have been exasperated because 
his daughter did not share in his fury against her cousin. 

So he led her out to slaughter, riding his horse and armed 
with his gun, and driving the poor girl, who was weeping 
and wailing bittei-ly, before him. Many of the villagers saw 
him, and were well aware of his intention, but shrank from 

30G ff^^^^i- 

interfering. The place wiiich lie had selected for the exe- 
cution -was just at the bottom of the hill upon which my 
house is situated, and the hour at Avhich he was bent upon 
this bloody errand was eight in the evening. Now, it so 
happened that I have a Druse servant who has been Avith mo 
for more than a year, a powerful man, a splendid si)ortsman, 
a most courageous fellow, and, what perhaps Avas of more 
importance, a near relation of Kara's. lie chanced to be 
passing at the time, and knowing his relative's furious tem- 
per, and perceiving that he really intended to murder his 
daughter, he interfered at the risk of his own life, and suc- 
ceeded in rescuing the girl. Kara, however, Avas still too 
angry to be reasonable. He returned to his house foaming 
Avith passion, and finding his wife — Avho had lived with him 
for many years — Aveeping bitterly over the whole occurrence, 
he accused her of sympathy Avith her brother's family, and 
in the heat of the moment pronounced the fatal Avords 
Avhich, according to Druse custom, constitute a divorce. 

The trouble about a Druse divorce is, that the sentence 
which bids a woman return to her family, once pronounced 
by her hus])and, is irrevocable. Not only can he never take 
her back again as his Avife, but he can never, in this life, so 
much as even speak to her again. If he sees her at the 
other end of the street he must turn aAvay to avoid meeting 
her. Nor mav he enter a house in Avhich he has reason to 
think that she is. A man may, therefore, in a moment of 
passion ruin his OAvn happiness for life, and this is Avhat Kara 
did. The whole occurrence only happened two days ago, 
and Kara has been in the deepest distress ever since. Had 
he killed his daughter, he said, it Avould not have mat- 
tered. He Avould scarcely have missed her, and if slie Avere 
to marry Sheik Saleh's son she Avould be dead to him any 
way; but to be deprived of a wife, against Avhom he had 
never had a complaint to make, Avho had loved him and 
served him faithfully all these years — this was a loss that 
nothing could replace. 

When I heard that he had spoken in this cold-blooded way 
about his daughter, and had alluded to the intention, which 
he admitted he had entertained, of killing her, without a 
shadoAv of compunction, I half regretted that he had not 


been allowed to die the othei- day of a leech which he had 
in his throat. He sent word that he was dying, and a medi- 
cal friend who is staying with me went to see him, and 
found him in the last stages of exhaustion from a leech 
which had been sixteen days fastened too far down his throat 
to be liberated. These cases are not uncommon, and are due 
to the water of some of the springs in the neighbourhood. 
We have had five cases this year, but none so bad as Kara's, 
Avhich was the first. Salt and all the usual means were tried 
in vain, and, as the doctor was anxious to get some leeches 
to experiment with, Kara's wife and daughter, who both ex- 
hibited the greatest distress, were despatched to a spring 
three miles oif to get them. The alacrity they displayed 
in his service were ill requited by his subsequent conduct 
towards them. Here I may remark that large doses of tur- 
pentine, taken internally, proved completely successful. 
There is little doubt that, had the leech not succumbed to 
this treatment, in two days more Kara must have succumbed 
to the leech. 

The daring wath which Druses resort to acts of violence 
is to be accounted for by the fact that they can always 
escape justice. The moment a Druse commits a. crime he 
flies to the Hauran, which he can reach with hard travel in 
eight-and -forty hours. Here he takes refuge among his 
coreligionaries of the Jebel Druse Mountain, over whom the 
Turkish government exercises only a nominal authority, and 
where pursuit is impossible for any Ottoman official. 

Meantime there is to be a great gathering of the village 
elders to consider whether it is possible to arrange the feud 
between Sheik Saleh and Kara. One of the uses to which 
Druse Khalwes, or places of worship, is put, is to discuss 
every question which is of interest to the village. For in- 
stance, should I desire to buy a tract of land from the vil- 
lage held by many proprietors, they would hold a secret 
council in the Khalwe to discuss the best method of cheat- 
ing me. What passes at these meetings is considered abso- 
lutely secret, and the minority are bound to accept the 
opinion of the majority, and afterwards to act with it. This 
imparts a wonderful unanimity to all their proceedings with 
outsiders, though they quarrel very much among themselves, 


ami these Klinhve meetings sometimes lead to serious feuds 
and bloodsliod. It seems likely to do so in this case, for it 
has been reported to mc that Kara announced that if the 
decision of the meeting went against him, he would commit 
such an act as should prevent it — in other words, murder 
either his own daughter or her Letrolhed, 

I was consideritig how I could Lest interfere to prevent 
such a catastrophe, when I received a few hours ago a visit 
from Kara himself. The purport of it, as usual, was to 
borrow money. I told him I could not possibly lend money 
to a man who first decided to kill his own daughter, and 
then for no cause divorced his wife, lie rcjjlied that when 
he had committed these acts he was jiossessed of the devil 
and unconscious of Avhat he was doing. I told him that to 
lend money to a man who was subject to such demoniac 
possession was like lending money to the devil himself, 
and this I declined to do. He assured me that the devil 
had left him so completely that there was no fear of his 
getting hold of it. I said I required proof of this, and he 
could furnish me with it by assuring me of his readiness to 
allow his daughter to marry her betrothed. He said that 
was a matter in the hands of Allah. "Then," I said, 
"under these circumstances you arc prepared, I presume, 
to accept the decision of the village as the decision of 

" Yes," he replied, " if they decide also that Sheik Saleh is 
to pay me fifty Turkish pounds for my daughter." 

" I am sorry," I remarked, " that Allah has just decided 
that I am not to lend you the money you want to borrow 
from me, and it will depend entirely upon the extent to which 
you allow the devil to influence you against the will of Allah 
how I treat you for the future." 

With that he took his departure; but I saw enough of 
his cowed temper for the present to hope that the matter 
may be arranged with a little judicious financial manage- 
ment. It does not give an encouraging view of human 
nature to discover how potent a factor money is in its af- 
fairs, even in a primitive Druse village. 

In many respects Kara is a superior man, decidedly bet- 
ter than his enemy. Sheik Saleh, who will also have to be 


dealt "witli, and wlio behaved badly in backing out of an 
arrangement Avhicli bad already been concluded, for no 
valid reason. Owing, however, to the position which I oc- 
cupy financially to the village, they are all more or less un- 
der control, and I have it in mj power to exercise a pressure 
which even the Klialwe Avould find it difticult to resist. 

Unfortunately, I shall be obliged to leave instructions with 
regard to this delicate matter, as my stay in Palestine for 
the present is about to draw to a close, and Avith it must 
terminate this record of my experiences in a country which, 
in spite of its many drawbacks, possesses in my eyes superior 
attractions as a residence to any other in which ray lot has 
been east. 








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