Market Place   Jaffa

Market-Place - Jaffa.

It was in Joppa that Dorcas lived, the good woman who was so skilful with her needle; but judging from the ragged clothing of the people here, she has had no successors. It would be hard to find a place where Dorcas Societies are more needed than in Jaffa.

Nor were the faces that we saw around us calculated to command either our confidence or admiration. Two men who were grinding corn between flat stones looked more like anthropoid apes than human beings. One appeared decidedly sad, the other jovial, like the familiar portraits of babies "before and after using Pitcher's Castoria." The first possessed a face as thickly lined with wrinkles as a piece of corrugated iron, and we felt sure that in a storm the rain must run in regular channels down his cheeks; while his companion's countenance wore a smile which cut his features into two black hemispheres, leaving his curly beard to wag beneath his chin like a small shopping-bag of Astrachan fur. Two other characteristic specimens of humanity were lounging on the steps of the "Twelve Tribes' Hotel." One was a Greek, the other (several shades darker in complexion) was an Arab. Both were so fancifully dressed, that a newcomer might suppose them to be singers in a comic opera. Put Francis Wilson in the streets of Jaffa, wearing his make-up as the "Merry Monarch," or the "Oolah," and he would seem to a tourist just landed there a sight no stranger than most of the eight thousand souls that constitute the population of this Syrian seaport.

Sad And Jovial

Sad And Jovial.

Cedar Of Lebanon

Cedar Of Lebanon.

Yet the historical associations of Jaffa render it worthy of respectful interest. For ages it has been the ocean-gateway to Jerusalem. To its portals, in King Solomon's time, was brought the wealth of Tyre and Sidon; and on the very waves through which our boats had struggled to the land, floated, three thousand years ago, the famous cedars of Mount Lebanon, sent by a Syrian monarch for the Hebrew temple. Jaffa has been possessed successively by Jews, Phoenicians, Romans, Moslems, and Crusaders, and even the first Napoleon left here dark traces of his path of conquest; while, century after century, pilgrims from every quarter of the globe have made their way through this old war-scathed city toward the Holy Sepulchre. The place in Jaffa most visited by these pilgrims is the reputed house of Simon the Tanner. There are, it is true, two other houses which dispute this claim, but this, for some cause, is the one exhibited by the guides, and thus a handsome revenue rewards its owner; for, when properly recompensed, he graciously conducts all visitors to the flat roof on which Saint Peter is alleged to have had that dream which warned him to regard no people as unclean, but to proclaim his message of good tidings to the world at large, - not merely to the Jew, but also to the Gentile. There is, of course, little probability that this is really the house where Peter lodged nineteen centuries ago, though possibly the original was quite as unpretentious as the present structure. Yet, as a characteristic Oriental dwelling, it calls to mind the fact that on just such a roof as this, certainly in this very town, a humble fisherman of Galilee learned the great lesson of the brotherhood of man, which, when proclaimed, was so to revolutionize the world, that now, within the city of the Caesars, the most magnificent temple of Christianity, St. Peter's, bears his name. Until within the last few years, saddle-horses, or else a lumbering three-horse coach, afforded the only means of transportation from Jaffa to Jerusalem, along a highway fairly passable for vehicles. But now a railroad has been built over this distance of thirty-three miles, and once a day the iron horse draws tourists across the plains of Sharon; a railway bridge surmounts the brook where David chose the smooth stones for his combat with Goliath; a locomotive's whistle wakes the echoes of Mount Zion ; and the conductor might with reason call out to his passengers, en route, "Ramleh, - reputed residence of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, - five minutes for refreshments." At the time of our visit, however, steam-cars had not yet made their appearance in the land of Abraham. Accordingly our party made the journey on horseback.