Woman In Jaffa.
A Three-Horse Coach.
House Of Simon" The Tanner.
After one leaves the fertile environs of Jaffa, the land grows desolate and sterile. Even the celebrated Plain of Sharon is but the shadow of its former self, for its whole extent was once cultivated and well watered, and teemed with a contented, prosperous population. The hills between this and Mount Zion are extremely barren. The rocks reflect the sun with angry glare, and only a few trees remind us of the splendid forests that once flourished here. Along the road are many ruined watch-towers resembling heaps of bones gnawed and abandoned by the dogs of time. Once they were needful; for until recently this customary path for Christian pilgrims was a resort for bandits. In fact, a little town between Jerusalem and Jaffa is still called after the most famous of Syrian robbers, who, with six brothers and nearly a hundred formidable henchmen, was for a score of years the terror of the community.
A Characteristic Ruin.
In the number of its desolate ruins Palestine takes precedence even of the country of the Nile. Hardly a hill-top rises in Judaea which is not strewn with vestiges of fortresses or cities of a former age, reminding us of constant warfare during successive centuries. Accordingly, the secular associations of the Holy Land at first overshadow its sacred ones.
That these gray rocks had echoed to the shouts of Roman legions, conquering Arabs, and the steel-clad warriors of the Cross, seemed to us perfectly credible. But the Jerusalem of our childhood - the Judaea of the Bible - appeared at the outset as distant from us here as when we had looked forward to this tour four thousand miles away.
When, therefore, our old guide informed us that from the next hill we should see Jerusalem, I looked at him incredulously. Then, suddenly, I felt a quick bound of my heart, and. spurring my horse on to his utmost speed, I galloped furiously to the summit. Jerusalem at last!
The view of the Holy City as one approaches it from Jaffa, is not so broad and comprehensive as from other points, but the first glimpse of its historic walls from any point can never be forgotten. No spot on earth appeals so powerfully both to to the intellect and the emotions. No equal area of our globe has been the theatre of events which have so influenced the history of mankind. It is the city of Abraham, of David, of Solomon, and of Jesus; the city, too, of Titus and of Tancred. In one great flood of emotion the old religious memories of. early years swept over me, until the walls and towers grew blurred and indistinct, and I could understand the feelings of the old Crusaders, when they first saw this City of the Cross, and amid solemn prayers, exultant shouts and sacred song, each knee sank trembling in the dust, and mailed warriors from distant lands clasped hands and wept for joy. Alas! if only we could always feel those first emotions which the distant vision of Jerusalem excites! But, as is the case in almost every Oriental town, the shock which one encounters on a close approach is disenchanting. It is true, its massive towers are quite in keeping with our historical reminiscences, and Arabic inscriptions on the Moorish gate recall the conquest of the city by the Caliph Omar. But swarms of pilgrims, tra ders, and repulsive beggars instantly surround us, amidst a crowd of horses, donkeys, dogs and camels, - and if we lift our eyes to heaven for relief, we see on one of the sacred walls the fin de siecle legend: "Cook's Tourist Office, inside Jaffa Gate." One naturally laughs at this, because it seems as if there were now no spot on earth exempt from "personally conducted parties." But let us do this justice to the name thus displayed on the walls of Zion: If there be any part of the world where management like that of this experienced cicerone is needed, Palestine is the place. Here, where practically no traveling conveniences existed twenty-five years ago, arrangements have been so perfected, that one can now journey through Judaea in comparative luxury as well as safety. We traveled in no "personally conducted" party, but we did avail ourselves gladly of the system introduced here by that friend of travelers, and, while perfectly independent in our plans, were fitted out with a reliable guide, tents, bedding, rugs, mules, horses, five servants and an excellent cook; - all so excellent indeed, that, when outside the city in our tents, we fared much better than in a Jerusalem hotel. These comforts and attendance, it may be said, we obtained at an individual cost of about six dollars a day.