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the prediction that "the sound of the millstones” should cease.' And upon Babylon, whose king stilled the voice of the grinding in Jerusalem, John denounces the like desolation : "The sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee.'
From this on southwards through Philistia there are no millstreams, and we shall not cease to hear the hum of the hand-mill at every village and Arab camp morning and evening, and often deep into the night. When at work, two women sit at the mill facing each other; both have hold of the handle by which the upper is turned round upon the nether millstone. The one whose hand is disengaged throws in the grain, as occasion requires, through the hole in the upper stone, which is called el rukkâb—the rider—in Arabic, as it was long ago in Hebrew. It is not correct to say that one pushes it half round, and then the other seizes the handle. This would be slow work, and would give a spasmodic motion to the stone. Both retain their hold, and pull to or push from, as men do with the whip or cross-cut saw. The proverb of our Saviour is true to life, for women only grind.' I cannot recall an instance in which men were grinding at the hand-mill. It is tedious, fatiguing work, and slaves or servants are set at it. From the king to “the maid-servant that is behind the mill," therefore, embraced all, from the very highest to the very lowest inhabitants of Egypt. This grinding at the mill was often imposed upon captives taken in war. Thus Samson was abused by the Philistines,' and, with Milton for his poet, bitterly laments his cruel lot:
To grind in brazen fetters under task,
What is the foundation for the comparison, “Hard as a piece of the nether millstone?" Is the lower harder than the upper?
Not always. They are often both of the same porous lava, brought from the Hauran; but I have seen the nether made of a compact sandstone, and quite thick, while the upper was of lava, probably because, from its lightness, it is the more easily driven round with the hand.
4 Isa. xlvii. 2.
Jer. xxv. 10. 5 Exod. xi. 5.
2 Rev. xviii. 22.
3 Matt. xxiv. 41.
What tree is this, mingled with the olive and the almond and loaded with a pale green berry?
That is the tût shâmy, the Damascus mulberry. It is grown for its fruit, not for the silk-worm. Pass this way in the middle of May, and you will find these trees bending under a load of berries so exactly resembling the largest blackberries in America that you could hardly distinguish them from each other.
There are more of these Damascus mulberry-trees here than I have seen elsewhere, and they yield their glossy black fruit more abundantly than in other places. It has a sharper acid than that of the ripe blackberry, and, when eaten in large quantities, is unhealthy. It is one of those fruits now found all over Palestine which is not mentioned in the Bible; and the same remark applies to the prickly-pear, which flourishes in such impenetrable thickets around these villages.
It has taken just forty-five minutes to come from Ludd to Ramleh, and a pleasant ride it is. We will now incline a little to the right, pass round to the west of Ramleh, and camp near the tower which overlooks the whole country, where we may enjoy the rest of the Sabbath in quietness and peace. Here we cross the road from Jaffa. Observe that large open cistern in ruins to the south of it. There are many vaulted cisterns between it and the tower, and other indications that this vicinity was once either the seat of Ramleh itself or of some more ancient town. These cisterns may be almost of any age, and a city at this place would have had them, of course.
In Muhammedan times we can find an adequate cause for them in the fact that there were here large khâns for the accommodation of the trading caravans which passed this way into Egypt.
Tower at Ramleh.–Subterranean Vaults.—Ascent of the Tower.-Extensive View from
the Top of it.–Arimathea.-Ramleh.-Church of St. John.—Tell Jezer, Gezer.-Bilingual Inscription at Tell Jezer.—Modin.— Tombs of the Maccabees.- Biblical Sites on the Road from Ludd to Jerusalem.-Kefir, Chephira of the Gibeonites.-Merj Ibn 'Omier, Valley of Aijalon.—Tibneh, Timnath-serah.—Inheritance of Joshua.–Sepulchre of Joshua.-Oriental Superstitions regarding Sacred Tombs.-Oak at Tibneh.’Amwâs, Emmaus.- Nicopolis.-Beit Nûba.--Significance of Ancient Biblical Sites.A Learned Pundit.—Testimony of the Land to the Truth of the Book.
April 12th. Salim and Abd Allah have gone to Jaffa to procure some things for our journey which they failed to purchase before we started for Cæsarea.
We can well afford the detention, for we have here a very pleasant camping-ground at which to prolong our rest, and may spend the day examining the ruins and studying the topography of the surrounding country. The remains of these ancient buildings around us are unique and quite surprising. I attempted to penetrate into one of the large vaults beneath the court, but my one candle served only to make darkness visible, and to draw around me a swarm of disgusting bats. I then climbed to the top of this noble tower, and was delighted with the vast prospect, but wanted some one to name and explain the almost numberless sites that dot the plain and the slopes of the eastern mountains above it.
The tower had various names—White Mosk, White Tower, Tower of the Forty Martyrs, and, by the Moslems, Mukâm el Arb'ain Măghazy, Tomb of the Forty Champions. The mukâm is in the great central vault, and on one of my visits this large quadrangular court was crowded with devotees assembled to honor the
WHITE TOWER.-SUBTERRANEAN VAULTS.
memory of those champions. In Crusading times there were probably similar gatherings here in honor of the martyrs supposed to be buried in one of the subterranean vaults.
There may be no foundation for any of these traditions, yet the fact that build. ings so large and expensive, with such vast underground vaults, were erected here, seems to require something antecedent to them which rendered the spot peculiarly sacred. The Arabic inscription over the entrance to the interior stairway of the tower, bearing date A.H. 718, establishes the fact that this record was placed there at that time, but Muhammedan rulers often insert slabs with pompous inscriptions over entrances to buildings which they did not erect. There are many such vaunting records on castles, temples, and churches older than the era of Muhammed; and the architects of this country are so skilled in these insertions that the forgery cannot readily be detected. I am inclined, therefore, to ascribe to some of the forsaken sepulchres, and broken cisterns found all through the olive-orchards hereabout, a date earlier than that of the existing Saracenic buildings, and the same to the tower itself. That the Moslems did destroy Christian churches at Ramleh is certain, and in doing this it would be quite natural to leave the tower standing, to serve as a minaret to a mosk, which, after their usual custom, they erected at or near the same site. The confused tradition of such events, mingled with fables of various ages, may, therefore, have had some foundation in fact. Dr. Robinson has a long and valuable epitome of these historical and traditionary notices; and, though we may not always fully sympathize with his depreciation of ecclesiastical tradition, nor feel anxious to strip all these cherished sites of their sacred associations, yet we can never fail to be instructed by his learned researches.
The vaults beneath the area enclosed by these buildings are in themselves, and apart from all historical questions, very remarkable. The one under the south side is about one hundred and fifty feet long, forty wide, and twenty-five deep. The roof is sustained in the centre by a row of nine square columns. The cistern on the west end is nearly seventy-five feet square and twenty deep, and the roof is supported by a double row of columns. The third is parallel to the first, which it also resembles in its details. Besides
these there are smaller cisterns, so perfect, even yet, as to hold water. These great vaults, plastered with hard stucco, are dry, and may have been used as storehouses or khâns for the caravans; but if so, the case is unique, for there is no other example of the kind in Syria, so far as my knowledge extends, and no reason can be assigned why resort should have been had to such expensive subterranean magazines in Ramleh alone. In other khâns the magazines were built round a hollow square enclosed by the exterior walls, nor do I believe that these vast vaults were constructed for that purpose.
Let us now enter and ascend the tower by its winding stairs of one hundred and twenty-six steps. The entire height cannot be much less than one hundred feet. In July of 1834, after this tower had been rudely shaken by an earthquake, which cracked nearly all the houses in Ramleh, and threw down many, I ascended to see if it had been injured; but it stood precisely as before, not a rent or crack from top to bottom, and thus it has stood a hundred earthquakes uninjured. It is twenty-five feet square at the base, and diminishes by graceful offsets, dividing it into different stories, with various-shaped windows and architectural embellishments. The summit has been accommodated with a round tower and balcony, to fit it for the muezzin of the mosk; but this is obviously a modern addition to the original structure, and most of it has been shaken down by those earthquakes which have had no effect on the body of the tower.
Mejr ed Dîn ascribes the building of the tower to Nâsir Muhammed Ibn Kalâwun, Khalif of Egypt. He appears to have begun the work A.D. 1310, and finished it in eight years. The style of architecture, though Saracenic, differs from most minarets erected by Moslems, and in cases where they resemble this they are generally attached to mosks which were originally Christian churches.
At the time I spoke of the whole of this country was in revolt against Ibrahim Pasha and Muhammed Aly of Egypt. I was shut up in Ramleh for many anxious days, and often came to this lofty lookout to watch the movements of the opposing forces with a heavy heart, for my family was in Jerusalem—the only Franks there, with one exception—and the city was in the hands of the