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After ascending slowly for about two hours, we reached the summit of this slope, and came suddenly in sight of the lake and town of Tiberias. We found ourselves again on the brow of a steep hill facing to the eastward, and forming the western boundary of the hollow in which the lake is contained. The view from hence is grand and interesting. To the south, inclining easterly, the vale of the Jordan was distinctly open; to the south-west the rounded top of Tabor rose above the intervening hills; to the north, the lofty Libanus, the Gebel-el-Thelj or Gebel-el-Sheikh † of the Arabs, reared its snow-clad head; while the bare and yellow mountains of the eastern shore served but to give a brighter blue to the scarcely ruffled waters of the lake below. The town from hence has a more completely Moorish appearance, from its high walls and circular towers, than any other I had yet seen in Palestine. The waters, on whose western edge it stands, were as still as those of the Dead Sea, from being confined in a deep basin, and hemmed closely in by opposite ranges of hills. The scenery around possessed many features of grandeur, though destitute of wood and verdure; and the whole, indeed, was
.the Mountain of Snow ,جبل لا شلج
.the Mountain of the Chief ,جبل لا شيخ
such as to render our momentary halt there agreeable in the extreme.
On descending the hill, we observed a cistern for water, its spring being now dry; and while the muezzin * was calling to the prayers of El Assr, from the gallery of the mosque within the town, we entered it by the gate of the western wall. Taking a southern course through the town, we were conducted to the house of the Catholic priest, and alighted there to halt for the night.
We found the Abuna† himself occupied in opening pods of cotton in the outer court; while about twenty children were bawling, rather than reading Arabic in a small dark room behind him. The mat on which the father sat, being sufficiently large to contain us both, I seated. myself beside him; but, whether from religious pride or any other motive, I knew not, he neither rose, nor gave me any of the accustomed forms of salutation. The first question which he asked me, on my being seated, was, whether I was a Christian, and how I made the sign of the cross. I replied, that I was an Englishman on my way
the public crier who announces the hour of
+ Ul, literally, "Our Father." This is the the name ge
nerally given to Christian pastors throughout the Holy Land, by those who speak of them in Arabic.
to Damascus, and had thought that he would be glad to entertain me for a night on that consideration alone; but added, that if he felt any scruples at harbouring an heretic, in which light the English are considered by all the Christians of the East, I should most willingly withdraw to seek some other shelter. His son then hinted to him in a loose way, that though the English did not bow to the Pope, they were excellent people to deal with, for they travelled all the world over to get the hidden treasures of ruined cities, and always paid twice as much as the people of any other nation for any service rendered to them. This seemed to reconcile the father so completely to my stay, that throughout the whole of the evening nothing was talked of but the English, their wealth, their wisdom, and proficiency in the black art, and the certainty of their being the greatest in this world, whatever fate they might be doomed to in the next.
Being desirous of supping on the fish of the lake, a person had been dispatched on the instant after our arrival to procure some; but after a search of two hours, he returned without being able to find any. This fine piece of water abounds with a great variety of excellent fish ; but from the poverty, and one must add, the ignorance and the indolence of the people who live on its borders, there is not a boat or a raft,
either large or small, throughout its whole extent. Some three years since, a boat did exist here, but this being broken up from decay, has never been replaced; so that the few fish which are now and then taken, are caught by lines from the shore, nets never being used.
The conduct of the southern Arabs on the shores of the Yemen forms a striking contrast in this particular to that of their brethern in the north. Along all the shores of Arabia Felix are small rafts called catamarans, composed only of four or five rude logs of wood lashed together, on which fishermen go out for several miles against a strong wind and boisterous sea, and remain often a whole day and night halfimmersed in water to procure supplies of fish for the market; while here, where the lake is scarcely ever ruffled by a wind of any violence, where the water is shallow, the shelter good, and the fish abundant near the shore, the means of procuring supplies of food from thence are uncertain and neglected.
When the sun had set, we retired into an inner room, which the whole of the family inhabited, including the Abuna and his wife, the elder son Yusuf, his wife Martha, and the infant child Ibrahim, with two grown boys, younger sons of the old man. The whole of the space appropriated to this number, was about ten feet
long, by six broad; and in the same enclosure, on a lower level, was a stall for two cows, and a little place apart for three pigs. Besides this, were to be seen above little balconies, like large breeding-cages for birds, which appeared to be store-rooms or lockers for provisions. The whole compass of the outer walls which inclosed all these departments, was not a square of more than twelve feet at the utmost. The roof was flat, and composed of branches of wood laid across rude beams, and covered by mortar, which formed the terrace above. The only ornament seen within, was the cross, daubed in red upon the walls, and repeated at every interval of space not otherwise occupied; and even over the stall of the oxen and the trough of the hogs, this holy emblem was conspicuously pourtrayed.
The hour of supper arrived, and a bowl of boiled wheat and dûrra with oil was produced for the family. I was turning up my sleeves to wash my hands in preparation for the meal, when the old man asked me, whether we had no provisions in our sack. I replied, that we had only taken sufficient for the day, and had finish
it at Sook-el-Khan, being assured by the friars at Nazareth that we should find every thing we could desire here. He then said, "You must purchase supper for yourselves." I replied, that we would not willingly intrude on