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FROM JERUSALEM TO JERICHO.
JANUARY 28th. Our preparations for the prosecution of our journey were at length all completed. The route we had marked out to ourselves, was, to cross the Jordan, and go through Jerash and Gamala, two cities, of whose ruins we had heard a great deal in that quarter, Mr. Bankes intending to go off from the latter to Nazareth, and I to pass through Tiberias, on my way towards Damascus and Aleppo. As no one could be prevailed upon to lend us animals on hire for this journey, from its being out of the common caravan road, we were compelled to purchase horses for that purpose. This we effected without much difficulty, and at a very moderate rate: a good travelling horse, with all its equipment in common furniture, costing about four hundred piastres, or less than twenty pounds sterling.
Our party was composed of Mr. Bankes, Mohammed, his Albanian interpreter, and myself; and our guides were two Arabs of the tribe of Zaliane, one the father of the boy released
through Mr. Bankes's interest, and the other this father's friend. Our servants were both left behind at Jerusalem, from the difficulty of taking them with us; my own, a native of Tocat, speaking only Turkish well, and the other, a Portuguese, understanding neither Turkish nor Arabic. The former received a compensation for his services, and a final discharge, from his not being likely to be of further use to me in my way, and the latter was to repair to Nazareth, there to await the arrival of his master.
We were now all dressed in the costume of the country; Mr., Bankes as a Turkish soldier, Mohammed in his own garb as an Arnaout, and I as a Syrian Arab. Our guides wore their own dresses, as Bedouins of the desert. We were each mounted on a horse of our own, there being no animals for baggage, as each person carried beneath and behind him whatever belonged to himself. We were armed but poorly, from the advice of our guides to take with us nothing that could excite the cupidity of strangers, since they wished us rather to depend on our poverty for passing unmolested, than on our force or numbers for defence; and even they themselves carried each a long lance only, rather as a part of their habitual equipment, than as placing much reliance on its use. We took with us a small portion of bread, dates, tobacco, and coffee,
and a supply of corn for our horses, with a leathern bottle of water suspended from the saddle, and these completed our outfit.
After discharging all the numerous claims that were made on our purses, by the host of servants and others belonging to the convent, and paying to the Superior of it for the expences of our living there, at the rate of a Spanish dollar per day, we received their parting benedictions, as we mounted to quit them, amid a crowd assembled round us in the court.
It was about nine o'clock when we left Jerusalem by the Bethlehem gate; turning to the right from this, as we went out of the city, we continued along by the northern wall. In our way, we noticed a fine marble sarcophagus, highly sculptured, and resembling the broken ones seen at the tombs of the kings: it seemed to be used by the way-side as a watering-trough for cattle. The north-east angle of the city wall had a romantic appearance as we passed it, a portion of the wall there going over a high bed of rock, which presents a cliff to the passenger below.
Descending from the brow of the range of hills on which Jerusalem is seated, and going about north-easterly, we passed through the higher or northern part of the valley of Kedron,
leaving Bethany, Bethpage, and the Mount of Olives, on our right, or to the south of us.
In about three hours from the time of our quitting the gates of Jerusalem, having gone the whole of the way over stony and rugged ground, we reached an encampment of the tribe of Arabs to which our guides belonged. There were only six small tents of coarse hair-cloth, and in each of them not more than half-a-dozen perThe Arabs of this tribe, extending their range over all the country between the Jordan and Jerusalem, branch off into small parties, to obtain pasture for their camels and goats. It was thus that this party occupied a small hollow of the land, in which were a few shrubs very sparingly scattered over the surface, and hardly sufficient to furnish food for their flocks for more than a few days.
We halted here to receive the pledge of protection from our guides, by eating bread and 'salt with them beneath their own tents. A meal was prepared for us of sour milk and warm cakes, by the wives of our companions, and coffee was. served to us by their children, while we sat 'around a fire of brush-wood kindled for the occasion. The appearance of the Arabs who composed our party at this halt, was much more different from those who inhabited towns, than
that of the peasantry of our own country is from its citizens. In these tented dwellers, there is seen an air of independence, mixed, perhaps, with something of ferocity, that is never to be witnessed, even in the mussulmauns of large cities; and a more robust, though less pampered frame, with deeply browned complexions, and piercing eyes, gave them altogether a brave and manly appearance.
We remounted, and quitted this encampment at one o'clock, though the dangers that were talked of during our entertainment, as likely to beset us in the way, were sufficient to have deterred persons who were not very firmly bent on their purpose from proceeding. In half an hour, going now more easterly, we came to a very narrow pass, cut through the hill, in a bed of hard rock. There was here an old fort, which had once guarded this passage, but was now deserted, and close by were the ruins of a large square building belonging to it. This is too far distant from Jerusalem to be the Anathath spoken of by Josephus, as the country of Jeremiah, that place being fixed at twenty furlongs, whereas this is at least from twelve to fourteen miles. It corresponds more accurately with the position given to Ephraim, in D'Anville's map, or even of Adommin, a little to the southward of it; but of these no details are given by which