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mosque, erected over the supposed dungeon in which St. John was executed; and an Arab family, who claim the guardianship of this sanctuary, have pitched their dwelling on the southwest angle of the great church, where it has the appearance of a pigeon-house. On learning that I was a Moslem, we were all admitted into this mosque, which we entered with becoming reverence. They have collected here the white marble slabs, found amid the ruins of the church, to form a pavement; and in one part we noticed three large pieces with sculptured circles and bands on them, which were set up in the wall as tablets.
The mosque itself is a small oblong room, with steps ascending to an oratory, and its only furniture is a few simple lamps and some clean straw mats for prayer, the recess of the Caaba being in the southern wall. From the mosque, we descended by a narrow flight of steps to the subterranean chamber or dungeon of St. John, which had all the appearance of having been an ancient sepulchre. It was not more than ten feet square, and had niches as if for the reception of corpses, in arched recesses on each side. There was here, too, one of those remarkable stone doors, which seem to have been exclusively appropriated to tombs, resembling exactly in
form and size those described in the Roman sepulchres at Oom Kais. The panneling, the lower pivot, and the sill in the ledge for receiving the bolt, were all still perfect; but the door was now unhung, and lay on its side against the wall.
SHECHEM, OR NEAPOLIS, MOUNT EBAL AND GERI-
AFTER taking some bread and olive oil, as a meal of hospitality with the Sheikh of Subusta, we quitted it about eleven o'clock, and from hence our road lay for half an hour over hills of siliceous stone, going constantly to the southward until we opened upon the long valley of Nablous, running nearly east and west.
We turned off to the eastward, leaving on our right the village of Beit Eiba, on the side of the hill; Beit Oozan, a smaller one, just above it and on the summit of the range, an enclosed town with walls and towers, called Aijeneid, all peopled by Mohammedans. The valley here is really beautiful, being covered with woods of olives, corn fields now green, reservoirs of water, gardens, aqueducts in different directions, both -arched and plain, and all the marks of industry, opulence, and abundance.
We continued our way easterly through this valley, and at noon approached Nablous by the
lower road, scarcely seeing it until we were near the gate. Just without it we passed through some grounds where several parties were spinning, winding off, and bleaching cotton thread; and soon afterwards we entered at the western gate. Passing through a narrow but crowded bazar, we halted at a public khan, and directed our first enquiries to know when the Damascus caravan would set out. What was my mortification to learn that it departed three days since, that there remained not the least hope of overtaking it, and that no other would go from hence for at least a month to come! I grew almost desperate at this information, and had I not been restrained, would have really set out immediately to follow it alone. A moment's consideration convinced me, however, that this would be rashness rather than enterprise, and that there was no remedy but in a patient search for some other occasion.
The horseman sent with me by Hadjee Ahmed Gerar, insisted that, as the caravan was gone, and we were perfect strangers here, he could not leave me until some arrangements should be made for our future proceeding; but recommended that I should return with him to Sanhoor, whither he would conduct me in safety. This was therefore assented to, as the only alternative remaining; but as there was