Having at ten o’clock, the first time in my life, mounted a camel, I found it hard work to hold to the old riggings on his back. We went out on the commons to the east of Cairo, and turned the head of the camels towards Suez, on the Desert, and awaited their own movements. The youngest went out in all directions, as far as a quarter of a mile off; they would follow one another a few minutes, until they would lose confidence in the ability of the leader to perform his duty, and take the direction of another. After half an hour spent in this way, some of the young leaders would wait and look at the old camels and dromedaries until they would come along side, and wait quietly until the older would take the lead, and in five minutes the whole caravan from all directions would pull for his course, like the different branches of a flock of wild geese that had been disturbed by some unnatural disturbance; in twenty minutes all would be in a straight line for Palestine. At five o’clock in the evening we camped for the night, and while supping before our tent doors, the English mail caravan came along from Suez with the India mail, some 400 camels; they had left the red sea the day before, and were getting along very well. The English are great people to meet in a strange place, as they take pleasure in imparting all the news likely to add to ones comfort. They asked us about Her Majesty’s government, and also about French feelings. We offered them something to drink, which they refused, and bade us good day and went a couple of hundred yards farther and camped. Next morning they were off before we waked up. The next day we arrived at the red sea, crossed over, and wended our way to Mount Sinai. We found, at the base of Mount Sinai, two Bedouins, like lost men from their tribe, looking about as if they were hunting something in their lonesome vallies. They rode Arab steeds instead of camels, as we did in the Desert. I had always believed that the desert was an arid sandy plain, but I found it more hill than plain. Occasionally we would see a couple of gazelles on the mountain crag, but always ready to run.
We stayed at the convent of St. Catherine some days with the old monks, and bought some treasures of them in the way of manna, put up here for pilgrims in a little tin box, like mustard boxes, and also some canes of different kinds of shrubs growing round about here. It takes about an hour to wake the monks up from their studies, breakfast or sleep. They lowered a sort of a hamper basket for us to seat ourselves in, one at a time, and they pulled us up. Next morning we prepared our luncheon for an ascent; about twelve o’clock we reached the top where Moses held the stones. The guide showed us many little altars and curious places, said to be sacred places, to different ages of which he named. I could plainly see that his information was merely traditionary, without the least shadow of history for support. As we ascended, he showed a hole in the ground where the sons of Levi buried their dead. I asked him how he knew this was the history of this hole, and he said that a powerful Sheik told him this. He meant the chief of a tribe of Bedouins. They are called Sheiks. The Sheik who gave this important information was a very powerful Sheik, and consequently, his opinion carried great weight, though he could not read. He often settles questions more important than this to the Arabs. The next day, while branching out from Sinai and the Red Sea, we encountered a desperate tribe of Bedouins, who demanded of us a bonus, in genuine coin, for permission to travel through this territory. We refused to pay, and the Sheik declared that we should. Our guide, whose name was Como, said many years ago he traveled along the range with one Dr. Robinson who wrote a book, and was attacked by this rascally Sheik before, and refused to pay then, and would refuse now. He bullied up to the Sheik, and told him he would report him to the authorities of Hebron, who would send his complaint to Constantinople, to the Sublime Porte. The Sheik was intimidated, and rode off in the Desert towards Petra. After thirty-five days in the Desert, we came to Hebron, the burial ground of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Here we quarantined for three days. After traveling all these thousands of miles, the Arabs would not let us enter the mosque built over these distinguished men’s bodies. Our camel drivers could enter, they were Arabs, and would not defile the mosque.
JERUSALEM, JERICHO, AND DAMASCUS.
Passing by the mosque whose treasure is the Patriarch’s bodies covered with golden robes, the boys and women threw stones at us, that we might know we were approaching too near their sacred dead. They pride themselves on these sacred relics, and allow no man to pass by without seeing their fidelity displayed. Our drivers explained to us all they knew of the magnificence inside, but that was poor explanation and satisfaction, as it had also to be translated. As we left the city on our way to Jerusalem, we were shown some two or three olive trees nearly three thousand years old. About an hour after emerging from the city of Hebron, we met an Arab, and inquired the distance to the Holy City, and he said, “about half a day’s camel ride.” All miles are counted here by some animal’s hour’s travel. At one o’clock we were passing over rolling mounds adorned with olive trees. One was higher than the rest, and from its summit I saw Jerusalem only half a mile ahead. Its towers were few and scarce, and its walls were parched and charred. The mosque of Omar’s dome glittered in the sun beam, and this Mahommedan sanctum towered above all the other buildings in this city, that was once the “glory of the world,” because of its godliness. Yes, the mosque of the Turk looked down upon our glorious sepulchre, as it were with contempt. I made my way straight to our humble edifice, and fell upon the marble slabs that once entombed the flesh and blood of the greatest man ever tabernacled in a body of flesh. In the middle of the Latin Church, which means the church we christians of the world built over Calvary, is another small house like a large sepulchre, such as I have seen in New Orleans, or Pere la Chaise, at Paris, and in this little house are the sides, bottom, and cover, of the tomb of our Savior, just as it was taken from the earth and placed on this stone floor, before this little house and the large church were built around it. Two men were inside of the little house, one at each end of our Savior’s tomb, giving wild flowers to the visitors. These flowers are fresh, and placed daily on the tomb beside the burning candles, that burn night and day on this consecrated marble tomb. An English lady, who came in before me, was prostrated on the floor,
kissing the tomb with great devotion. She was a lady of rank who had pilgrimed here, and now had given way to her devoted feelings towards the dull, cold marble that once, in the midst of thousands of enemies, our Savior had lain in, uncorrupted, though bleeding and mangled.
The monks were passing to and fro in all directions. The best place to locate for a short time, is in the convent attached to the church; they make no charges against a pilgrim, but no pilgrim can come here unless rich, and no rich man will go away without giving something to so sacred a place as the tomb of our Savior.
These monks are strict in all their rules, and allow none to be treated with indifference; they allow no chickens, ducks, cats, or dogs in the convent; as by their courting habits they might lead the mind of man from spiritual reflections, to groveling desires. These are undisputed facts, and I got them from the lips of a monk’s aid. I walked round the walls of this celebrated city in one hour and a quarter, though when Titus took it, it contained about 2,000,000 souls. But as Jerusalem was considered by the Jews impregnable, the people from all the villages round about came here for safety. This accounts for its having so many people when taken. I am mounting a small Arab steed to go to Bethlehem. I can see it from here. In an hour after leaving Jerusalem, I passed by the tomb of Lazarus, and rode up to the walls of the convent at Bethel. It was closely shut on all sides. Our guide demanded in an authorative tone and air for entrance. A bare footed monk unlatched the door, and we walked in, and were carried direct to the altar built over the manger. We saw burning candles and flowers strewn around. We came out and wended our way towards Jericho, it could be seen in the distance. We came to a spring whose 长沙桑拿论坛 water was running freely, and the guide had the impudence to tell me that the cause of this water running so freely, was because the jawbone that Sampson fought so bravely with was buried here. He had told me another absurd story about Jeremiah’s cave, but I was not inclined to believe anything I heard from the people about here, because I knew as much as they did about it. I came to Jerusalem with a submissive heart, but when I heard all the absurdities of these ignorant people, I was more inclined to ridicule right over these sacred dead bodies, and spots, than pay homage.
The same evening I camped at Jericho, about a hundred yards from where the Jordan empties into the Dead Sea. We took a bath in the Jordan, and tried some of its water with eau de vie, and found it in quality like Mississippi water. Then before we dressed, 长沙桑拿攻略 we took another in the Dead Sea. I cannot swim, but I could not sink in this sea; it is a strong brine of sulphur and salt, and stronger in holding up substances than the Mediterranean or the Atlantic. No living creature can live in it; the Jordan washes an immense quantity of small perch-like fish into it, but they instantly die, and are thrown out on the banks of the sea within twenty feet of the Jordan. The Jordan is frightfully rapid, but so narrow that a child could throw a stone across any part of it within a mile of the sea. Rabbits and birds are plentiful here; in the shrubbery in the valley of the Jordan I killed doves and quails enough for supper. Jericho is not worth mentioning, as there is not even a temple here left by time. The ground is covered with broken bricks and stones.
Having stayed in the city of Jerusalem seventeen days, I leave it, never wishing to 长沙桑拿洗浴会所排名 return again, and am now leaving the wall, Calvary, Moriah, and Olivet, to see Gallilee, Tabor, Nazareth, and Damascus. I saw the sea, as no doubt it was when the whale vomited; I saw the little house where water was turned into wine, I saw Tabor, ascended and took my chances with the wild boar; I returned from Tabor to Nazareth, where I had left my baggage and provisions; eat some camel’s meat. The soldiers were preparing for army stores, and I hurried on to Damascus to hear something about the decrees of St. Petersburg against the sublime Porte. The Turks all through Palestine were preparing for war; they said this year, 1853, was going to be a memorable one; the crescent and the cross were to shine gloomily, for the hungry Russian bear was seeking food beyond his lair. About the 1st of July I arrived at the Paradise-plain City of Damascus, and bought a blade. I bought some 长沙桑拿洗浴中心排名 silks, and old swords, celebrated as Damascus blades were, with one I cut a half a dollar into two pieces. The ambassadors of different nations were informing their country’s subjects that it was best to be among the missing, and said that some Russians were here yesterday, but were now gone to parts unknown. These ambassadors were more frightened than their subjects; one said to Col. Fellowes and myself, “as soon as the Sultan declares war, no christian will be allowed to pass the barrier of his boundary,” and as this is said to be a quarrel on religion, every christian head might fall “that is found where waves the little Turkish flag of the crescent and the cross.” I packed my trunk, paid my bill, and left Damascus and its sights, and traveled towards the Mediterranean. I looked at my old Damascus blade, and thought of those sharp scymaters, like reap hooks, and as I could see one in my imagination, I felt all over, and spurred towards Joppa.
I am now letting loose the thread of my knowledge; the broach is turning from me to pull away the end, and with it the satisfaction that though its a hard broach to tie to, I have spun no yarn. The reader that only believes what he can see, through a limited source of facts, is always losing time and money, to read another man’s knowledge; but the one who is always seeking to add to the stock of knowledge which he already has, is sure to gain time and knowledge in the stride of life.
On my way to Joppa I passed through Lebanon, took a glance at the old cedars, which I can pronounce nothing but spruce pine. I brought some of the burrows home to New Orleans, and they received from my friends the appellation above. An old man close to the little group of cedars, offered me his virgin daughter for the sum of twenty-five dollars; he seemed to be in great want of money. I hurried to Acre, and looked at its strong walls, and heard its foolish citizens talk of the impossibility of any nation being strong enough to take it.
Jaffa is the present name of Joppa. It was formerly the sea port town of Palestine; it has suffered much from being the gate city of Syria. Here, at Jaffa, I took passage to Marseilles, France, and arrived there just as the emperor of Morocco, who had been visiting France, was departing, himself and retinue, for Morocco, the Capitol of his Empire. I arrived back to Paris before the last of July. On the second day of September, the Franklin backed out from the wharf at Havre, France, with a splendid trip of passengers for New York city. Among these were Charles W. March, private secretary of Mr. Webster, and Geo. W. Kendall, the traveling editor of the New Orleans Picayune. They seemed to me the happiest men aboard; they eat their good dinners, drank their good wines, and came on deck and inquired of me my opinion of thousands of little things that I thought hardly worth noticing. I am passing by England and Wales for home, my journey must be considered done. Youth is ever ready to be where it seems no advantage to him; and it is a long time before he can surfeit on curiosity, enough to say, “alack, and well-a-day!” The aged are rough and ready implements of the world, they are too tightly riveted to their designs to let loose when they are absolutely in danger; yes, Old Fogy goes on like a saw on a nail, determined to go through because he had the power, heedless of the consequences, and determined to make the nail suffer for attempting to impede his progress; he soon finds his sawing propensities broken, and much the worse for wear. But not so with youth. I feel in taking leave of this work, as if I was parting with an old and familiar friend that I could stay much longer with, but I am afraid to stay much longer lest I enhance its value as a friend. A friend? Yes, a friend!
James says that men of talent are often seen with many books before them, extracting their contents and substances. Were such men authors? No! but imitators; they wrote few impressions because few were made; they merely confirmed what others proved.
Like an anxious boy, in the ardor of anxiety to describe, I may fail, but I tell the thing as I saw it.
Should the reader think strange that I could find pleasure in these curious and strange places for a young man to be in, wherein they may occasionally find me, he must bear in mind that those are the only places and streams where flows the tide of curiosity from the mind of a youthful channel. There is no sameness about youth; like the clock when down, he must be wound up, or there can be shown no fine work in the machinery of a career of glory. Henry kindled his own fire, Washington paddled his own canoe, and for a bright manhood, youth must find his own crag on the mountain, rivet his eye of determined prosperity up the cliffy wiles of life, kick assunder impediments and obstacles, and climb on! When you hear can’t, laugh at it; when they tell you not in your time, pity them; and when they tell you surrounding circumstances alter cases, in manliness scorn them as sleeping sluggards, unworthy of a social brotherhood.
All are obliged to unite when a question of might against right comes up, as it is now before the world. Dickens says, “no doubt that all the ingenuity of men gifted with genius for finding differences, has never been able to impugn the doctrine of the unity of man.” He further says, “The European, Ethiopean, Mongolian, and American, are but different varieties of one species.” He then quotes Buffon, “Man, white in Europe, black in Africa, yellow in Asia, and red in America, is nothing but the same man differently dyed by climate.” Then away with your can’t; when backed to the wall by the debator, you had better say nothing than can’t. You had better say, as I say while taking leave of you, au revoir.
CHAPTER I. THE GHOUL
I think it is Lord Beaconsfield who, in one of his brilliant stories, makes the clever observation that “adventures are to the adventurous,” and certainly he who seeks for adventures even in this prosaic nineteenth century will surely succeed in his quest. Fate leads him, chance guides him, luck assists him, and although the adventure supplied by this trinity of circumstances may be neither so dangerous nor so picturesque as in the time of Borgia or Lazun, still it will probably be interesting, which after all is something to be grateful for in this eminently commonplace age of facts and figures. Still, even he who seeks not to prove the truth of Disraeli’s aphorism, may, after the principle of Mahomet’s mountain, have the adventure come to him, without the trouble of looking for it, and this was my case at Verona in the summer of 18–.
The Cranstons were always a poor family, that is, as regards money, although they certainly could not complain of a lack of ancestors; and when it came to my turn to represent the race, I found that my lately deceased father had left me comparatively nothing. Not having any fixed income, I therefore could not live without doing something to earn my bread; and not having any business capacity, I foresaw failure would be my lot in mercantile enterprise. I was not good-looking enough to inveigle a wealthy heiress into matrimony; and as, after a survey of my possessions, I found I had nothing but a few hundred pounds and an excellent baritone voice, I made up my mind to use the former in cultivating the latter with a view to an operatic career.
Italy, living on the traditions of the days of Rossini, of Donizetti and of Bellini, has still the reputation of possessing excellent singing-masters, so to Italy I went with a hopeful heart and a light purse, and established myself at Milan, where I took lessons, in singing, from Maestro Angello. Milan is a detestable city, hot and arid in summer, cold and humid in winter; and as a year after I arrived in the land of song the end of spring was unusually disagreeable, Maestro Angello went to Verona for a change of air, and thither I followed him with no small pleasure at escaping from that dreary commercial capital of the north which has all the disagreeables of Italian life without any of the compensating advantages of romance and beauty.
But Verona! ah, it was truly delightful, that sleepy town lying so peacefully on the banks of the rapid Adige, dreaming amid the riotous present of the splendid past, when Can Grande held his brilliant court, and received as an honoured guest the great poet Dante, exiled by ungrateful Florence. The city of the gay rhymer Catullus, merry lover of Lesbia, who wept more tears over her sparrow than she did over her poet. The city of Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers as they were, who were recompensed for their short, unhappy lives by gaining immortality from the pen of Shakespeare as types of eternal love and eternal constancy, for the encouragement of all succeeding youths and maidens of later generations. Yes, indeed, with all these memories, historical and poetical, Verona was a pleasant place in which to idle away a summer, so I thanked the kind gods for my good fortune and enjoyed myself.
Not that I was idle. By no means! Maestro Angello kept me hard at work at exercises and scales, so I studied industriously most of the day and wandered about most of the night in the soft, cool moonlight, when Verona looked much more romantic than in the garish blaze of the Italian sun.
It was on one of these nights that an adventure happened to me, an adventure in which I was involved by the merest chance, although I confess that the vice of curiosity had a good deal to do with my entanglement therein.