Narrative Of The United States Expedition To The River Jordan And The Dead Sea/24
MONDAY, JUNE 12. Started for Mount Tabor, bearing about E.S.E., leaving Cana on the left. There were many oak-trees on the hill-sides and in the ravines, but no cultivation and very few flowers, except the purple bloom of the thorn. Bearing a little to the south, we soon opened the extensive and beautiful plain of Esdraelon. Over the plain was the village of Nain, where the widow’s son was restored to life. Skirting along the northern edge of the lovely plain, nearly hemmed in by lofty hills, and cultivated in patches, with here and there a village; passing the battle-field of the French, and the reputed spot where Deborah and Barak discomfited Sisera, we reached a village at the base, and ascended to the summit of Mount Tabor; the sloping sides, two-thirds up, thickly dotted with oak-trees, and beautified by many white and yellow flowers. Near the top, were remains of ancient walls and fortifications; and on the flattened summit were six or eight acres in wheat, being harvested by male and female fellahin, whose homes were in the village below. All around were ruins, many of cut stone, without mortar, the loftiest fragment being part of a pedestal with sculptured plinths. There were several cisterns and arched vaults on the southern side of the flattened summit. This is the reputed Mount of Transfiguration, and one of those vaults answers annually the purpose of a chapel.
From the summit was a magnificent view of the plain of Esdraelon, stretching to the range of Carmel in the west, and to Mount Gilboa in the south, with its off-shoot, the plain of Jezrael, reaching east to the Jordan. To the north-west, was Nazareth, embosomed among the hills; to the north-east, the Sea of Galilee, with Safed and the snowy peak of Ghibel es Sheikh (Great Mount Hermon). To the south-east, in the plain, was the village of Endor; to the south-west, was Little Mount Hermon, crowned with a ruined mosque, which glittered in the sunlight; and there were two streams from the north, and one from the southward and westward, which, uniting under the south-east base of the mountain, flowed along the plain, and fell into the Jordan near Beisan. A chapter might be written upon the history and associations of Mount Tabor, and its circumjacent plain.
Descending the mount, and pursuing a north-easterly course, we passed a large khan, where about 1000 persons had, that morning, been present at the usual weekly fair. Thence the road, in nearly a due east line, led over rocky ridges, and across barren ravines, for an hour, when we came upon several large encampments of black tents, with much cultivation, and many cattle and sheep around them. In the fields were dhoura, wheat, (the last being harvested), and some patches of castor-bean, which is raised for lamp-oil. The uncultivated parts of the rolling plain abounded with the khob (wild artichoke), bearing a large, round, beautiful purple flower, resembling the lilac in its hue, and partaking of the fragrance of the thyme.
Soon after, we passed two ruined villages. Just below the last one, was a deserted garden, with apricot and fig trees. No one reclined in the grateful shade of the fruit-trees; and the song of a mother, and the mimic shouts of children, which once echoed around them, were no longer heard. It is not difficult to surmise the fate of the family — the father killed — the mother and the children driven forth — helpless wanderers. A few months back, and this was probably the seat of domestic happiness; but now the plaintive cooing of the dove by day, and the mournful whooping of the owl at night, are the only sounds which find an echo in that desolate spot. Coming to the summit overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan, where it issued from it, we descended to the bank, and halted near our first camping-place on the river, beside the ruined bridge of Semakh. Bathed, for the last time, in the lower Jordan, and gathered some flowers and shells, memorials of the consecrated stream and its lovely banks. From the want of wood, we went nearly supperless to bed.
TUESDAY, JUNE 13. We had been compelled, last night, to pitch our tents in a field of wheat newly cut. When about to start, this morning, I sent to some reapers in the adjoining field to pay the owner of the one we had occupied for the slight damage we had occasioned. He came slowly and with hesitation, and appeared perfectly astonished when he understood our object. The idea of remuneration for waste of another’s property never occurring to this harassed and misgoverned people.
Our course to-day was along the western shore of the lake. Passing the ruins of Tarrichaea and of Kades, we stopped to bathe in the hot bath of Emmaus; — the water salt and sulphureous, its temperature as before, 143°. The shore of the lake was in many places fringed with the pink oleander, and we saw a beautiful violet coloured flower, as round and as large as a small apple, growing on a thorn-like bush. We met a Jewish silver-smith going from Tiberias to the Hauran, to supply the wives and daughters of the Arabs with trinkets; thus combining thrift with the preservation of health, he will spend the sultry months of summer in the mountains.
At 9:30, we passed the gate of Tiberias; a few persons on the crumbled walls. The ground, except a few irrigated patches, was parched and dry, and there was much grain being trodden out by cattle and mules.
When here in April, we purchased the only boat upon the lake, with the condition that another should be procured by the 1st of June — an arrangement we were induced to make in the event of losing our boats or being unable to return with them. To our great regret, we now learned that the one being built on the sea-coast would not be delivered for two weeks, a delay prohibited by the advancing season and our enfeebled condition. Thus fell our hopes of thoroughly exploring this inland sea. It could not have been done when we were there before, without incurring great risk of failure in the main objects of the expedition.
We soon after reached the fountain Bareideh, with ruins of baths. The clear thermal stream gushes from the ground and flows into a reservoir, and thence, through another, out upon the shore and into the sea. There were many oleanders and purple flowers growing around, forming a lovely grove, and there were some gardens and cucumber beds behind and beside it. Resting a short while near Mejdel (Magdala), our road ran parallel with the sea-shore, with the luxuriant but uncultivated plain of Chinnereth on our left, and the holy city of Safed and Mount Hermon towering before us. Upon this plain it is supposed that Chorazin and other towns mentioned in the New Testament were situated.
A little south of the ruins of Khan Minyeh we came to ‘Ain et Tin (Fountain of the Fig). From the base of a high cliff at the north-west angle of the sea, the limpid stream gushes out beneath a rock, with two large fig-trees above it, — whence its name. The water is sweet and cooler than that of the lake. For about twenty paces it flows a broad but shallow stream, which separates into two branches, that enclose a verdant little island, almost exactly in the shape of a heart, and thence its united streams have worn a channel to the sea. Upon the cliff above, Dr. Robinson places the site of Capernaum, where our Saviour cured the centurion’s servant. We examined the brow of the hill very minutely, but could discover no traces of ruins. It is said that fragments of pottery have been found there, but we saw none. We were repaid, however, by the splendid view of the sea and its shores. Ascending from ‘Ain et Tin, turning to the east, and leaving the khan and the usual route on our left, the road led along the face of the cliff, being cut through the rock, about four feet wide, with high perpendicular sides. We soon after passed Ain et Tobighah, a brackish stream, with a flour-mill, ruins of other mills, canals and wells, and thence along a slope, barren of verdure except a few isolated, thorny shrubs, the surface covered with boulders of ferruginous sandstone. We next came to Tannur Eiyub (Job’s oven), a small building with a dome roof. In the door-way were several females, coy but curious, gazing at us. A short distance beyond was Tell Hum (Hill of Hum), the reputed site of “Frank’s-town,” built by the crusaders. The Arabs call it “Infidel’s buildings.” To my feeble understanding, this seemed the most probable site of Capernaum. It is about the centre of the northern shore line of the sea, and commands a more extensive view of the latter, and is more conspicuous from it, than the cliff over ‘Ain et Tin, at the northwest angle. Next to Safed, the words “a city seated on a hill” seem most applicable to it.
Early in the afternoon, we arrived at the debouchure of the upper Jordan. Flowing through an extensive and fertile plain, the river pours itself in a wide and shallow stream into the sea, nearly at its north-east extremity.
Upon the western shore, near the mouth of the river, were many tents of the tribe El Batiheh. A number of these were constructed of wattled cane, giving free access to the air, and, from their diminutive size, more resembled cages for beasts than human habitations. Much of the plain had been under cultivation, but the harvest was over, and the fields were blackened from the burning of the stubble. We encamped on the western bank, about half a mile up the stream, to avoid the near vicinity of the Arabs, this tribe having a bad reputation. Across the river on the first spur of the hills which bound the plain in that direction, is a village, the reputed site of Bethsaida. The river ran in front of the camp, about ten paces distant, and in the rear and on one side, as well as along the bank, were a great many oleanders in full bloom. This day there were very many oleanders along the sea-shore, and in some places the road passed through groves of them, but we did not meet the aromatic shrub mentioned by Strabo. The purple flower I have before mentioned was frequent. The day had been oppressively hot, and as soon as the observations of Polaris were taken, we retired — but not to sleep — for we were dreadfully tormented by mosquitoes and fleas; and the distressing cries of the jackals were more incessant even than they were the night before.
Starting early on the 14th, the road led at first through a morass intersected by several streams and numerous ditches, and covered with a tangled growth of shrubbery. Bethsaida, the birth-place of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, in full sight to the north-east. We soon began to ascend, clambering up the western hills, the river becoming rapid, brawling, and more contracted in its width — its banks fringed with the cane, the willow, and the oleander, the last in great profusion, its delicate pink hue contrasting well with the light and dark green of the other vegetation. After a toilsome ascent of an hour, we reached the summit of the hill overlooking the plain. From it was a fine view of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan, the latter rushing down in one line of foam fringed with willows, oleanders, and the ghurrah of the lower Ghor. Thence descending and ascending the sides of a deep ravine, we reached the highest elevation, whence the face of the country breaks down towards lake Huleh. Thus far from the head of the plain, the river has been a perfect torrent. Mount Hermon soon came into view, its brow seamed with lines of snow, which were fast disappearing beneath the sun of a Syrian summer. Passing a reservoir and a ruined khan, we came at noon to Jisr benit Ya’kab (Jacob’s daughter’s Bridge), with four arches. There was a toll-house on the western shore, and the ruins of an extensive khan on the eastern side. Here the river flowed with great rapidity, being the first rapid below the upper lake. The last was visible from the bridge.
Above the bridge, the river, about forty yards wide, and full to the utmost capacity of its banks, flowed in nearly a due south course, through a narrow plain. Our road led parallel with the river, until we opened on a yet more extensive plain, with the lake on its eastern side. This plain was under partial cultivation; there were two villages (one in ruins) near the centre, and many Arab encampments scattered about, — the men smoking in the tents, while the women, with uncovered heads, were at work in the broiling sun. This lake is the Merom of the Bible, and upon this plain, Joshua overthrew the Canaanites.
We stopped to rest at ‘Ain el Mellahah (Fountain of the Salt Works), with a primitive grist-mill beside it. Back of the mill, was a beautiful little lake of cool, pellucid water. The lofty hill to the south was covered with what seemed blocks of lava and scoriae, but we were too much overcome by heat and fatigue to visit it.
In the afternoon, our course led along the western edge of the plain, between the lake and the mountains. We passed a large pond filled by numerous springs; a Turkish mausoleum on a high western cliff, and a deep and wide ravine, with ruins on its northern summit. The plain seemed perfectly level to the eye; and there were two streams running down its northern end, which, with the numerous fountains, render it very fertile. There were many encampments of the fellahin, who cultivate rice and dhoura. The tents were of cane wicker-work, with upright sides, and more comfortable than any we had seen. The hills on the left formed a lofty range of swelling domes, terminating to the north in an abrupt perpendicular face of horizontal strata, — the prevailing rock, limestone. Sweeping round the head of the plain to the north-east, we ascended to an elevated plateau, and camped on the banks of the Golden Stream, a tributary of the river of Banias, one of the former supposed sources of the Jordan. The castle of Honin, which was concealed from view when on the plain, bore north-west. It seemed a bold, commanding fortress, on the extreme summit of the western range.
Starting early on the 15th, our course led north-east, along the brow of the hill overlooking the Ardh el Huleh (Lands of Huleh), the lake, Tell el Kadi (Hill of the Judge), and the town of Banias, with several villages in sight. Much dhoura and rice, but little wheat, cultivated in the plain.
In two hours, we crossed a fine old Roman bridge, with its three arches, spanning the river Hasbeiya (the true Jordan), which, far below, swept through with great velocity, its rushing and tumbling waters darkened with fragments of rock peering above the eddying whirls of foam; the light spray half concealing the green fringe, richly decked with flowers, which ran along its shores.
In one hour more, we came to Tell el Kadi (Hill of the Judge), the site of ancient Dan, and the Laish of the Canaanites, “the utmost border northwards of the land of Israel,” and where Jeroboam placed one of his golden calves. It is an oblong hill, with swelling sides and a flattened summit, about eighty feet above the plain. Over the crest is a hollow, where the fountain bubbles up. There were a great many oak-trees scattered about; and to the south-west, a ruined stone-house, not very ancient; and, in the same direction, on a smaller elevation, a ruined village. There was much tufa, and some quartz, and the whole hill bore traces of volcanic characters. On the west side, a short distance from the fountain, a stream, or rather many streams, gushed out so copiously from the hill-side as, in an instant, to form a river; the water clear, sweet and cool. This was long supposed to be the highest source of the Jordan, and from it the name is said to have been derived. The only objection (although unconfessed), of many to the derivation is that it is too simple. The Hebrew words Jor and Dan, as rendered in our language, mean River and Judge. Dan, in Hebrew, being the same as kadi in Arabic. To this place, as related in Genesis, Abraham pursued the kings.
Thence to Banias (Cesarea Philippi), the road led, in nearly an easterly direction, through a beautiful country, with numerous clumps of trees, mostly oak, and many coy flowers, peeping out from the tufted grass. Ascending a hill-side, dotted with oaks, we encountered many streams rushing down, it being the hour of irrigation. Passing through an extensive olive-orchard, with grain growing beneath and around the trees, we opened the town, seated near the head of a narrow valley, with the ruins of a bridge, over a deep ravine, and a castle towering high on the hill which overlooked it from the east. In every direction there were broken shafts and capitals of marble pillars scattered upon the ground, and an entire bridge, through the single arch of which rushed a clear, rapid stream, that immediately after leaped down some twenty feet, and was lost to sight in the deep and winding gorge. It was the River of Banias, one of the tributaries of Lake Huleh.
The houses, built of uncemented stones taken from the ruins, were mostly one story high, almost every one surmounted by a light, graceful structure of lithe and flexible boughs, wattled with the leaves upon them, and with network-like cane floors, laid on transverse poles, some two or three feet above the roof of the dwelling. There were many mulberry-trees about, cultivated, we were told, more for the fruit than for rearing the silk-worm, only a small quantity of silk being raised.
Stopping to rest, a few moments, under a majestic oak, on a raised platform, encircled three feet high by a wall of fluted and chiselled blocks of marble, we proceeded to the cave, beneath which, it is said, flows the stream we had crossed, which finds an outlet farther down. The cave was dry, but, in places, bore marks of recent water. We were assured that, in the rainy season, it is nearly filled. It no doubt communicates, through a fissure, with one gorge or more in the mountain above. In the face of the rock, above and beside the cave, were niches, supposed to have been occupied by statues of Pan and the nymphs, for another name of this place is Paneas.
There is a fabulous legend of the true source of this stream being Lake Phiala, a short distance to the south-east of the town. Josephus states that “Philip the Tetrarch cast straw into this lake, which came out again at Panion, which, till that time, was taken for the head of the Jordan.” To this place our Saviour came from Bethsaida.
From Banias we pursued a north-west course, the country rolling; the soil, like that of yesterday, red clay, with a substratum of limestone, which occasionally cropped out. At first there was much cultivation, and a great many people harvesting; their complexions were much lighter than those of the dwellers in the plain. The women wore petticoats and aprons; and, when first seen, there was a general shout along the line “hurrah for civilization!” We soon came upon stone fences, and other marks of a more secure tenure of property; and the people were courteous; saluting and returning the salutations of strangers. In saluting, they placed the right hand upon the breast. We were once more among Christians.
The road led over two high mountain-ridges and down into a rolling plain, with fields of dhoura, beans, and houma, and across the Hasbeiya (Jordan), by a bridge at Khan Suleil. It then wound, first to the north, and then gradually to the north-east, along the valley, which narrowed as we advanced, and led through groves of olive and some poplars, and by fields of grain, in sight of several villages. Turning to the south, and crossing the river again at a ford, and then rounding to the east, we clambered the steep Wady et Teim, along a most execrable road. It is said that the mountaineers, to increase their security, purposely render their roads almost impassable. We soon opened the town of Hasbeiya, seated far up on the crest of the right acclivity, its castle and a minaret conspicuous, and camped on a ledge, in an olive-grove, about one-third up from the bed of the ravine.
The town was two hundred feet above us, on the opposite side, on the crest of a hill, which sweeps from east round to south, and overlooks the ravine on those two sides. The houses are two stories high, with the universal flat mud roof, which answers very well, there being, even at that elevation, but little frost in winter to affect them. It is not a walled town, but its terraces, and the horizontal lines of houses along the face of the hill, give it quite a fortified aspect. There were groves of olive, mulberry, and fig, and some apricot trees on each side of the ravine, from its head as far down as we could see. There was a large stone reservoir, with a ruined bridge, at the head of the ravine; a meagre fountain a little lower down; and, immediately below us, three or four silk-mills, constructed of wattled twigs, like the summer sleeping apartments on the roofs at Binias. On the cliffs behind us were many scattered oaks, with here and there an orchard and a dwelling. The rich cultivation extended from the head of the ravine far up to a village on the mountainside, which was, in turn, overlooked by the snow-capped crest of Mount Hermon, Ghebel es Sheikh, Mountain of the Aged, or Lord of the Mountain, as it is variously rendered.
From extreme weariness, we could not leave the tents the day after our arrival, even to visit the town, but impatiently awaited intelligence from our wounded comrade; intending, if his life were in danger, to hasten to him.
On the 16th, we received a great many visitors, and obtained much information from some of the most intelligent. There are 1500 who pay poll-tax in the town; and as it is only paid by able-bodied men, over twenty-one and under forty years of age, there must be near 9000 inhabitants in Hasbeiya, of whom two-thirds are Christians, mostly of the Greek persuasion. The Protestants number fifty-five; the Maronites, fifty; the Greek Catholics, thirty; and there are a few Jews. There was great religious discord here: the members of the Greek church being prohibited from speaking to, or holding any communication with the Protestants. The governor was under the influence of the Greeks, it was asserted, from mercenary considerations; but the rest of the Muslims, as well as the Druses, were free from intolerance, and seemed disposed to favour the persecuted. Freedom of religious worship was denied to the Protestants, and we were indignant witnesses of the persecutions to which they were subjected.
We are, mercifully, so framed as to depend upon association with each other, to relieve necessities, to enhance enjoyments, and to maintain security. Peace, therefore, and harmony, unity and benevolence, is the proper condition of the human family; without which, man but cumbers the earth he should adorn; and, in his abasement, deeply feels the abiding curse of Ishmael, — ”thy hand is against every man, and every man’s hand against thee.”
Of all the embittered feelings of the human heart, there are none so detestable as those engendered by fanaticism. Of all the human family, there is not one so malevolent and so fiendish as the sour and self-sufficient bigot, who, catching a brand from the altar of Moloch, lights the fires of persecution, and perverting, with infamous audacity, the mild breathings of the sacred volume into lessons of cruelty and proscription, becomes the foe of his fellowman and the mocker of his august Creator. The persecuted have our warmest sympathies.
In the afternoon, Prince Ali called upon us. He is of the family of Shehab, which came in with Saladin, and is the oldest in Syria. We accompanied him to the source of the Jordan. Descending the ravine, and turning to the north, we passed through groves of olive, fig, and mulberry trees, and crossed the river over a one-arched bridge; the banks lined with willow and plane trees, and luxuriantly fertile. Thence going east, in ten minutes we came suddenly to the source, a bold, perpendicular rock, from beneath which the river gushed copious, translucent, and cool, in two rectangular streams, one to the north-east, the other to the north-west. The scarp of the rock was about forty feet high; and the north-east branch, being mere back-water, extended only a few hundred yards; but its banks were fringed with the wild rose, the white and pink oleander, and the clematis orientalis, or oriental virgin’s bower. The north-west branch, at the distance of about a hundred yards, plunged over a dam, and went rushing through the arch of the bridge below. The hand of art could not have improved the scene. The gigantic rock, all majesty, above; its banks, enamelled with beauty and fragrance, all loveliness, beneath; render it a fitting fountain-head of a stream which was destined to lave the immaculate body of the Redeemer of the world. Lieut. Dale, who had the eye of an artist, thought that the scene would make a more beautiful picture than any he had ever beheld. He sketched it, with Prince Ali in the foreground.
The costume of the prince, except in the richness of the materials, was the same as that of the majority of the males of the upper class. He wore a low crimson tarbouch, with a flat silver button on the crown, a brown cloth embroidered jacket, with short, tight sleeves, loose white trousers gathered at the ancles, a green sash round the waist, and red boots and slippers upon the feet. The lower orders, instead of the jacket, were mostly attired in a gown of some striped pattern, with slashed sleeves, open in front, and confined by a sash. The women were adorned with ear-rings, and wore the red cloth cap with the button, and a string of gold pieces in front, spanning from ear to ear across the brow, and a white veil thrown over all. The ear-rings consist of three or four gazas (gold pieces) each, suspended from a golden loop. Like the Egyptian women, they dye their eye-lids with antimony and soot, which gives an unearthly appearance, and very much disfigures them.
While here, our observation confirmed the accounts given us of the wonderful product of terrace cultivation, but I will not cumber my already extended narrative with statistics.
There were many Druse and Christian women at work with the men in the fields. The former do not allow their faces to be seen by strangers. The other women, without being immodest, did not shun being seen.
There are supposed to be ten thousand Druses able to bear arms, which make about fifty thousand in all, living in the Lebanon, from Beïrût to Tyre, along the coast, in the Hauran, and near Damascus. Their religion is little known. A catechism of it which has been published, is so ambiguous, that it throws little light upon their creed. It originated in Egypt. The tradition as related to us, is this. In the 600th year of the Hegira, or about 800 years ago, there was a tyrannical ruler of Egypt, who was persuaded by an artful Persian to declare himself a god.
Shortly after the self-constituted deity disappeared, murdered, it was supposed, by his instigator, with the connivance of the tyrant’s sister.
The Persian then gave out that the missing deity had left a book suspended to the door of the great mosque, where it was found. This book is reverenced as their Bible. It inculcates the transmigration of souls, and enjoins conformity in outward observance with the prevailing religion of the state. They teach the Koran to their children, and recite it in their public prayers, while they are said secretly to detest it. They have houses of prayer, apart from their villages, whither they repair every Friday evening. Prayers on such occasions are first offered in open communion, but, towards the close of the exercises the great body of the people retire, and only the initiated remain. They are taught to give no direct answer to one of another persuasion. If one be asked his name, he will probably say that he does not know. Much was told us of their secret rites, which I discard as being too horrid to be true. The costume of the men is the turban, with the tarbouch beneath, Turkish trowsers and slippers, and a spencer or light frock, open in front. With similar dresses, the married women wear the hollow horn, its base resting on the head and its point protruding forwards or sideways, much in the shape of an elongated cone.
On the 17th, Lieut. Dale and myself visited the valley of the Litany (ancient Leontes). Crossing a cultivated ridge, the Kulat es Shukif (castle Belle Forte of the Crusaders) to the S.W., we came upon a ravine, with a stream running down from the south at right angles with the river. The torrent of water pouring down the ravine, rushed across the river and regurgitated loudly in a large cave on the opposite shore.
The rolling valley of the Bukkk’ah is hemmed in by the two parallel ridges of Lebanon and anti- Lebanon. The latter skirts it on the east, the former upon the west. Like the waving backs of huge monsters, whose bodies are prostrate but their heads erect, their summits stretch in ascending lines to the north till they terminate in two crowning peaks, Ghebel es Sheikh and Ghebel Sunnin, each capped and ribbed with snow. The Litany ran here close against the Lebanon range, the stream visible here and there, far down the steep chasm.
Descending, with great difficulty, we came upon the river where it flowed impetuously beneath a natural bridge, — an arch excavated, by the water, through the opposing mass of rock. The reverberating noise beyond soon told of its reappearance; and, clambering along and down the precipice, we saw it issuing gently, at first, from its subterranean chasm, its banks fringed with the willow and the plane tree, and decked with flowers of the richest hue. The stream thence flowed with increasing velocity, for about 200 yards, between a high, naked rock on one side, and a luxuriant growth of overhanging plane-trees on the other, when, whirling suddenly to the right, and again to the left, it gathered its tumultuous waters, and, rushing in a narrow but impetuous cascade into a circular basin, it thence leaped twenty feet into a foaming caldron. The rays of the sun were reflected in rain-bow hues, as they fell upon the long line of foam, which sparkled and glittered among the trees, whose branches almost intertwined above, and nearly overshadowed the stream that rushed so madly beneath. If the site of the grove of Daphne were upon this stream instead of the Orontes, here, no doubt, would have been the favoured spot.
We here gathered the althea, the retem, or broomplant, the dianthus, or pink, and the snap-dragon. On our return, we had, from an elevation, a full view of the Ardh el Huleh (Lands of Huleh), lake Huleh, the Jordan above and beyond, and the Sea of Galilee in the distance. Turning aside from the road, we visited some pits of bitumen. There were five of them; two then in operation, one sixteen and the other twenty-five feet deep. The bitumen is less porous than that of the Dead Sea.
With the exception of those of the highest class among the Turks, all the females of the town came indiscriminately to the fountain in the ravine for water. Each one carried a large jar, some upon the head, but most upon the back of the neck, between the shoulders. While here, we saw the wives and daughters of Christians (Protestants and Greeks), Druses and Turks, among them the married daughter of the richest man in town, pass, at all hours of the day, to and from the fountain.
The transition from a severely active life in the plains to a wholly inactive one in an elevated region proved very trying, and we waited impatiently for intelligence from our comrade. Not hearing on Sunday, I, that evening, despatched a messenger to Beïrût.