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The innocents abroad, or, The new Pilgrim's progress

being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy land ; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author






WE are camped near Temnin-el-Foka—a name which the
boys have simplified a good deal, for the sake of convenience
in spelling. They call it Jacksonville. It sounds a
little strangely, here in the Valley of Lebanon, but it has the
merit of being easier to remember than the Arabic name.

“Come Like Spirits, So Depart.”

“The night shall be filled with music,

And the cares that infest the day

Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,

And as silently steal away.”

I slept very soundly last night, yet when the dragoman's
bell rang at half-past five this morning and the cry went abroad
of “Ten minutes to dress for breakfast!” I heard both. It
surprised me, because I have not heard the breakfast gong in
the ship for a month, and whenever we have had occasion to
fire a salute at daylight, I have only found it out in the course
of conversation afterward. However, camping out, even
though it be in a gorgeous tent, makes one fresh and lively in
the morning—especially if the air you are breathing is the
cool, fresh air of the mountains.

I was dressed within the ten minutes, and came out. The
saloon tent had been stripped of its sides, and had nothing left
but its roof; so when we sat down to table we could look out
over a noble panorama of mountain, sea and hazy valley. And
sitting thus, the sun rose slowly up and suffused the picture
with a world of rich coloring.


Page 439

[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 439. In-line Illustration. Image of a camel with a pyramid in the background. The caption reads, "A GOOD FEEDER."]

Hot mutton chops, fried chicken, omelettes, fried potatoes
and coffee—all excellent. This was the bill of fare. It was
sauced with a savage appetite purchased by hard riding the
day before, and refreshing sleep in a pure atmosphere. As I
called for a second cup of coffee, I glanced over my shoulder,
and behold our white village was gone—the splendid tents had
vanished like magic! It was wonderful how quickly those
Arabs had “folded their tents;” and it was wonderful, also,
how quickly they had gathered the thousand odds and ends of
the camp together and disappeared with them.

By half-past six we were under way, and all the Syrian
world seemed to be under way also. The road was filled with
mule trains and long processions of camels. This reminds me
that we have been trying for some time to think what a camel
looks like, and now we have made it out. When he is down
on all his knees, flat on his breast to receive his load, he looks
something like a goose swimming; and when he is upright he
looks like an ostrich with an extra set of legs. Camels are not
beautiful, and their long under lip gives them an exceedingly
“gallus”[1] expression. They have immense, flat, forked cushions
of feet, that make a track in the dust like a pie
with a slice cut out of it. They are not particular about
their diet. They would eat a tombstone if they could
bite it. A thistle grows about here which has needles on it
that would pierce through leather,
I think; if one touches you, you
can find relief in nothing but profanity.
The camels eat these.
They show by their actions that
they enjoy them. I suppose it
would be a real treat to a camel
to have a keg of nails for supper.

While I am speaking of animals,
I will mention that I have
a horse now by the name of “Jericho.” He is a mare. I have
seen remarkable horses before, but none so remarkable as this.
I wanted a horse that could shy, and this one fills the bill. I


Page 440
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 440. In-line Illustration. Image of a man riding a horse. The horse is trying to touch his back hoof to his head, and the man looks surprized. The caption reads, "INTERESTING FETE."] had an idea that shying indicated spirit. If I was correct, I
have got the most spirited horse on earth. He shies at every
thing he comes across, with the utmost impartiality. He appears
to have a mortal dread of telegraph poles, especially;
and it is fortunate that these are on both sides of the road,
because as it is now, I never fall off twice in succession on the
same side. If I fell on the same side always, it would get to
be monotonous after a while. This creature has scared at
every thing he has seen to-day, except a haystack. He walked
up to that with an intrepidity and a recklessness that were
astonishing. And it would fill any one with admiration to see
how he preserves his self-possession in the presence of a barley
sack. This dare-devil bravery will be the death of this horse
some day.

He is not particularly fast, but I think he will get me through
the Holy Land. He has only one fault. His tail has been
chopped off or else he has sat down on it too hard, some time
or other, and he has to
fight the flies with his
heels. This is all very
well, but when he tries to
kick a fly off the top of
his head with his hind
foot, it is too much variety.
He is going to get
himself into trouble that
way some day. He reaches
around and bites my
legs too. I do not care
particularly about that,
only I do not like to see a
horse too sociable.

I think the owner of this
prize had a wrong opinion
about him. He had an
idea that he was one of
those fiery, untamed
steeds, but he is not of that character. I know the Arab had


Page 441
this idea, because when he brought the horse out for inspection
in Beirout,
he kept jerking at the bridle and shouting in Arabic,
“Ho! will you? Do you want to run away, you ferocious
beast, and break your neck?” when all the time the horse was
not doing any thing in the world, and only looked like he
wanted to lean up against something and think. Whenever
he is not shying at things, or reaching after a fly, he wants to
do that yet. How it would surprise his owner to know this.

We have been in a historical section of country all day. At
noon we camped three hours and took luncheon at Mekseh,
near the junction of the Lebanon Mountains and the Jebel el
Kuneiyiseh, and looked down into the immense, level, garden-like
Valley of Lebanon. To-night we are camping near the
same valley, and have a very wide sweep of it in view. We
can see the long, whale-backed ridge of Mount Hermon projecting
above the eastern hills. The “dews of Hermon” are
falling upon us now, and the tents are almost soaked with

Over the way from us, and higher up the valley, we can discern,
through the glasses, the faint outlines of the wonderful
ruins of Baalbec, the supposed Baal-Gad of Scripture. Joshua,
and another person, were the two spies who were sent into
this land of Canaan by the children of Israel to report upon
its character—I mean they were the spies who reported favorably.
They took back with them some specimens of the grapes
of this country, and in the children's picture-books they are
always represented as bearing one monstrous bunch swung to
a pole between them, a respectable load for a pack-train. The
Sunday-school books exaggerated it a little. The grapes are
most excellent to this day, but the bunches are not as large as
those in the pictures. I was surprised and hurt when I saw
them, because those colossal bunches of grapes were one of my
most cherished juvenile traditions.

Joshua reported favorably, and the children of Israel journeyed
on, with Moses at the head of the general government,
and Joshua in command of the army of six hundred thousand
fighting men. Of women and children and civilians there was


Page 442
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 442. In-line Illustration. Image of two men carrying a man-sized bunch of grapes on a pole between them. The caption reads, "SUNDAY-SCHOOL GRAPES."] a countless swarm. Of all that mighty host, none but the two
faithful spies ever lived to set their feet in the Promised Land.
They and their descendants wandered forty years in the desert,
and then Moses, the gifted warrior, poet, stateman and philosopher,
went up into Pisgah and met his mysterious fate.
Where he was buried no man knows—for

“* * * no man dug that sepulchre,
And no man saw it e'er—
For the Sons of God upturned the sod
And laid the dead man there!”

Then Joshua began his terrible raid, and from Jericho clear
to this Baal-Gad, he swept the land like the Genius of Destruction.
He slaughtered the people, laid waste their soil, and
razed their cities to the ground. He wasted thirty-one kings
also. One may call it that, though really it can hardly be
called wasting them, because there were always plenty of kings
in those days, and to spare. At any rate, he destroyed thirty-one
kings, and divided up their realms among his Israelites.
He divided up this valley stretched out here before us, and so
it was once Jewish territory. The Jews have long since disappeared
from it, however.


Page 443

Back yonder, an hour's journey from here, we passed through
an Arab village of stone dry-goods boxes (they look like that,)
where Noah's tomb lies under lock and key. [Noah built the
ark.] Over these old hills and valleys the ark that contained
all that was left of a vanished world once floated.

I make no apology for detailing the above information. It
will be news to some of my readers, at any rate.

Noah's tomb is built of stone, and is covered with a long
stone building. Bucksheesh let us in. The building had to
be long, because the grave of the honored old navigator is two
hundred and ten feet long itself! It is only about four feet
high, though. He must have cast a shadow like a lightning-rod.
The proof that this is the genuine spot where Noah was
buried can only be doubted by uncommonly incredulous people.
The evidence is pretty straight. Shem, the son of Noah,
was present at the burial, and showed the place to his descendants,
who transmitted the knowledge to their descendants,
and the lineal descendants of these introduced themselves to
us to-day. It was pleasant to make the acquaintance of members
of so respectable a family. It was a thing to be proud of.
It was the next thing to being acquainted with Noah himself.

Noah's memorable voyage will always possess a living interest
for me, henceforward.

If ever an oppressed race existed, it is this one we see fettered
around us under the inhuman tyranny of the Ottoman
Empire. I wish Europe would let Russia annihilate Turkey a
little—not much, but enough to make it difficult to find the
place again without a divining-rod or a diving-bell. The Syrians
are very poor, and yet they are ground down by a system
of taxation that would drive any other nation frantic.
Last year their taxes were heavy enough, in all conscience—but
this year they have been increased by the addition of taxes that
were forgiven them in times of famine in former years. On
top of this the Government has levied a tax of one-tenth of the
whole proceeds of the land. This is only half the story. The
Pacha of a Pachalic does not trouble himself with appointing
tax-collectors. He figures up what all these taxes ought to


Page 444
amount to in a certain district. Then he farms the collection
out. He calls the rich men together, the highest bidder gets
the speculation, pays the Pacha on the spot, and then sells out
to smaller fry, who sell in turn to a piratical horde of still
smaller fry. These latter compel the peasant to bring his little
trifle of grain to the village, at his own cost. It must be
weighed, the various taxes set apart, and the remainder returned
to the producer. But the collector delays this duty day
after day, while the producer's family are perishing for bread;
at last the poor wretch, who can not but understand the game,
says, “Take a quarter—take half—take two-thirds if you will,
and let me go!” It is a most outrageous state of things.

These people are naturally good-hearted and intelligent, and
with education and liberty, would be a happy and contented
race. They often appeal to the stranger to know if the great
world will not some day come to their relief and save them.
The Sultan has been lavishing money like water in England
and Paris, but his subjects are suffering for it now.

This fashion of camping out bewilders me. We have boot-jacks
and a bath-tub, now, and yet all the mysteries the pack-mules
carry are not revealed. What next?


Excuse the slang—no other word will describe it.