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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






WHEN I last made a memorandum, we were at Ephesus.
We are in Syria, now, encamped in the mountains of
Lebanon. The interregnum has been long, both as to time
and distance. We brought not a relic from Ephesus! After
gathering up fragments of sculptured marbles and breaking ornaments
from the interior work of the Mosques; and after
bringing them at a cost of infinite trouble and fatigue, five
miles on muleback to the railway depot, a government officer
compelled all who had such things to disgorge! He had an
order from Constantinople to look out for our party, and see that
we carried nothing off. It was a wise, a just, and a well-deserved
rebuke, but it created a sensation. I never resist a
temptation to plunder a stranger's premises without feeling insufferably
vain about it. This time I felt proud beyond expression.
I was serene in the midst of the scoldings that were
heaped upon the Ottoman government for its affront offered to
a pleasuring party of entirely respectable gentlemen and ladies.
I said, “We that have free souls, it touches us not.” The shoe
not only pinched our party, but it pinched hard; a principal
sufferer discovered that the imperial order was inclosed in an
envelop bearing the seal of the British Embassy at Constantinople,
and therefore must have been inspired by the representative
of the Queen. This was bad—very bad. Coming solely
from the Ottomans, it might have signified only Ottoman hatred
of Christians, and a vulgar ignorance as to genteel methods
of expressing it; but coming from the Christianized, educated,
politic British legation, it simply intimated that we were a sort


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of gentlemen and ladies who would bear watching! So the
party regarded it, and were incensed accordingly. The truth
doubtless was, that the same precantions would have been taken
against any travelers, because the English Company who
have acquired the right to excavate Ephesus, and have paid a
great sum for that right, need to be protected, and deserve to
be. They can not afford to run the risk of having their hospitality
abused by travelers, especially since travelers are such
notorious scorners of honest behavior.

We sailed from Smyrna, in the wildest spirit of expectancy,
for the chief feature, the grand goal of the expedition, was
near at hand—we were approaching the Holy Land! Such a
burrowing into the hold for trunks that had lain buried for
weeks, yes for months; such a hurrying to and fro above decks
and below; such a riotous system of packing and unpacking;
such a littering up of the cabins with shirts and skirts, and indescribable
and unclassable odds and ends; such a making up
of bundles, and setting apart of umbrellas, green spectacles
and thick veils; such a critical inspection of saddles and bridles
that had never yet touched horses; such a cleaning and
loading of revolvers and examining of bowie-knives; such a
half-soling of the seats of pantaloons with serviceable buckskin;
then such a poring over ancient maps; such a reading
up of Bibles and Palestine travels; such a marking out of
routes; such exasperating efforts to divide up the company
into little bands of congenial spirits who might make the long
and arduous journey without quarreling; and morning, noon
and night, such mass-meetings in the cabins, such speech-making,
such sage suggesting, such worrying and quarreling, and
such a general raising of the very mischief, was never seen in
the ship before!

But it is all over now. We are cut up into parties of six or
eight, and by this time are seattered far and wide. Ours is
the only one, however, that is venturing on what is called “the
long trip”—that is, out into Syria, by Baalbec to Damascus,
and thence down through the full length of Palestine. It
would be a tedious, and also a too risky journey, at this hot


Page 432
season of the year, for any but strong, healthy men, accustomed
somewhat to fatigue and rough life in the open air.
The other parties will take shorter journeys.

For the last two months we have been in a worry about one
portion of this Holy Land pilgrimage. I refer to transportation
service. We knew very well that Palestine was a country
which did not do a large passenger business, and every
man we came across who knew any thing about it gave us to
understand that not half of our party would be able to get
dragomen and animals. At Constantinople every body fell to
telegraphing the American Consuls at Alexandria and Beirout
to give notice that we wanted dragomen and transportation.
We were desperate—would take horses, jackasses, cameleopards,
kangaroos—any thing. At Smyrna, more telegraphing
was done, to the same end. Also, fearing for the worst, we
telegraphed for a large number of seats in the diligence for
Damascus, and horses for the ruins of Baalbec.

As might have been expected, a notion got abroad in Syria
and Egypt that the whole population of the Province of
America (the Turks consider us a trifling little province in
some unvisited corner of the world,) were coming to the Holy
Land—and so, when we got to Beirout yesterday, we found
the place full of dragomen and their outfits. We had all intended
to go by diligence to Damascus, and switch off to Baalbee
as we went along—because we expected to rejoin the ship,
go to Mount Carmel, and take to the woods from there. However,
when our own private party of eight found that it was
possible, and proper enough, to make the “long trip,” we
adopted that programme. We have never been much trouble
to a Consul before, but we have been a fearful nuisance to our
Consul at Beirout. I mention this because I can not help admiring
his patience, his industry, and his accommodating
spirit. I mention it also, because I think some of our ship's
company did not give him as full credit for his excellent services
as he deserved.

Well, out of our eight, three were selected to attend to all
business connected with the expedition. The rest of us had


Page 433
nothing to do but look at the beautiful city of Beirout, with its
bright, new houses nestled among a wilderness of green shrubbery
spread abroad over an upland that sloped gently down to
the sea; and also at the mountains of Lebanon that environ
it; and likewise to bathe in the transparent blue water that
rolled its billows about the ship (we did not know there were
sharks there.) We had also to range up and down through
the town and look at the costumes. These are picturesque
and fanciful, but not so varied as at Constantinople and Smyrna;
the women of Beirout add an agony—in the two former
cities the sex wear a thin veil which one can see through (and
they often expose their ancles,) but at Beirout they cover their
entire faces with dark-colored or black veils, so that they look
like mummies, and then expose their breasts to the public. A
young gentleman (I believe he was a Greek,) volunteered to
show us around the city, and said it would afford him great
pleasure, because he was studying English and wanted practice
in that language. When we had finished the rounds, however,
he called for remuneration—said he hoped the gentlemen
would give him a trifle in the way of a few piastres (equivalent
to a few five cent pieces.) We did so. The Consul was surprised
when he heard it, and said he knew the young fellow's
family very well, and that they were an old and highly respectable
family and worth a hundred and fifty thousand dollars!
Some people, so situated, would have been ashamed of the
berth he had with us and his manner of crawling into it.

At the appointed time our business committee reported, and
said all things were in readiness—that we were to start to-day,
with horses, pack animals, and tents, and go to Baalbec, Damascus,
the Sea of Tiberias, and thence southward by the way
of the scene of Jacob's Dream and other notable Bible localities
to Jerusalem—from thence probably to the Dead Sea, but
possibly not—and then strike for the ocean and rejoin the ship
three or four weeks hence at Joppa; terms, five dollars a day
apiece, in gold, and every thing to be furnished by the dragoman.
They said we would live as well as at a hotel. I had
read something like that before, and did not shame my judgment


Page 434
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 434. In-line Illustration. Image of a group of men looking at some horses in a market square. The caption reads, "THE SELECTION."] by believing a word of it. I said nothing, however,
but packed up a blanket and a shawl to sleep in, pipes and
tobacco, two or three woollen shirts, a portfolio, a guide-book,
and a Bible. I also took along a towel and a cake of soap, to
inspire respect in the Arabs, who would take me for a king in

We were to select our horses at 3 P. M. At that hour Abraham,
them before
us. With
all solemnity
I set it
down here,
that those
horses were
the hardest
lot I ever
did come
across, and
their accoutrements

were in exquisite
their style.
One brute had an eye out; another had his tail sawed off close,
like a rabbit, and was proud of it; another had a bony ridge
running from his neck to his tail, like one of those ruined
aqueducts one sees about Rome, and had a neck on him like
a bowsprit; they all limped, and had sore backs, and likewise
raw places and old scales scattered about their persons like
brass nails in a hair trunk; their gaits were marvelous to
contemplate, and replete with variety—under way the procession
looked like a fleet in a storm. It was fearful. Blucher
shook his head and said:


Page 435

“That dragon is going to get himself into trouble fetching
these old crates out of the hospital the way they are, unless he
has got a permit.”

I said nothing. The display was exactly according to the
guide-book, and were we not traveling by the guide-book? I
selected a certain horse because I thought I saw him shy, and
I thought that a horse that had spirit enough to shy was not
to be despised.

At 6 o'clock P. M., we came to a halt here on the breezy
summit of a shapely mountain overlooking the sea, and the
handsome valley where dwelt some of those enterprising Phœ
nicians of ancient times we read so much about; all around
us are what were once the dominions of Hiram, King of Tyre,
who furnished timber from the cedars of these Labanon hills
to build portions of King Solomon's Temple with.

Shortly after six, our pack train arrived. I had not seen it
before, and a good right I had to be astonished. We had nineteen
serving men and twenty-six pack mules! It was a perfect
caravan. It looked like one, too, as it wound among the rocks.
I wondered what in the very mischief we wanted with such a
vast turn-out as that, for eight men. I wondered awhile, but
soon I began to long for a tin plate, and some bacon and beans.
I had camped out many and many a time before, and knew
just what was coming. I went off, without waiting for serving
men, and unsaddled my horse, and washed such portions
of his ribs and his spine as projected through his hide, and
when I came back, behold five stately circus tents were up—
tents that were brilliant, within, with blue, and gold, and
crimson, and all manner of splendid adornment! I was
speechless. Then they brought eight little iron bedsteads, and
set them up in the tents; they put a soft mattress and pillows
and good blankets and two snow-white sheets on each bed.
Next, they rigged a table about the centre-pole, and on it placed
pewter pitchers, basins, soap, and the whitest of towels—
one set for each man; they pointed to pockets in the tent, and
said we could put our small trifles in them for convenience,
and if we needed pins or such things, they were sticking every


Page 436
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 436. In-line Illustration. Image of a group of men sitting at a dining table in a large tent. There is a tablecloth on the table and a rug underneath it. There are two waiters and also a sideboard. The caption reads, "CAMPING OUT."] where. Then came the finishing touch—they spread carpets
on the floor! I simply said, “If you call this camping out,
all right—but it isn't the style I am used to; my little baggage
that I brought along is at a discount.”

It grew dark, and they put candles on the tables—candles
set in bright, new, brazen candlesticks. And soon the bell—a
genuine, simon-pure bell—rang, and we were invited to “the
saloon.” I had thought before that we had a tent or so too
many, but now here was one, at least, provided for; it was to
be used for nothing but an eating-saloon. Like the others, it
was high enough for a family of giraffes to live in, and was
very handsome and clean and bright-colored within. It was a
gem of a place. A table for eight, and eight canvas chairs; a
table-cloth and napkins whose whiteness and whose fineness
laughed to scorn the things we were used to in the great excursion
steamer; knives and forks, soup-plates, dinner-plates
—every thing, in the handsomest kind of style. It was wonderful!
And they call this camping out. Those stately fellows
in baggy trowsers and turbaned fezzes brought in a dinner
which consisted of roast mutton, roast chicken, roast goose,


Page 437
potatoes, bread, tea, pudding apples, and delicious grapes;
the viands were better cooked than any we had eaten for
weeks, and the table made a finer appearance, with its large
German silver candlesticks and other finery, than any table we
had sat down to for a good while, and yet that polite dragoman,
Abraham, came bowing in and apologizing for the whole
affair, on account of the unavoidable confusion of getting
under way for a very long trip, and promising to do a great
deal better in future!

It is midnight, now, and we break camp at six in the morning.

They call this camping out. At this rate it is a glorious
privilege to be a pilgrim to the Holy Land.