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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 were standing in a narrow street, by the Tower of
Antonio. “On these stones that are crumbling away,”
the guide said, “the Saviour sat and rested before taking up the
cross. This is the beginning of the Sorrowful Way, or the Way
of Grief.” The party took note of the sacred spot, and moved
on. We passed under the “Ecce Homo Arch,” and saw the
very window from which Pilate's wife warned her husband to
have nothing to do with the persecution of the Just Man.
This window is in an excellent state of preservation, considering
its great age. They showed us where Jesus rested the
second time, and where the mob refused to give him up, and
said, “Let his blood be upon our heads, and upon our children's
children forever.” The French Catholics are building a church
on this spot, and with their usual veneration for historical
relics, are incorporating into the new such scraps of ancient
walls as they have found there. Further on, we saw the spot
where the fainting Saviour fell under the weight of his cross.
A great granite column of some ancient temple lay there at
the time, and the heavy cross struck it such a blow that it
broke in two in the middle. Such was the guide's story when
he halted us before the broken column.

We crossed a street, and came presently to the former residence
of St. Veronica. When the Saviour passed there, she
came out, full of womanly compassion, and spoke pitying words
to him, undaunted by the hootings and the threatenings of the
mob, and wiped the perspiration from his face with her handkerchief.
We had heard so much of St. Veronica, and seen

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her picture by so many masters, that it was like meeting an
old friend unexpectedly to come upon her ancient home in Jerusalem.
The strangest thing about the incident that has
made her name so famous, is, that when she wiped the perspiration
away, the print of the Saviour's face remained upon the
handkerchief, a perfect portrait, and so remains unto this day.
We knew this, because we saw this handkerchief in a cathedral
in Paris, in another in Spain, and in two others in Italy.
In the Milan cathedral it costs five francs to see it, and at St.
Peter's, at Rome, it is almost impossible to see it at any price.
No tradition is so amply verified as this of St. Veronica and
her handkerchief.

At the next corner we saw a deep indention in the hard stone
masonry of the corner of a house, but might have gone heedlessly
by it but that the guide said it was made by the elbow
of the Saviour, who stumbled here and fell. Presently we
came to just such another indention in a stone wall. The guide
said the Saviour fell her, also, and made this depression with
his elbow.

There were other places where the Lord fell, and others
where he rested; but one of the most curious landmarks of
ancient history we found on this morning walk through the
crooked lanes that lead toward Calvary, was a certain stone
built into a house—a stone that was so seamed and scarred
that it bore a sort of grotesque resemblance to the human face.
The projections that answered for cheeks were worn smooth by
the passionate kisses of generations of pilgrims from distant
lands. We asked “Why?” The guide said it was because
this was one of “the very stones of Jerusalem” that Christ
mentioned when he was reproved for permitting the people to
cry “Hosannah!” when he made his memorable entry into the
city upon an ass. One of the pilgrims said, “But there is no
evidence that the stones did cry out—Christ said that if the
people stopped from shoutting Hosannah, the very stones would
do it.” The guide was perfectly serene. He said, calmly,
“This is one of the stones that would have cried out.” It was
of little use to try to shake this fellow's simple faith—it was
easy to see that.


Page 576

And so we came at last to another wonder, of deep and
abiding interest—the veritable house where the unhappy
wretch once lived who has been celebrated in song and story
for more than eighteen hundred years as the Wandering Jew.
On the memorable day of the Crucifixion he stood in this old
doorway with his arms akimbo, looking out upon the struggling
mob that was approaching, and when the weary Saviour
would have sat down and rested him a moment, pushed him
rudely away and said, “Move on!” The Lord said, “Move
on, thou, likewise,” and the command has never been revoked
from that day to this. All men know how that the miscreant
upon whose head that just curse fell has roamed up and down
the wide world, for ages and ages, seeking rest and never finding
it—courting death but always in vain—longing to stop, in
city, in wilderness, in desert solitudes, yet hearing always that
relentless warning to march—march on! They say—do these
hoary traditions—that when Titus sacked Jerusalem and
slaughtered eleven hundred thousand Jews in her streets and
by-ways, the Wandering Jew was seen always in the thickest
of the fight, and that when battle-axes gleamed in the air, he
bowed his head beneath them; when swords flashed their
deadly lightnings, he sprang in their way; he bared his breast
to whizzing javelins, to hissing arrows, to any and to every
weapon that promised death and forgetfulness, and rest. But
it was useless—he walked forth out of the carnage without a
wound. And it is said that five hundred years afterward he
followed Mahomet when he carried destruction to the cities of
Arabia, and then turned against him, hoping in this way to
win the death of a traitor. His calculations were wrong
again. No quarter was given to any living creature but one,
and that was the only one of all the host that did not want it.
He sought death five hundred years later, in the wars of the
Crusades, and offered himself to famine and pestilence at Ascalon.
He escaped again—he could not die. These repeated
annoyances could have at last but one effect—they shook his
confidence. Since then the Wandering Jew has carried on a
kind of desultory toying with the most promising of the aids


Page 577
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 577. In-line Illustration. Image of a man in long robes being struck by lightning. The caption reads, "THE WANDERING JEW."] and implements of destruction, but with small hope, as a general
thing. He has speculated some in cholera and railroads,
and has taken almost a lively interest in infernal machines and
patent medicines. He is old, now, and grave, as becomes an
age like his; he indulges in no light amusements save that he
goes sometimes to executions, and is fond of funerals.

There is one thing he can not avoid; go where he will about
the world, he must never fail to report in Jerusalem every fiftieth
year. Only a year or two ago he was here for the thirty-seventh
time since Jesus was crucified on Calvary. They say
that many old people, who are here now, saw him then, and
had seen him before. He looks always the same—old, and
withered, and hollow-eyed, and listless, save that there is about
him something which seems to suggest that he is looking for some
one, expecting some one—the friends of his youth, perhaps.
But the most of them are dead, now. He always pokes about the


Page 578
old streets looking lonesome, making his mark on a wall here
and there, and eyeing the oldest buildings with a sort of friendly
half interest; and he sheds a few tears at the threshold of his
ancient dwelling, and bitter, bitter tears they are. Then he collects
his rent and leaves again. He has been seen standing near
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on many a starlight night,
for he has cherished an idea for many centuries that if he could
only enter there, he could rest. But when he approaches, the
doors slam to with a crash, the earth trembles, and all the lights
in Jerusalem burn a ghastly blue! He does this every fifty
years, just the same. It is hopeless, but then it is hard to break
habits one has been eighteen hundred years accustomed to.
The old tourist is far away on his wanderings, now. How he
must smile to see a pack of blockheads like us, galloping about
the world, and looking wise, and imagining we are finding
out a good deal about it! He must have a consuming contempt
for the ignorant, complacent asses that go skurrying
about the world in these railroading days and call it traveling.

When the guide pointed out where the Wandering Jew had
left his familiar mark upon a wall, I was filled with astonishment.
It read:

“S. T.—1860—X.”

All I have revealed about the Wandering Jew can be amply
proven by reference to our guide.

The mighty Mosque of Omar, and the paved court around
it, occupy a fourth part of Jerusalem. They are upon Mount
Moriah, where King Solomon's Temple stood. This Mosque is
the holiest place the Mohammedan knows, outside of Mecca.
Up to within a year or two past, no Christian could gain admission
to it or its court for love or money. But the prohibition
has been removed, and we entered freely for bucksheesh.

I need not speak of the wonderful beauty and the exquisite
grace and symmetry that have made this Mosque so celebrated
—because I did not see them. One can not see such things at
an instant glance—one frequently only finds out how really
beautiful a really beautiful woman is after considerable acquaintance


Page 579
with her; and the rule applies to Niagara Falls, to
majestic mountains and to mosques—especially to mosques.

The great feature of the Mosque of Omar is the prodigious
rock in the centre of its rotunda. It was upon this rock that
Abraham came so near offering up his son Isaac—this, at
least, is authentic—it is very much more to be relied on than
most of the traditions, at any rate. On this rock, also, the
angel stood and threatened Jerusalem, and David persuaded
him to spare the city. Mahomet was well acquainted with
this stone. From it he ascended to heaven. The stone tried
to follow him, and if the angel Gabriel had not happened by
the merest good luck to be there to seize it, it would have done
it. Very few people have a grip like Gabriel—the prints of
his monstrous fingers, two inches deep, are to be seen in that
rock to-day.

This rock, large as it is, is suspended in the air. It does not
touch any thing at all. The guide said so. This is very wonderful.
In the place on it where Mahomet stood, he left his
foot-prints in the solid stone. I should judge that he wore
about eighteens. But what I was going to say, when I spoke
of the rock being suspended, was, that in the floor of the cavern
under it they showed us a slab which they said covered a
hole which was a thing of extraordinary interest to all Mohammedans,
because that hole leads down to perdition, and
every soul that is transferred from thence to Heaven must
pass up through this orifice. Mahomet stands there and lifts
them out by the hair. All Mohammedans shave their heads,
but they are careful to leave a lock of hair for the Prophet to
take hold of. Our guide observed that a good Mohammedan
would consider himself doomed to stay with the damned forever
if he were to lose his scalp-lock and die before it grew
again. The most of them that I have seen ought to stay with
the damned, any how, without reference to how they were

For several ages no woman has been allowed to enter the
cavern where that important hole is. The reason is that one
of the sex was once caught there blabbing every thing she


Page 580
knew about what was going on above ground, to the rapscallions
in the infernal regions down below. She carried her gossiping
to such an extreme that nothing could be kept private
—nothing could be done or said on earth but every body in
perdition knew all about it before the sun went down. It
was about time to suppress this woman's telegraph, and it was
promptly done. Her breath subsided about the same time.

The inside of the great mosque is very showy with variegated
marble walls and with windows and inscriptions of elaborate
mosaic. The Turks have their sacred relics, like the
Catholies. The guide showed us the veritable armor worn by
the great son-in-law and successor of Mahomet, and also the
buckler of Mahomet's uncle. The great iron railing which
surrounds the rock was ornamented in one place with a thousand
rags tied to its open work. These are to remind Mahomet
not to forget the worshipers who placed them there.
It is considered the next best thing to tying threads around his
finger by way of reminders.

Just outside the mosque is a miniature temple, which marks
the spot where David and Goliah used to sit and judge the

Every where about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars,
curiously wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly
carved marble—precious remains of Solomon's Temple. These
have been dug from all depths in the soil and rubbish of
Mount Moriah, and the Moslems have always shown a disposition
to preserve them with the utmost care. At that portion
of the ancient wall of Solomon's Temple which is called the
Jew's Place of Wailing, and where the Hebrews assemble
every Friday to kiss the venerated stones and weep over the
fallen greatness of Zion, any one can see a part of the unquestioned
and undisputed Temple of Solomon, the same consisting
of three or four stones lying one upon the other, each of which
is about twice as long as a seven-octave piano, and about as thick
as such a piano is high. But, as I have remarked before, it is


Page 581
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 581. In-line Illustration. Image of a mosque with a large dome. The caption reads, "MOSQUE OF OMAR."] only a year or two ago that the ancient edict prohibiting
Christian rubbish like ourselves to enter the Mosque of Omar
and see the costly marbles that once adorned the inner Temple
was annulled. The designs wrought upon these fragments are
all quaint and peculiar, and so the charm of novelty is added
to the deep interest they naturally inspire. One meets with
these venerable scraps at every turn, especially in the neighboring
Mosque el Aksa, into whose inner walls a very large number
of them are carefully built for preservation. These pieces
of stone, stained and dusty with age, dimly hint at a grandeur
we have all been taught to regard as the princeliest ever seen
on earth; and they call up pictures of a pageant that is familiar
to all imaginations—camels laden with spices and treasure—
beautiful slaves, presents for Solomon's harem—a long cavalcade
of richly caparisoned beasts and warriors—and Sheba's Queen in
the van of this vision of “Oriental magnificence.” These elegant
fragments bear a richer interest than the solemn vastness
of the stones the Jews kiss in the Place of Wailing can ever
have for the heedless sinner.

Down in the hollow ground, underneath the olives and the


Page 582
orange-trees that flourish in the court of the great Mosque, is
a wilderness of pillars—remains of the ancient Temple; they
supported it. There are ponderous archways down there,
also, over which the destroying “plough” of prophecy passed
harmless. It is pleasant to know we are disappointed, in that
we never dreamed we might see portions of the actual Temple
of Solomon, and yet experience no shadow of suspicion that
they were a monkish humbug and a fraud.

We are surfeited with sights. Nothing has any fascination for
us, now, but the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We have been
there every day, and have not grown tired of it; but we are
weary of every thing else. The sights are too many. They
swarm about you at every step; no single foot of ground in all
Jerusalem or within its neighborhood seems to be without a
stirring and important history of its own. It is a very relief
to steal a walk of a hundred yards without a guide along to
talk unceasingly about every stone you step upon and drag you
back ages and ages to the day when it achieved celebrity.

It seems hardly real when I find myself leaning for a
moment on a ruined wall and looking listlessly down into the
historic pool of Bethesda. I did not think such things could
be so crowded together as to diminish their interest. But in
serious truth, we have been drifting about, for several days,
using our eyes and our ears more from a sense of duty than
any higher and worthier reason. And too often we have been
glad when it was time to go home and be distressed no more
about illustrious localities.

Our pilgrims compress too much into one day. One can
gorge sights to repletion as well as sweetmeats. Since we
breakfasted, this morning, we have seen enough to have furnished
us food for a year's reflection if we could have seen
the various objects in comfort and looked upon them deliberately.
We visited the pool of Hezekiah, where David saw
Uriah's wife coming from the bath and fell in love with her.

We went out of the city by the Jaffa gate, and of course
were told many things about its Tower of Hippicus.

We rode across the Valley of Hinnom, between two of the


Page 583
Pools of Gihon, and by an aqueduct built by Solomon, which
still conveys water to the city. We ascended the Hill of Evil
Counsel, where Judas received his thirty pieces of silver, and
we also lingered a moment under the tree a venerable tradition
says he hanged himself on.

We descended to the canon again, and then the guide began
to give name and history to every bank and boulder we came
to: “This was the Field of Blood; these cuttings in
the rocks were shrines and temples of Moloch; here they sacrificed
children; yonder is the Zion Gate; the Tyropean Valley;
the Hill of Ophel; here is the junction of the Valley of
Jehoshaphat—on your right is the Well of Job.” We turned
up Jehoshaphat. The recital went on. “This is the Mount
of Olives; this is the Hill of Offense; the nest of huts is the
Village of Siloam; here, yonder, every where, is the King's
Garden; under this great tree Zacharias, the high priest, was
murdered; yonder is Mount Moriah and the Temple wall; the
tomb of Absalom; the tomb of St. James; the tomb of Zacharias;
beyond, are the Garden of Gethsemane and the tomb of
the Virgin Mary; here is the Pool of Siloam, and—”

We said we would dismount, and quench our thirst, and
rest. We were burning up with the heat. We were failing
under the accumulated fatigue of days and days of ceaseless
marching. All were willing.

The Pool is a deep, walled ditch, through which a clear
stream of water runs, that comes from under Jerusalem somewhere,
and passing through the Fountain of the Virgin, or
being supplied from it, reaches this place by way of a tunnel
of heavy masonry. The famous pool looked exactly as it
looked in Solomon's time, no doubt, and the same dusky, Oriental
women, came down in their old Oriental way, and carried
off jars of the water on their heads, just as they did three
thousand years ago, and just as they will do fifty thousand
years hence if any of them are still left on earth.

We went away from there and stopped at the Fountain of
the Virgin. But the water was not good, and there was no
comfort or peace any where, on account of the regiment of boys


Page 584
and girls and beggars that persecuted us all the time for bucksheesh.
The guide wanted us to give them some money, and
we did it; but when he went on to say that they were starving
to death we could not but feel that we had done a great sin in
throwing obstacles in the way of such a desirable consumma-tion,
and so we tried to collect it back, but it could not be

We entered the Garden of Gethsemane, and we visited the
Tomb of the Virgin, both of which we had seen before. It is
not meet that I should speak of them now. A more fitting
time will come.

I can not speak now of the Mount of Olives or its view of
Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab; nor of
the Damascus Gate or the tree that was planted by King Godfrey
of Jerusalem. One ought to feel pleasantly when he talks
of these things. I can not say any thing about the stone column
that projects over Jehoshaphat from the Temple wall like
a cannon, except that the Moslems believe Mahomet will sit
astride of it when he comes to judge the world. It is a pity
he could not judge it from some roost of his own in Mecca,
without trespassing on our holy ground. Close by is the Golden
Gate, in the Temple wall—a gate that was an elegant piece of
sculpture in the time of the Temple, and is even so yet. From
it, in ancient times, the Jewish High Priest turned loose the
scapegoat and let him flee to the wilderness and bear away his
twelve-month load of the sins of the people. If they were to
turn one loose now, he would not get as far as the Garden of
Gethsemane, till these miserable vagabonds here would gobble
him up,[2] sins and all. They wouldn't care. Mutton-chops and
sin is good enough living for them. The Moslems watch the
Golden Gate with a jealous eye, and an anxious one, for they
have an honored tradition that when it falls, Islamism will fall,
and with it the Ottoman Empire. It did not grieve me any to
notice that the old gate was getting a little shaky.

We are at home again. We are exhausted. The sun has
roasted us, almost.


Page 585

We have full comfort in one reflection, however. Our experiences
in Europe have taught us that in time this fatigue will
be forgotten; the heat will be forgotten; the thirst, the tiresome
volubility of the guide, the persecutions of the beggars
—and then, all that will be left will be pleasant memories of
Jerusalem, memories we shall call up with always increasing
interest as the years go by, memories which some day will become
all beautiful when the last annoyance that incumbers
them shall have faded out of our minds never again to return.
School-boy days are no happier than the days of after life, but
we look back upon them regretfully because we have forgotten
our punishments at school, and how we grieved when our marbles
were lost and our kites destroyed—because we have forgotten
all the sorrows and privations of that canonized epoch
and remember only its orchard robberies, its wooden sword pageants
and its fishing holydays. We are satisfied. We can
wait. Our reward will come. To us, Jerusalem and to-day's
experiences will be an enchanted memory a year hence—a
memory which money could not buy from us.


A pilgrim informs me that it was not David and Goliah, but David and Saul. I
stick to my own statement—the guide told me, and he ought to know.


Favorite pilgrim expression.