and paved, the chariot of Solomon must often have passed as he went to visit his favourite
gardens at Etham. Here, too, after the lapse of a thousand years, the mother of David's
greater Son wearily trod the last stage of her journey to be enrolled in her ancestral town,
and there to give birth to the world's Saviour.
We leave Jerusalem by the western or Jaffa Gate. On the right, just above us, is the
Birket Mamilla, or Upper Pool of Gihon, which still supplies the Pool of Hezekiah inside the
walls with the drainage from the Moslem cemetery. Just below, on the left, at the head of
the Valley of Hinnom, we pass the Birket es Sultan, or Lower Pool of Gihon. On their
disputed identity we need not enter, though the lower pool, at least in its present form,
appears to have been repaired, if not constructed, by the crusading besiegers of Jerusalem.
In curious contrast with the antique surroundings, on the slope of the hill, opposite the lower
pool, stand a modern windmill and rows of smart cottages, the gift of Sir Moses Montefiore—
the Peabody of Jerusalem—for the benefit of his oppressed Hebrew brethren. And now we
cross the valley, or rather plain, of Rephaim, the scene of two of David's encounters with the
Philistine army, and for the identification of which we have at least the authority of Josephus.
The road is rough and stony, for wheel carriages there are none. Nor less stony is the plain
in winter, though in springtime all is clothed with a rich carpet of flowers, short and dense.
Here and there we may trace on the slopes above us the broken aqueduct which by Solomon's
care once conveyed the water supply of Jerusalem from the pools and springs of El Burak.
The first architectural feature on our road is the Convent of Mar Elyas, grey, grim, and
unattractive, with a cold-looking wall almost concealing the inner buildings. The Greek
monks will solemnly assure you that on this very spot Elijah lay down to rest when he fled
from Jezebel, not under a juniper, but an olive, and that here angels miraculously supplied
his needs. In proof of the truth of the tradition they will show, close to their gate, a shallow
depression in the smooth rock, the mark of the prophet's body when he reposed here. The
view, however, will repay the traveller who hesitates to accept the tradition. We catch a
glimpse of Bethlehem climbing the shoulder of the ridge, and we can see a corner of
Jerusalem, though the hill of Evil Counsel, with the tree on which a very modern tradition
says Judas hanged himself, shuts out the minarets of Moriah. But the wild landscape eastward, with rugged hill and deep glen, wanting but forest to make it impressive, tells us how
closely we are skirting the wilderness of Judaea, while a long ruddy line, the crest of the
ridge, or rather the wall, of Moab, forms the distant horizon.
A sharp descent, and we halt by a modern " wely " or roadside chapel— a small square
whitewashed piece of masonry surmounted by a central dome. It is Rachel's Tomb (see page
126). Here at least we have not our dreams and musings disturbed by the intrusion of the
topographical sceptic. For once we have an undisputed site. Israelite, Christian, and Moslem
have but one tradition respecting it, and all agree in recognising the spot where, when Jacob
"journeyed from Bethel, and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath, Rachel died
and was buried on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon h