MARITIME CITIES OF PALESTINE.
The journey from Jaffa (see page 137) to Jerusalem (see page 1, vol. i.) may now be made
in an omnibus in about twelve hours; two vehicles run daily each way, under the superintendence of the Temple colonists. Telegraphic posts and wires, and watch-houses at intervals
of about two miles or less, mark the course of the road (see page 195, vol. i.). Travellers
who prefer riding usually start from Jaffa early in the afternoon, and spend the night at
Ramleh (see page 148), ready to start for Jerusalem before dawn on the following day ; but
there was no choice in the matter when I arrived in Palestine in the year 1855, for there was
not a wheeled carriage of any kind in the country, not even a wheel-barrow.
I well remember my first ride on the Jaffa road. We had spent a short time in quarantine,
and had been afterwards kindly entertained by Dr. Kayat, the British Consul at Jaffa, and his
family, in their pleasant bow-windowed house by the seaside, when, towards the close of a
July day—our fellow-travellers and the muleteers with the baggage being in readiness—we
mounted and set out on our journey. An old man in a coat of many colours led my horse up
the steep and narrow streets of stairs, through the crowded bazaars (see pages 129 and 140),
and out at the great gate north-east of the town. It was about six o'clock. The open space
outside the gate was in shade, for the sun was going down towards the sea, and here picturesque
groups of the townspeople, seated on low stools or on matting, were enjoying their pipes, while
others, well mounted, were galloping backwards and forwards. We rode towards the southeast, along a broad sandy road, which led us to a bridle-path between dusty hedges of cactus
(opimtia), the large fleshy thick-jointed leaves of which were fringed with yellow dowers,
promising a rich harvest of prickly pears. In the fruit gardens on each side oranges, lemons,
pistachios, apricots, almonds, and mulberries were ripening. The pomegranate tree showed its
scarlet flowers, and acacias, locust-trees, tamarisks, olive, and fig-trees flourished, while here and
there a group of palm-trees laden with golden fruit towered above them.
We paused for a few minutes at a wayside tomb and fountain, " the Sebil of Abu Nabut,"
who was Governor of Jaffa at the commencement of this century. It is popularly called the
Tomb of Tabitha. (Close to this tomb (see page 136), and extending northwards from it into
the fruit gardens, the ancient cemetery of Jaffa was discovered, in the year 1874, by M. C.
Clermont Ganneau. It contains many rock-cut tombs, and the circle of ground which includes
them is known as Ard Dhabitha, "the land of Dhabitha.") It was about half-past six when
we reached the open country beyond the gardens. The sun went down. Vultures and kites
were sweeping through the air. As the darkness increased our little party, including our
servants and six muleteers, assembled together to keep in close company for the rest of the
way. We could distinguish parties of field labourers and oxen at rest by the roadside, and
sometimes we came to a rude threshing-floor, where by the light of a bonfire of weeds and
thorns we saw Rembrandt-like groups of rough-looking peasants, some of them sleeping, others
lighting their long pipes with the fragrant embers.
The nine-domed sanctuary of Imam 'Aly presently appeared close to the roadside, its
whitewashed walls gleaming through the darkness. It is near to the village of Yazur (see map