286 PICTURESQUE PALESTLNE.
right (see page 274) the threatening form of Jebel Hammam Far'un, and on their left (see
page 274) beyond the wilderness of Sin, and beyond the trending line of beach where the waves
break laughingly, the distant view of the mountains which close in to form the outposts of
Here then, or a little farther on, may have been the " encampment of the Red Sea."
There is a sandy cape, very lonely, jutting into the sea, about a mile from the mouth of Wady
Taiyebeh (see page 275), called Ras Abu Zenimeh, from a saint of that name who lies buried
there. The well, or tomb, is a rude hut built up of very light materials, well white-washed,
part wreckage, part palm-branches, and covered with coarse matting, but is a somewhat
conspicuous object on the lonely shore. Inside there is a strange collection of offerings,
principally maritime—bits of rag, of rope, of matting, with meat tins, fish-bones, and lamps
intermingled. There is a picturesque desolation about the place to which the dry stunted
shrubs on the banks of the sloping shore add character. Many and beautiful are the shells,
amongst which grows or drifts the so-called rose of Jericho (Anastatiea hierochuntina), its stiff
stem and its tiny clustering branches, with their bibulous flowers, looking like a grey withered
twig stuck into the sand.* This portion of the coast is called El Markheiyeh (the diminutive
of El Markha), and forms the last narrowing section of the undulating plain.of gravel which,
as we said before, in a measure bounds the triangle of Sinai on its south-western side (see
page 251). It is separated from the plain called El Markha by a long white spur of chalk
hills which runs down to the sea till within a few feet of high-water mark. The illustration
(see page 275) shows the position of this ridge and the unwilling camels, who yet will have to
wade for a few minutes through the sea, so as to avoid a long detour over the hill. In its
far angle there is one scanty spring, but the water is undrinkable. Our course will lie across
the plain in a line from the extreme sea end of the ridge to Seih Bab'a, six miles distant.
But this taste of its extreme dreariness, without shadow of shelter in the full light of the
midday sun, the sea glaring on the one hand, and the white unpicturesque hills glaring on the
other hand (see page 278), will be, even if the sirocco wind does not rise up against us, as
trying as any piece of work before us in our whole journey.
Seih Bab'a is the debouchure of the Wadies Bab'a and Shellal. Great slag heaps mark
the entrance ; and the traveller—weary of the dry, baked, glowing plain—gladly turns aside by
them to make his way to Magharah, Feiran, and the convent by the pass of Nagb Buderah.
The Israelites in all probability followed a more open route, skirting the edge of the low white
cliffs, with the sea still on their right hand, until the entrance of the Wady Feiran was reached,
some eighteen miles farther south. The shorter way through the mountains is neither over-
steep nor tortuous, but it leads into a mining district where in former days, as at Sarabit el
Khadim, Egyptian soldiery would be stationed.
This plant has nothing to do with that mentioned in Eccles. xxiv. 14, &c. It derives its botanical name from its power of open, g
minute flowers, when plunged into water, many months after it has been pulled up. » Jericho " may have been added to ■' resurrect.on flo
(anastaUca) because it is found in the sand in the hot plains by the Dead Sea. The pilgrims, who prize it as a relic, may in irony have call
the rose of Jericho."