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and the ascending smoke gave them an The burnoose disappeared at once; soon interval.
the clattering of the hoofs too was lost in How it reminded me of Martin's pic- the distance, but will and vitality had ture of Hades, where the Evil One is come to words, and would not obey each holding council with his ministers, with its other. I tried to start the horse, but the chandelier of stars, and even the rounded jar was too much for me. The case was mountain, like a globe rising in the dis- growing desperate; to be lost in that tance, -nothing wanting but the arch- huge nest of verdureless mountains was fiend himself, and his throne upon its to court death itself. I finally started summit. In like manner these hills were again, down, down, down, holding my dotted, bivouacked and lighted, as Titus knees tightly to the horse's side, leaning went on his destroying way; or when the back in the saddle, and recklessly urging cedars of Lebanon were wearily dragged him on, almost indifferent whether he through the gorges, to their resting place fell or not, and leaving him to find the in the Temple.
way by his own instinct. And so the twilight deepened into Suddenly we came square up to a huge night. Arabs sat, and sang, and smoked, rock, and there was no pathway. For a and looked unearthly in the fire-light, or moment I glanced about seeking the lay down to sleep in the sand, in the same track, but I found none. I called, but turban, sack and trousers in which they there was no answer, called again and had worked. No rain-clouds were there louder, but still there was no sound. I to make them seek for shelter, no chilly put my hands to my mouth, and shouted air to make them shrink, and upon them until the mountains of Jordan echoed the stars looked down with their peace back the cry, but their echoes were the and good will to men.
and silence as well as darkEvery few minutes, as we went on our ness was upon the face of the deep. I winding way, my official would call out was alone and lost, without guide and to the workers, or they to him, when he without compass, in that maze of granite, stood, puzzled by the tortuous road they which in the sombre night seemed to be had half obliterated. It being night, of piled up to the stars.
These were the course I had to keep very near my guide, mountains which echoed the shouts as or lose sight of him entirely, but as I felt Goliah fell, and between them was Ajathe fatigue and pain approaching the last lon. There was one consolation; I could point of endurance, I would often draw sit still, and for a time I recklessly enin the lines, for the luxury of having the joyed the luxury. horse, walk a little; but the burnoose With returning vitality, I once more with its black and dirty white stripes, began to look about for the trail, when would soon disappear, and I had to hurry I was somewhat surprised to hear a on again to keep it in sight, and this too tinkling and pattering sound up the down declivities which would be dan- mountain. It came nearer; I drew back gerous in the broadest daylight. This con- into the shadow of the rock, and awaited tinued until we had reached and passed with some curiosity, some indifference, the last Arab encampment, if they may the advent of man or beast, spirit or be said to have encamped who had for a goblin. Three figures on horseback soon tent the entire firmament festooned with appeared in the semi-darkness. They stars.
came down the mountain and passed on. As we went on in the darkness, the What they were, robbers, assassins, or boy was riding with the official, and they sutlers from the Sultan's army of laborers, were chattering their Arabic together. I could not know, and did not wait to I was thinking with keen regret of my guess, but rode after them. I had lost loss in never having been taught Arabic, the points of the compass, and could not and again, for the fiftieth time, I drew tell even in what direction the strangers in the lines. What a relief it was to were going. Hastening forward, I soon have the adamant beneath me on a walk! I came in sight of them again, and as soon
as I was within speaking distance, hailed my impromptu guides and the necessity them, calling out, “Jaffa? Jaffa ?" point of mounting again, though a good deal ing with my arm in the direction that of indifference to all things was beginthey were going. The answer, somewhat ning to creep over me. In this attitude, to my surprise, came in Italian; but, sat- clinging to the luxury of rest, I remained isfied with the "yes" as to the direction, I for some time, when what was my surdrew back, keeping them just within prise to see my official of the burnoose sight, or rather within hearing, and went and my donkey boy come out from under on, determined to follow them and take the boughs, and begin holding another the consequences. Fortunately they went interesting conversation with me in Araslowly—just the gait of my own Buce- bic. It was adding insult to injury, and phalus—and we slowly moved along and I shrugged my shoulders at the harangue, down the rough pathway, which would and longed for a dragoman. My friends be “trying enough to American horses, had evidently gone on to secure their to sły nothing of American nerves." coffee and wait for me at the khan.
The hours passed on as my three Again we mounted, I with pain and strange guides led the way, I too much difficulty enough, and again we started fatigued to care what manner of men over the seemingly boundless plain. they were, or to think of danger; and so The jog trot of the brute I rode had we went on, until the base of the moun- now become frightful to my overworked tain came dimly into view, and the huge limbs and body, and before we had gone plain lay before me which “flowed with a hundred yards, I drew in the lines, unmilk and honey" in the olden time, now able to continue the pace. The donkey without verdure or grass blades, stretching bày rushed up, making exclamations and out to the sea, and from the desert t) grimaces, and pointing to the receding Lebanon. Far away on the plain a twink- officer. Again he uttered his Arabic ling little light shone, at times hardly cries and pointed ahead, pr bably disvisible, but increasing in size as we de- coursing of the horrors of being lost in scended and approached the plain. Final- the night; but his words lent no light t) ly, leaving our rough and dangerous path- my mind, and I said mentally, “ Alas! way, which had seemed endless—a path that unknown tongue! take any shape way of boulders washed out by torrents but that, and I will speak to thee.” Then, and chiselled by hoofs—we found our with a motion and mannar he could not selves on the level prairie. I let the misunderstand, I ordered him behind me. lines fall, and tried to support with my Silently and solemnly he followed in my hands and arms part of the dead weight wake, and there before me was the disupon the saddle.
solving view of the official and his horse, As we approached the light on the literally my bete noir. I never saw him plain, objects became more visible. There again, and probably never shall until that was a sort of khan, or shed made of last and final gathering which, as some boughs, where wanderers gathered to dream, will take place in the Holy Land. gether for protection, or robbers for rest Well, the bucksheesh set apart for his and drink. There lay a camel with a pocket remained in my own, and our load on its patient back, there a horse or footprints are on different routes; but O a few goats, while a murmur of voices the intense sigh of relief to get rid of that came from the turbaned company under "old man of the mountain," that incubus, the shed of boughs. My three strange that burden which was sinking me into guides dismounted and went in; I was the slough of despond! Steamers! I too far off to individualize them, but would have missed fifty of them sooner kept my eye upon their beasts, so that I than have continued that trot. A feeling might start again when they did. Then of relief, of profound peace, came to my dismounting, and in some pain, I stood heart and limbs—a feeling almost of joy, by the horse, leaning a weary head upon certainly of perfect indifference to the the saddle, dreading the reappearance of danger of the act. Indeed, it was almost as ludicrous as dangerous, alone with a on the wide bosom of the all.” The little Arab boy in the middle of the night, plain spread out boundless, with darkness in the midst of the plains of Syria, and for its horizon, and boundless lay the an easy prey to even a robber boy at that sparkling firmament, with no horizon but moment. The situation, however, sud- infinity. It seemed to be an age since I denly became a little more interesting had left Jerusalem; home seemed further and exciting, for on looking around, after away than the stars, and they in that proceeding calmly for half an hour, I clear atmosphere were so far off that they found that the little Arab had bowed his appeared to have no fellowship in the head
upon the mane of the mule, curled scene. My fatigue too in its intensity, his legs up behind him on its haunches, but now without pain, was coming back and was fast asleep, while I suddenly again. The last hour-of' strength to sit became aware that I did not know if we upright—was approaching. My nerves were going towards the pole or Bagdad, were unstrung and relaxed, and I felt as Jerusalem or the sea.
if I were a waif of creation, alone in a I punched the boy with the point of tenantless world. Everything had gone an olive-wood cane; it was useless. Dis- from me-cities, peoples, individuals ; mounting, I led the horse and pinched life's loves and hates, hopes and fears, the bare leg of the boy, until he sat up had become unsubstantial, non-existent, and opened his weary eyes, looking some- or seemed as far away as if I were a mere what surprised at being disturbed. I planet in my orbit, circling and circling mounted again, and was soon lost in but never to reach them. reverie about the resting place of the Ark Alone, yet undisturbed by fear, inof the Covenant, and about the route on different to the situation, and with no which we were, for there Richard and feeling of loneliness, but the waste of Titus had passed, as well as our Saviour desolation, the unstrung nerves, the inand his disciples, in their journeyings to tense fatigue, and perhaps the moral Joppa. On looking around I found the atmosphere of the plain, which had borne little fellow asleep again. The punching earth's mighty ones, Heaven's Holy One, would not arouse, so I had to dismount all pressed upon my soul, until I became and pinch him into wakefulness. He sat like a little one strayed from its home. up and looked at the trackless way, and Tears came to my eyes, at first gently, then at me, with such a yankee “all then in an unrestrained flood, as they right” expression on his face, that I would to those of a child who had lost could but laugh, mount, and go on. The its mother, and for a time I was but little fatigue also which had been relieved by more than that. The childish burst the change of gait began to tell upon me passed off, but not the fatigue. To that again, but the situation was unique and began to be added a spinal pain, and I interesting, and I was soon off into the found it difficult to sit upright. Every realms of reverie again.
few minutes my eyes would involuntaSuddenly my attention was drawn by rily close, and as I was falling, I recova loud heavy thud. The boy in his sleep ered myself with a start. It seemed as had rolled off and fallen to the ground. if I could feel the fatigue pass through He picked himself up unharmed. We my limbs and arms, and steal off their arranged the baggage and went on, but vitality. We rode still on, and wearihe was soon asleep again, and to make ness grew deeper and deeper; on, and it things worse I found that my horse made itself felt in each separate muscle would not lead. I drew him in, and and bone; on, and I felt that the end was let the donkey with his load of somno- approaching. It came at last, an irrelence go on before, I following without sistible flood of unutterable weariness. I attempting to awaken the lad.
On checked the animals, which willingly stopwe went into the night, into the night ped at the word, and slipped or fell shadows-through Syria with a donkey from the saddle to the earth, full length, for a guide, and, as Novalis says, “Alone between the legs of the brutes, and as far
as I can remember, the next moment was pinch him into wakefulness. Starting in a deep dreamless sleep, as indifferent up, he opened his eyes and looked about to time, steamships, and the impelling him utterly bewildered and lost. He necessity, as a bride to the doll of her looked from side to side, but made no childhood.
sign; his bright little face was utterly There I lay with gold at the mercy of blank. The situation was ludicrously any wandering vagabond, with the deso- bewildering. The night was wearing late plain of Sharon stretching out to the rapidly away, and the idea of being ignodim horizon, with loneliness like a gar- rant as to whether we were going towards ment shrouding me, and the mysterious Bagdad or the Caspian, Jaffa or the Pule, stars in the canopy of ether looking on. of losing the race just as it seemed If a little boy with a pop-gun had within my grasp, was mortifying. In this awakened me with the demand, “your dilemma, the earth before us where to money or your life,” I should have men-choose, a curious incident occurred. A tally said, without making the effort to voice came from the darkness, where no open my eyes, "take it if you will, but person or thing could be seen. don't make me lift my arm to give it.” too much fatigued to be startled. The However, no one came, and my eyes finally voice, however, seemed to be human, opened as suddenly as they had closed, neither from heaven nor of hades; but and I started up from my vast prairie it came in good plain Arabic apparently, bed, fully awake and somewhat refreshed. for the boy answered it, and it came The animals stood as if formed of stone, again in the darkness. Was it the one perfectly motionless. They too had proba- chance of a million ? If so, that chance bly been sleeping, while young Somnus was ours. A vagabond drifting over the lay on the back of his mule, “with his plain, a shepherd sleeping on the earth, martial cloak around him," unconscious a peasant under a thatch,—what you of all save his dreams. I sprang up and will, I shall never know whence came mounted, fearful that daylight might that voice, so useful yet so startling. come too soon, while my friend, drago- The boy turned his mule in another direcman, companion and guide, in other tion, and we went on our way. If the words, the little mule, went on before voice had not come at our extreme need, into the starlit void, and I meekly fol- we might have brought up at the Black lowed his leading. The elasticity gained Sea, or like the German with the cork by my sand-bed nap, however, was of leg, even now been walking anatomies on short duration, the fatigue being too the Steppes of Russia. deeply seated to be so soon ended. It was Well, we went on wearily in the new now nerve and will against exhausted direction. In a few minutes the boy had muscle. To this was added a pain in curled himself up and was asleep again, the spine, but no more sleepiness. And and I followed on after my mule-guide. this was the plain our Saviour trod, over The way seemed strange and unfamiliar, which the Philistines wandered, across still I had reached the “centre of indifwhich Titus led his warriors, and where ference,” and rode on without further Saladin beat the Christian hosts, but my troubling myself. need and the Jaffa goal were the veil At last the day broke, and that long, that kept all these things from thought. weary night was over. Jaffa was visible
Awakened from a reverie by a sharper on the horizon, in the clear atmosphere, spinal twinge, I looked up. The stars though still some thirteen miles away. had wandered from their course. They However, the wilds were passed, and a had been my compass, and now either track was visible. Here came a Turk on they or I were "off the track.” Having a donkey, there an Arab on a camel; more faith in their habits than in my again some goats seeking a meal in the own movements, I rode up and punched dry stubble, then a line of camels, the the little Arab again with my stick, but head of one tied by a rope to the tail of it was useless. I had to dismount and the next. In about an hour after day