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Travels in Syria and the Holy Land by John Burckhardt

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of which were single; in other places there were three or four together,
without any regularity; some are mere holes, others have short pilasters
on both sides; they vary in size from ten inches to four or five feet in
height; and in some of them the bases of statues are still visible. We
passed several collateral chasms between perpendicular

[p.424] rocks, by which some tributary torrents from the south side of
the Syk empty themselves into the river. I did not enter any of them,
but I saw that they were thickly overgrown with Defle trees. My guide
told me that no antiquities existed in these valleys, but the testimony
of these people on such subjects is little to be relied on. The bottom
of the Syk itself is at present covered with large stones, brought down
by the torrent, and it appears to be several feet higher than its
ancient level, at least towards its western extremity. After proceeding
for twenty-five minutes between the rocks, we came to a place where the
passage opens, and where the bed of another stream coming from the south
joins the Syk. On the side of the perpendicular rock, directly opposite
to the issue of the main valley, an excavated mausoleum came in view,
the situation and beauty of which are calculated to make an
extraordinary impression upon the traveller, after having traversed for
nearly half an hour such a gloomy and almost subterraneous passage as I
have described. It is one of the most elegant remains of antiquity
existing in Syria; its state of preservation resembles that of a
building recently finished, and on a closer examination I found it to be
a work of immense labour.

The principal part is a chamber sixteen paces square, and about twenty-
five feet high. There is not the smallest ornament on the walls, which
are quite smooth, as well as the roof, but the outside of the entrance
door is richly embellished with architectural decorations. Several broad
steps lead up to the entrance, and in front of all is a colonnade of
four columns, standing between two pilasters. On each of the three sides
of the great chamber is an apartment for the reception of the dead. A
similar excavation, but larger, opens into each end of the vestibule,
the length of which latter is not equal to

[p.425] that of the colonnade as it appears in front, but terminates at
either end between the pilaster and the neighbouring column. The doors
of the two apartments opening into the vestibule are covered with
carvings richer and more beautiful than those on the door of the
principal chamber. The colonnade is about thirty-five feet high, and the
columns are about three feet in diameter with Corinthian capitals. The
pilasters at the two extremities of the colonnade, and the two columns
nearest to them, are formed out of the solid rock, like all the rest of
the monument, but the two centre columns, one of which has fallen, were
constructed separately, and were composed of three pieces each. The
colonnade is crowned with a pediment, above which are other ornaments,
which, if I distinguished them correctly, consisted of an insulated
cylinder crowned with a vase, standing between two other structures in
the shape of small temples, supported by short pillars. The entire
front, from the base of the columns to the top of the ornaments, may be
sixty or sixty-five feet. The architrave of the colonnade is adorned
with vases, connected together with festoons. The exterior wall of the
chamber at each end of the vestibule, which presents itself to the front
between the pilaster and the neighbouring column, was ornamented with
colossal figures in bas-relief; but I could not make out what they
represented. One of them appears to have been a female mounted upon an
animal, which, from the tail and hind leg, appears to have been a camel.
All the other ornaments sculptured on the monument are in perfect

The natives call this monument Kaszr Faraoun (Arabic), or Pharaoh's
castle; and pretend that it was the residence of a prince. But it was
rather the sepulchre of a prince, and great must have been the opulence
of a city, which could dedicate such monuments to the memory of its

[p.426] From this place, as I before observed, the Syk widens, and the
road continues for a few hundred paces lower down through a spacious
passage between the two cliffs. Several very large sepulchres are
excavated in the rocks on both sides; they consist generally of a single
lofty apartment with a flat roof; some of them are larger than the
principal chamber in the Kaszr Faraoun. Of those which I entered, the
walls were quite plain and unornamented; in some of them are small side
rooms, with excavations and recesses in the rock for the reception of
the dead; in others I found the floor itself irregularly excavated for
the same purpose, in compartments six to eight feet deep, and of the
shape of a coffin; in the floor of one sepulchre I counted as many as
twelve cavities of this kind, besides a deep niche in the wall, where
the bodies of the principal members of the family, to whom the sepulchre
belonged, were probably deposited.

On the outside of these sepulchres, the rock is cut away perpendicularly
above and on both sides of the door, so as to make the exterior facade
larger in general than the interior apartment. Their most common form is
that of a truncated pyramid, and as they are made to project one or two
feet from the body of the rock they have the appearance, when seen at a
distance, of insulated structures. On each side of the front is
generally a pilaster, and the door is seldom without some elegant

These fronts resemble those of several of the tombs of Palmyra,

[p.427] but the latter are not excavated in the rock, but constructed
with hewn stones. I do not think, however, that there are two sepulchres
in Wady Mousa perfectly alike; on the contrary, they vary greatly in
size, shape, and embellishments. In some places, three sepulchres are
excavated one over the other, and the side of the mountain is so
perpendicular that it seems impossible to approach the uppermost, no
path whatever being visible; some of the lower have a few steps before
their entrance.

In continuing a little farther among the sepulchres, the valley widens
to about one hundred and fifty yards in breadth. Here to the left is a
theatre cut entirely out of the rock, with all its benches. It may be
capable of containing about three thousand spectators: its area is now
filled up with gravel, which the winter torrent brings down. The
entrance of many of the sepulchres is in like manner almost choked up.
There are no remains of columns near the theatre. Following the stream
about one hundred and fifty paces further, the rocks open still farther,
and I issued upon a plain two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards
across, bordered by heights of more gradual ascent than before. Here the
ground is covered with heaps of hewn stones, foundations of buildings,
fragments of columns, and vestiges of paved streets; all clearly
indicating that a large city once existed here; on the left side of the
river is a rising ground extending westwards for nearly a quarter of an
hour, entirely covered with similar remains. On the right bank, where
the ground is more elevated, ruins of the same description are also
seen. In the valley near the river, the buildings have probably been
swept away by the impetuosity of the winter torrent; but even here are
still seen the foundations of a temple, and a heap of broken columns;
close to which is a large Birket, or reservoir of water, still serving
for the supply of the inhabitants during the summer. The finest
sepulchres in Wady

[p.428] Mousa are in the eastern cliff, in front of this open space,
where I counted upwards of fifty close to each other. High up in the
cliff I particularly observed one large sepulchre, adorned with
Corinthian pilasters.

Farther to the west the valley is shut in by the rocks, which extend in
a northern direction; the river has worked a passage through them, and
runs underground, as I was told, for about a quarter of an hour. Near
the west end of Wady Mousa are the remains of a stately edifice, of
which part of the wall is still standing; the inhabitants call it Kaszr
Bent Faraoun (Arabic), or the palace of Pharaoh's daughter. In my way I
had entered several sepulchres, to the surprise of my guide, but when he
saw me turn out of the footpath towards the Kaszr, he exclaimed: "I see
now clearly that you are an infidel, who have some particular business
amongst the ruins of the city of your forefathers; but depend upon it
that we shall not suffer you to take out a single para of all the
treasures hidden therein, for they are in our territory, and belong to
us." I replied that it was mere curiosity, which prompted me to look at
the ancient works, and that I had no other view in coming here, than to
sacrifice to Haroun; but he was not easily persuaded, and I did not
think it prudent to irritate him by too close an inspection of the
palace, as it might have led him to declare, on our return, his belief
that I had found treasures, which might have led to a search of my
person and to the detection of my journal, which would most certainly
have been taken from me, as a book of magic. It is very unfortunate for
European travellers that the idea of treasures being hidden in ancient
edifices is so strongly rooted in the minds of the Arabs and Turks; nor
are they satisfied with watching all the stranger's steps; they believe
that it is sufficient for a true magician to have seen and observed the
spot where treasures are hidden (of which he is supposed to be already
informed by the

[p.429] old books of the infidels who lived on the spot) in order to be
able afterwards, at his ease, to command the guardian of the treasure to
set the whole before him. It was of no avail to tell them to follow me
and see whether I searched for money. Their reply was, "of course you
will not dare to take it out before us, but we know that if you are a
skilful magician you will order it to follow you through the air to
whatever place you please." If the traveller takes the dimensions of a
building or a column, they are persuaded that it is a magical
proceeding. Even the most liberal minded Turks of Syria reason in the
same manner, and the more travellers they see, the stronger is their
conviction that their object is to search for treasures, "Maou delayl"
(Arabic), "he has indications of treasure with him," is an expression I
have heard a hundred times.

On the rising ground to the left of the rivulet, just opposite to the
Kaszr Bent Faraoun, are the ruins of a temple, with one column yet
standing to which the Arabs have given the name of Zob Faraoun (Arabic),
i.e. hasta virilis Pharaonis; it is about thirty feet high and composed
of more than a dozen pieces. From thence we descended amidst the ruins
of private habitations, into a narrow lateral valley, on the other side
of which we began to ascend the mountain, upon which stands the tomb of
Aaron. There are remains of an ancient road cut in the rock, on both
sides of which are a few tombs. After ascending the bed of a torrent for
about half an hour, I saw on each side of the road a large excavated
cube, or rather truncated pyramid, with the entrance of a tomb in the
bottom of each. Here the number of sepulchres increases, and there are
also excavations for the dead in several natural caverns. A little
farther on, we reached a high plain called Szetouh Haroun (Arabic), or
Aaron's terrace, at the foot of the mountain upon which his tomb is
situated. There are several subterranean sepulchres

[p.430] in the plain, with an avenue leading to them, which is cut out
of the rocky surface.

The sun had already set when we arrived on the plain; it was too late to
reach the tomb, and I was excessively fatigued; I therefore hastened to
kill the goat, in sight of the tomb, at a spot where I found a number of
heaps of stones, placed there in token of as many sacrifices in honour
of the saint. While I was in the act of slaying the animal, my guide
exclaimed aloud, "O Haroun, look upon us! it is for you we slaughter
this victim. O Haroun, protect us and forgive us! O Haroun, be content
with our good intentions, for it is but a lean goat! O Haroun, smooth
our paths; and praise be to the Lord of all creatures!"[[Arabic].] This
he repeated several times, after which he covered the blood that had
fallen on the ground with a heap of stones; we then dressed the best
part of the flesh for our supper, as expeditiously as possible, for the
guide was afraid of the fire being seen, and of its attracting hither
some robbers.

August 23d.--The plain of Haroun and the neighbouring mountlains have no
springs: but the rain water collects in low grounds, and in natural
hollows in the rocks, where it partly remains the whole year round, even
on the top of the mountain; but this year had been remarkable for its
drought. Juniper trees grow here in considerable numbers. I had no great
desire to see the tomb of Haroun, which stands on the summit of the
mountain that was opposite to us, for I had been informed by several
persons who had visited it, that it contained nothing worth seeing
except a large coffin, like that of Osha in the vicinity of Szalt. My
guide, moreover, insisted upon my speedy return, as he was to set out

[p.431] same day with a small caravan for Maan; I therefore complied
with his wishes, and we returned by the same road we had come. I
regretted afterwards, that I had not visited Haroun's tomb, as I was
told that there are several large and handsome sepulchres in the rock
near it. A traveller ought, if possible, to see every thing with his own
eyes, for the reports of the Arabs are little to be depended on, with
regard to what may be interesting, in point of antiquity: they often
extol things which upon examination, prove to be of no kind of interest,
and speak with indifference of those which are curious and important. In
a room adjoining the apartment, in which is the tomb of Haroun, there
are three copper vessels for the use of those who slaughter the victims
at the tomb: one is very large, and destined for the boiling of the
flesh of the slaughtered camel. Although there is at present no guardian
at the tomb, yet the Arabs venerate the Sheikh too highly, to rob him of
any of his kitchen utensils. The road from Maan and from Wady Mousa to
Ghaza, leads by the tomb, and is much frequented by the people of Maan
and the Bedouins; on the other side of Haroun the road descends into the
great valley.

In comparing the testimonies of the authors cited in Reland's
Palaestina, it appears very probable that the ruins in Wady Mousa are
those of the ancient Petra, and it is remarkable that Eusebius says the
tomb of Aaron was shewn near Petra. Of this at least I am persuaded,
from all the information I procured, that there is no other ruin between
the extremities of the Dead sea and Red sea, of sufficient importance to
answer to that city. Whether or not I have discovered the remains of the
capital of Arabia Petraea, I leave to the decision of Greek scholars, and
shall only subjoin a few notes on these ruins.

The rocks, through which the river of Wady Mousa has worked its
extraordinary passage, and in which all the tombs and mausolea

[p.432] of the city have been excavated, as high as the tomb of Haroun,
are sand-stone of a reddish colour. The rocks above Eldjy are
calcareous, and the sand-stone does not begin until the point where the
first tombs are excavated. To the southward the sandstone follows the
whole extent of the great valley, which is a continuation of the Ghor.
The forms of the summits of these rocks are so irregular and grotesque,
that when seen from afar, they have the appearance of volcanic
mountains. The softness of the stone afforded great facilities to those
who excavated the sides of the mountains; but, unfortunately, from the
same cause it is in vain to look for inscriptions: I saw several spots
where they had existed, but they are all now obliterated. The position
of this town was well-chosen, in point of security; as a few hundred men
might defend the entrance to it against a large army; but the
communication with the neighbourhood must have been subjected to great
inconveniences. I am not certain whether the passage of the Syk was made
use of as a road, or whether the road from the town towards Eldjy was
formed through one of the side valleys of the Syk. The road westwards
towards Haroun, and the valley below, is very difficult for beasts of
burthen. The summer heats must have been excessive, the situation being
surrounded on all sides by high barren cliffs, which concentrate the
reflection of the sun, while they prevent the westerly winds from
cooling the air. I saw nothing in the position that could have
compensated the inhabitants for these disadvantages, except the river,
the benefit of which might have been equally enjoyed had the town been
built below Eldjy. Security therefore was probably the only object which
induced the people to overlook such objections, and to select such a
singular position for a city. The architecture of the sepulchres, of
which there are at least two hundred and fifty in the vicinity of the
ruins, are of very different periods.

[p.433] On our return I stopped a few hours at Eldjy. The town is
surrounded with fruit-trees of all kinds, the produce of which is of the
finest quality. Great quantities of the grapes are sold at Ghaza, and to
the Bedouins. The Lyathene cultivate the valley as far as the first
sepulchres of the ancient city; in their townhouses they work at the
loom. They pay tribute to the Howeytat and carry provisions to the
Syrian pilgrims at Maan, and to the Egyptian pilgrims at Akaba. They
have three encampments of about eighty tents each. Like the Bedouins and
other inhabitants of Shera they have become Wahabis, but do not at
present pay any tribute to the Wahabi chief.

Wady Mousa is comprised within the territory of Damascus, as are the
entire districts of Shera and Djebal. The most southern frontiers of the
Pashalik are Tor Hesma, a high mountain so called at one day's journey
north of Akaba; from thence northward to Kerek, the whole country
belongs to the same Pashalik, and consequently to Syria; but it may
easily be conceived that the Pasha has little authority in these parts.
In the time of Djezzar, the Arabs of Wady Mousa paid their annual land-
tax into his treasury, but no other Pasha has been able to exact it.

I returned from Eldjy to the encampment above Ain Mousa, which is
considerably higher than the town, and set out from thence immediately,
for I very much disliked the people, who are less civil to strangers
than any other Arabs in Shera. We travelled in a southern direction
along the windings of a broad valley which ascends from Ain Mousa, and
reached its summit at the end of two hours and a quarter. The soil,
though flinty, is very capable of cultivation.

This valley is comprised within the appellation of Wady Mousa, because
the rain water which collects here joins, in the winter, the torrent
below Eldjy. The water was anciently conducted through this valley in an
artificial channel, of which the


[p.434] stone walls remain in several places. At the extremity of the
Wady are the ruins of an ancient city, called Betahy (Arabic),
consisting of large heaps of hewn blocks of silicious stone; the trees
on this mountain are thinly scattered. At a quarter of an hour from
Betahy we reached an encampment, composed of Lyathene and Naymat, where
we alighted, and rested for the night.

August 24th.--Our road lay S.S.W.; in one hour we came to Ain Mefrak
(Arabic), where are some ruins. From thence we ascended a mountain, and
continued along the upper ridge of Djebel Shera. To our right was a
tremendous precipice, on the other side of which runs the chain of sand-
rocks which begin near Wady Mousa. To the west of these rocks we saw the
great valley forming the continuation of the Ghor. At the end of three
hours, after having turned a little more southward, we arrived at a
small encampment of Djaylat (Arabic) where we stopped to breakfast. The
Bedouin tents which composed a great part of this encampment were the
smallest I had ever seen; they were about four feet high, and ten in
length. The inhabitants were very poor, and could not afford to give us
coffee; our breakfast or dinner therefore consisted of dry barley cakes,
which we dipped in melted goat's grease. The intelligence which I learnt
here was extremely agreeable; our landlord told us that a caravan was to
set out in a few days for Cairo, from a neighbouring encampment of
Howeytat, and that they intended to proceed straight across the desert.
This was exactly what I wished, for I could not divest myself of
apprehensions of danger in being exposed to the undisciplined soldiers
of Akaba. It had been our intention to reach Akaba from hence in two
days, by way of the mountainous district of Reszeyfa (a part of Shera so
called) and Djebel Hesma; but we now gladly changed our route, and
departed for the encampment of the Howeytat. We turned to the S.E. and
in half an


[p.435] hour from the Djeylat passed the fine spring called El Szadeke
(Arabic), near which is a hill with extensive ruins of an ancient town
consisting of heaps of hewn stones. From thence we descended by a slight
declivity into the eastern plain, and reached the encampment, distant
one hour and a half from Szadeke. The same immense plain which we had
entered in coming from Beszeyra, on the eastern borders of the Ghoeyr,
here presented itself to our view. We were about six hours S. of Maan,
whose two hills, upon which the two divisions of the town are situated,
were distinctly visible. The Syrian Hadj route passes at about one hour
to the east of the encampment. About eight hours S. of Maan, a branch of
the Shera extends for three or four hours in an eastern direction across
the plain; it is a low hilly chain.

The mountains of Shera are considerably elevated above the level of the
Ghor, but they appear only as low hills, when seen from the eastern
plain, which is upon a much higher level than the Ghor. I have already
noticed the same peculiarity with regard to the upper plains of El Kerek
and the Belka: and it is observable also in the plain of Djolan
relatively to the level of the lake of Tiberias. The valley of the Ghor,
which has a rapid slope southward, from the lake of Tiberias to the Dead
sea, appears to continue descending from the southern extremity of the
latter as far as the Red sea, for the mountains on the E. of it appear
to increase in height the farther we proceed southward, while the upper
plain, apparently continues upon the same level. This plain terminates
to the S. near Akaba, on the Syrian Hadj route, by a steep rocky
descent, at the bottom of which begins the desert of Nedjed, covered,
for the greater part, with flints. The same descent, or cliff, continues
westward towards Akaba on the Egyptian Hadj road, where it joins the
Djebel Hesma (a prolongation of Shera),


[p.436] about eight hours to the N. of the Red sea. We have thus a
natural division of the country, which appears to have been well known
to the ancients, for it is probably to a part of this upper plain,
together with the mountains of Shera, Djebal, Kerek, and Belka, that the
name of Arabia Petraea was applied, the western limits of which must have
been the great valley or Ghor. It might with truth be called Petraea, not
only on account of its rocky mountains, but also of the elevated plain
already described, which is so much covered with stones, especially
flints, that it may with great propriety be called a stony desert,
although susceptible of culture: in many places it is overgrown with
wild herbs, and must once have been thickly inhabited, for the traces of
many ruined towns and villages are met with on both sides of the Hadj
road between Maan and Akaba, as well as between Maan and the plains of
Haouran, in which direction are also many springs. At present all this
country is a desert, and Maan (Arabic) is the only inhabited place in
it. All the castles on the Syrian Hadj route from Fedhein to Medina are
deserted. At Maan are several springs, to which the town owes its
origin, and these, together with the circumstance of its being a station
of the Syrian Hadj, are the cause of its still existing. The inhabitants
have scarcely any other means of subsistence than the profits which they
gain from the pilgrims in their way to and from Mekka, by buying up all
kinds of provisions at Hebron and Ghaza, and selling them with great
profit to the weary pilgrims; to whom the gardens and vineyards of Maan
are no less agreeable, than the wild herbs collected by the people of
Maan are to their camels. The pomgranates, apricots, and peaches of Maan
are of the finest quality. In years when a very numerous caravan passes,
pomgranates are sold at one piastre each, and every thing in the same
proportion. During

[p.437] the two days stay of the pilgrims, in going, and as many in
returning, the people of Maan earn as much as keeps them the whole year.

Maan is situated in the midst of a rocky country, not capable of
cultivation; the inhabitants therefore depend upon their neighbours of
Djebal and Shera for their provision of wheat and barley. At present,
owing to the discontinuance of the Syrian Hadj, they are scarcely able
to obtain money to purchase it. Many of them have commenced pedlars
among the Bedouins, and fabricators of different articles for their use,
especially sheep-skin furs, while others have emigrated to Tafyle and
Kerek. The Barbary pilgrims who were permitted by the Wahabi chief to
perform their pilgrimage in 1810, and 1811, returned from Medina by the
way of Maan and Shobak to Hebron, Jerusalem, and Yaffa, where they
embarked for their own country, having taken this circuitous route on
account of the hostile demonstrations of Mohammed Ali Pasha on the
Egyptian road. Several thousands of them died of fatigue before they
reached Maan. The people of this town derived large profits from the
survivors, and for the transport of their effects; but it is probable
that if the Syrian Hadj is not soon reestablished, the place will in a
few years be abandoned. The inhabitants considering their town as an
advanced post to the sacred city of Medina, apply themselves with great
eagerness to the study of the Koran. The greater part of them read and
write, and many serve in the capacity of Imams or secretaries to the
great Bedouin Sheikhs. The two hills upon which the town is built,
divide the inhabitants into two parties, almost incessantly engaged in
quarrels which are often sanguinary; no individual of one party even
marries into a family belonging to the other.

On arriving at the encampment of the Howeytat, we were informed that the
caravan was to set out on the second day; I had


[p.438] the advantage, therefore, of one day's repose. I was now reduced
to that state which can alone ensure tranquillity to the traveller in
the desert; having nothing with me that could attract the notice or
excite the cupidity of the Bedouins; my clothes and linen were torn to
rags; a dirty Keffye, or yellow handkerchief, covered my head; my
leathern girdle and shoes had long been exchanged, by way of present,
against similar articles of an inferior kind, so that those I now wore
were of the very worst sort. The tube of my pipe was reduced from two
yards to a span, for I had been obliged to cut off from it as much as
would make two pipes for my friends at Kerek; and the last article of my
baggage, a pocket handkerchief, had fallen to the lot of the Sheikh of
Eldjy. Having thus nothing more to give, I expected to be freed from all
further demands: but I was mistaken: I had forgotten some rags torn from
my shirt, which were tied round my ancles, wounded by the stirrups which
I had received in exchange from the Sheikh of Kerek. These rags
happening to be of white linen, some of the ladies of the Howeytat
thought they might serve to make a Berkoa (Arabic), or face veil, and
whenever I stepped out of the tent I found myself surrounded by half a
dozen of them, begging for the rags. In vain I represented that they
were absolutely necessary to me in the wounded state of my ancles: their
answer was, "you will soon reach Cairo, where you may get as much linen
as you like." By thus incessantly teazing me they at last obtained their
wishes; but in my anger I gave the rags to an ugly old woman, to the no
slight disappointment of the young ones.

August 26th.--We broke up in the morning, our caravan consisting of nine
persons, including myself, and of about twenty camels, part of which
were for sale at Cairo; with the rest the Arabs expected to be able to
transport, on their return home, some provisions and army-baggage to
Akaba, where Mohammed Ali Pasha


[p.439] had established a depot for his Arabian expedition. The
provisions of my companions consisted only of flour; besides flour, I
carried some butter and dried Leben (sour milk), which when dissolved in
water, forms not only a refreshing beverage, but is much to be
recommended as a preservative of health when travelling in summer. These
were our only provisions. During the journey we did not sup till after
sunset, and we breakfasted in the morning upon a piece of dry bread,
which we had baked in the ashes the preceding evening, without either
salt or leven. The frugality of these Bedouins is indeed without
example; my companions, who walked at least five hours every day,
supported themselves for four and twenty hours with a piece of dry black
bread of about a pound and a half weight, without any other kind of
nourishment. I endeavoured, as much as possible to imitate their
abstemiousness, being already convinced from experience that it is the
best preservative against the effects of the fatigues of such a journey.
My companions proved to be very good natured people: and not a single
quarrel happened during our route, except between myself and my guide.
He too was an honest, good tempered man, but I suffered from his
negligence, and rather from his ignorance of my wants, as an European.
He had brought only one water-skin with him, which was to serve us both
for drinking and cooking; and as we had several intervals of three days
without meeting with water, I found myself on very short allowance, and
could not receive any assistance from my companions, who had scarcely
enough for themselves. But these people think nothing of hardships and
privations, and take it for granted, that other people's constitutions
are hardened to the same aptitude of enduring thirst and fatigue, as
their own.

We returned to Szadeke, where we filled our water-skins, and proceeded
from thence in a W.S.W. direction, ascending the eastern


[p.440] hills of Djebel Shera. After two hours march we began to
descend, in following the course of a Wady. At the end of four hours is
a spring called Ibn Reszeysz (Arabic). The highest point of Djebel
Hesma, in the direction of Akaba, bears from hence S.W. Hesma is higher
than any part of Shera. In five hours we reached Ain Daleghe (Arabic), a
spring in a fertile valley, where the Howeytat have built a few huts,
and cultivate some Dhourra fields. We continued descending Wady Daleghe,
which in winter is an impetuous torrent. The mountains are quite barren
here; calcareous rock predominates, with some flint. At the end of seven
hours we left the Wady, which takes a more northern direction, and
ascended a steep mountain. At eight hours and a half we alighted on the
declivity of the mountain, which is called Djebel Koula (Arabic), and
which appears to be the highest summit of Djebel Shera. Our road was
tolerably good all the way.

August 27th.--After one hour's march we reached the summit of Djebel
Koula, which is covered with a chalky surface. The descent on the other
side is very wild, the road lying along the edges of almost
perpendicular precipices amidst large blocks of detached rocks, down a
mountain entirely destitute of vegetation, and composed of calcareous
rocks, sand-stone, and flint, lying over each other in horizontal
layers. At the end of three hours we came to a number of tombs on the
road side, where the Howeytat and other Bedouins who encamp in these
mountains bury their dead. In three hours and a half we reached the
bottom of the mountain, and entered the bed of a winter torrent, which
like Wady Mousa has worked its passage through the chain of sand-stone
rocks that form a continuation of the Syk. These rocks extend southwards
as far as Djebel Hesma. The narrow bed is enclosed by perpendicular
cliffs, which, at the entrance of the Wady, are about fifteen or twenty
yards distant from each other, but wider lower down.


[p.441] We continued in a western direction for an hour and a half, in
this Wady, which is called Gharendel (Arabic). At five hours the valley
opens, and we found ourselves upon a sandy plain, interspersed with
rocks; the bed of the Wady was covered with white sand. A few trees of
the species called by the Arabs Talh, Tarfa, and Adha (Arabic), grow in
the midst of the sand, but their withered leaves cannot divert the
traveller's eye from the dreary scene around him. At six hours the
valley again becomes narrower; here are some more tombs of Bedouins on
the side of the road. At the end of six hours and a half we came to the
mouth of the Wady, where it joins the great lower valley, issuing from
the mountainous country into the plain by a narrow passage, formed by
the approaching rocks. These rocks are of sand-stone and contain many
natural caverns. A few hundred paces above the issue of the Wady are
several springs, called Ayoun Gharendel, surrounded by a few date trees,
and some verdant pasture ground. The water has a sulphureous taste, but
these being the only springs on the borders of the great valley within
one day's journey to the N. and S. the Bedouins are obliged to resort to
them. The wells are full of leeches, some of which fixed themselves to
the palates of several of our camels whilst drinking, and it was with
difficulty that we could remove them. The name of Arindela, an ancient
town of Palaestina Tertia, bears great resemblance to that of Gharendel.

On issuing from this rocky country, which terminates the Djebel Shera,
on its western side, the Wady Gharendel empties itself into the valley
El Araba, in whose sands its waters are lost. This valley is a
continuation of the Ghor, which may be said to extend from the Red sea
to the sources of the Jordan. The valley of that river widens about
Jericho, and its inclosing hills are united to a chain of mountains
which open and enclose the Dead sea. At the southern


[p.442] extremity of the sea they again approach, and leave between them
a valley similar to the northern Ghor, in shape; but which the want of
water makes a desert, while the Jordan and its numerous tributary
streams render the other a fertile plain. In the southern Ghor the
rivulets which descend from the eastern mountains, to the S. of Wady
Szafye, or El Karahy, are lost amidst the gravel in their winter beds,
before they reach the valley below, and there are no springs whatever in
the western mountain; the lower plain, therefore, in summer is entirely
without water, which alone can produce verdure in the Arabian deserts,
and render them habitable. The general direction of the southern Ghor is
parallel to the road which I took in coming from Khanzyre to Wady Mousa.
At the point where we crossed it, near Gharendel, its direction was from
N.N.E. to S.S.W. From Gharendel it extends southwards for fifteen or
twenty hours, till it joins the sandy plain which separates the
mountains of Hesma from the eastern branch of the Red sea. It continues
to bear the appellation of El Ghor as far as the latitude of Beszeyra,
to the S. of which place, as the Arabs informed me, it is interrupted
for a short space by rocky ground and Wadys, and takes the name of Araba
(Arabic), which it retains till its termination near the Red sea. Near
Gharendel, where I saw it, the whole plain presented to the view an
expanse of shifting sands whose surface was broken by innumerable
undulations, and low hills. The sand appears to have been brought from
the shores of the Red sea by the southerly winds; and the Arabs told me
that the valley continued to present the same appearance beyond the
latitude of Wady Mousa. A few Talh trees (Arabic) (the acacia which
produces the gum arable), Tarfa (Arabic) (tamarisk), Adha (Arabic), and
Rethem (Arabic), grow among the sand hills; but the depth of sand
precludes all vegetation of herbage. Numerous Bedouin tribes encamp here
in the winter, when the torrents produce a copious supply of water, and
a few

[p.443] shrubs spring up upon their banks, affording pasturage to the
sheep and goats; but the camels prefer the leaves of the trees,
especially the thorny Talh.

The existence of the valley El Araba, the Kadesh Barnea, perhaps, of the
Scriptures, appears to have been unknown both to ancient and modern
geographers, although it forms a prominent feature in the topography of
Syria and Arabia Petraea. It deserves to be thoroughly investigated, and
travellers might proceed along it in winter time, accompanied by two or
three Bedouin guides of the tribes of Howeytat and Terabein, who could
be procured at Hebron. Akaba, or Eziongeber, might be reached in eight
days by the same road by which the communication was anciently kept up
between Jerusalem and her dependencies on the Red sea, for this is both
the nearest and the most commodious route, and it was by this valley
that the treasures of Ophir were probably transported to the warehouses
of Solomon.

Of the towns which I find laid down in D'Anville's maps, between Zoara
and Aelana, no traces remain, Thoana excepted, which is the present
Dhana. The name of Zoar is unknown to the Arabs, but the village of
Szafye is near that point; the river which is made by D'Anville to fall
into the Dead sea near Zoara, is the Wady El Ahhsa; but it will have
been seen in the above pages, [t]hat the course of that Wady is rather
from the east than south. I enquired in vain among the Arabs for the
names of those places where the Israelites had sojourned during their
progress through the desert; none of them are known to the present
inhabitants. The country, about Akaba, and to the W.N.W. of it, might,
perhaps, furnish some data for the illustration of the Jewish history. I
understand that M. Seetzen went in a straight line from Hebron to Akaba,
across the desert El Ty; he may perhaps, have collected some interesting
information on the subject.

[p.444] The following ruined places are situated in Djebal Shera, to the
S. and S.S.W. of Wady Mousa; Kalaat Beni Madha (Arabic), Atrah (Arabic),
a ruined tower, with water near it, Djerba (Arabic), Basta (Arabic), Eyl
(Arabic), Ferdakh (Arabic), with a spring; Anyk (Arabic), Bir el Beytar
(Arabic), a number of wells upon a plain surrounded by high cliffs, in
the midst of Tor Hesma. The caravans from Wady Mousa to Akaba make these
wells their first station, and reach Akaba on the evening of the second
day; but they are two long days journeys of ten or twelve hours each. At
the foot of Hanoun are the ruins of Wayra (Arabic), and the two deserted
villages of Beydha (Arabic) and Heysha (Arabic). West of Hanoun is the
spring Dhahel (Arabic), with some ruins. In that neighbourhood are the
ruined places Shemakh (Arabic) and Syk (Arabic).

We were one hour and a half in crossing the Araba, direction W. by N. In
some places the sand is very deep, but it is firm, and the camels walk
over it without sinking. The heat was suffocating, and it was increased
by a hot wind from the S.E. There is not the slightest appearance of a
road, or of any other work of human art in this part of the valley. On
the other side we ascended the western chain of mountains. The mountain
opposite to us appeared to be the highest point of the whole chain, as
far as I could see N. and S.; it is called Djebel Beyane (Arabic); the
height of this chain, however, is not half that of the eastern
mountains. It is intersected by numerous broad Wadys, in which the Talh
tree grows; the rock is entirely silicious, of the same species as that
of the desert which extends from hence to Suez. I saw some large pieces
of flint perfectly oval, three to four feet in length, and about a foot
and a half in breadth.

After an hour and a half of gentle ascent we arrived at the summit of
the hills, and then descended by a short and very gradual declivity into
the western plain, the level of which although higher


[p.445] than that of the Araba, is perhaps one thousand feet lower than
the eastern desert. We had now before us an immense expanse of dreary
country entirely covered with black flints, with here and there some
hilly chains rising from the plain. About six hours distant, to our
right, were the hills near Wady Szays (Arabic). The horizon being very
clear near sunset, my companions pointed out to me the mountains of
Kerek, which bore N.E. by N. Djebel Dhana bore N.E. by F., and Djebel
Hesma S.S.E. I must here observe, that during all my journeys in the
deserts I never allowed the Arabs to get a sight of my compass, as it
would certainly have been considered by them as an instrument of magic.
When on horseback I took the bearings, unseen, beneath my wide Arab
cloak; under such circumstances it is an advantage to ride a mare, as
she may easily be taught to stand quite still. When mounted on, a camel,
which can never be stopped while its companions are moving on, I was
obliged to jump off when I wished to take a bearing, and to couch down
in the oriental manner, as if answering a call of nature. The Arabs are
highly pleased with a traveller who jumps off his beast and remounts
without stopping it, as the act of kneeling down is troublesome and
fatiguing to the loaded camel, and before it can rise again, the caravan
is considerably ahead. From Djebel Beyane we continued in the plain for
upwards of an hour; and stopped for the night in a Wady which contains
Talh trees, and extends across the plain for about half an hour. We had
this day marched eleven hours.

August 28th.--In the morning we passed two broad Wadys full of tamarisks
and of Talh trees, which have given to them the name of Abou Talhha
(Arabic). At the end of four hours we reached Wady el Lahyane (Arabic).
In this desert the water collects in a number of low bottoms and Wadys,
where it produces verdure in winter time: and an abundance of trees with

[p.446] green leaves are found throughout the year. In the winter some
of the Arabs of Ghaza, Khalyl, as well as those from the shores of the
Red sea, encamp here. The Wady Lahyane [The road from Akaba to Ghaza
passes here. It is a journey of eight long days. The watering places on
it are, El Themmed (Arabic), Mayeyu (Arabic), and Berein (Arabic). The
distance from Akaba to Hebron is nine days. The springs on the road are:
El Ghadyan (Arabic), El Ghammer (Arabic), and Weyba (Arabic).] is
several hours in extent; its bottom is full of gravel. We met with a few
families of Arabs Heywat (Arabic), who had chosen this place, that their
camels might feed upon the thorny branches of the gum arabic tree, of
which they are extremely fond. These poor people had no tents with them;
and their only shelter from the burning rays of the sun, and the heavy
dews of night, were the scanty branches of the Talh trees. The ground
was covered with the large thorns of these trees, which are a great
annoyance to the Bedouins and their cattle. Each Bedouin carries in his
girdle a pair of small pincers, to extract the thorns from his feet, for
they have no shoes, and use only a sort of sandal made of a piece of
camel's skin, tied on with leathern thongs. In the summer they collect
the gum arabic (Arabic), which they sell at Cairo for thirty and forty
patacks the camel load, or about twelve or fifteen shillings per cwt.
English; but the gum is of a very inferior quality to that of Sennaar.
My companions eat up all the small pieces that had been left upon the
trees by the road side. I found it to be quite tasteless, but I was
assured that it was very nutritive.

We breakfasted with the Arabs Heywat, and our people were extremely
angry, and even insolent, at not having been treated with a roasted
lamb, according to the promise of the Sheikh, who had invited us to
alight. His excuse was that he had found none at hand; but one of our
young men had overheard his wife scolding


[p.447] him, and declaring that she would not permit a lamb to be
slaughtered for such miserable ill-looking strangers! The Bedouin women,
in general, are much less generous and hospitable than their husbands,
over whom they often use their influence, to curtail the allowance to
guests and strangers.

At the end of five hours we issued from the head of Wady Lahyane again
into the plain. The hill on the top of this Wady is called Ras el Kaa
(Arabic), and is the termination of a chain of hills which stretch
across the plain in a northern direction for six or eight hours: it
projects like a promontory, and serves as a land-mark to travellers; its
rock is calcareous. The plain which we now entered was a perfect flat
covered with black pebbles. The high insulated mountain behind which
Ghaza is situated, bore from hence N. by W. distant three long days
journey. At the end of seven hours, there was an insulated hill to the
left of our road two hours distant, called Szoeyka (Arabic); we here
turned off to the left of the great road, in order to find water. In
eight hours, and late at night, we reached several wells, called Biar
Omshash (Arabic), is where we found an encampment of Heywat, with whom
we wished to take our supper after having filled our water skins; but
they assured us that they had nothing except dry bread to give us. On
hearing this my companions began to reproach them with want of
hospitality, and an altercation ensued, which I was afraid would lead to
blows; I therefore mounted my camel, and was soon followed by the rest.
We continued our route during the night, but lost our road in the dark,
and were obliged to alight in a Wady full of moving sands, about half an
hour from the wells.

August 29th.--This day we passed several Wadys of Talh and tamarisk trees
intermixed with low shrubs. Direction W. by S. The plain is for the
greater part covered with flints; in some places


[p.448] it is chalky. Wherever the rain collects in winter, vegetation
of trees and shrubs is produced. In the midst of this desert we met a
poor Bedouin woman, who begged some water of us; she was going to Akaba,
where the tents of her family were, but had neither provisions nor water
with her, relying entirely on the hospitality of the Arabs she might
meet on the road. We directed her to the Heywat at Omshash and in Wady
Lahyane. She seemed to be as unconcerned, as if she were merely taking a
walk for pleasure. After an uninterrupted march of nine hours and a
half, we reached a mountain called Dharf el Rokob (Arabic). It extends
for about eight hours in a direction from N.W. to S.E. At its foot we
crossed the Egyptian Hadj road; it passes along the mountain towards
Akaba, which is distant from hence fifteen or eighteen hours. We
ascended the northern extremity of the mountain by a broad road, and
after a march of eleven hours reached, on the other side, a well called
El Themmed (Arabic), whose waters are impregnated with sulphur. The
pilgrim caravan passes to the N. of the mountain and well, but the Arabs
who have the conduct of the caravan repair to the well to fill the water
skins for the supply of the Hadjis. The well is in a sandy soil,
surrounded by calcareous rocks, and notwithstanding its importance,
nothing has been done to secure it from being choaked up by the sand and
gravel which every gust of wind drives into it. Its sides are not lined,
and the Arabs take so little care in descending into it, that every
caravan which arrives renders it immediately turbid.

The level plain over which we had travelled from Ras el Kaa terminates
at Dharf el Rokob. Westward of it the ground is more intersected by
hills and Wadys, and here begins the Desert El Ty (Arabic), in which,
according to tradition, both Jewish and Mohammedan, the Israelites
wandered for several years, and from which


[p.449] belief the desert takes its name. We went this evening two hours
farther than the Themmed, and alighted in the Wady Ghoreyr (Arabic),
after a day's march of thirteen hours and a half. The Bedouins, when
travelling in small numbers, seldom alight at a well or spring, in the
evening, for the purpose of there passing the night; they only fill
their water-skins as quickly as possible, and then proceed on their way,
for the neighbourhood of watering places is dangerous to travellers,
especially in deserts where there are few of them, because they then
become the rendezvous of all strolling parties.

August 30th.--On issuing from the Wady Ghoreyr we passed a chain of hills
called Odjme (Arabic), running almost parallel with the Dharf el Rokob.
We had now re-entered the Hadj route, a broad well trodden road, strewn
with the whitened bones of animals that have died by the way. The soil
is chalky, and overspread with black pebbles. At the end of five hours
and a half we reached Wady Rouak (Arabic); here the term Wady is applied
to a narrow strip of ground, the bed of a winter torrent, not more than
one foot lower than the level of the plain, where the rain water from
the inequalities of the surface collects, and produces a vegetation of
low shrubs, and a few Talh trees. The greater part of the Wadys from
hence to Egypt are of this description. The coloquintida grows in great
abundance in all of them, it is used by the Arabs to make tinder, by the
following process: after roasting the root in the ashes, they wrap it in
a wetted rag of cotton cloth, they then beat it between two stones, by
which means the juice of the fruit is expressed and absorbed by the rag,
which is dyed by it of a dirty blue; the rag is then dried in the sun,
and ignites with the slightest spark of fire. The Arabs nearest to Egypt
use the coloquint in venereal complaints; they fill the fruit with
camel's milk, roast it

[p.450] over the fire, and then give to the patient the milk thus
impregnated with the essence of the fruit.

In nine hours and a half we passed a chain of low chalky hills called
Ammayre (Arabic). On several parts of the road were holes, out of which
rock salt had been dug. At the end of ten hours and a half we arrived in
the vicinity of Nakhel (i.e. date-tree), a fortified station of the
Egyptian Hadj, situated about half an hour to the N. of the pilgrim's
road. Our direction was still W. by N. Nakhel stands in a plain, which
extends to an immense distance southward, but which terminates to the N.
at about one hour's distance from Nakhel, in a low chain of mountains.
The fortress is a large square building, with stone walls, without any
habitations round it. There is a well of brackish water, and a large
Birket, which is filled from the well, in the time of the Hadj. The
Pasha of Egypt keeps a garrison in Nakhel of about fifty soldiers, and
uses it as a magazine for the provisions of his army in his expedition
against the Wahabi. The appellation Nakhel was probably given to this
castle at a time when the adjacent country was covered with palm trees,
none of which are now to be seen here. At Akaba, on the contrary, are
large forests of them, belonging for the greater part to the Arabs
Heywat. The ground about Nakhel is chalky or sandy, and is covered with
loose pebbles.

We passed along the road as quickly as we could, for my companions were
afraid lest their camels should be stopped by the Aga of Nakhel, to
transport provisions to Akaba. The Arabs Heywat and Sowadye, who encamp
in this district, style themselves masters of Akaba and Nakhel, and
exact yearly from the Pasha certain sums for permitting him to occupy
them; for though they are totally unable to oppose his troops, yet the
tribute is paid, in order to take from them all pretext for plundering
small caravans.


[p.451] About six hours to the S.W. of Nakhel is a chain of mountains
called Szadder (Arabic), extending in a S. E. direction.

Near Nakhel my Arab companions fell in with an acquaintance, who was
burning charcoal for the Cairo market. He informed us that a large party
of Arabs Sowaleha, with whom my Howeytats were at war, was encamped in
this vicinity; it was, in consequence, determined to travel by night,
until we should be out of their reach, and we stopped at sunset, about
one hour west of Nakhel, after a day's march of eleven hours and a half,
merely for the purpose of allowing the camels to eat. Being ourselves
afraid to light a fire, lest it should be descried by the Sowaleha, we
were obliged to take a supper of dry flour mixed with a little salt.
During the whole of the journey the camels had no other provender than
the withered shrubs of the desert, my dromedary excepted, to which I
gave a few handfuls of barley every evening. Loaded camels are scarcely
able to perform such a journey without a daily allowance of beans and

August 31st--We set out before midnight, and continued at a quick rate
the whole night. In these northern districts of Arabia the Bedouins, in
general, are not fond of proceeding by night; they seldom travel at that
time, even in the hottest season, if they are not in very large numbers,
because, as they say, during the night nobody can distinguish the face
of his friend, from that of his enemy. Another reason is, that camels on
the march never feed at their ease in the day time, and nature seems to
require that they should have their principal meal and a few hours rest
in the evening. The favourite mode of travelling in these parts is, to
set out about two hours before sun-rise, to stop two hours at noon, when
every one endeavours to sleep under his mantle, and to alight for the
evening at about one hour before sunset. We always sat round the fire,
in conversation, for two or three hours after supper. During this
night's march my companions frequently alluded to


[p.452] a superstitious belief among the Bedouins, that the desert is
inhabited by invisible female demons, who carry off travellers tarrying
in the rear of the caravans, in order to enjoy their embraces. They call
them Om Megheylan (Arabic), from Ghoul (Arabic). The frequent loss of
men who, exhausted by fatigue, loiter behind the great pilgrim caravans,
and are cut off, stripped, and abandoned, by Bedouin robbers, may have
given rise to this fable, which afforded my companions a subject of
numerous jokes against me. "You townsmen," said they, "would be
exquisite morsels for these ladies, who are accustomed only to the food
of the desert."

We marched for four hours over uneven ground, and then reached a level
plain, consisting of rich red earth fit for culture, and similar to that
of the northern Syrian desert. We crossed several Wadys, in which we
started a number of hares. At every twenty yards lay heaps of bones of
camels, horses, and asses, by the side of the road. At six hours was a
chain of low hills to the S. of the road, and running parallel with it.
In seven hours we crossed Wady Nesyl (Arabic), overgrown with green
shrubs, but without trees. At the end of ten hours and a half we reached
the mountainous country called El Theghar (Arabic), or the mouths, which
forms a boundary of the Desert El Ty, and separates it from the
peninsula of Mount Sinai. We ascended for half an hour by a well formed
road, cut in several places in the rock, and then followed the windings
of a valley, in the bed of a winter torrent, gradually descending. On
both sides of the Hadj road we saw numerous heaps of stones, the tombs
of pilgrims who had died of fatigue; among others is shewn that of a
woman who here died in labour, and whose infant was carried the whole
way to Mekka, and back to Cairo in good health. At the end of fifteen
hours we alighted in a valley of the Theghar, where we found an
abundance of shrubs and trees.


[p.453] September 1st.--We continued descending among the windings of the
Wady, turning a little to the southward of the Hadj route. Among the
calcareous hills of the Wady deep sands have accumulated, which have
been blown thither from the shores of the Red sea; and in several parts
there are large insulated rocks of porous tufwacke. After a march of
four hours and a half we had a fine view of the sea, and gained the
plain which extends to its shores, and which is apparently much below
the level of the desert El Ty; it is covered with moving sands, among
which a few low shrubs grow. The direction of our route was W.S.W. In
seven hours we reached the wells of Mabouk (Arabic), to our great
satisfaction, as we had not a drop of water left in our skins. These
wells are in the open plain, at the foot of some rocks. Good water, but
in small quantities, is found every where on digging to the depth of ten
or twelve feet. There were about half a dozen holes, five or six feet in
circumference, with a foot of water in each; on drawing up the water the
holes fill again immediately. We here met some shepherds of the Maazye,
a tribe of Bedouins of the desert between Egypt and the Red sea, who
were busy in watering a large herd of camels. They were so kind as to
make room for us, in consideration of our being strangers and
travellers; and we were occupied several hours in drawing up water.
These wells were filled up last year by the Moggrebyn Hadj, on its
passage, to revenge themselves upon Mohammed Ali, with whose treatment
they were dissatisfied. The Egyptian pilgrims take a more northern
route, but the Arabs who accompany them fill the water skins for the use
of the caravan at these wells, and rejoin the Hadj by the route we
travelled this morning. Near the wells are the ruins of a small
building, with strong walls, which was probably constructed for the
defence of the water, when the Hadj was still in its ancient splendour.


[p.454] On quitting the wells we turned off in the direction of Suez,
our route lying W.N.W. There are no traces of a road here, for the track
of caravans is immediately filled up by the moving sands, which covered
the plain as far as I could discern, and in some places had collected
into hills thirty or forty feet in height. At ten hours from our setting
out in the morning we entered a plain covered with flints, and again
fell in with the Hadj road. Here we took a W. by N. direction. At the
end of eleven hours the plain was covered with a saline crust, and we
crossed a tract of ground, about five minutes in breadth, covered with
such a quantity of small white shells, that it appeared at a distance
like a strip of salt. Shells of the same species are found on the shores
of the lake of Tiberias. Once probably the sea covered the whole of this
ground. At twelve hours and a half Suez bore S. about an hour and an
half distant from us. To our right we saw marshy ground extending
northwards, which the people informed me was full of salt; it is called,
like all salt marshes, Szabegha (Arabic). At the end of thirteen hours
we crossed a low and narrow Wady, perhaps the remains of the canal of
Ptolemy; and at fourteen hours and a half, alighted in Wady Redjel
(Arabic), where there were many Talh trees, and plenty of food for our

September 2d.--We continued to travel over the plain, route W. by N. In
two hours we reached Adjeroud (Arabic), an ancient castle, which has
lately been completely repaired by Mohammed Ali, who keeps a garrison
here. There are two separate buildings, the largest of which is occupied
by the soldiers, and the smaller contains a mosque with the tomb of a
saint; they are both defended by strong walls against any attack of the
Arabs. Here is also a copious well, but the water is very bitter, and
can be used only for watering camels. The garrison is supplied from the
wells of Mousa, opposite to Suez. Our road was full of the aromatic


[p.455] herb Baytheran (Arabic), which is sold by the Arabs at Ghaza and

Beyond Adjeroud many Wadys cross the plain. To the left we had the chain
of mountains called Attaka. At the end of five hours, and about one hour
to the right of the road, begins the chain of low mountains called
Oweybe (Arabic), running parallel with the Attaka. Our route lay W. by
N. At eight hours the Attaka terminated on our left, and was succeeded
by a ridge of low hills. The plain here is sandy, covered with black
flints. We again passed several Wadys, and met two large caravans,
transporting a corps of infantry to Suez. At the end of ten hours and a
half we stopped in Wady Djaafar (Arabic), which is full of low trees,
shrubs, and dry herbs. From hence a hilly chain extends north-eastwards.

September 3d.--After a march of six hours along the plain, the ground
began to be overspread with Egyptian pebbles. Route W. We passed several
Wadys, similar to those mentioned above when describing Wady Rowak. At
nine hours, we descried the Nile, with its beautiful verdant shores; at
eleven hours began a hilly tract, the last undulations of Djebel
Makattam; and in thirteen hours and a half we reached the vicinity of
Cairo. Here my Arab companions left me, and proceeded to Belbeis, where,
they were informed, their principal men were encamped, waiting for
orders to proceed to Akaba. I discharged my honest guide, Hamd Ibn
Hamdan, who was not a little astonished to see me take some sequins out
of the skirts of my gown. As it was too late to enter the town, I went
to some Bedouin tents which I saw at a distance, and entered one of
them, in which, for the first time, I drank of the sweet water of the
Nile. Here I remained all night. A great number of Bedouins were at this
time collected near Cairo, to accompany the troops which were to be sent
into Arabia after the Ramadhan.


[p.456] September 4th.--I entered Cairo before sunrise; and thus
concluded my journey, by the blessing of God, without either loss of
health, or exposure to any imminent danger.






ABOUT the beginning of April 1816 Cairo was again visited by the plague.
The Franks and most of the Christians shut themselves up; but as I
neither wished to follow their example nor to expose myself
unnecessarily in the town, I determined to pass my time, during the
prevalence of the disease, among the Bedouins of Mount Sinai, to visit
the gulf of Akaba, and, if possible, the castle of Akaba, to which, as
far as I know, no traveller has ever penetrated. Intending to pass some
days at the convent of Mount Sinai, I procured a letter of introduction
to the monks from their brethren at Cairo; for without this passport no
stranger is ever permitted to enter the convent; I was also desirous of
having a letter from the Pasha of Egypt to the principal Sheikh of the
tribes of Tor, over whom, as I knew by former experience, he exercises
more than a nominal authority. With the assistance of this paper, I
hoped to be able to see a good deal of the Bedouins of the peninsula in
safety, and to travel in their company to Akaba. Such letters of
recommendation are in general easily procured in Syria and Egypt, though
they are often useless, as I found on several occasions during my first
journey into Nubia, as well as in my


[p.458] travels in Syria, where the orders of the Pasha of Damascus were
much slighted in several of the districts under his dominion.

A fortnight before I set out for Mount Sinai I had applied to the Pasha
through his Dragoman, for a letter to the Bedouin Sheikh; but I was kept
waiting for it day after day, and after thus delaying my departure a
whole week, I was at last obliged to set off without it. The want of it
was the cause of some embarrassment to me, and prevented me from
reaching Akaba. It is not improbable that on being applied to for the
letter, the Pasha gave the same answer as he gave at Tayf, when I asked
him for a Firmahn, namely, that as I was sufficiently acquainted with
the language and manners of the Arabs, I needed no further

The Arabs of Mount Sinai usually alight at Cairo in the quarter called
El Djemelye, where some of them are almost constantly to be found.
Having gone thither, I met with the same Bedouin with whom I had come
last year from Tor to Cairo; I hired two camels from him for myself and
servant, and laid in provisions for about six weeks consumption. We left
Cairo on the evening of the 20th of April, and slept that night among
the ruined tombs of the village called Kayt Beg, a mile from the city.
From this village, at which the Bedouins usually alight, the caravans
for Suez often depart; it is also the resort of smugglers from Suez and

April 21st.--We set out from Kayt Beg in the course of the morning, in
the company of a caravan bound for Suez, comprising about twenty camels,
some of which belonged to Moggrebyn pilgrims, who had come by sea from
Tunis to Alexandria; the others to a Hedjaz merchant, and to the
Bedouins of Mount Sinai, who had brought passengers from Suez to Cairo,
and were now returning with corn to their mountains. As I knew the
character of these Bedouins by former experience, and that the road was


[p.459] safe, at least as far as the convent, I did not think it
necessary this time to travel in the disguise of a pauper. Some few
comforts may be enjoyed in the desert even by those who do not travel
with tents and servants; and whenever these comforts must be
relinquished, it becomes a very irksome task to cross a desert, as I
fully experienced during several of my preceding journeys.

The Bedouins of Sinai, or, as they are more usually denominated, the
Towara, or Bedouins of Tor, formerly enjoyed the exclusive privilege of
transporting goods, provisions, and passengers, from Cairo to Suez, and
the route was wholly under their protection. Since the increased power
of the Pasha of Egypt, it has been thrown open to camel-drivers of all
descriptions, Egyptian peasants, as well as Syrian and Arabian Bedouins;
and as the Egyptian camels are much stronger, for a short journey, than
those of the desert, the Bedouins of Mount Sinai have lost the greater
part of their custom, and the transport trade in this route is now
almost wholly in the hands of the Egyptian carriers. The hire of a
strong camel, from Cairo to Suez, was at this time about six or eight
Patacks, from one and a half to two Spanish dollars.

The desert from Cairo to Suez is crossed by different routes; we
followed that generally taken by the Towara, which lies mid-way between
the great Hadj route, and the more southern one close along the
mountains: the latter is pursued only by the Arabs Terabein, and other
Syrian Bedouins. The route we took is called Derb el Ankabye [Arabic].

We proceeded on a gentle ascent from Kayt Beg, and passed on the right
several low quarries in the horizontal layers of soft calcareous stone
of which the mountain of Mokattam, in the neighbourhood of Cairo, is
composed; it is with this stone that the splendid Mamelouk tombs of Kayt
Beg are built. At the end of


[p.460] an hour, the limestone terminated, and the road was covered with
flints, petrosilex, and Egyptian pebbles; here are also found specimens
of petrified wood, the largest about a foot in length. We now travelled
eastward, and after a march of three hours halted upon a part of the
plain, called El Mogawa [Arabic], where we rested during the mid-day
heat. Beyond this spot, to the distance of five hours from Cairo, we met
with great quantities of petrified wood. Large pieces of the trunks of
trees, three or four feet in length, and eight or ten inches in
diameter, lay about the plain, and close to the road was an entire trunk
of a tree at least twenty feet in length, half buried in sand. These
petrifactions are generally found in low grounds, but I saw several also
on the top of the low hills of gravel and sand over which the road lies.
Several travellers have expressed doubts of their being really petrified
wood, and some have crossed the desert without meeting with any of them.
The latter circumstance is easily accounted for; the route we were
travelling is not that usually taken to Suez. I have crossed this desert
repeatedly in other directions, and never saw any of the petrifactions
except in this part of it. As to its really being petrified wood there
cannot be any reason to doubt it, after an inspection of the substance,
in which the texture and fibres of the wood are clearly distinguishable,
and perfectly resemble those of the date tree. I think it not
improbable, that before Nechos dug the canal between the Nile and the
Red sea, the communication between Arsinoe or Clysma and Memphis, may
have been carried on this way; and stations may have been established on
the spots now covered by these petrified trees; the water requisite to
produce and maintain vegetation might have been procured from deep
wells, or from reservoirs of rain water, as is done in the equally
barren desert between Djidda and Mekka. After the completion of the
canal, this route was perhaps neglected, the trees, left without a


[p.461] regular supply of water, dried up and fell, and the sands, with
the winter rains and torrents, gradually effected the petrifaction. I
have seen specimens of the petrified wood of date trees found in the
Libyan desert, beyond the Bahr bala ma, where they were observed by
Horneman in 1798, and in 1812, by M. Boutin, a French officer, who
brought several of them to Cairo. They resemble precisely those which I
saw on the Suez road, in colour, substance, and texture. Some of them
are of silex, in others the substance seems to approach to hornblende.

We continued our route E. by S. over an uneven and somewhat hilly
country covered with black petrosilex; and after a day's march of eight
hours and a quarter, we halted in a valley of little depth, called Wady
Onszary [Arabic], where our camels found good pasture. Close by are some
low hills, where the sands are seen in the state of formation into sand-
rock, and presenting all the different gradations between their loose
state and the solid stone. I saw a great quantity of petrified wood upon
one of these hills, amongst which was the entire trunk of a date tree.

April 22d.--From Onszary we travelled E. by S. for one hour, and then E.
At the end of three hours, the hilly country terminates, beyond which,
in this route, no petrified wood is met with; we then entered upon a
widely extended and entirely level plain, called by the Bedouins El
Mograh [Arabic], upon which we rested after a march of five hours and a
half. While we were preparing our dinner two ostriches approached near
enough to be distinctly seen. A shot fired by one of the Arabs
frightened them, and in an instant they were out of sight. These birds
come into this plain, from the eastward, from the desert of Tyh; but I
never heard that the Bedouins of this country take the trouble of
hunting them. The plain of Mograh is famous for the skirmishes which
have taken place there, for the caravans that have been plundered in


[p.462] crossing it, and for the number of travellers that have been
murdered on it. In former times, when this desert was constantly over-
run by parties of robbers, the Mograh was always chosen by them as their
point of attack, because, in the event of success, no one could escape
them on a plain where objects can be distinguished in every direction to
the distance of several hours. Even at present, since the route has been
made more secure by the vigilance of the Pasha of Cairo, robberies
sometimes happen, and in the autumn of 1815 a rich caravan was plundered
by the Arabs Terabein.[These Arabs, under their Sheikh Abou Djehame
[Arabic], made an excursion about the same time over the mountains
towards Cosseir, and plundered a caravan of pilgrims and merchants who
were going to Kenne. The Sheikh was seized on his return by the Maazy
tribe and carried to Cairo, where he remained a year in close
confinement, and after having delivered part of his booty into the
treasury of the Pasha, was released a few days before I set out.]

The desert of Suez is never inhabited by Bedouin encampments, though it
is full of rich pasture and pools of water during winter and spring. No
strong tribes frequent the eastern borders of Egypt, and a weak
insulated encampment would soon be stripped of its property by nightly
robbers. The ground itself is the patrimony of no tribe, but is common
to all, which is contrary to the general practice of the desert, where
every district has its acknowledged owners, with its limits of
separation from those of the neighbouring tribes, although it is not
always occupied by them.

In the afternoon we proceeded over the plain, and in eight hours and
three quarters arrived opposite to the station of the Hadj, called Dar
el Hamra which we left about three miles to the north of us, and which
is distinguished by a large acacia tree, the only one in this plain. At
the end of nine hours and a half, and about half an hour from the road,
we saw a mound of earth, which,


[p.463] the Arabs told me, was thrown up about fifty years ago, by
workmen employed by Ali Beg, then governor of Egypt, in digging a well
there. The ground was dug to the depth of about eighty feet, when no
water appearing the work was abandoned. At eleven hours and a quarter,
our road joined the great Hadj route, which passes in a more northerly
direction from Dar el Hamra to the Birket el Hadj, or inundation to the
eastward of Heliopolis, four hours distant from Cairo, upon the banks of
which the pilgrims encamp, previous to their setting out for Mekka.
Between this road, and that by which we had travelled, lies another,
also terminating at Kayt Beg. The southernmost route, which, as I have
already mentioned, is frequented only by the Arabs Terabein, branches
off from this common route at about six hours distant from Suez, and is
called Harb bela ma (the road without water); it is very seldom
frequented by regular caravans, being hilly and longer than the others,
but I was told that notwithstanding its name, water is frequently met
with in the low grounds, even in summer. Just beyond where we fell in
with the Hadj route, we rested in the bed of a torrent called Wady
Hafeiry [Arabic], at the foot of a chain of hills which begin there,
and extend to the N. of the route, and parallel with it towards
Adjeroud. Our camels found abundance of pasture on the odoriferous herb
Obeitheran [Arabic], Santolina fragrantissima of Forskal, which grew
here in great plenty.

April 23d.--Our road lay between the southern mountain and the
abovementioned chain of hills to the north, called Djebel Uweybe
[Arabic], direction E.S.E. In three hours we passed the bed of a torrent
called Seil Abou Zeid [Arabic], where some acacia trees grow. The road
is here encompassed on every side by hills. In four hours and a half we
reached, in the direction E. by S. Wady Emshash [Arabic], a torrent like
the former, which in winter is filled by a stream of several feet in


[p.464] Rains are much more frequent in this desert than in the valley
of Egypt, and the same remark may be made in regard to all the mountains
to the southward, where a regular, though not uninterrupted rainy season
sets in, while in the valley of the Nile, as is well known, rain seldom
falls even in winter. The soil and hills are here entirely calcareous.

We had been for the whole morning somewhat alarmed by the appearance of
some suspicious looking men on camels at a distance in our rear, and our
Bedouins had, in consequence, prepared their matchlocks. When we halted
during the mid-day hours, they also alighted upon a hill at a little
distance; but seeing us in good order, and with no heavy loads to excite
their cupidity, they did not approach us. They, however, this evening,
fell upon a small party of unarmed Egyptian peasants who were carrying
corn to Suez, stripped them, took away their camels and loads, and the
poor owners fled naked into Suez. It was afterwards learnt that they
belonged to the tribe of Omran, who live on the eastern shore of the
gulf of Akaba. Without establishing regular patrols of the Bedouins
themselves on this road, it will never be possible to keep it free from

At six hours and a half begins a hilly country, with a slight descent
through a narrow pass between hills, called El Montala [Arabic], a
favourite spot for robbers. At seven hours and a half we passed Adjeroud
[Arabic], about half an hour to our left; about two miles west of it is
a well in the Wady Emshash, called Bir Emshash, which yields a copious
supply of water in the winter, but dries up in the middle of summer if
rains have not been abundant; the garrison of Adjeroud, where is a well
so bitter that even camels will not drink the water, draws its supply of
drinking water from the Bir Emshash. From hence the road turns S.E. over
a slightly descending plain. At ten hours and a half is the well called
Bir Suez, a


[p.465] copious spring enclosed by a massive building, from whence the
water is drawn up by wheels turned by oxen, and emptied into a large
stone tank on the outside of the building. The men who take care of the
wheels and the oxen remain constantly shut up in the building for fear
of the Bedouins. The water is brackish, but it serves for drinking, and
the Arabs and Egyptian peasants travelling between Cairo and Suez, who
do not choose to pay a higher price for the sweet water of the latter
place, are in the habit of filling their water skins here, as do the
people of Suez for their cooking provision. From an inscription on the
building, it appears that it was erected in the year of the Hedjra 1018.
We reached Suez about sunset, at the end of eleven hours and a half. I
alighted with the Bedouins upon an open place between the western wall
of the town, and its houses.

April 24th. In the time of Niebuhr Suez was not enclosed; there is now a
wall on the west and south-west, which is rapidly falling to decay. The
town is in a ruinous state; and neither merchants nor artisans live in
it. Its population consists only of about a dozen agents, who receive
goods from the ports of the Red sea, and forward them to their
correspondents at Cairo, together with some shop-keepers who deal
chiefly in provisions. The Pasha keeps a garrison here of about fifty
horsemen, with an officer who commands the town, the neighbouring Arabs,
and the shipping in the harbour. As Suez is one of the few harbours in
the Red sea where ships can be repaired, some vessels are constantly
seen at the wharf; the repairs are carried on by Greek shipwrights and
smiths, in the service of the Pasha, who are let out to the shipowners
by the commanding officer. Suez has of late become a harbour of
secondary importance, the supplies of provisions, &c. for the Hedjaz
being collected principally at Cosseir, and shipped from thence to Yembo
and Djidda: but the trade in coffee and

[p.466] India goods still passes this way to Cairo. I saw numerous bales
of spices and coffee lying near the shore, and a large heap of iron,
together with packages of small wares, antimony, and Egyptian goods for
exportation to Djidda, and ultimately to Yemen and India. The merchants
complained of the want of camels to transport their goods to Cairo. The
Pasha, who owns a considerable part of the imports of coffee, has fixed
the carriage across the desert at a low price, and none of the agents
venture to offer more to the camel drivers; the consequence of which is,
that few are encouraged to come to Suez beyond the number required for
the Pasha's merchandize. A caravan consisting of five or six hundred
camels leaves Suez for Cairo on the 10th of each lunar month,
accompanied by guards and two field-pieces; while smaller ones, composed
of twenty or thirty beasts, depart almost every four or five days; but
to these the merchants are shy of trusting their goods, because they can
never depend on the safety of the road; accidents however seldom happen
at present, so formidable is the name of Mohammed Ali.

Before the power of this Pasha was established in Egypt, and during the
whole period of the Mamelouk government, the Bedouins might be called
complete masters of Suez. Every inhabitant was obliged t[o] have his
protector, Ghafyr [Arabic], among the Bedouins of Mount Sinai, to whom
he made annual presents of money, corn, and clothes, and who ensured to
him the safe passage of his goods and person through the desert, and the
recovery of whatever was plundered by the others. At that time the rate
of freight was fixed by the Bedouins, and camels were in plenty; but,
whenever the governors of Cairo quarrelled with the Bedouins, or ill-
treated any of them at Cairo, the road was immediately interrupted, and
the Bedouins placed guards over the well of Naba [Arabic], two hours
distant from Suez, in the hills on the eastern side of the gulf, to
prevent the people of the town from drawing from thence their

[p.467] daily supply of sweet water. The difference was always settled
by presents to the Bedouins, who, however, as may readily be conceived,
often abused their power; and it not unfrequently happened that, even in
time of peace, a Bedouin girl would be found, in the morning, sitting on
the well, who refused permission to the water carriers of Suez to draw
water unless they paid her with a new shirt, which they were obliged to
do; for to strike her, or even to remove her by force, would have
brought on a war with her tribe. The authority of the Bedouins is now at
an end, though their Sheikhs receive from the Turkish governors of Suez
a yearly tribute, under the name of presents, in clothes and money; the
Pasha himself has become the Ghafyr of the people of Suez, and exacts
from every camel load that passes through the gates from two to four
dollars, for which he engages to ensure the passage through the desert;
when the caravan however was plundered in 1815, he never returned the
value of the goods to the owners.

The Arabs Terabein are the conductors of the caravans to Ghaza, and
Khalyl (Hebron), the latter of which is eight days distant. At this time
the freight per camel's load was eighteen Patacks, or four dollars and a
half. These caravans bring the manufactures of Damascus, soap, glass-
ware, tobacco, and dried fruits, which are shipped at Suez for the
Hedjaz and Yemen.

The eastern part of the town of Suez is completely in ruins, but near
the shore are some well built Khans, and in the inhabited part of the
town are several good private houses. The aspect of Suez is that of an
Arabian, and not an Egyptian town, and even in the barren waste, which
surrounds it, it resembles Yembo and Djidda; the same motley crowds are
met with in the streets, and the greater part of the shop-keepers are
from Arabia or Syria. The air is bad, occasioned by the saline nature of
the earth, and the extensive low grounds on the north and north-east
sides, which are filled

[p.468] with stagnant waters by the tides. The inhabitants endeavour to
counteract the influence of this bad atmosphere by drinking brandy
freely; the mortality is not diminished by such a remedy, and fevers of
a malignant kind prevail during the spring and summer.

The water of the well of Naba, though called sweet, has a very
indifferent taste, and becomes putrid in a few days if kept in skins.
The government has made a sort of monopoly of it; but its distribution
is very irregular, and affrays often happen at the well, particularly
when ships are on the point of sailing. In general, however, they touch
at Tor, for a supply; those lying in the harbour might fill their casks
at the well of Abou Szoueyra [Arabic], about seven hours to the south of
Ayoun Mousa, and about half an hour from the sea shore, where the water
is good; but Arabs will seldom give themselves so much trouble for
water, and will rather drink what is at hand, though bad, than go to a
distance for good.

Ships, after delivering their cargoes at Suez, frequently proceed to
Cosseir, to take in corn for the Hedjaz. They first touch at Tor for
water, and then stand over to the western coast, anchoring in the creeks
every evening till they reach their destination. The coast they sail
along is barren, and without water, and no Arabs are seen. At one or two
days sail from Suez is an ancient Coptic convent, now abandoned, called
Deir Zafaran or Deir El Araba [Arabic]; it stands on the declivity of
the mountain, at about one hour from the sea. Some wild date-trees grow
there. At the foot of the mountain are several wells three or four feet
deep, upon the surface of whose waters naphtha or petroleum is sometimes
found in the month of November, which is skimmed off by the hand; it is
of a deep brownish black colour, and of the same fluidity as turpentine,
which it resembles in smell. This substance, which is known

[p.469] under the name of Zeit el Djebel [Arabic], mountain oil, is
collected principally by the Christians of Tor, and by the Arabs Heteim,
of the eastern shore of the Red sea; it is greatly esteemed in Egypt as
a cure for sores and rheumatism, and is sold at Suez and Tor, at from
one to two dollars per pound.

Niebuhr, travelling in 1762, says that Suez derives its provisions in
great part from Mount Sinai and Ghaza: this is not the case now. From
Mount Sinai it obtains nothing but charcoal, and a few fruits and dates
in the autumn; dried fruits of the growth of Damascus are the only
import from Ghaza. The town is supplied with provisions from Cairo;
vegetables are found only at the time of the arrival of the caravan.
Every article is of the worst quality, and twenty-five per cent. dearer
than at Cairo. Syrian, Turkish, and Moggrebyn pilgrims are constantly
seen here, waiting for the departure of ships to the Hedjaz. I found
three vessels in the harbour, and it may be calculated that one sails to
the southward every fortnight. No Europeans are settled here; but an
English agent is expected next year, to meet the ships from Bombay,
according to a treaty made with the Pasha, by several English houses,
who wished to open a direct communication between India and Egypt.[In
May, 1817, a small fleet arrived at Suez direct from Bombay, which was
composed of English ships, and of others belonging to Mohammed Ali
Pasha: among the articles imported were two elephants destined by the
Pasha as presents to the Porte. This has been the first attempt within
the last forty years to open a direct trade between India and Egypt, and
will be as profitable to the Pasha as it must be ruinous to his
subjects. The cargoes of these ships and the coffee which he imports
from Yemen, are distributed by him among the merchants of Cairo, in
proportion to their supposed capital in trade, and they are obliged to
take the articles off his hands at the highest prices which they bear in
the Bazar. If this trade is encreased by the Pasha, it will entirely
prevent the merchants from importing goods on their own account from
Djidda, the quantity they are thus obliged to take from the Pasha being
fully sufficient for the consumption of Egypt.]

April 15th.--As the small caravan with which I had come to


[p.470] Suez remained there, I set out accompanied only by my guide and
another Arab, whom he had engaged, and who afterwards proved through the
whole journey a most serviceable, courageous, and honest companion. We
left Suez early in the morning: the tide was then at flood, and we were
obliged to make the tour of the whole creek to the N. of the town, which
at low water can be forded. In winter time, and immediately after the
rainy season, this circuit is rendered still greater, because the low
grounds to the northward of the creek are then inundated, and become so
swampy that the camels cannot pass them. We rode one hour and three
quarters in a straight line northwards, after passing, close by the
town, several mounds of rubbish, which afford no object of curiosity
except a few large stones, supposed to be the ruins of Clysma or
Arsinoe. We then turned eastwards, just at the point where the remains
of the ancient canal are very distinctly visible: two swellings of the
ground, of which the eastern is about eight or ten feet high, and the
western somewhat less, run in a straight line northwards, parallel with
each other, at the distance of about twenty-five feet. They begin at a
few hundred paces to the N.W. of high-water mark, from whence northwards
the ground is covered by a saline crust. We turned the point of this
inlet, and halted for a short time at the wells of Ayoun Mousa, under
the date trees. The water of these wells is copious, but one only
affords sweet water, and this is so often rendered muddy by the passage
of Arabs, whose camels descend into the wells, that it is seldom fit to
supply a provision to the traveller, much less for shipping. We rested,
at two hours and three quarters from the wells, in the plain called El
Kordhye [Arabic].

April 26th.--We proceeded over a barren sandy and gravelly plain, called
El Ahtha [Arabic], direction S. by E. For about an hour the plain was
uneven; we then entered upon a widely-extended flat, in which we
continued S.S.E. Low mountains, the commencement


[p.471] of the chain of Tyh, run parallel with the road, to the left,
about eight miles distant; they are inhabited by Terabein. At the end of
four hours and a half we halted for a few hours in Wady Seder which
takes its name of Wady only, from being overflown with water when the
rains are very copious, which, however, does not happen every year. Its
natural formation by no means entitles it to be called a valley, its
level being only a few feet lower than that of the desert on both sides.
Some thorny trees grow in it, but no herbs for pasture. We continued our
way S. b. E. over the plain, which was alternately gravelly, stony, and
sandy. At the end of seven hours and a half we reached Wady Wardan
[Arabic], a valley or bed of a torrent, similar in nature to the former,
but broader. Near its extremity, at the sea side, it is several miles in
breadth; and here is the well of Abou Szoueyra, which I have already
mentioned. The Arabs of Tor seldom encamp in this place, but the
Terabein Arabs are sometimes attracted by the well. During the war which
happened about eight years ago between the Towara and the Maazy
Bedouins, who live in the mountains between Cairo and Cosseir, a party
of the former happened to be stationed here with their families. They
were surprised one morning by a troop of their enemies, while assembled
in the Sheikh's tent to drink coffee. Seven or eight of them were cut
down: the Sheikh himself, an old man, seeing escape impossible, sat down
by the fire, when the leader of the Maazy came up, and cried out to him
to throw down his turban and his life should be spared. The generous
Sheikh, rather than do what, according to Bedouin notions, would have
stained his reputation ever after, exclaimed, "I shall not uncover my
head before my enemies;" and was immediately killed with the thrust of a
lance. A low chain of sand-hills begins here to the west, near the sea;
and the eastern mountains approach the road. At nine hours and a half,


[p.472] S.S.E. the eastern mountains form a junction with the western
hills. At ten hours we entered a hilly country; at ten hours and three
quarters we rested for the night in a barren valley among the hills,
called Wady Amara [Arabic]. We met with nobody in this route except a
party of Yembo merchants, who had landed at Tor, and were travelling to
Cairo. The hills consist of chalk and silex in very irregular strata:
the silex is sometimes quite black; at other times it takes a lustre and
transparency much resembling agate.

April 27th.--We travelled over uneven hilly ground, gravelly and flinty.
At one hour and three quarters we passed the well of Howara [Arabic],
round which a few date trees grow. Niebuhr travelled the same route, but
his guides probably did not lead him to this well, which lies among
hills about two hundred paces out of the road. He mentions a rock called
Hadj er Rakkabe, as one German mile short of Gharendel; I remember to
have halted under a large rock, close by the road side, a very short
distance before we reached Howara, but I did not learn its name. The
water of the well of Howara is so bitter, that men cannot drink it; and
even camels, if not very thirsty, refuse to taste it.

From Ayoun Mousa to the well of Howara we had travelled fifteen hours
and a quarter. Referring to this distance, it appears probable that this
is the desert of three days mentioned in the Scriptures to have been
crossed by the Israelites immediately after their passing the Red sea,
and at the end of which they arrived at Marah. In moving with a whole
nation, the march may well be supposed to have occupied three days; and
the bitter well at Marah, which was sweetened by Moses, corresponds
exactly with that of Howara. This is the usual route to Mount Sinai, and
was probably therefore that which the Israelites took on their escape
from Egypt, provided it be admitted that they crossed the sea near Suez,
as Niebuhr, with good reason, conjectures. There is


[p.473] no other road of three days march in the way from Suez towards
Sinai, nor is there any other well absolutely bitter on the whole of
this coast, as far as Ras Mohammed. The complaints of the bitterness of
the water by the children of Israel, who had been accustomed to the
sweet water of the Nile, are such as may daily be heard from the
Egyptian servants and peasants who travel in Arabia. Accustomed from
their youth to the excellent water of the Nile, there is nothing which
they so much regret in countries distant from Egypt; nor is there any
eastern people who feel so keenly the want of good water as the present
natives of Egypt. With respect to the means employed by Moses to render
the waters of the well sweet, I have frequently enquired among the
Bedouins in different parts of Arabia whether they possessed any means
of effecting such a change, by throwing wood into it, or by any other
process; but I never could learn that such an art was known.

At the end of three hours we reached Wady Gharendel [Arabic] which
extends to the N.E. and is almost a mile in breadth, and full of trees.
The Arabs told me that it may be traced through the whole desert, and
that it begins at no great distance from El Arysh, on the Mediterranean,
but I had no means of ascertaining the truth of this statement. About
half an hour from the place where we halted, in a southern direction, is
a copious spring, with a small rivulet, which renders the valley the
principal station on this route. The water is disagreeable, and if kept
for a night in the water skins, it turns bitter and spoils, as I have
myself experienced, having passed this way three times.

If we admit Bir Howara to be the Marah[Morra in Arabic means "bitter."
Marah in Hebrew is "bitterness."] of Exodus (xv. 23), then Wady
Gharendel is probably Elim, with its wells and date trees, an opinion
entertained by Niebuhr, who, however, did not

[p.474] see the bitter well of Howara on the road to Gharendel. The
nonexistence, at present, of twelve wells at Gharendel must not be
considered as evidence against the just-stated conjecture; for Niebuhr
says that his companions obtained water here by digging to a very small
depth, and there was a great plenty of it, when I passed; water, in
fact, is readily found by digging, in every fertile valley in Arabia,
and wells are thus easily formed, which are quickly filled up again by
the sands.

The Wady Gharendel contains date trees, tamarisks, acacias of different
species, and the thorny shrub Gharkad [Arabic], the Peganum retusum of
Forskal, which is extremely common in this peninsula, and is also met
with in the sands of the Delta on the coast of the Mediterranean. Its
small red berry, of the size of a grain of the pomegranate, is very
juicy and refreshing, much resembling a ripe gooseberry in taste, but
not so sweet. The Arabs are very fond of it, and I was told that in
years when the shrub produces large crops, they make a conserve of the
berries. The Gharkad, which from the colour of its fruit is also called
by the Arabs Homra delights in a sandy soil, and reaches its maturity in
the height of summer when the ground is parched up, exciting an
agreeable surprise in the traveller, at finding so juicy a berry
produced in the driest soil and season.[Might not the berry of this
shrub have been used by Moses to sweeten the waters of Marah? The words
in Exodus, xv. 25, are: "And the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he
had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet." The Arabic
translation of this passage gives a different, and, perhaps, more
correct reading: "And the Lord guided him to a tree, of which he threw
something into the water, which then became sweet." I do not remember,
to have seen any Gharkad in the neighbourhood of Howara, but Wady
Gharendel is full of this shrub. As these conjectures did not occur to
me when I was on the spot, I did not enquire of the Bedouins whether
they ever sweetened the water with the juice of the berries, which would
probably effect this change in the same manner as the juice of
pomegranate grains expressed into it.] The bottom of the valley of
Gharendel swarms with ticks, which are extremely distressing both to men
and beasts, and on this account the caravans usually encamp on the sides
of the hills which border the valley.


[p.475] We continued in a S.E. 1/2 E. direction, passing over hills, and
at the end of four hours from our starting in the morning, we came to an
open, though hilly country, still slightly ascending, S.S.E. and then
reached by a similar descent, in five hours and a half, Wady Oszaita
[Arabic], enclosed by chalk hills. Here is another bitter well which
never yields a copious supply, and sometimes is completely dried up. A
few date trees stand near it. From hence we rode over a wide plain S.E.
b. S. and at the end of seven hours and three quarters came to Wady
Thale [Arabic]. Rock salt is found here as well as in Gharendel; date,
acacia, and tamarisks grow in the valley; but they were now all
withered. To our right was a chain of mountains, which extend towards
Gharendel. Proceeding from hence south, we turned the point of the
mountain, and then passed the rudely constructed tomb of a female saint,
called Arys Themman [Arabic], or the bridegroom of Themman, where the
Arabs are in the habit of saying a short prayer, and suspending some
rags of clothing upon some poles planted round the tomb. After having
doubled the mountain we entered the valley called Wady Taybe [Arabic],
which descends rapidly to the sea. At the end of eight hours and a half
we turned out of Wady Taybe into a branch of it, called Wady Shebeyke
[Arabic], in which we continued E.S.E. and halted for the night, after a
day's march of nine hours and a quarter. This is a broad valley, with
steep though not high cliffs on both sides. The rock is calcareous, and
runs in even horizontal layers. Just over the road, a place was shewn to
me from whence, some years since, a Bedouin of the Arabs of Tor
precipitated his son, bound hands and feet, because he had stolen


[p.476] corn out of a magazine belonging to a friend of the family. In
the great eastern desert the Aeneze Bedouins are not so severe in such
instances; but they would punish a Bedouin who should pilfer any thing
from his guest's baggage.

April 28th.--We set out before dawn, and continued for three quarters of
an hour in the Wady, after which we ascended E. b. S. and came upon a
high plain, surrounded by rocks, with a towering mountain on the N.
side, called Sarbout el Djemel [Arabic]. We crossed the plain at sun
rise; and the fresh air of the morning was extremely agreeable. There is
nothing which so much compensates for the miseries of travelling in the
Arabian deserts, as the pleasure of enjoying every morning the sublime
spectacle of the break of day and of the rising of the sun, which is
always accompanied, even in the hottest season, with a refreshing
breeze. It was an invariable custom with me, at setting out early in the
morning, to walk on foot for a few hours in advance of the caravan; and
as enjoyments are comparative, I believe that I derived from this
practice greater pleasure than any which the arts of the most luxurious
capitals can afford. At two hours and a half the plain terminated; we
then turned the point of the above-mentioned mountain, and entered the
valley called Wady Hommar [Arabic], in which we continued E. b. N. This
valley, in which a few acacia trees grow, has no perceptible slope on
either side; its rocks are all calcareous, with flint upon some of them;
by the road side, I observed a few scratchings of the figures of camels,
done in the same style as those in Wady Mokatteb copied by M. Niebuhr
and M. Seetzen, but without any inscriptions. At four hours we issued
from this valley where the southern rocks which enclose it terminate,
and we travelled over a wide, slightly ascending plain of deep sand,
called El Debbe [Arabic], a name given by the Towara Bedouins to several
other sandy districts of the same kind.


[p.477] The direction of our road across it was S. E. by S. At six hours
and a half we entered a mountainous country, much devastated by
torrents, which have given the mountains a very wild appearance. Here
sand-stone rocks begin. We followed the windings of a valley, and in
seven hours and a quarter reached the Wady el Naszeb [Arabic], where we
rested, under the shade of a large impending rock, which for ages,
probably, has afforded shelter to travellers; it is I believe the same
represented by Niebuhr in vol. i. pl. 48. He calls the valley Warsan,
which is, no doubt, its true name, but the Arabs comprise all the
contiguous valleys under the general name of Naszeb. Shady spots like
this are well known to the Arabs, and as the scanty foliage of the
acacia, the only tree in which these valleys abound, affords no shade,
they take advantage of such rocks, and regulate the day's journey in
such a way, as to be able to reach them at noon, there to take the

The main branch of the Wady Naszeb continues farther up to the S.E. and
contains, at about half an hour from the place where we rested, a well
of excellent water; as I was fatigued, and the sun was very hot, I
neglected to go there, though I am sensible that travellers ought
particularly to visit wells in the desert, because it is at these
natural stations that traces of former inhabitants are more likely to be
found than any where else. The Wady Naszeb empties its waters in the
rainy season into the gulf of Suez, at a short distance from the Birket

While my guides and servant lay asleep under the rock, and one of the
Arabs had gone to the well to water the camels and fill the skins, I
walked round the rock, and was surprised to find inscriptions similar in
form to those which have been copied by travellers in Wady Mokatteb.
They are upon the surface of blocks which have fallen down from the
cliff, and some of them appear to have been engraved while the pieces
still formed a part of the main

[p.478] rock. There is a great number of them, but few can be distinctly
made out. I copied the following from some rocks which are lying near
the resting-place, at about an hundred paces from the spot where
travellers usually alight. [not included] The fallen blocks must be
closely examined in order to discover

[p.479] the inscriptions; in some places they are still to be seen on
the rock above. They have evidently been done in great haste, and very
rudely, sometimes with large letters, at others with small, and seldom
with straight lines. The characters appear to be written from right to
left, and although mere scratches, an instrument of metal must have been
required, for the rock, though of sandstone, is of considerable
hardness. Some of the letters are not higher than half an inch; but they
are generally about fifteen lines in height, and four lines in breadth;
the annexed figure, (as M. Seetzen has already observed in his
publication upon these inscriptions in the Mines de l'Orient) is seen at
the beginning of almost every line. Hence it appears that none of the
inscriptions are of any length, but that they consist merely of short
phrases, all similar to each other, in the beginning at least. They are
perhaps prayers, or the names of pilgrims, on their way to Mount Sinai,
who had rested under this rock. A few drawings of camels and goats, done
in the coarsest manner, are likewise seen. M. Niebuhr (vol. i. pl. 50)
has given some sketches of them.

Some Syale trees, a species of the mimosa, grow in this valley. The pod
which they produce, together with the tenderest shoots of the branches,
serve as fodder to the camels; the bark of the tree is used by the Arabs
to tan leather. The rocks round the resting-place of Naszeb are much
shattered and broken, evidently by torrents; yet no torrents within the
memory of man have ever rushed down the valley.

In the afternoon we entered a lateral branch of the Naszeb, more
northerly than the main branch which contains the well, and we gradually
ascended it. We had been joined at the Ayoun Mousa by an Egyptian
Bedouin, belonging to the Arabs of the province


[p.480] of Sherkyeh, who was married to a girl of the Towara Arabs; last
night, being in the vicinity of the place where he knew his wife to be,
he put spurs to the ass on which he was mounted, and thinking that he
knew the road, he quitted the Wady Shebeyke two hours before we did, and
without any provision of water. He missed his way on the sandy plain of
Debbe, and instead of reaching the spring of Naszeb, where he intended
to allay his thirst, he rode the whole of this morning and afternoon
about the mountain in different directions, in fruitless search after
the shady and conspicuous rock of Naszeb. Towards the evening we met
him, so much exhausted with thirst, that his eyes had become dim, and he
could scarcely recognise us; had he not fallen in with us he would
probably have perished. My companions laughed at the effeminate
Egyptian, as they called him, and his presumption in travelling alone in
districts with which he was unacquainted. At the end of eight hours and
three quarters, in a general direction of. E. by S. we passed a small
inlet in the northern chain, where, at a short distance from the road,
is said to be a well of tolerable water, called El Maleha [Arabic], or
the saltish. We then ascended with difficulty a steep mountain, composed
to the top of moving sands, with a very few rocks appearing above the
surface. We reached the summit after a day's march of nine hours and
three quarters, and rested upon a high plain, called Raml el Morak
[Arabic]. From hence we had an extensive view to the north, bounded by
the chain of mountains called El Tyh [Arabic]; this range begins near
the abovementioned mountain of Sarbout el Djemel, and extends in a curve
eastwards twenty or twenty-five miles, from the termination of the Wady
Hommar. At the eastern extremity lies a high mountain called Djebel
Odjme [Arabic], to the north of which begins another chain, likewise
running eastwards towards the gulf of


[p.481] Akaba. The name of El Tyh is applied to this ridge as well as to
the former, but it is specifically called El Dhelel [Arabic]. These
chains form the northern boundaries of the Sinai mountains, and are the
pasturing places of the Sinai Bedouins. They are the most regular ranges
of the peninsula, being almost throughout of equal height, without any
prominent peaks, and extending in an uninterrupted line eastwards. They
are inhabited by the tribes of Terabein and Tyaha, the latter of whom
are richer in camels and flocks than any other of the Towara tribes. The
valleys of these mountains are said to afford excellent pasturage, and
fine springs, though not in great numbers. The Terabein frequently visit
Cairo and Suez; but the Tyaha have more intercourse with Ghaza, and
Khalyl, and are a very bold, independent people, often at war with their
neighbours, and, even now, caring little for the authority of the Pasha
of Egypt. At the southern foot of the mountain Tyh extends a broad sandy
plain, called El Seyh, which begins at the Debbe, and continues for two
days journey eastwards. It affords good pasturage in spring, but has no
water, and is therefore little frequented by Bedouins.

April 29th.--We crossed the plain of Raml Morak in a S. by E. direction.
From hence the high peak of Serbal bore S. In an hour and a quarter we
reached the upper chain of the mountains of Sinai, where gruenstein
begins, mixed in places with layers of granite, and we entered the
valley called Wady Khamyle [Arabic]. At the end of two hours we passed
in the valley a projecting rock, like that of Naszeb, serving for a
resting-place to travellers: here I observed several inscriptions
similar to those of Naszeb, but much effaced, together with rude
drawings of mountain goats. As I did not wish to betray too much
curiosity, until I could ascertain what conduct I ought to pursue in
order to attain my chief object of penetrating to Akaba, I did not stop
to copy


[p.482] these monuments. At the end of two hours and a half in the Wady
Khamyle we came to the first Bedouin encampment which I had seen since
leaving Suez. It belonged to the tribe of Szowaleha [Arabic]. On the
approach of summer all the Bedouins leave the lower country, where the
herbage is dried up, and retire towards the higher parts of the
peninsula, where, owing to the comparatively cooler climate, the pasture
preserves its freshness much longer. Ascending gently through the
valley, we passed at three hours a place of burial called Mokbera
[Arabic], one of the places of interment of the tribe of Szowaleha. It
seems to be a custom prevalent with the Arabs in every part of the
desert, to have regular burial-grounds, whither they carry their dead,
sometimes from the distance of several days journey. The burying ground
seen by Niebuhr[Voyage, vol. i. p. 189] near Naszeb, which, as I have
already mentioned, I passed without visiting, and missed in my way back,
by taking a more southern road, appears to have been an ancient cemetery
of the same kind, formed at a time when hieroglyphical characters were
in use among all the nations under Egyptian influence. As there are no
countries where ancient manners are so permanent as in the desert, it is
probable that the same customs of sepulture then prevailed which still
exist, and that the burying ground described by Niebuhr by no means
proves the former existence of a city. Among the rude tombs of Mokbera,
which consist, for the most part, of mere heaps of earth covered with
loose stones, the tomb of Sheikh Hamyd, a Bedouin saint, is
distinguished; the Szowaleha keep it always carefully covered with fresh

At the end of three hours and a half we entered another valley, called
Wady Barak [Arabic], where the ascent becomes more steep. Here the rock
changes to porphyry, with strata of gruenstein; the surface of the former
is in most places completely


[p.483] black. The mountains on both sides of the valley are much
shattered: detached blocks and loose stones covered their sides, and the
bottom of the valley was filled, in many places to the depth of ten
feet, with a layer of stones that had fallen down. The Wady becomes
narrower towards the upper end, and the camels ascended with difficulty.
At the end of six hours and a quarter we reached the extremity, to which
the Bedouins apply the name of Djebel Leboua [Arabic], the mountain of
the lioness, a name indicating, perhaps, that lions existed at one
period in the peninsula of Mount Sinai, though no longer to be found
here. In ascending Wady Barak, I saw upon several blocks lying by the
road side short inscriptions, generally of one line only, all of which
began with the remarkable character already represented.

From the top of Djebel Leboua we descended a little, and entered the
Wady Genne [Arabic, a fine valley, several miles in breadth, and covered
with pasturage. It lay in a straight line before us, and presented much
of Alpine scenery. We here found several Bedouins occupied in collecting
brush-wood, which they burn into charcoal for the Cairo market; they
prefer for this purpose the thick roots of the shrub Rethem [Arabic],
Genista raetam of Forskal, which grows here in abundance. Of the herbs
which grow in this valley many were odoriferous, as the Obeytheran,
Sille [Arabic], perhaps the Zilla Myagrum of Forskal; and the Shyh
[Arabic], or Artemisia. The Bedouins collect also the herb Adjrem
[Arabic], which they dry, break in pieces and pound between stones, and
then use as a substitute for soap to wash their linen with. I was told
that very good water is found at about two miles to the E. of this

We gained the upper extremity of Wady Genne at the end of nine hours.
The ranges of mountains in this country differ in their formation from
all the other Arabian chains which I have


[p.484] seen, the valleys reaching to the very summits, where they form
a plain, and thence descend on the other side. A very pointed peak of
rocks, near the left of the summit of Wady Genne, is known by the
appellation of Zob el Bahry [Arabic]. After crossing a short plain, we
again descended S.E. by S. and entered the valley called Wady Berah
[Arabic], where I saw another block with inscriptions. Near it were many
others, but effaced. The following was more regularly and clearly
written than any I have seen: [not included] We descended slowly through
this valley, which is covered with sand, till, at the end of ten hours,
we entered a side valley called Wady Osh [Arabic], and at ten hours and
a half alighted at an encampment of Bedouins, pitched at no great
distance from a burial ground similar to that which we had passed in the

This encampment belonged to the Oulad Said [Arabic], a branch of the
Szowaleha tribe, and one of their Sheikhs, Hassan [Arabic], had his tent
here; this we entered, though he was absent, and the Arabs had a long
and fierce dispute among themselves to decide who should have the honour
of furnishing us a supper, and a breakfast the next morning. He who
first sees the stranger from afar, and exclaims: "There comes my guest,"
has the right of entertaining him, whatever tent he may alight at. A
lamb was killed for me, which was an act of great hospitality; for these
Bedouins are poor, and a lamb was worth upwards of a Spanish dollar, a
sum that would afford a supply of butter and bread to the family for a
whole week. I found the same custom to prevail here, which I observed in
my journey through the northern parts of Arabia Petraea; when meat is
served up, it is the duty of one of the guests to demand a, portion for
the women, by calling out " Lahm el

[p.485] Ferash," i.e. "the meat for the apartment of the women;" and a
part of it is then either set aside, or he is answered that this has
been already done. In the evening we joined in some of the popular
songs, of which a description will be found in my illustration of
Bedouin manners.[This will form part of a subsequent volume. Ed]

I was naturally asked for what object I had come to these mountains. As
the passage of Greeks on their way to visit the convent of Sinai is
frequent, I might have answered that I was a Greek; but I thought it
better to adhere to what I had already told my guides, that I had left
Cairo, in order not to expose myself to the plague, that I wished to
pass my time among the Bedouins while the disease prevailed, and that I
intended to visit the convent. Other Moslems would have considered it
impious to fly from the infection; but I knew that all these Bedouins
entertain as great a dread of the plague as Europeans themselves. During
the spring, when the disease usually prevails in Egypt, no prospect of
gain can induce them to expose themselves to infection, by a journey to
the banks of the Nile; the Bedouins with whom I left Cairo were the last
who had remained there. Had the Pasha granted me a Firmahn to the great
Sheikh of the Towara Arabs, I should have gone directly to his tent, and
in virtue of it I should have taken guides to conduct me to Akaba; but
being without the Firmahn, I thought it more prudent to visit the
convent in the first instance, and to depart from thence for Akaba, in
order to take advantage of such influence as the Prior might possess
over the Bedouins, for though they pay little respect to the priests,
yet they have some fear of being excluded from the gains accruing from
the transport of visitors to the convent. As every white-skinned person,
who makes his appearance in the desert, is supposed by the Arabs to be
attached to the Turkish army, or the government of Cairo, my

[p.486] going to Akaba without any recommendations would have given rise
to much suspicion, and I should probably have been supposed to be a
deserter from the Turkish army, attempting to escape by that circuitous
route to Syria; a practice which is sometimes resorted to by the
soldiers, to whom, without the Pasha's passport, Egypt is closed both by
sea and land.

In the Wady Osh there is a well of sweet water. From hence upwards, and
throughout the primitive chain of Mount Sinai, the water is generally
excellent, while in the lower chalky mountains all round the peninsula,
it is brackish, or bitter, except in one or two places. The Wady Osh and
Wady Berah empty their waters in the rainy season into Wady el Sheikh,
above Feiran.

April 30th.--We did not leave our kind hosts till the afternoon, for they
insisted on my taking a dinner before I set out. I gave to their
children, who accompanied me a little way, some coffee beans to carry to
their mothers, and some Kammereddein, a sweetmeat made at Damascus from
apricots, of which I had laid in a large stock, and which is very
acceptable to all the Bedouins of Syria, Egypt, and the Hedjaz. The
offer of any reward to a Bedouin host is generally offensive to his
pride; but some little presents may be given to the women and children.
Trinkets and similar articles are little esteemed by the Bedouins; but
coffee is in great request all over the desert; and sweetmeats and sugar
are preferred to money, which, though it will sometimes be accepted,
always creates a sense of humiliation, and consequently of dislike
towards the giver. For my own part, being convinced that the hospitality
of the Bedouin is afforded with disinterested cordiality, I was in
general averse to making the slightest return. Few travellers perhaps
will agree with me on this head; but will treat the Bedouins in the same
manner as the Turks, and other inhabitants of the towns, who never
proffer their services or


[p.487] hospitality without expecting a reward; the feelings of
Bedouins, however, are very different from those of townsmen, and a
Bedouin will praise the guest who departs from him without making any
other remuneration than that of bestowing a blessing upon them and their
encampment, much more than him who thinks to redeem all obligations by

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