« VorigeDoorgaan »
BY LAURENCE OLIPHANT.
modified. Travellers who visit Rügen a Carinel - the Khurbet Semmaka. The few years hence will no longer find a little interest lies in the fact that the remains Arcadia of guilelessness and poetry. I were discovered here by the officers of have mentioned elsewhere the splendid the Palestine Exploration Fund of an physique of the people, reminding us, ancient Jewish sýnagogue. Throughout except at Mönchgut, of our own south the whole of Palestine eleven other ruins country yeomen; doubtless the general of ancient synagogues have been found. robustness is partly to be accounted for A striking characteristic of these baildin the sobriety of life. Public-houses orings is their similarity in plan and detail cabarets, properly speaking, do not exist, of ornamentation. From this it may be and of drunkenness, brawls, and riot, we inferred that they were all built at nearly saw not a trace. These descendants of the same time, and under the influence of sea.kings and pirates have subsided into the architectural taste then prevalent in quietude and repose, and in no corner of the country, which was Roman; and it is Europe is the traveller more secure alike probable from the method of their conas regards his purse or his person. struction, and especially from the locali.
But the railway! If therefore any ties in which they have been discovered, sketcher or botanist be tempted to Rüyen, that they do not date from an earlier pelet him not delay, for the state of things riod than the second century after Christ. I have described will in a few years inev- It was at this period that the Jewish pa. itably be of the remote past.
triarch at Tiberas was the spiritual lead M. B.-E. of a community comprehending all of
Israelitish descent who inhabited the Roman Empire, and it is only in Galilee, and more especially in the neighborhood of
Tiberias, that these remains of syna. From The Sunday Magazine. gogues are to be found. We know that
under the reign of Antoninus Pius, A.D. 138-161, the Jewish colony round Tiberias became very powerful, and that many syn.
agogues were erected in the villages beFROM the edge of the cliff which pro- longing to that colony, most probably in jects into the sea a fine view is obtained imitation of the great works of the Roman over the old fortifications, with the sea emperor in Syria. Indeed, it has been beating through arches of the old sea-wall stated that Simon Jochai built with his below, and in the distance, four miles to own money twenty-four synagogues in the south, somewhat similarly placed, we this part of the country. The fact that perceive on its promontory Tantûra, where one should have existed in Carmel, comruins still remain to indicate the site of paratively detached from the others, the Biblical Dor. But this is beyond the shows that at this date, and perhaps for limit of Carmel, and if we are to continue three or four hundred years after Christ, our examination of that mountain a Jewish community must have lived in must recross the plain for about five miles Carmel, and that Semmaka may bave been to the illage of Isjiin, situated at its a Jewish town up to the fifth century, south-western extremity, thus making the when the patriarchate became extinct, entire western side of the mountain four- and with it the Jewish colony gradually teen miles long. From here a deep valley declined, and the villages dependent on called the Wady-el-Mill, eight miles long, it were abandoned. It was interesting to cuts right through to the plain of Esdrae- stand on this spot, the last one probably lon, thus separating the hills of Samaria inhabited by Jews on Carinel, and investi. from the south-eastern flank of Carmel. gate the last remaining evidences of their Isjim itself is a village situated on the occupation. These are, unfortunately, rapsite of an ancient town, and in the imme- idly disappearing. The principal door of diate neighborhood are many tombs of the synagogue, a sketch of which exists, interest, rock-cut cisterns, and remains of happily, in the memoirs of the Palestine ancient buildings, which would doubtless | Exploration Fund, has since the visit of repay a full investigation. It is situated the survey nearly all been carried away, on the last spur of Carmel, about four together with large portions of the walls hundred feet above the sea level, and if of the building, the foundations in many we follow a romantic wady for about two places alone remaining. For the last ten miles in a north-westerly direction we years it has been used as a quarry by the reach one of the most interesting ruins in neighboring villages of Isjim and Mum.
es-Zeinat, and in a few years not a trace | And he said, Go again seven times." will be left of the last Jewish town in Now there would have been no occasion Carmel.
for Elijah to have given any such direcOne of the wildest and most romantic tions to his servant had the altar been at valleys in the mountain, called the Valley the place supposed, for the sea is in full of the Bees, leads from the plateau on view of it, from Athlit to Cæsarea; it is which this interesting ruin stands, to the evident, therefore, from the words “Go road leading from Dahlien to the Mah- up,” that the altar was at a lower elevation. kraka, or Place of Burning. It deserves | The late Dean Stanley has conjectured its name, for we observe hives of wild that the spot might have been on a plateau bees thickly clustered on the precipitous a little lower down, where there is a well walls of rock which bound the valley on on the south slope of the mountain ; but one side. Here I discovered some of the it has seemed to me more likely that it most perfect and beautifully arranged was in a sort of low amphitheatre, which, rock.cut tombs which I have seen in the on account of its greater area, would have country. As we debouch from the valley been far better adapted for so great a mulour path leads over a fertile upland, which titude as that which was assembled to gives us quite a new idea of the agricultu- witness the discomfiture of the false Tal capabilities of Carmel, and enables us prophets, and which lies to the west a little to account for the phenomenon of so large below Mahkraka, and completely cona population finding sustenance in the cealed from the sea view. There is a mountain as must once bave inbabited it. I point within a few minutes of what would Indeed, the popular conception of this be the centre of this plain from which highland region, probably derived from the sea is clearly visible. And curiously the misleading word Mount, is entirely enough, hidden away in the brushwood, I erroneous, and as we ride over these came bere upon a massive erection of copse-grown plateaus and observe the square slabs of stone, each averaging numerous indications of former cultiva. eighteen inches square and eight or nine tion and civilization, we can well under- inches thick, which, placed on one another stand how the beauty of Carmel was in without cement, make a rude table about old time a proverb, and how its inhabi- twelve feet long and four feet high. tants should have considered themselves I do not, of course, pretend that this favored above all other dwellers in Pales. was the original altar, which it is recorded tine. For the path along which we are was destroyed at the time, but I am at a now riding takes us through what was loss to conjecture what purpose it could formerly the richest and most populous have served; and its position was so exsection of the mountain. It was probably actly that which might have suited the here, and not in the traditional cave im. occasion, that the idea was suggested to puted to him, that Elijah had his resi. me by finding it here, that it may be the dence; for we are approaching that spot remains of some erection put up in Jewish celebrated in Bible story where he sacri. times to commemorate the event. There ticed before the prophets of Baal, and is a path leading from it directly to the where tradition has placed the altar where Kishon, at the point where the Tel-elhe called down the divine fire, and which Kussis, or Hill of the Priests, rises from commands one of the most extensive and the margin of the brook, and wbich owes interesting panoramic views in Palestine, its name to the tradition that it was the including almost every point of note in scene of the execution of the false proph. Galilee. Within the last year the Car-ets. This portion of the mountain was melites have erected a church on the lofty evidently the most populous and most bluff where this event is supposed to have richly cultivated in former times, as it is occurred, and which, rising abrupöly above to this day the most beautiful. The rocky the plain of Esdraelon to a height of one gorges which cleave it on three sides are thousand six hundred feet, forms the densely covered with brushwood of the south-east angle of the mountain, and is a scindianah (oak), pine, Lauristinus Caroli, conspicuous object from far and wide. and many other trees, which, although But a moment's reflection will convince attaining no great height, clothe the hill. us that tradition is not correct in assign. sides with the brightest green, except ing this lofty pinnacle as the scene of the where precipitous walls of grey limestone occurrence, for are told that the rock rise above the foliage. The unduprophet“ said to his servant, Go up now, lating plateaus and the broad valleys are look towards the sea. And he went up waving with the spring crops, though, owaod looked, and said, There is nothing. Iing to the scarcity of population, not a
twentieth part of the mountain which is sites of ancient towns upon this mountain, available for agriculture is tilled. We ride six of which were formerly unknown, and for miles over the rich red loam, through this by no means exhausts the list; and what, in the spring of the year, is a flow that of these no fewer than twelve were ering shrubbery. The landscape glows situated within a radius of two miles and with flowers of bright colors, and there is a half from the spot where I found the scarcely a leaf we pluck and rub between altar-shaped erection near the Maiikraka. our fingers that does not emit some fra. If we include the ruins of others of which grant aromatic odor. Many of the rounded I have heard but have not yet visited, and summits in this sweet-scented wilderness estimate the whole population by the exare crowned with the blocks of drafted tent of those already examined, it cannot stone, with carved capitals, still standing have been less than filty thousand in the in places one above another, and with days when Carmel was in the zenith of its fragments of columns showing now and wealth and beauty. This period may pos. then among the bushes, to mark the spots sibly have continued until the conquest of where a civilized and industrious popula- this province from the Romans by the tion once lived ; while in the valleys we Saracens in the seventh century — for are constantly stumbling upon the gigan- many of the ruins are clearly Byzantine — tic circular inillstones used by the an. when the Moslem rule desolated the cients. Many of these are eight or nine country, when the whole habitations which feet in diameter, two feet in thickness, remained in Carmel were its caves, and and with a circular rim pine or ten inches its only occupants hermits and anchorites. high, to keep the oil from running out, During the crusadiny occupation, forwhile their centres are pierced with a hole tresses were built upon the mountain, and a foot square. Hewn out of the solid rock its wildernesses were again made to a are the wine-vats, ten or twelve feet long, limited extent to yield of their abundance; and four or five wide, like huge sarcophagi, but this gleam of civilization was only of with receptacles below, also rock-hewn, short duration, and it is probable ihat for the juice to run into. Then we are from the end of the thirteenth century amazed at the quantities of tombs and cis. until the beginning of the seventeenth, terns; the hillsides in places are almost when the Druse warrior Fakr ed din inhoneycombed with these; the cisterns cluded it in his conquest, it was again aban. sometimes bell-shaped, with a circular ori. doned. The Druses tell me that when fice eighteen inches in diameter, swell their first settlers came here it was a des. ing below so as to give them a capacity ert, and it is a curious fact that, so far as for holding an immense amount of water, I have been able to discover, no Moslem and sometimes open reservoirs cut to a village has ever existed upon the moundepth of twenty feet or more into the rock, tain proper. To that extent Carmel has and measuring forty or fifty feet on each remained uncontaminated, perhaps awaitside ; the tombs, with the loculi often stilling a new religious epoch for its restoraperfect, with infinite variety of plan and tion to new and better conditions. dimension, sometimes containing as many We have now merely to ride along the as ten or twelve receptacles for the dead. backbone of the ridge from the place of In some cases, these latter are tunnel sacrifice to the Monastery of Mount Carshaped, when they are called kokin; soine. mel to complete our circuit of the moun. times they are sarcophagus-shaped; some- tain. It is a distance of fourteen miles; times there is more than one chamber; on our right, nearly the whole way, we sometimes they are closed by a rolling look from a height of from sixteen hun. stone which still stands in its groove, dred to seventeen hundred feet sheer sometimes by an oblong slab, on which down steep defiles upon the plain of the the carved devices still remain. The en. Kishon, across to the mountains of northtrance is generally down two or three ern Galilee, with Hermon, and bere and steps, through a doorway under an arch, there a snow-tipped point of the Lebanon and the chambers are often twenty feet range, rising behind, and the sweeping square. To investigate these ancient curve of the Bay of Acre almost at our tombs and ruins, and copy the devices feet; on our left the eye follows more which are still to be found upon them, is gently sloping valleys to the plain of an occupation of endless interest to the Sharon and the Mediterranean.
At every modern dweller upon Carmel. Some idea turn we come upon new beauties, and of the extent of these remains may be finally reach, at the head of the rocky gaihered from the fact that during last gorge that enters the mountain behind summer I visited no fewer than twenty | Haifa, the old Crusading fortress of Rush
mia, with its walls still standing, and its pounds with the interest due to them also before terraces indicating that it was probably he left England, indeed he offered to leave the the site of a still more ancient stronghold. money with me but that I would not accept of at From here we wind down a dizzy path to that time as he said it would take nearly all the the plain, overlooking as we do so the money he had about him. He likewise degroves of date palms which forin one of sired me to receive yearly from the Newstead The chief beauties of Haifa; the mouth of if the property tax is now taken off, to pay
tenants the sum of thirty-six pounds or forty the Kishon, with the lagoons formed by Mrs. Byron and the Misses Parkyns the interthat river glittering among the gardens ; est of the eight hundred pounds, till he rethe old well where Coeur de Lion fought turned to England or paid off the debt. He his celebrated battle with Saladin ; ihe also desired me to get from the Newstead crumbling old fortress which dominates Tenants about ten pounds more to pay some the town of Haifa, with its walls and roofs trifling bills of his at Newark. As to my own so dazzlingly white as to be uuerly decep- fortune he insisted that I would purchase an tive of its true character within; until, is all that is left) for my own life, he said he
Annuity with the three thousand pounds (which turning a corner of the mountain, we sud- would have nothing to do with this money, denly find ourselves among the vineyards as money transactions always made relations of the German colonists, at the base of quarrel, and he would not quarrel with me for which runs their street of neat, red-tiled twenty thousand pounds. After all this I own houses bordered with wo rows of shade. I was much surprised to hear from you that trees, and on the plain behind it we see my son had gonesabroad without relieving me their ploughs and teams, in strong con- from the heavy burden of this thousand pounds, trast with those of the fellahin, turning indeed I had not an idea but that he would do up the soil. As we look at this tidy vil- as he promised, do let me know what I am lo lage, transplanted as it were from Europe and a man of business, if I can take any steps
do I expect you will advise me both as a friend to the foot of Carmel, and mark the signs to secure the money, Wylde's interest is now of modern husbandry upon its long going on and there is about a year and a half neglected slopes, it seems as though the now due to him. As to my own fortune I cerfirst step towards its regeneration is al- tainly never will purchase an annuity with it ready taken, and that the dawn of a but the money cannot be paid up without a brighter period may at last be breaking, proper discharge from Lord Byron as well as after its long night of desolation and of myself. The grief I feel at my son's ing gloom.
abroad and the addition of his leaving his affairs in so unsettled a state and not taking the thousand pounds on himself, I think alltogether it will kill me. Besides my income is so small that I shall be ruined if the thousand pounds is not paid up; and to add to all this bad health is expensive, and a Bank at Newark
has failed, Porklington [?] Dic'.inson & Co., 11. Byron having started for the East and I have several of their notes.
The keepwithout setting his mother's mind at ease
ers wages is twenty-five guineas a year and ten about the 1,000l. borrowed for his use at shillings a week board wages. I hope I shall
be able to save my son the expence of a female Cambridge (a matter on which she certainly had a right to feel strongly), Mrs. allowed my servants for the additional trouble
servant during the summer if something is Byron is at Newstead, and bent on
re; they will have in airing the House (or other. ducing the insufficient establishinent, and wise they will grumble) in winter there must paring down every cause of needless ex- be a female servant whether I am here or not, penditure, so that her thankless son may as it will be full employment for one to keep have greater means for bis foreign travels, the fires in the different rooms in the Abbey or more money to spend on his return to part and to keep them in order, if that is not England :
done the house is so damp that the furniture
will be spoiled and the Paper fall off. Old From Catherine Gordon Byron to J. Hanson, Murray is I believe gone to Lisbon, when he Esg.
returns he ought certainly be put on board Newstead Abbey, rith June, 1809. wages, he really is so troublesome that I dont DEAR SIR, – I received yours a few days think I will have any thing to do with him, ago. On the 23rd of April last on his way to
nor do I know what would be the proper town it was agreed between Lord Byron and charge myself that he was to take Mrs. George Byron
Dr Sir, yours truly, and the Miss Parkyn's debt of eight hundred
C. G. BYRON. pounds on himself that is to give proper security for the money before he left England, 12. In another letter (dated Newstead and that he was to pay Wylde the two hundred | Abbey, June 27th, 1809) to Mr. Hanson,
From The Athenæum.
Mrs. Byron “protests against ” “expences | to, as you may be sure this business is known now incurred” uselessly at Newstead. and will doubtless be the talk of the country. The postscript of the epistle gives the
I remain, Sir, &c. &c.,
C. G. BYRGN. following schedule: Four labourers in the garden besides
15. Hemmed in and beset by '" duns Mealey and the Gamekeeper £156 0 0
with their bills,” poor Mrs. Byron beGamekeeper's wages — yearly 39 0 0 thinks herself of her son's publisher and Maintaining Murray Do
of profits from his book. The “ English Maintaining female servant and her
Bards” is in a second edition, will be in
30 OO a third edition next month. Surely the Wolf Dog Do.
20 0 0 bookseller should have money for her Bear Do.
20 0 Oson's creditors : Taxes
From Catherine Gordon Byron to 7. Hanson, Total £385 0 0
Newstead Abbey, roth Feb, 1810. 13. If she persisted in her virtuous pur. pose of saving and scraping for her
son's bill will not’at all bear inspection as he would
DEAR SIR, - I make no doubt but Brothers benefit to the end of 1809, Mrs. Byron
not send it in to you, I have it not nor did I may well have desisted at the turn of the ever see it, and I am greatly surprised that the year from the economies that could do so
amount should be two thousand one hundred little for the satisfaction of the creditors, i pounds which it is, as the summons is for six. who, in his absence, assailed her with teen hundred pounds, and you have paid five entreaties for the settlement of their hundred pounds. I think that you ought to long-deferred claims. Throughout Janu. see there is no imposition. Lord Byron had ary these demands became more numer. great part of his furniture from Cambridge, ous and angry. In February the bailiffs and Bennet of Nottingham furnished a great were in possession at Newstead :
many things in this House, and I really don't
see that Brothers bill can fairly amount to so From Catherine Gordon Byron to 7. Hanson, much money.. I hear also that he is very poor. Esg.
I shall have no objection to let Lyron have my Newstead Abbey, 3rd Feb., 1810.
money if I can do it with any degree of safety
to myself. Byron lent Lady Faukland five DEAR SIR, The inclosed was brought here hundred pounds, and I don't see as she has this day by two Bailiffs. Brothers is the Upholsterer ihat furnished the Abbey. I much got a Pension of five hundred pounds a year,
why she should not now repay the money. fear there will be more of this sort of proceed- English Bards is now in the second edition (ings from others. I do not know what I am and will be in the third next month, and when to do unless sending the Paper to you, as you the third is sold that Book will have fetched will know what it means and how to act. I
some seven hundred and fifty pound, tho' that think it is time the estate was valued.
will not be clear, but the Bookseller will and I remain, Sir, &c. &c. &c.,
ought to have a good deal of money to give C. G. BYRON.
I have not heard from my son since he
was in Malta. 14. Having brought plate, linen, and
Dr Sir, Yours &c. &c. &c., other household stuff from Southwell to
C. G. BYRON. Newstead, Mrs. Byron had reason to fear for the salety of her chattels in a house 16. It seems as though the bear, that that seemed likely to be besieged by cred three years since caused a stir at Cam. itors before the end of the month :
bridge, took to heart the confusion of
affairs, for the “poor animal,” as he is From Catherine Gordon Byron to 7. Hanson, styled pitifully in the letter, died whilst Esq.
Catherine Gordon Byron's troubles were Newstead Abbey, 5th Feb., 1810.
thickening about her: DEAR SIR, I forgot to mention in my last that the two Bailiffs that brought the paper
From Catherine Gordon Byron to 7. Hanson, here that I sent to you on the 3rd, stuck up
Esq. another on the outside of the great Hall Door
Newstead Abbey, 12th May, 1810. exactly the same, May I take it off? I dare DEAR SIR, If my money cannot be pronot do it without advise, but it is extremely cured for Lord Byron, surely any other Person disagreeable to me as you may suppose.
would lend the same sum on Mortgage. I What am I to do, in case of an Execution have reduced every expense here as much as in the House, concerning my own property, as possible, the female servant I sent off nearly a I have a good deal here, Plate, Linen, Ward- year ago, the day-labourer has been discharged robe, and some furniture from my late house some months, two of the dogs I bave sent to at Southwell. I would not answer for what the farmers to keep for nothing, indeed they may happen from others that Byron is in debt wished to have them. I can do nothing more.