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What am alligator good fur?
Kishon lies stretched at their feet, with Alligator good to bay dog, oh!
that river itself meandering across it, and Bull-dog, cur-dog, eny kind ob dog.
in winter. and spring forcing its way Chorus – Alligator up an' died dis spring, through the sands of the beach into the sah!
great Bay of Acre. But none of these What alligator tooth good fur?
tourists have suspected that if, when at
that highest point, they had turned off to Alligator tooth good to make a whistle, Car-whistle, railroad-whistle, eny kind ob
the left through the woods for twenty whistle.
minutes they would have found, if they Chorus – Alligator up an’ died dis spring, had known where to look for them, some sah!
of the best specimens of cave tombs
which have yet been examined. The What alligator tail good fur?
merit of their discovery lies with Captain Alligator tail good fur make steak;
Conder, of the Palestine Exploration Fund Round-steak, loin-steak, eny kind ob steak. Survey, and Mr. Schumacher, the Ameri. Chorus — Alligator up an' died dis spring, can vice-consul at Haifa; and it was in sah!”
company with the son of the latter that, And so on; until every portion of the one day last month, I turned off my road alligator had been described, even to its to Nazareth to visit them. They are sit. en ils, which Silas inforined us were uated just beyond the skirt of the wood, good to make “reins ob; stage-reins, at the foot of a green, conical hill, on the buggy-reins, cart-reins, eny kind ob reins.” summit of which are perched the mud The skin is really now a very important bovels of the village of Sheikh Abreikh. article of commerce, the leather being used | As my companion knew of their wbereextensively for making hunting boots, abouts by description, we thought at first storm-shoes, cigar.cases, or leathern arti- that we would try to find them without a cles of any kind likely to be subjected to guide, but were compelled ultimately to moisture, which it resists. Ladies have resort to the sheikh of the village, who also adopted it, as well as rattlesnake- told us that we were the first foreigners skin, for bags, belts, pocket-books, and who had applied for his guidance since he the like.
had pointed them out to their discoverers. To those fond of butterflies and beetles, It was no wonder that we could not find the John's Island swamps are rich and the “Cave of Hell," as it is called by the almost unknown ground. Specimens of natives, as the entrance to it was not much extraordinary size and brilliancy abound; bigger than the opening into a sox's earth, and I also saw there some rare and beau- and just admitted the entrance of a man's tiful orchids, feros, and other botanical body, slipping in feet first, not a difficult treasures usually sought in more tropical operation, as the morning was damp, the countries.
earth greasy, and the descent gradual, so that one's first discovery on assuming an erect position and striking a light was a fine coating of mud over the front of
one's person; the second was to find that From The Fortnightly eview.
the cave which we had entered consisted CAVE TOMBS IN GALILEE.
of a small chamber about ten feet square Tourists who have traversed the well, and eight high, on each side of which had known route leading from Nazareth to been excavated in the solid rock stone Carmel will remember that, about half- receptacles for the bodies of the dead. way between those two places, they cross This chamber opened into others of a a wooded range of bills about five hun. similar character, in all about fifteen in dred feet above the level of the sea, and number; some square and some oblong, that they are agreeably surprised to find with a breadth not exceeding, six feet, themselves riding for an hour or more each having a capacity for holding three through sylvan glades formed of old oak- bodies in their stone beds - one across trees, which, in a country where forests the end and one on each side; in some are rare, are an agreeable contrast to the cases there was a second tier, and the rocky defiles and barren hillsides which mortuary accommodation was thus doubhave for the most part characterized their led. There were probably more cham. Palestine wanderings. From the summitbers than those I actually entered, as in of this range they look back upon the many cases the proper entrance had been vast extent of the fertile plain of Esdrae- blocked, and holes had been made by lon, while before them the plain of the tomb-riflers in some bygone age, who had
visited the cave for purposes of plunder. I had found. They said, “ Three earthen In one a hole had been made in the roof, jars, one containing earth, one containing evidently leading into a chamber above; ashes, and one empty."
.” Thinking I had but into this I did not scramble, the heat tumbled upon an interesting relic, I eager. and difficulty of moving about, except ly inquired what they had done with them. often in a crawling attitude, only to see Oh," they replied, "what good were the same thing repeated, damping my they? we broke them.” I earnestly.en. ardor. On the other hand, some of the treated them, should they again find jars arched entrances were very complete, and in any of these tombs, to bring them to showed signs of rude ornamentation; me, offeriog to pay for them, which they the stone door-frames had been roughly promised to do; but one who seemed carved with scrolls and floral designs, and afraid lest I should be imposed upon, conover many
of them, and on the stone roofs, fidentially added, “ They are really too were devices painted in a yellow pigment, old to be of any value.” A little beyond also of a scroll-like character. I was not this tomb, into which the earth bad fallen, sorry to escape from the labyrinthine re. so that I could not effect an entrance, cesses of this cave, in which I was almost carved stones of large size, which had afraid of losing myself — for the sheikh once formed part of buildings, were abun. remained in the outer chamber, and we dantly strewn, and it was evident that the had to find our way among the other ones neighborhood had been used as a ceme. by ourselves — and visit another of a very tery. Many handsome stone sarcophagi different type. This had evidently been were scattered over the surface of the used as a place of worship, most likely in mound, and this was in itself often cut the first instance by the early Christians, into, and loculi had been excavated out of and probably later by the Crusaders; it the living rock, on which were placed had an entrance large enough for a wagon gigantic stone lids. Many of these had to drive into, and was about thirty feet in evidently never been touched since the height, but the whole nave was much day when they were originally placed filled with rubbish, so that it was orig. over the dead, and it is my intention on a inally a good deal higher. Its length, to future occasion to move some of these the beginning of the apse, where the and see what is beneath them. rubbish ended, and one had to descend As we rode away from this hill we several feet, was about seventy feet, its came across a peasant who had been obbreadth about thirty. The apse itself, serving our investigations, and who told us which was semicircular in form, was eigh that he knew of a place covered with ruins teen by twenty-one; besides this there and caves. It was too far off, and too were two small transepts, both partially late in the day, he said, for him to guide filled with débris, but, as nearly as I could us to them; so we asked him its name. calculate, about eighteen by twenty; a few This he positively refused to divulge with. yards from this was another spacious out being first paid for his information. cave, in which one could walk about coin in a moment of confiding generosity I fortably, also containing chambers and a offered him a sum equal to a shilling, number of loculi for corpses, but devoid which, to my surprise, this bare-legged of carving or pictorial ornamentation. In youth, astraddle on his donkey, with his none were any inscriptions to be seen. wooden plough balanced before him, All three caves are within a hundred yards scornfully declined. of each other, and in their proximity I I was much struck by the audacity and observed the carved capital of a marble knowledge of human nature which this column and a handsome stone sarcopha- refusal indicated. He evidently reasoned gus, testifying to the fact that in former thus: “A man who is idiot enough to times this inust have been the position of offer a shilling to be told where a heap of a place of some importance, though I am old stones are, and to trust to my having not aware whether it has been identified told the truth in the matter, is clearly as a biblical site. Instead of returning idiot enough to pay two if I only stand to the Nazareth road, we made for the out for them.” And so accurately were summit of a hill on which we observed his calculations based that he actually did evidences of ruins. Here we found that force me to pay two, and then watched me an excavation was being carried on by start off, guideless and guileless, to look natives, who had opened a tomb in the for them in the direction indicated. Of hope of discovering treasure in it. We course I did not find them, at least not afterwards met the people who had been that day; but I have since, and have no at work liere, and asked them what they reason to regret the investment. In the
course of my search, however, we came would be found well worthy a visit. The across some more sarcophagi and rock-cut whole length of the work cannot be less graves, with their massive stone lids than five or six miles, though it probably sloped up to a high central ridge, and in does not carry the same dimensions one instance I realized the accuracy of the throughout which are visible where the scriptural allusion to the necessity of roof has fallen in, and reveals sections of "rolling away the stone from the mouth the tunnel where it traverses a hill for a of the cave "in order to enter it; though quarter of a mile. It is here about twenty in this case it was illustrated by the im- feet deep and as many wide, beautifully possibility of the feat, for the stone, which plastered with cement. Near the castle was circular and about two feet in diam- of Sepphoris itself there is an aperture in eter, had become so tightly wedged into the hillside where the aqueduct entered the carved-rock entrance, that it was evi- the cistern which supplies the fortress dent from the marks on its edges that all with water, and according to tradition it the attempts of the natives to prize it out continues as far as Sheikh Abreikb, a dishad been unavailing. I therefore deter- tance of ten miles. The castle stands on mined to employ some gunpowder which the summit of a grassy hill, eight hundred I had with me — as the use of dynamite and fifteen feet above the level of the sea, does not yet prevail in these parts - but and commands a magnificent view of the unfortunately a heavy shower of rain surrounding country. To the south, the obliged me to postpone the attempt to a prospect is bounded by the range on the more auspicious occasion. It is an al. southern slopes of which is situated Naza. most invariable rule that, whenever we reth ; to the north and east lies the plain find these rock-tombs in any number, the of the Buttauf, at this time of year a sheet ruins of an ancient town are to be discov. of water, backed by the Jebel Saled; ered not far distant, and from the size of while westward the eye ranges over a rollthe cemetery we may of course obtain a ing and partially wooded country, with the very fair estimate of the importance of the Bay of Acre and the sea horizon beyond. city to which it was attached. Thus at The upper portion of the castle itself eviSefurieh, the ancient Sepphoris, there is dently, from its round arches and rosettes, a very extensive cemetery about a mile to dates from the time of the Crusaders. Its the east of the present village, the cav- lower courses, however, consist of large erns and tombs of which, that are still drafted blocks, and are probably of the unopened, would doubtless yield many Roman-Jewish period. The whole build. interesting relics. These would probably ing is seventeen yards square, with walls date back to the commencement of the of great thickness. In the interior a Christian era, at which time Sepphoris damaged stair ascends to a chamber with seemed to have attained its greatest im- pointed vaulting and small windows. In portance. It was conquered by Herod the neighborhood are many fragments of the Great, and having been rebuilt by columns, large hewn stones and sculpHerod Antipas, became the largest and tured entablatures, now built up in the strongest place in Galilee. After the de garden walls or half buried in the soil. struction of Jerusalem, the Grand Sanhe. On the western slope of the hill, and about drim was transferred hither by the rabbi a hundred yards from the castle, are the Juda Nasi; before its removal to Tibe. remains of the church, which, according rias, under its Roman name of Diocæs. to tradition, was built upon the site of the area, it became a great military strong. reputed dwelling of the parents of the hold, though, except its ruined castle, its Virgin, by Saint Helena, and which dates vast cemetery, its numerous cisterns, and therefore about three hundred and thirty above all, its immense subterranean aque. years after Christ. Indeed, the exact duct, few traces remain of its former locality is pointed out where the Virgin greatness. It was this later evidence of is said to have received the salutation of the engineering skill of the Romans that the angel. The special interest which mainly interested me, after having made attaches to this spot lies in the fact that, a hurried examination of the rocky area about two years ago, it was purchased by of tombs and caves from which it is only the Franciscans, with a view to the resa few hundred yards distant.
toration of the church. At that time the The exact course of this subterranean high arch of the middle aisle and the lower aqueduct has never been traced; indeed ones of the side aisles, were alone visible. its existence is barely known, except to The site had been for centuries the resusethe officers who have recently surveyed heap of the village, and the excavations Palestine with such minute detail; but it preliminary to the work of restoration
have brought to light a subterranean tion, are active in identifying biblical lochapel, and a number of fragments of col. calities, and in attaching to them such umns which have recently been enclosed sacred traditions as may justify their being by a wall. I counted altogether twelve in invested with the necessary character of the courtyard, of which some are pros. sanctity. It sometimes happens that one trate and others standing to a height of church captures a holy place from another, ten or twelve feet, while capitals and ped- which redounds not a little to the political estals were strewn around. These were triumph of the protecting power. Thus, of syenite, and may possibly have been not long since, no fewer than a hundred transported from Egypt. The priests told, and twenty Greek Christians at Kefr me that for want of funds the work of ex- Kenna which is asserted, by those incavation was for the present suspended, terested in making it so, to be Cana of but that enough had been discovered to Galilee, the scene of the miraculous conprove the existence of many more columns version of water into wine — suddenly, below the surface, in a much better state owing to circumstances which my clerical of preservation; but these, together with informant refrained from particularizing, the entrance to the subterranean part of abandoned the Greek Church and became the church, were concealed by the débris, Latins, or Romanists. Money has at once which had never been thoroughly re. been furnished for the construction of a moved. He pointed out to me the fact monastery, which is at this moment in that the side pillars, which supported the process of erection at this spot, which, arches still standing, were divided into however, would hardly seem to be altofive sections, and said that they had been gether a safe investment of religious capso built in order that they might enclose ital, for there can be very little doubt that the actual walls of the original house Kefr Kenna, which is situated about two which had been the abode of Joachim and miles from Nazareth, is not Cana of GaliAnna, and that the ancient inasonry bad lee at all, but that this interesting locality been discovered within the pillars in the should be properly identified with Kanarecent process of restoration. A small el-Jelil — also called Khurbet Kâna, a vil. apse on the right had been converted into lage lying three miles to the north of Sefu. a modern chapel, and a priest comes here rieh. Sawulf (A.D. 1102), Marinus Sanutus from Nazareth every Sunday to rm in the fourteenth century, and Andricho
The entire congregation consists mius, all place it about this distance north of the Christian Arab and his wife, who of Sefurieh, and the latter quotes from are left in charge duriog the week — for earlier writers in proof of this. De Vogué the whole population of the modern Sefu. gives, in his “ Eglises de la Terre Suinte,” riel, with this exception, have been noto two interesting anonymous accounts of rious as fanatical Moslems, and have en- Palestine written in the twelfth century, joyed a bad reputation in the neighbor. one in Latin and the other in French, both hood as arrant thieves; but my clerical favoring Kâna. And this view is enter. informant assured me that since they had tained by Dr. Robinson, Mr. Thomson, discovered that they were the fortunate and most modern geographers; so that possessors of a "holy place,” where there is still an opening for the Greek Christian money was likely to be spent Church to recover its spiritual losses, and freely, their religious opinions had under start a rival holy place with a fair prospect gone a serious modification, and that, of success. There cannot be the slightest were it not for fear of consequences, they doubt that, provided they were liberal in would all become Christians tomorrow. their operations, they would receive a This, however, may have been a sanguine warm welcome from the population of and prejudiced view of their spiritual con- Khurbet Kâna. In fact, there seems no dition. One thing, nevertheless, is cer. reason why the manufacture of holy places tain, that "holy places” in Palestine may should not turn out as profitable, politi. be turned to very valuable political ac- cally, to those engaged in it, as the manucount by any Catholic power which desires facture of Birmingham antique does, comto extend its influence in the country: mercially, to the enterprising fellaheen and it is a significant fact that they are who sell them on the banks of the Nile. being multiplied in number every year, About a mile and a half from the mis. and that the Christian populations at each erable village of mud hovels inhabited by of them look to France for that religious this interesting population, whose characprotection which the republic denies to ter the proximity of the newly-found“ holy clerical orders at home ; while Latin mon- place. ” is tending so much to improve, asteries, which are under French protec- since Christian money has found iis way
among them, lie the springs of Sefurieh Palestine of this advantage, and for which an ideal spot surrounded by olive.groves we have reaped no gratitude from the and fig.gardens, where a gushing stream power that profited by it. wells forth in a copious Aow to fertilize Riding in a south-westerly direction the lovely valley of the Melek, and finally from these springs, we pass through to add its waters, much diminished by ir- woods whose recesses probably still conrigatiog channels, to the Kishon. There tain undiscovered treasures of antiquity; is a large meadow near them, which was a for although the survey of the Palestine favorite camping.ground of the Crusaders, Exploration Fund has done its work in a and here their huts were pitched on the most thorough and praiseworthy manner, day previous to the famous and decisive there are nooks and corners in these robaitle of Hattin. To this day it is said mantic dells and wooded glades which that the tradition remains among the na. could not but escape observation, where tives of the neighborhood, which has been we unexpectedly siumble upon the evi. the scene of numerous skirmishes, of a re- dences of a worship that is obsolete and doubtable English king, and the deeds of of a civilization that has vanished. Thus, valor of Richard Kalb.el-Assaad, or Rich- under a clump of old trees, in a pictuard of the Lion Heart, still form the theme resque spot, we came upon a group of six of Arab story. It is sad, in riding through moss-grown, hoary, prostrate columns, this lovely part of the country, to listen to with capitals detached, and on careful the reminiscences of the oldest inhabitant, inspection detected the traces of an inand hear how in his recollection the hills, scription, the characters of which apnow bare, were once covered with woods, peared rather Greek than Roman; but how the abandoned terraces were once they were so much effaced, and needed green with flourishing vineyards, and how, so much cleaning, that we were unable to in the days of the Egyptian occupation, devote the necessary time to them, nor agriculture throve and commerce revived. had we the materials with us requisite to Whatever may have been his faults, Ibra. make a squeeze; in fact, our ride was him Pasha signalized his administration merely a preliminary reconnaissance, and by a benign tyranny which benefited the the spot is one which I hope to revisit. country. He offered rewards for the It is known to the Arabs of ihe neighbor. planting of trees, forcibly took their lands hood by the suggestive name of Ashafrom the idle and gave them to the indus. sharaāt-el-Arais, or the “Trees of the trious, and exercised a rude justice which Bridegroom:" an appellation which has contrasted savorably with the corrupt sys. probably been handed down from the tem which is now sapping the lise-blood early time when this grove was dedicated of the peasantry. Since his departure the to the worship of Baal, and the column, country has been steadily deteriorating, in all likelihood, formed part of a temple not so much from insecurity on account of erected at a later period, and devoted to Bedouin Arabs, as from robbery by tax. those rites to which this primitive wor. gatherers, and the cruelty and rapacity of ship gave rise. Even to this day it seemed ihe zaptiehs, who are supposed to main. invested, in the mind of the Arab peasant tain order in the country and see that the who accompanied us, with a certain odor taxes are properly collected. Now, in- of sanctity. Another half-hour's ride, stead of trees being planted, the hillsides over a partially wooded country, brought on which they are still growing are being us to the ruin.crowned hills of Jissy and rapidly denuded by the charcoal-burners; Hamiz. These were the names for which the exportation of charcoal last year from I had paid two shillings a few days be. Haifa having exceeded that of previous fore. The hillside at Jissy was perforated years, in spite of a government order pro- with cave tombs; I entered six or eight hibiting the felling of timber or the manu. of these, but found nothing equal to the facture of charcoal. When we remember caves of Sheikh Abreikh. In some in. that it was owing to British intervention stances the entrances were well carved, that Palestine was restored to Turkey, the caves themselves spacious - one of and ihat, had it not been so restored, it them with three large chambers - and would have, at this moment, formed an in the loculi for the reception of bodies were tegral part of Egypt, and shared the bene- numerous. It is probable that these fits of ihe new system of government with were family vaults; each family seems to which that more fortunate country is be. have purchased its own cave, and niches ing endowed under the ægis of British were made in it as occasion required. It bayonets, one is almost disposed to regret may be inferred, therefore, that a single a policy which deprived the people of cave which contained a great number of