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MR. BUCKINGHAM'S ACCOUNT OF HIS VISIT
TO TIBERIAS. (From his “ Travels in Palestine," p. 45€, et seq.) “AFTER ascending slowly for about two hours, we came suddenly in sight of the lake and town of Tiberias. We found ourselves again on the brow of a steep hill, facing to the eastward, and forming the western boundary of the hollow in which the lake is
contained. The view from hence is grand and interesting. To the south, inclining easterly, the vale of the Jordan was distinctly open ; to the south-west the rounded top of Tabor rose above the intervening hills; to the north, the lofty Libanus, the Gebel-el-Thelj, (Mountain of Snow,) or Gebel-el-Sheikh, (Mountain of the Chief,) of the Arabs, reared its snow-clad head; while the bare and yellow mountains of the eastern shore served but to give a brighter blue to the scarcely ruffled waters of the lake below. The town from hence has a more completely Moorish appear.
ance, from its high walls and circular towers, than · any other I had yet seen in Palestine. The waters, on whose western edge it stands, were as still as those of the Dead Sea, from being confined in a deep basin, and hemmed closely in by opposite ranges of hills. The scenery around possessed many features of grandeur, though destitute of wood and verdure ; and the whole, indeed, was such as to render our momentary halt there agreeable in the extreme.
6 On descending the hill, we observed a cistern for water, its spring being now dry; and while the Muezzin * was calling to the prayers of El Assr, from the gallery of the mosque within the town, we en. tered it by the gate of the western wall. Taking a southern course through the town, we were conducted to the house of the Catholic Priest, and alighted there to halt for the night.
“ We found the Abuna + himself occupied ju opening pods of cotton in the outer court; while about
* The public crier, who announces the hour of prayer. '
* This is the name generally given to Christiau Pastors : throughout the Holy Land.
twenty children were bawling rather than reading Arabic, in a small dark room behind him. The mat, on which the Father sat, being sufficiently large to contain us both, I seated myself beside him ; but he neither rose, nor gave me any of the accustomed forms of salutation. The first question which he asked me, on my being seated, was, whether I was a Christian, and how I made the sign of the Cross. I replied, that I was an Englishman on my way to Damascus, and had thought that he would be glad to entertain me for a night on that consideration alone; but added, that if he felt any scruple at harbouring a heretic, (in which light the English are considered by all the Christians of the East,) I should most willingly withdraw to seek some other shelter. His son then hinted to him, in a loose way, that though the English did not bow to the Pope, they were excellent people to deal with, for they had travelled all the world over to get the hidden treasures of ruined cities, and always paid twice as much as the people of any other nation for any service rendered to them. This seemed to reconcile the father so completely to my stay, that throughout the whole of the evening nothing was talked of but the English, their wealth, their wisdom, and proficiency in the black art, and the certainty of their being the greatest in this world, whatever fate they might be doomed to in the next.
Being desirous of supping on the fish of the lake, a person had been dispatched on the instant after our arrival to procure some; but after a search of two hours, he returned without being able to find any. This fine piece of water abounds with a great variety of excellent fish; but from the poverty, and, one must add, the ignorance and the indolence, of the people