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    Chapter 54

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    Chapter 55
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    We were standing in a narrow street, by the Tower of Antonio. "On these
    stones that are crumbling away," the guide said, "the Saviour sat and
    rested before taking up the cross. This is the beginning of the
    Sorrowful Way, or the Way of Grief." The party took note of the sacred
    spot, and moved on. We passed under the "Ecce Homo Arch," and saw the
    very window from which Pilate's wife warned her husband to have nothing
    to do with the persecution of the Just Man. This window is in an
    excellent state of preservation, considering its great age. They showed
    us where Jesus rested the second time, and where the mob refused to give
    him up, and said, "Let his blood be upon our heads, and upon our
    children's children forever." The French Catholics are building a church
    on this spot, and with their usual veneration for historical relics, are
    incorporating into the new such scraps of ancient walls as they have
    found there. Further on, we saw the spot where the fainting Saviour fell
    under the weight of his cross. A great granite column of some ancient
    temple lay there at the time, and the heavy cross struck it such a blow
    that it broke in two in the middle. Such was the guide's story when he
    halted us before the broken column.

    We crossed a street, and came presently to the former residence of St.
    Veronica. When the Saviour passed there, she came out, full of womanly
    compassion, and spoke pitying words to him, undaunted by the hootings and
    the threatenings of the mob, and wiped the perspiration from his face
    with her handkerchief. We had heard so much of St. Veronica, and seen
    her picture by so many masters, that it was like meeting an old friend
    unexpectedly to come upon her ancient home in Jerusalem. The strangest
    thing about the incident that has made her name so famous, is, that when
    she wiped the perspiration away, the print of the Saviour's face remained
    upon the handkerchief, a perfect portrait, and so remains unto this day.
    We knew this, because we saw this handkerchief in a cathedral in Paris,
    in another in Spain, and in two others in Italy. In the Milan cathedral
    it costs five francs to see it, and at St. Peter's, at Rome, it is almost
    impossible to see it at any price. No tradition is so amply verified as
    this of St. Veronica and her handkerchief.

    At the next corner we saw a deep indention in the hard stone masonry of
    the corner of a house, but might have gone heedlessly by it but that the
    guide said it was made by the elbow of the Saviour, who stumbled here and
    fell. Presently we came to just such another indention in a stone wall.
    The guide said the Saviour fell here, also, and made this depression with
    his elbow.

    There were other places where the Lord fell, and others where he rested;
    but one of the most curious landmarks of ancient history we found on this
    morning walk through the crooked lanes that lead toward Calvary, was a
    certain stone built into a house--a stone that was so seamed and scarred
    that it bore a sort of grotesque resemblance to the human face. The
    projections that answered for cheeks were worn smooth by the passionate
    kisses of generations of pilgrims from distant lands. We asked "Why?"
    The guide said it was because this was one of "the very stones of
    Jerusalem" that Christ mentioned when he was reproved for permitting the
    people to cry "Hosannah!" when he made his memorable entry into the
    city upon an ass. One of the pilgrims said, "But there is no evidence
    that the stones did cry out--Christ said that if the people stopped from
    shouting Hosannah, the very stones would do it." The guide was perfectly
    serene. He said, calmly, "This is one of the stones that would have
    cried out." It was of little use to try to shake this fellow's simple
    faith--it was easy to see that.

    And so we came at last to another wonder, of deep and abiding interest
    --the veritable house where the unhappy wretch once lived who has been
    celebrated in song and story for more than eighteen hundred years as the
    Wandering Jew. On the memorable day of the Crucifixion he stood in this
    old doorway with his arms akimbo, looking out upon the struggling mob
    that was approaching, and when the weary Saviour would have sat down and
    rested him a moment, pushed him rudely away and said, "Move on!" The
    Lord said, "Move on, thou, likewise," and the command has never been
    revoked from that day to this. All men know how that the miscreant upon
    whose head that just curse fell has roamed up and down the wide world,
    for ages and ages, seeking rest and never finding it--courting death but
    always in vain--longing to stop, in city, in wilderness, in desert
    solitudes, yet hearing always that relentless warning to march--march on!
    They say--do these hoary traditions--that when Titus sacked Jerusalem and
    slaughtered eleven hundred thousand Jews in her streets and by-ways, the
    Wandering Jew was seen always in the thickest of the fight, and that when
    battle-axes gleamed in the air, he bowed his head beneath them; when
    swords flashed their deadly lightnings, he sprang in their way; he bared
    his breast to whizzing javelins, to hissing arrows, to any and to every
    weapon that promised death and forgetfulness, and rest. But it was
    useless--he walked forth out of the carnage without a wound. And it is
    said that five hundred years afterward he followed Mahomet when he
    carried destruction to the cities of Arabia, and then turned against him,
    hoping in this way to win the death of a traitor. His calculations were
    wrong again. No quarter was given to any living creature but one, and
    that was the only one of all the host that did not want it. He sought
    death five hundred years later, in the wars of the Crusades, and offered
    himself to famine and pestilence at Ascalon. He escaped again--he could
    not die. These repeated annoyances could have at last but one effect
    --they shook his confidence. Since then the Wandering Jew has carried on a
    kind of desultory toying with the most promising of the aids and
    implements of destruction, but with small hope, as a general thing. He
    has speculated some in cholera and railroads, and has taken almost a
    lively interest in infernal machines and patent medicines. He is old,
    now, and grave, as becomes an age like his; he indulges in no light
    amusements save that he goes sometimes to executions, and is fond of
    funerals.

    There is one thing he can not avoid; go where he will about the world, he
    must never fail to report in Jerusalem every fiftieth year. Only a year
    or two ago he was here for the thirty-seventh time since Jesus was
    crucified on Calvary. They say that many old people, who are here now,
    saw him then, and had seen him before. He looks always the same--old,
    and withered, and hollow-eyed, and listless, save that there is about him
    something which seems to suggest that he is looking for some one,
    expecting some one--the friends of his youth, perhaps. But the most of
    them are dead, now. He always pokes about the old streets looking
    lonesome, making his mark on a wall here and there, and eyeing the oldest
    buildings with a sort of friendly half interest; and he sheds a few tears
    at the threshold of his ancient dwelling, and bitter, bitter tears they
    are. Then he collects his rent and leaves again. He has been seen
    standing near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on many a starlight night,
    for he has cherished an idea for many centuries that if he could only
    enter there, he could rest. But when he approaches, the doors slam to
    with a crash, the earth trembles, and all the lights in Jerusalem burn a
    ghastly blue! He does this every fifty years, just the same. It is
    hopeless, but then it is hard to break habits one has been eighteen
    hundred years accustomed to. The old tourist is far away on his
    wanderings, now. How he must smile to see a pack of blockheads like us,
    galloping about the world, and looking wise, and imagining we are finding
    out a good deal about it! He must have a consuming contempt for the
    ignorant, complacent asses that go skurrying about the world in these
    railroading days and call it traveling.

    When the guide pointed out where the Wandering Jew had left his familiar
    mark upon a wall, I was filled with astonishment. It read:

    "S. T.--1860--X."

    All I have revealed about the Wandering Jew can be amply proven by
    reference to our guide.

    The mighty Mosque of Omar, and the paved court around it, occupy a fourth
    part of Jerusalem. They are upon Mount Moriah, where King Solomon's
    Temple stood. This Mosque is the holiest place the Mohammedan knows,
    outside of Mecca. Up to within a year or two past, no Christian could
    gain admission to it or its court for love or money. But the prohibition
    has been removed, and we entered freely for bucksheesh.

    I need not speak of the wonderful beauty and the exquisite grace and
    symmetry that have made this Mosque so celebrated--because I did not see
    them. One can not see such things at an instant glance--one frequently
    only finds out how really beautiful a really beautiful woman is after
    considerable acquaintance with her; and the rule applies to Niagara
    Falls, to majestic mountains and to mosques--especially to mosques.

    The great feature of the Mosque of Omar is the prodigious rock in the
    centre of its rotunda. It was upon this rock that Abraham came so near
    offering up his son Isaac--this, at least, is authentic--it is very much
    more to be relied on than most of the traditions, at any rate. On this
    rock, also, the angel stood and threatened Jerusalem, and David persuaded
    him to spare the city. Mahomet was well acquainted with this stone.
    From it he ascended to heaven. The stone tried to follow him, and if the
    angel Gabriel had not happened by the merest good luck to be there to
    seize it, it would have done it. Very few people have a grip like
    Gabriel--the prints of his monstrous fingers, two inches deep, are to be
    seen in that rock to-day.

    This rock, large as it is, is suspended in the air. It does not touch
    any thing at all. The guide said so. This is very wonderful. In the
    place on it where Mahomet stood, he left his foot-prints in the solid
    stone. I should judge that he wore about eighteens. But what I was
    going to say, when I spoke of the rock being suspended, was, that in the
    floor of the cavern under it they showed us a slab which they said
    covered a hole which was a thing of extraordinary interest to all
    Mohammedans, because that hole leads down to perdition, and every soul
    that is transferred from thence to Heaven must pass up through this
    orifice. Mahomet stands there and lifts them out by the hair. All
    Mohammedans shave their heads, but they are careful to leave a lock of
    hair for the Prophet to take hold of. Our guide observed that a good
    Mohammedan would consider himself doomed to stay with the damned forever
    if he were to lose his scalp-lock and die before it grew again. The most
    of them that I have seen ought to stay with the damned, any how, without
    reference to how they were barbered.

    For several ages no woman has been allowed to enter the cavern where that
    important hole is. The reason is that one of the sex was once caught
    there blabbing every thing she knew about what was going on above ground,
    to the rapscallions in the infernal regions down below. She carried her
    gossiping to such an extreme that nothing could be kept private--nothing
    could be done or said on earth but every body in perdition knew all about
    it before the sun went down. It was about time to suppress this woman's
    telegraph, and it was promptly done. Her breath subsided about the same
    time.

    The inside of the great mosque is very showy with variegated marble walls
    and with windows and inscriptions of elaborate mosaic. The Turks have
    their sacred relics, like the Catholics. The guide showed us the
    veritable armor worn by the great son-in-law and successor of Mahomet,
    and also the buckler of Mahomet's uncle. The great iron railing which
    surrounds the rock was ornamented in one place with a thousand rags tied
    to its open work. These are to remind Mahomet not to forget the
    worshipers who placed them there. It is considered the next best thing
    to tying threads around his finger by way of reminders.

    Just outside the mosque is a miniature temple, which marks the spot where
    David and Goliah used to sit and judge the people.--[A pilgrim informs
    me that it was not David and Goliah, but David and Saul. I stick to my
    own statement--the guide told me, and he ought to know.]

    Every where about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously
    wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble--precious
    remains of Solomon's Temple. These have been dug from all depths in the
    soil and rubbish of Mount Moriah, and the Moslems have always shown a
    disposition to preserve them with the utmost care. At that portion of
    the ancient wall of Solomon's Temple which is called the Jew's Place of
    Wailing, and where the Hebrews assemble every Friday to kiss the
    venerated stones and weep over the fallen greatness of Zion, any one can
    see a part of the unquestioned and undisputed Temple of Solomon, the same
    consisting of three or four stones lying one upon the other, each of
    which is about twice as long as a seven-octave piano, and about as thick
    as such a piano is high. But, as I have remarked before, it is only a
    year or two ago that the ancient edict prohibiting Christian rubbish like
    ourselves to enter the Mosque of Omar and see the costly marbles that
    once adorned the inner Temple was annulled. The designs wrought upon
    these fragments are all quaint and peculiar, and so the charm of novelty
    is added to the deep interest they naturally inspire. One meets with
    these venerable scraps at every turn, especially in the neighboring
    Mosque el Aksa, into whose inner walls a very large number of them are
    carefully built for preservation. These pieces of stone, stained and
    dusty with age, dimly hint at a grandeur we have all been taught to
    regard as the princeliest ever seen on earth; and they call up pictures
    of a pageant that is familiar to all imaginations--camels laden with
    spices and treasure--beautiful slaves, presents for Solomon's harem--a
    long cavalcade of richly caparisoned beasts and warriors--and Sheba's
    Queen in the van of this vision of "Oriental magnificence." These
    elegant fragments bear a richer interest than the solemn vastness of the
    stones the Jews kiss in the Place of Wailing can ever have for the
    heedless sinner.

    Down in the hollow ground, underneath the olives and the orange-trees
    that flourish in the court of the great Mosque, is a wilderness of
    pillars--remains of the ancient Temple; they supported it. There are
    ponderous archways down there, also, over which the destroying "plough"
    of prophecy passed harmless. It is pleasant to know we are disappointed,
    in that we never dreamed we might see portions of the actual Temple of
    Solomon, and yet experience no shadow of suspicion that they were a
    monkish humbug and a fraud.

    We are surfeited with sights. Nothing has any fascination for us, now,
    but the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We have been there every day, and
    have not grown tired of it; but we are weary of every thing else. The
    sights are too many. They swarm about you at every step; no single foot
    of ground in all Jerusalem or within its neighborhood seems to be without
    a stirring and important history of its own. It is a very relief to
    steal a walk of a hundred yards without a guide along to talk unceasingly
    about every stone you step upon and drag you back ages and ages to the
    day when it achieved celebrity.

    It seems hardly real when I find myself leaning for a moment on a ruined
    wall and looking listlessly down into the historic pool of Bethesda. I
    did not think such things could be so crowded together as to diminish
    their interest. But in serious truth, we have been drifting about, for
    several days, using our eyes and our ears more from a sense of duty than
    any higher and worthier reason. And too often we have been glad when it
    was time to go home and be distressed no more about illustrious
    localities.

    Our pilgrims compress too much into one day. One can gorge sights to
    repletion as well as sweetmeats. Since we breakfasted, this morning, we
    have seen enough to have furnished us food for a year's reflection if we
    could have seen the various objects in comfort and looked upon them
    deliberately. We visited the pool of Hezekiah, where David saw Uriah's
    wife coming from the bath and fell in love with her.

    We went out of the city by the Jaffa gate, and of course were told many
    things about its Tower of Hippicus.

    We rode across the Valley of Hinnom, between two of the Pools of Gihon,
    and by an aqueduct built by Solomon, which still conveys water to the
    city. We ascended the Hill of Evil Counsel, where Judas received his
    thirty pieces of silver, and we also lingered a moment under the tree a
    venerable tradition says he hanged himself on.

    We descended to the canon again, and then the guide began to give name
    and history to every bank and boulder we came to: "This was the Field of
    Blood; these cuttings in the rocks were shrines and temples of Moloch;
    here they sacrificed children; yonder is the Zion Gate; the Tyropean
    Valley, the Hill of Ophel; here is the junction of the Valley of
    Jehoshaphat--on your right is the Well of Job." We turned up
    Jehoshaphat. The recital went on. "This is the Mount of Olives; this is
    the Hill of Offense; the nest of huts is the Village of Siloam; here,
    yonder, every where, is the King's Garden; under this great tree
    Zacharias, the high priest, was murdered; yonder is Mount Moriah and the
    Temple wall; the tomb of Absalom; the tomb of St. James; the tomb of
    Zacharias; beyond, are the Garden of Gethsemane and the tomb of the
    Virgin Mary; here is the Pool of Siloam, and----"

    We said we would dismount, and quench our thirst, and rest. We were
    burning up with the heat. We were failing under the accumulated fatigue
    of days and days of ceaseless marching. All were willing.

    The Pool is a deep, walled ditch, through which a clear stream of water
    runs, that comes from under Jerusalem somewhere, and passing through the
    Fountain of the Virgin, or being supplied from it, reaches this place by
    way of a tunnel of heavy masonry. The famous pool looked exactly as it
    looked in Solomon's time, no doubt, and the same dusky, Oriental women,
    came down in their old Oriental way, and carried off jars of the water on
    their heads, just as they did three thousand years ago, and just as they
    will do fifty thousand years hence if any of them are still left on
    earth.

    We went away from there and stopped at the Fountain of the Virgin. But
    the water was not good, and there was no comfort or peace any where, on
    account of the regiment of boys and girls and beggars that persecuted us
    all the time for bucksheesh. The guide wanted us to give them some
    money, and we did it; but when he went on to say that they were starving
    to death we could not but feel that we had done a great sin in throwing
    obstacles in the way of such a desirable consummation, and so we tried to
    collect it back, but it could not be done.

    We entered the Garden of Gethsemane, and we visited the Tomb of the
    Virgin, both of which we had seen before. It is not meet that I should
    speak of them now. A more fitting time will come.

    I can not speak now of the Mount of Olives or its view of Jerusalem, the
    Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab; nor of the Damascus Gate or the tree
    that was planted by King Godfrey of Jerusalem. One ought to feel
    pleasantly when he talks of these things. I can not say any thing about
    the stone column that projects over Jehoshaphat from the Temple wall like
    a cannon, except that the Moslems believe Mahomet will sit astride of it
    when he comes to judge the world. It is a pity he could not judge it
    from some roost of his own in Mecca, without trespassing on our holy
    ground. Close by is the Golden Gate, in the Temple wall--a gate that was
    an elegant piece of sculpture in the time of the Temple, and is even so
    yet. From it, in ancient times, the Jewish High Priest turned loose the
    scapegoat and let him flee to the wilderness and bear away his
    twelve-month load of the sins of the people. If they were to turn one
    loose now, he would not get as far as the Garden of Gethsemane, till
    these miserable vagabonds here would gobble him up,--[Favorite pilgrim
    expression.]--sins and all. They wouldn't care. Mutton-chops and sin
    is good enough living for them. The Moslems watch the Golden Gate with
    a jealous eye, and an anxious one, for they have an honored tradition
    that when it falls, Islamism will fall and with it the Ottoman Empire.
    It did not grieve me any to notice that the old gate was getting a
    little shaky.

    We are at home again. We are exhausted. The sun has roasted us, almost.
    We have full comfort in one reflection, however. Our experiences in
    Europe have taught us that in time this fatigue will be forgotten; the
    heat will be forgotten; the thirst, the tiresome volubility of the guide,
    the persecutions of the beggars--and then, all that will be left will be
    pleasant memories of Jerusalem, memories we shall call up with always
    increasing interest as the years go by, memories which some day will
    become all beautiful when the last annoyance that incumbers them shall
    have faded out of our minds never again to return. School-boy days are
    no happier than the days of after life, but we look back upon them
    regretfully because we have forgotten our punishments at school, and how
    we grieved when our marbles were lost and our kites destroyed--because we
    have forgotten all the sorrows and privations of that canonized epoch and
    remember only its orchard robberies, its wooden sword pageants and its
    fishing holydays. We are satisfied. We can wait. Our reward will come.
    To us, Jerusalem and to-day's experiences will be an enchanted memory a
    year hence--memory which money could not buy from us.
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