JERUSALEM, April 1st. 1858.

DEAR 40SCUE, — During my stay here this the 5th., day, every moment has been occupied, or rather fussed away: — writing a long letter to my sister, & a short line to Lushington, walking all about the neighbouring hills, to understand its most pictural points, — endless interviews with interminable Dragomen, besides the hourly distraction of a public Hotel chok full of people, & the overcrowded state of the streets, all this will give you some idea of the landscape painters state of body & mind.

Leaving Corfu on the 13th. or rather 14th. of {94} March, a decent voyage brought me to Alexandria on the 17th, too late for the French Jaffa steamer by one day. So I passed 5 days in a trip to Cairo, which I greatly wish you could see some day, & renewing delightful impressions of the Pyramids, Caliph’s tombs, Heliopolis, &c., &c. Returning to Alexandria on the 23rd, I sailed on the 25th. in the Austrian Jaffa steamer, in which the crowds of clean & dirty, high & low pilgrims was a wonder, and you may suppose its combinations to some extent, when I tell you that 20 different languages were spoken on board. Most happily the voyage was fine, or I can’t tell you what we must have suffered.

At Jaffa we arrived on the 26th. at noon, but owing to the immense crowd of Eastern pilgrims, the landing & getting under way were most difficult matters, & had it not been for Arthur Stanley’s Dragoman, I do not know how I could have got on. By 3, p.m. we were off, loaded & mounted for Ramleh, where we slept, or rather stopped that night. The way thither is through one almighty green lovely corn-field, perfectly delicious at every time of day, and not at all unlike many parts of the Roman Campagna; though more resembling the southern plains of Sicily, particularly in the long unbroken line of blue-lilac hills, poetically the “frowning mountains of Judah,” though I could not see any justice in the term so applied to them. From Ramleh, the same cheery plain of corn extends to the foot of these hills, & you then ascend through shrubby & stony & olive planted {95} passes, up & down, (though always upper not downer) till about the 8th hour after leaving the aforesaid Ramleh, you find yourself toiling up a steep & bare rocky hill-side, at the top of which an undulating level of rather wearisome duration brings you in sight of the western walls of the Holy City.

The Holy City itself is just now in a most odious state of suffocation & crowding, this one week uniting all sorts of creeds & people in a disagreeable hodgepodge of curiosity & piety. Lucky it was for me to get even the last single room & one for my servant, and that day I was content to give up struggling through the fearfully thronged hustle-streets, & after a tabledhôte dinner was glad to be thankful & sleep at Jerusalem, which I had so long wished to see. On Sunday 28th, service in our church was a real pleasure — well arranged, simple & good in all respects, and the more to find the preacher an old friend, son of Ralph Barnes the Bp. of Exeter’s Secy. Afterwards my delight in going, (on Palm Sunday too,) to the Mount of Olives you can imagine. But the immense beauty of the environs of Jerusalem you cannot nor could I before I saw it. Independently of the grandeur of the position of this wonderful place, & the claim every part of its walls & buildings, has on the Xtian as well as the observer of general history & antiquity, most of the vallies of Johosaphat & Himmon abound in beautiful quiet scenes, wholly unexpected by me as part & parcel of Judean Landscape: — Then the ancient tombs cut in the rock, the innumerable flat {96} ones, the scattered olives, (not fine as at Corfu but pollardy,) the constantly varying beauty of the Mount of Olives, the realities of Siloam, Zion &c. and the very ancient traditional sites of Gethsemane &c &c &c., keep you constantly alive to the fresh interest that awaits you at every step. I had not the slightest idea of the amount of wonder & admiration the walks hereabout must call up, in all thinking visitors.

Meanwhile, I am off now to Bethlehem & Hebron in a few hours: too glad to get to some quiet from this noisy place. Thence I go by the Dead Sea to Sebbeh, (Masada) Engedi, Mar Saba, & Jericho, & possibly beyond the Jordan, returning here for a fortnight or 3 weeks.1

  1. A scarcity of letters at this period, will be explained by the following paragraph: “I have told Ann [his sister] to send you my letters, & you will post them to the address you will obtain.” []