BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


A journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem

by Henry Maundrell

Excerpt:

I

swerable to its Name. The moisture and flipperiness of the way at this time, added to the steepness of it, greatly encrealed our labour in ascending it. Insomuch that we were a full hour in gaining the top of the Hill. Here we found no more Woods or Hills, but a fine Country, well cultivated and planted with Silk Gardens ^ thro' which, leaving on the right hand a Village called Cttte GaUe, inhabited solely by Maronltes, we came in one hour to Bellulca. Here we repaired to a place which is both the Kane of the Village, and the Aga's House; and resolving by reason of the Rains, which fell very plentifully,.^© make this our Lodging, we went to visit the Ago. with a small present in our hands, in order to procure our selves a civil Reception. But we found little recompence from his Turkish gratitude, for after all our respect to him, it was not without much importunity that we obtain'd to have the use of a dry part of the House. The place where we were at first Lodged lying open to the Wind and the beating in of the Rain. Our whole Stage this day was not much above four hours, our course about South West.

Being imform'd that here were several Christian Inhabitants in this place, we went to visit their Church, which we found so poor and pitiful a Structure, that here Christianity seem'd to be brought to its humblest State, and Christ to be laid again in a Manger. It was only a Room of about four or five Yards square, wall'd with Dirt, having nothing but the uneven ground for its Pavement; and for its Cieling only some rude Traves laid athwart it, and cover'd with Bushes to keep out the Weather. On the East side was an Altar, built of the same Materials with the Wall; only it was paved at top with Pot-sherds and Slates, to give it the face of a Table. In the middle of the Altar stood a small Cross compos'd of two Laths nail'd together in the middle: on each side of which ensign were fastned to the Wall two or three old Prints representing our Blessed Lord and the Blessed Virgin, &c. The Venerable presents of some Itinerant Fryars, that

had

had passed this Way. On the South side was a piece of plank supported by a Post, which we understood was the Reading Desk, just by which, was a little hole commodiously broke thro' the Wall to give light to the Reader. A very mean habitation this for the God of Heaven! But yet held in great esteem, and reverence by the poor People; who not only come with all Devotion hither themselves, but also deposite here whatever is most valuable to them, in order to derive upon it a Blessing. When we were there, the whole Room was hang'd about with Bags of Silkworms Eggs; to the end that by remaining in so Holy a place, they might attract a Benediction, and a Virtue of encreasing.

Wednesday, Mar. j.

The next Morning flatter'd us with the hopes of a fair day after the great Rains, which had fallen for near eight hours together. We therefore ventur'd to leave Bellulca, with no great thanks to it for our Entertainment. But we had not gone far, before we began to wish that we had kept our former Accommodation, bad as it was; for the Rains began to break out afresh with greater fury than before: nor had we more comfort under foot, the Road being very deep and full of sloughs. However we resolv'd to go forward in hopes of a better time, and in four hours (very long ones in such uncomfortable Circumstances) we arriv'd ztSholfatia, a poor Village situate upon a small River which we were oblig'd to pass. A River we might call it now, it being swollen so high by the late Rains, that it was impassable; tho' at other times it be but a small Brook, and, in the Summer, perfectly dry.

Here, instead of mending our Condition, as we expected, we began to drink more deeply of the bitter Cup of Pilgrims, being brought to such a strait, that we knew not which way to turn our selves. For (as I said) the Stream was not fordable, so that there was no going forward; and as for facing about, and returning to the place from whence we came, that was a thing we were very averse to: well knowing, by that Mornings experience, the badness of the Road; and likewise having reason to expect but a cold welcome at our Journeys end. As for Lodging in the Village, that was a thing not to be endured: for the Houses were all fill'd with Dirt and Nastiness, being inhabited promiscuously by the Villagers and their Cattle. As for lying in the Campagnia, the Rain was so vehement we could not do that, without an evident danger both to our selves and Horses.


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