Clara Biddle Davis.

A winter journey to the western islands, Madeira, Gibraltar, Italy, Egypt, the Holy Land, Turkey, and Greece online

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To the Western Islands,
Madeira, Gibraltar, Italy,
Egypt, The Holy Land,
Turkey and Greece.


TT is the purpose of this unpretentious little diary to
offer in very sketchy form or outline the experiences
of two Americans traveling from the United States to
the Holy Land and vicinity and return. The writers
have no lessons moral, social or economic to point from
the results ; they speak of the world "with thankfulness
as they find it in their daily orhit. The Artificer of
the Universe still is in full charge, and He doeth all
things well. From the finite point of view, the world
may seem to he at sixes and sevens, hut may not this
inconclusive conjecture result from restricted observa-
tion of the entire plan rather than from faults inherent
in the plan itself? Experience seems to confirm that
" whatever is, is right, and that " whatever happens in
life, from the greatest to the least, happens of necessity ;"
and the postulate that "it is better to fall with many
bruises trying to fly, than to creep forever unhurt,"
finds many ardent believers.






January Ninth, 1909.

E are now two hundred miles on our
way towards the Promised Land. MVe
left Philadelphia yesterday, passing the
night at the Manhattan Hotel, New
YorK/O NA' e were early awake and on
our way to the pier, hut hy no means
the first to arrive. There was a wait of some two
hours hefore sailing, and, after hestowmg our haggage,
and arranging for seats in the dining salon, we comfort-
ahly settled down to enjoy the variegated appearance of
the crowd of passengers and the friends who had come
to see them off. As the hour for sailing approached the
" Cedric a large and comfortable sea hoat of 21,000
tons became so densely packed -with enthusiastic trav-
elers that it was with great difficulty we were able to
move about & Kind friends had not forgotten us, as our
stateroom decked with exquisite American .Beauties
testified, not to speak of pabulum for the sweet-tooth,
and the ever-gladdening letters and telegrams of bon
"voyage and good wishes. Have you ever made an ocean
voyage ? Then you know something of the high heart


beats and exhiliration that accompany last good byes as
the whistle blows for visitors to go ashore. After muck
waving of handkerchiefs and puffing of tug boats the
good skip " Cedric finally was beaded toward tbe
open sea, and tben we bad more time to look about us
and study tbe people witb whom we were to make tbe
voyage, and, according to tbe dictates of fancy, decide
who of tbem will be pleasurable to know^VTbe pas-
senger capacity of tbe " Cedric is filled to its limit of
four bundred First Class ; and probably a thousand boxes
and baskets of flowers and fruit bear testimony of tbe
loving good wisbes of relatives and friends left behind.
This profusion of fruit and flowers means several days
display on dining tables and in otber parts of tbe smp of
rare and beautiful exotics-O

January Tentb.

E bad first cboice of sittings in tbe dining salon,
but as popular preference seems to extend to tbe
second table, with its lazier bours, we chose tbat of tbe
Captain, directly in tbe center of tbe salon and tbe
cynosure of general attention. \Ve are a select few,
and Clara is tbe only member of tbe fair sex in tbe


group, which includes Mr. Thomas Clark, artist and
sculptor of New York city, en route for Genoa to meet
his family. Three hardy antiques from far away
Flint, Minnesota, together with several other interesting
personalities, including the well-known lecturer, Mr.
Dwight Elmendorf, -who has traveled the Big Pond so
often that he can " splice the main trace and " hox the
compass with neatness and dispatch. Fine -weather
prevailed all day. Sea smooth^*

January Eleventh.

nHE day -was devoted to reading up " Egypt for
profitable instruction. Have hecome acquainted
with some very agreeable and interesting fellow voy-
agers, including the Stewarts, of Philadelphia, the Dil-
lenhacks, Mrs. Herring, and the Fields of St. Paul, not
to forget Mr. and Mrs. Van Winkle, of Newark,
New Jersey.


January Twelfth.

2V NOTHER perfect Jay, spent in playing games on

deck, varied with reading and in swapping with

some of our newly made acquaintances the stories of our

lives. Isn t it wonderful now many persons there are

with castles, and yachts and automobiles at home ?

January Thirteenth.

nO-DAY was very much like yesterday ; passed in
the warm energizing sun and invigorating sea air.
So far the voyage has proved ideal. \Ve wish our dear
ones at home could realize for themselves its delights.
\Ve are taking the southern passage, and though only
four days out find spring clothing comfortable.

January Fourteenth.

PIME between meals to-day was largely devoted to
trading favorite stories, pet jokes and puzzles.
Here are some new to us : " The animals in the zoolog-
ical garden decided to attend the theatre, hut upon ar-
riving at the box office found only one dollar seats re-
maining, consequently of the number present only the
frog -with his green hack, the goose -with her hill and the
lamb -with its four quarters were admitted.


"A little toy who with his mother a lady of plethoric
avoidupois was visiting in Florida, received a present
of a small hut lively alligator, -which he prized ahove
all other possessions, so much so that one night he cov-
ertly took it to hed with him. \Vaking up during the
night and missing it, he in turn awoke his mother with
the admonition to * Be careful not to roll over on the
alligator, mama <"

"A gentleman returning to Scotland for a second sea-
son s shooting, on meeting his former guide, remarked
that he was not wearing the cap with ear tahs as for-
merly, to which Sandy replied that since the accident
he had worn no ear coverings. On being' asked to de-
scrihe the accident, Sandy said : \Vell you see, sir, a
gentleman that was here last season told me I might take
a drink out of his flask, and I never heard him, so since
that accident I keep my ears free.

" One hot summer noonday a farmer returning from
the field for dinner observed a loaded hay wagon over-
turned on the roadway in front of his gate and a lanky
hoy trying to right it. The farmer suggested that the
hoy suspend labor and come in to dinner, out he replied,
*Pa might not like it. He won't mind, said the farmer.


Come in. Still persisting that k Pa might not like it,' the
toy accepted the offered hospitality and did full justice
to the meal. After dinner was over the farmer said
he was curious to know why " Pa might not like it,' to
which the boy innocently answered, " Cause pa is under
the hay.
\Ve expect to see land to-morrow.

January Fifteenth.

TPON coming on deck the eye was greeted with a

charming view of the beautiful island of Flores

(flowers), one of the \Vestern Islands, which soon,

however, was left astern, together with Fayal and


By ten a. m. we were in the harbor of Ponta Delgada,
the principal city of the island of San Miguel, in fact,
the principal city of the entire group. Prospects for a
pleasant day -were discouraging. Considerable mist
with rain was in evidence, but on the sun forcing a
break for a few minutes, we decided to risk a trip
ashore, and going down the stairway over the ship s
side, made flying leaps into the bobbing little native
rowboats alongside. The oarsmen were good, but

STKKKT SCKNE I'oN I A I)KI.<;.\1).\, SAN MlCl Kl., A/.ORKS.


against so rough a sea they made slow headway to-
wards the quay ; we were fortunate, however, in get-
ting a line from a passing tow boat, which expedited our
passage to the haven where we would he. The trip
was a disappointment, however, in that Jupiter Pluviua
decided to give us a good wetting. 1 \iVe took refuge in
several shops and also visited the church into which
Christopher Columhus after discovering the New AA^orld
went with the purpose of fulfilling a vow made during
a great storm, hut the modest governor of the island
prevented its consummation 3* The islands had teen set-
tled for only some sixty years -when the large capote of
dark blue cloth now in such general use became the fea-
ture of the women s costume. \Ve thought of buying
one for masquerade parties, hut, to our surprise, found
the cheapest quality to cost $30. The cloth is imported
from England, and is quite expensive ; we therefore
contented ourselves with purchasing a small terra cotta
model of the costume and a few pictorial post cards*"*
Our stay on shore was brief ; in fact we were glad to
return to steam heat and dry garments. The rills of
rainwater importantly increased the barter's rills of
revenue, for it was to mm our clothing went to be


pressed at the modest(?) honorarium of six shillings per
garment. \Vith her nose pointing toward Madeira the
good ship " Cedric " steamed away from the Azores at
5 p. m., and once more we settled down to ship routine.

January Sixteenth.

ITH the passage of time we are getting hetter ac-
quainted with our fellow voyagers, and so we hear
mysterious rumors about men on hoard who are said to
he card sharps and gamhlers. If there are such men on
the ship they look wonderfully like the average traveler,
which prohahly accounts for the ease with which the
unwary are duped. Sinning of all kinds is said to he
pleasant at first, and probably the sin of gambling is
no exception to the general rule. Have been reading
up Madeira. ^We are due to land on that island to-

January Seventeenth.

["'HE news has just reached us of the disaster to the
" Republic " a ship of this line and feel prone
to congratulate ourselves that -we left on the " Cedric
instead of a week later. Madeira Harbor offers a


beautiful vista. A^e are surrounded by small boats
from which native boy* dive for coins in tbe icy water.
Although it is Sunday, tbe " Cedric's " decks bave
been converted into lace bazaars, where tbe natives
expose for sale tbeir band-embroidered linens. AVe
again go ashore, this time in tenders, having purchased
tickets from agents -who came on board for the purpose.
The tickets cost two dollars and fifty cents each, and
entitle the holder to see the sights, including dinner.
\Ve landed at a splendid pier, seemingly a combination
of recreation and esplanade for all nations. A short
walk to the nearest street introduced us to the bullock
cart, or carro de bois, as it is known locally ; an anti-
quated model of Spanish cabriolet placed on wooden
runners and drawn by two bullocks led by leather
thongs threaded through the tips of their horns. It re-
quires two men to navigate this sled-carriage ; one to
direct the motive power and one to manipulate the
grease bag -which from time to time is placed under the
runners to lessen friction with the pavement of small
cobble stones that have been rubbed smooth as glass.
In this vehicle we rode through the interesting streets


of Funchal to the cog railway that takes its course
10,000 feet up the mountain at the back of the city.
It was here we drank our first glass of Madeira wine.
The mountain ascent took us through orange groves and
rose gardens with grape vines covering white pergolas,
leaving the town and harbor at our feet. At the sum-
mit we left the train, whence we were luxuriously
carried in swinging hammocks, suspended on poles, by
two men to a hotel situate among beautiful tropical
garden* and magnificent gorges, where our luncheon
consisted of real Portugese cooking, supplemented by
more Madeira wine. Returning we descended the
mountain in wicker coasters with seats for two, placed
on sled-runners and guided by two men. The descent
took us through streets lined with white villas enclosed
by high stone walls, festooned with the wonderful pur-
ple Bougainvillea, looking over which mothers and chil-
dren smiled at us in our holiday enjoyment and show-
ered us with gardenias and roses. The five mile de-
scent was covered in eight minutes and was novel in the
extreme, and most interesting as a specimen of original
methods adapted to local conditions. Taking an anti-
quated tram car we rode on to the Madeira House and



snops to buy embroidery and chairs ana a souvenir
bottle of Madeira wine. Here, on the street, we met
an old friend of Jamaica days, Mr. Randolph Berens,
of London, who gave us a pleasurable surprise -when he
announced that he too would hear us company to Cairo.

January Eighteenth.

yV BEAUTIFUL day indeed; a day of sunshine
and calm. The steward served on deck every
one with white paper lace boats filled with home-made
butterscotch, and it was good! Every day there is a
service of bonbons en surprise.

January Nineteenth.

SSING T angiers early this morning brought to
mind others days in other years spent there so pleas-
urahly. By ten a. m. we were viewing the first of the
ancient wonders, the African promontory of ancient
Ahyla and the European Gibraltar, " Pillars of Her-
cules. The well-known sign of our dollar ($) is ex-
plained as representing the Pillars of Hercules united
hy a scroll. Thackary says of the rock of Gibraltar,
*" It is the very image of an enormous lion crouched he-


tween the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. ' At eleven
a. m. \ve -were strolling through the Moorish market,
and found that our limited knowledge of Moorish as
expressed in the brief salutation: " Gif Koonsy" was
smilingly answered with the "Lev as " or yore. \V^e
sauntered along leisurely spectators of the half Spanish
half English street scenes, all unchanged from the visit
of seven years previous. Conditions evolutionize rap-
idly in some portions of the world while in others
change is slow indeed, and seems to he like the change
of decay. Rememhering the hotels of Gibraltar from
former unfavorable experience, we were loath to im-
peril digestion, till Clara solved the problem by suggest-
ing a picnic luncheon a la Boheme, where each selected
his preferential tidbit and bought it at the delicatessen
shop. Oh, such a lark! After assembling our com-
bined purchases we hurried on to the English Gardens,
then in fullness of bloom, and selecting a charming
viewpoint on the stone resting place overlooking the
beautiful blue Mediterranean with its ships riding at
anchor, we began to produce our gustatory treasurers.
1 his improvised menu snowed sweet butter rolls, fresh
and warm; a pat of new butter; a bottle of Spanish



olives ; a dainty packet or cola tongue ; slice or fresh
Chedder cheese ; bottle of Spanish wine ; a tempting
assortment of French patisserie, and lots of tangerines,
with stems and green leaves still attache d'^AiVe ate
like growing children, and yet there was enough remain-
ing to furnish a meal to a beggar woman and child who
were passing. Oh, the wretched beggars of Europe !
Thank God for our own great and free land, where it
is possible for every one to be self-supporting. Pos-
sessed of a comfortable feeling of satisfaction and peace
with all the world, we hired one of those queer vehicles
known as the Gibraltar cabriolet, and drove to Europa
Point, next crossing neutral ground into Spanish terri-
tory. Here -we saw the odd feature of a maze of
barbed wire fencing, installed to preclude the smuggling
of tobacco by trained dogs from Gibraltar into Spain<*
On our way hack to the " Cedric " we stopped at
Benoliel s shop for a souvenir of this great rock fortress
commanding ingress to the Mediterranean.


January Twentieth.

E cruised all clay in eight of the Spanish Main,
between the .Balearic Islands ana mainland.
\Vithout glasses we could plainly see the -white fishing
villages, with their high background of green hills,
dotted along the coasts* As yet every day has been
ideally warm, with a smooth sea. To-night the decks
were festooned with colored electric lights and flags of
all nations. Young and old were enlivened with music
and dancing, concluding with refreshments.

January Twenty-first.

Vk S we proceed toward Genoa it grows colder. ^lany
of our passengers, including Colonel and Mrs.
Dillenhack, Mrs. Herring, Mr. Clark and Mr. Fields,
will disembark there. As our -wireless Marconi ser-
vice on hoard the " Cedric picked up some communi-
cations sent out hy the cruising fleet of American hat-
tleships returning from the trip around the world, we
hoped to witness that unique spectacle, hut although
nearby we missed them altogether.



January Twenty-second.

nHE harbor of Genoa is well named the Knee of
Italy. \Ve went ashore at the early hour of
nine a. m., and our first act was to change English into
Italian money. \Vliile one does not spend so much of
it in Italy as in some countries, still everywhere money
constitutes the passepartout. After following Shaks-
peare's injunction to " put money in thy purse, we
strolled through the streets in leisurely dolce far niente
mood, enjoying the shop windows, Seymour finally de-
ciding to investigate the subject of fur lined overcoats.
After concluding the purchase of one we lunched at the
caf Europa, where we saw the last of our unpopular
fellow-passenger, Mr. Sanderson, of Philadelphia; he
of Harrisburg Capitol fame, convoyed by his wife,
maid and valet-<"Before returning to our ocean house
boat (the " Cedric,' ) -we passed two hours profitably
seeing Genoa from an open carriage.


January Twenty-tkird.

R good skip took on many new passengers at
Genoa, including Mrs. Mcllvaine, of Pkiladel-
pkia, and ner daughter, \vkom \ve Lad tke pleasure of
meeting in Nineteen Hundred and Seven in Bermuda*!*
Tke young Baron and Baroness de Rothgcmld, of
Paris, bride and groom, are exciting a great deal of in-
terest on board. \Vliat a continuous turning of tke
wkeel of fortune life is \ To-day -we passed close to
memorable Corsica and Elka. Seymour tries to per-
suade Clara to remain in Italy until autumn, wken ke
will come for ker, but Madame seems to be unfavorable
to sudden decisions*? 6

January Twenty-fourtk.

PHE bay of Naples is ** a tking of beauty and a joy
forever." So rick in inspirational power. At
tke present time Vesuvius is as calm as a sleeping baby,
but ok \ wkat potentiality for destruction lurks beneatk
tkat quiet exterior \ Distant Capri and Sorrento are
featured beneatk tke deep blue of tke sea and tke azure
of tke sky witk tke brilliant wkite of Naples as a setting.
Sunday seems to be religiously observed *3* Notking on


sale but picture postals. Nothing to do but to drive
aimlessly about the city and lunch at the Gambrmus.
There we bad our same old table in tbe same old place.
"Nothing changed or older," not even tbe hunchback
" Good Luck Boy, who came to greet us. After tbe
usual Italian luncbeon we strolled in tbe sunshine along
tbe esplanade and sea -wall and around by tbe Aqua-
rium up to tbe bigb and narrow streets where tbe
natives live in tbe terraced -walls of tbe winding roads.
Tbe care of tbe bead and hair, however, is performed
in a sitting posture on tbe curbstones^

January Twenty~f iftb.

TN another two days we shall be due in tbe land of
the Pharaohs. \Ve are all disappointed tbat tbe
steamer s course is not tbrougb tbe Straits of Messina
(other-wise Scylla and Charybdis), for we should very
much like to see tbe scene of tbe recent earthquake at
Messina and R.eggio, but -we shall get a view of tbe
southern coast line of Sicily, where tbe Carthageman
invaders landed centuries ago. Mount Etna will be
visible in the distance, as also tbe island of Malta.


January Twenty-sixth.

OMILING nature is here with another beautiful
day. To borrow language from Mark Twain,
" we got up, washed and -went to bed again."

January Twenty-seventh.

last Jay on the good ship " Cedric." ^Wc
have had a most restful voyage, hut all the same
will welcome the change to life ashore.

January Twenty-eighth.

1LJER.E we are at Alexandria, Egypt. Arrived at
eight a. m., after having travelled Five Thousand
Seven Hundred and Sixty-six nautical miles. \VKen
we came on deck the island of Pharos was in the rear
but still in sight. It -was on the island of Pharos, you
know, that there stood the second of the Seven \Von-
ders of the world ; a lighthouse some six hundred feet in
heighth. It was here that our friend Hugh Rimmgton,
July Eleventh and Twelfth, 1882, took part in the
bombardment of the city by the English war ships.
The usual swarm of native porters and boatmen were
on the look out for us, the red fez, white tarbush



and loose-flowing galabiyeh reminding us that we had
progressed into the Orient. Steam lighter service put
us ashore in three-quarters or an hour, and the Cus-
toms Officers -were expeditious in their work. Their
method of examination rather excited our sense of
humor. The inspectors seemed to he guided more par-
ticularly by the appearance of the baggage, selecting for
examination such trunks as offered some special feature
of attraction. Our suspense, however, was brief ; all
the baggage was finally passed, and we found that we
had to wait an hour and a half before departure of
the train for Cairo. Taking advantage of the delay,
we drove to Pompey s Pillar and to the Catacombs. It
was from Alexandria that the obelisks erected in London
and New York were obtained. It was here that St.
Mark preached, and here also is the burial place of
Alexander the Great. The ride to Cairo through the
delta of lower Egypt was replete with interest; the
irrigated green fields of bercime, camels galore, the
huffalo cows and native villages of sun-baked mud huts
massed together and surrounded by date palms and mud
walls, each in turn offered the traveller its quota of
interest. On some of the houses -were curiously rep-


resented what seemed to be crude drawings by the
youthful Arab, out on asking for explanation we were
told that they were the houses of Mohammedans who
had made pilgrimage to Mecca. Such pilgrims were
privileged to pictorially present on the house front the
salient features of the journey to the sacred city,
and these features were portrayed after the pilgrim s
own manner and skill, hence the introduction of the
pink locomotive, the yellow ship and green camel.
The luncheon served in the dining car -was a misfit
failure, so -we fell hack on fresh dates, wine and oranges
instead. After a ride of three hours we found our-
selves -within the environments of the City of the
Caliphs and the home of the Arabian Nights Cairo.
\Ve had engaged rooms from the agent of Shepheard s
Hotel at Alexandria, but arrived in Cairo only to
find that no reservation for us had been made and that
Shepheard s was overcrowded; they, however, sent us in
their carriage to another of their hotels the Ghizerah
Palace which we found to be beautiful but quite in
the suburbs, so we directed the driver to the Hotel
Savoy, a hostelry Mr. Berens had been patronizing for
twenty -five years, and which -we found to be the best


and most select in Cairo-<V\Ve secured an excellent
double room on the second floor ; also the Stewarts, or
Philadelphia, were able to obtain a beautiful suite at
this hotel. Straightway Mr. Berens invited us to see
the city from his own private carriage, including Opera
Square and the Ezbekiyeh Gardens, the Post Office,
Cooks for mail (but were disappointed); then through
the Mouski, the oldest street in Cairo, and in due
course we were introduced into the native bazaars, the
shops of Hatoun's and Cohen's, where we ate " Turk-
ish Delight ' while driving bargains ; in fact, as some
bargains occupy a day or two in consummating, there is
ample time and opportunity .for eating meanwhile^*
These native bazaars offer some surprises to the Amer-
ican eye, narrow, crowded always picturesque but
quite unlike any preconceived occidental notions. M^en,
women and children of all nationalities, garbed in all

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Online LibraryClara Biddle DavisA winter journey to the western islands, Madeira, Gibraltar, Italy, Egypt, the Holy Land, Turkey, and Greece → online text (page 1 of 7)