Douglas William Freshfield.

Travels in the central Caucasus and Bashan; including visits to Ararat and Tabreez and ascents of Kazbek and Elbruz online

. (page 1 of 40)
Online LibraryDouglas William FreshfieldTravels in the central Caucasus and Bashan; including visits to Ararat and Tabreez and ascents of Kazbek and Elbruz → online text (page 1 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


.5MEUNIVER% ^lOSANCElfXy^




<rii30Nvsoi^ "^agAiNn-Jvw^



-<



,^,OFCAllFOi?^ ^



^







1]WV



-<



^ILIBRARYQ^



^l-LIBRARYQr




^oiim-i^"^



^<!/0JnV3JO^



,^WEUNIVER%




— _ ^ o



^LOSANCEl
o

u_

li-
es

■^/sa3An..



1]WV






.^jOFCAllFO/?^^






s






.^0FCAIIF0%

Q=







AWEUNIVERi-//,







o ,
<:



■jO^



.^WEUNIVERSyA




o



A>:lOSANCEl%
,§■ ->;



%a3AINi13^V^



.C^tLIBRARYOc. ^ILIBRAR^




'^'<aOdnV3JO>'



♦^



-^WEUNIVERi-//,



vwlOSANCElfj>

o




<rii30NVS01^ %a3AINn-3WV



>



.^OF-



ir



.<:



^^oFc;



A^llIBRARYQ^




-^lUBRARYQc



.^\^EUNIVERy/A ^^,

-n <_'



3V\V^ %0JITVJJO^ ^OjiwjJO^ '^X?13DNVS01^'^




1-3UV



-<



^OFCAIIFOR^



^^OFCAIIFO/?




^c'Aavaan-1'^^



A\^EUNIVERy//i



%avaa^•^^^ <rii33Nvsoi^'^




fj^ ^lOSANCEli



;d



'^J1VER% >^lOSANCElfj>



^



^HIBRARYQ^ ^Wtiiii,







<rji30Nvsoi^ "^/saaAiNniwv



>>



^.OFCALIFO/?^^ aOFCAIIFOP^



4?




^OAl






^OFCALIFOff^ ^OFC*^'^-^"'



.W^EUNIVERS/A .



57X- 't<^2.-?



^^WEUNIVER%






MN(l-3W^



.N^HIBRARYQc, <j^^„li



^ ^



^OJUVDJO"^



v^



%ojnv3jo^''



^OF-CALIF0% ^>A,OFCAlIF0/?^>




'^OAavaaii-^^



^<?Aavaaii-^^



' ^^^AUViiaii-^^'^ ' - & AbViiaii-^'^^



'mmih



'Jr



AWCfifr,



-r> o A

*\E-

)1^ ^/^3AINn-3WV^



^^WEUNIVERSy^ .sVlO^



^WEUNIVERy//, sVlOSANCElfXy.



^UIBRARYQ/: ^HIBRARYO/-



THE



CENTEAL CAUCASUS AKD BASHAN.



LONDON: PRINTED BT

SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STKEET SQUAEE

AND PAELIAMBNT STBEBT



£





^- •



TRAVELS



IN THE



CENTRAL CAUCASUS AND BASHAN



INCLUDING



VISITS TO ARAEAT AND TABREEZ



ASCENTS OF KAZBEK AND ELBRUZ.



DOUGLAS W. FRESHFIELD.



' Per Alpium juga
Inhospitalem et Caucasiim.'

HoR. Epod. I. 12.



LONDON :

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

1869.

The right of translation is reserved.



DK

511



PREFACE.



The following pages sufficiently explain how the
journey described in them was planned and carried
out. In the course of our wanderings, we visited two
countries, well known, indeed, by name to the general
reader, but concerning which vague, and in some
respects incorrect impressions are frequently enter-
tained. A truthful traveller may do as good service
by destroying illusions as by bringing forward fresh
information, and I have felt bound to record our con-
viction that the belief that there are ' Giant Cities '
in Bashan is as unfounded as the still more prevalent
idea that all the men in the Caucasus are brave, and
all the women beautiful.

Our Syrian travels owed their chief interest to a
sudden access of vigour on the part of the Turkish
Pashas, which enabled us to visit, with httle risk or
expense, the remarkable ruins of the Hauran and Lejah,
and to form our own opinion as to their date — a question






VI PREFACE.

as yet discussed principally by unskilled witnesses,
and still awaiting the decision of a competent judge.

The exploration of the passes and glaciers of the
Central Caucasus, and the ascent of its two most
famous summits, formed the chief aim of our journey,
and are the main subject of the present volume. I
trust that the record of our adventures in the moun-
tain fastnesses may prove of sufficient interest to draw
the attention of our countrymen to a range surpassing
the Alps by two thousand feet in the average height of
its peaks, abounding in noble scenery and picturesque
inhabitants, and even now within tlie reach of many
' long-vacation tourists,' When tlie Caucasus, as yet
less known than the Andes or the Himalayas, becomes
a recognised goal of travel, this work will have fulfilled
its object, and will be superseded by the production
of some author better qualified, both by literary skill
and scientific attainments, to treat of so noble a theme.

The reader will not find in these pages any pohtical
speculations, for which so rapid a journey afforded
scant opportunity ; he may more justly complain of
the absence of ethnological details concerning the tribes
of the Caucasus. My excuse is, that information filtered
through an uneducated interpreter is difficult to obtain
and little trustworthy ; the subject, moreover, has been
fully treated of by German travellers, in w^orks al-
ready translated into English, and accessible to those
in whom the present account of the natural features of



PREFACE. Vll

the Caucasian region may raise a wish to learn
more of its inhabitants.

The Map of the Central Caucasus is reduced from
the Five Verst Map, executed by the Eussian Topo-
graphical Department at Tiflis, with many corrections
suggested by our own experience. The illustrations
are derived from various sources ; some liave been
engraved from paintings by a Russian artist resident
at Tiflis, others are from photographs or pencil-sketches.
Two of the smaller plates are borrowed from a privately-
printed work of Herr Eadde, our numerous obliga-
tions to whom I gladly take this opportunity of
acknowledging.

I owe my best thanks to Mr. Edward Whymper
for the skill he has shown in dealing with the rough
materials placed at his disposal, a task for which his
well-known knowledge of mountain scenery eminently
qualified him. I have also to thank Mr. Weller for
the care he has taken to make the maps accurate and
intellimble.

o

I cannot conclude these few words of preface with-
out bearing grateftd witness to the constant encourage-
ment, and very important aid, which I have received
from my companions, Mr. A. W. Moore and Mr. C. C.
Tucker, in the preparation of the volume now sub-
mitted to the public.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.
EGYPT AND PALESTINE.

PAGE

Introductory — Choosing a Dragoman — Djebel Mokattam — The Nile
Steamer — The Mecca Caravan — Sail for Syria — A Poor Traveller —
Struck by Lightning — Syrian Sloughs and Storms — The River Kishon —
Arrival at Jerusalem — An Idea worked out — ' Vive la Mer Morte ! ' —
Jericho — We fall among Thieves — The Jordan Valley — Capture of a
Standard-bearer — Ferry of the Jordan .•.....!



CHAPTER II.

BASHAN.

The English Soldier— A Mountain Ride— Es-Salt — Lost on the HUls —
The Jabbok — Camp of the Beni-Hassan — Suppressing a Sheikh — The
Oak Forests of Gi lead — The Tablelands — An Uxorious Sheikli — Derat —
The Roman Road — The Robbers repulsed — Ghusam — Bozrah — Honoured
Guests — A Ramble in the Ruins — Kureiyeh — Patriarchal Hospitality —
Hebran — A Stone House — Kufr — Ascent of El-Kleib — Suweideh —
Kunawat — Noble Ruins — Shuhba — Hades on Earth — Visiting Extra-
ordinary — The Lejah — A Lava Flood — Ahireh — Khubab- — A Rush to
Arms — The Stolen Mule — A Village in Pursuit — Mismiyeh — The ' Giant
Cities ' are Roman Towns — The Wrath of the Beys — A Friendly Sulut
— Kesweh — Entrance to Damascus . . . . . . .16

CHAPTER III.
LEBANON AND THE LEVANT.

Damascus — Bazaars and Gardens — An Enthusiastic Freemason — Snow-
storm on Anti-Lebanon — Baalbec — An Alpine Walk — The Cedars —
Return to Beyrout — Cyprus and Rhodes — Smyrna — The Valley of the
Maeander — Excavations at Ephesus — Constantinople — The Persian
Khan — May-Day at the Sweet Waters— Preparations for the Caucasus . 63



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IV.

TRANSCAUCASIA.

PAGE

On the Black Sea — Trebizonde — Rival Interpreters — Paul — Running a
Muck — Batoum — The Caucasus in Sight — Landing at Poti — The Rion
Steamer — A Drive in the Dark — Kutais — Count I;everschoff— Splendid
Costumes — Mingrelian Princesses — Azaleas — The Valley of the Quirili —
A Post Station — The Georgian Plains — Underground Villages — Gori —
First View of Kazbek— Tiflis— The Hotel d'Europe— The Streets-
Silver and Pur Bazaars — Maps — German Savants — The Botanical
Garden — The Opera — Oificialism Rampant — A Palse Frenchwoman —
A Paraclodnaia — The Postal System in Russia 74



CHAPTER V.
THK PERSIAN POST-ROAD.

The Banks of the Kur — Troops on the March — A Romantic Valley—
Delidschan — A Desolate Pass — The Gokcha Lake — Ararat — Erivan — -
The Kurds — The Valley of the Araxes — A Steppe Storm — A Dangerous
Ford — Nakliitchevan — A Money Question — Djulfa — Charon's Ferry and
a Modern Cerberus — A Friend in Need — A Persian Khan — Maraud —
Entrance to Tabreez — Chez Lazarus . . . , . . .112



CHAPTER VI.
TABREEZ, ARARAT, AND THE GEORGIAN HILL-COUNTRY.

The City— Brick Architecture — The Shah's Birthday — The European
Colony — A Market Committee — Retiu-n to Djulfa — A Dust Storm — Ford
of the Araxes — Aralykli — Start for Ararat — Refractory Kurds — A Moon-
light Climb — ^Failure — A Lonely Perch— Vast Panorama — Tucker's
Story — A Gloomy Descent— Return to Erivan — Etchmiadzin — The Arme-
nian Patriarch — A Dull Ride— Eammamly — The Georgian Hills— Dje-
laloghlu — A Moist Climate — Schulaweri — Tiflis again — Moore joins us . 141

CHAPTER VII.

THE KRESTOWAJA GORA AND ASCENT OF KAZBEK.

Start for the Mountains— The Pass of the Caucasus— Kazbek Post Station
— The Governors — A Reconnaissance in force — Legends — Avalanches —
The Old Men's Chorus— Men in Ai'mour — Our Bivouac — A Critical
Moment— Scaling an Icewall — The Summit — The Descent— A Savage
Glen — A Night with the Shepherds — Return to the Village — Caucasian
Congratulations 179



CONTENTS. XI

CHAPTER VIII.

THE VALLEYS OF THE TEREK, ARDON, AND RION.

PAGE

A Geographical Disquisition — The Upper Terek — Savage Scenery — Fero-
cious Dogs — Abano — A Dull Walk— Hard Bargaining — An Unruly
Train — A Pass — Zacca, on the Ardon — A Warm Skirmish and a Barren
Victory — An Unexpected Climb — The Lower Valley — A Kussian Koad
— Teeb— The Ossetes— The Mamisson Pass— Adai Khokh— A Shift
in the Scenery — Gurscha^d — The Boy-Prince — An Idle Day — View from
the Khododendron Slope — Glola — The Pine-Forests of the Kion — Chiora 208

CHAPTEE IX.
THE GLACIERS AND FORESTS OF THE CENTRAL CAUCASUS.

Caucasian Shepherds — A Lovely Alp — Sheep on the Glacier- — A New Pass
— A Snow Wall — A Rough Glen — The Karagam Glacier — Bivoiiac in the
Forest — An Icefall — A Struggle and a Victory — The Upper Snowfields
— The Watershed at last — Check — A Usefid Gully — An Uneasy Night
— Glola again — Pantomime — Gebi^Curious VilLigers — A Bargain for
Porters — Azalea Thickets — The Source of the Rion — Rank Herbage
— Camp on the Zenes-Squali — A Low Pass — Swamps and Jungles —
Path-jBnding — The Glen of the Scena—AVide Pasturages — TheNaksagar
Pass 245

CHAPTER X. :

SU-^ETIA.

Free Suanetia, Past and Present — Herr Eadde's Experiences — Physical
Features — Fortified Villages — Jibiani — Pious Savages — A Surprise —
Glaciers of the Ingur — Petty Theft — Threats of Robbery — Alarms and
Excursions^ — A Stormy Parting — The Horseman's Home — The Ruined
Tower — A Glorious Icefall — Adisch — Sylvan Scf-nery — The Mushaluliz
— Suni — Ups and Downs — Midday Halt — Latal — A Suanetian Farm-
house — Murder no Crime — Tau Totonal — A Sensation Scene — The Cau-
casian MMterhorn — Pari at last — Hospitable Cossacks . . . 292



Xll CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XI.

FROM PARI TO I'ATIGORSK, AND ASCENT OF ELBRUZ.

PAGE

A Captive Bear — Moore Harangues the Porters — Camp in the Forest —
A Plague of Flies— Lazy Porters — A Nook in the Mountains — Cattle-
Lifting — Across the Chain in a Snowstorm — A Stormy Debate — A
Log Hut — Eaksan Valley — Uruspieh — The Guest House — Villany
Eewarded— Minghi-Tau — An Idle Day — An Enlightened Prince — Passes
to the Karatchai— Tartar Mountaineers — A Night with the Shepherds
— A Steep Climb — Camp on the Eoeks— Great Cold — On the Snowfield
— In a Crevasse — Frigid Despair — A Crisis — Perseverance Eewarded —
The Summit — Panorama — The Eeturn — Enthusiastic Eeception — The
Lower Baksan — A Long Eide — A Tcherkess Village — Grassy Downs —
Zonitzki — Patigorsk . . . . . . . . . .337

CHAPTER XII.

PATIGORSK AND THE TCHEREK VALLEY.

The Caucasian Spas— Their History and Development — View from
Machoucha — The Patients— Essentuky — Kislovodsk — The Narzan —
Hospitable Eeception — A Fresh Start — A Eussian Farmhouse — By the
Waters of Baksan — Naltschik — The Tcherek — Camp in the Forest — A
Tremendous Gorge — Balkar — A Hospitable Sheikh — The Mollah —
Gloomy Weather — A Solemn Parting — Granitic Cliifs — Karaoid — A
Mountain Panorama — Sources of the Tcherek — The Stuleveesk Pass —
Koschtantau and Dychtau — A Noble Peak — Our Last Camp. , ,381

CHAPTER Xin.

THE URUCH VALLEY AND RETURN TO TIFLIS.

Wooded Defiles— Styr Digor — A Halt — We Meet a Cossack— A Eain-
storm — Zadclesk — The Gate of the Mountains — Across the Hills and
Through the Forest — Tuganova — Novo-Christiansky — A Christian
Welcome — A Wet Eide — Ardonsk — A Breakdown on the Steppe — Vladi-
kafkaz — A Diligence Drive — The Dariel Gorge — Eeturn to Tiflis —
Eeflections on'the Caucasian Chain — Its Scenery and Inhabitants — Com-
parison with the Alps — Hints for Travellers 422



CONTENTS. Xlll



CHAPTER XIV.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND THE CRIMEA : HOME THROUGH
RUSSIA.

PAOE

Borjom — Bad Eoad — Beautiful Scenery — Achaltzich — Across the Hills —
Abastuman — A Narrow Valley — The Burnt Forest — Panorama of the
Caucasus — Last Appearance of Kazbek and Elbruz — A Forest Ride-
Bagdad— MingreHan Hospitality — A French Baron's Farm — The Rion
Basin— Kutais — The Postmaster — Poti — A Dismal Swamp— Soukhoum-
Kale — Sevastopol — The Battlefields — The Crimean Corniehe —
Bakhchi-Sarai — Odessa — A Run across Russia — A Jew's Cart — The
Dnieper Steamboat — KiefF — Picturesque Pilgrims — The Lavra
— Sainted Mummies — A Long Drive — Vitebsk — St. Petersburg —
Conclusion 465

APPENDIX.

I. The Elbruz Expedition of 1829 . . .... 497

II. Heights of Peaks, Passes, Towns, and Villages in the Caucasian

Provinces ........... 600

lU. Catalogue of Plants 502



LIST OF MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.



MAPS.

PAGE

I. Route Map of the Haurau To face 16

II. The Caucasian Provinces „ 74

III. The Central Caucasus End of Vol.

FULL-PAGE ILLUSTKATIONS.

Elbruz from the North Frontispiece

Ararat To face 125

Kazbek from the Post Station „ 185

Kazbek from the South „ 197

PAIJOEAMAS.

The Caucasus from Patigorsk ,, 381

The Koschtantau Group ^^ 381

WOODCUTS IN TEXT.

A Georgian Church 95

The Georgian Castle, Tiflis 104

Mountaineers in Armour I95

An Ossete Village 213

An Ossete 227

Adai Khokh from the Rion Valley 237

Source of the Eastern Zenes-Squali 282

Our Camp-fire in the Forest 288

A Native of Jibiani 3O0

Tan Tbtonal from above Latal 328

Uschba from above Latal 329

Woman of TJruspieh 357

Peak in the Tchcrek Valley 4jl

Fort of Dariel 442

Grand-Ducal Villa at Borjom 466

Mingrelian Wine .Tnr 479



TRAVELS

IN

THE CENTEAL CAUCASUS AND BASHAK

CHAPTEE I.

EGYPT AND PALESTINE.

Introductory — Choosing a Dragoman — Djebel Mokattam — The Nile
Steamer — The Mecca Caravan — Sail for Syria — A Poor Traveller —
Struck by Lightning — Syrian Sloughs and Storms — The River Kishon —
Arrival at Jerusalem — An Idea worked out — -'Vive la Mer Mortal' —
Jericho — We fall among Thieves — The Jordan Valley — Capture of a
Standard-bearer — Ferry of the Jordan.

Before carrying mj readers into tlie primitive wilds of
Bashan, and amongst the unknown valleys and ridges of
tlie Caucasus, I must give some explanation of the circum-
stances which induced me to undertake the journey I
am about to describe. In many summer holidaj^s, spent
among the Alps, I had acquired a taste for mountain
scenery, and when an opportunity of being absent from
home for a longer time than usual presented itself, I
looked for some country where the zest of novelty would
be added to those natural features which chiefly at-
tracted me. For many reasons the Caucasus seemed to be
the very region I was seeking. Less distant than the
Andes or the Himalayas, its mountains were yet unknown
to ordinary travellers, and none of our countrymen had

B



2 EGYPT AND PALESTINE.

explored tlie recesses of the finest portions of the chain,
although not a few had crossed the great highway of
the Dariel, or followed in the footsteps of the Eussian
armies in Daghestan.

My journey was to begin in January, at which time
it was obviously to6 early to start on a mountaineering
excursion, and the ease with which a visit to the Cauca-
sian provinces might be fitted on to an Eastern tour
induced me to spend the intervening months in Egypt
and the Holy Land.

The plan was definitely settled when my friend Mr.
Tucker agreed to join me in the whole of the proposed
journey. I had the good fortune to secure a second comrade
for our Caucasian explorations in Mr. Moore, who was,
however, unable to leave London until the summer, and
therefore promised to meet us, at Tiflis, about June
20th. So far our party was complete, but for moun-
taineering work it was evidently necessary to have the
assistance of at least one skilled guide. My old com-
panion, rran9ois Devouassoud of Chamouni, was jnst the
man we wanted, and he proved not only willing but
anxious to join us. The only question was whether he
should meet us at some point in our journey, or should
accompany us from its outset. I finally determined to
accede to his wishes, and take him as a travelling servant,
having full confidence in his intelligence and readiness
to accommodate himself to new scenes and unaccustomed
modes of life. We had no reason to repent this decision.

After a busy fortnight, spent in getting together the
necessaries for our journey — which included a tent, water-
proof saddlebags, a portable kitchen, and large quantities
of Liebig's soup — we left England on January 4th, 1868.
We passed through the South of France in the most intense
cold: at Avignon the Rhone was frozen from bank to



CHOOSING A DRAGOMAN. g

bank, and the fountains at Marseilles were turned into
masses of icicles. On January 8tli we sailed for Egypt,
on board the Messageries Imperiales' steamer 'Port
Said,' with a miscellaneous batch of passengers, in-
cluding two French officers who were going to Abys-
sinia, two directors of the Suez Canal, Gerome the
painter, the Viceroy of Egypt's dentist, two missionary
ladies bound for Jerusalem, and a party of Algerine
Arabs on their way to Mecca, who lay all day and night
on deck, huddled in their cloaks. With such variety on
board, and a constantly-changing horizon, we found the
voyage by no means monotonous.

On the sixth morning the tall lighthouse and low coast
of Alexandria came in sight. We landed in a storm of
rain, which added to the difficulties of newcomers in an
Eastern city. We were at once surrounded by a host of
dragomen, and pestered by their persistent attentions,
until we at last selected one, whose personal appearance
was in his favour, and whose terms and promises were
more reasonable than those of most of the men we saw.
By the kind assistance of a European resident, a contract
was made with him to accompany us during our Syrian
tour ; his duties were to begin on our landing at Jaffii or
Beyrout. The successful candidate was Elias Abbas, a
Maronite of the Lebanon.

I have no intention of adding to the already too
numerous descriptions of Egypt and the Nile, but I
cannot refrain from one hint to all visitors to Cairo.
Visit the petrified forest, and make your donkey-boy brino-
you back by Djebel Mokattam, or you will lose one of the
most wonderful views in the East. After riding for miles
over the arid African desert, with a narrow horizon, and
nothing to attract the attention save a distant train of
camels or a troop of gazelles, the edge of an abruj^t

b2



4 EGYPT AND PALESTINE.

descent is reached, and the view of Cairo and the valley
of the Nile bursts upon the eyes with an almost magical
suddenness. The immediate foreground is formed by
the quarried heights of Djebel Mokattam, in the centre
of the picture rise the taper minarets of the mosque
of the citadel, in a valley on its right are the tombs
of the Memlooks, a deserted town of the dead, and the
vast modem city spreads itself out in the plain below.
In the centre of the broad bluish-green ribbon of fertile
land, dotted with clusters of pyramids, the Nile itself
can be traced to the commencement of the Delta, while
beyond, on the west, the yellow sands of the desert
mark the limits of its fertilising inundation.

At Cairo we were fortunate in falling in with some
pleasant Americans, who were making up a party to hire
a steamboat for a trip up the river. They asked us to
join them, and although the Nile had not formed part
of our programme, the opportunity was too good to be
lost, and we gladly accepted the offer.

Although our company consisted of eleven Americans
and only four Englishmen, the majority were not at all
disposed to abuse their power, and we gave an example of
unbroken harmony to the other steamers going up the
river at the same time. Indeed, I believe that on this
account, as well as from our being so fortunate as to carry
with us some prett}^ and lively Transatlantic cousins, we
were an object of envy and heartburning to most of the
boats we met.

Time could not hang heavy on the hands of those who,
when their admiration was no longer called forth by ' the
mysteriovis type of beauty' peculiar to the broken-nosed
sisterhood of Sphinxes, could turn their eyes on the
fresher charms which the Far West had sent to compete
with the stony loveliness of the East. On February 14th



SAIL FOR SYRIA. 5

we bade farewell to the little steamer in which we had
spent three very pleasant weeks on the Mle, and returned
to our old quarters in Shepherd's Hotel at Cairo.

We witnessed the departure of the Haj caravan for
Mecca, admired the holy camel, draped with cloth of gold,
carrying the annually renewed covering of Mahomet's
tomb, and laughed heartily at a sheikh of extraordinary
sanctity and obesity, who, strij)ped to the waist and shining
w^ith oil, swayed himself backwards and forwards on his
camel with the air of a tipsy FalstafF. A few hours later
we bade adieu to Cairo and our Nile friends, and on the
next day embarked at Alexandria for Syria.

We had been asked to take out from England a Ions:
box, labelled ' Delicate instruments — with care,' for the
use of Lieutenant Warren, the officer engaged in super-
intending the excavations lately undertaken by the ' Pales-
tine Exploration Committee.' On our leaving Alexandria
the custom-house officer wanted to examine the box, and
it was only by loud protests and threats of official ven-
geance that we saved the instruments from the risk of
being spoiled by the Egyptians. This was the beginning
of woes to these 'delicate instruments,' which became
celebrated characters with us during the next fortnight.

We spent a day at Port Said, an utterly uninteresting
town of third-class villa residences, and wide streets lined
with hastily-run-up stores, built upon a sandspit. It is
probably destined to future importance as the Mediter-
ranean port of the Suez Canal. We had not time to
see much of the works now in progress there, but enjoyed
a ramble on the beach, which is entirely formed of lovely
little shells of the most delicate shapes and colours. We
re-embarked on Tuesday the 1 7th, and in the evening the
sea became very rough. At midnight half the passengers
were pitched out of their berths by some terrible rolls j



6 EGYPT AND PALESTINE.

tlien tlie cabin-benches got loose, and tumbled about
noisily. At 7 a.m. we were off Jaffa, but landing- was
out of the question ; an hour later the cabin in which
I was dressing was filled with a blaze of light, and the
ship shook with a report as if she had fired a broadside.
Our foremast had been struck by lightning, but, being
provided with a conductor, the vessel escaped injury. All
that day we ran on through a big tumbling sea, and



Online LibraryDouglas William FreshfieldTravels in the central Caucasus and Bashan; including visits to Ararat and Tabreez and ascents of Kazbek and Elbruz → online text (page 1 of 40)