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mislaid it. It is in Greek uncial letters, and declares
that our Lord Jesus Christ is King of kings, and that
His Kingdom shall last for ever and ever.

I was much interested, too, in visiting some Jewish
houses and schools. It is characteristic everywhere
that you frequently approach these houses up narrow
and filthy streets, bearing marks of poverty and
neglect up to the very door. You enter, go perhaps
a yard or two down a mud-floored passage, then find
yourself in a luxurious court-yard, with a beautifully
carved fountain in the middle, trees overhanging it,
divans, open to the yard, at the sides. More exquisite
marble carvings and richer decorations I never saw.
We had to drink coffee out of cups about the size of


big thimbles, generally offered us by the master's
sons, barefooted but richly dressed. No sort of
picture did you see anywhere, the decorations were
arabesques of richly veined marbles, the beautiful
carpets made you almost believe in Sindbad the Sailor.

" Never outrun your welcome," says the old proverb.
I feel that I am in danger of doing it by thus keeping
the reader button-holed week after week. I fully
meant to finish up these letters to-day, but I must
beg the reader to indulge me one week longer while
I compress as well as I can our journey to Beyrout
and thence to Constantinople into one page more.


OUR journey from Damascus took us past the spot
whence Mahomet is said, as he gazed on the fair city
embosomed among the trees, to have exclaimed
" Paradise ! Ah, no, for Paradise is above." It is
a spot that visitors go out to at eventide when the
setting sun throws its light on towers, and minarets,
and roofs.

Past the rushing Abana — and it is a lovely river —
we went up hill after hill, into the range of Anti-


Libanus ; past rocks more frowning and terrific of
aspect than any I have ever seen. No Swiss scenery
can compare in this respect with the sharp volcanic
crags shooting up into the sky, and constantly over-
hanging the path.

The road is a splendid piece of engineering skill.
It was made by a French company, who have a
monopoly of it for fifty years, and they charge a very
heavy toll. I think we had to pay £2 toll for our
journey to Beyrout. The old mule path is seen, now
this side, now that, and many strings of camels and
asses we saw pursuing it, their owners not able to
pay the toll. The same company have acquired
the right to make a railway also, from Beyrout
to the Hauran, with an arriere penste of going on to
the Euphrates. But a railway from Beyrout to
Damascus would of course injure their newly-made
carriage road, so their course of procedure is to begin
at Damascus and go eastwards to the Hauran (or
Bashan), and not to make the railway at present over
the Beyrout way. I see that an opposition line is
being started, from Haifa through the Vale of
Esdraelon to the Lake of Galilee, and thence
to Damascus. But at any rate the first company
have the start. We met processions endless of mules


heavily laden with rails, which were being carried
to Damascus for the Hauran line ; so evidently they
mean business. And according to all account, they
will open up a magnificent corn-growing district when
this line is finished.

Having crossed the Anti-Libanus range, we
descended into the beautiful plain of the Leontes,
and were now fronted with the line of Lebanon.
Looking southwards we could still see the snow-
capped heights of Hermon.

Lebanon is not particularly striking of aspect.
The range is level-topped, like a plateau, and the lines
of snow all down the furrows reminded one of the
stripes on a tiger's back. But we did not cross it that
day. The course of our journey led us up the valley
between the two ranges. This is the valley commonly
known as Ccele-Syria, £*., " Hollow Syria," a name
dating from the days of Alexander, and expressing
the fact that it is a hollow depression between the two
ranges. It is, if I mistake not, about twelve miles
wide, rich both in cornfields and vineyards. Our
halting-place at the entrance of the valley was
Shturah, a village on the fine road I have mentioned,
and the seat of a most flourishing wine trade in the


hands of some French people from Rheims and the
neighbourhood. We bought a large quantity of their
wine very cheap, but it has not yet reached us here
in England, so that we cannot tell how it will bear
the sea voyage, nor ask the opinion of our friends
upon it. But we are rather sanguine in our hopes.

The object of our excursion up the valley was to
visit Baalbec, which lies at the northern extremity
of it. The native name of the valley is Bukaa, and
Baalbec means the Temple of Baal in that valley.
We halted for the night at Muallakah, on the side
of Lebanon, and were amazed to find a long, flourish-
ing village, or rather a long line of contiguous villages,
the inhabitants of which are mostly Christian, Oriental
certainly in aspect, but still bearing everywhere marks
of the French civilisation to which in a large measure
the colonising here is to be attributed.

Next day we went on to Baalbec, and I need not
tell anyone who has read about it that it has been
a most wonderful city. At the Phoenician buildings
which yet remain we may take it as certain that
Jezebel must have officiated, for here were the head-
quarters of the foul Baal-worship in the days of her
father, Ethbaal. To this day the method by which


the Phoenician part of the walls was constructed
remains a mystery. For let the reader contemplate
these facts : (i) a huge row of masonry twenty feet
high ; (2) upon this lie six blocks of stone thirty
feet long and thirteen feet square, so exquisitely
finished and laid in position that though no cement
has been used they are absolutely as close as two
sheets of paper ; (3) upon these, three blocks sixty-
four feet long, and fourteen feet square. How on
earth were they got up there ? Nobody can tell.
The quarry from which these stones were dug is about
half a mile distant, and in it there lies one bigger than
any of them, being seventy-two feet long. It has
been carved and chased, but whether or not they
failed in their attempts to move it, who can say?
There it lies, and has lain these thousands of years,
one of the wonders of the world.

The magnificence of the principal temples, however,
is indescribable ; but they are not Phoenician. They
were built chiefly by the Antonines. It is a hard day's
work to go all over them and mark the magnificence
of the columns, some standing upright against the
clear sky, some lying prone, one leaning against the
wall against which it was thrown by an earthquake,
but both wall and column so strongly built that neither


was broken. The columns of one temple are 75 feet
in height. Six of these remain upright, and a
splendid entablature of 14 feet rests upon them. Yes,
vast is the right word for these ruins ; but then the
exquisite carvings upon them are not a whit less
wonderful. The roof of the peristyle under which
we rested from the sun is as rich and delicate as the
ornamentation of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.
And you stand amazed, too, at sight of the great
portal which led into this temple, because an earth-
quake in 1759 shattered, but did not destroy it. There
are the stones in their displaced condition ; and the
very fact that they remain in their vastness, jarred,
but not thrown down, is an astounding revelation of
the mighty strength of the construction. But the
reader must see plans and pictures to realise in some
degree this stupendous collection of heathen fanes.
I wish I could show my photographs to every reader
of these lines.

We were loth to quit so wondrous a spot, but after
a night's encampment we bade Baalbec farewell. We
saw the road which would have taken us to the Cedars
of Lebanon, but it was impracticable at the time of
year that we were there, by reason of the deep snow.
Just over the hill before us is the stream where Adonis


was killed, according to the legend. That legend also
tells how his blood reddened the stream, and certainly
the red clay in all this neighbourhood gives a tinge to
the water, arid probably to this the fancy is owing.
How the women wept for Tammuz the reader who
does not remember the legend must find in his
annotated Ezekiel.

Two days' more riding carried us over the Lebanon
range and down to Beyrout. We passed the scene
where took place the cruel massacre of the Maronites
by the Druses in i860. One good, at any rate, came
out of the atrocity. The Turkish Government was
obliged to make a few concessions to the outraged
conscience of Christendom, and to acknowledge the
Christian League for the protection of our brother
Christians. But Mahometanism will remain a curse
and blight upon the world as long as it exists. When
the Queen made the Turkish Sultan a Knight of the
Garter (!) our leading journal flourished away most
fluently, and prophesied that for the future Christianity
and Mahometanism would go hand in hand in the
work of progress. It might as well have prophesied
that St. Michael and the devil would be seen walking
arm-in-arm down Pall Mall. Poor Abdul Aziz! he
did try ; and they killed him because he really wanted


to make Christians equal with Moslems. I sought
out his grave in Constantinople, and stood silently for
a long time by it, and joined my prayer for his soul
with one that the darkness might pass away and the
true light shine.

But this is a digression. I must hasten to a close.
We had a storm of rain at Beyrout, just when we did
not mind it. The weather had been like a glorious
summer all the time of our encampment under the
heavens. On Monday, the 28th of March, we
embarked at Beyrout, and though it was windy as we
started it grew calm almost immediately, and for a
week we were on the Mediterranean once more and
enjoyed it to the full. At both Cyprus and Rhodes we
halted for a night, and read our Bibles diligently, as
well as talked of heathen legends and the great
Colossus. I need not say that there is not a rock or
an island which we passed in the ^Egean sea which is
not enrobed in beautiful stories, true and allegorical
We passed Patmos towards eventide, and with my
glass I could see the cave where St John is said to
have written the Apocalypse. Assos, Mitylene, Phocea,
we knew something about them all, and next day
went on land at Smyrna. We had a little disappoint-
ment here, for we had planned to visit Ephcsus, but it


came on to rain heavily, and we had to give this up.
But we saw St. Polycarp's church, and the place of
his martyrdom, and his tomb, and here also in the
" Sailor's Home" on the shore got sight of some news-
papers, the first I had seen for many weeks. So away
again, past Troas and Tenedos, and the tomb of
Achilles, and up the Dardanelles, past Abydos and
jEgospotami, into the sea of Marmora. We were
in bed, however, during our voyage across it.
Next morning, we went on deck to behold the
beautiful city of Constantine looming through the

I cannot do justice to the beautiful city and its
history in this column ; I fear I have well nigh worn
my readers' patience out, but the visit to St. Sophia
and the other sites which I knew pretty well from the
history books, will never die out of my recollection.
Nor will the visit to Scutari, where I blended together
the memories of the great Council of Chalcedon and
the Christian work of Florence Nightingale. Both
had their place nearly on the same spot. We spent
our afternoon in the burial ground hard by the
hospital, and recognised many a familiar name on the
stones, and saw many a great mound where forty men
or so were laid to rest together.


Oh ! seek them not where sleep the dead,

Ye shall not find their trace ;
No graven stone is at their head,

No green grass hides their face.
They had few prayers, and no mourning bell,
They are tombed in the true hearts that loved them well.

So I bid farewell to the East. But, as I have rather
abused the Turks, my last word shall be about Bishop
Blyth. He has already done good work in smoothing
differences between the English and the Eastern
Church. Speaking for myself, I must say I wish he
had been supported better. 1 do not believe, so long
as the Turkish Government rules, that intercommunion
is possible. The Turks hate and detest the attempts at
our reunion, and are bent upon keeping us apart.
But they can't go on for ever. The Bishop has
pursued a wise course in showing the Greek Church
that we respect and revere her ancient traditions.
And I am sure that in the disputes which he has had
with English Christians at home he has been right
and they have been wrong.

1 894

April 20

It is not an easy thing to describe a foundation like
that of the great Abbey of Bury St. Edmund's in such
a way as to convey an idea of it to the reader, especially
without a plan. Perhaps it is rash to attempt it. Our
hotel stands on the west side of a large space sloping
slightly downwards, which is known as Angel Hill.
Opposite to us and stretching away to the right is the
site of the great Abbey, the most magnificent in
eastern England, hallowed not only by the saint to
whom it is dedicated, but by more than one great
episode in our national history. Its two noble
gateways are still standing, the one, almost facing our
hotel, is Perpendicular, the other, on our right, pure
Norman. The Norman gate led straight into the
precincts of the magnificent Abbey church, so that
as men stood in the street, and looked through the
gate, they could see not only the west front, but when
its doors were open, the high altar at the other end.


That west front still stands, strangely transmuted
indeed, but beautiful even in its partial ruin. It is
now shorn of its ornamentations and has modern
windows ; it forms the vicarage house, and the vicar
was kind enough to show us the strong and massive
Norman arches which the wall still exhibits on the
inside. Alongside this great church on the north lay
the Abbey buildings and the Abbot's house, and the
other gateway was the entrance to that portion. Now
the good reader, I hope, will be able to comprehend
thus far. Two gateways in a straight line, one leading
into the Abbey buildings and grounds, the other to
the Abbey church and churchyard, the two portions
thus forming a couple of adjacent parallelograms. At
the opposite (the east) end runs a little river, over
which is a gem of a stone footbridge of three arches
known as the abbot's bridge.

Now let us return to the fine Norman gateway. It
is in the form of a tower, in which hangs a good peal
of bells, of which more presently. Passing through it,
you are in the peaceful and beautiful churchyard, with
its tall, shadowing trees. On your left is the south wall
of St. James's Church, and on your right at the other
side of the churchyard is St. Mary's. It is a striking
feature of this spot, these two fine churches within the


same churchyard, to which, until the dissolution by
Henry VIII., was added the great Church of the
Monastery. There can have been no scene in England
of greater ecclesiastical grandeur than must have been
thus presented. I have before me a plan of the whole
as restored, and it is startling to note the smallness of
the two existing churches as compared with the Abbey
Church, which was as large as Ely Cathedral. I fancy
the elevation is to a large extent conjectural, but there
is a glorious tower as fine as Lincoln or Gloucester.

Now for an attempt at the history. Sigebert, King
of East England, resigned his Kingdom in 633, and
built a monastery here, which was then named
Bederiesworth. Here he died and was buried.
Nothing is known of its history for the next two
centuries, but in 870 came the event which was to
make it famous in the ages to come. Edmund, King
of East England, was taken prisoner and shot to
death by the heathen Danes at Hoxne, near Thetford.
J. R. Green well calls him the English St. Sebastian.
His martyrdom was the most favourite subject of
ecclesiastical art, and a vast number of churches in
East England were dedicated to his memory. The
oak to which tradition declared he had been bound
fell in 1848, and when it was cut up an arrow head



was found embedded in the trunk. I believe the
relic is now in possession of Sir Edward Kerrison.
Dr. J. M. Neale says that a piece of the tree was
used for the holy table of a church, but does not
specify where. Can anybody tell me ? The martyr's
remains were brought to Bederiesworth for burial,
and henceforward the name of the little town was
changed to St. Edmund's Bury. In ioio, as the
fierce Danes still continued to ravage East England,
the King's body was removed to London, lest they
should outrage it, and a church was built over its
resting-place, and called after him. In 1013, Sweyne
King of Denmark, harried the country and robbed
the monastery, and as he died immediately after-
wards, his death was put down to his sacrilege.
His son, Canute, who began as a fierce heathen,
became a devout Christian, and one of his works
was to restore the desolated monasteries. He con-
veyed the body of St. Edmund back to Bury, and
one memorial of this translation still exists in the
wooden church of Greenstead, near Ongar, a building
which was hastily constructed of great chestnut slabs
to afford a temporary shelter for the royal martyr's
body on its way back. On reaching Bury the corpse
was for a while placed in the parish church of St.
Mary's, but a new shrine was immediately begun,


and its wonderful popularity is proved by the fact
that in Domesday Book, the monastery of Bury has
58 manors in Norfolk, 158 in Suffolk, besides others
in the counties of Cambridge, Bedford, Northants,
and Essex. The martyr's body was placed in its new
shrine in 1095. As I have already said, part of that
old Norman building still remains, of prodigious

The Norman gateway in the Abbey Church was
built by Abbot Anselm, nephew of the famous
Primate so named. He had vowed a pilgrimage to
the shrine of St. James of Compostella, and was
about to set forth when his monks stopped him.
They would all go to pieces, they declared, if he left
them, and so they prevailed upon him instead to
build a church to St. James in the Abbey grounds.
This, then, is the origin of St. James's Church. Its
object was to provide church accommodation for the
townspeople instead of sending them to worship in
the Abbey, where the monks didn't want them. His
church has been replaced by a Perpendicular build-
ing on the same site, but his tower remains in
its pristine beauty, and has been turned into the
bell tower of St. James's church, though detached
from it.

N 2


"Alas, how like an old osseous fragment, a broken
blackened shinbone of the old dead Ages, this black
ruin looks out, not yet covered by the soil ; still
indicating what a once gigantic life lies buried there !
It is dead now, and dumb ; but was alive once, and
spake. For twenty generations here was the earthly
arena where painful living men worked out their life-
wrestle, looked at by Earth, by Heaven, and Hell.
Bells tolled to prayers ; and men of many humours,
various thoughts, chanted vespers, matins ; and round
the little islet of their life rolled for ever (as round
ours still rolls, though we are blind and deaf) the
illimitable ocean, tinting all things with its eternal
hues and reflexes ; making strange prophetic music !
How silent now ; all departed, clean gone. The
World-Dramaturgist has written, Exeunt? So wrote
Thomas Carlyle in 1843 in the early portion of his
most fascinating book, " Past and Present." No book
in the language shows us like this the life of an old
monastery, its piety, its shortcomings, its struggles,
its beneficence. I am not going to draw upon it for
this column, since it can now be bought for eighteen-
pcnce, and the buyer will not regret his bargain.
Suffice it to say that a great portion of it is occupied
with the chronicle of Jocclin of Brakelonda, a monk
of Bury, who in the time of the Plantagenets wrote


his reminiscences, and whose manuscript was printed
(1842) in a dainty little volume by the Camden
Society. Carlyle in his racy picturesque English
amplifies and illustrates this chronicle and makes
Monk Jocelin and his brethren and Abbots live again,
and the old Abbey rises before us and good King
Edmund ; and there is Abbot Hugo, an old lazy-
bones who lets his finances get into the hands of the
Jews, and Abbot Samson, who gets them out again
and reforms his monastery, which had gone much
to the bad. What superb literary skill Carlyle had,
witness the chapter headed " Saint Edmund," in
which he describes the disentombment of the
martyred King, preparatory to removal to a more
stately shrine, contrasts it with the opening of the
coffin of John Hampden, not to the advantage of the
nineteenth century over the twelfth, and speaks up
for reverence for the dead. And then in the same
chapter he goes on to tell from Chronicler Jocelin
how Abbot Samson got the Coventry monks out of
trouble, and how he was sent for by Richard Cceur
de Lion across sea to advise, and departed, and —
here the MS. ends abruptly. Not another line does
Jocelin write.

Well, well, I leave the reader, if so disposed, to


revel in this record as I have done again, after leaving
it on my shelf for five and twenty years. I have
gone through it, and it seems all as fresh as it was
on the first day. And, curious coincidence, I look up
from my paper and there on my mantel-piece, put
there by accident yesterday, is Carlyle's portrait
and autograph which the old man gave me in

The Abbey grounds are now laid out as a garden,
and the blackened ruins, which peep through, here
and there, are identified more or less certainly, in an
old map of which I have become possessed. There
are the " brewhouse," the " stables," the " abbot's
palace and offices," the " mint " (for this abbey coined
its own money), the " cellarer's room," the " infirmary,"
(the four walls of this stand sturdily forth, and there
are still some architectural details discernible upon
them), the u kitchen " and " refectory," the * bowling-
ground," the "great cloister," the "chapter house."
In some cases these are only represented by a heap
of stones. There is one roofed ruin down by the
river, called (and probably correctly) the dovecot
Beyond the river you discern some green terraces ;
they mark the site of the monk's vineyard, and you
can also see traces of their fishponds.


So much for the Abbey grounds. Of the great
church there is the remnant of the west front, which
as I have already said, is now the vicarage, and in a
line with it the baptistery. The church, I need
hardly say, was cruciform. The lofty columns of
the chancel arch remain. These are now in private
grounds belonging to Canon Blackall, who takes
reverent care of the ruins. The transept had double
aisles distinctly traceable. On one of the tall columns
a couple of tablets record a momentous incident of
the past not long subsequent to the time described by
chronicler Jocelin. We have no means of knowing
whether he lived long enough to see it. On St.
Edmund's day, 1 2 14, the barons of England in
righteous indignation at the tyrannous wickedness of
King John assembled before the altar of the king
who had died a martyr's death for defending his
people, and there took a solemn oath to resist the
usurpations of the ungodly king and to curb his
power. The outcome of that oath was Magna
Charta, signed at Runnymede on the 15th of June,
121 5. One tablet records the fact, the other gives
the names, and the descendant of one of them pointed
out her ancestor's name to me the other day.


April 27.

In short papers like these space is very small, and
most reluctantly I find myself unable to use an
account which has been written for me of the original
burial of St. Edmund, and of the miracles which the
old monks relate as having taken place at his shrine.
Abbot Samson made a new and beautiful shrine, of
which there is a representation in Knight's Old
England (Vol. I., No. 463), in which the assembled
lords are represented as taking their oath on St.

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