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by Maundrell, in whose time no part of the present town existed. "In the midst of these ruins there stands up one pile higher than the rest, which is the east end of a great church, probably the cathedral of Tyre; and why not the very same that was erected by its Bishop, Paulinus, and honoured with that famous consecration sermon of Eusebius, recorded by himself in his Eccl. Hist. x. 4, this having been an archiepiscopal see in the Christian
The observation which follows the above lines is so curious that I cannot do wrong in laying it before my readers. "I cannot, in this place, omit an observation made by most of our company in this journey, viz., that in all the ruins of churches that we saw, though their other parts were totally demolished, yet the east end we always found standing, and tolerably entire.
"Whether the Christians, when overrun by infidels, redeemed their altars from ruin with money, or whether even the Barbarians, when they demolished the other parts of the churches, might voluntarily spare these, out of an awe and veneration; or whether they have stood thus long by virtue of some peculiar firmness in the nature of their fabric; or whether some occult providence has preserved them, as so many standing monuments of Christianity in these unbelieving regions, and presages of its future restauration, I will not determine. This only will I say, that we found it, in fact, so as I have described in all the ruined churches which came in our way; being, perhaps, not fewer than one hundred; nor do I ever remember to have seen an instance of the contrary."
We procured mules from the Mutzellim to proceed to Saide, or Sidon, but had scarcely proceeded a mile from Tyre, when our progress was delayed by an accident which it took some time to rectify. One of our beasts fell into a pool of water, from whence the weight of baggage with which he was laden prevented him from extricating himself. After some time, however, and a good deal of exertion, we succeeded in getting the
animal out, but so much damage had been done that we were obliged to return to Sour to repair; this forced us to pass another night in the ruins of Tyre.
We made another start the following morning under more fortunate auspices, and, passing the scene of yesterday's accident, we crossed the river Kasmin by a bridge of one arch. It was in an attempt to ford this stream that the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa was drowned. About fifteen miles from Sour, we passed some fragments, the remains of a tesselated pavement, evidently the site of an ancient city. This will in some degree correspond with Sarepta, which conjecture is confirmed by the name of a neighbouring village, Sarphad, which looks exceedingly like a corruption of the former word. The country about this part of our journey was barren and desolate to the last degree, but on approaching Saide the symptoms of cultivation became more defined.
After a journey of about nine hours, we reached the gates of the town, which we found closed; after a short delay, however, and with some difficulty, we succeeded in getting them opened for us; when we proceeded to a house appropriated to the accommodation of travellers, which I found extremely clean and comfortable.
The next morning I anxiously sought for some vestiges of the ancient city; but, as in the case of Tyre, nothing can be discovered which can give the stranger any idea of its former extent or magnificence.
Fragments of columns and huge stones, which, from their size and shape, must have formed parts of former edifices of extraordinary solidity, may here and there be observed among the rubbish.
Upon a kind of projection from the present quay stand a castle and a bridge; throughout the whole of the town, once roaring with population, a deep and melancholy silence reigns.
The present Sidon is surrounded by vineyards and orchards, which, at the time of my visit, appeared in a vigorous and flourishing state.
On walking northward along the beach, I arrived, in about two hours, at a stream crossed by a bridge, from whence I enjoyed a most picturesque and lovely prospect in the direction of Saide.
Returning by the hills, I was delighted to observe the fertile appearance of the soil, and the luxuriance of the vegetation. The orchards laden with fruit, the orange trees in full bloom, and the autumnal tints of the grapes, hanging in rich and ponderous clusters, contrasting strongly with the bright-hued leaf of the broad-spreading banana, united in producing a scene by which, together with the distant towers of Saide, and the blue, placid expanse of air and ocean, it was utterly impossible to avoid being strongly affected. Nature had here done her utmost.
On my return to the town, I met a person in the service of the Pacha of Egypt, who had lately arrived in this country and was on his way to Beirout, charged with a mission to investigate the possibility of working some coal mines near that place.
Being anxious to visit Beirout, the largest commercial port in Syria, we applied the next morning to the governor for mules to proceed on the journey, and experienced, as usual, much delay and considerable vexation.
On quitting Sidon, which we succeeded at last in doing, our road lay for some time on the edge of the sea, and this, although no rain had lately fallen, we found in a very bad state.
After riding about four miles, over which our progress was slow and toilsome, we took shelter in a khan on the road-side.
On preparing for departure the next morning, one of the mules got loose, and it was two hours before the people could succeed in catching him. On leaving the khan, our road continued by the sea-side; and at about three hours' distance from our journey's end, we were gratified by a very grand and imposing view of Libanus covered with snow.
The side of the mountain is dotted by a great number of villages, which was accounted for by the extreme productiveness of the soil. I was carried across a river which we found too deep to ford, and after pro