Imatges de pÓgina
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SOUTH BORDER OF PHENICIA-ABU ZABUR.

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primitive city which was called Strato's Tower before and at the time of Herod, but this could scarcely have been its original name. It was somewhere in this vicinity, south of the city and near the sea, that Herod built his great amphitheatre, and these half-buried foundations may have belonged to that vast edifice.

We have now taken leave of Phoenicia and entered the territory of the Philistines. These people came from Egypt, and we shall see, as we go south, that even the present inhabitants approach more and more closely to the Egyptian type in physiognomy, in costume, language, manners, and customs. Dr. Kitto has a long and labored article to prove that they were the "Shepherd Kings” expelled from Egypt. Others more competent must decide whether or not he makes good his hypothesis, but the mere supposition adds fresh interest to this people and to the country which they occupied.

What are these high tells ahead of us, overhanging the sea ?

They are one hour from Cæsarea, and are called Abu Zabûr. The encroachment of the sea has worn them half away, but on the top of this first one are some half dozen very large columns of bluish marble, which must have formed part of a temple, or possibly of a mausoleum. The spot is still used as a burying-ground by some of the Arab tribes in this region. It commands a noble view of the sea westward, and of Strabo's "ingens sylva” in the interior. This wilderness is covered by shifting sand, which has overflowed the country, and whose presence is easily explained. The rock of the shore is a loose friable sandstone, constantly washed to pieces by the waves, and driven inward by the west winds. This holds good along the entire coast wherever loose sand encumbers the plain, but here it is unusually abundant and troublesome; and we shall have high hills of it on our left, and this soft beach to wade through for two full hours yet, therefore let us put on the garments of patience, and plod steadily onward.

There is always something to amuse and instruct in this

country. Look at those clouds, which hang like a heavy pall of sackcloth over the sea along the western horizon. From them, on such windy days as these, are formed waterspouts, and I have already noticed several incipient "spouts”

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lengthening downward from their lower edge. These remarkable phenomena occur most frequently in spring, but I have also seen them in autumn. They are not accompanied with much rain, and between the dark stratum above and the sea, the sky is clear and bright. Here and there fragments of black vapor, shaped like long funnels, are

WATER-SPOUTS-FLYING-FISH.

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drawn down from the clouds toward the sea, and are seen to be in violent agitation, whirling round on themselves as they are driven along by the wind. Directly beneath them the surface of the sea is also in commotion by a whirlwind, which travels onward in concert with the spout above. I have often seen the two actually unite in mid air and rush toward the mountains, writhing, and twisting, and bending like a huge serpent with its head in the clouds and its tail on the deep.

They make a loud noise, of course, and appear very frightful. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water-spouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me, saith David, when his soul was cast down within him. But, though formidable in appearance, they do very little injury. I have never heard of more than one instance in which they proved destructive even to boats, though the sailors are extremely afraid of them. As soon as they approach the shore they dissolve and disappear.

That kind of water-spout which bursts on the mountains, generally in the dry months of summer, does immense mischief. In a few minutes the wadies along its track are swollen into furious rivers, which sweep away grain, olives, raisins, and every other produce of the farmer. I have frequently known them to carry off and drown flocks of sheep and goats, and even cows, horses, and their owners also.

This is one of those days when the sea is just sufficiently disturbed to set the flying-fish in motion, and I have already seen several flocks of them frightened out of their proper element to try their glossy wings in the air. They are generally supposed to do this to escape some ravenous fish that is pursuing them; but there are no voracious dolphins in this sea, and they often start up in shoals before Arab boats. Their flight is always short, spasmodic, and painful; and when their web-wings become dry, they instantly collapse, and the

poor little aeronaut drops into the water like a stone. I have had them repeatedly fall into my boat when attempting to sail over it.

1 Ps. xlii. 7.

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