« AnteriorContinua »
apparatus much like the shadúf on the shore of the lake a little north of the city of Tiberias.
Another apparatus is common in this land of Philistia, which I have also seen on the plains of Central Syria. A large buffalo skin is so attached to cords that, when let down into the well, it opens and is instantly filled, and, being drawn up, it closes so as to retain the water. The rope by which it is hoisted to the top works over a wheel, and is drawn by oxen, mules, or camels, that walk directly from the well to the length of the rope, and then return, only to repeat the operation until a sufficient quantity of water is raised. This also is a very successful mode of drawing water.
The wheel and bucket (of different sorts and sizes) is an apparatus much used where the water is near the surface, and also along rapid rivers. For shallow wells it is merely a wheel, whose diameter equals the desired elevation of the water. The rim of this wheel is large, hollow, and divided into compartments answering the place of buckets. A hole near the top of each bucket allows it to fill, as that part of the rim, in revolving, dips under the water. This, of course, will be discharged when the bucket begins to descend, and thus a constant succession of streams falls into the cistern. The wheel itself is turned by oxen or mules.
This system of wheels is seen on a grand scale at Hums Hamath, and all along the Orontes. The wheels there are of enormous size. The diameter of some of those at Hamath is eighty or ninety feet. The great advantage of this apparatus is that it is driven by the river itself. Small paddles are attached to the rim, and the stream is turned upon them by a low dam with sufficient force to carry the huge wheel around with all its load of ascending buckets. There is, perhaps, no hydraulic machinery in the world by which so much water is raised to so great an elevation at so small an expense. Certainly I have seen none half so picturesque or so musical. These wheels, with their enormous loads, slowly revolve on their groaning axles, and all day and all night each one sings a different tune, with every imaginable variation of tone—sobs, sighs, shrieks, and groans—loud,
NA’URA AT HAMATH-WATERING WITH FOOT.
louder, loudest, down to the bottom of the gamut-a concert wholly unique and half infernal in the night, which, heard once, will never be forgotten.
To what does Moses refer in Deuteronomy xi. 10? For the land whither thou goest in to possess it is not as the land of Egypt from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot as a garden of herbs.
The reference, perhaps, is to the manner of conducting the water about from plant to plant, and from furrow to furrow, in irrigating a garden of herbs. I have often watched the gardener at this fatiguing and unhealthy work. When one place is sufficiently saturated, he pushes aside the sandy soil between it and the next furrow with his foot, and thus continues to do until all are watered. He is thus knee-deep in mud, and many are the diseases generated by this slavish work.
Or the reference may be to certain kinds of hydraulic machines which were turned by the feet. I have seen small water-wheels, on the plain of Acre and elsewhere, which were thus worked, and it appeared to me to be very
tedious and toilsome, and, if the whole country had to be irrigated by such a process, it would require a nation of slaves like the Hebrews, and taskmasters like the Egyptians to make it succeed. Whatever may have been the meaning of Moses, the Hebrews, no doubt, had learned by bitter experience what it was to water with the foot, and this would add great force to the allusion, and render doubly precious the goodly land which drank of the rain of heaven, and required no such drudgery to make it fruitful.
The fruits of Jaffa are the same as those of Sidon, but with certain variations in their character. Sidon has the best bananas, Jaffa furnishes the best pomegranates. The oranges of Sidon are more juicy and of a richer flavor than those of Jaffa; but the latter hang on the trees much later, and will bear to be shipped to distant regions. They are therefore more valuable to the producer. It is here only that you see in perfection fragrant blossoms encircling golden fruit. In March and April these Jaffa gardens are indeed enchanting. The air is overloaded with the mingled spicery of orange, lemon, apple, apricot, quince, plum, and china trees in blossom. The people then frequent the groves, sit on mats beneath their grateful shade, sip coffee, smoke the argela, sing, converse, or sleep, as best suits their individual idiosyncrasies, till evening, when they slowly return to their homes in the city. To us of the restless West, this way of making kaif soon wearies by its slumberous monotony, but it is elysium to the Arabs.
Are these orchards remunerative in a pecuniary point of view?
I am informed that they yield ten per cent. on the capital invested, clear of all expense. Our friend Murad tells me that a biarah (the technical name of a watered garden) which costs 100,000 piastres will produce annually 15,000; but 5000 of this must be expended in irrigation, plowing, plant
DORCAS-HER GRAVE-SIMON THE TANNER.
ing, and manuring. This allows the proprietor 10,000 piastres, which is a very fair percentage on capital invested in agricultural pursuits.
I have been strolling along the streets, or rather street of Jaffa, for there seems to be but one, and a more crowded thoroughfare I never saw. I had to force my way through the motley crowd of busy citizens, wild Arabs, foreign pilgrims, camels, mules, horses, and donkeys. Then what a strange rabble outside the gate, noisy, quarrelsome, ragged, and filthy! Many are blind, or at least have some painful defect about their eyes, and some are leprous. The peasants hereabout must be very poor, to judge by their rags and squalid appearance. I was reminded of Dorcas and the widows around Peter exhibiting the coats and garments which that benevolent lady had made, and I devoutly hoped she might be raised again, at least in spirit, for there is need of a dozen Dorcas societies in Jaffa at the present time. Did
you find her house? No! Well, our consul discovered her grave in one of his gardens, and gave it to the Armenian convent of Jerusalem. I examined the sarcophagus in its original bed, and there was this negative evidence in favor of Tabitha that there was no counter claim whatever. If not Tabitha's, whose tomb was it, pray?
Though not so fortunate as you, I was taken to the house where Simon the tanner resided. It is certainly by the seaside, and that is something, but then so is all Jaffa. A stout earthquake might shake half of it into the sea.
If Simon lived near his business, his house was probably on the shore south of the city, where the tanneries now are located, and most likely were in Peter's day. These manufacturing establishments are generally removed to a distance beyond the walls, and with good reason, for they are extremely offensive, as well as prejudicial to health. But there is no reason to suppose that Simon's dwelling-house was near his tannery, and it may have occupied the identical site now assigned to it.
I have been out on the shore again, examining a native manufactory of pottery, and was delighted to find the whole
Biblical apparatus complete, and in full operation. There was the potter sitting at his “frame," and turning the
"wheel" with his foot. He had a heap of the prepared clay near him, and a pan of water by his side. Taking a lump in his hand, he placed it on the top of the wheel (which revolves horizontally), and smoothed it into a low cone, like the upper end of a sugar-loaf; then thrusting his thumb into the top of it, he opened a hole down through the centre, and