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For other monkeys by the dozen
The rich possessions of their cousin.
They thronged beneath, in greedy train,
The balcony, where he was seated,
They reasoned, menaced, or entreated.
For Pug, however rich in fruit,
Appeared in bounty greatly lacking,
The shells of nuts, which he'd been cracking.
At this the suppliants, filled with rage,
Resolved to sue to him no longer,
As they in numbers were the stronger.
The monkey, on this rude attack,
Although he thought the means expensive, Without ado untied his sack,
And turned his nuts to arms offensive.
Pug with these missives aimed his blows
So hard and fast, that, in conclusion, His smarting and be-pelted foes
Fled off in cowardly confusion.
At length he proudly stood alone,
With feelings that of rapture savoured, Prepared to thank, in joyous tone,
Dame Fortune, who his cause had favoured;
His precious nuts so well defended;
And saw that they were all expended !
Through these he had maintained his place;
And now his foes had all retreated, He stood precisely in the case
As if himself had been defeated.
Thus, oft we see a triumph cost
“Saturday Magazine." ONCE a year, on the Monday before Easter, the desolation of the plain of Jericho is broken by the descent from the Judæan hills of five, six, or eight thousand pilgrims, who are now, from all parts of the Turkish Empire, gathered within the walls of Jerusalem. The Turkish governor is with them, an escort of Turkish soldiers accompanies them, to protect them down the desert-hills against the robbers, who, from the days of the Good Samaritan downwards, have infested the solitary pass.
Two hours before dawn, the rude Eastern kettle-drum rouses the sleeping multitude. It is to move onwards to the Jordan, so as to accomplish the object before the great heat of the lower valley becomes intolerable. Over the intervening desert, the wide crowd advances in almost perfect silence. Above is the bright Paschal
-before them moves a bright flare of torches—on each side huge watch-fires break the darkness of the night, and act as beacons for the successive descents of the road. The sun breaks over the eastern hills as the head of
the cavalcade reaches the brink of the Jordan. Then it is, for the first time, that the European traveller sees the sacred river rushing through its thickets of tamarisk, poplar, and willow, with rapid eddies, and of a turbid yellow colour, like the Tiber at Rome, and about as broad-sixty or eighty feet. The chief features of the
are the white cliffs and green thickets each bank, though at this spot they break away on the western side, so as to leavo an open space for the descent of the pilgrims.
In a few moments the great body of the pilgrims, now distinctly visible in the breaking day, appear on the ridge of the last terrace. Horse, mule, ass, and camel, in promiscuous confusion, bearing whole families on their backs-a father, mother, and three children, perhaps, on a single camel-occupy the vacant spaces between and above the jungle in all directions.
If the traveller expects a wild burst of joy such as that of the Greeks when they caught the first glimpse of the sea, or the German armies at the sight of the Rhine, he will be disappointed. Nothing is more remarkable in the whole pilgrimage to the Jordan, from first to last, than the absence of any such displays. Nowhere is more clearly seen that business-like aspect of their devotion, without any expression of emotion, unless, perhaps, a slight tinge of merriment.
They dismount and set to work to bathe, most on the open space, some further up amongst the thickets; some plunging in naked; most, however, with white dresses which they bring with them, and which, having been so used, are kept for their winding-sheets. Most of the bathers keep within the shelter of the bank, where the water is about four feet in depth, though with a bottom of very deep mud. The Coptic pilgrims are curiously distinguished from the rest by the boldness with which they dart into the main current, striking the water, after their fashion, alternately with their two
arms, and playing with the eddies, which hurry them down and across, as if they were the cataracts of their own Nile; crashing through the thick boughs of the jungle which, on the eastern part of the stream, intercepts their progress, and then recrossing the river higher up, where they can wade, assisted by long poles which they have cut from the opposite thickets.
It is remarkable, considering the mixed assemblage of men and women, in such a scene, that there is so little appearance of levity or impropriety: A primitive domestic character pervades in a singular form the whole transaction. The families, which have come on their single mule or camel, now bathe together with the utmost gravity; the father receiving from the mother the infant, which has been brought to receive the one immersion, which will suffice for the rest of its life, and thus, by a curious saving of resources, spare it the expense and danger of a future pilgrimage in after years.
In about two hours the shores are cleared. With the same quiet they remount their camels and horses, and before the noon-day heat has set in, are again encamped upon the upper plain of Jericho. Once more they may be seen.
At the dead of night the drum again wakes them for their homeward march. The torches again go before; behind follows the vast multitude, mounted, passing in silence over that silent plain—so silent that, but for the tinkling of the drum, its departure would hardly be perceptible. The troops stay on the ground to the end, to guard the rear; and when the last roll of the drum announces that the last soldier is gone, the whole plain returns again to its perfect solitude.-Stanley's “ Sinai and Palestine."