Felt pretty well considering; but in bad fettle for 25 miles on horseback; but no help for it! The diarrhoea still continued, and I had to leave my horse on the road. Our mid-day halt was very grateful. Had a short nap, and did the remainder of the journey very well; but could do no more than drive on my horse - enjoyment was out of the question. The end of our journey was Baalbek; but I was too much played out to be much affected by these mighty ruins. I got straight as soon as possible, and, after some refreshment, felt better. Our road was right along the plain, which is only partly cultivated; but must have been a perfect garden in ancient times. The scenery was the same all day long through the Lebanons, Mount Hermon and the highest of the anti-L, and the highest peaks of Lebanon, showing considerable deposits of snow. The incidents by the way were Noah's tomb, a miserable ruin; a few Arab villages, nearly always composed of square-topped comfortless looking houses, like the worst kind of outhouses with us. I noticed three men digging and one looking on. One of them had a small spade with two ropes attached. One held the spade and pushed it into the earth: the others pulled it out with the ropes. I should judge that together they would do as much in a week as one of our navvies in a day. A few women sewing etc on house tops, noticing only one young girl ... . Met one Bedouin on horseback, armed to the teeth and his face nearly covered with his scarf - blacker than the other Arabs.
Glad of day of Sunday rest, having not felt more thankful for one for a long time. Symptoms relieved but not gone. Went round the ruins in the mountains last evening - and this morning with more interest and zest.
They are truly grand, and the mystery hanging over them makes them more attractive. The points of interest are concentrated, and comprise the Temple of Jupiter and the temple of Baal, with large outer caves and other buildings. They are all on a splendid elevation, say about 60' high, made up of walls containing enormous stones; but in the wall of the temple of Baal 6 or 8 of them are truly prodigious - say 64 by 13 by 13, and the highest row is about 2Oft from the ground. Above that, the wall is continued with comparatively small stones - say from 10 to 25 ft long by 5 or 6.
The large stones, it is supposed, were more ancient than the rest of the building. This is taken principally from the fact that two walls of these large stones are visible, forming a right angle; but only one has been utilised in building the temple walls, while the other is just outside of temple wall forming a trench or moat between the two!
The Temple of Jupiter is the most perfect. It is almost of the same style as the Madeleine in Paris - not so large internally: but bolder and finer externally. Walls of Cella complete, also the Peristyle on the West side. Other side more or less in ruins. A column stands leaning against the side of wall, and yet keeps perfectly whole and perfect. The columns are about 40 ft high and made up of 3 stones. The capitals are Corinthian and beautifully carved. The portico is nearly gone and consisted of two rows of fluted columns. The door to the Cella is grand and comprised three stones. Keystone is snug in, supported by a temporary pillar. Of temple of ?Juno only 6 columns with their entablatures remain standing; but they are glorious in their isolation. Together they look light and graceful; but, when examined close, one is struck with their magnitude. The columns are 70 ft high, 8 ft dia., and the stones from the capital truly enormous. How they were adjusted so high above ground and now remain standing, when the walls of the Cella and all other things are gone, is indeed a marvel.
These temples must have been a glorious sight in their first completeness. The stone, a conglomerate marble, would doubtless be polished, and then, with their grand elevations, magnificent size, and graceful proportions, they must have been truly a glorious sight. Saw the old mosque, interesting from granite columns and remains of portico do.
Saw women baking. They had an oven formed like a kitchen boiler, charcoal fire at bottom. Cakes were flattened out, then wetted on one side, and then stuck on side of oven and baked in a few minutes.
Our encampment is in the outer court, and the ruins are all around us. 'Tis now moonlight. Will take just another look round before bed. The whole of the ruins are mysterious, from the fact that there are unmistakeable marks of different races of men having added their quota, either to the buildings themselves, or in patching and altering the ruins: and so it is likely to remain a fruitful field for speculation for years to come. The most recent additions are unmistakeably Saracen: they made the place a fortification, and so added rough lengths of wall, and capped the splendid columns with their rude masonry. My impressions of the place are fully equal to my anticipations, as regards its wondrous massiveness: and it far surpasses in beauty and elaboration of style. The surroundings of Baalbec are comparatively very beautiful: after travelling miles and miles along a dry stony plain, a beautiful vista of green trees breaks upon you, and, in the midst of them stand the ruins, lying at the bottom slope of Anti-Lebanon. There is a considerable village just above the ruins: and my idea of its loneliness in the midst of a barren desert was dissipated.
Since we have been in tents, a short evening Service has been adopted, and conducted by various gentlemen of the party. To-day, at ½ past 10 we had Service in the Temple of Jupiter: and there, where heathen rites had been celebrated thousands of years ago, we tried to praise our Father. Dr Gale conducted, and preached a short discourse on the Kingdom of Heaven. I think that all felt the salutariness of the Service.