Hebron and Arrival at Jerusalem
... ½ 4 and in saddle at ¼ to 6 on way to Hebron. Only 11 of us went, camp remaining at Solomon's Pools, and slow riders. Pushed on pretty fast. The country rather tame - small rounded hills and narrow valleys. Past some ruins, some of which are identified. First went to see Abraham's tree. Two of the dead limbs are supported by posts. It and grounds around belongs to Russian Consul at Jerusalem - very particular not to allow a leaf to be taken from it. It is about 24 ft circumference and a venerable looking tree; but out of the question to believe that Abraham sat under it! Went on to Hebron, and lunched under olive trees nearby. It lies just under a low hill, and is long and narrow. Cave of Macpelah is entirely built over by a mosque, and most jealously guarded by them - no Christian allowed to come near. We went to the Mosque on horseback through the town, internally something like Nablus. People very fanatical: and we noticed more enmity to us than elsewhere in this country. A few Jews live here. On the way, went through valley of Eschol - still fruitful and filled with grape vines. Hebron is at one end of it or on a hillside leading from it.
Left Solomon's pools at 7 a.m., first looking at fountain that supplies the pools, 200 yds from them and running thro' a culvert. On road to Jerusalem first town of Zelzah and Rachel's tomb - Jerusalem in sight long before reaching it. Before going to camp, which is outside walls on W. side, went thro' the valleys of ?Hinim and Jehoshophat. Valley of Baca runs E. where they join, and in it are staircases leading to subterranean passage to Temple - 2000 ft of it has been cleared. Shown Pool of Siloam, not far from walls on S.E. Well of Joab in valley. Went up the Mount of Olives: on summit is an old mosque. Went to the minaret, and view very fine - City of W. - Dead Sea and Mountains of Moab, with hills of Judaea between being on the E.
Went on to Bethany for lunch - a short ride from Olivet, considerably lower than same but yet well elevated. Saw tomb of Zecharias the prophet - very interesting - kind of tunnel with holes large enough for a coffin set in sides. Came from Bethany by road said to have been used by Jesus on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Saw tomb of Lazarus - reputed - also Bethany burial grounds a little distance from site of town. Same now consists of a few huts.
Went to Garden of Gethsemane. 'Tis a walled garden, 50 by 30 yards and close by brook Kedron (latter is quite dry just now). There are several very old olive trees in it, said to date from days of Christ. Remainder of space is filled with flowering plants and railed round, and not very well kept. All round walls in niches protected by glass are scenes in Agony modelled.
Came on tents, which are pitched near Jaffa Gate. Some of party went into town; but I just adjusted my luggage and rested - lots of time for sightseeing next week. On top of Mt of Olives is the Princess' Chapel - antique, her story interesting and court where Lord's Prayer is written in 30 languages.