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Productions of the Desert.



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CHAP. attending Arabs, to descend from his horse for

the purpose of collecting either the one or the
other. All nature seems to droop; almost every
animal seeks for shade, which it is extremely dif-
ficult to find. But the chamæleon, the lizard, the
serpent, and all sorts of beetles, basking, even
at noon, upon rocks and in sandy places, exposed
to the most scorching rays, seem to rejoice in
the greatest heat in which it is possible to exist.
This is also the case in Egypt, where no desert
is so solitary but reptiles and insects may be
observed ; proving that the ostrich, and other
birds found there, are by no means, as some
writers have maintained, at a loss for food. It
is more probable that the desert offers to them
nourishment they could not easily procure
elsewhere. A

very interesting volume of
natural history might be made, relating only
to the inhabitants of the Desert : they are much
more numerous than is commonly believed : and
if to these were added the plants which thrive
only in such a situation, with an account of those
extraordinary petrifactions found in the African
deserts; the various jaspers, and other siliceous
concretions abounding in the sandy tract be-
tween the Red Sea and the Nile, as well as all
over Arabia Petræa and Mauritania ; the descrip-
tion would be truly marvellous. The enterprise

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of another Hasselquist is not required for this
purpose; because, although much remains to be
discovered, naturalists are already possessed of
sufficient materials for such an undertaking.

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After three hours, walking our horses, we
arrived at a poor village, called Lúbi', situate
upon the brow of a range of hills, which bound
the valley before mentioned, towards the south.
During our ride, we had suffered apprehensions
from the tribes of Arabs under arms, who were
occasionally seen, descending and scouring
the opposite hills, as we crossed the valley.
We could plainly discern them, by means of
our glasses, reconnoitering us from the summits
of those bills. They were described at Lübi as
collected in great force upon Mount Thabór; so
that our visit to that mountain became imprac-
ticable : the guard whom Djezzar had sent
with us would not venture thither.
therefore compelled to rest satisfied with the
view we had of it from Lúbi. Djezzar's troops
had, on the preceding day (Sunday), taken
many thousand cattle from the Arabs : therefore,
besides their natural predatory disposition, they
were at this time actuated by motives of the

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CHAP. most direful revenge, not only for the loss of
w their property, but also of many of their friends

and relations, who had been captured. The
mere sight of an escort from their bitter enemy,
Djezzar Pasha, would have induced them to put
every one of us to death. We had lost somewhat
of our strength by deserters from the pilgrims
of our caravan, who had thought proper to
remain at Tiberias, intimidated by the state
the country. Our number, upon arriving at
Lúbi, amounted only to thirty-three horsemen ;
these, by the advice of the captain of the
guard, we bad dispersed as much as possible
during the journey; and taught them to skir-
mish at a distance from each other, that the
scouts of the Arab army, upon the heights,
might not be able to count our whole force. We
were at this time in the midst of a country con-
tinually overrun by rebel tribes. The wretched
inhabitants of Lúbi pretended to be in hourly
expectation of an assault, from which they said
nothing but their poverty had hitherto preserved
them. We could not, however, place any con-
fidence in these people, and determined to
make our stay with them as short as possible.
Mount Thabór seemed to be distant from this
place about six miles. Its top was described
as a plain of great extent, finely cultivated,

State of the



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and inhabited by numerous Arab tribes. It CHAP.
appears to be of a conical form, entirely
detached from any neighbouring mountain, and
it stands upon one side of the great plain of
Esdraelon. We breakfasted at Lúbi, beneath
the shade of some mats covered with weeds,
set up against the side of a house ; not being
perfectly tranquil as to our hosts, who, in a
rebel country, evidently brought us food with
reluctance, and seemed disposed to quarrel with
our guard. Our bread was baked upon heated
stones, in holes dug in the ground. The women,
who were principally occupied in preparing it,
and who occasionally passed us for that purpose,
were without veils, and of such unusual beauty,
that we saw nothing to compare with them in
any other part of the East.

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Being therefore compelled to alter the plan Change of
of our journey, we returned from Lübi, by the
way of Cana, once more to Nazareth ; passing
through the field of bearded wheat before
mentioned, where the Disciples of Christ are
said to have plucked the ears of corn upon the
Sabbath-day It lies nearly opposite to the
village of Turan. We collected specimens of
the wheat, in imitation of the other pilgrims of
our party, who all seemed eager to bear away

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the produce of the land, as a consecrated relic.
It was, in fact, the only wheat now standing, for
the harvest of the country was by this time gene-
rally collected

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The next morning, Tuesday, July the seventh, we were refused camels to carry our luggage, by the people of Nazareth; upon the plea, that the Arabs would attack us, and seize the camels, in return for the cattle which Djezzar had taken from them. Asses were at length allowed, and we began our journey at seven o'clock. Every one of our party was eager to be the first who should get out of Nazareth ; for although we had pitched a tent upon

the roof of the house where we passed the night, it had been, as usual, a night of penance, rather than of rest : so infested with vermin was every part of the building. The author, accompanied by a servant, set out on foot, leaving the rest of his companions to follow on horseback. Having inquired of an Arab belonging to Djezzar's guard the shortest road into the Plain of Esdraelon, this man, who had lived with Bedouins, and bore all the appearance of belonging to one of their roving tribes, gave false information. In consequence of this, we entered defile in the mountains, which



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