Monthly Archives: October 2008

Edward Lear in Petra

No more entries appear in the diary until 10 May. However, Lear probably kept a separate diary as he intended to publish further books in his series of “Journals of a Landscape Painter.” The part of this diary covering Edward Lear’s adventures in Petra was published by Franklin Lushington after Lear’s death: “A Leaf from the Journals of a Landscape Painter.” Macmillan’s Magazine LXXV, April 1897, 410-30.

Edward Lear, Ain Gedi and the Dead Sea, 19 April 1858

Lear spent the second half of April travelling to Masada and the Dead Sea before getting back to Jerusalem, which he left on 10 May to visit Lebanon.

Posting will resume next Monday (3 November) with a variable number of entries, I need this week to update the site and catch up with the index and letters pages. Posting one entry per day with the 150-year gap is now scheduled for 1 December, a full month ahead of what I had initially planned!

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Thursday, 1 April 1858

The Hill of Evil Counsel (Wilson et al. 1881, I.110)

Rose early ― & finished letters to Ann, F.L.C.F. ((LEL, 94-7.)) ― Breakfast. ― Afterwards, went with Barnes to Dr. McGowan’s ― beautiful view. ― Returned, & rushed to Bergheion’s bank ― & got 20£. Then ― at 11 ― to Finn’s, with Abdel Malak writ ―, & signed the contract there ― paying him 17/10 ― (in all 23.10.- ―). Mr. Finn [writ | assist] over agreable [sic] I think. I, who had forgotten my contract, had to write one there, whereby he was sneerful. ― It was plaguing hot in those wonderful stuffed costume streets! ― But I had to go again to the Bank & got another 20£. At the post also I found a letter from W. Nevill ― sad, but good & true. Poor Will! He does not get over Mary’s death ― nor can he ever. ― Wrote to him, & after lunch, sent Giorgio with all 4 letters to the Consul’s. At 2½ ― Barnes & I went out, of the Jaffa Gate, & down to valley of Gihon, below the schools ― to the cut tombs, & by degrees to the top of the Hill of Evil Counsels, ― where we sat & examined Zion: then down to Aceldama, ((Field of Blood, of the traitor Judas; a small plot of ground, overhung with one precipice, and looking down another into the glen below, on which is a deep charnel-house, into which it was formerly the custom to throw the bodies of the dead, as the earth was supposed to have the power of rapidly consuming them.)) ― not falling into concealed hole. Then, by En Rogel  ― over Siloan, ascending rough rocks & thorny abruptnesses ― & greatly delighted with the view of the S.S. corner of the Temple. ― Clouds of sheep black, white heads. So we came up by Absalom’s tomb, & to Zion Gate ― going into the American Church by the way ― & home by dinner time. ― Dinner expansive ― numerous. Afterwards, packed.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Wednesday, 31 March 1858

Mount Scopus from St. Stephen's Gate (Wilson et al. 1881, 67)

Slept better, but did not rise till nearly 7. ― Giorgio bought me various Jerusalem articles ― beads &c. &c. &c.

Breakfast ― after which came Mahmoud & Abd=el=Malak, & with writings of Ibrahim. Mr. Turner (for the 3 going to East Jordan,) was with me, ― & the discourse ended by my settling with Abd-el-Malak ― to take him for 1 month ― at 30/- a day ― by Bethlehem & Hebron, & afterwards as may happen.

Abd el Malak ― a long black Assirott Copt, seems a good sort of man ― & at all events don’t talk much. Wrote & packed till lunch ― & afterwards went to get the Contract Signed at Mr. Φinn’s ― but he was out or unwell… so I returned, ― & buying a saddle, set off with Messrs Macan & Sykes & Lord Dunglass ― to the Latin Convent, where we bought mother of pearl objects. ― Then we went to the Damascus Gate ― & to the tomb of Helena ― (Queen of Adiabene,) ((Helena was queen of Adiabene and wife of Monobaz I. Helena became a convert to Judaism about the year 30 AD. She was noted for her generosity; during a famine at Jerusalem she sent to Alexandria for corn and to Cyprus for dried figs for distribution among the sufferers from the famine (Josephus, l.c. § 5.) When Helena died, about 56 AD, her son or grandson Monobaz II moved her remains to Jerusalem, where they were buried in the pyramidal tomb which she had constructed during her lifetime, three stadia north of Jerusalem (Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.” ii., ch. 12.).)) & after that, Dunglass & Sykes walked on, & I & Macan slowly afterwards ― along the valley of Jehosaphat, Giorgio behind. Beautiful & curious flowers ― & a silent rural space of olives, & grey rocks around. Black fat soiled Syrian Sheep ― & picturesque shepherds. Coming to the road to St. Stephen’s Gate, I drew a lot; what pictures of masses of black white headed sheep winding up the roads! the white robed Turkish women, & the bird hued Syrian peasant. ― We walked on  by the golden gates, & finding Lord Dunglass & Sykes, ― all together to Zion Gate, ― after which Sykes & I were alone ― a great bore, for I am not tolerant, & Sykes is silly. ― Dinner ― merry & pleasant.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Tuesday, 30 March 1858

Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Wilson et al. 1881, I.16)

Rose at sunrise, notwithstanding I felt unwell. ― At 7 went with G. to the Holy Sepulchre Church. ― In the days of old, before one had seen so much costume ― screechingly wonderful things had all these strange figures & dresses been! ― Of every nation almost ― & what beauty of effect in the church! ―――― Returning, I split all my things in two ― for the journey to the Dead Sea, if it ever came to pass. Breakfast ― & talk with Barnes, Gibbs, & Turner about the journey beyond the Jordan. ― Mr. Finn called, & begged 2 Englishmen to go to see some documents opened, so I was obliged to go for one. Solemnity of witnessing 2 notes opened: ― translation by Mr. Finn ― Mr. Ffoulkes.― (who asked if I knew Bowen.) Returned, & once more talked to Turner, & resolved to try to get Mahmoud Ghizaura. Lunch. ― About 2 ― went out with Giorgio, by the Jaffa Gate, to Scopas ― & round those heights ―: the views of the Dead Sea & Jordan are most curious & sublime. ― Nearer the Mt. of Olives is a better view ― & so I drew on ― bits & wonderings, till near sunset, when we crossed the valley & ascended to St. Stephen’s Gate ― & up the narrow streets home. ― Had dinner ― Gibbs & Macãn: ― a good deal of agreeable talk. ― Afterwards, Ghizaura came, & no end of talk about the journey. He is gone now to bring one or 2 new Dragomans: ― “We have had enough of Arabs, & of Syrians, we.” After I had got to bed, M. returned with 2 other blackies ― & as far as I can see, I seem to be about to settle with one at 30/- a day.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Monday, 29 March 1858

Jaffa Gate (Wilson et al. 1881, I.1)

Rose at 6 ― headacheless, & feeling better. Wrote a good deal to Ann. At 8, Mahomed came, & I paid him for the Jaffa journey £2.2.0 owing him a dollar still ― & thinking it moderate ― 9 ― breakfast ― MacanRegd. Barnes ― &c. &c. Very pleasant. Giacomo the Dragoman did not come ― & I forebode some backing out on his part. At 11 went to Mr. Finn’s ― he was pleasant enough. Scene of an idiotic Englishman ― left here ― no one knows how ― painful enough. ― Sheik of Hebron ― & arrangement to go to Petra. ― Return home ―. At 1, Giacomo came, & after much palaver ― asks 26£ a month & food ― so I dismiss him & Petra together. Lunch. At 2, Barnes, Turner, I ― & Giorgio go out. Military Commander’s house ― lovely view of great Mosque & gardens. Afterwards we went to the walls & climbed about: then to Absalom’s tomb, where I drew a little, & they went home. G. & I went to the view on the Jericho road, ― beautiful, but less so than I had thought: afterwards, we went down the valley  by the tombs to below Siloam, & the fountain, & then up to the hill of Evil Counsel ― whence to Nebby Daoud & the Zion Gate ― where were  horrible leprous women. Dead horse. ― Jaffa Gate. Dr. McGowan in a coachman’s coat.*

Dinner, the usual party. Gibbs, Barnes, Turner, Lord DunglassSykes, McAnn. ― Afterwards ― as I came up the stairs, how glorious was the full moon of blessed Israel ― & how beautiful the dim pale film of Moab! ― the round domes of the city & a thousand other glorious quietudes recalling older days. ― Yet time goes by, & I do nothing.

Irritable & wakeful. X15

* (People had come in who report Petra to be unenterable ― so, once for all ― give up the idea of getting there.)

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Sunday, 28 March 1858

Zion Gate (Wilson et al. 1881, I.10)

Sermon on Martha & Mary. ((Luke 10:38-42.))

Woke at sunrise ― headache, irritation X14. ― O! the strange ups & downs! ― Arranged things somewhat when I rose, & at 9 breakfasted. Afterwards ― went to the English Church ― at 10. ― Large ― plain, in good taste; organ delightful. Te Deum ditto. Good reader. Good sermon ― young man. ― Returned, lunch. Mr. Thornton & Dr. McGowan ― who pleased me by speaking nicely of Daddy Hunt. ― Then, taking Giacomo with me ― (the Dragoman who hopes to be ―) I left letters at the Bp’s ― & called on the Rosens. R. a pleasant friendly German, Mrs. R. I should say a Jewess, ― & sharp ― then on Mr. & Mrs. Finn ― H.B.M. Consul.  No letters. ― Mr. F. also spoke well of Daddy ― but seemed to know little about Petra. As to Dragomen ― one gets little help. (All this was done before lunch, ― at which I found the preacher was no other than little Reginald Barnes ― grown up.) About 2½ or 3 I went out with Giorgio & Giacomo, by the Via Dolorosa ― to the Damascus Gate, where I sent Giacomo back ― telling him to come this evening to see George. ― G. & I went on, round the walls: olives, ― & beautiful bits of rock & wall. Barring the especial interest attached to these spots ― all the valleys of Jehosaphat & Hinnom remind one of Orvietto [sic] ― or many Italian places. ― Overlooking wonderful Gethsemane ― we crossed the Kedron & went up the Mount of Olives ― every step bringing fresh beauty to the City uprising behind. At the top, by the Church of Ascension the view is wonderfully beautiful indeed. ― Turning round, ― lo! The Dead Sea! ― clear pale milky far blue, with farther off all rosy mountains ― fretted & carved in lovely shadow forms, ― their long long simple line melting into air towards the desert. Nearer was a village I thought Bethany ― & I began to draw it, having told G. all about it. But the 4 Americans coming up, their Dragoman declared it was not El Lazir at all ― so I had to revoke all my enthusiasm. [Avoiding] some disgusting grinning Backsheesh brutes, who raise my anger frightfully ― we went down, amid a world of black goats ― to the valley, & along to Absalom’s tomb, & the other tombs ― whence Siloam was most beautiful in the yellow sunset. Then up to the Zion Gate ― & round the walls to the Jaffa Gate ((Or Bethlehem Gate.)) ― & so home. Bad headache. ― Dined at 6½ ― agreeably. A day of wonderful interest & pleasure. (Fine day but high wind.)

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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Saturday, 27 March 1858

Ezekiah's Pool (Wilson et al. 1881, I.13)

Rose early ― no sleep ― unwell. Set off at 6. Mahomed: & vast green bright plain. Gray lines of Pilgrims ― Sicily. 3½ hours of good roads ― then rocky, & continually worsening. Hard work for bad horse. Short stay for Lunch. ― On Abοu Gosh ((A “picturesque village” at the head of the valley of the same name with a Christian church. Patterson, James Laird. Journal of a Tour in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Greece. London: C. Dolman, 1852, 188.)) ― always ascending ― very rough stone roads ― valley ― ascent ― great & steep descent; ― then village of Kolonieh ((“The village of Kolonieh, which lies about two miles north of Ain Karim, is reached through a charming valley sprinkled with olives, the gift of springs flowing from the hill-sides. It has been thought by some to be the Emmaus of the New Testament.” Geikie, Cunningham. The Holy Land and the Bible. A Book of Scripture Illustrations Gathered in Palestine. London: Cassell & Company, 1887, vol. 2, 150.)) ― & thence a long & very heavy pull to the top of a great height ― whence a long road at summit ― ending in a view of the west side of Jerusalem on the same plane ― & not with a great hollow between me & it, as I expected. Entrance street crammed with crowds ― & it was very difficult to reach the Haisser’s Hotel: once there, more so to get rooms. At last I took one looking into Hezekiah’s pool. Tried afterwards to find the Holy Sepulchre church, but failed: so went with Giorgio past the English Church ― & out of the Neby Daoud ((A block of houses outside the Zion Gate. Hanauer, J. E. Walks About Jerusalem. [London]: London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews, 1910, 4.)) gate ― & down the walls as far as the closed  Dung gate ―: there ― the sun was just setting, & I remembered the gates were shut then ― so we had to run back ― & got in time. Dinner at the table d’hôte.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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