1877 EXTRAORDINARY RETROSPECTIVE JOURNAL OF ONE ENGLISH WOMAN’S LUXURIOUS AND DEEPLY DETAILED TRIP FROM NAPLES TO THE BIBLICAL HOLY LAND, CROSSING THE DESERT BY BOAT, RAIL, DONKEY AND HORSE

By: UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH WOMAN

Price: $3,255.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a fascinating journal written by an English woman of a trying and difficult voyage from Naples, Italy to the Holy Land of Jerusalem in 1877. The journal is 35 pages long and is of a trip of a small group who travel first to Alexandria (via Sicily), then by rail to Cairo and Ismailia, through the newly constructed Suez Canal, and finally an extraordinary month’s journey on horseback with tented camping in the desert at night. The trip is a very difficult journey and at one point the woman writes “this was our first experience of travelling in Palestine, and I can assure you it was a most trying one...’ The author’s handwriting is beautiful and is an easy pleasure to read. These pages seem to be notes for a talk the woman is going to give. There are also corrections of the writing, in pencil, by the woman herself, and the book ends as if the words were meant to be spoken to an audience. The journal begins: “Naples to Jerusalem Notes by the way Naples, which is to be my starting point tonight, is beautifully situated on one of the finest bays in the world. The city extends for three miles along the short of the bay, but rows of houses, villages, and small towns extend almost entirely around it. Nearly opposite Naples is Mount Vesuvius from whose summit have poured in times past the streams of lava and showers of ashes which have again and again, buried whole towns and villages situated on its sides and even at some distance from its foot; and from which a light cloud of smoke is always rising.”; “We went on board a steamer bound for Alexandria at two p.m. on Sunday February the 18th 1877, but did not sail until five o’clock during which time we had a fine view of the city and its surroundings...On the following morning we entered the straits of Messina, and about 11 o’clock landed at Messina, capital of Sicily, where we stayed a short time and walked through the town. We sailed about 12 and it was quite smooth through the straits our companions came on deck...Soon after we got through the straits a storm burst upon us. The guards were fixed on to the table today to keep the things in their places but did not remedy all the evil, for as you know anything liquid will find its own level, so that when we had soup before us and the boat rolled to an angle of 45 de. It was either running over the opposite edge of the plat or pouring over us which was far from pleasant, we had no more soup during the three days that the storm commenced.” They reach Alexandria a few rough days later: “Pompey’s pillar and Cleopatra’s needles are the most striking monumental relics of Alexandria and we drove to Pompey’s pillar first. It stands on rising ground, the highest in the neighborhood, and close to it is a Mohammedan cemetery...” The writer is a smart woman, adept at conveying events with skillful detail, grativats, and occasionally humor. She is also quite a worldly woman, often bringing in recent world events to give context: “Recent events have brought Egypt to the notice of all newspaper readers, and the bombardments of the forts of Alexandria by the British Fleet and the subsequent setting on fire of the principal parks of the city and especially of the European part has been brought very vividly before the public by the Illustrated Papers. The Great Square is where the principal buildings of the city were situated. The buildings surrounding it were of imposing appearance, here were the Consulates, the principal Banks, the finest shops and the largest hotel...All this is now a heap of ruins.” She goes on to describe the contrast in dress between native women and European women: “you often see for instance an Egyptian woman covered from head to foot with a long thick veil, which hides all but her eyes, and walking close behind her an European lady dressed in the height of Paris fashion. The European gentlemen are of course dressed as we are accustomed to see them, except that all wear the Turkish fez, and the higher class Egyptians mostly wear the same dress, but the lower classes all wear loose petticoat trousers reaching to the ankles and a loose jacket and round the waist they often have a gaily coloured sash or shawl.” After Alexandria, the writer takes a train to Cairo. She describes the train (“ordinary first class ones made in England and sent out”) and the landscape she sees (“the land is well cultivated and is watered by the annual overflowing of the Nile, and is also artificially irrigated by means of numerous canals cut for the purpose from the Nile.”). “Cairo is a more purely Oriental city than Alexandria and we stay here five days.” The writer describes the contrast between old Cairo and new Cairo as well stating that the new Cairo is “built after the style of the boulevards of Paris with wide streets and trees planted on the side paths, shops and houses in the European style,” while the old Cairo is “truly Eastern, narrow irregular streets merely of earth trampled smooth, though far from being level.” In Cairo, the writer describes many different places she sees, travelling around the city by donkey (“indeed there are regular stands for them and anyone who wishes to go out calls for one as we call for a cab”) and, especially, the shops in the bazaars. While in Cairo she takes a donkey trip to the Island of Rhoda to see the famous ‘Nilometer’ that measures flood height. She also goes to see the Boulak Museum (“the finest collection of Egyptian Antiquities in the world”), the University of the East, and observes the Muslim call to prayer at the University: “At 12 o.c. the call to prayer was heard from the minarets of the mosk [mosque] and instantly all spread their prayer carpets on which they knelt down with their faces turned towards Mecca, and utterly regardless of our presence they went through their devotions.” From Cairo there are day trips to Sakkara and Memphis where the writer sees and writes of many statues, sculptures, and sacred bulls, all very well preserved and recently discovered and excavated. After the five days in Cairo, the author sets off for Ismailia “a place on the Suez canal about half way between Suez and Port Said.” She comments on the refilling of the dry Lake Imshah after Suez Canal construction just 8 years or so earlier. She writes, “Ismailia has entirely grown up since the canal was made, it was before nothing but desert, but a freshwater canal supplies it and other stations on the Suez Canal. It seems as if wherever water can be got on to the land the desert may be turned into a garden for already they have a few good gardens there and many avenues of trees. The author than travels to Port Said across the Suez Canal by steamer. From Port Said she goes onto Jaffa. “During the time we had our only experience of the Kamseen, which is a hot dry wind full of fine sand blowing off the desert and looks like a thick yellow fog. The sand was so fine that it penetrated all our clothes and we had to go into the cabin for protection.” In Jaffa she comments on the numerous orange and lemon groves, the poor sanitary situation in the city, and the many muddy, dirty, and crooked streets of the city (“our first impressions were not pleasant”). In Jaffa she goes to Simon the Tanner’s house and also to where Peter had his vision of “a sheet let down from Heaven knit at the four corners and filled with all manner of beasts, etc.” She also visits a Mission school run by an English lady attended by Jews, Mohammedans and Syrians alike. The school is Methodist. From Jaffa, the author and her companions set out for the month long horseback trip to Jerusalem, sleeping in tents at night. “We rode between orange and lemon groves for some distance, the road was fenced off with prickly pear, a close growing thorny cactus which reaches about 6ft high, a fence which will defy man or beast.” From the onset of the journey, there are persistent problems with the horses: “my horse had a bad trick of pulling up suddenly if I tried to pass the foremost of the party, they cing very tenaciously to each other and there was no attempt to run away with any of us...We were in the saddle for over five hours, with the sun fiercely shining on us from a cloudless sky, and if there had not been a nice breeze we should have found it much worse than we did.” Despite the problems, the write is astounded with the beauty of the Middle Easter landscape. “The Plain of Sharon was gay with flowers, particularly with a small anemone of a very bright scarlet, and as we got into the hill country the ledges of the rocks were filled with beautiful varieties of cyclamen.” At night, she describes the tents they have brought along and the new experience of sleeping in tents, “which seemed almost like sleeping out of doors.” They have brought along five sleeping tents, a saloon tent and a kitchen tent, with a Union Jack flag flying from one and Stars and Stripes from the other. It is obvious, the people on the trip come from wealth, as she describes the extraordinary five course dinner they are served in their camp site: “first course, (?) soup, 2nd stewed tongue with fried potatoes, 3rd cauliflower browned with egg & breadcrumbs, 4th chicken and asparagus, 5th apricot tarts, and dessert, nuts, raisins & Jaffa oranges, after which we had a large cup of tea to finish off with.” The first nights are cold and noisy nights with dogs barking and frogs croaking. They wake up each morning with a servant blowing a ram’s horn trumpet. The writer is taken by the Biblical ground through which she travels: “Our route to day is over ground of great interest, and where great events in the early history of the subjugation of Palestine by Joshua took place. It was here that Joshua uttered the memorable words at the battle of Beth Horon ‘Sun stand thou still upon Gibeon and thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon’...I have no doubt they would take the same road we were going, for we reached Kirjath Jearim where the Ark was kept so long early in the day.” Finally, the author and her companions reach Jerusalem. Here she writes clearly and beautifully of Jerusalem, of its hills and deep valleys and twisting roads. “We descend the Mount of Olives past the garden of Gethsemane then across the brook Hedron and up the other side of the valley, passing the traditional site of Stephen's martyrdom. Enter Jerusalem by St. Stephen's gate and along the Via Dolorosa return to our hotel.” The journal ends like so, “We spent several days in visiting the places of interest in the city and its neighbourhood, but it would take too long for me to attempt a description of them. I can only hope in conclusion that some here present may have the pleasure of seeing for themselves that wonderful city and land.” The journal consists of four gatherings of roughly 10 pages each, though these gatherings are not bound, and many pages are loose or very close to being unattached. The paper shows some wear and coloration from age, but it does not hinder the experience of reading this amazing travelogue at all.

Title: 1877 EXTRAORDINARY RETROSPECTIVE JOURNAL OF ONE ENGLISH WOMAN’S LUXURIOUS AND DEEPLY DETAILED TRIP FROM NAPLES TO THE BIBLICAL HOLY LAND, CROSSING THE DESERT BY BOAT, RAIL, DONKEY AND HORSE

Author Name: UNIDENTIFIED ENGLISH WOMAN

Categories: 19th Century Manuscript, Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 19th Century Diary,

Publisher: NAPLES ALEXANDRIA CAIRO SUEZ JAFFA JERUSALEM, 1877

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall

Seller ID: 0009039

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND, JERUSALEM, PRE-STATE ISRAEL, NAPLES, MESSINA, ITALY, SICILY, ALEXANDRIA, CAIRO, EGYPT, ISMAILIA, SUEZ CANAL, ARABIAN DESERT, TRAVEL BY HORSEBACK, 19TH CENTURY, FEMALE TRAVEL IN THE 1800s, BAZAARS OF EGYPT, NOTES FOR A LECTURE, TRIP THROUGH THE ARAB WORLD, NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE-EASTERN TRAVEL, RAIL TRAVEL IN THE LEVANT, KHAMSIN WIND, JAFFA, SHARON PLAIN, LUXURY TRAVEL, BIBLE TRAIL, DESCRIPTIONS OF MIDDLE EASTERN LANDSCAPE, BRITANNICA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D’ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL