March 15th – The country now becomes more fertile. Saw several plats of wheat; also several Arabs plowing with a camel. We have found several new kinds of flowers. We are now encamped near the bed of another river. Have just returned from a walk on its gravelly bed; on either side we saw beautiful flowers which filled the air with their perfume and were reminded as we looked up and down of poetry we had read of Arabian perfumes –
The white bed with green on each side looked lovely.
March 16th – Today the country is decidedly more fertile and a great relief to the eye after so much barrenness. This morning we found a most beautiful variety of tulips, red, also some poppies and anemones, a number of wheat fields; have met a great many Arabs, seen their strange tents. One of our party, Mr. Day was attacked by a party of them. They came up close to him in a threatening manner and as he retreated, threw stones at him. He could not walk as fast as the camels.
March 17 – Syria – Have just arrived – 2 o’clock – having had a most delightful days travel, as far as gathering flowers was concerned. Just after we started this morning, the dark clouds which overshadowed us gave as a complete ducking. Our camels turned against the wind and knelt down with us; we felt quite safe however under our umbrellas. Our dragoman fell from his camel presenting a most ridiculous figure. Between the showers we gathered some more lovely flowers; the fields and valleys were perfectly covered with them. We found countless varieties of every hue and color, red, yellow, blue orange, violet, purple, white, salmon, etc. Some were quite familiar to us, as the snow drops, and red tulips. We are now camping just outside of Gaza, near a Mussulman cemetery. Our tent is pitched right by a cactus hedge, which is in front of our tent door. We went our with Mr. M. to walk around Gaza. This we don’t care to repeat, as we were grossly treated. We were followed by twenty or thirty boys and several grown men; they pulled at our clothes and at last pinched us behind and would start away as we turned upon them. At last Mr. M. was obliged to give a boy a hard slap and another time he struck a man, which at the same time knocked over two or three boys. As we passed through the bazaar the men kept off. The door of the gentlemen’s tent looks out upon a lot of tombs, where we see the natives sitting. The women and children sit there to watch us as we go in and out of our tent. We are evidently the first foreigners and ladies many of them had seen. The pedestals of the tombs form a seat so that they literally “sit on the tombs”. They come close to the tent and squat down in groups. I have just counted twenty-one in a group, with a donkey in the rear. The children wear fez and skull caps. Their hair is generally shaved entirely, except a tuft on the crown. The men wear fez caps with silk turbans twisted around them. Many of them have diseased eyes, as in Egypt.
March 18th – Sunday – Rained heavily the greater portion of the night and today the flies are very disagreeable. The weather the past few days has been continual rain and sunshine, like April at home. Our cook has just been making some macaroni, a mixture with flour and three eggs and milk enough to make a dough stiff enough to roll out, vermicelli, flour mixed with salt and water. The Syrians are of lighter complexion than the Arabs and are much more robust. The women do not wear their faces so much covered as the latter. Their face trimmings have a number of silver coins hanging on them.
March 19th – Left Gaza at eight o’clock in the morning on donkies, for Jerusalem. On either side of the road for some distance were Olive Groves. At the base of which wheat and grass were growing. After leaving these trees came great fields of most beautiful wheat. These continued until we reached the hill county of Judea in which Hebron is situated. Along the road we found the greatest variety of lovely flowers, snowdrops, anemone, stargrass, buttercups.