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hended; passengers stopped on their journey by the quickest trains, in the same way. Distance, in fact, is annihilated ; and, if electric wires were laid down, there is nothing to prevent a merchant in Britain from operating in the market of Canton, buying com at Odessa and New York, gold or wool in Australia, and exchanging wrought for raw cotton in the United States an hour or two after the message has been sent off. Although usually carried along the lines of railway, the electric telegraph is quite independent of them.
It dates from the early part of last century, and was proposed, though not constructed, when railways and steamboats were things unknown.
Considering the advances in art and science which Britain has thus made in the short space of ninety years, and the boundless field of improvement that is still open to her adventurous sons, we see much reason to hope, in the good providence of God, that the year 1950 will find her as far in advance of the present day, as the latter is in advance of 1750. Powers of nature are yet unconquered, which may become subservient to the wealth and welfare of man; and the triumphs of the past are but an earnest of greater glory in store for the nation. Almost every day brings with it proofs of undiminished energy, in wresting from nature secrets that she has kept hid from the beginning; and the race for wealth and fame among the members of the nation is maintained with greater keenness than ever. Both are most surely attained by improving what we already possess, or inventing what is
new; and we could not have a better guarantee, that so long as THE LORD watches over the nation's welfare, her star will continue to shine with undiminished brightness. INTERIOR OF THE MOSQUE OF OMAR.
mosque itself stands on a raised platform or terrace some seven feet high, and nearly in the centre of the enclosed area, on reaching the steps that lead up
to which we exchanged our out-of-door chaussure for slippers, and mounted. As we came within near view of the main building, the extreme beauty of the bright-coloured mosaics and arabesques that adorn the whole surface of the outer walls, and the not less exquisite stained-glass windows, excited everybody's admiration; but, without stopping to give lengthened opportunity for examining these in detail, the sheikh led the way to the principal door, in front of which he halted to call attention to a little open marble-pillared structure, surmounted by a small dome, and, like its larger neighbour, ornamented inside and out with brilliant arabesques.
According to Mohammedan tradition, a stone in the centre of its marble floor covers the exact spot whereon King David used to perform his daily prayers. Having enunciated this veracious fact, which none of us could contradict, our cicerone led the way into the mosque, through whose gorgeous windows the early sun was throwing in a soft flood of many-hued light, that revealed to the eye very triumphs of chroniatic art.
Above the vast concave of the dome was a perfect maze of the richest and most delicately-coloured arabesque ornaments and inscriptions from the Koran, mellowed, it is true, a little by the breath of time, but still more brilliantly beautiful than I
can at all describe. So, too, the portions of the wall above and between the fifty windows were everywhere covered with similar exquisite decoration. Right under the dome is the railed-in mass of rock, believed by most biblical antiquarians to be the site of the Jewish Holy of Holies. In one side of this gray limestone lump—the upper
surface of which is about seven feet above the floor of the mosque—is an artificial cutting, believed to have been the altar of the high-priest; and leading from this is a hollowed tract, supposed to have carried off the blood of the victims into a deep cavity or well, partly artificial and partly natural, near the southern edge of the mass. A flight of stone steps cut out of the rock lead down from the corridor into this last, in the centre of the floor of which is a circular shaft, called by the Mohammedans “The Well of Souls,” and believed by them to communicate with the nether world. Till within some forty years ago this was left unco
covered, and the relatives of departed believers used to come hither and hold worldly intercourse with the spirits of their dead friends. About that time, however, an untrustworthy widow, who had wheedled some Avernian scandal out of the ghost of her spouse, published what she had learned, and as the facts were not considered complimentary to some of the chief families of the city, the loose-tongued gossip was punished, and the well covered in, to prevent further unseemly revelations. There is reason to believe that this shaft communicates at its bottom with an arched sewer, that had its outlet outside the city walls. Round the whole of this massive and time-defying relic of Israelitish glory runs, as I have said, a high wooden railing, separated
from the outer main wall of the building by a narrow corridor, some twelve or fifteen feet wide, and from the centre of this last rises the row of eight square piers and sixteen Corinthian columns that support the dome. I may just add that this mosque is not used for public religious services.
Leaving the building by the door through which we had entered it, the sheikh next led us down off the terrace on which the main edifice stands, across a paved footway, shaded by cypresses, to the Mosque of El Aksa, in the south-western angle of the enclosure. This structure was originally a Christian church, built by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, and, on the capture of the city some hundred years after, was converted by the victorious Omar into a Mohammedan place of worship. The whole building, which is crowned with a small dome at its southern end, over what was once the altar, consists of a nave and six side aisles, and, after the decorative brilliancies of its larger neighbour, strikes the eye, in point of internal ornamentation, as to the last degree Puritanically plain. It has, indeed, its arabesques and Koranic inscriptions, but they exhibit but little of the delicate elaboration and gorgeous colouring of the others. The nave and aisles are hung throughout with the usual allowance of ostrich eggs and small glass oil lamps to be seen in mosques of this size everywhere. From this former temple of our own purer faith, our guide proceeded to shew us perhaps the finest of all the remains of the old Jewish architecture now in existence, the lofty arched double arcade that once
from the Golden Gate into the temple. The ancient outlet of this passage upon the enclosure has been filled
up, and entrance is now had to it by a flight of narrow modern steps, descending which the visitor finds himself in a wide and lofty vaulted passage, separated from another similar one by a row of open pillars. From this point down to the walled-up gateway, which was correspondingly double, the incline is gentle, and the floorway excellently paved; masonry of the most 'massively solid construction meets the eye both in the side walls, the arched roofs, and the pillars—the stones in the first and last especially being of perfectly colossal dimensions, and throwing into the shade, in this respect, the largest I have ever seen in any European structure. The mechanical agency that could bring these monster stones from the quarry, and raise them to the places the uppermost of them now occupy, must have been such as we could not even now-a-days afford to despise. Through one or other of these arcades was it that the hosanna-welcomed Christ passed up to the temple on his triumphal journey to Bethany; and the Turks have a traditional prophecy, that the opening of this gateway will be immediately followed by the termination of Mohammedan power.
From this unique monument of Herodian architecture we followed our white-turbaned guide to the top of the wall, whence a perfect view is had of the top of Moriah, the tree-sprinkled Mount of Olives, the garden of Gethsemane, and the valley of Jehoshaphat, with the rockvillage of Siloam, and the distant hill to the south-west, within a tower on whose summit the crusader garrison took its last stand when driven from the holy city. Descending thence, we strolled over every part of the enclosure, visiting in turn each and all of the minor build