|CHAPTER XXII, -- IN PARIS--ON THE WAY TO INDIA--FLORENCE--ROME--NAPLES-- -- EGYPT.|
Saturday, September 4th. We go around to see something of Paris. My! the wonders; not strange, perhaps, to others, but to me; the statuary, and parks, and buildings were lovely to behold.
Sunday, 5th. A beautiful, bright morning. My heart was full of praise as I woke and looked out upon the beauty. But how sad I was in a little while as I saw the buildings going up, men hauling stones, laundries open, everything just like Saturday. Others were going to church.
"Oh," I said, "is this fashionable, wicked Paris, to which the eyes of the Christian world are turned for their first fashions and imitations?" And as I thought of it I felt sad. At church time we attended the Wesleyan Church. It was communion Sunday. The minister preached a grand sermon from the words: "Christ gave himself."
Monday, 6th. We go sight-seeing again. One of the places which interested me a great deal was the porcelain works. There I saw where this beautiful china is made. And as the man turned the different articles that he wished to make, from the finest little cup to the largest vase, I thought what complete power the potter had over the clay. There was no dictating from the clay. The potter had full control. At one time he would take a piece of the clay and make one kind of an article; then he would turn the same piece of clay into another kind of an article; sometimes a beautiful pitcher, then a mug, then a basin, and in all shapes whatsoever he willed he made the clay. And then he showed us some with the most exquisite flowering on them that were to be put in the furnace at a certain time, and the fire would bring out all the fine pretty marks and colors.
As I stood and heard his explanation, my heart caught fire; and I thought how much that is like the blessed Master. Sometimes what brings out the beautiful character is the furnace. And I said, "Oh, Lord, help me to be in Thy hands as this clay is in the potter's hands; and even when the furnace comes, to submit, and not dictate."
"Pains, furnace, heat, within me quiver;
God's breath upon the flame doth blow;
And all my heart within me quivers,
And trembles at the fiery glow.
Yet I say trust Him as God wills,
And in His hottest fire hold still."
In one of the avenues not far from this place (I'm sorry I can't remember the name), a very wide avenue, with beautiful trees on either side, almost making an arch, there were long rows of gypsy wagons, with everything to sell; a kind of fair--"Vanity Fair." The minute I saw this it brought to my mind a dream that I had had twenty-three years before. Oh, how marvelous! Everything was almost just as I had dreamed it, twenty-three years before!
We leave Paris at two o'clock in the afternoon, and travel all night.
Tuesday, September 7th. Reach Turin to-night at eight-thirty.
Wednesday, 8th. Leave this morning for Florence. Reach there at nine at night. Spend the next day sight-seeing. As we traveled by what is called Cooke's coupon system, which is very convenient, and gives you every information of places of interest, etc., and as Miss Drake had all that part of the arrangement to attend to, I did not even as much as note the names of the hotels where we stopped in my diary, only, perhaps, once, though I was familiar with all the names and places at the time.
We had a guide given us. We first visited the great Uffizi gallery, with its wonderful collection of works of art, such as I had never seen before, and never shall again. Here was the first time I ever remember hearing the name of the great painter, Michael Angelo.
There was so much that was beautiful, that I could take in but a very little of the whole. I was wonderfully struck with the bust and head of Nero when a boy of ten or fourteen. His countenance
The next place we went to was the National Museum and gallery of fine arts. Here again was pointed out to us the bust of the great sculptor and painter, Michael Angelo, who is held in loving, if not sacred remembrance. It was he who furnished the model for the great dome of St. Peter's of Rome. All this was new to me, and some things I had heard of by the hearing of the ear. But could it be that I, Amanda Smith, was really living, and at Florence, Italy? Many times while they were talking, and the man would be explaining things, I was lost in wonder, love and praise at the Lord's dealings in giving me the privilege to enjoy so much that I never expected could come to one like me. Surely it is His doings, and very marvelous.
Our next visit was to the Baptistry of St. John's. There were those beautiful bronze gates. How magnificent! I can almost see them now as I think it all over. Just as we got there a priest was about to perform the ceremony of baptism to two lovely babies. Two carriages drove up. In the first were the father and mother, with the baby, and the priest. In the second was the party with the other baby. They were exquisitely dressed. I thought I never saw such lovely looking babies in my life. I would like to have just taken them up in my arms and kissed them. They looked more like angels than children. They didn't seem to offer any objections to us looking on. When it was over I saw the fathers pay the priest quite a sum in gold. My heart was sad for the little things, after all; for I thought they will live and die without the true light and knowledge of the glorious Gospel of the Son of God.
Thursday, September 9th. We leave this morning for Rome. Arrive about five P. M. How accommodating and courteous they are at the hotel. We got on splendidly. Here in this great old historic city there is much to admire, and much to be sad for. Poverty and wealth seem to rival each other. I think I got some little idea what it meant for a country to be priest ridden. Everywhere you go up and down, every few stations on the railroad, every train you get off of, or on, priests; all through the streets, in every turn you make, you see a priest coming or going; or two or three or four; scattered in every direction, priests. I never saw so many priests and monks in my life. Old men, with gray hair,
You could see these men, in any numbers, walking about. Sometimes you would see them leading a donkey, with a load of grass, which they had gathered, and were bringing into town to sell. They generally visited the hotels, with a little bunch of parsley, and an onion, and a carrot, to sell as pot herbs. How I pitied them when I first saw them. I gave them some pennies. Of course, I didn't take the pot herbs; I didn't need them. But I soon found out that that was their business. I never saw one look clean. Oh, how horrible!
And these are the men they call holy, because they give up the world, and practice such rigid self-denial. How glad I am that God nowhere teaches that men have to go into filth and indolence in order to be holy. But He does say: "Cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord." This is always the way when men change the truth of God for a lie, and begin to worship and adore the creature more than the Creator.
Sunday, 12th. Miss Drake was tired, so she did not go out to church in the morning. But I wanted to have it to say that I had been to church in Rome. So I started off alone to the nearest English church. The schedule of the principal hotels and churches hangs in the office; so I had no difficulty in finding it. So I went.
I found it was a High Church, almost Roman Catholic. They had candles, and choir boys, and they turned toward the east and bowed, and the atmosphere seemed like a vault. All this was new to me, for I had never been in a Protestant High Church before. How unsatisfying all this to one who knows Christ. For Him there is no substitute.
Monday, 1st. A grand day sightseeing. We had our carriage and our guide. What I was most anxious to see was St. Peter's.
A little to the right to the main entrance was a statue of St. Peter, in bronze, life size. I had heard that it had been visited by thousands of people, and that the great toe on the right foot had been kissed till it had been worn quite smooth. I went up and examined it, and found its smoothness really a fact; but whether the result of constant kissing, or whether from some other cause, I cannot say. I had no inclination whatever to kiss the toe; but I laid my right hand on it, and it felt cold. I said to myself, as I saw many come in and stand before it, and cross themselves and pray, "That is all they get in return for their long pilgrimages, and their prayers and tears." How sad! How glad I am that the lines have fallen to me in a more pleasant place, and I have a goodly heritage. Praise the Lord!
The next visit was to the Vatican and we walked through the great corridors, and admired the statuary and paintings, and my head ached with seeing so much. As we were passing down through a beautiful walk we heard some one shout out to us in a language we did not understand; but they motioned to us to get out of the way, and we stepped aside, and there came the Pope in his sedan chair, with his body guard of seven or eight men, returning from his morning outing; some were walking in front of him, some by his side, and others behind. And I thought to myself, "It was only a few years since that I heard the infallibility of the Pope was declared." And I thought if infallibility had to be guarded like that, what would be my safety in trusting in it. No. My faith is in the infallibility of God only.
The next was the Coliseum, with its ruined walls. As the man went on telling us the great stories, and pointing out things of interest and explaining, I sometimes wondered if all he said was real fact, in every instance. But no one questions the veracity of the guides when one is sight-seeing. They are supposed to know everything you ask them, of course.
He told us of the great arena where the Christians were thrown in and devoured by the starved lions, while thousands of spectators
Then the Appian Way was pointed out to us, and the guide said, "That is the very road on which they brought Paul from the prison to the court." There was the very floor, inlaid in marble, like a pavement, on which he said Paul stood before Nero.
The next was the Catacombs. We went down about six feet under ground, and entered a little narrow passage, and then he lighted tapers and gave each of us one. Then we entered a very large room; and on the clear, solid wall were beautifully painted a pulpit and altar, and nearly all the ritual of an English church service. The colors were as perfect as if it had been done but a little while; and yet it was more than two hundred years old. There were shelves, or niches, cut out in the rock, where their dead were laid; then these were closed up by masonry. A number of the bodies had been taken out by friends, and these spaces were open; but some remained still closed up. They had to go in and out by these subterranean passages, quietly. How much they must have suffered for His name in those dark days of persecution. As I thought it all over, I said, "Oh, will history repeat itself? May God in mercy deliver us."
I was foolish enough to start off in a different direction from the others, alone; though the guide had said to me when we first went in, "Now keep close to me;" but, as he stood explaining and talking to Miss Drake, I turned into, as I thought, another room. But the turns were very intricate to one who does not know. It all seemed to me as the same hallway. But when I found myself I was out of the hearing of the others altogether. I kept turning, but didn't seem to come near them. Then I began to get frightened. Then I thought I would stand right still; and so I did, and prayed the Lord to help me. In a little while they came, looking for me.
The guide said I did quite right to stop, for then they came and found me. If I had gone on turning they might have missed me entirely.
My! I shudder as I think of it. But he never had to tell me to keep close after that. What a lesson I learned. I shall never
Wednesday, September 15th. We leave Rome to-day for Naples. The little prayer I breathed just as we were starting, was, "Oh, God, for Christ's sake, send upon Rome the mighty power of the Holy Ghost. Let the people be awakened."
We reached Naples at about half past five or six o'clock P. M. The hotel where we stopped was very fine. We preferred stopping at a hotel where English was mostly spoken, as neither Miss Drake nor I were familiar with the French language. We noticed the city abounded with churches; and, on our way up from the station in the 'bus, as we passed several, the doors being open, as is usual, we could see persons in the confession boxes; some would be coming out, and others going in; and so many poor people seemed to be going hither and yon; and monks coming and going, as we saw at Rome. After we had our supper, as we were very weary, we soon retired.
Thursday, 16th. Up early this morning, feeling quite refreshed from our journey. As we had but a day to spend, we thought we would do some sight-seeing; so we got a carriage and a guide, and drove to some of the principal points of interest. The most interesting, to me, was the great museum, which is quite elevated, and off in the distance we could see Mt. Vesuvius quite distinctly. One could see it very plainly on a clear day; but it shows very much better on a clear night. It looks like a great burning furnace in the distance. Then we went through the museum, and there we saw Pompeii in statuary, as it was, and as it is, in ruins.
I had heard of excavations from Pompeii, and had read some little about them, but now I stood by them. Many of the things which were explained to us have gone from my memory since then, but some are very distinct. I remember one figure showed a baker; there he stood by the oven, seemingly just in the act of putting in bread; there was the table, with the bread and pans, all perfect. Another was a person lying on a sofa, asleep. There were policemen standing at the gates going into the city, all perfect. All this seemed to me so wonderful; and when the man was explaining all these things to us, sometimes it would thrill through me with sadness.
Naples is situated at the head of the bay of the same name. The bay is beautifully shaped, something like a horseshoe. Round about is quite mountainous; so at certain points as you ascend these mountains, when you get to the top, you can look off in the distance, and around, and see all the great city below and about you. I thought it was very beautiful; and I kept the great Mt. Vesuvius in my mind and thought for days together. When they told me of the red hot lava which this historic mount belched up and sent rolling down its sides, I wondered how it was that the people seemed to be in such peace and quietness as they were. There were houses very near the base of the mountain as we looked off, with patches of green that had been tilled for gardens, or what not.
No one seemed to be annoyed or thoughtful about it; and I thought how easy it is for us to get used to horrors and sadness.
After we had gone about a great deal, we drove back to our hotel, had our lunch, and a little rest, and then took another short drive; but the clouds gathered, and a little misty rain came up, so we did not go very far. Then Miss Drake began to get a little uneasy to know when the steamer would leave for Alexandria, though they had told us they would send us word; but as we were out we went to see, and there I lost my beautiful umbrella. A lady in England had given me a sovereign, and said, "Mrs. Smith, you must get you a nice umbrella;" so while I was at Eastbourne I saw a very pretty umbrella, and I thought I must do as I was told, and I got it, though I didn't pay quite that amount for it.
After we had been to the office and made inquiries about the steamer, and were satisfied, we returned to the hotel. The rain had stopped, though it was not clear yet, so I set my umbrella down in the carriage beside me, and when I got out I never thought of it. The next day, just as we got on board the steamer to leave for Alexandria, I thought of my umbrella. I paid a man a dollar to go back for it. It was an hour or two before the steamer would leave. He was very polite and kind, and was surely going to bring it; but when he came back he said he could not find the man, but if I would give him another dollar he would go where he thought the man had gone! But I saw there was game in that arrangement, so I told him he needn't mind. Then he said he would send it to me, and I saw there was more game. I was very sorry to lose my nice umbrella, but it was so good that the Lord kept my heart very quiet.
Friday, Sept. 17th, 1879. We are on the steamer for Alexandria. They said if you made up your mind not to be seasick, you would not be seasick; and so I made up my mind, and my mind made up its mind that it would not hold still, and I was just as seasick as I could be.
Sunday, 19th. A lovely morning; so quiet. I am better, praise the Lord. They told us when we were leaving Paris that we must not touch water on the continent; that the water was very bad, and everybody drank wine. And on the steamer they drank wine like water; the children and all drank wine; I expected to see everybody drunk, and I had a little queer feeling come over me. I thought, "Dearie me, what a time we will have if these people get to rowing."
Ladies and gentlemen, children, fathers and mothers, all drank wine, but they didn't seem to get out of the way. When we sat at the table and chose water instead of wine, they looked at us in astonishment. Then I asked how it was they could all drink so much wine and not get drunk. They said it was light wine and would not intoxicate. And then I wondered if that was not the share so many got in; beginning with the innocent light wine, and ending up with that that is full of weights that hold them down, so that when they would rise they cannot.
Well, Miss Drake and I got through without touching either the light or the stronger wine, and we never had a moment's sickness, outside of the simple seasickness, with all of our fatigue and weariness, for sight-seeing is wearisome, especially when done in a rush, as we did it, and the like of which I never want to do again. Our steamer was due on the twenty-fourth, so we had no time to delay.
Monday, 20th. The morning is bright and pleasant. My morning thought is, "Oh, Christ, Thou art a reality; make me more like Thyself."
How balmy the air, and how bright the sunshine! So different from England. The passengers on board are very kind and polite. I think the French have the first rank among all the nations in this particular. As far as I have seen it seems to be natural to them, children and all. It is no effort to be polite and courteous. Even in Rome I noticed in the railway 'bus, where it was rather crowded, when I stepped in a beautiful little lad arose and, with a smile and tipping his hat, he pointed me to his seat.
"Precious promise God hath given
To the weary passer by."
Praise the Lord! "My soul, wait thou on God. My expectation is from Him." We are nearing Alexandria, Egypt. The great old historic Egypt! Egypt that I have read of in the Bible! Can it be possible?
Ten A. M. Here we are in the bay. Praise the Lord. And who are these men coming off in the boats? There are four or five boats, all manned, each with six, eight, ten or twelve men--black men--my own race. I had been so long without seeing any of my own people that I felt like giving three cheers!
I never saw such scientific rowing in my life. They stood up instead of sitting down, but, Oh, how perfectly they bent to their oars. They had on little red skull caps, with black tassels on the top, and neat black alpaca coats. I presume they were Mohammedans, as they dressed just like the Mohammedans in India. Many of them were fine looking men, black as silk and straight as arrows, well developed, and independent as kings. They moved about and did the business intelligently, and with promptness and ease. They didn't know what it was to crouch to any man. I felt proud that I belonged to that race when I saw such nobility in ebony. Then I thought of the passage in the Old Testament history: "Princes shall come out of Egypt." Then I remembered it was the birthplace of Moses, and the hiding place of the infant Jesus from the cruelty of Herod, the king. And out of all the world round it pleased God to bestow this great honor on the black race, which ought to be held in everlasting remembrance. And I prefer being black, if for no other reason than to share this great honor with my race.
After a good night's rest we went to visit the great pyramids, which was a drive of, I think, about four miles out of the city of Alexandria. We made all our arrangements over night.
Next morning everything was prompt and we were called in time, and our breakfast was ready promptly at five, so that we had plenty of time, and at six we were off. I thought Alexandria--what we saw of it--was a beautiful city. Many of the houses were large and spacious, and there were large, fine hotels. I forget the name of the hotel where we stopped, and on what avenue it was, but it was a wide avenue through the center of the town. Just opposite this hotel was a much larger one; it covered almost a half block. There were large ice cream parlors below, and the awnings came out over the sidewalk. It was beautifully lighted and they had exquisite music, and English ladies and gentlemen were sitting out round the ice cream tables, and it really seemed more like England or America than Egypt. How sorry I was, when in Africa, to hear of the sacking and burning of Alexandria at the time of the great Afghan war.
We were told that there were some missionaries who had got pretty well established, and were doing good work. But, Oh, war is so destructive and demoralizing in its sweep. And probably all that had been gained at this time was lost again.
On our way to the pyramids our drive was over the same road that had been especially built for the Prince of Wales when he visited Alexandria a year or two before, and but for this royal visit our drive to the pyramids would have been very rough.
This was the first time I ever heard of, or saw, the eucalyptus tree. All along the royal highway, on either side, were these trees; they had grown up and formed a high archway; it was very beautiful, and one felt inclined to linger in its shade out of the hot sun.
I think I got a little idea of what Paul meant when he said, "Lay aside every weight and run the race with patience." I never saw such pretty, scientific running in all my life, as certain men there did. They were tall, lank looking fellows; on the head they wore a simple white skull cap, and around the body a light, white cloth, of about three or four yards in length, the weight of which would be very little over a pound; under this would be, fitting close to their bodies, a little jacket with long sleeves, and made of the same material, or perhaps a little bit stronger. Their business, or profession, was begging. When our carriage had got just outside the city there started after us a half dozen or more of these gentlemen, shouting as they ran, "Backsheesh" (give me a penny), "backsheesh, backsheesh."
Our guide, who sat with the driver, to point out and explain everything to us, warned us against giving these gentlemen anything. He said if we encouraged them the least bit they would annoy us so we could not get rid of them.
But then they were so very polite, and bowed so gracefully, and ran so nicely, and they patted their stomachs and opened their mouths to say they were hungry, and their stomachs were empty, and I pitied them. The guide saw I was rather stuck on them, and he kept his eye on me pretty close for awhile; but he turned his head, when he thought I was pretty thoroughly converted after all he had said and explained, and I dropped a few pennies for these poor fellows--about five cents of our money--and such a rush and yell I never saw or heard. Then I did get a little scared. He said, "I told you that if you gave them anything you would be annoyed."
Poor Miss Drake didn't know what I did; she declared she hadn't given them a cent; and I tried to look strange and blank. She said, "Did you give them anything, Amanda?"
"Oh, I only threw out a few pennies," I replied.
So the cat was out; and though our horses were under good speed, our driver touched them up, and we went on faster; and these gentlemen touched up, and came on faster, but they did it so gracefully and beautifully.
"Well," I thought, "I have done it now."
Finally they began to drop off one at a time till we were left with but two; these accompanied us to the pyramids, and offered to run up to the top for sixpence, if we would give it to them. I thought it was about worth that to go up to the top of that huge pile of stone, for that was what it seemed like; but I couldn't make the offer, for I had done enough; so they ran up a little ways and came back.
We walked about a little, and looked into the tomb where they said the wife of a king was buried; there was nothing in the looks of it that was specially interesting.
Then I saw the great sphinx. I used to wonder what it was; but now my curiosity was satisfied. We spent about two hours, and then drove back to Alexandria, and at two o'clock in the afternoon we left for Suez.
Suez, Egypt. The hotel where we stopped was kept by an Englishman, and most of the guests were English. I had no difficulty
At dinner I noticed two gentlemen, who sat opposite us; they looked familiar to me. I thought they might be Americans. I noticed they looked at me very sharply, and as thought they would like to speak, but they did not, and I felt like I would like to speak to them; but then I thought, "They are strangers; they seem as though they know me; but can it be that anybody in Egypt knows Amanda Smith?"
I said to Miss Drake, "I am sure I know those gentlemen, but I don't like to speak to them."
The next morning we met again, and Mr. Leech (for that was the name of one of the gentlemen) came up and spoke to me, and said, "Is not this Amanda Smith?"
"Yes," I said.
"I thought last night it was you; indeed, I was quite sure; but after dinner I went to the office and looked at the register and saw your name."
They were two ministers from Newcastle-on-Tyne; one a Presbyterian, and the other a Congregationalist. Both of them had helped me in the meetings that I held at Newcastle, at Mr. Lambert's hall. I introduced them to Miss Drake, and they were so nice they made it very pleasant for us.
They had been to Alexandria, and now were in Suez, on their way home to England. They took this little trip of two or three weeks on their vacation. They told us of the great Mahommedan school at Alexandria, which they had visited, of eight hundred students, studying the Koran. It is the largest college in the world where all the students study one thing. They said it was a wonderful sight to see them; they all sit on mats on the floor (all men or boys), and they rock themselves back and forth, and study aloud, so that the din is something fearful! They are supposed to commit the whole of the Koran to memory. How I should like to have seen that school. But we hadn't much time. So that was one of the things we missed.
These gentlemen, whom I have mentioned, had a day with us before their steamer came; so they walked out with us, and showed us different places. What was very interesting to me, was the way they did their irrigating. I had never seen it in this fashion before.
There were large plots of ground laid out, as far as your eye could see. There were old-fashioned pumps, such as they had a hundred years ago, I suppose; then there were long, wooden troughs leading to the trenches, about five and ten feet apart; they would pump the water into these troughs, and it would run and fill up all the trenches, and then the women and children would stand on either side of the beds, and with their hands throw the water, and so water the beds. Oh, how hard and tedious! But then they never thought of doing any other way than the way their fathers did That was all they cared to know.
The onions and salads and water cress raised in these gardens were very green and nice. How my heart turned to God in prayer for poor Egypt. Only God can change the hearts of these people here, and make the desert blossom as the rose. Lord, once more, send light and help to Egypt!
When God called Jesus out of Egypt from the wrath of Herod the king, and when the light had gone out, darkness settled down on Egypt, and still lingers. If the light that is in you become darkness, how great the darkness!
Our steamer was due at Suez on Thursday, but it did not come until Sunday. We had these days to wait. I was rather glad, for I thought I never was so tired in my life. But still if we had known the steamer would not come till Sunday, we could have gone up to Jerusalem. These gentlemen told us we could go in twenty-four hours by stage.
Parties went up that way often; but they made all the arrangements a day or two ahead; which we might have done, and got back by Saturday night. That was the nearest to Jerusalem that I ever was, and ever will be again, until I get to the Jerusalem above, I suppose. However, there is nothing impossible, and now that the railroad is there I would not be surprised to find myself going up on the train some day, especially if God said so.