Cedars of Lebanon: Jewish Tangier and Avignon: 19th Century
. . . My Curiosity was ever aroused to know what the dwellings here, those great, square stone blocks, looked like inside. I was always told that it was dangerous, that there was nothing to see, and that, if there were, knowing the strange manners of the inhabitants, I could not get to see anything. One morning I was walking by myself, armed with my stick, to keep my balance on the slippery and uneven streets, when I saw a porch or gate-way, within which a woman was engaged in drawing water from a well. I waited a moment, and when she was gone I entered and saw a high, dark space, in which stood a great stone well, just as we see it represented in pictures of Rachel and Leah. High above the well was a wheel, from which hung ropes and an iron hook; all looked old and weather-beaten, but it seems that such things are able to enjoy a particularly long life in these regions. I looked around me, and perceived, in a dark corner, a stone staircase, obviously leading to the apartments of the inhabitants of this sombre dwelling. Instinctively my curiosity drove me up these stairs. It was exceedingly dark, but when I had climbed a little above the well, the steps were faintly lighted from a small opening, apparently in the roof. I heard something come shuffling downstairs, but could not see what it was, owing to the spiral form of the staircase; as I mounted, however, I met a female figure descending—a tall slender woman, carrying a large pitcher.
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