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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 07.
in it we journeyed three days and nights.  This is a vast plain covered all over by white sand as fine almost as flour; and if by evil chance any one travels south while the wind blows to the north, they are overwhelmed by drifted sand.  Even with the wind favourable, or blowing in the direction of their journey, the pilgrims are apt to scatter and disperse, as they cannot see each other at ten paces distance.  For this reason those who travel across the sea of sand are enclosed in wooden cages on the backs of camels, and are guided by experienced pilots by chart and compass, as mariners on the ocean.  In this journey many perish by thirst, and many by drinking with too much avidity when they fall in with wells.  Owing to this Momia is found in these sands, bring the flesh of such as have been drowned in the sea of sand, which is there dried up by the heat of the sun, and the excessive dryness of the sand preventing putrefaction.  This Momia or dried flesh is esteemed medicinal; but there is another and more precious kind of Momia, being the dried and embalmed bodies of kings and princes, which have been preserved in all times from corrupting.

When the wind blows from the north-east, the sand rises, and is driven against a certain mountain, which is a branch from Mount Sinai; and in that place we found certain pillars artificially wrought, which are called Januan.  On the left hand side of that mountain, and near the highest summit, there is a cave or den, to which you enter by an iron gate, and into which cave Mahomet is said to have retired for meditation.  While passing that mountain, we heard certain horrible cries and loud noises, which put us in great fear.  Departing therefore from the fountain of St Mark, we continued our journey for ten days, and twice in that time we had to fight against fifty thousand Arabians.  At length, however, we arrived at Mecca, where we found every thing in confusion, in consequence of a civil war between two brothers who contended for the kingdom of Mecca.

SECTION IV.

Observations of the Author during his residence at Mecca.

The famous city of Mecha or Mecca is populous and well built, in a round form, having six thousand houses as well built as those in Rome, some of which have cost three or four thousand pieces of gold.  It has no walls, being protected or fortified as it were on all sides by mountains, over one of which, about two furlongs from the city, the road is cut by which we descended into the plain below; but there are three other entries through the mountains.  It is under the dominion of a sultan, one of four brethren of the progeny of Mahomet, who is subject to the Soldan of Egypt, but his other three brothers are continually at war with him.  On the 18th day of May, descending from the before-mentioned road obliquely into the plain, we came to Mecca by the north side.  On

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