And now, Sir, having conducted you to make a short visit to each of these wonderful, though little abodes, I must assure you, that a man well versed in author craft might write thirteen little volumes upon subjects so very singular. But as no written account can give a perfect idea of the particular beauties of any mountain, and more especially of one so unlike all others, I shall quit nature, and conduct you to the works of art, and treasures of value, which are within the walls of the holy sanctuary below; only observing, what I omitted to mention, that the great rains which have fallen since the creation of all things, down the sides of this steep mount, have made round the whole base a prodigious wide and deep trench, which has the appearance of a vast river course drained of its water. In this deep trench lie an infinite number of huge blocks of the mountain, which have from age to age caved down from its side, and which renders the tout au tour of the mountain below full as extraordinary as the pointed pinnacles above: beside this, there are many little recesses on the sides of the hill below, so adorned by stately trees and natural fountains, that I know not which part of the enchanted spot is most beautiful. I found in one of these places a little garden, fenced in by the fallen rocks, a spring of so clear and cool a water, and the whole so shaded by, oaks, so warmed by the sun, and so superlatively romantic, that I was determined to find out the owner of it, and have set about building a house or a hut to the garden, and to have made it my abode; but, alas! upon enquiry, I found the well was a holy one, and that the water, the purest and finest I ever saw or tasted could only be used for holy purposes. And here let me observe, that the generality of strangers who visit this mountain, come prepared only to stay one day;—but it is not a day, nor a week, that is sufficient to see half the smaller beauties which a mountain, so great and wonderful of itself, affords on all sides, from the highest pinacle above, to the foundation stones beneath.
But I should have told you, that there are other roads to some of the hermitages above, which, by twisting and turning from side to side, are every week clambered up by a blind mule, who, being loaded with thirteen baskets containing the provision for the hermits, goes up without any conductor, and taking the hermitages in their proper order, goes as near as he can to each, and waits till the hermit has taken his portion; and proceeds till he has discharged his load, and his trust, and then returns to his stable below. I did not see this animal on the road, but I saw some of his offerings there, and you may rely upon the truth of what I tell you.