It was cholera, beyond doubt. Dan could not go on--he might never go on. The chances were that way. It was a serious matter all around. To wait with Dan meant to upset their travel schedule--it might mean to miss the ship. Consultation was held and a resolution passed (the pilgrims were always passing resolutions) to provide for Dan as well as possible, and leave him behind. Clemens, who had remained with Dan, suddenly appeared and said:
"Gentlemen, I understand that you are going to leave Dan Slote here alone. I'll be d---d if I do!"
And he didn't. He stayed there and brought Dan into Jerusalem, a few days late, but convalescent.
Perhaps most of them were not always reverent during that Holy Land trip. It was a trying journey, and after fierce days of desert hills the reaction might not always spare even the holiest memories. Jack was particularly sinful. When they learned the price for a boat on Galilee, and the deacons who had traveled nearly half around the world to sail on that sacred water were confounded by the charge, Jack said:
"Well, Denny, do you wonder now that Christ walked?"
It was the irreverent Jack who one morning (they had camped the night before by the ruins of Jericho) refused to get up to see the sun rise across the Jordan. Deacon Church went to his tent.
"Jack, my boy, get up. Here is the place where the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land, and beyond are the mountains of Moab, where Moses lies buried."
"Moses who!" said Jack.
"Oh, Jack, my boy, Moses, the great lawgiver--who led the Israelites out of Egypt-forty years through the wilderness--to the Promised Land."
"Forty years!" said Jack. "How far was it?"
"It was three hundred miles, Jack; a great wilderness, and he brought them through in safety."
Jack regarded him with scorn. "Huh, Moses--three hundred miles forty years--why, Ben Holiday would have brought them through in thirty-six hours!"--[Ben Holiday, owner of the Overland stages, and a man of great executive ability. This incident, a true one, is more elaborately told in Roughing It, but it seems pertinent here.]
Jack probably learned more about the Bible during that trip-its history and its heroes-than during all his former years. Nor was Jack the only one of that group thus benefited. The sacred landmarks of Palestine inspire a burning interest in the Scriptures, and Mark Twain probably did not now regret those early Sunday-school lessons; certainly he did not fail to review them exhaustively on that journey. His note-books fairly overflow with Bible references; the Syrian chapters in The Innocents Abroad are permeated with the poetry and legendary beauty of the Bible story. The little Bible he carried on that trip, bought in Constantinople, was well worn by the time they reached the ship again at Jaffa. He must have read it with a large and persistent interest; also with a double benefit. For, besides the knowledge acquired, he was harvesting a profit--probably unsuspected at the time---viz., the influence of the most direct and beautiful English--the English of the King James version--which could not fail to affect his own literary method at that impressionable age. We have already noted his earlier admiration for that noble and simple poem, "The Burial of Moses," which in the Palestine note-book is copied in full. All the tendency of his expression lay that way, and the intense consideration of stately Bible phrase and imagery could hardly fail to influence his mental processes. The very distinct difference of style, as shown in The Innocents Abroad and in his earlier writings, we may believe was in no small measure due to his study of the King James version during those weeks in Palestine.
He bought another Bible at Jerusalem; but it was not for himself. It was a little souvenir volume bound in olive and balsam wood, and on the fly- leaf is inscribed:
Mrs. Jane Clemens from her son. Jerusalem, Sept. 24, 1867.
There is one more circumstance of that long cruise-recorded neither in the book nor the notes--an incident brief, but of more importance in the life of Samuel Clemens than any heretofore set down.