The Innocents Abroad - Chapter 35


The Innocents Abroad - Chapter 35
Sailing Through the Bosporus and the Black Sea—"Far-Away Moses"—Melancholy Sebastopol—Hospitably Received in Russia—Pleasant English People—Desperate Fighting—Relic Hunting—How Travellers Form "Cabinets"

Far-Away Moses is rather an interesting individual. I did a search on him and found this:
from Making a Place in the World: Jews and the Holy Land at World's Fairs by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

" This difficulty in no way restrained the claims made for Jewish racial purity and for "Oriental" Jews as the purest examples of the Jewish racial type. Consider the caption for Far-Away-Moses:
The Jews are the most remarkable of all races. No other people can boast a lineage so ancient and so unbroken. The historian Freeman says: "They are very nearly, if not absolutely, a pure race in a sense in which no other race is pure." Their early history constitutes body of sacred writings which, considered as literature alone, stands unequalled.... The above portrait is another illustration of the persistence of the Jewish type. This man, who rejoices in the expressive sobriquet of Far-Away-Moses, is the descendant of Jews who were driven from Spain by Queen Isabella. He is fifty-five years old and resides in Constantinople. He speaks many languages and is a noted dragoman. He has been immortalized by Mark Twain, whom he had the honor of conducting through the Holy Land.

Far-Away-Moses, as it turns out, was one of the partners in the company that held the concession for the Turkish village--he was none other than Harry R. Mandil, one of the two American partners. He was also the model for Semite head in the ethnological series of thirty-three races that adorn the keystones above the windows on the first floor of the Library of Congress. Had Mandil appeared clean shaven in a business suit as an American citizen would he have been chosen as the model for the Semite head?


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Submitted by scott on

The annotation following Letter Number 20, (McKeithan's #24) claims that this letter was used in Volume II Chapter XIII. I believe this is actually a typo, the correct chapter would be VIII, chapter 35 of the full volume or chapter 8 of the 2 volume set.

Submitted by scott on

At least one of the sites I've found on Faraway Moses claims that he accompanied Twain throughout the Holy Land. The only mention of his name in the book is in this chapter (35). I made some inquiries but received no answers on this question. Was Faraway Moses the dragoman used throughout the Holy Land or was he only of use in Constantinople?

Submitted by scott on

If Faraway Moses made that claim, and I cannot now recall where I saw it mentioned that he did, it was for self promotion. Apparently he was quite adept at this. The Dragoman for the journey from Beirut to Damascus and beyond was named Abraham. He is first mentioned in Chapter 41 at the time the travelers were selecting their horses for the "Long Journey".

Ian Strathcarron, Innocence and War, in the chapter on Beirut, notes that Abraham was Maltese and he was assisted by Mohammed from Alexandria.

Submitted by scott on

19 Aug QC departed Constantinople, 1:00 p.m.
21 Aug QC arrived at Sevastopol, 5:00 a.m., and departed again at 9:00 p.m.

Submitted by scott on

It seems the identity of Far Away Moses as an American business partner was in error. I have found this note on the American Folklife Center's website:

"The information on Far Away Moses’s life comes from a multitude of sources, most of which are linked above or in part 2 of this post. Previous syntheses are also available, by John J. Wayne and Julia Phillips Cohen; Cohen’s article is not freely available online, but find full bibliographic information below. I would like to clear up a fallacy unwittingly created by Wayne, since like me he was writing for the Library of Congress. In his 1992 article, “Constantinople to Chicago: In the Footsteps of Far-Away Moses,” Wayne interpreted the word ‘mosyo,’ written in Ottoman script before the name of one of Far Away Moses’s associates, as an approximation of ‘Moses.’ He therefore identified Far Away Moses as Harry Mandil, an American citizen with business interests in Constantinople. But my research indicates that Mandil was far too young to have been Far Away Moses, and Julia Phillips Cohen has further pointed out that ‘mosyo’ was a common phonetic spelling of ‘monsieur,’ indicating that Mandil was a foreign gentleman, not that his alias was Moses! This mistaken identification of Moses with Mandil caused Wayne to suggest that Far Away Moses was a partner of the firm where he was most likely just an employee, and that he was American-born. These misconceptions have been accepted by other scholars, including folklorist Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett, but more recently refuted by Cohen."