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WHAT EGYPT CAN TEACH US.
BY THE EDITOR.
MEMPHIS AND SAKKARA.
On a bright, sunny day, early in March last, our Canadian party made the interesting excursion to Memphis and Sakkara. It is an interesting drive of three miles from Cairo to the Upper Egypt railway station, on the left bank of the Nile. One never tires of the picturesque aspect of the streets in the older parts
of the city—the overLATTICE WINDOW, CAIRO.
hanging windows with
their · beautiful lattice work, the ever-shifting crowd so full of life and colour, with their white and green turbans, blue gowns, crimson fezes, military uniforms and the like.
Among the most striking figures are those of the stately sayses or running footmenlight, agile fellows who can keep ahead of the horse going at full speed for a wonderful distance. Their dress is almost always of snowy linen, which leaves the brown arms and legs bare. They have frequently a magnificently embroidered jacket and scarlet fez. Each carries a wand by day and a torch by night. It is their office to clear the way for the
VOL. XXXVII. No. 1.
carriage of their masters, which they do with loud cries of “ to the right," “ to the left," “ look out in front," with good-natured badinage to those slow to get out of the way. They remind us of the scriptural herald or forerunner who must prepare the way for his Master and Lord.
The strangest figures are the Cairene women muffled up to the eyes and wearing a sort of nosebag over the face, as shown more distinctly in one of the smaller cuts. The children are always
carried upon their shoulders, and sometimes are as airily dressed, or not dressed, as in one of our cuts.
Among the most familiar figures are the water-bearers who, for the most part, carry this essential part of life in a disgusting looking sheepskin, or goatskin, looking like the bloated body of a drowned animal. The sher'bet seller, on the contrary, carries his sickly, sweetish beverage in a porous jar, and goes through the streets clinking his brass cups and calling out sometimes almost in
the words of Isaiah, "Oh, ye thirsty," and sometimes, during the feast of Ramadan, he adds, "without money and without price," being paid therefor by some pious Moslem. Sometimes he exclaims, “the gift of God,” recalling the words of our Lord to the Samaritan woman, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water."
The Nile bridge is always crowded with camels, donkeys,
and foot passengers, but especially so in the early morning.
ties of eastern life. The
It is a
railway CAIRENE WOMAN AND CHILD.
fourteen miles in stuffy little cars, in full view of the grcat pyramids, to Bedrasheyn. On the left stretches old Cairo, with its low hills studded with ancient windmill towers, behind which rises the long Mokattam ridge. To the right stretches the Lybian Desert. At Bedrasheyn, a vociferous crowd of Arab boys try to carry us off by storm. We remain prudently within the station inclosure, and depute one of our party, WOMAN AND CHILD. Rev. Mr. Read, who enjoys the reputation of making a shrewd bargain, to encounter the perils of the turbulent
mob. Donkeys being secured, we make a break through the crowd, mount our donkeys, and ride away as rapidly as possible.
We follow an embankment or dyke bordered on either side by wheat fields of brightest green, and traverse the vast plain,
shaded by palms and strewn with blocks of granite, broken crockery, and crumbled fragments of sun-dried brick made from Nile mud. This is Memphis, the oldest and one of the greatest cities in the world, a city old in the time of Abraham and Joseph. “No other capital,” says Miss Edwards, “dates back so far as this, or kept its place in history so long. Founded four thousand years before our era,* it beheld the rise and fall of thirty
one dynasties; it survived the rule of WATER-SELLER, CAIRO. the Persian, Greek, and Roman. It
became the quarry from which the old and new Cairo were built. Now it is an utter desolation a few large rubbish heaps, a dozen or so of broken statues, and a name.”
Even in the middle ages its ruins extended “half a day's journey” in every direction. A fallen colossus marks the site of the main entrance to the temple of Ptah, a temple once as large and as magnificent as that at Karnak. Of this, not a vestige remains. Herodotus states that Sesostris—that is, Rameses the Great-built a colossal statue of himself in front of the great gateway. And there it lies to the present day, the memorial of that wonderful king, a gigantic trunk forty-two feet long. For age after age it lay as it fell, face downward, in the mud, every year drowned in the annual inundation of the Nile—a not unfitting type of the fallen grandeur of Memphis. It has now been raised out of the mud, and supported by a brick
SHERBET-SELLER, pedestal. We climb a ladder, and pace up and down on its gigantic breast—there is ample room for six persons to walk about. The stony features
* Miss Edwards follows the medium chronology, that of Lepsius. The chronology of Mariette is about 1,100 years longer, that of Wilkinson about 1,200 years shorter.
wear that calm, eternal smile that we notice on all the monuments of Rameses throughout Egypt, and which can even be seen on his mummied face in the museum of Gizeh.
We ride on through crowded mud villages, where the pretty, graceful children beset one for backsheesh, and through fertile fields, where fellahs are busy ploughing the rich, black soil, and by deft turns of the foot, guiding the water raised by shadoofs in narrow trenches to the beds of lettuce, onions, and other garden vegetables. We halt for a brief time near a well to study the pic
bones, and other turesque scene,
debris of longand then ride on
vanished geneto the vast ne
rations. Higher cropolis, which
and higher, as we alone tells of the
approach, rises once teeming
the famous step population of the
pyramid of Sakcity of Memphis.
kara, the oldest We soon leave
structure in the the fertile valley
world. This rises and enter the
in terraces to the desert-a vast
height of 197 ft., stretch of yellow
and it covers an sand, strewn with
area of 354 by flint flakes, pot
358 feet. The cyAPIS' TOMB IN CORRIDOR. sherds, bleached