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When we tried to see any mosque, we hind a clear and ineffaceable impression were always pooh-poohed by our drago- of beauty. Moorish art has, moreover, man, who had evidently a Mussulman's that delicious quality of playfulness, that prejudice against admitting unbelievers in- spontaneous childlike freshness and hapto the holy places. And when at last we piness, ever the characteristics of true art
. prevailed upon him to take us, we were You can not add or take away from the invariably surrounded by a crowd, whom outpouring of genius which does not do he could with difficulty keep off. There its best or its worst, but simply its own is a profound feeling of jealousy at the bidding. bottom of all this. Without understand
LETTER II. ing what was said by the mob at our heels, we read plainly enough in their A PICNIC to the Pyramids is now the faces. “Why are these women here? easiest thing in the world. You drive in a What right have they to trouble them- carriage and pair, taking champagne and selves about our places of worship ?” The cold chicken with you, over which Hefew mosques that I did see at Cairo, out rodotus and hieroglyphics are gaily disof hundreds, impressed me greatly, espe- cussed; and when the heat of the day is cially that of Ezher. This is the College abated, you return to Cairo with as little of Cairo. It is not remarkable for beauty fatigue as if you had ruralized at Epping of architecture, but for vast courts which Forest. swarm all day long with zealous students Of course there are more ways than one of the Koran. These crowds form a cu- of seeing these marvels, and, for my part, rious spectacle. The master sits on a stool, if I ever go to Egypt again, I shall try to or stands in the midst, surrounded by a follow the advice of a sea-captain who tragroup of men and boys squatted on the veled with us from Cairo to Alexandria. ground, some conning pages of the Ko- “ The only way to see the Pyramids," he ran, others reciting passages in a loud said, " is to go there by moonlight, spend voice, all absorbed and eager. When we the night on the top, see the sun rise, and entered, the great court was like a field of get clean away before a single Bedouin is red and white poppies with hundreds of lying in wait for his prey. This is what I turbaned heads bending backwards and did, and I had my reward. A more forwards in a kind of studious ecstasy, splendid sight can not be conceived, and whilst the mingled voices made a surging, I saw it in peace.” continuous sound, deafening to unaccus- These Pyramid Bedouins are the pest of tomed ears.
travelers. People are often deterred from Bewildered and stunned, elbowed by a visiting the Pyramids a second time on little crowd of inquisitive idlers, which eve- account of the bullying and impositions to ry moment threatened to cut us off from which they have been once subjected. our dragoman and cawass, we pushed What can two or three helpless ladies and slow way through the dense masses. To gentlemen do against a crowd of wild, stay longer for purposes of inquiry or in- powerful, screeching, gesticulating creaspection was impossible.
tures who surround them in these interThe Mohammedans, without a doubt, minable solitudes? They have but to act up to the five articles of their faith- yield, which means giving as much bakprayer, fasting, ablution, pilgrimage, and shish as will moderate their enemies. resignation. No one who has spent the Now, we were saved all these miseries month of Rhamadan in the East can dis- by the kind forethought of our consul, credit the sincerity of the great fast, nor who insisted upon sending his cawass, or can any one who has fallen in, as we did janissary, with us, much to the disgust of later, with a crowd of home-returning pil- our dragoman. He, of course, though a grims, discredit the annual pilgrimage to good fellow in the main, looked for his Mecca ; whilst the most hasty traveler own share of the tolls that the Bedouins has daily proof of the ablutions, prayers, should levy upon us. But the consul was and resignation which are carried out firm, and the dragoman was forced to according to the Prophet's injunctions. yield.
The mosques at Cairo are worthy of a By four o'clock we were up and stirreligious people. Simple and grand in ring, and a little before seven we started, design, exquisite in detail, they leave be- the consul's janissary mounted on the box beside the coachman, the dragoman trot- as if you were a baby; and after once ting a donkey alongside, and our little conquering your repugnance to such a party of three cosily seated in the carriage, mode of conveyance, all goes delightfully. which was, of course, closed on account Once on the top, the idea of the Pyramid of the heat. The air was deliciously cool changes. The apex, which seen at a disand refreshing, the birds were singing, the tance is a point, proves to be an area ten sky as yet was of a soft, chastened lustre. feet square, from which you have a wonFor a mile or two our way lay through a derful view-northward, looking down the superb avenue of acacias, then we came to river upon the Delta, with its patches of the Nile, the great river-god of the ancient green and gold, its brown villages and Egyptian, whose figure they crowned with palms; southward, you look up the rivlotus flowers, and bearing flowers, fruits, er; eastward, upon the wonderful city of and water-fowls in his arms! No wonder Cairo, with domes and minarets innumerthey made a god of this generous, life-giv- able; westward, upon the African Sahara, ing, majestic river.
undefinable, illimitable, terra domibus negaHaving once seen all these things, who ta. This is the prospect of which we could ever forget? The clear brown riv- idlers below had only a fourth part, that er, the graceful dahabeahs lying on the is, the north view, interesting enough in banks, the Fellaheen villages of sober gray itself
, but not sufficiently so to be gazed at with groups of palms penciled in pale yold for seven hours without a feeling of weariagainst the delicate sky, the glowing patch- ness. However, there came the second es of vegetation, greenest of the green, diversion of luncheon, and it was wonderyellowest of the yellow, the long files of ful how the air of the desert stimulated the camels, the flocks of black and brown appetite; the contents of an enormous sheep, the shepherd saying his prayers in basket disappeared in no time, whilst supthe shade, the stately blue-robed peasant plies of the delicious water of the Nile in women bearing water-jars on their heads, lovely brown earthen bottles were called the variety of birds flying about, doves, for again and again. All this time there hoopoes, carrion crows, vultures, and lines sat crouching on the ground below, and of cranes flashing in the sun; then the first glaring at us with a sort of suppressed matchless sight of the Pyramids, pale pur- tigerishness in their dark eyes, about a ple mountains rising far away out of the score of Bedouins, who felt themselves deburning, raging sands of the desert! spoiled of their lawful prey by the presence
When we arrived at the Pyramids, about of our protector, the janissary (whom may nine o'clock, the day was already ablaze. Heaven bless!) We were in a curious All we could do—excepting the youngest situation-perched in a niche cut out of and bravest of the party-was to be drag- the solid sides of the Pyramid, the glowing ged up to the little platform hollowed out Egyptian landscape before us, and below of the north side of the great Pyramid, the semicircle of half-savage, bronze-comand there stay. In that little prison, help- plexioned creatures, who looked fain to less as if on the top, we whiled away the pounce upon us with the threat “Bakshish, time as best we could. The first diver- or your life,” only a little afraid, much as sion was the return of the adventurer be a cat who thinks twice before attacking a fore alluded to, in about an hour-and-a- very big rat. half, heated and tired enough, but delight- The Pyramids are majestic and wondered with her achievement. And, doubtless, ful if you look upon them as natural creait behoved me to follow her example; but, tions, mountains of stone rising out of the for my part, I never ascend a mountain silent, lifeless, trackless sands; and, indeed, unless I am obliged, and, like the Roman at first it is difficult to realize them in any Emperor, who declined going underground other way. But a kind of horror thrills whilst it was optional to remain above, I you at the thought of the myriads and prefer hearing of subterranean marvels to myriads of wretched lives sacrificed upon seeing them. I did not, therefore, go to these monuments of bigotry, pride, and the top of the Pyramids of Cheops, nor assumption; the life-blood of humanity did I go to the bottom, but my companion poured out more lavishly than water in assured me that the first performance was order that an Egyptian king might have comparatively easy-you have only to an eternal sepulchre ! How they were trust yourself to the Arabs, who carry you built, at what cost of life, labor, time, and
NEW SERIES.-VOL. XVI., No. 3.
money, history and sculpture tell us. They Will they last as long as the world itself
, or tell us, also, something of their pristine will some revolutionary age lay its ruthless splendor, for, choked with sand, ravished hand upon them, and they become tradiof the polished marble that encased the tional as the Tower of Babel? Who shall ruder framework, and reduced in number, tell us ? Not even the Sphynx, before the Pyramids of to-day give a very inade- whose mysterious smile we stand, awed quate idea of the Pyramids of old, “the and stirred to a feeling of strangest curiosdesolate places of kings and counselors.” ity. We forget for a time that the sun is How many of these “ desolate places" making our brains throb. We forget the have perished altogether it is impossible Pyramids and all else, past and present, in to say, but, doubtless, few remain of the our contemplation of this sublime, unreadmany Pyramids, the sepulchres of kings," able face. The mutilation of the features which were once clustered together on the has done little to impair the weird, petrifyedge of the desert. It is supposed, how- ing, superhuman expression of the whole ever, by learned authorities, that the Pyra- physiognomy. Perhaps the calm of permids were built not only to serve the pur- fect repose predominates, yet it is hard to pose of tombs, but also for astronomical say, since you feel at the same time in the observation; they stand exactly due north presence of an inscrutable, riddle-reading and south, and whilst the direction of the wisdom, before which your own life with faces east and west might serve to fix the all its secrets might be read as a child's return of a certain period of the year, the story-book. Surely this must have been shadow cast by the sun at the time of its since the world began, and is no creation coinciding with their slope, might be ob- of human hands; we can not help thinking served for a similar purpose. Herodotus so in the first moments of fascination and describes the manner of their construction bewilderment. We are fain to gaze for very clearly, and he speaks of the blocks hours, were it not for the burning sun of of polished stone brought from Arabian this April afternoon. The outlined figure, quarries. This was the magnesian lime- in color grayish, bluish, yellowish, rising stone from the hills of El Mokuttum, out of the sands, has an eerie majesty of which is still quarried by the modern its own that holds you like a spell
. But Egyptians, and which was polished for the sun drives us away with its scorching, casing the Pyramids. We must, indeed, racking beams; we stagger across the divest ourselves of the idea that the Pyra- sands, almost blinded by the glare, to the mid before us is at all like the marvels entrance of the mummy pits, where we deseen and described by Herodotus. Strip- scend, finding coolness and shadow, and ped of its splendid covering, half its height the companionship of lovely little blue and lost in the accumulated sands of centuries, black beetles flashing in the white sands. what must the stupendous structure of We got back to our carriage almost Cheops have been in its pristine glory? fainting with the heat, and just in time to Then, as has been calculated by the author see a wretched party of travelers pounced of Nozrani in Egypt and Syria, it covered upon by the enemy. A more striking an area fifty feet each way larger than that contrast than our own security with their of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and rose to twice helplessness can not be conceived-not, as the height of St. Peter's at Rome! Now, the Roman poet says, it is a pleasure that owing to the encroachments of sand, its any should be afflicted, but because it is present base is 732 feet, according to Sir sweet to see from what evils you are yourF. G. Wilkinson's measurements, and its self exempt. Any thing more dejected perpendicular height 480 feet. Every ves- than the faces of these unhappy victims, tige of the marble coating has disapear as they were driven about by their tormented. The subterranean chambers were pil- ors, I hardly remember to have seen. laged long ago, and every available inch And I fear that the little excursion, which of surface is covered with names of travel- cost us no more than a couple of soverers, evidently craving immortal fame as eigns, mulcted them to a serious extent. much as Cheops and Cephren.
We drive home in the reviving coolness Still nothing can be more impressive of the evening. All the pictures of the than these Titans of the desert, which morning have now a new and no less enhave indeed a similitude to fallen gods in chanting harmony; and as we look back their stately solitude and sombre majesty. at the Pyramids, in the mellow effulgence
of sunset, they seem hardly realities indeed, which are covered with their nests. Some but fairy peaks of amethyst far off, and of the hieroglyphics still remain ; they bear mysterious as the golden city, with its the name of Orsitasen the First, who is twelve gates of pearl, seen by the Apoca- supposed to have been the Pharaoh of lyptic visionary
Joseph. Now the ancient name of HeliopLETTER III.
olis was in hieroglyphics the Abode of
the Sun, Ei-re; in Coptic, On; and variTo Heliopolis from Cairo is a lovely ously called Aven in Ezekiel and Bethdrive of two hours over a splendid road, shemish in Jeremiah. “He shall break bordered for the most part with gardens. also the images of Bethshemish (the There were pomegranate trees in rich red House of the Sun) that is in the land of flower, orange and lemon trees, tamarisk, Egypt;" and in Genesis, Joseph is said to olive, castor-oil, rose, and acacia, with well- have married a daughter of the Priest of known flowers, such as the African mari- On. Here, in Strabo's time, was shown gold and larkspur, in great plenty. Farther the house where Plato lived, when the off were patches of golden dourra, and in philosopher himself became “a disciple of their midst little clusters of palm and olive, the old men of Egypt.” This was in the oases of green amid yellow deserts. fourth century before Christ, when Heliop
We were driven by a friend in an Eng- olis was a celebrated seat of philosophy. lish dog-cart, drawn by a pair of beautiful The reputation of Heliopolis faded after little Syrian horses; and very exhilarating it the conquest of Egypt by Greece, when was to speed so easily through the soft per- the Greek city of Alexandria took its fumed air. When we had left Cairo at 3 place. The flocks and herds of the Beo'clock P.M., it was 83° in the shade! We douins now wander at will over the site of came in sight of a noble obelisk of granite the once famous seat of learning. A little -all that now remains of the once glori- train of wild dark-skinned children, with ous seat of learning and of free thought, their tame colts and kids, followed at our whither Plato went four hundred years be- heels to the entrance of the gardens near, fore the Christian era to study " the wis- where tea was being prepared. dom of the Egyptians."
We sat down in a thicket of orange and We alight and walk across a field amid pomegranate trees-glossy green leaf
, scargroups of Bedouins, with their donkeys let blossom, and golden fruit within arm's old and young, camels, large beautiful reach. Soon enormous bouquets were oxen, dogs, and sheep. Little half-naked brought by the gardener for each of the children followed us, crying “ Bakshish." ladies, smelling of the delicate blossom of The statuesque men and women gazed, the lilac laburnum. We saw many black without a word. In this picturesque scene and lilac on the way, and its fragrance is we linger long around the solitary relic of not easily forgotten, nor its flower either. the famous Temple of the Sun. There is The drive home was amid such a blaze something that takes strange hold of the of color that we might almost have fancied fancy in an obelisk, especially when it ourself caught up in the chariot of Phoebus stands, like this one, under the canopy of Apollo and whirled through space in the a burning southern sky, and on the level wake of the sun-god. Never have I seen line of a desert. It is so massive and yet such a pageant as that Egyptian sunset; so airy, and so strangely contrasted in form all the colors of the flowers in which we to its surroundings, that the mind is affect- had just been reveling, orange, violet, ed as by certain caprices of nature, and it crimson, seemed suddenly translated into is here seen to especial advantage. The myriads of jewels, which, rainbow tinted, eye rests upon the chief point of the pic- flashed and flamed for awhile, finally meltture undisturbed by any overcrowding, ing, like Cleopatra's pearl, in a sea of purand the exquisite proportions gain a thou- ple. Verily, we beheld" the pomp of sand-fold by this isolation. Indeed, to Egypt” in that homeward drive from Hebuild obelisks in cities and small hilly liopolis. countries is altogether a mistake. They But we were to see something more of should stand in wide plains, like light- it before going away, and this was at the houses in the sea.
Pasha's museum, which all travelers will The wasps have made curious incroach- do well to see more than once, and leisurements upon the sides of the monument, ly; indeed, this rule holds good with every
thing worth seeing. I am sure it is a great mummies here collected are many other mistake to spend much time and money interesting objects, especially those conin going far merely to get one glance of nected with their gods and sacred anbeautiful places and things.
imals. I suppose there is no more fascinating Happy were the cats and crocodiles in collection of antiquities in the world than the days of ancient Egypt. If a cat died, this delightful little museum contains. As the family of its master shaved the eyeyou wander about, you are carried in spir- brows as a sign of mourning; and it was it to the beautiful Biblical pastorals more embalmed like a king. The crocodile of than three thousand years old. Here is a Thebes was waited upon during its lifehandful of seed-corn that was perhaps gar- time with the utmost care; various meats nered in the days when Joseph was ruler were expressly dressed for it
, its head and over all the land of Egypt. There a frag- feet were ornamented with chains and ment of finespun linen that he might have jewels; like a cat, it shared the honors of worn when “he made ready his chariot mummydom with "the kings and counand went up to meet Israel his father, to selors of the earth." Goshen, and presented himself unto him, and he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.” Who knows but that
In the first days of May we were again this timbrel was held by Miriam the
at sea-like the Roman poet, overwhelm
prophetess, when she led out the women of ed with the feeling that at last indeed we Israel to celebrate the tyrant's overthrow? found ourselves on the way to Athens. This basketful of silver money may have Magnum iter ad doctas proficisci cogor Athenas, been the wages of Moses' nurse, paid sang Propertius, bound thither in order to by Pharaoh's daughter. What Egyptian cure the smart of a certain love affair, queen has studied her beauty in that look- which caused a severe wound, though it ing-glass of polished metal ? Who last did not break his heart. Was it possible used the marble palette before us, old as that we should soon climb the Acropolis the Pyramids, but still bright with the and rest on the broken walls of the Parpainter's colors ? The mummies around thenon ? It seemed too good to be true! us, men and women who perhaps knew Very pleasant it was, moreover, to feel all these things, are silent. Yet, as we that we were fairly out of Egypt. The gaze upon the painted masks, an expres- weather was delicious
warm, fresh, and sion seems to come over them almost as glowing, with just enough breeze to speed if they read our thoughts. We see their our sails, and nothing more. Our veshands and feet protruding from the costly sel—an Austrian Lloyd—was packed as wrappings with a ghostly feeling of expect- closely as a box of figs with pilgrims reancy that in a moment the figure itself turning from Mecca, who afforded us, with will shake off its bindings and discourse the rest of the crew, plenty of amusement with us. But they do not stir. We move during the first uneventful day or two on, apparently followed by the stolid whilst we were yet in the Mediterranean. sphynx-like gaze.
To begin with the quarter-deck. We This collection gives a very high idea of have first of all a learned Turkish judge the art of the ancient Egyptians. Jew- bound to Constantinople with his harem, els, furniture, dress, and objects of worship, and what with his wives, slaves, and chilall bear traces of the same artistic and dren and miscellaneous attendants, I was loving elaboration. Nothing seems ever reminded of a riddle that used to puzzle to have been done in a hurry, or with any me in my childhood, about “a man with hampering consideration of cost. Some seven wives” who was going to St. Ives." little domestic statues are lovely, such as a The judge himself was a very ugly old boy drawing olives out of the beautifully- man, wearing baggy white flannel troushaped earthen jar common in Egypt to sers, a short petticoat or skirt of gay Perthis day, touching figures of priests in the sian stuff, and over his shoulders a jacket attitude of prayer, a man asleep, two wo- bordered with sur. His ladies were even men (evidently mother and daughter) more unprepossessing in appearance than standing side by side, a graceful and pa- himself, ungainly creatures of all ages and thetic group, and many others.
sizes, dressed in sack-like garments
of dinBesides the works of art, furniture, and gy white linen over a petticoat of hide