I was bound for the Soudan, and had arranged to meet my party at Brindisi
on the 21st of November, 1881. I therefore sent on all my heavy baggage
by Peninsular and Oriental steamer to Suez; included in this was a
good-sized medicine chest, well stocked with drugs for the relief or cure
of nearly all the ills that flesh is heir to.

I am an old campaigner, having served as a surgeon-major in the Turkish
Army in 1876 and ’77, consequently had a very good idea of what drugs
would be most necessary and useful. Knowing also that we were going to
a very hot part of the globe, I took as few liquids, such as tinctures,
&c., as possible.

Everything that I could have made in the form of pills I got Messrs.
Richardson and Co., of Leicester, to do; their coated pills stood the
journey splendidly, and could always be depended on.

It will not be necessary to enumerate all the contents of the
medicine-chest; but I think it might be useful to those who take a
similar journey if I mention a few things that ought certainly to be
taken, and they are the following: A good stock of quinine, oil of
male-fern, as tape-worm is by no means uncommon; ipecacuanha, for that
formidable complaint, dysentery; castor oil, opium, Dover’s powder,
iodoform, chlorodyne, calomel, blue pill, and various other mercurial
preparations, much required for complaints in the Soudan; iodide of
potash, carbonate of soda, powdered alum, sulphate of zinc, sugar of
lead, solution of atropine, solution of ammonia, Epsom salts, a large
bottle of purgative pills, nitrate of silver (lunar caustic), carbolic
acid, lint, a few dozen bandages, and plaster in a tin. Ointments are
useless, as they soon become quite liquid in such a hot climate, and run
all over the medicine chest, making a great mess.

_Clothing._—Of course every gentleman will be provided with the ordinary
European clothing for use in civilized parts, but such things as
nicely-polished boots, collars, neckties, and so forth, may be easily
dispensed with in the Soudan. The most necessary articles are two or
three dozen pairs summer socks, half-a-dozen thin flannel shirts, three
or four silk shirts, three pairs of _brown_ leather lace-up boots, and a
comfortable pair of slippers, three or four suits of thin light clothing,
a strong jean coat and trousers, that will not be easily torn by the
thorns whilst hunting, and a pith helmet.

Soldiers cannot march without easy boots, and travellers cannot travel
with comfort unless they have suitable braces. This may seem a small
matter to talk about, but I have often heard strong language poured forth
at the secession of a trouser-button; and I know from past experience
what a nuisance it is to be obliged to sew on one’s trouser-buttons.
A long time is spent in searching for a needle and thread, and a much
longer time, by the unpractised one, in sewing on the button. Now,
fortunately, these annoyances are things of the past, since the invention
of what is known as “the traveller’s patent buttonless brace.”

It is simplicity itself. Instead of buttons on the trousers, there are
eyelet holes, through which a little bar attached to the brace—instead
of a loop—is slipped, and there is an end for ever of the nuisance of
buttons coming off.

A good supply of soap for washing clothes should be taken, also plenty
for personal use. Pear’s Soap, I think, is an excellent one in every
respect. Some of our party took thick woollen pads with them, which they
wore over the spine. I did not, neither do I think them at all necessary.

As I was not due at Brindisi until the 21st November, I decided to
have a ramble through parts of Italy which I had not before visited.
Accordingly, I left England in the early part of the month.

On my way to Paris I made the acquaintance of a German residing in
London. We soon got on conversational terms, and ere long he informed me
that he had not been well lately, and was much concerned about himself,
that one afternoon, feeling rather tired, he lay down on the sofa,
intending to have a nap. He was so unhappy or unwise as to sleep for a
whole week without once awaking. To sink into this blissful state of
oblivion may have its advantages, also its disadvantages. On another
occasion he performed the same feat, but indulged in this lethargic
propensity for a much longer period. If I remember rightly, he observed
this condition during a fortnight. However, I pointed out to him what an
immense advantage this was, as he would not have his mind worried by the
Income Tax, Poor Rate, and other objectionable collectors; also what a
saving in eating and drinking would be effected by this _somnia similima
mortis_ habit of his, and that balmy sleep was kind nature’s sweet
restorer. Strange to say, my arguments were ineffective, as he replied
that “Sleeb vas all very vell in its way, but I would rater not sleeb
so much as dat, as I have my business to attend to, for vich I must be

We were glad to get off the boat that took us from Dover to Calais, as
both of us suffered from that miserable complaint, _mal-de-mer_, to some
extent. We reached la belle Paris in the evening, very glad of a rest.
After spending two days very pleasantly and agreeably in Paris, I took
train at 9 p.m. from the Gare de Lyon for Turin. Fortunately, a French
gentleman and I were the only two occupants of the carriage during the
night. We turned up the arm-rests, each occupied a side of the carriage,
and slept soundly all night. At Maćon we had breakfast, wash and brush
up, then resumed our journey. Passing through grand mountain scenery,
and quite close to the railway, we passed a beautiful lake some miles
in extent, the name of which I forget. When we reached Chambery I lost
my agreeable French companion. In the afternoon we ran through the Mont
Cenis tunnel, the time occupied being just thirty-eight minutes. The
gradient became somewhat steep, and the lovely Alpine scenery glorious
and lonely, now winding through deep gorges, anon running downwards for
miles along the very edge of a fearful precipice.

I reached Turin in the evening succeeding my departure from Paris. The
station is situated in the Piazza Carlo Felice, and is a fine, spacious
building. When my luggage had been duly inspected by Custom House
officials, I was permitted to transport myself and my belongings to an
omnibus from the Hotel Trambetta, whither I was driven just in time for
_table d’hôte_. Immediately after leaving the station the driver was
stopped by an official, who opened the door, asked if I had any complaint
to make, and looked round to see if there were any provisions, as the
octroi duties prevail in Italy. I had no complaint; the door was shut,
and off we went.

As I did not intend to remain long in Turin, I was up the following
morning in good time, determined to see as much of the place as I could
in a short time. The streets are clean and well laid out, the houses
large and handsome generally, and the town comparatively modern, although
it was originally founded by a tribe called the Taurini, was the capital
of Piedmont during the 14th century, and the capital of Italy until 1865.
The population is about 208,000, and the University perhaps the most
important in Italy, there being over 1,500 students.

I should liked to have spent a week in exploring Turin and the
neighbourhood, but had to be content with the short time at my disposal.
I took a walk down the Via Lagrange, and soon reached the Palazzo Madama
(Piazza Castello). This Palace was used for the sittings of the Italian
Senate when Turin was the seat of government (1865). In the early part
of last century the mother of King Amadeus lived in and embellished it.
Opposite this is the Sardinian monument, presented to the city by the
Milanese in 1859, just after the war, on which, _in relievo_, is the
figure of Victor Emmanuel—_Il re galuntuomo_—at the head of his troops.
Just beyond the Palazzo Madama is the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace). The
exterior is nothing to look at, being plain and heavy, but the interior
is magnificent. From here I extended my walk to the Giardino Reale (Royal
Gardens), then the Cathedral of Turin, Santa Giovanni Battista, which was
erected in the latter part of the 15th century by Pintelli. In the chapel
of St. Sudorio, just behind the high altar, is a small portion of linen
cloth in a glass case. This is a valuable relic, for it is said to be a
portion of the cloth in which the body of the Saviour was embalmed. This
may, or may not, be true; belief in the matter is optional. One really
gets so accustomed in Italy to seeing the bones of deceased saints, a bit
of the true cross, a nail of it, and so on, that the probability is nine
out of ten are sceptical.

From Turin I went by train to Milan. I ought to have gone direct past
Magenta, but by some mistake I found myself making quite a round-about
journey, _viâ_ Piacenza and Lodi; however, all’s well that ends well. I
arrived at the hotel in Milan in time for _table d’hôte_. Now, although I
am writing a book principally on travels and adventures in Egypt and the
Soudan, I dare say my readers will excuse me if I attempt a description
of my travels out and home. All the places I visited were extremely
interesting to me, and I cannot forbear a little gossip and relating
what I know respecting them. Those who have not visited these places
will perhaps be pleased to read my description, and those who have will
be able to compare notes and see if they are correct. I had been told
that the best time to visit Il Duomo—the Cathedral—was at eight or nine
o’clock in the morning, on account of the splendid view obtainable from
the roof; this I did on the morning following my arrival, and was richly
rewarded for my trouble. Il Duomo is certainly a magnificent structure,
inferior in magnitude to St. Peter’s at Rome, but in some respects
not an unworthy rival. It is built of white marble, and is one of the
most impressive ecclesiastical edifices in the world. In its present
form it was commenced in 1387, and is not yet entirely completed. Its
form is that of a Latin cross, divided into five naves, terminated by
an octagonal apsis, and supported by fifty-two octagonal pilasters of
uniform size, except four, which, having to bear the cupola, are larger.

Around the exterior are 4,500 niches, of which above 3,000 are already
occupied by statues. In the interior everything is of the most imposing
and gorgeous description. I said everything, but I should except an image
of wax of the Virgin Mary, with the infant Saviour in her arms. The waxen
face and arms looked very dirty, her attire was very commonplace-looking
stuff, and I did not think her rather dirty-looking neck was much
improved by a bit of paltry-looking green ribbon encircling it. This
image would certainly be more suitable at Madame Tussaud’s than in this
beautiful cathedral. But I will finish with the exterior. The roof is a
perfect forest of marble pinnacles, nearly all crammed with most valuable
marble statues. The celebrated marble flower-bed contains several
thousand flowers, each distinct and each different in design. I leave
the roof and ascend the tower, from which I obtain a magnificent view of
the Alpine range, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, the St. Bernard and Matterhorn
right away to the Superga and Mont Cenis.

In the interior we notice the rich stained-glass windows of the choir,
comprising about 350 subjects of Biblical history, the Gothic decorations
of the sacristy, the candelabra in front of the altar shaped like a
tree, and decorated with jewels, then the Chapel of St. Borromeo, which
is a subterranean chapel of a most gorgeous and costly character, as it
is one mass of jewels. The shrine and walls are silver, all inlaid with
gold and precious stones. If I remember rightly, I paid a franc extra for
my visit here, and had the gratification of seeing the embalmed body of
St. Borromeo, with the valuable rings of office still on his fingers. A
golden crown (presented by the unfortunate Maria Teresa) is suspended
over his head, and a large crucifix of splendid emeralds lies on his
chest—this, I am told, was given by the Empress of Austria.

Of course, in Milan, as in all large towns in Italy, there are any number
of beautiful and remarkable churches. Among the most remarkable edifices
are the church of Sant’ Ambrogio, founded by St. Ambrose in 387, the
churches of Sant’ Eustargio, San Lorenzo, Santa Maria delle Grazie, with
a cupola and sacristy by Bramante, and the celebrated Last Supper by
Leonardo da Vinci; Santa Maria della Passione, a majestic edifice, with
excellent paintings and a magnificent mausoleum; San Paolo, San Carlo
Borromeo, &c.

Immediately adjoining the Cathedral is a magnificent square, which
was finished on the occasion of the Austrian Emperor’s visit to Milan
in 1875. This is called the Piazza del Duomo. From this square I pass
through the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele, a very fine glass-roofed arcade,
or gallery, connecting the Piazza del Duomo with the Scala Theatre; the
cost of this was about £320,000. It was commenced in 1865 and opened in
1867. The glass canopy is illuminated by 2,000 jets of gas, and when
these and the beautiful and brilliant shops are lighted the effect is
charming. The length of this kind of covered street is 320 yards. La
Scala Theatre was not open for performances when I was there, but by the
judicious disposition of a franc or so I obtained admission just to see
it. It is, I understand, capable of accommodating 3,600 spectators. I
next strolled on to the Piazza d’Armi, which occupies an immense space,
obtained by the demolition of the citadel and its outworks. Part of
it has been converted into an amphitheatre, 800 feet long by 400 feet
broad, used in summer for races and shows, and capable of containing
30,000 spectators. The castle, now a barrack, fronts the Piazza d’Armi
on one side; at the opposite side is the Porta Sempione, with the
fine Arco Sempione, or Arco della Pace. This is a lofty gateway, with
three passages, built of blocks of white marble, adorned with reliefs
and statues, and bearing inscriptions commemorating the emancipation
of Italy. My next visit was to the Palazzo di Brera, or Delle Scienze
Lettere ed Arte, containing the Pinacoteca, or picture-gallery, with a
very valuable collection of paintings and statuary, and containing also
the library of the Academy (170,000 volumes). Besides this library, Milan
possesses the Ambrosian library, the earliest and still one of the most
valuable public libraries in Europe. There is also a valuable museum
of natural history, a conservatory of music, a military college, a
theological seminary, and a veterinary school.

Though Milan is one of the most ancient towns in Lombardy, it has so
often been partially destroyed and rebuilt that few antiquities remain.
It is entered by eleven gates, several of which are magnificent. Its
foundation is attributed to the Insubrian Gauls; but the first distinct
notice of it occurs B.C. 221, when it was subdued by the Romans, under
whom it acquired so much importance that in the division of the empire
attributed to Constantine the Great it ranks as the second city of
Italy. In the middle of the fifth century it was sacked by the Huns,
under Attila, and again in the following century by the Goths; but
greater horrors yet awaited it, for the Goths, who had been driven out
by Belisarius, having regained possession by the aid of the Burgundians,
gave it up to the flames, and put almost all its inhabitants to the
sword. The most important manufactures are tobacco, silks, cottons, lace,
carpets, hats, earthenware, white-lead, jewelry, and articles in gold
and silver. The spinning and throwing of silk employs a large number
of hands, and furnish the staple article of trade. The other principal
articles are corn, rice, cheese, and wines.

In the evening of the second day (whilst engaged in the purchase of
everything Milanese in the way of photographs) I met with a Milan
gentleman, who had lived some years in America, and who could speak
English remarkably well. He was a genial, good-hearted looking kind of
fellow, and we soon got into an animated conversation. I was surprised
to find how well up he was in English politics, and as for the Irish
question, he could hold his own with any Englishman; he was, too, a great
admirer of Lord Beaconsfield. When we had had about an hour’s chat I was
about to return to my hotel; he then asked me how long I was going to
remain in Milan. I told him I intended leaving next day for Bologna.

“Have you seen the lake of Como?” said he.

“No,” I replied. “I should like to do so very much, but fear I cannot
spare the time, as I have to be at Brindisi on the 21st.”

“But you must not leave,” said he, “until you have been there; it is only
a run of thirty miles to Como by rail. I live there. Come to-morrow and
visit me, and I will put you in the way of seeing Bologna in half the
time that you would do it in without assistance.”

This very kind offer I accepted, and spent next day a very agreeable time
with my new acquaintance, who was most hospitable and friendly. We parted
with mutual protestations of goodwill, and I took train for Bologna,
which is several hours’ ride from Milan.

Bologna (anciently Bonovia) is one of the oldest, largest, and richest
cities of Italy. It lies at the foot of the Apennines, between the Rivers
Reno and Savena, 190 miles N.N.W. from Rome. It is five or six miles in
circumference, and is surrounded by an unfortified wall of brick; it has
extensive manufactures of silk goods, velvet, artificial flowers, &c. It
struck me as being a quaint old city. All the houses, or nearly so, are
built out over the shops and pavement, supported by large pillars, and
forming a covered way nearly all over the city which affords shade and
shelter to the foot-passengers.

Bologna was long renowned for its university, founded, according
to tradition, by Theodosias, the younger, in 425, and restored by
Charlemagne, which, in the centuries of barbarism, spread the light
of knowledge all over Europe. It once had 10,000 students, but the
number now averages only 300. The university formerly possessed so much
influence, that even the coins of the city bore its motto—_Bonovia
docet_. During 1400 years every new discovery in science and the
arts found patrons here. The medical school is celebrated for having
introduced the dissection of human bodies, and the scientific journals
prove that the love of investigation is still awake in Bologna. The
chief square in the city, Piazza Maggiore, the forum in the Middle Ages,
is adorned by several venerable buildings. Among them are the Palazzo
Pubblico, which contains some magnificent halls, adorned with statues and
paintings; Palazzo del Padesta, chiefly remarkable as having been the
prison of Eugenis, King of Sardinia, and son of the Emperor Frederick
II. who was captured and kept here by the Bolognese for more than twenty
years, till his death; and the church or Ansilica of St. Petronio, which
was commenced in 1390, and is not yet finished. The palaces and churches
are too numerous to make any remarks on. The leaning towers, Degli
Asmilli and Garisenda, dating from the twelfth century, are among the
most remarkable objects in Bologna. The former is square, and of massive
brick-work, built in three portions, and diminishing in diameter to the
top. Its height is 321 feet, and its inclination from the perpendicular
6ft. 10in. The Garisenda is 161 feet high, and inclines a little more
than 8 feet. Bologna has always been famous for cheap living, and has
been chosen as a residence by many literary men. Gourmands praise it
as the native country of excellent maccaroni, sausages, liquors, and
preserved fruits. The pilgrimage to the Madonna di S. Lucca, whose
church is situated at the foot of the Apennines, half a league distant
from Bologna, and to which an arcade of 640 arches leads, annually
attracts a great number of people from all parts of Italy. Bologna
was founded by the Etruscans under the name of _Felsina_, before the
foundation of Rome. In 189 B.C. it was made a Roman colony, and called

I had been told that the Certosa, or burying ground, was well worth a
visit. It is about 2½ miles outside the city by the Porta St. Isaia,
so I took a cab and was well rewarded for my trouble, for this burying
ground is the most beautiful and remarkable in Italy. Here we can walk
for hours under cover between rows of statues and marble tablets of the
greatest beauty. When I returned to my hotel I found dinner waiting, and
afterwards it struck me that I must seek some more exhilarating mode
of amusement after my visit to the Certosa. I accordingly made my way
to the Teatro Communale, one of the three best theatres in Italy, San
Carlos at Naples and La Scala in Milan taking precedence. The opera was
“Mefistofele,” splendidly mounted and well supported by artistes. The
orchestra was large and all that could be desired by the most fastidious
critics, and there are plenty of them in a Bolognese audience. Boxes are
in _every_ tier in the house, and the effect is very pretty.

As I had to start for Brindisi at 3 a.m. on Sunday, November 20th, I had
not much time for sleep, notwithstanding which I got between the sheets
until then, when I was conveyed to the station and finished my nap in the

I arrived at Brindisi at 10 p.m. and was straightway driven off to the
quay, was soon on board the P. and O. steamship _Tanjore_, commanded by
Captain Briscoe, and not many minutes afterwards in my berth and fast
asleep. My slumber was disturbed at 6 a.m. by the arrival of the Indian
mail and a large number of passengers, who produced a great commotion
over-head quite incompatible with sleep. I therefore turned out, and
was soon on deck watching the busy scene. Some little time after I had
breakfasted I discovered two of the party which I was to accompany,
Messrs. F. L. James and E. L. Phillipps. We were to meet three more at
Cairo, and one at Suez, to complete the party.

No one would care to remain very long in Brindisi, as it is a most
uninteresting place notwithstanding its antiquity. I remember once, in
1877, spending a few hours there, and was then very glad when my train
left for Naples. Brindisi (ancient _Brundusium_) was, if I remember
rightly, the birth-place of Virgil. It is a sea-port and fortified town
45 miles from Taranto. In ancient times it was one of the most important
cities of Calabria. It is said by Strabo to have been governed by its
own kings at the time of the foundation of Tarentum. It was one of the
chief cities of the Sallentines, and the excellence of its port and
commanding situation in the Adriatic were among the chief inducements
of the Romans to attack them. The Romans made it a naval station, and
frequently directed their operations from it. It was the scene of
important operations in the war between Cæsar and Pompey. On the fall of
the Western Empire it declined in importance. In the eleventh century
it fell into the possession of the Normans, and became one of the chief
ports of embarkation for the Crusades. Its importance as a sea-port
was subsequently completely lost, and its harbour blocked. In 1870 the
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company put on a weekly line
of steamers between Brindisi and Alexandria for the conveyance of Her
Majesty’s eastern mails, and at the same time made it a post of transit
for goods brought from India by these steamers to be forwarded to the
north of Italy by rail. From this cause the imports of Brindisi have
suddenly risen in importance.

About 12 mid-day on the 21st November, we got under way with 110
first-class passengers on board, the weather was fine, much warmer than
in Turin and Milan, and the sea smooth, which I was thankful for; 22nd
the same; 23rd fine and sea smooth until about 4 p.m., when the sea
became rough, and I very uncomfortable, undesirous of dinner and very
desirous of being quietly settled in my berth, which I sought without
loss of time, knowing by a past bitter and sour experience that I should
ere long present a pitiable spectacle. During the night the sea became
so rough that the port-holes of the cabins had to be closed, so that in
addition to feeling excessively sick I was almost suffocated, as the
weather was very warm. On the morning of the 24th, at 10 o’clock, we
landed at the far-famed city of Alexandria.

Even in sunny Italy I had felt the weather, in the neighbourhood of
Turin, Milan, and Bologna, cold and frosty enough in the morning for an
overcoat. At Brindisi it was not so cold, but as we neared the African
coast the sky grew warmer and warmer, and tinged, so to speak, with a
reflection of the Libyan desert, a soft purple hue, rather than the deep
blue of Italy. Only those who have witnessed sunset in Africa can form
any conception of the beautiful tints reflected from the rocks and sands;
there you see the soft purple, lovely crimson, pale gold, rose and violet
colours all shading off into one another in the most charming manner. I
have never seen anywhere such glorious sunsets as in Africa.

Having but a short time to stay in Alexandria, I made good use of it in
exploring the place. Through what strange vicissitudes has this ancient
city passed. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great, B.C. 332, on
the site of a village called Rakôtis, or Racoudah. Its founder wished to
make it the centre of commerce between the east and west, and we know how
fully his aspirations have been realized. It stood a little to the south
of the present town, was 15 miles in circumference, and had a population
of 300,000 free inhabitants, and at least an equal number of slaves. So
distinguished was it for its magnificence, that the Romans ranked it next
to their own capital, and when captured by Amru, general of the Caliph
Omar (A.D. 641), it contained 4,000 palaces, 4,000 baths, 400 theatres
or places of amusement, 12,000 shops for the sale of vegetables, and
40,000 tributary Jews. But we are getting on a little too fast. As I
said before, it was founded B.C. 332, by Alexander the Great, who is
said to have traced the plan of the new city himself, and his architect,
Dinarchus or Dinocrates (the builder of the temple of Diana at Ephesus)
directed its execution. The city was regularly built, and traversed by
two principal streets, each 100 feet wide, and one of them four miles
long. Campbell says: “He designed the shape of the whole after that of a
Macedonian cloak, and his soldiers strewed meal to mark the line where
its walls were to rise. These, when finished, enclosed a compass of 80
furlongs filled with comfortable abodes, and interspersed with palaces,
temples, and obelisks of marble porphyry, that fatigued the eye with
admiration. The main streets crossed each other at right angles, from
wall to wall, with beautiful breadth, and to the length (if it may be
credited) of nearly nine miles. At their extremities the gates looked out
on the gilded barges of the Nile, of fleets at sea under full sail, on a
harbour that sheltered navies, and on a lighthouse that was the mariner’s
star and the wonder of the world.”

One-fourth of the area upon which it was built was covered with temples,
palaces, and public buildings. Conspicuous upon its little isle was the
famous lighthouse of Pharos, the islet being connected with the city by
a mole. Under the Cæsars, Alexandria attained extraordinary prosperity;
large merchant fleets carried on a reciprocal commerce with India and
Ethiopia, and its industrial population were chiefly employed in the
weaving of linen, and the manufacture of glass and papyrus.

The Alexandrians were turbulent, and several times revolted under the
Ptolemies and the Romans. Cæsar was obliged, in B.C. 47, to put down
a terrible insurrection in this city. Under the emperors, Alexandria
suffered a series of massacres, which gradually depopulated it. In 611,
Chosroës, King of Persia, seized it, but his son restored it to the
emperors. In 641, Amru—whom I spoke of just now—took it by storm, after
a siege of 14 months, and a loss of 23,000 men. The Turks captured it in
868 and 1517.

So from time to time Alexandria has been the scene of the greatest
splendour, adorned by marble palaces, temples, and obelisks, also of
great squalor, and covered with mud huts; passing under the sway of
Persian, Greek, Roman, and Turk, and at the time I am writing this
(March, 1884) I think I may safely say under the _sway_ of Great Britain,
although not belonging to this country.

In the early part of this century, under the vigorous, but most
unscrupulous, rule of Mehemet Ali (who was appointed Pasha of Alexandria,
and afterwards of all Egypt), Alexandria became again a thriving and
important place.

It is said that in the character of the population, at least, there
still remains a strong resemblance to the ancient city of the
Ptolemies. Sullen-looking Copts replace the exclusive old Egyptians,
their reputed ancestors. Greeks and Jews, too, swarm as before, both
possibly changed a little for the worse. The mass of Levantines and
(with, of course, honourable exceptions) Franks, who make up the sum of
the population, may, I think, without any exaggeration, be designated
as the off-scourings of their respective countries. The streets swarm
with Turks in many-coloured robes, half-naked, brown-skinned Arabs,
glossy negroes in loose white dresses and vermilion turbans, sordid,
shabby-looking Israelites in greasy black, smart, jaunty, rakish Greeks,
heavy-browed Armenians, unkempt, unmasked Maltese ragamuffins, Albanians
and Europeans of every shade of respectability, from lordly consuls down
to refugee quacks, swindlers, and criminals, who here get whitewashed and
established anew. Here you see a Frank lady in the last Parisian bonnet,
there Egyptian women enveloped to the eyes in shapeless black wrappers,
while dirty Christian monks, sallow Moslem dervishes, sore-eyed beggars,
and naked children covered with flies, present a shifting and everlasting
kaleidoscope of the most undignified phases of Eastern and Western

The great square, or Grande Place, is the chief place of business and
resort. It is a quarter of a mile long, and 150 feet wide, paved on each
side, with a railed garden in the centre, planted with lime-trees, and
having a fountain at each end. Here are the principal shops and hotels,
the English consulate and church, banks, offices of companies, &c. The
buildings are all in the Italian style, spacious and handsome, or,
rather, were when I visited it. Most of the ancient landmarks are fast
disappearing. The site of Cleopatra’s Palace is now occupied by a railway
station for the line to Ramleh, seven miles distant, overlooking the
bay of Abaukir, the scene of Nelson’s victory over the French fleet in
1798. Of course, I could not be in Alexandria without paying a visit to
Pompey’s pillar, or, more properly, Diocletian’s pillar. It is a grand
column, and occupies an eminence 1,800 feet to the south of the present
walls; its total height is 98 feet 9 inches. It is a single block of red
granite on the mounds overlooking the lake Mareotis and the modern city.

An account of the ancient and modern history of Alexandria would fill a
volume of the most stirring interest. I, however, will be content with
giving to my readers a very small portion of a volume on Alexandria, as I
shall have a good deal yet to say on Cairo and neighbourhood, and still
more to say on the Soudan.

It was to Alexandria that science, fostered by the munificence of the
Ptolemies, retired from her ancient seat at Heliopolis. “The sages of the
Museum, who lodged in that part of the palace of the Lagides, might there
be said to live as the priests of the Muses, taking the word in its wide
sense, as the patronesses of knowledge. They had gardens, and alleys,
and galleries where they walked and conversed, a common hall where they
made their repasts, and public rooms where they gave instruction to the
youth who crowded from all parts of the world to hear their lectures.”
This museum, a unique establishment in literary history, was founded
by Ptolemy Soter, King of Egypt, who died B.C. 283, and was greatly
enlarged by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus and the succeeding Ptolemies.
In connection with the museum was the Alexandrian Library, the most
famous and the largest collections of books in the world, and the glory
of Alexandria. Demetrius Phalereus, after his banishment from Athens, is
said to have been its first superintendent, when the number of volumes,
or rolls, amounted to 50,000.

If the other Ptolemies were as unscrupulous in obtaining books as
Energetes is said to have been, it is no wonder that the library
increased in magnitude or value. We are told that he refused to sell
corn to the Athenians during a famine unless he received in pledge the
original manuscripts of Aschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. These were
carefully copied, and the copies returned to the owners, while the
King retained the originals. Various accounts are given of the number
of books contained in the library at its most flourishing period, when
Zenodotus, Callimachus, the poet Eratosthenes, of Cyrene, and Appolinius
Rhodius were its librarians. Seneca states the number at 400,000; Aulus
Gellius makes it 700,000. Some reconcile the discrepancy by making the
statements refer to different periods, while others believe that the
larger figure includes more than one collection. That there were more
than one collection is known. The original, or Alexandrian library _par
excellence_, was situated in the _Brucheion_, a quarter of the city
in which the royal palace stood; and besides this there was a large
collection in the Serapeion, or temple of Jupiter Serapis, but when or by
whom this was founded we do not know. The former was accidentally burned
during the Julius Cæsar’s siege of the city, but was replaced by the
library of Pergamus, which was sent by Antony as a present to Cleopatra.
The Serapeion library, which probably included the Pergamean collection,
existed to the time of the Emperor Theodosius the Great. At the general
destruction of the heathen temples, which took place under this emperor,
the splendid temple of Jupiter Serapis was set upon and gutted (A.D. 391)
by a fanatical crowd of Christians at the instigation of the Archbishop
Theophilus, when its literary treasures were destroyed or scattered. The
historian Orosius relates that in the beginning of the fifth century only
the empty shelves were to be seen.

A valuable collection was again accumulated in Alexandria, but was doomed
to suffer the same fate, being burned by the Arabs when they captured
the city under the Caliph Omar in 641. Amru, the captain of the Caliph’s
army, would have been willing to spare the library, but the fanatical
Omar disposed of the matter in the famous words:—“If these writings of
the Greeks agree with the Koran, there could be no need of them; if
they disagree, they are pernicious, and ought to be destroyed;” and they
were accordingly used for heating the 4,000 baths in the city. Just
before the time of Mehemet Ali, Alexandria was a miserable place of a few
thousand inhabitants, cut off from the valley of the Nile by the ruin of
the ancient canal. Under his rule it greatly revived in political and
commercial importance, and the re-opening of its canal has restored to
its harbour all the trade of Egypt.

The principal articles of export are cotton, beans, peas, rice, wheat,
barley, gums, flax, hides, lentils, linseed, mother-of-pearl, sesamum,
senna, ostrich feathers, &c.

Those who are not given to pedestrian exercise can easily avail
themselves of a cab or donkey, and they will find the streets, which are
spacious and handsome, very pleasant to traverse, as they are all well
paved in the city; but the dust outside the walls covers the ground from
four to six inches deep, and in combination with the intense glare of the
sun, and the wretched hovels of the natives, produces the ophthalmia so
common, especially among the Arabs. Owing to the want of proper drainage,
what would otherwise be a salubrious site is subject to malarious disease
and the plague.

I have spoken of the Alexandrian library; quite as much may be said of
the Alexandrian school; combined, they may be justly considered the first
academy of arts and sciences.

The grammarians and poets are the most important among the scholars
of Alexandria. These grammarians were philologists and literati, who
explained things as well as words, and may be considered a sort of
encyclopedists. Such were Zenodotus the Ephesian, who established
the first grammar school in Alexandria; Eratosthenes, of Cyrene;
Aristophanes, of Byzantium; Aristarchus, of Samothrace; Crates, of
Mallus; Dionysius the Thracian; Appolonius the sophist; and Zoilus. To
the poets belong Appolonius the Rhodian, Lycophron, Aratus, Nicander,
Emphorion, Callimachus, Theocritus, Philetas, Phanocles, Timon the
Philasian, Scymnus, Dionysius, and seven tragic poets, who were called
_Alexandrian Pleiads_.

The most violent religious controversies disturbed the Alexandrian church
until the orthodox tenets were established in it by Athanasius, in the
controversy with the Arians.

Among the scholars are to be found great mathematicians, as Euclid, the
father of scientific geometry, and whose work, I distinctly recollect,
was a great bore to me in my younger days; Appolonius, of Perga, in
Pamphylia, whose work on conic sections still exists; Nichomachus, the
first scientific arithmetician; astronomers, who employed the Egyptian
hieroglyphics for marking the northern hemisphere, and fixed the images
and names (still in use) of the Constellations, who left astronomical
writings (_e.g._, the _Phœnomena_ of Aratus, a didactic poem; the
_Spherica_ of Menelaus; the anatomical works of Eratosthenes, and
especially the _Magna Syntaxis_ of the geographer Ptolemy), and made
improvements in the theory of the calendar, which were afterwards adopted
into the Julian calendar; natural philosophers, anatomists, as Herophilus
and Erasistratus; physicians and surgeons, as Demosthenes Philalethes,
who wrote the first work on diseases of the eye; Zopyrus and Cratenas,
who improved the art of pharmacy and invented antidotes; instructors
in the art of medicine, to whom Asclepiades, Loranus, and Galen owed
their education; medical theorists and empirics, of the sect founded by
Philinus. All these belonged to the numerous association of scholars
continuing under the Roman dominion and favoured by the Roman emperors,
which rendered Alexandria one of the most renowned and influential seats
of science in antiquity. With this passing glance at Alexandria, we will
journey on to Cairo.

In former times, before the introduction of railways, the traveller
to Cairo had to go by canal, hire a boat, servant; procure a carpet,
mattress, and bedding; lay in a store of provisions, and a variety of
minor articles that would fill a page or two to mention. Now we can go
comfortably by rail in a few hours, the distance being something like 120
miles, I think.

We pass, _en route_, Lake Mareotis and the Mohmoudieh Canal, cultivated
land near Alexandria, then a good deal uncultivated and desert; but as we
approach Cairo, we see large tracts of cultivated land, all accomplished
by irrigation, and I am told that as much as two or three crops in the
year can be obtained off these lands without very great labour. A hot
sun can always be depended on. The agricultural labourer has not to go
through the laborious work of ploughing and manuring as in England.
All he has to do is to scratch the ground, and put in the seed in the
fertilizing alluvium which has been brought down from the rich lands of
Meroe and portions of Abyssinia by the Athara river and its tributaries,
the Salaam, Augrab, and the greater stream, Tacazze or Settite. All these
rivers cut through a large area of deep soil, through which, in the
course of ages, they have excavated valleys of great depth, and in some
places of more than two miles in width. The contents of these enormous
cuttings have been delivered upon the low lands of Egypt at the period of
the inundations. The Athara is the greatest mud-carrier, then the Blue
Nile, which effects a junction with the White Nile at Khartoum.

The White Nile is of lacustrine origin, and conveys no mud, but an excess
of vegetable matter, suspended in the finest particles, and exhibiting
beneath the microscope minute globules of green matter, which have the
appearance of germs. When the two rivers meet at the Khartoum junction,
the water of the Blue Nile, which contains lime, appears to coagulate the
alluminous matter in that of the White Nile, which is then precipitated,
and forms a deposit; after which the true Nile, formed by a combination
of the two rivers, becomes wholesome, and remains comparatively clear,
until it meets the muddy Athara. The Sobat river is a most important
tributary, supposed to have its sources in the southern portion of the
Galla country.

For the foregoing information on these rivers I am indebted to an
article of Sir Samuel Baker’s, which I read with great interest in the
_Contemporary Review_; and I daresay many of my readers will thank me for
reproducing it.

After this slight digression, I will continue my journey to Cairo. At
the stations were numbers of women and children with refreshments for
the traveller in this land, where the sun always shines with a burning
heat; women with goolehs of water to sell; children naked, or nearly so,
with sugar-cane, melons, oranges, dates, fresh sugar-cane, figs, &c. Vast
numbers of these poor creatures were afflicted with ophthalmia, their
eyelids covered with flies, which they take no notice of whatever, many
of them blind, or partially so, blind beggars; one and all, whether they
can sell anything or not, continually uttering the cry of “Backsheesh,
backsheesh, howaga,” which comes faintly on my ears as the train leaves
the station. As we journey on there is much to be noticed. Now we pass
a camp of Bedouins in the desert; next a large grove of date-palms (the
owner of which has to pay a tax on every tree). Here the domestic buffalo
walks round and round a circle; he is working the sakia or water-wheel,
which winds up the water for irrigation. This is also taxed. Scattered
all over the country are innumerable shadoofs, another mode, and the most
ancient, of obtaining water; there the stately-looking camel strides
along, looking intensely unconcerned. Trotting past him on his little
donkey is an Arab in loose, white, flowing robes, and turbaned head. At
one time we pass squalid, wretched-looking mud-huts; anon Nubians, as
black as coal, working in the fields. We arrived at Cairo in the evening
about seven, and were at once driven off to the well-knewn Shepheard’s
Hotel. The _cuisine_ is all that could be desired, and every attention
is paid to insure the comfort of visitors. Mr. Grose, the manager, is a
particularly obliging and attentive gentleman.

Cairo (in Arabic, _Kahira_, which signifies _victorious_) is the capital
city of Egypt. It lies on the east bank of the Nile, in a sandy plain,
and contains old Cairo, Boulac (_the harbour_), and new Cairo, which are,
to a considerable degree, distinct from each other. The city itself,
separate from the gardens and plantations which surround it, is about
10 miles in circuit, has 31 gates, and 240 irregular unpaved streets,
which during the night are, or were, closed at the end of the quarter, to
prevent disturbances. The houses are for the most part built of brick,
with flat roofs, and the interior of many of them is very sumptuous.
The chief square of Cairo, El-Esbekiah, has a magnificent area, the
centre of which is laid out as a garden, and is annually inundated by
the overflowing of the Nile. It is surrounded by the finest palaces.
There is in it a monument to General Kleber. The inhabitants of the
city and suburbs, in 1871 353,851, are Arabs or Mahomedans, Coptish
Christians, Mamelukes, Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, Jews, and natives
of various countries of Europe. The castle, or citadel, situated on a
rock, containing Joseph’s Well, 276 feet deep, is the residence of the
Pasha. There are 80 public baths, 400 mosques, two Greek, 12 Coptish,
one Armenian, and one English church, 36 synagogues, and many silk,
camlet, tapestry, gunpowder, leather, linen, and cotton factories.
Among the mosques, which, though many of them are in ruins, form the
most conspicuous edifices of the city, the most remarkable is that of
Sultan Hassan, which is built of blocks of polished marble, obtained from
the outer casing of the pyramids, or pyramid rather, for, if my memory
serves me right, they are from the great pyramid of Cheops at Gizeh.
It has a beautifully ornamented porch, richly corniced walls, and many
tall minarets. Here is also a Mahomedan high school, a printing office
and 25,000 volumes. The largest convent of dervishes is at Cairo. It was
built in 1174. The traffic of Cairo is very great, since it is the centre
of communication between Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, and the
North of Africa, and is upon the railway from Alexandria to Suez. The
principal bazaars are the Ghoreah and Khan Khalel. Goods are disposed
of there by public auction, and the different bazaars exhibit different
kinds of merchandise. Ibrahim Pasha commenced a public library in 1830,
and in 1842 a European Society, called the Egyptian Literary Association,
was established. Mehemet Ali introduced schools for elementary education,
and the Church of England Missionary Society has two schools.

Cairo was founded by Jauhar, general of the Caliph Moez, in the year of
the Hegira 368, or A.D. 969, on the site of the Egyptian Babylon. Moez
afterwards made it his capital, which distinction it retained until the
overthrow of the Mamelukes by Sultan Selim in 1517. Saladin extended
and fortified it in 1176. It was repeatedly attacked by the Crusaders,
particularly by St. Louis in 1249. It was occupied by the French from
1798 to 1801, when it was recovered by the Turks with the assistance of
the English. A great fire occurred there in February, 1863; advantage was
taken of it to improve the town.

Our military occupation of Egypt (or shall I say that it is simply a
“measure of police?”), and events that are now transpiring there, are a
sufficient excuse (if one were required) for dealing shortly with the
ancient history of Cairo and the neighbourhood.

Soon after our arrival at Shepheard’s Hotel, when we had restored
ourselves to our personal comfort, our host provided us with a good
dinner, to which we did ample justice, and as the weather (although the
end of November) was like a summer’s evening in England, we enjoyed the
usual after-dinner cigarettes in the balcony, which is a very pleasant
lounge, even in the day time, as it is quite sheltered from the blazing
sun. I soon strolled off to bed with the idea of obtaining a good
night’s rest, so that I should awake refreshed and fit for a pilgrimage
to the various shrines of intense interest with which Cairo and its
neighbourhood abounds. I have visited and seen all that was interesting
in Rome, once the mistress of the world—Corinth, once the seat of
learning and the abode of a most polished people; Ephesus; have stood
on the ancient Acropolis of Athens, the plains of Troy, celebrated by
Virgil; explored Misenum, Pateoli, Baiæ, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, all
rich in historical associations; but compared with the remains of ancient
cities near Cairo these places were of yesterday’s growth, and were not
even thought of until ages after the glory and high civilization of the
people in the land of the Pharaohs had passed away. When Abraham entered
the Delta from Canaan with his countrymen, moving about in tents and
waggons, the Egyptians were living in cities enjoying all the advantages
of a settled government and established laws; had already cultivated
agriculture, parcelled out their valley into farms, and reverenced a
landmark as a god.

While Abraham knew of no property but herds and movables, they had
invented records and wrote their kings’ names and actions on the massive
temples which they raised. They had invented hieroglyphics and improved
them into syllabic writing, and almost into an alphabet. The history
of Greece _begins_ with the Trojan war, but _before_ the time of David
and _before_ the time of the Trojan war, the power and glory of Thebes
had already passed away. About 1,000 years B.C. Shishak the conqueror
of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, governed all Egypt; at his death it was
torn to pieces by civil wars. After a time the kings of Ethiopia reigned
in Thebes, and helped the Israelites to fight against their Assyrian
masters. This unsettled state of things lasted nearly 300 years, during
which, as the Prophet Isaiah foretold, “Egyptians fought against
Egyptians, brother against brother, city against city, and kingdom
against kingdom.” At last the city of Sais put an end to this state
of things and under the Sais kings Egypt enjoyed again a high degree
of prosperity. They were more despotic than the kings of Thebes, and
struggled with the Babylonians for the dominion of Judæa.

Probably many of my readers are aware that M. Ferdinand de Lesseps was
not the originator of a canal to the Red Sea, for Pharaoh Necho, one of
the Sais kings, began it from the Nile. His sailors, circumnavigated
Africa; he conquered Jerusalem, and when the Chaldees afterwards drove
back the Egyptian army the remnant of Judah, with the Prophet Jeremiah,
retreated into Egypt to seek a refuge with King Hophra.

523 B.C. the Persians became masters of Egypt, and behaved with great
tyranny. Cambyses plundered the tombs and temples, broke the statues,
and scourged the priests. They ruled for 200 years; then the Greeks,
B.C. 332, the Romans, B.C. 30, and on the division of the Roman Empire,
A.D. 337, Egypt fell to the lot of Constantinople. In A.D. 640, just 670
years after the Roman conquest, Egypt was conquered by the followers
of Mahomet, and now, in this year of grace, A.D. 1884, we are rather
upsetting the late order of things, but whether for good or evil time
will show.

In this age of progress, it may seem strange to say so, but Egyptian
landlords had much the same tastes 3,000 years ago as English landlords
have now. They were much addicted to field-sports. Not only does history
tell us so, but I have seen often in their sculptures and paintings that
this was so. Even on the tomb and chapel of King Phty at Sakkara, which
is said to be over 5,000 years old, I saw scenes of fowling, fishing,
hunting, running down the gazelle, spearing the hippopotamus, of coursing
and netting hares, of shooting wild cattle with arrows, and catching them
with the lasso. They had fish ponds, game preserves, and game laws, they
were fond of horses and dogs, kept good tables, gave morning and evening
parties, amused themselves with games of skill and chance, were proud of
their ancestors, built fine houses and furnished them handsomely, and
paid great attention to horticulture and arboriculture.

This certainly reads like contemporary history; but I will go further.
To use a well-known expression, “would you be surprised to hear” that
the tenants paid the same proportionate rent as the British farmer of
to-day? The average gross produce of a farm here was £8 an acre, average
rent about 32s. an acre—just one-fifth—the exact rent paid by the tenants
of Potiphar, Captain of the Guard, and of Potipherah, Priest of On,
Joseph’s father-in-law, and the same was paid to Pharaoh himself by
his tenants. At that time the whole acreage of the country was divided
into rectangular estates. One-third belonged to the king, two-thirds in
equal proportions to the priestly and military castes; and these were
cultivated by another order of men, who, for the use of the land, paid
rent—one-fifth of the gross produce—to the owner.

Altogether I spent nearly a fortnight in Cairo, and feeling a great
interest in the historical associations of this ancient place and the
neighbourhood, I resolved to see and learn as much as I could of them
during my short stay. In the morning, after early breakfast, I amused
myself for a short time by sitting in the shade of the extensive balcony
in front of Shepheard’s Hotel, which overlooks the street, and is
contiguous to it. The scene which presented itself to my gaze was truly
Oriental in character. Now I see a few camels stalking silently, slowly,
and sedately on, variously laden—some with baskets of large stones for
building purposes, others with long pieces of timber on each side, others
with skins of water and so on; then an Arab lady on donkey-back, riding
after the manner of men, and covered from head to foot in unsightly black
wrappers, having just a slit in them, through which can be seen a large
pair of lustrous dark eyes, and down the bridge of her nose are some
brass-looking ornaments, resembling as much as anything a row of thimbles
inserted in one another. A Turkish lady’s dress and yashmack (covering
worn over the face) is much more becoming, and her nose is not ornamented
by the addition of the thimble arrangement. The Turkish ladies wear (in
Constantinople) quite a thin white muslin yashmack over their faces. This
does not conceal very much of the features, which, as a rule, are very
beautiful. The Egyptian ladies wear a black yashmack, which conceals
all except the eyes. Report says they are ugly; if so, they are quite
right to do so. Next I see a carriage driven along preceded by two sais,
or runners, to clear the way, and it is surprising what a pace they go
at with a long, swinging trot. They are picturesquely and gorgeously
dressed, each bearing a long wand, and wearing a tarboosh (Turkish fez),
the long thick blue tassel of which floats gracefully over the shoulders,
and not at all unlike what some of the ladies in Athens wear, except that
their tassels are black. Then we see blind, or partially blind, beggars,
of whom there are vast numbers, Coptic and Mahomedan women and children,
girls with baskets of flowers and lovely roses, sweet-meat, fly-whisp,
water, and fruit-sellers, conjurers, snake-charmers, one and all
soliciting “backsheesh,” dusky, brown-skinned Arabs clad in loose-flowing
robes and white turbans, coal-black Nubians, Jews, Greeks, Armenians,
and Europeans of all shades of colour, religion, and politics. Here, in
fact, in this city of Saladin and of the “Arabian Nights Entertainments”
creations (which once seemed to be so fanciful and visionary) kindle into
life and reality as I look upon everything around me.

The apartments of an Arab house of the well-to-do are decorated with
Arabesque lattices, instead of glass windows. Inside are luxurious divans
heaped with soft cushions, instead of sofas and chairs; and instead
of the rattling of cabs, carts, and tramcars we hear the wild, shrill,
trilling note of the Arabian women indicating some occasion of joy or
sorrow, or hear the equally peculiar long drawn-out note of the muezzin
from some minaret calling the faithful to prayer.

Very near to our hotel, on the opposite side, are always to be found a
number of donkeys ready for hire, and very good little donkeys they are.
I can see the head, legs, and tail of a donkey; the remaining portion of
him is almost concealed by a great padded saddle, to which is attached a
very inconvenient pair of stirrups, into which you _may_ get the tips of
your toes, and sometimes a portion of the foot, but if the foot is not
small, or is so unfortunate as to possess a respectably-sized bunion,
you must be content if you can get the tips of your toes only in the
stirrup; this, again, slips down to the right or left, according as you
put more pressure on one side or the other. There are no girths, but one
long strap placed around the saddle and donkey very insecurely fixes the
former. If my reader has not been accustomed to circus-riding, I assure
him he would experience some difficulty at first in exhibiting his powers
of equitation before the Egyptian public under these circumstances, and
I have seen more than one individual come into ignominious contact with
mother earth; fortunately he has not far to go ere he humbles and tumbles
himself in the dust.

My first experience was this: as soon as I was seated and had rammed
the tip of my boot into the stirrup, the donkey-boy shouts, “Ha—ha.”
This warning note the donkey knows full well, and off he goes at a kind
of running trot, which is all right. Soon these ha-ha’s increase in
frequency, and ere long I can fancy myself a second Mezeppa. The imp
behind now accompanies his peculiar yell with a sharp prog of a pointed
stick, and the donkey takes a very pointed cognisance of it, for now
“He urges on his wild career.” In the wide, open streets this rapid
mode of progression has an exhilarating tendency, but in the narrow
streets of the bazaars unguarded human beings fly to the right of me,
unguarded human beings fly to the left of me, and imprecations, not
loud, but deep, in an unknown tongue, fall on my untutored ear as my
donkey indiscriminately cannons on to the unobservant. A few words about
these donkeys, and donkey-boys so called. Most of the latter are not
boys at all, but full-grown men, notwithstanding which they are always
called donkey-boys. These and their donkeys are quite an institution
in the East. The donkeys own all kinds of popular English names, and
of course (if the owner may be believed) are possessed of every good
quality. Most of the donkey-boys have picked up more or less English,
and in expatiating on the good qualities of their beasts are accustomed
to interlard their speech with the strong language of the West, and
you would be surprised to hear how promptly they will consign a fellow
donkey-boy to an inhospitable and much-warmer region than Cairo, and to
the care of a much blacker individual than themselves. The reader is here
called upon to exercise his or her imagination. I had myself derived
considerable amusement when watching an intending pilgrim securing one of
these donkeys. To be forewarned is to be forearmed; I flattered myself
that by making my selection sure before I got amongst them, my tactics
would be most successful, but as the sequel will show, I was grossly
deceived, having reckoned without my host, or hosts I ought to say.
First intending pilgrim. He descends the steps of Shepheard’s Hotel, and
moves towards the donkeys—a fatal movement. Instantly the air is thick
with donkeys and donkey-boys. The latter yell frantically a chorus of
praises concerning the useful quadrupeds, which are most adroitly and
with surprising dexterity brought one after the other under his very
nose, whilst the poor victim is jostled about in the most bewildering
and unpleasant manner. I have been both a spectator of and an actor in
this performance, and I can safely say the spectator derives by far the
greatest amusement.

I resolved to pay a visit to the bazaars and some of the mosques of note.
Having, as I thought, gained some experience by observing the misfortunes
of others, I executed a strategic movement which I fondly imagined would
turn out successful. I had, from a distance selected my donkey; then
cunningly walked up and down the pavement smoking a cigarette, apparently
with no object in view. Suddenly I darted on to the enemy, but alas! I
found myself in an absolute whirlwind of donkeys and their troublesome
two-legged attendants, who yelled into my ears and bumped me about until
I was quite unable to recognise the donkey I had selected. Beauties
were here represented, such as Mrs. Cornwallis West, and Mrs. Langtry;
national names, such as John Bull, and Yankee-doodle; mythical names,
such as Jim Crow and Billy Barlow. One donkey rejoiced in the name of
Dr. Tanner, another in that of Madame Rachel; others, again, had been
honoured with the names of statesmen, such as Prince Bismarck, John
Bright, Sir Stafford Northcote, Lord Randolph Churchill, Mr. Gladstone,
Mr. Parnell, Lord Beaconsfield, and others. “Dr. Tanner, he debbil to
go—he berry good donkey indeed, hakeem,” said the owner. However, I
declined him, as he was said to be a FAST one (excuse the joke), and as
this was entirely an Eastern question, I could not help thinking that
Lord Beaconsfield would certainly be the most likely to carry me safely
through. I therefore selected him, and had every reason to be satisfied
with him and his secretary, Lord Rowton _alias_ Ibrahim, the donkey-boy,
whom I employed on several subsequent occasions. He proved a very good
conductor, for he took me through the various bazaars, Tunis, Algiers,
Turkish, Persian, and Arab, &c., pointing out all places of note and
interest _en route_. Ibrahim soon got to know that I was a doctor, and so
indeed did all the attendant Arabs about the hotel. He, like hundreds of
his countrymen, suffered from ophthalmia, and when I was out with him he

“Hakeem, what I do with my eyes? They very bad sometimes.”

“Oh!” said I, “you bring me a bottle to-morrow morning, and I will give
you something for them,” little thinking of the consequences. The lotion
did his eyes a great deal of good, and two days afterwards a great many
of his friends called, to all of whom I gave lotion. During my stay here,
and some months afterwards on returning from the Soudan, I was, every
morning, employed after breakfast at my medicine chest preparing eye
lotions for my Arab friends, invocations for the blessings of Allah being
my recompense. The poor fellows appeared to be grateful, and I dare say
it was genuine, not like a canting old Irish vagrant woman, who, if you
give a hunk of bread and cheese to, will exclaim—

“Thank yer honour kindly!” and as long as she is in hearing keep
muttering, “Och! sure now, there’s a kind jintleman for ye, me darlint.
Sure now he is intirely an illigant jintleman; only for him I would not
have a bite this morning, that’s sure for ye. May Heaven guide him and
the blessed Virgin protect him!” Then out of hearing it is, “Och! the
dirty spalpeen! What will I do wid this? May the curse of Cromwell light
on ye for a murthering Sassenach. What will I do honey? and I not had a
sup of gin this blessed day to keep the cowld out of me poor thrimbling
ould body!”

But I am digressing. One day I took a donkey ride to old Cairo, and with
others from the hotel visited the dancing dervishes, and the house said
to have been inhabited by our Saviour. Old Cairo is about two miles
distant from Grand Cairo. It was at old Cairo that the child Jesus,
with Joseph and Mary, lived for a time, having fled from the bloody,
persecuting Herod. The place said to have been His exile home is now a
small Greek church. The steps to the room are very much worn, but great
care is taken of every part of it; silver lamps, hung from the ceiling,
are burning night and day, and no one is allowed to enter without the
presence of a Greek priest. It certainly is not difficult to believe
that, considering the mild Syrian atmosphere, and the absence of rain,
the building may be much more than 1,800 years old.

The dancing dervishes next engaged our attention. When in Constantinople
I visited the dancing dervishes at Pera and the howling dervishes on
the other side of the Bosphorus at Scutari. The dancing dervishes wear
a dress of greyish material, which reaches a little below the knee,
and is confined by a girdle round the waist. When they spin round like
Teetotums this looks like an open umbrella. The head is covered by a
curious-looking, tall, conical felt hat without any brim.

The word itself, Dervish, or Dervise, is of Persian origin, and signifies
poor. It denotes the same amongst Mahomedans as _monk_ with Christians.
The observance of strict forms, fasting and acts of piety, give them a
character of sanctity amongst the people. They live partly together in
monasteries partly alone, and from their number the Imams (priests)
are generally chosen. Throughout Turkey they are freely received, even
at the tables of persons of the highest rank. Among the Hindus they
are called _fakirs_. There are throughout Asia multitudes of these
devotees, monastic and ascetic, not only among the Mahomedans, but
also among the followers of Brahma. There are no less than thirty-two
religious orders now existing in the Turkish Empire, many of whom are
scarcely known beyond its limits; but others, such as the Nakshbendies
and Mevlevies, are common in Persia and India. All these communities are
properly stationary, though some of them send out a portion of their
members to collect alms. The regularly itinerant dervishes in Turkey
are all foreigners or outcasts, who, though expelled from their orders
for misconduct, find their profession too agreeable and profitable to
be abandoned, and therefore set up for themselves, and, under colour of
sanctity, fleece honest people. All these orders, except the Nakshbendies
are considered as living in seclusion from the world; but that order
is composed entirely of persons who, without quitting the world, bind
themselves to a strict observance of certain forms of devotion, and
meet once a week to perform them together. Each order has its peculiar
statutes, exercises, and habits. Most of them impose a novitiate, the
length of which depends upon the spiritual state of the candidate, who
is sometimes kept for a whole year under this kind of discipline. In
the order of the Mevlevies, the novice perfects his spiritual knowledge
in the kitchen of the convent. The numerous orders of dervishes are all
divided into two great classes, the dancing and the howling dervishes.
The former are the Mevlevies, and are held in much higher estimation
than the other class, and are the wealthiest of all the religious bodies
of the Turkish Empire. Their principal monastery is at Konieh, but they
have another at Pera, a suburb of Constantinople, where they may be
seen engaged in their exercises every Wednesday and Thursday. These are
performed in a round chamber, in the centre of which sits their chief
or sheik, the hem of whose garment each dervish reverently kisses on
entering the chamber, after which they go and range themselves round
the chamber with their legs tucked under them. When all the dervishes
have entered and saluted the sheik, they all rise together and go in
procession three times round the room, the sheik at their head. Each time
they do obeisance to the empty seat of the sheik on coming to a certain
part of the room. The procession ended, the sheik again takes his place
in the centre, and all the others begin dancing round him, turning on
themselves at the same time that they move round the room. The arms are
extended, the palm of the right turned upward and the palm of the left
downward, to indicate that what they receive from heaven with the right
they give away to the poor with the left, while sounds of music are
heard from a neighbouring gallery. The movement at first is slow, but
as the dervishes become excited they become more animated, and revolve
so quickly that they look like tops spinning round; at last they sink
exhausted on the floor. After a while they renew their exertions, and
repeat it several times. The whole is concluded by a sermon.

The howling dervishes do not confine themselves in their exercises to
the dancing just described. They accompany them with loud vociferations
of the name of Allah, and violent contortions of the body such as are
seen in persons seized with epileptic fits. And even these extravagances
are not so bad as those which were formerly practised, when the
dervishes, after working themselves into a frenzy, used to cut and
torture themselves in various ways with apparent delight. The sheiks
of all orders have the credit of possessing miraculous powers. The
interpretation of dreams, the cure of diseases, and the removal of
barrenness, are the gifts for which the dervishes are most in repute. Had
I to live in such a hot climate as Cairo, I should feel thankful that our
religion does not necessitate such violent bodily exertion as that which
these dervishes indulge in. The road to old Cairo was very, very dusty,
and the weather excessively hot, as it always is in the day time. We left
the dancing dervishes after remaining about half-an-hour, and rode back
to our hotel in the afternoon too late for any further explorations that
day. On the following day I spent some hours in a very enjoyable and also
instructive manner, namely in inspecting the priceless articles in the
Baulac Museum. This museum, I suppose, contains some of the most ancient
things in this world, and I regret very much that I could not devote a
week to inspecting the contents of it instead of a few hours. I should
have seen the treasures contained here, and known very little concerning
them (as there was no catalogue), had I not been so fortunate as to get
into conversation with Brusch Bey, the curator, a most intelligent and
obliging gentleman, whose heart is enthusiastically in his work. He was
kind enough to spend about two or three hours with me and enlighten me
on very many things which would have been a sealed book to me but for
him. There lay before us one grand discovery of 32 kings and queens,
who had ruled Egypt in the dim distant ages long ago. The gilding on the
inner coffins was as perfect and untarnished as it was the week they
were executed, although thousands of years have rolled by since the
handy craftsman was engaged on them. They were covered with information
that none but an Egyptologist could decipher. In this museum was pointed
out to me a picture said to be the most ancient in the world, it was a
painted picture of Egyptian geese, as well done, I should imagine, as
any ordinary painter of the present day could do it. There were bronzes
and polished marble statuary as perfect in appearance as when they left
the workmen’s hands, and, as far as I could judge, as well finished as
they would be by workmen of the present day, although 2,000 or 3,000
years old. An ingenious and strong little cabinet engaged my attention
some time; the doors of hard wood were well carved and the joints as
exquisitely dove-tailed in as any man of the present day could make
them. In a glass case I saw basket-work, a chair, rope, twine, seals,
rings, javelins, slings, food and seeds as they were found in an ancient
tomb, the mason’s mallet cut out of a solid piece of wood, precisely the
same shape and size as those in use here at the present time, jewellery
well-finished and solid-looking, and many other things too numerous to
mention. On carefully examining this valuable and interesting collection,
some of which were 3,000, 4,000, or 5,000 years old, I could not help
thinking that they served well to illustrate the highly civilized
condition of the people at so remote a period.

To give details of all the interesting things in this museum would occupy
too much time to the exclusion of other matter, but there are two things
that call for notice on account of their very great antiquity. One is a
wooden statue, which has been carved out of a solid block of very hard
wood, and is that of a man about 5ft. 7in. in height. As one stands in
front of that wooden statue gazing for a short time, he almost appears
to be endowed with a soul and the power of speech, so excellent is the
execution of the figure, and so expressive the face; no one can doubt
for a moment that he was the creation of a high civilization. It was
found in a tomb at Sakhara and belongs to one of the early dynasties
of the old primæval monarchy, and is absolutely untarnished by the
thousands of years it has been reposing in that tomb; there is actually
no sign of decay. The antiquity of that statue astonishes me, and I
dare say it will my readers. Brusch Bey told me that it was supposed
to be 5,400 years old, and that probably it was older than that. The
other statue, that of Chephren, the builder of the second Pyramid, with
his name inscribed upon it, is in Diorite, one of the hardest kind of
stones, carefully executed and beautifully polished. These Egyptians were
evidently people of considerable forethought, and when they wanted their
names and deeds to live long after them engraved on tablets of stone,
they selected the most durable they could, and it is more than probable
that had they contemplated building such houses of Parliament as we have
built in London, they would have selected a hard, not a soft stone, that
continually requires patching up. Well, the features of Chephren’s statue
are uninjured, and Brusch Bey and I gazed on them just as they were seen
by Chephren and his court 5,000 years ago. It was discovered by Mariette
Bey, at the bottom of a well, which supplied the water used for sacred
purposes in the sepulchral temple attached to Chephren’s Pyramid. It was
no doubt originally erected in the temple, and was probably thrown into
the well by the barbarous Hyksos or iconoclastic Persians.

During the late military operations, or “police measures,” grave
apprehensions for the safety of the Baulac Museum arose, but fortunately
it escaped the violence of the mob. The greater part of one day was
occupied by a visit with my familiar Ibrahim to the mosques of note,
the citadel, tombs of the Caliphs and Mamelukes. Another day I got a
companion from the hotel to accompany me to the petrified forest, some
miles out in the desert. It covers an area of about 15 miles. All this
space is pretty thickly strewed over with what appears to be trunks and
branches of trees. I took hold of what appeared exactly like the wooden
branch of a tree, and so it had once been, but for ages it had lain here,
a solid piece of very hard stone. The place is an absolutely desolate one
in the desert, with not a sign of vegetation in sight. Whether these had
been washed here during the flood or had once grown in the neighbourhood
or not, or how they came there, I never could ascertain, although I have
sought for information on the subject in all directions. No one seems to
be able to tell me anything about the origin of this petrified forest,
and I have not hitherto found a book containing any allusion to it. We
returned to Cairo by the Mokhottam hills behind the citadel somewhat late
in the afternoon, consequently had to urge on our donkeys so that we
should see Cairo by sunset. We were here just in time to do so, as there
is scarcely any twilight in the East; the transition from day to night
does not occupy very many minutes. The picturesque panorama that opened
out to our view well repaid us for our trouble. There before and beneath
us lay Cairo with its innumerable mosques and minarets, the Nile with the
peculiar Nile boats called dahabeahs floating peacefully on its surface.
Here and there the stately camel strides silently on, veiled women and
turbaned Arabs in loose flowing robes, groves of palm trees, while nearer
to us we see the half-ruined tombs of the Caliphs and Mamelukes, the
citadel and the beautiful mosque of Mehemet Ali full of carved columns of
alabaster. To the late burning heat which we encountered in the desert
succeeds a soft, balmy, dry air, and the beautiful and varied hues of
the setting sun is reflected from the glittering mosques and minarets,
rocks and sands, presenting a picture which will not soon fade from my
memory, and which requires the poetry, eloquence, and pen of a Byron to
adequately describe. In striking contrast to the beautiful scene we had
just enjoyed was the wretched-looking houses of the Arabs, the squalor,
dirt and miserable pathways on the hill-side which we encountered
immediately afterwards as we pursued our homeward journey.

We arrived at our hotel rather tired, and felt it quite a relief to
stretch our legs out straight after having them cramped up so long whilst
on our donkeys. Having partaken of a good dinner, I adjourned to the
balcony with a cigarette, sank into an easy lounge, and communed with
my own thoughts. I had not been here long before I discovered sitting
near me an individual, apparently about 23 years of age, whose nether
extremities rested on the back of a chair, his feet being parallel with
his chin. He was dressed in a somewhat _outré_ manner, the lower limbs
being encased in check prolongations; the body in a brown coat, something
like a sack in shape; the throat was surrounded by a loose, turn-down
collar, and loose neckerchief, whilst the summit of this curious
specimen of humanity was crowned by a huge felt hat, with an enormous
brim. The clouds of smoke which he emitted from his mouth rivalled a
young volcano; he was smoking a cigar, and did not forget to expectorate
in a most profuse and dangerous manner, so much so that, feeling in
somewhat dangerous proximity to the fire of his artillery, I got up with
the intention of escaping any little salivary accidents; but my silent
companion had his eye on me, and thus suddenly addressed me in the
decidedly nasal accent and twang peculiar to the inhabitants of America—

“Stranger, I guess this Cairo is a tarnation rummy place?”

Seeing no reason to dispute this by no means rash assertion, I readily
conceded the point; and, by way of carrying on the conversation, ventured
to remark that—

“It certainly is a very curious and interesting old place, and the
inhabitants no less so.”

_He_: “That’s so, sirree; they _are_ queer beggars, and so _are_ their

This also was an indisputable fact, and I acknowledged that they were a
strange race, strongly wedded to old customs, and as strongly opposed to

_He_: “Stranger, yew don’t roost here, I guess?”

_I_: “No; I am just travelling for a few months, and shall leave Cairo in
two or three days’ time.”

_He_: “In what line may you be travelling, stranger?”

Now, of course I knew what he meant, but thought his remarks were so
original, not to say impertinent, that I must not omit this opportunity
of extracting some amusement, and provide material for my diary. I
therefore replied—

“Oh! I came by the P. and O. line to Alexandria, by rail here, and now my
lines have fallen in pleasant places.”

“Guess yew don’t quite fathom me. What’s yer business, and where are you
going tew?” said he.

I then gave him the names of a number of places in Egypt and the Soudan,
enumerating them as rapidly as I could, so that I am quite sure my nasal
friend was very little the wiser for the information.

He enshrouded himself in a huge cloud of smoke, vigorously expectorated
once more, and regarding me fixedly for a moment, exclaimed—

“By Jupiter! stranger, that’s a large order. Opening up a trade or
colon_ize_, I guess.”

I suppose, because I told him I was travelling with six other gentlemen,
he thought we were going to start a colony somewhere, and then annex
all the adjacent country, which, by the way, would certainly be a very
good thing for the Egyptians and the Soudanese, and very probably for
ourselves also. However, I gave him to understand that we were simply
travelling for pleasure, exploration, and sport. Notwithstanding this, my
Yankee acquaintance was determined to turn me inside out if he could; he,
therefore, was so complimentary as to say—

“Well, now, I guess you are a gentleman?”

To this I answered—

“Thanks; I trust your surmise is a correct one;” and I might have said,
but I did not, “Sorry I cannot return the compliment.”

I have often heard of the pertinacity of an American reporter, but it
appears to me that the bump of inquisitiveness is not by any means
confined to them, but pervades the whole community. There was no
shilly-shallying, no delicate, nicely-worded hints and adroitly-put
questions; but my interrogator was determined to find out all about me if
he could, and so he asked me how long I had been in Cairo, how old I was,
if I was married or single, how many children I had, if I lived on my
money, and lots of the most impertinent questions, and finally finished
up by saying, “Guess you are a Britisher?”

Having, as he thought, pumped me pretty considerably, he was good enough
to take me into his confidence, and tell me all about himself, and his
belongings, and “_hew_ his father had left him a pile,” adding, “Guess I
spend some, and move about a bit.” I could not help saying—

“I think you are wise to pursue that course; travel will improve you a
good deal, and, like the marble statuary in the Baulac Museum, it will
put on a little polish.”

He eulogised the States and the inhabitants thereof, and was apparently
under the impression that America was the only place worth speaking of,
winding up with the quite unnecessary announcement—

“I’m ’Merican.”

“Oh, yes,” I replied; “I knew at once you were an American.”

“Yes; is that so?” said he. “Hew did ye know that, stranger?”

“Well,” said I, “by your accent, the estimate you form of your country,
and, pardon me for saying so, but no one but an American would have asked
me such questions as you have, or manifested such a desire to find out
all about me and my affairs.”

He did not appear to be at all annoyed at this remark, but merely said—

“By thunder! stranger, you are a queer coon. Will you come and liquor?”

I declined with thanks, and left young America to ponder over the
inscrutable ways and manners of the “darned Britisher.” He was evidently
the offspring of a parent who, perchance, had “struck ile,” and had never
before forsaken his ancestral home in search of travel and adventure;
and, if such was the case, we must excuse the young man. As soon as I
left him I sought my bedroom, chronicled the above conversation in my
diary, and retired to bed, where I slept soundly.

The following day I and three others formed a party for a visit to the
far-famed pyramids of Gizeh. We chartered a carriage, taking our lunch
with us; and from the time we left Shepheard’s Hotel until we returned
that hateful word, “Backsheesh,” resounded in our ears; indeed, I should
say that there is no word in the Egyptian language so frequently on the
tip of an Arab tongue as that. I should suppose that the pyramids of
Gizeh are about ten miles from Cairo. There is a pretty good road, which
was constructed by the former Khedive, Ismail, specially to accommodate
the Prince of Wales when he visited the place some years ago. During
our drive we could almost have imagined that a line of sentries had
been posted all along the road specially to utter that horrid word,
“Backsheesh,” so continuously were our tympanums offended with it.
Arrived at the base of the Great Pyramid, we are immediately surrounded
by a considerable number of Arabs, who are all anxious to assist us
in the ascent, of course, for a small consideration; but one of our
party having been there once before, knew how to set about matters in a
business-like way, so he demanded at once the presence of the Pyramid
Sheik, who very soon came. We told him we did not want all this crowd
of Arabs, but two each would be sufficient. Accordingly he allotted us
these, but as he suggested that a third would be desirable to push us up
from behind, we had him. Those who have ascended the Great Pyramid are
not likely to forget the dusky demons who accompany them.

I commence the ascent with my body-guard, who appear now to look upon me
as a piece of brittle china, and are most anxious to prevent me using
my limbs in my own way—they will not let me take a step without their
assistance. Directly I had started I found my body-guard considerably
augmented, and notwithstanding repeated warnings that I did not want
them, and that they would not get any backsheesh, they stuck to me
all the way up and back. For the time being I belong solely to these
energetic, incessantly-chattering Arabs, whose most strenuous efforts
were now put forth to damaging my ball and socket joints.

I have to ascend 203 steps—the lower steps are about four feet high, and
few of them less than three feet anywhere. The two Arabs in front get on
to the step I have to land on; each seizes an arm, one gets behind, and
the hoisting process begins. The latter gives the cue, and with a loud
“Ha-hu,” up I go from one step to the other. This game goes on with great
rapidity, until I had got about half-way up, where I think it advisable
to rest awhile. So down I sat, but soon found that instead of three Arabs
I was at once surrounded by about a dozen, all talking most vehemently
to me at the same time. It was in vain to protest—all had curiosities,
scarabei, little images, and ancient coins, some of them curious, no
doubt dating back to the time of Adam. For a small consideration they
were all anxious to place these in my possession, and all were shouting
into my ear, “Autica efendi, autica.” At last, for peace sake, I bought
a small image of a defunct Pharaoh from one, and from another three or
four copper coins, all, of course, the only genuine. In vain I protested
against having any more. I had no peace until I had bought something from
each one; in fact, I had no quiet until I turned all my pockets inside
out, showing conclusively that I had spent every piaster with them.
After resting awhile, we continued the ascent, and after a succession of
ha-hus, tugs, and hoistings, I at last found myself on the summit of the
Great Pyramid, and well rewarded for the trouble I had taken.

Here, in this bright, clear atmosphere, I saw stretching out for miles
on the west the Libyan Desert, and reaching out before and around us in
vast extent the classic and historic hills, rivers, and plains of Ham and
Mizraim, Heliopolis, Memphis, Mount Mokattam, Sakhara, the beautiful city
of Cairo, with its numberless mosques and slender minarets, skirted by
the outstretched Nile, bearing on its placid bosom hundreds of dahabeahs,
and on its banks tall waving palm-trees. Nearer is the village of Gizeh,
and closer still the remaining pyramids of Gizeh, the granite temple,
and the sphinx, the whole forming a picture that cannot be effaced in a

It is said with some truth, “Time tries all,” but I have also heard it
said that “the pyramids try time,” and, upon my word, it almost seems
so, when we think of their great antiquity. Here they have stood for
thousands of years in majestic grandeur, looking down on many Pharaohs
and many dynasties, and witnessing the rise, greatness, and decline of a
once mighty nation. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses have gazed
on these huge piles of masonry, which raised their lofty heads long, long
before Abraham in a day of famine sought bread at the hands of Pharaoh.

When I had spent some time in gazing again and again on this beautiful
scene, and thoroughly succeeded in obtaining a mental photograph of it, I
commenced the descent, and found I could get down much more comfortably
without assistance than with; but this the pertinacious Arabs would not
hear of, they said, on account of the danger to me. But my own private
opinion was that they wanted to earn good backsheesh by persistent
attention. I resigned myself to my fate, and at last reached the foot
of the pyramid by a series of jumps and bumps very trying to my spinal
column, and which joggled my internal economy most unpleasantly.

After a short rest, we explored the interior, a rather difficult
achievement in some parts. We had brought a good substantial luncheon
with us from the hotel, which we thankfully disposed of at a house, or
palace, near by. This was specially built, I believe, either for the
Prince of Wales or the Empress Eugenie, I really forget which. After
lunch we visited the sphinx, two or three tombs, and the other two
pyramids, settled up with the sheik, and drove off to our hotel; and
not until I reached the steps of the hotel did I hear the last of that
hateful word “Backsheesh.” When I retired to rest I dreamt of a pocketful
of large copper coins and scarabei, an armful of defunct Pharaohs, an
army of lithe, sinewy, swarthy, impecunious Arabs, amongst whom I had
scattered a ship-load of piasters, and “still they were not happy.”

Before I have done entirely with the pyramids, I think I ought to say
something about them, as those at Gizeh are the most remarkable. This
group consists of nine, and comprises three of the most remarkable
monuments in existence—those of Cheops, Cephren, and that of Mycerinus,
the last-named much smaller than the other two. Herodotus, who was born
about 500 B.C., tells us that in building the great pyramid of Cheops
it took 100,000 men working incessantly for 30 years to complete it;
10 years of this 30 was spent in making a causeway 3,000 feet long, to
facilitate the transportation of the stone from the Turah quarries.
Herodotus describes the method of building by steps, and raising the
stones from layer to layer by machines, and finally of facing the
external portion from the top down. Its present height is 460 feet, the
original height was 480 feet.

The extent of solid masonry has been estimated at 82,111,000 cubic feet.
It at present covers 12 acres. The only entrance is on the north face,
49 feet above the base, though the masonry has been so much broken away
that the _débris_ reaches nearly up to it. A passage, 3 feet 11 inches
high and 3 feet 5½ inches wide, conducts from the entrance down a slope
at an angle of 26° 41´, a distance of 320 feet 10 inches to the original
sepulchral chamber, commonly known as the subterraneous apartment; it
is carried, reduced in dimensions, beyond this a distance of 52 feet
9 inches into the rock, though for what purpose remains a matter of
conjecture. The sepulchral chamber is 46 feet long by 27 feet wide, and
11½ feet high. From the entrance passage another branches off and leads
to several other passages and chambers. One of the latter, known as the
_Queen’s Chamber_, is situated about the middle of the pyramid, 67 feet
above the base; it has a groined roof, and measures 17 feet broad by
18 feet 9 inches long and 20 feet 3 inches high. The other, called the
_King’s Chamber_, is reached by an offshoot from the Queen’s Passage, 150
feet long. Its dimensions are 34 feet 3 inches long by 17 feet 1 inch
wide, and 19 feet 1 inch high. The chamber is lined with red granite
highly polished, single stones reaching from the floor to the ceiling,
and the ceiling itself is formed of nine large slabs of polished granite
extending from wall to wall. The only contents of the apartment is a
sarcophagus of red granite, which, judging by its dimensions, must have
been introduced when the building was proceeding. It is supposed to have
contained a wooden coffin with the mummy of the king, and that these long
since disappeared when the pyramids were first opened and plundered. We
do not see these pyramids as they originally were. The outer casing of
polished stone has been removed and utilized in constructing the mosque
of Sultan Hassan. These pyramids were built between 5,000 and 6,000 years
ago. Great was the antiquity of Thebes before European history begins to
dawn. It was declining before the foundations of Rome were laid, but the
building of the great pyramids of Gizeh preceded the earliest history
of Thebes by 1,000 years. Whilst speaking of Thebes, I’ll just mention
that there are to be seen to-day the tomb of the great Sethos, Joseph’s
Pharaoh, of his greater son, Rameses II., and of Menophres or Meneptha,
in whose reign the Exodus took place. In the tomb of Sethos, coloured
sculptures cover 320 feet of the excavation. There is to be seen the
draughtsman’s handiwork in red colour, showing the designs that were to
be executed by the sculptor, and the corrections in black ink of the
superintendent of such works, and although these sketches were made 3,000
years ago, they are still quite clear and fresh-looking. On the east side
of the pyramid, half buried in sand, is the wonderful colossal Sphinx,
his head 25 feet high and back 100 feet long, all one stone.