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Full text of "Four months in a dahabëéh, or, Narrative of a winter's cruise on the Nile"

A. E. Giiningham. 




Presented to the 

LffiRARYo///ie 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

ERIC MACRO 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/fourmonthsindahaOOcareuoft 






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FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH ; 



OR, 



NARRATIVE OF A WINTER'S CRUISE ON THE NILE. 



FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH ; 



OR, 



NARRATIVE OF A AVINTER'S CRUISE 
ON THE NILE. 



BY 

M. L. M. CAREY. 



" Flies and mnsquitoos hold divided sway, 
Half sting by iiiglit, the other half by day.'' 



LONDON: 
L. nOOTII, 307 REGENT STKKET, W. 
18G3. 




LONDON : 

StRANCKWAYS and WaLDI-.X, riUNTERS, 

i;S Castle St. liC-iccslcv Sq. 



llebicatctr 



COUSIN nilL' AND SELINA. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. 




P.NGE 


I. 


FIIOM ENGLAND TO EGYPT 


1 


II, 


ALEXANDRIA TO CAIKO 


34 


III. 


OUR BOAT-HOME .... 


80 


IV. 


FROM GIRGEH TO ASSOUAN 


. 118 


V. 


ASSOUAN TO KOIIOSKO 


. 166 


VI. 


KOROSKO TO AVADEE IIALFEH . 


. 212 


VI r. 


DOWN THE NILE .... 


. 261 


VIII. 


ASSOUAN, KARNAK, DENDEKAH 


. 297 


IX. 


THE LAST EXCURSIONS 


: . 338 


X. 


FROM CAIRO TO SUEZ — COiNCLUSION . 


. 376 



PLATES. 



PAGE 
MOHAMED EL ADLEEH, EL ABIAD, AND ALI . to face Title 

BOULAK, THE PORT OF CAIRO ..... 73 

THE CREW OF THE * CAIRO ' AT BREAKFAST . . 87 

THE ISLAND OF PHILAE, ABOVE THE FIRST CATARACTS 184 

VIEAV OF THE SECOND CATARACTS FROM THE ROCK 

ABOUSIR .231 

THE DAHABEEH * CAIRO ' AT THE TEMPLE OF KOM OMBO 300 



FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 



CHAPTER I. 



FROM ENGLAND TO EGYPT. 



' Cousin Phil ' is seventy-five years of age ; Le is 
crippled and paralysed by a sad accident which it 
pleased God should befall him some two years back ; 
but he is still a hale and hearty old gentleman, carry- 
iijo; out to its fullest extent the maxim he has held 
to through life, — never to allow another to do for him 
what he can contrive to do for himself. The conse- 
quence is, that although now unable to move without 
crutches, or a stick on one side and the arm of his 
faithiul servant Thomas on the other, he is thinking 
of setting out on his travels ! Of course he is ; and 
why should he not ? There is a reason for moving ; 
and we shall soon see that ' Cousin Phil ' can move 
quite as easily as any one else. 

Many a day in tlie month of September, 1860, 
may he have been seen in his study, with guide- 

R 



2 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAIIABEETI. 

books, maps, and accounts around him, planning 
how he and his ' little Seliua' shall keep themselves 
warm this coming winter. ' Little Selina ' is a grown 
woman now ; but with all her fjither's tender care of 
her, she is very delicate, and the M.D.'s have said 
that she must be ' kept warm.' ' Cousin Phil ' fetches 
down his books for himself, and is not a bit discou- 
raged because, stick and all, he has fallen several 
times in his attempts at reaching a high shelf, and 
has thus been forced to delay his planning imtil 
Selina or Thomas have come in to pick him up ! 

But ' Cousin Phil ' resumes his work as bravely 
as ever. He will do it all for himself, — aye, and far 
better too than many a younger head would do it 
for him. Bermuda is rejected, because "we do not 
like it" — Madeira, because of its steep hills, up 
which ' seventy-five ' could not possibly walk : and 
walk he must still. Italy is too cold during the 
winter. The Cape of Good Hope is too far off. 
Algiers is strongly recommended : but the fame of 
the air of Egypt, for the benefit of consumptive pa- 
tients, is wafted more and more on the cold English 
breeze, and ' Cousin Phil ' in his study has finally 
decided that, for the coming winter, they shall " warm 
up " in Cairo, and take a trip on the Nile. 

It was further chalked out for me that I should 
go with them ; and I went. 

I do not know exactly what my companions ex- 
pected at that time ; but I expected nothing ! I 
was not disappointed. No : although formed rather 



DErAKTURE. 



for glaciers and mountain-passes, than for cloiidless, 
burning skies, and although my health did give 
wav for a time under the winter's ' warmins;,' I can 
honestly state for the benefit of future adventurers, 
that we spent fiive whole months in Egypt, and that 
we enjoyed ourselves. It would make but a sorry 
home, it is true, but Egypt is well worth a visit ; and 
because the friends in my truly favoured home would 
naturally expect something of me on my return, all 
the events of this ' warm winter' were carefully 
committed to paper, as they occurred ; and now at 
the request of the same ft-iends, I lay them before 
them, that they may be amused or stupified over 
their pages as the case may be, and judge whether 
they will endeavour to ' keep themselves warm ' in 
the same manner, next winter or not ? 

Our rendezvous was at the London Brid2;e Ter- 
minus, where we took leave of all our friends : and 
thus, on Oct. 9th, 18G0, with Thomas the man ser- 
vant and Sarah the lady's-maid, our trio started under 
the favourable auspices of a bright, sunshiny da3\ 

Happily for us, bad sailors, the Southampton 
steamers were so full, for this and the following 
month, that we could obtain no accommodation in 
them ; and it was decided that the heavy baggage 
should alone have the chance of sea- sickness, and 
that we should go overland to Marseilles. 

It is not usual to take European servants up the 
Nile. The expense is great, and they are, generally 
speaking, voted "in the way." But ' Cousin Phil' 
could not do without Thomas,' and Snrnli proved a 



4 FCUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

treasure wliicli we could ill have spared, were it 
only for the perpetual ironing which she cleverly 
accomplished. The Arabs wash w^ell enough, but 
the iron is beyond them ; and therefore the choice 
for Europeans must frequently be between a lady's- 
maid, a couple of irons for their own use, or doing 
without ironing at all. 

With no more than the usual stock of linen 
recpiired at home ; a few common dresses for the 
i-iver ; the lightest possible shawl or mantle for the 
daytime ; plenty of warm wraps for the night ; 
round hats, neckhandkerchiefs, veils, gauntleted 
gloves, and large, lined umbrellas, to guard the 
white skin against the unscrupulous burning of 
the Egyptian sun ; two pair of strong boots for 
desert and temple excursions ; light ones to baffle 
mosquitoes at all hours of the day ; goloshes, for 
the mud on the l)anks of the Nile ; elder-flower 
water for the eyes and the complexion ; a prepara- 
tion of zinc — one grain to ten drops of water — one 
drop of which, applied to the corner of the eye on 
the point of a fine camel's-hair brush, and repeated 
night and morning, is an infuUible cure on the first 
symptoms of the dreaded Ophthalmia ; a large quan- 
tity of quassia, to destroy the flies ; thermometers 
and guide-books — Murray, Wilkinson, Warburton, 
&c. ; and, finally, as there are no M.D.'s on the Nile, 
a good book and box of medicines — liomceopathic, 
of course; — we considered ourselves armed against 
all emergencies. 

Thus equipped, we left London for Folkestone, 



MARSEILLES. 5 

crossed over to Boulogne, and travelled through 
Frauce, stopping at Amiens, Paris, Dijon, Valence, 
Avignon, and finally at Marseilles, where we ar- 
rived by these easy stages on October 18th. We 
met with a few little adventures en route^ and 
' Cousin Phil ' ran some small dangers on steam- 
boat, train and staircase, but escaped in safety out 
of them all. 

An amusing instance of French pnlitesse oc- 
curred in the train-carriage between Valence and 
Avignon. The number of passengers was so great, 
that we were forced to divide our party. My 
companions pulled down the blinds, to hide the 
beautiful scenery of the mountains of Dauphine, as 
commonplace to them, no doubt, as tligli Street and 
Regent Street to me. They then closed their eyes, 
and slept soundly ! ' Cousin Phil ' and Selina, 
in the adjoining carriage, shared much the same fate, 
and a dead silence reigned until ' Cousin V\\W.' sneezed 
twice. When ' Cousin Phil' did sneeze, it was always 
like an electric shock to every one in the neighbour- 
hood. All the ladies awoke with a start, shut up 
the windows, and seized the hat which lay beside 
liira, with strong exhortations to Selina, that he should 
put it on his head ; giving practical indications of 
their determined intention to place it there them- 
selves, hon gre^ mal gre. " Car, Mademoiselle, ^lon- 
sieur s'enrhume!" While Monsieur, not hearing- 
one word of what was passing, began to suspect 
llic iiocessity of p<)li<'e intcrlei-eucc, to ])r('vent tlu:: 



6 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

theft of his comfortable, old travelling companion, 
which Selina had vainly exhorted him to throw into 
the old-clothes bag a long time past. He knew too 
well the value of an old friend and prepared for a 
fight, but their good-humoured French faces soon 
betrayed their charitable intention ; ' Cousin Phil ■ 
was re-assured; the mystery was soon cleared up, 
the blinds raised, and the lovely scenery admitted 
to view. 

Travelling through France as far as Marseilles 
is so common an occurrence now-a-days, that I need 
not trouble my readers, nor waste time or paper in 
describing it; suffice it to say, " Beware of the hotels 
near the harbour" at Marseilles, until some improve- 
ment has been made in the drainage of that town. To 
the Hotel de 1' Orient we went, and were, one and all 
of us, taken ill from the noisome odours which rise 
from the harbour in this quarter. Indeed, the con- 
sequence to me was, that I went on board ship, on 
the evening of the 19th, more dead than alive ; no 
very pleasant state in which to leave Europe for the 
first time in one's life, my consolation being that to 
get out of Marseilles was at any rate a luxury, and 
inwardly resolving that nothing on earth should ever 
induce me to set foot there again. We were allowed 
to embark on board the Vectis, Peninsular and Orien- 
tal steamer, at night, in order to avoid the confusion 
of the morning and the large influx of passengers 
and baggage. It was nearly dark, and as the tide 
was low, the only means of descent from the quay 



VECTIS. 7 

into the small boat, which was to row us to the 
steamer, was by a jump downwards of from five to 
six feet. 

'Cousin Phil' — undaunted 'Cousin Pliil' — pre- 
pares quietly to take the leap himself, l^ut a stout 
'Marseillais,' equally quietly, and by 'French leave,' 
lifts him in his arms, and in spite of remonstrance, 
deposits him carefully in the boat ; and so was 
each one of our party disposed of in turn, not 
excepting the long-legged Thomas. 

It was an augury of our Eastern mode of trans- 
port, and certainly the only safe one on this occasion. 
The ladder of embarcation on the Vectis was 
perpendicular up ; and the ' companion ' ladder was 
perpendicular down : but all was accomplished in 
safety, and we went straight to our cabins alongside 
the saloon. One of these Selina and I shared, and 
there I remained during the whole of the following 
day, October 20th, whilst at 10 a.m. the Vectis 
started with all her unknown freight of passengers 
on board. 

It was a fine day, and with the assistance of 
' belladonna ' and starvation, by 1 v.m. of October 
21st I reappeared on deck as lively as possible. It 
w\as Sunday. There was no clergyman of the 
Church of England on board, but from my cabin 
I had heard the service read in the saloon by a 
Presbyterian; 'Cousin Phil' and Selina attending 
witli all the other passengers. It was a glorious 
sight that I now saw for the first time on reach- 



8 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

iiig the deck of the Vectis. The wide expanse of 
the Mediterranean in its own deep blue, not a 
ripple on its surface, the distant coast of Sicily the 
onl}^ land in sight, and an exquisitely blue sky over- 
head. And there sat ' Cousin Phil ' in his camp- 
chair, looking the very picture of contentment, 
although he could hear nothing of what Avas going 
on around him. For some unaccountable reason of 
his own, totally incomprehensible to me, he was 
always peculiarly happy on board ship. Selina lay 
comfortably reclining on her couch beside him, — a 
couch which served as bed or chair : and here let 
me remark, that travellers on this route will do 
well to be provided with their own couch or chair, 
or they may have to stand during the greater part 
of the day. 

' Cousin Phil ' and Selina slept out half their day, 
and as they alternately awoke I had a chat with 
either. The former went down to the saloon for 
meals, and I accompanied him, bnt Selina had her 
meals brought to her on deck. I had never faced 
roast beef and boiled chicken on board ship before, 
and I felt very shy of them, even in this lovely 
weather ; but I could not desert ' Cousin Phil ; ' 
not that he was a bit shy, Ijut then he was deaf, 
and so I went to sit beside liim, and give him the 
benefit of a little chattering. It was not nearly so 
bad as I had expected, and although when any 
richly cooked mess was passed by me, " my heart 
jumped into my mouth,'' to use the expression of an 



FELLOW-PASSENGEKS. 9 

Irish servant we once had, yet I survived it. The 
descent into the saloon was of 2:reat advanta2:e too, 
in facilitating the process of making acquaintances 
among our fellow-passengers. I had felt rather 
lonely in this lovely weather, when both my com- 
panions were asleep, at seeing around me groups of 
pleasant-looking people, yet being unable to impart 
to any one of them the thoughts that would 
naturally arise in a mind entirely new to the whole 
scene. But this did not last Ions;. The necessitv 
of offering a chair on deck, or one of those objection- 
able dishes in the saloon, and no doubt a desire for 
sociability on all sides, soon made introductions an 
easy matter. The weather was so fine that no one 

could think of being ill ; excepting poor Mrs. T , 

Avhom the Fates had fixed uj^on for the ' victim ' 
which is to be found in every society ; and thus 
before Monday, October 22nd, had passed away, I 
found myself acquainted with half of our fellow- 
passengers. There were the Earl and Countess of 

A with their daughters, who were acquainted 

with one cousin of ours, and carried letters of in- 
troduction to another ; Mrs. S , whose husband 

was commanding in India on the same station with one 

of my many brothers ; Lieut. N , in the same 

regiment with this brother of mine, and of whom he 
told me the following story. That having, soon 
after his arrival in India, gone ' pig-sticking,' he 
had jumped horse and all into a well, the mouth of 
which was hidden by brushwood ; where, after fruit- 



10 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

less attempts to extricate himself from both horse 
and water, he must certainly have been drowned, 
had not his Indian servant, perceiving that he was 
missing, and guessing the cause, gone straight to 
the well, and pulled him out by means of his turban. 
It was a providential escape, and what seems more 
"wonderful still, the horse was also pulled out in 

safety. There was Mrs. E , also going to join 

her husband in India, whose friends were stationed 

with a second l)rother of mine in the city of S , 

and had met him at Aden a short time since. 
Such, thought I, is one at least of the advantages 
of belonging to a military family. We find friends 
ready made for us wherever we go. Then there 
were three young brides who all w^ore Fez-shaped 
caps, made out of the scraps of their husband's new 
travelling coats ; most useful head-dresses for lying 
down on board ship, and very becoming too, though 
they give no shade whatever to the face. There 

was Col. B politeness itself; Capt. L , who 

paced the deck making confidential remarks to a 
friend on the various passengers around ; Mr. 

R , a ve?-7/ young man, who, sitting in the saloon 

close to our cabin door one evening, reported upon 
' Cousin Phil ' in most pathetic tones as " a very, 
very^ very, old man:" and, lastly, there was M. Les- 
seps, the French engineer for the Suez canal, besides 
a variety of others who entered not into this select 
circle. 

The histories and destinies of each one were 



MALTA. 11 

gradually unfolded, and those of the " Cairo party" 
found to be not the least romantic of them all. Our 
projected trip up the Nile caused quite a little 
excitement among our new friends ; the most general 
opinion being, that the charming young ladies and 
"very old man" would never more be heard of, if 
they undertook anything so rash : others, again, 
declaring that it was perfectly safe, and the most 
delightful expedition that could be imagined. 

' Cousin Phil ' only smiled, and said, " Time 
will show ! " 

Between all this and the sketch-books, which 
afforded no little amusement in the way of a few 
shaky caricatures, the time passed pleasantly enougli. 

On Monday not a speck of laud was visible till 
the vessel approached ]\Ialta at 10 p.m. ; and though 
there had not been a sail to relieve the monotony of 
the sea, it was a magnificent sight, and one wdiich 
the eye could certainly have dwelt upon for more 
than a day without wearying. Alas ! our eyes did 
not try it much longer. 

The night approach to Malta was exceedingly 
pretty, with the rows of lights along the shore and 
in the gaily-painted, junk-like boats that came along- 
side to fetch away passengers. The Maltese costume 
was curious, and the " patois," a mixture of Italian 
and Arabic, very amusing to hear. Brave and 
enterprising as we were, the darknesss effec- 
tually prevented such a party as ours from lauding. 



12 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

Almost every other passenger did so, and we then 
resignedly retired to hed and to suffocation during 
the operation of " coaling." 

Four long hours did the coaling last. All the 
port-holes were closed, to keep out the dust, and 
hot is no word for the state of the atmosphere. 
The time was, however, slightly enlivened by the 
bargaining carried on between the few remaining 
passengers and a portly Maltese, who, with the best 
grace in the world, offered for sale all the trash 
which he had collected from his store, asking the 
most exorbitant prices for it, assuring his customers 
at the same time, in his blandest tones, that " he, at 
least, would not deceive them." He contrived to 
dispose of a few articles, and the morning light 
revealed that they were trash indeed. 

No one need be thus taken in, for it is a well- 
known fact that nothing really valuable is ever 
brought to the passenger-boats for sale. 

At length the old acquaintances returned, and 
new ones arrived. What a noise had been going 
on over our devoted heads all this time, as sacks 
of coal, baggage, and passengers, rapidly succeeded 
one another on the deck. But down come our lively 
dinner-companions, and, considerately seating them- 
selves near the partly-open cabin-door, they dispel 
our headaches and restore our mirth, by making us 
the subject of their conversation. 

Between two and three o'clock a.m. on Tuesday, 



"THE SEA ! THE SEA !" 13 

the A^ectis resumed her way ; the port-holes were 
opened, and the travellers breathed again. Little 
sleep did any one get that night, either of those who 
had landed, or those who had remained on board, 
as the sleeping forms in every available corner of 
the vessel during the day-light hours of October 
23rd, but too plainly showed ; of course I did not 
sleep ; but sat " watching the waves with all their 
white crests dancing." The day was lovely still, 
with the same exquisitely blue sea and brilliant 
sunshine ; late in the evening, after considerable 
exertion on the part of some of the gentlemen, the 
ladies were induced to sing ; and, finally, quite a little 
concert was got up, as we sat on deck in the brilliant 
moon -light. Alas ! for us all, we " made hay 
whilst the sun shone," but the hay-making was over 
for the remainder of this voyage. The ship took to 
rolling in the night, and in the morning, when 
' Cousin Phil ' reached the deck, it was with too much 
difficulty to allow of his attempting the descent 
again for breakfast. I lay on the top of one of the 
cabin lights getting worse every hour, and unable to 
move without evil consequences ; Selina lay on her 
couch beside me ; until, by a sudden lurch of the 
vessel, ' Cousin Phil ' in his camp-chair fell forward 
upon the deck, and roused us both in alarm. A 
number of passengers ran to the rescue ; happily, 
he was not in the least hurt, but henceforth sat 
lowly upon the deck, with shawls and ])illows for 
support and safety. Selina and T were completely 



14 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

"finished" by the start and the fright, and felt very 
wretched to the end of the journey. Later in the 
day, a loud crash was heard, another lurch, and 
down goes poor Selina, couch and all, overturned 
after the example of her father ; I began to quake 
for myself, but friendly hands were ready again to 
assist, and in order to secure her for the future, her 
couch was lashed firmly to one of the cabin-light 
bars. Oh ! the miseries of the descent at night, and 
the issuing forth again in the morning; whether 
the iMediterranean were blue or not, the two suc- 
ceeding days seemed quite interminable. ' Cousin 
Phil ' lost his companion at dinner time, and had no 
more chatting to enliven him. The fat, comfortable 
stewardess assured me that I should starve if I 
"went on in that way," but I always find it the 
" best way " on these occasions, though Selina 
maintained the contrary, and certainly the stew- 
ardess's " way " appeared to agree well with her ! 
Every passenger on board was upset, and yet the 
treacherous sea looked calm, and the spirits of the 
gentlemen seemed to rise, with the rolling of the 
vessel. Though full of compassion for the ladies, the 
first signs of a pale face, among their own number, 
was a signal for merriment and fun, in which each 
one was the victim in his turn, and their shouts of 
laughter at the dinner-table were incomprehensible 
to our dejected minds. There was one unfortunate 
man, whose very green and yellow appearance 
brought him in for an extra share of this kind of fun. 



A SUllE REMEDY. 15 

He was resolved to face tlie enemy, and down- 
stairs at dinner-time he goes with the rest. Fat 
pork, stewed beef, greens, and salad, are simul- 
taneously thrust before him, and he rushes away in 
despair. 'Try again' how^ever, he will; he is de- 
termined to discover the remedy for sea-sickness, 
and he descends once more. Shortly after, he 
returned on deck, as lively as possible and looking 
perfectly well ; and so he continued to the end of 
the voyage. He said he had drunk a glass of porter, 
and eaten a slice of rich plum-pudding, and hence- 
forth recommends them to the public, as the surest 
remedy under similar circvmistauces. 

Our misery came to an end at last, and at about 
half-past 8 a.m. on Friday, October 26th, the Voctis 
arrived in the Alexandrian harbour. What a chanoe ! 
The water was green now instead of blue, but the 
sky-blue was as lovely and brilliant as ever ; and it 
was so warm that w^e could not stir a step without 
holding umbrellas over our heads. 

The Pasha's flat-roofed palace is now the prettiest 
object in view. The groups of windmills, seen 
through a forest of masts, are curious to behold, 
and quite in the distance appears Pompey's Pillar. 
It is a white, barren-looking scene altogether ; the 
land a dead flat, the flat roofs of the houses giving 
them no additional beauty ; but the variety of boats 
around, and the costumes and varied complexions of 
the Egyptians and Arabs who surround the vessel, 
are most picturesque and amusing ; and I perceived 



IG FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

that the Arabs in this harbour pulled the same effec- 
tive double-stroke with their oars as the Irish boat- 
men used to do in the Cove of Corkr 

The Arab pilot comes on board as the vessel 
enters the harbour ; and, when she is anchored, a 
small steamer takes away all the Indian passengers, 
and lands them near the railway station for Cairo. 
Those w^io purpose remaining in Alexandria are 
next attended to, and taken on shore in small row- 
boats, opposite to the Custom-house. 

It was now our turn, and, having no one to 
meet us in Alexandria, and not understanding one 
word of the language, we were prepared, according 
to the accounts of travellers and guide-books, to 
meet with the greatest possible difficulty. ' Cousin 
Phil's' grey hairs probably ensured respect ; but, be 
that as it may, we were most carefully and tenderly 
deposited in oiie of the boats, under the super- 
intendence of a handsome, coal-black, turbaned 
Arab, who understood a good deal of English. 
Our luggage followed in another boat, and we were 
rowed to shore. A crowd of turbaned heads, and 
faces of every shade of brown, — those of the women 
veiled from below the eyes, — camels, waterskins, 
donkeys, donkey-boys, &c. &c., met our aston- 
ished gaze, but no fuss or incivility of any kind. 
The population were apparently as much amused 
and interested with us^ as we were with them ; and 
our wondering glances at the new world we had 
reached, were returned with i\\Q most perfect good 



ALEXANDIIIA. 17 

humour by the Africans. The Custom-house was 
easily passed by means of a small silver coin; one 
box only on the truck being opened, and quickly 
closed again. Thomas was left with his new black 
friends to escort the luggage, and we took our seats 
in the omnibus for the Hotel Abbat. Here began 
a loud clamouring in Arabic for extra pay on the 
part of the porters and other ' hangers-on,* in which, 
as in many similar instances, 'Cousin Phil' found 
his deafness useful. Finally the horses started off, 
and with a jolting which threatened to throw us off 
our seats at every instant, we arrived, in a quarter 
of an hour's time, at the hotel. 

M. Abbat is a very portly Frenchman ; we spent 
five days in his hotel, and found him a very atten- 
tive landlord. If he would but destroy the flies 
and mosquitoes it would be better, for they were a 
perfect plague, and tried the temper of the new- 
comers sadly. Later experience also led us to 
prefer the Hotel d'Europe in the grand 'Place' of 
Alexandria. 

Now came the first breakfast in Egypt ! I am 
not quite sure that we did not expect to see ' stewed 
ci'ocodile' or alligator, but what we did see was 
omelette aiix fines herbes^ cotelettes, and cold meat, 
dried figs from Smyrna, bananas, dates, and apples. 
We w^ere not to be pitied. This was a private 
breakfast. The ' table d'hote ' was served twice a-day, 
at noon, and at 7 p.m., and had it not been for the 
presence of the foreign fruits, the mosquitoes, and 

c 



18 FOUll .-NIONTITS IX A DAITABEEH. 

the costume and language of one of the waiters, 
who was an Arab, we miglit have imagined ourselves 
still seated at a 'table d'hote' in Europe. There 
is but one salon in the house, and as that one was 
occupied, we were obliged to put up with the small 
public room; which would have done very well, but 
for that intolerable habit of spitting, which all 
foreigners will still keep up, and in which we found 
Egypt by no means behind-hand. We used this 
room, then, for a short time only before the dinner- 
hour ; sitting in the ' verandah,' or in the open air 
in the little garden earlier in the morning, and in 
' Cousin Phil's' room in the evening. Here, while 
undergoing a process of slow suffocation, we syste- 
matically slaughtered the mosquitoes that well-nigh 
slaughtered us, until, wearied out with heat and bites, 
we despairingly brought our first Egyptian day to 
an early close ; obtained a momentary solace from a 
draught of delicious lemonade, and retired to our 
beds. 

In the afternoon we had taken a drive along the 
great Canal. It is called ' Mahmoodeeh,' in honour 
of Mohammed Ali, who began it in 1819. He com- 
pleted it in January 1820 — it is said, with the loss of 
the lives of 20,000 men. The banks are barren and 
monotonous enough, but along the roadside are the 
gardens of the Pasha and several good-looking houses 
belonging to him, to one of the consuls, and to some 
rich residents, chiefly French. Here and there the 
windings of tho canal afford a landscape, which, 



NATIVE IIL'TS. 19 

with a little stretcli of imagination, might l)e called 
'pretty;' but the 'dahabeehs,' or Nile boats, seen 
upon its waters, were the chief and most interesting 
objects in our eyes. Some of them were already oc- 
cupied, and looked extremely pretty and comfortable. 
We did not examine these, for we had been told that 
it was better to engage one in Cairo. 

On the opposite banks were many of the dwellings 
of the poor. It is hard to believe that human beings, 
living so near civilised lands, can own such homes. 
They are the most wretched mud hovels that can be 
conceived, roofed over with bundles of dried cane, 
conveying no idea but that of pigstyes of the worst 
description. Indeed, our pigs at home would pro- 
bably object to inhabit them. The appearance of 
the poor creatures who live in tlicse liovels is 
wretched in the extreme. 

Eeturning again along the Canal, another road 
led us to ' Pompey's Pillar.' It is a plain column with 
a capital, upwards of 98 ft. in height, formed of 
three pieces of granite. The cause of its bearing 
Pompey's name is unknown, but the inscription, as 
mentioned by Sir G. Wilkinson, tells us that it was 
"erected by Publius, the Prjefect of Egypt, in 
honour of Diocletian." It stands at the head of 
the present Arab cemetery. A dreary-looking spot 
this is; the soil around as white as its closely-packed 
grave-stones, which are almost univeisally sur- 
mounted l)y a short plain pillar, its cold dead look 
raisino- in the Christian mind (lie hun-iii''' desire fur 



20 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

the day when the ' Cross' will be seen there instead, 
as an emblem of faith and hope, and the sad 
thought removed, that 'the truth as it is in Jesus' 
is still hidden from the multitudes inhabiting a land 
wdiich contains so many interesting reminders and 
proofs of our Scripture history. Continuing the 
drive we passed through the old town of Alexandria. 
Here the scene is strange and amusing indeed to a 
new-comer. The streets very narrow; the upper 
stories of the houses projecting with supports from 
the lower; the little open shops on the ground-floor 
full of every imaginable article of commerce. The 
men in their variously-coloured costumes, seated 
cross-legged, or half lying down on the counters, 
smoking their long pipes, hookahs, or narghilla?, or 
drinking cafe noir out of tiny cups, and bargaining 
for the sale of their goods ; whilst other figures, 
with turbaned heads and venerable beards, lie coiled 
up in front of their wares fast asleep. Money- 
changers walk along clinking their money in their 
hands, to make their office known ; and donkeys trot 
briskly by, rattling a bunch of rings under their 
necks, to warn foot-passengers out of their way. 
Our Arab driver looked round ever and anon, in 
evident satisfaction at the astonishment of the tra- 
vellers, and ejaculated in patronizing tones the 
words "Good!" "Very good!" the only English 
expressions that he knew, which were two more 
than his masters could utter of his language. 

The men in general wear a long, loose garment 



COSTUMES. 21 

of blue, red, yellow, green, black, or white cotton ; 
a Turkish fez on the head, with a white or coloured 
turban twisted round it in a variety of folds, ac- 
cording to the taste of the wearer, and carefully confin- 
ing the ends of the beautiful blue silk tassel, which 
we always felt a great desire to set free. They wear 
red or yellow morocco shoes with pointed toes, and 
the greater number go without stockings. The men 
of the higher classes, and the military, have adopted 
the Turkish costume of a loose jacket and full 
trousers, and, as our dragoman informed us, show- 
ing his own feet with a look of pride, ' English 
boots' and stockings. The ancient dress of the 
Egyptian women, composed entirely of white cotton, 
is still kept up by the lower orders, and pleased us 
more than any of the other costumes. It so com- 
pletely envelopes the wearer that no feature but the 
eyes and the hands are visible, and must be a 
most effectual shelter from the burning rays of the 
Eastern sun. It consists of full white trousers tied 
in at the ankle ; a loose white dress over them ; a long, 
narrow, white muslin veil, called the ' yash-mak,' with 
some edging or embroidery round it, reaching to the 
ground, and fastened across the face just below the 
eyes; a stiff white band resting on the top of the 
forehead, and descending to the veil, hides the nose; 
and a large white drapery thrown over the head 
completely conceals the remaining portion of the 
forehead. We saw numbers of these white ' ghosts ' 
walking about in the ' Place,' with little European 



22 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEII. 

cliildren under their charge, and we wondered that 
tlieir strange appearance did not startle the poor 
babies ; but thej h)oked quite as happy as if their 
nurses had worn coloured dresses, unveiled their 
faces, and shown white hands instead of black ones. 
Tlie dress of the upper classes of the women is the 
same in fashion, but the material is Persian silk, of 
all colours ; the most general appeared to be a very 
delicate pink or yellow ; the veil of clear muslin, 
embroidered elaborately, or trimmed with lace, and 
the mantle of black silk, which they are careful to 
dispose in such a manner that their European sisters 
may see and admire the beauty of their attire, and 
the splendid jewels which many of them wear round 
their necks and arms, as well as in their hair. The 
really poor are miserably clad in a single garment of 
blue checked cotton, with a scarf of the same material 
thrown over their heads and shoulders ; with this they 
carefully cover their mouths wdien any stranger or 
any man passes by. All this must be seen and heard 
to be appreciated ; the attitudes, the countenances, 
the variety of colour, both in complexion and cos- 
tume, and, not least, the sounds^ which sui'jirise a 
civilised ear on all sides, constituting the at- 
traction of the whole scene. The atmosphere in 
passing throngh this portion of the town is none 
of the most agreeable ; and although many indivi- 
duals are quite clean in their appearance, there is 
such an amount of dirtiness, that a European will 
much prefer driving through the old town to walk- 



MOSQLITUE.S. 23 

ing, and we were not sorry to pass ont of it all into 
fresher air. 

The moonlight night was lovely : evening closes 
in immediately after sunset, and the air becomes 
sensibly colder ; but within the precincts of Abbat's 
Hotel nothing was cold : the suffocating heat of noon 
was there securely bottled in for the night. Mosquito 
curtains enveloped the beds ; but no peace was in 
store for any one of us on this first or the three 
following nights; and poor ' Cousin Phil' appeared at 
breakfast next morning, his face entirely covered 
with bites, most distressing to himself and to all 
who beheld him. We thought the mosquitoes, like 
their betters, might at least have respected his age ; 
but they were too wise; they knew the vigour of 
'Cousin Phil's' constitution, and treated him accord- 
ingly. Selina and I were equally tormented, but, 
happily for our vanity, the discerning insects had 
spared our faces ! 

The voices of the watchmen shouting all night 
long, to keep one another awake, are alarming: they 
startle a poor traveller in the most cruel manner 
just as he is dozing off, after a violent scuffle with 
a mosquito ; and if he contrives to reach the verge 
of a second doze, up start a whole chorus of wild 
dogs in their turn ; then comes the same all over 
again, until, with the morning light, arrives the 
chattering in all languages of the servants of the 
hotel in the court below. These have a peculiar 
faculty for playing and working at the same time. 



24 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

and the unfortunate European lifts up the mosquito 
curtain in despair, and turns out of his sleepless bed, 
wondering what he ever came to Egypt for ! At 
breakfast, for the climax, comes the ^ plague of flics f 
This is the cool season, and the thermometer points 
to 76° Fahrenheit in our bedrooms. 

Oct. '2%th. — This morning, being Sunday, was 
ushered in by more than the usual noises and voices 
in the hotel. It turned out to be a general washing, 
and, it might have been supposed, extra talking day 
as well. This was a second Sunday without a church 
to go to for public worship, for the clergyman of the 
place had died a month since, and the one from Jeru- 
salem, who had undertaken the duty after him, was 
absent at Cairo for the moment, on account of his 
health. The mail for England was expected hourly, 
so we prepared our letters for home, and then drove 
to the Pasha's gardens, Avhere all the world is to be 
seen on Sunday afternoons at about four o'clock. 
The carriages remain at the gate, and the parties get 
out and walk, or sit on seats under the acacia-trees. 
The garden was barren enough. This was not the 
season for flowers, and there were but few to be 
seen, with the exception of the beautiful yellow 
bignonia, and a very large convolvulus, the blos- 
soms of which were of a more brilliant blue than 
we had ever seen at home. 

We were fortunate in making the acquaintance 
of an English gentleman who had resided for many 
years in Alexandria. Mr. B was well acquainted 



MOIIAMED EL ADLKKII. 25 

with the manners and customs of this country, and 
was most kind in giving every information and 
assistance regarding our trip up the Nile. He 
brouo-ht us a dra2;oman named ' Mohamed el Ad- 
leeli,' whom he recommended for our factotum 
during the journey. Mohamed had handsome 
bronzed features, was a stout, strong-looking man, 
showed a number of good testimonials from former 
travellers, and appeared willing to do everytliing 
that we could desire, at such terms as Mr. B — ; — 
thought reasonable ; and, what was more tlian all 
besides, the fear and dread of his displeasure hung 
over the dra2:oman's head like a drawn sword. It 
was finally agreed that, as our boat was to be 
engaged at Cairo, he should proceed thither at his 
own expense, to be formally engaged there. AVhen 
the other preliminaries of the trip were arranged, 
Mr. B kindly promised to come to Cairo him- 
self, and engage a boat for us, tliat ' Cousin Phil ' 
might not be cheated in more ways than were abso- 
lutely necessary ; whilst we, on our side, promised 
to make no agreement until he arrived. Meanwhile, 
when a guide was wanted in Alexandria, we engaged 
one of those who sat at the hotel door waiting to be 
hired. They are either paid a small sum for a trip 
to a particular spot, or they are engaged for the day. 
Four-and-sixpence is a sufficient remuneration for 
tlie day, although many will make a stand for six 
shillings. And here it may not be out of place to 
remark, that for the sake of their countrymen, if 



26 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

not for themselves, travellers in Egypt or other 
foreign countries should be careful not to give 
lavishly the first price they are asked, or, as many 
do, even more than that. Those who receive these 
sums are never afterwards satisfied with less, but, 
on tlie contrary, they learn to grasp at more. Their 
fellows see no reason why they should not be 
equally well paid, and tlie sum thoughtlessly given 
by one becomes henceforth the standard price for 
all. The prevailing opinion in the country is, that 
" Englishmen are made of money." And the more 
they act as though this were true, the higher the 
claims of the natives will rise — whereas if 'Cousin 
Phil' was made of money, and if some very few 
others may be in the same happy case, we know well 
that many an invalid is debarred from trying the 
effect of the air of Egypt, simply by the exorbitant 
premium now placed upon the trip. 

Monday^ Oct. 29M. — Our hats were covered with 
folds of white muslin, to keep out the rays of the sun ; 
and although, with the white flaps hanging behind, 
we thought we had somewhat the appearance of a pro- 
cession attending a funeral, the hats were voted to 
be much improved in appearance as well as in couifort 

thereby. At 4 p.m. Mrs. L , an Alexandrian lady 

of rank, kindly called and took us out for a drive in 
her carriage ; she had a little dog in her lap, and 
had just finished smoking a cigarette, which she 
strongly recommends as a cure for toothache. The 
drive took us along the canal, round by the Kosetta 



GUEEN FIELDS. 27 

gate: «and greatly astonished were we at the glowing 
description of v'erdure and flowers, where our unso- 
phisticated eyes could sec nothing but desert and 
dust. Surely, we thought, we are in the true desert 
now, and there are the poor camels traversing it, 
carrying skins full of water on their backs for the 
thirsty traveller ! But no : here, a few montlis 
hence, will be the green fields of Alexandria ; here 
they were a few months back, and then, no doubt, 
so enchanted the eyes of the parched-up residents 
tliat they see them green still, when not an atom of 
anytliing but white dust remains ; or, maybe, the 
burning rays of the Egyptian sun have rendered 
them colour-blind. Our amusement reached its 
height when our kind friend ordered the driver to 
stop opposite three very dusty steps, surrounded by 
a few i'>ery dusty trees, called a ' Terrace,' and when, 
after feasting our eyes with a distant view of the 
Lake Mareotis, we sat talking there, in the dust, 
because it was " such a pretty spot ! " Perhaps 
before we leave Egypt we shall have arrived at 
this also ; and what shall we think of home and 
real green when we return to them again? Again 
we smiled inwardly, and said, " Time will show ! " 
Tuesday, Oct. 30th. — This morning, with Thomas, 
Sarah, and a dragoman to escort us, we walked 
through the bazaars. It was a very amusing and 
interesting: sia:ht ; but as these bazaars are not con- 
sidered good, it will be better to describe those at 
Cairo, only pausing here to observe, that the foul- 
ness of the air was absolutely sickening. It would 



28 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

seem, however, that travelling improves the powers 
of the body as well as those of the mind, for on 
our return we not only saw beauty and freshness 
in what we had despised before, but we breathed 
the same atmosphere with comparative comfort. 
Our walk on this occasion terminated with an 
amusing hunt after homoeopathic medicines. In 
tlie hurried embarkation at Marseilles, mine had 
been left behind ; and now, after trying five chemists 
in succession, who were sufficiently behindhand in 
science to scout the idea of having any connexion 
with such ' quackery ! ' we sadly gave it up ; when 
Mustapha, our dragoman for the day, stopped at 
one more door, and, preparing to usher us in, said, 
"And this will be si:r.'^ Much amused, we complied, 
and lo ! globules in abundance were produced. 
There is nothing like perseverance after all, and 
we will never give up ' trying again.' 

Mustapha had introduced himself to us as bro- 
ther to ' Mohamed el Adleeli ;' and as matters were 
not thoroughly arranged with the latter, the bro- 
therly affection oozed out, and Mustapha recognised 
the duty of not losing a chance for himself He 
came up to us, saying, " I, dragoman like him for 
Nile : if you like him, you take him : if you like me 
best, you take me : just the same : no difference at 
all ! " And so he made himself most disinterestedly 
agreeable and useful during the expedition, in hopes 
of outdoing his beloved relative. It did not succeed, 
and he was soon engaged by another party. 

A heavy shower of rain, which laid the dust and 



MOSQUITOES AGAIN. 29 

considerably refreshed the air, drove us in for a 
time, and then, as we had made several lady ac- 
quaintances in Alexandria, we mounted en voifure 
again, and set forth to make "a round of calls." 

One or two flights of stone steps lead to the draw- 
ing-room doors on each story in the Alexandrian 
houses. In many they are old, worn, and badly kept, 
being in a manner public property ; but the rooms are 
comfortable enough when once you get into them ; 
and some rejoice in a good sea- view, and fresher air 
by far than we breathed at Abbat's Hotel. Some few 
private dwelling-houses appeared by contrast like 
palaces in this uncivilised land ; and there sat the 
owners, surrounded by every European luxury of 
furniture, books, pictures, and cleanliness; endea- 
vouring thus to shut out the white, dusty world 
beyond, which we are quite sure they must all 
dislike extremely. The mere treat thus afforded to 
the eye might have lengthened our " calls " consi- 
derably, but we continued the drive towards Abou- 
kii', where the famous battle of the Nile took place, 
and saw some really green fields of cane, cabbages, 
and small clover, besides extensive plantations of 
fig-trees, though with neither leaves nor figs upon 
them ; and here we breathed some deliciously fresh 
air. 

' Cousin Phil ' did not feel very well this evening, 
and we all retired early to bed. Wednesday morn- 
ing dawned, October 31st — 'but, alas ! what of the 
niglit's rest ? Poor ' Cousin Phil,' he had not slept 



30 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

a wink, neither liad lie one flat speck left on the 
whole of his head, forehead, or face ! He was one 
mass of mosquito bites all over, in a sad state of 
bodily, and, — we doubt not, — mental irritation also: 
I had had no less than five mosquitoes feasting upon 
my hands all night, and was conscious of being in 
an equally exasperated mood. I hope I did not show 
it much more than he did. Being still a novice, I had 
carefully tacked the intruders within my curtains ; 
but ' Cousin Phil ' confesses that, in the despair in- 
spired by suffocation, he had thrown up the pro- 
tecting curtains altogether, and was immediately 
assailed by about 150 of the enemy ! There will 
not be much left of him to return to England, if 
this continues. 

There is an art in arranging mosquito curtains, 
as in ever3^thing else, and if it is not well under- 
stood, these protections are useless. When properly 
gathered up on the frame round the top of the bed, 
no mosquitoes can penetrate during the day. A 
short time before retiring to rest, a vigorous flapping 
with a fly-flapper or towel should be resorted to, the 
curtains instantly dropped and carefully tucked in 
all round. If one small aperture be left, good-bye to 
sleep ! Although the Arab servants are sujDposed 
to go through these manoeuvres in a masterly style, 
we always found it necessary to repeat them again 
for ourselves just before getting into bed. In this 
last operation, too, unless you are very expert and 
expeditious, the mosquitoes are on the watch, and 



THE pasha's palace. 81 

will be sure to accompany you. x\t about sunset 
these little tormentors of our race congregate upon 
the window-panes in large numbers. A few moments 
spent in destroying them at this time will be well 
repaid. The slightest stroke of a handkerchief puts 
an end to their fragile existence, and reiiders that of 
the traveller so much the more endurable for one 
day. 

The rain poured down this morning in refreshing 
torrents, and the thermometer fell to 71°: a sensible 
and welcome change. The shower was soon over, 
and under Mohamed's escort, at half-past two p.m., 
we drove to see the Pasha's Palace, and tlirougli 
the great Egyptian Bazaar; when a second shower, 
which we welcomed with joy, sent us in again, and 
afforded a view of the most magnificent rainbow we 
had ever seen. 

The Palace is situated near the entrance of the 
Harbour. Its rooms are very handsomely furnished 
and hung with damask, and the floors beautifully 
inlaid with different kinds of wood. They are for 
the most part state - rooms, in which the Pasha 
receives his own and foreign officers, and visitors. 
Our guide's version was, that in one he " held his 
Parliament," in another his " Church," and in a 
third he showed the divan upon which he reposes 
for a time after dinner, leaning back against one 
pillow, whilst two other very large ones are placed 
in front, upon each of which, IMohamed said, one 
leg reclines, " because he is so fat''' And this was 



32 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIACEEH. 

uttered in a tone of intense admiration ! The chan- 
deliers in two of the apartments are magnificent, 
and come from Paris : indeed, all the decorations are 
of French workmanship. The Harlem is close by : 
and the ladies walk in the surrounding garden. 
The Pashas are allowed four wives by the Kordn, 
but Mohamed told us confidentially that they owned 
about sixty or seventy. 

The name of ' Cleopatra's Needles ' has been 
given to two large obelisks in red granite, bearing, 
in hieroglyphics, the name of the third Thotmes, 
B.C. 1493. One of them is still standing; the other 
lies on the ground at its feet, almost entirely con- 
cealed by accumulated dust and rubbish. It was 
given to the English by Mohamed Ali, and was to 
have been removed to England, as a record of their 
successes in Egypt. This w^as, however, relin- 
quished, the mutilated state of the obelisk making 
it, as it was said, not worth the enormous expense of 
transport. We could not but regret that it should 
lie thus neglected upon its own soil, instead of stand- 
ing like its fellow, a memorial of the gigantic works 
of the ancients. There is little else of interest in 
Alexandria besides the site of the Great Library, 
St. Mark's Church, the supposed tomb of Alexander 
the Great, and the mosque of 1001 columns ; 
these last we had not time to explore. From the 
end of October to the end of March is the full 
season for journeying on the Nile, and the earlier in 
this period that travellers can set out the better, 



THE INUNDATION. 33 

iu order that they may not lose the fair winds which 
usually blow during the two first of these months, 
and are the more appreciated whilst the dahabeeh 
has to sail up the river and against the current, 
which in some parts is very strong. If the passage 
of the Cataracts is contemplated, it is also well to be 
in good time, for the waters of the Nile at this sea- 
son decrease rapidly. The rise and overflow of this 
remarkable river begin in the end of June, and 
continue till the end of September ; it recedes 
during the months of October and November; and 
having fertilised the surrounding country by the rich 
deposit which it leaves behind, returns again to its 
usual bed. 

We ha4 now reached the last day of October, 
and found the air of Alexandria oppressive in the 
extreme : half the families in the city were laid up 
with fever; and as everybody said tliere was nothing 
there worth seeing, we determined that, whatever 
might be before us, the sooner we made a move the 
better. At a quarter past 8 a.m., of November 
1st, we took our departure, without one pang of 
regret, notwithstanding the kindness of our friends, 
and the interest which we certainly had felt in all 
we had seen. On our return, after an absence of 
four months and a half in more southern climes, we 
iuUy appreciated the European aspect of Alexandria, 
and even found it refreshing to return to its now 
maligned atmosphere. 



D 



34 



CHAPTER II. 

FROM ALEXANDRIA TO CAIRO. 

The dragoman, Moliamed el Adleeh, accompanied us 
on our departure from Alexandria, and from tlie first 
proved himself to be a most useful and active servant. 
He began at once acting as commander-in-cliief, with 
great good temper towards us, and with vigorous cuts 
with his stick upon the shoulders of Arab intruders. 
Cousin Phil's surname was beyond the powers of 
Mohamed's utterance. " Very hard for me," he 
complained ; and he therefore adopted that abbre- 
viation which appeared to him most suitable to the 
head of our party. " Pap-pa," he says, " sit here." 
To Thomas and Sarah, " You stand there." To 
Selina and me, " You come with me. We take the 
tickets ; come back ; pay for the luggage ; then 
'Pap"pa,' come in; get into carriage directly ;" and so 
it was all done with lightning speed, and not a little 
to our amusement. We followed our retainer most 
obediently, and did all we were bid to do : no 
time was allowed for thinking, but we hoped it was 
all right, and wished that a faithful artist could have 
taken a sketch on the spot of the active figure with 



THE UOAD TO CAIUO. 35 

brown face, scarlet fez, red and yellow turban, dark 
blue jacket, and large loose trousers, Damascus silk 
sash round the waist, and walking-stick in. hand. 
Our kind friends saw us into the train for Cairo : the 
carriages were of English manufacture, built suitably 
to the climate, and painted a very light dust colour. 
We soon found ours the most comfortable place we 
had been in for a long time. It was Thursday, 
Nov. 1st, and the interest of its associations as ' All 
Saints' Day' was heightened l)y the reflection that 
many of the early Saints of the Church had once 
trod the ground over which the noisy locomotive 
was now conveying us. These recollections increased 
as we penetrated further south, into the region of 
the waving corn-fields of Egypt. In some parts the 
rich, luxuriant soil was freshly turned up by the 
primitive wooden plough, drawn now by two oxen, 
now by two buffaloes, whilst one man, in loose 
white dress and turban, guided it from behind. In 
other parts the country was still inundated : rice was 
growing up in the midst of the water, and some 
fresh grain was being scattered in ; large tracts of 
barley, already ripe, lay in the sunshine, of a brilliant 
golden hue, and in many fields the harvest was 
going on. The waters of the Nile had risen this 
year, we were told, to six feet above the ordinary 
level. The crops of Indian corn had been con- 
sequently spoiled, but the rice was ]u-oportionably 
luxuriant. The beautiful rich green of the 'cofl^ee' 
shrub, and plantations of the 'cotton' ])lnnt in pod 



36 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

were seen as the train passed on at slow Egyptian 
pace, crossing the river over the suspension-bridge 
built by Robert Stephenson. These latter were 
not sufficiently near to be recognised by our inex- 
perienced eyes ; indeed, we first noted them down 
as crops of ' tomatos ! ' Interpersed amid this rural 
scene were the mud villages of the natives, rising 
at very short intervals all along tlie road. Wretched 
in the extreme they are, like those which first meet 
the eye in Alexandria ; and there were the poor little 
girls on the banks of some of the water channels, 
gathering up the mud with their hands and making 
clay, wherewith to build or repair their miserable 
dwellings, their bodies but half covered with the dark 
blue checked cotton dress of the country, and yet 
many of them wore bracelets on their arms, and 
bead necklaces round their necks. Each one of 
these small villages has its mosque with its minaret, 
from whence the people are daily called three times 
to prayer; these, with the distant palm-trees, and 
frequent strings of laden camels passing by, complete 
the landscape of this part of the country. 

The number of persons traversing the road 
between Alexandria and Cairo was very striking. 
They were to be seen along the whole way ; some 
walking, staff in hand, or carrying it behind their 
shoulders, as if for support to the back ; some 
riding on camels or donkeys, and a privileged few 
upon horses; while others were lazily working in the 
fields ; all contributing to the life and beauty of the 



N.LE WATEK. 37 

landscape by the variety in the colours and forms 
of" their turbans, fez, and scanty drapery. As the 
train stopped at the various stations on the river- 
side, little girls pressed forward offering the water 
of their beloved river, in pretty, long-necked, 
porous, earthen bottles, called 'goolleh.' These are 
common all over Egypt, and in them the water is 
kept deliciously cool. When well filtered the Nile 
water is exceedingly clear and very good, but as it 
flows in the river it presents in general a dull red 
hue, far from tempting. There is considerable 
elegance in the figures of the half-dressed children, 
and in the playful manner with which they endeavour 
to attract attention, and to gain '^Baksheesh," m 
other words, " A ha'penn}^, please. Sir." They seem 
to be born with this word in their mouths, and never 
cease repeating it, although their efforts are but 
seldom crowaied with success. Cheerfulness and 
dirtiness may apparently exist and thrive together, 
at least in southern climes, for if we were struck 
with their merry faces, we were far more so with 
their utter Vv'ant of cleanliness, and a close contact 
with these lively creatures is a perpetual dread to 
the pedestrian. Their skin seems to have lost all 
feeling in this respect, and we saw many of them 
literally covered with flies all over their faces, and 
griiming away at us all the time in perfect uncon- 
cern. There were others, however, who, like their 
brothers and sisters in the towns, ])resented in every 
way a sad i)icturc of misery. jNIen were carrying 



38 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

water skins on their backs, and in their hands small 
brass dishes, which they rattled together, offering 
' sherbet ' or liquorice-water out of them to the 
people of the country. The skins are goat-skins in 
their natural form, and are filled from smaller skin 
bags: by their means the water is carried on the 
backs of men, camels, or donkeys ; while the women 
fetch it from the river in large pitchers, which 
they bear on their heads, supporting them lightly 
with one hand, or frequently balancing them with- 
out any support at all. In one instance we saw 
a man giving drink to his stately camel out of a 
small iron dish. It would have made a good subject 
for an artist. Large groups of people were squatted 
Egyptian fashion, that is, with their knees up to 
their chins, the fashion of sitting adopted by the 
Egyptians from time immemorial, and which they do 
not seem inclined to desert for chairs or other 
modern innovations. These groups were apparently 
doing nothing, but they were supposed to be looking 
after the cattle that were grazing around. A few 
dark brown-wooled sheep were here and there to 
be seen; and camels and buffaloes in large numbers. 
Birds of passage were seen flying high in the air or 
closely skimming the waters ; some lanky storks 
stood watching at the water's edge ; and there were 
numerous flocks of white pigeons on the wing. 
On one tree they had settled in such numbers that 
it appeared to be completely covered with a rich 
white blossom, which, on onr nearer approacli. 



THE TYRAMIDS. 39 

suddenly spread its wings and flew away. The 
date-palm trees seemed different from those near 
Alexandria ; they were very tall, but the leaves 
shorter and less elegant ; and they had none of the 
rich clusters of dates with which the latter were 
adorned. 

The air improved as we proceeded towards 
Cairo, and the most delicious breezes refreshed 
our parched-up frames. An excellent dinner is 
advertised at the station half-Avay to Cairo, called 
'Kafr el Eash' — "the best dinner in all Egypt," 
how^ever much or little that may say for it ; but we 
were sufficiently cautious or economical to have 
provided ourselves with luncheon at Abbat's Hotel, 
rather than pay five shillings a-piece here on the 
chance of what we might find. The train stops 
at this station for nearly an hour, which is tedious 
enough. But we are off" again: as we draw very 
near to Cairo, the Pyramids are the objects of ex- 
pectation, and at about half-past three o'clock r.M. 
we really behold them. There is a shout from our 
carriage of "There they are !" and as if elec- 
trified all our party start to their feet; ' Cousin Phil' 
making his way from the opposite side of the 
carria2;e with as much excitement and emotion as 
the younger travellers. There, indeed, before us 
rose the Pyramids of Geezeh, in a misty distance, 
which seemed to add to the solenmity of their ap- 
pearance. Not all the oft-rei)eated accounts of 
soldier brothers rushing by on their way to India, 



40 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

China, or Australia, and so familiarising the ear to 
their name, that in Europe, by our comfortable fire- 
sides, we begin to think of the Pyramids of Egypt as 
mere half-way houses to Bombay, Madras, Hong 
Kong, or INIelbourne, could take away one atom of 
the pleasure and surprise of this moment. Little 
had either of us ever dreamed, till a few weeks 
past, of seeing with our own eyes these wondrous 
resting-places of Egyptian kings, the antiquity 
of which, beyond all certain date, takes the mind back 
at once through all the field of history to ages 
know^n and unknow^n. There are no certain records 
of Egyptian history beyond the sixteenth dynasty, 
or about 1800 years before the Christian era, 
and the Pyramids existed then. The Pyramids of 
Geezeh — a group of three, two of them large, and 
one by comparison so small that from this point 
of view it is nearly hidden — were those which 
charmed us on this occasion. Our fancy revelled 
in the mine of antiquarian speculation which these 
venerable mounds presented ; our enthusiasm was 
at its height, and for the moment it seemed as 
though all that the world contained of real interest 
were placed before us in that one view. But the 
train passed heedlessly on, and the busy and truly 
Oriental city of Cairo soon diverted our meditations 
into a new channel. We arrived at about five p.m., 
and were greeted at the terminus with all the 
confusion and noise described in the guide-books. 
Happy for us that we had our faithful dragoman 



shepherd's hotel. 41 

to talk down and repulse the crowd of Arabs, 
who immediately seized upon us and our bags. 
Even with his assistance ' Cousin Phil ' was here 
several times in imminent peril of being thrown 
down, and the question frequently rose in our minds, 
whetlier we should ever reach the carriage or the 
hotel in safety at all. This was accomplished in 
time, and, much amused with the scuffles which 
other unfortunate travellers were going through 
with the world-famed ' donkey-boys,' we arrived at 
half-past five r.M. at the entrance to Shepherd's 
Hotel, on the ' Uzbek eeli.' 

Imagine our delight at the lofty rooms and cool 
passages of this hotel, and the inviting arm-chairs 
in a certain parlour, which received us with open 
arms, and where we immediately reclined our wea- 
ried frames, with dreams of future comfort. Imagine 
the subsequent horror at being obliged to relinquish 
it all, — the parlour, the only one on the ground-floor, 
was already engaged ! When it is to be had, it is 
at the price of 11. per day, extra to the lO.v. paid 
daily by each person for l)oard and lodging in the 
hotel. ' Cousin Phil' could not mount upstairs: his 
bed-room, then, must act as sitting-room ; and the 
poor young ladies, who, of course, have a weakness 
for sitting-rooms proper, must put up with it. We 
had spacious apartments above, but the cool passages 
and very fatiguing stone steps were not just tlie 
tiling for an invalid ; and from what we heard and 
experienced afterwards, the 'Hotel des Empereurs' 



42 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

would be far preferable in cases where comfort, equal 
temperature, and cleanliness, are desirable items. 

The quiet table-dliote dinner was served at 
half- past six o'clock. There were about twenty 
persons present, the British Consul and Vice-consul 
among the number; and all were very chatty and 
agreeable. ' Cousin Phil,' not being able to join 
in the general conversation, was contented to sit 
between the two ladies : thus we had the oppor- 
tunity of making acquaintance with our next neigh- 
bours ; and from many of them, as time went on, we 
gained a great deal of useful information, which Avas 
retailed to ' Cousin Phil ' in our bed-room parlour. 

The next morning (Friday, Nov. 2d) we met at 
nine o'clock at the tahle-dJliote dejeuner d lafourcliette^ 
with mutual congratulations on not having been eaten 
up during the night, as in Alexandria. It was a very 
good breakfast : ham and eggs fried up together into 
a most exemplary pancake ; fried potatoes, cutlets, 
cold meat, tea and coffee ; home-like gooseberry jam, 
in a large salad-glass, fruits, and lard, calling itself 
butter ! I believe it was made of buffalo-milk, but 
it looked like lard, and that was enough for us. 
AVhen we said good-bye to our island home, it was 
good-bye, as a matter of course, to butter also ; so 
that this did not trouble us much, and we never 
tasted a bit of it till we returned home again in 
the summer of 1861. 

Carriages with two horses are engaged at the 
hotel at sixteen sliilliiigs per day. If not engaged 



THE FIRST DRIVE. 43 

there, travellers are generally asked one pound for 
them. Ours now stops the way, and we set forth 
to hunt for a ' dahabeeh,' suitable for our excursion 
up the Nile. A black figure with white dress and 
red fez, legs and arms mostly bare, sits as coachman ; 
at his side the dragoman ; a black * sais,' or runner, 
— with a tight jacket of coloured cotton, large loose 
sleeves tucked up over the shoulder, caught together 
behind with a string, and flapping about as he runs, 
a very short loose skirt, bare legs with a bit of wool 
tied round the ankle ("to assist his running"), a 
common fez, and small stick in hand — runs before 
the carriage, shouting at the top of his voice, " 6 — a! 
— o — a! Riglac, riglac!" (Out of the way! Out 
of the way! Take care of your legs!) and knocking 
out of his way, in the most unceremonious manner, 
old and young, camels, donkeys, and donkey-boys; 
whatever impedes the progress of the carriage, in 
which the Europeans sit in a high state of amuse- 
ment and amazement, as well as of interest at the 
scene before them. 

To our northern ideas the noise made on our 
account, as Ave whirled through the narrow streets, 
and the good-humour with which the croAvd moved 
out of our way and put up with all the antics of 
the 'sais,' were incomprehensible; while the 'sais' 
himself, who could run thus for hours, keeping 
up with the pace of the horses, and making them go 
all the faster for his shouting, seemed to us but little 
short of a maniac. ( )n we flv through the town of 



44 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Boulak (the port of Cairo), the dragoman pointing 
out and naming bazaar, mosque, gate, and fountain, 
as they succeed each other, so rapidly as to leave in 
the minds of his liearers a confused vocabulary of 
unpronounceable names, associated with a still 
greater confusion of all the novel objects which so 
simultaneously meet their gaze. The monuments 
of ages gone by appear crumbling to ruin in the 
midst of those of later times, and of those of the 
present day, still in course of erection. Side by side 
the new and the old exist together in this ancient 
city. Nothing apparently is ever moved away, but 
ruins and heaps of rubbish lie as they once fell, or 
accumulate afresh day by day. Houses, of which 
one half only still stand, are inhabited, while the rest 
of the original building strews the ground below in 
the form of dust and fragments. The pretty " Mush- 
rabeeh," the Moorish Avooden lattice-windows, still 
remain in many of them, though in most cases they 
are broken and mutilated, and hang from the walls 
as it w^ere by a thread. This beautiful remnant 
of antiquity will soon, alas' have disappeared from 
Cairo, for the Mushrabeeii are no longer allowed to 
be put up there, on account of the danger of fire. 
The upper stories of the houses project from the 
lower and overhang the streets, which are so naiTow 
that it is quite surprising how so much business and 
traffic can be carried on in the open shops which 
line them on either side, as well as before them in 
the street itself Yet the streets of Boulak are con" 



SEEKING FOR A DAHABEEII. 45 

siderahly wider than those of ' Old Cairo,' wliich we 
have not yet seen. 

But we have reached the Nile, and are now 
examining the many 'dahabechs' anchored in this 
port. It was a work of some difficulty to get to 
them — first over verv irre2;ular 2;round into a small 
boat, and thence to the larger vessel. Very pleasant 
was the refreshing breeze as we rowed along ; and 
this was the first thing which gave me any idea of 
comfort in connexion with the Nile trip. Once on 
the water, we should have fresh air again, and Selina 
and I began to feel our fears disperse. The Arabs 
hoisted each of us up the side of the ' dahabeeh ' 
in a wonderful way of their own ; and between three 
of them ' Cousin Phil ' was safely deposited on the 
deck. It was so fatiguing for him to repeat this 
very often, that he afterwards remained in the small 
boat whilst we carried on the inspection of the 
rest of the fleet. The ' Cairo ' was the only boat 
that offered the required accommodation of five 
separate cabins. Our dragoman was amazed ; he 
could not understand, if Selina and I must have 
each a separate cabin, why that luxury should be 
granted to the two servants : he thenceforth 
looked upon Thomas and Sarah as very great 
personages, though rather inconvenient ones ; as 
to himself, there was no thought of a bed for him at 
all — he sleeps outside, " wherever I can ! " Five 
cabins, however, we must have ; and, finally, we 
rowed to a boat belonging to a man whom Mohamed 



46 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

called the 'Persian Vice-consul,' but whose real 
position we never could ascertain. This boat was 
also too small. While we were on board, the 
Persian lady looked out from her window on shore, 
and invited the strangers into her house. ' Cousin 
Phil ' did not much wish to go, but the dragoman 
insisted, and, knowing that in the East the refusal 
of an invitation may be taken as an insult, we all 
mounted a narrow, dark staircase, and were shown 
into a plain-looking room, entirely devoid of orna- 
ment, with the exception of some pretty carving on 
the wooden ceiling. There were ' divans ' against 
the walls on two sides of the apartment, and com- 
mon tables against the others. The lady soon made 
her appearance, very shabbily dressed, in a dark, 
claret-coloured silk dress, open in front, very low 
indeed, and showing a clear white muslin habit-shirt, 
open also. Her hair was plaited in two long, black 
tresses, hanging behind ; and she wore a red fez, 
almost entirely concealed by a very thick black silk 
tassel. It was by no means a scene of luxury or 
grandeur, which may be partly accounted for by 
the fact, which the husband revealed, through the 
medium of our dragoman - interpreter, that their 
eldest son had two months before been drowned in 
the river. Since that time, the poor mother told us, 
through her tears, she had not cared to " dress 
becomingly," or, in feet, " to have anything nice 
about her.'' Upon this the poor thing wept copi- 
ously, as she did repeatedly during the visit, when- 



AN ORIENTAL VISIT. 47 

ever her liushand recurred to the distressing event. 
She certainly did not care to have her surviving 
children ' nicely kept,' or dressed : those that now 
came forward to offer us the customary salutation, 
were surely the dirtiest little animals that ever 
kissed a lady's hand; and while submitting to the 
compliment with becoming courtesy, we inwardly 
rejoiced in the protection afforded by the European 
habit of wearing gloves ! The visit was prolonged 
until the ' English gentleman ' had taken, or pre- 
tended to take, one whiff of the proffered hookah ; 
for ' Cousin Phil ' had been reared in the good 
old times, when the pernicious habit of smoking 
had not taken rank as an essential accomplish- 
ment of youth. The whole party then partook of 
strong black coffee, in tiny china cups ; each cup 
placed within a beautiful silver filagree stand, re- 
sembling an egg-cup. This was the only sign of 
wealth we could discover in this our first Oriental 
visit. Thus it ended, and, after mutual interchanges 
of compliments and a few more hand-kisses from 
the dirty children, we descended the dark staircase, 
and by boat and carriage again reached the hotel. 
We took a slight luncheon at the table cVJiofe, at 
one P.M., and in the course of the afternoon set out on 
another hunt for a ' dahabeeh.' And now, behold 
us mounted on the arms of two strong, black, l)are- 
armed, and bare-legged Arabs ; our arms resting 
affectionately on their black shoulders as they carried 
us across the thick mud, and through the water, to 



48 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

a ' daliabeeli,' whicli there was no other means of 
reaching. We laughed heartily at the comical ap- 
pearance of the whole scene, though in the mo- 
mentary expectation of being dropped into the 
water by the swarthy bearers, who seemed to par- 
ticipate in our merriment. It certainly would have 
made a charming picture ; our modern European 
costume surmounted by the knowing little felt-hat 
and scarlet-tipped black feather, contrasting strangely 
with the flowing robes of our Arab bearers, and the 
portly figure of our dragoman in an equally helpless 
condition closing the procession. 

' Cousin Phil ' sits the while, patiently scorching 
in the open carriage, surrounded by an admiring 
crowd of every shade of brown, not capable of 
understanding one word of theirs, or of making 
himself understood by them. Yet there he remains 
without harm of any kind, and in perfect confidence 
of safety on his own side ; for what should such a 
brave old gentleman have to fear ! The boats 
proved all too small, with the exception of the 
' Cairo,' before mentioned ; but nothing could be de- 
cided till Mr. B. appeared, whose name w^as held 
uji by the travellers as their watchword, against 
cheating of all kinds. 

' Hassan Eflfendi's ' boats had been strongly re- 
commended, and we found them well fitted up, 
though too small for us. ' Hassan ' himself escorted 
the ladies back to the carriage, with what Mohamed 
called most '•'- sweeV eloquence, and a flow of 



THE MOSQUE. 49 

English words, quite astouishing from Oriental li})s. 
He was very handsomely dressed, wore a profusion 
of gold chains, and was very proud of the honour of 
the visit, though evidently rather shocked that his 
boats could be found too small for any party, 
however large. 

Dinner-time this second day, added to our party 

a most agreeable acquaintance in Mr. H , with 

whose writings on this country the public are well 
acquainted. He also was going up the Nile for his 
health. 

Saturday, Nov. ?>d. We ascended the hill of the 
citadel, and stood at the entrance of the magnificent 
Mosque of Mahomet Ali, where our feet were 
clothed in slippers, made of dirty bits of cloth or 
canvas, rudely run up into a kind of shoe, before we 
were allowed to step upon the highly polished 
marble pavement. In the court before the mosque, 
which is also entirely paved with polished marble, 
is a large fountain, at which many poor mis- 
guided Mahometans w^ere devoutly washing, be- 
fore entering the mosque for prayer : their appa- 
rent devotion, worthy a truer creed. Many of the 
Mahometan derweesh, ' clergyment ' and ' big clergy- 
ment,' as our dragoman insisted on calling them, were 
squatted on the floor within the mosque, repeating 
passages from the Kortin, or lying down, because, as 
he said with great reverence, " they have nothing to 
do but to pray." The interior of the mosque is very 
fine ; the pavement, the greater part of the walls, aud 

v. 



50 FOUR MONTHS IN A DATTABEEH. 

the pillars, entirely of marble. The dome and the 
gallery which runs round it within, are very elabo- 
rately gilt and handsomely carved. A splendid circle 
of glass chandeliers is suspended from the centre, and 
lighted upon grand occasions. Issuing from the 
mosque, Mohamed led us with pride to the view of 
the city, which lay spread out at our feet below the 
citadel. It seemed to us that it could hardly be 
surpassed in beauty or in interest. Hundreds of mi- 
narets and domes rise from all parts of the town, 
ruins of years gone by, or fresh erections of the 
day. Intermingled with them, groves of grace- 
ful palm-trees raise their feathery foliage against 
the clear, blue, cloudless sky, whilst, as far as the 
eye can reach, the venerable Nile winds its course 
in the bright sunlight, speckled with innumerable 
sails ; those pretty lateen sails which add so much 
to every picture in the South. The burning sun 
lighted up the whole to a wonderful brilliancy, and 
soon scorched us away from a scene we could other- 
wise have looked at with pleasure for hours. Then 
followed the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, the finest 
in Cairo, date a.d. 1363, that on the tomb of the 
Sultan being 764 of the Hegira. The blocks of 
stone of which it is built were brought from the 
Pyi'amids. We continued our drive through the 
bazaars, longing ever and anon for a breath of fi'esh 
air, although the constant succession of the novel 
sights which meet one there at every step will make 
amends for this, if necessary, for a day or two. 



GOING TO CHURCH. 51 

Another acquaintance commenced to-day, a Mr. 

and Mrs. M , also going up the Nile, in search 

of health for the former. Very pleasant friends we 
found them ; but our quiet and sociable party was 
disturbed by the great influx of strangers, caused by 
the arrival of the mails from Southampton and Mar- 
seilles ; and later in the day of that from Suez. The 
dining-room was changed, the seats at table were 
changed, so that friends of a few days back were 
separated. One hundred and thirty people sat down 
together, and the waiters were so few, and in such 
constant request, that had not Mohamed and Thomas 
stood behind the chairs of our lucky 'trio,' we should 
not have had anything to eat. Most of the Nile 
travellers had their dragomen in attendance, so that 
they were not so badly off. We made a tolerable 
dinner, and then retired to discuss our neighbours, 
with all that they had said and done, to detail to 
each other the romantic histories we had attached 

to each new party, and to hope that Mr. B 

would appear to-morrow. 

Sunday^ Nov. Uh. We started for church. The 
morning service was at eleven o'clock. Mohamed pi'o- 
duced a very tumble-down looking arm-chair, in which 
' Cousin Phil ' bravely seated himself, and was raised 
aloft on the shoulders of two Arabs, or three as the 
case might be ; first they seized one arm of the chair, 
then one \q^^ and that not answering very well, a tur- 
baned head was poked suddenly against the back of 
it, experimentalizing in every possible and impos- 



52 POUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

sible way to carry it straight, at the imminent risk of 
the poor gentleman's l)eing pitched out at every 
step. Down many a dark, narrow street, we at 
length reached the room set apart for the service of 
the Anglican Church ; and no small relief it was 
to the rest of the part}', if not to himself, that the 
occupier of the wonderful chair did arrive without 
a fall. The travellers for Suez had been sent oh 
early in the morning, so that there was but a small 

cono-reoation. Mr. R officiated in the absence 

of Mr. Lieder, the resident missionary. His German 
accent was peculiar, but the service was our Church 
of England service still ; doubly prized in this 
Mahometan land ; and it was with regret that we, 
and others learned, that no afternoon or evening 
service was to be offered us here as at home. 

For want then of better occupation, we accepted 

My. H 's kind offer of an order for the Pasha's 

gardens at Shoobra. These orders are procured 
from the Consul. At three p.m., our friend joined us, 
and we set out in a carriage for the drive. A long 
avenue of acacia -trees and Egyptian figs leads to 
the gardens of Mahomet Ali's palace ; and stretches 
for a considerable distance along the banks of the 
Nile. The gardens are much more prettily laid out 
than those in Alexandria, but there were not many 
flowers in bloom. The ' Cape jessamine ' was very 
fine, and the small green Tangiers oranges, which 
the Arab who piloted us round the gardens, brought 
to us to taste, were very sweet and refreshing. The 



SIIOOBRA GAUDENS. 53 

great ' kiosk/ or fountain, in tlie centre of tlie 
garden, is the chief point of attraction. ' Cousin 
Phil ' could not walk so far, but remained seated 
near the lesser ' kiosk,' while we with our friend and 
his fly-flapper, for he wisely never stirred without 
one, proceeded to the larger, and enjoyed a very 
pleasant half-hour, sitting on the divans, Avliich are 
placed under a covered corridor, surrounding a 
large fountain-basin of Carrara marble. The pillars 
and the encircling balustrade are of the same 
material, the panels on the w^alls are painted by 
Italian artists, and the pavement is very prettily 
tessellated. The whole is lighted up of an evening 
on particular occasions by gas-lamps. How deli- 
ciously cool it felt, how orientally luxurious it all 
looked, and how sorry we were to emerge again into 
the broiling sun. The thermometer was at 76° in 
the shade. 

Evening drew on, but no J\Ir. B had ap- 
peared. Mohamed l)egan to be excited. Two other 
parties were looking at, and longing for, the ' Cairo ; ' 
and the Reis, or captain of the boat, promised to 
wait till to-morrow morning only for our decision. 

Monday, Nov. hth. We went to the Tele- 
graph Office to make inquiry through that me- 
dium for our friend. Those who were anxious to 
bring us to an agreement without his protecting 
care, confidently affirmed that ' His Excidlenvji ' 
had been taken suddenly ill, and that he could not 
come al all. l^ut tlie telegraph in due time an- 



54 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

swered 'no,' Mr. B would be iu Cairo to- 
morrow, or next day at latest. INIoliamed mean- 
while discovered another dahabeeh, the property of 
El Haliui Pasha, who had died at Constantinople. 
"It is the best boat on the Nile, which, if we 
take, I be very glad," says the dragoman : so off we 
start to see it. Selina and I were mounted again 
on the arms of the good-tempered grinning blacks ; 
and the inspection of the dahabeeh was so satis- 
factory, that the " great gentleman " was fetched 
out of the carriage to see it for himself. He came 
rowing along in a little boat ; the boatmen singing 
their curious chant-like song to the splashing of 
their oars. It is a wild, curious sound, but accord- 
ing so well with the scene around that it is not 
unpleasing. We then visited the '■ Cairo ' once 
more ; it looked small after the grander and much 
better finished vessel, but the arrangement of its 
cabins was in many respects more convenient. 

In spite of all exhortation and persuasion we 

would keep our promise and wait for Mr. B . 

The Reis again agreed for to-morrow. It was 
quite as serious an affair as choosing a house; w^e 
talked it over and over again ; and then w^e drove 
through the streets, or alleys rather, as they appeared 
to us, of ' Old Cairo,' the original portion of the 
great city, which now consists of three divisions, — 
'Cairo,' 'Old Cairo,' and 'Boulak.' Alas, what 
pictures of misery and destitution did not these 
streets reveal ! They were heart - rending ; the 



PLEASING ANTICIPATIONS. 55 

women and children in particular were pitial)lc to 
behold. Many we could not hear to look at, and, 
rightly or not, we formed no favourable opinion of 
a government which could thus leave its subjects 
in a condition but little raised above the beasts of 
the field. 

At dinner to-day the various plans of the several 
parties for the Nile were discussed, and the climate 
of Nubia up to the Second Cataracts so extolled, that 
our party, who were before afraid of a sia; weeks' jour- 
ney, now began to give in to the recommendations 
of their friends, and for Selina's sake to extend their 
plans. A few hints were first thrown out, and, finally, 
something very like a petition for three months, 
instead of two, was dropped into ' Cousin Phil's ' 
ears, which as he had never entertained any fears 
on this, any more than on any other subject, easily 
took effect there. Dreams of cooling breezes ; of 
social meetings in each other's boats ; of obsequious 
dragomen providing every Oriental luxury, as the 
dahabech glides peacefully along, now replace the 
alarming pictures which had b.een, conjured up, of 
helpless invalids at the mercy of savages, whose 
language they could not understand ; of unruly 
boatmen, requiring fire-arms to alarm them into 
obedience ; and, not least perhaps, of the most 
doleful, unbroken solitude, in scorching sun, with 
plague of fiies ! 

Tuesday, November Q)lli. We visited to-day tlic 
tombs of the Circassi;m kiiii;s on the south side ol 



56 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAIIABEEH. 

the city. The dates are of tlie fifteenth century, and 
the tombs are crumhlina; to ruin. Near to them are 
those of Mahomet Ali and his family. These are 
very handsomely painted and gilt, and many of them 
bear Arabic inscriptions upon them. But the most 
curious sight was that of a number of men sitting on 
carpets at the foot of the tombs, or along the sides 
of the Mosque, repeating portions of the Koran in a 
chanting tone, in memory of the departed : each one 
of the deceased being thus honoured in their turn at 
particular times, and every day during the season of 
' Ramadan.' It was a strange kind of chant, and 
there was very little of solemnity apparent in the 
faces or attitudes of the chanters who sat or lay there 
all day ; at the present moment, we were told, in 
memory of ' El Halim ' Pasha before mentioned as 
the owner of the handsome dahabeeh. Another 
very handsome tomb in this neighbourhood IMo- 
hamed pointed out with great veneration, calling it 
'Sahaba' (companion), it being one of several erected 
to the memory of the companions of the Prophet. 

In order to lose no time, though the dahabeeh 
was still unhired, our next visit was to ' Turnbull's 
shop ' in the Frank Street ; a very important house 
in Cairo, whence travellers for the Nile lay in their 
winter store. There sat Selina and I in state ; 
Mohamed el Adleeli squatted in front, vigorously 
brandishing before us a fly-flapper to keep off the 
myriads of flies, who thought ^Ir. Turnbull's shop 
a very excellent one, whilst samples of biscuit, rice, 



STOKES FOK TUE JOURNEY. 57 

arrowroot, pickles, lenionade-syrup, tea, sugar, jam, 
English and Egyptian, of which the latter proved by 
far the best, &c., were brought out for our in- 
spection and approval of their several qualities 
only, for the dragoman was to have the sole respon- 
sibility of ordering the proper quantities, to satisfy 
the appetites of our party of live, for three months' 
time. This seance occupied upwards of an hour, 
and then we went to another shop higher up the 
street, for macaroni and potatoes. Mohamed ahvays 
knew the best stores for each separate article, and 
evidently thought that good feeding was the chief 
business of our lives ; that of his, to supply us with 
it. I think his idea was that it would always 
be easy to please us, so long as we were supplied 
with a good dinner, breakfiist, and tea. The carriage 
then fetched ' Cousin Phil ' from the hotel, and 
Boulak was honoured with another rush of the 
Europeans, through its narrow streets ; the wild 
sai's as usual tumbling everything before him. A 
number of lanterns and chandeliers suspended gave 
notice of an approaching illumination. It was the 
last night of the festival of ' El Hassan el Hossein,' 
the two sons of Ali. The dragoman says it will 
be " Peautiful ! peautiful indeed!" and ''we nuist 
certainly go to see it at eight o'clock this even- 
ins;." 

Just before dinner-time appeared the Reis of the 
daliabeeh ' Cairo,' to say that a tliird party wore 
lookino: at liis boat, and tlinl tlie ' English licntle- 



58 FOUll MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEIl. 

man ' must decide at once, or lose it. The redoubt- 
able Mr. B had not yet arrived ; but there was 

no help for it ; we were intimidated, and finally re- 
solved that no other boat gave the required accom- 
modation, that one after another was being rapidly 
engaged for the Nile trip, that the price asked for 
the ' Cairo ' was a reasonable one, ' as times went : ' 
and so the balance was weighed in her favour, and 
the Reis admitted into the ' presence-chamber.' 
He looked imposing, with his dark brown skin, 
bright black eyes, black whiskers and moustaches ; 
liis long loose dress of much the same shade with his 
complexion, his voluminous tiu'ban, and solemn 
manner, as he sat on a chair, while Mohamed el 
Adleeh stood before him and detailed the conditions 
upon which he in the service of the " English gentle- 
man," would engage the boat ' Cairo.' At each 
pause the Reis' hand was placed upon his head, 
or one finger in the corner of each eye, in token 
of agreement and good faith. A strong and affec- 
tionate attachment was supposed to exist between 
these two Arabs ; they were to each other " my very 
dear fi'iend." Nevertheless the national cravins: for 
" Baksheesh " was not lessened, and even now the 
Reis tried hard to raise the hire of his boat. It 
seemed at times, likely, that the bargain would not 
be struck after all, but when about half an hour of 
Arabic and gesticulations had passed away, a long 
string of "Teieb, Teieb," (Very good ! Very good !) 
from the mouth of the Reis, announced, that, " for 



THE ILLUMINATION. 59 

the sake of his friend," and the " channing stran- 
gers," he was well content to submit to the " self- 
sacrifice," of letting his "beautiful dahabech" for 
the small sum of 52/. per month, for three months, 
and to go as far as the Second Cataracts — saving 
always the approval of ' Ilis Excellency' — whose 
arrival, be it confessed, Selina and I began now in 
our turn to await with a certain degree of awe after 
our daring act. For how did we know, after all, 
whether we had done wisely or not. 

Dinner came again, and we discussed with our 
friends the grand illumination, and all the invalids 
determined for once to do the imprudent, and to go. 
Mr. H accompanied us, and, chiming in after- 
wards with the general opinion, pronounced the ex- 
pedition even worth a fit of neuralgia. The illumi- 
nation was well worth seeing. All along the narrow 
streets and bazaars hung pyramidal chandeliers, 
some with as many as fifty lights in each of them, 
the variously-coloured large balls of crystal, seen 
between the tiers of light, glittering most brilliantly 
ill the surrounding darkness. Besides these, there 
were smaller lamps of every variety in size, shape, 
and colour. The dark outlines of the mosques and 
minarets rose at every turn against the illuminated 
streets, and the deep blue sky above, with the moon 
and stars far larger and brighter than in our home 
latitudes, completed a picture which is rarely seen 
by Europeans. The sea of turbaued heads through 
which our carriage wended its way, and the good- 



60 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

liumour on the part of the crowd so uiiceremoiiiously 
disturbed, was quite striking. Thomas and Sarah 
walked, and were invited into one of the houses, 
where coffee w^as offered them ; and we all re- 
turned home, pleased and much surprised at the 
brilliant effect which could thus be produced by 
small oil lamps, set in custard glasses. But it was 
a Mahometan festival after all ; in the open shops 
many sat upon their counters steadily reading por- 
tions of the Koran ; some few at least, of the ob- 
sequious crowd, true to their creed, uttered words 
of contemjDt at the Christian as the carriage drove 
along, and it was sad to think that all this joy and 
festivity was got up in honour of a false creed and 
false prophet. 

Wednesday^ Nov. 1th. We started for a 
morning drive in search of fresh air, on the road to 
'Abbas Seir.' The driver was a Maltese, who 
made his horses go at such a furious pace, that wdien 
the fresh air quarter was just within our reach, the 
creatures positively refused to stir any further ; not 
all the threats, coaxing, or cruel beating of coach- 
man, dragoman, or sais — not even the active exertions 
of the latter at the wheels of the carriaoe Avere of 
any avail ; we were forced to give it up and take 
another road, and the stubborn Maltese received 
a good scolding on arriving at the hotel. We had 
brought a letter of introduction to INIrs. Lieder, and 
called upon her this afternoon. She is a most 
good-natured ])erson, always ready to do a kindness 



THE WONDERFUL CHAIR. Cy\ 

to strangers, and does not apparently suffer from 
tlie heat in this climate. Her house is the same 
building in which the Sunday service is celebrated ; 
her drawing-room quite a museum of Egypt. What 
interested me most in our short survey was tlie 
head of one of the sacred bulls, and of a calf, taken 
out of the Apis Cemetery near Memphis. 

On our return, INIohamed's preparations for the 
Nile excursion began, in the form of a bright new 
'silver' tea-pot and coffee-pot, feather-brush, foot- 
bath, &c. &c. ; and henceforth until the day of 
embarcation, it w^as highly amusing to see the 
canteen pour in and accumulate by degrees, in our 
bed-room parlour, as well as outside of it, in the 
passages of the hotel; crate after crate, and bqx 
after box, containing everything necessary for fur- 
nishing and provisioning a house for three months ; 
added to which were side-saddles for the ladies and 
the maid, and a wonderful chair, manufactured in 
more wonderfully rude style, in which ' Cousin Phil ' 
was to be carried about by two strong donkeys. It 
had four posts and a canopy with curtains of white 
cotton draAvn aside in the front, and two huge heavy 
poles for shafts fastened to it on either side. The 
donkeys were to be harnessed between these, one 
l)efore, the other behind ; and as the shafts were 
placed along the base of the towering chair, clever 
would the donkeys have been, had they carried it 
straight ; cleverer still ' Cousin Phil ' should he not 
fall out of it, and truly praiseworthy, also, if he do 



62 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

not ere long complain bitterly of the invention. For 
tlie moment all is very amusing, and looks like 
preparations for a pic-nic on a large and rude scale, 
yet with a considerable degree of Oriental luxury 
intermingled with it. 

]\Ir. B arrived at length, business had de- 
tained him, he looked grave at any agreement 
having been made with Arabs by inexperienced 
Europeans, but still appeared to think the bargain 
not a bad one, and our minds were relieved. To- 
morrow will show the result, and meantime we all 
partake of a cup of tea^ a pleasing novelty to our 
friend's adopted Eastern customs. 

To-morrow came, Thursday, November 8th. 
The whole party embarked on board the ' Cairo ; ' a 
most systematic inspection of every nook and corner 
of the dahabe^h was carried on, while the Reis and 
dragoman stood watching with countenances expres- 
sive of the deepest anxiety, no doubt afraid of the 

rat-holes coming to light. Mr. B , looking stern 

as any Eastern despot, examined so carefully every 
atom of the vessel before he ventured an opinion, 
that Selina and I began to be alarmed, and to think 
we had made a mistake, while ' Cousin Phil,' who 
could only see a very small part of the play, as he 
sat perched upon the high divan in the saloon, waited 
in quiet resignation for the final sentence. Mr. 

B still looks grave, and goes off in a small boat 

to see ' El Halim ' Pasha's dahabeeh and some others 
close by, attended by several of the Arabs. The 



THE ' CAIIIO ' ENGAGED. 03 

Rcis waits in evident anxiety, sitting with a brother 
Reis cross-legged, and motionless on the deck until 
his return. He came at last ; pronounced the 
'Cairo ' decidedly the largest, perfectly safe, and that, 
with many little additions of cleaning, painting, locks 
and keys, book-shelves in the saloon. &c. &c., it 
would do, although not fitted up in the style in 
which it might have been. 

It was agreed, however, that for sailing up the 
Nile, space was preferable to style ; and so the 
countenances of the Reis and the dragoman began 
to assume a more composed aspect, and after many 
gesticulations and solemn promises on their parts 
the party retired ; the contract was to be passed 
the following day, and the boat ready to start on 

' Monday next.' Mr. B left with our grateful 

thanks, and we returned to the hotel, to welcome 
the long -looked -for boxes, which we had sent by 
sea from Southampton. We had had some trouble 
in fetching them out of the Custom House. From 
some unknown cause, the several packages had 
parted company, and arrived by different trains ; so 
that until all were found, we were not allowed to 
take possession of any. There was considerable 
pleasure in the sight of the contents of these boxes ; 
not only for the convenience of the possession, but 
for the home associations which thev brou2:ht to our 
minds. Owing to the change in our plans, but few 
articles were extracted, and they Avere soon re-packed 
to ])e left at the hotel, in a room appropriated to 



64 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

siicli purposes until the Nile excursion should be 
over, and we on our way to more civilised lands. 

We went to see another of the Mosques in the 
course of our afternoon drive ; and no words can 
express the beauty of the soft rich tints of sunset 
which we saw on our return that evening. There 
was no great brilliancy ; but warm soft hues, such 
as we never see at home, blended into each other 
in the richest beauty. Feelings of quiet and mystery 
stole over us, as the warm glow came suddenly on, 
and passed almost as quickly away, to be succeeded 
by the grey shades of night ; these, in their turn, 
to be as suddenly replaced by the exceeding bril- 
liancy of the moon and stars; for there is no 
twilight in Egypt. 

Friday^ November dth. A boy in light blue 
dress and crimson turban took the place of our 
dragoman to-day ; that important personage being 
fully occupied in making purchases for the journey, 
and in arranging matters on board the ' Cairo.' 
' Cousin Phil ' remained at the hotel, writing vol- 
umes to all his grand-nephews and nieces at home, 
to go by the next mail, whilst Selina and I went 
forth in all our grandeur, with the rushing sais and 
the shabby though intelligent substitute for ' Mo- 
liamed el Adle^h' to the Turkish Bazaar (Khan 
Kaleel). Weivalked through it, that we might have 
time to watch at leisure the numerous trades carried 
on in the little open shops, to admire the silk scarfs 
of Damascus, and to hear the exorbitant prices 



THE BAZAAR. 



asked for tliem. " If we could but go to Damascus ! " 
our guide informed us that there the silk shawls witli 
long hanging cords and tassels, called ' Ilufieh,' and 
worn as a turban round the ' tarboosh,' are sold 
for five shillings. Here, he said he could get them 
for us for fifteen or eighteen shillings ; but we were 
asked 2/. in the Bazaar. On our return, after a good 
deal of bargaining, we purchased some in the Syrian 
Bazaar of very superior quality for 1/. 3^. Qd. each. 
A man embroidering a portion of a saddle with gold 
thread on green leather attracted particular atten- 
tion. The work was most beautifully done, and the 
workman never for a moment took his eyes off" his 
w^ork whilst we stood watching him. He first pierced 
the leather through with a sharp instrument, and 
then passed the needle up, and down again, into the 
same holes, catching in the gold thread with some 
coloured silk, which was thus quite invisible as a 
stitch, while the surface of gold was left perfectly 
smooth. There is a great deal of this work done in 
Cairo, and the saddles thus embroidered are ex- 
tremely handsome. The attention of the workmen 
to their work was very striking, for even the little 
boys w^ould go on steadily weaving the silk borders 
to the blue cotton scai'fs, or shoe-making, or what- 
ever their trade might be, without so much as lifting 
their eyes to look at us, while we stood watching 
them and talkinii; about them. It is hio-hly amusinir 
to walk through these Bazaars, where shoemakers, 
tinkers, tailors, weavers, cord and tassel makers, 



66 FOUR MOXTnS IN A DAHABEEH. 

cooks, barbers, cofFee-makers, ply assiduously their 
respective callings ; whilst rich merchants sit on 
the counters, before their silks and cottons, smoking 
out of ' hookahs,' or the pretty glass ' narghillae,' 
in which the water makes a low bubbling sound ; 
venerable old men sit in the same way reading 
portions of the Koran ; scribes are writing, holding 
the sheet of paper in the palms of their left hand, 
the little bi^ass inkstand and penholder on the counter 
at their feet ; numbers of others are reclining, the 
very picture of the dolce far niente, sipping coffee 
from their tiny cups, whilst many a picturesque 
figure lies full length and fast asleep before his 
goods. All this is very interesting, very curious, 
and very pretty, but then comes the other, the dark 
side of the picture : the desagremens of very 
close contact with donkeys and donkey-boys, the 
dirtiest set of men and women that eyes ever looked 
upon, (scarcely one man among them possessing 
two eyes of his own ) ; children's faces one mass of 
flies, with the very least rag of clothing to cover 
their puny black 1)odies ; beggars of the most 
wretched and loathsome appearance, who will shake 
a withered limb before you, or sliow off a deformed 
child in the most revolting manner, to excite your 
charity. One and all of these are pushed away by 
your attendant without ceremony ; but the contact 
is too close, and when you add to all this, indescrib- 
ably horrid smells, even the interest of the Bazaar 
soon ceases. In a short space of time we were 



THE CONTKACT. 67 

glad to make a (juick exit to the carriage, and to 
seek for a breath of fresh air before the dinner- 
hour. 

This evening our kind friend came to write out 
the contract between ' Cousin Phil ' and our drago- 
man ; it was very good-natured of him to undertake 
the task, which was no light one. A very droll 
picture it was ; his ' Excellency,' in Oriental cos- 
tume, seated, with pen, ink, and paper before him, 
in our quaint little parlour, exhibiting all the 
sternness of manner and expression so essential in 
dealings with the Arabs ; and the dragoman defer- 
entially standing by, and making the same signs of 
acquiescence and true faith in this matter as the 
Eeis had done with him before. When the drago- 
man hires the boat and provides for the party, as 
Mohamed did for us, the cost of the trip varies 
from 4:1. to 6/. per day, according to the number 
of tlie party and other circumstances : the hire of 
boats varying from 40/. to 75/. per month. Some 
persons prefer hiring the dahabe^h, and providing 
for themselves, in which case the dragoman is 
paid merely for his attendance as a guide. The 
former plan may be rather the more expensive, 
but it is found to be l)y far the best way. Boat, 
board, lodging, washing, &c., and sight-seeing, are 
thus all provided for, and the travellers may enjoy 
themselves without even the cares of housekeeping. 

A large cargo of news was scril)bled off for 
home, whilst the contract which was to take us so 



68 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

far away was being drawn out, for tins is our last 
opportunity of writing until Ave reach the famous 
ruins of Karuak. 

Saturday^ November 10th. Mohamed continued 
his purchases, and was also fully occupied with the 
contract between himself and the owner of the 
dahabech. This contract for the hire of the boat and 
crew must be drawn out, signed, and sealed, before 
the governor or the Consul. Mohamed junior was 
therefore our escort still, and we accomplished the 
drive to Abbas Seir. This road is the only one 
in or near Cairo, worthy the name, the others being, 
all of them, striking illustrations of the nursery 
rhyme — "Here we go up, up, up," and " Here we go 
down, down, down." It is the road which leads from 
Cairo to Suez, and was made by Abbas Pasha, 
whose palace stands near it, on the desert waste. 
We enjoyed tbis drive extremely ; it was the first 
sight of the true desert that we had had, and the air 
was so deliciously pure and fresh, that we all agreed, 
that if a cruel fate were to cast our lot in such a 
country at all, we should certainly build our houses 
out here. 

Sunday, (November 11th,) came round again, and 
this time the English service was well attended ; all 
the newly arrived passengers being detained till the 

morrow. Mr. W , an Englishman, assisted in 

the service, and preached an impressive sermon on 
"Watchman, what of the night?" &c., from Isaiah, 
xxi. 11, applying the term to the night of the 'life' 



MR. pay's banners. 69 

of every one of us on this earth, as opposed to the 
' day ' which Avill dawn hereafter, bright and glorious 
to the true believer, who shall have watched faith- 
fully during the hours of the present night. The 
singing was very good; every one took part in it, 
and the room was quite full. Mahomed takes no 
share in our Sunday services, so he went down 
to Alexandria to-day to fetch his ' canteen ' and 
to buy flour and dried fruits for the expedition, 
these two articles being very superior, and at the 
same time cheaper there, than at Cairo. The 
dahabeeh, he said, could not be ready till Thursday ; 
and we were told that we must not be surprised at 
further delays. Arabs are neither given to hurrying 
nor to punctuality. 

Monday^ November 12th. Every excursion boat 
on the Nile has, besides the national flag of the 
party in possession, a distinguishing flag of its own, 
so that friends may be able to recognise one another 
as they pass. We chose for ours a ' Crocodile,' and 
after a great deal of trouble succeeded in drawing 
one of a suflScient size on paper. We then took 
it to ]Mr. Pay in the Frank Street, to be made up, 
together with a large ' Union Jack ' for the dahabeeh, 
a small plain pennant, and a small ' Union Jack ' for 
the row-boat in which we were to land at the various 
places of interest on our way. We drove through the 
Bazaars, for the heat of the day was too great for 
the o\)Qn space ; but towards evening we again tried 
the road to Abbas Seir. The air was clearer and 



70 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

purer the further we went, and we were tempted on, 
rather too far for prudence. Night comes on so 
quickly and the changes of temperature are so great, 
and so sudden, that even by a quarter to six o'clock 
when we reached the hotel, shawls and wraps had 
become needful. Invalids should be extremely care- 
ful in this climate to be within doors before sunset. 

Mr. B came to wish us goodbye, for we were 

not to see him again till our journey was over. A 
new set of passengers had arrived, and had been 
sent on immediately, so that our original small party 
met again sociably, in the smaller dining-room. We 
were now quite a family party of travellers for the 
Nile, and began to talk of a Christmas meeting, and 
to fight amicably for the honour of the entertain- 
ment — none of us however, did meet till Christmas 
day was long past, and those who boasted plum- 
puddings had them all to themselves. 

Tuesday^ November ISth. We drove to Kasr 
e'Neel, the Pasha's new palace. A large body of 
black cavalry were passing through the gates, re- 
turning from watering the horses. A little further 
on was a very pretty scene. A camp, tents, men, 
and horses in large numljers on one side, with a 
picturesque, rising back-ground covered with groups 
of people and camels ; the Mokattam Hills, and the 
citadel in the distance. On the other hand, a regi- 
ment of Nubians going through the sword exercise 
with great perseverance. Their uniform, a white 
shirt, jacket, and loose trousers ; red sash and 



A NUBIAN BAND. 71 

tarboosli, contrasting well with their black hands and 
faces ; the shout which ran along the several lines 
in succession at each sword-cut, producing a very 
peculiar effect. Further on, among the tall planta- 
tions of ' prickly pear,' the band was stationed, and 
played its everlasting tune, for it seemed to us 
always the same. The bugles were in one division, 
at some distance from them the drums, again in a 
third position the fifes, all sounding together, very 
much as though the object of the players were to 
try who could make most noise. Of piano 2i\\A forte 
they can have as yet no idea ; and so they go on and 
on, and the sound rings harshly in our ears at all 
hours of the day. Near the barracks is the soldiers' 
market, and great boilers full of soup were passing 
by on carts, while people were carrying on their 
heads large circular trays full of eatables, carefully 
covered over, with conical-shaped covers, made of 
plaited grass or date-leaves. Mohamed returned 
from Alexandria to-day : his contract with the Reis 
is duly signed and sealed, and we are to go on board 
the dahabeeh on Thursday evening. 

Wednesday^ November lAth. The new flags 
were taken to the boat, and taken back again by 
the indignant dragoman, to be made some " fifteen 
yards longer ;" he declaring that " that Englishman 
Pay knows nothing al)out Nile boats, flags, or 
crocodiles;" and "Cairo, best boat on the Nile, is 
not to be laughed at as she sails along!" AVhilst 
tliey were being lengthened, wo (b-ove ai;ain to 



72 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Shoobra, along a road which threatened to jolt nearly 
every bone m our bodies out of joint. It had its 
interest however, in the inspection of the Arab 
potato plant, with its large handsome leaf ; the 
bnrmia, a very excellent vegetable, somewhat of the 
shape of a diminutive capsicum ; and large crops of 
the French aubergine, all very common in this 
country. On our return, we were surprised at 
seeing on our table a card P.P.C. The first of 
the present assembly of travellers for the Nile had 
started. 

Thursday^ November 15 fh. Shopping excursions 
had become for some days past the regular routine 
of the morning drive, and the ' Frank Street ' the 
scene as much as Regent Street could have been. A 
number of little necessaries had been added to our 
stock, and with the zinc and elder-water, the quassia 
and insect-powder, w^e considered ourselves armed 
against all exigencies. Our packing was accomplished ; 
we took a solitary dinner at three p.m., the donkey- 
chair was tried in front of the hotel, to the great 
amusement of the assembled public of all nations, 
and the danger of the fracture of the whole concern ; 
but when the shafts had been raised a little, it was 
pronounced available for the purpose ; the huge 
caravan of heavy baggage was despatched on the 
backs of camels; ' Mobamed el Adleeli ' looked and 
sighed, as if rather more than the weight of the 
wliole world was accumulated upon his shoulders ; 
and our carriage rushed away from all this confusion 



THE SECOND EMBARKATION. 73 

to take a fore well drive to Kasr e'Neel, and to 
reach our new home at six o'clock, when the shades 
of night would be fast closing in. 

Worthy, indeed, of the closing scene of a stay in 
Cairo, is that which now presents itself in the little 
port of Boulak. The baggage imposingly towers 
still on the shore, the crowds and the noises around 
baffle description, whilst all is in darkness, illumi- 
nated only by one or two small oil lamps. The 
* Cairo ' is moored among many cargo boats. Not 
the slightest idea has she of sailing to-night, and even 
the strono; wills of our two vounc; ladies are un- 
able to move Mohamed to the necessity of at least 
gaining the opposite shore and the island of Koda, 
for the sake of quiet and a fresher atmosphere. We 
are obliged to give in. All is close and horrid, 
swarming with mosquitoes and flies ; deafening with 
the singing of boatmen in a neighbouring boat, and 
the preparations on shore for a ' Derweesh festival,' 
which is being celebrated within and without amosque, 
immediately facing the ' Cairo.' But we have good 
spirits, and all is sure to come right in time. 
" Let us console ourselves with a cup of tea before 
we walk on shore a^ain to see the festival." It 

o 

comes ; the tea-pot as bright as new silver could 
make it ; the tea-set, neat white and gold; and now 
the refreshing beverage. Alas ! first one grimace, 
then a sdcond, then a third ; it is undrinkable ! Mo- 
hamed is summoned. What can it be ? The tea is 
'' the best ;" the milk is " the best;" and the water 



74 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

is '■''the Nile!^^ — that one word and Mecca contain- 
ing the whole idea of perfection in the eyes of the 
Arab and Mussuhnan. 

The Nile, however, was uncommonly red just here, 
and, notwithstanding the strongest assertions that it 
had been well filtered, that portion of it which had 
found its way into our cups was proved to be the 
Nile indeed, full of a rich red sediment. Mohamed, 
failing to persuade us to drink it, was moved almost 
to tears, that his 'guests' (for as such he evidently 
regarded us, and there was a good deal of the 
manner of ' host ' in him) should go tealess to bed; 
and finding nothing at hand to remedy the defi- 
ciency, in despair he offered to " fetcli the brandy !" 
Instead of this, however, he escorted Selina and me 
on shore to see the Derweesh ceremony. 

The ' quay,' if this landing-place may be so 
called, was so densely crowded, that it was necessary 
first, that a way should be made for sj)ectators to 
pass through. The mosque stands on the quay, and 
was full of worshippers within, while outside was a 
circular illumination, of small triangular lamps, sus- 
pended from poles and cords, under which a party of 
' derweesh ' were ranged in a circle, dancing round 
and round, hugging each other in pairs, and making 
the wildest exclamations and gesticulations. They 
were said to be ' calling upon Allah,' but they ap- 
peared like raving madmen. When this had continued 
for some time, they all seated themselves on mats on 
the ground and continued their exclamations, rocking 



BEFORE STARTING. 75 

themselves backwards and forwards incessantly, in 
the most apparently fatiguing manner, which Moha- 
med called 'praying.' This rocking, dancing, and 
screaming, went on till morning, but we were soon 
satisfied and glad to get out of the horrid atmo- 
sphere, and to return to our unarranged home. 

We retired to our cabins ; mosquito curtains were 
ready to envelope each one, and now we looked for a 
wash — a more tlian constant necessity in Egypt. The 
baths w^ere scantily filled with something very like 
pea-soup. ' Nile water ' again ; and the astonished 
dragoman imagines it must be clean ! A very long- 
digression upon clean water and dirty water, upon 
filtering and upon alum for cleansing it, and the 
very decided determination of the Europeans not 
to use such a means for cleansing themselves, were 
requisite before the veil was withdrawn from his 
superstitious eyes, and he became aware that the 
water was dirty, and that alum was to be had. No 
tea, no wash, plenty of mosquitoes, and something 
very like bugs. Such was the commencement of our 
boat-life on the Nile. But with promises of better 
things to-morrow, and a removal to Roda in the 
morning, we contrived to sleep and rest our wearied 
heads a little, thougli I believe we were inclined to 
think again that we had made a mistake indeed ! 

The morning of November Kith dawned, witli 
cleaner water, better tea, and a very good breakfast. 
I\Iutt()n cutlets, cold meat, boiled rice and milk, 
l)rcad, toast, and many apologies tliat the j.ini was 



76 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

not yet at hand, a start for Roda on the opposite 
shore, promises of alum in abundance, of a carpenter 
for various little arrangements still unmade, and 
assurances that the Avind was directly contrary, and 
likely to remain so for some time ! All the other 
' dahabe^hs,' wishing to start, were necessarily in the 
same plight, and it was a fortunate circumstance for 
Mohamed, who had by no means fulfilled his engage- 
ment of being ready to sail on the 15th ; fortu- 
nate, also, we incline to think, for ourselves, as we 
had thus the opportunity of discovering all the dis- 
comforts that awaited us from an unprepared start, 
none of which could have been remedied afterwards ; 
and so Selina and I stole a leaf for once from a 
gentleman's book, grumbled, and insisted, at one and 
the same time, that all must be put to rights, and 
yet that we must set out instantly. It was very un- 
reasonable, but it was tlie only way of starting at 
all. The dragoman made many excursions to shore, 
and by his ftitigued and harassed appearance showed 
how mucli he had still on hand. Selina and I 
sketched the day away, and ' Cousin Phil' sat in 
quiet resignation on the divan on deck, murdering 
the flies and insisting upon whatever we told him 
to insist upon. Luncheon came at one o'clock — 
fruits, nuts, and cheese. And now flies are dis- 
covered as thick as currants in a plum-pudding, and 
much thicker, too, on the ceilings and walls of all 
the cabins. Mohanied's promises of annihilating 
" every one of them," appeared rather ftibulous ; 



DESTROYING THE FLIES. 77 

but by a vigorous flapping with brush and towels, 
they were soon considerably diminished. We then 
produced the quassia, and, to the astonishment of 
the natives, the flies died in and around it in large 
numbers. A small quantity of quassia must be put 
into a soup-plate, and boiling water be poured over 
it, and it should stand for a night. Sugar is then 
sprinkled all over the edge of the plate, and well 
moistened with the quassia-water. The flies are 
attracted to it immediately ; they drink it, and very 
soon expire. The same plateful will last for a long 
time. 

The dinner was very good, so was the tea ; 
and we retired to rest at Roda, with no greater 
chance of a start than yesterday. Thomas made 
friends wherever we went, and now he had been on 
shore to ' his friend,' an English engineer, and 
brought us back an invitation for the party to go 
and see the gardens of Ibrahim Pasha next morning. 

Saturday^ Nov. 11th. — Things wore little ap- 
pearance of change. It was broiling hot ; the ther- 
mometer stood at 80° in the shade. The wind was 
still contrary : the dragoman again on shore ; and 
we began to think of astonishing the Cairo world by 
our reappearance to-morrow at the Sunday morning 
services. Meanwhile, with Thomas and Sarah, we 
landed on the island, where, according to tradition, 
Moses was laid in the bulrushes. We visited the 
Pasha's gardens, under the escort of the engineer's 
very pretty little niece. This engineer is an Eng- 



78 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

lisliman, engaged by the Pasha to lay out his garden 
in European fashion. He receives a salary of 300/. 
or 400/. a -year, besides very handsome presents 
('Baksheesh') ; yet he says he will be glad when 
his work is accomplished, and he can return to 
Europe. His niece is of the same mind, she being 
the only European woman on the island, save one 
French lady, who cannot speak a word of English, 
and our little friend cannot understand French. 

The time spent upon this property has not been 
thrown away. It is a very pretty garden, indeed, 
planted round the hareem, where the ladies are 
safely enclosed, and when they take their daily 
walks no other person is admitted. Here were 
numberless orange-trees, laden with fruit ; the bam- 
boo towering against the enclosing wall, the banana, 
with fruit and flower upon it, a small specimen of 
the dom palm, the fleur de Pasque, in beautiful 
bloom, and a great variety of small flowers, mostly 
European ; a fountain, or ' kiosk,' of course in the 
centre : and flying over the water, we noticed some 
very beautiful specimens of the red dragon-fly. We 
threaded our way through a curious labyrinth of 
high myrtle hedges : and, after a thorough baking 
from the hot sun, feeling quite fatigued, from the 
unaccustomed exercise, we returned to the boat. 

At half-past one p.m. the wind had changed quar- 
ters, Mr. H had paid us a visit, Selina and I had 

been on board his dahabeeh to inspect the bachelor- 
like arrangements, and to see how much superior 



UACIIELOIt COMFORTS. 79 

his accumulation of comforts was to ours. One of 
these consisted in stretching fine, coloured net out- 
side all the windows of his ' dahabeeh,' to exclude the 
flies and the mosquitoes. It may be hung in the 
doorway also ; and certainly it does exclude the flies, 
though it also shuts out a certain quantity of fresh 
air, and on that account we did not wish to adopt it. 
Everything in his boat was in first-rate order ; and 
he kindly made use of his knowledge of their lan- 
guage to give parting injunctions to our crew on 
several points, principally in explaining to them that 
they are not allowed to walk across the upper deck, 
but must always walk outside the boat on the ledge 
which is placed purposely all round it. It is \ ery 
necessary to adhere strictly to this rule, for otherwise 
the steersman, captain, cook-boy, and one or two 
sailors, are perpetually passing by to helm or boAV on 
one excuse or another, which is extremely un- 
pleasant, and by no means safe as regards cleanli- 
ness. We had constant squabbles about it with 
our dragoman ; but the crew know very well that 
they have no right to walk along the upper deck, 
and, if the rule is held to, they submit at once. 

Mr. H 's boat set sail with the first breeze ; our 

dragoman arrived, and, ' ready or not ready,' we 
sailed away after him. 



80 



CHAPTER III. 



OUR BOAT-HOME. 



Tuesday, November lltli. The dababeeh ' Cairo ' 
is 97 feet in length, from bow to stern, 
and 14 feet 2 inches in width. There is a saloon 
measuring 1 2 feet 7 inches ; divans on either side, 
with large draAvers under them, provided with locks 
and keys. Two looking-glasses, four book-shelves, 
now well filled with volumes, and a table in the 
middle at which six persons might dine, ' under 
difficulties.' There are four cabins, two measuring 
5 feet 8 inches by 4 feet 7 inches, the two others 6 
feet 5 inches by 4 feet 7 inches. They have sliding 
doors, but when these were closed the dimensions 
proved rather too small. The choice lay between 
being closely cooped up with scarcely room enough 
to turn round, or leaving the door open, so as to 
admit a portion of the passage as dressing-room. The 
stern cabin measures 12 feet in length. Its avail- 
able space for dressing is about 8 feet 6 inches, and 
here Selina reclines in luxury, though frequently 
disturbed by the creaking of the rudder. In the 
further part the boxes are stowed away ; and there 
are drawers or cupboards for stores and clothes 



THE NILK-150AT. 81 

iiiuler every 1)t(l, and a batli Avliicli can never l)e 
used. Plenty of windows all round, provided with 
curtains, shutters, and Venetians, and a sky-light 
to the saloon. Over all this is the 'quarterdeck,' 
where there are divans on either side, a table, a 
chair or two, and an awning which is spread in calm 
weather. The crew live on the lower deck, and 
sleep upon it or in the hold. At the further end is 
the large filter for the water, and the cook-boy's 
primitive kitchen apparatus for the crew. Beyond, 
in the bow, is 'the kitchen' for the 'party.' The 
large mast and lateen yard is fixed towards the bow 
of the boat, the smaller one in the stern. Twelve 
oars are provided for rowing, and a number of long 
poles for pushing off from the sand-banks. The 
dahabeeh, the oars, and the small row-boat, are gaily 
painted in green, red, and white ; and with the flags 
flying aloft, and the Arab costumes on board, the 
' Cairo ' makes altogether a very pretty ' turn-out.' 
She numbers twenty-five souls on board : passengers 
five, dragoman and waiter, Reis, steersman, fourteen 
men as crew, cook and cook-boy. 

"VVe had now spent ten days in the gallant ship, 
on the waters of the Nile ; and how shall I tell of the 
l)eauty and interest of each new bend of this ever- 
winding river ; the charming novelty of the new 
style of life ; the deliciousness of the l)reezes ; the 
clearness of the atmosphere ; the lovely sunrise 
at about half-past six, and the gorgeous hues of 
sunset at half-past five r.M.; crimson and gold, blue, 

G 



82 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

pink and green, intermingled as we had never 
seen tbeni before, and increasing in beauty, as each 
day broiTght us furtlier south ; and of the moon- 
light nights, which w^e watched till near nine o'clock, 
and would have watched till morning dawned, 
had we not been perfect models of prudence 
and regularity of hours. The thermometer had 
mounted to 106° in the sun on the deck of the 
dahabech, with a strong breeze blowing, and to 80" 
in the shade ; whilst in the early morning, and in 
the evening, it had fallen as low as 60°. Under this 
latter figure we actually began to feel cold, while at 
mid-day we were burnt nearly to a cinder, though I 
alone of our party had then been glad to retire to 
the saloon from the burning rays, to obtain a little 
time to cool, before the next baking. The dark 
faces around appeared to us many shades lighter ; 
the white ones had begun to peel. So accustomed 
was the eye becoming to bare-footed servants, that 
Thomas' shining patent leather shoes and white 
stockings began to look quite out of character : 
and as for our faithful Sarah, she entered so heartily 
into the whole concern, that we had serious fears 
lest she intended wearing an Arab complexion, 
speaking the language of the country fluently, and 
finally becoming, perhaps, ' Mrs. Mohamed el Adlii^h ! 
It would not have sounded badly ; but Sarah was 
far too wise for that. 

The journey up the Nile is usually made as 
quickly as possible in order not to lose the fair 



' KASR E' NEEL.' 83 

winds which blow now ; the places of interest to 
visit, and the researches into the antiquities of the 
country, are reserved for the downward course, 
when the dahabeeh is carried along by the force of 
the current, assisted by the oars of the crew. Already, 
then, we had passed many points of interest, and left 
them in the hope of visiting them on our return. 

On starting on the 17th, we obtained the best 
view of the beautiful palace of ' Kasr e' Neel,' as the 
boat glided along. It is an immense building, and 
seemed full of life and music, such as we suppose 
the Pasha loves ; but it was very like a noise. The 
stream in front was gay with small steamers, witli 
w^hite funnels and red flags, all anchored in the pre- 
cincts of the palace, and belonging to the Pasha. 
The island of Roda is very pretty, and its gardens 
green and refi'eshing to the eye. The Nilometer, a 
stone pillar on which the height of the inundation is 
measured, is partly visible from the boat. And the 
citadel stands out in a very picturesque back-ground, 
with the Mokattam INIountains, or that branch of 
them called ' Gebel e' Jooshee ' stretching fjir on the 
eastern shore. On the western, are the Pyramids 
of Geezeh, and the village of Geezeli itself, on the 
water's edge. Then follow in succession the Pyramids 
of Abousir, Sakkara, and Dashoor ; all which gi- 
gantic wonders soon found their places in our two 
small sketch-books. ' Old Cairo ' meanwhile, on 
the eastern shore, looked older than ever; and then 
followed a lonsi; line of those curlons-lookini;- wind- 



84 FOUR MONTHS IX A DATIABEEH. 

mills, staiuling in all tlie glory of unadorned ugli- 
ness, witliout a tree or a stone to relieve their 
outline in any way : but the beautiful corn of Egypt 
is ground in tlieni, and tliey are objects of interest, 
if not of beauty. A large fort built by Ismael Pasha 
now crowns the height, and now a solitarj^ man is 
fishing at tlie water's edge. Here a group of camels 
kneel down for their night's rest, and there a few 
stray slieep are still seeking to slake their thirst in 
tlie stream. Some rafts float by, formed of two 
boats bound together side by side, laden with some 
liundreds of the common porous earthenware jugs 
of this country, laden outside, as well as piled up 
very high from within. Sails of ' cangia ' and other 
smaller craft are continually passing along ; and 
these, with the date-trees and various other objects 
on the shore, form a succession of the prettiest little 
pictures imaginable. The flies are intolerable, and fly- 
flapping a hibour, but it is all very beautiful and very 
enjoyable. Now we have reached Toorah, whence 
tlie stone is taken with which the floors of all the 
houses in Cairo are paved. Evening closes in, the 
boatmen bring out their musical noise, and set to 
it with the greatest energy and evident enjoy- 
ment, until boat, passengers, and crew", rest for the 
night near a small village named Masarah. From 
thence we started again on the moruir^ of Sunday, 
November 18th. The same line of hills on the 
eastern shore extends as far as Sioot. We passed 
four small villages, the houses and mosques entirely 



THE COLLISION. 85 

built of umcl or unbiirnt brick, and shaded hy date- 
trees, while the Pyramid.^ before named still formed 
the distant view. 

A little incident presently startled our quiet 
party. A small cargo boat, notwithstanding all the 
shouting of our Rei's, dragoman, and crew, incautiously 
sailed too near the dahabech, and sent the top of 
its long yard, straight through our sail, making a 
lar2;e hole in it. The draooman stands forth in all 
his majesty, and with extended arms seems to be 
pronouncing judgment upon the delinquents. Like 
lightning four of our crew jump into the water, 
clothes and all (they are not burdened with many), 
and standing on the deck of the offending vessel, 
they knock about one unfortunate man, and cany 
off two of the long boat-poles as trophies, and in 
revenge. A long harangue and very stern looks 
follow this display of authority ; but on the earnest 
petition of the criminals, and the consideration that 
they are " poor people," the poles are restored to 
them. The four swimmers quietly take off their 
garments, and hang them up to dry. Others mount 
the lateen yard in most monkey-like manner, perch 
themselves all along it, and cobble up the damaged 
sail in an equally primitive style. We pursued our 
course and our nuLsic, for when we sailed with a 
fair wind, the ' band ' immediately set to work ; and 
we passed Ilelwan, Avhere the Kilometer was ori- 
ginally made al)out a.d. 700, it was removed to 
lioda sixteen vears later. The ' False I*\ ramid,' 



86 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

apparently a large black rock, next appeared in 
view near Rigga; it is sometimes called the Sphinx, 
but retains no signs of a face, or features of any 
kind. 

There was a glorious sunset and brilliant moon- 
light ; boats passed along perpetually with their 
crossed sails, looking like birds with huge wings 
wide-spread skimming the water ; some storks or 
cranes, and the ' crocodile bird,' gave us food for 
conversation, and we moored again a little below 
Rigga, with a watch of three men seated on the 
shore, wdth their watch-fires to guard us. 

Monday^ Nov. Idfh. — We passed Rigga, Atfeeh 
and Zowyeh ; and here was the true desert spread 
before us. Hillocks of yellow sand, of various shapes 
and sizes, stretch far away to the horizon, and owing 
to the clearness of the atmosphere, that horizon is at 
a very considerable distance : not a particle of ver- 
dure is to be seen around, save the narrow strip 
of ' dhourra ' (Indian corn) or sugar-cane along 
the river's edge, and this is beginning to diminish 
sensibly in width. There is something very solemn 
and grand, in the sight of this wide expanse of 
desert, and the thought of its only inhabitants, 
the Bedouin Arab and the Camel ; and we longed 
very much to get out of our boat and try a walk 
upon it, to prevent which, our dragoman assured vis 
that we should " sink to our knees " in it. After- 
experience taught us that he was only about half- 
way from the truth in this statement, but we sailed 



A BliEAKFAST-PAUTY. 87 

on to a sliort distance from Benisoef ; and Thomas 
afforded a little amusement to us all, by tlie comical 
figure he presented, when mounted on the back oi' 
one of the crew, and carried on shore for a shootinii 
excursion. They looked like some elongated, 
double-backed animal, to which, with the Arab and 
European costume on either half, it was difficult, 
to say the least of it, to assign any era. Poor man ! 
he found himself stopping half-way in the water, 
his bearer quite up to the joke, that they might be 
added to the sketch-book antiquities. He grew 
frantic, as soon as he found out why his horse would 
not go, and spurred so vigorously with his patent- 
leather shoes that he Avas very soon deposited 
on the shore, where he strode about with his black 
' suite,' as we sailed on, but alas, shot nothing. 

Lovely pink and blue shades blend together in 
the sunset, the moon grows brighter as she increases, 
and here we moor again for the night. 

Tuesday, Nov. 20th. — The crew squat on the 
shore before starting again, in the comical fashion of 
their forefathers : their heels drawn close up in front 
of them, so that their knees come to about the level 
of the chin. The large wooden bowl is in the 
centre of the circle ; the left arm is frequently 
thrown affectionately round its next neighbour, for 
balance no doubt ; and all the right hands dip into 
the mess of brown bread and lentil souj) at the 
same moment. ' Fingers were made before forks,' 
and the Egyptians keep up this old custom as well 



88 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAUABEEII. 

as all the others of their ancestors, but it is most 
neatly and orderly done. Hands washed carefully 
beforehand, and fair-play the order of the day. 
A wooden bucket is set outside the circle, and 
passed round for drinking, or used at the end of the 
meal for washing, as the case may be. Not a breath 
of wind was stirring, and Selina and I took a walk 
along the shore, while the indefatigable crew 
' tracked ' (towed) the dahabeeh along. Very pretty 
it was to see the boat gliding slowly on the still 
water, and the procession of ' trackers' winding 
round each point and mound ; while ever and anon 
they raised their wild sounding song, as they called 
upon Allah to assist their efforts. A village of 
pigeon-houses next appeared, and there are many 
such all along the shore. A whole village is formed 
for the purpose of attracting these birds, which fly 
about everywhere in numerous flocks. The houses 
are built of mud, and are surmounted by little 
rounded cones, in many of wdiicli are placed p'ieces 
of the earthen jug of the country, and in these, the 
pigeons .deposit their eggs and hatch their young. 
In some cases, where they are poor people, the 
owners live in the houses underneatli the pigeons' 
mansions ; in others, as at Girgeli, a lai'ge ' cafe,' 
or room for sitting in, for smoking, and coffee- 
drinking, forms the groundwork of the pigeon's 
abode above. Tlie young birds become the property 
of the owner ; these settlements thus constitute a 
large item in tlie wealth of the proprietor, and are 



A DEliAVEEoII. 89 

sometimes the dowry of a l)ridegroom to his bride, 
jis was one wliich we now i)assed, so Mohamed said, 
newly white-washed in honour of the Avedding. 

But wiiat comes now from the shore, swimming 
quickly to the dahabeeh, with matted, woolly hair, 
its two arms flung alternately high in the air as it 
advances ? It is a ' derweesh.' Our dragoman and 
crew watch him with respectful, superstitious looks, 
their purses come forth, and money and bread are 
bestowed upon the half-maniac-looking creature. 
His only clothing is wound round his head as a 
turban, and his newly-acquired riches are deposited 
in its folds. He swims back to the shore, un\\inds 
the turban, and replaces it round his naked body ; 
and tliere we leave him to his solitude and to his 
tomb, in which he will live and die. Our dragoman 
believes him to be supernaturally upheld, and says 
" he neve?' eats anything : jjerhaps so — a little bit of 
bread (about two inches square) in Jive years:'" 
he cjllls all such " clergyment !" We cannot quite 
make out what they really are, and there are 
various opinions respecting them ; but they ap- 
pear like wild men, half maniac, half idiot, living- 
alone in the desert, or amons: tombs, and literallv in 
their own tombs, which they build for themselves, 
and where they will probably be visited after deatli 
by the superstitious veneration of their countrymen, 
for of this latter feeling, strange though it may 
appear, there can be no doubt. 

The cry of the jackal was the next novelty which 



90 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

greeted our ears as evening closed in : it is just 
like that of a child in distress, for which, with all 
due respect to the nobler species be it said, it is not 
unfrequently mistaken. We were told that they 
were very fierce, and would attack and eat up a 
man with the greatest pleasure if they had the op- 
portunity. 

We passed on, and stopped this night near the 
village of ' Bibbeh.' Three watchers were stationed 
at the boat, and we walked on shore in the moon- 
light. These Nile walks were not very extensive, 
for in general there were not more than fifty yards 
of even ground before we were effectually stopped by 
the ' dhourra,' or by the clods of earth. Exercise is, 
however, necessary for health, and so we took it 
gratefully, backwards and forwards, on the shore or 
on the deck as it came to us. 

It is something for Europeans, even in these loco- 
motive days, to walk among sugar-canes ; and the 
first plantation of them appeared to-day, Wednesday, 
November 21st, and they were tasted by such of the 
party as had not met with them before. They have 
a sickly, sweet taste ; but the Arabs munch away at 
them with pleasure whenever they can get any. 
The town of Benisoef, with its sugar-manufactory, 
looked pretty in the early morning light, the river 
here having the appearance of a large lake, or of the 
opening of a harbour, and the colouring of the whole 
in the early morning was exquisite. The land on 
the eastern shore here became higher and rocky. 



FISH OF THE NILE. i)l 

The narrow strij) of cultivation, on the deposit left 
by the inundation, was dug or cut up into little 
mounds, prepared for the coming crop of water- 
melons and cucumbers. Ploughing for fresh ' dhourra' 
was going on everywhere, with oxen or buffaloes. 
And now a fishing-boat came alongside, and a large 
purchase of fish was made for veiy little money. 
The 'pilot-fish' was reserved for our table, and 
' Cousin Phil,' who is rather a connoisseur, found 
it tolerably good. The crew had a feast upon theirs, 
which was of a coarser kind, at their next meal, in 
addition to the usual bowl of bread and soup. The 
cooked fish w^as served in a similar bowl ; the crew 
washed again in the river before partaking of it, 
and a broad grin of delight sat upon their faces 
till all was demolished. 

Music and noises of all kinds now greet the ear. 
It is the village of Koloseneh, with its dancing- 
girls, barking dogs, and screaming babies, all which 
regaled us through the night, accompanied by the 
creaking of the rudder, which annoyed poor Seliua 
sadly in her spacious cabin. 

Tliursday, Nov. 22r/. — Here w^as an opportunity 
of a walk before break fiist, and a sketch of the 
' shadoof,' the pole and bucket commonly used for 
drawing water from the Nile, for tlie purposes of 
irrigation. Numbers of them are seen all along the 
banks of the river, and, where the bank is high 
above the water, we have seen as many as five of 
them, at regular distances behind one another, till 



92 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABKEII. 

they reacli the fields on the top. The man who 
works the lowest draws from the river, and empties 
his bncket into a channel cut for the purpose ; the 
second draws from this channel, and tlirovvs the 
water into another higher up ; and so on the third, 
fourth, or fifth, until the uppermost bucket is emptied 
into the tiny channels which surround and intersect 
all the fields. The people work perpetually at the 
shadoof, day and night, without any ceasing, as at 
a treadmill. The}^ relieve each other after a cer- 
tain number of hours. Mohamed was all this time 
making purchases of provisions in the village. On 
his return a fresh breeze sprang up, and ofi" we 
sailed again, passing barren cliff" and still narro wing- 
strip of 'dhourra' and sugar-cane, the way per- 
petually enlivened by the countless sails which met 
or overtook the ' dahabeeh.' 

On the summit of the hill, ' Gebel e Tayr,' is a 
Coptic convent, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and 
called ' Dayr el Adra,' the Convent of our Lady. 
No sooner does the dahabeeh ai)pear in sight than 
five naked creatures swim towards it, shouting, as 
they advance, " Ana Christitin, ya Hav/agee " (I am 
a Christian, O master!), begging for char.it3^ They 
were received on the deck, and covered, by the 
modesty of our crew, with some of tlieir own gar- 
ments. For the honour of Christianity, we gave 
them a little ' Ijaksheesh,' though it is very doubtful 
what kind of religion is professed or practised by 
these poor creatures. We asked them a few questions 



Till': COPTIC CONVEXT. 93 

with rc2:nrd to their creed. They said tliat " Jesiis 
Christ is tlie Son of God," that " Miriam " was His 
motlier, and that they prayed " tliree times a-day." 
They, therefore, knew something; and, strange as it 
was to feel that such wikl, savage-looking beings 
sliould he the professors of the true faith in Christ in 
a land of Moslems, we tliought we could discern in 
their eyes and whole countenance a greater appear- 
ance of intelligence than in tliose of our crew, who 
call upon Allah, in their fashion, sometimes much 
more than three times a-day, and regard the Chris- 
tian in the light of an ' infidel.' 

The Copts asked for an ' empty bottle ' to put 
oil in ; but on receiving one from Thomas witii a 
remnant of wine in it, tliey put it to their mouths, 
and immediately begged for one that was ' full,' 
to take to their clergyman. The money given them 
was put into their moutJis^ and one carried the empty 
1)ottlc in his hand, as they all swam back to the 
sliore. 

At half-past tliree p.m. we reached the city of 
Minieh, and there the dahabeoh was moored, to 
remain for twenty-four hours, for the " grand wash," 
which did not, however, begin till the next morn- 
ing. Here was the first place sufHciently level 
for ' Cousin Phil ' to walk upon since we had left 
Cairo. We all turned out with the dragoman, and 
succeeded in reaching the bazaar of jMinieli, where 
Selina and I left ' Cousin Phil ' seated, under the 
])rotecti()n of 'l^homas. and walked witli Molianu^d 



91 FOUR MONTHS IK A DArTAREKIL 

further on into the ' Cooking Market,' wliich is one 
of the cliaracteristics of all tliese villages^ as we then 
ignorantly termed them, and were forthwith sharply 
reproved by Mohamed, who informed us that Minieh 
was no village but a " large city." All things in 
this world go by comparison, and on our return 
from Wadee Halfeh, we were inclined to agree 
with Mohamed. To return to the Cooking Market : 
very important the cooks look, in their little raised 
kitchens, and many a steaming hot mess is eagerly 
bought and carried off from the counters ; and it is 
no more than just to remark, that in the midst of all 
the dirtiness around them the cooks do contrive to 
produce very good-looking dishes, and to keep their 
cook-shops and cooking utensils at least apparently 
clean. As to this department on our dahabeeh, the 
cleanliness of the saucepans, the pastry-board, and 
rolling-pin, would have shamed many a so-called 
first-rate English cook. Yet our cook was a sun- 
burnt Arab ; he worked on the lower deck in the 
bow of the boat, and was obliged to do everything 
in the oj)en air. When a gale of wind was blowing 
it was difficult to keep the fire in ; and only when 
there was a dead calm, was he allowed to put up 
the awning over his kitchen. 

The bazaar of Minieh is narrow and dirty, but 
as full of life and business, and clean articles within 
the shops^ as all the others we have seen. There 
was plenty of the dried-locust fruit, which is much 
eaten liere without any cooking. It is a large, long 



LOCUSTS AXD LENTILS. 95 

pod, like the acacia-pod, of a dark cliocokate colour 

when dried, and tastes rather like dried figs. It 

seemed to us far more reasonable to suppose that 

this fruit formed part of the food of John the Baptist 

than any kind of grasshopper, however delicious 

these may have been. Then the pretty red lentils, 

which abound everywhere in this country, and 

look like a very small split-pea, explained to us the 

"red pottage" for which Esau sold his birthright 

so many hundred years ago ; the same mess of 

" bread and pottage of lentils " which our crew 

devour twice in every day. We noticed also brown 

loaf-sugar in the same shaped loaves as our white 

ones. There is a sugar-manufactory here. It was, 

unfortunately, not at work, but we were shown some 

samples of its produce. The brown loaf looked 

very coarse ; the white very good, but it seemed of 

a coarser grain and softer than the West Indian 

sugar which we are accustomed to at home. It 

is almost universally purified with bones. The 

Moslems have a strong prejudice against the use of 

blood ; and in a manufactory established at Rara- 

moon by an Englishman, the sugar is refined by 

means of eggs. The finest sample produced was 

most beautiful ; as clear as crystal and made into a 

twisted stick, like barley-sugar, as a sweetmeat for 

the ladies of the 'hareems;' "not to eat," as our 

dragoman very impressively informed us, " but to 

suck." His sense of propriety being much shocked, 

we fear, by the unceremonious manner in wliich a 



9G FOUR MOXTITS IX A PAHAP.KKIT. 

portion of tlie offered delicacy was now cruiiclied 
between European teeth. It may be had here for 
twelve piastres a-pound, whilst in Alexandria and 
Cairo it fetches twenty and twenty-four. 

Let our friends look in upon us in our saloon 
of an evening, and they will see that, in the midst of 
our romance, we are of the commonplace Western 
world still. Yet the ancient Egyptians played at 
draughts in ancient Egypt itself, and why should 
not romantic ' Cousin Phil ' play at backgammon 
on the Nile? He sees no reason against it, neither 
do we. Backgammon, then, concludes each day's 
entertainment, and the backgammon board comes 
in as a standing disli every evening after tea. It 
is rather hard upon me, for ' Cousin Phil,' being 
up to all the tactics of war, almost always wins 
the game ; yet he is for ever under the im- 
pression that some evil genius hovers around him, 
tumbling a perpetual (^ii^ ^P^ ^"* ^^ ^^^® dice-box. 
I never could persuade him that he was throwing 
' doublets,' but he always counted my doublets at 
least four times over ; — and so we played on to the 
end of the winter — . 

Friday, Nov. 2 3/y/.— Washing day! The tall 
boat-poles were stuck in the dry mud-soil, close to 
the dahabech, a sheet spread round them for shelter 
like a screen, while, at a distance, a line was fas- 
tened along other poles where the linen was to be 
hung out to dry; and the Arabs squatted on the 
ground and set to witli very tolerable good-will. 



HIGH WINDS. 97 

We were curious to see how Arab men would 
wash, and are bound to confess that they can do it 
as w^ell as European women. There was first a 
large bowl of cold water, in which all the linen was 
rinsed by one man ; then another bowl of very clean, 
hot water, in which it was well soaped and washed 
by a second ; the fire, on which the kettle was set to 
boil the water in, was made in a hole in the ground 
close by, and it was the business of a third person 
to feed it. The clothes were well washed, and then 
hung up on the lines to dry. The drying was quick 
work when the thermometer rose to 94°, and then 
the whole was brought in to Sarah, who had two 
good days' work to iron it all. A ' blacky ' waited 
upon her with the irons, but she had frequently a 
great deal of trouble in getting them heated, and 
after three o'clock could not have them at all on 
account of the dinner. 

Wasliiug and provision -hunting occupied the 
whole day, and as evening came on the wind rose 
so high that it w\as not possible to proceed. How 
strangely it sounded, after the calm and quiet of the 
preceding days, to hear the gusts and squalls, and to 
feel the boat rolling about in a way which would 
almost have done honour to the sea. In the morn- 
ing Selina and I had sallied forth w^ith Mohamed, 
our sketch-books, umbrellas, camp-chairs, and two 
of the crew, who were always in attendance with 
th.eir big sticks, to chase away tlie admiring crowd. 
We walked once more through the bazaar; then tiie 

II 



98 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

Dragoman went to seek for turkeys, &c., tlie more 
Immble attendants remaining, and assisting in look- 
ing for a subject worthy of a skctcli. Their taste 
was curious, and we were difficult to please, for the 
heat was very great — about 85°. At length we fixed 
upon a trio of cobblers, mending up all the old 
shoes, just within one of the gates of the city. This 
gate was only a plain wooden door across the vstreet, 
and the market was on the other side of it. Very 
proud the cobblers were of the choice of the ladies, 
and many a more important personage thrust himself 
in the way, evidently thinking that he was far more 
worthy of a place in the sketch-book than the 
cobblers. But the crowds passing through the gate 
began to press round thicker and thicker, in spite of 
the great sticks of the crew ; and the contact with 
Minieh's inhabitants was becoming so close that we 
were just going to give up in despair, when an 
' officer' stepped forward and ordered the gate to be 
closed. The order was instantly obeyed, and the 
unfortunate populace continued pushing in vain 
from without. This we thought rather an alarming 
crisis ; and considering all the difficulties under 
v.hich the sketch was labouring, we made ready to 
decamp, but the expostulations of the spectators 
were so urgent that, we sat on, wondering at 
onr own boldness, and wishing that 'Cousin Phil' 
and our friends at home could have a peep at us and 
the cobblers. On a sudden a dark figure started up, 
wielding a huge stick, and speaking in threatening 



MiNiEir. 99 

accents. The crowd dispersed on all sides, and a 
clear space was made and kept for the adventnrous 
artists. It w^as Mohamed el Adleeh himself, Avhose 
blood Avas boiling at seeing how^ near the people 
had pressed upon liis charge ; and in answer to 
our inquiries about the propriety of the gate having 
been closed for us, he insisted on our remaining, 
saying, " Of course ; take your time : that's our 
business ; we must do it. I think I broke the arm 
of one man just now!" It was he himself, who, 
from another quarter of the town, had found out 
where we Avere, and ordered the closing of the gate. 
We had had enough of it, however, and now rose to 
depart, the gate opened, and the crowd rushed through 
and followed us. What a nuisance they must have 
thought us ! But they seem to expect to be pushed 
about whenever a European, more especially an 
English subject, appears, and in most instances their 
own countrymen are the ministers of this petty 
tyranny ; an office which, it must be added, they 
assume with the greatest relish. 

The cemetery of Minieh is on the opposite side 
of the river, whither the dead bodies are ferried 
over. This was the practice of the ancient Egyp- 
tians, and gave rise to the fable of Charon and the 
Styx. 

We left Minieh on Saturday, Nov. 24tli, at 7 
A.M., and passed by the grottoes and catacombs 
of ' Beni Hassan.' Very curious and jucturesque 
they appear in the bare steep cliff, and full of interest 



100 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABKEH. 

when we are told that in them many of the ancient 
Christians have sought shelter from persecution; 
and in one of them it is supposed that St. Anthony 
lived, and preached from thence to the multitudes 
who came to hear him once every year. A small 
tomb stands alone on the cliff — very small and 
unimportant-looking ; but it is the tomb of ' Sheikh 
Seyd,' and yearly visits are paid to it by the natives, 
and illuminations made in it. . . . 

The Re'is was not well to-day, and up comes 
Mohamed with a request for some globules. We 
could scarcely restrain a smile at the thought of 
administerins; three o'lobules of ' nux vomica' to 
such a sturdy-looking black. His symptoms, how- 
ever, having been gravely and admirably detailed, 
we assumed very solemn faces, forbade coffee 
and smoke for the time being, and administered the 
globules. It was very like physicking a buffalo. 
But most submissively the orders were received, and 
the cup and pipe laid aside. The symptoms abated, 
and the Reis grew better ; but, alas ! the starvation 
could last no longer, and a request came, " The 
Reis — he want to eat ! " With much amusement 
the permission for something ' very plain ' was 
reluctantly given. Soon after, the Reis was worse ; 
he wanted some more physic, and the angry Drago- 
man exclaims, " The Reis is a fool ! I make him 
some soup, and he been eat butter and roasted 
bread ! " 

Next day the poor man begged a dose of castor 



THE SICK REIS. 101 

oil, and it Avas truly ludicrous to see liiui fed with it by 
tlie Dragoman with tender coaxing and lumps of sugar. 
He appeared resigned to liis fate, and thought, as 
all these people do Avlien they have the slightest 
ailment, that " he was going to die most surely." 
He did look ill for some days — we cannot say pale, 
but something that showed he would have looked 
pale if he could. 

. . . Now we are stuck on a mud-bank. Tlie 
crew start to their feet, seize the boat-poles, and stick- 
ing them into the mud, push away with all their 
strength, bending themselves double as they walk 
along the side of the boat one after the other, and 
then withdrawing them, return quickly to repeat the 
operation. The curious shape into which they 
throw themselves gives them more the appearance 
of quadrupeds than bipeds, and they call loudly 
upon ' Allah' the whole time. It is of no avail, and 
three of them proceed to take off their clotlies (no 
very long process), jump into the Avatcr, and put 
their shoulders to the ])oat ; and while their fellows 
continue pushing as before from the d<^ck, they lift 
tlie hu<2:e weight until we float a^ain. It had a 
strange appearance to see the row of naked copper- 
coloured busts at the bow% like so many figure-heads, 
innnoveable, though working with all their might. 
This is a frequent occurrence in a trij) on the Nile : 
the river changes its bed so per])etually, and fresh 
banks of the deposit are so frequently thrown u]>, 
that the navigation is more or less a case of ' feeling 



102 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAIIABEEH. 

one's way along.' In some places the river is quite 
deep ; at others, Mohamed says, no more than one 
foot and a half, but just sufficient to float the 
dahahech. The width of the stream is equally vari- 
ahle, and at times w^e sail not on the river at all, 
hut in a canal formed by the sand-banks, through 
which we meet the true river again. 

We passed the first specimens of the dom palm 
io-day, which henceforth increased in number as 
WQ ascended the stream. They are very handsome: 
the trunk, annulated and smooth, branching out in 
two stems, and the leaf the shape of a large, indented, 
almost circular fan ; the fruit hangs in heavy clus- 
ters from the branches, and resembles a potato in 
form, but of a dark olive-brown shining colour when 
unripe, as it was now ; the flesh of the fruit is about 
three-quarters of an inch deep, and within is a large 
stone remarkable for its extreme hardness, which is 
valued by carpenters for the sockets of their drills ; 
the flavour of the fruit, we were told, is something- 
like gingerbread ; it forms a considerable portion of 
the food of the natives in these parts, and they keep 
large quantities for sale : it is sometimes called the 
' Bread-tree.' 

The beautiful cliffs of Aboolfeydeh detained us 
for the night, and caused very anxious looks on 
the careful Dragoman's face. We thought him very 
v'ow^ardly at first, and set him down as an instance 
of Oriental weakness and effeminacy; but we soon 
changed our minds, as the vessel began to roll and 



ABOOLFEYDEH. 103 

pitch in good earnest, so that it was almost neces- 
sary to hold the glasses on the table at diuner-tinie. 
Mohanied said it was quite necessary, and accord- 
ingly stationed Thomas at one end of the table to 
look after the decanters, whilst we were each one 
enjoined to provide for the safety of our respective 
glasses. The wind blew famously, and it was soon 
easy to perceive the cause of the disturbance : the 
gusts come down through openings in the hills, 
catching the high lateen yard and sail, which tower 
to about the same level ; and it sometimes happens 
that vessels attempting to sail here in a high wind 
are overturned. It was very curious to see the 
sailors run up the mast, and perch themselves all 
along the yard to furl the sail. In the moonlight 
the appearance of height was increased ; and with 
the reflections on the sail, the dark figures dotted 
like so many monkeys all along the yard, and the pic- 
turesque cliffs on one side, the crops of dhourra' and 
the w^atchmen and watch-fires on the other, it was a 
scene well worth recording. Indeed every traveller 
liere should be an artist capable of carrying all away 
home Avith him in his portfolio. 

Sunday^ Nov. 'thth. — Flocks of wild geese, so 
numerous as to look like clouds, passed by, flying 
liigli up in the air; they rise in a body, and then 
divide into long strings of single birds, forming 
Avaving lines in all directions, or frequently stretching 
along without the slightest bend, for a considerable 
length. They are extremely numerous here, and 



104 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

are much sought after by sportsmen ; but, though 
fiue-lookiug birds, they are not good eating. One 
gentleman, we were told, shot 1400 of them during 
a short trip on the Nile ; IMohamed's version of this 
story being that the said gentleman had made a vow, 
on leaving Cairo, that he would shoot 20,000 before 
his return; that he had already accomplished 18,000, 
and was retracing his steps in order to complete the 
remaining 2,000. Mohamed fully believed that he 
was correct in these numbers, and could not at all 
comprehend why we should be sceptical on this 
point : moreover, he evidently set this scepticism 
down as one of the proofs of our Christian unbelief. 
Our sportsman on board had tried to bring down 
some of these birds several times, but they were 
always at too great a distance ; and as he generally 
aimed straight at a nafive^ it was ptThaps not very 
remark ble that the birds did not fall. Happily the 
natives also found means of escape. There were 
also flocks of a bird resembling the ibis, and some 
others whose names we could not make out. 

Far away from the congregations assembled at 
home on this holy day, we could yet join with them 
in prayer and praise, and our little party assembled 
in the saloon at 11 a.m. and enjoyed the Church's 
service together. In the evening we took a walk 
on shore, at the village of 'Ekrab,' and thought 
of those who were then walking to church at home 
for the Evening Prayer. We almost envied them 
their privilege, and yet surely it was a privilege 



SUNDAY EVENING. 105 

also to walk along ilic banks of this wonderful 
' river of Egypt,' to think over all its ])ast histoiy 
and the prophecies connected with it, and to watch 
the gorgeous sunset hues, blending with the soft 
shady tints of night, coming on so rapidly, to be 
followed again by the splendid moon and stars, 
which here, at the time of the full moon, literally 
turn night into day. The bright luminaries had 
shone as brightly, the blue river flowed as freely in 
those early days, before the eyes of kings, prophets, 
and patriarchs, the servants or enemies of the Ring 
of kings, whose past lives we now realised as w^e 
never did before. The pleasures of home will doubt- 
less have a double value when v>e return to them 
again, but meanwhile let those granted to us at the 
present time be acknowledged and turned to account. 
The 'Cairo' reached Sioot, the capital of Upper 
Egypt, at 8 p.m., but continued sailing all night, and 
stopped on Monday, November 26th, at a small 
village to purchase milk for breakfast. There was 
none to be had, the cows and buffaloes were gone 
over to the opposite side for pasture, to remain there 
for two or three months ; after which time, the whole 
of the pasture being exhausted, they must live on 
dry food for the remainder of the year. We there- 
fore sailed after them for our breakfast provision. 
Milk is procured in this manner fresh every morning, 
from buffalo, cow, or goat, as the case may be; and 
we had had the good fortune to find it hitherto very 
good, as indeed was all our food, with the exception 



106 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAHABEEH. 

that the meat was slightly tough, whilst the knives 
wherewith to cut it were more than slightly blunt ! 
Tough and very small mutton was our usual meat, 
but beef came occasionally. The buflalo beef we 
found by far the best, indeed that was pronounced 
good; but so many chickens, pigeons, and turkeys, 
were slauglitered every day for our table, that the 
quality of the meat was not of much consequence to 
the ladies — 'Cousin Phil' had it all to himself 
The bread was baked fresh every second day; the 
cook took the greatest trouble about it, and it was 
at last very light and good ; but poor Selina could 
not eat it, neither could ' Cousin Phil' endure the 
pistacio nuts, which Mohamed would thrust into the 
'Mish mish,' the puddings, and even into the 'haricot.' 
We, however, finally expelled them, toasted the 
bread, put up with the meat, and so, on the whole, 
managed uncommonly well. 

In illustration of the chano-es in the bed of the 
Nile each year, the village which supplied us with 
milk this morning, and which was originally built at 
some distance, was now half washed away. The 
remains of many of its houses stood crumbling on 
the edge of the water, yet still inhabited by the 
owners till the last moment of safety, and several of 
their date -trees lay uprooted on the bank. Many 
towns now on the river's edge were formerly a mile 
away from it, while some others extended far across 
Avhere the river now flows deeply. The natives are 
consequently obliged to be continually building 



OIINITIIOLOGICAL. 107 

tljeinsc'lves ucw abodes ; a merciful dispensation 
of Providence we thought, cousidei'ing the dirtiness 
Avithiu tlieir confined walls. 

Two king-fisher birds showed themselves here, 
and it was pretty to watch them plunging into the 
water to catch their prey : their plumage a very 
beautiful mixture of black, grey, and white. The 
tameness of all the birds was very charming, and 
our deck was frequently covered with numbers of 
little brown sparrows or water-wagtails, while turtle- 
doves perched all along the awning cords quite close 
to us, without showing the least fear. To-day the 
wild geese were more numerous than ever. There 
seemed to be millions of them in tlie clouds soar- 
ing above. And now seven stately pelicans swam 
by very slowly and majestically. These were 
tlie first we had seen, and we watched them with 
great interest, others appeared a little further on, 
and Mohamed was greatly disappointed that there 
was no shot on board sufficiently large to kill one of 
tliem. He says, " Oh, yes ; I shoot very well 
indeed; and I would stuff it for you to take home." 
It is rather problematical whether he really could 
have done so, but he was a clever man in his way, 
and we were very sorry that we could not give him, 
at least, the chance of succeeding. Another bird, 
called by the natives the ' camel of the river,' we 
discovered on a nearer view to be a crane. 

Tuesdai/^ Nov. '21 Hi. — Further we sail from tlie 
liaunts of men ; or, rather we ' track,' for there was 



108 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

no wind blowing, and the tliermonieter in tlie sliade 
had reached 80°, and iii the sun 106°. All was as 
still as could be, not even a sail in sight for some 
hours, and the only sounds that broke the stillness 
were the shout of the 'trackers' as they moved 
along ; the creaking of the double ' Sliadoofs,' worked 
by two naked, dark, copper-coloured beings on the 
shore ; and the sharp cry of the ' crocodile bird,' a 
pretty white and black bird, about the size of a 
cuckoo. The crew were 'tracking' along on a bank 
in the middle of the river, which they had reached 
through the water, when somehow the ' tracking 
rope' broke, and there floats the ' Cairo,' — " best boat 
on the Nile,'' — a strong current against her, and 
twelve of her boasted crew far away on a bank, 
isolated from us all ! We could not forbear a laugh, 
but it required all the exertions of the few remain- 
ing hands on board to guide the boat against the 
stream to a place whence two of them could take 
the small boat to fetch the lost crew. IMohamed, 
we think, did not feel very comfortable, and looked 
a little as if he were thinking, " Suppose they should 
take it into tlieir heads not to come back a2;ain?" 
They came, however, and resumed their 'tracking' 
as steadily as if nothing had haj^pened. 

All sank into the former delicious silence, and I 
continued reading aloud to Selina about Jerusalem 
and Bethlehem in ' The Crescent and the Cross.' It 
was too still to last, and now we were 'in for it !' 
Far from civilised man indeed, we looked up at some 



THE ATTACK. 109 

harsh sounds which met our ear. The 'trackers' 
were attacked by some wikl-looking men. All the 
great sticks were thrown to them quickly from the 
dahabeeh : one man was wounded. The enemy 
produced muskets and prepared to load them. The 
Dragoman made a tremendous bound, and leapt on 
shore with his great stick : and here were we, w^ith 
the steersman and two others, sole possessors of the 
* Cairo,' and approaching with all speed to the scene 
of combat. 

" Now then, good people," said the beating of 
everybody's heart, " why did you not listen to your 
friends at home, and remain quietly nearer to them ? 
Here's an end to your romantic expedition ; and the 
ladies, and the brave old gentleman, are going to be 
buried in the Nile, or carried away captives to the 
White River." Selina and I were very brave of 
course ; " not in the least frightened," yet we could 
not think why the steersman did not turn the daha- 
beeh the other way and try to make her ' run^ instead 
of guiding her straight to the scene of action. The 
crew fought well, and in a moment of time the brave 
Mohamed had struck one of the enemy a blow across 
the chest, which sent him tumbling over the bank, 
"half killed," Mohamed said. All the enemy's mus- 
kets came into possession of our crew, one of whom 
fired into the air to prove that they were loaded. 
^I(jliamed stalks about as fearless as if surrounded 
by friends alone, speechifies, and vows to bring all 
the enemy before the Governor at Girgeh, whence 



110 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEII. 

they would be '' despatched to Cairo and put in 
prison." The cause of the commotion was simply 
this. The crew were quietly tracking along, when 
one of them, seeing a man below the bank, civilly 
warned him to take care of the rope, or it would 
hurt him. For answer the savage rushed at him, 
struck him with his gun, and threatened to fire. 
The rope was let fall in an instant, and the fight 
began, while the numbers of the enemy increased 
from their boat which was moored close by. Our 
side w^as still the most numerous, but it was a 
^■'glorious victory," and four muskets were carried off 
to the dahabeeh, in spite of all the entreaties which 
the vanquished enemy were now most humbly 
making to have them restored. They tried hard, 
and oflFered to give forty piastres to each of the 
crew as a bribe ; but Mohamcd returns with his 
crew to the boat, and we leave them beliind. But, 
no, it was not quite over yet. The sailor who had 
been first struck still thirsted for vengeance. He 
w^as an enormously large, and very strong man : the 
coarsest specimen of human nature we had ever 
seen ; highly valued by Mohamed, and called by 
him " the very strong man," but very difficult to 
appease when affronted. He had lagged beliind the 
rest, and was listening with pleasure to the words of 
the enemy chief, whom, finally, when the small boat 
was sent for the truant, he sufifered to swim along 
with it to the Dahabech. There he was at the stern. 
Our brave blood boiled and froze again, and prepared 



PROPOSED RETRIBDTIOX. 1 1 1 

for a liaiid-to-liaiul combat on board. This, hov/- 
cver, was apparently far from the thoughts of either 
party, and the Dragoman assured us, that these men 
would as soon think of trying to take the guns by 
force, as they would of flying. The chief only 
wanted to parley, to repeat the offer of his bribe, 
and to beg that the 'party' on board would be 
appeased by having the three chief offenders brought 
before them and '"''Jlogged till nearly dead;'" and that 
then the muskets should be restored. A novel scene 
indeed for English ladies to witness, and we arc 
sorry to state that it would evidently have given the 
greatest satisfaction to the "very strong man" to 
have seen the proposed sentence executed. Mohanied, 
however, knew better, and informed the chief, with 
pompous dignity, that he was not the magistrate, 
and that it was "the will of the party" that the 
guns should be " delivered up to the Governor of 
Girgeli." He was, finally, courteously sent back in 
our own boat and deposited on shore, whence he 
continued his entreaties, with uplifted arms and 
solemn promises, until the dahabe^h was out of 
sight. I do not know who or what these people 
took 'Cousin Phil' for; they were evidently afraid 
of him; and Mohamed, determined to make the most 
of everything, gave him different high-sounding 
titles on every different occasion, such as the'Eajah,' 
the ' Great Howao;ee,' the ' Lars-e Eni2;lisli Gentle- 
man,' from the ' English Parliament,' &c., so that by 
the end of our journey there was a pretty long 



112 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

string to his name. Mohamed el Adlech was now a 
hero in our eyes, and when peace was restored, we 
felt a certain satisfaction at having had ' our adven- 
ture' on the Nile, though very thankful that it had ter- 
minated so harmlessly to ourselves. Mohamed came 
up to assure "his party" that "all this is finished ;" 
to inform 'Cousin Phil' that if these men, or any 
others, attack them again, here, or elsewhere on the 
river, the 'Paper' which he will procure from the 
Governor at Girgeli will cause that " these men will 
all he hung;" which caused ' Cousin Phil' to smile. 
Then Mohamed turned to us and said, in tender, 
entreating tones, " If you please not to think any 
more about this ; just talk a little, then go on read- 
ing and working as before ; because, you know, I 

see you Mrs. L get very red^ and Mrs. C 

I'^ery white jnst now." We had then, alas! betrayed 
the inward emotion which we had thought to hide so 
well. As to the title of 'Mrs.,' our Dragoman, though 
he guessed our ages at fifteen and sixteen, ahvays 
persisted in giving it to us — alternately with that of 
"yes, sir,'' which, to Sarah's horror, he would con- 
stantly address indiscriminately to lady or gentle- 
man. She succeeded at last in making him say 
'yes, ma'am,' but it always came out in such a 
ridiculous tone, that we often wished the 'sir' back 
again, lest a slight convulsion of the lips should 
meet the Arab's piercing eye and afiront him. To 
assure us still more of our safety, he boldly asserted 
that he, with his stick, " could knock down any six 



THE BRAVE DEFENDER. 113 

ineu, even if they had guns;" and wlien we suggested 
that the guns might ])e useful if we kept them 
altogether, he looked astonished, and said, " The 
crew ; he don't care for guns, only just sticks ! " and, 
moreover, "• Mohamed will kill himself" (he killed) 
"before any harm can come to any of the party!" 
" That's my business ! " emphatically added our 
enthusiastic defender. And we did feel very safe 
in our brave guard, although when we stopped at 
the village of Mensheeh for the night, and saw that 
the chief and two others of the enemy had already 
made their way tliere by land, we found that we did 
not yet thoroughly understand the character of these 
people, and began to quake a little ; a little more 
too, perhaps, when it was agreed in a council of war 
that the captured guns should for safety's sake be 
removed from the deck and brought into the saloon 
for the night, and when they were finally deposited 
within the stern cabin. I walked along the shore 
with Mohamed, in the midst of the foe, to show 
that we were not in the least discomfited by their 
appearance; and to do ourselves justice, even we 
ladies were not half so much afraid of them as they 
were of us ; no ! although they were dark, wild- 
looking savages, and only half clothed. They had 
come here on the chance of our staying for the night, 
to raise their bribe and to offer the offenders again 
to punishment. No mercy, however, was shown, and 
the enemy remained scpiatted quietly alongside with 
the watchmen from the village, four strong men, 

I 



1 14 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

proof against any attack, whilst we bravely retired 
to rest and slept soundly, altliongli I believe our 
shoes were placed close at hand in case of a sudden 
alarm. Mohamed and the crew watched of course. 

The enemy consisted of a number of slave-traders 
from the ' White River,' who were returning from 
an expedition to Cairo, whither they had been 
carrying slaves for sale, contrary to the law. They 
had been stopped by some Governor on their way, 
and were now returning home. The three that 
followed us hither said that they were the owners of 
the guns which had been taken by the first offenders 
whilst they were asleep in their lioat. The offenders 
meanwhile were far too much frightened by the name 
of the ' Governor of Girgeh ' to appear. The owner 
of the boat, the chief or ' Sheikh ' of the party, had 
" nothing to do with it," and apparently no respon- 
sibility was attached to him by any one on either 
side; but Mohamed suspected our Reis of having 
let out that we were going to Mensheeh for the 
night, of having held out hopes that the bribe might 
be accepted, and so of being the true cause of " all 
this trouble." He was very wroth with him in con- 
sequence, and said he would bring him also before 
the Governor. ^Matters were not straight on board 
for a little time, but we could not understand one 
word that was said, and therefore quietly left them 
alone to fight it out their own fashion. Only some- 
times, when the voices were unbearably loud, we 
sent word that ' we could not hear our own reading,' 



AN ENTERTAINING VISIT. 115 

and they always ceased immediately. Finally the 
Dragoman's determination carried the day, and all 
parties were frightened, bribed, or wearied into 
peace. The wind would not rise, and on Wednesday, 
November 28th, we were 'tracking' still ; but we 
finally succeeded in reaching Girgeli. The Governor 
was away ; the wily enemy were beforehand with us 
again; they had been to the Governor's agent to 
try to bribe him to their side. ' Truth will out,' 
however, even on the Nile; Mohamed met the agent 
on his way to the market, told his story, and brought 
the agent to see the travellers. 

A dumb show was now enacted. The aa;eut 
could not speak English ; ' Cousin Phil' could speak 
neither Arabic nor Italian, which all these dignitaries 
understand slightly, but he made him sit beside 
him, and handed him over to "the ladies'' for con- 
versation. Selina and I could both of us read and 
understand Italian pretty well, and used to hold 
small conversations together in that language by way 
of practice, but the peculiar undress, bare feet, and 
dirty appearance of the said agent no doubt chased 
it all away, and Sclina's perverse lips chose to frame 
nothing but Portuguese, whilst mine uttered German. 
Why could not this man talk French, we could 
all, we thought, have spoken that "•like natives!" 
But where was the use of moralising ; we were 
deficient in the thing required, and so, after a sufli- 
cient time of edifying stammering, the agent and 
'Abool Gowdd,' a fine-looking, handsome friend of 



1 16 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

our Dragoman, having partaken of coffee, the latter 
having oifered the ladies a Turkisli bath, which they 
politely declined for fear of the consequences, the 
visit was concluded, the guns lay quietly in the stern 
cabin, and we walked into the city to see the bazaar. 
Mohamed's ' friends' were innumerable ; at Minieli 
he w^as embraced and hugged at every ten yards, and 
it was the same wherever we went. Four or six 
kisses on either cheek alternately, a pressing of 
hands and most soft sounding dialogue of mutual 
good wishes, was the 'routine' on all these occasions; 
and then they hung on each other's necks, reminding 
us forcibly of the pictures which represent the 
meetings of Jacob with his brother Esau, or his son 
Joseph; and which we now judge to be very faith- 
fully drawn. This walk terminated with the per- 
formances of an Egyptian conjuror. Near the 
market-place a close circle was formed around him, 
the little children within sitting on the ground, the 
taller ones standing behind them, and behind these 
again a large concourse of growm-up people. The 
circle on our approach was broken, with the usual 
shouting and beating in spite of all our remon- 
strances, in order that the travellers might see 
tlie performance; which we witnessed for a time, 
because it took place in Egypt, but would certainly 
have turned away from, anywhere else; and w^e were 
soon satisfied. The conjuror had a little child to 
assist him, who first with a great stick beat him 
vigorously across the chest, as he knelt on the 



THE CONJUROK. 117 

ground, till you would have supposed lie must at 
least have been hurt, but he was not. 

A wonderful box next appeared, playing similar 
tricks to those that are practised in Europe, with the 
addition of a snake coming out when a handkerchief 
only had been put in ; and the child took up the 
snake in its hands and held it as a necklace round 
its neck. The conjuror then produced some huge 
irons in the form of a kind of open ring, which he 
inserted on either side of the child's mouth, clasping 
in the cheek as far as the ear. It was a horrid 
sight, and the child screamed and cried to such per- 
fection, if it really were a sham, as we were assured 
it was, that we could stay no longer and walked 
away, followed by half of the circle of spectators, 
who evidently considered us at least as fine a sight 
as their conjuror. 

A most o-lorious moon rose to-nic-ht. She was 
' at the full,' and more beautiful than I can describe, 
as she rose large and golden on the still waters. At 
six A.M., Thursday, November 29th, she was still 
shining brilliantly, and at half-past six had disap- 
peared before the gorgeous colours of the rising sun 
in the east, while these spi-eading gradually round, 
soon merged with the soft blue and pink of the west 
into the brighter day. 



118 



CHAPTER IV. 



FEOM GIRGEH TO ASSOUAN. 



The ' Cairo' remained at Girgeh to get bread for 
the crew. This is no li2;ht work for the men. 
First they must buy the corn, then cleanse it by 
winnowing through a sieve in the open air, with 
a httle stick or a branch of pahn ; then they must 
take it to one of tlie ancient mill-stones to be ground 
by the women ; lastly, they must make the dough 
and bake it in the ovens in the town. The whole 
process takes twenty-four hours. The bread is 
wheaten bread, made of the whole meal with leaven. 
It is made into small, flat, round loaves, containing 
about the quantity of an English penny loaf, and is 
very well made. The next process is to dry it, for 
which purpose it is spread out on the deck, cut up 
into small pieces, and left exposed to the sun, until 
thoroughly dry and hard, so that it may keep for 
some time uninjured. The pieces are put into a 
large box on the deck, and the cook-boy fetches the 
required portion twice every day to be soaked in the 
boiling lentil soup for breakfast and dinner. One 
ardeb and a half were made here for our crew, three 
more will be made at Esneh, which it is calculated 



THE sheikh's house. 1 1<J 

will be siifiicient until Ave return again to (iirgeli 
from the second Cataracts. (Cue ardeb is rather 
more than five bushels.) 

Whilst the crew were engaged in their bread- 
making, Selina and I were seated on a low divan 
in an P^gyptian house, to which Mohamed had 
escorted us. We had asked to see the house of 
Sheikh Abool Go wad. On the way thither we 
were introduced to a young Nubian slave, who 
had been adopted by her owner, as a companion for 
his daughter " to go to school with her," &c. The 
child was the very essence of ugliness, but her 
master appeared to be very fond of her, and pulled 
about her fat black cheeks in a fondlino- fashion of 
his own, which did not serve to increase her beauty. 
Her nose was as flat as nose can be ; she was very 
shy, but w^as made to kiss the ladies' hands, and she 
looked frightened, at the suggestion that they might 
take her away to England with them. The Sheikh's 
house is built of mud and crude brick. We passed 
first through a large room used as a store for " all 
kinds of things," of which, however, there were none 
then visible : next into the ' cooking-room,' in the 
corner of which stood a little round mud oven. A 
hole for the fire was on one side of it on the ground ; 
the opening above by which to admit "the goose" 
faced in another direction ; and on the top were 
two small excavations for '' the sauce." There was 
no other article of fui'niture, but one or two pans in 
a corner, and this room was anti-chamljer to the 



120 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABE^H. 

sitting-room, where the div.an was spread on the 
floor, in a portion railed off from the rest, with a 
slightly ornamented wooden railing. A new-look- 
ing, printed, and thickly quilted calico counterpane 
was spread over a mattress, or a bed of dried cane 
perhaps, upon the floor, and covered a small raised 
seat, which ran along the wall at the back of it. 
This formed the divan, on which we were requested 
to seat ourselves, Turkish fashion, while the host 
and the Dragoman sat opposite to us on the ground, 
the former smoking his cigarettes all the time. 
This smoking is by no means so unpleasant as the 
cigar or pipe smoking practised in Europe. The 
little cigarette of fine tobacco, rolled up at the time 
of using it, in a bit of paper about three inches long 
and two inches broad, sends forth a very faint cloud, 
and though we did not like even that, we hoped it 
would keep away the fleas, which we could not help 
expecting in swarms about us on our return : and 
so, with all our natural antipathy to smoke in any 
shape, w^e almost welcomed it here. There was no 
window beside the old wooden lattice ; no furniture 
beyond the divan, the rail, three rude cupboards in 
tlie mud wall, two of which we were told contained 
^'' the Bibles," and a stand resembling a ' what-not,' 
on which our host said that he sat to read the 
Koran to the villagers, whom he assembled in his 
house twice a-week. He had been four times to 
Mecca; and his old mother, who now came to join the 
party and to sit on the divan beside us, had been 



HIS MOTHER. 121 

there six times. They said it cost 80/, to nicake 
one journey thither. If that be true they must 
have expended all their wealth in these journeys ; 
for certainly there was no appearance of even niucli 
less than 80/. here. Many of these people, how- 
ever, have money, although to European ideas their 
appearance is that of poverty. When Mecca was the 
subject, some of our Dragoman's tales were mar- 
vellous, and he looked with the greatest veneration 
on those persons who had made many journeys 
thither. Selina wore dark gloves with gauntlets, 
and now her " black hands " compared to her " white 
face " caused a great deal of whispering and specula- 
tion among the hosts, and she was finally requested 
by Moharaed to pull off her gloves to show that 
hands and fiice were suitably alike. The gloves 
drawn off, her lings Avere displayed, and poor Selina 
was in for a special examination. The gloves they 
had never seen before, but tliey dearly love jewellery, 
therefore dress, rings, bracelets, gold beads on the 
net, and red feather in the hat, were severally 
inspected and admired. She bore it all with a mar- 
vellous good grace ; but when the old mother escorted 
us upstairs, to see the woman-kind of the establish- 
ment, and came affectionately close to both her 
guests, we must confess to having involuntarily 
slirunk back for safety. She was dressed in blue 
cotton, and was as dirty and ugly as the rest of her 
race. The Dragoman was not allowed upstnirs, lest 
he should see our host's married daughter who lived 



122 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

there. Little likely was she, we thought, to captivate 
anybody ; but there is no accouiitiug for taste 
in this world, and these people see charms in each 
other to which we are stupidly blind, so there might 
have been a chance of IMohamed's wishing to carry 
off the beauty. And what did we see upstairs — a 
poultry-yard ; in the rooms and outside the rooms, 
chickens, turkeys, pigeons, and a goat ; cooking- 
utensils and bed-coverings, all indiscriminately 
huddled together in one enclosure, and the daughter 
and a grandchild as dirty-looking as any of the 
Egyptian community ! We had, however, seen an 
Egyptian house, and thought we should not be in a 
hurry to go into anotlier of the same class. Three- 
quarters of an hour we sat, before the indispensable 
coffee was brought in ; and when the little cups 
did at last appear, they contained, not coffee, but a 
horrid decoction of brown sugar and hot water, 
covered over with pounded cinnamon. Ah ! good 
ladies! beware how you visit an Egyptian Sheikh 
again with your Dragoman. AVe sipped on, for 
good manners' sake, till we were nearly ill, and then 
the ' factotum ' Mohamed held out his hand to take 
the cups from us, and poured the contents of each 
in turn down his own throat, as part of " his 
business," we suppose. And so indeed it was, on 
this occasion, for coffee is the usual offering to 
guests in this country, and the cause of the substitu- 
tion had been a previous statement of Mohamed's 
to our host, that " we do not like coffee." 



THE FANATIC. 123 

The market at Girgeh is cheaper than in any 
other town on the Nile ; large purchases are con- 
sequently made here. Eggs are sold fourteen for 
one piastre (five or seven piastres answer to one 
shilling) ; chickens, two piastres apiece ; butter, 
when it is to be had at all, at five piastres per pound. 
In other places chickens fetch from three to five 
piastres apiece ; and eight eggs only are given for 
one piastre. The chickens were not very much 
larger than European pigeons, and the pigeons not 
much beyond larks. The eggs of course propor- 
tionably small, but generally good. 

Friday, Nov. 30th. — We reached Farshoot, for- 
merly a station for troops. The scenery grows 
prettier as w^e advance, and the hills of Denderah 
and Gheneh appear in sight. At a short distance 
from Farshoot a strange scene takes place. ' Sheikh 
Selim ' sits there, in a hole in the ground ; a few 
dried canes around him for shelter, not an article of 
clothing upon him, a quantity of horrid matted 
hair on his head, and several " servants " attend- 
ing him. There he has sat for forty years and 
upward, and every boat that passes by brings him 
ofi^erings of one kind or another. Dragoman and 
crew all turned out, and Selina and I were turned 
out also to see the " holi/ man.'' After a glance or 
two we gladly turned away, and kee})ing at a 
respectful distance tried to sketch the extraordinary 
scene. The crew crowded round him ; and with a 
mixture of reverence, sympatliy, and superstition. 



124 rOUE MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

presented their several gifts : chicken, rice, bread, 
&c., and the Dragoman, foremost in all such things, 
brought a large canister of snufF. Sheikh Selim sat 
with his hands across his eyes, as though afraid of the 
honourable circle ; and apparently regarded nothing, 
until the boiled chicken was poked close under his 
nose ; then he slowly and cautiously stretched out 
his hands to take it, tore it, and ate it like a beast of 
the field. The wretched object must surely have 
been born an idiot, supported and cared for in 
this strange manner by the superstition of the 
Moslems. He was apparently entirely devoid of the 
power of speech, which raises man so distinctly above 
the brute creation. This scene, together with the 
Derweesh we had already seen, brought strongly to 
our minds the poor creatures mentioned in our 
Lord's time, who " possessed of the devil, lived 
among the tombs ;" and on this particular occasion 
we could not but think of the king Nebuchadnezzar, 
when, as we are told, " his body was wet with the 
dews of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle's 
feathers, and his nails like bird's claws ; his dwelling 
was with the beasts of the field, and he was made to 
eat grass like oxen." Such is the literal description 
of Sheikh Selim ; and revolting as it was to see the 
human form in such a condition, there was some- 
thing very striking and touching in seeing it thus 
cared for and venerated by its more favoured fellow- 
beings, if such a term may be correctly applied to 
anything so entirely devoid of the light of iutelli- 



THE ballAsee. 125 

gence as was this miserable object. Had the wor- 
shippers enjoyed a little more of it themselves, and 
not been so blinded by their snperstitious creed, 
they would surely have kept such objects at home, 
and cared for them there instead. Mohamed shook 
his head at such an idea, and said " the derweesh 
know everything without learning it, and cannot live 
at home!" The strange visit occupied about a 
quarter of an hour, and then the whole party re- 
turned to the dahabeeh, the Europeans marvelling, 
the Egyptians looking as placidly happy as a 
Christian might after some act of special piety or 
devotion. 

But the breeze was blowing fresh, and ' Cousin 
Phil,' like a true sailor, was anxious to catch every 
breath of it ; the sail was again unfurled, we bid 
adieu to ' Sheikh Selim,' and fresh novelties soon 
took the place which he had occupied in our minds. 

First, came a raft of floating ' ballasee,' the large 
earthenware water-jar of Egypt. Perhaps a thou- 
sand of these jars compose the raft. The mouths 
are first stopped with clay, then, bottom upwards, 
they are tied together in long rows with the stem of 
the date-pal in leaves. The several rows are con- 
nected together in the same manner, and tlien layers 
of them are placed and secured one over another in 
an oblong form. Tims they float on the water, 
forming their own boat ; on the top of which sit 
two men, rowinc: it alone; with four rude branches of 
the acacia-tree, each man working witli two oars at the 



126 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEn. 

same time. Thev were 2:01112: down to Cairo and 
Alexandria for sale. 

A^ain not a breath of wind. More fitful and 
uncertain than elsewhere this element seems to he 
on the Nile ; and we rested again for the night at a 
small village called ' Woolad Amr.' Here was a 
plantation of the dom and the date-palm together, 
and a very pleasing picture was formed by the inter- 
mingling of the two ; the more spreading dom, filling 
up between, and covering many of the tall naked 
trunks of the date. Rich clusters of half-ripe fruit 
hun2: from the branches of the former. The crew 
scrambled up and brought down several of them, for 
us to carry home as curiosities. The trees are 
private property ; but the Arabs appear to think 
that ' possession is even more than nine points of 
the law,' and evidently did not anticipate the slightest 
remonstrance on the part of the original owners. 
We thought we should not have allowed our apples 
or pears to be taken away so quietly — but I was very 
glad to have my branch of dom to bring home with 
me, and so I kept it. The castor-oil plant (palma 
Christi) grows here in great abundance, and here also, 
in general, crocodiles abound. We were told that 
there were two at that moment on the opposite bank. 
AVe strained our eyes in vain to see them, and suspected 
the force of imagination on the part of the Arabs. 
The shout of 'Ternsah, Temsah,' (crocodile) was be- 
ginning to be a daily excitement; but though we saw 
]ilenty of thein afterwards, those now in view proved. 



EXrEDITION AT DENDERAH. 127 

Oil a nearer approach, to be only a stone, a lump 
of mnd, or a bit of a tree. Selina and I had been 
" dj'ing to see a crocodile," and so had ' Cousin Phil ' 
too, we are sure ; so we tried to persuade him to 
remain here till the afternoon of the next day, that we 
might row to the bank which they frequent and ex- 
amine them closely. But no ; a fresh breeze had again 
sprung up, far more attractive in his eyes than a 
crocodile, and in his anxiety to be off, imagination 
carries him so far, that he looks up into our eager 
faces with amaze, quietly asserting and maintaining 
too that we had seen plenty of crocodiles already. 
In vain we tried to recall the place of their abode ; 
'Cousin Phil's' world was peopled with them just 
then, and so off we sailed on Saturday, December 
1st, and left the common-place creatures behind 
us. 

Tlie river from hence to Denderah and Gheneh 
is extremely pretty, owing to the rosy tinge of 
light which seems always to rest upon the hills. We 
reached Gheneh at one p.m. Here the donkey-chair 
was first brought on the scene ; after a long prepa- 
ration, the little steeds were harnessed to it, and 
' Cousin Phil ' seated in it and raised aloft. All the 
rest of our party were mounted on gaily accoutred 
little donkeys, with plenty of rings round their 
necks, so that we should " have music wherever we 
go," and, accompanied by a numerous native escort 
of all ages and sizes, we trotted away through the 
bazaars to see the manufactory of the ' goolloh.' 



128 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

The proper clay is found in this neighbourhood, 
and the nianufiicture is perpetually carried on. 
The workshop is of the most primitive kind, built 
entirely of mud, sufficiently high for a man to stajid 
in, but no higher, and just large enough for two 
workmen and a small stock of jars. The workmen, 
a father and two sons, w^ere very clever at their 
trade ; and the process seemed to be much the same 
as the first proceedings in the more refined potteries 
in Europe, saving the refinement. They said that 
one man could make fifty 'goolleh' in a day. They 
are sold at a very low price, but in such numbers 
that the present owner of the establishment realises 
a large fortune by his jars. Back we trotted again, 
exceedingly amused with the excursion, and with 
this first appearance of our cavalcade. How we did 
broil ! And the donkeys trotted on as though it 
were the coolest day imaginable. They appeared 
to enjoy the fun as much as their riders; and the 
chair only came down four times, and was pronounced 
admirable. 

The crew meanwhile had taken the opportunity 
of our trip to engage the services of the barl^er of 
Gheneh. On our return, while waiting for our 
Dragoman, who had gone on his usual excursion 
for provisions, we had leisure to watch the process. 
Both barber and patient squatted on the ground in 
front of the dahabeeh. Soap was not spared ; a 
most extensive lathering went on : and then the 
barber, razor in hand, threw himself into a succes- 



THE HAiniEK. 129 

sioii of tlie most picturesque attitudes, as he rolled 
tlie black head about between his two hands like a 
ball. Every atom of hair was shaved off, and the 
bald pate, after another extensive lathering, was 
dried and polished up in style with a towel, the 
artist holding it ever and anon at a little distance 
and surveying his work with the satisfaction of 
a painter over his newly-finished drawing. But 
Mohamed returned, we sailed away again, and the 
remaining heads awaited their next opportunity. 
Again a magnificent moon arose, and a great deal 
of sheet-lightning was seen in the sky. The idea 
of lightning either could not, or would not, enter 
Mohamed's head. He first declared that it was a 
watch-fire ; and, having slept over it, informed us, 
the following morning, that it was ' rain in the 
desert.' 

Sunday^ Dec. 2nd. — There was a dead cahn, 
and as the mud bank aj^peared quite dry, and we 
were suflficiently near to disembark, Selina and I 
got out for an airing, leaving the dahabeeh to fol- 
low us, and rejoicing in the unusual length of our 
promenade, when, suddenly, we found ourselves in 
the midst of a swamp, which it was impossible for 
us to cross on our own feet. We could neither go 
backward nor forward, and there was no alternative 
but to allow the only one of the crew who had 
accompanied us to take us up successively in his 
arms and carry us across. The great Mohamed was 
carried in the same manner ; and we marvelled at the 



130 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEn. 

strength of the young Arab, who set us clown, one 
after the other, without showing the least sign of 
fatigue, not even staying a moment to take breath. 
The dahabeeh came slowly 'tracking' along: we 
could not get back to her, and she did not get up to 
us till noon. We had not bar2;ained for this. It 
was one of the hottest days we had experienced, and 
Selina was now so thoroughly ' warmed up,' that, 
giving the reins to her imagination as she sat on the 
camp-chair, which happily had been brought out for 
her, she smelt the smell of fire on her black silk 
dress, and feared to see the flames rise around her ! 
As for me, I walked up and down, trying to catch 
one breath of cooling air, and can truly say that, 
although we did not ignite, we never felt anything 
so nearly approaching to it as we did then. 

Happy Mohamed ! He sat the while by the 
river-side on a bundle of dried cane, took off his 
shoes and stockings, and put his two feet into the 
water. Seeing my discomfort, he said, in a patron- 
ising tone, " Come, and sit by me, Mrs. C ; 

there's plenty of room." We thought our drago- 
man had forgotten his manners ; but never had we 
wished so much to do what would not quite have 
suited the dignity of English ladies. 

The dahabeeh came up at last, and we returned 
gladly into the saloon, to join together in tlie morn- 
ing service of the Church. Selina's voice was so 
weak, and the servants were so shy, that I was ob- 
liged to act in the capacity of clerk to the con- 



THE FLIES. 131 

grcgation, wielding the lly-flap incessantly at the 
same time over ' Cousin Pliil's ' devoted head, for 
around it the flies clustered with the greatest ten- 
acity, making repeated efforts to stop his reading, by 
walking into his eyes, nose, and mouth. No chance 
for them, however. I was by this time in pretty 
good practice, so that the service w^ent on w^ith suffi- 
cient comfort — under the circumstances. 

'Tracking' continued all day, and then the oars 
were brought into i)lay, in order that we might 
reach the village of 'El Aradeeh' by nightfall, 
where two fine-looking watchmen were posted on the 
bank to overlook the precious freight. Theii' fires 
blazed brightly, throwing their lurid flames so as to 
light up the dark figures, white turbans and scarfs, 
so strikingly in the darkness, that, to the immense 
delight of l)otli watchmen and crew, we could not 
resist an attempt at their portraits. 

Monday, Dec. ?>rd. — Still not a breath stirred 
the air, and the ci'ew must have found it hard work 
to ' track' us along. On account of the shallowness 
of the water the dahabeeh at times could not get 
near enough for the rope to reach the shore ; and 
then, off went the clothes of the trackers in an 
instant, and the procession 'tracked' through the 
water with as much good-humour and fun, as though 
it were " all play, and no work at all." 

As we passed by his abode, " the Sheikh of Ga- 
mouleh and forty surrounding villages" came on 
board, to pay us a visit, and to reipiest earnestly that 



132 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

the illustrious party would honour his ' palace' with 
their presence, and accept of dates and sugar at his 
hands. We promised to do so on our return, not 
without dread visions of the Sheikh's house at Girgeli : 
hut Mohamed assured us this was a very different 
affair, quite " a great man's house," and " peauti- 
fully clean." So we sent him away with a promise, 
and a present of a small portion of quassia for 
poisoning the flies, which, little as it was, afforded 
him the greatest satisfaction. It was the only thing 
we could find wherewith to repay his Oriental 
civilities. It may not be necessary for travellers 
on the Nile to carry a present in their hand, but 
it certainly would be much more agreeable to do so, 
and we frequently regretted that we had nothing to 
give. It would have cost but little trouble or money 
to have taken out with us a few penknives, scissors, 
beads, or needles and thread, all which would have 
been looked upon as treasures by these grandees. 
Some lemon-trees and a small vine adorned the 
bank this morning — a very pleasing variety to 
the constant, though beautiful, date and dhourra. 
They were planted in a private garden, and were 
the only specimens we had yet seen along the river. 
When night came on, the stars were reflected so 
brilliantly in the waters as to give the effect of two 
firmaments, one above, the other below in the stream, 
and only second in brightness to the original. This 
occurs constantly on the Nile, and forms one of its 
greatest attractions. The thermometer to-day stood 



LUXOR. i;53 

at 56° at sunrise, and rose to 80° in the shade at 
noon, and 107° in the sun. 

Tuesday^ Dec. At/i, brought but little more wind. 
Not till two r.M. did the ' Cairo' come in sight of the 
iiimous ruins of Thebes, and finally stopped at Luxor 
on the eastern bank of the river. 

There we were, at last, in sight of the most won- 
derful ruins in the world — of buildings raised by 
man nearly 1500 years before the Ijirth of Christ. 
Luxor, on its first distant appearance, looks like a 
fortification jutting out into the sea, with its fiag- 
posts on the top, from wdiicli the English and French 
flae:s are flvins:. Soon, however, the ruins of its 
temples begin to appear : tlie Obelisk rises high 
against the blue heavens, and we feel transported 
into the world of ages gone by : yet the first thought 
from the ' quarter-deck' is for letters from home, and 
an immediate rush is made to the Consul's house to 
fetch them. 

And how was the sight of the venerable ruins 
welcomed on tlie lower deck ? The Arabs are 
silent, Init Thomas and Sarah stand forth with all 
due excitement and interest. " There it is !" " Yes, 
that's it!" "Oh, that's Thebes!" "Ah, yes, 
Thebes : we do the washino; here ! " Thomas and 
Sarah were as practical as the rest of us. And 
what harm to either party ? We did write letters 
home, and we did liave another 'grand wash' in 
view of the famous ruins. But we neither forgot 
the aucients nor their gigantic works ; rather, the 



134 FOUK MONTHS IX A DATIABEEH. 

tliouglit of tliem ennobled our more common-place 
proceedings, and that same evening we visited the 
temple of Amunopli III., the Obelisk, and the colos- 
sal figures, which lie almost wholly embedded in the 
sand. 

Wednesday, Dec. 5th. — The donkey-chair was 
brought out, and shouldered this time by four of the 
crew, who placed their large scarfs or warm cloaks 
as pillows under the huge poles ; and ' Cousin Phil' 
came with us to see the ruins of Luxor. With 
Thomas, Sarah, and a guide who could not under- 
stand a word of English, I mounted to the top of 
the temple, up the narrow stone staircase within. 
Such steps — such strides — and sometimes, too, such 
stooping — and the ascent was begun by climb- 
ing on the roof of a modern inhabitant's house. 
At one stone in particular I thought I must have 
turned back. The summit seemed inaccessible ; but 
the guide signified that it was quite easy, and I 
stepped up accordingly. The view from the top, 
and the recollections connected with it, so well 
repaid the exertion, that I repeated the expedition the 
two following mornings, to see the sun-rise, to enjoy 
the cool air, and to endeavour to note down in my 
sketch-book all the objects of interest around me. 
Thei'e they lay before and around me, the ruins, 
the figures, the Obelisk (the fellow to which has 
been taken away to Paris) ; the modern mud villages, 
mosques, and pigeon-houses, amongst which the 
ancient monuments now stand ; the gracefully- 



EVENING AMUSEMENTS. 135 

winding Nile, Karnak in the distance on one side, 
Koorneli on the opposite bank ; all around, the 
exquisitely coloured hills of the Lybiau and Arabian 
chains, with the sandy desert at their base, and the 
clear morning hues lighting up the whole. It w\is, 
indeed, a sight worth coming a long w\'iy to enjoy 
— worth even the broiling which must be incurred 
in so doing. The thermometer stood to-day at 85° 
in the shade, and 119° in the sun. 

In the evening we enjoyed a row in the small 
boat ; the boatmen singing with might and main, 
in honour of the present company and of all the 
Moslem saints in succession : the works of their an- 
cestors seeming to inspire them with fresh enei'gy. 
When darkness came on we took to fishins;. Mohamed 
had made a line on purpose for us, with a long rod 
of cane ; he had also lighted up the ' Cairo,' with a 
grand illumination of eleven coloured lanterns, one on 
the top of the great yard which now stood upright, 
looking verily perched among the stars. He was as 
proud of his boat as a peacock of his tail ; and 
declared that of course no boat was to beat the 
Cairo in anything. And now we fell asleep in our 
boat-home at Luxor, to the splashing of the fish 
under our cabin windows — the fish that had not 
allowed themselves to be caught, and we dream 
whether it is all a dream or ])lain unvarnished 
truth ! 

Tliurschty, Dec. G/A. — We decided not to rC' 
main long at Thebes, but merely to take a gene- 



136 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAHABEEH. 

ral view of its ruins, purposing to examine them more 
particularly on our return. To-day was devoted to 
an excursion to Koorneh. The chair and the donkeys 
were sent across, and we followed in the small boat. 
The cavalcade set out, all mounted on donkeys, 
with the exception of the guide engaged for the 
expedition, who looked stately and dignified mounted 
on his white Arab, wearing a very large white 
turban, and ' malaiat,' a voluminous blue cotton 
scarf with red border, the ends of which were thrown 
carelessly over both shoulders, and hung down 
behind. This was a day of great interest, and we 
thoroughly enjoyed the sight of the ' Memnonium,' 
or palace of Memnon, one of the earliest kings of 
Egypt ; its fine pillars and capitals, and the hiero- 
glyphic subjects sculptured on its walls ; the huge 
broken statue in red granite of Eemeses the Great, 
on which some hieroglyphics are cut, nearly two 
inches deep, the cuts being as clean now as though 
they had but just been made. There lay the 
giant overturned, Avith his face to the ground. 
Then there were the two colossal statues in the 
midst of the extensive plain ; sitting still, and though 
much mutilated, and one of them almost faceless, 
seeming grandly to review the surrounding desola- 
tion, as though they would l)e fain still to frame 
the thou2;ht, and to exclaim, ' Monarchs of all we 
survey.' It is one of these statues which is said 
to have emitted a musical sound when struck by the 
rays of the rising sun : and to this day when tra- 



OUR BAZAAR. 137 

vellers approacli, the Arab who climbs to the top, in 
order to iiiake the giant proportions of the statue 
more evident, strikes one of tlie uppermost stones, 
which emits a metallic, though not otherwise musical 
sound. Our luncheon was spread in view of the 
beautiful columns of the Memnonium and the Cata- 
combs in the hills, and a small bazaar of " antiques " 
was gradually formed by the Arabs, who pressed 
round offering their goods for sale. A strange col- 
lection, and strange-looking merchants, with their 
dark faces and grinning white teeth. The dragoman 
and the guide discerning between what was truly 
ancient and what was only modern imitation, bar- 
gained and purchased for us, and as Ave knew nothing 
about the matter, we took all on trust from them, 
and set down each article as a treasure. 

Friday^ Dec. 1th. — A large budget was des- 
patched hence, through the Consul, to Cairo. The 
letters are carried by 'runners,' who accomplish 
the distance, 454 miles, following the course of the 
river, in six days. We were not allowed to delay 
longer; Mohamed declared that "all this was as 
nothing compared to Karnak," and considered it a 
point of etiquette that " Karnak, best of all," should 
be kept for the last, lest, after the sight of its glories, 
we should not sufficiently appreciate the inferior 
temples higher up the river. " A bird in the hand 
is worth two in the bush," always was, and always 
will be, and it is prudent to take at least a cursory 
view of Karnak on the way up the river for fear of 



138 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEII. 

accidents : ' Cousin Pliil,' however, true to his piin- 
ciples, was very submissive to the ' commanding 
officer.' We obeyed ; and as we did see Karnak on 
our return, I l)elieve also that we did enjoy more 
thorougldy the less elaborate remains above, for not 
having first seen this crowning glory of them all. 
We sailed away then, and around us again w^ere 
desert, hill, and narrow bordering band of green. 
Once more we enjoyed the refreshing breeze, and 
the delicious sensation of sailing on the Nile. We 
were far away from all we had been accustomed to 
see and to think about, and an entirely new train 
of thoughts was thrust into our minds by the strange 
contrast. All was charming, and dreamily romantic ; 
yet many a longing thought would frequently, it 
nuist be confessed, take back to cooler climes; 
for w^e had still much heat to endure before we 
reached our journey's end. 

Cranes, vultures, and eagles, next engrossed our 
observation ; we were sailing farther and farther 
from the busy world of life, and no human being 
appeared on the shore save a few wandering Arabs 
and naked children, until we reached the town of 
Erment on Saturday, December 8tli. Here one of 
the Pashas has established three suo;ar-manufac- 
tories, and built so many pigeon-houses that they 
have the appearance of a town of small white- 
washed towers ; too white, and too regularly built in 
square l)locks, to be an improvement to the land- 
scape, but forming a curious and characteristic fea- 



ESNEII. 139 

tiire. The modern appearance of the buikUngs near 
tlie water's edge is striking, and there were ghiss 
windows in many of the houses. The ancient Er- 
ment dates its foundation as far back as that of 
Thebes, if not earlier. 

In the evening we reached Esneh, and here the 
' Cairo ' stopped, that the crew might make, and 
take in the remaining quantity of bread required for 
the journey, until we returned to Girgeh. Little of 
the city of Esneh can be seen from the part of the 
])ank near which we moored ; the most important 
building in sight being a ' cafe,' built of mud, from 
Avhence, in the still evening, proceeded sounds of 
music and shouts of applause. Our crew had all 
gone there with their instruments of music to enjoy 
themselves, with permission to make " as much 
noise as they pleased;" the volume of their vocal 
powers having lately risen to such a pitch on the 
deck of the dahabeeh as to require temporary con- 
trol. On the shore at Esneh, therefore, they burst 
forth with fresh vigour, as they watched the ' Almc ' 
(the dancing girls), who resort to the cafe, to 
dance and sing for the amusement of the public. 
Tlie sounds continued far on in the night and ceased 
lii ally at two a.m. 

Sundrn/j Dec. dth. — After our morning service 
we went to see the tem[)le of Esneh. The portico 
alone is excavated. This was accomplished by 
INFoliamed Ali, but the rest remains covered still ; 
and we were told, that the present Pasha will not 
allow it to be touched, for fear, as Mohamed said, of 



140 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEIT. 

its 'beauties being carried away.' The portico is 
very fiue indeed. It contains a close cluster of 
massive pillars, displaying great variety of archi- 
tecture in their capitals, and covered with hiero- 
glyphics, some of which we would gladly have taken 
off with paper and sponge, but as we had not pro- 
vided ourselves with paper suitable for the purpose 
before starting on our journey, we were not able to 
do so. On the ceiling is a zodiac, which we strained 
our eyes in vain to decipher, I believe we ought to 
have been able to do so, but we could not, and had 
no one capable of explaining it to us. We saw only 
confused groups of mysterious-looking figures sur- 
rounded by stars, and boats apparently conveying 
animals across the water. The devices forming the 
capitals of the pillars are of the natural productions 
of the countr}"^, the date, the lotus, the papyrus, and 
other rushes. The streets of the present town are 
almost on a level with the roof of the portico, and 
the wretched hovels of the natives are built so close 
upon the beautiful ruins that they hide them com- 
pletely. The descent into the portico is as bad as 
can be, and very little light is allowed entrance into 
it. The bazaars were more spacious than those we 
had yet seen on the river ; the market and the 
whole town very picturesque. In the evening we 
went with Mohamed to what he called "a private 
house," that we might see the ' alme ' dance. The 
" private house " was little more than a nmd-hovel. 
The space in w^hich the girls danced could hardly 
have been five feet square ; the spectators, mounted 



BANCING-GniLS. 141 

on tlie raised scat against tlie wall, were seated ou 
tlieir own chairs, which had been brought with them 
from the boat. A bed with mosquito curtains was 
at one extremity of the apartment ; a divan at the 
other. The instrumental and vocal performers 
crowded at the little open door-way ; and a small 
oil lamp, hanging from the ceiling, was the only 
light provided, to illuminate the darkness. Had we 
not brought our own lantern with us, little indeed 
should we have seen of the performance. The ' alme' 
dance with tlieir bodies rather than their feet, making 
a series of contortions, shakings and joltings, which 
su2:2;est the idea that the fioures of these o-irls con- 
sist of two distinct parts, which have very little to 
do with one another. 

They shuffle their naked feet along the ground 
in a most inelegant manner, keeping time to the 
music which is played for them. One of the girls 
played with small brass cymbals, a pair of which she 
held in each hand ; her companion raised one hand 
to her head, at times as though in grief, at others 
spying through her fingers with most impudent 
looks, while the other arm was fixed ' akimbo ' on 
her side. There were regular figures to the dance ; 
the performers seemed to follow the music according 
to their own inclination, and at the conclusion of the 
exercise they looked as hot and tired as might be 
expected after such unnatural exertions. One of 
them who was pretty, and who was evidently looked 
upon as a kind of pocket Venus by her countrymen, 



142 FOUR MONTHS IN A DATFABEEH. 

gave us a song, which lasted for full ten minutes, 
in a curiously shrill and wild voice. She played her 
own accompaniment, on one of the funnel-shaped 
earthenware drums ; after the song the dance was 
repeated in the same manner as before, and would 
have continued till morning, had the spectators not 
been fully satisfied long ere this period. 

The dress of the ' alme ' is always gay and hand- 
some. They wore on this occasion striped India 
silk, and necklaces of gold coins, crocodiles, and 
other forms, all in gold. Their fez-caps were sewn 
all over with small gold money ; a handsome crown- 
piece of solid gold fastened the rich black silk tassel; 
and a number of long braids of silk, equally covered 
with coins, forty of them at the least, dangled behind 
amongst the tiny plaits of their black hair, which 
between the silk braids and the tassel of the fez w^ere 
very little seen. The fiddler, and the fiddle that 
accompanied the dancers, were the most curious 
part of the whole scene. The instrument was made 
of a cocoa-nut, cut crosswise in half; across it a 
bladder was tightly stretched ; the handle was a 
rough stick, and two bundles of horse-hair, white 
and black, were stretched along the whole, by way of 
strings. Two very large pegs at the top served to 
tune the strings, and a projecting iron stem beyond 
the cocoa-nut shell to rest the instrument on the 
ground. The fiddler was a remarkably fine, dark- 
coloured man, father to one of the girls ; and won- 
derfully well did he perform on his primitive-looking 



THE CLEVER MUSICIAN. 143 

iiistruincut. The fingers of one luind moved at the 
top, on the two bundles of strhigs, with the greatest 
agility ; while the other hand and arm worked away 
with the fiddle-stick, which was formed of another 
bunch of horse-hair, loosely stretched and tightened 
by his hand in holding it. The variety of very 
peculiar sounds caused by the contact was almost 
incredible, a good deal of expression being arrived at 
by suddenly jerking the instrument first to one side, 
then to the other, in a way which would no doubt, 
have astonished slightly the talent of Paganini. AVe 
set down the old man as a decided musical genius, 
and regret extremely not having brought back to 
Europe a faithful picture of the musician and his 
instrument. A younger musician holding a some- 
what smaller instrument, made of the other half 
of the cocoa-nut, kept buzzing on, one continued 
monotone, as a ' second part ' during the whole 
performance. We were sufficiently pleased with 
these curiosities to be enabled to express truthful 
admiration and satisfaction, notwithstanding the sen- 
sations of disgust and pity which the dancing itself 
could not fail to raise in a European lady's mind. 
We were very glad to have seen it, but were 
equally sure that we should never wish to witness 
it again ; though the fiddler and his fiddle we would 
most gladly have captured and taken away along 
witli us. Honest Sarah's sense of propriety received 
even a greater shock than ours, and her looks of 
undisguised horror were an amusing ])art of the 



144 FOUR :>rONTHS ix a datiap.kkii. 

play : indeed I am not sure that tliey had not their 
effect in increasing the impudent looks of the ' alme,' 
which were towards the conclusion mostly aimed at 
her. But Sarah could not get over a great number of 
the daily sights she saw in this strange land, as her 
averted eyes and frequent sudden disappearances 
into the depths of the cabin abundantly testified. But 
we will not quarrel with her for this ; it is a fault 
on the right side. And we like her all the better 
for her true English modesty. 

Monday^ Dec. 10th. — At a quarter before nine 
A.M., the Pasha of Esneh rode up to the dahabeeh on 
horseback, and came on board to visit " the Large 
Lord." He remained till ten o'clock, most cruelly 
depriving us of our breakfast, while he sat smoking 
his two pipesful, and drinking a cup of coffee and 
glass of lemonade. When the latter was offered to 
him, he looked at it in consternation, refusing to touch 
it; until the dragoman, after a considerable flow of 
eloquence, had succeeded in persuading him, that it 
was not ' spirits,' Avhich he, as a good Mussulman, 
was bound not to touch. The horror depicted on the 
dragoman's face at such a suggestion from his own 
countryman, was equally striking and amusing. 
This Pasha was a very intelligent man, and we 
had more conversation with him, Mohamed acting 
as interpreter, than we could have had w^ith any of 
our former visitors. He asked many questions 
about India, Australia, and China, which taxed 
our historical recollections considerably. In each 



Tin: INTELLIGENT PASHA. 145 

one of tlicse sul)jccts, oiiv party, it might rcasonaljly 
have been supposed, would be "well up;" but it is 
astonishing how little people really know when they 
come to be catechised. Our eyes were found fre- 
quently meeting each other's with silent interroga- 
tories, but we quickly remembered, first, that there 
was no one there to contradict what we miglit 
happen to say, and, secondly, that it was many 
chances to one that whatever we did say would be 
wrongly translated by our interpreter; therefore put- 
ting aside all doubts on the chronological points of 
our English history, we passed the examination — at 
least fluently. The Pasha said that 'Cousin Phil's' 
head betokened " mucb knowledge and good sense," 
and that in the " old times " when ' Cousin Phil ' 
" was young," people knew " a great deal more than 
they know now." He was much shocked at the 
precocity of the young ladies, who assured him, that 
the present generation in Europe were much wiser 
than their forefathers. But both he and Mohamed 
looked at us incredulously, and their horror was 
turned into admiration, wlien we assured them that 
children of six and seven years old were now thought 
rather stupid if they could not read, write, and 
count by that advanced age. The Pasha said he 
had read about London " in books," and he only 
objected to it, that " being such a fine city, there 
was no land in it for sowing corn." 

This dignitary rules from Esneh to ' Wadee 
Ilalfeh,' and has held his a]i])ointmeiit for eighteen 

L 



146 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

years, not a little proud of this being the longest 
term that any Pasha in those parts has remained in 
office, they being liable to be removed at the plea- 
sure of the chief Pasha or ' Emir.' He showed us his 
watch, which was an English one, enclosed in three 
outer cases, two of silver, and the third of tortoise- 
shell from Constantinople. He spoke a great deal 
of Edfoo and its temples, and of the rapacity of the 
French, whose ways of dealings with the " Emir" he 
compared to " the detours of a cat running after a 
rat." It was a pity we could not converse with this 
man in his own language. He was very entertaining, 
and, moreover, was the first clean, well-dressed visitor 
we had had ; he was likewise the highest in rank, 
which no doubt accounted for the difference. He n])- 
peared very shy of looking on the faces of the ladies ; 
and I fear he considered it a proof of great boldness 
in us, that we could look at him without blushing, 
although he contemplated our beauty fully as much 
by his repeatedly cast side glances, as if he had 
looked us straight in the face, like a Christian. 

At length he left us, remounted his horse, which 
his servant had paraded up and down the bank 
during the visit, and rode away, leaving our fam- 
ished appetites to enjoy a late breakfast. We had 
to wait till the afternoon for the supply of l^read for 
the crew. It came at last, the ' Reis,' as Mohamed 
expressed it, having been "all day in the oven — I 
sent him in by force. If he not been in the oven, we 
not be ready for forty-eight hours." So the poor 



TITK STORE OF BREAD. 147 

Uc'is was no doubt well baked. The fiict was, tliat 
he, with a servant of the magistrate, provided by 
Mohamed, had been keeping watch near the oven, 
lest other bread should be put in, before our stock 
was all baked. Bag after bag began to be emptied 
on the further end of the deck, like so many sacks of 
coal, there to remain till it was cut up, and dried in 
the sun. A sheep had been slaughtered, two new 
ones purchased at about a ' dollar ' apiece, turkeys, 
chickens, and geese, had been added to the poultry- 
yard, which consisted of two not very large wooden 
cages, placed in the stern of the vessel. Thus well 
provisioned we resumed our way, the thermometer 
standing at 83° in the shade, and 110° in the sun. 

A table of antiquities was now spread on the 
deck, and, much to ' Cousin Phil's' amusement, as 
well as our own, the factotum dragoman proceeded 
to divide the spoils of Luxor evenly between Selina 
and me. In his purchases he was most anxious 
always to have duplicates of everything, and would 
sometimes even reject an article because it could 
only be possessed l)y one of us. He evidently 
feared lest any feelings of jealousy should arise, and 
was as grave at his present business, as though his 
head were to pay for the slightest deviation from 
equity, until, when one last treasure stood alone, he 
knew not what to do. Each of us wished to give it 
to the other, but this was more incomprehensible to 
Mohamed than anything else. lie would resort to 
lots. And now the vVral) nature came out. He 



148 FOUll irOXTTTS IN A DATTABEEII. 

luul been honest long enough ; with the idea of 
'lots' came also the idea of 'cheating,' and a side 
signal was given, which Selina could not obey. 
Fate, however, assisted him : I drew the shorter 
slip, the ' scarabeus' was handed over to Selina, and 
then the conscience-stricken looks of the penitent 
dragoman were worthy a greater crime. He became 
so much impressed with the love that existed between 
us, that one day, when Selina was not well enough 
to undertake some expedition which he had proposed, 
he looked at her quite reproachfully, saying with 

emphasis, " You know very well ]\Irs. C will 

not move one step without you." He was certainly 
quite a character in his way this dragoman of ours, 
and much enlivened our trip by his peculiarities. 
The wind had gone down again towards evening, 
and we sailed but slowly along. The stars were 
beautifully reflected in the water ; a little steamer, 
collecting the taxes for the Government from the 
villages along the river-side, passed by, puffing and 
paddling away, making as much fuss about its jour- 
ney as any six European steamers of more than 
double her size, and the thick cloud of black smoke 
from her funnel stretched across the clear sky, as far 
as the eye could reach, as though it would remain 
there a fixture for ever. 

Tvesday^ Dec. 11///, dawned, and an unusual 
stillness pervaded the dahabeeh. The night-watchers 
from among the crew had slept during their ap- 
pointed watch. Mohamed, who was watching below. 



THE WATCIIEUS PUNISIIKD. Mi) 

Ijecause we were near no village, and could therefore 
have no Avatch from the shore, discovered the crime, 
watched himself with the Reis, and reserved the 
culprits for punishment the next morning, lest the 
passengers should be disturbed by ''a row" in the 
night. They were allowed breakfast as usual, and 
then the men lay down on the deck, and tJce cook- 
boy stepped across their heads. A strange idea ! 
But the degradation was great, and not a word was 
spoken for a considerable time. One man would 
not touch a morsel of food till the end of the day. 
]\Iohamed said the Re'is made the cook-boy do it 
by force. It was as great a punishment to him, 
poor boy, as to the criminals, who begged hard 
to be beaten Avitli a hundred '"''sticks'''' (stripes) 
rather than submit to such humiliation. But Mo- 
hamed was greatly impressed with the heinousness 
of their offence, and the necessity of discipline and 
night-watches, and he was inexorable. Xo sound of 
music or singing was heard during the day. The 
'tracking' continued in silence, and everything in 
the dahabeeh was in painful harmony with the 
stillness of surroundins; nature. More and more 
desert she became ; less and less of life did she 
show. The water-drawers at the ' shadoof were 
now of a nuich deeper copper colour ; very few birds 
were to be seen ; here and tliere a few white camels 
trudged by, this being the district in which the 
l)est camels are reared. Lar<i:e detached stones 
studding the sandy i)lain ; the remains of an an- 



150 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

cieiit quay appearing in the water on either l)ank 
or a solitary tomb on the top of the highest hill ; 
the white smoke of burnino- charcoal in the dis- 
tance ; a large-leafed plant, called by the Arabs 
'milk of the hill' from its milky juice, which is 
a deadly poison, used by them sometimes to in- 
jure their eyesight, or to make one eye entirely 
bhnd, in order to avoid the dreaded ' conscription,' 
and the seed-pod of which contains such a beautiful 
silky down that it is sometimes called the ' silk- 
tree ; ' a few stray shrubs of henneh, from Avhich 
two or three women were gathering the leaves, for 
the sake of its beautiful red dye, with which they 
colour their nails, the palms of their hands, and 
sometimes even their faces ; a lovely sunset of yel- 
low, pink, and blue shades ; a rest for the night on 
an island mud-bank ; a walk upon it by starlight, 
with the discovery of the print of crocodiles' feet, 
Avere the objects of interest Avhich filled in and 
closed the stillness of this still day ; and, as we 
retired to our berths in the evening, we could hear 
the night- watchers at their post as usual. 

Three days of dead calm succeeded, and only 
gradually did the men regain their wonted cheerful- 
ness. The sail was hardly spread at all, and our 
progress was necessarily slow ; but the awning was 
up, which could not be when what we were pleased 
to call a ' spanking breeze ' was blowing, and this 
was no small enjoyment. The thermometer was at 
83° and 85° in the shade, 110° and 116° in the sun. 



ALARMING RErORTS. 151 

at iniddny, wliile at sunrise it had fallen to 4G° and 
50'^. Tlie trackers tracked steadily along. Scarcely 
one bird was now to be seen. The band of green 
liad vanished into a mere line ; here and there it had 
disappeared altogether. Yet each day brought its 
own little amusement and variety, and, strange as it 
may seem, its hours were numbered before we were 
aware of them. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 12th, w^e passed Edfoo, 
leaving its beautiful temple for our return. And 
now the little steamer of two nights ago was seen 
prowling about, and the report reached the inquir- 
ing dragoman, that the tax-money collected for it 
had been stolen a few days back by three men from 
one of the neighbouring villages. They attacked the 
boat in which the money had lieen placed awaiting 
the arrival of the steamer, and killed the two men 
who were in charge of it, while the brave captain 
and crew jumped into the water and ran away to 
tell the tale. The murderers had now fled into the 
wilderness ; thirteen men of their families had been 
captured and were kept in prison as hostages ; a 
regiment of soldiers was on the look-out for them ; 
and the sheikhs of their respective villages were 
bound to find and deliver them up to justice in a 
month's time. Such were the facts gleaned from 
the shoutings of the respective crews to each other. 
Mohamed looked anxious, and said we should anchor 
to-night in the middle of the river, instead of moor- 
ing near the shore. INIany travellers insist on doing 



152 FOUR MONTHS IX A BAIIABEEH. 

this at all times, but the dragomen and crew are 
invariably against it, and it was such a manifest 
inconvenience to them all that v^e gave up the 
point. Selina and I had cast tlie imputation of 
cowardice u])on the crew of the unfortunate boat, 
whereupon Mohamed boldly asserted, speaking of 
tlie robbers, " Tliousand men no arood aaainst these 
people : these people only fit, just for to kill." This 
was pleasing intelligence ; but evening drew on, 
and we ran in to the shore as usual. Our rope was 
not lono; enouo-h to cast anchor here, so for want of 
a rope we were to run the chance of being murdered 
too. The Reis assured Mohamed that he knew the 
place and that these were "very good people ;" but 
the dragoman looked uneasy, until Selina and I 
made some remark about the danger of our position. 
The scale was turned in an instant ; " Afraid ! Ave 
never afraid ! What for we be afraid ?" And as no 
one could give a satisfactory answer to this query, it 
was voted universally that we were 'not afraid.' 
We did not tell ' Cousin Phil ' that we reallv w^ere 
so, but bravely consoled ourselves with the fact, 
that the " good people " dwelling in this desert spot, 
under this clump of palm-trees, were but twenty-five 
or so in number ; and that our brave company, wntli 
the captured guns, would certainly not jump into 
the water and run away, but would easily master 
double that number if we were attacked. Foe or no 
foe however, the wind would not rise, and here we 
must stay ; and we slept soundly to boot. 



THE FIllST CROCODILF:. 153 

Thursday^ Dec. ISM. — The 'trackers' moved 
on again 'in tlie still, desert scene, and at night we 
reached the hills of Silsileh, the ' IMountain of the 
Chain,' where, it is said, tliat a cliain was fastened 
across the river, by the order of an ancient king, to 
prevent vessels from passing higher up and taking 
stone from the quarries, wlience the materials for 
almost all the Egyptian temples were taken. 

Friday.^ Dec. \-Uli. — Tracking still ; and now 
Ave had a pleasant walk " on the sands," for the 
deposit was covered with sparkling grains of gold 
and steel, blown across from the desert, wliich 
reached to the very edge of the river's bed. Here 
again we saw the print of a crocodile, and later in 
the day a real crocodile appeared, stretched on a 
bank in the middle of the river. To make sure of 
its identity we fired off a gun, and the huge creature 
plunged into the water, to the no small joy of 
INIohamed, who evidently considered his protegees 
remarkably sceptical on the subject of these mon- 
sters. We could not judge of the size of this one 
from the distance at which it lay, but the splash and 
the length of time which was occupied by the monster 
in completing its plunge, showed that it was a large 
one. There were also traces of snakes on the sand, 
but they are not likely to show themselves to travel- 
lers. Should they do so Mohamed turns pale, and 
most unhesitatingly affirms, " Then we be afraid, 
certainly I" and consequently "take to our heels !'' 
V^irther on we observed two small circnlar enclo- 



154 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEII. 

siircs within a mud wall about six inches high. In 
these some natives had been watching, waiting the 
appearance of a crocodile, that they might shoot 
at him. Tliey lie down within these enclosures to 
hide themselves from view, and rest their guns on a 
small opening in the top of the enclosure till the 
crocodile appears, Avlien they shoot at him with 
unerring aim. Tliis part of the river abounds with 
crocodiles, but they usually come out of the water 
only at the hottest time of day, to bask in the 
sun on the bank. 

But soon the ' trackers ' were obliged to take to 
the opposite bank, for there was no further walking 
space ; moreover, we were pretty well baked by our 
charming walk " on the sands," whatever the croco- 
diles might think about it ; we therefore concluded 
our excursion and returned to the dahabech, re- 
eml)arking when she had been pulled up to us, for 
we had walked much faster than she had proceeded, 
having had time to sit down and take a long rest 
while she was still trudging slowly along. 

Friday^ Dec. lAth. — A dahabeeh was seen return- 
ing from the Cataracts. The small boat pushed off 
from her side, and we awaited, Avitli pleasurable anti- 
cipations, a visit, and an account of the dreaded pas- 
sage. Only the courier of the party appeared, and 
the dahabeeh rowed on, ashamed, we feel sure, to 
own that she had not ascended the Cataracts at all — 
had had enough of it, and was now making the best 
of her way home. Iler courier came to beg privately 



A DISAITOINTMENT. 155 

from our dragoman for dates and ' misli-iiiisli.' He 
liad exhausted his owu store, and, alas ! where was the 
Christmas plum-pud(Hng whicli liad l)eeii ])rouiise(l 
at Shepherd's Hotel in Cairo to all the dahabeehs 
assembled at Wadee Halfeh? When ^lohamed el 
Adlceh had recovered from his amazement that his 
illustrious party had received no visit from the 
passing vessel — a fact which he evidently regarded 
as a personal insult to himself — he expressed his 
astonishment at our quiet resignation on the sub- 
ject, and w^ould scarcel}^ vouchsafe one word to the 
' courier.' Rut Thomas and Sarah came to the 
rescue, and, too glad, no doubt, of a little English 
chat, they catechised him about the Cataracts, 6cc. 
AVhen jMohamed had thus indirectly discovered the 
proceedings of the unfortunate vessel, the undis- 
guised contempt with which he viewed the Avliole 
affair Avas highly entertaining. He was, of course, 
entire master of his own stores ; nothing would 
induce him to part with any of them, and we sailed 
on, in all the glory, as Mohamed expressed it, of 
our " mish-mish for six months." 

INIish-mish is an excellent dish of small apricots, 
dried and stewed, and served up in general with 
Ijoiled rice. 

We had become so accustomed to the bald- 
headed Arabs, that w^e were almost startled to-day 
at the appearance of a man on the shore, of whom 
^fohamed quickly exclaimed, " That kind never 
wear caps." He needed none; his head was cov- 



156 FOUIl MONTHS IX A DAIIABKEII. 

ercd with very tliick cork-screw curls of jet-black 
liair, reaching to the nape of his neck, and forming a 
' thatch,' fully capable of baffling the rays of the 
Eastern sun. He was the only specimen of exactly 
"this kind" that we saw^; but he came from the 
Khartoum country, of which we saw many other 
inhabitants higher up the river. The wind failed 
when we w^ere about five miles from Kom Ombo, 
and we moored again for the night. There was 
a remarkable echo here across the desert. Every 
word of a sentence, how^ever long, was distinctly 
repeated, some seconds after it had been spoken, 
with every intonation of the speaker's voice most 
faithfully restored on the air. So distinct was it, 
and so remarkable in the variety of the sounds, 
that, as we sat in the saloon, we w^ere for some time 
2')ersuaded that there was another crew in one of 
the cargo boats near us, either answering or mock- 
ing our own. Being accustomed to echoes only 
amongst lofty hills, it seemed quite unaccountable 
that so striking a one should come across the desert 
l)lain, upon which there was nothing but very dimin- 
utive elevations covered w^ith loose sand. 

On the opposite bank the cotton-plant was grow- 
ing abundantly, and there were some specimens of 
the poisonous plant before mentioned, of whose 
powers Mohamed stood in such dread that he could 
not be persuaded to let us gather a bit, even for the 
sake of science. 

The wind sprang up suddenly, and we proceeded 



XOISES IX THE xroiiT. 157 

passing h\ Kom Ombo ; but again it failed, and we 
anchored at some distance from a bank, on which 
grew some palm-trees, but to which there was no 
means of nearer approach. Before falling asleep, 
strange, hideous sounds reached our ears. We list- 
ened and wondered, and Selina and I almost w^ent 
to awake each other, to know what could be the 
matter. Between charity and philosophy, however, 
we remained quiet, listening on attentively to what 
each one finally construed to be the roaring of lions, 
or, perhaps, tigers, concluding that we were ex- 
posed to fresh dangers in this savage land. The 
morning dispelled the illusion, and we smiled on 
findino- that the 2:rowls and hoAvls were but tiie 
boasted musical voices of our own crew, pulling 
the anchor up and letting it down again, according 
to the caprice of the wind, as it rose or fell, mingled 
with the creaking, monotonous sound of the ' saglii' 
(or water-wheel), turned by oxen, which from this 
])oint replaces the ' shadoof,' and Avorks on, for the 
watering of the crops, making this pretty music, 
night and day, all through the w^inter months. 

This morning, the sunrise had been most beautiful. 
All who are not invalids on the Nile, will gladly 
turn out of their mosquito cage to see it, as well as 
to enjoy the only cool breeze they will have till the 
twelve hours of the day are past : this I did, of 
course, and shall now describe one whole day of our 
daliabceh life, bei>innini>: with tlie sunrise. T leave 
the vessel, stand on the shore, and look around me. 



158 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAnABEKIT. 

Tlie crew issue one by one from the boat, and stand- 
ing about, with their faces turned to the east, per- 
form their morning devotions ; each one wholly 
wrapped up in his own, and apparently totally undis- 
turbed by anything around him. The dragoman 
spreads his carpet on the deck, and is always 
first in his Moslem prayers. He washes carefully, 
and then, woe betide any woman-kind who shall 
happen to pass by, and allow even her dress to 
touch him in the slightest degree. His prayers are 
thus "all spoilt," and he must "begin over again." 
He prostrates himself, letting his forehead touch the 
ground two or three times ; then rises and stands 
quite upright, his arms tight to his side, and in this 
posture, almost faster than his lips can move, he 
repeats some portions of the Koran, or calls upon 
Allah in all the ninety diiferent names which he 
says belong to the Deity, counting them upon his 
rosary as he proceeds. At other times he kneels 
sitting back on his heels, and while repeating the 
same words, turns his head, first to the right, then to 
the left ; rubs the crown of it with his hand ; holds 
both hands straight up before him, as though he were 
reading out of an open book ; pulls his beard and 
moustaches, and makes sundry exclamations in a 
■most peculiar groaning tone ; all these gesticula- 
tions being signs of promises and vows. The men 
scattered on the shore go through the same forms, 
some in a less, some even in a greater degree ; and 
all look so devout in their imperfect faith, one can- 



THE MOSLEM FAITH. 1.09 

not but long that tlicy should be brought to know 
the true Gospel of Christ, and to bring all this 
apparent humility and devotion to the foot of tlie 
cross, to be there purified and made acceptalde to 
Ilini who hung thereon for them as well as for 
us. 

In a conversation with Mohamed on the subject of 
his religion, we gathered that he looked upon Jesus 
Christ as one of the 3000 prophets whom God had 
sent into the world from the beginning, and some of 
whom were in it still. He denied the Divine nature 
of Christ simply, he said, because " It is impossible. 
How can man be God?" There was a doe-o-ed 
obstinacy of manner about him, which would seem 
to repel all idea of the possibility of persuading him 
of any error in liis creed, and a sadly curious self- 
confidence when he concluded the subject with these 

words, " Very well, Mrs. C . When come the 

end of the world, tlien you be there, and I be there, 
and then we'll see, and then I tell you how it is 
true." They do not pray to their saints, he said, 
although they are perpetually singing out their 
names in their songs, whether in times of danger or 
otherwise. The basis of the Moslem faith is the 
first grand truth, that there is but one God, and that 
He orders all things, even the most trifiing circum- 
stances in life to which order, man must implicitly 
submit. Mohamed seemed to know no other article 
of faith ; and the imperfect knowledge of the Moslem 



160 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIAEEEH. 

converted this one into tlie mere idea of a destiny, to 
wliicli it was his duty wholly to resign himself. All 
was destiny, carried to such an extent that Mohamed 
frequently would not venture an opinion on the 
merest trifles, even he would not say at what 
hour we were likely to reach our destination. More 
than once he begged of us not to ask him " such 
questions," because, " if I say we get there by five 
o'clock, the wind sure to rise, and we not get half 
way there to-night." Swearing and drinking are 
wholly forbidden by their law ; the former vice had 
one day met with condign punishment in the person 
of the unfortunate cook-boy, who cried like a real 
child after the shame of his beating. We looked up 
from our work and book in astonishment at hearing 
the familiar sounds proceeding from so unfamiliar 
a form, for I do think that our cook-boy, though a 
very good boy in general, was the most unlike 
specimen of the human race that could have been 
produced, and the idea that he could cry had never 
entered our heads. It was somewhat difficult to 
remember also that he was a married man having a 
wife and child somewhere in Nubia. They said 
he was eighteen years of age, but he did not look 
more than fifteen. 

To return to our day. No sooner are the prayers 
over than the tracking begins. ' Cousin Phil' and 
I appear on deck, for ' Cousin Phil' still maintains 
his early hours, and rises at six of the clock. The 



BRKAKFAST. 161 

present hour he devotes to his books, I to my 
coucerthiji, while the dragoman and others, remaining 
on the boat, listen in raptures to the strain. " Peau- 
tiful, indeed!, peautiful!" sighs Mohamed, with 
uplifted e3'es ; and at the close of each verse there 
comes a kind of a groan of delight, with which the 
Arabs always express their admiration of a musical 
performance, and which, by its ever novel peculiarity, 
threatens to turn tlie song into a laugh each time 
that it occurs. Sometimes, when the dahabeeh 
was stationary, Moliamed would say, "Oh, please 
to turn that way, and sing that sing ; these people 
never see anything like this." And there was the 
bank behind me covered with the whole black 
population of the village, squatted down, listening, 
with eyes and mouths wide open, to the unusual 
sounds of the instrument and European voice. 

At eight o'clock the merry ' trackers ' come 
tumbling in again, and squat in a circle, on the deck 
or sometimes on the shore, round the large wooden 
bowl containino; tlie brown bread and hot lentile 
soup, the bucket beside them as usual, for drinking, 
or for washing when breakfast is over. Short work 
they make of it, and very fair play, as has been 
before described ; and highly pleased tliey are at 
forming the subject of a picture. Yet this does 
not retard their meal for one instant ; about five 
minutes despatch the wliole so that the artist had 
need be quick and expert, if he wishes to catch 
nny likeness in those dai'k complexions. And now 



162 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEir. 

they are off again, 'tracking' along the sliore. The 
sleepy waiting-hoy, " my man Ali," as Mohamed 
called him on his first introduction, has contrived hy 
nine o'clock to get the breakfast ready in the saloon, 
wliere we take all oar meals. Ali was a tall, 
slight youth, with a light hrown, sallow complexion, 
and very peculiarly languishing black eyes. He 
wore the Turkish dress, his ' best' jacket being very 
liandsomely embroidered with gold. He seldom 
wore this one, and was, without exception, the 
dirtiest human creature that could have waited 
upon us. Scolding or coaxing were equally useless, 
and, although he was once or twice compelled to 
wash both himself and his clothes, this was so great 
an exertion on his part that it lasted for a long time, 
when it was found necessary to enforce the order 
again. When Ali was clean, he made a very pretty 
figure in his full white trousers, braided jacket, and 
short black curls, peeping round his head from under 
the fez which had the largest and longest silk tassel 
imaginable, falling gracefully upon his shoulders, 
and adding to the generally languid appearance of 
the youth. 

After l)reakfast we pace the deck for a ' con- 
stitutional,' and then, sitting on the divans, or Ij'ing 
down if we prefer it, we amuse ourselves with 
reading, working, and sketching. The dragoman 
comes up at times to name some bird, plant, or hill, 
making, now and then, it must be confessed, some 
wonderful mistakes in the classification of the two 



INSTRUMENTAL ^MUSIC. 103 

former, proving beyond doubt, that bis knowledge of 
natural history is very limited. A slight breeze springs 
up, and in come the 'trackers,' again in their 1)lue, 
brown, or white dresses, In'own or red ' fez,' faded 
into every shade of yellow, or no colour at all, and 
sometimes a best turban or two ; Imt when we arrive 
at a town, they turn out splendidly new and clean. 
Now they tumble in, like so many children : the sail 
is spread, with a good deal of singing to help it up, 
and then they form a circle on the deck aguin. 
The musical instruments are brought out of one end 
of the bread-box, and a full chorus of the most extra- 
ordinary music that has ever greeted our inexperi- 
enced ears strikes up. The band consists of small 
kettle-drums (called 'tom-toms'), tambourines, small 
brass cymbals, and funnel-shaped drums, made of 
crockery, which are tucked under the arm, and 
struck with the fingers of both hands. The instru- 
ments are distributed round the circle, which closes 
in, and then they "go at it" — it can be called by 
no other name — the remaining performers clapping 
their hands in time with the music, all singing with 
teeth clenched, or mouths wide spread, just as it 
happens to snit the sentiment, one for one tune, and 
one for another, sending forth a combination of 
sounds more strange and wild than we could have 
conceived had we not heard them, and of whicli 
even four months' teaching could hardly suffice to 
enable the traveller to give a faithful imitation on 
his return liomc. I tried to imitate them frequently, 



164 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIAlli'EII. 

but was obliged to give up in despair. Yet this 
wild music accords so well with the surroundiuo; 
scene that, from a distance, wdien the ear becomes 
familiarised to it, it might even, by a slip of the 
tongue, be called ' pretty,' and there was one song 
which both Selina and I finally ' liked.' The crew 
had songs for us, and for all the saints in the 
Maliometan calendar. On they play and sing, in 
the very height of enjoyment ; the dragoman sits 
by, looking as if he had already entered the 
seventh heaven, and, in the midst of his ecstasies, 
casts frequent glances at the party on the ' quar- 
ter-deck,' to inquire whether they are not like- 
wise affected, for this is first-rate Arab singing : 
" Oh, yes ; very good indeed." And w^e re- 
spond, that, at least, it is "lieart}^" to the highest 
decree. Some davs the band is not brouo'Iit out ; 
])ut the dragoman leads a game instead, in the same 
squatted circle ; and a merrier party of schoolboys 
was never seen than this grown-up crew at play. 
The peals of laughter that ring from the lower deck 
cannot fell to draw the attention of the 'quarter- 
deck,' and we are much amused to find that the 
game very mucli resembles ' Turn the trencher,' or 
' Forfeits,' only that the forfeits here are all paid 
in one way, namely, by a good slap on the back 
from the hands of the whole circle, piled one over 
the other and raised en manse, to fall simultaneously 
on tlie unfortunate victim, whose head is bowed low 
in the centre of the ring. Suddenly the game or 



A DAY ON THE NILE. IG.J 

tlie concert will lose one member, or two, or three, 
as tlie steersman slionts to shift the sail, or to furl 
it again ; then up jump eight or nine, climbing the 
mast, perching like so many monkeys at even dis- 
tances along the lateen yard, drawitig the large sail 
up with hands and feet, and then tying it round Avith 
a small rope, which will let it all down again at one 
pull when required. 

Should the morning have passed without it, 
the afternoon will generally produce some place of 
interest to see, and to read and talk about, or to 
sketch as we pass rapidly by ; and, when all these 
fail, we have one resource still left — we ino;ratiate 
ourselves in the favour of the Aral) cook, and may 
be seen seated in the bow of the boat with Mahomed, 
learning how to make some of the very nice dishes 
which Hassan sends up for our dinner at six 
o'clock. A glorious sunset, new every evening, and 
an equally glorious moon or starlight night, tea at 
a quarter to nine, and then the standing dish, back- 
gammon and n^ [^r^|» ^loso the romance of our 
day on the Nile. 



16G 



CHAPTER V. 

FROIM ASSOUAN TO KOROSKO. 

As we approacli the scenery of the cataracts, very 
fine palm-trees again greet the eye, the hills begin 
to assume a darker hue, and the sandstone gives 
place to the granite rock. A few Roman ruins 
crown the tops of the hills on the eastern bank as 
we proceed. On the western, the sand of the desert 
lies thickly strewn upon the rock. Here was the 
island of Kubanieh, and the home of our Reis. He 
landed, and was surrounded by a very respectable 
body of black relatives, for they are Nubians ; and 
before parting he left a basket full of presents for 
his mother. Each man of the crcAV, whose home 
lay on our way, was allowed to pay it a visit, and to 
rejoin the dahabeeh at the next village at which we 
stayed for the night. These people never meet 
their friends empty-handed, and Mohamed had pro- 
vided a large box to contain his presents for his 
friends. They were frequently handsome, such as 
a fez, some coffee-cups, or a silk-handkerchief, and 
he received many in return, in the form of dates, 
sugar-canes, and sheep. 

At half-past four p.m., Saturday^ Dec. 15M, we 
reached Assouan, the ancient Syene ; and here ' Cou- 
sin Phil ' and the whole party turned out for a 



ASSOUAN. 167 

WJilk. In the evening I sat on the hank fisliing, 
!Mohamed squatted at my side, musing and medi- 
tating on tlie lovely romantic scenery, and on the 
remains of past glory and grandeur. 

But I must not forget the beautiful approach to 
Assouan. Here begins the actual rocky scenery 
of the Cataracts, and the river appears enclosed as 
in a basin, or like the opening of a harbour, with 
lofty hills on either side. The island of Elephantina 
is in front, and small islands, with the most brilliant 
patches of vegetation, stud the water. Palm-trees, 
sont, young barley, and lupines of brilliant emerald 
green growing on every little scrap of earth (tlie 
deposit of the river), between the picturesque masses 
of granite or porphyry, of which the islets are 
composed. 

In some cases a great number of large, ancient 
stones are heaped up, as though placed there in 
preparation for a building ; in otliers they stand 
erect, singly, and covered with hieroglyphics. Here 
tliey assume all kinds of fantastic shapes, human 
figures, skulls, or old castles ; there, tliey are cut 
into huge plain blocks bearing the marks of the 
wedges used to detach them from the larger mass, 
and lying about as though waiting to be laid in the 
spot for which they were originally designed. Some 
of these masses are of enormous size, and we noticed 
one which had every appearance of having l)c'cn 
destined for an Obelisk. In such a scene, it is not 
to be wondered, lliut althougli tlie next step would 



168 FOUll MONTHS IN A DARABEEH. 

take us to the longed-for Cataracts, we were well 
content to lin<2;er awhile because the wind would 
not blow. In our first ^\a\\s. we met a number of 
little Nubian girls, with their hair plaited in very 
small straight plaits, and covered thickly with the 
castor-oil which abounds here. The beauty of many 
of their faces led us to coax them to come nearer 
for inspection. They were very shy, and soon tlie 
horrid perfume of the castor-oil, with which they 
were saturated, caused them to be again most un- 
gratefully dismissed to a more respectful distance. 
They were quite black, but very pretty and intelli- 
gent-looking ; their figures very elegant, and tlieir 
movements most graceful. The Nubian boys were 
very ugly ; yet curiously enough they grow up into 
fine, and some of them handsome-looking men, whilst 
the girls lose all their beauty with advancing years, 
becoming almost like the women of Lower Egypt, 
who, as far as we were able to observe them, were, 
old and young, absolutely frightful. 

We walked over the site of the old town. The 
town of Syene is fallen indeed ; and the traveller 
walks over a soil composed of the crumbled debris 
of its palaces, houses, and temples ; or if he chooses to 
dig he may disinter the old inliabitan.ts themselves 
in their mummied forms. There was one coffin, at 
the time, which had been half dug out by some tra- 
veller a few days before, and left there, liaving 
probably been found valueless. 

Sandaj/, Dec. IGth. — Chair and all w^e crossed 



THE UNFINISHED OBELISK. 169 

to the opposite side of the river, and after one wliole 
hour spent in preparation, our caravan was set in 
motion. The talents of Mohamed el Adleeh cer- 
tainly did not lie in tlie harnessing line. His cluni.sy 
attempts at linking the donkeys and the chair to one 
another were ludicrous to behold. ' Cuusin Phil ' 
tried hard to show him that all he was doing was 
entirely wrong ; but Mohamed thought, what could 
an ' English lord ' know about Nubian donkeys and 
Mahometan chairs ; he therefore shook his head, 
shrugged up his shouhiers, shifted his head-gear first 
on one side, then on the other, to assist the workings 
of his brains, and ejaculated patronisingly on every 
fresh remark of ' Cousin Phil's,' " Trust to uic ; 
trust to me ! " The clumsy dodges succeeded at 
last, and, Mohamed fully convinced of his own clever- 
ness, we started to see the Obelisk, which lies in one 
of the quarries of Syene. It was never finished, but 
it lies there still, ninety-five feet in length ; one 
single block of granite, of a very beautiful grain and 
colour, close under the mass from which it was cut, 
and which bears the marks of the wedges used in 
detaching it. All the blocks of granite around bear 
similar marks, the cuts being as fresh as though they 
had been but recently made. As on the opposite 
shore, nothing but ruin and devastation is to be seen. 
A portion of the gateway of a temple, said to be of 
tlie time of Nero, stands near ; and there are other 
trifling remains of interest to be visited. These were 
too far off for our party, aiul we passed on through 



170 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEri. 

the Moslem cemetery, which is of great extent. 
Some of the tombs, built with domes and small para- 
pets on the tojis of the surrounding walls, formed 
very picturesque groups ; and by the side of some 
of the smaller ones, jars of water stood for the 
refreshment of travellers. Mohamed said this was 
always the custom with " rich people." Little won- 
der that these poor people should deem that the 
English are " made of money " if this jar of clear 
water and the single plant of aloe growing near it 
was a sign of wealth among them. I was much 
struck with the simple ingenuity of my little donkey- 
boy on this occasion. He could speak nothing but 
Arabic with the exception of one word, suitable to 
the place of his abode. This was "mort," (no 
doubt the Italian ' morte '), and when I drew his 
attention to some of the tombs, which differed so 
much from the others, that we doubted whether 
they were tombs or not, and addressed him in our 
newly acquired Arabic, "Ehe die?" (What is that?) 
he answered me with a delighted flow of his native 
tongue. This, failing entirely to reach my senses, 
he laid his head on his hand, closed his eyes and 
said, " Sitte, Sitte, mort." (Lady, lady, dead.) I 
understood him at once, and conceived a much 
higher idea of my little guide's intellectual powers, 
than that with which his first appearance and the 
pig-like grunts with which he urged the donkey 
on, had hitherto inspired me. 

The epitaphs on the tombs are of the earlier 



THE CEMETERY AT ASSOUAN. 171 

inliabitaiits of Assouan, and bear date from the third 
century of the Hegira (a.d. 622). We should have 
liked to have taken off some of the inscriptions on 
the tracing paper, which we procured here, but 
Mohamed either truly considered this a desecration, 
or he was in a hurry to proceed, for he would not 
hear of it, and said that it would be at the cost of 
his life to allow us to do " such a thino:." We mi2:ht 
sketch the monuments, but touch them — no ! not 
for the world ! Of course we were obliged to submit, 
though w^e believed the danger to be wholly imagi- 
nary. Desolate and dreary, though picturesque, 
was this Moslem cemetery ; a collection of nmd or 
sand-covered graves scattered in all directions, and 
interspersed with the more pretending domed and 
parapeted elevations, to all appearance unknown, 
uncared for, broken, and crumbling. Yet we were 
told that each grave was ' private property ' and 
watched with jealous care, so that the smallest 
depredations would be visited with extreme rig- 
our by the " high fomilies " to whom they be- 
longed. 

AVe returned through the city, bazaar, and mar- 
ket-place. The streets were wider than in the other 
towns we had seen ; but wdiat struck us most was 
the lack of windows to most of the houses. This 
was, partly, no doubt in order to exclude the burn- 
ing rays of the sun ; and what windows they did 
rejoice in looked, not on the street, Init into the 
little square court which lay at the l)ack of most of 



172 FOUR MONTHS IN A BATTABEKfT. 

the houses. Moliamed said it was for fear the women 
should look out and be seen by the passers-b^^ 
Here he also informed us, that when he wished to 
marry, he would go to Sioot to choose his wife. 
" Much the best girls in all Egypt there !" 

The young ladies at Assouan who w^alked about 
well veiled, were very anxious to see their European 
sisters; and at ^lohamed's request we graciously 
stopped our nimble steeds, and unveiled our flices 
before a group of them, who cautiously uncovered 
their own in return, when Mohamed had ridden 
away to a respectful distance from the beauties. 
Dirty and ugly the group were, but they seemed 
much gratified by their inspection of us; and we 
flatter ourselves that, by comparison at least, tliey 
pronounced us clean, if not pretty. They were 
dressed in some sort of black material which trailed 
in the dust, looking as if it had never been washed 
since it was first put on, and they wore beads and 
small leathern bags, with portions of the Koran sewn 
up in them as charms, round their necks, and brace- 
lets of ivory and ebony on their arms. Many articles 
were offered us here for sale ; gold and silver brace- 
lets of filagree work, and other ornaments, which 
were all rejected because Mohamed promised that 
we should meet a caravan from the ' Khartoum ' on 
our return ; which we never did meet, with the 
exception of a returning one when all its goods had 
been disposed of. 

Monday^ Dec. 17///. — There was another wash- 



TWO YOUNG LIONS. 173 

iiia;-<lay at Assouan, and we enjoyed ourselves in the 
small boat, rowing- among the })icturesque rocks and 
endeavouring to take a sketch of a dilapidated 
' saglii ' with its long string of buckets dipping into 
the river. The current was so strong here that it 
was impossible to keep the boat still, and frequently 
when w^e lifted our ej^es from the paper, the subject 
of the sketch had disappeared. 

In the evening we went to see two young lions 
on board a cargo boat belonging to some rich mer- 
chant. They had been caught iu the Khartoum, and 
were going to be taken to Cairo for sale. We 
might have bought them, for 10/. or 12/. a-piece, 
had we wished to bring them home as pets. They 
were from three to six months old, and about the 
size of an ordinary English mastiff ; but even at that 
early age, their subdued roar made by no means an 
agreeable impression ; and it was not without some 
degree of fear that we saw one of them taken 
out of its crate-cage, that we might view it in all 
its beauty. The owner, a tall, handsome, coal-black 
Nubian, who, though very rich, wore no other gar- 
ment than the loose blue dress common to all the 
Egyptians, with a fez of very prettily embroidered 
cashmere, played with the young king of the forest, 
and fondled it as you might fondle a dog ; but this 
appeared to us by no means a comfortable proceed- 
ing. A small and very pretty monkey was after- 
wards brought to the dahabeeh for sale, and Mohamed, 
being of a speculative turn of mind, bought it for 



174 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABKEII. 

three dollars, saying he would sell it in Alexandria 
for five or six guineas. 

Tuesday^ Dec. ISth. — We were ready to start, 
but the wind did not rise sufficiently for the passage 
of the Cataracts ; so Sarah enjoyed a quiet day of 
ironing, and we set off in the row-boat again. 
Gently we glided between the groups of picturesque 
rocks, admiring in silence the wild beauties of the 
scene, when something moving upon the waters 
called forth a sinniltaneous exclamation of astonish- 
ment from our party. If mermaids have a real 
existence, and boast a rich, copper-coloured skin, 
surely here was one of these mysterious beings, and 
Syene is the place of their abode ! A small, human 
form lay stretched on the surface of the water, 
moving quickly along by means of its hands and 
feet. A little lower down was another figure, quite 
black, apparently sitting on the water, and moving 
in the same direction. This was a Nubian inhabit- 
ant of Assouan, ferrying himself across the river on 
his ferry-boat, the boat being simply a log of wood 
cut from a date-tree. ' He has bound to it, with 
a cord made from the fibres of the same tree, a 
bundle of Indian corn-leaves, which he is taking 
across as fodder for his goat or his sheep on the 
opposite shore. He wears no clothes, and sits on 
his log-boat, his legs stretched out horizontally along 
either side of it, so that it is completely hidden 
under the water. In his hand he holds a small 
paddle-oar, with wliich he pushes the water back, 



A MERMAID. 175 

first on one side, then on the other, till he lias 
reached the opposite bank. And yonder is our 
mermaid — his little girl, of about ten years of age. 
She also has her log-boat, which is buried under 
the water, as she lies along it, flat upon her chest, 
her hands and feet working away above the surface. 
She, like her father, is taking some fodder across 
the river. Her laughing face is turned towards us, 
the very picture of innocence and happiness, her 
rich copper-coloured complexion is her only clothing ; 
her short, black, curling hair waves bewitchingly 
round her forehead ; and the bundle of bright green 
leaves, seen above the water in front of her, com- 
pletes the whole smiling picture. It was an exqui- 
site touch of nature, and its beauty and simplicity 
were irresistible. Forgetful of the first shock natu- 
ral to civilised minds on seeing a young lady in such 
a position, we lingered on, and voted this by far the 
prettiest sight we had yet seen. At the request 
of our dragoman, the little mermaid was made to 
show her SAvimming powers by working her way 
towards us. The current seemed almost too strong 
for her ; but she was not to be bafl^led. She came 
near, and we held out our hands, and dropped a few 
'paras' (the small copper coin of the country) into 
her outstretched palm, adding, if possible, to the 
brightness of her pleased and merry countenance. 
This is the common mode of crossing the river 
near Assouan, and many log-boats are seen lying 
on the rocks to dry. Some are larger, and made of 



176 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABKEII. 

two or three logs bound together ; tliese will carry 
five or six persons across at a time, although how 
to seat them all upon so small a surfjice would 
puzzle most European brains. This piece of primi- 
tive nature amused and interested us for the remain- 
der of the day, and we retired to rest, liking the 
picturesque spot so well that we almost hoped the 
wind would not rise just yet. 

On AVednesday, however, December Idth, the 
cloudy sky and cold air at sunrise betokened a breeze, 
and Mohamed was anxious to start. Our cat had 
been allowed to escape at Thebes, which had troubled 
him much ; but now that he had manufactured 
three rat-traps, which we were quite sure could 
never catch one rat, he could imagine no further 
attraction at Assouan. The Reis, or pilot of the 
Cataracts, with whom a contract had been made, and 
duly signed and sealed before the Governor at 
Assouan, was summoned. His brother came instead 
of him ; and Mohamed, ever ready with an excuse 
when it suited his purpose, said that the Reis was a 
gentleman, and never got up so early, but that he 
would join the dahabeeh near the Cataracts, where 
his home was. The brother was a Reis also, but not 
the chief. With him and a pilot, who is engaged 
here to take charge of the boat till her return (the 
Caireen or Alexandrian Reis being considered in- 
efficient for the difficult navigation of these parts), 
at about half-past ten a.m. the 'Cairo' started on 
her way. A strange, wild way it was, growing 



ON TUB WAY TO THE CATARACTS. 177 

more and more so at every step, as she wound in 
and out, between this rock and that, in apparent 
peril of being at each moment dashed against one 
or other of them. We soon discovered Mahomed's 
' gentleman Reis ' in a small row-boat, from whence 
he was directing the movements of the great ship. 
The wind had by this time risen too high, and we 
were obliged to stop on one of the w^ild masses of 
rock. Selina and I got out, enjoyed a walk and a 
climb, and finally sat down to sketch, associating in 
our minds the dark black rocks of Assouan with 
those much nearer home. We sat on, busied with 
our thoughts and our pencils, the hinder legs of our 
chairs sinking imperceptibly in the soft mud soil, 
until the fore-legs toppled up in the air, and down 
we came. No great harm done, if w^e may judge 
from the laughter which ensued. The alluvial de- 
posit made a soft bed, and we were picked up by 
our black attendants, not a muscle of whose faces 
betokened any feeling Imt that of dire dismay, and 
who henceforth squatted themselves considerably 
nearer, in momentary expectation of another such 
catastrophe. They clearly did not think the ' sitte' 
(ladies) fit to be trusted alone. 

The rest of the crew were dotted over the black 
rocks, enlivening the landscape by the bright colours 
of their costume, half of their number, including our 
dragoman, being rolled up in crevices, and fast 
asleep. At mid-day they were all roused by the 
pilot, and we were summoned to retui'U to the vessel, 

N 



178 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

as the wind liad lulled sufficiently to enable us to 
proceed. 

There were forty helpers at hand, and it required 
some vigorous exertions to get us off the rock on 
which we had rested. It was accomplished at last, 
and we soon reached the first ' door' of the Cataracts. 
These Cataracts are called ' E Shellal,' and are 
simply rapids caused by the rush of water through 
the masses of rock. The tails appear very slight, 
the highest not exceeding five or six feet. Each 
passage is called 'bab' (a door), and Mohamed 
counted five of them, looking, as each one was passed 
in safety, as though one-fifth of the weight of the 
world had been lifted from off his broad shoulders. 
To watch his countenance of alternate fear and joy 
was a study in itself. And no less amusing were 
the looks that he cast frequently at each of us, to 
see if we also were not afraid. More than once the 
question was repeated, " How do you like it, Mrs. 

S ?" " How do you like it, Mrs. C ?" with 

a look which meant to say, " You ought to be fright- 
ened out of your senses." But Mrs. S and Mrs. 

C agreed that it was very pretty and highly 

entertaining ; and as to ' Cousin Phil,' who sat on the 
divan, quietly wondering what they were making 
such a fuss about, Mohamed gave him up in despair, 
the sang-froid which he displayed on the occasion 
completely puzzling the excitable Arab. 

To persons wholly unaccustomed to rocks and 
sea, the passage up these Cataracts may possibly 



NO APPARENT DANGER. 179 

appear somewhat frightful, and many prefer leaving 
the boat, and walking along the shore, whilst it is 
being di'agged up ; but to us there was nothing 
alarming in these tiny, picturesque rocks and falls, 
although the curiously primitive navigation, by 
means of which we were hauled up, or pushed along, 
fjiiled to inspire much confidence as to the result. 
Either there really was no danger at all, or the 
exciting novelty of the wild scene left us no leisure 
for fear, or, as Mohamed would certainly have said, 
had he dared, we were too ignorant of the danger to 
be afraid of it. But, danger or no danger, there is 
great difficulty in pulling a large dahabe^h up the 
falls, and Mohamed el Adle^h deserves much credit 
for managing everything as he did. We had passed 
the rapids in the course of a few hours, instead of 
being two or three days about it, as some of the 
other dahabeehs were, and without any annoyances, 
so that we thoroughly enjoyed the whole scene. It 
frequently happens that the natives crowd on board, 
on one excuse or another, and clamour for * bak- 
sheesh' from the travellers, at which time many 
articles may be stolen from the cabins ; but Mo- 
hamed, being responsible for everything on board, 
took care to expel all useless hands innncdiately 
from our vessel, and we lost nothing. The drago- 
man was as sharp-eyed as the thieves could have 
been ; he kept strict watch over everything, and, 
much to the discomfiture of Thomas and Sarah, 
insisted on their beino: stationed below. The win- 



180 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

dows of all the cabins, except one, wliicli was allowed 
to admit a little light and view, had been trebly 
secured with glass, shutter, and Venetian blinds ; 
but Mohamed knew the agility of the natives, and 
assured us they could easily open them all, and 
take possession of anything within reach of their 
long arms. Everything then was stowed away in 
the drawers under the divans, and watch kept below, 
while Mohamed and Ali patrolled the deck, sending 
off many a scrambler from the sides of the dahabeeh. 
We proceed in safety. The agility of the " old 
man," the chief Re'is, must be seen to be realised. 
He looks as old as the Cataracts themselves, and as 
wild. Yet see how he gesticulates and shouts ; now 
from the small boat, now from the top of a rock, 
which he has reached by swimming, we suppose, 
though neither Arab nor European can follow his 
lightning speed ; now from the quarter-deck and 
helm, where he is standing again before we have had 
time to observe that he has left the rock. He has 
been Re"is of the Cataracts for the last forty years, 
knows every stone, current, and eddy in them, and 
thinks, naturally enough, that no one else does. He 
is a great man — " a gentleman." But this gentle- 
man appears in a pair of short, white drawers, and 
a loose, open shirt, like the rest of the crew. Most 
of his retainers wear much less, and that is con- 
stantly taken off, that they may jump into the 
water, and push the boat along, or off, on their 
shoulders and backs. All around we see brown 



THE FIRST RAPIDS. 181 

or l)lack human beings jumping and swinnning 
liitlier and tliitlier, holding between their teeth tlie 
ropes that are to pull the dahabe^h along ; now 
tying them to one rock, then to another ; now 
swimming round to lift them, first over this one, 
then over that ; while the Keis shouts his directions, 
the crew shout them on, theln'other Reis contradicts 
them, the pilot of Assouan chimes in with his inter- 
pretation ; and the ' blackies ' in the water shout and 
halloo, because they cannot make out what every- 
body else is shouting and hallooing for. Now we 
watch the old Reis, who is in a perfect fit of excite- 
ment on the top of one of the rocks. A sudden 
sound makes us turn from him for an instant, and, 
lo ! there he is on the dahabeeh, at the helm again, 
his arms flung wildly in the air, dancing so high 
with rage that he bounds at least three feet at each 
jump. He shouts as no one else can shout; and 
iMohamed el Adleeh looks indescribable things. 
We begin to think that, after all, there may be some 
danger ; yet there is too much of the ridiculous in 
the whole scene : and as we look and listen, and see 
the shore so close that we could jump upon it in a 
moment, we laugh heartily to think that all this 
'Bedlam' and trouble should be got up to pull a 
party of strangers up these little Cataracts, when 
they could far more easily and quietly have gone 
along the road on shore. But the scene is worth a 
good deal, and we recommend every one to go 
through it, and have this ' Bedlam' got up for them 



182 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

also. The dahabeeli must be dragged up in any 
case if the travellers go to tlie second Cataracts, and 
they will hardly see such a scene in any other 
country. The natives in these parts are called by 
the Egyptians ' barabis ; ' they speak a different 
dialect, and neither our dragoman nor the crew could 
understand half they said, which was one great 
cause of the loud tones used on this occasion and of 
the confusion which followed. AVhen the old Reis 
was dancing, as before described, it was that his 
orders not being heard in the general uproar, they 
could not be obeyed, and he was declaring that the 
boat would be damaged, and that they should all 
pay for it. Even the crew were moved to laughter 
by his gestures. But at length he made himself 
understood, and the ' Cairo ' passed safely up the 
third rapid. The passages narrow, the current in- 
creases in force, natives start up in large numbers 
from their dwellings behind the hills to help, and 
children come to shout along with the rest as we 
proceed. The three first rapids are passed, as al- 
ready described, by means of small ropes fastened to 
the different rocks, and the exertions of the men in 
the water. The two last are the real falls, and the 
dahabeeli is taken up the fourth by the efforts of 
about sixty people, collected on the deck of the 
vessel, and pulling upon one large rope, fastened 
to a rock on the shore. When we had passed the 
fourth ' door,' there arose another scene, equalling 
that at the third. We were approaching the fifth 



THE FIFTH RAPID. 183 

rapid, and the old Reis prepared to rest from the 
hibours of the day ; for some unknown reason our 
Reis had told him we should remain here for the 
night, and do the next rapid to-morrow. Mohamed 
is furious ; a sufficient number of hands have not 
been provided to pull the huge vessel up. But on 
we must and shall go ! So, after a tremendous 
storm of words, the old Re'is shouts and halloos 
again. As though by magic, in all directions figures 
start up from behind every rock and hill, and at 
length a rope is fastened, and a procession of two 
hundred persons, including a number of children, 
wdio hasten to have a finger in the pie, is formed, 
extending from the dahabeeh to the summit of the 
rock. A large rope is fastened up there, and all 
pull upon it from the shore. The sheikh stands at 
the head, waving a white scarf aloft in triumph, and 
shouting encouragement, no doubt, along with the 
rest of his party ; but so well do the old Reis and 
all others remaining on the dahabeeh exercise their 
unwearied vocal oigans, that, between them and the 
rushing of the Cataracts, the voices of the two 
hundred are literally drowned. 

The moment we reach the top, ^Mohamed fires 
off a gun, and then comes up to us with a beaming 
countenance, congratulates and shakes hands with 
the ' Rajah ' and the ladies. The Reis and the 
pilot follow with their 'salaam.' And now the ex- 
citement is over, the noise gradually ceases as the 
'extra hands' disappear behind tlie rocks, and all 



184 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

those on deck subside and squat down to munch a 
few dates and some brown bread, their frugal fare 
after all this hard labour. It was four hours since 
we had started from Assouan, we were in smooth 
water again, and an almost strange quiet and calm 
succeeded to the noise and savage excitement just 
experienced. 

In half an hour's sail from the last rapid, the 
beautiful island of Phil^e stood before ns with its 
ruined temples and its palm-trees. There it lay as 
on a still lake, encircled by precipitous rocks and 
piles of rocks, every stone of which was reflected in 
the clear, still w^ater beneath. It is indeed a lovely 
spot, this ' Sacred Isle,' as it has been called by 
some, and ' Beautiful Isle ' by others ; long might 
the eye feast unwearied upon the attractive scene, 
and gladly " come again to-morrow." We remained 
here till the morning of the 22nd, giving ourselves 
two full days to explore the ruins and to rest ; for 
the excitement of the Cataracts had been rather 
fatiguing. 

Phil^e is like a gem on the water. It looks 
about one mile in length, and is covered with ruins 
of exquisitely carved colonnades, pillars, porticoes, 
and other portions of a temple dedicated to the 
Triad formerly worshipped here, viz., Osiris, Isis, 
and their son Horus. It is one of the many spots 
wdiich lay claim to having been the burial-place of 
Osiris, whose death and resurrection are recorded in 
sculptures, on some of the walls of the Temple. 



SCULPTURES AT PHIL^. 185 

Among tlie most interesting of the many other sub- 
jects, are the birth of Horus and a curious bird 
encircled by the lotus flower, having a serpent on 
one side, and on the otlier two priests in the act of 
worshipping another serpent suspended on a cross, 
which bears a great resemblance to the usual repre- 
sentations of the Brazen Serpent in tlie wilderness. 
We had considerable trouble in finding them out, 
owing to the blackening of the wall, by the ' mashals' 
(torches) of curious or thoughtless travellers. The 
temple of Philse was conmienced by Ptolemy Phila- 
deljihus B.C. 284, and accomplished during the 
reigns of succeeding monarchs. Many of the ruins 
are extremely perfect, and the colouring of blue and 
green still remains on the capitals of one very beau- 
tiful group of pillars, belonging to one of the por- 
ticoes of the temple, five on either side the entrance. 
The pillars are partly, and the walls and roofs en- 
tirely, covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics ; 
and we were much interested in endeavouring with 
the aid of our various guide-books to decipher them. 
The ascent of the bank, from the deck of the 
dahal)ech on one side, or from the row-boat on the 
other, approaches very nearly to the perpendicular : 
the natives, for there were natives even among the 
ruins, were collecting and throwing down the dust 
of the * Sacred Isle,' to take it in boats to the 
ojjposite shore, to strew it over their fields ; this 
dust being considered ]iarticularly good soil for the 
growtli of corn and beans, the only articles of food 



186 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEIT. 

besides dates, in which these poor creatures indulge. 
Up this hill of dust and rubbish, brave ' Cousin 
Phil ' was carried by two of the sure-footed crew, 
though so steep was the ascent that it was necessary 
that these two should be supported, each by another 
Arab, to keep the first from falling down, with his 
precious charge. How they succeeded in getting 
him up, and about, and doAvn again, is hard to say ; 
we thought it was at the risk of breaking every bone 
in his body, if not in their own also. Once on the 
island they made with their hands and arms what 
Mohamed called an "English sedan chair;" and 
between this and his stick ' Cousin Phil ' got about 
so well and was so much interested in the ruins, 
that he determined to repeat the expedition on the 
morrow. 

Friday^ Dec. ^Ist. — We took another look at the 
temple, and then we sat on a terrace before a more 
modern-looking chapel, shaded by a remarkably fine 
and tall group of date-trees, while the Arabs of our 
crew who accompanied us, plaited slippers most in- 
geniously from the leaves of the palm. We aston- 
ished their weak minds, by quickly copying another 
plait in the same material, from a little Nubian boy, 
who was called upon to show his talent in basket- 
making; it being quite beyond their comprehension 
that we could copy them without ever having been 
taught. The boy then brought a shield which he 
had plaited from the same leaves in imitation of the 
shield of crocodile skin used by the natives of the 



NATIVE LIFE AT PIIIL.E. 187 

Kliartoiini, and taking a reed in one hand for a spear, 
he acted a sham fight with another boy for our 
amusement. Very pretty, indeed, it was to see the 
graceful attitudes into which they threw themselves ; 
and how lightly they jumped and sprang from side 
to side, and round their adversary, to elude his darts. 
Tluis we whiled away the lovely morning hours, and 
in the afternoon we came again to sketch the beau- 
tiful portico. 

On the opposite shore, called 'Pharaoh's Bed,' 
there are a few small ruins, backed by high, wild- 
looking rocks of red granite, up which I scrambled 
quickly to obtain a view of the landscape. By flir the 
best view of the island with its ruins and its trees is 
obtained from thence ; the deep blue belt of water 
surrounding it ; the clear reflections on its surface, 
the hills and the palm-trees of the coast beyond, 
together with the ruins and trees below, while all is 
quickened into life, as it were, by the roaring, rushing 
sound of the Cataracts heard in the distance. 

A party of Nubians were sitting outside their 
small huts among the ruins at the foot of the hills. 
Tiiey were extremely dark, and even the women 
wore hardly a pretence to any covering beyond tliat 
of their long hair, plaited and plastered Avith castor 
oil, necklaces of beads, bracelets of ivory, and a lea- 
thern fringe tied round their loins, which is worn here 
by men and women alike. A woman was manu- 
fiicturing the castor oil into a black paste for her 
hair, rolling it together with her hands. An old 



188 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

man was sick and be2:i2:ed for a little " oil and vine- 
gar'' in a broken soda-water bottle. 

In the evening we went out again to see the 
island by moonlight. We lauded and saw on the 
bank two dark figures, ready to receive us, with 
flamino; ' mashals ' in their hands. These torches are 
composed of a circular piece of wood placed at the 
end of a long pole above which is a sort of open case 
made of three or four hoops of iron, wdiich is filled 
with burnino- wood. The Arabs shook them about 
so violently as they replenished them with fresh 
pieces, that showers of sparks and burning splinters 
were perpetually scattered around. The glaring 
flames, the white teeth set in the black faces, the 
noisy voices, the still ruins, rising more grandly in 
the surrounding darkness, and the lovely moon 
shining tranquilly above the whole, oflfered a strange 
and strikiuiz: contrast. Our black attendants darted 

o 

about hither and thither with their flaming brands; 
now they shoved us upon this stone, now upon that, 
in order that we might obtain a better view ; the 
dragoman ordered the ' mashals ' first behind one 
set of pillars then behind another ; then up the 
tower staircases to the tops of the ruins, with those 
of the party who could mount so high, consenting to 
swallow an unlimited quantity of sand and dust, and 
to be half roasted in descending the narrow passages 
by the over-zealous Arabs, who would persist in 
thrusting the torches into their faces in order to 
light them down. 



'taalhennee! taal iiennee !" 189 

Had it not been a heathen temple which Lay 
in ruins before us, we were inclined to think that the 
whole proceeding savoured a little of sacrilege : at 
the least, it was a rude intrusion upon the nocturnal 
stillness of these venerable precincts, and the silent 
moon seemed to look reproachfully down upon us. 

The dragoman and crew, in the midst of their 
noise and excitement, frequently stood still, con- 
versed together inqviiringly upon the ruins, and 
apparently admired and appreciated them fully as 
much as we did. We decreed that Phila) had been 
very well shown off, and returned to the boat. 
"Taal liennee! Taal hennee !" (' Come hither ! Come 
hither ! ') say the Arabs, and we jump from the 
dusty bank into a pair of black or brown arms 
stretched out to receive us into the boat, to which 
proceeding we are now becoming so accustomed, 
we think when we reach England again, we shall 
frequently look round for one of our faithful crew, 
to keep us from wetting our feet or soiling a new 
pair of shoes. 

Mohamed was ill to-day from exposure to the 
sun, and we had to administer belladonna. Ali 
showed strong symptoms of ophthalmia, and we 
were called upon again. Selina dropped a drop of 
the preparation of zinc into his eyes, with a camel's 
liair brush, as he of his own accord laid himself 
down on the floor, rested his head against a chair, 
and held his poor eyes open. The pain of the ap- 
plication is great, and the brave manner in which the 



190 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEIilH. 

sleepy boy bore it, and asked for more until bis eyes 
were quite cured, surprised us, and formed a striking 
contrast to tbe woe-begone looks of tlie sick drago- 
man. It provoked a smile to see his despair on the 
slightest indisposition ; but by the morning our re- 
putation as M.D.'s was established, and Mohamed's 
first words on entering the saloon were " Quite well, 
thank you, sir" — "Don't you lose that physic, 
please ! " 

Sunday, Dec. 2^rd. — We arrived at Kalabshee, 
having yesterday bid a reluctant farewell to Philse. 
Here we were close upon the tropic, naturally an- 
ticipating an extra roasting, but tlie day was com- 
paratively cold. The thermometer pointed at sun- 
rise to 47° outside the cabins, and 53° within the 
the saloon. At the hottest time of the day it was 
75° in the shade ; and 96° in the sun. A strong 
wind was blowing, and yet we were glad at noon to 
take refuge for a short time in the saloon. We 
sailed on and reached ' Gerf Hossayn ' in the even- 
ing. A tiny village rose here and there in the 
desert waste, a very narrow strip of cultivated land 
bordered the river ; and the only sound to be heard 
was the perpetual, melancholy creaking of the 
' saghi ' wheels. The air at ' Gerf Hossayn ' being 
recommended for its purity and softness, we deter- 
mined to spend two days there, and we found it 
quite deserving the praise bestowed upon it. 

Monday, Dec. 24,th, and Christmas Eve. This 
day was spent partly within, partly without tlie 



THE TEMrLE OF * THAU.' 191 

temple of ' Tliali,' the Lord of Truth. It is of tlie 
time of Itemeses the Great, B.C. 1311, is hewn in the 
solid rock, and must be seen by the light of the 
' mashals.' Hundreds of bats rushed out from their 
hiding-places as the merry Arabs rushed in with 
their flaming brands. The figures on the pillars of 
this temple, as well as on those of the portico, are 
badly executed. Compared to others of the same 
period, they are thick and dumpy in their propor- 
tions ; but we could not help admiring the perse- 
verance which had accomplished a work of so much 
labour. There are single figures on all the pillars 
of the hall, and other groups of three, in high relief, 
on panels along one side, and on the wall of the 
adytum, in front of which stands the altar. Several 
chambei'S lie beyond, all in like manner covered 
with hieroglyphics, but so blackened by the smoke 
of the ^ mashals ' as to be now scarcely discernible. 
We spent some time in trying to make them out, till 
longing for fresher and purer air, we seated our- 
selves within the single line of shade afforded 
by a pillar of the portico, and sketched the grim 
figures upon its opposite neighbours. An animated 
conversation was meanwhile carried on by our 
' suite.' The dragoman, with the ' clergyman ' of 
tlie village, several of our crew, and some Nubians, 
who had joined the group, sat down among the frag- 
ments of the temple ruins. The names of the Reis, 
tlie Pasha, the Rajah, the party, and all the towns on 
the Nile rejoicing in the name of a resident governor, 



192 FOUR MONTUS IN A DAHABEEH. 

were bandied about with sufficient frequency and 
gesticulation, to enable us to arrive at the drift of 
the whole. 

Our Reis had for some time past caused consi- 
derable annoyance on board ; now requiring one of 
the crew to do duty so repeatedly out of his proper 
turn, that the victim at last resented it ; now accus- 
ing Abdallah, who had the care of the commissariat 
department for the crew, of having ordered far more 
bread than was needed ; now insisting upon punish- 
ing an offender with stripes, which Mohamed out 
of deference to us never would allow ; and now 
wishing to dismiss some of the crew altogether. 
Upon this last announcement there was a strike, and 
the crew declared that if one of their number were 
dismissed they would all go, or they were "quite 
ready to put the Reis into the river." 

Thus the peace of our happy family had been 
perpetually disturbed, and the poor dragoman's sys- 
tem upset. He was always at work as peace-maker, 
endeavouring by persuasive eloquence to calm the 
raging passions around him, although he did fly 
into the most awful passions himself whenever he 
deemed it his " business " to do so, and was invari- 
ably ill with head-ache or violent attack of cold after 
each squall. 

By the time we had arrived at Assouan his 
rage with the Reis had reached its climax ; and the 
governor, with whom the Reis had been repeatedly 
threatened, and at whose supposed approach he had 



THE TRIAL. 193 

as frequently repented and promised to keep quiet 
for the future, at length ai)peared in the persons of 
his ' agent/ the chief magistrate of the place, and a 
rich merchant, who came probably as witness to the 
proceedings. On our return from a delightful row 
on the river one day just after sunset, Selina and I 
found these three dignitaries assembled, and seated 
on the divan opposite to 'Cousin Phil.' They were 
supposed to be honourmg him with a visit, and he 
had had the pleasure of looking at them in silence 
for one hour, while Ali brought them coffee, lemon- 
ade, and pipes in succession. Selina and I joined 
the silent assembly, though silent they soon ceased 
to be. 

The dragoman and dignitaries entered upon busi- 
ness. The Reis was brought up and sat on the 
' quarterdeck,' looking as hard as the rocks around 
him. Warmer and warmer waxed the discussion ; 
colder and harder looked the Reis ; as first the 
dragoman, then the agent squatted before him, 
pulling him first by one shoulder, then by the other, 
as though they would try gently to shake a little 
reason into him. It was all of no use, and the 
peace-making dragoman's wrath was kindled ; he 
poured forth a volume of x\rabic, in which ' il con- 
trato, il contrato ' (the contract), held a very promi- 
nent position. He started to his ieet, called "my 
man, Ali;" and the leathern bag containing the 
precious document Avas brought forth and submitted 
to tlie mngistratc, who s]>clt it cnrefully through 

o 



194 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAITABKEH. 

while the others stormed on. So long and fiercely 
did this debate continue, that we were obliged to 
retire to the saloon, and leave the Arabs to fight it 
out by themselves, ' Cousin Phil ' first giving a 
very decided order to the magistrate, that this afiair 
should be concluded, and peace restored before he 
left the dahabeeh, — a peace such as might last till 
our return to Cairo. The same message was con- 
veyed to the obstreperous Reis ; and with a whole- 
some awe of " the Rajah from the London Parlia- 
ment," or " Exhibition," by which high titles Mo- 
hamed indiscriminately endeavoured to express 
' Cousin Phil's ' importance, we left them all in 
possession of the ' quarterdeck.' By eight p.m. the 
business was " finished," as Mohamcd expressed it, 
by a washing of his hands and gestures which would 
seem to indicate that the tiresome Reis was blown 
away to the winds ! He had promised good-be- 
haviour for the future ; his conduct was reported 
by letter to his master at Cairo ; and a paper was 
drawn out by the magistrate, whereby on the next 
offence he might be displaced, and another Reis 
taken in his stead. 

Tlie Re'is was thus silenced, but quarrelling is 
contagious, and the spirit had spread so fiir that there 
was further wrangling at Gerf Hossayn, and to our 
dismay this morning the culprit was the steersman 
El Abiad, the quietest man in the boat, whom we 
had even wished to carry away with us to Europe 
on account of his good looks and gentlemanly deport- 



RECONCILIATION. 195 

ment. El Abiad (the white) was coal-black, but 
we flmcied he had looked blacker by several shades 
for the last few days ; the quarrel, however, was 
brought to an end by a strange ceremony which the 
Nubian pilot beckoned us privately to witness, as he 
stood with his black eyes twinkling up at us, to see 
how we should enjoy the fun. The parties were 
assembled in a hollow at a little distance, and both 
Reis and steersman were made to kiss the dragoman's 
head. It was a ludicrous solemnity, as each one 
was almost forced to give the token of peace and 
good-will, a friendly hand literally pushing the 
unwilling penitents to touch the turban with their 
lips. The dragoman sat rather moodily, twisting a 
bit of palm-leaf in his fingers during the act of 
homage, and looking as if he were trying to keep 
down a spark of superior intelligence which told 
him that he ought to have been above the proceed- 
ing. All parties looked greatly relieved when it 
was over, but they hung down their heads, prayed, 
and then by slow degrees conversation recommenced. 
In the evening the deck was enlivened by the ' tom- 
tom' and other musical instruments pealing forth 
with redoubled energy, the dragoman himself joining 
the circle and clapping his hands to beat time along 
with the crew. The song was long and loud, and 
the whole village turned out on the bank to hear. 

By this curious process peace was effectually 
restored, and Mohamcd said it would be sealed again 
on the morrow bv joint prayer in the mosque. Thus 



19G FOUlt MONTHS IN A DAHABiiEH. 

passed Christmas-eve, not unsuitably, though un- 
wittingly so perhaps on the part of the Arabs ; and 
"vvhen we expressed our hope that all the fighting 
was over, ISIohamed replied with astonishment, 
"Fighting — no! these people never fight! Only 
Egyptians you know ! Egyptians all mad !" 

Be that as it may, Christmas-day 1860 dawned 
in peace on the Nile, and the rising sun dawned 
upon me, on one of the rocky eminences as far 
away in the desert as I could penetrate by that 
early hour. The Christmas hymns were sung in this 
wildly grand scene ; grand in its extent of barren- 
ness ; the hoo-poo sang too on the porch of the 
ruined heathen temple, bobbing its pretty crested 
head on its striped breast, singing its peculiar note, 
" Hoo, lioo, lioo ! Hoo, hoo, hoo !" A small black 
bird Avitli snow-white head came near to listen, 
v/ithout any fear of harm ; and these with my com- 
panion ' El Abiad,' were the only living things in 
sight, throughout the desert waste. 

Breakfast came in due time, Christmas greetings 
and good wishes along with it, and thoughts and 
talk of the parties assembled at home, when in came 
our faithful dragoman, with a beaming countenance, 
a hearty shake of the hands, and " Good morning, 
sir !" to each of us in turn, irrespective of sex. He 
had, for some time past, looked forward eagerly to 
the arrival of this day, and now, having hoisted 
three additional flags, had determined to celebrate 
it in proper style. Off he goes ; and presently the 



CIIKISTMAS-DAY. 1U7 

stillness is broken by a loud burst of voices, shouting 
"Hoop, hoop, hoop, hooi'-rooh !" three times re- 
peated. The picked musicians of the crew are found 
assembled in a circle at the door of the cabin. Mo- 
hamed, dressed in his best, his back to the cabin- 
door, bends forward, and all the other heads follow 
the lead ; each eye is fixed on the mouth of its 
opposite neighbour, and every muscle shows the 
most earnest desire that the cheer shall be simulta- 
neous. The "three times three" over, the cliief 
sin2:er starts the souo; which the chivalrous crew 
had composed in honour of Selina, " The best of the 
flowers in the garden ! The sun of the sultan ! " 
Another cheer, three times repeated, and then comes 
the song for me, " The rising moon ! The light of 
the house ! " A concluding cheer, louder than ever, 
and then the full band squat on the deck, and music 
and singing continue uninterruptedly, whilst break- 
fast goes forward with extra good fare on the table. 
It was a noisy way of ushering in the solemnity of 
Christmas morning ; but we were very much pleased 
with our new style of " English Christmas," as 
Mohamed called it ; and I doubt whether it had not 
the desired eflect in making us feel much more 
Christmas-like at the end of the outburst from the 
good-natured Arabs than before. 'Cousin riiil' 
gave a sheep to the crew for their Christmas dinner, 
and a present in money to the dragoman, Ali, and 
the cook, tlie latter coming by his own request at 
dinner-time, to lav liis Cln-istmns ])ii(hrnig on the 



198 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

table with his own hands. He bowed, kissed hands, 
and, with a delighted countenance, placed before us 
a castellated elevation of almond 'hard-bake,' ex- 
tremely nice for young teeth, but, from its hardness, 
not quite so universal a Christmas pudding as that 
in which our friends at home, old as well as young, 
will have indulged. The dinner was as princely as 
the Nile and the dahabeeh could make it, albeit the 
characteristics were almonds and ' mishmish,' instead 
of roast beef and plum-pudding. The real plum- 
pudding had appeared two days before, as though 
by anticipation, in the form of an extremely plain 
and heavy manufacture, but all flaming in Christmas 
fire ; not, however, considered by cook or dragoman 
in any way so suitable to Christmas-day as their 
almond castle. 

The tropic had resumed its natural heat, and the 
thermometer pointed to 85° in the shade, and 110° 
in the sun. The flies would not be behindhand; 
they imprinted their Christmas wishes more perse- 
veriugly than ever in the corners of the eyes of 
every one of us. The fly-flap waved incessantly 
this way and that, while 'Cousin Phil' read the 
Christmas services in the little saloon ; and then, 
as we sallied forth to the temple again, to sketch the 
shattered gods, we thought with gratitude how the 
lowly and miraculous birth which we commemorate 
this day had destroyed their heathen worship ; and 
we breathed a heartfelt prayer for that blessed time 
when the Light which shone forth from the manger 



A PKIMITIVE .MILL. 199 

ill Bethlehem, shall shine freely and unobscured 
in the Moslem land. 

The day was closed with a row on the river, 
and a visit to a small village, whose wild inhabitants 
looked wilder than any we had yet seen as they 
grinned at us, with their rows of white teeth, very 
much as if, in their own minds, they would return 
to us the compliment which we were inwardly 
paying to them. 

Wednesday, Dec '2Qfh. — The 'Cairo' sailed 
away again. We had much enjoyed the delightful 
air of Gerf Hossayn, and looked out for more such 
on our way. The thermometer pointed the same as 
yesterday ; the wind was fair, so that the awnhig, 
happily for us, was left up, and the ladies, with 
sketch-book, novel, and needle-work, ' Cousin Phil ' 
with Herodotus and the flies, passed the hours of 
the tropical day very pleasantly. 

The breeze was refreshing, the sky of the 
brightest blue, the desert sand on either side a 
brilliant buff colour, and one bank of this sand so 
clearly reflected in a sheet of water left on the 
deposit, that for a long time we could not persuade 
ourselves that it was a mere reflection. We passed 
the Temple of Dakke, and stopped for the night at 
Maharraka, a small village, where the women were 
grinding corn in bits of a broken vessel, by rolling 
a stone over it with their hands. Their hair was 
elaborately plaited, and daubed with castor oil ; the 



200 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

children were perfectly naked, and, notwithstanding 
their black skins, some of them really pretty. 

Thursday^ Dec. 21 th. — We sailed on with a 
side wind, the thermometer still the same, 85° and 
110°, yet the awning was not allowed to be raised. 
Selina took refuge in the cabin, and, for want of 
better occupation, sketched its interior ; ' Cousin 
Phil' fell asleep on the divan, inside his umbrella ; 
I sat by, and, liaA^ing secured the four corners of my 
writing paper, with some fragments of 'Memnon' 
and the ' Cataracts,' proceeded to write, with pen in 
one hand, umbrella in the other, my mother's neutral- 
tint spectacles to keep oif ophthalmia, and a veil 
closely tucked under my chin, but ineffectual to 
baffle the undaunted flies. It certainly was writing 
under diflSculties. 

Here a Nubian paddled across on a boat made of 
three bundles of cane, tied together, and floated on 
the water. We stopped at a small village, to bargain 
for a calf which was discovered there ; but the price 
was too high for the dragoman's purse ; so the calf 
was allowed to live a little longer, and we to go 
without the intended veal. 

About this time poor Sarah's eyes had begun to 
show symptoms of ophthalmia, and now she kneels 
^vithin her cabin-door, with clasped hands and up- 
raised head, to receive into her eyes the dreaded 
drop of zinc. She looked as if she thought her 
last hour was at hand, but flinched under the ope- 



EVENING AT SABOOA. 201 

ration even less than Ali, and we began to wonder 
wlietlier we should be as brave should our turn 
come round. 

At four P.M. the ' Cah*o' stopped at Sabooa. The 
hills on the eastern shore were suffused with a deep, 
rich purple colour, contrasting beautifully with the 
bright yellow sand on the western side. A golden 
sunset soon glowed behind the lions of the temple, 
and the silver moon, nearly at 'the full,' rose in the 
clear blue vault above. We did not land this even- 
ing, but the crew jumjied on shore, and, with amusing 
avidity, started hopping and jumping matches on 
the mud-bank, with all the ardour of schoolboys. 
Even the fat, heavy-looking dragoman surprised the 
company by the high springs in the air with which 
he led off the fun. The lines were brought out in 
the evening, and we tried our luck again at fishing. 
Alas ! my hands generously gave away bait after 
bait to the hungry fish, who called again and again, 
and most ungratefully swam away unhurt. Pre- 
sently Selina's line was pulled with a vigorous 
grasp. Such an enormous fish bites, that she cannot 
draw it in by herself. The dragoman pulls, the 
captured creature pulls ; the dragoman chuckles and 
dances for joy. It cannot be a fish ; it must be a 
crocodile, at tlie least. Not very digestible food, 
perhaps ; but the excitement and suspense are great. 
The pilot lias taken the small l)oat, in quest of food, 
to the opposite shore, whence is heard the sound of 
a wedding festival — a shrill cry of female voices. 



202 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

irresistible as the song of the syren to our Arab 
boatmen, who are, therefore, not likely to return in 
a hurry to help us — so Selina and her monster 
play at cup and ball for some little time, while the 
bark of a wolf adds to the novelty of the scene, 
and, finally, the creature relinquishes its hold, and 
turns out, after all, to be nothing but a large 
stone. 

The cry which reached us from the distant village 
was made by the women attending a wedding pro- 
cession, and is called by the Arabs 'zagharit.' It 
somewliat resembles the sharp note of the fife, but 
so loud that it seems to pierce the brain. In pro- 
ducing this extraordinary noise the tongue is rolled 
in the mouth, while the voice is raised to a higher 
pitch than we could previously have conceived to 
be possible. 

Friday, Dec. 28th. — The broiling appearance of 
Sabooa had well-nigh frightened us away, despite 
the eulogium which Mohamed had made on tlie 
bracing qualities of its atmosphere ; but we did 
remain, and spent one very pleasant day there after 
all. First I took my morning constitutional, and 
enjoyed the lovely moon and the sunrise, the Arab 
who attended me helping me over every stone and 
up every hill, by clutching at my left shoulder in a 
most lop-sided fashion, which we could call by no 
other name than ' pinioning.' Close by the temple 
the sand lies so thick that the whole of a lady's boot 
will disappear at each step. Further on, the walk 



mohamed's cleverness. 203 

was a rough one ; and the trophy of tlie morning's 
excursion was the jaw-bone of a camel, which lay 
hleacliing on one of the rocks, little thinking that it 
was destined to take a journey into Europe. The 
chair and our whole party set out after breakfast to 
see the tem2:)le. The bank was extremely steep, 
and Selina was mounted on high, and carried up by 
the pilot and steersman. The dragoman had per- 
ceived the injurious effect upon her health of all 
these steep climbings, and had decreed that, for the 
future, she was to be carried as well as ' pa-pa.' 
Of course she made a fuss about it, as young ladies 
will do ; but this was all the more fun for Mohamed. 
He always carried her himself, when he could be 
spared to do so ; and it was very amusing to see 
how cautiously he now assembled his forces. Two 
pair of strong arms seized the lady and raised 
her aloft, just as she was quietly lifting her foot, in 
the expectation of re-plunging it into the dust from 
which she should have been so thankful to escape. 
Gratitude came only when the top of the hill was 
reached, and the bearers were repaid with most 
gracious smiles, and assurances that she could walk 
quite well by herself. The faithful bearers were 
notwithstanding, ever at hand ; and it is but fair to 
state, that each man in the dahabeeh was always 
ready to fulfil any little duty for any one of our 
])nrty, in the most good-natured and good-tempered 
manner. 

The tompk^ of Snbooa is of the time of Knmcscs 



204 FOUR MOXTIIS IN A DAHABEEH. 

the Great. lu front, at some distance from it, are 
two lions, and two pillars with hieroglyphics upon 
them. Portions of the other lions or sphinxes, 
which probably led as an avenue to the temple, lie 
scattered about on the sand. The temple is built of 
sandstone, with the exception of the adytum, which 
is hewn in the rock. All but the towers and the 
tops of a few of the columns, is filled in with drifted 
sand, which is here remarkably clean, and of a very 
brilliant colour. We sat upon its sloping surface in 
the small extent of shade thrown by the towers, 
shifting our position along with it, until the noon- 
tide rays drove us back into the dahabeeh. The 
heat here was so intense, and the sand so burning 
hot as we stepped into it, that I felt convinced an 
egg might be baked in it. The Arabs said no, and, 
true to their nature, could not be prevailed upon to 
try. I, true to mine, of course did try, and popped 
one in ; but, if the sand was not sufficiently hot to 
bake the egg, the sun proceeded to bake me so tho- 
roughly for my obstinacy, that I was obliged to 
relinquish the experiment. Mohamed said that two 
months later the egg would have been baked at 
once. 

The natives here were quite black. One of the 
women was spinning, with a very small spindle, 
some of the long brown wool, destined to make the 
loose garments worn by all the women here, in 
place of the blue cotton seen further north. The 
material is very thick and heavy, but, no doubt. 



ZOOLOGICAL. 205 

serves better to keep off tlic hurning rays of tlie 
tropical sun than a lighter one. 

A stuffed hyena was brought to the boat in the 
course of the day by a party of wild-looking indi- 
viduals, in the hope of gaining a little 'baksheesh' 
])y letting us have a look at the creature. He 
looked very fierce, and as if he had done service as 
a show for many years. Mohamed, how^ever, sum- 
marily dismissed him, and would have nothing to 
say to him. He and his owners contentedly seated 
themselves on the bank, determined at least to have 
a sight of us ; and ^ve had thus a full opportunity of 
examining his long fangs and striped Avhite and 
black coat. The men sat the whole day long with 
the crew, evidently having nothing whatever to do. 
It seemed strange at first, but, after all, w^hat can 
they have to do in this barren desert home of theirs ? 

A chameleon was next offered for sale, which 
claimed greater attention, and amused us for some 
days with its curious changes of colour. On its 
first appearance it was of a very pretty grass green 
shade, which became darker and lighter by turns. 
Brown spots, passing into every shade of yellow, and 
back to brown again, appeared and disappeared all 
over its body ; the tail was at times black and then be- 
came green again. The shores of the Nile from hence 
to Derr, abound with tliese little creatures. They 
are a species of the lizard tribe. The head is very 
large and curiously hooded, and their prettily striped, 
glol)ular eyes, turn every way, so that the cliameleon 



206 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

enjoys the faculty so often, and so foolishly envied 
by man, of having eyes in the back of its head, as 
well as in the front. The eflPect upon our captive was 
evidently to make it frightfully timid. It apprehended 
danger on all sides, and like all the others which 
were brought to us, refused either to eat or drink a 
single thing, passing by even the flies and the ants, 
and looking so unhappy that we let it loose at Derr. 
The Arabs marvelled to see us take so much interest 
in what they regarded as an unclean beast. The 
dragoman would hardly look at it when we held it 
in our hands, and all showed a strong aversion to 
touching it. The fall of a crane and of two pretty 
turtle-doves under Thomas's gun on the opposite 
shore, together with a row to the village, closed the 
sport and the ' Natural History ' of the last four-and- 
twenty hours. The inhabitants of the village were 
at first terrified at the appearance of the Europeans. 
When coaxed by the dragoman into fetching eggs 
for sale, they stared in mute amazement at the 
strangers, and finally resuming the natural powers 
of their tongues, talked so loudly and in such shrill 
tones, that while within reach of the bright steel 
axes, which the men carried on their shoulders for 
])reaking up the soil, and under the savage influence 
of their sparkling eyes and grinning white teeth, it 
required some little amount of nerve to exhiljit entire 
pleasure in their society. Their noise was, however, 
perfectly harmless : a little pumpkin dish with a 
crocodile ingeniously represented upon it, was filled 



IMPROVING SCENERY. 207 

with eggs which we purchased ; and the boat pushed 
off again while the villagers rushed away to catch 
all their poultry, and returned yelling, to offer it for 
sale. The women wore brown woollen dresses, but 
they were not very particular about covering them- 
selves with them : the children wore no clothins: at 
all, the men hardly any. 

Saturday, Dec. 2^th At sunrise I trudged up 

the sand again, to finish my sketch of the temple. 
Little black Mohamed attended me. Of his own 
accord he placed himself so as to intercept the rays, 
which even at this early hour were inconvenicint to 
me. When his services in that way were not needed 
he skipped to the other side, squatted down and 
insisted on relieving me of the weight of my paint- 
box. He was a most active little fellow, and always 
ready to do anything, even before he was asked ; 
but we were summoned to the boat, the milk for 
breakfast was procured, and at eight a.m. the ' Cairo ' 
resumed her course. There was but little wind, and 
that lit^^le was contrary, so that ' tracking ' was 
again the only means of proceeding. So it con- 
tinued for several days, and we were long in reaching 
Korosko ; but as we draw nearer to the toAvn, the 
belt of vegetation increases, the palm-trees become 
more numerous and very fine, while small gardens 
are perceived here and there, if I may call them 
gardens, when a very few green leaves of cucum- 
bers, onions, or lupines, are all the produce they can 
boast. 



208 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Tlie first of these ' tracking ' days was eiiliveued 
and shortened by a long pause at a small village to 
take in stores. The crew, as was their wont, had 
heljDed themselves as they went along to some fine 
branches of acacia which were lying on the bank, to 
use for fuel. The villagers rushed down, and by the 
noise and clatter which ensued, it might have been 
supposed that they were threatening all the terrors 
of the law upon the marauders. They were only 
bargaining for the payment. Mohamed sat digni- 
fied and satisfied on a chair on the deck, whilst 
branches, eggs, chickens, milk, a goat and dried 
dates for the crew as hard as walnuts, were oflfered, 
bargained for, rejected on the one side, walked away 
with on the other, and as regularly brought back 
again and delivered over for the originally profiPered 
price. The wild and savage dignity of some of the 
women, as they walked away with their babies on 
one arm, shoulder, or hip ; their bowl full of eggs or 
milk, on their heads ; and the bundle of unfortunate 
chickens or pigeons pinioned by the other hand, was 
very striking ; whilst their shrill voices pierced our 
brains as they rattled out their abuse no doubt, of 
our stinginess. Tliere was one ugly creature in 
particular who clamoured for herself and for the 
whole of the population of the village, men, women, 
and children, better, we feel sure, than any virago 
of any complexion, ever has done before her, or we 
trust ever will do again. How she kept up her 
voice to its extraordinary pitch, for such a length of 



VENOMOUS SNAKES. 201) 

time we Avere at a loss to imagine ; for we could 
bear it still as we ' tracked ' along, when she was far 
out of sight. It was on the whole a fiendish scene, 
in which the weaker sex showed themselves by no 
means behind the stronofcr. Half the noise was 
caused by the unwillingness of the villagers to hand 
over their property, until the payment was placed in 
their hands, and the determination of our dragoman 
to receive the goods first, and to pay for them after- 
wards. 

The succeeding calm was agreeable, and we 
stopped for the night under some of the desert hills. 
Sarah and I proceeded, unattended, to ascend the 
high rock, to see what Avas to be seen at the top, but 
we were quickly made to retrace our steps. There 
are snakes on those rocky hills whose bite is so 
venomous as sometimes to cause instantaneous death. 
A man of the village produced one immediately, 
which he had shot that morning on this very hill. 
It was about one and a half feet long, of a light 
pinkish colour. The pilot said his mother had died 
some time since from the bite of a similar snake, 
surviving only a few days. We could not find that 
they were aware of any antidote for this poison. 

Sundaij^ Dec. ^Oth. — Our Church Service was 
almost undisturbed by flies to-day, a rare event, and 
no small relief to all parties. The bank along which 
the ' trackers ' walked and clambered was prettily 
wooded with the ' sont,' which is used for buildina: 
the Nile boats. The Egyptian jossnminc, its leaves a 



210 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEI^H. 

bright yellow-green, Lung in rich clusters over every 
stone and stump, like the clematis at home ; but 
there was no flower upon it. This was succeeded by 
a large quantity of the * sensitive mimosa,' growing 
like a luxuriant briar all over the bank. It folded 
up its leaves quite tightly, on the slightest touch of 
our hands ; and even as we stood by, talking about 
it, our breath produced the same effect, and very 
soon the whole shrub was withered up. The leaves 
and branches which we gathered did not revive in 
water, but shrivelled up and became quite dry and 
crisp, nor would the water soak into a small branch 
which was plunged in and left there for a long time ; 
the drops rolled off like balls of quicksilver. Some 
of our crew were acquainted with the plant, and 
called it by the name of one of the Pashas. The 
dragoman and the greater number of them had never 
observed it before ; and his nerves were decidedly 
shaken by a contemplation of its supernatural quali- 
ties. 

Monday^ Dec. ?>lst. — The last of the year had 
come round again and we tracked it out. The wind 
was still contrary, and, as if to remind us of the 
season in our own homes, the tropical climate as- 
sumed a chilling temperature. The thermometer 
fell to 47° at sunrise, 75° in the shade at noonday, 
and to 96° in the sun. Yesterday it had pointed 
to 112°. Kocks in the bed of the river, and numer- 
ous mud-banks, impeded the progress of the dalia- 
beeh. A strong wind at times blew us close upon 



PORTRAIT-TAKING. 211 

them, and the skill of the iSTubian pilot was in con- 
stant requisition. In one or two places, where the 
current was strong, we were reminded of the passage 
of the cataracts. We could not manage to reach 
Korosko, but moored again within a mile and a half 
of the town. The distance from Sabooa might with 
a fair wind have been accomplished in a few hours : 
this was our third day, and we had not reached it 
yet. Time had not, however, hung heavily on our 
hands, and by way of lightening the burthen still 
further we had begun a series of portraits of our dark 
companions, to their immense satisfaction. The art 
with us was quite in its infancy, but they were good 
subjects to practise upon, and we thought it for- 
tunate that they were so easily pleased as to dis- 
cover striking likenesses in every picture which we 
produced. Most of them were young men, and had 
smooth faces, but those who possessed beards or 
inustachios w^ere very particular that not one hair 
less than they could boast sliould be depicted on the 
paper. 



212 



CHAPTER VI. 

FROM KOROSKO TO WADEE HALFEH. 

At 8 A.M. ou New-year's moruing, Jan. \sf^ 1861, 
the shout of arrival of the crew, sounding rather 
like " A happy new year to you all ! " announced 
that the ' Cairo' had at length reached Korosko. 
Korosko is very prettily situated in the midst 
of a range of hills, upon which a beautiful purple 
shade was now resting. It is a halting-place for 
the caravans fi'om the interior, and hearing that 
there was one now actually resting on the hills, we 
deemed ourselves fortunate in having so interesting 
an object for our first expedition in the new year. 
There were no donkeys waiting to be hired, but the 
pilot applied to the sheikh, and two were produced, 
totally devoid of accoutrements. Our side-saddles 
were placed on their backs, on the top of the scarfs 
of some of the crew, which they lent for the purpose, 
as it was supposed the saddles would not fit without 
them. A bit of rope was tied to the donkeys' heads ; 
Mohamed cries, " Trust to me," and away we go, 
following the " Rajah's chair," which is carried 
by four of tlie crew, chanting as they go. One 



THE CARAVAN. 213 

donkey-boy leads our steeds by the hair of their 
heads, and another insists on holding us on behind, 
which very nearly pulls us off. A large and black 
company follow in our train ; and thus one caravan 
winds along to see the other. 

Alas ! the gum Arabic, the ivory, and the wax, 
had already been disposed of in cargo-boats, for 
further transport by water, and we did not oee so 
much as we had expected. The road was extremely 
picturesque and striking, lying over huge blocks of 
stone and heaps of dust, through a ravine in the 
rocky hills. There are many such ravines in this 
neighbourhood, down which the tropical rains frcni 
the interior force their way to the river ; some- 
times destroying whole villages, and uprooting as 
many as two or three hundred trees in their course. 
At this moment, all the camels of the caravan were 
lying about the ravine in groups. The saddles 
were arranged in semi-circular heaps among the 
stones ; and water-skins and empty baskets were 
scattered all around. It was reported that this 
caravan consisted of 600 camels. We saw only 
about 50. 

The owners of the camels and the goods drew 
near, and formed a circle round the strangers. They 
came from the Khartoum. This word signifies a pro- 
montory, or point of land, and was applied to that 
portion comprised between the streams of the White 
and the Blue Rivers. After the conquest of Soudan 
))y Mohamed Ali, the seat of government was 



214 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

established there, and a town was built which retains 
the name of Khartoum. 

The greater number of tlie dark, half-dressed 
savages wore their hair closely cropped on the 
crown of the head, whilst on either side it stood out 
horizontally, and a little bit of stick was passed 
through it and left there by way of a comb. Some of 
them plaited it into a number of small tresses, leaving 
the ends about two inches long, to form an orna- 
mental bushy fringe all round ; others wore thick 
plaits across the head, and falling down straight behind. 
A few had large whiskers, which, in spite of their 
dark copper-coloured complexions, gave them quite 
an European appearance. The features of many 
among them were handsome, and all had an inde- 
pendent bearing, which presented a great and 
pleasing contrast to the cowed and effeminate looks 
of the Egyptians, who bear in their countenances 
all tlie marks of a conquered people. 

The circle pressed closely round, too close to 
be quite pleasant, and Mohamed asked them to show 
us their manner of fighting, this being apparently 
their one accomplishment. Three very large, 
bright, and sharp swords were immediately drawn 
and passed round, as each Khartoum man in his 
turn went through a series of sword-cuts and high 
jumps and springs, pointing the terrible blades 
systematically at ' Cousin Phil,' and thrusting them 
constantly within a few inches of his chair. He 
smiled at the enemy and thoroughly enjoyed tlie 



KHARTOUM AVAR-DAN'CE. 215 

performance ; the ladies did not half like the fun, and 
trembled just a very little at the spectacle. The 
Avar-cry was given by striking the lips quickly with 
the fingers, and at the same time uttering a loud, 
high-pitched sound with the voice. The mimic 
war gave great satisfaction to the performers, who 
would have carried it on for any length of time, but 
when we had witnessed it for about a quarter of an 
hour, we judged it jn'udent to retire. Mohamed 
gave them ' baksheesh.' After some clamouring 
they went off, but to our dismay returned in half a 
minute. It appeared that they had two sheikhs, who 
ought to have divided the spoil among their men ; 
but one of them had kept the whole, and the other 
now came to beg for more. Their eyes glared so 
fiercely, that we looked up at jNIohamed's counte- 
nance, expecting to see there that this was another 
case in which "we be afraid certainly." But ]\Io- 
hamed apparently understood the nature of his own 
race better than that of snakes or crocodiles, and he 
was never afraid of them. He gave them no more, 
and they went quietly away. He said they would 
fight it out among themselv^es, but would not dare 
to say a word to him. We were delighted to hear 
it, although it api)eared to us rather unaccountable; 
and though glad to have made acquaintance with our 
Khartoum friends, their aspect had frightened us 
sufficiently to make us very thankful that we were 
safe out of their reach. 

On our return, we passed by the graves of three 



216 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAIIABEEH. 

Austrians, lying in the wild ravine. One of them 
has a head- stone with the follow^ing inscription 
upon it : *' The Eev. D. Wurnitz, Miss. Cen. 
Afr. died Feb. 4th, 1856." It seemed dreary that 
the poor missionary should lie there with his com- 
panions in the wild desert waste, so far from his 
home ; but their graves were evidently as much 
respected as they could have been in a Christian 
land, though surrounded only by small bits of stone 
to mark the spot, just like the Moslem graves. It 
was touching to see in the desert land, proofs that 
the tenderest feelings of our nature may be shared 
alike by savage as by civilised man, and evinced by 
exactly similar acts. Just as the Christian w^ill 
strew the loveliest flowers over the graves of those 
he has loved on earth, so here, in many small villages, 
the Moslem had gathered smooth round pebbles from 
the sandy plain and scattered them over the resting- 
places of his lost ones. A striking expression, too, 
we thought it, of the deadness of his faith, compared 
to the life-giving faith of the Cliristian. 

It is a curious feature in the rocky desert, where 
hill rises behind hill as far as the eye can reach, tliat 
there frequently intervenes a perfectly flat plain of 
fine sand, strewn all over with smooth yellow pebbles, 
such as we are accustomed to see only on the sea- 
shore : and from these the bereaved Nubian gathers, 
as it were, the flowers for his graves. 

The wind was very cold. The thermometer fell 
to 4G°, and did not rise above G4° in the sun. Yes- 



GRINDING AT THE MILL. 217 

tcrday, towards evening, a thick mist enveloped the 
whole landscape. We should have called it a fog, 
could- we have supposed such a thing as fog to rise 
in the clear air of Egypt. Mohamed scouted the idea, 
and said again that it was wind. We found that a 
mist rises frequently in this part of the valley of the 
Nile, caused by a wind from the desert. It felt very 
unnatural and very unpleasant, but this was the 
only occasion on which we were inconvenienced by 
it. At Korosko, we had an opportunity of making 
a sketch of a woman grinding at a mill. She was a 
Nubian, and was slightly covered with a dust- 
coloured garment, and wore bracelets of bone on 
her arms. She sat on the ground with her mill- 
stone, in front of her mud-dwelling, and ground all 
day and all night for our crew, without any respite 
or assistance. The supply of bread, notwithstanding 
the assertions of the troublesome Reis, was likely 
already to prove insufficient, and the crew were 
obliged to procure w^hat they could here. It was 
mixed barley and Indian corn. This they made 
into a kind of pancake, which they fried with a little 
oil. The Pilot, Keis, Dragoman, &c., each made their 
own cakes and ate them quite hot, for had they been 
allowed to grow cold, they would have become too 
hard even for the masticating powers of the Arabs. 
AVhen the crew had them for breakflist, they were 
broken up into pieces, in the large wooden bowl, 
and soaked in the boiling lentile soup, seasoned 
witli fried onions. It was a savourv mess : too 



218 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEII. 

much SO for our olfactory nerves, and a decided 
come-down from the usual fare. The men missed 
the good brown bread made of the whole wheat 
meal ; the Re'is, All, and the cook, missed the small 
brown loaves of a finer quality with which they always 
provided themselves ; and the dragoman missed the 
fine white French flour, which he indulged in with 
his masters, because, as he said, he had " very weak 
stomach ! " They were, however, very good- 
humoured about it, and having scolded the Reis, 
one and all appeared to find the coarse pancakes 
extremely good, for, until we reached Girgeh again, 
they knew they could get nothing better. 

A dahabeeh arrived here on its return home- 
wards. Cards were immediately exclianged, with 
inquiries for letters from Thebes on the one side, 
and the favour of posting at Thebes on the other. 
"Any letters from Thebes?" on the Nile answers 
to " Fine weather this morning ! " at home, and serves 
as the commencement to many a sociable chat ; and 
a sociable chat with white faces and warm hearts 
brightens up the Nile scenery, as well as any other 

scenery, considerably. Mr. R had come to 

Egypt for his health, but he said he did not return 
benefited. Neither he nor his wife had ever left 
home before, and so great were its charms for them, 
that they considered the valley of the Rhone ugly ; 
and, unlike the roving spirits of the day, they 
seemed quite unhappy at being so far away from 
England. They willingly undertook to post our 



THE NILE POST. 219 

letters, and thus afforded us the unexpected satisfac- 
tion of being able to forward new year wishes to 
our friends on new year's day itself; albeit they 
would not reach their destination quite so soon as 
by the London Penny Post. Every dahabeeh on 
its way home inquires for letters and news from 
those coming uj) the river ; although no one would 
run the risk of taking letters up for another party, 
unless a previous arrangement to that effect had 
been made. In any case there is danger of missing 
them, and we came across one instance of this in 
which the nioht-watch had overlooked the returninir 
dahabeeh, and had either passed on themselves, or 
suffered the other to pass by without hailing it ; so 
that the letters made the journey up to the second 
Cataracts, and all the way back again as far as Cairo, 
before they reached their unfortunate owner. 

Wednesdcn/^ Jan. 2nd. — We left Korosko. The 
weather began to resume its tropical temperature, 
and the thermometer rose considerably ; but Selina 
shivered, for the wind Avas contrary and very keen, 
notwithstanding the heat of the sun. The ' trackers ' 
tracked on till four p.m., and then we were obliged 
to stop. The hills which rise all round this spot 
are very beautiful, and of most peculiar forms ; the 
greater number exhibiting much the same outline 
as the high-pitched roofs of European houses, while 
some bear a strange resemblance to the Pyramids. 
May they not have suggested the form of these 



220 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAITABEEH. 

interesting piles to tlieir ingenious architects, who 
seem to have copied nature in most of their works. 

We lauded, and Selina sat down on a stone, 
enchanted with the gorgeous sunset. ' Cousin Phil ' 
walked and sat by turns, Mohamed at his side, 
making very ungallant exclamations on the women 
who came forward to admire the strangers. " Ugh ! 
how ugly!" exclaims the Arab, so frequently that 
polite 'Cousin Phil' forgets himself, and exclaims, 
turning round to Selina, " Pooh, the castor oil ! My 
dear, I think these people can never require a dose 
of it !" The 'fair sex ' here were ugly indeed, and 
smelt of the castor oil with which their hair was 
bedaubed to such an extent, that it was impossible 
for any but a Nubian nose to endure their near 
approach. 

I walked out with El Abiad to one of the 
curious-looking hills, but dinner-time, inexorable 
dinner-time, obliged me to return without climbing 
it. Next morning, El Abiad and I started again 
before sunrise. He could not understand my plea- 
sure in climbing these hard rocks, and wanted to 
carry me all the way himself. He would soon have 
changed his mind, had I allowed him to try, but he 
helped me along most gallantly, and looked at me 
with unfeigned astonishment when he saw me at 
the top of the hill which I had pointed to as the 
object of my ambition. There I enjoyed the wildest, 
most extensive, and characteristic view of desert 



THE TOWN OF DERR. 221 

land that I had yet seen. A vast extent of curiously- 
shaped rocky hills and mounds of sand, intermingled 
with the smooth pebbly plains mentioned above, 
was stretched before and around me. The narrow 
tracks along which the caravans from the interior 
wend their burning way could be traced on all sides, 
and looked parched and uninviting indeed, and the 
eye rested with pleasure on the blue line of water, 
and the gaily painted ' Cairo ' in the distance. At 
eight A.M. we were off again, as soon as the milk 
for breakfast had arrived ; we reached Derr at four 
P.M., passing by refreshing green plantations of 
beans, lupines, wheat, the castor -oil plant, and 
remarkably fine specimens of the date-palm. This 
district abounds in date-trees, and between Korosko 
and Derr it is reckoned that 20,000 of them are 
taxed ; this being one of the regular taxes of the 
countr3\ 

Derr is quite a comfortable-looking town. It is 
the capital of Nubia, and is worthy the distinc- 
tion, for the houses are much larger and better 
built than in any of its other towns. They all have 
doors, and at least the appearance of cleanliness. 
The streets, though three or four inches thick in 
unavoidable dust, are also very clean. There are 
large open spaces, ' squares ' we might call them, 
planted round with date-trees, which i\Iohamed said 
were used for the meetings of the ' Parliament,' by 
which grand title he designated any meeting of any 
kind, in village or town. Tlie date-trees are all 



222 POUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

protected by little mud walls to the height of four 
or five feet, and iu the centre of one of the squares is 
a large 'Egyptian fig-tree,' (a species of sycamore). 
Some of the fruit was brought to us to taste. It 
was the size of a very small fig, only half-ripe, and 
full of an extraordinary blight of small black flies, 
which, despite their well-formed wings, the Arab 
refused to see, and we have reason to believe that 
he afterwards devoured figs, flies and all, and 
thought us very silly for allowing liim the chance. 

Close on the river's bank is a Roman ruin, over- 
shadowed by one of these large trees, and now 
inhabited by some of the grandees of Derr. It is a 
picturesque object, and is backed by a large grove 
of beautiful palm-trees, all equally protected with 
walls like those in the square. Under one of them 
we observed a small mud trou2;li with three circular 
holes in it, quite black with the castor-oil mixture 
which had been manufactured in it by the ' belles ' 
of Derr. The population of Derr is of every shade 
of colour, but the generality of the people are much 
fairer than in other Nubian towns. Some of them 
seemed to be really white, but tliey were not pretty 
in our eyes, although they were white. They are 
the descendants of some Bosnian soldiers ; they 
pride themselves on their fair complexions, and are 
far better dressed than their neighbours. Tlie 
women in general wear a dark-blue checked cotton 
dress, and cover their faces careliilly ; the men wear 
light sky blue calico robes, and liandsome white 



THE * BELLES ' OF DERll. 223 

turbans, and even the cliildren are all covered in 
one way or another. Ivory bracelets, necklaces, and 
a few ornaments in the plaits of their hair, are worn 
by all the women, and some had silver anklets, but 
this ornament is chiefly confined to the children. 
As we sat in our dahabeeh, we watched the women 
coming down to fetch water from the river. The 
water-pitchers here are of a globular form ; they 
are carried on a small cushion on the head, supported 
very slightly with one hand, or frequently balanced 
Avithout any support at all. The women came down 
to the river in groups and pairs, and when they had 
filled their vessels, which they accomplished by 
means of a small pumpkin dish, one of the girls 
would place one burden on her companion's head, 
then hand her a second, which she, though laden 
lierself, placed on the head of the other, and then, 
hand in hand, they walked up the bank together. The 
tall figures, the well-poised jars, the flowing drapery, 
though draggle-tailed to the greatest extent, had an 
extremely elegant effect; but the features of the 
women were unfortunately plain. 

Our walk through the streets of Derr was very 
amusing. The whole population of the place turned 
out to see us. About every ten minutes or so, 
they were put to flight by a servant of the magistrate 
who had joined our party. He flourished a long 
wand in his hand, and shouted in Arabic, that all 
the ladies should retire on the approach of the 
" great Kajah !" The first shout set them all ilying 



224 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEII. 

straight into their houses. Many of them, true to 
the customs of their country, closed their doors, and 
did not even peep through. Whether those who 
did peep were emboldened by the benign looks of 
the ' Rajah,' and the evident amusement of the 
whole party, or that with them, as with their still 
more pale-fliced sisters, curiosity could gain the day, 
we cannot say, but certain it is that the greater 
number came forth again, and at every corner a 
little crowd was assembled, closely packed in rows 
rising one behind the other on the raised seats 
against the walls of the houses, to have a look at us. 
The w^omen carefully covered their mouths with 
tlieir hands, and stood almost with one foot in the 
air, ready to take flight again on the slightest 
alarm. Some of the best dressed among them, when 
they perceived that they were individually objects 
of attention, turned with a dignified, queenly air, 
aid walked away into their houses, as though they 
would have said, '' How very rude you are ! How 
dare you look at me ?" 

On our return we found tliat another dahabcch 

had arrived. It was Mr. H 's. He was looking 

all the better for his trip, and was now on his way 
home. We had by this time decided on remaining 
four months on the river instead of three, so that 
we took it more leisurely than our neighbours, Avho 
were, for the most part, satisfied with three months 
or less. We compared watches, and found that there 
was a diflference of one hour between us ; of course. 



KOP.OSKO SHEEP. 225 

neither party could be persuaded that they were 
wrong, and so we continued keeping our own time. 
Mr. H was to dine with us. The sudden an- 
nouncement of a guest to dinner caused some very 
long faces in the kitchen department. Mohamed, 
on his usual plan of being first in everything, did 
not think he could provide food enough for this one 
guest under twenty-four hours' notice. He heaped 
upon the kitchen fire as much food as if the whole 
British army were coming to dine with us ; and he 
put on the table as much of it as the table would 
hold. It was fortunate, in the eyes of the excited 
dragoman, that the mutton was that of a Korosko 
sheep; a very large and handsome kind, which sur- 
prised us so much on their first appearance on the 
bank, that we could not determine at once whether 
they were sheep or no. They were nearly as tall 
as a young calf, of a pretty fawn colour, with long 
pendent ears like goats, and apparently covered with 
hair instead of wool, but the natives said that their 
wool was not yet grown. The mutton was as truly 
superior to that of the poor black creatures, that 
had hitherto graced our table, as was the whole 

living appearance of the animal. Mr. II had 

not tasted such mutton for a long time; neither, 
perhaps, had he seen such tightly-packed dishes for 
an equally long period ; but quantity, not quality, 
was our dras-oman's notion of style, and we could 
not persuade him that it was not ours also. He 
looked as pleased as possible, and chuckled within 



226 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

himself, in full confidence that his dinner would far 

surpass that which Mr. H 's dragoman could 

produce on the morrow, Avheu we were to dine with 
him. 

Alas, for Mohamed ! Suliman's table produced 
' soupe a la Julienne;' salmon, with shrimp sauce; 
roast beef of old England, and, to crown all, an 
English plum -pudding. 

Mohamed positively trembled; he had worried 
his brains with fruitless attempts at this latter dish, 
till, finally, it was discovered that the currants had 
been forgotten, and with a very small allowance of 
raisins, a quantity of stone pines, and very bad 
suet, the Arab cook could hardly be expected to 
turn out a rich Buckingham pudding. With this 
discovery, and the conviction that the chickens and 
pigeons of his beloved Nile were better far, and far 
more wholesome, than all the potted dishes of Eort- 
num and Mason, and that no cook could surpass 
our cook, Mohamed rocked himself into a quiet resig- 
nation to his fate. The ' Cairo ' was first in every- 
thing but plum-pudding ; and seeing that we did not 
take this too much to heart, the dragoman preserved 
his high opinion of himself, and the plum-pudding 
was forgotten. 

But we must not forget the Temple. The 
Temple of Derr is of the time of Rameses the Great, 
and, like that of Gerf Hossayn, is hewn in the solid 
rock. It has but two side-chambers, and the hall is 
so encumbered with iallen masses from the roof. 



SHAMPOOING. 227 

that it is difficult to explore it. It has two rows of 
columns, without figures upon them, but with more 
hieroglyphics than at Gerf Ilossayn. Behind, on 
the hill, there are several small chambers excavated 
in the rock, but apparently unconnected with the 
temple. 

Saturday^ Jan. 5th. — We were still at Derr. This 
was a broiling day ; the thermometer, though not 
above 79° in the shade, rose to 112° in the sun. 
We made two rowing expeditions, and walked with 
' Cousin Phil ' on a fine dry bank on the opposite 
side of the river. Mohamed here suddenly pro- 
posed that he, with his own good hand, should try 
the effect of shampooing ' upon ' Cousin Phil.' " In 
eight days," declares the enthusiastic Arab, " you 
walk upright." He asserts it, promises it, will make 
a contract to that effect, and pay one hundred pounds 
if his words do not come true. Shampooing, like 
Nile water, is infallible in his eyes, and suiting the 
action to the word, he shows on his own sup])le 
limbs how each limb is to be rubbed, and each joint 
'cracked,' in order to make 'the blood flow every 
way.' His rough hand next assails ' Cousin Phil's ' 
hand. He said, quietly, that it was enough to rub 
the skin off, but he gave Mohamed leave to try. 
The dragoman's zeal kept up for some days : he 
would not be asked any questions on the subject, 
lest, like those regarding the wind, they should 
' spoil it all.' But gradually he perceived that 
shampooing was not likely to produce the magical 



228 FOUK MONTHS IX A DAHABEEH, 

effect anticipated, and so his zeal cooled down, the 
mornings became too cold and the experiment died 
a natural death, though nothing more was heard 
of the hundred-pound forfeit. 

Mr. H now showed us the collection of 

' Scarabeus' which he had procured at Karnak. The 
ancient Egyptians were fond of using the form of 
the scarabeus (beetle) for their amulets and rings ; 
it was carved on stones or bits of bright blue and 
green porcelain. On the under side of those that 
belonged to the kings, the royal monogram and the 
date of the king's reign are inscribed in hieroglyphics ; 
they are frequently dug up in munnny-cases, and are 
highly valued by antiquarians. They may be set as 
brooches, bracelets, or even as necklaces; but we 
saw plainly that there would be none left for us at 

Karnak. Mr. H had bought them up, and 

tantalised us much by describing the beautiful orna- 
ments they would make. He had been sufficiently 
knowing to visit Karnak on the way up the river, 
and so got the first choice. These treasures may be 
obtained from the Bedouins for a few piastres ; but 
when once they pass into the hands of those who 
know the value set upon them by the lovers of 
antiquity, they fetch a fabulous price. 

Sunday^ Jan. 6^A.— The two dahabeehs moved 
on their respective ways. Tlie morning of the 
Epiphany shone bright and tropical, — 75° in the 
shade, 113° in the sun. A very large crocodile 
appeared basking on a liank close by; on the re- 



CROCODILES. 2'2[) 

port ofa gun it raised its huge body in full view, and 
])lunged deliberately into the water. Our pilot pro- 
nounced it to be sixty feet in length ; but since we 
had heard fi*om our attendants that Adam, when he 
was created in Paradise, was " eighty yards long," 
" Eve about seventy-five yards," and that " two 
millions of men had died in the opening of one of 
the cataracts," we were not so much startled at the 
Arab computation as might have been expected. I 
do not know that any crocodiles have ever been seen 
on the Nile exceeding twenty-five feet, and this one 
must have been about that length. The oil of these 
creatures is valued by the natives as a cure for rheu- 
matism. In Cairo and Alexandria they are frequently 
seen dried and stuffed, fixed on the walls or over the 
doors of houses .as an ornament ; probably also as a 
proof of the skill of the sportsman in obtaining them. 
This was another hard day's 'tracking,' with 
very little sailing to relieve it. There were ' saglii ' 
within fifty yards of one another, and the hum and 
groan of their wheels were incessant and painful, 
though the effect of their work was apparent in the 
brilliant green patches which they watered. They 
were very annoying to the crew, owing to the deep 
cuts made in the bank for them, which obliged the 
trackers to jump so frequently into the water, that 
they finally returned to the daliabceh and worked 
her along by means of the boat-poles. One of these 
dropped into the river, and was carried along by 
the current. Hassan jumped in inunediately and 



230 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

swam after it, till suddenly the shout of ' Temsali ! ' 
(crocodile) was heard among the crew, and fear and 
dread were imprinted on the countenances of his 
companions, who quickly lowered the boat to fetch 
him and his pole back again, lest he should become 
a prey to the hungry monster. 

At length we reached the fortress of Ibreem, 
situated on the summit of a high clifF, sloping down 
to the water's edge but little out of the perpen- 
dicular. There are but few remains of the ancient 
building, or of the Roman epoch. The wall is said 
to be the work of the Romans. Ibreem was made a 
station for troops by Sultan Selim (1617). These 
troops were expelled by the Memlooks in 1811. 
The fortress can be ascended only from the inland 
side, and that ascent is steep. The range of hills, 
for some distance, is very fine. On many of them 
there are traces of unfinished figures carved on the 
rock ; but the natural rock here frequently assumes 
a form so nearly approaching the human form, that it 
seems as tliough Nature herself had again come for- 
ward to suggest to the ancients their taste in this 
matter. Our curiosity in the matter of crocodiles was 
now in a fair way of being satisfied. A whispered 
"Temsali! Temsali!" (crocodile) was perpetually 
heard, and we saw five of these monsters basking in 
the sun on one bank in the middle of the river, 
and later in the day seven others on another bank. 
After these, no object of interest was to be seen on 
either side, till we came upon a portion of the bank 



PRIMITIVE LIFE. 231 

very beautifully covered with a creeper in flower, 
which was probal)ly the P^gyptian jessamine ; and a 
little further on a large bed of the sensitive mimosa, 
which greatly impeded the progress of the ' trackers.' 

Tuesday^ Jan. Sfh. — During the four following 
days the thermometer rose to 84° in the shade, and 
120° in the sun. We got out of the dahabech and 
walked along the shore, through a small village, in 
which the women were carrying on their various 
occupations in most primitive style. Several of 
them were spinning cotton on their tiny spindles; 
a mother was plaiting her daughter's hair into in- 
numerably small plaits, and plastering it well down 
with castor oil, both seated on the ground outside 
their little mud-dwelling ; another group were mak- 
ing a very rude kind of pottery, by kneading a red 
clay with their hands, and forming it into round 
bowls and dishes. The small mud oven in which 
they were to be baked, stood at a little distance in 
the centre of the village. Our road lay beyond, 
under fine date, dom, and sont-trees. We sat sketch- 
ing under one of them until the dahabech overtook 
us, when we re-embarked, after descending a rather 
precipitous bank. 

' Aboo Simbel,' with its approaching temples, 
was now the topic of conversation. Mohamed, 
tired out by four days' calm, disobeyed orders, and 
allowed the anxious pilot and crew to take advan- 
tage of a rising breath of fair wind, and to make the 
attempt to pass it during the night. Suddenly, in 



232 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

the still hours, the sailing shout, and a very un- 
usually soft, " Hayl^e-Haylee-sah ! " (the boatman's 
chant, ' God help us !') struck upon our ear, and we 
perceived that we were moving. We had no notion 
of being '' done " in this quiet way, and immediately 
put a stop to the proceeding, saying that we had 
not come up the Nile to pass Aboo Simbel in the 
dark. Mohamed was crest-fallen, not so much at 
having displeased us, as at being found out; but he 
considerably upset our gravity when the reproof 
being ended, he patted Selina patronisingly on the 
back, saying in a beseeching tone, " Finished now ? 
Very well!" 

The wind would not blow for us the next morning, 
and the Arab world evidently thought us duly pun- 
ished for our obstinacy of the last night, as we were 
obliged to stop against a mud-bank during six day- 
light hours. But it was to us a sort of prize bank, 
so dry, extensive and smooth, that ' Cousin Phil ' 
enjoyed the luxury of an unusually long walk, whilst 
Selina and I gained an unlooked-for opportunity 
for sketching our boat-home. 

At one P.M. a slight breeze arose. We started 
again, and at length drew near to Aboo Simbel. 
Its colossal figures looked grandly and benignly upon 
us as we sailed quickly by, though they seemed 
disappointingly embedded in the sand, which it is 
frequently necessary to clear away from the en- 
trances. A second temple is hewn in the rock 
adjoining the great temple, and a little further down 



EB^FECTS OF GlVJX(i IN. 2:53 

is a small figure in a niclie, wliicli the Arabs called 
" the measurer," and said that he weighed with his 
balances all the wheat on the Nile. 

To disturb the romance of the scene, Mohamed 
came up with the abrupt announcement, " The alum 
is all used, sir ;" " No more clean water to be had for 
the remainder of the journey." Alarming intelli- 
gence indeed, recalling to our minds the red tea, the 
pea-soup bath of Boulak ! We were rather puzzled, 
for the store of alum which Mohamed had provided, 
we knew was ample. Nevertheless, the assertion 
was constantly adhered to, "It is all gone, sir." 
Evening drew on, the wind sprang up afresh, and 
another petition for sailing was proffered. Few of 
us can say ' No ' for ever ; and having gained our 
point yesterday, we thought it might be wiser not 
to try the Arab temper too far ; therefore, although 
we knew that the hills in these parts were extremely 
fine and picturesque, and also that we should not 
sleep, as soon as the rudder began to groan, we 
said, 'Teieb, Teieb!' (Very good, Very good). The 
permission given, the Arabs were satisfied; we all 
slept soundly, and awoke the following morning to 
discover that the dahabech and the hills were both 
in the same relative position to one another, for we 
had not stirred from our moorina:s. 

Two of these hills are called ' Gcbel e' Shems ' 
(the Hills of the Sun) ; but Mohamed, in his present 
irritated frame of mind, stoutly refused them tlie 
title. lie fought it out with the Nubian pilot, and 



234 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEl^H. 

tliougli Sir G. Wilkinson was his great oracle on all 
ordinary occasions, lie declared that neither Wilkin- 
son himself, nor all the Wilkinsons in the world, 
should ever make him believe this. Both pilot and 
dragoman were finally driven nearly crazy by our 
asking them the probable height of the hills. They 
looked quite scared, and apparently thought that we 
were meddling with things far beyond the reach of 
the human understanding, and into which it was 
presumptuous to dive. "Nobody ever asked such 
very curious questions ; " " Nobody, anywhere, 
could know or answer that !" 

But the ' Hills of the Sun ' are fine in spite of 
Mohamed ; and though not very lofty comj^ared to 
mountain scenery, they appear so here. They rise 
suddenly and precipitously from the level sand in 
forms of house-roofs and cones ; each one detached 
from the other, as though they had accidentally 
dropped into their places, without any order or plan. 
It is a most striking spot, and the lights and shades 
of evenino; on these hills make it well worth the 
traveller's while to pause near them for a time. 

Sarah tried to joke Mohamed out of his ill- 
humour with the wind ; for I really believe it was 
the wind with which he was so angry, though he 
vented his wrath upon us. It would not do ; the 
Great Mogul was in no humour for a joke, and Sarah 
only came in for her share of abuse. Sarah wanted 
a bit of soap ; she was refused downright. " The 
soap is all used, ma'am." Sarah was extravagantly 



MOHAMED RUFFLED. 235 

clean ; she used soap to wash the cabin floor. Ten 
pieces each time, and the Arahs fourteen pieces at 
every wash. No store could stand that, it was cer- 
tain. All was so slovenly in his work, that our good 
Sarah did wash the cabin-floor of her own accord 
once a-week ; but vainly we tried to prove to Mo- 
liamed that his statements were wide of the truth ; 
that the soap had not been wasted ; and that there- 
fore it must be somewhere. The Arab blood 
Avas boiling, and it boiled over now. " What I do 
with soap?" screamed the dragoman. ('Very little 
indeed,' thought we.) "Soap not to eat, I sell it 
perhaps ! '' This last suggestion was uttered in an 
awful passion. It was a new idea to us, but the 
quietly returned answer was, " Very likely ; but 
then you should not have sold it." The squall was 
ended as if by magic. Mohamed walked about the 
vessel, speaking to this one and that, his anger 
cooling down wonderfully ; and from various signs 
in this strange comedy we inferred, though we could 
not understand a word, that soap and alum were 
both lying quietly in their accustomed places ; and 
so they were. 

At breakfast-time this morning, some common 
cups and saucers had made their appearance on the 
table in place of the usual fine white and gold set : 
ISIoliamed stated that he " hoped we should not mind 
it, but the whole set had been broken, cups, saucers, 
and all." No crash had been lieard ; no scolding 
liad taken place ; no answer was ready as to wlio 



236 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

had broken them. The story excited our curiosity, 
and we continued the conversation, when Mohamed, 
perceiving our incredulity, first admitted that tliere 
were three cups in the boat which had escaped the 
general fracture, but that they had no saucers ; and, 
finally, the whole set, cups, saucers, and all, re- 
appeared as sound as ever. Mohamed himself had 
broken one solitary cup, and in dread, no doubt, of 
losing all his ' best set ' before the trip was out, he 
had fabricated the rest of the story. At dinner-time 
he came in, and very civilly inquired if we would be 
contented with having potatoes on our table only 
every second day, and taking beans and other vege- 
tables in turn with them, as potatoes were diflficult 
to procure, and the supply was running short. 

' Cousin Phil ' was no epicure, and we agreed 
immediately ; and wdiat was the result ? From that 
day forth, to the end of the four months, potatoes 
in greater abundance than ever graced our table. 
Fried potatoes for breakfast, boiled potatoes for 
dinner ; potato puddings, and potato garnishes ! 
Alum found its way daily into the filter ; and soap 
into the soap-dishes. Was it that dissimulation is so 
integral a part of the Arab composition, that he 
must make means for exercising it, when none seem 
to present themselves naturally, even though they 
may tell against himself in his professional capacity, 
and risk losing the recommendation of a ' great gen- 
tleman,' like ' Cousin Phil,' which Mohamed em- 
phatically declared, one morning, was of more value 



THOMAS DISMAYED. 237 

to him tlian a " tbousand pounds ?" Or was it that 
this Arab, apparently gifted with but little power of 
memory at all times, was occasionally, by fits and 
starts, liable to lose it all, and to contradict himself 
involuntarily about three times in the course of five 
minutes ? Whatever the cause, Mohained, at this 
point of our journey, was an enigma to us which we 
found it difficult to solve. 

In the evening, the men lighted fires on the 
bank, and rare fun went on amongst them, in jump- 
ing over and literally through, the flames. The 
black, half-clothed figures, the grinning white teeth, 
the lurid flames, the yells of savage delight, were, to 
say the least, novel ; and we looked on in astonish- 
ment as the players concluded their wild sport, by 
setting fire to a solitary dom palm-tree growing in 
the sand. Something will rouse every one of us, 
and this roused quiet Thomas. Such lawless de- 
struction of property, whether public or private, his 
careful nature could not brook, and finding his ges- 
tures of disapprobation of no avail, he waited his 
opportunity ; and when the excited Arabs were in 
full fling at another fire, he stole up, and with some 
trouble succeeded in putting out the tree. 

Night came on, and with it one more attempt at 
sailing made by the troublesome pilot, as we soon 
discovered by the noise on deck, and the alarming 
bumping and scraping over hard rocks which ensued 
and drove me out of my bed to put a stop to the 
proceedino'. A little lecture in tlie niornini; brought 



238 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Mohamed quite round again. " I do something 
wrong? Then take my liandkerchief (producing 
the handkerchief), tie it round my neck, and hang 
me up," was the astonishing sequel to a promise of 
future good behaviour on the part of the dragoman. 
The honour was declined ; but Mohamed, who re- 
covered his temper as the wind rose, was seriously 
alarmed, and very penitent for having displeased 
" the good lady, who never said a hard word to me 
all the way from Cairo to Assouan." A hearty 
shake of the hand concluded the solemn and curious 
interview. Mohamed was the good dragoman once 
more in every way, and we had had only a very 
slight experience of the trouble which these strange 
individuals sometimes give. Their knowledge of 
English raises them above their fellow-countrymen, 
and they consider themselves quite on a par with 
their masters, if not alcove them. Mohamed thought 
much of ' Cousin Phil,' but, on the whole, rather 
more of himself, and he evidently looked upon 
Selina and me as two very charming children — of 
a superior class, no doubt, for he was gallant in the 
extreme ; but he clearly thought he must use a little 
tact to keep us in order. If ' Cousin Phil' managed 
Mohamed, Mohamed thought he perceived that we 
managed ' Cousin Phil,' and he endeavoured to frame 
his policy accordingly. His occasional irritability 
was caused, in great measure, by the trouble he had 
in managing our Reis, who turned out to be a very 
inefficient one, whilst, in essentials, Mohamed never 



MEDICAL SKILL. 239 

failed ; and we have no hesitation in pronouncing 
him the hest of the dragomen we met on the Nile. 
At the end of our journey we felt grateful to him 
for the tender care he had invariably shown towards 
the invalids, and the trouble which he never spared 
himself, in order to enable them to see all the objects 
of interest on the journey, very many of which 
would ordinarily have been considered quite beyond 
their reach. 

INIany Roman ruins lie between Aboo Simbel 
and Wadee Halfeh. That called 'Kalat Adde' is 
the most remarkable. It is situated on a cone-shaped 
hill, and behind, on the further hills, are a large 
number of tombs — the Necropolis of Kalat Adde. 
They are clay-built, and each one is surmounted by 
a small dome, having an open archway, through 
which the light of day is seen, making a very curious 
effect. 

At this point of our journey the medical skill of 
the Europeans was called into play, and, happily, 
with the greatest success. Mohamed appeared one 
day, with a very long face, saying, " Abdallah very 
sick. I think he is going to be killed." It was 
hard to restrain a smile at the strangel3^-worded 
announcement, although the fact was alarming. 
The fjiculty went out to see the patient, whom they 
found writhing in agony, standing in the hold, his 
head and shoulders only appearing above deck. 
The disease was decreed to be the effect of eat- 
ing too many dates. Belladonna was administered 



240 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

every twenty minutes. In the course of a few hours 
Abdallah was convalescent, slept soundly, and next 
morning was quite himself again. 

A few days later Mohamed appeared, leading an 
unfortunate man by the collar, with features doleful 
and leno;thened out to a ludicrous extent. " Radee 
got very bad headache ; he very hot. After been 
carrying ' pa-pa,' he take swim in the river ; so now 
he sick." 

Poor Radee, in consequence, got but little pity, 
and was promised medicine only on the assurance 
that he would never do such things again. It was 
almost impossilile, we thought, that the tiny globules 
could take effect on such rough-looking creatures ; 
but four globules of aconite were administered, 
and at one p.m. Radee was rowing and singing as 
merrily as ever. The most obstinate cases brought 
before us were two of tooth-ache. The first yielded, 
in the course of twenty-four hours, to the adminis- 
tration of mercurius ; but the victim, Awoodallah, 
who had been in extreme pain for some time, not 
getting quite such speedy relief as his neighbours, 
looked mournful and despairing, and glanced re- 
proachfully at the kind doctresses whenever they 
drew near. At the end of the twenty-four hours, 
however, Awoodallah was leading the band as usual, 
and had no return of his tooth -ache, which was 
perpetually troubling him before. The second case 
was that of our favourite, ' El Abiad,' the steersman, 
lie went first to the barber of a small village, who 



RAPID CURES. 241 

broke bis tootb, and tortured biiii as miicb as migbt 
bave been expected. ' El Abiad' was in a sad state; 
be could scarcely open bis moutb, eitber to eat or 
to speak, but be apparently tbougbt tbat tbe barber 
was tbe only remedy provided by Heaven for bim, 
and tbat, if tbe barber failed, be must patiently 
resign bimself to bis destiny. At tbe next village 
he went to anotber barber, and allowed bim to bave 
a try at tbe unfortunate moutb, and, naturally 
enougb, be returned worse. He sbook bis bead at 
tbe idea of tliere being now any cure for bim on this 
side tbe grave. But Mobamed applied to us in bis 
behalf. Our skill was greatly taxed, but we found 
at last tbat ' bryonia' was the medicine required. 
Tbe pain gradually left bim, and poor 'El Abiad's' 
gratitude was unbounded when he sat down as usual 
with his companions to tbe smoking lentil porridge. 
Due honour to homoeopathy and to the preparation 
of zinc! Before tbe end of our journey there was not 
a man in the boat who bad not asked for globules 
or a drop of the magic cure for ophthalmia. They 
were all, more or less, attacked with this disease, 
and tbe zinc invariably cured them. Our reputation 
as M.D.'s was spread far and wide, and we were 
truly thankful tbat all serious illness bad been kept 
from our little world during this trip, when no 
physician's aid could bave been procured had it been 
ever so much needed. 

By Saturday^ Jan. 12M, 1861, the dababecb bad 
reached the village of ' Wadee Halfeb,' tlie term of 

R 



242 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEIT. 

her journey. There were we, in latitude 22^° north, 
and some of us complaining bitterly of the cold. 
For some little time a strong north and north- 
easterly wind had been blowing, and it was now so 
keen that it was impossil^le for Selina to remain on 
deck. This high wind continued to blow during 
our stay at Wadee Halfeh, and was as uncongenial 
to those who had come here for the sake of the 
warm tropical breezes as it was refreshing to their 
more healthy companions. The thermometer varied 
at sunrise from 42° to 47°; and, although the heat 
at midday was great on shore, it never exceeded 73° 
or 76° on the deck of the dahabe^h. 

The village of Wadee Halfeh is a straggling 
one, shaded by very fine date-palms, but rejoicing in 
such a quantity of dust, and castor-oily inhabitants 
as to afford little temptation to frequent visits. The 
sand-bank against which our boat was moored was 
far more enjoyable. It was a very extensive one, 
covered with white sand, like sea-sand ; and by care- 
ful picking and choosing, we could find a firm foot- 
ing upon it even for the crutches, so tliat ' Cousin 
Phil ' turned out for a constitutional regularly twice 
a-day. A small dahabech was moored here belong- 
ing to four young men who had forsaken their boat 
at Assouan, and gone on camels into the desert to 
Dongola. They suffered much inconvenience from 
not having taken with them a sufficient supply of 
water : but they returned in safety, and we met 
them afterwards at Thebes. The other vessels at 



(HAMKLEONS. 243 

Wadee Hal fell, on our arrival there, were cargo-boats, 
near which bales of goods were being constantl}"^ 
deposited from the backs of kneeling camels that 
had come down in long files from the interior. 

Two chameleons were brought to us this morning, 
which we purchased for the price of one piastre. One 
of them was a great beauty, of a large size, and when 
angry exhibited the most brilliant shades of yellow, 
green, and black, forming a pattern very much like that 
on a tiger-skin. He was very fierce, and flcAV at his 
smaller companion whenever he had the opportunity, 
seizing it by the throat with his large open jaw, and 
holding it so tight that the victim turned quite black, 
and would no doubt have expired had not some 
friendly hand released liiin. Tliis was no very easy 
matter, for the finger -like claws of these little 
creatures cling with a most tenacious grasp to any- 
thing which they lay hold of. This chameleon was 
about twelve inches long, from the head to the tip 
of the tail. We prized it very much, and to the 
anuisement of the Arabs made a little house for it 
to live in, and at night brought it into the cabin and 
allowed it to run about there. But neither care nor 
flattery were of avail. Both chameleons refused to 
taste any food, though we tempted them with every- 
thing, from their proper diet of flies, to dates, sugar, 
and roast chicken. The idea that they live upon air 
seems, however, to be a fallacy, for both pined 
away ; one died, and the beauty either made its 
e>JCM))e or was stolen. 



244 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEKH. 

Towards evening the report of a gun announced 
the arrival of a dahabeeh. It carried the American 
flag, and was moored on the opposite shore. Two 
lamps appeared at the mast-head by way of illumi- 
nation. Mohamed chuckled, and immediately hoisted 
up his eleven. The American was not to be out- 
done, even by the ' Cairo ;' and up went all his lantern 
property. Thirteen lamps in all glittered before our 
eleven. Was Mahomed out-done at last? Not he! 
There were but eight lamps opposite according to 
his calculation, and he strutted about as self-satisfied 
as ever. It mattered little to us what the number 
really was ; the illumination was extremely pretty 
on both sides ; and it is much to be hoped that this 
custom will not be allowed to die out as that of 
saluting is doing, at least on the part of the English. 
It was formerly the custom to fire off a gun on 
arriving at any new place, for every boat that was 
found lying there, as much as to say " How do you, 
sir?" and if the boats thus saluted were polite, they 
shouldered a musket in their turn, and replied in like 
manner, " Very glad to see you, sir." Last year the 
popping had been so continual that a reaction 
ensued, and it was voted ridiculous by the English ; 
few of them honoured us with the compliment, but 
when they did we were not so uncivil as not to 
return it. Mohamed's great delight would have 
been to fire away all day long, and he evidently 
thought it slow in us not to take an equal pleasure 
in the amusement. He finallv relieved himself 



UNSOCIABLE. 245 

one day, with the exclamation, " Don't know what's 
come to English tliis year. All Eno;lish, alwavs 
fired before. But now — none." 

As night closes in, another report from the 
energetic ' American,' announced the arrival of a 
third vessel. Selina and I, though very sociably 
disposed in general, became alarmed, for we agreed 
that the charm and romance of sailino; on the Nile 
would be destroyed rather than enhanced by the 
constant presence of other parties. The feeling that 
other modern European families are floating along- 
side, will, in spite of oneself, distract one's thoughts 
from the ancient world in which they are for the 
time roaming and revelling ; and we were better 
pleased to drink it all in undisturbed. Our alarm 
was, however, needless, for the boats nevei: do keep 
together unless an agreement is made to that effect ; 
and now even our romantic turn of mind hailed the 
arrival of the new-comers with pleasure when we 
found that they were some of our Cairo friends. The 
glimpses we had of them, " few and far between," 
were a comforting assurance that creatures of our 
own kind still existed somewhere, and they formed a 
link which proved that the chain of the old home 
associations was not quite snapped asunder. 

Poor My. M was sadly altered since we had 

parted. More than once he and his wife had been 
on the point of returning, when he rallied again, and 
hoped so much from the effects of the air of Nubia, 



2-16 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

that tliey had persevered and reached thus far ; Mrs. 

M keeping up her sjiirits wonderfully for the 

sake of her invalid husband. They vrere accom- 
panied by Capt. and INIrs. N , who shared the 

daliabeeh with them. Capt. N had lost his arm 

at Delhi, and was also travelling hither in search of 

health. Mrs. N was full of life and spirits, and 

thought the climate of Egypt perfection, though her 
heart seemed much more alive to the sad tidings 
which had reached her h rough some American 
vessels, of the opening of hostilities in the Xew World, 
than to the ancient landmarks now before her : 
yet how little did either of us then think of the years 
of war and bloodshed which were to devastate our 
unhappy sister country, and bring misery, almost 
untold before, to our own. 

On Sunday^ Jan. 13^//, a grand cleaning out of 
the vessel took place. Mohamed was very busy. 
The hold was emptied, and all the stores were gra- 
dually spread out on the bank ; affording us an 
opportunity of seeing all the good things which still 
remained untouched, and to what extent the others had 
diminished. The review was satisfactory ; nothing 
was likely to fall short unless it were a day or two 
of candle-light, in which case we must retire early to 
bed, and think ourselves fortunate that our three 
months' store had lasted so nearlv for four : whilst 
canisters of white pepper, black pepper, and mustard, 
appeared in such amusing quantities, that Mohamed 



CLEANING OUT. 24' 



liiinself was amused. We mii2;lit have covered every 
morsel we ate with one or other of these stimuhmts, 
and there would still have been plenty remaining. 

After our Sunday service in the saloon, the same 
turn-out took place within the daliabeeh, and it was 
extremely satisfactory to see the piles of dust and 
rubbish which Avere removed from the lower deck 
pantry and cupboards, and tumbled overboard. The 
daliabeeh assumed a new form : all unnecessary arti- 
cles were stowed away out of sight, the filter was 
removed to the neighbourhood of the kitchen, and 
the cook-boy's original little fire-box changed sides. 
The flooring planks were taken up on either side 
the deck, six of tliem only being left at regular 
intervals as seats for the rowers. The loose planks 
were piled three or four upon each seat ; the men's 
rough brown woollen coats, which they sleep in, 
were tied on the top, and u| on these twelve of the 
crew were to sit at the 'oars with their feet in the 
hold. At night the hold contained tlieni all, huddled 
together for their rest. What must not its lower 
atmosphere have been ! 

A central walk remained for communication 
between kitchen and cabin, up and down which 
the domestics made their way between the twelve 
large oars. The servants' dinner -table took its 
place on the upper deck, and Sarah and her needle- 
work were promoted to the parlour, 

Tlie expedition now in prospect was the ascent of 
the Second Cataracts. The small row-boat behuiir- 



248 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEl^H. 

ing to the dahabeeh, is generally used for this trip, 
but many traA^ellgrs prefer going by land, either 
riding on donkeys, or walking on their own good 
legs. Of course we went by water as being the 
easiest, and to our minds the most interesting way. 
The row-boat was too small for our cumbersome 
party, so Mohamed hired a small ' cangia ' for the 
trip. The cangia is a cargo-boat, of somewhat the 
same shape as the dahabeeh, but it has a sharply 
pointed instead of a rounded stern. They were 
formerly much used for the trip up the Nile, but 
have now been almost entirely replaced by the more 
commodious dahabeeh. The cangia which Mohamed 
had hired was a small and roughly built one. Under 
its low, covered-in cabin, he had intended that our 
party should crowd, sitting Turkish fashion on the 
matting, and of course seeing nothing ; but in spite 
of his strong disapproval, we finally had the cabin 
cover removed, and then we furnished the open 
space with the divans from the ' Cairo,' a table for 
luncheon, two chairs for Thomas and Sarah, and 
a canvas awning fastened, impromptu, on two rude 
poles of a sufficient height. 

Monday^ Jan. lAtk. — We set sail at about eleven 
A.M. The wind soon failed, and the oars were 
obliged to do the greater part of the work. The 
pretty -looking island of ' Manenty,' with its ruined 
villaofe and Christian church, and another smaller 
island called by the Arabs ' Mayee,' are the first 
objects seen on approaching the Second Cataracts. 



PASSAGE OF SECOND CATARACTS. 249 

Tlie rocks increase in number till they form a 
succession of narrow passages, out of which there is 
no apparent exit. 

The row-boat which accompanied the * cangia ' 
was put off, with two men in it, taking with them 
one end of a long rope which was fastened to the 
dahabe^h, and by which they were to tow the larger 
vessel along, when they had tied it to some of the 
rocks. The grisly Eei's of these Cataracts rose at 
the bow of the vessel, and directed his men by voice 
and hand. One man, in Nubian costume, jumped 
into the water, swam with the end of another rope 
between his teeth, and then jumping from point to 
point, fastened it to the rocks, and pulled upon it 
with all his might to help us up. On a smaller 
scale, the whole scene of the First Cataracts was re- 
enacted, till the ' cangia ' was safely moored in a 
sheltered nook, under the famous rock of ' Abousir.' 
We had been four hours on our journey, and before 
proceeding any further, it was necessary to strengthen 
ourselves with some of the substantial luncheon 
which Mohamed had prepared for us. Sandwiches, 
that is to say, a small flat loaf of bread, slashed up 
into thick slices, radiating from one point like a fan, 
between each of which was placed a supply of cold 
turkey, the remains of our now regularly established 
Sunday dinner ; dates, dried figs, wine, " soft biscuits 
for pa-pa," — which latter ' Cousin Phil ' pronounced 
unconmionly hard, — formed the repast. 

And now we left the boat. The rock of Abousir 



250 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

rose almost perpendicularly on the bank overlooking 
the black and green porphyry rocks of the Cataracts. 
How was it possible that ' Cousin Phil,' or even 
Selina, could mount it? I looked first at the rock, 
then at the invalids, in dismay ; but on all such 
occasions, the word ' impossible ' was a word un- 
known in either of their vocabularies. Two pair of 
strong arms interlaced to form a sedan, raised each 
of them from the ground ; and after a few halts for 
breathing-time to bearers and burdens, they were 
safely landed on the top of the rock of Abousir. I 
scrambled up, with a lively little " Blackey " skipping 
beside me, taking great delight in the " Araby " 
lady's power of climbing, and aiding me at every 
high step with such zeal, that I was frequently 
well-nigh overbalanced and sent tumbling down 
again. 

We stood then at last on the rock of Abousir 
with the Second Cataracts of the Kile at our feet. 
From left to right, as far as the eye can reach, it 
follows the thickly studded groups of black or dark 
green porphyry rocks, with which the bed of the 
river is broken up. The blue water winds and 
rushes in rapids and eddies, in and out and round 
them all, making a low, roaring, splashing sound, 
which, when the river is full, is heard at a great 
distance. In the far horizon, a silver line of light 
marks where the Nile again pursues a placid course, 
until it shows again its turbulent career in the Third 
Cataracts at Semneh. 




« -5 
o - 

< 

a: 
< 

< 



ABOUSIll. 251 

Vessels of moderate size may pass the Second 
Cataracts at the time of the high Nile, — in the 
months of August and September ; but later in the 
year this barrier is impassable, so that all further 
explorations must then be made by land on drome- 
daries. The points of two hills in the far distance 
reminded us strongly of the Pyramids of Geezeh ; 
a few camels, like specks in the distance, trod the 
burning sand ; one solitary swallow flew over our 
heads, but no other sound or sign of life was there, 
till ' Cousin Phil,' hat in hand, led a loud *' hurrah;" 
in which the whole party most cordially joined 
making the rocks resound again. 

On ascending, we had looked about with interest 
for the name of Belzoni and other travellers men- 
tioned in the " Crescent and the Cross," as carved on 
this rock. But when we reached the top, where 
the names really are, the beauty and rare character 
of the scene before us, with the thoughts which the 
vast solitude inspired, completely drove away the 
remembrance of the celebrated travellers from our 
brains. Not till the end of the following day did 
Belzoni's name return to our minds, with a regret 
that we had not seen it at Abousir, after all. Due 
honour to jVIoliamed and his crew ! A hammer and 
chisel had been provided by them, with the intention 
of inscribing the names of our memorable expedition. 
They had been treasured all the way from Cairo as 
almost the most important part of the whole expe- 
dition ; and now, on the s))ot itself, the very Arabs 



252 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEKH. 

were so wrapped in tlie scene before them, that 
hammer and chisel remained quietly in their berths, 
and never entered the rock at all. 

We gazed on, endeavouring, with the aid of pencil 
and brush, to carry away a hasty, though lasting 
impression of the view before us. But thoughts 
which are free could not be confined to pencil and 
brush, and giving them free scope, we were soon 
lost in such deep reverie, that it became hard to 
determine whether our present position were plain 
matter of fact, or but " the offspring of an idle 
brain," " begot of nothing but vain fantasy." 

Five o'clock drew near, and warned us that we 
must depart lest night and cold should overtake us, 
and with reluctant feet and lingering glances, we 
slowly left the spot which none of our party were 
likely ever to visit again. The term of our journey 
had been reached, and we could not fail to look 
back with thankful hearts on the safety and comfort 
in which it had all been accomplished. 

It was owing to the lack of wind, and the strength 
of the current, that we had been so long in getting 
up the ' Cataracts ; ' we returned in less than an hour 
and a quarter, and at half-past six o'clock assembled 
again for dinner in the little saloon, pretty well 
fatigued by the day's excursion, and feeling as 
though we had done great things. 

An instance of the discipline enforced among 
our crew occurred on this expedition. 

The dahabeehs, like royal courts in olden times. 



THE BASTINADO. 253 

are, in general, provided with one member who acts 
in the character of 'fool' to the rest of the party, 
in order to keep them alive and in good humouri 
' Hassan the Comic,' who w^as thus designated on 
account of the tricks and buffoonery with which he 
was for ever amusing the company, seemed to stand 
in this position to our crew. His voice had not 
been heard for some time, when we suddenly dis- 
covered him, lying comfortably in the small boat 
alongside, with a magnificent turban twisted round 
his head, and composed of the strip of carpet which 
formed our divan. There he lay, with a most comic 
expression of grandeur and independence, waiting 
till we should turn round to have a look at nim. 
Poor fellow ! he had certainly forgotten himself, and, 
in the eyes of the dragoman, had exceeded even the 
bounds of ' foolery.' Mohamed ordered him and his 
turban off, with a reprimand, wdien, to our regret 
and astonishment, a small stick was produced, and 
the 'bastinado' was inflicted. The culprit was 
ordered to hold up his naked feet, which he did 
instantly, sitting on the side of the boat, and two 
sharp strokes were laid across the soles, which must 
have been extremely painful, though not a muscle 
in his countenance betrayed it. We remarked upon 
what we considered unnecessary severity ; but Mo- 
hamed said, "No, he never remember only words." 
And as Mohamed, though passionate, was certainly 
tender-hearted, we believe he mav liave been riciht. 



254 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEfl. 

The poor feet were rubbed for an instant by a sym- 
pathising liand, but no other sign of feeling was 
shown upon the subject by either party. 

We were to remain two or three days at Wadee 
Halfeh, and Mohamed had engaged the 'cangia' 
for that time, so that we might have made several 
excursions up the Cataracts to Abousir again ; but 
our boundary line had been reached in every way, 
and this once the word 'impossible' did step in. 
The feat once performed was fully as much as, and 
more than most invalids could have accomplished. 

Selina and I, therefore, used the 'cangia' next 
day for a quiet sail in the direction of the Cataracts, 

with Mrs. M , and landed on the island of Ma- 

nenty, whence she could obtain a partial view of 
them. 

'Cousin Phil' sat meanwhile on the denuded 
deck of the ' Cairo,' amusing himself with the inge- 
nious contrivances of the pilot, Re'is, and crew, for 
lowering and fixing the huge yard of the mainmast 
in every way but the right one for our downward 
trip. This is an operation of general interest, and 
causes, in most instances, some little opposition 
between the passengers and the authorities in tlie 
boat. The yard should be slung up out of the way 
and rested on the awning pole, ])ut our lleis deemed 
that this could not be done. First, he wished to lay 
the heavy beam flat along the deck, thus filling up a 
large portion of it, and making a high bridge all along 



FIXING THE YARD. 255 

from bow to stern, which must have been crossed 
before any one could reach the opposite side of the 
vessel. We liad at times longed for a little exercise, 
it was true, but vaulting was not quite the thing for 
either of us, so that this could not be allowed. The 
Reis then laid the yard on the top of the skylight, 
thus necessarily dooming us to darkness and closeness 
below in the saloon for two months to come ; whilst 
the barrier on deck would be even worse than the 
former, for it was neither high enough to allow of 
our passing under, nor low enough for the objection- 
able vaulting over it. We had had a week's previous 
conversation with Mohamed on the subject, and even 
now we barely succeeded in arranging that some 
clumsy contrivance should be made for raising the 
yard at the stern end only, and that but just high 
enough to allow of ' Cousin Phil's ' passing under it. 
As to the other end, — no, that was not to be ; the 
yard was too heavy, the boat would break, in fact it 
could not be done. We began to despair of getting 
rid of it, but truth came to the rescue at last. With 
all the good-will which the Arabs brought to bear 
upon their work in the soul-inspiring idea of getting 
their own way, the wrong way would not prove 
the shortest. So long were they about it, that we 

had time to perceive Mr. M 's dahabei'h turning 

out in correct style. I went thither for instructions 
how to decide the knotty point, and learnt that a 
dialogue of half-an- hour's length to the following 
etlect wouhl in all probability be necessary before 



266 FOUll MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

the battle were won ; but that it would ensure 
success. 

Gentleman. " Hassan, what are you doing with 
the yard ? It must be fastened from mast to mast, 
and rested on the awning pole in the centre of the 
boat." 

Hassan. " Can't do it, sir. Yard too heavy. 
Boat upset." 

G. ''It must be done, Hassan." 

H. " Break the cabin, sir." 

G. " Can't help that, Hassan, but it must be 
done," (gentleman continues reading ; Hassan re- 
tires ; then returns again.) 

H. " The Reis can't do it, sir. The awning 
pole is not strong enough : it will break with the 
weight of the yard." 

G. " Then you must get two sticks that are 
strong enough ; place them crosswise, at each end 
of the boat, and put the yard between them. Won't 
that do, Hassan ?" 

H. " Oh yes, sir, certainly. That will do." 

G. " Then why did not you do so before ?" 

Hassan retires again, for perhaps the third or 
fourth time, and all is arranged as comfortably as 
possible. 

This evening ' Cousin Phil ' went through a 
similar dialogue with Mohamed, and with like 
success. The extra heavy yard of the ' Cairo ' was 
found light after all, and was slung up as it ought 
to be. The deck was made more spacious than 



ARDITRAKY MEASURES. 257 

ever by tlie new arrangements, and Mohamed, feeling 
duly impressed with tlie idea that we were " very 
particular," our very particular ideas were fully sat- 
isfied. The yard when fixed extended from the stern 
some way beyond the bow, so that it must have 
measured over one hundred feet, and it was a very 
clumsy and massive one, yet it retained its position 
in perfect safety. Both Tuesday and Wednesday 
were occupied with the fixing of the yard, and the 
re-furnishing of our deck. Messengers were de- 
spatched in all directions for provisions, but, to IMo- 
hamed's dismay, nothing could be obtained in the 
villages. A letter from the Governor at Assouan 
had, he was told, stopped the sale of chickens, eggs, 
butter, everything for " that English lord." The 
English lord turned out to be a Swedish prince with 
his retinue, who was reported to be coming up 
immediately. He was decreed to be " very greedy *' 
by the enraged Mohamed, and certainly it did 
seem arbitrary. The fleet did not arrive whilst we 
were at Wadee Halfeh, so that the prince neither 
purchased for himself, nor allowed others to per- 
chase before him. As far as we could judge, our 
stores of food were ample all the time, and there 
was probably more truth in the high price of the 
market here, than in the alleged prohibition, for we 
heard Mohamed exclaim emphatically, " I Jiafe 
Wadee Halfeh. Everything so dear ! Always the 
same here ! " 

During our stay at Wadee Halfeh, another suimH 



258 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

vessel came up, bearing tlie Sardinian flag. It con- 
tained the expedition sent out by the Viceroy to 
discover the source of the Nile. ' Miani ' was its 
chief, who on a former occasion had penetrated as 
far as the second degree of north latitude in pursuit 
of the same object. A Frenchman, whose name we did 
not hear, and Mr. James, an English photographer, 
accompanied him. Their goods were accumulated 
on the shore, and the dromedaries on which they 
were to pursue their journey came down to be tried. 
The rider mounted on one of them, but the creature 
did not like its load, and after a little trotting up 
and down, set up the most unearthly grunt that 
ever was heard, and deliberately shook its master 
from his lofty seat. The sand was soft, and he was 
not hurt, but the descent must have been far from 
pleasant. How diminutive and helpless the man 
looked at that moment, compared with the beast ; 
but when after a minute or two he recovered himself 
and went up to his uncivil steed, and the gaunt 
creature knelt quietly down again, and submitted 
without opposition to its rider, it gave a striking 
illustration of that wonderful miracle passing daily 
and hourly before our eyes, whereby man is made 
lord over the most powerful of the brute creation, 
and they obedient and subservient to all his wants 
and wishes. 

The men of science carried with them two chro- 
nometers, by which our time was proved to be one 
hour too slow ; this did not exactly suit our feelings, 



MUSIC ON THE WATEU. 259 

but we were bound to alter our watches, and to rise 
an hour earlier on the morrow. 

Mohamed's heart had for some time been set 
upon taking me out for a serenade in the small boat 
with " music on the water," as he termed it. At 
Wadee Halfeh, I agreed to go. The full band, with 
tom-tom, tambourines, drums, and fifes, were packed 
as tightly as they could be packed, in the further end 
of the boat ; and there was but just room enough 
for me, and Sarah who attended me, to sit in the 
stem. How astonished my friends at home would 
have been could tliey have seen me and my com- 
panions. There was only a half-moon, so that it 
was not a light night, and only a portion of the out- 
lines of the figures of the dark musicians, their 
sparkling eyes and shining teeth when they opened 
their mouths to sing, the ornamental portions of their 
instruments upon which the light of the moon struck, 
and the dancing reflection on the waters, were per- 
ceptible in the surrounding dimness. The men were 
in high spirits, delighted Avith their own noise, and 
with the honour conferred upon them. They sang 
in full chorus as we rowed along, saluting every 
dahabech on our road so lustily, that their inmates 
rushed to the deck or the windows, to see what 
could be going on. The wild sounds nearly deafened 
us, and the pale moon looked down again from above 
in silent amaze, I am sure, at the savage din which 
dared thus to cross her reflection on tlic still waters. 
The Arabs went through tlie whoU' ol'llu'ir catalogue 



260 FOUR MONXnS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

of songs in succession with unabated vigour to the 
end, and hardly would they allow us to escape, 
when we returned to the dahabeeh, having had 
enough and to spare of their serenading. 

A sudden gust of wind blew in the night, so cold 
and so strong as to waken most of the sleepers at 
Wadee Halfeh. It lasted for about twenty minutes 
and went down again in an equally sudden manner. 
The Arabs complained bitterly of the cold both day 
and night, and rolled themselves up, heads and all, 
in their thick woollen cloaks, lying about in all 
directions on the bank, like so many logs. But the 
invalids were suffering, also from the cold winds, it 
was advisable to make no unnecessary delay, and 
we agreed to start at once. 



261 



CHAPTER VII. 



DOWN THE NILE. 



Thursday^ Jan. 11th. — Just after Mohamed bad 
indulged in a warm eulogium on Lord Nelson, and 
given us a very lucid account of the battle of the 
Nile, which, he said, his mother remembered well, 
we bid adieu to our friends, and left Wadee Halfeh. 
Mohamed's notion of the tactics and prowess of the 
English admiral was this. He said that Lord Nelson 
got into a small boat, hoisted the French flag at the 
mast-head, sailed into the midst of the French fleet, 
and then fired away at them before they had dis- 
covered who he was ; and Lord Nelson was, conse- 
quently, in his eyes the greatest hero that ever lived. 

At ten A.M. the ' Cairo ' started on her way home. 
She would be some time about this said journey 
home ; still the sound was pleasant to the ear, and 
whatever the rest of the party, out of respect to 
antiquity perhaps, or from any other cause, may 
liave hidden each in their own bosom, there was one 
face whose features decidedly shortened, and one 
pair of feet that skimmed the deck for joy at the 



262 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

tlioiight of returning to the civilised world again ; 
and tliey were those of honest Sarah. Visions of 
civilised society, Eiiro}3eau hotels, and no more iron- 
ing days in the scorching sun, with the true English 
home drawing gradually nearer, floated before her 
brain as she sat watching the newly -arranged scenery 
of the dahabeeh. 

The twelve rowers sat at the oars, and pulled 
with hearty good-will, for they were going home too. 
Their manner of rowing is very curious and pictur- 
esque. They rise from their seats at every stroke, 
stand upright on the deck as they dip the oars in the 
water, re-seat themselves, letting the left foot return 
into the hold, while the right rests still on the deck, 
and pull a long double stroke, singing in chorus as 
they row. They have several different ' pulls,' as 
Mohamed called them, and a particular song or 
chant is adapted to each of them. That with which 
we started from Wadee Halfeh, he proudly an- 
nounced as " the oldest ' pull ' of all ! Three hun- 
dred years for this song ! " In one, they prolong the 
stroke so much, and pull with such vigour, that they 
literally throw themselves flat upon their backs on 
the deck before lifting the oars out of the water ; 
and there was one very quiet and still longer stroke, 
with a peculiarly low and solemn chant belonging 
to it, which they called ' The man-of-war pull,' and 
which was used now and then as a show-off, but the 
men did not enjoy it much. When there is a gentle 
or a fair wind they will row all day long, stopping 



THE ARAB ROWERS. 263 

only three times to take their meals and to rest. 
It is hard work, but in general they show no signs 
of fatigue, and will, on an emergency, continue row- 
ino; all nvAit for a little extra ' baksheesh.' Tlie 
wind, howcA^er, is so constantly contrary, that they 
have much idle time on their hands, to make up 
for the hard days of rowing. At such times the 
oars are laid aside, and the dahabech drifts down 
with the stream ; the deck is immediately covered 
with sleeping forms, lying about it in all directions ; 
or, should the men find the weather cold, they pop 
down each into his hole, and either disappearing alto- 
gether, or, leaving a head and pair of shoulders only 
visible above, they begin munching leeks and onions. 
A breath of fair wind springs up, the steersman 
shouts, and a few of the sleeping forms start up to 
unfurl the small sail at the bow, to furl it again 
perhaps in the course of ten minutes, and to disap- 
pear once more into the hold, until another shout 
bi-ings them suddenly back again, to row with might 
and main till the pilot orders them to cease, when 
down they all tumble as before. 

The high wind of Wadee Halfeli continued blow- 
ing against us, and impeding our progress very 
seriously. From shore to shore we floated, or 
rowed alternately, making a few yards only at each 
turn, so that every stone and tree might have been 
learnt by heart, and by night-fall we had only reached 
the village of Serra. 

Frida//j Jan. ISf/t. — We remained at Serra for 



264 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABE^U. 

half a day. The wind was contrary, so that we did 
not lose time by this proceeding, and it suited Se- 
lina and me very well. We had, much to ' Cousin 
Phil's ' entertainment, a craving for a true desert ride 
in which no other object but the desert should be 
visible. He thought we had had enough of that 
by this time ; but the Nubian pilot had decreed this 
to be the best place for the purpose, so the chair 
and the donkeys were prepared. The chair was car- 
ried by four of the crew, four others being in attend- 
ance to relieve them. The air was so pure and 
delicious, we thought for an instant that we could 
have enjoyed a life spent there ; but soon the burn- 
ing rays waxing hotter and hotter, reminded us that 
verdure with air a degree less pure would be far 
preferable. We rode on for nearly two hours, and 
succeeded in seeing nothing around but the sandy 
plain, relieved by groups of extremely picturesque 
rocky hills on all sides. A flock of gazelles started 
up at our approach, and fled like arrows shot from a 
bow. We picked up a few pretty, transparent peb- 
bles of a deep red colour, and two curious pieces of 
highly-polished petrified wood. We enjoyed our 
excursion extremely ; ' Cousin Phil ' thought we 
might be satisfied, and so we were, so w\as he we 
fully believe, and so were the Arabs, who clearly 
saw no fun in a walk in heavy sand w^ithout even a 
temple to repay them at the end. 

In this happy state of universal satisfaction, we 
returned to the dahabe^h, proceeded on our w'ay, 



TEMPLE OF FARRAS. 265 

and stopped at Farras for the night, where our 
friends overtook us. The heat was extreme, but the 
ride to the temple ruins very enjoyable. The rocky 
hills rising in striking forms from the sand, were 
covered with different kinds of tamarisk growing 
luxuriantly in the dry desert air. The bright blue 
shade of these shrubs, the deep brown of the curi- 
ously projecting summits of the rocky hills, and the 
brilliant yellow of the sand, formed a most pleasing 
combination of colours. The ruins of Farras lie not 
very far from the river. There are many scattered 
blocks about, the remains, it is supposed, of some 
ancient Roman town. The grotto is a series of 
tombs excavated in the rock, and containing mummy 
pits. The invalids could not go in, but I explored 
the low chambers as far as Mohamed's fear of the 
bats would allow me. We saw no hieroglyphics, 
but I believe we ought to have found some of the 
time of Remeses II. At noon, the dahabeeh was 
off again, once more on her vray to Aboo-Simbel. 
' Cousin Phil ' arrived there in her at about five 
P.M. ; but Selina and I got out, and rowed w^itli 
the dragoman to the temple of Ferayg. It is 
hewn in the rock which rises so perpendicularly 
from tlie water that the ascent is difficult. The 
temple is cruciform. It has a hall with four co- 
lunms, two side chambers, and the adytum, the most 
holy place into which none but the priests were 
permitted to enter. It is a pretty little temple, and 
it interested us chiefly on account of a picture of 



266 FOUR M0NTH8 IN A DAHAB^EH. 

tlie Saviour, and another probably of St. John the 
Baptist, which are painted on the roof. They are 
very badly executed, but still they are memorials of 
the Christian worship and faith once acknowledged 
there. The hieroglyphics on the walls show the 
original temple to have been "of the time of the 
successor of Amunoph III. about B.C. 1350." This 
temple with those of Ibreem and Derr, are the only 
three on the eastern bank of the Nile. 

Sunday^ Jan. '20 fh. — After the Church service 
had been offered up, we proceeded to ascend the 
steepest sand slope we had yet attempted, in order 
to visit the great temple of Aboo-Simbel at the top. 
Our friends thought it impossible, that any one 
could be carried up such an inclined plain as that 
now before us ; but to their astonishment, up went 
' Cousin Phil ' and Selina, on the arms of the Arabs, 
as comfortably as possible. The strong ones climbed 
up as best they might, sinking deep in the beauti- 
fully fine sand, like the snail who took two steps for- 
ward and one step back, till he reached the top of his 
pole. This sand is so remarkably fine, it is said 
that every particle would pass through the hole of 
an hour-glass. 

The colossal figures seated on thrones attached 
to the rock, at the entrance of the great temple, are 
considered the most beautiful of any of the Egyptian 
colossi found in the temples. They represent Re- 
meses II. The expression of calmness and benignity 
which sits on the countenances of all the colossi of 



THE GREAT TEMPLE. 267 

Egypt is very striking. They are all exactly alike, 
and convey the idea of quiet self-satisfaction, rather 
than that of great warriors, animated as their reali- 
ties are reported to have been, by all the fiercest 
passions of human nature. The thick lips and heavy 
eyes are characteristic features of their descendants 
to the present day ; and the sleepy, listless moderns 
look fully as well satisfied with themselves, — as 
though they also had achieved the conquests attri- 
buted to these great ancestors of theirs. The colossi 
outside the temple, are measured sixty-six feet in 
height, without the pedestal. Those on the pillars of 
the grand hall within, about twenty feet. There is a 
second hall with pillars, and we counted eight cham- 
bers opening into the grand hall, in some of which 
there are seats projecting from the wall. In the 
centre of the adytum, is an altar, and at the further 
end four statues in relief, one of which represents 
' Re' (the Sun) to whom this temple was dedicated. 
There is another statue of Re over the entrance, to 
whom the king is offering a figure of truth. We 
did not make him out very well : it was such hot 
work to look up at him. The hieroglyphics on the 
walls are extremely interesting, representing the 
triumphs of Remeses the Great. The light of the 
' maslial ' is necessary to make them out at all, and 
it would take many hours, or days ratlier, to trace 
the story all through. In some of the chambers, 
there are figures with ornaments painted black on 
their necks and arms, the colour remaining perfectly 



268 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEliH. 

distinct. The wliole excavation of this temple is about 
200 feet. We spent some time in it, and were very 
much fatigued by the foul air, the heat and smoke of 
the ' mashals,' and the burning sun outside ; but as 
we were not likely to see Aboo-Simbel again, we 
resolved to go through it all bravely, and Sarah 
and I concluded our excursion by an extra climb 
up the burning, sandy hill. One step forward, and 
very nearly one step back, it was this time, but we 
persevered, reached the head of the giant Remeses, 
and seated ourselves most comfortably on the tip of 
this very small man's ear, which is said to measure 
three feet five inches. From thence we read the 
names and date of one of the expeditions to the 
source of the Nile, written, with very bad taste it 
must be confessed, in large black characters along 
the bridge of the giant's nose. Why not have re- 
corded them on the rock at his side, instead of thus 
defacing the interesting ruins ? 

We went back to the dahabeeh, rested a little 
and suffered the sun to dip a little lower before we 
dared again to meet his rays. Then we paid our 
respects to the smaller temple. Its fagade is also 
adorned with figures in high relief, with buttress- 
like projections between them covered with hiero- 
glyphics. This temple is dedicated to Athor, and 
her head surmounts all the pillars of the hall. Her 
emblem, the sacred cow, we did not see in the 
adytum, but found it in the sculptures on the wall. 

We then rowed in the small boat to see the figure 



MIDNIGHT ORGIES. 2G9 

in the niche lower down, but owing to the strength 
of the current, could not get near enough to distin- 
guish it well. The larger temple was opened by Bel- 
zoni and his companions in 1817. They worked 
for a fortnight, eight hours each day, the heat of 
the thermometer varying from 112° to 116° in the 
shade. The sand closed the temple again, but it 
remained comparatively easy to future travellers to 
re-open it. 

The crew of the two dahabeehs spent the night 
in the smaller temple. Their talking and laughing 
resounded strangely and wildly through the hewn 
rock, and into the surrounding stillness, and led our 
thoughts back to the midnight orgies held by their 
pagan ancestors within those very walls. The stars 
towards morning were magnificent ; each one ap- 
pearing three times as large as those we see at 
home. 

Monday f Jan. 'ilst. — Between regret at not tak- 
ing another look at these beautiful temples, and satis- 
faction at escaping the foul air within them and the 
extremely dusty return which another visit would 
inevitably entail upon us, we and our friends 
sailed from Aboo-Simbel at seven a.m., playing at 
' touch last ' with each other during the whole day. 
The milkman had to go such a long journey before 
he could find any fresh milk that we waited till ten 
o'clock fur our breakfast. This was a rare occur- 
rence, but not so the high wind which blew so 
constantly this and the following day, that poor 



270 POUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Selina was again doomed to the cabin, only rusliing 
up now and then at the cry of ' Temsah, Temsah ! ' 
Two dahabeehs passed on their way up the river, one 
bearing the American, the other the Russian flag; 
we exchanged cards with the former, and the latest 
news from the Northern world was sent to us. 

Wednesday^ Jan. lord. — The wind blew fiiir, and 
we passed our old friends ' Ibreem ' and ' Derr ; ' 
and visited the temple of ' Amada,' situated on the 
bank just below. This portion of the bank seemed 
really perpendicular, and it was covered with tufts 
of grass growing in loose dry soil, yet ' Cousin 
Phil' ascended it supported by a living ladder of 
Arabs : a most ingenious contrivance, whereby two 
carried him, while six others pushed them up to 
the middle of the bank, where another six met and 
conveyed them to the top. Selina being a lighter 
weight, required only two men to carry her up. 
When half-way, she took it into* her head that she 
would like to try her powers of climbing, and en- 
deavoured to put her feet to the ground, but 
quick as thought the devoted and merry Arabs 
loosened each one hand from its hold, and tacked 
her feet up under her, so that she was rendered help- 
less, shouting, "La, la ! Sitte," (No, no, lady), to 
the immense delight of the Avhole party. The 
temple is deeply embedded in the sand ; the entrance 
open only about three feet above the surface : here 
we thought we must rest on our oars ; but no, nothing 
could daunt Mohamcd, and under his able directions 



THE KHARTOUM MEN. 271 



the bearers crouch down upon the sand, and slide 

* Cousin Pliil ' in. He saw the temple as well as the 
ablest amongst us. A brave old gentleman truly ; 
and a most clever dragoman ! The temple of 

* Amada,' is of the time of Thothmes III., B.C. 1463, 
and is dedicated to ' Re.' The painted hieroglyphics 
on the walls are extremely pretty, and, owing to 
their having been washed over by the early 
Christians, the colouring in many places is distinctly 
preserved. The stone of the temple has a reddish 
hue. We enjoyed this little excursion extremely, 
descended the bank in the same wonderful manner 
that we had ascended it, and rowing on, reached 
Korosko early in the evening and remained there 
for the night. 

Thursday^ Jan. 24:th. — Before breakfast I took 
my concertina out on deck as I usually did, and an 
audience of about thirty of the wild natives, now 
' old friends,' squatted down on the bank to listen to 

my song. Mr. M 's dahabech started before 

us, and we did not meet again till we arrived at 
Thebes. ' Cousin Phil ' took a walk among the 
dusty fields of Korosko, whilst Selina and I sketched 
a group of three of the Khartoum men, who belonged 
to the caravan we had met here before. The gov- 
ernor politely ordered them to stand for their por- 
traits. They were promised a small ' baksheesh ' for 
this favour, and grinned satisfaction at us the whole 
time. There was another fuss with the Reis, about 
money and bread for the crew. The governor was 



272 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

appealed to, and the Rei's as usual found guilty, and 
brought to order. 

We started from Korosko at two p.m., but the 
wind being contrary and very high, we were shortly 
obliged to stop under some fine granite hills, which 
I clambered up with little ' Blackey.' His poor bare 
feet suffered so much from the hard pointed rocks, 
that I begged him to leave me; he would not give in, 
and I rather think he wanted to try the effect of a 
lotion of arnica and water on his return. Mid-way 
up the hill I found a group of Nubian women 
sitting against the rock spinning cotton, and plaiting 
date-leaves into large flat baskets. The hopeful son 
of one of them sat on a rock, munching a bit of bread 
very much as an English baby would have done, but 
he wore a tattered rag about his body, and all his 
hair seemed to stand straight on end. The 
women were much troubled at my appearance, and 
one of them began to cry when I sat down to sketch 
the group. The dragoman came up and assured 
them that he and all the crew had survived the 
operation, so they sat still and were presently joined 
by a fine-looking man, the grandfather of the baby, 
in a white dress and large high white hat, apparently 
of some coarsely woven woollen manufacture. The 
complexion of the party was a kind of slate- 
black, so nearly resembling the colour of the rocks 
before them, that it was not easy to distinguisli 
them at any distance. Selina meanwhile hovered 
between the deck and the cabin, contesting with 



CONTRARY WINDS. 273 

Mohamed tlie correct English term for the present 
high wind, viz. : " very cold," or " peautiful clean and 
fresh." Mohamed thought himself as far above us 
in his knowledge of the English language as in 
every other thing ; and would not liave the term 
' cold ' applied to the wind, though he complained 
bitterly at times of cold himself. 

A dahabeeh returning from Aboo-Simbel now 
overtook us, and we proceeded together till nine 
P.M., making but very little way. Another, favoured 
by the wind wliich was keeping us back, passed 
quickly up. Inquiries for the name of the dragoman 
rang through the hills, and turning out to be a 
friend of Mohamed's, the latter went off in the small 
boat to have a little gossip and a cup of coffee 
or some other equivalent, which whilst we made 
such slow progress he could easily do ; the thermo- 
meter was at 56" at breakfast time, and did not rise 
above 68° or 70° during the day. 

Friday^ Jan. 2bth. — So strong a wind was blow- 
ing from the north - west, that having reached 
Sabooa we could make no way at all, and were 
forced to stay tliere the wliole day, sheltering on the 
windward side from the dense clouds of sand which 
covered the other vessel, whose owners liad not yet 
paid their visit to the temple. 

Saftfrdf/ij, Jan. 2Qth. — We endeavoured to ])ro- 
ceed, but tlie storm was rising, and we were pitched 
and tossed about as though we had been in the ' Vectis' 
on tlie i\Tediterranean. We were obliged to give 



274 FOLK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

in again and stayed near a village, whose inhabitants, 
about ten in number, were so bedaubed with castor 
oil, that it was impossible to stand within some few 
yards of them without being unpleasantly aware of it. 
We started again, reached a mud-bank, where 
we were forced to stay once more, and had the 
satisfaction of seeing three other dahabeehs just 
before us in tlie same plight. We made about 
one mile in the course of this day ; tacking first 
to one shore, then back to the other, gaining a 
step or two at each tack. This may be thought 
tedious enough, and so it was in one way; but 
the spirits of the invalids never failed, and 
between reading aloud, drawing, fidgeting, and 
marvelling at the climate of Egypt and the draughts 
in tlie dahabeeh, these tedious days passed quickly 
enough. A little extra occupation was also afforded 
us in prescribing for Thomas, who was taken ill and 
kept his bed for two days. The windows of our 
perfect vessel were so far from fitting, that when- 
ever the wind rose at all, we were obliged to stuff 
the curtains and everything we could think of round 
them, otherwise it would blow a gale inside as well 
as out, and all the furniture be thickly covered with 
sand in a few moments. The thermometer to-day 
rose to 85° in the sun at mid-day ; fell to 63° by six 
P.M., and to 55° by ten r.M., when we retired to rest; 
and as it was not a self-registering one, and our 
night-watch could not read, we had no means of 
knowing how much lower it fell that night. 



NUBIAN CHILDREN. 275 

Septuagesima Sunday^ Jan. '21tli. — At length 
the wind went down, and we reached Oofideneh and 
Dakke. The first afforded us very picturesque 
groups of Nubian children, rushing about in high 
spirits, tossing their long black hair in the wind. 
Their only garment consisted of bead necklaces 
round their necks, and a thong apron like a deep 
fringe, which they tied round their loins ; but many 
of them did not even wear this. One of the little 
girls was a ' beauty ; ' and her pretty shy ways, as 
she dodg;ed about amonc: the ruins to avoid our 
glances, attracted us much. 

The ancient remains at Oofideneh are few. The 
temple was dedicated to Isis, and is ascribed to the 
age of Thothmes III. On one of the walls the 
goddess is represented sitting under the sacred fig- 
tree. There is a second building near, which is 
Roman, and with the exception of Ibreem, it is the 
last found up the river belonging to the times of the 
Ptolemies or Caesars. It has been used for Christian 
worship ; and on one of the walls there are traces of 
a picture apparently of the nativity of our Lord. 
The temple, though so little of it remains, or is 
visible above the sand, is very pretty, and the bar- 
renness of its desert approach is relieved by many 
green spots of the Palma-christi, and small dom 
palms, growing like shrubs before it. 

We found a dromedary here, on the back of 
which Molianied mounted, trotting up and down 
to show us how well he could ride. I had been very 



276 FOUR MONTHS IK A PAHABEEH . 

anxious to try the pace of these long-legged crea- 
tures myself. The clromedar}' was accordiugly made 
to kneel down, and I was told to take my seat, 
which I did ; but before I had time to ask how to 
hold on, or to make any other question, in fact, the 
moment the animal felt something on his back, up he 
jumped, and, naturally enough, off jumped I, on to the 
sand again, in order to avoid the ignominy of being 
thrown ; while the tall ' ship of the desert ' reared its 
lofty head in astonishment at finding that its ex- 
pected burden was gone. "But," said Mohamed, 
"you must sit like a man, if you please. Every 
one sits so with this kind." " This kind," meaning 
the usual man's saddle of the country, with a small 
pointed w^ooden projection before and behind to 
hold on by. It was beyond me to try that, so the 
experiment was relinquished, Mohamed pi'omising 
that two charming dromedaries should be found in 
Cairo, with ' ladies' side-saddles,' on which we might 
sit and drink a cup of coffee without spilling it. It 
would have been extremely imprudent for Selina or 
any one suffering from w eakness in the chest, to have 
attempted any such thing, and the ride never came 
off; but from what we saw of the backward and 
forward movement of others thus mounted, it must 
be a steady hand indeed that could retain the coffee 
in the cup without long previous training. Some 
persons enjoy dromedary riding extremely, but to 
others it is very painful. It looks very inviting, to 
be perched up, so high above every other living 



AN ORIGINAL PEItrOiniANCE. 



thing tlmt walks the earth ; and the long and stately 
strides of the animal convey an idea of liberty and 
freedom most pleasing to the senses ; but whether 
or not all this pleasing imagination would have been 
jolted out of us by the reality, remains still to be 
proved. Towards evening the temple of Dakke 
came into sight ; we read that the oldest part now 
remaining bears the name of Ergamun, an Ethio- 
pian king ; but the original building is supposed to 
have belonged to the age of Thothmes III. On its 
walls are the names of several of the Ptolemies and 
Caesars, which may be deciphered even by the 
unlearned traveller with the aid of his guide-books. 

The outside of the towers and walls of this tem- 
ple are quite plain, and the sand-stone of which it is 
built is of exactly the same shade of colour as the 
sand in which it is more than half imbedded. On 
the walls within, the subjects are in relief, in very 
good preservation, and some of them very curious. 
Mohamed said he would take off one for us. He 
squatted down on the ground before it ; applied the 
paper to the wall, drew a long draught from a can 
of water held to him by little ' Black ey,' inflating his 
cheeks like a balloon ; and then proceeded deliber- 
ately to squirt out the water from his mouth with 
wonderful force and aim, till the whole paper was 
moistened, and the flgures impressed ui)on it. Se- 
lina and I were fairly thrown oif our guard by this 
unlooked-for performance ; and we laughed inuuo- 
derately. 'Hhickey' stood by witli inc^uiring gaze, 



278 FOUli MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

as grave as a judge, wondering what there could be 
to laugh about ; and Mohamed solemnly assured us 
that there was '' no other way to do this kind ! " 
Live and learn, thought we ; " fingers were made 
before forks," and Mohamed's mouth served him 
fully as well as the more modern contrivance of a 
bucket of water and a sponge. The dragoman adopted 
these on a future occasion, but he was not very 
clever with them, and the impressions he obtained 
were not good. I believe we did not give them 
time enough to dry properly before removing them 
from the stone. The weather had become warmer 
again ; and oh ! what a moon and evening star shone 
forth to-night. So clear was the atmosphere, they 
seemed truly to float in the open vault of heaven ; 
and the eye wandered, as it were inquiringly, around 
the shining orbs — a glorious sight — such as to 
make one exclaim, almost involuntarily with the 
Psalmist, " Tlie heavens declare the glory of God : 
and the firmament showeth His handj^-work! " Mo- 
hamed, who had taken it into his head that it was 
necessary to make some sort of valedictory preface 
to the remarks with which he honoured us whenever 
he entered the saloon, came in this evening with the 
following request to the assembled company, " Good 
evening, sir ; if you please the ' Sheikh ' wants some 
pliysic for his eyes ! " The Sheikh was from a 
village at some little distance, but Mohamed added, 
" They always know English boats have doctors 
on board." So, to keep up our name, we sent him 



THE BROKEN THEIIMOMETEU. 279 

enough zinc to cure the eyes of the whole village 
for some time to come. 

Monday^ Jan, ^^th. — The thermometer fell to 
43^° at sunrise, but warmed up considerably during 
the day. Its days were numbered. In the evening 
unfortunate Thomas let it fall and broke it. The 
mercury would rise no more. Happily for us w^e 
had one other, which had always been kept in Selina's 
cabin, so we could refer to that; but it was a serious 
loss, and showed us how necessary it was to include 
' a good stock of thermometers ' in the list of requi- 
sites for travellers on the Nile. It is particularly satis- 
factory when you feel ' warmed up,' almost to the 
last bearable point, to be able to turn round and see 
how much ri^rht vou have to such feelina;s, and how 
much more you may expect ; let alone the far 
juster estimate of the climate of the country which 
is obtained by this means than by any othe]-. 

We reached Dendour at one p.m. This temple 
stands just within the tropic and is very small. The 
sculptures are of the time of Augustus. Some of 
them we copied, for though we were too unlearned 
to understand their meaning, they interested us by 
tlieir quaintness. The groups of natives here too 
were very striking, and not overburdened with 
clothinc:. 

We reached Kalabshee at six r.M., and remained 
there for the night. Mohamed was very busy this 
evening, rolling up small strips of paper with por- 
tions of tlie Koran written upon them, which lie wa^ 



280 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

going to have sown up in little bags to wear about 
liis person as cliarms. He always wore some about 
him, but these for some reason were to be additional, 
and he appeared much shocked on detecting our 
incredulity as to their power. 

Tuesday^ Jan. 2dfh. — Another dahabeeh with 
the American flag was at Kalabshee on its return 
home. jNIr. kindly called and gave us infor- 
mation about the temples, which he and his party 
had already visited. He had heard also that one 
poor traveller had lost his wife. She came to the 
Nile in search of health, but it was too late ; she 
died at Korosko and was buried at Derr tlie follow- 
ing morning. 

Mr. started almost immediately, and amused 

us much by the hurry in which he seemed to be. 
" Oh ! yes," he said ; " we push on to keep ourselves 
alive. We find it necessary to take care of the mind 
as well as the body." So well did they push on the 
mind, that before they were half way dow^n the river 
the poor body was burnt out of house and home. 
The dahabeeh caught fire, the whole of the saloon 
was destroyed, and the unfortunate party having 
lost everything they possessed, w^ere fortunate in 
finding another dahabeeh a])le to take them in. 
They had left Sioot long before we arrived, so that 
we only heard of their misfortune from others. At 
Kalabshee we saw two women grinding at a mill. 
They sat ojDposite each other on the ground, holding, 
each with one hand, the upright handle whicli was 



COSTUMES AT KALABSIIEE. 281 

fixed in the grin ding-stone, and turned it round 
together, singing a most curiously high-pitched 
song ; the same pitia])le wail, repeated over and over 
again, till the grain was all exhausted. We bought 
some leathern charms from the people at Kalabshee. 
They were made in the Khartoum, and brought 
hither by the caravans. They are long chains of 
plaited leather, having small bags of the same material 
hanging to them, containing the charms, with a few 
blue beads strung upon them. These are worn by 
the women round their necks ; they also wear brass 
nose-rings, ornamented with beads of brass and l)lue 
glass. The ring is passed througli one nostril, and 
on their dark skin it looks rather pretty than other- 
wise. They wear bracelets and bead or brass neck- 
laces, as well as some curious pendants from their 
hair, composed also of beads and small buttons of 
very common mother-of-pearl, strung together on 
leathern thongs. Many of the thong aprons worn 
by the girls were ornamented with shells. The 
married women w^ear a loose garment, so arranged 
as to leave one shoulder bare. It reaches below the 
knee, and sometimes they will throw a portion of it 
over their heads to defend them from the sun, but 
they do not cover their faces ; none of the Nubian 
women in the small villages do so. The men wear 
a white cotton shirt, short trousers, and a large scarf 
passing over the left shoulder and round the waist, 
tlie long ends hanging, one before and the other 
behind, sometimes having very pretty borders of 



282 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

coloured threads woven into them. Their caps are 
of white cotton, fitting close to tlie head, and most 
of them have a knife or small dagger, in a leathern 
sheath, fastened to the left arm above the elbow, 
together with some charms like those of the women. 
Most of the boys wear very substantial, plain silver 
ear-rings, generally only in one ear. There was one 
little girl, the daughter of the Sheikh, who was laden 
with ornaments, on her neck and in her hair, but she 
wore no further covering than the thong apron 
ornamented with shells. Her brother, who was 
somewhat older, was in the full dress of the men. 
I think it was here that we noticed one boy on the 
bank with a pair of white gloves, which he was 
carefully exhibiting on his black hands. When he had 
worn them for some time, he passed them on to his 
neighbour, who had been eyeing them with longing 
glances, this one handing them on in like manner 
to a third. It seemed to be the amusement of their 
day, and the proud, happy look which invariably 
sat upon the face of the wearer was very amusing. 
Most of the men here wore large sandals made of 
elephant's hide, brought from the interior, and some 
had less handsome ones of sheep-skin. 

Just as our American friend fired a salute to 
wish us good-bye, Mohamed, returning laden with 
curiosities purchased from the group assembled on 
the bank, had a somewhat tragic fall from the plank 
which was placed as a landing slip. The poor fellow 
was hurt, and laid up for the day, but he acted the 



TEMPLE AT KALABSHEE. 283 

dying man so well as he Imng utterly helpless on 
the shoulders of two of the crew who Crirried him on 
board, that he almost succeeded in alarming us as 
much as he was alarmed himself. The Nubian pilot 
and Ali took his place to escort us to the temple, 
and very ])roud indeed the latter was of the tem- 
porary promotion. 

The larger temple is close to the water's edge. 
It is the largest in Nubia ; built in the reign of 
Augustus, and supposed to have succeeded to one of 
the age of Thothmes III. 

It has a great many chambers and chapels, a 
hall, and portico ; but they are so choked up with the 
fallen blocks of the temple, that ' Cousin Phil' and 
Selina could not go further than the first entrance ; 
and it was a matter of diflSculty, even for me, to 
penetrate through five successive portions, to see the 
remains of the gilded sculptures, and the Greek 
inscription in which " Silco, king of the Numad?e, 
and of all the Ethiopians," details his own 
victories. 

The view from this temple was so pretty we 
could not avoid sitting some little time to sketch it, 
while listening to the Avarbling of the larks in the 
sky above as on a bright spring day at home. The 
smaller temple lies higher up, at the top of a steep 
accunuilation of rocks, stones, and rubbish, up which 
' Cousin Phil' mounted bravely with the assistance of 
Ali and his stick. This temi)le is called ' Bayt el 
Wellee,' the House of the Saint ; it is hewn in the 



284 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

rock, and is very pretty. The sculptures on the 
walls of the area outside the temple, recount the 
victories of Remeses the Great. They are extremely 
interesting. We traced them all through with the 
assistance of 'Murray,' and I shouted the story to 
' Cousin Phil,' and to the benefit of the assembled 
company, who looked as if they thought it a 
wonderfully clever performance. Now and then Ali 
interpreted scraps of it to tlie other Arabs, who 
always showed a considerable degree of interest in 
the ancient monuments of their country. We left at 
half-past one p.m., and passed the gates of Kalabshee 
in safety. On our way up we had passed these 
gates at dark, so that this bit of scenery was new to 
us, and extremely pretty it is. Groups of rocks 
appear in the bed of the river resembling those at 
Assouan, some of them of most fantastic forms. 
The rocky cliffs on either side rise perpendicularly 
from the edge of the water, many of them crowned 
with Roman ruins ; while from the bend of the 
stream the water is at times enclosed on all sides 
like a lake. The river runs with a strona; current 
round the rocks, making a little disturbance, which 
Mohamed called " very strong water." Two men 
swam fearlessly across the current on their log-boats. 
Towards evening the sky became cloudy and overcast. 
We stopped at Tafti and visited its two small 
temples. One of them has an almanac on the wall, 
supposed to be of the fourth or fifth century. The 
other temple is made use of as a dwelling-house by 



Till-: WILD MAN OF TAFA. 285 

a Nubian family. These buildings have also been 
used for Christian worship. It is sad to read that 
the Nubian Christian temples, so late as the seven- 
teenth century, were closed for want of ])astors. 

If the remains at Tafa were to most travellers 
not much worth seeing, its group of natives cer- 
tainly were ; with the exception, perhaps, of the 
Khartoum men, they were quite the most savage 
specimens of humanity we had come across. The 
men were armed with swords, knives, spears, and 
pistols, fastened about their persons. Their chief, 
wdio, though a savage, was a very intelligent, fine- 
looking man, very good-humouredly allowed us to 
examine all his arms. He talked of "killing men" 
as a pleasant pastime, and showed a little coal-lilack 
child, whom he said he had " caught in the Khar- 
toum," and would "sell" in Cairo for 15/. or 20/. 
The men were well clothed, the boys wore, most of 
them, nothing at all, the girls only the thong apron. 
Their figures were extremely pretty, and some of 
their countenances very pleasing, but the old women 
were frightful. We proceeded to within one mile 
of Gertasse, and remained there for the night. 

Wednesday^ Jaii. ^Oth. — The crew tried liard to 
reach Dabod and Philse to-day, but the wind was 
extremely high, and it was contrary. To begin 
with, the vessel struck on a bank, from Avhich she 
did not get loose for an hour and a half, and then 
only with the assistance of eight men from another 
dahabech which overtook us, and kindly lent their 



286 FOUIl MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

assistance ; and yet every one of our men had been 
working hard all the time. We sailed on again, but 
at three p.m. were obliged to stop, on account of the 
wind, at a small village on the eastern bank, 
numbering about twenty inhabitants. We landed, 
and took a walk along a fine avenue of palm- 
trees. It was the first avenue we had seen, for these 
trees appear generally to be planted in clumps or 
small plantations. The sand from the opposite shore 
blew up in thick clouds. Nothing but white dust 
was to be seen all around ; a dreary, uncomfortable 
scene, and we began to think our "warm winter" 
was coming to an untimely end. 'Cousin Phil's' 
active mind saw no fun in remaining here, and he 
thought that if the Arabs were not impressed with 
the idea of ' destiny,' they might still do battle with 
the elements. The dragoman evidently thought it 
very audacious of the ' English gentleman,' to think 
that he knew better than him, or the pilot, or the 
Reis and crew all put together. They did try, 
whether their best or not we cannot say, but they 
soon satisfactorily proved that we were going up 
the river instead of doivn^ and we gave in accordingly 
in despair. A cargo-boat passed up in the evening 
and conmiunicated the sad intellioence of the death 
of a young Englishman, in a rash attempt to swim 
the cataracts near Pliila?, in the j^assage by which the 
boats ascend the river. The Nubian natives per- 
form this feat very expertly for the amusement 
of travellers, and to gain a little ' baksheesh.' They 



SWIMMING THE CATARACTS. 287 

plunge from a rock into the midst of the rapid, with 
a log of wood upon which they rest, or sometimes 
even without it. They are shot down in an instant, 
ap])arently powerless, but in another moment they 
reappear in the smoother water below, and swim in 
safety to shore. It requires long training even for 
the natives to be able to perform this feat, and the 
poor young Englishman was instantly overpowered 
by the current, and disappeared. His friend, whom 
we met at Assouan, watched anxiously for the body 
till, on the tenth following morning, when he was 
about to give up in despair, it rose in the very spot 
where it had gone down. It was buried at Assouan. 
This was an awful incident, and it cast a gloom for a 
long time over all the parties travelling on the Nile. 

Thursday^ Jan. 2>\st. — The cold this morning 
was trying. When I put my hands into the cold 
water, my fingers tingled all over as on a frosty day 
at home. The thermometer inside the cabins at 
8 A.M. was not higher than 48°, and did not rise 
above 64° in the sun during the day. 

The temple of Dabod had but a short visit in 
consequence. I went to see it first before break- 
fast. There was a thick haze all round, and a strong- 
wind was blowing from the north-west. The wind I 
did not object to, it was rather refreshing than other- 
wise, but the clouds of sand and dust blown into 
one's eyes, made it almost impossible to see at all. 
The report which I brought back did not give nuich 
encouragement to my companions. After breakfast 



288 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABE^H. 

they landed, looked at the temple with one eye, 
shivered, pronounced it very ugly, and dived again 
into the saloon. I made a rapid sketch and followed 
them. The three pylons (gateways) which succeed 
each other in front of the temple, are almost all that 
is visible of the building. Within the portico is a 
sculpture, w^iich represents the pouring, alter- 
nately, of the emblems of Life and Purity over 
Tiberius, supposed to refer to the ceremony of 
anointing him king. The temple is ascribed to an 
Ethiopian monarch of the time of Ptolemy Phila- 
delphus, the sculptures being added by Augustus 
and Tiberius. The Arabs also pointed out the 
remains of the stone quay, which had a staircase 
leading to the river. 

We proceeded, but at four p.m. w^ere obliged again 
to stop on a bank. The wind abated a little, and we 
went on, and once more reached our admired Phila? 
at ten p.m. This afternoon, whilst the high wind 
kept us all idle, and we had nothing better to do, we 
fetched the mercury from the broken thermometer 
and showed it to the Arabs. Their astonishment 
at its liveliness was unbounded ; at first they 
showed a degree of alarm at its power of dividing 
into separate globules, and re-uniting again into one, 
Mohamed at last becoming quite excited over it. He 
could not understand why he could not catch and 
hold it in his hand ; and with a determination not to 
be conquered by the quicksilver any more tlian by 
anything else, he continued his efforts most perseve- 



mohamed's scriptures. 289 

ringly. The absurd struggle was vigorous and 
long ; all the powers of mind and ])ody were brought 
into play, and in the space of one hour and a half 
Mohanied triumphantly brought up his enemy, 
reduced to a small grey powder, and he was satis- 
fied. To our astonishment he now begged for a 
portion of this powder for Ali ''to wash his head 
with it," declaring that it was sold exj)ressly for this 
purpose "to ladies." The boy did use it, with what 
advantao;e or disadvantage we never heard. 

Friday^ Feb. \st. — The wind continued still in 
the same direction, blowing so hard that it would 
have been impossible to descend the Cataracts ; but we 
were not sorry to see a little more of Pliila^, althougli 
it was too cold to be quite enjoyable to the invalids, 
the thermometer not rising above 63° in tlie heat 
of the day. The natives said the winds were un- 
usually high this year; but there are always high 
winds at this season. We moored opposite the 
island, close under ' Pharaoh's Bed,' this being the 
warmer side, and also because it afforded a good 
walk for ' Cousin Pliil.' Here, for two days, Selina 
and I amused ourselves very well with excursions 
to the island, rambles among the ruins, observations 
on the groups of natives, and conversations with 
Mohamed on the Bible histories, compared with 
those of the Konin. The histories of Moses, Josepli, 
and all the Egyptian Pharaohs, were so jumbled 
together in the dragoman's brains, that there was 
no making liead or tail of tliem, and they were inter- 



290 FOUU MONTHS IX A DAIIABEKII. 

mingled witli the most ridiculous traditions. He 
listened with much interest to the Bible story of the 
life of Joseph, saying at every portion which he 
recognised, "Yes, that's right, that's right," and at 
the conclusion he admitted that my story was better 
than his. Among other extraordinary ideas he said, 
tliat the Jews in Alexandria watched every Saturday 
niglit by the river side, expecting to see Closes rise 
out of the water. He fully believed that Moses did 
appear there, and his not having seen him, as yet, 
did not in the smallest de2;ree shake his belief in the 

CD 

fact. We wished much that our dragoman could 
read the Bil)le for himself, for there was a great 
deal of intelligence in liini ; and it seemed at times as 
thougli he were ready to embrace tlie light of truth. 
On our return we began teaching him to read, and 
he was so very clever at it, and learnt so quickly, 
that we could not but regret that we had not begun 
from the first. Four months would have gone a 
great way towards teaching him, but it was late 
now ; and our lessons were Avell-nigh brought to a 
tragical end when the iSIussulman discovered that, 
in order to reach the envied point of spelling his 
own name, it was absolutely necessary that his lips 
should frame the unclean word Jiam — Mo-ham-ed ! 

At five P.M. of Saturday, Feb. 2nd, the wind 
abated a little, and we removed to the village of 
Shellal, the starting-point for the Cataracts, bidding a 
last adieu to the lovely island, witli its surrounding 
groups of rocks : and it was arrnngcd with tlie Re'is 



TFTF, WII-KUL PII.OTS. 291 

of the Cataracts, that he should take us clown at 
eight o'clock the following morning. He had wished 
us to go at three o'clock a.m., but whatever people in 
health might have done, it was clearly impossible 
for our invalids to witness the scene at such an hour 
without risk ; neither were they inclined to lie quietly 
in their beds, and to pass the alarming and pic- 
turesque passage blindfold. Eight o'clock then was 
agreed to, and after ordering a cup of warm coifee 
to be prepared for our early breakfast, we i-ctirexl to 
rest. 

Sunday^ Feb. 'ircL — At seven a.m. Bedlam seemed 
to have broken loose. All the wild ' Reis ' and their 
retinue appeared on the bank, the cliicf was ready, 
and we must go now, or not at all. They chattered, 
and shouted, and screamed, and tumbled ropes and 
other necessaries into the boat. ]\Iohamed was be- 
wildered, ruslied down perpetually to the cabin 
entreating us to come up. ' Cousin Phil ' was dress- 
ing, quietly unconscious of the uproar ; Selina was 
just out of bed : Ave replied that we should come as 
quickly as we could, but start before we were all 
on deck, they must not. When we chd appear, still 
before the appointed hour, they said the wind liad 
risen, and that we could not go, either now, or at 
any hour of tlie day, even supposing tlie Avind should 
fall. They must have had some private reason for all 
this ; but ' Cousin Phil ' took it very quietly. We 
preferred waiting any number of daj's to passing the 
Cataracts without sceinij; (lie descent, and we knew 



292 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

that they could uot take any other boat down before 
us. Each vessel must be taken in its proper £urn, 
or the pilots are liable to a heavy fine. As long as 
they said tlie wind blew, we were obliged to remain, 
whether it did blow or not, for the ' Cairo ' was too 
large and heavy for us to risk any responsibility in 
persuading them to start. Mohamed was extremely 
anxious about it, and I believe he fully expected 
some catastrophe. Another dahabeeh had been so 
much damaged on its way, that its journey was 
delayed several days for repairs. And we learnt 
afterwards that the ' Cairo ' last year had had 
three planks damaged in the descent of the Cataracts, 
which accounted somewhat for the anxiety of the 
Reis and the dragoman. 

Sunday, then, was spent at Shellal. Selina and I 
rode on donkeys to Assouan to see what boats were 
there. All our friends were gone. They had 
reached Shellal before the high winds had set in 
with so much force, and had proceeded at once. 

Monday^ Feb. Afh. — This time we were ready 
before our pilots. The wind was favourable, but 
though seven a.m. was the appointed hour, they did 
not appear ; and it was ' Cousin Phil's ' turn now to 
complain. We watched anxiously, and Mohamed 
was very wroth. Two other vessels had arrived, 
one bearing the French, the other the English flag ; 
a photographer and a pretty gazelle were on board, 
the latter doomed to be exported, and to die of 
cold in England. Yet its ways are so winning 



PREPARATIONS FOU THE CATARACTS. 2US 

it is not surprising that travellers should be 
tempted to carry the gazelle away from its native 
soil, and I almost coveted the pretty, bright-eyed 
creature. The wind would continue to rise — what 
should we do ? " Oh, no fear," said Mohamed, " it is 
Monday to-day ! " His superstitions were always 
ready to suit the occasion — he wanted to keep us 
quiet, though he was far from quiet himself. 

Down they came at last, the whole of the wild 
party, — four grisly chiefs with their retinue. In 
another instant, the Frenchman's dragoman had gone 
up to them, and they were all squatted composedly 
on the ground for a parley. This was too n.uch ; 
Mohamed went up to them, bribed them, and threatened 
them with the anger of the Rajah, and other dread- 
ful calamities ; but we did not gain our point until 
we walked determinately towards the French daha- 
beeh, to request that the gentleman would withdraw 
his dragoman. On this Mohamed made renewed 
exertions, and literally dragged the tardy pilots on 
board the ' Cairo.' 

At a ^^yi minutes before eio-ht a.m. we succeed in 

o 

starting. The four pilots take their stations in 
various parts of the boat, one at the helm in the 
place of 'El Abiad,' while twenty-four new rowers re- 
place our own twelve, two to each oar. The whole 
direction of the boat is handed over to the new- 
comers, and our men look on, whilst a Nubian is 
perched on the edge of the quarter-deck, holding a 
long rosary of beads in his hands. 



294 FOUK MOMUS IN A DAUABEKII. 

Tliey row the boat silently through rocky pass- 
ages, where it has only just room enough to pass, 
till we arrive at the entrance of the great Cataracts. 
A narrow pass, indeed, for a boat like ours. The 
water is boiling, foaming, and whirling within it, over 
a hard bed of rocks ; and rocks enclose it on either 
side. It certainly does look formidable. The excite- 
ment of the Reis increases ; anxiety is depicted 
on every one of the Arab countenances ; the row- 
ers raise their oars, and sit immovably in their 
seats ; the rosary-man l)egins repeating the Koran, as 
fast as his lips can move. We are all ordered to be 
seated. Mohamed, fearing that Selina and I may 
tumble overboard, makes a dart at us, squats down 
on the deck beside us, catches hold of our dresses 
with both hands, to hold us fast, and with every 
muscle in his face hard at work, he calls on " E 
Sekle ! E Seide!" (the Saint of the Cataracts,) to 
protect our passage. The poor Reis, the ' old man,' 
is wild with anxiety now, for there is a very sharp 
turn at the end of the passage, and the leugtii of the 
' Cairo ' is against her. He stands at the helm, and 
in we dash ; we strike against one rock mid-way, 
and we feel another rock under us ; but in scarcely 
more than a minute and a half the dreaded corner 
is turned in safety. ' Cousin Phil ' was delighted mtli 
the skill of the old Reis, and the manner in which he 
had steered the vessel through. The rock had made a 
small liok' in one of the planks, but the Arabs all 
maintained that we broke the rock ; not the rock 



THE CATARACTS PASSED. 295 

US ! Shaking of hands and congratulations now went 
round, the men resumed their oars, and we wound 
once again between the picturesque rocky islands 
towards Assouan. The pilots resumed their equa- 
nimity, together with tlieir pipes, taking snatches at 
them and at the helm by turns, while the handsome 
cook-boy carried his original cofFee-pot round, and 
served out its contents to the strangers. 

The mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous in 
the whole scene was so absurd, that it kept down 
fear in our minds. The intense and novel excite- 
ment, added to the suppressed expectation of ap- 
proaching danger, brought on hysterical fits of 
laugliing, and the tears rolled copiously from our 
eyes. The passage down the Cataracts far exceeded 
our expectations, and was universally acknowledged 
the crowning scene of the Nile trip. 

We thouo;ht that we mi<>:ht be much more 
alarmed were we to attempt it a second time, when 
the novelty would have passed away, and the danger 
be more apparent. The cleverness of tlie native 
pilots, however, is so great, that there is no reason 
to avoid the Cataracts from fear of danger ; and it 
is a sight well worth seeing, in which opinion both 
Thomas and Sarah warmly agreed with us. Twelve 
guineas, or thereabouts, is the sum paid for taking a 
large vessel tlu'ough the Cataracts, besides a ' bak- 
sheesh,' over and above, of about 2/. Half the sum 
is paid going up, the other half coming down ; but 
prices liave increased during the last few years, nnd 



2t>6 VOUR MOXTH.S IN A DAHABEEH. 

therefore may do so still. Moliained told us that 
the money collected by the pilots during the season 
is put aside in a common purse, till no more daha- 
beehs are expected. It is then divided ; one portion 
between the pilots, the rest between the other men 
who form the population of the village of Shellal, 
the whole company being one and the same family. 
A good thing they must make of it, for certainly 
their mode of housekeeping is not extravagant. 



297 



CHAPTER VIII. 

ASSOUAN, JvAENAK, DENDERAH. 

We reached Assouan in about an hour from the 
moment of starting, and sat down to breakfast at 
ten A.M., mooring against the iskmd of Elephantine. 
The name of this island is represented in hierogly- 
phics by the form of an elephant. A portion of the 
staircase that served for the ancient Nilometer is 
still in existence, but I cannot say that we saw it, 
though Mohamed showed the spot, and one of our 
men got out of the boat, and groped into an opening 
in tlie rock to point it out. ]\Iohamed afterwards 
said it was still under water. As we could do no 
more, we were content to believe that it either was or 
ought to be there, and the curious hieroglyphics on 
the surrounding stones, together with a few traces of 
building, were at any rate proofs of something 
having once stood there, wdiich was no doubt the 
veritable Nilometer. 

At Assouan there is a manufactory of the red 
and black pottery of the ancient Egyptians. It has 
been kept up from the old times in this town and at 



298 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEKH. 

Sioot. The pottery is extremely pretty. It is 
made of a clay wliicli is found near this town, 
formed on a very simple lathe, coloured before it is 
baked, and engraved with curious devices by means 
of a pointed iron tool. We purchased some vases, 
small crocodiles, and birds, in this ware, the flat bases 
of which were scored all over, and intended to be 
used as a flesh-brush after a Turkish bath. A fjither 
and his two sons were the manufacturers. We did 
not see a very large assortment of goods, for other 
travellers had purchased them before our arrival. 

Mr. M n's dahabeeh was at Assouan. He 

dined with us twice, and kindly lent us an English 
translation of the Koran to look at. Perhaps it was 
the curiosity natural to our sex that made Selina 
and me so anxious to look into it, for 'Cousin Phil' 
did not in the least care to see it ; he said he " could 
not see why people should not be satisfied with the 
Bible." And we were soon satisfied that no book in 
the world could be more full of vain repetitions and 
absurd stories than the Koran. 

The dust had blown up in most unpleasant clouds 
during our stay at Assouan, and we were anxious to 
be off. Our Reis had gone to pay a visit to his 
home ; the charcoal was a long time coming in ; and 
half the men were away amusing themselves. There 
was some trouble in collecting them all ; indeed they 
did not come until they saw that preparations were 
making for starting without them. 

Wediiesday^ Feb. GM. — AVe left Assouan : the 



' BLACKEY'6 ' HOME. 299 

Reis was to join us in a few hours, but the Reis 
came not. The wind was high and contrary. We 
had nearly reached the home of Httle ' Blackey/ 
which, had the Keis been on the boat, he would have 
been allowed to visit. The hours pass by ; the boat 
makes little progress, and the sad face of the young 
Arab attracts our attention. He cannot prevail 
with the dragoman, and with tears in his eyes he 
appeals to us. " Sitte, sitte ! Ana! (Lady, lady ! I, 
home! home !") pointing first to himself, then to the 
shore, and ejaculating the last word in a tone 
which told that he thought that the key which 
would most surely unlock our hearts. He was 
right ; the appeal was irresistible, and we spoke for 
him. He was packed off with his three dollars for 
his mother, who was a widow, and a promise of 
" twenty sticks " if he were not back by dinner-time. 
It was almost an impossibility that he should be 
back by that time, but, happily for him, his mother 
saw the boat in the distance, and came to meet him. 
Poor '■ Blackey ! ' wlicn she came she only scolded 
him for not bringing her more money ; and when he 
returned to the boat with the bread she had brought 
for him, she sat down on the ground to cry. The 
son's heart was moved to compassion ; he undressed, 
and threw to her, for his little brother, the white waist- 
coat wliich he had put on for his ' best.' I fear our 
friend was not faultless. By the law of the Koran a 
son is bound to give half his wages to support a 
widowed mother; and this son, it appears, should 



300 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEII. 

have had much more than three dollars to give on 
the present occasion. 

Tlmraday^ Feb. 1th. — The truant Reis arrived at 
last. He never should have been allowed to go, 
and, to our astonishment, he came in smiling and 
bowing, and was greeted by dragoman and crew 
with the usual number of friendly ' salaams ' and 
good wishes. When all this was duly over, he received 
a good ' set down ' from Mohamed. 

' El Abiad ' was next allowed to go home, with a 
solemn promise of returning by sunset, which he did. 
He. was supposed to be ^engaged' to a Nubian 
' belle ' in these parts, to whom he was to be married 
in the course of the summer, when English people 
were out of the way. ' El Abiad ' was very sad 
indeed about the long delay of his wedding. 
Mohamed said it was because he was going to be 
married that he always said double the number 
of prayers of any other man in the boat ; and 
certain it was that the steersman, from the date 
of this visit, whenever his duties permitted him, was 
always upon his knees. 

At one P.M. we reached Kom Ombo. The temple, 
though deeply embedded in the sand, is very interest- 
ing and pretty. It is dedicated to the crocodile- 
headed god, ' Savah,' whose figure occurs on the 
walls. On some parts of the roof of the portico the 
figures were left unfinished, and furnish an example 
of the Egyptian practice of drawing them in squares 
when the pictures were begun. It is supposed that 



K03I OMBO. 301 

this was only practised when the artist was copying 
from another drawino;. 

A second buikHng towers over the river ; it is 
covered with hierogIy])hics, and large masses which 
have fallen from it lie on the bank, as though ready 
to slip into the water. Both are of the times of the 
Ptolemies ; hut there is another gateway here 
which bears the name of Thothmes III. and Anuin- 
nou-Het, who erected the great obelisks of Karuak. 
Many parts of the crude brick wall which enclosed 
the temple are visible above the sand. Beyond it is 
a cemetery, but the heat was so extreme it would not 
have been prudent to venture further, and we re- 
turned to the boat. 

This evening we reached the hills, 'Aboo 
Moolar,' which Mohamed amusingly recalled to our 
minds by saying, in a high-pitched note, " Don't you 
remember the echo, when you called ' Se-lie-e- 
na .'' 

The Reis was troublesome ao;ain. Mohamed 
could not manaofc him alone, so he came into the 
saloon, saying, " If you please, tell ' Pa-pa ' to come 
with me to the Governor at Esneh, with the Beis. 
He will make the boat go at night, and I can't stop 
him." 'Cousin Phil' shouted out, in the voice of a 
'Commander-in-chief,' for tlie benefit of the said 
Beis on deck, " I will not go at night, and I will not 
go before seven o'clock in the morning!" Mohamed 
looked terrified, and began an apologetic " La, la." 
But 'Cousin Pliil' continued, "And you may tell the 



302 FOU]{ MONTHS IN A DATTABEEII. 

Reis that I am ready to go to the Governor, or any 
body else you please, with him." Mohamed's fear was 
turned into joy ; he scarcely waited to hear the end, 
but patted ' Cousin Phil ' on the hack, with a " Thank 
you, sir, thank you, sir ; that's right !" and away he 
went. The Reis never tried ffoino; at ni<j;ht anv 
more. ' Cousin Phil' remarked, " That's the only way 
to do it," and we continued our game at back- 
gammon. 

About this time the noise which the rudder made 
during the night, from not being properly tied up, 
was so great as to prevent our sleeping. We had a 
great deal of trouble about it, and only succeeded at 
last by getting up in the middle of the night, and 
rousing Mohamed to have it set to rights. He was 
very angry, but still it required two nights' disturb- 
ance of his sleep to secure our own. He then took 
fright, thinking we were displeased with him, and 
one day came up, looking greatly agitated, and, 
counting on his fingers, said, " Well, there's Philte, 
one; the rudder, two; the Reis, three : well, that's not 
much ; three in three months ; good ladies, good 
heart, you know, not think about this ?" He spoke in 
most implming accents, casting all the time the most 
beseeching looks at us. It was hard to look grave 
at so absurd an appeal, yet it was melancholy to see 
a character spoilt, as Mohamed's was, and as, indeed, 
is that of most Mussulmen, by the cringing dread 
of the displeasure of their superiors. The whole 
people seem to be cowed down, bearing in every 



TIIK Ql'AltKIKS. 303 

Avjiy tlio look of a conquered nation fulfillinj;- tlic 
prophecies of Scripture concerning them. 

Fridaif, Feb. Sfh. — We reached the quarries and 
grottoes of Silsilis at three p.m. This evening was 
devoted to the western side. The principal grotto 
was commenced by Horus, b c. 1337. We bunted 
out his oval on the wall, as also the picture which 
represents him pursuing his conquered enemy Cush, 
the Ethiopians. The sul)jects are difficult to make 
out, for there is not much light witbin, and the 
walls are blackened by the ' mashals.' The grotto 
is cut in the rock, with five openings in front like 
doorways. There are figures on the rocky pillars left 
between them, and hieroglyphics all over. The chief 
scientific interest of these grottoes consists in the 
mention, among the hieroglyphics, of some assemblies 
held during the reign of Remeses the Great. There 
are other smaller grottoes and niches further up on 
the edge of the river. In one of them we noticed a 
bed of the alluvial deposit left there by the inunda- 
tion of this season. The first Cataracts were origi- 
nally here, till a fall of the rocks removed them to 
Assouan. 

The natives of Silsilis all carry guns. They 
hunt the gazelle, and brought us some of the meat 
for sale. Mohamed called it delicious. Without 
saying that it was bad, we did not discover its 
excellence. 

Tlie coi-n was in ear on the l)aiik at Silsilis, nnd 



304 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

the cracks in the soil made ])j the heat of the sun 
were so deep and wide as to make it quite a matter 
of difficulty for ' Cousin Phil ' to walk upon it. 

Saturday^ Feb. dih. — Selina and I w^ent with our 
guides to see the quarries on the opposite shore. 
They are far more extensive than those on the 
western side, and marvellous in their gigantic pro- 
portions. They may be compared to a town, with 
streets leading down to the river, and large open 
squares in all directions. The walls rise to the 
height of sixty feet, perpendicularly hewn on tlie 
rock, and blocks, large and small, lie strewn about 
on the ground. The marks of the wedges and tools 
used in cutting the stone are seen on many portions 
of it, and every cut is so clean and dry, no sign of 
age having accumulated upon the pale-coloured 
sandstone, that one is apt to look round inquiringly 
for the multitude who worked the gigantic works. 
Were they but now suddenly swept away, leaving 
their unfinished labour behind them, and whither 
were they gone ? 

The quarries extend a long way. Those furthest 
to the south are the most remarkable, but they were 
too far oflf for us, and we were obliged to leave them 
and return to the boat. I think we enjoyed these 
quarries as much as anything we had seen, and, 
curiously enough, here we picked up the best 
specimen of ' pudding-stone ' that we had ever 
come across. It was sandstone like the rest, and, 



THE MODEL TEMPLE. 305 

put ill a plate on ta))le, it might have been mistaken 
for a real bit of plum-pudding. 

Little progress could still be made on account 
of the contrar\^ wind, and at half-past seven p.m. we 
moored under the shelter of the bank. 

Sunday^ Feb. 10th. — Proofs of having left Nubia 
behind us were accumulating fast : a larger number 
of sails appeared on the water ; birds again were 
flying overhead ; the natives wore more clotliing — 
the fields were more green ; mosquitoes again claimed 
our attention, but the flies did not tease, and gave us 
a temporary rest. 

At noon we reached Edfoo. Its temple is very 
remarkable; it is preserved almost entire, and thus 
gives a good idea of what the Egyptian temples 
originally were. Their massive structure has more 
the appearance of a fortress than of a building 
appropriated for sacred worship. The richness of 
the sculptures on every portion of the walls asto- 
nishes the eye, but they are far from possessing 
any beauty of form. The towers, courts, pillars, 
chambers, and enclosing walls, remain in the temple 
at Edfoo, — a model more or less of what all its 
neighbours were. It is of the date of the Ptolemies. 
Among the sculptures are sailing-boats ; fishing- 
nets, from the absence of perspective apparently 
full of every kind of creature ; the spearing of the 
hi[)popotamus in the water ; chiefs cutting off the 
heads of fifteen prisoners at one stroke, &c. &c. Two 

X 



306 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

hundred steps, eacli two inches high, lead in a gentle 
incline to the tops of the towers, whence an ex- 
tensive view is obtained. We spent three hours 
in this temple ; and when Mohamed had made a 
purchase of thirty chickens, we started again, and 
rowed till ten p.m. A great number of wild geese 
congregate here, and the pigeon-houses at Edfoo 
are on an elaborate scale. 

Monday, Feb. 11th. — At half- past twelve we 
reached El Rab. The wind was so high, and the 
dust blew in our faces in such thick clouds, that 
we almost gave up the expedition to the grottoes ; 
but we did go, and reached them in safety, veiled 
and spectacled, though on extremely unsafe donkeys. 
The grottoes are hewn in succession along the side 
of the hill. These tombs are extremely interesting, 
from the remains of the painted subjects on their 
walls. They are so mutilated that it takes some 
time to decipher them ; but we did succeed in 
finding out, on one side, the harvest-labours of the 
ancients, from the reaping of the corn to the baking 
of the bread in the oven. On the opposite wall of 
the grotto is the banquet, over which the master 
of the house and his wife preside, sitting on a 
throne at one end of the apartment, she having her 
riorht arm thrown round his neck, and at the further 
end the death and funeral ceremony of the owner 
of the tomb is depicted. 

The grottoes date from the sixteenth century 



SECOND IMPRESSIONS. 307 

before Christ, and the name of a khig of the sixth 
dynasty (about 2030 B.C.) is found on a rock in the 
valley by those who know how to read it. 

The temples are small, and were beyond our 
reach ; but we noticed the enclosing crude brick 
wall of the old town of Eleitliyias : substantial it 
is still, and is said to have been thirty feet broad. 
We resumed our way. The wind blew the vessel 
against the shore, so that we were obliged to stop 
till its violence abated. At five p.m. we proceeded 
again, but did not reach Esneh till the following 
morning. Though the wind was so high, it was 
gradually becoming warmer, and the thermometer 
pointed to 94° in the sun. 

Tuesday^ Feb^^th. — We reached Esneh. The 
city appeared to us now far more worthy the name 
tfcan before. Had our ideas expandi^d or contracted? 
What we deemed only a mud village on the way 
up the river we now saw clearly to be a town of 
some importance. The streets, which we had called 
alleys, appeared spacious ; and, alas for the force of 
habit, what had appeared to us dirty in the extreme, 
was now pronounced to be, on /tlie contrary, rather 
clean. Excepting in this latter point, at which we 
were naturally grieved, we decided that the change 
in our ideas was on the side of expansion. The entire 
novelty had worn away, and we could, no doubt, 
form a more just estimate of the various objects 
around us than was contained in the first sweeping 
condemnations of poor, small, narrow, low, &c. &c. 



308 FOUli MONTHS IN A DATIABEEH. 

— everytliing, with the exception of filthy, which all 
here really is, and, so long as Turks and Arabs exist 
as such, ever will he. We took another look at the 
beautiful portico, and walked through the bazaar. 
On our return we found that some misunderstanding 
had been going on between tlie Rei's and the crew. 
They were all assembled before the Governor of 
Esneh, and we thouglit we should never get them 
back again. The explanation of the affair given to 
us was as follows: — The Reis was condemned to 
receive ' 150 sticks,' laid across the feet. The 
company of Reis on the Nile all hold together as 
' brothers.' When such a judgment is pronounced 
on one of them, if another is in the way, he steps 
forward to redeem the punishment: he lies down 
on the ground by the side of the culprit, draws 
across his own feet the chain which had been placed 
on those of the delinquent, and claims the awarded 
blows in lieu of his ' brother.' The punishment is 
then remitted ; but the accusers are satisfied, because 
the humiliation is esteemed equal to the actual 
strokes. 

We did not see the proceeding, and were rather 
sceptical as to the truth of the statement ; and, 
liaving mentioned it on our return to several persons 
acquainted with the country, we found that they had 
never heard of such a custom. Yet certain it is that 
something lasted more than two liours ; that every man 
in the boat was summoned; that the Reis of Lord 
H 's dahabeeh, which we found at Esneh, was 



THE ' fool' DESERTS. 309 

called in ; tliat our Reis returned when all was over, 
looking alarmingly scowling ; that he did not speak 
one word to an}^ man in the boat for some davs, and 
remained on sulky terms with the dragoman to the 
last; and that our ' fool' (Hassan the ' Comic'), who 
had been reprimanded at Silsilis about his dress, or 
rather undress, and had been rather sulky ever 
since, ended his 'fooleries' here, in so far as we 
were concerned, by turning out in a very smart suit, 
which transformed him from a very ugly into a 
handsome man, and deserting our service. We 
saw him, a few weeks later, in one of the towns 
further north, looking quite like a gentlemari, with 
a walking-stick in one hand, and leading an equally 
well-dressed child by the other. When Hassan had 
been one of our crew, he had frequently pleaded 
poverty to excuse the rag with which he covered 
himself. Fortunately for us, our boat was so well 
manned that it was not necessary to take in another 
pair of hands. 

We left Esneli at four p.m., and rowed till ten r.M. 
This was an extremely warm evening : the thermo- 
meter rose to 80° in the cabins. 

Wednesday^ Feb. I3th {Ash -Wednesday). — The 
sua was extremely hot, yet the wind was so high 
that the awning could not be kept up, and we were 
forced to take refuge below. 

Some of our 'antiquities' were so fragrant with 
mummy -perfume, that we amused ourselves with 
giving them a good washing. 1 fear this was not 



310 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

a very scientific proceeding, and that it did not 
increase the antique appearance of our treasures ; 
but though we might have deteriorated a httle in 
our ideas of cleanliness, the natural instinct had not 
quite disappeared, and we voted that, '• coute-qui-coute^ 
the virtue should extend to our treasures : into the 
tub they all went, to the immense satisfaction of 
Mohamed, who walked in immediately with a lemon, 
and asked leave to assist in perfecting the process. 

We passed by Erment without landing; and on 
Thursday, Feb. 14th, at eight a.m., the ruins of Luxor 
again came into view. Thebes was now a harbour 
full of floating dahabeehs, at whose mast-heads were 
waving the flags of almost every European nation. 
Including the ' Cairo,' there were twelve such ves- 
sels, whose gaily -painted sides, the costumes of the 
various crews, together with the waving banners 
and pennants, formed a very gay scene. All was 
not gay, however, within. The dahabeehs were, for 
the most jiart, the houses of so many invalids; and 

amongst them were Mr. and Mrs. M , only 

waiting for a steamer to take them in all haste back 

to Cairo. Mr. H was also here, and the " four 

young gentlemen" (as Mohamed called them) from 
the Desert, who had chosen a 'crinoline' for their 
ensign. 

Letters again were the first thought, and eagerly 
I dived into the Consul's box and collected a large 
budget of them, and of newspapers, which had accu- 
mulated there during the past two months and a 



THE CONSUL AT LUXOR. 311 

lialf. IIow anxiously we opened them, one after 
the other, for who could tell what time might have 
accomplished in that space ? Some friends had 
passed from this world to their rest, but our own 
immediate belongings had been preserved well and 
happy ; and with thankful hearts we sat down to 
answer the budget, before proceeding to any further 
investigations into antiquity. 

The Consul, Mustapha Agra, paid us a con- 
veniently short visit, which was most inconveniently 
lengthened out by Mohamed, who actually sent him 
back again, that he might receive the indispensable 
cup of coffee. The Consul can boast of no personal 
attractions, but he behaved himself very politely, 
and inquired anxiously if Mohamed had perforuied 
his duties satisfactorily. , He appeared quite ready 
to take him to task, had he not done so. Mustapha 
was formerly in the service of an English family 
settled in Alexandria. He removed with them to 
England, remained there some years, and returned 
a2:ain wdth them to Alexandria. When he left their 
service he was made Consul at Luxor, his native 
place. He is an intelligent man, and knows how to 
make a little money out of the ancient inhabitants of 
his birthplace. A few days ago he dug up two large 
mummy-cases, very brillianth^ painted. He gene- 
rally sells them before they are opened, so that the 
purchaser takes the chance of treasure or no treasure 
within. One of the visitors at Luxor bought these 
two for 70/., and found nothing within but a few gilt 



312 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEKH. 

figures. We were told, on good authority, that a 
mummy is rarely worth more than 5/. or 6/. The 
Consul showed us two rolls of papyrus, which would 
have tempted us much more. He asked 10/. for 
one, and 12/. for the other. They were between two 
and three inches wide, and of considerable length. 
He unrolled a portion of one to show us the writing 
upon it; it was written all over in small characters; 
the other had figures of men, horses, &c. The 
papyrus must be wetted with water before it can be 
unrolled. It has the appearance of a sheet of bark, 
of a pale yellow colour. There is but one spot 
where it is said still to grow. (Isa. xix. 7.) 

The first greeting a stranger receives on arriving 
at Thebes is from the donkey-boys, and up to a late 
hour in the evening the cry was heard, up and down 
the bank, " Karnak glorious ! Karnak mag-ni-fi-cent ! 
To-morrow, Karnak, lady ! Very good donkey ! 
Donkey go like steam-boat, lady ! ^.r-qui-site don- 
key-boy ! Every gentleman give donkey-boy bak- 
sheesh! plenty! &c. &c." 

The donkey-boys are right — Karnak is glorious; 
it is magnificent ! Some of the donkeys do go " like 
steam-boats," and it is a hard matter to make them 
go slowly, with their "e.rquisite" attendants behind 
them, urging them on with the points of their sticks, 
accompanied by the most inhuman sounds that 
human throat ever uttered, but which apparently 
are well understood by the donkey tribe. Some 
of the little Arabs were veiry clever and amusing. 



VIEW OF KARNAK. 313 

and had a considerable English vocabulary on the tip 
of their tongues ; others were very dull and stupid. 

Karnak would occupy many a day without 
weariness, and we gave as much time to it as 
strength would allow. The view of the ruins from 
the south is very fine indeed, and the general idea of 
the extent of the great temple of Amun thus obtained, 
is perhaps more pleasing than the inspection of any 
one particular portion. Its five or six gateways, 
the obelisks, the columns of the Great Hall, those 
of numberless other courts and avenues, the colossi 
broken and scattered about, the four avenues of 
sphinxes which led to it on four sides, the two lakes, 
one of which is said to be extremely salt, may all be 
seen from thence. It was a striking and beautiful 
picture. The surrounding country was bright with 
the rising corn, the stately palm-trees rose against 
the clear blue sky, and the brilliant sunshine gave 
an exquisite colouring to everything. The wonders 
of the " Great Hall of Columns," 134 in number ; 
the subjects of the sculptures within ; the battle- 
scenes without; the chamber surrounded with lion- 
headed statues in black granite, the sphinxes, and 
androsphinxes ; the name of Shishak, King of Egypt, 
who was cotemporary with Solomon ; the repre- 
sentation of the captives taken by him at Jerusalem, 
when he went up against it in the reign of Relioboam 
(2 Chron. xii.) — are all full of interest; and with 
the assistance of Murray's Hand-book may be traced 
out to a considerable extent. 



314 " FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

The original buildings, of which a very few 
remains are to be found, date from Osirtasen I., 
about 2020 B.C. The greater number of the existing 
ruins are of the age of Amunoph I., 1498 B.C., and 
many of his successors. The temples of Thebes 
were destroyed or defaced in the invasion of Cam- 
byses, 525 B.C.; but Karnak, it is said, suffered more 
particularly in the second century before Christ, at 
the hands of Ptolemy Lathyrus. 

Our second expedition was to the Tombs of the 
Kings, on the opposite side. They are now called 
' Biban el Moluk,' the Gates of the Kings. Well 
miglit those who chose the spot have thought them- 
selves safe from disturbance by the hand of man. A 
ride of an hour and a half over barren rock and sand, 
down a ravine flanked on either side by perpendicular 
cliffs or huge boulders, brings the traveller to these 
abodes of the dead. The principal tomb is that 
which was opened by Belzoni, and bears his name. 
Three flights of steps, all but perpendicular, lead 
down to its subterranean halls and chambers, each of 
which is sculptured and painted all over in colours 
as bright as though they had but just been laid on. 
The scenes relate chiefly to the death and burial of 
the owner of the tomb. In one chamber, where the 
paintings are unfinished, the figures are drawn first 
with a red line, and then apparently corrected with 
a black one, supposed to be that of the master. They 
are drawn without squares. A few patches of 
colouring were begun, but left unfinished. The 



THE TOMBS OF THE KINGS. 315 

entire length of tliis tomb exceeds 320 feet., and its 
depth 90 feet. The descent appeared penlous in the 
extreme, but down we all went, and we came up 
again in safety. 

This was as much as ' Cousin Phil ' could accom- 
plish ; but Selina and I visited Bruce's tomb, which 
contains the representation of the two Harpists first 
given in " Bruce's Travels." They are drawn with 
striking expression and elegance on the walls of one 
of the small chambers which line either side of the 
long passage at the entrance of the tomb. The 
drawing of the subjects represented on the walls of 
these chambers is remarkable and interesting, as 
showing the household occupations, the articles of 
furniture for their houses, the arms, the ships, and 
the agricultural customs of the ancient Egyptians. 

Examinino; into all these had well-ui2;li exhausted 
Selina's remaining strength, and Sarah alone accom- 
panied me with the guides into the third principal 
tomb, called Memnon's tomb. Our time was short, 
and we could do barely more than rush through ; 
yet we saw enough of the long processions on the 
walls and vaulted roofs of the chambers, painted in 
brilliant yellow on a black ground, to make us wish 
we could have remained much longer. 

Time would not wait for us, even in Egypt; 
evening was drawing on, and considerably fatigued, 
both in mind and bod}^, from the interest and length 
of the expedition, our cavalcade set out again, the 
donkey-boys picking up a few fossils for us on the 



316 ' FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABEEH. 

way, or offering a hand or some other portion of a 
disinterred niiimmv for sale. It was revoltino; to 
see them handle these latter, for surely no curiosity 
or love of antiquity should overcome the feeling of 
respect and reverence which ought ever to be shown 
to the remains of the dead, even though they come 
before us in the forms of Egyptian mummies. 

Sunday intervened before the third expedition at 
Thebes, and gave us a day of rest, though not a 
public service, on the deck of one of the dahabeehs, 
as we had hoped. All the travellers assembled on 
shore in expectation of it; but, through some mis- 
take, the missionary did not offer it ; so that, after 
waiting for some time, we had our private assembly 
for Church service as usual. In the afternoon some 
horsemen were sent down on the bank by the 
Governor or Consul, to play the 'Gereet' for our 
entertainment. Tlie 'Crinoline' party setup a tent, 
and offered cake and champagne to their guests, 
kindly inviting us to join them and see the ' Gereet.' 
There were not many horsemen present, and they 
seemed to play without mucli distinctive plan; but 
they threw their long lances or sticks in the air and 
caught them again with much skill, while the horses 
were going at full gallop. It was a graceful game, 
and we regretted to hear that it is fast dying out in 
Egypt. 

Monday, Feb. ISth, was devoted to visiting the 
temple-palace of Medeenet Haboo. This must have 
been a splendid building. The halls and columns still 



THE TEMPLE-rALACE. 317 

remaining, strike the spectator with astonishment. 
The sculptures on the interior of the walls are full 
of interest. On one we traced out the coronation 
procession of the king, and the carrier-pigeons which 
were to fly to the four corners of the world, to 
announce his coronation to the gods of the south, 
north, east, and west. On the outer walls many 
hattle - scenes are delineated, but provokingly in- 
terrupted by the heaps of rubbish thrown up against 
the walls in clearing out the ruins. Among the 
sculptures describing the victories of the king, heaps 
of the amputated hands of the slain are piled before 
the conqueror; an officer counts them one by one, 
and a scribe notes them down, 3000 in each heap. 
We took our luncheon among the ruins, and some 
Arabs came again for a sale of ' antiques^'' which are 
sure to meet one at every ruin. We bid adieu to 
this side of the wonderful city with regret, for we 
were to leave Thebes to-morrow. 

To-morrow came and we did not start, but paid 
one more visit to Karnak, and underwent a consider- 
able ' baking' in so doing. In the afternoon we went 
to see a collection of curiosities, " the manufactory 
of antiquities," as it is called; the owner enjoying a 
high reputation for skill in his art. They were 
extremely curious, and in many, no doubt, we might 
have been easily deceived; but there were some in 
which even our inexperienced eyes could detect the 
signs of modern workmanship. The Arab guides 
are supposed to l»c ade])ts nt pointinii; out the dis- 



318 FOni MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

tinction to strangers ; and the best plan for tlie 
uninitiated is to trust to them in this matter, and be 
content if among a lot of rubbish they bring home 
one or two articles of some value. 

Wed7iesday^ Feb. 20th. — Mohamed was so long 
in his preparations for departure, that we did not 
start till half-past three p.m. The donkey-boys, to 
the number of forty, were assemlDled on the bank, 
shouting "Good-bye, lady! baksheesh! me! lady, 
me ! " at the highest pitch of their voice. We threw 
them some coppers, and a sudden silence and 
scramble ensued as we rowed off, the crew raising 
their usual shout and chant. All the vessels that 
we had found at Thebes had left, and a new set 
had replaced them there. 

We reached the palace of the Sheikh whom we 
had promised to visit on our return, so late, that we 
were obliged to give up both the visit and the 
' Gereet play' which he had promised us. We 
rowed past ai^sd Mohamed landed, returning with " a 
jar of honey (treacle), a couple of turkeys, and a 
quantity of charcoal, presents from my friend." He 
had made the Sheikh several presents on his former 
visit, and this was his return. 

Thur.sdai/, Feb. 2lst. — At Negadeh our cook 
went on shore, and returned with a large stock of 
the cotton Malaiat for his family. These cloths are 
manufactured here and exported to the other towns. 
They are very like blue-checked French cotton, and 
some have red silk borders, which look extremely 



THE TEMPLK OF VENUS. 319 

well. A little further on, at ' Ballas,' is the manu- 
factory of large water -jars, called ' Ballasee,' the 
rafts of which we saw constantly floating down. 
The crew did not seem inclined to their work to-day. 
Their long holiday at Thebes had made them lazy, 
and there was some trouble in getting them to row 
us as far as Gheneh. The thermometer rose to 100° 
in the sun. 

Friday^ Feb. 22 nd. — It was at Gheneh that the 
donkey -chair and our whole cavalcade had first 
appeared on the scene, and we recalled with amuse- 
ment the impressions of our first expedition, as the 
chair and the donkey's were ferried across to convey 
us to the temple of Denderah, on the western side of 
the river : we were getting quite used to it all now. 

The ride on this second visit occupied three- 
quarters of an hour. A portion of the road lay 
below the telegraph wires, between two railway -like 
embankments, modern and unromantic- looking in 
the extreme, and little in accordance with the train 
of thought and anticipation suggested by a visit to 
the renowned ' Temple of Yenus.' The embank- 
ment ceased in due time, and nature appeared again 
clothed in fields of green corn, with peas and beans 
in variously- coloured blossoms, among which we 
found a very fine specimen of the wild hyacinth. 
We had raised our minds to the highest pitch of 
pleasurable anticipation as we drew near the tem])le. 
Perhaps this was the reason of the reaction that 
ensued ; but, when we entered the great portico, — 



320 . FOUli MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

shall I confess it? — we exclaimed simultaneously, 
with mingled feelings of disappointment and sur- 
prise, " How ugly ! " 

The sound of our own words startled us, and we 
almost expected the ancient gods and goddesses 
around to start into life and rebuke us; still the 
effect was the same. Heavy, grotesque, the portico 
appeared, though still a grand and perfect specimen 
of the architecture of the age. The hall beyond has 
much greater pretension to beauty and elegance, but 
it is sadly defaced, and so blackened that we could 
hardly make out anything. The atmosphere in this 
and in the succeeding chambers was so impure, that 
we could do little more than poke our heads in, 
cough, and come out again into the portico, to study 
its massiveness and perfect preservation, if our taste 
would still refuse to perceive any beauty in the style. 

The portico was added to the temple by the 
Emperor Tiberius ; the oldest names occurring on 
the building are those of Julius Cffisar, the beautiful 
Cleopatra, and their son Csesarion, or Neo-CsBsar, 
whose portraits are found on one of the outer walls. 
It was extremely hot, and I had a great deal of 
trouble in finding out these figures, not knowing 
exactly where to look for them. I did find them, 
however, and thought that either Cleopatra could 
hardly have felt flattered by her portrait, did she 
ever see it, or the ideas of beauty in that age were 
no more in accordance with modern taste than was 
the temple of Denderali with our own. 



DATES FROM THE IIEGAZ. 321 

The portico has twenty-four columns, six across 
the front, closed half way up by screens. Each 
j)illar is surmounted by a woman's head, four times 
repeated, so that it faces you every way ; and tliese 
are again crowned with a large square block of 
stone, sculptured with hieroglyphics, and conveying 
the impression of a far greater weight than the four 
heads together are calculated to support. The 
winsred o-lobes all alon"- the centre of the roof Ijave 
a curious effect. At the risk of ])reaking our necks, 
we traced out a great portion of the zodiac, painted 
up there ; it has been })roved, like the rest of the 
temple, to be of Roman origin, although, both here 
and at Esneh, the sign Cancer is represented by a 
scarabeus, and not a crab. There was an avenue of 
sphinxes leading to the portico, and extending to a 
gateway, which stands at some distance. The ruins 
of various other chapels or temples are to be seen at 
short distances from the Great Temple. On these 
we could only cast a passing glance, and peep at the 
ugly giant-monster Typhon represented \\\)0\\ one of 
them. 

We returned to Glieneh, and made an expedition 
in the afternoon to procure some of the celebrated 
dates from the Ilegaz, which are sold here in drums. 
We paid twenty-five piastres a drum. They were 
quite the best, l^ut may frequently be had for a 
lower price. Mohamed invested in so large a stock 
of 'goolleh' for his own private use (four large 
crates full), besides oranges and limes for our 

Y 



322 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAHABKEH. 

refreshment, that we were delayed for some time. 
Moreover, the Reis took the opportunity of dismiss- 
ing two of the crew, who had absented themselves 
without leave. This was rather serious, for it was 
not so easy to procure others to replace them. 
Happily the men were not anxious to leave; and the 
Reis, making a virtue of necessity, remitted their 
sentence to that of corporal punishment, which I 
believe was never executed. 

At seven p.m. we started, leaving Denderah and 
its pretty hills behind us. The people of Denderah 
were the professed enemies of the crocodile. It 
appears that, instead of worshipping it, like the 
inhabitants of Kom Ombo, they attacked, killed, 
and ate it, without fear ; on which account the two 
people waged a long and vigorous war. 

No crocodiles disturbed us, but an army of rats 
was gaining daily, or rather nightly, strength, so 
that we welcomed with joy the arrival of a second 
cat on board ; and it was with considerable satis- 
faction that we saw her instantly disappear down the 
rudder-hole into the body of the boat, where she 
found work to satisfy her for some days. 

No more temples were in store for us for two or 
three days, but occupation seemed never to fail. 
The dahabeeh was beginning to assume a much less 
charming appearance than usual, and now reached 
such a pitch of uncleanness, that it was necessary to 
investigate into the cause. It soon appeared that 
cleanliness was no natural virtue of tlie Arabs. 



ARAB CLEANLINESS. 323 

Whereas tlie rule was tliat the deck should l)e 
washed three times a - day (the dragoman's own 
rule), which had been more or less attended to on 
the way up the river ; and whereas the vessel had 
undergone a thorou2;h cleanins; at Wadee Halfeh, 
and a second at Luxor, the Arabs considered their 
duty to be well done, and had put all idea of further 
cleaning entirely out of their heads. Night after 
night, on their way home, they would lay themselves 
down to sleep contentedly in the hold after tlieir 
day's rowing, and neither wash themselves, their 
clothes, nor their own portion of the boat, till they 
reached Cairo again. But the consequences natu- 
rally became too apparent to last, and a hue and 
cry was raised on the su1)ject. 

The men took it most good-humouredly, and we 
breathed more freely as bucket after bucket poured 
upon the deck, and washed away the thick coating of 
accumulated dirt. Twice every day now, to the end of 
the journey, the deck was washed by two men in turn ; 
and it was not more than it needed. The fact is, that 
far more care in this respect is requisite on coming 
down the river than on going up, when the crew are 
kept clean, as it were in spite of themselves, by 
their frequent immersions in the water, necessitated 
by the constant 'tracking.' The men, no doubt, 
found the benefit of our strictness on the subject ; 
for gradually they were seen dipping their clothes 
in the stream of their own accord, and even begging 
a bit of soap to restore tlieir colour. Mohamed, too, 



324 FOUR MONTTTS TN A DAHAREEIT. 

walked about the deck picking up every little slired 
of sugar-cane or onion, haranguing and scolding as 
though he himself were the very essence of clean- 
liness. Alas, Mohamed ! more than once a hint had 
been tlirown to you about your own attire. But 
"all's well that ends well," and in a few days the 
' Cairo ' and her crew resumed their character for 
cleanliness amongst the dahabeeh fleet of the season. 

From the night of the 23rd till the 26th the wind 
was so high and contrary that we made but little 
way. The crew sank into the hold, rose out of it 
again for a few moments' work, then back they went 
again. On the 24th we passed Farshoot, with its 
tall chimneys. The engineer and his family turned 
out to see us pass, and we bestowed some pity upon 
them, for their isolation from their own kindred, 
which pity may possibly have been very ill placed, 
but we judged by our own feelings on the subject. 
On the 25th, backwards and forwards trudged the 
' Cairo,' from one side of the river to the other, 
making the least possible way along ; now she was 
driven by the wind straight against the bank, now 
thrust off again with some trouble, by means of the 
long poles, and finally obliged to give it up, and 
to stop at an early hour. 

Tuesday, Feb. 2(^th. — We reached Ballianeh, the 
nearest point for visiting Abydus. It involved a 
ride of upwards of two hours. Selina was fjitigued, 
after all our excursions, and could not undertake it. 
' Cousin Phil' and I started sorrowfully without her. 



THE VALE OF ABYDUS. .325 

to see the remains of this famous city, ouce one of 
the most important in Upper Egypt. The heat was 
excessive, but it was truly refreshing to see the rich, 
luxuriant plains, stretching all around, covered with 
waving crops of wheat, barley, beans, peas and 
lentils in flower, with the brilliant yellow ' Semga' 
(coleseed), cultivated in large quantities for its oil ; 
and the white clover blossom, which our strange- 
headed drasroman would insist with me was called 

o 

in English grass, not clover. 

Thought went back to the time when Joseph and 
his brethren came down to Egypt, because there 
was much corn there : if the present crops appeared 
so luxuriant that the valley seemed to laugh and 
sing, what must they not have been in those seven 
years of miraculous plenty which succeeded the 
famine ? The present beauty of the landscape was no 
doubt enhanced to us by our long stay in the barren 
land of Nubia, where only one narrow line of green 
meets the parched-up eye, and beyond this valley we 
soon arrived again at the white, barren, burning- 
desert exactly in the heat of the day. 

The temple is almost buried in the sand, but a 
sufficient portion is visible to show its original 
grandeur. It is of the time of Osiris and Remeses 
the Great. The city enjoyed the fame of being the 
true burial-place of the king, for which reason many 
nol)lc, ancient families sought a tomb here, that they 
might lie in the same spot with Osiris. Tlie Hall of 



326 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Columns is very handsome. The wall seems to be 
of alabaster, very beautifully sculptured, and the 
colours are still in many places quite bright. There 
is a succession of chambers, remarkable for the 
construction of their vaulted roofs, covered with 
sculptured ovals, containing the names of the kings ; 
that of Osiris, to whom the temple was dedicated, 
being constantly repeated. 

The second temple stood at a little distance. A 
few fragments only are visible, but there is a por- 
tion of a wall lined with alabaster, sculptured and 
painted in brilliant colours ; also, on a bit of granite, 
some of the lovely blue colour which it is said 
cannot be imitated now. There were very handsome 
blocks of red and blue granite scattered about. 
The whole of this building is said to have been lined 
with alabaster. 

The heat soon drove me back again to ' Cousin 
Phil,' who sat comfortably sheltered in his wonder- 
ful chair. By half-past four o'clock we had rejoined 
Selina, with a large nosegay of wild flowers, whose 
brilliant colours adorned our deck for many days ; 
they were as precious in our eyes as the handsomest 
roses or geraniums in our more favoured land. 
Mohamed, who had nearly wept at leaving Selina 
behind, expecting, I fully believe, to see her sob 
violently on the subject, now came forward with 
assurances of, " You do quite right to-day. I myself 
finished altogether; and quite tight!" We dis- 



AUA15 TRUTHFULNESS. 327 

covered afterwards that '• tight,' in Moliamed's vo- 
cabularv, meant 'tired.' 

Selina had occupied her time in sketching pigeon- 
houses, while Sarah had become so expert in the 
customs of the country as to seize a palm-branch 
from a little Arab who passed by, in order to brush 
the flies out of her lady's eyes. 

The hero of the 20,000 wild geese was here at this 
time, and sent some of his superabundant stock to 
our boat. A rare feast for the crew, for we found 
these birds so fishy and tough that we could not 
touch them. As a specimen of Arab exaggeration, 
the sportsman's dragoman, of whom JMohamed had 
often told us, in a significant manner, that he was 
clothed, by the liberality of his master, in suits of 
apparel innumerable, together with "watches and 
gold chains," now appeared in our dahabceh to beg 
some of his "brother's" wardrobe — which, of course, 
he did not get. 

Late in the evening Girgeh came in sight. We 
scarcely recognised it again, and attributed the im- 
provement to the fancies of an approach by moon- 
light, but morning dawn showed Girgeh still to be 
no inconsiderable town. It was at one time the 
capital of Upper Egypt, and now ranks second after 
ISioot. 

The crew made their purchases ; the kitchen 
utensils were sent on shore to undergo a thorough 
cleaning with the rough brown fibre of the date -tree. 
It was the second time they had been submitted to 



328 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAIIABEEII. 

tliis process, Jind tliey returned looking quite bright 
and new. Wliatev^er might be said of other depart- 
ments in the dahabeeh ' Cairo,' certainly the cooking 
establishment was consolingly clean. 

We walked through the bazaar, and captured an 
excellent specimen of a spindle, which a youth of 
eighteen or twenty years of age was carrying, spin- 
ning the brown woollen thread as he went along. 
The poor lad did not wish to part with it, and I 
begged the dragoman to leave it to him; but Mo- 
hamed understood no such ways of acting. He told 
the boy the lad}^ wanted it, and that he would give 
him three piastres for it. Suiting the action to 
the word, he takes the spindle, wool and all, out 
of the owner's hand, and deposits it in ' Blackey's,' 
desii'ing him to keep it. ' Black ey' struts on before 
us, tucking the spindle under his arm as composedly 
as if it had been his own all the days of his life. 
The owner makes not the slightest resistance, but 
walks along with Mohamed, bargaining about the 
price. Two " Egyptian gentlemen " passing by, 
are attracted by what they consider a very amusing 
scene, and Mohamed, summoning them as umpires, 
yields so far as to give five piastres, and to keep the 
spindle. I brought it home with me, but always 
look upon it rather in the light of stolen goods. 

Girgeh is famed for its honey. Some samples 
were brought to us, but it w^as so strongly flavoured 
with orange, that we did not like it, and considered it 
no better than what we c:et much nearer home. The 



THE rOn'Y FIELD. 329 

bee-liives along the coast are very curious. We only 
saw them in the distance as we passed on, for they 
arc outside the town. Tliey were apparently com- 
posed of cylindrical tubes of unburnt clay, i)iled in 
rows one over the other, terminating in a single one 
at the top. The bees were buzzing about the open 
ends, in great excitement. 

This evenins; we reached Ekhmim. 

Thursday, Feb. 2Sth. — Before starting again, 1 
took an early walk, and saw a most refreshing sight. 
It was nothing more nor less than a large tract of 
poppies all in bloom. The snowy-white, waving field, 
spi-inkled here and there with pink and lilac, the fresh 
green of the leaves peeping out l^etween the flo\\ ers, 
were refreshing as a shower to the parched-up land, 
and I enjoyed it for some time in silent admiration, to 
the astonishment of my guides, who immediately asked 
permission of the owners to gather a few to add to 
our nosegay. They are cultivated for the sake of 
the opium which they yield. Ekhmim, traditionally 
said to have been one of the oldest cities of Egypt, 
was completely destroyed at the time of the Arab 
invasion, so that no ruins are left here. 

Near the tomb of the patron saint of the town of 
Ekhmim is a tree, which is studded with nails, driven 
into it by the sick, in expectation of a cure. JSloha- 
med spoke of it with reverence, but we were to start 
at seven a.m., and I had stood so long looking at the 
poppies that we could not reach it in time. The tonil) 



330 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

is also liuug with offerings to the Saint, called ' Shekh 
Abou'l Kasim.' 

Sunddy, March Srd. — We had passed the con- 
vents, called the * red ' and the ' white,' from the 
colour of the stone or brick of which they are built, 
the Gebel Shekh Hereedee, the woods of acacia 
where large quantities of charcoal were preparing 
for sale, and we now beheld Sioot, the capital of 
Upper Egypt, for the first time, having passed it at 
night on our way up the river. 

Sioot is a true city, rising with mosques and mina- 
rets among clumps of tall date-trees. It has a popula- 
tion of about 20,000 inhabitants. The houses are of 
mud, with the exception of the Governor's palace and 
one or two others; but the immense length of the 
Bazaar, and its well-furnished shops, reminded us of 
Cairo itself. There were a number of very handsome 
red leather saddles, embroidered with gold, which 
attracted our attention, as well as the large pi2:>e- 
bowls which are sold as samples of the ancient 
Egyptian ware, red and black, which is still manu- 
factured here, as at Assouan. There was also a 
small fruit resembling the ' Siberian Crab,' but having 
a stone within, like the stone of a cherry or small 
plum. The natives call it ' Nebk.' The taste is that 
of an insipid apple. Sunday is market-day at Sioot, 
and the streets were crowded. 

A ride across a beautiful tract of cultivated land, 
like the vale of Abydus, but of greater extent. 



THE TOMB ON THE HILL, 331 

brought us to the catacombs on the hills. They are 
very extensive, and have been called the " Cities of 
the Dead." The largest is known by the name of 
' Stabl Antar.' The ascent is precipitous, but the 
donkeys climbed it well, chair and all. 

The Catacomb is very large ; but the sculptures 
are almost lost. On the roof of the entrance-hall 
we could just trace some pretty devices, which go by 
the name of " Greek scrolls." A few figures smelling 
the lotus were all we could make out on the walls: 
and in the further chambers nothing at all, the walls 
are so blackened and defaced. 

Here ' Cousin Phil ' remained, in view of the 
lovely landscape; but Selina and I ascended higher, 
to another grotto, on one of whose walls is depicted 
a phalanx of soldiers, carrying shields so large as 
almost entirely to conceal the warriors. This sculp- 
ture is interesting, because we read that the shields 
are the same shape as some mentioned by Xenophon, 
when speaking of the Egyptian troops in the army 
of Croesus. The name of a very ancient king is said 
to occur in this tomb, but we were not clever at 
hieroglyphics, and, to say the truth, Selina and I 
were by this time becoming so well satisfied with the 
amount of Desert, Temple, and Tomb which we had 
seen, that a green field of waving corn had, for the 
moment, far more interest for our eyes and minds. 
We mounted higher, to feast upon the view of the 
luxuriant plain. The ascent was steep, so steep 
that the guides at first said the donkeys could not 



332 FOUR MONTHS IN A DATIABEEII. 

climb it ; but Selina could not mount tlie hill herself, 
so the donkey was made to go up, one man pushing 
him from l)ehind, another supporting the rider in the 
same manner, at the imminent risk of tumbling her, 
head-foremost, over the donkey's nose. I climbed 
up on my own feet, and found the ascent steep 
certainly, but short. We were soon at the highest 
point that we could reach, and there the wind blew 
so strong and fresh, that our expected treat was but 
a short one. A richly-green plain lay spread before 
us, in the midst of which rose the city of Sioot. 
The Nile, and the 'Bahr Yusef,' which enters the Nile 
a few miles below, wound along in a very circuitous 
course ; two or three bridges thrown across the river 
looked extremely pretty ; and to the left of the city was 
the modern cemetery, looking like a town of whited 
buildings, bounded on this side by the arid desert 
and hills, on that by green fields and the Date-Palm. 
We descended the hill and rode to the cemetery, 
through the streets of closely-packed tombs. They 
are built of unburnt bricks, and are mostly white- 
washed. The doors opening into the vaults lie on 
the ground in front of the tomb, which is sometimes 
surrounded by a wall, enclosing an open court, rudely 
painted over the white-wash, in brilliant colours of 
red, yellow, and green. The wall is crowned with 
small pinnacles or Vandyke ornament. If there is no 
open court, the enclosing wall is surmounted by a 
dome, or oblong vaulted roof. The aloe, accompanied 
by a pitcher of Witter, is seen near mnny of them, and 



^rOIIAMED AT SIOOT. 333 

ill tlie walls of some of the principal tombs there is 
a niche containing a jar of water and a cup, for the 
refreshment of travellers, of which our dragoman and 
guides partook and offered some to us. The appear- 
ance of this City of Tombs is most curious. It calls 
to mind the " whited sepulchres " we read of in the 
Scriptures, but brings with it none of the sacred feel- 
injis which we are accustomed to associate with the 
place of repose of the dead : it speaks of death, but 
not of life beyond the grave. 

As soon as Mohamed could tear himself away 
from Sioot, we prepared for departure. The excited 
manner of the Arab, during the whole of our stay 
there, together with the benign and smiling looks 
which, contrary to his usual customs, he here bestowed 
on all the ladies of Sioot who passed by, could not 
but attract our notice ; and, remembering his former 
intimation of coming to this city when he wanted to 
choose a wife, we began to be seriously afraid that a 
bridal procession might soon be approaching the 
' Cairo,' although we had reason to ])elieve that 
Mohamed, notwithstanding his assertions to the con- 
trary, was in the happy possession of a wife at the 
present moment in Alexandria ; that he had had two 
others before her, and had not yet succeeded in 
gaining Sarah's promise to become No. 4, in case of 
the death of the third. The excitement, whatever 
the cause, died away, and at five r.M. we bade 
'adieu' to Sioot. 



334 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAHABEEn. 

Tuesday^ March 5th. — Some small mummy cro- 
codiles were brought for sale to the boat, purporting 
to come from the cave of Muabdeh, which once served 
as a place of sepulture for these creatures. We trust 
these identical small specimens were really regarded 
as deities by the ancients, since they were so foolish as 
to regard any of the tribe in that light. We bought 
them for two piastres a-piece, and carried them away 
home with us till some learned antiquarian should 
tell us their real age. The mud banks along the 
river's edge here were very curiously perforated by 
the little ' water- wagtails,' that were always paying 
us visits on the deck. They made their nests now 
in the bank, and were twittering and flying in and 
out of them in swarms, like bees about a hive. Two 
or three very pretty Egyptian swallows, with red 
breasts and black plumage, flew by, and at Sioot 
' Cousin Phil ' had noticed a small bright green bird, 
like a paroquet ; but it was the only one of the kind 
that came in our way. 

At Manfaloot the wind rose again. A large 
assembly of boats were waiting in the harbour in 
expectation of a storm, and our Reis was afraid 
of passing the dreaded hills of Aboolfeydeh. We 
thought it absurd to wait till the storm did come, and 
Mohamed, being of the same mind, the Reis was per- 
suaded to continue his course. The hills were still 
some miles away, and on we went in safety, experi- 
encing no inconvenience beyond a slight roll or two, 



THE DAHABKEII RACE. 



335 



though it must be confessed the gusts may have 
sounded alarmingly wild and furious to such timid 
navigators as the Arabs appear to be. 

Wednesday^ March 6th. — The dreaded hills were 
passed, and all their curious caves and curves left 
behind us. Towards evening I was attracted by a 
sudden stir among the crew. The steersman began 
saying his prayers very devoutly, and after a good 
deal of solemn muttering among half a dozen of the 
men, some bits of bread were thrown into the water, 
in front of a small cavern — for " Sleek Said," they 
said ; and Ali assured me that a bird always came and 
carried it to the saint within the cave. Mohamed 
said the custom was kept up by all the boats on the 
Nile, in commemoration of the deliverance of a cer- 
tain vessel from shipwreck some "hundred years 
ago," and the grateful offering of the Reis, who 
threw a loaf of bread into the river, vowing to do so 
ever after on passing by that spot. The ceremony 
was terminated by the crew starting one of their best 
songs in honour of the saint, w^hile El Abiad 
prayed again. When two dahabeehs come alongside 
of one another, the crews frequently amuse them- 
selves by racing. This happened to-day. There 
was a sudden silence among the rowers, and we per- 
ceived that they were pulling away with all their 
strength. The excitement depicted on each one of 
the dark countenances was very amusing. At one 
time the rival boats were obliged to steer so near to 
eacli other, that the oars of the one dipped in between 



336 FOUR MONTHS TX A DAIIARKEH. 

tliose of the other. Mohanied said the other steers- 
man had no business there, knew nothing about the 
river, and was only "following El Abiad." No doubt 
the neighbour dragoman said the same of our perfect 
' El Abiad ; ' but in a few moments more we left them 
far behind, and our crew raised a shout of triumph. 
The two vessels followed close upon each other fre- 
quently during the day ; at seven p.m. they both stuck 
upon mud banks. 

The river had, of course, fallen considerably since 
w^e passed up, in the month of November; the ap- 
pearance of the banks was completely changed; no 
more dhourra was to be seen ; wheat was now growing 
on plains which were then under water; the river was 
at times quite narrow, and flowed through small 
passages between intervening banks, formed by its 
rich alluvial deposit, which are no sooner left dry 
than they are prepared for fresh crops of cucumbers 
or water-melons. Since our leaving Sioot, these 
banks had gradually increased in number and size, 
and careful navigation was required to avoid them. 
The dragoman's wary eye was never off the w^ater, 
and now he warned the Reis, as night drew on, to 
stop the vessel if he did not "know the w^ater." 
The Eels said he "knew the water quite well," and 
presently, with three considerable lurches, we stuck 
fast. Mohamed paced the deck or sat upon the steps 
in a most unenviable frame of mind. I believe he 
thought we were there for a week ; and so Ave might 
have been had not assistance come opportunely in 



SEASONABLE AID. 387 

our distress. Moreover, Moliamed considered that, 
although the whole fleet of the Nile should stick 
once a-week, the "best boat on the Nile" had no 
business with " sticking' " at all. 

Every man on board, the Reis, steersman, and all, 
got into the water to try and move the heavy weight. 
At length we floated, but for two minutes only ; in 
we were again, deeper than before. Loud calls upon 
' Allah ' and ' Mohamed ' resounded throui::h the 
gloom ; the men renewed their exertions with almost 
superhuman force, but it would not do, and there we 
must have remained had not a cargo-boat passed and 
lent us the aid of her crew. The rival dahabeeh 
was set free much about the same time. 

Meanwhile the landscape was enlivened by a long 
line of flame and clouds of white smoke on the 
horizon ; the natives were burning the dry stumps of 
the sugar-cane, in order to prepare for another 
similar crop, to be planted when the ground had 
been ploughed into deep drills. 

Our grounding occurred near Mellawee, which we 
reached by ten p.m., and remained there for tlie night. 
The grottoes of 'Tel el Amarna' we had left behind 
us ; they are at some little distance from the river, 
and as it was calculated that the strenoth of the 
enterprising invalids might, with care, just suffice for 
the two remaining excursions to Beni-Hassan and the 
Pyramids, we were ol)liged to give up tlie interesting 
subjects recorded on tlic walls of ' Tel el Amarna.' 



338 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 



CHAPTER IX. 



THE LAST EXCURSIONS. 



On Thursday, March 7 th, we passed liy ' Rera- 
moon,' a busy town, where there is a large sugar and 
rum manufactory. The bank was alive with men, 
bullock-carts, camels, and boat-loads of chopped 
straw, going down to Cairo as food for the cattle, 
when their two months' feast upon green things is 
over. There was a very elegant-looking tree here, 
which the natives called ' Suf Saf,' but we were not 
near enough to inspect it minutely. At one p.m. we 
reached Beni-Hassan. The heat was so great we 
determined to wait till the following morning to visit 
the grottoes. The last ' Cairo ' washing-day was come. 
The whole apparatus, chairs, tables, &c., were turned 
out on the bank, a guard being stationed to warn off 
the inhabitants, who bear the character of being 
great thieves. Some years ago it was considered 
hardly safe to land here at all. ISIohamed was greatly 
impressed with this fact, and took every precaution 
in order to make it appear that there was sufficient 
means of defence in the boat, in case of any thieving 



TIIIEVKS AND SOAP-IJUr.IJLES. 339 

being attempted. When tlie natives saw the ladies, 
they inquired where were their husbands ? ^lo- 
hamed replied that they were " in the cabin making 
their guns ready to shoot geese to-morrow ! " No 
matter, he said, when the daylight came ; it was only 
the night he was afraid of; and as evening came on, 
after three watchmen armed with 2:uns had been 
duly posted, he turned out all the crew upon shore, 
and set them to work at their musical instru- 
ments, in order to show that there were "plenty of 
people in the boat." 

Before dark we walked through the village. The 
people assembled there were an unusually lively set, 
and crowded round us more than was quite pleasant. 
They were full of talk and fun. The patriarch of 
the flock jokingly offered one of his daughters for 
sale : she was half-frightened lest the joke should 
end in a reality. He asked one hundred piastres for 
her ; and when we asked the price for his wife, he 
said he would sell her for fifty piastres. Their mer- 
riment amused us much, but Mohamed said, " Yes, 
very lively, but like the things that come up in the 
soap when you wash. I not trust to these people at 
all !" If the temper of Beni-Hassan was likened to 
a soap-bubble, so we soon thought might also be that 
of the author of the simile. As Ave sat in the saloon 
in the evening, listening to the noisy concert outside, 
the music suddenly ceased, a crash was heard, and a 
long silence ensued. Mohamed was happy, enjoying 



340 FOUR MONTHS rx a dahabkeh. 

the cliarming sounds of his beloved band, when the 
Reis, in a fit of sulkiness, ordered the men into the 
boat for no purpose at all but, as he said, to " stop 
that noise." The excitable Arab blood boiled over 
in less than an instant. Mohamed started to his feet, 
seized the crockery drums from the hands of the per- 
formers, and deliberately broke them to atoms by 
throwing them on the ground. The tom-tom he 
would have proceeded to destroy with a hannner, had 
not the cook rushed forward to save its life by 
hiding it in his canteen. The dragoman told the 
story himself the following day without expressing or 
feeling the least regret for the loss occasioned by his 
violence. It was, apparently, in his eyes, the just and 
lawful retribution for the sulkiness of the Reis ; the 
consequences, a kind of destiny, brought on by the 
same individual, which he could no more avoid than 
any other destiny of his life : indeed, his impression 
seemed rather to be that he would have signally failed 
in his duty had he not acted in this particular manner, 
sacrificing what he had most delighted in, because 
"no man ever teased me like this Rei's !" 

Friday, March Sth. — The countenances of the 
guides and donkey -boys who appeared as our escort 
to the Grottoes this morning, the longing eyes which 
they cast on various articles of our property, the 
cunning way in which they endeavoured to keep 
one half of the party separated from the other, and 
from the dragoman, together with the actual dis- 



A KIDE AT BENI-HASSAN, 341 

appearance of the luncheon bottle of wine on the 
road, all bore out the character which is attributed 
to this villao;e. 

As for the doulieys, such donkeys were never 
seen ! Selina was perched upon one, and pitched off 
in an instant; on again — off again — it was of no 
use to try ! The donkey's back presented a sharp 
narrow ridge, upon which the saddle swayed from 
right to left, like a- 'see-saw.' An Arab was laid 
hold of, no matter who, the first at hand, and his 
large scarf rolled up to make a pad under the 
saddle, which was at last fixed on the donkey, with 
Selina on the toj). All were mounted, and at 
length, in similar manner, we started after ' Cousin 
Phil,' whom the crew had already carried far ahead 
of us. We had no bridles, but we had become used 
to that in Nubia. Selina came down again half- 
way; and as to Sarah, who was not so accustomed 
to riding as her ladies were, she was positively 
thrown off when the donkey began to trot, and 
dragged some steps in the stirrup. Fortunately 
she was more frightened than hurt, but for the 
future stoutly declined trusting to any legs but 
her own. I believe she would have traversed the 
desert on foot for miles, rather than submit any more 
to a Beni-Hassan donkey or guide. Let us consider 
the style of Beni-IIassan; the donkeys walk quietly 
along, not very well accustomed to their loads ; the 
guides lag behind, singing to themselves and paying- 
little attention to the steeds : suddenly the thought 



342 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Strikes them that the animals are not going fast 
enough; they make a dart at them, thrust their 
pointed sticks into the poor creatures' sides, giving 
violent grunts, like so many pigs. Up go the 
donkeys' hind legs, and, unless the riders have 
had the good luck to turn round and perceive the 
impending shock, naturally enough, off they go. 
Such was the 'catastrophe' which had dismounted 
our good Abigail, and reduced her to using her 
own strength for the remaining portion of the ex- 
pedition. 

We reached the Grottoes at last. They are cut 
along the side of the hill, at a distance of about two 
miles from the village. Those to the south pleased 
us extremely. They are of the oldest style of 
Egyptian architecture, and very elegant. The 
columns represent four stems of water-plants, sup- 
porting a capital in the form of lotus or pajjyrus 
buds. The transverse section of these grottoes is 
very elegant, and the architecture resembles a de- 
pressed pediment, extending over the columns, and 
resting at either end on a narrow pilaster. The 
simplicity and elegance of the style and device 
strike the eye at once. The walls of all the 
grottoes are covered with various interesting 
coloured devices. When the eye has become ac- 
customed to the partial light within, these can be 
gradually made out, and we took great delight in 
tracing the following subjects: — The tillage of the 
ground ; making of ropes ; weaving of linen cloth ; 



THE WALLS OF THE GROTTOES. 343 

the Hiaimfacture of jewellery and pottery ; various 
hunting-scenes; men tending sick cattle; feeding the 
oryx ; fishing-nets ; clap-nets ; pressing wine in a 
wine-press; men wrestling; women playing at ball, 
and performing various feats of agility in a most 
un womanlike manner ; both sexes receiving the 
bastinado, the men laid down on the ground, the 
women sitting ; playing the harp ; games of Draughts 
and ' Mora ; ' a barber shaving a customer ; some 
cranes ; a very curious procession of strangers, 
supposed, from their dress, beards, sandals, and 
boots, to be some Asiatic people, being presented, 
probably, to the owner of the tomb, and offering 
him presents of the produce of their country ; 
finally, boats bearing the dead body to its place of 
sepulture : these, and many others, Ave examined with 
interest, by the assistance of 'Murray's Hand-book' 
and ' Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians.' The curious 
custom is also seen here of writing over the subject 
represented the name of what it was intended to 
represent. In one instance, in particular, it appeared 
very desirable ; if the artist did intend in this case 
to represent kids feeding upon a vine, we should 
certainly have wished to see written up over them, 
" This is a vine, and these are kids." 

The Grottoes of Beni-Hassan are very ancient. 
In one of them there is an inscription in hieroglyphics 
of 222 lines, running all round the tomb untlernoath 
the paintings, like a wainscoting, written in ])er- 
I)endicular lines about three feet or four feet in 



344 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEIl. 

height, and introducing the name of Osirtasen the 
First and three succeeding kings, as also that of 
Shofo, a king of the Third Dynasty. 

We left the Speos Artemidos (the cave of Diana) 
with regret ; for the thorough inspection we had 
given to the grottoes was as much as we could 
accomplish. Luncheon was acceptable, though we 
were minus the wine, which refreshed Beni-Hassan 
instead of us. In a shower of rain, the first we 
had seen since leaving Alexandria, and numbering 
about twenty welcome drops, our cavalcade returned 
to the ' Cairo.' 

At half-past three p.m. we started, but not before 
the villagers and guides had clamoured for more pay, 
and threatened the dragoman, until, fairly frightened 
by their din, he ordered the boat to start, hiding 
himself and his money within the cabin, because 
" those people going to kill me, if I stay out there." 

The same evening we reached Minieh, whither 
' Derweesh,' the biggest man of the crew, and the 
cook-boy, the smallest, had gone from Beni-Hassan 
to see their wives and families. 

Saturday^ March 9th. — When we had proceeded 
a little way the small boat was sent out to fetch the 
two men back again. It was affecting to see the 
feeling exhibited by these rough -looking creatures. 
There they stood on the shore, perfectly still, with 
their hands joined before them, as they watched for 
some moments the receding forms of their relatives, 
to whom they Iiad just bid adieu. The women turned 



THE COMING STORM. 345 

every now and tlien to take a last glance, then tlie 
' strong man ' and the ' boy ' returned to the boat ; 
the former full of talk for this one and that, in 
strangely softened and subdued tones; the latter, 
perfectly silent, set immediately to work to hide his 
grief. His charmingly clean appearance attracted 
our notice, and we felt quite sure that the famous 
bath of Minieh had had the honour of his presence. 

The excitement and Ions; walkins* at Beni- 
Hassan knocked up both Sarah and Mohamed. 
The former was seen at her ironing-table as busy 
as ever, notwithstanding her ailments; while Mo- 
hamed, for the next two or three days, got up a little 
comedy of symptoms, the chief of which he described 
pathetically as " a stopped-up nose," of which he 
was like to die ! # 

Sunday^ March 10th. — The morning dawns ex- 
quisitely calm ; the Nile as smooth as a sheet of 
glass ; not a breath stirs the air ; the unusual com- 
fort of the awning spread before breakfast awaits 
me on deck; and tlje concertina and hymns are un- 
disturbed by hostile sounds. The rowers prepare 
for a long day's work, and there is no knowing what 
point we may not reach before evening. Breakfast 
over, we reappear on deck, when in an instant the 
whole scene changes. The wind howls violently ; down 
goes the awning in a trice ; off Ihcs Selina's hat into 
the river ; quick as thought, ' Awoodallah' jumps in 
after it, and restores it before it has had time to get 
wet. We look around in astonishment for the cause 



346 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

of the disturbance. The thermometer is at 80° in the 
shade, but the storm steadily increases ; the vessel is 
blown against tlie lee-shore. The sail flaps in the 
wind and is stripped into ribbons, the obstinate Reis 
will not take it down, but insists on repairing it 
himself at the mast-head. He mounts and perches 
aloft, his garments floating in the gale, while, needle 
and thread in hand, with one of the crew catching 
the flying ribbons and holding them for him, he 
succeeds beyond all expectation in stitching them 
together. It is after a fashion, however, which soon 
yields to the force of the gale. The seams rip up 
again, and the Reis is obliged to give in. Yard and 
sail are lowered and carried on shore; the whole 
of the crew squat down with needle and thread, and 
set to work like so man}' tailors. The repairs occupy 
two hours, during which time we walk on the bank 
and gather a few wild flowers. A large flock of grey 
and black birds, probably herons, fly overhead ; and 
when our sail is repaired we set off again, and gain, 
with some trouble, the opposite shore, there to re- 
main for the night, the thermometer falling rapidly 
with the rising gale. 

Monday, March Wtli. — The storm is still on the 
increase. The men try a start, and, contrary to the 
advice of all on board, the Reis unfurls the sail; the 
wind catches it again, and we are driven to leeward. 
Thump we go against the bank ; out come all the 
long poles again; the sail is still up; thump the 
second is harder tlian the flrst ; and now we stick 



AND HOW WE BIDED IT. 347 

last in the mud; the men are all in the water to 
shoulder us off, but to no purpose. The storm in- 
creases ; the Reis is baffled, flies into a passion, throws 
down his boat-pole, furls the sail in despair, and gives 
up. The crew, one by one, wrap themselves in their 
warm cloaks on the deck, presenting a row of brown 
bundles, which, gradually decreasing in number, dis- 
appear into the hold, to sleep till the storm shall 
abate. The angrj^ Reis sinks into the small boat, to 
sleep away his rage also. The steersman and drago- 
man alone are left on the look-out. Ever and anon 
a head rises from its hiding-place, looks inquiringly 
round at the elements, as much as to say, " Have 
you finished?" and when the elements answer, '' iSTot 
yet," the head disa])pears again, nothing loth to take 
another nap. Until three p.m. the storjn increases, 
the waves dash over the vessel, clouds of dust hide 
every object around, save some unfortunate women, 
who brave it all to fetch water from the river; a few 
buffiiloes strolling down to drink, and even these are 
hardly discernible till they reach tlie water's edge. 
Chairs, seats, sofa-cushions, all but ' Cousin Phil ' 
himself, who sits bravely through the whole, are blown 
from their places. All the warm wraps that are 
availal)le are needed; the 'warming up' has truly 
come to an end for the time being, and Selina is im- 
prisoned below^ for a season. Suddenly the sleepers 
are all roused l)y the voice of the dragoman, and the 
huge yard is lowered, lest its swaying should capsize 
the dahabeeh. 



348 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Again all sleep till five p.m., when, the wind abating 
a little, the anchor is ordered out; they will cast it 
at a little distance and haul upon it till we are set 
free from the bank. But the anchor is found to be 
out of order ; its ropes are tied up into every knot 
imaginable or unimaginable, and by the time they 
are sufficientlv untied, the wind blows a2:ain as hard 
as ever. At seven p.m. another vigorous effort is 
made, and at last the 'Cairo' floats; she regains the 
opposite bank, where, over-fatigued, no doubt with 
her long day's sleep, she remains securely for the 
nioht. 

The storm had lasted two long, tedious days, but 
they formed a not uninteresting portion of our Nile 
experiences, and we congratulated ourselves on being 
now able to bear testimony to the reality of what we 
had hitherto heard of with some degree of incredulity 
— a true storm on the Nile. 

Thus was ushered in the first day of ' Ramadan,' 
the great annual ^loslem fast. It lasts for thirty 
days, during which period the devout Mahometan 
will taste neither food, drink, nor pipe, between the 
hours of two A.M. and six p.m. At these hours a 
gun is fired to announce the commencement and 
termination of the daily privations. Night is turned 
into day in all the towns of Egypt during the season 
of Ramadan ; the bazaars are open, and buying and 
selling continue through the greater jDart of the 
night; the mosques are also open, and the people 
assemble in them twice for prayer, making two good 



moiia:\ied's fast. 349 

meals between tlie hours of tliese assemblies. Drago- 
men employed in the service of Europeans on the 
Nile are held exempt from observing the fast, Ijut 
Mohamed was most strict in keeping it. He made a 
rare meal, it is true, before and after each gun-iire ; 
but it must have been real fasting to go through all 
tlie burning heat of our mid-day excursions without 
partaking of a single morsel of food, or even a drop 
of water to allay his thirst, lie performed this duty 
apparently without any idea of deriving benefit from 
it, as an act of self-denial ; nor, on the other hand, so 
far as we could discover, looking upon it as a meri- 
torious act. It was " only a custom," he said, 
enjoined by the Prophet, and they all enjoyed the 
nightly feast extremely. Ali pretended to keep Rama- 
dan also, but at eleven a.m. he was discovered in the 
bow of the boat, behind the kitchen-screen, making 
an extra good meal on the remains of our breakfast. 
Some few of the connuon crew at times observed the 
fast, but not during the whole season. 

Tuesday^ March 12 fh. — A calm succeeded to the 
storm, and the dahabeeh proceeded quickly and peace- 
fully on her way. At about one p.m. Selina and I, 
accompanied ])y Mohamed and some of the crew, got 
into the small boat and rowed to Benisooef by a short 
cut along a canal, leaving the dahabeeh to continue 
her way down the stream. By this means we had 
time to visit the town, purchase provisions, and meet 
the vessel again without causing any great delay. 

The bazaar of Benisooef is not to be despised. 



350 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABE?:H. 

There are some very good shops in it ; a few of them 
even bearing comparison with tliose at Cairo. At 
the time of our visit an extensive manufacture of 
' Kunafeh,' was going on for the evening meal of the 
town. Kunafeh is a kind of very small macaroni, 
made by pouring a liquid paste of flour and w^ater 
through a perforated vessel, on a large circular copper 
plate, heated by fire from beneath. The liquid is 
poured round and round; it falls in long strings on 
the hot plate, is baked as it touches it, and swept up 
immediately into heaps, before it cools. It is then 
made into a mess with treacle, butter, and almonds, 
to be eaten during ' Ramadan.' 

The oranges purchased here were the best we 
had seen for a long time. Mohamed's chief business 
was in the meat market. There we left him, and 
promenaded up and down the bazaar, with ' A wood - 
allali ' stalking before us, keeping the admiring 
natives at a respectful distance by means of his great 
stick. The bazaar is of no very great length, and 
we were much surprised at the speed with which our 
business was transacted on this occasion. At the 
end of our first turn we met the sheep which was 
destined to grace our table ; on the second it was 
hanging up dead, skinned and converted into mut- 
ton ; on the third and fourth it was cut up, and 
deposited in joints in a basket with other provisions. 
A pretty little collection of aubergines, cucumbers, 
and other vegetables, stood on a counter hard by. 
Up comes Mohamed witli sheep, oranges, spinach, 



THE NIGHTLY MARAUDERS. , 351 

&c., takes up tlie little dish, heads the procession, 
and we follow our own dinner through Benisooef 
to the boat, the expedition having occupied about 
three hours. 

Theie is a Governor's palace at Benisooef, and a 
manufactory of silk and cotton stuffs. AVe reached 
Zowyeh, and remained there for the night. The 
army of rats had by this time increased to such an 
alarming extent, that they had made their way into 
all the drawers of the saloon, by numberless creeks 
and holes ; riding habits were nibbled ; gloves, hand- 
kerchiefs, pen-wipers, curiosities, disappeared daily, 
and re-appeared, tugged and nibbled at, in the most 
unlikely corners ; empty nut-shells were found 
stowed away in every wardrobe. It was high time 
to institute proceedings against the marauders, and 
Mohamed's carpentering powers were fully occupied 
for two successive days. Ali, in the midst of it 
all, brought in a young rat which he had just found 
commencing its career, and assured us, with the 
greatest delight, that there w^ere '•'' plenty^ ple7ity^ in 
the hold''' No sooner, however, was there a ques- 
tion of seizing and destroying them, than All's 
intelligence had flown, and he seemed to be suddenly 
afflicted with stupidity. It would have involved far 
too much trouble to the easy-going youth to do 
any more than recognise the rat as a i)laything. 
The following morning Thomas announced an in- 
crease in the family of the dahabeeh ; he had found 
seven young mice comfortably located in the corner 



352 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

of one of the wine-boxes ; but, with less scruple than 
Ali, the demure Scotchman had " heaved them over- 
board one after the other." 

It was time that our trip should draw to a close. 
Had the 'Cairo' been sunk before starting, we might 
not have been thus inconvenienced. It had been 
considered unnecessary, but it would seem that this 
is never the case, and it would in general be prefer- 
able to delay starting, rather than run the risk of 
such annoyance. Had we been but three months 
on the river, as was at first intended, the annoyance 
would have been but slight ; as it was, had we 
remained only a few days longer, we might have lost 
everything we possessed, while the nightly carousals 
of the enemy sounded like a charge of cavalry 
overhead, and, together with the nibbling and 
gnawing all round us, completely chased away 
sleep from our eyelids. Happily, then, for us 

and for our wardrobes, our days on the Nile were 
numbered. 

Wednesday^ March l^th. — The matter-of-fact 
occupation of packing began again. jNIohamed, with 
his usual dexterity and confidence in his own powers, 
stowed away all the newly-acquired treasures into 
empty wine-cases, and looked as ' happy as a king.' 
The weather was very warm. At five r.M. the ther- 
mometer pointed to 78° in the shade, 83° in the sun. 
The Nile was studded with the prettiest little fleet 
imaginable. The Citadel was in sight, so were the 
Pyramids. The Arabs became more and more 



HOME, SWEET HOME. 353 

excited ; they lauglied, sang, and cracked jokes more 
than ever. Now a new strain strikes on our ear. 
The 'solo,' in his most melodious tone, sings, ''Where 
is our village? — where ?" The chorus replies enthu- 
siastically, " Our village is quite nigh, — quite nigh." 
Over and over again peals forth this Arab " Home, 
sweet home," with unabated energy, for the space of 
an hour or more, and causing a thrill of delight to 
pass through our hearts, as we reflected that our 
"home, sweet home," lay not quite so nigh to this 
barren scene, enlivened though it was by tiie first, 
and now again last, remaining objects of interest in 
our cruise — the Pyramids of Geezeh. 

We stopped this evening at the village of Bedre- 
shayn, and sent a trusty messenger on to Cairo to 
fetch our budget of letters and to meet us with them 
at Geezeh the followino; evening;. 

Thursday^ March lAth. — Our cavalcade started 
again. The donkeys were so large compared to 
what we had been riding lately, we seemed to be 
mounted on horses ; and soon they brought us to the 
plains of the ancient Memphis, where the Pharaohs 
of old held their court and state. Memphis was 
the capital of Lower Egypt after the decline of 
Thebes. It was first reduced by Cambyses, but con- 
tinued to be the capital until the rise of Alexandria. 
It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first 
king of Egypt. The small Arab village of Mitra- 
henny now marks its site. A number of mounds on 
all sides cover the ruins of its nnoient grandeur, and 

A A 



354 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAIIABKEH. 

little remains to be seen besides the colossal granite 
figure of Renieses tlie Great, wbicli lies, broken and 
prostrate, on tlie ground in a hollow which is filled 
with water at the high Nile. The face lies down- 
wards ; the features are still perfect, and surpass 
even the colossi at Aboo-Simbel in their soft, placid 
expression. In the course of our journey we had 
frequently animadverted on the practice of carrying 
away the monuments of Egypt from their own to a 
foreign soil ; but in this instance we could not but 
wish that some means, and permission for transport, 
should be found, and this interesting statue preserved 
instead of lying, as it does here, so thoroughly neg- 
lected, that it will, in all probability, like Cleopatra's 
Needle at Alexandria, be eventually lost. 

A number of pyramids rise on the plain beyond. 
Those of Dashoor are the largest ; they were beyond 
our reach, but we managed to get close to the 
principal one of the Sakkara group. The nearer we 
approached the smaller it seemed, yet its dimensions 
are about 351 feet on two sides, and 394 feet on the 
other two. We could not perceive any entrance ; it 
presents the appearance of five giant steps, its several 
stories having lost their outer casing. Our guides 
next directed us to some catacombs at a short 
distance, concerning which they could tell us nothing 
more distinct than that "all English, French, and 
Italian go to see it," and therefore that we must go 
too. From our guide-books we inferred that we had 
come upon the celebrated ' Apis Cemetery.' Long 



THE APIS CEMETFRY. 355 

iiiidergrouiid passages were hewn in tlie rock, cross- 
ing each other at right angles mid-way. On either 
side were deep recesses, lined like the passages witli 
masonry, and arched over at tlie top. In each of 
these was a very large, handsome sarcophagns of 
l)lack granite, highly polished, and measuring 12 feet 
5 inches long, by 7 feet Gi inches wide, and being 
7 feet 8 inches in height without the lid, which is of 
the same material, coped above, and making the 
total height 11 feet. These lids were all pushed a 
little on one side, thus showing the interior of the 
now empty sarcophagi. The greater numl)er are 
without any inscriptions, but two or three have 
hieroglyphics upon tliem; and there is one, much 
larger than the others, which is placed, as it were, in 
a chapel by itself. When 'Cousin Phil' had seen 
the first of them he returned to the open air; but 
Selina and I were too much interested not to pene- 
trate to the extremity of the principal passage, 
and peep into all its recesses. In them we 
counted twenty -five sarcophagi, and many others 
remain still bricked up and unopened. There was 
one very much smaller than the rest, and in one 
of the recesses near the end were a few fragments 
of sculptures in sand-stone. Human sarcophagi 
seemed but common-place in our eyes com]iared to 
those of Apis, the actual existence and sight of 
which now clothed with reality to our minds the 
strange stories of tlie liouours paid by reasoning- 
human beings to tlie unreasoning beasts of the 



356 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

field. That such honours were paid to the sacred 
bulls of Egypt ; that the cemetery appropriated to 
them has been discovered, and is situated somewhere 
in this neighbourhood ; that their sacred remains 
have been taken out almost entire from their resting 
places ; that we had already seen one of the vene- 
rated heads on a drawing-room table in Cairo : all 
these were undoubted facts, and that this was the 
actual cemetery must be another, for we cannot 
deprive our expedition of one of its deepest interests, 
by acknowledging any doubt on this subject, 
although we were afterwards told, and on good 
authority, that the burial-place of the sacred bulls 
was quite beyond our reach. 

We emerged from the sepulchres into the open 
air under the broiling sun, and finding just sufficient 
shade to accommodate us beneath the wall of the rocky 
entrance, we spread our shawls on the sand, and sat 
down to luncheon. The Arabs would taste nothing, 
because it was Ramadan : even a little boy to whom 
an orange was offered put it away till the evening feast. 

The degree of heat which we experienced here 
would in an English climate have induced extreme 
languor and loss of spirits ; but the bracing air of 
Egypt produced a totally different effect. Although 
the exposure to it was at times painful, or even 
dangerous, inducing headaches and burning fever- 
ishness in those with whom it did not quite agree, 
yet we never felt languid during any part of our 
journey, and we noticed an unusually even flow of 



UNPLEASANT COMPANIONS. 357 

s])ints in all the travellers on the Nile, not excepting 
the invalids. It was not often that my companions 
found the heat of Egypt unpleasantly great; but on 
this occasion it was agreed on all sides that 'painful' 
would not be too strong a term to apply to our ride 
back from Apis to the dahabeeh, although both 
Apis and Memnon had furnished ample food for 
thought, and although we passed by many refresh- 
ingly green fields of wheat and clover, and large 
tracts of the brilliant yellow ' selgum.' As a kind 
caution to future visitors, it may be worth while to 
mention, that on our return to the dahabeeh it was 
discovered that some few squadrons of the 'light 
infantry ' of Egypt had returned along with each one 
of us, collected no doubt from the sand in or near 
the catacombs. Other bands were evidently making 
their presence known on the lower deck, as its busy 
appearance soon testified. The troops of the enemy 
were fortunately discovered before their intended 
onslaught had begun, but we warn all travellers 
to keep the visit to Sakkara for their return from 
the Cataracts. Although extra ablutions will be 
found necessary after the shortest excursion on 
shore (or even without it), had this been our first 
instead of the last but one, and that one to the 
Pyramids of Geezeh, from which I believe the whole 
army of Egypt could not have deterred us, our an- 
tiquarian zeal would have suffered materially. 

By half-past ten p.m. the dahabeeh had reached 
the village of Geezeh, and by eleven v.m. the long- 



358 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

expected budget of letters Lad arrived. What a 
budget it was — the home news of weeks! ' Cahn 
old age,' though so zealously active by day, as we 
liave seen, reads the directions carefully through; 
then, making a guess at the contents, — nay, perhaps, 
not even diving thus far, — quietly tucks the sealed 
treasures under his pillow and goes to bed, to enjoy 
and dream, we suppose, of his morning feast; not 
so restless youth, Avhich, as a matter of course, 
spends the night in devouring the closely- w^ritten 
pages. Selina, as a precautionary measure, after 
the fatigues of the day, and with the closing excur- 
sion in store for the morrow, has been safely caged 
for some time behind the mosquito curtains, a light 
burns outside, and with one eye only open, she 
plunges into her folio volume. The backgammon - 
board, which had well-nigh fallen asleep itself in 
its efforts to keep ' Cousin Phil ' awake, was quickly 
laid aside; and if my eyelids had begun to droop, 
they now opened wide, as I was launched deep into 
the modern world. Nile, Pyramids, Sacred Bulls, 
and all, vanished into nothing before the tale of 
modern romance, which now unfolded itself. Cupid 
had invaded our quiet homestead ; had sought, 
Avon, and well-nigh carried away his prize! There 
Avas nothing for it ; for better or for worse the deed 
was done ; and as neither we nor the ancients bad 
been taken into the counsels of these impetuous 
moderns, we magnanimously made up our minds to 
the fact, and said that a full and free consent to the 



THE PYRAMIDS. 359 

whole proceeding should be written the following 
morning, from the summit of the Great Pyramid 
of Geezeli. 

Friday^ March Ihth^ dawned — a brilliant, broil- 
ing day; and at ten a.m. our cavalcade started on 
its final expedition from the dahabeeh. We passed 
by the village of Geezeh and its potteries, arriving 
at noonday at the foot of the Great Pyramid of 
Cheops. The surrounding sand Avas full of a small, 
deep, purple crocus, and one or two other wild 
flowers, growing in clusters about it. These simple 
flowers were unexpected objects, and, consequently, 
came iu for their full share of admiration; but as 
we surveyed the long-desired object of our ambition, 
the Great Pyramid itself, the first feeling was that of 
disappointment. Imagination, which had been roam- 
ing free and unfettered during the past four months, 
had invested the mysterious piles with superhuman 
proportions ; and I believe nothing short of a moun- 
tain would have satisfied that first glance. The 
nearer we had approached, the smaller the ])yramid 
and its architect appeared to our bewildered minds, 
until imagination, gradually calming down into sober 
reality, and taking dimensions iu accordance with 
the various objects around, the Pyramids rose again 
to their truly gigantic proportions, and we ourselves 
shrunk into ourselves — the diminutive lookers-on 
from tlie modern world. 

It is calculated that each side of the base of the 
Great Pyramid measures 746 feet, occupying a space 



360 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

of above twelve acres, and its perpendicular height 
is 450 feet 9 inclies. It is well known that the 
Pyramids are supposed to have been used as tombs, 
and that Cheops, to whom the principal one of this 
group is attributed, was a king of Egypt, who lived 
somewhere about 2050 years before the Christian 
Era. The speculations of the learned on this sub- 
ject will occupy many a vacant hour; but here we 
have only to do with what was seen, felt, feared, 
or admired by the present enterprising party of tra- 
vellers on the Nile. 

A quiet outside survey was all that ' Cousin Phil ' 
or Selina could accomplish ; whilst I, accompanied 
by Thomas and Sarah, did the work for the party. 
Several Bedouin guides, and other Arabs, took im- 
mediate possession of us, and led the way into the 
Great Pyramid. I had had no previous idea of the 
possibility of entering it, believing that feat to be 
reserved entirely for the stronger sex; but Abraham 
Khattab, our chief guide, assured me that it was 
quite feasible, that a great number of ladies accom- 
plished it, and that one lady could undoubtedly do 
what another had done before her. With this in- 
contestable argument, I determined to try. The 
entrance was appalling to begin with ; but ambition 
whispered that we stood on the threshold of what 
few of our friends had seen, or were ever likely to 
see; so I sunmioned up my smouldering courage, 
deposited the skirt of my long brown-holland riding- 
habit at the entrance, exacted a solemn promise from 



"TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEAD, LADY !" 361 

my guide to bring me back in safety, and entered 
the Pyramid, giving myself up to the tender mercies 
of the Bedouins, watching their quickly-shortening 
candles with dread forebodings of being left in dark- 
ness in the centre of the pile, begging of Thomas 
and Sarah to follow closely, and to come to no harm, 
and assuring them at the same time that no expedi- 
tion could be easier. The entrance is raised some 
distance above the present level of the sand; the 
Arabs took each a lighted candle in one hand, and 
one of my wrists in the other; the same for Sarah, 
whom I saw safely started, but saw little enough 
of afterwards, though I heard her behind me, making 
sundry exclamations on the impossibility of proceed- 
ing. First we went doAvn a steep, slippery passage, 
and then along some level ones, just wide enough 
for the group to file through, with footprints slightly 
cut or worn away in the stone. The constant shout 
of the guides, "Take care of your head, lady!" 
making us stoop lower and lower, till at length we 
arrived at a lofty passage, in which we were allowed 
to walk upright. The fact was announced by a 
shout from the Bedouins, which rung through our 
nerves, as well as through all the windings of this 
curious structure. The nerves received a still 
greater shock at the sight of a narrow ledge on the 
side of the wall to the left of us, sloping upward, 
with a steep incline : it is only just wide enough 
for one foot to step upon it, and is rendered nu)re 
safe by small holes on the inner side, just large 



362 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

enough to admit an inexperienced leg and to break 
it. The stride up to tliis charming promenade is 
ahnost heyond the ])Ower of European legs at all; 
and I looked up in amazement, when my guide said 
to me, as a matter of course, "Up here, lady!" I 
must confess to having unhesitatingly said, " No, 
I can't go up there!" — and at that moment I should 
have preferred returning. But the Arab looked so 
astonished, glancing first at the step, then at me, 
then at Sarah, saying, quite in a tone of reproach, 
" You like to say you been in the Queen's Chamber; 
you not like to go back ; you very good lady. — Ah, 
bravo ! — you very strong lady ; other lady all 
right," (though other lady looked certainly much 
more like "all wrong"), that my courage returned 
immediately. I thought, indeed, what would they 
say at home had I turned back here before I had 
accomplished my task ! On we went, then, though 
how I cannot say, but we did go on, till another 
unearthly shout ushered us into the King's Chamber. 
The walls are so thickly encrusted with salt, that 
the huge blocks of which they are built appear to 
be one solid mass. The Arabs immediately set to 
work to knock off portions of the salt, and to clamour 
for baksheesh, as pay for the sacred relics. We had 
nothing to give them; and Abraham Khattab, who 
had received strict orders from Mohamed that we 
were not to be annoyed, soon silenced them. 

In the King's Chamber there is a granite sar- 
cophagus, which our guides told us had been 



COMPLETELY BEWILDERED. 363 

brought down from some chambers above, in which 
Col. Howard Vyse had discovered fourteen others 
of very hirge size, lying side by side. This is an 
instance of the degree of reliance that may be placed 
on the guides in these matters, for in the upper 
chambers opened by Col. Howard Vyse there were no 
sarcophagi found at all, but only a few hieroglyphics 
upon separate stones. The ladder leading to these 
chambers has been removed, the guides said, on 
account of the danger of the ascent. They took us 
next to the Queen's Chamber, wdiich is below the 
King's, though it appeared to me at the time to be 
on the same level. It would be a hard task to be 
called upon to draw a plan of the passages along 
which we passed, being so completely bewildered by 
the darkness, noise and feats of climbing, together 
with the anxious endeavour to retain in the memory 
something of this expedition when it should be 
over, that it would not be fav from the truth to say 
that I have not now the remotest idea of when we 
went up or down, to the right or to the left ; success- 
ively we were led in all these directions, and getting 
out of the Pyramid was still more difficult than 
getting into it. The narrow incline had now to be 
descended ; the only stay for our feet being to place 
them against the naked feet of the guides, which 
certainly proved as firm and unfeeling as the rock 
itself, though it was hard for our tender hearts to 
realise it at the time. Towards the end of the 
journey there came one step so deep that the only 



364 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABKEII. 

resource was to let the Bedouin take you by the 
waist and deposit you below after liis own fashion. 
At lengtii the opening to the Pyramid reappeared 
glimmering in the distance, and never was daylight 
more welcome. The climbing in itself is hard work 
for ladies, and it is rendered more so from the in- 
tense heat within the Pyramid and the close con- 
tact in which you must necessarily be placed with 
the Bedouin Arabs, who are not the cleanest of 
human beings, while their unearthly yells increased 
tenfold the apparent danger of the ups and downs. 
Our guide, ' Abraham Khattab,' was an excellent 
one, and deserves recommendation to future tra- 
vellers. He spoke English, Italian, and French, 
the latter with a first-rate accent ; while within the 
Pyramid he made no appeal whatever for baksheesh, 
and when he took me up on the outside his requests 
were made in the form of the most polite and unob- 
trusive insinuations. 

Fatigued and sunburnt, I rejoined ' Cousin Phil ' 
and Seliua, who were stationed at the other side 
of the Pyramid, under a projecting stone which 
afforded some little shade as well as a table for 
luncheon. The marvels of the interior were related, 
and the flies came buzzing round to hear with so 
much attentive devotion that we felt far more in- 
clined to make them a present of the cold chicken at 
once than to struggle with them for the possession. 
Selina had employed the time in making a sketch ; 
and now Abraham, the guide, stood complacently 



GOING Ur OUTSIDE. 365 

for his portrait, until advancing clay reminded ine 
that my work was not yet over. Thomas and Sarah 
had had enough of it, and they declined the honour 
of mounting the Pyramid from the outside. This 
last feat was reserved for me alone. Three Bedouins 
accompanied me — Abraham and two companions — 
one as hearty as himself, the other rather too old 
for the work, as was soon proved by his remaining 
behind before we reached the top, so soon as he 
thought that his services could be dispensed with. 
For this he incurred considerable raillery from his 
companions, who spoke of him just as you might 
speak of a worn-out horse — "old fellow," "good for 
nothing,'' &:c. 

Each of the two first guides seized one of my 
wrists and held them with so tight a grasp that I 
was obliged to remonstrate upon the subject and to 
show them the red marks which were appearing in 
consequence, upon which they condescended slightly 
to loosen their hold. They first mounted one of the 
giant steps themselves, while the third guide, re- 
maining on a level with me, placed two more hands 
at my waist, and assisted me to a succession of 
springs varying from three to five feet in height. 
Thus by a series of jumps the ascent of the Pyra- 
mid was accomplished in a far easier manner than 
I had anticipated. ' Cousin Phil ' and Selina moved 
to a distance to watch me. They said I looked like 
a doll as I was lifted up by the Bedouins from one 
giant stc]) to tlu^ other; they could not lionr the 



366 FOUR .AroNxns tx a daiiabeeh. 

song with wliieli the guides aided their efforts and 
mine as we proceeded ; but here it is set to a kind of 
boatman's chorus, to which they sang it. 

Chorus, y — ^ ^ .. ^ 

Hayl^e, Haylee, sah ! 

Solo. 'Plenty Ijakslieesh, lady!' 

Chorus. ' Haylee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

Solo. ' To take you up to the top ! ' 

Chorus. ' Haylee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

Solo. ' Custom of every nation ! ' 

Chorus. ' Haylee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

Solo. ' Ah ! bravo, bravo, lady ! ' 

Chorus. ' Haylee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

Solo. ' Don't tell this man what you give me ! ' 

Chorus (who do not understand English). ' Hay- 
lee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

Solo. ' Give it to me myself! ' 

Chorus. ' Haylee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

Solo. ' Now stop and take rest, lady ! ' 

Chorus. ' Haylee, Haylee, sah ! ' 

The ascent occupied twenty minutes, and I 
rested five times on the way, to take breath for the 
next climb and to look around me and remember 
where I was. A sixth pause would have been more to 
my taste, but the w^ary guide, suspecting signs of ap- 
proaching fjitigue, said, " No, lady, you must go to 
the top now.''' I felt he was right, though I doubted 
my powers to proceed. The old guide had halted 
at the fourth station, and, to say the truth, he was 
no loss, for although his assistance was of the great- 



ARRIVED AT THE TOP. 3G7 

est use at first, he liad by this time become fatigued 
himself, and instead of jumping me up lie only 
assisted in weighing me down. I jumped much 
better without him now, and the blocks towards the 
top of the Pyramid are not so high as the lower ones. 
One last, longish effort then, enlivened by the chat- 
tering guide, who well-nigh dispersed the remaining 
breath that was in me by gravely inquiring if the 
gentleman down below were my husband and why 
ray Mamma was not here with me, and I stood at 
the top of the Great Pyramid of Geezeh, with the 
famous view spread around me, of which I had so 
often heard and read, and so little dreamed of seeing 
with my own eyes. 

After a few moments to recover breath and my 
senses, the first objects I sought for were ' Cousin 
Phil ' and Selina. How grand I felt up there, and 
how very small indeed they looked as they waved 
their specks of handkerchiefs up in congratulation to 
me ! Yet could I have summoned thither the wand 
of one of the magicians of old, or some more modern 
railway contrivance, I would willingly have resigned 
the honour of the single triumph for the far greater 
pleasure of sharing it with them. The burning rays of 
the sun, however, soon recalled me to a more respect- 
ful attention to the scene around me. To the south, a 
maze of pyramids extended to an unlimited distance 
on the desert plain, having no apparent connexion 
with one another, save in their outward form. To 
the west, the Lvbian Desert stretched far and wide, 



368 FOUR MONTHS IN A DATTABKEH. 

irrandlv solemnisino; in its barren solitude. To the 
north and east, tlie shining river flowed on, nourish- 
in o- the richly green crops on its banks ; the island of 
Roda was there, and Cairo, 'Kahirah' (the triumph- 
ant), with its citadel and its mosques, rose in the clear 
blue sky above, backed by the Mokattam hills. A 
few scattered villages studded the desert plain, whilst 
close around the Pyramids there were numberless 
rising hillocks in the sand, suggesting the existence 
of similar piles still hidden beneath. Lastly, and 
close by, were the two remaining Pyramids of the 
group and the Sphinx. The Second Pyramid is at- 
tributed to Cephrem, the third to Mycerinus, suc- 
cessors of Cheops. The outer casing of the Great 
Pyramid, which originally filled in the square blocks, 
making a smooth sloping surface from top to bottom, 
has been removed, or tlie ascent would be next to 
impossible for any one. It was removed by the 
Caliphs to serve for buildings in Cairo. The casing 
of the second pyramid still remains, and the ascent is 
seldom undertaken even by the natives, though they 
will sometimes try it for the sake of ' baksheesh.' 
The Third Pyramid is quite small compared to the 
other two ; it occupies two acres of ground, and is 
203 feet in perpendicular height. Its outer casing 
was of granite, so that, although the smallest, it must 
have been by far the handsomest of the group. A 
portion of the granite still remains at the base. By 
far the most impressive view of the Sphinx is obtained 
from tlie summit of the Great Pyramid, tliougli every 



THE SPHINX. 369 

one may not care to obtain it at the expense of the 
climb. Those who do will be well repaid the trouble ; 
indeed, I should not scruple to go up again as often 
as I had the opportunity, though nothing would in- 
duce me to revisit the interior. The summit of 
the Great Pyramid presents a surface of about 32 
feet square, covered with four-sided blocks of stone 
placed side by side, without any cement or mortar 
between them. 

Fascinating as my position then was, I mus^t of 
necessity come down again, and the heat soon drove 
me to do so. The descent was comparatively an easy 
process. I required but little assistance, stopped only 
once on the way to rest and to take a last look at the 
surrounding scenery, and reached the bottom in the 
course of eight minutes from the time of starting. I 
was now, and naturally so, nearly as great a wonder 
as the Pyramids themselves, particularly in the eyes 
of our dragoman, who would not have gone up, he 
said, at any hour, — no, not for "thousand pounds," 
because the heat and exertion would make his "head 
sick." But time was wearing on ; brave as I had 
been, my own legs would not at that moment have 
carried me even to the Sphinx, but happily those of 
a good donkey were at hand, as was also a most 
refreshing orange. We mounted and rode only a few 
yards' distance from the Second Pyramid, where sits 
the majestic Sphinx. 

The Sphinx is cut out of a solid piece of rock, a 
small portion only having been completed with stone- 

B IJ 



370 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

masonry. Stately and majestic still the lion-headed, 
woman-faced figure sits, half buried in the sand. 
The cap which it wore on its head is destroyed, the 
nose is gone, much of one side of the face is broken ; 
but the Sphinx represents an Egyptian beauty still, 
and its mutilated features still smile benignly upon 
the spectator. The fore-paws are said to stretch a 
length of 50 feet. Between them was formerly a 
sanctuary, in which offerings were made, and religious 
ceremonies performed in honour of the monster di- 
vinity. My donkey seemed rather afraid of it, but I 
made him take me all round the hill of sand sur- 
rounding the cavity in which the Sphinx is excavated, 
that I misrht have some idea of the real size of this 
curious and beautiful monument. It is said to mea- 
sure 143 feet in length, and 63 feet in height from 
the base to the top of the head. We left contem- 
plating it with reluctance. Our brains full with all 
that we had seen, we re-crossed the sandy plain, 
passed through the village of Geezeh, remarking on 
the noisy character of its inhabitants, and regained 
our dahabeeh without once remembering what Mo- 
hamed had called "the manufactory of chickens.'' Up 
the Nile and down the Nile, our hearts had been set 
upon seeing the egg-ovens of Geezeh, in which, from 
time immemorial, chickens have been hatched by arti- 
ficial heat ; we had perpetually charged the dragoman 
that they should not be forgotten, and now, as with 
Belzoni's name at Abousir, the Pyramids, Sphinx, and 
the letters from home, had driven the chickens far 



*THE MANUFACTORY OF CHICKENS.' 371 

away from our minds. Not till two days after the 
Nile trip had been numbered amongst the things that 
had been, did it suddenly occur to us that Geezeh, 
with its " chicken-manufactory," was lost to us for 
ever. Mohamed's account of the " manufactory " 
was this : " A Nubian sits upon the eggs, which are 
placed on the floor, puts his arms out, gathers them 
all round him, takes them up one by one, calling 
' Gloo, gloo, gloo,' to tell the chickens to come out, 
and sitting there patiently day and night to take care 
of them." The Nubian, we thought, could hardly 
represent so aptly the conduct of a hen towards her 
rising family, but as we did not see we cannot deny 
the motherly proceeding. Between sailing and row- 
ing we crossed from Geezeh to the island of Koda, 
for the noise of a Ramadan night on the mainland 
threatened to drive away sleep from our eyes. At 
Roda the sounds reached us still, but they were 
softened by distance. Guns were firing, 'tom-toms' 
playing, people shouting, singing, and talking all 
night long; and by the noise over our heads we 
strongly suspect that a large entertainment was given 
on board the ' Cairo ' herself during the early morn- 
ing hours. How lovely was this last evening in our 
boat-home at Roda ! Long did we sit and watch the 
exquisite moon and star-lit sky, never, perhaps, till 
this moment, when we were about to lose it, fully 
appreciating the unlimited range over which our eyes 
had wandered for the last four months. How should 
we l)ear the c]ian2;e? The i>lorious curtain of ni<rht 



372 FOUR MONTHS IX A DAHABEEn. 

could hencefortli be only partially peeped at through 
the limits of a window-frame. 

Saturday^ March IQth. — To conclude our cruise, 
we sailed round the pretty island of Roda, and took 
our last look at the Nilometer. The green trees, the 
flowering gardens, the comfortable palaces of this 
favoured spot, were clothed with ncAV interest and 
beauty after all the barren sands upon which we had 
looked for so long a time. After our four months of 
comparative solitude, with silent temples and thinly 
populated villages, how noisy, busy, and bustling did 
the shores of 'Old Cairo' and Boulak appear! How 
populous their streets, how inviting the baskets full 
of green vegetables, brought down by the women to 
the water's edge to be well washed, freshened up, 
and carried away to the markets for sale ; and, to 
crown all, how fair the complexions of the populous 
city compared to what we had judged them on our 
departure. Had they been bleaching whilst we had 
been burning on the river ? Be that as it may, a 
large number of them now bore a very fair com- 
parison with the ladies of our party, while ' Cousin 
Phil ' himself did not hesitate to say that the Cairenes 
had even the advantage over him in this respect. 

The harbour of Boulak was full of dahabeehs, de- 
spoiled of their banners and deserted by the various 
parties, grave and gay, who had found in them their 
homes some few weeks back. The gaily-painted ves- 
sels would now lie idle till the next season on the Nile 
should begin, with the exception of a few that were 



RETURN TO SHEPHERD'S. 373 

offering themselves cheap to any one who would en- 
joy a roasting during the summer months. Our lug- 
gage was all landed ; and the crew, having received a 
small extra ' haksheesli ' for their services in carrvina; 
about the invalids, bade us an affectionate farewell ; 
and as we mounted en voiture^ it felt rather grand to 
be driving in a cushioned carriage, drawn by a pair of 
horses, with an individual on the box who at least 
called himself a coachman, and finally to be stopping 
at the door of a great hotel swarming with Euro- 
peans. A mail from Southampton and one from 
Suez had just arrived. ]\Iany of our fellow-travellers 
on the Nile were also there, but our meeting was 

saddened by the first intelligence, that Mr. M 

had died almost immediately on his arrival at Cairo, 
and that the funeral was to take place that afternoon 
in the English cemetery a little way out of the city. 

Most of the travellers this season who were in the 
enjoyment of good health continued their route into 
Syria. It was somewhat of a trial to us that we 
could not follow them, but Suez and a short trip on 
the Red Sea, with a few days more to explore the 
wonders of Cairo, were all that was in store for us, 
and then we should leave the Oriental world, in all 
probability for ever. 

After the open sky and free ventilation of our 
boat-life. Shepherd's Hotel was dull, dreary, and 
dirty ; notwithstanding its lofty, spacious rooms, it 
was difficult to avoid catching colds and sore throats, 
simply from passing along its cold stone passages. 



374 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEiH. 

The first evening on shore was spent in reviewing 
our life on the Nile. More and more dreamlike it 
seemed, and as we heard the reports of other tra- 
vellers, the questions suggested themselves : How 
was it tliat, instead of enjoying it, we had not rather 
died oi ennui f Was Selina the better or the worse 
for her journey ? Would either of us willingly go 
up the Nile again ? ]\Iany other travellers, before 
six weeks were over, had returned with all speed, 
finding the monotony of the trip unbearable. Per- 
haps they had not stocked their cabins so well with 
books and drawing-paper as we had, and perhaps 
their dragomen were not so amusing as ours was, 
let alone the engrossing interest of ' Cousin Phil ' and 
his wonderful chair. Selina certainly returned far 
stronger than she went, l)ut she had suffered much 
from the inequalities of temperature, the cold nights, 
and high winds. She says the risk is to'o great, 
though the pleasure was also great, and many ob- 
jects of interest are still left to be seen. 'Cousin Phil' 
says he would rather not start again to-morrow, but 
some future day the brave old gentleman would see 
no reason against enjoying another similar cruise. 
Thomas, who on this one subject alone had never 
said anything before, says nothing now. Sarah turns 
aside and whispers audibly, " Catch me there again 
if you can." And I say, "Let well alone;" we 
have made the most of our trip, we have enjoyed it 
thoroughly, and have brought home a fund of inter- 
est and amusement, which will last by many a win- 



MUSINGS ON THE PAST. 375 

ter fireside, and we are very glad to get back again 
to enjoy the recollections of our cruise. 

No trip could be more full of interest, or better 
calculated for diverting the thoughts of invalids 
from their ailments ; and the bracing, invigorating 
properties of the desert air cannot be denied for 
those who, in the earlier stage of disease, are still 
strong enough to stand the inequalities of the tempe- 
rature of Egypt ; but in cases where consumption is 
far advanced, it would seem that a more equable 
climate must be preferable. In such cases it appeared 
to us that the Nile trip was full of risk. Five of the 
invalids whom we met this year died before the 
excursion was over ; two returned no better ; one 
only, who was in comparatively good health at start- 
ing, and who was not suffering from a chest com- 
plaint, unhesitatingly pronounced himself much 
benefited. 



376 



CHAPTER X. 

FROM CAIRO TO SUEZ. 
CONCLUSION. 

Once more we met a large concourse of fellow- 
countrymen and women in the English church at 
Cairo, and joined in the public worship, from which 
we had been so long debarred, offering our thankful 
acknowledgment for the safety in which our long 
journey had been accomplished. The room was 
full, as it always is when Shepherd's Hotel is full, 
and the singing was sweet and melodious — at- least 
by comparison with that of our Arab crew. 

In the afternoon a mail arrived from Southamp- 
ton, and a number of omnibuses and carriages of 
various descriptions disgorged their living loads at 
the door of the hotel, where we sat to receive them. 
The passengers tumble out pell-mell, and, knowing 
full well that the hotel will not hold them all, they 
rush wildly along the passages, and up and down 
the stairs, forgetful of all Christian charity on the 
occasion, and solely impressed with the propriety of 
the maxim, " First come first served." In the melee 
we discover no less than three parties of our ac- 
([uaintauces, one of them in a state of utter destitu- 



THE SYRIAN BAZAAR. 377 

tion, the luggage of papa, mamma, and baby having 
been sent on to Suez by mistake, when they had 
purposed remaining at Cairo until the last necessary 
moment of departure. 

Monday^ March ISth. — There was no alterna- 
tive for our friends but to follow their luggage on to 
Suez. We saw them off, and then commenced a 
second week of 'sight-seeing' at Cairo. The Turk- 
ish and Syrian bazaars engaged our attention for 
two successive days. It is necessary to take your 
time when you wish to bargain with a merchant in 
these bazaars — he certainly will take his, and that 
is not less than three-quarters of an hour's parleying 
for each article to be purchased. Very beautiful 
handkerchiefs and scarfs, from Damascus and Con- 
stantinople, were displayed before us. 

We discovered, towards the end of the visit, that 
the merchant in the Syrian bazaar understood Eng- 
lish perfectly, but he feigned entire ignorance of the 
language in order not to hamper our intercourse 
with the dragoman on the subject of his wares. 
Mohamed also was perfectly aware of this fact, but 
he did not let it out, and continued to bargain for 
us, prefacing each fresh proposal with a washing of 
his hands, whereby he declared himself incapable 
of taking any of the extra prices for himself, as he 
loudly asserted that " all other dragomen " did. 
We had good reason to believe that both merchant 
and dragoman were well up to their own interests on 
this occasion ; yet, from future considerations, and 



378 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

comparisons with other travellers and their bargains, 
we found that these fatiguing hours in the bazaar had 
not been ill spent. The articles Mohamed el Adleeli 
procured for us were of the best materials, and not 
too highly priced, as times go ; indeed, we should 
not liesitate to apply to him for future bargains. 

The next object of interest was the museum of 
Egyptian antiquities, collected by the Viceroy, and 
opened at Boulak since we left in November last. 
This museum is well worth seeing, and contains 
some very handsome specimens. In the first room 
the chief object of interest is the mummy-case of 
one of the ancient princesses. It is very elaborately 
painted, and the colours remain in perfect preserva- 
tion. The treasures which were found in it are 
arranged under a glass case in the middle of the 
room. They consist of handsome chains, brooches, 
bracelets, and ear-rings, in various devices, all of 
gold, a handsome collar necklace, in the same metal, 
besides many other articles of curious and unintel- 
ligible shapes, and two very pretty silver boats, with 
their crews sitting at the oars. Round the room 
stand other mummy-cases, and the contents of many 
more. In a second apartment are many specimens 
of the ancient blue and green ware of Egypt ; some 
small alabaster figures, exquisitely sculptured ; images 
of heathen gods innumerable ; mummied birds and 
crocodiles, wrapped in rags of two colours — yellow 
and brown — in such a manner as to retain their 
true forms. These are very beautifully done, and 



THE PETRIFIED FOREST. 379 

are still in perfect preservation. A nnmbor of 
statues in granite and alal^aster are placed along 
the centre and round this room. One of the figures 
sqviatted, in the same attitude as that in which the 
Egyptians of the present day still squat, and two 
others, sitting cross-legged, reading a roll of papyrus, 
are particularly interesting. 

The Turk who was in charge could not speak 
one word . of any European language, so that a 
catalogue was sadly needed, and one short visit is 
not enough to impress on the mind half the objects 
in this excellent, though comparatively small collec- 
tion, which is well worth several visits. 

Five days of the atmosphere of Cairo was suffi- 
cient to excite a desire for a little fresher air ; ac- 
cordingly, on Thursday, March 21st, we set out for 
a drive to the ' Petrified Forest.' Four horses were 
required for this excursion ; and after a drive, rush 
or jolt, across the Desert for one hour and a half, 
over sand, rock, and hill, we arrived at the outskirts 
of the forest. 

We had been jolted and shaken in the most 
unmerciful manner, the unfortunate horses beaten 
and urged on more mercilessly still by the indefati- 
gable running ' sai's.' 

The Arabs, convinced that there is no other way 
of inducing the horses to get over the uneven sur- 
face, and that, if they once suffer them to rest, they 
will never move a2;aiii, treat them so cruellv that the 
])()or beasts are at length obliged to stop, and require 



380 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

some little time to recover, before they can proceed 
any further. After several pauses for this purpose, 
we arrived in sight of the curious natural phenome- 
non called the ' Petrified Forest.' 

We stood on the outskirts only of a forest of 
palm-trees, which once stretched many miles away 
on the now barren, sandy plain. Fragments of 
petrified wood lie in all directions on the sand. The 
pieces have so entirely lost their original nature, 
that on striking them against one another, they emit 
a clear, metallic sound ; but the veining and knots 
of the wood remain so distinct as to leave no doubt 
as to its normal condition. The largest piece we 
saw was, perhaps, between three feet and four feet 
in length. The greater number of those which were 
scattered about the plain resembled blocks cut for 
firewood. Several of these blocks lie collected 
together in small, circular spaces, carpeted with 
petrified shavings and splinters of all sizes (some as 
sharp and fine as needles), as though a carpenter or 
hewer of wood had sat there at his work, and, being 
called suddenly away, had left the sweepings of his 
shop behind him. Some miles further on, whole 
trunks of petrified trees are to be seen ; and there 
are many other places in Egypt where such are 
found. Between Cairo and Suez, mention is made 
of a palm-tree, petrified in the sandstone rock, 
measuring from twenty-five feet to thirty feet in 
len2;th. 

Tlie pure desert air was thorougli enjoyment 



TIIE ANCIENT MOSQUE. 381 

after tlie few last days' confinement to the streets 
and bazaars of Cairo, to which we returned when 
we had gathered up reminiscences of the forest, 
ahnost sufficient, Mohamed said, to build ourselves 
a house. 

The two remaining days of our intended stay 
were devoted to the mosques, which we had not yet 
visited. These buildings form the principal features 
of this great city — the ' mother of the world ; ' and 
at every turn in its streets, a mosque or minaret, 
new or old, meets the eye. That of ' Ahmed Ebn e' 
Tooloon ' is the most ancient, and many unlikely 
and impossible traditions are connected with its 
site. It bears date a.d. 879, about ninety >ears 
previous to the foundation of any other part of the 
city. 

It consists of a large open court, surrounded by 
colonnades, with many rows of columns supporting 
pointed arches, which prove the existence of the 
pointed arch about three hundred years before it was 
in use in England, where it was not general till 
A.D. 1200. An outer wall surrounds the court, at 
each corner of which formerly rose a minaret. One 
of these has a spiral staircase on the outside, still 
remaining. It is said that its founder being one 
day observed by his ' Wizeer' in an absent moment, 
rolling up a piece of parchment in a spiral form, 
the minister reproved him for having no better em- 
ployment for his royal dignity. " On the contrary," 
said the Prince ; " I am thinking that a minaret. 



382 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

erected oa this principle would have many advan- 
tages ; I could even ride up it on horseback." 

The staircase of the new mosque was accordingly 
built after tlijit manner. Whether the monarch 
ever did ride up it is not related; but in March 1861, 
we walked up its broken and dilapidated steps, and, 
not without some difficulty, I reached the summit. 
The dragoman accompanied me ; and gloried in the 
splendid view of the city which is obtained from 
thence. The citadel with the whole of Cairo, the 
Uzbekeeh, the Shoobra Gardens, and the distant 
Pyramids, are plainly seen. It was in vain that I 
endeavoured to draw from the Arab head the situa- 
tion of one single street or bazaar in the city. He 
had not the most remote idea where this or that was 
situated. From such a position he declared it was 
impossible. How could he tell ? He could not see 
streets ; when we came down again, and passed by 
the various objects, then he would tell me where 
they stood. Cairo was three times the size of 
London, and he was quite sure no one could describe 
London from the top of St. Paul's. Such was our 
dragoman's idea of the greatest city in the world 
and the intelligence of its inhabitants, and he spoke 
from personal observation, for he had been twice in 
London with an English gentleman, in whose ser- 
vice he had remained for three ye^s. 

We next visited the mosque of Sultan Kalaoon. 
It is near the Turkish bazaar, and is attached to 
the madhouse (Morostan) founded by the Sultan 



THE CITADEL ILLUMINATED. 383 

A.D. 1287. The toml) of the Sultan within this 
mosque, is very handsome, and the hght tracery, 
and inlaid work of mother of pearl and mosaic 
very pretty and curious. In this mosque, Mohamed 
pointed out a small niche, which was, he said, always 
kept miraculously filled with water, of which all those 
partook who entered the mosque for prayer. There 
w^as a jar of water standing near at the time to 
account for the miracle ; but Mohamed' s fliith was 
in no way shaken hereby, neither apparently was that 
of the Moslem, whose business it was to replenish 
the holy vessel whenever it was emptied. 

The lunatics have since been removed to another 
hospital, where they are tended l)y Europeans. 
The court of the mosque has now the appearance of 
a number of almshouses, filled with poor families. 
Mohamed said that it was a kind of ' poor-house,' in 
which a certain number of persons were clothed and 
fed, at the expense of the Sultan. 

During the nights of Ramadan the mosque of 
the citadel is illuminated, and the people resort 
thither in large numbers at the hours of prayer. 
It is usual to allow strangers to enter and witness 
the illumination ; but there was at this time some 
difficulty in gaining admittance to this as well as to 
some of the other mosques, in consequence of the 
ill behaviour of a few travellers, who, for the sake of 
the good name of their nation, if not for their own, 
should have been more careful in their proceedings. 
We resolved, however, to try. 



384 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

Selina's throat would not allow her to go out in 
the evening air, and ' Cousin Phil ' and I went alone 
to the citadel. The minarets were very prettily 
encircled with lights ; but when we arrived at the 
entrance of the mosque, far from being admitted 
ourselves, crowds of natives were being driven away 
by the guards stationed within. All the eloquence 
of Moliamed, upon ' Cousin Phil's ' importance, and 
his enfeebled state, were for a long time unavailing. 
The Pasha was praying. If we chose to wait for 
half-an-hour or more, when his prayers would be 
over, we might see him, and ask permission for our- 
selves ; but now, go we must. ' Cousin Phil ' 
could not stand for so long a time, and we were 
going off, when the guard relented sufficiently to say, 
that if we chose to go round to the side-door we might 
peep in. This we did, and saw very nearly all. 

The illumination consisted of large coronas of 
small oil lamps, which had a brilliant, and very 
pretty effect, though not coming up to the reports 
which we had heard of the illumination. A crowd 
of persons were assembled, prostrated on the beau- 
tiful marble pavement, engaged in prayer. A 
sound as of chanting came from the extremity of the 
mosque, where all the derweesh were assembled, 
invisible to us, and the people rose, and prostrated 
themselves again several times. But here, we were 
not alloAved to remain, and we left them, to i eturn 
again through the lighted busy streets, where buy- 
ing and selling, feasting and story - tellhig, inter- 



A DOXKEY-KIDi: IX 'OLD CAIRO.' 385 

mingled with the readings of the Koran, and prayers 
in the mosque, were carried on till two o'clock in 
the moriiiiiG:. 

o 

The temporary cessation of smoking, which is 
general, if not universal, during Ramadan, causes 
considerable improvement in the atmot^phere of the 
streets and hazaars ; and tended much, no doubt, to 
the extra enjoyment of our last Cairo excursion — 
a donkey-ride tlirough the oldest and narrowest 
parts of the city. 

The first time that we mounted on donkey-back 
in Egypt, the bewildering novelty of the scenes 
around us completely silenced our tongues, and left 
eyes and brains alone in full and earnest play. 
Now we were novices no longer, and otf" we started, 
ambling along ; the amble of the Cairo donkeys 
being a very comfortal)le pace, though their trotting 
is not quite so agreeable. We could chat and laugh 
now, as we rode on almost as unconcernedly as 
the Arabs themselves ; ]\Iohamed cleared the way 
for us, in a state of great excitement about the 
old city, which he declared it would take us one 
whole year to explore. Some of the oldest streets 
are so narrow that the pretty projecting 'mushra- 
bech,' literally touch each otlier from the op]K)site 
houses; and throughout the whole of this quarter of 
the town, the narrowest aperture only is left between 
them to admit the liglit or heat of the burning sun. 
Some of the fret-work of these ' mushrabcch ' is 
very elnboratc. Nin)il)erless objects of interest are 



386 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAnABEEIT. 

seen in the crowded shops of the old narrow streets, 
as well as in the bazaars, which are a very little more 
spacious. Amongst them all, the very primitive 
door-bolts or locks, still in use in Egyptian houses, 
claimed our attention. They are made of wood ; 
three, four, or six tiny pins, or bolts suspended 
from the top, drop into corresponding holes in the 
wooden latch, and thus secure it. The key, which 
is also of wood, is armed with similar pins, fixed 
firmly upon it ; when this is slid into the groove of 
the latch, the pins enter the holes, raise the sus- 
pended bolts, and the latch may be drawn out. As 
soon as it is pushed back again, and the key with- 
drawn, the bolts fall, and secure it once more. 
Similar wooden locks were used l)y the Greeks and 
Romans, and in the Highlands wooden locks still 
exist, so artfully contrived, by notches made at 
unequal distances, on the inside, that they can only 
be opened by the wooden key which belongs to 
them. But this is also the case with at least the 
greater number of the wooden locks in Egypt. We 
purchased three of them from the manufacturer, and 
neither of these three can be opened by the keys 
belono-inij; to the other two. The Shoe Bazaar also 
claimed some time, for admiration of the brilliant red 
and yellow leather in its well-stocked shops, and 
the busy workmen, who seem to have constant 
occupation for every day, notwithstanding that so 
large a proportion of tlie populntion wear no shoes 
at all. 



THE HIDE CONTINUED. 387 

The ride itself was the greatest fun imaginable, 
the populace, who were almost exclusively of the 
male sex, crowded round us, and were perpetually 
sent flying away by the shouts of our attendants; 
and on our return, Selina congratulated herself that 
her donkey had not knocked over moi'e than three 
men and one child in the course of the journey. 
The narrow streets exclude all wheeled convey- 
ances of any description, but heavily laden donkeys, 
and even camels, pass through in long files, so that 
when any of these meet there is but little room left 
for pedestrians, who consequently learn all kinds of 
ingenious and agile contrivances for keeping their 
ten toes in safety. To Europeans the lack of women 
in these streets and bazaars is very striking ; they 
sit in the market-places offering things for sale, 
but are elsewhere seen only in very small pro- 
portions to the other sex. 

Sunday^ March 2Uh. — We were occupied with the 
morning public worship — a broiling walk in the 
afternoon ; and after dinner a turn in the Uzbekeeh, 
to see the house of the Sardinian Consul, which was 
very prettily illuminated with small oil-lamps, l)ranch- 
ing up in festoons on either side the doorway as well 
as round all the window-frames, in honour of Gari- 
baldi's late victory over the Neapolitan troops. 

Monday, March Ihth. — We set out for Suez, si ill 
keeping Mohamed as dragoman. The heal in Cairo 
was becoming oppressive. The thermometer was at 
70° in our well-slicUered bed-rooms, and walkiiiLi, (n- 



388 rOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

driving about before four p.m., was beginning to be 
even beyond the enduring powers of my non-com- 
bustible companions. 

In the space of five hours and a half, the railway 
carriages conveyed us to Suez, across the same sandy 
plains over which the Israelites of old had journeyed 
when, under the innnediate protection of Heaven, 
they fled from the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh, laden 
with the spoils of their task-masters. Laborious, 
indeed, must their journey have been through the 
dry, burning sand, and requiring a lively faith even 
in those to whom the difficulties of the desert may 
not have been quite so great as they would appear 
to Europeans. As we passed by a few toiling pedes- 
trians and heavily laden dromedaries, and saw how 
deeply they sank at each step in the sand, and how 
slowly they proceeded, we pictured to ourselves the 
travelling hosts and the hardships they must have 
had to endure in their long and weary wanderings; 
and inexcusable though they were, we wondered less 
than we had formerly done, at the murmurings of the 
fliithless people. Had we moderns been placed in the 
same circumstances, would many of us have been 
found with those whose faith shone so brightly 
throu2;h all their Ions: trial ? 

Passing by a long vista of years, imagination 
next called uji visions of uncles, brothers, and cousins 
innumerable, jolting, in the service of their Queen 
and country, over the same road, in the crazy cara- 
van in nioinontnrv ox])Pr'hition of tumbling through 



TRAVELLING TO SUEZ. b89 

and lying on the sand, till a more crazy concern 
should pass by and })ick them up ; or, after a suc- 
cession of unexpectedly affectionate embraces with 
their opposite neighbours, arriving at their journey's 
end with a fractured skull from a series of salutary 
reminders overhead, that the 'caravan,' if crazy at 
bottom, was at least sound and solid at the top. 

The third picture was that of modern 1861 rush- 
ing to and fro, because one ingenious contrivance 
after another has so arranged it, that people may 
leave their homes at a moment's notice, with the 
least possible regret ; the level road, the luxurious 
railway-carriage, the puffing steam-engine, carrying 
invalided 'seventy-five,' with his younger companions, 
quickly and quite at their ease to Suez, because, for- 
sooth, brave ' seventy-five ' has seen the Pyramids of 
Egypt, and he naturally wishes to cross the Red Sea 
also. 

Thus we were set down at Suez, in an hotel 
which would have done credit to London itself. 
The present proprietor is assisted by the Peninsular 
and Oriental Company, and the hotel, formerly so 
indifferent, now ranks as a first-rate establishment. 
The change from Shepherd's was striking and most 
welcome. In the first place, the bed-rooms were 
clean ; then there were no fleas, and com]>aratively 
few moscpiitoes or flies, in any part of the house. 
The servants were cleanly, active, intelligent Benga- 
lese, and waited at table extremely well ; the cookmg 
was excellent (the cook an Indian), the table >vas 



390 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

served like a gentlcDian's table ; and to complete our 
luxury, there was a pleasant-looking, carpeted par- 
lour, with window-curtains, couches, and a supply of 
newspapers and books on the table, open to every 
one. 

Either we were particularly good-tempered on 
this occasion, or peculiarly fortunate in our visit, or 
the generality of our countrymen are great grum- 
blers (a British privilege, it is true), or the whole 
agreeable result may have been due solely to con- 
trast with Cairo and with Shepherd's ; but we 
enjoyed our stay at Suez extremely. The hotel 
was excellent, the sea-breeze delightfully refreshing, 
the Red Sea a lovelier blue than any sea we had yet 
seen, — a clear, transparent turquoise blue ; the 
Arabian hills on the opposite coast, with the ' Wells 
of Moses ' in the distance, the recollections of the 
miraculous passage of the Israelites under Moses, 
supposed according to some authorities to have 
taken place just above the town ; all was full of 
such deep interest, that the notions of dreariness and 
loneliness, which might otherwise be connected with 
the very name of Suez, retreated immediately into 
the back-ground. 

Tuesday^ March 2Qth. — We embarked soon after 
breakfast in a small sailing vessel, manned by five 
rather Indian-looking sailors, and set sail for the 
' Wells of Moses.' Mohamed had provided a new 
chair for ' Cousin Phil ; ' luncheon and all necessaries 
for the day's excursion. The sea looked beautiful, 



THE Wi:i,LS OF MOSES. 391 

and the hills on both sides were tii)ped with lovely 
purple hues. 

One hour and a half conveyed our little vessel 
across, within three miles of the hiteresting- Wells. 
' Cousin Phil ' was carried by the crew in his new 
chair, which was a simple arm-chair supported on 
two poles, by no means as safe as the former con- 
trivance, but there was no way of getting anything 
else. Selina and I rode on donkeys, which had 
been sent across for us previously. We were out of 
Africa now, and for the first time set foot on the 
Asiatic continent. 

Situated on the border of the wide-spreading, 
barren desert of Arabia, are three gardens, lately 
planted near the Wells, which have always been 
known to the natives of these parts by the name of 
the ' Wells of Moses,' and at which we again pictured 
the children of Israel refreshing themselves on their 
weary march. 

The gardens are the property of persons residing 
in Suez, and there are gardeners appointed to look 
after them. Their produce did not appear to be 
great, but anything green here was extremely re- 
freshing to the eye. There are seven springs, or 
wells as they are called. One bubbles up through 
the sand on the surface of the desert, others are 
sunk and walled in with masonry. Three of them are 
situated outside the gardens, the others are within ; 
and the waters of the principal well run through 
them in a beautifully clear, sparkling stream. We 



392 FOUK MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

put our hands in to taste a draught of the inviting 
beverage, but a simultaneous expression of horror 
was the result. The water was inviting indeed to 
the eye, and the plants drank of it thankfully and 
greedily, but it was bitter and horrid to the taste. 
" The waters of Marah," we exclaimed, " could not 
have been worse ;" and here again another picture 
rose up before us, of Israel murmuring because of 
the bitter w^aters, and we tried to believe that this 
was the actual spot where that event took place, in 
spite of the fact, that the best authorities place it at 
least three days' journey further on. 

The heat was intense, and we were glad to take 
our luncheon under the shelter of a small summer- 
house, erected in one of the gardens. A low mud- 
seat ran all round the mud walls, and upon this we 
sat and refreshed ourselves, with our own provisions 
and some new milk which the gardener sent to us. 

Once in Asia, it was but natural that our thoughts 
should turn with increased longings towards the 
Holy Land. Mount Sinai at least seemed within 
our grasp ; and Mohamed eagerly detailed how com- 
fortably the expedition might be accomplished with 
invalid chairs, dromedaries, and tents. The diffi- 
culties and imprudence of the undertaking, for such 
a party as ours, began to vanish before our excited 
imaginations ; but a kind Providence interfered to 
stay the wild project. An accident befell us, on this 
our last excursion, which brought us back to our 
senses, and put an end to the scheme. On all former 



'COUSIN Phil's' FALL. 393 

occasions, notwithstanding Molianied's constant ex- 
clamations of ' Trust to me ! trust to me I ' we liad 
been careful that extra hands should always l)c in 
readiness, to balance the wonderful chair, as the 
bearers raised it from the ground. Mohamed looked 
upon this precaution of ours as a personal insult ; 
but now, at the last moment, we all became aware 
how necessary the precaution had been. Our heads, 
no doubt still running upon IMount Sinai, we obeyed 
the dragoman's excited shout, "Trust to me! Get up 
if you please." We mounted our donkeys, turned 
round to look for ' Cousin Phil,' and saw him fall 
forward upon the sand. The bearers, at a signal 
fi^om Mohamed, had raised the chair before he was 
aware of their intention ; he had not had time to 
lay hold of the arms, before the sudden jerk had 
thrown him out of it, and he w^as taken up bleeding 
and stunned. Happily he soon came to himself, and 
we were satisfied that this would not prove a serious 
accident, though we were much frightened, and our 
stay at Suez was prolonged until ' Cousin I'liil ' 
should recover from the effects of his fall. 

Our return was tedious. The sea had receded 
so much, that we liad a long way to go over wet 
sand and through the water before reaching the boat. 
Our donkeys carried us as far as their nerves would 
allow them to face the treacherous element. Neitlicr 
coaxing nor beating could get them beyond a cer- 
tain point, nor could tlie shouting of our attendants 
awake the sleepers in our vessel, whitli seenu'd to 



394 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAnABEEH. 

lie hopelessly out of reach. Most travellers make 
a long circuit, and return from the Wells to Suez by 
land, ou account of the receding of the tide, but 
this would have been too fatiguing for our party at 
any time, and now next to impossible. 

Mohamed and one sailor carried ' Cousin Phil ' 
through the water to the iDoat, with some difficulty 
succeeding in keeping his feet from the surface, for, 
as they neared the vessel, the water reached up to 
the men's waists. Selina's light weight was easily 
carried by the remaining sailor, as she was seated 
on his shoulder, and rested her hands on his turban. 
I waited patiently till Mohamed and another sailor re- 
turned, they put their shoulders together, and, seated 
upon them, with my hands resting on a turbaned head 
on either side, they carried me safely to the vessel. 
We congratulated ourselves on being re-embarked 
without a wetting ; though dry we did not long remain. 

The wind was blowing fresh and contrary, so 
that we were obliged to tack in order to make any 
way. The sea became rougher, the vessel danced 
merrily up and down, and the waves dashed over her 
with increased force till we were all wet through. 
But ' Cousin Phil ' was recovering fast, our spirits 
rose again, and we remembered that sea-water could 
do no harm, except to the cloaks and shawls. We 
sat close together to keep out the cold ; but at 
every fresh ' tack,' the cold was let in, as it was 
necessary to divide our party in order to balance 
the vessel more evenly. 



THE LATE RETUKX. 395 

The sun set while we were still on the water ; 
the Eaniad.in gun fired, and the hungry Arabs 
attacked their bread and raw onions with eagerness, 
for they had tasted nothing the whole day ; the 
moon and stars shone out brilliantly ; we had at 
least gained a lovely moonlight scene on the Ked 
Sea. We watched the steamer from Mauritius 
arriving, bearing an acquaintance, w4io, could he have 
recognised us at that moment in our little bark, 
would have been even more astonished, than when 
he did so a few days later at Shepherd's Hotel in 
Cairo. 

The band on board a man-of war steamer played 
pleasantly as we passed by — strains which were to 
us a comforting assurance, that music such as we 
had been taught to appreciate was not lost to us for 
ever. The friendly sounds died away, and at length 
the human voice from the shore greeted our longing 
ears. After five weary hours and a half, at half-past 
nine p.m., we disembarked at Suez, and re-entered 
the hotel, to the no small relief of those who were 
on the look-out for us. At this late hour dinner 
was served for us, hot and comfortable, with exactly 
the same variety of dishes, and the same attention as 
at the regular dinner-hour. Seldom had dinner or 
bed l)een more welcome than this evening to each 
one of our party, not excluding Moliamed, who, still 
white, and trembling for the results of the accident, 
for which he was in great measure responsible, 
came up to us with a low ' salaam,' saying patheti- 



396 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

cally, " My two legs sliaked together when I see 
him fall." 

Wednesday^ March 21th. — The fall had produced 
considerable stiffness, and ' Cousin Phil ' was quite 
helpless this morning, but under Mohamed's direc- 
tions he submitted to a course of lentil poultices, 
which proved very efficacious. We saw the passen- 
gers from the Mauritius steamer land, and set off 
again in the train for Cairo ; walked through the 
very dirty bazaar and the uninteresting-looking 
town, and took a stroll on the beach to pick up a few 
shells. Very beautiful shells are found under the 
hills lower down, but they were beyond our reach. 
The many different kinds of vessels in the harbour, 
and the Indian costumes of their crews, were inter- 
esting and amusing, while a little further excitement 
was caused towards evening by the arrival of the 
' Shereef,' a great man, from Mecca, who, having 
escorted the Viceroy back to Cairo, after his late 
pilgrimage to the lioly city of the Mahometans, was 
now returning homewards. 

Thursday., March 1'^th. — We were amusing our- 
selves with our sketch-books. In the train of the 
' Shereef there was a man so remarkably fjit, we 
could not resist trying, in a sly way, to take his 
portrait. He immediately placed himself in front of 
the artists ; we were half afraid, but he pretended to 
be quite unconscious of our intention, and the oppor- 
tunity was too good to be lost. In a few minutes 
Selina was alarmed by a request from the dignitary, 



THE SKETCH-BOOKS. 397 

to send up her sketch for inspection. Slie was 
dreadfully afraid of losing an ear or a nose for her 
impertinence; but up went the hook, and she was 
relieved by the decided approval of the fat man, who 
very nearly expressed a command that the portrait 
should be finished, coloured, and so forth. 

My book was next called for, and imagine the 
state of my nerves when it met with such high 
approbation, that the dignitaries begged leave to 
carry it upstairs to the 'great man,' the 'Shereef 
himself. I dared not refuse, but expected never to 
see my treasure again. He looked it all through, 
however, and then sent it down, appearing him- 
self on the balcony to have a look at the artist, 
to honour her with his viva voce approval, which was 
expressed in the single word " buono " (good). It was 
a relief to have the books safe again in our own 
hands, and we had now no lack of subjects, for the 
whole concourse of ' Governors ' in attendance on 
the ' Shereef henceforth seated themselves near us, 
in their most becoming attitudes, and smoked im- 
movably, in the fond hope, no doubt, that their 
portraits would some day be exhibited in one of the 
London galleries. We had recovered from our 
fright, and having nothing better to do, continued 
drawing, to the admiration of the assembled crowd 
of all nations that was gathered on the quay. Even 
the two miserable derweesh, who surpassed all 
those we had yet seen in their wild and wretched 



398 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

appearance, exciting mingled feelings of repugnance 
and pity, ventured to draw near to take a peep. 

We had good reason to wish that our friends at 
home would take pattern from the cleverness of this 
motley crowd, for they showed a very just appre- 
ciation of our art, and invariably recognised striking 
likenesses in all the portraits, even when the likeness 
was not so apparent to the artists themselves. 

Good Friday^ March 2Qth. — The only outward 
sign of this solemn day at Suez consisted in our being 
obliged to partake, soon after breakfast, of two separate 
batches of 'hot-cross buns.' The first were presented 
by the Captain of one of the Peninsular and Oriental 
vessels then at Suez, much to the discomfiture of the 
attentive landlord of the hotel, who hastened forward 
with an apology, that his buns, through some mis- 
take, were "still in the oven." In less than an hour 
they also appeared, piping hot, and both batches 
were pronounced excellent. 

The lentil poultices had succeeded admirably ; 
' Cousin Phil ' was quite himself again, and 
Mohamed's peace of mind was restored. He 
evidently fancied that it would be at the risk of his 
head, or something very near it, were he to bring 

"Pap-pa" back to Mr. B in the least degree 

" damaged," as he expressed it, and he watched the 
result of his medical proceedings with the greatest 
anxiety. All was well now, however, and we left 
Suez on Easter Eve, carrying away with us, as 



CAIllO AGAIN. 39<J 

tokens of our excursion thither, two shells which 
had been picked off the electric cable in the Ked 
Sea, and which were kindly presented to me by 
a gentleman in the hotel. The shells had stuck to 
the cable, had grown upon it, and were deeply 
indented by it. We had also a few which we 
gathered ourselves, and some l)ought at one of the 
little French shops in the town, besides two small 
splinters of petrified wood which we picked up in 
the sand on the Arabian side, and which we see no 
reason against labelling in our collection as a por- 
tion of Pharaoh's chariot- wheels. 

At half-past seven p.m. Cairo, with all the noise, 
bustle, and hum of a Ramadan evening, received us 
again. Shepherd's Hotel seemed worse than before, 
by comparison with Suez. Its landlord did not con- 
sider that late comers deserved a better dinner than 
those who were ready for it at the appointed hour. 
These in general get their dinner cold and tough ; 
ours was colder and tougher, in just and due propor- 
tion. Our famished appetites in consequence fed 
chiefly upon the letters which we found awaiting us, 
and we made a speedy retreat to bed. 

Easter-Day had its own peculiar joy and blessing 
even in Cairo, and we felt this strongly as we knelt 
with the little company of our fellow-Christians to 
commemorate the death and resurrection of our 
blessed Lord. The truths of Christianity seemed to 
have double power, and to take stronger hold of the 
mind, when we felt, ns Ave diil here, that our little 



400 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

band was confessing a fiiitli which was openly 
denied by the population of the country. The bulk 
of the people are IMahometans, but there are a 
large number of Coptic Christians in Cairo, having 
their own missionaries and places for public worship. 

After service we looked at a Inrge Coptic church, 
which is being; built at no o-reat distance from the 
house in which the English service is held ; but it 
was not sufficiently advanced to enable us to under- 
stand the plan. 

Towards evening Colonel C , whom we had 

recognised on our return from Suez, kindly showed 
us a number of sketches of Mauritius, giving many 
little reminiscences of its Bishop, a friend of both 
parties, and who was daily expected in Cairo, on his 
return from England to his episcopal duties. 

Easter Monday^ April 1st. — The thermometer 
was at 72° in the coolest part of the hotel, which 
heat we all found so unbearable, we were not sorry 
to think that our stay in Cairo was drawing to a 
close. This was our last day, and Heliopolis was 
destined to receive the parting visit. 

A ride of two hours led us through a garden of 
orange and lemon trees and a long shady avenue 
of acacias to the village of Matareeh, near which 
stood the ancient city of Heliopolis, supposed by 
some authorities to have been the abode of the 
Pharaohs before the rise of Memphis. Here stood 
the famed Temple of the Sun, of which Potipherah, 
the fatlier-in-laAV of Joseph, was priest ; the Scrip- 



HELIOPOLIS. 401 

ture names of the city being 'On' and ' Bethslie- 
mesh.' Here the father and brothers of Joseph first 
arrived in Egypt, and the neighbouring Land of 
Goshen was given to them for their dwelHng. 

Hehopolis was the seat of learning and the arts 
till the time of the Ptolemies. It was looked upon 
as the University of Egypt, and to its College of 
Priests the learned of other countries resorted for 
instruction. Herodotus the historian, Eudoxus the 
astronomer, and Plato the philosopher, visited Helio- 
polis, that they might become acquainted with the 
sciences and mysteries of Egypt. The two latter 
are said to have resided thirteen years under the 
tuition of the priests of Heliopolis, and their houses 
were pointed out to Strabo when he visited the city 
about thirty years before the Christian era. Priests 
and philosophers had at that time deserted the 
abode of learning ; but the ' Temple of the Sun' was 
still standing, and apparently employed as a place of 
worship. 

Almost the only remains of the celebrated city is 
the Obelisk of Osirtasen the First, B.C. 2020. The 
name of this monarch is inscribed on its four foces, 
attesting its antiquity. It is composed of a block of 
rose-coloured granite, in perfect preservation, mea- 
suring sixty-eight feet in height from its base. It 
stands on a pavement sunk nearly six feet below the 
present level of the ground, whereas the whole city 
is described as having originally stood on a raised 

n D 



402 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH . 

mound, before wliicli were some lakes which received 
the waters of the inundation, and conveyed them 
into the neighbouring canals : a fact which, with 
many others of a similar nature, proves the great 
change which has taken place in the level of the soil 
of Egypt and the bed of its mighty river. A garden 
is planted round the obelisk, which is very prettily 
shadowed on one side by a pepper and a Cyprus tree. 
At the entrance of the garden is a fountain, invested 
by tradition with many a tale in connexion with the 
flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. This fountain 
is said to have been miraculously produced and 
rendered sweet to quench the thirst of the holy 
fugitives. It is said that here the Virgin, with her 
own hands, washed the clothes of the infant Saviour ; 
and a tree at a short distance, in another garden, 
is hallowed, even in the eyes of the natives, and 
called the ' Virgin's tree,' as having afforded shelter 
to the ' Family from Judea.' The tree is an Egyptian 
sycamore ; and, whatever truth may rest in the story, 
it bears every appearance of the greatest antiquity. 
The trunk is very remarkable, being extremely 
broad, and flattened on two sides like a wall. A 
portion of it overhangs on one side from the top, 
thus affording a shelter, under which at this moment 
(as though to give truth to the tradition) a party of 
Damascene women and children were seated, in their 
brilliantly-coloured costumes. From the withered 
and blasted-looking trunk (said to flourish miracu- 



SACRED ASSOCIATIONS. 403 

loiisly to this day) spring young spreading branches, 
which, when in full foliage, must afford an agreeable 
shelter. They were just now coming into leaf. 

It was pleasant to sit there and to think that 
these things might have been. If this were the part 
of Egypt to which the Holy Family resorted, what 
more natural than that they should have reposed 
in this spot, or refreshed themselves at that fountain, 
without any superstition with regard to the recorded 
miracles ? The possibility of these two simple facts 
is sufficient to invest the place with peculiar interest 
to the Christian traveller ; and we could have sat 
there much longer, in imagination filling up tlie 
landscape with the Holy Family and with the 
patriarchs and saints of old ; but the heat was too 
intense : it was mid-day, and we were exposed to 
its full power. Moreover, the days of our romance 
were drawing to a close ; and we knew that in the 
hotel at Cairo ' Cousin Phil' sat, impatiently awaiting 
our return, his whole soul bent upon ' packing up.' 

Back, then, we trotted, as briskly as possible, for 
there was no shade at this hour, and our donkevs 
seemed well aware that this was the only way of 
passing over the grilling road in safety, till the 
narrow streets of Cairo again sheltered our heads. 

At two P.M. we reached the hotel. The last 
scene here was certainly not without its amusement. 
Mohamed el Adli'ch — on the principle, no doubt, 
that if he did not speak for himself nobody would 
speak for liim — gave out that he was tlie first packer 



404 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

in the universe ; no one could stow away things as he 
coukl ; he would ensure the safety of every article, 
and, as usual, pay for anything that should be found 
damasked. This last assertion he considered indis- 
putably convincing ; and so, with tucked-up sleeves, 
the dragoman proceeded to the work, very much as 
though he were at a washtub or a kneading-trough. 
We had our notions of packing as well as he ; and 
as we watched the violent proceedings, ' Cousin Phil' 
trembled for his wine, we for our crocodiles and 
treasures of Egyptian ware, &c. In they all went, 
and out ' Cousin Phil' ordered them all again several 
times, till the Arab became so excited that we were 
fairly forced to give in, and let him fill the boxes his 
own fashion, leaving the consequences to fate. The 
result was that the wine arrived in safety, but every- 
tliino; else that was breakable suftered more or less. 

Easter Tuesday^ April 'ind. — We took an early 
breakfast, and at eight a.m. the carriage was at the 
door, ready to convey us from Cairo to the terminus. 
We speeded along, and at the end of our journey 
Alexandria claimed us as old acquaintances. 

We looked at one another in astonishment. On 
our arrival from Europe, Alexandria had appeared 
to us the essence of Orientalism ; now that we came 
from Cairo and Nubia, it boasted European houses, 
streets, and squares, together with costumes and 
features, if not English, at least French and Italian. 
Had we passed through the city blindfold before, or 
what had come over it since our departure ? 



I 



ALEXANDRIA THE SECOND TIME. 405 

In the Hotel d' Europe, sitting once again in a 
comfortable parlour, carpeted, curtained, and well 
furnished with sofas and easy chairs, looking out 
upon the 'Place' below, in which Paris fashions 
promenaded before us, it was difficult to remember 
that we were in Egypt still, and not rather at 
Marseilles or Brussels — nay, even Paris itself. It 
is true that the carriages which stood in the sun, 
waiting to be hired, were still driven by Arab 
coachmen of all shades of brown, in their white or 
blue dresses and turbaned heads, with their bare 
legs hanging carelessly over the coach-boxes. The 
money-changers were still at all the corners of the 
streets, rattling their coins to attract attention. 
Donkeys trotted by, and donkey-boys grunted and 
shouted still, whilst amongst the European fashion- 
ables strange-looking groups of shrouded nurses and 
gaily-dressed Levantine ladies and children prome- 
naded as before. Yet this was the ' Frank Quarter,' 
and our enlarged minds were now capable of 
acknowledging the justice of the term, and the 
Oriental features of the scene required to be sought 
for ere they struck our eye. 

We found the sea-breeze fresh and invigorating 
after the dust and heat of Cairo ; and although there 
may have been some charm in the thought of the 
fertile land to which it was soon to lead us, still the 
thermometer did point three or four degrees lower. 
The flies and mosquitoes, whicli had devoured ' Cou- 
sin Phil ' so voraciously, and had nearly driven uie 



406 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

and my companion crazy on our arrival, liad not yet 
revived from their winter's sleep. The hotel was 
for better than Shepherd's, and far less infested with 
fleas ; and we were enabled to receive, with becoming 
composure, the intelligence which was soon brought 
us, that there was no further accommodation in the 
first steamer for Malta, and that we must wait until 
the arrival of the ' Pera,' on the lOtli or thereabouts. 
Two ladies could easily find a little shopping for 
every intervening day, and a number of neglected 
odds-and-ends for which this extra week was indispen- 
sable. Mr. B took tea with us more than once ; 

ISIrs. S crowned our good fortune by a visit to 

the Pasha's Hareem ; the church and the church- 
service was a decided improvement upon that at 
Cairo ; and upon the Sunday, which we should have 

spent upon the ' high seas,' Col. C arrived, 

with his portfolio replenished in Cairo, to be our 
companion in the miseries of the coming sea-voyage. 
We made a new and very pleasant acquaintance 
of our own sex ; and the second impression which 
Alexandria left on our minds considerably modified 
the first. 

On Tuesday, April 9th, Mrs. S , with another 

lady, who was to act as interpreter, introduced us 
into the Hareem. It is not seen to advantage 
during the season of Ramadan ; but it was better 
to see it then than not at all. The Princess and 
her ladies were residing, at the time, in a small 
palace on the banks of the canal. She was dressed 



THE pasha's hakeem. 407 

in a plain cotton dress, and wore one diamond orna- 
ment only in lier black hair. She sat on a divan 
on one side of the room, in a listless attitude, \vitli 
one leg tucked under her, which she exchanged 
every now and then for the other. Her handsome, 
sad face raised much sympathy towards her in our 
minds. She looks as though born to something 
better than the listless, idle life to which these 
unfortunate women are all condemned. We were 
told that she had enjoyed a superior education, and 
often pined for the greater happiness of English 
ladies. Having no child of her own, she has adopted 
a pretty little girl, whom she was caressing. The 
Princess rose to receive us as we entered the room. 
According to instructions, we offered to take her 
hand and to kiss it ; but slie withdrew it imme- 
diately, not allowing the compliment. 

We were next introduced to the Pasha's sister, 
who was on a visit at the Harcem. She was very 
fiit, which is esteemed a great beauty in this coun- 
try, was rather untidily dressed, and had so httle 
dignity of manner that, when she required some 
instructions concerning the slippers she was work- 
ing, she merely rolled herself over on the divan on 
which she was sitting ' d la TurquCy spoke to her 
neiiihbour, and rolled herself back a^ain. She 
allowed us to raise her hand close to our lips, and 
then, with a sudden jerk, she set it free. 

Next came the Pasha's second wife. A true and 
faithful Mussulman is legally allowed by (lie K(>r:iii 



408 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

to have four wives at the same tmie, provided he 
has the means of supporting them in conformity 
with his rank and social position. The Pasha's 
second wife is the mother of his son and heir. She 
was dressed in scarlet, but equally simply, and is a 
very pleasing-looking person, though quite a diifer- 
ent style of beauty to the Princess. She under- 
stands a few words of English, so that, while she 
was present, no remarks could be made nor ques- 
tions put in that language. But few words were 
spoken during the hour and a half through which 
our visit lasted ; but we had plenty to look at and to 
think about. 

The ladies examined us closely: we dressed as 
handsomely as we could, for the dress of visitors to 
the Hareem is much thought of. Several of the 
Princess's attendants were seated on low divans 
round the room ; they were all attired in simple 
cotton dresses, and, like the Princess, were working 
slippers on canvas, with German wool, all of one and 
the same pattern. This is a new accomplishment 
in the Hareem, and its only pastime, save that of 
playing at childish games. 

Two very pretty Circassian slaves, with painted 
eyebrows, stood with folded arms, statue-like, on 
either side the doorway, in which a curtain was 
hung. They wore large loose trousers and flowing 
drapery, mostly white, red, or yellow, with small 
fez-caps upon tlieir heads. These are now replaced, 
in the hareems, by small muslin handkerchiefs. The 



PRESENTATION OF PirES. 409 

slaves stood at their posts for a certain time, till 
others came to relieve them. Along the marhle 
pavement of the hall beyond we could see a great 
many, constantly passing and repassing, with no 
other apparent object than to show that they were in 
attendance, unless, perhaps, they wanted to take a 
peep at us. A eunuch came in, knelt, and kissed 
the hand of the Princess, and then spoke to her, 
apparently on some matter of business. A strange, 
little, ugly, witch- like woman, dressed in bright 
yellow, also entered, and kissed the Princess's hand: 
she seemed to be on most intimate terms with her, 
and rattled away with chat and joke — a strange 
contrast, both in this point and in her personal 
appearance, to the silent beauties around her. 

Pipes are not always presented during Ramadan, 
but we were honoured not only with one such 
presentation, but with two. Four very pretty slaves 
advanced, bearing a long, handsome pipe in one 
hand and a small silver dish in the other. They 
placed the dish on the floor, at a certain distance 
from each guest, rested the bowl of the pipe in it, 
and then presented the handles. The pipes must 
have been five feet in length ; they were covered 
with gold twist, had large amber mouth -pieces, 
and were encircled with diamonds. It is considered 
rude not to accept of any such compliment in the 
East ; so, of course, we all did our best to smoke 
nicely ; Selina coughed at the first puff, and she 
was let off; I tried honestly to smoke, but could 



410 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

not manage it at all : the tiny wliifF wliich reached 
my mouth at one attempt was so particularly dis- 
agreeable, that it may have paralyzed my further 
efforts, and it certainly confirmed my former aversion 
to this luxury. Our kind escort smoked delight- 
fully for the whole party, so that we hoped the 
Princess would feel sufficiently honoured. Coffee 
was offered us in cups of filagree - gold, set with 
diamonds and emeralds. These, I fear, we actually 
coveted, though we should have been but too glad 
to have had our dragoman at hand to make away 
with their black contents. 

In due course of time it was supposed that we 
had emptied our pipes, and the slaves took them 
away to replenish them, presenting them again as 
before. To crown all her attentions, the Princess 
expressed a hope that we would attend the Hareem 
on the coming festival of ' Biram,' which succeeds 
' Ramadan : ' then she and her ladies would be seen 
in the State Palace, dressed in gorgeous Eastern 
costume, covered with jewels and precious stones; 
and numbers of slaves in attendance, splendidly 
attired, would dance before the Princess and her 
guests. 

We could almost willino-lv have lost the ' Pera' 
for this sight, but not quite, and we lost the sight 
instead. On the very morning of the opening 
' Biram ' we left the shores of Egypt, taking away 
with us a veiy sufficient idea of the Pasha's Hareem 
to convince us of its wealth, beauty, and the unfor- 



CLOSE OF RAMADAN. 411 

tunate destiny of its inmates, and to make iis prize 
doubly the liberty and domestic happiness of our 
English homes. 

Wednesday^ April lOfh. — At four p.m. a loud 
cannonading announced the termination of the Ma- 
hometan fast. The whole population of Alexandria 
started to their feet as though an electric shock had 
passed through the city. The poor, famished-look- 
ing people rushed to Avhatever food was nearest at 
hand ; pipes and tobacco appeared again, and on the 
morrow the whole place wore a changed aspect. 

The Arabs looked positively clean. Gaily dressed 
groups of all classes were to be seen passing by or 
chatting merrily in the streets. The very poorest 
had found means to provide some new, bright- 
coloured article of clothing ; and notwithstanding the 
alleged enjoyment of the nightly meals, all seemed 
as happy as possible at the restoration of day and 
nio-ht to their natural order and use. 

o 

Our drao'oman had received his dismissal soon 
after we returned to Alexandria, there being literally 
no occupation for him now in our service. We made 
him a parting present, whereupon he looked at us 
sentimentally and with one finger in the corner of 
each eye, whined out, " I don't like to leave you at 

all, Mrs. L , indeed — I can't help it, Mrs. C." 

AVliat the good man thought he could not hel]), did 
not quite appear, but Selina and I were under the 
impression that he wanted to cry, so we imnK'diatcly 
hardened our hearts in order to avoid a scene. We 



412 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

wislied liim many more journeys up the Nile, pro- 
mised to recommend him to our friends, and after an 
unintentional disclosure of our having been " taken 
in" after all by the clever Arabs, inasmuch as the 
good ship ' Cairo' turned out to have been all the 
time ' The Fairy Queen,' famous for herds of rats, 
bearing her true name all the while on her bow, 
though most cleverly hidden from our sight, and 
thus accounting for a difficulty we had had in ascer- 
tain ina; her character at the first — Mohamed left us 
with an ' au revoir; ' for he was to keep us informed 
of the arrival of the ' Pera,' and to see us safely on 
board. 

Dress makes the man, even here in Egypt. 
When Mohamed el Adleeh appeared again, we 
scarcely recognised him. The ludicrous change 
which had taken place in the appearance of our 
high-minded servitor was so great, that we could 
not refrain from asking what he had done to him- 
self. His dragoman dress was laid aside till the 
next season, he looked like a pilgrim ready to start 
for Mecca, in a long loose black garment, bare feet, 
and sandals, with green and brown straps across the 
foot, such as we had seen in the bazaar at Suez, and 
which are manuftxctured in Medina. " Of course," 
was the only explanation we could get out of him. 

Thursday^ April llth. The hotel was filled with 
the arrivals from Suez; bag, baggage, and children, 
crowded the passages, our beautiful drawing-room 
had served as bed-room to four of the new-comers ; it 



TAKING LEAVE. 413 

was time for us to be off; Moliamed was in readiness, 
and at half-past eight a.m. we again drove to the 
harbour of Alexandria. How composedly we now 
looked upon all its confusion and bustle. The first 
impression it had made upon our minds endea- 
voured to revive ; we compared the two scenes, 
they were in every respect alike, but the glare 
and charm of entire novelty had passed away for 
us. The scene was still interesting and enjoyable, 
but it was not the same. 

The hour of starting approached, Mohamed made 
a last affectionate dive into ' Cousin Phil's ' pockets, 
for boat, luggage, carriage, sound limbs, &c., &c. ; 
the last shaking of hands took place between the 
white and the brown, and the efficient though be- 
nighted dragoman returned to his native shore; *' to 
pray," (he says,) till the next Nile season comes. 

The same little steamer, which had taken our 
fellows-passengers away, on our arrival in the ' Vectis,* 
came puffing along to the ' Pera,' with her living load 
now bound for home, and with three only of whom 
we were acquainted. 

We are off; — and thought turns with pleasurable 
anticipations homeward. One last look at Alex- 
andria and its windmills, over the high sides of the 
' Pera,' which do their best to place the scene of our 
wanderings immediately both out of sight and out of 
mind. 

The former it will be without doubt to our trio 
for ever; but the memories of the past five montlis 



414 FOUR MONTHS IN A DAHABEEH. 

and a half can hardly fade from the minds of any- 
one of our party. Rather will they serve to kindle 
a warm, cheerful glow, by many a winter fireside, 
while public readings of Thomas' carefully kept 
Journal will no doubt shortly be announced in some 
of the country towns of Scotland, infusing into that 
national mind, also, a kindred sympathy with his 
adventures. 



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