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WHAT WE SAW IN EGYPT.

Profusely Illustrated.


[Illustration: ON THE DECK OF THE SLAVE BOAT.]


[Illustration]


[Illustration]







London:
The Religious Tract Society;
56, Paternoster Row; 65, St. Paul's Churchyard:
and 164, Piccadilly


[Illustration]

Contents


PAGE

I. How we Fared in the Suez Desert 7

II. The First Night in Cairo 16

III. Sights in Cairo 22

IV. More Sights in Cairo 28

V. The Pyramids 40

VI. The Mosques 51

VII. Heliopolis, and other Sights and Scenes 56

VIII. A Long Day 66

IX. The Start up the Nile 75

X. Still up the Nile 84

XI. We go to Alexandria 101

XII. Conclusion 125


List of Illustrations

PAGE

ON THE DECK OF THE SLAVE BOAT. 2

SUEZ 10

ARAB SOLDIERS. 15

COURTYARD OF THE HOTEL. 17

EASTERN VEIL. 24

SIGHTS IN CAIRO. 26

EGYPTIAN PIPE-BEARER. 29

CURE FOR THE TOOTHACHE. 32

MOSQUE. 34

DONKEY-BOYS AT CAIRO. 41

EGYPTIAN SARCOPHAGUS. 47

THE SPHINX. 49

MOSQUE. 53

ARAB SITTING IN FRONT OF HIS TENT. 57

VISIT TO THE HAREM. 63

OLD GATEWAY. 68

THE FINDING OF MOSES. 71

BRICKMAKING (from _Egyptian Sculpture_). 78

BRICKMAKING (from _Egyptian Sculpture_). 79

THE SACRED IBIS. 80

SCENE ON THE NILE. 83

EASTERN BAZAAR. 88

EGYPTIAN LOOM. 90

FISHING. 91

POTTERS. 92

IDOL PAINTERS. 93

HEAD OF CROCODILE. 96

RUINS OF THEBES. 97

GRAND HARP. 99

BAGGAGE CAMEL. 102

DROMEDARY. 105

INTERIOR OF GREAT TEMPLE AT ESNEH. 107

RUINS OF COLONNADE AT PHILÆ. 114

PAPYRUS ON THE NILE. 116

EGYPTIAN TEMPLE. 120

MARKETING IN ALEXANDRIA. 126


[Illustration]




WHAT WE SAW IN EGYPT.




CHAPTER I.

HOW WE FARED IN THE SUEZ DESERT.


The welcome cry of "Suez! Suez!" resounded throughout the steamship
_Bentinck_ one November morning. The passage up the Red Sea had been
rough, and every one was glad to exchange the rolling and pitching of
the vessel for land travelling. The railway between Cairo and Suez was
not yet finished, and travellers crossed the desert in vans, each of
which held six persons and was drawn by two horses and two mules. Our
cavalcade consisted of eight of these high-wheeled vans. The fifth team
of vans contained four grown-up people and two children, Hugh and Lucy.

It was a lovely day, the sky blue and clear as on the finest summer day
in England.

Some little time after leaving Suez, a spot was pointed out to us as the
place at or near which the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. The waters
were now calm and peaceful; they lay gleaming like silver in the
sunlight. But these very waters had been raised as a wall on the right
hand and on the left for the children of Israel to pass through. Then,
with a mighty surge, they had overwhelmed Pharaoh and his host, obedient
to the word of God. This miracle of old seemed more real than it had
ever done before, while we looked at the very waters on which it was
worked.

On we went. A blue cloudless sky above; below, sand, sand, sand: except
where, every now and then, we jolted over large blocks of stone which
sent us bobbing now to this side, now to that, sometimes almost into
each other's faces, to the great amusement of the children. We stopped
about every seven or eight miles, to change our horses and mules;
generally at some little lonely building.

Wherever we stopped, we all got out for a breath of air. For as we
passed stage after stage, the sameness of the desert began to be tiring,
especially to the children. This was not to be wondered at; for, except
the occasional skeleton of some poor camel, whose bones were bleached by
the sun, there was really nothing to interest them. Hugh consoled
himself with a nap now and then, but Lucy was wakeful and restless.

At last we reached the midway station, where we were to stop for nearly
an hour, and to dine.

"How glad I am to get out of this stuffy little van, and to stay out of
it for a good while!" Lucy cried, as she jumped down on the sand.

So was everybody.

"Will they give us some dinner?"

Certainly, this was the only thing we had to wait for.

We went into a large room, in which were long tables, and benches at
them. The dinner was soon brought in. Dishes of fowl and stewed cabbage,
dried fruits, and fresh dates, succeeded one another, with plenty of
bottled beer. There was no bread. But some of the older travellers had
brought some loaves from the _Bentinck_, and were very good-natured in
dividing their store with their fellow-passengers.

[Illustration: SUEZ]

After dinner we had some coffee, which we found very refreshing; and
soon the vans were announced. In a few minutes we were in our old seats
again, cutting our path through the sand and jolting over large blocks
of stone.

"There is another skeleton, papa," cried Hugh, pointing to the whitened
ribs of a camel. "Do they leave the camels to die, and take no trouble
to bury them or do anything with them?"

"Most likely this camel was unable to travel farther," his father said,
"either from fatigue or old age, and so was left behind by his owner to
die. The hot wind and the sun together have bleached his bones. But the
skin and hair of the dead camel are both used by the people of the
desert. They are made into clothes, mats, halters, and many other useful
things."

"Yes," said Hugh, in a sleepy voice; and the next minute down went his
head on his father's shoulder.

Lucy, too, was all but asleep. She was heartily tired of the jolting van
and the changeless dreary sand.

The day had worn on rather wearily to her, and now that night was
setting in she felt cold and tired. She was wrapped up in a large shawl,
and made a pillow of her mother's lap. Indeed, we were all tired. And as
night closed in, and all became dark around us, we began to feel that
there was weariness in crossing the desert, notwithstanding the deep
interest connected with it.

[Illustration]

On, on we went. The sky had become thickly studded with stars; the moon
had risen, and her beams shed a clearer light and cast deeper shadows
than they do in our colder country. All was quiet round us. Not a sound,
except the crushing of the sand beneath our wheels and an occasional
crack of the whip, urging our horses and mules on their way. There was
no chirping of grasshoppers, no croaking of frogs, no beating of
tomtoms, such as we had been used to hear at night in our Indian homes.
All was so still that we might have fancied ourselves the only living
creatures in all the wild waste of sand.

We stopped at one of the little lonely buildings to change horses and
mules. The stoppage roused us from the half-asleep state we were in, and
we got out of the van to look at the glorious star-gemmed sky. There was
an unusual stir in the little building, and the moonlight showed a large
dusky mass nearing us. Nearer and nearer it came; and as it passed, we
saw that it was a long string of camels.

The war with Persia was going on at this time; and this was a treasure
party, carrying money to pay the army. The camels were laden with chests
of treasure, silver and gold. On they came, with their long, sailing
step. "Ships of the desert," the Arabs call them. The name is well
chosen, for their motion over the sea of sand is very like that of some
stately vessel over the desert of waters.

The caravan was escorted by a party of Arab horsemen. The officer in
command of the party stopped behind for a few moments at the building at
which we were halting, to give some orders. The string of camels and
their escort were again becoming dusky in the subdued light when he
flashed past us on his Arab horse, his drawn sabre glittering in the
moonlight, which sparkled for a moment on its jewelled hilt, and on the
gems in his turban. Then he too was lost in darkness.

The stately procession moved noiselessly on; the picturesque rider
flying by like some fleet graceful bird. No tramp of feet, no ring of
horses' hoofs. The deep sand hushed every sound. It was like a beautiful
dream; seen for a moment, then vanishing into the land of shadows for
ever.

We were fortunate to fall in with this treasure party; still more
fortunate to see it by moonlight. Travellers generally pass through the
desert by this beaten track without anything to break its monotony.

In a few minutes we were again on our way; those of us who could were
dozing, perhaps dreaming of camels and horsemen, and only just conscious
of the stoppages we made.

[Illustration: ARAB SOLDIERS.]

At last some one said, "Wake up, we are near Cairo."

We shook ourselves up, undrew part of the curtains, drew our wraps more
closely round us (for the night was cold), and looked out. We were going
down a gentle slope, passing walls which enclosed gardens, and above
which we could see the tops of trees and shrubs. The moon was getting
low, and we could not distinguish what trees and shrubs they were; but
the sight of green leaves was very pleasant.

We drove on down the easy descent into Cairo; and at between three and
four o'clock in the morning we drew up before Shepheard's Hotel. We had
left Suez at ten o'clock on the previous morning. Dusty and tired, we
were all glad to have the prospect of a comfortable rest.




CHAPTER II.

THE FIRST NIGHT IN CAIRO.


Alas! for the news which greeted us. The hotel was full!

The passengers by the overland mail from Alexandria had arrived the
afternoon before. What with their number, and with travellers staying in
the house, it was full to overflowing. What was to be done? We tried
another hotel with the same ill success. After a great deal of driving
about, we came back to Shepheard's, and it was arranged that a large
sitting-room should be given up to the ladies and children, and that the
gentlemen must do as they could.

[Illustration: COURTYARD OF THE HOTEL.]

The room which was given to the ladies and children had, according to
eastern custom, couches ranged round it, and a large divan, or couch, in
the middle. Every one was hungry, and the children were clamouring for
something to eat. One after another among us went to see whether supper
or breakfast (or whatever you like to call a meal at four o'clock in the
morning) could be had. But no! we could not even get bread-and-butter,
much less tea or coffee.

In vain poor Lucy pleaded, "But I am _so_ hungry and thirsty." And
Hugh's eyes filled with tears which it took his strongest effort to
choke down, when he looked round at the number of people and the few
couches, and thought that, tired and hungry as he was, he might be
obliged to do without either supper or bed.

But things were not to be quite so bad as this. Every one began to
unpack such little stores as they had. One of the ladies had a tin of
biscuits, another had some sandwiches, another some soda-water, and some
one found a little hoard of concentrated milk.

Little enough among so many. But He who once fed a multitude on five
barley loaves and two small fishes, put it into the hearts of all to be
unselfish and to think of their neighbours' need before their own. And
so the little store went farther than we could have believed possible.

Hugh's mother brought him a share.

"No. There are not beds and suppers enough for the girls and the
babies," he said, trying to look very brave, though his lip quivered;
"and I am a boy."

It was with difficulty he was persuaded to take a sandwich and a little
wine-and-water. Directly he had swallowed it, he took a little blanket,
which no one seemed to want, and went away. And our next sight of Hugh
was rolled up in his blanket, and sleeping quietly on the floor under
the table in the billiard-room.

Did you ever try to pack bricks into a box all but too small for them?
That would be a joke compared to our task. However, we were all bent on
lying down somewhere and somehow, and we managed it.

Lucy's mother was very delicate, and, by common consent, she was made to
take one of the best couches. Lucy had part of a tiny one near a window.

"I do thank God for my bed to-night," Lucy whispered. "Oh, how sorry I
am for all the poor little children who have no beds! I never thought
what it was to have a bed till to-night, when it seemed as if we should
get none. Has Hugh got a bed?"

"Hugh was fast asleep when I last saw him," I said.

But Lucy hardly heard; her eyes were close shut, and her own words had
come out very dreamily.

I sat down beside her for a little while, and amused myself by looking
at the strange scene. There was a large round table in the room, on
which were carriage bags of every kind, size, and shape. Some were half
open, some quite open, and their contents jumbled together in the
greatest confusion. In the middle of the table was a lamp, which cast a
dim light over the room. This was large and lofty. The couches were
filled with sleepers, covered, some with blankets, some with cloaks,
shawls, wraps, of every sort and every colour. The large divan which had
been in the middle of the room was pushed on one side and ornamented
with a circle of little faces peeping out from among their wraps, like
lilies from moss. On the floor were carpet bags of all colours, black
bags, white bags; boots, shoes, baskets. I wished that I could sketch
the scene, and especially the divan with its tiny sleepers, who looked
as happy as if in their own little beds at home.

At last, almost without knowing it, I fell asleep in my corner, and was
conscious of nothing more till I felt the chilly air of dawn blowing in
through the venetians at my side.

The hotel was soon all bustle. We pitied the passengers who were going
on to England. They were to start at half-past eight, and the hotel
breakfast was not till nine. With great difficulty they managed to get
some tea; this was all.

Our own party were intending to remain in Cairo for a time. We knew that
as soon as the passengers going each way by the overland route should
have left, we should find comfortable quarters. This made us the more
sorry for our fellow-passengers, who had been so unselfish on our
arrival. But they would soon reach Alexandria by train, and we were glad
to know that they were to stop for refreshment by the way.

"What sort of bed had you last night, Hugh?" Lucy asked.

"A hard floor and a couple of warm blankets. Some kind friend threw a
second blanket over me after I fell asleep. I was well taken care of,
and never slept better. I fancy a good many would have been glad to have
changed places with all of us who were snugly under the billiard-table."




CHAPTER III.

SIGHTS IN CAIRO.


All was bustle that morning. We had scarcely finished breakfast before
two or three parties of travellers set off for Sinai and Palestine; then
the passengers for India prepared to start. Before noon we were settled
in comfortable quarters.

Shepheard's Hotel (which was burnt down some few years afterwards) stood
in a large, handsome square, called the Uzbeekéh, laid out like a garden
and planted with beautiful acacias, which give a delightful shade.
Almost every procession passes through the Uzbeekéh, serpent charmers
and jugglers make it the place for showing off their tricks, and there
is always something going on in it.

[Illustration]

Some of our party had business at the consulate, and they promised to
take Hugh and Lucy out first and show them a little of the town.

At the end of an hour and a half the children came back in great
excitement.

[Illustration: EASTERN VEIL.]

"Oh! such lovely things," cried Lucy, chattering as fast as lips and
tongue could move. "Such lovely things we have seen! and curious women
with their faces bandaged up, and only two holes left for their eyes,
and - "

She stopped for want of breath.

Hugh went on: "Yes; and there was such a noise of shouting and screaming
among all the donkey-boys, to make people get out of their way. And I
think my donkey-boy screamed louder than any. It was such fun."

"And the beautiful things in the shop, Hugh! There were bracelets, and
slippers, and carpets, and shawls, and all sorts of things. I never saw
any bazaar half so beautiful."

"And there is a grand procession, and they say it is sure to pass by
here. Come, Lucy, come and watch for it."

We all went to the window, and were just in time to see the procession
pass.

It was headed by two wrestlers, who played all kinds of antics, and
asked every well-dressed passer-by for money. Then came two more men,
wearing a sort of helmet, and carrying shields and swords. They
flourished the swords, and twisted themselves about in such a curious
way, and made such funny faces, that we all laughed heartily. These men
were followed by musicians, who played on pipes, flutes, cymbals,
tambourines, guitars made out of cocoa-nuts, violins with only one
string, and a sort of drum called darabookha, beaten with the hand
instead of with drum-sticks. Besides the sound of all these instruments,
there was such a singing and clapping of hands that the noise was quite
deafening.

Behind the musicians came a camel carrying a machine, something like
Punch's show-box, covered with gilding. The camel had red leather
trappings, ornamented with shells. Then we saw six led horses, and on
them were six little boys, very handsomely dressed in clothes worked
with gold. They were followed by some people on foot.

[Illustration: SIGHTS IN CAIRO.]

Next came another band of musicians like the first. After them, a number
of young women, covered up to their eyes and over their heads with large
shawls, and holes left for their eyes just to peep through. They carried
large bouquets of fresh flowers.

Now came the grandest person of all, the bride.

She was covered from head to foot, eyes and all, by a large scarlet
shawl, which reached down to her yellow boots. A circle of gold, studded
with sham diamonds, was bound round her head, over the shawl. As she
could not see, she was led by two of her relations - women, who were
muffled up in black silk. A canopy of yellow silk, with four gilt poles,
was carried over her head by four men, dressed in grand robes and
turbans.

Behind the bride came a number of her relations, all women, and all
muffled up in black silk. The procession was closed by a number of hired
women, who made shrill cries, as the custom is in Cairo on all joyful
occasions.

After a hearty laugh at the men who headed the procession, Hugh and Lucy
had watched it without speaking. Now they began to talk as fast as
before.

"How uncomfortable to have to walk with that heavy shawl over her face,"
said Lucy.

"Yes," Hugh answered. "I should hate that; and what a noise the
musicians made! I am sure it was not a bit like music. I liked the camel
and the horses the best. But look! here is a serpent-charmer; and now,
see! such a grand man coming!"

As he spoke, an Arab rushed by at full speed, cracking a long whip to
clear the way. He was followed by an Egyptian gentleman, mounted on a
horse covered with velvet and gold and tassels. His pipe-bearer, on a
splendid horse, rode close behind him.

This was the beginning of our sight-seeing in Cairo.




CHAPTER IV.

MORE SIGHTS IN CAIRO.


The name Cairo is corrupted from Musr el Kaherah, which means the
"Victorious City." It was founded by a general called Goher. The walls
were built of brick till the time of the famous Saladin, who erected
stone walls in their place.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN PIPE-BEARER.]

It is impossible to get on in Egypt without a dragoman to arrange
everything and act as guide. We had a very good one, named Mohammed
Abdeen.

We put ourselves under his guidance and he engaged to show us all that
was worth seeing. Hugh and Lucy were delighted with the promise that
they should come with us. Mohammed had excellent donkeys waiting for us.
They were pleasant to ride, and ambled along with a light elastic tread,
quite unlike that of our English donkeys.

We first turned down the chief street of the city, called Moskee; and
from it wended our way towards one of the oldest bazaars in Cairo. As we
went along, we were much struck with the beautifully carved woodwork of
the houses, and with the curious overhanging windows.

The children were delighted, too, with the gay confusion of the streets.
People were there dressed in every variety of colour. Egyptian ladies,
enveloped from head to foot in blue silk mantles and white veils, which
left nothing but their eyes to be seen, were riding on high donkeys,
preceded by their attendants. Then there were Mamelukes, in their
dresses of richly braided cloth; Copts, in dark turbans; Mecca Arabs,
with flashing eyes, and heads wreathed with folds of snowy muslin;
majestic Mograbbyns, in their white burnouses; Caireen merchants, in
silken robes.

And the noise! Such shouting, screaming, pushing! Donkey-boys and
others, each trying to make the best path for his own animal through the
crowd of horses, asses, camels, dromedaries, which filled the narrow
streets.

We threaded our way to the southern gate of the city, called Bab
Zuweyleh.

"What are those people doing?" Hugh asked.

He pointed to some people who were resting their heads against the
hinges of a large iron-bound door, fastened back to the wall. Mohammed
told us that these people had had headaches, and were waiting for them
to be charmed away by the good spirits who dwelt behind the door. He
showed us that the door was covered with metal plates, and that every
crevice of them was full of nails, driven in by persons who had had
headache, that they might be cured. Besides the nails, a great number of
teeth had been crammed in by persons who had suffered from toothache.

Their faith is a lesson to us, whose hearts are less ready to trust in
the God who reigneth in the heavens, than the hearts of these poor
heathen are to trust the gods of their imagination.

[Illustration: CURE FOR THE TOOTHACHE.]


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