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away. Two-thirds of them were without tools or clothing of any kind whatever, groping up the mud, and lifting it out with their hands. The last portion of this statement appeared to myself incredible, until I had seen people engaged in cleaning out a portion of an old canal near the Lake Mareotis. They dug with their hands into the soft mud, until a portion about a cubic foot in size was detached; this was passed on to the nearest workman, and so conveyed by others to the bank. Not one vestige of implement or attire was possessed, or apparently desired by them.
The banks of the canal are sufficiently high to intercept the view of the adjoining country, so that, after passing the villas already alluded to, there is really nothing to be seen.
A good sailing-boat traversed the distance in eight hours; one, tugged by horses, in ten. small high-pressure steamer is presently employed, which goes
snort, snorting along at the rate of about five miles an hour. The boats containing the passengers and luggage are towed behind. We started at half-past six, and were no less than eleven hours on the canal, reaching Atféh on the Nile at half-past five. It has always been my fortune to pass this filthy little village late at night, or early in the morning, so as scarcely to be able to see it, and the matter did not seem entitled to excite much regret." On reaching the Nile, the traveller finds a neatly-kept and commodious steamer awaiting him-not very roomy, but such as passengers, if not numbering more than fifty, may put up with without much discomfort. In going up the Nile, several large works for assisting the irrigation of the country are passed.
One who has examined the magnificent specimens of grain now grown in England, is exceedingly disappointed on examining that for which Egypt, for thirty centuries, has been famous. I collected many specimens in 1840: it is exceedingly prolific on the root, but not more so than grain at home thinly sown on rich soil. The stalks of the barley are seldom above eighteen or twenty inches long; each root produces from six to twenty-five stems, fifteen being about the average. There are six rows of grains or pickles on each stalk, each row containing at an average about ten grains, so that the return from the seed is from six hundred to nine hundred. The roots are from six to fourteen inches from each other, and I do not believe that an acre of land in Egypt will yield nearly so much grain, by measure or weight, as a similar surface in England—both under present cultivation. The barley itself, when rubbed out, would have been little short of unsaleable in average seasons at home, so thin, husky, and poor it was. It is trampled out of the straw by oxen, and cleared of chaff by the wind. The straw is chopped or cut up into what we in India call boosa, by an implement closely resembling a turnip-sowing harrow, drawn over it by oxen, each roller being armed with three or four circular cutters.
The crop which most surprises by its abundance is tobacco, vast fields of which extend in all directions. Nor is it to be wondered at that the cultivation of this narcotic should rival in extent that of grain, or roots, or fruits for human food. In Egypt, every man who can afford it smokes at every hour of the day. The dull and watery eye, the want of energy and enterprise apparent in all, tell too plainly how the drug is doing its work. It is sad to see Englishmen reducing themselves to the level of Turks, as is too often the case, by the filthy and degrading practice of everlasting smoking. A singular variety of raft, consisting of a framework of slight sticks, buoyed up by a vast number of earthen pots, is frequently to be seen on the Nile. They appear to be chiefly employed in carrying coarse earthenware down the river.
From the moment of arrival in Egypt, we feel that we are in a country possessing many relics of the past; but this feeling cannot be said to exist in perfect force till we approach Cairo, which is the threshold of all the great marvels of ancient art. Those who have not before sailed up the Nile, watch for the first appearance of the Pyramids. These become suddenly visible about forty miles below Cairo; and the cry that they are in sight, renders the spectator almost breathless with anxiety to discover them. They are seen far across the desert breaking the western horizon, and seem at this enormous distance almost as large as when looked at from Cairo. Here the Desert sand has fairly drifted over the fertile soil, and is blown in masses into the river. The banks of the Nile, indeed, show that this has been an event of frequent occurrence since silt began to accumulate, alternate beds of sand and mud being visible all down a section of ten to fifteen feet of bank. The sand, examined through a magnifier, is of a yellowish smoke-colour, sharp and angular, often of a pretty regular cubical form. It looks like the quartz portions of disintegrated granite, which it probably is.
The banks of the Nile, which have been hitherto dull and uninteresting, become exceedingly striking as we approach Boulac, which is in the vicinity of Cairo. Long lines and groups of trees skirt the left bank of the river. Amongst some half-dozen of beautiful acacias, the magnificent golden flowers of the acacia fistula stand conspicuous. The tree receives its name from the seed-pod being of the form and size of an ordinary fife: the flower is something like that of the laburnum, with each branch five or six times the size of those of the latter tree. Then come the gardens and pleasure-grounds around the palace of Shoubra. The island of Rhoda, a garden nearly altogether, divides and half fills up the river in front. The beautiful weeping willow of Egypt-most graceful and lovely of its loveliest of races—is conspicuous everywhere. The long sweeping yards of the lateen-sailed boats of the Nile, sometimes not less than sixty feet in length, shoot up by the shore. Just beyond are the large cotton-mills and other works of the pasha, intruding English steam-engines, and huge chimney stalks, which, though striking enough as contrasts, seem here eminently out of place. Sweeping along the eastern horizon, at a distance of two miles, is the Citadel, with the vast city and countless minarets of Grand Cairo. On the other or right side but two objects present themselves to the eye—the Desert and the Pyramids: and they are enough.
The voyage up the Nile, extending to 120 miles from Attèh, occupied from eighteen to nineteen hours, and was brought to a close at Boulac. Here travellers disembark, and go to Cairo by vans provided on purpose. The drive to the city is by no means over a good road; but being through fields and gardens, the scene is everywhere most rich and beautiful. save the spirit of man, is divine;” saving, it may be added, his habitations and his fleshly tenements. More wretched hovels than are the houses, more squalid wretches than are the people, cannot be conceived. Crossing various canals and gardens, and threading some beautiful avenues of trees, the traveller at length reaches the great square of Grand Cairo, and the picture presented is sufficiently striking. There is nothing in the way of building which deserves the name of fine architecture; but the houses are lofty and picturesque, and of every conceivable shape and size-tall graceful minarets shooting up in all directions. The Hotel d'Orient, the principal one in Cairo, is in the great square, and is a large and very showy building, though the establishment and style of living is somewhat too French for an Englishman's taste. There is an excellent, though less conspicuous, English tavern close by. The area enclosed by the great square is surrounded by a very wide and deep ditch, which is filled with water during the inundation : fine rows of acaciatrees skirt it on both sides, and form a double avenue along the road which intersects it. Vast crowds of people are at all times in the neighbourhood, and here almost alone in Cairo there is abundant room for observing the passers-by. It is indeed almost the only open space in this vast city, the thoroughfares of which consist of narrow lanes, hardly anywhere deserving the name of streets. The houses are so high, and the balconies above project so far, that it is often difficult to obtain a glimpse of the sky above. They are almost everywhere crowded most densely with people. Nimble donkeys, with jingling bells, trot rapidly along, threading their way with extraordinary dexterity through the multitude. Lines of huge camels, with vast burdens on their sides, bear down upon you, threatening to close up the pathway, and arrest the progress of the living current. Contrasted with all this activity and bustle is the profound composure of the shopkeepers, who, in the richest dresses, and with long flowing beards, recline beside their wares, smoking their hookas, or long cherry-stalked, amber-mouthed pipes, as in a state of the most apathetic unconcern. I have rarely seen so large a proportion
of fine-looking men as are to be found thus occupied in many of the bazaars.
We reached Cairo at eight o'clock in the morning, and were told that the first set of vans would set off for Suez at eleven, and the last at four o'clock in the afternoon. To those who propose going forward, there is little time to spare.
Some of our party, however, who were active, were able to traverse the city, to inspect the palace of the pasha, and to enjoy the magnificent view from the battlements of the Citadel. They also had a little time to spend on shopping at the silk embroidery and perfumery bazaars, and to purchase some memorials of their stay; to visit the reading-rooms and museum of the Egyptian Society-the valuable collection of Dr Abbot being one of the richest and most interesting in Egypt.
Cairo is said to contain a population of two hundred thousand inhabitants: it stands on a plateau about forty feet above the level of the Nile, and on the edge of the Desert. The Citadel is one of the most prominent objects of attraction, and can be examined however short almost may be the traveller's stay. It was built about the year 1171, by the Caliph Yoosef Saláh-e-deen, well known in the history of the Crusaders as “the Magnificent Saladin.” A long ride through narrow, crowded, and irregular lanes, past numerous mosques of great magnitude and beauty, leads to the bottom of the steep winding ascent, at the extremity of which is the gate of the fortress. The first object of attraction which it contains is a magnificent mosque, which has now been ten years in process of construction. It is still incomplete. It consists of an open square, surrounded by a single row of thirtyfive columns. In the centre of this is a superb fountain, and on the east a lofty gate leads to the inner part of the house of prayer. I do not know to what variety of architecture the building can be referred. I cannot concur with Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, that its attractions are due more to the beauty of the material of which it is constructed than to the skill displayed in the structure itself. To me it seemed in this latter respect supremely beautiful; not the less so because of the extent to which it departed from anything known to us of Greek, Roman, Gothic, or even of Indian art. The extreme richness of its decorations partake nothing of tediousness --they are all symmetrical, tasteful, and beautiful. I do not even know but that the effect may be heightened by the burnished brass mouldings which surround the base of the capital and top of the basement of the column, though this sort of combination of metal and stone is one of the most unusual in masonry. The walls, which consist of the common building-stone of Cairo, are everywhere crusted over with a yellowish-white variegated horny-coloured marble. It is brought from a considerable way across the country, having been discovered some fourteen years since at a place called Wadee Moähut, about seventy miles from the Nile, and is a travertine, or fresh-water limestone, deposited from springs. The undulations and coatings of the deposit form beautiful markings in the marble: it is unfortunately not susceptible of a very high polish, and is often defaced by small angular crevices, which, however, cease to be observable a few yards off. It is brought in large blocks from the quarry, and sawn into slices beside the building. The magnificent granite columns which
Joseph's Hall are lying prostrate around. They were pulled down in 1827, to make room for the mosque, and were in all likelihood originally the fragments of some of the noble works of Egypt's splendour in its earlier days. They are of the same material as that of which Pompey's Pillar and Cleopatra's Needles are composed. Just beyond the mosque is the palace and harem of the pasha-a neat, plain building, more richly than tastefully fitted up and furnished within, but quite worthy of examination. The Mint is beyond this; and near by is Joseph's Well, an excavation two hundred and sixty feet in depth, a winding staircase leading to the bottom. The reader must be reminded that the Joseph here referred to is not the Hebrew patriarch, though commonly imagined to be such, but the famous Sultan Saladin, by whom the works were constructed.
From the palace garden may be seen the spot where Emir Bey leaped his horse over the wall, to escape the massacre which awaited his brother Mamelukes on the 1st of March 1811. Mohammed Ali had prepared an expedition into Arabia, to chastise the Wahabees, who had robbed and murdered the pilgrims on their way to Mecca. The Mamelukes, impatient of his curtailment of their power, resolved to avenge and liberate themselves by the overthrow of his government. Their secret was badly kept, and the pasha was informed of the plot hatching against him. He pretended to disbelieve it altogether, and treated it as a slander against the Mamelukes. His preparations being completed, he invited all his courtiers and chiefs to the Citadel, to be present at the investiture of his son with authority to be exercised during his absence. The beys of the Mamelukes were received with the usual courtesy; but on their retirement, found the gates shut against them, while volleys of musketry were poured in on them from every side. Horses and riders fell in heaps. It is said that four hundred and forty were slaughtered in the court, Emir Bey alone escaping. He remembered that a heap of rubbish, thrown over the wall, had accumulated to a considerable height near its base. He leaped his horse over: the animal was dashed to pieces, but the rider escaped. He found shelter in the tents of some soldiers near, and succeeded in making his way to Constantinople. He survived till within these few years. The beautiful aqueduct seen from the Citadel was originally built by Saladin the Magnificent in 1171, for the purpose of bringing water from the Nile to supply the garrison: it was renewed and enlarged in 1518.
Before requesting the reader to accompany me on the route