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• I have sometimes seen hadjins, or dromedaries, weary of the limits patience of their riders, stop short, turn round their long neck to bite them, and utter cries of rage. In these circumstances the rider must be careful not to alight, as he would' infallibly be torn to pieces : he must also refrain from striking his beast, which would only increase his fury. Nothing can be done but to have patience, and appease the animal by patting him with the hand, which frequentiy requires some time, when he will resume his way and his pace of himself." The pace of these dromecàries is a very long trot, during which they carry the head high, and the tail stretched out stiff in a horizontal position. The saddle, or rather pack-saddle, on which the rider sits, is hollowed in the middle, and has at each saddle bow a round piece of wood, placed vertically, which he grasps firmly with each hand, to keep himself in his seat. Some of these saddles are more simple, not so well stuffed, and less convenient, than those of the Arabs; and the handles at the saddle-bows are horizontal. These are brought from Sennaar, the capital of Nubia. A long pocket on each side, to hold provision for the riler and his beast ; a skin of water for the rider alone, as the dromedary can travel a week without drinking; with a Teather thong in the hand, to serve as a whip; are the whole of the traveller's equipage: and thus equipped he may cross the deserts,. travelling fatty, tay tourscore leagues a day. This mode of travelling is fatiguing to excess: the loins are' broken [bruised] by the rough and quick shaking of the dromedary's pace; the hands are soon galled, and very painful; and the burning air, which you divide with rapia dity, inpedes. the breath, so as almost to induce suffocation.'
Leaving Rosetia, the first station made by the party was the Arab or Bedouin camp; whence N. Sonnini had engaged his guide. The most singular trait which he gives of this tribe is a tradition, universally cherished among them, that they are descended from European and Christian ancestors; who, voy. aging near the coast of Egypt, were wrecked, plundered, and thus driven to the necessity of living in the desert. -- Of the pretended Christianity of their progenitors, all that remains to their descendants is a blind reverelice for the cross; the form of which they are accustomed to imitate with their fingers, or trace in the sand.
When the author had early reached the Copht* monastery of Zaidi el Baramous, situated in the desert about fourteen Tengues from its entrance, he and his company were surprized by a party of an hundred Arabs; and while their guide was abzent, soliciting admission into the nionastery, they were plundered even of their clothes. On the return, however, of H1150 ise in the guide, who was himself occasionally a robber, and whom the Arabs knew to be a man of resolution and influence, be compelled them, by a warm and animated rensonstrance, to
Cophts are Egyptian Christians.
#3store the booty. - The detail of this adventure, is highly descriptive of the principles and habits of these plundering hordes.
After having escaped thus narrowly out of the hands of the Arabs, ,the traveller and his party, with great difficulty, obtained admission into the convent. The account which he gives of the gross ignorance, the disgusting filth, the savage manners, and the shameless extortion of these Christians of the desert, will raise surprize and indignation even in those who think worst of monastic institutions. M. Sannirsi gives the following account of the parting scene between him and the principal of the convent:
• Preparing to quit these vile hosts, I proposed to make them a present, in return for the unpleasant abode we had found among them; and soon perceived, that I had to deal with men more dangerous than the Bedouins, who, frank and generous in their friendship, display a sort of honour even in their robberies. The superior told me, that be was willing I should bestow something in the first place on the monastery, secondly on the embellishment of the chapel, thirdly on the poor, and lastly on himself. Having distened patiently to this long catalogue of wants, I had some curiosity to know at what they were estimated, and asked how large a sum would be sufficient for these several purposes. After a few moments calculation, the monk answered, that, as the convent wanted white-washing all-over, he supposed the whole would require five or six hundred sequins. This was a trifle, to be sure, for five days lodging and board on lentil bread and lentils and water. However, I made him an offer in my turn. The contents of my purse, in passing through the hands of the Arabs, had been considerably diminished; and the payment of what I had agreed to give Hussein, reduced the remainder to six sequins, which I offered to the superior. His calculation and mine were tolerably svide of each other; and in consequence the nnonk fell into a passion, which it would not be easy to describe. He loaded me with invectives, protested he would accept nothing, and swore by the saints of hvis church, that I should soon repent what he called my ingratitude. The wretch dared to invoke the justice of Heaven, on which he founded his sacrilegious hopes, and which, he said, would not fail foon to send him some Arabs, to whom he would give intelligence of my route, and whom lie would commission to be his avengers. At this I could no longer keep my temper, and I should have beaten out the rascal's brains on ihe spot, if the Dedouins, who were come for me, had not conveyed hin out of my reach..
At length I had quitted this infernal abode, and was going to mount the 256 designet for my riding, when the old monk sent to intreat me to give him the six sequins I had offered him. The Arab sheick having undertaken to deliver the message, on his account I gave them to the inork: and immediately we saw the wretch puiting пр
his prayers to that Heaven, the vengeance of which he had ijivoked upon our heads but a few minutes before, to send us a prosperous journey.'
Besides this monastery, there are three others in the desert; one of which, called Zaidi Sourian, the author visited, and of which he gives a much more favourable impression than of Barainous.- Here he met a monk, who had some time bed 'fore travelied into Abyssinia; and who informed him that there was at that time an European at the court of Abyssinia, who was high in favour with the Emperor, and greatly respected among the people. M. Sonnini was satistied that this person was our countryman, the late Mr. Bruce, with whom he had conversed at the house of M. Buffon. He learnt from the monk several particulars relating to the residence of this stranger in that country, which perfectly coincided with what he had heard from Mr. Bruce on the same subject : whence he infers the fallacy of those doubts as to the truth of Mr. B.'s relation, which for some time did so much injustice to the labours of that enterprizing traveller.
When the adventure of the Arab-robbers had made it necessary for Hussein the guide to exert himself to obtain a restitution of the booty, he began to entertain fears for his own safety, should the Arabs again attack them. He therefore returned home; and M. Sonnini was obliged to remain at Za jdi el Baramous, while a Copht peasant went to procure for him another band of Arabs to convey him through the rest of the desert. On their arrival at Erris, a village on the borders of the desert, near to the camp to which these guides belonged, the Arab chief displayed a trait of generosity which certainly deserves all the applause and admiration that the author pays to it:
• I had (says he), informed the sheick, at our first interview in the desert, that I could not possibly pay him for the escort and beasts with which he furnished me, before I returned from Cairo, whither I intended to proceed, to obtain a fresh supply for my purse, which had been emptied by his countrymen. His answer was, that he was perfectly easy about his pay, and not only so, but had money at my service.' I had paid little attention to the latter part of this answer ; forgetting, that I was no longer in a country where the heart and lips are at variance, and where an abundance of words apparently kind are often nothing more than the expressions of indifference, and sometimes proceed from the mouth of one in whose heart is concealed hatred; where such offers, such attentions, are considered as on. meaning compliments, as words of course, which the person who makes them has no intention to perform, and in which the person who declines them puts no trust.
• The repast was no sooner over, than my host went to a little coffer, that stood in a corner of the tent, took out a little bag of money, and presenting it to me, said: “I know every thing that has happened to you. With indignation I witnessed the rascally be.
haviour of the monk at Zaïdi el Baramous. I am well aware, that, in consequence of the letters of recommendation you have, you will receive all the assistance you want from the Kiaschef of Ilardan : but you will give me great pain, if you apply to a dng of a Turk, to a Mameluc. I cannot bear that one, with whom I have eaten the repast of friendship, whom I have protected at the hazard of my life, and who is become my brother, should have recourse to another for assistance. Take this money : it is yours. If you refuse it, I shall think that you disdain a friend, because he is one of the people of the desert*." What generosity of sentiment! what greatness of mind ! Yet this very man would have stripped me, if he had casually met with me in the wilderness. In return for this frank and sincere cordiality, and that I might not offend my host, I took a few patacas, which he would not see me count, any more than he would listen to ine, when I promised to repay them on my return from Cairo, which would be very shortly.'
Having completed his journey through the desert, M. Sonnini contented himself with dispatching one of his people to Cairo, and on his return proceeded again toward Rosetta. We learn little that is interesting respecting his navigation down the Nile. It consists chiefly in the enumeration of the villages which are built on its banks, of the natural produce tions which he found, and of some threatened dangers from the robbers or pirates who infest the river, but from whom he suffered no actual injury.
The victory obtained by Mourat and Ibrahim Beys over Ismael Bey having put an end to a contest which had fille Egypt with barbarous warriors, and rendered travelling extremely dangerous, M. Sonnini set forwards on his journey towards Upper Egypt.-He proceeded to-Cairo, by the way of the Nile. Nothing important occurred in his voyage thither : but his descriptions of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of that capital of Egypt, of the Mameluks, and of their mode and principles of government, are well worth attention. In speaking of the Mameluks, however, and of the relation in which they stand with respect to the Ottoman Porte, he appears to be somewhat influenced by the spirit of a partizan who wishes at all events to justify the conduct of the French government in the Egyptian expedition. It is right, therefore, cu receive his assertions on this subject generally cum grano salis :--but this observation will derogate little from the general merit of his communications.
M. Sonnini says that Cairo occupies a space of about three leagues :--but whether he means three square leagues, or three
«* Bédaci, from which we have formed Bedouin, signifies an inhabitant of the desert.'
leagues in length, or in circumference, we are left fo conjec. gure. Its population he estimates at 400,000.-No where is the splendor of wealth more strikingly contrasted with the most disgusting and hideous poverty than at Cairo: nor does splendor in any country vainly endeavour to conceal more gross and savage ignorance. Not only is science almost per fectly unknown, but even the most common arts:-of those which are the most necessary to the convenience and comfort of life, this barbarous people are either ignorant, or practise them in a way which scarcely leaves them useful. Strangers are the constant objects of contempt and insult; and not even the assumption of an Eastern habit (without which, indeed, no stranger can appear at Cairo) will preserve him from the insolence of the inhabitants. The government of Egypt, though in form aristocratic and republican, is in fact a despotism, Twenty four Beys possess the supreme power, of whom one is always governor-general, or sheick el belled; that is to say, á tyrant who governs purely by his own will, . The Porte indeed pretends to power here, but they do not possess it. Their Pacha at Cairo, says M. S., is an officer tolerated and nominal, but neither obeyed nor respected. All the Beys must have been Mameluks: strangers to Egypt, brought at an early age from Georgia, Circassia, and other provinces of the Ottoman empire, where they are bought by merchants who afterward sell them at Cairo. They are educated, by the Beys who pur'chase them, in the faith of Mohammed, and in the art of war as practised by the Egyptians. They rise gradually in proportion to their genius, their valour, and (frequently) their crimes until at last the most enterprising and ambitious attain the dignity of Bey. To reach this rank, it is essential that the party be a stranger: even the children of Mameluks. are disqualified to fill it. With such rulers, the goverument must be oppressive: it is guided by no principle but that of pure despotism,--that the people and their property belong to their tyrant. Of Mourat Bey, since the most formidable opponent of Bonaparte in Egypt, we have here some interesting particulars; and among the plates is a good portrait of him. He is described as possessing all the martial qualities which can be connected with untaught valour. He has possessed the supreme power in Egypt since the year 1776.
In perusing the latter part of this volume, the reader will find a variety of interesting information concerning the military and moral characters of these masters of Egypt. He will also find niuch respecting the customs of the people, their commerce, and their pleasures. [To be concluded in arciber Artick. ]