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AN EASTERN BAZAAR.
of exceeding novelty. The merchants seated in their several compartments, surrounded by their respective wares; some engaged with their customers, who, if respectable, seat themselves upon the bench that runs along the side of the bazaar, raised a couple of feet above the street, and as the Moos’lim never concludes a hasty bargain, they enjoy a cup of coffee and a pipe in the interim. Others engaged in reading the Koorán, which they do aloud in a very peculiar monotonous singingtone, rocking the body backwards and forwards all the time; and many of them had retired into the interior of the shop and were performing their evening prayers. This, with the narrowness of the streets the different cries of the several watercarriers, sellers of beans and vegetables, and venders of sherbet at all the corners of the principal streets--the droves of camels, the diversity of the costumes, and the peculiarity of the language, are quite astounding to an Englishman, and brought us back to the scenes so beautifully described in the Arabian Nights.
I was not many minutes in Alexandria until I was forcibly struck with the number of blind people I met at every turn; it is really incredible; the greater number had but one eye, but many others were groping their way through the streets in perfect darkness. Squinting is a very common affection among the people of Alexandria, and the greater number of the lower order are what would be termed
“ blear-eyed ;” and wherever we went we discovered lamentable traces of the ravages of ophthalmia.
During our walk through the city, we happened to light upon one of the donkey stations, when a scene ensued that beggars all description. The whole body of donkey boys, with their animals, rushed upon us with one accord the moment we made our appearance, pushing, jostling, and abusing each other, in most unintelligible jargon; and half-a-dozen laying hold of each of us at once, attempted to place us, “nolens, volens," on their donkeys. I was literally lifted off and on three of them, before I could employ my stick to any advantage, to deter others from plucking me off the one on which I had at last secured a seat. The whole scene is really so ludicrous, that it is worth witnessing for once, after which I would advise all travellers to provide themselves with a good, stout koorbág, * which is made of the hide of the hippo. potamus, and forms a staple article of commerce with the inhabitants of Upper Nubia, and on the Blue River ; it is the only remedy for an Alexandrian ass-boy. As soon as we were fairly seated, the boys set the animals off at a most dashing pace, through the narrow streets, over bread stalls, old women, and all the various merchandize that strew the floor of an eastern bazaar. The boys kept
* Generally pronounced by Europeans corbatch.
goading the donkeys with a sharp stick, and shouting to the people, “Riglac, riglac, darick” _“ Get out of the way,”—and cursing in tolerable plain English. It was quite impossible to stop or hold up against the “vis a tergo.” I nearly came in collision with several enormous camels ; ran foul of various Egyptian officers, naval and military; and narrowly escaped upsetting numerous blind people at every turn; besides our trampling over whole hosts of half-starved dogs, that are always lurking about the bazaars. To attempt to reason with our drivers was out of the question: the more we attempted to pull up, the more they shouted and urged on the animals; and to turn in the narrow, crowded streets was impossible. The boys laughed, and seemed to enjoy it of all things, beating the unfortunate dogs most unmercifully whenever they came across them. After
escapes of camels, old women, and buffaloes, we arrived safe at our boat, and were heartily glad to get ourselves on board again, after the noise and bustle we had just left. We were rather surprised to see one of the Basha's coaches-and-four parading the streets.
The donkeys of Egypt are a small but well-made and active race. They are all closely shaven except the legs. The saddle is a high pad, somewhat like that used in Gallicia, but it does not project so much forward. They are the only mode of conveyance at Alexandria, and are ridden by all persons, even
QUALIFICATION OF AN EGYPTIAN DONKEY.
those of rank ; you can have one with its attendant for about five piastres, or twelve pence halfpenny a day—formerly they were the only animals Christians were allowed to ride.
15th. On our landing this morning we were instantly beset by at least two dozen of our last night's persecutors, who were anxiously waiting our arrival, and through whom we had absolutely to fight our way, nevertheless they followed us through the town, determined to capture us at all hazardsevery now and then running with their donkeys before us, exclaiming—“ Him best dunkey,” you Inglise no walk”—“him kick highest”—“him dum fine Jock ass”-“me show you catacomb." After several fruitless efforts to get rid of them we had to strike-further resistance was vain-indeed I deem it the part of prudence to adopt the prevailing creed of the country, and bow to your inevitable fate ; the only way to escape the assault of a multitude is to get at once on the first that comes up and belabour your way through the rest.
Having paid his respects to his consul, one of the first visits a European makes on his arrival at Alexandria, is to Cleopatra's needle and Pompey's pillar, and thither we bent our steps. nificent obelisks, to which authors have assigned the ridiculous name of Cleopatra’s needles, are situated outside the present town, near the shore of the new harbour, amidst heaps of rubbish, drifted sands, and pitfalls ; the debris of the former city, which extends
a great distance all round, including that part on which Pompey's pillar stands, and even as far as the shores of the lake Mareotis ; the poorer people are constantly at work among its ruins, as the scarcity of stones here is very great, and they obtain much from the foundations of the old walls scattered about some ten or twelve feet below the present surface—for “her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted.”
As these were the first object of Egyptian grandeur and antiquity we had seen we were greatly struck with them. All who have travelled themselves will, I think, acknowledge how very difficult it is to convey by words a description of objects such as these; or without an appearance of affectation, to embody in language the feelings that its recollections will arouse.
Blocks of stone of such magnitude must ever excite wonder, how much more so when we know they contain a record of some of the mysteries of the religion of the most extraordinary, the most enlightened, as well as the most ancient people of the world. They are generally supposed by antiquaries to have decorated the entrance to the palace of the Ptolemies in the days of Egyptian grandeur, for which purpose they must have been carried down the Nile from the quarries of upper Egypt. The one nearest the town is prostrate, lying with its base towards the shore, and imbedded to about half its depth in the sand and rubbish. It is sixty-three feet in length