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according to the several tribes or villages to which they belong. Those who are in a better condition, and adhere to ancient custom, with more accuracy wear the face-cover (boorks), consisting of a stripe of black crape, or linen, about eight inches wide at top, where it is fastened to the head-dress by an ornamental clasp, or circular bit of brass, which comes down over the root of the nose—the upper margin is closely applied immediately below the eyes, and the lower end hangs down in front to the knees, or lower; above the upper margin peep a pair of most bewitching and invariably black eyes, rendered more sparkling by the dark line of kohl or liban surrounding them—the eyebrows arched with the same.
A triangular piece of muslin is brought over the forehead, and hangs down behind below the waist, and thus there are but about two inches of the face left to view. Many will here appear so careful of their charms, that, although nearly in a state of nudity, they will draw with becoming modesty some portion of their ragged only garment across the face on meeting a stranger, though by so doing they expose more of their person than is in accordance with our notions of decency—yet such is the fashion of Egypt. All who can muster a few piasters are provided with rings of brass or silver, or strings of beads in the ears, and on the wrists and ankles. Some few wear large silver nose-rings, passed through a hole, not in the septum, but through one of the alæ. The
colour of most of the Egyptian women is light olive -the features of many are regular, and, to my taste, pleasing—the regularity of outline still preserves a similarity to that of the ancient racemore particularly seen in the long lozenge-shaped eye. The eye
of the Arab girl, and more particularly the Egyptian, is so peculiar, and so often caused me to stop and admire its beauties, that I may be excused dwelling on it a few moments. All use the liban, or black line, adorning the eyelid; this is renewed every three or four days with a kind of bodkin; not, however, as it is generally believed in Europe, upon the outer part of the eye-lid. It is applied in a most accurate and dexterous manner all along that part of the edge of the eyelid within, and along the roots of the eye-lashes, where both lids present a flat surface to each other, denominated in technical language the tursal margin of the eyelids. This ancient practice of the east, although it approaches to a piece of foolish decoration, is based upon a thorough knowledge and study of the beauty of a perfect eye. When the eye-lashes are in perfection, and of a black colour, as all here are, they present, at a little distance, not a collection of hairs, but a black line, and to increase this line of beauty the easterns add the liban. The liquid black of what is generally called the pupil, or the whole of the black part of the eye, is much heightened by the eliptic line by which it is encircled ; and though at first it appears
AN EGYPTIAN EYE.
so extraordinary, and may, after all, be denominated an acquired taste; yet there is a swimming loveliness in those brilliants set in jet that I cannot but admire.
Unless when Negro blood mingles with that of the Arab, the traveller can still recognise Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt,” and with a life and animation of expression that give their
“lips that speaking air, “As if a word were hovering there.” Few countries but can boast of beauty among its fair daughters, but I will fearlessly assert that no other clime can exhibit the wrinkle and decrepitude of old age so soon, so marked, or so very disgustingly as this. Precocious in womanhood, mothers in almost childhood, and premature in old age, here the female of thirty or forty possesses none of the venerable appearance of other countries, but a haggard and withered form that one can hardly believe was so lately the buoyant girl of the Nile; yet this does not prevent them drawing the end of their kerchief over the lower part of the face on the approach of man, especially if a Giaour.
The habitations are miserable hovels; square mudwalls and flat roofs, which are generally coated with small cakes of camel dung, pasted on them to dry, the only fuel of the country. These it was lately contemplated to tax, and the amount of piasters per thousand actually discussed, but on a representation to the Basha, the scheme was abandoned. The number of santons, or holy men, that formerly swarmed through the country is much decreased. Each village is governed by a sheykh, whose house is somewhat better than the rest, and who is generally found seated on his segaddeh or a mat before his door, smoking the tchibouk or sheesheh, leading a life of extreme idleness-collecting the taxes—hearing petty complaints, or presiding over the administration of the bastinado. Nearly all the young men you meet are blind of an eye, generally the right one, and have lost the index finger of the right hand; this act of mutilation is done by themselves to avoid the conscription. I have known them, on hearing the tallyho of the conscription officers, deliberately redden a pointed stick in the fire and thrust it into the eye. At Cairo a little boy, not more than ten years of age, who worked in the garden of the hotel, on being informed by way of joke that the officers of the Basha were approaching, ran most heroically to a trowel, placed it on his finger, while his sister, still younger, chopped it off with a stone! He bore it without a murmur, and held it up as a trophy of no
ordinary conquest. The thumb of one of our crew was still raw from a similar operation; and what with the effects of the ophthalmia, and the terrors of the conscription, there will soon appear a cyclopean population. The Basha has, however, very properly put a stop to this self-mutilation, by making such offenders punishable by perpetual working in the arsenal or dockyard.
A great outcry has arisen on account of the conscription, and travellers have loudly exclaimed against so horrid an alternative being forced on the people ; but without at all advocating that, perhaps necessary evil, I would ask is it worse than the press-gang we have so lately had recourse to, in our own navy,
may be obliged to apply to again in England ? How few soldiers would come forward to enlist in our towns and hamlets, without the agency of the bounty, the stirring notes of the fife and drum, the red coat, the gay cockade, or the crimp sergeant ?
As we ascended the country, hawks, buzzards, and vultures of a great size, became more plenty ; and innumerable flocks of geese, ducks, and teal. The doves are so tame around the habitations, as to be almost within reach of the hand; and plovers swarm through the large broken ground. There are three kinds of these birds, the charadrius Egypticus, charadrius Alexandrias, and charadrius spinosus. * All these afforded us much amusement through the day, and books, chess, and conversation, whiled