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THE STREETS OF CAIRO.
of the Memlooks; and on the wall the old Imam called our notice to a round mark, some eighteen inches in diameter, which was the size of the loaf sold in Sooltán Hassan's time for six paras, (three farthings.) Golden
Golden age indeed !-the old gentleman seemed to regret it much, and bemoaned the present time in comparison.
At several corners of the streets are handsome reservoirs for water, with gilt trellis-work, having a number of spouts and chained goblets. The crowds in some of the streets and bazaars make them at particular times of the day almost impassable. If we except China and Japan, I do believe that natives of every country of the world will be met with in the streets of Cairo. Besides the resident population of Egypt, Turks, Copts, and Jews, the Greeks are, I think, the most numerous. Levantine Christians, Syrians, and Europeans, of every country, travellers to Egypt, and those passing and repassing to India; besides its being the line of the different caravans to Mekka twice a year, and the great commercial city of this part of Africa, may have, at an earlier date, earned for it the name of the greatest thoroughfare in the world. Crowds of donkeys with Europeans, bear down upon you at every turn, on stepping aside from which you are very likely to encounter a train of some twenty camels, which either crush you against the wall or tread you under foot with the greatest unconcern. Groups of Bedawee cavalry are constantly passing through the
town (the irregular troops, nominally under Mohammad Alee,) whose enormous Memlook stirrups threaten you with decapitation, an accident that would apparently gratify their savage occupants. The streets intersect each other even less than at Alexandria, so that you are obliged to go a circuit of miles to a place that may not be a tenth of the distance, arising from those circles which enclose handsome gardens and palaces. There is an extensive Frank quarter, in which the shops are mostly French; and as usual every thing the worst and the dearest.
Each street has its own gate, which is locked at night, and has a guard attached to it, no person being allowed to pass without a lantern, which is formed of paper, made to fold up, and is carried by every one in his pocket.
The bazaars of Cairo are, some of them, of great extent and magnificence, and are covered over-head. Through them no beast is allowed a passage, and, although the shops appear at first insignificant, they will be found to contain much wealth. Each different trade and each separate article has its particular quarter. The Turkish shopkeeper uses little art to induce purchasers ; sitting in solemn silence, scarcely deeming it worth while to remove the pipe when you wish to see or know the price of any thing. But towards each other, or to those Franks whom they know, or who are habited in eastern costume, they are exceedingly courteous, and provide a pipe and coffee during the negociation. They
are sure to ask a Frank, but more especially an Englishman, more than five times the value of
any article, and will invariably sell cheaper to a Mohammadan.
Our accommodation at the hotel was tolerable, though not so good as we should have had at the English. Even thus high up the Nile,
, the mornings and evenings are yet cool. The extreme stillness and quiet of this immense city after dark was to us most extraordinary at first; and when about nine or ten o'clock I opened the window of my apartment, and looked out upon the noble panorama spread beneath and around me, I could scarcely believe that it was the scene of action for so many thousand living beings; who but a few hours before thronged every avenue, street, and lane of this immense metropolis. It was while so musing, and with
The deep blue moonlight like a pall
Of solemn beauty round me that those thrilling strains of the Mooeddin's call to worship, broke upon my ear, so sweet, so clear and musical, as the first note of prayers broke from the minaret of the mosque of Hassan, and was carried distinct and sonorous upon the midnight air, not broken by a single echo, but heard until its dying notes faded in the distance, and minaret after minaret took up the chant till the whole rose in one swelling chorus—“ Come to prayer—come to prayer ! come to the temple of salvation ! great
THE MOOEDDIN'S CHANT.
God! great God! I attest there is no God but God, and Mohammad is the prophet of the Lord !!” I have heard it often; never, however, upon so great a scale as here; never more distinct or musical, or with that startling note that wakes every fibre of the frame, gives a double beat to every vessel, and rivets every sense as the ear takes in the sound and the mind assumes a tone of fervour and devotion at the thought of a nation, in many respects so far beneath our own, thus calling to the worship of our common God, and answered by her people, not with the sneer of scorn, the silence of contempt, or the apathy of indifference, but with a decorum and apparent piety, that would well become professing Christian kingdoms, who in their attempt to do away with a national religion, would do well to listen to the Mooeddin's chant.
Suburbs of Cairo— The Mekka Pilgrimage-Camels—Bedawees—Tombs of the
Memlooks—Mokattam Rocks— Tombs of the Kaliefs Mausoleum of Mohammad Alee-Ancient Customs—The Mad-house-Description of its InmatesReflections on Insanity—The Slave Market--Abyssinian Girls—Nubians—Their Ideas of Modesty—Mohammadan Slavery—Comparison with Christian—Hotels of Cairo-Coffee Manufactory-A Kahweh-Tobacco-Its Use-Pipes—HempDescription used—Inquiry into the use of Eastern Stimulants—Temperance Societies—Egyptian Ladies-Eastern Coquettes—A Plague Dog--Intrepidity of an English Physician-- Visit to Shoubrah-Beauty of the Road—Gardens of the Hareem — Oriental Luxury -- Baths — A Kiosk — Mooslim Hospitality -- The Basha-His Retinue-A Conversazione - The Egyptian Society-An English Minister.
THURSDAY, 25th. We rode out this morning by the gate of victory, which is the best entrance to the city. It is exceedingly handsome, and affords a beautiful specimen of eastern ornamental architecture. Beyond it the desert commences almost immediately; the roads dusty and unpleasant, and a suburb of small huts and low Arab tents, similar to that I before mentioned at Alexandria, stretches into the plain. No two places can present characters so different as the opposite sides of the city