« הקודםהמשך »
pillow, and the under part of the coffin serving as a corn-trough for the asses to feed out of. I found several visitors on my return; wild, savage creatures, each bringing some trifling bit of crockery-ware, or small blue idol, and crying Antique, Antique, Buckshese, Buckshese,
, Inglese, a Buckshese.” Odious word ! How it yet echoes in my hearing. The cunning and finesse of these people was beyond any thing I could have imagined, and were it not for their annoying importunity, it would have been ridiculous and amusing. They seemed to study the taste of the purchaser, as at one time, seeing me examine some bits of linen, they all rushed out, collected it in armfuls, and coming in one by one, each held out his portion, crying, “Buckshese.” At another time, bones and pieces of mummies were the articles in demand, and finding that I had no paras, or small copper coin, they brought every thing separately, in hopes of obtaining a piaster. I endeavoured by every possible means to get rid of my tormentors, but all to no purpose, they continued to increase to upwards of twenty, and fearful of losing sight of me for a moment, and so giving up even the chance of reward, they sent into the village to get themselves some bread. If I mentioned the name of Mohammad Alee, they all bowed the head, but none stirred to go.
If I turned them out by force, it was but to see them in a few minutes come creep
TOMB OF BEER-DOR-ETHO.
ingin again by some of the different holes and crannies of this many-chambered sepulchre ; and if I walked out myself, it was but to turn suddenly round as some wily Arab whispered in my ear, “ Buckshese," and held out some foolish, valueless article for my inspection. This never-ceasing theme of Eastern cupidity, is in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the first word a European hears on landing, and it continues to ring in his ears till he leaves the country. If you ask a question, Buckshese is demanded; no bargain is concluded without it; nay, the very appearance of an Eng. lishman is enough to make the young children run out, and cry
“ Buckshese.” verily believe it is the first word taught in lisping childhood, and like the obolus of the Roman, it is the last thing in their mouths. They will do any thing for, and nothing without it. An old Arab proverb says,
give a Turk money with one hand, and he will let
you pluck out his eyes with the other.”
This tomb, which is the usual resting place of travellers visiting Sackara, is called by the Arabs Beer-dor-etho; is of great extent, having series of chambers with niches for the bodies, and also sarcophogi of scienitic granite, but there are no hieroglyphics. Immediately over where I had placed myself, was an eliptic arch, cut in the stone, between two of the upright posts.
But that the Egyptians were acquainted with the arch, is now so well known, that I need not dwell upon
THE PLAIN OF MEMPHIS.
it here, as the labours of Wilkinson and Belzoni have put it beyond question.
It was now about sun-down, and as I sat upon one of the adjoining hillocks that crown this range of rock, while Paulo was preparing my coffee, I enjoyed the splendid picture that lay stretched beneath me, and mused upon the days of the past—while fancy conjured up the recollection of far distant eras, and gave shape, form, and life itself to the undulating line of gray sand that occupied the space between me and the glowing fertile plain of Fayoum. This space, now so lone and desolate, was once crowded with the edifices, and noisy with the people of Memphis. Notwithstanding the learned descriptions, as to the site of this vast city, by the savans of both ancient and modern times, the unpretending traveller who sits thus, with a view commanding the whole range of country, and the quotations of Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Strabo, fresh in his memory, may be able to advance an opinion as to its probable situation. If we consult the works of the last two centuries we find them disagree, some placing it at Geza, others, and those the most numerous, at Metraheny, a village a few miles further up the Nile than Sackara, and near to the pyramids of Dashour, which were then in sight, and rising like so many huge tents or pavilions out of the desert. It
appears to me that Memphis stood not exactly at either of those two places, but lay along the whole length of the pyra
THE SITE OF MEMPHIS.
mids-extending from Dashour down to Geza, which latter it did not quite reach, as Pliny tells us the pyramids (evidently the large ones) were between Memphis and the Delta, one league from the Nile, two from Memphis, and near the village of Busiris. Herodotus
says, that to reach Memphis from Naucratis they had to pass by the pyramids; and Strabo speaks of it as eleven miles from the Delta, and five from the heights on which the pyramids are built. But whatever discrepancy may occur in writers, the vicinity of these tombs and the pyramids, which most antiquarians are now agreed as to their having a sepulchral use, ought to decide the question. The French, in their Description de l’Egypt, boast of a discovery, and will fix the place at Metrahaine, because Citizen Contelle found there the broken wrist of a statue forty-five feet high!! although Denon says—“ The multitude of pyra . mids scattered over the district of Sackara, the plain of the monks, and the caves of the ibis, all prove that this territory was the necropolis to the south of Memphis, and that the village opposite to this, in which the pyramids of Geza are situated, was another necropolis, or city of the dead, which formed the northern extremity of Memphis, and by these we may measure the extent of the ancient city.”
The contiguity to the lake Meris, the canal, and barrier mentioned by Savary, Pococke, Clarke, Wilkinson, and other travellers, as proving its site
REFLECTIONS ON ITS DESTRUCTION.
to be Metraheny, only show that it was in the neighbourhood, without being able to fix an exact locality for this immense metropolis, which, as the country was narrow, must have been a long city. And the testimony as to its being eighteen miles in circumference, it is more than probable meant its length, which will alone accord with the extent occupied by the pyramids, beginning from the southern side of Geza to beyond Metraheny, and the vicinity of the tombs and pyramids is no doubt that alluded to by the prophet Hosea, who, speaking of the destruction of the Hebrews, says,
Egypt shall fatten them up, and Memphis shall bury them.”-Hosea, ix. 6.
It was here the Pharaohs reigned; it was here a Joseph ruled, and an Herodotus was initiated into the Egyptian mysteries. It was here a Sesostris and a Rameses held their court; here, perhaps within my view, were executed those signs and wonders when the Nile, now glancing in the sunbeams, ran thick and red with blood, as the rod of the Israelitish law-giver was stretched over its dark waters; here plague and pestilence swept off millions, and those very rocks and caves that now surround me once flung back the midnight cry that rose throughout the land, when the first-born of Egypt were smitten by the angel of destruction, who breathed his deadly mandate on the host of Pharaoh ; and farther on the mental diorama moves till when Israel's bond-children rose to go, and