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casing, it explains to us this apparently difficult problem. The upper part of the above design shows the coating, and the lower the steps: the upper left-hand figure gives the shape of the casing stones, and the lower that of those used at the corners. It was easy, by the pieces of wood, (which I consider were used as levers, and not pulleys,) to raise each of those stones, from step to step, to the summit, and so carrying it on, as each step was sufficient to support the coping-stone. But had the work been commenced from the bottom, it is plain, either that an enormous scaffolding and apparatus must have been used, or the earth heaped up, as was supposed by Strabo, round each course, and so an inclined plane formed ; to erect and remove which would have been a work little inferior to the construction of the pyramid itself.

On my descent I found my party, and we entered the great pyramid, for the improvement of the entrance to which, as well as the clearing away of

VOL. I.

2 D

402

PYRAMID OF CHEOPS.

much of the sand from its base, we are indebted to the zeal and liberality of Colonel Vyse, and the labours of the enthusiastic and indefatigable Caviglia. The different chambers, wells, and passages of this pyramid have been so frequently and accurately described in works treating expressly of the antiquities of Egypt, that I can do little more than draw a brief outline, and conduct the reader in a few minutes over the ground I spent some hours in examining.

The Arab guides, who amounted to about half a dozen for each one of our party, conducted us down the first low narrow and sloping passage, to another which led up to the queen’s, and afterwards to that denominated the king's chamber. This is an oblong apartment, the sides of which are formed of enormous blocks of granite reaching from the floor to the ceiling-similar stones span the whole extent of the latter, and at the distant extremity of it is the sarcophagus, seven feet six inches in length, of polished granite, which rung loudly when we struck it with any metallic substance. In the walls of this apartment are several small apertures, which proceed upwards through the pyramid. These may have been made for the purpose of admitting air from without; or to be more Egyptian in our speculations, they may have been used as acoustic tubes during the mysteries that were here enacted. The natives informed me that some time before, water which had been carried up and spilled on the outside, found its way through these channels. In the

[blocks in formation]

ascending gallery are grooves cut in the sides in order to let down a massive stone portcullis, which, in all probability, closed up the passage, (like to that opened by Belzoni, in the second pyramid,) after the body and sarcophagus had been placed within.

A pistol having been discharged in the chamber, the echo it produced was deafening, and by its repetition fully verified the conjecture that there were many other yet undiscovered apartments and cavities in this vast pile. The noise of its report was most stunning, and the reverberation that followed tremendous ; in the vaults above, in the wells and depths beneath, and around on all sides of us, it was continued for almost a minute. When the smoke which nearly filled the chamber, had partly escaped, the grouping of our party afforded a picture of great interest—each standing in the attitude of deep attention, listening to catch the echo of the retreating sound as it sped its way into those mysterious recesses, which it alone was permitted to visit. Some eight or ten wild, bearded, and half-naked Arabs holding the lights; the members of our party in their various costumes, motionless, and with the expression of amazement and anxious curiosity strongly pictured on their countenances, afforded a subject worthy the pencil of a Salvator Rosa.

Owing to the industry of Colonel Campbell a ladder has been formed of pieces of wood fitted into the stones that line the passage leading to Davidson's chamber, an apartment of about the same length

404

THE UPPER CHAMBERS.

the passage,

and breadth, but much lower than the king's over which it is placed ; and barely admitting us to stand upright within it. From this chamber the same perpendicular aperture is continued to a second room of a similar kind, occupying the same relation to it that the other does to the king's. A few of us contrived to clamber into a third and fourth in succession; and indeed it was a work of much toil and difficulty ; for

which greatly resembles a narrow chimney, admitting but one at a time, can only be ascended sweep-wise by pressing the back against one side, and the feet and knees against anothera slow and very uncomfortable operation, owing to the heat and dust that it creates.

The stones forming the floor of each of these apartments roof the one below it; their upper surface is slightly convex ; and the whole of them are coated with a remarkable incrustation of a shining white, curly, and crystaline substance, not unlike the moss called ursnea barbata, which I before described as covering some of the trees at Madeira. It is found in little bunches on the roof, more abundant in the upper than the lower chambers, and as it is a substance not, that I am aware of, as yet accurately described, being generally supposed to be nitrate of potash or saltpetre, it has been subjected to chemical analysis by my friend, Professor Kane, and found to be common salt, (chloride of sodium.) He states to me that“ its occurrence in this form is of considerable interest, as it illustrates

REMARKABLE SALINE INCRUSTATION.

405

the manner in which some species of the alum family assume the curious fibrous and contorted figure of these specimens.” A question of exceeding interest here presented itself-how did it get into and crystalize on the sides of those chambers ? Three modes of resolving the problem have occurred to me, either that the granite itself was filled with this substance in its original bed, and that it oozed out and crystalized in this curious form afterwards ; or that the atmosphere from the desert where salt is found, (as it is in the neighbourhood,) becoming impregnated with fine and impalpable saline particles getting into the interior of the pyramids, so encrusted it as I have described ; although we know that for centuries there was no apparent inlet for it; or thirdly, that it was used in some of the mystic rites that were of old practised in the lower chambers, and being carried up in the form of vapour, cooled and crystalized in the upper apartments. But at the same time I must acknowledge that none of these modes satisfy me as to the way in which this salt was formed. I have never heard of its being hitherto discovered in this very remarkable form, and it is one well worthy the attention of the learned.

The three uppermost chambers, recently discovered by Caviglia and Colonel Vyse, have the names of Wellington, Nelson, and Campbell painted on them. As yet we must bow to the opinion of Colonel Vyse, that these charabers appear to have been

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