תמונות בעמוד
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beauties, that I may be excused dwelling on it a few moments. All these females use the liban, or line of black paint, for adorning the eye-lid ; this is renewed every three or four days and laid on 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 tarsal 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, and the whole of the black part of the eye, is much heightened by the elliptic line of the same hue by which the organ is encircled ; and though at first it appears 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.

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Unless when negro blood mingles with that of the Arab, the traveller can still recognise "A 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

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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.

Their habitations are miserable hovels, consisting of square mud-walls 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

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 segáddeh, or on a mat before his door, smoking the shibook 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


age, who worked in the garden of our hotel, on being informed by way of joke that the officers of the Basha were approaching, ran most heroically to a trowel, and 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 the crew of our kanghia 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 dock-yard.

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 pressgang we have so lately had recourse to, in our own navy, and 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, literally covered the lagoons, and at times darkened the air. The doves are so tame around the habitations, as to come almost within reach of the hand; and plovers swarm through the large tracts of broken ground. There are three kinds of these birds, the Charadrius Egypticus, Ch. Alexandrias, and Ch. spinosus.* All these afforded us much amusement through the day, and books, chess, and conversation, whiled away the evenings, till the morning of Wednesday, the 24th, when, on awaking, we found ourselves fast approaching the capital of Egypt. Here groves of magnificent trees clothe the banks of the Nile; and factories rise on either side. We sailed past the palace of Shoubrah, and its noble gardens, with the steam yacht of the Basha moored beside it, and passing through hundreds of gaily-painted kanghias, arrived at Boolack, the port of Cairo, about breakfast-time. We were quickly ashore, and having procured donkeys, proceeded at once to Cairo, or, as it is called in the Arabian, El Musr.

Boolack is a kind of suburb to the capital, with a handsome mosque, whose minaret and dome will repay a careful inspection. But we hasten to the “queen of cities,” whose thousand domes and minarets are now rising through the vista of wide-spreading palms, feathery bananas, and groves of carobs and acacias. The intervening ground, of about a mile, is clothed with a luxuriant crop of corn, interspersed with groves of limes and orange trees; and the road, raised some feet above the surrounding level, to preserve it from the inundation, is bordered by

* Appendix, K.

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a row of young carobs and acacias, which, when full grown, will much improve the approach. The citadel, thrown into relief by the black wall of the Mokattam mountains, which rise behind it, forms a prominent object in the centre of this immense city. This entrance to the city presents a most animated scene, and such as can be beheld only in the greatest thoroughfare of the east : long files of camels; whole hareems of hermetically veiled women, seated cross-legged on their donkeys, and attended by their sable guardians ; Turkish nobles on their magnificent horses, preceded by their pipe-bearers, and followed by a tribe of servants; Arab Sheykhs; men of all the different nations of Europe, travellers like ourselves, or settlers in the land; each in his different avocation, and mingling with the ragged dirty Felláh, and the well-clad soldier, pass and repass in endless variety, or throng tumultuously to the narrow gates that lead to the interior. Immediately outside the town, we were shown the house in which Kleber was assassinated. Passing a few narrow streets, we presently arrived at the Esbekeyah, a handsome Square, formed, it is said, in the shape of Napoleon's hat, and surrounded by a canal into which the Nile is admitted during the overflow. The raised walks are ornamented with some handsome trees, which, when they have arrived at their perfect growth, will form a cool and really beautiful promenade. The streets are wider and much better than those of Alexandria or Algiers; and the lattice-work which covers all the windows is light, elegant, and tasteful. Some fine specimens of Saracenic architecture present themselves in the different gates and mosques; but the brown stone of which they are formed gives them a very sombre hue, to relieve which, Arab taste has painted them with red stripes and spots.

We passed the palace of Abbas Básha, one of the younger sons of Mohammad Alee, and who is much more popular than Ibrahim, who is said to be more feared than loved. We found the chief English hotel so full that we could not procure accommodation, so we proceeded to the French, the Hotel de Jardin, kept by an Englishman, Mr. Manson. As our stay in Cairo must necessarily be short, we proceeded at once to view the lions - literally, as it happened. Five lionesses and a lion were confined near the entrance of the citadel, not in cages, but heavily

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chained, seated on a bench that ran along the room; and their Arab keeper seemed quite familiar with them, handling and caressing them all with impunity.

The view from the top of the citadel is certainly most splendid, and here it was that we first felt that we were in the land of Egypt, for from its summit we first beheld those mysterious monuments of the past—the pyramids. Those of Geza, the nearest and largest, although nine miles distant, appeared to be not more than half a mile; beyond them, the immense desert mingled with the horizon, and those of Sakara and Dashoor rose in the distance, the Nile winding by their feet; behind us, the dark Mokattam rocks; and beneath us Cairo, the hum and bustle of its thousand tongues ascending through the still air. Outside the city, on the one side, is a plain of whitened modern sepulchres, animated by the many bands of mourning friends, bearing to their last home the remains of the hundreds who die daily in this vast city. On the other hand rise up the tombs of the Memlook sooltans, crowned by the fret-work domes of their splendid mosques and slender minarets. These are surrounded by the desert, and near to them was situated the encampment of the Mekka pilgrimage, where above three thousand tents glittered in the sunshine, and upwards of 20,000 persons of all ages and sexes were congregated before their final departure for the tomb of the prophet. A row of plain granite columns, still standing, crowns the summit of the citadel; all that now remains of Saladin's lordly hall. After the manner of most eastern princes, Mohammad Alee was erecting a mosque, which promised to be one of great splendour. The inside was completely lined with highly-polished marble, of a description found near this, being of a greyish white colour, beautifully marked with transparent veins of brown, resembling Derbyshire spar. It looks exceedingly well at a distance, but, on a close inspection, it is found to be very porous, scarcely six inches of it being without a hole, but in working it is filled up with composition. It is worked with astonishing neatness, and some of the ornaments were beautifully cut by a number of Arab boys, over whom a soldier was keeping guard. Beside this edifice is erected a splendid fountain for the ablutions of the pious Mooslims, of a bluishgrey Italian marble, the ornaments and reliefs of which are not inferior to any I ever saw.

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