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better class of slaves, who were all Abyssinian girls, from ten to eighteen years of age, with yellowish olive complexions, long straight noses, handsome features, and particularly melting black eyes, the hair long and black, and the lips somewhat thicker than those of Europeans with a similar cast of countenance, which, naturally melancholy in this race, was rendered more so by their present sad condition. All were decently dressed, many were decorated with silver anklets and bracelets, and some few had nose rings. Several were in tears, and all hung down their heads, and appeared ashamed of their degraded, hopeless situation, but brightened into a smile on our offering them a few piasters. Most of these girls have been either kidnapped by the slave dealers, or sold by their own friends for a few trinkets or glass beads; large quantities of the latter are manufactured in Europe and sent here in packages, several of which I met at Atfe. Their eyes were blackened like to the Mohammadan females, and many were remarkable for their tall, light, and elegant figures.
The centre of the court was matted, and arranged in a number of compartments, on which were squatted whole families of negroes, principally from Nubia and Dongola, and who were for the most part captives, taken in war by some neighbouring tribe. The majority of these were females from eight to twelve years of age, who are purchased for household servants. Although nearly naked, the young Nubian had still the inherent love of decoration, and strings of blue beads adorned the necks of many who could not boast even a chemise. They were all tattooed in various places about the head and breast, each according to the manner of their tribe, and their woolly pates, well greased with rancid lard, were dressed in plaits about the size of whip-cord, which hung in bunches over either ear. These young creatures appeared perfectly unconscious of their state, and, as far as appearance went, were very happy. In the intermediate spaces sat the different slave merchants, Turks, and Arabs ; several Bedawees stalked about in their burnooses; and some of the buyers, occasionally pointing out the slaves they wished to purchase, they were called up by the owner and carefully examined ; if they had covering on it was removed, and they were made to exhibit their shapes and paces like a horse at an auction mart. These young negresses can be purchased for from thirty to forty dollars; the Abyssinians go as high as a
hundred ; and they all so soon adopt the manners and religion of their masters, that I have known a girl, when purchased by a Mohammadan, lift up her only covering to shade her face while following him from the slave-market !
During an early morning visit I witnessed a very extraordinary scene here; all the negresses, young and old, had ranged themselves round the walls of the upper terraces, and were greasing their bodies and heads with palm oil; they shone lustrously in the warm sunshine, and reminded me of so many cormorants pluming themselves upon a rock after their evening's meal. As manual field labour is seldom or never accomplished by slaves in this country, there are few adult males brought down, and the boys are principally used as grooms and confidential servants. There is a white slave-market adjoining this, where the Georgians and Circassians are kept, but no European is allowed to enter.
Having thus described an eastern slave-market, let us inquire what slavery is in the east. The very term is, no doubt, one from which human nature shrinks with repugnance; but it is not here “the soul-debasing task-work of a servile bondage," as among Christian nations, and, apart from the miseries of separation from friends and country, it is an undoubted change to many for the better. The worst part is the voyage down the Nile, or the passage across the desert, where they are subjected to much hardship and villainy from the slave-dealers. Many of the male slaves in the east become officers, and rise to places of trust in the state; and numbers obtain their freedom in a few years. True it is that the master can kill his slave; but few are so foolish as to incur such a personal loss. At Cairo they are far better fed, clothed, and taken care of than free servants, whom they despise and look upon as inferiors, often boasting that they were slaves and not servants. Less manual labour is required of them than of the freemen, and all are acquainted with the political importance a race of slaves now extinct once assumed in Egypt. As regards the female slaves, I have stated that the Nubians were all used as under servants and attendants upon the ladies of the hareem; but the Abyssinians, for whom, from their interesting appearance, and somewhat greater advance in civilization, our sympathies would be more excited, are generally purchased as concubines, a state in the present condition of morality in Egypt often preferable to that of a wife, who can
divorce herself or be divorced for any trifle, while the other can demand and insist on a proper allowance. The children of these women are free, and they themselves are generally made so on the birth of the first-born, especially if it be a son; and numbers are married to their masters, and become not only the most affectionate, but the most faithful women in the community. Compare this with Christian slavery—compare it likewise with the condition of those people in their native state, and we must acknowledge it an improvement of their condition. This was the slavery of the primitive Hebrew nation, allowed by Scripture and practised by the patriarchs, but which refinement and Christianity, the well-being of society, and the respect which man owes his fellow in the present day, alike forbid.
Our hotel at Cairo, though by no means the best, was comfortable, and its owner, Mr. Manson, formerly in the service of the Basha, took every pains to make it so. Attached to it is a handsome garden, growing some rare and beautiful tamarisks and acacias. A billiard-room forms its under part, which being much frequented by the instructors, foreigners, and officials, both native and European, and the usual class of idle loungers which fill such places in all countries, has made it quite a place of news in the evenings, where the politics of Great Britain, as reported in the last papers, or detailed by the latest traveller, the news of India, the different arrivals in the city, the last levee of Mohammad Alee, the war in Syria, and such like topics, were usually discussed.
We generally dined early, and as there were at Cairo several visitors of various countries, who, like ourselves, could not obtain accommodation in the other inn, we were not at a loss for society, both agreeable and instructive, as we enjoyed our pipes and coffee in the evenings.
And now a few words on those two articles of eastern luxurycoffee and tobacco. I was anxious to see and become personally acquainted with the manufacture of Oriental coffee, which far surpasses ours in flavour and aroma. The preparation of this is another royal monopoly. I visited the factory, a large oblong room, containing a series of roasters over stoves running down the centre. On these the fresh beans are placed, attended with the greatest care, and watched with such nicety that a single minute is not allowed to elapse after they have acquired the desired
Coted, and ill it is but it not
state of torrification until they are removed. They are then placed in large stone mortars, set in a raised bench, which surrounds the whole apartment, where a man pounds the contents with an immense metal pestle, worked with both hands, to a state of the finest comminution. The coffee is then sifted, the coarser grains separated, and again submitted to the pounding process, which is continued till it is all reduced to an almost impalpable powder, so fine, indeed, that it not only imparts its flavour and essence to, but absolutely mixes with, the water. All the men engaged at the work were black slaves, nearly naked, as the heat is very great; and in producing the finest description, some spend a whole day at a few pounds of berries ; but it is never ground in a mill. When the coffee is about to be prepared for use, the water is boiled in the coffee-pot; the coffee is then put in when it comes to the point of boiling, suffered to simmer for some time, the vessel is then removed from the fire, well shaken, allowed to stand a few minutes in order to settle, and then poured off ; and it has this peculiarity over every other, that so fine is the powder, and so perfectly is it dissolved or suspended in the fluid, that it is thick, and at the same time perfectly clear. This is its state of perfection, a state not always to be found in the kahwehs, or coffee-shops, where it is often muddy, and always too thick for the taste of Europeans.
How much of life and manners are to be seen in a coffeeshop!—the solemn visages and portly persons of the turbaned visitors revealed in momentary glimpses, as the veil of smoke clears away, upon the renewal of a pipe or the sipping of a cup of coffee ; and the Arab story-teller, singing or reciting his tale from the beauties of the thousand-and-one nights, or some other popular romance, in all the glowing imagery, with all the occasionally rapid enunciation, and all the touching pathos of an eastern bard. 'Tis true, that as I sat and listened among the crowd, I could not understand one word he uttered; but I saw the fire of his eye, I felt the power though I knew not the exact meaning of his language, and caught the spirit of his song, though I could not fully appreciate the letter ; for such is eloquence, however expressedproudest, noblest of the innate powers of man—and all can feel it, the untutored Indians surrounding the Mohawk warrior, equally with the refined audience of the gifted senator.
It may appear strange that an article so much abused as tobacco
PIPES AND TOBACCO.
225 is in England, is yet made use of in one shape or another by nearly one-half of the inhabitants of the world, yet such is the fact. Here in Cairo it is smoked by all, rich and poor, male and female, and the consumption is immense ; but then it must be acknowledged that it is an article perfectly different in flavour, perfume, and effect, from the stuff manufactured for general use in Great Britain. It undergoes no artificial process; but the dried leaves are placed in a semicircular case or box, with a smooth face on an inclined plane, into which they are packed very tight, and cut down in very fine shreds with an instrument not unlike a hay-knife, and worked by the right hand, while with the left the tobacco is pushed gradually forward to meet the edge of the cutter. The best description is the Gebalee Latakea, which, as the name implies, comes from the ancient Laodicea ; it is exceedingly mild, and has a natural perfume that would not be disrelished even in a European drawing-room ; its fragrance is peculiar to itself, and its action on the nervous system is perfectly different from any in common use here, as, even when a quantity is smoked, it has neither the sickening nor narcotising effect of ours, but a gently stimulating action on the intellectual powers, at the same time that it soothes and tranquillizes the spirits. It is smoked through a long cherrytree pipe, or one of plain wood, ornamented with blue, pink, or scarlet silk, fastened on with gold thread, wrought in a frame in a most ingenious manner. The bowl is of plain red clay, but the principal part of the shibook is the mouth-piece, which often costs upwards of twenty dollars ;—it is of amber, ornamented with enamel, and in some instances with precious stones. The form and colour of this mouth-piece is as much subject to the caprice of fashion as is the form and cut of any article of dress with us. The present mode is a long oval piece, of a pale yellow colour, opaque and uniform, and without marks or veins. The Mohammadan is often as extravagant in the number and equipment of his pipes as an Englishman is in his dogs, guns, or horses. For each of his guests or visitors a separate one is brought in ; and when he rides abroad to any distance, his pipe-bearer generally accompanies him.
There is another form of pipe, more like the hookah, consisting of a glass or wooden vessel, containing water, through which the smoke is made to pass, and received by the person in a long flexible tube. The tobacco used differs from that which I have