Five months of Paris life is again spent, and with it winter has gone
by. Winter takes away and deadens the energies of a gay man, but the
spring time comes, and with it the awakening of man from his
lethargy, and like old Sol from the bed of the sea, in his majesty he
shakes himself in all his rising glory, and puts a fiery garb between
himself and all the rest of creation, to scorch the temptation that
would impede his bright and manly career. Did you ever stand by the
shore of a bed of water, reader, and see old Sol, like a mighty
giant, rise up from his wet pillow, and seem to shake his shaggy
locks, as they loosened from the abode of Neptune for more etherial
spheres, and when at his journey’s end, fall again on his pillow of
the watery down? If you have, see me alike pulling away from the
festal abode of Paris’ comfort, and loosening the tie of familiar
smiles, for a hard journey over a rough sea, dead lands, and a
treacherous people. Will I not be willing, as old Sol when he fell on
the western sea, to rest my mortal part on the flinty base of great
Pompey’s pillar, ere the work be “did and done?” I think I will! I
have passed Marseilles, Malta in the sea, and here I am in sight of
land. Well, Mr. Captain, what are you looking after in the distance
with as much anxiety as the passengers, have you not been here
before? “Yes sir, but every body wants to see Pompey’s pillar.”
“That’s a fact, Captain, is that his pillar?” At this stage of the
enquiry, the Captain of the great steamer Ripon, laid his telescope
down, and took hold of the ladies and gentlemen by the arm and
shoulders, and requested that they would not be so partial to only
one side of the boat, as it might dry one side of her boiler,
endangering his life, as well as theirs. “Now,” said the Captain, “do
you all see that tall, monumental pillar, reaching upwards to the
right of those barracks,” when answered in the affirmative, he said,
“That is Pompey’s Pillar, to the left is the Pacha’s palace.” This
was indeed the great city of Alexandria. Here it was Diogenes built
the great temple of Diana; and over it suspended her in the air, by
attractive and non-attractive metals, such as loadstone and others.
We are coming near, and the camel boys and donkey drivers are more
numerous than any other class. Having gone a quarter of a mile
through mud, I am at the hotel, but I would as soon be any where
else, for the accommodation is sickening. A man and camel is
standing at the door, with a bullock skin full of butter for the
landlord. The landlord requested him to uncamel it, and bring it in,
after which he plated some of it for dinner. I enquired where this
butter was made, and the Bedouin told me it was made in the desert,
and in recommending it, he said it was good because he made it
himself. But the most disgusting information I got of the origin of
this butter, was, that it was made from camel’s milk, and this very
camel was one of the milch camels. The landlord came to know how we
liked our dinner, and the Rev. Levi Tucker, of Boston, Mass.,
enquired about this butter, and mine host stuck his finger in the
butter, and tasted thereof. I was eating a piece of roast beef at the
time, but I could not refrain from turning it over to ask myself,
“might it not be camel’s meat,” though I could get no answer. After
dinner, four of us Americans, headed by the Rev. Levi Tucker, called
to see his most serene highness, the Pacha of Egypt. We stood before
his palace in the court, about an hour, after which the dragoman
returned from the interior of the palace and inquired of us if we
were the President, I told him not quite. He then told us that his
serene highness had no complaint to make of us for calling on him,
and furthermore, that he had no objection to our looking over the
gardens, and at the walls of the palace, and the stable doors. Mr.
Fellowes, of New Orleans, lit a cigar, Mr. Elliot, of South
Carolina, threw a quid of tobacco among the flowers, and I plucked a
rose, and the Rev. Levi Tucker, so far descended from his gravity, to
joke by saying, “you will all be fined, look sharp!”

This city was built by Alexander the Great, more than three hundred
years before Christ. It is on the Nile where it flows into the
Mediterranean sea, but hardly any of its ancient splendor remains to
point its site, save Pompey’s Pillar, which is an immense stone column.
Some parts of its walls are traced, and a few gates of granite marble
are left to mark its spaciousness. Here used to pass the treasures of
the Indies, but since the discovery of the route, via the Cape of Good
Hope, only the mails traverse the Red sea, the Desert, and the Nile.
Alexandria is the sea-port of Egypt, and Egypt is a province of Turkey.
The Pacha pays the Sultan millions of treasure to rule this land
himself, and also binds himself to furnish so many men in time of war,
and is bound to lead them on the field if required. The present Pacha is
said to be a foreign Prince, who fought his way to the throne. He lives
here one part of the year, and the other at Cairo, the Capitol of Egypt.
Cairo is about 275 miles from Alexandria, and as the English mail from
the Indies comes there from towards the Red Sea to this place, they are
now building railroads here, to facilitate conveying it to and from
England and India.

Alexander the Great, after having extended his conquest to the
Indies, returned to Babylon and there died in the thirty-third year
of his age. Byron, who died at this age, pronounces it fatal to
genius. We will not class our Savior with men of genius, as it would
not be a just comparison to his superior talent or grace, but, if
what Byron says about the turn of genius be true, there can be little
argument against him when these specimens can be taken into
consideration. After this great man’s death at Babylon, his empire
was divided among the next great men of the earth, and the Egyptian
division fell to the Ptolemies. They were a great family of the upper
part of the Nile, perhaps the Thebiad, and are known to us as Ptolemy
1st, 2d and 3d, &c. These kings were very learned, for they possessed
the library of Alexandria, and which Caliph Omar burned containing
700,000 volumes of manuscript. For six months they burnt books
instead of wood to heat the water they bathed in. The word Ptolemy
means a class of kings. The emperors of Rome were known successively
as Cæsars. The Persians as Darius, just as the Louises of France
were under the designation of one, two, and three. These titles of
the throne originated with the great and kingly family of Pharaohs.
Pharaoh Hophra is the famous Pharaoh that we are acquainted with in
the scriptures. Pharaoh Necko is another celebrated Pharaoh. The
present Cairo of Egypt, was then the Capitol of the greatest kings of
the the earth, the Pharaohs. It is still a magnificent city for its
age. Its population is variously estimated to be from 175 to 300,000.
Some as fine edifices are found here as in any part of the East. It
was the Memphis of old. Here it was that Pharaoh dwelt when he
marched in pursuit of Moses, when the cloud stood between them; here
it is he is, to day, a mummy, if he was not embalmed in the Red Sea,
but distinguished not; here it is the famine raged furiously and men
sold themselves for food to Joseph; here it was that Moses had the
power to turn ashes into dust, that flew over the land with the
rapidity of a lightning flash, and infested the body of man with
boils, and still the king loved the spot too well to give up one
single foot of his powerful sway. Here it was that Greece and Italy
were schooled in all that they excelled; here it was that Moses
obtained his fundamental rules of governing nations of people, for he
was “learned in all the learning of the Egyptians,” and where was
more? and here it is some one thing is found that all the Savans’
talent cannot conjecture the design of its structure, I mean the
Pyramids. I was there to day, and gazed upward 470 odd feet in the
air at its top. I say it because it is only necessary to see one to
be confounded and awe struck. It is a spacious mass of solid layers
of stone, one upon the other, and each from 25 to 32 feet in length.

What the great kings of Egypt had such a tremendous mass of stone so
systematically put together for, is a mystery to all the learning of
our time, and still we know it must have been for no ordinary freak
of talent, intelligence and power, such a structure was reared. The
old historians tell us it took twenty years to build one, with a
force of 100,000 hands. These one hundred thousand men were relieved
every three months by another hundred thousand. These stones were
hewn from the mountains in the desert. It took ten years to make a
causeway on which to bring these immense stones to the building. Each
stone was originally adorned with engravings of animals, but now
there is no vestige of them. The two largest in Egypt, and perhaps in
the world, are these two here before Cairo. My dragoman insisted on
my crawling in and seeing the wonders, but I could make nothing out
of its hollow. It was lined with leather winged bats. If they were
the sepulchre of kings, their bodies are long gone, though secure
they might have been. In going to these Pyramids, one walks over a
pavement of dead bodies. I sunk in the sand, one hundred yards from
the pyramid of Cheops, and my foot caught in the ribs of a buried
man, which I afterwards learned to be a mummy. Oh, mummy! when the
side of the mountains was filled with the dead in old times, it was
usual to take out the oldest corpse and put them beneath the earth,
and in consequence, the whole plain, from the pyramids to Cairo, some
six or seven miles, is macadamized with dead Egyptians, perhaps some
kings and queens. I find that Pachas are reverenced here according to
their wealth. If you ask an Egyptian whether said Pacha is a great
man or not, he compares him to Pachas of a like means. The Pacha has
all the learned men of the land around him. They now, as of old,
carry their inkhorn tied to their waistband. No king, perhaps, of the
earth is so absolute in will over his people as the present Pacha of
the Turkisk empire. The kings of old time, no doubt, were more
powerful in their absolute sway. When Thebes had one hundred gates
undecayed, she could send to war, two millions of men. Such were
Egyptian kings of olden time, though black.

The boat I obtained at Alexandria, was made like a keel boat. The
cabin consisted of four bed rooms with a saloon in the centre. This
cabin occupied the centre of the hull of the keel, but it left space
outside all around, and more at each end than at the sides. The
fourteen Arabs and one captain, called Reice, would either be pulling
the boat all day, or managing the sail to advantage. When the breeze
blew up the Nile, they would hoist the sail and take advantage of the
wind. We paid them for the boat, men, and their own food, 250 pounds
for the trip, but if the trip was not made in seventy days, and it is
800 miles, we then had to pay them so much for each day over, besides
this, every few days the Reice would come into the cabin for
bucksheesh; we were annoyed at every stopping place for bucksheesh.
The Indian of North America would translate bucksheesh “gim E

Our cookery was at the bow of the boat, a small space of four feet
square, and our cook was an Italian of Rome. We paid him two dollars
a day, because he was a European, and could not work for less, and by
the way, Arabs cannot cook, and will not, for any price, cook such
food as we had. Our best meat was smoked pork, and they detest this
meat. Nearly every man on our boat was named Achmit, or Mahommed; but
the Reice’s name was Marmound. The Reice was a good old man, I have
often felt as if it would afford me great pleasure to sketch his
profile, when, along about noonday, he would stop our boat without
consulting us, to have his head shaved. The head shavers at all the
little dirt villages, would keep a look out for boats, and be ready
on the bank, to shave the captain’s head, and make one cent.

The speculators of the Nile could always be found on the banks at the
villages, waiting to sell a goat, a chicken, or an egg. When we would
stop a minute or two at a village, every few seconds, women or men
would come in great haste to sell, each one trying to beat the other,
some dates, cloves, or chickens. Some places, when the boat was
shoving out, some great, fat and lazy Arab would come blowing and
panting to the edge of the Nile with one single egg, that he had been
waiting for the hen to lay. One man, to make up a dozen, squeezed an
old hen until her egg bag emitted a yelk, which I refused to take as
an egg. One Arab brought us some young crocodiles he had dug out of
their nest, even while the old one was chasing him. To believe what
an Arab says when trying to sell anything, would be a sublime display
of the most profound ignorance a man could be guilty of. I have seen
Arabs, however, professing an artful talent that I have no reason to
believe can be found in the whole United States. I have reference to
what is called snake charming.

Yesterday an Arab came aboard with a basket on his arm, and he was
literally covered or clothed with live snakes. They were crawling
over his shoulders, arms, breast, and whole body in general, and his
head was an emblem of Discord. Serpents looked in all directions,
while their forked tongues signaled their wrath, like little flashes
of lightning. This was a “snake charmer,” and we concluded we would
test his skill, and gave him a quarter to go to the mountains and
call out of the rocks some of his prey. Having arrived, he sang a
melancholy strain like that of a dove in spring time, occasionally
raising his voice like a lonely crane, and after ten or fifteen
minutes of this proceeding, brought some three serpents from the
crevices of the rock, and quietly walked to them and they crawled on
his arm. He offered to guarantee one crawling on me without biting,
but I was not willing to make any contract to that effect. He
returned to the boat with us, and one of our Arabs, who was a very
incredulous man, told us that the “rascal” was possessed of no power
at all over the wild serpents, but had placed these serpents there
before, and that they were taught to come when called. But this Arab
of ours was jealous of the interesting entertainment we enjoyed. The
charmer knew not where we were taking him until we told him to call
the snakes. The Reice of our boat was afraid the charmer would get
too much bucksheesh, and called on us in our cabin to inform us, that
some months before he had seen this man with the same serpents, and I
asked him how he distinguished the serpents, and he said, “by their
color.” He gave me to understand, that though we were very learned
this rascal could fool us, but with him it was very different. He
said that “old Marmoud’s beard was white, but few men knew more than
he did.” He appealed to our generosity, to keep some of the
bucksheesh, “don’t want the rascal to get all the bucksheesh.”

At night the jackalls are quite noisy. Two came within fifty yards of
our boat, and played their howling notes some time. No Arab takes
notice of jackalls, foxes, or crocodiles. I went into six sugar
houses on the Nile, and all owned by the Pacha. No man can show his
money here without getting it borrowed. The man who refuses to loan
it to the Pacha when asked, cannot live. A wise man and his money
must part.

Two great streams rises in the Mountain of the Moon, in Abyssinia,
and unites in Nubia, and flows through Egypt, and makes what we call
“The Nile.” This splendid old stream flows on gradually as in the
days of Pharaoh, and Jupiter Hammon; splendid, because in those days
its banks were walled with rich cities. The remains of Thebes stand
like Catskill mountains, unshocked. I mean the remains, the renowned
Memnonian, Luxor and Carnack. The tall columns of the Memnonian is
here like untold riddles to be explained. The paintings are as bright
to-day as any modern picture I have seen in the Louvre, at Paris. The
carved chariots on the walls convey the idea, “I see Remesees and
Pharaoh’s on the battlefield.” These chariots seem to have carried
only two or three warriors with their spears in the battle. On the
outside wall of this temple is carved, the exact likeness of a “man’s
individual part,” varying from 6 to 13 inches in length, and hanging
beneath each is two balls, seeming to be connected like the two big
parts of a heart, and both gradually sloping down together. It is
supposed, that cutting off these parts of man was the punishment or
qualification required to degrade those gents of the Remesee court,
who were too polite to the ladies. But why gallant gentlemen should
be treated so I shall leave for the conjecture of the learned reader.
Some light may be thrown on this subject by reference to the
preceeding page, on Constantinople’s manner of preparing gentlemen’s
nature for taking ladies to the baths.

These great temples are situated so that it takes a man many days to
see them. They are on different sides of the Nile. Carnack is a
tremendous mass of splendid ruins. Owls and foxes dwell within; and I
saw a pretty bird, half asleep, that a man told me was a
whip-poor-will. It is no pleasant thing to stop in these ruins a few
hours alone, unless a man was possessed of no imagination at all. On
one of the splendid painted broken columns that ran up through the
hall or court of the unapproachable Pharaoh, Ptolemy, or Remese, a
fox or hawk had been breakfasting on a rabbit, and martins had their
nests perched on the side of the spreading columns that supported the
beams of solid stone, of 12 feet wide and 20 long, over head. These
ruins were sights of wonder to behold. Thebes could send to war
20,000 men from each of her hundred gates, making in all two millions
of men. But to-day her walls cannot be found; we know her but by
Carnack, and the rest of her temples, and the stadium of the Nile.

England and America has a consul here. He is a colored man named
Mustapha. He insisted on us taking dinner with him before we left,
and so we did. He had what is called a fashionable Egyptian dinner of
to-day. The goat was cooked whole, and in a standing posture, and
when placed on the table, uncarved, the strongest fingered man gets
the best part with more ease and facility than the weaker. Whoever
has seen a skinned calf’s head hanging by a butcher’s stall, can
imagine how melancholy this cooked goat’s head looked.

Mr. Mustapha had no chairs or tables, but he had ample room round the
tray in the middle of the floor, where this goat is placed. We all
squatted as well as possible and dined at nine o’clock at night; each
one of us had hold of Mustapha’s goat at the same time. The Consul
was indeed skilled in obtaining long pieces of tenderloin. If he is
as well posted in diplomatic affairs as in finding tender parts of a
goat, he will do honor to England and America, or Memphis of old.
About 12 o’clock Mustapha said, “all the dinner was eaten up, and now
we would have some dancing.” The girls were called in, and they
stocked their bodies, and made a general preparation with their bells
tied to their waist. This was called tuning up. They went off in
their different strains, as you have heard three or four sleigh
turnouts, one after the other, and all getting together. Such a
jingling; such screwing in and out of bodies; such a gesturing; and
such a quivering of the bodies from their necks to their knees, is
only to be imagined. One girl stuck her head between her legs in
front, whilst another done the same over backwards. A few minutes
afterwards, we eat some dates, smoked some pipes, and drank some
arrack, a liquid used here as we use whisky, brandy, and gin, to
raise the spirits. The feast over, Mustapha informed us that it was
usual to pay his cook and waiter for their services. The next day he
also informed us that it was usual to pay him for being our consul,
as he performed this service for our government gratis. This is his
short cut to the meeting house of distinction and gain. We paid,
hoisted our sails, rowed away, and arrived in three weeks afterwards,
back to Cairo.

For three of us, eighteen camels were procured, to convey us,
provisions and tents, through the desert. To every camel was a
master, who loads and unloads food and water.

The remainder of my travels will only be described as objects are
found: no comments on their past or future.

Having at ten o’clock, the first time in my life, mounted a camel, I
found it hard work to hold to the old riggings on his back. We went
out on the commons to the east of Cairo, and turned the head of the
camels towards Suez, on the Desert, and awaited their own movements.
The youngest went out in all directions, as far as a quarter of a
mile off; they would follow one another a few minutes, until they
would lose confidence in the ability of the leader to perform his
duty, and take the direction of another. After half an hour spent in
this way, some of the young leaders would wait and look at the old
camels and dromedaries until they would come along side, and wait
quietly until the older would take the lead, and in five minutes the
whole caravan from all directions would pull for his course, like the
different branches of a flock of wild geese that had been disturbed
by some unnatural disturbance; in twenty minutes all would be in a
straight line for Palestine. At five o’clock in the evening we camped
for the night, and while supping before our tent doors, the English
mail caravan came along from Suez with the India mail, some 400
camels; they had left the red sea the day before, and were getting
along very well. The English are great people to meet in a strange
place, as they take pleasure in imparting all the news likely to add
to ones comfort. They asked us about Her Majesty’s government, and
also about French feelings. We offered them something to drink, which
they refused, and bade us good day and went a couple of hundred yards
farther and camped. Next morning they were off before we waked up.
The next day we arrived at the red sea, crossed over, and wended our
way to Mount Sinai. We found, at the base of Mount Sinai, two
Bedouins, like lost men from their tribe, looking about as if they
were hunting something in their lonesome vallies. They rode Arab
steeds instead of camels, as we did in the Desert. I had always
believed that the desert was an arid sandy plain, but I found it more
hill than plain. Occasionally we would see a couple of gazelles on
the mountain crag, but always ready to run.

We stayed at the convent of St. Catherine some days with the old
monks, and bought some treasures of them in the way of manna, put up
here for pilgrims in a little tin box, like mustard boxes, and also
some canes of different kinds of shrubs growing round about here. It
takes about an hour to wake the monks up from their studies,
breakfast or sleep. They lowered a sort of a hamper basket for us to
seat ourselves in, one at a time, and they pulled us up. Next morning
we prepared our luncheon for an ascent; about twelve o’clock we
reached the top where Moses held the stones. The guide showed us many
little altars and curious places, said to be sacred places, to
different ages of which he named. I could plainly see that his
information was merely traditionary, without the least shadow of
history for support. As we ascended, he showed a hole in the ground
where the sons of Levi buried their dead. I asked him how he knew
this was the history of this hole, and he said that a powerful Sheik
told him this. He meant the chief of a tribe of Bedouins. They are
called Sheiks. The Sheik who gave this important information was a
very powerful Sheik, and consequently, his opinion carried great
weight, though he could not read. He often settles questions more
important than this to the Arabs. The next day, while branching out
from Sinai and the Red Sea, we encountered a desperate tribe of
Bedouins, who demanded of us a bonus, in genuine coin, for permission
to travel through this territory. We refused to pay, and the Sheik
declared that we should. Our guide, whose name was Como, said many
years ago he traveled along the range with one Dr. Robinson who
wrote a book, and was attacked by this rascally Sheik before, and
refused to pay then, and would refuse now. He bullied up to the
Sheik, and told him he would report him to the authorities of Hebron,
who would send his complaint to Constantinople, to the Sublime Porte.
The Sheik was intimidated, and rode off in the Desert towards Petra.
After thirty-five days in the Desert, we came to Hebron, the burial
ground of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Here we quarantined for three
days. After traveling all these thousands of miles, the Arabs would
not let us enter the mosque built over these distinguished men’s
bodies. Our camel drivers could enter, they were Arabs, and would not
defile the mosque.