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Title: In Pastures New
Author: Ade, George, 1866-1944
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In Pastures New" ***

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[Illustration: Cover art]



[Frontispiece: _Holds it the same as a slide trombone_]



IN PASTURES NEW

BY

GEORGE ADE



TORONTO

THE MUSSON BOOK COMPANY, LIMITED

1906



_Copyright, 1906, by_

McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO.


Published, October, 1906



Copyright, 1906, by George Ade



_Many of the letters appearing in this volume were printed in a
syndicate of newspapers in the early months of 1906.  With these
letters have been incorporated extracts from letters written to the
Chicago Record in 1895 and 1898.  For the use of the letters which
first appeared in the Chicago Record, acknowledgment is due Mr. Victor
F. Lawson._



CONTENTS


_In London_

CHAPTER

     I. Getting Acquainted with the English Language
    II. A Life on the Ocean Wave, with Modern Variations
   III. With Mr. Peasley in Darkest London
    IV. How it Feels to Get into London and then be Engulfed
     V. As to the Importance of the Passport and the Handy Little
          Cable Code
    VI. What one Man Picked up in London and Sent Back to His Brother


_In Paris_

   VII. How an American Enjoys Life for Eight Minutes at a Time
  VIII. A Chapter of French Justice as Dealt Out in the Dreyfus Case
    IX. The Story of What Happened to an American Consul


_In Naples_

    X. Mr. Peasley and His Vivid Impressions of Foreign Parts


_In Cairo_

    XI. Cairo as the Annual Stamping Ground for Americans and Why
          They Make the Trip
   XII. Round about Cairo, with and without the Assistance of the
          Dragoman or Simon Legree of the Orient
  XIII. All about our Visit to the Pyramid of Cheops
   XIV. Dashing up the Nile in Company with Mr. Peasley and Others
    XV. Day by Day on the Drowsy Nile, with Something about the
          Wonderful Hassim
   XVI. The Mohammedan Fly and other Creatures along the Nile
  XVII. In and around Luxor, with a Side Light on Rameses the Great
 XVIII. The Ordinary Human Failings of the Ancient Moguls
   XIX. Royal Tombs and other Places of Amusement


_In Cairo_

    XX. Mr. Peasley and his Final Size-up of Egypt



IN LONDON



CHAPTER I

GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH THE
  ENGLISH LANGUAGE

It may be set down as a safe proposition that every man is a bewildered
maverick when he wanders out of his own little bailiwick.  Did you ever
see a stock broker on a stock farm, or a cow puncher at the Waldorf?

A man may be a large duck in his private puddle, but when he strikes
deep and strange waters he forgets how to swim.

Take some captain of industry who resides in a large city of the Middle
West.  At home he is unquestionably IT.  Everyone knows the size of his
bank account, and when he rides down to business in the morning the
conductor of the trolley holds the car for him.  His fellow passengers
are delighted to get a favouring nod from him.  When he sails into the
new office building the elevator captain gives him a cheery but
deferential "good morning."  In his private office he sits at a $500
roll top desk from Grand Rapids, surrounded by push buttons, and when
he gives the word someone is expected to hop.  At noon he goes to his
club for luncheon.  The head waiter jumps over two chairs to get at him
and relieve him of his hat and then leads him to the most desirable
table and hovers over him even as a mother hen broods over her first
born.

This Distinguished Citizen, director of the First National Bank,
trustee of the Cemetery Association, member of the Advisory Committee
of the Y.M.C.A., president of the Saturday Night Poker Club, head of
the Commercial Club, and founder of the Wilson County Trotting
Association, is a whale when he is seated on his private throne in the
corn belt.  He rides the whirlwind and commands the storm.  The local
paper speaks of him in bated capital letters, and he would be more or
less than human if he failed to believe that he was a very large gun.

Take this same Business Behemoth and set him down in Paris or Rome or
Naples.  With a red guide book clutched helplessly in his left hand and
his right hand free, so that he can dig up the currency of the realm
every thirty seconds, he sets forth to become acquainted with mediæval
architecture and the work of the old masters.  He is just as helpless
and apprehensive as a country boy at Coney Island.  The guides and
cabmen bullyrag him.  Newsboys and beggars pester him with impunity.
Children in the street stop to laugh at his Kansas City hat known to
the trade as a Fedora.  When he goes into a shop the polite brigand
behind the showcase charges him two prices and gives him bad money for
change.

[Illustration: _Stop to laugh at his Kansas City hat_]

Why?  Because he is in a strange man's town, stripped of his local
importance and battling with a foreign language.  The man who cannot
talk back immediately becomes a weakling.

What is the chief terror to travel?  It is the lonesomeness of feeling
that one cannot adapt himself to the unfamiliar background and
therefore is sure to attract more or less attention as a curio.  And in
what city does this feeling of lonesomeness become most overwhelming?
In London.

The American must go to England in order to learn for a dead certainty
that he does not speak the English language.  On the Continent if he
kicks on the charges and carries a great deal of hand luggage and his
clothes do not fit him any too well he may be mistaken for an
Englishman.  This great joy never awaits him in London.

I do not wish to talk about myself, yet I can say with truthfulness
that I have been working for years to enrich the English language.
Most of the time I have been years ahead of the dictionaries.  I have
been so far ahead of the dictionaries that sometimes I fear they will
never catch up.  It has been my privilege to use words that are unknown
to Lindley Murray.  Andrew Lang once started to read my works and then
sank with a bubbling cry and did not come up for three days.

It seems that in my efforts to enrich the English language I made it
too rich, and some who tried it afterward complained of mental
gastritis.  In one of my fables, written in pure and undefiled Chicago,
reference was made to that kind of a _table d'hôte_ restaurant which
serves an Italian dinner for sixty cents.  This restaurant was called a
"spaghetti joint."  Mr. Lang declared that the appellation was
altogether preposterous, as it is a well-known fact that spaghetti has
no joints, being invertebrate and quite devoid of osseous tissue, the
same as a caterpillar.  Also he thought that "cinch" was merely a
misspelling of "sink," something to do with a kitchen.  Now if an
American reeking with the sweet vernacular of his native land cannot
make himself understood by one who is familiar with all the ins and
outs of our language, what chance has he with the ordinary Londoner,
who gets his vocabulary from reading the advertisements carried by
sandwich men?

This pitiful fact comes home to every American when he arrives in
London--there are two languages, the English and the American.  One is
correct; the other is incorrect.  One is a pure and limpid stream; the
other is a stagnant pool, swarming with bacilli.  In front of a shop in
Paris is a sign, "English spoken--American understood."  This sign is
just as misleading as every other sign in Paris.  If our English cannot
be understood right here in England, what chance have we among
strangers?

One of the blessed advantages of coming here to England is that every
American, no matter how old he may be or how often he has assisted at
the massacre of the mother tongue, may begin to get a correct line on
the genuine English speech.  A few Americans, say fifty or more in
Boston and several in New York, are said to speak English in spots.
Very often they fan, but sometimes they hit the ball.  By patient
endeavor they have mastered the sound of "a" as in "father," but they
continue to call a clerk a clerk, instead of a "clark," and they never
have gained the courage to say "leftenant."  They wander on the suburbs
of the English language, nibbling at the edges, as it were.  Anyone
living west of Pittsburg is still lost in the desert.

It is only when the Pilgrim comes right here to the fountain head of
the Chaucerian language that he can drink deep and revive his parched
intellect.  For three days I have been camping here at the headwaters
of English.  Although this is my fourth visit to London and I have
taken a thorough course at the music halls and conversed with some of
the most prominent shopkeepers on or in the Strand, to say nothing of
having chatted almost in a spirit of democratic equality with some of
the most representative waiters, I still feel as if I were a little
child playing by the seashore while the great ocean of British idioms
lies undiscovered before me.

Yesterday, however, I had the rare and almost delirious pleasure of
meeting an upper class Englishman.  He has family, social position,
wealth, several capital letters trailing after his name (which is long
enough without an appendix), an ancestry, a glorious past and possibly
a future.  Usually an American has to wait in London eight or ten years
before he meets an Englishman who is not trying to sell him dress
shirts or something to put on his hair.  In two short days--practically
at one bound--I had realised the full ambition of my countrymen.

Before being presented to the heavy swell I was taken into the chamber
of meditation by the American who was to accompany me on this flight to
glory.  He prepared me for the ceremony by whispering to me that the
chap we were about to meet went everywhere and saw everybody; that he
was a Varsity man and had shot big game and had a place up country, and
couldn't remember the names of all his clubs--had to hire a man by the
year just to remember the names of his clubs.

May I confess that I was immensely flattered to know that I could meet
this important person?  When we are at long range we throw bricks at
the aristocracy and landed gentry, but when we come close to them we
tremble violently and are much pleased if they differentiate us from
the furniture of the room.

[Illustration: _Just to remember the names of his clubs_]

Why not tell the truth for once?  I was tickled and overheated with
bliss to know that this social lion was quite willing to sit alongside
of me and breathe the adjacent atmosphere.

Also I was perturbed and stage frightened because I knew that I spoke
nothing but the American language, and that probably I used my nose
instead of my vocal chords in giving expression to such thoughts as
might escape from me.  Furthermore, I was afraid that during our
conversation I might accidentally lapse into slang, and I knew that in
Great Britain slang is abhorred above every other earthly thing except
goods of German manufacture.  So I resolved to be on my guard and try
to come as near to English speech as it is possible for anyone to come
after he has walked up and down State street for ten years.

My real and ulterior motive in welcoming this interview with a
registered Englishman was to get, free of charge, an allopathic dose of
24-karat English.  I wanted to bask in the bright light of an intellect
that had no flickers in it and absorb some of the infallibility that is
so prevalent in these parts.

We met.  I steadied myself and said:--"I'm glad to know you--that is, I
am extremely pleased to have the honour of making your acquaintance."

He looked at me with a kindly light in his steel blue eye, and after a
short period of deliberation spoke as follows:--"Thanks."

[Illustration: "_Thanks_"]

"The international developments of recent years have been such as
should properly engender a feeling of the warmest brotherhood between
all branches of the Anglo-Saxon race," I said.  "I don't think that any
fair-minded American has it in for Great Britain--that is, it seems to
me that all former resentment growing out of early conflicts between
the two countries has given way to a spirit of tolerant understanding.
Do you not agree with me?"

He hesitated for a moment, as if not desiring to commit himself by a
hasty or impassioned reply, and then delivered himself as
follows:--"Quite."

"It seems to me," I said, following the same line of thought, "that
fair-minded people on both sides of the water are getting sore--that
is, losing patience with the agitators who preach the old doctrine that
our attitude toward Great Britain is necessarily one of enmity.  We
cannot forget that when the European Powers attempted to concert their
influence against the United States at the outset of the late war with
Spain you bluffed them out--that is, you induced them to relinquish
their unfriendly intentions.  Every thoughtful man in America is on to
this fact--that is, he understands how important was the service you
rendered us--and he is correspondingly grateful.  The American people
and the English people speak the same language, theoretically.  Our
interests are practically identical in all parts of the world--that is,
we are trying to do everybody, and so are you.  What I want to convey
is that neither nation can properly work out its destiny except by
co-operating with the other.  Therefore any policy looking toward a
severance of friendly relations is unworthy of consideration."

"Rot!" said he.

"Just at present all Americans are profoundly grateful to the British
public for its generous recognition of the sterling qualities of our
beloved Executive," I continued.  "Over in the States we think that
'Teddy' is the goods--that is, the people of all sections have
unbounded faith in him.  We think he is on the level--that is, that his
dominant policies are guided by the spirit of integrity.  As a
fair-minded Briton, who is keeping in touch with the affairs of the
world, may I ask you your candid opinion of President Roosevelt?"

After a brief pause he spoke as follows:--"Ripping!"

"The impulse of friendliness on the part of the English people seems to
be more evident year by year," I continued.  "It is now possible for
Americans to get into nearly all the London hotels.  You show your
faith in our monetary system by accepting all the collateral we can
bring over.  No identification is necessary.  Formerly the visiting
American was asked to give references before he was separated from his
income--that is, before one of your business institutions would enter
into negotiations with him.  Nowadays you see behind the chin whisker
the beautiful trade mark of consanguinity.  You say, 'Blood is thicker
than water,' and you accept a five-dollar bill just the same as if it
were an English sovereign worth four dollars and eighty-six cents."

"Jolly glad to get it," said he.

"Both countries have adopted the gospel of reciprocity," I said, warmed
by this sudden burst of enthusiasm.  "We send shiploads of tourists
over here.  You send shiploads of English actors to New York.  The
tourists go home as soon as they are broke--that is, as soon as their
funds are exhausted.  The English actors come home as soon as they are
independently rich.  Everybody is satisfied with the arrangement and
the international bonds are further strengthened.  Of course, some of
the English actors blow up--that is, fail to meet with any great
measure of financial success--when they get out as far as Omaha, but
while they are mystifying the American public some of our tourists are
going around London mystifying the British public.  Doubtless you have
seen some of these tourists?"

The distinguished person nodded his head in grave acquiescence and then
said with some feeling:--"Bounders!"

"In spite of these breaches of international faith the situation taken
as a whole is one promising an indefinite continuation of cordial
friendship between the Powers," I said.  "I am darned glad that such is
the case; ain't you?"

"Rather," he replied.

Then we parted.

It was really worth a long sea voyage to be permitted to get the
English language at first hand; to revel in its unexpected sublimities,
and gaze down new and awe-inspiring vistas of rhetorical splendour.



CHAPTER II

A LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE, WITH MODERN VARIATIONS

A month before sailing I visited the floating skyscraper which was to
bear us away.  It was hitched to a dock in Hoboken, and it reminded me
of a St. Bernard dog tied by a silken thread.  It was the biggest skiff
afloat, with an observatory on the roof and covered porches running all
the way around.  It was a very large boat.

After inspecting the boat and approving of it, I selected a room with
southern exposure.  Later on, when we sailed, the noble craft backed
into the river and turned round before heading for the Old World, and I
found myself on the north side of the ship, with nothing coming in at
the porthole except a current of cold air direct from Labrador.

This room was on the starboard or port side of the ship--I forget
which.  After travelling nearly one million miles, more or less, by
steamer, I am still unable to tell which is starboard and which is
port.  I can tell time by the ship's bell if you let me use a pencil,
but "starboard" means nothing to me.  In order to make it clear to the
reader, I will say that the room was on the "haw" side of the boat.  I
thought I was getting the "gee" side as the vessel lay at the dock, but
I forgot that it had to turn around in order to start for Europe, and I
found myself "haw."  I complained to one of the officers and said that
I had engaged a stateroom with southern exposure.  He said they
couldn't back up all the way across the Atlantic just to give me the
sunny side of the boat.  This closed the incident.  He did explain,
however, that if I remained in the ship and went back with them I would
have southern exposure all the way home.

[Illustration: _I complained to one of the officers_]

Our ship was the latest thing out.  To say that it was about seven
hundred feet long and nearly sixty feet beam and 42,000 tons
displacement does not give a graphic idea of its huge proportions.  A
New Yorker might understand if told that this ship, stood on end, would
be about as tall as two Flatiron buildings spliced end to end.

Out in Indiana this comparison was unavailing, as few of the residents
have seen the Flatiron Building and only a small percentage of them
have any desire to see it.  So when a Hoosier acquaintance asked me
something about the ship I led him out into Main Street and told him
that it would reach from the railroad to the Presbyterian church.  He
looked down street at the depot and then he looked up street at the
distant Presbyterian church, and then he looked at me and walked away.
Every statement that I make in my native town is received with doubt.
People have mistrusted me ever since I came home years ago and
announced that I was working.

Evidently he repeated what I had said, for in a few minutes another
resident came up and casually asked me something about the ship and
wanted to know how long she was.  I repeated the Presbyterian church
story.  He merely remarked "I thought 'Bill' was lyin' to me," and then
went his way.

It is hard to live down a carefully acquired reputation, and therefore
the statement as to the length of the vessel was regarded as a specimen
outburst of native humour.  When I went on to say that the boat would
have on board three times as many people as there were in our whole
town, that she had seven decks, superimposed like the layers of a jelly
cake, that elevators carried passengers from one deck to another, that
a daily newspaper was printed on board, and that a brass band gave
concerts every day, to say nothing of the telephone exchange and the
free bureau of information, then all doubt was dispelled and my local
standing as a dealer in morbid fiction was largely fortified.

The chief wonder of our new liner (for all of us had a proprietary
interest the moment we came aboard) was the system of elevators.  Just
think of it!  Elevators gliding up and down between decks the same as
in a modern office building.  Very few passengers used the elevators,
but it gave us something to talk about on board ship and it would give
us something to blow about after we had returned home.

Outside of the cage stood a young German with a blonde pompadour and a
jacket that came just below his shoulder blades.  He was so clean he
looked as if he had been scrubbed with soap and then rubbed with
holystone.  Every German menial on board seemed to have two guiding
ambitions in life.  One was to keep himself immaculate and the other
was to grow a U-shaped moustache, the same as the one worn by the
Kaiser.

The boy in charge of the elevator would plead with people to get in and
ride.  Usually, unless he waylaid them, they would forget all about the
new improvement and would run up and down stairs in the old-fashioned
manner instituted by Noah and imitated by Christopher Columbus.

This boy leads a checkered career on each voyage.  When he departs from
New York he is the elevator boy.  As the vessel approaches Plymouth,
England, he becomes the lift attendant.  At Cherbourg he is transformed
into a _garçon d'ascenseur_, and as the ship draws near Hamburg he is
the _Aufzugsbehueter_, which is an awful thing to call a mere child.

Goodness only knows what will be the ultimate result of present
competition between ocean liners.  As our boat was quite new and
extravagantly up-to-date, perhaps some information concerning it will
be of interest, even to those old and hardened travellers who have been
across so often that they no longer set down the run of the ship and
have ceased sending pictorial post-cards to their friends at home.

In the first place, a telephone in every room, connected with a central
station.  The passenger never uses it, because when he is a thousand
miles from shore there is no one to be called up, and if he heeds the
steward he pushes a button.  But it is there--a real German telephone,
shaped like a broken pretzel, and anyone who has a telephone in his
room feels that he is getting something for his money.

After two or three lessons any American can use a foreign telephone.
All he has to learn is which end to put to his ear and how to keep two
or three springs pressed down all the time he is talking.  In America
he takes down the receiver and talks into the 'phone.  Elsewhere he
takes the entire telephone down from a rack and holds it the same as a
slide trombone.

[Illustration: _Holds it the same as a slide trombone_]

In some of the cabins were electric hair curlers.  A Cleveland man who
wished to call up the adjoining cabin on the 'phone, just to see if the
thing would work, put the hair curler to his ear and began talking into
the dynamo.  There was no response, so he pushed a button and nearly
ruined his left ear.  It was a natural mistake.  In Europe, anything
attached to the wall is liable to be a telephone.

On the whole, I think our telephone system is superior to that of any
foreign cities.  Our telephone girls have larger vocabularies, for one
thing.  In England the "hello" is never used.  When an Englishman
gathers up the ponderous contrivance and fits it against his head he
asks:--"Are you there?"  If the other man answers "No," that stops the
whole conversation.

Travellers throughout the world should rise up and unite in a vote of
thanks to whoever it was that abolished the upper berth in the newer
boats.  Mahomet's coffin suspended in mid air must have been a cheery
and satisfactory bunk compared with the ordinary upper berth.  Only a
trained athlete can climb into one of them.  The woodwork that you
embrace and rub your legs against as you struggle upward is very cold.
When you fall into the clammy sheets you are only about six inches from
the ceiling.  In the early morning the sailors scour the deck just
overhead and you feel as if you were getting a shampoo.  The aërial
sarcophagus is built deep, like a trough, so that the prisoner cannot
roll out during the night.  It is narrow, and the man who is addicted
to the habit of "spraddling" feels as if he were tied hand and foot.

In nearly all of the staterooms of the new boat there were no upper
berths, and the lower ones were wide and springy--they were almost
beds, and a bed on board ship is something that for years has been
reserved as the special luxury of the millionaire.

I like the democracy of a shipboard community.  You take the most staid
and awe-inspiring notable in the world, bundle him in a damp storm-coat
and pull a baggy travelling cap down over his ears and there is none so
humble as to do him reverence.  One passenger may say to another as
this great man teeters along the deck, squinting against the wind: "Do
you know who that man is?"

"No, who is it?"

"That's William Bilker, the millionaire philanthropist.  He owns nearly
all the coke ovens in the world--has built seven theological
seminaries.  He's going to Europe to escape a Congressional
investigation."

That is the end of it so far as any flattering attentions to Mr. Bilker
are concerned.  If he goes in the smoking-room some beardless youth
will invite him to sit in a game of poker.  His confidential friend at
the table may be a Montana miner, a Chicago real estate agent or a
Kentucky horseman.  He may hold himself aloof from the betting crowd
and discourage those who would talk with him on deck, but he cannot by
any possibility be a man of importance.  Compared with the captain, for
instance, he is a worm.  And the captain draws probably $2500 a year.
It must be a lot of fun to stay on board ship all the time.  Otherwise
the ocean liner could not get so many high class and capable men to
work for practically nothing.

On the open sea a baby is much more interesting than a railway
president and juveniles in general are a mighty welcome addition to the
passenger list.  If a child in the house is a wellspring of pleasure,
then a child on a boat is nothing less than a waterspout.  The sea air,
with its cool vapours of salt and iodine, may lull the adult into one
continuous and lazy doze, but it is an invigorant to the offspring.  We
had on board children from Buffalo, Chicago, Jamestown, Poughkeepsie,
Worcester, Philadelphia, and other points.  These children traded names
before the steamer got away from the dock, and as we went down the bay
under a bright sunshine they were so full of emotion that they ran
madly around the upper decks, shrieking at every step.  Nine full laps
on the upper deck make a mile, and one man gave the opinion that the
children travelled one hundred miles that first afternoon.  This was
probably an exaggeration.

The older people lay at full length in steamer chairs and drowsed like
so many hibernating bears.  That is, they slept when they were not
eating.  The boat was one of a German line, and on a German boat the
passenger's first duty is to gorge.  In the smoking-room the last night
out there was a dispute as to the number of meals, whole or partial,
served every day.  One man counted up and made it nine.  Another, who
was trying to slander the company, made the number as low as five.  A
count was taken and the following schedule was declared to be accurate
and official:

6 a.m.--Coffee and rolls in the dining room.

8 to 10 a.m.--Breakfast in the dining room.

11 a.m.--Sandwiches and bouillon on deck.

12:35 p.m.--Luncheon.

4 p.m.--Cakes and lemonade on deck.

6 p.m.--Dinner.

9 p.m.--Supper (cold) in dining room.

10 to 11:30 p.m.--Sandwiches (Swiss cheese, caviar, tongue, beef,
cervelat wurst, etc.) in the smoking-room.

It will be noted that anyone using ordinary diligence is enabled to
stay the pangs of hunger at least eight times a day.  But the company
in order to cover all emergencies, has made the humane provision that
articles of food may be obtained at any hour, either in the smoking
room or dining room, or by giving the order to a steward.  It is said
that geese being fattened for the market or encouraged to develop the
liver are tied to the ground so that they cannot take any harmful
exercise, and large quantities of rich food are then pushed into them
by means of a stick.  Anyone who has spent a lazy week on a German
steamer can sympathise with the geese.

Of course we had wireless messages to give us an occasional throb of
excitement.  Wireless telegraphy, by the way, is more or less of an
irritant to the traveller.  The man with stocks purchased and lawsuits
pending, and all sorts of deals under way, knows that he can be reached
(probably) in some sort of a zig-zag manner by wireless telegraphy, no
matter where he may be on the wide ocean, and so, most of the time, he
is standing around on one foot waiting for bad news.  On shore he
doesn't fret so much about possible calamities, but as soon as he gets
away from Sandy Hook he begins to draw mental pictures of the mistakes
being made by lunk-headed subordinates, and then he hangs around the
Marconi station up on the sun deck, waiting for his most horrible fears
to be confirmed.

In 1895, during my first voyage to Europe, I wrote the following in one
of my letters, intending it as a mild pleasantry:

"Some day, perhaps, there will be invented a device by which ocean
steamers may tap the Atlantic cable for news bulletins and stock
quotations, or else receive them by special transmission through the
water, and then the last refuge will be denied the business slave who
is attempting to get away from his work."

And to think that ten years later the miracle of shooting a message
through an open window and across five hundred miles of nothing but
atmosphere has become a tame and every-day occurrence!

On the steamer I met an old friend--Mr. Peasley, of Iowa.  We first
collided in Europe in 1895, when both of us were over for the first
time and were groping our way about the Continent and pretending to
enjoy ourselves.  About the time I first encountered Mr. Peasley he had
an experience which, in all probability, is without parallel in human
history.  Some people to whom I have told the story frankly disbelieved
it, but then they did not know Mr. Peasley.  It is all very true, and
it happened as follows:--

Mr. Peasley had been in Rotterdam for two days, and after galloping
madly through churches, galleries, and museums for eight hours a day he
said that he had seen enough Dutch art to last him a million years, at
a very conservative estimate, so he started for Brussels.  He asked the
proprietor of the hotel at Rotterdam for the name of a good hotel in
Brussels and the proprietor told him to go to the Hotel Victoria.  He
said it was a first-class establishment and was run by his
brother-in-law.  Every hotel keeper in Europe has a brother-in-law
running a hotel in some other town.

Mr. Peasley was loaded into a train by watchful attendants, and as
there were no Englishmen in the compartment he succeeded in getting a
good seat right by the window and did not have to ride backward.  Very
soon he became immersed in one of the six best sellers.  He read on and
on, chapter after chapter, not heeding the flight of time, until the
train rolled into a cavernous train shed and was attacked by the usual
energetic mob of porters and hotel runners.  Mr. Peasley looked out and
saw that they had arrived at another large city.  On the other side of
the platform was a large and beautiful 'bus marked "Hotel Victoria."
Mr. Peasley shrieked for a porter and began dumping Gladstone bags,
steamer rugs, cameras, and other impedimenta out through the window.
The man from the Victoria put these on top of the 'bus and in a few
minutes Mr. Peasley was riding through the tidy thoroughfares and
throwing mental bouquets at the street-cleaning department.

When he arrived at the Victoria he was met by the proprietor, who wore
the frock coat and whiskers which are the world-wide insignia of
hospitality.

"Your brother-in-law in Rotterdam told me to come here and put up with
you," explained Mr. Peasley.  "He said you were running a first-class
place, which means, I s'pose, first class for this country.  If you
fellows over here would put in steam heat and bathrooms and electric
lights and then give us something to eat in the bargain your hotels
wouldn't be so bad.  I admire the stationery in your writing rooms, and
the regalia worn by your waiters is certainly all right, but that's
about all I can say for you."

The proprietor smiled and bowed and said he hoped his brother-in-law in
Rotterdam was in good health and enjoying prosperity, and Mr. Peasley
said that he, personally, had left with the brother-in-law enough money
to run the hotel for another six months.

After Mr. Peasley had been conducted to his room he dug up his Baedeker
and very carefully read the introduction to Brussels.  Then he studied
the map for a little while.  He believed in getting a good general idea
of the lay of things before he tackled a new town.  He marked on the
map a few of the show places which seemed worth while, and then he
sallied out, waving aside the smirking guide who attempted to fawn upon
him as he paused at the main entrance.  Mr. Peasley would have nothing
to do with guides.  He always said that the man who had to be led
around by the halter would do better to stay right at home.

It was a very busy afternoon for Mr. Peasley.  At first he had some
difficulty in finding the places that were marked in red spots on the
map.  This was because he had been holding the map upside down.  By
turning the map the other way and making due allowance for the
inaccuracies to be expected in a book written by ignorant foreigners,
the whole ground plan of the city straightened itself out, and he
boldly went his way.  He visited an old cathedral and two art
galleries, reading long and scholarly comments on the more celebrated
masterpieces.  Some of the paintings were not properly labelled, but he
knew that slipshod methods prevailed in Europe--that a civilisation
which is on the downhill and about to play out cannot be expected to
breed a business-like accuracy.  He wrote marginal corrections in his
guide book and doctored up the map a little, several streets having
been omitted, and returned to the hotel at dusk feeling very well
repaid.  From the beginning of his tour he had maintained that when a
man goes out and gets information or impressions of his own unaided
efforts he gets something that will abide with him and become a part of
his intellectual and artistic fibre.  That which is ladled into him by
a verbose guide soon evaporates or oozes away.

At the _table d'hôte_ Mr. Peasley had the good fortune to be seated
next to an Englishman, to whom he addressed himself.  The Englishman
was not very communicative, but Mr. Peasley persevered.  It was his
theory that when one is travelling and meets a fellow Caucasian who is
shy or reticent or suspicious the thing to do is to keep on talking to
him until he feels quite at ease and the _entente cordiale_ is fully
established.  So Mr. Peasley told the Englishman all about Iowa and
said that it was "God's country." The Englishman fully agreed with
him--that is, if silence gives consent.  There was a lull in the
conversation and Mr. Peasley, seeking to give it a new turn, said to
his neighbour, "I like this town best of any I've seen.  Is this your
first visit to Brussels?"

"I have never been to Brussels," replied the Englishman.

"That is, never until this time," suggested Mr. Peasley.  "I'm in the
same boat.  Just landed here to-day.  I've heard of it before, on
account of the carpet coming from here, and of course everybody knows
about Brussels sprouts, but I had no idea it was such a big place.
It's bigger than Rock Island and Davenport put together."

The Englishman began to move away, at the same time regarding the
cheerful Peasley with solemn wonderment.  Then he said:--

"My dear sir, I am quite unable to follow you.  Where do you think you
are?"

"Brussels--it's in Belgium--capital, same as Des Moines in Iowa."

"My good man, you are not in Brussels.  You are in Antwerp."

"Antwerp!"

"Certainly."

"Why, I've been all over town to-day, with a guide book, and----"  He
paused and a horrible suspicion settled upon him.  Arising from the
table he rushed to the outer office and confronted the manager.

"What's the name of this town I'm in?" he demanded.

"Antwerp," replied the astonished manager.

Mr. Peasley leaned against the wall and gasped.

"Well, I'll be ----!" he began, and then language failed him.

"You said you had a brother-in-law in Rotterdam," he said, when he
recovered his voice.

"That is quite true."

"And the Victoria Hotel--is there one in Brussels and another in
Antwerp?"

"There is a Victoria Hotel in every city in the whole world.  The
Victoria Hotel is universal--the same as Scotch whiskey."

"And I am now in Antwerp?"

"Most assuredly."

Mr. Peasley went to his room.  He did not dare to return to face the
Englishman.  Next day he proceeded to Brussels and found that he could
work from the same guide book just as successfully as he had in Antwerp.

When I met him on the steamer he said that during all of his travels
since 1895 he never had duplicated the remarkable experience at
Antwerp.  As soon as he alights from a train he goes right up to
someone and asks the name of the town.



CHAPTER III

WITH MR. PEASLEY IN DARKEST LONDON

We did not expect to have Mr. Peasley with us in London.  He planned to
hurry on to Paris, but he has been waiting here for his trunk to catch
up with him.  The story of the trunk will come later.

As we steamed into Plymouth Harbour on a damp and overcast Sabbath
morning, Mr. Peasley stood on the topmost deck and gave encouraging
information to a man from central Illinois who was on his first trip
abroad.  Mr. Peasley had been over for six weeks in 1895, and that gave
him license to do the "old traveller" specialty.

In beginning a story he would say, "I remember once I was crossing on
the _Umbria_," or possibly, "That reminds me of a funny thing I once
saw in Munich."  He did not practise to deceive, and yet he gave
strangers the impression that he had crossed on the _Umbria_ possibly
twelve or fourteen times and had spent years in Munich.

The Illinois man looked up to Mr. Peasley as a modern Marco Polo, and
Mr. Peasley proceeded to unbend to him.

"A few years ago Americans were very unpopular in England," said Mr.
Peasley.  "Every one of them was supposed to have either a dynamite
bomb or a bunch of mining stock in his pocket.  All that is changed
now--all changed.  As we come up to the dock in Plymouth you will
notice just beyond the station a large triumphal arch of evergreen
bearing the words, 'Welcome, Americans!'  Possibly the band will not be
out this morning, because it is Sunday and the weather is threatening,
but the Reception Committee will be on hand.  If we can take time
before starting for London no doubt a committee from the Commercial
Club will haul us around in open carriages to visit the public
buildings and breweries and other points of interest.  And you'll find
that your money is counterfeit out here.  No use talkin', we're all one
people--just like brothers.  Wait till you get to London.  You'll think
you're right back among your friends in Decatur."

It was too early in the morning for the Reception Committee, but there
was a policeman--one solitary, water-logged, sad-eyed
policeman--waiting grewsomely on the dock as the tender came alongside.
He stood by the gangplank and scrutinised us carefully as we filed
ashore.  The Illinois man looked about for the triumphal arch, but
could not find it.  Mr. Peasley explained that they had taken it in on
account of the rain.

While the passengers were kept herded into a rather gloomy waiting
room, the trunks and larger baggage were brought ashore and sorted out
according to the alphabetical labels in an adjoining room to await the
customs examination.  When the doors opened there was a rush somewhat
like the opening of an Oklahoma reservation.  In ten minutes the trunks
had been passed and were being trundled out to the special train.
Above the babel of voices and the rattle of wheels arose the sounds of
lamentation and modified cuss words.  Mr. Peasley could not find his
trunk.  It was not with the baggage marked "P."  It was not in the
boneyard, or the discard, or whatever they call the heap of unmarked
stuff piled up at one end of the room.  It was not anywhere.

The other passengers, intent upon their private troubles, pawed over
their possessions and handed out shillings right and left and followed
the line of trucks out to the "luggage vans," and Mr. Peasley was left
alone, still demanding his trunk.  The station agent and many porters
ran hither and thither, looking into all sorts of impossible places,
while the locomotive bell rang warningly, and the guard begged Mr.
Peasley to get aboard if he wished to go to London.  Mr. Peasley took
off his hat and leaned his head back and howled for his trunk.  The
train started and Mr. Peasley, after momentary indecision, made a
running leap into our midst.  There were six of us in a small padded
cell, and five of the six listened for the next fifteen minutes to a
most picturesque and impassioned harangue on the subject of the general
inefficiency of German steamships and English railways.

[Illustration: _And howled for his trunk_]

"Evidently the trunk was not sent ashore," someone suggested to Mr.
Peasley.  "If the trunk did not come ashore you could not reasonably
expect the station officials to find it and put it aboard the train."

"But why didn't it come ashore?" demanded Mr. Peasley.  "Everyone on
the boat knew that I was going to get off at Plymouth.  It was talked
about all the way over.  Other people got their trunks, didn't they?
Have you heard of any German being shy a trunk?  Has anybody else lost
anything?  No; they went over the passenger list and said, 'If we must
hold out a trunk on anyone, let's hold it out on Peasley--old good
thing Peasley.'"

[Illustration: _Let's hold it out on Peasley_]

"Are you sure it was put on board at Hoboken?" he was asked.

"Sure thing.  I checked it myself, or, rather, I got a fellow that
couldn't speak any English to check it for me.  Then I saw it lowered
into the cellar, or the subway, or whatever they call it."

"Did you get a receipt for it?"

"You bet I did, and right here she is."

He brought out a congested card case and fumbled over a lot of papers,
and finally unfolded a receipt about the size of a one-sheet poster.
On top was a number and beneath it said in red letters at least two
inches tall, "This baggage has been checked to Hamburg."

We called Mr. Peasley's attention to the reading matter, but he said it
was a mistake, because he had been intending all the time to get off at
Plymouth.

"Nevertheless, your trunk has gone to Hamburg."

"Where is Hamburg?"

"In Germany.  The Teuton who checked your baggage could not by any
effort of the imagination conceive the possibility of a person starting
for anywhere except Hamburg.  In two days your trunk will be lying on a
dock in Germany."

"Well, there's one consolation," observed Mr. Peasley; "the clothes in
that trunk won't fit any German."

When he arrived in London he began wiring for his trunk in several
languages.  After two days came a message couched in Volapuk or some
other hybrid combination, which led him to believe that his property
had been started for London.

Mr. Peasley spent a week in the world's metropolis with no clothes
except a knockabout travelling outfit and what he called his "Tuxedo,"
although, over here they say "dinner jacket."  In Chicago or Omaha Mr.
Peasley could have got along for a week without any embarrassment to
himself or others.  Even in New York the "Tuxedo" outfit would have
carried him through, for it is regarded as a passable apology for
evening dress, provided the wearer wishes to advertise himself as a
lonesome "stag."  But in London there is no compromise.  In every hotel
lobby or dining-room, every restaurant, theatre or music hall, after
the coagulated fog of the daytime settles into the opaque gloom of
night, there is but one style of dress for any mortal who does not wish
to publicly pose as a barbarian.  The man who affects a "Tuxedo" might
as well wear a sweater.  In fact it would be better for him if he did
wear a sweater, for then people would understand that he was making no
effort to dress; but when he puts on a bobtail he conveys the
impression that he is trying to be correct and doesn't understand the
rules.

An Englishman begins to blossom about half-past seven p.m.  The men
seen in the streets during the day seem a pretty dingy lot compared
with a well-dressed stream along Fifth Avenue.  Many of the tall hats
bear a faithful resemblance to fur caps.  The trousers bag and the coat
collars are bunched in the rear and all the shoes seem about two sizes
too large.  Occasionally you see a man on his way to a train and he
wears a shapeless bag of a garment made of some loosely woven material
that looks like gunnysack, with a cap that resembles nothing so much as
a welsh rabbit that has "spread."  To complete the picture, he carries
a horse blanket.  He thinks it is a rug, but it isn't.  It is a horse
blanket.

If the Englishman dressed for travel is the most sloppy of all
civilised beings, so the Englishman in his night regalia is the most
correct and irreproachable of mortals.  He can wear evening clothes
without being conscious of the fact that he is "dressed up."  The
trouble with the ordinary American who owns an open-faced suit is that
he wears it only about once a month.  For two days before assuming the
splendour of full dress he broods over the approaching ordeal.  As the
fateful night draws near he counts up his studs and investigates the
"white vest" situation.  In the deep solitude of his room he mournfully
climbs into the camphor-laden garments, and when he is ready to venture
forth, a tall collar choking him above, the glassy shoes pinching him
below, he is just as much at ease as he would be in a full suit of
armour, with casque and visor.

[Illustration: _"Dressed down" and "Dressed up"_]

However, all this is off the subject.  Here was Mr. Peasley in London,
desirous of "cutting a wide gash," as he very prettily termed it,
plenty of good money from Iowa burning in his pocket, and he could not
get out and "associate" because of a mere deficiency in clothing.

At the first-class theatres his "bowler" hat condemned him and he was
sent into the gallery.  When he walked into a restaurant the head
waiter would give him one quick and searching glance and then put him
off in some corner, behind a palm.  Even in the music halls the
surrounding "Johnnies" regarded him with wonder as another specimen of
the eccentric Yankee.

[Illustration: _His bowler hat condemned him_]

We suggested to Mr. Peasley that he wear a placard reading "I have some
clothes, but my trunk is in Hamburg."  He said that as soon as his
swell duds arrived he was going to put them on and revisit all of the
places at which he had been humiliated and turned down, just to let the
flunkeys know that they had been mistaken.

Mr. Peasley was greatly rejoiced to learn one day that he could attend
a football game without wearing a special uniform.  So he went out to
see a non-brutal game played according to the Association rules.  The
gentle pastime known as football in America is a modification and
overdevelopment of the Rugby game as played in Great Britain.  The
Association, or "Seeker" game, which is now being introduced in the
United States as a counter-irritant for the old-fashioned form of
manslaughter, is by far the more popular in England.  The Rugby
Association is waning in popularity, not because of any outcry against
the character of the play or any talk of "brutality," but because the
British public has a more abiding fondness for the Association game.

In America we think we are football crazy because we have a few big
college games during October and November of each year.  In Great
Britain the football habit is something that abides, the same as the
tea habit.

We are hysterical for about a month and then we forget the game unless
we belong to the minority that is trying to debrutalise it and reduce
the death rate.

Here it was, February in London, and on the first Saturday after our
arrival forty-five Association games and thirty-eight Rugby games were
reported in the London papers.  At sixteen of the principal Association
games the total attendance was over two hundred and fifty thousand and
the actual receipts at these same games amounted to about $45,000.
There were two games at each of which the attendance was over thirty
thousand, with the receipts exceeding $5,000.  A very conservative
estimate of the total attendance at the games played on this Saturday
would be five hundred thousand.  In other words, on one Saturday
afternoon in February the attendance at football games was equal to the
total attendance at all of the big college games during an entire
season in the United States.  No wonder that the English newspapers are
beginning to ask editorially "Is football a curse?"  There is no
clamour regarding the roughness of the game, but it is said to cost too
much money and to take up too much time for the benefits derived.

The game to which Mr. Peasley conducted us was played in rather
inclement weather--that is, inclement London weather--which means that
it was the most terrible day that the imagination can picture--a dark,
chilly, drippy day, with frequent downpours.  It has been said that one
cannot obtain icewater in London.  This is a mistake.  We obtained it
by the hogshead.

In spite of the fact that the weather was bad beyond description,
seventeen thousand spectators attended the game and saw it through to a
watery finish.

Mr. Peasley looked on and was much disappointed.  He said they used too
many players and the number of fatalities was not at all in keeping
with the advertised importance of the game.  It was a huge crowd, but
the prevailing spirit of solemnity worried Mr. Peasley.  He spoke to a
native standing alongside of him and asked:--"What's the matter with
you folks over here?  Don't you know how to back up a team?  Where are
all of your flags and ribbons, your tally-hos and tin horns?  Is this a
football game or a funeral?"

"Why should one wear ribbons at a football game?" asked the Englishman.

"Might as well put a little ginger into the exercises," suggested Mr.
Peasley.  "Do you sing during the game?"

"Heavens, no.  Sing?  Why should one sing during a football game?  In
what manner is vocal music related to an outdoor pastime of this
character?"

"You ought to go to a game in Iowa City.  We sing till we're black in
the face--all about 'Eat 'em up, boys,' 'Kill 'em in their tracks,' and
'Buck through the line.'  What's the use of coming to a game if you
stand around all afternoon and don't take part?  Have you got any
yells?"

"What are those?"

"Can you beat that?" asked Mr. Peasley, turning to us.  "A football
game without any yells!"

The game started.  By straining our eyes we could make out through the
deep gloom some thirty energetic young men, very lightly clad,
splashing about in all directions, and kicking in all sorts of aimless
directions.  Mr. Peasley said it was a mighty poor excuse for football.
No one was knocked out; there was no bucking the line; there didn't
even seem to be a doctor in evidence.  We could not follow the fine
points of the contest.  Evidently some good plays were being made, for
occasionally a low, growling sound--a concerted murmur--would arise
from the multitude banked along the side lines.

"What is the meaning of that sound they are making?" asked Mr. Peasley,
turning to the native standing alongside of him.

"They are cheering," was the reply.

"They are what?"

"Cheering."

"Great Scott!  Do you call that cheering?  At home, when we want to
encourage the boys we get up on our hind legs and make a noise that you
can hear in the next township.  We put cracks in the azure dome.
Cheering!  Why, a game of croquet in the court house yard is eight
times as thrilling as this thing.  Look at those fellows juggling the
ball with their feet.  Why doesn't somebody pick it up and butt through
that crowd and start a little rough work?"

The native gave Mr. Peasley one hopeless look and moved away.

We could not blame our companion for being disappointed over the
cheering.  An English cheer is not the ear-splitting demoniacal shriek,
such as an American patriot lets out when he hears from another batch
of precincts.

The English cheer is simply a loud grunt, or a sort of guttural "Hey!
hey!" or "Hurray!"

When an English crowd cheers the sound is similar to that made by a
Roman mob in the wings of a theatre.

After having once heard the "cheering" one can understand the meaning
of a passage in the Parliamentary report, reading about as follows:
"The gentleman hoped the house would not act with haste.  (Cheers).  He
still had confidence in the committee (cheers), but would advise a
careful consideration (cheers), etc."

It might be supposed from such a report that Parliament was one
continuous "rough house," but we looked in one day and it is more like
a cross between a Presbyterian synod and bee-keepers' convention.

About four o'clock we saw a large section of the football crowd moving
over toward a booth at one end of the grounds.  Mr. Peasley hurried
after them, thinking that possibly someone had started a fight on the
side and that his love of excitement might be gratified after all.
Presently he returned in a state of deep disgust.

"Do you know why all those folks are flockin' over there?" he asked.
"Goin' after their tea.  Tea!  Turnin' their backs on a football game
to go and get a cup of tea!  Why, that tea thing over there is worse
than the liquor habit.  Do you know, when the final judgment day comes
and Gabriel blows his horn and all of humanity is bunched up, waitin'
for the sheep to be cut out from the goats and put into a separate
corral, some Englishman will look at his watch and discover that it's
five o'clock and then the whole British nation will turn its back on
the proceedings and go off looking for tea."

After we had stood in the rain for about an hour someone told Mr.
Peasley that one team or the other had won by three goals to nothing,
and we followed the moist throng out through the big gates.

"Come with me," said Mr. Peasley, "and I will take you to the only dry
place in London."

So we descended to the "tuppenny tube."



CHAPTER IV

HOW IT FEELS TO GET INTO LONDON
  AND THEN BE ENGULFED.

One good thing about London is that, in spite of its enormous size, you
are there when you arrive.  Take Chicago, by way of contrast.  If you
arrive in Chicago along about the middle of the afternoon you may be at
the station by night.

The stranger heading into Chicago looks out of the window at a country
station and sees a policeman standing on the platform.  Beyond is a
sign indicating that the wagon road winding away toward the sunset is
287th street, or thereabouts.

"We are now in Chicago," says someone who has been over the road before.

The traveller, surprised to learn that he has arrived at his
destination, puts his magazine and travelling cap into the valise,
shakes out his overcoat, calls on the porter to come and brush him, and
then sits on the end of the seat waiting for the brakeman to announce
the terminal station.  After a half-hour of intermittent suburbs and
glorious sweeps of virgin prairie he begins to think that there is some
mistake, so he opens his valise and takes out the magazine and reads
another story.

Suddenly he looks out of the window and notices that the train has
entered the crowded city.  He puts on his overcoat, picks up his valise
and stands in the aisle, so as to be ready to step right off as soon as
the train stops.

The train passes street after street and rattles through grimy yards
and past towering elevators, and in ten minutes the traveller tires of
standing and goes back to his seat.  The porter comes and brushes him
again, and he looks out at several viaducts leading over to a skyline
of factories and breweries, and begins to see the masts of ships poking
up in the most unexpected places.  At last, when he has looked at what
seems to be one hundred miles of architectural hash floating in smoke
and has begun to doubt that there is a terminal station, he hears the
welcome call, "Shuh-kawgo!"

When you are London bound the train leaves the green country (for the
country is green, even in February), dashes into a region of closely
built streets, and you look out from the elevated train across an
endless expanse of chimney-pots.  Two or three stations, plated with
enameled advertising signs, buzz past.  The pall of smoky fog becomes
heavier and the streets more crowded.  Next, the train has come to a
grinding stop under a huge vaulted roof.  The noise of the wheels give
way to the roar of London town.

You step down and out and fall into the arms of a porter who wishes to
carry your "bags."  You are in the midst of parallel tracks and
shifting trains.  Beyond the platform is a scramble of cabs.  The
sounds of the busy station are joined into a deafening monotone.  You
shout into the ear of your travelling companion to get a "four-wheeler"
while you watch the trunks.

He struggles away to hail a four-wheeler.  You push your way with the
others down toward the front of the train to where the baggage is being
thrown out on the platform.  You seize a porter and engage him to
attend to the handling of the trunks.  As you point them out he loads
them onto a truck.  Your companion arrives in a wild-eyed search for
you.

"I've got a four-wheeler," he gasps.  "All the baggage here?"

"Yes, yes, yes."

Everybody is excited and hopping about, put into a state of hysteria by
the horrible hubbub and confusion.

"It's number 48."

The porter handling the truck leads the way to the cab platform and
howls "Forty-ite!  Forty-ite!"

"'Ere you are," shouts forty-eight, who is wedged in behind two hansoms.

By some miracle of driving he gets over or under or past the hansoms
and comes to the platform.  The steamer trunks are thrown on top and
the porter, accepting the shilling with a "'k you, sir," slams the door
behind you.

Then you can hear your driver overhead managing his way out of the
blockade.

"Pull a bit forward, cahn't you?" he shouts.  Then to someone else,
"'Urry up, 'urry up, cahn't you?"

You are in a tangle of wheels and lamps, but you get out of it in some
way, and then the rubber tires roll easily along the spattering
pavement of a street which seems heavenly quietude.

This is the time to lean back and try to realise that you are in
London.  The town may be common and time-worn to those people going in
and out of the shops, but to you it is a storehouse of novelties, a
library of things to be learned, a museum of the landmarks of history.

We could read the names on the windows, and they were good homely
Anglo-Saxon names.  We didn't have to get out of the four-wheeler and
go into the shops to convince ourselves that Messrs. Brown, Jones,
Simpson, Perkins, Jackson, Smith, Thompson, Williams, and the others
were serious men of deferential habits, who spoke in hollow whispers of
the king, drank tea at intervals and loved a pipe of tobacco in the
garden of a Sunday morning.

Some people come to London to see the Abbey and the Tower, but I fear
that our trusty little band came to see the shop windows and the crowds
in the streets.

May the weak and imitative traveller resist the temptation to say that
Fleet street is full of publishing houses, that the British museum
deserves many visits, that the Cheshire Cheese is one of the ancient
taverns, that the new monument in front of the Courts of Law marks the
site of old Temple Bar, that the chapel of King Henry VII. is a superb
example of its own style of decoration, and that one is well repaid for
a trip to Hampton Court.  Why seek to corroborate the testimony of so
many letter-writers?

Besides, London does not consist of towers, abbeys, and museums.  These
are the remote and infrequent things.  After you have left London and
try to call back the huge and restless picture to your mind, the show
places stand dimly in the background.  The London which impressed you
and made you feel your own littleness and weakness was an endless swarm
of people going and coming, eddying off into dark courts, streaming
toward you along sudden tributaries, whirling in pools at the open
places, such as Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.  Thousands of
hansom cabs dashed in and out of the street traffic, and the rattling
omnibuses moved along every street in a broken row, and no matter how
long you remained in London you never saw the end of that row.

You go out in London in the morning, and if you have no set programme
to hamper you, you make your way to one of those great chutes along
which the herds of humanity are forever driven.

If you follow the guide-book it will lead you to a chair in which a
king sat 300 years ago.  If you can get up an emotion by straining hard
enough and find a real pleasure in looking at the moth-eaten chair,
then you should follow the guide-book.  If not, escape from the place
and go to the street.  The men and women you find there will interest
you.  They are on deck.  The chair is a dead splinter of history.  All
the people in the street are the embodiment of that history.  For
purposes of actual observation I would rather encounter a live cabman
than the intangible, atmospheric suggestion of Queen Elizabeth.

After you have been in London once you understand why your friends who
have visited it before were never able to tell you about it so that you
could understand.  It is too big to be put under one focus.  The
traveller takes home only a few idiotic details of his stay.  He says
that he had to pay for his programme at the theatre, and that he
couldn't get ice at some of the restaurants.

"But tell us about London," says the insistent friend who has
constructed a London of his own out of a thousand impressions gathered
from books and magazines.  Then the traveller says that London is
large, he doesn't remember how many millions, and very busy, and there
wasn't as much fog as he had expected, and as for the people they were
not so much different from Americans, although you never had any
difficulty in identifying an American in London.  The traveller's
friends listen in disappointment and agree that he got very little out
of his trip, and that when _they_ go to London _they_ will come back
and tell people the straight of it.

As a matter of fact, London is principally a sense of dizziness.  This
dizziness comes of trying to keep an intent gaze on too many human
performances.  The mind is in a blur.  The impressions come with
rolling swiftness.  There is no room for them.  The traveller overflows
with them.  They spill behind him.  You could track an American all
around London by the trail of excess information which he drops in his
pathway.

Of course, I have kept a journal, but that doesn't help much.  It
simply says that we went out each day and then came back to the hotel
for dinner.  There was not much chance for personal experiences,
because in London you are not a person.  You are simply a drop of water
in a sea, and any molecular disturbances which may concern you are of
small moment compared to the general splash.



CHAPTER V

AS TO THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PASSPORT
  AND THE HANDY LITTLE CABLE CODE

Advice to those following along behind.  Stock up on heavy flannels and
do not bother about a passport.

Before we became old and hardened travellers we were led to believe
that any American who appeared at a frontier without a passport would
be hurried to a dungeon or else marched in the snow all the way to
Siberia.

When I first visited the eastern hemisphere (I _do_ love to recall the
fact that I have been over here before), our little company of
travellers prepared for European experiences by reading a small
handbook of advice.  The topics were arranged alphabetically, and the
specific information set out under each heading was more valuable and
impressive at the beginning of the trip than it was after we had come
home and read it in the cold light of experience.  We paid particular
heed to the following:

"PASSPORTS--Every American travelling in Europe should carry a
passport.  At many frontiers a passport, properly 'vised,' must be
shown before the traveller will be allowed to enter the country.  A
passport is always valuable as an identification when money is to be
drawn on a letter of credit.  Very often it will secure for the bearer
admission to palaces, galleries and other show places which are closed
to the general public.  It is the most ready answer to any police
inquiry, and will serve as a letter of introduction to all consular
offices."

We read the foregoing and sent for passports before we bought our
steamship tickets.

I have been a notary public; I have graduated from a highschool; I have
taken out accident insurance, and once, in a careless moment, I
purchased one thousand shares of mining stock.  In each instance I
received a work of art on parchment--something bold and black and
Gothic, garnished with gold seals and curly-cues.  But for splendour of
composition and majesty of design, the passport makes all other
important documents seem pale and pointless.  There is an American
eagle at the top, with his trousers turned up, and beneath is a bold
pronouncement to the world in general that the bearer is an American
citizen, entitled to everything that he can afford to buy.  No man can
read his own passport without being more or less stuck on himself.  I
never had a chance to use the one given to me years ago, but I still
keep it and read it once in a while to bolster up my self-respect.

When we first landed at Liverpool each man had his passport in his
inside coat pocket within easy reach, so that in case of an insult or
an impertinent question he could flash it forth and say: "Stand back!
I am an American citizen!"  After a week in London we went to the bank
to draw some more money.  The first man handed in his letter of credit
and said: "If necessary, I have a pass----"

Before he could say any more the cashier reached out a little scoop
shovel loaded with sovereigns and said: "Twenty pounds, sir."

We never could find a banker who wanted to look at our passports or who
could be induced to take so much as a glance at them.  I said to one
banker: "We have our passports in case you require any identification."
He said: "Rully, it isn't necessary, you know.  I am quite sure that
you are from Chicago."

We couldn't determine whether this was sheer courtesy on his part or
whether we were different.

After we were on the continent we hoped that some policeman would come
to the hotel and investigate us, so that we could smile coolly and say:
"Look at that," at the same time handing him the blue envelope.  Then
to note his dismay and to have him apologise and back out.  But the
police never learned that we were in town.

As for the art galleries and palaces, we had believed the handbook.  We
fancied that some day or other one of us would approach the entrance to
a palace and that a gendarme would step out and say: "Pardon, monsieur,
but the palace is closed to all visitors to-day."

"To most visitors, you mean."

"To all, monsieur."

"I think not, do you know who I am?"

"No, monsieur."

"Then don't say a word about anything being closed until you find out.
I am an American.  Here is my passport.  Fling open the doors!"

At which the gendarme would prostrate himself and the American would
pass in, while a large body of English, French and German tourists
would stand outside and envy him.

Alas, it was a day-dream.  Every palace that was closed seemed to be
really closed, and when we did find the gendarme who was to be
humiliated, we discovered that we couldn't speak his language, and,
besides, we felt so humble in his presence that we wouldn't have
ventured to talk to him under any circumstances.

We travelled in England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Germany,
Switzerland, Italy, and France, crossing and recrossing frontiers, and
we never encountered a man, woman or child who would consent to look at
our passports.

On the other hand, the cable code is something that no tourist should
be without.  Whenever he is feeling blue or downcast he can open the
code book and get a few hearty laughs.  Suppose he wishes to send a
message to his brother in Toledo.  The code permits him to concentrate
his message into the tabloid form and put a long newsy letter into two
or three words.  He opens the blue book and finds that he can send any
of the following tidings to Toledo:

_Adjunctio_--Apartments required are engaged and will be ready for
occupation on Wednesday.

_Amalior_--Bills of lading have not been endorsed.

_Animatio_--Twins, boy and girl, all well.

_Collaria_--Received invitation to dinner and theatre, _Illaqueo_--Have
a fly at the station to meet train arriving at eight o'clock.

_Napina_--Machinery out of order.  Delay will be great.

_Remissus_--Can you obtain good security?

And so on, page after page.  Theoretically, this vest pocket volume is
a valuable helpmate, but when Mr. Peasley wanted to cable Iowa to have
his Masonic dues paid and let Bill Levison take the river farm for
another year and try to collect the money from Joe Spillers, the code
book did not seem to have the proper equivalents.

We had with us on the boat an American who carried a very elaborate
code book.  All the way up from Plymouth to London he was working on a
cablegram to his wife.  When he turned it over to the operator, this is
the joyous message that went singing through the water back to New York:


"LIZCAM, New York.  Hobgoblin buckwheat explosion manifold cranberry
suspicious.

"JAMES."


He showed us a copy and seemed to be very proud of it.

"That's what you save by having a code," he explained.

"What will Lizcam think when he receives that?"

"He?  That's my wife's registered cable address.  'Liz' for Lizzie and
'Cam' for Campbell.  Her maiden name was Lizzie Campbell."

"Well, what does that mean about a buckwheat hobgoblin having a
suspicious explosion?"

"Oh, those words are selected arbitrarily to represent full sentences
in the code.  When my wife gets that cable she will look up those words
one after the other and elaborate the message so that it will read like
this:

He showed us the following:

"Mrs. Chauncey Cupple, Mount Joy Hotel, New York----Dear Wife: Well,
here we are at London, after a very pleasant voyage, all things
considered.  We had only two days of inclement weather and I was not
seasick at any time.  We saw a great many porpoises, but no whales.
The third day out I won the pool on the run.  Formed the acquaintance
of several pleasant people.  (Signed) James."

"It's just as good as a letter," said the man from Buffalo.

"Yes, and I save fifty-eight words," said Cupple.  "I wouldn't travel
without a code."

"Why don't you tack on another word and let her know how many knots we
made each day?" asked the Buffalo man, but his sarcasm was wasted.

A week later I met Mr. Cupple and he said that the cablegram had given
his wife nervous prostration.

Mr. Cupple is not a careful penman and the cable operator had read the
last word of the message as "auspicious" instead of "suspicious."  A
reference to the code showed that the mistake changed the sense of the
message.

"_Suspicious_--Formed the acquaintance of several pleasant people.

"_Auspicious_--After a futile effort to work the pumps the captain gave
orders to lower the boats.  The passengers were in a panic, but the
captain coolly restrained them and gave orders that the women and
children should be sent away first."

The message, as altered in transmission, caused Mrs. Cupple some
uneasiness, and, also, it puzzled her.  It was gratifying to know that
her husband had enjoyed the voyage and escaped seasickness, but she did
not like to leave him on the deck of the ship with a lot of women and
children stepping up to take the best places in the boat.  Yet she
could not believe that he had been lost, otherwise, how could he have
filed a cablegram at London?

She wanted further particulars, but she could not find in the code any
word meaning "Are you drowned?"

So she sent a forty-word inquiry to London, and when Mr. Cupple counted
the cost of it he cabled back:

"All right.  Ignore code."



CHAPTER VI

WHAT ONE MAN PICKED UP IN LONDON AND SENT BACK TO HIS BROTHER

A man is always justly proud of the information which has just come to
hand.  He enjoys a new piece of knowledge just as a child enjoys a new
Christmas toy.  It seems impossible for him to keep his hands off of
it.  He wants to carry it around and show it to his friends, just as a
child wants to race through the neighbourhood and display his new toy.

Within a week the toy may be thrown aside, having become too familiar
and commonplace, and by the same rule of human weakness the man will
toss his proud bit of information into the archives of memory and never
haul it out again except in response to a special demand.

These turgid thoughts are suggested by the behaviour of an American
stopping at our hotel.  He is here for the first time, and he has found
undiluted joy in getting the British names of everything he saw.  After
forty-eight hours in London he was gifted with a new vocabulary, and he
could not withstand the temptation to let his brother at home know all
about it.  The letter which he wrote was more British than any
Englishman could have made it.

In order to add the sting of insult to his vainglorious display of
British terms he inserted parenthetical explanations at different
places in his letter.  It was just as if he had said, "Of course, I'll
have to tell you what these things mean, because you never have been
out of America, and you could not be expected to have the broad and
comprehensive knowledge of a traveller."

This is the letter which he read to us last evening:


"DEAR BROTHER: I send you this letter by the first post (mail) back to
America to let you know that I arrived safely.  In company with several
pleasant chaps with whom I had struck up an acquaintance during our
ride across the pond (ocean) I reached the landing stage (dock) at
Southampton at 6 o'clock Saturday.  It required but a short time for
the examination of my box (trunk) and my two bags (valises), and then I
booked (bought a ticket) for London.  My luggage (baggage) was put into
the van (baggage car) and registered (checked) for London.  I paid the
porter a bob (a shilling, equal to 24 cents in your money), and then
showed my ticket to the guard (conductor), who showed me into a
comfortable first-class carriage (one of the small compartments in the
passenger coach), where I settled back to read a London paper, for
which I had paid tuppence (4 cents in your money).  Directly
(immediately after) we started I looked out of the window, and was
deeply interested in this first view of the shops (small retail
establishments) and the frequent public houses (saloons).  Also we
passed through the railway yards, where I saw many drivers (engineers)
and stokers (firemen) sitting in the locomotives, which did not seem to
be as large as those to which you are accustomed in America.

"Our ride to London was uneventful.  When we arrived at London I gave
my hand luggage into the keeping of a porter and claimed the box which
had been in the van.  This was safely loaded on top of a four-wheeled
hackney carriage (four-wheeled cab), and I was driven to my hotel,
which happened to be in (on) the same street, and not far from the top
(the end) of the thoroughfare.  Arrived at the hotel, I paid the cabby
(the driver) a half-crown (about 60 cents in your money), and went in
to engage an apartment.  I paid seven shillings (about $1.75) a day,
this to include service (lights and attendance), which was put in at
about 18 pence a day.  The lift (elevator) on which I rode to my
apartment was very slow.  I found that I had a comfortable room, with a
grate, in which I could have a fire of coals (coal).  As I was somewhat
seedy (untidy) from travel, I went to the hair-dresser's (the barber),
and was shaved.  As it was somewhat late I did not go to any theatre,
but walked down the Strand and had a bite in a cook-shop (restaurant).
The street was crowded.  Every few steps you would meet a Tommy Atkins
(soldier) with his 'doner' (best girl).  I stopped and inquired of a
bobby (policeman) the distance to St. Paul's (the cathedral), and
decided not to visit it until the next morning.

"Yesterday I put in a busy day visiting the abbey (Westminster) and
riding around on the 'buses (omnibuses) and tram cars (street cars).
In the afternoon I went up to Marble Arch (the entrance to Hyde Park),
and saw many fashionables; also I looked at the Row (Rotten Row, a
drive and equestrian path in Hyde Park).  There were a great many women
in smart gowns (stylish dresses), and nearly all the men wore frock
coats (Prince Alberts), and top hats (silk hats).  There are many
striking residential mansions (apartment houses) facing the park, and
the district is one of the most exclusive up west (in the west end of
London).  Sunday evening is very dull, and I looked around the
smoking-room of the hotel.  Nearly every man in the room had a 'B and
S' (brandy and soda) in front of him, although some of them preferred
'polly' (apollinaris) to the soda.  A few of them drank fizz
(champagne); but, so far as I have observed, most of the Englishmen
drink spirits (whiskey), although they very seldom take it neat
(straight), as you do at home.  I went to bed early and had a good
sleep.  This morning when I awoke I found that my boots (shoes), which
I had placed outside the door the night before, had been neatly
varnished (polished).  The tub (bath) which I had bespoken (ordered)
the night before was ready, and I had a jolly good splash."


We paused in our admiring study of the letter and remarked to the
author that "jolly good splash" was very good for one who had been
ashore only two days.

"Rahther," he said.

"I beg pardon?"

"Rahther, I say.  But you understand, of course, that I'm giving him a
bit of spoof."

"A bit of what?"

"Spoof--spoof.  Is it possible that you have been here since Saturday
without learning what 'spoof' means?  It means to chaff, to joke.  In
the States the slang equivalent would be 'to string' someone."

"How did you learn it?"

"A cabby told me about it.  I started to have some fun with him, and he
told me to 'give over on the spoof.'  But go ahead with the letter.  I
think there are several things there that you'll like."

So we resumed.


"For breakfast I had a bowl of porridge (oatmeal) and a couple of eggs,
with a few crumpets (rolls).  Nearly all day I have been looking in the
shop windows marvelling at the cheap prices.  Over here you can get a
good lounge suit (sack suit) for about three guineas (a guinea is
twenty-one shillings); and I saw a beautiful poncho (light ulster) for
four sovereigns (a sovereign is a pound, or twenty shillings).  A fancy
waistcoat (vest) costs only twelve to twenty shillings ($3 to $5), and
you can get a very good morning coat (cutaway) and waistcoat for three
and ten (three pounds and ten shillings).  I am going to order several
suits before I take passage (sail) for home.  Thus far I have bought
nothing except a pot hat (a derby), for which I paid a half-guinea (ten
shillings and sixpence).  This noon I ate a snack (light luncheon) in
the establishment of a licensed victualer (caterer), who is also a
spirit merchant (liquor dealer).  I saw a great many business men and
clarks (clerks) eating their meat pies (a meat pie is a sort of a
frigid dumpling with a shred of meat concealed somewhere within, the
trick being to find the meat), and drinking bitter (ale) or else stout
(porter).  Some of them would eat only a few biscuit (crackers) for
their lunch.  Others would order as much as a cut of beef, or, as we
say over here, a 'lunch from the joint.'  This afternoon I have
wandered about the busy thoroughfares.  All the street vehicles travel
rapidly in London, and you are chivied (hurried) at every corner."


"You have learned altogether too much," said Mr. Peasley.  Where did
you pick up that word 'chivy'?"

"I got that before I had been ashore a half hour.  Didn't I hear one of
those railroad men down at Southampton tell another one to 'chivy' the
crowd out of the custom house and get it on the train?  I suppose that
'chivy' means to rush or to hurry.  Anyway, he won't know the
difference, and it sounds about as English as anything I have heard
over here."

The letter continued:


"One of the common sights in London is the coster's (costermonger's)
little cart, drawn by a diminutive moke (donkey); but you do not see
many of them west of the City (the original London confined within the
boundaries of the ancient wall, but now comprising only a small part of
the geographical area of the metropolis).  I saw so many novel things
that I would like to tell about them, but I will reserve my further
experiences for another letter."


"I don't want to write again until I have got a new stock of words,"
the author explained.

He read as follows in conclusion:


"This evening I am going to the theatre, having made a reservation
(that is, having purchased) two orchestra stalls (parquet chairs) at
the Lyceum.  You may gather from this letter that I am having a ripping
(very good) time, and in no hurry to terminate my stay in town (in
London).  I am your awfully devoted brother,

"ALEXANDER."



IN PARIS



CHAPTER VII

HOW AN AMERICAN ENJOYS LIFE FOR
  EIGHT MINUTES AT A TIME

They were all waiting for us--there at the corner, where the Avenue de
l'Opera hooks on to the string of boulevards.  They have been waiting
for years without starving to death, so it is possible that once in a
while some misguided American really employs one of them.  They call
themselves guides, but they are tramps--shabby genteel tramps, oiled
and cheaply perfumed, full of shamefaced gayety, speaking wretched
English.  They come out of doorways at you, and in grovelling whispers
beg of you to come with them and see all the wickedness of Paris.  They
attempt insulting familiarities, such as taking you by the arm or
crowding close alongside and keeping up with you while they continue
their blandishing arguments.  Mr. Peasley expressed our violent
emotions when he said: "When I'm tackled by one of those fellows I get
hopping mad, because I know then that I must look easy."

We did not need any guide because we were looking for a café, and
without any particular effort on our part we found more than one
thousand.  On a crisp evening in February, with snow lying in the
neglected corners, we should have hunted for a grate fire; but no, we
were in Paris and we wanted to sit in front of a café.  For a week Mr.
Peasley had been saying, "Wait until we get to Paris and then we will
go and sit in front of a café."

We saw many natives, all bundled up, sitting in the open street and
slowly freezing to death, and so we joined one of the frigid little
clusters and found some nice iron chairs waiting for us.  It was a most
heroic performance, but we took our coffee in the open air.  A true
Parisian can sit under a striped awning for hours at a time with
nothing to entertain him except a few cigarettes, made of autumn
leaves, and a large goblet filled with sweetened water.  The newly
arrived American wants to be truly Parisian, so he plants himself at a
small table and settles back for an evening of calm enjoyment.  In five
minutes he has made a careful study of all the people at the
neighbouring tables, he has watched the passing crowds until he is
dizzy, and he is beginning to squirm and hanker for real excitement.
He wants something to happen.  It occurs to him that he is wasting
time.  He wonders if there isn't something doing a block or two to the
east.  So he moves on.  By nine o'clock we had become sated with the
café life of Paris and were scouting for a music hall.

When we were shown to our seats in the temple of art we found ourselves
near three Americans, two sedate old men and a motherish woman in whom
goodness and piety were plainly advertised.  They were the kind of
people who would not go to an entertainment in the church parlours at
home unless assured by the pastor that the performance would be proper
in all details.  Here in Paris they sat in the front row of a music
hall frequented by the gay characters of the boulevard and watched a
pantomime which was calculated to peel the frescoes off the wall.  They
were not greatly amazed or shocked, but simply regarded the proceedings
with sober interest.  They were doing their plain duty as sight-seers.

Whenever I am in Paris I go to a show-shop in the evening and sit
enthralled, listening to the musical singsong dialogue, of which I
comprehended not one word.  The pantomime gives an occasional
flash-light on the story of the play and guess-work does the rest.

After making the rounds of the theatres, it is pleasant relaxation to
watch the outdoor shows.  I remember a travelling amusement enterprise
that passed our hotel in the early morning of a fête day.

A big, square-shouldered fellow, with an overcoat almost concealing his
suit of tights, was pulling a hand-cart containing a roll of carpet,
some coils of rope, two chairs, several dumbells, and those worn
blue-painted odds and ends that seem to litter the "show business"
wherever it is encountered.

A smaller man, who did not wear tights, but whose attire, by its faded
jauntiness, suggested his connection with the profession, walked behind
the cart and pushed, although it seemed at times that he leaned more
than he pushed.

Last of all came a stocky and erect young fellow, with a muscular frame
dignifying an over-worn suit of clothes.  He carried a valise and one
did not need to see it open to know that it contained the powder,
grease-paint, comb and brush, pocket mirror and bar of soap that
accompany the entertainer on his travels and abide with him so long as
hope remains.

Later in the day the aggregation was seen again, and this time at its
best.

A crowd had formed a fringe around an open space in one of the
boulevard "places" and was watching a performance.  The big man who had
pulled the cart seemed to be the workhorse of the company.

His smaller companion, who had held to the cart, was now transformed
into a clown, with baggy costume and painted face.

With much grunting and some grinding of the teeth the big man lifted
dumb-bells into the air and held them there.  His face was moist with
perspiration and around the belt line of his tights there were damp
spots.

When he had shown his prowess with dead weights he gathered up the
stocky man, who was also in tights, and held him at arm's length above
his head while his broad abdomen heaved like bellows.

The crowd was moved to applause, whereupon the clown, taking quick
advantage of the demonstration, began passing the hat.  The clown's
duties were very simple.  He made confidential remarks to the
spectators, evoked some laughter by his comments on the various feats,
and watched his opportunity to reach for the coppers.  The big man
worked incessantly, but the clown seemed to be the more popular with
the lounging sight-seers.  He had taken the safe attitude of a critic,
and he must have known the secrets of business welfare.  He allowed his
associates to do the heavy work while he kept cool and gathered in the
money.

One evening while passing a row of canvas booths on one of the open
play-grounds we saw a young man with his hat off and his hair roughed
up, taking deliberate aim with a rifle at a very small target twenty
feet distant.  The target was placed above a miniature prison about two
feet high.  Extending from the prison gate was a broad platform, on
which was erected a guillotine perhaps eighteen inches high.

Evidently there was some hidden connection between the small target and
the puny prison.  The young Frenchman seemed unable to hit the target.
First the bullet would strike just below and then just above or off at
one side.  He became discouraged once and started away, but this was
too much like surrender, so he came back, paid for three more shots and
vowed that he would not give up until he had succeeded.

On the second shot there was a sudden buzzing, and then the striking of
a bell, which announced that he had hit the target.  The prison doors
flew open and out came three figures abreast, moving with slow and
jerky deliberation.

The Frenchman who had invoked the spectacle dropped the gun and shouted
with joy.  At last he was to see it!

The three figures continued to move with mechanical gait toward the
guillotine, and it could be seen that the bareheaded doll in the middle
had its hands tied behind it and that the printed lines of the face
expressed mournful resignation.  The two other men were fiercely
bearded and appeared to be cruel and determined.

As they came to the guillotine the figure in the middle toppled forward
without bending a joint and lay with its head in the groove of the
block.  This was time to turn away, sick at heart; but the Frenchman,
who had spent as much as a franc to see this show, giggled with elation.

One of the bearded manikins raised his arm as if it were the handle of
a pump.  The tin blade fell, and the head, which was as large as a
hickory nut, rolled into the basket.

Liberty, equality and fraternity!  The reign of terror--three shots for
ten centimes.



CHAPTER VIII

A CHAPTER OF FRENCH JUSTICE AS DEALT
  OUT IN THE DREYFUS CASE

A good many people do not understand the method of French courts of
law.  Take the Dreyfus case, for instance.  It has been dragging along
for years, and the more evidence accumulated by Captain Dreyfus to
prove his innocence, the greater seems to be his portion of woe.  He
has been vindicated over and over again and the vindications simply
make him more unpopular with those who prefer to regard him as a
mysterious and melodramatic villain.

People living at home have never understood why Captain Dreyfus was
convicted in the first place.  That is because they are not familiar
with the workings of a French court and cling to the Anglo-Saxon rule,
that every man must be regarded as innocent until he is proven guilty.
The French say that trials may be greatly simplified if the presumption
of guilt is attached to every defendant in a criminal case.  When the
presumption of guilt is combined with a personal unpopularity, the
prisoner usually finds it advisable to throw himself on the mercy of
the court and accept a life sentence.

In order to elucidate the rules of procedure in a French court and show
how and why Captain Dreyfus was convicted, let us suppose that French
methods could be transferred to the United States and applied to an
ordinary criminal case--say the theft of a dog.  Here is what would
happen.

The Court--"Prisoner, you are accused of stealing a dog.  Are you
guilty or not guilty?"

Prisoner--"Not guilty."

Court--"Well, someone stole a dog, and if you refuse to acknowledge
your guilt, we may be compelled to cast suspicion on gentlemen who
would be deeply pained to have themselves interrogated."

The Prisoner--"How can I acknowledge my guilt when I didn't steal the
dog?"

Court--"That isn't the point.  The point is that a great many prominent
and influential people have said at different times that you stole the
dog.  Now, if you come before the tribunal and prove that you didn't
steal the dog you are going to humiliate a great many well known and
sensitive persons and make the whole situation very distressing to me.
It would simplify matters greatly if you would admit that you stole the
dog."

The Prisoner--"But how can I admit stealing the dog when I am entirely
innocent?"

The Court--"Did you ever see the dog said to have been stolen?"

Prisoner--"Yes, sir."  (Profound sensation.)

Court--"And yet you have the audacity to stand there and say you didn't
steal it?"

Prisoner--"A great many other people saw the dog."

Court--"Perhaps so; but they would make trouble if you or anyone else
began insinuating against them, so I don't propose to have their names
hauled in here.  Of all the men who saw the dog and had a chance to
steal it, you are the only one whose conviction would satisfy the
general public."

Prisoner--"I can bring witnesses who saw another man steal the dog.  I
can prove that he confessed to stealing the dog and that he has fled to
escape punishment."

Court--"You ought not to bring any such testimony into this court, for
if you do so you are going to upset some theories held by very dear
friends of mine, and if I permit the introduction of such testimony,
there is no telling what they will say about me.  If you didn't steal
the dog isn't there something else you have done that is punishable in
one way or another?"

Prisoner--"I can't think of anything just now."

Court--"Oh, pshaw!  Aren't you guilty of something?  Just think a
moment.  Nearly every man is guilty of something.  If we can find you
guilty of any old crime it will help some."

Prisoner--"I refuse to acknowledge any degree of guilt.  I am innocent."

Court--"I don't see how you can be when so many estimable people think
otherwise, but I suppose we shall have to give you a trial.  Call the
first witness."

First Witness--"Your Honor, I am a very high-minded and aristocratic
person, and I have always disliked this defendant.  (Sensation.)  As
soon as I had heard that someone had accused him of stealing a dog, I
knew he must be guilty.  I still hold to the opinion that he is guilty.
I know that another man has confessed to stealing the dog, and has
skipped out in order to avoid arrest, but these details have no weight
with me.  I am satisfied that if the defendant did not steal the dog
mentioned in this affidavit, he must have stolen some other dog that we
know nothing about.  Ever since this wretched defendant was first
accused of this crime I have been going around saying that he was
guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt.  Naturally I am not going to come
here now and acknowledge his innocence.  If he is acquitted, I'll be
the subject of ridicule.  That is why I urge the court to convict him.
No matter what the testimony may show, you take my personal assurance
that he is guilty.  Remember one thing, that I have a large pull."

The Court--"Thank you very much for your testimony.  Call the second
witness."

Second Witness--"Your Honor, one day last spring I met a man whose
friend told him that one day he saw the defendant pass the house from
which the dog was stolen.  From that moment I became convinced of the
defendant's guilt.  (Terrific sensation.)  Another day a stranger
walked into my office and told me that 'D' was the first letter of the
name of the man who stole the dog.  Although there are 100,000 persons
in town whose names begin with 'D,' I had no difficulty in coming to
the conclusion that the particular 'D' who stole the dog was the
scoundrel now on trial.  The reason that I came to this conclusion was
that he used to wear a red necktie, and I dislike any man who wears a
red necktie.  Also I attach great importance to the fact that the
letter 'D,' which is the first letter in his name, is also the first
letter in 'Dog,' thus proving that he stole the dog.  (Profound
sensation.)  In conclusion I would like to request the court to bring
in a verdict of guilty."

The Court--"We will now have some expert testimony."

First Expert--"Your Honor, I never saw the prisoner before, and I had
no personal acquaintance with the dog, but I am convinced that he stole
the dog, and I will tell you why.  You know, of course, that another
man has confessed to stealing the dog.  My theory, evolved after much
thought, is that the man who confessed did not steal the dog at all,
but that the dog was stolen by the defendant, who disguised himself so
as to resemble the man who has confessed.  (Great sensation.)  There
seems to be a universal admission that the man who stole the dog was a
brunette.  Some people claim that this fact points to the innocence of
the defendant, who is a blonde; but my theory is that the defendant
dyed his hair and whiskers so as to cause them to resemble the hair and
whiskers of a certain innocent man, then he borrowed a suit of the
innocent man's clothes and went and stole the dog, and the resemblance
was so perfect that even the innocent man and the dog were both
deceived.  The innocent man thought that he, and not the defendant, had
stolen the dog, so he confessed and then ran away.  But I am here to
save him in spite of his confession.  I maintain that if this defendant
were to dye his hair and whiskers and put on a suit of clothes
belonging to the man who has confessed to stealing the dog, then to
anyone a short distance away he would bear a striking resemblance to
the man who has confessed.  Therefore the dog was not stolen by the man
who has confessed, but by this infamous defendant cleverly disguised to
resemble the man who has confessed."

The Court--"Then you think he is guilty?"

Expert Witness--"If there is anything in my theory, it is simply
impossible for him to be innocent."

The Court--"Much obliged.  Call the next witness."

Next Witness--"I would like to state to the court that the defendant is
not very well liked down in our neighbourhood, where he formerly
resided, and if the court will only convict him it will be a distinct
personal favour to several of us."

The Court--"Do you think him guilty?"

Next Witness--"I haven't the slightest doubt of it.  Neither has my
wife.  I have been convinced of his guilt ever since I heard him say
one morning, 'I have something to do this afternoon.'  It is evident to
my mind that when he said, 'I have something to do this afternoon,' he
meant, 'I am going to steal a dog this afternoon.'" (Sensation.)

The Court--"Then you are quite sure that he did steal the dog?"

Next Witness--"Of course."

The Court--"Are there any other witnesses?"

Prisoner--"I have several witnesses here who saw the other man steal
the dog.  I can prove that at the time of the stealing I was ten miles
away, attending a picnic.  I can prove, also, that I didn't need a dog;
that I never liked dogs; that I had no earthly motive for stealing a
dog; and that from the time of my first accusation I have consistently
and emphatically denied any knowledge of the crime."

The Court--"Well, I don't see that the dog has anything to do with the
case.  I'll sentence you to six months in the bridewell for being so
blamed unpopular."



CHAPTER IX

THE STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED TO AN AMERICAN CONSUL

In undertaking a trip to foreign parts I have had two objects in view:--

(a) To strengthen and more closely cement our friendly relations with
foreign Powers--I to furnish the cement.

(b) To reform things in general over here.

I found that there was no opening for a real reformer in the U.S.A.,
inasmuch as the magazines were upsetting municipal rings, cornering the
Beef Trust, and camping on the trail of every corporation that seemed
to be making money.  I said:--"If I wish to make a ten strike as a
reformer I must seek new fields."

So I decided to flit to Europe and spend all the time I could spare
from dodging _table d'hôte_ dinners to bolstering up and regulating the
consular service.

In writing to-day about the happy experiences of an American consul I
am following the advice of a friend who urged me to send some letters
back home.

"Don't put in too much about your travels," he said.  "People have read
about European travel until they know Munich better than they do
Montana.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself write something
entirely irrelevant--something that has nothing to do with anything in
particular.  The less you say about foreign countries the better you
will please your readers, and if you can arrange to write a series of
letters in which no reference is made to either Europe or Africa who
knows but what you will score a hit?"

With no desire to boast of my accomplishments, I feel that up to date I
have followed instructions rather closely.  If any dates, statistics,
or useful information have crept into these communications it is
through oversight and not by intention.

In writing from Paris the natural impulse is to describe Napoleon's
tomb and tell how the Champs Elysées runs right out to the Arc de
Triomphe and then cuts through the Bois de Boulogne.  Fearing that this
subject matter had been touched upon by other visitors, I shall
disregard Paris and go straight to my task of reforming the consular
service.

To begin with, usually the American Consul is all right in his place,
but his place is at home.  Overpaid, possibly, but he does his best to
earn his $800 per annum.  If he kept all the money that he handled in
the course of the year, he couldn't be a really successful grafter.  He
finds himself plumped down in a strange country.  About the time that
he begins to learn the language and has saved up enough money to buy
evening clothes he is recalled and goes back home with a "dress suit"
on his hands.  Take the case of Mr. Eben Willoughby, of Michigan.  It
is a simple narrative, but it will give you a line on the shortcomings
of our consular service, and it will carry its own moral.

"Old Man" Willoughby, as he was known at home, owned and edited a
successful daily paper on the outskirts of the Michigan pine belt.  He
was a wheel horse in the party and for forty years had supported the
caucus nominees.  The aspiring politician who wished to go to Congress
had to go and see Willoughby with his hat in his hand.  He helped to
make and unmake United States Senators and was consulted regarding
appointments.  But he never had asked anything for himself.  His two
boys went to college at Ann Arbor, and when the younger came home with
his degree and began to take a hand in running the paper Mr. Willoughby
found himself, for the first time in his life, relieved of wearing
responsibilities.  He was well fixed financially and still in the prime
of life--not due to retire permanently, but ready to take it easy.  For
years he had nursed a vague desire to travel beyond the limits of his
native land.  Mrs. Willoughby, who in the home circle was known as
"Ma," was a devotee of the Chautauqua Circle, and she, too, had an
ambition born of much reading to pack up and go somewhere.  The family
doctor said that a visit to some milder climate, far from the rigours
of northern winter, would be a positive benefit to her.

[Illustration: _Had to go and see Willoughby_]

So Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby began to study the atlas.  One of the sons
suggested to "Old Man" Willoughby that he could take a trip to an
attractive southern country at the minimum expense by securing an
appointment as consul.  And, of course, apart from the financial
advantage, there would be the glory of representing a great nation and
hoisting the flag over a benighted foreign population.  The suggestion
appealed very strongly to Mr. Willoughby.  He wrote to the Congressman
and the Senator, and wanted to know if there was a vacancy--salary no
object, but he would like to go into a mild and equable climate where
he could pick cocoanuts.

His friends at Washington simply overturned the State Department in
their eagerness to give him what he wanted.  They discovered that there
was somewhere on the map a city called Gallivancia.  It was down by the
southern seas--the abode of perpetual summer and already enjoying a
preliminary boom as a resort.  The acting consul had been a British
subject.  The pay was so small that no enterprising American had wanted
the job.  "United States Consul at Gallivancia" reverberated pleasantly
in the imagination of Mr. Willoughby.  He told his friends at
Washington to go after the place, and in less than no time his daily
paper announced that he had "accepted" the appointment.

The politicians represented to the State Department that Mr. Willoughby
was a sturdy patriot of unimpeachable character and great ability--all
of which was true.  They might have added that he would be just as much
at home in Gallivancia as a polar bear would be on India's coral strand.

The news of his appointment gave one section of Michigan the trembles
for several days, and the Willoughby family was bathed in a new
importance.  Mrs. Willoughby was given a formal farewell by the ladies
of the congregation assembled in the church parlours.  Mr. Willoughby
was presented with a jewelled badge by the members of his lodge, and
the band serenaded him the night before he went away.

He and "ma" stood on the back platform and gazed with misty eyes at the
flutter of handkerchiefs on the station platform until the train swung
around a curve and they found themselves headed straight for
Gallivancia and glory.  Both of them felt a little heart-achey and
dubious, but it was too late to back out.  At New York they boarded a
ship and after several days of unalloyed misery they landed at
Gallivancia.

Now, Gallivancia is the make-believe capital of a runt of an island
having no commercial or other importance.  No matter where an island
may be dropped down, some nation must grab it and hold it for fear that
some other nation will take charge of it and pay the expenses.  That is
why Gallivancia had a governor general and a colonel in command, and
the Right Honourable Skipper of the gunboat and a judge and a cluster
of foreign consuls.  The men had a club at which whiskey and water
could be obtained, unless the bottle happened to be empty.  The women
exchanged calls and gave formal dinners and drove about in rickety
little victorias with terrified natives in livery perched upon the box.
The lines of social precedence were closely drawn.  At a dinner party
the wife of the governor preceded the wife of the military commander
who, in turn, queened it over the wife of the gunboat, who looked down
upon the wife of the magistrate, and so on.  The women smoked
cigarettes and gambled at bridge, while every man who had won a medal
at a shooting match pinned it on his coat when he went to a ball.  It
was a third-rate copy of court life, but these small dignitaries went
through the motions and got a lot of fun out of it in one way and
another.  If we cannot afford a social position that is real ivory, the
next best thing is to get one that is celluloid.  It had all the
intricate vices of a true nobility without the bona fide titles to back
them up and give the glamour.

Into this nest of pretentious, ceremonious, strutting little mortals
came "Old Man" Willoughby and "Ma" Willoughby of Michigan.  Of the
outward form and artificialities of a Europeanised aristocratic society
they were most profoundly ignorant.  Mr. Willoughby did not even own a
"dress suit."  When he got a clean shave and put on a string tie and
backed into a "Prince Albert" coat he felt that he had made a very
large concession to the mere fripperies of life.  And "Ma" had her own
ideas about low-necked gowns.

Can you see Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby in Gallivancia?  Can you understand
what must have been the attitude of these gold-braid pewees toward an
old-fashioned apple pie couple from the tall timber?

Mind you, I am not poking fun at the Willoughbys.  In the opinion of
every real American a man of the Willoughby type is worth a ten-acre
lot full of these two-by-four titles.  The Willoughbys were good
people--the kind of people one likes to meet in Michigan.  But when the
ladies of the foreign colony came to call on "Ma" and said "Dyuh me!"
and looked at her through their lorgnettes, she was like a staid old
Plymouth Rock hen who suddenly finds herself among the birds of
paradise.  She told Mr. Willoughby that it was the queerest lot of
"women folks" she had ever seen, and although she didn't like to talk
about people until she knew her ground, some of them did not seem any
more respectable than the law allowed.  Poor Mrs. Willoughby!  She did
not know it was good form for a woman to smoke and drink, but bad form
for her to be interested in her husband.  She tried to apply a Michigan
training to Gallivancia conditions, and the two didn't seem to jibe.

[Illustration: "_D'yuh me!_"]

If Mrs. Willoughby amused the women, Mr. Willoughby more than amused
the men.  He upset them and left them gasping.

The Acting Consul had used a small office adjoining his own place of
business on the water front.  Mr. Willoughby called on the former
consul and found him to be a dignified Britisher of the gloomy and
reticent sort, with a moustache shaped like a horseshoe.  The dethroned
official was courteous, but not cordial.  He was saying good-by to some
easy money, and the situation was not one calculated to promote good
cheer.  Mr. Willoughby's action in coming down and pulling the
Consulate from underneath him seemed to him almost unfriendly.
However, he formally turned over to Mr. Willoughby a table, four
chairs, several account books, and a letter press, all being the
property of the United States of America.

Mr. Willoughby had rented a house on the hill overlooking the town and
decided to plant the Consulate in the front room of his residence.
Inasmuch as the Consul had a business caller about once a month, there
was no need of maintaining two establishments.  Already he had taken
into his employ and his warmest personal friendship a native named
Franciotto.  This name seemed formal and hard to remember, so Mr.
Willoughby rechristened him "Jim."  He liked this native in spite of
his colour because he was the only man in Gallivancia who seemed to be
pervaded by the simple spirit of democracy.  Mr. Willoughby said that
the others put on too many "dam-lugs"--whatever that may mean.

If U.S. Consul Willoughby's social standing in Gallivancia was at all
subject to doubt that doubt vanished on the day when he and "Jim" came
down to move the office effects to the house on the hill.

Mr. Willoughby did something that day which convulsed Gallivancia as it
never had been convulsed before--not even when a neighbouring volcano
blew off.  For days afterward the official set, the men at the little
club, and the women pouring tea at each other, talked of nothing else.
Many would not believe when they first heard it, but there were
witnesses--reliable witnesses--who saw the whole thing and were called
upon time and time again to testify regarding the most extraordinary
performance of the United States Consul.  Other Consuls may come and go
and the years spin their weary lengths and the obliterating drift of
time may hide some of the lesser events in the history of Gallivancia,
but until time shall be no more the residents of that city will tell
the story of "Old Man" Willoughby, of Michigan.

What do you suppose he did?  No effort of the imagination can carry you
within hailing distance of the horrible truth, so let the suspense be
ended.  Mr. Willoughby, with his own hands, helped to move the
furniture from the old Consulate up to his new residence.  He put the
table on top of his head and balanced it carefully and carried it
through the open streets of Gallivancia!  An official, a representative
of a great Power, performing cheap manual labour!

[Illustration: _What do you suppose he did?_]

Words are altogether inadequate to describe the degree of obloquy which
Mr. Willoughby earned for himself by this unheard-of exhibition.  In
Gallivancia it was not considered quite the thing to indulge in mental
effort, and for anyone except a menial of the lowest social order to
perform physical labour was almost inconceivable.  The new consul was
set down as either a harmless imbecile or an altogether new specimen of
barbarian.  In either case he was not a fit associate for well-bred
gentlemen, and Gallivancia proceeded to ignore him and "Ma."  That is,
they pretended to ignore them, but as a matter of fact, they watched
them at a distance and heard daily reports of their familiarities with
servants, their fondness for outlandish American cookery, and other
eccentricities.  It was all vastly diverting to the tiny aristocrats of
Gallivancia, but it was pretty hard on Mr. and Mrs.
Willoughby--homesick, hungry for spring chicken and garden truck, and
yet ashamed to pick up and go home so soon after all those elaborate
good-bys.

One morning Mr. Willoughby walked out on the veranda of his hillside
cottage and looked across the harbour and saw something that smote him
with an overpowering joy.  A white cruiser, flying the Stars and
Stripes, had steamed through the narrow entrance and was bearing down
to an anchorage.

"Come here, mother!" he shouted.  "Come here, if you want to see
something that's good for sore eyes!"

Mrs. Willoughby came running, and nearly careened with happiness.
There it was, an American war vessel, with real Yankees on board--boys
from home; boys who had been brought up to believe that a man's
character and his abilities give him a worth which cannot be altered by
putting a mere handle to his name.  Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby were eager
to go down and call on the "folks from home."  After the prolonged
boycott which had been hanging over them they were pining for white
society.

Mr. Willoughby put on his long black coat and Mrs. Willoughby got out
her flowered bonnet and together they went down to the water
front--walked instead of going as they should have gone, in one of the
decrepit local hacks.  Before they could charter a humble rowboat and
go out to the ship the Governor General and the Lord High Commander of
the Scow and the Imperial Collector of Customs and all the other
residents of real importance had gone out in a launch and taken charge
of the naval officers.  Dinner parties and a ball at the "Palace" were
arranged at once.  The servant at the club hurried out and got another
bottle of Scotch whiskey, and the town band began to mobilise at a
café.  Gallivancia had no use for a humble American of the Willoughby
type, but it gave hysterical welcome to the splendid war vessel and the
natty men in uniform.  Over the first drink the Americans were told the
remarkable story of the new Consul and were assured that he was a
"queer sort."  And the naval officers, being accustomed to hearing
United States consuls maligned, took no further interest in their
government's representative; merely shook hands with him when he came
aboard, told him to make himself at home, and then flocked away to the
high lights and the gayety which had been provided for them by the
court circles of Gallivancia.

Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby found themselves sidetracked, and they went
back home not daring to talk about what had happened.  But that was the
day which caused them to decide to go back to Michigan.  Mr. Willoughby
wrote to the State Department and said that the climate did not agree
with him.  And when they sailed away "Jim" was the only person who came
to the dock to bid them good-by.

As the "Ex-Consul to Gallivancia" Mr. Willoughby is more than ever an
honoured figure in his own town.  Doubtless he has more gray matter,
more Christian charity, and more horse sense than could be collectively
assembled by all the petty officials at Gallivancia.  And yet
Gallivancia regarded him as a very poor excuse for a Consul.  The naval
officers saw in him a well-meaning "jay" who was bringing discredit on
their native land because of his ignorance of social forms.

Therefore let us send out Consuls who can put up a "front."  Have each
Consul wear the uniform of a drum major.  Make sure that he can dance
all night, play bridge, and keep up with the naval crowd when it comes
to drinking.  Let him be haughty with the serving classes, but jovial
with the military.  Make sure that he is averse to all forms of labour.
Such a Consul will shed glory upon our beloved country, and will never
suffer the unhappy fate of "Old Man" Willoughby.



IN NAPLES



CHAPTER X

MR. PEASLEY AND HIS VIVID IMPRESSIONS OF FOREIGN PARTS

In Naples--and Mr. Peasley is still with us.

[Illustration: _Mr. Peasley is still with us_]

We waited for him in London until he recovered his lost trunk, and he
was so grateful that he decided to go along with us.

He said that he was foot-loose and without any definite plans and it
always made him feel more at home to travel with people who were just
as green and as much scared as he was.

A week ago we were in London--sloshing about in the damp and dismal
mixture of mud and snow which lined the dark thoroughfares.

This morning we are basking in the crystal sunlight of Naples--the blue
bay, with the crescent outline on one side, the white walls of the
mounting city on the other, Vesuvius looming in the distance behind a
hazy curtain, and tourists crowding the landscape in the immediate
foreground.

Three big steamers are lying at anchor within the breakwater--one from
Genoa, one from Marseilles, and one from New York--and all heavily
laden with Americans, some sixty of whom will be our fellow-passengers
to Alexandria.  The hotels are overflowing with Yankee pilgrims, and
every Neapolitan who has imitation coral and celluloid tortoise shell
for sale is wearing an expectant smile.

The jack-rabbit horses attached to the ramshackle little victorias lean
wearily in their shafts, for these are busy days.  The harvest days are
at hand.  The Americans have come.  An English woman who had seen the
horde in the streets here remarked to a friend this morning, "It must
be awfully lonesome in America just at present."

And she meant it, too.

It has been a fairly busy week for Mr. Peasley.  Mr. Peasley is
addicted to the habit of taking notes.  Every night at the hotel he
takes out a small leather-bound book presented to him by an insurance
company in America in appreciation of the fact that he has paid the
company all his ready money for the last fifteen years, and in this
small volume he jots down brief memoranda.

Mr. Peasley has a terse style.  Sometimes he uses abbreviations.  His
English is not of the most scholarly brand.  As he is merely writing
for himself, it makes no difference.

The Peasley notebook, after twenty days in Europe, is full of meaty
information, and contains many a flashlight on life in the Old World.
By permission we are reproducing it herewith.


LONDON

"By Warrant.--Every man in London who sells anything, from a collar
button to a chariot-and-four, does so 'by appointment' or 'by warrant.'
Poor man opens shop--business bad.  He is trying to sell shaving soap.
One day royal personage floats in and buys a cake for 6d., whatever
that means.  Dealer puts out gold sign to the effect that he is
supplying the royalty with lather.  Public breaks down showcases
getting at his merchandise.  All true democrats theoretically ignore
this second-hand worship of royalty, but, just the same, take notice
that the shops with the rared-up unicorns in front and the testimonials
from their Royal Majesties are the ones that catch the humble American
tourist.

"Opera Hats.--Wandered into a hat store and discovered, to my
amazement, that the proprietor was the inventor of the opera, or
concertina, hat.  Surprised--always supposed that at least a dozen men
had worked on it.  Establishment had documents to prove that the first
folding hat had been manufactured on the very spot where I stood.
Proprietor has not yet been knighted--probably an oversight.

"Rubber Pavement.--The large covered court of the Savoy Hotel is paved
with blocks of soft rubber three feet square.  Constant procession of
cabs in and out of court, and rubber deadens sound.  Good idea--should
be used in all the streets of New York.  New cab horse comes
along--never has tackled rubber pavement--is clattering noisily over
the asphalt--suddenly hits the soft rubber and begins to bounce up and
down like a tennis ball.  Strange look comes into horse's eye and he
crouches like a rabbit, looks over his shoulder at the driver, and
seems to be asking, 'What am I up against?'  Mean trick to play on a
green horse.  Should be a warning sign displayed."

[Illustration: "_What am I up against?_"]

"Famine in Trousers.--One type of English chappy, too old for bread and
jam and not quite old enough for music halls, wears extraordinary
trousers--legs very narrow and reefed above tops of shoes (I mean
boots)--causes them to look thin and bird-like.

"English Drama.--Saw new problem play last evening--new play, but same
old bunch of trouble.  Each principal character failed to marry the
person of the opposite sex with whom he or she was really in love.
Marriages did not interfere with love affairs, but helped to complicate
the plot.  Discovered why we can never have a great native drama in the
States--we have no open fireplaces in which to destroy the
incriminating papers.  Impossible to destroy papers at a steam radiator.

"L.C.C.--In musical comedies, pantomimes, and at music halls, many
sarcastic references to L.C.C., meaning London County Council.  Council
is ploughing open new streets, tearing down old buildings, putting up
new buildings, and spending money like a sailor on a holiday.  Their
extravagance has given great offence to the low comedians and other
heavy rate payers, while the very poor people, who are getting parks,
sunshine and shower baths free of charge, bless the L.C.C.  The dress
coat crowd in the theatres seem to have it in for the L.C.C., but they
are very strong for Mr. Chamberlain, notwithstanding his recent defeat.
Mr. Chamberlain seems to be a great deal like Mr. Bryan--that is,
nearly everyone admires him, but not enough people vote for him.  In
spite of protest from property holders, L.C.C. is going bravely ahead
with gigantic task of modernising and beautifying London.  Asked an
Englishman why there was so much criticism of L.C.C.  He said if you
touch a Britisher in the region of his pocketbook he lets out a holler
that can be heard in Labrador.  Didn't use those words, but that's what
he meant.

"Snowstorm.--Last night a few snowflakes drifted into Piccadilly
Circus; hardly enough to cover the ground this morning, but everyone is
talking about the 'snowstorm.'  London is away ahead of us on fogs, but
their snowstorms are very amateurish.

"Coals.--Buying my coal by the quart--forty cents a quart.  If I fed
the fire the way I do at home would spend $100 a day.  The official who
brings fuel to my room in a small tin measure insists upon calling it
'coals,' but I didn't think there was enough of it to justify use of
plural."


PARIS

"Coming Across.--The turbine boat from Dover to Calais ran like a
scared deer and rolled like an intoxicated duck.  Held to rail all the
way across, looking fixedly at oscillating horizon and wondering why I
had left home--bleak, snowy landscape all the way from Calais to Paris.
After dinner went to music hall and learned that Paris could be fairly
warm, even in the dead of winter.

"Keeping Tab on the Cab.--The 'taximetre' cab is a great
institution--small clockwork arrangement alongside of seat, so that
passenger may sit and watch the indicator and know how his bill is
running up.  The indicator is set at seventy-five centimes at the
start.  In other words, you owe fifteen cents before you get away.
Then it clicks up ten centimes at a time, and when you reach your
destination there is no chance for an argument regarding the total.
What they need now in Paris is a mechanism to prevent the driver from
taking you by a roundabout way.

"Just for Fun.--Strange epidemic of killing in Paris.  Two or three
murders every night, not for revenge or in furtherance of robbery, but
merely to gratify a morbid desire to take life.  Among certain reckless
classes of toughs, or 'Hooligans,' it is said to be quite the fashion
for ambitious characters to go out at night and kill a few belated
pedestrians merely in a spirit of bravado and to build up a reputation
among their associates.  Seems unfair to the pedestrians.  At one of
the theatres where a '_revue_' or hodge-podge 'take-off' on topics of
current interest, was being presented, the new type of playful murderer
was represented as waiting at a corner and shooting up, one after
another, some twenty-five citizens who chanced to stray along.  This
performance was almost as good as the Buffalo Bill show and gave much
delight to the audience.

"Costly Slumber.--From Paris to Marseilles is about as far as from
Chicago to Pittsburg.  Sleeping car fare is about $10; total fare by
night train, about $30.  Two cents a pound for all baggage in excess of
a measly fifty-six pounds.  No wonder people travel by day in the
refrigerator cars and try to keep warm by crawling under hundreds of
pounds of 'hand luggage.'  Anything with a handle to it is 'hand
luggage.'  Some of the cowhide bags must have used up two or three cows.

"Tea Habit.  The tea habit has struck Paris.  At Grand Hotel and many
cafés general round-up about five in the afternoon, everyone gulping
tea and eating cakes.  Not as demoralising as the absinthe habit, but
more insidious.

"American Music.--After a 'coon' song has earned a pension in the
United States it comes over to Paris and is grabbed up as a startling
novelty.  All the '_revues_' studded with songs popular at home about
two years ago--Frenchmen believe that all Americans devote themselves,
day in and day out, to accumulating vast wealth and singing coon songs.

"Oysters.--Went to famous fish and oyster restaurant for dinner.  The
Gallic oyster wears a deep blush of shame and tastes like the day after
taking calomel.  Thought horseradish might improve, modify or
altogether kill the taste, so I tried to order some.  Knew that 'horse'
was 'cheveau' and 'red' was 'rouge,' but could not think of the French
for 'ish,' so I had to do without.  Somewhat discouraged about my
French.  Almost as bad as former American Consul, who, after eight
years in Paris, had to send for an interpreter to find out what 'oui'
meant.  Have got 'merci' down pat, but still pronounce it 'mercy.'"


MARSEILLES

"More Snow.--The further south we go the colder the weather and the
deeper the snow.  Getting my furs ready for Cairo.  Ten hours on the
train from Paris to Marseilles, wrapped in a blanket and counting the
warts on a foreign commercial traveller who sat opposite.  No two
counts agreed.  Had looked forward during a long month to this ride
through sunny France.  Had dreamed of green landscapes that lay smiling
in the genial warmth, the stately poplars leading away to purple hills,
and the happy labourers looking up from their toil in the fields to
smile at us and bid us welcome as we flashed by.  Not a bit like it.
More on the order of North Dakota.  Everybody says it is the coldest
snap that Southern France has known in many years.  They saved up all
their cold weather so as to hand it to me when I came along.

"Bouillabaisse (spelling not guaranteed).--There is only one thing to
do in Marseilles, and that is to drive out to an excellent restaurant
built on a rock overlooking the bay and partake of bouillabaisse.  Dish
famed in song and story.  Mentioned, often in 'Trilby.'  Possibly that
is what ailed Svengali.  The bouillabaisse and the 'Marseillaise' were
both invented in Marseilles.  The mayonnaise comes from elsewhere.  The
bouillabaisse is a combination of soup, ragout, chowder, and New
England boiled dinner.  There are many ingredients.  It is said they
put in whatever they have the most of--sea bass, lobsters, crayfish,
vegetables, sauces--everything except the license.  Liked the taste
very much--first when I ate it, and then all during the afternoon and
evening.

"Chateau d'If.--Coming out of the harbour we ran very close to the
Chateau d'If, a stern fortress prison topping a huge rock rising
sharply from the bay.  Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned here.  Man
on board said that the character of Edmund Dantes was wholly
fictitious, manufactured by Dumas.  Must be a mistake, as I saw the
small rock on which James O'Neill used to stand at the end of the first
act and exclaim, 'The world is mine!'  It is exactly as represented on
the stage, except for the calcium light."


NAPLES

"The Ship's Barber.--Coming across from Marseilles in the _dampfer_
(Germ. for boat) the weather moderated so that I needed only one
overcoat.  Got acquainted with barber.  Often have some trouble in
making up with a captain, but can usually hit it off with the barber.
A good barber is a bureau of information, headquarters for scandal, and
knows what the run is going to be.  The barber on our _dampfer_ no
good.  Shy on conversation, but great on arithmetic.  Charged me two
francs for a shave, and when I suggested that he was rather high he
said he was compelled to ask one franc and thirty centimes for the
extract of vanilla he had put on my hair.  Told him I did not want any
extract of vanilla, but he said there was no way of getting it back
into the bottle.  Besides, he had the money, so we compromised by
permitting him to keep it.  Said he longed to go to America.  I told
him there would probably be an opening in America for anyone so
energetic and muscular, and I promised to give him a letter to Armour &
Co., of Chicago."

[Illustration: _Promised him a letter to Armour & Co., Chicago_]

"Free Fireworks.--A full hundred miles out at sea we could make out an
irregular oval of fire suspended in the sky--the two streams of lava
now trickling down Vesuvius.  Finest landmark and sailing target a
sailor could ask for.  When we were forty miles away we wanted the
captain to slow up for fear he would run into the mountain and injure
it.  Next morning in harbour we discovered that we were still ten miles
away from it.

"The New Naples.--In ten years Naples has done a lot of sprucing up.
Streets are cleaner, new and pretentious buildings have multiplied,
smells have been eliminated.  Guides, beggars and cabmen not so
pestiferous as of yore, but still bad enough to deserve electrocution,
provided some more lingering form of death could not be substituted.
Cabmen seemed downcast.  Municipality recently forbade any extra charge
for cab service on a _fiesta_, or holiday.  In Italy 300 days out of
every 365 can be rung in under the head of _fiestas_.  Every American
who landed in Naples found himself right in the midst of a _fiesta_ and
had to pay two fares, or as much as thirty cents in gold, to ride
around in one of the open hacks.  Thirty cents would seem a reasonable
charge, but not after you have seen the hack.  The smaller the horse in
Naples the heavier the harness.  Evidently a desire to have about the
same total weight in each case.

"Emigrants.--Alongside of our ship lay a German steamer about to sail
for America.  The tender made trips to and from the dock, and every
time she came out she was filled to the last inch with Italian
emigrants.  We saw hundreds of them disappear into the ship, so many it
seemed they must have been packed in below by hydraulic pressure,
otherwise there wouldn't have been room for them.  All headed for the
land of the free to build railroads.  Englishman wanted to know why
there was such heavy emigrant traffic at this particular season.  Told
him they were hurrying over to vote at the April election in Chicago.
He believed it.  Come to think of it, I believe it myself."


This is Mr. Peasley's notebook up to the present moment, just as we are
departing for Alexandria.  He admits that he may have overlooked a few
minor points of interest, but he more than made up by neglecting to
mention Napoleon's tomb or the Moulin Rouge.

Since arriving in Naples this morning Mr. Peasley has arranged with the
tourist agency to change his ticket, and he will accompany us to Egypt.



IN CAIRO



CHAPTER XI

CAIRO AS THE ANNUAL STAMPING GROUND FOR AMERICANS
  AND WHY THEY MAKE THE TRIP

"It's a small world."

This is one of the overworked phrases of the globe-trotter.  It is used
most frequently by those who follow the beaten paths.  In other words,
we find it difficult to get away from our acquaintances.  Not that we
wish to get away from them; on the contrary, when we are stumbling
along some unfamiliar thoroughfare six thousand miles from home and
bump into a man with whom we have a nodding acquaintance in Chicago, we
fall upon his neck and call him brother.  It must be very annoying to
criminals and celebrities who are trying to hide their identities, but
to the ordinary traveller it is always a glad surprise to find a friend
coming right out of the ground in a corner of the world supposed to be
given over to strangers.

[Illustration: _Very annoying to criminals and celebrities_]

There are certain spots on the earth which may be classed as definite
headquarters for wanderers.  It is said that in the summer season any
person of any nationality who seats himself in front of the Café de la
Paix in Paris may confidently gamble on hailing an acquaintance in less
than fifteen minutes.  Trafalgar Square, in London, is called by the
Britishers the actual kernel of civilisation.  The long corridor of the
Waldorf is the temporary abode of folks from almost everywhere.  The
big "front porch" here at Shepheard's Hotel, in Cairo, will surely have
two or three friends waiting for you when you arrive.  The Grand Hotel,
in Yokohama, has been for many years a sort of clearing-house for
travellers--circumnavigators moving aside to let the other crowd pass.
Then there is (was, alas!) the Palace, in San Francisco, and the
Auditorium, in Chicago--definite rallying points for mortals who move
about.

It is when we meet our long-lost friend in the remote by-way that we
are induced to throw up our hands and exclaim, "The world is small."

For instance, before the German steamer left Naples for Alexandria a
launch load of new passengers came aboard.  As we were heading out of
the bay and almost under the shadow of Capri I glanced at the man in
the adjoining steamer chair and recognised the banker from Tien-tsin.
He was just as much surprised as I was.

About a year ago we parted at San Francisco after a long and pleasant
voyage from Shanghai--he to continue a leisurely trip around the world,
I to carry my priceless treasures of Oriental art and shattered letter
of credit back to Indiana.  When we parted there was the usual
stereotyped remark about meeting again, but neither of us believed that
there was one chance in a million of our paths crossing, it being a far
cry from Tien-Tsin to Terre Haute.  I don't know what a "far cry" is,
but I have come across it in some of our most opaque dissertations, and
accordingly I welcomed the opportunity to use it.

The man from Tien-Tsin had loitered in Europe and was now heading
straight for China.  I had made up my mind in a hurry to go to Egypt to
help 10,000 other students investigate the tombs, and here we were,
side by side, in the Mediterranean.

A few minutes after colliding with him I had the pleasure of meeting a
young woman who said that she was the sister of Henry Billkamp, of
Chicago.  She asked me if I remembered the circumstances under which I
met Henry, and I told her that I couldn't very well forget them.

A few years ago in Chicago I resided in a large establishment which had
as an auxiliary feature a fine Turkish bath.  Many of our best people
would come to the bath every afternoon, first steaming themselves in
the vapour room, then scrubbing themselves, then a shower, and after
that a plunge--by which time most of the coal dust could be removed.
Henry Billkamp came to the bath one afternoon and brought with him a
suit case containing his evening clothes and accessories.  Henry was to
be married the next day, and that evening he and the bride elect were
to be guests at a large dinner party on the south side.  Henry looked
at his watch and found that he could loll around the bath for an hour
before jumping into his evening clothes.  So he put his suit case over
in one corner of a dressing-room, and in a few minutes had joined the
informal circle which was commonly known as the "Perspiration Club."

It may be said in passing that Henry was a very estimable young man of
first-class abilities and that he was built on the general outlines of
a flagpole.  He pierced the atmosphere for a considerable distance, in
an up and down direction, but he never blocked the view of any person
who chanced to be standing behind him.

While Henry Billkamp was in the steam chamber engaged in the
superfluous task of further reducing himself, Bob Grimley came into the
bath department carrying a suit case.  The suit case habit is very
strongly intrenched in busy towns.  To go all the way out home and then
come back would use up two hours.

Bob Grimley was a short man, weighing about two hundred and fifty
pounds, and shaped like an olive.  He wanted his vapour in a hurry,
because he had to grab a train and go away out to Oak Park and then
dress in a hurry and have a bite of dinner and play poker.  So he made
a running splash and jump through the bath department, came out, hopped
into his garments, picked up Henry Billkamp's suit case, and rushed
away to Oak Park.

It was half past six when Henry Billkamp arose from the plunge and
hurried to the dressing-room.  The dinner was to be at seven.  He
opened the suit case and began to take out balloon-shaped garments, and
then he shrieked for an attendant.  Where was his suit case?  No one
seemed to know.  Oh, yes; Mr. Grimley had come out of that room with a
suit case and had gone--no one knew whither.  Henry stood there with a
huge article of raiment clutched in each hand and slowly froze with
horror as a full understanding of the situation grew upon him.  In less
than a half-hour he must join them--bride, relatives, friends.  The
lights were already up, the flowers on the table, the wine cooling, the
carriages beginning to arrive.  It was to be the night of his life.
Could he appear at this glittering function as a chief attraction in an
eight dollar sack suit and make some lame explanation about losing his
other things in a Turkish bath?  He had an old suit at home, but he was
miles from home.  The carriage man sent in word that Mr. Grimley and
suit case had gone to a railway station.  That settled it.  Henry
decided to jump into the plunge and end it all.

While he was lamenting, a friend came in from another dressing-room to
find out what was the matter.  Henry, scantily attired, leaned against
the wall and in a voice choked with sobs and cuss words outlined his
frightful predicament.  The friend, listening, suddenly emitted a glad
shout.

"I have it!" he exclaimed.  "There's only one man in all the world with
a figure anything like yours, and he happens to be right here in the
building.  Come!  Get into a dressing gown.  We have twenty minutes!
We can make it.  Come!"

A few seconds later two agitated persons, one attired and the other
semi, burst into my room.  It was a long story, but could they borrow
an assortment of evening clothes?  Could they?  I was delighted to know
that someone in the world wanted to wear that suit.

No fireman going to a fire ever dressed himself with such rapidity as
we dressed the hysterical Henry.  Everything fitted him perfectly.
Shirt, collar, trousers, waistcoat, swallowtail, opera hat, tie,
gloves, studs, buttons--everything just his size.  Nothing in the
outfit had ever fitted me, but when we got through with Henry he was
beyond criticism.  He actually wept with joy as we ran him out to the
carriage and boosted him in and started him southward, with eleven
minutes to spare.  He arrived on the dot.  For weeks afterward he would
sit down every day and write me a letter of thanks and declare that he
would never forget me and the service I had done him.  Of course, it
would have been impossible for me to forget anyone who had looked well
in my evening clothes, and it was a positive pleasure to meet Henry's
sister.  She said she had long desired to have a look at me.  She had
not believed it possible that there was another living mortal whose
clothes would fit Henry, but now she saw that she had been mistaken.

It is flattering to learn that people we have never met have been
interested in us for a long time.  Continuing the same line of thought,
it is often disappointing to learn that the people most deeply
interested in us are those who have never met us.  For fear of getting
mixed up, let us return to the boat.

Our principal cargo was honeymoon.  We had six newly married couples,
who were advertising to all the world the fact of their sudden
happiness, and three other couples were under suspicion.  The men
lounged in the smoking-room, as if to give the impression that they
were hardened in matrimony, but they peeked out through the portholes
too often and made many trips to the deck.

[Illustration: _Three other couples under suspicion_]

One German couple was the most newly married team that any of us had
ever seen.  I don't think they knew they were in a boat.  They may have
suspected, but it really didn't make any difference.  They were in a
trance, riding on a cloud of incense, saturated with bliss.  He was
middle aged, with red flaring whiskers, and a nose showing an angular
break in the middle.  She was short and plump, with a shiny, oil-finish
countenance.  Neither had been constructed according to the plans and
specifications of Love's Young Dream, and yet the devouring adoration
which played back and forth between Romeo and Juliet was almost icy
compared with this special brand of Teutonic love.  They were seldom
more than three inches apart, he gazing into her eyes with a yearning
that was unutterable (even in German) and she gazing right back at him
in blushing rapture and seeming to say to herself:--"Just think!  He
belongs to me, whiskers and all!"  It was almost enough to induce one
to get married.

[Illustration: "_--Whiskers and all_"]

They were drifting so far above the earth that they forgot to be
seasick.  The other honeymooners took to their cabins.

Is there anything so perverse, so whimsical, so tantalising, and so
full of surprises as our old friend the weather?  When the warm
sunshine trickled down our backs in Naples we rejoiced and said, "At
last we have found summer."  We looked forward to three balmy days on
the blue Mediterranean, and even began to remember where we had packed
the summer clothes at the bottom of the trunk.  During the first night
out we passed between Scylla and Charybdis.  They sound like a team of
acrobats, but really they are the promontories guarding the narrow
Strait of Messina.  It was pitch dark when we passed, and we had turned
in, but we read about them in Baedeker next morning and were much
gratified to know that we had been so near them.  Not that we can
describe them, but hereafter we can refer to them.

After we rounded the south coast of Italy and pointed for Alexandria,
we ran into a mess of weather that had lost its bearings and wandered
down from the north Atlantic.  The wind blew a gale.  We sat huddled in
our heaviest wraps.  The good ship pitched and pitched, and then
pitched some more.  And this was the Mediterranean!  We had promised
ourselves to lie basking in the gentle warmth and count the lateen
sails as they went drifting by.  We had expected to see the whole
surface of the Mediterranean almost as busy as State and Madison, or
Broadway and Forty-second--craft of all descriptions criss-crossing the
blue ripples, a continuous aquatic bioscope.  As a matter of fact, we
rode for three days across waters as lonesome and empty as those of the
north Pacific, where the course is so clear that the captain, after
putting to sea, can tie the wheel and go below and play dominoes.

Our chilly voyage from Naples to Alexandria has suggested a few
reflections on travel in general.  Why the Anglo-Saxon passion for
gadding about?  Cairo to-day is absolutely congested with Americans.
The continent of Europe is two days away by speedy boat; Paris is two
days more, and London less than a week by ordinary modes of travel.
America lies three thousand miles beyond the most remote European city
and across stormy waters, and yet America seems to claim a plurality of
all the transients.  If an Egyptian began to pack up his things to take
a four thousand mile jump to look at the stock yards of Chicago or the
Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, his friends would have him consigned to some
Mohammedan institution for the treatment of those mentally deranged.
But the Americans are here in flocks, droves, coveys--decrepit old
people; blooming debutantes, boys just out of college, tired-out
business men, women who have been studying Egypt at their clubs, and,
of course, the 8000 (more or less) newly married couples.  And most of
them are working like farm hands to generate some real enthusiasm for
tombs and hieroglyphics.  Hard pulling, but they will make it if their
legs hold out.

What is the charm--the siren call of Egypt--that has lured these
thousands so far away from home and friends?  It is not climate, for we
have a better climate of our own.  If the traveller seeks merely warmth
and sunshine, he can find them in Southern California, the West Indies,
or at Palm Beach.  It is not a genuine and deep-seated interest in
ancient records, inasmuch as ninety per cent. of the fresh arrivals
from America do not know the difference between a cartouche and a
scarab.  I know, because I looked it up yesterday.  It is not a
snobbish desire to rub up against the patchouli and rice powder of
European hothouse aristocracy, because nearly all of the Americans
flock by themselves and make disparaging remarks about other
nationalities, and vice versa.

No doubt the one great reward of the persistent traveller is to find
new varieties of his fellow man.  Cairo is the _pousse café_ of
humanity--probably the most cosmopolitan city in the world.  The guide
books talk about rock tombs and mosques, but the travellers find their
real enjoyment in the bazaars and along the crowded streets and on the
sheer banks of the Nile, which stand out as an animated panorama for
hundreds of miles.  The first hour in Cairo is compensation for many an
hour of tedious travel.  Once more in the sunshine, the soft but gamey
flavour of Orientalism soothing the nostrils, a lively chatter of
unfamiliar languages; an interweaving throng of turbans, gowns, fezes,
swarthy faces; the pattering hoof-beats of spangled donkeys and the
stealthy sweep of dignified camels--so much to see that one needs four
pairs of eyes to catch all parts of the picture and at least a
half-dozen fountain pens to keep score of the attractions.

The first hour in a new land!  It is that which repays the patient
traveller.  It gives him the gasping surprises and the twinges of
delight which are not to be found in southern California or at Palm
Beach.  And it is the very first hour which is memorable and crowded
with large emotions.  Because, after about two hours, the American has
adapted himself to his new environment, and is beginning to be blasé.
Along about the second day, when the guide attempts to dazzle him by
showing another variety of bazaar he murmurs "Chestnut" and suggests
going back to the hotel.

It may afford consolation to the large number of people who remain at
home to know that only about five per cent. of foreign travel is really
worth while.  Mr. Emerson's beautiful law of compensation holds true in
regard to travel just as it applies to all other things that are
coveted by mortals.  You must pay for what you get, not in money alone,
but in hardships, annoyances, and long periods of dumb, patient waiting.

The better half of one of the honeymoon combinations that came with us
from Naples told a plaintive story.  She had been travelling for three
weeks in weather that had been a _crescendo_ of the disagreeable.  All
the way across the Atlantic she had been desperately ill in her cabin.
In London they found fogs.  In Paris it rained.  And now they were
fighting their way through a storm in the Mediterranean.
Notwithstanding all this, she was trying to be cheerful, for she
believed that she would like Egypt.

The blessedness of travel is that when the sun comes from behind the
cloud and a new city begins to arise from the sea, we forget all the
gloomy days on board ship, all the crampy rides in the stuffy railway
compartments, all the overcharges and vexations and harassments and get
ready to tear ashore and explore a new wonderland.

Who can forget the first hour of the first railway ride through rural
England?  The storybook pictures that you have seen all your life come
true at last.

Or the first hour in London?  That tall thing looming right in front of
you is really the Nelson monument and not a papier maché deception put
up for the entertainment of tourists.

In the first hour of 'rickshaw riding in Japan I saw so much that was
funny and fantastic and nerve kinking that at the end of the ride I
wanted to pay the coolie for a year instead of an hour.

And how about the first hour up the Grand Canal in Venice?  Or the
first hour in the tangled bedlam of Canton?  Or the first hour in front
of Shepheard's Hotel, here in Cairo, when it really seems that a
wonderful pageant has been ordered for your special joy?  With bulging
eyes and reeling senses you view the changing kaleidoscope and ask, in
the language of Mr. Peasley, "Is this on the level?"

Yes, travel is hard work, and your true traveller is a mighty grumbler,
but he goes on buoyed always by the hope of another "first hour."



CHAPTER XII

ROUND ABOUT CAIRO, WITH AND WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF THE DRAGOMAN OR
SIMON LEGREE OF THE ORIENT

Mr. Peasley is a secretive student of the guide book.

He reads up beforehand and on the quiet.  Then when we come face to
face with some "sight" and are wondering about this or that, Mr.
Peasley opens the floodgate of his newly-acquired knowledge and deluges
the whole party.  He is seldom correct, and never accurate, but he
knows that he is dealing with an ignorance more profound than his own,
and that gives him confidence.

For instance, the first afternoon in Cairo we chartered an open
conveyance and rode out to the citadel and the mosque of Mohammed Ali,
both of which are perched on a high limestone cliff overlooking the
city.  The mosque is modern and very gorgeous with alabaster columns, a
profusion of gay rugs, stained windows, and crystal chandeliers.  We
were rhapsodising over the interior and were saying it was almost as
swell and elegant as the new Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis, when we
happened to overhear one of our countrywomen reading aloud from a very
entertaining book on Egypt written thirty years ago by Amelia B.
Edwards.  Miss Edwards allowed that the mosque of Mohammed Ali was a
tawdry and hideous specimen of the most decadent period of the mixed-up
architectures imported from Araby and Turkey.  When we heard that we
made a quick switch and began to find fault with the decorations and
told the guide we had enough.

On the way out to the parapet to enjoy the really wonderful view of the
city and the Nile Valley, with the pyramids lifting themselves dimly
from the old gold haze of the desert, Mr. Peasley wished to repay the
lady who had read to us, so he paused, and, making a very indefinite
and non-committal gesture, said, "Near this very spot Mohammed Ali
killed more than one hundred and fifty mamelukes in one day."

Our fair countrywoman looked at Mr. Peasley with a puzzled frown on her
brow and then timidly asked, "What is a mameluke?"

[Illustration: "_What is a mameluke?_"]

We thought she had him, but not so.  He wasn't even feazed.  He replied
promptly, "A mameluke is something like a mongoose, only larger."

That is Mr. Peasley's way.  If he doesn't know, at least he will make a
stab at it.  One evening at dinner we had anchovies as a curtain
raiser, and a man sitting next to Mr. Peasley poked at the briny
minnows with his fork and asked, "What are these?"

"Those are anchorites," replied Mr. Peasley, without the slightest
hesitation.

As a rule he gets one syllable right, which is pretty good for him.  At
present he is much interested in the huge dams of masonry and iron
gates that have been thrown across the Nile at Assiut and Assouan.
Over here they are called "barrages."  Mr. Peasley insists upon calling
them "garages."  We tried to explain to him that a garage was a place
where automobiles were cared for, but he said that automobile and "dam"
belonged in the same category and often meant practically the same
thing, so he continues to speak of the "garage."

By the way, when a pious Englishman over here, say a bishop on a
vacation, wishes to relieve his feelings without the actual use of
profanity he exclaims "Assouan!"  If he falls off his donkey,
"Assouan!"  If his tea is served to him at less than 212 degrees
Fahrenheit, "Assouan!"

[Illustration: _Assouan!_]

"Assouan" means the superlative of all dams, the biggest dam in the
world.  It takes the place of a whole row of these:-- ---- ------ ----
------.  Mr. Peasley uses the word, when he can think of it.  If his
memory fails him, he falls back on the American equivalent.

Inasmuch as I reside in Indiana, where it is a social offence to crave
a cigarette, a misdemeanor to keep one in the house, and a high crime
to smoke one, Cairo during the first day gave me many a shock.  Cairo
is unquestionably the cigarette headquarters of the universe.  If the
modern Egyptians followed the ancient method of loading the tomb with
supplies for the lately departed they would put in each sarcophagus
about ten thousand cigarettes and a few gallons of Turkish coffee.  The
food wouldn't matter.

In Cairo, men, women, and children smoke.  Only the camels and donkeys
abstain.

Cigarettes are sold nearly everywhere--not only by tobacconists, but
also by milliners, undertakers, real estate agents, etc.  Those who do
not sell them give them away.  A cigarette across the counter is the
usual preliminary to driving a bargain.

It surprised us to learn that although the Egyptians have been addicted
to this enfeebling vice ever since they first had a chance to cultivate
it, they have managed to survive and flourish as a distinct breed of
humanity for some seven thousand years, as nearly as I can figure it
off hand.  By eliminating the cigarette from Indiana the Hoosiers
should beat this record.  No doubt they will retain their primitive
vigour for a longer period, say nine thousand years.  If so, the
anti-cigarette law will be vindicated.

We certainly had a feeling of guilty pleasure when we sat in front of
Shepheard's Hotel and smoked the wicked little things, and knew that
the policeman standing a few feet away did not dare to raise his hand
against us.

A very clever young American owns a shop near the hotel.  He is a
student of Egyptology and a dealer in genuine antiquities, including
mummies.  While I was nosing through his collection of scarabs, idols,
coins, and other time-worn trinkets, he suggested that I purchase a
mummy.

"Can I get one?" I asked, in surprise.

"I can get you a gross, if you want them," he replied.

"What would a man do with a gross of mummies?"

"You can give them away.  They are very ornamental.  Formerly my only
customers were colleges and museums.  Now I am selling to people who
put them in private residences.  Nothing sets off an Oriental apartment
to better effect, or gives it more colour and atmosphere, as you might
say, than a decorated mummy case."

I told him I would not object to the "colour," but would draw the line
at "atmosphere."  He assured me that after a few thousand years the
mortuary remains become as dry as a London newspaper and as odourless
as a Congressional investigation.

I followed him into a large back room and saw two beautifully preserved
specimens in their rigid overcoats being packed away for shipment to
America, while others leaned against the wall in careless attitudes.

What a grisly reflection!  Here was a local potentate, let us say
Ipekak II. of Hewgag--ruler of a province, boss of his party, proud
owner of broad fields and grazing herds.  When he died, 1400 B.C., and
was escorted to his rock tomb by all the local secret societies, the
military company, and a band of music, his friends lowered his embalmed
remains into a deep pit and then put in a rock filling and cut
hieroglyphics all over the place, telling of his wealth and social
importance, and begging all future generations to regard the premises
as sacred.

Some two thousand years later along comes a vandal in a cheap store
suit and a cork helmet, engages Ipekak's own descendants to pry open
the tomb and heave out the rock at fifteen cents per day, hauls the
mummy into the daylight, and ships it by luggage van to Cairo, where it
is sold to a St. Paul man for $125!

Until I talked to the dealer I had no idea that mummies were so
plentiful.  In some parts of Egypt people go out and dig them up just
as they would dig potatoes.  The prices vary greatly, somewhat
depending upon the state of preservation of the party of the first part
and the character of the decorations on the case, but more particularly
on account of the title or historical importance of the once lamented.
For instance, a Rameses or Ptolemy cannot be touched for less than
$1000.  A prince, a trust magnate, or a military commander brings $150;
the Governor of a city or the president of a theological seminary
anywhere from $60 to $75.  Within the last three years perfect
specimens of humourist have been offered for as low as $18, and the
dealer showed me one for $7.50--probably a tourist.

At Naples, proceeding eastward, one enters the land of Talk.  The
French are conversational and animated, but Southern Italy begins to
show the real Oriental luxuriance of gab.  A Neapolitan trying to sell
three cents' worth of fish will make more noise than a whole Wanamaker
establishment.  The most commonplace and everyday form of dialogue
calls for flashing eyes, swaying body, and frantic gesticulations.

In front of a café in Naples Mr. Peasley became deeply interested in a
conversation between two well-dressed men at a table near ours.  At
first we thought they were going to "clinch" and fight it out, but then
we saw that there was no real anger exhibited, but that apparently one
was describing to the other some very thrilling experience.  He waved
his arms, struck at imaginary objects, made pinwheel movements with his
fingers, and carried on generally in a most hysterical manner.  Mr.
Peasley, all worked up, beckoned the head waiter, who had been talking
to us in English.

"Look here," he said confidentially, "I want you to listen and tell me
what those fellows are talking about.  I can't catch a word they say,
but as near as I can make out from the way they act that fellow with
the goatee is describing some new kind of torpedo boat.  It goes
through the water at about thirty miles an hour, having three or four
screw propellers.  When it comes within striking distance of the
enemy--bang! they cut her loose and the projectile goes whizzing to the
mark, and when it meets with any resistance there is a big explosion
and everything within a quarter of a mile is blown to flindereens.
Now, that's the plot, as near as I can follow it from watchin' that
short guy make motions.  You listen to them and tell me if I am right."

The head waiter listened and then translated to us as follows:--"He is
saying to his friend that he slept very well last evening and got up
feeling good, but was somewhat annoyed at breakfast time because the
egg was not cooked to suit him."

"How about all these gymnastics?" asked the surprised Mr. Peasley.
"Why does he hop up and down, side step and feint and wiggle his
fingers and all that monkey business?"

"Quite so," replied the head waiter.  "He is describing the egg."

[Illustration: "_He is describing the egg._"]

What a people--to take five cents worth of cheap information and
garland it with twenty dollars' worth of Delsarte and rhetoric!

Talk is one of the few things of which there is a superabundance in the
Levant.  In nearly all particulars the Arab is economical and
abstemious.  He eats sparingly and cheaply, wears just enough clothing
to keep from violating the municipal ordinances, smokes conservatively,
so as to get the full value of his tobacco, and lives in a house which
is furnished with three or four primitive utensils.  But when it comes
to language, he is the most reckless spendthrift in the world.  He uses
up large bales of conversation.

Suppose that three porters at a railway station are to take a trunk
from a car and put it on a truck and wheel it out to a cab.  The talk
made necessary by this simple operation would fill several pages in the
Congressional Record.  All three talk incessantly, each telling the
others what to do and finding fault because they don't do it his way.
One seems to be superintendent, the second is foreman, and the third is
boss.

Endless disputes of a most vivid character rage among the donkey boys
and peddlers who assemble near the hotels and lie in wait for victims.
"What do they find to talk about?" is the question that comes to one
every time he hears the babel of excited voices.  And while we are
smiling at their childish tantrums they are splitting their sides over
new stories relating to that strange being from the antipodes, the
barbarian with the mushroom helmet who exudes money at every pore, who
keeps himself bundled in unnecessary clothes and rides out to the
desert every day to stand in the baking sun and solemnly contemplate a
broken column and a heap of rubbish.  Truly it all depends on the point
of view.

We held back the Pyramids and the Sphinx so as to make our visit to
them the cap sheaf of the stay in Cairo.  As for sightseeing, most of
the time we just rambled up one street and down another, looking in
shop windows, watching the workmen kill time with their prehistoric
implements, smelling the bazaars, dodging dog carts, donkeys and
camels, and having a fine time generally.

Aimless excursions are the best, after all.  It is more fun to drift
around a new town and rub up against the people than to deliver
yourself, body and soul, over to a guide.  In Egypt the guide is called
a dragoman.  He puts on airs and has an inside pocket bulging with
testimonials from people who were so glad to get out of his clutches
that they willingly perjured themselves by giving him half-hearted
certificates of good character.  While you are in the hands of the
dragoman you feel like a dumb, driven cow.  You follow the fluttering
nightshirt and the tall red fez of this arch villain for hours at a
time, not knowing where you are going, or why.  He takes absolute
charge of you, either by making specious representations or boldly
assuming authority, and when you start out to visit the famous mosque
of old Midullah Oblongahta or some other defunct celebrity you finish
up in a junk shop for the sale of antiques, all of which are personally
guaranteed by the dragoman, because he is a silent partner in the
business.

In many countries, especially at times when the traveller must condense
his itinerary, the guide is a necessary evil, and in Egypt he is
supposed to be a sort of ornamental body guard.  We found that we could
wander about without being haltered and led, so we spent pleasant hours
in the Mouski, which is the native shopping street, and also we went to
the race meeting and saw native horses and ponies, carrying 140 to 160
pounds each, saunter around a half-mile track while a large number of
English in Mardi Gras costumes drank gallons of tea and simulated a
polite interest.

One afternoon we wandered into a market and a man tried to sell me a
camel.  Wherever we go, if a man has something he doesn't want, he
tries to sell it to me, and sometimes he does it.  But I refused to
take the camel.  I did not see how I could fold it up and secrete it so
as to get it through the custom house.

Camels in the Cairo market are now steady, not literally speaking, but
as regards their value.  A good terra cotta camel, 55 to 60 hands high
and broken to single-foot, will fetch as high as $150.  The older
ones--spavined, hairless, or pigeontoed--can be bought for as low as
$50 each.  The common or garden camel, trained to collapse like a
pocket camera and carry from three to eight tons of cargo, can usually
be bought at from $100 to $125.

Cairo, as a whole, was a big surprise to us.  We knew that it was going
to be cosmopolitan, but we were not prepared to find it so
metropolitan.  We had pictured it as one or two semi-European streets
hedged in by a vast area of native quarter.  But, unless you seek out
the old parts of the town or the bazaars, each showing a distinct type
of the Oriental shark, Cairo is outwardly quite modern, very
attractive, and decidedly gay--that is, not real wicked gayety of the
Parisian brand, but modified, winter-resort gayety, the kind that is
induced by the presence of money-spending tourists.  There is no hurrah
night life, and gambling, which flourished here for many seasons under
the skilful direction of our countryman, Mr. Pat Sheedy, has yielded to
British reformatory influence.

The modern streets in Cairo, with their attractive hotels, residences,
and shops, suggest a blending of Paris and the Riviera--consistent
architecture, trees, palms, gardens.  The streets are of boulevard
width, and the houses of cheerful colouring, many of them bearing
coloured frescoes in delicate shades.  We who live in a country of
rainfall and smoke and changing temperatures are impelled to stop and
gaze in wonder at a mansion of snowy white with a pattern of pale
blossoms drooping down the front of it.  That style of decoration would
last about twenty minutes in Chicago.



CHAPTER XIII

ALL ABOUT OUR VISIT TO THE PYRAMID OF CHEOPS

During the first three days in Cairo a brilliant and original plan of
action had been outlining itself in my mind.  At last I could not keep
it to myself any longer, so I told Mr. Peasley.

"Do you know what I am going to do?" I asked.

Mr. Peasley did not.

"I am going to write up the Pyramids.  I am going to tell who built
them and how long it took and how many blocks of stone they contain.  I
shall have myself photographed sitting on a camel and holding an
American flag.  Also, I shall describe in detail the emotions that
surge within me as I stand in the shadow of the Sphinx and gaze up at
that vast and imperturbable expanse of face."

"It's a great scheme," said Mr. Peasley, "but you've been scooped.
They've been written up already."

[Illustration: "_Scooped!_"]

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, sir; the whole outfit of Pyramids has been described in a special
article by a man named Herodotus."

"How long since?"

"About 470 B.C."

He produced a guide book and proved that he was right.  All the things
that I had been getting ready to say about the Pyramids had been said
by Herodotus.  He had got there ahead of me--just 2376 years ahead of
me.  In daily newspaper competition, when some man gets his news
twenty-four hours ahead of another one he is proud of his "beat" and is
the hero of the office for fifteen or twenty minutes.  But think of
trailing along twenty-four centuries behind a Greek space writer!  It
took all the starch out of me.

Mr. Peasley suggested that inasmuch as considerable time had elapsed
since the appearance of the first write-up, possibly the average reader
would have only a dim recollection of it and accept my account as brand
new stuff.  But I knew better.  I knew that some old subscriber, with a
complete file put away in the bureau, would rise up and draw the deadly
parallel on me.  All I can safely do in regard to the Pyramids is touch
up a few points overlooked by my predecessor.

Herodotus, by the way, had quite a time in Egypt.  At that time
Shepheard's Hotel was not in operation, although it must have been
under way, and no round trip tickets were being issued by Cook, so
Herodotus had to do his own booking and put up at a boarding house.  In
Memphis, which is now a fragmentary suburb of Cairo, Herodotus engaged
a guide.  He does not tell us what he paid, but he does give us a line
on the character of the dragoman, who was full of superfluous and
undesirable information, but who fell down when asked to divulge facts
of real importance.  This proves that the breed has not changed since
500 B.C.

The guide took Herodotus out to the Pyramids and filled him up.  It is
now believed that most of what Herodotus sent back was merely hearsay,
but it made good reading.  The Pyramids had been standing some two
thousand years, and any information in regard to their origin could
hardly come under the head of personal recollections.  Whatever
Herodotus had to say about the Pyramids is now accepted as gospel, in
spite of the fact that he never saw them until twenty centuries after
the last block of stone had been put in place and Cheops had taken
possession of the tomb chambers.  Rather late for a grand opening.

When he arrived at the Great Pyramid he stepped it off and put down the
dimensions, and then he remarked to some of the natives standing around
that it must have been quite a job to build a tomb of that size.  They
said yes; it had been a big contract, and as the work had been
completed only two thousand years they were enabled to go into details.
They gave Herodotus a fine lay-out of round figures.  They said that
one hundred thousand men had worked on the job and that the time
required was thirty years--ten years to build the road and the huge
incline for bringing the blocks of stone into place, and then twenty
years to quarry the stone and transport it across the Nile and the
valley.  The stone cutters worked all the year, and during the three
months' inundation, when farming was at a standstill, the entire rural
population turned out, just as they would at a husking bee or a barn
raising, and helped Cheops with his tomb.  They did this year after
year for thirty years, until they had piled up 2,300,000 blocks of
stone, each containing forty cubic feet.

Herodotus discovered some large hieroglyphics on the face of the
Pyramid and asked the guide for a translation.  It is now supposed that
the guide could not read.  Anyone with education or social standing
wouldn't have been a guide, even in that remote period.  But this guide
wanted to appear to be earning his salary and be justified in demanding
a tip, so he said that the inscription told how much garlic and onions
the labourers had consumed while at work on the job, and just how much
these had cost.  Herodotus put it all down in his notebook without
batting an eye.

[Illustration: _Herodotus put it all down--without batting an eye_]

"How much did they spend for onions and garlic?" he asked, poising his
pencil.

The guide waited for a moment, so that his imagination could get a
running start, and then he replied, "They cost 1600 talents of silver."

Now, that sum in talents is equivalent, under modern computation, to
350,000 English pounds, or $1,750,000.  Think of a million dollars'
worth of garlic!  Try to imagine the bouquet that permeated the desert
when one hundred thousand men who had been eating garlic began to call
for more bricks and mortar!

Herodotus told his story and got away with it.  By the time the next
letter-writing traveller came along, a good many centuries later, the
outer casing of the Pyramid had been stripped off and the inscription
had disappeared.  His story has stood because he was here ahead of the
rest of us and saw the marks with his own eyes and had them translated
by a ten-cent guide.  But can you believe that a great monarch would
devote thirty years and sacrifice thousands of lives and work the whole
male population of his kingdom to skin and bones putting up a colossal
sepulchre and then set aside the most valuable space on this glorious
monument for telling how much onions and garlic had been fed to the
help?

Marco Polo, Mark Twain, and all the other great travellers of history
love to tell tall ones once in a while, but the garlic story by
Herodotus will doubtless be regarded as a record performance for a long
time to come.

Cheops was possibly the most successful contractor in history.  It is
estimated that he really did work one hundred thousand men in the
building of the great Pyramid, as related by Herodotus, and that he
must have devoted at least thirty years to the big undertaking.  During
all that time he never had a strike or even a clash with the walking
delegate.  The eight hour day was unknown, and no one dreamed of such a
thing as an arbitration committee.  All he had to do was to give orders
and the entire population obeyed him.  Everybody worked but Cheops.  He
didn't even pay salaries.  It is true that in a spirit of generosity he
set out a free lunch for the labourers--about $2,000,000 worth of
garlic and onions.  If he had tried to feed them on quail probably he
would have gone broke.

Nowadays visitors go out to the Pyramids by tramcar.  For some reason
we had the notion, doubtless shared by many who have not been there,
that to get to the Pyramids one simply rides through Cairo and out onto
the flat desert.  As a matter of fact, the Great Pyramid at Ghizeh, its
two smaller companions and the Sphinx are on a rocky plateau five miles
to the west of the city.  There is a bee-line road across the lowlands.
It is a wide and graded thoroughfare, set with acacia trees, and as you
ride out by trolley or carriage you look up at the Pyramids, and when
you are still three miles away they seem to be at least a half-mile
distant.  At the end of the avenue and at the foot of the hill there is
a hotel, and from this point one may climb or else charter a dumb
animal.

Not knowing the ropes, we engaged a carriage at 100 piastres to take us
from the city out to the plateau.  This is not as much as it sounds,
but it is about twice the usual rate.  After we struck the long road
leading across the valley and saw the trolley cars gliding by and
leaving us far behind, we decided to send the carriage back to the city
and take to the trolley, where we would feel at home.  The driver
informed us that he could not return to the city, as the big bridge had
been opened to permit the passing of boats, and that it would be three
hours before he could drive back to town.  It seems that he was right.
The big bridge swings open but once a day, and then it stays open for a
few hours, and the man who finds himself "bridged" must either swim or
engage a boat.

It is a five minutes' climb from the end of the drive up to the rocky
plateau on which the pyramids are perched, and the ordinary tourist
goes afoot.  But we were pining for Oriental extravagance and new
sensations, so we engaged camels.  The camel allotted to me was
destitute of hair, and when first discovered was in a comatose
condition.  His or her name was Zenobia, and the brunette in charge
said that its age was either six or sixty.  It sounded more like "six,"
but the general appearance of the animal seemed to back up the "sixty"
theory.  As we approached, Zenobia opened one eye and took a hard look
at the party, and then made a low wailing sound which doubtless meant
"More trouble for me."  The venerable animal creaked at every joint as
it slowly rose into the air on the instalment plan, a foot or two at a
time.

We had come thousands of miles to see the Pyramids, and for the next
ten minutes we were so busy hanging on to those undulating ships of the
desert that we overlooked even the big Pyramid, which was spread out
before us 750 feet wide and 450 feet high.  Riding a camel is like
sitting on a high trestle that is giving way at the joints and is about
to collapse.  The distance to the ground is probably ten feet, but you
seem to be fifty feet in the air.  As soon as we could escape from the
camels we walked around and gazed in solemn silence at the Sphinx and
the three Pyramids and doubtless thought all of the things that were
appropriate to the time and place.

The great Pyramid of Cheops has been advertised so extensively that
doubtless many people will be surprised to learn that there is a whole
flock of Pyramids on this plateau along the edge of the Libyan desert.
There are Pyramids to the north and Pyramids to the south, five groups
in all, sixty of them, and they vary in size from a stingy little mound
looking like an extinct lime kiln up to the behemoth specimen which is
photographed by every Cook tourist.

Why do these Pyramids vary so greatly in size?  Each was built by some
royal personage as an enduring monument to his administration and the
last resting place of his remains.  The most eminent students of
Egyptology now agree that the size of each of these Pyramids is a fair
measure of the length of each king's reign.  The reason that Cheops has
the biggest Pyramid is that he held office longer than the others.
When a king mounted the throne, if he was feeling rugged and was what
an insurance company would call a "preferred risk" he would block out
the foundation of a Pyramid tomb that would require, say, ten years for
the building.  If, at the end of ten years, he was still feeling in
good physical condition and confident of lasting a while longer he
would widen the foundations and put on additional layers up to the
summit.  Labor was free and materials were cheap, and he kept everybody
working on his tomb as long as he lived.  Finally, when the court
physicians began to warn him that his time was limited, he would begin
putting on the outer coating of dressed stone and arrange for the
inscriptions.  The ruler who lasted only three or four years was buried
in a squatty little Pyramid, which soon became hidden under the
drifting sands of the desert.  Cheops kept piling up the huge blocks
for thirty years, and that is why his Pyramid holds the record.  If
Methusaleh had been a Pyramid builder he would have been compelled to
put up a tomb probably a mile and a half high and about eleven miles
around the base.  In a revolutionary South American republic the ruler
would probably get no further than laying the corner stone.

We visited the pyramids.  Also, we looked at the golf links, staked out
across the barren sands--not to be played on, but merely to be featured
in the hotel advertisement.  Think of a golf course which is one huge
hazard!  Drive the ball in any direction and you can't play out of the
sand!  Forty centuries gazing down on a bow-legged tourist in fuzzy
Scotch stockings!

Most of the pleasure seekers that we encountered in the neighbourhood
of the Pyramids seemed to be quite elderly--some of the more sprightly
as young as sixty, and from that going up to where it would be better
to stop guessing.  Mr. Peasley gave an explanation of their presence.
He said that the dry climate of Egypt would preserve antiquities for an
indefinite period.

Here they were, these male and female octogenarians, not propped up in
arm chairs dividing the family silverware and arranging bequests to
hospitals and libraries, but out on the blinding desert, thousands of
miles from home, falling off donkeys, climbing up on camels, devouring
guide books, rummaging around for time tables, kicking on the charges,
and leading on the whole a life of purple strenuosity.  We heard of two
English women, sisters, both over seventy, who had just returned from
Khartoum, from which point they had gone on a hunting expedition still
further into the interior.  They had to wear mosquito bags and
semi-male attire, and were out in the wild country for days at a time,
chasing gazelles, hyenas, and other indigenous fauna.

Just as I am about to conclude this treatise it occurs to me that,
although I have given a wealth of useful information regarding the
Pyramids, I have rather overlooked our old friend the Sphinx.  I can
only say in passing that it looks exactly like the printed
advertisements.  There is no deception about it.  It is in a bad state
of repair, but this is not surprising when we consider its age.
Herodotus does not mention the Sphinx.  It was right there at the time.
In fact, it had been there fourteen hundred years when he first
arrived.  It seems strange that an observing traveller should have
overlooked a monument sixty-six feet high, with a face nearly fourteen
feet wide, a nose five feet and seven inches long, and wearing a smile
that measures over seven feet!  Herodotus either walked by without
seeing it or else he did not think it worthy of mention.  The only
plausible explanation is that he was too busy figuring up the garlic
statistics.



ON THE NILE



CHAPTER XIV

DASHING UP THE NILE IN COMPANY WITH MR. PEASLEY AND OTHERS

The dream of many years has come true.  We are moving (southward) up
the Nile.  Like busy sand flies we are flitting, almost daily, across
white patches of desert to burrow into second-hand tombs and crick our
necks looking up at mutilated temples.

Ten years ago not one of us had ever heard of Koti or Khnemhotep.  Now
we refer to them in the most casual way, as if we had roomed with them
for a while.  It is certainly a gay life we are leading over the
cemetery circuit.  Just think what rollicking fun it must be to revel
day after day in sarcophagi and sepulchres, stumbling through
subterranean passages and kicking up the dust of departed kings,
peering down into mummy pits, also trying to stretch the imagination
like a rubber band so that we may get the full significance of what is
meant by 1500 B.C.  People come to Egypt to cure nervous depression and
then spend nine-tenths of their time hanging around tombs.  Why come
all the way to Egypt?  Why not go out to Woodlawn and run foot races
from one family vault to another?

[Illustration: _It is certainly a gay life_]

Mr. Peasley has no use for the tombs we have seen up to date.  At
Beni-Hassan we rode on donkeys and climbed hills for half an hour to
inspect several large cubes of dim atmosphere surrounded by limestone.
At Assiut we put in the best part of the afternoon toiling up to
another gloomy cavern.  While we stood in the main chamber of the tomb
of Hapzefai (whoever he was), trying to pump up some enthusiasm, Mr.
Peasley mopped his brow and declared himself.

"I'll tell you what I can do," he said.  "I can take a hundred pounds
of dynamite and a gang of dagoes and go anywhere along the Hudson and
blow out a tomb in a week's time that will beat anything we've seen in
Egypt.  Then I'll hire a boy with a markin' brush to draw some
one-legged men and some tall women with their heads turned the wrong
way, and I'll charge six dollars to go in, and make my fortune."

The significance of the "six dollars" is that every traveller who
wishes to visit the antiquities must pay a government tax of 120
piastres.  He receives a "monument ticket," which he must show to the
guard before entering any tomb or temple.  I regret to say that the
tickets are often passed along by departing travellers to those newly
arrived, and as the guards do not read English, anything that looks
like a monument ticket will satisfy the man at the door.  At
Beni-Hassan Mr. Peasley discovered, when he arrived at the tombs, that
he had left his ticket at the boat.  Fortunately, a fellow traveller
had an extra ticket with him and Mr. Peasley had no difficulty in
gaining admission to all the tombs under the name of "Miss Ella
McPherson."

[Illustration: _Why come all the way to Egypt?_]

Before plunging into the details of our voyage, it is only fair that
the indulgent reader should know how and why we came boating up the
Nile.  And first of all he should know something about this wonderful
river.  The Nile has been described one million times, at a rough
guess, and yet at the risk of dealing out superfluous information I am
going to insert some geography.

Total length, nearly four thousand miles.  For thousands and thousands
of years it has supported a swarming population along its banks, and
yet until fifty years ago no one knew from whence it came.  The
inhabitants suspected that it came from somewhere, but they were too
busy paying taxes and building pyramids to worry about scientific
discoveries.  For 1200 miles up stream from the delta outlet the Nile
does not receive any tributary.  It winds over a limestone base and
through a rainless desert between high and barren tablelands.
Occasionally, where there is a granite formation, the stream is
narrowed and forces its way through rushing rapids, and these are known
as the "cataracts."  The first of these is at Assouan, about six
hundred miles up stream.

Assouan has for many centuries marked the border line of Egypt proper.
To the south is the land of the warlike blacks, who have been
trouble-makers from the beginning of time.  This First Cataract is the
usual terminus of tourist travel, but those who wish to see Nubia and
the Soudan board a small steamer, pass through the locks of the new
dam, and go by river 210 miles to Wadi Halfa, thence by rail 576 miles
to Khartoum.  It is here, about thirteen hundred and fifty miles up
stream, that the White and Blue Niles converge and bring down from the
rainy equatorial regions the floods of muddy water which are the annual
salvation of Egypt.

Ten years ago Khartoum seemed as inaccessible as the North Pole.  It
was headquarters for the most desperate swarm of frenzied fanatics that
ever swept a region with fire and sword.  They had wiped out British
armies and put Gordon's head on a pole.  They were in a drunken ecstasy
of Mohammedan zeal, eager to fight and ready to die, and they got all
that they were looking for.

It is less than eight years since Kitchener went down to call on them.
Of all the cold-blooded and frozen-featured military tacticians of the
inexorable school, Kitchener stands pre-eminent.  General Grant in his
grimmest moment was absolutely emotional and acrobatic as compared with
Kitchener.  He carried ice water in his veins, and his mental machinery
ticked with Birmingham regularity.  He did not get excited and dash
into the open trap, as all the others had done.  He moved slowly but
relentlessly into the dread country and built a railroad as he went
along.  He carried everything that a British army needs--marmalade,
polo ponies, Belfast ginger ale, tinned meats, pipe clay, etc.

"We cannot stampede them, because stampeding is their specialty," said
Kitchener, "but I will lick them by algebra."

He did not say this, because he never said anything, but this is what
he indicated by his calm preparations.  He knew that the dervishes were
frothing at the mouth and praying Allah to give them another chance to
swim in gore, so he simply edged up to within striking distance of them
and picked out his ground and waited.  A kinetoscope hero would have
galloped up and down the line shouting, "Up, men, and at them!"  But
Kitchener was not a hero.  He was business manager of an abattoir.  His
object was not to win a great battle, but to exterminate a species.
And he probably did one of the neatest jobs of house cleaning on record.

The bloodthirsty mob, led by the Khalifa, as principal maniac, charged
across an open plain.  Each determined dervish carried in his right
hand a six foot spear, with which he hoped to do considerable damage.
When he still lacked about a mile of being within poking distance of
the hated infidel, the machine guns opened up and began to sweep the
plain back and forth in long regular swaths, just as the sickle sweeps
through the yellow grain.  It was quite a handicap for the invincible
children of Allah.  They could not use their six foot spears on anyone
a mile away, and before they could recover from the chagrin occasioned
by this unexpected move on the part of the enemy, about eleven thousand
of them had winged their way to eternal happiness and the others were
radiating in all directions, pursued by those who wished to civilise
them and bring them under British control.  Those of the dervishes who
escaped are supposed to be still running.  At least they never came
back to start another Messiah movement.

Ten years ago the Soudan was sealed to the whole world and death waited
for the unbeliever who crossed the border.  To-day the _table d'hôte_
roams unafraid, and the illustrated post card blooms even as the rose.

The Nile of which you have read and along which are scattered the simon
pure monuments of antiquity is the six hundred miles of winding river
between Assouan, or First Cataract, and the sea.  For the entire
distance, until it spreads into a fan-shaped delta and filters into the
Mediterranean, the stream is walled in by flat-topped hills of barren
aspect.  They are capped with limestone and carpeted about with
shifting sands, and they look for all the world like the mesas of New
Mexico and Arizona, for they lie baking in the same kind of clarified
sunshine.  This meandering hollow between the rugged hill ranges is the
Valley of the Nile.  Here and there the hills close in until the river
banks are high and chalky cliffs.  At one point the valley spreads to a
width of thirty-three miles.

East and west of the hills are vast areas of desert without even a
spear of vegetation except where there is a miraculous rise of water to
the surface.  These spots are grateful landmarks of clustered palms and
are known as oases.

The Valley of the Nile would be just as bare and monotonous as an
asphalt pavement were it not for the fact that once a year the Nile
overflows.  It has been overflowing every year for thousands of years,
bringing down from the mountains of Abyssinia and the far-away regions
of tropical rains a spreading volume of muddy water.  Every winter,
when the dwindling stream gets back into the customary bed, it has left
a layer of black sediment over the inundated district.  So many layers
of sediment have been deposited that now the rich black soil is thirty
to fifty feet deep along the river, thinning out as it meets the slope
of the desert.  Unlike our prairie soil of the Middle West, the Nile
farms are not underlaid with clay.  The Nile soil is black all the way
down to limestone--a floury mineral powder of even composition.  The
only parts of Egypt which can be cultivated are those touched by the
annual overflow.  Egypt is really a ribbon of alluvial soil following
the stream on either side.  The tourist standing on the top deck of a
Nile steamer can see both east and west the raw and broken edges of the
desert.

The entire population lives on the river, literally and figuratively.
Dark-robed women come down to the stream in endless processions to fill
their water jars, and it seems that about every forty feet or so all
the way up from Cairo the industrious fellah is lifting water up the
bank and irrigating his little field with the same old-fashioned sweep
and bucket arrangement that was in use when Joseph came over to Egypt
and attracted the attention of Potiphar's wife.  The Egyptian farmer is
called a fellah.  The clothing that he wears would wad a gun--that is,
a rifle, not a shotgun.  He puts in at least fourteen hours a day and
his pay is from ten to fifteen cents.  Mr. Peasley told a tourist the
other day that the song "He's a jolly good fellah" originated in Egypt
during the time of the Ptolemies.  This is a sample of the kind of
idiotic observation that is supposed to enliven a so-called pleasure
trip.

But let us get back to the river, for in Egypt one must get back to the
river at least once every twenty minutes.  The Nile is Egypt and Egypt
is the Nile.  All this description may sound like a few pages from the
trusty red guide book, and yet the word "Egypt" will have no meaning to
the reader who does not get a clear panoramic vision of this
wonderfully slim-waisted country.  Nearly six hundred miles long and
yet containing only twelve thousand five hundred square miles--about
the size of Maryland.

The strip of black land which yields the plentiful crops is nowhere
more than ten miles wide, a mere fringe of fertility weaving along
through dryness and desolation.  Anywhere along the river if you will
climb to the rocky plateau, you will see the slow moving river,
probably a half-mile wide, as a glassy thread on which are strung
fields of living green, bordered by the dreary uplifts of desert.  The
traveller who goes by boat from Cairo to Assouan sees all of Egypt.
The cities and temples and tombs of olden times were perched on the
high spots or planted in the bare hills, so as to be safe from the
annual rise of waters.  Anything worth seeing in the whole country is
within an easy donkey ride of the river bank.  The river is the only
artery of travel.  There is a railway, but it follows the river all the
way up to Assouan.

It would seem that the country was especially laid out and punctuated
with "sights" for the convenience of the modern traveller, for the
visitor who goes up the Nile and stops off at the right spots can do a
clean job of sight seeing without doubling on his tracks.

Until a few years age the tourist going up the Nile had to take a
dahabeah.  This sounds like the name of a disease, but it is really a
big, roomy, flat-bottomed sailboat.  The dahabeah moves only when the
wind is in the right direction, and to go from Cairo to Assouan
requires the greater part of a lifetime.  Those travellers who have
money to burn and who are content to settle down to many weeks of rest
and indolence charter the private dahabeahs.  When a traveller goes
aboard a dahabeah he tears up the calendar and lets his watch run down.
Those who have more money and are in a hurry use the private steam
dahabeahs.

A majority of travellers go by passenger boats.  The tourist steamers
devote three weeks to a loafing voyage up to Assouan and back, with
daily excursions to the graveyards and ruins.  The express steamers,
carrying freight and native passengers, take less time for the round
trip, as they skip some of the less interesting antiquities.  We took
an express steamer, thereby missing many of the tombs and temples, but
still getting enough of them to last us for the next hundred years or
so.

Our steamer is a frail affair, double decked and of no draught worth
mentioning.  It resembles the old style of Missouri River boat, built
to run on a heavy dew.  There are thirty passengers, who devote most of
their time to lolling on deck waiting for the next meal.  Mud banks,
natives hoisting water, green fields stretching away to the bald range
of hills, 'dobe huts, spindly palms, now and then a solemn row of
camels, always several donkeys and goats in evidence, every few miles
the tall stack of a sugar mill, perpetual sunshine--it is monotonous
travel, and yet there is continually something doing along the banks,
and the traveller cannot get away from that feeling of satisfaction
which results from lying back to watch other people work.

[Illustration: _Lying back to watch others work_]

And the sunsets!  You cannot estimate the real dignity and artistic
value of a camel until you see him or her silhouetted against a sky of
molten gold just at twilight.  I have made two or three attempts to
describe the glory of a sunset in the desert, but I find myself as
helpless as Mr. Peasley, who, after gazing for five minutes at the
flaming horizon can only murmur a low but reverent "Gosh!"

It may interest the reader to hear what Baedeker has to say on the
subject.  Baedeker says (p. 216) "The sunsets are very fine."  That's
what I like about Baedeker.  He doesn't fuss over a lot of words and
tack on superfluous adjectives.  As soon as he has imparted the
necessary information in a trim and concise manner he moves on to the
next subject.

I am sending herewith two sketches which show the beauty and variety of
landscape to which we are treated every day.  View No. 1 is most
characteristic.  We see before us the rippling Nile and beyond it the
sheer river bank of black dirt.  Then the field of waving grain, in the
distance the range of hills, and over all a dazzling sunshine.

[Illustration: _View of the Nile--No. 1_]

No. 2 is more varied.  Again we have the river, the mud bank, and the
growing crops, together with the distant hills, behind which the sun is
silently sinking.  In the foreground at the left is a majestic palm.
The structure at the right is a native house and will indicate
something of the simple life of the agriculturist.  The complicated
device on the river bank at stage centre is the shadouf, used for
lifting water from the stream.  The cavernous opening in the distant
hill (marked X in the drawing) is the entrance to a rock tomb.  By
studying this picture the reader may get a very fair understanding of
the architectural splendour of these ancient sepulchres.

[Illustration: _View of the Nile--No. 2_]

Travelling on the Nile has two reliable features to commend it.  The
weather is always fair and the native population constantly enlivens
the picture, for the lower river is crowded with sails and every inch
along the banks is under cultivation.  Also, the Nile has some
surprises in store.  Two definite delusions are soon shattered.

Delusion No. 1.--HEAT.  It is not always warm in Egypt.  In the middle
of the day, out of the wind and on the desert, it may work up to a good
summery temperature at this season, but in the shade it is cool, and as
soon as the sun has set, a bracing autumnal chill comes into the air
and the heavy overcoat is needed.  The north wind can be very chiselly
at times.  If coming to Egypt, bring your flannels along.

Delusion No. 2.--CROCODILES.  There are no crocodiles in the Nile.  We
have always supposed that the bank of the river was polka-dotted with
these monsters, lying in wait for small, dark children.  It is said
that two thousand years ago the Nile was bordered with papyrus reeds or
bullrushes, within the tangles of which lurked hippopotami, crocodiles,
dragomans, and other reptiles, but the animals have disappeared, and so
has the river vegetation.  The other day we visited the island on which
Pharaoh's daughter discovered little Moses.  The island is still there,
but there isn't a bullrush within a mile of it.

One of the penalties of travel is to have old and settled beliefs
uprooted.  For instance, there are no Maltese cats in Malta, no
Venetian blinds in Venice, no Roman punch in Rome.  If you want
Neapolitan ice cream in Naples you must send out for it.  You may walk
about all day in Bologna without seeing a pound of Bologna sausage.
Egyptian cigarettes are known throughout the world, and yet no tobacco
is grown in Egypt.  Go to Manhattan Beach and everybody is drinking
Martinis.  Truly, the stereotyped labels are deceptive.



CHAPTER XV

DAY BY DAY ON THE DROWSY NILE.  WITH SOMETHING ABOUT THE WONDERFUL
HASSIM

While we were in London we dined one evening at a gorgeous hotel with a
Mr. Brewster, of Connecticut.  After dinner, Mr. Peasley told the
waiter to bring some "good cigars."  Mr. Peasley resides in Iowa, where
it is customary to stroll down to the drug store after supper and buy a
couple of Lottie Lees, which are so good that the druggist cannot
afford to give six for a quarter.  Not being familiar with the
favourite brands of London, he called on Mr. Brewster to name the cigar
of his choice, and Mr. Brewster said he was very fond of the Corona del
Matadora, or something like that, because the entire crop in Cuba was
taken over by a London dealer, and they could not be obtained in New
York for love or money.  The waiter brought what appeared to be a very
superior article of stogie, and after they had been passed around, Mr.
Peasley put several into his pockets, as we were going to a music hall,
and Mr. Peasley had learned that tobacco acted as a sedative and helped
one to remain calm while listening to British jokes.

"How much?" he asked.

"Three and six," replied the waiter.

Mr. Peasley handed him three and six.

"Each," said the waiter.

[Illustration: _"Each," said the waiter_]

Mr. Peasley swallowed something and his eyes leaned from their sockets,
but he said nothing.  He handed over two sovereigns, and the change
that came back to him was almost sufficient for the waiter's tip.
There was a brief silence and then Mr. Peasley said:--"Three shillings
is seventy-five cents--seventy-five and twelve make eighty-seven."

Another silence.

"Eighty-seven cents," sighed Mr. Peasley.  "Three bushels of oats for a
cigar!"

When Mr. Brewster crossed our trail in Egypt and became our fellow
passenger on a Nile steamer Mr. Peasley remembered him and longed for a
chance to get even.

Our friend from Connecticut was wearing a large canopy helmet--the kind
that makes a short man look like a walking piano-stool.  We were
wearing the same outlandish style of headgear and for some reason or
other, no person being responsible for what he does when he is away
from home, Mr. Peasley had his name boldly marked in Arabic on the
front of his helmet.  It didn't look like anything, but it was real
Arabic and said his name was Peasley and that he came from Iowa and he
was very proud of it.  He urged Mr. Brewster to have his helmet marked
in a similar way.

"I hardly like the idea of wearing my name on my hat," said the man
from Connecticut.

"But when you get home and hang the thing up in your den with the
Navajo blankets and swords and other curios, think what a fine souvenir
it will be," urged Mr. Peasley.

Mr. Brewster finally consented and Mr. Peasley took the helmet to the
head steward, who was a native, and in a few minutes he brought it back
magnificently lettered all over the front.  It surely did look Oriental
and decorative and Mr. Brewster was grateful when he saw how
beautifully his name and New England address showed up in Arabic.

That afternoon we landed at Assiut, which is headquarters for a most
wolfish assortment of guides, street peddlers, and hold-up men who work
in the bazaars.  Most of them are Copts and claim to be good
Christians, but we did not feel impelled to throw up our hats on that
account.  When they bore down upon us and started to wrestle with us we
could hardly distinguish any difference between them and the ordinary
heathen.

From the moment that we landed, Mr. Brewster of Connecticut attracted
more attention than any other person in the party.  Four guides laid
hold of him at the same moment and declined to let go.  Later on, in
the bazaar, every dealer who sighted him gave a glad guttural cry and
tried to drag him into one of the stuffy little shops.  The arrival of
an ordinary tourist is calculated to agitate a bazaar, but when Mr.
Brewster appeared the general effect was the same as when the raw meat
is carried into the zoo.  He was pulled and hauled and for the whole
length of the winding bazaar his way was blocked by frantic villains in
white gowns and huge turbans, who dangled tawdry merchandise in front
of him and begged him to make an offer.  Mr. Brewster was a good deal
amazed, and we were more or less puzzled until we came back to the boat
and Mr. Peasley confessed that the Arabic characters boldly displayed
on Mr. Brewster's helmet did not stand for his name and address at all,
but meant, as nearly as could be translated, "Rich American--Easy Mark."

[Illustration: "_Rich American--Easy Mark._"]

Poor Mr. Brewster!  At the present writing he is still wearing that
bold label, wandering in and out of shops and around hotels, inviting
the attacks of guides, donkey boys, servants, and peddlers.  It seemed
a rather low-down trick, but Mr. Peasley said that probably it would
flatter Mr. Brewster to learn that anyone from Connecticut could
attract so much attention in a foreign country.

Arabic is surely a weird excuse for a language.  In its written form it
looks like the bird-track illustrations in one of Thompson Seton
Thompson's books, and instead of reading it from left to right you
begin at the tail end of a sentence and back up all the way.  In
reading an Arabic novel you turn to the end of the book and read the
last chapter first, and if it develops that the fellow marries the
girl, naturally that saves a lot of trouble.  In its right to left
character the Arabic is somewhat like the Hebrew or Lower Broadway
language, which also begins at the leaving-off place.  This fact
reminded a New York man of a story.  He said that in one of the east
side Assembly districts of New York city a large body of Yiddish
voters, recently arrived in the land of the somewhat free and the home
of the more or less brave, had been rounded up very carefully by the
Tammany workers.  The voters were not familiar with the workings of the
Australian ballot system, and had to be instructed by the Tammany ward
heelers, who said:--"All you have to do is to put a cross mark in the
circle at the top of the first column, see?"  That seemed simple
enough, so the voters went into the booths and marked the first--that
is, the right hand--column, and elected the Prohibition candidate.

The Arabic language, when spoken, sounds very much like an agitated
person trying to dislodge a fish bone.  It is one of the most unmusical
tongues in the world and offers no tempting inducements to the student,
yet Mr. Peasley actually bought one of those "Arabic at a Glance" books
and started to learn some of the more useful sentences.  He said that
if he could get Arabic down pat he would pass as a native and be
enabled to buy things at about half price.  After two days of hard
study he attempted a conversation with a military policeman standing on
the river bank at Dendera.  Mr. Peasley strolled up to him, careless
like, and said, "Ana awez arabiyet kwayesset min shan arookh el balad."
That was supposed to mean, "I want a first-class carriage for driving
in the town."  The stalwart soldier gazed at Mr. Peasley with a most
bewildered look in his jet black eyes and then began to edge away.

"Hold on," said Mr. Peasley.  "How about hal yel zamna ghafar yerafegua
bill tareeg?"

[Illustration: "_How about hal yel zamna ghafar yerafegua bill
tareeg?_"]

Mr. Peasley thought he was asking, "Shall we require a guide or an
escort in this town?"

The soldier beckoned to us to come over and help him out.

"Tell him, please, that I am educate at the Presbyterian Mission," said
he.  "I speak only English and Arabic."

We questioned him later and learned that he took Mr. Peasley to be a
Russian.  This one little experience rather discouraged our travelling
companion.  He said it was foolish to waste important dialogue on a lot
of benighted ignorami who did not know their own language.

As a matter of fact, English carries the tourist everywhere in Egypt.
The American Mission School, supported by the Presbyterians, is a proud
local institution in each good-sized town.  At every landing along the
river small boys from the mission schools would come down to the boat
to ask for English books.  These requests were such a welcome variation
from the everlasting howl for "baksheesh" that the over-generous
passengers soon gave away all the reading matter on board and had
nothing left for themselves except Baedekers and time tables.  I saw a
silver-haired old lady from Philadelphia give to a coal-black and
half-naked child of eight a volume of Browning's poems in paper cover.
The dusky infant clasped the book to his bare bosom and shouted his
thanks as the boat headed up stream, and the old lady was so gratified
and happy that she stood looking at him with tear-dimmed eyes and never
gave a thought as to what might happen to his intellect.  At one town,
just as we were casting off, I threw an American magazine to a handsome
little tike who had been asking for English literature.  It fell on the
dock, and twenty small boys began fighting for it and tearing it to
pieces.  I never saw such a thirst for advertising matter.

Our voyage from Cairo to Luxor was punctuated with so many new
experiences that possibly it would be better to take them in order.
Egypt is the land of leisurely travel.  If you look at the map the
distance from Cairo to Luxor seems only a good hop, skip, and jump.  It
is 458 miles by rail and the lightning express does it in fifteen
hours, the same being considered a record performance.  Our boat left
Cairo one Friday afternoon and arrived at Luxor the following Thursday
morning.  We chugged slowly against the current all the way, tying up
every night and getting away before daybreak next morning.  Several
times we changed pilots.  The Nile pilot is usually a grizzled old
sheikh with the doubtful combination of a department store spring
overcoat and a red fez.  He stands at the wheel bossing the crew while
the ostensible captain or manager, who is a budding European in a neat
uniform, has nothing much to do except circulate on the upper deck and
pour tea for a little cluster of intellectual giantesses from England.
Two sailors stand well forward on the lower deck, one on each side,
jabbing at the river with poles in order to get the depth of the
channel.  If the boat runs into water less than six inches deep they
become alarmed and start to yelp.  Occasionally the gallant craft
strikes a bar and comes to a tired pause, whereupon all the passengers
say "Mgh!" and lurch out of their camp stools.  Then there is a little
welcome excitement and the natives of the crew run around in circles
and call upon Allah for temporary assistance.  With much grunting, both
by the boat and the men at the poles, the good Hatasoo backs out of the
mud and takes a fresh start, zigzagging through the shallows until deep
water is found--that is, a depth of anywhere from three to four feet.
The Nile is just as finical and unreliable as a Missouri or
Mississippi, the tortuous channel constantly shifting, and the pilot
needs to be an expert with a memory like an encyclopaedia.  Fortunately
there are no snags.  Wood is about the most precious commodity in
Egypt, and all the snags were fished out and utilised some two thousand
years before we happened along.  Although our voyage lasted five full
days we went ashore only three times.  As I have already explained, the
traveller need not leave the Nile steamer in order to see nearly
everything that is happening in Egypt.  Leaving Cairo late on Friday
afternoon, we made two stops on Saturday to discharge freight and take
on natives.  Many of the women came aboard closely veiled and were at
once secreted in a canvas compartment on the lower deck.  These
precautions seemed to be needless.  Two adjectives will best describe
the pride of the harem--shabby and flabby.  Unless you wish to lose all
enthusiasm for the Arabian Nights, keep away from Egypt.

Sunday.--Arriving at Beni Hassan at ten o'clock we went ashore and
climbed on midget donkeys and rode away to explore the rock tombs.
Beni Hassan has been for several centuries the home of an obstreperous
breed of cutthroats.  Repeated attempts have been made to exterminate
or scatter the tribe, but it is still in existence, although somewhat
subdued.  The government keeps a guard of soldiers at the town, and
when we landed we found ourselves surrounded by the military, while the
natives stood back of the dead-line and gazed at us hungrily.  There we
began to get close glimpses of the domestic life of the plain people.

A mud wall enclosure with a hut at one end.  Within this squalid pen,
women in bedraggled black gowns, children in semi-attire and closely
attended by swarms of flies, two or three emaciated goats, a few
chickens, and a somnolent burro.  At present the live stock and the
Egyptians live on terms of democratic equality, but since the English
have introduced the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals it
is hoped that the situation will be remedied.

On Monday, at two o'clock, we landed at Assiut, after passing through
the locks of the first big barrage or dam built under British direction
and intended to regulate the water level of the lower Nile and the
delta during the dry season.  Assiut is a big town with some showy
buildings, an attractive bazaar, and a guide who represents the
thirty-third degree of scoundrelism.  His name is Hassim.  If you
should visit Assiut and wish to become acquainted with the very pink
and flower of villainy, hunt up Hassim.  Perhaps it will be unnecessary
to hunt him up.  He will be waiting for you, just as he was waiting for
us.  When we went ashore we were attacked by a flying wedge of donkey
boys and carriage drivers, all shrieking like demons and kicking up
such clouds of dust as can be found only in a country where the showers
are a century apart.  By striking out right and left we held off our
assailants and succeeded in boarding a rickety victoria.  When we
escaped from the clamour and the clouds of dust and took our bearings
Hassim was on the box alongside of the driver.  He had attached himself
to us on his own invitation and we are glad that he did so, for he
proved to be a rascal of such inventive fancy and such unusual methods
of attack that our natural resentment was fairly lost in admiration.
He was tall and lean, with a stern and military countenance and one eye
set at an angle.  His manner was imperious and from the moment when he
fastened himself upon us he was in absolute charge of the expedition.

"Fear not," he said, holding up his hand impressively, "I shall protect
you.  You shall see the rock tombs and the grand view of the valley and
the great bazaar of Assiut and no one shall do you harm, for I am
Hassim, son of Abdalla."

This had a most assuring sound, so we made no resistance.  For several
hours he marched ahead of us, proclaiming our social importance and
ordering people out of the way, and every ten minutes he led us into
some carefully concealed trap and tried to separate us from our
piasters.  All the time he went through the motions of defending our
interests and fighting back those who would defraud us.  For instance,
in the bazaar.  In a thoughtless moment I had said that I wished to
purchase an ebony walking-stick.  He led us to a dealer in
walking-sticks, and here the following drama was played for our
benefit:--

Hassim (to dealer)--This distinguished gentleman wishes to buy an ebony
walking-stick.  Show him your best goods and let the price be fair or
never more shall I bring customers to your vile shop.  (To the crowd
jostling in upon us)--Stand back!  Do not crowd upon the honourable
gentlemen from America.

Dealer (showing an ebony stick with a badly carved handle of bone,
supposed to be ivory)--Ah, see!  Yes!  Verra good stick!  Is it not?
Verra cheap.

I (looking at it coldly and shaking my head as if in disapproval)--How
much?

Dealer--Verra cheap--only twenty shilling.

Hassim--Wha-a-t!  (He rushes upon the dealer, smites him on the chest
with his open hand and then tries to choke him).  Oh, dog!  Oh, unclean
animal!  Twenty shilling!  (To us)  Come!  Let us go away.  He is bad
man.  Come!

Dealer (entreatingly)--You make me offer.  How much you give?

Hassim--Oh, child of darkness!  Oh, crawling crocodile!  You are trying
to cheat the high-born visitors.

Dealer (cringingly)--How much you give?

Hassim (to me)--Come, I will speak with you alone.  (He leads me away
from the crowd and talks to me in a husky whisper.)  This man is bad
man.  Do not pay him twenty bob.  No one is looking.  You slip the
money to me and I will buy it for fifteen.

Now, fifteen shillings is $3.75 in real money, and the stick is worth a
dollar at the most extravagant valuation, so I say to Hassim, "Are you
in on this?"

He does not understand, but he looks at me as if hurt or disappointed,
and then says, "I try to get it for ten.  Wait here."

Then I catch him by the slack of the blue gown and say that I will not
give ten.  I authorise him to offer fifteen piasters--seventy-five
cents.  He says it will be useless to offer such a small sum, as the
ivory comes from the elephant and hunters must search many days to find
the elephant and then carry the tusk forty-seven thousand miles across
the burning desert to sell it to the dealer in Assiut.  So I tell him
to stand back and I will negotiate in my own behalf.  So I break
through the crowd and offer three shillings.  Derisive laughter by the
dealer, the crowd assisting.  I offer four shillings.  The dealer says,
"I am a ruined man, but no matter--take it along for eight."  Then
Hassim elbows his way back to the scene of trouble and helps to
complicate matters.  He curses the dealer in Arabic and says to me in a
side whisper that he has succeeded in buying the stick for seven
shillings.  I offer five.  To make a long story short, after using up
$8 worth of time and $52 worth of vocal energy, I buy the stick for six
shillings, and when I return to the boat the head steward exhibits one
just like it which he bought for two.

This farcical "grand stand" play was repeated every time we stopped to
purchase some trifling specimen of native junk.  One of the best
performances of the afternoon involved a mysterious trip up a narrow
alley and into a tumbledown house, where Hassim exhibited to us four
squalling infants, attended by many flies and richly encrusted with the
soil of their native land.  Although all four of the children seemed to
be of about the same age, he assured us that they belonged to him, and
we, being unfamiliar with the customs of Egypt, were not prepared to
contradict him.  He said it was customary for visitors to give a small
present to each of the children, or, better still, we could give the
money to him and he would hand it to them later.

We shall remember Hassim.  He surrounded his cheap trickeries with such
a glamour of Oriental ceremony and played his part with such a terrific
show of earnestness that he made the afternoon wholly enjoyable.  When
we arrived at the landing he and the driver had a verbal war, and then
he took me aside for another heart to heart talk.

"The driver is a child of evil," said he.  "I tremble with rage!  He is
demanding fifty piasters.  Do not pay him fifty.  Give the money to me
and I will say to him, 'Take forty or nothing'!"

The driver's legal fare was twenty piasters.  Finally we paid him
twenty-five.  Everybody was satisfied.  Then we paid Hassim for his
services and sent presents to his four simultaneous children, and the
last we saw of him he was making a bee-line for the bazaar to collect
his commissions.

The decorative tail piece to this chapter is my name in Arabic.

[Illustration: _My name in Arabic_]



IN LUXOR



CHAPTER XVI

THE MOHAMMEDAN FLY AND OTHER CREATURES LIVING ALONG THE NILE

Egyptian civilisation is supposed to be stationary, except in the
larger cities.  The fellahin scratch the rich alluvial soil with the
same kind of clumsy wooden plough that was used when Marc Antony came
down from Rome on a business trip and got all snarled up with
Cleopatra.  They live in the same type of snug mud hut--about the size
of a lower berth.  They lift the water from the Nile by exactly the
same wooden sweep that was in vogue when Cheops began work on the
Pyramids.  It may be remarked, _en passant_, that the fellahin are the
farmers of Egypt.  I might have said "farmers" in the first place, but
what is the use of spending a month in a place and paying large hotel
bills if one cannot pick up words of the fellahin description to parade
up and down in front of his friends and cause them to feel ignorant and
untravelled?  The _en passant_, which is tucked in so neatly above, I
found in Paris.  It means "under your hat," or something like that.  It
is impossible to translate these French phrases without sacrificing
some of the piquant significance of the original.  For instance,
"string beans" can never be _haricots vert_.  They may look the same
and taste the same, but when they are both on the bill, me for the
_haricots vert_ every time.

To resume:--The outlying districts of Egypt are supposed to be
absolutely nonprogressive.  This is a mistake.  While driving out from
Assiut to visit another cheerful group of tombs we came upon a large
gang of workmen engaged in improving the road.  As soon as the carriage
ahead of ours struck the improved road it turned turtle, and for a
moment the air was full of jumping tourists.  Our conveyance started
over the improved section, but mired down, so we got out and walked
until we came to an unimproved road, and then we jumped in and sped
merrily on our way.  I stopped for several minutes to watch the men at
work, and I was deeply impressed by the fact that here in this heathen
land, where they had no normal schools or farmers' institutes to guide
them, no agricultural weeklies to beacon them out of the darkness, the
simple children of the Orient were "improving" the roads just as I had
seen them improved during my boyhood days in Indiana.  In other words,
they were scooping dirt out of the ditch on either side and dumping it
in tall, unsurmountable hillocks right in the middle of the roadway.
The most hydrocephalous township supervisor in the whole Middle West
could not have done a more imbecilic job.

In Indiana every voter is required to "work the roads" or pay a road
tax.  Of late years, under intelligent direction, the highways have
been vastly improved, but there was a time when "working the roads" was
a large joke.  To avoid paying the tax the farmer would have to go out
with a team and do something to a public highway.  Usually he selected
a road which he would not traverse in going to town, and he would
plough it up and "scrape" it into hollows and leave it looking like a
sample of the Bad Lands of Montana.  As soon as the tax was "worked
out" he discontinued the improvement.  After two or three days of
"working," a fairly bad road could be made altogether impassable.  If I
were a military commander and had to execute a retreat and cut off any
pursuit by a superior force I would have a corps of flat-headed
township supervisors bring up the rear and "work" the roads.

[Illustration: _Working out his taxes and improving the roads_]

It was in this same town of Assiut that we visited one of the greatest
bazaars in Egypt.  We had heard about this bazaar every day since
landing.  The traveller who had been up the Nile and who had come back
to Cairo, sunbaked and full of the patronising airs of the veteran,
invariably said, "By the way, when you are in Assiut you must see the
bazaar."  He might as well have said, "When you are in Washington be
sure to take a look at the Washington Monument."

"Bazaar" has a seductive, Far Eastern sound, the same as "mosque."  It
is much luckier to shut your eyes and think of a mosque than to
actually see a deserted lime kiln with an upturned sugar bowl on top of
it.  The same for "bazaar," only it goes double.  A bazaar is a cosey
corner gone wrong.  If you will take the long corridor of an American
second-class hotel, tear off the roof and substitute a canopy of
tattered rag carpets, cover the walls with the imitation merchandise of
a five and ten cent store, kick up a choking dust, turn loose twenty or
thirty ripe odours and then have one hundred and fifty coffee-coloured
lunatics all begin talking at the same time, you will have a rather
tame imitation of the genuine Oriental bazaar as made famous in song
and story.  The crude articles sold in these bazaars, if displayed in
the windows of a department store in America, would attract no
attention whatever, but the tourist, as soon as he has had a touch of
the Egyptian sun, seems to become easy and irresponsible, and he wants
to bargain for everything in sight.  It is a kind of temporary mania,
known as curiosis, and is closely allied to the widely prevalent
souveniria, or post card fever, which attacks even the young and
innocent.

The intelligent reader may have noticed that now and then I have
referred to the dust of Egypt.  Egypt makes all the other dusty spots
on earth seem dank and waterlogged.  We asked truthful Hassim, our
guide at Assiut, if there had been any rainfall lately.  He said that
about five years ago there had been a light shower, and during one of
the Ptolemy administrations there had been a regular old drencher.  The
Ptolemy family occupied the throne about two thousand years ago.  At
home, take it in the dog days, if we have no rain for two weeks and the
crick dries up, all the local apostles of gloom and advance agents of
adversity clot themselves together in front of the Post Office and
begin pronouncing funeral orations over the corn crop.  Fourteen days
without rain and the whole country is on the toboggan, headed straight
for bankruptcy.  Yet here in Egypt, where they haven't experienced a
really wet rain for twenty centuries, the people go about cheerfully,
and there is no complaint regarding Providence.

[Illustration: _The whole country is on the toboggan_]

But what an unsatisfactory hang-out for the weather shark!  In Egypt
the oldest inhabitant never gets up in the morning and says, "I'm
satisfied we're going to have rain to-day, because my rheumatiz
bothered me all night."  There is no need of looking for rings around
the moon.  You never hear anyone say, "It looks a little black in the
north, but I think it'll blow around, because the wind is in the wrong
direction."  Every morning the sun rolls up in silvery splendour and
surveys the same old parched landscape, with the strip of irrigated
green, and after a leisurely and monotonous day sinks through a golden
glow into the far-stretching desert.  No one is looking for rain or
hoping for it.  When it comes it is regarded as a calamity.  It washes
down the mud huts, collects in pools and makes breeding spots for
microbes and leaks through hotel roofs, so that tourists have to carry
umbrellas in going to the dining-room.  In March of this year there was
a heavy rainfall around Assouan, extending as far north as Luxor, and
when we came along, a few weeks later, the natives were still bewailing
the visitation of Allah's wrath.

The extreme dryness of the air in Egypt causes the visiting microbe to
feel like an alien.  It becomes enervated and discouraged, incapable of
initiating any new and fashionable epidemics.  This same air, however,
seems to have a tonic effect on the flea.  In no other clime is he so
enterprising, so full of restless energy, so given to unexpected
achievements.  During a dull season, if there is a short supply of
tourists, he associates with the natives.  He prefers the tourist, but
come what may, he is never idle.  The bacillus, on the other hand, has
circumscribed opportunities.  Inasmuch as the entire population of the
country lives along the river one might suppose that harmful germs
would be bred and disseminated by the billion.  Yet both natives and
visitors drink from the river with impunity.  "The sweet water of the
Nile" it is called and even the most apprehensive travellers learn to
take it after putting in about twenty drops of Scotch, so as to benumb
the bacilli, if any should be present.  There is an explanation of the
micro-organism's failure to do very much harm in Egypt.  If a bacillus
living anywhere along the Nile starts for a ramble on shore he is
sunstruck, and falls helpless in the sand.  If he sticks to the water
the monotony of travel begins to wear upon him, and after about seven
miles he dies of _ennui_.

If Egypt is a happy hunting ground for the flea it is likewise a
paradise for the fly.  If I had to be something in Egypt I should
prefer to be a Mohammedan fly.  This little creature, which in most
countries is hounded and persecuted and openly regarded as a pest, is
treated with consideration in Egypt--humoured, petted, indulged,
actually spoiled.  In the U.S.A. a fly is almost as unpopular as the
millionaire.  He is wary, fretful, and suspicious, because he knows
that all humanity is joined in a conspiracy to put him out of business.
If he strolls up to a pool of water, temptingly set forth in a white
bowl, he finds himself a few minutes later writhing in cramps and full
of corrosive sublimate.  He sees what appears to be a tempting luncheon
of sweets and when he starts in to serve himself he discovers that he
is caught and held by the treacherous "tanglefoot" mixture.  He sees a
sign, "This way to the dining-room," and after passing through a long
corridor he lands in a wire trap from which there is no escape.  If he
alights on a bald head and tries to use it as a rink somebody strikes
at him and calls him names.

[Illustration: _In the U.S.A. the fly is almost as unpopular as a
millionaire_]

It is all different in Egypt.  The greatest indignity that a Mohammedan
ever offers a fly is to give him a gentle shove and request him to move
on.  It is contrary to the religious teachings to kill or even cripple
this diminutive household companion.  The belief in the transmigration
of souls seems to prevail everywhere in the mystical East, and perhaps
the fly that follows and nags you all afternoon may harbour the
spiritual essence of a former head waiter or a bey or some other
dignitary.  When the flies assemble in large numbers around the various
apertures of a baby's face, the child, obeying an instinct of
self-defence, tries to "spat" them and drive them away.  But the mother
restrains the infant by holding its hands and the flies give themselves
over to unmolested enjoyment.  The older children have learned their
lesson and seldom make any effort to brush away the flies which loiter
all over their bright young features.  This is not a pleasant thing to
talk about, but inasmuch as the fly is omnipresent during a trip up the
Nile and this friendly understanding between the fly and the native is
constantly under the traveller's observation, a description of Egypt
would be sadly incomplete without a chapter on the fly.

Having been a privileged class for many generations, the flies are
impudent and familiar to a degree.  When the white unbeliever, with no
conscientious scruples against murder, comes up the river, they swarm
about him and buzz into his ears, "Welcome to our city."  Then when he
begins sparring with them and using sulphurous language, they gather
about him in augmented numbers and dodge when he strikes and side step
when he slaps himself and seem to think that he is trying to teach them
some new kind of a "tag" game.  The Mohammedan fly cannot by any effort
of the imagination bring himself to believe that a human being would
wilfully injure him.  This feeling of overconfidence in mankind breeds
carelessness, and during the open season for tourists many of them are
laid low.  Mr. Peasley said that if there was anything in the
transmigration theory, he figured that he had massacred a regiment of
soldiers, several boards of directors, a high school and an insane
asylum.  The mortalities during the tourist season do not seem to lower
the visible supply or in any way discourage the surviving millions.

When we started up the river a peddler came to the boat and offered us
some small fly brooms.  They are very much like the brush used by the
apprentice in a blacksmith shop to protect the horse that is being
shod.  The brush part is made of split palm leaves or horsehair and the
handle is decorated with beadwork.  The idea of a person sitting about
and whisking himself with this ornamental duster struck us as being
most unusual, not to say idiotic.  Before we travelled far up the Nile
we had joined the grand army of whiskers.  The fly broom is essential.
It is needed every eight seconds.  At Luxor we went out to see a
gymkhana under the auspices of the Luxor Sporting Club and every one of
the two hundred spectators sat there wearily slapping himself about the
head with the tufted fly brush while looking at the races.

The Luxor Sporting Club is not as dangerous as it sounds.  The
presiding judge of the races was a minister of the gospel and the
receipts were given to local charities.  A gymkhana is the last resort
of a colony shut off from the metropolitan forms of amusement, and yet
it can be made the source of much hilarious fun.  Nothing could have
been more frivolous than the programme at Luxor, and yet the British
spectators seldom gave way to mirth.  Doubtless they were laughing
inwardly.  Several ponderous committees had charge of the arrangements
and attended to them with due solemnity.

First there was a race between native water-carriers, distance about
three hundred yards, and each contestant carrying a goat skin filled
with water.  Then there was a donkey boys' race, each rider being
required to ride backward.  This enabled him to encourage his mount by
twisting the tail.  In the donkey race for ladies several of the
contestants fell off gracefully and were carried to the refreshment
booth, where they revived on tea.  The "affinity race" was an
interesting feature.  The contestants rode their donkeys in pairs, a
gentleman and a lady holding a long ribbon between them.  They were
required to gallop about two hundred yards, turn a post, and return to
the starting point without letting go of the ribbon.  By far the most
exciting features of the programme were the camel and buffalo races.
These animals have associated with the hysterical natives so long that
they have lost all of their natural horse sense and are quite daft and
irresponsible.  At the word "Go!" instead of running down the course,
they would snort madly and start off in all directions.  If any of them
finished under the wire it was by mere chance and not because of any
guiding intelligence.  One demented water buffalo turned and ran at
right angles to the course.  The last we saw of him he was disappearing
over a hill toward the setting sun, with the native jockey riding on
all parts of the upper deck, from the horns back to the tail.

The gymkhana is intended to provide an afternoon of undiluted nonsense,
and for the benefit of those who find reason tottering on her throne
and who don't care what they do as long as they enjoy themselves, I
shall append a few sample competitions from an Egyptian programme and
suggest that they be tried in America.

Bucket Contest--Competitors to gallop past three buckets, throwing a
potato into each bucket.  Marks to be given for pace.  Best of two runs.

Hat Trimming Competition--Gentleman to ride to lady with parcel
containing hat and trimmings.  Lady to trim hat and gentleman to return
to the winning post wearing hat.

Dak Race--Competitors to drive at the trot about one-half mile,
unharness and saddle same pony and ride 200 yards, returning to the
winning post.

Housekeeping Stakes--Gentleman on side saddle to ride to lady and give
her envelope containing an addition sum.  Lady to open envelope, add up
this sum and return it to gentleman.  First past the post with correct
sum wins.

Needle Threading Competition--Lady carries needle and thread 100 yards
to gentleman partner.  He threads the needle and returns it to lady.
First past the post with needle properly threaded wins.

Egg Carrying Competition for Ladies--Each lady carries an egg in an
ordinary teaspoon for a distance of about fifty yards.  If egg is
dropped it must be recovered with the spoon and must not be touched
with the hands.  First past the post with unbroken egg wins.

There are many other contests which tax the intellect in a similar
manner, but possibly the foregoing will be sufficient to provide a
fairly demoralising afternoon.  Of course, in America it is impossible
to secure the real Levantine donkey.  In Egypt the donkey takes the
place of the motor car, the trolley, the hansom, and the bicycle.  In
size he ranges from an average goat to a full grown St. Bernard.
Ordinarily he is headstrong and hard to manage, having no bridle wisdom
whatever, but he is of tough fibre and has a willing nature, and behind
his mournful countenance there always seems to be lurking a crafty and
elusive sense of humour.  The names are marvellous.  At the various
stops on our way up the Nile I became personally acquainted with
Rameses the Great, Rameses Telegraph, Rameses Telephone, Jim Corbett,
Whiskey Straight, Lovely Sweet, Roosevelt, Sleeping Car, Lydia Pinkham,
and others equally appropriate which I cannot now recall.

As I have indicated above, our wanderings have carried us as far as
Luxor.  Luxor (the ancient Thebes) is the superlative of all that is
old and amazing in Egypt and therefore it calls for at least one
separate chapter.



CHAPTER XVII

IN AND AROUND LUXOR, WITH A SIDE LIGHT ON RAMESES THE GREAT

Until we arrived at Luxor we did not know the total meaning of the word
"old."  The ruins, which are the stock in trade of this ancient City of
Thebes, date so far back into the dimness of Nowhere that all the other
antiquities of earth seem as fresh and recent as a morning newspaper.

"Old" is merely a relative term, after all.  I remember in my native
town we small boys used to gaze in reverent awe at a court house that
was actually built before the Civil War.  We would look up at that
weather-beaten frame structure, two stories high, with a square bird
cage on top of it, and to us it had all the historic interest of a
mediæval castle.  Later, in Chicago, when the special writer on the
newspaper ran short of topics he would dish up an illustrated story on
the oldest building in town.  It was constructed away back in 1833.

When a man from the West goes East for the first time and sees
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, he takes off his hat and tries to
grasp the overwhelming fact that the building stood there even in the
far distant Colonial period.  When he travels to London and walks
through St. Paul's or stands in the Henry VII. Chapel at Westminster he
begins to get a new line on the meaning of "old."  Later he sees the
Forum at Rome and declares to himself:--"At last I have found something
really ancient."

But when he arrives at Luxor and rambles among the elephantine ruins
and sits in the deep cool shade of temples that had been standing a
good many centuries before anyone thought of laying out the Forum in
Rome he will begin to understand how everything else in the world is
comparatively hot from the griddle.  One day we were in the shop of
Mouhammed Mouhassib, in Luxor, and the old antiquarian reached under
the counter and lugged out a mummy.  The body was well preserved, and
the embalming cloth in which it was wrapped and cross-wrapped still
retained a definite texture.

"This mummy dates back beyond any of the dynasties of which we have a
record," said the dealer.  "There were no inscriptions on the mummy
case, because when this gentleman lived it was not the custom to
inscribe the cocoon.  You will observe, however, that he was buried in
a sitting posture, and we know that this manner of burial was
discontinued about 6000 B.C."

As we stood there gazing into the calm features of the unidentified
has-been and realised that he had been sitting in that easy attitude
for eight thousand years waiting for us to come along and be presented
to him, we began to get a faint inkling of what the word "old" really
means.

Goodness knows I am not going to attempt any detailed description of
the stupendous ruins which make Luxor the most interesting spot in
Egypt.  Anyone who is going to describe Luxor needs a new box of
adjectives every few minutes, and, besides, to repeat over and over
again that the columns and cavernous sanctuaries at Karnak are
"gigantic," and "colossal," and "huge," and so on, cannot bring the
reader to any actual conception of the barbaric massiveness of these
ancient structures.

The rulers who built the main temple of Karnak, a section at a time,
thought they were not doing themselves credit unless they piled up
columns about the size of the redwood trees in California and guarded
each entrance with statues as big as the Goddess of Liberty in New York
Harbour, and when they made a wall to enclose a courtyard, they put up
something to resemble a mountain range.  The ordinary 150 pound mortal
edging his way through the corridors and under the vast shadows of
these overwhelming uplifts of masonry feels about as large and as
important as a gnat.

Everywhere about these temples there are uniformed guards whose duty it
is to protect the remains against the vandal and the relic hunter.  The
guard follows a few feet behind you as you roam through the many acres
of toppling ruin.  He is afraid that you will steal something.
Inasmuch as the smallest fragment of one of these huge statues, or
obelisks, would weigh probably six hundred pounds, we felt that he was
not justified in suspecting us.  But he followed along and then, when
we were leaving, he calmly came forward and indicated that he was ready
to take a money insult.  This move on his part was most characteristic
of the Egyptian attitude toward visitors in general.  Every native
expects to get something out of a traveller for the simple reason that
he needs the money.  Suppose that a suspicious character should arrive
in an American city and the chief of police sent out a detective to
shadow him and see that he did not blow open any safes or crawl into
any second stories.  The detective, having followed the suspect all
day, approaches him at nightfall and says, "Look here; you have put me
to a lot of trouble.  I have been on my feet all day watching you for
fear that you were going to commit a burglary, and I think it is only
right that you should pay me something."

Every time we visited an antiquity these guards tagged at our heels,
watching us like hawks, and invariably they tried to hold us up for a
piece of silver before we departed.  There is a Masonic understanding
among the natives that the tourist is to be fleeced.  For instance,
although the copper coins are in common use among the natives, and in
the cheaper shops the prices are usually reckoned in milliemes, it is
almost impossible for a traveller to get any of these copper coins
because the natives want him to bestow his gratuities in piastres.  A
millieme is worth one-half cent, and then the millieme is further
subdivided into fractional coins, some of which are about the size of
the mustard seed and worth about as much as a share of mining stock.

Egyptian money is very easily understood by Americans.  The piastre is
the same as our five-cent piece or nickel.  The silver five piastre
piece resembles our quarter and has the same value.  The ten piastre
piece is the same as our half-dollar.  The 100 piastre bill is worth
five dollars.  Inasmuch as many of the prices sound large and important
when quoted in piastres, the dealers have learned to demand English
pounds sterling or American dollars.  That is, they name their first
prices in sovereigns and dollars and then gradually work down to
piastres.  I saw a native trying to sell a scarab to a tourist.  His
first price was £7, equivalent to $35.  After a half-hour of haggling
he had cut it to 7 piastres, or 35 cents, and the deal was consummated.

The old city of Thebes was a huge and hustling metropolis, surrounded
by a high wall of a hundred gates, with countless regiments of soldiers
marching out to conquer distant lands and bring back slaves in little
batches of 80,000 or so.  This was along about 2000 B.C.  The city
began to lose some of its importance a few centuries before the
Christian era and dwindled in size until twenty years ago it was a mere
village of huts nestling in the shade of the great temples.  Then the
tourist travel set in very heavily, and to-day Luxor is a hustling city
with large hotels and fancy shops and a general air of prosperity.  The
magnificent temple of Luxor is in the very heart of the new city.  The
rambling temple of Karnak is a short donkey ride to the north, and
across the river, some three miles to the west, there are more temples
and shattered statues and the wonderful tombs of the kings.  In olden
days there was a broad avenue leading north to Karnak and thence west
to the valley in the desert, where the kings were buried, and this
boulevard was guarded on either side, for the entire distance, by huge
recumbent Sphinxes carved out of granite.  Can you imagine a double row
of gigantic figures crouched on each side of the street and about
twenty feet apart all the way up Broadway to Central Park and then
through the Park to Riverside Drive and up the drive to the distant
suburbs?  If so, you will understand to what an extent these old rulers
"went in" for sphinxes.  Labour cost nothing and time did not count for
anything and if a king wished to build an avenue of sphinxes leading to
his private temple or tomb all he had to do was to give the word.

As soon as a king mounted the throne he began making his funeral
preparations, and ordered the entire staff of stone cutters to chisel
out hieroglyphs explaining that he was great and good and just, and
that he never took off his hat to anyone except the gods, and then not
ordinary picayune gods, but only those of the very first magnitude.
According to the hieroglyphs, every king that ruled in Egypt was as
wise as Solomon, as brilliant in military strategy as Napoleon, and as
hard on the evildoer as our own beloved T.R.

This unanimous outpouring of eulogy is largely explained by the fact
that every memorial in honour of a ruler was erected and supervised by
that ruler himself.  It's a fact!  Of all the countless temples and
obelisks and godlike granite figures and festal tomb chambers remaining
in Egypt to testify to the majesty and splendour of the ancient
dynasties, every one was built under the personal supervision of the
man who gets all of the glory out of the inscriptions.  The succeeding
generation never got up subscription lists to build monuments to
statesmen or military commanders.  The dutiful and loving son never
ordered a memorial in honour of his illustrious father.  He was too
busy carving his own biography on the sandstone and depicting himself
as pursuing the enemy or taking afternoon tea with haughty three-headed
gods.

In old Egypt every king was his own press agent.  These rulers could
have written some great "personal recollections" for the magazines,
because they remembered all the incidents that brought them to the
centre of the stage with the calcium turned on, and wisely forgot all
details calculated to injure their standing with posterity.

[Illustration: _In old Egypt every king was his own press agent_]

You take Rameses the Great.  He is regarded as perhaps the king pin of
all the rulers during Egypt's long period of national splendour.  Have
you ever heard anyone say a word in criticism of Rameses' fiscal
policy, his treatment of the rebate system, management of the Senate,
or his social relations with the dark emissaries that came up from
Nubia?  No!  Everyone has a good word for Rameses.  The writers of
ancient history extol him, and the guide books print his name in big
black letters, and the travellers to Egypt gather about his
glass-covered coffin in the Ghizeh Museum at Cairo and try to trace
noble lineaments in the shrunken features.  They sigh over his
departure and look down at him mournfully, with their hats in their
hands, as if they had lost him this spring, instead of 3164 years ago
this spring.  They say:--"Well, he certainly was a grand character and
it's too bad we haven't got some rulers of his calibre nowadays."

[Illustration: _They look down at him mournfully_]

It is not my desire to attack Rameses, but I feel it my duty to submit
to students of history and archæologists a very interesting papyrus,
which came into my possession at Luxor.  If this document is accepted
as authentic and the statements are believed, then it would appear that
Rameses was the champion advertiser of ancient times.  If Rameses were
alive to-day he would own all the billboards in America.  He would take
a full page in every Sunday paper and have his picture on free
calendars.  He would give Lawson cards and spades.

In all accepted records discovered up to this time Rameses has received
nothing but praise.  Why?  Because all the records were doctored by
Rameses himself.  He was the great builder of Egypt and all over the
walls of every building that he erected he had his picture and tales of
his mighty achievements blazoned forth in bright colors like the row of
banners in front of a side show.  Wherever in Egypt he could find a
large smooth-faced rock he would engage a member of the Royal Academy
to sculp something about Rameses, and he would always stand and look
over the sculptor's shoulder to make sure that the king didn't get the
worst of it.  If the army of Rameses suffered a defeat at the hands of
the Hittites, did any mention of the fact find its way into the
inscriptions?  Most assuredly not.  Rameses had the hieroglyphs report
that he made a masterly manoeuvre in order to develop the strength of
the enemy and then retired to a new and more strategic position.

[Illustration: _To make sure the King didn't get the worst of it_]

We cannot discover from the old inscriptions that any Egyptian army
ever suffered defeat, and yet it has been learned from other sources
that now and then an invading army had the whole native population
running foot races up and down the Nile.  However, it was not
considered good form for historians to mention these painful incidents.
The rate of mortality among those who criticised the administration was
exactly 100 per cent.  It is because all of the familiar records are
known to have been under censorship that the papyrus discovered by me
at Luxor possesses a most startling interest.

As a cold matter of fact, I discovered this manuscript by proxy.  That
is, I bought it from the man who said he had found it concealed in the
funeral vestments of a mummy uprooted near Thebes in the month of
February.  I cannot give the name of this Egyptian for the reason that
all valuable antiquities discovered in Egypt are supposed to belong to
the government, and anyone concealing an art treasure or some document
of rare value may be severely punished.  I can say this much,
however--the native from whom I bought the papyrus assured me that he
was an honourable and truthful guide, and he gave me his personal
guarantee that he had removed the document from the mummy's
undergarment with his own hands and had been waiting an opportunity to
offer it to a traveller who was really a _connoisseur_ of antiquities
and a reverent student of ancient languages.  All this he told me while
we were out on the desert together, and after looking apprehensively in
all directions to make sure that no human being was within three miles
of us, he pulled a tin cylinder from under his robe and carefully
removed from it the time-stained but still intact roll of papyrus.  I
must say that I never saw a more convincing document.  The hieroglyphs
looked as Egyptian as anything could be, and as soon as I saw them I
had a burning curiosity to know what message to future generations this
poor mummy had been hugging in his bosom through all these centuries.
I asked regarding the mummy on which the papyrus had been found and
learned that the inscription on his outer coffin indicated that he had
been an officer assigned to the royal palace of Rameses II., the type
of courtier who must bend the supple knee and wear the smiling face, at
all times concealing his real opinion of things in general.

The guarantee which accompanied the papyrus was so heartfelt and
altogether emphatic that I made the purchase.  The price was large, but
I felt justified in paying it, for the native assured me that I could
sell it to the British Museum at any time for twice as much.  I
promised faithfully that I would never mention his name in connection
with the deal, and this promise was easily kept, because he had a name
that no one could have remembered for two minutes.

For obvious reasons I did not show the document to my travelling
companions.  I knew that if people heard of my discovery and got to
talking about it I might not be permitted to take it out of the
country.  When we arrived at Cairo I went to Mr. Ralph Blanchard, an
American who is noted as an antiquarian, Egyptologist, and mummy
collector, and after a few cautious preliminaries told him that I had a
document in hieroglyphics of which I desired a translation.  I begged
him not to inquire where or how I had obtained the papyrus.  All I
wanted him to do was to tell me what the fool thing meant.

Blanchard was startled as soon as he looked at the document.  I could
see that.  He said he had deciphered a good many acres of
hieroglyphics, but this record was unique and the most interesting that
had ever come under his observation.  He spent two days on the
translation, so as to be absolutely accurate regarding every fine point
and get not only the cold words but also the literary style and the
real spirit of the original communication.

[Illustration: _The original papyrus_]

Let the translation speak for itself.  I must confess that when it was
completed I was overwhelmed.  Not only had a flood of light been let in
upon a most important epoch, but there were also surprising revelations
as to the origin of valued words and phrases.  Here is the
translation:--

_Rameses Second is a Smooth Citizen.  His Foxy Scheme is to bunko
Posterity.  His Soldiers go out and put up a hard Scrap and do up the
enemy and he hires a Stonecutter to give an Account of it on a Granite
Rock and hand all the Bouquets to Rameses.  He is building many
Temples.  The Architects draw the Plans.  The Labourers do the Work.
The Public foots the Bill.  Rameses and the Local Deities are the only
ones who butt into the Inscriptions.  He has the future doped out as
follows:--Three thousand years from now, when Cook's Tourists see my
Pictures all over the Shop, they will conclude that I must have been
the real Works and they will call me Rameses the Great._

[Illustration: _Translation of the Rameses papyrus_]

This revelation in regard to the self-advertising proclivities of the
great monarch, coming, as it did, from one who had been intimately
associated with him, was so vastly important that Mr. Blanchard thought
it better to verify the translation.  He took a copy of the document to
several eminent Egyptologists, and they agreed with him on every point.
They said there was no getting away from "scraps" and "butt in" and
"dope out" and other characters which seemed to me to have somewhat of
a modern flavour.

After a man has been universally respected for nearly three thousand
two hundred years it does seem a low down trick to show him up.  And,
possibly, the anonymous writer was prejudiced because he had failed to
secure an appointment.  Did the papyrus really come from the bosom of
the mummy?  Who knows?  Sometimes it is the duty of the traveller to
record facts as they come under his observation and not to draw hasty
conclusions.

The documentary evidence is submitted herewith--first a copy of the
original papyrus and then the translation, word for word and phrase by
phrase.  The testimony should convince any who are disposed to be
sceptical.  My only hope is that it will not entirely blast the
reputation of Rameses.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE ORDINARY HUMAN FAILINGS OF THE ANCIENT MOGULS

Taken by themselves, as mere mouldering chunks of antiquity that have
been preserved to us because they happened to be dropped down in a dry
climate, the fragmentary remains of old Egypt are not very inspiring.
They were big, but seldom beautiful.  As records proving that
humanity--old-fashioned, unreliable humanity, with its fears,
jealousies, hatreds, and aching ambitions--is just about the same as it
was five thousand years ago, the temples and the decorated tombs seem
to bring us direct and heartfelt messages from our brethren of the long
ago.

For instance, from the beginning of time probably the most maddening
and unbearable persecution that can be visited upon a sensitive human
being is to have some other human being always held up before him as a
shining moral example.

Do you recall, O male reader, how you writhed in humiliation and laid
plans for assault and battery when the good little Rollo of your native
town was constantly dangled before your depraved soul as the paragon of
juvenile virtues?  "Rollo never smokes corn silk."  "Rollo never puts
tick-tacks on teacher's bedroom window."  "Rollo never carries craw
dabbers in his Sunday clothes."  "Rollo never runs away to go swimming
and then comes back with his ears full of gravel."

[Illustration: _The paragon of juvenile virtues_]

No, indeed, Rollo never showed any of the traits that have been the
essence of boyhood since Adam and Eve started the original brood.  And
do you remember how bright and sunshiny that day seemed when Rollo,
having grown to pale and sidewhiskered manhood, was arrested for
stealing money from the Building and Loan Association?

Take the story of Queen Hatasoo.  She was the Victoria of the
eighteenth dynasty, and was on the throne just about 1500 B.C.  The
lineal male descendant of that period had a blot on the 'scutcheon or a
bar sinister across his pedigree or something wrong with his registry
certificate--anyway, he could not qualify as king, and so his sister
Hatasoo was made ruler and he was permitted to hang around the palace
as a kind of shawl holder and cab opener.  He led the cotillons and
attended public dinners and wore decorations, but Hatasoo ran Egypt and
Thutmes Second was merely a trailer.  When he dropped off there did not
seem to be any considerable vacancy in court circles.  Queen Hatasoo
continued as chief monarch, although her step-nephew, Thutmes Third,
carried the honourary title of co-regent.  Hatasoo was energetic and
ambitious.  She put nephew into a remote back seat and ran things to
suit herself, waging wars, building temples, and organising expeditions
to far distant lands.  Also, according to ancient custom, she had her
portrait and the record of her accomplishments carved on the obelisks
and painted all over the walls of her private temple, which is still
standing, about three miles west of the present city of Luxor.

She reigned for thirty-five years, and then Thutmes Third, gray bearded
and worn with much waiting, emerged from the nursery and took up the
reins of government.  According to the judgment of later historians,
his reign was about the most glorious in the whole history of Egypt.
He was possessed of military genius, and under his direction Syria was
recaptured, and the influence of Egypt was firmly established in
Western Asia.  But no matter how many battles he won or how many
captives he brought back to Thebes to exhibit in the courthouse square,
the old-timers around the court wagged their heads and said, "Yes, he's
doing fairly well for a beginner, but he'll never come up to the mark
set by his Aunt Hattie."  Hatasoo was her full name, but those who had
known her for a long time called her "Hattie," and to a few of her
intimates she was known as "Hat."

[Illustration: "_He'll never come up to the mark set by his aunt
Hattie._"]

Thutmes was merely human.  For years his domineering aunt had kept him
out of the running, and now that he was on the throne the glory of her
achievements was constantly being dinged into him.  Every time he rode
out in his chariot, standing up and sawing away at four horses, just as
they do in Ringling's circus at the present time, he saw her name and
picture on all the public buildings, and, of course, two or three years
after her departure, everybody bragged about her a good deal harder
than they had while she was alive.  Even the English newspapers speak
in kindly terms of an American statesman who is safely deceased.

Thutmes stood it as long as he could, and then he broke over.  He
ordered the stonecutters to go forth and gouge out all the inscriptions
relating to his superior aunt.  The temple which she had built as a
special memorial he appropriated to himself, and put his name over the
main entrance.  It may have been pretty spiteful, but the whole
proceeding somehow seems to establish a sympathetic link between those
remote heathen days and the unselfish Utopian civilisation that we now
enjoy in Chicago, Omaha, West Superior, and other centres of brotherly
love.

After Thutmes had put in years erasing and chiselling out all
complimentary references to Hatasoo, he passed away and was carried to
a winding subterranean tomb in the valley to the west.  For two hundred
years the great monuments which he had erected in his own honour, or
quietly borrowed from his aunt, remained intact.  Then along came
Rameses Second, to whom we have already referred as the best little
advertiser of ancient times.  He had the name of Thutmes removed from
all the temples, obelisks, and public buildings, and put his own
glaring label on everything in sight.  In the language of Mr. Peasley,
the Kings seemed to spend most of their time in "knocking their
predecessors" and "boosting" themselves.

Nearly every ancient structure has been defaced or altered to gratify a
private jealousy or some prejudice founded on religious belief.  The
Romans tried to obliterate the old Egyptian deities.  The early
Christians hacked away at anything that failed to strike them as being
orthodox.  Then the Turks capped the climax by coming in and burning
everything non-Mohammedan that was at all combustible.  A few ancient
records remain because they are carved in huge characters on very hard
stone.  The theologians wanted to batter them down, but it would have
meant a lot of hard work and they had been leading sedentary lives.  So
they merely criss-crossed them and wrote the equivalent for "Rats"
underneath, and let it go at that.

[Illustration: Egyptian temple paintings]

Even the modern circus bill is not more exuberant and given to joyful
hyperbole than the inscriptions and paintings of the Egyptian temples.
A few of them are reproduced herewith.  Take No. 1, for example.  This
represents our old friend Rameses the Great in the act of overcoming
his enemies.  It was designed by Rameses himself.  Now we know where
Kaiser Wilhelm got all of his tips.

[Illustration: _Where Kaiser Wilhelm got all his tips_]

Some warriors are content with overcoming one man at a time, but
Rameses is seen holding ten of them by the hair, getting ready to clout
them into insensibility.  The picture is an artistic success, but is
somewhat shy anatomically.  The ten enemies have a total of only three
legs for the whole crowd.  They are better supplied with arms, the
total being thirteen, or about one and one-third to the man.  Notice
also the relative size of Rameses and his foes.  There we have the
real, unchanging spirit of autobiography--the great I triumphant and
the petty antagonists all coming about knee high to him.

No. 2 is also very characteristic.  One of the kings is represented as
defeating two burly warriors.  He is walking on one and pushing his
spear through the other.  Undoubtedly a glorious achievement.  It would
be still more glorious if the two gentlemen putting up the fight
against the King had carried weapons of some sort.  The one on the
ground, who is lifting his hands in mild protest against being used as
a rug, has nothing on his person to indicate that he is a soldier.  The
one who is being harpooned carries in his left hand what appears to be
a box of handkerchiefs.  The raised right arm would suggest that he
attempted to slap the King, who caught him by the arm and held him
until he could select a good vital spot in which to prong him.
Attention is called to the fact that both of the victims wear the long
and protuberant chin whisker, which would indicate that the honest
farmer was getting the worst of it even four thousand years ago.

The carvings and paintings which do not depict warlike scenes usually
show the monarchs receiving homage from terrified subjects or else
mingling on terms of equality with the principal deities of the period.
Illustration No. 3 is a very good specimen.  King Amenophis and his
wife are seen seated on their square-built Roycroft thrones, while two
head priests of Ammon burn incense before them and sing their praises
and tell them that the people are with the administration, no matter
how the Senate may carry on.  There was no race prejudice in those
days.  The Queen is shown to be a coal-black Nubian.  In one hand she
carries what seems to be a fly brush of the very kind that we used all
the time we were up the Nile, and if the article in her other hand is
not a cocktail glass then the artist has wilfully libelled her.

No. 4 is interesting as a fashion plate.  Ptolemeus and Cleopatra are
making offers to the hawk-headed god and the goddess Hathor.  This
picture will appeal to women inasmuch as it gives us a correct likeness
of Cleopatra, the man trapper.  No one can dispute the fact that she is
beautiful, but how about the combination of an Empress gown with a
habit back?  Is it not a trifle daring?  And the hat.  Would you call
it altogether subdued?

Another well-preserved painting to be found in the temple at Edfou
reveals the innate modesty of the Ptolemies.  The King (No. 5) is
represented as being crowned by the goddesses of the south and the
north--that is, of Upper and Lower Egypt.  These divinities seem to be
overcome with admiration of the athletic monarch.  One has her hand
resting on his shoulder, as if she hated to see him go.  The other,
having just fitted him with his new gourd-shaped hat, has both hands in
the air, and you can almost hear her say, "Oh, my!  It looks just fine!"

Seti I. was another shrinking violet.  In one of his private
three-sheet advertisements (No. 6) he has the sublime effrontery to
represent the great goddess Hathor as holding his hand tenderly and
offering him the jewelled collar which she is wearing.  Notice the
uplifted hand.  He is supposed to be saying, "This is all very sudden,
and besides, would it be proper for me to accept jewelry from one of
your sex?"  Of course, there never was any Hathor, and if there had
been she wouldn't have hob-nobbed with a man who had his private
interviews done into oil paintings.  But this painting and one thousand
others that we have seen in Egypt help to give us a line on the ancient
Kings.  If there was any one of them that failed to get the swelled
head soon after mounting the throne, the hieroglyphs are strangely
silent regarding his case.  They were a vain, self-laudatory lot, and
all of them had that craving for the centre of the stage and the hot
glare of the spot-light which is still to be found in isolated cases.

After all is said and done can we blame them?  Rameses wanted to be
remembered and talked about and he laid his plans accordingly.  He
carved the record of his long and successful reign on the unyielding
granite and distributed his pictures with the careful prodigality of a
footlight favourite.  What has been the result?  His name is a
household joke all over the world.  People who never heard of Professor
Harry Thurston Peck or Marie Corelli or the present Khedive of Egypt
know all about Rameses the Great, although no two of them pronounce it
the same.



CHAPTER XIX

ROYAL TOMBS AND OTHER PLACES OF AMUSEMENT

One morning we rode across the Nile from Luxor in a broad and buxom
sailboat, climbed on our donkeys, and rode to the west.  We followed
the narrow road through the fresh fields of wheat and alfalfa until we
struck the desert, and then we took to a dusty trail which leads to a
winding valley, where the kings of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and
twentieth dynasties are being dug up.

This narrow valley, with the steep hills rising on either side, is the
sure-enough utterness of desolation; not a tree, not a shrub, not a
blade of grass, not even a stingy little cactus.  No wonder the old
kings picked out this valley for a cemetery.  Life has no charm in this
dreary region.  Eternal sleep would seem to offer peculiar advantages.
After winding through the sun-baked gravel for about a mile we came to
a settlement of houses and a high fence thrown across the roadway.
Also there was an electric light plant buzzing away merrily.  The tombs
of the kings are now strung with incandescent lights.  Can you beat
that for sacrilegious enterprise?

There are forty-one of these royal tombs that have been discovered and
opened to date.  The less important are not lighted, and are mere
tunnels leading back to one or two bare chambers.  Those really worth
visiting are dug far back into the hills.  The halls are spacious and
brilliantly decorated, and before you get through exploring one of them
you think that you are pretty well down toward the centre of the earth.

Mr. Peasley had read up on the Tomb of Amenhotep Third and when we
entered it he pushed the regular guide out of the way and gave us one
of his own vivid lectures.  The native guide lacks imagination.  His
idea of showing the traveller a frolicksome time is to point out a lot
of paintings in which the deceased is seen travelling across the Nile
in a funeral barge.  Mr. Peasley, on the other hand, gave us an insight
into the character of the wily Amenhotep.

"Now, look at the entrance to this tomb," he said, as we started down
the new wooden steps.  "It looks as if someone had been blasting for
limestone.  The walls are rough and unfinished.  Old Amenhotep figured
that if anyone ever came across the opening to the tomb he would size
up this ordinary hole in the ground and conclude that it was either a
cave used as a storehouse or the last resting place of some cheap
two-dollar official."

[Illustration: _"Now look at the entrance to this tomb," he said_]

After descending some twenty feet we came to a small chamber which was
rudely frescoed about half of the way around.

"Do you know why he left this job unfinished?" asked Mr. Peasley.  "He
knew that some day or other an inquisitive foreigner would be prowling
around here trying to uncover ancient treasures, and he put this measly
little antechamber here to throw Mr. Archæologist off the scent.  He
wanted it to appear that the man who was buried here had been so poor
that he couldn't complete the decorations.  And now I'll show you
something more foxy still.  Come with me down this long flight of steps
to the second chamber."

He led us down another flight to a tall chamber about the size of a
freight car stood on end.

"When the French explorers opened this place in 1898 the chamber which
you are now inspecting seemed to be the end of the tunnel," continued
Mr. Peasley.  "The four side walls were perfectly smooth and unbroken,
but down at the bottom they found a pit which had been filled with
heavy stones.  They supposed, of course, that this was the mummy pit,
and that if they removed the stones they would find some royal remains
at the other end of the hole.  So they worked day after day, lifting
out the boulders, and finally they came to the end of the pit and found
that they had drawn a blank.  Naturally they were stumped.  They
thought they had been exploring a tomb, but it was only an April fool
joke.  One of the professors was not satisfied.  He felt sure that
there must be a royal mummy tucked in somewhere about the premises, so
he took a ladder and climbed around and began tapping all over the
walls of this second chamber.  What do you think?  He discovered that
the wall had a hollow sound just opposite the tunnel at which they had
entered.  So he used a battering ram and broke through into the real
tomb.  Yes, sir; these two outer chambers, with their cheap stencil
frescoes and fake mummy pit, had been a blind."

We passed over a narrow wooden bridge and entered the tunnel beyond the
second chamber.  The whole place was brightly illuminated and one could
readily believe that he was in a modern hallway decorated in the most
gorgeous Egyptian style.  The bordering frescoes and the historical
paintings were as fresh in tone as if they had been put on only
yesterday.  One of the larger chambers looked exactly like the gaudy
"Oriental apartment" of a Paris or New York hotel, and we shouldn't
have been surprised or displeased to see a waiter come in with a tray
full of cool drinks.

At last we came to the tomb chamber, and there in a deep hollow, with a
modern wooden railing around it, reclined the great King Amenhotep,
with the incandescent lamps dangling above him and flooding him in a
radiant light.  The original granite cover of the outer case has been
removed and plate glass substituted.  We leaned on the rail and gazed
down at the serene countenance of the once mighty monarch who had been
lying there for 3300 years.  The funeral garlands which had been laid
on his breast were still undisturbed, and the shrunken face was
illumined by that calm smile of triumph which Amenhotep wore when he
passed away confident in the belief that the Nile tourist would never
discover his hiding place.

We visited the tomb in company with a bustling swarm of American
excursionists of the happy, irreverent kind.  The fact that they were
strolling about in a private and highly aristocratic sarcophagus did
not seem to repress their natural gush of spirits or induce any solemn
reflections.  They were all steaming hot, but very happy and having a
lot of fun with the King.  One enterprising Yankee, who carried his
coat and vest on his arm, started to climb over the wooden railing in
order to make a close inspection of the mortuary remains, but was
restrained by the guards.

After leaving the valley of tombs we made a short cut over a very hot
and a very high hill to the "rest house" which has been erected far out
on the desert by one of the tourist agencies.  We collapsed on the
shady side of the building, dusty and short of breath, and immediately
we were attacked by a most vociferous horde of native peddlers.  And
what do you suppose they were selling?  We landed there on Friday, and
the remnant sale of mummies was in full blast.  Here are some of the
cut prices:--

  _Head of adult ....................  4 shillings._
  _Foot of adult ....................  1 shilling._
  _Hand of adult ....................  1 shilling._
  _Two feet and two hands (warranted_
     _mates) ........................  3 shillings._
  _Arm and head .....................  6 shillings._
  _Special reduction for juvenile sizes._


Can you imagine anything more disquieting to the nerves, when you are
resting and getting ready for luncheon, than to have a villainous child
of the desert rush up and lay a petrified human head in your lap and
beg you to make an offer?  Within two minutes after we arrived we had
fragments of former humanity stacked all around us.  And they were
unmistakably genuine.  The native swindlers can make imitation scarabs
and potteries, or else import them by the gross from Germany and
Connecticut, but the mummy heads which they offer for sale are horribly
bona fide.  It would not pay to manufacture an imitation article,
inasmuch as the whole desert region to the west of ancient Thebes is a
vast cemetery.  If the merchant's stock runs low he can go out with a
spade and dig up a new supply, just as a farmer would go after
artichokes.

Our guide co-operated with the ghouls.  He rushed about hunting up
strange and grisly specimens and brought them to us and begged us to
examine them and then pick out a few for the loved ones at home.  I
regret to say that we did purchase a few of these preserved
extremities.  The guide said we could use them as paper weights.

[Illustration: _For the loved ones at home_]

This same dragoman, or guide, or highbinder, or whatever you may choose
to call him--and Mr. Peasley called him nearly everything--gave us a
lot of cheerful entertainment during our four days in Luxor.  Mr.
Peasley was in hot pursuit of guaranteed antiquities.  He said he had
an old bookcase at home which he was going to convert into a curio
cabinet.  There is one dealer in Luxor who is said to be absolutely
trustworthy.  He supplies museums and private collections throughout
the world, and if you buy a scarab or a carved image from him you know
that you have something genuine and worth keeping.  Mr. Peasley in a
thoughtless moment requested the dragoman to conduct us to this shop.
We went in and burrowed through the heaps of tempting rubbish and began
to dicker for a job lot of little images, tear jars, amulets, etc.,
that are found in the mummy cases.  That dragoman saw the covetous
gleam in the Peasley eye and he knew that the man from Iowa intended
loading up with antiques, and he also knew that Mr. Peasley wished to
do this purchasing single-handed and without the assistance of a
dragoman, who would come in for a ten per cent. commission.  We told
the dealer we would drop around later.  So we went to the hotel and
dismissed the dragoman--told him to go home and get a good night's rest
and be on hand at nine o'clock the next morning.

After we were safely in the hotel Mr. Peasley confided his plans to us.

"I don't want to buy the stuff while that infernal Mahmoud is along,"
he said.  "Why should he get a rake-off?  We didn't go to the shop on
his recommendation.  Now, I'll go over there by myself, pick out what I
want, and strike a bargain."

We offered to go along and assist, so we started up a side street, and
after we had gone a block Mahmoud stepped out from a doorway and said,
"Come, I will show you the way."  We told him we had just sauntered out
for a breath of air, so we walked aimlessly around a block and were
escorted back to the hotel.

"I'll go over the first thing in the morning," said Mr. Peasley.  "I'll
be there at eight o'clock, because he isn't due here until nine."

When he arrived at the shop early next morning Mahmoud was standing in
the doorway wearing a grin of devilish triumph.  Mr. Peasley kept on
walking and pretending not to see him, but he came back to the hotel
mad all the way through.

[Illustration: _Mahmoud--wearing a grin of devilish triumph_]

"We're up against an Oriental mind-reader, but I'll fool him yet," he
declared.  "When we come back to the hotel for luncheon and he is
waiting for us with the donkey boys on the east side of the hotel we
will go out the west door to the river bank and cut south around the
Presbyterian Mission and come back to the shop."

Mr. Peasley did not know that Mahmoud had organised all the hotel
servants into a private detective agency.  He must have known of our
escape on the river side before we had gone a hundred feet from the
hotel, for when, after executing our brilliant flank movement, we
arrived at the shop of the antiquarian, Mahmoud and the proprietor were
sitting in the front room drinking Turkish coffee and waiting for the
prey to wander into the trap.  Mahmoud did not seem surprised to see
us.  He bade us welcome and said that his friend the dealer was an
Egyptologist whose guarantee was accepted by every museum in the world,
and if we were in the market for antiques he would earnestly advise us
to seek no further.  After this evidence of a close and friendly
understanding between the dragoman and the dealer we had a feeling that
Mahmoud would get his ten per cent, even if we succeeded in eluding him
and buying on our own hook.

But we hated to acknowledge ourselves beaten.  At dusk that evening we
started toward the shop, in a half-hearted and experimental spirit, and
presently we observed Mahmoud following along fifty feet behind us.  We
went to the garden of a neighbouring hotel and sat there until eleven
o'clock.  When we came out Mahmoud was at the gateway.  He said it was
not always safe for travellers to be about the streets at night, so he
would protect us and show us the way back to our hotel.

We found it impossible to get away from him.  No Siberian bloodhound
ever followed a convict's trail more closely.  If we ventured forth,
early or late, we found ourselves shadowed by that smiling reprobate.
When it came to the last day in Luxor Mr. Peasley did the bold thing.
He permitted Mahmoud to escort him to the shop, and then he said to the
dealer:--"This man is our guide, but he is not entitled to any
commission because he did not bring us to your shop.  If he had
recommended your shop in the first place we would not have come here at
all.  He is a bluff.  He is trying to ring in.  I want to buy a few
things here, with the understanding that he doesn't get anything out of
it.  We have already paid him two salaries for guiding us and he isn't
a guide at all--he's a night watchman."

The dealer vowed and protested that he never paid commissions to
anyone.  Mahmoud, not at all ruffled by the attack on his character,
said that his only ambition in life was to serve the noble gentleman
from the famous country known as Iowa.  So Mr. Peasley bought his
assortment of antiques, and Mahmoud looked on and then carried the
parcel back to the hotel, walking respectfully behind the "noble
gentleman."

"Well, I blew myself," reported Mr. Peasley.  "And I'll bet a thousand
dollars that Mahmoud gets his ten per cent."

Whereupon Mahmoud smiled--the pensive, patronising smile of a
civilisation five thousand years old looking down on the aboriginal
product of the Western prairies.

On the morning of our departure from Luxor Mahmoud came around for his
letter of recommendation.  I had worked for an hour to write something
evasive which would satisfy him and not perjure me too deeply.  When he
came to the hotel I gave him the following:--


To Whom It May Concern:--The bearer, Mahmoud, has been our dragoman for
four days and has attended us faithfully at all hours; also, he has
shown us as many temples as we wished to see.


He looked at the paper blankly and said, "I do not read English."  At
that Mr. Peasley brightened up.  He read the testimonial aloud to
Mahmoud and declared that it was incomplete and unworthy of the subject
matter.  In ten minutes he completed the following and the dragoman
took it away with him, highly pleased:--


To Whom It May Concern--Greeting:--The bearer, Mahmoud, is a dragoman
of monumental mendacity and commercial Machiavellism.  His simulated
efforts to faithfully serve us and protect our interests have had an
altogether negative effect.  Anyone employing him will find him
possessed of moral turpitude and a superlative consciousness of his own
worth.  His knowledge of Egyptian history is enormously
inconsequential, while his English vocabulary is amazing in its variety
of verbal catastrophes.  We commend him to travellers desirous of
studying the native characteristics of the most geological stratum of
society.


"He has made a lot of trouble for us, and now we've got even by ruining
him," said Mr. Peasley.

It seemed a joke at the time, but later on, when we thought it over, we
felt sorry for Mahmoud and wished we had not taken such a mean
advantage of him.  After all is said and done, a man must make a living.

On our way back to Cairo from Assouan we stopped over at Luxor.
Mahmoud, by intuition or through telepathy, knew that we were coming
and met us at the station.  He was overjoyed to see us again.

"I showed your letter to a gentleman from the Kingdom of Ohio," said
he, "and it procured for me one of the best jobs I ever had."



IN CAIRO



CHAPTER XX

MR. PEASLEY AND HIS FINAL SIZE-UP OF EGYPT

On the morning of our hurried pack up and get away from Luxor we lost
Mr. Peasley.  It was a half-hour before the sailing of the boat, and we
were attempting to lock trunks, call in the porters, give directions as
to forwarding mail, and tip everybody except the proprietor all at the
same time.

This excruciating crisis comes with every departure.  The fear of
missing the boat, the lurking suspicion that several articles have been
left in lower drawers or under the sofa, the dread of overlooking some
worthy menial who is entitled to baksheesh, the uneasy conviction that
the bill contains several over-charges--all these combine to produce a
mental condition about halfway between plain "rattles" and female
hysteria.  And then, to add to the horror of the situation, Mr. Peasley
had disappeared.

All hands were needed--one to boss the porters, another to round up the
tippees, another to audit the charges for "extras," another to make a
final search for razor strops and hot water bags (of which we had left
a trail from Chicago to Cairo).  Instead of attending to these really
important duties we were loping madly about the hotel looking for
Peasley.  We asked one another why we had invited him to join the
party.  We called him all the names that we had invented on the trip to
fit his unusual personality.  One of these was a "flat-headed fush."  I
don't know what a "fush" is, but the more you study it and repeat it
over to yourself, the more horrible becomes the full significance of
the word.  Also we called him a "swozzie," which means a chump who has
gone on and on, exploring the furthermost regions of idiocy, until even
his most daring companions are left far behind.  We called Mr. Peasley
a "wall-eyed spingo," the latter being a mullet that has lost all sense
of shame.  Ordinary abuse and profanity became weak and ineffective
when pitted against words of this scathing nature.

Reader, if you have a life-long friend and you feel reasonably sure
that you never could quarrel with him or be out of patience with him or
find fault with any of his small peculiarities, go on a long trip with
him in foreign lands.  You will be together so much of the time that
finally each will begin to hate the sight of the other.  There will
come off days, fraught with petty annoyances, when each will have a
fretful desire to hurl cameras and suit cases at his beloved playmate.
Suppose your lifelong friend has some little eccentricity of manner or
speech, some slight irregularity of behaviour at the table, or a
perverted and stubborn conviction which reveals itself in every
controversy.  You may have overlooked this defect for years because you
meet him only at intervals, but when you begin to camp with him you
discover every one of his shining faults.  And how they do get on your
nerves!  Next to matrimony, perhaps travelling together is the most
severe test of compatibility.

[Illustration: _You discover every one of his shining faults_]

We liked Mr. Peasley.  Looking back over the trip, we can well believe
that the expedition would have been rather tame if deprived of his
cheering presence.  But he was so full of initiative and so given to
discovering byways of adventure that he was always breaking in on the
programme and starting little excursions of his own.  He was a very
hard man to mobilise.  If we had solemnly agreed to get together for
luncheon at one o'clock, three of us would be waiting at the food
garage while Mr. Peasley would be a mile away, trying to buy a
four-dollar Abyssinian war shield for $2.75.

And where do you suppose he was on the morning we were making our
frenzied departure from Luxor?  We found him in the barber shop, having
his hair cut.  A native stood alongside of him, brushing away the
flies.  The barber, a curly Italian, had ceased work when we came in,
and, encouraged by the questions of Mr. Peasley, was describing the Bay
of Naples, pointing out Capri, Sorrento, Vesuve, and other points of
interest, with a comb in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other.
This barber had made an indelible impression on Mr. Peasley, because of
his name, which was Signor Mosquito.  Mr. Peasley said he didn't see
how anyone with a name like that could live.

We lined up in front of Mr. Peasley and gazed at him in withering
silence.  He was not feazed.

[Illustration: _He was not feazed_]

"Talk about oriental luxury," he said.  "Little did I think twenty
years ago, when I was measurin' unbleached muslin and drawin' New
Orleans syrup in a country store, that one day I'd recline on a spotted
divan and have a private vassal to keep the flies off of me.  To say
nothing of bein' waited on by Signor Mosquito."

I tried to hold down the safety valve of my wrath.

"We have just held a meeting and by unanimous vote we have decided that
you are an irresponsible fush, a night blooming swozzie, and a
vitrified spingo," I said.

"Thanks," he replied.  "I'll do as much for you sometime."

"Are you aware of the fact that the boat departs in twenty minutes?"
asked No. 2.

"The boat will not leave its mooring until Peasley, of Iowa, is safely
aboard," he replied.  "Why is it that you fellows begin to throw duck
fits every time we have to catch a boat or train?  Kindly send my
luggage aboard, and as soon as Signor Mosquito has concluded his
amputations, I shall join you."

Words failed us.  We hurried to the boat, feeling reasonably certain
that he would follow us to Assouan by rail.  When it came time to cast
off, Mr. Peasley had not appeared, and our irritation was gradually
softening into a deep joy.  The warning whistle blew twice, and then
Mr. Peasley came down the bank, carrying a Nubian spear eight feet long
over his shoulder.  By the time he had arrived on the upper deck the
gangplank was drawn and we were swinging in the current.

He bestowed on us a cool smile of triumph, and then removed his hat.
His hair had been given a shellac finish and smelled like the front
doorway of a drug store.

"Signor Mosquito is well named," said Mr. Peasley.  "When he got
through with me he stung me for fifteen piastres."

For several hours we refused to speak to him or sit near him on deck,
but finally we needed him to fill out a four-handed game of dominoes
and he was taken back on probation.  While we were engaged in a very
stubborn session of "double nines," we noticed that most of our fellow
passengers, and especially those of English persuasion, were making our
little group the target for horrified glances.  Some of them actually
glared at us.  We began to wonder if dominoes was regarded as an
immoral practice in Egypt.

"These people keep on looking at us as if we were a happy band of
burglars," said Mr. Peasley.  "We think we are travelling incog., but
our reputation has preceded us."

Then we heard one old lady ask another if there would be any evening
services in the dining saloon, and Mr. Peasley, who was reaching into
the "bone yard," suddenly paused with his hand up and
exclaimed:--"Sanctified catfish!  Boys, it's Sunday!"

[Illustration: "_Boys, it's Sunday!_"]

It was.  We had been sitting there among those nice people throughout
the calm Sabbath afternoon playing a wicked game of chance.  After two
weeks among the Mohammedans and other heathen, with every day a working
day and the English Sunday a dead letter, we had lost all trace of
dates.  Mr. Peasley said that if anyone had asked him the day of the
week he would have guessed Wednesday.

This unfortunate incident helped to deepen and solidify the dark
suspicion with which we, as Americans, were regarded by the contingent
from Great Britain.  If our conduct had been exemplary we could not
have cleared away this suspicion, but after the domino debauch we were
set down as hopeless.  The middle class English guard their social
status very carefully, and you can't blame them.  It is a tender and
uncertain growth that requires looking after all the time.  If they
didn't water it and prune it and set it out in the sunshine every day
it would soon wither back to its original stalk.

Did you ever come across a bunch of melancholy pilgrims from the
suburban villas and the dull gray provincial towns of dear old England?
Did you ever observe the frightened manner in which they hold aloof
from Germans, Americans, Bedouins, Turks, and other foreigners?  They
fear that if they drift into friendly relationship with people they
meet while travelling, later on some of these chance acquaintances may
look them up at Birmingham or Stoke-on-Trent and expect to be
entertained at the foundry.

A large majority of our fellow passengers from Luxor to Assouan were of
elderly pattern.  We estimated the average age to be about
eighty-three.  Mr. Peasley said an irreverent thing about these
venerable tourists.

"Why do these people come all the way to Egypt to look at the ruins?"
he asked.  "Why don't they stay at home and look at one another?"

We rebuked him for saying it, but somehow or other these rebukes never
seemed to have any permanent restraining effect.

Our boat arrived at Assouan one morning accompanied by a sand storm and
a cold wave.  The Cataract Hotel stood on a promontory overlooking a
new kind of Nile--a swift and narrow stream studded with gleaming
boulders of granite.  We liked Assouan because the weather was ideal
(after the sand storm ran out of sand), the hotel was the best we had
found in Egypt, and there were so few antiques that sightseeing became
a pleasure.  Besides, after one has been to Luxor, anything in the way
of ancient temples is about as much of a come-down as turkey hash the
day after Thanksgiving.

Here, on the border of Nubia, we began to get glimpses of real Africa.
We rode on camels to a desert camp of hilarious Bisharins.  They are
the gypsies of Nubia--dress their hair with mud instead of bay rum and
reside under a patch of gunnysack propped up by two sticks.  On the
hills back of the town we saw the barracks where the English army
gathered itself to move south against the Mahdists.  We were invited to
go out in the moonlight and hunt hyenas, but did not think it right to
kill off all the native game.

The big exhibit at Assouan, and one of the great engineering
achievements of modern times, is the dam across the Nile.  It is a
solid wall of granite, a mile and a quarter long, 100 feet high in
places and 88 feet through the base, and it looks larger than it
sounds.  We went across it on a push car after taking a boat ride in
the reservoir basin, which is said to contain 234,000,000 gallons of
water.  This estimate is correct, as nearly as we could figure it.  The
dam is about four miles above the town.  We rode up on a dummy train,
with cars almost as large as Saratoga trunks, and came back in a small
boat.  We shot the rapids, just for excitement, and after we had caved
in the bottom of the boat and stopped an hour for repairs we decided
that we had stored up enough excitement, so after that we followed the
more placid waters.

The black boatmen had a weird chant, which they repeated over and over,
keeping time with the stroke.  It was a combination of Egyptian melody
and American college yell, and ran as follows:--

  Hep!  Hep!  Horay!
  Hep!  Hep!  Horay!
  Hep!  Hep!  Horay!
  All right!  Thank you!


This effort represented their sum total of English, and they were very
proud of it, and we liked it, too--that is, the first million times.
After that, the charm of novelty was largely dissipated.

Many people visit Assouan because of the kiln-dried atmosphere, which
is supposed to have a discouraging effect on rheumatism and other
ailments that flourish in a damp climate.  Assouan is as dry as
Pittsburg on Sunday.  It is surrounded by desert and the sun always
seems to be working overtime.  The traveller who does much rambling out
of doors gradually assumes the brown and papery complexion of a royal
mummy, his lips become parched and flaky, and he feels like a grocery
store herring, which, it is believed, is about the driest thing on
record.

We did love Assouan.  Coming back from a camel ride, with a choppy sea
on, gazing through the heat waves at the tufted palms and the
shimmering white walls, we would know that there was ice only a mile
ahead of us, and then our love for Assouan would become too deep for
words.

Burton Holmes, the eminent lecturer and travelogue specialist, was
lying up at Assouan, having a tiresome argument with the germ that
invented malaria.  He had come up the Nile in a deep draught boat and
had succeeded in finding many sand bars that other voyagers had
overlooked.  Just below Assouan the boat wedged itself into the mud and
could not be floated until thirty natives, summoned from the
surrounding country, had waded underneath and "boosted" all afternoon.
When it came time to pay the men the captain of the boat said to Mr.
Holmes: "What do you think?  They demand eight shillings."

"It is an outrage," said Mr. Holmes.  "Eight shillings is two dollars.
Even in America I can get union labour for two dollars a day.  There
are thirty of them.  Couldn't we compromise for a lump sum of fifty
dollars?"

"You do not understand," said the captain.  "We are asked to pay eight
shillings for the whole crowd.  I think that six would be enough."

Whereupon Mr. Holmes gave them ten shillings, or 8 1-3 cents each, and
as he sailed away the grateful assemblage gave three rousing cheers for
Mr. Rockefeller.

When we left Assouan we scooted by rail direct to Cairo, to rest up and
recover from our recuperation.

[Illustration: Important!  Rush!  Egyptian news!]

It is customary in winding up a series of letters to draw certain
profound conclusions and give hints to travellers who may hope to
follow the same beaten path.  Fortunately, Mr. Peasley had done this
for us.  He promised a real estate agent in Fairfield, Iowa, that he
would let him know about Egypt.  One night in Assouan he read to us the
letter to his friend, and we borrowed it:--


Assouan, Some time in April.

Deloss M. Gifford,
  Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.A.

My Dear Giff:--

I have gone as far up the Nile as my time and the letter of credit will
permit.  At 8 G.M. to-morrow I turn my face toward the only country on
earth where a man can get a steak that hasn't got goo poured all over
it.  Meet me at the station with a pie.  Tell mother I am coming home
to eat.

Do I like Egypt?  Yes--because now I will be satisfied with Iowa.  Only
I'm afraid that when I go back and see 160 acres of corn in one field I
won't believe it.  Egypt is a wonderful country, but very small for its
age.  It is about as wide as the court house square, but it seems to me
at least 10,000 miles long, as we have been two weeks getting up to the
First Cataract.  Most of the natives are farmers.  The hard-working
tenant gets one-tenth of the crop every year and if he looks up to see
the steamboats go by he is docked.  All Egyptians who are not farmers
are robbers.  The farmers live on the river.  All other natives live on
the tourists.  I have seen so many tombs and crypts and family vaults
that I am ashamed to look an undertaker in the face.  For three weeks I
have tried to let on to pretend to make a bluff at being deeply
interested in these open graves.  Other people gushed about them and I
was afraid that if I didn't trail along and show some sentimental
interest they might suspect that I was from Iowa and was shy on
soulfulness.  I'll say this much, however--I'm mighty glad I've seen
them, because now I'll never have to look at them again.

Egypt is something like the old settler--you'd like to roast him and
call him down, but you hate to jump on anything so venerable and weak.
Egypt is so old that you get the headache trying to think back.  Egypt
had gone through forty changes of administration and was on the down
grade before Iowa was staked out.

The principal products of this country are insects, dust, guides, and
fake curios.  I got my share of each.  I am glad I came, and I may want
to return some day, but not until I have worked the sand out of my ears
and taken in two or three county fairs.  I have been walking down the
main aisle with my hat in my hand so long that now I am ready for
something lively.

Americans are popular in Egypt, during business hours.  Have not been
showered with social attentions, but I am always comforted by the
thought that the exclusive foreign set cannot say anything about me
that I haven't already said about it.  Of course, we could retaliate in
proper fashion if we could lure the foreigners out to Iowa, but that
seems out of the question.  They think Iowa is in South America.

I shall mail this letter and then chase it all the way home.

Give my love to everybody, whether I know them or not.  Yours,

PEASLEY.

P.S.--Open some preserves.


Not a comprehensive review of the fruits of our journey and yet fairly
accurate.



THE END





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