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Title: The Boy Travellers in the Far East. Part Fourth - Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey to Egypt and the Holy Land
Author: Knox, Thomas Wallace
Language: English
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[Illustration: Book Cover]



[Illustration]



THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST
_PART FOURTH_

       *       *       *       *       *

ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY
TO
EGYPT AND THE HOLY LAND

BY
THOMAS W. KNOX

AUTHOR OF
"THE YOUNG NIMRODS" "CAMP-FIRE AND COTTON-FIELD" "OVERLAND THROUGH ASIA"
"UNDERGROUND" "JOHN" "HOW TO TRAVEL" ETC.

Illustrated

NEW YORK
HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE
1883



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1882, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

       *       *       *       *       *

_All rights reserved._



PREFACE.


The favorable reception, by press and public, accorded to "The Boy
Travellers in the Far East" is the author's excuse for venturing to
prepare a volume upon Egypt and the Holy Land. He is well aware that
those countries have been the favorite theme of authors since the days
of Herodotus and Strabo, and many books have been written concerning
them. While he could not expect to say much that is new, he hopes the
form in which his work is presented will not be found altogether
ancient.

The author has twice visited Egypt, and has made the tour of Palestine
and Syria. The experiences of Frank and Fred in their journeyings were
mainly those of the writer of this book in the winter of 1873-'74, and
in the spring of 1878. He has endeavored to give a faithful description
of Egypt and the Holy Land as they appear to-day, and during the
preparation of this volume he has sent to those countries to obtain the
latest information concerning the roads, modes of travel, and other
things that may have undergone changes since his last journey in the
Levant.

In addition to using his own notes and observations, made on the spot,
he has consulted many previous and some subsequent travellers, and has
examined numerous books relating to the subjects on which he has
written. It has been his effort to embody a description of the Egypt of
old with that of the present, and to picture the lands of the Bible as
they have appeared through many centuries down to our own time. If it
shall be found that he has made a book which combines amusement and
instruction for the youth of our land, he will feel that his labor has
not been in vain.

Many of the works consulted in the preparation of this book are
mentioned in its pages. To some authors he is indebted for illustrations
as well as for descriptive or historical matter, the publishers having
kindly allowed the use of engravings from their previous publications.
Among the works which deserve acknowledgment are "The Ancient
Egyptians," by Sir Gardner Wilkinson; "The Modern Egyptians," by Edward
William Lane; the translation of "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments,"
by the same author; "From Egypt to Palestine," by Dr. S. C. Bartlett;
"The Land and the Book," by Dr. W. M. Thomson; "Boat Life in Egypt," and
"Tent Life in Syria," by William C. Prime, LL.D.; "The Khedive's Egypt,"
by Edwin De Leon; "The Desert of the Exodus," by Professor E. H. Palmer;
"Dr. Olin's Travels in the East;" "Our Inheritance in the Great
Pyramid," by Piazzi Smith; and "The Land of Moab," by Dr. H. B.
Tristram. The author is indebted to Lieutenant-commander Gorringe for
information concerning Egyptian obelisks, and regrets that want of space
prevented the use of the full account of the removal of "Cleopatra's
Needle" from Alexandria to New York.

With this explanation of his reasons for writing "The Boy Travellers in
Egypt and the Holy Land," the author submits the result of his labors to
those who have already accompanied Frank and Fred in their wanderings in
Asia, and to such new readers as may desire to peruse it. He trusts the
former will continue, and the latter make, an acquaintance that will
prove neither unpleasant nor without instruction.

       *       *       *       *       *

P.S.--This volume was written and in type previous to July, 1882.
Consequently the revolt of Arabi Pasha and the important events that
followed could not be included in the narrative of the "Boy Travellers."

  T. W. K.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  FROM BOMBAY TO SUEZ.--THE RED SEA, MECCA, AND MOUNT SINAI.          13

  CHAPTER II.

  SUEZ.--WHERE THE ISRAELITES CROSSED THE RED SEA.--THE SUEZ CANAL.   24

  CHAPTER III.

  FROM SUEZ TO CAIRO.--THROUGH THE LAND OF GOSHEN.                    38

  CHAPTER IV.

  STREET SCENES IN CAIRO.                                             52

  CHAPTER V.

  A RAMBLE THROUGH THE BAZAARS OF CAIRO.                              65

  CHAPTER VI.

  MOSQUES, DERVISHES, AND SCHOOLS.--EDUCATION IN EGYPT.               78

  CHAPTER VII.

  THE CITADEL.--THE TOMBS OF THE CALIPHS.--THE NILOMETER.--THE
      ROSETTA STONE.                                                  90

  CHAPTER VIII.

  WONDERS OF THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM OF ANTIQUITIES.                     104

  CHAPTER IX.

  THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZEH AND SAKKARA.--MEMPHIS AND THE APIS
      MAUSOLEUM.                                                     117

  CHAPTER X.

  AN ORIENTAL BATH.--EGYPTIAN WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS.                 133

  CHAPTER XI.

  ASCENDING THE NILE.--SIGHTS AND SCENES ON THE RIVER.               145

  CHAPTER XII.

  SUGAR PLANTATIONS AND MILLS.--SNAKE-CHARMERS.--SIGHTS AT
      BENI-HASSAN.                                                   155

  CHAPTER XIII.

  SIOOT, THE ANCIENT LYCOPOLIS.--SCENES ON THE RIVER.                167

  CHAPTER XIV.

  GIRGEH AND KENEH.--THE TEMPLES OF ABYDUS AND DENDERAH.--AN
      EGYPTIAN DANCE.                                                177

  CHAPTER XV.

  ARRIVAL AT LUXOR.--THE GREAT TEMPLE OF KARNAK.                     190

  CHAPTER XVI.

  THE RAMESEUM, MEDINET ABOO, AND THE VOCAL MEMNON.                  204

  CHAPTER XVII.

  THE TOMBS OF THE KINGS.--RECENT DISCOVERIES OF ROYAL MUMMIES.      214

  CHAPTER XVIII.

  HAREM LIFE IN THE EAST.--FROM LUXOR TO ASSOUAN.                    226

  CHAPTER XIX.

  A CAMEL JOURNEY.--THE ISLAND OF PHILÆ, AND THE FIRST CATARACT
      OF THE NILE.                                                   240

  CHAPTER XX.

  FROM ASSOUAN TO ALEXANDRIA.--FAREWELL TO EGYPT.                    253

  CHAPTER XXI.

  VOYAGE FROM EGYPT TO PALESTINE.--JOURNEY FROM JAFFA TO RAMLEH.     267

  CHAPTER XXII.

  FROM RAMLEH TO JERUSALEM.--THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.       280

  CHAPTER XXIII.

  IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM.                                           295

  CHAPTER XXIV.

  FROM JERUSALEM TO BETHLEHEM.--CHURCH AND GROTTO OF THE NATIVITY.   310

  CHAPTER XXV.

  FROM BETHLEHEM TO MAR SABA AND THE DEAD SEA.                       326

  CHAPTER XXVI.

  FROM THE DEAD SEA TO THE JORDAN, JERICHO, AND JERUSALEM.--THE
      VALLEY OF THE JORDAN.                                          342

  CHAPTER XXVII.

  FROM JERUSALEM TO NABULUS.--HISTORIC PLACES ON THE ROUTE.          355

  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  FROM NABULUS TO NAZARETH, SAMARIA, JENIN, AND THE PLAIN OF
      ESDRAELON.                                                     368

  CHAPTER XXIX.

  ASCENT OF MOUNT TABOR.--AROUND AND ON THE SEA OF GALILEE.          385

  CHAPTER XXX.

  FROM GALILEE TO DAMASCUS.--A RIDE THROUGH DAN AND BANIAS.          399

  CHAPTER XXXI.

  SIGHTS AND SCENES IN DAMASCUS.                                     411

  CHAPTER XXXII.

  DAMASCUS TO BEYROOT.--THE RUINS OF BAALBEC.--FAREWELL.             425



ILLUSTRATIONS.


  A Scene in Egypt.                                      _Frontispiece._
  Coast of the Red Sea.                                               13
  View in Jeddah, on the Red Sea.                                     17
  Captain Burton in Native Dress.                                     19
  Encampment of Pilgrims at Mount Arafat, near Mecca.                 20
  View of Medina (from a Drawing by a Native Artist).                 21
  Scene near Suez.                                                    22
  Travelling in the Sinai Desert.                                     23
  A Shop in Suez.                                                     25
  The Northern End of the Gulf of Suez.                               26
  "Ayoon Moosa"--the Wells of Moses.                                  28
  Preaching in a Mosque.                                              29
  A Landing-place on the Fresh-water Canal.                           31
  Oriental Ships of Ancient Times.                                    32
  Ferdinand De Lesseps.                                               34
  Suez Canal and Eastern Egypt.                                       35
  Night Scene on Lake Menzaleh.                                       37
  Camel and Young.                                                    38
  Desert Scene in Eastern Egypt.                                      40
  The Modern Shadoof.                                                 41
  An Ancient Shadoof.                                                 42
  A Sakkieh, or Water-wheel.                                          42
  A Ploughman at Work.                                                43
  An Ancient Plough.                                                  44
  An Egyptian Thrashing-machine.                                      45
  Ancient Process of Treading out the Corn.                           45
  Egyptian Lentils.                                                   46
  The Pyramids.                                                       47
  A Question of Backsheesh.                                           48
  A Street in Cairo.                                                  50
  A Projecting Window.                                                51
  A Caliph of Egypt on his Throne.                                    53
  Part of Old Cairo.                                                  54
  A Peddler of Jewellery.                                             56
  A Lady in Street Dress.                                             57
  A Woman Carrying Water.                                             57
  The Fountain of a Mosque.                                           58
  A Beggar at the Way-side.                                           59
  A Man Carrying his Keys.                                            60
  An Oriental Band of Music.                                          61
  The Nay (Flute) and Case.                                           62
  Ancient Egyptian Playing the Nay.                                   62
  The Tamboora.                                                       63
  A Darabookah.                                                       63
  Coffee-pot and Cups.                                                64
  Oriental Shopkeeper Examining his Books.                            65
  Interior of a Caravansary.                                          66
  Gate-way of a Caravansary.                                          67
  A Street in a Bazaar at Cairo.                                      68
  Shopping Scene in the Hamzowee.                                     70
  Eastern Necklaces.                                                  71
  Weighing Gold in the Jewellers' Bazaar.                             71
  Kitchen Utensils.                                                   73
  Basin and Ewer.                                                     74
  Bottle for Rose-water.                                              75
  Oriental Guns.                                                      75
  Bab-el-Nasr.                                                        76
  Street Scene near the Bab-el-Nasr.                                  77
  The Mosque of Tooloon.                                              78
  Mihrab, Pulpit, and Candlestick in a Mosque.                        79
  A Begging Dervish.                                                  81
  A Whirling Dervish.                                                 82
  Performance of the Whirling Dervishes.                              83
  A Whirler in full Action.                                           84
  Arabic Writing, with Impression of a Seal.                          85
  Scene in a Primary School.                                          86
  Instruction at Home.                                                87
  Entrance to the El-Azhar.                                           88
  Professors of the El-Azhar.                                         89
  The Citadel, Cairo, with Mosque of Mohammed Ali.                    90
  View from the Citadel, Cairo.                                       92
  The Tombs of the Caliphs.                                           94
  The Tomb of Keit Bey.                                               95
  The Ferry at Old Cairo.                                             96
  The Dress of an Egyptian King. Form of Crown and Aprons.            98
  Menes.                                                              99
  Rameses II., from an Inscription.                                   99
  Meneptah, the supposed Pharaoh of the Exodus.                      100
  The Name of Egypt in Hieroglyphics.                                101
  Ptolemy in Hieroglyphics.                                          101
  The Rosetta Stone, with Specimen Lines from the Inscription.       102
  Specimens of the Three Forms of Writing Used by the Egyptians.     102
  Dedication of the Pylon of a Temple.                               103
  Egyptian Sculptors at Work.                                        104
  Wooden Statue Found at Sakkara.                                    105
  Wooden Dolls.                                                      106
  Children's Toys.                                                   107
  Positions in Playing Ball.                                         107
  Balls of Leather and Porcelain.                                    108
  Playing Ball Mounted.                                              108
  Playing Checkers.                                                  109
  Sand-bag Exercise.                                                 109
  A Bull-fight.                                                      110
  Goddesses of Truth and Justice.                                    110
  The Name of Apis, an Egyptian God, in Hieroglyphics.               111
  King and Queen Offering to the Gods.                               111
  Different Forms of Mummy Cases.                                    112
  Transporting a Mummy on a Sledge.                                  112
  Goddess of Truth, with her Eyes Closed.                            113
  Lady's Head-dress on a Mummy Case.                                 113
  Rings, Bracelets, and Scarabæi.                                    114
  Stone Scarabæus with Wings.                                        114
  Jeweller with Blow-pipe.                                           115
  Egyptian Goldsmiths (from a Painting at Thebes).                   115
  Golden Baskets (from the Tomb of Rameses III.).                    116
  Dresses of Women of Ancient Egypt.                                 116
  Camels and their Burdens.                                          117
  Old Mode of Transport on the Nile.                                 118
  Near View of the Pyramids.                                         119
  The Battle of the Pyramids.--"Forty centuries look down on you".   121
  Egyptian Captives Employed at Hard Labor.                          122
  Removing Stone from the Quarries.                                  123
  Cutting and Squaring Blocks of Stone.                              124
  Section of the Great Pyramid.                                      125
  The Sphinx.                                                        126
  The Sphinx by Moonlight.                                           127
  Egyptian Captives Making Bricks.                                   128
  Ploughing and Sowing.                                              129
  Taking it Easy.                                                    129
  A Hunting Scene.                                                   130
  Bronze Figure of Apis.                                             131
  Huntsman with Dogs and Game.                                       131
  An Arched Tomb at Sakkara.                                         132
  Central Room of the Bath.                                          134
  The Man who didn't Like it.                                        135
  The Barber.                                                        137
  The Bath among the Ancient Egyptians.                              138
  A Khatibeh, or Marriage-broker.                                    140
  Preparing for the Wedding.                                         141
  A Marriage Procession at Night.                                    142
  Unveiling the Bride.                                               143
  Blind Musicians among the Ancient Egyptians.                       144
  View on the Nile near Cairo.                                       145
  Ancient Boat on the Nile.                                          146
  A Village on the Bank of the River.                                148
  General View of an Eastern City.                                   149
  A Plague of Flies.                                                 151
  A Kangia.                                                          151
  The Captain.                                                       152
  A Gourd Raft.                                                      154
  The Raft seen from Below.                                          154
  View on a Sugar Plantation.                                        156
  Interior of a Sugar-mill.                                          158
  A Secure Point of View.                                            159
  Interior of a Tomb at Beni-Hassan.                                 161
  Section of a Tomb.                                                 162
  Spinning and Weaving.                                              163
  Artists at Work.                                                   164
  Fishing Scene at Beni-Hassan.                                      164
  An Ancient Donkey.                                                 165
  A Respectable Citizen.                                             165
  An Old Inhabitant.                                                 166
  A Scene near Sioot.                                                167
  A Scene in the Bazaars.                                            168
  Room in an Oriental House.                                         170
  An Oriental Gentleman.                                             170
  An Egyptian Lamp.                                                  171
  Pigeon-houses.                                                     173
  The Oriental Pigeon.                                               173
  A Watchman's Booth.                                                174
  Inflated Skin Raft (from Assyrian Sculpture).                      174
  An Ancient Life-preserver.                                         175
  Modern "Keleks," or Skin Rafts.                                    176
  Girgeh.                                                            177
  Scene during the Inundation.                                       178
  A Camel on his way to Pasture.                                     179
  Heads of Captives of Rameses II.                                   180
  A Lunch-party of Other Days.                                       181
  Ancient Potters at Work.                                           183
  Ancient Vases, Cups, and Water-jars.                               184
  Date-palms, near Keneh.                                            185
  Ancient Dancers and Musicians.                                     186
  A Modern Musician.                                                 186
  An Egyptian King on his Throne.                                    187
  Front of the Temple at Denderah.                                   188
  Egyptian Prince Carried in a Palanquin.                            189
  A Complete Egyptian Temple.                                        191
  A "Baris," or Funeral-boat.                                        192
  An Egyptian War-chariot of Ancient Times.                          194
  Luxor from the Water.                                              195
  Entrance to the Temple of Luxor.                                   197
  Approach to Karnak from Luxor.                                     198
  The Great Hall of Karnak.                                          199
  Grand Court-yard of the Temple.                                    200
  A Body of Archers.                                                 201
  Making a List of Captives.                                         201
  Obelisk and part of Grand Hall at Karnak.                          202
  Egyptian Soldiers.                                                 203
  Dry Footing.                                                       204
  Ruins in Old Thebes.                                               205
  Grand Hall of the Memnonium.                                       206
  View in the Memnonium, with Ruined Statue of Rameses the Great.    207
  The Phalanx of the Sheta.                                          208
  Medinet Aboo.                                                      209
  An Egyptian War-boat.                                              210
  The Colossi during an Inundation.                                  211
  Egyptian Priests clad in Leopard-skins.                            212
  Rear View of the Colossi, with Luxor in the Distance.              213
  Sacred Musicians, and a Priest Offering Incense.                   214
  Valley of the Tombs of the Kings.                                  215
  View in Belzoni's Tomb.                                            216
  An Egyptian Harper.                                                219
  A Chair from Bruce's Tomb.                                         220
  Section of Papyrus.                                                222
  Coffin and Mummy of a Royal Princess.                              223
  Coffin of Queen Nofretari.                                         224
  Coffin of Rameses II.                                              225
  An Oriental Lady at Home.                                          226
  Eastern Ladies Listening to Music.                                 228
  An Oriental Dancing Girl.                                          230
  An Eastern Story-teller.                                           231
  A Reception in a Harem.                                            233
  Sculptures Mutilated by the Persians.                              234
  A Thing of Beauty.                                                 235
  View in the Temple of Edfoo.                                       236
  Hagar Silsilis.                                                    237
  The Foot of the First Cataract.                                    238
  The Ship of the Desert.                                            241
  Bedouin Arabs with their Camel Herds.                              242
  Camels (from an Assyrian Sculpture).                               243
  A Bactrian Camel in Good Condition.                                243
  Foot and Stomach of the Camel.                                     244
  Head of a Camel.                                                   244
  The Dromedary Regiment of Napoleon I.                              245
  View of Philæ from the Head of the Cataract.                       247
  The Bank of the River below Philæ.                                 248
  Pharaoh's Bed and the Ruins of the Temple.                         249
  View from Philæ, looking Up the River.                             250
  The Papyrus Jungles of the Nile.                                   251
  An Ancient Poultry-shop.                                           253
  An Arab and his Camel.                                             255
  Colossal Heads in Front of the Temple of Abou Simbel.              256
  Public Square at Khartoom.                                         258
  Egyptian Soldiers on Camels.                                       259
  The Barrage of the Nile.                                           262
  General View of Alexandria.                                        262
  Cleopatra's Needle at Alexandria.                                  264
  Pompey's Pillar.                                                   265
  View of Alexandria from the Sea.                                   266
  Front of an Eastern Summer-house.                                  268
  One of the Dragomen.                                               269
  Joppa.                                                             271
  A Second-class Horse.                                              272
  The City Gate of Jaffa.                                            273
  Women at a Well.                                                   275
  Public Fountain at Jerusalem.                                      276
  One of the Wells of Beersheba, with its Watering-troughs.          277
  Interior of a Cistern.                                             278
  Cistern Under the Temple of Jerusalem.                             278
  A Syrian Horseman.                                                 280
  The Tower of Ramleh (from Thomson's "The Land and the Book").      282
  Road in the Foot-hills.                                            284
  View of Jerusalem from the East.                                   285
  Plan of Jerusalem.                                                 287
  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.                                  290
  Ground-plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.                   291
  The Holy Sepulchre.                                                292
  Ancient Arch in Jerusalem.                                         295
  Arms of Jerusalem.                                                 297
  Knights of St Catherine.                                           297
  The Via Dolorosa.                                                  298
  The Damascus Gate.                                                 299
  View of the Mosque of Omar and the Mount of Olives.                301
  Wall at South-east Corner of the Temple Area.                      303
  Wailing-place of the Jews.                                         304
  The Pool of Bethesda.                                              306
  The Pool of Siloam.                                                307
  Quarries Under Jerusalem.                                          308
  View on the Mount of Olives.                                       311
  Gethsemane.                                                        312
  A Sycamore-tree.                                                   313
  The Road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.                              315
  The Tomb of Rachel.                                                316
  Entrance to Bethlehem.                                             317
  View in Bethlehem.                                                 319
  Interior of the Church of the Nativity.                            321
  The Place of the Nativity.                                         322
  The Manger.                                                        323
  Adoration of the Wise Men.                                         323
  The Flight into Egypt.                                             324
  An Arab Encampment.                                                327
  A Bedouin Sheik.                                                   328
  Modern Bedouins of Mount Sinai.                                    329
  Scene in the Wilderness.                                           330
  An Arab Guard in Palestine.                                        331
  Mar Saba (from Thomson's "The Land and the Book").                 332
  Russian Pilgrims in the Holy Land.                                 334
  Road to the Dead Sea.                                              334
  The Dead Sea from the North.                                       335
  Map of the Dead Sea.                                               337
  Lynch's Expedition to the Dead Sea.                                338
  Lynch's Levelling Party.                                           339
  The Cavern of Usdum.                                               340
  Reeds and Rushes on the Jordan.                                    342
  An Arab Skirmish in the Land of Moab.                              343
  Bathing-place of the Pilgrims (from Thomson's "The Land and
      the Book").                                                    345
  Source of the Jordan.                                              347
  Passage of the Israelites.                                         347
  Map of the Jordan.                                                 348
  Recent Aspect of the Plain of Jericho.                             350
  Ain-es-Sultan, or Fountain of Elisha (from Thomson's "The Land
      and the Book").                                                351
  The Village of Bethany.                                            353
  The Hotel-keeper.                                                  355
  Scene on the Overland Route from Jerusalem.                        357
  By Babel's Stream.                                                 358
  The Grapes of Eshcol.                                              359
  Hebron.                                                            360
  Street Scene in Bireh.                                             362
  A Native Group at a Fountain.                                      363
  Beasts of Burden.                                                  365
  Roof of a House in Nabulus.                                        366
  The Woman of Samaria.                                              367
  View of Nabulus.                                                   369
  An Ancient Olive-press.                                            370
  Women Working an Olive-press.                                      370
  Ancient Lamps (Matt. xxv. 1).                                      371
  Modern Lamps.                                                      371
  Samaritans Bearing Tribute--an Assyrian Sculpture (2 Kings
      xvii. 3).                                                      372
  Sebustieh, the Ancient Samaria.                                    374
  View of Jenin, the Ancient Engannim.                               376
  Map of the Valley of Esdraelon.                                    377
  The Plan of Nazareth.                                              378
  View of Nazareth.                                                  380
  The Annunciation.                                                  382
  The Country near Nazareth, with the Town in the Distance.          383
  Home of a Cave-hermit in Palestine.                                386
  Mount Tabor.                                                       387
  Distant View of Kefr Kenna.                                        388
  The City and Lake of Tiberias.                                     390
  Map of the Sea of Galilee.                                         392
  Magdala and Plain of Gennesaret.                                   393
  Herod's Plan of Attack.                                            394
  Battle with the Robbers.                                           395
  A Galilee Fishing-boat.                                            396
  Ruins at Tell Hum.                                                 397
  View of the Lake from the Western Shore.                           398
  The Rock Partridge.                                                399
  The Plain of Huleh.                                                400
  Huts near Lake Huleh.                                              401
  An Army of Kedesh.                                                 402
  Head-spring of the Jordan near Hasbeiyah.                          405
  Map of the Sources of the Jordan.                                  406
  Terebinth-tree at Banias.                                          406
  Substructions of the Castle of Banias.                             407
  View from the Castle of Banias.                                    409
  A Street in Damascus.                                              410
  General View of Damascus.                                          411
  Interior of a House in Damascus.                                   413
  Bedouin Camp near Damascus.                                        416
  A Scene in Damascus.                                               419
  Portrait of Abd-el-Kader.                                          420
  Sword-blades of Damascus.                                          421
  Damask Goods.                                                      422
  Attack on the Citadel of Damascus before the Invention of
      Gunpowder.                                                     423
  Paul Led into Damascus.                                            424
  A Caravan near Damascus.                                           425
  The River among the Rocks.                                         426
  The Fijeh Source of the Abana.                                     427
  The Ruins of Baalbec.                                              429
  Modern Wine-press.                                                 431
  Bridge Over the Litany.                                            432
  The Cedars of Lebanon.                                             433
  View of Beyroot, looking toward the Harbor.                        435
  Mission School in Syria.                                           436
  Fountain at Beyroot.                                               437
  Lebanon.                                                           438
  MAP OF EGYPT.                                           _Front Cover._
  MAP OF THE HOLY LAND.                                    _Back Cover._



CHAPTER I.

FROM BOMBAY TO SUEZ.--THE RED SEA, MECCA, AND MOUNT SINAI.


"Here we are in port again!" said Fred Bronson, as the anchor fell from
the bow of the steamer and the chain rattled through the hawse-hole.

"Three cheers for ourselves!" said Frank Bassett in reply. "We have had
a splendid voyage, and here is a new country for us to visit."

"And one of the most interesting in the world," remarked the Doctor, who
came on deck just in time to catch the words of the youth.

"Egypt is the oldest country of which we have a definite history, and
there is no other land that contains so many monuments of its former
greatness."

Their conversation was cut short by the captain, who came to tell them
that they would soon be able to go on shore, as the Quarantine boat was
approaching, and they could leave immediately after the formalities were
over.

When we last heard from our friends they were about leaving Bombay under
"sealed orders." When the steamer was fairly outside of the beautiful
harbor of that city, and the passengers were bidding farewell to Colaba
Light-house, Dr. Bronson called the youths to his side and told them
their destination.

"We are going," said he, "to Egypt, and thence to the Holy Land. The
steamer will carry us across the Indian Ocean to the Straits of
Bab-el-mandeb, and then through these straits into the Red Sea; then we
continue our voyage to Suez, where we land and travel by rail to Cairo."

One of the boys asked how long it would take them to go from Bombay to
Suez.

"About ten days," was the reply. "The distance is three thousand miles,
in round numbers, and I believe we are not to stop anywhere on the way."

The time was passed pleasantly enough on the steamer. The weather was so
warm that the passengers preferred the deck to the stifling cabins, and
the majority of them slept there every night, and lounged there during
the day. The boys passed their time in reading about the countries they
were to visit, writing letters to friends at home, and completing the
journal of their travels. In the evenings they talked about what they
had seen, and hoped that the story of their wanderings would prove
interesting to their school-mates in America, and to other youths of
their age.[1]

[1] "The Boy Travellers in the Far East." Parts I., II., and III.
Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey to Japan, China, Siam, Java,
Cambodia, Sumatra, the Malay Archipelago, Ceylon, Burmah, Borneo, the
Philippine Islands, and India. By Thomas W. Knox. Published by Harper &
Brothers, New York.

[Illustration: COAST OF THE RED SEA.]

Soon after entering the Red Sea they passed the island of Perim, a
barren stretch of rock and sand, crowned with a signal station, from
which the English flag was flying. As they were looking at the island,
and thinking what a dreary place it must be to live in, one of the
passengers told the boys an amusing story of how the English obtained
possession of it.

"Of course you are aware," said he, "that the English have a military
post at Aden, a rocky peninsula on the shore of Arabia, about a hundred
and twenty miles from the entrance of the Red Sea. They bought it from
the Sultan of that part of Arabia in 1839 by first taking possession,
and then telling him he could name his price, and they would give him
what they thought best, as they were determined to stay. Aden is a very
important station for England, as it lies conveniently between Europe
and Asia, and has a fine harbor. The mail steamers stop there for coal,
and the government always keeps a garrison in the fort. It is one of the
hottest and most unhealthy places in the world, and there is a saying
among the British officers that an order to go to Aden is very much like
being condemned to be shot.

"Soon after the Suez Canal was begun the French thought they needed a
port somewhere near Aden, and in 1857 they sent a ship-of-war to obtain
one. The ship touched at Aden for provisions, and the captain was
invited to dine with the general who commanded at the fort. During
dinner he became very talkative, and finally told the general that his
government had sent him to take possession of Perim, at the entrance of
the Red Sea.

"Perim was a barren island, as you see, and belonged to nobody; and the
English had never thought it was worth holding, though they occupied it
from 1799 to 1801. As soon as the French captain had stated his business
in that locality the general wrote a few words on a slip of paper, which
he handed to a servant to carry to the chief of staff. Then he kept his
visitor at table till a late hour, prevailed on him to sleep on shore
that night, and not be in a hurry to get away the next morning.

"The French ship left during the forenoon and steamed for Perim. And you
may imagine that captain's astonishment when he saw a dozen men on the
summit of the island fixing a pole in the ground. As soon as it was in
place they flung out the English flag from its top, and greeted it with
three cheers. In the little note he wrote at the dinner-table the
general had ordered a small steamer to start immediately for Perim and
take possession in the name of the Queen, and his orders were obeyed.
The French captain was dismissed from the navy for being too free with
his tongue, and the English have 'hung on' to Perim ever since."

The Doctor joined them as the story of the occupation of Perim was
concluded. There was a laugh over the shrewdness of the English officer
and the discomfiture of the French one, and then the conversation turned
to the Red Sea.

"It may properly be called an inlet of the Indian Ocean," said the
Doctor, "as it is long and narrow, and has more the characteristics of
an inlet than of a sea. It is about fourteen hundred miles long, and
varies from twenty to two hundred miles in width; it contains many
shoals and quicksands, so that its navigation is dangerous, and
requires careful pilotage. At the upper or northern extremity it is
divided into two branches by the peninsula of Mount Sinai; the western
branch is called the Gulf of Suez, and is about one hundred and eighty
miles long, by twenty broad. This gulf was formerly more difficult of
navigation than the Red Sea proper, but recently the Egyptian government
has established a line of beacons and light-houses along its whole
length, so that the pilots can easily find their way by day or at
night."

One of the boys asked why the body of water in question was called the
_Red_ Sea.

The Doctor explained that the origin of the name was unknown, as it had
been called the Red Sea since the time of Herodotus and other early
writers. It is referred to in the Hebrew Scriptures as _Yam Suph_, the
Sea of Weeds, in consequence of the profusion of weeds in its waters.
These weeds have a reddish color; the barren hills that enclose the sea
have a strong tinge of red, especially at the hours of sunset and
sunrise, and the coral reefs that stretch in every direction and make
navigation dangerous are often of a vermilion tint. "You will see all
these things as you proceed," he continued, "and by the time you are at
Suez you will have no difficulty in understanding why this body of water
is called the _Red_ Sea."

The boys found it as he had predicted, and the temperature for the first
two days after passing Perim led Frank to suggest that the name might be
made more descriptive of its character if it were called the Red-hot
Sea. The thermometer stood at 101° in the cabin, and was only a little
lower on deck; the heat was enervating in the extreme, and there was no
way of escaping it; but on the third day the wind began to blow from the
north, and there was a change in the situation. Thin garments were
exchanged for thick ones, and the passengers, who had been almost faint
with the heat, were beginning to shiver in their overcoats.

"A change of this sort is unusual," said the gentleman who had told them
of the seizure of Perim, "but when it does come it is very grateful.
Only in January or February is the Red Sea anything but hot; the winds
blow from the sandy desert, or from the region of the equator, and
sometimes it seems as though you were in a furnace. From December to
March the thermometer averages 76°, from thence to May it is 87°, and
through the four or five months that follow it is often 100°. I have
frequently seen it 110° in the cabin of a steamer, and on one occasion,
when the simoom was blowing from the desert, it was 132°. Steamers
going north when the south wind is blowing find themselves running just
with the wind, so that they seem to be in a dead calm; in such cases
they sometimes turn around every ten or twelve hours and run a few miles
in the other direction, so as to let the wind blow through the ship and
ventilate it as much as possible. The firemen are Arabs and negroes,
accustomed all their lives to great heat, but on almost every voyage
some of them find the temperature of the engine-room too severe, and die
of suffocation."

[Illustration: VIEW IN JEDDAH, ON THE RED SEA.]

Our friends passed by Jeddah, the port of Mecca, and from the deck of
the steamer the white walls and towers of the town were distinctly
visible. Frank and Fred would have been delighted to land at Jeddah and
make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but the Doctor told them the journey was out
of the question, as no Christian is allowed to enter the sacred city of
the Moslems, and the few who had ever accomplished the feat had done so
at great personal risk.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN BURTON IN NATIVE DRESS.]

"The first European who ever went there was Burckhardt, in 1814," said
Dr. Bronson. "He prepared himself for his travels by studying the Arabic
language, and went in the disguise of an Arab merchant, under the name
of Sheikh Ibrahim ibn Abdallah. Then he travelled through Syria, Asia
Minor, and Egypt for several years, and became thoroughly familiar with
the customs of the people, so that he was able to pass himself
successfully as a learned Moslem. Captain Burton went to Mecca in 1852,
and since his time the city has been visited by Maltzan, Palgrave, and
two or three others. Captain Burton followed the example of Burckhardt
and wore the Arab dress; he spoke the language fluently, but in spite of
this his disguise was penetrated while he was returning to Jeddah, and
he was obliged to flee from his companions and travel all night away
from the road till he reached the protection of the seaport."

"What would have happened if he had been found out?" Frank inquired.

"The mob of fanatical Moslems would have killed him," was the reply.
"They would have considered it an insult to their religion for him to
enter their sacred city--the birthplace of the founder of their
religion--and he would have been stoned or otherwise put to death. Some
Europeans who have gone to Mecca have never returned, and nothing was
ever heard of them. It is supposed they were discovered and murdered."

"What barbarians!" exclaimed Fred.

"Yes," replied the Doctor; "but if you speak to any of them about it,
they will possibly reply that Christian people have put to death those
who did not believe in their religion. They might quote a good many
occurrences in various parts of Europe in the past five hundred years,
and could even remind us that the Puritans, in New England, hanged three
men and one woman, and put many others in prison, for the offence of
being Quakers. Religious intolerance, even at this day, is not entirely
confined to the Moslems."

Frank asked what could be seen at Mecca, and whether the place was
really worth visiting.

[Illustration: ENCAMPMENT OF PILGRIMS AT MOUNT ARAFAT, NEAR MECCA.]

"As to that," the Doctor answered, "tastes might differ. Mecca is said
to be a well-built city, seventy miles from Jeddah, with a population of
about fifty thousand. The most interesting edifice in the place is the
'Caaba,' or Shrine, which stands in the centre of a large square, and
has at one corner the famous 'Black Stone,' which the Moslems believe
was brought from heaven by the angels. Burckhardt thought it was only a
piece of lava; but Captain Burton believes it is an aerolite, of an oval
shape, and about seven feet long. The pilgrims walk seven times around
the Caaba, repeating their prayers at every step, and they begin their
walk by prostrating themselves in front of the Black Stone and kissing
it. The consequence is that it is worn smooth, as the number of pilgrims
going annually to Mecca is not less than two hundred thousand. The
pilgrimage is completed with the ascent of Mount Arafat, twelve miles
east of Mecca; and when a Moslem returns from his journey he is
permitted to wear a green turban for the rest of his life. The
pilgrimage is an easier matter than it used to be, as there are steamers
running from Suez and other points to carry the pilgrims to Jeddah, and
from there they can easily accomplish their journey to Mecca and return
in a couple of weeks."

Frank asked how far it was from Mecca to Medina, the place where
Mohammed died and was buried.

"Medina is about two hundred and fifty miles north of Mecca," said the
Doctor, "and is only a third the size of the latter city. It is next to
Mecca in sanctity, and a great many pilgrims go there every year. The
tomb of the Prophet is in a large mosque, in the centre of the city, and
there is an old story that the coffin of Mohammed is suspended in the
air by invisible threads hanging from heaven. Captain Burton visited
Medina, and reports that the Moslems have no knowledge of the story, and
say it must have been invented by a Christian. The tomb is in one side
of the building, but no one is allowed to look upon it, not even a
Moslem; the most that can be seen is the curtain surrounding it, and
even that must be observed through an aperture in a wooden screen. The
custodians say that any person who looks on the tomb of the Prophet
would be instantly blinded by a flood of holy light."

[Illustration: VIEW OF MEDINA (FROM A DRAWING BY A NATIVE ARTIST).]

So much for the two holiest places in the eyes of the Moslems. Frank and
Fred concluded that they did not care to go to Mecca and Medina, and the
former instanced the old fable of a fox who despised the grapes which
were inaccessible, and denounced them as too sour to be eaten.

As they entered the Gulf of Suez the attention of the boys was directed
to Mount Sinai, and they readily understood, from the barrenness and
desolation of the scene, why it was called "Mount Sinai in the
Wilderness." With a powerful telescope not a sign of vegetation was
anywhere visible.

It was late in the forenoon of a pleasant day when the ship came to
anchor, as we have described in our opening lines. The Quarantine doctor
came on board, and was soon convinced that no reason existed why the
passengers, who chose to do so, might not go on shore. Doctor Bronson
and his young friends bargained with a boatman to carry them and their
baggage to the steps of the Hotel de Suez for a rupee each. The town,
with the hotel, was about two miles from the anchorage, and the breeze
carried them swiftly over the intervening stretch of water. Half a dozen
steamers lay at the anchorage, waiting for their turn to pass the Canal;
and a dozen or more native craft, in addition to the foreign ships, made
the harbor of Suez appear quite picturesque. The rocky hills behind the
town, and the low slopes of the opposite shore, glistened in the bright
sunlight; but the almost total absence of verdure in the landscape
rendered the picture the reverse of beautiful. Not a tree nor a blade of
grass can be seen on the African side of the Gulf, while on the
opposite shore the verdure-seeking eye is only caught by the oasis at
the Wells of Moses, where a few palm-trees bid defiance to the shifting
sands of the desert.

[Illustration: SCENE NEAR SUEZ.]

Suez appeared to our friends a straggling collection of flat-roofed
houses and whitewashed walls, where the sea terminates and the desert
begins. Before the construction of the Canal it was little better than
an Arab village, with less than two thousand inhabitants; at present it
is a town of ten or twelve thousand people, the majority of whom are
supported, directly or indirectly, by the Canal or the railway. There
has been a town of some sort at this point for more than three thousand
years, but it has never been of much importance, commercially or
otherwise. The situation in the midst of desert hills, and more
especially the absence of fresh water, have been the drawbacks to its
prosperity. There is little to be seen in its shops, and for that little
the prices demanded are exorbitant. Few travellers remain more than a
day at Suez, and the great majority are ready to leave an hour or two
after their arrival.

[Illustration: TRAVELLING IN THE SINAI DESERT.]



CHAPTER II.

SUEZ.--WHERE THE ISRAELITES CROSSED THE RED SEA.--THE SUEZ CANAL.


Frank and Fred were impatient to see the Suez Canal, which enables ships
to pass between the Red and Mediterranean Seas. In going from the
anchorage to the town they passed near the southern end of the Canal,
and from the veranda of the hotel they could see steamers passing
apparently through the sandy desert, as the position where they stood
concealed the water from sight. As soon as they had secured their rooms
at the hotel, they started out with the Doctor to make a practical
acquaintance with the great channel from sea to sea.

[Illustration: A SHOP IN SUEZ.]

There was a swarm of guides and donkey-drivers at the door of the hotel,
so that they had no difficulty in finding their way. At the suggestion
of the Doctor they followed the pier, nearly two miles in length, which
leads from the south part of the town to the harbor; the water is very
shallow near Suez, and this pier was built so that the railway trains
could be taken along side the steamers, and thus facilitate the transfer
of passengers and freight. The pier is about fifty feet wide, and has a
solid foundation of artificial stone sunk deep into the sand. At the end
of the pier are several docks and quays belonging to the Canal and
railway companies, and there is a large basin, called Port Ibrahim,
capable of containing many ships at once. The Canal Company's
repair-shops and warehouses stand on artificial ground, which was made
by dredging the sand and piling it into the space between the pier and
the land, and Frank thought that not less than fifty acres had thus been
enclosed.

A line of stakes and buoys extended a considerable distance out into the
head of the Gulf, and the Doctor explained that, in consequence of the
shallowness near the land, the Suez Canal began more than a mile from
the shore. The sand-bar is visible at low tide, and when the wind blows
from the north a large area is quite uncovered. A channel was dredged
for the passage of ships, and the dredging-machines are frequently in
use to remove the sand which blows from the desert or is swept into the
channel by the currents.

At the end of the long pier is a light-house; and while our friends
stood there and contemplated the scene before them, the Doctor reminded
the boys that in all probability they were in sight of the spot where
the hosts of Pharaoh were drowned after the Israelites had crossed over
in safety.

"That is very interesting," said Frank; "but is this really the place?"

"We cannot be absolutely certain of that," was the reply, "as there are
different opinions on the subject. But it was in this neighborhood
certainly, and some of those who have made a careful study of the matter
say that the crossing was probably within a mile of this very spot."

The eyes of the boys opened to their fullest width at this announcement,
and they listened intently to the Doctor's remarks on the passage of the
Israelites through the Red Sea.

"You will remember," said the Doctor, "that the Bible account tells us
how the Lord caused a strong wind to blow from the north, which swept
away the waters and allowed the Israelites to pass over the bed of the
sea. After they had crossed, and the hosts of Pharaoh pursued them, the
wind changed, the waters returned, and the army of the Egyptian ruler
was drowned in the waves. The rise of the tide at this place is from
three to six feet, and the sand-bank is only slightly covered when the
tide is out; now, when the wind blows from the north with great force
the water is driven away, and parts of the sand-bank are exposed. On
the other hand, when a strong wind blows from the south, the water is
forced upon the sand-bank, and the tide, joined to this wind, will make
a depth of six or seven feet where a few hours before the ground was
dry. This is the testimony of many persons who have made careful
observations of the Gulf of Suez, and the miracle described in the Bible
is in exact accordance with the natural conditions that exist to-day.

[Illustration: THE NORTHERN END OF THE GULF OF SUEZ.]

"One modern writer on this subject says he has known a strong north-east
wind to lay the ford dry, and be followed by a south-west wind that
rendered the passage impossible even for camels. M. De Lesseps, the
projector of the Suez Canal, says he has seen the northern end of the
sea blown almost dry, while the next day the waters were driven far up
on the land. In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte and his staff came near being
drowned here in a sudden change of wind, and fatal accidents occur once
in a while from the same cause. On the map prepared by the officers of
the maritime canal to show the difference between high and low water,
you will see that the conditions are just as I have stated them.

"Some writers believe," the Doctor continued, "that the sea was farther
inland three thousand years ago, and that the crossing was made about
ten miles farther north than where we now stand. There is some
difficulty in locating all the places named in the biblical story of the
exodus, and it would be too much to expect all the critics to agree on
the subject. The weight of opinion is in favor of Suez as the
crossing-place of the Israelites, and so we will believe we are at the
scene of the deliverance of the captives and the destruction of the
hosts of Pharaoh. It is a mistake to suppose that Pharaoh was himself
drowned in the Red Sea; it was only his army that suffered destruction."

From the point where this conversation took place they went to the
Waghorn Quay, just beyond. It was named in honor of Lieutenant Waghorn,
who devoted several years to the establishment of the so-called
"overland route" between England and India. Through his exertions the
line of the Peninsular and Oriental steamers was established, and the
mails between England and India were regularly carried through Egypt,
instead of taking the tedious voyage around the Cape of Good Hope. He
died in London in poverty in 1850; since his death the importance of his
services has been recognized, and a statue to his memory stands on the
quay which bears his name. At his suggestion the name of "overland
route" was given to this line of travel between England and India,
though the land journey is only two hundred and fifty miles, to
distinguish it from the "sea route" around the Cape of Good Hope.

From Waghorn Quay it was only a short distance to the Canal, and as they
reached its bank a large steamer was just entering on its way to the
Mediterranean. Frank observed that she was moving very slowly, and asked
the Doctor why she did not put on full steam and go ahead.

"That would be against the rules of the Canal Company," was the reply.
"If the steamers should go at full speed they would destroy the Canal in
a short time; the 'wash' or wake they would create would break down the
banks and bring the sand tumbling into the water. They must not steam
above four miles an hour, except in places where the Canal widens into
lakes, and even there they cannot go at full speed."

"Then there are lakes in the Canal, are there?" Fred inquired.

"I'll explain that by-and-by," the Doctor responded. "Meantime look
across the head of the Gulf and see that spot of green which stands out
so distinctly among the sands."

The boys looked in the direction indicated and saw an irregular patch of
verdure, on which the white walls of several houses made a sharp
contrast to the green of the grass and the palm-trees that waved above
them.

[Illustration: "AYOON MOOSA"--THE WELLS OF MOSES.]

"That spot," said the Doctor, "is known as 'Ayoon Moosa,' or 'The Wells
of Moses.' It is an oasis, where several wells or springs have existed
for thousands of years, and it is supposed that the Israelites halted
there and made a camp after their deliverance from Egypt. As the
pursuing army of Pharaoh had been destroyed before their eyes, they were
out of danger and in no hurry to move on. The place has borne the name
of 'The Wells of Moses' from time immemorial; there is a tradition that
the largest of them was opened by the divining-rod of the great leader
of the Hebrews in their escape from captivity, and is identical with
Marah, described in Exodus, xv. 23. The wells are pools of water fed by
springs which bubble in their centre; the water in all of them is too
brackish to be agreeable to the taste, but the camels drink it readily,
and the spot is an important halting place for caravans going to or from
the desert."

The Doctor farther explained that Suez was formerly supplied with water
from these wells, which was brought in goat-skins and casks on the backs
of camels. The springs are seven or eight miles from Suez in a direct
line, and the easiest way of reaching them is by a sail or row boat to
the landing place, about two miles from the oasis. Since the opening of
the fresh-water canal in 1863 this business of supplying the city has
ceased, and the water is principally used for irrigating the gardens in
the oasis. Most of the fresh vegetables eaten in Suez are grown around
the springs, and there is a hotel there, with a fairly good restaurant
attached to it. The residents of Suez make frequent excursions to the
Wells of Moses, and almost any day a group of camels may be seen
kneeling around the principal springs.

Our friends returned along the quay to Suez, and strolled through some
of the streets of the town. There was not much to be seen, as the shops
are neither numerous nor well stocked, and evidently are not blessed
with an enormous business. They visited a mosque, where they were
obliged to take off their shoes, according to the custom of the East,
before they could pass the door-way; the custodian supplied them with
slippers, so that they were not required to walk around in their
stockinged feet. When you go on a sight-seeing tour in an Egyptian city,
it is well to carry your own slippers along, or intrust them to your
guide, as the Moslems are rigid enforcers of the rule prohibiting you to
wear your boots inside a mosque.

[Illustration: PREACHING IN A MOSQUE.]

The principal attraction in the mosque was a group to whom a mollah, or
priest, was delivering a lecture. The speaker stood in a high pulpit
which was reached by a small ladder, and his hearers stood below him or
squatted on the floor. What he said was unintelligible to our friends,
as he was speaking in Arabic, which was to them an unknown tongue. The
audience was apparently interested in his remarks, and paid no attention
to the strangers except to scowl at them. In some of the mosques of the
East Christians are not admitted; this was the rule half a century ago,
but at present it is very generally broken down, and the hated infidel
may visit the mosques of the principal cities of Egypt and Turkey,
provided he pays for the privilege.

They returned to the hotel in season for dinner. The evening was passed
in the house, and the party went to bed in good season, as they were to
leave at eight o'clock in the morning for Cairo. They were at the
station in due time for departure, and found the train was composed of
carriages after the English pattern, in charge of a native conductor who
spoke French. By judiciously presenting him with a rupee they secured a
compartment to themselves.

While they were waiting for the train to move on the Doctor told the
boys about the "overland route" through Egypt.

"The route that was established by Lieutenant Waghorn was by steamship
from England to Alexandria, and thence by river steamboats along the
Nile to Cairo. From Cairo, ninety miles, to Suez the road was directly
through the desert, and passengers were carried in small omnibuses,
drawn by horses, which were changed at stations ten or fifteen miles
apart. Water for supplying these stations was carried from the Nile and
kept in tanks, and it was a matter of heavy expense to maintain the
stations. The omnibus road was succeeded by the railway, opened in 1857,
and the water for the locomotives was carried by the trains, as there
was not a drop to be had along the route. This railway was abandoned and
the track torn up after the construction of the Canal, as the expense of
maintaining it was very great. In addition to the cost of carrying water
was that of keeping the track clear of sand, which was drifted by the
wind exactly as snow is drifted in the Northern States of America, and
sometimes the working of the road was suspended for several days by the
sand-drifts. The present railway follows the banks of the Maritime Canal
as far as Ismailia, and thence it goes along the Fresh-Water Canal, of
which I will tell you.

"The idea of a canal to connect the Mediterranean and Red Seas is by no
means a modern one."

"Yes," said Frank, "I have read somewhere that the first Napoleon in
1799 thought of making a canal between the two seas, and his engineers
surveyed the route for it."

"You are quite right," responded the Doctor, "but there was a canal long
before the time of Napoleon, or rather there have been several canals."

"Several canals!" exclaimed Frank. "Not several canals at once?"

[Illustration: A LANDING-PLACE ON THE FRESH-WATER CANAL.]

"Hardly that," said the Doctor, with a smile; "but at different times
there have been canals between the two seas. They differ from the
present one in one respect: the maritime Canal of to-day runs from one
sea to the other, and is filled with salt-water, while the old canals
connected the Nile with the Red Sea, and were constantly filled with
fresh-water. The Fresh-Water Canal of to-day follows the line of one of
the old canals, and in several places the ancient bed was excavated and
the ancient walls were made useful, though they were sadly out of
repair."

One of the boys asked how old these walls were, to be in such a bad
condition.

"We cannot say exactly how old they are," was the reply, "and a hundred
years or so in our guessing will make no difference. According to some
authorities, one of the rulers of ancient Egypt, Rameses II., conceived
and carried out the idea of joining the two seas by means of the Nile
and a canal, but there is no evidence that the work was accomplished in
his time. The first canal of which we have any positive history was made
by Pharaoh Necho I. about 600 B.C., or nearly twenty-five hundred years
ago. It tapped the Nile at Bubastis, near Zagazig, and followed the line
of the present Fresh-Water Canal to the head of the Bitter Lake. The Red
Sea then extended to the Bitter Lake, and the shallow places were
dredged out sufficient to allow the passage of the small craft that were
in use in those days. The canal is said to have been sixty-two Roman
miles long, or fifty-seven English ones, which agrees with the surveys
of the modern engineers.

"This canal does not seem to have been used sufficiently to keep it from
being filled by the drifting sand, as it was altogether closed a hundred
years later, when it was re-opened by Darius; the latter made a
salt-water canal about ten miles long near the south end of the Bitter
Lake, to connect it with the Red Sea. Traces of this work were found
when the Fresh-Water Canal was made, and for some distance the old track
was followed. Under the arrangement of the canals of Necho and Darius,
ships sailed up the Nile to Bubastis, and passed along the canal to the
Bitter Lake, where their cargoes were transferred to Red Sea vessels.
About 300 B.C. Ptolemy Philadelphus caused the two canals to be cleared
out, and connected them by a lock, so that ships could pass from the
fresh to the salt water, or _vice versa_.

[Illustration: ORIENTAL SHIPS OF ANCIENT TIMES.]

"Four hundred years later (about 200 A.D.), according to some writers, a
new canal was made, tapping the Nile near Cairo, and connecting with the
old one, which was again cleared out and made navigable. Another canal,
partly new and partly old, is attributed to the seventh century, and
still another to the eleventh century; since that time there has been
nothing of the sort till the Maritime Canal Company found it necessary,
in 1861, to supply the laborers on their great work with fresh-water.
They cleared out the old canal in some places, and dug a new one in
others as far as the Bitter Lake; afterward they prolonged it to Suez,
which it reached in 1863, and at the same time they laid a line of iron
pipes from Ismailia to Port Said, on the Mediterranean. It would have
been impossible to make and maintain the Maritime Canal without a supply
of fresh-water, and thus the work of the Egyptians of twenty-five
hundred years ago became of practical use in our day.

"Look on this map," said the Doctor, as he drew one from his pocket and
handed it to the youths, "and you will see the various points I have
indicated, together with the line of the Maritime Canal, and of the
Fresh-Water Canal which supplies this part of Egypt with water."

Several minutes were passed in the study of the map. Before it was
finished the train started, and in a short time our friends were busily
contemplating the strange scene presented from the windows of their
carriage.

The railway followed very nearly the bank of the Fresh-Water Canal,
which varied from twenty to fifty feet in width, and appeared to be five
or six feet deep. Beyond it was the Maritime Canal, a narrow channel,
where steamers were slowly making their way, the distances between them
being regulated by the pilots, so as to give the least possible chance
of collision. Considering the number of steamers passing through the
Canal, the number of accidents is very small. Frank could not understand
how steamers could meet and pass each other, till the Doctor explained
that there were "turnouts" every few miles, where a steamer proceeding
in one direction could wait till another had gone by, in the same way
that railway-trains pass each other by means of "sidings." Then there
was plenty of space in Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lake, not only for
ships to move, but to anchor in case of any derangement of their
machinery.

From the information derived from the Doctor, and from the books and
papers which he supplied, Frank and Fred made up the following account
of the Suez Canal for the benefit of their friends at home:

[Illustration: FERDINAND DE LESSEPS.]

"The Canal is one hundred miles long, from Suez, on the Red Sea, to Port
Said, on the Mediterranean. Advantage was taken of depressions in the
desert below the level of the sea, and when the water was let in, these
depressions were filled up and became lakes (Timsah and Bitter Lakes),
as you see on the map. There were thirty miles of these depressions; and
then there was a marsh or swamp (thirty miles across), called Lake
Menzaleh, which was covered during the flood of the Nile, and only
needed a channel to be dug or dredged sufficiently deep for the passage
of ships. The first spadeful of earth was dug by Ferdinand de Lesseps at
Port Said on the 25th of April, 1868, and the completed Canal was opened
for the passage of ships on the 16th of November, 1869. About forty
steamers entered it at Port Said on that day, anchored in Lake Timsah
for the night, and passed to the Red Sea on the 17th. M. de Lesseps
projected the Canal while he was serving in Egypt as French Consul, and
it was through his great energy and perseverance that the plan was
finally carried out. The Canal was distinctively a French enterprise,
and was opposed by England, but as soon as it was completed the English
Government saw its great importance, and bought a large amount of stock
that had hitherto been held by the Egyptian Government.

[Illustration: SUEZ CANAL AND EASTERN EGYPT.]

"The line of the Canal where digging was necessary was through sand, but
in many places it was packed very hard, so that pickaxes were needed to
break it up. Much of the sand was removed by native laborers with
shovels and baskets; but after the first two years it was necessary to
substitute machinery for hand labor. Excavating and dredging machines
driven by steam were put in operation, and the work was pushed along
very rapidly; the channel through Lake Menzaleh was made by floating
dredges equipped with long spouts that deposited the sand two or three
hundred feet from where they were at work, and the dry cuttings at
higher points were made by similar excavators mounted on wheels. At one
place, just south of Lake Timsah, there was a bed of solid rock, where
it was necessary to do a great deal of blasting, and the last blast in
this rock was made only a few hours before the opening of the Canal.

"The cost of the work was nearly $100,000,000, of which about
one-third was paid by Egypt, under the mistaken impression that the
Canal would be beneficial to the country. The Khedive, or Viceroy of
Egypt, spent nearly $10,000,000 on the festivities at the opening of the
Canal, and this foolish outlay is one of the causes of the present
bankruptcy of the country. Palaces and theatres were built for this
occasion, roads were opened that were of no use afterward, and an
enormous amount of money was spent for fireworks, music, banquets, and
presents of various kinds to all the guests. The Empress of France was
present at the opening of the Canal, and distinguished persons from all
parts of the world were invited and entertained in princely style.

"In 1870, the first year the Canal was in operation, 486 vessels passed
through it; in the next year the number was 765, and it steadily
increased till it became 1264 vessels in 1874, 1457 in 1876, and 2026 in
1880. More than two-thirds of the entire number of ships passing the
Canal are English, and in some years they have been fully three-fourths,
while the French are less than one-thirteenth of the total number.
France, which expected much from the Canal, has realized very little;
while England, which opposed its construction, has reaped nearly all the
benefit therefrom.[2]

[2] In 1881 the receipts were 51,080,355 fr., which is 11,239,866 fr. in
excess of the receipts for 1880. The number of English vessels that
passed through the Canal was not only larger than the total for all
other nations, it was nearly four times as large as that total, and the
English percentage also showed an increase over the former year. The
number of English ships was 2256. France ranked next, but she had only
109 ships--about one-twentieth what England had. Then came Holland, with
70 ships; Austria, with 65; Italy, with 51; Spain, with 46; and Germany,
with 40. Egypt had only 11--the same number that Turkey had; Norway had
10 and China 4. Ten years ago the amount of coal supplied at Port Said
was 126,000 tons; in 1881 it was 506,000 tons, or four times as much;
and while the British proportion of the tonnage in 1871 was 64 per cent.
of the total, it was 82 in 1881. Of share prices some equally
interesting figures may be given. With a nominal value of 500 fr., they
had fallen in 1863 to 220 fr. In 1869, the year the Canal was opened,
they rose to 663 fr.; in 1880 they had reached 715 fr., and before the
year closed had touched 1327 fr. They advanced to 1700 fr. in June of
the following year, and between that month and January, 1882, went
rapidly on to 3500 fr., but fell ere the middle of the month to 2100 fr.
In 1881 the dividend on the shares was 9 per cent.; for 1882 it will
probably be 12, so that 2100 fr., a point to which the shares were
forced in a time of panic, even with dividends of 12 per cent., would
still be far higher than the actual value of the shares.

"By the original charter the company was allowed to charge ten francs
(two dollars) a ton on the measurement of each ship going through the
Canal, and ten francs for each passenger. The revenue, after deducting
the expenses of operating, amounts to about five per cent. on the
capital of the company, and the officers think it will be seven or eight
per cent. before many years.

"The following figures show the dimensions of the Canal:

                                                                    Feet
  Width at water-line, where the banks are low                       328
  Width at water-line in deep cuttings, where the banks are high     190
  Width at bottom of the Canal                                        72
  Depth of water in the Canal                                         26

[Illustration: NIGHT SCENE ON LAKE MENZALEH.]

"The scenery on the Canal is not particularly interesting, as one soon
gets tired of looking at the desert, with its apparently endless stretch
of sand. At Ismailia and Kantara there has been an attempt at
cultivation, and there are some pretty gardens which have been created
since the opening of the Fresh-Water Canal, and are kept up by
irrigation. But nearly all the rest is a waste, especially on the last
twenty-seven miles, through Lake Menzaleh to Port Said. If you make this
ride on one of the small steamers maintained by the Canal Company you
find that one mile is exactly like any other, and you are soon glad
enough to seek the cabin and go to sleep.

"Here are some figures showing the saving in distances (in nautical
miles) by the Canal:"

                            Via Cape of Good Hope.   Via Canal.   Saving.
  England to Bombay               10,860                6020       4840
  New York to Bombay              11,520                7920       3600
  St. Petersburg to Bombay        11,610                6770       4840
  Marseilles to Bombay            10,560                4620       5940



CHAPTER III.

FROM SUEZ TO CAIRO.--THROUGH THE LAND OF GOSHEN.


[Illustration: CAMEL AND YOUNG.]

There is little to relieve the monotony of the desert between Suez and
Ismailia beyond the view of the two canals, and the ships and boats
moving on their waters. Occasionally a line of camels may be seen
walking with a dignified pace, or halted for the adjustment of their
loads, or for some other purpose. In every direction there is nothing
but the desert, either stretching out into a plain or rising in
mountains, on which not a particle of verdure is visible. Under the
bright sun of the Egyptian sky the sands glittered and sparkled till the
light they reflected became painful to the eyes of the observers. The
prudent Doctor had bought some veils in the bazaar of Suez, and now
brought them from the recesses of his satchel for the use of the
delighted boys as well as for his own.

The color of the desert mountains on the southern horizon varied from
white to yellow and purple, and from yellow and purple back again to
white. Frank said that some of them seemed to be composed of amethysts
and garnets, mixed and melted together in a gigantic crucible. The
Doctor told him he was not the first to make such a description, as the
idea had occurred to previous travellers, some of whom thought the
mountains were composed of all kinds of precious stones mingled with
glass. The dazzling appearance of these elevations had led many persons
to explore them in search of gems; but of all these explorers none had
ever found the fortune he sought.

As they approached Ismailia there were signs of vegetation on the banks
of the Fresh-Water Canal, and near the town they came to some pretty
gardens which have been created since the opening of the Canal. While
the works of the Canal were in progress Ismailia was an active town,
with a considerable population, but at present many of its buildings are
unoccupied, and there is a general appearance of desolation. There are a
few cottages near the banks of Lake Timsah, and of late years the town
has obtained popularity with some of the European residents of Cairo,
who go there for the sake of the salt-water bathing. The air is clear
and dry, the water is of the deep blue of the united seas, and is
generally of an agreeable temperature, while it has the smoothness of an
inland lake, and is not popular with sharks or any other disagreeable
inhabitants of tropical waters. The current created by the changes of
the tide between the two seas is sufficient to keep the water from
becoming stagnant, but is not strong enough to interfere with navigation
or disturb the bather.

[Illustration: DESERT SCENE IN EASTERN EGYPT.]

After a brief halt at the station the train moved off in the direction
of Cairo, and for an hour or more the views from the windows of the
railway-carriage were remarkable in their character. On one side of the
train the naked desert filled the picture, with its endless stretch of
sand; on the other the gardens on the banks of the Fresh-Water Canal
were marvels of luxuriance. The richest soil in the world lay side by
side with the most desolate, and our friends agreed that they had never
seen so marked a contrast during a ride on a railway train. The Doctor
explained that the abundant vegetation was due to the wonderful
fertilizing power of the Nile water, and said it was no wonder that the
ancient Egyptians worshipped the river, and attributed all their wealth
and prosperity to its influence.

At Zagazig the train stopped an hour or more for dinner, and there was a
change of carriages for the passengers destined for Cairo. Zagazig is
the junction of the lines for Cairo and Alexandria, and since the
opening of the railway the town has become of considerable importance.
A great deal of cotton is raised in the vicinity, and in some years not
less than fifty thousand tons of that article are sent from the station.
The country around here is very fertile, and is said to be the Goshen of
the Bible. The ruins of the ancient town of Bubastis are about a mile
from Zagazig, but they are so slight as to be unworthy a visit. Bubastis
was an important place two thousand years ago, and was famous for a
festival to which more than half a million pilgrims went every year.

For the remaining fifty-two miles from Zagazig to Cairo the route lay
through a fertile country, and only occasional glimpses were afforded of
the desert. Boats and barges were moving on the Canal, some of them
carrying the local products of the country to Cairo or Ismailia, while
others were laden with coal and other foreign importations which find a
market among the Egyptians. The boys were interested in the processes of
irrigating the lands, and eagerly listened to the Doctor's explanation
of the matter. Before reaching Zagazig they had seen some men at work
dipping water by means of buckets suspended from poles, and emptying it
into basins formed by excavations on the banks; they were told that this
apparatus for hoisting water was called a "shadoof," and had been in use
from the most ancient days of Egypt.

[Illustration: THE MODERN SHADOOF.]

"The simplest form of shadoof," said the Doctor, "is the one you are
looking at. It consists of two posts of wood or sun-dried mud,
supporting a horizontal bar, on which the pole suspending the bucket is
balanced in the centre. A lump of mud on one end of the pole balances
the weight of the bucket on the other, and enables the man who operates
it to lift his burden with ease. The bucket is made of rushes woven so
tightly as to hold water, and at the same time be as light as possible,
and it is dipped and raised with great rapidity. Water is lifted from
six to eight feet by the shadoof. If a higher elevation is needed, a
second and even a third or a fourth may be used; on the upper part of
the Nile I have seen half a dozen of them in operation on a series of
steps, one above the other.

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT SHADOOF.]

"You will see representations of the shadoof on the walls of the temples
and tombs of Egypt, and the conclusion is certain that the form has not
changed in the least in three thousand years. When the Nile is at its
height there is no need of anything of the sort, as the water flows all
over the land, and the entire country is inundated. As soon as the river
falls it is necessary to raise water by artificial means, as the growing
plants in the fields would soon perish under the hot sun of Egypt
without a supply of moisture. Then the shadoof comes in play, and the
more the river descends the greater is the number demanded. In some
parts of the country the _sakkieh_ is used in place of the shadoof, and
the result is the same."

Fred wished to know the difference between the shadoof and the sakkieh.

[Illustration: A SAKKIEH, OR WATER-WHEEL.]

"The sakkieh," said the Doctor, "is a wheel operated by a beast of
burden--a horse, camel, mule, donkey, or ox. The animal walks in a
circle, and turns a horizontal wheel which has cogs connected with an
upright wheel, bearing a circle of earthen buckets on its rim. These
buckets dip in water as the wheel turns; their mouths are then brought
uppermost, and they raise the water and pour it into a trough. Where the
water must be raised to a great height from a well, or from the side of
a perpendicular bank, two wheels are used, one at the spot where the
animal walks, and the other at the surface of the water. A stout band or
rope passes over the wheels, and to this band buckets are attached to
lift the water. I have seen water raised fifty or sixty feet by this
process, the ox or mule walking patiently for hours, until it was his
turn to be relieved."

While the Doctor was talking the train passed a sakkieh, which was being
turned by a pair of oxen driven by a small boy. The boys observed that
the eyes of the animals were blindfolded by means of a piece of cloth
drawn over their heads, and they naturally wished to know the reason of
it.

"It is the custom of the country," was the reply. "The animals are
believed to work better when their attention is not drawn to things
around them, and they are less likely to be frightened if anything
unusual happens in their neighborhood. This is particularly the case
with the native buffalo and with the mule, and the practice of
blindfolding the latter animal is not unknown in our own country. On the
Western plains and among the Rocky Mountains it is the custom to throw a
blanket over the head of a pack-mule when he is being saddled and is
about to receive his burden. He stands perfectly quiet during the whole
operation; while, if he were not temporarily deprived of sight, he would
be very restive, and perhaps would break away from his driver, and
scatter things around him very miscellaneously."

[Illustration: A PLOUGHMAN AT WORK.]

Just beyond the sakkieh they saw a man driving a pair of bullocks in
front of a plough, and as the implement was lifted from the ground in
turning they had an opportunity of seeing how it was made.

"It is nothing but a wooden point," said Frank, "like the end of a small
log or stake."

"Yes," echoed Fred, "and there is only one handle for the man to grasp.
Wonder what he would think of our two-handled ploughs of iron in
America!"

"He would probably decline to use it," the Doctor responded, "as he
needs one hand for managing his goad, and could not understand how he
could control a goad and an American plough unless nature had equipped
him with three hands."

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT PLOUGH.]

"That the plough is the same here to-day that it was three thousand
years ago, we have proof in the pictures of agriculture on the walls of
the tombs at Thebes. The ancient implement is identical with the modern
one, the propelling force is the same, and the principal difference we
can see is in the costume of the ploughman."

"The plough only scratches the earth," said Fred; "and if the soil was
not very rich they would soon find out they needed something that would
stir up the ground a little deeper."

"Sometimes," said the Doctor, "you will see several ploughs following
each other in the same furrow. The object is to accomplish by this
repeated ploughing what we do by a single operation."

Close by the field where the man was ploughing another was planting
grain or something of the sort, and another a little farther on was
cutting some green stalks that looked like our Indian-corn. The Doctor
explained that the stalks were probably intended for feed for cattle,
and that the article in question was known as "doora" among the natives,
and was a close relative of the corn grown in America.

"But how funny," said Frank, "that they should be ploughing, planting,
and reaping, all in sight of each other!"

"That is one of the peculiarities of the country," said the Doctor, with
a smile. "You must remember that they do not have cold and frost, as we
do, and the operations of agriculture go on through the whole year."

"All the year, from January to January again?" said Fred.

"Yes," was the reply, "though some attention must be paid to the change
of seasons in order to get the best crops. From two to five crops,
according to the article planted, can be raised in the course of the
year, provided always that there is a constant supply of water for
irrigating the fields. When a crop is ready for gathering it is
harvested, and the ground is immediately ploughed and planted again."

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN THRASHING-MACHINE.]

As if to emphasize what the Doctor was saying, the train carried them
past a thrashing-floor where the scriptural process of "treading out the
corn" was going on. There was a floor of earth, which had been packed
very hard and made smooth as possible, and on this floor the pair of
oxen were walking in a circle and dragging a sort of sled, with rollers
between the runners, on which a man was perched in a high chair. The
straw which had been deprived of its grain was heaped in the centre of
the circle, ready for removal; the Doctor explained that the grain was
separated from the chaff by throwing it in the air when the wind was
blowing, and such a thing as a winnowing-machine was practically unknown
in Egypt.

[Illustration: ANCIENT PROCESS OF TREADING OUT THE CORN.]

Attempts have been made to introduce modern implements and machinery for
agricultural purposes, but they have generally failed. The Khedive
expended a large amount of money for the latest improvements in farming;
he had a large farm near Cairo, on which the purchases were placed, but
it was soon found that the implements were unpopular with the natives,
and they were abandoned. They lay for some years in one of the sheds of
the establishment, and were finally sold as old iron.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN LENTILS.]

The sight of the ploughs, shadoofs, thrashing-machines, and other aids
of agriculture naturally led to a conversation on the products of Egypt.
The boys learned that two kinds of corn were grown there--doora, which
they had seen, and millet, which has a single ear on the top of a stalk.
Egyptian wheat has been famous for many centuries, and is still
cultivated, though to a less extent than formerly, as much of the ground
once devoted to wheat is now given up to cotton. Coffee is grown in some
localities, and so are indigo and sugar; there is a goodly variety of
beans, peas, lentils, and the like, and watermelons, onions, and
cucumbers are easily raised. The tobacco crop is of considerable value;
grapes are abundant, and there are many fruits, including dates, figs,
apricots, oranges, peaches, lemons, bananas, and olives. The methods of
agriculture are very primitive, and in many instances slovenly; and if a
thousand English or American farmers could be sent to Egypt to instruct
the natives in the use of foreign implements, and teach them to till
their farms on the Western plan, the value of Egyptian products would be
doubled. But, to make the plan successful, it would be necessary to
devise some means of compelling the natives to use the methods and
machines that the strangers would bring among them, and this would be a
difficult task.

The train halted several times, and finally came to Kallioob station,
where it united with the direct line from Cairo to Alexandria. "Now,"
said the Doctor, "keep a sharp lookout on the right-hand side of the
carriage and tell me what you see."

In a few minutes Frank gave a shout of delight, and called out,

"There they are--the Pyramids! the Pyramids!"

Fred saw them almost at the same moment, and joined his cousin in a
cheer for the Pyramids, of which he had read and heard so much.

[Illustration: THE PYRAMIDS.]

There they were, pushing their sharp summits into the western sky, to
which the sun was declining, for it was now late in the afternoon.
Clearly defined, they rose above the horizon like a cluster of hills
from the edge of a plain; and as our friends came nearer and nearer the
Pyramids seemed to rise higher and higher, till it was difficult to
believe that they were the work of human hands, and were only a few
hundred feet in height. In a little while the attention of the youths
was drawn to the minarets of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali and the high
walls of the Citadel, on the summit of the hill that overlooks and
commands the city of Cairo. Their glances turned from pyramids to
mosque, and from mosque back again to pyramids, and from the sharp
outline of the Mokattam Hills to the glistening sands of the Western
Desert. Near by were the rich fields of the Valley of the Nile, and now
and then the shining water of the old river was revealed through
openings among the fringe of palms; the mud-built villages of the
Egyptians passed as in a panorama, the white walls of the houses of
Cairo took the place of the more primitive structures, groups of men and
camels, and other beasts of burden, were seen wending their way to the
great city or returning from it. The population grew more dense, the
houses and gardens assumed a more substantial appearance, roads gave way
to streets, and gardens to blocks of houses, and all too soon for our
excited travellers the train rolled into the station at Cairo, and the
journey to the wonderful City of the Caliphs had been accomplished.

From the sentimental to the practical the transition was instantaneous.
Hardly had the train halted before the carriages were surrounded by a
crowd of hotel runners, dragomen, guides, and other of the numerous
horde that live upon the stranger within the gates. Doctor Bronson had
telegraphed to the Hotel du Nil to send a carriage and a guide to meet
his party at the station; the guide was there with a card from the
manager of the hotel, and at once took charge of the strangers and their
baggage, and showed the way to the waiting carriage. Frank said he
should advise all his friends on their first visit to Cairo to follow
the Doctor's example, and thus save themselves a struggle with the
unruly crowd and a vast amount of annoyance. The worst feature of a
journey in Egypt is the necessity of a constant fight with the great
swarm of cormorants that infest all public places where travellers are
likely to go; many a journey that would have been enjoyable with this
evil removed has been completely spoiled by its presence.

[Illustration: A QUESTION OF BACKSHEESH.]

From the moment when you touch Egyptian soil till the moment when you
leave it there is little rest from the appeals of the beggar, and the
demands, often insolent, of those who force themselves and their
services upon you. The word "backsheesh" (a present) is dinned into your
ears from morning till night; it is with you in your dreams, and if your
digestion is bad you will have visions of howling Arabs who beset you
for money, and will not be satisfied. Giving does no good; in fact it is
worse than not giving at all, as the suppliant generally appeals for
more; and if he does not do so he is sure to give the hint to others
who swarm about you, and refuse to go away. If you hire a donkey or a
carriage, and give the driver double his fare, in order to satisfy him,
you find you have done a very unwise thing. His demand increases, a
crowd of his fellows gather around, all talking at once, and there is an
effort to convince you that you have not given half enough. Not
unfrequently your clothes are torn in the struggle, and if you escape
without loss of money or temper you are very fortunate.

The railway-station at Cairo is an excellent place to study the
character of the natives, and to learn their views regarding the money
of others, and the best modes of transferring it to their own pockets.

From the station our friends drove through the new part of Cairo, where
the broad streets and rows of fine buildings were a disappointment to
the youths, who had expected to see quite the reverse.

"Don't be impatient," said the Doctor, "we shall come to the narrow
streets by-and-by. This part of Cairo is quite modern, and was
constructed principally under Ismail Pacha a few years ago. He had a
fancy for making a city on the plan of Paris or Vienna, and giving it
the appearance of the Occident instead of the Orient. In place of the
narrow and sometimes crooked streets of the East he caused broad avenues
to be laid out and tall buildings to be erected. The new city was to
stand side by side with the old one, and for a time it seemed as though
the Eastern characteristics of Cairo would be blotted out. But the money
to carry on the improvements could not be had, and the new part of Cairo
has an unhappy and half desolate appearance. The natives preferred the
old ways, and there was not a sufficient influx of foreigners to
populate the new city. It had grown rapidly for a few years, but
suddenly its growth was suspended, and here it has been ever since."

[Illustration: A STREET IN CAIRO.]

They passed several public and private buildings that would have done
honor to any European city, and if it had not been for the natives
walking in the streets, riding on donkeys, or now and then conducting a
stately camel, they might easily have believed themselves far away from
Egypt. Suddenly the scene changed; they passed the new theatre, where
Ismail Pacha delighted to listen to European operas performed by
European companies; they crossed the triangle known as the Square of
Ibrahim Pacha, and containing a bronze statue of that fiery ruler; and
by a transition like that of the change in a fairy spectacle, they were
in one of the crowded and shaded streets of the City of the Caliphs.
They had entered the "Mooskee," one of the widest and most frequented
streets of the part of Cairo that has not succumbed to Western
innovations, and retains enough of its Eastern character to remain
unpaved.

The speed of their carriage was reduced, and a boy who had been riding
at the side of the driver jumped down, and ran ahead shouting to clear
the way. The boys thought they were travelling in fine style to have a
footman to precede them, but the Doctor told them it was the custom of
the country to have a runner, called a "syce," to go before every
carriage, and clear the way for it. The syce carried a stick as the
badge of his office, and when he was in the employ of an official he had
no hesitation in striking right and left among those who were in the
way. High officials and other dignitaries employed two of these
runners, who kept step side by side, and were generally noticeable by
the neatness of their dress. No matter how fast the horses go the syce
will keep ahead of them, and he does not seem at all fatigued after a
run that would take the breath out of an American.

[Illustration: A PROJECTING WINDOW.]

They met other carriages; they met camels and donkeys with riders on
their backs, or bearing burdens of merchandise, and they passed through
crowds of people, in which there were many natives and some Europeans.
The balconies of the houses projected over the street, and in some
places almost excluded the sunlight, while their windows were so
arranged that a person within was entirely concealed from the view of
those without. The boys observed that the carving on the windows
revealed a vast amount of patience on the part of the workmen that
executed it, and they wondered if all the windows of Cairo were like
those they were passing. Some of the walls were cracked and broken, as
though threatening to fall; but the windows appeared so firmly fixed in
their places that they would stay where they were when the rest of the
building had tumbled.

While they were engrossed with the strange sights and sounds around
them, the carriage halted at the head of a narrow lane, and our three
friends descended to walk to the hotel.



CHAPTER IV.

STREET SCENES IN CAIRO.


Frank and Fred were up in good season on the morning after their arrival
in Cairo. While waiting for breakfast they read the description of the
city, and familiarized themselves with some of the most important points
of its history, which they afterward wrote down to make sure of
remembering them. Here is what they found:

[Illustration: A CALIPH OF EGYPT ON HIS THRONE.]

"The city known as 'Cairo' (_Ky_-ro) to Europeans is called
Masr-el-Ka_he_rah by the Arabs, the word _Kaherah_ meaning 'victorious.'
It was founded about the end of the tenth century by a Moslem general
who had been sent from Tunis to invade Egypt; he signalled his victory
by building a city not far from Fostat; the latter is called
Masr-el-Ateekah, or Old Cairo, and was formerly the capital; but the new
city grew so fast that it became the capital very soon after it was
founded. It has gone through a good many sieges, and had a prominent
place in the history of the Crusades; the great Moslem conqueror, Yoosef
Salah-ed-Deen (known to us as Saladin), built strong walls around Cairo,
and founded the citadel on the hill at the southern end. The city is
about two miles broad by three in length, and stands on a plain
overlooked by the range of the Mokattam Hills; the new quarter of
Ismaileeyah was recently added, and when that is included, the Cairo of
to-day will be nearly twice the extent of the city of fifty years ago.
Cairo was the city of the Caliphs, or Moslem rulers, down to 1517; from
that time till it was captured by the French, in 1798, it was the chief
city of the Turkish province of Egypt. The French held it three years,
when it was captured by the Turks and English; ten years later Mohammed
Ali became an almost independent ruler of the country, and from his time
to the present Egypt has been ruled by his family, who pay an annual
tribute to Turkey, and are required to do in certain things as they are
ordered by the Sultan. Cairo is still the capital of Egypt; the Viceroy
or Khedive lives there except during the hottest part of summer, when he
goes to Alexandria, where he has a palace.

"The word 'Khedive' comes from the Persian language, and means 'ruler'
or 'prince.' It was adopted by Ismail Pacha, and continued by his
successor; the English word which is nearest in meaning to Khedive is
'Viceroy,' and the head of the Egyptian government is generally called
the Viceroy by Europeans. He should be addressed as 'Your Highness.'

"Some of the most interesting stories of the 'Arabian Nights'
Entertainments' are laid in Cairo, and the reader of those anecdotes
will learn from them a great deal of the manners of the times when they
were written. We are told that the translation by Edward William Lane is
the best. Lane was an Englishman, who was a long time in Cairo. He
learned the language of the people, wore their dress, and lived among
them, and he wrote a book called 'The Modern Egyptians,' which
describes the manners and customs of the inhabitants of Cairo better
than any other work. When we are in doubt concerning anything, we shall
consult 'The Modern Egyptians' for what we want. Lane's translation of
the 'Arabian Nights' occupied several years of his time, and was mostly
made while he lived in Cairo. We have read some of these stories, and
find them very interesting, and often envy Aladdin, with his wonderful
lamp and his magic couch, and would very much like to sit down with
Sinbad the Sailor and listen to the account of his adventures.

[Illustration: PART OF OLD CAIRO.]

"There are so many things in Cairo which we want to see that we will not
try to make out a list in advance. We have engaged a guide to show us
around, and shall trust to him for a day or two. At the end of that time
we hope to know something about the city, and be able to go around
alone."

Every evening, while the boys were in Cairo, was devoted to the journal
of their experiences during the day. They have allowed us to copy from
it, and we can thus find out where they went and what they did. As there
were so many things to describe the labor was divided, and while Frank
was busy over one thing, Fred occupied himself with another. Let us see
what they did:

"It is the custom to ride on donkeys when going about Cairo, as many of
the streets are so narrow that you cannot pass through them with
carriages. We had the best we could secure, and very nice they were
under the saddle, but we soon learned that it required some skill to
ride them. The guide rode ahead, and we noticed that he did not put his
feet in the stirrups as we did; while we were wondering the meaning of
it, Frank's donkey stumbled and fell forward, and Frank went sprawling
in the dust over the animal's head.

"We all laughed (Frank did not laugh quite as loud as the rest, but he
did the best he could), and so did the people in the street where the
accident happened. Frank was up in an instant, and so was the donkey;
and when we were off again the guide said that the donkey had a habit of
stumbling and going down in a heap. If you have your feet in the
stirrups when he goes down, you can't help being thrown over the
animal's head; but if you ride as the guide does, your feet come on the
ground when the donkey falls, and you walk gracefully forward a few
steps till the boy brings your animal up for you to mount again.

"We immediately began learning to ride with our feet free, and an hour's
practice made us all right.

"The donkeys all have names, generally those that have been given to
them by travellers. We have had 'Dan Tucker,' 'Prince of Wales,'
'Chicken Hash,' and 'Pinafore,' and in the lot that stands in front of
the hotel there are 'General Grant,' 'Stanley,' 'New York,' and 'Mince
Pie.' They are black, white, gray, and a few other colors, and sometimes
the boys decorate them with hair-dye and paint so that they look very
funny. The donkey-boys are sharp little fellows, though sometimes they
keep at the business after they have become men. They generally speak a
little English; there are two at our hotel that speak it very well, and
know the city perfectly, so that when we take them along we have very
little need of a guide. They will run all day as fast as the donkey can,
sometimes holding him by the bridle, but generally close behind, ready
to prod or strike him if he does not go fast enough.

"The saddle is a curious sort of thing, as it has a great hump in front
instead of a pommel, and there is not the least support to the back any
more than in an English riding-pad. They explain the peculiarity of the
saddle by saying that the donkey's shoulders are lower than his back,
and the hump keeps you from sliding forward.

"About the best thing we have yet seen in Cairo is the people in the
streets. They are so odd in their dress, and they have so many curious
customs, that our attention is drawn to them all the time. We can't say
how many varieties of peddlers there are, but certainly more than we
ever saw in any other place, not excepting Tokio or Canton, or any of
the cities of India. We will try to describe some of them.

[Illustration: A PEDDLER OF JEWELLERY.]

"Here is an old woman with a crate like a flat basket, which she
carries on her head. It is filled with little articles of jewellery, and
she goes around in the harems and in the baths frequented by women, as
they are her best customers. The guide says her whole stock is not worth
a hundred francs, and if she makes a franc a day at her business she
thinks she is doing well.

"There are women who sell vegetables, fruits, and sweetmeats, which they
carry in the same way as the one we have just described. They are
wrapped from head to foot in long cloaks or outer dresses, and they
generally follow the custom of the country and keep their faces covered.
The oldest of them are not so particular as the others, and we are told
that the custom of wearing the veil is not so universal as it was twenty
or thirty years ago.

[Illustration: A LADY IN STREET DRESS.]

"There is no change of fashion among the women of Egypt. They wear the
same kind of garments from one year to another, and as all are veiled,
except among the very poorest classes, they all look alike. Every lady,
when she goes out, covers her face with the _yashmak_ or veil, so that
only her eyes are visible; her body is wrapped in a black mantle which
reaches the ground, and, though she looks at you as if she knew you, it
is impossible to penetrate her disguise. We are told that when the
European ladies residing here wish to call on each other, and have
nobody to escort them, they put on the native dress, and go along the
streets without the least fear that anybody will know them.

"The wives of the high officials have adopted some of the fashions of
Europe in the way of dress; they wear boots instead of slippers, and
have their dresses cut in the Paris style, and they wear a great deal of
jewellery mounted by Parisian jewellers. Their hats or bonnets are of
European form; but they cling to the veil, and never go out-of-doors
without it, though they often have it so thin that their features can be
seen quite distinctly. We have seen some of them riding in their
carriages, and if they had been friends of ours we think we should have
recognized them through their thin veils.

"How much we wish we could understand the language of the country!
Doctor Bronson says the peddlers on the streets have a curious way of
calling out their wares, quite unlike that of the same class in other
countries. For instance, the water-carrier has a goat-skin on his back
filled with water, and as he goes along he rattles a couple of brass
cups together, and cries out, 'Oh ye thirsty! oh ye thirsty!' A moment
after he repeats the call, and says, 'God will reward me!' And sometimes
he says, 'Blessed is the water of the Nile!' Those who drink the water
he offers usually give him a small piece of money, but if they give
nothing he makes no demand, and moves on repeating his cry.

"The seller of lemons shouts, 'God will make them light, oh lemons!'
meaning that God will lighten the baskets containing the lemons. The
orange peddler says, 'Sweet as honey, oh oranges!' And the seller of
roasted melon-seeds says, 'Comforter of those in distress, oh
melon-seeds!' Behind him comes a man selling flowers of the henna-plant,
and his cry is, 'Odors of Paradise, oh flowers of henna!' The
rose-merchant says, 'The rose is a thorn--it bloomed from the sweat of
the Prophet!' We could make a long list of these street cries, but have
given you enough to show what they are.

[Illustration: A WOMAN CARRYING WATER.]

"Every few steps we meet women carrying jars of water on their heads.
Many of the houses are supplied in this primitive way, and the
employment of carrying water supports a great many people in this
strange city of the East. Of late years pipes have been introduced, and
an aqueduct brings water from the Nile, so that the occupation of the
bearer has been somewhat diminished. But the public fountain still
exists, and the people gather there as they did in the days of the
Bible. Every mosque has a fountain in the centre of its court-yard, not
so much for supplying water for those who wish to carry it away as to
furnish an opportunity for the faithful to wash their hands before
saying their prayers. Some of these fountains are large, and protected
from the sun by a marble canopy. But the public fountains at the street
corners are generally quite exposed to the weather, and many of them are
quite small.

[Illustration: THE FOUNTAIN OF A MOSQUE.]

"We walked slowly along the street during our first excursion, as there
were many sights to attract our attention, and we did not wish to miss
anything. Two or three times we narrowly escaped being run over by
camels or donkeys. The camels move along in a very stately way, and do
not turn out unless ordered to do so by their drivers. They have a
wicked expression in their eyes, and seem quite willing to knock over a
stranger who gets in their way. Sometimes the crowd of people was so
dense that it was not easy to move among them; but everybody was
good-natured, and there was no jostling or rudeness of any kind. There
were a good many beggars sitting in little nooks where they were not in
danger of being run over, and quite often we met blind men who were
feeling their way along by means of long sticks. They called out
something in Arabic, and the people made way for them, so that none of
them were hurt.

[Illustration: A BEGGAR AT THE WAY-SIDE.]

"The portion of the Mooskee where you enter it from the new part of
Cairo contains a good many European shops, so that you do not come at
once into the old-fashioned Orient. But as you go along the scene
changes; the shops of the merchants are open to the streets, and the
shopmen sit there cross-legged, in full view of everybody, so that you
do not have to turn out of the way to see what there is to buy.

"When you think of an Oriental shop you must not picture to yourself an
establishment like those on Broadway or other great streets in New York,
where dozens or hundreds of clerks are employed to wait on customers,
and where the population of a small town might all be attended to at
once. A shop in Cairo or any other city of the East is generally about
six feet square, and often not so large, and it requires only one man to
tend it, for the simple reason that he can reach everything without
moving from his place, and there would be no room for any one else.
Sometimes he has an assistant, but if so, he does nothing himself except
sit still and talk to the customers, while the assistant does all the
work of showing the goods. The front of the shop is open to the street,
and the floor is about as high as an ordinary table, so that when the
goods are spread on the floor the customer can examine them as he stands
outside. We shall see more of these shops when we get to the bazaars.

[Illustration: A MAN CARRYING HIS KEYS.]

"While we were standing near a shop we saw the owner shutting it up,
which he did by folding some wooden doors, very much like the wooden
window-shutters we have at home; then he fastened them with a great
padlock, and started off with the key, which must have weighed a pound
at least. While we wondered at the size of the lock and key, the Doctor
called our attention to a man with a cluster of wooden sticks over his
shoulder, and told us that the sticks were the keys of a house. What
funny things they were! Each of them was nearly if not quite a foot
long, and had a lot of wooden pegs near the end; the pegs fit into
corresponding holes in a wooden bolt, in the same way that the
different wards of a key fit into a lock, but the whole thing is so
simple that it does not require much skill for a burglar to get into a
house. The keys are so large that they must be slung over the shoulder
or fastened to the belt, since they cannot go into an ordinary pocket.

"The Doctor proposed that we should sit down in front of a _café_ and
drink some of the famous coffee of the East. Of course we were glad to
do so, and our guide took us to a place in a side street where he said
they made excellent coffee, and we could have some music along with it.

"We were quite as interested in the music as in the coffee, and thought
of the old adage about killing two birds with one stone. We heard the
music before we reached the place, and what odd music it was!

[Illustration: AN ORIENTAL BAND OF MUSIC.]

"'That is a regular band of music,' said the guide, 'such as the
coffee-houses keep to attract customers, and the rich people hire to
play for them when they give an entertainment. You see there are four
pieces, and I'll explain what they are, beginning from the left.

[Illustration: THE NAY (FLUTE) AND CASE.]

"'The man on the left is playing on a _nay_, or flute, which is a reed
about eighteen inches long, with a mouthpiece at one end. It has six
holes for the fingers, and is blown in a peculiar way, so that a person
not accustomed to the nay would be unable to make any sound with it at
first.'

[Illustration: ANCIENT EGYPTIAN PLAYING THE NAY.]

"Frank asked if there was any other kind of flute. The guide told him
there were several, but this was the most common. The Doctor added that
this form of instrument was very old, as it could be seen pictured on
some of the monuments of ancient Egypt, and appeared to have been used
exactly as it is to-day. Some forms of it were blown into sidewise, as
with the European flute, while others were blown at the end.

"'The man next to the end is playing on a _kemenjah_ or fiddle,' said
the guide. 'The body of it is made of a cocoa-nut-shell, with a piece of
fish-skin or some other thin membrane stretched over it, and the
"bridge" rests on this thin covering. There are only two strings, and
they are vibrated by means of a bow, just like what you see at home,
though the shape is a little different. The long top-piece of the fiddle
is of wood, while the lower end is of iron, and rests on the floor or
ground. The performers are quite skilful, and it would surprise you to
know how much music they can get out of a fiddle with only two strings.

[Illustration: THE TAMBOORA.]

"'The next man has a _tamboora_, or lute, which corresponds to the
guitar, or banjo of Western countries. There are many sizes and shapes
of this instrument, but the most common is the one you are looking at.

"'The most perfect tamboora is about four feet long, and has ten strings
and forty-seven stops. Some of them cost a great deal of money, as they
are made of valuable woods, and inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl.
The form in use by the man in the band is called the _ood_, to
distinguish it from the other varieties of the tamboora. It is about two
feet long, and you observe that the handle bends back very sharply to
accommodate the fingers of the player. A smaller variety of this
instrument is called the _sadz_, and very often forms part of a
soldier's equipment. As you travel about Egypt you will often see a
soldier playing on the sadz, which he accompanies with his voice.

[Illustration: A DARABOOKAH.]

"'The next and last man of the party has a _darabookah_, a sort of drum,
which he holds under his left arm while he plays on it with the fingers
of his right hand. The body of the instrument is of earthen-ware or of
wood, and a skin or membrane is stretched over the large end. It has
changed its shape very little in three thousand years. You see pictures
of the darabookah on the walls of the tombs, and on other ancient
monuments of Egypt, and the manner of playing it is the same as of old.'

"So much, for the band of music, which I am sure will interest you. We
sat down on little chairs, so low that it seemed like sitting on the
floor, and then coffee was brought to us in little brass cups about as
large as an egg shell, but a great deal thicker. Each cup had a holder
of brass filigree work, with a knob or handle at the bottom, and we were
expected to grasp the latter, and not to touch the cup with our hands.
The coffee was in a pot, also of brass, and the whole service--pot,
cups, and holders--was on a tray of the same material. The trays, with
the brightly-polished utensils upon them, looked very pretty, and we
resolved to buy some of these coffee services to send to our friends at
home.

"We can't say much for the coffee, though possibly we may come to like
it in time. It is made much thicker than with us, and if you let it
stand for a minute before drinking, you will find a sediment at the
bottom like fine dust. The servants stand ready to take away the cups as
soon as you are done drinking, and they do it by holding out both hands,
bringing one beneath and the other on top of the cup and holder. We
watched them for some time, and did not once see them take hold of a cup
as one would do in America. While waiting they stood with their hands
crossed at the waist, and we were told that this is the proper attitude
for a servant in Egypt."

[Illustration: COFFEE-POT AND CUPS.]



CHAPTER V.

A RAMBLE THROUGH THE BAZAARS OF CAIRO.


From the _café_ Doctor Bronson and his young friends continued their
excursion in the direction of the bazaars, which both the boys were
impatient to visit. They had heard and read of the bazaars of Cairo, and
the strange things to be seen in them, and as they went along the Doctor
supplemented what they already knew by an explanation of the differences
between Oriental and Occidental shopping.

[Illustration: AN ORIENTAL SHOPKEEPER EXAMINING HIS BOOKS.]

"In our own land," said Doctor Bronson, "as well as in most countries of
Europe, you find shops and stores scattered about so as to catch as much
custom as possible. As a general thing a tradesman endeavors to set up
his business in a block or street where there is no one in the same
line, and it is only in rare instances that you see two establishments
of the same kind side by side. But in the East all the men in a certain
line of trade gather together, and out of this tendency we have the
bazaars of Cairo and Constantinople. Suppose you go out in New York or
Chicago in search of a book, a coat, a pair of shoes, a piece of silk,
some perfumes, and an article of jewellery. You might find them all in a
single walk of a few hundred yards, as it is quite possible that a
book-store, a clothing-store, a shoemaker's shop, and the other
establishments might be found in a single block. But in Cairo you would
need to visit several bazaars or collections of shops; the book-stores
are all in one place, the clothing-stores in another, the shoemakers in
another, and so on through the list. It would take hours to accomplish
what you would do at home in a few minutes, and there is nothing better
than this system of shopping to illustrate the Oriental disregard of
time. The shops in any given bazaar are pretty much alike, and contain
almost identically the same articles; the customers wander from one shop
to another, and spend a great deal of time in bargaining and examining
the goods. Time is of no consequence either to them or to the dealers,
and you will often wonder how the latter can possibly make a living."

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A CARAVANSARY.]

As the Doctor finished his remarks the guide called their attention to a
large gate-way, and at his suggestion they passed inside. They found
themselves in a broad court, which was formed by a series of rooms
running round a square, and opening toward the enclosed space. Goods
were piled in many of these rooms; in the court-yard there were boxes
and bales scattered about, and several camels with burdens on their
backs were standing quietly, or being led by their owners according to
the will of the latter. Near one side of the square there was a fountain
like a pile of whitewashed bricks, and a horse was drinking from a
trough in front of it.

[Illustration: GATE-WAY OF A CARAVANSARY.]

The guide explained that the place they had entered was a caravansary or
inn (usually called a _khan_), and that it might be taken as a fair
sample of the Oriental hotel. "The rooms," said he, "are let out to
travellers or merchants for a small sum, and the keeper will provide
food for man and beast, just as a tavern-keeper would in America. The
rooms have no furniture, nothing but the bare walls, and floors; the
occupant spreads his carpet and bedding on the floor, and if he has any
merchandise he piles it up, and can, if he chooses, convert the place
into a shop. There are stables for camels and other beasts of burden on
the side opposite the entrance; if you go into them you will find a
small platform over the farther end of each compartment, and the trough
or manger is directly beneath it. The drivers sleep on these platforms,
so as to be near their animals, to prevent their being stolen, and to
look after them generally."

Frank asked if the Eastern caravansary of the present day was like the
same institution mentioned several times in the Bible.

"There can be little doubt that it is," the Doctor answered, "as the
customs of the country have changed very little from Bible times to our
own. It was just such a place as this where our Saviour was born, and
the trough or manger where he was cradled was like any one of the
feeding-troughs in this caravansary."

While they were looking at the rooms and other parts of the caravansary,
the _khanjy_, or keeper, came forward and asked what they wanted. The
guide explained that they were strangers who wished to see the place,
and he accompanied the explanation with a small backsheesh. The khanjy
said they might remain as long as they liked; but they had seen all
there was of interest about the place, and soon withdrew.

[Illustration: A STREET IN A BAZAAR AT CAIRO.]

Soon after leaving the khan they entered the cloth bazaar, where the
shops were principally filled with cloths of different kinds. The
merchants endeavored to attract their attention, and the runners were at
times so troublesome that the Doctor instructed the guide to say that
they had not come there to buy, but simply to look around. He took the
opportunity to tell the boys that the word _bazaar_ is Persian, and
means "a collection of shops," while the Arabic word of the same meaning
is _sook_. "We thus have," said he, "the 'Sook el Hamzowee,' the 'Sook
el Attarin' (drug bazaar), the 'Sook-es-Soudan' (bazaar for Soudan
products), and many others whose character we shall learn by-and-by."

[Illustration: SHOPPING SCENE IN THE HAMZOWEE.]

"We are now," said the guide, "in the 'Sook el Hamzowee,' or cloth
market, though a more literal translation would make it 'the market of
the Christians.' The merchants here are all Christians, either Syrians
or Copts, and they close their places on Sunday. Many of the cloths here
are of European manufacture, and the merchants are just as keen as their
Moslem competitors in demanding exorbitant prices for their wares. The
man you see running up and down with a roll of cloth on his head is a
_dallal_, or auctioneer; he is shouting out the last offer for the goods
he is carrying, and is asking if anybody will give more. If he receives
a new offer he instantly calls it out, and when nobody will give any
more he shouts for the owner of the goods to come and close the
transaction."

Our friends encountered several of these auctioneers in the course of
their walk, and Frank remarked that there was a fine opportunity for
fraud if anybody chose to practise it. He thought that while out of
sight round a corner the piece of cloth might be exchanged for a cheaper
one of the same general appearance, and the purchaser would be
defrauded.

"Not much chance of that," responded the Doctor; "these fellows are
altogether too sharp to be imposed on in that way; and if an auctioneer
should play that trick once, and be detected, he would be forbidden to
come into the bazaars to practise his profession."

The narrow street that formed the double row of shops in the bazaar was
covered with an arched roof containing openings for admitting the light.
The Doctor said that the dealers did not object to the sombre aspect of
the place, as it made their goods appear finer than when submitted to
the full glare of day. "You may sometimes notice," said he, "that the
tailors of New York and other American cities take their customers to
the rear of the shop when exhibiting materials, rather than to the front
where the light is strongest. The reason is the same there as here;
textile fabrics have a finer appearance under a subdued light than under
a powerful one."

From the Hamzowee the promenade was continued through other bazaars,
till the youths had seen a great deal more than they were likely to
remember. They went through the bazaar of the jewellers, which consists
of a series of narrow lanes, rather irregularly connected, and in many
places not more than a yard in width; Frank thought the place was
originally intended for a labyrinth, and his opinion was confirmed when
they came around in their wanderings to the point whence they started.
Frank wanted to buy something for his sister and Miss Effie, but was
restrained by the Doctor, who advised him to postpone his purchases till
he was better acquainted with the ways of dealing with the jewellers.

[Illustration: EASTERN NECKLACES.]

We may as well record at this point that he returned another day, and
bought some necklaces which he thought would be prized at home, and the
result proved the correctness of his theory. For his sister he chose a
necklace consisting of a string of gold coins about as large as silver
five-cent pieces, with one in the centre much larger than the rest. For
Miss Effie he selected one of curiously shaped links, with tiny globes
between them, while from the lower point of each link there hung a
heart-shaped plate of gold that was intended to sparkle whenever the
wearer moved. There were many of these necklaces for sale in the bazaar,
and Frank had no difficulty in finding one that suited his taste.

The boys found that they could not buy things in a hurry in the bazaars
of Cairo. As before stated, time is of no consequence to an Oriental,
and he expects to spend an hour at least over a bargain. Frank had been
properly instructed, and so when he set out to buy the necklace for his
sister he carelessly asked the price of one he was looking at.

The dealer named a figure, and Frank shook his head.

The dealer named another figure, five or ten per cent. lower. Frank
again shook his head, and then the dealer asked what he would give.

Frank offered about a third of the price that had been demanded
originally.

It was now the dealer's turn to refuse, and he did so. He emphasized his
refusal by putting the necklace back into the show-case, which he
carefully locked.

[Illustration: WEIGHING GOLD IN THE JEWELLERS' BAZAAR.]

Frank offered a little advance on his first proposal, but the dealer
again declined it, and our friends moved away. Just as they did so the
dealer named a lower price than he had yet asked for the article, but to
no purpose, however.

They went a few steps and stopped at another shop. While they were
looking at something it contained they were called back by the merchant
with whom they originally talked, and the bargaining was renewed.

The dealer slowly lowered his figures, and Frank as slowly advanced his
offer. In fifteen or twenty minutes they met, and Frank secured the
necklace at a little more than half what had been demanded originally.
The Doctor told him he had done very well, and could be trusted to deal
with the Orientals.

"Remember," said the Doctor, "that these people are never in a hurry,
and consequently you must be like them if you are to deal with them.
They think it absolutely necessary to pass a certain time over a
transaction, and do not understand our Western habits of coming to terms
at once. You have bought that necklace for a certain price, and it is
safe to say that the merchant has made a good profit by the transaction.
If you had offered him that figure at first he would have refused it,
and continued to refuse, as he would thereby have missed the necessary
chaffering and haggling.

"When I first visited Egypt I was sometimes impatient of delay, and used
to tell the dealers I had only one price to give, and would not bargain
with them. I thought I could bring them to terms, though my friends told
me I could not. One day I went to the Hamzowee, and tried to buy a
_cafieh_, or silk handkerchief, in gaudy colors, and embroidered with
gold, which was worth about fifteen francs. The merchant demanded
thirty-five francs for it. I offered him sixteen, and he fell to thirty
at once.

"I did not raise my bid, but repeated my offer two or three times. He
fell to twenty-five francs, and would not go lower. I did not rise above
sixteen, and he allowed me to go away. A friend of mine stood by, but
pretended not to know me, and when I had finished my effort and gone he
began to bargain for the cafieh, just as you bargained for the necklace.
He offered five francs to begin with, and by spending half an hour over
the matter he bought the article for fifteen francs, or one less than
had been refused from me!

"There was a shrewd old Syrian who used to come around the hotels to
peddle silk goods. Knowing the fondness of English and Americans for the
one-price system, he would say, when exhibiting an article worth twenty
francs,

"'If you want to bargain for it, it is fifty francs; but if you want the
last price, without bargaining, it is thirty-five francs.'

"Strangers were occasionally tricked in this way, and gave him his price
without question, if they wanted the article; but those who had been a
week or two in the country knew better, and began to bargain with
thirty-five francs as the asking price. The result would be that they
would bring him down to twenty francs after the usual amount of
haggling. You must bargain for everything here when dealing with
natives, and they are not to be believed if they say they have only one
price. I have heard a man offer an article in about these words, after a
bargain had been progressing for some time:

"'The very lowest I can sell this for--I give you my word of honor it
cost me that--is fifty francs. I will take nothing less than fifty
francs, and you need not offer me anything under it.'

"You believe he is not speaking the truth, and offer him thirty. He
declares that the thing cost him fifty, but he will take forty-five, and
absolutely nothing less. You offer him thirty-five--he falls to forty,
and the bargain is concluded."

Frank profited by the advice, but carried the lesson too far. When he
went the next day to the post-office to send some letters to America,
the clerk weighed the letters, and told him the postage amounted to two
francs and a half. The youth offered one franc and a half, and on the
clerk refusing to accept it he turned to walk away. Suddenly realizing
the mistake he had made, he returned, bought the necessary stamps,
affixed them to the letters, and dropped them in the letter-box.

The journal kept by the youths contained the following record of their
adventures in the bazaars:

"In the bazaar of the jewellers, or rather of the gold and silver
smiths, we saw the men at work with implements as primitive as those of
the jewellers of India. The bellows of the silversmith was nothing more
than a conical bag of goat-skin open at one end, where the air was
pumped in by a skilful manipulation of a pair of handles. At the other
end was an iron tube, which carried the air to a lump of clay supporting
a charcoal fire. A few hammers and pincers constituted the entire 'kit'
of the workman, but with them he managed to turn out articles of many
different shapes. We were told that strangers are liable to be swindled,
as the dealers often sell plated-ware and declare it is solid, and the
government stamp to indicate its genuineness cannot be relied on. When a
wealthy native desires an article of fine gold or silver he buys the
metal, and then has the jeweller go to his house and work directly under
his eye, so that there can be no cheating.

[Illustration: KITCHEN UTENSILS.]

"From the jewellers' bazaar we went to the 'Sook-en-Nahhasin,' or bazaar
of the coppersmiths, where we saw some trays of copper and brass, and a
great many pots and utensils for the kitchen and domestic use generally.
We bought a couple of ink-and-pen holders, such as the Arabs write with:
there is a long handle for containing the little reeds which they use as
pens, and a bottle at the end for holding ink. The apparatus is stuck
into the waist-belt, and you see it worn by a great many people.

[Illustration: BASIN AND EWER.]

"There were many shapes and sizes of the kitchen utensils, and all were
made of brass or copper. There were tongs and shovels very much like our
own stewpans, with and without handles, and a little pot with a long
handle, in which they make coffee. One of the prettiest things we saw
for household use was a basin and ewer, or pitcher, for washing the
hands after dinner. The Doctor explained the manner of using it, and
said it was carried round the table by a servant, who poured water on
the hands of each guest, and allowed it to run into the basin after the
ablution was performed. There is a perforated cover in the centre of the
basin, and it has a cup in the top for holding a ball of scented soap.
The ewer has a long slender spout opposite the handle, and there is a
perforated cover to keep out the flies and other undesirable things.

[Illustration: BOTTLE FOR ROSE-WATER.]

"In the perfume bazaar we were welcomed by a variety of agreeable odors,
and by the shop-keepers and their runners, who tried to sell us ottar of
rose and oil of sandal-wood, which are the perfumes most sought by
strangers. Every shop promised to give us the genuine article, and said
there was no other place where it could be bought. The Doctor says it is
simply impossible to get the real ottar of rose anywhere in the bazaar,
no matter what price you pay, and consequently it is best to be moderate
in your figures. The veritable perfume is worth, at the place of
manufacture, about fifty dollars an ounce, and therefore, when you buy
it for two or three or five dollars an ounce, you can hardly expect to
get the best. It is very funny to hear the strangers at the hotel talk
about their purchases of ottar of rose. Each one knows a place, which
has been shown him in strict confidence, where the genuine perfume can
be bought; but it can only be obtained on a promise not to reveal the
locality, or some similar nonsense. If you ever come to Egypt this ottar
of rose business will afford you much amusement if you are careful to
manage it properly.

[Illustration: ORIENTAL GUNS.]

"The shoe bazaar and the arms bazaar were not particularly interesting,
as the former contained little else than a great lot of shoes, and the
latter had a miserable collection of weapons that were hardly worth
carrying away. Formerly the arms bazaar was a favorite spot for
visitors, as there were many old and curious things to be found there,
but nearly everything worth buying up was secured long ago. We saw some
Oriental guns with funny shaped stocks. The Doctor says the barrels of
these weapons are nearly all from Europe, while the stocks are of
Egyptian or other Oriental manufacture. There is a strong prejudice
against explosive caps, and if you give a gun with a percussion-lock to
a native, he will have it changed as soon as possible to a flint-lock.
They rarely use shot, and the best of the native sportsmen would hardly
think of shooting a bird on the wing.

[Illustration: BAB-EL-NASR.]

"From the bazaars we continued our walk to the Bab-el-Nasr, or 'Gate of
Victory,' one of the most important gates of Cairo. It was built in the
eleventh century, and is mostly of hewn stone, with winding stairways
leading to the top, holes for cannon and small arms, and is so large and
strong that it was selected by Napoleon as the central point of defence
while he held the city. It is a little fort in itself, and we were very
glad to have the opportunity of examining it.

"We gave a little backsheesh to the gate-keeper, and he allowed us to go
to the top, where we had a view of the nearest part of the city, and of
the heaps of rubbish lying outside the gates. There were several
wolfish-looking dogs prowling among the dust-heaps, and they growled as
they caught sight of us, and saw that we were not natives. The dogs of
Cairo have a great hatred of foreigners, as we shall have occasion to
say by-and-by."

[Illustration: STREET SCENE NEAR THE BAB-EL-NASR.]



CHAPTER VI.

MOSQUES, DERVISHES, AND SCHOOLS.--EDUCATION IN EGYPT.


[Illustration: THE MOSQUE OF TOOLOON.]

From the Bab-el-Nasr our friends returned, by the direction of the
guide, through a street that led them past several of the famous mosques
of Cairo. They entered the Mosque of Tooloon, which is the oldest in the
city, and said to be modelled after the Kaaba at Mecca; according to the
historians it was built about A.D. 879, and there are several legends
concerning it. One is that it stands on the spot where Abraham
sacrificed a goat in place of his son, and another puts it on the site
where Noah's ark ran aground, though the general belief of the Moslems
locates the latter event near Moosool, in Syria.

The mosque has been neglected in the latter centuries of its existence,
and at present is not specially inviting. It covers a very large area
(about six hundred square feet), and consists of a series of arcades
running around a court-yard, which has a fountain in the centre. On the
east side there are five rows of these arcades, but on the other three
sides there are only two rows. The west, north, and south sides are
used as lodgings for poor people, and their continual begging renders a
visit the reverse of agreeable. The east side is the holiest part of the
edifice, but at the time our friends went there it was not easy to
discover that it was any more respected than the other sections.

The guide said there were not far from four hundred mosques in Cairo,
and that a good many of them were in ruins, and not likely to be
repaired. The government does not build any new ones, as it has more
practical uses for its money, and the followers of Mohammed seem to be
growing more and more indifferent to religious observances every year.
The Moslem Sabbath is on Friday; the mosques are tolerably filled on
that day, but during the rest of the week the attendance is very light.
Formerly it was difficult or even dangerous to enter some of the
mosques, but at present the whole matter can be arranged on payment of a
backsheesh. Once in a while a fanatic insults a stranger, but he is
generally suppressed immediately by his friends.

[Illustration: MIHRAB, PULPIT, AND CANDLESTICK IN A MOSQUE.]

Frank and Fred found that the general plan of the mosques was the same,
and the difference was mainly in the outer walls and the style of
architecture. In every mosque there is a _mihrab_, or alcove, usually
opposite the entrance, and this mihrab points toward Mecca, so that the
faithful may know how to direct their faces when saying their prayers.
Near the alcove is a pulpit with a steep flight of steps ascending to
it, and over the pulpit there is generally a column, like the spire of a
church in miniature. On each side of the alcove is an enormous
candlestick, and there is generally a frame with swinging lamps, not
more than eight or ten feet from the floor. There are many of these
lamps, and also a great many ostrich eggs, and altogether they present a
curious effect.

There is very little interior decoration in the mosque, as the religion
of Mohammed forbids its believers to make a representation of anything
that has life. It was formerly very difficult to induce a Moslem to
allow his portrait to be made. The writer of this book once sought in
vain to induce a wild native of Central Asia to sit for his photograph,
the reason being that the man feared the portrait might get to Paradise
ahead of him, and prevent his own admission within the gates. The more
intelligent of the Moslems pay no heed to this superstition, but the
decorators of the mosques adhere to it most carefully, consequently all
the ornamentation of the walls consists of scroll-work or of sentences
from the Koran.[3]

[3] It is said that this injunction was made by Mohammed in order to
prevent his converts lapsing again into the idolatry from which he had
converted them. He enjoined them against making a representation of any
living thing, as they might be confronted with it at the Day of
Judgment, and required, under penalty of perpetual banishment from
Paradise, to endow it with life.

From the Mosque of Tooloon our friends went to the Mosque of Sultan
Hassan, which is considered the finest in the city. It was built of
stone taken from the pyramids of Gizeh, and was begun in the year 1356.
According to the traditions it occupied three years in building, and was
considered so fine that the Sultan ordered the hands of the architect to
be cut off, in order that he should not be able to construct another
equal to it. The story is of doubtful authenticity, and has been told in
various ways, and concerning other buildings in many parts of the world.
Whether it be true or not, the building is certainly a fine one, and has
been greatly admired during all the centuries that it has been in
existence. One of its minarets is the tallest in Cairo, and probably in
all the lands where the Moslem religion prevails. It is two hundred and
eighty feet high, and from its top there is a fine view of Cairo, but,
unfortunately, it is considered unsafe, and no one is allowed to ascend
it.

By the time they had finished with the Mosque of Sultan Hassan our
friends were weary, and glad to return to the hotel. The next day was
Friday, the Moslem Sunday, and at the suggestion of the Doctor they went
to see the whirling dervishes, who perform only on that day. We will let
the boys tell the story of their visit to these singular people.

"The dervishes are religious devotees corresponding to the monks of the
Catholic Church, whom they resemble in some of their practices. They are
supposed to be wholly occupied with religious matters, and there are
several branches or orders of them, who are distinguished by their
dress. They have property set apart for their use, and some of the
societies are very wealthy; the most numerous, and at the same time the
richest, are the Mevlevies, who can be recognized by their tall caps of
gray felt, with jackets and robes of the same color. The lower part of
the robe is like a lady's skirt, as it is made in folds, and will spread
out into a large circle when the wearer whirls rapidly. They are the
most respectable of all the orders of dervishes, and some of them are
men of education and former high position.

[Illustration: A BEGGING DERVISH.]

"There are many independent dervishes who are simply religious beggars,
belonging to no sect or order: they go around soliciting charity, or sit
at the street corners or in public places, dressed in a way to attract
attention. We passed one yesterday who had the saw of a saw-fish in one
hand and an instrument resembling a child's rattle in the other; a
cocoa-nut shell hung on his breast, to hold the donations of the
charitable, and he sat on a box that resembled a rude bird-cage. He was
extremely dirty in appearance, his legs were bare, and his hair was long
and uncombed; he stared at us, and shouted something we did not
understand, and when we passed by without giving him anything, he shook
his rattle in an angry way. The guide says these men often go into the
houses of rich people, and the latter are afraid to turn them out
because of their so-called holy character. They are the most impudent
beggars you can find anywhere, and many of them are said to be thieves
and murderers, who disguise their true character under the cloak of
religion.

"We went to see the Mevlevies, and on the way to their temple the Doctor
told us that the whirling was a part of their religious observance, like
the dancing of the Shakers in America, and the practices of other sects,
whose fervor is often followed by insensibility. The dizziness that
results from whirling is considered a state of religious devotion, and
the most suited to the contemplation of heavenly things, and hence
their efforts to throw themselves into this ecstatic condition.

[Illustration: A WHIRLING DERVISH.]

"When we entered their mosque we removed our shoes, or rather exchanged
them for the slippers we had brought along, as we knew beforehand that
we would need them. The building was circular, with a railed space in
the centre; outside of the rail the floor was covered with matting, but
inside it was polished like the floor of a dancing-hall.

"Some of the dervishes were already seated in the ring when we entered,
and others came in soon after. When all was ready the sheik or chief of
the party rose and stood in the centre of the floor; the others bowed to
him one after another, and then stood near the railing, with their arms
folded and their heads bent slightly forward. All were barefoot, having
left their shoes at the door.

"Half a dozen dervishes were in a little balcony overlooking the floor,
and when the chief gave the signal that all was ready three of them
began to play upon flutes, such as we have already described, and three
upon tambourines. Then the dervishes on the floor began to whirl; the
music, at first slow, soon quickened, and the dancers or whirlers
quickened their movements with it.

"Before getting into motion each man extended his arms, holding the palm
of the right hand upward while he turned down that of the left. We asked
the reason of this peculiar position of the hands, but the guide could
not tell us. He simply said that they always did so, and he did not know
why.

[Illustration: PERFORMANCE OF THE WHIRLING DERVISHES.]

"As they whirled, their skirts spread out so that they resembled wheels,
or rather cones four or five feet in diameter. They kept their hands
always in the same position, and as they whirled they moved slowly
around the floor; it was a wonder that they didn't run against each
other, but they didn't. The music went on, and so did the dancers, and
they kept up their whirl for half an hour or more. We looked for some of
them to fall down; but they were accustomed to this kind of work, and
wouldn't oblige us. Nobody fell; and finally, at a signal from their
sheik, one after another stopped, made a low bow to him, and retired to
the edge of the circle. We had seen enough, and so came away.

[Illustration: A WHIRLER IN FULL ACTION.]

"Another day we went to see a sect called the howling dervishes; they
are much like the Mevlevies, except that they howl instead of whirl.
They sat on the floor in a circle, and began to pronounce the names of
Deity ninety times each, and as there are ninety-nine different names
for God in the Arabic language, you can readily see that there were a
great many words altogether. They bow each time they pronounce a word,
and very soon after commencing they rose to their feet, joined hands
together, and became greatly excited. They bent their bodies nearly
double at every utterance, their turbans fell off, their hair flew
wildly about, they stripped off their upper garments, perspired freely,
and some of them, after a time, actually frothed at the mouth like mad
dogs. We did not stay to see the end of the performance, but were told
that it continued till the fanatics were exhausted, and one after
another fell insensible to the floor.

"Let us turn to something more agreeable.

"Frequently while going around the city we have passed near
school-rooms, where boys were studying their lessons under direction of
their teachers, and once we went inside and saw a school in operation.
It reminded us of the one we saw at Allahabad, in India,[4] as the boys
were seated on the floor in front of their teacher, and were studying
their lessons aloud. Each boy had a wooden tablet like a large slate,
with some sentences on it in Arabic, which he was to commit to memory.
They rock back and forward as they study, as the motion is thought to
assist the memory. When a dozen boys are repeating their lessons all at
once you can imagine what a din they keep up. The sentences they learn
are from the Koran, and as soon as they can repeat the first chapter of
the sacred book they learn the last but one, and then the one preceding;
the second chapter of the book is the one learned last of all, and when
they can repeat the whole of the Koran their education is considered
complete, unless they are intended for occupations where they must know
how to write. For instruction in writing they go to another school, or
have special teachers at home. The teacher receives a small sum of money
from the parents of each boy at the end of every week, and the room
where he keeps his school is generally the property of a mosque, and
costs nothing for rent.

[4] "The Boy Travellers in Ceylon and India," pp. 447, 448.

"Mr. Lane tells of a teacher who could not read or write, but managed to
keep a school for some years without being found out. He could repeat
the Koran from memory, and under pretence that his eyes were weak he
used to have the lessons written by the head boy or monitor. When people
brought letters for him to read he made the same excuse, or gave some
other reason for avoiding an exposure of his ignorance.

[Illustration: ARABIC WRITING, WITH IMPRESSION OF A SEAL.]

"Doctor Bronson says girls are rarely taught to read, except among the
wealthy inhabitants, and not always even them. One of us asked him if
there were no schools at all for girls.

"'Yes,' he answered, 'but there are not many, and it is only within a
few years that they have been established. One of the wives of Ismail
Pacha took hold of the matter, and opened a school in an unoccupied
palace of the Khedive. Invitations were given for parents to send their
daughters to be educated, but for three weeks not a pupil came.
Gradually the prejudice was overcome, and in a few months there were
three hundred pupils hard at work, while a great many who wished to come
were unable to obtain admission for want of room. There are now several
schools for girls in Cairo, and there is hardly a large town in Egypt
without one or more.'

"We next asked what was taught in the schools for girls.

"'More than half the time,' said the Doctor, 'is devoted to instruction
in household duties, embroidery, and plain sewing, so that the girls can
become intelligent servants or wives. Then they are taught to read and
sometimes to write, and if they show any marked aptitude for music,
there are music-teachers for their special benefit. It was the idea of
Ismail Pacha that the best way to improve the condition of his people
was to make them intelligent, and to begin the work with the girls who
are to be the mothers of the next generation of Egyptians.

"'It was also his idea that the abolition of slavery would be hastened
by training a class of household servants to take the places of the
slaves. The indications thus far are that his idea was an excellent one,
and the education of the girls of the working-classes of the people will
go far in the right direction.

[Illustration: SCENE IN A PRIMARY SCHOOL.]

"'The Khedive also did much toward giving Egypt a system of public
schools like those of Europe and America. He appointed two Europeans to
superintend the matter, and gave large sums of money for establishing
schools that could be free to all, in addition to the primary schools
already described. Foreign teachers were employed, together with the
most intelligent native ones that could be found, and the system has
already made great progress. The course in the lower schools covers four
years of study, and after that the pupils may enter one of the higher
schools and study medicine, engineering, surveying, law, mechanical
construction, and the like. Those who can pay for their instruction may
do so, but any pupil can enter whether he has money or not. Those who do
not pay are liable to be called into the government service, and many of
them are assigned to teach in the lower schools.

"'The American and English missionaries have schools in various parts of
Egypt, and have done a great deal toward the cause of education. For a
long time they labored under many disadvantages; but of late years the
government has recognized the importance of their services, and made
large donations in lands and money for their schools. Miss Whately, the
daughter of Archbishop Whately, has a school here in Cairo, which she
has established by her own exertions, for the purpose of educating the
girls of the lower classes; she devotes her entire time to this work of
charity, and I am happy to say that she is fully appreciated by the
native as well as the foreign population. It is quite possible that the
example of this self-sacrificing woman led the wife of the Khedive to
establish the schools already mentioned.

[Illustration: INSTRUCTION AT HOME.]

"'Probably the largest school in Egypt,' the Doctor continued, 'is the
religious one attached to the Mosque El-Azhar. The building is of no
great consequence as a work of architecture, as it consists of a series
of porticos of different periods of construction; but it has long been
celebrated as a university for Moslem instruction, and has had an
uninterrupted career of more than eight hundred years.

"'It is not only the largest school in Egypt, but probably the largest
in the world, as it has more than ten thousand students.'

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO THE EL-AZHAR.]

"Ten thousand students in one school?

"Yes, ten thousand students; the last year for which I have seen the
figures there were ten thousand seven hundred and eighty students, and
three hundred and twenty-one professors. The students are from all parts
of the world where the religion of Mohammed prevails; but naturally the
great majority of them are from Egypt. They remain from three to six
years at the university, and pay no fees for instruction. The professors
have no salaries, but depend upon presents from the pupils who can
afford to make them, and upon what they can earn by private teaching,
writing letters, and similar work. The poor pupils support themselves in
the same way. Many of them sleep in the mosque, and the building has an
apartment set aside for students from each country or province of Egypt.
There is a library for the use of students in each of these apartments,
and the university formerly had a large revenue, but it was taken away
by Mohammed Ali, and has never been restored.

"'The instruction in the university is mostly religious. When his
religious course is ended the student is instructed in law, which is
always based on the Koran; after that he devotes some attention to
poetry, and, if any time remains, he may learn something of geometry,
arithmetic, and other miscellaneous knowledge. Many of the students stay
in Cairo, to become professors in the El-Azhar or other schools; but
those from foreign lands generally return home when their course of
study is over, in order to give their own people the advantages of the
superior wisdom they have acquired.'"

[Illustration: PROFESSORS OF THE EL-AZHAR.]



CHAPTER VII.

THE CITADEL.--THE TOMBS OF THE CALIPHS.--THE NILOMETER.--THE ROSETTA
STONE.


[Illustration: THE CITADEL, CAIRO, WITH MOSQUE OF MOHAMMED ALI.]

Doctor Bronson told his young friends that the finest general view of
Cairo, and the surrounding region, was from the Citadel, at the southern
end of the city. They went there several times, generally a little while
before sunset, and the impression they received is well described in the
following letter from Frank to his mother:

[Illustration: VIEW FROM THE CITADEL, CAIRO.]

".... The view from the hill where the Citadel stands has been called
the finest in the world, or certainly one of the finest, and in all our
travels we do not remember anything that can surpass it. We stood on the
platform of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, and had the great city of Cairo
spread at our feet. Immediately below us was an open square, with groups
of people and camels moving slowly about. Just beyond was the beautiful
Mosque of Sultan Hassan, and beyond the mosque was the plain covered
with cupolas and flat roofs, seamed with streets and avenues, dotted
with waving palm-trees, and revealing open spaces here and there, to
give diversity to the picture. Beyond the city was the bright green of
the rich Valley of the Nile. In front of us was the famous old river of
Egypt, like a broad, irregular belt of silver, reflecting the light of
the setting sun, and forming a sharp contrast with the land through
which it flows. Across the green fields, which were stippled with the
white walls of palaces or dotted with the brown villages of the
peasants, our gaze rested on the yellow desert, backed by the Libyan
mountains which form the western horizon. From the edge of the desert
the great pyramids rose in all their grandeur, and it was not difficult
for us to realize their enormous proportions. From other points the
pyramids had appeared to be almost on a level with the valley of the
river, but as we viewed them from the Citadel we could see that they
stood on a rocky platform fully a hundred feet in height.

"Doctor Bronson says every traveller should make his plans so as to come
often to the Citadel, and there can be no better time for the view than
at sunset. In the morning there is liable to be a haze on the landscape,
and at noon there is too much glare of light, especially when the eye is
turned toward the desert. At sunset the colors of the Egyptian sky are
at their best. You may have wondered sometimes, when looking at pictures
of Egypt, whether there is really as much color as the artists give us.
We can assure you that no painting we have yet seen is at all
exaggerated, and if you could have a sunset view from the Citadel of
Cairo you would fully agree with us.

"The Citadel was built by the great conqueror Saladin, and stone for its
construction was brought from the pyramids and from the ruins of
Memphis, a few miles farther up the river. The spot was not wisely
chosen, as the hill is commanded by a higher one just back of it. On
this latter hill Mohammed Ali placed his cannons, and compelled the
surrender of the Citadel, and consequently of Cairo. There are two roads
leading up to the Citadel, one a broad carriage-way, and the other a
narrow lane. We went by one and came by the other. In the latter--the
narrow lane--the guide showed us a spot which has an historic interest,
and perhaps you would like to hear about it:

"There was a body of soldiers in Egypt called the Mamelukes, and they
ruled the country for several centuries. They chose the governors of the
provinces, and could place one of their number on the throne at any time
they wished; in fact, they controlled the country, and the nominal ruler
was obliged to do as they wished. When Napoleon came here in 1798 they
fought him in the famous Battle of the Pyramids, and were defeated; many
of them were killed, and others fled to Upper Egypt, but enough
remained to give trouble. When Mohammed Ali came to Egypt, after the
French had been driven out by the English, the Mamelukes made him
understand that he could do nothing without them. He soon determined to
do something with them, and get rid of their interference.

"He sent invitations for the chiefs--four hundred and seventy in all--to
come to the Citadel on the first day of March, 1811, to a grand banquet,
where they would discuss the plans for a campaign into Nubia. They came
at the appointed hour, and assembled in the narrow lane I told you of,
waiting for the upper gate to open. When they were all in the lane the
lower gate was shut, and there they were in a trap! Then the Albanian
soldiers of Mohammed Ali began to fire on the Mamelukes from the
loop-holes and the top of the walls. All were killed except one man,
Enim Bey, who made his horse leap through a gap in the wall. The horse
was killed by the fall, but his rider's life was saved. This was the end
of the power of the Mamelukes in Egypt.

"Fred says Mohammed Ali reminds him of the Spanish warrior who said, on
his death-bed,

"'I leave no enemies behind me; I've shot them all!'

"The mosque, which was begun by Mohammed Ali and finished by his
successors, is on the site of the palace erected by Saladin. It is built
of alabaster, from the quarries up the Nile, and though faulty in many
points of its architecture, is an interesting structure. It is sometimes
called the 'Alabaster Mosque,' and as we went through it our admiration
was excited by the richness of the materials of which it is composed.
The tomb of Mohammed Ali is in one corner of the building, and is
surrounded with a handsome railing, but there is nothing remarkable
about the tomb itself. Close by the mosque is the palace; but it is in a
half-ruined condition, and contains only a few rooms worth visiting.

"We went to Joseph's Well, which is a shaft nearly three hundred feet
deep in the limestone rock; the tradition is that it is the well into
which Joseph was cast by his brethren, but it probably gets its name
from 'Yoosef,' which was the other name of Saladin the Conqueror. There
was a well here when Saladin built the Citadel, but it was choked with
sand, and the great ruler ordered it to be cleared out and made useful.
It is probable that the well was originally made by the ancient
Egyptians, and, if so, it may be the one into which Joseph was cast by
his brethren. There is a sakkieh for raising water in this well, but it
is of little importance at present, as the Citadel is now supplied by
means of a steam-pump."

[Illustration: THE TOMBS OF THE CALIPHS.]

From the Citadel our friends went to "the Tombs of the Caliphs," which
extend along the east side of the city, and are conveniently reached by
the Bab-el-Nasr. They are supposed to be the burial-places of the
caliphs or sultans who ruled from the thirteenth to the sixteenth
century. Some of them are or were magnificent structures, while others
are comparatively plain in appearance. Down to the beginning of this
century they had large revenues for keeping them in repair, and were
guarded by the descendants of the sheiks and their followers, who had
charge of them during their days of glory. Their revenues were taken
away by Mohammed Ali, and since the time of that ruthless despot the
custodians of the tombs have lived by what they could beg from visitors.
Beyond the Citadel is a similar necropolis, called "the Tombs of the
Mamelukes."

Evidently the buildings were erected, in most instances, without regard
to cost, and before they began to decay they were to be ranked among the
triumphs of Moslem architecture. Some of the domes and minarets are
still magnificent, particularly those marking the resting-place of
Sultan Barkuk and Keit Bey. The latter is considered the finest of all,
and is the one most frequently drawn or painted by artists.

[Illustration: THE TOMB OF KEIT BEY.]

The boys paid a second visit to the tomb of Keit Bey, and carried along
their sketching materials. They found the architecture more difficult to
represent than they had supposed, and Frank made two or three attempts
at the graceful minaret before he succeeded in satisfying himself. The
minaret is one of the finest in Cairo; it rises from a corner of the
building, and has three stages or balconies, which diminish as they
approach the top. The summit is shaped like a pear, and is usually
disfigured with poles, from which flags are hung on days of festivals.
The dome bears a marked resemblance to that of the Taj Mahal at Agra, in
India, and terminates in a sharp spire instead of the conventional
half-moon that generally surmounts a Moslem edifice. While Frank was
busy with the structure, Fred made a sketch of several camels that were
halted in front of the famous mausoleum, and the work of the two youths
was afterward united into a single picture.

An early day was devoted to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities at
Boulak, a suburb of Cairo, and practically a part of the city. An
excursion was made to Old Cairo, and from there by ferry to the island
of Rhoda. On the latter is the famous Nilometer, or instrument for
measuring the depth of water in the Nile; it is a square well, connected
with the river, so that the water can freely rise and fall within it. In
the centre of the well is a stone column, marked like a scale, with the
old Arabic measures: the _dra_, or ell, was the unit of measurement, and
was 21-1/8 inches in length, divided into 24 _kirat_. The height of the
column is 17 ells, or about 30 feet, and the Nile at its lowest point
covers about 7 ells of this length. When the water mounts to 15-2/8 ells
the river is considered full, and the whole valley of the Lower Nile can
be inundated. The embankments that restrain the water are then cut with
a great many ceremonies, and the prospect of an abundant harvest causes
general rejoicing.

Doctor Bronson explained to the youths that the taxation each year was
based on the height of the water at the inundation, and the Nilometer
was the official evidence of the condition of the river. Inscriptions on
some of the monuments show that the ceremonies of cutting the banks were
established as early as the fourteenth century before the Christian
era, and the taxation was based on the height of water in ancient times
as at present. The Nilometer was exclusively in charge of the priests,
and the people were not allowed to see it. It was the object of the
authorities to tax the people as heavily as possible, and there is good
reason to believe that the priests made false statements concerning the
height of the water, and no one could contradict them. The Arab and
Turkish rulers did the same thing, and the practice is continued to the
present time; at the period of the inundation the Nilometer is closed to
the public, and every one must depend upon the figures of the officer in
charge. As he owes his position to the government, it is pretty certain
that he does what the government desires, and reports the river at the
highest figure whether it is so or not.

The guide pointed out the spot at the end of the island where the infant
Moses was found by the daughter of Pharaoh. The boys thought the place
was pretty enough for the historical event to have occurred there, but
were in some doubt as to the correctness of the guide's information.

[Illustration: THE FERRY AT OLD CAIRO.]

Before the construction of the bridge over the Nile the principal
crossing of the river was by the ferry at Old Cairo. At present it is
not so much in use; but there is yet a considerable business transacted
there, and the stranger will generally find a crowd of men and camels
waiting to be taken to the other side.

The evening previous to the visit to the museum at Boulak was devoted to
a study of the history of ancient Egypt, so that the youths would have
an understanding of the interesting collection of antiquities in that
establishment. At the Doctor's suggestion Frank and Fred wrote a brief
account of what they had learned, and placed it on the pages of their
journal. Here is what they prepared:

[Illustration: THE DRESS OF AN EGYPTIAN KING. FORM OF CROWN AND APRONS.]

"The history of ancient Egypt is full of interest, and has been a
subject of a great deal of study by many learned writers. Herodotus, who
has been called 'the father of history,' and flourished in the fifth
century before the Christian era, was the first of these writers, and
some of the discoveries of the present time have been based on his
records. Another Greek writer, Manetho, lived two centuries later than
Herodotus, but, unfortunately, the greater part of his works have not
come down to us. A large part of the history of ancient Egypt has been
obtained from the inscriptions on the walls of the temples and tombs,
and from the writings upon papyrus scrolls, and the linen in which
mummies were rolled. In modern times there have been many explorers and
writers who have devoted years of study to the subject, and consequently
we know more of ancient Egypt than of any other country of antiquity. If
you wish to know more than we can tell you now about the people that
lived here four thousand years ago, we refer you to the works of
Wilkinson, Poole, Mariette, Lepsius, Belzoni, Bunsen, Brugsch, and many
others. There are books enough on Egypt to keep you busy a whole year,
and perhaps two years, just to read them through. We are reading 'The
Ancient Egyptians,' by Sir Gardner Wilkinson, and find it very
interesting.

[Illustration: MENES.]

"The first King of Egypt that we know about was Menes, who founded the
City of Memphis. There is a difference of opinion among the writers as
to the date when he existed; Wilkinson, Poole, and others say he lived
about 2700 B.C., Bunsen says it was 3623 B.C., and Mariette thinks it
was 5004 B.C. The reason why they make this difference is because some
of them believe the dynasties, or families of kings, of ancient Egypt
succeeded one another, while others believe some of them ruled at the
same time in different parts of the country. The difference between the
'successive' and the 'contemporaneous' theories, when you add up the
periods of all the dynasties, is more than two thousand years. Down to
the seventeenth dynasty the figures are uncertain; from the seventeenth
to the twenty-first it is agreed that the dynasties were successive, but
there is some difference about their dates; while from the twenty-first
dynasty to the Christian era there is no dispute.

"Perhaps this is dry reading; if so, you had better go over it
carefully, and then skip.

"Whether King Menes lived seven or five thousand years ago makes very
little difference to us, and probably to him, as he is dead now. To
avoid confusion we will take the theory of Wilkinson, and suppose it was
only five thousand years ago that the first dynasty began. That will
seem more neighborly, and bring us so near to Menes that we can almost
imagine we knew him personally. Just think of it--only five thousand
years ago!

"Some of the dynasties of ancient Egypt lasted two hundred years and
more, while others were much less, the shortest dynasty being seventy
days. During the fourth dynasty, which lasted two hundred years, the
Pyramids of Gizeh were built (about 2400 B.C.). In the twelfth dynasty
many monuments and temples were erected, and many of the famous tombs
were made; Abraham, and afterward Joseph, came to Egypt, and several
important events of Egyptian history belong to this dynasty. The
eighteenth dynasty lasted nearly two hundred and fifty years (in the
sixteenth, fifteenth, and fourteenth centuries B.C.), and was the most
brilliant of all the periods of ancient Egypt. Thebes and other cities
were in the height of their glory, the armies made great conquests, the
temples at Karnak and Thebes were built, and the obelisks that are
to-day the wonder of the world were brought from Syene, and erected
where they could attest the power of the rulers of the land. The
inscriptions on the monuments say that during the reign of Thothmes
III., one of the kings of the eighteenth dynasty, 'Egypt placed her
frontier where she pleased.'

[Illustration: RAMESES II., FROM AN INSCRIPTION.]

"During the nineteenth dynasty one king, Rameses II. (or 'The Great'),
reigned sixty-seven years, and left many monuments that remain to this
day. One of his predecessors in the same dynasty, Sethi I., built
several magnificent temples, and made the first canal from the Nile to
the Red Sea. The flight of the Israelites from bondage occurred in this
dynasty during the reign of Meneptah. He is generally known in history
as the Pharaoh of the Exodus; and it is well to explain here that
Pharaoh was the Egyptian word for 'king,' and is properly prefixed to
the name of the ruler. The Egyptians would say 'Pharaoh Rameses,'
'Pharaoh Necho,' and the like, just as we say 'King George,' or 'King
Charles.'

[Illustration: MENEPTAH, THE SUPPOSED PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS.]

"In the twenty-seventh dynasty Egypt was taken by the Persians, and held
by them one hundred and twenty years. Then the Egyptians made a
successful rebellion, and drove out their oppressors till the
thirty-first dynasty, when the Persians came back again. In the
thirty-second dynasty (332 B.C.) Alexander the Great conquered Egypt,
and founded Alexandria. The Greeks ruled the country for three hundred
years, till the time of Cleopatra, at the beginning of the Christian era
(thirty-fourth dynasty), when it became a Roman province, and what is
called 'Ancient Egypt' came to an end. As we are not concerned now with
modern Egypt, we will close our historical record and take breath."

With this brief outline of the history of ancient Egypt in their minds
the boys were able to make an intelligent observation of the museum at
Boulak. On their way thither the Doctor gave them a history of the
Museum which owed its existence to the labors of Mariette Bey.[5]

[5] It was the good fortune of the author of this volume to form the
acquaintance of Mariette Bey in Egypt, in 1874, and to meet him again in
Paris a few years later. The death of this eminent archæologist is
greatly regretted by all students of the history of ancient Egypt.

[Illustration: THE NAME OF EGYPT IN HIEROGLYPHICS.]

"In the early half of this century," said the Doctor, "many of the tombs
of the ancient Egyptians were explored, and their contents carried away
to the museums of Europe. In 1850 the French Government sent an officer,
Auguste Edouard Mariette, to examine the ruins of Memphis. His mission
was successful, as he discovered the Serapeum, or tombs of the Sacred
Bulls, and opened one of the principal temples of the long-ruined city.
In 1856 the Egyptian Government appointed him Director of the Department
for the Preservation of Egyptian Antiquities, with the title of Bey, and
gave him a liberal allowance of money for carrying on his work. Through
his efforts an order was made forbidding the exportation of antiquities,
and establishing a museum near Cairo for their preservation. So much has
been found that the museum at Boulak has been filled, and a new and
larger building has been erected on the opposite side of the Nile, to
which the collection will be transferred. Many interesting discoveries
have been made, and every year reveals something new. Much light has
been thrown on the history of ancient Egypt, and many questions that
were formerly matters of dispute have been set at rest. It is safe to
say that we have learned more about ancient Egypt through the labors of
Mariette Bey than through those of all other explorers combined, with
the possible exception of Champollion."

[Illustration: PTOLEMY IN HIEROGLYPHICS.]

Frank asked who Champollion was, and what he discovered.

"I know," said Fred; "he discovered the Rosetta Stone, and told what was
written on it."

[Illustration: THE ROSETTA STONE, WITH SPECIMEN LINES FROM THE
INSCRIPTION.]

"He did not discover the Rosetta Stone," the Doctor answered, "but he
translated it. The stone was found at Rosetta, in 1799, by a French
engineer, and when the English came to Egypt they sent it to the British
Museum. It was a slab, with an inscription upon it in three languages.

"Previous to that time nobody could make anything out of the Egyptian
hieroglyphics; there were plenty of them, but no one was able to read a
syllable, or even a letter. A key was wanted, and Champollion found it
in the Rosetta Stone.

"The inscription was in three languages, one of them being Greek, and
the other two the hieroglyphic and demotic, or common language of the
ancient Egyptians. The Greek inscription proved to be a decree of one of
the Ptolemies, about the beginning of the Christian era. The name of the
king occurred several times, and Champollion observed that certain
characters appeared at about the same intervals in the hieroglyphic and
demotic versions as the royal title in the Greek. With this as a
starting-point he went to work and built up a grammar and dictionary of
the language of ancient Egypt. He found the key that had been missing
for nearly two thousand years--the key to unlock the mysteries of the
language of the people who built the pyramids and the great temples at
Thebes.

"It is no wonder that the Rosetta Stone is considered one of the most
precious treasures of the British Museum, and that the name of
Champollion is revered by every student of history.

"I cannot give you a better definition of the forms of writing among the
Egyptians than by quoting the words of Mr. Prime. 'There were,' he
says, 'three styles of manuscript and sculpture--hieroglyphic, hieratic,
and demotic. The first was a language of complete pictures, the second
of outlines derived from the first, and the third was the character for
the people--a species of running-hand derived from the others. The first
was the style of the monumental sculptures; the second of the priestly
writings; the third was for the ordinary transactions of the people.'

[Illustration: SPECIMENS OF THE THREE FORMS OF WRITING USED BY THE
EGYPTIANS.]

"And here," said the Doctor, as he opened a book and exhibited a page
with some characters upon it, "we have specimens of the three languages,
one taken from the walls of a temple, and the other two from rolls of
papyrus."

The boys looked at the printed page, and readily distinguished the
difference between the three kinds of writing. While they were
discussing its curious features the carriage halted in front of the
entrance to the museum, and the dialogue was suspended.

[Illustration: DEDICATION OF THE PYLON OF A TEMPLE.]



CHAPTER VIII.

WONDERS OF THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM OF ANTIQUITIES.


Boulak is the port of Cairo, as the great city does not stand on the
banks of the Nile, but a couple of miles away from it. Before the days
of the railway Boulak was a place of considerable importance, as it was
the point of arrival and departure for the steamers plying between Cairo
and Alexandria, and at the present day it is the station for steamers
ascending the Nile. It was chosen as the site of the Museum of
Antiquities on account of the convenience of landing statues and other
heavy objects directly from the boats that had brought them down the
river, and the museum was erected on the very bank of the stream. But
the position was found insecure, on account of the tendency of the Nile
to change its channel, and for several years the safety of the treasures
accumulated under the direction of Mariette Bey has been seriously
threatened.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN SCULPTORS AT WORK.]

Our friends passed through the gate-way, and found themselves in a
garden filled with large statues and sphinxes. Their attention was
attracted to the colossal statue of a king in a sitting posture, and
close to it were several sphinxes. The Doctor explained that the figure
represented one of the kings of the twelfth dynasty. Some of the
sphinxes came from Karnak, and once formed part of the great avenue
leading to the temple, while others were from Tanis and Sakkara. The
statue of the king was of solid granite and admirably carved, leaving no
doubt that the Egyptians were well advanced in the art of the sculptor.
On the walls of the temples at Karnak there are several pictures that
show how the makers of royal statues performed their work, and the
methods in vogue seem to have been almost identical with those of modern
sculptors.

We have neither time nor space for describing all that our friends saw
in the museum, and can only refer to the objects of greatest importance.
As they had talked about the Rosetta Stone, and the key it gave to the
translation of the language of the ancient Egyptians, the Doctor led the
way to the "Tablet of Tanis," in the first hall of the museum, and told
the youths to observe it closely.

"It is," he explained, "a more perfect stone than the one found at
Rosetta, as it is in a fine state of preservation, while the Rosetta one
was badly defaced. Here is a decree in three languages--Greek,
hieroglyphic, and demotic--and the translation confirms the correctness
of Champollion's theory, which I have already explained. It was found in
1866 by Doctor Lepsius, and you see that it is regarded of great
importance, as it is framed and covered with glass to protect it from
possible injury."

Frank asked what was the language of the decree, and how old it was.

"According to the translation," said Doctor Bronson, "it was made by an
assembly of priests in the Temple of Canopus, on the 7th of March, 238
B.C. It praises the king for having brought back the image of the gods
from Asia, gained many victories, established peace, and averted famine
by importing corn; and it ordains that festivals shall be held in all
the temples of Egypt in honor of Princess Berenice, who died a short
time before the date of the assembly. The inscription closes with a
declaration that the decree shall be engraved on stone in three
languages, just as you see it here, and there is no doubt that the stone
we are looking at was prepared in obedience to this order."

[Illustration: WOODEN STATUE FOUND AT SAKKARA.]

In another room the Doctor halted in front of a wooden statue, and
waited for the youths to fix their attention upon it. They were not long
in doing so, nor in expressing their admiration for its wonderfully
life-like appearance. When they had looked at it a few moments the
Doctor explained what it was.

"It is probably the oldest wooden statue in existence," said he, "and
some persons think it is the oldest statue of any kind in the world. It
represents a _sheik el belyd_, or village chief, and was found in a tomb
at Sakkara. Mariette Bey says it belongs to the fourth dynasty, and is
not far from six thousand years old."

"Six thousand years old!" said both the youths in a breath.

"Yes, six thousand years old," was the answer; "but, as I told you,
there was a difference of opinion among the Egyptologists; it may be
more modern than that, and not over four thousand years old."

"Even if it is only four thousand," responded Frank, "it is antique
enough to be very interesting."

"Yes," the Doctor continued, "we needn't trouble ourselves about a
matter of twenty centuries. We will split the difference, and call it
five thousand years."

"How life-like it looks!" exclaimed Fred. "It almost appears as if it
were ready to speak to us. And what an expression about the eyes!"

"The eyes are unequalled in any modern statue," said the Doctor. "You
observe that they are set in rims of bronze, which serve for eyelids;
the eye itself is made of opaque quartz, like ground glass, and there is
a piece of rock-crystal in the centre, which forms the pupil. If you
look closely you see a glittering point below the crystal, which makes
the eye sparkle as though its owner were about to smile. There is
nothing of modern times that equals it."

One of the boys asked if the statue was in the condition in which it was
found. The Doctor said the feet had been restored, so that the figure
could be placed upright, and the stick in the left hand was modern. "In
all other respects," said he, "the statue is just as it was found, and
it is a rule of the museum to keep everything as nearly as possible in
its original condition."

Other statues were examined, and at length the boys stopped in front of
a case containing several small articles of wood and stone.

"What are these things?" said Frank, pointing to one corner of the case.

"And these? and these?" said Fred, as his eye wandered from one thing to
another.

[Illustration: WOODEN DOLLS.]

"They are mostly toys for children," the Doctor answered. "You see that
the ancient Egyptians tried to amuse their little ones just as parents
in America try to do to-day."

[Illustration: CHILDREN'S TOYS.]

The collection of toys was an interesting one. Here was a rude figure of
a man supposed to be washing, or kneading dough, and he was made to move
his hands up and down an inclined board by means of a string, like a
"jumping-jack" of to-day. A wooden crocodile was there, with his
under-jaw moving up and down at the will of the child who owned it, and
there were several wooden dolls, some well modelled, and others painted
in brilliant colors, intended to catch the juvenile eye.

The sight of the toys naturally brought up a question relative to the
games played by the ancient Egyptians.

[Illustration: POSITIONS IN PLAYING BALL.]

[Illustration: BALLS OF LEATHER AND PORCELAIN.]

"There is abundant evidence," the Doctor remarked, "that the Egyptians
were familiar with many games which are popular at the present time. We
are not aware that they had base-ball clubs five thousand years ago, and
there is no proof that they went about the country playing for
'gate-money;' but that they used to play ball we know very well from the
pictures on the walls of the tombs, and from sculptures elsewhere. And,
furthermore, the balls they played with have been found at Thebes, some
of them covered with leather like our own, and stuffed with bran or
corn-husks, or of stalks of rushes plaited together into a solid mass.
There were also balls covered with strips of leather of different
colors, as we have them to day, and several have been found of glazed
earthen-ware, on which the colors were laid before the ball was baked.

[Illustration: PLAYING BALL MOUNTED.]

"The positions they took in playing ball are the same that you will see
at base-ball matches in America. There is one picture of a curious game,
in which it was the custom for some of the players to mount on the backs
of the others, probably on account of the latter failing to catch the
ball when it was thrown at them, or for some other forfeit. They also
had the trick of throwing two or more balls in the air and catching
them, just as you see jugglers performing in our own time. If you want
to believe that there is nothing new under the sun, you will go a long
way toward it by studying the life and manners of the Egyptians of the
days that are gone.

[Illustration: PLAYING CHECKERS.]

"They had the game of draughts or checkers almost identical with the one
we play to-day. They did not play at cards, so far as we know. In fact,
cards were invented in comparatively modern days, and the tradition is
that they were originally made for the amusement of an insane king. The
Egyptians had the game of "mora," and from them it probably descended to
the Italians, with whom it is a national amusement. They were skilful in
what we call 'the Indian club exercise,' and one of the pictures
represents men raising heavy weights, after the manner of the professors
of gymnastics in New York or Chicago. Sometimes they used bags of sand
instead of clubs or stones, but the result was the same in each case--an
exhibition of strength.

[Illustration: SAND-BAG EXERCISE.]

"There are pictures that show bull-fights and rowing-matches, together
with other amusements of the same sort. Wrestlers were as numerous as
they are to-day, and probably quite as skilful, and endowed with similar
strength; but we have nothing to prove to us that they travelled with
the circus, or that an Egyptian Barnum existed with his wonderful
hippodrome. Many of the wrestlers were women, and some of the pictures
represent them showing feats of strength of which the men might be
proud."

[Illustration: A BULL-FIGHT.]

From the room of the toys our friends wandered to another which
contained, among other things, several mummies, together with the cases
in which they had reposed. Some of the mummies were wholly and others
only partially unrolled, and the boys eagerly examined the remains of
the ancient inhabitants of the land. While they were doing so, Doctor
Bronson explained the process by which bodies were preserved by the
Egyptians, and their reasons for devoting so much time and attention to
the preservation of the dead.

[Illustration: GODDESSES OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE.]

"The ancient Egyptians," said he, "had a great many gods: the list is so
long that it would not be worth while to name them all, as you could not
remember them; and, besides, it would take more time than we have to
spare. Each of the gods had distinct attributes, and was represented in
a form unlike the others; some of them had the heads of birds, beasts,
or reptiles, but their bodies were of human shape. They are thus
represented on the walls of temples, and the evidences are that the
ignorant classes believed the gods had the shapes ascribed to them.
There was one supreme deity who had power over all the other gods, and
his shape was not represented. The Egyptians believed in the immortality
of the soul, in the responsibility of every one for his individual acts,
and in a future state of rewards and punishments.

[Illustration: THE NAME OF APIS, AN EGYPTIAN GOD, IN HIEROGLYPHICS.]

"They believed that the soul after death took its flight from the body
and passed to another world, where it was judged according to its deeds,
and received its proper punishment or reward. In course of time it could
return to the body it had inhabited, and the length of the period of
absence was determined by the god before whom it had been brought to be
judged. Of course no one was expected to know the length of the
separation of soul and body. It was certain to be for a long period (not
less than three thousand years), and therefore it was necessary to
preserve the body from decay. This, in brief, is the outline of the
religion of the ancient Egyptians, and the reason of their careful
preservation of the bodies of their friends.

[Illustration: KING AND QUEEN OFFERING TO THE GODS.]

"As the possessor of the greatest wealth the king was more carefully
embalmed than his humble subjects; the process of embalming was a secret
with certain classes of men, and its professors were looked upon with
great respect. The whole work occupied seventy days, and consisted in
preserving the body by means of strong salts, and the application of
various kinds of aromatic spices, peppers, and the like. The bodies of
the rich were carefully wrapped in fine linen, and sometimes hundreds of
yards were used for a single operation. The fingers and toes were
separately wrapped, and at each turn of the linen aromatic oils were
poured on the cloth so as to saturate it thoroughly. A wooden case, into
which the body fitted closely, was made for it, and covered with a
history of his life, or with extracts from the 'Book of the Dead.'
Another case was placed outside the first, and the whole was then
enclosed in a stone coffin or sarcophagus. Then, with suitable
ceremonies, the mummy was laid away to await the day of the return of
the spirit, and the consequent resurrection."

[Illustration: DIFFERENT FORMS OF MUMMY CASES.]

While the Doctor was making this explanation the boys were examining the
mummy that lay before them. He was a very quiet mummy, and made no
objection to being handled, though the case was different with the
attendant in charge of the place. The latter intimated that visitors
were not expected to touch anything they saw, but if they wished to look
into the box he would open it for them. The hint was taken, and a franc
slipped into his hand; the result was our friends had the pleasure of
examining the specimen to their complete satisfaction.

[Illustration: TRANSPORTING A MUMMY ON A SLEDGE.]

There was an odor of gums and spices as the box was opened, but it was
not by any means overpowering. The Doctor said the substances had lost a
good deal of their strength in three thousand years, and it was a wonder
that any odor at all was perceptible. Some of the linen wrappings had
been unwound, so that portions of the dried flesh of the mummy were
perceptible. It resembled wood in a state of decay more than anything
else, and a very brief inspection was all that our friends cared for.
The inscription on the lid of the case was more interesting than was the
occupant within, and Fred remarked that the mummy must have been a
person of great consequence to need so much door-plate on the outside.
"And to think," he added, "that he was shut up for thirty centuries, and
had no friends to call and see him!"

[Illustration: GODDESS OF TRUTH, WITH HER EYES CLOSED.]

Frank repeated some lines which were originally addressed to a mummy in
Belzoni's Museum, in London, many years ago:

  "And thou hast walked about--how strange a story!--
    In Thebes's streets, three thousand years ago.
  When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
    And time had not begun to overthrow
  Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
    Of which the very ruins are tremendous.

  "Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy.
    Thou hast a tongue--come, let us hear its tune.
  Thou'rt standing on thy legs above-ground, mummy,
    Revisiting the glimpses of the moon;
  Not like pale ghosts or disembodied creatures,
    But with thy bones, and legs, and limbs, and features.

  "Tell us, for doubtless thou canst recollect,
    To whom should we ascribe the Sphinx's fame?
  Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect
    Of either pyramid that bears his name?
  Was Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?
    Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?"

"Good-bye, sweetheart, good-bye!" said Fred, as Frank paused, and the
Doctor turned away from the relic of other days.

[Illustration: LADY'S HEAD-DRESS ON A MUMMY CASE.]

"You're wrong there," said the Doctor; "he has not a sweet heart, but a
solid one." Turning to the attendant, he asked him in French to show the
scarabæus and other things that came from the mummy at the time the case
was opened.

[Illustration: RINGS, BRACELETS, AND SCARABÆI.]

The attendant pointed to a glass case close at hand, containing some
necklaces, and representations of beetles carved in stone. Among them
was a scarabæus, or beetle, in jasper (one of the hardest stones in the
world), about three inches long and two in width. The rounded portion
represented the back of a beetle with the wings folded, while the flat
surface beneath was covered with hieroglyphics, with an oval line drawn
around them.

[Illustration: STONE SCARABÆUS WITH WINGS.]

"The scarabæus," said the Doctor, "was the symbol of resurrection among
the ancient Egyptians, and hence we find it very frequently used about
the mummies, and the places where they were laid away to rest. This
large one was deposited in place of the heart of our desiccated friend
in the box, and these necklaces, principally composed of scarabæi, were
around his neck. This flat one lay upon his breast in direct contact
with the flesh; the circle in the centre represents the sun; on each
side of it is the asp, a snake that was sacred to one of the gods, and
the outstretched wings on either side are to indicate the power of the
soul to take flight from the body. The Egyptians had some process of
cutting stone that is unknown to us, as the carving of these scarabæi,
in the hardest materials as we find them, would defy the skill of modern
lapidaries."

After a general survey of the contents of the case the party moved to
another room, where a quantity of gold and silver ornaments were
conspicuously displayed.

[Illustration: JEWELLER WITH BLOW-PIPE.]

As they halted in front of the collection, the Doctor explained that the
jewels they were looking at were found in the coffin (and with the
mummy) of Aah-Hotep--a queen who is supposed to have been the wife of
one of the kings of the eighteenth dynasty. The show-case of a modern
jeweller could not have been more attractive, and the boys were
enchanted with the beauty of the articles displayed as well as with the
exquisite workmanship.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN GOLDSMITHS (FROM A PAINTING AT THEBES).]

There was a bracelet with gold figures engraved on blue glass, in
imitation of lapis lazuli; there was a large bracelet, hinged in the
centre, representing a vulture, its wings composed of bits of lapis
lazuli, carnelian, and green glass, in a gold setting, and its back
ornamented with lines of small turquoises; and there was a gold chain
nearly three feet long, with a scarabæus at the end. This chain, with
the other treasures of the queen, was exhibited at the Paris Exposition
of 1867, and attracted much attention. It is composed of links curiously
woven and twisted together, and a committee of French jewellers who
examined it said that if it were broken they did not believe there was a
jeweller of modern days who could properly mend it! And to think that
this chain was made many centuries ago!

[Illustration: GOLDEN BASKETS (FROM THE TOMB OF RAMESES III).]

We have not time to describe all the wonderful things in the case of
Aah-Hotep, nor in the other cases near it. Our friends lingered long
among the treasures of the museum, and when the shadows indicated the
hour for closing, and the attendants hinted that the official day was at
an end, they were in no mood for departure. They all agreed that
hereafter they should hold the ancient Egyptians in great respect, and
regretted that the arts and accomplishments they seem to have possessed
are, in great measure, lost to the world.

[Illustration: DRESSES OF WOMEN OF ANCIENT EGYPT.]



CHAPTER IX.

THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZEH AND SAKKARA.--MEMPHIS AND THE APIS MAUSOLEUM.


The day after the visit to the museum was devoted to an excursion to the
pyramids. An early start was made, so as to have all the time possible
for seeing the great works which bear the names of Cheops and Cephren.

Down to a few years ago the traveller on his way to the pyramids was
obliged to cross the Nile by ferry, and make his land journey on foot or
on the back of a donkey. But at present the bridge over the river at
Boulak, and the carriage-road all the way to the foot of the pyramids,
have made the excursion comparatively easy. A ride of two hours
suffices, as the distance is not over ten or twelve miles, and the route
is along the level ground of the Nile Valley. The last two or three
hundred yards must usually be made on foot, as the sand covers the road,
and makes the progress of a carriage exceedingly difficult, even when
empty. The sand is drifted by the action of the wind, exactly as snow is
whirled in the Northern States of America, and sometimes drifts will
form in a few hours several feet in depth.

[Illustration: CAMELS AND THEIR BURDENS.]

The boys looked with interest on the troops of camels they met, just
after leaving Cairo, carrying great loads of freshly-cut grass for
feeding the donkeys and other beasts of burden in the city. Although the
roads were good, the natives seemed to prefer the old ways of
transportation, and almost the only vehicles to be seen were the
carriages carrying visitors to the pyramids. As they drew nearer, our
friends began to realize the great height of those structures; while
they were yet an hour's drive from their base, it seemed to Frank and
Fred that they would be there in ten or fifteen minutes. The optical
illusion was partly due to the clear atmosphere, and partly to the
immensity of the piles of stone. There was a house two stories high
close to one of the pyramids; it seemed a mere speck against the great
mass, and revealed the contrast more plainly than could be done in
words. It was like placing a cigar-box in front of an ordinary dwelling,
and comparing the one with the other.

[Illustration: OLD MODE OF TRANSPORT ON THE NILE.]

A mile or two from the pyramids they passed some villages of natives;
two or three dozen Arabs swarmed from these villages and surrounded the
carriage, keeping even pace with its progress, no matter how fast the
horses went. They had an eye to making something out of the strangers,
and were quite indifferent to suggestions that their company was not
wanted.

[Illustration: NEAR VIEW OF THE PYRAMIDS.]

We will let the youths tell the story of their visit to the pyramids:

"When we reached the stone platform at the base of the pyramids the
driver unharnessed his horses and removed the pole from his carriage.
The Arabs gathered about us to assist in making the ascent, and they
proved the most persistent and annoying rascals we have yet seen. The
hackmen and their kindred at Niagara Falls are politeness itself
compared with the Arabs at the pyramids.

"There is a sheik or chief of the Arabs, and he expects two shillings
from each visitor who ascends the pyramids, and two more if he goes
inside. For this sum he furnishes two men to assist you; half a dozen
will offer to go, but two are enough. If you are liable to be thirsty,
it is well to employ a boy to carry a _gargolet_ (or bottle) of water,
and you may also let him carry your overcoat.

"There are three pyramids in the group at Gizeh, and they are called
respectively, in order of size, the Great, the Second, and the Third.
The Great Pyramid is the one usually ascended by visitors; in fact, it
is the only one they ascend, as it the highest; and, besides, the ascent
of the others is much more dangerous. Perhaps you will wonder why it is
so.

"When the pyramids were finished, they were covered with a casing of red
granite, which was fitted into the steps between the blocks of
limestone; the limestone came from the quarries on the other side of the
river, but the red granite was brought from Assouan, at the first
cataract of the Nile, and was consequently much more costly than the
other material. When Cairo was founded and built, much of the stone
needed for it was taken from the pyramids, and from the ruins of
Memphis; all the granite casing of the First Pyramid was removed, and
some of that of the Second, but enough remains on the latter to make the
ascent quite difficult.

"As soon as a bargain had been made, and the men were selected to
accompany us, we started up the north-east corner of the huge pile. The
blocks of stone are so large that the ascent is by a series of steps
from two to four feet high, rarely less than three feet. Imagine a long
stairway, with steps as high as an ordinary dining-table, and remember
that you must gain an elevation of four hundred and eighty feet before
your journey is ended. The Arabs go ahead of you, indicating the points
where you are to put your feet, and pulling you up by the arms. We
reached the top in about fifteen minutes, and then the whole crowd of
Arabs gave a loud hurrah, and demanded pay for it.

"Originally the pyramid had a sharp apex, but it has been torn away, so
that the top is now an irregular platform, about thirty feet square, and
makes a comfortable resting-place after the fatigue of the ascent. We
were tired enough when we got there, and quite willing to sit down. The
Arabs kept bothering us for money, and would give us no peace till we
told the men who accompanied us that we would give them a good
backsheesh on condition that they kept all the rest away from us, and if
they failed to do so they would not have a penny. The plan worked very
fairly, but did not save us altogether from annoyance.

"We were disappointed with the view from the top, and this is said to be
the case with most travellers. There was the desert on one side, and the
rich Valley of the Nile on the other; to the eastward, and across the
river, were the walls of Cairo, with the Mokattam and other hills behind
it; on the south was the valley of the river, with the double line of
desert closing in upon it; while to the north was the Delta, spreading
out toward the Mediterranean, and contrasting sharply with the clear
blue sky above it.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF THE PYRAMIDS.--"FORTY CENTURIES LOOK DOWN
ON YOU."]

"The walls and domes and minarets of Cairo gave an Oriental aspect to
the view in that direction, and told us, if nothing else had been needed
to do so, that we were in the land of the Moslem. But the most
noticeable thing in the landscape was the contrast between the desert
and the Delta--between the most fertile soil in the world and the most
barren. There is no middle ground; at one place lies the richest of all
rich earths, and six inches away it is the driest and most unproductive
sand. You may sit at the dividing line, and while you rest one hand on
the dark green carpet of grass growing from the black alluvium, you can
gather the gray sand with the other. It is the perfection of fertility
on one side, and the perfection of desolation on the other. Probably
there is not, nor can there be, anywhere else in the world a sharper
contrast in a picture drawn by nature.

"The Doctor had a magnifying-glass in his pocket, and we looked at some
of the sand with it. It is not composed of angular fragments with sharp
corners, such as you will see in the sand which you dig from the ground
at home, but every particle is worn as smooth as the marbles that boys
play with, or as the 'cobble-stones' with which our streets are paved.
Many centuries of attrition under the winds of Africa have done the
work.

"Do you want to know how large the Great Pyramid is?

"Well, it is about seven hundred and forty feet square, and four hundred
and eighty feet high. It covers an area of nearly thirteen acres, and
contains eighty-nine million cubic feet of stone. What do you suppose
you could do with that amount of stone?

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN CAPTIVES EMPLOYED AT HARD LABOR.]

"You could build a wall four feet high and two feet thick--a good wall
for a farm or yard--all the way from New York to Salt Lake City; in
round figures, two thousand miles! If you wanted a good solid wall,
twelve feet high and four feet thick, from Cincinnati to St. Louis
(three hundred and forty miles), you would find the stone for it in this
Great Pyramid! And if New York City is in danger of an attack, and wants
to surround the whole of Manhattan Island (twenty-one miles around) with
a wall forty feet high and twenty feet thick, here is the material to do
it with. And remember that all this stone was hewn from the quarries,
and moved and set up, centuries before the power of steam was known!

[Illustration: REMOVING STONE FROM THE QUARRIES.]

"Of course we asked the Doctor to tell us how the pyramids were built,
but he says it is a conundrum he cannot answer. Various engineers have
made theories as to the mode of building the pyramids; but no sooner
does one demonstrate how the work was done than somebody else shows how
the theory is incorrect. Doctor Bronson says it is generally conceded
that the Egyptians must have had a knowledge of some mechanical power of
which we are ignorant. One of the most convenient theories is, that as
fast as a course of stone was laid, the earth was heaped up so as to
form an inclined plane or road, and that this road was repeatedly
increased till the top was reached. Then, as the top was finished, and
the granite casing placed in position, the earth was taken away, and the
pyramid stood out in all its glory.

"But we've kept you waiting while we talked about the size of the
pyramid. We've been resting from the fatigue of the ascent, so you must
not be impatient.

"One of the Arabs proposed to run from where we were to the top of the
Second Pyramid in ten minutes; it seemed impossible for him to do it,
but on our offering him five francs he started. How he jumped down from
block to block, ran across the open space, and then mounted to the top
of the Second Pyramid! Of course he has been practising every day, at
least during the season of visitors, and knows just what he can do. The
Doctor says this is one of the regular performances of the Arabs at the
pyramids; everybody who has written about the place in the last fifty
years speaks of it, and the only reason why Herodotus does not mention
it is that in his day it was impossible to ascend the pyramids, their
granite casing being complete and uninjured, and there were no Arabs in
existence. These Arabs are the most impudent fellows in the world, and
Herodotus didn't lose anything by their absence. They have always had a
bad reputation, and not unfrequently have been guilty of downright
robbery; their demands for backsheesh are extremely insolent, and if
they do not always threaten violence with words, they do so in their
manner.

"The man who built the pyramid was not there to meet us; he has been
dead some time, how long we don't know exactly, but it is a good while.
According to history the Great Pyramid was built by Cheops, one of the
kings of Memphis, who belonged to the fourth dynasty, and ruled fifty
years; Mariette assigns him to 4235 B.C., and Wilkinson to 2450 B.C.
Either date allows him plenty of time to be dead, and for the
correctness of Napoleon's remark to his soldiers at the Battle of the
Pyramids, 'forty centuries look down upon you!' Three hundred thousand
men were employed twenty years in its construction, and some authorities
say it was not completed till after Cheops's death. When he had passed
through the hands of the embalmers his mummy was taken to the inside of
the pyramid, to the chamber prepared for it, and there stowed away.
Let's go and see where it was.

[Illustration: CUTTING AND SQUARING BLOCKS OF STONE.]

"We descend the pyramid by the way we came, and in another quarter of an
hour are on the ground again. Then we walk about half-way along the
north face of the pyramid and some distance up the side to a hole about
three and a half feet square, descending at an angle of twenty-six
degrees. It is hot and wearisome to go inside the pyramid, and most
persons say it is much worse than the ascent to the top. We go about
sixty feet down an incline, then ascend at the same angle nearly three
hundred feet, and finally come to an apartment called the King's
Chamber; it measures thirty-four feet by seventeen, and is about
nineteen feet high. The sides are of polished granite, and the only
furniture is an empty coffin of stone, too large to be removed.

"There is another room smaller than this directly beneath, and called
the Queen's Chamber, and there are some other small rooms of no
consequence. The dust chokes us, the heat threatens to melt us, the
Arabs keep up a frightful din--ten times as bad as they do outside--and
altogether we are glad to get out again.

"The Arabs used to have the trick of taking away the lights, and
leaving visitors in the black darkness, where they might easily become
lunatics in a short time. They would stay away till they thought their
victim was badly frightened, and then they shouted from the passage-way
that they would only bring a light on condition of a heavy backsheesh.
Many a person has been robbed in this way, and not a season passes
without an outrage of this sort. Several times the government has been
obliged to punish these rascals. They behave comparatively well for a
short while after receiving punishment, but very soon they begin their
outrages again.

[Illustration: SECTION OF THE GREAT PYRAMID.]

"The passage by which we enter the pyramid continues at the same angle
for more than three hundred feet, and it is so straight that you can see
the sky from the farther end, as though looking through the tube of a
telescope. It is said that the north star was visible through this
passage-way two thousand years ago, but its position has changed so that
it is now out of range.

[Illustration: THE SPHINX.]

"From the pyramid we went to see the Sphinx, which is about a quarter of
a mile away in a south-easterly direction. It had originally the head of
a man, the breast of a woman, and the body of a lion. But only the head
and part of the back are now visible, the rest being covered by sand. By
some it is thought to be as old as the Great Pyramid, or even older,
while others believe it was made in the eighteenth dynasty, or long
after the pyramids were built. The whole figure was hewn from the solid
rock, and there was formerly a temple between the paws and directly
beneath the head of the Sphinx.

"We walked around it, and one of us climbed up as far as he could
without too much danger of a fall. It is an enormous head, as you will
understand when we tell you that the width of the face is 13 feet 8
inches, the ear is 4-1/2 feet long, the nose 5-1/2, and the mouth 7-1/2.
From the top of the head to the pavement below was 66 feet, and the
length of the body is 140 feet. It is 30 feet from the top of the
forehead to the bottom of the chin, and the front paws are 55 feet long.
Don't these figures give you an idea of the grandeur of the Sphinx?

"How it has suffered in the five thousand years it has looked out on the
unchanging landscape of Egypt! Large portions of the rock have been hewn
away, or have broken off by the action of the elements on the soft
limestone; but, worse yet, the great solemn face has been wantonly
ruined by the hand of man. An Arab fanatic tried to destroy it, then the
Mamelukes used it for a target for rifle practice, several explorers
have dug into it, and the Arabs of the present day have no hesitation in
breaking off pieces of the head for any one who will pay for them. One
of them climbed up to the face while we were there, and wanted to break
off some fragments for us; but we told him to come down at once, as we
would neither buy the pieces nor allow him to do any farther injury to
the ancient monument, which is, next to the pyramids, the most
interesting in this part of Egypt. There were plenty of pieces on the
ground in front of the Sphinx, and we picked up a few of them to carry
away as souvenirs of our visit.

[Illustration: THE SPHINX BY MOONLIGHT.]

"We went to a temple not far from the Sphinx, which was discovered and
excavated by Mariette Bey, but has since been partly filled by the
drifting sand. It is built of red granite and alabaster, and is supposed
to be as old as the Sphinx, and to have some relation to its worship.
The shaping and polishing of the hard granite is quite equal to that of
any stone-cutter of the present day, and our admiration was excited at
every step. A sitting figure of Cephren, the builder of the Second
Pyramid, was found in this temple, and is now in the museum at Boulak.
It was hewn from a single block of green breccia, or diorite, an
exceedingly hard stone, and all the details of the work are as finely
finished as that of the most careful sculptor in marble. Eight other
statues were found at the same time, and all bear evidence of the
excellence of the Egyptian workers in stone four or five thousand years
ago.

"We visited two or three tombs in the neighborhood of the Sphinx, but
after what we had seen they were not especially interesting. The whole
stone platform where the pyramids stand is full of tombs; but they have
all been examined and their contents removed.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN CAPTIVES MAKING BRICKS.]

"We carried our lunch with us from the hotel, and ate it after visiting
the Great Pyramid, and before going to examine the Sphinx. The Arabs
crowded around, and almost threatened to eat our lunch for us, and
ourselves into the bargain; we tried in vain to drive them away, and
finally drew a circle in the sand enclosing our carriage, and about ten
feet from it, and stationed a couple of Arabs inside with sticks to keep
out the rest. The sticks were strong, and so were the men who wielded
them. The Doctor told our guards they would get no backsheesh if they
failed to keep the rest out of the ring, and with this promise before
them they succeeded. It is interesting to see how ready these men are to
pound their most intimate friends for the sake of a little money. The
more we see of the nature of these natives the more we despise it:
perhaps they are not altogether to blame, and are only practising the
lesson of rascality they have learned through centuries of oppression.

"We returned to Cairo by the carriage-road, and were followed a long way
by the Arabs shouting for backsheesh. A couple of days later we made an
evening excursion there in order to see the Sphinx and pyramids by
moonlight, and were well repaid for the journey. Many travellers go out
there very early in the morning, so as to see them by sunrise; but we
were too much fatigued with our work every day to leave our beds two or
three hours before daybreak.

"The day after our trip to Gizeh we went to Sakkara and Memphis. There
is very little to be seen of Memphis, as the stone was mostly taken away
for building Cairo, and the site of the city is frequently overflowed in
the inundations of the Nile. The chief object of interest is a statue of
Rameses the Great, originally forty-two feet high, but now lying on the
ground, and about half covered with water. Unfortunately its face is
downward, so that we could not see its features; but it is said to be a
fine work of art, and it is a great pity that it cannot be removed and
placed on its feet again.

[Illustration: PLOUGHING AND SOWING.]

"At Sakkara there are several pyramids. One of them is of sun-dried
bricks instead of stone; it is built in a series of five steps, or
degrees, and for this reason is known as the 'Step-pyramid.' Some
authorities say it was built in the first dynasty, and is consequently
the oldest pyramid in the world; others think it belongs to the fifth
dynasty, and therefore is later than the structures at Gizeh. Tradition
says it was built by the labor of the children of Israel when they were
captives in Egypt, and it was here they complained that they were
compelled to make 'bricks without straw.' The history of the pyramid is
very obscure, and one theory may be just as good as another. The
structure is less than two hundred feet high, and, as the ascent is
dangerous, and the view from the top of no consequence after that from
Gizeh, we did not climb it.

[Illustration: TAKING IT EASY.]

"The things of greatest importance at Sakkara are the tombs. They cover
an area nearly four miles long by a mile in width, and there is little
doubt that the necropolis of Sakkara is the most extensive in all Egypt.
Many tombs that were opened have been filled up again by the sand; at
present there are only two which are shown to visitors, but they are so
large and interesting that nobody misses the others. One is the tomb of
Tih, a priest of Memphis, who lived during the fifth dynasty, or about
five thousand years ago; its walls are covered with inscriptions showing
the manners and customs of the time, and it is said that we have learned
more from this tomb than from any other about the life of the ancient
Egyptians.

"The sculptures show the owner of the tomb, Mr. Tih, in a great many
occupations. According to the custom of the period, he built the tomb
during his lifetime, and made it all ready for use after death. An
ancient writer says, 'The Egyptians call their houses hostelries, on
account of the short period during which they inhabit them; but they
call their tombs eternal dwelling-places.' This tomb was built in Tih's
lifetime, and made ready for his long occupation by representing the
scenes of his terrestrial existence.

[Illustration: A HUNTING SCENE.]

"We have the priest of Memphis engaged in agriculture, or, rather, he is
present while his men are in the fields ploughing, sowing, harvesting,
thrashing grain, driving oxen, donkeys, and other animals, and
performing other ordinary work. We see him hunting, fishing, sailing in
boats, listening to music, witnessing dances, and otherwise amusing
himself; and we see him worshipping in the temple, and superintending
sacrifices of oxen, according to the religious practices of his day. The
sculptures are so numerous that it would take a ream of paper to
describe all of them; they show that the artists knew their work, and
many of them had a sense of the ridiculous that would secure them good
situations on the comic papers of to-day.

[Illustration: BRONZE FIGURE OF APIS.]

"After seeing the tomb of Tih we went to the Apis Mausoleum, or tombs of
the sacred bulls. You know that Apis, or the sacred bull, was worshipped
as a divinity at Memphis; he was kept in a temple during his lifetime,
and a magnificent tomb was given him after his death. The site of the
Apis Mausoleum was unknown for many centuries; it was found by Mariette
(in 1860) through the writings of one of the Greek historians. While
clearing away the sand in a certain place he found a sphinx, and he then
remembered a passage in Strabo, which says:

"'There is also a Serapeum in a very sandy spot, where drifts of sand
are raised by the wind to such a degree that we saw some sphinxes buried
up to their heads, and others half covered.'

[Illustration: HUNTSMAN WITH DOGS AND GAME.]

"This was a hint to the explorer, and he acted on it by following up the
line of sphinxes till he came to the entrance of the great tomb. The
guide showed us into the tomb, and then lighted candles, by which we
explored a series of long galleries cut in the solid rock; altogether
there are more than four hundred yards of these galleries, and they have
on each side of them niches, like large rooms, for holding the coffins
of the bulls. Some of these rooms are empty; but there still remain
twenty-four coffins of solid granite in the places where they were left
many years ago. The coffins are not all of the same size, but generally
about thirteen feet long, eight wide, and eleven high; most of their
covers are pushed aside or altogether removed, and it was evident, when
the tomb was opened by Mariette Bey, that the place had been plundered,
as nothing was found in the coffins except the mummy of a bull in one of
them.

"There was a ladder by the side of one of the coffins, so that we
climbed into it, and found that four or five persons could sit there
comfortably. And think that these coffins were of solid blocks of
granite, and were brought down the Nile from Assouan, and put in the
rooms made for them! How they were put there nobody can tell; a thousand
men worked for three weeks to take out one of these coffins, under the
direction of an engineer, and, with all sorts of pulleys and apparatus,
he only got it a short distance along the gallery. The enterprise was
then abandoned, and the coffin stands where they left it.

"Irreverent visitors sometimes call these tombs the 'bull pits,' and
they speak of the necropolis of Sakkara as the 'bone-yard.' But there
are no bulls here at present, and the tombs of the surrounding region
have been so thoroughly explored and plundered, that it would not be
easy to find any bones in them."

[Illustration: AN ARCHED TOMB AT SAKKARA.]



CHAPTER X.

AN ORIENTAL BATH.--EGYPTIAN WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS.


The excursions to Gizeh and Sakkara had not been altogether free from
dust, and, consequently, the suggestion of an Oriental bath was not out
of place. The boys had heard of the baths of Damascus and
Constantinople, and the wonderful tales of travellers concerning them;
the Doctor said the baths of Cairo were exactly like those of the cities
mentioned, and they could satisfy their curiosity by trying one.

The guide advised them to go early in the forenoon, and accordingly they
left the hotel a little after ten o'clock. The Doctor had no fondness
for the genuine Oriental bath, and the youths made the excursion in the
company of their guide. A short walk brought them to the establishment,
which was in a gloomy-looking building, surmounted with a large central
dome and several smaller domes. Frank could not understand the
peculiarity of the bath architecture till he went inside, and found that
the principal room was lighted by the central dome, while the others
gave light to the smaller apartments. The windows were so small that the
light was quite dim, and in some places only served, as Fred expressed
it, to make the darkness visible.

The office of the bath-keeper was close to the entrance, and here the
guide paid for the admission of the youths; they had left all their
valuables at the hotel, and consequently had no use for the chest where
the watches and purses of the bathers were deposited. Near the keeper
was a cupboard, from which he took a supply of towels for the youths,
and they were then directed to the dressing, or, rather, the undressing
room, where they were assigned to couches, and exchanged their clothing
for towels. According to the custom of the establishment, one towel was
wrapped around the head and the other about the waist, and thus arrayed
our young friends were hardly to be recognized.

From the dressing-room they passed to a smaller apartment, which was
well but not uncomfortably warmed, and here they remained some minutes
in order to become accustomed to the temperature. The bathing
establishment is heated by means of fires under the floor, and in the
more modern buildings by iron pipes around the sides of the rooms. An
attendant took charge of each of the boys, and, when they were ready to
move on, conducted them to the large central room of the place.

Frank gave an amusing account of his experience in the hands of the
_tellak_, or bath attendant, who took charge of him:

"He was a strong man," said Frank, "about forty years old, and his head
was shaved as smooth as a door-knob. He wore a towel around his waist,
and carried another flung over his shoulder. He brought me a pair of
wooden clogs, which I could not easily keep on my feet, though I tried
hard to imitate the example of the people around me, and appear as
though accustomed to them all my life. They tell us that there is a
fashion about wearing these clogs, just as much as in putting on an
overcoat or a necktie, and that you are liable to be treated rudely if
you violate the custom. Perhaps they have so many foreigners in this
bath that they don't mind a little awkwardness; anyway we couldn't keep
the clogs in place, and nobody was uncivil.

[Illustration: CENTRAL ROOM OF THE BATH.]

"We stayed in the anteroom till we got a little warm, and then went into
the central one. And wasn't it hot!

"People were reclining on the marble floor, or on a platform at one
side; we were led to the platform, and our conductors made signs for us
to lie down, and as they did so they spread towels for us to recline on,
and brought small cushions for our heads. We did as they directed, and
lay there for a while looking at the water playing in a fountain in the
centre of the room, or counting the little windows in the roof. We
counted them several times over, but couldn't make them come out twice
alike.

[Illustration: THE MAN WHO DIDN'T LIKE IT.]

"Pretty soon there was something like a howl from one side of the
place, and we looked over to see what it was. An attendant was at work
on a man who appeared like a foreigner, and was evidently trying to give
him the worth of his money. Armed with a small brush, he went over the
flesh of his victim very much as a boot-black makes a first-class shine.
The stranger looked like a boiled lobster, and the expression of his
face was much as though he was about to be sent to prison for life.

"To confirm my belief that he was a foreigner, he made a remark in
English, which, of course, the attendant did not understand, but went on
scrubbing harder than ever. He seemed too weak to use his hands to stop
the performance, but finally gathered strength enough to seize the
brush, and motion to the performer that he had had enough. Then he was
taken to another part of the room and laid on a marble slab, where he
was handled more gently.

"While we were smiling at the misery of the Englishman the perspiration
was oozing out of us at every pore, in consequence of the great warmth
of the place. 'Our turn next,' Fred whispered, as our attendants began
to manipulate our limbs, to find out whether they were in a proper
condition for operating on.

"Fred was right, as our tellaks evidently considered us sufficiently
cooked for their purpose. They began by kneading us with their hands and
knuckles, and went over our bodies so vigorously that we thought they
would make holes in our flesh, though they didn't do anything of the
sort. Then they rubbed us down with brushes, and left us a few minutes;
the rubbing and kneading increased the flow of perspiration, and when
this had gone on long enough, they made us sit on little wooden frames
close to a fountain in one of the side alcoves. Then they soaped our
heads and rubbed them vigorously with their hands, and kept pouring on
water while the rubbing was progressing; they repeated the operation
twice, and then brought some fibres of palm-leaves, which they used with
soap and water for polishing our limbs, and they finished the
performance with the brush, just as they had done with the Englishman.

"The brushing was the severest part of the process, and was followed by
great quantities of water thrown over us till we were thoroughly rinsed.
The water was warm enough to be quite comfortable, and sometimes a
little too warm, but we said nothing, as we wanted to have the bath just
as it is given to others. Basin after basin of warm water was poured
over us, and finally we were wrapped in dry towels that completely
covered us, and thick towels were folded around our heads till we looked
like turbaned Turks. Then we were taken to our couches, where we rested,
and became cool enough to go out-of-doors again with safety.

[Illustration: THE BARBER.]

"Coffee was brought to us as soon as we lay down, and we found it very
refreshing. We stayed there at least half an hour before the guide
suggested that it would be safe to dress and go back to the hotel. We
felt a little weak and weary, but had the satisfaction of knowing that
we were as clean as water, soap, heat, and scrubbing could make us. A
barber tried to do up our hair, but did not succeed very well, as the
Oriental head-dressing is not exactly like our own. But he was desirous
of making himself useful, and so we let him try his skill.

[Illustration: THE BATH AMONG THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.]

"The bath of to-day is much like that of thousands of years ago, as can
be seen by the pictures on the walls of the tombs. The bath is the
favorite resort of the women, and many of them spend the whole day
there, or at least a large part of it. The baths for women are much more
numerous than those for men; many of them are set apart on different
days of the week for different religious sects, and sometimes families
or parties of friends hire the bath for themselves, so that they shall
not be disturbed by others.

"Doctor Bronson says a good deal of nonsense has been written by
travellers concerning the baths of the East. He says better and more
comfortable bathing establishments may be found in Paris, London, or New
York than in Constantinople or Cairo, and the number is increasing every
year.

"The Oriental bath is recommended for a good many things besides
cleanliness, although the latter is the great consideration. It will
cure colds and slight touches of rheumatism, is excellent for many
maladies of the skin, improves the digestion, and has often restored
invalids whom medicine had failed to benefit. Doctor Bronson has a
friend in New York who suffers occasionally from gout, and whenever he
feels it coming upon him he goes straight to a Turkish bath, and, as he
says, 'boils it out.' One should be very careful, after taking a bath,
not to go too soon into the open air, for fear of catching cold."

While on their way from the bath to the hotel the youths encountered a
procession, and naturally asked the guide what it was.

"That is a wedding," was the reply; "somebody is going to be married,
and this is part of the ceremony."

It occurred to Frank on the instant that his sister and Miss Effie might
be interested in the subject of weddings, and here would be an
opportunity to write something to please them. Accordingly, he made note
of all he saw in the procession, interrogated the guide, and even took a
peep within the pages of "The Modern Egyptians," to assure himself that
he had made no mistake. As there may be others besides Mary and Effie
who want to know the matrimonial customs of Egypt, we will make an
extract from Frank's account:

"The procession that we saw was composed of the family and friends of
the bride on their way to the bath, where they would remain several
hours. There were four musicians in front, and right behind them were
six of the married friends of the bride, walking in couples; behind
these were several young girls, and all the party had their faces
covered with long veils that reached nearly to the ground. The married
women wore robes of black material, but the girls were in striped or
white shawls, so that it was easy to know at a glance whether one of
them was married or single.

"Of course you want to know how the bride looked. She was close behind
the young girls, but I can't describe her appearance, as she walked
under a canopy of pink silk, supported on four poles, carried by as many
men. It was like a small tent, and opened in front; the other sides were
completely closed, so that our only view of the bride was just a glimpse
through the opening of the canopy. Even if we had more than a glimpse of
her, it would have done no good, as she was wrapped from head to foot in
a red cashmere shawl, and whether she was seventeen or seventy years old
we could not say. The guide said she had a pasteboard crown on her head,
and the shawl was hung over it so as to conceal her face and all the
jewellery she wore. Of course she could not see anything, and so a
couple of women were walking inside the canopy, and just behind her, to
tell her how to keep pace with the rest of the procession.

"There were a couple of musicians behind the canopy, and then came a
string of idle persons, just as we see a procession followed at home. We
watched them as long as they were in sight, and were told they would
spend several hours at the bath, where a feast had been ordered, and
possibly an entertainment by dancers and singers hired for the occasion.
Then they would go home to the house of the bride's parents, and on the
following day the bride would be carried by a similar procession to the
house of the bridegroom.

"Now we'll go back to the beginning, and see how marriages are arranged
in Egypt.

"The guide says such a thing as an 'old bachelor' in Egypt is never
heard of, as every man is expected to get married whether he wants to or
not. Matches are made here much easier than in America, as it is not at
all necessary for the parties to be acquainted, and consequently they
cannot have any objections to marrying each other. There are regular
marriage-brokers who arrange everything, and thus save a great deal of
trouble and perplexity.

"When a man wishes to marry he tells his mother, or some near female
relative; she goes directly to the relatives of any marriageable girls
she knows of, or perhaps she engages a _khatibeh_, or woman who makes a
business of negotiating marriages. The two go together to houses where
there are young girls to be married, and when they find one that suits
the mother's eye they begin talking business at once.

"They ask how much property the girl has, how old she is, and what she
can do, and then go away without any positive promise to come again. If
the young man does not like the account they bring the matter is
dropped, but if he is pleased with it he makes a present to the broker,
and sends her again to confer with the girl and her parents. Her parents
have the right to arrange the whole matter without consulting the girl,
unless she is over fifteen years of age; in the latter case she may
choose her husband for herself, but her parents have still a good deal
to say about it.

[Illustration: A KHATIBEH, OR MARRIAGE-BROKER.]

"The broker does not confine herself very closely to the truth in
dealing with either party. She will describe a girl of ordinary
appearance as the greatest beauty in the world, and will represent an
equally ordinary man as handsome, graceful, and well educated, with
plenty of money which he is ready to throw at the feet of his bride. And
all this when she does not know whether he has any money or not, and has
never seen or heard of him till the day she was engaged to find a bride.
It is the object of the broker to make a commission. Doctor Bronson says
she is not unlike some brokers he has known in New York, and other
cities of America.

"The girl must have a _wekeel_, or deputy, to arrange a marriage for
her, and to sign the contract. This office is filled by her father, if
living, or by some masculine relative or guardian; and when the
preliminaries have been arranged by the broker, the bridegroom goes with
two or three friends to meet the wekeel and sign the contract.

"The first thing is to fix the amount of the dowry of the bride, and
they spend a good deal of time haggling over it, just as they do in
every transaction where money is concerned. The wekeel demands more than
he expects to receive, and the bridegroom offers less than he expects to
give. The amount varies according to the position and property of the
parties; for those in fair circumstances it is usually a little over a
hundred dollars. It is arranged that the money shall be paid to the
bride's deputy when the marriage contract is signed, which is generally
within a couple of days.

[Illustration: PREPARING FOR THE WEDDING.]

"When the contract is finished and the money paid over, the day is
fixed--generally a couple of weeks later--for bringing the bride to the
bridegroom's house. The time is consumed in preparations for the
wedding; the amount of the dowry, and generally a great deal more, is
spent in furniture and clothing for the bride, and all these articles
are her property, and cannot be taken from her if she is divorced. The
bridegroom gives a dinner and party to his friends, and for two or three
nights before the wedding the street where he lives is hung with
lanterns, and otherwise decorated, so that everybody may know that a
wedding is about to take place.

[Illustration: A MARRIAGE PROCESSION AT NIGHT.]

"The bride goes to the bath in the procession I have described in the
first part of this letter, and afterward she is taken to the house which
is to be her home. This procession is in the night, and therefore it
carries a good many torches, and sometimes the effect is very pretty.
Meantime the man is at the mosque saying his prayers, and when he comes
home he finds his bride there with her friends.

[Illustration: UNVEILING THE BRIDE.]

"She is still closely veiled, and in nine cases out of ten the two have
never met. After a feast, which he has ordered before going to the
mosque, he is permitted to raise her veil, and has an opportunity to
look for the first time on the features of his wife. No matter how much
either of them may be disappointed in the appearance of the other, they
are expected to smile and seem happy.

"In some parts of the East the bridegroom comes to the house accompanied
by torches and music, and with a small boy walking at his side dressed
like himself, and instructed to imitate all his motions. He carries a
folded handkerchief held close to his face, and the boy does the same; a
little behind them is a girl mounted on a horse, and dressed like the
bride, and attended by two men who are supposed to be her guards. When
this procession approaches the house, the friends of the bride light
their lamps and go out a short distance to meet the procession. It is
probably from this custom that we have the passage of Scripture which
says, 'Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.'"

While Frank was busy with his account of the wedding-party, Fred was
occupied with another and sadder procession he had seen the same day.
While walking in the Mooskee he met a funeral-party on its way to the
cemetery, near the Tombs of the Caliphs, and his curiosity led him to
ascertain some particulars concerning funerals in the East.

[Illustration: BLIND MUSICIANS AMONG THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.]

"The procession that I saw," said Fred, "was led by half a dozen blind
men, who walked slowly two and two together, and chanted the Moslem
confession of faith--'There is no god but God, and Mohammed is the
apostle of God!' Behind them came several men who were relatives of the
deceased, and then there was an open space of three or four yards.
Beyond the open space were four boys in pairs; the front pair carried a
copy of the Koran on a small frame or desk, covered with an embroidered
handkerchief, and the second pair had their hands empty.

"Then came the coffin on a bier, supported on the shoulders of four men,
and covered with a red shawl; the bearers were changed every few
minutes, and those who were relieved took their places in the group
behind the blind men. Behind the bier were several women, who frequently
shrieked as if in great grief. I was told that some of them were the
family of the dead man, and the rest were mourners who had been hired,
according to the custom of the country. From long practice in their
profession they were able to shriek louder than the real mourners.

"The funeral of a rich man is sometimes preceded by three or four camels
laden with provisions that are to be given at the tomb to any poor
people who may ask for them. Then there will be a good many people in
the procession, including men who have been invited to the funeral, and
members of several religious sects, each delegation being not less than
four. Sometimes the flags of some of the orders of dervishes will be
carried in the procession, and the line is closed by servants leading
two or three horses.

"The party generally stops at a mosque, where prayers are said, and the
first chapter of the Koran is repeated by a priest, and then it moves on
to the cemetery. The ceremony at the tomb is very brief, and consists of
a few prayers and the wailing of the hired mourners. The blind men and
boys who have accompanied the procession receive their pay as soon as
the body is laid in the ground, and then the funeral is supposed to be
ended."



CHAPTER XI.

ASCENDING THE NILE.--SIGHTS AND SCENES ON THE RIVER.


Having explored Cairo and its neighborhood to their satisfaction, our
friends turned their attention to the Nile. They wished to make a voyage
up the mysterious river as far as the first cataract. The time at their
disposal did not permit them to plan a more extended journey.

They found on investigation that there were two ways of ascending the
Nile, and each had its advantages and disadvantages.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE NILE NEAR CAIRO.]

The old way of making the journey is by sailing-boat, or dahabeeah. The
more modern system is by steamboat, and before many years it will be
possible to go by rail along the banks of the river to the first
cataract, and ultimately to Khartoum and Gondokaro, if the present
scheme of railways in Egypt is carried out.

[Illustration: ANCIENT BOAT ON THE NILE.]

The most comfortable form of travel on the Nile is by dahabeeah, but it
is also the most expensive, and requires more time than the steamboat.
From Cairo to the first cataract and back will require from six to eight
weeks by dahabeeah, and if the journey is prolonged to the second
cataract, two or three weeks must be added. Three weeks will cover the
round trip to the first cataract and back by steamboat, and five weeks
will include the second cataract.

For the steamboat trip you have no trouble except to buy your ticket, go
on board at the appointed day and hour, and submit patiently to the
various impositions devised by the contractors who manage the business.
The movements of the boat are carefully arranged beforehand, and the
time for visiting the various temples, tombs, and other interesting
things on the journey, is all on the schedule of the dragoman or
conductor. Travellers of various nationalities are herded together, and
must move at the beck and call of the conductor. There is a printed
programme of the places to be visited and the hours for visiting them,
and if no accident happens you can count on being back in Cairo in
twenty days and four hours from the time of starting.

A facetious traveller, who made the Nile journey by steamboat, says that
the conductor of his party had a private programme on which was marked
the time to be devoted to sentiment as well as to sight-seeing. As they
approached the great hall of the Temple of Karnak the conductor glanced
at his programme and said,

"Gentlemen, prepare for sublime emotion!"

Of course due preparations were made, and when the grandeur of the hall
was visible they gave utterance to the regulation number of "ohs!" and
"ahs!" When these were ended, and silence came again, the guide looked
at his watch and called out,

"Five minutes for sublime emotion!"

When time was up they moved on. At another place they had "five minutes
for musing on the decayed glories of ancient Egypt," and at another
they were requested to "think of the havoc that the centuries have
wrought."

In travelling by dahabeeah you charter the boat, and make up your own
party. In a general way you are your own master, and can say where, and
for how long, you will stop. During the winter the wind blows pretty
steadily from north to south, so that you sail up the Nile with the
breeze in your favor. On the return the great sail is lowered, and the
crew row the boat with the current. Their rowing is just enough to give
steerage-way, and the flowing river brings you safely back to Cairo.

The steamboat fare to the first cataract and back is £50 ($250), and to
the second cataract £80 ($400). This includes meals, guides, donkeys,
and some of the fees for seeing temples and tombs, but does not include
saddles for riding the aforesaid donkeys, nor does it embrace the use of
a chair for the deck of the boat. There are constant demands for
backsheesh for various things, and the passengers are expected to make
up a liberal purse at the end of the voyage for distribution among the
officers, crew, and servants. About £5 ($25) will be needed for these
inevitable "extras."

The dahabeeah journey will usually cost $1500 for two persons to the
first cataract and back, and $2000 for four persons; about $500 should
be added in each case for the second cataract. For these figures you can
get a large, well-fitted boat, and will be entitled to live with every
possible comfort. Smaller and plainer boats may be had for less money,
and the food supplied by the dragoman will be correspondingly less
luxurious. Prices vary according to the season, and the number of
travellers desiring to make the journey, and it sometimes happens that a
good boat may be had for less than the figures named above.

The dahabeeah journey can be made by time or by the course; either way
is not altogether satisfactory, and a traveller who has made it by one
method generally advises his friends to try the other. If you go by
time, the dragoman manages to delay you as much as he can, and will
invent unheard-of excuses for stopping the boat; if you go by the
course, he hurries you along altogether too rapidly, and you often find
that you have sailed by a place you specially desired to visit. All
things considered, the best plan is to charter the boat by the course,
with a stipulation for a certain number of days for stoppages at the
interesting points. From fourteen to twenty days are the ordinary
stipulations for stoppages, and the whole journey can be made from Cairo
to the first cataract and back in about fifty days. [For forms of
contract see Murray's "Hand-book for Egypt."]

A dahabeeah journey would have made our friends too late for their
contemplated trip to Palestine and Syria, and so they decided to go by
steamboat.

They left Boulak one pleasant afternoon a few minutes past three
o'clock, and steamed slowly up the river. The boys sat beneath the
awning that covered the deck and watched the gray walls of Cairo, the
palaces and hovels, the gardens of the island of Rhoda, and the green
fields that stretched out from the western bank till they met the
glistening sands of the desert near the platform where the Pyramids of
Gizeh rise toward the sky. On the other side of the river the Mokattam
hills bounded the horizon, and marked the beginning of the Libyan
Desert; the tufted palm-trees waved here and there, sometimes in
clusters or groups, and at others standing solitary in the surrounding
waste. On the land there were trains of stately camels, and on the water
the boats of the natives ploughed slowly along, many of them laden till
their gunwales were dangerously near the water. As the boat steamed
onward, the Citadel of Cairo, with the slender minarets of the Mosque of
Mohammed Ali, faded away in the distance, the broad valley became more
and more enclosed, the hills seemed to shut in upon the river, and when
the sun went down the great pyramids were little more than specks on the
horizon, and just visible through the palm-trees.

Having seen the Doctor and his young friends well under-way toward the
South, we will rely for a while on the journal which was kept by Frank
and Fred. After recording their departure from Cairo, and briefly
describing the scenes on the river, the journal says:

[Illustration: A VILLAGE ON THE BANK OF THE RIVER.]

"We were told that the steamers did not run at night on account of the
liability to get on sand-bars, and the possibility of collisions with
sailing boats. True to the promise, the boat came to anchor soon after
sunset; or, rather, it was brought to the bank and made fast. We were
just below a small village, and wanted to go to see it, but the guide
said it was unsafe to venture there after dark, on account of the number
of dogs prowling about. Egyptian dogs have a great antipathy to
foreigners, as we have already learned, and are not to be carelessly
approached.

"The Orientals regard the dog as an unclean beast, and do not keep him
for a pet, as is the custom of Europe and America. Consequently, nearly
all the dogs you see around an Eastern city are houseless and homeless,
and a very ordinary set of curs they are. There are great numbers of
them, and they manage to pick up a living by serving as scavengers, and
by stealing whenever they have a chance. They do not disturb the
natives, but have such a hatred for strangers that they are often
dangerous; they have no terror for sticks and whips, and the only way to
drive them is by pelting them with stones. In the daytime they rarely do
more than bark and growl; but at night they are bolder, and as they can
sneak up to you under cover of the darkness, you must look out for their
teeth.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF AN EASTERN CITY.]

"We were off by daybreak the next morning, and as there was a mist
hanging over the river the scenery was of no special consequence. About
eight o'clock we stopped at a village to get some milk; Fred and I
followed the conductor, and were soon in a tangle of narrow lanes and
mud huts that seemed a perfect labyrinth. The dogs barked, chickens
cackled and flew to shelter, as if they knew that the advent of
strangers was the signal for them to be killed, and two or three cows
took fright at our appearance and ran into the houses. We made a
sensation, but evidently the natives were not pleased at our visit, to
judge by their scowling faces.

"For several hours we steamed on in what is said to be a very
uninteresting part of the river, and certainly one hour was very much
like another. The villages had a family resemblance to each other--the
banks were generally low and crumbling, and the barren hills were not
agreeable resting-places for the eye. Donkeys, camels, and Arabs,
succeeded by camels, Arabs, and donkeys, were the moving sights on
shore, in contrast to the numerous boats that dotted the river.
Sand-bars and islands relieved the monotony of the river, and there were
occasional tufts of palm-trees fringing the bank or rising against the
gray hills of the desert.

"Many of the boats on the river were dahabeeahs on their way southward
with pleasure parties, and they are fitted up with great luxury, as we
had a chance to observe. They usually carry the national flag of the
party that charters them, and it is always a pleasure to us to see the
Stars and Stripes floating over one of these boats.

"We stopped about noon to repair some slight damage to the machinery,
and it happened that a large dahabeeah was tied up to the bank close to
where the steamer was made fast. A gentleman came from her to the
steamer; very soon we found he was a Mr. W----, an artist from New York,
and, though he and Doctor Bronson had never met before, they had a good
many mutual acquaintances. The result was we were invited to visit the
dahabeeah, with the understanding that the steamer would give warning of
her readiness to leave by blowing her whistle.

"The dahabeeah is built somewhat after the model of the ships of a
century ago--that is, she is low forward, and has a high cabin aft. The
forward part is appropriated to the crew, and the stern to the
passengers, the sailors only going there for handling the sails or
performing other work. The cabin is entered from the deck, and
consisted, in this instance, of a saloon the whole width of the boat,
with sofas on each side, and nicely fitted with chairs and mirrors.
Beyond the saloon there were four single cabins; at the stern there was
a larger cabin and a bath-room, besides a good-sized closet where linen
and other things were kept. Between the saloon and the entrance there
was a pantry on one side and a room for the dragoman on the other; the
galley or kitchen was near the bow of the boat, and the provisions were
stowed in the hold, or kept in the store-room at the stern.

[Illustration: A PLAGUE OF FLIES.]

"We stayed a little while in the saloon and then went on deck, or to the
roof of the cabin, which was covered with an awning. The air was cooler
here than in the cabin, and, besides, the flies were not as abundant.
Let us remark here that the worst annoyance of the Nile voyage is the
number of flies that you have to fight; they are one of 'the plagues of
Egypt' now, as they were in the time of Moses, and there is no way of
being rid of them.

"Mr. W---- told us that when the wind was light the flies covered the
boat and greatly annoyed them; but they had curtains for the saloon and
the small rooms, and could protect their faces by means of nets drawn
around their hats. The crew, at such times, wrapped their burnouses
around their heads, or sat with switches in their hands to keep away the
pests. Either mode of getting rid of the annoyance was uncomfortable;
it was stifling hot with the head covered, and it required continual
exertion to make the switch effective.

[Illustration: A KANGIA.]

"Our new acquaintance called attention to a freight-boat that lay just
beyond his dahabeeah, and to the general resemblance between the two.
'That boat,' said he, 'is called a _kangia_, and is sometimes used for
travelling purposes by the natives, and by tourists whose purses are
limited. You see it has the shape and style of the dahabeeah, but is
much smaller, and the cabin can only accommodate one or two persons
without crowding. A friend of mine once made the Nile trip in a kangia,
and said he had a good time; but he was young and vigorous, and spoke
sufficient Arabic to get along without a dragoman. The kangia wouldn't
do for persons liable to be incommoded by scanty fare and poor quarters,
and I shouldn't recommend it.'

[Illustration: THE CAPTAIN.]

"While he was telling us that his crew consisted of twelve men and a
captain, besides the dragoman, two cabin servants, and a cook--that
there were four of them in the party, two Americans and two Englishmen,
and giving us other information--the whistle sounded, and we returned to
the steamer. The wind freshened as we went on board, and the dahabeeah
started close behind us, and came ploughing along in our rear. She could
not sail as fast as we steamed, and in an hour or more we lost sight of
her in a bend of the river.

"In the afternoon we passed a cliff on the east bank of the river, where
there is a Coptic convent; its inmates are in the habit of visiting
passing boats to beg for backsheesh, and as we approached the cliff we
saw a dozen or more of their heads in the water. Four of them managed to
get into the small boats that we towed astern, and they did it while we
were going along at full speed.

"How do you suppose they managed it?

"They got out into the river as near as they could to where the steamer
would pass without being liable to be struck by her wheels. As soon as
the wheel was past them they swum with all their might directly toward
the boat, and in this way several succeeded in grasping the skiffs and
climbing into them. They do not swim like ourselves, with both hands
together, but strike out hand-after-hand, or, to express it more
plainly, 'dog-fashion.'

"These men were entirely without clothing, and when they received any
money they put it in their mouths. We gave one of them so many copper
coins that his cheeks were filled almost to bursting, and when he dived
off the boat to go home with his load he appeared as though suffering
from a bad case of inflamed jaw.

"The Doctor says the Copts are supposed to be the descendants of the
ancient Egyptians, and their features closely resemble those that we
find pictured on the walls of the temples and tombs. The most of them
are Christians, and they form about a sixteenth of the population of
Egypt: their ancient language is used in the churches for reading
prayers, just as the Catholics use Latin, and the Russians Sclavonic. In
daily life they speak Arabic: they are better educated than the rest of
the people, and are largely employed in shops and in the government
offices, and frequently go into business for themselves on an extensive
scale.

"The Copts were converted to Christianity very early in the history of
that religion, but their doctrines were so mixed up with Eastern
superstitions and practices that they were denounced by the Church in
the sixth century. They have several convents that are supported by
donations, and the occupants never omit an opportunity to beg. The men
that climbed into our skiffs kept calling out 'backsheesh, howadji--ana
Chritiana' (a present, gentlemen--I am a Christian), and these words
seemed to be their whole stock in trade.

"We did not leave the region of pyramids behind us when we lost sight of
Gizeh and Sakkara. We passed in sight of the Pyramid of Meidoon, which
is older than the Pyramids of Gizeh, and disputes antiquity with those
of Sakkara. The Arabs call it the False Pyramid, as it is built over a
large rock, which forms a considerable part of its solid contents. There
are tombs all around it, and many of them have been explored. Two
statues were found there which belong to the third dynasty, and are
wonderfully life-like in appearance. Quite recently the pyramid has been
opened, and discoveries made that throw considerable light on the
ancient history of the country. We have no time to visit Meidoon, and
perhaps we shall have had enough of antiquities before our voyage on the
Nile is ended.

[Illustration: A GOURD RAFT.]

"We have seen boats of all sizes and shapes; some of them seem to be
perfect reproductions of the craft used by the ancient Egyptians, and
others are more modern. We saw a man fishing on what appeared to be a
raft just large enough to hold him, and it seemed a wonder that his
weight did not sink it. While we were looking at it, Doctor Bronson
explained that it was supported by empty gourds beneath a flooring of
reeds, the gourds being kept from floating away by means of a slight
net-work. Later on we had a chance to examine one of these frail
structures, and make a sketch of it.

[Illustration: THE RAFT SEEN FROM BELOW.]

"Beyond Meidoon we passed a good many sugar plantations, and saw the
steam rising from the engines that drive the heavy machinery. On the
banks of the river there were many _shadoofs_ and _sakkiehs_ at work,
and now and then we saw steam-pumps puffing away, to raise water for
irrigating the fertile land. Many of the large cultivators find it
economical to raise water by steam-power rather than by the old system
of hand-labor, though the high price of coal makes steam-pumping very
costly.

"We are told that no coal is found in Egypt, the entire supply needed
for the railway and other modes of consumption being imported from
England. The government has spent considerable money in looking for
coal, but thus far has found only a few small beds, that will not pay
for working. Perhaps they will find some one of these days, and thus
save a heavy outlay of money every year for imported coal. Private
parties have no inducement to search for this valuable mineral, as the
government would immediately take possession of a coal-mine, and if the
discoverer ventured to object, he might spend the rest of his life in
prison for his impudence."



CHAPTER XII.

SUGAR PLANTATIONS AND MILLS.--SNAKE-CHARMERS.--SIGHTS AT BENI-HASSAN.


The first regular halt of the steamer was at Beni-sooef, where the
passengers were allowed two hours by the printed schedule. Of course
they went on shore at once, and devoted themselves to sight-seeing until
recalled by the whistle. The town has a population of about five
thousand, and is the capital of a province of the same name. Frank and
Fred strolled through the bazaars, but were disappointed, as there was
nothing to be found there which they had not already seen in the bazaars
of Cairo. The trade of the place has diminished considerably, and
Beni-sooef is of less importance to-day than it was three or four
centuries ago.

At Minieh, the next halting-place, they had an opportunity to visit a
sugar-mill, and eagerly embraced it. Minieh is the centre of the sugar
culture in Egypt, and the first sugar-mill in the country was erected
here and is still in operation. Of late years some very large mills have
been built, employing hundreds of people, and during the height of the
season they present a busy scene.

The mill visited by our friends was one of the largest. It was so
constructed that, from the time the cane enters the crushers till the
dry sugar is taken out, there is no lifting or handling of the material,
except in a few instances. The machinery is all of French manufacture,
and very expensive. A large amount of sugar is manufactured here every
year; but there is no profit in the business, partly owing to the great
cost of the mills, and partly, it is whispered, in consequence of the
frauds of the managers.

[Illustration: VIEW ON A SUGAR PLANTATION.]

The sugar culture is in the hands of the Khedive, and about two hundred
and fifty thousand acres of land are devoted to it, chiefly on the west
bank of the Nile between Cairo and Sioot. There are more mills than are
really needed for the amount of sugar made, and there is a large
quantity of machinery which has never been put up, but lies neglected
and rusting on the banks of the river. There is a system of railways for
bringing the cane to the mills, and connected with the line of railway
from Cairo up the Nile. The labor on the sugar estates is very poorly
paid, and more frequently is not paid at all. The laborers are gathered
from the villages along the river, and compelled to work three months on
the sugar estates when they should be cultivating their own fields at
home.

Frank and Fred could not understand this mode of conducting business
till the Doctor explained it to them after their return to the steamer.

"You observed," said the Doctor, "that the laborers included both sexes,
and all ages from five years old to fifty or sixty."

"Yes," answered one of the youths; "and I saw that they did not take
much interest in their work, and appeared to be half starved."

"You will not be surprised at it," replied Doctor Bronson, "when I tell
you they are never paid in money, with the exception of the chiefs of
gangs, and the men in charge of the machinery.

"They receive a daily allowance of bread; it is not such bread as we are
accustomed to, but simply coarsely ground wheat flour, containing a
liberal proportion of mud and chopped straw, and very carelessly baked.
With so bad a quality you might suppose the quantity would be abundant,
but it is not; a laborer can devour his day's allowance at a single
meal, and frequently it is not enough to satisfy his hunger."

"But is that all they get?" one of the boys asked.

"That is frequently all they get," was the reply. "True, they are
promised something more, but they do not often receive it.

"According to an official report on the subject," the Doctor continued,
"the wages of hands in the factories are fixed at fifteen cents a day
for a man, and eight cents for a boy, while those of the field hands are
eight cents for a man, and five for a boy. And when they are paid at all
it is invariably in _kind_--that is, in grain, sugar, or molasses, at a
high price--and not in money. It is difficult for them to sell these
articles, and the best they can do is to eat them, or perhaps barter
them off for something more desirable. Not one laborer in twenty has
anything to show for his work on the sugar estates or in the factories
except his thin cheeks, and the bones half protruding from his skin."

"It is no wonder," said Fred, "that they begged so hard for backsheesh,
and that they seemed, unlike the Arabs of Cairo, to be very grateful
when we gave them some small coins."

Frank thought it very strange that the sugar culture in Egypt should be
unprofitable when the labor cost next to nothing. The Doctor answered
that it would undoubtedly pay handsomely whenever it was honestly and
economically managed, but from present indications there was no prospect
of a change for the better.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A SUGAR-MILL.]

After visiting the sugar-mill our friends went to the market-square of
Minieh, where a juggler was amusing a crowd of natives with his tricks.
His performances were not remarkable for any particular skill, but they
served to entertain the people, though he did not succeed in drawing
much money from them. After pretending to swallow knives, coins, and
other inconvenient and indigestible things, he drew some snakes from a
basket and twined them around his neck.

Everybody was inclined to stand at a respectful distance during this
part of the show. Whenever the juggler wished to enlarge the circle of
spectators, he put the snake on the ground, and the crowd immediately
fell back without being invited to do so. The snake was a huge fellow,
seven or eight feet long, and perfectly black. The Doctor said he was
not dangerous, so far as his bite was concerned, as he belonged to the
family of constrictors, and killed his prey by tightening his coils
around it.

[Illustration: A SECURE POINT OF VIEW.]

Doctor Bronson farther explained to the youths that the snake-charmers
of Egypt are a peculiar class. They give exhibitions in the streets in
front of houses, and when they do so the favorite place for seeing the
show is an upper window or balcony, as in that case the spectator is out
of the reach of any possible harm. There are several snakes in Egypt,
but only two or three of them are poisonous. The _cobra di capella_, the
famous hooded snake of India, is often carried about by the performers;
but he is imported from the land of his nativity, and does not belong to
the Valley of the Nile. Before he is used for show purposes he is
deprived of his fangs, and is therefore harmless, but it is not a
pleasing sight to see him strike as though he meant serious business.

The Egyptian snake-charmers have a way of making a living by going to
houses, and pretending to discover that snakes are concealed about the
walls. They offer to remove them for a stipulated sum, and their
proposal is generally accepted. Then they begin a sort of incantation,
calling upon the snake to come forth, and threatening him with death if
he does not. In a little while the snake falls from the ceiling or from
a crack in the wall, and is picked up by the performer and exhibited to
the family as proof of his skill, and that he has earned his money.

"Of course it is strongly suspected," the Doctor continued, "that the
charmer secretly liberates the snake, or hires a confederate to do so,
in order that he may obtain pay for catching him. This is undoubtedly
the case in many instances, as the performer generally operates in a
room where there is little light, and nobody is inclined to come near
him for fear of being bitten. But not infrequently he has to perform in
an open court-yard where there are many spectators, and sometimes he is
taken suddenly to a house, and carefully examined before he begins
operations. His trick, if it be one, has never been discovered, and the
Egyptian snake-charmer may be considered, on the whole, quite as skilful
as his fellow-craftsman in India."

One of the most deadly serpents of Egypt is the asp, which was made
famous centuries ago by Cleopatra. There is another poisonous snake
called the _naya_; it is of a greenish-brown color, and has a hood that
expands like that of the Indian cobra when the snake is enraged. Some
authorities suppose that the serpent with which Cleopatra killed
herself, after the death of Marc Antony, is none other than the naya.
This is the snake which appears so often among the Egyptian
hieroglyphics, and it was worshipped as the representative of one of the
divinities in the days of the Pharaohs. A person who is bitten by a naya
generally dies in a few minutes, and thus far no antidote has been
discovered for its poison.

Sight-seeing among the temples and tombs of Upper Egypt began at
Beni-Hassan, about fifteen miles above Minieh. The boat touched at the
landing-place, and the natives came down in dozens, bringing their
donkeys for the tourists to ride to the tombs, three miles away. The
natives had a most villainous appearance, and the donkeys, while no
doubt more honest than their owners, were, if possible, less
respectable, so far as looks were concerned. The people at Beni-Hassan
have long had a bad reputation, and they were so notorious for their
thievery during the reign of Ibrahim Pacha that he sent a military force
to destroy their village and scatter its occupants. The village has been
rebuilt, and the people have assembled again, but neither has improved
by the severe lesson given by the son of Mohammed Ali.

Frank and Fred selected two of the donkeys, and their saddles were
brought out and placed on the beasts. The Doctor likewise obtained a
donkey; but he afterward said that the most agreeable way of riding the
animal was to walk by his side. His donkey had a habit of sitting down
suddenly, very much to the inconvenience of the rider, and no doubt
induced by the weight of the latter. Frank had not gone a dozen yards
before he was pitched over the head of his steed, to the great amusement
of Fred. While the latter was laughing over the discomfiture of his
cousin, he found himself stretched on the sand, and speedily concluded
that the similarity of position left no farther reason for being amused.
They remounted with greater caution; but it was observed that they had
quite enough of saddle exercise on their way to the tombs, and concluded
to walk back to the boat.

The rest of the party met with varied mishaps on their way to the tombs,
but nobody was seriously hurt, and all were inclined to laugh over the
incidents of the ride, particularly those that happened to others. It is
a curious circumstance that it is much more ludicrous to see some one
else pitched over the head of a donkey, and left sprawling in the sand,
than to be pitched over and sprawled yourself. Of course we refer only
to Egypt in commenting on this matter; but it has been said in America
that the fun of a mishap or a practical joke is never as apparent to the
victim of it as to his friends.

But the troubles of the ride were forgotten when the party reached the
tombs which they went to see.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A TOMB AT BENI-HASSAN.]

The tombs of Beni-Hassan are hewn in the solid rock, some in a cliff
overlooking the Nile, and others in a valley running back from the
river. The rock is a soft limestone, which is very easy to quarry, and
some geologists think it was even softer five thousand years ago than at
present. A great deal of labor was devoted to it, and the inscriptions
on the walls are so numerous that very little space is left uncovered.
Some of the tombs are entered through door-ways on a level with the
floor, and others can only be reached by means of ladders.

[Illustration: SECTION OF A TOMB.]

The tombs are cut with pillars and vaulted roofs, in imitation of
buildings; they belong to the eleventh and twelfth dynasties of ancient
Egypt, and are therefore older than the tombs and temples of Thebes, but
more modern than the Pyramids of Sakkara and Gizeh. They were made for
the resting-places of kings and priests, but were rifled of their
contents centuries ago; their chief value at present is in the
sculptures, which represent many of the trades and occupations of the
ancient Egyptians, and thus throw a vivid light on their daily life.

Frank wrote the following in his note-book on his return to the steamer:

"We have been able to see to-day how the ancient Egyptians lived, and
what they did; and it seems as if I have only to close my eyes and
imagine myself carried back five thousand years. There are barbers at
work on their customers, and closely reminding us of the barbers of
to-day; there are shoemakers cutting the leather, and preparing the
thread for stitching shoes and sandals together; and there are spinners
and weavers at work, the former using the spindle just as it is now used
in nearly all countries, and will probably be used as long as the world
stands.

[Illustration: SPINNING AND WEAVING.]

"There are glass-blowers and jewellers employed at their trades, both
using the familiar blow-pipe, and evidently understanding it as
perfectly as one could wish. Painters are busy with their brushes, some
making pictures on panels or on sheets of papyrus, and others engaged in
coloring statues or decorating walls. There are tailors and carpenters,
boat-builders and stone-cutters, and there is a series of pictures
representing the whole process of preparing flax, and making it into
twine and cloth. One man brings water to fill a tank, in which other men
are placing the flax; beyond the tank two men are beating the flax after
it has been properly soaked; others are twisting the fibres into yarn;
others make the yarn into ropes or cloth; and, lastly, two men hold up a
piece of cloth that has just been finished. No description in words
could be more clear than is this pictorial representation.

[Illustration: ARTISTS AT WORK.]

"But industry is not the only thing seen on the walls of the tombs of
Beni-Hassan. Musicians are playing on instruments of different kinds.
Men and women are dancing or singing, others are seated at table or
around fish-ponds, and others are playing ball, throwing heavy stones,
or engaged at games similar to our chess or backgammon. They knew how to
enjoy themselves fifty centuries ago no less than now. There are
unpleasant things, too, depicted on the walls of the tombs: some of the
tortures of prisoners are shown, and in one of the paintings several
peasants are being held on the ground while a man strikes them across
the shoulders with a heavy whip.

[Illustration: FISHING SCENE AT BENI-HASSAN.]

"In one of the tombs there is a picture representing the arrival of some
strangers, and their presentation to the King. This was long thought to
be the arrival of Joseph and his brethren; but as the tombs are known to
have been made several hundred years before Joseph was born, the
pictures must refer to somebody else. There are thirty-seven figures in
all in this group, and their faces and style of dress show that they
came from some other country than Egypt.

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT DONKEY.]

"We found a picture of a donkey with a saddle on his back exactly like
the one he wears to-day for carrying burdens. There are several
representations of this patient little beast, not only at Beni-Hassan,
but in the tomb of Tih, at Sakkara; in the latter whole droves are
shown, so that the donkey must have been a common beast of burden in
ancient, as he his in modern Egypt. If there were any doubt on the
subject it could be settled by reference to the Old Testament, where the
donkey, or ass, is frequently mentioned.

"The conductor interrupted us in the middle of our studies of the
sculptures, and said it was time to move on. We went to several tombs
and found something interesting in all of them; we have not time to
describe a tenth of what we saw, and, if you want to learn more about
the place, we must refer you to the descriptions by Wilkinson and
others. These gentlemen spent a long time here making sketches, and
taking impressions by means of wet paper; as far as we know, their
descriptions are accurate, though they do not always agree as to the
exact meaning of the hieroglyphics which are above some of the pictures.

[Illustration: A RESPECTABLE CITIZEN.]

"When we came back to the boat we were annoyed by the natives begging
for backsheesh; they were nearly as persistent as the Arabs at the
pyramids, and if we had been a small party they might have been
insolent. As soon as we were on board the steamer they gathered on the
bank close to it, and kept up such a howl that one of the passengers
threw a few copper coins for them to scramble after.

"How they rolled over each other, and tossed the dust in the air! Every
time a coin was thrown, there was a rush for it, and the rule seemed to
be that might made right. The small children were pushed aside by the
larger boys, and several times they would fight for the possession of a
penny till both the combatants were exhausted, and had to stop to take
breath.

"Some coins were thrown into the shallow water at the stern of the boat,
and instantly the boys flung off their scanty clothing and plunged in.
They would not go far out from the bank, or, rather, they would not try
to find coins in any depth where they could not wade; the water of the
Nile is not at all transparent, and it was probably because they could
not see to any depth that they refused to dive. We fastened a coin in a
piece of wood and threw it far out into the river; half a dozen of the
boys swum for it, and there was a very pretty race between them to get
the prize. It was far better than the rough scramble on the bank, and we
repeated the performance several times till the boat was ready to start
from the landing-place.

"These boys are excellent swimmers, and now that the crocodiles have
pretty well disappeared from the Nile below the first cataract, they do
not run much risk in exercising in the water. Doctor Bronson says there
were many crocodiles in the river thirty years ago, but they have been
hunted so much by tourists that very few of them are left."

[Illustration: AN OLD INHABITANT.]



CHAPTER XIII.

SIOOT, THE ANCIENT LYCOPOLIS.--SCENES ON THE RIVER.


From Beni-sooef the steamer proceeded to Sioot, or Asyoot, a city of
twenty-five thousand inhabitants, and one of the most important places
of Upper Egypt. It is about two miles back from the river, from which
water is brought by a canal, and the roadway passes along a high
embankment lined with shade-trees. Just at the entrance of the city
there is a picturesque gate-way, which reminded our friends of some of
the gates of Cairo. The city is on the site of the ancient Lycopolis,
and has borne its present name for more than two thousand years.
Nevertheless it is called a modern town by most of the writers on
Egyptian history, and is not allowed any claim to antiquity.

[Illustration: A SCENE NEAR SIOOT.]

"At the landing-place of Sioot," said the boys in their journal, "we
found better donkeys than at Beni-sooef, and were able to ride with
some degree of comfort. We went first to some tombs which are cut in
the side of the mountain overlooking the valley, and were the
burial-places of the ancient Lycopolis. There are a good many of them,
and they were formerly well filled with mummies, but at present the
mummies are gone, and the tombs contain nothing worth carrying away.
According to the historical accounts the inhabitants of Lycopolis
worshipped the wolf as a divinity, and when the tombs were plundered a
good many mummies of wolves were found in them.

"The view from the mountain where these tombs were excavated is very
pretty, as it embraces a considerable extent of the Nile Valley; some
writers have called it the finest in all Egypt, as there is an unbroken
view for several miles of beautiful green such as you find nowhere else
in the world. Dean Stanley was charmed with the spot, and compared the
mud villages that are scattered among the luxuriant fields to the marks
of a soiled foot on a rich carpet. The mountain has an additional
interest to many people, as the caves in its sides were the homes of the
early Christians during the periods of persecution.

[Illustration: SCENE IN THE BAZAARS.]

"We had been told that the bazaars of Sioot were almost as fine as those
of Cairo, though naturally less extensive, and so we hurried down from
the mountain in order to see as much as possible of the place.

"It happened to be market-day when we were there, much to our delight,
as it enabled us to see what the country-people had brought in for sale.
The market square was crowded with people, and also with donkeys and
camels, and we had to keep both eyes wide open to escape being run over
or knocked down. The camels were specially dangerous, as they seemed to
have adopted the motto of the donkey dancing among the chickens--'Let
everybody look out for his own feet!' They had great loads of
sugar-canes or fresh cut grass, and as these loads stuck out on each
side they needed a wide path, and took it too. It was a wonder that they
didn't kill somebody, or, at any rate, do a good deal of damage, but
somehow they didn't.

"All over the square were groups of men and women with heaps of
sugar-cane, palm-stalks, beans, pease, wheat, and other products of the
soil for sale. Nobody seemed to be in a hurry, and every transaction
required a great deal of bargaining before it was concluded. All around
the edge of the square was a fringe of solemn old Arabs, whose entire
occupation appeared to be to sit on the ground and smoke their pipes.
The stem of each pipe was about four feet long and made of a hollow
reed, and when a man is engaged in smoking one of these pipes he can do
very little else. In this part of the world the pipe is a very
cumbersome thing, and occupies the entire attention of the smoker.

"One of the most interesting parts of the market at Sioot was the place
where donkeys were sold. We went to see them, and asked the prices; but
as the natives knew we did not want to buy any, they put the figures
absurdly high. We found out that good ones could be bought for thirty or
forty dollars--just good common donkeys for every-day wear; but if you
wanted a fancy animal, you must go much higher. A hundred dollars would
buy a handsome one, with a great deal of 'style' and corresponding
strength, and there were some for which two hundred dollars had been
refused. A two hundred dollar donkey is something that only the wealthy
can afford.

[Illustration: ROOM IN AN ORIENTAL HOUSE.]

"We had a chance to go into a fine house, and of course we embraced it
at once. We passed through a gate-way with a lofty arch, and entered a
narrow passage that led to the principal room of the building. They tell
us that this passage-way is generally made crooked, in order that people
on the street cannot look inside when the doors are open by any chance;
this is especially the case with the women's apartments, into which no
man except the master is allowed to look under any pretence, and great
care is taken that he shall not do so. We were shown into the
reception-room, which had low windows that only let in a dim light: we
wondered at this, until our guide explained that it was desirable to
exclude the heat as much as possible, and therefore the windows were
made low and the walls very thick. At one end of the room there was a
platform six inches higher than the floor; there was an alcove in the
middle of this platform, which was supposed to face toward Mecca, and,
consequently, it was the place of worship at the hours when prayers were
said.

"There were no chairs in the room, and no tables whatever; the only
furniture we saw were some divans like wide sofas, and on these we were
invited to sit while the servants brought coffee for us to drink. There
were heavy cushions at the back of the divans, and these are arranged so
that they can be moved around just as one may desire in order to make
himself comfortable. The Orientals sit cross-legged on these divans, and
not after our style; and if you invite them to occupy an arm-chair they
will quite likely double up into it, and put their feet beneath them. It
is torture for them to sit as we do, just as it is torture for us to sit
in the Oriental way.

[Illustration: AN ORIENTAL GENTLEMAN.]

"The ordinary mode of sitting on one of these divans is to get into a
corner, or rather to make one by piling two of the cushions together
across the divan. If an Oriental gentleman receives you, it is quite
likely you will find him sitting as we have described, with his feet
gathered under him, and his shoes lying where he can easily step into
them in case he wishes to rise. In this position he will sit for hours
perfectly contented, or, what is quite as likely, he will fall back on
the divan and go to sleep. The divans are occupied pretty much all the
time, as they are used to sit upon during the day, and form
sleeping-couches by night. As they are rarely less than three feet wide,
are well stuffed, and covered with cloth resembling chintz, they are not
to be despised, and form excellent substitutes for beds.

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN LAMP.]

"There was a handsome lamp in the hall-way of the house, and the Doctor
told us it was much like the lamps that are used for decorating the
mosques. It hung under a wooden frame in the shape of a six-pointed
star. The ornamentation upon the outside of the body of the lamp was in
curious patterns of arabesque design; the light was given by a series of
little cups hanging on the outside, and not by the lamp itself. Each
cup was partly filled with oil, and a tiny wick floated on its surface,
and gave out a small blaze of light. It reminded us of the floating
wicks for burning in a sick-room at home, and we readily understood why
there were so many of them. A single flame would not have been enough to
light the hall-way, and it was only by employing a great many that the
proper illumination could be secured.

"On leaving the house we went to the bazaars, which were crowded with
people, partly because it was market-day, when so many country people,
men and women, came to town, and partly because of the large party of
strangers that had landed from the steamboat, and were sure to be in the
bazaars before continuing their journey.

"We bought some fans of ostrich feathers, which were offered for about
half of what they would cost in Cairo. Sioot is one of the
starting-points of the caravan routes to the regions where ostriches
abound, and it is only natural that these things should be cheaper here
than farther down the river. We also bought some cups and saucers, and a
few pipe-bowls, made of a fine clay peculiar to the neighborhood of
Sioot, and highly prized throughout Egypt. Of course we were obliged to
bargain a long time to save ourselves from being cheated. It is of no
use to tell these people you are in a hurry, and must have the lowest
price at once; they cannot understand you, and will lose the chance of
selling their goods rather than change their mode of dealing.

"Leaving Sioot we found ourselves in a region where the river winds
considerably. The wind blowing from the north does not choose to follow
all the bends of the Nile. A boat sailing up the stream will have a fair
wind one hour and an adverse one the next, and when she finds both wind
and current against her she must wait for a change in the breeze, or
send the crew out with the tow-line. Towing up stream is slow work, but
it is better than no progress at all. Ten or fifteen miles a day may be
made by it, and sometimes as many as twenty miles, and if the passengers
have a fondness for hunting they can indulge it very easily. Sometimes a
walk of a few miles will cover a whole day's journey of the dahabeeah
while she is working around a bend, and even the steamer is not averse
to gaining distance while her passengers are on shore.

"Towing is the hardest part of the occupation of the crew of a Nile
boat. They are harnessed like horses, and attached to a rope which is
taken to the bank. The captain remains on board to steer the craft, and
if the sailors are remiss in their work he shouts to them in a voice the
reverse of pleasing; and while it is a laborious task for the men it is
a severe trial to the passengers, this dragging along at a snail's pace,
and listening to the imprecations of the captain, which grate harshly
on the ear, even though they are uttered in an unknown tongue.

[Illustration: PIGEON-HOUSES.]

"We wound along the river, sometimes close to the cliffs that form the
eastern bank, and sometimes in the midst of a fertile plain, with the
desert at a distance. We passed several villages, and the conductor told
us their names; but as they were all pretty much alike, we did not think
it worth while to write them down. An interesting feature of the
villages was the great number of pigeon-houses, some of them standing by
themselves, and others built on the tops of dwellings. The pigeons are
kept in great flocks. Sometimes they are owned in common by a whole
village, while at others they are the private property of individuals.
The guano from the pigeon-houses is carefully saved for enriching the
melon patches; and, where the house is the common property of the
village, the key is kept by the sheik or chief. Some of the houses are
like square towers, with a great many holes where the birds enter, and
the inside of the walls is full of niches, where the pigeons make their
nests. Others are of a circular shape, and have protuberances on the top
like chimneys, which are filled with holes for admitting the pigeons,
but too small for the hawks and other birds of prey that pursue them.

[Illustration: THE ORIENTAL PIGEON.]

"The pigeons get their living in the fields around the village, and
sometimes they do a great deal of damage. When the grain begins to ripen
the people erect booths in the midst of the fields, where men are
stationed to frighten away the birds. They are armed with slings, with
which they can throw stones to a considerable distance, and they keep up
the alarm by blowing horns and making other noises. That the ancient
Egyptians had the same practices we learn from the paintings in the
tombs, where men are represented standing on platforms and using the
sling to frighten away the thieving birds.

[Illustration: A WATCHMAN'S BOOTH.]

"The abundance of pigeons in this part of Egypt is shown by the
frequency with which the bird appears on our table. We have broiled
pigeon for breakfast, cold pigeon for lunch, and roast pigeon for
dinner. We do not have cold pigeon for supper, and probably this can be
accounted for by the fact that we do not have any supper at all. They
give us a cup of tea and a piece of dry cake in the evening, and it is
quite possible that if anybody asked for pigeon he would be
accommodated; but nobody seems to want it.

"We met some funny-looking rafts a few miles above Sioot, and wondered
what they could be. They did not appear to be made of logs, or barrels,
or anything of the sort, and yet they were floating along, and each
carried two or three men. What do you suppose they were?

"Doctor Bronson said they were made up of large jars for holding water,
and were principally from a town called Ballas. The jars are arranged in
rows, with the mouth uppermost, and when enough of them have been put
together to form a raft, they are enclosed in a frame of poles and
reeds; then they are ready to float down the river to Cairo, where they
are sold. The jar is made of a porous clay that lets the water filter
slowly through it. Every few hours the men in charge of the raft must
bail out their conveyance, which they do by means of a sponge or bunch
of reeds lowered into each jar. Unless they do this the raft would soon
take in water enough to sink it, and not only would the jars be lost,
but the men would run the risk of being drowned into the bargain.

[Illustration: INFLATED SKIN RAFT (FROM ASSYRIAN SCULPTURE).]

"It seemed so funny to make up a raft in this way, but the Doctor
informed us that the idea was a very old one. He said it was in practice
among the ancient Assyrians, as there were pictures on the walls of
their temples of men rowing rafts made of inflated skins, which were
preferred to jars on account of their obviating the necessity of
frequent bailing.

"We thought of the scriptural phrase, and asked, 'Is there anything new
under the sun?'

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT LIFE-PRESERVER.]

"'There are fewer new things than you might suppose,' was the Doctor's
reply. 'Perhaps you think the inflated life-preserver is a modern
invention, but it isn't. The Assyrians had it centuries ago; and we
learn from their sculptures that their warriors used to swim across
rivers on the skins of goats that were filled with air, just as we fill
the life-preservers that we buy in New York or London. I believe that a
patent was granted to the modern inventor, but the Assyrian was
thousands of years ahead of him.'

"One of us suggested that perhaps the modern inventor was honest, and
thought he really had made an entirely new thing.

"'That is quite likely,' the Doctor answered. 'Many a man has applied
for a patent on something that he had honestly invented; he thought it
out himself, and kept it from the knowledge of everybody else till he
sent his model to the Patent-office. Then he learned to his surprise
that his invention was an old one, and either secured already, or had
been so long in use that no one could get a patent for it. The experts
in the Patent-office at Washington could tell you of hundreds of
instances of this kind, and they could also tell you that it not
unfrequently happens that two or three persons in different parts of the
country, and wholly unknown to each other, have hit upon the same thing
at almost the same moment, without the least suspicion that either of
them knew what the other was doing.

"'One instance that occurs to me is of the use of chloroform and similar
substances for preventing pain during surgical operations. There were no
less than four claimants to the honor of the discovery of anæsthetics,
and monuments have been erected to the memory of two of these gentlemen.
There is no ground for believing that either of them encroached on the
other, for their experiments were quite independent, and in different
parts of the country, and each believed he was the first in the field.
The invention of printing by means of movable types is claimed for two
men; the steam-engine had two or three inventors, and so had the system
of electric telegraphy. A curious circumstance is that many things which
have been considered new in our times were known to the ancients. Samuel
Colt received a patent for the revolving pistol, when the same weapon
had been made in Europe two or three centuries ago; and patents have
been taken out for the invention of things that were afterward found in
the ruins of Pompeii, where they had been buried for 1800 years. Of
course there are many new things under the sun, but not everything is
new that appears so when we first see it.'"

[Illustration: MODERN "KELEKS," OR SKIN RAFTS.]



CHAPTER XIV.

GIRGEH AND KENEH.--THE TEMPLES OF ABYDUS AND DENDERAH.--AN EGYPTIAN
DANCE.


[Illustration: GIRGEH.]

The first halting-place above Sioot was Girgeh, which may be considered
the Arabic for George, as the place was named in honor of the saint
whose history is intimately connected with the dragon. St. George is the
patron saint of the Christians of Egypt, and there was a Coptic convent
at Girgeh, four or five centuries ago, that was named after him. It
supported two hundred monks and had a large revenue; but its inhabitants
died during a visitation of the plague, and for some time the buildings
were without tenants. At present there is a small convent or monastery
at Girgeh, and it is said to be the oldest establishment of the kind in
Egypt. The superior is a European, but the rest of the members are
native Egyptians. Formerly the town was some distance back from the
river, but the Nile has so changed its course that Girgeh is now on the
very brink of the stream, and some of its houses have been washed away.

It was announced that the party would land at Girgeh to visit the ruins
of the ancient Abydus, or Thinis, twelve miles away; during their
absence the boat would proceed to Bellianeh, where they would find it at
the end of their excursion. The start was made immediately after
breakfast, not without considerable opposition on the part of the
donkeys, and a wrangle with the natives over the question of backsheesh.

[Illustration: SCENE DURING THE INUNDATION.]

The road lay through fields of sugar-cane, pease, beans, and other
products of the Egyptian soil; many of them were in blossom, and the
boys thought the scene was the richest they had yet encountered during
their visit to the country. Frank remarked the great contrast between
the luxuriant fields and the miserable villages of the natives. The
villages here, as elsewhere in the valley, are generally built on
mounds, so as to keep them out of the reach of the water when the river
overflows its banks. During the season of the inundation the whole
country is overflowed, and the natives cannot go from their villages
except in boats, or unless they choose to swim. Cattle seek the mounds
for safety; and sometimes, when the banks give way, and the river rises
suddenly, many of them are drowned. The people go out with boats to
secure their goats, cows, and oxen, and the scene is a very active one.
Until the water subsides the villages are indiscriminately filled with
live stock and their owners, and sometimes there is an animated contest
between them for the right of occupation.

At every village the children came out and begged for backsheesh, and
their appearance was quite in keeping with the squalid aspect of the mud
huts where they lived. Frank wondered that they managed to reach the
age of ten years in such habitations, and the Doctor replied that it was
a proof that the human race is capable of living anywhere, if it will
only try.

[Illustration: A CAMEL ON HIS WAY TO PASTURE.]

There was the usual excitement among the cows and chickens at the
presence of the strangers; in two or three cases the cows broke the
ropes by which they were tethered, and scampered into the villages as
though they feared immediate conversion into beef. The boys observed
that the cows were required to cut their own fodder; they were tethered
in the rich grass, and required to eat the spot entirely clean before
their locations were changed. Evidently it was not the custom to allow
them to run loose and help themselves. Now and then the tall form of a
camel was visible, either carrying a burden of some sort or tethered
out, like the cows and oxen.

A ride of three hours brought the party to the object of their
excursion, the Temple of Abydus. Frank and Fred will tell us about it.

"The Temple of Abydus is one of the most interesting in Egypt, as it is
quite extensive, and its architectural character is excellent. We
admired its vast proportions, the massive pillars covered with
sculptures, and the walls that were everywhere blazing with
hieroglyphics representing scenes of the country's glory. And while we
were studying all these things we looked around for the Doctor, and
could not find him.

"Pretty soon he re-appeared, and said the historical interest of the
place was in a narrow passage-way leading from the second hall to a
small inner chamber.

"We went there with him, and he pointed to the eastern wall of the
passage. There were some hieroglyphics we could not understand, and we
asked what they were.

[Illustration: HEADS OF CAPTIVES OF RAMESES II.]

"'They are the names of seventy-six kings,' said the Doctor, 'to whom
Sethi I., the founder and builder of the temple, and father of Rameses
II., is offering homage. The list begins with Menes, the founder of the
first dynasty, and ends with the name of Sethi. Rameses II. is offering
homage with his father, and for this reason it has been supposed that
the list was made by Rameses after Sethi's death. The list is called
"The Tablet of Abydus," and is of great value to the writers on Egyptian
history; a similar list, but badly mutilated, was found in a temple near
here, and carried to the British Museum. There is some dispute as to
whether it is a full or only partial list of the kings of Egypt, but in
either case it is of great historical interest.'

"Abydus was second only to Thebes in importance, and was for a long time
the capital of Egypt. Several temples, or rather their ruins, have been
discovered here, and it is thought that others are still buried in the
sand. A great many tombs have been opened, and where their contents were
of any consequence they were carried to the museum at Cairo, or sent to
the large collections in Europe.

"One of the temples that we visited was in a very ruined state; it must
have been a magnificent structure in the days of its perfection, as the
walls were lined with alabaster and covered with beautiful sculptures,
all painted in colors that still remain. Some of the smaller rooms in
the great temple were roofed with large stones placed on their edges, an
arch was made in the stones, and then the whole of the cut surface was
covered with hieroglyphics, which are as perfect as the day they were
made. The sand that buried these temples for so many centuries was in
one way their preserver.

[Illustration: A LUNCH-PARTY OF OTHER DAYS.]

"We took our lunch in the great hall of the temple, and it was an odd
sight to see a group of Americans, English, and other modern people
seated among the columns of this ancient edifice, engaged in picking the
flesh from the bones of chickens, or devouring sandwiches, or slices of
cold beef. Doctor Bronson leaned against one of the columns, and his
hunger made him quite forget that his shoulders pressed upon the feet of
a sculptured king, who had been patient and chickenless for many hundred
years, and was totally unmoved by the incidents of modern days. Wonder
if they had sandwiches and kindred things in the time of Sethi I., and
is it possible that they used silver-plated knives and forks, or drank
cold tea from glass tumblers?

"Of the great city that once stood here nothing remains but heaps of
rubbish, ruined temples and tombs, and a miserable village with a few
dozen inhabitants, who live by what they can extort from visitors.

"We returned to the steamer at Bellianeh by a road only half as long as
that from Girgeh. The route was pretty much the same, as it lay through
richly-tilled fields, and passed near several small villages of mud huts
and muddy inhabitants. At Bellianeh there was the usual crowd of
beggars, and we varied the monotony by throwing copper coins into heaps
of dust, where the children scrambled for them.

"Just by the stern of the boat there was a dust-heap about forty feet
high, and very steep on the sides; one of the passengers threw a coin so
that it struck about midway from top to bottom of the heap, and what a
scramble there was for it! Those at the top rolled down, and those below
climbed up. During the struggle they raised a perfect cloud, and several
of them tumbled into the river.

"Somebody got the money, and then they made signs for trying it again.
Another copper was thrown, and then another, and the children evidently
enjoyed the fun, and wanted it kept up as long as the boat remained.

"While they were in the midst of the sport two or three men, who
appeared to be elders of the village, came with whips and ordered the
boys away. The passengers sent the conductor to argue with them to let
the sport go on; his argument was very short, and consisted in giving
each man a franc to go away. They accepted the money and walked off. The
instant they were out of sight the performance was renewed, and it
continued till the boat swung out and moved up the river. We had several
swimming matches, like those we had farther down the Nile. Some of the
boys were very expert swimmers, and seemed as much adapted for the water
as for the land."

From Bellianeh the steamer proceeded to Keneh, an important town on the
east bank of the Nile, and the terminus of a caravan road from Kosseir,
on the Red Sea. Formerly it had a considerable trade with the Red Sea,
but since the opening of the Suez Canal, and the facilities it affords
for steam communication with Alexandria, the business has declined very
greatly. At one time it supplied a large part of the Arabian coast with
corn, which was carried on camels to Kosseir, and then shipped to the
points where it was wanted.

The town stands a couple of miles back from the river, and is on the
site of an ancient city, though it contains no ruins of any consequence.
At the landing-place Frank saw a large pile of jars or water-bottles
made of porous clay, and, on asking about them, he learned that a
considerable trade in these articles was carried on from Keneh, which
had the reputation of making them better than any other place on the
Nile.

Of course this assertion excited his curiosity, and led him to wonder
why the potters of Keneh should be more expert than other men in the
same occupation.

"It is not the potters, but the material they work with," replied the
Doctor, "that makes the superiority of the water-bottles of Keneh."

"How is that?"

"Close to the town there is a bed of clay," was the response, "which is
said to be peculiarly adapted to the manufacture of these bottles. It is
mixed with the ashes of halfa grass in certain proportions, and must be
well mixed while both substances are in a dry state. Then the mixture is
moistened, and is ready for the potter. We will see one of the
establishments where the work is performed."

On their way to the town our friends visited a shed where several
potters were engaged at their trade. The soft clay was placed on a
horizontal wheel, which was turned rapidly either by the hand or the
foot of the workman; while it revolved with its plastic burden the
fingers of the potter gave the bottle its shape, and the whole operation
was very quickly accomplished. Then the bottle was carefully removed,
and placed where it could dry in the open air, and the wheel was ready
for fashioning another.

[Illustration: ANCIENT POTTERS AT WORK.]

The Doctor explained that the modes of making these bottles had changed
very little in five thousand years, as they could see by the pictures on
the walls of the tombs. The ancient Egyptians were familiar with the
wheel and its uses; the potter of the time of Rameses II. manipulated
the clay in the same manner as his descendant of to-day, and he
doubtless knew the necessary proportions of clay and sifted ashes for
making his composition.

[Illustration: ANCIENT VASES, CUPS, AND WATER-JARS.]

The boys had already observed the porous character of the Egyptian
water-bottle. It allows the water to pass through so freely that the
outside is constantly wet; in the dry air of Egypt this outside water
evaporates rapidly, and every student of natural philosophy knows that
evaporation produces coolness. Especially is this the case if the bottle
is placed where there is a current of air, as the evaporation is greatly
increased by the action of the wind. One day the boys made an experiment
with one of these bottles with the following result:

The temperature of the air was 81° Fahrenheit, and so was that of the
water with which the bottle was filled. It was hung in a shady place,
where there was a good draught, and in half an hour a thermometer
lowered into the bottle showed that the water had fallen to 63°, or
eighteen less than the surrounding temperature.

This process, or a similar one, is in use in all hot countries. Doctor
Bronson told the youths that he had seen bottles very like the Egyptian
ones in Mexico and South America. In some cases, where the material was
not porous, the coolness was produced by wrapping a piece of cloth
around a bottle, and keeping it constantly wet while hanging in a
current of air.

[Illustration: DATE-PALMS, NEAR KENEH.]

Another feature of Keneh that attracted attention was the remarkably
fine dates that were offered for sale. The dates of Keneh have an
excellent reputation in the markets of Cairo and Alexandria, and
generally bring a high price. They are not pressed into a solid mass,
like most of the dates sold in America, but each one is separate from
the others, and only the best are selected for packing. Our friends
bought several boxes of these dates, and kept them in their rooms on the
steamboat with the intention of taking them to Cairo; but, like many
other good intentions, their scheme fell through, as the sweetness and
delicate flavor of the contents of the boxes were temptations that could
not be resisted. Continual dropping is said to wear away stone, and Fred
remarked that continual nibbling would wear away the best box of dates
ever known.

The boat was to remain at the landing during the night and until the
greater part of the following day, and so our friends had the evening
for seeing Keneh. An invitation came for some of the passengers to visit
the German Consulate, and witness a characteristic dance of the country.
The invitation included Doctor Bronson, and Frank, and Fred, and at the
appointed hour the party set out. On reaching the Consulate, they were
ushered into a large hall that seemed to have been fitted up for the
special entertainment of Europeans, as it was furnished with chairs
instead of divans, and the consul, though a native, was in European
dress.

[Illustration: ANCIENT DANCERS AND MUSICIANS.]

After a little delay the dance was announced, and the dancers made their
appearance. There were four of them, and they were accompanied by two
musicians, one playing the nay, and the other the darabookah, both of
which have been already described. The musicians settled on the floor in
one corner of the apartment, and the dancers stepped to the middle of
the room. At a signal from the master of the house the dance began.

[Illustration: A MODERN MUSICIAN.]

The dancers were young women, who were rather fantastically dressed.
They wore "rings on their fingers and bells on their toes," as the old
nursery rhyme has it, and their heads and necks were covered with a
profusion of jewellery, consisting principally of gold and silver coins
strung closely together, and so arranged that they jingled every time
the wearers moved. A richly embroidered jacket, and a long skirt which
nearly touched the floor, were the outer garments worn by the dancers.
The dresses of the four were precisely alike, and the Doctor said the
costume was pretty much the same all through Egypt, where fashions
rarely change from one year to another.

The boys had read of the wonderful beauty of the Egyptian dancers, and
the great novelty of the scene they were about to witness. The Doctor
said nothing, but there was a smile on his features when the dance
began. He knew that the youths were doomed to be disappointed, and in
the first pause of the dance he asked them what they thought of it.

"If that is what they call dancing," said Frank, "I'm glad to know it.
It seems more like the efforts of people learning to skate."

"About as lively as the performance of the figures on a hand-organ,"
Fred remarked. "I wonder why travellers have written so much nonsense
about it."

"Some travellers have described the Egyptian dance in the most
enthusiastic language," answered the Doctor, "and others thought they
must do the same. It requires considerable courage to fly in the face of
opinions that have been given over and over again by others, and
consequently the fashion that was set long and long ago has been kept
up.

"I have seen a good many dances in Egypt," he continued, "and never yet
knew one that approached the most of the descriptions I have read.
Sometimes the girls are fairly pretty, but the great majority are of an
ordinary type, and the dancing consists of that gliding and sliding from
side to side which you have just witnessed. It is more suggestive of
skating than of what is called dancing in Western countries."

The dance was resumed after a brief rest, and it continued with several
intermissions for something over an hour. Coffee was served two or three
times in the course of the evening, and when the entertainment was ended
our friends returned to the steamer. Before they retired the conductor
collected five francs from each passenger who had attended the dance, in
order to remunerate the consul for his outlay. He said the consul went
through the form of inviting strangers to an entertainment, but expected
them to pay for it in a roundabout way.

"Not at all unusual in the East," the Doctor remarked, "and certainly no
one could expect a consul to spend his money in the entertainment of
every party of strangers that comes along. We can imagine we were his
guests, and forget that we have paid for what we saw. The illusion is
very thin, but it does no harm to any one."

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN KING ON HIS THRONE.]

The next day was devoted to an excursion to the Temple of Denderah,
which is on the opposite side of the Nile from Keneh, and a ride of
about an hour from the landing. The party was ferried over in the
ordinary boats of the natives, and found donkeys waiting on the bank
with the usual crowd of importunate natives.

The Temple of Denderah is the most modern in all Egypt, as it was built
less than two thousand years ago. After one is accustomed to the
pyramids, and similar structures of forty or fifty centuries, and comes
to the Temple of Denderah, he hesitates to rub against it for fear the
paint is not sufficiently dried.

But however much he may dislike the newness of the building, he can
hardly fail to admire its solidity, and the magnificence of its halls
and porticos. It is the best preserved of all the temples, as its walls
and columns are practically uninjured, and the roof is almost entire. A
mound of rubbish extends quite around it, and from a little distance the
entrance of the temple is quite invisible.

[Illustration: FRONT OF THE TEMPLE AT DENDERAH.]

The entrance is through a fine portico of twenty-four columns. On the
ceiling of this portico is a zodiac, which has been the subject of a
great deal of discussion, as it was supposed to show that the signs of
the zodiac were used by the ancient Egyptians. Recent discoveries show
that it is of Roman origin, and less ancient than was at first believed.
Every student of Egyptology has had something to say about it, and we
may safely remark that there are more opinions on the subject than there
are signs in the zodiac itself.

Considerable time was spent in the inspection of the temple, and in
admiring the sculptures on the walls. Among them is a portrait of
Cleopatra, which is supposed to have been made in the lifetime of that
historic lady, and may therefore be regarded as a fair likeness of her.
It does not represent her as a pretty woman, and therefore we may doubt
whether she was as handsome as the artists of modern times have tried to
make her. Some of those who wish to believe she was very pretty say the
portrait at Denderah was made by an artist who never saw her, and did
his work from an inaccurate likeness.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN PRINCE CARRIED IN A PALANQUIN.]



CHAPTER XV.

ARRIVAL AT LUXOR.--THE GREAT TEMPLE OF KARNAK.


Frank and Fred were impatient to get away from Keneh, as their next halt
was to be at Luxor, the ancient Thebes, where the steamer would remain
three days, to enable them to see the monuments of ancient Egypt in that
vicinity.

As the boat wound along the river in the direction of Thebes, the youths
were watching from the deck for the first indications of their proximity
to that wonderful city. Suddenly the sharp eyes of Fred caught sight of
a sort of tower in the distance, and he at once called his cousin's
attention to his discovery.

"Yes, and there's another, and another!" shouted Frank; "and the walls
of a great building, too."

"That must be Karnak," said Fred. "You know they told us Karnak was a
mile or more below Thebes, and its ruins were the first we would see."

"You are quite right," said the Doctor, who just then came up. "That is
Karnak, or rather it is what remains of the great temple which, even in
its ruin, is one of the wonders of the world."

"What a pity it is in ruins," one of the youths remarked. "Wouldn't it
be nice if some rich man would amuse himself and spend his money by
building a temple like what this once was? It would be so interesting
and instructive."

"I'm afraid you are not likely to find the rich man who will do it,"
said the Doctor, with a smile. "It would take a vast amount of money,
and he would be open to the charge of trying to revive the heathenism of
the ancient Egyptians, and instructing the people of our time in
idolatrous practices."

"I never thought of that," was the reply; "but any way I would like to
see an Egyptian temple just as it was finished, and before it began to
go to ruin."

"If a picture will satisfy you," the Doctor answered, "you have only
to refer to Sir Gardner Wilkinson. He has made a drawing of an ancient
temple, and reproduced it as exactly as he could from the materials in
his possession, and from a personal visit to the best preserved temples
to be found in the country."

[Illustration: A COMPLETE EGYPTIAN TEMPLE.]

Frank ran below for a copy of the book, and soon returned with it. As
they neared the ruins of Karnak the youths compared the scene before
them with the printed picture, and tried to imagine themselves carried
back to the time of Rameses and Sethi, when the temple was perfect, and
not a stone of the vast mass had been displaced from its proper
position.

[Illustration: A "BARIS," OR FUNERAL-BOAT.]

"A procession is approaching the temple," said the Doctor, "in one of
the celebrations for which the ancient Egyptians were famous. You see it
passing along a raised causeway to the gate which admits to the grand
enclosure; it carries banners with the devices of the King, and midway
between the gate and the building at the end of the causeway you see one
of the sacred boats in which the souls of the dead are ferried over the
lake that separates this world from the next. This lake is symbolized by
a small lake, or basin, in the enclosure of the temple; you see it in
the fore-ground of the picture, and if it had not usually become filled
with sand you would find it in all our visits to the ruins of these
temples. A part of the funeral ceremony consisted of ferrying the mummy
over the sacred lake in a _baris_, or funeral-boat; there were generally
several boats in a procession, and that containing the mummy was usually
towed by one of the others.

"The wall of the enclosure was made high enough to prevent those on the
outside from seeing what went on within. It is supposed that the priests
wished to keep their rites and ceremonials to themselves, and were only
willing to be seen when they had made proper preparations. Sometimes
there were two and sometimes four gates, but generally there was only
one point of entrance, which was always carefully guarded.

"The procession is just passing the outer gate-way, and leaving the
paved road which leads to it. The gate-way consists of two massive
towers, or _propylæ_ connected at the top by a broad platform, and the
passage beneath is amply large enough for all the wants of the
processions that enter the place. Beyond the gate-way is another paved
road, guarded on each side by a row of sphinxes, with their faces turned
toward the causeway, and never deserting it for an instant, with their
solemn stare. Sometimes the outer causeway was protected by sphinxes the
same as the inner one, but this was the case only with the most
important temples. At the end of this road we generally find a couple of
obelisks, and close beyond them is a second propylon, more massive and
much taller than the one at the entrance. Passing this propylon we enter
an open court surrounded with a columned portico, and having a third
propylon extending across its centre. Passing this court-yard we reach
the great hall, whose roof, supported by many columns hewn from solid
stone, admits only a dim and sombre light. Here the procession halts
while the ceremonies for which it came are completed.

"Bear in mind," the Doctor continued, "that the temple among the ancient
Egyptians was not strictly a place of religious worship, like the
temples of the Greeks and Romans and the churches of modern days; it was
a building erected by a king in honor of the divinities who were
believed to have brought him prosperity in conquering his enemies or
whose favor he sought. For this reason we always know by what king a
temple was built, as he is always represented in the first place in the
processions, and all the sacrifices and other ceremonies are in his
name.

"You observe that there is a grove on both sides of the temple; the
Egyptians always surrounded their temples with groves, and generally the
trees were set out in rows. The divinities were supposed to linger about
the trees, and certain deities were believed to shun a treeless spot.
Perhaps some of the respect for trees was due to the difficulty of
keeping them alive. Egypt is not a land of forests, and trees do not
flourish here except with much care and attention."

During this conversation about Egyptian temples the steamer steadily
made her way toward Karnak and Luxor; she passed the ruins of Karnak,
and soon drew up to the landing at the modern town. Luxor is a wretched
place of about four thousand inhabitants, and if it were not for the
reputation of the spot, and the number of strangers visiting it every
winter, the town would soon cease to exist. The inhabitants live almost
entirely on what they obtain from visitors, and they drive quite a
prosperous trade in mummies and other antiquities, besides finding a
good market for the few things raised in their gardens.

As soon as the boat was made fast to the bank the passengers hurried to
land. The natives met them with donkeys for hire, and with all sorts of
antiquities for sale. Frank and Fred were rather puzzled with the way in
which the natives pressed their wares upon the strangers, and Frank made
an entry in his note-book as follows:

"They are a silent people here, and when they have anything to sell they
come in front of you, without saying a word, and hold the article
directly before your eyes. If you wish to examine it you do so, and if
desirous of buying you ask the price.

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN WAR-CHARIOT OF ANCIENT TIMES.]

"The figure named is in no way a criterion of the value of the goods; a
native will ask fifty dollars for something he would gladly sell for as
many cents; you must judge for yourself how much you are willing to pay,
and then make your offer. Most likely it will be refused, and the
refusal is almost as silent as was the exhibition of the article. The
man lowers it and walks away, but in five minutes he will come around
again and repeat his performance. He asks less this time, perhaps, and
you offer a little more, and he again goes away. You may come to terms
after a time, but it seems to make no difference to him whether you do
or not."

[Illustration: LUXOR FROM THE WATER.]

Doctor Bronson said that possibly the silence of the natives was due to
the fact that nearly all their antiquities were false, and they wanted
the articles to do as much of the lying as they could. "There are," he
remarked, "very few chances of getting anything genuine at Luxor; at
present no excavations are in progress, and even if there were any,
everything they bring to light should go to the government. They do a
large business here in antiquities, and there certainly is no way of
supplying the demand except by manufacture. It is currently reported
that many of these things are made in England and France, and sent out
here for sale; and it is also believed that there are factories here
where false scarabæi are manufactured. Let me tell you something that
happened when I was here some years ago:

"A man offered some scarabæi for sale, and declared they were genuine;
to satisfy any doubts on that point, he offered to bring the certificate
of the English consul, or we might go with him to the Consulate and hear
for ourselves. But it was whispered that the consul and the native were
in partnership, and when we became satisfied that such was the case we
suspended negotiations.

"Next it was whispered that the native had a factory where he
manufactured the articles he offered for sale; we had a curiosity to see
the inside of a factory of antiquities, and, on the theory that
backsheesh will do anything in this country, we offered the man five
francs to show it to us.

"He denied having any factory, and we increased our offer; he still
denied, and we increased again till we reached twenty francs, where we
stopped.

"He again denied having a factory, and we made him a last offer of
twenty-five francs, and then walked away.

"He became indignant, and as we retreated he said to us, with great
emphasis, 'Not for ten napoleons will I let you see it.'

"He thus virtually admitted the existence of the factory, but of course
it was not policy for him to allow foreigners to enter it. The story
would be sure to leak out and ruin his business.

"The fabrications are very cleverly executed, and sometimes the experts
are deceived by them. The consuls are safer to deal with than the
ordinary peddlers, but even they are frequently as bad as the rest. The
best rule is to buy nothing, except at a very low price, or wait till
your return to Cairo, where you can purchase in the shops, and have the
opinion of the experts."

The Doctor called on the American vice-consul, as he had been told that
that worthy had some superior donkeys which he kept for hire; the rumor
proved correct, and for a price a little above that demanded by the
owners of ordinary beasts, the Doctor and his young companions were
provided with "consular donkeys" during their stay at Luxor.

An hour or two were devoted to an inspection of Luxor and its temple,
and then the party set out for Karnak. The Temple of Luxor is greatly
dilapidated; much of the building is in ruins, and portions of it are
covered with the wretched huts of the Arabs. The English Consulate is
built in one part of it, and the rubbish and sand around the rest are
greatly to its detriment. At the side of the principal entrance there
are two statues of enormous size, but only a small part of them can be
seen, as the most of the figures are buried in the sand.

We will read the account of the visit to Karnak as it was given by Frank
and Fred in their letters and journals. Lest they should forget
something, they wrote until a late hour in the evening, and declined the
invitation of one of the consuls to attend a native dance at his house.
They had quite enough of the dance at Keneh.

"We rode from Luxor to Karnak along a path through fields and across
open spaces of uncultivated ground. There did not seem to be much of a
road, and we were rather taken aback when told that there was once an
avenue of sphinxes, six thousand feet long (the avenue, not the
sphinxes), all the way from Luxor to Karnak. What a magnificent avenue
it must have been, and wouldn't it have been fun to ride along it from
one end to the other! As we approached Karnak we came upon a few of the
sphinxes still in their places; there were just enough of them to show
what the avenue might have been in the days of its glory, and we
wondered if the like would ever be seen again. All the sphinxes are much
broken, and those that we saw had the heads of rams. Frank suggests that
you could hardly expect anything else when the temple was built to
celebrate the exploits of Rameses the Great. (He worked hard on that
joke, although it is so poor.)

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE OF LUXOR.]

"We came to the propylon, or gate-way, which consisted of two enormous
towers, each of them large enough to make a temple. There were six of
these entrances; and to show you on what a scale this temple was, please
look at the figures. One of the peristyles was 370 feet long, 50 feet
deep, and 140 feet high. Some of them have partly fallen, but the others
are very well preserved.

"As we have said, when talking of the Pyramids and other things, if you
don't like figures you can look them over, and then skip. We are going
to pelt you with a few handfuls of them, as it is impossible to give
even a faint idea of the extent of this Temple of Karnak without them.

[Illustration: APPROACH TO KARNAK FROM LUXOR.]

"Here are the dimensions of this enormous work: From one end of the
space where the temple stands to the other is 1180 feet, and it is about
600 feet from one side to the other. The enclosing wall is 25 feet thick
and from 60 to 100 feet high, so that it formed quite a fortification in
the days before the invention of gunpowder. A small army could find
plenty of room inside the walls of Karnak, and be able to repel a force
of ten times its strength.

"All the space included within the walls is covered with ruins of a most
magnificent architecture, and it is not difficult to imagine that you
are in the heart of a great city of past ages, rather than in the ruins
of a single building. In one place there are the fragments of a fallen
obelisk, and close by it is an obelisk, upright and uninjured, 92 feet
high and 8 feet square at the base. It is said to be the largest
existing obelisk, and the inscriptions show that it was made and set up
in its place inside of seven months. Remember that it was hewn from the
quarries at Assouan, and brought here in a single block. If you want to
know how the ancient Egyptians did it, we give up the conundrum at once.

"Never mind the obelisk just now; we want to show you into the great
hall of the temple. And such a hall as it is!

"Stop and think of it as you read the figures, and see if they don't
take away your breath.

[Illustration: THE GREAT HALL OF KARNAK.]

"It is the grandest hall in the world! It is 329 feet long and 170 feet
broad, and down its centre there are two rows of columns, twelve in all,
each of them 60 feet high, without counting capital and pedestal, and 12
feet in diameter. Then there are one hundred and twenty-two other
columns arranged in fourteen rows, seven on each side of the two central
rows, so that the whole room seems to consist of little else than
columns. What a capital place for a game of hide-and-seek! How the
Egyptian children must have enjoyed it if they were permitted to play
here, which we very much doubt!

[Illustration: GRAND COURT-YARD OF THE TEMPLE.]

"These one hundred and twenty-two columns are each 42 feet high and 9
feet in diameter. Altogether there are one hundred and thirty-four
columns in the hall of the temple, and they are all closely covered with
sculptures. They once supported a roof, but it is nearly all gone now,
and some of the columns have fallen. The stones used in building the
temple were of great size, and they lie around us in all directions;
they do not appear very large till you come close up to them, and then
you seem dwarfed into nothing by their greatness. Everything is on so
grand a scale that you forget the dimensions of individual things until
you are side by side with them.

"Some writers have said that there is as much stone here as in the Great
Pyramid at Gizeh. Certainly there is a vast amount; but it is so
scattered, and in such irregular masses, that you cannot easily make an
estimate of it. At any rate, it is a much finer work than that of
building the Great Pyramid, as the whole of the walls, the columns, the
sides of all the rooms, in fact everywhere that a plain surface was
presented, is covered with sculpture or painting. The pyramid impresses
you with its vastness, and so does Karnak; but the latter has another
impression--that of beauty and artistic effect--which the pyramid has
not. The stones used in the construction of Karnak are many of them much
larger than those in the pyramids; they show that the builders must have
been very skilful engineers, and that their work covered a long period
of years.

[Illustration: A BODY OF ARCHERS.]

"We looked at the sculptures till our eyes were weary. At every step
something new was revealed, and we seemed to be living in the days of
the great kings of Egypt. The most of the sculptures represent battle
scenes and kindred subjects; and the deeds of the kings are so well
illustrated that anybody who has time and patience to study them can
easily make out the whole history of a campaign. Here the king is
marching out with his army, some on foot, and others on horseback or in
chariots, and bearing the swords, spears, and other weapons in use at
that time. Next we see him attacking a fortress or crossing a river;
next he is putting the enemy to flight and securing the captives; and,
finally, he is returning in triumph, and coming to the temple to offer
thanks to the divinity who has protected and favored him.

[Illustration: MAKING A LIST OF CAPTIVES.]

"The sculptures here, and at other temples in the vicinity of Thebes,
show pretty certainly that the ancient Egyptians were accustomed to make
human sacrifices. There is a large picture representing the king
striking off the heads of a group of captives, and sometimes the hands
and feet of slain enemies are cut off and piled before the king, to show
how great the slaughter has been. Frequently the king is represented
much larger than those that surround him, and the artists took the
precaution to label each king with his name, so that there could be no
mistake as to his identity. They also put labels on most of the battle
scenes, and thus greatly assisted our study of Egyptian history.

[Illustration: OBELISK AND PART OF GRAND HALL AT KARNAK.]

"Who built the great Temple of Karnak?

"There has been and still is much dispute among Egyptian scholars on
this subject: it is now generally agreed that it was the work of no one
king, but rather of several. There is a difference of two hundred and
fifty years between the earliest and latest sculptures, and it is
believed that from the beginning to the completion of the temple was
nearly three centuries. On the walls, columns, and obelisks are the
names of kings of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, and they are
so conspicuous that it is pretty certain the building of the temple
covered these two periods in Egyptian history. Thothmes III. and Rameses
II. and III. are prominently represented, and some of the inscriptions
show that portions were added to the temple much later than any of the
rulers mentioned.

"It is supposed that the present temple is on the site of an older one,
and that four thousand years at least must be given for its antiquity.
The Arabs have a tradition that Noah visited the temple after the Flood,
and we may fairly believe that portions of it were finished before Jacob
went to Egypt with his family. It was an old structure when Moses led
the Israelites out of captivity, and its decay had begun when Christ was
born at Bethlehem. Shishak, or Sheshonk, who plundered Jerusalem and led
the King of Judea captive, is represented on its walls, and there is a
picture showing his return with his train of unhappy prisoners. Do you
wonder that we stand astonished amid the ruins of Karnak, which are
older than the Bible, and older than any of the histories that have come
down to our hands?

"We spent the afternoon among the ruins, and then returned to Luxor. The
evening was bright with the growing moon, and so we determined to see
Karnak by moonlight. If any reader of these lines should hereafter be at
Luxor when the moon favors, we advise him by all means to go there under
its light, as he will find an effect that is not visible when the sun is
in the sky. It is impossible to describe, and so we will not attempt a
description; the play of light and the darkness of the shadows are
surpassingly beautiful, and some of the columns and broken walls seem
even more gigantic than at other times. There is an Arab village close
to the ruins, but not within the temple itself; the only inhabitants are
owls and jackals, who resent your intrusion with their peculiar cries,
and seem to consider themselves the rightful heirs of the kings so long
dead and gone."

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS.]



CHAPTER XVI.

THE RAMESEUM, MEDINET ABOO, AND THE VOCAL MEMNON.


[Illustration: DRY FOOTING.]

The morning after the visit to Karnak an early start was made for the
other side of the river. The party was ferried across in a couple of
native boats to a sand-bank that pushed out some distance from the
shore; the boats grounded in the shallow water, and our friends were
carried on the backs of several Arabs, who gladly accepted the chance to
earn a few pennies by a temporary conversion into beasts of burden.
Everybody landed dry and unharmed with the exception of one unfortunate
individual, whose bearer stumbled just before reaching the solid earth.
Luckily the accident resulted only in a slight wetting. The Arab carrier
demanded a large backsheesh because he waited so long before falling!

There are several temples on the west bank of the Nile, the most
prominent of them being the Rameseum, or Memnonium, and Medinet Aboo.
These two were on the same general plan as the Temple of Karnak, though
less extensive; but, even when compared with Karnak, they are entitled
to very high rank as works of Egyptian art and architecture. In the
neighborhood there are half a dozen or more smaller temples, each
possessing an historical and artistic interest peculiar to itself.

It was a busy time for our friends, as they had a great deal to see in a
few hours. What they saw we will learn from their accounts:

"We had a delightful ride on the donkeys that were waiting on the bank
as we arrived, our way lying through fields such as we have already
described, and afterward passing over a stretch of barren ground--the
border of the Libyan Desert. Doctor Bronson told us while we were riding
along that this was formerly the Libyan suburb of Thebes, and that the
ancient city stood on both sides of the river. Sir Gardner Wilkinson
says it was about five miles long by three in width. It was in its most
flourishing condition during the eighteenth dynasty, and it began to
decline in the eighth century before the Christian era. There is a great
deal of dispute as to its population; but it is said that it could send
out twenty thousand horsemen to battle, and its walls were pierced with
a hundred gates. Its ruins are scattered over a large area, and its
burial-grounds are so enormous that several days would be required for
even a slight examination of them.

[Illustration: RUINS IN OLD THEBES.]

"According to some writers the greater part of the population was on the
eastern or Luxor side, while the western section was the residence of
the kings and royal households; and, consequently, many of the temples
were built there. For the same reason the tombs of the kings were on the
western side, but were placed a considerable distance from the river,
where the character of the limestone rock was such that it could be
readily excavated. Much of the site of the city is now overflowed every
year at the time of the inundation, and in this portion there are only a
few traces of the buildings that once stood there.

"We went through some of the small temples, and then came to the
Rameseum, or Memnonium. It owes its first name to the fact that it was
founded by Rameses the Great, and its second to its dedication to the
worship of Memnon. It is grand enough to have half a dozen names instead
of two, and the honor can certainly be divided between Rameses and
Memnon without any fear that either of them will suffer.

[Illustration: GRAND HALL OF THE MEMNONIUM.]

"It was in the usual form of the Egyptian temples, and its grand court
was not far from fifty yards square. Many of the columns have
disappeared, or lie in ruins, but enough of them remain to show the
magnificence of the original structure.

"The great object of curiosity here is the statue of Rameses the Great,
which stood in the court-yard, and is now overturned and broken. There
are some mysteries about it, and we will try to name them.

"In the first place, no one can guess how the Egyptians managed to take
such a huge block of granite from the quarries and convert it into a
statue. It was a single piece of stone, and represented the King sitting
on his throne (the usual position of Egyptian statues) with his hands
resting on his knees, and his face in that calm repose that a great
ruler ought to exhibit when he has everything his own way. And how large
do you suppose it was?

[Illustration: VIEW IN THE MEMNONIUM, WITH RUINED STATUE OF RAMESES THE
GREAT.]

"We used a tape-line to be sure we were right in our estimates, and
found that the figure was twenty feet across the shoulders and fifteen
feet from shoulder to elbow. The foot was eleven feet from toe to heel,
and the other parts of the statue were in proportion. The throne and
legs are a good deal broken up, but the upper part of the statue down to
the waist is in comparatively good condition. Engineers have calculated
that the whole statue, when perfect, weighed nearly nine hundred tons,
or nearly three times as much as the largest obelisk at Karnak.
Commander Gorringe says that the obelisk he transported from Egypt to
America, and set up in Central Park, New York, weighs two hundred and
twenty-four tons, so you see what a big thing was this statue of
Rameses, which the Egyptians brought down the river from Assouan and set
up in Thebes thousands of years ago.

"When the Persians conquered Egypt, and destroyed many of its cities,
they overturned the statue of Rameses the Great, and proceeded to break
it up; and another of the mysteries is how they managed to break it, as
gunpowder was not then invented, and there is nothing to show that they
possessed any powerful explosives. But break it they did; and it is only
because it was so large, or they were called away on other business,
that they left any part of it for us to open our eyes about.

"If possessing the largest statue ever known in ancient or modern times
makes one happy, Rameses ought to have been as jolly as he was great.
But perhaps he did not enjoy himself much, after all, as he seems to
have been a cruel tyrant, who oppressed his people, and compelled his
prisoners of war to build the temples that remain to mark his greatness.
The inscriptions around this and other temples show him to have been
full of cruelty: he sacrificed prisoners with his own hand, or caused
them to be put to death in his presence; and there is one picture
wherein he is putting out the eyes of several captives, who are held by
cords passed through their nostrils. On the whole, though we should have
liked to look upon Rameses in his great temple, we are not at all sorry
that he belonged to an age long past. If he was a good man for his time,
it was certainly not a good time to live in.

"We have wished ever so much that we could read the inscriptions on the
walls of the temple; but, after all, we need not feel so badly that we
cannot do so, because many learned men have made translations for us.
The pictures tell us a great deal, even without the hieroglyphics; they
make it certain that the King was the most important personage at the
time he lived, and if we believed what they represent, we should
conclude that he did all the fighting, and his army only stood and
looked on. One picture shows him sending a shower of arrows among the
enemy and putting them to flight; and in another he is pulling down the
walls of a fort, as though it was nothing but a toy house built of
corn-cobs.

[Illustration: THE PHALANX OF THE SHETA.]

"There is a picture which is called 'The Phalanx of the Sheta,' which we
could not make much of till it was explained to us, and then we saw
there was a good deal in it. We enclose a drawing of it, so that you can
see how the Egyptians represented things on a plain surface without
perspective.

"The phalanx is represented as a reserve corps close by a fortified
town, which is surrounded by double ditches for protection against an
enemy. On each side of the town there is a bridge over the ditches, and
there are men in the towers of the fort, as if they were expecting to be
attacked. The soldiers in the phalanx are armed with short swords or
knives, and with spears. Doctor Bronson says the swords have a very
close resemblance to the famous bowie-knife of the South-western States
of North America, and it is possible that the inventor of that weapon
got his idea from the ancient Egyptians. Only the front and rear ranks
have weapons, and what the men in the middle are holding out their hands
for we cannot guess.

[Illustration: MEDINET ABOO.]

"We stayed at the Rameseum as long as possible, and would gladly have
ignored the whistle of the conductor summoning us to move on, had we not
feared missing other important sights. We went next to the Temple of
Medinet Aboo, or rather to the temples, as there are two of them
together, one much smaller than the other. The small temple was the work
of several kings, and some of the later ones altered the plans of their
predecessors, so that the architecture is not altogether harmonious.

"Heaps of ruins lie all around, and there is a broken statue of Rameses
II. much smaller than the one we saw at the first temple we visited. The
sculptures on the walls are less interesting than in the Memnonium, and
we did not spend much time over them.

"The great Temple of Medinet Aboo has a raised platform in front, and we
were quite interested in the view from this platform of the plain where
Thebes once stood, and the various objects scattered over it. From the
platform we passed into the temple through a wide gate-way, and found
ourselves in a large court-yard enclosed by broken walls. From the
court-yard we went into what is said to have been the palace of the
king. The conductor called our attention to the sculptures on the walls,
which are quite peaceful in their character, and show that the place was
more a private residence than a temple.

"The pictures represent the great ruler in his retirement; in some of
them he is playing a game of draughts, similar to those at Beni-Hassan
and other places; he is receiving garlands of flowers from the hands of
the ladies of his court, or they are cooling him with fans; and in
nearly every instance he is represented seated in a chair while all
around him are standing. Nobody was allowed to sit in the presence of
the king, if we may believe these pictures, and it is quite probable
that he required all the rules of etiquette to be rigidly observed.

"In the front of the temple there are pictures of a different sort,
where the king is represented sacrificing prisoners or making war on his
enemies. In the large halls of the temple there is a series of battle
pictures which reminded us of those at Karnak, and they show the
captives brought from various countries so clearly that the conquests
of the kings may be readily traced. In one of the pictures the right
hands of the slain are cut off and piled up in order that the king may
see them, and an officer counts them while a scribe notes down their
number. Other pictures show the captured horses, and spears and other
weapons piled up and counted, and we may believe the Egyptians were
quite systematic in their mode of keeping accounts.

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN WAR-BOAT.]

"On one of the walls there is a picture of a fight in galleys or
war-boats, and it is said to be the only one of the kind in Egypt. There
are plenty of boats in their paintings and sculpture, but with this
exception they are all engaged in peaceful pursuits. In spite of their
cutting off the hands of the slain for the purpose of arithmetic, the
Egyptians seem to have had some humanity about them after all. The
picture of the naval engagement shows them to have been victorious, and
they are doing all they can to save the men in the sinking ships of
their enemies. Then the king distributes rewards to his officers and
soldiers, and the army marches back to Thebes.

"Perhaps you have had enough of the achievements of the kings who lived
three thousand years ago, and the monuments they left behind them. Well,
there's the whistle, and we'll say good-bye to Medinet Aboo.

"What school-boy has not read about the Vocal Memnon at Thebes--the
sitting statue that greeted the morning sun with its voice? Here it is,
on the plain, some distance in front of the Rameseum, and it is supposed
that an avenue of similar figures once led from the position of the
Vocal Memnon up to the temple. There are two statues side by side, and
they are known as 'the Sitting Colossi,' or simply 'the Colossi,' and
are sufficiently large to be seen at a long distance.

[Illustration: THE COLOSSI DURING AN INUNDATION.]

"Each statue rises about fifty feet from a pedestal at least ten feet
high, so that when they were erected they were doubtless more than sixty
feet above the ground; but the inundations of the Nile have deposited
the earth around them, and the pedestals are completely surrounded. When
the river is at its height the two figures seem to be sitting in a lake.
They were hewn from single blocks of sandstone; but one of them was
injured, either by an earthquake or by the Persian invaders, and was
reconstructed with blocks of stone of the same character as the
original.

"They were made to represent Amunoph III., and were not, as many
suppose, intended for divinities. The one nearest the north was known as
the Vocal Memnon, that uttered a sound every morning when the rays of
the sun fell upon it.

"Sometimes it was obstinate, and for several days refused to speak.
Kings, and princes, and other great men made long journeys to see, and
especially to hear it, and they waited patiently day after day, too, for
its utterance.

"Sometimes, when a very great personage like the Emperor Hadrian came,
it gave forth its utterance twice on the same morning. Then the whole of
Thebes talked of the wonder, and the Emperor was regarded with special
reverence.

"We went to see and hear it, and we did not go at sunrise, as was
necessary to do three thousand years ago.

"We went in the afternoon, and for half a franc an Arab climbed up the
statue and struck a stone that lies in the lap of the figure. We beat
the Emperor Hadrian completely, as we heard the sound a dozen times
instead of twice, and if we had given the Arab a franc he would have
been delighted to pound the stone for half an hour.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN PRIESTS CLAD IN LEOPARD-SKINS.]

"The sound is what we call a metallic one, like that of a poorly tuned
bell. The whole trick is clearly apparent. A priest was concealed in a
niche behind the stone, where nobody could see him from the ground, and
he could strike the stone at the proper moment without fear of
discovery. Perhaps he went to sleep occasionally, and then the sound was
not heard; or it is possible he was in league with the hotel-keepers of
Thebes, and wished people to stay in town a week or two, instead of
finishing their visit in a day and taking the train to the next place.
At any rate, the Colossi have ceased to be among the wonders of the
world. For thirty centuries they have looked out on the plain of Thebes.
What a pity it is they cannot open their stony lips and tell us what has
passed around them during all that period of time--what changes they
have witnessed, and what generations have come and gone since they first
began their long vigil!"

[Illustration: REAR VIEW OF THE COLOSSI, WITH LUXOR IN THE DISTANCE.]



CHAPTER XVII.

THE TOMBS OF THE KINGS.--RECENT DISCOVERIES OF ROYAL MUMMIES.


"From temples to tombs," wrote one of the boys in his journal, "the
transition is a natural one. The kings built the temples, and recorded
their exploits on the walls. When they were done with temples and all
other earthly things, they were carried to their tombs and laid away to
rest. We saw their temples yesterday, and to-day we have made an
excursion to their tombs.

[Illustration: SACRED MUSICIANS, AND A PRIEST OFFERING INCENSE.]

"The tombs of the kings are about three miles from the river, and the
road to them is along a valley as barren as any part of the desert can
possibly be. It must have been a weary route for the funeral processions
from Thebes to this desolate spot, and it is probable that the kings
deferred their journeys there as long as possible. The way is impassable
for carriages, and so we rode on donkeys, as we have done in most of our
Egyptian excursions.

[Illustration: VALLEY OF THE TOMBS OF THE KINGS.]

"The tombs are scattered along a narrow valley of barren mountains at
the edge of the Libyan Desert, or, rather, just within its borders;
they are excavated in the solid rock, and some of them are very large.
Every few years a new discovery is made, and the government allows any
explorer to search for tombs under certain conditions: the conditions
are now so onerous that few private researches have been undertaken for
some time, and none are likely to be till the laws are changed. In the
early part of the century several English, French, German, and other
explorers were on the ground, and some of their discoveries were of
great interest. The tombs they opened are generally known by the names
of those who found them, though several have lost that distinction
through a system of numbering adopted by Sir Gardner Wilkinson. The
guides usually point them out by their numbers. About thirty tombs in
all have been opened, and it is certain there are ten or twelve more
that have not been discovered. Strabo, the Greek historian, who came
here about the beginning of the Christian era, says he saw forty tombs;
but some have conjectured that he included those in another valley, and
known as the Tombs of the Queens.

[Illustration: VIEW IN BELZONI'S TOMB.]

"We didn't have time to see the whole twenty-five, and it would not
have been worth while for us to do so, as several of them have no
particular interest. We went first to number seventeen, which is also
known as Belzoni's tomb; it was discovered by Belzoni, an Italian
traveller, and the most of its contents were carried to England, and are
now in the British Museum. Perhaps you may wonder why these tombs are so
difficult to find, but the reason is this:

"When a king died, and had been properly turned into a mummy, the
funeral rites were performed, and he was taken to the excavation in the
rock prepared for him. When he was packed away in his stone coffin the
entrance to the tomb was sealed up, and the side of the mountain broken
away; all trace of the tomb or the entrance of it was destroyed; and
there is a rumor that the men who performed the work were killed, in
order to prevent any revelations. Doubtless the locality of the tombs
was known to a good many people; but the knowledge of it would be
gradually lost, especially when the country was devastated by wars, and
the whole population, in some instances, swept away. Certainly the most
of these tombs were unknown for a thousand years or so previous to the
present century, with a few exceptions where the Arabs had accidentally
hit upon them, though many of them had been plundered and again closed
during the Greek and Roman period. Belzoni was guided in his search by
an incident which the Arabs had told him of the sinking of the earth in
consequence of a rain, and the disappearance of water at a certain
point. This led him to suspect that there might be a tomb there, and by
digging away the fallen fragments of rock on the side of the mountain he
came upon the entrance.

"There is a general similarity in these tombs, and so we will not weary
you with repetitions by describing them all.

"The tomb has a narrow entrance, from which there is a descending
passage-way, and sometimes a staircase. There are long halls and lateral
chambers, and now and then the real resting-place of the king is beneath
the main hall, which contained a bogus mummy intended to mislead any
unauthorized visitor. The Egyptians exhausted their brains in devices to
conceal the royal mummies, and it is quite possible that in some cases
they have succeeded. When Belzoni opened the tomb that bears his name he
came upon a staircase at the end of the passage, which he descended;
there he found a horizontal chamber terminating in another staircase,
and at its foot was an oblong chamber, or pit, of considerable depth.

"This appeared to be the end of the tomb, and it was, as an Hibernian
might say, full of emptiness.

"Belzoni was disappointed, as his search had been fruitless. While
wondering what to do next, he struck his hammer against the wall at the
top of the pit, and found that it gave forth a hollow sound. He reasoned
that the sound indicated a chamber beyond, and that the apparently solid
rock was only a wall of masonry, carefully covered with stucco and
hieroglyphics.

"He sent out for the best battering-ram that could be procured, and it
soon came in the shape of a log cut from a palm-tree. With this log he
knocked down the wall and opened a way into the actual tomb. The
inscriptions on the walls were found quite unharmed, and so was the
alabaster coffin, which is now in London, but contained nothing of
consequence when discovered. The tomb appears to be one of those that
was partially plundered within a few hundred years of its occupation by
the royal mummy, and again closed up.

"The total distance from the entrance to the farthest point in Belzoni's
tomb is four hundred and seventy feet, and the perpendicular descent of
the various stairways and inclines is one hundred and eighty feet. We
had a fatiguing walk through it, in consequence of the unevenness of the
way and the fragments of broken and fallen rock. The air was somewhat
stifling, partly owing to its confined character, and partly from the
effect of our torches and candles. We burnt a good deal of magnesium
wire to light up the halls, and reveal the beautiful inscriptions that
were around us in all directions except beneath our feet. Remember that
there was hardly a foot of space without inscriptions. The walls of this
tomb afford material for a year's study, and hard study at that.

"Some of the inscriptions refer to the daily occupations of the
Egyptians, others to the deeds of the kings of Egypt, and others to the
funeral ceremonies attending the death of a king. These last are by far
the most numerous, and there are long extracts from the 'Book of the
Dead,' showing the progress of the soul after it leaves the body.

"One inscription shows the soul passing to Amenthes, where, after a
short halt, it was ordered to the Hall of Justice. On its way to this
hall it was attacked by demons and wild beasts, but all these were
driven away if the body had been properly provided with prayers written
on the rolls of papyrus and the scarabæi that are always found with the
mummies.

"Another picture represents the soul in the Hall of Justice, where its
heart is placed in one scale and the Goddess of Truth in the other. Two
of the gods superintend the weighing, and a third makes a note of the
result. The god Osiris (with forty-two councillors) pronounces sentence.
The heart was found heavy, and therefore the spirit was ordered to the
regions of the blessed, where it was to pass through centuries of
happiness and then return to the mummy, which would be restored to life.
Of course they always found that the heart of the king was of the proper
weight; it would have been dangerous for the artist to discover it too
light, and thereby condemn it to suffer long tortures as a punishment
for its sins before it could pass to a state of rest, and get ready to
return to the mummy that waited for it.

"Belzoni's tomb was made for King Sethi I., whose temple we visited from
Girgeh. Portions of it were left unfinished, and some of the drawings
are incomplete. This condition of the wall is to be regretted for some
reasons, but is very fortunate in other respects, as it shows how the
Egyptian artists performed their work. The draughtsman made the outlines
in red chalk, and they were then inspected by the chief artist, who
corrected any errors or made alterations with a black crayon; the marks
were then followed by the sculptor, and were afterward colored with the
proper pigments. In some cases the wall was laid out in squares before
the figures were drawn, but this does not seem to have been the
universal rule, and there is abundant evidence that the Egyptian
artists were accomplished in what we call 'free-hand' drawing.

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN HARPER.]

"From this tomb we went to that of Rameses III. It was discovered by
Bruce, the famous traveller in Egypt and Abyssinia, and usually bears
his name, though it is sometimes called 'the Harper's Tomb,' from the
figure of a man playing on a harp, which is painted on one of the walls.
It is much easier to visit than Belzoni's, and its chief interest lies
in the great number of agricultural, pastoral, and other scenes depicted
on the walls. The daily life of the people is very clearly shown, and we
have an excellent idea of what the ancient Egyptians did, how they
lived, and what were their articles of furniture, dress, and the like.
We were astonished to see pictures of sofas, chairs, tables, and other
adornments of the house that would be considered luxurious at the
present time. Doctor Bronson says the designers of modern furniture
might learn a great deal by coming here and copying the pictures on the
walls.

[Illustration: A CHAIR FROM BRUCE'S TOMB.]

"We saw half a dozen tombs of the kings, and then went to the tombs of
the Assaséef. Perhaps you'd like to know what they are?

"They were the tombs of certain high-priests of Thebes, who are reputed
to have been very wealthy and powerful, and certainly they must have
been pretty nearly as important as the king under whom they lived. Their
tombs are even larger than any of the tombs of the kings: the greatest
of the Assaséef tombs has a lineal distance from the entrance to the
farthest point of eight hundred and sixty-two feet, and the floors of
the various passages, rooms, and pits include an area of about an acre
and a quarter. Isn't that a pretty large tomb for one person--even
though he included the members of his family and a few personal friends?

"We lighted our torches at the entrance, and then began a long walk
through the interior, though we did not visit all the side chambers and
narrow rooms, of which there are a great many. The sculptures on the
walls are inferior to those in Belzoni's and Bruce's tombs, and we did
not spend much time over them.

"Several times some of our torches were put out by the bats, of which
there are great numbers in the tomb. It was quite as bad for the bats as
for the torches, as they could not fly into the flame without risk of
having their wings singed. They flew in our faces, and were anything but
agreeable. One of our party said he had heard of receiving 'a bat in the
eye,' but never before experienced the sensation. He had a dozen of them
at least before he got out of the place.

"From this place we went to some private tombs, and then to the tombs of
the queens, but only visited one of each. Neither of these was
particularly interesting after what we had seen, though they contained
the usual profusion of mural paintings, which we had no time for
inspecting. The best of the paintings and sculptures have been copied by
Wilkinson and others, and we may study them at our leisure when we get
home, and our friends who are interested in the subject can do the same
thing. In one of the tombs we found the work of an artist who evidently
had the spirit of fun in him, as there were several caricatures of no
mean order. In one picture a boat has collided with another, and a whole
lot of cakes and other eatables are overturned on the rowers. We find
caricatures occasionally, but not often, and, on the whole, the
Egyptians seem to have been a serious people.

"We got back all right to the bank of the river, where the boats were
waiting to ferry us over to Luxor. So ends our sight-seeing at Thebes,
as we leave to-morrow morning to continue our journey up the Nile. We
have had no accident beyond a few slight tumbles and bruises, and have
obtained a store of information that will severely tax our memories to
retain. Let us hope that we can remember it, and be able to impart our
knowledge to others; if we can, we shall be rewarded a thousand times
over for the trouble we have taken, and for the fatigues of our visits
to the temples and tombs of this famous city of thirty centuries ago."

Since the travels of our friends in Egypt an event has occurred of great
interest to all who have any familiarity with the history of the land of
the Pharaohs. It will be noted that Frank and Fred, during their visits
to the tombs of the kings, and to the museum at Boulak, did not see the
mummy of any royal personage, if we except that of Queen Amen-Hotep,
which was found by Mariette Bey, together with the remarkable collection
of jewellery described in Chapter VIII.

Remembering that no mummy of a king had been found down to the date of
the journey of our friends in Egypt, and that all the royal tombs when
opened were found to have been previously visited by vandals as
free-handed as those of modern days, we can appreciate the importance of
the announcement, toward the end of 1881, that a new tomb had been
opened and found to contain the mummies of several kings, together with
those of other royal personages. The following description is taken from
a recent publication, the details having been derived from the reports
of M. Maspero, the able successor of Mariette Pasha:

     "For the last ten years or more it had been suspected that the
     Theban Arabs (whose main occupation is tomb-pillage and
     mummy-snatching) had found a royal sepulchre. Objects of great
     rarity and antiquity were being brought to Europe every season by
     travellers who had purchased them from native dealers living on the
     spot; and many of these objects were historically traceable to
     certain royal dynasties which made Thebes their capital city. At
     length suspicion became certainty. An English tourist, passing
     through Paris, presented Professor Maspero with some photographs
     from a superb papyrus which he had then lately bought at Thebes
     from an Arab named Abd-er-Ranoul. This papyrus proved to be the
     Ritual, or funereal sacred book, written for Pinotem I., third
     priest-king of the twenty-first dynasty. Evidently, then, the tomb
     of this sovereign had been discovered and pillaged. In January,
     1881, the late lamented Mariette Pasha died at Cairo, and was
     succeeded by Professor Maspero, the present Conservator of
     Antiquities to H.H. the Khedive. Professor Maspero at once resolved
     to get to the bottom of the Theban mystery; and, with that object
     chiefly in view, proceeded last April to Upper Egypt upon his first
     official trip of inspection. Arriving at Luxor he straightway
     arrested the said Abd-er-Ranoul. Threats, bribery, persuasion were,
     however, tried in vain, and Abd-er-Ranoul was consigned to the
     district prison at Keneh, the chief town of the province. Here for
     two months he maintained an obstinate silence. In the mean while
     Professor Maspero offered a reward of £500 for the discovery of
     the secret, and returned to Europe. Scarcely had he embarked when
     the elder brother of Abd-er-Ranoul went privately before the
     Governor of Keneh, offered to betray the secret, and claimed the
     reward.

     [Illustration: SECTION OF PAPYRUS.]

     "The governor telegraphed immediately to Cairo; and Herr Emil
     Brugsch, Keeper of the Boulak Museum (whom Professor Maspero had
     deputed to act for him in any case of emergency), was forthwith
     despatched to Thebes. Here he was conducted to a lonely spot in the
     most desolate and unfrequented part of the great necropolis which
     extends for between three and four miles along the western bank of
     the Nile. Hidden behind an angle of limestone cliff, and masked by
     a huge fragment of fallen rock, he beheld the entrance to a
     perpendicular shaft descending to a depth of thirty-nine feet. At
     the bottom of this shaft opened a gallery two hundred and forty
     feet in length, leading to a sepulchral vault measuring
     twenty-three feet by thirteen. In this gallery and vault were found
     some thirty-six mummies, including more than twenty kings and
     queens, besides princes, princesses, and high-priests, to say
     nothing of an immense store of sacred vessels, funereal statuettes,
     alabaster vases, and precious objects in glass, bronze,
     acacia-wood, etc. The treasure thus brought to light consisted of
     some six thousand items, not the least valuable of which were four
     royal papyri. Professor Maspero, in his official report, warmly
     eulogizes the energy with which Herr Emil Brugsch, by the aid of
     five hundred native laborers, exhumed, packed, shipped, and brought
     to Cairo the whole contents of this now famous hiding-place.

     [Illustration: COFFIN AND MUMMY OF A ROYAL PRINCESS.]

     "The following are the principal royal mummies found in this
     recently opened tomb:

     "King Rasekenen-Taaken and Queen Ansera, of the seventeenth
     dynasty.

     "King Ahmes Ra-neb-Pehti, Queen Ahmes Nofretari, Queen Aah-Hotep,
     Queen Merit-Amen, Queen Hontimoo-hoo, Prince Se Amen, Princess
     Set-Amen, King Amen-Hotep I., King Thothmes I.,* King Thothmes II.,
     King Thothmes III., Queen Sitka, all of the eighteenth dynasty.

     [Illustration: COFFIN OF QUEEN NOFRETARI.]

     "King Rameses I.,* King Sethi I., King Rameses II., of the
     nineteenth dynasty.

     [The asterisk indicates that the mummy is missing.]

     "Queen Notem-Maut, King and High-priest Pinotem I., King Pinotem
     II., Prince and High-priest Masahirti, Queen Hathor Hout-Taui,
     Queen Makara, Queen Isi-em-Kheb, Princess Nasi-Khonsu, Prince
     Tat-f-Ankh, Nebseni, a priest, Noi-Shounap, a priest, of the
     twenty-first dynasty.

     "In some instances the mummy reposes in its original mummy-case,
     and sometimes in two or three mummy-cases, the whole enclosed in an
     enormous outer sarcophagus. In others, only the mummy case is left,
     the mummy having been destroyed or abstracted. Farther, some
     mummies are found in mummy-cases not their own, or in mummy-cases
     which have been altered and usurped for their use in ancient times.

     "There can be no doubt that the vault in which these various
     mummies and funereal treasures were found was the family sepulchre
     of the kings of the twenty-first dynasty. This dynasty was founded
     by Her-Hor, High-priest of Amen of the great Temple of Amen at
     Thebes, who, toward the close of the twentieth dynasty, at a time
     the throne of the last Ramessides was tottering to its foundations,
     either inherited the crown by right of descent or seized it by
     force.

     "The close of the twentieth dynasty was an epoch of great internal
     trouble and disorder. During the reigns of the last four or five
     kings of that line there had been little security for life and
     property in Thebes; and organized bands of robbers committed
     constant depredations in the more retired quarters of the
     necropolis, attacking chiefly the tombs of great personages, and
     venturing even to break open the sepulchres of the royal dead.
     Hence it became the sacred duty of the reigning monarch to take
     every possible precaution to insure the mummies of his predecessors
     against profanation and pillage.

     "We accordingly find that Her-Hor caused the sepulchres of his
     predecessors to be periodically visited by a service of regularly
     appointed Inspectors of Tombs, whose duty it was to report upon the
     condition of the royal mummies; to repair their wrappings and
     mummy-cases when requisite; and, if necessary, to remove them from
     their own sepulchres into any others which might be deemed more
     secure. All of them seem to have been moved several times: at one
     time the tomb of Queen Ansera, at another time the tomb of Sethi
     I., at another time the tomb of one of the Amen-Hoteps would seem
     to have been selected as the chosen hiding-place of several royal
     mummies, all of whom had been removed from their own original
     sepulchres by order of Her-Hor or his successors. The mummy of
     Rameses II. (to whose memory, as the supposed Pharaoh of the
     oppression of the Hebrews, so strong an interest attaches) appears
     to have been removed more frequently, and to have suffered more
     vicissitudes of fortune than any of the others. That his sepulchre
     in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings had been violated by
     robbers can scarcely be doubted, for his original mummy-cases were
     either destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

     "All the mummies were eventually consigned to the tomb of the
     Her-Hor family near the end of the twenty-first dynasty. Professor
     Maspero believes this final measure to have been taken during the
     reign of King Menkheperra, the last sovereign but one of the
     Her-Hor line. Menkheperra himself is not among those found in the
     vault; neither is his son and successor, Pinotem III. Having
     piously deposited all these revered and deified Pharaohs and other
     royal personages in the last home of his own immediate ancestors,
     Menkheperra evidently closed the vault forever, and was himself
     content to be buried elsewhere.

     "It is interesting to learn from the reports of Professor Maspero
     and Herr Brugsch the heights of some of the famous kings of Egypt.
     Raskenen, it seems, was among Egyptian kings like Saul in Israel.
     He measured six feet one inch, and very few of his descendants took
     after him in this particular. Ashmes, for instance (his grandson),
     measured only five feet six inches, and the great Thothmes III.
     five feet seven inches. Thothmes II. approached the stature of his
     ancestor, but Sethi I. was no more than five feet nine inches. It
     is satisfactory to learn that Rameses II. was taller than his
     father, and not, like Thothmes III., a little man, by any means,
     for his mummy wants but one inch of six feet.

     [Illustration: COFFIN OF RAMESES II.]

     "One of the most interesting objects in the collection is the
     coffin of Rameses II. The face of the king is represented on the
     lid, and the hands are in high relief, grasping the Osirian scourge
     and crook, but the face is not from the studio of the artists who
     carved the walls of Abydus, and designed the sitting figures of
     Aboo-Simbel. On the breast is a legend which includes two royal
     cartouches or ovals, with an inscription in that hieratic or
     cursive hieroglyphic writing which is so difficult to read. The
     names in the ovals are easily read, however--'Ra-messes-mer-Amen'
     in one, 'Ra-user-Ma Setep-en-Ra' in the other.

     "Considerable interest attaches to the mummy of King Pinotem, as it
     was the latest of all the royal collection. Pinotem was the third
     king of the twenty-first dynasty, who reigned as nearly as possible
     a millennium B.C. In addition to the royal mummies, a multitude of
     objects bearing cartouches will throw great light upon the
     succession of these kings; and the tent of Pinotem, of leather,
     embroidered and colored, and covered with hieroglyphics, cannot
     fail to clear up some historical difficulties as to the
     priest-kings of Thebes. His face has an Ethiopian cast of features,
     and he is believed to have been descended from the princes of Egypt
     who came from the South. The lips are slightly parted, and the
     upper teeth are almost visible. The absence of the eyeball is
     indicated by the way in which the eyelids are sunken; and the
     nostrils are forcibly distended, in consequence of the method
     employed by the embalmers for the removal of the brain, which was
     effected by means of a hooked instrument passed up through the
     nose. The expression is, nevertheless, not unpleasing. The shrouds
     are of somewhat coarse texture; and a few withered flowers may be
     observed stuck through the bands which hold the wrappings
     together."



CHAPTER XVIII.

HAREM LIFE IN THE EAST.--FROM LUXOR TO ASSOUAN.


A surprise was in store for Frank and Fred when they returned from their
excursion to the tombs of the kings.

Several ladies of the party had declined to visit the tombs, partly on
account of the fatigue of the journey, and partly because they had been
invited to see the harem of the English consul at Luxor, and did not
wish to miss the opportunity of learning how the women of the East pass
their time. When our friends returned to the boat the ladies had only
been back a short time from the harem, and there was an active
interchange of accumulated information until dinner was announced.

After dinner Frank tried to persuade one of the ladies to write an
account of what she saw in the harem, as he wished to send it home for
his sister and Miss Effie to read. She was unwilling to write, but
promised that she would tell him the next day, while they were steaming
up the river, and then he might write it out for himself.

Frank accepted the conditions, and next morning he sat down, pencil in
hand, to take the story from the lady's lips. He thought it would be
more interesting in her words than in his, and, as he was a rapid
writer, he managed to get down a good part of the story just as she told
it.

Here is the result of his work:

"We went to the office," said the lady, "and found the consul was all
ready for us. We walked from there to his house, which is quite pretty
when you get inside of it, and has a nice little garden on a balcony;
from this balcony we went into the harem, accompanied by the consul's
son, who speaks English. The consul remained outside with the husband of
one of the ladies, as it would have been a great outrage upon Oriental
etiquette for a foreign gentleman to step inside the sacred spot.

"The son of the consul only stayed long enough to introduce us, and then
we were left to take care of ourselves. There were half a dozen women,
some of them the wives of the consul, and others married to his son: we
couldn't remember them all separately, and so when the young man left us
we didn't know which was which. But it was of no particular consequence
that we forgot, as we had to do all our talking by signs; the women
spoke only Arabic, and not one of us knew a dozen words of that
language. The only word I could think of was _empshy!_ (clear out!),
which you say to beggars when you want to be rid of them, and that
wasn't exactly the kind of language to use when you are introduced to
strangers.

[Illustration: AN ORIENTAL LADY AT HOME.]

"When we entered the room they saluted us in Arabic, and invited us to
sit on the carpet, which we did as well as we could. There were divans
around the sides of the room, and a fine carpet in the centre, and we
sat more on the carpet than on the divans. We wanted to do as nearly
like our entertainers as we could, and when they invited us to the
carpet we thought it would be rudeness to decline. Of course we were
rather awkward about it, and laughed at our clumsiness, so as to give
them a chance to laugh with us if they wanted to.

"They were dressed loosely in the flowing robes such as you see the Arab
women wear in the streets, but they had no veils on their faces. There
was one who did not seem to be more than fifteen years old, and I
presume she was the favorite wife of the consul's son. She wore a dress
embroidered more richly than any other, and the material was of a costly
silk. I wanted to ask her where it was made, and how much it cost, as I
fancied it would be a nice one to take home and excite the envy of my
friends. But then, you know, it might have been impolite to put such a
question, and, besides, I didn't know how to ask in Arabic. All things
considered, I didn't ask at all.

"As soon as we sat down on the carpet they began to examine us; they
looked very intently into our faces, they scanned our clothing and
boots, loosened our hair, took out our ear-drops, and appeared as
curious and innocent as children. We returned the compliment by
examining them, and they seemed greatly pleased that we did so.

"What excited their curiosity more than anything else was Mrs. ----'s
hair. They pinched it and twisted it in all sorts of ways, passed it
through their hands, and were not contented until they satisfied
themselves that it grew naturally on her head. Even then they kept
touching it and looking at it closely every few minutes, all the time we
were in the harem."

[Illustration: EASTERN LADIES LISTENING TO MUSIC.]

Frank made a memorandum, for the benefit of his sister and Miss Effie,
that the lady in question was English, and had hair of the purest
blonde. It was rich and glossy, of the hue of old gold, and was
doubtless the first hair of the kind these Arab ladies had ever seen. It
was no wonder that their curiosity was roused by it. Black hair is
universal among the Arabs, and the tricks of the bleachers of London and
New York are unknown in Egypt.

"Before we knew what they were doing," the lady continued, "they had our
heads in their laps, and were staining our eyelids. They wanted to stain
our finger-nails and tattoo our chins, but we declined the honor, as we
did not like the effect of the coloring matter, which will not wash off.
It remains on for several days, and when it begins to wear off it makes
the hands very dingy. They were as much amused at the whiteness of our
finger-nails as we were at the dark color of theirs.

"They wore their hair loose, with bands around the head to keep it in
place, and the youngest of them had a very rich head-dress with many
pieces of gold attached to it. They served us with pipes and coffee soon
after we entered, and seemed much surprised at our refusal to smoke. One
of us tried a few whiffs from a nargileh, and it made them laugh very
much when the smoke choked her and set her to coughing.

"Our visit lasted about half an hour. They embraced us when we came
away, but did not offer to kiss us, and the last thing they did was to
give a farewell pinch to Mrs. ----'s hair. They intimated by signs that
they would like to come to the boat to see us; but of course that would
not be according to Eastern usage, and they are not at all likely to
come."

Frank gathered other details about the life of Eastern women which he
appended to his account of the visit we have just described. A few of
them will not be out of place in this narrative.

"According to all I can learn," wrote Frank, "the life of an Eastern
woman must be very monotonous. She goes out very little, and after she
is married can only rarely visit her relatives. Day and night her place
is in the harem, and she never speaks to any man except her husband--not
even to his most intimate friends or to her own brothers. The time must
hang very heavily on her hands, especially when, as is generally the
case, she is unable to read, and cannot obtain the consolation which
books afford.

[Illustration: AN ORIENTAL DANCING GIRL.]

"I have told you of the marriage ceremonies among the modern Egyptians;
they are practically the same in most of the Moslem countries, and have
the same result among all except the poorer classes. The wife of a man
who can afford the expense of a harem passes the most of her time there,
and only goes out on rare occasions. Ladies of her own rank may call on
her, and she can return their visits, but they are not very frequent,
and she passes the most of the time entirely among the other women of
her house. These include the servants or slaves, and possibly the other
wives of her husband.

"Speaking of other wives, let me say here that, according to the Koran,
an Arab or Turk may have four wives, provided he can take care of them,
but by custom he sometimes has more. Doctor Bronson says the intercourse
of the East with Europe has caused a great many men to adopt the customs
of the latter country and have only one wife. Some of the high officers
of Egypt have done so, and they are occasionally seen in public with
their wives, which is a great innovation upon the old habits of the
land.

"Where a man has two or more wives each of them is entitled to separate
apartments, and to servants whose whole business is to wait on her;
consequently, a harem is an expensive luxury, and there are not many who
can afford it. Perhaps the saving of expense has something to do with
the spread of European ideas among the Orientals. And then, too, there
are apt to be quarrels among the occupants of the harem which the master
is called upon to settle, and with a sufficient number of them his life
is anything but a happy one.

[Illustration: AN EASTERN STORY-TELLER.]

"The amusements of the ladies of the harem consist of music and
story-telling, and for this there are professional narrators and
performers who go from house to house, and are paid for their services.
Of course these are women, as no man except the master of the house can
enter the harem. Their visits are always welcome, as they greatly assist
in passing away the time. When a story-teller is present the women
gather about her, and sometimes the master of the house is seated in a
balcony, where he can hear the performance and look upon the assemblage
below. For the musical entertainments there are generally two or more
performers, one of them playing on the flute and the other on the
guitar. Then there are women who sing in addition to playing, or, if
singers cannot play, they bring their own accompanists.

"A lady in Moslem countries gives a party very much like one in New
York, with the difference that all the visitors are ladies. Generally
these parties are in the afternoon, though they sometimes take place in
the evening. In either case the guests come at an appointed hour and are
received by the hostess, who is in evening costume and without a veil.
Her visitors having come through the streets on their way to the house
are of course veiled when they arrive, but the veil is laid aside with
the shawls and cloaks, and the guests make themselves at home, very much
as in Christian countries.

"If the hostess is the wife of an official, or merchant having business
with foreigners, she sends invitations to their wives or sisters--in
fact, to any ladies she knows, whether they are of her religion or not.
In this way European ladies are introduced to the harems, and it often
happens that warm friendships are formed between women of different
religions, just as they are formed among men.

[Illustration: A RECEPTION IN A HAREM.]

"When there is a large party, some are seated on the divans and others
on the carpet. Coffee and cigarettes are served, and those who desire
pipes to smoke can be accommodated, as the long-stemmed nargileh abounds
in every harem, and is very much in use. Conversation is very brisk, and
it is said that the ladies of the East are quite as fluent with their
tongues as their Western sisters.

"After a little time has been devoted to conversation the hostess gives
a signal, and the entertainment provided for the occasion begins. If the
lady has slaves that can sing they seat themselves on the floor and
begin a song, but if there is not sufficient talent among them a party
of professionals is especially engaged. The singing is followed by
dancing, and this is almost always by professional dancing girls, and
the affair is said to be much like the one we saw at Keneh.

"Dancing follows singing, and singing follows dancing, and now and then
a story-teller is introduced for the amusement of those who like them.
Sweetmeats and cakes are liberally served, and so are coffee and
sherbet, which are taken from tiny cups such as we would disdain in our
own country.

"In addition to these amusements they have cards and checkers, and many
of the Eastern ladies are said to be very skilful at these games. In
various ways the afternoon or evening is worn away, and, if the affair
is a specially fine one, a supper is served on a large platter placed on
a stand in the centre of the room. It consists mostly of preserved
fruits and other dainties, and is not so extensive as the supper at a
party of the same sort in America. Nobody is expected to leave until
some of the most fashionable or distinguished ladies give the signal.
The hostess pretends to be very sorry to have them go, but is no doubt
wishing to herself that they would make haste and leave her alone.

"So much for harem life in Egypt. I'm sorry I can't tell more about it,
but all my information must come from somebody else, and therefore you
must consider it second-hand. The condition of women in the East is
improving, but it is yet far behind that of Europe and America. The
progress is more rapid in Egypt than in Turkey and other Moslem lands,
and the example of the rulers of this country in establishing schools
for girls will have an effect in the right direction. But it will take a
long time to overcome the prejudices that exist in consequence of the
religion of the East, not only among the men but among the women
themselves. Many of the Egyptian and Turkish ladies have told their
foreign visitors that they would not desire to change places with them:
they enjoy their life of indolence and seclusion, as it gives them a
feeling of protection they would not have if the customs of Europe
prevailed among them."

Esneh was the first stopping-place above Luxor, and the object of
interest was a temple partly cleared out and partly covered by the
houses of the town. The only part to be seen was the portico, which was
reached by a flight of steps descending to it. Nobody knows the extent
of the temple, as it was covered for many hundred years with heaps of
rubbish. The attempts to clear it out were made quite recently, but
enough has not been excavated to give even the outline of the original
edifice.

[Illustration: SCULPTURES MUTILATED BY THE PERSIANS.]

The boys observed here, as they had already done at Luxor and other
places, that the sculptures were frequently injured by the destruction
of the faces of the figures that had been engraved with so much care.
They asked the Doctor how this was done, and he thus explained it:

"The Persians," said he, "had a great objection to seeing figures on the
walls of the temples, and when they overran Egypt they mutilated them in
the way you perceive. Happily the sculptures were so numerous that they
did not have sufficient time to destroy them all, or even a goodly
portion of them.

"The early Christians, in their zeal for removing the evidences of
paganism, continued the work which the Persians began. In some instances
they plastered the figures over so as to conceal them, and thus
unintentionally caused them to be preserved. Where the plaster is
removed the figures are found in excellent condition."

It did not require a long time for the visit to the Temple of Esneh, as
the curiosity of the travellers concerning Egyptian temples had
somewhat diminished since their stay at Thebes, and the many
explorations they had made. After seeing the temple they strolled
through the town, and listened to the songs of a group of Arabs at the
_cafés_ which line the bank of the river near the landing-place.

Just as the whistle of the steamer gave the signal for continuing the
journey, Frank's attention was attracted by what he pronounced a thing
of beauty.

[Illustration: A THING OF BEAUTY.]

It was not a girl, or a painting, or a temple, or even a scarabæus: it
was a mule.

Both the boys pronounced it the handsomest beast of the kind they had
seen in Egypt, and were sorry their time was so limited they could not
study the animal closely. Its color was pure white, and Fred suggested
that the mule was probably kalsomined every morning, and was evidently
treated with great care.

The animal was the property of the governor, and his trappings were in
keeping with his fine appearance. Some of the travellers regarded the
saddle quite as much as they did the animal that carried it. Frank said
he could understand why the Arabs are such excellent horsemen, when the
saddles are so formed that it is very difficult to throw a rider out of
them.

[Illustration: VIEW IN THE TEMPLE OF EDFOO.]

From Esneh to the foot of the first cataract there was no incident of
importance. The boat stopped at two or three places where there were
ruined temples, the most interesting being that of Edfoo. It was cleared
out in 1864 by order of the Egyptian Government, and the rubbish that
had been there thousands of years lay piled around it. The rubbish had
tended to the preservation of the sculptures, and after the clearing was
completed they were found to be in better condition than in most of the
other temples.

The general plan of the building was much like that of the Temple of
Denderah, and it was dedicated to the worship of the hawk. In the
sanctuary is a cage hewn from a single block of granite, which was once
the home of the sacred bird, who, no doubt, received the adoration of
the faithful much against his will. He would have preferred freedom and
a flock of chickens to the homage of the Egyptians, unless he was unlike
the hawks of modern days.

[Illustration: HAGAR SILSILIS.]

At Hagar Silsilis, or "the Rock of the Chain," the boat stopped to give
an opportunity for seeing the quarries, whence great quantities of stone
were taken for the construction of the temples at Esneh, Edfoo, Karnak,
and other places. The excavations where the stones were cut have been
partly filled by drifting sand, but enough of them remain to show how
the work was done. The Nile is here only a little more than a thousand
feet wide at its narrowest part, and there is a tradition that when
ancient Egypt was threatened with invasion a chain was stretched across
the river to prevent the passage of hostile boats. Frank made a hasty
sketch of the place, and included in his drawing the column of rock
where the chain is said to have been fastened.

There was once a flourishing town at this place, but at present little
remains of it; and even the ruins have been so covered with sand that
they cannot be readily found. The desert comes down on both sides of the
river at Hagar Silsilis, and the fertile land of the Nile disappears
altogether. To the stranger ascending the river for the first time it
seems as though he had reached the head of the Nile, and his journey was
to come suddenly to an end; but a turn of the stream undeceives him, and
his eye rests upon a more agreeable scene.

[Illustration: THE FOOT OF THE FIRST CATARACT.]

On and on went the boat, and the scenery became more and more
picturesque as the sandstone formation disappeared and granite took its
place. The barren shores of Hagar Silsilis were forgotten in the
fertility of the soil below Assouan and the brightness of the verdure on
the island of Elephantine, which lies at the foot of the first cataract
of the Nile. The hills around the cataract were crowned with little
shrines and tombs of Moslem saints, and there was a fringe of barren
hills directly back of the town in sharp contrast to the fertility of
the soil below it. The sun shone brightly on the water, which appeared
quiet as a lake enclosed in the mountains; the black rocks that rose
here and there on the bank of the river seemed to threaten danger to any
boat that ventured near them, since it was not easy to know what might
be concealed below the surface. Beyond Elephantine Island the river was
broken and lost, and our friends had no difficulty in comprehending that
they were in a part of the Nile quite unlike anything they had seen
before.

The steamer swung sharply around at the foot of the island, and in a few
minutes was at the landing-place of Assouan, the Syene of the ancients.

Not only were our friends among new scenes of rocks and hills, but the
crowds of natives that welcomed them were different from any they had
seen before. It was a mingling of Arabs and Nubians: the former were
nothing new, but the latter had put in an appearance for the first time.
They were scantily dressed, their skins were black as ink, and their
woolly hair was done up in little ringlets, like pen-holders, and
apparently soaked in grease. The goods they offered for sale were
ostrich feathers, Nubian dresses, arrows, old coins, knives, and kindred
things, and they were as shrewd in making bargains as their friends the
Arabs. Whips and canes of the hide of the hippopotamus were liberally
offered, and nearly every passenger made purchases of these articles.

The hippopotamus whip is called a _courbash_ by the Arabs, and has the
reputation of being the most cruel whip in the world. It is much like
the "green hide" that was in use in the Southern States of North America
during the days of slavery, and a blow from it is to be dreaded and long
remembered by man or beast.

It was late in the afternoon when our friends arrived at Assouan, and
there was only time to stroll through the bazaars before sunset. Plans
were made for an excursion to the island of Philæ on the following day,
and everybody went early to bed.



CHAPTER XIX.

A CAMEL JOURNEY.--THE ISLAND OF PHILÆ, AND THE FIRST CATARACT OF THE
NILE.


Frank and Fred were destined to enjoy a novelty in the way of
travelling. They were to make their excursion to the island of Philæ on
the backs of camels.

It is about five miles from Assouan to Philæ, and the road is chiefly
through the rocky desert, or along the equally rocky bank of the river.
The travellers had the choice of camels or donkeys for the journey, and
the two youths unhesitatingly decided in favor of the former.

"You can ride almost any time on a donkey," said Fred, "but it isn't
every day you can have a camel."

"I quite agree with you," Frank replied. "We'll have a jolly ride of it,
and have a good story to tell when we get home."

The boys went out before breakfast and found, close to the
landing-place, a group of camels waiting for the proposed excursion.
They were all lying or kneeling on the ground, and the boys walked
around them with the air of having been familiar with camels all their
lives. Finally they selected two, and at the suggestion of the drivers
Frank proceeded to mount his new beast of burden, just to try his
qualities.

"I began," said Frank, afterward, in telling the story to the Doctor--"I
began by patting the camel on the head, and saying 'good fellow! good
fellow!' He returned my kindness by trying to bite me, and if I had not
jumped quickly to one side he would have had a good nip at my arm. The
driver then stood by his head, and I proceeded to take my seat in the
saddle, which resembled a wood-sawyer's 'horse' with a blanket thrown
across it.

"As soon as I was in place I seized the front and rear of the saddle;
the driver then pulled at the halter, and said something that sounded
like '_heyda! heyda!_'

"The camel began to move as though there was a small earthquake under
him. There were three motions--a surge backward, a surge forward, and
then a backward plunge that brought him to a level.

[Illustration: THE SHIP OF THE DESERT.]

"I could not see exactly how it was done; but Fred, who was looking on,
said the camel rose on half his fore-legs, then on all of his hind-legs,
and lastly on the remaining half of his fore-legs. This will account for
the three motions that were required to bring him up standing."

"Yes," answered the Doctor, "and he kneels in the reverse way--half the
fore-legs, all the hind-legs, and then half the fore-legs. He is always
made to kneel for receiving his burden or being relieved of it. He makes
a great fuss when he is being loaded, and leads you to suppose that the
burden placed on him is much more than he can bear. The older the camel
the more noise does he make."

"He must have thought I weighed a ton at least," Frank responded, "for
he began groaning and bellowing as soon as I entered the saddle, and did
not stop till he was on his feet. Then he concluded it was no use
protesting any more and became quiet."

[Illustration: BEDOUIN ARABS WITH THEIR CAMEL HERDS.]

The boys did not learn till after the commencement of their journey that
the saddles on which they rode were nothing more than pack-saddles for
transporting freight around the cataract, and their beasts of burden
were the ordinary freight camels, and not those kept exclusively for
riding. A blanket was thrown over the saddle, but it did not conceal the
inequalities of it, and long before their return the youths would have
been quite willing to exchange their poetic camels for prosaic donkeys.
The last mile of Frank's ride was performed on foot, and it would have
been a difficult matter to persuade him to try the excursion over again
under similar conditions.

[Illustration: CAMELS (FROM AN ASSYRIAN SCULPTURE).]

The regular saddle for camel riding is a sort of dish, in which you sit
with your feet crossed around the pommel or hanging over the side. You
can have a pair of stirrups attached if you like, for resting the feet,
and they are by no means to be despised. An excellent plan for a long
journey is to sling a couple of boxes or a pair of well-stuffed bags
across a common pack-saddle, and cover them with mattresses and
blankets, so as to make a platform about six feet broad; then put up
your bed in a roll and fasten it to the back of the saddle, to form a
comfortable rest, and with a pair of stirrups fastened to the saddle-bow
you can select your own position for riding. If the sun is hot you can
spread an umbrella; and if you have been fortunate in your selection of
a camel, and his motion is easy, you will find no difficulty in reading
and even in sleeping, though a nap on the back of a camel is not
altogether safe.

The camel has a peculiar rocking motion that is a great strain on the
spine of the inexperienced rider. He does not feel it much till the
second day, and then, as Fred expressed it, he feels as though he had a
back-bone of glass, or some other brittle substance.

[Illustration: A BACTRIAN CAMEL IN GOOD CONDITION.]

During the first part of the journey each of the boys watched the camel
of the other, in order to understand the motions of his limbs and to
observe the peculiarities of his feet. The Doctor explained that the
foot of the camel is wonderfully adapted to travelling over the sands of
the desert. It is divided into two lobes, and each lobe is armed with a
stout claw, like the point of the ox's hoof. The foot is like a great
sponge, and when placed on the ground it spreads out very wide, but is
immediately contracted when raised. It thus presents a broad surface to
the sand or mud, and where the ground is steep and slippery it clings
like the foot of a fly on a window-pane. The strong claw assists its
adhesion, and consequently the camel can climb the side of a mountain
which is impassable to a well-shod horse.

[Illustration: FOOT AND STOMACH OF THE CAMEL.

1, Fore-foot; 2, sole; 3, hind-foot, side; 4, structure of the stomach.]

His nostrils are formed so that he can close them at will to keep out
the drifting sand, and his stomach is so contrived that it will hold a
supply of water sufficient for six or eight days. There are numerous
cells or cups in the animal's stomach, and when he has plenty of time
for drinking he fills all these cells, and thus accumulates a store for
future use. His scent is very keen, and he can discover water at a great
distance, and will sometimes break his halter and rush in search of a
pool or spring of whose existence his master is not aware. He can get
along with a very small quantity of food, and can, moreover, lay in a
supply for hard times.

[Illustration: HEAD OF A CAMEL.]

When he is not at work, and has good pasturage, the camel becomes fat,
and his hump is especially round and full--it is a mass of fat; and when
he is overworked and poorly fed, as he generally is in the desert, the
fat goes away from the hump to nourish the rest of the body. This is
particularly noticeable of the camels in Asia Minor, where they are in
very active use till they get worn to skeletons, and are then turned out
to rest and recover their fat.

[Illustration: THE DROMEDARY REGIMENT OF NAPOLEON I.]

Camels are not unfrequently used by the Egyptian Government for military
purposes, not only for carrying provisions and other munitions of war,
but for mounting troops in regions where it is necessary to make long
marches over the desert. Napoleon Bonaparte, during his expedition to
Egypt in 1798, organized a regiment of this kind, and found it of great
service. Officers and men were mounted on camels or dromedaries, and on
one occasion they made a march of ninety miles without halting for food
or rest. Napoleon was greatly pleased at the success of his scheme, as
it enabled him to move his men more rapidly than by any other means.

It required some time for the party to set out on the ride from Assouan,
as there was a good deal of difficulty in getting everybody comfortably
seated. As we have before stated, Frank and Fred selected their camels
before breakfast, and the Doctor did not take many minutes for making
his choice. The three set out in advance of the rest, and proceeded to
the quarries that furnished the stone for the obelisks, the coffins of
the sacred bulls, and many other things that have become famous in the
history of ancient Egypt.

In the quarries is an obelisk partly finished, but not completely
detached from its bed. According to measurements, it would have been
ninety-five feet long and eleven feet square at the base. Nobody can
tell by what king it was ordered, or why it was never finished and
removed. A crack extends across it, but the general belief is that it
was made long after the abandonment of the work. A little distance from
the quarries is a large coffin which became injured during its removal,
and was consequently given up.

The stone is of that peculiar red granite known as sienite, and admits
of a very high polish. In response to a question by one of the youths,
the Doctor said that ordinary granite is composed of mica, felspar, and
quartz, while in sienite there is little or no mica, and its place is
filled by hornblende. Sienite is harder than most of the other granites,
and this quality, combined with its color, causes it to be preferred for
ornamental work. He farther remarked that the rocks around Assouan are
not exclusively sienite; on the contrary, they are mostly true granite,
with occasional variations of porphyry. Some geologists assert that four
or five kinds of rock may be found there, and interesting specimens may
be gathered for mineralogical cabinets.

The process of quarrying among the ancients was easy to comprehend,
owing to the unfinished state of the obelisk to which we have referred.
A crevice or trench was cut in the rock, and then wedges of dry wood
were driven in; water was applied to the wedges; the wood swelled, and
finally its great expansive force caused the rock to split asunder. It
was slow work, but generally sure. The same plan is still in use in some
parts of India, and the stones for the construction of King Solomon's
Temple at Jerusalem were quarried in the same way.

From the quarries the ride was continued to the bank of the Nile,
opposite the island of Philæ. The boys were elated to think they were
really in Nubia, a country of which they had read and heard, but
considered so far away that they were not very likely to see it. They
had crossed the boundary between Egypt and Nubia, and, by a free use of
their imaginations, found no great difficulty in placing themselves in
Central Africa.

[Illustration: VIEW OF PHILÆ FROM THE HEAD OF THE CATARACT.]

The approach to Philæ was the occasion of many expressions of
admiration, as the scenery was different from any on which their eyes
had yet rested. The river is set in an irregular basin of desert hills,
and their barren sides contrast, in a very marked degree, with the
waving palms on the famous isle. The rocks of the cataract serve to
render the picture still more fantastic, and as the whole scene bursts
suddenly into view, it gives an impression to be long remembered.
Remarkable as the view is from the bank of the Nile, it is still unequal
to that from the ruins of the temple on the island itself.

[Illustration: THE BANK OF THE RIVER BELOW PHILÆ.]

While waiting for the boat to carry them over to Philæ, Frank and Fred
amused themselves with the antics of the natives in the water. They had
observed several short logs on the bank as they arrived, and wondered
what they were for. As soon as they had dismounted the Doctor explained
the uses of these pieces of wood.

"They are the ferry-boats of the natives," said he, "and are the common
property of the inhabitants."

Frank asked what he meant by ferry-boats, and how it was possible to use
a short log for crossing a river.

"Wait a moment and you'll see," replied the Doctor. "There's a boy
making ready to launch one."

A Nubian urchin of ten or twelve years removed his very scanty clothing
and made it into a bundle, which he placed on the top of his head; then
he rolled one of the logs--a stick six feet long and ten inches in
diameter--into the river and sprung in after it. Using the log as a
float to support himself, he paddled away, and was soon on the island.

Other boys and men followed his example; but, instead of swimming to the
island, they remained around the landing-place till the boat started,
and then they accompanied it. The Doctor told the youths that when a
native wishes to cross he makes a bundle of his clothing to tie on his
head, and then swims over, leaving the log on the bank for his own or
some other person's return. He takes the first log that comes in his
way, and everybody does likewise. "You see," he continued, "how the logs
serve as public ferry-boats."

[Illustration: PHARAOH'S BED AND THE RUINS OF THE TEMPLE.]

"We crossed the river," said Frank in his journal, "in a _kangia_, or
native boat, such as we have already described, and as the wind was
favorable it was not long in making the passage. We landed just below
the ruins of the temple, in what is called 'Pharaoh's bed,' but were
unable to ascertain if any of the monarchs of that name ever slept
there, and, if so, how late they slept. We thought the place a very
pretty one, and Fred wished he could sit down and write some verses
about it, as everything around seemed to favor such a performance.
Doctor Bronson says the island of Philæ has been the theme of the poets
for many centuries, and farthermore, that a great deal of poetical prose
has been composed concerning it. On learning this Fred concluded that he
could not improve on what had been done before him, and wisely desisted
from the attempt.

"From the landing-place we went to the ruins of the temple, where we
spent a couple of hours. The building seems to have been the work of
several architects at different periods, as it is very irregular in
shape, and the floors are not all on the same level. It is more modern
than any of the temples we have yet seen, as none of the dates which
have been found upon it are earlier than the thirtieth dynasty, or about
400 B.C. The propylon towers are sixty feet high, and there is a fine
view from their top. We climbed up without difficulty, though in some
places the steps are considerably broken. The solidity of the towers has
preserved them from serious injury.

"The colors on the walls and towers are better preserved than in the
other temples, and some of them are exceedingly beautiful. At the time
the temple was built the lotos flower seems to have been very popular
among the artists, as it was extensively used in the ornamentation, and
for the tops of the pillars that supported the roof of the grand hall.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM PHILÆ LOOKING UP THE RIVER.]

"Philæ was one of the most sacred spots known to the ancient Egyptians,
as it was the resting-place of the god Osiris, to whom they attributed
the annual overflow of the Nile, and the consequent fertility of the
land. There was a fable that his body was deposited beneath the
cataract, and that once a year he rose and 'troubled the waters' so that
the Nile burst its banks, and spread over the land of Egypt, to insure
an abundant harvest.

"The temple was dedicated to this god, and to his wife and sister Isis.
On the monuments she has many titles: sometimes she is called 'Mistress
of Heaven,' at others 'Regent of the Gods,' and at others 'The Eye of
the Sun.' Both Isis and Osiris represented the good and beautiful on
earth, and perhaps it is for this reason that the lovely island was
chosen as the site of their temple.

"We had an agreeable surprise in two ways: we found the papyrus plant
represented on the walls of the temple, and the guide took us to a spot
near the ruins where the papyrus was growing. We had often heard of this
plant, and longed to see it. You know, probably, that it was the
substance from which the Egyptians made their scrolls, whereon most of
their writing was done, and it is from 'papyrus' that our modern word
'paper' is derived.

[Illustration: THE PAPYRUS JUNGLES OF THE NILE.]

"The plant that we saw was a small one, or rather there was a little
cluster of small plants growing in a pond among other aquatic products.
It is uncertain whether the papyrus ever grew naturally in this part of
Egypt; at all events, it is not easy to find it at present, except where
it is artificially cultivated. In Abyssinia and farther up the Nile the
papyrus grows in marshy ground, and sometimes little else can be seen
for miles and miles. It has a mass of roots that spread out in the mud,
and throw up a cluster of stalks from five to ten feet high. The plant
is a very graceful one, and it is no wonder that the Egyptians made free
use of it in their ornamentation.

"In making paper from the papyrus plant the Egyptians used to cut it
into thin slices, which they laid side by side, and then covered with
other slices at right angles to the first. In this form it was slightly
moistened and pressed down, and the sheet could be made of any size by
simply extending it and connecting the edges. It was used for many other
purposes than the manufacture of paper: boats, baskets, and boxes were
made from the papyrus plant; cordage was spun from the fibres, the pith
was eaten as food, a salve was made from the pulp and applied to sores,
and the roots were burnt as fuel in houses, or fashioned into useful or
ornamental articles. Altogether the papyrus seems to have been nearly as
useful to the inhabitants of Egypt three thousand years ago as the
bamboo is to the native of China and Japan to-day.

"Wherever there was space to scratch or write a name on the walls, we
found that previous travellers had not scrupled to convert the Temple of
Philæ into an autograph album. Names of those who had come there in the
last two hundred years were visible in great numbers; the most prominent
memorial of this kind was a tablet recording the occupation of Philæ by
General Desaix's army at the time Egypt was held by Napoleon I. This
tablet was defaced by some Englishmen in 1848, but was afterward
restored by French visitors, and has since been undisturbed.

"When it was time to leave the island we again entered our boat, and
were taken to the cataract. The famous cataract of the Nile is nothing
more than a rapid, or rather a succession of rapids, with an aggregate
fall of not more than fifteen feet. The river divides into a series of
channels among the rocks, and boats are taken through these channels
without much trouble, though with a considerable expenditure of time and
muscle, with the aid of tow-ropes and Arabs. The Arabs at the cataract
are about as skilled in rascality as their brethren of the pyramids;
they can easily take a boat up in a single day, but manage to consume
three or four days in the operation, and extort a great deal of
backsheesh for not being longer about it. The descent of the falls takes
only a few minutes, as the principal rapid is about two hundred feet
long by seventy wide: the water foams and rushes furiously, but with a
skilful pilot there is no danger. Accidents happen occasionally, but
they are almost invariably due to bad management.

"We stood on the bank and saw a dozen Arabs 'shoot the rapids,' which
they did on the short logs they use as ferry-boats. It was apparently
dangerous, and we did not grudge the backsheesh they demanded when the
show was over. They slid down very gracefully, and probably the risk was
no greater for a good swimmer than is the process of coasting downhill
for a school-boy. Travellers' tales in the early part of the century
represented the cataract of the Nile to be something like Niagara, when,
in fact, it is not much worse than a large mill-race. The place is
rather picturesque, on the whole, and we are very glad to have seen it.

"From Mahatta, a little village at the head of the falls, we returned by
the bank of the river to Assouan. Our ascent of the Nile is ended, and
we will now turn our faces to the northward."



CHAPTER XX.

FROM ASSOUAN TO ALEXANDRIA.--FAREWELL TO EGYPT.


A part of the next day was passed on the island of Elephantine, opposite
Assouan. By reference to the books in their possession, Frank and Fred
learned that Elephantine was a place of considerable importance two or
three thousand years ago, and a large town once stood there. Its ruins
are now covered by a modern village, whose inhabitants are all Nubians;
in fact, there are no Arabs living on the island, and it is said that
Elephantine has been the home of none but Nubians from time immemorial.
Frank asked for the elephants, but could not learn that any had ever
been seen there; he concluded that the island received its name from the
entire absence of the largest of animals, or even of any fossil remains
of him.

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT POULTRY-SHOP.]

There were two temples, or rather their ruins, on the island at the
beginning of the present century--but they were destroyed in order that
the stone could be utilized for building the houses of Assouan. A
gate-way of one of them is yet standing, and there are some walls built
by the Romans, who are said to have made Elephantine a military post.

The Nubians offered Roman coins, polished stones, and other curiosities
for sale; the coins were supposed to have been dug up on the island, but
there was an appearance of newness about them which revealed their
falsity. The quantity of false coins increases year by year, and in many
instances the Arabs do not take the trouble to submit them to the
action of acids, in order to give them an antiquated look. The
manufacturers of antiquities in Cairo and Luxor generally manage to make
their goods have an appearance of genuineness; but sometimes the demand
is unexpectedly great, and they rush off their fabrications in a hurry.
On several occasions Roman coins were offered to our friends that did
not appear to have been out of the mint more than a day or two. One of
them bought a copper denarius of the time of the Emperor Hadrian that
was bright and fresh as though stamped an hour before; it was so new
that the oil used for facilitating its passage through the mint had not
been worn off, and was easily perceptible to the fingers.

The boys regretted their inability to go farther than the first cataract
of the Nile, and as the steamer headed down the river they gave a
longing and lingering look behind them. They were consoled with the
reflection that they had seen a great deal in their journey from Cairo,
and were farther relieved when Doctor Bronson informed them that
comparatively few travellers ever went beyond the first cataract. "Down
to within twenty years," said he, "the island of Philæ was the _Ultima
Thule_ of nearly all tourists on the Nile, and any one who had
penetrated farther was regarded as a sort of Mungo Park or Dr.
Livingstone. Once in a while somebody went to the second cataract, two
hundred and forty miles above the first, and on rare occasions an
Englishman or other foreigner visited Khartoom, at the junction of the
Blue and White Nile. Bayard Taylor was one of these adventurous
travellers, and he went some distance up the White Nile to the country
of the Shillook negroes.

"In 1850," he continued, "very little was known of the Nile beyond the
point reached by our enterprising countryman. Exploring parties had been
up the river considerably beyond the Shillook region, but in most
instances the explorers had died while beyond the limits of
civilization, or their accounts were insignificant. For a long time it
was supposed that the Blue Nile was the principal stream, and as its
head-waters had been reached by the famous traveller Bruce, he was
credited with the discovery of the sources of the mysterious river. But
it was afterward found that the White Nile was the longer of the two and
the greater in volume, and many lives were sacrificed in the attempt to
find its origin. The discovery and exploration of the lakes of Central
Africa, where the Nile rises, belongs to our day; and the names of
Burton, Speke, Grant, Livingstone, Stanley, Baker, Long, and others,
will go down in history for solving a mystery which has puzzled the
world for centuries."

One of the boys asked what they would have seen in case they had been
able to ascend the Nile a few hundred miles farther?

[Illustration: AN ARAB AND HIS CAMEL.]

"That is a difficult question to answer," was the Doctor's reply, "but I
will try to meet it. The second cataract is much like the first, and is
a succession of rapids rather than a fall. It is two hundred and forty
miles from Assouan to Wady Halfa, a village at the second cataract, and
the point where nearly all tourists who go beyond here turn back. On the
way thither you pass a few ruined temples and other remains of ancient
Egypt; but there are none of great importance, with the exception of
Abou Simbel, which ranks next after the pyramids and the temples of
Thebes. There are two temples there hewn in the solid rock, and dating
from the time of Rameses the Great. A good deal of the history of that
monarch has been gathered from the sculptures in these temples, and the
door-way of the principal one of them is guarded by a couple of enormous
statues that recall the Sitting Colossi of Thebes. They have been
pronounced the finest statues of their size in all Egypt, and certainly
I do not know of any that can rival them in grandeur and beauty.

[Illustration: COLOSSAL HEADS IN FRONT OF THE TEMPLE OF ABOU SIMBEL.]

"These statues were formed by cutting away the solid rock, just as the
statues of the temples of Ellora, in India, were made. Like most of the
royal statues of Egypt, they represent the king seated on his throne.
They are partly covered with the sand that has drifted about them, and
sometimes little more than the heads of the figures are visible. They
are said to be sixty-six feet high without their pedestals. A friend of
mine measured the head of one of them, and gave me the following notes:
Length of the nose, 3 feet 5 inches; height of the forehead, 28 inches;
width of the mouth, 8 feet; length of the ear, 3 feet.

"The head of the statue is twelve feet high, without including the cap
or crown that covers it. Compare these figures with the measurements of
the broken figure of Rameses at the Memnonium, and you will realize the
grandeur of the work.

[Illustration: PUBLIC SQUARE AT KHARTOOM.]

"The second cataract is more difficult of passage than the first, and
can only be accomplished when the Nile is at its full height. Above it
the river makes a wide bend, and, as the navigation is difficult, the
land route to the Upper Nile is preferable. Travellers leave the Nile
at Korosko, nearly a hundred miles below Wady Halfa, and cross the
desert to Khartoom. It is a journey of eight days by camels, and there
is only one oasis on the route where water can be procured. Khartoom is
a town of considerable size--about twenty thousand inhabitants--and has
a curiously mixed population of Egyptians, Nubians, Turks, Arabs, and
half a dozen other races and tribes. It has a fine trade in ivory,
ostrich feathers, and other products of Central Africa, and formerly was
the centre of the slave-trade between Egypt and the regions to the
south. The situation is said to be quite picturesque, as it is on the
angle between the Blue and White Nile, and the boats from both these
rivers lie at its banks.

"From Khartoom there is good navigation on the Nile for a long distance,
till the _Sudd_, or bank of reeds, is reached. The river is blocked by a
great mass of aquatic plants, which have drifted down and accumulated so
that they cover several miles of the course of the stream. Imagine a
small brook in which a load of hay has been overturned, and you have an
idea of what the Sudd is like.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS ON CAMELS.]

"Beyond the Sudd the principal town is Gondokoro, in Abyssinia, and as
we go farther up the Nile we enter the countries of the savage rulers of
Central Africa. You can read about them in the works of Livingstone,
Stanley, and other travellers who have gone there, and then--"

"Dinner is ready!" said one of the stewards, and the description of
Africa by the Doctor was indefinitely postponed.

The return voyage to Cairo was quickly made, as the steamer halted but a
few times, and then only briefly, at some of the principal points. There
was no time for sight-seeing, as all of the visits to temples and tombs
were planned for the upward journey. The principal incidents of the trip
were a few slight quarrels among the passengers, growing out of the
general lack of something to do, and a glimpse of a crocodile. Everybody
had been on the lookout for crocodiles during the voyage up the river,
but none had been seen. The presence of these inhabitants of the Nile
had been nearly forgotten, when suddenly one afternoon somebody on deck
called out,

"Crocodile!"

Instantly there was a rush from seats and lounging places, and those who
happened to be in the cabin came out as though a shell had exploded
among them. Some ran one way and some another, and several went to the
wrong side of the boat.

The crocodile was lying on a sand-bank two hundred yards or more from
the course of the steamer. He was evidently enjoying a sun-bath when
disturbed by the sound of the paddle-wheels, and concluded that the
wisest plan for him to follow was to drop into the water.

While he remained quiet he could easily have been mistaken for a
blackened log, but as soon as he was in motion there was no doubt on the
subject. Creeping rather than walking, he was soon at the edge of the
water, and, without pausing to see what it was that disturbed him, he
disappeared beneath the surface of the river.

The Doctor told the boys that many persons made the tour of the Nile
nowadays without getting a single glimpse of a crocodile below the first
cataract. Above Assouan crocodiles are more frequent, and beyond
Khartoom they are so abundant that dozens of them may be counted in a
single day. Thirty years ago they were numerous in the vicinity of
Thebes and Keneh, and it was dangerous to venture into the water lest
they might take a notion to a breakfast on humanity. On the upper part
of the Nile, in the vicinity of Gondokoro, they are large and ferocious,
and hardly a day passes that they do not carry off a native who has
incautiously ventured into the river or near its edge.

It is the ambition of every tourist who ascends the Nile in a dahabeeah
to bring back the skin of at least one crocodile as a trophy. The best
way of killing this kind of game is to shoot him when he is taking his
nap on a sand-bank; and if proper caution is observed, and the position
is favorable, the sportsman may approach within forty or fifty yards
without disturbing his prey. The scales of the reptile are so thick and
hard that an ordinary rifle-ball glances off as from an iron plate. The
only vulnerable point is behind the fore-leg, and a good chance for a
shot is not always presented.

Of late years considerable havoc has been made among crocodiles by means
of explosive bullets, which burst as they strike and tear a hole in the
crocodile, in addition to making a general disturbance internally if the
proper spot has been reached.

A large package of letters was at the hotel in Cairo for our friends,
and they sat till far into the night perusing and discussing these
welcome missives. Everybody at home was well, and there were lots of
congratulations for Frank and Fred over the intelligent use they had
made of their time, and their interesting accounts of what they had seen
in their travels. The presents for Mary and Miss Effie were greatly
admired by those young ladies as well as by their friends, and one of
the letters contained a polite intimation that similar selections in
future would be as cordially welcomed. There was a renewal of the
suggestion that the letters and journals of the youths ought to go into
a book. Mrs. Bassett said the village editor had printed all the letters
in his paper, and they had been so highly praised that he was sure they
ought to be preserved in a more permanent form.

"Well," said Fred, "it seems as though we were to become authors whether
we want to or not."

"I don't see any harm in it," responded his cousin. "Authors may do some
good in the world if they make good books, can't they?"

"Of course they can," was the reply; "and if we become authors we'll try
to make books that nobody can object to."

"I'm afraid you are counting on an impossibility," said Doctor Bronson,
who had overheard the conversation. "What will please one will not
please another, and you can never do your work so that somebody will not
find fault with it. And there are some critics who prefer to say
spiteful things, and will search a book from beginning to end to find
something they can object to. If you ever write a book you must expect
abuse. Do your work well, satisfy your own conscience, give your book to
the public, and leave the result to take care of itself."

When the perusal of the letters was over the youths went to bed and
slept soundly, despite many dreams of friends at home, mingled with
pyramids, temples, tombs, mummies, Arabs, deserts, valleys, and other
things and places that had come under their observation since their
arrival in Cairo. They were up in good time the next morning arranging
for speedy departure from the City of the Caliphs, as the Doctor had
informed them it was necessary to take the afternoon train for
Alexandria.

"Here is our plan," said the Doctor, as they sat down to breakfast. "We
will take the train at noon, and be in Alexandria four hours later; the
distance is a hundred and twenty miles, and the train is a fast one. We
will have a day in Alexandria, and then take the steamer for Jaffa. From
Jaffa we will go to Jerusalem, and from that city make the tour of the
Holy Land, arranging our route according to circumstances."

The boys were delighted with the proposal, and were ready at the
appointed time. There were no incidents of consequence in the railway
journey. The boys looked earnestly at the pyramids and the tall minarets
of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali as the train bore them away toward the
sea, and left Cairo behind them. They were bidding farewell to ancient
Egypt, and we cannot wonder that they had many regrets in so doing.

[Illustration: THE BARRAGE OF THE NILE.]

They passed near the "Barrage," an extensive structure which was
intended for a dam across the Nile to check the overflow of water during
the inundation, and retain it till it was wanted for purposes of
irrigation after the falling of the river. This great work was projected
and begun during the time of Mohammed Ali, and an immense amount of
money has been expended upon it. It consists of a long line of arches
across the river, and the plan was to arrange gates at the openings of
the arches, so that the flow of the water could be checked or allowed at
pleasure. It has never been completed: the engineers say there was an
error in the original calculations, and if the arches were closed, so as
to raise the river to the proposed height, the force of water would
sweep away the entire structure.

The Barrage has been partially utilized, and it is said that the
government contemplates its completion by strengthening the work, so
that it will retain the water as desired. There is no doubt that it
would be of great advantage to Lower Egypt, as it would largely increase
its productiveness. There is a story that Abbas Pacha once suggested to
a French engineer to pull down the pyramids and use the material for
constructing the Barrage. The engineer was horrified at the idea, as he
said it would cause him to be execrated by the whole world, and his name
would go down to posterity covered with disgrace for having destroyed
the finest monument of ancient Egypt.

Our friends passed through Tantah, a town of considerable importance,
containing many handsome houses, and a palace where the Khedive
occasionally passes a few days. Three times a year, in the months of
January, April, and August, a fair is held at Tantah which lasts eight
days. Sometimes as many as two hundred thousand people come to this
fair; their ostensible object is to pray at the tomb of a Moslem saint,
but the most of their time is passed in amusements and in trading. There
is a large business in camels, horses, and general merchandise, and in
former times a good many slaves were sold there. All around the town
there are tents and booths devoted to singing and to the performances of
jugglers, snake-charmers, and others whose living is derived from the
amusement they furnish to the public.

The train swept along the bank of the Mahmoodieh Canal, which connects
Alexandria with the Nile; it is fifty miles long and a hundred feet
wide, and was built in less than a year by order of Mohammed Ali. Two
hundred and fifty thousand men were employed upon it, and of this number
twenty thousand died of hunger, plague, and cholera. For several miles
the route of the railway lay through a marsh, and as they neared
Alexandria our friends caught a glimpse of Lake Mareotis, a shallow body
of water, whose principal use is to supply the Alexandria market with
fish.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF ALEXANDRIA.]

Pompey's Pillar came into view, and so did the domes and minarets of
Alexandria. There was the usual crowd of porters, guides, and the like
at the railway-station, and with some difficulty the Doctor and the
youths made their way through the dense assemblage, and drove to the
hotel. The boys found that the streets were paved with large blocks of
stone, but the pavement was broken in many places, and had much need of
repair. In rainy weather there are deep holes filled with mud, and the
incautious pedestrian runs a great risk of taking an involuntary and
very disagreeable bath.

The morning after their arrival the party started out to see Alexandria
and engage passage for Jaffa. The passage was secured, and then there
was leisure for visiting the points of interest in and around the city.

[Illustration: CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLE AT ALEXANDRIA.]

There is comparatively little remaining of the great city of Alexandria,
which once contained half a million inhabitants, and boasted of the
finest library in the world. The library was burnt, the buildings
disappeared, the city dwindled in importance, till at the end of the
last century its population was barely six thousand. Since 1798 it has
been steadily reviving, till it now contains nearly a quarter of a
million inhabitants, of whom a fourth are Europeans. It is the
commercial capital of Egypt, and the viceroy lives there during the
summer. Of its ancient monuments Pompey's Pillar is almost all that can
be found. There are some tombs near the city, but they are scarcely
worth visiting: there were formerly two obelisks near the water's edge,
but they have gone, one to England and the other to the United States.
The latter was removed by Commander H. H. Gorringe, of the United States
Navy--the cost of the work being paid by Mr. W. H. Vanderbilt--and has
been set up in Central Park, New York. It was famous in history as
Cleopatra's Needle; the obelisk that was taken to England and set up on
the bank of the Thames above Waterloo Bridge had been lying prostrate
for centuries.

[Illustration: POMPEY'S PILLAR.]

Pompey's Pillar is a single shaft of red granite, seventy feet high and
about ten in diameter, standing on a broad base and crowned with a
capital, the whole rising a hundred feet from the ground. It is supposed
that a statue once stood on the top, and there are some old pictures of
Alexandria where a statue appears on the pillar.

Frank and Fred wanted to climb to the top of the column, but were unable
to see how they could do so, as there is no ladder or stairway, and the
shaft is polished like a pane of glass.

The Doctor told them it had been twice ascended in the present
century--once by an enterprising woman, and once by a party of sailors.
In each case a kite was flown so that it came against the top of the
pillar, then the string was used to draw up a cord, the cord drew up a
rope, and the rope drew up a ladder. The ascent is easy enough when the
ladder is properly secured, but it trembles so much that a steady head
and strong hand are requisite to insure safety.

After seeing the pillar the three visitors wandered through the bazaars,
which repeated, on a small scale, the sights of the bazaars of Cairo.
They spent an hour or more in the great square in the centre of the
city, where there are several rows of shade-trees and some bronze
statues, and they visited two or three private gardens, which were very
pretty, and contained rare varieties of plants. They went to the
celebrated "Pharos," which is one of the earliest light-houses ever
known to mariners, and was built by Ptolemy Philadelphus at enormous
expense. It is said to have been a square building of white marble in
several stories, each smaller than the one below it. A winding road led
to the top, and, according to history, Cleopatra once drove a pair of
horses to the summit, and then drove them down again. The name of the
"Pharos" is perpetuated in the French word for light-house (_phare_),
but very little of the ancient structure exists to-day. It is still
maintained as a light-house, and is a welcome sight to ships seeking the
harbor of Alexandria.

At an early hour the next morning a procession left the door of the
hotel and proceeded in the direction of the harbor. It was composed as
follows:

Frank Bassett and Fred Bronson mounted on donkeys, and attended by the
drivers of the little beasts.

Doctor Bronson similarly mounted and escorted.

A servant from the hotel superintending the transportation of the
baggage of the trio on the backs of a couple of Arab porters.

A miscellaneous array of beggars, peddlers, and their kindred, shouting
for backsheesh.

There were at least twenty individuals in the party, not counting the
donkeys; but a good many of the beggars dropped off after a few dozen
yards. Their places were taken by others, so that there was no material
loss of numbers on arrival at the landing, where the baggage was placed
in a boat, after a gift of a couple of francs to a customs official, to
save it from inspection. From the shore to the boat was a short journey,
and any possible monotony was prevented by the boatmen. They had made a
bargain to carry our three friends on board the steamer for five francs;
about half-way they stopped rowing and demanded ten francs, which were
refused.

Then the fellows turned, and threatened to row to the shore again, but
the Doctor prevented this performance by proposing to hand them over to
the police. They did not proceed until he rose to his feet and shouted
for the police-boat, and then they concluded it was best to do as they
had agreed. The boatmen of Alexandria are worse than those of any other
port of the Mediterranean, and it is a disgrace to the Egyptian
Government that they are allowed to continue their practices.

[Illustration: VIEW OF ALEXANDRIA FROM THE SEA.]

And now behold our friends safely on board the French steamer. The smoke
pours from her funnels, the anchor is lifted, the engine throbs, the
screw revolves, churning the water into foam--the entrance of the harbor
is passed, the shore fades from sight, and Egypt is left behind.

_Bon voyage!_



CHAPTER XXI.

VOYAGE FROM EGYPT TO PALESTINE.--JOURNEY FROM JAFFA TO RAMLEH.


The steamer stopped a few hours at Port Said, the northern terminus of
the Suez Canal, and the second morning after her departure from
Alexandria she dropped anchor in front of Jaffa. The time at sea between
Alexandria and Jaffa is from twenty to thirty hours, according to the
speed of the steamer and the state of the weather. There are three
companies--one carrying the French flag, one the Austrian, and one the
Russian--each making a fortnightly service from Alexandria; and there
are several irregular lines, so that a traveller may be reasonably sure
of being able to go from Egypt to the Holy Land every four or five days.
The French steamers are the best, the Austrian the next in order, and
the Russian and the irregular steamers the worst of all.

The steamer that carried our friends anchored about a mile from land,
and the Doctor explained to the youths that there is no harbor at Jaffa
which a ship can enter. In a calm sea, or when the wind blows from the
north or east, passengers may land or embark with safety; but if a
westerly or southerly wind is blowing a landing is impossible. In winter
the prevailing wind is from the west, and many a traveller who takes his
ticket for Jaffa in that season has the vexation of being carried past
the port, for the simple reason that he cannot be put on shore.

Fortunately for our friends the sea was perfectly calm when they came to
anchor, and there was no hinderance to their going on shore. The steamer
was quickly surrounded by boats, and a bargain was made with one of them
for transportation to land. The strong arms of the Arab boatmen sent the
little craft spinning over the water; the oars rose and fell together as
the men kept time by a song that was a trifle monotonous to the ears of
Frank and Fred. But never mind its monotony; it carried the travellers
from ship to shore, and every moment the walls of Jaffa became more and
more distinct through its measured cadence.

They seemed to be heading for some jagged rocks that jutted a little
distance from the line of the shore. The sharp eyes of the boys
discovered an opening in the rocks, and when the boat was within a few
yards of it the men paused in obedience to a signal from the steersman.
Then, watching the rise and fall of the waves, they dashed forward at
the proper moment through the opening ten or twelve feet wide, and were
borne into the smooth water of the little harbor. There is a wider
entrance farther to the north, but it is rendered dangerous by several
sunken rocks, and the narrow one is generally used by the boatmen.

[Illustration: FRONT OF AN EASTERN SUMMER-HOUSE.]

"This harbor is mentioned several times in Scripture," said Doctor
Bronson, while the boatmen were waiting the proper moment to enter. "It
was here that Hiram, King of Tyre, sent ships laden with wood from
Lebanon for the use of King Solomon in building his temple at Jerusalem,
and some of the apostles, when they went out to preach the gospel
through the world, sailed away from Jaffa or Joppa, as it was then
called. According to tradition, the prophet Jonah sailed from Joppa just
before he was swallowed by the whale. And there is another tradition
that Andromeda was chained to the rocks at the entrance of the harbor,
in order that a sea-monster might devour her. The correctness of this
latter tradition was maintained until the sixteenth century by the
exhibition of the chains and rings by which she was held."

[Illustration: ONE OF THE DRAGOMEN.]

Doctor Bronson saved himself a wrangle with the boatmen by putting his
party in the care of the _commissionnaire_ of the hotel where he was
going, and asking him to arrange everything. This plan is advisable for
all travellers arriving at Jaffa, and they are also recommended to pay
no attention to the dragomen that crowd around them on the ship, and
desire to make contracts for accompanying the strangers to Jerusalem.
Wait till you get on shore, and don't make a bargain in a hurry.

The _commissionnaire_ attended to the baggage of the party, paid the
customary fees to the boatmen and the officials of the Custom-house, and
then escorted the strangers to the Jerusalem Hotel, which is, or was at
that time, the best hotel in the place. It is a short distance out of
the town, and in the German colony; its proprietor, a German, was the
vice-consul of the United States of America, and his official position
enabled him to be of service to travellers from beyond the Atlantic.
Through his recommendation our friends were joined by three other
Americans who wished to make the tour of the Holy Land, and the rate for
a party of six would be less for each person than if it consisted of
half that number, or even four or five.

Negotiations were begun immediately. Several contractors wished to be
engaged, and the choice fell on a Syrian named Ali Solomon, or Solyman,
who was strongly recommended both by the consul and by those who had
previously employed him. After considerable bargaining the following
terms were agreed upon:

The contractor, or dragoman, was to provide all requisites for the
journey. There were to be three double tents--one for every two
persons--servants, beds, food, English saddles, horses for riding and
carrying the baggage. He was to engage sufficient escort when needed,
and pay all fees and backsheesh of every kind, except when the party
visited churches, convents, and the like. Whenever the party stopped in
hotels or convents, instead of remaining in camp, he was to pay for
their food and lodging. The horses were to be sound and kind, and if any
of them became disabled the dragoman was to provide proper substitutes
free of extra charge. The party could go where it pleased, change its
route as often as it liked, select its own day for leaving any city or
town, and, if the contract was closed anywhere but in Jaffa, the
dragoman was to have a fair allowance for the return journey. In case of
dispute, the matter could be referred to the American or any other
consul at the most convenient point.

While on the road the food should consist of coffee or tea in the
morning, with eggs and bread-and-butter; luncheon at noon, of chicken
or other cold meat, eggs, bread, cheese, and fruit; and dinner should be
as good as the hotel dinner. In Jerusalem the party should choose for
itself the hotel where it would stop.

In consideration of the above, each person of the party was to pay
twenty francs, or sixteen English shillings ($4) per day. One-third of
the money was to be paid before starting, one-third when the journey was
half over, and the balance on the return to Jaffa, or the discharge of
the dragoman at some other point.[6]

[6] The above is the contract, with some slight change of phrases, that
was made by the party of six of which the author was a member when he
visited the Holy Land. It should be remarked that it was not in the
height of the travelling season, and consequently the terms were lower
than usual. A party of six or more can generally secure everything as
above stated for twenty-five francs (twenty shillings) each person
daily. The tourist agencies charge thirty shillings per day, and require
the whole amount to be paid in advance, and they generally manage to
bring in a large bill for "extras" at the end of the journey. An
excellent form of contract can be found in Baedeker's "Hand-book for
Palestine and Syria."

There is not much to be seen in Jaffa, and it was decided to start in
the afternoon and spend the night at Ramleh, nine miles away. While the
dragoman went to bring horses for the travellers to ride, our friends
went out to "do" Jaffa. Dinner was to be served at one o'clock, and they
were to be on the road a couple of hours later.

They visited the house of Simon the Tanner--or, rather, one of the
several houses which claim that distinction--mentioned in the New
Testament (Acts ix. 43). It is well to remark here that all through the
Holy Land the locations of houses, tombs, and other places of scriptural
or other historic interest, are frequently changed. In regard to the
house of Simon the Tanner, at Jaffa, it is said that its location
depends somewhat on the liberality of the owner or tenant toward the
guides who conduct strangers about the town. The Latin convent is
claimed to be on the site of the house, and so is a small mosque near
the light-house. The Christian guides generally conduct strangers to the
former spot, while the Moslems indicate the latter. There is no reason
to believe that any part of the original house is in existence.

[Illustration: JOPPA.]

A walk through the bazaars, a visit to an orange-grove, and a narrow
escape from being trampled in the mud by a line of camels in a narrow
street, completed the inspection of the ancient Joppa. One of the most
interesting features to Frank and Fred were the heaps of oranges piled
in the market-place. Jaffa is famous all through the Levant for its
oranges, which are an important article of export; and in the season
when they ripen there is a very large trade in this delicious fruit.
Our friends bought a dozen for two or three cents, and pronounced them
the finest oranges they had ever seen.

[Illustration: A SECOND-CLASS HORSE.]

When they returned to the hotel they found some forty or more horses
from which they were to make their selection. Half an hour was spent in
trying the steeds and the saddles on their backs, and when this
operation was ended the rejected horses were led away, while the
selected ones were fastened in front of the hotel at the Doctor's
suggestion. Some of the owners wanted to take the horses away, in order
to feed them before their departure for Ramleh; but the Doctor ended the
discussion by saying that any desired nourishment could be given where
the animals were standing.

"It is a common trick," said he to the boys, "to change the horses after
you have made your selection. We have picked out good horses, and I
think we shall be satisfied with them; these fellows would very likely
bring us animals of the same color and general appearance, and we should
find them vicious, weak, bad in gait, or with some other defects. We
will keep our horses directly under our eyes till we are away from here;
when we are once on the road they are not likely to try the substitution
trick."

"But wouldn't they tell you so, if they had changed the horses?" said
one of the boys.

"Not a bit of it," answered the Doctor, with a laugh. "They would
declare there had been no change whatever; and as we would not be
familiar with the horses after seeing them only once, we would not be
certain of the deception till too late to rectify it."

"What dreadful story-tellers they must be!" was the very natural comment
on the Doctor's assertion.

"Yes," he responded; "and do you know how they account for it
themselves?"

Neither of the youths had ever heard the explanation, and so the Doctor
gave it.

"The Arabs say that when the Father of Lies came on earth to distribute
his goods he had nine bagfuls. He spread one bag of lies in Europe, and
then started for Asia and Africa. He landed in Egypt one evening,
intending to scatter a bagful over that country and Syria, and then go
on the next day to Asia; but while he slept the Arabs stole all his
remaining stock, and distributed it among themselves. This accounts for
the great difficulty they have in telling the truth."

"This propensity among them," continued the Doctor, "is practically
universal, as an Arab who can tell the straightforward truth is very
difficult to find. If you ask a question of an Arab, and he has no
interest in deceiving you, he may possibly give you the correct answer
if he happens to know it, though he is by no means sure to do so; if he
does not know the answer, he will give you the first that his
imagination suggests, and he would be very much surprised if you told
him he had done wrong."

As soon as dinner was over the travellers arranged their baggage, each
of them packing what clothing and other things he wanted in a valise or
bag, and leaving the trunks to be kept till their return, or sent up the
coast to Beyroot, according to the instructions they would send from
Jerusalem to the keeper of the hotel. Each of them carried a suit of
clothing in addition to the one he was wearing--an overcoat, a
mackintosh, or light rubber coat, for rainy weather, and a limited
supply of under-garments, socks, handkerchiefs, and other necessities of
every-day life. The dragoman said that almost anything they would want
could be bought in Jerusalem, and there was no use in carrying things
along simply on the ground that they might possibly be needed. Frank and
Fred remembered the previous injunctions of the Doctor about travelling
in "light marching order," and reduced their baggage to a very low
condition.

All was ready before three o'clock, and they were off for their first
ride in the Holy Land.

[Illustration: THE CITY GATE OF JAFFA.]

There was a little restiveness among the horses at starting, and it
threatened, at one time, very serious results to the riders of the
animals. Evidently they had not been very actively employed for the past
few days. The Doctor said their freshness would wear away before they
had gone far into the country, and the principal thing to do was to keep
them from injuring any of the party or doing harm to themselves. At the
suggestion of Ali, Frank and Fred put their horses to a gallop for a
couple of miles, and the exercise had a visible effect in reducing the
liveliness of the steeds.

The boys were well satisfied with their horses, which were full of
spirit, and very easy under the saddle. Frank said he intended to see if
he could not get up a friendship with his horse, but the Doctor told him
it would be of little use to do so, as the horses of Palestine are
changed around so often among tourists that they do not have an
opportunity for becoming intimately acquainted with any of their riders.
The youth soon after abandoned the attempt when his horse tried to bite
him, and contented himself with treating the animal kindly, and holding
him well in check whenever there was any manifestation of temper.

[Illustration: WOMEN AT A WELL.]

Until they got clear of the town the road was anything but agreeable,
as it was paved with mud and otherwise encumbered. Orange groves were
all around them for quite a distance, and the general aspect of the
place was pleasing. They passed near a well where several women were
engaged in filling their water-jars, after the manner recorded in
Scripture. The boys realized the fidelity of the descriptions they had
read in their Sunday-school days, and Frank remarked that evidently the
East had changed very little in many of its features since the time of
Christ.

Frank thought the dress of the women was very picturesque, and the
flowing robes reminded him of the outer garments of the women of Japan.
Fred said he could understand why the women of Syria had such graceful
figures; there could be no stooping or bending forward when one was
carrying a jar of water on her head. He thought it would not be a bad
plan if some of the American schools for young women would adopt the
plan of having their pupils walk with slight weights on their heads, so
as to teach them the value of an erect position.

From Jaffa to Ramleh the country is flat or slightly undulating; most of
it appears quite fertile, but there are numerous spots so deeply covered
with sand that they are unfit for cultivation. There are some villages
along or near the road; but, on the whole, the population is quite
scattered, and the country could support more inhabitants than it has at
present.

A couple of miles out from Jaffa the party halted a few minutes in order
to tighten some of the saddle-girths, which had worked loose, and to
arrange a few other matters about the travelling-gear. As the incident
of the well was fresh in the minds of the youths they spoke of it, and
the time of the halt was utilized by the Doctor in a short lecture upon
the wells of the Holy Land.

"In most parts of Palestine," said he, "the water is very scarce, and
the possession of a spring or permanent stream is a matter of great
importance. Fierce fights have occurred for the ownership of springs,
and sometimes the feuds that have arisen from this cause have lasted
hundreds of years. The existence of a fine spring has often determined
the site of a town or village, and every precaution is exercised to
prevent the waste of the precious liquid.

[Illustration: PUBLIC FOUNTAIN AT JERUSALEM.]

"For public uses the water is made to flow into a fountain, with a stone
trough in front of it. The women go to the fountain to fill their jars
from the stream that flows through the stone, and the horses and cattle
are driven there to drink from the trough. If from any cause the spring
dries up there is great distress, and if there is no other water in the
immediate neighborhood the site of the village or town must be
abandoned. Many of the ruined towns which we find in Palestine to-day
were given to desolation in consequence of the drying up of springs or
streams.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE WELLS OF BEERSHEBA, WITH ITS
WATERING-TROUGHS.]

"The scarcity of running water led to the digging of wells, and we find
them mentioned in the earliest books of the Bible. There are many wells
of this sort in the country, and some of them are thousands of years
old. We read in Genesis of the wells that were dug by Abraham and his
descendants, where the flocks were watered. The wells of Beersheba which
were made by the servants of Isaac (Gen. xxvi. 32, 33) can be seen
to-day, and the stone watering-troughs from which the flocks drank are
where they have stood for thousands of years. In some of the ancient
wells there are stone steps leading down to the water, while in others
the water was drawn to the surface by means of buckets at the ends of
ropes. The ropes made deep channels in the stone where they rubbed
against it. Some of the wells have been dry for hundreds of years, but
the stones that surround them remain undisturbed.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A CISTERN.]

"Where there are no running streams or springs, and the nature of the
ground does not favor the digging of wells, the people rely upon
cisterns to supply their wants. A cistern is simply a large excavation
in the earth or rock; if in the former, it is lined with stone and
cement to make it water-proof, but if it is hewn in the solid rock no
such precaution is necessary. Water is collected here during the rainy
season and treasured up for use in the dry summer. Some of the cisterns
are of great extent, and will hold water sufficient for great numbers of
people during several months. They are found all through the country;
and even where there is a stream of water the whole year round it is
often the custom to keep cisterns filled with water, to guard against an
unusual drought. Some of the cities of the East have vast cisterns
beneath them, and if you ever go to Constantinople you will see the
cistern of 'The Thousand and One Pillars,' which gets its name from the
number of columns that support the roof.

[Illustration: CISTERN UNDER THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM.]

"There is a cistern under the Temple of Jerusalem," continued the
Doctor, "that was hewn from the solid rock. Portions of the rock were
left standing to form a support for the temple, and they have performed
their work so well that no part has ever given way."

As the Doctor paused it was announced that the horses were ready, and in
a few minutes the cavalcade was again in motion.

A tower on the right of the road attracted the attention of the youths.
The Doctor told them it was the station of a watchman, and that it was
his duty to guard the fields and vineyards from depredations by men or
beasts, and to preserve order along the road.

"There are eighteen of these towers," said he, "between Jaffa and
Jerusalem, about two miles apart, and the men in them are supposed to
have control of the road, and to protect travellers from danger. The
watch-tower is an institution of the East, and its use dates from a very
early period."

"Yes," replied one of the boys; "I have read about watch-towers in the
Bible, and we saw in Egypt how watchmen were stationed to guard the
fields in ancient times the same as they guard them now."

"You will find them referred to many times in the Bible," was the reply,
"and there has been no change in the custom. If you want to refresh your
memory on the subject read the fifty-second chapter of Isaiah, and you
will find a description that might have been written yesterday instead
of many centuries ago."

Over the undulating plain of Sharon our friends continued their journey,
passing groves of olive and orange trees, fields of grain, and
occasional stretches of barren ground. In places the route was shaded by
sycamore and cypress trees, and the fields were protected by hedges of
cactus. A well-grown hedge of this plant makes an excellent fence, as it
is impervious to man or beast, and it flourishes admirably in the soil
of Palestine.

From the third watch-station the town of Ramleh was visible, with a huge
tower rising over it. The view was very pretty, as Ramleh is situated in
the midst of luxuriant groves and orchards of olives and sycamores
interspersed with palm-trees.

As they neared the town one of the horses became restive, and made a
dash for a cactus hedge. He regretted his imprudence when the sharp
spines of the plant entered his hide, and stopped so short that he
narrowly missed throwing his rider over his head and into the thorny
bushes. The other horses shared in the excitement, and for a few moments
there was a scene of confusion among them. Happily no accident resulted,
and the party entered Ramleh at a dignified pace.



CHAPTER XXII.

FROM RAMLEH TO JERUSALEM.--THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.


All the dragomans had told the travellers before leaving Jaffa that
there was a small hotel at Ramleh, kept by a German, where a dozen or
twenty persons could be accommodated, and there were convents of the
Latin and Russian churches which served as hotels. They might have their
choice, provided the place where he first applied was not already full.
The boys thought it would be more interesting to go to one of the
convents than to a hotel, and the rest of the party agreed with them;
accordingly, it was arranged that they should spend the night either at
the Latin or Russian establishment. When they were within a couple of
miles of Ramleh Ali rode ahead at a gallop to arrange the matter,
leaving the travellers to follow more leisurely.

[Illustration: A SYRIAN HORSEMAN.]

A messenger met them at the entrance of the town with the announcement
that they were to put up at the Russian convent. As they rode along the
Doctor explained to the boys that the "convents" were more properly
hostelries, or hotels for the accommodation of pilgrims on their way to
and from the holy places of the country. They are sustained by the
churches to which they belong. Those who can afford to pay for their
entertainment are expected to do so, the same as at a hotel: but no bill
is presented, nor is any payment demanded. Poor pilgrims are received
free, but their accommodations are much inferior to those for the
traveller with a well-lined purse. The large number of Russians, Greeks,
and other Christians annually visiting Palestine renders the maintenance
of these convents a necessity.

Our friends found the Russian convent so much like a hotel that they
would never have known the difference if they had not been told of it.
The lower story of the building served as a stable; the second story was
reached by a flight of steps on the outside, which brought them to an
open court surrounded by rooms that greatly resembled the cells of a
prison. But the rooms were comfortably though plainly furnished, and as
the youths were fatigued with their ride, and the other exertions of the
day, they had no difficulty in sleeping. There was an hour to spare
before supper, and the party went to see the curiosities of the place.
Frank said they would take a walk to get up an appetite, to which Fred
retorted that he thought the ride was enough to satisfy any reasonable
being on that score.

[Illustration: THE TOWER OF RAMLEH (FROM THOMSON'S "THE LAND AND THE
BOOK").]

The principal sight of Ramleh is the Tower, which is visible for quite a
distance, and forms a conspicuous landmark. Its history is not
definitely known, but it is supposed to have been originally the tower
of a Christian church. The church was destroyed by the Moslems, and the
tower left standing, in order that it might serve as the minaret of the
mosque erected on the site of the Christian edifice. The Tower is about
a hundred feet high altogether, and its summit can be reached by means
of steps in the interior. Ivy and other vines give it an appearance of
age and neglect, and on the top bushes have sprung up from seeds carried
there by the birds.

Doctor Thomson gives a fine view of this structure in "The Land and the
Book," and says he was once detained for some time at Ramleh. Nearly
every day he ascended to the summit of the Tower, and was enchanted with
the view. He wrote as follows in his journal:

"The view from the top of the Tower is inexpressibly grand. The whole
plain of Sharon, from the mountains of Judea and Samaria to the sea, and
from the foot of Carmel to the sandy deserts of Philistia, lies spread
out like an illuminated map. Beautiful as vast, and diversified as
beautiful, the eye is fascinated, and the imagination enchanted,
especially when the last rays of the setting sun light up the white
villages which sit or hang upon the many-shaped declivities of the
mountains. What a paradise was here when Solomon reigned in Jerusalem,
and sung of 'the roses of Sharon!'"

Our friends ascended the Tower and found that the description was by no
means overdrawn. The mountains on one side, the undulating ground at
their feet, the plain between them and the waters of the
Mediterranean--all were there, and above them spread the clear blue dome
of the sky of the East. They lingered till the lengthening shadows told
them the sunset was near and it was time to depart.

Descending from the Tower, they were shown some vaults beneath the site
of the mosque that once stood here. According to tradition, these vaults
were the sepulchres of many Christian martyrs, and there is reason to
believe that the underground chambers were formerly much more extensive
than at present, many of them having been filled up and abandoned.
Various attempts have been made to identify Ramleh with some of the
places named in sacred history, but none of them have been successful.
Some writers think it was the Arimathea mentioned in the Bible, and the
monks claim that the Latin church occupies the site of the house of
Joseph of Arimathea. The Arab writers say the town was founded in the
eighth century by one of their rulers, and they assert that its name is
purely Arabic, and without the slightest trace of any other language.
Dr. Bronson suggested that it was hardly worth their while to
investigate the origin of Ramleh, and, after looking at the bazaar, and
studying the exterior of a few of the principal buildings, they returned
to the Russian convent, and prepared for a good rest, with the view of
making an early start for Jerusalem in the morning.

They were up long before daybreak--they breakfasted by the light of a
weak candle--and, just as the sun was preparing to show himself at the
eastern horizon, they mounted their horses, and rode away in the
direction of the Holy City.

At the edge of the town they found a row of beggars drawn up at the
roadside, or, rather, squatted on the ground, and imploring the
travellers for charity. Several were blind, and others had lost their
hands or fingers, and held up the mutilated stumps to attract attention.
The guide said that some of them were lepers; but the majority had
caused their hands to be cut off, or it had been done by their parents,
in order to fit them for the mendicant profession.

Frank gave a small coin to one of the beggars, and immediately all that
could walk joined in pursuing the travellers, who only escaped annoyance
by quickening the speed of their horses. The Doctor said it was one of
the misfortunes of thus attempting to be charitable in Syria, that you
are immediately beset by all the beggars in sight. The one to whom you
have made a donation joins in the assault, and clamors for more, and
sometimes he is more persistent than any of the rest. A traveller is apt
to have his heart hardened under such circumstances, and, as it is
impossible for him to give to everybody, he very soon settles the matter
by refusing to give at all. The government has suppressed the beggars of
Ramleh by moving them to other localities. The most of them find their
way back again before long, and the places of those who do not return
are speedily filled by others.

[Illustration: ROAD IN THE FOOT-HILLS.]

For three hours the route was much like that of the day before--though,
as they approached the mountains, the land was less fertile, and the
products of the plain gave place to those of the higher ground. At
Bab-el-Wady, or the Gate of the Glen, they entered the mountains, and
left the low land of Sharon behind them. Occasionally looking back, they
found they were steadily rising, as the land lay lower and lower at each
view, and the shining waters of the Mediterranean occupied a larger
space in the horizon. The guide pointed out the ruins of a village which
tradition asserts was the residence of the thief who became penitent on
the cross. The region was once a resort of robbers, and down to the
beginning of the present century, and even later, it had a very bad
reputation. There is a small hotel at the entrance of the valley. The
guide had arranged that luncheon should be served here, and the result
of the morning's ride made everybody ready to sit down as soon as the
table was prepared.

They were now among the hills of Judea, and during the rest of their
journey an abundance of historical events were brought to their notice.
Job's Well was pointed out on the right of the road, and beyond it, on
the crest of a hill, was a dilapidated building called Job's Monastery.
The guide called their attention to the village of Abu Gosh, and said
its modern name was given to it in the early part of the present
century. According to the historians it is identical with Baalah,
mentioned in Joshua xv. 9, and was famous as the place where the Ark of
the Covenant was deposited for a long time. There is an old church near
the village, but they did not stop to examine it. They were anxious to
see the Holy City as soon as possible, and every moment of delay was
of great importance.

The road was dreary enough as it wound among the rocky hills; it was so
crooked in many places that it could only be made out for short
distances in advance of the party, and sometimes the hills seemed to
threaten to shut them in altogether. Every little while they came upon
narrow valleys, where stretches and patches of arable land were utilized
as much as possible for the production of garden vegetables or for
miniature plantations of olive-trees. Here and there villages clung to
the hill-sides, the houses rising one above another in terraces, and
suggesting a series of broad steps on which a giant of the stature of
Goliath might take a walk.

[Illustration: VIEW OF JERUSALEM FROM THE EAST.]

As they wound up one of the ascents the guide said they would see
Jerusalem from the summit. Everybody was in haste for the view, and it
happened that Frank and Fred were in advance when the crest of the hill
was reached. Frank rose in his stirrups, waved his cap with a loud
hurrah, and his example was followed by his cousin. As they reached the
top of the hill they stopped, and in less than a minute their comrades
were with them. All gazed in admiration at the Holy City. There it lay,
bathed in the sun of Palestine, and crowning the rocky hills where it
has stood for many centuries, the wonder of the civilized world and the
goal which many a Christian pilgrim has struggled to reach. For several
minutes not a word was spoken. The towers and walls, the hills of
Israel, the domes and minarets, all were there, and recalled the
pictures with which all students of Christianity are familiar.

When the silence was broken, one of the party repeated the lines of
Tasso which describe the first view of Jerusalem by the Crusaders:

  "Winged is each heart, and winged every heel;
  They fly, yet notice scarce how fast they fly,
    But by the time the dewless meads reveal
    The golden sun ascended in the sky,
  Lo! towered Jerusalem salutes the eye.
    A thousand pointing fingers tell the tale--
  'Jerusalem!' a thousand voices cry;
  'All hail, Jerusalem!' Hill, down, and dale
  Catch the glad sound, and shout 'Jerusalem, all hail!'"

It was a ride of less than an hour from the hill-top to the Jaffa gate
of Jerusalem. They passed the building of the Russian convent and of the
Greek monastery, but had no care for anything else than the Holy City,
and to get inside its walls. The gate was open, the Turkish guard did
not stop them, and in a few minutes they were at the door of the
Mediterranean Hotel. They were weary with their ride, but the excitement
of the occasion made the youths forget their fatigue. Frank proposed
that they should set out at once for the Temple of Solomon, and he was
warmly seconded by Fred. They yielded at once to the suggestion of
Doctor Bronson that they had better wait till the whole party could go
together, and see the city on a systematic plan.

We will not follow our friends in all their wanderings around Jerusalem,
but refer our readers to the accounts which were written by the youths
for the benefit of their friends at home. After describing the ride from
Jaffa, the experience on the road, and their arrival at Jerusalem, they
wrote as follows:

"Jerusalem disappoints us a little, as we had expected wider and cleaner
streets than we find here. We were partly prepared for this, as we have
been in the cities of Egypt, and spent a few hours at Jaffa, but it is
our candid opinion that Jerusalem is worse than Cairo, Suez, or any
other city we have visited. The streets are very narrow, the pavement is
bad, and nobody seems to care whether they are clean or not. Some of
the side streets and alleys would do honor to New York, and Doctor
Bronson says they remind him of home more than anything else he has seen
here.

[Illustration: PLAN OF JERUSALEM.]

"You may think Jerusalem is a large city; if you do you have made a
mistake. The population is estimated between twenty and twenty-four
thousand, and the best authorities say it does not exceed the latter
figure. The Moslems do not take the census as we do; they count the
families, and then make an average of the number in each family, and
they don't do that very often. On the basis of twenty-four thousand
inhabitants, they count thirteen thousand Moslems, seven thousand
Christians, and four thousand Jews. The city was much larger in ancient
times than it is at present. We cannot say exactly when it had its
greatest population, as the old writers do not agree; but it was quite
likely in the reign of King Solomon. The population at that time has
been placed as high as half a million, but was probably not over half
that number. We need not trouble ourselves on the subject, as it is the
modern Jerusalem we are looking at now.

"Jerusalem has suffered more from wars than any other city in the world,
or, at all events, more than any city we have seen. It has been captured
no less than seventeen times, if we may believe the historians, and some
of them say that on several occasions the inhabitants have been
slaughtered, the buildings destroyed, and the ground sown with salt. The
question that comes up to us is, 'Where did they get the salt for that
purpose?' Most of these terrible events in the history of Jerusalem
occurred hundreds, and some of them thousands, of years ago. The traces
of the old walls of Jerusalem are visible in many places, and any
visitor can easily satisfy himself that the city was once much larger
than it is at present.

"As soon as we had brushed up a little after our ride from Ramleh we
went out to see the city and take a stroll through the streets of this
interesting place.

"Near the front of the hotel is the Tower of David on Mount Zion, along
with several other buildings. There is a good deal of dispute as to the
antiquity of the tower, and whether it is really the one built by King
David or not. The general belief is that the foundations are the same,
while the superstructure is more modern. The Church of Mount Zion was
founded during the fourth century, but has been rebuilt two or three
times, its present form having been given to it four or five hundred
years ago. Near the church is a monastery, and its inmates call
themselves the Guardians of Mount Zion. A hospital is attached to the
monastery, and there is a lodging-house where poor pilgrims are received
and cared for during their stay in Jerusalem.

"We went down the Street of David, which passes in front of the
Mediterranean Hotel, and leads from the Jaffa Gate to Mount Moriah. We
told the guide that we wanted to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
When we had gone a short distance on the Street of David we turned to
the left into Christ Street, and in a few minutes were in front of the
church that is revered as the burial place of our Saviour.

"There is an open space in front like a little square surrounded by
buildings. We were reminded of the money-changers in the Temple as we
approached the church. The space in front of it was filled with peddlers
and beggars, principally the former, and there was hardly a moment when
we were free from their importunities. The goods offered for sale were
photographs, and curiosities from various parts of the Holy Land,
together with rosaries, charms, and similar trifles made from
olive-wood, the seeds of the olive-tree, or mother-of-pearl. To judge by
the numbers of these itinerent merchants they must do a good business
among the visitors to this sacred spot.

"Wherever we stood to look at the building before us we were surrounded
by these fellows, and we thought how little the customs of the East have
changed since Christ came on earth. The guide said the peddlers paid a
license for the privilege of selling their goods here, and it is more
than probable that the beggars have a similar authority for their
importunities.

"The church was closed when we arrived, and we learned that it was only
open on certain hours of the day. There have been so many quarrels among
the monks that the building has been put in the care of a Moslem guard,
and the key is kept by a Moslem official. There is great jealousy
between the different sects--Latin, Greek, and Armenian--and the Moslems
have been obliged to step in to keep the peace! More than once there
have been such fierce quarrels that blows have been struck, and blood
has been shed within the walls of the church!

"We did not enter the church at that time, but as we visited it
afterward, and went through all parts of it, we may as well describe it
while we are here.

[Illustration: THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.]

"To begin with, there has been a great deal of controversy concerning
the spot where the church stands, some authorities contending that it is
where Christ was buried, while others insist that the Golgotha mentioned
in the Scriptures was a considerable distance outside the walls. There
are many traditions concerning it, and it would take more time than we
can spare to give even a short account of them. So we will drop the
discussion of the question, and tell what we saw. If you want more
information you will find plenty of books on the subject.

"We paid a backsheesh to the Moslem custodians who were stationed at the
entrance, and one of them accompanied us to see that we did not disturb
anything, and also in the expectation of a fee when we were through with
his services.

[Illustration: GROUND-PLAN OF THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.

1. Principal door; 4. Tomb of Godfrey; 5. Tomb of Baldwin; 6. Tomb of
Melchizedek; 7. Chapel of Adam and John the Baptist; 8. Tomb of Adam;
11. Place where the Virgin Mary stood while the body was anointed; 13.
Chapel of the Angel; 17. Tombs of Joseph and Nicodemus; 19. Greek
"Centre of the World;" 27. Where Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene; 28.
Where Mary Magdalene stood; 30. Part of the Pillar of Flagellation; 32.
Where Christ appeared to his Mother after the resurrection; 33. Place of
the recognition of the Cross; 35. Place of Christ's bonds; 36. Chapel of
the Virgin; 38. Chapel of Longinus the Centurion; 39. Chapel of the
Mocking; 41. Chapel of St. Helena; 42. Chapel of the Penitent Thief; 44.
Chapel of the Finding of the Cross.]

"Close to the entrance of the church we came to the Stone of Unction,
where the body of Christ was laid to be anointed (John xix. 38-40). It
is a slab of marble surrounded with an iron railing. The guide said it
was above the real stone, in order that the latter might not be injured
by the thousands of pilgrims that come here, and are frequently desirous
of carrying away some relic of the place.

"A short distance beyond this place we came to the spot where the Virgin
Mary stood while the Saviour's body lay on the Stone of Unction. We
paused there only a moment, and then went to the next and greatest
object of interest, the Holy Sepulchre.

[Illustration: THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.]

"The sepulchre is in the rotunda of the church, which has been
reconstructed several times, and has changed a good deal in shape since
the original building was erected. The sepulchre is a small building,
twenty-six feet by eighteen, entirely of marble, and with holes in the
roof, to allow the escape of the smoke from the lamps which burn here
continually. We first entered what is called the Angel's Chamber. It has
in the centre a stone set in marble, and the priests in charge of the
place say it is the stone that was rolled from the mouth of the
sepulchre by the angel. It is probable that the stone has been changed
many times since the crucifixion. The Armenians claim that they have the
real stone in their monastery on Mount Zion, and the Latin monks accuse
them of having stolen it.

"The sepulchre is entered from the Angel's Chapel. It is about seven
feet square, and has the sepulchral couch at one side covered with a
marble slab. The space is so small that we could not all go inside at
once, and the rule is that not more than three or four shall be
admitted together. The inside of the room is divided among four
religious bodies--the Copts, Greeks, Armenians, and Latins. The Copts
have four lamps burning there, and the other three sects have each
thirteen. They take turns in the performance of religious services in
the altar, and when they are thus engaged the Moslem guard stands near
to see that there is no interference.

"We found it was not easy to believe that the sepulchre was hewn in the
solid rock, as the monks declare it to have been. Every foot of space is
so completely covered with marble that no part of the original rock is
visible. The marble was placed here hundreds of years ago, when the
traditions were more authentic than at present, and perhaps it is not
worth while to dispute them.

"From the Holy Sepulchre we went to many places of interest to all
students of Christianity; they were so numerous that it was impossible
to remember all of them, and we went about so rapidly that we did not
even have time to make a complete list. We therefore refer to our
guide-book, and will try to give their names, but without pretending to
follow the order in which we saw them.

"It seemed very odd to us that so many places mentioned in Scripture
should all be found under the roof of a single church. But, whatever may
be our opinions concerning their authenticity, they were all very
interesting, and we shall long retain the memory of what we saw and
heard while within the walls of this famous building. We thought we were
there not more than half an hour, but found we had passed over two hours
in the visit: you can see how much we were absorbed in the subject when
the time flew away so fast.

"Here are the places and objects that were pointed out:

     "THE CHAPEL OF THE APPARITION, where Christ appeared to his mother
     after the resurrection.

     "THE COLUMN OF THE SCOURGING.

     "THE LATIN SACRISTY, containing the sword, spurs, and cross of
     Godfrey de Bouillon.

     "FRAGMENT OF A COLUMN, said to occupy the centre of the world.

     "THE PRISON OF CHRIST, where he was kept while his cross was being
     made ready for the crucifixion.

     "CHAPEL OF ST. LONGINUS, the soldier who pierced the side of Christ
     after his death.

     "CHAPEL OF THE PARTING OF THE RAIMENT.

     "COLUMN OF THE DERISION, where Christ stood when he was crowned
     with thorns.

     "CHAPEL OF ST. HELENA, containing the seat where the Empress Helena
     sat while the cross was being sought for. Near it is the Chapel of
     the Finding of the Cross, and the spot is indicated where the cross
     was discovered. The Chapel of St. Helena is reached by descending
     twenty-nine steps from the floor of the church, and the Chapel of
     the Cross is a cavern in the rock, thirteen steps farther down.

"From this spot we ascended to the floor of the church and were taken
to Golgotha, or Mount Calvary, by an ascent of about fifteen feet.
Remember that everything we have mentioned is under the roof of the
church, or, rather, of the different buildings that have been erected to
make up the church. An architect who goes through it can readily
perceive that the construction was not all of the same period, and that
several men must have planned the various portions. The first chapel on
Mount Calvary was erected by the Emperor Constantine, but it has been
rebuilt two or three times, so that little if anything remains of it.

"The first chapel we entered in this part of the church was that of the
Raising of the Cross. They showed us the hole in the rock where the
cross stood, and about five feet on either side were the crosses of the
two thieves. The cleft in the rock, mentioned in Matt. xxvi. 51, was
pointed out in this chapel, and then we went to the next where Christ
was nailed to the cross, the positions being indicated by pieces of
marble in the floor. Beyond this is the Chapel of the Agony, which is
reached by a short stairway; it is a small chapel, and belongs to the
Latin monks, while the Chapel of the Raising of the Cross is the
property of the Greeks.

"Every day when the church is open to the public a good many pilgrims
come there to worship at the sepulchre of the founder of Christianity.
At Easter and other festivals the number is very large, and sometimes
the building is densely crowded. For a long time the Moslems used to
make all visitors pay heavily for the privilege of entering the church,
but of late years they have not been permitted to extort backsheesh. We
went there at an hour when the church was closed, and were,
consequently, obliged to pay the custodian before the key was produced.

"We did not go to the cistern of the Empress Helena, as it would have
prolonged our stay somewhat, and our time was limited. While we were in
the Chapel of the Finding of the Cross the guide told us the tradition
of how the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, directed the
excavation, and was present when the three crosses were unearthed. A
woman suffering from an incurable disease was brought and placed upon
two of them without any benefit; as soon as she touched the third she
rose and walked away in perfect health. By this it was determined which
was the true cross, and from that time its fragments have been
distributed among the cathedrals and churches of Europe and other
countries."



CHAPTER XXIII.

IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM.


We will continue the account of the sights of Jerusalem, as given by
Frank and Fred in their journal:

"One of the first places we asked for after the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre was Mount Zion, which we reached by a short walk. On our way
we passed through the Street of the Christians, where there are several
bazaars; they are much inferior to the bazaars of Cairo, and the display
of goods does not amount to much. The guide took us to several shops
where carvings of olive-wood are sold. There is a great variety of these
articles, and some of them are of great beauty and high price. To judge
by the number and extent of the shops, we should think that the
principal occupation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is the manufacture
and sale of wood-carvings.

[Illustration: ANCIENT ARCH IN JERUSALEM.]

"We visited the Muristan, or site of the Hospital of the Knights of St.
John, who were also known as the Order of the Hospitallers. There is not
a great deal to see here, as the buildings are mostly in a state of
decay, and some of the ground is covered with rubbish accumulated from
the ruins. It is said that a monastery was formed here by the Emperor
Charlemagne; afterward some rich merchants established a church and
monastery on the spot, and later on the Hospitallers erected a convent
where pilgrims were received and cared for. Perhaps you would like to
know something about the Knights of St. John. We'll tell you what we've
read and heard about them:

"The order was founded in the eleventh century, and established on the
spot we have just visited. There were two hospitals or convents, one for
men and one for women; but in the course of time the convent for women
was removed to another part of the city, and the ground became the
exclusive possession of the 'Knights Hospitallers of St. John of
Jerusalem.' That was their official name, and under it they built
hospitals or convents for pilgrims to the Holy Land in most of the
seaport cities of Europe and along the Eastern shores of the
Mediterranean.

"They not only took care of the pilgrims, but they joined in wars
against the infidels, and fought on many battle-fields. A great number
of noblemen from all parts of Europe joined the order, and they had a
regular constitution and a long list of laws, which all were bound to
obey. They had a military organization, and did a great deal of
fighting, but were finally conquered and expelled from Jerusalem; then
they went to the Island of Rhodes, where they lived about two hundred
years, and were known as the Knights of Rhodes. They were besieged twice
by the Turks, and were finally compelled to leave that island and go to
Malta, where they built a strong fortress, and were known as the Knights
of Malta. The organization practically came to an end in 1798, when
Napoleon captured Malta and sent away the Grand-master. Since that time
there have been several attempts to revive the order, but none have
amounted to anything.

[Illustration: ARMS OF JERUSALEM.]

"The costume of the knights was a black dress, with a white cross on the
left breast, and you often see the insignia in jewellery and other
ornaments under the name of the 'Cross of Malta.' Since their time the
cross has been applied to the Crusaders' 'Arms of Jerusalem,' in which
there is the Maltese cross with the crowns of the three wise men and the
star of Bethlehem below, while there are two branches of the palm-tree
and the word 'Jerusalem' above. These crosses are for sale here, and not
unfrequently the pilgrims have the 'Arms of Jerusalem' tattooed on their
wrists, to prove that they have been in the Holy Land.

[Illustration: KNIGHTS OF ST. CATHERINE.]

"Every order of knighthood in the Holy Land had its peculiar costume and
device, and all of them had a patron saint. The Knights of St.
Catherine, for example, wore on their shields as well as on their
breasts a picture of a section of a wheel pierced by a dagger or sword.
The legend is that St. Catherine was ordered to be put to death by
torture on a wheel, but as soon as she was placed on it the wheel was
miraculously broken, and the executioner beheaded her. Immediately the
body and head were seized by angels and carried to Mount Sinai; its
locality was revealed to a monk in a dream, and the next day he and his
brethren carried it to a convent that had been established in the
wilderness near the mountain, and piously buried it. The building has
ever since been known as the Convent of St. Catherine, and is of great
assistance to pilgrims and others who go to Mount Sinai.

[Illustration: THE VIA DOLOROSA.]

"We passed along the Via Dolorosa, and were shown the spot where Christ
rested his cross on his way to the crucifixion on Mount Calvary. Then we
traversed the street of the Gate of the Column, and followed the guide
till he brought us to the Damascus Gate. We ought to explain right here
that there are seven gates in the walls of Jerusalem. The most in use
are the Damascus and Jaffa gates, for the reason that nearly all
visitors to the Holy City enter and depart by one or the other. As their
names imply, the Damascus Gate is on the road to the city of that name,
while the Jaffa Gate is the nearest to the Mediterranean. The latter is
also called the Hebron Gate, for the reason that travellers to Hebron
depart through it.

"There are two gates wholly or partly walled up; they are the Golden
Gate, on Mount Moriah, and the so-called Gate of Herod. The other gates
of most consequence are St. Stephen's, which is supposed to be near the
spot where Stephen was stoned to death, and the Zion Gate, which leads
from Mount Zion in the direction of David's tomb.

"To make the circuit of the walls of Jerusalem would require a walk of
about two and a half miles, but owing to the nature of the ground a
pedestrian could not keep at all times close to the line he wished to
follow. The present walls were made by Sultan Suleiman in 1542, but many
parts of them were standing before his time, and some of the foundations
are the same as they were two thousand years ago. Jerusalem has not
materially changed in its general characteristics since the time of
Christ, and consequently it has not been difficult to identify many of
the places mentioned in the Bible.

[Illustration: THE DAMASCUS GATE.]

"We thought the Damascus Gate was very picturesque when we looked at it
from the outside, and Doctor Bronson said it was considered the finest
of all the gates of Jerusalem. Its Arab name is _Bab-el-Amud_, or Gate
of the Column, and it is constructed so that it can be easily defended
against an enemy. It was built about three hundred years ago, and is
supposed to stand on the foundations of one of the ancient gates, and
there is a story that a stream of water may sometimes be heard flowing
beneath it.

"There was quite a group of people outside of the Damascus Gate, some on
foot, some on horses, and others on camels. A peddler of cakes and other
edible things had set up his shop at the side of the road, and was
engaged in weighing out his merchandise to those who wanted it. Instead
of Fairbanks's scales he used the old-fashioned balances; he was not at
all in a hurry, and as soon as his customers were gone he sat down in
the shadow of a little shelter he had erected, and was evidently resting
from his labors. A dog that had been sitting a little distance away
embraced the opportunity, and made off with one of the cakes before the
owner could interfere to stop him. The dogs of Jerusalem are quite as
bad as those of Cairo, and ready to steal whenever there is the least
chance of doing so.

"We will take a leap through the air from the Damascus Gate to Mount
Zion, which we started out to see. We went to the Armenian monastery,
which is also called the House of Caiaphas, and saw the stone which was
said to have been rolled away from the door of the Holy Sepulchre, the
spot where Peter stood when he denied his Master, and the yard where the
cock crew at the time of the denial. The monks also showed us the prison
of Christ, and other points of interest. Doctor Bronson says the most of
these things are on very poor authority, but, of course, we gave no
indication of any doubt concerning them while we were inside the
monastery.

"Continuing our walk on Mount Zion, we came to a building inhabited by a
lot of insolent Arabs, who demanded backsheesh before they would permit
us to enter. They showed us an upper room which is said to have been the
scene of the Last Supper, and the traditions concerning it are on better
authority than those of the Armenian monastery. The tomb of David is
under this building, but is not shown to visitors; the coffin is
supposed to be in a deep vault under the foundations, but no one is
permitted to go there.

"There is a story that a wealthy Jew came here once and wanted to say
his prayers at the tomb of David. The monks, who then had possession of
the place, refused permission for him to do so, and as he went away he
vowed he would be revenged on them. The next year he came back with an
order from the Sultan expelling the monks and giving the place to the
Moslems, and they have had it ever since. The Jew said his prayers at
the tomb, and then the vault was closed to everybody.

"We saw several other points of interest here, and then returned to the
hotel. Our next excursion was along the Street of David to Mount Moriah,
to see the site of Solomon's Temple and what remains of it. Down to
quite recently no Christians were allowed to visit the Haram, or Sacred
Enclosure on Mount Moriah, where the temple once stood, and which is now
occupied by the Mosques of Omar and El-Aksa. Even now it is generally
necessary to be accompanied by a policeman, or a janizary from the
Consulate of your country, to protect you from insult. We had a janizary
from the American Consulate, and experienced no difficulty in seeing
what we wished to, though we were obliged to give quite an amount of
backsheesh to get along.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE MOSQUE OF OMAR AND THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.]

"The Haram includes nearly a fourth of the space enclosed in the walls
of Jerusalem, and the Mosque of Omar rises so high in the air that it is
the principal object in any outside view of the city. It is supposed to
have been built by Sultan Omar. There is some doubt on the subject, but
there can be no doubt that it is a very beautiful building, and the
architect knew what he was about when he planned it. The mosque is on
the highest part of the hill, and on the thrashing-floor that King David
bought for fifty shekels of silver; on the inside the rock is preserved
in its original state and enclosed in a railing. From its position, and
also from having the original rock preserved as we have described, the
building is called the _Kubbet-es-Sukrah_, or Dome of the Rock. It is an
octagonal structure, and each of the eight sides is sixty-seven feet
long.

"Doctor Bronson says this is probably the most interesting spot in the
world, as it is revered by the adherents of three religions who have
regarded it as a holy place through many centuries. The Jews revered it,
as we learn from the Old Testament, and from many events in modern as
well as ancient history; the New Testament tells us its intimate
connection with the story of Christ's coming on earth; and the Moslems
consider it the holiest place next to the Kaaba at Mecca. They believe
Mohammed came here in person, and at one time commanded his followers
to turn their faces toward Jerusalem when saying their prayers. It is
for this reason that they refused to allow Jews and Christians to visit
the temple grounds, just as they will not allow them to go to Mecca at
the present time.

"The Haram, or temple enclosure, is about one thousand six hundred feet
long by one thousand wide: it is not a regular quadrangle, and
consequently this measurement is not exact. There are several buildings
there in addition to the two mosques, but none are of much consequence,
and we did not visit them. We were allowed to walk through the Mosque of
Omar, and went from there to the Mosque El-Aksa. We were greatly
interested in the architecture of the buildings, and quite as much in
the story of the guide who accompanied us.

"At the Kubbet-es-Sukrah he pointed out the place where Abraham was
about to slay Isaac as a sacrifice, and the spot where the ark of the
covenant was deposited, besides other places interesting to readers of
the Bible. Then he showed us the footprint of Mohammed, where his foot
last touched the earth before he ascended to heaven, and the marks of
the hands of the angel who held the rock down to prevent its ascent with
the Moslem prophet. In a cavern under the rock he showed the places,
which are marked by small altars, where Abraham, David, Solomon, and
Elijah offered up their prayers, and he pointed to an impression in the
ceiling which is said to have been made by Mohammed's head.

"The Moslems have a great many traditions concerning the rock, and it is
very evident that they have allowed their imagination free-play in
describing it. They say the rock was brought here from heaven, and that
a river from Paradise flows beneath it and waters the palm on which it
rests. They also declare that the trumpet of the last judgment will
sound from this rock; and one of their stories is that the rock is
suspended over a deep abyss without any support. Our guide was a native
Christian, but it seemed to us that he had told these stories so often
that he half believed them, in spite of their opposition to his own
religious faith.

[Illustration: WALL AT SOUTH-EAST CORNER OF THE TEMPLE AREA.]

"From the buildings above-ground we went to the excavations and
subterranean passages beneath. There was formerly some dispute as to the
exact position of Solomon's Temple, owing to the difficulty of making
explorations; but within the last twenty years many discoveries have
been made, and the work of laying out the exact position of the Temple
is still going on. The American and English societies engaged in it are
entirely harmonious, and every year they are throwing new light on
subjects of great importance to students of the Bible. They have spent
large amounts of money in excavations among the substructions of the
Temple, and settled many points of dispute. Anybody who wishes the
details of what has been accomplished is referred to the book of Captain
Warren on 'The Recovery of Jerusalem,' and to the reports of the
Palestine Exploration Society.

"Provided with candles and torches, we went among the substructions that
were made to level the ground and prepare it for the building of the
Temple. The arches and pillars would be no discredit to a modern
architect, and in some places we saw large blocks that must have
required powerful machinery for their transportation. These underground
vaults have not all been opened, and their full extent is not yet known.
During the time of the Crusaders these vaults were used as stables, and
the holes where the halters of the horses were fastened may be seen
to-day. In some places there are roots of trees that have run a long
distance underground in search of water. The trees are evidently of
great age, but we could hardly accept the statement of the guide that
they were as old as the Temple itself.

"We returned to the open air after half an hour beneath the Temple, and
found that our eyes were dazzled by the sudden flood of light. We
looked over the walls into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and stood almost
holding our breath as we saw the Mount of Olives, the Garden of
Gethsemane, the Tomb of Absalom, and other objects whose names were
familiar to us all. Below us was the bed of the brook Kedron, but dry
and dusty as though no brook had ever flowed there. In winter, and after
heavy rains, it is full of water; but ordinarily there is only a slender
thread, and it disappears altogether in time of drought.

[Illustration: WAILING-PLACE OF THE JEWS.]

"When we were through with our visit to the site of the Temple we went
to the Wailing-place of the Jews, which is supposed to be part of the
wall of the original Temple. It is a very solid wall of large stones,
and has been a sacred spot with the Jews for many hundreds of years.
They come here from all parts of the earth to weep over the downfall of
their race, and the destruction of the Holy Temple. On Fridays they are
seen in greatest number; but at almost any time there are several of
them standing there with their faces against the wall, reading or
reciting their prayers in a low, wailing tone.

"We had hoped to see many of them there but were disappointed, as our
visit was not on a Friday. There were six or eight in all, and they did
not look up when we entered the narrow court on which the wall fronts.
They were all, to judge from their dress, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and
not, as often happens, pilgrims from distant lands. One of the gentlemen
connected with the Palestine Exploration Fund told us that he had seen
two or three hundred Jews at the Wailing-place on a single occasion, and
that they came from all the countries of Europe. In some places the
stones have been worn smooth by the kisses of devout lips, and there is
no doubt that the majority of those who come here to mourn are earnest
in the expression of their grief.

  'Oh, weep for those who wept by Babel's stream,
  Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream!
  Weep for the harp of Judah's broken spell--
  Mourn--where their God hath dwelt the godless dwell?'

"The Pool of Bethesda is at one end of the Haram enclosure, and, of
course, we paid it a visit. Isn't it curious that there has been a city
here all these many centuries in a place where there are no wells?
Jerusalem depends altogether upon cisterns and pools for its water, and
it is said that in the sieges of the city the inhabitants have never
suffered for want of water, while the attacking armies have sometimes
been compelled to bring their supplies of it from long distances. Some
of the cisterns are very large, and hewn in the solid rock, while others
are built of masonry and lined with cement. They are filled with water
from the roofs during the rainy season, and great care is exercised to
prevent its being wasted.

[Illustration: THE POOL OF BETHESDA.]

"The Pool of Bethesda is oblong in shape, and on one side there are
steps leading down to the water, of which there was very little at the
time of our visit. The monks say it is the Bethesda of the New
Testament, and they also call it the Sheep Pool. We looked in vain for
the five porches, or arches, and were told that there is a doubt as to
this being the real Pool of Bethesda, which some authorities locate at a
deep shaft, or cistern, with an intermittent spring at the bottom,
outside the walls of the Haram.

"Having seen this historic place we naturally asked for the Pool of
Siloam. The guide said it was outside the walls, and we would see it
when we made the circuit of Jerusalem, which we did.

"We descended to the brook Kedron, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which
we have already mentioned. The valley is a good deal choked with
rubbish, which has been accumulating there during many centuries, and
the tomb of Absalom is surrounded by a heap of small stones, which have
been thrown there by the Jews. Every Jew who goes by the place thinks he
should throw a stone at the tomb, and you can readily understand what
the result has been. Doctor Bronson says this is a reversal of the old
proverb that a continual dropping will wear away stone. The continual
dropping of pebbles around the tomb of Absalom has heaped up a great
mass of stone instead of wearing it away.

[Illustration: THE POOL OF SILOAM.]

"The Pool of Siloam is in the Valley of Kedron, at the south-eastern
termination of Mount Zion, where a little brook joins it, but is not a
part of the main stream of Kedron. There is no Biblical place around
Jerusalem more clearly identified than this. Doctor Thomson says it is
beyond question the pool where the man born blind was sent by Christ to
wash, in order that he might receive sight. It is mentioned many times
in history, and its waters are known to flow irregularly. The fact has
been verified by several travellers, and was positively stated by the
guide who took us there.

"The sides are broken down in several places, and a good deal of rock
has fallen in. There is a recess at one corner where steps go down to
the bottom, and we found several women descending these steps to bring
water from the pool. As we looked from one end of the pool the walls of
Jerusalem formed the background of the picture, and we carried our
thoughts back to the time when the blind man came from the city to wash
in the water of Siloam, that he might bear witness to the miracle
performed by the Saviour of mankind.

"There is a small village near the pool. Its inhabitants are said to be
Moslems, and they derive quite a revenue from the backsheesh they extort
from visitors. We did not remain long at the place, as there were many
interesting things to be seen in our walk, and our time was precious.

[Illustration: QUARRIES UNDER JERUSALEM.]

"We visited several tombs hewn in the solid rock, but they did not seem
of much consequence when compared with the tombs we had seen in Egypt.
Of more interest were the quarries, which extend a considerable way
beneath the city, and are supposed to have furnished the stone from
which the Temple of King Solomon was built.

"We entered them near the Damascus Gate, descending into a hole that
sloped rapidly downward, and soon found ourselves in what might have
been a chamber of a natural cavern. The marks of the chisels and other
tools of the workmen were plainly to be seen, and there were pillars of
rock left standing to support the roof. We must have gone seven or eight
hundred feet from the entrance before reaching the end, and in many
places the way was so rough that we climbed rather than walked along. At
the point farthest from the entrance there is a stone that was evidently
abandoned when a few hours' additional labor would have detached it. The
indications are that the process of quarrying stone was the same in
Jerusalem as in Egypt. Wedges of wood were driven into channels and
grooves and then swelled, by being wet with water, till their expansive
force became too great for the stone to resist.

"Parts of these quarries are directly beneath the city, and they are so
extensive that some writers have declared that the whole of Jerusalem
might be buried in them. There is a tradition that a passage once led
from the Temple to the quarries, but there is good reason to doubt its
existence. We wandered about for some time in the quarries, and were
glad when the guide brought us once more to the light of day."



CHAPTER XXIV.

FROM JERUSALEM TO BETHLEHEM.--CHURCH AND GROTTO OF THE NATIVITY.


Our friends made an excursion to the Mount of Olives, going out of
Jerusalem by St. Stephen's Gate, and descending into the Valley of the
Kedron, which lies between the hill and the city. Going down the hill
from the gate they came in sight of the chapel and tomb of the Virgin, a
low and certainly very old building, which is annually visited by great
numbers of pilgrims. There are serious doubts as to its authenticity,
since it is not mentioned in history till the eighth century, and there
is no inscription about it to indicate that it was the tomb of the
Mother of Christ.

The first object of interest was the Garden of Gethsemane; and for many
visitors it is of more consequence than any other spot in the immediate
vicinity of Jerusalem, as it is so intimately connected with the final
scene of the Saviour's life. Frank and Fred could hardly restrain their
impatience as they approached it; and we are safe in saying that every
member of the little party quickened his steps as he approached the
gate. But as soon as they were inside all haste was abandoned, and every
voice was hushed as each one recalled the incidents of Christ's visits
to Gethsemane with his disciples, together with the scene of his agony
and betrayal.[7]

[7] Matt. xxvi. 30-56; Mark xiv. 26-52; Luke xxii. 39-53; John xviii.
1-14.

[Illustration: GETHSEMANE.]

There are seven or eight olive-trees in the garden, and the monk in
charge of the place points out the spot where Christ prayed, together
with that where his apostles slept during the prayer. The "Grotto of the
Agony" is a small cave, and the place where the apostles slept is
supposed to be indicated by the marks of their bodies on the stone. The
monks claim that the olive-trees are the same that were standing in the
time of Christ; they are certainly very old, and some are of great size,
but we may well doubt if they have existed nearly two thousand years.
But there is little question that this is really the original garden;
but beyond this fact the statements of the monks should be received
with hesitation. The garden belongs to the Latin monks; the Greeks have
started a Garden of Gethsemane of their own farther up the side of the
Mount of Olives, but are cautious about admitting visitors, as the trees
have not grown sufficiently large to be passed off as the original ones
of the beginning of the Christian era.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.]

Here is Frank's memorandum concerning the visit to the Mount of Olives:

"From the Garden of Gethsemane we ascended the slope by a steep path
which carried us to the summit in fifteen or twenty minutes, or would
have done so if we had not stopped several times on the way to look back
at Jerusalem. The summit of the hill is said to be two hundred and
twenty feet above Mount Moriah, and consequently we looked down on the
Holy City, and had its entire outline before us. We could trace the
course of the brook Kedron, the Valley of Hinnom, the hills of Zion and
Moriah, the village of Siloam, near the celebrated pool, and directly in
front of us lay the Haram enclosure, where once stood the Temple of
Solomon, but now occupied by the mosques we have already described. To
the east, and far below us, were the blue waters of the Dead Sea, with
the mountains of Moab bounding the horizon. Owing to the clearness of
the atmosphere the Dead Sea appeared close to us, and it seemed not an
impossibility to shoot a rifle-ball from where we stood so that it would
fall upon its surface. The wilderness of Judea, the valley of the
winding Jordan, the 'Mountain of Offence,' the 'Hill of Evil Counsel,'
the heights of Bethlehem, and other places named in Scripture were
pointed out by the guide. In fact, the view from the Mount of Olives
includes so much of which we have read, that it is impossible to recall
everything without a great effort of memory. For the biblical interest
of the spot I cannot do better than quote the following:

     "'No name in Scripture calls up associations at once so sacred and
     so pleasing as that of Olivet. The "Mount" is so intimately
     connected with the private life of the Saviour that we read of it
     and look at it with feelings of deepest interest and affection.
     Here he sat with his disciples, telling them of wondrous events yet
     to come--of the destruction of the Holy City, of the sufferings,
     the persecutions, and the final triumph of his followers (Matt,
     xxiv.); here he related the beautiful parables of the "Ten Virgins"
     and the "Five Talents" (Matt, xxv.); here he was wont to retire on
     each evening for meditation and prayer, and rest of body, when
     weary and harassed by the labors and trials of the day (Luke xxi.
     37); and here he came on the night of his betrayal to utter that
     wonderful prayer, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup
     pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matt.
     xxvi. 39); and when the cup of God's wrath had been drunk, and
     death and the grave conquered, he led his disciples out again over
     Olivet as far as to Bethany, and after a parting blessing ascended
     to heaven (Luke xxiv. 50, 51; Acts i. 12).'

[Illustration: A SYCAMORE-TREE.]

"The hill is covered in many places with olive-trees, and certainly
merits its name. There are also fig, almond, sycamore, and a few other
trees familiar to the traveller in Palestine, and every foot of the
ground that will produce anything is carefully cultivated. Several
churches have been erected on the summit, the first as early as the
fourth century, and the last in 1834. We went through the present
building, which is known as the Church of the Ascension; there is
nothing remarkable about its architecture, but it is a substantial
structure, and will last a long time unless destroyed by invaders, like
some of its predecessors. In the centre there is a sort of dome, which
is known as the Chapel of the Ascension, and is supposed to mark the
spot where Christ rose to heaven."

An entire forenoon was devoted to the visit to the Mount of Olives, and
in the afternoon the party started for Bethlehem, a ride of less than
two hours.

[Illustration: THE ROAD FROM JERUSALEM TO BETHLEHEM.]

They went out by the Jaffa Gate, passing the Hill of Evil Counsel and
the Lower Aqueduct, and winding among rocky hills similar to those by
which they had come from Ramleh to the Holy City. They passed the
convent of Mar Elyas, but did not stop to visit it, and their attention
was constantly absorbed by the ancient and modern monuments scattered
along the route. Their first halt was made at the tomb of Rachel, which
is an insignificant building, with a dome above it, of the general type
of the better class of tombs in Palestine.

[Illustration: THE TOMB OF RACHEL.]

The tradition concerning the tomb of the mother of Benjamin (Gen. xxv.
19) has been well preserved through thirty centuries, and many
generations have worshipped at this spot. It has been revered alike by
Jews, Christians, and Moslems, and the spectacle is not infrequent of
the adherents of three religions kneeling in harmony before this
venerable structure. During the halt of our friends one of the party
read aloud from the Bible the story of the death of Rachel. All remained
silent, and with uncovered heads, till the touching narrative was ended.

From the tomb of Rachel the way led over hills and into valleys, and
finally climbed the ridge on which Bethlehem stands. The situation of
the place is quite picturesque. The town stands on a steep hill-side,
and when looked at from a distance of half a mile or more, it presents
the appearance of a series of terraces. The houses are low, and the
roofs almost invariably flat; in this respect it has the general aspect
of a Syrian town, and the position on the side of a hill gives an
opportunity for thorough drainage.

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO BETHLEHEM.]

The most conspicuous building in the picture, as one approaches
Bethlehem, is the monastery connected with the Church of the Nativity,
and the whole structure appears more like a fortress than a religious
establishment. Bethlehem would be of little consequence were it not for
its biblical interest, as there are no natural or other attractions, and
the streets are badly kept. The convent and church remind the stranger
of the castles on the Rhine and Danube, and with a little play of the
imagination he may think he is looking at the crags of Drachenfels or
the ruins above the Iron Gate. But as he ascends the last of the hills,
and passes the massive gate-way leading into the streets, he finds that
Bethlehem is not unlike Jaffa, Jerusalem, and the other towns of the
Holy Land that he has visited.

Ali had sent the tents ahead in the morning, and when our friends
arrived everything was ready for them. There is no hotel at Bethlehem,
and consequently travellers must sleep in tents, or be lodged at one of
the convents. It was the time of the Christmas festivities, and all the
convent accommodation had been secured by pilgrims and others, so that
the camp became a necessity for Doctor Bronson's party.

This was the first glimpse of tent life in the Holy Land for Frank and
Fred, and they were delighted with it, but at the same time a trifle
disappointed. "I thought we would have to 'rough it' in this country,"
said Frank, "but I don't see much rough work in this."

"Nor I either," replied his cousin, as he examined the tents and their
equipment. "Just look at it," said he, "and say whether this meets your
ideas of wild life."

Together they made an inventory of what was before them. There were
three tents for the six travellers, and each tent was large enough for
amply accommodating two persons with space for dressing and moving
about. One tent was arranged for a dining-room, and the dinner was
nearly ready to be served. There was a table large enough for six to be
seated, and there were camp-chairs for all. Ali explained that after
dinner was over the table would be removed, and two beds set up, as in
the other tents. The height of luxury seemed to be reached when Frank
pointed to the carpet which covered the ground beneath each tent, and
was a welcome protection for slippered feet.

"Real beds, chairs, tables, carpets, and all the comforts of a home,"
said Frank; "there isn't hardship enough here to make it interesting."

"I thought," said Fred, "we might have to sleep on the ground in the
open air, or beneath a tent like the shelter of the Bedouin. Then we
could eat dates which we gathered ourselves from the trees, or perhaps
we could get some of the grapes that we see in the pictures in our
Sunday-school books. Here we are on fare like what we get at the hotel,
and it isn't wild life at all."

"Wait a little," said the Doctor, with a smile. "We haven't fairly begun
yet, and you may see some hard times before you are through with the
country. Quite likely we may have a storm some night, and if it proves
to be a regular old-fashioned Syrian storm, such as I once saw here,
you'll have all you want."

Ali interrupted them to say there would be sufficient time before dinner
to visit the "Milk Grotto," which was quite near their camp.

Accordingly they went there, and found a cavern that was reached by a
flight of steps from the ground above. The roof is eight or ten feet
above the floor, and the room, which is fitted up as a chapel, is about
ten feet by fifteen. The tradition is that the Holy Family was concealed
here during its flight into Egypt, and consequently the place is visited
by most of the Christian pilgrims that come to Bethlehem.

[Illustration: VIEW IN BETHLEHEM.]

They returned to the camp to dinner, and then went to the Church of the
Nativity. Every step of the way they were beset by peddlers of ornaments
made of olive-wood, mother-of-pearl, and other things, just as they had
been surrounded by the same class of men in Jerusalem. The inhabitants
of Bethlehem drive a large trade among the pilgrims, and are chiefly
engaged in the manufacture and sale of souvenirs of the place.

The Church of the Nativity is not of itself a large building, but the
convents connected with it, and belonging to the three rival sects of
Greeks, Latins, and Armenians, cover a broad area. The church measures
about a hundred and twenty feet in length by a little less in breadth.
It is divided by Corinthian columns supporting horizontal architraves in
such a way that the interior consists of a nave and four aisles. It is
one of the oldest churches in the world, as it was erected in the
beginning of the fourth century, and, though repaired from time to time,
it is generally believed to retain its original form and
characteristics.

The building is now in a somewhat dilapidated condition, and the roof,
which has been several times restored, threatens to fall in. At least
that was the case when our friends went there, and one of the boys
asked, very naturally, why it was allowed to be in such a condition,
when it was one of the most venerated churches in all Christendom, and
there ought to be no lack of money for its preservation.

"The trouble is," the Doctor answered, "the religious sects are so
jealous of each other that they prevent the repair and preservation of
the church. No two of the three sects--Greek, Latin, and Armenian--will
consent that the third shall have the honor of repairing it, and they
will not agree upon an architect to whom the work can be intrusted
without interference from any of them.

"The church and the grotto of the Nativity, directly beneath it, are
parcelled out among the three sects. Each has its own altars where
services are performed, and there are other altars which are common to
all, but at different hours. Several times there have been fights in the
sacred grotto between these rival monks. A few years ago one of the
sects set fire to some decorations that had been placed in the grotto by
another, and the whole place was filled with smoke, and the walls were
disfigured."

One of the boys asked if there was any bloodshed in this affair.

"Yes," was the reply; "I believe two or three of the monks were killed,
and others severely wounded. It was necessary to call in the Turkish
soldiers to suppress the disturbance, and the hostility among the
Christians is so great that a guard is kept there constantly to preserve
order.

"It is said that the Crimean War owed its origin, in part, to a quarrel
about the possession of the Church of the Nativity, and on several
occasions the peace of Europe has been threatened by disputes for a few
square inches of the floor of the sacred grotto!"

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY.]

During the above conversation the party had been walking through the
church, admiring the beauty of the columns that support the roof, and
listening to the chanting of the service at one of the altars in the
side aisles. Pilgrims were kneeling at the shrines, or seated near the
columns, and several monks were moving among them, or guiding strangers
around the building. The Latin monks were easily distinguished from the
others by their shaven heads, which contrasted in a marked degree with
the tall hats of the Greeks and Armenians; and the boys observed that
none of the rival sects said a word to either of the others. Evidently
there was a bitter hatred between them, and although they were all to
be considered devout Christians, they did not follow the injunction of
their Master to love one another.

[Illustration: THE PLACE OF THE NATIVITY.]

The Doctor explained that there were two stairways descending into the
grotto; that on the right being exclusively used by the Greeks and
Armenians, while the other belonged to the Latins. As their guide was of
the Latin Church they descended by the stairway on the left, and soon
found themselves in the spot revered throughout all Christendom--the
place where the founder of our religion was born.

Near the foot of the stairway they came to a niche in the wall of rock,
and in front of it was a marble slab set in the floor, with a silver
star in the centre. On the star was the inscription:

"HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS EST."

("Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.")

Reverentially they gazed at the star--the star of Bethlehem. Pious
pilgrims knelt and kissed it; the monks as they entered bowed low before
it; voices were hushed, and the air was filled with adoration. The low
roof, the wall of "living rock," the swinging censers, the glowing
lamps, all seemed to tell that the place was one of sanctity, and
earthly thoughts should here give way to those of heaven.

Over the star sixteen lamps of silver were burning, and they burn there
from beginning to end of the year, and year after year their light is
never allowed to become dim. The quarrels of the factions rage over the
silver star; the lamps are parcelled among them--six to the Greeks, and
five each to the Armenians and Latins. Over the star is an altar which
belongs to them alternately; it is ordinarily kept plain, and is only
dressed by each sect when its turn comes to possess it.

[Illustration: THE MANGER.]

In his next letter to his mother Frank described the visit to the Grotto
of the Nativity and the church above it. "We first," said he, "looked at
the silver star, to which the eyes of the whole Christian world are
turned, and after several minutes spent in front of it our attention was
directed to the Chapel of the Manger. It is a little to the right of the
place of the Nativity, and is a recess cut in the rock. The tradition is
that Christ was once laid in this manger, and a few feet away from it is
the Chapel of the Magi, where the three wise men came to adore him.

[Illustration: ADORATION OF THE WISE MEN.]

"The whole grotto is about forty feet by twelve, and the ceiling is ten
or twelve feet high in most places. There are several passages and
chambers connected with it; in one of the chambers is the Altar of the
Innocents, which is supposed to be erected over the spot where the
children slain by order of King Herod were buried. In another chamber
are the altars and tombs of Jerome and Paula, who founded the Convent of
the Nativity; along the sides of the principal grotto there are several
oratories, which are said to correspond to the stalls in the original
stable where the animals were tied.

"Every inch of the walls of the grotto is covered with richly
embroidered cloth, and it is difficult to believe that the place was
hewn from the rock. There are many lamps hanging from the ceiling,
several of them adorned with jewels, and evidently costing a great deal
of money. They are the gifts of kings and princes, and it is said that
there is not room enough in the grotto to display a quarter of the
splendid things that are sent here.

"Before we left the grotto we had an opportunity of seeing how the
different sects regard each other. The Latins were holding a service at
the Altar of the Nativity, and while they were engaged at it the
stairway on the right, which belongs to the Greeks and Armenians, was
crowded with the monks of those orders. Their manner was anything but
reverential; during the service they whispered and laughed, and several
times their laughter was not only visible but audible across the grotto
to where we stood.

"One thing that jarred heavily on our feelings was the presence of two
Turkish soldiers with bayonets fixed on their rifles; they belonged to
the guard that has charge of the church, and two of them are constantly
on duty in the Grotto of the Nativity, and close to the altar. The rest
of the company was above in the church, and ready to be called upon at
any moment to quell a disturbance. While the Latins were holding their
service the men on duty were relieved: the tramp of the soldiers down
the stairs and along the grotto, together with the clash and clang of
their weapons, sounded strangely with the chant of the monks paying
homage to the founder of our religion. Isn't it dreadful to think that
only by force can order be maintained in this holy place?"

[Illustration: THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.]



CHAPTER XXV.

FROM BETHLEHEM TO MAR SABA AND THE DEAD SEA.


Another visit was paid to the Church of the Nativity on the following
morning, and then the party took a stroll through the streets of
Bethlehem while the tents and baggage were being packed for removal to
the next camping-ground. A little before noon they started for a ride to
the Convent of Mar Saba, halting for a few moments to look at the well
for whose waters King David longed when he was in the Cave of Adullum.

They stopped at the Grotto of the Shepherds, the place where the keepers
of the flocks were told of the coming of Christ. Frank and Fred thought
it a little singular that the shepherds should have been watching in a
grotto when their flocks would naturally be above-ground, and they ought
to be near their flocks. The Doctor said this was the spot where
tradition asserted that the shepherds were told of the coming of Christ;
there was a church and monastery there for several centuries, and it was
not until the time of the Crusades that any mention was made of a
grotto. The authorities are pretty fairly agreed as to the locality, and
it is hardly worth our while to make any objections.

The custodian of the place brought the key, and they descended the steps
leading to the cavern. The place is fitted up as a chapel, and contains
a dozen or more paintings and several fragments of ancient mosaics.
There are a few broken columns and other remains of the old church, but,
aside from its historical interest, the place is by no means remarkable.

The ride from the grotto to Mar Saba was through a rough region, and in
some places the road wound along steep hill-sides, where a false step
might have thrown horse and rider hundreds of feet to the bottom of a
ravine. In the valleys, and on many of the slopes, there were fields and
gardens, but the greater part of the country was a scene of desolation.
The guide said they were coming into the region of the Bedouins, but
would be in no danger until after passing Mar Saba. Even there they were
entirely safe, as an escort had been engaged who would meet them at the
convent, and accompany them the rest of the journey till they returned
to Jerusalem.

[Illustration: AN ARAB ENCAMPMENT.]

Turning a sharp bend in the road they came suddenly upon an encampment
of Bedouins. There were half a dozen tents, none of them more than four
or five feet high, and anything but comfortable to live in. Frank
thought their own camp was much to be preferred to the home of these
wandering Arabs, and he wondered how the natives managed to pass their
lives there. The Doctor explained that the Bedouins were shepherds, and
consequently were obliged to move with their flocks in search of
pasturage; for many centuries they had been wanderers over the land, and
refused to live in villages, and, as they had never known the comforts
of civilization, they did not miss anything.

A dozen half-naked children rushed from the tents, and shouted "hadji!
hadji!" (pilgrims! pilgrims!)--several dogs barked, and there was a good
deal of commotion in the camp. Some of the children came to the path in
front of the travellers, and demanded backsheesh with an insolent air;
nobody paid any attention (or money) to them, and as none of the party
wished to stop among these ill-tempered nomads, the camp was soon left
behind. The most dignified of the Bedouins was an old man, apparently
the sheik or chief, who sat in front of the tents as immovable as a
statue. He was holding his pipe with the bowl resting on the ground and
riveted his eyes on the travellers, evidently meditating whether it was
worth his while to demand tribute.

[Illustration: A BEDOUIN SHEIK.]

Frank took a rapid note of the appearance of the sheik, so that he might
know him again: "A large cloak of gray material, with the sleeves and
skirt of a white caftan showing beneath it--cloak fastened at the neck
by a clasp and cord with red tassels, a beard white as snow and not
closely trimmed, and a head-dress of a _cafeeah_, or Syrian kerchief,
held in place by cords of twisted camel's-hair. A face browned by
exposure and its natural hue, and a pair of eyes so keen that they might
pierce a hole through a blanket." Such was the Bedouin sheik that our
friends encountered.

One of the boys asked the Doctor if this was a part of the race of Arabs
that made it unsafe for travellers to go through their country.

"Yes," answered the Doctor. "I do not know that this particular camp
indulges in robbery, but the chances are that it does. The Bedouins of
Syria and Palestine have their own notions about the rules of life, and
with the most of them robbery is not incompatible with honesty."

The boys laughed at this idea, and then the Doctor explained his
meaning.

[Illustration: MODERN BEDOUINS OF MOUNT SINAI.]

"You are aware," said he, "that among the Indians of our Western plains
it is perfectly legitimate and honorable to steal horses; we might come
nearer home and say that many respectable men in New York and other
cities do not think they have done anything wrong when they persuade
their friends to buy the stocks or other property that they wish to
sell. The rules of honesty vary in different parts of the world, and the
standard of one country or people will not always answer for another.

"Plundering travellers or tribes weaker than his own has been the
practice of the Bedouin from time immemorial. He considers it perfectly
legitimate, and points with pride to the property he has stolen,
provided he is in no danger of being seized for the theft.

"He is always ready to be bought off, provided he can make more in that
way than by stealing. Sometimes the government lays a heavy hand on him,
and compels him to abandon his practices; but as these people can always
flee to the deserts, where regular troops cannot follow, it is very
difficult to conquer them. Some of the tribes have never been subdued,
but live in perfect independence far away from the cities and towns.

"The Bedouin has the single virtue of hospitality, and a stranger who
has been received in his tent is entirely safe so long as he remains
there. The Bedouin will protect him and his property, and instances of
violation of the rules of hospitality are very rare. But it sometimes
happens that he will find out what road his guest intends to travel, and
then send his friends forward, or even go himself, to rob and perhaps
murder the man who was the night before sleeping safely in his tent.
There is a superstition among many of the Arab tribes that if they eat
salt with a stranger they are forbidden to harm him afterward; from this
comes the remark you often hear about two persons having eaten salt
together, and therefore they must be friends.

"The Arabs in this part of Palestine," Doctor Bronson continued, "were
formerly very bold robbers, and committed many outrages. They have been
severely chastised on several occasions, but their evil practices have
never been quite broken up. They claim to own the country, and therefore
insist on their right to levy toll or tribute from everybody passing
through it. This would not be so bad if the amount of toll was uniform,
but their practice has been to take everything the traveller possesses,
even to his clothing and sometimes his life.

"Of late years the business has been systematized, and the Bedouins have
made a compromise with the government, so that any traveller can have a
safe-conduct through their country by paying for it. A sheik of the
tribe with several of his followers lives in Jerusalem; they are kept
there as hostages for the good behavior of their brethren in the Valley
of the Jordan, and before one of them can leave the city another must
come there to take his place. In case a traveller under escort is
robbed, the sheik must make good his loss.

[Illustration: SCENE IN THE WILDERNESS.]

"The price of a safe-conduct to the Jordan and Dead Sea has been fixed
at five francs for each person of a party, and the guides and servants
are not to be counted.

"When we came to Jerusalem, Ali went to the sheik and paid him thirty
francs--five francs for each of us--for the safe-conduct for the party.
An escort of one or two men will meet us at Mar Saba, and go with us the
rest of the way. He is responsible for our safety, and his presence with
us indicates that we have paid the proper black-mail, and are therefore
not to be molested.

[Illustration: AN ARAB GUARD IN PALESTINE.]

"Formerly it was necessary to engage a dozen or more of these fellows to
act as a guard. It was really another and more expensive form of
black-mail, as the men were of no actual use, and would run away if
attacked, leaving the traveller to his fate. It made no difference to
them whether he was killed or not; and as they had usually received a
part of their pay in advance, it was not worth their while to stay and
take the risk of being killed in his defence.

"A great deal of nonsense has been written about the noble character of
the Bedouin Arabs, their bravery, scrupulous honor, and other
commendable qualities. Of course there are exceptions, and it would be
strange indeed if a people numbering many thousands should all be
rascals. But, taken as a whole, the Bedouins are a race of thieves, and
their few redeeming traits are not sufficient to offset their bad
qualities."

[Illustration: MAR SABA (FROM THOMSON'S "THE LAND AND THE BOOK").]

It was some time before sunset when they reached the Convent of Mar
Saba, and found their tents pitched a few hundred yards from the walls
of the building. Seen from the outside the edifice is more like a
fortress than a religious establishment, as it has a series of bastions
and towers, and its walls are thick enough to stand a long siege from
anything except artillery.

Doctor Bronson told the boys that the monastery was founded in the fifth
century by St. Sabas, or Saba, and is therefore among the oldest
buildings of the kind in the East. It has an exposed position in the
wilderness, and has been captured several times and plundered, the last
occasion being about fifty years ago. In the seventh century it was
taken by the Persians, and all the inmates were massacred; but the more
modern captors have been satisfied with robbery, and sometimes the sale
of the monks as slaves.

Ali had obtained a permit to visit the monastery from the Greek Superior
at Jerusalem. He told the travellers that they must stop when forty or
fifty feet from the gate, and wait till the letter had been presented. A
dozen monks came to the top of the walls and surveyed the party, while
the letter was attached to a string and drawn up. The permit proved to
be all right, and a small door was opened by which one after another the
strangers were taken inside. No Arab is ever admitted under any
pretence, and consequently Ali remained outside while the party was
conducted through the place by one of the brethren who spoke French.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN PILGRIMS IN THE HOLY LAND.]

They saw the cavern where St. Saba lived on friendly terms with a lion,
the tomb where he was buried, the church, the bones of the monks killed
by the Persians, and the rooms occupied by the brethren, and also by
pilgrims from the Jordan on their way to Jerusalem. A tall palm-tree
bends over the summit of the roof of one of the towers. It is said to
have been planted by St. Saba in person, but, whether this be so or not,
the tree is certainly of very great age.

There are about sixty monks in the convent, the most of them Russians,
and all adherents of the Greek Church. They eat nothing but vegetables,
and fast often, and the result is they are thin and feeble. When not
engaged at their devotions they employ their time in carving ornaments,
crosses, and the like, from olive-wood and mother-of-pearl, which are
sold to visitors or sent to Jerusalem. No woman is ever permitted to
cross the threshold of Mar Saba, not even to escape the terrible storms
which ravage the country at certain seasons. Harriet Martineau, Ida
Pfeiffer, and other lady travellers tell how they were denied admission,
and slept in a tower near the monastery, or in their tents in camp. The
accommodations of the tower are very limited, and it is entered by a
door which must be reached by a rope-ladder, since it is about twenty
feet from the ground.

As our friends completed their visit they gave a couple of francs to the
brother who had conducted them through the place. The other brethren had
spread their wares on the floor of the court-yard, and were waiting for
the chance of selling something; but nobody wished to buy. As they gave
the money to the monk he asked if it was for himself or the convent.
When they said it was for himself he repeated the question in a loud
voice, so that his companions could hear it and the answer which
followed. Another franc was then added "for the convent," and
immediately each of the monks gathered his possessions from the floor,
and disappeared into an inner room. The strangers were shown through the
little door, and, after a short stroll among the desolate surroundings
of the convent, they returned to their camp.

[Illustration: ROAD TO THE DEAD SEA.]

The dragoman roused the party before daylight, and by the time the hills
were fairly lighted up they were off for the Dead Sea.

They descended to the Valley of the Kedron, which is overlooked by the
towers of Mar Saba, and ascended the stream for a short distance to a
suitable crossing-place, when they turned to the eastward.

Another encampment of Bedouins was passed, and then another; the road
lay among hills wilder and more desolate, if possible, than that of the
day before, and in some places it was so rocky as to be really
dangerous. On two or three occasions horses fell with their riders, but
fortunately without doing any serious injury. Frank had his foot jammed
very hard against a rock around which he was passing, and the thickness
of his boot barely saved him from injury. Not a year passes without
accidents of more or less severity in this part of the way, and our
friends heard afterward of broken legs and arms among the tourists of
the preceding year. The guides and tourist agencies take great pains to
conceal these occurrences, and it is only through the consuls or other
disinterested persons, apart from the victims and their friends, that
accidents are ever heard of.

They descended rapidly, and it was apparent to all that the Dead Sea was
far below the level of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

[Illustration: THE DEAD SEA FROM THE NORTH.]

Suddenly they came to a break in the hills, and before them lay the Dead
Sea, its surface smooth as glass, and reflecting the rays of the sun
with dazzling distinctness. On the opposite side were hills as steep as
those they were descending, and away to the left was the Valley of the
Jordan, with the famous river winding through it in numberless curves
and zigzags that were shown by the trees fringing its banks. They were
looking on the waste of waters that covers the buried cities of the
plain. It seemed close at their feet; but as they proceeded they found
how deceptive was their vision, as it was yet a long ride before its
banks were reached.

The boys were eager to stand upon the shores of this wonderful body of
water, and as they rode along Frank refreshed his own memory and that of
his cousin by repeating the information he had stored up concerning it.

"It is the lowest body of water in the world," said he; "I mean it is
nearer the centre of the earth than any other. It is 1310 feet below the
surface of the Mediterranean, and 3697 feet lower than Jerusalem, and it
has been sounded in a good many places, and found to be of an average
depth of 1000 feet."

"I have heard all that," replied Fred, "and more too. It is supposed to
cover what was once a plain, and, according to tradition and the Bible,
the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are under its waters. They were
destroyed for the wickedness of their inhabitants, and the only one of
them who was saved was Lot."

[Illustration: MAP OF THE DEAD SEA.]

"You are right," responded Frank; "and the name of the sea in Arabic is
_Bahr Lut_, or 'Lot's Lake.' Its other names have been the Salt Sea, the
Sea of Asphalt, the Eastern Sea, and the Dead Sea. It is forty-six miles
long, and about ten broad at its widest part."

Farther conversation was prevented by a kicking-match among the horses,
causing a commotion that lasted several minutes. As soon as it was ended
the ride was resumed, and they reached a sloping stretch of ground
between the hills and the water. There was an Arab encampment not far
from the shore, and the swarthy Bedouins formed a picturesque addition
to the scene.

The boys were agreeably disappointed to find the shore of the Dead Sea
the reverse of desolate; it is true there was not a great deal of
vegetation, and the little that existed was not of a useful kind.
Nevertheless, where they had expected nothing would grow, they found
plenty of bushes and reeds, which continued up to within a hundred feet
or so of the water's edge.

They halted and dismounted close to the shore, and Ali brought a cup of
water for the travellers to taste. They found it exceedingly bitter, and
one of the boys asked the Doctor the cause of this remarkable flavor.

"The water," said he, "is intensely salt, containing twenty-six per
cent. of solid matter, which is four per cent. more than Great Salt Lake
in Utah. Lake Elton, in Russia, is said to contain thirty per cent., and
if so, it surpasses the Dead Sea, and is the only lake that does.

"The solid elements in the water of the Dead Sea are principally
chloride of sodium (common salt) and chloride of magnesium, and there is
more of the latter than the former. It is the magnesium that gives the
bitter taste; and the next ingredient is chloride of calcium, which
gives it an oily feeling that you will perceive when you bathe in it.
There are half a dozen other ingredients, but they are so small in
quantity that it is not worth while to mention them."

The eyes of the boys brightened at the suggestion of a bath in the Dead
Sea, and they immediately consulted Ali on the subject. The dragoman
said it was easy enough, as they were in no danger of drowning, and
could make a dressing, or, rather, an undressing room of the bushes a
little farther along the shore, where they would not be disturbed by the
Arabs.

The vote for a bath was carried almost unanimously. The Doctor was the
only one who declined the experiment, and, as he had been there before,
he had no curiosity to satisfy.

"Be very careful not to get the water in your eyes," he said to the
youths, as they entered the sea. "It will not do any serious harm, but
will make them smart and burn very disagreeably for hours."

They heeded his injunction, and limped over the flinty stones, which
threatened to cut their feet at every step. Once in the water they
experienced a novel sensation; no effort was needed to keep them above
the surface, and they floated very much as corks are seen to float in a
basin of ordinary water. Ali tossed an egg to them, and it floated with
fully a third of its bulk exposed. They could not get their feet more
than a few inches below the surface, and they found it more difficult to
swim than they had supposed, in consequence of the great buoyancy of the
water. They could paddle around with the greatest ease, but swimming was
another affair.

A few minutes of the bath was enough by way of experiment. There was a
great sputtering when Frank happened to get some of the water in his
mouth. Fred laughed at his cousin's mishap, but immediately wished he
had not done so. While in the midst of an audible smile he unexpectedly
rolled over, and caught more of the bitter waters than he had bargained
for. As soon as he could speak he suggested that he had had bath enough,
and, Frank agreeing with him, they returned to the shore. The rest of
the party were there already, and acting on the advice of Ali they dried
themselves speedily and vigorously with the towels he held in readiness.

Unless removed immediately, the water is apt to cause a prickling and
burning sensation which continues several hours. It is sure to leave an
oily feeling that is disagreeable but not painful, and does not usually
disappear until a fresh-water bath is taken. This may be had in the
Jordan, and is taken by most travellers if time and circumstances
permit.

[Illustration: LYNCH'S EXPEDITION TO THE DEAD SEA.]

During the bath Ali had spread out the mid-day lunch, and it was eaten
with a hearty relish. The Doctor embraced the opportunity to say it was
not until 1837 that anybody discovered the Dead Sea to be lower than the
Mediterranean. Some English surveyors ascertained it, and the matter
attracted so much attention that ten years later an American expedition
was sent to survey the Jordan and the Dead Sea; it was commanded by
Lieutenant Lynch, of the United States Navy, and was thoroughly equipped
for its work.

[Illustration: LYNCH'S LEVELLING PARTY.]

"Lieutenant Lynch," said the Doctor, "landed at the Bay of Acre in
March, 1848, carried his boats on trucks drawn by camels over the
mountains of Lebanon, and launched them in the Lake of Gennesaret. From
this lake the party descended the Jordan to the Dead Sea, spent three
weeks in a survey of that body of water, and then 'levelled' the route
to the Mediterranean, in order to settle the question of the relative
heights. They found that no fish or living thing belongs to the water of
the Dead Sea, and all fish from the Mediterranean or the ocean die very
soon after being placed in it. Ducks swim in the water without injury,
but it is fatal to them to be plunged beneath it. As it contains nothing
for them to eat, they have no inducement to dive.

[Illustration: THE CAVERN OF USDUM.]

"At the southern end of the Dead Sea is the Mountain of Usdum, which
contains a cavern three or four hundred feet deep, in which there are
deposits of salt. There are other salt deposits in the neighborhood, and
it is believed that the Dead Sea derives its saltness from the
dissolving of these deposits, and also from the substances brought down
by the River Jordan."

"Every lake without any outlet is salt, is it not?" Fred asked.

"Certainly," replied the Doctor; "it is a rule of nature that has no
exception. All water from springs, brooks, and rivers contains salt
gathered from the earth, and sometimes the quantity is considerable. It
is the slight amount of salt that makes water palatable; if you taste of
pure distilled water you will find it 'flat,' and its purity is what
makes it so.

"The salt brought down from the land gradually accumulates; the water
passes off by evaporation, but the salt remains. As time goes on the
saltness of the water increases, so the scientific men tell us, and
perhaps millions of years hence the ocean may be as strongly impregnated
as the Dead Sea. Who can tell?"



CHAPTER XXVI.

FROM THE DEAD SEA TO THE JORDAN, JERICHO, AND JERUSALEM.--THE VALLEY OF
THE JORDAN.


[Illustration: REEDS AND RUSHES ON THE JORDAN.]

It was a ride of less than two hours from the Dead Sea to the Jordan;
the ground was level and the horses in good spirits, so that the whole
party indulged in the luxury of a gallop. The course of the Jordan was
indicated by trees and great masses of reeds, but the stream was so
completely concealed by them that its waters were not revealed until
rein was drawn at the bathing-place of the pilgrims.

The boys could hardly restrain their impatience to reach the waters of
the river that is so intimately connected with the history of
Christianity. Of course they made immediate preparations for a bath,
according to the custom of the great majority of visitors; the water was
so cold that they remained in it only a few minutes, and were glad to
resume their clothing and make a calm study of the scene.

"The river at this point," wrote Frank in his journal, "is about a
hundred feet wide, and flows with a current so swift that we could
hardly stand against it. We waded and swum to the other side; swimming
was preferable to wading, as the bottom is composed of sharp stones,
which are very disagreeable to walk upon. The guide said the stream was
swollen by recent rains, and at least a foot deeper than at its ordinary
stage.

"There is a ford at this bathing-place, and another higher up. Caravans
and single travellers going from the east to the west bank, or _vice
versa_, usually pass by one of these fords, and sometimes a large party
may be seen here. It is not safe to venture on the other side without a
strong guard, as the Arabs are far worse than those between here and
Jerusalem, probably because they are not under so much restraint by the
government.

[Illustration: AN ARAB SKIRMISH IN THE LAND OF MOAB.]

"Several explorations have been attempted of the Land of Moab, as the
country east of the Jordan is called, but only a few of them have
succeeded. In most instances parties have been compelled to return just
after crossing the border, and before they had accomplished anything of
what they went to see. The Arabs are treacherous, and often violate
their promises after they have received heavy backsheesh to permit
travellers to go on without disturbance. If you want to know more of
this region we advise you to read 'The Land of Moab,' by H. B. Tristram,
one of the few travellers who has explored it. Another interesting work
on this subject is 'The Desert of the Exodus,' by E. H. Palmer, and
don't forget 'The Land and the Book,' which we have already mentioned.

"Mr. Tristram tells in his book how narrowly he escaped being robbed,
and perhaps murdered, by one of the tribes that roam over the country.
It often happens that there is a quarrel between two tribes, and when
any parties from one encounter the other there is certain to be
bloodshed. If strangers happen to be under the escort of the defeated
party they must share its fate, and consequently it is not an easy
matter to select a guard that can carry you through safely.

"When Mr. Tristram's party started from Hebron there were two tribes
from which it was necessary to choose an escort, or rather to whom to
pay black-mail. The choice fell upon the Jehalin tribe, and, after a
good deal of negotiation, a contract was made and signed with them.

"Hardly had they entered the Land of Moab when they met a large band of
the Beni Atiyeh, a tribe with a very bad reputation, and the number was
so great that it was nonsense to think of fighting them. The dragoman
went forward to parley with them, and was stripped of his outer
garments, satchel, money-bag, and belt, before he could speak a word;
the sheik of the escort went at the same time and with better success,
as he managed to get the ear of the chief of the Atiyeh. Two or three of
the men of the escort who ventured to the front were knocked down, and
for a little while there was a good prospect of a very serious result to
the travellers.

"It turned out that the Beni Atiyeh were on good terms with the Jehalin,
and on the payment of a heavy backsheesh they allowed the party to go
on. It would have been far otherwise if Mr. Tristram had chosen his
escort from the other tribe that offered its services, as there was a
bitter quarrel between it and the Beni Atiyeh, and there would have been
no chance of an escape. No mercy would have been shown to the
travellers, and possibly the Arabs would have justified their cruelty by
referring to the old adage, 'A man is known by the company he keeps.'

[Illustration: BATHING-PLACE OF THE PILGRIMS (FROM THOMSON'S "THE LAND
AND THE BOOK").]

"You must know there are two bathing-places on the Jordan; one is
visited by the Latins and the other by the Greeks, and each Church
claims that its bathing-place is the spot where Christ was baptized by
John. Mr. Thomson thinks that neither is correct, and that the scene of
the baptism was considerably farther up the river than any of the
present sites. He argues that, according to the historical record,
Christ came from Galilee, and was baptized by John, and then returned to
Galilee; the road from Galilee reaches the Jordan much farther north
than the present bathing-places, and though it is possible he came to
this point it is hardly probable.

[Illustration: SOURCE OF THE JORDAN.]

"The bank of the river is fringed with willow, tamarisk, and other trees
and bushes, and there are several pretty spots here for forming a camp.
We wanted to stay here for the night, but our guide had sent the tents
by a short route from Mar Saba to the neighborhood of the ancient
Jericho, and after a halt of an hour or so we mounted our horses and
rode away from the river.

"Doctor Bronson says it is quite probable that the passage of the Jordan
by the Israelites, described in Joshua iii. and iv., occurred at the
bathing-place we have visited, or certainly not far from it. According
to the biblical account they passed the river 'right against Jericho,'
and this expression is supposed to mean that they crossed the Jordan at
the point nearest to that city.

[Illustration: PASSAGE OF THE ISRAELITES.]

"During our halt one of our party read the account of this interesting
event while the rest listened. It was not at all difficult for us to
imagine the scene when the Israelites came down from their camp in the
hills of Moab, and took their position on the banks of the Jordan. Here
they halted for the night, and on the next day, when all was ready, the
ark of the covenant, borne on the shoulders of the priests, was advanced
to the edge of the river; as the feet of the bearers touched the water
it receded, and in a few minutes the bed of the stream was dry. Then the
ark was carried to the middle of the channel, and it remained there in
charge of the priests till the whole host had gone over.

"When the last of the procession had passed, Joshua called to the
priests to bring the ark from the bed of the river, and they did so. The
waters at once resumed their course, and the Jordan flowed on as before.
Of course the monuments of stones which were erected by the Israelites
to commemorate their crossing disappeared hundreds of years ago, and we
have only the geographical localities to guide us; but, as we heard the
description of the event, and looked around us, we felt certain that the
spot where the Israelites crossed over Jordan, after their escape from
Egypt, and their wanderings in the wilderness, could not be far away.

[Illustration]

"Before we go on to Jericho let me say something about the famous river
we have just visited.

"The Jordan is about a hundred miles long in a direct line, but its
course is so crooked that the actual length of the stream is a great
deal more; nobody has ever measured it accurately, and therefore I can't
say how much it winds about. One authority says it is sixty-four miles
in a direct line from the Dead Sea to the Lake of Tiberias, and two
hundred miles by the windings of the river. The head-spring of the
Hasbany (the parent of the Jordan) is seventeen hundred feet above the
level of the Mediterranean; the mouth of the Jordan, where it enters the
Dead Sea, is, therefore, about three thousand feet lower than its
source, so the Jordan has a great fall for so short a river.

"The Hasbany and several other streams unite in the Lake of Hooleh, and
from the outlet of that lake the river is called the Jordan. It has a
rapid fall to the Lake of Tiberias; and as it goes out of that lake it
begins its tortuous course, which can be surpassed by very few rivers in
the world. Between the Lake of Tiberias and the Dead Sea there are
twenty-seven cascades or rapids; all of them are so great that it is
quite impossible for boats to make the ascent, and it is not by any
means safe to attempt to descend them. Lieutenant Lynch started with
three boats, one of wood and the others of iron. The wooden boat was
bought in the Lake of Tiberias, while the iron ones were brought from
the United States. The iron boats were a good deal battered by the
thumps they received during the voyage, but the exploring party brought
them to the Dead Sea, and used them for completing their work. The
wooden boat was ruined, and abandoned before half the journey had been
accomplished.

"The Valley of the Jordan is called the 'Ghor' by the natives. The word
means a depression or hollow, and the valley may be regarded as a plain
sixty miles long, and from five to ten miles wide, enclosed by
mountains. The mountains on both sides are very steep, and the Valley of
the Jordan is not unlike some of the deep gorges or ravines in our
Western States and Territories. It is broader near the Dead Sea than
farther up. The land is generally fertile, and capable of supporting a
larger population than it contains at present. According to the accounts
in the Old Testament, it was far more productive in ancient times than
it is to-day. It contains ruins of cities that once were populous, and
it is very certain that the land of Canaan has greatly diminished in
importance since the children of Israel came to it and settled.

"There were then as now wandering tribes of shepherds, and their customs
have changed very little in all the centuries that have passed; but
there were more people living in settled places, and the biblical story
shows that Jericho was a walled town with gates, which were shut at
night. The flax drying on the roof of Rahab's house shows that that
plant was cultivated, and the cord by which she let down the spies tells
us very plainly that the people understood the art of spinning. We read
the Bible very carefully while in the Jordan Valley, and have derived a
great many useful hints from it, and much information.

"We wished we could have been here at the time of the annual visit of
the pilgrims, which occurs at Easter, and is a curious sight. There are
pilgrims here in fair numbers through the whole year, and they all
consider it a religious duty to bathe in the Jordan. The great festival
is in April, and at that time several thousand pilgrims leave Jerusalem
immediately after the close of the Easter festivities and come down to
the Plain of Jericho, where they encamp for the night. They come from
all parts of Europe, and there is a good representation from Asia as
well. You can see many varieties of costume, and hear a jargon of
languages that might remind you of the Tower of Babel.

"The camp is a scene of confusion, and long before morning a disorderly
procession is formed, thousands of torches are waved, and the great
crowd presses forward in order to enter the sacred stream at daybreak.
Hundreds of people are in the river at the same moment, and not a year
passes without some of them being swept away and drowned in the swift
current. Men, women, and children are crowded together indiscriminately,
and the wonder is that so few accidents occur. The whole ceremony is
over in two or three hours, and then the pilgrims turn back from the
Jordan and return to Jerusalem.

[Illustration: RECENT ASPECT OF THE PLAIN OF JERICHO.]

"Just as we left the Jordan it began to rain, and we had a disagreeable
ride to Riha, which some writers consider the site of Gilgal; others
think it marks the position of ancient Jericho; but the general opinion
is that Jericho was farther to the west. The modern Jericho is a village
of fifty or sixty houses, and its inhabitants are a degenerate race of
people, who live by a little agriculture and by what they can beg or
steal from visitors. We found our tents pitched a little out of the
village, and were a good deal annoyed by the natives, who crowded around
us and could not be driven away. The children begged for backsheesh, and
the men wanted to amuse us with a 'fantasia,' or dance, but we had been
told it was a stupid performance, and declined to witness it.

[Illustration: AIN-ES-SULTAN, OR FOUNTAIN OF ELISHA (FROM THOMSON'S "THE
LAND AND THE BOOK").]

"There is a tower near the village, which is called by some 'The House
of Zaccheus,' but the indications are that it was not built till the
time of the Crusades, long after Zaccheus was laid in his grave. We did
not have time to visit it, nor did we go to the Ain-es-Sultan, or
Sultan's Spring, which is also known as the Fountain of Elisha. It is a
fine spring, the water rather warm in temperature, as we are told, and
varies but little in volume throughout the year. Biblical students who
have been here say there can be no doubt it is the very fountain which
was healed by the prophet Elisha, and is therefore well entitled to bear
his name. There are several aqueducts by which the water was once
carried over the plain, and used for irrigating the fields, but they are
now so much ruined as to be of little consequence.

"What a night we had in our camp! The rain ceased about sunset, but
during the night it came on again, and fell as though a thunder-cloud
had burst above us. It poured and poured, and not only did it rain, but
the wind blew like a gale at sea. Fred and I remembered what we had said
at Bethlehem the first night we slept in the tents. We concluded we were
going to have all the storm we wanted, and more than once wished
ourselves safely lodged in a solid house.

"The ground was soaked with water, and became so soft that it would not
hold our tent-pegs against the wind. The rain came in through the
canvas, the pegs gave way, and about midnight down came the cold and
sloppy cloth in our faces.

"We shouted for help, and the dragoman came with his men and managed to
fix things up a little, but it was slow and disagreeable work with the
heavy rain falling, and the night as black as the inside of an
ink-bottle. They had one miserable lantern that did little more than
enable us to see the darkness, and by the time they had the tent
arranged so that we could crawl under it we were wet nearly to the skin.

"We tried to laugh it off, but 'twas no use trying. We couldn't either
of us see the fun of it, and couldn't get to sleep again. There we lay
till morning wondering what would happen next.

"The Doctor's tent went down like ours, but he had a thick water-proof
coat and a large wrapper of the same material, so that he was not so
badly off as we were. He didn't escape, though, nor did any of the
others, and when daylight came we all looked as if the best thing would
be to wring us out and hang us up to dry. We were a sorry looking
breakfast-party, but pulled ourselves together and managed to eat
something. Fortunately the rain stopped, but there came a new trouble.

"When we went into camp there was a little brook close by us which we
were to cross in the morning. The heavy rain swelled this brook into a
small torrent that was absolutely dangerous to ford, as one might easily
be swept down with the current and drowned.

"So we went up the bank about a mile, and while the horses were driven
through the water our party walked over an old aqueduct which wasn't the
safest bridge in the world, but a great deal better than no bridge at
all. The channel of the aqueduct was about a foot wide, and the sides
eighteen or twenty inches high; the whole structure was at least fifty
feet above the torrent that dashed below us like the rapids of Niagara.
We walked very carefully, as the least misstep might have sent us
tumbling over the side, with an excellent prospect of being killed by
the fall or drowned in the roaring water. It is hardly necessary to say
we were all heartily glad to be on the safe side of the stream.

"We had a ride of five hours from this bridge to the gates of Jerusalem,
and such a five hours we do not care to have again.

"Before the end of the first hour it came on to rain, and by the middle
of the second hour the rain had changed to snow. And with the rain and
snow there was a high wind, and as we wound among the hills we had it in
all directions, now in our faces, and a few minutes later blowing at our
backs.

"The guide repeatedly called our attention to places of scriptural or
other interest. We tried to look at them, but I fear we were more
concerned about the weather than with what lay around us. But we
remember among other things that the route from Jerusalem to Jericho has
the same character now that it had eighteen centuries ago, and we had an
escort to protect us from falling among thieves. We halted a few minutes
at the ruined khan which is said to be the site of the inn to which the
good Samaritan carried the wounded and plundered traveller whom he found
by the way-side.

"The guide told us that a few years ago an English traveller was robbed
by the Arabs at this very spot, and the scriptural description will
exactly cover his case: 'They stripped him of his raiment, and wounded
him, and departed, leaving him half dead.'

[Illustration: THE VILLAGE OF BETHANY.]

"Our road was steadily upward, as Jerusalem is nearly three thousand
seven hundred feet higher than the Dead Sea, and we were not far above
the level of that body of water when we started from Jericho. At several
points we were on the old road built by the Romans; we went by Bethany,
which we did not stop to look at, and wound around the Mount of Olives,
and down through the Valley of the Brook Kedron, which we crossed near
Gethsemane. Then we entered Jerusalem by the Gate of the Tribes, and
rode along the nearly deserted streets to the door of the hotel.

"We were all so benumbed and stiff with the cold that we needed
assistance to descend from our horses, and we could not keep our steps
straight as we entered the building. A good fire and a hot dinner
brought us to ourselves again, and we laughed over our troubles and
began to think they did not amount to much, after all.

"It is very unpleasant to be soaked with rain and chilled with the cold,
but somehow when you get dry and warm again you don't feel so badly. We
shall forget all about the storm and its disagreeable features, but
we'll remember the Dead Sea, the Valley of the Jordan, the site of
Jericho, Bethany, the inn of the good Samaritan, and a dozen other
historic things we have seen since we left our camp at Mar Saba and
descended into the deepest valley in the world. Anyway we'll try to
forget the storm, but I can't help shuddering just a little when I think
of it--it was so cold, and the rain was so wet!

"The rain and snow are still falling as I write in my journal in the
public room of the hotel at Jerusalem. We've sent our clothes to the
kitchen to be dried, and we're dressed in such things as we've been able
to borrow in the house, and a funny-looking group we are. The Doctor has
put on a coat much too short in the sleeves, and says he feels as though
he had gone into a ready-made clothing store and been served with the
first garment that came to hand. Fred is nicely gotten up in an Arab
costume, fez and all; he's trying to speak the language, but isn't very
successful. I'm in part of a suit belonging to one of the gentlemen of
the Palestine Exploration Fund, who happens to be stopping here; but the
most conspicuous garment of my wardrobe is a large blanket, with the
word 'Tigre' on the outside in big letters. It once belonged to the
French steamer of that name, and was left here by a traveller; I may be
placarded as a tiger while wearing this blanket, but feel very far from
what that beast is supposed to be."



CHAPTER XXVII.

FROM JERUSALEM TO NABULUS.--HISTORIC PLACES ON THE ROUTE.


During the night after the incidents described in our last chapter the
storm cleared away, and the sky at sunrise was without a cloud.
Everybody had slept well and recovered from the fatigue of the journey,
and the exposure to rain and snow. Frank and Fred were quite ready to
make a fresh start, and laughed over the troubles of the previous day as
the merest trifle in the world.

[Illustration: THE HOTEL-KEEPER.]

Doctor Bronson had a long conference with the dragoman and the keeper of
the hotel, together with the American consul, who happened to be
stopping in the house. It resulted in an announcement that the party
would start the following morning for Damascus.

Of course the decision gave great delight to the youths. The Doctor made
the following explanation of the plan for the new journey:

"Ali tells me that the heavy storm we have just passed through will be
in our favor, as there is a good prospect of fair weather to follow it
for a week or ten days. It is not the right season for the 'long route,'
as the ride from Jerusalem to Damascus is called, and the majority of
travellers at this time of year prefer the 'short route.'

"Perhaps I may as well say here that if we followed the latter we would
return to Jaffa and take steamer for Beyroot. There we land, and proceed
by carriage-road to Damascus, and when we have done with that famous
city we go back to Beyroot the way we came, and are through with Syria.
I had thought of taking the short route, but as we are now well
accustomed to the ways of travel, and have proved our abilities to
endure the severities of a winter storm, I am inclined to the long one.
Our American companions have left the whole arrangements in my hands,
and I have decided that we will go through to Damascus by the overland
way."

Frank asked how much time they would take on the journey.

"The ordinary time consumed in it," the Doctor answered, "is seventeen
days; it may be extended as much as we choose, since we hire the
dragoman by the day, and he is to provide us with everything; and it may
be shortened three or four days. I have arranged that he is to get us
through in fourteen or fifteen days, and he will do so if we are not
delayed by storms or accidents.

"The best time of the year for this journey is in spring, between 'the
early and the latter rain' which the Bible mentions. The country is then
in its best condition, the climate is delightful, and the chance of fine
weather far better than now. But as we cannot suit the season to
ourselves we will run the risk; with stout hearts and plenty of
water-proof clothing we ought to go through without difficulty."[8]

[8] The author begs to inform the reader that the incident of the storm
between Jericho and Jerusalem was his own experience in a visit to the
Holy Land. He did not make the overland journey between Jerusalem and
Damascus, and consequently the description of the route followed by
Frank and Fred is not given from personal observation.

The afternoon was devoted to making a few purchases of articles likely
to be needed on the journey, the completion of letters, and a few sights
that had not been made during the first visit to the city. Doctor
Bronson engaged a trusty man, who was recommended by the consul, to go
to Jaffa and take the baggage of the party to Beyroot, where he would
deliver it to the proprietor of the hotel to await their arrival. This
was thought to be safer than ordering it sent forward as ordinary
freight, and trusting to the agents of the steamer to deliver it.
Steamship agents in the Levant are not worthy of the fullest confidence,
as the writer of this book can bear witness. Travellers are advised to
look carefully after their own affairs, and be wary of the oleaginous
tongues of those from whom they purchase tickets.

As soon as the arrangements had been completed Ali disappeared from the
hotel, and was not again seen till evening. He was busy with his
preparations for the journey, as it was necessary for him to hire
additional horses, and secure a stock of provisions sufficient to carry
them through to Damascus with what he could purchase on the route. The
pack-train, with the tents and provisions, was sent away in advance. The
party had a long ride before it for the next day, and before nine
o'clock everybody was in bed.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE OVERLAND ROUTE FROM JERUSALEM.]

They were off by daybreak, leaving the city by the Damascus Gate, which
we have already seen in their company. They passed near the tombs of the
kings, and descended into the Valley of the Brook Kedron, which is here
much smaller than where they crossed it at Mar Saba. They met a few
natives on their way to the city, with trains of donkeys laden with
vegetables and grain for sale in the markets of Jerusalem, and in one
place they were crowded against a rough wall by a line of camels that
kept the road to themselves in the manner for which those animals are
famous. The road, though used for centuries, is impassable for wheeled
vehicles, and the beasts of burden that traverse it follow in the
footsteps of those who preceded them ages and ages ago.

In several places the route was over rocky ridges, where all the earth
had been swept or washed away, leaving the ledges entirely bare. Frank
observed that the feet of the camels had worn broad holes in the rock;
the Doctor recalled to him the proverb hitherto quoted, that a continual
dropping will wear away stone, and said the feet of the camels had
dropped for hundreds of years in the same places, so that it was no
wonder the stones were worn away.

From Jerusalem to Nabulus is a ride of eleven hours; it is customary for
travellers to pass the night at Bireh or Ramallah, as the majority of
tourists are unwilling to make the entire journey in a single day. But
our party had tested its ability to endure fatigue, and determined
without hesitation to reach Nabulus before night if possible. It was for
this reason that an early start was made, and the halts along the road
were few and short.

[Illustration: BY BABEL'S STREAM.]

The farewell view of the Holy City was taken from the side of the Hill
of Scopus, which was reached by ascending from the Valley of the Kedron.
Its domes and minarets stood out clear and distinct under the deep-blue
sky of Palestine, and every member of the party was reluctant to turn
away his eyes from the place which is sacred in the thoughts of every
Christian, and familiar to his ears since he first heard the stories of
the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of the Saviour of mankind. Frank
called to mind the words of the Israelite by Babel's stream: "If I
forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do
not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."

From the crest of Scopus they looked down upon a broad plain or plateau,
where the first view seemed to be one of desolation. Limestone rocks
were spread in ridges, one beyond the other, until they appeared to
leave but little space for arable land. Close observation showed that
between every ridge and its neighbor there was a strip of soil which
might be made productive with a little care and industry, and the sides
of the hills and valleys were terraced till they sometimes resembled a
series of broad steps.

"This land is full of promise," one of the boys remarked.

"Yes," responded the Doctor, "and by cultivation it can be made to
answer the scriptural description. The Land of Promise was a land of
'vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil-olive, and
honey,' as we read in the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy.

[Illustration: THE GRAPES OF ESHCOL.]

"Observe what this land might be rather than what it is. The fig-tree
and the olive would grow and bear fruit in the spaces between the ridges
of rock, and the vines might clamber up the sides of the terraces, and
be as luxuriant as they were in the days when the spies visited Eshcol,
and brought back the famous grapes described in the Bible and
represented in the books of our infancy."

Fred asked if such grapes were found at present, and where Eshcol was
supposed to be.

[Illustration: HEBRON.]

"There is some doubt on that score," was the reply, "but it is generally
believed that the Brook of Eshcol was in the neighborhood of Hebron.
There are extensive vineyards at Hebron, and their grapes are larger and
finer than in most places in the Holy Land. The clusters are often very
long, but nobody in these modern days has ever seen them so large that
it would require the strength of two men to carry one of them.

"The Bible does not say that it required their strength to carry this
burden. Read the passage in Numbers xiii. 23, and you will find it says,
they 'cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they
bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates,
and of the figs.' Remember that a bunch of grapes cannot be carried in a
sack like pomegranates and figs, but must be suspended, so as to
preserve the fruit from injury. The spies had a long way to travel, and
there was no other mode of transporting the fruit of the vines of Eshcol
than the one described."

The guide called attention to the village of Shafut, a little distance
from the route, and said it was supposed by some to occupy the site of
the ancient Mizpeh. A little farther along on the other side of the road
was a rounded hill, which has been identified by some writers as the
site of Nob, mentioned several times in the Old Testament. Beyond it is
Tuliel-el-Ful (Hill of Beans), where once stood Gibeah, the scene of
several important incidents described in Judges, Samuel, and other books
of the Bible. Doctor Bronson said it was quite probable that the meeting
of David and Jonathan took place in the valley between these two points,
and the scriptural account certainly carries out his theory.

They passed Er-Ram, which corresponds to the Ramah of Benjamin (1 Kings
xv. 17), and was formerly a populous city, but is now a miserable
village. As they rode along, one of the boys recalled the murder of the
descendants of Saul, and the devotion of Rizpah, who spread sack-cloth
on the rocks, and watched by the bodies of her sons all through the
summer days to prevent their being devoured by birds.

"Yes," responded Fred; "and don't you remember the picture we saw at the
Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia representing the scene?"

Frank remembered it perfectly, and said the painting and the engravings
that have been made of it would now have a renewed interest for him
since he had looked upon the spot where the incident happened.

As they passed Ramah, Fred referred to the passage in the Book of Judges
where Deborah is said to have dwelt under a palm-tree "between Ramah and
Bethel, in Mount Ephraim." Very naturally he asked if they were near
Bethel.

"We are not far from it," answered the Doctor, "though it is not on our
road. The village of Betin, the ancient Bethel, is a couple of miles
from our route, and can be reached most easily from Bireh. There is
nothing of consequence to be seen there, and it is only for its historic
associations that the place is worth visiting. It is a village of three
to four hundred inhabitants, and they are no better than the average of
the people we have thus far met.

"There is another biblical site, too, a little off our road," the Doctor
continued; "I refer to Seilun, the ancient Shiloh.

"In spite of the completeness of its description the site of Shiloh was
unknown for centuries, and was only identified in the last forty years.
It is described in the Book of Judges as being 'on the north side of
Bethel, on the east of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem,
and on the south of Lebonah.' Exactly in such a position there is a mass
of ruins covering a considerable extent, and it is now agreed by
biblical students that they are the ruins of Shiloh.

"Now that I have told you what it was, perhaps you can say why Shiloh
was famous?"

"I'll try," Fred responded, and after a pause of some minutes he was
ready to reply. He let his horse fall out of the line while thinking on
the subject, and it is just possible he glanced into the guide-book he
carried in his satchel. We may remark, by-the-way, that every traveller
in the Holy Land has his guide-book in readiness, and if his memory is
at fault at any time he has a good authority to refer to. It saves a
vast amount of 'reading up;' and you sometimes find a man who makes a
pretence of great learning, when the fact is he has been drawing freely
from the portable authority in his possession.

"Shiloh was the place where the tabernacle of the Lord was first set up
permanently in Canaan," said Fred, "and the Israelites came here to
receive their shares of the promised land. The infant Samuel was
dedicated here to the Lord by his mother, and it was at Shiloh where
Eli dropped dead when he heard his sons had been killed in battle.
There was a festival here in honor of the ark. It was held every year;
and once while the maidens were dancing at this festival the Benjamites
rushed in suddenly and carried off two hundred of them. There were
several other incidents of less importance in the history of Shiloh, and
it seems to have been destroyed long before the beginning of the
Christian era."

"I know where you found all that," Frank whispered; "and you ought to be
very grateful to the man who hunted it out for you: 'Murray's Guide,'
page 312."

"Quite right," replied Fred, "but some of it runs over on page 313."

With this candid acknowledgment of a fact which many persons seek to
conceal, or even do worse about, they changed the subject of
conversation. The author has in his possession a book of travels by a
prominent member of the Church, in which there are numerous pages and
paragraphs taken bodily from other works, and especially from
guide-books. Its writer even goes so far as to say that all measurements
given in his book were made by himself, and can be relied upon. It is
observable that he agrees exactly with the guide-book, even in two or
three instances where the latter is known to be at fault; and yet that
man would probably refuse to tell a falsehood for a dollar!

[Illustration: STREET SCENE IN BIREH.]

Our friends halted an hour at Bireh, the ancient Beeroth, to rest their
horses and partake of a much desired and well earned dinner. It was
spread on the table of a little inn close to the entrance of the
village, and the most of the materials composing it had been brought
from Jerusalem in the saddle-bags of the dragoman. Bireh is on the
summit of a ridge, and had been in sight for some time before the party
drew rein at its gates. It is a considerable village, with a population
of seven or eight hundred, nearly all of whom are Moslems. There are the
ruins of a church which was built by the Knights Templar when the
Crusaders held Jerusalem. Parts of the walls and roof are standing, and
not far off is a khan which is supposed to have been a Christian hospice
when the knights lived here.

[Illustration: A NATIVE GROUP AT A FOUNTAIN.]

During the halt a hasty visit was paid to the church, and also to the
khan, and a glance was taken among the ruins that lay scattered about.
Close to their halting-place was a mosque of much later date than the
church, and there were groups of women and girls around a fountain which
the mosque protects. The Doctor remarked that Beeroth was one of the
four cities of the Gibeonites whose people made a covenant with the
Israelites through false representations, and became hewers of wood and
drawers of water for the conquerors of the land.

On the road again, after saying farewell to Bireh, the travellers had a
ride of little more than an hour to Ain Yebrud. They passed many
orchards of fig and olive trees, and found the country more productive
in appearance, at least, than nearer Jerusalem. The road now descended
into a narrow and wild valley, with steep cliffs rising above on either
side, and with numerous terraces which were formerly cultivated, but are
now of little use.

Suddenly at a bend in the road they came to a spring which flowed from
the side of a cliff. The cool appearance of the water brought them to a
halt, and they dismounted. Frank asked the name of the place.

"This is Ain el-Haramiyeh," the guide answered.

"Which means?"

"The Robbers' Spring."

"It has borne this name for centuries," said Doctor Bronson, "and very
properly too. This valley has long been considered a dangerous place,
and we do not wish to remain long at the spring. Hardly a year passes
without a robbery in this vicinity, and not infrequently the plundered
traveller is killed if he offers any resistance."

Having satisfied their thirst, the party resumed their saddles and rode
on. At the very next bend in the road they met half a dozen Arabs, who
demanded backsheesh in a surly tone, and laid their hands menacingly on
the long guns they were carrying. No attention was paid to their wishes,
and in a few minutes they were left out of sight.

They passed the branch of the road that leads to Shiloh; the boys were
desirous of visiting the place, but the Doctor told them they could not
well spare the time, and besides there was very little to be seen.
"There is a heap of ruins," said he, "and the hills in the neighborhood
are such masses of broken rocks that it is not easy to move about among
them. Travellers frequently miss their way among the rocks, and besides
you would be liable to a good deal of annoyance from the natives. They
are insolent in their demands for backsheesh, and flourish knives and
guns in a very disagreeable way. If you show the least desire to
conciliate them they increase their rudeness, and sometimes they resort
to actual violence. So we won't go to Shiloh."

[Illustration: BEASTS OF BURDEN.]

Ascending and descending from valley to ridge, and from ridge to valley,
passing among terraces and through little orchards of fig and olive
trees, winding among fields which are planted with corn in summer,
looking now and then on flocks of goats carefully tended by their
keepers as they fed on the hill-sides, meeting or passing little groups
of natives, who eyed them longingly or suspiciously, and were
suspiciously eyed in return, the party continued on its way. Frank and
Fred thought it was not a good sign that all the men they met were
armed, some with guns, some with pistols or knives, and many with all
three weapons together. They asked the Doctor about it, and he thus
explained the matter:

"I think I have told you before about the existence of blood-feuds not
only in this country but in various parts of the world. We have them in
America among our native Indian races; they exist in France and Italy,
especially in the latter, where they are known as 'the vendetta.'"

"I remember them," said Fred, "but perhaps Frank doesn't know."

"In this part of the Holy Land there are blood-feuds that have lasted
hundreds of years. A man of one tribe or family has been killed by a man
of another--the losing party proceeds to take revenge by killing a
person of the offending one, then the latter takes its revenge, and so
the fight goes on. These feuds exist between tribes, villages, or
families, and are perpetuated through centuries. Every man goes armed,
because he fears to be killed by some avenger of blood, and he is
constantly on the lookout both to slay and to prevent being slain."

"Why don't they come to a sensible arrangement among themselves, and put
an end to the quarrelling?" one of the boys asked.

"It is a matter of religion with them," said the Doctor, "and also of
family pride. Doubtless you could get one tribe to make an end of its
feuds if another would do so _first_; but the great difficulty is to
find the one who will be the first to act. These blood-feuds may be said
to be commanded by the Koran, and they existed in the time of the Old
Testament. In fact, they were so numerous that the children of Israel
appointed six cities where any person who had killed another 'unawares
and unwittingly' might take refuge from the avenger of blood. These
cities are named in the twentieth chapter of Joshua, and there is a
fuller account of the customs of the time in this matter of blood
revenge in the nineteenth chapter of Deuteronomy. We are approaching one
of the cities of refuge, and shall spend the night there. Nabulus is the
ancient Shechem, which was one of the six places to which I just
referred."

[Illustration: ROOF OF A HOUSE IN NABULUS.]

They were on the crest of a ridge looking down upon a plain bounded on
its farthest side by a broken chain of mountains. In an opening between
two mountains the guide indicated the position of Nabulus, and far to
the north was Mount Hermon; Gerizim and Ebal were the two mountains
between which lay Nabulus, and the rays of the declining sun bathed them
with golden light of that peculiar richness rarely seen away from the
tropics. The hills around the plain were terraced with orchards of
olive-trees, while the broad stretch of level ground had every
indication of fertility. Taken as a whole, the scene was one of the
prettiest that our friends had looked upon since leaving Egypt.

"We are in the land of Ephraim," said the Doctor, "and you can realize
how much Ephraim was blessed in comparison with Judah and Benjamin. The
soil is more fertile, and the inhabitants have an easier life of it than
in the neighboring districts: what was true of it in the days of the
patriarchs is true at present. Ephraim is indeed blessed with 'the good
things of the ancient mountains.'"

As they descended to the plain and crossed it in the direction of
Nabulus there was a manifest impatience on the part of the youths. The
guide had told them they were coming to Jacob's Well, and their
curiosity was roused to its highest point.

They found a cistern about ten feet square hewn in the solid rock; the
recent rains had partly filled it, but the guide said it was generally
dry in summer. Its depth is about eighty feet, but was formerly much
greater. A church was built over it at the time of the Crusades, but it
is now in ruins, and a considerable part of the material is supposed to
have fallen into the well.

Night was approaching. The lengthening shadows warned our friends not to
tarry long on their way; but they rested while Doctor Bronson read in
his clear, impressive voice the fourth chapter of John, containing the
beautiful story of Jesus at the well of Jacob, and his conversation with
the woman of Samaria.

A ride of less than half an hour brought them to the walls of Nabulus;
the white tents ready to receive them on the camping-ground outside the
town were a welcome sight.

[Illustration: THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA.]



CHAPTER XXVIII.

FROM NABULUS TO NAZARETH, SAMARIA, JENIN, AND THE PLAIN OF ESDRAELON.


"Nabulus or Nablous, the ancient Shechem," wrote Frank in his journal,
"is nearly as large as Jerusalem, though not so well situated. It has
about thirteen thousand inhabitants, if the guide-book is to be trusted,
and almost all of them are Moslems. There are one hundred and fifty
Samaritans here, and five or six hundred Christians belonging mostly to
the Greek Church, and there are a few Jews and other people not included
in the above list. The town appears more prosperous and active than
Jerusalem, and it is evident that the people are more industrious, and
rely less on what they can make out of strangers.

[Illustration: VIEW OF NABULUS.]

"We have walked through the town and looked at the bazaars, which are
much like those of Jerusalem and Jaffa. The streets are so badly paved
and full of dirt that we could easily believe we were again in the
neighborhood of the Tower of David and Mount Moriah. The guide told us
that the town had considerable trade with the country east of the
Jordan, and a good deal of wool and cotton found its way from here to
the seaboard, whence it was shipped to England and France. The country
in the vicinity produces large quantities of olives, and there are more
than twenty factories engaged in making soap from olive-oil. We passed
one of these soap factories, and found the smells that arose from it
were anything but agreeable.

"Seeing the olive-trees and the soap factories has made us desirous of
knowing something about the manner of extracting the oil. Here is what
we have learned on the subject:

"The custom of the country is not to allow any picking of the fruit of
the tree until a day has been appointed by the authorities. If any
olives fall to the ground before this date, they are gathered and
preserved in brine or oil for eating, as they are the fattest olives
from the trees, and fully ripe when they fall.

"On the day appointed for the gathering of the olives a public crier
goes out and announces it. Then the people go to the orchards and gather
the olives by beating or shaking the trees, very much as they gather the
lower grades of apples in the New England States. The best olives are
picked out for eating, and only the poorer ones are pressed for oil.

"Ten or twelve gallons of oil are often made from the product of a
single tree, and an acre of good olive-trees will give a crop worth a
hundred dollars. A good crop is only gathered every other year, and the
olive seems to have its 'off season,' like the American apple and peach.

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT OLIVE-PRESS.]

"We have seen several olive-presses, and they are very simple. There is
a stone pan about six feet across and twelve inches deep, with a hole at
one side for the escape of the oil. A roller of stone, with a hole
through the centre for a long handle, is placed in the pan, and the
apparatus is complete.

[Illustration: WOMEN WORKING AN OLIVE-PRESS.]

"The olives are thrown into the pan, and then two men (or women) grasp
the opposite ends of the handle and walk around in a circle; the weight
of the roller crushes the olives, and after a while the oil flows slowly
from the hole in the side of the pan. When the olives are crushed to a
pulp, and no more oil will flow, the mass is mixed with water and placed
in bags of coarse cloth. The remaining oil is forced out by treading
with the feet, or by crushing in a press with heavy weights. The
process of extracting oil from the olive was well known to the ancient
inhabitants of the country, and is often mentioned in the Bible.

[Illustration: ANCIENT LAMPS (MATT. XXV. 1).]

[Illustration: MODERN LAMPS.]

"A great deal of olive-oil is sent from Palestine to other countries. It
is an important article of food for the inhabitants, and takes the place
of butter, and also of animal fat for cooking purposes. It is used for
giving light, and is burnt in flat lamps of terra-cotta or other ware;
some of the lamps are covered while others are open, and in either case
there is a lip or projection at one side for the wick. In ancient times
the wealthy inhabitants had lamps of silver and gold; and they are
mentioned among the adornments of Solomon's Temple as having been made
of the latter material. We have seen great numbers of these Eastern
lamps, of terra-cotta, tin, and occasionally of brass. The lamps carried
by the Ten Virgins--'five of them were wise, and five were foolish'--were
undoubtedly of the exact form as those of to-day.

"So much for one of the industries of Nabulus, and of the land of the
Bible generally.

"We went to the great mosque, which was once a Christian church, built
by the Crusaders, and afterward belonging to the Knights of St. John. In
another part of the town is the _Jama-el-Kadra_, a mosque which is
asserted to stand on the spot where the brethren of Joseph brought his
coat to Jacob. It was formerly a church, like the great mosque, and the
guide pointed out some of the crosses of the Crusaders that the Moslems
had not been able to obliterate altogether. Then we went to the quarter
of the Samaritans, which was the most curious of all the sights of
Nabulus.

"The origin of the Samaritans is described in 2 Kings xvii. 24-41, and
the present sect at Nabulus is supposed to be descended from them. Two
hundred years ago there were small bodies of them in Cairo, Damascus,
and one or two other places, but the only one now in existence is that
which we are describing.

[Illustration: SAMARITANS BEARING TRIBUTE--AN ASSYRIAN SCULPTURE (2
KINGS XVII. 3).]

"They preserve their ancient faith and form of worship, and they have a
temple on Mount Gerizim, above the town, where annually they celebrate
the Feast of the Passover and eat of the Paschal lamb. They showed us a
copy of the Pentateuch, which is claimed to be the oldest in existence.
The high-priest who held and opened it says it was written by a grandson
of Aaron. There is good reason to doubt that it is more than a thousand
years old, and the case containing it belongs to the fourteenth or
fifteenth century. They would not let us unroll and examine it, and so
we must accept the statement of others, who have had a better
opportunity, that the parchment is fifteen inches wide and from twenty
to thirty yards long, and contains the whole of the first five books of
the Old Testament."

There was not time to spare for the ascent of Mount Gerizim, which rises
above Nabulus, and is ascended chiefly for the view from the summit. The
top of the mountain is covered with ruins, and the spot is pointed out
where Abraham was about to slay Isaac when his hand was stopped by
divine interposition. There have been Jewish temples, Roman castles,
Christian churches, and Moslem mosques on Mount Gerizim, and, as Frank
states in his journal, the Samaritans go there to celebrate the Feast of
the Passover, and perform other ancient rites.

The party made a late start from Nabulus in the direction of Jenin and
Nazareth. As they rode from their camp Doctor Bronson called the
attention of the boys to the fact that the streams east of the town
flowed into the Mediterranean, while those to the west found their way
into the Jordan and the Dead Sea. The route lay through a region of
pleasing valleys and plains not unlike those they had seen the day
before, and for part of the way they followed an ancient road which the
guide said belonged to the time of the Romans, or might even be older
by a few centuries. There was a succession of olive and fig orchards,
interspersed with gardens and fields, and the terraces on the hill-sides
showed that not a foot of arable soil had been overlooked. There were
numerous villages clinging to the hill-sides, or nestled among the
rocks, and altogether the landscape was full of picturesque effects.

[Illustration: SEBUSTIEH, THE ANCIENT SAMARIA.]

Through scenes like these they made their way for two hours and more,
when the guide called their attention to a village on the side of a
broad hill. Immediately in front of them was the ruin of a Roman
gate-way, with two of its arches standing, and not far from the gate-way
was a group of natives with the ever present camel. Old olive-trees were
on the slopes and through the valley, and covered the hill where stood
the village to which the guide pointed.

"That is Sebustieh," said the Doctor, "a modern village on the site of
ancient Samaria."

"I've been reading about it as we rode along," said Fred. "It is the
spot where King Omri placed the capital of the kingdom of Israel, and
where Ahab built the temple of Baal after marrying Jezebel, the daughter
of the King of Sidon. We can find much of the history of Samaria in the
Books of the Kings in the Old Testament. The names of the prophets
Elisha and Elijah are connected with Samaria, and it was here that King
Herod the Great devoted much time and effort to make the most beautiful
city of Palestine."

When Fred had finished his account of Samaria the travellers moved on.
They reached the village in a quarter of an hour or so, and were taken
at once to the ruined Church of St. John, which is now used as a mosque.
The inhabitants gathered around the door, and at first refused
permission for the strangers to enter; but the dragoman had taken the
precaution to bring a permit from the Governor of Nabulus, and to engage
a soldier from the same official. The permit and the soldier had the
effect of opening the doors, and also of keeping the natives in order.
The modern residents of Samaria have none of the qualities of the good
Samaritan of scriptural renown, and show no hesitation at the robbery of
travellers when the latter are without protection.

The tomb of John the Baptist is pointed out in the space enclosed by the
walls of the church, but the tradition concerning it is on very doubtful
authority. The places of his imprisonment and execution are also shown,
but there is no mention of them by the early writers until after the
third century.

The summit of the hill is covered with ruins, and there is an open
space once surrounded with columns, of which fifteen are still in
position, but without their capitals. Partly down the hill are the
remains of the colonnade erected by King Herod, and intended to form the
great street of the city. There were two rows of these columns about
fifty feet apart, and they were more than half a mile in length: enough
of the columns are standing to give an idea of the original magnificence
of the place.

[Illustration: VIEW OF JENIN, THE ANCIENT ENGANNIM.]

Leaving Sebustieh, our friends continued their ride, and just about
sunset came to Jenin, where the tents were ready for them. It began to
rain as they arrived, but as there was no wind, and the clouds soon
broke away, nobody suffered any special inconvenience.

Frank was about to ask a question concerning their camping-place, when
the Doctor proceeded to give the desired information.

"Jenin," said he, "is the ancient Engannim, and is just at the entrance
of the Plain of Esdraelon. The plain is sometimes called the
battle-field of Palestine, and was probably the ancient Plain of
Jezreel. The battle in which Saul and Jonathan his son were slain took
place a little beyond here, near the modern village of Zerin, the
ancient Jezreel."

The evening was passed in reading about the battles that had taken place
in the neighborhood, and in studying the map of the Plain of Esdraelon.
When they left the wretched village the next morning, and looked upon
the beautiful plain spread below them, the boys were full of enthusiasm
about the region they were traversing, and showed an excellent knowledge
of the positions indicated on the map.

"That must be Taanach," said Frank, pointing to a rounded hill on the
left, as they looked down the valley.

"Yes," replied the Doctor, "that is Taanach, and beyond it is Megiddo,
which you readily perceive is a strong point for an army to occupy."

"That's what we read about last night," said Fred. "Taanach was one of
the points where Joash was held back in his attacks on the Canaanites,
and it was afterward the head-quarters of Sisera, who also held Megiddo.
Megiddo was where Joash was killed in a battle with the Egyptians, as we
read in 2 Chronicles, chap. xxv., and back of it are the hills of
Manasseh."

The road from Jenin passed near the base of Mount Gilboa, and as our
friends followed the ridge on which their track lay they found
themselves on the water-shed between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.
They passed the village of Zerin, the ancient Jezreel, where Jezebel was
thrown to the dogs, and where Ahab's palace is supposed to have stood.
To the east of the village is the spring of Harod and the fountain of
Jezreel, where Saul's army made its last camp. It is on the slope of
Mount Gilboa, and directly in front of the position where the
Philistines were posted before the battle. By going still farther to the
north we come to Endor, where Saul had his interview with the witch.
Most of these points lay too far from the road to allow time for a
visit, but they were visible from the high points of the route, or their
positions were easily indicated.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE VALLEY OF ESDRAELON.]

Other battles than those of the Bible were recalled by this ride over
the plain, and among the hills that bordered it. The guide pointed out
the spot where Saladin defeated the Hospitallers and Templars when he
conquered Palestine, and also where Napoleon Bonaparte and Kleber
defeated a Turkish army much larger than their own. The Doctor said they
were not far from where Nebuchadnezzar's army was encamped when Judith
cut off the head of Holofernes, and a little farther away was the scene
of the defeat of the Jews by the army of Vespasian.

"No wonder it is called the battle-field of Palestine," said he, "when
it has been the scene of so much warfare. No other part of the country
has been traversed by so many armies as this, and in no other place have
so many historic battles been fought. There is hardly an acre of the
Plain of Esdraelon that has not been moistened by the blood of the
victims of war. The soil is fertile, or would be if it were well
cultivated, but it has shared the fate of other parts of Palestine, and
is suffering from neglect."

At the suggestion of the guide they made a slight détour from their
route in order to visit the village of Nain, which is celebrated in
Scripture as the scene of the raising of the widow's son (Luke vii.
7-15). There is nothing of interest in the village itself, and it is
probably no larger in population than it was two thousand years ago. The
hill-sides near it are fairly honey-combed with tombs, but hardly any of
them are of modern date.

Mount Tabor was in full view from the road for a considerable time, and
so were other hills and mountains mentioned in sacred history. From the
Plain of Esdraelon to Nazareth the road wound through a broken country,
and in many places it was quite steep. Nazareth is about four hundred
feet higher than the plain, and consequently the ascending parts of the
route preponderated over the descents. The town is surrounded by hills,
and is not visible until quite close at hand, in consequence of its
secluded position.

[Illustration: THE PLAN OF NAZARETH.

1. New quarter of the Latin Convent; 2. Church of the Annunciation; 3.
Protestant Church; 4. Protestant Parsonage; 5. Protestant Mission
School; 6. Protestant Missionary's House: 7. Convent of French Nuns; 8.
The "Mensa Christi;" 9. House of the Mufti; 10. House of the Turkish
Governor; 11. Mosque; 12. Mission Hospital.]

Doctor Bronson explained to his young companions that Nazareth is not
mentioned in the Old Testament, though some writers have attempted to
identify it as having a history earlier than the Christian era.
According to the biblical account it was a small village at the time of
our Saviour's birth, and the name of Nazarene was used in derision. The
modern name of the place is En-Nasira, and down to the time of
Constantine it was almost exclusively occupied by Samaritan Jews. Its
present population is estimated at six or eight thousand: nearly half
the inhabitants are Moslems, and the balance are separated into various
Christian sects, of which the orthodox Greeks are the most numerous. The
town is divided into the Moslem quarter, the Greek quarter, and the
Latin quarter, and the various Christian sects are under the protection
of foreign powers, though generally subject to Turkish rule.

[Illustration: VIEW OF NAZARETH.]

It was on Saturday evening that our friends reached Nazareth, and very
properly they determined to remain there till Monday. The tents were
pitched in a little grove just outside the town, and in a picturesque
position, where all the surroundings were agreeable to the eye. The
guide offered to lodge them in the Latin convent; but they preferred the
freedom and comfort of the tents, and wisely concluded that a visit to
the convent would be all they would need of it. So many pilgrims visit
Nazareth that both the Greeks and Latins have found it necessary to
maintain establishments there for the benefit of their adherents. The
poor are lodged gratuitously, but those who can afford to make payment
are expected to do so at the same rate as in a hotel.

The evening was passed in reading, by the light of candles, the story of
the Annunciation, as given in the New Testament, and in commenting upon
the identification of the spot by modern Christians. Doctor Bronson said
there could be no doubt whatever that this was the place described in
the Bible, though there might be some question as to the exact spot in
Nazareth where the event occurred. He said it was a curious circumstance
that for three centuries after the birth of Christ there was not a
Christian inhabitant in Nazareth, and the first Christian pilgrimage was
made there not earlier than the sixth century. In the sixth or seventh
century two churches were built there, and from that time the place has
been a prominent one in the history of the religion of Bethlehem.

In good time next morning all were out of bed and ready to start for the
Latin convent, where service was to be held. We will let one of the
youths tell the story of what they saw and heard:

"The convent is supposed to be on the site of the house of the Virgin
Mary; at any rate the Latin monks press that claim for it, and it is not
disputed by the Greeks, though the latter say that the angel first
appeared to Mary at the fountain and not in her house. Consequently, the
Greek Church of the Annunciation is over the fountain, while the Latin
one is above the site of the house where the Virgin dwelt.

"The Latin convent is on the side of the hill, and is a prominent
feature in the picture of Nazareth. There are several buildings
clustered together, and at first sight we were reminded of the Church of
the Nativity at Bethlehem and its massive surroundings. There is a high
wall surrounding the buildings, and the gate through which we passed is
heavy enough to resist the attack of any ordinary band of Arabs. We
entered a court-yard which was open to the sky, and then passed to
another and smaller one directly in front of the church. The sacred
building is about seventy feet by fifty, and was completed in its
present form a century and a half ago. Several churches have stood here,
and the materials of each have been used in the erection of its
successor, so that we may fairly believe that some parts of the first
church of Nazareth are to be seen here.

"The interior of the building consists of a nave and aisles, formed by
four piers that support the roof. The whole of the interior is covered
with paintings and tapestry representing scenes in the Saviour's life,
and there is a fine organ and an altar dedicated to the angel Gabriel.
We did not spend much time over this part of the church, as we were all
impatient to descend to the Grotto of the Annunciation, which is below
the floor.

"There is a stairway of fifteen marble steps between the first two
columns as you enter the church, and down this stairway we went, after a
brief inspection of the decorations of the walls and a glance at the
high altar.

[Illustration: THE ANNUNCIATION.]

"At the foot of the steps we entered the so-called 'Chapel of the
Angels,' which contains shrines dedicated to St. Joachim and the angel
Gabriel. Beyond the shrines is an opening or passage leading to the
Chapel of the Annunciation, which is an apartment fifteen feet by ten,
as near as we could judge, and has a marble altar showing the spot where
Mary stood during the Annunciation. A column near the entrance marks the
position of the angel, and a little distance from it is a fragment of a
column hanging from the roof, and said to be suspended by miraculous
power. We wanted to examine it closely, but the monk in charge of the
place hurried us on, and evidently did not wish a careful inspection of
the hanging column.

"Beyond the Chapel of the Annunciation is the Chapel of Joseph, and
farther on is a small cavern hewn from the solid rock, and said to have
been the kitchen of Mary.

"The general arrangement of the altars, lamps, and decorations was a
constant reminder of Bethlehem, and when the monks began their service
we found it was very nearly the same. As soon as the ceremony was over
in the grotto it was announced that the hour for service in the church
had arrived, and we all went to attend it. The congregation numbered two
or three hundred persons, including the twenty-five or thirty Italian
and Spanish monks in charge of the convent, and perhaps fifty pilgrims,
while the balance was made up of our party and the Latin Christians
living at Nazareth. The notes of the organ sounded finely through the
old church, and when we remembered that we were on the spot where the
Christian world believes the coming of our Saviour was announced to his
mother, we were deeply impressed with the solemnity of the occasion.

"Let me tell you here the story of the _Santa Casa_, or Holy House, as
we heard it from the monks, and as it is told in the history of the
Catholic Church since the fifteenth century:

"'The house in which Mary lived was carried away by angels, who lifted
it from its foundations and bore it away when the infidels conquered the
country and began the expulsion of the Christians. They carried it, in
A.D. 1291, to the heights overlooking Finme, in Hungary. It rested there
about three years, and was then transported to the coast of Italy, where
it remained five or six months. A third and last removal occurred in the
year 1294 or 1295 to the place where it now stands in the town of
Loretto, twelve miles south of Ancona, and three miles from the
sea-shore.' Great numbers of pilgrims are said to go there every year to
see it, and the building is carefully preserved from injury. The Latin
monks believe the story implicitly, and they point out the exact
position which the house formerly occupied.

"We went from the church to see the house and workshop of Joseph, now
fitted up as a chapel, and in possession of the Latins; and then we
visited the 'Chapel of the Table of Christ,' where there is a table of
solid rock, on which Jesus and his disciples are said to have eaten
frequently. From this place we went to the synagogue where he was
teaching when the Jews drove him out, and to the rock where they were
about to cast him down. From there we went to the Fountain of the
Virgin, where the Greeks have their Church of the Annunciation. When we
had seen this we were told that the round of the holy places of Nazareth
was complete, unless we wished to see the 'Mount of the Precipitation,'
about two miles away.

"We declined the journey, as there is a great deal of doubt concerning
the accuracy of the tradition. Doctor Bronson said we should not miss
the view from the hill back of Nazareth, and so we climbed there a
little before sunset and had a magnificent prospect.

[Illustration: THE COUNTRY NEAR NAZARETH, WITH THE TOWN IN THE
DISTANCE.]

"The best point for the view was said to be Neby Ismail, and we
certainly have seen nothing finer in all Palestine. The hills are less
barren than in most other parts of the country that we have visited, and
the plains and valleys present an appearance of fertility. Mounts Tabor,
Hermon, and Carmel were in the picture, and beyond the latter we had a
glimpse of the blue waters of the Mediterranean bounding the western
horizon. Then we looked down on the Plain of Esdraelon and on the upper
Valley of the Jordan, and lingered as long as time would permit. I
cannot begin to tell you of the thoughts and associations that crowded
upon us in looking upon the place so intimately connected with the life
of the Saviour, and the scenes of so many other events that form a part
of our Bible history."



CHAPTER XXIX.

ASCENT OF MOUNT TABOR.--AROUND AND ON THE SEA OF GALILEE.


On Monday morning the party made a good start in the direction of Mount
Tabor and the Sea of Galilee. The tents were sent direct to the
camping-ground which had been selected for the night, while the
travellers made a detour to the summit of the historic mountain.

They looked back from the crest of a ridge on the road, and had a fine
view of Nazareth. An hour's ride from this point through a wooded valley
brought them to the foot of Mount Tabor, the _Jebel-et-Tur_ of the
Arabs, and a famous name in biblical history. Unlike many of the
mountains of Palestine it is covered with trees to the summit, and the
ruins scattered about its sides show that it has been the home of many
people through numerous generations.

"We had a zigzag ride up the side of Mount Tabor," said the youths, in
their journal, "and made frequent stoppages for our horses to take
breath. When we reached the top we found it was not a peak, but a sort
of rounded ridge, half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. All the
space on the summit is covered with ruins, and there have evidently been
towns, temples, fortresses, and other buildings on this commanding spot.
We learn from the Bible (Joshua xix. 22) that Tabor was occupied when
the Israelites first came into the country, and it is probable that
there was a town here at that time. In another place (Judges iv.) we
learn that Deborah ordered Barak to gather an army here; and it was from
Tabor that the Israelites marched when they defeated Sisera. From that
time down to the Christian era Tabor continued to be an important point,
and was the scene of several battles. In the fourth century it was
regarded as the scene of the Transfiguration, and many pilgrimages were
made to it by the early Christians. Hermits formerly dwelt here in
caves, and subsisted on the charity of visitors.

[Illustration: HOME OF A CAVE-HERMIT IN PALESTINE.]

"Several convents and churches were established on Mount Tabor, and the
Crusaders built a monastery on the summit, which was afterward destroyed
by the infidels. There are two monasteries here now, but they are not
of much consequence; one belongs to the Latins and the other to the
Greeks, and, as we did not wish to show any partiality, we visited both
of them. There is great hostility between the monks of the two
establishments, and those who visit one are generally excluded from the
other. Each party claims that the scene of the Transfiguration was on
the spot where its own church stands. Both these statements are
generally disbelieved; and it is the opinion of the majority of those
who have investigated the matter that the great event occurred elsewhere
than on Mount Tabor.

[Illustration: MOUNT TABOR.]

"Our ride from Nazareth had given us a good appetite, and we were quite
ready for the lunch which Ali brought for us in his saddle-bags. While
engaged in satisfying our hunger we enjoyed the view from the summit of
the mountain; it includes Hermon and Carmel--the latter almost hiding
the thin strip of the Mediterranean, and itself partly concealed by the
nearer ranges of hills. Looking to the east we saw a part of the Lake of
Tiberias, and beyond it the chain of the Hauran Mountains; and, as we
turned toward the southern horizon, the guide pointed out the mountains
of Gilead. Apparently at our feet was the Plain of Esdraelon, with its
ancient battle-fields, and on the hills around us were Endor, Nain, and
half a dozen other villages of less importance. The deep Valley of the
Jordan was revealed for a considerable distance, and we realized more
than ever before how great is the depression where the river flows. The
top of Tabor is more than two thousand feet above the level of the
Mediterranean, while the surface of the lake is six hundred and forty
feet below it. Consequently, we looked down nearly two thousand seven
hundred feet to the waters on whose banks we were to pass the night.

"While descending Mount Tabor we disturbed several partridges and other
birds, and one of us thought we had a glimpse of a fox darting among the
trees. The guide said there were several kinds of game here, but nobody
paid much attention to it, since it was not easy to get at. The Arabs
sometimes catch hares and partridges in traps, but the foxes are too
cunning to be taken in that way.

"Down and down we went, and from Tabor to Tiberias it was a descending
road the most of the way. We passed the _Khan el-Tujar_, or Caravansary
of the Merchants, which is very much in ruins, but was evidently a
strong place at the time of its erection, three hundred years ago. It
was built by the Pacha of Damascus for the protection of the merchants
from the robbers, who frequently plundered the caravans and made the
road dangerous. A market is held here once a week, and the people from
Tiberias, Nazareth, and other places in the neighborhood come to sell
their wares, but we could not learn that they had much to sell.

[Illustration: DISTANT VIEW OF KEFR KENNA.]

"Cana of Galilee, where the water was turned into wine, is off our road,
and we had to be satisfied with the indication of its position. It is
now called Kefr Kenna, and has a population of five or six hundred, half
of whom are Moslems and the rest Greek Christians. The Greeks have a
church in which they show one of the jars or water-pots in which the
miracle was performed. There is another Kenna or Cana between Nazareth
and Mount Carmel, and some authorities think it was the scene of the
miracle, and not the one we have been talking about.

[Illustration: THE CITY AND LAKE OF TIBERIAS.]

"As we rode down the hills we had a full view of the sea or lake of
Tiberias, which is also called the Sea of Galilee, and the sea or lake
of Gennesaret, and known to the Arabs as _Bahr Tabariyeh_. It is smaller
than you might suppose from its importance in history; it is thirteen
miles long and less than seven in width, and in the midst of a region
with very few inhabitants. As we looked at it, it seemed little more
than a pond, and the hills beyond it were bare and desolate. The
fertility of the region must be far less now than it was in the time of
our Saviour, and it is the general opinion that the country has
undergone many changes. We passed the ruins of several villages and
towns, and for nearly all the time of our journey the evidences were all
around us that a great many people once lived here.

"The most populous town on the banks of the lake is Tiberias, but it has
not more than two thousand inhabitants, and the majority of them have a
poverty-stricken appearance. Like all the people of Palestine, they
begged persistently for backsheesh, and would not leave us till we
threatened to appeal to the Governor and ask for a guard to protect us.
We noticed that a great number of them were Jews, and several spoke to
us in German; this roused our curiosity, and we asked the Doctor what it
all meant. He explained it to us in this way:

"'Tiberias is like Jerusalem in one respect--it is a sacred place with
the Jews, many of whom believe that the Messiah will rise from the
waters of the lake and establish his throne on one of the hills back of
the little town. For this reason many Jews of Poland and Germany make
pilgrimages to Tiberias, and some of them remain to pass their lives in
the sacred spot. They are generally a worthless and lazy lot, and are
supported by the charity of visitors and by money sent by wealthy Jews
of Europe.'

"More than half the inhabitants of Tiberias are Jews; the rest are
Moslems and Christians in about equal proportions. The Latins and Greeks
have churches here; one of them is dedicated to St. Peter, and the
miracle of the draught of the fishes is said to have taken place in
front of the town. There was a terrible earthquake here in 1837, which
threw down large parts of the walls and killed great numbers of the
people. There has been no attempt to repair the damages, and it would be
easy to ride into Tiberias without taking the trouble to enter by the
gates.

"Our tents were pitched on a little cleared space outside the walls and
close to the lake, and after it became dark we indulged in a swim in the
waters of Galilee. The next morning we went to the warm baths for which
Tiberias was once celebrated, and tried them for a little while; but the
smell of sulphur was so strong that we did not much enjoy our visit.
These baths were famous among the Romans, and were believed to possess
many curative qualities; the water is very salt and bitter to the taste,
and is certainly disagreeable enough to be good for invalids, provided
they can stand it. We put a thermometer into the water, and found its
temperature 144° Fahrenheit. There are four springs altogether, and
there is a building over the largest of them. The baths are taken almost
entirely by strangers, as the residents of Tiberias have an antipathy
for water except for drinking purposes: they never bathe except when
they tumble into the lake accidentally, or are thrown there by the
visitors whom they annoy.

"We spent an hour among the ruins of the ancient Tiberias, which covered
a much larger area than its modern successor. The city was founded by
Herod near the beginning of the Christian era, and he called it Tiberias
in honor of the Roman emperor of that name. It had a palace and a
race-course, and, if we may judge by the extent of its ruins, it was a
place of no ordinary importance. It was captured several times in the
wars that devastated the country, but has never ceased to be regarded
with special veneration by the Jews. Many pious Jews come here to die:
the location is unhealthy on account of fevers and other diseases, and
consequently the mortality is great, and the town is exactly suited to
their wants."

Of course the whole party was desirous of taking a voyage on the lake,
and they sent Ali to engage a boat with that object in view. According
to the biblical account there were many vessels there during our
Saviour's time, but at present there are only three boats, and rarely
more than two of these are afloat at once. The lake abounds in fish,
and, if there was a sufficient population to buy and pay for the
proceeds of the work, a dozen or a hundred fishermen could do a good
business. But with nobody to eat them it would be idle to catch the
fish; and as the natives do not understand sport for its own sake, the
finny inhabitants are not seriously disturbed.

Ali secured a boat for the excursion, and it was arranged that the rest
of the day should be spent on the lake. The saddle-horses were to go
with the baggage-animals to Tell Hum, where the camp would be formed for
the night. Everybody was delighted with this arrangement, and the youths
could hardly restrain their impatience to be off on the voyage over the
Sea of Galilee.

The boat was of the Oriental pattern, and without any deck or awning to
protect the travellers from the sun, which generally beats down on the
waters with a good deal of energy. Umbrellas were brought into
requisition, and thus equipped, and with provisions to satisfy their
hunger when the hour came for the mid-day meal, the six strangers and
their dragoman took seats in the stern of the boat and pushed away from
land.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE SEA OF GALILEE.]

It was the plan of the party to make the circuit of the lake, and visit
points of interest whenever the wind favored and it was safe to do so.
Ali told them that as they had no escort, and had no arrangements for
paying backsheesh, for the plain reason that there was no one at
Tiberias with whom they could negotiate, it would not be judicious to
land on the eastern shore. The country is in possession of the Bedouins,
who have no hesitation at plundering the traveller of all that he has
about him, and then demanding a heavy backsheesh to let him go. On this
statement of affairs it was unanimously agreed that nobody cared to land
on the eastern shore.

The boat followed the coast to the vicinity of Kerak, which is close to
the exit of the Jordan, and then turned to the north and east in the
direction of Kalat el-Hosn. On the maps this place is generally laid
down as Gamala; it is a heap of ruins, and has been without inhabitants
since the city of Gamala was destroyed by Vespasian, and the surrounding
region of Gamalatis passed under his control.

Then they went northward past the ruins of Kersa, or Kheusa, situated in
a narrow valley. A steep bank comes down to the lake close by Kersa, and
some authorities have endeavored to identify it as the place where the
herd of swine ran down to the sea. There is no other point where there
is so steep a bank as this coming down to the water. The theory of its
identity is based entirely on its being the most convenient spot for a
herd of swine to commit suicide.

[Illustration: MAGDALA AND PLAIN OF GENNESARET.]

From Kersa they crossed the lake to Magdala, or Mejdel, whose chief
claim to distinction arises from its having been the birthplace of Mary
Magdalene. The town is principally in ruins, and there are only a few
huts there occupied by miserable Arabs, whose chief occupation is to beg
for backsheesh. The region around is, or might be, fertile, but Magdala
is the only inhabited spot in the Plain of Gennesaret, and nobody cares
to engage in agriculture of any sort. That the ground is fertile is
proven by the abundance of thistles, weeds, and bushes with which it is
covered, and the thickets of oleander and other trees, together with
occasional clusters of palms. One of the boys said it seemed as though a
curse rested on the land. Doctor Bronson assented to this view, and
added that the Turkish Government had a great deal to do with the
matter, as its exorbitant taxes on all kinds of industry was an
effectual barrier to anything like honest work.

As they sailed northward from Magdala, Doctor Bronson pointed out a
valley leading from the Plain of Gennesaret, and asked the guide what it
was.

Ali replied that it was called Wady Haman.

"I thought so," answered the Doctor. "By going up that valley we might
visit the caverns which are mentioned by Josephus and other writers."

Frank asked for what these caverns were celebrated, and how large they
were.

"They are partly natural and partly artificial," was the reply, "and are
large enough to shelter five or six hundred persons. The openings are
protected by walls, and at every exposed point there is a bastion or
something of the kind, so that the occupants could defend themselves
with great ease.

"They are mentioned in the Bible, but more fully in the works of
Josephus, who calls them fortified caverns. They have been occupied at
different times as resorts of robbers, or as strongholds of regular
soldiers, and in either case it was a matter of great difficulty to take
them. In the time of Herod the Great they were held by robbers, who
plundered all the surrounding country, and made themselves so
troublesome that the king determined to get rid of them.

[Illustration: HEROD'S PLAN OF ATTACK.]

"He sent his soldiers to attack them, but the position of the robbers
was so strong that they repelled every assault. Finally he ordered some
strong boxes to be made, and suspended over the face of the cliff by
means of iron chains, and when all was ready he filled the boxes with
soldiers, and lowered them down in front of the caves.

[Illustration: BATTLE WITH THE ROBBERS.]

"The robbers were taken by surprise, but they quickly came to their
senses, and made a desperate resistance. The soldiers were victorious;
and the robbers that escaped death by the spear, or being thrown over
the cliff, were soon made prisoners, and their business was broken up.
At the present time the caves are unoccupied, except by a few beggars,
who live upon what they get from visitors.

"Back of the caverns are the ruins of the ancient city of Arbela, which
is doubtless the Beth-Arbel mentioned in Hosea x. 14. The ruins are
overgrown with reeds and vines, and are not worth the time and trouble
of visiting them."

From Magdala the boat made a straight course for the mouth of the
Jordan, and was carried rapidly forward by a strong breeze from the
south. The dragoman said that the lake was liable to be swept by sudden
winds, like the majority of inland waters surrounded by mountains, and
he predicted that the favoring breeze they had just caught might leave
them altogether by the time they reached the point for which they were
heading. Sure enough it did so; and as they entered the mouth of the
river there was not enough to carry them against the current. The
boatmen took to their oars, and in a little while they were a couple of
miles from the lake and in front of the ruins of Bethsaida.

The ground for quite a distance is covered with the remains of
dwellings, the most of them so overgrown with weeds and bushes that
they must be sought for in order to be found. Bethsaida means "house of
fish," or "fish-marke;" and there was another village of the same name
near Capernaum, so that much confusion has arisen concerning them. It
was probably near the Bethsaida on the Jordan, where we now are, that
the miracle of feeding the multitude was performed, as described in the
ninth chapter of Luke, while it was to the other Bethsaida that Christ
sent away his disciples, and went up into the mountain to pray.

As the boat descended the river to reach the lake again Doctor Bronson
read from the Bible the account of the stilling of the tempest, and the
events connected with it. All were agreed that the miracle must have
been performed near the western shore, and close by Capernaum, and the
scriptural description seemed to tally exactly with the configuration of
the land and lake. It was easy to imagine the scene, especially as the
wind by which they had been blown from Magdala had ceased entirely, and
"there was a great calm." By steady rowing the boat was brought to Tell
Hum a little before sunset, and the voyage around the Sea of Galilee was
at an end.

Near Tell Hum the guide called the attention of the youths to a man on
the shore standing motionless as a statue, and holding a scoop-net with
a long handle.

While they watched him he brought the net to the water with a rapid
sweep, and then lifted it almost in the same motion. As he swung it to
land a fish was seen vainly struggling to escape from the meshes of the
net.

[Illustration: A GALILEE FISHING-BOAT.]

Ali explained that they had witnessed one of the modes of fishing
practised by the natives. They watch along the shore, and when a fish
comes near enough he is secured by a rapid motion of the net, and it
must be very rapid too. Another plan of catching fish is to render them
insensible by poison, and then gather them as they float on the surface
of the water. Europeans have some hesitation at eating fish caught in
this way, but the natives are not so fastidious. Sometimes fish are
caught in traps in the mouths of the little streams flowing into the
lake or along the shore, but nobody troubles himself about seeking in
deep water.

Frank wanted to know what kinds of fish were taken in the lake, but the
information he obtained was not very clear. Ali questioned the boatmen,
and, as near as he could make out, the fishes of the Lake of Tiberias
are the _binni_, or carp, and the _mesht_, or _coracinus_, which belongs
to the cat-fish family. The latter are the most abundant, and sufficient
for the wants of a population much larger than exists at present near
the lake.

[Illustration: RUINS AT TELL HUM.]

They landed at Tell Hum, where they paid and dismissed the boatmen, and
then strolled a short time among the ruins before going to their tents.
A large town or city once stood here, and that it was an important place
with the Jews is shown by the ruins of their synagogue, which must have
been an edifice of considerable extent and excellent proportions. One
writer says it was among the finest buildings in Palestine, and the
fragments now on the ground reveal some admirable specimens of
sculpture. Frank and Fred tried to take the measurements of a part of
the wall of the building, but were unable to do so on account of the
great number of weeds and vines that covered the ground. They found
several blocks nine or ten feet long, and broad in proportion, that
evidently formed a part of the foundations.

Doctor Bronson told them that Tell Hum was thought by some to be the
Capernaum of the New Testament; others believe Capernaum was farther to
the south, and make Tell Hum identical with Chorazin. The latter theory
is sustained by its proximity to Bethsaida. The words of Christ, "Woe
unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida!" would seem to indicate
that they were near each other. Tell Hum is about two miles from
Bethsaida, while nearly the same distance farther on is Khan Minyeh,
which is claimed by several authorities to have been the Capernaum of
the New Testament.

As they sat in front of their tents while the sun was dipping below the
horizon, our friends naturally talked of the country around them, and
compared it with what it probably was two thousand years ago. The
reflection was not a cheering one, and they were not at all sorry to
change to a more agreeable topic.

The full-moon rose over the eastern mountains. As it ascended, and threw
its light on the lake, the ruggedness of the hills was softened, the
placid waters became like a sheet of silver, the stars were reflected as
in a mirror, and the sky was without a cloud. The picture was one to be
long remembered, and each one of that little party regretted that the
time was near for them to bid it farewell.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE LAKE FROM THE WESTERN SHORE.]



CHAPTER XXX.

FROM GALILEE TO DAMASCUS.--A RIDE THROUGH DAN AND BANIAS.


[Illustration: THE ROCK PARTRIDGE.]

Everybody was out of bed before daylight, and prepared for an early
start. Before the sun was up the tents had been folded and packed, and
the travellers were in the saddle and riding away from Tell Hum. From
the summit of a hill they looked back upon Gennesaret, which lay far
below them, with its waters sparkling in the sunlight, and its surface
undisturbed by a single boat. Then they rode on again. Around them were
the rugged hills of Palestine, and every few minutes they disturbed the
partridges that have their homes among the rocks. Frank recalled to
memory the passage in Samuel, "as one doth hunt a partridge in the
mountains." The guide said that in some parts of the country these birds
are so abundant that they do a great deal of damage; they dig up and
devour the freshly-sown wheat, and when the crops are ripening they feed
upon the grain, and are often to be seen in large flocks.

The road was rough and steep, and led steadily upward. Frank thought
that when the engineers laid it out they selected the worst places they
could find, and Fred replied that he did not believe it had any
engineers at all. "Even the mules and horses would have done better,"
Fred continued. "You know it is said in America that the buffaloes were
the first road-makers, as it has been found that the buffalo trails in
the Rocky Mountains are always through the lowest passes, and avoid the
roughest places. Now if the beasts of burden in this country had laid
out the roads they would have done better than the men who undertook the
work."

It was a weary ride along this road, and frequently the travellers
dismounted, partly out of compassion for their horses, and partly
because riding was dangerous where the rocks were worn smooth or
moistened by recent rains. Ruins of towns and villages were seen in
several places, and some of the cliffs were pierced with caverns that
formerly gave shelter to robbers or were the homes of hermits. Three
hours of climbing brought them to Safed, which is one of the holy cities
of the Jews, and has a population of three or four thousand.

The town is on a mountain, and commanded by a castle that is said to
have been built in the time of the Crusades, but is now sadly in ruins.
Down to the beginning of 1837 it was in good condition, and so were the
houses where the people dwelt; the earthquake, on the first day of that
year, wrought terrible destruction to Safed, as it overthrew nearly all
the buildings, and killed, according to the estimates, five thousand of
the inhabitants. The town was divided into the Christian, Moslem, and
Jewish quarters; the Jewish quarter suffered most, and it is said that
four-fifths of those killed by the earthquake belonged to the religion
of King Solomon. Mr. Thomson, who visited Safed soon after the
earthquake, says not a single Jewish house remained when the shocks
were ended, and several persons were saved from the rubbish two or three
days after the occurrence; they had been unable to extricate themselves,
and suffered greatly from hunger and thirst. Others were less fortunate,
and perished of hunger beneath the fallen débris of the houses where
they had resided.

There was nothing of special interest in Safed, as the town is nearly
all modern, having been rebuilt since the earthquake. Some authorities
think Safed was the "city set on a hill" which was referred to by Christ
in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 14). Certainly the position would
seem to justify such a belief, as it is visible for quite a distance
from nearly all directions, and the view from it is a wide one.

Our friends halted briefly for a contemplation of the scene, which
includes the Lebanon and Hermon ranges of mountains, the countries of
Samaria, Carmel, and Galilee to the sea-coast, the Valley of the Jordan,
the land of Gilead, Moab and Bashan, and the whole area of rugged hills
in which the Sea of Tiberias is enclosed. They were reminded of the view
from Tabor, especially as they looked downward nearly three thousand
feet before their vision reached the waters of deep Galilee. The guide
indicated many points of historic interest, and the list became so long
that the attempt to remember everything was soon abandoned.

[Illustration: THE PLAIN OF HULEH.]

From Safed they rode on through a rough and desolate region, where they
were often compelled to turn aside to avoid great masses of rock that
filled the way. For quite a distance they were in sight of Lake Huleh,
or Merom, and the youths regretted that time did not permit them to
visit the lake and make a voyage upon it. Their regret was not very
serious when Doctor Bronson told them that Huleh was an insignificant
body of water less than five miles long, and surrounded by a marsh, so
that its banks were not easy of access. It is mentioned in the Old
Testament as "the waters of Merom," and it was on the bank of Merom, or
near it, that the events occurred which are mentioned in the eleventh
chapter of Joshua.

[Illustration: HUTS NEAR LAKE HULEH.]

The lake is at the end of a plain twelve or fifteen miles long by four
or five wide; this plain is cultivated by the Arabs who dwell upon
it, and by some speculators of Damascus, who hire men to till the soil
and allow them a share of the product. The ground is quite fertile, and
has been long celebrated for the abundance of its yield.

[Illustration: AN ARMY OF KEDESH.]

Late in the afternoon they came to Kedesh, the ancient Kedesh-Naphtali,
where they were to pass the night. Beyond the historic interest of the
place, and the rains that were scattered for a considerable extent over
the ground, Kedesh offered no special attractions, as the modern village
is neither large nor clean. The ruins show that there were some large
buildings here, and by consulting their Bibles and other books Frank and
Fred learned that Kedesh was the seat of a prince of Canaan, and
afterward belonged to the tribe of Naphtali. Barak, the famous general
of Deborah, was born here, and for several centuries his tomb was
pointed out, as was also that of Deborah, the prophetess. The boys had
seen so many ruins that a brief inspection satisfied them, and they went
to bed soon after dark.

An early start was made from Kedesh, as there was a point of interest
five hours from that place, and the guide had suggested that they would
halt there for their mid-day meal. The country was rough, and the road
wound among the hills, with frequent ascents and descents; but many of
the slopes were wooded, and the path was often enclosed by vines and
other plants, that gave evidence of a fertile soil. In the early spring,
when the flowers are opening, the air is filled with rich odors, and the
traveller forgets the rugged hills of Judea, and feasts his eyes on the
beauty of the scenes that surround him.

The party halted a few moments at Hunin, a small village near a fortress
which is said to have no history. Nobody can tell when or by whom it was
built; at any rate, there is no historical record of it, and the only
opinions as to its antiquity are derived from the building itself. The
foundations are very ancient, and the structure reveals the work of
Romans, Saracens, Crusaders, Turks, and Arabs. Hunin has not been
identified with any biblical spot, though Doctor Robinson thinks it may
have been the Beth-rehob mentioned in the eighteenth chapter of Judges.

From Hunin they went down and down a long distance to the Plain of
Huleh, and finally reached their halting-place; it bears the modern name
of Tell el-Kady ("the Hill of the Judge"), and is undoubtedly the site
of Dan, frequently mentioned in the Bible.

"From Dan to Beersheba," said Fred, as he slid from his saddle to the
ground. "What is the meaning of that phrase which everybody knows?"

"This was the most northern town of the Israelite kingdom," replied the
Doctor, "and Beersheba the most southern. To go from Dan to Beersheba
was to go from one end of Palestine to the other, just as we say in
America, 'from Maine to California,' or 'from Boston to Brownsville.'"

"Then we are at the northern end of Palestine," said Frank, "and close
to the frontier of Syria?"

"Exactly so," was the reply; "and to-morrow we shall bid farewell to
what is called the Holy Land. We are only three miles from the boundary,
and our camp to-night will be where we can throw a stone from one region
into the other."

With this understanding of their position the boys proceeded to examine
the site of Dan. While they were doing so the Doctor explained that the
word "Dan" in Hebrew means "Judge," which is exactly the signification
of the Arabic "Kady." The place is called "the Hill," because it is a
hill or mound shaped like the summit of a mountain, and about eighty
feet higher than the surrounding plain. It is thought to have been once
the crater of a volcano, and its shape certainly justifies that belief.
The diameter of the cup or basin on the top of the mound is about half a
mile; the whole area is covered with ruins, but they are so overgrown
with vines and brush that an examination is difficult.

Frank was ready in a few moments with a brief account of Dan, which he
ran off very glibly, as follows:

"The place was originally a Phoenician colony under the name of Laish,
and was a populous city. A wandering band of Danites captured it, and
named it after the founder of their tribe; they set up a graven image
which they had stolen, and, as they had also stolen a priest along with
the idol, they had a good basis for a system of religion.

"You can read in the eighteenth chapter of the Book of Judges how the
Danites captured Laish, and stole their gods and the priest. You can
read in Genesis xiv. how Abraham pursued the plunderers of Sodom to Dan,
and recovered what they had stolen; and in the twelfth chapter of the
First Book of Kings you will learn how Jeroboam set up a golden calf in
one of the temples of the Danites, and established its worship.

"But there is something which has been preserved down to our day," Frank
continued; "here is one of the sources of the Jordan. The Danites and
the golden calf have been gone for many centuries, but the fountain of
the Jordan is not exhausted. It may say with the brook, in the words of
the poet--

  "'Men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.'"

Following the directions of the guide, Frank and his companions went to
the western side of the mound, where they found a pool or basin about
fifty yards across, in which the water bubbled as in a fast-flowing
spring. It was, indeed, a spring, and the flow was large enough to form
a stream thirty feet wide and two feet deep. The guide said it was the
largest of all the sources of the Jordan, but the stream it formed was
not so long as that from Banias, and the latter again is shorter than
the Hasbany, which rises near Hasbeiyah. The stream rising at Dan is
called the Lesser Jordan on the maps, and unites with the Greater Jordan
a few miles below, while all meet in Lake Huleh, as we have already
learned.

[Illustration: HEAD-SPRING OF THE JORDAN NEAR HASBEIYAH.]

There is another spring inside the basin on the top of the hill, but it
is much smaller than the great fountain. There was a fine oak-tree close
to this spring, and it furnished a grateful shade to the travellers
while they were taking their well-earned lunch. A halt of something more
than an hour found them ready to move on, and it was an easy ride of
three or four miles from Dan to Banias, or Cesarea-Philippi.

[Illustration]

Here they were at the source of the Greater Jordan, which issues from a
cave and forms a brook about half the volume of that which has its
source at Dan. There are several mills on the brook, and just below the
town is a large terebinth-tree, which forms an important feature in
every picture of the place. It is the favorite resort of beggars and
other idlers, and the traveller who halts beneath it is sure to be
implored for backsheesh.

[Illustration: TEREBINTH-TREE AT BANIAS.]

Banias is in a picturesque spot; it is surrounded by mountains, and is
at the base of a cone crowned by a castle, which is or was one of the
strongest in all Syria. The ruins of the city lie all around the base of
the cone, and some of them show that the buildings were of great extent.
The city was of Phoenician origin, and contained temples dedicated to
the worship of the heathen deity _Pan_, from which it was named Paneas.
This afterward became Banias, and in the time of the Romans the worship
of the Greek god was continued. The name was changed to
Cesarea-Philippi, first in honor of Cæsar, and secondly to distinguish
it from the other Cesarea on the sea-coast.

"We read in the New Testament," said the Doctor, "that Christ came into
the coasts of Cesarea-Philippi. Here he asked his disciples, 'Whom do
men say that I, the Son of man, am?' And then followed the question,
'Whom say ye that I am?'

"You know what Peter replied to this. And then Christ spoke the words
that have become memorable in the history of the religion that he
founded:

     "'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and
     the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give
     unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou
     shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou
     shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'

"These words," the Doctor continued, "have a greater significance than
you might suppose. They are the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church.
Peter, the disciple to whom they were spoken, became the head of the
Church, and the first Pope. All his successors have been regarded as the
inheritors of his divine authority; and the efforts of the Catholic
Church, from the time of our Saviour till the present, have been
directed to the maintenance of the principles involved in this short
passage of Scripture. Volumes have been written to sustain it, and other
volumes to show its fallacy; but the words remain unchanged, and the
power of the Church still exists.

"Dean Stanley and others maintain that the words refer to the rock or
cliff on which the Castle of Banias stands, and certainly the position
is a commanding one. Another scriptural reference to the high mountain
where Jesus went with three of his disciples, 'and was transfigured
before them,' is easy to understand when we look from the ruins of
Banias to the heights of Mount Hermon, which almost overshadow the
source of the Jordan."

The next morning the party was off at daybreak to visit the Castle of
Banias, which is known to the Arabs as _Kul'at-es-Subeibeh_. It is about
a thousand feet above the town, and, consequently, has a position that
must have been of great importance before the invention of artillery.
The path is narrow and difficult, and the spot is one of those where a
hundred men could successfully defend themselves against an army.

[Illustration: SUBSTRUCTIONS OF THE CASTLE OF BANIAS.]

A couple of hours were spent in the castle, and even at the end of this
time there was a great deal that had not been seen. The castle is on the
crest of a peak, and the space it occupies may be roughly set down as a
thousand feet long by two hundred in width. There are great cisterns for
holding water, so that a garrison could not be made to suffer by thirst,
and there are immense store-rooms in the cellars for protection against
a long siege. The walls are unusually thick and strong, and many of the
hewn stones are ten or twelve feet long, and with proportional width and
depth. Taken altogether, the Castle of Banias is one of the wonders of
Palestine, and is better preserved than the majority of its fortresses
or other works of the architect.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM THE CASTLE OF BANIAS.]

The view from the top of the principal tower is quite extensive; it is
shut in on the north by the higher mountains, but is open at the south
in the direction of the Valley of the Jordan. An opening in the
mountains of Bashan reveals the Huleh morass, with patches of water, and
the lake beyond it, while the chain of the mountains of Galilee closes
the view. Farther down is the depression of the Sea of Galilee; and the
spectator, whose imagination is easily set at work, can follow the
tortuous course of the Jordan till he reaches its termination over the
buried cities of the plain.

From Banias to Damascus, direct, is a ride of twelve hours. It was
thought to be too great an undertaking for the party to make the entire
distance in a single day, and therefore they decided to camp at Artuz,
which would shorten the journey to nine hours, and leave the remaining
three hours for the next morning. It is a good plan to arrange one's
journey so as to arrive in these Eastern cities early in the day, and
not at night. There is a good deal in favor of a pleasant impression of
a city, and certainly this is not to be had in the hours of darkness,
and when you are thoroughly fatigued by a long ride.

There was nothing of special interest on the route, with the exception
of the spot where Paul was converted, as we read in the ninth chapter of
the Acts of the Apostles. It is at the place where the traveller from
Tiberias gets his first view of Damascus, with its domes and minarets
rising from the fertile plain--dotted with villages set in rich
orchards, and gardens watered by the Pharpar and Abana, flowing down
from the mountains which guard them. The life-giving power of water is
seen nowhere in all Syria to better advantage than from this point, and
it is no wonder that Naaman exclaimed, "Are not Pharpar and Abana,
rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?"

There was little sleep in the tent of Frank and Fred that night, as the
youths were impatient to be in Damascus, the wonderful city of the East,
about which they had read and dreamed, but until quite recently had
never expected to see. Here they were at last, beneath the shadows of
Hermon, the lofty ridge of Anti-Lebanon, and amid the gardens of Artuz,
which are the promises of the richness of the plain before them.

The desert and the mountains are behind them, while in front is one of
the oldest existing cities of the world, and one that has been little
changed during the centuries of its existence. As was Damascus two
thousand years ago, so almost is the Damascus of to-day. It is no wonder
that the youths were sleepless that night; nor that they rose before the
dawn, that they might see the rays of the rising sun gilding the
minarets of Damascus and spreading its effulgence over the fertile land.

[Illustration: A STREET IN DAMASCUS.]



CHAPTER XXXI.

SIGHTS AND SCENES IN DAMASCUS.


The party remained three days at Damascus, and found the time none too
great for seeing this wonderful city. Frank devoted each evening to
writing an account of what they had seen during the day, and we are at
liberty to copy the greater part of his story:

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF DAMASCUS.]

"When we reached the city we went directly to Dmitri's Hotel, which is
the only establishment of the kind in Damascus. Dmitri is a Greek, and
was formerly a dragoman. He knows the country very well, and his house
is quite as comfortable as one could expect to find in this far-off
place. The building was once the property of a wealthy resident of
Damascus, and is in the truly Oriental style. There is a large
court-yard with a fountain in the centre, and the rooms of the house
mostly open from this court. When we speak of a fountain, remember we
are talking of an Oriental one, which is a large tank of stone with
water flowing in at one side from a pipe and flowing out at the other.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A HOUSE IN DAMASCUS.]

"On the right of the fountain there is an open recess, where it is
pleasant to sit in a warm afternoon; it contains chairs and divans, and
is altogether an attractive spot. On the opposite side of the court is
the parlor, which we entered by an ordinary door. There is a marble
floor about six feet wide, and as long as the room is broad, and on each
side of this marble floor there are steps to the rest of the room, which
is about two feet higher. The marble part is entirely bare, with a small
fountain in the centre, but the rest is richly carpeted, and has plenty
of divans and large chairs. The chairs do not properly belong here, as
they are not Oriental, but are kept out of regard for the wants of
European visitors.

"How high do you suppose the ceiling is in the centre of this parlor?

"We had a curiosity to know, and so we measured it. Dmitri supplied us
with ladders and a cord, and after a good deal of trouble we ascertained
that it lacked only a few inches of thirty feet!

"We have been much interested in the house, as it is one of the best
types we have seen of the Oriental dwelling. There are finer houses than
this in Damascus, but it is not easy for a foreigner to see more of them
than the outside walls. Some of the houses have cost a great deal of
money, even in this country where labor is very cheap.

"Having looked at the house, we will go into the streets and take a
glance at the distinctive features of Damascus.

"To begin with, Damascus is supposed to have a population of one hundred
and ten to one hundred and twenty thousand. Nobody can tell exactly, as
the census is never taken as we take it in America, and quite probably
nobody cares very much to know what it is. Here is the most accurate
statement of the subject that we can find:

     "Eighty-nine thousand five hundred Moslems, twelve thousand
     Christians, five thousand Jews, and about five thousand Druses,
     Bedouins, and other miscellaneous classifications. About half the
     Christians belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, and the rest are
     Latins, Maronites, Syrians, and Armenians.

"As you are well aware, Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the
world. It is mentioned in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, and very
often in other books of the Bible, but the scriptural references do not
tell us how old it is. The traditions of the Jews, Christians, and
Moslems concerning the origin of Damascus do not agree, but by sifting
them down, and harmonizing as much as possible, we may suppose it was
founded by Uz, the son of Aram, and was a well-established city before
the birth of Abraham. The kings of Syria lived here for more than
three hundred years; one of them was conquered by King David, but the
subjection did not last long. Afterward it was conquered by the
Assyrians and added to their empire, and subsequently it was a
possession of Persia.

"It would take several pages for me to tell you the history of Damascus,
and as it might be tedious, and you can find it in any good
encyclopædia, we will take a jump of three thousand years or less and
come down to our own times. The most exciting event of modern days in
Damascus was the massacre of the Christians in 1860, when five or six
thousand people were killed for no other reason than their belief in the
religion of Bethlehem. The whole of the Christian quarter was burnt, not
a house being left uninjured. About half of it has been rebuilt, but
some of the buildings are very frail, and it will be a long time before
this portion of Damascus resumes its former appearance.

"Our guide through the streets was a Christian whose father was killed
at the time of the massacre. The family managed to escape to the
mountains, where they wandered for days, and were very near starvation.
In addition to the thousands who were killed, there were many who died
of wounds and starvation, while hundreds of women and children were sold
into slavery.

"We asked Doctor Bronson how it all happened, and he said it was an
affair of international politics growing out of the Crimean War, and the
support that England gave to the Turkish Government against Russia. The
Treaty of Paris, after the Crimean War, contained a clause which was
intended to prevent foreign intervention in the affairs of Turkey, and
allow the Sultan to control his Christian subjects. As a Moslem
generally believes that the best thing to do with an adherent of any
other religion than his own is to kill him, the result of this unhappy
provision of the treaty was to cause the Moslems to slaughter the
Christians among them.

"The massacres began in the mountains of Lebanon, and extended to
Damascus and other places. It is thought that not far from twenty
thousand Christians were butchered in Syria during the month of July,
1860. The Turkish Government permitted the inhuman work to go on, and in
several cases its officers encouraged it, particularly at Damascus and
Hasbeiyah. The news of the affair aroused the whole of Europe. France
sent an army to occupy the Lebanon district, and protect the Christians,
and since that time there have been no repetitions of the dreadful
scenes, though there is no feeling of friendliness between the
Christians and Moslems.

"So much for a bit of the history of Damascus. The massacre of 1860 was
not by any means the only one of which this city has been the scene.
There was a greater than this when the conqueror Tamerlane, in 1401,
captured the city, and, after plundering it, caused large numbers of the
inhabitants to be killed. Though many of the buildings were destroyed,
they were soon rebuilt; and it is said to be a curious feature of
Damascus that it has prospered under all rulers and all forms of
government. It has changed comparatively little in appearance, and when
any part has been destroyed, by accident or in warfare, it rises again
almost the same as before, though the reconstruction sometimes requires
many years.

"We followed the advice of our guide, who said that, as the weather was
fine, we had best take advantage of it to go outside the city and see
the walls and other curiosities. He went for donkeys, and, as soon as
they came, off we started.

"We started off in more ways than one, as every member of the party had
a tumble before he had gone a mile. The little animals are not so large
as their brethren of Cairo, nor as sure of foot. They seemed to be fond
of stumbling, and didn't care what the result was to their riders.
Fortunately their size saved us from any injury, as we had very little
distance to fall from their backs to the ground.

"We went first to Bab-Shurkey, or the Eastern Gate, which is one of the
historic entrances of Damascus.

"It is not a very handsome piece of architecture, though it may have
been so centuries ago. There was once a fine portal of Roman
construction, but it was walled up more than eight centuries ago, and
has remained closed ever since. The entrance now used was formerly one
of the side arches of the Roman gate-way. We climbed to the top for a
view of the city, and certainly the scene was a picturesque one, and
amply repaid us for the trouble.

"We looked along the 'street called Straight,' by which St. Paul entered
Damascus. It has the same name to-day as it had in Paul's time, but is
not exactly the same street. Perhaps you wonder what I mean?

"Well, during the Roman period, and down to the time the Moslems took
the city, this street was a hundred feet wide, and was divided by three
rows of columns, corresponding to the three arches at the Eastern Gate.
The two side arches have been built up, but not very regularly, and the
street from being straight is crooked. It runs in a sort of wavy line
from one side of the city to the other, and its houses are so close to
each other in some places that you might shake hands from a window with
your neighbor over the way.

"There are several places where the opposite windows are not a yard
apart, and as they project over the street it is easy to sit concealed
and see everything that goes on below you. We went into one of the
houses, and were permitted to look from a window, and very funny it
seemed to be thus suspended in mid-air.

"The most prominent objects in the view from the top of the gate were
the desolate portions of the Christian quarter which I have already
mentioned. They lay quite near where we stood, and our guide indicated
the position of the Protestant and other churches that were burnt, and
the mission schools and hospitals which met the same fate. Farther along
were the roofs and domes of the city. The great mosque was an important
feature in the view, together with the battlements of the castle just
behind it.

"From the gate we went along the base of the walls, where we saw masonry
of all ages from the Romans down to the Turks. The foundations are
unmistakably Roman, so the Doctor says, and the highest part of the
walls, which were built only a few years ago, are as unmistakably
Turkish. The guide showed us the place where St. Paul escaped from
Damascus, as described in Second Corinthians, 'and through a window in a
basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped.' The guide said there
could be no doubt about the spot, as the window was there until a few
years ago, when a Moslem owner of the property ordered it to be filled
with brick and closed!

"Not far from this place is the tomb of George the Porter, who assisted
Paul to escape, and was martyred and canonized in consequence. A little
farther on is the Christian cemetery, and beyond it is the foreign
cemetery, which contains several English and American graves. Looking
from the cemetery toward the city we noticed that there were houses on
the walls, as in the time of the Bible; it was easy to understand how
Paul was lowered from the wall, and how Rahab, who dwelt on the town
wall of Jericho, let down the spies that had been exploring the Promised
Land.

"In several places the city has grown beyond the walls, and sometimes it
is not easy to distinguish the interior from the exterior. This is
particularly the case with the Meidan, which is just outside the walls,
and is quite a mile long by half a mile in width. Compared with the rest
of Damascus the paint is hardly dry on it, as it is not two hundred
years old, and many of its buildings have actually been erected within
the present century. The principal street is about a hundred feet wide,
and nearly straight. When the annual caravan to Mecca sets out on its
journey the scene is a magnificent one along this street, as there is a
gay procession of thousands of people, preceded by the camel with the
sacred canopy, and the officials and priests in their richest dress. Our
guide says the procession diminishes every year, as the journey can be
made far more easily by steamers from Beyroot than by land. It takes at
least thirty days to go by land, and about a week or ten days by sea.

"We went to the Moslem cemetery, where we saw among other things the
tombs of two of Mohammed's wives and his daughter Fatima. The cemetery
reminded us of the burial-places of Cairo, but we missed the splendor of
the tombs of the Mamelukes, and also of the tombs of the Caliphs.

[Illustration: BEDOUIN CAMP NEAR DAMASCUS.]

"We timed our excursion so that we should be at the Salahiyeh hills,
which overlook Damascus from the east, a little before sunset. It is a
ride of about an hour through a village and up a gentle road to a point
from which Damascus can be seen spread at the spectator's feet.

"There lay the city embowered in its gardens, and tinted by the rays of
the setting sun that changed every moment. It was more like a vision of
Paradise than anything we had seen in the country, and we realized the
force of the remark attributed to Mohammed, as he gazed upon Damascus
from these hills:

"'Man can enter Paradise but once; if I pass into Damascus I shall be
excluded from the other Paradise reserved for the faithful.'

"According to the legend, he then turned away and never entered the city
he had come so far to see.

"The Arabs regard Damascus with reverence, and often speak of it as
enthusiastically as did Mohammed on the occasion I have mentioned. It
is, indeed, a beautiful and an interesting city, and ranks next to
Cairo, which it greatly resembles in many things. Something must be
allowed for Oriental exaggeration or we shall make too much of Damascus;
and Doctor Bronson says the city, from its position, is the cause of a
great deal of the admiration bestowed upon it. We asked him how it was,
and he explained it in this way:

"Bear in mind that Damascus is in a fertile plain watered by the Pharpar
and Abana, flowing from the mountains and never failing in any season of
the year. These rivers are carried through Damascus, and consequently
the city has an abundance of water at all times.

"Now, bear again in mind that, though in a fertile plain, the city is on
the edge of a desert, and the traveller who comes here from the east has
traversed a region of barrenness. For days and days he has seen no trees
or other green things, water has been scanty and poor, and he must take
great precautions to save himself from perishing by thirst. Is it any
wonder that when he comes to Damascus, in the midst of its luxuriant
gardens, and sees the fountains flowing at every street-corner and
sparkling in every dwelling, he must think he has entered Paradise, or
will doubt whether he is awake or dreaming?

"As the sun went down behind the range of Anti-Lebanon we descended the
hills and re-entered the city. There was nothing to be seen in the
evening. Damascus goes early to bed, and so went we.

"Next morning we were out in good season, and off for our round of
sight-seeing. We visited the historic places of Damascus, including the
house of Ananias the high-priest, and other buildings connected with St.
Paul's stay in the city; and we went outside of the eastern gate a short
distance to the leper hospital, which is supposed to stand on the site
of the house of Naaman the leper. Some of the patients were in front of
the building, and were sad objects to look upon. Some were blind, others
were much swollen about the face, hands, feet, or limbs, and there was
one whose face was covered with scales. The guide said that the edges of
these scales when lifted revealed raw and inflamed flesh, and many of
the patients were masses of sores. We did not wish to go inside,
although we were assured that there was no danger of contracting the
disease.

[Illustration: A SCENE IN DAMASCUS.]

"Doctor Bronson says this dreadful disease was once very common in
Europe, and nearly every city and town had its leper hospitals. From the
sixth to the thirteenth centuries it was spread from one end of Europe
to the other, particularly after the wars of the Crusades. An order of
chivalry, under the name of the Knights of St. Lazarus (named after
Lazarus the beggar), had for its special mission the care of victims of
leprosy, and after they were expelled from Jerusalem in the twelfth
century they established a hospital at Paris. If you have been in Paris
you will remember the _Gare St. Lazare_, the terminal station of the
Western Railway, which is close by the _Rue St. Lazare_, and a walk of
five or six minutes from the Grand Opera House. The leper hospital of
Paris was in this neighborhood, and the name of the order of monks that
founded it is preserved in the street and railway-station.

"Leprosy has almost entirely disappeared from Europe; it is seen
occasionally in Scandinavia and Italy, and a few cases have been
reported in Spain. It exists in the East, but is not so prevalent as it
was a thousand years ago, and once in a while you will hear of a leper
in America and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Doctor Bronson says he
was once invited by Professor Pardee, Dean of the Medical College of New
York, to see a case of leprosy from one of the mountain counties of
Virginia. The patient was a negro, and, as far as the doctors could
ascertain, he was suffering from leprosy of the same type as we find
to-day in Damascus.

[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF ABD-EL-KADR.]

"We passed the house of Abd-el-Kader, the Arab chief who fought the
French in Algeria for a long time, but was finally conquered, and
required to choose some place not in Africa for his residence. He
selected Damascus, and has lived here ever since, with the exception of
an occasional visit to Paris, where he is always treated with a great
deal of respect. At the time of the massacre in 1860 he sheltered a
great many Christians in his house, and did everything in his power to
stop the bloodshed. When the war broke out between France and Germany he
offered his military services to the country that had conquered him, but
the government did not think it good policy to accept them.

"The bazaars of Damascus are so much like those of Cairo that it is
unnecessary to describe them, as the picture of one will be almost
identically that of the other. The mode of bargaining is the same; and
if there is any difference at all in testing a stranger's patience it
is in favor of Damascus.

"One of our party wanted to buy some of the silk handkerchiefs for which
Syria is famous, and we stopped in the silk bazaar for that purpose. The
merchant asked twenty francs, and the buyer offered six; after
chaffering for a full hour they met at twelve francs, and the
transaction was closed.

"The merchant then unrolled a piece of silk, which he assured us was of
native manufacture. While he was praising it, and declaring he was
offering it for half its value, he unrolled a little farther, when out
dropped from the end of the roll a ticket with the name of a French
manufacturer at Lyons!

"He took it in as hastily as he could, but was not quick enough to
prevent our seeing and reading it. This confirmed what we had heard
before, that a great deal of the silk sold in Constantinople, Cairo,
Beyroot, Damascus, and other Oriental places as native manufacture, is
made in Europe in imitation of the genuine article. The counterfeit is
so well executed that it cannot be distinguished from the genuine except
by an expert, and frequently the only difference is in favor of the
finish of the European goods.

"We went through one bazaar after another, and were offered all sorts of
articles we did not want, together with a few that we did. What we most
wanted were the genuine Damascus blades, and we looked for them in the
arms bazaar for quite a while.

[Illustration: SWORD-BLADES OF DAMASCUS.]

"They offered us a good many swords, but none that came up to the
stories of the ancient weapons, which could be tied in a knot or doubled
up into a loop without the least injury. They asked a hundred dollars
for one, but fell slowly to twenty, and as this seemed too cheap for an
article once worth at least a thousand dollars, we declined to buy.

"While we were looking at these weapons Doctor Bronson told us of the
original Damascus blades, about which so much has been written. He said
they were made in the early centuries of the Christian era, and the art
was lost when Tamerlane carried the artisans away after his capture of
the city. It was said they could be bent into many shapes, would cut
through wood and iron without being marred or indented, and the old
warriors frequently divided their victims in two from head to foot with
a single stroke of one of these famous weapons. A good deal must be
allowed for Oriental exaggeration, but there is no doubt that the
Damascus blade was the finest ever constructed. It all depended upon the
steel and the process of making it.

"We asked the Doctor if anybody in modern times had been able to produce
anything like the swords of Damascus.

"'A great many attempts have been made,' said he, 'but none have
completely succeeded. The nearest approach to success was by General
Anosoff, a Russian officer in charge of the steel and iron works at
Zlatoust, in Siberia. After many years of experiments he managed to
produce weapons with nearly all the qualities of the original Damascus
blades; he succeeded in making Damascus steel by four different
processes, the most practical being that of melting iron in crucibles,
with one-twelfth its weight of graphite, and some other things you can
learn about in any good book on steel manufacture. The blades of General
Anosoff were superior to any other modern ones in toughness, elasticity,
and keenness of edge, and they had those peculiar marks known as
"watering," exactly like the ancient blades.'

[Illustration: DAMASK GOODS.]

"From the arms bazaar we went to the great mosque, and then to the
Citadel, passing on the way a shop devoted to the sale of those peculiar
fabrics known as damask, which detained us a few minutes. Damascus for
centuries had the monopoly of the manufacture of this article, but it is
now all over Europe, and the city retains little more than the name. We
asked to be shown the factory where it was made, but they said the
workmen were out for a holiday, and the place was closed, but if we
called around next week they could oblige us. Of course they knew we
would be off in a day or two, as nobody remains long here, and so we
could only smile and thank them for their politeness. But we didn't buy.

"The mosque occupies an area of five hundred feet by three hundred, and
is an imposing building, on the whole, though inferior to some of the
Moslem edifices we saw at Cairo. The central dome is a hundred and
twenty feet high, and rests on four massive pillars; the shrine on the
eastern side is elaborately carved, and there is a cave beneath it in
which the head of John the Baptist is said to be preserved in a golden
casket.

[Illustration: ATTACK ON THE CITADEL OF DAMASCUS BEFORE THE INVENTION OF
GUNPOWDER.]

"Back of the mosque is the Citadel, which was once a strong fortress,
but is now little better than a ruined pile of brick and stone. Most of
the rooms are unfit for occupation, and we were not allowed to go
inside. The castle played a prominent part in the defence of Damascus
before the invention of artillery, but it is of no consequence now that
we have gunpowder and the weapons for using it."

[Illustration: PAUL LED INTO DAMASCUS.]



CHAPTER XXXII.

DAMASCUS TO BEYROOT.--THE RUINS OF BAALBEC.--FAREWELL.


From Damascus to Beyroot there is the only good wagon road in all Syria;
it was built by a French company under a concession from the Turkish
Government, and is a fine specimen of engineering skill. Twice a day a
diligence or stage-coach runs each way; the distance is nearly a hundred
miles, and the journey is made in about thirteen hours. The company has
its own freight-wagons, and sends a train out every day to carry
merchandise at certain fixed rates. A heavy toll is levied on all
parties using the road, whether for passengers or freight, or even for
saddle-animals, and it is an odd sight to see trains of camels and
horses plodding through the rocks and mud of the old bridle-path side by
side with the macadamized road.

[Illustration: A CARAVAN NEAR DAMASCUS.]

Frank and Fred wanted to travel by this modern road, but their
enthusiasm was a trifle dampened by the suggestion of the Doctor.

"We are going from here to Baalbec," said the Doctor, "where we will see
the ruins of the Temple of the Sun. The place is about twenty miles from
the carriage-road, and will require an outfit of saddle-horses and a
dragoman from Shtora, the nearest point on the road. I have thought it
best to arrange with Ali to accompany us to Baalbec, and from there to
Shtora, where he can leave us, and we can then have a ride on the
company's route to the sea-coast. This will give you an experience of
carriage travelling in Syria, and put us to less trouble than any other
plan we could adopt."

Of course there was no dissenting voice when the scheme of the good
Doctor was propounded, and the whole party announced its readiness to
move whenever he gave the word.

[Illustration: THE RIVER AMONG THE ROCKS.]

They started in the afternoon for a ride of about four hours to the
Fountain of Fijeh, one of the sources of the Abana. For an hour they
followed the road of the French company, and then turned away to the
right among chalky hills so rugged and bare as to have in places the
appearance of snow. Sometimes they looked down upon little valleys rich
with orchards of olive and fig trees, and a moment later there was
hardly a green thing to be seen. In many places the river wound among
rocks so steep that a safe passage to the edge of the water was
impossible to find. One of the villages that they passed was perched on
a hill-side so abrupt that it was only to be reached by a winding path.
The scenery was of the wildest character, and the boys were glad that
the Doctor had determined upon this route instead of the more prosaic
one of the French company's road.

The antiquity of Damascus was shown by an engineering work between two
of the villages near the Barada; it is an ancient aqueduct which was
evidently made to carry water from the Fijeh Fountain to Damascus. The
name of its builder is unknown, but tradition says it was made by
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, about the middle of the third century. It was
never completed, and from the excellence of the water-supply of Damascus
it was evidently not needed.

Beyond this aqueduct they wound up a narrow valley or glen, and the
greater part of the way were compelled to follow a path cut in the
sloping rock. The guide pointed out a spot where the season before a
traveller fell from his horse, and was so severely injured against the
rocks that he lived only a few hours. The place was favorable to
accidents, and it seemed to the boys a remarkable circumstance that a
single week should pass in the season of travel without loss of life.

The valley widened a little, but still retained its precipitous or
sharply sloping sides; the widenings gave opportunities for fig and
olive orchards to find a footing, and by-and-by they came to a small
village, where the guide called a halt and the party dismounted.

[Illustration: THE FIJEH SOURCE OF THE ABANA.]

They were at Ain Fijeh, or the Fountain of Fijeh, one of the sources of
the Abana. It has a right to be called the principal source, as it is
much larger than any other, though at a lower elevation. Frank and Fred
pronounced it one of the finest springs they had seen in the country,
and recalled their visit to the source of the Jordan at Dan.

The spring comes from a cave in a limestone rock, and pours out with a
force which suggests a great pressure of water behind it. Directly above
the mouth of the cave are the remains of a temple, with portions of the
walls standing, and there is a similar building, not quite so badly
injured, a little way to the right. The fountain is large enough to form
at once a stream three or four feet deep and twenty-five or thirty in
width, which goes dashing over the rocks as though it had been flowing
for miles down the side of a mountain. The banks of the stream are lined
with bushes, and it is impossible to get a view of any distance through
them owing to their density.

The camp had been formed on the bank of the stream where there was an
open space, and our friends slept through the night lulled by the
murmurs of the waters, and the sighing of the wind among the trees that
encircled their camping-ground. An early start was made in the morning
for another ride among the cliffs of Anti-Lebanon. The route was much
like that of the day before, and carried them to a higher elevation,
where they often enjoyed views of great extent.

They passed the ruins of Abila, a Roman city of considerable importance
at the beginning of the Christian era, and then they wound up and up
till the ridge of the mountain was passed, and the descent began to the
plain where Baalbec stands. It was a long ride, and in some places a
dreary one, and when they reached the famous Temple of the Sun the night
had fallen, and the stars were out in the sky.

We will call upon Fred for a description of Baalbec and its wonderful
ruins:

"We were very tired when we got to Baalbec, and did not care much for
ruins or anything else. But a good sleep refreshed us, and when we
started out for our day's work you would not have suspected we were the
worn-out travellers of the night before. That shows the effect of a good
sleep in the pure air of the mountains of Syria.

"The pillars and columns of the temple that are still in position can be
seen a long way off, and nobody needs the words of the guide to know
what they are. Our camp was right in the centre of the ruins, and so we
had a view of them by night as we rode in among them. They seemed
enormously large then, and, strange to say, they didn't appear much
smaller when we had daylight for looking at them. The fact is they are
immense, and the most stupendous thing we have seen since we left Egypt.

[Illustration: THE RUINS OF BAALBEC.]

"Nobody knows when these temples were built; but it is generally
believed that the city to which they belonged was the Heliopolis of the
Greeks and Romans. There is no authentic history of the place earlier
than the fourth century, but coins of Heliopolis have been found of the
second century, which show it was then a Roman city. There are three
temples here, and they bear the names of 'The Great Temple,' 'The Temple
of the Sun,'and 'The Circular Temple.' We have been through them, or,
rather, of what remains of them, and to say we have been impressed by
their grandeur is to convey a very faint idea of our feelings. We have
seen nothing in the country to compare with them, and our admiration for
their builders is as great as it can possibly be.

"It would take many pages for me to describe the courts, and porticos,
and portals, and other parts or accessories of these temples at Baalbec,
and I should turn your head into an ant-hill of figures long before I
could get through. You would be constantly reminded of what we told you
of the temples of Karnak and Thebes, in Egypt, and perhaps you might
grow impatient before I reached the end. Rather than run the risk of
anything of the kind I'll jump all that, and come at once to what kept
us in a string of exclamation points all the time we were walking among
the ruins.

"The great wonder of Baalbec was the size of the stones used in the work
of construction. Wherever you go, whether in the vaulted arches beneath
the platform, through the subterranean passages that were used as
stables in the Middle Ages, or among the walls and the rows of columns
in court and portico, the immensity of the stones takes away your
breath. Hewn stones twelve, fifteen, or twenty feet long, and
proportionally wide and high, are in the walls, and as regularly laid up
as though they were common bricks.

"When you have become accustomed to these, the guide takes you to where
there are blocks, not a few but many, varying from twenty-four to thirty
feet long, and proportionally wide and deep. Some of them are way up in
the air at the tops of columns sixty or seventy feet high, and you can't
help wondering what kind of machinery must have been used to get them
there.

"You get tired of saying 'Here's another,' 'Look at this,' 'See this
one,' and similar expressions, and then you tell the guide as much. You
are tired of seeing so many of these great blocks.

"Then he takes you round to the western wall, and points to a section of
it. Your eyes follow the direction of his hand.

"In that wall, twenty feet above the ground, are three stones, lying end
to end. They are thirteen feet square at the ends, and their respective
lengths are sixty-three, sixty-three and three-quarters, and sixty-four
feet.

"Stop and think how large one of the stones is. Measure off sixty-four
feet in the garden, and then look thirteen feet up the side of the
house, and another thirteen feet along the ground; then you'll have some
idea of these immense stones. Mark Twain says, in 'The Innocents
Abroad,' that each of these stones is about as large as three
street-cars placed end to end, but a third higher and wider than a
street-car; or it might be better represented by two railway
freight-cars of the largest pattern coupled together.

"In the quarries whence these stones were taken, a mile from the
temples, is another stone considerably larger, but it has never been
moved or even detached from the bed-rock, and, therefore, Doctor Bronson
says it doesn't count.

"You ask how these stones were moved and laid into the walls and
platforms. We'll tell you as soon as we find out.

"The people that built these temples knew some things we don't know,
just as the ancient Egyptians did. But we can console ourselves with the
reflection that we have many things of which they were ignorant. We have
steamships and railways, the telephone and telegraph, glass in our
windows, umbrellas, oysters on the half shell, ice-cream,
ready-made-clothing stores, pug-dogs, and I don't know what else. We are
far more comfortable than they were, and if we could only satisfy our
curiosity about their modes of moving these enormous blocks of stone
there would be nothing to envy them for.

"So much for Baalbec. We spent the forenoon there, and made a thorough
examination of the ruins; then we had a substantial lunch and started
for Shtora, twenty miles away. Our route was along the Plain of Buka,
which lies between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and is a fertile strip of
land from two to five miles wide. There are few trees on the plain, in
spite of the fertility of the soil. Rain had fallen the night before,
and the soil was sticky, like that of some of our Western prairies, so
that lumps were continually forming on our horses' feet. We passed
several villages, and also a good-sized town called Zahleh; it lies at
the foot of the slope of the Lebanon mountain, and is surrounded with
orchards and vineyards.

"The guide said that Zahleh was the most important wine-producing place
in the Lebanon district; he pointed out a wine-press close by the side
of our road, and as we wanted to rest the horses a few moments, to say
nothing of ourselves, we stopped long enough to look at it.

[Illustration: MODERN WINE-PRESS.]

"It didn't take long for us to examine the machinery used for making
wine. There was a wooden box, about ten feet square and four feet deep,
standing on short posts, and having a ladder against the side. The box
is filled with grapes, which are brought in baskets, and then half a
dozen men climb up the ladder, steady themselves by means of cords
hanging from the ceiling, and tread out the juice with their naked feet.
The juice runs from a spout in one side-end of the box, and is caught in
a tub, whence it is put into casks or jars and left to ferment. The
ancient Egyptians used almost identically the same sort of press, and
the mode of preparing the wine has not been varied at all since the days
of the Bible.

[Illustration: BRIDGE OVER THE LITANY.]

"Our route was quite near the river Litany, and once we crossed it on a
bridge of a single arch, which was said to have been built long ago--how
long ago we could not ascertain. The last three or four miles of our
ride was along a carriage-road, and just at dusk we reached Shtora,
where we were to pass the night.

"The hotel at Shtora was kept by a Greek with an Italian wife, and they
made us quite comfortable in a rough way. We had cots for beds and
plenty of covering, and they gave us an excellent supper and an equally
excellent breakfast. Doctor Bronson had arranged at Damascus for a
special carriage to be ready at Shtora to carry us over the Lebanon to
Beyroot; the carriage came while we were at supper, and the
hotel-keeper, who was also agent of the road company, told us we could
start at seven o'clock in the morning, and be in Beyroot by two in the
afternoon.

"We were off at the hour named, and soon were climbing the eastern slope
of the Lebanon. Up and up we went, the air growing colder as we
ascended, and calling into use all the overcoats and wraps we could
muster. From the zigzags of the road we looked down on the plain we had
left: at times it seemed as though we could toss a pebble into the
Litany, which was reduced to a winding thread in the green carpet of
Buka. The mountain grew more and more desolate with every mile of our
ascent, and when we stopped to change horses at the station we walked a
long way in advance in an effort to get warm.

"We had said good-bye to Ali and his horses at Shtora, and our only
guide now was the Arab driver, whose knowledge of French was confined to
a few words. We tried in vain to learn the names of the places we were
passing. We especially wanted to know if we were near the famous grove
of the cedars of Lebanon, but our efforts were unrewarded.

[Illustration: THE CEDARS OF LEBANON.]

"At the first station where we changed horses the manager, a Frenchman,
said the cedars were several miles to the north, over a rough and
difficult road which was inaccessible to carriages. He said the grove
was less than half a mile square, and contained about four hundred trees
of all sizes. Most of the trees are young, and not more than a dozen are
of any great antiquity. The largest is about forty feet in
circumference, and it is supposed to be the oldest; and there are thirty
or forty which are each from three to five feet in diameter.

"This is the grove from which the timber for Solomon's Temple is
supposed to have been taken. There were formerly many cedar groves in
Syria, but the most of them have been cut down, or have disappeared from
climatic causes. No care is taken of the few cedars that remain;
visitors cut and hack them as much as they please. The Arabs take the
branches for fuel, and the goats nibble the young shoots so that no new
trees can grow. In a hundred years, or perhaps less, the famous cedars
of Lebanon will have ceased to exist.

"Now we are on the summit of Lebanon, five thousand six hundred feet
above the level of the Mediterranean! The sea is far below us, its
dark-blue surface filling the western horizon, and between us and the
water is the slope of Lebanon and the belt of coast. The driver gathers
his reins, turns down the brake a little--just enough to steady the
carriage, but not sufficient to impede the progress of the horses. Away
they go at a rapid trot, and occasionally at a gallop. The ride was
tedious as we slowly ascended the other side of Lebanon, and this
exhilarating speed is an admirable contrast.

[Illustration: VIEW OF BEYROOT, LOOKING TOWARD THE HARBOR.]

"Down, and down, and down! The air grows warmer, the clouds that were
hovering about the mountain-top are breaking, and the sunlight comes
pouring through the rifts, warming our shivering frames and gilding the
rocks with a tint of gold. The spots of green on the ground below us
grow every minute till they develop into villages and orchards, and one,
clinging at the edge of the sea, is larger than any of the others. The
driver waves his hand toward this spot and pronounces the word
'Beyroot.' There lies the city where our wanderings in Palestine and
Syria will come to an end.

"The Mediterranean sparkled in the sunlight, its blue surface stippled
with white sails or darkened by the trail of smoke from the funnels of a
steamer. An irregular streak of foam marked where the waves broke along
the beach and separated land from sea. In one hour of our descent the
chill of winter was exchanged for the genial air of spring, and in
another hour spring was turned to summer. Oranges and citrons were on
the trees, olives and figs abounded, the fields were luxuriant, and it
seemed a dream that we had come so quickly from one climate to another.

"We drove to the principal hotel, and our ride was at an end. After
arranging our toilets, for which we found ample materials in the welcome
trunks that had been sent from Jaffa, we went out for a view of Beyroot.

"We found the streets were not unlike those of Jaffa, Jerusalem, or
Damascus in their general features, so far as the old part of the city
is concerned. We had expected this, and therefore were not
disappointed; but we had not expected to find the streets in the new
part of Beyroot as wide and handsome as they are. The place has an
appearance of prosperity and activity more than any other we have seen
since leaving Alexandria; it has a large European population, and a good
many factories, business houses of various kinds, and kindred
establishments, all conducted by foreigners. The entire population is
said to be more than eighty thousand, and some authorities declare it to
be little, if any, short of one hundred thousand. About a third of the
inhabitants are Moslems; the remaining two-thirds include native
Christians, Jews, Druses, and a good many foreign nationalities.

"Beyroot is the ancient Berytus, and some authorities identify it with
Berothah or Berothai of the Bible. It is a very old city, as we have no
distinct record of the time when it was founded, and it is known to have
been destroyed and rebuilt one hundred and forty years before the
Christian era. It has always been a fairly prosperous city, but the
period of its greatest advance has been within the past twenty years.

"We hired a carriage for a drive along the coast to Nahr el-Kelb--Dog
River--passing the spot where St. George killed the dragon. If you have
any doubt about the truth of the story, you can be convinced by
borrowing an English twenty-shilling piece and studying the picture of
the performance represented on one side of the coin. Dog River runs
through a rocky ravine, and on its sides there are Greek, Roman,
Assyrian, and Egyptian inscriptions. They are supposed to commemorate
the occupation of the country by the armies of the various nations
represented: the Assyrian sculptures are estimated to date back at least
twenty-five centuries, while the Egyptian are of a period at least six
hundred years older.

[Illustration: MISSION SCHOOL IN SYRIA.]

"We returned from Dog River the way we came, and then drove to one of
the mission schools of the city. Beyroot is an important field of
missionary enterprise, and one result is that the proportion of persons
who cannot read and write is smaller than in any other city of Syria.
The American Protestant Mission has a fine array of buildings, and, in
addition to the ordinary schools of instruction, it has a theological
seminary and a literary and medical college; then it has a
printing-office, where a great deal of useful matter is printed,
including a weekly newspaper, and it has established schools in the
villages of the Lebanon and through other parts of the country. Many
famous men have been connected with this mission in the past fifty
years, and their labors have been warmly appreciated by the supporters
of the enterprise.

"Then there are the British Syrian schools, supported by English
donations, and there is a school maintained by the Church of Scotland.
The French have several schools, orphan asylums, convents, and churches;
the Germans have a good representation in the same way; and the
Russians, Italians, and Greeks have not been behind the other
nationalities of Beyroot in providing educational advantages. It is
probable that more money has been expended in Beyroot in missionary
enterprises than in any other city of its size in the entire East.

[Illustration: FOUNTAIN AT BEYROOT.]

"I must not forget the beautiful bay on which the city stands. It is a
fine body of water of semicircular shape, opening to the north; as you
look from the anchorage the city seems to rise in a series of terraces
till it reaches the enclosing hills backed by lofty Lebanon. From any of
the hills back of the town, or from the front of the old sea-wall, there
is a splendid view over the water. Our hotel veranda fronts on the bay,
and we have greatly enjoyed the charming panorama it affords.

"But here I must stop. Frank has just come in to say that the steamer is
smoking furiously at her anchorage, and we must go on board in half an
hour. So, good-bye for the present.

"And good-bye to Egypt and the Holy Land.

"We have enjoyed our journey ever and ever so much. We have seen many
things of biblical, historical, and present interest, and we trust that
the lessons they teach have not fallen on inattentive ears.

"And, so trusting and believing, it is sad for us to write

"THE END."

[Illustration: LEBANON.]



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