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it may seem strange that a man should be about, I used to begin the lesson by attempt. able to swim with a bowl of milk, a basket ing to relate some well-known story of the of eggs, and a bundle of firewood on his Arabian Nights, stumbling through it as head; but extra floatage is attained by best I could, using circumlocutions to supswimmers of burden on the Upper Nile be- ply the place of unknown words, which, striding a palm-log. Aali was no special when I managed to make him understand performer, and swam on his belly, with what I was at, he supplied. When I had legs immersed. I have seen a man sitting done, I made him repeat the story in his on his log, with his legs tucked up on it at own words, and took it down from his dictaright angles, a bundle of firewood, apparently tion, which made him go slowly over it, and near a hundred-weight, on his head, and only afforded intervals for commentary and dishis two hands immersed; paddling steadily cussion, in which I often caught him tripin the troubled water of the cataract. This ping in his grammar. This method made is a more difficult feat of balancing than any- talk, and talk was what I wanted in order to thing I have seen Blondin perform. I loosen my tongue, and pulverize and liquimade an experiment on the log, and found date the dry roots of Arabic I had stored up I could not get my chin six inches above the in my memory like lumps of Turkey rhuwater level without wembling over. And I barb. My knowledge of Arabic on arriving had no nervousness in the water to contend in Egypt was about equivalent to the Latin with, being a good swimmer and diver, of an average Eton boy of fourteen. But I better than the common run of civilized had made a beginning with the donkey-boys Christians. But about the cataracts the art of Alexandria, as they drove us to Betsey's * of log-swimming is cultivated from infancy, Needle and Bomby's* Billar. I had continand any child of ten can be trusted to take ued my expanding efforts at conversation in a bundle across the river safe and dry. the bazaar at Cairo ; and had persevered in

Aali was a Nubian peasant, whose native talking to the sailors on the Nile boat in tongue was the Barabra. He knew less Ar- spite of the dragoman's warning. He used abic and of a worse quality than I did my- to wag his head ominously and say, “ Ghenself; so that my communications with him tleman sit talk wid sailor, not good. I tell were not instructive in a linguistic point of hem reglar. Ghentleman sit talk wid sailor view. Little Ahmed scarcely understood a he take hem.f Aye-e-e; I not know it. word. The other man in the boat which I bin at Tibbs five-and-twenty time!” I brought me to the island from the landing- made the personal acquaintance of the pedplace above the cataract (where the Daha- icular pronoun in good time, but not by the bieh had set me down), did know Arabic, intervention of the sailors on the Dahabieh. and what was more, could read and write it. I dwelt in my temple nearly three weeks. So I had engaged him at another twopence Though I was the only inhabitant of the a day to swim over from the main land and island, I was not so lonely as might be supgive me a lesson. He had a better bargain posed. It was the height of the Assouan than the illiterate Aali ; for in honor of his season, and quantities of Dahabiehs, too learning and title of sheikh, he was treated large and luxurious to pass the cataract, as a gentleman, with a seat on my carpet, were moored there. Their passengers now and pipes and coffee during the séance. His and then made picnic parties to Philæ, so name was Mohammed Zein-Mahomet the that I saw something of my countrymen. Handsome. His features must have been Sometimes I made a visit to Assouan, to ugly to begin with, but they had been deeply lay in a stock of meat and fresh bread. engraved all over with Arabic characters by Sometimes a smaller Nile boat would come the small-pox, which had moreover obliter- up the cataract, and pass a day at the island ated an eye, and compensated its loss by em- * In the donkey-boys' system of nomenclature phasizing his nose with a teshdid.* As Ar- these are the current forms of Cleopatra and Pomabic was both our subject and our vehicle of pey:

† By “taking him," I found the dragoman instruction, and as it was important we meant that I should 'catch one of the ancient should mutually know what we were talking plagues of Egypt, which has survived to moderu

days--that of an animal unfriendly to mu"* The diacritical mark of reduplication corre- number of which, Sir Hugh Evans thought, “ besponding to the Spanish cedilla.

caine an old coat well."

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on its way to Wady Halfeh. In my char- giving him half my learned professor's fee acter of only inhabitant, I used to board for ten minutes' use of his rickety boat. these vessels, and was often hospitably en- Besides which, the free use of my fire-arms tertained ; so that I did not tire so soon of served as an advertisement to the thieves my rusks, and omelettes, and cabobs, as I of the neighborhood that I was dangerous otherwise might. An occupant of one of to rob. Aali and his imp left me after supthese boats had a British domestic, to whom per, and from sunset to sunrise I had the my course of life was a subject of perplexed island entirely to myself. It was a fine opmeditation. The mystery weighed so much portunity of enjoying the savage pleasure on his mind, that he was forced to relieve of solitude. I don't know why I should call himself by respectfully imparting the strange it a savage pleasure, being one probably enproblem to his master.

joyed only by civilized persons, to whom it “I understand,” said he,“ there's a Heng- is an exceptional phase of existence. The lish gent a living by hisself on the hisland. weather was warm, and I found it an agreeDo you think, sir, e's a doing hof it for a able way of passing my evening to spread bet!"

my carpet and cushions on the northern His master thought not.

rampart, and take my coffee and chibouque “ Well, sir, perhaps e may be a trying of in as ceremonious leisure as if I were enterit hon fust, to see if e could make a bet." taining a select society I was studious to

I was not quite a prisoner in my uninhab- detain as long as possible within the circle ited island. I could swim over to Biggen, of my hospitality. I have a pleasant recolwhich is only divided from Philæ by a chan- lection of the beautiful quiet, and liquid isonel of about eighty yards in width. But lation of those evenings, as the mellow sky when I got there, I had to dry myself in the tints faded on that broad, still sleepy pool. sun. As to my clothes, as they were of spun The great swift river pauses here, as if to silk they were soon dry ; but shoes keep wet listen to the distant roar of the cataract, a long while, and the soil of Biggeh was too towards which, without visible motion, it gritty for civilized bare feet. When I was slides away through gorges of great granite on the mainland, I could get a log boy to blocks, fantastically piled. The dreamy swim before me with my clothes on his head. monotone of rushing waters afar off is broken But when I wished to leave the island, for now and then by barking dogs, that seem to the main land, I was dependent on the be holding a languid discussion on the caboatman, whose boat and hut lay opposite nine topics of the night, with other dogs at about a quarter of a mile's distance. who reply still more faintly from villages There was a chronic disagreement between across, and further up, and further down. me and this functionary as to fares. I con- Then there comes fitfully on the feeble waftsidered a half-penny sufficient, whereas he age of the awakening night breeze, an unheld to a penny. This caused him at times certain wail of music. is it the sound of to be deaf and blind to my signals—at least voices, timed by the throbbing rumble of the to signals of a peaceful sort, such as shout- tom-tom? Or is it the creaking groan of ing, and the waving of white drapery. When ungreased timber machinery, turned to the the flag of peace and the voice of entreaty vibratory measure of some loose plank that failed, I used to take down some ammuni- suffers a periodic hitch in the Saqiah's revtion, and a pair of big double-barrelled pis-olutions ? It may be the crew of a Dahatols to the nearest corner of my eastern bieh moored above the cataract, singing rampart, and make ball practice at his ves- their song of exultation on having cleared sel, and residence. As the bullets were the perils of the mild rapids which go by about twelve to the pound, and I had to that formidable name ; rejoicing yet more drop a few shots near enough to be un- in having received a liberal baqsheesh from pleasant, it probably cost me more in lead the still milder Hawageh. No, it is the than the satisfaction of his exorbitance would Saqiah. Either of these sources of remote have amounted to in copper. Still there was harmony are harsh and discordant enough a righteous pleasure in withstanding the tyr- when heard in close proximity, but distance anny of a monopolist and bringing him to makes music out of everything. On one of reason at any expense, rather than tamely these still evenings, for want of something

better to do, I indited some words to the

VIII. distant droning Saqiah tune. The editor and men shall yet be born to break can cut them out if they set his teeth or

The spell on nature's slumbering lyre, scissors on edge.

Whose chords await in mure desire
The mighty hand that may awake

World echoes, quivering till they shake
THE SONG OF THE SAQIAH.

The concaves of empyreal fire.

I.

CONTAINING MY DIFFICULTIES IN ESCAPING FROM

THE ISLAND.

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II.

III.

IV.

CHAPTER II. The spoke-sct wheel goes round and round,

Moved by the plodding heifer slow;

The jar-belt teems-the runnels flow Through dikelet-chequered harvest ground

Such was my life in Philæ, which was all Along the Nilo sad Sayiahs sound

very well for a time; but after a fortnight I From bauk to bank their notes of woe. began to think how I should get away. An

American turned up while I was revolving

this problem. He had gone violently into The Saquiah's voice, when near at hand,

Orientalism as to his extremities, wearing a Is a harslı, creaking, drawling moan; huge turban and a tall pair of crimson mo

But, when on wandering breezes blown, Distance can soften and expand

rocco boots; remaining Frank, however, in To something musical and grand

the rest of his apparel. He was alone in his Sounds without music of their own.

Nile boat, and offered me a cast down river

as far as he was concerned. But he had

jobbed his dragoman, boat and living at so For distance, through her airy rings,

much a day-five-and-twenty shillings, I Carries alone clear notes and true :

think. Though I had my own victuals, and The false, lioarse, jarring residuo Of noise uncouth, away she flings

the boat was more than half empty-with a So dealeth Time with men and things ;

great unlikelihood of finding a supplementary Time winnows well the chosen few.

passenger in those remote parts, even if his
American did not exercise his right of veto

the dragoman wanted to charge me fifteen We murmur at our dwindling age,

shillings a day. I declined to deal, so we Lauding the wondrous days of old,

liquored up and shook hands. A few days Peopled with men of giant mould, Lavish of hero, bard, and sage

more passed, and I resolved to go down to We set them on one splendid page,

Assouan and purchase a cheap little boat,
Bright with untarnishable gold.

just big enough to float me and my baggage
to Cairo, which was not more than six or

seven hundred miles down stream. I could We call that splendid page “ The Past," tether my boat to a stake at any place worth We twll another, crossed and blurred

seeing, and hire a man to guard it. It might With crowding fames, fresli-writ and slurred. How should this foul ink-chaos last !

not be a very comfortable

way of travelling, Shall the world's age with thine be classed ?

but it would be cheap, independent, and adAll life-times had their common herd. venturous. If no boat was to be had, I

could at the worst buy a hundred jars or so,

and make myself a crockery raft. Perchance, when all the scroll is pale,

With this project in my mind, I hailed the A name or two may vet remain,

ferryman, who, after less reluctance than Whose ink concealed some golden grain

usual, condescended to earn his halfpenny. That showed not till the page grew pale.

On reaching the mainland I cried out,
Dame Nature still is buxom, hale,
And the old coincts come again.

“ Bring a donkey, O boy !-and let him be
a donkey of the excellent !---for if by the way

I recognize him to be deficient in speed, I
This moon shines fair as Homer sung-

will quit him without price and without reEarth whirleth through her starry zones ward.” This adjuration was addressed to no Briskly as when these mummied bones

individual in particular, for the soil of Egypt With thews and sincwo warm were strungBright as when Rimeses was young,

is so fertile in boys and donkeys that there Broad Nile sweeps by these graven stones. is always in every habitable spot a redun

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VI.

VII.

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dance of the bipeds (usually too near to be also his own master. Here,” I continued,
pleasant), and a supply of the quadrupeds holding out my hands, are my cook and
round the corner. Having uttered my proc- valet; and this,” pointing to my tongue,“ is
lamation and seen it take effect on the heels my interpreter."
of a boy, I had leisure to become aware of “Thou speakest, O gentleman ! as one of
the presence of two respectable Orientals, the prudent, and thy words are grammati-
sitting on their carpet under a palm. Re-cal, as it were a book. How is this, that
spectable Orientals were much more uncom- being a Frank, thou speakest our language ?
mon phenomena in those latitudes than re- Hast thou sojourned many years in our
spectable Europeans. There were plenty of land ?”
naked Nubians and Egyptian sailors in blue “I have passed but thirty days in your
cotton smocks, with more or less dusky com- land ; but in my youth, as a preparation for
plexions. These distinguished strangers had travel, I studied somewhat of your language
white faces, white woollen robes, and hand- in books.”
some crimson fez caps, with large blue silk “ Canst thou read our books? This, truly,
tassels. One was a venerable-looking man for a Frank, is difficult!”
of about fifty, with a gray beard. The other • Not only can I read, but write also."
seemed ten or fifteen years younger, had one “By Allah, we will see this ! Ho, Abdal-
eye, and rather a morose expression. lah!” he cried to a fat little black boy,

As I stood looking at them and they sat“ bring the dowaiah!”* Little Abdallah
looking at me, the elder saluted me (a su- ran down to a qangiah,t lying under the
perstitious regard for introductions being no bank, laden with boxes and bales. In the
part of Moslem politeness, which assumes meantime I was invited to sit on the carpet,
that all men are antecedently disposed to my new acquaintance saying, as he made
treat one another civilly) with “Essalam room for me,

66 Ahalan was sahalan wa muraaleyk ! ”

haban” (familiarly, easily, and amply, or "And upon you be peace ! ” I replied. spaciously), a compendious form of welcome.

"We are informed, O gentleman! that when I was seated he filled my pipe, and thou art sitting down in the fortress* of the coffee was soon after brought from the qanisland alone. Art thou a limner, portraying giah, while the competition in caligraphy the idols wherewith its walls are graven ? ' was going forward ; for on the production

“ I can draw somewhat for amusement, of writing materials I requested my exambut not well enough for guin.”

iner to write first. I forgot what he wrote, “ What, then, is thy pursuit ? "

but I remember that in it I was able to point “I travel to behold the earth and the peo- out a misspelt word. ples that dwell upon her ;-my pursuit is “ It is true, by God!” he exclaimed; “I knowledge of the world.”

have omitted the letter wow, and written it "If it be thus, that thou be of the sons as though it were merely mudhmoum."I The of the Franks, the wealthy, who journey for qalem (reed pen) and paper were now handprofitless amusement, how is this that thou ed to me, and I wrote in my best neskhée $ art unaccompanied with the usual retinue of hand a rhymed proverb I had learnt of my servants and an interpreter!'

first Arabic master, Nersis Casangian (Nar"I am as these in origin, but not in method.

* A brazen case holding reed pens, with an inkThey expend money to avoid trouble, while box of the same material soidered on near the end I take trouble to avoid expenditure. "More- sf the flattened tube. It is worn by scribes in the over, I desire to see the world with my own kept sponged up in cotton wool, which yields it to

khizam (sash); and to prevent le:k:ge, the ink is eyes, to touch it with my own hands, and to the pressure of the pen. taste it with my own tongue. Had I an in

† The Qangiah is a smaller and more roughly terpreter and servants I should be as a dumb fitted sort of Dahabieh, with a matting shed in

place of the poop cabin. animal carried from place to place in a cage

Affected with the vowel dhammé, which has by keepers. IIc who is his own servant is the sound of oo in foot: with the wow' beneath it,

it would be sounded as on in boot.

Copying hand as distinguished from cursive. * The Arabs always call the temples qasr, wlich My old Arabic master used to say, "Most of the menns a palattial fortress ; a mere military position merchants write so that it requires a prophet to

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cissus Kettlemenderson), a worthy Arme- “ Have you made previous expeditions?” nian of Lebanon

“ Frequently." “ Uttlab clijár qabl uddár

“ How many days did they occupy generWárrafècq qabl uttareeq.”

ally from this place thither and back? ” Study the neighbor before the house,

“ Various. Sometimes ninety, sometimes And the fellow-travellers before the journey.” a hundred and twenty days." On inspecting this specimen, Hajii Mo- “ I know not whether for so extended a hammed (for so I heard him addressed by journey my means be adequate.” other passengers of the qangiah, who had “ What are thy means ? " gathered round by this time) exclaimed,- “ About a thousand piastres of Egypt (ten “ By Allah, wonderful! This writing is as pounds).” the writing of an accomplished scribe, deli- “ It suffices with redundance, if thou livcate. And the sentence is, with relation to est with us and as we. Thou canst purchase circumstance, timely.” This to the bystand- a horse and a slave, and withal have some

Then addressing me, he added, “Wilt what to lay out in teeth and feathers." thou become our fellow-traveller ?” Here · The American's dragoman would have the donkey I had demanded appeared on the charged me two or three times as much for

my simple trip down to Cairo, which return “Behold, this ass had I ordered to bear trip by the merchant was reckoned in, as a me to Assouan, that I might open a way mere accessory trifle of the wonderful things towards Cairo, for I am weary of sitting in this ten pounds in hard cash was to do. It the island. But the travelling party is more seemed too good an opportunity for a cheap important than the direction of the journey. and curious adventure to be thrown away. As fellow-travellers I like you well; nor I did not much care, as long as I got away could I desire better. I have told you what from the island, whether I went up or down I am.

Inform me, therefore, what are ye, the river, and I had a desire to see Abou and whither is your journey ?”

Simbel. " We

e are the merchants of the Moors of “ Is it not late for your expedition ? Will Tarabboloos (Tripoli), settled in the Fayoom not the rainy season of the south overtake at the village of Beni Aali, near the Birket you at Kordofan ?” el Qurn. My name is Hajji Mohammed, It may, or it may not. It depends on and my brother's name is Hajji Aali-our the market, whether dealing be easy or difroot (family name) is Eledgham. Our jour- ficult.” ney is to Kordofan, and our enterprise to “If the rainy season overtake us, do not traffic in teeth and feathers." *

white men die of fever?” Here Hajji “How many days' journey distant is Kor- Aali, the younger brother, took up his pardofan ?

able. “We proceed by this boat to Wady Hal- " They die frequently, but frequently refeh. If it please Allah to give us a fair cover. I was near death by fever in Korwind, which we are now awaiting, swiftly. dofan one voyage, so that I could not travel, If the boat has to be tracked by the sailors, and waited to return home with the expedislowly. From Wady Halfeh to Dongola tion of the following year." there are ten days of desert. Please Heaven, There was evidently no desire to make we may find camels with expedition; if not, things suspiciously pleasant, or I might have there will be delay. From Dongola we pro- feared bad faith. And as adventures cannot ceed again by boat ; and, further up the be had without some risk, I said,river, take camels again ; and, after fifteen “ It is well. I will become your traveldays of desert, we shall arrive, please Al- ling companion.” lah, at Kordofan."

In deed or in word only ?” said Hajji “How long will your stay be in Kor- Mohammed somewhat incredulously. dofan?"

“ The word and deed of an Englishman “ Till we have sold our merchandise, by are one." the permission of God, and laid out its price “Ilast thou no fear of us, thou being a in teeth and feathers."

Frank and we Moslems ? " * Of the ostrich and elephant.

“ Why should I fear? There are bad and

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