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BY MRS. POSTANS.

A TRIP TO THEBES.

our knowledge : wisely had this cicerone sprung from the bank on board, for no svoner was our little boat secured to the shore,

than it was at once surrounded by a hunFrom the Metropolitan.

dred dirty, noisy Arabs, all pressing on us NotwITHSTANDING the bright charms their services. The first who came, howthat form the aspect of old Nilus, the cloud- ever, was the first engaged, and with him less sky, and the healthful breeze, human na- we went on shore, our dragoman and his ture is a thing so wayward, that much as culinary help,--or “el cookoo," as the we admired them at first, time rendered us Arab sailors had learnt to call him,-also heartily tired of gazing through the vene- proceeding into the village, to obtain that tians of our little boat on limestone hills, cave which, fortunately, every one produces, in temples, hermit cells, mummy chambers, addition to its rats, fies, and other“ plagues and public tombs, while the villages that of Egypt,” viz. eggs, milk, fowls, pigeons, occurred at intervals, presented ever the oranges, and bread,--the only motive for same aspect, of mud houses and date groves, the hungry traveller (and who is not hungry equally crowded with a filthy, lazy, Ay-de- on the Nile ?) to stop at them with good will. voured people, and creeping things of every

Instead of entering a spacious, open temdenomination.

ple, as drawings of Luxor had led me to exAt Manfaloot, a mandate had been issued pect, we threaded the filthy ways of an against all detention, which, tedious in it- Arab hamlet, between dove-cots and irreguself, always led to bickerings between the lar walls, raised with cement and broken reis and dragoman, each endeavoring to earthenware upon the ruins of the mighty overreach the other, and to make the travel. temple ; barked at by savage dogs, and run ler a victim common to both. Under these after by blear-eyed children. Our guide, circumstances we went contentedly on, sat- stooping through a narrow doorway, first inisfied to eat flat cakes and sweet curds at troduced us into a cow-shed, littered with nine, with stewed pigeons and tomatas at six, filth, and occupied by buffaloes and donkeys, (the staple food of Egypt,) and to divert the who seemed quite used to the intrusion, and intermediate time by observing the absurd perhaps considered themselves as part of the foolery of our Arab crew.

interest, although the dogs certainly were of Dreading the proscription, some had lost a different opinion, and instead of regarding an eye, and som me a finger, yet no amount of us as friends, (which, considering how often oppression could check their innate love of the Turks term Christians “kelbs,” they buffoonery, while no extent of indulgence in ought to do,) compelled us to send for our it, seemed capable of producing weariness. boatmen to protect us from their attacks.

The first evening I noticed them, the The walls, roof, and supporting pillars, sturdiest of the crew had affected to be a which are those of the ancient temple, are beggar asking alms from a rich man, and covered with sculptured figures of the gods accompanying the request with all the en- and kings of Egypt, with hieroglyphic histreaties common with the pauper hyperbol- tories of the past keenly chiselled on those ists of the East. The man of wealth char- blocks whose enormous size remains a maracteristically calls him a Kelb (dog) for his vel to every age. The pillars of this portion •pains, on which the sturdy vagrant loads of the desecrated temple are formed of solid him with abuse, and ends by dealing him a blocks, connected by huge slabs that form sharp blow, which is returned with interest, the roof; and the countenances of the gods when kicks and cuffs ensue, amid roars of and heroes sculptured round were remarka. laughter. The shrill pipe and the Arab ble for the extreme beauty and benignity of drum on board were never mute, for even their expression. From this stable we made at night some played while the others slept ; our way through numerous dusty avenues, and as the oarsmen pulled lustily to the formed all of huts leaning against or built wild chorusses of their favorite songs, the between the noble pillars of the adytum of mountains and date groves of the Thebaid the temple; and then stumbling over dustechoed back the charms of the “ fair maids heaps and filth, we came on a of Secunderiah.”

avenue of seven columns on either side, No sooner had we made Luxor, on the each twenty-two feet in circumference, with left bank of the river, than a guide, speak- lotus capitals, all bearing the appearance of ing two or three languages, and laden with ancient painting. The rounded columns certificates of ability, introduced himself to are formed of four blocks each, united by

splendid

joists of iron. Nothing, we thought, could and for a few piastres we made a very tolbe more grand than this splendid portion of erable bargain. the ancient palace or temple of the great Youssouf, our worthy dragoman, for some Osymandias; but as we went on, passed purpose of his own, had represented that through the northern prophylon, and turned donkeys were not to be got, and talked of to gaze on the colossi on either side, and burning sands and ten mile distances, after the spirited sculptures clearly to be distin- a manner that nearly caused us to allow him guished on the great eastern wall, past ad- to purchase two ai Manfaloot, and billet miration was lost in present wonder, and them on us for the whole distance, donkeys that idea of power and sublimity, which is the being cheap in Upper Egypt, and our knowfirst produced by gazing on the works of the ing servitor thinking that by buying one most ancient people in the world, took full here, and constraining us to feed it, he would possession of our minds. Half buried in sell the animal on his return to Cairo at a the sand, which alone seems more eternal very pleasant profit ; but he was disconcertthan themselves, these huge granite guarded in his plan, and we found at Thebes, ians of the splendid temple seem to look that the arrival of travellers was a thing so forth unmoved upon the changes that time common, that the Arabs, always alive to the has made. While on the wall, the conquer- means of money-making, had saddle-doner, with the fine stalwart form of youth, keys as well arrayed as in Cairo, with guides, urges on his fiery coursers against his ene- torchbearers, and every requisite for antimies, or leads them in chains, receiving quary-hunting, in very troublesome and antribute and homage. Burning with indig- noying numbers; the difficulty being, not to nation at the treatment these gems of the get these means, but to get rid of them, and past receive at the hands of the Arabs, and to avoid as much as possible the impositions astonished that the ruler of modern Egypt of their owners. makes no effort to preserve objects not alone Thus, before we had been five minutes at so valuable in themselves, but producing by Luxor, a dozen donkeys came scampering their power of interest so much advantage down, saddled and bridled, their owners to his country, we returned to our boat, fighting among themselves which should which we found surrounded by venders of take us to Carnac, and it was only by en“antiques," and a party of Almehs, prepar-gaging two, and setting them to beat off the ed for display.

rest, that we were able to mount any at all. The premiere danseuse of the group wore Next appeared a flock of urchins desiring to a loose shift of dark blue cotton, and on her carry our water-bottle, sketch-books, umhead a tarbouche, with a gaily-colored ker- brellas, and common travellers' gear, the chief wound around it; but on our approach rear being brought up by collectors of “anshe drew the shift over her head, and dis- tiques,” who every moment pushed into our played the gay dress of her profession. hands scarabæi, bits of mummy coffins, and This consisted of a boddice with hanging all sorts of rubbish of a like nature. sleeves of yellow silk, with a petticoat of At length we started for Carnac, the gem dark blue chintz, figured with orange-color- of the Thebaid, the wonder of every age, ed flowers; a pink shawl formed her cein- the inexplicable triumph of ancient art. It ture, and from it descended a great quanti- stands about two miles from Luxor, and ly of silver chains, bells, and talismans. glad were we to see, that although there The complexion of the girl was rather sal- was also an Arab hamlet near the ruins, it low than brown, and her hair fell iu ringlets was not built in and on the towering reon her shoulders ; but the countenance bore mains, as in the neighboring scene of desean expression from which one turned with cration. a sigh and shudder, for it was that of utter A short distance before arriving at Carnac, degradation. Disinclined for her perform- we entered an avenue of Sphinxes, all headance, we desired the dragoman to make her less, and grievously mutilated. This avenue, a small present, and no way pleased at her doubtless once among the grandest features dismissal, the danseuse of Luxor again hid of the temple, leads to the southwest prophyher gay attire, and slowly returned to her lon, whose simple majesty of proportions, filthy home.

and exquisite excellence of architectural deThe venders of antiques were more fortu- coration, cannot be surpassed. Erected of nate. Necklaces, which had encircled the Syene granite, the whole is richly sculptured necks of female mummies, with sculptured with figures in alto-relievo, representing the genii in blue china, were not to be resisted, | priests making offerings to the gods; and on

the frieze and side walls are figures of Ho- watchfulness upon the piles whereon we rus and Osiris, under the aspect of their vari- stood. Below grouped the miserable buts ous attributes, while the winged globe, the of the Arab desecrators—they who rifle the emblem of the protective genius, surmounts tombs of the kings of Egypt—who tear the the entrance, and bears evidence of the honored dead of her royal line from their whole having been richly painted.

dark chambers, and barter for bread the On passing this prophylon, our attention protective offerings with which love surwas first directed to a portion of the temple rounded them—who put their foot upon the to the left, which contains five chambers, neck of the remnant of the lords of the andimly lighted from above; here Sir Gardi- cient land, and curse thern with the foul ner Wilkinson pursued his laborious and curses of modern barbarism ;-such are the valuable studies; and on the walls, by the objects which lie beneath the traveller's eye, aid of lighted branches of dry date trees, we while deep and full of interest and instrucsaw the most exquisite representations of tion are the meditations to which they must Egyptian mythology,—the mystic history give rise. and emblems of the Theban Trinity, Isis Descending the staircase, and crossing a nursing her son Horus, and Osiris towering stony waste scattered every where with remamidst his genii.

nants of rich sculpture, fragments of colossi, From hence we entered a hall facing the sphinxes, obelisks, and columns, every fragsoutheast prophylon, supported by massive ment graven with the history of the past, columns, covered with sculptures and hiero- every stone a leaf in the great book of glyphics, many of them still retaining evi- knowledge, we came on the great hall and dences of their original coloring, but every temple of Carnac; and here I must abanwhere defaced by the destroying hand of don all description, all vain hope of making man. Whole figures have been laboriously my pen obedient to my purpose ; for, as the chipped away by the mason's chisel, and eye and mind wearies of contemplating where the strangers wearied of this work of gigantic pillars, avenues crossing avenues, bigotry, fragments of rich beauty have been chambers seemingly innumerable, gigantic violently torn down with the axe or the colossi, obelisks of granite, fresh as from hammer, the spears or the swords of the the chisel of yesterday, every minute por. Persian soldiery. Turning through low tion of the whole delicately graven with the door on the right, so filled up from the floor histories of priests and kings, religious rites, that it can only be passed on hands and and mystic emblems—so does one shrink knees, we ascended the stairs leading to the from the idle hope, the vain attempt, of deroof of the temple. Rude are they, and scribing the indescribable, or seeking to broken, passing between sculptured walls convey to others that which, as we gaze, which almost close out the light of day; bewilders the mind with the combined efand here and there a vast block has given fects of wonder, awe, curiosity, and admiway, and one looks shuddering down to the ration the most unspeakable.

And yet, we base of the temple; but all must be passed see in Carnac but the wreck of the past; with steady footing, fixed surely in niches its walls are cast down; its hall is roofless, in the wall; and when the roof is really its colossi are mutilated, and its courts are gained, a scene of the most bewildering filled with the broken obelisks, prophylons, grandeur bursts on the view. Beneath, and columns, that were once its own in a around, and stretching far away among fields glorious whole of unmatched grandeur; but waving with green crops, lay shattered col- still, the traveller of to-day, as he paces the umns, ruined prophylons, noble obelisks, and silent hall, or leans against its columns, may gigantic blocks of every form, and in every feel, as I did, that to the history of the position the imagination can picture, with ancient world its very ruin adds a charm, ihe great hall of Carnac, so towering and so and increases the power of that imagination vast in its proportions, and so noble in its which seeks to animate its avenues and ruins, that chapel, palace, and the very tem- chapels with the mighty priesthood, who ple on which we stood, sank to insignifi- held as nothing the power of kings, and who, cance before it. Behind us flowed the bright in their mystic learning, sought to pierce Nile, and on the opposite bank the remains through the veil of nature, and seize upon of those palaces which made Thebes the that truth still darkly hid from them. wonder of the world, while the sitting figures Leaving the great temple of Carnac, our of the Rameses, surrounded by the waters of guide led us by another road to Luxor, the the inundation, seemed to gaze with sentient whole way, which is

grown with

grass

and

weeds, being strewed with sphinxes, colossi ( Rameses, with Carnac and Luxor on the of anubis, and other granite remains, whose opposite bank of the river, and the hilly positions tend to the idea that they ail formed range behind it full of cave temples and avenues between the lesser and greater convent grottoes of the ancient Christians, temples of Carnac, and extended even to we went on to Medinet above, about half a Luxor.

mile further on, over a pleasant road of Returning to our boat, we crossed the short crisp grass and herbs. Here we disNile the same evening to inspect the ruins mounted at the palace of Rameses the of Koornah, and Medinet above. Engag- Third, one of the most magnificent remains, ing a fresh guide for this portion of ancient and the best preserved at Thebes. The Thebes, we mounted our donkeys immedi- prophylon, which is nearly entire, leads into ately after breakfast on the following day, a court surrounded with small chambers, and with Youssouf, the guides, and venders covered with hieroglyphics, but beyond this of curiosities, as before, set forth on our in- is the great hall, surrounded with triple colvestigating journey. As we emerged from onnades, the ceiling richly painted with a narrow path leading between grain fields, deep azure, studded with stars, and the and came on the plain of Thebes, a magni- walls covered with deeply-cut representaficent coup d'æil was presented of the tions of the conquests of Rameses, to whom ancient temples, the colossal figures, the are brought captives of every nation as the perforated hills, and the glorious river, and king sits on his war chariot, while offerwe hastened on, scarcely looking at the pal- ings of hands taken in war are laid at his ace of Koornah by the way, to the great feet, and a scribe numbers them on his tabtemple of Rameses the Second, commonly lets; grooms also are seen, exercising warknown as the Memnonium. Entering the horses in the most spirited positions, and on eastern prophylon, we stood in a court, one portion of the wall, the ceremonies rewhere, lying on its back, the face greatly quired at an Egyptian coronation, appears mutilated, is the granite Memnon, the deep- with Isis protecting the throned king. The cut hieroglyphics on the right arm perfectly green, crimson, and azure is yet vivid on fresh, and according in size with the huge the walls, and the most perfect idea is given proportions of the figure. We then passed of what must have been the splendor and through pillars supporting, or rather faced gorgeous effect of this palace, ere desolation by, figures of Osiris with the flagellum, to cast her hand upon its chambers, and ruin a second court, in which is a smaller Mem- marred the glories of its cunning work. non, lying on its side, with one arm perfect, From the temple of Rameses our guide and the back covered with hieroglyphics, took us far away to a small temple in the hills, among which is cut the name of Belzoni, but there was little to see there but a variwith the date of 1816. The head of this ety in the decorations of the columns, their figure, which is, with the exception of the capitals being of finer work, and cobra nose, still perfect, stands supported on a capellas adorning their plinths. frame of wood, which was placed under it Returning from this temple, we visited for the purpose of its removal; the right the Necropolis of Thebes. This vast buarm, in two pieces, lies on either side of the rial-place of an enormous city presents the head, one portion showing the hole bored appearance of a succession of limestone for the powder when fractured. There is hills, covered with cavernous openings also a block of black granite, at the back of leading to the mummy pits, which literally which are hieroglyphics and the figure of perforate as a honeycomb the entire space. a priest in alto-relievo, but the front is totally Carefully proceeding among these pits, we deprived of form. The adytum of this tem- entered a valley, at the head of which is a ple, also supported by figures of Osiris, con- temple worthy attention ; not that it contains beautiful and perfect relievos, repre- tains much of interest, but proves that the senting kings offering to the gods, priests Egyptians possessed the knowledge of the bearing the sacred ark, and the gods writing arch fifteen hundred years before the Christhe good deeds of Rameses on the leaves of tian era. Somewhat heated and fatigued, the tree Persea. The capitals of the col- it was our intention to have rested here umns of the temple are of the lotus form, and eaten lunch, but I was not yet reconwhich is perhaps the most beautiful among ciled to the horrible effects of Arab tomball the styles of Egyptian architecture. rifling, and the dismembered bodies, female

Leaving the Memnonium, from whence is heads, and severed limbs I had passed on obtained a fine view of the sitting figures of the way ill fitted me for such refreshments.

Determined, however, to see all that Thebes the men striving to relieve their squalid could show, I resolved to brave these hor- misery by the plunder of tombs, and the rors, and visit, if possible, the pit from sale of the “ Antiques." Entering the whence they had been drawn; so, return- tomb, and lighting our candles, we found ing with the guides to the spot most crowd- lofty and extensive corridors, excavated ed with these relics of abused humanity, from the limestone rock, faced with fine cewe found, as we expected, the mouth of a ment, and decorated with richly sculptured pit, just large enough to admit the body of and colored groups of figures, giving in de a man crawling flat upon the ground. The tail the every-day life of the Egyptian peoguides, lighting a couple of candles, disap- ple, as they were two thousand years ago. peared through the opening, and called us On our return to our boat, we found a to follow. Taking off my bonnet, and lying crowd of venders of antiques waiting for Hat on the ground, I was drawn backwards us, each Arab with a little basket under through the aperture, immediately within his arm, filled with curiosities from the which the height of the roof permitted me tombs, scarabæi, necklace amulets, bits of 10 crawl on my hands and knees, and I mummy chests, fragments of cerecloth, found myself in a passage, surrounded by vases, fruits, human hair, and statues of entire mummies, which the Arabs had vitrified china, with human hands, feet, and dragged forward to rifle by the little light arms, separately bandaged, as was the fashthat reached them through the entrance of ion with the Greeks, each to be had for a the pit. Much shrunk by the embalming few piastres; and a strange looking old process, they seemed not more than four French marquis, whose boat was just in adfeet in height, the skin resembling varnish- vance of our own, had been the purchaser ed leather of a dark brown color, the hair of a perfect cargo, which his dragoman, and teeth perfect, with large openings in looking on such matters as common lumthe bodies, from which the Arabs had torn ber, had thrown aside, among pigeons, the figures, coins, ornaments, and scarabæi bread, and oranges. usually placed in them by the relatives or The following morning, before sunrise, embalmers. Lighted by the guides, we we started for the tombs of the kings, situcontinued to crawl forward among rem- ated about four miles from the river. After nants of cerecloth and portions of bodies, winding through a defile of limestone rocks until we gained a square chamber, whose of the most majestic heights and forms, height allowed us to stand erect. Here a along a road originally cleared by the Egyphorrible scene presented itself-hundreds tians, for the funeral processions of their of human bodies, piled one upon another, kings, and strewn with boulders of flint, lay under our feet, torn and rifled by the and fossil shells in great abundance, alterArabs, stripped of their cerecloth, crushed nated with jasper, we arrived at last at the and dismembered. Even now, the guides head of the valley defile, or gorge, where and Arabs turned them over as if they had towers, like a vast pedestal for some giant been logs of wood, laughed hideously as statue, one single rock, fit monument for some distortion became apparent by the Egypt's royal line. Turning up a narrow flickering lights, and stamped upon the and steep path to the left, we came to the heap in a way that made the blood curdle bed of a mountain torrent, and alighted in one's veins. Glad was I to return, and at an excavated doorway, the entrance of inhale the breezes of the upper air; yet I the tomb, opened by the indefatigable Belcongratulated myself on having seen one of zoni. the greatest among the characteristic fea- Our own wish would have led us to visit tures of ancient Egypt.

this spot in silence, accompanied only by The wealthy families of Thebes possessed the necessary Arab guide, but this we found private tombs, decorated originally for sale, hopelessly impossible ; all the crew of our and the property of the priests; to one of boat had armed themselves with huge these our guide conducted us. A family staves, had prepared to accompany us at of Arabs had it in possession as a dwelling- starting, and nothing could restrain them; place; they had closed it with a rude door, then the reis drew on a bright blue cotton and remnants of statues and coffins were shirt, that had been making during the mixed up with cooking utensils in the nar- whole voyage, and stated his readiness row court-yard ; and there we found the also ; and last, a miserable old woman, the Arab owners, they and their little ones, head of his three wives, hung two or three with these noisy curs, and sheep and fowls, large coins on her coarse matted tresses,

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