Page images

Important Letters.


in when I found myself again in my enormous bedroom. However, I felt very grateful that our journey so far had gone off so well, and that we had all been perfectly well since we arrived six weeks ago in Egypt.

I must add here, what I have omitted to mention in the proper place, that, on our way down the Nile, the Prince received letters to say that the differences between Greece and Turkey had been happily settled, and that their Royal Highnesses were now free to pay

their proposed visits to Constantinople and Athens. The original plan will therefore be adhered to, and Mr. Elliot, our Embassador at Constantinople, has been written to to say that he may expect us there, after visiting the Suez Canal, about the end of the month.




ARCH 17. Got up late and breakfasted at ten.

At one o'clock the Prince and Princess went to pay a visit to the Viceroy's eldest son, who lives in the citadel; after which we went to Mehemet Ali's mosque, in which his tomb is preserved. This mosque is exceedingly beautiful. The walls and pillars are formed of immense blocks of alabaster, something like Algerian marble. We had to put on some redcloth shoes before entering the mosque, the Viceroy's son, who came with us, having to do the same. It is contrary to their religious customs for any one to enter a mosque without either taking off his shoes or putting these on. Inside, the floor is covered with beautiful Turkish carpets. The marble of the walls is splendid, but the effect of the whole is, I think, ruined by the ill-painted decorations of the ceiling, and the common glass lamps, and a large chandelier in the centre, such as you would expect to see in a ballroom or theatre rather than in a church. In the court-yard there is a large fountain of really beautiful cut marble, to which every body goes to wash their

Mehemet Ali's Mosqué.

I 21

head, feet, and hands, before entering the mosque for their prayers. We found several men kneeling down and praying in the mosque. It struck me here, as it has often done elsewhere in Egypt, that their devotion must be most sincere, if you are -to judge by the strict observance of their hours of


It really seems almost ridiculous to see these people, without a moment's notice or reflection, throw themselves down on their knees, turning their heads toward Mecca, wherever they are, and whatever their work may be, when the hour of prayer comes, which they calculate by the sun. On board our boats one constantly saw the captain and sailors, in the midst of their work, and always at six o'clock, kneel down on deck, praying, and kissing the ground.

Ascending by a narrow staircase in a tower (a very difficult matter, as it was very steep and perfectly dark), we got on to the leads to look at the view, and had an excellent one, over the whole town and country round, with the Pyramids in the distance; but the wind was very high, and consequently the air was full of dust, which produced almost the effect of a fog all over the place. The dust here is a perfect plague; and it is so fine that it goes through every thing in the way of veils, and spoils both one's eyes and clothes.


From Mehemet Ali's mosque we went to that of Hassan, a fine thing in its time, but now falling to pieces; at least all the carted wood-work is doing so, which is a great pity, as there will soon be little or nothing left of all this beautiful ancient building. We then drove home, and the Prince and gentlemen went out riding, while the Princess and myself went for a drive on the Shubra road, the fashionable drive of Cairo. It was rather amusing to see the Europeans driving about, while every now and then carriages passed by filled with veiled Egyptian ladies. We met the wife and daughter of the Viceroy driving in a very smart little English brougham. We recognized them through their very thin veils or yashmaks. These new veils are not generally adopted by the ladies here, but they are very becoming. The fashion comes from Constantinople. They knew the Princess again at once, and nodded to us like old friends.

After dinner we went to the Circus, which is quite excellent here. We only got home late, and I was not in bed till two o'clock.

March 18. Got up early, dressed in the old Nile costume, and after breakfast we were all photographed in a group. Wrote some letters, and after luncheon we went to the Tombs of the Caliphs, where, howShopping in the Bazars.


ever, we only visited those known as “El Káëdbai” and “El Ashraf.” About five o'clock we returned home, and the Princess and I started soon after with Abdel Kader Bey for the Turkish Bazar, where the Princess bought a bournouse and other things. The mode of shopping here is certainly peculiar. You sit down on the edge of the counter or step of the shop, and ask for what you want: they then invariably show you something quite different, and it a long while before the article you ask for is produced. Then the bargaining begins: the man asks you a price, and you then offer half. The bargaining goes on, at first in good-humor, then in rather cross words, but generally ends with your knocking down the sum to nearly half that he had asked at first. One is quite sans gêne, and puts on and tries the things in the middle of the street. Still one must have plenty of time and patience to get any thing, as they insist upon first taking down every thing in the shop. For instance, if you say you wish for a silk scarf, you must first look at all their beads, pipes, table-covers, and embroidered slippers; and though they must perfectly well see that you don't want any thing of the sort, they seem much more eager to spread out these things than those you want to buy! We did not agree about the price of a bournouse in one shop, so we went to

« PreviousContinue »