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ble. And seldom, I think, has a tour been more successful, or more thoroughly enjoyed by every one, than that which we have just made up the Nile. In thinking of it, I can discover but one cause for regret, namely, that it is over.
We had a very hot and dusty journey, and only arrived at Suez at seven o'clock. Mr. Russell and Major Alison have now joined our party for the rest of our journey.
We were met at Suez by Monsieur de Lesseps, who is the author and chief director of the Suez Canal. He was formerly French Embassador at Rome and Madrid, and is a very clever, agreeable man. It is entirely through his exertions and diplomatic skill that the difficult negotiations for starting this great work, getting subscriptions, etc., have been successfully carried through. Monsieur Borel and Monsieur Lavallez, “Entrepreneurs des Travaux du Canal,” and inventors of the wonderful machinery for dredging (élévateurs à longues couloirs, etc.), and Monsieur Laroupe, “ Ingénieur en Chef de la Division de Suez," also met us at the station.
We got ready at once for dinner, which we had in the large dining-room of the hotel, being waited upon by Indian waiters, all dressed in their white coats and small white caps. They waited very well indeed ; Dinner at Suez.-Start for Chalouf. 145
but it was a long, tiresome affair, with many Indian dishes.
Among the waiters at dinner, the Prince observed a small black boy, about fourteen years old, who waited very well, and looked intelligent; so the Prince after dinner asked the landlord of the hotel all about him, and having found out that he was an Abyssinian boy, and had an excellent character, he at once decided upon taking him home instead of little « Ali," or “Nobody's child,” who had been again taken on trial from Cairo, and whom it was now determined to send home from Constantinople.
After dinner we went out on the balcony, when some rockets were sent up from a boat opposite the hotel, while a band played below on the quay. It was a lovely fresh evening, after the very hot day we had had. The French gentlemen, and a Major Clerk, an English officer stationed there, dined with us. Got to bed early. Very nice, clean rooms.
March 25. Started by the train at nine to see the docks, on arrival at which we went on board an English transport tug, and steamed round the mole and
up the Canal as we could go. We then returned in the tug to the hotel quay, where we had breakfast at 10.30, after which we again took the train, and started at eleven o'clock for Chalouf. A guard of
soldiers was drawn up in front of the train, to which all the officials accompanied their Royal Highnesses.
We arrived in half an hour at Chalouf, where we alighted and crossed the Sweet-water Canal in a ferry-boat. Horses were here provided for the gentlemen, while the Princess, myself, and M. de Lesseps got into a small pony-carriage, and the Princess drove us along the banks of the Maritime Canal for about two miles to see the cuttings now being made, and various stages of work at present going on. This took us an hour. We then again got into the train, and at one o'clock arrived at a place where two small steam launches were waiting for us, and in them the whole party proceeded down the Sweet-water Canal to Serapeum, where, on landing, we were received by M. and Madame Charles de Lesseps, Malle. Borel, M. and Madame Guishard, and M. and Madame Voisin, etc. The whole party then walked through the small town and got into other steam launches, in which we continued our journey to the south, down the Maritime Canal, which is certainly a great and most wonderful work. We went as far as the dam where the water is being let slowly into the Bitter Lakes. This is also a most interesting sight. At present every thing round you seems quite dry, and all looks like the desert; yet by letting the water in in this manLake Timsah.—The Viceroy's Chålet. 147
ner, the lakes, which extend upward of forty miles, will in five or six months be quite filled, and in the part through which the canal goes there will be a depth of thirty feet of water. Having inspected the dam, we re-embarked and returned toward the north, by the Maritime Canal, to Lake Timsah (Arabic for crocodile). We arrived there at five o'clock, but it was past six before we got to Ismaila, where a triumphal arch had been erected at the landing-place, troops lining the road, etc. Lord Huntly, Lord Gosford, and Sir H. Pelly joined us here, having arrived from Cairo in a special train given by the Viceroy.
The Prince and Princess got into a basket-carriage drawn by four horses ; I was put, with some of the gentlemen, into another; and the rest of the party followed on horseback. We thus passed through the town, and drove about three miles farther through the desert to the Viceroy's châlet, a very pretty little pavilion, built on high ground overlooking Lake Timsah.
The Prince and Princess and myself were lodged here, the rest of the party, amounting to eighteen, being doubled up in some small outhouses and tents close by. Dinner was served in a large tent below the pavilion; the French party, who had been with us all day, coming to dinner in a small steamer.
All the china, plate, servants, etc., had been sent out here from Cairo by the Viceroy, and having a most excellent French dinner, there was an end to any little illusion we may have been under that we should have to “rough it” during our visit to the desert.
Got to bed at eleven o'clock, but slept very little on account of the noise, the servants being busy packing and talking outside my window great part of the night.
March 26. Left our châlet at nine o'clock; M. de Lesseps, who had come over with his party from Ismaila, accompanying us. The Princess, myself, and Mourad Pasha went in a basket-carriage with four horses; the gentlemen on horseback, who seemed to enjoy their ride through the desert in spite of the heat, and had a good gallop. In less than an hour we arrived at El Guisr, and there we got out and paid a visit to M. —, the engineer of the division. He has got the most charming little châlet here imaginable. The garden is perfect, filled with beautiful trees, and yet it is only the creation of four
for before that time it was still a part of the desert, which surrounds this lovely spot on all sides. All these French people seem quite delighted with their existence here, and told me they had never felt so well or so happy as they have done since they have