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made of flannel, which we always wear upon these riding expeditions. We started at nine o'clock to see the Temple of Karnak by moonlight. We had little light, however, on the way there, except from the lamps that were carried with us, for when we set off the moon was still 'very low. We were about fifty in all, besides a great number of natives, most of whom were on horses and donkeys. Arrived at the beginning of the ruins, we stopped, and got off our donkeys, and walked up the avenue of sphinxes to the big temple. The moon had now risen higher and shone brightly, and I never saw any thing so grand and so beautiful as the appearance of these enormous columns, partly lit up by its light. When we got close to the temple, an electric light was lit between each column, and in the background there was a display of rockets, and fire-works forming stars of different colors. Any thing so fine or so beautiful, with the obelisk in the centre, I can hardly conceive. It was like what one reads of in the Thousand and One Nights more than any thing else. These fireworks had been arranged by the Prince as a surprise for the Princess, though I am afraid the secret had been let out by mistake, and she rather expected to see something of the kind. The light sandstone color of the columns showed, too, to great advantage by
Night Visit to Karnak.
this light, and contrasted beautifully with the dark starlit sky.
Indeed, the whole scene was one of surprising beauty, and made a very deep impression on me. One did feel so small, so thoroughly nothing, in the midst of this magnificent combination of the works of God and man! It would, indeed, require days and days to take it all in. I walked about alone with the Princess amid this forest, one may say, of gigantic columns, and wherever we came there was some new scene to admire! The natives, in their pretty dresses, had grouped themselves here and there in the most picturesque way, smoking their pipes, and gazing with astonished admiration at every thing that was going on. I also walked outside the temple, and, perhaps, the effect of the temple only lit up by the moon was the most striking sight of all. The columns looked as if they almost touched the sky. One could not help forgetting the present, and thinking of it all as it was 3000 years ago. There was the work still before us as perfect as ever, and yet it is not even known by whom it was erected! I could have stood and looked at it all for ever so long; but, after having seen the leaning column lit up, we were effectually awoke from our dreams of old time by a glass of iced Champagne, etc. (the ice made by a machine, while we were there, by our English servants !), and took our departure at twelve o'clock.
The start was a real scramble, and so was the beginning of the ride home. The light from the moon was very feeble, the crowd was very large ; there was no order, but every body rushed about and screamed. Luckily, some of the party took care of me, and led my donkey part of the way, or, I fancy, I should have come to grief. A horse got loose, and came right against me, while I was quite surrounded by donkeys and horses on all sides, and could not move right or left. The dust, too, was horrible, and having dropped rather too far behind, we were in the middle of the crowd of animals, stifled with the dust, and could only see the torches and lamps (which surrounded the Prince and Princess, who headed the cortège) at a great distance before us. So we decided to keep back still more, when one of the gentlemen rode up and asked me if it would amuse me to ride home on a dromedary. He had just seen one in the crowd, which had brought the mail. Mourad Pasha, who heard of this, said it was impossible; but I disregarded all his objections, which seemed weak compared to my great wish to get on. So, though they said I had better not if I was the least nervous, I stopped and got off my donkey. We got hold of the dromedary, and a
Ride on a Dromedary.
man with a feeble lamp. Colonel Marshall got on once first to show me how to hold on while the beast gets up, which is really the only difficulty. He is made to kneel down with all four legs. You then get on, and the moment he feels the weight on his back he gets up, by first raising one joint of his hind legs, with a tremendous jerk, which, of course, throws you violently forward; and hardly have you had time to hold on in this position, than you are as violently thrown back, while he gets up on his fore legs; and then comes another bump, while he quite raises his hind legs. It is almost like three electric shocks, but all done in a second. There was no saddle and no stirrups, and I had nothing but small bits of wood behind and in front, between which a straw cushion was tied, and on which I sat. However, I held on beautifully, and enjoyed my three miles' ride home immensely. I had a gentleman riding on each side of me, so I felt there was some rescue at hand should I slip off. The road was very uneven and bad, but the dromedary walked through it all as steadily as possible. The motion was something like that of a boat rolling about in the water, and you swing about a good deal, which makes you feel very unsafe, without saddle or stirrups. Being now well behind the crowd, we avoided the dust, and got home just as the remainder of the party, having dismounted, were still assembled, and stood there much astonished to see me sailing home on my high charger. On getting off, you have to undergo the same three shocks as on mounting; the dromedary kneels down again, doubling up his legs joint after joint, and off you go
We only got back to our dahabeah at 1.30, and it was past two o'clock when I got to bed, very tired, after having been riding and walking about, more or less, since six in the morning, when I got up. I slept badly, and got up at nine.
February 19. Left Thebes at 6 A.M. Breakfasted very late, and stopped at Esné for coaling at twelve o'clock. Started again at one o'clock, and arrived at Edfou at 5.45. The Princess and I landed, and looked at some very stupid sword-dancing, which was accompanied by a man screaming as loud as he could. Wrote some letters for the mail, having received some from Sweden the morning before—the first since we left Cairo. Thank God! all well at home.
February 20. Breakfasted at nine, and at ten we rode off to the temple of Edfou, about a quarter of an hour from the river. This temple is certainly better preserved than any other we have seen, and is very fine. There is a large court-yard, with handsome columns, beautifully carved, and numerous small and