Page images

woman) as myself. As he acts as clerk describe manner, which produces so to Mustafa, our consular agent, and much of the impression of novelty. wears a shabby brown shirt or gown, Luxor, March 10th.Yesterday was and speaks no English, I dare say he Bairam, and on Tuesday evening everynot seldom encounters great slights body who possessed a gun or a pistol (from sheer ignorance). He produced a banged away, every drum and taraboubit of old Cufic manuscript, and con- keh was thumped, and all the children sulted M. de Ronge as to its meaning, hallooed, Ramadan Mát! Ramadan a pretty little bit of flattery in an Arab Māt! “Ramadan is dead,” about the alim to a Frenchman; to which the latter streets. was not insensible, I saw. In answer At daybreak Omar went to the early to the invariable questions about all my prayer, a special ceremony of the day ; family, I once told him my father had there were crowds of people; so, as it been a great alim of the law, and that was useless to pray and preach in the my mother had got ready his written mosque, Sheykh Yussuf went out upon book, and put some lectures in order, to a hillock in the burying-ground, where be printed. He was amazed, first that I they all prayed, and he preached. Omar had a mother, as he told me he thought reported the sermon to me as follows I was fifty or sixty, and immensely (it is all extempore) : First Yussuf delighted at the idea. “God has pointed to the graves,—“ Where are “ favoured your family with understand all those people ?" and to the ancient “ ing and knowledge. I wish I could temples, “Where are those who built “ kiss the sheykhah, your mother's them ? Do not strangers from a far “ hand. May God favour her.”

country take away their very corpses M—-'s portrait (as usual) 'he ad- to wonder at ? What did their splenmired fervently, and said one saw his dour avail them ?” &c. &c. What, then, good qualities in his face ;-a compli- O Muslims, will avail that you may ment I could have fully returned as be happy when that comes which will he sat looking at the picture with affec- come for all ? Truly God is just, and tionate eyes, and praying, sotto voce, for will defraud no man, and He will re“ el gaddar, el gemeel” (the youth, ward you if you do what is right; the beautiful), in the words of the and that is, to wrong no man, neither Fathah, “Oh, give him guidance, and in his person, nor in his family, nor in “ let him not stray in the paths of his possessions. Cease then to cheat one “ the rejected!” Altogether something another, O men! and to be greedy; and in Sheykh Yussuf reminds me of Wors- do not think that you can make amends ley. There is the same look of Seelen- by afterwards giving alms or praying or reinheit, with far less thought and in- fasting, or giving gifts to the servants of telligence (indeed, little thought), of the mosques. Benefits come from God; course, and an additional child-like it is enough for you if you do no injury innocence. I suppose some mediæval to any man, and, above all, to any woman monks may have had the same look, but or little one ! no Catholic I have ever seen looks so Of course the sermon was much longer, peaceful or so unpretending. I see in him, but this was the substance, Omar tells as in all people who don't know what me; and pretty sound morality too doubt means, an easy familiarity with methinks, and might be preached with religion. I hear him joke with Omar advantage to a meeting of philanthroabout Ramadan, and even about Omar's pists in Exeter Hall. There is no assiduous prayers, and he is a frequent predestination in Islam, and every man and hearty laugher. I wonder whether will be judged upon his actions. “Even this gives you any idea of a character unbelievers God will not defraud,” says new to you; it is so impossible to the Koran. Of course, the belief in

i Philip Stanhope Worsley, the translator meritorious works leads to the same sort of the “ Odyssey."

of superstition as it does among Catho

lics — the endeavour to “make one's soul,” by alms, fastings, endowments, &c.; therefore Yussuf's stress upon doing no evil seems to me very remarkable and really profound.

After the sermon, all the company assembled rushed on Yussuf to kiss his head and his hands and his feet, and mobbed him so fearfully that he had to lay about him with the wooden sword, which is carried by the officiating alim. Yussuf came to wish mo the customary good wishes soon after, and looked very hot and tumbled, and laughed heartily about the awful kissing he had under gone. All the men embrace on meeting on the festival of Bairam.

The kitchen is full of cakes, ringshaped, which all my friends have sent me, just such as we see offered to the gods in the temples and tombs. I went and called on the Maõhn in the evening, and found a number of people all dressed in their best. Half were Copts, among them a very pleasing young priest, who carried on a religious discussion with Seleem Effendi,—strange to say, with perfect good humour on both sides.

A Copt came up with his farm-labourer, who had been beaten, and the field robbed. The Copt stated the case in ten words, and the Maõhn sent off his cawass with him to apprehend the accused persons, who were to be tried at sunrise and beaten, if found guilty, and forced to make good the damage.

March 12th.Yesterday, we had a strange and unpleasant day's business. The evening before, I had my pocket picked in Karnac by two men who hung about me, one to sell a bird, the other, one of the regular “loafers" who lurk about the ruins to beg, and sell water or curiosities, and who are all a lazy, bad lot, of course. I went to Seleem, who wrote at once to the Sheykh el Beled of Karnac, to say that we should go over next morning at eight o'clock (two, Arab time), to in vestigate the affair, and to desire him to apprehend the men. Next morning Seleem fetched me, and Mustafa camo to represent English interests, and as

we rode out of Luxor, the Sheykh el Ababdeh joined us with some of his tribe, with their long guns, and many more with lances; he was a volunteer, furious at the idea of a lady and a stranger being robbed. It is the first time it has happened here, and the desire to beat was so strong, that I went to act as counsel for the prisoner. Every one was peculiarly savage that it should have happened to me, a person well known to be friendly to El Muslimeen.

When we arrived we went into a square inclosure, with a sort of cloister on one side, spread with carpets, where we sat, and the wretched fellows were brought in in chains. To my horror, I found they had been beaten already; I remonstrated; “What if you have beaten the wrong men ?” “Malesh, we will beat the whole village until your purse is found.” I said to Mustafa, “This won't do; you must stop this." So Mustafa ordained, with the concurrence of the Maõhn, that the Sheykh el Beled and the “Gefieh," (the keeper of the ruins,) should pay me the value of the purse; as the people of Karnac are very troublesome in begging and worrying, I thought this would be a good lesson to the said sheykh to keep better order, and I consented to receive the money, promising to return it and to give a napoleon over, if the purse comes back with its contents (31 napoleons). The Sheykh el Ababdeh harangued the people on their ill-behaviour to “Hareemat," and called them “Haramee' (rascals), and was very high and mighty to the Sheykh el Beled. Hereupon, I went away on a visit to a Turkish lady in the village, leaving Mustafa to settle. After I was gone they beat eight or ten of the boys who had mobbed me and begged with the two men; Mustafa, who does not like the stick, stayed to see that they were not hurt, and so far it will be a good lesson to them. He also had the two men sent over to the prison here, for fear the Sheykh el Beled should beat them again, and will keep them here for a time. So far so good ; but my fear now is, that innocent people will be squeezed to make up the

[ocr errors]

money, if the men do not give up the out of civility to me. There was no purse. I have told Sheykh Yussuf to alternative between my forgiving him keep watch how things go, and if the “for the love of God,” or sending him men persist in the theft, and don't return to certain death by a climate inthe purse, I shall give the money to supportable to these people. Mustafa those whom the Sheykh el Beled will and Co. tried hard to prevent Sheykh assuredly squeeze, or else to the mosque Yussuf from speaking to me, for fear I of Karnac. I cannot pocket it, though should be angry and complain at Cairo, I thought it quite right to exact the fine if my vengeance were not wreaked on as a warning to the Karnac mauvais the thief; but he said he knew me sujets.

better, and brought the procés-verbal to The whole thing distressed me horri- show me. Fancy my dismay. I went bly. If I had not been there, they to Seleem Effendi and to the Cadi with would have beaten right and left; and if Sheykh Yussuf, and begged the man I had shown any desire to have any might be let go, and not be sent to one punished, evidently they would Keneh at all. Having settled this, I have half killed the two men. Mustafa said that I had thought it right that the behaved extremely well; he showed people of Karnac should pay the money sense, decision, and more feelings of I had lost, as a fine for their bad humanity than I at all expected of him. conduct to strangers, but that I did not

Pray do try to get him paid. The Eng- require it for the sake of the money, lish consuls at Cairo are not nearly so which I would accordingly give to the civil, and old Mustafa has all the trouble poor of Luxor in the mosque and in the and work of the Nile boats (eighty-five church (great applause from the crowd). this winter), and he is boundlessly kind I asked how many were Muslimeen and useful to the English, and a real and how many Nazranee, in order to protection against cheating. When divide the three napoleons and a half Mustafa was appointed, there were about according to the numbers. Sheykh five or six boats a year, now there are Yussuf awarded one napoleon to the always from seventy to one hundred and church, two to the mosque, and the twenty, and he does not get a farthing, half to the water-drinking place, the and is really out of pocket. Pray do Sebeel, which was also applauded. I then not fail to represent all these things said, “Shall we send the money to the to Mr. Layard.

Bishop?” but a respectable elderly

Copt said, “Malesh, malesh(never mind), April 6th.—I told you how my purse “ better give it all to Sheykh Yussuf; had been stolen, and the proceedings “he will send the bread to the church.” thereanent. Well! Mustafa asked me Then the Cadi made me a fir several times what I wished to be done speech, and said I had behaved like with the thief, who spent twenty-one a great Ameereh (lady), and one that days here in irons. With my absurd feared God; and Sheykh Yussuf said English ideas of justice, I refused to he knew the English had mercy in their interfere at all; and Omar and I had stomachs, and that I especially had quite a tiff, because he wished me to say, Mussulman feelings (as we say, Christian “Oh! poor man, let him go; I leave charity). the affair to God.” I thought Omar Did you ever hear of such a state absurd ; it was I who was wrong. The of administration of justice? Of course, authorities concluded that it would sympathy here, as in Ireland, is mostly oblige me very much if the poor devil with the “poor man” in prison, were punished with “a rigour beyond in trouble, as we say I find that, the law ;" and had not Sheykh Yussuf accordingly, a vast number of disputes come and explained the nature of the are settled by private arbitration, and proceedings, the man would have been Yussuf is constantly sent for to decide sent up to the mines in Fazogl for life, between contending parties, who abide No. 65.-VOL. XI.


by his decision rather than go to law; or else, five or six respectable men are called upon to form a sort of amateur jury, and to settle the matter. In criminal cases, if the prosecutor is powerful, he has it all his own way ; if the prisoner can bribe high, he is apt to get off. All the appealing to my compassion was quite en règle ;-another trait of Egypt.

The other day we found all our waterjars empty, and our house unsprinkled; on inquiry, it turned out that the Sakkas had all run away, carrying with them their families and goods, and were gone no one knew whither, in consequence of “some persons having authority," or one, a Turkish cawass (policeman), having forced them to fetch water for building purposes at so low a price that they could not bear it. My poor Sakka is gone without a whole month's pay-two shillings, the highest pay by far given in Luxor.

I am interested in another story. I hear that a plucky woman here has been to Keneh, and threatened the Moodir that she will go to Cairo, and complain to Effendina himself of the unfair drafting for soldiers ; her only son taken, while others have bribed off. She will walk in this heat all the way, unless she succeeds in frightening the Moodir, which, as she is of the more spirited sex in this country, she may possibly do. You see these Sacedees are a bit less patient than the people in Lower Egypt; the Sakkas can strike, and a woman can face a Moodir.

Some one tried to put it into Omar's head that it was “Haran” to be too fond of us heretics and be faithful"; but he consulted Sheykh Yussuf, who promised him a reward hereafter for good conduct to me, and who told me of it as a good joke; adding that he was "Ragul Ameen,” the highest praise for fidelity, the

sobriquet of the Prophet. Omar kisses the hands of his Sidi el Keeber (the great master), and desires his best salaam to the little master and the little lady, whose servant he is. He asks if I too do not kiss Scander Bey's hand in my letter, as I ought to do, as his Hareem; or whether I make myself “big before my master," like some French ladies he has seen. Yussuf is quite puzzled about European women, and a little shocked at the want of respect to their husbands they display. I told him that the outward respect shown us by our men was our veil, and explained how superficial the difference was. He fancied that the law gave us the upper hand.

Omar reports yesterday's sermon,"On Toleration,” it appears. Yussuf took the text, “Thou shalt love thy brother as thyself, and never act towards him but as thou wouldst he should act towards thee." I forget the chapter and verse, but it seems he took the bull by the horns, and declared all men to be brothers,—not Muslimeen only, and desired his congregation to look at the good deeds of others, and not at their erroneous faith ; for God is all-knowing (i.e. He only knows the heart), and if they saw aught amiss, to remember that the best man needs say“ Astalfer Allah" (I beg pardon of God) seven times a day.

I wish the English could know how unpleasant and mischievous their manner of talking to their servants about religion is. Omar confided to me “ how bad it felt to be questioned and then to see the Englishman laugh, or put up his lip and say nothing." "I don't want to talk about his religion at all, but if he talks about mine he ought to speak of his own too. You, my lady, say, when I tell you things, "that is the same with us,' or that is different, or good, or not good, in your mind; and that is the proper way, not to look like thinking, all nonsense."



A BED, four walls, and a swart crucifix-
Nought else, save my own brain and four small words !
Four scorpions! which, instead of cloistered death,
Have stung me into life! How long may't be
Since silver censers flung their incense up,
And in full choir a sound of voices rose,
Chaunting their even-song, and praising God-
“In that our brother here was dead, and lives ?."
Then came the organ's surging symphony,
And I, a unit ’midst the tonsured crowd,
Passed on, a monk; while in my ear there rung
Those four short, burning words,“ She was not false !"
Oh ! fiend incarnate, that could urge me on,
E'en to the very brink and see me plunge-
Then, seeing, whisper what would else have saved
A life-long misery

They brought me here
To pray, and keep the Vigil of St. John ;
To make thanksgiving—What was it he said,
The reverend preacher who discoursed to-day?
“ Many indeed are called, but chosen few.?
Chosen ! and this the Vigil of St. John,
When trembling maidens to the fountain come
To view their future husbands mirrored there :
She, too, perhaps, may be amidst the throng ?
Ah! me, I shall go mad. How long is it
Since I have grovelled here? It seems to me
Well nigh a life-time since they came and brought
The dim oil-lamp, that flickers near my head.
How heavily their flabby, naked feet
Came whilom flapping through the corridor !
“Our brother prays," quoth one; the other said,
(Poking the lamp's wick with his finger-tip)
“In truth I marvel not that he is moved ;
An angel's self might have been stirred to hear
My Lord the Bishop as he preached to-day.”
Poor souls ! if they could but have read my heart,
It would have seared even their inert gross flesh
Into a flame of fear. I recollect,
On my young sister Isa's wedding day,
Our mother smiled, and said it brought to her
Again the freshness of her buried youth.
Great God! see! here is my own youth, unspent,
Living a death. Alas! no more for me
The silvery laughter of fair mirthful girls,
Like distant bells across the breezy downs;
No more the soft hands' thrilling touch, that sends
The young hot life-blood rushing through the veins ;

« PreviousContinue »