Page images


The Children's Corner.

"I DONT CARE." In an old spelling book with pictures, there was a tale about “ Tom and Harry.” Tom was a good lad, but Harry was a rough fellow who often did wrong, and when told of it always said, “I dont care." So he went on, and at last went to sea. When in a country where there were wild beasts, he was told to mind, but again he said, “I dont care." Well, one day a lion got hold of him, killed him, and ate him up! And 80 the old spelling book says, “ Dont care brought Harry to an ill end.”

Whether this was so or not I cannot tell; but I do know that many boys have got into trouble by not caring what they did. But who taught them to say, I dont care." Not their fathers or mothers I hope. Perhaps they heard some big stupid swaggering fellow shout out in the street when half drunk, “I care for nobody, for nobody cares for me." Boys ought to know better than imitate such a great clown. Just think of it. Such a fellow does not take care himself, and how can be expect others to take care of him. They have all got something better to do.

Beside it is a very bad saying, for it is not true. Look at a boy that tries to make himself pleasant with his companions and takes care not to do them any harm, why all the others will try to be pleasant with him, and take care not to offend him. Depend upon it if

you are kind to others, others will be kind to you. As long as you live you will find that half your happiness will come from your trying to make others happy. Never, then, my dear lads, let such words come out of your

mouth as “I dont care," or "I care for nobody, for nobody cares for me.”

"I care for every body," and then you will find that "everybody cares for you."

Try to get hold of some good sayings. Here are too nice verses for you to get off and sing :“I'll not willingly offend,

" He that is down needs fear no fall, Or be easily offended;

He that is low no pride; What's amiss I'll strive to mend, He that is humble ever shall

And endure what can't be mended."| Have God to be his guide."

Rather say,


HERE we are in Egypt, by the side of that mysterious Nile, whose annual flow has inade its immense valley not only the granary and garden of the world, but for ages the seat of empire and of science. And still it flows, with the same rise of twenty-three feet, as four thousand years ago. The natural scenery and advantages of the country are still the same, and all the land, with its blanketed men and enslaved women, its camels and donkeys, its sun-dried bricks and primitive agriculture, appears very much as indicated in the dim morning of history, twenty

five hundred years before Christ. Here are the pyramids and : the obelisks, with their strange inscriptions and earliest specimens of written language. Here Joseph was bought, imprisoned, and honoured; and here his people toiled in bondage two hundred years. Perhaps we walk upon the very fields where ney toiled; and as they now make bricks just as they were made then, and as the pyramids and other monuments reach back to their day, the associations are striking. And this stand-still aspect of the country is one of the first things that strikes the mind. You seem not only to have gone three thousand miles from home, but to have gone back three thousand years at least in history.

There is no winter here in reality. We arrived upon the 4th of February to find spring or summer. Some of the wheat planted immediately after the Nile begins to fall, the last of October, now shows the head, while other crops are planted later. Plums and peaches, roses and other flowers, are in bloom.

The lands and their culture attract attention first of all. The valley of the Nile is from five to forty miles wide, embracing about sixteen thousand square miles, bounded upon either side by barren deserts. These fields are of course destitute of fences, but cut up by canals, through which the water passes to and fro, and from which, by wheels, well-sweeps, or swinging baskets, the water is thrown into small ditches for irrigation, after the Nile falls back into the channel. The land is cultivated by camels, buffaloes, donkeys, mules, horses, oxen, and cows, harnessed or yoked promiscuously, according to circumstances. The yokes are simple poles, nearly straight, about six or eight feet long. Frequently a small camel and cow are yoked together. Cows are


more commonly worked than oxen; the latter being killed for meat, as I suppose. Camels and donkeys are much more numerous than horses.

All the instruments of husbandry are of the most simple kind. A straight stick, about four feet long, with a piece of iron about four inches wide at the point, constitute all of the plough but the handle and beam. From the back end of this two perpendicular sticks, about four inches apart and three feet high, tied together with a cord, stand for the handles. From the same point, and attached to the bed, a long pole for a beam extends to the yoke, and is there tied by a rope. By this means the bed piece is simply dragged endwise through the ground, stirring about as much as a respectable pig's nose. All their instruments are of the same simple primitive character, and everything seems to be done without any regard to the economy or effectiveness of labour.

There are some burnt brick for palaces and extraordinary work, but most of the brick are of mud deposited by the Nile, made very roughly and dried in the sun, just as in the days, of Moses. These mud brick, and sometimes nothing but mud and straw, are laid into houses ten or fifteen feet square, and about eight feet high. And these huts, covered with palm leaves, or sometimes with branches and mud, without windows and with only an opening for a door, constitute the great majority of all the houses in Egypt. In some parts of the cities there are palaces and residences of the rich built more in European style, and others have stone mixed with the mud, so as to carry the walls higher up; but hundreds of acres in and around the cities are covered with the low huts above described, and the villages are almost entirely made up of such houses, with scarcely a window to be seen. There are no houses elsewhere than in cities or villages, and no barns anywhere. The animals graze, being tied to a stake, or else the men or women sit down upon the ground, and with a knife about as large as a butcher's knife cut the clover and feed or sell it green. I see no indications of any dried feed excepting straw, and am told that hay is never dried and kept as in other countries.

The costume and habits of the people are quite as simple and antique as their houses. A good many Europeans and Americans are here for business or pleasure, and of course dress like


civilized beings; and some of the Egyptian officers and nobility begin to yield a little to French tailors and milliners, but the great mass of the people, although adopting a great variety of colours and patterns, still continue some form of a loose dress and enormous turban. It is very difficult to describe this dress. But you may imagine a man with a slight under garment reaching a little below the waist, with a narrow, thin skirt extending below the knee, and sometimes to the ankle, closed at the bottom around each limb, and a turban, consisting of a small tight cap and a shawl, or long roll of white, red, or black cloth, wound around the head at its base,-and you have a common example. Some have white stockings and French shoes, but nineteentwentieths of the people wear nothing upon their feet, and some wear thin, rough slippers, or very low raw-hide shoes, without stockings. Most of the common labourers, however, wear nothing but a loose frock, extending a little below the knees, and a turban. Our guide who accompanied us to the pyramids wore such a frock, costing him three shillings; over that a loose cloth around the loins, costing three shillings more; and a turban of silver wove cloth, costing thirty-three shillings. This last, of course, was the extra suit for special occasions. But common labourers can clothe themselves for eight shillings a year. Indeed we had not proceeded far from Alexandria before we saw one biped, as light coloured as Egyptians (viz., about the shade of a şun-burnt sailor), about five feet two inches high, of what species I do not know, perfectly innocent of all fashions and articles of clothing, moving as calm as the buffalo team he was driving. I have noted several such cases, but they are not common. It is not uncommon, however, to see men, like one upon the boat in which we took our ride upon the Nile, without coverings upon the upper or lower extremities; and a good many labour with only a cloth around the loins. This is Egypt, apparently less civilized than when the pyramids and obelisks were finished thirty-five hundred years ago.

Their places and methods of business are also very singular and primitive. The streets are very narrow, without pavements, and never cleaned excepting as ladies (?) or their daughters gather portions of the filth, mix it with straw and water, make it into cakes about six inches in diameter and two inches thick, and use or sell it for fuel. Some of the streets in Alexandria and Cairo are wide enough for carriages, and some splendid hacks


from Europe or America are driven by the foreigners and officials, but most of them, especially in Cairo, are too narrow for wheels, or even loaded camels, admitting of footmen or donkeys only. Upon some of these better streets the French and English have some very pretty shops with very fair goods at good prices. But most of them consist of a recess about eight feet wide, seven feet high, and six or eight feet deep. Around this space the goods are placed, and the trader sits upon the floor, which is about two feet two inches above the street, where he can reach in either direction to accommodate the customers, who are very patient, for the apparently stupid dealer is in no hurry to trade, or to deliver the articles sold. The streets are generally crowded, for the people seem to live out of doors; and not unfrequently there is some pushing, a good deal of loud talk, and flourishing of canes, which are carried by almost everybody. But upon the whole the people at Cairo and in the villages seem rather dull and not quarrelsome. And even the dogs, which abound in innumerable companies, knowing neither master nor owner, but wandering like the Arabs upon the desert, will snarl and howl and show their wolfish teeth, for their ears and general form look more like wolves than dogs, and yet not raise their sluggish heads from the sand. But the sour spirit seems to amount to more at Alexandria, where I saw more contention, striking, and cruelty than ever before in the same length of time. But all kinds of business and labour seem to be upon the driving principle the master with his stick, and the labourer or servant under him. And this arises, to a great extent, from the nature and character of the government, an absolute monarchy of the severest kind. The Viceroy, we are told, owns nearly one-half of all the land, and compels the people to furnish their own provisions and labour such a portion of the time upon his lands without pay. Railroads, palaces, and all public works are built in the same way. And our dragoman, after pointing to one palace after another, says that all the good houses in Egypt are palaces of pashas, or residences of foreign traders. The spirit of oppression seems to be universal. The higher officers oppress the lower, the under officers the people, and the men drive the donkeys. But of all the oppressions, that of the women and girls is the most deplorable; and this is the secret of Egypt's fall. It is clear to my mind that the oppression of woman leads to indolence, ignorance, and the decline of civilization, and is the main

« PreviousContinue »