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horse and I would never have been seen again. We rode pretty fast home, and I enjoyed my ride very much, and was delighted that every body had at starting thought of themselves, and not of
and thus taken away all the dromedaries and donkeys. Lord Carington, Sir H. Pelly, Colonel Teesdale, Colonel Marshall, and Lord Stafford belonged to the party I was with, and we got back to Assouan by seven o'clock, and found the first division of the party not yet arrived. The steamers and boats were all illuminated, and also on shore, near the landing-place, a great many lamps were hung up. Got to bed at 11.30, rather tired.
It was the last night, for the present, we were to pass in our comfortable dahabeah.
Between the Cataracts.
BETWEEN THE CATARAOTS.
FEBRUARY 22. We were up early this morning,
and busy packing and preparing for our expedition to the Second Cataract. At one o'clock we bid good-by for a time to our old dahabeah, and embarked—the Princess, myself, the Duke of Sutherland, and other gentlemen—in a boat, with the purpose of pulling to the foot of the First Cataract, where the Prince of Wales was to meet us. He had started earlier, in order to pay a visit to Lady Duff Gordon, who was living in her dahabeah a little above Assouan. The day was fearfully hot, not a breath of wind, so the men had to row all the way, and this, with our loaded boat, was slow and heavy work. Sometimes the men got out and towed us along from the bank. We were perfectly broiled with the burning sun and close packing; and, what was worse, our excellent captain did not seem to know the least where he was to go, nor had any one the slightest idea where we should find our donkeys, which had been sent forward to wait for us.
We stopped twice, and landed once; but there was
nothing to be seen of the Prince or any one. After pulling in this manner for two hours, we came at last to where the road leads off to Philae, and, on getting out of the boat, found, to our delight, two boys with two wretched donkeys, without bridles, and only one of them with any thing like a saddle, and that a miserable sort of wooden affair. The other had nothing but a cushion tied on. In spite of all this, we mounted these animals in the best way we could, the Princess on the one with the cushion, and I on that with the wooden saddle. Such as they were, we were really grateful for them, as the heat was now quite unbearable (I should say not less than 120° Fahr.), and the prospect of a long walk through the deep burning sand was not tempting. I found it rather difficult at first to keep my seat on the donkey, as there was nothing to hold on by, and it was, consequently, a mere question of balance. But one of the gentlemen walked by me ready to help me in case of need. The wooden saddle, too, was so uncomfortable that, at last, I had it taken off, and rode on the bare back. My great difficulty was that my legs hung down so low as almost to touch the ground, in clambering up some rough and narrow places, where the path was full of stones. The Princess got on beautifully, and I think we both enjoyed our day's adventure.
Journey to the First Cataract.
We had ridden thus for near three miles, when at last our own donkeys met us. They had been looking for us every where. We immediately got upon them and rode down to the Cataract, where we found the Prince and the rest of the party, who had been anxiously waiting for us.
We here saw a number of black natives, like so many savages, who threw themselves into the river, and swam down the rapids in the most marvelous manner, steering themselves very cleverly between the rocks; some of them sitting on small bits of wood, and looking as much at home as if they had been quietly riding on shore. They all landed close to us, and rushed upon us to get "Backsheesh.” However, they had first to do it over again, and then they got a handful of silver to divide among them. This was the moment to see the savage type display itself in force. The shouting and screaming that the sight of these wretched coins in one of the men's hands produced can not be described. Still, there was no fighting; they only seemed to use very bad language in very high voices, and a single motion of a stick was enough to cow and quiet these poor good-humored Arabs.
It is really very striking in this country to see how crowds of people, however great the excitement may be among them, fly off and disperse the instant a man who considers himself to have the right to any authority appears, and gives but one threatening sign with a stick or cane; and you never hear a single groan or murmur! After having run off a few yards, they stop, turn round and grin, showing their beautiful teeth, and only return this unjust treatment with a most good-natured smile! Altogether, the people strike me as a most good-natured and good-humored race; nor can one feel the least alarmed on finding one's self in the midst of a crowd of these natives; on the contrary, one only regrets not to be able to talk to them, they all look so pleased, kind, and simplehearted !*
But I have got out of my day's history, and must return to where I left the
savages running up behind the rock to divide their money. .
We now got on our donkeys again, and rode on to the Temple of Philae, where it had been the original intention to have luncheon at two o'clock. We crossed in boats, and had a very rough bit of walk to get
* Some, to whom I have read this, tell me that all this only proves how intense the feeling of fear must be that exists here, and that, were the reign of terror by which alone these poor wretches are kept in subjection, removed, I should soon change my opinion of them. I should be sorry to believe that they are not the gentle, simple-hearted beings they appear.