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NAPLES, ITALY, December 27. Of the many beautiful landscapes which are seen by the European voyager, the harbor of Naples is perhaps the most cherished; and especially picturesque does it seem to us, this mild December evening, as, having bestowed our traveling effects in the cabin of the stanch ship "Olympus," we go upon deck to obtain a farewell glimpse of the matchless Italian bay.
The steamer speeds swiftly oceanward as the evening falls.
Immediately before us are multitudes of lanterns and colored signal-lights, dancing like fire-works upon the tall masts of the frequent vessels which fill the harbor; and beyond, shining out clearly in the glare of its household fires, rises afar the crescent city, which encircles the wide harbor; while yet, farther and farther back, upon the distant slopes of surrounding hills, glimmer lonely or clustering fire-fly flashes, which bespeak the frequent villages or solitary homes.
As we plow onward, through the thickening gloom we see the grim isles of Ischia and Capri, looming up like dark sentinelsseeming guardians of their beautiful mistress, over whose enchanted life yet more jealously towers the giant Vesuvius. Its purple flames shed a lurid light upon the scene, and from its depths are heard occasional foreboding sounds, like the murmur of discontented voices.
But, as we speed far away into the night, the lesser lights die slowly out, like the stars upon the clouding night, and soon little is to be seen but the high, bright, fitful breath of the Vesuvian genii, condensing into massive vapors, which hang, menacing and black, over the unstable habitations which nestle among these treacherous hills.
Early morning finds us approaching the Sicilian shores; we are awakened, and by the time we arrive upon deck, our good ship is plunging into the swift and turbulent current of Messina, into whose straits, urged on by the strong south wind, the boisterous sea is surging.
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, January 1. After a somewhat tedious voyage, the fifth day finds us refreshing ourselves with the luscious oranges of Egypt, while our feverish blood is fanned by the soft breezes which blow upon the African coasts, balmily tempered by the dry winds from the Lybian Deserts.
Our disembarkment at Alexandria is,
indeed, a grotesque scene. The steamer is surrounded by a multitude of row-boats, whose crews are composed of from two to a dozen men, clad in all colors and forms of raiment, and comprising the various nationalities of the East-the thick-lipped Ethiopian and the curved-nosed Arabian; the acute Greek and the bright Armenian; the long-skirted "fellah" and the full-costumed European guide, who, the health officer permitting, is soon to take charge of us, and worry us through the hubbub of landing.
There are no docks, nor even lighters; a wide open harbor, and but these cockleshells of boats to convey us ashore over the tossing waves. After much quarantine and official ceremony, we are, however, glad to embark with even such motley and hooting crews for oarsmen, and are clumsily but safely rowed past numberless ships and quaint old barges toward the low-lying sandbeach, beyond which rises the city of Alexandria, some modern-looking houses, a few palaces, and an army of wind-mills stretching away down the shore.
Happily landed, at length, at the low quay, the mummery of the custom-house over, and safely ensconced in our snug hotel, we begin to realize that we are in Egypt, the land of This and Sesostris; of the Star-gazers; of Isis and Osiris; of Moses and the Pharaohs; of the Bull and the Beetle; of Alexander and the Ptolemies; of the Cat and the Ibis; of the Crocodile and the Mummy; of Cleopatra and Cæsar; the land of obelisks, pyramids, and temples; of the Sphinx; the kingdom of the sun and of eternal summer, where flows the mysterious Nile, upon whose banks well might some epicurean hope to discover eternal life!
After much-needed refreshment at one of the two principal hotels, we saunter through the broad avenues of modern Alexandria; and we drop in at the Turkish bazaars, followed by a crowd of oddly shaven donkeys, with still odder names, punched along by the blue-shirted driver boys, who shout out the charms of each beast in a deafening chorus of "ride 'Hankee Dudu,' 'Big Injun,' 'Tom Thumb,' and 'Prince Charlie;' him bery good donkey; go much fast; you try 'im, Howadji." Guides, too, besiege us in all languages, and throngs of beggars, pleading as only an Egyptian can, for "bucksheesh."
The bazaars are a curious congregation of little shops, the passages between them being roofed over with palm-tree mattings to keep out the fierce noonday sun. The
merchants, either frantic to sell or decidedly for the Mussulman's "Musr," the Cairo of apathetic, sit cross-legged upon the counters, the Frank. Cairo vies with Damascus and and with a stretch of their arm may reach Constantinople for the position of the proudyou anything from their stock. We buy est of the Eastern capitals. Replete with some clay pipes made from the Nile mud the evidences of its former greatness in its and much noted for their sweetness, and ruined yet majestic mosques, its monumensome genuine "kouranee," and then push on tal tombs, its mammoth statues, monoliths, past the boys and the donkeys, the beggars, sphinxes, and pyramids, the Egyptian capital the peddlers, the dogs, the half-naked men, is not without signs of the great art and and the vailed and barefooted women. enterprise of modern times.
The dress of the women is a single long gown, not over scrupulously repaired nor too closely confined. But there hangs, also, back from the head a loose sort of wrap, which is bound at the forehead by a kind of brass spring to a long strip called a vail, little of the face being seen save the dark, sunken eyes of the early maturing African maiden; yet their modesty is a matter of the face alone, for the heat is too intense for much clothing,-so much so, that the very young or very old women dispense with this frequently even suffocating vail. Such is, however, the dress only of the lower and larger classes. The higher "fashionables" affect the Turkish modes from Constantinople. They usually ride, and seldom go out unattended; and, whether bestraddling a donkey, their little red, pointed slippers peeping coquettishly out from their baggy trowsers, or reclining in a sedan chair or basket wagon, the bright-colored robes and the dark expressive eyes of the Oriental ladies peeping through their gauzy_vails, form a most attractive feature of the Egyptian promenade, as you crowd through the cosmopolitan bazaar.
There, in the streets or passages, sits the money-changer, clinking his coppers; he will give you a hatful for a napoleon. There, are venders of corn cake and pumpkin cake, fresh fig and date cake, and all sorts of greasy and dyspeptic edibles; and there are endless arrays of odd things in the shops themselves-from curious idols, scarabees, and crocodiles' teeth, to the antiquated crooked stick plow; from the delicate embroidery in silk, to the blue overall stuff of the commonest quality. A characteristic feature of the picturesque panorama is the long troop of camels, that come swaying, careening through the mart, in file. But we may not tarry too long in the streets of Alexandria.
CAIRO, January 5 A rail ride of one hundred and forty miles over the plain of the Delta, and we have exchanged the harbor city, with its column, its obelisks, and its long stretch of sand beach,
Fairy mosques, imposing public buildings, convenient hotels and dwellings, princely palaces and marts of commerce, fitting indications of a new and prosperous metropolis, and springing up as by enchantment upon broad avenues, beautiful parks and graded streets, all attest the wise and progressive government of the beneficent King.
The palace of the Viceroy, situated upon the river's bank, is an exquisite structure without, and gorgeously decorated within, and the palace park is a gem of landscape gardening. It is stocked with native and curious animals, and abounds in rare and tropical plants-the orange and the lemontree, the palm, the magnolia, and the century-tree, with all the beautiful flowers which flourish in this genial clime.
Our first thoughts are of those mysterious and melancholy monitors of time, the great pyramids and the Sphinx, and we hasten to visit them. But not in the oldtime traditional manner-breakfast by candle-light and an all day's donkey ride, with but an hour for a well-earned lunch at the pyramids. In two hours we are driven in a comfortable barouche down the "Shoobrah," a long avenue, and the fashionable. city drive; thence along new, broad, and well-graded highways, skirted with trees, winding through cultivated and well-watered fields, out to the very plateau upon which stand those deathless monuments of an inscrutable and magnificent era.
Words cannot picture the sublime effect of these often described and wonderful structures; and our illustration of the Sphinx, as perfect as it may be, can yet give but a faint expression of the patient dignity of that mysterious being-statue it can scarcely be called. The primeval sphinx-mother of ancient races, she yet stands, care-worn indeed, but calm and forbearing-fit shrine for the pilgrims of the young and impatient peoples of these later times.
Returning home, we visit the petrified trees, the interesting tombs of the Mamalukes, and the museums of antiquities.
The season being somewhat advanced, it is decided to make immediately the tour of the Nile, and to explore the innermost sanctuaries of Cairo and the guide-books upon our return; but we ride about leisurely for a day or two, and visit "Old Cairo," and stroll through the "Mouskee," and through the great labyrinth of the bazaars Persian caps and silks and sashes, turquois, amber and antiques, embroidered cloths, slippers and gauze fabrics, attar of roses and sandal-wood carvings, ancient armor and quaint costumes-all jumbled into miniature shops, crowded into a labyrinth of narrow, covered passages. We bask in the warm sun, and are soon as lazy and self-satisfied as the most indolent of Arabs.
ON THE NILE, January 15. Our company of four bargains with a dragoman-a real, bona fide dragomanfez, embroidered jacket, broad sash folded about the waist, over which dangles a glittering watch-chain, with numberless curious charms attached; brown baggy trowsers, and white canvas shoes-all setting off a sharp, almost Italian face, swarthy and black-eyed. Tadros speaks four languages -Arabic, English, French, and Italian-and is altogether a model dragoman.
We select a dahabeih, and equip speedily for a two months' cruise along the Nile. With our American flag and pennant flying from the tall lateen masts, we are off on our long-cherished tour amid the acclamations
of a score of friends from the hotel-travelers like ourselves, awaiting the equipment of their dahabeihs, or perhaps intending "to do the Nile" later on in one of the decidedly unromantic steamer trips.
But we have come, filled with a desire for the unadulterated, dreamy, Oriental pleasure tour, and we find ourselves not in the least disappointed in our leisurely boatlife. We amuse ourselves with chess, cards, sketching, and reading the histories of Lepsius, Wilkinson, and Sharpe, together with the many romances of Eastern life. And thus, floating on along the enchanted Nile, we paint us many an historic picture-of a princely people and incursive hordes, of peace and plenteousness, of famine and devastation, of love and luxury, vailed in the mysterious halo which pervades this enduring, yet changeful paradise.
The ascent of the river is made with few halts, consisting principally of an occasional promenade ashore, some "wild goose chases," and a stoppage at Thebes for letters,-for advantage is taken of favorable breezes to overcome the current of the stream, leaving the sight-seeing and excursions for the return trip. We skim along swiftly, and before many days arrive at the foot of the cataract of Asswan, 725 miles from the sea-coast, and near the confines of Nubia-the southern limit of our trip.
ASSWAN, February 5.
Here, opposite to the small island of Elephantine, where stands a celebrated
mementos-ostrich eggs and feathers, crude implements of war, and various antiques.
Nilometer, and upon which was situated the | all. They brought us many interesting earliest Egyptian capital, 4000 B. C., we tie up, and are greeted with a heavy showeran unusual experience here.
Returning along the river by the road, we obtain a near view of this much-talked-of cataract, which we find at this season to be merely a rapid stream, about three hundred feet wide, falling some six feet in a total length of four hundred, and running among large bowlders.
road lies part way over the sandy desert, and partly through huge piles of bare, worn rocks, strewn about in irregular, fantastic heaps. Coming abruptly to the stream, from out this wild and barren waste, we observe a little island clad in green, upon whose bosom reclines a temple of the heathen god. We are ferried over in a little old scow by a ragged old man, and wander at length delighted among the far-famed ruins of Phila, -built in the third century B. C., and representing the very culmination of Egyp
Returning to Asswan, we note certain peculiarities of the Nubian dress. The women do not trouble themselves about vails, and wear seldom more than the single long blue gown. The men wear simply white cotton cloth girdles; and the children, from six to eleven, a short leathern fringe, hanging, Indian fashion, from the waist. The little ones, very dirty, wear nothing at
Approaching Syene-the modern name for Asswan-we visit the great granite quarry, which contains a celebrated obelisk, measuring one hundred feet in length and twelve feet square at the larger end. It is partly hewn out from its bed, as are other unfinished blocks of stone, which have lain thus since Rameses the Great, who reigned some thirty-three hundred years ago.
A night's drifting down stream brings us to Kom Ombos-a cluster of great columns and cornices protruding from a sand-drift, which has almost covered it up. Some of these columns are seven feet thick and forty high, supporting great roof-stones, some of which measure, in the larger structures of Egypt, as large as forty by ten or fifteen feet, with a thickness of three or four feet. We here enjoy a day's pigeon-shootingsingle shots on the wing, for we deem it but murder to shoot at the flocks, so tame and abundant are they. These pigeons of Egypt