"Chapter I: Cairo and the Great Pyramid." by Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards (1831-1892)
Publication: Edwards, Amelia B. A Thousand Miles Up The Nile. London: George Routledge and Sons, Limited, 1891. pp. 1-17.
IT is the traveller's lot to dine at many table-d'hôtes in the course of many wanderings ; but it seldom befalls him to make one of a more miscellaneous gathering than that which overfills the great dining-room at Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo during the beginning and height of the regular Egyptian season. Here assemble daily some two to three hundred persons of all ranks, nationalities, and pursuits ; half of whom are Anglo-Indians homeward or outward bound, European residents, or visitors established in Cairo for the winter. The other half, it may be taken for granted, are going up the Nile. So composite and incongruous is this body of Nile-goers, young and old, well-dressed and ill-dressed, learned and unlearned, that the new-comer's first impulse is to inquire from what motives so many persons of dissimilar tastes and training can be led to embark upon an expedition which is, to say the least of it, very tedious, very costly, and of an altogether exceptional interest.
His curiousity, however, is soon gratified. Before two days are over, he knows everybody's name and everybody's business ; distinguishes at first sight between a Cook's tourist and an independent traveller ; and has discovered that nine-tenths of those whom he is likely to meet up the river are English or American. The rest will be mostly German, with a sprinkling of Belgian and French. So far en bloc ; but the details are more heterogeneous still. Here are invalids in search of health ; artists in search of subjects ; sportsmen keen upon crocodiles ; statesman out for a holiday ; special correspondents alert for gossip ; collectors on the scent of papyri and mummies ; men of science with only scientific ends in view ; and the usual surplus of idlers who travel for the mere love of travel, or the satisfaction of a purposeless curiousity.
Now in a place like Shepheard's, where every fresh arrival has the honor of contributing, for at least a few minutes, to the general entertainment, the first appearance of L. and the Writer, tired, dusty, and considerably sunburnt, may well have given rise to some of the comments in usual circulation at those crowded tables. People asked each other, most likely, where these two wandering Englishwomen had come from ; why they had not dressed for dinner ; what brought them to Egypt ; and if they also were going up the Nile – to which questions it would have been easy to give satisfactory answers.
We came from Alexandria, having had a rough passage from Brindisi followed by forty-eight hours of quarantine. We had not dressed for dinner because, having driven on from the station in advance of dragoman and luggage, we were but just in time to take seats with the rest. We intended, of course, to go up the Nile ; and had any one ventured to inquire in so many words what brought us to Egypt, we should have replied: – "Stress of weather."
For in simple truth we had drifted hither by accident, with no excuse of health, or business, or any serious object whatever ; and had just taken refuge in Egypt as one might turn aside into the Burlington Arcade or the Passage des Panoramas – to get out of the rain.
And with good reason. Having left home early in September for a few weeks' sketching in central France, we had been pursued by the wettest of wet weather. Washed out of the hill-country, we fared no better in the plains. At Nismes, it poured for a month without stopping. Debating at last whether it were better to take our wet umbrellas back at once to England, or push on farther still in search of sunshine, the talk fell upon Algiers – Malta – Cairo ; and Cairo carried it. Never was distant expedition entered upon with less premeditation. The thing was no sooner decided than we were gone. Nice, Genoa, Bologna, Ancona flitted by, as in a dream ; and Bedreddin Hassan when he awoke at the gates of Damascus was scarcely more surprised than the writer of these pages, when she found herself on board the Simla, and steaming out of the port of Brindisi.
Here, then, without definite plans, outfit, or any kind of Oriental experience, behold us arrived in Cairo on the 29th of November 1873, literally, and most prosaically, in search of fine weather.
But what had memory to do with rains on land, or storms at sea, or the impatient hours of quarantine, or anything dismal or disagreeable, when one awoke at sunrise to see those grey-green palms outside the window solemnly bowing their plumed heads towards each other, against a rose-coloured dawn? It was dark last night, and I had no idea that my room overlooked an enchanted garden, far-reaching and solitary, peopled with stately giants beneath whose tufted crowns hung rich clusters of maroon and amber dates. It was a still, warm morning. Grave grey and black crows flew heavily from tree to tree, or perched, cawing meditatively, upon the topmost branches. Yonder, between the pillared stems, rose the minaret of a very distant mosque ; and here where the garden was bounded by a high wall and a windowless house, I saw a veiled lady walking on the terraced roof in the midst of a cloud of pigeons. Nothing could be more simple than the scene and its accessories ; nothing, at the same time, more Eastern, strange, and unreal.
But in order thoroughly to enjoy an overwhelming, ineffaceable first impression of Oriental out-of-doors life, one should begin in Cairo with a day in the native bazaars; neither buying, nor sketching, nor seeking information, but just taking in scene after scene, with its manifold combinations of light and shade, colour, costume, and architectural detail. Every shop-front, every street corner, every turbaned group is a ready-made picture. The old Turk who sets up his cake-stall in the recess of a sculptured doorway ; the donkey-boy with his gaily caparisoned ass, waiting for customers ; the beggar asleep on the steps of the mosque ; the veiled woman filling her water jar at the public fountain – they all look as if they had been put there expressly to be painted.
Nor is the background less picturesque than the figures. The houses are high and narrow. The upper stories project ; and from these again jut windows of delicate turned latticework in old brown wood, like big bird-cages. The street is roofed in overhead with long rafters and pieces of matting, through which a dusty sunbeam struggles here and there, casting patches of light upon the moving crowd. The unpaved thoroughfare – a mere narrow lane, full of ruts and watered profusely twice or thrice a day – is lined with little wooden shop-fronts, like open cabinets full of shelves, where the merchants sit cross-legged in the midst of their goods, looking out at the passers-by and smoking in silence. Meanwhile, the crowd ebbs and flows unceasingly – a noisy, changing, restless, parti-coloured tide, half European, half Oriental, on foot, on horseback, and in carriages. Here are Syrian dragomans in baggy trousers and braided jackets ; barefooted Egyptian fellaheen in ragged blue shirts and felt skull-caps ; Greeks in absurdly stiff white tunics, like walking penwipers ; Persians with high mitre-like caps of dark woven stuff ; swarthy Bedouins in flowing garments, creamy-white with chocolate stripes a foot wide, and head-shawl of the same bound about the brow with a fillet of twisted camel's hair ; Englishmen in palm-leaf hats and knickerbockers, dangling their long legs across almost invisible donkeys ; native women of the poorer class, in black veils that leave only the eyes uncovered, and long trailing garments of dark blue and black striped cotton ; dervishes in patchwork coats, their matted hair streaming from under fantastic head-dresses ; blue-black Abyssinians with incredibly slender, bowed legs, like attenuated ebony balustrades ; Armenian priests, looking exactly like Portia as the Doctor, in long black gowns and high square caps ; majestic ghosts of Algerine Arabs, all in white ; mounted Janissaries with jingling sabres and gold-embroidered jackets ; merchants, beggars, soldiers, boatmen, labourers, workmen, in every variety of costume, and of every shade of complexion from fair to dark, from tawny to copper-colour, from deepest bronze to bluest black.
Now a water-carrier goes by, bending under the weight of his newly replenished goatskin, the legs of which being tied up, the neck fitted with a brass cock, and the hair left on, looks horribly bloated and life-like. Now comes a sweetmeat-vendor with a tray of that gummy compound known to English children as "Lumps of Delight"; and now an Egyptian lady on a large grey donkey led by a servant with a showy sabre at his side. The lady wears a rose-coloured silk dress and white veil, besides a black silk outer garment, which, being cloak, hood, and veil all in one, fills out with the wind as she rides, like a balloon. She sits astride ; her naked feet, in their violet velvet slippers, just resting on the stirrups. She takes care to display a plump brown arm laden with massive gold bracelets, and, to judge by the way in which she uses a pair of liquid black eyes, would not be sorry to let her face be seen also. Nor is the steed less well dressed than his mistress. His close-shaven legs and hindquarters are painted in blue and white zigzags picked out with bands of pale yellow ; his high-pommelled saddle is resplendent with velvet and embroidery ; and his headgear is all tags, tassels, and fringes. Such a donkey as this is worth from sixty to a hundred pounds sterling. Next passes an open barouche full of laughing Englishwomen ; or a grave provincial sheykh all in black, riding a handsome bay Arab, demi-sang ; or an Egyptian gentleman in European dress and Turkish fez, driven by an English groom in an English phaeton. Before him, wand in hand, bare-legged, eager-eyed, in Greek skull-cap and gorgeous gold-embroidered waistcoat and fluttering white tunic, flies a native Saïs, or running footman. No person of position drives in Cairo without one or two of these attendants. The Saïs (strong, light, and beautiful, like John of Bologna's Mercury) are said to die young. The pace kills them. Next passes a lemonade-seller, with his tin jar in one hand, and his decanter and brass cups in the other ; or an itinerant slipper-vendor with a bunch of red and yellow morocco shoes dangling at the end of a long pole ; or a London-built miniature brougham containing two ladies in transparent Turkish veils, preceded by a Nubian outrider in semi-military livery ; or, perhaps, a train of camels, ill-tempered and supercilious, craning their scrannel necks above the crowd, and laden with canvas bales scrawled over with Arabic addresses.
TUNIS MARKET, CAIRO.
But the Egyptian, Arab, and Turkish merchants, whether mingling in the general tide or sitting on their counters, are the most picturesque personages in all this busy scene. They wear ample turbans, for the most part white ; long vests of striped Syrian silk reaching to the feet ; and an outer robe of braided cloth or cashmere. The vest is confined round the waist by a rich sash ; and the outer robe, or gibbeh, is generally of some beautiful degraded color, such as maize, mulberry, olive, peach, sea-green, salmon-pink, sienna-brown, and the like. That these stately beings should vulgarly buy and sell, instead of reposing all their lives on luxurious divans and being waited upon by beautiful Circassians, seems altogether contrary to the eternal fitness of things. Here, for instance, is a Grand Vizier in a gorgeous white and amber satin vest, who condescends to retail pipe-bowls, – dull red clay pipe-bowls of all sizes and prices. He sells nothing else, and has not only a pile of them on the counter, but a binful at the back of his shop. They are made at Siout in Upper Egypt, and may be bought at the Algerine shops in London almost as cheaply as in Cairo. Another majestic Pasha deals in brass and copper vessels, drinking-cups, basins, ewers, trays, incense-burners, chafing-dishes, and the like ; some of which are exquisitely engraved with Arabesque patterns or sentences from the poets. A third sells silk from the looms of Lebanon, and gold and silver tissues from Damascus. Others, again, sell old arms, old porcelain, old embroideries, second-hand prayer-carpets, and quaint little stools and cabinets of ebony inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Here, too, the tobacco-merchant sits behind a huge cake of Latakia as big as his own body ; and the sponge-merchant smokes his long chibouk in a bower of sponges.
Most amusing of all, however, are those bazaars in which each trade occupies its separate quarter. You pass through an old stone gateway or down a narrow turning, and find yourself amid a colony of saddlers stitching, hammering, punching, riveting. You walk up one alley and down another, between shop-fronts hung round with tasselled head-gear and hump-backed saddles of all qualities and colours. Here are ladies' saddles, military saddles, donkey-saddles, and saddles for great officers of state ; saddles covered with red leather, with crimson and violet velvet, with maroon, and grey, and purple cloth ; saddles embroidered with gold and silver, studded with brass-headed nails, or trimmed with braid.
Another turn or two, and you are in the slipper bazaar, walking down avenues of red and yellow morocco slippers ; the former of home manufacture, the latter from Tunis. Here are slippers with pointed toes, turned-up toes, and toes as round and flat as horse-shoes ; walking slippers with thick soles, and soft yellow slippers to be worn as inside socks, which have no soles at all. These absurd little scarlet bluchers with tassels are for little boys ; the brown morocco shoes are for grooms ; the velvet slippers embroidered with gold and beads and seed-pearls are for wealthy hareems, and are sold at prices varying from five shillings to five pounds the pair.
The carpet bazaar is of considerable extent, and consists of a network of alleys and counter-alleys opening off to the right of the Muski, which is the Regent Street of Cairo. The houses in most of these alleys are rich in antique lattice-windows and Saracenic doorways. One little square is tapestried all round with Persian and Syrian rugs, Damascus saddle-bags, and Turkish prayer-carpets. The merchants sit and smoke in the midst of their goods ; and up in one corner an old "Kahwagee," or coffee-seller, plies his humble trade. He has set up his little stove and hanging-shelf beside the doorway of a dilapidated Khan, the walls of which are faced with Arabesque panellings in old carved stone. It is one of the most picturesque "bits" in Cairo. The striped carpets of Tunis ; the dim grey and blue, or grey and red fabrics of Algiers ; the shaggy rugs of Laodicea and Smyrna ; the rich blues and greens and subdued reds of Turkey ; and the wonderfully varied, harmonious patterns of Persia, have each their local habitation in the neighbouring alleys. One is never tired of traversing these half-lighted avenues all aglow with gorgeous color and peopled with figures that come and go like the actors in some Christmas piece of Oriental pageantry.
CARPET BAZAAR, CAIRO.
In the Khan Khaleel, the place of the gold and silver smiths' bazaar, there is found, on the contrary, scarcely any display of goods for sale. The alleys are so narrow in this part that two persons can with difficulty walk in them abreast ; and the shops, tinier than ever, are mere cupboards with about three feet of frontage. The back of each cupboard is fitted with tiers of little drawers and pigeon-holes, and in front is a kind of matted stone step, called a mastabah, which serves for seat and counter. The customer sits on the edge of the mastabah ; the merchant squats, cross-legged, inside. In this position he can, without rising, take out drawer after drawer ; and thus the space between the two becomes piled with gold and silver ornaments. These differ from each other only in the metal, the patterns being identical ; and they are sold by weight, with a due margin for profit. In dealing with strangers who do not understand the Egyptian system of weights, silver articles are commonly weighed against rupees or five-franc pieces, and gold articles against napoleons or sovereigns. The ornaments made in Cairo consist chiefly of chains and earrings, anklets, bangles, necklaces strung with coins or tusk-shaped pendants, amulet-cases of filigree or repoussé work, and penannular bracelets of rude execution, but rich and ancient designs. As for the merchants, their civility and patience are inexhaustible. One may turn over their whole stock, try on all their bracelets, go away again and again without buying, and yet be always welcomed and dismissed with smiles. L. and the Writer spent many an hour practising Arabic in the Khan Khaleel, without, it is to be feared, a corresponding degree of benefit to the merchants.
There are many other special bazaars in Cairo, as the Sweetmeat Bazaar ; the Hardware Bazaar ; the Tobacco Bazaar ; the Sword-mounters' and Coppersmiths' Bazaars ; the Moorish Bazaar, where fez caps, burnouses, and Barbary goods are sold ; and some extensive bazaars for the sale of English and French muslins, and Manchester cotton goods ; but these last are, for the most part, of inferior interest. Among certain fabrics manufactured in England expressly for the Eastern market, we observed a most hideous printed muslin representing small black devils capering over a yellow ground, and we learned that it was much in favor for children's dresses.
But the bazaars, however picturesque, are far from being the only sights of Cairo. There are mosques in plenty ; grand old Saracenic gates ; ancient Coptic churches ; the museum of Egyptian antiquities ; and, within driving distance, the tombs of the Caliphs, Heliopolis, the Pyramids, and the Sphinx. To remember in what order the present travellers saw these things would now be impossible ; for they lived in a dream, and were at first too bewildered to catalogue their impressions very methodically. Some places they were for the present obliged to dismiss with only a passing glance ; others had to be wholly deferred till their return to Cairo.
In the meanwhile, our first business was to look at dahabeeyahs ; and the looking at dahabeeyahs compelled us constantly to turn our steps and our thoughts in the direction of Boulak – a desolate place by the river, where some two or three hundred Nile-boats lay moored for hire. Now, most persons know something of the miseries of house-hunting ; but only those who have experienced them know how much keener are the miseries of dahabeeyah-hunting. It is more bewildering and more fatiguing, and is beset by its own special and peculiar difficulties. The boats, in the first place, are built on the same plan, which is not the case with houses ; and except as they run bigger or smaller, cleaner or dirtier, are as like each other as twin oysters. The same may be said of their captains, with the same differences ; for to a person who has been only a few days in Egypt, one black or copper-coloured man is exactly like every other black or copper-coloured man. Then each Reïs, or captain, displays the certificates given to him by former travellers ; and these certificates, being apparently in active circulation, have a mysterious way of turning up again and again on board different boats and in the hands of different claimants. Nor is this all. Dahabeeyahs are given to changing their places, which houses do not do ; so that the boat which lay yesterday alongside the eastern bank may be over at the western bank to-day, or hidden in the midst of a dozen others half a mile lower down the river. All this is very perplexing ; yet it is as nothing compared with the state of confusion one gets into when attempting to weigh the advantages or disadvantages of boats with six cabins and boats with eight ; boats provided with canteen, and boats without ; boats that can pass the cataract, and boats that can't ; boats that are only twice as dear as they ought to be, and boats with that defect five or six times multiplied. Their names, again, – Ghazal, Sarawa, Fostat, Dongola, – unlike any names one has ever heard before, afford as yet no kind of help to the memory. Neither do the names of their captains ; for they are all Mohammeds or Hassans. Neither do their prices ; for they vary from day to day, according to the state of the market as shown by the returns of arrivals at the principal hotels.
Add to all this the fact that no Reïs speaks anything but Arabic, and that every word of inquiry or negotiation has to be filtered, more or less inaccurately, through a dragoman, and then perhaps those who have not yet tried this variety of the pleasures of the chase may be able to form some notion of the weary, hopeless, puzzling work which lies before the dahabeeyah hunter in Cairo.
Thus it came to pass that, for the first ten days or so, some three or four hours had to be devoted every morning to the business of the boats ; at the end of which time we were no nearer a conclusion than at first. The small boats were too small for either comfort or safety, especially in what Nile-travellers call "a big wind." The medium-sized boats (which lie under the suspicion of being used in summer for the transport of cargo) were for the most part of doubtful cleanliness. The largest boats, which alone seemed unexceptionable, contained from eight to ten cabins, besides two saloons, and were obviously too large for a party consisting of only L., the Writer, and a maid. And all were exorbitantly dear. Encompassed by these manifold difficulties ; listening now to this and now to that person's opinion ; deliberating, haggling, comparing, hesitating, we vibrated daily between Boulak and Cairo, and led a miserable life. Meanwhile, however, we met some former acquaintances ; made some new ones ; and when not too tired or down-hearted, saw what we could of the sights of Cairo – which helped a little to soften the asperities of our lot.
One of our first excursions was, of course, to the Pyramids, which lie within an hour and a half's easy drive from the hotel door. We started immediately after an early luncheon, followed an excellent road all the way, and were back in time for dinner at half-past six. But it must be understood that we did not go to see the Pyramids. We went only to look at them. Later on (having meanwhile been up the Nile and back, and gone through months of training), we came again not only with due leisure, but also with some practical understanding of the manifold phases through which the arts and architecture of Egypt had passed, since those far-off days of Cheops and Chephren. Then, only, we can be said to have seen the Pyramids ; and till we arrived at that stage of our pilgrimage, it will be well to defer everything like a detailed account of them or their surroundings. Of this first brief visit, enough therefore a brief record.
The first glimpse that most travellers now get of the Pyramids is from the window of the railway carriage as they come from Alexandria ; and it is not impressive. It does not take one's breath away, for instance, like a first sight of the Alps from the high level of the Neufchâtel line, or the outline of the Acropolis at Athens, as one first recognises it from the sea. The well-known triangular forms look small and shadowy, and are too familiar to be in any way startling. And the same, I think, is true of every distant view of them – that is, of every view which is too distant to afford the means of scaling them against other objects. It is only in approaching them, and observing how they grow with every foot of the road, that one begins to feel they are not so familiar after all.
But when at last the edge of the desert is reached, and the long sand-slope climbed, and the rocky platform gained, and the Great Pyramid in all its unexpected bulk and majesty towers close above one's head, the effect is as sudden as it is overwhelming. It shuts out the sky and the horizon. It shuts out all the other Pyramids. It shuts out everything but the sense of awe and wonder.
Now, too, one discovers that it was with the forms of the Pyramids, and only their forms, that one had been acquainted all these years past. Of their surface, their colour, their relative position, their number (to say nothing of their size), one had hitherto entertained no kind of definite idea. The most careful study of plans and measurements, the clearest photographs, the most elaborate descriptions, had done little or nothing, after all, to make one know the place beforehand. This undulating table-land of sand and rock, pitted with open graves and cumbered with mounds of shapeless masonry, is wholly unlike the desert of our dreams. The Pyramids of Cheops and Chephren are bigger than we had expected ; the Pyramid of Mycerinus is smaller. Here, too, are nine Pyramids, instead of three. They are all entered in the plans and mentioned in the guide-books ; but, somehow, one is unprepared to find them there, and cannot help looking upon them as intruders. These six extra Pyramids are small and greatly dilapidated. One, indeed, is little more than a big cairn.
Even the Great Pyramid puzzles us with an unexpected sense of unlikeness. We all know, and have known from childhood, that it was stripped of its outer blocks some five hundred years ago to build Arab mosques and palaces ; but the rugged, rock-like aspect of that giant staircase takes us by surprise, nevertheless. Nor does it look like a partial ruin, either. It looks as if it had been left unfinished, and as if the workmen might be coming back to-morrow morning.
The colour again is a surprise. Few persons can be aware beforehand of the rich tawny hue that Egyptian limestone assumes after ages of exposure to the blaze of an Egyptian sky. Seen in certain lights, the Pyramids look like piles of massy gold.
Having but one hour and forty minutes to spend on the spot, we resolutely refused on this first occasion to be shown anything, or told anything, or to be taken anywhere, – except, indeed, for a few minutes to the brink of the sand-hollow in which the Sphinx lies couchant. We wished to give our whole attention, and all the short time at our disposal, to the Great Pyramid only. To gain some impression of the outer aspect and size of this enormous structure, – to steady our minds to something like an understanding of its age, – was enough, and more than enough, for so brief a visit.
For it is no easy task to realize, however imperfectly, the duration of six or seven thousand years ; and the Great Pyramid, which is supposed to have been some four thousand two hundred and odd years old at the time of the birth of Christ, is now in its seventh millennary. Standing there close against the base of it ; touching it ; measuring her own height against one of its lowest blocks ; looking up all the stages of that vast, receding, rugged wall, which leads upward like an Alpine buttress and seems almost to touch the sky, the Writer suddenly became aware that these remote dates had never presented themselves to her mind until this moment as anything but abstract numerals. Now, for the first time, they resolved themselves into something concrete, definite, real. They were no longer figures, but years with their changes of season, their high and low Niles, their seed-times and harvests. The consciousness of that moment will never, perhaps, quite wear away. It was as if one had been snatched up for an instant to some vast height overlooking the plains of Time, and had seen the centuries mapped out beneath one's feet.
To appreciate the size of the Great Pyramid is less difficult than to apprehend its age. No one who has walked the length of one side, climbed to the top, and learned the dimensions from Murray, can fail to form a tolerably clear idea of its mere bulk. The measurements given by Sir Gardner Wilkinson are as follows: – length of each side, 732 feet ; perpendicular height, 480 feet 9 inches ; area 535,824 square feet.1 That is to say, it stands 115 feet 9 inches higher than the cross on the top of St. Paul's, and about 20 feet lower than Box Hill in Surrey ; and if transported bodily to London, it would a little more than cover the whole area of Lincoln's Inn Fields. These are sufficiently matter-of-fact statements, and sufficiently intelligible ; but, like most calculations of the kind, they diminish rather than do justice to the dignity of the subject.
More impressive by far than the weightiest array of figures of the most striking comparisons, was the shadow cast by the Great Pyramid as the sun went down. That mighty Shadow, sharp and distinct, stretched across the stony platform of the desert and over full three-quarters of a mile of the green plain below. It divided the sunlight where it fell, just as its great original divided the sunlight in the upper air ; and it darkened the space it covered, like an eclipse. It was not without a thrill of something approaching to awe that one remembered how this self-same Shadow had gone on registering, not only the height of the most stupendous gnomon ever set up by human hands, but the slow passage, day by day, of more than sixty centuries of the world's history.
It was still lengthening over the landscape as we went down the long sand-slope and regained the carriage. Some six or eight Arabs in fluttering white garments ran on ahead to bid us a last good-bye. That we should have driven over from Cairo only to sit quietly down and look at the Great Pyramid had filled them with unfeigned astonishment. With such energy and despatch as the modern traveller uses, we might have been to the top, and seen the temple of the Sphinx, and done two or three of the principal tombs in the time.
"You come again!" said they. "Good Arab show you everything. You see nothing this time!"
So, promising to return ere long, we drove away ; well content, nevertheless, with the way in which our time had been spent.
The Pyramid Bedouins have been plentifully abused by travellers and guide-books, but we found no reason to complain of them now or afterwards. They neither crowded round us, nor followed us, nor importuned us in any way. They are naturally vivacious and very talkative ; yet the gentle fellows were dumb as mutes when they found we wished for silence. And they were satisfied with a very moderate bakhshish at parting.
As a fitting sequel to this excursion, we went, I think next day, to see the mosque of Sultan Hassan, which is one of those medieval structures said to have been built with the casing-stones of the Great Pyramid.
1 Since the first edition of this book was issued, the publication of Mr. W. M. Flinders Petrie's standard work, entitled The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, has for the first time placed a thoroughly accurate and scientific description of the Great Pyramid at the disposal of students. Calculating from the rock-cut sockets at the four corners, and from the true level of the pavement, Mr. Petrie finds that the square of the original base of the structure, in inches, is of these dimensions: –
Mean 9068˙8 ˙65 -3' 43" 12"
For the height, Mr. Petrie, after duly weighing all data, such as the thickness of the three casing-stones yet in situ, and the presumed thickness of those which formerly faced the upper courses of the masonry, gives from his observations of the mean angle of the Pyramid, a height from base to apex of 5776˙0 ± 7˙0 inches. See The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, chap. vi. pp. 37 to 43. [Note to the Second Edition.]