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TRAVELS IN EGYPT AND NUBIA.
TOUR IN EGYPT AND NUBIA. Our Party and its objects-Departure from Philæ-Our Boat's Crew-Saracenic Buildings
Supposed Boundary between Egypt and Nubia - Kalapsche-Its Temple-We are taken for Physiciars-Mr. Belzoni bitten by a Water Lizard - Arrival near Koroskoff-Offidena -- Arrival at Derry--Nubian Dance - Attempted impositions on the part of our Crew - Pass Ibrim-Researches of former Travellers - Abou-Simbel-The Dongola Caravan-The Mockatem Mountains—Ruins near Farras - Crocodiles— Torpedo - Camelions – Arrival at the second Cataract-Description of the Cataract - Elpha - Further troubles with our Crew - Abou-Simbel – The small Temple - Message from the Cashiefs - Arrival of the Cashiefs-We wait upon them- Presents -Offence taken by Halleel-We engage Labourers - Proceed to the large Temple - Description of the Front - Commence operationsAre abandoned by the Natives. We continue our Labours-The Darfur Caravan-Interruption from Mahommed and Ali Cashief-Arrival of a Mameluke--The Natives refuse to
supply us with Provisions-We succeed in reaching the Door of the Temple. TOWARDS the end of May, 1817, and in that case, if it had not suffered
we joined company at Philæ with too much in the general pillage and Messrs. Beechey and Belzoni, who were destruction which all the sacred ediabout to proceed up the Nile. The prin- fices underwent at the conquest of cipal object of this expedition, which Egypt, by Cambyses and other subsewas undertaken at the desire of Mr. quent princes, it was hoped that someSalt, was to endeavour to open the great thing interesting to the antiquary temple at Abou-Simbel, which Mr. Bel- might be discovered. zoni, who was that gentleman's agent, We considered it a fortunate cir. had attempted the preceding year. cumstance for us to have an opportuThe whole face of the temple, as high nity of joining in so interesting an as the heads of the statues which are undertaking. It is advisable that train front of it, was buried in the sand vellers should be both numerous and which had been blown from the desert. well armed in Nubia : our party was This sand, in the course of time, had now a tolerably strong one, as includaccumulated to such a degree, as not ing Mr. Beechey's Greek servant, an only to fill up the whole of the valley, Arab cook, and a janissary, it conbut also to form a mountain, sloping sisted of seven persons. We could only from the front of the temple for 200 add one solitary musket to a pretty or 300 yards towards the banks of good stock of arms of every descripthe Nile. From all external appear- ' tion which Mr. Beechey had with him. ance it is probable this temple, which | We hired a boat at a village situated is hewn out of the solid rock, had on a point amidst a cluster of datebeen shut for very many centuries, trees which bounds the view of the perhaps for more than 2000 years ; river from Philæ to the southward.
The crew consisted of five men, includ- which now gave place to those of cal. ing the reis or captain, and three careous stone, though on the river boys : three of the men and the reis side, in most instances, their exterior were brothers, and the fifth was their still retains a black colour and a polish. brother-in-law. This latter was dressed The vein of red granite, which begins in a blue shirt, from which circum- below Assuan, and extends beyond stance we nick-named him the “ blue Philæ, is supposed to continue in an devil ;" his real name was Hassan ; easterly direction till it reaches the he will be by and by a conspicuous shores of the Red Sea, keeping, nearly ch: cter in this narrative. The boys throughout, the same breadth; the were sons of some one or other of the observations which we made on our crew, and the boat they said belonged trips into the desert from Assuan to the father of them all, an old man tended to confirm this opinion. who wore a green turban, as a de- On the afternoon of the 17th, we scendant of the Prophet.
came to a place where the mountains In the afternoon of the 16th of June, close in upon the river in a very abrupt we started with a fine fair wind, having manner, leaving no level land on the first settled a quarrel between two of banks; the hills at the same time preour crew, in which one of them was sented some very grand scenery. This cut through the calf of the leg, to the by some travellers is termed the bounbone. Our agreement with the reis dary between Egypt and Nubia, though was for 160 piastres per month, 4l. I should be inclined to agree with the sterling ; and at the end of the voyage, French, that the first cataract is a if they behaved well, a backsheeish or more natural limit to the two counpresent was promised, a stipulation tries ; as, immediately above Assuan, which always forms part of similar you perceive not only a country quite bargains in this country. It was different from that below, but even expressly understood that the crew natives of a character and colour in should find their own provisions. As no way resembling the Egyptians, difwe advanced upwards, the sand hills ferently clothed, and speaking another filling up the cavities between the language. black granite rocks presented a most This evening we arrived at Kalapremarkable appearance ; the surface sche, and as we had to wait some tinie in many places was quite fine and while our janissary was buying provismooth, reminding one, with the excep- sions, we went up to inspect the temple, tion of the difference of colour, though we had agreed not to visit the some of the scenery in Switzerland, antiquities until we returned from the where the snow before it cracks, and second cataract. The ruins of this after it has been drifted fine, presents edifice are large and magnificent, but just such an appearance. The moun- it has never been finished : it consists tains here close in upon the river, and of a large peristyle hall, (most of the we looked in vain for that rich plain columns of which have fallen, and which, in Egypt, is every where to be many are unfinished,) two chambers, seen on the banks of the Nile. On the and a sanctuary. The exterior walls heights, as we proceeded, we saw seve- are smooth, the sculpture not having ral Saracenic buildings placed in most even been commenced, and in the intepicturesque situations; they tend very rior it is not finished, there being in much to set off this wild species of no instance either stucco or painting. scenery ; we observed also, throughout There has been first a quay on the Nubia, numerous piles of stones placed river's side, and then a flight of steps on the most elevated and conspicuous as an approach to the temple. The parts of the mountains, to indicate the outer hall had several Greek inscripvicinity of the Nile to the caravans tions in it, some of them in tolerable from the interior of Africa.
perfection. Half a day's sail from Philæ brought In the evening, before we stopped, us to the end of the granite rocks, we passed two crocodiles; they were
on a shoal in the middle of the Nile, June 24.- This morning we were and retired before we got near them : opposite Koroskoff; we purchased a they were the first we had seen since sheep for nine piastres, but were we left Philæ ; indeed they are never obliged to send the money before they met with near that island. On the would even show the animal ; we re19th a foul wind obliged us to stop, monstrated much against this curious when an old man came to beg medi- method of making a bargain, but 110cine, thinking we were hackim, or thing would induce them to change physicians, a strange notion which all their plan. We this day saw the calibarbarous nations have respecting bash growing wild on creepers up the Europeans : we gave him some advice, acacia-trees on the river side. Our though we declined any pretensions to crew got three very good ones. The the title he had given us. Bruce, in boys also found a sort of wild currant making himself acquainted with the growing close to the water side ; we rudiments of physic, showed how well tasted some, and thought them not he judged of the proper mode of tra- unlike the bleaberry, though velling in these countries; and his shaped like them, being round; in size narrative proves how much he bene- and colour they are alike. fited by this knowledge. Our denial Our custom was always to bathe of all knowledge of physic met with morning and evening, frequently oftlittle belief among the natives; and to ener. This evening, while at this reinduce us to give them assistance, they creation, Mr. Belzoni was bitten in the offered us two fowls for any aid we foot, which caused him to cry out would render to their patients. On somewhat loudly for assistance. Next the 20th we saw a camel swimming morning he was bitten again, in the across the river ; one man swam before same place ; this last bite fetched with a halter in his mouth, leading the blood, taking a piece out of the toe. animal, another followed behind. Mr. Belzoni plainly feit something
June 21.-We this day observed, twisting round his leg ; we all agree immediately opposite Duckie, two lads in thinking it must have been a water crossing the river which is here toler- lizard. The other day a man hailed ably wide, and pushing and towing a us and asked “if we would buy a spyladen reed raft.
glass ;" he said he was a native of On the twenty-second observed the Senaar. We thought it must be the purple acacia ; it bears some resem- property of some European who had blance to a shrub, and is evidently a been robbed, and therefore told him dwarf species of the mimosa ; never we would see it first, upon which he attaining a height beyond a foot or came into the boat, that we might fifteen inches ; excepting in colour, carry him to the village where it was the flower is like the yellow acacia. (about four hours' sail above); howOn the twenty-third our crew killed a ever, on arriving there he walked off, snake that was basking on the river and we never heard again either of side ; it was gray, with two black him or his glass—the fact is, he wanted marks below its head. It was curious a passage, and we gave him credit for to see the precautions they used before so cunning a method of getting one. they would surprise this reptile, which June 25.-- We this day arrived near they represented as poisonous, though Koroskoff, at the place where the river I did not believe it was so. We had reaches the southernmost point, before this morning a regular wild-goose the beginning of the second cataract ; chase after an old one and four young for the river here turns due north, ones ; the crew jumped overboard and and continues in that direction between caught them all, though with some ten and fifteen miles ; after which it difficulty. I mention this merely to becomes S. W. and then west to the give some idea how expert these peo- second cataract. The Nile here asple are in the water; they may almost sumes a picturesque appearance, havbe said to be amphibious.
ing several islands and rocks in the centre of it. In the evening our janis- chasing a statue ; but after much sary shot a wild-goose ; its plumage prevarication, we could not even get was beautiful, and its taste exceedingly a look at it. The natives of this place good, though we had not the means of are both handsome and well made, a cooking it in a very savoury manner. circumstance very rare in Nubia ;
June 26.-Observed the Nile to have their complexion, however, was unfailen about 1} foot. It is now twenty- usually dark. In the evening we artwo days since it began to rise. It is rived at Derry, and sent word to already above the cataract of Syene Daoud and Halleel Cashief, the two (Assuan).
sons of Hassan, (who, most unfortuJune 27.-We this day saw two nately for us, was at Dongola, and by crocodiles ; our men requested us to whose absence we lost the friendship fire some muskets to frighten them and assistance of the only honest man away, but were not afraid of towing in the country,) that we were going up the bark in the water close to the bank to open the temple at Abou-Simbel, and where we observed them. I think, would thank them to send orders for from what we have noticed of these us to be permitted to work ; adding, animals, that it is very seldom, if ever, at the same time, that we would wait they attack people. This morning a on them and pay our respects on our man on horseback came down to the return. While waiting there we had river side, and said he was sent by a specimen of Nubian dancing ; about Halleel Cashief with salam alicams twelve lads assisted ; the music con(compliments): he, however, seemed sisted only in clapping the hands, in chiefly intent upon getting something the doing of which they kept very good for himself; and, in a moment, enu- time. I cannot say much for the merated several articles which he elegance or gracefulness of the dance, requested us to give him ; such as as it was nothing more than lifting coffee, snuff, gunpowder, salt, &c.; we up the right foot and stamping it down told him we had none to spare, as we again, therı rising up on the left foot reserve those articles for Hassan Ca- by the spring of the instep, and aftershief, the chief person in this country, wards letting the feet rest on the flat and whose favour it is necessary to sole. This was done for a backsheeish gain by presents, in order to get per- which we gave them. We also gave mission to open the temple at Abou- the reis and crew a backsheeish of ten Simbel. That chief has pledged his piastres, but they said it was not word to Mr. Belzoni, that none but enough, so we added another five. At the English should be allowed to work night, when we stopped, the reis came there, on condition that he, Hassar, is to us to say that we were two parties, to have half the gold that was found and therefore should by rights pay in it: for these people have no idea double the money we had agreed to that our researches for antiquities in give for the boat. They also comthis country have any other object plained that we had not given sufficient than to get treasure ; and they laugh to the crew to eat ; that Jacques (an when we tell them we are looking for agent of Mr. Drovetti, a Frenchman stone statues, and slabs with inscrip- living in this country, and who hired tions on them. They cannot conceive the boat not long before us,) always what motive can induce us to come gave them one-third of his coffee, meat, such a distance, and expend three or bread, and every think that he had ; four thousand piastres to clear away in short, they imagined that up here an accumulated mass of sand, for no we were at their mercy. Now, as we other purpose than to find some gra- had regularly fed them, and given nite figures.
them coffee without stint every day, we We now observed the water to be thought it time to come to an underexceedingly muddy, and of a reddish standing, and therefore told them that yellow colour. We stopped a short the boat was at our disposal, and that time at Offidena with a view of pur- it was no affair of theirs if we had two or five different parties ; and with re- however, made a noise to awaken him, gard to food, that as they were not when he rushed into the water with contented with what we had given his mouth open, looking very savage. them spontaneously, they should have He was about fifteen feet long. nothing. We have no doubt but our June 29.- We arrived at Aboujanissary and the Greek servant put Simbel, and unfortunately found that them up to this request, as the soldier Hassan Cashief was absent; we sent took a poor cowardly part, and urged again to Derry, to Daoud and Halthat as we were in a savage country, leel, for leave to begin to open the we had better temporize with them temple when we returned from the till we were on our return, thus show- second cataract. The banks of the ing of how little use these fellows are river between Ibrim and Abou-Simbel to protect travellers.
are beautifully spread over with the June 28.—Passed Ibrim, situated yellow and purple acacia, forming on a rude but picturesque hill of a thick hedges, which have a very pleasconical shape, and of barren calca- ing effect ; a species of the tamarisk reous stone. There is not now a single is also common here. This is the inhabitant to be seen, and it presents plant that produces the gum arabic, a sad picture of ruin and desolation. which is brought in great quantities Mr. Legh, in his recent publication, from the interior of Africa in the vici(a few extracts from which we have nity of Darfur. The seeds of the acaseen in the Quarterly Review for cia form also a lucrative branch of February last) says “ this town was trade, being sent in the first instance destroyed by the Mamelukes." It was to Cairo, and then shipped for Enrope, the extent or limit of his voyage where they are used for tanning. The in Nubia. He travelled in 1813. water is now become exceedingly thick, Mr. Bankes, it appears, was the first it is not, however, unpleasant to the taste. Englishman who ever succeeded in June 30.– While we were at Abougaining the second cataract : he tra- Simbel, the Dongola caravan passed ; velled in 1815. I fancy he took much it was preceded by about fifty camels, about the same tour in Syria that we carrying provisions, &c. The conducmean to take, though we have not as tors were armed with swords, daggers, yet seen his journey traced out. In and spears. They wore sandals to 1816, Mr. Ďrovetti, the ci-devant preserve the soles of their feet from French consul in Egypt, succeeded in the burning sand, which we now feel reaching the second cataract, together most sensibly, being obliged to stop with his two agents, Rifaud and Cail- every now and then to pour it out of liaud ; these travellers, together with our shoes. These sandals are much Sheikh Ibrahim (a real friend of ours) like those worn by the ancient Egypand Mr. Belzoni, are the only persons tians, and which are often found on that have reached thus far. Mr. Bel. the feet of the mummies. zoni had his wife with him in man's The range of the Mockatem mounclothes. Poor Norden, who travelled tains terminate nearly opposite Aboueighty years ago, could only reach Simbel in a remarkable manner, in a Derry. His Nubian trip is interesting, considerable number of pyramidal though not very instructive. Denon hills rising up from the sand, and went no liigher than Philæ ; and having the appearance of a gigantic Pocock only reached that isle. On the camp ; some of the hills are oblong, tops of the hills near Ibrim, we re- and in the form
marquees : others marked many conical hillocks, as are so perfectly pyramidal, that it is marks to direct the Dongola caravans. difficult to divest one's-self of the idea This evening we saw a crocodile sleep- that they are the work of men's hands. ing on the sand a considerable way up. July 1.-Stopped opposite the vilWe were within twenty yards of him, lage of Farras. We here examined but as none of our muskets were the site of a large Nubian city, and loaded with ball we did not fire ; we, amongst the modern stone buildings