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Our Party and its objects-Departure from Philæ-Our Boat's Crew-Saracenic BuildingsSupposed Boundary between Egypt and Nubia-Kalapsche-Its Temple-We are taken for Physicians-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.
and in that case, if it had not suffered too much in the general pillage and destruction which all the sacred edifices underwent at the conquest of Egypt, by Cambyses and other subsequent princes, it was hoped that something interesting to the antiquary might be discovered.
TOWARDS the end of May, 1817, we joined company at Phil with Messrs. Beechey and Belzoni, who were about to proceed up the Nile. The principal object of this expedition, which was undertaken at the desire of Mr. Salt, was to endeavour to open the great temple at Abou-Simbel, which Mr. Belzoni, who was that gentleman's agent, We considered it a fortunate cirhad 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 Phila to the southward.
The crew consisted of five men, including the reis or captain, and three boys: three of the men and the reis were brothers, and the fifth was their brother-in-law. This latter was dressed in a blue shirt, from which circumstance we nick-named him the "blue devil;" his real name was Hassan; he will be by and by a conspicuous character in this narrative. The boys were sons of some one or other of the crew, and the boat they said belonged to the father of them all, an old man who wore a green turban, as a descendant of the Prophet.
In the afternoon of the 16th of June, we started with a fine fair wind, having first settled a quarrel between two of our crew, in which one of them was cut through the calf of the leg, to the bone. Our agreement with the reis was for 160 piastres per month, 47. sterling; and at the end of the voyage, if they behaved well, a backsheeish or present was promised, a stipulation which always forms part of similar bargains in this country. It was expressly understood that the crew should find their own provisions. As we advanced upwards, the sand hills filling up the cavities between the black granite rocks presented a most remarkable appearance; the surface in many places was quite fine and smooth, reminding one, with the exception of the difference of colour, of some of the scenery in Switzerland, where the snow before it cracks, and after it has been drifted fine, presents just such an appearance. The mountains here close in upon the river, and we looked in vain for that rich plain which, in Egypt, is every where to be seen on the banks of the Nile. On the heights, as we proceeded, we saw several Saracenic buildings placed in most picturesque situations; they tend very much to set off this wild species of scenery; we observed also, throughout Nubia, numerous piles of stones placed on the most elevated and conspicuous parts of the mountains, to indicate the vicinity of the Nile to the caravans from the interior of Africa.
Half a day's sail from Philæ brought us to the end of the granite rocks,
which now gave place to those of calcareous stone, though on the river side, in most instances, their exterior still retains a black colour and a polish. The vein of red granite, which begins below Assuan, and extends beyond Philæ, is supposed to continue in an easterly direction till it reaches the shores of the Red Sea, keeping, nearly throughout, the same breadth; the observations which we made on our trips into the desert from Assuan tended to confirm this opinion.
On the afternoon of the 17th, we came to a place where the mountains close in upon the river in a very abrupt manner, leaving no level land on the banks; the hills at the same time presented some very grand scenery. This by some travellers is termed the boundary between Egypt and Nubia, though I should be inclined to agree with the French, that the first cataract is a more natural limit to the two countries; as, immediately above Assuan, you perceive not only a country quite different from that below, but even natives of a character and colour in no way resembling the Egyptians, differently clothed, and speaking another language.
This evening we arrived at Kalapsche, and as we had to wait some time while our janissary was buying provisions, we went up to inspect the temple, though we had agreed not to visit the antiquities until we returned from the second cataract. The ruins of this edifice are large and magnificent, but it has never been finished: it consists of a large peristyle hall, (most of the columns of which have fallen, andmany are unfinished,) two chambers, and a sanctuary. The exterior walls are smooth, the sculpture not having even been commenced, and in the interior it is not finished, there being in no instance either stucco or painting. There has been first a quay on the river's side, and then a flight of steps as an approach to the temple. The outer hall had several Greek inscriptions in it, some of them in tolerable perfection.
In the evening, before we stopped, we passed two crocodiles; they were