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scattered among the sands, which, in addition to their want of moisture, had the bitterest taste that could be endured. The sacks of grain which formed the lading of those bound to Tor, were ranged on each side of us, as a shelter from the wind; our arms were mustered and examined, and we felt ourselves in a state of security.
The party we had joined were named Moosa, or Moses, a deaf gray-bearded old Bedouin, Abdallah, a negro from the mountains beyond Habesh, or Abyssinia, and Suliman and Hassan, two Arab boys, which was now increased by Phanoose, our guide, and myself. The boys being immediately despatched to collect sufficient fuel for the night, Abdallah served us with coffee, prepared over a fire of dried camel's dung, collected on the spot. Our pipes were filled from each other's sacks, as a usual interchange of compliment, and my ready acceptance of a pinch from Moosa's snuff-box, (for the Arabs who frequent Cairo have learnt this habit of the Europeans there,) brought us at once upon a footing of intimacy.
As conversation became general, it was soon discovered that my language as well as color was not exactly that of the Bedouins; the Arabic spoken in Egypt, though pure, differing materially from that of the desert; and to pass for a Turk, though perfectly easy in the present instance, would have been of no advantage, their whole race being hated and despised by the Bedouins. I therefore confessed myself to be a traveller from the west, wandering over the eastern world in search of knowledge, and of good men; and as this elicited an expression of applause, mingled with surprise, and my protector, Phanoose, honestly avowed that my life was upon his head, all things seemed likely to be turned to our advantage. Interesting as the task would have been, I found it impossible to remember the whole of the conversation which arose upon this single topic: namely, the avowed rarity of finding wisdom or honesty among men, and the grounds on which I hoped to meet with it in my travels through the world, for such appeared to them to be the state of the argument implied by my confession. But though this discussion was long, it was ingenious, and entertaining even to the end.
As it grew dark, the camels were collected together, and kneeling on the sand near us, their fore-legs were lashed in their bent position, which rendering them unable to rise, was the only precaution necessary for their safety. A small quantity of gunpowder, bruised in oil, was given to them in form of a bolus, and a bag of beans tied to their mouths, for their evening meal. Hassan and Suliman were returned with fuel for the night, and Abdallah, having in the short space of half an hour ground sufficient wheat for the party, mixed it, chaff and all, in the water of their own skin, baked cakes of it on the fire of dung, and made them, while warm, again into a paste, by breaking them in pieces, and kneading them in a wooden bowl, with oil and honey. Each of the party washed his hands in the sand, before commencing their meal, as water is too precious in the desert to be so used; and all dipping their fingers in the same dish, regaled themselves as at a feast of delicacies.
I could not refuse to join them, but it was a painful tribute to their hospitality; and keen as my appetite had been at alighting, it was more than satisfied by witnessing the preparation of our food, so that
I was compelled at last to plead fatigue, and afterward to sup unseen from my own stock; feeling, in this instance, the truth of Solomon's expression, that 'stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.' We remained awake, and were engaged in rude yet interesting festivity, until midnight, having a large fire, and one of the party always on the watch, so that we rolled ourselves in our cloaks, and sunk to rest without apprehensions of evil.
Desert Of Suez. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16TH. — The shades of night had scarcely given place to the earliest gleams of morning, before we were again stirring. Coffee and the hasty cakes of yesterday were served with equal expedition, and an hour before sunrise, our little caravan was on the march. The appearance of the country was every where the same; dull sandy plains, unbroken and without variety; a wide horizon, almost like the sea, and the elevation or depression of the road seldom exceeding an angle of three degrees. In some few parts, where the sand appeared more loose and deep, were tufts of bitter herbs, and a sort of dry heath, on which the camels fed as they passed along; but by far the greater part of the track was a firm, gravelly soil, covered with white and yellow pebbles, of common fint, forming an excellent road, either for wheel carriages, cavalry, or infantry, and even for laden wagons, if necessary.
In the course of the morning, we had passed several spots strewed with logs, resembling petrifactions of trees, or at least portions of their trunks, with the bark on; but remembering the discussion of that question by Volney, and his aspersions on the veracity of Père Sicard, followed by an assurance of his having examined those logs, and found them to be really stones, I passed thein by, contented with admiring their close resemblance to timber, yet still wondering at the cause of their singular shape and situation, remote from rocks or quarries of any kind; my confidence in his better judgment setting the question at rest in my own mind as to their real nature, for the present. At noon, however, we passed another spot on which several of these lay, and among them were some so remarkable, that I could not resist the temptation of alighting to examine them more closely; the result of which was, a conviction of their being petrifactions. I had selected one of the smallest of the trunks that I could find, among those exhibiting unequivocal characteristics, such as the bark, the circular layers, the knots, etc., intending to load it on our camels alternately, and send it back from Suez to Cairo; but the very proposition was resisted with warmth, and persevered against with obstinacy. I offered an increased sum for its conveyance, and even consented to walk myself, for the rest of the way, while my own camel carried it, as it did not exceed my own weight; but neither entreaties, threats, nor rewards, could prevail on our guide to comply with my wishes; and the silliness of the objections which he urged, only added vexation to disappointment. He knew, he said, that I was one of God's wandering children,' that is, an idiot or madman; and as I understood how to read books, that my search was after hidden treasures; but these, he said, were not the monied stones'. for so they consider all blocks with inscriptions — as there was no writing on them. He added, that as he was himself a connoiseur of those receptacles of hidden wealth,' meaning blocks with hieroglyphics and inscriptions, though he was ignorant how to enrich himself by them, he would not suffer one under his protection to be imposed on by such an error of judgment, as the taking away these stones, in the hope of their being of any value. There was no replying to this mode of reasoning; and the disappointment, like all other evils, was better to be forgotten than to be pondered over, so that I affected at last to make light of the matter, and passed on to overtake the rest of our party, who, during this dispute about the petrified trunks, had gained some distance ahead of us.
In the course of the afternoon, we met several small caravans, on their way from Suez to Cairo, laden with charcoal from Sinai and Tor, and saw also straggling parties of Bedouins on foot, their arms and clothing as wretched as the imagination could possibly paint them, one in each party carrying the water-skin slung across his shoulders, and every one else apparently bearing his own provisions.
After having passed a small building, and a single tree, considerably on our left, lying nearly in the centre road, and continuing our route easterly across the same tiresome and unvarying scenery, we halted about four o'clock in a sort of loose sand, it having been pitched on for the convenience of our camels rather than ourselves, as it afforded a few shrubs for them to feed on, and soft ground for their knees.
The same duties as those of the preceding evening were again gone through; the dish of meal, oil, and honey, was again served up; but as I felt no more reconciled to it than before, I joined in appearance only, supping on the boiled rice which I had separately prepared for my own use.
DESERT of Suez. THURSDAY, February 17TH. — The conversation of the last evening surpassing that of the preceding, both in length and variety, kept us all awake until past midnight; and in the course of it, I had often reason to be convinced that when the mind is active, and the heart at ease, even the solitude of the desert can be rendered cheerful, and have, as well as more polished circles, its gay and social parties. For myself, I had a thousand questions to ask of my Bedouin companions, as to the modes of living, feeling, and thinking, among a race so little known, whose manners, like the wilds they inhabit, have suffered scarcely any change since the age of the patriarchs, and who have, among their reputed vices, a candor, fidelity, truth, and independence, worthy the imitation of nations and people the most refined. In fact, so powerful was my desire of correct information on those subjects, that but for its incompatibility with the object of duty in pursuit, I would willingly have retired with them into the depth of their retreats, and have borne all the inconveniences of living among them, for a few months at least. I regretted even the small portion of time which was necessarily allotted to recruit the fatigues of the day by sleep, and thought every hour thus passed, so much lost of an opportunity not to be recalled. When we started, therefore, which was by the faint light of the morning moon, I found myself as tired as when we had first broken up our conference to retire to rest ; though a cup of coffee, the motion of the camel, and the renewed chain of inquiries which sleep had interrupted, very gradually restored me.
Our route to-day lay through a more broken country, but neither hilly nor rocky; the ascents and descents were in general more sudden, but there was still a tiresome want of variety, nor had the country yet changed its character of an irregular sandy plain. About noon, the high mountains of Adaga interposed their blue bulk in the south-east, and were interesting from mere contrast; dead camels were seen occasionally upon the sands, and the bleached skeletons of those whose bones had long been bared by the sun and wind, were visible at a distance of many miles, on the edge of the horizon. We saw neither jackalls, hyenas, nor antelopes, in this part of the desert. A few solitary ravens, of a large size, and the finest glossy jet, appeared to enjoy undisturbed the empire of the plain ; for beside these, we saw no other living creatures, except some flocks of quails, a few gray swallows, hardly distinguishable in color from the surface of the sands they skimmed, and a beautifully delicate lizard, of about three inches only in extreme length, whose form and colors might vie with the most exquisite of nature's animated productions; its topaz eyes, and silky, spotted skin, were the richest combinations of variety that could be seen; and its panting timidity, when held in the hand, gave an additional glow to every tint.
When suffered to escape, the rapidity of its pace, and resemblance of general hue to the sand itself, rendered it difficult to be distinguished; nor could the eye follow it, but for the serpentine track left by the print of its feet and tail upon the surface of the smooth sand, forming a wavy chain, of a delicacy and regularity as surprising as it was perfect.
It was not before the usual hour of the evening halt, that we gained sight of the Castle of Adjerood, a caravanserai, a short march from Suez; and it was then some miles distant. I had already suffered so much in my eyes, which were by no means recovered from the effects of the opthalmia when we left Cairo, and the back part of my neck was now also so blistered by exposure to the sun, that I was anxious to reach some shelter for the night, especially as the wind bad risen very high, and annoyed us by the clouds of sand with which it filled the air. I therefore desired that we might continue our march until we gained the caravanserai, where we might regale at leisure, and sleep in comfort and security. Neither of the Arabs urged the slightest objection to the prolongation of our march; but all refused to enter the walls of Adjerood, and preferred to sleep unsheltered in the open air. This contempt of enclosed dwellings had been deeply rooted in their minds by early impressions, and was confirmed by habit : and to this they added another reason. ‘Are you not now with friends and honest men,' said they, 'with whom you may trust your gold uncounted, and will you enter among thieves and robbers, where one eye must be waking while the other sleeps ?' It was impossible to change their opinion of men in civilized life, whom they characterized as treacherous and deceitful, from the Sultan to the Fellah ; or to persuade them of there being many bright exceptions to
the general wickedness of mankind. • Mahommed Ali Basha,' said they, ‘is he not a robber of the highest class, living on the plunder of the people, (for so they consider taxes of every description,) and obliging them to be dishonest, that they may be able to answer his never-ceasing demands ? And has he not carried the war into Arabia, rather to gain the riches of the Wahabees, than to change their religion? These questions were unanswerable; and when I endeavored to explain to them the necessity of individual sacrifices for the public good, and of general contributions toward the maintenance of national security, they replied in terms as expressive as they were laconic: • Let every man's industry be his provider; his vigilance his protector; and his own courage his defender.' As there was no sophistry in their arguments, so they were not easily to be refuted ; and a consciousness of its truth in their own minds, as forming the real principles of their general conduct, occasioned them to be firmly adhered to.
It was only in consideration, therefore, of my eyes suffering from exposure to the night air, that my request was complied with, and our conference on this subject continued even until we reached the walls themselves. It was by that time past sun-set, and as the evening was cloudy, it had grown extremely dark; the gates of the castle were shut, and not a voice was to be heard from within. Phanoose, however, by loud knocking, brought a porter to the wicket, whom, instead of entreating for our admission as a favor, he loaded with manly reproof for closing his gate against the weary stranger. • What is your castle built for,' said he; 'to maintain a lazy governor and his train ? — or did not Sultan Selim, and the holy Sheick, both found a caravanserai, which you have converted into a fort ?' The man replied as loudly, and with equal warmth, until the dispute grew so serious, that I was afraid at last shelter would be absolutely refused us. Phanoose entered, however, by force, unbarred the large gate, and with great difficulty drew his camels after him, the animals seeming to be as averse to enter enclosed buildings as their master.
Phanoose, the Bedouin Arab, refused, however, to remain in the castle, among 'thieves and tyrants,' as he invariably called the Turks who occupied it; and though he left our camels within the walls, he took his sacks of money with him, and joined the camp of his companions on the outside, in the open plain. After he left us, I was soon surrounded by the attendants of the place, and our evening was passed in obtaining from them some information as to the age and nature of this establishment.
Adjerood is a square enclosure of stone walls, about a hundred feet in length on each of its sides, and flanked at the angles with round towers, not exceeding the height of the walls themselves, which may be about twenty-five feet. It has one large gate only, with a wicket entrance, and the interior is merely an open court, with a range of low and mean chambers running round the whole square of the walls. Near it is an enclosed well, upward of two hundred feet in depth, but yielding only foul and brackish water, though shaded by the tomb of a venerated saint.
The Arabs say it was built by Sultan Selim, but know not the