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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 ó 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 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 nieal, 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 couvinced 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 inbabit, have suffered scarcely any change since the age of the patriarchs, and who have, among their reputed vices, a candur, 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 w 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 locks 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 had 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 bis 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 sliut, 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
date of its erection, though all agree that it was founded as a caravanserai for passengers, on account of the adjacent well. Its architecture is plain and solid, resembling the style so prevalent in the Arabian buidings of the last and preceding century, that is, of the Saracenic order, but of inferior execution to the works of the Caliphs. At the present moment, it is called a fort, and maintains a Turkish governor and twenty Arabs, with four rusty cannon, badly mounted, and all of different calibre and construction, the largest not exceeding an English four-pounder. Its professed object is the securing of deserters, Albanians, Greeks, etc., from the public service, as it lies near the junction of the three roads to Cairo, and as far as the apprehension of straggling individuals is intended, may be ellectual. Officers, soldiers, and messengers of the government, also halt here in their way, but other passengers, except by favor of the governor,
ARRIVAL AT Suez. — Friday, February 18TH. — We were roused before sunrise, and taking our breakfast on the sands, without the walls, loaded our little caravan and departed, taking leave of the venerable old Moosa, Abdallah, and the Bedouin boys, who continued their route easterly, to pass round the arm of the Red Sea above Suez, while we branched off' more southerly toward the town.
An hour after setting out, we reached another enclosed building, but of a much ruder kind, the interior of which I did not see, although we alighted for that purpose, as the occupants of it refused to open the doors without a positive order from the Aga himself. Without the walls was a large trough, out of which our camels drank, though the water was blacker, and of a stronger smell, than the foulest bilge-water I had ever seen. The bitter, dry, and thorny herbs on which these creatures fed in the desert, and their capability of swallowing water like this, surprised me even more than the fatigues and privations they have the power of sustaining in their desert marches.
On leaving this building or watering-place, the scenery gradually improved. The high mountains of Auaga on onr right were grand and picturesque; the sea opened to our view; and the town, the harbor, and port of Suez, with the few vessels at anchor here, were all interesting objects, after so monotonous a journey in point of scenery as ours had been.
We reached Suez about ten o'clock, and alighted at the Okella of the Greeks, but finding there neither accommodation for ourselves or camels, we waited immediately on Flassan Aga, the governor, to whom I presented my letter from the Kiah Bey, the Pasha's representative at Cairo. My reception was extremely favorable, and I was offered a seat beside him on the same sofa, an explanation as to the motive of my disguise having removed the prejudicial impression created by the appearance of my Bedouin dress.
After an hour's conversation on the aflairs of Europe, the state of the war in Arabia, and other topics of mutual inquiry, an officer was directed to show me a room in an adjoining house, where I took up my quarters for a short stay, and had reason to be pleased with its situation, as it received the cool breezes of the north-east, and over
looked the small harbor for boats, abreast of the town. It was soon furnished with our own mat and cooking-utensils, neither chairs nor tables being known here; and the luxuries of undressing and enjoy. ing a clean change of linen, were of the highest kind.
After dining on a rice pilau at noon, I passed three or four hours agreeably in rambling through the town; and the evening was spent with the governor, whose divan was filled with visitors of all classes ; soldiers, merchants, traders from Yemen, and Arabs from all parts of the surrounding country. Even Phanoose paid his respects to the governor in person, filled his pipe, and was served with coffee by the men in waiting ; but he persisted in his motive being rather to take care of me, than to gratify himself. Upon the whole, indeed, I had much reason to be pleased with my reception and entertainment by the governor, Hassan Aga, who was more polite and intelligent than the generality of Turks in corresponding situations.
Town of Suez. FEBRUARY 19th. - I was visited, very early in the morning, by an old Arab, of Suez, who spoke a few words in English, and who showed me some Grammatical Exercises in that language, with corresponding phrases in Turkish and Arabic, written by a Mr. John Jones, supercargo at this port, for the House of Forbes and Company at Bombay, some few years since; as well as by a Greek captain of a vessel, who had been in London, and who spoke Italian very intelligibly; and obtaining from Hassan Aga, the governor, one of his soldiers as a guide, I was accompanied by those three in
my walks through the town, to which I devoted most of the day, examining its interior, as well as making the circuit of its walls.
As a station for transporting the merchandise of the Red Sea to Cairo, and shipping off supplies of grain from Egypt to Arabia, considering the limited extent of the trade at the present moment, Suez answers the purpose most effectually; but, as a town, scarcely any assemblage of houses, to which that name is given, can be imagined less deserving it. Situated on a point of land, faced by shallows toward the sea, and having a wide desert behind it, not a tree, a bush, or a blade of verdure, is any where to be seen. It has been recently enclosed with miserable walls, formed of stones loosely piled together, without cement, and having a range of loop-holes for musketry; though one need only be within ten paces of them, to be convinced that they would fall before the first discharge of half a dozen field-pieces. This wall surrounds it on three sides, leaving it open toward the north-east, where are the wharves for loading, and the scala for the boat harbor. The whole circuit of the town is, however, less than two British miles, its greatest length being northwest and south-east, and its shape irregular.
The many open spaces within the walls of Suez, unoccupied by buildings, leave little more than five hundred separate houses, among which are a great number ruined by the French, during the campaign in Egypt'; others forming the temporary habitations of strangers, and others again used only as magazines for merchandise. Like the majority of their dwellings at Cairo, the basements are built of hewn free-stone, above which wooden balconies project into the