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Paris, a stone's throw from the Stock Exchange. An anonymous writer makes this strange revelation, and vouches for the truth of it. Every student who has read in the Bibliothèque Nationale knows the melancholy little old bit of garden shut in on three sides by the buildings of the library, and on the fourth by railings along the Rue Vivienne, which is accessible to none save the Keeper of the Printed Books, and in which he has most probably never set foot. There, it seems, are buried the remains of Cleopatra, and they have lain there these forty years. Under a glass case in the cabinet of medals of the Bibliothèque Nationale is an Egyptian sarcophagus, and Egyptologists are positive that the inscriptions upon it prove it to have contained the body of Cleopatra.
“ The sarcophagus was brought from Egypt to Paris over forty years ago by a French savant, who placed it in the National Library. After some months it was found impossible to preserve the mummy which it contained, and the question arose as to what should be done with the remains of the Queen of Egypt. It was at last decided to bury her quietly, without pomp or publicity, in the old bit of garden enclosed in the building ; where she was accordingly laid secretly in the earth forty years ago."
One may be allowed to doubt if it was the right Cleopatra. Five queens of Egypt had borne the name before the last Queen ; one may ask why in a place like the Bibliothèque Nationale of France the inscriptions have not been deciphered and printed; for there is no lack of expert Egyptologists in Paris ; and one may challenge what the writer of this paragraph means by saying that it was impossible to preserve the mummy which it contained. A mummy which was imperfectly preserved would have gone bad and perished in much less than two thousand years, and, however it was corrupting, it could have been placed in a hermetically sealed glass case with powerful drugs to arrest its further decay. The only excuse for thrusting it into the earth, where it was certain to dissolve, in this ignorant way, would be its being notoriously unfortunate to all who were
brought into contact with it. If this was so, and this mummy was really Antony's Cleopatra, there would have been a fitting climax to her extraordinary career.
I insert this correspondent's note in the hopes that some competent person will thrash the question out. For of the conduct attributed to the National Library of France no one could say as Shakespeare made Charmian say of Cleopatra :
It is well done, and fitting for a princess
The Egyptian State Railways
"OURISTS do not make half enough use of the Egyptian State railways.
North of Assuan you can go anywhere by them just as easily as you can by the Nile, though you cannot take your hotel with you as you do on Cook's steamers. The trains between Cairo and Assuan are extremely comfortable if you go by the wagonlits, for you get the best sleeping-cars in the world ; and English wagon-lit passengers are treated with great respect by Egyptian officials. The humbler officials, like porters, are polite to every one—it is the Egyptian's nature to be polite. It is also his nature, however much you overpay him in bakshish, to look at it reproachfully and say that it is not enough. To which, from an Englishman, he expects the rejoinder of “Get out." Second class is not so comfortable, because Egyptians, other than fellahin, use it themselves, and collectively they smell, apart from their habit of bringing merchandise into the carriage. An Egyptian, who might be taking up several dozen large water-jars would give the guard a little tip to be allowed to take them in the carriage with him instead of paying for them in the luggage van. Until English officials took over the administration of the railways, Egyptians used to tip the guard to let them travel without a ticket.
The traveller who has merely travelled from Cairo to one of the ports, and Cairo to Assuan, by train-de-luxe, and that mostly at night, has not seen the humours of Egyptian railways. For this he should make the day journey from Cairo to Damietta, which takes him through the Delta, the
richest and wickedest part of Egypt. It was the Khedive who told me that the better-off a district is the more crime there will be.
Tanta, the chief town of the Delta, is noted for its turbulence. It is not always safe for Europeans to go there during the annual pilgrimage.
We went to Damietta late in the spring of 1907. We started from Cairo in complete comfort. We had not a wagon-lit-there are no wagon-lits to Damietta-but an excellent first-class apartment, obsequiously dusted, all to ourselves. In Egypt when you have chosen your railway carriage a deputy-porter steps in with the inevitable ostrichfeather broom, and removes the dust, which settles on the seats like snow. We bought our Egyptian Gazette and our Egyptian Morning News and the latest English paper, and settled down to read till we had shaken clear of Cairo, with its pashas' gardens in the maw of the jerrybuilder, looking very Sicilian with their prickly pears and artichokes if it had not been for the palm-groves.
When we came to real villages with manure stacked on their roofs and sakiyas groaning under the shade of lebbektrees, we looked up from our papers. Egypt was there in full force, consisting mostly of camels and donkeys, with a few buffaloes and others. The stooping fellahin in their long blue gowns, in the distance, looked more like mummybeads than ever. They stoop over their work as much as the Japanese. I wonder they don't learn to work standing on their heads: their eyes and arms would be so much nearer to the ground.
There were many trains of camels led by men on asses. Camels are not as wise as they look. Two camels of the Coldstream Guards, which had eaten too much berseem, quietly burst all over the barrack-yard and died. Most of the camels here were laden with crates for oranges. They and the donkeys were returning from their early morning jobs on a never-ending track, which ran straight through bright, bright patches of mustard, green, green berseem, and brown Nile earth in the wake of Virgilian
ploughs. The cemeteries really are the best part of the scenery here. If our cemeteries at home were like these, one could understand the lugubrious love which our lower classes entertain for them. Here in the Delta of the Nile you only need a mosque with a minaret, and a few saints' tombs with whitewashed domes, built of mud, to make a picture. When the tombs are built of burnt bricks, as they sometimes are in the Delta, they do not look half so nice as when they are built of mud. Sometimes the domes about here are as conical as a cypress.
Arab writing is a wonderful and beautiful thing. It can make the name of a railway station as impressive as a prayer. Ben-ha looks simple-almost ridiculous when written up in bald English, but in Arabic it looks like a blessing.
Ben-ha is an important town, just the place to give a new arrival an idea of the humours of an Egyptian railway station, with its flocks of natives sitting on the ground, its screamers selling mandarins and cakes, its women in face veils, its effendis in tarbooshes and fearful English clothes, but clean and correct collars ; its poorer and nobler-looking men in Eastern robes and turbans; and a few flamboyant ladies, belonging to the lower orders of nations like Levantines, in fussy European garments, with little girls in unabashed flannel night-dresses-mostly magenta—Levantine children always run about in Aannel night-dresses-they look like galabeahs. An Egyptian station is an admirable place for photographing. There is always somebody doing something absolutely idiotic for a foreground. I should always give up my ticket to any one who asked me, if he had a tarboosh on. It has the look of a uniform about it. The personnel of the Egyptian railways often wear no other uniform. One came along at Benha and tapped the window with a pencil, to draw my attention to the fact that he would like to see my ticket. He returned it with an elaborate flourish, and a smile like the advertisement of Bovril in Trafalgar Square, which illuminates the night with running glimpses of the alphabet.
The broad green flats of the Delta are something like the