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waiting to seize your luggage. Cook's European stewards, mostly Italians, are very superior to the European waiters you get in the hotels; they attend to you instead of to themselves. I wonder that there are not people who spend their lives on Cook's Nile steamers, whenever they are running, just as they spend their lives at golf-clubs which have bedrooms. Here you have the dolce far niente materialised. The dining-room is on deck, and full of windows; you can see the scenery while you are eating. The fore-end of the saloon is one gigantic window. You can also see the scenery as you lie in bed through the big window of your cabin, which has a shutter if you want to keep out publicity or the light, and also a wire screen if you only want to keep out flies—a real window, not a porthole. Here you can have a pre-breakfast cup of tea or coffee, with biscuits to match, any time after dawn; but you must be careful not to ask for butter unless you are very sure of the pronunciation of the word, for there is a most embarrassing word which sounds like butter in Arabic. Instead of bunks you have quite good beds, high enough from the ground to take two or three ladies' dressbaskets underneath-a consideration in a place where people change their clothes so often as they do in the smart society of Cook's boats. There was one American boy millionaire on one of the Cook's boats in which we travelled, whose appearance at breakfast indicated to a nicety the programme for the day. If he had on a suit of Eau-de-Nil-coloured Shantung silk, with a ribbon to match round his panama, and patent-kid shoes, we knew that we were going to be all day on board taking meals and kodaks. I have never seen such a suit-it was in perfect taste-off the stage. If he was in immaculate white flannels—I beg his pardon, white doeskins—with snow-white boots of another kind of doeskin and a white felt Monte Carlo hat (really white, not pale grey) we knew that we were only going to do little jaunts, such as walking off the steamer to a temple which a considerate Pharaoh had pinned to the bank. But if he was in any of his adorable pale dove or biscuit riding-suits, and hung a helmet on the hat-rack, we knew that we had a long donkey ride before us.
wife proclaimed her wealth in a different way. She wore one perfect tailor-made dress every day and all day, and one severely made evening frock night after night. This, combined with the fact that she had only one hat-a tennis hat with a club ribbon on it—was real swagger, and she always looked perfectly charming. She had the most beautiful feet, laced in the most beautiful brown boots a woman could desire.
At each end of the saloon deck of Cook's steamers there is a lounge, the width of the ship and a few yards long, glazed almost from floor to ceiling, but with an effective system of blinds, very necessary in Egypt. This is for getting the first and last views of scenery, and is much used by people who require two hours' rest after breakfast and two hours' rest before dinner. But the chief lounge of the ship is in the centre, between the saloon and the writing-room, where the daily papers arrive every day by a brilliant system of posts, for which the under-dragoman goes ashore before people get up in the morning. In the same way every one finds his letters on his plate when he comes down to breakfast, and posts the letters he writes, just before he goes to bed, in a letter-box beside the donation-box for Cook's hospital, founded at Luxor by the late Mr. Cook's munificence.
The central lounge is a delightful place, as large as a very large drawing-room, spread with soft carpets in the centre, full of easy-chairs and occasional tables, covered in from the sun by a hurricane deck, but with outlying portions where you can walk on wood and stand in the sun, when you are tired of Sybaris. Here you sip coffee after lunch; here you make parties for afternoon tea, with which excursions are never allowed to interfere. You may take lunch into the desert with you, picnic fashion, but you are always back to fight your battles over again at the afternoon tea-tables, and there are generally some people on board who take most of their excursions by hearsay at tea. For the coffee after dinner ; for dancing, or reading, if any one was found who could do either; for bridge, for which few people had the
energy, except those who did not go the excursions; and for other purposes such as conversation, in which even the younger men and the girls took a part-apart-the whole of the saloon deck was closed in awnings, like the balcony over Dodo's front door when her people were giving a dance. The only drawback to this was that people who wanted to see the stars had to climb on the roof, which was lonely.
Another excuse people made was that they were going to see the reises, the Arab pilots who steer the boats from the roof, whom they always spoke of as the races. The servants on Cook's boats spoil you for any other servants; they hang about you like shadows in soft white robes, wondering what you could want next. There was
a misanthrope, who was travelling on the Rameses the Great with us, who really did' spend every winter in travelling up and down the Nile in Cook's boats. He said that the reason they were so attentive was because they had read in “Al-Lewa” that all the people who travel on Cook's boats are mad; and Mohammedans always treat mad people as under the special protection of Heaven--a pleasing Arab variation of our proverb, “Whom the gods love, die young."
Tea is not laid on Cook's boats; these white-robed spirits hover round you with tea-pots and milk-jugs and sugarbasins, and a dozen different kinds of Huntley & Palmer's biscuits. In the same way at meals they notice what titbits you like, and observe your idiosyncrasies in the arrangement of your toilet-requisites round washing-stand and mirror. Is there any one who is not particular about the place occupied by his toothbrush when at rest?
Cook's cabin-stewards take a special delight in cleaning your boots, which they do most beautifully, but they are liberal in their use of unguents. I heard the lady next door to me tell Mohammed only to dust her kid shoes, and not to put anything on them. I heard him reply: "I see; no Nugget."
No matter what your idiosyncrasy was, Mohammed would humour it. One of mine was that, since lights went out at eleven, I wished to see the whole machinery of dawn and
sunrise. The moment Mohammed saw the first streak he came and woke me, and as soon as practicable afterwards brought me tea and Huntley & Palmers. Then I regarded the sunrise from my bed, if there was nothing special to take me on deck, until the sun was in full swing.
Then I got up and had my bath. But I jumped out of bed, and flew up on deck in a dressing-gown, at frequent intervals, when there were ruins or scenery or, better still, shoals to look at.
To look at the shoals when the Nile is beginning to fall is like going to a wireless zoological gardens. On the same shoal, if you cannot see a lion lying down with a lamb, you can see the eagle going to sleep with the goose in perfect cordiality. On one shoal I have seen various kinds of eagles, vultures, falcons, storks, cranes, ducks, geese, pelicans, ibises, and other water birds, too rare for me to know, or too unimportant to mention. I used to hope against hope that I should see a crocodile, but the last crocodile below the cataracts was shot by Lord Fitzhardinge many years ago. It was a little thing of sixteen feet long, which had found its way down unobserved.
I never saw the birds disagreeing among themselves, and they, like us, felt secure under the protection of Thomas Cook & Sons, who allow no shooting from their steamers. They know a Cook's steamer as well as possible, and never stirred from their nice, “comfy" shoal when we passed. The beautiful dark-blue-and-white Nile kingfishers were much more restive, as they darted in and out of their pigeon-holes in the bank; but the wild pigeons knew that they were safe as well as the water-birds did, and used to come down and splash very prettily in the early morning. Probably they were not wild. The inhabitants of the pigeon-towers look just like wild pigeons, and they would feel doubly safe. They must know by this time what a fuss there is when Europeans fire at them.
There is one sight which you see all day and every day on the Nile, and it furnishes the kodaker with some of his best subjects-that is, the drawing of water from it for irrigation by sakiyas and shadats. The sakiya consists of a vertical
wheel, with a belt of pitchers fastened to its rim, large enough to dip into the river at the bottom and empty its pitchers into a little flume at the top of the bank, which feeds the irrigation channel. This vertical wheel is driven, by means of cogs, by a sort of capstan turned by some animal—a cow or a buffalo, a camel or an ass. A little boy, more or less naked, sits on the capstan and whips the animal if it tries to stop. His parent or master whips the boy if he tries to stop. He cannot escape detection, because the ill-greased sakiya groans so loudly all the time that it is labouring. The groaning of the sakiya is one of the universal sounds of rural Egypt, commoner even than the barking of the village dogs.
The shadaf is a much more picturesque affair, especially if it is a treble or quadruple one. I have seen them quintuple. They have the merit of costing nothing but labour to make. About eight feet above the level of the river the Egyptian digs a hole. On each side of it he builds a pillar of mud and canes about five feet high and three feet apart. They are connected by a cross piece of wood at their tops, and to this is slung a lever with a lump of mud at one end, sufficiently heavy to carry up the bucket, slung by two long sticks from the other end, when it is full of water. A man stands beside the sticks and pulls them down to dip the bucket, generally made of leather or basketwork, into the river. When it is full he gives it a jerk upwards, and the mud weight at the other end of the lever pulls it high enough to empty into the hole between the pillars, from which it flows into an irrigation channel ; or, if the bank is more than eight feet high, it feeds a second shadaf raised eight feet above the first. I have seen a bank forty feet high surmounted by a rising scale of five shadafs, and I have often seen a twin shaduf worked by two men to fill the hole quicker. This is very necessary, for the shadüf bucket is quite a small triangular affair, and spills a lot of its water every time. Hoisting a shadaf is very hard work, so, except in winter, its workers are bronze statues. In many places where the north wind is particularly severe they build screens of reeds