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like the Carthaginians, successful war-makers without having much of the warrior in their own composition. They, too, executed their conquests with the valour of foreigners, but they had more sense than the Carthaginians; they did not allow commercial people, who cared nothing for the safety or prestige of their country, to have the Parliamentary right of interference with their generals ; they had a monarch of the convenient divine type to which Japan owes so much of her greatness to-day; his unquestioned authority made them more than a match for neighbours, who took their orders from guerilla chiefs instead of from Heaven. The neighbours' treasures paid for the endowments of the temples, and the food of the slaves who built them. The neighbours themselves walked to Egypt, with their elbows tied behind them, and built temples and pyramids for as little food as they could exist on. The gigantic buildings of the Egyptians were due to the gigantic numbers of their slaves.
The glories of Denderah are described in another chapter. When they have seen Denderah, the voyagers of Cook are as changed as a hooligan who has heard the call of the Salvation Army. After that, whenever they hear the word temple mentioned, they have visions of vast cathedral-like edifices, whose enormous columns are covered with glowing sculptures of gods and men painted before the great earthquake of Christianity began—sometimes a score of centuries beforeand often almost as uninjured as Westminster Abbey. Temples perfect to their very roofs are to be found at more than one point on the Nile. If the religion of the Pharaohs was to be restored to-morrow, the temples of Denderah and Edfu would stand more in need of a Liberty than a Michael Angelo to fit them for the revival of their services. There is one building which has been an Egyptian temple, a Christian church, and a Mohammedan mosque, and has survived all three, as well as having been a barrack for Turkish soldiers.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that, when once the most unimaginative Nile-trotter has been into a complete temple, he is bitten with the fever and, for ever afterwards, chases the dragoman from hall to hall in a temple, while that prophet
of the one Cook fingers cartouches, and adds fresh flowers to the English language. I love Cook's Prophets—the dragomans; they are delightful, cheery people, who to an extensive rule-of-thumb knowledge of the subject add a knowledge of human infirmities, which enables them to interest the scholar and the soldierman in one excursion. The plainest soldierman makes a good sightseer. If his mind is directed towards looking out for a certain class of thing, he sees it very quickly ; Like the bushman, he has a trained eye.
Very cleverly does Cook, through his Prophets, educate his voyagers. He gives them a tasty hors-d'auvre in the painted tombs of Sakkara : he fleshes the appetite of the tiger at Denderah. And lo and behold, on the evening of the day on which they have been appetised at Denderah, they are at Luxor, which is the happy hunting-ground of the Kingdom of Cook. Here they spend three days in a debauch of sightseeing from the backs of willing asses.
If the moon is shining they will begin that very night by a donkey-ride in dress clothes to Karnak, Karnak the Magnificent, sleeping in its palm-groves by the quay on the Nile, from which the Pharaohs used to be rowed, in unimaginable splendour, to sacrifice at the temples of their ancestors in the City of the Dead, which still bears its ancient name of Thebes.
If the ladies do not relish the idea of a donkey-ride in décolleté gowns and delicate slippers, past the village of the barking dogs, to walk in the deep velvet sands of the halls of Karnak, their acquaintance will only be put off till directly after breakfast on the next morning. But they will miss something, for the effect of the Hall of the Columns of Rameses the Great, in the chief temple of Karnak, is magical when the yellow moonlight, streaming down from the clerestory, and the red glare, rising from the watchman's fires, bring the ancient kings sculptured on the world's grandest columns back to life in the imagination of the beholder-the fairy life which is busy in the darkness, and flies from the light of day.
Karnak in the freshness of morning is very lovely too, and
the carnival of donkeys outside the Luxor temple, the antics of the curio-dealers, who make a counter of the ground, and the scamper through the peasants coming in to market, with their serious absurdities, is exhilarating even before you get to the sphinx avenues and palms innumerable of Karnak.
The temples of Karnak are the voyager's first banquet of antiquities, a Bacchanalian feast of them. They are spoken of as three temples; but the great temple of Amon-Ra takes in a dozen or two of smaller temples, like a viper swallowing her brood. I wandered about in it for a month without seeing everything. It is a mile and a half round, and its highest point is more than a hundred feet high.
When Cook's tourists go there they follow his Prophet meekly round. The Prophet does not care for large effects much. He waves his hand round the principal buildings and names them; but he has the lues archæologica-he likes to show his knowledge as well as the temples; and for this purpose it is more convenient to dilate on some little detail like Ruskin's mongrel on Giotto's tower. At Karnak his favourite topic is the Botanical Catalogue of King Thothmes the Third, who had the family taste for expeditions to Punt. But perhaps it is best to show the temple in this airy way, because three-quarters of the people, who are seeing it, will never come back, and in this way you can show them the whole of Karnak between breakfast and lunch. A visit to the Luxor Market on the outside of the town (like the Ghizeh Market, but not so good), and the superb temple of Luxor, the grandest temple overhanging the water on the whole Nile, have to be got through in the afternoon.
By this time the feelings of the voyagers are so wound-up that on the next morning, though the start for the temples of Thebes has to be made at half-past eight, people are ready and hanging about for half an hour, before the Roman galley comes alongside of the very modern steamer, to ship them across the Nile to a shoal, from which another boat ships them to where the donkey-boys are gesticulating on the shore like golf caddies on a Sunday morning, while their donkeys are behaving like boys in church. There is no place like
Thebes—for a donkey-ride. It is full of nice sandy tracks for a gallop, and the Colossi and temples are a nice distance apart from each other. There are curio stalls outside every temple, where you can buy mummy hawks for fivepence, and cats for a trifle more.
The Colossi are a distinct novelty for photographers, especially since you discover, when you get close to them, that they are covered with beautiful bas-reliefs all over, which has the effect of the tattooing on sailors. The inhabitants of Thebes, though they do a little picturesque agriculture, which is also susceptible of being photographed, at a small piastre for each exposure, regard tourists as their real harvest, and hang about, between them and what they have come to see, brandishing idiotic counterfeits of scarabs. But they all come into the day's outing with the group of solemn temples called Medinet-Habu, and the big Ramesseum temple, and the little Der-el-Medinet temple. That is the second day's banquet of antiquities which Thomas Cook & Son serve up to their patrons, while the steamer is chafing against the swift waters of the Nile. You lunch on board the ship in order that you may visit in the afternoon the camel, buffalo, and donkey races held somewhere behind the Winter Palace Hotel in aid of Cook's Luxor Hospital. The commerce of Luxor is deranged on that afternoon; it is the local form of the Saturday half-holiday. Cook's offices close, that his agent may start the races, and receive Royalty, if there is any. As the money is needed for the hospital, not much of the two-shilling entrance fee is wasted on creature comforts. You know that there will be no rain overhead: a canvas screen in the right place keeps off the sun. One is badly needed to keep the north wind off, but that would get between the spectators and the races. The donkey-races are for visitors mounted on donkeys; but the residents always win them, because they have donkeys of their own who will do what they are told. No Egyptian saddle-donkey for hire ever obeys a tourist. They do not understand each other's amenities, the ass having been trained without saddle or bridle. There is also a donkey-boys' donkey-race, in which
they ride each other's donkeys, with their faces towards the rudder, and the last is first. Camels hardly understand races, but they leg it when they get excited, and most of the riders slip over their sterns before they reach port. At any rate, they run straight, whereas buffaloes have not the most elementary ideas of a fair start, and dive about in every direction like the cockroaches, which the cheated lodger released in the grasping landlady's house. They are ridden by fellahin. Twelve men could not prevent one from starting at the wrong time, and nothing short of a firework under its tail would make one start at the right time. The buffalo pitches like a tramp steamer, and always does the wrong thing. If the Egyptian is disparaging the intelligence of his servant, he does not call him a donkey or a goose, he calls him a gamoose, which is, being interpreted, a buffalo.
You did not even have a chair for your two shillings, but dozens of chicken crates were dumped down in a field, and these and the screen constituted the grand stand. Everybody seemed pleased, though there was hardly any entertainment except seeing each other, and they had been seeing each other every minute of the day for nine days; and then they went back to tea, at the ship or the hotel. The whole thing rather reminded me of the enterprising American Presscutting Bureau, which, whenever you have a
new book announced, sends you this notice temptingly baited with grammar
“To-day we have filed under your name i items. Did your clipping Bureau supply that many reviews ? (Other mentions are not gathered except on order.)
“Are you curious to see what you have missed ?
“ Send 10 cents and we will forward, or, if you are now convinced that we are, as claimed, the most complete concern in our line, send 5 dollars and be regularly enrolled on our books until we have sent 100 items."
The next day's excursion, which starts half an hour earlier and also crosses the Nile in a galley to donkey-caddies on the other side, is the tour de force of the trip, for it embraces