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and that most newspaper offices keep a record of former employees. The telephone has never revealed a genuine case to me. The Luxor beggar has generally lost some part of his person-indeed, if the loss of an eye is sufficient qualification, half the population of Egypt is entitled to beg.
To add to the difficulties of forcing your way through the swarm of human Ries, the shopkeepers cut in. Smiling secret agents of Khrishnavarma press you to come in and buy lace and embroideries, or silver inkstands of a size more suitable for spittoons. Keepers of antiquity exhibitions press you to come in—"no scharge to examine"-and see if you can find a gold-leafed mummy case, or a regiment of wooden soldiers from the tomb of a Pharaoh to suit your purse. "Only come in and look see-need not buy." They, none of them, compete with the Levantines who wish to develop your kodaks and sell you postcards. At the side of every door is a black heart-shaped piece of metal bearing the inscription in letters of gold, “ Kodaks developed," often adding something about delivering the prints within twenty-four hours. This would have been a handy way for Bloody Mary to have had the word “Calais” printed on her heart in her pleasant apartments in the Tower of London.
Every shopman you pass calls out to you to know if you want to buy kodak-films, and have any films that need developing ; every shopman invites you to inspect his stock of postcards-picture-postcards of the scenery and the antiquities of Upper Egypt; every one asks double the proper price till he finds out that you know the standard price ; every one, when he has got you into the shop to look at postcards, tries to proceed to ostrich feather fans, and silver-gilt jewellery of more or less ancient Egyptian designs.
It is a great relief to escape from this open-air chamber of commerce into the stately calm of the Winter Palace, which is very self-contained. It even has a full-blown postoffice inside, where you get your parcels weighed and dispatched. You buy so many knicknacks in Egypt that
you are always having parcels to send. The Egyptian at the hotel post-office can usually tell you where any explorer or excavator in Egypt is located, because he has the sending on of their letters into the wilds. Thebes—at its Luxor Branch -is the capital of Ancient Egypt.
To people like ourselves, who get tired of the touts on the front, and wish to be left to the contemplation of rural Egypt, the manager of the Winter Palace very obligingly assigns rooms in another house belonging to the company-the Karnak Hotel, which is in a grove of palm trees right on the Nile, and on the river road from Karnak to Luxor. Here you see the life of the road and the life of the river, Egyptian gardening, and a typical sakiya driven by a supercilious camel. In this angle of the river fishermen are fond of tying up their boats, to fold their nets and coil their lines, and basket their finny prey--monsters some of them.
From the windows of the Karnak Hotel you get glorious views of the Nile-the undiluted Nile, out of sight of the steamboat wharf and the kodak signs, with nothing to interfere with your contemplation of the glorious skies of Egypt; the clear, swift, stately river; the tall gyassas, the Indiamen of the Nile, coming up-stream before the tradewind to the port of Luxor or Assuan ; the fishers of the Nile in their mediæval craft; the beautiful banks of the Nile ; and the plain and hills of Thebes, painted by sunrise and sunset. From the Karnak Hotel a terrace runs along the river to the old Karnak landing of the Pharaohs. It is a high terrace, with here a snow-white pergola, columned like a temple, overrun by crimson bougainvillea ; there a broad flight of steps leading down to the Nile; there a camel defiantly turning a sakiya. Often at the stairfoot is lying a galley for hire by tourists, with three or four statuesque Arabs in snow-white galabeahs, dancing or piping, or plaiting flywhisks and fans of gracious patterns out of split palm-leavesunless they have covered their heads and are lying like corpses in the sun, asleep on the deck. By and by a gay party of tourists will run down the steps and jump on board
laughing, and the galley will hoist her ancient Roman sail, and commence tacking down the Nile.
It is best to take the inner road to Karnak. The river path is longer and doggier, and more difficult. The inner road is never dull : though it passes by Englishmen's houses and Americans' Missions, it has always stray figures of the procession of Egypt moving as mutely as if they were ghosts of the past, and not living examples of the present. At morning and evening the procession is as incessant as a cinematograph of native life.
Upper Egypt of to-day makes an admirable setting for the temples of the antique. The camel and the buffalo have the fantastic outlines of the Orient. The fashions in waistcloths, and garments like the galabeah and burnoose, have not appreciably changed since prehistoric times. People sat on the ground before they sat on chairs, and the fellah continues to sit on the ground. So, except the policeman and the tourist, there is nothing to interfere with the picture, as you approach Karnak, by that road through the palm groves, running past an inhabited village, which looks as if it had been built in the days of the Pharaohs, to a recently excavated village, which really was built by one of the Pharaohs of the Bible-taking in on the way that wonderful scrapbook of temples which we call Karnak.
The Ruins of Karnak
ARNAK cannot be detailed within the limits of the
longest chapter. The utmost one can do is to try and present vignettes of it.
You are riding contentedly on the soft, sandy road past that village in the palm grove, amused with the tiny children leading or riding the gigantic buffalo; the little girl shepherdesses with their rusty flocks; the graceful women drawing water at the fountain, or stalking majestically away with pitchers balanced on their heads; the kuttab of infants learning the Koran, seen through an open door; and the half-wild dogs. The battered Sphinxes in the sand, chequered by the sunlight through the interlacing palms, make you look up, and there you see the gateway of the Ptolemies, with its bright frescoes painted before our era began. In the sand beside it sit humble dealers in antiquities, parading little blue gods and the beads of mummies. You have no eyes for them. The temple of Khonsu, the most perfect in Karnak, is in front of your eyes—Khonsu, the most beautiful of all the gods of Egypt, the son of the Sun, whose head, found in his father's temple, is a joy for ever. You do not enter Khonsu's temple, because in front of you the various ruins of the Temple of Amon-Ra, the largest in all the world, group themselves into a pyramid of which Queen Hatasu's obelisk is the apex. While on your right vast broken pylons of the elder world thrust their bluff heads above the palm groves from the Temple of Mût.
Here there is a sort of square, as large as that palace square of Palermo, which contains a miniature Pompeii, sur