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spent a good deal of her time in trying to arrange matches for Elaine.
In Paris the Naughty Princess, dressed as a European and without any veil, came rushing over to Agenoria at her hotel one day. She could not get into her house; she was locked out, and could not find her husband, and did not know what to do. “You'd better stay here and have some lunch with us,” said Agenoria, “and we'll take you back later." They did some shopping. The Princess had no money, but they gave her some to shop with.
When they got to her house she saw her husband, the Pasha, and four not at all nice-looking men, driving in a common cab. She at once left Agenoria and jumped in with the five, and drove off to some awful place to dinner ; and that was the last Agenoria ever saw of the Naughty Princess.
Chips from the Court
GENORIA had an extensive acquaintance among the
Khedivial ladies. It all came through a princess who lived near her, falling in love with her beauty, and inviting her and her friends to come and see the rejoicings, when the chief eunuch returned from the Mecca pilgrimage. It was rather a gruesome entertainment, for a sheep had been killed in front of the threshold, and all the guests were expected to walk through its blood. Before they went into the Princess's apartments, Agenoria and her friend went and were entertained with the pilgrim in the selamlik, which was much more entertaining. When they had had enough of this, they went on to the harem, where the Princess gave them afternoon tea out of a gold teapot at two in the afternoon. She could not converse with them at all, for she spoke only Turkish.
A few days later she made a fresh advance; she wanted Agenoria to go to a wedding with her. Two huge eunuchs came up to Agenoria's front door, and escorted her down her own avenue to the royal carriage. To her horror, she found that there were two fat attendants in it besides the Princess and herself. It was of course a closed carriage, very much closed, and they drove all round the town in state, in that stale, awful atmosphere.
When they got to the house there were all sorts of Africans and Asiatics of the right sex flying up and down stairs in rags, diamonds, and brocades, some in rich dresses and some in flannel dressing-gowns; the poor little bride was on duty all day long. All the presents were brought in plush
cloths embroidered with gold, and all piled on the floor for the bride to walk over them, and then the eunuchs were smothered in them—in the armfuls of plush. The drawingroom was blazing with splendour and electric light—the rest of the house could hardly raise a candle.
In the first room were all the Consul-generalesses and other foreign swells, the second was full of nearly naked Ghawazi—the famous dancing girls of Egypt. The men had found their way upstairs, where they ought not to be, and intimates were being taken to see the nuptial couch, which was surrounded with grand jewelled slippers.
It is a wonder that they did not get stolen by the promiscuous crowd which was swarming all over the house.
house. That wedding was pandemonium. It was a mixture of rowdy European and rowdy native amusements. There was no drinking visible, but the women were getting "screwy." There were people with no shoes and stockings, people dressed up to the nines, people undressed to the nines, and, if you looked round, you found one of your servants next to you. Other people's servants got so friendly with you that they took your arm and slapped you on the back, examined your clothes, asked how much they cost, and how old you were-questions which may be embarrassing even to a lady of position.
At another grand wedding Agenoria went to, she was shown into a marquee in front of the house, made of cloths gaily embroidered with texts from the Koran in blue and green, and yellow and red, and purple and black, with festoons of lanterns and little Khedivial flags. To increase the honour, she was placed on one of a pair of huge golden chairs, and another English lady was placed on the other. The people walked past them salaaming and kissing their hands. At one time hundreds of men and women rushed in and kissed and embraced the bridegroom. Agenoria only complained that it was impossible to find conversation suited to the dignity of that chair.
Another of the Khedivial princesses had a beautiful little daughter, who was much attached to Agenoria and
always begging to have her at their Palace, where she used to hang on her and embrace her all the time. Agenoria's friends were very anxious to see the child, and the mother made an appointment for them one morning about twelve. They were kept a terrible time waiting when they got to the Palace, and filthy slaves, in dirty cottons and sloppy slippers, stood about and stared at them. They thought, of course, that the Princess was dressing, and hardly took any notice of an old thing in a crimson flannel dressing-gown without buttons or braids, and with grisly hair skewered on her head anyhow, who came down supported by touzled servants, until Agenoria nudged them to begin curtseying. Agenoria saw the same Princess at a wedding a few days afterwards, an elaborate Parisian dame, a blaze of diamonds.
Once she went to a private reception at the Palace. All the Court ladies were in flannelette dressing-gowns; but when she went to a state reception they were all in lovely brocade dresses, only to be distinguished as Moslems and Orientals by a sort of gauze toque with flowers.
One day Agenoria went to the Palace in a very smart fawn-coloured cape which had a rather pretty brocade lining. The lady-in-waiting put it on Agenoria's shoulders, insideout; the victim reversed it, and another Court lady at once put it back.
There was nothing for it but to go out to her carriage in broad daylight like that. The Princess considered that this was the correct side.
One of Agenoria's most trying experiences was when she received instructions to be at Boulak at such an hour, to show the Khedivial mother, and the Khedivia, and all the princesses round the engineering works. The wives of the four chief engineers had to do it. There was no one to explain anything technically, because no men were allowed in except two who walked ahead and had to keep their backs turned to the ladies, on pain of some awful punishment. Luckily, Agenoria knew a little about engineering, having always taken a great interest in her husband's work, and knew the royal ladies from each other. None of the other wives were capable of explaining anything, or would
have known to whom they should address the explanations, a matter upon which the Khedive's wife and mother were extremely particular.
When the King of Siam came to Cairo, Agenoria's husband always had to go and see the royal personages received and put into their train. On one occasion the Khedive would not step into his carriage, and it was not etiquette to ask him why. They simply had to wait for his pleasure. In the end, after they had been waiting an hour, they found that his pleasure had been to send a special train to his palace on the Pont Limoun line to fetch a portmanteau which he had forgotten. One is bound to think of the Chinese, who set their houses on fire to roast pigs, in Charles Lamb's pages.
The Egyptian royal family were genuinely attached to the Rhodeses. When they were leaving Egypt the Khedive sent for Cromwell Rhodes, put his arms round his neck and patted his hand and said, “Dear Mr. Rhodes, is there anything I can do to keep you ?."
One of their drollest experiences with royalty was in connection with an English royal duke who wished to see a certain temple near a remote station. The Rhodeses had to be at the station to receive him. When they got there the station-master was duly impressed ; to him Mr. Rhodes was the fountain of honour from whom all blessings flowed. The royal train was not to arrive for three or four hours, so the station-master invited the Rhodeses to drive to the temple in his carriage while they were waiting. It was a “most awful old shanderadan,' drawn by two screws. As they were anxious to be back in good time, the driver flogged his horses and brought them back at a tearing pace. He would have probably done this anyway. All the cabs in Cairo go at ten or twelve miles an hour, when there is any one to run over. The horses were of course dead beat, and the carriage smothered in dust, when they arrived at the station, and the train came in almost directly afterwards. They found the Mudir or governor of the province there, and he said that they had been using his carriage, which he was going to lend to the Royal Duke. Of course it did not belong to either