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and agreed that so precious an article ought not to be taken out of the country. Under all these difficulties, Mr. Belzoni appears to have conducted himself with great patience and dexterity, and unabating perseverance.
It was eighteen days from the commencement of the operation before the colossal bust reached the banks of the Nile; but no boat was yet prepared to receive it. Belzoni therefore, by way of passing the time, engaged the Arabs to conduct him to a cavern in the mountains of Gournou, where was a sarcophagus which Drovetti, the French Consul, after a vain attempt to get it out, had presented to him. The subterranean adventure is not quite equal in horror to that told by Mr. Legh, though somewhat of the same description. The cavern was entered by our traveller, two Arabs and an interpreter.
'Previous to our entering the cave, we took off the greater part of our clothes, and, each having a candle, advanced through a cavity in the rock, which extended a considerable length in the mountain, sometimes pretty high, sometimes very narrow, and without any regularity. In some passages we were obliged to creep on the ground, like crocodiles. I perceived, that we were at a great distance from the entrance, and the way was so intricate, that I depended entirely on the two Arabs, to conduct us out again. At length we arrived at a large space, into which many other holes or cavities opened; and after some consideration and examination by the two Arabs, we entered one of these, which was very narrow, and continued downward for a long way, through a craggy passage, till we came where two other apertures led to the interior in a horizontal direction. One of the Arabs then said this is the place.' I could not conceive how so large a sarcophagus, as had been described to me, could have been taken through the aperture, which the Arab now pointed out. I had no doubt, but these recesses were burial places, as we continually walked over skulls and other bones : but the sarcophagus could never have entered this recess; for it was so narrow, that on my attempt to penetrate it, I could not pass. One of the Arabs, however, succeeded, as did my interpreter; and it was agreed, that I and the other Arab should wait till they returned. They proceeded evidently to a great distance, for the light disappeared, and only a murmuring sound from their voices could be distinguished as they went on. After a few moments, I heard a loud noise, and the interpreter distinctly crying, " O mon Dieu! mon Dieu ! je suis perdu !" After which, a profound silence ensued. I asked my Arab, whether he had ever been in that place? He replied, "Never." I could not conceive what could have happened, and thought the best plan was to return, to procure help from the other Arabs. Accordingly, I told my man to show me the way out again; but, staring at me like an ideot, he said he did not know the road. I called repeatedly to the interpreter, but received no answer; I watched a long time, but no one returned; and my situation was no very pleasant one. I naturally re
turned through the passages, by which we had come; and, after some time, I succeeded in reaching the place, where, as I mentioned, were many other cavities. It was a complete labyrinth, as all these places bore a great resemblance to the one which we first entered. At last seeing one, which appeared to be the right, we proceeded through it a long way; but by this time our candles had diminished considerably; and I feared, that, if we did not get out soon, we should have to remain in the dark meantime it would have been dangerous to put one out, to save the other, lest that which was left should, by some accident, be extinguished. At this time we were considerably advanced towards the outside, as we thought; but to our sorrow we found the end of that cavity without any outlet. Convinced that we were mistaken in our conjecture, we quickly returned towards the place of the various entries, which we strove to regain. But we were then as perplexed as ever, and were both exhausted from the ascents and descents, which we had been obliged to go over. The Arab seated himself, but every mo ment of delay was dangerous. The only expedient was, to put a mark at the place out of which he had just come, and then examine the cavities in succession, by putting also a mark at their entrance, so as to know where we had been. Unfortunately, our candles would not last through the whole: however, we began our operations.'
'On the second attempt, when passing before a small aperture, I thought I heard the sound of something like the roaring of the sea at a distance. In consequence I entered this cavity; and as we advanced the noise increased, till I could distinctly hear a number of voices all at one time. At last, thank God, we walked out; and, to my no small surprize, the first person I saw was my interpreter. How he came to be there I could not conjecture. He told me, that, in proceeding with the Arab along the passage below, they came to a pit, which they did not see; that the Arab fell into it, and in falling put out both candles. It was then that he cried out, “Mon Dieu! je suis perdu!" as he thought he also should have fallen into the pit; but, on raising his head, he saw at a great distance a glimpse of daylight, towards which he advanced, and thus arrived at a small aperture. then scraped away some loose sand and stones, to widen the place where he came out, and went to give the alarm to the Arabs, who were at the other entrance. Being all concerned for the man who fell to the bottom of the pit, it was their noise that I heard in the cave. The place by which my interpreter got out was instantly widened; and in the confusion the Arabs did not regard letting me see that they were acquainted with that entrance, and that it had lately been shut up. I was not long in detecting their scheme. The Arabs had intended to show me the sarcophagus, without letting me see the way by which it might be taken out, and then to stipulate a price for the secret. It was with this view they took me such a way round about.'-pp. 51.-54.
Mr. Belzoni now determined to proceed up the Nile, as far as the second cataract. In his progress, he visited all the ruins which occur, and appears to have paid the most minute attention to
the decorative part of the ancient temples; but as no description can convey an adequate idea of this, we must refer our readers to the interesting and important volume of plates which accompanies this work, and which has been executed with great neatness, chiefly at the lithographic press.*
Furnished with letters to the three brothers who govern in Nubia, he passed Deir and Ibrim without molestation.
I cannot omit,' he says, mentioning the hard labour the boatmen had on this occasion. They were continually in the water; and, though good swimmers, they had great trouble in wading against the current to pull the rope from under the trees, which cover the banks of the Nile in such a manner, that it is impossible to track it along on the shore. They are a people living very hardly, and eat any thing in the world. They chew the rock salt, or natron, mixed with tobacco, putting the mixture between the front teeth and the lower lip. The natron is found in several parts of Egypt, and is one of their articles of trade. The Laplanders are said to be very filthy in their food, and I am sure these people are not unlike them in that respect. When we killed a sheep, I had sometimes the pleasure of seeing the entrails opened, pieces of which, dipped once into the water, were eaten by them raw. The head and feet, with the skin, wool, hoofs, and all, were put into a pot, which is never washed, to be half-boiled, when they drank the broth and devoured the rest.'-pp. 78, 79.
It was on this voyage that he conceived the idea of uncovering the great temple of Ipsambul, first discovered and brought into notice by the lamented Burckhardt. On approaching it, however, the hope he had formed vanished at once; for the accumulation of sand was such, that it appeared an impossibility ever to reach the door.' The exact spot where he had fixed the entrance to be, was determined in his own mind from observing the head of a hawk, of such a monstrous size that, with the body, it could not be less than twenty feet high; this bird he concluded to be over the door-way; and as below the figure there is generally a vacant space, followed by a frize and cornice, he calculated the upper part of the door-way to be about thirty-five feet below the summit of the sand. The strong and ardent desire to enter a sanctuary which, for so many ages, had been closed against all the world, gave, he says, a stimulus to his hopes: and having made some rough calculations as to the expense, he set out for the village of Ipsambul, to deliver his letters to the governor, and to inquire on what terms he could procure labourers for his extraordinary undertaking.
'Having desired to see Ossey Cacheff, for some time I received no answer; but at last was told, that he who sat there was Daoud Cacheff, his son. I saw a man about fifty years of age, clad in a light
We do not remember any specimen of lithography more clea dis ct, and soft, than the portrait of Belzoni at the head of the present volume.
blue gown, with a white rag on his head as a turban, seated on a ragged mat, on the ground, a long sword and a gun by his side, with about twenty men surrounding him, who were well armed with swords, spears, and shields. A younger brother, of much inferior rank and dignity, was among them, who behaved very roughly towards me. Some had garments, others had none, and they altogether formed a ragged assembly, by no means of most encouraging aspect. These people have no other employment, than to gather the imposts of their master from the poorer sort of natives. The Cacheff himself has nothing to do but to go from one place to another to receive his revenue; and in every place to which he goes he has a house and a wife. He is absolute master to do what he pleases: there is no law to restrain him; and the life of inan here is not considered of so much worth as that of a cat among us. If he have not what he wants, he takes it wherever he can find it if refused, he uses force; if resisted, the opponent is murdered: and thus the Cacheff lives.'--p. 81.
Mr. Belzoni found, he says, these barbarians to be unacquainted with the use of money. We confess we were rather startled at such a discovery; knowing that wherever Europeans have penetrated, the value of the Spanish dollar is fully understood; and that the three Cacheffs of Nubia are familiar with Egypt and its currency; besides, Mr. Burckhardt, who ascended by the same route to the very borders of Dongala, and, in a second journey, far beyond Dongala, among tribes much more barbarous than the Nubians, always found that the nature of money was perfectly well comprehended by them. Be this as it may, the people of Ipsambul soon became very apt scholars, and learned to measure dhourra against dollars as well as their instructors. Parting hence, he continued his voyage up the Nile, to the second cataract, which, like the first, he found to be formed by a number of granite masses, or islets, that obstruct the current. Mr. Belzoni talks of several thousands of them, with as many different falls of water 'running rapidly onward, while counter-currents return with equal velocity, exhibiting an appearance truly grand.' On one of these, about an eighth of a mile in length, he landed in the dusk of the evening.
'We saw fires and people at a distance; but when we arrived we could not find any one. Their huts were left, with all they had, which consisted only of dry dates, and a kind of paste made of the same, which they kept in large vases of clay baked in the sun, and covered with baskets made of palm-leaves. A baking stove and a mat to sleep on were the whole of their furniture. They had pots and leathern bags to bring water from the Nile for their lands. Their settlement consisted of four men and seven women, with two or three children. They have no communication with the main land, except when the water is low, for at any other time the current, being immediately under the cataract, is so rapid, as to render it impossible to ford it; and boats never go to these islands, seldom passing further than Wady Halfa.
They are poor but happy: knowing nothing of the enticing luxuries of the world, and resting content with what Providence supplies as the reward of their industry. There are a few sheep and goats, which furnish them with milk all the year round; and the few spots of land they have are well cultivated, producing a little dhourra, which forms their yearly stock of provision. The wool they spin into yarn; wind the threads round little stones, and thus suspend them to a long stick fixed in an horizontal position between two trees, to form a warp; and by passing another thread alternately between these, fabricate a kind of coarse cloth, with which they cover the lower part of their bodies.'— pp. 87, 88.
He now returned to Ipsambul, and as he had succeeded in procuring from the Cacheff as many labourers as he could employ, he set about clearing away the sand from the front of the temple. The only condition made with the Cacheff was that all the gold and jewels found in it should belong to him, as chief of the At the end country, and that Belzoni should have all the stones. of four or five days his funds were entirely exhausted; he, therefore, after obtaining a promise from the chief that no one should molest the work in his absence, resumed his voyage down the river. At Thebes he made such observations on the valley of the Beban el Molook, or Tombs of the Kings, as afterwards enabled him to effect the most magnificent excavation that had yet been seen in Egypt; and having succeeded in embarking the bust of Memnon in safety, he set off with it for Cairo, whence he conducted it to Alexandria, and lodged it in the Pasha's magazine: he then returned to the capital; and, accompanied by Mr. Beechy, immediately proceeded up the Nile, with the determination, if possible, to accomplish the opening of the great temple of Ipsambul. At Phile the party was reinforced by Captains Irby and Mangles of the Royal Navy.
Having conciliated the two Cacheffs by suitable presents, Mr. Belzoni agreed to give the workmen (eighty in number,) three hundred piastres for removing the sand as low down as the entrance: at first they seemed to set about the task like men who were determined to finish the job; but at the end of the third day they all grew tired, and under the pretext, that the Rhamadan was to commence on the next day, they left us,' says Mr. Belzoni, with the temple, the sand and the treasure, and contented themselves with keeping the three hundred piastres.' The travellers were now convinced, that, if the temple was to be opened at all, it must be by their own exertions; and, accordingly, assisted by the crew of the boat, they set to work, and, by dint of perseverance and hard
In order to depreciate the undertaking, Count Forbin has asserted, that Mr. Belzoni was six months in getting the bust into the boat! In fact, he was no more than eighteen days in transporting it to the Nile, and a single day in embarking it.