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The members had to give receipts for the gloves, and received their IOUs back when they returned them. About that time an American lady got up private operaticals. The opera was about ancient Egypt, and the Khedive lent her all the jewellery that had been made for the great performance of Aida. But he made her give receipts. It is not surprising that Ismail's mind ran in this direction, considering how he had been plundered by the world. One imitation tiara worn by the Queen had cost him two hundred pounds. It nearly caused bloodshed between the two leading ladies in the amateur theatricals' opera to decide who should wear it. Among other reforms, Ismail Pasha decided that Egypt ought to have a Navy. He appointed an Admiral of the Fleet, but the Admiral, who was not a sailor, did not know what to do. Ismail told him to go round the Mediterranean paying visits, especially to Malta. “You’ll find the British Navy there,” he said; “if you imitate them you must be right." The Admiral cruised about till he was afraid to stay at sea any longer, and came back in six days saying: “Malta maseesh"—I cannot find Malta. One night Ismail was giving a party, and the vegetables which he required did not arrive in time. He sent telegraphic instructions to caution the station-master with fifty strokes of the bastinado on the soles of his feet, which that functionary duly received. It afterwards appeared that the vegetables had never been delivered at that station. The stationmaster's intelligence and zeal, however, were so quickened by the caution he had received that he rose to be the Administrator of one of the great Departments of State, and lived to be the devoted servant of three Khedives. He was a Copt.
The Man About Town in Egypt
NE of the best stories I heard about Johnnies in Egypt was that of the muezzin. The muezzin is the man who gives the Asam, or call to prayer from the minaret of a mosque (when it has a minaret)—five times a day, at daybreak, at noon, at afternoon, at sunset, and when it is quite dark. He calls out in a sonorous voice six different invocations, all of them twice, and one of them four times. As he generally has a good voice and intones charmingly, the muezzin is a pleasing feature in the landscape except at daybreak, when some people want to sleep undisturbed. When Johnny Lavercombe first went to Cairo it required all Lord Cromer's influence to shield him for throwing stones at the muezzin “for making such a row at such a ridiculous hour in the morning.” That was the way it looked to Johnny Lavercombe. I never saw Johnny Lavercombe—which is not his real name—till long residence in Egypt had made him a wiser man, though he still sometimes used some language, as when he fell through the prompter's trap in the stage at the Cairo A.D.C.s' theatricals. I went with him for a drive in a cab; it was a filthy, tumble-to-pieces cab, with weeds of horses; the man drove into everything and everybody. I never saw such a dirty, ragged, disreputable, pock-marked, bow-legged, cross-eyed creature. When we got out, Lavercombe expressed his mind in Arabic, and I noticed that the driver looked absolutely crushed. “What did you say to him, Lavercombe P” I asked. “Oh, nothing. I just told him that the only decent thing
about his cab was its beautiful driver.” Egyptians are