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Meantime, alas, the other sowaheen finished their dinner and came trooping out by twos and threes, and finally in battalions. Their coming marred the splendor and snapped the mystic thread which had bound us. Objectionable dragomans began flashing magnesium wire under the chin of the Sphinx, ruining the effect of the moonlight on that impassive face. Chatter became universal, and we turned to go- when it occurred to me to ask Hassan if his camels had names.
"Oh, yes, sah ! This one you ride, he called “Romses.' And the camel the lady ride, he called LovelyNice'!" I exploded. It seemed a name to conjure with.
Lovely-Nice, he been to Chicago. You know Chicago ?” pursued Hassan in his commiserating
“ And this donkey, he named 'Marka Twain.' You know Marka Twain?"
Later I discovered that almost every donkey in Ghizeh is named for the humorous American who did his merry part toward making the pyramids famous. Also that every male inhabitant of the place wishes you to believe that he is either the sheik or the sheik's son. Further, that all and several have been to Chicago and there helped to furnish forth the "Streets of Cairo." Finally, that eternal backsheesh is the price of liberty — and little of that, for we had a perfectly awful time in getting rid of Hassan and his
crew on returning to Mena. I tremble to think of the amount we disbursed to that violent and mendacious horde. The consolation, however, was that the experience was easily worth many times the money — not only the pyramids, but also the general education in dealing with the pyramid Bedouin.
Our later visits were less productive of largess. It was quite impossible to dissuade the local inhabitants from begging, but we managed to discourage undue persistence by a show of firmness that went often to the verge of violence, and generally ended in an outburst of vigorous English which had more effect than all our pidgin Arabic.
“I go with you, sah, up the pyramid ?”
"Oh, yallah! Understand ? Yallah! Go on, get out, vamos! Mush sowaheen!”
“I not afraid of you, sah, because I Bedouin."
“Now, see here, Hassan, Ali, Ibrahim, Mahmoud, whatever your name is - do you see that rock over there? Well, you go sit on it, and if you dare to move from it until we're out of sight, I'll — well, I'll do something to you you won't like. Taraaf? Understand that?"
That generally ended the debate, especially when accompanied by a demonstration with the rhinoceros-hide whip, the modern equivalent of Osiris's scourge of authority as seen in the monuments.
Turn we now to a consideration of these monstrous pyramids of Ghizeh. The world needs not to be reminded that they were tombs erected by monarchs early in the recorded history of Egypt — in the Fourth Dynasty, to be specific. But there are many interesting things about them which the world does not know so well, and of which a layman may venture to speak. For example, it is not generally realized that these pyramids, the greatest of all, were not the fruit of a long experience in pyramid building, but were among the very earliest to be erected. King Zoser developed his Step Pyramid from the original low mastaba tomb, let us say, about 2900 B.C. In 2850, or thereabouts, Snofru of the Fourth Dynasty erected the first “real” pyramid at Medun— for the Step Pyramid is not held to be a real pyramid at all. The succeeding monarchs, Cheops (Khufu), Khephrên, and Mycerinus (Menkewre), erected the hugest of all the pyramids in the years between, say, 2800 and 2700 B.C. After their time, although many more of the regal pyramids were built, none approached these older monuments in
magnitude - and even the Third Pyramid, that of Mycerinus, is greatly inferior to its two enormous neighbors.
Various theories have been advanced to account for the extraordinary magnitude of the Fourth Dynasty pyramids as contrasted with those of later times. Most interesting of all, though probably fallacious, is the one which holds that these pyramids were matters of accretion — that is to say, that each king began his monument on a modest scale and added to it year after year, so that the resulting pyramid would be directly proportionate to the length of his reign. The trouble with this is that several kings, whose reigns were of respectable length and fairly comparable to those of Cheops and Khephrên, did not leave pyramids as large as theirs. And moreover, as will be seen by referring to the drawing of the Great Pyramid in section, such an hypothesis seems irreconcilable with the arrangement of the interior passages. True it is that alterations were made in the internal design as the work advanced, but so far as appears, even the original plans called for a pyramid but little smaller than that which was finally built. The point at which the tomb-passage enters the rock of the plateau appears to fix the lower limit of size in the case of the pyramid of Cheops — and it is no modest pile, even then. Therefore, while the