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way to Bedreschein, from which point donkeys may be hired to cover the remaining six or seven miles that lie between the river and the desert. The second way is to wait and go with Cook, or one of the other agencies, whose Nile steamers call at Bedreschein on their way up the river. And the third, at once the most difficult and most satisfactory, since it gives a fair taste of desert travel, is to go to Sakkâra from the Mena House either on donkeys or camels. For those possessed of abundant time, a love of the desert and ability to enjoy a long as well as somewhat fatiguing ride, the last is far and away the best. But it should be added, in some haste, that there is advantage to be derived in returning to Cairo by rail; for otherwise the colossi of Rameses, which now form the sole surviving remnants of ancient Memphis in the palm-covered valley below, would be entirely missed.
On our own first visit to Sakkâra we went by rail. Prosaic as this method may sound, it had a charm of its own, due to the heavy morning mists which lay along the Nile and the adjacent meadows, from out of which towered the feathery tops of palms and the lofty yards of the feluccas moored beside the bank. It was as yet hardly full dawn, but when the sun finally peered over the brim of the eastern cliffs he touched treetops and masts with a tinge of mellow
beauty and gradually burned away the low-lying masses of the river fog.
Nevertheless it was still misty when we alighted at Bedreschein and took the road to Sakkâra across the fields. Trains of camels loomed out of the fog and strode silently by, threading their way among the groves of palms that lay outside the tiny village, covering the ground that had once teemed with the city's population. The country opened out in smiling meadows clothed in living green, through the midst of which ran lofty earthen dikes for confining the waters of the autumn floods and affording communication between the scattered villages of the region.
We were four that morning — the ladies riding ahead on donkeys and the Hakkim and I walking briskly behind. Our road lay along the top of a broad dike — for most of the outlying highways of Egypt are of that nature and are seldom practicable for wheels. As the mist cleared we could descry other dikes, - or “gisr," as they are called, -along the tops of which strode isolated groups of asses and camels bound toward the little town. Close at hand men strove with a huge net in the waters of a pool, but apparently without any miraculous draft. Indeed, the Hakkim averred that if they had caught so much as a single fish it would have been a miracle in that unpromising and isolated puddle so far from
the Nile. As for the deep basins on either hand between the ridges of the gisr, they were deserted and covered with a mantle of growing grain.
For a time nothing appeared in the way of ruins. The palm grove lay thick between us and our goal, and we should have passed over the site of ancient Memphis without being aware had it not been for the laborers digging earth and loading it upon camels by the wayside. It was apparent that they sought the salt-impregnated soil of the ancient town — soil undisturbed for centuries and largely composed of pulverized remains of an early civilization, old potsherds ground to powder and the like, which might serve to salt and fertilize the land. But of the city once so great we saw absolutely nothing, not even a wall of crumbling brick. Thus completely passes earthly glory in the land of Egypt. Durability is not to be expected of cities built chiefly of Nile mud, and even now the houses made of it occasionally crumble, "all at once and nothing first,” like Dr. Holmes's famous chaise, never to be repaired. For the custom is to build anew on top of the fallen ruin - and as this process is likely to be repeated ad infinitum, it is small wonder that in the lapse of many hundred years the old cities are hard to find, and that even the huge stones of Dendera and Karnak have had to be dug out of a great accumulation of débris.
Two huge statues lie prone amid the trees of the starveling village of Mitrahineh, which now occupies a little knoll in the midst of the plain and is the lineal descendant of the ancient capital. These two fallen images are all that at the present time remain to mark the site on which Memphis stood. They are portrait statues of Rameses II, and once rose on either side of the grand gate of the local temple sacred to Ptah the Artificer, the city's local god. One of the colossi has been carefully roofed over and may be seen to advantage by mounting to a platform built above and looking down upon the great bulk of it - its haughty stare, its massive trunk, and withal its inspiring grace. It is a happy fate that has preserved these mammoth images of the great Pharaoh here, for none others like them are to be seen in Lower Egypt. One becomes almost weary of them in the region about Thebes, but in the neighborhood of Cairo — except in the museum- such things are rare indeed. Needless to say they are very late, as things go in Egypt, for Rameses reigned between 1292 and 1225 B.C., and died before Agamemnon was born — which, as we are coming to understand, was but yesterday and so hardly worth noticing.
I speak of the grace of these statues, and on the whole the word seems justified. Yet I can by no means share the enthusiasm of those Egyptologists