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distances. Its scattered mud villages, huddling under clumps of palms, were invisible.
In almost exactly sixty minutes from the time of starting, the train drew up at the first large town called, by some happy and appropriate chance, Daman-hour. It was a considerable place, glimmering whitely in the moonlight; but its station was deserted save for a few shrouded and hooded shapes who stole silently up and down the bare platform in the chill of the February night. The Arabic signs mocked our ignorance from the whitewashed walls for a moment and then the train moved on.
It was long after the midnight hour when the lights of Cairo came into view and the train slowed to a halt in the glare and bustle of the great terminal station -- a magnificent building, by the way, photographs of which on occasions are exploited by unblushing newspaper correspondents as representing the palace of the Khedive, which is not nearly so fine. If the way stations had been deserted, this one was not. It was alive with hotel touts who fell upon the alighting throng and enmeshed them like greedy spiders. In almost less time that it takes to tell it they
gone to the last one, - and we stood alone on the platform with our Cairo host, “the Hakkim" - blessed man!- who had left his warm fireside in the Ghezireh to meet us in the dead of night.
A wandering porter informed us that no luggage would be unloaded that night. It would be found the next morning in the courtyard of Shepheard's, such being the pleasant but rather haphazard custom of the place in dealing with large inundations of sowaheen. Whereupon we also passed down through the gloomy tunnel that led to the outer air, summoned an “arabiyeh," or native carriage, manned by a spectral figure crowned with a turban and as black as a coal, and plunged into the almost deserted streets that led down toward the bank of the Nile.
That was an arrival never to be forgotten. The long ride led through a maze of streets lined with tall buildings, across squares aglow with light, and at last down past the museum and the barracks to where the great Nile bridge reared its imposing portals crowned with majestic bronze lions. The river flowed muddily below, giving back from its ripples the broken reflection of the waning moon. A ghostly clump of masts towered into the sky close by the palm-clad bank. The city behind was crowned with a luminous haze from its multitude of lamps. The island of the Ghezireh before bulked large with its masses of black lebbakh trees against the star-lit sky. And at the end the carriage drew up at our desired haven, a dark house looming mysteriously out of a fragrant garden. As the door opened, a silent
Arab in white vanished through its dimly lighted hall. So this was Egypt--at last!
We had been spared the sensation to which so many confess on being precipitated from the train into Cairo by the garish light of broad day—a sensation of partial disappointment which is the keener when one's appetite has been whetted for something rich and strange. It must be admitted that the immediate surroundings of the railway terminal are not particularly impressive. It is only when seen from the south that Cairo has the truly Oriental air, a fitting home for the hero of the Arabian Nights. From the Citadel, or floating on the bosom of the river above the town, one gazes upon a truly satisfying vision a great white city dominated by a frowning fortress, from the midst of which towers a huge mosque flanked by two lofty minarets. The tawny cliffs behind afford an appropriate desert setting. The pyramids of Ghizeh may be descried, dim and majestic, to the west, behind a foreground of waving palms. It is almost a pity not to have this the first view of Cairo-the view from which the lasting impression is derived.
As things are arranged, the visitor emerges from a very satisfactory station into a square seemingly European, with a throng of cabs, a passing multitude of people, electric lights, tall buildings, and
clanging trolley cars of Occidental guise. To be sure, the throngs in the street are largely made up of those in the manifold costumes of the East. The cab drivers are swarthy and wear the tarbush. The multitude afoot is turbaned and long-robed. But the whole effect of the setting is not Oriental, and at first sight it seems as if this might quite as readily be Europe as Africa. Happily, however, this is but the impression produced by the opening portal. Within it changes speedily to something more like what one has been led to expect.
Cairo is a bewildering city to describe. In order to orient one's self it is well, as it always is in every strange city, to get firmly in mind some central focus and learn the bearings of a few great main arteries of traffic with relation to it. As it happens, the logical focus in Cairo is not a matter for debate. It is the same for all — the gardens of the Ezbekiyeh, which lie but a stone's throw south of Shepheard's and directly opposite the Continental, on the street which, under various names, leads straight southward from the region of the railroad station to the palace of the Khedive.
Let us assume, then, that the Ezbekiyeh Gardens 'form the centre of Cairo and consider only a few of the important highways that diverge from this vicinity. The street already mentioned is, perhaps,
the most important to start with. It runs north and south, roughly parallel with the river, but a good mile from it. It is the great centre of activity for all travelers. In it are the principal shops. Through it passes every visitor in town every day of his stay.
Four important streets lead westward from it toward the river. These are the Sharia Boulac, with its tram line, which leads to the Ghezireh ferry and the new bridge soon to be completed; the Sharia Maghrabi and the Sharia Manakh, parallel with the Boulac and important as modern shopping thoroughfares; and the Kasr el Nil, which leads in the general direction of the museum and the great Nile bridge.
Passing along the southerly side of the Ezbekiyeh Gardens in quite the opposite direction — toward the east - is a narrow highway which conducts one to the central tram station, from which busy square diverge two other streets that the traveler will need to know. These are the Mouski, the most celebrated street in Cairo, which leads straight east through the Oriental quarter and the bazaars and finally out into the desert toward the tombs of the Caliphs. The other is the long diagonal highway of Mohammed Ali, the direct route to the Citadel.
Master these and you have the cardinal points in Cairo's geography.
If there is no room for doubt as to what forms the