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unduly importunate, especially in the street that leads past Shepheard's. Everybody who comes to Egypt is fitted out with one word expressive of dismissal,
- "Imshi!” Everybody makes indiscriminate use of it. Properly, however, it is to be employed only in the case of small boys, to whom one may with more appropriateness be impertinent. “Imshi” appears to mean something like “Go to the Devil”; and according to Arab etiquette such curtness is quite out of place in addressing a person of full age and dignity. A true regard for the tender sensibilities of the son of the desert will prompt the more precise voyager to say “Yalla !” in all cases where the addressee is more than a mere boy. And, by the way, even the term “mere boy” may require some qualification under a tropical sky, where youth matures quickly and the apparently young may be in actual fact the fathers of families. So it is doubtless more correct and rather less profane to stick to “Yalla” – which is the equivalent of “Get along with you !”
The Arabic "no" is shortly and simply "la" which, to be effective, must be sharp and staccato in its quality. Practice in its use, which is called for at almost every step in the frequented streets to repel peddlers and importunate dragomans, will speedily make perfect. But the most useful of all phrases, once you have acquired the hardihood to lie like a
man, is, “ Ana mush sowâh""I'm not a tourist !" This, when enunciated with a scornful and fluent utterance, will generally secure you immunity from further pursuit — unless you happen to be careless enough to have a red Baedeker in your hand at the time. Under those conditions it is certain to provoke naught but derision.
Ordinary sowaheen will hesitate to handle the ruder sort of beggars with that rough-and-ready freedom peculiar to the British resident. A sound thrashing is what the occasional beggar sorely needs, and if he is so brazen as to press his entreaties unduly on a resident, that is very likely just what he gets. Even the knowledge that the most serious penalty enforced against a European in Egypt is said to be a fine of one hundred piastres (five dollars) will hardly produce that degree of familiarity in the case of the timorous.
There is one other familiar word, heard on every hand, and so expressive that it might with profit be taken over into various other languages. That is “ma-aleish,” according to the spelling of the books, but which you will find most serviceable simply as “ma-lish.” It seems almost as susceptible to various meanings as the German "zug” which so entertained Mark Twain. It generally means something like "Never mind,” however, or possibly, “Excuse me."
When in doubt, say “ma-lish!” It's a safe retort to warring cabbies, to importunate beggars, to crestfallen porters, to sheiks — doubtless to the Khedive himself. Farther than this one need hardly go. Still, it is interesting to learn that “al-yemenak” means "to the right,” because one emerging from Egypt always had to turn that way to go to Yemen; and that “al-shamarlak” means “to the left” – because it was to the left one turned to go to the land of Shem. But the chief use of those expletives is reserved for the drivers, who use them to warn pedestrians to turn out for them and give road. It is the prevailing note alike in the Mouski and in the highways of the more modern portions of the town. And it is probably the last articulate sound the weary sightseer, as he closes his eyes at night in his hotel, hears rising above the roar and tum of the street.
CHAPTER IV. IN AND ABOUT CAIRO
(AIRO, as already stated, lies almost at the apex
the river into its two great branches, the Rosetta and Damietta, lies something like fourteen miles below the city in the neighborhood of the first of the great barrages. But roughly speaking, the capital city marks the point where the great triangle of the Delta marshes comes to an end and the long and tortuous valley of the Nile proper begins. Let us state its population roughly as including almost exactly as many people as Boston - a few thousand under 700,000 souls.
Speaking roughly again, the city may be divided into three fairly distinct sections, - the native quarter which we have just been considering and which occupies the eastern and northern parts of the com
pactly built city; the handsome new European section which subtends the native quarter from the Nile; and the Ghizereh district, which is an island in the river devoted mainly to residential purposes by the English colony. Neither of the latter two can lay especial claim to an Oriental character and neither is likely to command anything like the enthusiasm which the tourist in search of Eastern coloring is certain to bestow on the bazaars. But if the European side of Cairo is handsome and creditable, the Ghezireh island is a wonderfully pleasant spot, with its long avenues of lebbakh trees, its shady parks, and its numerous attractive homes. Not the least of the pleasures of Cairo is the walk along the Nile on the western bank where the fleet of dahabiyehs tie up - a walk under lofty palms with a grassy parkway on one hand and the river with its multitude of ships on the other.
One crosses the Nile by a fine steel bridge, the entrances to which are guarded by imposing piers bearing huge bronze lions. It is not a bridge of surpassing beauty, and, in fact, it is much too narrow and its sidewalks are absurdly inadequate. But it is not too much to say that no bridge in the world can equal it for genuine interest and infinite variety of scene. Two hours and a half daily it is impassable, owing to the necessity of opening the draw for the passage of the river traffic; and to one living in the