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traits, of course, the statues have no value. And yet there are few images in the world more famous than these have always been since the first visitors came to Egypt in the days of Greece and Rome.
Their lasting claim to celebrity is a legend the world knows well, — the story related by early voyagers that these colossi were wont at dawn to give forth musical notes in greeting to the sun. Speculation over this quaint story has been going on ever since the time of Strabo, who first published the tale, but who was, nevertheless, skeptical of its truth. Pausanias, however, inclined to accept it, and, curiously enough, our own matter-of-fact age inclines to agree with him that there may have been something in it after all. The ancient doubters, although they relate that they, indeed, heard a metallic sound proceeding from the statues, ascribed the phenomenon to the trickery of the priests. Later opinion avers that the noise referred to, probably very faint but still audible, was due to the sudden expansion of the chilled stone under the warmth of the advancing day, which might easily have caused minute particles of the surface to snap off with a crackling sound which would be readily perceptible. I am quite ready to believe that, too. It is comfortable to do so. But at least we can no longer consent to speak carelessly of these statues as of “Memnon." They are even more surely portraits
of Amenhôtep than the Sphinx is a portrait of Khephrên.
I regret to add, however, that the statues at present emit not the faintest suspicion of a crackle, either at morn or at any other time of day. Septimius Severus ruined all that years ago by causing the colossi to be restored, in very clumsy fashion. But there they sit as imperturbably as of old, gazing out of blank faces across the waving grain toward the ceaseless yellow tumult of the Nile, as they have done for the past thirty-four centuries and may continue to do until the day of judgment.
CHAPTER XIV. ESNEH, EDFŮ, AND
M ARCH 10. The steamer left early to-day, and
by the time we were awake and dressed was ploughing its way up river again, sniffing occasionally at sandbars, but fortunately not sticking. For this immunity we are doubtless indebted to the generosity of our crew, who made up a purse the other day to toss overboard to a wayside sheik. This form of pious tribute seems to be exacted of every passing craft.
I omitted to mention it at the time, and I do not now recollect which day it was, but at any rate it was well below Luxor when we were steaming merrily along. As we passed a spot on shore marked by the