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others, except that the river has robbed it of its pylon, while its court before the main building is very small. It is, or was, completely girdled by a wall of brick, only part of which is left. Then follows a sort of inner cincture passing around the actual building and serving to inclose the hypostyle hall, which in this case does duty also as a vestibule. In the heart of the temple proper are two shrines instead of a single one, made necessary by the duplex character of the worship.
Owing to the appearance of an entirely new conception of the gods — the evil ones — the inscriptions of the columns took on a fresh interest. They were easily observed in the brilliant light of the forenoon, and were divided in character between those in low relief and those that were merely incised — a cheaper form of carving which nevertheless is decidedly the more common in these Ptolemaic and semi-Roman temples.
There was nothing else at Kom Ombo to see, and the steamer was able to complete her southward voyage early this afternoon when we came to our final resting-place at Assuan – or just below it. We can descry the town a little farther up the river, located on its eastern shore and facing the black and rocky island of Elephantine, around which the dwindling flood of the river pours in two tortuous channels. I sailed — or rowed — around it this afternoon, and again by moonlight this evening, but for once the night has brought little chill and the promise is for a hot time to-morrow, when we shall — some of us at least — seek out Philæe and make our farthest southing. To be sure, to-morrow is Sunday, and the official activities of Cook are suspended with true British regard for the Sabbath. The Dean is going to preach at the chapel on shore, and Raschid to-night caused a ripple of laughter by closing his speech with the announcement that “the backsheesh for the clergyman will be five piastres." However, Mr. T., who has a fine family of daughters and a special dragoman of his own, is going to Philæ, and we are about to tempt Providence by going too, making the entire journey by boat. May a disapproving heaven still send us a favoring breeze!
CHAPTER XV. PHILÆ
M ARCH 12. To-day we reached our farthest
south. We have seen Philæ - at least what part of it remains above water. And as we turned away from it, under the broiling afternoon sun, I felt, with what was very like a pang of regret, that we had headed about toward home.
It has been a day to remember. The time will come, I fear, when those who go to Assuan will see nothing of the island temples, once the jewel of Upper Egypt, which lie behind the great dam. The addition of fifteen feet more to that structure will almost totally engulf even the higher parts of the shrine. The chaste "Bed of Pharaoh" will be submerged. And when that time comes, those of us who have actually looked upon these gems of Egyptian architecture in the days of their waning glory will give ourselves airs, no doubt!
Another time — if I am spared – I shall come to Assuan in mid-winter. March is proving much too hot. To-day has been breathless and torrid with the mercury at nearly a hundred — much too hot even for a New England summer day and far too trying for those of us who so lately came hither from ice and snow. We are all a bit prostrated to-night by the experience, but what of that? Have we not seen Philæ, and the great dam, and have we not shot the meagre rapids of the First Cataract ?
T., a jovial Englishman of our company on the ship, thoughtfully invited us to go with him to Philæ in advance of the crowd — for T. has a special dragoman of his own, a dapper young Egyptian rejoicing in the name of Taiyah. I met him first on the banks of the river at Bedreschein on the day devoted by all but me to Sakkâra. He introduced himself with a view to future engagements and presented an array of recommendations as long as the moral law, including the potent name of Robert Hichens. However, but few of us are such swells as to afford a special man, and as a matter of fact no one really needs that luxury. If you have a private dragoman he merely goes ahead and meets you at every land