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All this is specially interesting, because Egypt has hardly any Christian ruins of pre-Byzantine times which are not inconspicuous and ruinous, though she played such an important part in the development of Christianity.
Modern Alexandrians are often like the portraits that come out of Ptolemaic tombs, showing how little the type of villany has changed. It looks extra odd in Alexandria, where there are police regulating the traffic like they do in London, though they wear white clothes in May-a thing which I should not like to do in that climate after sundown ; I always took an overcoat if I was going to be out after tea.
Alexandria has a beautiful bay between the fort of Silsileh and the fort of Kait Bey, which stands on the site of the ancient Pharos. But it is rather spoiled by a public garden of land reclaimed from its waters, which is innocent of one blade of green, and has not yet got beyond the dust-heap stage. Otherwise, from its bold crescent it would be like the Bay of Naples, with Lochias standing for Posilippo and Kait Bey's fort for the Castel del Uovo. Once in a way you see a European driving through this “park” in a dogcart, with a native coachman, whose jet-black hands and face make a fine contrast to his snow-white clothes and puggarree; but generally there is nothing more exciting than a boy riding on a donkey, sitting just over its rudder, and the usual street Arabs, with long robes and bare feet, gambling with the straitened means at their disposal. Our hotel commanded a view of this eastern bay. Our bedroom had a pleasant arcaded balcony which tempted us to dwell on it. Cleopatra's palace might have stood on this very spot, with the theatre behind it, and the museum or hall of culture, which contained the famous library, behind that and a little to the left.
But Cleopatra is as completely forgotten in Alexandria as elsewhere in Egypt now. Nobody tries to show you the place where she sported with Mark Antony or committed suicide over him ; indeed, when you are in this part of the town, if it were not for the ocular evidence of Kait Bey's fort rising white against the blue sky and blue sea, on the
point between the two harbours, and a row of minarets in the town which has grown up on the Heptastadium built by the great Alexander (or another) to connect the island of the Pharos with the mainland, one might not be in Egypt at all.
And in Kait Bey's fort, if it were not for the mosque, which is its most conspicuous building, one might well be in Sicily standing on the castle of Maniace looking over the waters of the great harbour where Athens fell. The fort looks best from the outside; indeed, it would be hardly worth while to take the trouble to get the permesso for entering it, were it not that it is the site of the lighthouse of the Ptolemies, the famous Pharos of Alexandria, which, till it was thrown down by the elements seven hundred years ago, rose in receding tiers of pure white marble. It was square, and each storey diminished in size, with a gallery running round it to occupy the unused area. Inside, you mounted to the top, as you used to in the fallen campanile at Venice, by a ramp instead of stairs. Horses and chariots could ascend it. It stood for nearly fifteen hundred years, and, when the water is very clear and calm, boatmen rowing to Kait Bey's fort claim to have seen its marbles bearded with seaweed. I could see no trace of them from the roof of the fort, though the day was favourable, and I am familiar, from Syracuse, with submerged fragments of masonry. It is said that the Pharos, when its time came, simply fell into the sea from the rock where the fort now stands.
The bazars of Alexandria are disappointing, except for buying Arab cottons, though parts of them are sufficiently Oriental and fascinating to those who have never seen the bazars of places like Cairo and Tunis.
The few old houses which remain of the mediæval Alexandria-mansions like you get at Rosetta, built of burnt brick with loggias of ancient columns--are near Kait Bey's fort. Here, too, on the point between the two harbours, is the khedivial palace of Ras-el-Tin, where the Prince of Egypt holds levees for Alexandrians. It is a plain barrack, with a gingerbread Egyptian gate. It has rather a nice
view, and a garden, where his band were struggling with Matchiche, when I went to see it.
The guide was very funny. He pointed out a sort of guard-room occupied by custom-house officials. “Contraband people live here,” he said, and with another wave of his hand he indicated a boat-house belonging to the rowing enthusiasts of Alexandria. “Club for small boats," he said. The new Pharos of Alexandria stands here. When I pointed out to Miss Norma Lorimer that the same wild, mauveblossomed geranium was growing up it as we saw on the lighthouse of Carthage, he said: “Yes, nicey view.” But his English was better than his French, because I do not to this day know what he meant by “Hey chassent dix huit good for manger."
Close to the Khedive's Palace are the forts of Alexandria, which stood a short bombardment from the British fleet during the rebellion of Arabi Pasha. The clearing up after the battle is not finished yet ; there are still remains of pounded bastions and English shells half buried in the sand. The fortifications have not been kept up at all.
To turn from Arabi Bey, who is living in Egypt now, an unconsidered nonentity, to Alexander the Great, you get a rude shock when you find that the place where the greatest of all the Greeks, the world's chief conqueror, was buried, has had to sacrifice its site to a mosque where the ladies of the Khedivial family are entombed. It is a poor little new thing called Nebi Danil, a sort of shoddy Brighton Pavilion. Our guide-book informed us that no Christians were admitted, but the custodian let us in glibly; he did not even trouble us to put on overshoes to walk into the two rooms where tall plaster tombs-two or three deckers in the Turkish style, with pillars at head and foot, covered with Arabic writing, gilt and bright blue-marked the substitution of Khedivial lady corpses for that of the invincible Alexander.
There is a glorious sarcophagus, discovered, I think, at Sidon, and now in the museum at Constantinople, which the Turkish officials describe as the tomb of Alexander the Great,
though archæologists consider it certain that it was the tomb, not of Alexander, but of one of his generals. It possesses inestimable value of a twofold kind. For not only is it the finest sarcophagus in the world in the point of sculpture, worthy of comparison with the frieze of the Parthenon, but it contains a portrait of Alexander executed by a sculptor who was his contemporary.
It is mortifying to admit the contention of the archæologists. It would be so infinitely interesting to think that the world still possessed, and had before its eyes, the very tomb in which the greatest of all its rulers was laid to rest.
Some Reflections on the Forgotten Cleopatra
VEN Cleopatra was a fly on the wheel. For if one
ards her as an instrument of Providence, sent to deliver the world from the prodigal and profligate hands of Antony into the strong, well-ordered, temperate grasp of Augustus, one has to remember that Augustus bound the world hand and foot for Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero, to say nothing of the later monsters, who made it their sport, like evil gods, from the throne of the Cæsars.
If Antony had conquered Octavian, would there have been any Roman Empire ?
And what would Cæsarion have done, when he grew to manhood, if Octavian had spared him, Cæsarion, the son of one who disputes with Alexander and Napoleon the honour of being the greatest man who ever lived-Caius Julius Cæsar-and the woman whom history has taken as its type of physical splendour.
As Professor Mahaffy says:“ History preserves an obstinate silence about Cæsarion. It is a case like that of the son of Alexander the Great and Roxane, whose life is hidden from us, though his titles to fame are not only his superb origin, but the gigantic heritage of which he was defrauded, and the captivity and early death to which his bitterest foe consigned him. Yet, who had better claims to be known of all men than the young Alexander ? So it is with Cæsarion. He had reached an age when several of his dynasty had not only sat upon the throne, but led armies, begotten children, and engaged in councils of state. Yet not one word of his appearance, of his habits, of his betrothal in marriage to any