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serve for convenience without being in the least essential to one's comfort in a land where English domination suffices to produce a surprisingly widespread use of the English tongue. The coinage of the country is readily mastered, especially by the American, thanks to the similarity in size and value that exists between the piastre with its various multiples and our own five-cent pieces, halves, and quarters. In no other country is the local money so easily translatable into the familiar terms of home. Relieved of that perplexity, and secure in the knowledge that one could no more be lost in Egypt than in a long and narrow corridor, the visitor is likely to suffer from no greater annoyance than that which arises from the flies in late spring and from the insistent begging at all seasons. The latter drawback is reported to be much less bothersome now than it was in the older days; but it is still true that the one Arabic word with which the ear is most often saluted is " backsheesh.” Carriages, for the use of which one has little occasion outside of Cairo, are in that city surprisingly reasonable in cost, and efforts at extortion are curtailed by a tariff, published in three languages and placed conspicuously in each vehicle. Personal safety is a question that gives one no concern.
As for seasons, no doubt can exist that the proper
time to see Egypt at its best is “between November and May," as the guidebooks all agree in saying. But it should be added that the visit made later than early February is likely to possess serious drawbacks, due in part to the rapid shoaling of the Nile, which militates against navigation, and in part to the increasing probability of severe sand-storms which are so common in the month of March. Moreover the heat begins early in Upper Egypt, and with the heat come the most annoying of Egypt's lesser plagues, — the flies. A fly-whisk, such as may be had at any corner, becomes as imperative as a hat - which brings us to the one remaining topic of which it may be well to speak in this connection.
Probably no country frequented by travel creates more discussion among prospective visitors as to what preparations one should make than does Egypt. There is such a formidable impression made by the mysterious name of that ancient realm, there is so much that must be read, there are so many theories as to what it is absolutely essential to wear! And yet, apart from the reading, the safe rule is doubtless the one which any old traveler would give for visiting any other country; to wit, go to Egypt just as you would go anywhere else, guided by your native common sense. Unless you venture into Egypt later than March, it is not likely to be a tropical climate. Helmets and "puggarees," while picturesque, are by no means essential to perfect comfort, and if worn in winter are the shameless insignia of the guileless tourist. Warm clothes are as necessary as light ones, and on the Nile steamers, as well as in most eligible hotels, all the world “ dresses for dinner.” Something suited to wear on donkey-back through the dust is certainly required, and if it be a riding-costume especially designed for the purpose, the effect is naturally smarter than when one takes along simply an old suit that has seen better days. The majority are content with the latter. Be prepared, in short, for a warm day, a cold night, a fashionable hotel, and a very dusty road.
Comfort demands that the hat be capable of being secured against blowing off in the gales that occasionally blow; and it is a decided convenience to have a pair of spectacles - slightly colored — with covered sides to keep the dust and sand out of the eyes. These may be procured, of course, in Cairo, where any reliable apothecary will also supply a small bottle of soothing lotion for the eyes, a thing which those familiar with the shifting sands of Egypt always insist strongly upon as a very wise precaution.
As a general rule, one may most safely avoid the water of the country as a beverage- chiefly, however, in Cairo. Away from the haunts of men the Nile water, properly filtered as it is on all reliable steamers and in frequented hotels, is vouched for as not only harmless but excellent. Much depends on the filter, and on personal moderation. The ordinary method of filtration is to permit the water to drip slowly through the bottom of a huge porous jar, which process cools as well as purifies. Native cows' milk is only safe when properly boiled, and the safest butter is that which is imported.
These details are set down here simply because they seem to me to answer the more common and universal queries of those who contemplate visiting Egypt for the first time. Having disposed of these, we may turn with lighter hearts to something vastly more interesting, to wit, to Egypt itself, its history, its curious characteristics, its extraordinary river, and the multitude of things that are to be seen along the latter's shores.
T is not without reason that the world is prone to
think of Egypt as a sort of British possession. British influence in that country is certainly paramount. But it has to be remembered that Egypt is really a tributary of Turkey, paying annually something like $3,000,000 to the Porte ; and that a certain degree of autonomy, more apparent than real, is maintained on the spot under the government of the Khedive and his council of state. Nevertheless England, in spite of her disclaimers of actual suzerainty, virtually protects the country, and to some extent rules it, inasmuch as her resident “agent" has certain ultimate powers over the official acts of the Khedive's ministers, and doubtless might, if an issue were ever to be forced, compel the resignation of such ministers as did not readily coincide with British policy. The common assumption that Egypt is a form of British colony, while inexact and vigorously