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the Caliphate; and here in Rosetta there is a grace not universal in Egypt. You see men working in the elegant costumes confined to the saises of the rich at Cairo—the fine shirts, the embroidered waistcoats, the generous pantaloons, the gay caps.
Here and there in Cairo, the city of matchless mosques, you find a too-short street of old Mameluke houses with glorious oriels of carved and fretted and latticed woodwork in bewildering profusion-Oriental fantasias upon the same theme as the old timber houses of Chester and Rouen ; but they are fragments almost lost in the great city. Rosetta at the back of its bazar is a city of one age-a city of these noble old mansions of Arabian art, with long colonnades recalling the hypostyle halls of the ancient Egyptian temples.
Their brick is of a curious dark red. Without the firing, which gives it its rich colour, the brick could not have stood the moisture of the Delta.
There are few cities so entirely antique as Rosetta, where you have half a mile square of old houses broken only by the streets in which they stand. It can but be compared to the old part of Rouen round the Halles.
Rosetta as a city consists of this aristocratic quarter of dwellings, the bazar, and the quay. No business of exporting and importing disfigures, with the hideous adjuncts of modern docks, the ancient port, which when Mehemet Ali wrested Egypt from the Turk had five times the population of Alexandria. The Nile bears nothing more important on its bosom than gyassas of artisans or peasants, but the native craft are launched, and repaired, and broken up, and beached along the whole front. It is the dockyard of the gyassa.
The bazar of Rosetta is as unspoiled as that of Omdurman, though they differ as places with such a gulf of time and space set between them would. It is purely native. It has no native wares selected irrespective of use to tempt the tourist's eye; it has no cheap European wares to seduce the Arab from his own durable, suitable, picturesque, hand-made articles. Here you have the native in fellah simplicity as you find him only where the white man never goes-able to
supply all his wants himself, regardless of whether there is any one in the world besides himself or not. The bazar of Rosetta! How shall I describe it? It is very long; it winds as inconsequently as an Arab bazar should; it is open here, there shaded by a loosely boarded roof, or a loosely strung mat of palm leaves, or a trellis grown with young vine leaves. The shops are of the larger order, open-fronted, of course, and each with its dikker outside it, on which the owner sits, mostly chatting with or waiting for customers. The tradesmen are those who supply the simplest wants : the tinker, the coppersmith, the shoemaker, even the tailor—though Arabs are apt to make their own clothes--with the vendors of vegetables, of poor Arab hosiery, and of cottons dominated by speckled red handkerchiefs-headkerchiefs. The shoes are distinctive, for the red and yellow goat-skin slippers are almost excluded by a stout patent leather as stiff as cowhide.
The bazars are broken by many old houses, by mosques and mills. The mills of Rosetta deserve a word to them. selves. I saw oil-mills and flour-mills much alike. The mill would be separated from the street by an important and picturesque entrance like a khan's; the mill chamber would have for an entrance on each side a fine arch with a trefoil head, and all round would have moresque arches inlaid or overlaid on its walls. There might be another such chamber behind it, and, beyond that, the colonnaded courtyard where the beasts were stabled. In the mill chamber would be sakiyas grinding the oil-seed or grain with the same gear as the sakiyas for driving waterwheels, and all in a subdued light.
Rosetta is rich in mosques, but the others are overshadowed by the Sakhlûn mosque, which is very fine and old-a mosque after the order of the grand mosque of Kairouan, the holy city of Africa-and the old mosques of Amr and ElAzhar at Cairo, though its court is minute compared to theirs.
I was amazed by my first glimpse of the interior, as I was passing through the bazar, for the outer walls gave no indication of its extent or its character. The minaret is old and fantastic; its long walls, mere curtains of crumbling brick as
blank as the side of a tent, looked venerable, nothing more, even where we surveyed them from the top of one of the old houses, into which a friendly Arab, after chasing the females of his household into the harem, invited us to take coffee. We accepted the invitation to his roof, and took photographs instead of coffee.
But when we had descended, and were trying to find our way into the mosque, we did think, too, that the door took an unconscionable time to reach ; and when at last we reached it our Arab made signs that the right door was farther yet, but we stopped to peep in, and looked down on a scene that reminded us of El-Azhar, deserted by its students, for there was a long liwan, and three hundred antique columns supporting old stilted Saracenic arches.
We suffered ourselves to be hurried on to the other entrance, the reason being that there was no matting there, and Rosetta, having no tourists, keeps no slippers for Unbelievers in its mosques. We found ourselves in a quaint, small court. One side, opposite the liwân, was formed by an ancient mansion, the other three had uncut brick piers and stilted arches delightfully moresque. In the centre was a ruined fountain, ugly, formless. I wished to take a photograph. Miss Lorimer begged me not to, as she thought the crowd were incensed at the idea ; I persisted, and the crowd helped me. Only once in Egypt has there been any real attempt to stop me--when I was trying to take a snap at the Emir of the Hadj on his return from Mecca. The Holy Carpet was stopped for me to photograph it. Egypt is not fanatical about photographs : it reserves that for its politics, which are to it indistinguishable from religion.
Not content with letting me photograph the courtyard, they conducted me through the liwan, to a shutter three feet from the ground, carefully lifting up the matting, so that it should not be soiled by infidel feet. They unbolted it, and made signs to me to climb through it with my camera, seeming to explain that I had not seen the best half of the mosque. It was rather disconcerting to have the shutter bolted behind me, with Miss Lorimer left on the other side of it. We were
the only Europeans in a city of fifteen thousand Arabs. I did not know that they had begged her to climb through too, so I hurried through my kodaking of that Penelopian web. Before me was another small court, another vast liwân, with side colonnades, and pillars innumerable, more polished, more beautiful. From the court itself, filled up with a tangle of verdure, where serpents should have lurked, I took my photographs quickly, for I thought that Miss Lorimer must be anxious.
A sheikh had now arrived, and conducted me round the edge of the matting to the far side of the liwân, to see the pulpit of carved wood, painted, not important, and three plain mihrabs. The beauty, the dignity, the charm of the mosque lay not in its detail, but in the accumulated effect of so many venerable columns, from the temples of Egypt and Greece and Rome, with their lines mellowed or eaten away by the salt air of the Delta. It was the beauty of decay, the majesty of numbers.
Another of the city mosques had a liwân of many columns and graceful niches, but it was not old. At the southern end of the town, too, there was a little square mosque, whose beauty of outline, and graceful dome and minaret, are worthy of a place on the enchanted plain of the Tombs of the Caliphs at Cairo.
Rosetta is a city of many graces ; besides its old mansions, and its undevastated bazar, and its antique mosques, and long quay swarming with Oriental craft; besides the wonderful beauty of its river, it is green and gay with trees and flowers : the garden of the saints' tomb by the railway station is a gem for the photographer. It has sakiyas, with the water-wheels of the Delta, working in its streets, and it has the most beautiful khans I have seen in Egypt.
One is not likely to forget the khans of Rosetta ; unlike those of Cairo and other cities, each stands detached. Some are built of the burnt Rosetta brick, some are of massive masonry. Both kinds have stately portals, with a text from the Koran engraved on a wooden beam or a slab of stone over the door, and generally a rich ornament of brickwork