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It was a piece of political wisdom thus to command the respect of the people by protecting these animals, so indispensable in their purely agricultural country. Rosetta , called by the Arabs Raschid, is thought to be the ancient city of Melitus, and is situated near the mouth of the Rosetta branch of the Nile. There was always a large garrison here, where I have often inspected as many as 10, men. A few miles distant is the old fort of St Julian, which was occupied by the French when they were in Egypt.
It was at this place that the famous Rosetta The city was once populous, but for many years its venerable-looking structures, desolate and uninhabited, have reminded the traveller of a city of the dead. The mouth of the river being choked by the Nile mud, Mehemet Ali conceived the idea of cutting the grand Mamondieh Canal so as to connect the Nile above here with the magnificent Bay of Alexandria.
This isolated Rosetta and destroyed its importance, but now that a railroad connects it with the bay, it is being transformed once more into a busy mart; its once beautiful gardens begin again to smile with verdure, and the feathered songsters that had abandoned the sterile wastes have returned to their rosy bowers. The remains of parterres and gardens begin again to look beautiful with their perfumed hedges inclosing the pomegranate, citron, orange, and the waving date-tree. Here in the month of October no blighting frost stops the progress of nature, and a shower now and then, like a spring day in a cold climate, tempers the atmosphere, while the beams of the returning sun bring a more genial warmth.
There is never any check to vegetation, as is the case for so many months in other countries, where nature clothes herself in the mantle of decayed vegetation. At Rosetta , as everywhere on the coast, the winds and rains alone temper the climate. Artificial heat is rarely necessary, and the songbirds of Europe prefer this for their winter residence to the drier climate of Cairo.
They like the neighborhood of Rosetta , where they can linger among perfumed flowers and broad fields extending for many miles on both sides of the river. The Arab's fondness for birds is remarkable. He will sit for hours in these gardens watching and listening to them with patient delight.
His favorite among all the birds that visit him is the dove, and he will often follow that bird into the thick shades of the shrubbery that he may the better hear the music of its cooing. The nightingale on his winter visit to Egypt seems strangely gloomy and unsocial.
To the wonder of the Arabs, he shuns all communion with his fellows, mopes in solitude, and remains as silent as the desert which surrounds his seclusion. There he sits moping from October till March, but the happy return of spring inspires him with new life, and he once more seeks the vine-clad hills of his native land, where the forests soon echo with the sweet strains of the king of the singing birds. In the month of September the great migration of the quail commences from Europe across the Mediterranean to the shores of Egypt, and then the air is dark with countless thousands of those birds.
Many rest on the islands in their passage, and numbers seek a resting-place on any passing vessel; some fall into the sea, but the myriads that darken the shores of Egypt constitute a real wonder. Tired with their long flight, they are easily captured, and Egyptian hospitality is violated by their seizure when deprived of strength to fly.
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Over two hundred thousand of them are sent alive to Paris and London, at the time of their coming in September and on their return in the spring. At a fort, a short distance above Rosetta , situated on quite a high isolated sand-hill, there is a view across a perfect level, with no barrier but the distant horizon, and yet the picture is a majestic one.
To the north the thread-like outline of the shore which separates the landscape from the sea and the foaming waves at the mouth of the Nile mark the boundary of the distant waters. To the east are unfolded emerald fields and the ever-beautiful carpet of the delta. To the west lies the Libyan Desert, which nature has forever stamped with the indelible seal of sterility. As Rosetta through all her history has been fearful of being The fatted lamb being killed, the low round table is soon set, covered by a single waiter.
The dinner, el ghada , being announced, basin and ewer, tisht and ibreck , are brought, and every one is expected to wash his hands and mouth carefully with running water. A silver tray, seeneeyah , is placed upon the table, sufrah , and is large enough to cover it. The guests being seated usually at each sufrah there were five or six persons , condiments and lemons with round cakes of bread in shape something like a Mexican tortilla are placed before each guest, together with an ebony, tortoise-shell, or ivory spoon.
The first dish, a large tureen of very fine soup slightly flavored with lemon-juice, is placed in the midst of the table. It is etiquette for the highest Pacha to help himself first, and it was usually my office to take that dip, which was done with the ivory spoon, all others following suit, and all helping themselves out of the same tureen. No one was expected to stop until the The result of this effort was that by the time the sheep was devoured we were tolerably sated.
This eating with the fingers is much more delicate than those unacquainted with the process would imagine. The Saviour and apostles ate from one dish, and it is a general Eastern custom. Even in Greece and Rome the cultivated classes ate with the fingers. The food is specially prepared to aid this manner of disposing of it.
A Confederate Soldier in Egypt [Electronic Edition]
The other dishes which followed in succession for twenty or more courses at an Arab banquet, were stuffed turkey and chickens, rich stewed and boiled meats with onions, okra eaten with lemon-juice, and other vegetables. A very fine dish called the warak-mashee consisted of minced meat and rice wrapped in vine-leaves delicately seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, garlic, and parsley, the whole being boiled together.
Cucumber, khiyar, and a kind of gourd called the kara koosah are stuffed with spiced mince-meat and boiled, and are very nice to the taste. Small pieces of lamb roasted on skewers, fish dressed with oil, and every variety of vegetables, sweets, and fruits between the dishes were wont to appeal to the most capricious tastes of the guest.
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The kunafeh never fails. This is a dish made of flour, and it looks like vermicelli, but is finer, being fried in butter and sweetened with sugar and honey. Thin pastry The conviviality commences in earnest while sipping coffee and smoking. Arabs then lose their gravity and continually joke one another, being very fond of badinage. A funny saying quite captivates them. The merchant and the donkey-boy are easily moved with a jest, and the women in their hours of ease, with coffee and cigarettes, which with the higher classes consume most of the time, amuse themselves at each other's cost.
They never get angry, however sharp the jest may be. At all these entertainments if the host thinks it will be pleasing, the Ghawazzee or dancing girls are introduced, many of them being very handsome. These dance without their veils, to the slow music of the kamingah or kanoon , a dance resembling the fandango of Spain.
As the women of the harem are Rosetta and Aboukir were the scene of torpedo experiments under the direction of Colonel William Ward, who was stationed here for a long time. It was a great pleasure to meet him here in his field of operations. These two interesting places would, in my association, lose much of their interest without him. The colonel had been an officer in both the United States and Confederate navies, and was appreciated in them.
No officer labored in Egypt in more varied duties, for he was a true American type of adaptability where sense and experience were required. If the Khedive wanted a distant exploration made where ability and scientific training were essential, or if he desired a perfect system of torpedoes, or a distant and unknown harbor and river critically and faithfully reported upon, this gallant sailor and soldier, for he seemed equally adapted to both professions, was certain to be selected. The Khedive knew that no one could be more trusted to furnish him the information he required.
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T HE Egypt of to-day was founded by Mehemet Ali, a simple fisherman of Greek descent, who was born at the small town of Cavalla, on the coast of Roumelia, about the year As few Mahometans keep registers of births, he never knew his own age. Illiterate in his youth, he learned to write through the teaching of a slave, after he was forty years of age. He won his first promotion by an act of treachery. He pretended to pray in a mosque by the side of a friend who had done something which for-feited his life to the government.
He secured the confidence of this man, and when he had learned his secret by gross deception, handed him over to the authorities.
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Mehemet was rewarded by a lieutenancy. His ambition satisfied, he then used his cunning and power to save the life of his victim, the betrayal of whom had been his first stepping-stone in promotion. His courage was daring even to desperation, and when an end was to be gained there was no sacrifice or treachery which he hesitated to use to attain it.
Born a soldier of consummate After driving from power no less than three Viceroys and standing in open revolt against the Sultan, he found him-self hampered by the force of the Mamelukes whom he had deceived, but who were still a strong power in the land. The Ulumas, the people, and the army presented to him the supreme authority, and the Sultan, driven by policy, though against his will, invested him by a firman with the post of Governor-General. It was only after a great show of reluctance that the cunning Greek accepted the lofty position of authority for which he had been intriguing.
Like Caesar, he needed to be pressed to accept the crown. Thus he consummated the ambition for which he had long been working alike by craft and the commission of dark crimes. English influence with the Porte subsequently induced the latter to offer him the Pachalik of Salonica in exchange for his Egyptian authority, in order to get the wily soldier out of the way of British plans in the East. But Mehemet Ali made a bold stand. Again courting the alliance of the Mamelukes whom he had formerly tricked, and securing the friendship of France, he so worked on the fears of the Sultan, who dreaded the danger of losing his valuable suzerainty, that the Porte again made a virtue of necessity, and confirmed his unruly vassal in the title of Viceroy, on his agreeing to pay a yearly tribute of a million dollars.
England, indignant at this arrangement, sent an expedition to Egypt, which was encountered by Mehemet near Rosetta , and was vanquished by him. He was guilty of Travellers, on going to Cairo , wind their way in a gradual ascent through the famous street called Mouski, while crowding through a throng of shrieking Arabs and ungainly camels, and crushing against donkeys, people, and carriages, only to emerge into a still more crowded Arab street.
Aided by your syce the man who runs before your horse or carriage you manage, in the greatest confusion of sounds and smells, to commence the steep ascent to the citadel. After many halts the great gate is entered fronting the mosque of alabaster, erected by the Grand Pacha to receive his remains. A little to the left of this mosque there stands the remnant. After the magnificent feast was ended the haughty guests were dismissed, and they descended into the courtyard to The Mamelukes dead, the Viceroy's sons, Ibrahim and Toussoun, marched against the Wahabees, and in person he led an army to the Hedgas.
The Sultan, taking advantage of the supposed absence of Mehemet's soldiery, sent Latif Pacha to assume power in Egypt. The envoy was welcomed by Mehemet, the Pacha's representative, with a gracious smile and offers of services. A Turk is never so treacherous as when most gracious. Biding his time until he had Latif Pacha completely in his power, Mehemet put him to death. Stirred by this act of declared hostility on the part of the Porte, the Viceroy set seriously to work to establish a firm government, with the sole object of throwing off the Turkish yoke, and it has been thought that he even aimed at conquering the entire East.