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Statue of the King of Kings,' which Denon says was twenty-five feet across the shoulders, and which he calculates to have been seventyfive feet in height. Several colossal statues besides this were seen by Mr. Banks of forty feet in height, placed generally as if to guard the monumental excavations in the mountains. In one place the side of the mountain had been cut away so as to form an extensive perpendicular surface, which was afterwards chisseled out into columns with capitals, entablature, and an over hanging cornice, forming the front of a magnificent temple; the whole face covered with deep-cut bieroglyphics in the highest state of preservation. The proposal of Alexander's architect to cut Mount Athos into a statue of that conqueror, however extravagant it may appear to us, would be less so to him who designed and superintended the execution of the temples, tombs and statues of the Nubian mounsains. Mr. Banks, we understand, has brought away copies of a multitude of inscriptions and paintings, which not only represent the mysteries of a lost religion, but of the wild animals still existing on the continent of Africa, and among them the camelopardalis, who is seen over-topping all the rest. Mr. Banks thought that one of the animals resembled the Unicorn, except, indeed, which is rather unlucky, that it had two borns. He has also procured from the ruins of Thebes and other places several rolls of the papyrus, and mummies without number. Such, we believe, is pretty correctly the substance of Mr. Banks's communication, which is certainly of a most important and interesting description. There would appear to be little or no obstruction on the part of the natives, to the progress of travellers as was formerly the case. Mr. Legh bears testimony to their peaceable, obliging and inoffensive conduct.
• During the whole of this interesting journey, we had found the natives universaliy civil, conducting us to the remains of antiquity without the least suspicion, and supplying us with whatever their scanty means would afford. It is true they viewed us with curiosity, and seemed astonished at our venturing among them; and at Kalaptshi they asked our guide “ How dare these people come here? Do they not know that we have 500 muskets in our village, and that Douab Cachefi has not the courage to come and levy contributions?"?—p. 97.
He describes the men as having lively features, a sleek and fine skin, and teeth beautifully white; their colour, though dark, ‘full of life and blood;' their persons remarkably thin, which he thinks may be owing to the heat of the climate and to their scanty means of subsistence. Their hair is sometimes frizzled out at the sides and stiffened with grease, so as perfectly to resemble the extraordiDary projection on the head of the sphinx. The Bichåré, a tribe of Arabs, Mr. Hamiltou tells us, wear their hair in this manner;
and, he observes, that this dress is the original of that extraordinary projection. The women are horribly ugly, and seem to pass at once from childhood to old age. The children go naked, the boys wearing round the waist a small cord only, and the girls a sort of fringe, made of thin strips of leather, matted together with grease-precisely the Hottentot apron. Their principal food seemed to consist of lentils, sour milk, and water, which they were always ready to share with the travellers. The condition of those, by whose labour the mighty masses of the pyramids were reared, mountains cut down or excavated, and colossal statues formed, was probably not better than that of the modern Nubians such works could only have been accomplished by men who fed on food as cheap as the lentils and sour milk of the Arabs—the slaves of some despot, himself the slave of a crafty and tyrannical priesthood, We have no reason to doubt Herodotus when he says that 100,000 men were employed by Cheops in quarrying stones in the Nubian mountains and conveying them down the Nile, for building a bridge which occupied ten years, and erecting a pyramid, the labour of twenty years, on which an inscription in Egyptian characters set forth that the sum of 1,600 talents of silver had been expended in onions and garlick for the workmen.
In the voyage of our travellers down the Nile they revisited many of the spots which they saw but transiently on their passage up the river, and, among others, Koum Ombos, where they looked in vain for the inscription mentioned by Mr. Hamilton on the cornice of one of the temples; an inscription from which that author infers that some of the temples are not of so high a date as is generally given to them, but rather to be attributed to the Ptolemies. We searched," says Mr. Legh, more than an hour, with his book in our hands.' We are rather surprized at this, as the inscription is none of the shortest; the place is distinctly pointed out; and the letters, Mr. Hamilton says, are nearly three inches in length.'
They also landed a second time at Thebes, and visited the gates of the kings,' and the excavated mountains. They likewise descended into one of the mummy pits that abound in the neighbourhood; but it would be difficult, Mr. Legh says, 'to convey an adequate idea of the disgusting scene of horror we had to encounter.' A narrow hole, nearly filled up with rubbish, led to a small room about fifteen feet by six, beyond which was a larger chamber with two row's of columns; the walls covered with paintings; and at the farther end, two full length statues, dressed in very gay apparel, with the figures of two boys on one side and of two girls on the other.
The whole of this chamber was strewed with pieces of cloth, legs, arms, and hands of mummics, left in this condition by the Arabs, who visit these places for the purpose of rifling the bodies, and carrying off the bituminous substances with which they have been embalmed. From the chamber above described, two passages lead into the interior and lower part of the mountain, and we penetrated about the distance of a hundred yards into that which appeared the largest. Slipping and crawling amongst the various fragments of these mulitated bodies, we were only able to save ourselves from falling by catching hold of the leg, arm, or skull of a mummy, some of which were lying on the ground, but many still standing in the niches where they had been originally placed.'-(p. 108.)
On their arrival at Siout, they received the unwelcome intelligence that the plague had made its appearance at Alexandria; to ascertain the truth of which, they dispatched a courier to Cairo; and in the mean time landed at Manfalout, to examine some mummy pits in the desert, near the village of Amabdi, of which they had heard an extraordinary account from a Greek whom they met with at Thebes, of the name of Demetrius. He told them, that in pursuing some fugitives, they were suddenly observed to disappear. On coming to the place, they found a pit which he and some others descended; at the bottom were fragments of mummies of crocodiles scattered about, but no fugitives to be seen. This story raised the curiosity of our travellers, and they determined to visit those subterraneous chambers, in which the sacred crocodiles had been interred, and which Herodotus was not permitted to see. The party consisted of Mr. Legh, Mr. Smelt, the American interpreter, an Abyssinian merchant of the name of Fadlallah, and three of their boat's crew, Barâbras, whom they had brought from the Cataracts. Having wandered about four hours in search of Amabdi, they at length observed four Arabs cutting wood. These people shewed an unwillingness to give them any information-talked of danger-and were heard to mutter that if one must die all must die':-this, however, did not deter the party from proceeding. The story of this adventure is so well told, and is so painfully interesting, that, though rather long, no apology will be required for giving it in Mr. Legh's own words,
We were bent on going, and the Arabs at last undertook to be our guides for a reward of twenty-five piastres. After an hour's march in the desert, we arrived at the spot, which we found to be a pit or circular hole of ten feet in diameter, and about eighteen feet deep. We descended without difficulty, and the Arabs began to strip, and proposed to us to do the same: we partly followed their example, but kept on our trowsers and shirts. I had by me a brace of pocket pistols, which I concealed in my trowsers, to be prepared against any treacherous attempt of our guides. It was now decided that three of the four Arabs should go with us, while the other remained on the outside of the cavern, The Abyssinian merchant declined going any farther. The
sailors remained also on the outside to take care of our clothes. We formed therefore a party of six; each was to be preceded by a guide -our torches were lighted--one of the Arabs led the way,- and I followed him.
• We crept for seven or eight yards through an opening at the bottom of the pit, which was partly choked up with the drifted sand of the desert, and found ourselves in a large chamber about fifteen feet high.
* This was probably the place into which the Greek, Demetrius, had penetrated, and here we observed what he had described, the fragments of the mummies of crocodiles. We saw also great numbers of bats flying about, and hanging from the roof of the chamber. Wbilst holding up my torch to examine the vault, I accidentally scorched one of them. I mention this trivial circumstance, because afterwards it gave occasion to a most ridiculous, though to us a very important, discussion. So far
galleries where the Arabs had formerly taken refuge, and where, without doubt, were deposited the mummies we were searching for. We had all of us torches, and our guides insisted upon our placing ourselves in such a way, that an Arab was before each of us. Though there appeared something mysterious in this order of march, we did not dispute with them, but proceeded. We now entered a low gallery, in which we continued for more than an hour, stooping or creeping as was necessary, and following its windings, till at last it opened into a large chamber, which, after some time, we recognized as the one we had first entered, and from which we had set out. Our conductors, however, denied that it was the same, but on our persisting in the assertion, agreed at last that it was, and confessed they had missed their way the first time, but if we would make another attempt they would undertake to conduct us to the mummies. Our curiosity was still unsatisfied; we bad been wandering for more than an hour in low sublerranean passages, and felt considerably fatigued by the irksomeness of the posture in which we had been obliged to move, and the heat of our torches in those narrow and low galleries. But the Arabs spoke so confidently of succeeding in this second trial, that we were induced once more to attend them. We found the opening of the chamber which we now approached guarded by a trench of unknown depth, and wide enough to require a good leap. The first Arab jumped the ditch, and we all followed him. The passage we entered was extremely small, and so low in some places as to oblige us to crawl flat on the ground, and almost always on our hands and knees. The intricacies of its windings resembled a labyrinth, and it terminated at length in a chamber much smaller than that which we had left, but, like it, contained nothing to satisfy our curiosity. Our search hitherto had been fruitless, but the mummies might not be far distant, another effort, and we might still be successful.
“The Arab whom I followed, and who led the way, now entered another gallery, and we all continued to move in the same manner as before, each preceded by a guide. We had not gone far before the heat became excessive;—for my own part, I found my breathing' ex
tremely difficult, my head began to ache most violently, and I had a most distressing sensation of fulness about the heart.
• We felt we had gone too far, and yet were almost deprived of the power of returning. At this moment the torch of the first Arab went out: I was close to him, and saw him fall on his side--he uttered a groan-his legs were strongly convulsed, and I heard a rattling noise in his throat-he was dead. The Arab behind me, seeing the torch of his companion extinguished, and conceiving he had stumbled, past me, advanced to his assistance, and stooped. I observed him appear faint, totter, and fall in a moment-he also was dead. The third Arab came forward, and made an effort to approach the bodies, but stopped short. We looked at each other in silent horror. The danger increased every instant; our torches burnt faintly; our breathing became more difficult; our knees tottered under us, and we felt our strength nearly gone. , • There was no time to be lost-the American, Bar:how, cried to us to “ take courage,” and we began to move back as fast as we could. We heard ihe remaining Arab shouting after us, calling us Caffres, implorjug our assistance, and upbraiding us with deserting him. But we were obliged to leave him to his fate, expecting every moment to share it with him. The windings of the passages through which we had come increased the difficulty of our escape; we might take a wrong turn, and never reach the great chamber we had first entered. Even supposing we took the shortest road, it was but too probable our strength would fail us before we arrived. We had each of us separately and unknown to one another observed attentively the different shapes of the stones which projected into the galleries we had passed, so that each had an imperfect clue to the labyrinth we had now to retrace. We compared notes, and only on one occasion had a dispute, the American differing from my friend and myself; in this dilemma we were determined by the majority, and fortunately were right. Exhausted with fatigue and terror, we reached the edge of the deep trench which remained to be crossed before we got into the great chamber. Mustering all my strength, I leaped, and was followed by the American. Smelt stood on the briuk, ready to drop with fatigue. He called to us “ for God's sake to help him over the fosse, or at least to stop, if only for five minutes, to allow him time to recover his strength.” It was impossible to stay was death, and we could not resist the desire to push on and reach the open air. We encouraged him to summon all his force, and he cleared the trench. When we reached the open air it was one o'clock, and the heat of the sun about 160°. Our sailors, who were waiting for us, had luckily a bardak* full of water, which they sprinkled upon us, but though a little refreshed, it was not possible to climb the sides of the pit; they unfolded their turbans, and slinging thein round our bodies, drew us to the top.'-pr. 111-116.
The Arab who remained at the entrance anxiously inquired for his hahabebas, or friends; he was told they were employed in bringing out the mummies; the travellers then mounted their asses,
• The name of the jars, made at Kenné, of porous earth, and used to cool water.