Our voyage to Egypt was a very prosperous and, I may say, a pleasant one. Time, some eighty hours. As first and second class passage is unreasonably high, boarding costing $9—$10 per day, I took third class passage, and with a special outlay of a few dollars obtained acceptable meals. The steamer belonged to an English line, and it was one of the most pleasant incidents of my entire tour, to hear a company of sailors chime in one evening and sing “Kiss Me Mother, Kiss Your Darling.” I had heard little English speaking for months, and now to hear that old familiar tune, five thousand miles away from home, made me feel as if America could after all not be so very far off! There were no storms, nor was their any cool night air upon that “summer seat.” I slept one night on deck, without even an awning of canvass over me,—how pleasant it was at night to awake and see the winter constellation of Orion as high up already in September, as I was wont to see it in America in the month of January! We reached
on the fourth day after leaving the coasts of Italy. Perhaps I can not give the reader a better idea of what a blank Egypt seems to one who has luxuriated for months amid the scenes of Europe, than by leaving my chapter on Egypt a blank one. A great deal too much has been written about Egypt and the East, already. What profitable example can we take from those semi-barbarians? A young man who was just returning from a tour through Egypt and Greece, had told me already at Rome, that “going to see the East is done mostly for the name of having done the thing.” He had been disappointed, and so was I. Why do tourists speak so much about the pyramids, after returning from Egypt? Because there is little else to be seen there or to talk about! And these are not half the wonders that many imagine who falsely presume that the building of the entire structures were undertaken at once. The broad foundation of 13 acres, which constitutes the base of the greatest, was not undertaken at one time; but only a small pyramid was at first reared, and around this, as a nucleus, was built layer after layer, until the structure assumed the amazing proportions which now characterize the astounding magnificence of the great pyramids on the plains of Geezeh. Thus at whatever time the sovereign might die, his pyramid would be almost complete, and would be large or small, in proportion to the time spent upon it. Perhaps succeeding generations built at some of the larger pyramids. They are monuments erected to the memory of kings or ruling families, and contain their tombs. Such, at least, is a plausible solution of the problem of pyramid-building.