A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy.

My reader would do me a great wrong by the supposition that I mention these circumstances to make a vaunt of my courage; I am sure that the fact of my having undertaken this journey alone will be sufficient to clear me from the imputation of cowardice.  I wish merely to give future travellers a hint as to the best method of dealing with these people.  Their respect can only be secured by the display of a firm will; and I am sure that in my case they were the more intimidated as they had never expected to find so much determination in a woman.

CHAPTER XVII.

Return to Alexandria—­Egyptian burials—­Catacombs of Alexandria—­
Viceroy’s palace—­Departure from Alexandria—­The steamer Eurotas—­
Candia—­Syra—­Paros and Antiparos—­The Morea—­Fire on board—­Malta—­
Quarantine—­St. Augustine’s church—­Clergymen—­Beggars—­Costumes—­
Soldiers—­Civita Vecchia.

September 5th.

At five o’clock in the evening of the 2d of September I commenced my journey back to Alexandria.  During the fortnight I remained at Cairo the Nile had continued to rise considerably, and the interest of the region had increased in proportion.  In three days’ time I arrived safely at Alexandria, and again put up at Colombier’s.  Two days had still to elapse before the departure of the French steam-vessel, and I made use of this time to take a closer survey of the town and its environs.

On my arrival at Alexandria I met two Egyptian funerals.  The first was that of a poor man, and not a soul followed the coffin.  The corpse lay in a wooden box without a lid, a coarse blanket had been spread over it, and four men carried the coffin.  The second funeral had a more respectable air.  The coffin, indeed, was not less rude, but the dead man was covered with a handsome shawl, and four “mourning women” followed the body, raising a most dolorous howl from time to time.  A motley crowd of people closed the procession.  The corpse was laid in the grave without the coffin.

The catacombs of Alexandria are very extensive, and well worth a visit.  A couple of miles from them we see the celebrated plain on which the army of Julius Caesar was once posted.  The cistern and bath of Cleopatra were both under water.  I could, therefore, only see the place where they stood.

The viceroy’s palace, a spacious building inclining to the European style, has a pleasing effect.  Its interior arrangement is also almost wholly European.

The bazaar contains nothing worthy of remark.  The arsenal looks very magnificent when viewed from without.  It is difficult to obtain admission into this building, and you run the risk of being insulted by the workmen.  The hospital has the appearance of a private house.

I was astonished at the high commission which is here demanded on changing small sums of money.  In changing a collonato, a coin very much used in this country, and worth about two guilders, the applicant must lose from half a piastre to two piastres, according to the description of coin he requires.  If beshliks {261} are taken, the commission charged is half a piastre; but if piastres are wanted, two must be paid.  The government value of a collonato is twenty piastres; in general exchange it is reckoned at twenty-two, and at the consulate’s at twenty-one piastres.

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A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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