A Native Raft.
Nile Bridge At Cairo.
The Egyptian peasant would be not a little surprised to learn that we of the Occident depend for our vegetation upon water falling from the clouds. To him, who rarely sees a drop of rain, this would seem a very precarious mode of agriculture. The rise of water in the Upper Nile commences in the month of February. By March, it is perceptible at Khartoum, at Dongola in April, and on the Delta in the month of May. It usually reaches its full height early in September, remains thus for a fortnight, and then gradually subsides. At its climax, - when the river has attained a height of about twenty-four feet above low water-level, - the valley-looks like an archipelago studded with green islands, each of which is crowned with palm-trees and a little village. Then, when the waters subside, the country clothes itself at once in vegetation, and Mother Earth appears as young and beautiful as when the Pyramids first gazed upon the wondrous scene. No visit to Egypt is now complete which does not include a journey on the Nile, at least as far as the site of ancient " hundredgated" Thebes, six hundred miles inland from the Mediterranean.
Traveling On The Nile.
At present the tourist can choose between two modes of travel on this river. One is by an excursion steamer, which involves a tour of several weeks with a promiscuous company; the other is by a "dahabiyeh," or private boat, where one selects his own companions and is entirely independent,-a dragoman furnishing food, servants, and crew for the entire journey. The great majority of Egyptian tourists take the steamer, which is certainly swift, well-managed, comfortable, and less expensive than a private boat. On the other hand, if time and money are of no particular consideration, and if one wishes to arrange his visits to the different ruins of the Upper Nile with greater freedom and with more seclusion than can be obtained if he is traveling by the schedule time of a crowded tourist-steamer, he would do well to take a dahabiyeh. Certainly those who love reading and tranquillity, and are interested in Egyptian history and antiquities, need not fear the longer duration of the journey occasioned by the use of a private boat. A fair allowance being made for individual tastes and temperaments, I believe it to be a fact that upon no equal period of the traveler's life will he look back with more unalloyed enjoyment than upon the weeks or months passed in profound tranquillity and delicious revery, gliding along the golden rim of the Sahara, which seems a well-nigh endless avenue leading him back through a mirage of myths and legends into the very dawn of history. What memoriesrecur to him, as his boat cleaves the current of this ruin-bordered stream! Its revelries, for example, - upon how many did Egypt's cloudless sun and lustrous moon look down, when the most fascinating woman of antiquity, - the irresistible siren of the Nile,- was wont to sail upon the surface of this same majestic stream, accompanied by Antony, in a gilded barge whose perfumed sails swelled languidly with the breezes of the Orient. Little did they then anticipate the tragic death-scene that awaited them when they should have drained to the dregs their golden goblet of life and love!
A Floating Home.
Promenade Of The Harem.
Antony And Cleopatra.
These and a hundred other incidents connected with Egyptian history are, on a voyage like this, continually suggested to us by memory, reading, and conversation; and are all emphasized in a most charming and impressive way, whenever we land to inspect at various points the awe-inspiring relics of antiquity. "He who has once tasted the water of the Nile," says an Arab proverb, "longs for it inexpressibly forevermore."