A Latticed Window.
Minarets In Cairo.
The bull and cow have been held sacred, and even the dog and cat have been praised in prose and verse. But the poor donkey still remains the butt of ridicule, the symbol of stupidity and the object of abuse. But if there is another and a better world for animals, and if in that sphere patience ranks as a prime virtue, the ass will have a better pasture-ground than many of its rivals. The donkey's small size expose it to cruelty. When animals have power to defend themselves, man's caution makes him kinder. He hesitates to hurt an elephant, and even respects to some extent the heels of a mule. But the donkey corresponds to the small boy who cannot protect himself in a crowd of brutal playmates. The only violent thing about it is its voice, and on the human ass this voice has very little restraining influence. It is difficult to see how these useful animals could be replaced in certain countries of the world. Purchased cheaply, reared inexpensively, living on thistles, if they get nothing better, and patiently carrying heavy burdens until they drop from weakness, - these little beasts are of incalculable value to the laboring classes of Southern Europe, Egypt, Mexico, and similarly situated lands. If they have failed to win affection, it is perhaps because of their one infirmity, - the startling tones which they produce.
A Cairene Sight.
On the morning after our arrival in Cairo, we went out on the steps of Shep-heard's Hotel prepared to take a ride through the city. Directly opposite were thirty or forty Egyptian donkeys, all saddled and bridled, awaiting riders. Their drivers (whose principal gar- ment was a long woolen shirt) stood by them, almost as anxious to be employed as New York hack-men, for, if they return to their masters at night empty-handed, they receive a beating. The sight of strangers descending the hotel steps was, therefore, a signal for them to make a grand rush forward, pushing and crowding their wretched beasts, and shouting at the top of their voices the ludicrous names which previous travelers had bestowed upon these animals: - "Take mine, good donkey, - very good!" "Take mine,' ChampagneCharley!" "Take mine, 'Abe Lincoln!' " "Take mine, 'Prince Bismarck!' "
'Take mine, 'Yankee Doodle!' " The noise and confusion are most comical to an observer. When the stranger has once mounted, the boy catches hold of the donkey's tail (which he uses as a rudder), gives him a whack in the rear, shouts "Ah-ye! Reglah!" and off they go, presenting a scene that never failed to excite our merriment.
Towering far above the city of the Caliphs is a huge fortress called the Citadel. As is well known, Cairo is of Arabian origin, - a brilliant memento of Mohammedan conquest. Its name (in Arabic, Al Kahireh) signifies "The Victorious." When, in the seventh century after Christ, the followers of the Prophet, inspired with enthusiasm for their new religion, rushed northward from Arabia on their path of victory and proselytism (which ultimately made the greater part of the Mediterranean a Moslem lake), Egypt was one of their first and most important conquests. Memphis, the ancient City of the Pharaohs, was then still extant, adorned with many imposing monuments that had survived the lapse of centuries. But this old capital of an alien faith ill suited the impetuous zealots of Mohammed. They therefore founded Cairo, only a few miles away, and did not scruple to remove thither, for the construction of its buildings, the blocks of stone of which the palaces and temples of old Memphis were composed. It was the famous Saladin, - the brave and chivalrous foe of Richard the Lion-Hearted in Syria, - who built the citadel of Cairo; and the unscrupulous architect employed by him for this purpose destroyed several small pyramids, and used the larger ones, which had been reared five thousand years before, as stone quarries from which to extract building material for this fortress, called by the Arabs the "Castle of the Nile." Here Saladin's successors lived for centuries, making this City of the Caliphs the rival of Damascus; and here, in the present century, the cunning Viceroy, Mehemet Ali, used to sit, like a spider in its web, ready to let loose upon the city below a volley of destruction at the first whisper of revolt. It was here also that, in 1811, this relentless ruler caused his political enemies, the Mamelukes, to be massacred. The name Mameluke signifies "White Slave." and the actual founders of this corps were originally Circassian slaves, who gradually climbed to the position, first of favorites, then of tyrants. It is true, they had helped Mehemet Ali to secure his place of power; but he suspected that they regretted it and were conspiring to destroy him. At all events, the Viceroy, having used them as a ladder for his vast ambition, found it expedient to get rid of them, as Napoleon, at the Battle of the Pyramids, had sought to exterminate them. Accordingly he invited these powerful foes to a banquet in the citadel. They came without suspicion, - four hundred and eighty in number, superbly dressed and finely mounted. But no sooner had the portals closed behind them, than a scathing fire was opened upon them by Mehemet Ali's troops, who suddenly appeared upon the walls. Unable alike to defend themselves or to escape, the Mamelukes fell beneath repeated volleys, horses and men in horrible confusion, anguish, and despair, - with the exception of one man, who, spurring his horse in desperation over the weltering bodies of his comrades, forced him to leap over the lofty parapet. A shower of bullets followed him, scarcely more swift than his descending steed, but he escaped as if by miracle, and freeing himself from his mangled horse, he fled in safety into the adjoining desert.