J. P. Ingledew's Diary of his trip to Egypt in 1853 - 1854
7th. October 1853 - Friday
At midday I went on board the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's vessel "Sultan" Captain Weeks Master of the burthen of 1100 tons and 420 horses power - secured a berth and got my luggage properly stowed and very fortunate it was I did so in good time for it afterwards turned out that there were so many people that room could hardly be found for the accommodation of all.
When on board just before starting received a letter from Mr. Paige of London enclosing a letter of introduction to Captain Johnson of Alexandria, and the Steam Company's agent - Captain Engledue - happening to see the direction came to me and enquired as to my place of abode and descent, he being struck with the similarity of name having never during the course of his life met with any name so like his own, and asking me to call upon him if I returned that way.
Instead of starting at the time appointed it was 8 o'clock, having to wait for the mails. So commenced my journey in search of health.
Saturday 8th Oct 1853
Like my voyage to Quebec, nothing but sea and sky to be seen all day - wind fresh and foul - all the passengers sick - held out until last but one when I gave way and went to bed - upon enquiry found we were crossing the Bay of Biscay which accounted for the roughness.
Sunday 9th Oct 1853
Gale of wind all day right ahead - every passenger on board sick and confined to bed - sea tremendously high - two boats carried away and jib boom broken, beside several berths being filled with water. No getting on deck.
Monday 10th Oct 1853
Weather moderate today - all on deck. Got through the Bay of Biscay this afternoon and coasted down Spain. At night about 11 o'clock got into Vigo Bay where we anchored till morning.
Tuesday 11th Oct 1853
Fine morning. As the cholera prevailed in England when we departed, the Spaniards put us in quarantine here. The mail bags were put into boats without any person in and were pulled away with a rope from the steamer. The disembarking passengers were obliged to perform quarantine in an old brig. We left Vigo after taking some fresh provisions and Spanish passengers about 10 am.
Wednesday 12th Oct 1853
Magnificent weather - this morning about 9 am we arrived in the River Tagus with the Lisbon mails and passengers - quarantine having to be performed here also. The steamer was not allowed to go up to the city but had to stay about four miles down the river, and there exchange the mails - get coal and fresh provisions. Some men came to the side of the vessel with grapes & wine, selling them to the passengers at a most extraordinarily cheap price in comparison with that paid for the same commodity in England. Left Lisbon about 2 p.m.
Thursday 13th Oct 1853
Very wet indeed nearly all day - about 2.30 p.m. we got into Cadiz harbour, but were not allowed to approach near the city on account of the same reasons before mentioned. Left about 5 o'clock and arrived at Gibraltar ( 76 miles off ) a little after midnight. The night being warm and fine and the moon shining brightly, remained on deck until our arrival. It was most beautiful to see the water as we came along, the Gut reflecting the moon in all shapes and dancing about like so many fireworks - on the one side the high land on the shores of Spain, & on the other the still higher African mountains reaching on either side far above the clouds - and the anticipation of the far famed Rock of Gibraltar brought into reality. Two skyrockets were sent up and a cannon fired before we arrived, to warn the soldiers that we were friends and to prevent the disagreeable probability of being treated as enemies by the garrison. At last the anchor was let go, and I turned in and slept.
Friday 14th Oct 1853
A most magnificent morning, the sun shining so brightly and a nice warm dry air coming up the Mediterranean which already made me feel a great deal better. Quarantine follows us here also, and we are acquainted that we cannot leave the steamer for two days to come, but must remain until Sunday morning, agreeable or not - and so to put the best face upon it we purchased some figs, grapes and pomegranates as a means of making ourselves as nearly comfortable as the present circumstances will permit.
As we lay just off we have plenty of opportunity for examining the Rock at a distance. It is immensely high, reaching above the clouds, and appears nearly perpendicular. It is perforated with holes from which project cannons placed in the galleries inside. The town is situated at the bottom of the rock and from the bay has a nice clean appearance. At first sight the rock appears like an island a little way out in the sea, but on a person looking again a low flat sandy ridge can be seen whereby the rock is connected with the mainland. Altogether the place has a noble well fortified impregnable appearance. At the other side of the bay is the Spanish town of Algesiras.
A good many ships are at anchor in the harbour, but little or no business seems to be going forward. Some officers of the garrison stationed here who were returning from England brought a couple of foxhounds with them to replace those of the establishment here who die off - these were today removed, having first to be thrown into the sea to have the supposed infection removed.
Saturday 15th Oct 1853
On the steamer all day at anchor. Wrote home to Mr. Temple.
Sunday 16th Oct 1853
Today the Sultan went beside an old hulk belonging to the P & O Co. and at 12 o'clock at night we left the steamer to go on board being now at liberty to go ashore. Some of the passengers went, but as it rained very fast and I did not admire the idea of walking all through the streets of Gibraltar in the rain at that time of the morning in search of an hotel, I wrapt myself up in a greatcoat and my plaid, laid myself on the cabin floor, and slept there.
Monday 17th Oct 1853
Rose at 6. Got a boat to fetch myself and went to the town, then hired a cart and went to a Spanish hotel to locate myself. After refreshing my externals with a wash, refreshed my internals with a breakfast consisting of chocolate, fish, fried eggs and potatoes - being very glad to get ashore once more. After breakfast walked through the town which is merely a fort - went thro' the market - purchased grapes, melon, oranges, figs & at a most extraordinarily cheap rate - grapes 3d. per lb., oranges 6 for 1d. - then visited the streets which are narrow but clean & well paved & the houses extremely irregular & high. The inhabitants consist of Moors & Armenians in their native costume, Spaniards, French, English & Italian. Very few horses are used here except for hacks & carriages, mules being used for drawing the wagons and carts. As Gibraltar is only a small place and does not contain much to see except one mounts the Rock which my supply of wind did not permit of, I soon finished & returned to a five o'clock dinner, after which I took a short stroll and at half past nine turned into bed very tired for a good sleep.
Tuesday 18th Oct 1853
Rose at 8 much refreshed. At 9.30 breakfast, then into the market for fruit, then to the post office to return the call of Mr. Edmund Cresswell to whom I was the bearer of a letter of introduction from Mr. Paige of London. Walked out to his residence about a mile off, where I was introduced to Mr. Cresswell. Next called upon Mr. Peacock, merchant, to whom I had a letter of introduction from Captn. Wilkin of Newcastle & who took me to the library and news rooms - entered my name as a visitor in the Strangers book - dined at 3. Afterwards walked to the east side of the Rock & found great difficulty in returning against the Simoom which blew strong from Africa & very hot. Tea at 7, bed at 10.
Wednesday 19th Oct 1853
Rose at 8, breakfast at 9. Went again to the market for fruit. Made an essay to mount up to the top of the Rock. By being assisted I succeeded in getting up half way, but here any strength was expended & I had to return. At 6 dined with Mr. Cresswell.
Thursday 20th Oct 1853
Rose at 8.30. Mr. Peacock's son showed me all over the neutral ground & Spanish lines where are stationed some Spanish soldiers. Dined with Mr. Peacock at 4.
Friday 21st Oct 1853
Rose at 8. Had intended to have breakfasted with Mr. Cresswell but was unable on account of indisposition, so I remained in the house and found occupation in writing a letter to Annie. After tea took a short walk with young Peacock. Have got tired of Gibraltar - paid my passage money ( £15-15s.) to Alexandria by a screw steamer which runs from Liverpool, calling here and at Palermo & Messina.
Saturday 22nd Oct 1823
Rose at 8 - after breakfast walked to Europa Point, the southernmost part of the Rock. In the Aléméda saw a review of the Artillery - nothing new.
Sunday 23rd Oct 1853
Rose at the usual hour - took a short walk before church - went to the Cathedral with young Relph, son of a lawyer here. The Cathedral is a small building, very plain and destitute alike of ornaments or steeple. The clerks duty, as well as the singers (except the females) and pew openers, is performed by soldiers. Heard a short sermon from Mr. Sleeman - dined with Mr. Peacock at four o'clock.
Monday 24th Oct 1853
After breakfast walked with young Relph by a gradual ascent to the military prison which is at the top of the south part of the Rock, where I saw several soldiers walking round and round a large yard with a knapsack filled with stones on each of their backs. Afterwards saw them, each in his solitary cell at dinner, of pea soup & bread. Got myself weighed in the chair when I was found to be 8 st. 7½ lbs., being an increase of 11½ lbs. since last July on my return from America when I was weighed at Bristol. Tea at 8 - bed at 10.
Tuesday 25th Oct 1853
This morning Mr. Relph took me to the law courts where he introduced me to all the lawyers in the town, namely a Mr. Cornwell, a Mr. Stokes and a Mr. Costello who is the Attorney General, and today was acting in the absence of Sir James Cochrane as judge - sitting in chambers hearing motions. At night got tea with young Relph. This evening at 7 o'clock the "Indus" Indian mail steamer arrived in the bay with letters from England - but too late to land them tonight.
Wednesday 26th Oct 1853
Was roused at 7 o'clock this morning by the waiter coming to tell me that the "Orontes" steamer which was due yesterday had come in & as I intended going to Alexandria by her I got up, but on going to the port office to ascertain, I found that the waiter was mistaken. After breakfast I went to the post office in the hope of receiving a letter from home but I was doomed to be disappointed - nothing particular to mention except that I am tired of Gibraltar & wish to be off.
Thursday 27th Oct 1853
Twenty one years ago today I first saw this world of woe and misery - for 21 years I have been under the care and authority of guardians but this day by the law of England I am emancipated from my state of infancy to a state of discretion and liability for all debts & have the care of myself placed in my own hands. As there was no person to join me, wished my own good health to us and quietly went to bed at 10.30
Friday 28th Oct 1853
Passed the usual routine of the day in the usual manner
Saturday 29th Oct 1853
A repetition of yesterday
Sunday 30th Oct 1853
Last Sunday on account of the church doors being left open I got a bad cold. Today to avoid a similar fate I remained away from church and in lieu thereof I took a long walk - dined at 2 with Relph
Monday 31st Oct 1853
This morning in a fit of desperation at the non arrival of the Orontes, took a boat and went off a fine looking brig lying in the bay and bound for Alexandria to ascertain if the Captain would take a passenger with him. The vessel turned out to be the "Royal Rose" of South Shields, Captain Jacks master who agreed that I should accompany him - heard the military band in the Alemeda this afternoon.
Tuesday 1st Nov 1853
Began the month by spending the day in the usual very monotonous manner.
Wednesday 2nd Nov 1853
Rain prevented walking but not writing - wrote to Daggett.
Thursday 3rd Nov 1853
And its immediate successor
Friday 4th Nov 1853
Did not form any exception to the general routine of my solitary life here.
Saturday 5th Nov 1853
Ditto to yesterday
Sunday 6th Nov 1853
Today I went with a Mr. D'Almaine ( who is staying at the same hotel as I and waiting the removal of the quarantine at Malaga to go there for the winter ) to the Cathedral - stayed sacrament - dined with Mr. Peacock.
Monday 7th Nov 1853
The rain caused a diversion by wetting me through. At night the Iberia arrived after encountering heavy gales in the Bay of Biscay which detained her.
Tuesday 8th Nov 1853
During a long walk before breakfast I made up my mind to receive a letter from home, but on going to the Post Office after breakfast I had to undo it again for there was none to receive. Pleasant! Very!
Wednesday 9th Nov 1853
The Royal Rose being ready for sea, packed up, bid my friends goodbye, thanked them for their kindness and went on board a little after 5 p.m. to start in the morning if all well.
Thursday 10th Nov 1853
Morning fine but unfortunately the wind was easterly - however notwithstanding that we weighed anchor about 10 a.m. for Alexandria and while the men were setting the sails I went to the wheel to try my hand at steering. The head sea produced that disagreeable sensation which people usually denominate seasickness. Thought of the "Feronia" and my Quebec trip and turned into bed.
Friday 11th Nov 1853
Turned out of bed quite better - clock calm all day.
Saturday 12th Nov 1853
Wind right ahead - still in sight of the Rock - wind ESE
Sunday 13th Nov 1853
Beating all day off Malaga with the wind just as we did not want it - ESE
Monday 14th Nov 1853
Nearly calm until the afternoon when we had the pleasure of getting a fair wind which enabled us to pass Malaga - in company with several other vessels, also a Man of War which we soon went ahead of - W
Tuesday 15th Nov 1853
Fine stiff breeze from the W - going 8 & 9 knots all day - early in the morning sighted a bark ahead of us just visible, which we gradually gained upon and eventually had the satisfaction of passing at night - W
Wednesday 16th Nov 1853
After being westerly all day the wind eastered at night - W & E
Thursday 17th Nov 1853
Wind right ahead. During one of our tacks got a peep at Majorca. At night thunder, lightning & a gale of wind so that we had to be laid to under close reefed maintopsail - ESE
Friday 18th Nov 1853
Of course we had a heavy sea after last night - the wind once more favored us and westered - W
Saturday 19th Nov 1853
Fair wind - passed between the large island of Sardinia & little one of Galita - saw the latter but not the former - N
Sunday 20th Nov 1853
Very wet all day - saw Cape Bon on the African coast & also the island of Pantellaria - W
Monday 21 Nov 1853
About midday sighted Malta on the starboard bow and a little after Sicily showed itself on the port bow, in which was plainly visible the far famed Etna clothed in snow - I took the telescope to see if any smoke was rising from its summit but I could not distinguish any - Malta we passed within three miles therefore we had a good view - it is the ancient Melita upon which the apostle Paul was wrecked when journeying as prisoner to Syracuse in Sicily as described in the last chapter but one (27th) of The Acts of the Apostles - WNW
Tuesday 22nd Nov 1853
Sea & sky - fine weather & calm
Wednesday 23rd Nov 1853
Sea & sky - wet weather with a beautiful steady wind off the shore - SW
Thursday 24th Nov 1853
Squally weather with rain - at night much thunder & lightning - W
Friday 25th Nov 1853
Squally with rain - saw a solitary ship at a distance, ditto part of the African coast - SW
Saturday 26th Nov 1853
Lots of flying fish to be seen but none to be caught. Today the Captain has attained the age of 33 and in consideration thereof all hands were treated with a plum pudding for dinner - W
Sunday 27th Nov 1853
Fine breeze - heat intense. The Captain's observation showed us to be 95 miles from Alexandria although only 19 from land which is here so low that it could not be seen from the topgallant masthead while the day before yesterday it was visible from the deck at a distance of 60 miles - not being able to make the harbour before dark we went under short sail until 10 p.m. when we saw the Pharos and the ship was laid to until morning - W
Monday 28th Nov 1853
Our fine wind is gone and in lieu and stead thereof we had in the language of a poetical midshipman "light airs languishing into calms" - at last four hands were put into the boat with a rope from the boatsprit end to tow us in, which we just accomplished with nothing to spare when the wind eastered. From the sea Alexandria has a beautiful clean appearance but I am afraid it will be like most other towns and look best at a distance.
Tuesday 29th Nov 1853
Went ashore with the Captain & a guard to the Quarantine Office where our Bills of Health were inspected & found all right. The Captain was then released & allowed to return to his boat, but I was taken from him as it were & conducted thro the streets surrounded by about 30 men & boys each shouting at me to hire his donkey, it being the custom here whenever a person goes from one place to another to ride upon a donkey - but I who was glad of an opportunity of walking refused to mount & thus had the gratification of being well called & shouted at for about 1½ mile by the miserable Arabs who had the letting of the donkeys.
At last I was conducted to the Passport Office where a long conversation was carried on in Arabic of which I could see by their frequent looks & motions towards me that I was the subject. At last I had to join & to explain that I had no passport - then another conversation & I was once more conducted under guard & escort half a mile to the British Consul's Office. Here again I had to explain my want of passport whereupon the Consul gave to my guard a paper signifying that he recognized me as a British Subject & I was to my great joy free & quite alone in a strange place among a lot of Arabs.
I then managed to find out the office of Pothonier & Co. to whom I presented the letter of introduction from Mr. J.J. Scott of Newcastle. I saw Mr. Ker one of the partners with whom I dined, Mr. Pothonier being in England. As to Alexandria, it is half Oriental & half Europe and looks as if one half was pulled down & the other not built up - streets narrow & crooked & dirty withal - filled with lazy Arabs & still more lazy Turks sitting smoking their long pipes in the bazaars (shops) - the houses high & roofs flat with little unfinished parapets - donkeys without end & camels in great numbers performing the duty of horse & cart - horses few & carriages fewer - before the carriage there is always an Arab runner armed with a stick to clear the road - after got my traps ashore but too late to have it passed thro' the Custom House. At night walked out with Mr. Ker to his house & stayed there to sleep.
Wednesday 30th Nov 1853
During the morning got my things out of the Custom house & then went for a view of the place. Cleopatra's needle called me first - it stands in an unfrequented part of the city near the sea-shore - is about 75 feet high - of a quadrilateral form & conical at the top & formed of one block of solid granite - covered on all sides with hieroglyphs which are very plain & well preserved on the west & south sides but defaced by time on the other two.
Buildings are going forward all over the city & the stone used is part of the debris of the ancient capital of the Grecian Empire. Here and there are large noble pillars of solid granite laying quite neglected, the beautiful remains of the once most important city in the world - the place where the great library stood ere its destruction by fire was likewise shown to me. During my peregrinations it struck me there might possibly be a letter at the Post Office for me, altho' experience taught me not to be too sanguine. On getting there my enquiries were answered affirmatively & to my gratification there was a letter from Margt. containing the first news of home for nearly two months - although a long letter yet it was not too much to read over twice or thrice.
Not being able to obtain "private lodgings" in the city it became necessary to go to a hotel. Accordingly I put myself in communication with Mr. Wood of the Victoria Hotel (and the only English one in the place) and with a little difficulty obtained from him a somewhat reasonable agreement. Spent the night with Mr. Ker again.
Thursday 1 Dec 1853
Beautiful warm weather, oh! how different from Newcastle - my tenancy in the Victoria commencing today, transported my things from Mr. Ker's office & got comfortably settled - spent the afternoon on a donkey with Captn. Jacks seeing the place & lost ourselves in the back lanes.
Friday 2nd Dec 1853
Before breakfast went into the Catholic church - very large & as usual beautifully ornamented - after breakfast the rain came on & lasted all day - consequently I was a prisoner aujourdhui - I had always understood no rain fell in Egypt - employed myself very well in writing a long letter home to Father.
Saturday 3rd Dec 1853
Encore une belle matinée - The Calcutta passengers arrived from Suez & Cairo this morning on their way home (oh! happy beings) but had to wait the arrival from England of the steamer - visited today Pompey's Pillar at a little distance from the town supposed to have been raised in honor of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (& not Caesar's rival) by a Prefect named "Pompeius". It is an immense circular column of granite with a capital of Corinthian architecture about 80 ft. high. Then went to the canal joining Alexandria with the Nile - from thence round to the Needle & home to dinner very tired having been all on foot - in the afternoon went on donkey back to the Pasha's Palace (Abbas Pasha), a plain building surrounded by miserable soldiers & ragged donkey boys - got my name put down as a stranger in the Reading Room for a month.
Sunday 4th Dec 1853
This morning went to the "British Chapel" which is a disgrace to the Protestants here - for it is a little miserable old whitewashed square room capable of accommodating about 100 people. Just before the sermon commenced nearly half the congregation went out, I suppose to avoid hearing the most miserable sermon a person could well deliver. After dinner walked solus as far as the barracks and saw about 200 of the Arab soldiers being drilled - poor unfortunates! They are wretchedly clad - hardly any shoes & what they have with immense holes & sometimes no heel - trousers the legs of which do not correspond in length & presenting a very unseemly "tout ensemble". Returned to tea at 6.30 & went to bed at 10.
Monday 5th Dec 1853
A change to the usual fine weather for the rain is pouring down in torrents. The pain in my chest having returned along with a cough while in bed, I remained within doors all day & at night had on a mustard plaster.
Tuesday 6th Dec 1853
Another wet morning - pain cough & breathing worse today - put on another mustard plaster. The steamer due from England (Euxine) not arrived yet.
Wednesday 7th Dec 1853
Four years this morning I lost my poor dear mother. Dr. Ogilvie whom I saw this morning advised me to go to Cairo forthwith - got my passport - drew upon my father for £40 at 3 days sight in favor of Pothonier & co. Blistered my chest.
Thursday 8th Dec 1853
The Euxine having arrived yesterday after a rough passage thro' the Bay of Biscay, rec'd a letter from Ann I'Anson, a newspaper from Daggett & another from Sep Cail. Did not get up till midday on account of the blister. Euxine left today with mails & Indian passengers. Confined to the house all day.
Friday 9th Dec 1853
A little relieved this morning. Got my ticket for Cairo.
Saturday 10th Dec 1853
Rose at 6.30 - beautiful dry morning. Breakfast at 7.30. After breakfast walked to the Transit Office where I got into one of the vans & rode to the canal, about 1½ mile - there transplanted myself into a canal boat to which a steamer was attached & we started at 8.30. The day was beautiful warm & clear, & the pleasure one derives in gliding down the canal by the different Arab villages was very great. At about 5 p.m. arrived at Atfeh where the canal joins the Nile & where we passed into a Nile steamer - at night when we wanted to retire to rest there was nothing for us but a mattress without any covering in a cold draughty cabin with boots & everything on, greatcoats buttoned up & the wind flying round & round in undisturbed possession. Of course there was very little sleep for any person under the circumstances - first one person got up & growled & walked about, then another & the morning was very acceptable.
Sunday 11th Dec 1853
Very cold & uncomfortable after such a night & very glad to see one's breakfast. Arrived at Boulak about 10.30, got my luggage upon one donkey & myself upon another which conveyed us to Cairo about a mile thro' one incessant cloud of dust occasioned by the "Khamseen" to Williams "Indian Family Hotel" where glad I was to arrive. From my first impression of Cairo I am sure it is not a place I can spend with any degree of pleasure one, let alone four months. After dinner got the son of my Wood ( my former landlord ) who is staying here to round the city with me & show me the bazaars as the shops here are called - & a very long walk it was, & very tired it made me. Began a letter to Mr. Temple, had tea at 8 & went to bed at 10 very tired indeed.
Monday 12th Dec 1853
After a good night's rest rose about 8.30. After breakfast little Wood took me thro' a fair which is being held here. It is like all other fairs - a great crowd - lots of dust - tents - swings etc. There were a number of Dervishes ( Priests ) throwing their heads & bodies from side to side & uttering a horrid guttural sound in the vain hope of imbibing sanctity. Another performance was a number of Arabs laying down on their stomachs & allowing a Sheik on horseback to ride over them, by which I heard that one man lost his life - but I did not go to see the proceeding but in lieu thereof took a walk into the country until dinner time. Cairo is a much more oriental looking place than is Alexandria. Having met with a party going up to Upper Egypt I agreed to accompany them & so postpone my visits thro' Cairo until my return.
Tuesday 13th Dec 1853
Rose at 7.30. Wrote three letters - one to father - one to Mr Temple & one to Capt Jacks. Spent the day planning my journey - bed at 10.30 but I had not been there long when I heard the dreaded sound of a mosquito hovering about which every now & then descended upon my face to bite thus rendering sleep an impossibility. At last I had to light my candle to search & discovered 1 which was very soon destroyed but I had not been in bed 10 minutes before two more came - I really could not sleep & so after half an hour elapsed I had another search but could not catch either of them. Thinking I might chance to sleep in spite of them I went to bed again but no sooner had I layed down than my tormentors were there again - once more my candle was lighted & once more an unsuccessful search & another unsuccessful attempt at sleep. So after the night was half spent I covered all my head in a silk handkerchief tied down secure and slept to my great relief.
Wednesday 14th Dec 1853
Rose at 7.30 very sleepy after last nights exertions. After breakfast all being ready we embarked and after dinner we pushed off for a start but the wind being contrary the men had to take a rope & walk by the side of the river to pull us up against the tide which was very strong.
Thursday 15th Dec 1853
Beautiful morning. After breakfast we went ashore my two companions taking their guns - as the wind was still unfavorable we proceeded by the same means as yesterday which is naturally very slow & allows us plenty of time - we got a distant of the Pyramids but being about 6 miles off it was too far to go. At night Monsieur Theodoridi returned to Cairo (from which we had come about 1 hours ride on account of the river meandering) promising to be back tomorrow.
Friday 16th Dec 1853
Every morning here seems to vie with its predecessor with regard to being fine - for the weather is all that can be desired - warm, sunny & beautifully clear. The reverse of English weather of this date. Monsieur Theodoridi not having returned we sent into a neighborhood village for donkeys to go to the Pyramids but none could be found in time enough to go. So we went about the neighboring fields to shoot - the corn here is just above the ground & everything is green & fresh. At night Monsieur Theodoridi sent a note saying he was detained still & also forwarded a letter on to me from Daggett which Mr Thorne had kindly sent from Alexandria - containing the news of poor Mr Lowrey's death.
Saturday 17th Dec 1853
As usual a most beautiful morning. Having sent to Cairo early this morning for Donkeys we set out about 8.30 to visit the Pyramids. We got on all very well until we came to a place where the Nile had left its water after the over-flow and on attempting to get our Donkeys thro', they stuck in the mud & could not get one foot before another. Here was a pretty predicament, the Donkeys could not get back nor forward & if we attempted to dismount we were certain to go up to the knees. At last about a dozen Arabs came to our assistance & carried us & our Donkeys thro'. It was really an amusing scene - at last after two or three more similar displays we managed to arrive about midday at our destination - the far famed Egyptian Pyramids - what one hears about from the very commencement of life. I could hardly believe my own eyes - that I had actually lived to see them - what a little effect nearly 4000 years seems to have had upon these immense constructions. Herodotus says that the Great Pyramid was built by one of the Egyptian Kings named "Cheops" as a burial place for himself in the year 1082 before Christ - that 100 000 men were employed & relieved every three months - 10 years were spent in forming the road & making the hill upon which it is built. 20 years in building the Pyramid itself - the road was of polished marble adorned with the figures of Animals. The road is still shown under the name of Herodotus' causeway but bears none of its former magnificence - Authors differ much as to the height of the Pyramid but about 500 feet is not far wrong - each side at the bottom measures nearly 700 feet - The bottom is in the shape of a square & the ascent is made by the stones being placed in layers & each layer a little further out than the one above it until it gradually comes to a point - by this means people ascend. Each stone is at least 30 feet in dimensions - my small supply of strength & wind did not warrant an attempt on my part at an ascent but Mons r de Herron & Madame put themselves respectively under the care of two Arabs who pulled them from one tier of stones to another until they reached the top - as for me I stopped below & looked up. Next came the Sphinx which is close to - this is a tomb in the form of a woman with a Lions back but unfortunately it is lost in the sand all but the breast, shoulders & neck the last of which is so corroded as to appear incapable of supporting the immense head. D r Pococke (a traveller) measured and ascertained the head to neck to be 27 feet high - the breast 33 feet wide and the entire length 130 feet - at present there is a French Gentleman seeking to find an entrance into the Sphinx & for that purpose has about 100 Arabs employed in excavating & carrying away the sand which is a matter of great difficulty as it returns in immense volumes upon every puff off wind - however he has discovered & laid open several immense chambers formed entirely of polished granite & also a passage which it is hoped & expected will lead into the Sphinx - Time passed away & the hour for departure arrived when we had to leave these monuments of Ancient industry and grandeur. After having ridden about an hour from them we looked round & there they stood nothing decreased in size by the distance we had come. So clear is the Atmosphere which surrounds them. Djished is about 12 miles from Cairo - & about another mile stands the place (there are no ruins left) where was the once celebrated Memphis - formerly the seat not only of Kings but also of learning and magnificence now passed into poverty and ignorance.
Sunday 18th Dec 1853
As usual with regard to weather. Mons r Theodoridi came about midday & told us that as he would be detained in Cairo for a few days longer we had better go on accordingly. We loosed from our moorings and the wind still being contrary we were again taken in tow by seven men and proceeded on our voyage - we went in company with two other vessels bearing the English Ensign and about 4 o' clock we entered into the valley of the Nile. At 6 the men of the English vessels & our own stopped pulling and we remained for the night. How different the weather is here from England & how thankful I ought to be that I am enabled to be here - even at this season it is necessary to wear a thick turban round one's hat to prevent the heat & sun striking the Head - Oh! the snow & wet of an English December.
Monday 19th Dec 1853
As the weather here is always the same, fine and delightful I shall for the future only note any departure therefrom - Today the wind changed its course in our favour and in lieu of blowing right down it blew right up although very gently - in consequence of having wind we sailed in midchannel in company with the Englishmen and had no opportunity of going ashore except for an hour during the middle of the day which we embraced. Monsieur de Ferron took his gun & bought back four birds - provisions here are certainly very much cheaper than in England for today we bought 4 chickens for 7 piastres equal to1s/5½ English. We saw nothing but little Egyptian villages consisting of mud houses about the size of a small room - dirty children - lazy Arabs - the dress of women & barking dogs - I say the dress of women because their persons are entirely invisible.
Tuesday 20th Dec 1853
Wind pretty fresh all day so that we did not stop all day & consequently did not get ashore - desert on one side of the river and a magnificent fertile country - interspersed with villages on the other. About five o' clock this afternoon a little diversion occurred in the shape of a large barge running stern into our bows & sending us against another barge - of course there was the usual war of words between the Arabs & each man armed himself with a stick in case of necessity - however not much damage was done & each boat proceeded.
Wednesday 21st Dec 1853
Wind & weather still good. About 3 o' clock pm - we arrived at a miserable Arab town called Beni Souef the capital of Middle Egypt where we stopped for provisions - it is a wretched place with nothing to see - we got among other things 16 eggs for a piastre 2d½ - cheap enough certainly - after stopping about 8 hours we started off again in pursuit of the Englishmen who had ¾ of an hours start of us. Today is the shortest day - this morning the sun shone brightly a little after 7 and did not set until nearly 6 - thus we got 10½ hours of sun - what therefore will be the length of the day on the 21st of June.
Thursday 22nd Dec 1853
Wind still in our favor - saw the two English vessels ahead but could not catch them - desert on either side ergo not much of interest to see.
Friday 23rd Dec 1853
A dense fog this morning until about 9.30 when it cleared away and the usual bright cloudless weather remained. Got up to one of the English boats this morning but could not even see the other - imagine she must be behind and that we have passed her during the night. Very little wind. Saw the other boat about midday. Not ashore all day and nothing to see.
Saturday 24th Dec 1853
The wind died away and coming again contrary we were compelled to resort to the rope to get on. In company all day with the Englishmen. Enabled to get ashore but nothing to see except large fields of sugar cane. Men lifting water from the Nile for the purpose of irrigation - and dirty Arab villages. The heat intense all day and ditto the cold at night.
Sunday 25th Dec 1853
Going again by the power of men. About 11 o'clock in the forenoon we arrived at Minieh the ancient Cynopolis where we stopped again to provision. It is one of the large towns of Middle Egypt but as usual it is built of houses formed either entirely of mud , or of mud and brick - the streets narrow and crowded - but it is necessary altho' very unpleasant (on account of the excessive heat in the summer months ) to have narrow streets. Our two companions the Englishmen also stopped. Eggs here are even cheaper than when last we purchased any, being 24 for a piastre (2½d.). The weather being so warm and mild and the sky so calm and serene almost made me forget that this was Christmas Day. It is certainly the pleasantest in point of weather, it being as warm and beautiful as an English midsummer. The first Christmas Day out of 22 I have lived that I have spent from home. In pursuance of a promise made in my letter to Father of the 8th inst. I wished him and all the others good health and a Merry Christmas. About four o'clock we departed from Minieh but with an addition to our company in the shape of an American boat, or rather a boat bearing the Yankee flag - and at night we all moored together.
Monday 26th Dec 1853
During the time we slept the wind came in our favor again and we again moved on and in the morning on looking out the 2 Englishmen were still with us but the Stars and Stripes were not visible - whether before or after us impossible to say. No opportunity of going ashore today and nothing to see except some grottos cut out in the side of the rock which we got a sight of enpassant. This morning had a very severe attack of bowel complaint but am glad to say it passed off after an hour or two of intense pain.
Tuesday 27th Dec 1853
Sailing all day. At night arrived at the town of Manfalout where we stopped. Nothing seen today.
Wednesday 28th Dec 1853
We stayed all day at Manfalout to provision and for the sailors to make bread. Manfalout differs none from all the other Arab towns which we have passed, the same description answers them all. Here we purchased a sheep for 6s.7½d. Went ashooting in the country and spent a very pleasant day in very pleasant weather. The corn is all coming up, making the country quite green and the birds singing reminds one of a fine day in June in England.
Thursday 29th Dec 1853
This morning Monsr. de Ferron took a photographic view of the town, and the sailors having finished the making of their bread during the night we departed from Manfalou about 10½ o'clock but this time alone, the two Englishmen having gone on yesterday morning. As usual nothing to see.
Friday 30th Dec 1853
Sailing with a fair wind. Went ashore for a short time to shoot - heat intolerable so that we had to come on board again. Arrived at dusk at Es Siout where we remained all night. Today to my great sorrow got thro' my cod liver oil.
Saturday 31st Dec 1853
The last day in the year. Tomorrow my entry will commence with 1854. Alas! How time flies! This morning we went upon donkeys to visit Es Siout the ancient Lycopolis and now the capital of Upper Egypt. It is situated about 1½ mile from the river. The streets as usual are narrow and irregular and the houses built of unbaked bricks and mud but the bazaars (shops) are very good, in fact much better than at Cairo. At a little distance from Siout is what used to be the palace of Ibrahim Pasha but we had not time to visit it, wishing to take advantage of the fair wind against the tide. So we deferred until we return and about midday took our departure.
At night sat and read and wondered much what was going on at Lovaine Place, fancying I could see every person sitting round an immense fire in the dining room in the midst of the enjoyment usually attendant upon the departure of an old and the entrance of a new year - the wishing of " a happy new year ", the merry peal of St. Nicholas' Church bells, the light hearts and joyous faces, the concomitants of good health in the midst of relations upon festive occasions. If I cannot tell my dear father and all my other friends verbally how much I wish them a happy new year at least I can have the satisfaction of putting it on paper for indeed I do wish them not only one, but many happy - very happy - new years, and I also wish - but alas I fear much it cannot be - that the next years entrance if I am permitted to see it may be spent by us all together, and that I may have sufficient good health to join in the general hilarity - as I feel sure that my recovery and health are wished for among others I must again content myself with returning thanks upon paper. With the hope of better times I must bid goodbye to 1853.
Sacred to the memory of the year 1853
Sunday 1st Jan 1854
The new year ushered itself in with the same beautiful weather which is unexceptional here ( I am writing from a miserable Arab village on the banks of the River Nile named " El Gattéa " - at least I imagine that must be the way to spell it, having to guess it from the pronunciation of an Arab ) -the cloudless sky - warm delicious sun and the magnificent clear atmosphere makes one who is accustomed to an English winter doubt indeed whether this is " New Year's Day ". But there is no disproving time which tells us that it is.
No wind all day ergo we went by rope pulling which enabled me to get a delightful walk in this delicious neighborhood. At night stopped at another Arab village of the name of " El Logar ".
Monday 2nd Jan 1854
Departed from El Logar about 8 o'clock and as there was no wind we got ashore and got some shooting - in the afternoon we got a fair wind and continued our journey. Nothing remarkable to be seen all day. Met a boat under the English ensign returning down the river, most likely to Cairo. It is now nearly a month since we had any rain ( 6 Dec ) and in such continued fine weather I am beginning to feel myself better. My cough has left me and the pain in my chest has considerably abated and I am in good hopes of getting nearly well by the time I return home.
Tuesday 3rd Jan 1854
A beautiful wind all day - no getting ashore. Near the town of El Maraga we passed a place of the name of "Djebel Hérédi" called so after a Mahometan Saint which the Arabs believe to exist always, under the form of a serpent. The plain upon which El Maraga is situated is celebrated for producing the best corn in Egypt. During the day we saw a great number of eagles flying about the mountains. There was also one crocodile in sight but unfortunately I did not see it. The crocodiles begin here to increase in number the further we proceed.
Wednesday 4th Jan 1854
Fair wind again. This morning stopped about ½ an hour at El Ikhmim capital of the province of that name, one of the most ancient towns of Egypt and situated on the site of the ancient Panopolis. Opposite Ikhmim is Mannshiet which is supposed to occupy the site of the ancient Ptolemais Hermii of which there remains no other vestige than an old quay. Nothing of interest during the rest of the day.
Thursday 5th Jan 1854
No wind today, consequently we were enabled to get ashore and get some shooting. Having found our way into a wood of palm trees which happened to be the region of turtle doves, Monsr. de Ferron had grand sport - in fact so plentiful were they that he was enabled to kill three at one shot. The heat during the day was intense. At night we stopped at a wretched village named "El Baliana" where we went ashore for ½ an hour before dark when we were immediately surrounded by a number of Arabs wishing to sell us old Arab-Roman and other coins. One of them happened to have a little mummy which I purchased for 20 paras. These coins etc I imagine are brought from Abydos, a place of great antiquity about 4 hours distance from the village. Abydos occupies the place where the ancient Arabat was, which according to Strabo was the capital of the great Osymandias who reigned (it is said) 2276 years B.C., & contains many ancient remains one monument of which was erected by Sesostris. In case of their being a foul wind or none at all tomorrow, Monsr. de Ferron & myself determined upon visiting Abydos.
I forgot to mention that during this morning's perambulations we stumbled upon a field of indigo plant at the end of which were some miserable half clothed Arabs making indigo. The process by which it is done is thus - the plant is first put into an earthenware pot and well boiled. Then it is taken out and put into another pot where it is well beaten up with sticks. Afterwards the plant being separated from the fluid, the latter is put into a flat dish and placed in the sun, which causes the water to evaporate, and leaves the indigo. During the afternoon saw a large crocodile on an island, basking in the sun.
Friday 6th Jan 1854
During the night a fair wind had carried us too far to think of visiting Abydos, altho' during the whole of the day it was nearly calm and the men were pulling, which allowed of going ashore a little bit before breakfast - also attempted it during the middle of the day but the intense heat drove me back again. Nothing to be seen all day.
Saturday 7th Jan 1854
Little or no wind today. Spent the morning in shooting pigeons and doves. Just before dinner we caught sight of a crocodile on an island so we stopped the boat and landed in the hopes of getting a shot at him, but he walked into the river again before we could get sufficiently near. At night we stopped at a village named "Farchout" in which there is a large sugar refinery built by Mohamet Ali. We went all through it and saw it in full work as this is the first day of the season consequenth there is a good supply of the cane. Seeing one man having a European dress on, I went up to him and enquired if he was an Englishman to which he replied affirmatively. We then had a long talk during which he said he had been there eleven years and was the only Englishman near the place. Consequently he was very glad to meet with one, which was very seldom.
Sunday 8th Jan 1854
A fine strong wind all day which prevented our going ashore. About ½ past 4 this afternoon we arrived at the town of "Ghenneh" or "Kenneh" where Monsr. de Ferron and myself alighted, he having the occasion to see the French Vice-Consul (an Arab). Upon calling we were seated on a divan and had each a long tchibouge and some coffee given to us which we consumed during the time a conversation was being held thro' the medium of an interpreter (our Dragoman). As it was late and nearly dark when the interview finished we had no time to see the place.
Kenneh, situated about a mile and ½ from the river is the ancient Coenopolis and is the principal depot of the merchandise of the country and of the commerce between Cairo & Jedda, and where an exchange is made between the corn of Egypt and the gum of Arabia. Kenneh is on the whole a better looking place than any we have met with since leaving Cairo except perhaps Es Siout. On the other (western) side of the river are the ruins of the temple of Dendera - anciently Tentyra - and as the wind is unfavorable we have determined if all goes well to make an excursion there tomorrow.
Today I finished a long letter to father which I began two or three days ago. From Kenneh there is an almost daily communication by land with Cairo but we cannot get letters forwarded from any place higher up the river for want of any postal communication.
Monday 9th Jan 1854
This morning about 9 o'clock we set off on our visit to the ruins of the Temple of Dendera, and about ½ past 10 after a walk of 3 miles we arrived there. What we saw there surpasses all description the magnificence is so great. The centuries which have passed since its foundation and erection seem hardly to have affected it in any important part. The portico consists of twenty four columns in three rows each twenty two feet in circumference, thirty two feet high and covered with hieroglyphics in a most wonderful state of preservation, seeming as clear and fresh as if they had been cut yesterday. On the front Isis, to whom the temple has been dedicated, is in general the principal figure. The interior is also adorned with the most magnificent sculptures, as well the ceiling as the walls, most of them preserving part of the paint with which they have once been covered.
The chambers have been lighted either by small perpendicular holes cut in the top, or as is more frequent, by oblique ones in the side - and on the ground floor where no side light could be introduced, all they received was communicated from the apartment above.
"The enclosure within which all the sacred edifices are contained is a square of about 1000 feet. It is surrounded by a wall which where best preserved is thirty five in height and fifteen feet thick"
The extract which I have taken out of Dr Russells "History of Egypt - Temples and Monuments" will serve to give some idea at least of its enormous magnitude. It seems after having seen thro' it to have been the work of numberless giants for numberless ages - the extent - the countless numbers of hieroglyphs as well large as small - the beauty and precision with which they are cut - the immensity of the stones - the number of different chambers and the great height of the whole which has withstood not only the destructive quality of some thousands of years, but also the more destructive quality of mankind strike one with admiration for the ancient Egyptians who have reared up such magnificence. But the exterior is all surrounded and even covered with unburnt bricks and pots - the remains of a village of Arabs who have had the barbarity to make this beautiful temple the middle of their wretched and miserable village, and have even gone so far as to build upon the roof. But there is at present no inhabitant left.
Dendera like the pyramids of Ghizeh is built upon the desert of Lybia which presents anything but an inviting appearance. After leaving Dendera we took a look at the town of Kenneh and then returned for the night to our "Feleucha".
Tuesday 10th Jan 1854
After breakfast we all took donkeys to go into the town to provision, and while galloping along one of the streets the saddle, or rather pad, turned round by reason whereof I was very unceremoniously precipitated upon the ground, when the donkey took it into its head to walk over the whole length of my body. However more by good luck than by good management, I sustained no injury.
My hair having grown to an enormous length it became necessary that it should be shortened and as there was no person to cut it any manner at all reasonable, I was obliged to submit my head to the care of an Arab who quickly took off all the hair he possibly could without resorting to the razor and making "a clean shave". Having no covering for my head now that the Arab had taken away all my hair, it became a matter of necessity to wear a "tarboosh" which when translated into English means a red cloth headdress worn by all Arabs and Turks - and a funny look I had with no hair and a red cap with a blue tassel on my head. When we had got half way back after the perpetration of all our business we thought on that we had not posted our letters, so we returned to the post office which consisted of an Arab sitting in an Entry upon a mat spread upon a stone seat - counting beads and wonderful to relate without a pipe in his mouth. After having thro' the medium of our Dragoman made him comprehend that we had letters which we wished to be forwarded to Alexandria, he bade us sit upon the mat until he called in the assistance of another worthy who appeared after the lapse of about 10 minutes, when the operation of driving understanding thro' his head into his brain had to be performed. When the first Arab told us the letters must be redirected in Arabic to our Consul in Alexandria who would post them - which the second Arab did - they then demanded 20 piastres for carriage (there were only 3), which was given - whereupon a second demand of 3½ piastres was made on the ground that they would have to pay that at some place or other, which of course had to be paid by us - and when we were expecting the change we were informed that it amounting to 1½ piastre would be retained for the service of writing a little Arabic upon the letter. Thus 3 letters cost 25 piastres (5s/-) to be conveyed to Alexandria and we departed with the full conviction that the Arabs however miserable knew the art and mystery of "Extortion". Saw another English lot going to the Cataracts, with whom I had a confab.
Wednesday 11th Jan 1854
The want of wind enabled us to get ashore, and the number of pigeons enabled Monsr de Ferron to kill 28, some of which were given to the boatmen for a "backsheesh". This is about the first Arabic word which a stranger learns upon his entry into the country - the meaning of it is a piece of money or something else, but generally money, which is demanded of a person for anything done or told and very often for nothing at all. Suppose a man asked an Arab his road to any place, the Arab would expect a backsheesh upon answering - this is an example of a backsheesh for something told. The 1½ piastre yesterday for the 4 or 5 Arabic words upon the back of a letter was an instance of one for something done. The practice of the boatmen demanding something at every town is an instance of a backsheesh for nothing at all. Nothing seen today out of the usual routine.
Thursday 12th Jan 1854
This morning we went ashooting, but the wind blew our boat so much ahead of us that it was obliged to stop to enable us to overtake it. Nothing particular all day. The English boat we spoke to at Kenneh passed us today.
Friday 13th Jan 1854
No wind - intensely hot - more so than ever - and very very cloudy & thick.. About 2 o'clock this afternoon it rained a very few drops which lasted about ½ a minute, a circumstance well worthy to be noted down as it only happens about once in 5 years. About 4 we arrived at Luxor, part of the ancient Thebes, and there found three English, two French and an American boat. Monsr de Ferron and myself went to visit the ancient ruins of which there are a great many, especially columns covered with hieroglyphics - but I will quote a description given by Dr Russell:
"In approaching the Temple of Luxor from the north, the first object is a magnificent gateway which is 200 feet in length and the top is 57 feet above the present level of the soil. In front of the entrance are two of the most perfect obelisks in the world." Only one obelisk now remains the other having been removed since the above was written by the French, who have had it conveyed to Paris and there placed in the Place de la Concorde. But to continue:
"They each consist of a single block of red granite, are between 7 & 8 feet square at the base, & more than 80 feet high, many of the hieroglyphical figures with which they are covered being 1¾ inch deep, cut with the greatest nicety and precision. Between these obelisks and the Propylon are two colossal statues of granite also. They are nearly of equal size but from the difference of dress it is inferred that one was a male and the other a female figure. Though buried in the ground to the chest they still measure about 22 feet from thence to the top of their mitres." After a long description of the gateway he goes on to say:
"All this magnificence and cost are lavished on a gateway. On passing it the traveller enters a ruined portico of very large dimensions, & from this a double row of seven columns with lotus capitals 22 feet in circumference conducts him into a court 160 feet long and 140 wide, terminated at each side by a similar row of pillars, beyond which is another portico of 32 columns & then the adytum or interior part of the building."
"It is conjectured that this is the edifice to which the description of Diodorus applies as the palace or tomb of the "Great Osymandias"."
The above gives a very faithful description of the reality of which a stranger will find some difficulty in imagining the magnificence & extensive beauty.
Saturday 14th Jan 1854
This morning we departed to visit the ruins at Karnak, other part of ancient Thebes, situated about a mile and a half from Luxor - and the magnificence we found there surpasses in my opinion anything we have yet seen, whether at Ghizeh, at Dendera or at Luxor. The immense number of columns - upright, leaning and prostrate, all covered with the most perfect hieroglyphs, and the colour - where colour there has been remaining after the lapse of 4000 years - wonderfully bright and well preserved, at some places seeming to have been put on but yesterday. Then the obelisks, each formed of one solid block of red granite - the chambers - and the endless number of colossal gateways covered in the same manner with hieroglyphs representing battles, sacrifices, birds, beasts, priests, beetles, cartouches, and all manner of things living and dead & many which have never had any existence at all, such as human beings with the heads of beasts and birds sphinxes, and statues without end, all composed of one solid mass of red granite, and some remaining even at the present day 20 feet high.
There is also to be seen the remains of what has been a most beautiful avenue of sphinxes (placed at distance of about 12 feet separate) which has once attained from the grand entrance of the Temple at Karnac to the gateway described yesterday at the Temple at Luxor - a distance of nearly two miles. How striking must have been the sight of such an avenue, which had cost such immense labor at such an enormous expense - and formed with such untiring zeal and perseverance. One feels a desire to be left alone to the silent contemplation of these magnificent ruins (covering a space of about a league in circumference) and the wonderful people their builders.
We there met all the inhabitants of the different boats. One gentleman had a little tent fixed among the ruins and was busy taking Daguerreotype views at different places. At night we had thunder and lightning, a circumstance which here is more rare than even rain.
Sunday 15th Jan 1854
This morning we departed from Luxor, deferring our visit to the part of Thebes which remain on the other side of the river until our return, when we shall have seen the whole of what Pope describes as
"The world's great Empress on the Egyptian plain
That spread her conquest o'er a thousand states
And poured her heroes thro' a hundred gates;
Two hundred horsemen and two hundred cars
Thro' each wide portal issued to the wars."
Had a long walk thro' the region of cotton fields. At night we stopped at Herment, an Arab village which stands upon the ruins of a city named by the Greeks "Hermanthis".
Monday 16th Jan 1854
This morning before breakfast Monsr de Ferron & myself went to visit the ruins of the ancient Hermanthis which altho' not very extensive are very beautiful. They consist of one temple very well preserved but small, and some very beautiful columns. Of course the temple inside and out is covered with hieroglyphics. We had not time to remain long as we did not wish to lose the advantage of a fair wind which was blowing at the time and which lasted all day. At dusk we passed by the town of "Esneh" but did not stop for the reason before mentioned. At night had a blister on my chest to relieve the pain attendant upon breathing.
Tuesday 17th Jan 1854
This morning a little before 12 we arrived at Edfou, the ancient Apollinopolis Magna where are the remains of an immense temple. At each side of the gateway is an immense building something in the form of a wedge being 100 feet high. At the bottom it is 100 feet broad by 30 feet thick and at the top 83 feet by 23 - covered with hieroglyphics of an enormous size, some being 30 feet in height. The interior is nearly filled with dust and old bricks, the remains of Arab dwellings, but nevertheless there are still to be seen about 50 magnificent columns. The town is the most miserable of all the Arab places I have been in, nothing but filth and dirty children - except one little Nubian girl who was really as beautiful as a black person well could be, with a handsome set of teeth, an exceedingly pretty face, and a sweet good natured smile. She came and timidly asked for a "Backsheesh", an exception to the general rule of refusing all such demands was made in her favor, and I delighted her with 5 paras.
After staying about 2½ hours the wind being good off we started again. About 6 we met another boat with the Yankee Stars and Stripes returning with the stream. In passing each fired a salute. We each raised our hats and pursued our ways. For the last few days & today also we have seen one or more crocodiles which are very numerous.
Wednesday 18th Jan 1854
About 11 o'clock this morning we stopped at the nearest approachable place to the ruins of "Koum Ombos" which ruins consist of the remains of a temple and thirteen beautiful columns. The remains are not extensive but the hieroglyphics are very perfect. There is also a Greek inscription showing that the temple was dedicated in the reign of King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra his sister - 2000 years ago. An immense quantity of sand has accumulated all about it from the neighboring desert of Arabia. Monsr de Ferron with his photographical instrument took two different views of these beautiful ruins which have (the ruins) a very striking effect from the river after one has ascended a little.
Thursday 19th Jan 1854
During the night we had arrived at the village of Es Souan which being close to the first cataract is our resting place. After breakfast we put ourselves upon donkeys and traversed the desert (about 6 miles) as far as the island of Philae, in doing which we passed out of the land of Egypt into Nubia. Altho' the two countries are contiguous to each other it is astonishing what a difference there is between the natives. The Egyptians are of a tawny colour and without exception very plain - the Nubians are quite black with remarkable fine features and beautiful white teeth. The women & children all came around us in passing thro' a small village, trying to sell bracelets, necklaces & the different ornaments they wear about them. I purchased a necklace for a piastre as a curiosity.
Philaes is a small island just above what is called the first cataract, containing some most magnificent and extensive ruins, of course all covered with hieroglyphics and the colours as fresh as the day they were first put on. In one of the entrances there is an inscription in French cut out in the year 1799 when Bonaparte's army chased the Marmelukes from the Pyramids as far as the cataracts, containing some particulars as to the names of the different generals etc. In returning we saw some of the quarries where the ancients had been accustomed to get their immense blocks of granite to make the temples, columns, obelisks, etc at Thebes, Luxor, Dendera, etc. There was one unfinished obelisk which I measured & found to be about 75 feet long formed of one solid mass of Lyenite & about 10 feet broad. Several other pieces still bear the marks of the chisels & the instruments used to remove them. When at Philae we were to the southward of 24º N and very near the commencement of the Tropic of Cancer. The heat as may be imagined from our southerly position was intense - but what must be in July - still more hot must it be at the Equator. An Englishman can form no idea of it who never leaves his country. The warmest day in summer in Great Britain is cool and refreshing when compared to this. The children are perfectly naked, the men 4/5ths so, and the women 3/4ths so.
Friday 20th Jan 1854
Having read in various books of the ruins which are to be seen at the Island of Elephantiné we betook ourselves there, and after traversing a plain of old bricks and ruins, we found nothing - absolutely almost nothing! But a small gateway of about 20 stones, when we were informed that the beautiful ruins were underground. However we had the fortune to see a large fox of a bright yellow colour which bolted too soon to allow itself to be shot. After this disappointment we returned & went thro' the bazaars to provision. At night two English boats arrived.
Saturday 21st Jan 1854
This morning we again put ourselves upon donkeys and went to Philae where Monsr. de Ferron took several photographic views. On our return we turned the boat's head round, fired a parting salute of four shots, and floated down the stream with four oars going on each side - bidding goodbye for ever to the Cataracts & Philae.
Sunday 22nd Jan 1854
Floating down the stream all day with the sail stowed - wind contrary - passed Koum Ombos - at evening the wind blew so strong as to counteract the influence of the tide, so we had to moor for an hour or two.
Monday 23rd Jan 1854
This morning before breakfast we descended at "Gebel Silsili" where are immense quarries from which the Ancients got part of the stone for the formation of their temples, obelisks, etc. Also grottos are to be seen cut out in the solid rock, covered with hieroglyphics. There is one very large tomb where the colours are still very bright - and a large obelisk unfinished. During the afternoon we met an American bark going up the river. We hauled our Ensign down & up three times to wish them a good & pleasant trip, & fired a salute, both of which they answered. At dusk we also passed an English boat & fired a salute, which was also answered.
Tuesday 24th Jan 1854
This morning on awakening we found ourselves moored close to Edfou, where we went after breakfast to take photographic views. The little Nubian girl whom we saw last week happening to come into the Temple, Monsr. de Ferron promised her a backsheesh if she would stand still and allow herself to be taken along with the Temple - to which she agreed, but her Father & Mother were in a great state of alarm thinking that Monsr. de Ferron wanted her likeness to return in the night and steal her away - but the promise of a backsheesh was all powerful & she was permitted to remain at a distance - but no promise would induce them to allow a portrait of her alone to be taken - the fear of the "Franks" taking her away was too great.
After dinner we floated away again. About 6 o'clock we saw a boat under Dutch colours. The Dutchmen saluted us and we returned it. This morning we again had some drops of rain, a circumstance which happens even more seldom here than at Thebes. The sky here sometimes is overcast with black heavy looking clouds, and bears every appearance of rain the same as in England, but after remaining some time they pass away without any effect. It seems as if some influence withheld the rain from falling, and when it does fall it is only a very few drops which can hardly be distinguished even upon the deck.
Wednesday 25th Jan 1854
This morning upon rising we found ourselves in the vicinity of El Kab Eliethias in the mountains near which are several grottos very ancient indeed, supposed to be more ancient than even the Temples of Thebes. The paintings inside, which are remarkably well preserved, represent the various occupations of the ancient Egyptians. On one side of the largest grotto is represented "the picture of a feast at which the master & mistress are seated together on a seat with a monkey at their feet eating grapes. A servant appears to introduce the guests who are sitting in rows, both men & women, each with a lotus in the hand - to some the attendants are presenting bowls & dishes. Behind the visitors are tables covered with several kinds of food & the banquet is enlivened with different kinds of music. One woman is playing a harp, another a double flute, three others are dancing in the style known at Cairo under the name of the "Almeh" & another small figure is performing with a sword in either hand. The master is then represented walking attended by his servants to visit his laborers at work, & accordingly there is depicted the mode of hoeing, plowing, sowing & rolling, of reaping corn & gathering it, of winnowing it & carrying it to the granary & finally its embarkation on board some boats. The farmyard is crowded with oxen, cows, sheep, goats, asses, mules, etc. After that is seen grape gathering & making wine - catching fish & fowl - finally fruits are offered to the master & his friends, & the whole concludes with offerings to the gods." The complexions of the women are invariably yellow, & those of the men red. The whole of the foregoing can be easily distinguished.
In another grotto is seen the process of embalming the dead, & then the funeral procession, besides various other objects. On the whole I came away gratified quite as much as with any of the temples. The grottos are situated in the sides of the mountains (Arabians) at the foot of which in the desert are two very small temples consisting only of one small chamber - one of which is covered inside with hieroglyphics, the other with paintings.
Returned to dinner about 5 pm when we immediately pushed off to float down to Esneh.
Thursday 26th Jan 1854
At 8 o'clock we arrived at Esneh where we stop for the men to make bread again. There is nothing to see except a temple in the middle of the town, built up on all sides by houses, and used as a kind of warehouse when there is anything to put in it which I imagine is not often, however there it is - with 24 fine columns - six rows of four each - something in the same style as Dendera. During the day Monsr. de Ferron took a view of some palm trees and camels.
Friday 27th Jan 1854
The men having finished the making of their bread this morning, we departed from Esneh about 11 o'clock with (as usual) an unfavorable wind. We seem fated to have an unfavorable wind for in going up it was contrary and in coming down it is going up. After floating with the tide all day we arrived at Herment about midnight.
Saturday 28th Jan 1854
Monsr. de Ferron took a photographic view of the beautiful ruins of Herment today and about two o'clock we left for Thebes. Today the men took it into their heads to pull with the oars so that with the double assistance of oars and current we descended very fast and arrived at Thebes about 5 pm. Five other boats which are on their way up are lying at Luxor, which answered our salute on our arrival. About 7 o'clock an English boat followed us and fired about 20 times which was answered by all the others so that it sounded like a little warlike engagement.
Sunday 29th Jan 1854
About 9 o'clock we proceeded on donkey back to visit the ruins of the temple and palace at Medinet Abou, formerly part of Thebes, which are about 2 miles from the river, where we breakfasted. It is useless to describe them as they are the same as the others - covered with hieroglyphics etc. About half a mile to the north east stand the two colossal statues one of which is the statue of Memnon & covered with Greek inscriptions - they are both nearly of equal height being about 80 feet high. The southernmost one is formed of one entire block of granite, but the other (Memnon) has been half built with smaller pieces. From thence we went to visit the Temple of the Memnonium which is about another half mile to the N of the two Colossals - there, nothing but columns left standing now - with another once magnificent statue of Memnon formed entirely of one block of granite laying upon the ground broken into three or four pieces - when entire it must have been even larger than the two others.
From thence we crossed over the Libian mountains to a place called Medan El Melout where are the tombs of the ancient kings. The mountains seem to have been nearly excavated to form these tombs which extend an immense length inwards, containing several chambers - a temple - pillars - hieroglyphics - paintings, and every sort of magnificence which could at any cost or labour be expended upon them. One of them in particular is magnificent, the tomb of Rameses III, commonly called Belzoni's tomb because it was discovered by Mr Belzoni. I did not enter it on account of the fatigue I had suffered in crossing the mountains but waited until Monsr. de Ferron returned. In returning we took a different route & went thro a valley between the mountains which led us into the plain by the Nile about 8 miles from our boat where we returned about 5 o'clock very tired, visiting in our way the insignificant remains of a temple at Goornoo.
At night after dark a boat arrived (ascending) firing sundry salutes, and about an hour after who should arrive but Monsr. Theodoridi whom we had left at Gizeh - who had taken a boat along with an American gentleman & arrived tonight. What between fleas and heat got very little sleep.
Monday 30th Jan 1854
This morning we went over to the other side of the river to breakfast with Monsr. Theodoridi & his friend, after which the American gent and I went to Karnac while the others went to shoot. In the afternoon we had the two of them over to dine with us.
Tuesday 31st Jan 1854
A little after 8 o'clock Monsr. Theodoridi & his friend came over & we all went to Medinet Abou where Monsr. de Ferron (after having had breakfast in the Temple) took a photographic view. After that he took another view of the Colossal Statues & then of the Temple of the Memnonium. Then we went to visit some more tombs at the side of the mountains, inhabited now by people living instead of dead - with a horrible stench - heat & full of fleas - which made me glad to get out again. About half past four we returned to dinner with good appetites after all our visiting of ruins, tombs, etc.
Wednesday 1st Feb 1854
One month of the new year has passed which also decreases the time of my exile from home. This morning the wind blew with such violence that the sand rose in immense clouds insomuch that sometimes we could not see the neighbouring boats. Of course there was no pleasure in going out to get half suffocated with dust, and as the wind continued all day, so did we nearly inside our house. Monsr. Theodoridi whose boat is across the river at Luxor came on board ours to hail his little boat to come & put him on board, bringing with him an English gentleman who is also stopping across at Luxor. In the course of conversation I asked him from what part of England he came from , to which he replied, "Oh from the North, from Newcastle upon Tyne" to which I replied, "So do I". He then asked my name etc, and I then found out that it was young Davidson the Miller's son, whom I met 2½ years ago on Loch Katrine while travelling in Scotland. I had seen him yesterday but did not recognise him, nor he me. It appears that he is with his brother who is travelling for the benefit of his health, being also afflicted with a lung complaint. His brother had remained in his boat so I went across with him, stopped & dined with them, and had a long talk about "home affairs", returning about dark.
Today with yesterday has been an exception to the usual fine mild warm weather here, for the wind has been fresh and very very cold - not that it would be cold for England, on the contrary, but after being so long accustomed to great heat, one is very sensible to the least change.
Thursday 2nd Feb 1854
There being too much wind & dust for Monsr. de Ferron to take any views, we all went again to Beban El Melouk to visit the Tombs of the Kings. The Davidsons departed South this morning for the second cataract, sending me before their departure a bottle of cod liver oil.
Friday 3rd Feb 1854
A cloudless sky and little or no wind was just the thing for Monsr. de Ferron, therefore he went to Medinet Abou and took some more views of the Temple. Out of 13 boats which were here the day before yesterday, they have all departed one way or another except ourselves. Today we received an addition of two more from the South.
Saturday 4th Feb 1854
Not a cloud to be seen all day & the heat so intense we did not go out all day.
Sunday 5th Feb 1854
Monsr. de Ferron again took some views - at Goornoo - nothing particular new.
Monday 6th Feb 1854
Monsr. de Ferron took some views again today, and among others a view of Luxor with the boats lying there & ours lying at the opposite shore. We then went across with our boat to the Luxor side of the river, beside the two English boats with whom we had sailed for some days and who had left us when we stayed at Maufalout. They have been as far as the second cataract and back again. At night it was most horribly cold.
Tuesday 7th Feb 1854
Nothing new worthy of remark.
Wednesday 8th Feb 1854
At Karnak all day.
Thursday 9th Feb 1854
At Karnak. At dinner we had a Monsr. de Lasgy, a Polonaise gentleman whom we had seen at Kenneh, Thebes & again at Es Souan. He has been as far as the second cataract & had left his boat early this morning to follow him, and it not having arrived he had come to take pot luck with us. During the evening his boat arrived.
Friday 10th Feb 1854
Encore at Karnak. After dinner we went to take coffee and smoke our tchibouges with Monsr. de Lasgy & his companion a German doctor who is in consumption & travelling for his health. They have a little tent erected on the beach because their boat makes water & is rather damp. The Doctor has spent 10 months in Italy without speaking one word, thinking that a means to cure himself.
Saturday 11th Feb 1854
Nothing extraordinary - dined with Monsr. de Lasgy & the Doctor.
Sunday 12th & Monday 13th Feb 1854
Both passed without anything out of the common taking place.
Tuesday 14th Feb 1854
Valentines Day - Daggett's birthday - wished him many happy returns of the day. On getting up this morning our Dragoman informed me that the English boat we saw at Kenneh had come back with one of the gentlemen dead, and shortly after the English Consul sent to see if I would attend the funeral along with the other English gentleman here. The service was performed by a clergyman who happened to be at Luxor, and the grave was dug in the place assigned to the Copts here. It appears that he is the son of Sir Wilfred Lawson who lives somewhere in Cumberland. Being in consumption he came to Egypt for the benefit of the climate and he had got very much better & stronger in coming up the Nile, but when he arrived here (exactly a month ago) he had exerted himself too much by going to Karnak & Medinet Abou & mounting the Temples, which made him ill again, and from that time he gradually sunk & died the day before yesterday near Edfou. Poor fellow, he was only 21 - every flag was halfmast high all day.
Wednesday 15th Feb 1854
Today we went (á âne) to visit the Tombs of the Priests but as there was hardly anything to see, Monsr. & Madame de Ferron made another and parting visit to Beban El Melouk to the Tombs of the Kings - but as the journey is very fatiguing, I took warning of poor young Lawson and returned to Luxor, when I made the Rais (Capt.) bring the bark over to the other side. Monsr. de Lasgy departed for Cairo at 5 o'clock this afternoon amidst numerous salutes.
Thursday 16th Feb 1854
Monsr. de Ferron having two or three other views to take at Medinet Abou, we breakfasted in the Grand Temple for the last time amidst hieroglyphics, broken columns, etc. At ¼ to 4 pm we pushed off , fired a parting salute of ten shots to the boats remaining at Luxor which was duly responded to - bid goodbye for ever to Medinet Abou, Luxor, Karnak, Goornoo, with all their ponderous magnificence and once more started for Cairo, after having remained 19 days. In the hopes of arriving at Kenneh & visiting Dendera tomorrow, the men pulled with good will at their oars, by which means, together with a strong current, we soon lost sight of the remains of "Ancient Thebes". The distance between Luxor & Kenneh is about 48 miles.
Friday 17th Feb 1854
About 8 o'clock this morning we stopped on the opposite shore to Kenneh and we started off to visit Dendera, where we had our breakfast. About 1 pm we returned and crossed over to Kenneh where we provisioned and returned to dinner at 5. At 7 o'clock or a little after we departed once more for Kenneh , to see the Danseuses or "Almehs". Madame de Ferron dressed herself as a man, or rather she appeared like a pretty little boy of 12 or 14 years old. We took our Dragoman with us to search for & procure the Almehs. We were put into a small room & seated as usual upon a low divan. The three girls then commenced to dance to the music of a most singular instrument, a mixture of violin & guitar. During the interval between dances they sang Arab songs which were anything but interesting. For a finale we had the dance called "The Bee" - every person was immediately sent out of the room except ourselves and the Almehs. The Bee when properly performed consists of one of the Almehs pretending to search for a bee hid under her clothes and singing "Nahl ! Eho !" (The Bee ! Oh !). During the search one thing after another is thrown off, and at last the trousers. It is a sight which every traveller passing up the Nile goes to see. We returned about 10½ and gave orders to the Rais to go away immediately. In default of wind the men took their oars for a night's work.
Saturday 18th Feb 1854
This morning a light wind in our favor relieved the men from rowing. About 10 we passed the village of Hew - the ancient Diospolis Parva. At 11 we passed Farchoot where is the sugar refinery but I saw nothing of the Englishman there. About 5 in the afternoon we arrived at "El Baliana" where we stopped to go & see Abydos in the morning, it being too late tonight. We arrived in company with an English boat which did not stop. El Baliana is about 49 miles from Kenneh. The heat during the day was so excessive that we could not venture out of the shade & even there laying perfectly still we were in a state of vapour bath. It was by far the hottest day since I have left England. Margaret's birthday - wished her many happy returns.
Sunday 19th Feb 1854
After an early breakfast we put ourselves upon donkeys to go & visit the ruins of Abydos, having first instructed our Rais to start immediately for Ghirgeh where we would join him. 2½ hours riding brought us to Abydos, where the ruins are nearly covered up with sand. However the hieroglyphics are beautifully sculptured & we saw what we have not yet seen in any of the ancient Egyptian Temples before, & what I believe does not exist in any other place, viz , chambers with the roof vaulted, the arch not being built but cut out in the stone, for the ancient Egyptians were ignorant of the principal of the arch.
The modern name of Abydos is "Arabat el Matfoon" & the ruins are of considerable antiquity, dating in the time of Osirei I & his son Remeses the Great. After having seen all that was to be seen we go upon our donkeys again & after a tiresome ride of 4 hours we arrived at Girgeh where we found our boat & parted immediately in company with two English boats, but we had not been gone more than ½ an hour before the wind came all of a sudden right up the river, blowing a perfect tempest so that we could not descend against it, but along with the other two had to pull to land & moor until it had passed over, which it did in about 2½ hours.
Monday 20 Feb 1853
On waking this morning we found ourselves in the same place as last night - the Rais pretending that the wind had kept us back but the Rais does not always speak the truth. However the men took to their oars and there being little or no wind all day, we got on pretty well. We passed Souhag, Menshech & El Ikmim - excessively hot all day.
Tuesday 21 Feb 1854
We commenced this morning from Sheekh Hereedee - & passed Tahta - about 10 o'clock we got a fair wind which lasted us till about 3 when it suddenly turned round & blew a perfect gale for some hours. We passed Gow where once stood the Temple of Antaeopolis - Abooteeg & Motmar, & were in good hopes of getting to Es Siout in time to visit the bazaars before dark, when the wind came & blew us ashore, where we remained.
Wednesday 22 Feb 1854
Although we were so near to Es Siout, the wind was so strong that we could not go down against it, but had to take donkeys. The wind continued all day and we remained in the same place. At night about dusk the wind went down but a new difficulty arose - one of our men bearing the name of "Abul Gassen" had taken it into his head to walk off with all his clothes - consequently the Rais went to seek him but shortly returned without having found him. However we started without him & the Rais presently came to supplicate permission to go ashore again to seek him, promising to join us at Manfalout tomorrow, with or without him. As he was one of the stroke oarsmen & the Rais had advanced him some money we agreed. The names of some of the other men are Hassan, Mustapha, Machmout, Achmet, Mohammed, Ali, - the rest are so difficult to make out that I really cannot write them.
Thursday 23rd Feb 1854
The same as yesterday, for about 9 o'clock this morning the wind arose in fury and as we could not get any further down, we had to moor the boat ashore until about 5 in the afternoon when we had less wind. About 10 we arrived at Manfalout where we were joined by the Rais who had not been successful in his search after Abul Gassen. It appears that he had shipped as a sailor in another boat and gone up again to Es Souan. Not having anything to do or get at Manfalout we continued our voyage against a strong wind. Manfalout is half way from Thebes to Cairo. We promised the sailors a backsheesh to row hard & get us to Tel el Amarna by tomorrow morning, a distance of about 30 miles.
Friday 24th Feb 1854
As we were not at Tel el Amarna this morning, the sailors got no backsheesh. The wind continued against us all day blowing most furiously, consequently we made very little way.
Saturday 25th Feb 1854
Early this morning we arrived at Tel el Amarna where we stopped to go and visit some grottoes in the mountains near, having instructed the Rais to go on & we would overtake him - but the wind came on again with redoubled fury & rendered it impossible for the boat to go on. At 1½ we returned & at 5 pm the wind permitted us to continue our descent, to hasten which we promised the sailors a backsheesh to be at Beni Hassan first thing tomorrow. The loss of the backsheesh this morning & the hopes of it tomorrow caused the men to take the oars and pull - & at the time of this being written they are singing and pulling hard enough - leaving me in good hopes of arriving at Beni Hassan tomorrow early.
Sunday 26th Feb 1854
This morning at 7½ we arrived at Beni Hassan and took donkeys to go and visit the grottoes which are about 2½ miles off in the mountains. There are not many hieroglyphics but the caves are covered with colored figures of people wrestling - attacking a fort - manufacturing linen cloth - inflicting the bastinado - but in one of the tombs there is represented a singular procession of strangers, by some supposed to be the arrival of Joseph's brethren into Egypt - for Joseph was the Governor of Egypt in the time of Osirtasen in whose reign these grottoes were formed.
"The first figure is an Egyptian scribe who presents an account of their arrival to a person seated - the owner of the tomb & one of the principal officers of the King. The next, also an Egyptian, ushers them into his presence 7 two advance bringing presents consisting of an Ibex or wild goat & a gazelle, the productions of their country or caught on the way. Four men carrying bows and clubs follow, leading an ass on which two children are placed in panniers, accompanied by a boy & four women, and last of all another ass laden and two men - one holding a bow and club, the other a lyre which he plays with the plectrum. All the men have beards contrary to the customs of the Egyptians, but very general in the East at that period.
The men have sandals, the women a sort of boot reaching to the ankle, both of which are worn by many Asiatic people."
The hieroglyphics above however give the owner of the tomb a different name from Joseph - but should it ever be found out that these represent their arrival, they will certainly be regarded as the most interesting of all the Egyptian relics.
The villages of Beni Hassan were destroyed about 25 years ago by an army sent by Ibrahim Pasha who killed every inhabitant of the two places, men women and children, because they were such incorrigible thieves - and even now it is perfectly necessary to keep a good look out at night.
This is the most northerly point where crocodiles are to be found. On returning about 2 o'clock we found the wind as usual against us & blowing so strong that it was perfectly impossible for us to move. About 5 the wind lessened - we got away, and the men shortly after took their oars for a night's work.
Monday 27th Feb 1854
For a wonder we had a fair wind today but not very strong. During the night we had passed by Minieh and this morning we passed by Samalood & several small towns, but the wind failed us at night and we could not reach Beni Souef. Since we have left Ghirgeh the wind has been excessively cold, more especially at nights - the consequence of which is that I have caught cold, which has brought back a slight pain in my chest which had entirely left me when in Upper Egypt - but the pain is considerably less than on my departure from Cairo in December & I am in good hopes of getting rid of it altogether.
Tuesday 28th Feb 1854
Five months this morning since I left Newcastle - another three months & I hope to leave for England. On rising found that we had a good wind & were descending very fast, but about 10 o'clock it changed and blew so hard that we were obliged to stop again opposite the village of Rigga where we remained until 6 o'clock in the evening when we made a start again although the wind had not quite gone down.
Wednesday 1st Mar 1854
Having made but little progress during the night we were only opposite Dashoor & Sakhara at 8½ o'clock this morning when the wind commenced earlier than usual & blew us ashore again, where we had to remain all day again. Being not very far from Cairo I sent our little Dragoman upon a donkey to the hotel for my letters. The wind blew a perfect hurricane all day, being fearfully cold and accompanied with rain, the first we have had since we were at Edfou on the 24th of January. I am sorry we have left Upper Egypt where the weather was always unexceptionably fine.
Thursday 2nd Mar 1854
Robert our Dragoman not having returned before dark last night, we caused the boat to be put in motion & arrived at Baulak, the port of Cairo, sometime before daylight. On getting up we put everything to rights to take a final farewell of the boat. When all was ready we went on donkeyback to Cairo. William's Hotel where we were before being full, Monsr. & Madame de Ferron went to the Hotel D'Orient and I went to the Hotel D'Europe - after all very glad to get a little rest and quiet. Before leaving the boat I got a parcel of 10 letters & 5 newspapers which were indeed anything but unwelcome. The letters upon being opened swelled into something like 16 by means of inclosures, and caused me an hour's very agreeable reading.
Friday 3rd Mar 1854
After breakfast went to the Hotel D'Orient to meet Monsr. de Ferron, our Rais, Owner & Cook, when the account was finally and agreeably settled. The Rais & Cook after being paid as a matter of course demanded their backsheesh, but it was agreed unanimously that as neither of them had given satisfaction, neither of them should have a backsheesh - upon which they departed in not exactly an amiable humour.
Spent the rest of the day in writing & walking about with a Greek named "Theodoridi". The English mail left this afternoon by which I sent a letter home to Lizzie. Yesterday I forgot to mention that I found a gallon of cod liver oil awaiting my arrival here.
Saturday 4th Mar 1854
Spent the day in going about Cairo.
Sunday 5th Mar 1854
This morning I went to the English Church where the clergyman is a German named Leader in holy orders from England. The chapel is much like that of Alexandria only it is considerably larger. A young gentleman, a traveller, preached us a short sermon from 1 Kings 9-10-11-12-13 & 14
and we got out at 11½. After church Monsr. de Ferron, Madame & myself went as far as the petrified wood, situated about 4 miles off in the desert and returned in time for dinner at 6½ pm.
Monday 6th Mar 1854
Nothing out of the common. Today commenced for the first time since last April to read Law, making a determination to read two hours per diem. Dinner at 6½, our usual company consists of 2 Germans, 1 Italian, 1 Greek, 1 Swiss, 1 Englishman & myself.
Tuesday 7th Mar 1854
Nothing out of the ordinary course of occurrences - paid a visit to the E. Consul.
Wednesday 8th Mar 1854
The wind was so high and the dust so great as to prevent a person taking a walk today. The English Mail arrived here this afternoon bringing a letter for me from Tom Scurr and a newspaper from James Henry. In the latter I read that poor Charley Kidd is dead - died of consumption, and only 21 - my poor old playmate, how sorry I feel. One by one of my schoolfellows are taken in close succession by consumption, and here I am still left in the midst of friends and comforts, but alas! how ungrateful do I show myself - poor Charley Kidd!
Thursday 9th Mar 1854
Immediately after breakfast I went with the Rev. Mr. Hill, an English clergyman who is staying at the same hotel and who had got a permit from the government to enter & to visit all the principal mosques in the city. A Christian cannot be allowed admission without such permit, or without a Cawass (a government officer) - and before entering any mosque one must either put off one's shoes & put on slippers, or enter in one's stocking feet. We preferred the former & at every mosque we had to doff our boots & don our slippers, & on coming out vice versa.
Today got my ticket for Alexandria & my passport viséd - bid adieu to my late companions in voyage, Monsr. & Madame de Ferron, who kindly gave me some photographic views as a souvenir - paid my bill at the hotel & got all ready for a start in the morning. After dinner Mr. Hill informed me that about 300 years ago a Sir Thomas Ingledew founded two fellowships in the College of St. Mary Magdalene, Oxford - the fellows to be elected from natives of Yorkshire. The fellowships still exist under the name of the "Ingledew Fellowships" and sometimes the "Yorkshire Fellowships".
Friday 10th Mar 1854
Rose at 7. Got some coffee and went to the Alexandrian steamer. Started punctually at 9 - very cold all day. Reached Atfeh where we change from the steamer into the canal boat about midnight.
Saturday 11th Mar 1854
After passing a very cold night sleeping on the seat in the cabin, got to Alexandria about 10½ where altho' it rained fast, it was very considerably warmer than Cairo. Went back to the Victoria Hotel & only found two other people staying there, viz. A Capt. Evans & his wife on their way from India to England.
Sunday 12th Mar 1854
Walk before breakfast. After breakfast went to the English Chapel. Between lunch and dinner Capt. Evans and myself took a long walk - saw about a thousand soldiers being drilled. Bed at 9½.
Monday 13th Mar 1854
Spent the day as usual in walking about & writing
Tuesday 14th Mar 1854
As usual nothing new.
Wednesday 15th Mar 1854
This morning we received an addition to our number at table in the shape of a young Dutchman who had come by the Austrian steamer from Trieste on his way to Batavia. The Austrian steamer brought the news of 10,000 French troops having gone to Constantinople and that the Black Sea ports were closed by the Russians. Rain and cold all day prevented my walking out.
Thursday 16th Mar 1854
We lost our Dutchman this morning, he having gone to Cairo to wait there for the Indian passengers. Tonight as last night there was an alluminator on account of the Sultan's daughter being betrothed to Abbas Pasha's son. Today I was all through the Pasha's yacht steamship the "Faid Geehad" (Fortune of War), 2500 tons. She was built in England two years ago and since then has laid in the harbour without being used. However she is now getting ready to take the Pasha's son to Constantinople.
Friday 17th Mar 1854
Showery all day. The Himalaya arrived with some passengers from Malta - the Euxine with the mails from England due today not arrived. A repetition of the illumination tonight.
Saturday 18th Mar 1854
A good many of the passengers from Bombay and India arrived today. No Euxine.
Sunday 19th Mar 1854
Went to the British Chapel and heard Mr. Beemont (the same gentleman whom I heard at Cairo) preach. Some more passengers arrived from India, altogether there were 270. Still no Euxine.
Monday 20th Mar 1854
The Euxine arrived this morning and as there had been no letter from home last mail, I made sure of one this - but on going to the Post Office I found myself woefully mistaken, there being not even a newspaper. The passengers for India all left this afternoon, and half of the passengers from India for England left by the "Ripon" this afternoon also - the others going by the Euxine on Wednesday. Sent my letter to Father by the Ripon, also one to J.H.I., Tom Scurr & Ed. Fryer.
Tuesday 21st Mar 1854
Went with Dr. Simpson who is Dr. Ogilvie's assistant to visit the Himalaya, but they were putting her to rights today so that we could not see thro' her until tomorrow. We then went thro' the shipping. Dr. Flint, a young man staying with me at Wood's was with us. He is here for his health, being very bad of consumption - his cheeks are flushed - his cough is bad - his breath short, and he is soon exhausted. Altogether he seems to be in a dying state. He told me that he was here last year when he was just like me, but having caught cold again it made him very bad.
Wednesday 22nd Mar 1854
Went and saw all through the largest steamship in the world, the Himalaya - a most magnificent vessel - 375 feet long - she is built with a screw - admeasures 3500 tons - 700 horse power - she made her first passage from Malta here in 62 hours, a distance of 819 miles, the quickest passage ever made. The rest of the Indian passengers left for England this morning per "Euxine".
Thursday 23rd& Friday 24th Mar 1854
As usual nothing new. Friday - made up my mind to leave for Malta by the French steamer today. Drew upon my father for £40 - in favour of Pethonier & Co. - Dr. Flint intended to go also but before going on board he spoke rather angrily to some donkey boys which brought on such a copious spitting of blood that he felt quite exhausted & had to lay down on his arrival on board the steamer, and the Doctor advised him to go ashore again and not venture, as in case of seasickness it might be dangerous. Accordingly he departed and I was left alone.
About four o'clock the steamer "Lycurgue" began to move and I began to depart from Alexandria - from Egypt, that land of antiquity and former magnificence where I have derived so much benefit- for ever. Slowly we came out of the harbour - slowly we crossed the bar - we then stopped to let away an Arab pilot, and commenced again at full steam to depart from the land of the Pharaohs. It was a perfect calm, the afternoon hot and the sea without motion, as if to allow one time and opportunity to reflect upon the scenery we were fast leaving. Adieu Alexandria - Adieu Egypt - How I thank thee for the benefit I have received in your delicious climate.
Saturday 25th Mar 1854
Lady Day and Father's birthday. Wished my dear dear father very many happy returns of the day - little wind all day - nothing extraordinary.
Sunday 26th Mar 1854
Head wind rather fresh. The Lycurgue altho' a very comfortable boat is not a powerful one, and we made very slow progress. At dusk sighted the island of Candia a long way off.
Monday 27th Mar 1854
Blowing fresh from the west - felt squeamish. By some extraordinary mode of navigation we had got a long way out of our course, in fact all day we were close under the snow clad mountains of Candia, the ancient Crete - saw Mount Ida in the distance.
Tuesday 28th Mar 1854
Nearly calm all day - nothing to see except a ship now and then.
Wednesday 29th Mar 1854
Calm all day - met two steamers going west.
Thursday 30th Mar 1854
On getting up found we were in sight of Malta (tunè I think) and about nine o'clock we arrived in the quarantine harbour. Rain came on immediately we stopped and we landed in the midst of a tremendous shower. We went and took up our abode in the Princess Royal Hotel kept by Mr. Baker, where I changed all my clothes immediately, refreshed myself with a good breakfast, and the weather having cleared up and become beautifully fine two of my fellow passengers (a Mr. Muir from India and a Mr. Angus from Australia) and myself went forth to take a general view of the place.
Malta or rather Valetta is full of troops. Saw a large French steamer go away for Constantinople with two French regiments, towing a brig full of horses. The Rifle Brigade (English) embarked today for the same place in the Golden Fleece - but did not sail. Valetta is well built but the streets are narrow and hilly and at present very crowded, there being 19000 troops in the island which is only 17 miles long by about 8 broad. At evening went to hear the band play at the Main Guard. Dined at 6, bed at 10. Indus sailed for Egypt.
Friday 31 Mar 1854
Wet day - no going out.
Saturday 1st Apr 1854
Mr. Muir, Mr. Angus and a Mr. Ray & myself chartered a caléche this morning to take us round the island, to see it. We first went to St. Antonio where is the Governors house and gardens, but not having a ticket of leave to admit us into the house we were obliged to go into the garden only, where we got oranges and lemons fresh from the trees. From St. Antonio we went to the village of Monsta at which place there is a very handsome church being built around about an old one, and when the new one is finished the old one is to be pulled down and thrown out of the windows. From there we went to Citta Vecchia (the old city) the former capital of the island. There we had pointed out a church said to have been erected on the spot where St. Paul preached in Malta, and thence called St. Paul's Church. From the church we went to St. Paul's cave where (according to our guide) St. Paul spent three months in penance. From the cave to the catacombs which have no remarkable story connected with them except that of a schoolmaster who some years ago lost himself there and has not yet been found. They were cut by the Saracens. The next was a grotto, and next lunch.
From Citta Vecchia we went to .. and saw a large castle which overlooks a magnificent valley - and then we returned to Valetta in time for dinner at 6 o'clock.
Sunday 2nd April 1854
Walk before breakfast - Mr Muir and myself went this morning to the collegiate church of St. Paul built by the late Queen Adelaide where we heard a most beautiful sermon preached by the Bishop of Gibraltar and Malta from the text taken from the 8th verse of the 14th chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans - it being Sacrament Sunday we remained - took a long walk after lunch. During the afternoon the Indus steamer put back with one paddle wheel disabled, it being reported that one of her boilers had burst and some lives had been lost. The Vectis went on with the mails and passengers to Alexandria at night.
Monday 3rd April 1854
Went to see Mr Micallif at the post office with Mr Thorn's letter of introduction. Spent the rest of the day in writing reading and walking about. A large French steamer full of troops left the harbour for Constantinople.
Tuesday 4th April 1854
This morning there was a review of 10 regiments before the French General in the square of Floriana. The French steamer from Marseilles which arrived today brought the news that war had been declared by France and England against Russia, and the 44th and 50th Regiments were immediately dispatched by H.M.S. Vulcan for Gallipoli.
Wednesday 5th April 1854
Went to see an examination of pupils at a college about a mile and a half from Valetta this morning. After that took a row about the harbour with Mr Angus and Mr Ray. 6 French steamers with troops came into harbour for coals and proceeded during the night for Gallipoli. Himalaya from Alexandria due today - not yet arrived.
Thursday 6th April 1854
Nothing particular happened today - more French troops.
Friday 7th April 1854
The Himalaya arrived this morning and was immediately divested of all cargo and passengers so as to take troops on to Constantinople. All the inns were so full that accommodation could not be found for all the passengers. At night the French steamer "Bosphore" in the absence of the Vectis took on the mails and some of the passengers to Marseilles. Mr Angus and Mr Ray went also.
Saturday 8th April 1854
Nothing worthy of notice.
Sunday 9th April 1854
Vectis came in early this morning bringing for me two letters, one from Margaret, the other from James. Went to St. Paul's Church - Bishop of Gibraltar preached from 2 chap 1 Peter 21 verse . Vectis went on to Marseilles - wrote home by her. French steamer for Alexandria. Wrote to Mr Thorne and Dr Flint by her.
Monday 10th April 1854
This morning went to see the Captain of the brig "Sailor" of Sunderland, who is bound to Cork or Falmouth from Odessa to enquire if he would take me with him as a passenger, which he agreed to do. In the afternoon saw the huge Himalaya start with troops for Gallipoli - about 6 o'clock she started amidst the cheers and good wishes of thousands. At the same time that the Himalaya started from the Great Harbour, the screw steamer "Enieu" started from the Quarantine Harbour also with troops for Gallipoli. These two steamers, or rather the Captains of each of them denies the superiority of the other, and they will contest and prove which is the faster according as they arrive at Gallipoli.
Lost the last of my companions from Alexandria this afternoon. Mr Muir who went by the Liverpool screw steamer "Teneriffe" for Syra, thence to Athens Corfu Trieste and home. Thus we lose friends one by one and are left solitary and lonely. Captain Watson of the "Irene" of Newcastle being in the harbour, went on board to see him.
Tuesday 11th April 1854
A year this morning since I sailed from Shields harbour on board the "Feronia" for Quebec. How many things have taken place since then - poor Mr Lowrey dead - Feronia sold - Captain Henzell in another vessel.
Went on board the Brig "Sailor" of Sunderland from Odessa bound to Cork or Falmouth for orders to enquire if the Captain would take me as a passenger, which he agreed to do for the sum of £12 which I paid him. Went to the gardens at Floriana. In the afternoon saw the "Irene" sail for England. Wrote to Mr Temple and Uncle - also wrote a letter to Father to be posted on my departure.
Wednesday 12th April 1854
As usual for the last week or so a cloudless sky - nothing happened.
Thursday 13th April 1854
"Golden Fleece" returned from Constantinople. Got all my traps ready and on board this afternoon in expectation of sailing tomorrow morning. At night a grand religious procession among the clergy.
Friday 14th April 1854
Good Friday - rose at 6 o'clock and went down to the quay and on board the "Sailor", but the wind was blowing from the N.E. right into the harbour and causing a sea to rise so that we could not get out. Walked about all day.
Saturday 15th April 1854
Rose again at 6½ but still could not get out - about 2 o'clock however the wind changed a little and the sea moderated sufficiently to allow us to get out with the assistance of 28 men in boats pulling us. When once out of the harbour the wind was fair & we set studding sails - spoke a small schooner asking for "Malta" at night.
Sunday 16th April 1854
Strong breezes from E.S.E. - going all day with studding sails on each side. During the morning passed close by a large 24 gun Genoese man of war beating to the Eastward and we each hoisted our ensigns and the Genoese hoisted a lot of signals which we could not answer as we had no signals. About midday sighted the Island of Pantellaria and passed it about 7 o'clock. Passed close by a large paddle wheel steamer with English troops on board.
Monday 17th April 1854
Beautiful day. Wind right aft. Sighted and passed Cape Bon - Island of Zembra - Point Farina - and at dusk saw the island of Galita. E.S.E.
Tuesday 18th April 1854
Fine day and fair wind - saw no land but passed close by several vessels bound west and carrying no topgallant sails E.S.E.
Wednesday 19th April 1854
Fine day and fresh breezes & right aft as usual - going 7 knots until night when the wind gradually southered until it came to South West causing the studding sails to come in one by one, and finally we were close hauled S.W.
Thursday 20th April 1854
Sky overcast all day and gentle but S.W. - could not lie our course. Got into the longitude of Ivica today - saw numbers of ships bound East running with studding sails.
Friday 21st April 1854
Strong gales all day. First we went with double reefed topsails then close reefed with reefed trysail and foresail and mainsail stowed. Saw the Spanish land viz Cape Huertas.
Saturday 22nd April 1854
Wind still right ahead but moderate - got a reef out of the topsails & mainsail & foresail set - beating off and on the Spanish coast.
Sunday 23rd April 1854
Standing off and on the Spanish coast all day. Wind right ahead. At night off Cape Palos.
Monday 24th April 1854
Foul wind - beating all day off Carthagena - no company.
Tuesday 25th April 1854
On going upon deck found we had a fair wind and were in company with 34 other vessels who had been laying behind Cape de Gata during the late winds. Passed Cape de Gata.
Wednesday 26th April 1854
Gale of wind from the Eastward. Passed about 50 sail. Running all day under two double reefed topsails & foresail. About half past 7 at night passed Gibraltar Rock which could just be discerned thro' the fog and thus was disappointed in the hope that a westerly wind would prevent us getting thro' the straits for a day or two & cause us to bring up in the Bay, whereby I may have gone ashore.
Thursday 27th April 1854
Wind still right aft but blowing a perfect gale - scudding in company of half a dozen others under close reefed topsails. Towards evening the wind moderated enabling us to get a couple of reefs out & topgallant sails set.
Friday 28th April 1854
Seven months this morning since I left Newcastle. Calm with a heavy sea. Off Cape St. Vincent - wet and cloudy - no ships in company.
Saturday 29th April 1854
Beautiful weather - nearly calm all day - in company with a Brig homeward bound but too far off to speak.
Sunday 30th April 1854
Still beautiful weather and still calm or nearly so with the brig still in company.
Monday 1st May 1854
Got a stiff breeze this morning - sometimes laying our course & at others not being able to do so. Sailed away from the brig. Cloudy and showery all day. Passed by Lisbon but not in sight of it - begin to feel the temperature colder the further north we come.
Tuesday 2nd May 1854
Fine fresh breeze, well on the quarter - rattling along all day. Showery and cold.
Wednesday 3rd May 1854
Fine - cold - good breeze all day. Passed Cape Finisterre and got into the Bay of Biscay.
Thursday 4th May 1854
Fine and sunny. Light winds, sometimes nearly calm. Had company in the shape of a clipper barque which we passed during the day.
Friday 5th May 1854
Fine stiff breeze and squally showery. At night gale of wind - maintopsail split.
Saturday 6th May 1854
Nice breeze right aft - sea very heavy. Came up with a foreign brig. Calculations make us about 150 miles from Falmouth. Met a large ship bound South and supposed it to be an Australiaman.
Sunday 7th May 1854
Fine stiff breeze. Running with three studding sails set. Weather so thick and hazy that although we found ourselves just sixteen miles South of the Lizard by the sun at noon and we were going at the rate of seven knots, yet we could not make the land by four o'clock, showing us that the current or some other cause had carried us too far to the Eastward & that we had slipped the Lizard. About half past 4 when it cleared up a little I caught a momentary view of the Eddystone lighthouse a little to windward of us, and pointed it out to the Captain who immediately took in all the small sails & as it was blowing hard took two reefs in the topsails & clapped the ship to the wind. About 6 o'clock passed to the leeward of Eddystone about 2 miles. In half an hour or a little more we hauled up the mainsail to allow a little pilot smack to come up to us, which for the last hour had been trying to catch us but could not. It cleared up and we got a view of old England again for the first time for seven months, it being just that time since we sailed from Southampton. Having got the pilot on board it came on to rain fast and I went down below and in about an hour's time we were anchored in Plymouth Sound.
Monday 8th May 1854
The Custom house officer came on board about 8 o'clock & searched all thro' the ship but told me that all my traps would have to go ashore to be searched at the Baggage office, he accompanying it - which being done I put my things into the hands of Crowley & co. the carriers to be conveyed to Newcastle, reserving only my small carpet bag which contained a night shirt. Went with Capt. Crozier to see a broker then went to the Navy Hotel - took rooms - went out to visit the Lions of Plymouth. Returned to dine at 1 - walked again - returned to tea at 6½. Sat in the house at night & retired to bed at 10.
Tuesday 9th May 1854
Got up at 6½ - breakfasted - then took myself off to the railway station & took a ticket for Bristol where I arrived at 3½ p.m. and having an hour to stop went to the Railway Hotel for dinner. At 4½ left for Birmingham where I arrived at 9 and went straightway to the "Hen & Chickens Hotel" for the night.
Wednesday 10th May 1854
Left Birmingham at 7 a.m. arrived at Derby at 9½, went on to Normanton & York. Left York at 4 p.m. & arrived at N'Castle at 20 mins to 8 - put myself into a cab - went to21 Lovaine Place & astonished them all thus finishing my trip to Egypt in search of health by returning stronger & stouter with better lungs etc. than on my departure.
John P. Ingledew