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Recollections of Thirty-nine Years in the Army
Chapter XXIV


1865-1868. CALCUTTA—PORTSMOUTH

Ahmed oola Khan—Seeta Khoond—Experimental sanatorium—Parisnath—India in Greece—Bhootan----Electric telegraph—Sickly season—My illness—Ootacamund —Todas - Climatic notes - Bangalore—Fort—Health unrestored—Benares - Temples—Sitala—Sarnath—Infants' grave—Sanitary Commission ceased— Again on sick leave—Cinchona Inquiry—A railway journey—Bank failure - Events—The Buffs arrive—Sanitary works—Expedition to Abyssinia—The struggle for existence—The Jumna—The Euphrates—Hurricane—Departure - Trincomalee - Aden - Suez - Docks "created "- Egyptian troops - Grand Shaloof—Gardens—Freshwater Canal—Ancient baths—Moses' Wells—Pyramids of Ghizeh—Sphynx—Temple—Desert cold—Portsmouth.

VISITING Patna in the course of duty, I was present in the court of the magistrate while Ahmed oola Khan, the suspected originator of the Sittana rebellion, was undergoing preliminary examination on a charge of sedition. For thirty years he had been suspected; yet he held a high position under the Indian Government, at one time as a member of the Board of Instruction, then a member of the Municipal Commission, and lastly a Commissioner of the Income Tax. During the Mutiny the Local Commissioner had reason to doubt his fidelity, and reported to Government the grounds upon which his suspicions were founded, the only result as stated at the time being censure for having given expression to them.

An official visit to Monghyr gave me the opportunity of driving to Seeta Khoond, in the near vicinity of that place. The spring so named has a temperature of i800 F., and is one of several in this part of India; but chiefly interesting in that the high priest of the temple connected therewith repeated to us its legendary association with the story of Rama and Seeta, in terms very similar to what a few days before I had read in a compressed edition of the Rarnayana. Here then is the record transmitted traditionally through many generations of a more or less mythical event, the date of which considerably preceded that of Homer.

As an experiment, barracks for a small number of British soldiers were erected on the summit of Parisnath, in the hope that its elevation Of 4,530 feet above sea level might exert a favourable influence on their health. A narrow pathway had recently been cut through the forest' by which the hill is covered. Ascending by it we traverse several precipitous ridges, between which deep and thickly wooded valleys intervene. Voices of many birds are heard as we proceed; among them the crow of jungle cock and scream of the coel; black squirrels and lungoors dash rapidly from branch to branch, downwards into the forest beneath us.

Parisnath is the Sinai of the Jams. On its summit are twenty- two temples pertaining to that sect, the largest consecrated to their chief deity, Parisnath, whence the name of the hill. Numerous pilgrims visit the shrines, more especially in the month of Foos, or November.

There are those who believe—with what measure of authority I know not—that an immigrant tribe from the vicinity of the hill in question having settled in ancient Greece, transferred the name of their sacred mountain to "Parnassus." The legend may be on a par with that in accordance with which the name of Sevastopol is made to signify "The Place of Siva."

For some time past unpleasantness had been breeding with regard to Bhootan; endeavours were made to come to a peaceful understanding with the chiefs concerned, but these having ended in failure, the dispatch thither of a military expedition was resolved on. In the early part of the cold season a combined force of British and native troops was equipped, and proceeded on service to that territory, a chief reason for sending white troops being a report that considerable misconduct on the part of sepoys at Dewangiri had reached the authorities, the circumstance furnishing a suggestive commentary on action recently taken to materially increase the native army.

On March 4 an event occurred which, in its importance to India, should be mentioned: the first direct telegraphic message from Landon was delivered in Calcutta, it having taken three days to reach its destination. As a painful coincidence, Colonel Stewart, to whom the public are indebted for the completion of that undertaking, died just as the work had been finished. Hitherto the telegrams received came through several lines.

The hot season this year set in unusually early; it was severe and protracted, sickness and death making havoc among all classes of foreigners, more especially our soldiers. Medical officers, like others, were prostrated in great numbers, the result being that those who remained fit for duty had much extra work thrown upon them. The establishment in India being so closely kept down so as to meet only ordinary requirements, it is inadequate when the demands become considerable, whether on account of epidemic or field service.

In July duty took me to Hazarabagh. The rains were on, the roads soft, and in many places submerged. On my return journey, detention for several hours at night in dense jungle was occasioned by the Siranee River being in flood, and impassable. The result of that exposure was a severe attack of illness, by which for two months I was prostrated and altogether incapacitated for work. Having hitherto avoided making an application for privilege leave, I now submitted such a request, but with the unlooked-for result that it met with a refusal—the fact that it did so illustrating the attitude of departmental seniors towards their juniors in those days. With reluctance I felt under the necessity of applying for a medical certificate, on which, as a matter of course, I obtained leave of absence.

At the time referred to, the Neilgherry hills were more get-at-able from Calcutta than were the Himalayahs; our' means of transit, by steamer to Madras, train thence to Coimbatore, bullock bandy or cart to Metapollium, hammock or pony to Ootacamund. The ascent of the ghat presents a succession of strikingly beautiful views, precipitous Cliffs, mountain ascents clothed by dense forest, deep valley and shola thickly wooded, rushing streams and small cascades. Arrived at Coonoor, 6,000 feet above sea level, the temperature becomes mild; hedges chiefly composed of geraniums and roses; fruit trees, orchards, and gardens, all in full bearing, meet the eye. In front of us a succession of grass-covered "downs" appear, their general aspect completely different from that presented by Himalayan sanatoria. In due time "Ooty" is reached, but a severe attack of ague while riding up the ghat rendered the latter part of the journey the reverse of pleasant.

In the immediate vicinity of this place, and scattered about among the higher points of the hills, the aboriginal tribe of Todas have their settlements, consisting of their peculiar-shaped huts, crowded together as if for mutual defence. Of their original history, not a trace, not even tradition remains; but other native hill races look upon them as the original owners of the soil, and pay them in its produce, for the Todas neither cultivate nor perform manual labour of any other kind, except that certain members of each village community have the duties assigned to them of milking their kine, and preparing their ghee, or clarified butter. They practice polyandry.' Infanticide was frequent among them until suppressed under the action of Government.

Very charming as a health resort was "the Southern Sanatorium" found to be. Temperature moderate in degree and range, relatively cooler than that of England in summer, warmer in winter, it possesses greater advantages in these respects than corresponding places in the Himalayan range. Thus, the mean shade temperature is—in January, 53° F.; February, 56°; March, 62º; April, 63°; May, 62°; June, 60°; July, 58º; August, 58°; September, 56°; October, 58º; November, 60°; December, 53º. Annual rainfall, 48 inches; rainy days, 19 with occasional showers, 81; cloudy, 28; clear and fine, 238 = 365. In the month of January, with a shade temperature of 53° F., that in the sun was 118° F.

A visit to Bangalore presented several items of interest. One was the peculiar method by which native workmen split off flakes of the sienite rock that there abounds; the process comprising the application of long-continued heat to the surface, after which the use of chisel, hammer, and percussion so applied as to produce the effect desired. A good deal of comment was the outcome of a visit paid to a "condemned" barrack building, in which was accommodated the band of an infantry regiment—the walls of the edifice in so tumble-down a condition that practice was prohibited lest the vibration caused by the musical instruments should shake the remainder to pieces.

The old fort well repaid a visit to it. In ivi it was captured by the forces under Lord Cornwallis, the breaches then effected being still traceable by the soft material with which they were filled up, while the broad deep ditch around the fortress remains to a great extent in its original condition. Among the dungeons in which Tippoo Sultan was wont to imprison his captives that of Sir David Baird was indicated to us; as also the wheel to which the captives were put for the double purpose of raising water for palace use, and amusing thereby the ladies of the zenana.

With health unrestored, but rather deteriorated, duty had to be resumed. An important item connected therewith was the inspection of ships arriving with troops, or engaged for the conveyance of others homewards, considerable exposure and fatigue necessarily undergone in its performance. That risk to life was run in persisting to remain at my post, instead of leaving India, was sufficiently clear to myself; but circumstances determined me to run that risk.

Early in 1866 duty' took me to Benares. An excursion through the narrow streets and to the shrines within that ancient city was interesting, as a similar visit had been on a previous occasion. The aspect of those streets, the style of dress of the people, their modes of buying and selling, their religious observances, at the present day unchanged since a date six centuries B.C., when, as history records, Kasi was a flourishing city. The temple of Bisheshwar, "the poison god"— a personification of Siva, the special deity of Benares, the object of pilgrimage to thousands of Hindoos—has within it the shrine in the shape of a black stone, ever kept wet by Ganges water, before which their special acts of devotion are performed. The minarets and tapering summit of the temple still resplendent with gold gilding, with which they were last decorated at the expense of Runjeet Singh, of the Punjab. In close vicinity is the Gyan Kup, or "Well of Knowledge," in which Siva is believed by her worshippers to dwell, but from which arises offensive odours from decomposing floral offerings. In the "golden temple" itself is a figure representing the Kutwãl, or judicial officer of Bisheshwar, in his hand a club, at his feet two dogs of stone—Orion and Canes venatici.

Numerous other temples stand in the near vicinity of this the largest and most important of all. Of these, one of small dimensions is sacred to Sanichar, otherwise Saturn, the face of the deity being of a blue or leaden hue. A second is dedicated to the goddess Anpoorna, of whom it is related that when Benares was first established as a city, a famine having occurred she supplied grain, Gunga, or the river Ganges, giving water, and so the people were fed; the custom then established of giving a daily allowance of grain and water being still continued, as witnesssed by ourselves. A third temple visited was dedicated to the Sun. Within it is a painting in which the great luminary is represented in a chariot drawn by seven horses, clearly the prototype of Phcebus 'and his car. A fourth, dedicated to Sukreshwar, or Venus, is much frequented by women ambitious to become mothers of handsome sons. To the courtesy and kindness of Dr. J. A. Dunbar, whose historical knowledge of these and other places visited was great, I was indebted for a most pleasant and interesting excursion.

Close to the river edge stood a temple to Sitala, goddess of smallpox, the deity being a stone much worn; before it three female devotees made poojah in hopes of thereby obtaining immunity against or cure of the disease for themselves and relations—a practice adopted also and in like manner by the Chinese. Nangrah, or the temple of the seven planets, after which are named the days of the week, was old and dilapidated, not having been "restored" from the time of the Mahomedan conquest, A. D. 1017, when, like many others, it was much injured. A small, square-shaped tank, the Nand Kunka, is said to be the point of junction between the Ganges, Jumna, and "sacred" Suruswattee; but inasmuch as a similar union is assigned to Prague, i.e. Allahabad, tradition seems to be at fault somewhere. Hindoos believe that those who bathe in that Pool of Siloam at Benares attain immortality. An object of different kind visited by us was the Man Mundee, or old observatory erected by Rajah Jey Singh, A.D. 1693, at the same time as that at Delhi, and, like it, now ruined. On the way to cantonments is the house in which dwelt Warren Hastings, 1773-1781; at a little distance that in which, in 1799, Mr. Davis repelled single-handed the attack by followers of Wazir Ali, after the latter had been deposed from the throne of Oude by Sir John Shore, at that time Governor- General.

At a distance of a few miles, on a plain anciently known as the Deer Park, are the ruins of Sarnath, a city said to date from the fourth century B. C., to have been the place where Sakya Muni first publicly preached the doctrines of Buddhism, and to have been destroyed by fire in the seventh century A.D. On a mound formed by ruins stood a pillar like that of the Birs Nimroud. A second pillar had on it carvings and scrolls peculiar to the Buddhists, whose style of architecture was subsequently adopted by the Hindoos, to be reproduced in their temples.

A sad and to me affecting visit was to the grave of my dear infant. As I wrote at the time of his deplored death, so now, many years thereafter, the impression of the loved child comes vividly upon me.

The Sanitary Commission already mentioned ceased to exist, and a Commissioner appointed to take over the duties it had performed. Great were the expectation of benefits to come, in respect to public health and decrease of mortality which were to result from the labours of our Commission; great also the individual confidence of members. in the realization of such hopes. In the literary inquiries connected with my position on that Commission material was gathered for a work on Army Hygiene, then published by me.

As the hot season advanced, my health, already much impaired suffered more severely than it had done while the heat of climate remained somewhat moderate. Privilege leave was therefore applied,. and, after some delay, obtained. I accordingly made my way, for the second time, to Madras and Ootacamund, accompanied by my dear wife. Almost from the day of arrival my health improved; a series of excursions, rides, and walks adding to beneficial influence of the climate of that favourite place.

I had lately been appointed member of a Committee to examine and report upon the relative medicinal values of the various alkaloids. obtained from cinchona. My attention thus drawn to the cultivation of the plant or tree, I visited the extensive plantation which then existed in the neighbouring hills, taking advantage to observe the various methods of cultivation adopted with a view to increasing to the utmost the deposit of quinine. But impressions were by no means. enthusiastic in regard to the probable pecuniary success of this industry, or the permanent reliance of medical men upon its special alkaloid, the use of which had already become considerably less than it was a few years ago.

As the period of my leave drew to its close, and I began my return journey, some of the experiences attending upon Indian travelling in the hot season befell me. In the midst of storm and heavy rain, at 2 a.m., I arrived at Coimbatore, then the railway terminus, got into one of the carriages drawn up at the platform and there made myself at home till 4.45 a.m., at which hour the train started. As the day advanced, so did the strength of hot wind; the sky was lurid with dust, while I, suffering severe pain, could neither recline nor sit with anything approaching comfort. It was close upon midnight when I reached the hotel at Madras, at which I had arranged to alight.

With next morning came the newspapers of the day, containing the very unwelcome intelligence that the Agra Bank had suspended payment. Like many others in India, such small savings as I had been able to effect were deposited in that concern; so now, my health impaired, the rainy season before me, my wife left behind, my money store for the time being in a precarious position, circumstances wore an aspect by no means bright.

Returning to duty at Calcutta, the attention of public authorities was found to be occupied by the condition of matters in India, and that existing elsewhere, the latter having indirect relation to the country itself. From several places on the coast line, more especially Orissa, came sad reports of famine and of destructive pestilence, all of which in due time extended to inland districts, even to the upper provinces of Hindostan. To mitigate and relieve the suffering thus occasioned, Sir John Lawrence initiated a variety of measures which were destined in subsequent years to be systematized, and so meet the occurrence of similar occurrences throughout the country. Beyond our frontier, Sheer Ali, whose accession at Cabul had but lately been recognised, was strengthening his position. Russia engaged in subjugating Bokhara. In America there was talk about a Fenian invasion of Canada, almost immediately followed by the collapse of such a plan, if indeed it ever assumed shape. In Europe the unparalleled successes of "the seven days' war"; the surrender by Austria of Venetia to Italy. Another event of importance was the laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable, a scientific triumph in some respects more important than the military occurrences just alluded to.

Early in the cold season, the arrival of the Nile, having on board the Headquarters of the Buffs, gave me an opportunity of seeing once again my first regiment with which, twenty-one years ago, I sailed from the place where we now are for England. In the interval one or more generations, in a regimental sense, had come and gone; so that to "my first love" I was a stranger; officers and men unknown to me, I unknown to them.

In pursuance of suggestions by the late Sanitary Commission, a series of camp grounds were selected, to which in times of cholera troops might conditionally be sent. At military stations, barracks were to be erected in accordance with plans drawn out by the same body. In these respects, impaired as health was, inspection of stations, added to ordinary official routine, became an arduous duty.

Arrangements had to be made with reference to an expedition about to be dispatched against the King of Abyssinia. In calculating the probable requirements for which preparations had to be made, casualties by climate were looked upon as likely to exceed those in battle; supplies on a large scale were accordingly provided.

From bed to duty, from duty to bed: such in brief was the manner in which were passed the three last months in Calcutta. In one respect Fortune "smiled,"—namely, that hospitality of a friend supplied all that need, or even luxury, required. The presence, moreover, of my wife was a solace to me, though the condition of illness to which I was reduced must have been the cause of much anxiety to her.

The first of the new transport ships to arrive was the Jumna. Being sighted from Saugor at the end of September, a party of officials, of which I was one, was speedily on board the river steamer Kola dyne, and away towards Diamond Harbour. The "trooper" soon loomed high on the horizon, her general shape unusual, and being painted white, her aspect differed from that of ships familiar to us. Coming to anchor at the last-named place, the 7th Dragoon Guards and 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade were within a few days thereafter conveyed on board, and away the ship steamed towards Suez.

At the end of October the second of the Indian transports, the Euphrates, arrived at Calcutta, having on board the 2nd Battalion 6oth Rifles, with which, six years ago, I had come down the Peiho from Tientsin to Taku, when that battalion and myself were homeward bound from China.

November was ushered in by the occurrence of a hurricane of extreme violence, an example of the most severe of those meteors tc which this part of India is at intervals liable, the damage to shipping and on shore being a counterpart of what has already been related regarding another cyclone. On this occasion the Euphrates was forced ashore at Diamond Harbour, where, during several hours, she remained in a perilous position, but fortunately without damage, so that as the storm abated she was restored to her anchorage. In due course the ship arrived off Prinsep's Ghat, the first of her kind to come up the river so far. There the troops on board were landed, the hull carefully examined by divers, and being declared to be uninjured, preparations were made for the embarkation of the troops proceeding by her to England.

The 27th, or Enniskillen Regiment, having embarked, I went on board, together with my wife, on November 13. On the following day enjoyed the often-talked-of, long-hoped-for gratification of viewing Calcutta from over the stern of a homeward-bound vessel, at the same time conscious of a protecting Providence to whom, under a series of trying and otherwise unpleasant circumstances, my life had been so far prolonged, and I enabled to meet the necessities of those dependent upon me.

In due time we entered the remarkably beautiful harbour of Trincomalee. Dotted with numerous islands, all thickly covered with rich vegetation, the background filled up with a series of low forest-clad hills, the general scene—tropical in character—could scarcely be exceeded in loveliness. But the hot, damp atmosphere, as we landed and drove through the town of the same name, was such that we experienced no desire to prolong our stay.

Arrived at Aden, orders awaited the Commander to proceed at once to Suez, which he accordingly did; but the circumstance caused a good deal of excitement in the gallant Enniskillings, among whom the wish was father to the belief that they were sure to be landed and sent to Abyssinia.

Several vessels connected with the Abyssinian expedition were anchored in the Gulf of Suez as the Euj5lzrafes entered it. The canal across the isthmus had recently been begun, the troops arriving at either end having still to be conveyed by rail and then re-embarked. Here we speedily learned by telegraph that our corresponding transport from Alexandria had met with a mishap so serious in kind that delay of not less than three weeks was inevitable before we could proceed.

Extensive docks were then in progress near to our anchorage. They were formed from material raised from the sea-bed by dredgers and other mechanical means; the masonry supplied from the neighbouring Akaba range of hills. It was an unpleasant sight, as it was suggestive, to see in the ooze so raised, considerable numbers of human bones, confirming to some degree the evil repute assigned to Suez boatmen, chiefly Greeks and Italians.

A considerable number of Egyptian troops were encamped on the heights behind the city. The men, strong and active in appearance, had, it was said, been slaves, captured by the Bedouins in the Soudan and sold to agents of the Viceroy; they were dressed a la Zouaves, and armed with swords and matchlocks.

A trip being organized for the purpose, we proceeded by boat drawn by a couple of mules along the Freshwater canal; at the end of about five miles arriving at Little Shaloof, where arrangements were in progress so that by means of locks a junction between the two waterways should take place. From there we proceeded as before, some six miles more, to Grand Shaloof, where it was said the works in progress could be best examined. At that place the depth of the channel in course of excavation was 30 feet, the breadth 150. Crowds of workmen, including French, Italian, Maltese, and Greeks, were employed as navvies, the soil being carried up the sides by small rails, and deposited on either side to form embankments. In the successive layers of gravel, sand, and clay in which the workmen were engaged, organic remains existed in considerable abundance; among them oyster shells, encrinites, bones assigned to mastodon, and gigantic teeth of the carcharodon. The canal is in working order from Port Said to Ismaliah, where, in Lake Timsah, it is joined by the ancient canal from Bulak.

At Shaloof a considerable village has sprung up in the midst of the desert; the houses consist of wooden huts, the population being employs on the canal. Around some of those huts little gardens had been made, peas, beans, greens, asparagus, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, and spinach being among the vegetables grown in them; the plants of larger growth within and surrounding them in the form of incipient hedges included pairna Christi, Eschynomene (or jait), thuja, and willow.

The Freshwater Canal, by which we returned to Suez, had an average depth of 5 to 6 feet, a breadth of 40 to 50. Its water, though originally no doubt sweet and fresh, was now brackish, but on that account not unsuited to the nourishment of particular kinds of plants, as along its sides grew in abundance tamarisk, reed grass, rushes, and bulrushes. A good deal of traffic was in progress along it; but otherwise the region on either side was desert, destitute of man, house, or tree, the only living things to be seen being a vulture in the distance, and in close vicinity a drymoica or reed warbler of some kind. According to history the portion of this canal which extends from Lake Timsah to Bulak was made under Sesostris;' a continuation of it extended to Suez,—namely, that by which we travelled. The original channel has several times fallen into decay, and been again repaired, the last occasion on which it was so being under Mehemet Ali.

The population of Suez was said to comprise the scourings of all nations. The place itself is not without points of historical interest. It is considered to occupy the site, or very near the site, of Pihahiroth, or simply Hira, Kolsim, and Arsinoe, the latter founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus. At a short distance from its north-east gate is a mound on which stands a villa for the use of the Viceroy; at the base of that mound is a thick layer of asphalte, believed to indicate the site of ancient baths. The modern town contains the house, now a telegraph office, in which Napoleon the First once had his headquarters. Discretion induced us, when visiting the town of evil repute, to go in sufficiently large party to hold our own if necessary.

An excursion to Ayn Musa, or Moses' Wells, occupied pleasantly an entire day. Proceeding by steam launch to Quarantine Harbour, we there found mules and ponies, sent on the previous day. So mounted, we scampered over the five or six miles of desert that separated that place from the objects of our trip. As we neared the wells, groves of date and other palms became more and more distinct; the groves were seen to surround each of the twelve wells that form the group, each moreover to be surrounded by walls, the garden so enclosed well irrigated from its particular well, and yielding produce abundantly. The largest well of the series is that to which tradition assigns the halting-place of the Israelites on the third day of their wandering in the wilderness of Etham after crossing "the Sea of Reeds," in the near vicinity of what is now Lake Timsah.' As then, so at the present time, the water of Marah is "bitter," otherwise brackish and undrinkable, though used for purposes of irrigation; that of the well in question gushed from the earth abundantly, bubbling as it did so from several apertures. From it we went on to examine the other springs that make up the group, on our way noting the style of tree and under vegetation, and searching, as we did unsuccessfully, for the "quails" (P/erodes, or sand-grouse) mentioned with reference to the temporary halt at this place made by the Israelites; three hours were so spent. On returning to the spring whence we had started, we found it partly empty; it thus told its own story—that it was tidal in character. The surrounding gardens, amply irrigated as they were from this well, yielded abundant crops of vegetables, including spinach, radishes, chives, onions, and tomatoes. Among the trees within the same enclosure were date, tamarisk, pomegranate, rose, fig, parkinsonia, cirrus, lawsonia (the mendhee or hennah of India), myrtle, and mulberry. Along the sides of the watercourses or irrigation channels a rich green carpet of digitaria (or dhoop grass of India) grew. We saw no such tree as had the property of rendering brackish water palatable to the taste; not even the moringa aptera, the pods of which, when masticated, are credited with that of rendering such water "sweet to the palate." On our return on board, we referred to Josephus, and from his account have no doubt that Moses recognised the wells which now bear his name as in their nature tidal.

A very delightful excursion was that to Cairo, performed by rail across the desert. From that most oriental city we drove to the Nile, near to the island of Rodda; crossed the river by boat, passing close to the Nilometer while we were in transit; landed at Ghizeh; mounted donkeys; thence continued our journey over seven miles of road, consisting of a dilapidated raised pathway through alluvial fields and swamps dotted thickly with aquatic birds. Thus did we reach the famous and very remarkable Pyramids of Ghizeh. The largest of these, namely, that of Cheops—B.c. 2400 about—was the special object of our excursion. In ascending one of its sides we had the aid of powerful Arabs, whose demonstrative methods of assistance were by no means appreciated by the ladies of our party. The massive stones that formed the stair-like ascent of this most ancient monument in the world had a thickness ranging from two to three feet; they consisted of two kinds, the one set of nummulite, the other of chalky clay, but the coating and outer layer that in ancient times completely covered them has long ceased to exist. The summit is flat; the view from it extensive : it includes Cairo, the Libyan hills, pyramids of Sakkara and of Dashur, the position of "the Battle of the Pyramids," the two smaller pyramids of Cephrenes and Mycerenes respectively, the Sphynx, and numerous tombs. On our left were the pits in which it is believed the mortar for the larger pyramid was mixed; the small mud pyramid, supposed to be that of Cheops' daughter; then in the distance heaps composed of materials raised from pillaged tombs.

The descent proved more difficult than the ascent. After a short rest we proceeded to explore the interior of the huge pile. From the entrance we descended, by a narrow passage not more than four feet in height, a distance of 106 feet, then ascended by another passage, at an angle of 27°, to "the Queen's Chamber." Returning to the point from which branches upward the great gallery, we ascended by it to "the King's Chamber," passing in our progress through the supposed position of four ancient portcullises. Returning to, and glad to be in, the open air, we passed on to Campbell's Tomb,' in which, at a depth of sixty feet from the surface, lies exposed the sarcophagus of porphyry described in books of travel. Thence to the Sphynx, now mutilated, yet whose intensely grave, placid expression struck us with awe, as it has affected other travellers who have visited it during the thousands of years included in its history.

Near the Sphynx is a temple excavated in the solid rock. Huge blocks, some seventeen feet long, of red granite are in it so arranged as to form passages and doorways; others of alabaster, of scarcely smaller dimensions, being interspersed among them. So far, information is wanting with regard to the history of this temple; but to us it is no less wonderful in its way than any of the other objects and buildings we visited.

At last the time came for the troops on board the Euphrates to resume their homeward voyage. It was with regret that we took leave of Captain Dunn and officers, and proceeded to the train by which the transit across the desert was to be made. It was now late in December; the sensation of cold experienced by us during the night of our journey very severe, far beyond what readings of the thermometer indicated.

By afternoon of 28th we were on board the Crocodile, and away from Alexandria. On New Year's Day anchored in the Grand Harbour of Malta, in which as companions our transport had British ironclads, and vessels of all sorts belonging to various nationalities. Resuming our voyage on the 3rd, we passed Gibraltar on the 6th; thence homeward the passage was short but boisterous. On the 12th we landed at Portsmouth, our leave-taking very different in kind from that on quitting the Euphrates.


 


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