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for the most part covered over in the usual way, and extremely characteristic and oriental in its aspect. At one place the Bahr Youssef runs under it, but there is nothing to suggest that we are on a bridge, as it is completely built over with shops. For the benefit of future travellers, who want to know what they may depend upon finding in an ordinary Arab town of this description, I may say that the staple of food is beans and lentils, the latter making a most excellent purée, and the former, when eaten very young, almost equalling peas. Onions, yams, spinach, and okra are abundant; rice and potatoes rare. Native bread, made from the country wheat, would be good, were it not rather sour; but we used to make soda-cakes; and after some trouble, discovered a mill at which maize could be ground rough instead of fine. This enabled us to have mush, which, eaten with rich cream, makes a delicious substitute for porridge. The land flows with milk and honey, and there is no lack, therefore, of butter and cream-cheeses. Beef is not procurable; the mutton is bad, generally suspiciously pervaded with the flavour of goat; chickens are cheap B

and abundant—four dozen eggs can be bought for a shilling; and pigeons are eightpence apair. Fish in great quantities are brought from the Birket el Kurūn, resembling, generally, very large carp. There is a prejudice against them, and it is said they give fever; but I thought them excellent. Teal and wild duck occasionally come into the market, and cost about sixpence apiece. They are caught by the hunter putting his head in a calabash and wading out, accompanied by some tame ducks as decoy; he then scatters food on the water, and when the wild ducks come to feed round him, gently draws them under water with his hand. As they always have a sentinel out, it is necessary in approaching them to dispose of this gentleman first. The flock, not noticing his disappearance, and completely off their guard, may then be easily got at. From all this it will appear that it was our own fault if we failed to have proper nourishment at Fayoum. I vainly tried one day to add to our larder with an extemporised fishingrod and a worm ; but beyond a dozen small creatures, which collectively weighed about a pound and a half, I extracted nothing from the most tempting-looking pools under the waterwheels: and as the cook declined to cook them, on the ground that they were unwholesome, I was discouraged from any further effort. A more profitable occupation was to wander over the ruins of the ancient city of Crocodilopolis Arsinoë ; and this was a neverending source of interest and amusement. The high mounds of debris, which cover an immense area of ground, were scarcely a mile from our abode, and consist of an enormous accumulation of potsherds, bones, bricks, rags, fibre, and dust. The highest mound is fifty feet above the level of the plain, and its summit commands a panoramic view of the whole of the province. It is impossible to describe the rich and glowing beauty of the sunsets I have seen from this spot. The extraordinary clearness of the atmosphere brought out with the utmost distinctness the most distant outline. In the far east one could see the forms of the desertranges beyond the Nile, faintly blushing in the last rays of the sun. Nearer still, are the sandhills of the desert on this side of the river, with the Pyramids of Howara and Illahoon standing out conspicuously; then succeeds a carpet of cultivation, to the brilliant green of which the more sombre hues of the palmgroves furnish a fitting contrast; amidst all this luxuriance water is sparkling and winding everywhere. In the extreme western distance we catch glimpses of the “Lake of the Horn," lying in the shadow of the Libyan hills; while in the immediate foreground the quaint cemetery and mud-houses of Medinet el Fayoum which crown the high banks of the Bahr Youssef, so uncouth and barbarous looking at other times, are now all melted into a confused haze, as the sun setting behind the town throws it into a bluish-purple shadow, from which shoot here and there a minaret or a palm-tree. After we have feasted our eyes with the view from the top of the mound, we go down to see what is to be discovered at the bottom of it. We find on one side that it is scarped and perfectly precipitous, and that it is apparently a huge heap of débris, in which the pottery, bones, rags, straw, and date-fibre are packed in layers looking like strata. In places we see cropping out the remains of old brick walls, still standing wedged in the mound; here and there they are undermined by the labours of the peasants,

who come and scoop out the dust of ages which fills these old chambers, and in which the pottery and bones are embedded. This they sift and carry off to put upon their fields as manure. It is a fine impalpable powder, which gets into one's nose and eyes, and penetrates into the innermost recesses of one's garments; nevertheless we revel in it for the sake of the treasures which it may contain. Here at the base of the mound we observe a protruding skull, with short curly hair still clinging to it. We make an Arab manure-sifter exhume the mortal remains, and find clinging to the legs the wrappages of coarse linen, in which the whole body was once swathed : the skin is tightly drawn over the ribs, but none remains on the face. As we grub in the cloud of dust raised by this operation, we come across lumps of soft yellow stuff, which turns out to be mummycloth of a finer texture. Meantime another Arab triumphantly hands us a piece of papyrus, which he has found somewhere else, and on which, in spite of its tattered condition, we can make out an invocation to Allah, in Arabic letters of the style used in the first century of the Hegira, which shows that it

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