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VISIT TO THE MUMMY PITS.
masses. Beyond Manresa the farcilite occurs till the traveller crosses the ford of the Cardonero, (From Legh's Travels when it is succeeded by a limestone of a dirty iron brown co- The pits we had examined at lour, and dull, almost earthy, Thebes were full of human mumfracture. Beyond the village of mies, but in no place had we yet Suria, a sandstone, which slightly seen any marks of those of crocoeffervesces with acids, makes its diles. With this intention we appearance. This rock consti- continued our voyage down the tutes the sides of the valley which Nile and halted at Manfalout contain the fossil salt.
situated on the left bank of the The immediate vicinity of the river, for the purpose of making salt mines shews no other rock preparations for a journey to than a yellowish grey sandstone Amabdi. Our party consisted of much charged with scales of my friend Mr. Smelt and an Amemica.
rican of the name of Barthow, We find thus that the salt rock who had traded many years in the of Cardona is accompanied by Red Sea, spoke Arabic extremely clay and sandstone, like our well, and whom we had engaged Cheshire salt formation. Lime
as a dragoman at Cairo, when we stone also is found near it; but first began our travels in Upper the usual concomitant gypsum Egypt. We took with us, beappears to be wanting, as well as sides, an Abyssinian merchant, foetid limestone. The great com- of the name of Fadlallah, and pactness and purity of this salt three of our boat's crew who merits examination.
were Barabras, whom we had Though the country around brought with us from the CatarCardona is mountainous and acts. Having provided ourselves rugged, it is inferior in elevation with asses and torches, we crossed to the districts between it and the the ferry of Manfalout, at five in Mediterranean;
well as to
the morning of the 30th March. those which bound it on the We wandered about till nine north. Immediately behind Car- o'clock in search of the village of dona the mountains begin to as- Amabdi, near which we at length cend with increasing boldness found four Arabs employed in until they unite with the grand cutting wood. They appeared at chain of the Pyrenees.
first unwilling to give us any inI relinquish to others the diffi- formation about the object of our cult task of giving a probable search, and we observed them conexplanation of the formation of sulting together, and overheard rock salt; contented if my obser- them muttering something about vations on the mine of Cardona danger, and thought we heard the can add any thing to the mass of expression, If one must die,facts which should guide us in all must die.” This excited our the obscure but captivating spe- suspicions, but did not deter us culations of geology.
from proceeding, as we relied on
our number and strength to re- torch to examine the vault, I acsist any act of treachery.
cidentally scorched one of them. We were bent on going, and | inention this trivial circumthe Arabs at last undertook to be stance, because afterwards it gave our guides for a reward of twenty- occasion to a most ridiculous, five piastres. After an hour's though to us very important dismarch in the desert, we arrived cussion. So far the story of the at the spot, which we found to Greek was true, and it remained be a pit or circular hole of ten only to explore the galleries where feet in diameter, and about eigh- the Arabs had formerly taken reteen feet deep. We descended fuge, and where, without doubt, without difficulty, and the Arabs were deposited the mummies we began to strip, and proposed to were searching for. We had all us to do the same : we partly of us torches, and our guides infollowed their example, but kept sisted upon our placing ourselves
our trowsers and shirts. I in such a way, that an Arab was had by ine a brace of pocket pis- before each of us. Though there tols, which I concealed in my appeared something mysterious in trowsers, to be prepared against this order of march, we did not any treacherous attempt of our dispute with them, but proceeded. guides. It was now decided that We now entered a low gallery, in three of the four Arabs should go which we continued for with us, while the other remained than an hour, stooping or creepon the outside of the cavern. The ing as was necessary, and followAbyssinian merchant declined go- ing its windings, till at last it ing any farther. The sailors re- opened into a large chamber, mained also on the outside to take which, after some me, we recare of our clothes. We formed cognized as the one we had first therefore a party of six ; each entered, and from which we had was to be preceded by a guide- set out. Our conductors, howour torches were lighted--one of ever, denied that it was the same, the Arabs led the way and I but on our persisting in the as. followed him.
sertion, agreed at last that it was, We crept for seven or eight and confessed they had missed yards through an opening at the their way the first time, but if bottoin of the pit, which was we would make another attempt partly choked up with the drifted they would undertake to conduct sand of the desert, and found us to the muminies. Our curiosity ourselves in a large chamber was still unsatisfied; we had been about fifteen feet high.
wandering for more than an hour This was probably the place in low subterranean passages, and into which the Greek, Demetrius, felt considerably fatigued by the had penetrated, and here we ob- irksomeness of the posture in served what he had described, the which we laul been obliged to. fragments of the mummies of move, and the heat of our torches crocodiles. We saw also great in those narrow and low galleries. numbers of bats flying about, and But the Arabs spoke so confidently hanging from thic roof of the of succeeding in this second trial, chainber. Whilst holding up my that we were induced once more Vol. LVIII.
to attend them. We found the observed him appear faint, totter, opening of the chamber which we and fall in a moment-he also now approached guarded by a was dead. The third Arab came trench of unknown depth, and forward, and made an effort to wide enough to require a good approach the bodies, but stopped leap. The first Arab jumped the short. We looked at each other ditch, and we all followed him. in silent horror. The danger inThe passage we entered was ex- creased every instant; our torches tremely small, and so low in some burnt faintly ; our breathing beplaces as to oblige us to crawl flat came more difficult; our knees on the ground, and almost always tottered under us, and we felt on our hands and knees. The in- our strength nearly gone. tricacies of its windings resembled There was no time to be losta labyrinth, and it terminated at the American, Barthow, cried to length in a chamber much smaller us to “ take courage," and we than that which we had left, but, began to move back as fast as we like it, containing nothing to satisfy could We heard the remaining our curiosity. Our search hitherto Arab shouting after us, calling us had been fruitless, but the mun- Catfres, imploring our assistance, mies might not be far distant, and upbraiding us with deserting another effort, and we might still him. But we were obliged to be successful.
leave him to his fate, expecting The Arab whom I followed, every moment to share it with and who led the way, now entered him. The windings of the pasanother gallery, and we all con- sages through which we had come tinued to move in the same man- increased the difficulty of our ner as before, each preceded by a escape; we might take a wrong guide. We had not gone far be- turn, and never reach the great fore the heat became excessive;
;- chamber we had first entered. for my own part I found my Even supposing we took the breathing extremely difficult, my shortest road, it was but too prohead began to ache most violently, bable our strength would fail us and I had a most distressing sen- before we arrived. We had each sation of fulness about the heart. of us separately and unknown to
We felt we had gone too far, one another observed attentively and yet were almost deprived of the different shapes of the stones the power of returning. At this which projected into the galleries moment the torch of the first we had passed, so that each had Arab went out: I was close to an imperfect clue to the labyrinth him, and saw him fall on his side; we had now to retrace. We comhe uttered a groan-his legs were pared notes, and only on one ocstrongly convulsed, and I heard a casion had a dispute, the Amerirattling noise in his throat-he can differing from my friend and was dead. The Arab behind me, myself; in this dilemma we were seeing the torch of his companion determined by the majority, and extinguished, and conceiving he fortunately were right. Exhausthad stumbled, past me, advanced ed with fatigue and terror, we to his assistance, and stooped. I reached the edge of the deep
trench which remained to be to regain the ferry of Manfalout. crossed before we got into the Our cangia was moored close to great chamber.
Mustering all the town, and we got on board iny strength, I leaped, and was by five o'clock. We had been followed by the American. Smelt expected for some time, and as it stood on the brink, ready to drop happened to be the birthday of my with fatigue. He called to us friend Mr. Smelt, we had intend
for God's sake to help him over ed to have regaled ourselves that the fosse, or at least to stop, if day with a more sumptuous meal only for five minutes, to allow than ordinary. But we had no him time to recover his strength.” appetite to eat, it was of more It was impossible to stay was consequence to consult what was death, and we could not resist to be done in our present cirthe desire to push on and reach cumstances. That the Arabs of the open air. We encouraged Amabdi would pursue us to rehim to summon all his force, and venge the supposed murder of hé cleared the trench. When we their friends, there was no doubt, reached the open air it was one and as it would be next to imn'clock, and the heat in the sun possible to persuade them we had about 160°. Our sailors, who no hand in their deaths, we all were waiting for us, had luckily agreed our only safety was in a bardak full of water, which flight. It was resolved we should they sprinkled upon us, but though wait till midnight, and then sail a little refreshed, it was not pos- down the Nile for Miniet, the sible to climb the sides of the pit; first Turkish garrisoned town we they unfolded their turbans, and should reach. Owing to the lazislinging them round our bodies, negs or stupidity of our Reis, it drew us to the top.
was however five in the morning Our appearance alone without before we weighed anchor. This our guides naturally astonished at the time gave us great uneasithe Arab who had remained at ness, but was in fact a most forthe entrance of the cavern ; and tunate circumstance; for, as will he anxiously inquired for his appear afterwards, had we sailed ha-habebas, or friends. To have earlier we should certainly have confessed they were dead would fallen into the hands of our enehave excited suspicion, he would mies. The wind was contrary, have supposed we had murdered blowing strongly from the north, them, and have alarmed the in- and we had only made two leagues habitants of Amabdi, to pursue
hy seven o'clock. us and revenge the death of their We now saw four Turks on friends. We replied therefore horseback galloping towards us, they were coming, and were em- followed by two Arabs on foot, ployed in bringing out the mum- and as we made but little way mies we had found, which was down the river, they were soon the cause of their delay.
near enough to fire a pistol and We lost no time in mounting order us to bring to. We stopped our asses, re-crossed the desert, our boat, and they called to us and passed hastily by the village from the shore, saying they were
2 Q 2
gent by the Cacheff to bring us to his hand took hold of it, and Manfalout to
for the looking sternly at us, observed murder of our Arab guides. The sarcastically, “I do not see that two Arabs on foot were violent in this firman allows you either to their threats, and continued voci- maltreat or kill the Arabs.” ferating they would have blood He then poured out a torrent for blood, and that they were re- of abuse upon us in Arabic, to solved on our deaths, though it the great satisfaction of our acmight cost the lives of twenty cusers, and retired into an inner more of their countrymen. We court, leaving us, as we conceived, entered into a parley with the to their mercy. The Arabs were Turks, and demanded of them if most of them armed with swords they would answer for our safety and spears, and began now to on our way to Manfalout, and surround us with menacing gesstipulated also that we should be tures. Shortly however we were allowed to carry with us our arms. sent for by the Turk, and conThey promised us we should not ducted by some of his soldiers be molested on our road to the into his presence. town, and after some demur per- The Arabs expressed great samitted us to take our swords, tisfaction at this, and appeared pistols, and double-barrelled guns. to think our fate was decided. On these conditions we went on The Cacheff received us on this shore, and walked on foot under occasion in a much more friendly the escort of the Turks to Manfa- manner than at first; he was unlout. When we arrived at the observed by the Arabs, and laid house of the Cacheff, we found aside the angry tone which we him smoking in an outer court, now perceived he had formerly attended by a few Arnout guards, only affected. “My good friends, " and surrounded by about forty of said he, laying his hand on the the inhabitants of Amabdi.
shoulder of our dragoman, “ I The Arabs received us with a know I am, by virtue of your shout of revengeful delight. firman, bound to protect you, and
The Cacheff treated us in a my head must answer for your stern and haughty manner, and safety. I believe your story, but informed us of what we were ac- I have a guard only of 50 soldiers, cused by the people about him. and the village of Amabdi is 700 Through our dragoman we re- muskets strong. Should all the lated our story, and produced the inhabitants take a part in this firman we had received of Mach- affair and come over, the consemoud Ali, Pacha of Cairo. Our quence will be fatal both to you passport ran in the usual form, and myself; you must make your enjoining all the Governors of the escape secretly, and in the mean different towns through which we time I will amuse and detain the should pass to afford us every Arabs.” protection and assistance.
We saw the force of this adcretary was ordered to read the vice, thanked the Cacheff for his firman aloud, which when he had friendly conduct, and lost no time done, the Cacheff reaching out in making our retreat through a